Friday, February 22, 2013

February Author Hunt

Welcome to the 23rd day of A Book Lover's Library February Author Hunt. To participate you have to go to A Book Lover's Library and sign up on Rafflecopter.

Today Feb. 23 is the only day for a chance to win copies of my books: Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend and Young Knights of the Round  Table: The King's Ransom.

I am going to make this easy for you because I hope that you will stay long enough to take a look at my blog and the fabulous children/s/MG/YA authors that I've interviewed. Hopefully you will pop over to my web site Beyond Today Educator to learn more about me and the books I write.

I love the color Blue. The cast currently on my left hand is blue (and makes typing difficult), and strange enough the first novel I wrote alluded to blue. Castles in the Sky was written years ago and probably will never see the light of day or the blue sky.

I always wanted to be a teacher. For 12 of the 24 years I taught, I also worked part-time for a major US airline. Shortly after I started, I was given the nickname "Teach" by my co-workers, many of whom have become my good friends. Must have been from all those nights that I graded papers waiting for our planes to return.

My first name Cheryl represents my entire life. Family and friends are 'dear ones', and I absolutely 'love' teaching and working with those high school students. That 'love' extends to my writing and showing younger kids that reading and writing can be fun.

I have many favorites: The Hobbit was my favorite movie of 2013; Jello cheesecake with strawberries on top is to die for; and my favorite author as a kid has to be Rutherford Montgomery who wrote The Golden Stallion series.

My love of animals continued into my adult life. The last two pets I adored were our cat Tigger of 18 years and my horse Pretty Lady of 33 years. Sadly, I currently have no pets as those two passed away a few years back.

My latest book released is Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom, an Arthurian tale for young readers ages 8-14. It has already garnered two awards even though it is only 77 pages long.

You can find me home every New Year's Eve watching celebrations worldwide on TV. I prefer to do crazy things at other times of the year like when I flew eight friends/family to Las Vegas to see Sting in concert. Have to love those airline benefits!

I'm not afraid of much, certainly not aliens or ghosts. Have to believe in aliens until it can be proven that they don't exist. And while I've never seen a ghost, I have seen people who strongly reminded me of someone who has died. The one thing that scares me has its roots in my childhood and is the main reason that I will never scuba dive. During play as a child, I was hit so hard in the stomach that the breath was literally knocked out of me. Never experienced anything so scary as not being able to breathe.

On a lighter side, I'll never try to imitate Popeye or any other superheroes if spinach is required. I hate that slimy green vegetable.

My current work-in-progress is a quest of a different sort for my readers. Sons of the Sphinx takes readers back to Ancient Egypt on a dangerous quest to right a wrong committed 3500 years ago. In the spirit of this, the first book I read in 2013 was Nick Drake's Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead. Showing support for my new adventure, a dear family member presented me with The Egyptian Book of the Dead for Christmas.

One last tidbit about me. I never had an imaginary friend growing up. Instead, I transported myself to imaginary places, and this led me to be the type of writer that I am today.

Hope you enjoyed. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Meet Author Chloe Jon Paul

Today we welcome author Chloe Jon Paul. Her list of accomplishments follow her Philosophy of Life: Find a Need and Fill It.

  • Four published books since 2003: 3 non-fiction, 1 fiction
  • Title of Ms. Maryland Senior America 2003
  • Recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship Seminars Abroad award to South Africa, 1996
  • Volunteer internship during the 2005 Maryland legislative session as a Legacy Leadership Institute graduate
  • Lead facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison and community workshops on conflict resolution for ten years
  • Former State representative for the National Family Caregivers Association’s caregiver community action network 2006-2008
  • Former Advisory board member:  MD, Healthcare Commission and the Interagency Commission for Aging Services:  Maryland Dept. of Aging
  • Hospice volunteer: AIDS patients & veterans
  • Volunteer for Warm Nights homeless shelter
  • Coordinator for the Good Samaritan Project at her church
  • World traveler – all 7 continents.

Why did you pick to write books for Children/Middle Grade?

Writing for children never was my first choice.  I think that with all my writing, the impetus for me has been living my philosophy of life: find a need and fill it.

What types of books do you like to read?

I like to read spiritual and self-help books, but when it comes to fiction, I’ve enjoyed authors Paul Coelho, Carolyn Chute, Rebecca Wells, and so many others. Currently, I have been reading Melissa Foster’s novels as well.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I am quite engaged in volunteer work with the Good Samaritan Project, hospice with our dying veterans, and helping at a homeless shelter.  I also like working out at Planet fitness, traveling, and learning something new.

Tell us about The Girl Who Did Not Like Her Name, and how the story came to be.

As a teacher I met students who didn’t like their names . After I wrote the first draft, I actually used it to help a little girl who was having trouble with her name.  I put the manuscript aside because I couldn’t find an illustrator that I liked and went on to other writing projects.  Last year, however, I found the illustrator whom I could work with.  So that is how The Girl Who Did Not Like Her Name came to be.

Sneak peak at The Girl Who Did Not Like Her Name:

Alessandra Theresa Petrucci doesn’t like her name one bit. When she was little, grown-ups would say, “My! My! Such a BIG name for such a little girl.”

Her mother insisted on calling her Alessandra. “Sandra or Sandy just isn’t right for you,” she would say. “No, Alessandra is just fine!” Her mother insisted that everyone else call her that too.

Last year when she had started first grade and learned to print her name, she couldn’t fit her full name across the paper. Her letters were too big and clumsy yet.

“You have a lovely name,” her teacher had said. “When your printing gets better, you’ll be able to write smaller. Maybe you could leave out your middle name for now.”

“My name is almost as long as the whole alphabet!” Alessandra Theresa wailed.  Her teacher gives her permission to use her initials and last name when using the computer.  It doesn’t completely solve her problem but she is somewhat relieved.  It even gives her an idea for another solution and young readers will howl with laughter at her friend Mary Jane’s reaction to the idea.

She knows that she was named after her great-great grandmother but her response to that is “I think that’s dumb! Why do I have to have the name of somebody who’s dead? She wasn’t even famous!”

Alessandra spends a lot of time trying to figure out how to change her name or at least shorten it but when she visits her grandmother during summer vacation, something unexpected and wonderful happens!

Young readers will be delighted and fascinated with what Alessandra Theresa discovers when she climbs up to the attic of her grandmother’s house.  Later, when her grandmother asks her to tell her about the problem she has been having, she matter-of-factly replies, “Oh, that –it’s not a problem anymore!”

What makes Alessandra Theresa Petrucci change her mind about her name? Read The Girl Who Did Not Like Her Name and learn what happens.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

I have 3 adult books on the market as well. Two are non-fiction and one is fiction. The novel won the Bronze Award in the Readers Favorite competition for 2012 and has been written into a screenplay by screenwriter Don MacNab. Readers can find detailed information about my books on my web site:

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

It will be my memoirs and mostly blog post articles.  I have another book ready for publication but it requires extensive artwork.  The title is The Untold Story of the Alphabet.  It is a blend of linguistics and phonics for someone who has trouble learning to read.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Follow my COPD plan of action:  consistency, optimism, perseverance, and determination.

Where can readers find you and your books?

My books are on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and on my web site where buyers can take advantage of promo codes and save money.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I would love to hear from readers.  They can leave comments at my web site.  I would also appreciate reader reviews on Amazon.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meet Children's Author Diane Mae Robinson

Today we are joined by Canadian Children's author Diane Mae Robinson. 

A bit about Diane Mae Robinson:

Diane lives with her husband, Allen, in a small hilltop castle nestled amongst a magical forest near St. Paul, Alberta, Canada.

 They have four dogs and three horses, along with a forest inhabited by gnomes, fairies, a puny prince, a bog witch, a charismatic princess, and a somewhat unruly dragon.

 Diane has a journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children's Literature in Connecticut. 

She is also an artist and teaches acrylic and watercolor art to children.

Why did you pick to write books for children?

I didn’t know I was going to be a children’s book writer when I first started writing. After I graduated Journalism School, I dabbled in article writing, travel writing, and some adult short stories. All that kind of writing was okay, but I didn’t feel passionate about any of it. I then enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature thinking this might be my niche---it was, and I have never looked back.

What types of books do you like to read?

I read many different genres: fantasy, adventure, psychological thrillers, spiritual books, and the ‘classics’. But mostly, I read a lot of children’s books. My favorites in children literature are books by Lemony Snicket, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Jonathan Stroud.  My favorite adult writers are Terry Goodkind in his  Sword of Truth series and anything written by John Irving.  Right now I’m reading a classic, Cluny Brown, by Margery Sharp written in 1944.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I love to be out in nature—riding my horses, playing with my dogs, gardening, or just walking in the forests of our acreage. The forest gives me inspiration for my writing. I am also an artist and teach private art lessons to children. And, of course, I read a lot.

Tell us about Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures and how the story came to be.

The story stems from my childhood imagination. As a child, I made up plays and skits to act out for the neighborhood kids. I was the princess; my sister was my hero; and we charged a quarter to watch the performance. My imagination has always been set on ‘high’, and I’ve never stopped making up plays in my head.

This story was originally written as a story picture book. When asked by a publisher if I could turn it into a chapter book, which I did, the story took off in a much better direction. Upon resubmitting the chapter book version, that publisher offered me a contract. The contract was signed by both parties, but ultimately the book was not produced by them due to financial difficulties that publishing house was having at that time.

 After submitting to several more publishers, I finally did receive a contract for the chapter book.

Here's a peak at Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures:

'I have thought hard and for many passing moons. Jewels, frocks of lace, and princess games have become boring. The thing I want the most...' Petra hesitated and bit on her lip. 'I want to be a royal knight.'

Princess Petra's unusual birthday request sends the court into a frenzy, but when she agrees to undertake a knight's quest they can't stop her. Armed with a cake knife and outfitted in the best royal pots and pans, Petra sets off to face a dragon and win her real armor before encountering a bog witch, and an army of the kingdom's worst enemies. Will Petra's kindness and acceptance prove to be more valuable than weapons and armor?

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them. 

Book two in this series, Sir Princess Petra’s Talent – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, is being released in March, 2013.  Book two carries on the zany adventures of Petra and her dragon pal, Snarls. Petra is ordered by her father, the king, to attend ‘Talent School’ and attain a talent fit for a ‘princess’. Well, Petra is not your usual princess kind of princess. She scoffs at girly- princess things and is only interested in adventures. She’s not too happy about having to learn some girly stuff, such as crochet or knitting. Where will Petra’s talent lie? 

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story? 

I am currently writing book three in this series. I hope to have at least four books in this series. 

What advice do you have for other authors? 

The most important thing is not to give up. If you believe in yourself, write the best you can write, and do your research on publishers and follow their guidelines for submitting, eventually a book contract will come along. My first book was published after twenty-seven rejections and one failed contract.

Where can readers find you and your books?

The books can be purchased from:

Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Goodreads distributors AbeBooks, and Alibris: and through the publisher, Tate Publishing.

I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Goodreads, SCBWI, Young Alberta Book Society, Google Books, Jacket Flap, CCBC, and the Children’s Book Directory.

You can also link to the book sellers, get my contact information for Facebook, etc., or read more about my writing, book awards, and book reviews at my website:

On my website, there is also a ‘Kids Page’ with interesting facts about the characters of book one, and a free pdf download of the Sir Princess Petra coloring book.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I do author visits for school and libraries in person or through Skype. I will have lesson plans for teachers posted on the ‘Teacher/Librarian’ page of my website in the near future.