Friday, August 24, 2012

Interview Friday: Author Alyce Joy

Alyce Joy was blessed with four children for whom she composed bedtime verses every night. That inspired her to publish a children’s book of prayers, entitled, “Priceless Gems.” When her children were grown, she began to write stories for her grandchildren.
Always fascinated with arts and crafts, she taught herself the art of pyrography. This fired her imagination, and she started burning life-sized pictures of wildlife onto all the doors of her home. Her wood burnings are scattered through the U.S. and Canada.
After deciding to put away her burning tools and torches, she enrolled in, and graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature.
VS: Thank you for taking time to be here today, Alyce. To get things started is your family supportive of your writing?

Alyce Joy: Very! When I enrolled in the Children’s Institute of Literature, it was near Christmas. My goodness, they bought (My Family) me everything I could possibly need.  A friend gave me her old computer. Another friend showed me how to use it, heaven help her.

My granddaughter who was about 8 years old, walked through my kitchen a week before Christmas and said, “Grandma don’t get a chair for your desk, that’s all I’ve got to say.” And she walked on into the living room.

“Well” I said to myself, “this looks like a promising Christmas.”

VS: Now, Ka-Boom isn’t your first publication so can you share what was the first thing you ever had published?

Alyce Joy: My husband had a booklet of verses printed I wrote for my children when they were very little. We sold them at the Sportsman Shows in which he had booths. It was called, Priceless Gems. It wasn’t published though a publisher.

VS: Still how exciting to have your work in print. Now you are published with a publisher with your children’s chapter book, Ka-Boom! Can you share with us a little about your current book?

Alyce Joy: KA-BOOM!  Which is out now, is about Taylor, who sometimes has problems believing in the unreal. That’s okay in itself, but when she came face to face with a dirty, spaced out fairy sitting among her broken toys, Taylor was not about to take it lightly.  After all, this fairy blew up her dollhouse.

VS: Now I’ve read your book and thought it very cute and whimsical without being to girlie. What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing your book?

Alyce Joy: Ending them in the right places. I get into the head of each character. So I have to be fair with each one and give them a proper role.

VS: Yes, it does show you really know who your characters are in your book. What part character is most like you?

Alyce Joy: Sprout, definitely.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress?

Alyce Joy: I still have some work to do on my second book. It is about Kalynn, another of my granddaughters. She was born with a chromosomal defect called, Trisomy #7 or 7-P-Plus. Instead of speaking, she signs and she looks a little different, but she is the most wonderful child, full of fun, ornery with grandpa and loves to do things in the kitchen. This book is for children, plus other children in hopes that they will understand what challenged children must cope with every day of their lives. Sprout becomes her best friend when Kalynn wakes up in the land of Bippenpook frightened and crying. Sprout teaches her to have faith and trust in herself. Kalynn remembered everything Sprout taught her when it came time to save the Bippenpookers from the bad Snookerdoodles.  She ran into all kinds of difficulties, and what the dickens happened to Sprout, when Kalynn needed her so badly.

I am also working on a pirate story that will include 3 of my grandsons. It is already one of my favorites. I guess they all are. The boys are going pirate treasure hunting. Sprout missed meeting the boys because in a corner of the cavern she is stuck in a huge spider web with a giant spider on his way to get her, as the boys will soon discover.

VS: Sounds very exciting and nice additions to your Sprout series. What tips can you share as the basic ingredients of a good book?

Alyce Joy: For my type of book, a catchy title, an attention grabbing first paragraph, a lot of humor, danger, exciting adventure and even anger now and then. And last but not least, a warm and pleasant, sometimes unpredictable ending.

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

Alyce Joy: I get right inside these characters. I become each one of them as I write. If I was that character, how would I feel about this? What would I do if I were him. I surprise myself sometimes when I am inside a bad guy.

VS: Have you received any awards for your writing?

Alyce Joy: This is my first book. If I ever won an award, I would be absolutely giddy! I take that back. When I was in grade school, I won .50 cents from the teacher in writing class for making a perfect O. In those days, we had writing classes. I think they should still have them. But you have you seen some of the Doctor’s penmanship? Scary!

VS: Where can the readers of the Writing Mama find out more about you and your writing?

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

Alyce Joy: Yes, I talked my 83-year-old husband into writing about some of his experiences as a child, on up through the years. His stories are humorous, sad and historical. (Excellent writer) He has a den, (Sports), Basement (Sports), Shop (Sports and wood, wood, wood!)! His writing room, a card table under the steps. You can write anywhere.

About the Book:
Sprout is a fairy from Spritesville, Ohio. Her given name is Sprunetta Brunetta. She doesn’t like it, because she thinks it sounds too much like somebody’s wicked sister. Since she is only four inches tall, all her friends call her Sprout.

This little fairy is in the service of her queen, the beloved Splaminda Herminda, who rules Spritesville. The queen sends Sprout to different places to do whatever job needs done. Sprout is not a perfect fairy. She has a wild shoe fetish, and is always getting into some kind of trouble. Queen Splaminda realizes Sprout’s problems, but feels the fairy will grow out of her awkwardness, as she matures. Somehow, Sprout always manages to save the good and meek from the scary and sometimes bad…but… occasionally, she needs a little help.

To say the least, it was an explosive meeting between Taylor and Sprout. Taylor’s dollhouse blows up and her wary investigation finds Sprout among its wreckage. The little girl obviously thinks Sprout is a bad, fibbin’ fairy and the fun is about to begin.

Get a sneak peek of the book at  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Families Matter Show 08/22 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

BTR’s World of Ink Network show: Families Matter with hosts Kecia Burcham, Irene Roth and VS Grenier.
The Families Matter show airs live once a month on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 6pm EST - 5pm CST - 4pm MST - 3pm PDT
The idea of this show on BTR’s World of Ink Network is to have guests and listeners (adults or kids) share information to help empower children and their families.

Our August show topic: Parent Report Cards
Educators exasperated by the need for greater parent involvement have persuaded Tennessee lawmakers to sign off on a novel bit of arm-twisting: Asking parents to grade themselves on report cards.

We invite our listeners to call-in or share through the chatroom questions or their stories.
Learn more at the Families Matter blog

You can find out more about us at

Listen to the show at
Families Matter Show 08/22 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Monday, August 20, 2012

American Chronicle | Meet Author Sands Hetherington of the Night Buddies children's book series

Sands Hetherington majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. When I asked him to share a bit more about himself, his response was, "I'm an old man living by a lake on the edge of town with two Saint Bernards, Dudley and Maggie. I go to a gym on weekday afternoons and the grocery store on Saturdays."

However, don´t let Sands´ response fool you. He has a sense of humor, which is laced throughout his debut children´s chapter book series Night Buddies. The series is a straight-out fantasy, lights-out adventure that will delight young readers and middle graders who relish roller coaster fun, filled with unforgettable characters and an astonishing and inventive collection of magical whatchamacallits. Having said that, Sands shared, "I did have New York City in the back of my mind when I set them (the books) in the Borough." Of course, anyone who lives in or has visited New York knows it is the perfect place to have fantasy and adventure pouring from the pages of a book.

Sands Hetherington found himself bitten by the writing bug in tenth grade. He said, "I handed in some sappy poetical piece and the very cute student teacher gushed over it. Her name was Ellen and she was spoken for, but that did it right there." From there he wrote a number of short stories, some were published in various periodicals but others weren't commercially successful. Sometime around his thirties, Sands quit. He shared, "I stopped writing for a number of years."

He credits his son John for being his principal motivator to pick up the writing pen again. Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time his son was six. He read to him every night and during those formative years, his young son John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the Night Buddies series.

"Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare (the first book in the series) is the result of a bedtime collaboration my son John and I had many years ago. One night when John was six and I was done reading, John wanted more or I may have suggested he invent a lights-out companion to go off to sleep with. In any case, the next thing I knew, there was Crosley the crocodile, complete with goofy name and bright-red color. I was duly charmed," shared Sands.

Read the full Spotlight at
American Chronicle | Meet Author Sands Hetherington of the Night Buddies children's book series

Stories for Children Show 08/20 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Come join host VS Grenier and Irene Roth on BTR’s World of Ink Network's The Stories for Children Show August 20, 2012 live at 2pm EST - 1pm CT - 12pm MT - 11am PDT

We bring children's authors together with their readers.

This week come meet author Alyce Joy of the fantasy children's chapter book adventure...KA-BOOM!

Sprout is a fairy from Spritesville, Ohio. Her given name is Sprunetta Brunetta. She doesn’t like it, because she thinks it sounds too much like somebody’s wicked sister. Sprout is not a perfect fairy. She has a wild shoe fetish and is always getting into some kind of trouble. To say the least, it was an explosive meeting between Taylor and Sprout. Taylor’s dollhouse blows up and her wary investigation finds Sprout among its wreckage. The little girl obviously thinks Sprout is a bad, fibbin’ fairy and the fun is about to begin.

Get a sneak peek of the book at
Available wherever books are sold and online.

Alyce Joy was blessed with four children for whom she composed bedtime verses every night. That inspired her to publish a children’s book of prayers, entitled, “Priceless Gems.” When her children were grown, she began to write stories for her grandchildren. She graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature and hopes every child who reads her stories will look forward to each new adventure, as her favorite fairy becomes entangled into many, outrageous happenstances.

Follow Alyce Joy at

You can find out more about Alyce Joy’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Listen to the show at
Stories for Children Show 08/20 by WorldOfInkNetwork | Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Stop Siblings From Fighting

As a mom of three kids I find myself always putting out some type of disagreement. I don't pretend to be wonderful at handling those situations and by the time I'm on round 5, 6, 7...12 my level of calm is pretty much out the door so when I saw this article I thought I would check it out. I'm not going to say I'll do everything they suggest or that I agree 100% but it was an interesting read and one I wanted to share.

How to Stop Siblings From Fighting

If I find any of this helps the craziness in my household of three kids (ages ranging from 16 to 2), I'll let you know.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Post Wed: Writing with Kids

Anyone that writes from home, whether for a living or pleasure, knows that some days are easier than other days. Sometimes you sit down and the words just flow so beautifully together that it seems as if it is being channeled. Other times putting a simple sentence together is such a chore. This is especially true when you are writing at home and you have children.

Writing at home with children, telephone calls, doorbells ringing, and one minor emergency after another can be very difficult. I am not sure how anyone else handles this as a writer. I am sure that everyone has their own ways and creative solutions for find time to write. Even other adults have a hard time with the fact that writing is work. The fact that you are home makes you easily accessible to phone calls and interruptions.

I was reading an article about how many popular authors started in their careers. Many of them had similar situations, only finding time to jot down sentences here and there. J K Rowling is a prime example of what I am talking about. She would go out for a walk with her daughter in the stroller and as soon as she fell asleep she would go into the closest café and write frantically while she slept. Stephen King was working in a commercial laundry for long hours while his wife kept similar hours at Dunkin Donuts, and they had two children. Little by little King found the time and plugged away.

It may seem impossible to find time but it can be done. If you really want something you can make it happen, just like everything else you do in life that is important to you. There are some things you can do if writing is truly something you want to pursue.

  1. Do not get frustrated.
 If you can’t chisel large chunks of time out of your schedule to write there are still ways to get your writing done. Write a few sentences or paragraphs here and there. While you are waiting to pick up your kids at school, while children are napping, on play dates, or after they go to bed in the evenings. Forget trying to find a private place and a set aside a certain amount of time. Just grab a few minutes here and there and before long you will finish. Every word counts.

I read an article about author Graham Greene. It was said that he forced himself to write 500 words a day, every day, no matter what. Just 500 words and then he quit. We can all set goals like that; they don’t have to be extreme. That is for those of us just starting out, not for those who have deadlines.

  1. Do not spend time editing.
 Just keep the words flowing until you have it completed. The editing can take place at another time; just get all your thoughts down on paper for now. If you are trying to edit your work every few sentences or paragraphs it will impede the thought flow and make it take so much longer. It will not take as long to have a finished product and having it all down on paper will encourage you to keep working. The editing can be done in the next phase, when you can spend more time refining those thoughts.

  1. Make sacrifices.
 Give up time in other areas, time that you could be writing. Whether it is a favorite television show, a book club, or a night out; think about writing instead. Look at the way you spend your time and decide what is the most important use of your time. What is important to you? What time slots can you eliminate to find more time to write?

  1. Record your thoughts.
 I’ve read about other authors who recorded their books. There are so many ways to do this with today’s technology. You can use your iPhone or any recording device. This can be done in the car while running errands or the airport while waiting on flights. If you consider how much of our time is spent in our cars, or just waiting at traffic lights, this time could really add up. This may not be plausible for everyone but it’s something to keep in mind.

  1. Teach children to entertain themselves.
I was listening to a radio program about the importance of children being able to entertain themselves. Time spent alone in their rooms, not being entertained by television or computers but playing with toys or reading books. This promotes the use of imagination and having a quiet time as an adult. We all know adults who can’t stand the quiet and always have to be doing something. This training will help your children to be able to find rest and be more productive as they grow up.

It’s important not to fill your days with so much activity that you have no time left for attaining your desires and doing something brings satisfaction. It is important to teach your children that life is not just a whirlwind of activities and then you die. You can make time for things you love to do, you can be at rest, and this will result in more productivity later.

  1. Keep a check on time spent on social networks.
 Watch the time you’re spending checking Facebook, tweeting, or for some of us, pinning on Pinterest. We all do it, but do not get caught up and forget this is time that you could be writing. Grab the spare minutes to write a few lines.

Whatever time you carve out of your schedule to write, remember it is not about how much you write; it is that you do write. Do not put it off completely because you can’t sit down and spend hours writing. Just keep persevering, do not give up, and do not wait for a better time. That better time may never come. You do not want to look back when you are 80 and wish you had written that novel. Do not give up on your dream.

Author Byline:
Kelsey Clark is the editor in chief for findananny. She loves to write article and ideas that parents & nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through  find a nanny. She is a professional writer & loves writing on anything.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: Vin and the Dorky Duet by Maggie Lyons

Title: Vin and the Dorky Duet
Publisher: Halo Publishing Int. & MuseItUp Publishing (Canadian e-book publisher)
ISBN: 978-1-61244-091-0 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-77127-073-1 (eBook)
Genre of Book: Children’s Chapter Book Adventure

About the Book:
A twelve-year-old boy named Vin, goes on a mission—reluctantly. He doesn’t share the optimism of the knights of old who embarked on impossible missions without a doubt they’d succeed. When magnetic compost heaps, man-eating bubble baths and other disasters erupt, Vin comes close to packing in the whole ridiculous business. He calls it Operation BS, his code name for a mission to introduce his sister to a boy she has a crush on. He doesn’t want to play matchmaker, but Meg’s promise to reward him with a David Beckham autographed soccer jersey is a decisive incentive.

Overall Thoughts:
If you are a fan of the Captain Underpants or Whimpy Kid series then you'll like this chapter book by Maggie Lyons. The main character "Vin" will relate to anyone who has a sibling always looking for ways to get you to do something you really don't want to do, especially boys with plotting sisters.This is also a great book for the reluctant reader. 

The pacing of the story is great and doesn't bog the reader down with details. This isn't an action packed adventure either. It's a contemporary chapter book about tween/teen life, making true friends and learning our actions always have consequences we might not always like or plan on.

Get a sneak peek of the book at

Available wherever books are sold and online.

 About the Author: 
Maggie Lyons was born in Wales and brought up in England before gravitating west to Virginia’s coast. She zigzagged her way through a motley variety of careers from orchestral management to law-firm media relations to academic editing. Writing and editing nonfiction for adults brought plenty of satisfaction but nothing like the magic she discovered in writing fiction and nonfiction for children. Several of her articles, poetry, and a chapter book have been published in the children’s magazines Stories for Children Magazine and knowonder!

Follow Maggie Lyons at
Twitter @maggielyons66

You can find out more about Maggie Lyons through her World of Ink Network Author/Book Tour at

Sunday, August 12, 2012

St. George 2012 Fall Writer's Conference

2012 HWG Fall Conference

Hello Writers!

As the president for this year’s HWG Fall Conference for writers, I want to encourage all of you to join us at this exciting event! Regardless of your level of writing experience—from the published author to the uninitiated, never-before-published authors!—this conference has something significant for every participant!

On this page you will find a short description of our speakers and their topics for your information and planning! This year, because of the diversity of topics, the number of speakers I was able to procure, and trying to fit everything in during the two days of the event, we have break-out sessions during each day’s programming. I think we have prepared the sessions in such a way that everyone will be able to attend speakers who will be most helpful and informative.

Don’t forget that our “Early Bird” registration takes place prior to August 20th, 2012. Take advantage of the significant savings as well as helping us with the organization and planning. Also, the Lexington Hotel, the site of the conference, has reserved a block of rooms for those traveling from afar at rates that are lower than their normal rates for that time of year. 

Be sure to call the hotel at: (435) 628-4235 to take advantage of these limited available rooms.

In addition to the great list of speakers scheduled, this conference will be a two-day event for everyone to network with fellow authors and industry leaders. Be sure to bring your personal business cards and book info!

Finally, we look forward to our first-ever FREE community lecture on writing each night. The goal of this portion of the conference is two-fold: We want to give members of our community a chance to learn about the basics of writing. Second, we wanted to have a significant audience for our “Authorpalooza” event that will highlight authors who have books published. The Authorpalooza will follow each night’s free community lecture giving authors who have books to sell not only potential customers but also the opportunity to share their experiences with these interested folks!

Thank you for taking part in this conference and we look forward to spending two days of inspiration, motivation and information with you!

Virginia S Grenier
2012 HWG President
David W. Smith
2012 HWG Conference Chairman

Who We Are!

The Heritage Writers Guild (HWG) is a chapter of the League of Utah Writers (LUW), a non-profit organization dedicated to offering friendship, education and encouragement to the writers, poets and illustrators of Utah. New members are always welcome.

Our organization is dedicated to the encouragement and improvement of all writers and illustrators in their various skills. Members are writers, poets and illustrators with various interests at all levels of skill and professionalism. We meet monthly to write, read and discuss our work. We share ideas and expertise on the art of writing or illustrating.

Learn more and download the registration packet at

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Guest Post: 7 Tips for Improving Your Writing

Every good writer will always want to improve upon his or her work. Any good writer doesn't simply write for a living or want to write for a living; they want to write and love to write. What's better than loving what you do for a living! However, how can you get better? There are many methods that you can use and tips you can follow that can give you the edge when it comes to completing each and every piece of work.

1. Reread your existing work. The first step is to reread your own work. You may spot errors or areas that can be improved. This is unlikely if a deeper issue lurks underneath the surface, but surface errors are easy to spot.

2. Learn to critique your work. Critiquing your work is a good step to take if you want to improve because you can go through every piece that you have ever written and list areas of improvement for yourself rather than getting others involved.

3. Read articles that give you information on how to improve. There are many of them out there. All give different hints and tips so you just have to decide what works for you.

4. Experiment with your style. A change in style can improve your writing infinitely if it could be more passionate or exciting. One of the biggest problems writers face is getting people interested in their work and a change of style may just give you that ability and the edge.

5. Get someone else to read through your work. A fresh pair of eyes can pick up issues or areas for improvement that you have missed. The more people that will read it the better.

6. Always have an aim in mind. What do you want from your writing? If you have an aim or goal in mind then you have something to work towards and it will make it easier for you to improve.

7. Persevere. So many budding writers give up when the going gets tough, but the ability to push through the tough times will stand you in good stead should any problems crop up in the future. The determined do far better in the writing industry than those who give up easily.

Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

Download an excerpt of The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between below: 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!