Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG~Fleeting Time

The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage, posting on the first Wednesday of each month. You'll find writer doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Support and a common understanding spread throughout the group as many fellow writers can relate. Feel free to JOIN in anytime.

Amazing image, right? Check out the artist HERE.
Time is fleeting.

I'm on a constant crash course with time. When I chase it, it flees from me. When I give up, it dangles itself in my face, smirking and whispering, "Whatchya' gonna do with me?"  Bet you can picture what happens in those moments - I reach for it and it says, "Psyche!" 

Matters not whether I write up an elaborate digital schedule that chimes each time I'm needed, or whether I post sticky notes all over my house, office, and car. I never can accomplish all I set out to do and the culprit is time.

Bad time. Bad time.

But is it? Could it be that I really don't understand how to live successfully? Take time to focus on the little things in life and let those replenish me. Prioritizing has always been a big deal to me. I'm a list maker. Yeah, one of those people. But the older I get the less my lists help me. Frankly, they stress me out. 

Maybe the real lesson here is in recognizing new pathways to accomplish our goals whether how big or small they are and bask in the fact that we're still here to do so. 

What are your thoughts on time? Are you better then I am in managing it?
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EBooks & Picture Books~Momma Don't You Worry

Picture books possess a light, energy, and hope for opening the doors of knowledge and life to young children. And their authors have a passion to share just that. 
Today's picture book author loves creating stories and writing, but not just books. He's also a lyricist, who's work appears in many areas of music from rock to country. So make sure you check out his bio at the end. 
AMAZON | SMASHWORDS

MOMMA DON'T YOU WORRY
by Louie Lawent

Publisher: Ladybee Publishing
Release Date: January 2015
Format: eBook
Words: 360
Description: This illustrated books tells a poetic story from a six year old's viewpoint. His mother worries too much in his opinion, until they go on a shopping trip and he gets a real appreciation for just how right his mom is.
 
Excerpt: She watches me with eagle eyes 
Like I’m a treasured jewel 
She cramps my style, oh man alive 
“MOM, THIS JUST AIN’T COOL” 
I'd like to thank the author for supplying me with an eCopy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
BRING ALONG +2
My Splats: This story is a sweet exchange between a boy and his mother. He's assuring her that he'll be okay and that he can handle what comes his way. The main character sounds confident and proud that he can tell his momma not to worry. It's quite cute. But when his world takes a turn and his momma's nowhere to be found, he must use a lesson his momma taught him to make things right. 
The tale is told in rhyme and is accompanied by nicely done illustrations that appropriately advance the tale.
Now, let's meet the author. 
Hi Louie! It's great to have you here. Let's begin with an intro to Louie the Younger. Were you a reader or creator as a young child?  
Yes, I read many picture books in my early elementary school years.  I recall that in  3rd grade I read  this book about this boy who designed Alaska's state flag. I think his name was Benny. I was so taken by that story that I hand-printed the entire book.
Do you think (the answer above) contributed to your desire to create stories as an adult and how?
In 3rd grade a friend and I would write humorous stories about classmates.  We wouldn't show them to anyone. In 4th grade we started writing stories about "Gerty the Pig." Our classmates loved them. As an adult, in the 1990s I wrote a more elaborate story and "Gerty the Pig" was published. It's in many schools across the country in the National Accelerated Readers Program. Unfortunately the book didn't have much of a retail presence. I have written 4 more.  I would love for a series to develop but that's a long shot. I don't know if reading led to me writing.  I would have to guess that it did. I think imagination and the need to be funny played a huge part.
What made you start writing picture books as opposed to older kidlit or adult lit?  
I think I'm best at short form.  I also write lyrics which is another short form of writing. It's possible I have one long form work in me and I do have the concept but not right now.
We all know about the eBook explosion that started a few years back. Now, MOMMA DON'T YOU WORRY has been released in ebook form. I'm really intrigued about how this differs from traditional picture book releases in paper form. Would you mind explaining the process such as submitting, editing with an ebook editor & illustrator, releasing, marketing, etc...? 
Well, I submit my works via email. Many publishers accept them this way. "Momma Don't You Worry" didn't require editing, although I made some last minute changes before release that I think made it even better.  Rick Radliff is the illustrator. I live in Wisconsin. He's a childhood friend who lives in Seattle. He illustrated Gerty too. So, I was happy that he did this one too!  As far as marketing, this is the tough part.
A very tough part. Many reviewers won't review ebooks. However, I am finding reviewers. I want to continue to find more. To me, unless you're an established author or a celebrity, you have a very slim chance of having a successful book unless it gets reviewed. The odds are not with an author that a reader will rummage through stacks of books in a book store and discover your book.  Or for that matter, scroll through books online and see it.  Of course, I have let my Facebook friends know about it, but of course that's limited. I just hope that people will spread the word. The responses I have received  reviewers have been extremely positive. They like the message of the book and the cute rhymes.
Lastly, what are your future writing plans? 
Well, I will continue to write lyrics. Some co-written children's songs will be released down the road. I also write rock, hip hop and folk lyrics. The latest was a folk rock song entitled "One More Father's Son" which is about a homeless veteran. I wrote it with DL Byron who sings it.  It's on his album "Satori." DL won a Grammy for Pat Benatar's hit "Shadows of the Night." I really enjoy writing. I constantly get stuck but unstick myself quickly.

Thanks you for joining us, Louie! Best of luck with future picture book writing as well as all that song writing. Very cool...
Louie Lawent is the author of the picture book "Gerty The Pig" which is in schools across the United States. The book is part of the National Accelerated Readers Program. He is also a lyricist with his works featured on rock, country and children's releases. His co-written song "One More Father's Son" is on Grammy award-winning D.L. Byron's latest CD "Satori." He co-wrote "Slippery Forces" with Boz Boorer which appears on Boz's CD "Some of the Parts." Louie co-wrote 10 children' songs with Steve Goodie which are featured on Steve's "Refrigerator Art" CD. Also, he co-wrote "Worms In The Can, Wieners On The Bun" on Canadian children's recording artist Erick Traplin's CD "A Little More." Louie is an avid Green Bay Packers fan and enjoys table tennis. You can find Louie on FACEBOOK.
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Wistful YA~FINGERS IN THE MIST & Giveaway!

Wistful YA is my reoccurring spotlight, giving young adult literature center stage.

TOUR SCHEDULE
If you like creepy, then you're in the right place. But honestly, even if you're not a huge fan of all that's chilling and shrilling I think you'd enjoy my next YA spotlight.

AMAZON | GOODREADS | B&N | KOBO | TBD
FINGERS IN THE MIST
by O'dell Hutchison

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Pages: 280

I'd like to thank the publisher for supplying me with an eCopy in exchange for an unbiased review.

Favorite Line/Passage: I turn to see Mason lying on the ground, his entire body wracked with convulsions. His back arches until the top of his head sits on the road. His hands hover above the ground, shaking as if he'd been electrocuted. All at once, his body goes flaccid, collapsing into silence. His blue eyes stare at the sky, unblinking against the huge drops of rain that spatter them. Black gunk seeps from the corner of his mouth and blood streams from his nose. (page 3)

Description: Sixteen-year-old Caitlyn Foster never believed in the legend of the Redeemers. That was before the trees started to whisper her name. Before a murder of crows attacked the town. Before she and her family came home to find a bloody handprint on their front door, marking one of them as a sacrifice. As Caitlyn’s friends are ripped from their homes, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the Redeemers come for her. Caitlyn has the power to stop the terror, but she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save those she loves. 
NIGHTSTAND WORTHY!

My Splats: a super eerie tale of a town living complacently under the blanket of invisible fear.

Caitlyn has a distinct voice, real and tangible. Her past mistakes are upfront from the opening of the story. Her strong will is a nice touch and it bounces nicely off her judgmental stepmother. Her risk-taking quality adds tension and suspense throughout the tale. I'm sure young people will either relate to her verve or secretly wish they had a bit of it for themselves. As far as the opening of the story, what I liked the most is the mystery of Cait feeling as though she's being watched and why it makes her tense to sudden anger. It's obvious to her and the reader that the town is different.

At a few points, the townsfolk seem too accepting of the legend of these Redeemers and living under their threat. But I believe that was a tactic used by the author to rattle the reader. It actually brought me deeper into the story, thinking how I would get out of this if most around me believed it to be true. Like they had no choice. 

The story began to feel similar to the film The Village, which made me nervous that it wouldn't be original. Then Caitlyn, three of her old friends, and a baby do something (no spoilers here), which turns the tale into its own. The dynamics of the four former now reacquainted friends, their hardships and pains, longings and regrets goes a long way to carry this tale toward the climax.

Creepy! Towards the climax, I kept getting the image of a Stephen King town--dank darkness, eerie stillness, a controlling force beneath the surface, and figures in the shadows. Very cool. And then a mystery about her mother and family tosses Caitlyn for a loop, adding even more strain and pulling in the guilt from her past mistakes mentioned at the beginning. There's conflict right up until the ending scenes, where she must choose right from wrong, only those lines are so blurred the reader is never quite sure what she'll do. 

The only misgiving I can sight is that spells are often mentioned but never really explained or shown. I would have loved a little description or scene showing that. 

I'd recommend this story to young adult and adult readers, who have a special love for the creepy, but also for those who like a good mystery. 

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About the Author: 

O’Dell was born in a small rural town in Idaho. There were no Redeemers living there (that he knows of). After attending college in the Pacific Northwest, he found his way to the Houston area. By day, he is a Business Systems Analyst and at night you can either find him sitting at home, dreaming of random super powers he wishes he had, or directing plays and musicals at various theaters around Houston.

Do you like creepy reads? What's the last one you read?
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