Saturday, May 27, 2017

My main Nemesis, On Computer, KIndle Fire, and especially my iPhone:

Writing is my favorite, task, past time, hobby, and job. Yet, there is a dark force that works against me as often as possible. You may have dealt with the Dark One yourself.  It lurks everywhere and it is as relentless as it is ruthless.


That unrelenting helper that keeps me sounding on a text as if I have had a minor stroke or am suffering from Dementia. Or both!

This seemingly benign application that changes my intentional "u" to an "i" and makes me sound awkward to people when I say "I have all my ducks in a row for the upcoming release."  My children send me those odd emoji faces and I have to go back and explain I meant DUCKS. My daughter writes back, "Say what now? I m intrigued but not interested, Mom."

When I send a garbled message to my daughter about an important temper tantrum of the seven-year-old autocorrect turns it into "She laid in the gloir and screaming with the bud out front."  I was simply trying to say the bus was out front while she laid on the floor.  I get the response, "Are you going to the doctor today?"

It is not funny when you call your child Hiney instead of Honey. Lucky for me, my daughters are considerate and loving and only ask about my health. 

One daughter asked if I was taking too much medicine.  All in all, Auto-Correct has made me appear as a weak woman with speech issues.  

My auto-correct needs autocorrect. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Me and Mister Bo by Dan Nimak is Free this Weekend only.

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Rainbug Books (May 17, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1945015179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1945015175


This book hits all the marks for an excellent read. The characters are people you want to meet and spend time with in your life. They have seen pain, happiness, and are looking for their next destination. I loved the heart of Taya and her decisions were mature and allowed her to find people and places she never thought possible.
Mister Bo was such a wonderful man, with his broken heart, yet an optimistic view of life. This is a book for anyone that thinks they have reached their destination and are a bit bored. It allows for a magical walk with some magical walkers. The side characters were just as powerfully written as the main and I have a different outlook now than I did when I first opened the book. When you meet all the side characters
The story unfolds in such a way that you are with them every step. I highly recommend this book for all ages.  With a strong female main character, this story is full of powerful moments and hard decisions. It is listed as action and adventure, and it is that but it is also tender, imaginative and exciting.
I first read Has Anyone Seen my Brain by Dan Nimak and I really enjoyed his style of writing. This is his first non-middle school book and it is a great beginning in a new genre. I have read other books by Dan Nimak, but this book took my heart, to a whole new level.
Me and Mister Bo is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition.

Special Announcement! 

This weekend only, the Kindle version is free to celebrate the launch of Me and Mister Bo.
This is the perfect time to grab a free copy.  Remember to leave a review, I always say that is the best payment for an Indie author’s time and energy.   Enjoy your special deal from Dan Nimak.

Meet Dan: 

picovalI was confirmed at birth as a total left-brainer – math degree and all (though the degree came several years later). Mysteriously, my memory didn’t kick in until the sixth grade, when I fell in love with books. I even tried “writing” one then. Thankfully, no copy of that masterpiece exists. I do remember someone died at the end, so it must’ve been YA instead of MG. Fast forward to three years ago: In an illogical attempt to verify right-brain vital signs, I decided to write a book. I’m not sure what happened, but I now have three completed novels, the most recent of which is “Me and Mister Bo.”

Ground Owls by Bryan Pentelow Presents a Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Post

Ava paused at the mouth of the cave to take in the panoramic view of Dragon World spread out before her. Cupcake, her bull terrier sat beside her and looked around as well, she also sniffed the slight breeze which tickled her nose. Scents of vegetables being roasted and spicy sauces cooking wafted up from the meeting camp below making Cupcake lick her lips in anticipation of tasty snacks and titbits to come. She yapped and wagged her tail vigorously, though Ava was quite aware of the dog’s wish for her to stop wasting time and get down to the kitchen as quickly as possible. Ava looked around for the small Scrap dragon who always accompanied her on trips to Dragon world and found him licking at an orange streak of iron oxide in a large pebble by the cave mouth.

“Come on Sprocket, Cupcake’s hungry for snacks and you can find plenty of tasty minerals when we get down to the bottom.”
They hurried down the path and while Cupcake followed her nose to the kitchen area to become best friends with the dragon in charge of the cooking, Sprocket scampered over to a promising pile of boulders. Ava walked over to the large red dragon standing at a writing desk carefully sorting and signing a stack of scrolls with a large flamboyant quill pen. “Good morning Llewellyn. You seem to be very busy with papers to sign. Do you have time for a chat?”
“With you Ava, I always have time to chat.” The huge dragon dropped a bundle of scrolls into a sack hanging from the side of the desk and placed a glass paperweight containing the image of a dragon breathing out a sheet of blue-white fire on the remaining stack of papers to prevent the breeze from scattering them far and wide.
Ava climbed onto a high stool and Llewellyn sat back on his haunches folding his arms across the top of his white scaled belly and resting his elbows on his knees. The girl felt totally at ease being close to the towering beast despite his sharp talons, mouth full of far too many sharp fangs and the spirals of smoke and steam rising from his nostrils. When she had first come through the portal from her world with her cousins and her parents she had been petrified of the fire-breathing monsters that had swooped down from the sky to greet them but the kindness and calmness of their telepathic greetings which had tickled her mind and made her laugh had completely overcome her fears. Now she felt confident and comfortable with dragons of all shapes and sizes and visiting their world was as natural as going to the shops with her mum.
“I’m glad you came today, I’ve something new to show you,” said Llewellyn, rubbing his hands together and causing his claws to click like castanets. “A group of Ground Owls has moved into the edge of the wood down by the river where the milk palms grow and the dinosaurs sent a message to say the young ones have just started leaving the nests. I thought you might like to see them.”
“Yes, please. What are Ground Owls? Can’t they fly?
“They can fly but usually hunt their prey by running along the ground though they do nest in holes in trees like other owls. Their wings are quite small and only good for gliding not for flying and they climb up to their nests using the sharp talons on their feet and a claw on their wing joints.”
“How big are they and what do they eat?”
The Adults are about thirty centimetres tall but over a third of that is leg length so they are no bigger than sixteen centimetres when perched. The babies are no larger than a tennis ball when they first leave the nest. They hunt and eat beetles and their particular favourites are the Rino beetles, the large grey ones with the two horns on their heads.” “But they are nearly as big as my dad’s hand; surely the baby owls can’t catch them?”
“Oh, they can catch them but are not strong enough to kill and eat them so have to start with smaller beetles.” “I would love to see them. Will you take me over there?”
“I’m afraid I have too much work to do today. But the wind is in the right direction so you could get your Tri-ley and sail over. One of the young dinos will tow you back when you’ve had enough.”
“Good thinking. Thanks for the idea. See you later.” With that Ava jumped down from her stool and whistling for Cupcake and Sprocket hurried off to get her Tri-ley from the shelter.
Within minutes she had unfolded the three-wheeled vehicle, rigged the mast and sail and with Cupcake sitting at the front like a ship’s figure-head was bowling across the lilac coloured grassland following the dinosaur trail to the milk palms by the river. Sprocket was ahead and above riding on the twin jet flames from his tail ducts. He performed loops and spirals enjoying the lower gravity of this world and leaving a pink vapour trail to mark his passage. She was careful to give the woods a wide birth as she approached the area where the dinosaurs lived and sent a thought to Cupcake not to bark and frighten the gentle creatures. Ava applied the brakes and furled the sail then walked slowly over to where one of the long-necked herbivores was stirring a huge vat of palm milk with a long wooden paddle.
“Hello, have you come to see the owlets or to try our latest batch of cheese?” The dinosaur lowered its head to look Ava in the eye as it laid the paddle on a long smooth wooden table.
Ava smiled and reaching out rubbed the top of the creature’s head which she knew they liked, while Cupcake rubbed her head against one of its thick, scaly legs.
“I’ve come to see the owls but if there is cheese to try I would love some after I’ve seen them. I will be hungry by then as I had breakfast rather early.”
Sprocket had gone looking for his friends among the young dinosaurs and returned at that point with one who knew where the owls were roosting.
“Follow my son and your dragon and they will lead you to the owls.” said the large dinosaur and the four friends set off. They moved slowly and quietly through the trees of the wood till they came to an open glade with three old rotten logs laying in the middle. Sprocket signalled for them to lay down and inch forward right to the edge of the clearing. For some minutes nothing happened and there was no movement in the clearing, then a fluttering blur dropped from one of the trees and there was an adult Ground Owl perched on one of the rotten logs.

The bird stretched as tall as it could, its head turning right round till it faced backwards then back the other way full circle to check for danger. Satisfied that all was safe it gave a high pitched screech then began running on the spot on top of the log.
The wood was obviously hollow as the bird’s efforts produced a low drumming sound and soon three other owls fluttered down and joined in the strange running dance and increasing the drumming sound.
To say that these birds flew down would be stretching a point, what they did was more of a slow and controlled fall. Their stubby wings flapping so fast they were like a blur on each side of their bodies but did not enable them to gain or even retain height.
More screeching and chirping could be heard from overhead and suddenly a small fluffy ball dropped from the tree which overhung their hiding place, hit the grass, bounced twice and rolled to within half a metre of where they lay. Two large black eyes appeared in the fuzzy ball and blinked twice then two legs with clawed toes spread sprouted from the top of the ball and with a quick flip an angry owlet stood before them. It ruffled its feathers, spread its short wings and hissed loudly. The bright yellow, hooked beak was clearly visible as were the sharp climbing claws on the wing joints. Having declared its dissatisfaction with its landing and, the world in general, the chick turned and ran off towards the logs and other owls.
Ava found it almost impossible not to laugh out loud at the sight of the tiny owlet running. Its wing stubs spread for balance, its short tail wagging from side to side head thrust forward. The long stick thin legs high stepping rapidly as it covered the ground at an amazing speed.
Other fuzzy balls were dropping from trees around the glade till eventually a dozen of the comical fluff balls were darting and zig-zagging across the clearing. Finally, four adult females joined their chicks and began to herd them towards the fallen logs.
Ava slowly rolled to the left so she could get her small digital camera from her pocket them rolled back and raised the viewfinder to her eye. Adjusting the zoom and focus she was about to take a picture when a tiny flashing icon caught her attention. She quickly lowered the camera and pressed the button to engage silent mode then raised it again and proceeded to record the chick’s antics.
Through the powerful zoom lens, she could see the effect that the adults drumming feet were having on the rotten log. Out of one end of the fallen tree was pouring a stream of worms, grubs and beetles which had been disturbed by the bird’s actions. The chicks and female owls fell upon this feast, stabbing with beaks and talons and running after the faster insects. One chick pounced on a large Rhino beetle and began pecking at its armoured shell. The beetle reared up on its hind legs and the chick losing its balance and grip rolled off in a flurry of legs and feathers. Before the small owl could regain its feet the beetle turned, charged its foe and began to toss the fuzzy bundle about with its two horns. The chick was squeaking pitifully till its mother dashed up, flipped the belligerent beetle onto its back and plunged a lethal talon into its soft under parts. As her chick righted itself she tore off the beetle’s under-casing and shared the feast with her young one.
They watched the chase and feeding for another quarter of an hour then carefully backed away from the clearing and returned to the milk palm plantation.
The long table was covered with wooden plates and dishes containing a wonderful selection of cheeses, dips and piles of crisp dried leaf crackers.
“Find yourself a place and tuck in. There is a bowl or double baked hard biscuits for your dog and some tasty mineral rich rocks for Sprocket. So help yourselves. They had a long slow lunch followed by paddling in the shallows of the river to collect fresh muscles for the dragons who particularly liked the shells to crunch. As the red sun began to sink toward the horizon Ava tied two ropes to the front post of the Tri-ley and a pair of young dinosaurs harnessed to the vehicle and Sprocket and Cupcake aboard she set off back to the camp by the cliff.

On arrival at the camp, she released and thanked the young dinosaurs who nuzzled her with their scaly noses then galloped off home. Cupcake helped her pull the Tri-ley back under cover then she spent half an hour showing Llewellyn the pictures and movies she had recorded of the Ground Owls and laughing at their strange ways.
It began to get dark as the sun set and Lanterns were being put up all around the camp by small dragons, so Ava wished the large red dragon goodbye and accompanied by dog and dragon climbed the path and returned through the portal in the cave.

When she came out of the lift door into the pithead yard it was still early afternoon. Sprocket flew off to Pudding founders Lane while Ava and Cupcake headed for the museum.

She found Dave in his workshop/office at the back of the building and asked him if he would print some large copies of some of her shots and copy the movies onto a flash drive so she could watch them on her TV at home. This he did while Ava made tea and passed some broken ginger biscuits to Cupcake. That sat sipping tea and munching biscuits while the printer wired away producing the colour images which Dave laminated for her to protect them from damage. Clutching a cardboard tube containing the prints under her arm the girl and her dog made their way back home and arrived just before her dad and in time for tea.
What an adventure and the prints would look great on her bedroom wall.
Do you want to know more about Bryan Pentelow and his Sprocket Sagas collection? Then reach out to him at his favorite haunts.!/posts Pentelow

Thank you to Bryan Pentelow for participating in Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Posts. Bryan, you are welcome to participate any time. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Free review copy on Amazon -Well they are free for everyone, but aren't reviews a great present for the author?

Shannyn Leah has a time travel book out and it is spicy and just a wonderful read.  It is called Winters Rising and it is free tomorrow (May 25th) only! I reviewed it and just loved it. I personally love this author's work. I have read every book she has written and I enjoyed each one.

Pick up your free copy here, and don't forget to share a review. Having a free copy allows the review to be verified and it jumps to the top of the list. That is the best way we can pay indie authors back for sharing their incredible work.  Reviews can be a simple line or two sharing what made you love or hate, a book. It helps readers find excellent writers like Shannyn. So step out on a new adventure, leave a review on the next book you read.

The book blurb: 


Brea was born a Second, a lowly class of people in the Lexcon society. But she also bore the birthmark that destined her to marry a Gatekeeper, the “superheroes” of their world. Some called her destiny a great privilege. She called it doomed to a cage with no key.Gatekeepers were born and raised to ensure time remained untainted and unchanged, but Brea saw them as overlords who looked down on her kind… on Seconds.

Forced to marry Gatekeeper Jax Winters, Brea vows not to complete the ritual bonding with him until she can talk with council about how Seconds are treated. She plans to use her newfound status to help the plight of those born like her.But she never dreams of the twist her life will take, moving her into a higher position than she’d ever dreamed. 

Will she and Jax always be at odds, or will their hearts bond together as their souls already have? Will Brea change the future of Lexcon, or will she be forever doomed to live life in the dark?

Stand Alone

Have you met Shannyn?  This is your chance, she is a young author that knows how to bring characters to life and make you want to hang out with them. She is a fun woman and a talented writer. Get to know her through this special opportunity.  

Shannyn Leah's Bio: 

Contemporary romance author Shannyn Leah loves olives, lip gloss and reading (and writing) romance novels. Her love of words started at an early age and soon grew until, during her teenage years, she’d started writing her own novels. When her mom pushed to finally publish some of the stories, she quickly amassed two complete romance series (By The Lake and Caliendo Resort series) and, in 2016, released her first Fantasy Romance entitled The Gatekeepers (Part One of the Winters Rising series).
When she's not writing contemporary romance books into the early hours of the morning, Shannyn can be found antiquing with her two favorite people, her momma, and sister, in their picturesque London, Ontario hometown.

Shannyn would love to get to know her readers as you get to know her (just don’t send her any carrots!)
ign up for Shannyn's Newsletter and get a FREE NOVELLA.

Contemporary romance author Shannyn Leah loves olives, lip gloss and reading (and writing) romance novels. Her love of words started at an early age and soon grew until, during her teenage years, she’d started writing her own novels. When her mom pushed to finally publish some of the stories, she quickly amassed two complete romance series (By The Lake and Caliendo Resort series) and, in 2016, released her first Fantasy Romance entitled The Gatekeepers (Part One of the Winters Rising series).
When she's not writing contemporary romance books into the early hours of the morning, Shannyn can be found antiquing with her two favorite people, her momma and sister, in their picturesque London, Ontario hometown.

Shannyn would love to get to know her readers as you get to know her (just don’t send her any carrots!)

To be notified when new books, exclusive excerpts, and contests are released, join her mailing list here:

For extras, check out Shannyn’s webpage here: 

If you enjoy Shannyn’s books, please join her Facebook page here to share the love: 

And if you would like to contact Shannyn directly, email her at

Dragon Bones by Sojourner McConnell

Dragon bones? Are you sure you heard that right?”
I wasn’t falling for some silly Internet prank if I could help it. I wasn’t born yesterday so I wanted to have all the facts laid out in front of me before I believed this news and started passing it along as I was prone to do. Not that I blab everything I hear, I probably don’t do that. Ok, so sometimes I do pass along interesting tidbits.
Katie nodded solemnly, “I am positive, I saw the bones on YouTube and they were real. It is just a skull but it has all the ingredients of a dragon. Pointed nose, pointed horns on its head. It was a dragon.”
“Hmm… I am going to look for myself and make sure.” I reached for the laptop and pulled it into my lap. Clicking the icons and waiting for the screen to load I asked Katie a few more questions, just for my own peace of mind.
“Was it anywhere else other than YouTube? You know people play pranks on YouTube with homemade videos, don’t you? I continued to type in the words dragon bones into the search bar and waited.
“Yes, Amelia, I know that people play pranks on there, but this is true. I even saw the cover of National Geographic with a picture of the dragon. It doesn’t get any more real than that.” Katie formed quotation marks with her fingers as she spoke the last few words.
I did feel more confident once she produced the name  National Geographic. Although I was a bit annoyed at her use of the quotation marks. They always made me feel like I was being made fun of when she used them.
“Ahh, here we go, hmm… I don’t see anything that would be like what you said. There is nothing about dragon bones being found.”
“Did you put in Dracorex Hogwartia? I think that is how you say it.” Katie leaned over and watched the screen as I typed in a rough spelling of what she had said. The screen flickered for a moment then a revised response came up featuring the results for Dracorex Hogwartsia complete with images and links.
“There! See!” Katie was practically jumping up and down on the cushion next to me on the sofa.
“I see it; hold on let me click the link. Be still you are going to break the sofa. Then where will Sasha sleep?”
Sasha raised her head from her paws and gave an annoyed look, then she yawned and wagged her tail in a jerking motion. I wasn’t sure if she was more annoyed with the bouncing or my saying her name. She just looked completely annoyed as only a cat can.
I looked back down at the video that had finished loading and had started playing. The first thing I heard was that they had found a skull in North Dakota and it was an almost complete skull and several vertebrae intact. The skull had the thin narrow face of a dragon and had prominent horns and spikes. Plus there were bony deposits that formed scales. This thing had all the facial features of a freaking dragon!
My breath caught and I squealed into Katie’s face. “Oh my goodness, it is real!”
Katie pointed back to the screen. “Look, see, I told you, National Geographic!”
I looked over and there it was a man sitting in front of the dragon skull holding a copy of National Geographic that happened to have that same skull on the cover. A smile crossed my face as I watched them discussing the eating habits and the fact that this dragon, dinosaur lived on what at their time was seashore. The scientist even explained that at this period in history the ocean went straight through the United States because the oceans were higher since there were no ice packs at that time.
Both of us were utterly quiet as we listened to the dinosaur expert explaining about this dinosaur that looked so much like a dragon.
“I owe you an apology” I acknowledged after the Director of the Dinosaur museum finished talking. I shook my head in disbelief. “If I had not seen it for myself, I never would have believed it. You were right.” I told her then I muttered, “for once.”
Katie rolled her eyes and blurted out, “I am always right. You just always have to try to prove me wrong. This time, you failed!” She pointed both thumbs back at her chest. “Winner!”
Sasha stood up arched her back and hopped off the couch, even she had had enough. Katie and I both rolled our eyes at her.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up for The Path of the Writer

This week has been a wonderful thought provoking week. I have had to make many decisions about my blogs and my books. With launch only 12 days away, the focus has turned to final inspections, adding illustrations and promoting.

It is a hard line in promoting. when do you become a broken annoying record? For me, it is when you only share about your book release. I try to share other bits of knowledge, fun, and interest along the way. I hope I have succeeded.

I have another blog that is my review and personal fun posts. Sometimes the two mix, but in my sincerest promise, I try to keep them separate. There is just so much to share, it becomes hard.

Friday's fun and Family Friendly Guest Post
We had a lovely post by Robbie Cheadle. She is an amazing fondant artist that creates her illustrations for her children's books seriously, out of fondant.  They are delightful. This is a set of characters she created for a valentines story during Mystery Thriller Week.

The Gallery

This week also provided the announcement of the newest feature on the Path of the Writer.  There have already been some artists sign up for Sunday Stroll in the Gallery. We will begin sharing the first showcase on June 4th. I believe you will enjoy the variety and the beauty of the work of these artists. If you have artwork you want to share, contact me at I would love to feature you. 

My week in books

 I have had some excellent reading this week. Between blogs and releases, I managed to fit in a brand new book by Dan Nimak. Me and Mister Bo is a book that is filled with color and adventure, love and decisions. The characters were so well written and to be honest, this was some of the best dialogs I have ever seen in a book. This book touched me so much. I will be featuring it on The Page Turner next week.  

I also read The Inkblots by Damion Searls which is the story of Hermann Rorschach. This book told about how Hermann was a dedicated psychiatrist who felt compelled to truly help those locked away in asylums. Until that point, they had simply been stored away in secret and mistreated. It is a beautiful book. Rorschach was a beautiful man in my opinion. His heart had been broken throughout life, and he wanted to do great things with his intelligence.  

Finally, I read Deadly Spirits by E. Michael Helms which was a great mystery that had lots of paranormal excitement and skepticism included in the storyline. I enjoyed this so much. I am now reading another Mac McClellan novel since this one was so good. 

Interaction and Promotion

As a blogger and writer, I participated in two events on Facebook. One was a Q&A that was a lot of fun. I was able to share my love of blogging along with my love of novel writing. I was invited by The Books and Everything group to answer questions for an hour and I had such a fun time.  It was nice to be able to share how I feel about being asked to provide a review, my relationship with authors that ask and my system of rating books.  It was a fun time. If you want to see the transcript, it is here

Today I met two new fans of the Halloween Anthology, Katlie came to my yard sale and talked about how much she loves books. so I shared a signed book with her. About an hour later, she brought another reader. Mollie wanted a copy too, so I gave her one. They were so sweet, they told people all up and down the crowded community about the writer on the end of the block. So I snapped a picture and shared it on Instagram.  

So there you have my week. I hope yours was great too.  Let me know in the comments. I am always interested.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

The benefits of baking and cooking for children by Robbie Cheadle: A Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Post

The benefits of baking and cooking for children

Most children love to spend time in the kitchen either cooking or baking. It is a fabulous bonding experience with Mom or another caregiver and they always enjoying eating the results of their hard work afterwards.
I love to bake and both my sons have travelled the cooking, baking and eating road with me. Michael, particularly, loves to cook. He prefers to make more practical things than I do such as savoury and/or sweet pancakes, French toast and even stews and curries which he makes with his Dad. I like to make all sorts of fancy sweet treats and cakes.
I remember baking with my small boys. Gregory used to love to measure and pour the ingredients into the bowl. Funnily enough, Greg also loved to wash up. Sadly, this has not continued into his teenage years. I used to strip him down to his nappy and stand him on a few chairs lined up in front of the sink [so that he could not fall off] and set him free in front of a sink of soapy water. He used to splash around happy with a cloth washing up the bowl and wooden spoon. I kept the washing of any sharp implements and breakables for myself.
Michael, on the other hand, has never been a fan of any kind of cleaning up. He likes to measure, pour and, especially, to mix. He also likes to “lick” out the bowl. I have photographs of Michael covered from head to toe in chocolate cake mix with the bowl upside down on his head. What fabulous fun.
Other than the obvious fun and bonding factors, there are a list of other great benefits to baking with your children. I did some research on this and this is what I found:
  1. Maths skills: Baking helps children to learn maths concepts, in particular, measurement and simple fractions (half a cup, a quarter of a lemon). In addition, multiplication and division are involved if you half or double a recipe. Other kinds of cooking may also involve patterning (for example with salads and kebabs) and simple addition (how many people are you feeding? how many cupcakes do you need for the class?);
  2. Art skills: Decorating cupcakes, cutting out biscuits and making animals and people out of fondant (sugar dough). All of these activities encourage creativity and develop design abilities. An element of construction can also be involved if you are making a gingerbread house or a marshmallow tower and children learn how to fit pieces together and get a tower to stand up;
Cupcakes decorated for charity by the children of St Columba’s Presbyterian Church Sunday School – Parkview, South Africa
  1. Comprehension skills: Baking and cooking teaches children how to read and interpret a recipe. They learn to follow a sequence of steps and how to organise the required ingredients. Baking also teaches children techniques and vocabulary such as folding, beating, kneading and blending;
  2. Science skills: Contrary to popular belief, baking is a science. Children learn the scientific effects of raising agents such as yeast and baking powder. They learn about the interaction between certain substances such as salt and bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and milk, yeast and warm water. If they make a mistake and/or leave out an ingredient, disaster often follows which helps enforce these learning points;
Giant marshmallow made by Michael – the scientific effects of gelatine
  1. Life skills: Baking and cooking with your children teaches them lifelong skills. In the future, the job of feeding themselves and their future families will become theirs. Baking and cooking skills will stand them in good stead when they leave home; and
  2. Self-esteem: Baking and cooking helps increase children’s self-esteem as they see and taste the results of their efforts. It also teaches children to work together with someone else in a team and that hard work pays dividends in the end.
I am not an occupational therapist but I found the following additional benefits listed on an OT website for children:
  1. Bilateral coordination;
  2. Eye-hand coordination;
  3. Hand strengthening; and
  4. Spatial perception and planning skills.
These four benefits make perfect sense to me in the context of baking and cooking with children.

So, what are you waiting for, get cooking. An easy way to start is with mini pizzas. You can buy the bases ready made from most grocery stores and you can also buy the tomato paste source to spread on the bases. Grate some cheese, cut up some mushrooms, pineapple, ham and anything else that you fancy and let the kids have fun assembling their own pizzas.

Thanks to Robbie Cheadle for this delicious and delightful post. Robbie, you are welcome to share a post any Friday. You can follow Robbie at:
Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Monday, May 15, 2017

New Feature: Artists and Artisans Sign up now!

Announcing a brand new feature entitled, Sunday Stroll in the Gallery. Artist and artisans bring us your art and share it along with what inspired you, how you feel when you are creating. Your favorite pieces can be shared with a growing active following on this blog. All types of artwork will be accepted along with a written post or just your biography.

                                   Join me for Sunday Stroll in the Gallery

The Gallery posts will include back links to your own website, social media accounts and contact information if provided. This is an opportunity to have your work seen by fresh new faces and potential new fans and friends.

Contact me and we will get you on the schedule.  First post will feature the artwork of wildlife artist Nancy Quinn.

One post per Sunday and a week of promotion will help you on your way.

I am excited to extend this offer to any budding, professional, or struggling artist.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Learning the ropes of a blog tour and official pre-order and launch ceremony.

As this is the path of a writer, I would be remiss if I didn't share the fun, (read exciting yet extreme learning curve) of preparing for my book launch.

I have been busy contacting bloggers and asking for their assistance in sharing the news of my children's book release on June 2nd. Blogging pros and authors which have hosted book release blog tours before and are graciously providing tips for my own. And heaven knows, I need their assistance.

Today, in fact,  I am working on the banner for the beautiful presentation I see in my mind. Now, it is up to the details. Creating artwork is not exactly my thing, but when push comes to shove, I get in there with the best and give it my all.

I can see it, I just have to transfer it to the physical realm. Last week I revealed my cover art and I am so excited about it. The little cat face makes me happy every time I see it.  I hope it does children around the world.

Dolcey is not a United States cat, she is a world cat, she has a world vision and she wants to touch children all over the world.  She and I have this dream.

Of course, when facing a deadline, all good writers know that you take a step back, create a new project and just go for it. Or at least that is how this one writer does.

Thank you all for following along with my writing journey. It is an exciting one and I hope you will share the story of Dolcey with Moms and Dads everywhere. I believe their children will love it.

If you have tips and tricks for a successful launch, please share them with me. I will be ever so grateful and will sing your praises all over the internet. That's how I do!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Thoughts untangle themselves over lips and through pencil tips by Kim Hunter

Thoughts untangle themselves over lips and through pencil tips – Dr. Howard Hendricks

I was recently wandering the interwebs, looking for nothing in particular, when I came across this quote from Dr. Howard Hendricks:  ‘Thoughts untangle themselves over lips and through pencil tips.’  My thought processes began a random brain search and found that yes, thoughts become clearer when we speak about them and when we write about them.

I often feel that I simply forget myriads of thoughts because my brain is busy processing the constant input from around me – what is the weather doing, can I put the washing out?; do I have enough petrol in my car – should I stop now or can I fill up later?; I wonder what the dogs are doing at home – is Phoenix burying something in the garden for me to find rotted in three weeks’ time?  Oh dear, I need to go to the toilet, again!  The list is endless as the number of thoughts crossing our minds every second is astronomical.  So why do I need to untangle my thoughts – surely they can just whizz around my brain, with the most important coming forward for immediate attention?  Well, the answer to that would be NO!

I am an ‘in the moment’ kind of gal.  If I have a thought, I must act on it now, or I just know that it will be forgotten, only to be remembered at some completely inappropriate time; such as when I am in the shower and I remember that I should phone my auntie who is 600km away, and don’t have access to a phone.  By the time I am dried and dressed, my mind is already on the next thing that I should be doing and auntie does not receive a call from me.

How am I to remember all the things I need to while retaining the wondrous ideas that, if acted on, will fill my creative soul, while managing to complete my daily living tasks?  And what about the problems that crop up?  I am a single mom, so don’t have a partner to discuss issues with as they pop into my head.  I could call a friend but I often want to resolve something at inappropriate times, like 3 am, when normal people are busy in dreamland.  What am I to do?

About a year ago, I attended a journaling workshop.  At the time it was very inspiring.  My usual reaction to this type of thing is ‘wow! This is going to be really good and I’m going to continue this in my daily life’.  However, just like a New Year resolution, you find that it fades away and the dedication disappears. So why am I talking about this again?  I believe that this idea has been bubbling away in the depths of my brain and that I have finally accepted that this may just change my life!

I am going to approach it from two angles:

  1. The daily purges – set a timer for three minutes and just write down whatever is in my head.  This purge will be torn up and thrown away as its purpose is to empty my mind of all the surface thoughts.  This I will do with my morning coffee as my day is beginning.  Hopefully, this is going to clear my mind and help me live in the present.
  2. The jotter – I am going to carry a small notebook with me wherever I go and when creative ideas come, I am going to write them down.  Of course, I’m sure there will be more than just creative ideas, but I know that expressing a problem helps me clarify it and moves me towards a solution.

This is my plan of action – moving me towards being more fully in the present.  How do you manage to stay in the present, to remember all those little ideas that flit in and out of your mind so quickly, and how do you move yourself towards resolving your problems?

Learn more about Kim at her blog, Tango with Text.

Thank you to Kim Hunter for participating in Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Posts. Kim, you are welcome to participate any time. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Meet Ellie Barrett Illustrator for Who's that in the Cat Pajamas?

Now that you have seen a little bit about Dolcey and Emily, and the book cover, let me share our talented illustrator. She and I have been working together on this project and I am extremely pleased with her vision for our characters. I let her know I wanted to share her with you, so she was kind enough to provide me with her bio.

Here's Ellie Barrett:

My name is Elisabeth but most people call me Ellie, I’ve been freelancing as an illustrator for three years now! I always knew that I wanted to work with the visual, so as soon as I finished school I enrolled on a foundation course at the University for the Arts in Maidstone, where I could experiment with textiles, sculpture, digital arts, painting, fine art and plenty besides. I specialized in visual communications and finished my Extended Diploma in Art & Design certain that two-dimensional work with nostalgic themes are what I wanted to make!
From there I went to the University for the Creative Art’s (Surrey) to study a Certificate of Higher education in Illustration. This was where I could focus on mark making, best professional practice, art philosophy and digital images.
This was when I began freelancing to help support myself financially during my studies, and I have continued to the present day. I am also studying my Bachelor's Degree in Digital Arts at the School of Engineering, at the University of Kent.
Over the last year, I have found and refined the strengths between raster and vector based images and their key roles in modern narratives, whilst learning every day that when I am able to combine childhood nostalgia with contemporary graphic design principles, I can make images that make me smile, and hopefully my audiences too, be they young or old.

Her work is seen on Instagram. Thank you, Ellie, for being such an asset to Dolcey and me.