Thursday, December 11, 2014

Celia and Nonna, by Victoria Lane, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Celia and Nonna, by Victoria Lane, is the story of a young girl who cherishes her visits with her Nonna.  But when Nonna starts to forget things, she moves into a home where people can help her remember the  things she must.  At first Celia does not like Nonna's new home; it smells like lemons and vinegar and the walls are gray and bare.  But then Celia finds a way to hold onto the fond memories she and her Nonna shared together.  

Celia and Nonna is a heartwarming story about change, adapting, and finding joy wherever you are.  Illustrations by Kayleen West are a lovely addition to this picture book which is an excellent way to help children learn to accept change.  

Celia and Nonna has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Fingerpaint Masterpiece, by Sherrill S. Cannon, Earns the CLC Seal of Approval







My Fingerpaint Masterpiece is the story of a child whose fingerpainting project gets blown away by the wind.  To the child's dismay, the painting finds its way to an art gallery where it ends up being judged along with the other paintings in a show.

Sherrill S. Cannon has created a picture book in rhyme which explores the concept of art and it's value and perception to others.  My Fingerpaint Masterpiece is a multifaceted book with several underlying messages including the importance of seeking and speaking the truth.

This book would make an excellent classroom or library book and will provide excellent opportunities for open discussion.  My Fingerpaint Masterpiece has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Recommended Reading - Kid Presidents



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 No-one can claim perfection and that goes for the many and varied individuals who have graced our nation's history to serve as President of the United States. From Washington to Obama, this book introduces a younger version of the men who eventually went on to become the leaders of this great nation. Whimsical stories with illustrations that enhance the good-natured tone of this book help keep it a fun read from beginning to end. Readers of all ages will enjoy reading Kid Presidents which is as entertaining as it is educational. Young readers are sure to find comfort and inspiration knowing that even our nation's great leaders experienced bullying, clumsiness, getting into trouble and more. 

Kid Presidents is a great read which reinforces the point that anyone can grow up to be president.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Seal of Approval Recipient, Precious Bones by Mika Ashley-Hollinger




Occasionally we come across a book which transports us to another time or place as it feeds the mind and nurtures the soul; Precious Bones is one of those joyously rare literary finds.   

Precious Bones is the entrancing story of Bones, a ten year old girl growing up in the swamplands of Florida in the 1940s.  In this, her debut novel, Author Mika Ashley-Hollinger has conjured up a vividly colorful cast of characters that nearly saunter off the pages of her book to take up residence in the hearts of its readers.

Bones is a bright girl who isn't afraid of much.  But when her daddy is put in jail on charges of murder, she's afraid it will take a miracle to set him free.  With wide-eyed curiosity and wiser-than-her-years introspection, she resolves to get answers and find her own miracles. 

Growing up in a small town, steeped in culture and folklore, she is embraced by a community which nurtures her inquisitive nature. Bones and her best-friend do a little sleuthing of their own as they search for evidence that will absolve her father of any wrong-doing.  Along the way she learns that sometimes one must search beneath the surface of things to find real truth . . . and that things aren't always as they seem.

Precious Bones is a book that will intrigue and delight readers of all ages and is sure to become a timeless classic.  This book has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval and is highly recommended for home and school libraries.



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Author Spotlight - Award Winning Author Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg

 
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg

 
on her award winning title...
The Cockroach Invasion
 
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
I have published eleven nonfiction books total, so far, all on different subjects: Breadcrumbs for Beginners: Following the Writing Trail; Diabetes ABC; Imperfect Weddings are Best; Recess is Over! No Nonsense Strategies and Tips for Student Teachers and New Teachers; It’s All Thought! The Science, Psychology, and Spirituality of Happiness (Teacher’s Guide); Autism ABC; The Bogeyman: Stalking and its Aftermath; Toxic Attention: Keeping Safe from Stalkers, Abusers, and Intruders; Be the Boss of Your Brain! Take Control of Your Life; Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul (Story); Into the Hornet’s Nest: An Incredible Look at Life in an Inner City School.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
When I was in the third grade, I would write stories at night, and my teacher would let me read them to the class the next morning. I loved sharing the adventures of the twins, Tizzy and Izzy. (I was shocked, in later years, to find that people actually had those names!). Unfortunately, I was an exceptional reader, and compared my beginner writings with those of adult professional authors. There was no comparison. So, at the tender age of seven, I decided that I couldn’t write. And I didn’t write, for another forty years. (I wasted all that time, when I could have been practicing!)
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE?
Since I thought I could never be a writer, in the fifth grade, I decided to become an archaeologist. I even founded an Archaeology Club. My friends and I would meet at separate houses each month, and share books, articles, maps, and things we’d learned. And we had refreshments. I maintained a large scrapbook of our interests. My favorite motivating book was, The Complete Book of Marvels, by Richard Haliburton. It was fascinating! I held on to this dream, until around the 7th grade, when I found out that there was no running water at the digs. I was shaken to the core! Realizing that I wouldn’t be able to take bubble baths, I moved on to other interests. (My younger brother, however, also read the book, and caught the same history bug. And when he became older, he made 51 trips down into Aztec and Mayan territories, as an amateur archaeologist. (He had a large family, and businesses to run, so his passion became a hobby, instead of a career. He did, in fact, give many speeches about the topic and his adventures. One day, when he was visiting me from Oregon, he came across my old Archaeology scrapbook, and went nuts! He took that, and my beat-up copy of Haliburton’s book, and I never saw them again.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR TITLE?
The Cockroach Invasion says it all! The incident actually happened in my third grade classroom, years ago, and every time I thought of it, I laughed. So I decided to share the fun, and write about the invasion of kajillions of cockroaches that erupted out of Room 8’s classroom sink. 
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER.
The book publisher wanted each of the 21 small sketches on a separate disk, so I placed the disks in a tall black plastic canister, which didn’t allow marker ink to be seen. And the lid had a complicated handle on the top, so there was no way to add my name, or the title of the book. I couldn’t see how the publisher would be able to identify the title. So, I placed three realistic-looking cockroach stickers on the lid, thinking he could easily figure it out. I then took the canister to the Mail Service, so it could be carefully packed. When I got to the front of the line, I pushed the canister across the counter, and the owner freaked. Shouting, “You’ve got cockroaches!”, he waved his arms, back and forth, repeating himself as he backed up. His young female assistant, made gulping sounds, looking somewhat like a gasping fish, as she backed up alongside her boss. They both smacked into the wall behind them, and couldn’t go any further. They appeared to be terrified! During their histrionics, I was saying, “No, no, no, no,” while flapping my arms, trying to reason with them. Finally, when all else failed, I just started laughing. Because this was an unexpected response, they both calmed down, as I turned to address the long line people behind me, who were watching the nonsense with saucer-sized eyes. I simply explained, “I wrote a book about cockroaches,” as I shrugged my shoulders. Everyone was agog.
  I left to drive to a local restaurant, where five friends were giving me a birthday lunch that day. I was so excited to tell them all about the fuss. I was laughing as I told the story. They, in turn, were horrified. All displayed prune faces. They looked like they had swallowed vinegar. After tackling serious subjects, for so many years, they couldn’t believe that I was going to write about cockroaches. They thought I had taken leave of my senses, and were not supportive in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Oh, well. They couldn’t deter me in the least, because I thought the story was funny, with great teaching possibilities.
  The kicker was that almost a year later, I went back to the Mail Service, and gave the owner a printed copy of The Cockroach Invasion. We laughed about the incident together. Then he excitedly told me that when he took a step inside his shop that morning, there was a dead cockroach on the floor. He remembered me, and thought it might be a sign. And then, suddenly, I marched through the door!
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
I read a book a day (when I’m not writing, that is). And I always have two to six books going at a time. I read most anything and everything (except for horror, graphic medical and grisly autopsy scenes, or porn). As such, I’ve read tons of authors, and glean info from them all, even if it’s just, “Yikes! Don’t do this!” I wrote a book called Breadcrumbs for Beginners: Following the Writing Trail, which quotes scores of wonderful well-known authors.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
How can one book stand out among thousands upon thousands? Many have meant so much to me that I have bought them for others. But, in terms of long-term impact, I will go back to The Complete Book of Marvels, by Richard Haliburton.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
According to the FBI, I have the dubious honor of being the longest-stalked person in the nation (over 50 years). The bulk of my experiences happened before the word stalking was coined or understood, so no one knew what I was talking about. As such, I set about to raise awareness. I helped as many victims as possible, on a one-to-one basis, until the numbers became too great. So I wrote The Bogeyman: Stalking and its Aftermath (2003) which chronicles my personal experiences up to that point, as well as a companion How-To: Toxic Attention: Keeping Safe From Stalkers, Abusers, and Intruders (2003). I was interviewed on numerous radio, television, and cable stations. I spoke at many conferences, conventions, and organizations. I received a ton of press, but it was a half-page article in the Los Angeles Times, by Jill Stewart, that really got things rolling. Former students from all around California, began calling. They couldn’t believe that I was being stalked, when they were in my third grade classes, and were irate.
Many movie producers sent me letters, imploring me to sign their contracts. So many, in fact, that I had to hire a media lawyer to sift through them, and find the best representation. I then signed with the William Morris Agency, for a year. As we were finally going into production, the O.J. trial began, and that was the end of that. Everyone in the world knew who Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden were, and, sadly, no one knew me. So I was kicked to the curb (understandable from a business standpoint), and they both signed contracts.
Years later, one morning in 2011, I received a phone call from a man I didn’t know, and thinking it was at my stalker’s behest, I hung up on him. He called again later, and I hung up on him. When he called a third time in the afternoon, I gave him a big lecture, which he waited out. He then explained that he was a TV producer in New York, and wanted to film my book, for the Investigation Discovery Channel (ID). I was thrilled, thinking he was talking about my latest book. Our conversation was confusing, until I finally blurted out, “What book are you talking about?” Imagine my surprise! So, The Bogeyman became the Premier episode (12/12/12) of the Stalking: Someone’s Watching series. I’ve been told that it is their most popular rerun, and I can always tell when it is shown, because more copies are sold. (Not many people can say that they hung up on a producer!)
A side story: On October 4, 2014, I hung up on yet another man. He called back, wanting to talk to my husband. When he got on the phone, my husband paled. The caller was his long-lost son (that the family hadn’t heard from in 32 years)! He and his wife had been watching my TV show rerun (in Texas), in which both my husband and I were interviewed. The two discussed the situation, and decided to make contact. How exciting is that?! We immediately informed the rest of the family! 
CAN YOU PROVIDE ANY TIPS FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Perseverance is the best trait you can have. No matter what set-backs befall you, keep on truckin’. Move forward. Don’t take no for an answer. Let nothing deter you from your goal. Find a way to accomplish what you want. Stay positive. 
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO PROMOTE BOOKS?
Promotion is not my area of expertise. I suggest using all the free publicity you can find, before you start spending money on publicity. My latest book, The Cockroach Invasion, has nothing to do with Halloween, but it is a scary subject for most people, and the cover of the book is scary to many, so I saturated my publicity in October. I had a Book Signing, lengthy articles in two newspapers and one magazine, and ads in four newspapers. At the same time, it won six awards, so it was listed on six different websites. 
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEXT BOOK.
On the last page of The Cockroach Invasion (p.116), readers are invited to choose the next adventure, featuring Room 8 third graders. There are seven titles. All revolve around science and/or mysteries in some way (ants, worms, snails, experiments, trees, footprints, volcanoes), and are incidents that actually happened in my classroom over the years. If there is not enough interest shown, however, I will return to writing adult nonfiction.
LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Monday, December 1, 2014

Author Spotlight - Award Winning Author L.D. Taylor

Author L.D. Taylor



on her award winning title:



AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
Either a musician or a writer. Too bad we don't have a "bard" job these days (probably should have been born in the Middle Ages).
WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?: Around age 12 -- I understood it was one of my strongest skills (so I thought I might be a journalist) but then I realized I wanted to tell stories... actually that I was kind of compelled to tell stories, even if I didn't want to. I knew that some of the things I would write would be challenging for me to say and possibly (at times) for others to hear. 
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?:
My sons, who were then coming into their teenage years, inspired me to write to young people, and to set the story in the videogame industry. I was already quite familiar with this industry because of my work with 3D animation companies and magazines -- I had visited many game development studios as part of that. I wanted to make it a mystery partly because I loved mysteries myself, but also because mysteries were the "games" I played as a kid. The video game is in many ways just the next iteration of the detective novel.  
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? Motive Games 2: Death Down Under 
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
My whole family gets involved in writing the mysteries... especially my husband who is a computer programmer. However, I don't fill in any of the details for them until I've drafted a chapter. My youngest (daughter) who is not yet a teenager, always says after I read the draft... "Ah no. Not another cliff hanger. You can't stop there! What happens next." To which I always answer, "I have no idea. But I can't wait to find out!"
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?:
I read many YA authors and do try and emulate their style to some degree... however, I also have my own unique voice as well. Authors who have influenced the style used in Motive Games would be: JK Rowling, Louis Sacchar, Madeleine L'Engle, and C.S. Lewis
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?:
The book that most impacts my life is an ancient work of non-fiction and poetry that records the teachings of my best friend. But in terms of fiction I think I would have to say The Chronicles of Narnia.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?:
Getting traditionally published. After that: winning two awards with my debut novel (including a Literary Classics award).
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?:
I spent decades writing professionally as a copywriter and trade publication journalist. I also spent years studying literature (I have a BA in English Lit and History). It really helps to both read and practice writing. You also need to study the art of writing in your genre. Once you have a really solid story, written in the best practices of your genre, seek out small presses. Few debut authors get published immediately with one of the "Big 5" publishing houses. 
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
I think that having a presentation prepared on one of the key themes of your book -- and seeking out opportunities to speak to your target audience -- can be one of the most important ways to get the word out about your book to the right people. Other than that: enter awards (good media opportunities there) and have a website that you keep up to date.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?:
Balance your life with more active things as well as reading. It's by getting out there and "living" that we find topics to write on.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?:
I am planning a third Motive Games book ... and you'll never guess where this one will be set.... 
It will most likely be available via Rhza press. I'm hoping it will be available in fall 2016.





LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Author Spotlight - Award Winning Author, Jennifer Gibson



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?: It wasn’t until after I graduated from Sheridan College in Illustration that I began to become more interested in writing. While attending school, I had been taking additional courses such as photography and creative writing. My writing professor loved my stories and had encouraged me to seriously consider switching full time to Creative Writing. I can remember thinking that I was very surprised that my professor would say that to me and I had always kept that in the back of my mind. I loved writing, but I also enjoyed art and photography.

After I had spent several years running my own business as a illustrator and photographer, I began to grow more interested in writing. Intrigued, I decided to go back to school and focused on Creative Writing. To my surprise, I found that I had a knack for it and it felt so right to do this. Then one day, I met the singer Michael Buble in Toronto. I just happened to be in the area where he was performing later that night and he decided to approach me. He was wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans with a baseball cap which cast a shadow across his face. I didn’t know who he was until he spoke to me. He asked, in a husky voice, “May I help you?” I knew that voice! I replied, rather shyly, “Are you Michael Buble?” He said yes, then leaned in and gave me a hug. As he took a step back, he held onto my hand and gazed at me, really slowly, from head to toe and exclaimed, “You look beautiful.” I’ve never had a man treat me with so kindness as he did that day. He made me feel right at home, like an old friend. At that concert a few hours later, as I watched him perform, something clicked in me. That was the moment that I realized that I needed to listen to my heart. He inspired me to go after my dreams. Call it a quirk of fate but I think that this chance meeting was meant to happen.

After that, I sat down and began writing the first book in the trilogy series, Sway, about a hearing impaired teen. I chose to base it on my life and incorporate actual scenarios so that the readers could make a strong connection. It worked, just a few months after I self-published it on KOBO, it became a TOP 50 bestseller. It was at that moment that I truly realized that I made the right choice.


AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I wanted to be an artist like my mother and a photographer like my father. Both were doctors but they had hobbies that they were passionate about which appealed to me. They taught me to go after my passion and follow my heart. They believed in doing something that was truly enjoyable and they were right. I love my job as an illustrator, book cover designer, photographer and writer - it doesn’t even seem like a job since I have so much fun doing it!


HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?: The title Sway was from a Michael Buble song which is featured in the story. It signifies the importance of a very special moment where Jessie falls in love with Ethan. Sway is also part of a theme for all of the books in the trilogy series, it conveys a sense of direction where the decisions we make in life can have a monumental impact in the future.

TELL US SOMETHING RANDOM/INTERESTING/FUNNY ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: I was recently on vacation in Florida and extremely ill from a sinus and double ear infection. I had to go to an emergency health care clinic and was standing at the nurses station getting my prescription when I noticed that one of the staff members was staring at me. She said, “I know you. Why is your name so familiar?” I reached in my purse and gave all of them my business cards which displayed the covers of my books. She looked at them, then replied, “I’ve seen your books online!” I was stunned speechless. Well, I had laryngitis at the time, but still, I was so surprised that I was recognized.

WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?: Several authors have made a huge impact on my writing. Growing up, I adored Madeleine L’Engle and her incredibly imaginative books such as A Wrinkle in Time as well as Gordon Kormon’s summer camp series, Bruno and Boots. That really instilled a sense of love for creative novels in me. JIm Butcher of the Dresden Files series and Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum adventures is definitely a contributing factor to my writing style. I learned a lot from them and truly admire their stories.

WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?: I would have to say A Wrinkle in Time from my childhood. Growing up, I had a really tough time in school where I was struggling with my disability, books were always a safe place for me to retreat to when I got home. It gave me freedom to explore my dreams and expand my imagination.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?: Producing a trilogy series based on my life growing up with a hearing loss is a deeply personal achievement. For my books to have received so much recognition and numerous awards is simply amazing. I’m thrilled that so many readers are enjoying my books and discovering what it’s like to have a hearing impairment at the same time.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?: I had originally self-published Sway at KOBO. As I continued to write the series, I decide to send out queries to publishers across Canada, hoping that someone would pick it up. After I went ahead and self-published the second book, Compass, I decided to try sending the queries to US publishers. Within months, all three of my books were chosen by Black Opal Books! This entire process took nearly two years, it didn’t happen overnight or within weeks. I knew that I had to follow my dreams and didn’t want to give up. That’s why I decided to try a different approach and it worked. Trust your instincts and keep going, you never know what will happen.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? Definitely get involved with social media such as Twitter, Facebook and have your own website. Those are huge marketing tools to use right now. It’s a great way to reach out to the readers and stay in touch with them. It may seem scary to do that but it’s worth it in the long run.


WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Compass (Book 2)
Destiny (Book 3)
A Touch of Winter (Black Opal Books Anthology).

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?: There’s a reason why we have dreams, they inspire the passion within us and give us a sense of hope for the future. And that’s exactly what we need.

All three of my books have special messages in them, where the overall theme is hope. Each book has an inspirational quote: For Sway - “To reach the stars…all you have to do is believe.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?: I’ve been writing a series of short stories and hoping to publish them soon. One of my short stories is being featured in a local anthology which is slated to be released later this year. I’m also interested in writing a science fiction novel which is a very exciting prospect and an entirely new perspective for me.


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Award Winning Author Spotlight - Michelle Lord



Author Michelle Lord on her award winning book Nature Recycles, How About You?



HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?  I wrote stories that I made into little books with pencil illustrations in 2nd grade. As an adult, I’ve been writing for almost ten years.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN WRITING? Probably my second grade teacher who used to read aloud to my class. She made unique voices for all the characters and read with such emotion. Charlotte’s WebStuart Little, and James and the Giant Peach all fueled my imagination. When I had my own kids I read to them too. These new books inspired me to start writing again. 

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?  I was and still am working on a middle grade novel that revolves around recycling. One of the scenes has an elephant and that got me to thinking about other animals recycling.

IS THIS YOUR FIRST BOOK?  No. My first book, Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin, was published by Lee & Low.

WHAT (IF ANY) OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin  
A Song for Cambodia   
Tide Pool Trouble   
The Quick Quarterback  

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
I’m currently working on a middle grade novel—I hope to finish it someday!

IF SO, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR NEXT BOOK WHEN IT WILL BE AVAILABLE, WHERE IT CAN BE PURCHASED, ETC...
Animal School [Fall 2014] from Holiday House
This is a NF book about animal classification in rhyme.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF: I live in Texas with my husband, three kids and three dogs. I plan to write more biographies—so many amazing people inspire me!

TELL US SOMETHING FUN/INTERESTING THAT OUR READERS MIGHT FIND FASCINATING ABOUT YOU: I was an exchange student and lived in Brazil for a year. There, I visited the Iguazu Falls, more than 270 waterfalls located on the border of Brazil and Argentina. I learned to speak Portuguese. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten how.

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME? I enjoy reading, writing, research, photography, movies, theatre productions and spending time with my family. I wish I enjoyed exercise!

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS AN AUTHOR?  My biggest challenge is not letting rejection stop me or get me down. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS? Keep reading and writing-- don’t give up.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? Readers can learn more about me and my books on my website www.michellelordwrites.com
Thanks to Literary Classics for honoring Nature Recycles!


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Author Spotlight - Tracy Helixon on her award winning book



Author, Tracy Schuldt Helixon, on her award winning book: Little Isaac’s Big Adventure


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! In fact, when I was five years old, my parents found me writing all over my baby brother. When they asked what I was doing, I told them he thought he was a piece of paper. My household had no shortage of creativity and imagination!
I’ve been a full-time writing teacher at Western Technical College in Wisconsin for the past fourteen years. About five years ago, I decided to become more serious and purposeful about my freelance writing. I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and started attending conferences. I’ve learned so much since that time!

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN WRITING?
When I was a child, my siblings, cousins, and I would write and perform plays for our family. My parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles always encouraged us. The process of creating the plays was so much fun, and the encouragement we received when we performed them fueled the fire.
I truly believe that the imagination and creativity they fostered carries far beyond writing and helps me in countless areas of my life—both personally and professionally. As an adult, writing helps me to tap into that creativity and energizes just about everything that I do.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
When my second son was a toddler, he used to ask me when it would be his turn to be the big brother and my oldest son’s turn to be the little brother. I realized that like so many children, he became frustrated when he couldn’t do all the things his older sibling could do. That concept helped to drive Little Isaac’s Big Adventure. And, in the book, my younger son DID get to be the big brother because I named the big brother character after him.

IS THIS YOUR FIRST BOOK?
Yes, and working with Guardian Angel Publishing has been wonderful. I’m grateful to be part of such a supportive group of writers and illustrators. The publisher, Lynda Burch, is amazing. I’m still in awe of what she accomplishes to support her writers and illustrators.
WHAT (IF ANY) OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
(PLEASE PROVIDE LINKS TO PURCHASE IF APPLICABLE)
I have short stories in three of Knowonder’s collections of short stories for children

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes! I’m thrilled to share that my next picture book, Caleb’s Light, will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing sometime in 2014 or 2015.
Caleb’s Light is a story close to my heart. It was inspired by a visit to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in Door County, Wisconsin. It’s a picture book about a forgotten time, when families lived in lighthouses to keep the light shining, rescue lost ships, and help sailors find their way. Everything changed when the lights became automated. Caleb’s Light is the story of a life-long friendship between a young boy and the lighthouse where he grew up.
The book will be available at Guardian Angel Publishing’s website, on my author website, and at Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s websites.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:
I live in Wisconsin with my husband, Chris, and our three children. We love to read together, play together, and go on family adventures. I’ve also been an English teacher at Western Technical College in Wisconsin for fourteen years; currently, I’m chair of the Communication Skills Department. I feel blessed that almost every day, I get to do the things I love—read, write, and spend time with family, friends, colleagues, and students who inspire me.

TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING THAT OUR READERS MIGHT FIND FASCINATING ABOUT YOU:
I have kissed the Blarney Stone (after all, every writer can use the gift of gab!) and climbed the stairs of William Butler Yeats’s tower. When I was in college, I lived in Ireland for four months and met my relatives who still live there. Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, my family celebrates with homemade Irish soda bread and Irish stew.

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
I like to run, read, write, play board games, and watch movies—sometimes on my own, and sometimes with friends and family.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW/MOVIE?
I have lots of favorites! The movie It’s a Wonderful Life and the TV series Little House on the Prairie are two at the top of my list.

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS AN AUTHOR?
My biggest challenge is making time to write. I’m blessed to have many good things happening in my life, and they all take time! I’m learning to be more purposeful about setting aside time for writing.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Read. Be open to feedback, and don’t be afraid to revise. You can always go back to the original if the changes don’t help your story, but you might uncover something wonderful in the process. Join a professional organization where you can learn from other writers and nurture the creative process.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY TIPS ON GETTING PUBLISHED?
First, enjoy the process! Never lose sight of the art of writing. The process of writing is like air for me. Getting published is a bonus.
Find a good critique group, and consider setting your work aside before sending it to a publisher. Then, you can look at it with fresh eyes and make it even better before you submit it.
If you are interested in a publisher, study what else the company has published to see if your story would be a good fit.
And remember--enjoy the process!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
To Young Readers:  If you like to write, keep writing! You can bring ideas and perspectives to your story that nobody else in the world can bring. Have fun telling the story that only you can tell!


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org