Saturday, October 25, 2014


***In celebration of one of my favorite times of the year, come join the fun as I romp through adorable holiday themed picture books every day from now until the end of the month as we count down to Halloween***

Title: Little Goblins Ten
Author: Pamela Jane
Illustrator: Jane Manning
Publisher: Harper Collins Publlishers
Ages: 4 to 8

"Over in the forest
where the trees hide the sun
Lived a big mommy monster
And her little monster one."

Synopsis: It a kooky, spooky, silly twist to the old nursery rhyme Over In The Meadow as ghosts, goblins, and other cool beasties make their way through the forest on a creepy fun filled Halloween night.

Why you should read it: Anyone who knows me can tell you my favorite time of the year is the fall. For me, Halloween begins the official holiday season in my house! Author Pamela Jane has managed to turn an old nursery rhyme into a new tale for reading on a crisp Autumn evening. I couldn't wait to turn the page and see what other creatures of the night would go on a fun romp through the forest. Illustrator Jane Manning's delightful artwork is a perfect compliment to this engaging story that will have your own little beastie coming back for more!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5...grab it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: A Little Book Loving

I don't exactly remember what age I was when I began to read on my own...probably around 5 years old or so...but books have always held a special fascination for me. I started out with simple comic books like Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang. Even though I didn't know all the words, the illustrations filled in the gaps and flavored the story in just the right way to carry me along to the next one.

It was my drug of choice and my parents never had to wonder where I would be when I was out of their sight.  Follow the trail of books and there you would find me like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I read a lot of different genres but for a short time I thought I would grow up to own a thoroughbred horse ranch out west. I lived for the idea I would raise horses and as a child I had an extensive collection of toy horses of all shapes and breeds. One of the most thrilling moments of my childhood was when I won an essay contest at my hometown library and received a copy of Marguerite Henry's MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE as my prize.  Oh, how I loved that book. I read it so many times I could almost feel the ocean's spray in my own face as in my mind I raced with those wild Spanish horses whose hooves pounded the sand as they made Chincoteague Island their new home. That book burned an impression on my mind that stays with me still to this day.

Now, years later when I've returned to my writing, I have a wish and a prayer for some day to write such a story for some other child maybe yet to be. To write a tale to touch the heart of an innocent and set them on a life long path of book loving. 

Maybe my picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, will be such a story for someone. My publisher, Anaiah Press, is doing a cover reveal today on their blog (

I'd been sworn to secrecy for the past few weeks but now I can share the cover with you. I think my illustrator, Alyson Peterson, did a lovely job of capturing little Addie and the rest of her family.

I'd love to know what you think so please leave a comment below...;~)


Addie comes from a long line of readers, or "story catchers," as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.

My book is scheduled for release January 20, 2015. Kids can sign up now to become a member of my STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB by clicking on the tab in the sidebar. New members will receive a welcome packet full of goodies including membership certificate, coloring pages, mazes, puzzles, a STORY CATCHER reading log, and a short story starring THEM! They will also receive newsletters throughout the year with the latest Story Catcher events details!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


***In celebration of one of my favorite times of the year, come join the fun as I romp through adorable holiday themed picture books as we count down to Halloween***

Title: Pumpkin Jack

Author/Illustrator: Will Hubbell

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Ages: 4 to 8

"When Tim carved his first pumpkin, it was fierce 
and funny and just perfect. A jack-o-lantern this 
good deserved a name, so Tim gave it one---"Jack."

Synopsis: What begins as a spooky Halloween friend for one young boy turns into a seasonal journey of discovery as Tim watches his pumpkin go from grinning Jack-o-lantern to rotting vegetation to a surprise rebirth all in one year's time.

Why you should read it: My favorite kind of illustrated picture book is one with almost lifelike artwork and this week I was not disappointed. PUMPKIN JACK is full of delightful fall foliage and grinning pumpkins. Young readers also get the chance to follow the life cycle of a pumpkin from harvest time to seedling and back to grinning jack-o-lantern ready to welcome trick or treaters. What a great addition to any home library!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5...grab it!

Monday, October 20, 2014


***I will return to my IT TAKES A VILLAGE  series next week, but right now I'd like to give a shout out to my friend and fellow Aniah Press author Renee Donne. Renee's wonderful book HUNTER comes out June 9th 2015, and I can't wait to add it to my collection!***

Book Blurb:

Moving across the country isn’t Hunter’s ideal start to her Junior year of high school. She has no friends to hang out with, no beaches to lounge on, and she’s living just a few miles from the secluded hiking trail where her father died when she was a baby.

Living in Wyoming isn’t all bad, though, thanks to Logan, the handsome veterinary assistant at the animal clinic where she lands an after school job. And he seems just as interested in her as she is in him.

As Hunter begins to settle into her new home, she learns more about the circumstances surrounding her father’s tragic death, and it may not have been the accident everyone believes. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, and Hunter might be the next victim.

Book Trailer:


Author Bio:

Renee Donne is a native Floridian with a penchant for writing books with a western theme. In her head she's a world traveler and an amateur chef. In real life, she's a hometown girl with an affinity for fine wine and good friends. Her favorite place to write is sitting on her veranda, overlooking the beach.

Friday, October 17, 2014

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Hiding From The Fashion Police

My mother, God love her, was a woman who struggled with the burden of poverty while trying to provide for her four children. While I was growing up in that poverty, I didn't quite understand the scope and depth of that struggle. I was a teenager in a small town with small minded people...where there was a very distinct line between the "haves" and the "have nots". There was one family in particular who had the cream of the crop when it came to talented, beautiful children who was raised to seek out the finest clothing, the best cars, and the grandest foods at any given moment in time.

All the kids in my family went through school with one of THOSE kids which made the depths of our limited means all the more prominent. But even without money available to her, my poor mother still attempted to at least try to dress her children in the latest fashion trends. Unfortunately, she didn't always understand exactly what those trends were and the Fashion Police had a field day with my wardrobe during middle and high school.

First there was the cut down, redesigned dresses she bought from the estate sale of some elderly woman who was recently deceased and no longer in need of her Sunday-go-to-meeting gowns that still smelled of mothballs. It was pretty hard to disguise the fact those hand me down dresses probably shouldn't be worn by a twelve year old.

Then there was Mother's attempt to help her youngest daughter to fit in with the popular kids by buying me a new pair of jeans. For the longest time the elementary school policy was females weren't allowed to wear pants of any kind to school. By the time I was in middle school, that outdated fashion statement was overturned and every girl in my class was sporting a brand new pair of blue jeans. I don't remember if I asked for a pair of my own or if Mother just realized what was different between me and the other girls in my class, but one day my mother gave me a pair of blue jeans of my own. The only problem with her generous gift which probably put her back a penny or two? At the very bottom of those very straight-legged jeans was this HUGE plaid cuff that was at least four inches tall. I didn't know what to say because my mother thought I should be grateful for the sacrifices made in the purchase of those blue jeans but in all honesty, all I could think of is that I would be a walking dorky duckling in the midsts of all the other beautiful swans wearing bell-bottomed, NORMAL blue jeans. I didn't wear them often, but I wore them enough to make my mother happy and spent those days hiding from the Fashion Police.

But it was when Mother decided to buy my sister and I matching dresses made purely out of paper that I thought she had finally hit on a fashion trend I could get behind.  They were made to look like you were walking around in a bright yellow rolled up newspaper with all the latest headlines swirling all over your body. In truth, I loved that dress and held my head a bit higher whenever I wore it to school.

There's one thing though no one thought to warn me about wearing a paper dress out in public.

Don't ever get caught out in the rain without an umbrella...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Charlotte Gunnufson

***In celebration of one of my favorite times of the year, come join the fun as I romp through adorable holiday themed picture books as we count down to Halloween***

Title: Halloween Hustle
Author: Charlotte Gunnufson
Illustrators: Kevan J Atteberry
Publisher: Two Lions Publishing
Ages: 4 to 8

"In the dark, a funky beat,
Something white with bony feet.
Skeleton dancing up the street,
Doing the Halloween Hustle."

Synopsis: Skeleton is dancing his way to a Halloween party but as he grooves across town, he keeps stumbling, tumbling, and falling apart! Can Skeleton stay in one piece long enough to make it to the party?

Why you should read it: There is so much vivid color and delightful animation going on in Mr. Atteberry's illustrations I almost felt like I was dancing along with Skeleton! I wasn't sure where Ms. Gunnufson was going to go with her story when I first started reading but when I saw how skillfully she employed the "three" theme in her story, I couldn't wait to flip the pages to see what would happen next. If Halloween is your thing, you will enjoy this wonderful rhyming story!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5...grab it!

Monday, October 13, 2014


I know my publisher will want me to get out in public once THE STORY CATCHER comes out so I have put together a list of ten things I need to keep in mind as I get closer to my book's release date. Hopefully some of these ideas might help someone else as well...

1. If you have ready-made Event Flyers for the personnel at your event to hand two weeks in advance, it will help build momentum prior to your arrival. Include things like the title of your book, how they can purchase it, book cover with blurb, date & time of the event, and who to contact for more information.

2. Add a Bookmark to those event flyers and your audience will have information regarding pre-orders or even directing them to your website.

3. Plan a Talk instead of just a book signing. Interact with your audience to help them feel connected to what you have to offer.

4. What about holding your event somewhere other than a bookstore? Maybe at a local youth group community center? Or out in the open? The library closest to my house sits on the corner of a small park and there is a pavilion large enough to have a table, chairs and even displays with grassy areas for the audience to lounge on the ground picnic style.

5. Pair up the purchase of your book with something else...i.e. two for one sale. You might want to bundle your current book with an older one as a package deal. Or maybe if they purchase your picture book, you can include some illustrator coloring pages as well for free. I have an idea I'm going to shoot past my editor and publicist I came up with to help promote pre-orders or just orders in general. I've NEVER seen what I'm wanting to do and I hope I get the green light to go ahead before I can share my idea.

6. Make sure you have a way to contact the people attending your event. Have a sign up sheet for email addresses and offer some type of incentive for providing that information. Maybe you already have a newsletter you send out just to your email subscribers. Maybe you have worked out a deal with your publisher to offer 10% off their purchase if they sign up to receive occasional emails from you.

7. Arrive an hour before your event and greet the store personnel. Thank them for their assistance in helping to create a successful event. If at a bookstore or other retail space, mill around and hand out copies of your event flyer. Encourage people to come by and visit with you later.

8. Make sure your local newspaper, radio, and TV stations know about your event. If your publisher doesn't send press releases, make sure YOU do. A lot of media outlets have community boards or ways of getting the word out about local talent. Announce it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and any other social sites you regularly participate in. Ask your friends to help get the word out about your event.

9. After the event send a thank you note to the person in charge of opening the doors to you in the first place. If your event was at a bookstore offer to come back at another time to autograph any pre-orders once they are delivered. It's going the extra mile to impress them so you will get a return invitation for your next book!

10. Take a moment to make notes about your impressions of how things went. Even if you just sit in your car after loading things up, write down estimates of how many attended, if you know how many books were purchased or ordered, what kind of questions were asked, if the audience seemed engaged as well as things you might need to work on before your next event. If you wait until you are back home, you might forget something you really wanted to remember during the excitement of the day.

I will share other ways to market your books in the weeks leading up to release day of my book so stay tuned. If you know of anything I've left off my list that would help, please add it in the comments below...