Tag-Archive for » new books for kids «

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.


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.


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.


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


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!

Conclusion: Interview with Author, Joseph Drumheller


Illustrations by Lili Avakem

The conclusion of this delightful interview with author, Joseph Drumheller.

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

JD. Characters. They tend to tell me what to write.  After I found the crawdad that inspired, Jason and the Crawdad King, I spent the next morning sipping tea listening to Jason dictate.  As he spoke, I wrote the story down on the back of some napkins.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JD. Absolutely. One day I began writing at 10 a.m. I vaguely remember getting up to grab a bite to eat or to go to the bathroom.  The next time I looked at a clock it was 3 a.m.!

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

JD. I have two. (1)  My wife Tamara.  She’s the focus of out next work, Aura the Angel, The Ballerina’s Beacon. She was a child prodigy ballerina whojoseph-and-tamara-1 spent 30+ years working in Off-Broadway productions in the San Francisco area.  She is the epitome of love incarnate.  (2) Lili Avakem.  She’s my award-winning illustrator—born, raised and educated in Tehran, Iran and now living in LA.  It seems everything we touch turns into magic.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

JD. I haven’t yet. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a (serious) day in your life.

Q. What makes a writer great?

JD. Heart, soul and passion. You can’t ‘try’ to be a writer. You either have it you or you don’t.  And if you do have it in you, it still takes a lot of time and energy to sculpt your craft.   But it it’s what you’re born to do, you’ll love it.  Also, don’t worry about spelling.  They have editors for that.

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

location-of-jason-and-the-crawdad-king-1JD. For me, it’s called a magic carpet ride. I wander around in nature (places I love) then go home or out for tea and write about it.  I was born to be a free spirit.  Writing is the only thing that has completely fit my lifelong tendency to be there proverbial round peg that doesn’t fit into any the square holes out there.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

JD. When it come to writing, my life experiences are the whole ball of wax. Almost everything I write about is based on what I’ve seen and done.  That’s why it’s so easy to write.

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

JD.   I have three published books in the genres of non-fiction, fiction and now children’s books.  I also have eight more children’s books to come, with Golden Bell Entertainment out of New York.

The Subconscious, the Divine and Me (2012, Pine Wood Press) – An introduction to spirituality.  Non-fiction.

The Unity Oracle (2015, Self-published) – An award-winning spiritual adventure novel.  Fiction.

Jason and the Crawdad King (2016, Golden Bell Entertainment) – A picture book, featuring award-winning illustrator Lili Avakem.  Children’s Book.

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

Don’t force your writing and don’t stop. If you love it, it will show. I would like to thank Golden Bell’s Polar Press

Visit Joseph’s website www.CrawdadKing.com  and Joseph’s page on  facebook

Did you miss Part I of this Interview? Click here

Release date of Crawdad King  Winter, 2017.


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!




Interview with Children’s Book author, Joseph Drumheller


Illustrations by Lili Avakem

We are all so looking forward to this delightful children’s book by Joseph Drumheller. Joseph, in your own words, describe yourself. TS

JD. I’m a creative free spirit with a spiritual bent and a strong connection to nature.  Cathartic mystical experiences and/or memorable happenings in the great outdoors are the underlying influences to almost everything I write.  Yet, as I mature, the most powerful force I’ve experienced is love, especially from my wife Tamara.  Without her consistent love, belief, and support, I’d be nowhere.

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

JD. I spend a lot of time outside. When I walk, kayak, or cycle, the channels open up and the creative juices start to flow.  Most of my books have been written entirely in my head.  Typing them out in a coffee shop or in my office is the part that requires discipline.

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.)

JD. No, not when I sit down and type. Walking, kayaking or cycling in nature does the trick for me.joseph-at-work

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

JD. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen some of the most remote and glorious parts of the planet via helicopter, working as an exploration geologist. Some of those places include the northern arctic of Alaska, the continental divide in the Yukon, the Barren Lands near the Arctic Ocean, and northern Sweden.

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

JD. No. I tend to be more of a morning person but when inspiration hits, it’s time to write.

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

JD. If writing doesn’t flow from the core of your being, take up tennis. With that said, I’ve never had a problem with procrastination.  I was born two weeks early and always seem to get things done ahead of time.  That creates its own set of challenges, like when I’m working with procrastinators!

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

JD. I write almost exclusively from personal experience.  The closer my characters are to home, the easy they are to write about.  I found a crawdad tangled up in a fishing line while whitewater kayaking.  That inspired Jason and the Crawdad King.  Aura the Angle, The Ballerina’s Beacon is a story about my wife Tamara who was a child prodigy ballerina.  My award-winning novel, The Unity Oracle,  is essentially glossed over non-fiction, detailing mystical experiences I’ve had.

jason2Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

JD. Divorce. In the early days of a separation that led to divorce in 2009, I went on a solo self-directed retreat in a log cabin, along a mountain river. I spent four days writing.  I’ve never stopped……

Join us for the conclusion of this fascinating Interview ~~ Saturday, September 17th

Release date of Jason and the Crawdad King  Winter, 2017.

Visit Joseph’s website www.CrawdadKing.com  and Joseph’s page on  facebook

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!


FREE Audio Book: “Bertie the Bookworm and the Bully Boys”

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

A story book with full color illustrations

FREE!!  Have you got a child, grandchild or great grandchild under the age of ten??  FREE audio-book of “Bertie the Bookworm and the Bully Boys”  (Five lucky winners and One per family)

And I would like to share this with you…..first come, first serve.  Sign up for my blog and leave a comment on my site Code: ‘Bookworm’. and I will send you the code and the instructions on how to get your copy.

Listen to Sample of the book by clicking here

Bertie, the bookworm is the fabled forest’s elder and teacher. Every week he has a spelling and reading circle where everyone is welcomed. Slam, the badger and his gang of bully boys are forever teasing, disrupting, and bullying Bertie and the group of faeries and woodland creatures.
more »

My Kids Play Opens in Cape Charles

greed, ecology, elves, warlords, love, friendshipThe Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf  opens tomorrow at the Historic Palace Theatre in Cape Charles, VA.  That’s three openings for me this month; Chicago, Connecticut and now Cape Charles!
See?  Dreams Do Come True!  I am just thrilled!

Synopsis: In this stand alone sequel to “Emma and the Lost Unicorn”, Emma is held captive in Patsy, the Banana Spider’s web. No one can see her except the irrepressible elf, Cheets. Everyone in the forest has been searching for Emma to no avail and given his reputation, no one believes Cheets… more »

Emma and the Lost Unicorn…Book 1 in the Fabled Forest series

faeries, elves, warlocks, fables, riddles, fairy tales, theatre In addition to the color illustrated paper back, this charming book has had great success in audio books

In book 1 of the Fabled Forest Series: Rainey, the unicorn, is a prince who has been banished, for centuries, by the warlord, Hazard. He can never return home unless Emma solves more riddles than Kodak, Hazard’s Lieutenant who ultimately reveals his secret weakness. 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. more »

The Early Days of Rehearsal…Stanley the Stalwart Dragon

Elem.Sch.#4n Elem.Sch.#3n Elem.Sch.#2_n Elem.School#1_nEastford Elementary School Drama Dept. (Connecticut)  begins rehearsal for their production of “Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon” by Trisha Sugarek.

Opens in May 2015.









DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS! April’s author is Jodi Thomas. June’s author is mega-superstar, Dorothea Benton Frank.
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.  I love comments!  Take the time to write one at the bottom of the post.   Thanks!

Have you worked with an illustrator yet? Here are 12 Tips

Working successfully with an illustrator   I have used several artists, depending upon the project.  I have had wonderful response from my illustrators (free-lance) and as a team we get the job done!
David White has done several covers for me, most prominent and recent the newest in the World of Murder series.

The illustrator for my children’s books is brilliant in a different way.  He reads the story as I write it with clear instructions (from me) on where I want the illustrations placed in my story book.  Then he creates all these different perspectives that I would never have dreamed about.  They are truly wonderful.

So I thought I would share these tips, with you, about working with another artist.  Hopefully they are helpful as you work with your ‘image-maker’.

Tip #1:  Be patient.

Tip #2: They are artists, much like you, so they are sensitive about their art.

Tip #3:  Don’t push them; they have a time-table that might not be yours.  I do state my time-table in the beginning of a project and get some assurance that they will try to meet it.

Tip #4: Be patient.

Tip #5: Be certain that you give them at least two credits in your publication, book or script. I routinely credit them on the back (exterior) cover and on one of the first pages in the book.

Tip #6:  Pay them the most that you can budget.  Remember the old adage: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

Tip #7:  Because I am on a budget; I state my rates (per size of image) right up front.  Be honest.

Tip #8: Be patient.

Tip #9:  Don’t be afraid to use students at an art school.  I have used them (or graduates) from the Savannah College of Art and Design.  They are fresh, have the newest technology, and are the most excited by the project.  Do I occasionally meet a ‘prima dona’?  Who, without any work history, without any credits of any kind, without any life experience, behaves as if they work for a big city design firm, expecting top dollar and……. are confused when you don’t see it that way. (sigh) Yes,  I have!

Tip #10: Try to be as clear as you can on what you want in the image.  Don’t be afraid to tweak the work as you and your illustrator work together.  My illustrators appreciate the second set of eyes.Journal for Creative Writers

Tip #11: Pay the illustrator promptly.  As I have my illustrator working as I write; when I receive final images I pay him as we go along.  I don’t make them wait until the project is finished to be paid.

Tip #12: Be patient.

E. Van Johnson will be our January author!

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!




Researching Fairy Tales

fairy tales, books for children, children's books,bullying, literacy   When I decided to add some of the classic characters (from fairy tales we all grew up with) to my fourth fable,  I was amazed at the fascinating information I found….

I had so much fun researching characters like Little Red Riding Hood (Rhonda Rider in my story).  Where she originated..oh yes, way before Walt Disney was a twinkle in his Daddy’s eye.

While creating  “Bertie, the Bookworm and the Bully Boys  I wanted to pay special homage to the classical fairy tales, by having some of the characters appear in my story and chat briefly with my friends in the Fabled Forest.  As seen here in this illustration, Druscilla, Cinderella’s stepsister, has stumbled into the Fabled Forest’s clearing. more »

Cheets, the Effervescent Elf

I haven’t talked about Cheets, the lovable elf for some time and less about the book I wrote just for him.

Cheets was the first character to hop into my brain one morning at 3AM.  By the time I had stumbled to my computer he had introduced me to several other of his friends in the fabled forest.   I began the series with Emma’s quest to help an enchanted unicorn, Rainey. After the ‘Exciting Exploits of….’, Stanley,  the Stalwart Dragon ran away from home and, lost, ended up in my forest.  The fourth book, ‘Bertie, the Bookworm….’ is the story of the reading group being plagued by BULLIES.

children's plays, kids, stage plays, new

“The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf”, with beautiful full color illustrations. Available here, www.amazon.com and your local book store.

In this stand alone sequel to Emma and the Lost Unicorn, Emma is held captive in Patsy, the Banana Spider’s web. more »