Category Archives: Children’s Books

Author Bette A. Stevens, Inspired by Nature

Today Bette A. Stevens is joining me for the Wednesday Author Interview series.

Welcome, Bette.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I am a writer inspired by nature and human nature.  As a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five, I live in Central Maine on a 37-acre renovated farmstead where I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature.  I advocate for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies–an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).  My husband and I raise our own fruit and vegetables organically and share the bounties of our labor with family, friends and neighbors.  We retired in 2005 after spending several years working at traditional jobs in Maine, California and Virginia.  My childhood years were spent in California and New York, enjoying daily life and hoiliday events with family, including dozens of cousins.  Now that our human children are grown, we have had the privilege of being the adoptive parents of a delightful black feline named Midnight.  Life is good and adventures abound.

Q:  When and what made you decide to be a writer?

A:  I’ve been writing most of my life–initially it was in the form of photo blurbs and poems to celebrate family outings and events over the years.  During the 1980s I worked in the business world as an editor/writer/photographer, honing my skills in business writing.  By the early 1990s, after taking courses in journalism, creative writing and poetry at University of Maine Orono while pursuing a degree in education, I discovered that writing was a strong point in my repertoire of skills and one that pursued with passion.  Teaching became a career and sharing my passion for reading and writing with upper elementary and middle school students for over a decade before retirement was a genuine delight.

Q:  Can you tell us something about the genre of your books and why you write in that genre?

A:  Children’s Books–written to educate, entertain and inspire (Ages 4-11).

Amazing Matilda, A Monarch’s Tale (Children’s picture book based on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly inspiring kids to reach for their dreams)

The Tangram Zoo & Word Puzzles Too! (Children’s educational/activity book integrating language arts, science, social science and math)

Historical Fiction–written to inform, entertain and inspire (Middle grade-Adult).

Pure Trash, the Story (Short story prequel to Dog Bone Soup)

Dog Bone Soup, A Boomer’s Journey (Novel) (Compelling family drama-Shawn Daniels grows to manhood in a society where the poor are often quickly wrongly judged)

Q: Where do you get your ideas from?

A:  Ideas come from the world around me–whether in people, places, or things-inspirations abound.

Q:  Are you working on a new book at the moment?

A: Front and Center is a poetry collection that follows my personal journey through Maine’s four seasons.  I’m also working on another poetry collection that centers on gardens and nature in addition to historical research for a novel.

Q:  Which writers inspire you?

A: There are so many, but here are the first ones that come to mind: Beatrix Potter, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Mark Twain, C. S. Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou, Diane Siebert, Tony Johnston, Khaled Hosseini, and Shel Silverstein.

Q: What book are you reading at present?

A: Nomadland (Surviving American in the Twenty First Century) by Jessica Bruder.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: READ. READ. READ.  Reading is the first step to becoming a better writer.  One of the top writer’s resource on my shelf is On Writing by Stephen King.  It’s not one of those stuffy book of Do This and Don’t Do That, it’s the story of King’s own writing journey and the book is packed with the nuggets he’s discovered along the way.

But the reading doesn’t stop there.  I belong to local and virtual book clubs, where we read and discuss books.  I’ve never read a book that I didn’t learn something from–and when I’m engaged in a book, my writer-self is right there with me learning how to improve my craft.

WRITE. WRITE. WRITE.  Get writing. Yup, that’s what writers do.  One a single piece for my blog, I may write, edit, and rewrite several times before publishing a given post.  When I’m working on a book–now that’s a different story.  Ask for editorial help from two or three readers along the way.

Save a copy of every draft just in case.  Email those drafts to yourself, labeling each one.  If your computer crashes, you’ll be so glad you did.  For novels, I do this chapter by chapter and date them.

Between edits, take breaks so you can look at the work with fresh eyes.  It’s amazing what you’ll discover as you travel the path to publications.

FINALLY--Be sure to hire a professional editor before you publish your book.

Q:  Do you have any advice on how to market your books?

A:  For me, marketing is all about building relationships.  Join groups that share your interests and book themes.  Don’t forget to actively support fellow member writers.  Be sure to use tags and categories for all of your blog posts and include descriptions and book links for your book covers and photos.  Follow, read and share book marketing posts that are helpful to you and thank the bloggers who post them.

Q:  What would you consider to be the worst thing about being an author?

A:  When it comes to being an author, getting any book to the stage where I’m ready to publish can be exhausting.  But after all the hard work, once that book is in my hands, I’m exhilarated.

Q:  What do you like to do when you are not writing, your hobbies, etc.?

A: Spending time with family is top on a very long list.  Then there’s reading, gardening and preserving our abundant produce  from the farmstead (and watching for those amazing monarch butterflies searching for the milkweed interspersed in our flower and vegetable gardens), bird watching, playing with Kitty Middie, walking trails on the farmstead and taking photographs, reading to children at our local library and schools, visiting with family and friends, Bible study on Tuesday mornings, day trips to the coast with hubby Dan, supporting friends who are involved in local theatre productions, book club at our local library and the list goes one…

Q: How long on average does it take your to write a book?

A: For me it’s been about a year from first draft to publication.

Q: What is your schedule like when you are writing?

A: Being a night-owl, I generally write for two or three hours in the evening.  But, my schedule changes drastically when a new book is about to be born and life gets CRAZY!

Q: Who designed your book(s) cover(s)?

A: I’ve designed all of my book covers with CreateSpace’s Cover Creator.

Q: How are your books published?

A: I use CreateSpace for print books and Amazons KDP for eBooks.

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: The quote below always reminds me that books provide us with a free and fantastic mode of transportation that can take us anywhere any time.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” Mark Twin, (“Innocents Abroad”)

Q: What is your favorite books?

A:  The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye.

Q:  How can readers connect with you?  Facebook, Twitter, Website, etc.

A: Website/Blog: http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorbetteastevens.officialfanpage?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteAStevens

Q: Where can readers purchase your books?

A: All of my books can be purchased on Amazon where I invite you to take “A Look Inside.”

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author.betteastevens

Q: Would you give us an excerpt from your book or one of your books?

A: Here’s an excerpt and a page illustration from Amazing Matilda, A Monarch Butterfly’s Journey (Children’s Literature/Ages 4-110 written and illustrated by me.

Excerpt:

“I do so want to fly,” Matilda sighed. Just then a cottontail rabbit hopped up onto the ledge where Toad had sat.

“Why, you don’t look like you can fly,” chuckled Rabbit. “You don’t have any wings!”

“Sparrow said that I must have patience and follow my instincts. You and Toad say that I need wings, too. Where can I find all of those things?” Matilda asked Rabbit.

“As for wings, I don’t know where you can find them. In fact, I don’t care anything about them. But I am an expert on patience and instincts,” Rabbit boasted as she twitched her black nose, making her whiskers sparkle as they danced up and down.

“When I was just a bit of a bunny, Papa told me that I must have patience, too. I so wanted to bound up onto this rock ledge where I could see the whole world. But, I could not do it. I could barely hop a short distance before I would fall backwards, flip-flop, right into the tall grass. But, Papa said that I must not give up. He told me it would take patience to learn to do all of the things I wanted to do. He said I could do anything that I wanted to if I only tried long enough and hard enough.

“Papa was right. I kept trying. I kept hopping and hopping and hopping, until at last I could bound. Every day I would land a little farther. Now I can reach this very ledge any time I want to see the whole world,” Rabbit boasted as she bounded across the field.”

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Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Children's Books, e-books, Genre, Historical Fiction

Looking for Authors to Interview

I hope those who read this blog post today will share with all your author friends.

I am looking for authors to interview in order to help them promote their books.

If you are interested, please contact me at cyannris at gmail dot com.

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Filed under Action Adventure, Animation, Authors, Autobiography, Biography, Body, Books, Children's Books, Christian Romance, Comedy, Coming of Age, Cookbooks, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy Romance, e-books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Memoir, Military, Mind, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Age, Non-Fiction, Paranormal, Paranormal Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Picture Books, poetry, Religious, Romance, Romantic Suspense, science fiction, Self-Help, Spirit, Suspense, Thriller, Travel, Urban Fantasy/Horror, Western, Writing, Young Adult

That Mouse Can Fly

That Mouse Can Fly
Author: Kim Holley
Publisher: Rowe Publishing
Publication Date: 30 June 2017 (ages 5 and up)
Genre: Children’s Illustrated/Imagination
Price: Paperback: $14.00
Available at:
About the Book: 
An adventurous and imaginative little boy spends the summer on his Grandparents’ farm. During a treasure hunting expedition, his mind takes over when his boots get stuck in the mud and he sees something fly past him that looks just like a beady-eyed furry little mouse. He begins to wonder, if it really was a mouse, and just where he has traveled?

Author Bio:
Kim Holley is the author of these additional children’s books: Rollie Pollie ReviewA Fish WishI Love Gloves, andMurphie and the Meerkat. Kim was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and currently lives in rural southeast Kansas. She has been writing personalized poetry for her family and friends for over 30 years. Kim began writing children’s short stories based on her grandchildren’s adventures as well as stories she’s developed on her own. 
connect with the publisher:

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Holiday Book Gift Guide

A while back I put out a call to authors to be included in a Holiday Book Gift Guide that I was creating.

WOW! What a turn out.

I really did not expect too many to participate, but am so happy they did.

You can view the Holiday Book Gift Guide here:

Be sure to take some time to visit all the authors who participated.  Some have special sales going on until December 31.  Others are offering free chapter samples and others, if you sign up for their newsletter, will give a free copy of one of their books.

I ask everyone who is reading this post to please share on your social media sites.

Note-authors were NOT charged a fee to participate in the gift guide.  This was FREE for all who participated.  And if everyone promotes this guide, the cross-promotion has a huge wide potential.

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Holiday Book Magazine

Hop on over to my Page “Holiday Magazine” and see the information I need if you wish to have your book(s) listed in the 2017 Holiday Gift Magazine I will be sending to all my newsletter subscribers.

If you participate by having your book(s) in the magazine, I will give you a pdf file of the magazine to share with your newsletter subscribers.

This is a great way to promote your book(s) FREE of charge…well, you will need to spend a little bit of time getting me the information for the magazine then sending it out to your readers.

The more that participate the more circulation your books will have!

And, I will feature a book a day on this blog throughout the Holiday Season!

 

 

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Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

A month of spooks, goblins and ghost stories.

I am participating in BookHounds “Spooktacular Giveaway Hop” starting today, October 15 and going through to midnight on Halloween night.

To enter my giveaway, sign-up for my newsletter at the link below.  If you are already signed up for my newsletter, leave a comment or click “Like.”

(Note- I value my privacy and I will value yours.  I will never trade, sell, or give away your email address.)

Sign-up for my newsletter, Cindy’s Notebook:

http://eepurl.com/cZ-FiD 

 

The Adventures of Holly Holstein: Holly Greets the World

By: Jim Shroyer

About the Book:

It is Grandma Helen’s birthday and the family has come for a visit. Mika wants to see a newborn calf. When a calf is born, Farmer Tom shows Mika how to feed the calf. Once the calf is nice and warm, Mika asks to name the calf. Most farmers don’t name their cows, but Farmer Tom agrees to name the calf Holly.

 

The Kansas City Establishment: Leadership through Two Centuries in a Midwestern Metropolis

By: Richard P. Coleman

About the Book:

Through the one-hundred years of its existence, Kansas City’s Establishment has maintained its leadership standing by absorbing into its ranks those newly rising men and women judged most valuable for their potential contribution. This differs markedly from the policies of closed aristocracy attributed by social scientists and novelists to the tiptop strata in the older cities of the East and South, Boston and Philadelphia for example.  Comparatively, Kansas City’s Establishment world has been dynamic and democratic.

 

To celebrate Halloween, I am giving away a cozy mystery.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

By: Lilian Jackson Braun

About the Book:

The world of modern art is a mystery to many. But for Jim Qwilleran, it turns into a mystery of another sort when his assignment to the art beat for The Daily Fluxion leads down the path to murder. A stabbing in an art gallery, vandalized paintings, a fatal fall from a scaffolding–this is not at all what Qwilleran expects when he turns his reportorial talents to art. But Qwilleran and his newly found partner, Koko the brilliant Siamese, are back in their element–sniffing out clues and confounding criminals intent on mayhem and murder.

 

Don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter.

http://eepurl.com/cZ-FiD

If you have already signed up for my newsletter, leave a comment below or click “Like” to be entered in the giveaway.

 

This Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is Hosted by Bookhounds

Click here to see a list of other participating in the Giveaway Hop.

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7 Upcoming Writers Conferences

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Los Angeles
July 7-10, 2017
https://www.scbwi.org/annual-conferences/

Thriller Fest, Grand Hyatt, New York City
July 11-15, 2017
http://thrillerfest.com/

Romance Writers of AmericaWalt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, Orlando, FL
July 26-29, 2017
http://www.rwa.org/conference

Writers Digest Conference, New York City
August 18-20, 2017
http://www.writersdigestconference.com/

Killer Nashville, Franklin, TN
August 24-27, 2017
http://www.killernashville.com

Creatures, Crime & Creativity, Sheraton Columbia Town Center, Columbia, MD
September 8-10, 2017
http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/

Historical Writers of AmericaSanta Ana Pueblo, NM
September 21-24, 2017
http://historicalwritersofamerica.org/

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Children's Books, Christian Romance, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Genre, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Picture Books, Romance, Thriller

Spring Forward Book Attack

Do you like to read? Do you like free books? Of course, you do! This is Goodreads!
Support for Indie Authors is proud to announce our first Free & Bargain Book event of 2017!

Load up your Kindle with more than 125 free and 99¢ book deals in a wide variety of genres!

Details: For three days beginning Friday, March 31st and running through Sunday, April 2nd, visit our event website to nab a whack load of free and 99¢ Kindle ebooks by our indie author members.

That’s it! No RSVP, no obligation, and best of all, no need to put on pants!* Some books will be offered all three days, but there are many one day only freebies, so make sure to check the site each day!

*Pants are only optional if you are browsing our event from the comfort of your home. SIAFBB is not responsible for pantsless readers wandering aimlessly in public spaces.

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Miracle Mud


61q4a62ybflTitle:
Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball

By: David  A. Kelly

Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade

Publication Date: January 1, 2013

Book Excerpt: (From Amazon)

Lena Blackburne loved baseball. He watched it, he played it, he coached it. But he didn’t love the ways players broke in new baseballs. Tired of soggy, blackened, stinky baseballs, he found a better way. Thanks to a well-timed fishing trip and a top-secret mud recipe, Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud was born. For seventy-five years, baseball teams have used Lena’s magic mud to prepare baseballs before every game. Read the story of how Lena’s mud went from a riverbank to the major leagues and all the way to the Hall of Fame.

dsc_0067-199x300Author Bio:

David A. Kelly is an established children’s book author, travel writer, and technology analyst.

He’s the author of the Ballpark Mysteries series from Random House, in which cousins Kate and Mike solve mysteries at different major league ballparks, and the upcoming Most Valuable Players (MVP) series from Random House as well, in which a group of elementary school kids have adventures playing different sports. He is also the author of the early reader, Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse and the picture book Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball.

He has written about travel and technology for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun Times, and many other publications.

David A. Kelly lives in Newton, MA, with his wife and two sons.

Connect with David A. Kelly

Website: //http://davidakellybooks.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidakelly

Purchase Book at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Mud-Blackburne-Changed-Baseball/dp/0761380922/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484853111&sr=8-1&keywords=Miracle+Mud+David+A.+Kelly

******

“When you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” ~ Vera Nazarian

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Featuring Children, Tweens & YA Authors

Are you a Children’s Author?

Do you write for tweens?

What about Young Adults?

I am paying it forward in 2017 by featuring authors on my blog.

Sign up for me to feature you on the Feature Calendar page!feature-md

Occasionally, there will be bonus material, giveaways, reviews and more!

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