Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Wishing you a Merry Christmas early.
I'll be away until January 4.  My son will be visiting from South Carolina.
Along with my son that lives nearby, we'll be having a great time.
Starting the New Year off with cataract surgery on January 2.

Also, I want to share my good news with you.
UNDER A PURPLE MOON is now an audio book. The links are below.
Let me know if you listen to it. Audio books are new to me and very fascinating.







Monday, December 19, 2016


Quote for the Week: And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. Jesus Christ

Awhile back we were introduced to MOTLEY EDUCATION, S. A. Larsen's latest novel for middle-grade readers. Since MG stories are some of my favorites, I just had to read the book. So glad I did. To refresh your memory see the gorgeous cover again.

Title: Motley Education (Book One: The URD Saga)


Author: S.A. Larsen


Release Date: October 10, 2016



Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire Afterlife alive.


Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically & Celestially gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.


When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing, she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world. Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse Mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans...including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.


About S.A. Larsen


S.A. LARSEN is the author of Motley Education, the first book in a middle grade fantasy-adventure series. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Look for her debut young adult novel, Marked Beauty, set for release in 2017. Find her in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty years, four children, a playful pooch, and two kittens.


You can visit her online at


Follow her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram and connect with her on her Website & Blog.

My thoughts:


By S. A. Larsen



Do you enjoy visiting new worlds? Do you like to meet creatures and people that you might see in a spooky movie? Would you like to attend a school where the students all have special abilities that go way beyond being a scientific genius (though they could be that too), or a whiz at math? “Yes,” you say. Then you’ve come to the right place. First of all, one look at the book cover will arouse your curiosity. What kind of hand is that? And the birds in the background hint at something sinister going on, at least to me they do.


In MOTLEY EDUCATION, Author S. A. Larsen’s latest novel for middle-grade readers, we start our journey three months before entering Motley Junior High, a school for psychically and celestially gifted students. A boy and his friends are playing in a cemetery where they’ve played before, but this time, something unusual happens. No, I’m not saying what.  You’ll want to discover that for yourself.


From there, the reader follows sixth-grader Ebony Charmed, a spirit tracker, and her best friend and go-to-guy, Fleishman, who can manipulate matter, through one adventure after another. From ghosts to doors that are there but aren’t, to students vanishing, and creatures you could never imagine, her bravery is tested time and again.


And if that’s not enough trouble for a girl, Ebony’s dad has left home, and she wants him back again. She also learns surprising things about her parents. Is anyone really who they claim to be?


S. A. Larsen has created interesting characters, some good, some bad, which is as it should be, that are typical kids, except for their special powers. The author describes the scenes so vividly, it was almost like I was there. MOTLEY EDUCATION would make a nice addition to school classrooms and libraries, (where students might wish they attended such a school as Motley Jr. High), as well as public libraries and your own. Recommended.
The book is now out for your enjoyment.
Happy Reading!




Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Today, I'm excited to share MACARONI AND CHEESE FOR THANKSGIVING, the latest picture book by Author Cheryl C. Malandrinos, with you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy meeting the family.

Isn't this an adorable cover? Innocent little doggie.



Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on Thanksgiving. When the front door swings open, Grandma and Grandpa are covered with hugs and kisses. Crash! Everyone rushes in to find the dog gnawing a meaty turkey leg. Can Macy’s quick thinking save dinner?




Moments later, the front door swung open. In walked Macy’s dad and grandparents. The family raced to the door to hug them.




“Oh no!” cried Mom. “What was that?”
Links to Purchase:
Author Bio:                                                       
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at
Social Media Links:
Website Address:
Twitter Address: @ccmalandrinos

What Cheryl Has to Say:

A Picture Book Writer’s Alternative to NaNoWriMo by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Starting in October—and sometimes before that—writers begin talking and brainstorming about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This annual event challenges writers to crank out 50,000 words over the 30 days of November.

I’ve done it. I’ve known people who have won it. Some NaNoWriMo novels have become bestsellers. NaNoWriMo, however, was never for me. I write slowly. I’m sometimes distracted by historical research. Though some write better under pressure, I’m not one of them. So I began searching out alternatives and stumbled upon:

Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo): An annual event (moving to January in 2017) where the challenge is to create 30 picture book concepts in 30 days.

National Picture Book Writing Week (NaPiBoWriWee): An annual event taking place the first week in May that challenges you to write 7 picture books in 7 days.

My new release, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, is a product of both of these events. In 2010, I participated in PiBoIdMo for the first time. Creating 30 picture book concepts in 30 days sounds easier than it is. By Thanksgiving week I was certain failure was in my future because the ideas were taking longer and longer.

As I reviewed my ideas up to that point, I noticed several of them were set during holidays—Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas. My mind settled on Thanksgiving, but I didn’t want the typical be thankful story. Could a holiday disaster story be the answer? It would have to be something kids would find funny. What if right before dinnertime, the dog swiped the turkey off the table? That “what if” became the premise behind Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving.

Months would pass before I wrote Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving during my first attempt at NaPiBoWriWee in 2011. Encouraged by a local children’s librarian, I wrote six new picture books that week.

I’m grateful the internet has brought about a way to connect with writers across the globe whose creativity has led to alternatives for those of us who were searching for new ways to challenge ourselves. I’m looking forward to 2017 and another chance to participate in these events.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at
My Thoughts
By Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Illustrations by Marina Movshina
Thanksgiving. Turkey. Stuffing. Cranberry Sauce. Mashed Potatoes. Family together. What a wonderful holiday. But what if something happens to the turkey and trimmings? Is the Thanksgiving meal ruined?
In MACARONI AND CHEESE FOR THANKSGIVING, the latest picture book by Author Cheryl C. Malandrinos, ten-year-old Macy and her family have everything ready for the big day. They’re waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive, when the unthinkable happens. An accident destroys the turkey. Their dinner is ruined. Or is it? How can you have Thanksgiving without turkey? Impossible, right? Well, maybe not. Macy has a solution to their dilemma and gives her parents, along with the reader, a bit of history about the First Thanksgiving. Will her plan work? Will the family agree?
The author has written a story about a family, much like yours or mine, perhaps, that works together when life doesn’t turn out the way they want it to. They take a situation and make the best of it, quite creatively, I think. And in working together, they also discover that being with family is more important than what they eat.
MACARONI AND CHEESE FOR THANKSGIVING is a fun read that would make a good addition to elementary school classrooms and libraries, public libraries, as well as your own library. Happy reading. Recommended.
Happy Reading!

Monday, December 12, 2016


Famous quote for the week!

I couldn't say it any better.
As you can see, this is #InkRipples day, and the topic for December is cookies, of course.
#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. They post on the first Monday of every month, but you can post whenever you want to. They're all authors, but you don't have to be to participate. I'm having fun; you might too, if you give it a try.
The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, image, whatever into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. You can make your own ripples by blogging about the topic or you can simply share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #InkRipples. Be sure to include links back to Kai, Mary, and Katie.
Now, about cookies. To be honest, I haven't baked cookies in years. When my boys were young, we made sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees and decorated them with frosting and sprinkles. They were really pretty and didn't last long, with hungry kids around. Then the grandkids came along, and we made more Christmas tree sugar ookies. Now, it's not so much fun with no one to help me, and besides, I'd eat them all and gain 50 pounds, so I no longer bake cookies. I don't have any pictures of my own, but look what I found:
I just happen to be watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the moment.
These look sort of like the ones we used to make.
And I must stop because now I want a cookie, and I don't have the ingredients to make some.
Check back tomorrow for Cheryl Malandrinos and her tour for her latest book MACARONI AND CHEESE FOR THANKSGIVING.
Have a great week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Welcome Wednesday, IWSG DAY!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG
Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of IWSG.
The question for today is: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?

Interesting question. I don't look five years ahead for my writing career or any part of my life. I do good to keep up with today and maybe next week. I hope I'm still writing five years from now. I hope I've had several more novels published by then. My plan to get there is just to keep writing, as long as ideas pop into my head. I'm with some great publishers now and hope they'll like my future work. So I write and write and hope someone reads my writing. (That's a lot of hoping.)

I'm changing the subject for a minute. Since I'm seeing all sorts of lovely Christmas trees decorating stores and homes, it brought to mind the tree below.
Have you ever seen a Tumbleweed Christmas Tree?
No? Then take a look at this one.
"This unique Chandler, Arizona, tradition began in 1957, when Chandler resident Earl Barnum raised the idea of a tumbleweed tree after he saw a similar one in Indiana built out of cone-shaped chicken wire with pine boughs stuck in the holes. Many members of the community helped create the first tree in Chandler using tumbleweeds that they gathered from around town. Little did these folks know that they were the first to do such a thing and that it would continue as an annual Christmas tradition from then on. In fact, Chandler is the only city in the southwestern United States that has such a tree."
I find these trees fascinating. In fact, one day I was out walking when a tumbleweed rolled across the path in front of me. Well, as a writer, I knew I had a story. So I turned that tumbleweed into a picture book/early reader for young readers.
 I did decorate a tumbleweed one time. They have sharp spikes on them, so it's kind of hard without wounding your fingers. Most kids I ask if they're seen a tumbleweed say, "No." Now you have.

Monday, December 5, 2016


Happy 1st book birthday to THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW! It's been a year since the mystery of the Begonia House was revealed to the world, and now the paperback will be available January 3rd, 2017. The new cover stays true to Fairday's snazzy style, sprinkling in a few added charms. Can you spot the differences from the hardcover? ;) 
Catch the book trailer to find out about the mystery...
Planning to pick up the paperback? Pre-order a copy and you could win a $50 VISA card to treat yourself after the holidays. Contest is open to all! For more details on how to enter, click here.
For more information about the book, visit the DMS at

The Process of Publishing a Book
By Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson
Be ready to put forth a lot of effort!

When we started the publishing process we had no idea what we were getting into. Our book was written, but what were the next steps after having it edited and “ready to go”? We learned a lot along the way, and we'll share some of the highlights here. 

Stephanie Robinson, Unicorn Writers' Conference
1. If you want to write books, start going to writers’ conferences. We gained something from every one we attended, and it’s also awesome to be surrounded by so many people who share your passion for writing. Very inspirational!  
2. If you decide to go the traditional route, it is important to research the agents you would like to query. You want to make sure the person representing your book loves it too! Be patient. After you write your query and send it off- you’ll have to wait for 1-3 months before you hear back about whether they would like to pass, see a partial manuscript, or read the whole manuscript. During this time- keep writing. Work on your next book!
3. Once you connect with the right agent, you will sign a contract with them. Read it over carefully and check it with other professionals before you sign your name. Make sure you understand what you are agreeing to and what they will do for you. We were thrilled to sign our contract with Talcott Notch Literary Agency, but we’ve heard nightmare stories from friends who had contracts that weren’t acceptable.
Gina Panettieri, Talcott Notch Literary
4. Your agent will start querying editors. After you’ve found the right agent, they will know what to do during this process and will check in with you to let you know where and when they are sending your work. When you hear back from editors, you will typically receive general remarks that you’ll need to consider. Remember, reading is subjective and even JK Rowling was rejected before her first Harry Potter book was published.
Signed contract with Delacorte Press
5.  When you sign with an editor you will most likely do a happy dance and run around screaming, like we did. Depending on the size of the publishing company the time frame to begin edits will vary. We signed our contract in October, but didn’t begin working on edits until March. The editing continues as the art department works on illustrations and cover art for the book. Once all the pieces are in place, the book is printed as an ARC- advanced reader copy.
6. ARCs have errors and the publishing company is working to fix them, but time is limited to get them done and errors cost money to fix. We read through our ARCs and made a list of all the mistakes we found. We were able to fix one of them because it isn’t easy to fix them at this stage, but luckily the editors had already fixed the other mistakes we had found (though we didn’t know for sure until the book was out).   
7. After the ARCs you will keep working on your other writing while you wait for trade reviews to come in. Ours came a few months before the book was out.
8. Release day! You'll be a bundle of nerves seeing your book out in the world. It's exciting, but you may feel a little vulnerable. Make sure to celebrate and enjoy the moment!
Voila! The finished product.
If you decide to publish traditionally, take your work seriously and protect your creative space. You are your own best advocate, so believe in yourself and fear not the unexpected! ;)

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