Monday, April 25, 2011

Ten Questions with Renee Hand



Renee Hand is an award-winning author, educator, tennis coach and various other things. Hand has been writing for over twenty years and has six publications. She also writes for various chronicles and newsletters, as well as reviews for various authors of children's books on her blog, http://thecryptocapersseries.blogspot.com




Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been writing for over 25 years. I have won 4 awards with 8 books published, and 2 more on the way this year. I am a home school mom of two boys. I am also a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, as well as a reviewer for various publishers and authors. I started writing children’s books 4 years ago, though I have been a published author for 7 years, and I feel that it is one of the best decisions I’ve made. I wanted to educate and involve my readers into my stories, not just entertain them. I found a niche, took a risk and went with it. I’m so glad I did.




Could you describe your desk or workspace?

My workspace is nothing special. I have an area with my computer, and every other piece of hardware imaginable—printer, fax, copier, etc...I use my walls as my canvas and will put sticky notes on them as reminders for ideas for my books. I call it my idea wall.



What are you currently reading?

Various children’s books. I’m a children’s book reviewer so I’m always reading something new all the time.




What are your top three favorite books and why?

Sherlock Holmes Series, The Mystery of the Yellow Room and The Perfume of the Woman in Black. These are my favorite books because they’re mysteries and they make you think. Plus they are well written. I love mysteries!



Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part time.



What are your current strategies for marketing your books?

Marketing your book for an author is a full time job. There are new books coming out every day, so to keep your book on everyone’s mind you must market it continually. I do many things to market all my books all year long. My publisher, of course, does their job with it, but I do on-line marketing through hundreds of various blogs through other people, do interviews, reviews, press releases, author events, radio shows, TV shows, schools, giveaways, blog tours, writing workshops, my blog, my website, and lots more. I do various things to get my name out there to the public and all work well in their own way. I think no matter what you do it helps with getting exposure, but nothing beats getting out to the public. People are buying you, not just your book. I have done over 250 events since my first book was published.


Could you share about any current writing projects?

I am currently working on book 5 of my Crypto-Capers Series, The Peacock Diaries, which will be coming out in the Fall. In this story the Crypto-Capers are going to England in search of a missing inventor who leaves them clues about the true identity of the Panther, who is the main villain in the series. Many obstacles are thrown in their path, and a truth is revealed that will haunt them all.


What would be the best way for readers to contact you?
The best way would be through my website at www.reneeahand.com  Readers can also become members through my site to receieve updates of my new releases.


Where can people find your book, The Adventures of Joe Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill Case #2 Mineral Mischief?

Books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and other bookstores big and small, as well as signed copied through my website.




Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I love being an author and sharing my thoughts and adventures with the world, and I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life who have supported me over the years in varying capacities. Thank you for having me here. Also, I have two big giveaways going on. Below is all the information. 


Giveaway information:
Giveaway #1 is for those readers who comment on Renee’s blog stops during the tour. One comment per person, per blog, through the length of the tour. Giveaway #2 is for those who purchase a copy of Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill Adventures Case #2 Mineral Mischief, between its release date of April 1, 2011 and July 1, 2011. Proof of purchase must be submitted to Renee via email at cdrahand@yahoo.com. If you prefer to mail or fax a copy of your proof of purchase, please contact Renee via email for that information. Additional rules and guidelines can be found at the end of this post.

GIVEAWAY #1 (for people who comment at every stop during the VBT)
An autographed copy of Case #2 Mineral Mischief
Earth Science Posters on identifying rocks and minerals
National Audubon Society Field Guide (800+ pages) of Rocks and Minerals
Retail value of Giveaway #1 is $60 (rounded to nearest dollar)

GIVEAWAY #2 (for those who purchase a copy of Case #2 Mineral Mischief between April 1, 2011 and June 1, 2011)
An autographed copy of Case #1: The Great Pie Catastrophe
4 boxed sets of rock collections which include a box of each of: Igneous, Metamorphic, Sedimentary and Minerals. There are 12 specimens in each box. These learning sets are a great learning tool for kids to learn about various kinds of rocks and their properties.
Retail Value of Giveaway #2 is $100 (rounded to the nearest dollar)

Here are the rules and guidelines for these giveaways:
1) For Giveaway #1 you must leave a comment on the hosting blog with a working email address for the author to contact you if you win. Only the first comment with your working email address is used to determine eligibility (one comment, per blog).
2) You must be a member of author’s blog and website at http://thecryptocapersseries.blogspot.com and www.reneeahand.com  (This goes for entering both giveaways).
3) You are eligible to win Giveaway #2 if you purchase a copy of Case #2 Mineral Mischief between April 1, 2011 and June 1, 2011 and provide the author with proof of purchase via email, mail, or fax prior to July 1, 2011. Case #2 is available through, Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, and at various bookstores big and small, and various places on-line including my website.
4) All giveaway winners will be selected using Random.org.
5) Prizes will be shipped via USPS with appropriate insurance.
6) Author, blog hosts, and tour group are not responsible for lost or damaged goods.
7)  The same person cannot win both giveaways.
Good luck to all who enter!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ten Questions with Cady B. Driver



My guest today is Cady B. Driver, the illustrator of I Love You, Be Careful.  The book's illustrations capture poignant memories and cause one to reflect on all the "Be Careful" moments in life and smile.

Cady paints portraits and murals, teaches art and donates her work to charitable organizations. She has also illustrated Icky, Sticky Pancake World by Patrick Wynn. You can view more of her work online at http://www.artbycady.com/ or contract her at Cady@ArtByCady.com. She currently resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband and three children.



Could you tell us a little about yourself?  

I am a stay-at-home mom and I homeschool my three kids, Chloe, age 11, Jacob, age 9 and Tirzah, age 8.  In my spare time, I illustrate children's books, paint murals, donate murals to sick kids and hospitals, and design, sell and exhibit watercolor art.  


Could you describe your workspace?  

I have a desk, bulletin board and easel set up in the corner of our schoolroom bonus room. Every time I walk by that room, my desk calls out to me to sit down and paint something!  :)  It's hard to resist it even when there are mounds of laundry to do.  


Do you also write or would you like to in the future?  

I do write.  I currently am a contributor to a large blog called Modestly Yours and I have an art blog of my own that I love to write on.  I have written some poetic children's verses and one children's book, but I haven't had the courage to send them anywhere yet.  Maybe sometime soon I will.


When did you first know you wanted to be an illustrator?

To be honest with you, I never really thought about being an illustrator.  I answered an ad on Craig's List from an author who needed an illustrator.  I thought it looked interesting and the author, after sifting through many illustrators, finally settled on my sketches.  


What kind of training prepared you for your career as an illustrator?

I am entirely self-taught.  I buy books and spend a lot of time practicing and painting to perfect my technique.

  
Who are some of your favorite children's illustrators?  

I love Eloise Wilkins' style of painting sweet children and I'm a huge fan of Jan Brett.  I greatly admire her attention to detail.  I would love to be as good as she is some day.  


What is the best advice you've ever received?  

Well, it would have to be a Bible verse...."whatsoever you do, do it with your whole heart as unto the Lord and not unto men."  


Can you describe the process you go through when illustrating a picture book?    

I do a LOT of thinking about a page before I actually start sketching out the idea.  For my current book about adoption, I actually went to the author's house and took pictures of the family to use as models for the book.  We did all sorts of poses in various different situations.  This helps me keep the characters' features uniform throughout the book. 


Can you share about any projects you are currently working on?  

I am currently working on a book called, The Gift by Bridget Knouse.  The Knouses are an amazing couple that have opened up their home to adoptive and foster children.  Bridget wanted to impart the concept of how an adopted child is truly a gift from God to his adoptive parents and how he is right where he is supposed to be in life.  It's a beautiful book and brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.


Is there anything else you'd like to share?  

Ultimately, I believe that God gives us talents and gifts in life to be used for a purpose and for God's glory.  Through donating my murals to sick kids and donating memory portraits to parents that have lost children, I hope to share God's love and compassion with others.  I would eventually like for my business to grow to the point where I can significantly donate to organizations such as Shoannah's Hope.  Shoannah's Hope helps sponsor families who would like to adopt, but cannot afford to.  It's an amazing ministry and the plight of orphans around the world is one that is close to my heart.




Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ten Questions with Judy Snider


Today's guest is Judy Snider.  She is one of the co-authors of I Love You, Be Careful, a gift picture book for adults.

Judy lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, Gil, and two silly cats.  She is the author of the CWA award-winning children's book, Goldy's Baby Socks, and on a team of authors of The Sacred Purse.

Judy's sister, Joan Dickow, is also a co-author of I Love You, Be Careful.



Before we get to the actual interview, I'd like to share the book trailer to I Love You, Be Careful.



Hi, Judy.  Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia with my husband and two silly cats. I have two great sons in their 20’s who live in different cities. I love to travel and love reading my books to children! I am a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators, The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators, The Cat Writer’s Association, NASW, The Hampton Roads Writers, and The Cape Henry Writer’s with Cape Henry Collegiate.  I am the author of Goldy’s Baby Socks in English and Spanish, a fun picture book that came out in 2005. A group of women and I came out with The Sacred Purse a few years ago with stories about the different roles of women. I love chocolate and writing in a sunny spot in the room.
My sister, Joan lives in Michigan with her husband Fred, and her cat Coffee. She has grown children and grandchildren. She is a 20 year breast cancer survivor. Cady, our illustrator lives in North Carolina and has a husband and three children.

Could you describe your desk/workspace?
I have a sunny room I like to sit in that has a desk, bookshelves, a desktop computer, and a great view outside. My cats are curled up on the desk, and I have a phone and a plastic container of chocolate beside me. I have pictures of my family on most of the shelves and lots of children’s books. When I first write a story, it is on our family room couch on a legal pad with a pen…again a sunny room with our cats around.

Do you have a favorite quote?
Yes, two I like that go something like this:  Life will always change, you must adjust your sails, and bad things happen when good people do nothing…..
 
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Slow down…..slow down…..and hug those you love and tell them you love them every day you can!

If you could have coffee with anyone, who would it be and why?
I would love to have coffee with my parents and grandparents now at this age. So many things I would ask and tell them—and just to have more time as they are deceased!
I would love to have coffee with Hallmark book people, as we hope to have our book in their store someday!
I also would like to have coffee with Joanie, my other sister Mary,  my zany friends the Yo, Yo’s, and my writers group, and my sons…..wow, I want to have coffee with everyone….love my friends and family-zany bunch!

What are your three favorite books and why?
Somebody Loves you Mr. Hatch: It is about a man who gets a valentines, and finds out it was not for him…poignant children’s book, but happy ending….I love sentimental happy ending books! Love the Froggy Series by Jonathan London…kids giggle at those.
My husbands medical /political thriller, Brain Warp….Good book, and he is my husband and saw all the hard work he put into it.
Who You Were Meant to Be by Dr. Lindsay Gibson. A Guide to Finding or Recovering Your Life’s Purpose.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
Nancy Drew. The Clock Mystery one. I still love suspense books and movies! Not gory, but suspense.

What are your current marketing strategies for your gift picture book for adults, I Love You, Be Careful?
- Gave book signing at Border’s in December, will do more
- Virginia Grenier did a wonderful book trailer on You Tube - will spread the word
- Facebook ads have been done
- Contacting bookstores to put it on their tables for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
- Contacting bride sites as book perfect for brides or moms-to–be
- This current book tour with Virginia Grenier
- Contacted Hallmark to see if they would want it to be Hallmark book, which we think would be a great fit!
- Facebook our friends
- Put it in a writing contest that is decided in summer.
- Word of Mouth…asking friends to spread the word and websites

Could you share about any current writing projects?
Joan is working on a picture book called The Porch Fairy, and Cady Driver is illustrating another children’s book. (please see her website). I am not doing any new books, but working with author/scriptwriter Marsha Cook and my other sister Mary on a script project.
 For book questions: brainwarp@verizon.net

Where can people find your book, I Love You, Be Careful?
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble.com
Borders.com
Xlibris for soft and hardcovers of Goldy’s Baby Socks and I Love You, Be Careful
** Goldy’s Baby Socks in English and Spanish by Judy Snider and Thomas Mcateer is Muse Award Winner
                   http://www.goldysbabysocks.com/
                   http://www.artbycady.com/

Judy, thank you for being here today.  I enjoyed getting to know you. 



You can find out more about Judy Snider and Joan Dickow's World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/JudySniderandJoanDickow.aspx.  There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more.  Make sure to stop by and interact with the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.  Both Judy Snider and Joan Dickow will be checking in throughout the tour and you might even spot Cady B. Driver as well.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Spotlight - Infinite Space, Infinite God II


Infinite Space, Infinite God II

Karina and Robert Fabian, Editors

Cover artwork by Kurt Ozinga

Christian Science Fiction








Twelve science fiction stories featuring great adventure with a twist of faith.  Infinite Space, Infinite God II spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock suspense. A great read for any science fiction fan; a must-read for those seeking something new in their fiction.

The Ghosts of Kourion by Andrew Seddon:  A grieving professor escapes back in time to live among a doomed people.

Antivenin by Karina Fabian:  Rescue Sister Rita takes on a ship full of venomous snakes in order to save a friend.

An Exercise in Logic by Barton Paul Levenson:  How do you convince an infuriatingly logical race to stop an asteroid?
Cathedral by Tamara Wilhite: A genetically engineered human spends the last of her tortured days righting her wrongs.

Otherworld by Karina Fabian: Does sin really count when it's virtual?

The Battle of the Narthex by Alex Lobdell:  An alien battle in a most unusual setting--tickles the funny bone and touches the heart! 

Tenniel by Colleen Drippe':  The battle for souls becomes a battle to the death.

Tin Servants by J Sherer:  In order to serve his people, Paul becomes an android--but can he really care for them as a tin servant?

Basilica by John Rundle:  Caprizo battles machines and thwarts an enemy armada to keep a doomsday weapon from their hands.

Cloned to Kill by D. Mak:  How can a man of peace protect a clone designed to kill?

Frankie Phones Home by Karina Fabian:  A sixteen-year-old alien abductee calls her family on the way back for official First Contact.

Dyads, Ken Pick and Alan Loewen:  Enter the fascinating culture of the Thalendri in a story of intrigue, terrorist and religious tolerance.




Links to purchase Infinite Space, Infinite God II:

SPECIAL NOTE: Twilight Times will be putting Kindle copies of Infinite Space, Infinite God II and its companion, Infinite Space, Infinite God I on sale during the tour.  For the tour, ISIG II IS $2.99.  ISIG I will be only $0.99 April 11-13; then $2.99 for the rest of the tour.



E-book formats at Fictionwise   http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b115867/?si=0



Karina Fabian, Editor of Infinite Space, Infinite God II

Robert Fabian, Editor of Infinite Space, Infinite God II


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Giveaway of The Emerald Atlas



Go and check out the post at Book Dreaming about a giveaway that is being done for an ARC of The Emerald Atlas which was written by John Stephens.

Here is the link:  http://shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com/2011/04/emerald-atlas-giveaway.html

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Spotlight - Murder in The Vatican


Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

Written by Ann Margaret Lewis

Illustrated by Rikki Niehaus

Category: Mystery

152 pages

Published in August 2010

This book has received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval

Book Website  http://holmeschurchmysteries.com/

Available from Wessex Press   http://www.wessexpress.com/
and Ignattius Press  http://www.ignatius.com/

Available from Amazon.com 
http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Vatican-Church-Mysteries-Sherlock/dp/0938501526/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1300058644&sr=8-4





A sudden death in the Vatican.  An international incident over stolen artifacts.  A priest's wrongful imprisonment for murder.  Follow the great detective as he investigates three baffling cases at the "express desire of his Holiness, the Pope."  In this collection of three of the great detective's untold tales, mentioned in the original Holmes stories, the voices of dr. John H. Watson and the legendary Pope Leo XIII reveal how the great Sherlock Holmes brought three grim ecclesial cases to startling and poignant conclusions.

Included in the book are: the novella "The Death of Cardinal Tosca," in which Sherlock Holmes unravels a murder leading to a plot against the pope's life; a second novella, "The Vatican Cameos," in which Holmes, with the pope at his side, investigates a heft from a Vatican courier that has dire political implications; and the short story "The Second Coptic Patriarch," in which Holmes seeks to clear the name of a priest accused of murder - a priest who is none other than Chesterton's Father Brown!  Each story is faithfully illustrated in the style of a late Victorian fiction magazine by artist Rikki Niehaus.



Born and raised in Waterford, Michigan, Ann Margaret Lewis attended Michigan State University, where she received her Bachelor's degree in English Literature. She began her writing career writing tie-in children’s books and short stories for DC Comics. Most recently she published a second edition of her book, Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Alien Species, for Random House.

After attacking the Star Wars universe, Ann plunged into writing science fiction/fantasy, historical fiction, and, of course, mysteries. Her latest book is Murder in the Vatican:The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes published by Wessex Press. She is also co-writing a historical novel entitled Roman which tells the true story of a priest in 1840s southern Indiana who was accused of assaulting a woman in a confessional. 

Ann is a classically trained soprano, and has performed around the New York City area. She has many interests from music to art history, to theology and all forms of literature. She is the President of the Catholic Writers Guild, an international organization for Catholic Writers and the coordinator of the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE. After living in New York City for fifteen years, Ann moved to Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband Joseph Lewis and their son, Raymond. Together they enjoy their life in the heartland.


TOUR SCHEDULE
April 2nd - Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways   http://tributebooksreviews.blogspot.com/

April 2nd - Fabianspace   http://www.fabianspace.com/

April 2nd - PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER   http://susannedrazic.blogspot.com/

April 2nd - Time With Tannia   http://timewithtannia.tripod.com/

April 3rd - Marian Allen   http://marianallen.com/

April 4th - A Pius Man   http://apiusman.blogspot.com/  

April 5th - The Baker Street Blog   http://www.bakerstreetblog.com/

April 6th - One Writer's Journey   http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/

April 7th - Happy Catholic   http://happycatholic.blogspot.com/

April 7th - CatholicMom.com   http://catholicmom.com/

April 8th - Impact Reviews   http://www.chadlavender.com/impact

April 8th - The Writing Life For Me   http://thewritinglifeforme.blogspot.com/

April 9th - One Hot Mess   http://naomi-jay.livejournal.com/

April 11th - Litland.com Book Reviews   http://www.litland.com/reviews.html

April 12th - Litland.com Reviews!   http://www.litland.com/blog/

April 14th - Katie Hines - Walking on Water   http://katiehines.blogspot.com/

April 15th - Sherlock Holmes Fan Wiki   http://www.sherlockholmeswiki.com/page/Sherlock+Holmes+Fan+Wiki%3A+blog

April 16th - Teresa's Simplicity In Words   http://www.teribelle.wordpress.com/

April 18th - The Book Connection   http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/

April 20th - Author Caprice Hokstad   http://caprice.splashdownbooks.com/


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