Tag Archives: books

Life imitates Art

Waking up to the beauty of sunrise over the mountains is something I appreciate every day. I’m currently reading and loving KATERINA’S WISH by Jeannie Mobley, which has cover art that reminds me of my sunrises.

This is exactly the kind of book that made me love reading. It’s the story of an immigrant girl who has big dreams for her family and works hard to make them happen.

The writing is beautiful and each character is lovingly created in a way to make them memorable and a hero of their own story. Mobley weaves in little stories and folk tales in a way that is charming and important to both character development and plot.

Cover Reveal for my debut picture book!

“In this charming STEM book, children will see how the light of the full moon inspires Aliana to create a present for her brother Gustavo which will surprise the whole family.”

ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON releases 2/19/2019 with Eifrig Publishing and is available for preorder now at EifrigPublishing.com and Amazon.com

Beautifully illustrated by Ariel Boroff

Full Moon Announcement

The full moon, has always been an inspiration for me. On this full moon, I’m happy to announce that I have signed contracts with my publisher and my illustrator for a book that will be released in early 2019!

Photo of the harvest moon 9/24/2018

Why did you name him Charlie?

Two months ago, I brought home a wonderfully sweet Goldendoodle puppy and named him Charlie. The three questions I am most often asked:

What kind of dog is he? What’s his name? (Followed by)

Why did you name him Charlie?

I had decided on the name Charlie earlier in the week, knowing we were going to meet him that Saturday. I thought about other names, tried saying them softly and calling them loudly. I never wavered. Charlie felt right. I didn’t have any specific connection to the name, no it’s not the name of an old boyfriend, I just liked the way it sounded. I had a few other names suggested to me but nothing came close. I waited until the following day, having said “Charlie” to my new bundle of joy many times in the first 36 hours and watching him respond. It’s a happy name that fits the expert criteria of naming a dog: 2 syllables and ending in an E sound so they can distinguish their name from other commands.

It wasn’t until this week, when I reread my favorite book from childhood, All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, that I realized where my affinity for the name began. This charming story published in 1951 and set in 1912, centers around a Jewish immigrant family living on the lower east side of New York with five daughters. Their family friend, one of only two nonJewish characters in the book is named Charlie. I don’t want to give anything away, because I highly recommend this book, but I now understand why I loved the name from all those years ago.

A writer’s life

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend at a writers conference this weekend with an amazing faculty of agents, editors, and authors. In addition to the outstanding experts, I was surrounded by inspiring writers in my critique groups, workshops, and I also had a fantastic roommate to share writing with.

After the conference, I met up with a friend and came across this quote from Louis L’Amour and it made me think of writing, or more accurately, revising. I’m sure other writers and artists will be able to relate.

Thoughts on book reviews

Recently I’ve seen several discussions about the value or harm of book reviews. Authors need them to help with sales and even negative reviews aren’t necessarily going to hurt sales.

 

Negative reviews Evidently, some people write negative reviews and go so far as to tag the author in them. I’m not sure why anyone thinks that’s acceptable. Bad manners are never okay.There are also many reviews I’ve seen (I only read them after reading a book) that go out of their way to be mean.

The value of reviews Feelings about reviews range from “they are important and I depend on them before I make a purchase,” to “I never read them and I don’t write them.” I weighed in on a Twitter discussion saying I only write reviews if I like a book. I read 50 books in 2017 and liked the vast majority. I don’t think that’s because I’m an “easy grader.” I believe it’s because I choose well. I ask people whose opinions I trust for recommendations and make an educated decision of what to read. Of the 50 books, I didn’t finish one because I just couldn’t get through it. I know it is a beloved book by most people who’ve read it, including people I know well. I didn’t review it because my opinion wouldn’t be helpful to someone considering reading it. I didn’t choose well when I tried reading it.

Writing community on Twitter weighs in Back to the Twitter discussion: One response argued that it’s not helpful if I only write positive feedback. Another went so far as to say, if they read something they don’t like, they feel a negative review might be helpful to the author as a way to improve in the future.

Opinions My opinion, and that’s what a review is – OPINION – is that when you are weighing in on someone’s art, your voice is only helpful to those who share your frame of reference. I occasionally read genres I don’t really care for to expand my horizons as a writer, but I wouldn’t write a negative review. Obviously I’m not the target audience and my opinion isn’t going to be meaningful to a person who likes the genre.

What are your thoughts on reviews? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

Catalina and the King’s Wall

Today’s post is about a soon to be released book and the current kickstarter campaign. I was lucky enough to spend time with the author at a retreat last fall and we have become friends and writing partners since then.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Boise, Idaho with my husband, a toddler, a dog named Pippa, and a dog named Spencer. I have a BA in Psychology from the University of St Thomas and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. I currently work in higher education and have had my research on attention and implicit processing published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Consciousness and Cognition, and Psychological Science.

I was inspired to write my first book, Catalina and the King’s Wall, while attending the Women’s March in January 2017. I am excited to say that the book has successfully garnered a lot of attention and pre-orders, well before the launch date of May 5th, 2018. I am also currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise PR funds and also funds for local refugee organizations.  https://www.kickstarter.com/about

My background in neuroscience helped me to write my first picture book. It is designed to be a teaching tool for progressive parents to discuss current events with their young children.

I am an active member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and my local Idaho-Utah chapter of SCBWI. I am a member of 12 x 12, a supportive community for picture book writers, encouraging us to write a new picture book a month. I recently was offered representation by a New York Agency and I am currently working on my second picture book.

What inspired your book, Catalina and the King’s Wall?

I was inspired to write this book after I took my son to my local women’s march in January 2017 following the combative U.S. presidential election. I stood with him on that cold and snowy day and wondered: What kind of world was he born into? How will he learn to always be kind? I was deeply concerned, yet hopeful because of the turnout at the march. I wrote my book to help parents discuss these questions with their kids in a fun story format that children can relate to. I would love for all kids to hear the story of a persistent cookie baker named Catalina and how she never gave up on seeing her family again.

Tell us about your main character.

I really love how Catalina turned out. Catalina is a talented young baker, away from home, happily baking for the king. However, she learns that the king wants to build a wall to keep anyone who is “different” out. She realizes that her family, due to visit her soon, won’t be able to visit if a wall is built. She is too busy baking to take time off to go visit them. Catalina is determined to come up with a plan to stop the king from building his wall. She is persistent, never giving up on her dream of seeing her family. She speaks in baking puns and a positive tone. When she is trying to come up with her next idea, she says to herself “Oh, for goodness bakes!” and when the king demands more of more of her cookies, even when yelling that he does not like them, she thinks to herself “He really frosts my cookies!”

What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?

I think parents will find the underlying message and subtle political jabs – both in the text and the illustrations – amusing. I think kids will like it because it talks about cookies, cake and frosting! They will like Catalina’s silly way of talking in baking puns and how persistent she is in standing up for what she believes in. She is the true underdog to root for and kids will be rooting for her the entire story!

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a non-fiction picture book biography. I was recently offered representation by a New York Agency, but I am not allowed to say more until a book deal is made – most likely later this spring.