Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Author Spotlight - Penelope Anne Cole on her award winning book



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
I wrote many stories in elementary school and loved reading them aloud. I love being creative and it’s empowering to create stories and characters.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
First I wanted to be a writer. But then later I so admired and respected my teachers that I wanted to be a teacher. I ended up combining writing and teaching in my government HR career by training adults and writing instructions, newsletters, and guidance.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
"What’s for Dinner?" is a question people ask every day. And for kids, if there’s some new or strange, then the phrase might be said with some worry and concern.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“I can’t wait to have you come and eat at my house!”
I like this line at the end of the story because it shows Katy’s generous and sharing nature in wanting to share her food with her friend.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Since the book is about my daughter Katy and me, I am the Mom in the story! Katy was a picky eater for most of her childhood. Now that she’s older, she tries new foods all the time.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I want readers to identify with Katy who is a little fearful about trying new foods, but later she’s willing to taste new foods and is open to new taste experiences.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
CLC Gold Medal Winner: Ten Little Tricksters 
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
I got my first book idea one day while I was out walking and learned my neighbor’s son had turned ten—double digits. That idea seemed so magical that I secretly gave him magical powers to fix things. By the time I finished my walk, I had the whole story all mapped out. It became the first in a five book series.
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Like so may others, I idealized J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Next I adored Kate DiCamillo’s books. And now I’m totally in love with Jeanne Birdsall’s middle grade Penderwicks series. It is my goal to write as well as these fine writers.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
I can’t choose just one. I love all the books that made me cry, laugh, and believe in the many possibilities of life.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Completing my five book Magical Series is my biggest accomplishment—so far. I expect to finish the four middle grade novels I’m working on in the coming year.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
During the day I write with Classical music on the radio. At night, I write with the TV on.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET PUBLISHED?
I was inspired to write my first book when out walking. Then I hired an artist I found online. After he finished the artwork, I told him I needed a publisher, so he introduced me to my first publisher! True story.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION/PUBLISH DATE/OR OTHER OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
We celebrated at the Oyster Bar at the Fish Market. I was joined by my daughter, who inspired the story of What’s for Dinner?
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
My path to publication was much different than other authors. I did it backwards. I wrote the story, had it illustrated, and then found a publisher. But now I would advise writers to find an agent and let the agent find a publisher. I am publishing under my Magical Book Works imprint because I want creative control of my books.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Start with a detailed business plan. Set down how much time, effort, and money you can commit to your writing business. You need a social media presence, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr—every social platform you can manage. You need to join writing organizations to network. Post and comment regularly on social media. For children’s books/PB/MG/YA you need to connect with teachers, schools, librarians. For other books, find your niche or target audience and connect with them.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
This isn’t an easy business to be in. But it is rewarding to see your words in print, winning awards, and being read and appreciated.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
My newest title, My Grandma’s Pink House, is a rhyming picture book and is in the process of being illustrated.  The book is about a nostalgic look back to a simpler time with three kids visiting their grandmother in the country in all seasons. 
I also have a new coloring book in the works and I'm currently working on four middle grade books, two lower middle grade and two higher middle grade:
The Raccoon Witches of Calhoun County
The Dreamland Candy Caper
The Perfect Home
The Young Amazons

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Monday, September 12, 2016

My Pancakes Taste Different Today! by Heather Wood Galpert and Bruce Galpert, earns the CLC Seal of Approval




Young Ethan always eats pancakes before he goes fishing.  One morning after thanking his mother for making him the "best pancakes in the world," his mother explains to him that he should also thank the farmer and the lakes and streams and every other person, creature and entity involved in helping create the goods that went into making his pancakes.  That day, with a grateful heart, as Ethan goes on his fishing outing he does just that.  But at the end of his day he does something, unbeknownst to him, that would cause a catastrophic chain reaction of events.  As a result, the next time his mother makes his pancakes he can't help but notice they taste different.

My Pancakes Taste Different Today! is a terrific book for teaching young readers about the delicate eco-system in which we live.  Children will learn, along with Ethan, how one small and seemingly innocent act can have long term detrimental effects on earth.  As Ethan realizes his blunder he sets to work righting a wrong and invites his friends to join him in making his community a better place for all who live there.  

My Pancakes Taste Different Today! is recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Author Spotlight - Sherrill S. Cannon on her award winning book, The Golden Rule



AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
After my phase of competing in horse shows and deciding I’d like to become a vet, upon further reflection that this might not be the best career choice (knowing I was allergic to animals), I decided to become a physical education teacher (since I loved sports and was a member of three varsity teams).  This was reviewed in dismay by my high school principal, since I turned down the offer of a scholarship to Wellesley (because they didn’t offer a degree in P.E.) – but it was very rewarding when ten years after graduation I became the Head of the P.E. Department at that very same school! 
WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
I have always written rhyming poetry, even at age 4 when my mother wrote down my poems for me. So I’ve always been a “writer”, but only became a published author in 2009 at age 69!
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
All of my books are about consideration for others and being kind, usually disguised as fun stories - so the idea of a book about the Golden Rule was a decision to be a little more specific and to show children the ways they could follow the Golden Rule in their own young lives. (I really wish I could send copies to Congress!)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“It’s a rule that you live by, to give and to share,
A way to treat others to show that you care.”
The book’s main message is “Treat others the way you’d like them to treat you” and is filled with suggestions on ways children can do this!
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
I would like to think Robert, the main character, is hopefully most like me. He does bring out the teacher in me!
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated!
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
Reading to children is the most rewarding and fun part of being an author, and can also provide many entertaining moments. I remember one event during the question and answer session where, after multiple questions, one child raised her hand, stood up, and announced, “I have a pillow pet!” Immediately, about 30 other hands shot up into the air. Sensing a pattern, I asked, “How many others of you have a pillow pet!” Almost all hands shot up into the air!!! Then we went on to more serious issues!!
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Dr. Seuss. I love his ability to think in rhyme and meter, although he had a tendency to make up words to fit his rhymes! 
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
The Bible, of course, but I am a prolific reader so it’s difficult to select just one! To simplify, perhaps Horton Hatches the Egg. I love that message…
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
My first published book, Santa’s Birthday Gift, is my favorite and apparently my fans’ favorite too since it’s sold over 6,000 copies now (which is an accomplishment for a soft-cover independent-press holiday book). 
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
I sent out a few inquiries when I first wrote the stories, but after receiving the message that publishers weren’t accepting unsolicited manuscripts and the agents weren’t accepting unpublished manuscripts, I decided to not go there! Later, when I retired and was not getting any younger, I sent my manuscript to SBPRA (which was at that time, Eloquent Books)…and the rest is history! 
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION/PUBLISH DATE/OR OTHER OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
My husband took a photo of me holding Santa’s Birthday Gift when it arrived, which has become a tradition for each successive book.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
My publisher has been awesome throughout each of the steps to publication, with my only concerns happening in the edit phase (since my books have rhyme and meter, and cannot be subject to many suggested revisions. “Said”, “replied” and “responded” are not interchangeable, as far as meter is concerned!) However the most important advice I can give is to have your book edited!!! Any book with poor punctuation, misspellings, misused words, etc. will never make it in this world of abundant authors, so please don’t skimp on this valuable part of the process!
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Social media is imperative! Facebook, including a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram are all basic necessities, as well as having a Blog of some sort (I use wordpress – sherrillcannon.com ) where you can communicate with your readers. I also enter lots of contests, since winning an award provides instant credibility in the ever-growing world of authors. I have been very fortunate, since in addition to my Silver Medal in the 2016 CLC Awards, my books have won a total of 42 awards!
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Please continue to submit your books to the Literary Classics.  Their Seal of Approval is awesome, whether or not you actually win a medal. Parents look for books with CLC approval!!
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, I have one last book I’d like to have published. (Since I am already 76 years old, I probably won’t be writing any more new ones.)
If my publisher agrees, it will be available in 2017. (I can only manage to release one per year!)

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Friday, September 2, 2016

Author Spotlight - Wim Baren on his award winning title, Ptaath's Hammer



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY? 
 In 2014, I had an idea based on my reading of a history of Byzantium. From there, with a lot of research, I crafted The Crimson Emperor. I haven’t stopped since.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?  
I never really knew, but I loved designing things, or improving things.  I especially liked learning things.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?  
The anti-hero, Phocas, had a terrible reputation as a usurping Emperor. His reign was bloody and vengeful. The color fit.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? “One God, One Faith, One Church, One Empire…” It sums up the dominant spiritual motivator for much of the action.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? 
I never looked at them in that light. Perhaps Romulus, because he loved an active regimen and pursued the highest levels of excellence in what he did. Also, he was a highly romantic actor.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?  
History is so full of the most amazing stuff, no one should ever feel they’ve run out of ideas for stories. Pick any place and any time, and you’ll be amazed.
TELL US SOMETHING RANDOM/INTERESTING/FUNNY ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
Since I started writing, I found it enjoyable to create mini-broadsheets (maybe 1500 words each) on creative writing, to share what I’ve learned with others.  I also found that certain music pieces become embedded in my mind as I write, a given piece associated with a given story. Weird, I know.
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?  
H. Ryder Haggard, Eric R. Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros Quartet), Jane Austen (any of her novels) and Anthony Trollop (The Pallisers).
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE? 
 The Bible
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? 
 The Crimson Emperor winning the Literary Classics Silver Medal for Young Adult Historic Fiction in 2015, and now Ptaath’s Hammer winning the Literary Classics Gold Medal for Young Adult Fantasy Fiction in 2016.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?  
I select a specific piece of music to put my mind in the right frame, and will repeat the piece throughout the writing session. It gives me a creative flow that helps ideas coalesce.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?  
Dinner out with my much better half, plus sharing the news with a few long-time friends whose judgments I value.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? Another Historic Fiction work, Empire and Triumph, a kind of sequel to The Crimson Emperor. Hoping it will be completed by January 2017. About half a dozen other ideas are on the writing table, with a few bits and pieces fleshed out.
When released, it will be on the Smashwords.com website.

 ​

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Whizbang Machine, by Danielle A. Vann, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Elizabeth is an extraordinarily mature fifteen year old girl.  Of course, her life circumstances have caused her to grow up faster than most kids her age.  An only child, her father passed away a few short weeks after her grandmother's death.  So when her grandfather, bereaving and heartbroken, escaped reality to travel the world, she and her mother were left to pick up the pieces of their lives on their own.  Now, eight years later, Elizabeth's grandfather has returned home with a mysterious typewriter which he believes is somehow connected to his family, and in particular, to Elizabeth.

The Whizbang Machine is an incredibly suspenseful book which will have readers of all ages eagerly turning pages with enthusiasm as they wait to see what will become of Elizabeth and her eccentric grandfather, Jack.  Author Danielle A. Vann displays rare talent as a story-teller in this thrilling book which will leave readers anxiously awaiting the sequel to this delightfully engaging read.

The Whizbang Machine is highly recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Author Spotlight - Lincoln Cole on his 2016 Award Winning Book



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
When I was about ten and reading Stephen King, I knew I wanted to do that when I grew up. I loved to read and I wanted to tell stories just like he did. I also loved Goosebumps and anything sci-fi or fantasy. 
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I wanted to be a writer from pretty much as soon as I wanted to be anything. 
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
I wanted to contribute to the conversations dealing with social issues and the problems America is facing. 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
I don't have a favorite line, but I do have a favorite scene, and that is when Richard and Jason are getting ready to close for the night and Richard confronts his brother. The way the conversation flips on him is something I worked hard on.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Jason is most like me because of the personality. Richard is more like my brother.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I wanted people who read the book to be able to take something away. I didn't want to stereotype anyone and to specifically avoid using gender or racial identifiers that are considered the 'norm'. This has actually caused a lot of readers to shy away from the story because they expect people to act like the ones they see in real life.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
Ripples Through Time (2015 Literary Classics Award Winning Book)
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
I get sidetracked easily and often have five-ten different stories in progress at a time. 
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Stephen King. 
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
Stephen King's On Writing changed my entire style and helped me become a much better writer.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Right now I would say winning Kindle Scout to get a Kindle Press contract for Raven's Peak. I worked incredibly hard on the thirty day campaign and managed to win out over hundreds of other awesome books. 
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
Not really. I just like to sit down and put the words on paper. I prefer rewriting. 
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
I started out self-publishing and then moved on to trying out Kindle Scout to try and get a contract, but I still don't have an agent. 
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION/PUBLISH DATE/OR OTHER OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I went out to dinner with my wife and we had a nice evening together! 
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Just keep working at it. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking you're getting good at writing because you should always be improving. If each book is better than the last then you are doing something right. 
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Get it in front of people. No matter how good it is, if people never see it then it won't sell. Sometimes you might buy an advertisement and it won't sell any copies, but it's still getting seen, and maybe the next time or the time after that someone will buy it. It's a slow process, marketing. 
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
When you find an author you like, let them know that their books meant something! Positive feedback gives me the confidence to keep trying. 
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
I'm working on my science fiction series right now and the sequel to Raven's Peak
Hopefully I'll have two new books from the Graveyard of Empires series and another Raven's Peak book out by the end of this year. That's the current goal! All of them will be up on Amazon! 

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org