Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Guest Post: Tips for Telling a Good Story

I can suggest some components of a good story. The ones I would highlight are characters who have feelings and problems that the reader can understand and care deeply about, a subject that the author knows well and expresses with passion, and a setting and events that are described in such rich detail that the reader has an experience that goes beyond the simple words on the page. 

Perhaps a discussion of some of my favorite “reads” would be fun. A recent book I found compelling was The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which recounted the lives of characters with whom I could deeply engage. I grew up in the South of the 1950s and 1960s. The book spoke to me not only by evoking memories but also by giving me a chance to reflect on that time from an adult perspective. 

A genre I enjoy tremendously is the mystery. I especially find a series intriguing and usually find one that has both highly developed characters and elaborate and intricate plots. I have read all of the mystery novels written by Elizabeth George that feature duo Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers. They remind me to some extent of the work of Agatha Christie. George’s passion for English culture is contagious. I also discovered the work of Michael Connelly this year and am in the midst of the Detective Harry Bosch cases. I find Connelly’s psychological analysis of the protagonist, Bosch, quite accurate. He is clearly passionate about the legal profession.

A lifelong favorite of mine is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Along with a host of truly unique individual characters embroiled in a highly compelling plot, Tolkien creates an amazing world of humans, hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs, ents as well as their cultures, languages and histories.  This experience is so powerful for me that I have read it many times. 

These three examples illustrate some things that contribute to a great story, but they are all books for adults. I am wondering what I might say about any of the things I have identified with regard to writing a compelling story for young readers. I have tried in the Quincy the Horse Books to incorporate engaging characters, a subject I am passionate about and a world that children can enter. 

An important issue for me in writing for children was finding the right balance in exploring Quincy’s experience of life’s ups and downs. Something I read recently on the nature of plot can be summarized as saying the main character either goes from good fortune to bad or from bad fortune to good. Of course life is a little more complicated than that. A theme for horses and children is that they often find themselves in situations that they have not created and yet with which they have to cope. I saw Quincy trying to learn new things as a way of coping. 

Many children’s books today draw on an exploration of the trauma and danger that are sadly omnipresent in the modern world.  The Quincy Books draw on the depth of character development in Quincy’s feelings and his efforts to problem solve. His characteristic doubts and initial distress when he is faced with change he has not chosen give way to his amazement at the new things he is learning.  He is able to find answers and succeed without being overwhelmed. 

Barn and horse life are carefully detailed in the Quincy the Horse Books both through my writing and the authentic illustrations of the illustrator. Children who have had direct contact with horses and all the things they do and need find a familiar world. Children who may not have had any contact with horses hopefully find themselves becoming  “horse people”. Perhaps both will read Quincy’s adventures over and over. 

 
Camille Matthews, MSW, LCSW is a clinical social worker and writer who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, complex PTSD and attachment disorders. In 2002, she received her certification in the new field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) from the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and established the Pathfinder Program in Farmington, NM where she treated adolescents, children and women victims of domestic violence using EAP.

She teamed with illustrator, Michelle Black to create the Quincy the Horse Books for children ages 5-10. Matthews was born and raised in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky where her father was a law school professor. She was an only child and her favorite thing to do was visit her grandparents and cousins. She is a lifelong equestrian, avid reader and student of politics who blogs and is an op ed contributor.  She relocated to the Reading, PA area from Northwestern New Mexico in 2010.

You can find out more about Camille Matthews’ World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/CamilleMatthews.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Matthews and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Love You Be Careful with Judy Snider Joan Dickow 10/18 by FMMK Talk Radio | Blog Talk Radio

I Love You Be Careful with Judy Snider Joan Dickow 10/18 by FMMK Talk Radio | Blog Talk Radio This was a great show!

From the moment we are born, someone is telling us to be careful. No matter what country we call home or what language we speak, these words follow us our entire lives. You might hear parents, friends, family or children loving say this phrase at least once a day. Think about all of the times that a loved one goes off to school, play or work, and you say, "I Love You, Be Careful!"

Award-winning children’s picture book author Judy Snider teamed up with her sister Joan Dicknow to write this heartwarming and uplifting book highlighting some of our “be careful” moments in life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Families Matter: Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween can be a fun and scary time for kids. Here are a few tips for keeping Halloween safe too. 1. Make sure masks and costumes don't block the vision of your child. Keep props easy to carry and avoid using any prop that has sharp points or edges to prevent injury while trick or treating. 2. Use flashlights, reflector material on the costume, or bright clothing to make sure others see your child, especially vehicles following or driving in the neighborhood. 3. Inspect all candy and treats before allowing children to eat them. Dispose of any that are not sealed properly. Fruits and homemade goodies should only be consumed from those you know, and not strangers. 4. One option to trick or treating might be a small party for your child's friends. Supervision by parents that you know, foods that you are preparing, and having the party at your house all work towards keeping your children safe while providing a fun atmosphere. Games, prizes, and a movie or bonfire make a great alternative to trick or treating for many families. 5. Making costumes from scratch can be added fun and can be done early to avoid the Halloween rush. It can be less expensive to come up with a costume from things you already own than to purchase ready made. If you don't sew, consider making a costume from cardboard or a box, painting it, and having your child wear it over sweat pants and shirt. 6. Dress for the weather. Have children wear warm clothing and sturdy shoes under their costumes to prevent illness and injury while going from house to house. October can be cool and damp so be prepared. The most important part of Halloween... Be safe and Have fun.

The Stories for Children show 10/24 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

The Stories for Children show 10/24 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Maha Huneidi is a wife, mother and now grandmother, who finally found out what she wants to be when she grows up…a writer of children’s book. When Monsters Get Lonely is the first step of her journey.

Huneidi began writing this book and later found out her granddaughter was afraid of monsters. “It was not about my granddaughter at all, but when I heard that she was afraid of monsters, it quickly became all about her. I wanted to empower her to take charge of her fear,” states Huneidi. “I sent my son a copy of "When Monsters Get Lonely" in a word file, with illustrations, just before I submitted it for publishing in April. Hanaa’s parents immediately began reading it to her...Now, she sometimes tells her mother, ‘the monster touched my neck, but I made friends with him.”

Huneidi wants to help children, like her granddaughter Hanaa, find the courage to deal with monsters and other fears on their own. “My granddaughter still enjoys monster movies and monster stories! But she has found the courage to overcome her fears,” states Huneidi

You can find out more about Maha Huneidi’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/MahaHuneidi.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Huneidi and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

The show will be live October 24, 2011 at 2pm EST.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meet Maha Huneidi, Debut Author of When Monsters Get Lonely - Books - Blogcritics

Children at different ages are afraid for different reasons. According to developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, kids aged two to seven are afraid of things not based on reality. Kids endow animals, as well as inanimate objects with feelings, which is why at this age, kids are usually afraid of monsters and ghosts. This is one reason why debut author Maha Huneidi wrote, When Monsters Get Lonely. Huneidi shares her experience:

“My younger son had nightmares on and off when he was six. I didn’t make him go back to his bed, and my husband protested because he thought that our son would get used to sleeping in our bed, and for good reason, too. We had some friends whose kids didn’t outgrow that habit till they were nine or 10. I knew that that wouldn’t be the case with my son because kids get into this habit at a much younger age. I think that this problem arises from separation anxiety, and not from nightmares or fear of monsters.”

Parents do tend to dismiss such fears as unreal or unjustified, but for the child this fear is very real. “There’s no way a child at this age will believe you if you said there’s no such thing as monsters,” states Huneidi. “I was afraid of monsters and of the dark — where monsters lurked — as a child. My parents did come into my room and looked for them to prove to me they didn’t exist. Of course, they didn’t exist when the lights were on! As far as I was concerned monsters were afraid of light and of adults, which is why they scattered when adults came into the room and turned on the lights!”

Huneidi began writing When Monsters Get Lonely and later found out her granddaughter was afraid of monsters. “It was not about my granddaughter at all, but when I heard that she was afraid of monsters, it quickly became all about her. I wanted to empower her to take charge of her fear,” remarks Huneidi. “I sent my son a copy of When Monsters Get Lonely in a word file, with illustrations, just before I submitted it for publishing in April. Hanaa’s parents immediately began reading it to her ... Now, she sometimes tells her mother, ‘the monster touched my neck, but I made friends with him.'"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meeting Sisters Judy Snider and Joan Dickow, Authors of I Love You, Be Careful - Books - Blogcritics

Meeting Sisters Judy Snider and Joan Dickow, Authors of I Love You, Be Careful - Books - Blogcritics

There are days you may want to put blinders on our eyes, so as you look around you are not suddenly filled with idea after idea. This is how author Judy Snider feels sometimes. “I love to write and it seems odd to me if a day goes by that I don’t write something. Yet, the ideas floating around me sometimes make it hard to select the one I want to use.”

Judy lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, Gil and two silly cats. She is the author of the CWA award-winning children’s picture book Goldy’s Baby Socks and one of a team of authors who wrote The Scared Purse.

Okay, maybe you’re not like Judy, but I’m sure you understand having too many things going on at once. This is why I loved her recent book, co-authored with her sister Joan Dickow; I Love You, Be Careful. It is a picture book that is also designed to be a gift book for adults and children, which shares these words that follow us our entire lives and sometimes we may not say often enough. The idea of I Love You, Be Careful started from a telephone conversation when the sisters talked about wanting their loved ones to be safe and know how much they are loved.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview Friday with Debut Author Maha Huneidi


Maha Huneidi is a wife, mother and now grandmother, who finally found out what she wants to be when she grows up. This book is the first step of her journey. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
  
 Note from the Author: When I began writing this book, it was not about my granddaughter at all, but when I heard that she was afraid of monsters, it quickly became all about her. I wanted to empower her to take charge of her fear.

I sent my son a copy of "When Monsters Get Lonely" in a word file, with illustrations, just before I submitted it for publishing in April. Hanaa's parents immediately began reading it to her... Now, she sometimes tells her mother, "the monster touched my neck, but I made friends with him."

I think that Hanaa has found the courage to deal with her monster on her own now, and she still enjoys monster movies and monster stories!



VS: What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Maha: At this time in my life, I can write to my heart’s content. My sons are grown men and we’re retired, so I have no schedule. I write whenever the muse strikes.

VS: How long have you been writing?

Maha: Other than writing for work, not long. I began to write my musings back in the 90’s and I never stopped. Writing exhilarates me. In 2000, I attempted to write a story about fear of the dark. I had no experience and I knew it wasn’t working so I put it on Word and saved it on a floppy disc. When floppies were being phased out I decided to save it on my computer. It stayed there till 2008 when I began to review and rewrite it again. I also began to practice writing on the web (there are websites that give writing assignments, and I did that for a little while). When I finally found an editor who could give me a critique, it was an education. I rewrote the story!

VS: What inspired you to write?

Maha: I just I like writing and I decided to turn my fear of the dark story into a children’s picture book. When my son told me that my granddaughter was afraid of monsters, but still insisted on watching her monster movies, the story took a twist. I decided that I wanted to give her a way to get over her fear of monsters.

VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Maha: I usually read my goals as soon as I wake up. They’re on the same folder as my writing in my computer. I’m supposed to meditate and do my yoga after I read my goals, but it takes me a while because I can’t help but look at the latest document I was working and I end up writing. In the end, I have to force myself to continue my morning routine.
If I have no errands I’ll start writing after breakfast, but sometimes I don’t get a chance to begin till the afternoon, and sometimes not till the evening. I continue writing on and off till late at night, and if ideas are flowing I won’t go to bed before 2 or 3 AM, but that doesn’t bother me because I get my best ideas at night. Sometimes I’ll be in bed and the ideas start flowing, so I get up and write. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I had little kids... old age has its perks.

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing?

Maha: Yes, my family is very supportive of my writing. They’re my first critics and they help me with proofing. They’ve been very encouraging of my writing.

VS: What was the first thing you ever had published?
Maha: “When Monsters Get Lonely” is my first book, but I have to two more in the working.

VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book, “When Monsters Get Lonely”?

Maha: “When Monsters Get Lonely” is about a little girl, Hannah, who’s afraid of the dark and of monsters. One night, during a blackout, her monster appears and she’s terrified; but her grandmother explains that her thoughts are like magic, they create her life.

VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Maha: I love it when an idea comes together, it’s so uplifting. Writing centers me, it’s like a meditation and I can lose myself in it. When I write I’m totally into it; I lose track of time and my surroundings, and I come out of it totally rejuvenated.

VS: What is the most difficult part of writing?

Maha: Editing and proofing are the most difficult parts of writing, and I don’t mean editing the story line because I’m doing that as I go along. What I mean is punctuation and all the technical stuff, but I leave all that to my editor in the end, except for the proofing, which I have to do myself. Of course, I don’t do it alone because you need more than one pair of eyes to see all the typos.

VS: What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Maha: Create your world and stick to its rules from the very start.

VS: Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job(s)?

Maha: Luckily, I’m retired and I can devote all my time to writing. I think I probably didn’t think of writing before because I couldn’t devote all my time to it. I really can’t imagine balancing between writing and something else. If I had to do something else, I wouldn’t be able to lose myself in my writing.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Maha: I have two more picture books. One is about crabs, and the other one is another Hannah book, but it’s not about monsters. This time it’s about whining.

VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?

Maha: Well, if they have kids I guess they’d have set a time, daily or whenever they can, for their writing and just write. Kids can be a great source of ideas if they’re writing kid’s books, they can use whatever ideas they get from the way the kids act, react, or talk. The main thing is to write daily if possible. Keep a journal; write their musings, etc…

VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Maha: Good characters, a good setting, a conflict, the conflict resolution, and a moral or lesson learned… the characters grow.

VS: What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?

Maha: For me, the character was believable because I based it on my fear and my granddaughter’s fear, so I believed that she was afraid of monsters. I guess we base our characters on real people even if they’re not exactly the same as the real person, but we have to borrow from real life to make our characters believable. They must have feelings and their personalities must come through. In my book, Hannah was real to me, her fear was real, and she had the intelligence to understand what her grandmother said and find the solution to deal with her fear.

VS: Have you received any awards?

Maha: No yet, this is my first book.

VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama or Dad”?

Maha: Well, it’s been a long time since my kids were little, so I’d like to share with the writing “Grandmama” if you don’t mind. I think it’s never too late to start a career, and if you like writing I encourage you to write and to publish your work. If you self publish make sure you get your work edited professionally. Self-publishing has made it easier to publish your own work, and many people my age and much older have self published their books and won awards.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Stories for Children Show – October 10, 2011


For Immediate Release

 Award-winning Author Camille Matthews on Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children –October 10, 2011 

Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network Show: Stories for Children with hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Christopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with award-winning author Camille Matthews about her Quincy the Horse picture book series. The first book in the series, Quincy Finds A New Home is a 2010 Mom’s Choice Gold Award Winner and the sequel, Quincy Moves to the Desert was recently released in August 2011.

Camille Matthews, MSW, LCSW is a clinical social worker and writer who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, complex PTSD and attachment disorders. In 2002, she received her certification in the new field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) from the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and established the Pathfinder Program in Farmington, NM where she treated adolescents, children and women victims of domestic violence using EAP.

She teamed with illustrator, Michelle Black to create the Quincy the Horse Books for children ages 5-10. Matthews was born and raised in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky where her father was a law school professor. She was an only child and her favorite thing to do was visit her grandparents and cousins. She is a lifelong equestrian, avid reader and student of politics who blogs and is an op ed contributor.  She relocated to the Reading, PA area from Northwestern New Mexico in 2010.

The show will air live, October 10, 2011 at 2pm EST. Tune in at the BTR World of Ink Network site at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. You can listen/call in at (714) 242-5259. (Note: if you can’t make the show, you can listen on demand at the same link.)

You can find out more about Camille Matthews’ World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/CamilleMatthews.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Matthews and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit Stories for Children Publishing at: http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Writers On The Move: Writing the Second Book: Is it Easier?

Writers On The Move: Writing the Second Book: Is it Easier?: Ten years ago, if someone had told me I would have two books published by now, I would’ve laughed—longingly of course. My first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, was released in December 2008, almost ten years after I started writing it. The sequel, Follow the Dream, came out two years later. People say to me, “The second book must be a lot easier than the first one, right?” Well, yes and no. I guess I could say that I cheated, in a way. I wrote the two books as one long book to begin with. But when I began researching publishers, I found that the word count for the “western” genre was generally shorter. It just happened that I found a place in about the middle where I thought it could be easily divided. But then I had to make sure the second book could stand alone and fill in some of the back story without resorting to the old “telling” versus “showing.” Read more here http://www.writersonthemove.com/2011/10/writing-second-book-is-it-easier.html

Friday, October 7, 2011

Interview Friday with Award-winning Author Camille Matthews

Camille Matthews, MSW, LCSW is a clinical social worker and writer who  specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, complex PTSD and attachment disorders. In 2002 she received her certification in the new field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) from the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and established the Pathfinder Program in Farmington, NM where she treated adolescents, children and women victims of domestic violence using EAP. 

Ms. Matthews is also the author of the Quincy the Horse Books for children ages 5-10. She teamed with illustrator, Michelle Black to create the series. Their first book, Quincy Finds A New Home was published in 2009 and awarded a Mom’s Choice Gold in 2010. The sequel, Quincy Moves to the Desert  was released in August  2011.
Ms. Matthews has been an advocate for access to mental health treatment, an op ed contributor on the importance of psychotherapy and served on the Healthcare Task Force of Representative Louise Slaughter in 1993. Currently she is passionate about educating the public, especially parents and healthcare professionals, on the  effectiveness of EAP for children and adolescents who need mental health treatment.
Ms. Matthews earned a BA with honors in Government from Smith College in 1972, and a MSW from the University of Chicago in 1976. In 1977 She began work as a clinical social worker in a family service agency and entered private practice as a psychotherapist in 1983. She has worked for over 25 years with adults, adolescents and geriatric clients who are experiencing a range of mental health difficulties and life transitions.
Ms. Matthews was an adjunct professor at New Mexico Highlands University School of Social Work, Farmington, NM from 2000 to 2006 where she taught Advanced Clinical Methods, Human Behavior in the Social Environment and Multicultural Practice, and served as a consultant for Field Placement. Prior to moving to New Mexico she lived and practiced in Rochester New York from 1977 to 1998 where she was also an Instructor in Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.
Ms. Matthews was born and raised in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky where her father was a law school professor. She was an only child and her favorite thing to do was visit her grandparents and cousins. She is a life long equestrian, avid reader and student of politics who blogs and is an op ed contributor.  She relocated to the Reading , PA area from Northwestern New Mexico in 2010.

VS: Camille, I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. I find lately my life has become really busy between family, kids in school and writing. What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Camille: My writing is something I began after my human children were grown up and on their own. I have a husband, three horses and two dogs. The time spent caring for the animals keeps me centered and helps balance the stresses of dealing with today’s publishing scene.

VS: I have found many people have started writing after their kids are grown. What inspired you to write?

Camille: Quincy is a real horse and he had adventures early in his life that inspired me. I had the idea for the Quincy the Horse Books and thought about the stories quite a bit, but I never took the step of writing them down. During a period where I had to put my life on hold to care for my elderly mother, I was able to take that next step. Part of it was getting in touch with my own childhood again.

VS: Writing from personal experience is always a great inspiration. What is a typical writing day like for you?

Camille: I usually combine some actual writing projects like new work or my blog with tasks related to publishing and promotion. I spend some time reflecting before I write things down. Like many writers, I tend to hear the things I am working on as a voice inside. I write things down and then do a good bit of what I call polishing.

VS: Yes, many writers do have a voice or voice inside helping to inspire our writing. I love the fact you combine your writing projects. Many writers feel writing everyday means working on a story but that’s not always true. Is your family supportive of your writing?

Camille: My husband and adult daughter have been incredibly supportive and helpful in      many concrete ways.

VS: I have found many writers have short stories or even articles as their first publications. What was the first thing you ever had published?

Camille: The first book of the Quincy the Horse series, Quincy Finds A New Home.

VS: Wow, that’s great your first publishing credit was the first book in our Quincy the Horse series. Congrats! Can you share with us a little about your current book in the series?

Camille: Quincy Moves to the Desert is the second book in the Quincy the Horse series. In this story, Quincy goes on a BIG TRIP. He has doubts about the journey at first but his trusted friend, Beau, explains that in the West they will find “Trails as far as a horse can see.” Before he knows it, Quincy is soaking up the sights. He discovers different parts of the US and all the jobs horses do in different places. Quincy even begins to dream about his own possibilities and wonder what kind of horse he is and what job he will find in the desert. It is a story of self-discovery.

VS: I just received my copy of Quincy Moves to the Desert and after hearing your description, I can’t wait to read it with my two girls this weekend. Now Camille, what do you enjoy most about writing?

Camille: I enjoy the thrill when a new idea is revealed to me. I also love working with the illustrations. In a children’s picture book, the images are such an important part of telling the story.

VS: Yes, the illustrations really are an important part of a picture book. I always tell new authors to let the pictures tell 50% of your story and your words the other 50%. With that said, what is the most difficult part of writing?

Camille: When I am busy and facing deadlines. I have trouble concentrating and getting into the flow of writing. I have to go off to do something quiet and peaceful to counteract the stress and that is not always possible. I also find it difficult to deal with negative criticism of my writing. I get discouraged and take some time to bounce back.

VS: I know some writers work better with the stress of deadlines, but I am like you. I also agree it is never easy to bounce back after hearing negative criticism of your work. Okay, so what is the best writing advice you ever received?

Camille: Write about what you know and love. Don’t be afraid to self-publish.

VS: So true on both accounts. I know many writers fear self-publication, but sometimes it is the best route to take. With all that you do around your home and finding the time to write and promote, do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other jobs?

Camille: I was able to do that with my first book, but I decided to take a leave of absence from my psychotherapy practice while publishing my current book. The first one went very smoothly, beginner’s luck I suppose. The current one was more like herding cats!

VS: LOL…Okay, so after dealing with herding cats to get your second book, Quincy Moves the  Desert published; do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Camille: The third and fourth books in the series are in the pipeline. The third book in the series is, Quincy and Buck. It is about Quincy’s fear of trail riding alone in the desert. Beau advises him to get out there anyway and practice not being afraid. He has the idea of following in the footsteps of Buck, an experienced trail horse. Unfortunately, Buck does not like Quincy and turns out to be a bully as well.

VS: I look forward to your next book and love how it encourages children to overcome their fears, too. Camille, what do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Camille: Characters readers can relate to in some way and something that makes the reader want to keep reading are by far my choice. I am a fan of helping children to learn new things but it is important to do this through the process of engaging them in the experience of the characters.

VS: I agree and you do a wonderful job of it too. Talking about characters, what would you say makes them believable?

Camille: I believe it is important for characters to have feelings that resonate with a reader’s real experiences, fears and hopes.

VS: Now the first book in the Quincy the Horse series won an award. Can you tell us which one and if you received any other awards?

Camille: Yes. I have received the Mom’s Choice Gold Award for Quincy Finds A New Home and the Tillywig Toy award.

VS: Congrats on both awards. I recently won the Silver Quill award for my picture book, Babysitting SugarPaw. I’m sure you were on cloud 9 like I was when you heard the news. Camille, before we go is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?

Camille: At my stage of life, I have been blessed to have the help and support of my adult daughter. I think children of any age benefit when a parent is involved in something like writing and that they feel pride in the parent’s accomplishment. It is a wonderful way to be a role model. 

 Stories for Children Publishing will be touring author Camille Matthews and her picture books, Quincy Finds A New Home, published in 2009 and awarded a Mom’s Choice Gold in 2010 and the sequel, Quincy Moves to the Desert, which released in August 2011.

You can find out more about Camille Matthews’ World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/CamilleMatthews.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Matthews and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Camille Matthews about her books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Matthews will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life.

The show will be live October 10, 2011 at 2pm EST.



Publisher: Pathfinder Equine Publications
Author Website: http://www.quincythehorse.com
Blog Address: http://pathfinderpursuits.wordpress.com 
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/quincythehorse 
 
Places where your book(s) are available for sale: Amazon, B&N.com, Assorted Brick and Mortar Bookstores, and www.quincythehorse.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Frugal Book Promoter


More than a dozen authors, mentors, and nationally known book marketers will offer thousand in bonus gifts focused on the needs of authors when novelist, poet, and book marketer Carolyn Howard-Johnson releases the second edition of the first book in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter.

Among those supporting Howard-Johnson’s book are self publishing gurus Dan Poynter and Shelley Hitz, book marketers Dana Lynn Smith, Patricia Fry, D’vorah Lansky, and Aggie Villaneuva and even some fun stuff like a full book of poetry from Magdalena Ball and advice on feng shui from Anna Maria Prezio, Ph.D. Leading the charge is Amazon and book launch expert Denise Cassino.

Collectively, they offer an inestimable value in career boosting bonus gifts to anyone who pays a mere $9.95 for The Frugal Book Promoter in its Kindle iteration (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkProKindle) or $12.82 (discounted from $17.95) for the paperback on Amazon (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo).

The project will reach a crescendo on Wednesday, October 8, when an unprecedented number of people will visit Howard-Johnson’s launch page and launch her valuable to number one on Amazon.com, a great way to help make this book visible to even more authors who need it. Check out her site on October 8 at http://frugalbookpromoter.homestead.com/index.html
Howard-Johnson, an instructor for nearly a decade at UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program, chose to have the new edition published in both e-book format and paperback in order to give her struggling students and clients affordable and convenient choices. Whichever format a reader chooses, The Frugal Book Promoter assures an author’s book the best possible start in life. Full of nitty-gritty how-tos for getting nearly free publicity, the author shares her professional experience as well as practical tips gleaned from the successes of her own book campaigns. A former journalist and publicist (she wrote media releases for fashion designers like Christian Dior), she tells authors how to do what their publishers can’t or won’t and why authors can often do their own promotion better than a PR professional.

Howard-Johnson even assigned a new subtitle to this edition of her book to reflect its appeal to a broader array of authors. It is now The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or partnering with your publisher. She says, "With the advances in Internet marketing and the role social media plays in communicating, it was high time even writers who had the first edition had access to my frugal (frugal of both time and money!) ideas for new networking opportunities." The big, fat book (416 pages) also has money-saving ads in the back and an amazing new cover—the epitome of “frugalness”—by Chaz DeSimone, www.chazdesimone.com.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of 14 women of “San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen.” She has worked for Good Housekeeping Magazine and as a journalist for several newspapers and has been a popular presenter at writers’ conferences nationwide like the one at San Diego State University and the Sinclair Lewis Writers’ Conference. She is also a novelist and poet, which informs the advice she gives to authors of those genres.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Guest Post: Tips on Writing Your Memoirs

Whether you have lived a rough life or had a silver spoon in your mouth, it is normal to want to write your memoirs. This is especially true if you are getting up into middle age or beyond. Otherwise, it could be a pretty short story. Assuming you are ready to put 40 years or more down on paper, here are some tips for maximizing the effect of your finished work.

First of all, give yourself plenty of time for a project like this. You are going to remember things as you work through the memories that are freshest in your mind. For this reason, it makes sense to give yourself lots of time, even as much as a year or more. Hopefully, you have a supply of old photographs you will be going through at the same time. But even if you don't, you can dig out those memories that are buried within.
A good place to start is with a general time line of your life. You may find that you need to make more than one draft of this line, because you are likely to remember important developments that you initially forgot, such as a particular job you had or home you lived in. Start with your birthday and end your time line with now. Pencil in the major events in order.

When you put the time line together, consider laying your paper horizontally, and devoting a whole page to every ten year section of your life. On standard paper, this will give you about an inch for each year of your life. Label the years, and include your age. This should give you room to branch out with new memories as they arise.

It makes sense to write chronologically, but it is not absolutely essential. If you are writing on a computer, there are some programs that make it easier to separate out chapters. If you have to, you could put each chapter of your life in a separate document, and put them together when you get done.

If you are creating your memoirs the old-fashioned paper and pen way, a looseleaf notebook makes a lot of sense. This way you can write rough drafts of various events and change just the pages you need to as you go. If you read anything about good writing, you are bound to run across the principle that good writers don't write; they rewrite. Plan on doing a few rewrites if you want your memoirs to be the most enjoyable read possible.

Another advantage to looking at your life in sections is that you can write about the memories you want to when you want to, instead of having to face everything in chronological order. You can write about boot camp, then about going to Grandma's when you were a kid, and then the births of your children. Add the stories to the folder or notebook section in which they belong.

Don't feel like anything that is important to you is not important enough to include in your memoirs. You can always eliminate unnecessary items later. Include your spiritual or philosophical development along with your jobs, friends, pets, etc. Include those little anecdotes and funny things someone said. These seemingly unimportant memories are what will make your life story come alive.

When it comes to writing style, remember this. Putting your heart into your story will go a lot farther than merely telling the story well. It is usually that personal, heart-felt element in a writer's writing that draws us into the story anyway. Do apply the rules of good writing, of course, but don't forget to write from the heart.



Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at http://writesparks.com. She is also the author of 2 books. Visit her official site at http://sheryruss.com



Download an excerpt of The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between below:
authenticself-sampler.zip OR authenticself-sampler.pdf
If you want 3 writing *sparks* delivered to you every day for 31 days, check out WriteSparks!™ Daily HERE for info on how to get started -- it's free :o) Thank you for reading. Keep writing!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Writers On The Move: Creating, Promoting, and Selling in the Writing Wo...

Writers On The Move: Creating, Promoting, and Selling in the Writing World: I recently attended a teleconference presented by David Riklan, a well-known marketing expert and the founder of SelfGrowth.com. The focus of the topic was creating a successful online business from scratch. According to Riklan, the first two ‘core’ ways to establish a successful online business, one that generates income is to: 1.Create your own product to sell. 2.Create a service to sell. Please understand that when you create a product or service, it should be a quality product or service. It needs to address the potential customer’s problem, need, or want. Read more at http://www.writersonthemove.com/2011/10/creating-promoting-and-selling-in.html

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Book Lovers Blog Hop - October 2011

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Book Lovers Blog Hop - October 2011:
Book Lovers Blog Hop:
Make friends, share the love of reading and be entered to win a FREE book!
All you have to do is post the Book Lovers Blog Hop and World of Ink Tour Banners below to your blog. Promote the Book Lovers Hop and the October '11 World of Ink Tour on any social network. Tweet it once a day, share on Facebook and then follow others back that leave you a comment. By joining the Book Lovers Blog Hop, you are automatically entered in our Book Giveaway!
There will be three (3) winners and each will get a different book in the Book Giveaway. Find out more at http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com/2011/10/book-lovers-blog-hop-october-2011.html

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Families Matter: Fall is Here ...

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Fall is Here ...: Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Crisp air, beautiful colors, falling leaves, brisk walks, and a time to start making hot meals and snacks. I would love to share your favorite recipes for fall here on the blog. Do you have a fun recipe that you and your kids like to make? Recipes for dips, treats, soups, stews, chili, or whatever your fall favorites are. Send them to me at blogeditor@storiesforchildrenpublishing.com or terri.forehand@gmail.com Who knows, we may even gather enough great recipes to put together an EBook for our readers. So join the fun and bring it on. Here is a quick hot dip for fall at http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com/2011/09/fall-is-here.html