Monday, December 17, 2012

Featured on the GAP Family Blog


Posted: 16 Dec 2012 12:00 AM PST

Congratulations on the release of Magical Matthew.  Please tell us more about it.

About the book: 
Matthew has a big secret.  He can fix things magically with his mind.  Matthew secretly uses his magic to fix things for his family and friends.  Later, he expands his magical good deeds by fixing things in his neighborhood.  Matthew’s friend, Lily, suspects something is special about him.  Matthew must decide whether to tell her the truth or not.

What was the inspiration for this book?

Penelope: My book was inspired by my friend's son, Matthew, when he attained "double digits."  I thought, “How Magical is that – he’s not a kid anymore!”  Which led to, what if he really had magic?  What would he do?  And would he tell people, or keep it a secret?.

What is your favorite moment from the book?

Penelope: There are two special moments for me.  First, when Matthew confides in his Grandma Nonie, showing he’s comfortable sharing his secret with a trusted adult.  And, second, when he realizes he has abilities and talents beyond magic. 

Is this your first published book?

Penelope:  Yes

Congratulations! We’d love to hear more about you.

I’ve had a few careers:  my longest was in government service Human Resources (HR), next as a teacher of adults and children, and now as a writer and book reviewer.  In most of my positions, I’ve been able to write and teach others.  English Literature was my undergraduate Liberal Arts major and Education my Masters program.

Do you have any book signing events or book tours scheduled for Magical Matthew?

Penelope:  For now I’m visiting fellow author’s blogs and Magical Matthew is being reviewed.  I hope to visit local schools, libraries and bookstores.

How can our readers learn more about you and any upcoming Magical Matthew events?

Penelope:  I will post them on my blogs: 

Thank you for stopping in to share Magical Matthew with us.  Readers can purchase their copy here. We are proud to add it to the ever-growing line of quality titles from Guardian Angel Publishing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finding My Place, One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg by Margo L. Dill

Finding My Place, One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, by Margo L. Dill, is a tough book.  Not because it’s not well-written or is hard to read.  It’s tough because it’s a realistic story about a very difficult time in our nation’s history.  This is a fictionalized story about General Grant’s six week siege of Vicksburg, as seen through the eyes of thirteen year old, Anna Green.  It’s a down-to-earth Civil War story made compelling and personal by the main character.

In the beginning, Anna is living in a cave with her Ma, her brother James, and her sister Sara.  Anna’s Pa and her older brother Michael are away, fighting for the South.  We see Anna as a normal teen, one who loves to write in her journal, play and fight with her siblings, and who doesn’t relish learning to cook and sew.  It’s the family life of a typical teen in 1863 -- except for the shells and bombs from the “Blue Belly Yankees” going off all around them. 

As in most war stories, personal tragedy befalls them, and then Anna, Sara, and James have to live with other families.  Anna struggles with grief and despairs about her family being separated.  Eventually she finds the strength and maturity to bring her family back together.  Anna is a survivor.  We trust she will be able to deal successfully with almost anything life sends her way. 

Margo Dill has interwoven powerful themes in this story:  dealing with grief, deprivation, and political issues -- such as slavery -- in war time; coming-of-age in devastating circumstances; the consequences of everyday choices and pivotal life decisions; and the impact of our faith in facing life’s challenges.

The cover illustration, by Doug Knutson, shows how Anna lived during the six week siege.  She’s running from the bombs and shells to the sanctuary of a cave where families lived during the shelling.  This book vividly tells the story of the Civil War more realistically than most students and children have seen before.  They can relate personally to Anna’s pain, hardship, and struggles.  Telling someone that war is devastating doesn’t compare with showing them as Margo Dill has done in Finding My Place, One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg.

 Books by Margo L. Dill:

*Finding My Place, middle-grade historical fiction, White Mane Kids, October 2012
*Lucy and the Red Ribbon Week Adventure, picture book, High Hill Press, TBD
*Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire and the Case of the Missing Cookies, picture book, Guardian Angel Publishing, TBD

For more information on Margo L. Dill go to:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whispering Wally in The Sand Art Secret, written and illustrated by Kevin Collier

Whispering Wally in The Sand Art Secret, written and illustrated by Kevin Collier, is a sweet sequel to Collier’s first Whispering Wally story.  In this new story, Whispering Wally the Whale is curious about what his friend, Torrie the Tiny Sea Turtle is doing in the sand.  Whenever Wally comes near, she stirs up the sand so he can’t see. 

Wally thinks Torrie may be hiding something and tries to find it when she isn’t around.  But Wally can’t find anything.  He asks her what she’s doing, but she’s not ready to tell him.  Wally worries it may be dangerous, but Torrie tells him not to worry.  Later in the story Wally finds out what shy Torrie was hiding.  It’s a wonderful secret that pleases them both.  Wally praises Torrie and reminds us that we are all works of art in God’s eyes.

Kevin Collier’s message is uplifting and supports the self-esteem development of children who hear or read this story.  He shows us that physical size isn’t as important as one’s heart.  Being kind, gentle, and supportive helps us to be true friends. 

Collier’s art is bright and colorful.  He excels in showing emotions on his character's faces.  His sea creatures and underwater landscape really draws you in.  You feel you’re right in the middle of the story, seeing what Wally sees and doing what Torrie does.  I recommend this story for children who love sea animals, and for parents and teachers who want an uplifting story that shows we are all valued for our unique talents and our giving hearts.
Product Details
More information about, and available from:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guardian Angel Publishing November Releases

hardcover and softcover
by Mary Jean Kelso, artist Julie Hammond
Three-year-old Abbi is introduced to an interesting event right outside her living room window.  Birds are nesting in the hanging flower basket
EL BURRO SONRIENTE Spanish Editionsby Mary Esparza-Vela, artist Mike Motz
Un pequeño burro se presenta en la casa de un niño y se gana el corazón de todos los miembros de la familia.
GATSBY'S GRAND ADVENTURES Book 1 Winslow Homer's "Snap the Whip" Animals & Pets
by Barbara Cairns, artist Eugene Ruble
When Gatsby the art gallery cat explores famous paintings at night, he forgets to jump out before dawn and strange things happen to Winslow Homer's painting.
JUGGERUM  Littlest Angels
by J Aday Kennedy, artist Alex Morris
Peter and Jen devise a plan to capture a fat bullfrog. Humor, bullfrog facts and the thrill of adventure are laced together to create a book reluctant readers and boys will enjoy.
MICHAEL & THE ELF Early Chapbook
by Kathryn Sullivan, art by Jo Dunningham
Michael likes to pretend. A tiny elf he finds in his parent’s garden asks him to pretend to fly him home. 
But a witch might stop Michael from pretending, and he must believe in himself. 
by Susan K Tucker, artist Jack Foster
Share this fun ridiculous adventure. Imagine yourself far, far away in this wonderful ridiculous book. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012


CONTACT:    Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine
For Immediate Release

Children’s Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Courage – December 2012 Issue

Courage instilled in children from the onset will develop over time to monumental positive actions. Starting with the simplest act of having the courage to ask questions in an effort to learn, especially when you think no one else could possibly have the same question. To always telling the truth even though disciplinary actions may be the result or standing up to the school bully when everyone else is afraid to. Courage comes from one’s positive surroundings and the support from our loved ones to live our lives in a positive manner.
Come explore the world of Guardian Angel Kids through the thought provoking short stories and articles of what it means to be courageous and how being so can be rewarding in immeasurable ways. Digging deep down to right a wrong in The Secret and Beyond the Evergreen are examples of truthfulness, discovering the admiration of sisterhood in Its Life, encouraging our children to reach their full potential in Courage-Reach for the Stars, and how teaching children to write their own stories provides them with an outlet to let their voice soar in Writing with Kids.
Surf on over to Guardian Angel Kids today, enjoy a child safe ad free Ezine and visit the writers and illustrators in the Guardian Angel Kids December 2012 issue and enjoy the inspiring poetry, stories, articles and activities.
We also invite you to stay connected with Guardian Angel Kids through our Facebook Fan Page
Please feel free to drop Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine an email at and let them know what you think of Guardian Angel Kids and what you'd like to see in the future. They aim to please.

The Guardian Angel Kids Ezine staff and contributors look forward to your visit. Thank you for your time and interest.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Smiling Burro by Mary Esparza-Vela Art by Mike Motz

The Smiling Burro, by Mary Esparza-Vela, with artwork by Mike Motz, is a sweet story about a boy and a burro.  Raulito, a young boy in Mexico, finds a stray burro who quickly becomes his pet.  As his pet burro, Pepito helps the family with their hauling chores.  In return, Pepito is lovingly spoiled by little Raulito. 

All goes well until one day Pepito goes missing.  Who knows what has befallen him?  Raulito is distraught and Papa fears Pepito has been stolen.  They’ve almost given up hope when Grandpa comes to visit.  Grandpa tells the children a scary ghost story to take Raulito’s mind off losing Pepito.  The ghost story spooks the children, but then leads right into the happy ending.  I don’t want to tell too much, but it’s my favorite part of the story!

The artwork by Mike Motz depicts family life in a small house on a mountain in Mexico.  The cartoon characters are cheerful and colorful, and add to our reading pleasure.  Children can describe Raulito’s home and compare it to their own homes.  They will gain a better understanding of life in rural Mexico and contrast it with their life here in America. 

Children will enjoy the story and can relate to loving and then losing a valued pet or a much-loved toy.  Since this story will also be available in Spanish, it will help facilitate bi-lingual education.  English speaking students can read the story in English and Spanish speaking students can read it in Spanish at the same time.  Thank you, Mary Esparza-Vela, for this pleasing story which shows a boy’s love for his pet, and provides insight into another country’s culture and a different way of life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Myth-Busting Columbus by Kelly Bakshi

Myth-Busting Columbus, by Kelly Bakshi, has it all – adventure, intrigue, scandal, power struggles, lies, and the true story of one of our nation’s most famous historical figures.  Should Columbus be honored and celebrated for his contributions or vilified?  This book is exactly what teachers need to spice up their U.S. and World History studies.  There are several questions this book will answer.

First, was Columbus the first European explorer to “discover” North America or were others there before him?”  Is our country named “Columbia” after Columbus or named for some other explorer?  Second, was Columbus searching for “The New World,” or was he looking for something else?  Third, was he a great leader or hero based on how he treated his men and the native peoples in the New World?  Finally, what did Columbus accomplish?  What can we credit him with?  What was the Columbian Exchange and how did it affect the world? 

As a companion to classroom history text books, Myth-Busting Columbus is presented in an easy-to-read format.  Small bits are presented with “Think About it Review” questions for continued discussion.  It is illustrated with interesting photos, paintings, and maps that further grab our attention.  There is a vocabulary word list and bibliography, too. 

In Myth-Busting Columbus, Kelly Bakshi has brought history alive in a way that will stimulate classroom discourse.  It will also clear up long held historical inaccuracies.  Thank you, Kelly Bakshi, for this much-needed clarification!

Available from

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chances Are by Susan Bangert-Wood, and Illustrated by Jack Foster

Chances Are, by Susan Bangert-Wood, with illustrations by Jack Foster, is a fun rhyming alphabet book.  It’s a new take on the traditional “A is for Apple” alphabet book.  Chances Are gives children colorful and comical critters to expand their alphabet study in a creative, “nonsensical” way.

The book is entertaining and enjoyable.  It practically dances with silliness.  Children will appreciate this rhyming read as much as teachers and parents will.  Crazy questions will delight and amuse.  Here’s my favorite paired example:

Can an Iguana
chew on gum
then blow a
Bubble?  POP!

Would a Jaguar
write a ticket
if he dressed up
like a cop?

The wild word rhymes are illustrated in a whimsical way by Jack Foster.  He has the right amount of goofiness in these illustrations to appeal to young readers.  They will hang on every humorous page and be wiggling and giggling before they finish the book.

Chances Are gives teachers and parents plenty to talk about for children learning the alphabet and beginning readers, too.  Susan Bangert-Wood has thoughtfully provided supplementary resource materials:  An Alphabetizing Activity, Scrambled Words, Word Bingo, A Crossword Puzzle, A Hidden Word Puzzle, and more.  These should keep kids busily engaged in lively learning activities.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Guardian Angel Publishing October 2012 Releases


by Sue Bangert-Wood, artist Jack Foster
An entertaining alphabet book with unusual animals doing zany things, aardvarks, komodo dragons, and many more incredible creatures. The comical illustrations will capture the imagination while building reading skills at many levels. Also included are activities for parents/teachers to do with children.   
by Jennifer Bond-Reed, artist Jack Foster
Rachel loves to doodle on walls, on her school books, and on her back pack. Anywhere Rachel can doodle she does, but it gets her into big trouble. She tries to draw and color in other places. She learns she can mix colors and make more colors. Suddenly, Rachel’s doodling becomes a lot more fun! Educational page, too.
MAGICAL MATTHEW hardcover & softcover
Littlest Angels
by Penelope Anne Cole, artist Kevin Scott Collier
Matthew has a secret. He fixes things magically. Matthew secretly uses his magic to fix things for his family and friends.  Later, he expands his magical good deeds by fixing things in his neighborhood. Matthew’s friend, Lily, suspects something.  Matthew must decide whether to tell her the truth or not.
Littlest Angels
by Marilee Crow, artist Jack Foster
Every child at some point in their lives has a fear of monsters. Through charming, funny rhyme, see how one child conquers her fear of the monster in her room. Read what happens when the child finds out that monsters have fears too. 
THE SMILING BURRO  English  (Spanish Edition-coming soon
by Mary Esparza-Vela , artist Kevin Scott Collier
A tiny burro shows up at a little boy’s house and becomes a real asset to the family. The day he disappears, they never expect to see him again until he prances in one dark spooky night.

Lynda S. Burch, Publisher GAP's online interactive ezine for kids!

First Review of Magical Matthew on Amazon

Here is the first review of my new book, Magical Matthew, on
5.0 out of 5 stars Good "Magic" for kids!, October 28, 2012
This review is from: Magical Matthew (Hardcover)
I am a Christian Education Director and have read many books to children over the years. I just read "Magical Matthew" to the children at church. They loved it! What a wonderful story to show love and compassion for others as Matthew tried to "fix" his wheelchair bound friend Lily. The story also gives a perfect example of caring for God's earth as together they work their magic to fix things in their neighborhood, beach, and park. My children all want a copy of "Magical Matthew" for Christmas so that they can read it over and over again! And they wonder what will happen with Matthew's little sister Mea as she "inherits" the magic? We want more and look forward to the next book in the series.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Next Big Blog Thing

·                                 Surprise!  Today I am featuring myself on my blog. 
·                                 My first book, Magical Matthew, a children’s storybook illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier, will be a GAP October 2012 release!  I’m excited about this with more to come.  I'll tell you about my Magical Matthew “sequels” in progress. 
What is the working title of your book?
·                                 . Magical Mea is contracted with GAP for a release in 2013.  Mea is Matthew’s younger sister.  Matthew wants to guide her but Mea has her own ideas and they are not always “helpful.”  Mea runs Matthew ragged as he tries to set right the things she’s “messed with.” 
·                                 Then when Matthew and Mea are almost grown up, there is a surprise addition to their family.  My work-in-progress is called Magical M and M.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
·                                 The idea for the first book, Magical Matthew, came to me when my neighbor’s son, Matthew, attained double digits.  How magical that milestone is – he’s not a kid anymore.  What if a kid really did have magical powers?  What would he do?  The story unfolded from that premise.

What genre does your book fall under?
·                                 Magical realism or realistic magic – which sound like opposites.  My stories are realistic with the tiny exception that the main character has some magical power.  It could also be considered Fantasy -- since it has magic in it -- though magic isn’t the main focus.  What’s really important is how the characters use their magical powers.  We each have talents and abilities.   What’s important is what we do with our talents – how we use our abilities.  Do we use them for personal gain?  Or do we use them to help others and try to make our world a better place for everyone?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  • I don’t know any child actors, but it would have to be someone who looks a bit like “the little Dutch boy” for Matthew – blond tousled hair and blue eyes.  Also someone who could age successfully in the movie.  We might need two kids for when Matthew is very young and later when he’s older - “double digits.” 
  • For Mea, she looks like my daughter, so a girl with curly brown hair and dark brown eyes – with an impish grin and mischief in her eyes.  She could be about four, five, or six.
  •  For Markie and Mickey, two little guys with brown hair and eyes, identical twins.
·   What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book(s)?
Matthew has a big secret -- he has magical power and secretly uses his magic to fix things for his family and friends.

Mea is Matthew’s little sister who uses her magical power to play tricks on people and has fun making mischief.

Will Markie and Mickey -- the little brothers of Matthew and Mea -- have magical powers, too?  

o        Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  • Magical Matthew is being published by Guardian Angel Publishing as an October 2012 Release. 
  • Magical Mea may come out in 2013.
  • Magical M and M will be finished soon.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Magical Matthew practically wrote itself -- very quickly, in my head -- in a few days.  Then polishing it took several months.  The same for Magical Mea and Magical M and M.  Ideas are the easiest part – the sweat and tears of the writing, rewriting, and editing process always takes much longer than you think it will. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t know other books exactly like mine.  I see my books, Magical Matthew, Magical Mea, and Magical M and M, helping kids see that whatever their talents and abilities, they can use them for good -- to help others, and make this world a better place.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Matthew, the namesake for Magical Matthew, inspired the first book when he reached the magical age of 10 -- double digits.  Matthew is now in middle school.  He has his school years to find his talents and abilities.  I trust he will use them to help others and make a positive difference in the world.  I wish this for all of our children.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s hard to keep a secret.  We want to “tell all.”  In my books, the main characters try to keep their magical power secret.  Also, there’s a little surprise at the end of each of the stories!

Thank you for visiting my blog interview today.  Now I have Blog-tagged:

Barbara Bockman, a fellow GAP Angel and author of Fantastic Flight,
and Wounds:


Danielle Dufayet, in my Critique Group and author of:
"Oh Momma!" Secrets to Loving a Super Single Mom and her Kids (a single man's guide to success)  You can meet Danielle at her Amazon page as well:

They will post on October 30th.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Holiday Season Fire Safety Reminders

I usually blog about books.  Today I'm sharing Fire Safety Reminders for you to pass on.

A couple of weeks ago my clothes dryer stopped working.   The repairman showed me the excess accumulated lint in the bottom of the dryer (below the lint cage) that shorted out the fuse.  Good thing, too.  If the fuse hadn’t shorted out, it could have started a fire in the garage and burned down the house.  That was scary news. 

It’s horrible to see houses in neighborhoods burned down from garage fires.  That’s where most dryers, hot water heaters, and furnaces are located.  It’s also where many combustibles, such as paints, cleaners, and solvents are stored.  Garage fires can largely be prevented by keeping your appliances in good repair – clean and inspected -- and storing your combustibles away from heat sources.

We all know not to smoke in the house.  My dear Father fell asleep in his recliner with a lighted cigarette.  It fell to the floor and burned a hole in the rug.  Luckily, it was on concrete slab, so the fire didn’t go any further.  Four families lived in that complex, including children, the elderly, and beloved pets.  Coming so close to burning the house down scared my Dad into quitting smoking.  I hope you or a loved one won’t be at risk from anyone smoking.

Since the Holiday season is upon us, here are other home fire dangers.  Many love the ambiance of candlelight – scented candles help set the mood and relieve stress.  Don’t light them near anything that could catch fire, like curtains or on a shelf.  We have a blackened shelf from a scented candle.  Don’t burn colored foil wrapping paper – it can flash flame out of control due to chemicals.

Holiday lighting should be safe and controlled.  Don’t overload your outlets.  Use cool LED lights for lower electric bills and improved safety.  A lighted natural dried out Christmas tree can burn down a house in minutes.  Never leave tree lights on when not at home or when you go to bed.  Check wiring, outlets, and extension cords to ensure they’re in good repair and safe.

Do your Annual Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector Battery Replacement Check each Holiday season.  Ensure you have enough working Smoke Alarm/CO Detector units for your house.  Carbon Monoxide poisoning mimics flu-like symptoms, but is much deadlier.  Fire Extinguishers for kitchen and garage are vital for small fires you are able to contain yourself.

If you have pets, it may help to have Pet Alert signs to show pets are in the house.  We don’t want firefighters put at risk, but signs may help save your pet. 

Have a Family Fire Evacuation Plan and practice Fire Drills to save lives.

Please remind your family and friends to practice fire safety all year. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Revenge of Thelma Hill by Margot Finke

Fall is the right time of year to read Margot Finke’s spooky middle grade novel, The Revenge of Thelma Hill.  It’s a perfect harvest offering for lovers of ghost stories.  Agy Wilson’s scary cover immediately grabs you and pulls you in.  Let’s join in the hunt to capture a killer.

Frannie and twin brother Jeff have unhappily moved to Oregon due to Dad’s promotion.  Since it’s summertime, they’ve no easy way to make friends, and have some time on their hands.  What better way to fill it than tracking down a murderer?  There are a few problems -- the chief witness and victim is a ghost, and the forty-year-old crime was presumed an accident.  Such obstacles don’t deter Frannie James.

Frannie is the only one who can see the ghost.  She wants to bring Thelma’s killer to justice, but can’t do it alone.  Jeff takes some convincing to believe in ghosts enough to help her.  His computer “geek-ness” is truly put to the test.  These kids are strong characters with courage and determination.  We applaud their efforts though we fear for their safety.  

The story is exciting and fast-paced with realistic scenes of sibling disharmony in everyday family dynamics.  Can the twins set aside their bickering to concentrate on saving Thelma from a fate-worse-than-death?  Have they undertaken an impossible task on their own?  They can’t involve their busy Dad -- he doesn’t believe in ghosts -- but keeping him “out of it” complicates matters.  Other problems Frannie and Jeff face keep the story interesting and enjoyable right up to the climax.  In the end we finally get answers to Frannie’s questions about their long-absent Mom.  This is a most satisfying ghost story for ‘tweens.

Available as a Kindle book from: 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Benjamin Jay was a Bully by Emma M. Glover, with artwork by K.C. Snider

Benjamin Jay was a Bully by Emma M. Glover, with illustrations by K.C. Snider, is the kind of story parents and kids would love to cheer for and learn from.  It answers the question:  How do you deal with a bully in your own backyard? 

In Benjamin Jay bird we have a bully most kids can relate to.  Like other bullies, he steals food and pushes around those who are smaller.  Do the small birds run and hide?  Do they shake with fear?  No, they’ve been counseled by Miss Gray Dove to do to others as you would have them do to you and live by the Golden Rule.  Like her, they follow the peaceful way of the dove.

Poor Benjamin Jay.  He’s used to being a troublemaker and the “biggest, baddest bird in the garden.” Not any more.  Alone, he sadly sees the other birds together in a friendship circle with Miss Gray Dove.  They beckon to him.  He’s learning an important lesson:  friendship satisfies more than the lonely power that comes from bullying.  Wouldn’t you like to snuggle under Miss Gray Dove’s wing, too?

K.C. Snider’s beautiful illustrations will make you want to join in with the other birds.  We marvel at the lovely flower garden.  We revel with the sweet dancing birds, living the message of peace for all.  

Thank you, Emma M. Glover and K.C. Snider, for this uplifting story about changing a bully into a friend.  Yes, we want our own world to follow the Golden Rule and the way of the peaceful dove