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Penelope Anne Cole enjoys writing children’s stories to be read aloud. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” Ms. Cole has taught and tutored at every grade level, K to 12, and community college. She also reviews children's books. When not writing or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church, and choir activities. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of the California Writers Club:  Fremont Area Writers, SF Peninsula Writers, and South Bay Writers, and is a Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books at

http://pennyreviews-chat.blogspot.com/

See reviews of Ms. Cole's books at

http://reviewsforpenny.blogspot.com/

Her website is www.penelopeannecole.com

Contact Ms. Cole for School Author Visits, locally in-person, or by SKYPE.

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:

and

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:
http://danielledufayet.wordpress.com

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: www.amazon.com 




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


 



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blue Paint by Liam Maher Art by Bonnie Everett-Hawkes



Blue Paint by Liam Maher, with art by Bonnie Everett-Hawkes, is a story told by John, a young man facing a problem.  John is careful to do good work on his very first painting job.  However, a grumpy little man insists that John dripped blue paint on his new silk hat. 

John doesn’t see any paint, but two others do and support the grumpy little man’s claim for damages.  Afraid of getting in trouble, John pays for the alleged damage with his own money.  This is one of those storybooks you may want to use your catch phrase for:  Life is like that -- sometimes unfair and even unjust. 

Then John learns the grumpy little man has a bad reputation -- John is his latest victim.  He is angry and sees a chance to “get even.”  Later he tells his boss everything.  Believing justice still hasn’t been served, his boss has a plan to right the wrong.  The ending is satisfying – “all’s well that ends well.”

The illustrations by Bonnie Everett-Hawkes are colorful and insightful.  They show us things that John isn’t aware of until later in the story.  The artwork is in our American Folk Art tradition – stylized, humorous, and expressive.

An engaging story, Blue Paint also provides opportunity for important discussions of right and wrong.  Parents and teachers may ask kids:  If you’re sure you’re right, in a similar situation, but some say you’re wrong, what should or could you do?  What else could John have done?  Is “getting even” the best thing to do if you believe you have been wronged?  Are there other ways to deal with tricksters, con men, and dishonest people?  There significant lessons to be learned here.  Thank you, Liam Maher and Bonnie Everett-Hawkes, for this thought-provoking story.


 


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Captain Courage and the Fear Squishing Shoes by Stacey A. Marshall, with artwork by Michelle Morse



A super hero, with a secret identity, who wears magical flashing shoes -- what’s not to like?  Captain Courage and the Fear Squishing Shoes, by Stacey A. Marshall, is a book that immediately captures your interest and empathy for shy Katie.  She is starting third grade in a new school because her father took a new job and moved the family to a new state.  Naturally she is unhappy about the move.

Katie feels lonely and out of place.  She misses her old friends and wonders if she’ll make new ones.  Her teacher, classmates, and the principal are all welcoming to her.  However, poor Katie seems paralyzed by fear until something amazing happens during “show and tell” time to change everything.  With a little friendly advice, presented in an artful way, Katie stands tall and overcomes her fear and shyness.

Kids will enjoy Michelle Morse’s colorful and expressive illustrations.  Katie’s emotions are clear on her face.  Each picture has so many true-to-school-life details that kids will be right at home, eager for each new page.  The touch of humor provided by a class mascot “showing off” will grab children’s attention as they answer:  What’s he doing here? 

This is a fun but “sly” educational storybook which shows kids they needn’t feel alone or fearful in new situations.  Teachers, parents and kids will enjoy this book as they effortlessly learn specific steps to deal with and overcome fear and shyness.  As they follow these simple steps, they will build up their self-confidence and courage to handle life challenges.  I recommend it for home and school lessons and pure enjoyment.  Thanks to Stacey A. Marshall and Michelle Morse for this engaging and helpful story.


 




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mama Grizzly Bear by Margot Finke




Mama Grizzly Bear, by Margot Finke, with artwork by Gloria Gualkie Swan, is a fun rhyming book.  It’s also an educational book which presents a year in the life of Mama Grizzly bear and her cubs.  I enjoyed this book for several reasons. 

To begin with, this book can be used to teach about North American Grizzlies -- how they survive in the wild -- their habitat, diet, hunting and “cub rearing” practices.  Children need stories such as these to learn the importance of preserving wild animal habitat and saving endangered species, such as the great grizzly bear. 

This book is beautifully illustrated by the late Gloria Gualkie Swan.  The richly detailed pictures complement and enliven the story .  Children will enjoy the pictures as much as the rhyming story and interesting facts.  It’s a perfect “read aloud” book to enrich the science and ecology curriculum.  Rhyming books about animals are a real treat for me, especially when coupled with such expressive artwork.

Teachers and parents are provided with additional references and resources to further explore this important subject.  There is also a word search puzzle for kids to complete.  Children are encouraged to get a grizzly screen saver, send ecards, and take a grizzly bear quiz on what they’ve learned.

I recommend this book to teachers and parents to help children expand their knowledge about conserving wildlife habitat, protecting endangered species, and preserving our wild lands for future generations.  I look forward to more books in Margot Finke’s “Wild and Wonderful” series.

Available from http://www,guardianangelpublishing.com
 
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September Releases - Guardian Angel Publishing

Here are the SEPTEMBER  2012 Guardian Angel Publishing Releases:
=================================
BENJAMIN JAY WAS A BULLY
Animals & Pets by Emma Glover, artist KC Snider
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/benjamin-bully.htm
When the fledglings of Bird Garden extend their wings in friendship to Benjamin Jay, he must choose – the dove’s way or the bully’s path?
BLUE PAINT
Chapbook for Tweens by Liam Maher, artist Bonnie Everett-Hawkes
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/blue-paint.htm
John shares his story of a painting job he had as a young man and the grumpy little man who came by to trick him out of fifty dollars.
CAMILLE'S JOURNEY MASTER & MUSICAL SCORES 
Angelic Harmony by Dixie Phillips, Sharon Phillips, Lucy Robbins, Leslie Troyer
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/camille.htm
Spend your Christmas with Camille, an orphaned camel, as she leads three zany wise men and their bossy camels to the newborn King in Bethlehem. A Christmas musical-includes play, lyrics and musical scores.
CAPTAIN COURAGE & THE FEAR-SQUISHING SHOES
Littlest Angelsby Stacey A Marshall, artist Michelle Morse
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/captain-courage1.htm
The new girl at school shrivels until a unique superhero swoops in to the rescue, demonstrating specific ways to make self-confidence and courage soar.
JUST FOR TODAY
Littlest Angels by Kevin McNamee, artist Marina Movshina
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/just-today.htm
You’ll love this gentle rhyming picture book about spending quality time with kids. All that’s needed is a little time, a lot of imagination and plenty of love.   
LITTLE ISAAC'S BIG ADVENTURE 
Littlest Angels by Tracy Helixon, artist Jack Foster
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/little-isaac.htm
What if you could swing so high that you landed on a cloud and traveled through the sky? Isaac did!  Join him on this adventure.
MYTH-BUSTING COLUMBUS
Academic Wings by Kelly Bakshi
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/columbus.htm
Columbus convinced royals to fund his voyage; he forged new water routes and introduced Europe to a new world. He also lied to his crew, murdered and enslaved Native Americans, and never realized where in the world he actually was.
ONE FAMILY'S CHRISTMAS hardcover edition
Academic Wings by Mary Jean Kelso, artist KC Snider
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/one-familys-christmas.htm
After a family's star for their Christmas tree is destroyed they resurrect the treetop angel carried across The Oregon Trail by a young pioneer and bring the story of The Christmas Angel full circle.
THE SKIN WE'RE IN: TSOOP series Book 6
Academic Wingsby Bill Kirk, artist Eugene Ruble
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/skin-tsoop.htm
An anatomical rhyme which describes all the names  and uses of the different tissues in the skin, including factoids and extra educational pages.
THE TOWN OF MASQUERADE 
Littlest Angelsby John Gayle, artist KC Snider
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/masquerade.htm
Explore an unusual town full of colorful expressions and childlike charm where two friends realize that the perfect mask might be easier to make than expected.
__._,_.___


Monday, October 1, 2012

GAK Ezine - Historical Fiction - October 2012 Edition


M E D I A  R E L E A S E
CONTACT:    Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine
Email:              submissions@guardian-angel-kids.com
Website:          http://guardian-angel-kids.com
For Immediate Release

Children’s Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Historical Fiction – October 2012 Issue

Welcome to the GAK October 2012 Historical Fiction issue.
Historical fiction is a fascinating way of learning about history. Through historical fiction writers intertwine facts with a story line that carries the reader into the past for a journey into a time they have not lived in. Cultures, traditions and human habits often times very different from those of present time making the experience that much more interesting.
The GAK staff invites you to transport yourself through time with the every tall and proud Lady Liberty watching over you. Explore the heart pounding travels of Sybil Ludington, Sarah’s fear of the unknown, and a heart wrenching glimpse of one girl’s survival of the Titanic. Learn the facts of historical fiction and how you can teach your young muses about history through activities.
Visit the writers and illustrators in the Guardian Angel Kids October 2012 issue and enjoy the alluring poetry, stories, articles and activities, www.guardian-angel-kids.com.
Letter from the Publisher:  Lynda S. Burch
Featured BookS:
First Americans flip book by Kelly Bakshi

The Golden Pathway flip book by Donna M. McDine and illustrated by K.C. Snider

Children’S poetry, ACTIVITIES, SHORT STORIES, and articleS:

“Lady Liberty,” by Tracy Helixon – tall and proud.
“Sybil Ludington’s Midnight Run,” by Barbara Bockman – the courageous actions of one young girl.
“Sarah’s Journey,” by Patricia Nance and illustrated by Clara Batton Smith – travel excitement and fear of the unknown.

“Titanic,” by 12 year old Katherine and illustrated by Nancy Miller – the love of family and the longing for survival.

“What is Historical Fiction,” by Sharon Blumberg – immerse yourself in the wonders of historical fiction.

“Historical Fiction Activities,” by Kathy Stemke – learn about history through fun activities.
Visit Guardian Angel Kid today and www.guardian-angel-kids.com and enjoy a child safe and ad free Ezine.
We also invite you to stay connected with Guardian Angel Kids through our Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Guardian-Angel-Kids-Ezine/163785080346247.
Please feel free to drop Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine an email at submissions@guardian-angel-kids.com 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.