Showing posts from 2017

What's your secret?

Today I get to find out the secret which inspired that fun children's book,  Mamá Graciela’s Secret by Mayra Calvani. Hurray! It's a lovely picture book with mouthwatering foods, gorgeous scenery, and cats! You can find my review of  Mamá Graciela’s Secret here , and learn more about  Mamá Graciela’s Secret  at my earlier blogpost. But now, meet the author, and learn her real secret... The Inspiration behind ‘Mamá Graciela’s Secret’ By Mayra Calvani All my books have a special place in my heart, but my latest children’s picture book, Mamá Graciela’s Secret, has an even more special place. This is because it was inspired by my paternal grandmother, also named Graciela. Mamá Graciela was a very sweet, generous, selfless person. And a passionate dog lover. She rescued many dogs not from shelters but right from the streets and at one point had like 30 dogs living under her roof. She just couldn’t stand the idea of an animal suffering the harsh life of the streets. Whe

Why do they want us to write in just one genre? (And other questions)

I've read lots of Christopher McPherson's novels: And I've enjoyed them all. So today I'm delighted to welcome him to my blog, where we can sit chatting over virtual coffee and virtual gluten-free cookies. Find a mug and a plate and sit with us. Welcome Christopher! Thank you for inviting me to participate in an interview for your blog! My pleasure.  When did you start writing stories? When I was a child, I was sick with allergies and asthma. I spent a lot of time home by myself because my parents both worked. I read, and created make-believe worlds with various animal friends. Later, I started writing for my high-school newspaper. That led to a career as a journalist, writing for newspapers, magazines, radio and a little television. The natural progression from there was wri

Is it better to give up or to persevere?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Edward Dron, author of the lovely pillow-time picture-book, Pillow Parade . He's offered to let us know why he wrote this sweet tale of sheep and a rabbit--and a child who can't get to sleep. Thank you for joining us Edward... The Story behind The Pillow Parade As a parent, you always want to pass on the things you’ve learned about life to your children. A big part of our role, as parents, is to help our kids navigate this tricky world. One thing I’ve noticed is how important it is to not give up - to persevere. There are a number of independent studies that back this up. Researchers have found that the number one predictor of success is grit. Basically, it’s the ability to get up after you’ve been knocked down. You often hear stories of how successful authors, entrepreneurs, musicians, and actors faced an enormous amount of rejection, resistance, and frustration. They didn’t give up.  They persevered.  As Bill Bradley once said

Where do Epic Fantasies come from?

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Robert Donohue to my blog. His epic fantasy series, Then Came A King, starts with the novel, Child of Creation , and he's been touring the internet, letting readers know more about it. So, fellow readers and writers, find some coffee, maybe a few gluten-free cookies, and meet Robert with me. I know Child of Creation is a fantasy. Is this the only genre  you write, Robert, and if so, why?  I write to relax.  I enjoy reading Epic Fantasy novels and so, my first published book is in that genre.  I grew up reading Louis L’Amour and Clive Cussler though, so I have a desire to try that genre at some point, and I have started about half a dozen times a book about my adventures in Baghdad, Iraq in 2004 when I was there serving as a police advisor helping to stand up a democratic policing presence in a country that had none.  Basically, I just like to write, and the fantasy genre is the most open, allowing me to be the most creative with ch

Where do paranormal and normal collide?

Not everything in life lends itself to easy explanation. Not everything in fiction either, and sometimes the not quite normal worlds of fiction are all the more believable for not explaining everything. Sometimes it's enough just to live, for a little while, in an unreal, paranormal place, looking back perhaps at the real and seeing how much is beyond our understanding. Sometimes it's good to remember we don't know it all. Otherwise we get caught up in arguments about things we don't completely know, and forget to listen to those hints of truth behind the fiction, myth, history or imagination. I enjoy fiction, myth, history and imagination. I'm totally sure there's more out there than I'll ever wrap my mind around. I believe there's much that's been revealed, but that's for my other blog-- inspired by faith and science . Meanwhile I'll read. Find yourself a coffee and see if any of these nicely paranormal tales capture your imagination as t

What is women's fiction?

Goodreads makes me tag books when I review them. Somehow I got the idea I was meant to tag them by genre, and somewhere along the line I started tagging some books as dealing with "women's issues." Of course, that kind of begs the question, what I a women's issue. And should I really just have tagged them women's fiction? A female protagonist, possibly wounded, probably by the men in her life, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds... or maybe not overcoming... used, abused... I'm not sure if this makes it women's fiction any more than a male protagonist struggling to recover from a mountain of trials makes something men's fiction. As a girl I preferred my brother's action adventure stories to those with simperingly beautiful girls that were offered to me. As a teen I loved science fiction with adventurous scientists (usually men) solving mysteries of the universe. As a young adult I liked men's action stories, maybe war stories, and more.

Do you like cats?

Today I'm featuring a children's picture book with real character, voice and plot - a very satisfying read in pictures and words, and highly recommended. It even has a version printed in the Dyslexic Font, the typeface for people with dyslexia. Go to to find out more about the typeface (I did - it's intriguing!) Mamá Graciela’s Secret by Mayra Calvani, illustrated by Sheila Fein - my review It’s nice to read a children’s book with letters accented so neatly, giving depth to the narrator’s voice. Mamá Graciela has a restaurant called La Bahía, and already I need to learn how to pronounce the words. Meanwhile I learn of delicious bacalaítos fritos and I want to taste them! Sheila Fein’s illustrations in this book and bright and warm, perfectly complementing the Mayra Calvani’s warm, inviting story. And it’s not just a story about food. There are cats “like my children, the ones I never had.” And such wonderful cats… and so many cats! I l

Have you read yourself into another world recently?

I love books. I love being transported to other worlds, historical, geographical, futuristic, fantastical... I guess they free me from thoughts of this world, allowing me to look back with a different perspective, maybe seeing the present differently because I've imagined myself into somewhere else. To some extent, reading a good book is like becoming an immigrant again. And being an immigrant gives anyone a perspective unique to their past as well as their future--a perspective the judge told me never to forget when he welcomed me into American citizenship. So I like books... ... and since I like reading and writing books, I also like writing book reviews. Here are a few. Find some coffee (the rating is for flavor, not quality), and see if you'll want to read any of these. Marriage Before Death by Uvi Poznansky transports readers to WWII France, where an American tries not to be caught as a spy, while the girl he loves tries to save him. It's fifth in the author's

Why do Adults read Kids' Books?

I went shopping with a friend and a book-store voucher. We wandered aisles, greeting familiar books like lost friends, reminiscing on tales we had loved, and drinking coffee (of course). I had stopped to admire some boxed sets of children's books earlier (I have a fondness for series), and an assistant directed me to other, excellent children's books. Now my friend directed me to some that she had loved, either as a child or with a child. I picked them up, couldn't resist, and spent my voucher soon afterward. But why do I, an adult, love kids' books so much? Partly, I think, it's the change of pace. I like the chance to read something quick, bite-sized perhaps, and learn the whole story in one session. I like the fact that children's books, unlike adult short stories, include a complete sense of time, place and plot, beginning middle and end. And I like the directness of children's books--the way the authors aren't afraid to have a message and to tell

Why are Book Covers such a Big Deal?

Today I'm delighted to welcome Marissa Thomas to my blog, author of the intriguingly titled, How Not to Succeed in Hollywood . Her book, as you'll see below, has a seriously eye-catching cover, and she's going to tell us, perhaps, how to succeed in writing... or at least... Why Book Covers Are So Important by Marissa Thomas             I’ve always been a painter.  Not the tortured soul kind, willing to sacrifice food to buy canvas and spread my message to the world, but I enjoy my craft.  Mostly portrait paintings for friends and family.  For events and Holidays, or just having craft time with my mother.  I’ve always been familiar with the statement that a picture is worth a thousand words.  It’ll capture your attention, or inspire you to look the other way.  I was also familiar with this concept, since pretty much all productions, film, television, and theatrical have some sort of picture to capture an audience’s attention, and make them want to see the performa

Red Army all-female fighter regiment?

Today I'm delighted to welcome C. S. Taylor, author of Nadya's War, to my blog. His novel tells of a young pilot with the Red Army's 586th all-female fighter regiment! Having never imagined such a regiment existed, I'm eager to know where his inspiration came from. So find yourself a coffee, sit back, and read on. Welcome C. S. Taylor! The Inspiration Behind ‘Nadya’s War’ by C.S. Taylor Some nameless, late night many moons ago, I was doing what I do best when trying to write, namely surfing the web and finding every excuse—and inventing a few more—I could to not look at MS Word and actually type something out. Somewhere between articles telling me that “These ten unexpected, cuddly things will kill you” and “which type of mason brick are you?” I stumbled upon an article dealing with the Night Witches and was mesmerized. For those who know little or nothing about them (and most don’t) the Night Witches were a group of female pilots in the Red Army Air’s