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Book Review ~~ The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

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A Review ~~ The Colonel and the Bee

There is one thing that delights me above all else and that is to discover a writer who can write. One who weaves words with charm and skill. Patrick Canning does this in spades! I have been reading for 55+ years and I have never come across  a Fantasy/Adventure such as this. It really doesn’t fall into any particular genre. You could read it with your kids (with a tiny bit redacted) or adults can read it. Like Spearmint gum, Double your pleasure, Double your fun!

My favorite character in The Colonel and the Bee is the ‘Ox’.  The Oxford Starladder (so aptly named) is a kind of hot air balloon.  But where we picture a simple woven basket large enough to hold two or three people, the ‘Ox’ is a four story wicker house that has a kitchen, staircases, bedrooms, library, and nursery (plants). In fact the Colonel grows rattan bamboo that ends up growing into the structure of the house as a constant form of repair. Genius! 

There is a well known epigram: ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” For me this book is ALL about the journey. The Colonel and his new-found friend, Beatrix flying above the earth in the ‘Ox’ picking up and dropping off people, having adventures along the way. I don’t know if spending all that time up there is why the  Colonel has such a lovely perspective on life and people but I wish I were one of his friends. 

My readers know me well. I don’t write spoilers or story synopses in my reviews. In my case, it’s always a review of the writing. The writing in this case is superb.  “The tick of the clock still speaks our pace.”  Word magic abounds in this book. 

I loved  the characters, the locations, and the story. Whimsical, captivating, and bewitching. The story could happen. It could be true and if it isn’t the reader so wants it to be possible. I read the end of this story twice when Bee arrives at the Hearth. It was a surprise and left the door cracked for a sequel. From my lips to God’s ear. 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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To Purchase

 

Emma and the Lost Unicorn ~ Kids’ Book

     A new edition of Emma and the Lost Unicorn has been released.  Full color illustrations in watercolor by artist, H. J. Stine. 

Emma, an earthling girl visits her friends in the forest all the time. She delights in the antics of Stare, the rhetorical owl and Cheets, the mischievous elf.  One day she is introduced to Rainey, the Unicorn,  a prince who’s been banished, for centuries, by the warlord, Hazard.   He can never return home unless Emma solves more riddles than Hazard’s Lieutenant, Kodak. The fable ends with a surprise twist which will delight readers young and old.  While written for children, this fairy tale is sophisticated enough to appeal to adults as well.

Queens, warlords, faeries, elves, unicorns, handmaidens, scary henchmen and one small mortal girl child in an enchanted forest.  This fable offers many subtle lessons.

 

To Purchase, click here

 

Other books in the Series of The Fabled Forest

Create Your Own Story Board if It Helps….

Visuals really are important! Create your own story board if it helps you write. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw; cut and paste. After all, nobody is going to see it except you, right?

Sketch for layout of Title and credit/s

At this point, in my story, I had to see a visual. My illustrator would not be working on this part of the tale for weeks, so I created my own.

Excerpt from “Cheets Heads for Trouble-sville” ©

‘Cheets, the elf,  swooped down and dove into the empty box. The carrot beaconed to him from the far end of the box. Cheets tipped-toed across the box, lightly stepping up on a silver platform.

SNAP! B.A.N.G! The door to the cage slammed shut. Cheets whirled around and ran back.  Cheets grabbed the side of the door in the cage and shook it as hard as he could. Nothing. It wouldn’t open.  He shook it and shook it. He was trapped.  The big, juicy carrot didn’t look so good now. 

Two large human hands clutched the sides of the box and lifted it down. A shadow fell over Cheets and he looked up.  What appeared to be a huge, rough man stood over the cage and grinned at him.

Original art by Jefferson O’Neal

“Got’cha!” He extolled. “Ya little varmint!” He turned away. “Hey, Simon. SIMON!  Lookie what I got.”

Across the aisle, Simon turned and looked at his friend. “What? I’m busy, I’ll be there in a minute.”

“You’re gonna wanna see this! Hurry up!” Herman said.

“Okay, okay, keep your shirt on.” Simon yelled.

A moment later Simon was in front of Herman’s stall. “What’s the big to-do?”

“Ta-Da!” Herman whipped off a rag he’d put over the cage. He grinned at his friend. “Whad’ya think that is?”

“Holy smokes! Ya caught the little bugger!” He leaned over and peered closer, “What is it?”

“Don’t know. It ain’t a dragon-fly or a bat. I’m stumped.”

A crowd quickly formed when the news spread through the farmer’s market that Herman had caught something in a trap.

“Lemme see!”

“I can’t see!”

“What is that?”

“Does it bite?”

“I can’t see!”

“Whad’ya gonna do with it, Herman?”’

Postscript: My illustrator finally caught up with me and here is a sample of his delightful images. Jefferson O’Neal. 

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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    
March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
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New Children’s Play Released!

Children’s Play  (#5 in the Fabled Forest Series) has been released!  Children’s story book by the same name.

The story is in play form. A one hour children’s play, by the same title, offers a part for every child who auditions. 

New characters are introduce: Barcode and Fiona the two cats. Reginald the Raccoon and his merry band of baby raccoons. And lots of others.

Synopsis: Cheets is looking for an adventure!  The elf had heard about ‘town’. Emma and her mother went all the time but no one from the fabled forest had been there. Cheets was certain it was a magical place and he decided that he must head for Troublesville. He stows away in the car one day and finds himself in busy, noisy streets all alone. He begins his adventure by befriending two cats who live in a house with two humans. Then because of his obsession with carrots, he is captured in a trap and that’s when his adventure no longer is any fun.  6f. 15m. (many roles non-gender)

Recurring characters from the series return to help find Cheets. Don’t miss Cheets’ escapade and daring rescue!  Full color illustrations by Jefferson O’Neal.

 

To preview or Purchase, click here

Story book

Emma and the Lost Unicorn, The Exciting Exploits of an effervescent Elf, and Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon: Go to Samuel French, Inc.

Bertie, the Bookworm and the Bully Boys: Go to: Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Thanks! 

To Purchase

 

 

 

New Release of Book #5, Cheets Heads for Troublesville

NOW Available!   Book #5 in the Fabled Forest series.  CHEETS HEADS for TROUBLEsville

Cheets is looking for an adventure!  The elf had heard about ‘town’. Emma and her mother went all the time but no one from the fabled forest had been there. Cheets was certain it was a magical place and he decided that he must head for troublesville. He stows away in the car one day and finds himself in busy, noisy streets all alone. He begins his adventure by befriending two cats who live in a house with two humans. Then because of his obsession with carrots, he is captured in a trap and that’s when his adventure no longer is any fun.

 

 

 

Don’t miss Cheets’ escapade and ultimate rescue!

 

Beautiful full color illustrations by Jefferson O’Neal.Click here to Purchase
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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up on the home page, enter your email address. 

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Interview with Childrens Book Author, Rita Avaud Najm (part 2)

Continuing my interview with author, Rita Avaud Najm. ‘Poursuivant mon interview avec l’auteur, Rita Avaud Najm’

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

RN. Each situation needs a character that goes with it and fit its plot. I cannot create a character without giving it a role. Just like movies! The scenarios come first and then finding the right actors for every scene you have created.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

RN. I never get lost, maybe because I write for children and my stories are usually short.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

RN. I don’t have a Muse, but I hope my “Petite Rita” stories will become as famous as “Martine,” “Madeline” and “Dora the explorer.” All of my other stories, even the fictional ones, teach children about the importance of virtue, honesty and love. They all have a message and teach life-long lessons while entertaining the readers.    

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

RN. Publishing my third volume of “La Petite Rita” is my next step, as well as finding an illustrator for my other pictures books that need a lot of colorful, joyful and eye-catching drawings.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

RN. My first serious book was a guide for teachers and parents to encourage students to read more poetry and non-fiction books. That guide was my graduation project in 2013, while I was working at one of Houston’s public schools libraries. Since then I’ve been seriously writing with a goal of publishing my works. 

Q. How long after that were you published?

RN. I’d been looking for a publisher for a year and a half. It’s not easy to make your dream come true.

Q. What makes a writer great?

Creativity, imagination, a unique style make a great writer, as well as knowing their audience’s interest, and expressing their ideas clearly and be passionate about the subject or story they are writing about.

Q. And the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

RN. It’s just time. “No book” is the starting point that needs a push to make the invisible visible, and to put thoughts into sentences. The “keep on” is the key to finally typing the joyful two words of mine, “The End.” It’s not a hard process; it’s a plan or a goal that one should enjoy achieving and seeing it in hand.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

RN. “Memories are special moments that tell our story” My childhood memories are the basic of most of my stories. They flash through my mind and give me ideas to write more and more.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

RN. I am a Children’s book author who writes fiction and non-fiction stories and I love it.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

RN. Writing is more than putting sentences on a page; it’s a gift that any reader might have. If you are a good reader, love books, have plenty of feelings that you would like to express, why don’t you let them be heard? I never thought that I would be an author one day and that I would bring my characters to life!


Did you miss Part I of my Interview
with this children’s author? Click here.

To purchase Rita’s books: click here
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. In December we will be saying hello to English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
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To Purchase: click here  

 

 

 

Interview with Children’s Book Author, Rita Avaud Najm

A new author, raised in Lebanon and France, writing children’s chapter books with a quirky twist.  Some of her dialogue is in simple French phrases with definitions as a footnote. Introducing youngsters to French. These are charming little stories about Rita coming to America as a child. T.S. 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?   Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

RN. I don’t have a specific place. But I always keep a note book next to my living room seat to write any idea that comes to my mind. Once I gather my thoughts, typing and saving them on my laptop will be my next step. I usually keep it on my dining table where the lights are bright.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

RN. My note book should always be handy to look through my thoughts or my simple scribbles as a reference. My cup of tea is always there on my right side, yet many times I drink it cold since once I start writing, I don’t stop and keep on until I am tired, or hungry. 

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

RN. Other than writing Arabic poetry and French stories, writing plays and song lyrics since I was 7 years old, I am a painter. This hobby helped with illustrating my two books. I also do crochet and knitting. All of my storylines have to do with something I’ve been through in my childhood or things I do or did. My memories make my stories alive. 

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

RN. I prefer evenings. I know by then that my children did their homework, had dinner and the house is clean and the housework is done, for the day!

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

RN. Some people procrastinate because they are lazy. Others are afraid of change and the heavy success, or they just fear failure and risk. “Someday I will,” keeps those writers who might have plenty of amazing stories to tell and a vivid imagination never known, and always living in the past. Go ahead! Start that project! Celebrate your success and live the moment when your hard work pays off!

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

RN. Besides my “Petite Rita,” the little French girl who represents me, I was shy when I came to The USA because of my French-Lebanese accent, anything can be my character when I have the story.  I can make a story about my cup of tea or my toothbrush… When you are creative with imagination, you can create and make any object or animal talk your talk.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

RN. French Dual immersion programs in many public and private schools are the reason behind my main character to be a French girl, as well as the love of students to learn a foreign language. I decided to publish those two volumes first, before any of my other stories, because of their passion to read and to learn some common French words.

Join us for Part 2 of this interview. ‘Rejoignez-nous pour la partie 2 de cette interview.’  November 24th.

To Purchase Rita’s books: click here
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author was Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Review ~~ La Petite Rita by Rita Avaud a Najm

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing 3 out of 5 quills   A REVIEW  La Petite Rita

Part of my job and responsibility is to give ‘new’ authors a chance at exposure, through my reviews and interviews. It is part of my mission to support other authors and offer advice. 

Vol. I & II of La Petite Rita are a good start to a charming series.  Based upon the author’s childhood memories, it revolves around a little French girl (Rita) immigrating to the United States with her parents.  Seen through Rita’s eyes, we observe Thanksgiving, first day at school, shopping, weddings, bicycles in the rain. 

The unique feature in the author’s books is the use of the French language. Simple phrases that any child could learn.  BUT, the footnote translation should be in phonetic (fa-net-ic) form as the actual phrase is already in the text of the story. This would teach the child ‘how’ to say the phrase in French. 

The covers of the books have no title, so the reader isn’t told immediately what the book is about. By the title, La Petite Rita, my first impression was that it was a children’s book written in French.  And the illustration on volume 2 really doesn’t tell the reader what it’s about. Only when they begin to read the book do they realize that it is a collection of very short stories. Missing inside is a content page with the title of each story. 

New authors should value the cover artwork and ‘title’ beyond all else. These are the first things that might inspire the reader to carry your book to the check-out counter! 

The books are charming little vignettes with a cute introduction to French.   To purchase
Don’t miss my Interview with the author in November!

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author is Donna Kauffman. In NOvember we say hello to ‘Rita’ the author of the above books. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!
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Emma and the Lost Unicorn, A Children’s Book

Announcing the second edition of this popular children’s chapter book, Emma & the Lost Unicorn

Book 1 of the Fabled Forest Series: Emma, an earthling girl visits her friends in the forest with great regularity. She delights in the antics of Stare, the rhetorical owl and Cheets, the mischievous elf.  One day she’s introduced to Rainey, the unicorn,  a prince who’s been banished, for centuries, by the warlord, Hazard.   He can never return home unless Emma solves more riddles than Hazard’s Lieutenant, Kodak. The fable ends with a surprise twist which will delight readers young and old.  While written for children, this fairy tale is sophisticated enough to appeal to adults as well.

Queens, warlords, faeries, elves, unicorns, handmaidens, scary henchmen and one small mortal girl child in an enchanted forest.  This fable offers many subtle lessons.

 

Available in illustrated paperback, audio-books and e-books at all book stores. 

fairy tales, fables, elves, fairies, running away, audio books

greed, ecology, elves, warlords, love, friendship

fairies, books for children, literacy, reading, bullying, bullies, elves,

Book 4 in the series/Beautiful illustrations

 

Guest Blog ~~ Write from the Heart! Joseph Drumheller

joe-headshot How to Land a Multi-Book Children’s Publishing Deal?  Write From the Heart!

About a year ago, I was paddling down a familiar stretch of whitewater when I found a tangled up crawdad in a fishing line.  After about five minutes of meticulous unwinding, I launched the little fellow back into the wild. My wife Tamara and my paddling buddy Tom, both thought that would make a great children’s story.  The next morning, I wrote my first children’s book, Jason and the Crawdad King, on the back of a few napkins while sipping tea in a coffee shop.

nearing-the-crawdad

Not far from where I found the Crawdad King

It was the first time in my life it felt like all the pieces were falling into place.  The premise of the story came out of doing something I love.  The suggestion for the story came from people I love.  Plus, the story imbues a sense of wisdom from my personal experience and philosophy˗˗something else I love.  And the whole package is directed toward the people that everyone loves—their children. From the time I found the helpless little crawdad, to the moment I’m typing this out on my laptop, it’s been one endless magic carpet ride.  I think in spiritual circles they call it divine Flow.

The day I finished writing the story, Tamara’s daughter Chantelle came to visit.  It was the first time I met her.  It just so happens, besides being a professional ballerina in San Francisco, she’s also a brain child from Columbia University.  In the two days she visited, she edited my book.  Flow on, man.

Next I met my illustrator, Lili Avakem.  Major Flow there. Lili and I met via the modus operandi of the 21st century…the internet.  I was hoping to find an illustrator who was exceptionally talented, in love with illustrating, relatively unknown (like me), and hadn’t reached their full potential yet (hopefully like me too!).  In short, I was hoping for an enormous stroke of good luck.

I held a contest on Freelancer.com, searching for samples from illustrators.  Lili beat out 25 other entries. However, to win the contract to illustrate the entire book, I asked Lili and another artist from Thailand to submit one more illustration.  I took one glance at Lili’s second submission and my jaw dropped to the floor in utter disbelief.  I realized the enormous stroke of good luck I was hoping for had actually arrived. As I sit and write this, I still haven’t met Lili face-to-face.  It’s like she’s some angelic creator of magic, hanging out in cyber space.

jason-3Shall we Flow a little further?  After Lili and I finished the manuscript, I sent out queries to about 120 literary agents and publishers.  After about a month, as rejection notices started to pile up, I was contacted out of the blue by Golden Bell Entertainment in New York.  I never submitted anything to them.  They contacted me based on an illustration of Lili’s I posted on Facebook.  Go figure!

I recently landed a children’s picture book publishing deal, for nine books, with Golden Bell Entertainment in New York.  “Wow!”  You might be thinking.  “How did you pull that off?”

I’ll lay it to you straight.  It happened on accident. I’m was born a creative free spirit.  It took me a long time to figure out what that was, let alone accept it.  I was also born with powerful spiritual inclinations and an incredibly strong connection to nature.  I’ve  always seen things from a philosophical point of view, as I’ve wandered deep into the wilderness. That framework led me to a Master’s degree in Geology and a patchwork career as an exploration geologist.  With a helicopter pilot as my chauffeur, I’ve prospected the Alaskan Arctic, the Yukon Rocky Mountains, and the Barren Lands of the Arctic Ocean.  I also hung my hat for a spell in northern Sweden.

arctic-tundra

Artic Tundra…that little speck is me

And what was the result of those fascinating explorations?  It deepened my connection to this planet we call Earth. So here I sit, a published author with the sky as our limit.  And how did it all happen?  By being myself and doing what I love, with people I love, to the core of my being. If you’re looking for success as an author, I’d suggest you start there.  The rest will take care of itself.  Your only job is to enjoy the journey.

Bio

Joseph Drumheller is a three-time award winning author with works in non-fiction, fiction and now children’s books.  He has a deep love for nature and adventure, which fueled his previous career as an exploration geologist. He lives with his twin flame and extraordinary performing arts spouse, Tamara. They live in the great Pacific Northwest. www.josephdrumheller.com

Did you see the Interview with Joseph?  Click here

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   September’s author will be Joseph Drumheller and October: Author, Lisa Jackson.  November’s author will be best selling author, Grace Burrowes                          Check out Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!