Sunday, June 18, 2017

Planning My First Book Signing Event

Yesterday I received the details on the Bluegrass Book Bash. What is that? Well, I will happily tell you! It is a book signing event in Corbin Kentucky. Corbin Kentucky is the home of the original Kentucky Fried Chicken and Colonel Sanders. I have convinced one of my daughters to come with and hold my hand during the event. I hope I will not be shaking too much to sign legibly.

I have been asking for those that have attended a book signing event before to give suggestions to make it a success. The response has been great and I am finding my head swirling with ideas. I have a stack of Who's That in the Cat Pajamas? children's books to take with me, I have a few of the Path of the Child the YA book to set out. I also have a copy of the anthology 31 Days of October. I need to plump up those stacks before August. I am also going to be introducing my two tee-shirt designs for the event. Now to get some bookmarks, and flyers made. I want this to go smoothly and be a success. Since it is my first, I will probably do an overkill.

 Let me tell you about my daughters and I planning a fairy party for one of the grandchildren. We decided that stations were needed. A face painting station complete with glitter paints, glitter makeup, and butterfly wing patterns. We created a photo booth with wings, crowns, wands, boas, and other items for the children to hold. There was a fairy dust booth where the children could make bags of fairy dust to take home. This was for a family of about 9 children. It was a great fun day and we laugh about the overkill, but we love the memories. One of the starter parties that we are now known for!

That is exactly how this could go if I am not careful. Everyone that knows me know that when the excitement kicks in, look out! Please share ideas and help me make it the most fun and least terrifying event ever.

Sunday Stroll in the Gallery Featuring Illustrations of Jane Fade Merrick

Ashes of the Phoenix is a contemporary romance which tells about life, love, hate, troubles and music! Meet Fade, a girl who lives a life left on her own, struggling constantly to survive in a society that swallows everyone who doesn’t keep up with its pace; her only company is a kitchen knife and a scar embedded in her leg that reminds her every day of who she is and why she is there. Once, while she’s stealing in a supermarket, she meets Jag, a boy with a disturbing appearance who convinces her to join him in his weird plan: to become the main sponsor of one of the most successful bands of the moment, of which he’s a huge fan, and - apparently - he doesn’t lack the money to do so. She allows herself to be convinced to meet Nef, a typical playboy, who eventually will learn that the world isn’t all at his feet like he thought...

Ashes of the Phoenix contains several illustrations done by the author and other artists, which complete the imaginary world that it tells.

This romance have been published in Italian, currently is getting translate and it will be released in English at the beginning of the new year. Still, you can follow the FB page to know previews, curiosity, participate in surveys and giveaways.

Author's bio
Hello! This is Jane Fade Merrick, the author. I use a pen name to keep my identity secret because there's not much to tell about me. I am from Italy and I wanted to make my romance international (it's going to be translated by a professional staff, so don't mind my eventual English mistakes).
I believe in self-publishing. I consider it not a simple “escaping way” for all these people who didn't get a contract in a regular publishing house, but a real conscious way for a writer to make his story available to everyone. For this reason, I tried to write my book in the most perfect way I could. I hope that all the people who chose this way of publishing would do the same.

Friday, June 16, 2017

New concepts by Nancy Quinn as Friday's Fun and Family Friendly Guest Post

We had experienced many new concepts since leaving city life behind and moving out west. Conversations now focused on matters that I never thought would cross my lips—horses, cows, horseshoes, supplements, small farm animals, and wild animals. Weather also was a big topic, as well as how to protect yourself and your homestead from it. We learned about growing fruits and vegetables and, of course, we experimented with various means of dealing with the dreaded varmints, especially the chipmunks and squirrels who regularly threatened them.

The wildlife that lived on my place loved me. Each time they saw a new plant in the yard or in a pot, they assumed the buffet line was open. Deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits relished every flower I set out. It was so frustrating. They should have been satisfied with the bird seed they raided out of the feeder every day, but no, they were glutinous to a fault.

One particular chipmunk, a rather industrious fellow, climbed inside the long plastic tube of the bird feeder, and ate so much seed, he became too fat to climb out again. I discovered his plight when I went to refill the feeder and saw one eye smashed against the plastic cylinder, blinking at me. I was so startled I nearly dropped the feeder on the ground. I shook it vigorously upside down, trying to get him out, but he barely budged. Kobi stood by, anxiously licking his chops in anticipation. I removed the top from the feeder and gave it one last huge fling. A furry torpedo flew past the dog and plopped to the ground, rolling. As soon as he stopped rolling, he righted himself and scurried to the shelter of a nearby tree. He was too fat to run very fast, and though Kobi pursued him, he managed to dodge safely about and made good his escape. I thought that was the end of it until a few days later I found him again stuck in the feeder. Apparently, he had to lose some weight before he was thin enough to climb back into the tube. Some chipmunks never learn. 

Learn more about Nancy here: 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bedtime Chats: A summer ritual

The end of the school year means the seven-year-old moves into Grandma's bedroom for a few months.  With this summer cottage atmosphere, there are long talks into the night.  Here is tonight's conversation between Sarah and Grandma.

G. Lets go to sleep. We have to get up early.

S. Wait! What's your favorite fruit?

G. Bananas.

S. I knew you were going to say that. Mine are grapes.  What's your second favorite?

G. Grapes are my second favorite. What is your second favorite?

S. Bananas! What's your next favorite fruit?  I hope it isn't that fruit that stinks!

G. What fruit stinks? I think my next favorite fruit is Watermelon.

S. Same.

G. What fruit stinks?

S. I can't think of its name.  What is your least favorite fruit?

G. Limes, they are too sour for me.

S. Same.  Well, actually my least favorite is grapes with ranch.

G. Laughing out loud, eww grapes with ranch?  You've tried that?

S. Laughing louder, Yes! It was the worst. What's your next favorite Fruit?

G. Mango. I love mango.

S. Oh no, Grandma, that's the fruit that stinks.

G. No way! Mangos smell good! But I also love Kiwi.

S. Same.  Wait, what do they look like?

G. Green with little black seeds.

S. Oh yes, I like them but I do not like avocados.

G. You don't like avocados?

S. Or guacomole, it is made from avocados.

G. I love apples, applesauce, and apple butter!

S. Applebutter? What is that?

G. It is a sweet thing your Aunt Casey knows how to make.

S. hmm

G.Goodnight Sarah! I love you!

S. Goodnight Grandma. You know I love you, right?

G. I know you do! You know I love you too, right? Sweet dreams!!

Nodding, Sarah grabs my hand and sleeps holding it until I got back up to write this.

Summers are good.  Much better than grapes with ranch.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Stroll in the Gallery Featuring John Macdonald, Photographer Extroidinaire

John Macdonald is a photographer which specializes in the natural beauty of the Upper Michigan area. From scenic buildings to majestic sunsets, he captures the vivid colors of Michigan in his photographs. 
John has provided the link to read his 178 photo book for free at book presents waterfalls, sunsets, Great Lakes ships, Architecture and more all from the state of Michigan.

As you stroll through his photographs, remember that he has over 150 more for your viewing pleasure available.

Welcome to the Gallery: 

Presque Isle sunset, Marquette, Michigan  

Westland, Michigan tulips

Marquette county, Michigan

Beaumont Building Michigan State University

Mackinaw Bridge in December

Marquette Lighthouse

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday's Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Post Presents Destiny Revealed by Cris Pasqueralle

  A fantasy series that's soon to be a feature film!!!!!

    Twins Jack and Maddie Austin have just turned 13 and have been given a mysterious gift of two necklaces by someone they have never met. The gift comes with a message in the form of a poem, but before any explanation can be given, the twins and their family are attacked by an evil wizard named Tardon. 

    Tardon kidnaps the twins' parents and, led by their Uncle Benny, the twins must travel to an unknown magical realm of wizards, gnomes, and hidden secrets to embark on a rescue mission to save their parents. Along the way, the twins are led on a path of self discovery that takes them on a quest to destiny.

    On the surface, The Destiny trilogy may appear to be another fantasy adventure with teen heroes, and it is, but it is a bit different, our heroes are not alone. The family in this story is very much intact. Mom and Dad offer guidance and a loving hand, there is also a sibling love and rivalry that is explored, and the magical creatures are not your standard fantasy fare. Yes, there are dragons and fairies, but there are also Sasquatch, and Keeluts, and Gici Awas, and Thunderbirds, all taken from Native American folklore.  So if you like your fantasy with a
twist, take a look at The Destiny Trilogy and ride the new wave in fantasy fiction. Available on amazon at

   I have been asked many times what has inspired me and why I choose to write fantasy. First, the inspiration comes from my daughters. it was their love of the Harry Potter books that made me a fantasy fan, and, when that series came to an end, my children clamored for a wizarding story. After much discussion with them, The Destiny Trilogy was born.  I write fantasy fiction because I like the no boundaries approach to writing, and fantasy allows an author to build his own worlds and make up his own rules.  Plus, its a lot of fun.

  Author Cris Pasqueralle is a retired NYC Police Officer who lives on Long Island with his wife and two daughters. Cris enjoys writing for a younger audience because he believes that through reading and imagination, kids build a brighter future for themselves and all of us.  Follow Cris on facebook  at

  Keep checking his author page on facebook for news about the up coming film versions of The Destiny Trilogy.
Book 1: Destiny Revealed 
Book 2: Paths of Destiny
Book 3: Quest for Destiny 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Parents looking for new books and Authors? New group on Facebook and on Goodreads has you covered!

Today there is an active and ready for participation group on both Goodreads and Facebook.  These groups share a common name, Parents, Find Children’s Books and Authors. This is an excellent time to join up and look for new authors, old classics, fun series, and child appealing characters.
Let’s start with a few links to show where you can join in the fun.  On Goodreads, you may join the group here.  Now before you think this is just another crazy idea bunny from Vicki, I can assure you we already have over 20 members. They might be quiet now, but you know I will get them talking sooner or later, I am hoping for sooner.
topics of discussion
Facebook is newer and less formed, but it is there ready for occupancy. The paint is a little sticky and the grout is still drying, but we are open for business. So meander on into the Facebook group here.
So let’s talk about group plans on both sites.  We see this as a group that can share great books and new soon to be great books with children and their parents.  A chance to meet a few authors, order a signed copy of a book, ask questions of writers, readers, authors, publishers, and all genre specific.
Readers, meet your authors
This is not a spamming site where links will be posted on a daily basis running off readers with their sheer magnitude. There will be a book room where books can be listed, there will be an area for discounts, freebies, and giveaways. There will be an area for new releases.  So come on over to one of the two sites (read join both!) Share your skills in the children’s literature, early reader, chapter books, and child-friendly series.

What we need most at this point is word of mouth and sharing of the links. We are talking full out sharing, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google +, Reddit, Tumbler, and any other site you have seen parents, readers, and or authors lurking.  Help us make this a fun and totally interactive place for parents, readers, authors, and children at heart. And by all means, if you are a reader, writer, child at heart, then join us! We can’t wait to meet you too!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Stroll In the Gallery with Nancy Quinn

Welcome to Sunday Stroll in the Gallery. Our first artist is World known Wildlife Artist, Nancy Quinn. Take a stroll through the gallery and meet Nancy and enjoy a sampling of her amazing art pieces. 

Nancy has always been interested in art and nature.  She was born in Southfield, Michigan, and later moved to Florida, working her way through college in Jacksonville.  After graduation, she worked in conservation law enforcement as a Duty Officer for the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission.  Her interests in painting and nature eventually led to a career in wildlife art.  Lacking extensive formal training, she believes her artistic ability was an inborn gift from her father, the noted artist Boyd A. Zimmer II.

Early in her career, Nancy was presented with 2nd and 3rd place awards in the World Wildlife Art Championships.  Her work is internationally known and found in galleries, state museums, and private collections.
Education efforts are important to Nancy.  She created T-shirt and jewelry designs for the Florida Wildlife Federation.  

She was commissioned by the State of New Jersey to create the limited edition art print Nature's Legacy.  The print commemorates the centennial celebration of the State's Division of Fish, Game, and Wildlife.  The funds raised from the sale of the prints act as tuition grants for college students interested in biology or conservation law enforcement.
Nancy strives for accuracy and realism in her work and continues to strengthen her commitment to furthering conservation awareness.  After spending over six years in the capital region while her husband served at the Pentagon, Nancy and her family now joyfully reside in rural Montana where she continues to create new works.

Thoughts from my easel,

 I believe art has a purpose other than decorating our walls.  I think it can touch our minds and our hearts.  When I sit down to create art, I think about how best to give an animal or bird a soul and how to foster an emotion on canvas, paper, or precious metal.  If I can have a positive effect in someone's life, then my work has served an important purpose.  I remember a particular story of a woman who lived alone.  She told me of the forlornness she felt each day sitting by herself for every meal.  After she framed and hung up my barn owl limited edition print in her dining room, she noticed how lifelike the image was and so gave it a name.  As time passed she began to talk to it and soon she no longer dreaded mealtime because she felt as though she had some company.   It is a true blessing for me when clients write and tell me how my art has made them or a loved one happy.  Each of their personal stories is remarkable and unique, and their enjoyment keeps me motivated, making my work a pleasure.

Before I create an artwork, I first have to make some kind of a connection with the subject bird or animal.   I prefer to physically handle and study the wildlife prior to painting, drawing, or sculpting it.  I look for its individual personality, as well as what physical and behavioral characteristics are common to its species.  Above all, I want to evoke a feeling and understanding of what is amazing about them in nature. It is challenging work.   I have laughed and enjoyed animal antics and I have also escaped some potentially serious injuries. Working with wild animals is a risk and I handle them carefully with an educated and well thought out plan. Happily, I rarely suffer a boring day and I am always learning something new. 

To experience the call of the natural world one must be silent, so I prefer solitude when I am at my easel.   Through quiet introspection I contemplate the best way to portray the special qualities of each subject, be it the fierce strength, vulnerability, graceful beauty, determination, cunning, or loyalty common to its species.  I hope each time you look into the eyes and study the body language of the animals in my artwork, you will see and feel these emotions.  If so, then I have succeeded in helping you find your own connection to nature through art.  

Enter the Gallery: 

Add caption

Blue Bird


Watchful Stallion




Nancy Quinn
Wildlife Artist and Author

Friday, June 2, 2017

Today is the day! 

Dolcey is excited, I am excited, Emily is excited and I hope the readers are excited. Today marks the launch of Who's That in the Cat Pajamas?  This is book 1 in the Dolcey series and we get to see what makes Dolcey so extra special. As you might gather from the title, Dolcey isn't always a cat, find out more about her and who she really is in Who's That in the Cat Pajamas? available today!

Excerpt from Who's That in the Cat Pajamas?

Dolcey moved from one end of the porch to the other, tail held high, pointed black ears perked forward, and silvery whiskers pointing straight at the front door. Twitching her cat whiskers was always tricky, but Dolcey was getting better and better as she strutted around. Purring and meowing enough to stir some compassion from the parents seems to be the hardest part, thought Dolcey.

“Emily, go get the milk and let’s get this boy somewhere warm.” Emily sped into the kitchen but Dolcey was no longer listening. Her fur was bristling as she glowered at Emily’s dad.

“Obviously, I am a girl,” she meowed with such ferocity that she almost scared herself.

Where can you find this children's chapter book to read more?

Amazon in paperback and in Kindle: Find it here!
Barnes and Noble in paperback only: Find it here!

I hope you will pick up a copy and share with your family the adventure with Dolcey and Emily.

If you enjoy this children's book and want to read more from Sojourner McConnell the ebook of The Path of the Child is on sale in celebration of the new release for $.99 on Amazon.

Mystery Thriller Week 2017 – A fan / reviewer’s thoughts by Kim Hunter

The 11th to 22nd February 2017 I disappeared!  I only left my computer chair to take care of necessities, one of which was NOT sleep!

I heard about the event in November 2016 after joining a book review blog.  Not realising what I was getting myself into, I agreed to read and review as many books as I could so that these reviews could be posted during the event in February 2017. I ended up reading / listening to 12 books by the end of January and had the reviews scheduled for posting during the week of the event.   This part was hardly a sacrifice as the authors very generously gave audio or electronic copies to the readers wanted to review them.   What I did not realise was how interactive the event was to be!

There were many live events during the extended week – this gave those interested an opportunity to learn more about the art of writing, to question authors and other players in the industry.  However, most started from about 10pm my time, so I spent many sleepless nights chatting, not sleeping.  Oh, the sacrifices we make…….!  I’m sure that some of the authors felt as I did as they were participating from all over the world too.   However, it was an opportunity not to be missed and I was there as often as possible.  There were many give-away’s and I have a TBR pile of note!

From my point of view, the event was about exposing readers to new authors and authors to new readers.  It certainly achieved this for me.  I discovered the existence of ‘cozy mysteries’ and have now decided that I am not a great fan of gruesome thrillers or horror stories!  I met the author Barbara Venkataramen during this event – a writer of cozy mysteries.  I love the conciseness of her writing – the whole plot is developed and solved in about four hours of reading.  This means that you can take a Sunday afternoon and feel like you have read a 400 page novel (I am not a speed reader BTW!) with all the characters coming to life in an environment you can envision and a mystery solved in a short space of time.  Spectacular!  This is a new genre for me and I will be looking for more cozy mysteries to read.

Another of my favourite authors, Susan May, also participated.  I always find her amusing and informative.  CJ Petterson and Sarah Key were two other authors who willingly gave of their time – each trying to make the event interesting in different ways for the participants.  I can honestly say that they succeeded.  For the many other authors and book people who participated (simply too many for me to list), I, as a reader, need to give you my thanks.  Your participation made the event fun, interesting and worthwhile.  The orgainsers added a few competitions along the way so that bloggers could be discovered and followed, and authors read via the prizes they donated.

Will I participate next year? ABSOLUTELY.  I’ll stock up on caffeine drinks and exercise my fingers in advance, for getting to chat with people who have the courage and perseverance to write and publish the stories we are privileged to be able to read, is priceless.

Kim Hunter

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