Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"How to Promote Your Children's Book" by Katie Davis!

The day has finally come! Today you can purchase Katie's absolutely fabulous and fact-filled guide "How to Promote Your Children's Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller"(or anything for that matter.) I can't remember the last time I actually had fun reading a non-fiction book. It was easy on the eyes, informative, and entertaining at the same time.

     I have had a blast participating on Katie's Launch Team, and I am convinced that this book will give you all you need to begin to promote your product. She has left no stone unturned. I have been honored to be a part of the excitement, especially for someone who believes in helping others. I love Katie's motto: "Reciprocity Rocks!"

What a fabulous read! Filled with tons of info to help you to promote your publication. It would be helpful for anyone who simply wants to understand how social media and other platforms work. It's a way to connect to other writers and their work, and an avenue to get inspired!

Read my honest review on Amazon HERE 

And, if you purchase "How to Promote Your Children's Book" between now and March 31st, you get FOUR FREE BONUSES totaling $125:

*$40 coupon off Katie's course, Video Idiot Boot Camp
*Her Twitter for Beginners package
*Audio version of the first edition of the book
*How to Create Buzz-Worthy Infographics e-book
*Kindle Gold-Rush e-book

That's $125 in bonuses FREE for buying an e-book for $4.99! So, Purchase it HERE

NOTE: To receive these bonuses, just email your receipt to: support@katiedavis.com. Voila!

To celebrate the publication, Katie is having a Book Launch Celebration tonight on Google +You can ask any marketing question, and have a chance to win MORE PRIZES! It's open to everyone, so sign up at KatieDavis.com/HTPlaunchday and help celebrate!

And if you are still curious as to what Katie Davis is all about (she's energetic, for sure!) check this out:

How can you pass up such a good deal? You can't go wrong with Katie's offer. GO HERE to purchase "How to Promote Your Children's Book" by Katie Davis, before March 31st, and begin your journey in understanding social media, your platform, and all the ways to promote your product.

Share this on your Social Media sites and WIN A FREE BOOK!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Help for Non-Fiction Picture Book Writers

What a month February has been!

It was full of helpful, insightful and creative suggestions for writing non-fiction picture books based on science and history. What has helped me along the way? I'm glad you asked!

It's Kristen Fulton's Non-Fiction Archaeology Class!

We dug, overturned and examined every aspect of writing non-fiction for children. Here is a list of a few class topics:

Finding your topic
Doing the research
Keeping Track of resources
Narrowing your idea
What is non-fiction?
Difference between creative non-fiction and historical fiction

Many simple assignments were given for the above topics, along with examining current picture books for content and style.

Each Monday evening Kristen held a live Webinar, in which we received more info about the coming week. We were able to ask questions, and get help where needed.

By the third week, we were writing!

Kristen discussed the parts of a non-fiction picture book, and gave us nifty worksheets to help us gather info and begin writing. She then discussed "back matter" and what it contained.

One of the most helpful assignments was guiding us in finding the perfect template text for our story. It made it sooo much easier to write our story!!

We wrote, edited, reworded, etc until we felt like we could complete our story. Not perfect, but out there. Since we were part of a private FaceBook group, we were able to post our stories, and get valuable feedback from our fellow classmates. And at the end, we could submit to an agent!!!


Here were my comments at the at the end of our course: "Your course is rich with well organized advice and instruction. I have gained so much in this short course. And what an honor to be in the inaugural group! What a fantabulous (as you would say) course you have created. This definitely ranks as STELLAR!  You have a gift, Kristen. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us.  And I so appreciate you taking time to talk with me the other day. I learned more in four weeks with you, than I have in a year of reading books on the craft of writing. Seriously!"

If you have been struggling with writing non-fiction picture books, HELP IS HERE!! Go to Kristen's website HERE for detailed info on the course. Sign up there as well.

Is writing non-fiction your passion?  Then check out Kristen's website today.  You won't be sorry!

Friday, February 7, 2014

PPBF: What To Do About Alice?

I have been mulling over the idea to write a non-fiction picture book on some aspect of Teddy Roosevelt's life. He was such a fascinating man . . . never a dull moment! So, what should come across my proverbial desk, but this delightful book about his very rambunctious and strong-willed daughter, Alice.  I'm sure you will enjoy this one.

Author: Barbara Kerley
Illustrator: Edwin Fotheringham
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date: 2008

Ages: 7-11
Genre: Historic Fiction
Themes: Teddy Roosevelt, President's family,  biography

A Sibert Honor Book
An ALA Children's Notable Book

First lines: "Theodore Roosevelt had a small problem. It wasn't herding thousands of cattle across the Dakota badlands. HE'D DONE THAT. It wasn't leading the Rough Riders as they charged up Kettle Hill. HE'D DONE THAT, TOO."

Inside Jacket: Theodore Roosevelt had a small problem. Her name was Alice. Alice Lee Roosevelt was hungry to go places, meet people, do things! Father called it "running riot." Alice called it "eating up the world."

Why I like this book: It has so much energy and spunk, just like Alice! And it's a perfect example of how a non-fiction PB should be written: great opening, a solid, engaging storyline, lots of fascinating facts, and an index in back with extra info for parents, teachers and librarian. Oh, and of course, charming illustrations. This one has it all!

Here are some helpful links to activities and further info on the topic:

The author's website HERE

Scholastic Books website with helpful links HERE

A librarian's POV with more links/activities HERE

Hope you enjoyed today's offering for Perfect Picture Book Fridays, when we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention.  This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents.  For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal: A Review

In my last post, I interviewed Stacy Farrell, author and educator. She is just about to release her latest offering: Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal.  I have to say that unlike me, Stacy has the ability to bring very difficult material to the table, giving us the tools to help us understand the nuances.

She has written a few curricula initially for the homeschool community, but really, they can be used by anyone who wants to be Biblically enlightened. They are as follows:

But today, I will be reviewing her latest publication, Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal. To begin, here is a synopsis of the original work by C. S. Lewis:

The classic work commonly known as Mere Christianity is actually a four-book series which explores the common ground upon which all Christians stand. It brings together Lewis’ legendary radio talks broadcast during World War II previously published as: Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe, What Christians Believe, Christian Behavior, andBeyond Personality (or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity), and provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.

So, how can this journal be used? Stacy suggests how:

The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal is a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview. Although it was originally created to be a companion resource to Philosophy Adventure, it may also be used as group or independent study for teenagers or adults.

It provides 10-16 questions for each chapter which can be discussed in:
  • homeschools
  • co-ops
  • classrooms
  • Sunday school
  • small groups
  • families

It is truly a versatile resource for Junior High students on up to Senior Adults. Even though I have not finished the study at this point, I have done enough to make a few observations. First, you don't need to be an highly-knowledgeable student of the Bible to take advantage of this study. Second, Stacy guides you through some meaty concepts with ease. The journal questions help you slow down and digest the contents of Lewis's classic work. Third, you can do it in little snippets of time, just as you would chew your food slowly and thoroughly, which aids in your digestion. 

I highly recommend this resource for those who have wanted to read Mere Christianity, but were too intimidated. It's like having a private tutor  or guide sitting right beside you!

For a short time, until January 31st, you can take advantage of this promotion below. Just use this link beginning Thursday, January 16th, to get your journal at a 10% discount!

AND, here is a link to a FREE Mere Christianity e-book to use with your journal. Can't beat that deal!

If you love what you see, Stacy wants to invite you to join her on her blog, "On Loving Jesus"

Monday, January 13, 2014

Interview with Author and Educator Stacy Farrell

This is my first (of hopefully many) author interviews. Today's post is a bit different, in that Stacy does not write picture books or kidlit, but non-fiction educational guides. But, since many of you are educators, this may be of interest.

 I was privileged to meet Stacy Farrell at the Illinois Christian Home Educator's convention two years ago. I was fascinated with her newly created product "The Philosophy Adventure".  I was so excited about using this product with my teens in our homeschool curriculum, that I joined her Beta program to test the product, and I never looked back.

And neither has Stacy.  What an innovator and visionary she is! Her latest is a companion guide to C.S. Lewis's work, "Mere Christianity", entitled, "Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal" which comes out this week!  You can preorder it here at a 15% pre-publish discount until Wednesday, January 15th at Midnight (PT) 

Well, let me tell you about this amazing lady!

Stacy Farrell’s worldview changed when she embarked on her homeschooling adventure in 2002.
Her background as a consultant and writer well-prepared her to teach communication skills; however, only hands-on experience (and much time spent on her knees) equipped her to mentor her sons through the character-transformation required to help them work toward their full potential.
     Stacy has spoken at a variety of homeschool conferences and has published articles in leading Christian magazines. She wrote scripts for Willow Creek’s youth ministry, copy for Pastor Bill Hybel’s “Defining Moments” Audio Newsletter, and a broad range of material for corporate and non-profit clients. She also managed a law firm that specialized in civil rights litigation and constitutional law. Today, she loves to help empower students to recover territory lost by “fuzzy thinking” and low expectations. To that end, she created:

  • Philosophy Adventure™—Pre-Socratics – designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas
  • Philippians in 28 Weeks™ — a simple and painless way to memorize an entire book of Scripture
  • The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions – an enchanting fable that unmasks the ugliness of pride and selfishness
  • Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal -- a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview.

Although Stacy loves to write, speak, and teach, she considers her role as wife to Roger and mother to two precious sons to be her greatest work and privilege. You can learn more about her resources at http://www.homeschooladventure.com.

So now, I have a few questions for Stacy:

1. When planning a new book, how do you go about planning for it? Do you have a method you use, or is each one different? 

Proverbs 16:9 declares: “In his heart, a man makes his plans, but the Lord determines his steps.” If you had asked me this question 20 years ago, I would have told you how I outlined and scheduled and planned. I’m a planner by nature. However, I have learned the hard way that “unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Each book I have written for Home School Adventure Co. has a unique story behind it—and not one would have been completed without the support of many faithful prayer warriors.

2. Do you have a certain writing space, somewhere you go *just* to write your books? An office, a lake cabin, a hotel? What do you love about that space? How does it inspire you?

Writing resources for Home School Adventure Co. has pretty much demanded everything I can give to it (and more!). So, wherever I go, my writing goes with me.
 I am especially grateful to my sons for helping me lug around the backpack and bags that contain my laptop and research materials.

3. What would you say to a young person who aspires to be a writer? What advice would you give? Also, what would you tell his/her parents in order to help them be supportive in their child's efforts to pursue writing as a career?

     Writing is hard work. Sometimes inspiration hits and the words simply flow. However, the writer who consistently writes can ultimately surpass a more talented writer who waits for the Muse before picking up his or her pen (or keyboard).
     Think of eternity, always. Imagine that moment when you will stand before God and give an account for what you have done with the talents He entrusted to you. Let that guide all your decisions.
      Parents, encourage your students to write every day. Then take the time to read and comment on what they write. Even if you do not consider yourself a writer, surely you consider yourself a reader. What is clear? What is confusing? Applaud their efforts and tell them the truth.

4. Would your advice be any different (from question #3) for an adult who would like to break into the business? How?

Pray. Listen. Obey.

“Count the cost.”

    Luke 14:28 tells us to consider the price we must pay before undertaking a work, but there is also a cost associated with not undertaking a work to which He calls us.
    That said, as parents and family members, we would be wise to maintain a measure of balance. Remember Solomon’s words: “The writing of many books is endless” (Ecc. 12:12). Books will pass away; people are eternal.
     Do not allow your writing to interfere with your loving.

5. What is your goal with writing? Is it the same with every book?

My goal for every book is the same as my goal for life. I pray that all my efforts help people more fully know and love Jesus.
6. What is one lesson you learned from writing this book?

Simple truth packs a punch.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis tackles some hefty questions. Yet, upon pondering his answers, I realized that much of what he says distills down to common sense.

(Voltaire would argue that “common sense is not so common.”)

7. What books have most influenced you?

Different books have impacted me during different seasons of my life.

8. With all of the duties that you juggle, when do you fit in the time to write?

This is a great question. There is no denying that writing requires many sacrifices. Truth be told, all too often my sons have heard me say, “I need to concentrate. Please don’t talk to me right now!” However, because my sons need and deserve my focused attention during our school days, much of my writing is done before dawn (while my household sleeps), or late at night.

9. What Scripture verse would you call your favorite?

At a writer’s conference some years ago, I came to believe that Philippians 2:14-16 might be my “life verse.” I could not pick a favorite verse, but I can say that I feel particularly convicted to live out Philippians 2:14-16: 
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
so that you may become
blameless and pure,
children of God without fault
in a warped and crooked generation.
Then you will shine like stars in the sky
as you hold out the word of life.”

For more information, or, to order these innovative and thoughtful guides and curricula, visit her link here at HomeSchool Adventure

Stay tuned for a product review of the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal in the days ahead!

Friday, January 10, 2014

PPBF: Lightship

I was so fascinated by Lightships that I purchased a replica on a trip to New England (my favorite spot in the States). Here is Brian's story of their history and use.


Author/Illustrator: Brian Floca
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Date: 2007

Genre: Non-Fiction
Themes: Lightships, Ship safety and navigation, Coastal Safety.
Ages: 6-11

Inside Jacket Cover: "You may never have heard of a lightship. Once, lightships anchored on waters across America. On the oceans and in the Great Lakes, floating where lighthouses could not be built. Smaller than most ships, but more steadfast, too, they held their spots, through calm and storm, to guide sailors toward safe waters . . . "

Why I like this book: As I've mentioned, I love the ocean, and the fascinating story of how vessels are kept safe on potentially dangerous waters. A sister to the lighthouse, this ship houses a dedicated crew that sometimes do not see their homes for months, but their commitment to this work has saved many lives. Brian gives extra information in both the acknowledgements at the beginning, as well as the author's note at the end.  The illustrations are simple but engaging, and illustrate the story well.

Find the book on Amazon HERE

Brian Floca's own website with activities and other info HERE

Study Guide for "Lightship" HERE

Since the crew had so much time on their hands, they wove beautiful baskets and decorated them with whalebone or Scrimshaw designs.  Find out more at the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum link HERE

The Nantucket Basket.com

Hope you enjoyed today's offering for Perfect Picture Book Fridays, when we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention.  This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents.  For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Always winter, but never Christmas"

     Last week I did some shopping in our local mall (formerly the largest in the nation, at a time when malls were a new concept.) I, of course, expected to see the typical Santa scene, with lines of tots waiting to sit on the lap of this fatherly figure to share their most wanted wish list.

     But what I found was the "Ice Palace". Hmmmmm. That's unusual. I thought. Where's Santa? And who will be inside to greet the children when they reach the interior of the palace?
And then a chill came over me. And thoughts of the White Witch in The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. She had placed a spell on Narnia, so it was "Always winter, but never Christmas". A harsh environment with no hope of joy, peace and celebration.

     Edmund encounters the White Witch riding on a sleigh pulled by white reindeer. He has stolen away from his brother and sisters, curious of this "witch" spoken of by Mr. Beaver. And, because of his rebellious spirit, is intimidated when Aslan, the true King of Narnia's name is spoken. Queen Jadis is aware of a prophecy that will foil her plan, and bring Christmas back to Narnia. Four human children, or Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, will have a part to play in the return Aslan who will save Narnia from the harsh, cold spell it is under.

So, she is thrilled when she finds Edmund on the road. The White Witch entices him into her sleigh, and proceeds to fill him with his favorite treat: Turkish Delight. (When you have tried this rose-flavored delicacy, you will understand why!) She distracts him, so he indulges himself with more and more candy, until that is all he can think about. This greed causes Edmund to betray his siblings to the Queen of Narnia. Secretly, she plans to destroy them, and thus prevent Aslan from bringing back Christmas.

And that's when it hit me. Those of us who celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year are being distracted by the goodies of this world. Stuff. Celebration. Santa. Food. And more stuff.

But what about Christmas? Have we forgotten about the Christ Child? The one who came to earth to save it from Satan's power? To bring freedom, joy, light and forgiveness?

I think so. 

In Matthew 2: 9-11we read:

"After hearing the king, they (the Magi) went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

What gift will we bring to the feet of the Christ Child? How will we worship Him today?

I hope I will give Him my heart, and not a wish list. I want to worship the God of the Universe. Not the god of pleasure and possessions. I want to worship the King.

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel