Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Received my Readers' Favorite Bronze Medal for "Magical Matthew"

I just returned from the Readers' Favorite Awards Ceremony and the Miami International Book Fair!  There I received my Bronze Medal for Magical Matthew and was also acknowledged for Magical Mea being a finalist, too!  It was very exciting to be there and meet other award winning writers who were also being honored.

We had the opportunity to hear some great talks on marketing:
1) Find the audience for your book and pursue it relentlessly.  Sell yourself, sell your stories.
2) Make your presentations fun and memorable.  Tell them something new.  Share.  Joke.  Sell.
3) Dress up in costume, if appropriate.  Have a memorable image, gimmick, showcase.
4) Volunteer as a speaker to community organizations (libraries, service clubs, churches, schools, book clubs, parent groups, etc ). 
5) Become well-known.  You = your product; brand yourself.  (T-shirts, stuffed animals, dolls, hats?)

How to pursue adapting your book for a movie or TV show:
1) When writing your book try to make it "cinematic," with 3 Act structure and castable characters.
2) Find out who wants/needs movies/TV shows with your theme/subject; communicate marketabilty.
3) Know your target audience and how to connect with them; have significant readership.
4) Write a great two page synopsis of your vision; be persistent, but not a pest; be passionate.
5) Set realistic goals.  One no just means it's not right for that producer/film company; be gracious.

And the future of the independent author and publisher.
1) Market to the right publisher for your genre and audience.
2) Investigate self-publishing as a viable alternative with growing interest, audience, and respect.
3) Be smart with marketing and PR; find your audience and market to them.
4) Know the business side of writing (budget, design, pricing, marketing/PR, outsourcing, website).

All were short presentations, but interesting, supportive, and inspiring.  It made me want to go back next year.  But then I'll have to enter another book by May 1st, 2014!

Here I am at the Miami International Book Fair where our award winning books were displayed.

 Here I am with Debra Gaynor, Founder of the Readers' Favorite Awards Program.
We'll get the official photo of the medal being awarded on December first and I'll post that, too.  And now it's back to work on the next book!
Readers' Favorite Winner:  Bronze Medal 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Count 1, 2, 3 with Me, by Connie Arnold and illustrated by Ginger Nielson

Count 1, 2, 3 with Me, by Connie Arnold and illustrated by Ginger Nielson, is a lovely rhyming, counting book.  Parents will enjoy sharing it with their preschoolers.  And teachers can read it aloud with their early kindergarten students learning to count to ten. 

The book takes you all over with happy, smiling children, playing games, walking, and viewing the world through wonder-filled eyes.  They see normal daily home life scenes.  They see pets in the park and wild animals in their zoo habitats.  They see insects, games, and fun activities -- everything that children can relate to in their world and at their level.  

This sweet book is complemented by Ginger Nielson’s beautiful artwork which illustrates the scenes that go with the counting to ten lessons.  Her illustrations are full of life and energy.  They cry out to kids to be active and experience everything that a child’s life can be.

This is a book that kids will enjoy and easily relate to.  We see them playing ball, walking and Yo-yo-ing, learning to tie their shoes, watching nature, going to the park, playing with puppies, visiting the zoo, shopping and cuddling with Mom, wrestling with Dad, and even learning the days of the week.  It’s a joyful comment on the different kinds of fun children can have everywhere they are  -- as long as they are open to the possibilities.   

See Connie Arnold's blog tour: http://conniearnold.blogspot.com

Published by 4RV Publishing and available from quality online booksellers, such as Amazon.com.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear by Mayra Calvani Illustrated by K.C. Snider

A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear, by Mayra Calvani and illustrated by K.C. Snider, is a sweet book about a problem day for mother and child. Mama Bear has one bad thing after another happen in her busy day. We can all relate to that. We’ve had days when we drop things, when the car won’t start, when we spill things, when things tip over, and we miss something important. Then we pick ourselves up and carry on in spite of these mishaps. Mama Bear does the same. However, in her coping and dealing with one bad thing after another, she forgets one very important little person – Baby Bear. He’s right there trying to offer support and comfort in unseen ways. Will Mama Bear slow down long enough to notice how he’s trying to help?
The story is fanciful and full of fun language.  There’s repetition, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and even slapstick.  Here are some examples:

Everything was going from bad to worse for Mama Bear today. At breakfast she burned the sizzling sardines, and a spatter of grease stung her paw ... OUCH!

Then while scrubbing the dishes, she dropped a cup and ... CRASH! It smashed to smithereens on the floor. “Oh no, my favorite tea cup!”

Some situations are downright silly, but will make reading aloud that much more enjoyable for reader and listener.
A very special part of this story is K.C. Snider's artwork. She has done an amazing job of telling this story in pictures. The action is vivid, the colors and characters vibrant and alive. The humor of the story, married with the artwork, leaps off the page. After seeing the illustrations, you can’t imagine the story any other way. With so much to read and see on every page, it is truly captivating - a delight for eye and ear.

A Bad Mad Sad Day for Mama Bear is about how an ordinary day can have small and large catastrophes and challenges.  We’ve all had very bad and even horrible days, but somehow we get through them.  In the midst of these little and big daily problems, we pick up the pieces and still find things to appreciate and be thankful for -- like the loving gestures of our sweet children, and the support of our partners and friends.

And other quality online book sellers.

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Captain Courage and the World’s Most Shocking Secret" by Stacey A. Marshall, illustrated by Michelle Morse

Captain Courage and the World’s Most Shocking Secret is the second Captain Courage book by Stacey A. Marshall, illustrated by Michelle Morse. We again see Mr. Magico, Blythe Elementary School’s Principal, in his superhero costume with his “sparkly goggles” and his “rainbow fear-squishing shoes.” We follow him around the school meeting and encouraging students.
In this story, Mr. Magico shares with his wife, a teacher, and some students, his own personal fear. His fear is so great, it's been giving him crazy nightmares. Katie, a new student whom he helped overcome her own fears last year, is sworn to secrecy when he asks for her help. She agrees, though shocked by his revealing his deepest fear. Mr. Magico also enlists the help of a teacher, Mrs. Berrycastle, and swears her to secrecy, along with two other students. How many can keep this secret?

At the whole school talent show all will be revealed, but not as Mr. Magico might have wished. Mr. Magico and Katie are congratulating themselves backstage when there's a little hiccough with Katie's microphone still being on. Uh oh. Now the big secret is out! Sometimes some secrets just can't be kept. Katie's comments show how all the students feel about their courageous, superhero principal. (Right, still trying to keep the secret from you, too.)
Michelle Morse’s colorful and energetic illustrations put us squarely in the action. She did that so well – you will love the artwork. Kids will also love the cute turtle that hangs out in this story.

Stacey Marshall's second Captain Courage story is full of fun with many helpful pointers on overcoming such common fears as performance anxiety, stage "jitters, and shyness. It will be a good book for read-alouds and discussions. It also reminds us that our friends can help us if we would just reach out and ask them -- we don't have to go it alone.

and other quality online book sellers.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 2013 - Guardian-Angel-Kids.com/ - Free Online Interactive Magazine for Kids: It Must Be Magic!

Published by Guardian Angel Publishing:   
Free Online Magazine.
BOOK FEATURE- The Magic Violin 
POEM- It Must Be Magic by Robert Niven; 
SHORT STORIES-A Fairy’s Flight for Firefly Freedom by Shari L. Klase; Magic Mud for Sale by Billie A Williams; A Different Kind of Magic by Felicity Nisbet
NON-FICTION ARTICLES; The True Magic of Nicholas Flamel by Donna Marie West; Open Sesame–Is it Magic? Christine Collier