Monday, May 22, 2017

The Slope Rules, by Melanie Hooyenga, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Cally was still heart-broken over a fleeting fall romance when she learned she and her father would soon be moving to Colorado.  Now, between yearning for her old home in Vermont, putting up with the catty girls in her new school, and missing tryouts for the ski team, she's doing her best to keep things together.  Cally has never had to deal with manipulative, back-stabbing girls, so she finds herself at a loss when the 'snow bunnies' seem to have claimed her as one of their own and expect to call the shots in nearly every aspect of her life.

Author Melanie Hooyenga tells it like it is in this remarkably honest coming of age story.  Written in the vernacular of today's teens, this highly relatable book is sure to resonate with young audiences.  The Slope Rules offers drama, action and age-appropriate romance all wrapped up in an inspiring, page-turning read.

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers, The Spring Tales, by C.F. Crawford, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers, The Spring Tales, by C.F. Crawford, is the continuation of the story of Hallie and Cory, sisters who have befriended a family of mice living in a tree in their backyard.  But these are no ordinary mice.  Mr. Snuggywhiskers and his family can speak, and Hallie and Cory are able to magically shrink to mice-sized proportions whenever they want to visit the Snuggywhiskers’ family home.  In The Spring Tales, the third book in the Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers children’s book series, Cory and Hallie go on a trip, taking the Snuggywhiskers family along with them.  The girls discover there’s more to Mr. Snuggywhiskers past than they’d realized.  But learning the truth proves to be more challenging than they ever could have imagined.

Author C.F. Crawford continues to deliver in her most recent addition to the Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers series.  The Spring Tales is entertaining and full of delightfully imaginative scenarios which are sure to keep young readers enthralled.  Full of whimsical adventure and a hint of mystery, this book is recommended for home and school libraries.

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Stone of Mercy, by M.J. Evans, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



While she was yet unborn, Carling's mother received a prophecy that her child would one day become the long-awaited ruler of Crystonia. The throne, having remained unclaimed for over a century and a half, had been unsuccessfully sought by many throughout those tumultuous years. When Carling is just 16 years old she is met by a wizard who pronounces that she is the chosen one.  A sweet girl, from a humble background, she is overwhelmed by this revelation as she is presented with a quest; complete a magical breastplate by finding the four stones needed to fully harvest the power within this magnificent shield.  


The Stone of Mercy, by M.J. Evans is a marvelous tale of centaurs and ogres who battle against one another for control of Crystonia.  As Carling matures she exhibits strength and compassion, all the while remaining focused on her calling.  Despite doubts from those in the village where she has grown up she is steadfast in her quest to complete the tasks set before her.  Joined by a delightfully eclectic group of friends, Carling is not alone as she dares to do what none before her have accomplished for over a century.  This captivating book will enchant readers with tales of adventure, excitement, humor, and hints of a pending romance.  The Stone of Mercy 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

Joe Peas, by Sam Newsome, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



When an orphaned Italian boy is found in a heap of rubble, a survivor in a World War II battle, he is taken in by American soldiers.  Adopting their customs, and the rather unusual name of Joe Peas, he comes to love America and all it represents.  Years later, as an itinerant house-painter, Joe is injured while on the job and becomes a short-term resident of a care facility. A private man, he seems to always have a positive influence on those with whom he comes into contact.  But having enjoyed a degree of anonymity over the years his efforts to help those at the home, whom he now calls his friends, may come at a high price to Joe.


Author Sam Newsome’s Joe Peas is a heartwarming work of fiction with a unique and unexpected plot that will keep readers engaged from the first page to the last.  A feel-good book which is sure to resonate with readers of all ages, Joe Peas 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

Concrete Wings, by Beverly Gandara, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Julian is a young boy growing up in Cuba during the rebellion and overthrow of the government by Castro. He comes from an extrinsic family which values wealth above all. When the political situation becomes dour and it looks as though his father’s wealth may be in jeopardy Julian is sent alone to New York City to retrieve smuggled family jewels. The boy soon learns that not everyone behaves like his dysfunctional parents. But years later when they are able to join him his life is once again overwhelmed by his self-absorbed family with all their obsessions and peculiarities.

Beverly Gandara’s Concrete Wings brings to light the oppression brought on by communism as well as the extreme hardships suffered by Cubans during this era.  Readers are introduced to the effects of Castro’s policies on the Cuban people as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy.  The world is full of strange and marvelous people and this story introduces the reader to several memorable ones.  This delightfully entertaining yet poignant tale will stay with readers long after the last page has been turned.  Recommended for home and school libraries, Concrete Wings 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

Sip Tea with Mad Hatter, by Loretta Neff, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval




Sip Tea with Mad Hatter is a fun-filled, Alice and Wonderland themed book which teaches children how to be gracious guests.  Author Loretta Neff continues to delight and inspire young readers with her unique perspective on social graces in her newest children's book.  Each page is adorned with winsome illustrations which will keep youngsters entertained while encouraging them to be the best of guests. Helpful and sound etiquette advice is eloquently penned in a way that will help kids understand the hows, as well as the whys, of good manners when one has been invited to attend a party.  

Sip Tea with Mad Hatter, by Loretta Neff, 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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dotty and the Chimney Thief, by Emma Warner-Reed, earns the CLC Seal of Approval



Dotty possesses a magical locket which allows her to travel via chimney. But something mysterious is causing chimneys in the area to disappear.  So, when Dotty’s friend Joe disappears she is gravely concerned for his safety.  She and her friends must rely on intellect and imagination to rescue Joe and stop the chimneys from disappearing entirely.


Author Emma Warner-Reed continues to delight readers with this, the second book in her Dotty Series.  Dotty and the Chimney Thief is a charming tale which is destined to become a childhood favorite.  Each chapter is the perfect length for a nightly reading.  This fantasy adventure, replete with a lively cast of characters, is sure to enchant readers of all ages.  Recommended for home and school libraries,  Dotty and the Chimney Thief 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

Ephemeral and Fleeting, by Patricia Reding, has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Ephemeral and Fleeting, book three in the Oathtaker Series, is an enduring tale of magic, mystery and prophecies.  The chronicles continue as Zarek, the evil Chrianian ruler, attempts to destroy and overtake the Select members. More than ever, this story comes to life and offers new thrills for adventure-hungry readers.  Reigna and Eden forge on, striving to fulfill their destiny.  Love blossoms as the twins are maturing and coming into their potential powers.  Bloody battles ensue and the situation becomes further complicated as the Chrianians underhandedly vie to control the border.

Author Patricia Reding continues to engage readers with unexpected twists and a plot which sears with vivid details of events that will keep readers on the edge of their seats in hopeful anticipation of another installment in this fantasy series.

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ophelia, Alive, by Luke Harrington, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



After failing at college Ophelia’s sister gets her a job at a charity hospital in exchange for testing a new drug.  Included in the array of unwelcome side-effects she begins to hallucinate and starts acting out unexpectedly. Ophelia struggles to quit taking the medication without success.  Then things take a bizarre turn when she is visited by ghosts who were erstwhile murdered by a serial killer. 

Horror meets literary fiction in this unique novel in which Shakespeare, Poe, and the like join efforts to create a surreal montage of thoughtful introspection.  As Ophelia delves into a world of existential indulgence, readers are introduced to her meanderings as she processes a deluge of mind-altering experiences. 

Ophelia, Alive is altogether unexpected and will leave readers yearning for more from this author.  A fresh perspective on the horror genre, this novel will appeal to fans of dark fantasy and may even spark an interest in classical literature.

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shattered Lies, by S.J. Francis, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Shattered Lies is the riveting tale of a young woman who tragically lost both her parents on the day she was born.  Raised by her grandmother on a Mississippi horse ranch, Kate has lived her entire life believing the stories of her family as they’ve been presented to her.   But when she discovers her mother’s journal exposing a dark secret, everything she has ever believed to be true about her family changes.  As she digs into their past she learns the lengths to which they have gone to bury secrets that, when unraveled, will lead to an alternate reality for Kate.

Author S.J. Francis has written a compelling novel which skillfully addresses a sensitive topic, causing readers to consider the ways in which truths are often distorted to the detriment of others for all the wrong reasons. Shattered Lies 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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Author Brian Adams on his award winning book, KABOOM!


WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY? The first book I ever had I ate, so my parents gave me paper and crayons and encouraged me to write a new one. That’s a little tough to do when you don’t know your alphabet, but hey, look where it got me.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? Is this a trick question? A writer! Duh! And, of course, to be winner of a Literary Classics Book Award.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE? I strove for a title that conveyed the image of a mountain blasting apart (KABOOM!) as well as an acronym for the environmental activist group in the novel (Kids Against Blowing Off Our Mountains). Pretty witty, huh?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“Dad,” I interrupted. “I will be careful. I promise. About boys and about mountaintops. But I am going to do what I have to do.”
I love that my female protagonist is not be deterred from doing her best to come of age responsibly and to become active in the fight against the environmentally destructive method of coal extraction called mountain top removal.
WHICH CHARACTER FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? My protagonists are two 15 year old girls from West Virginia and I’m a gray haired old dude from Massachusetts, but I’ll go out on a limb here and embrace my inner adolescent female self and identify with my heroine Cyndie. She’s trying to do the right thing and speak truth to power in the fight against coal extraction and climate change. Activism rocks!
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? My book is about two spirited and spunky teenage girls living in the heart of coal country West Virginia who discover that their beloved mountain is to be blown sky high by the coal company. I’m hoping the message is that environmental activism is essential to save the world and that it can also be exciting, fun and romantic. Blowing off the tops of mountains to get coal is evil. We can save the world and find true love. Kids can make a difference. The time to act to protect our environment is now!
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? Love in the Time of Climate Change
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: I had a pretty polished draft of KABOOM! that I sent to three 15 year old girls to read and boy did they let me have it. In the margins of the manuscript they wrote things like “pathetic”, “pointless”, “what are you thinking?”, “people don’t talk this way” and “NO!!!!!!” After I recovered from my near fatal nervous breakdown I realized that in almost every instance they were right (or is it write?) on! I think my book is much better for their input. Thank goodness for truthful teen voices.
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE? I just re-read Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger for the 900th time and I am enthralled by his ability to capture teen angst in such a remarkable way. His anti-hero Holden Caulfield is such a fallible endearing character. The style of writing is something I just marvel at.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE? Other than mine? Hmmmm…..How about The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Talk about a book with a strong environmental message. I just love the line “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” So true!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? Is this another trick question? Receiving the Literary Classics book award. Double duh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS? Before writing: A quick prayer to the goddess of creativity that what comes out of my brain today is a good bit more than just mindless drivel. Then three quick games of solitaire on the computer and praying to the card god that I will win at least one of them. And then WRITE ON!
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED? Fortune smiled as I found a small publisher in Vermont (Green Writers Press) with the same goal as mine – publish good literature that makes a difference. Their motto is “Giving voice to writers and artists who will make the world a better place.” Check them out. Greenwriterspress.com. They are AWESOME!
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE PUBLISH DATE OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Bought a much more comfortable chair to write on. It replaced a broken down piece of crap that was about a thousand years old and had a crook in the back that stabbed me deep into my spinal column. Ouch!
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS? Tips for aspiring authors on getting published? Just the usual crap. Hang in there. Don’t be discouraged. Keep on sending in your manuscript. If they reject you it is NOT (I repeat NOT!) because your work isn’t the most brilliant in the history of the universe (it is!) it’s just because the fools who turned you down are misguided, ignorant morons who KNOW NOTHING and deserve to rot in hell!
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? Go anywhere, do anything. Book store readings, library events, signings, book groups, reviews, awards, school classes – don’t be bashful. Seize any and every opportunity to self-promote. People want to hear what you have to say! I called every library in West Virginia (yup – every single damn one of them!) to encourage them to get my book. And some of them actually did.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? Read my damn book. Buy local whenever possible! Your local independent book store (ask them to order it if they don’t have it!) is the best place on earth to buy a book! If you absolutely have to go to Amazon.  Oh yeah, turn off your computer right now and go out and save the world.  
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? What kind of silly question is that? Of course I do. Writing is an addiction. And once you’ve been published you’re even more hooked for life. And now that you’ve given me this award I’ve gone completely over the edge. Must write. Must write. Must write. Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR NEXT BOOK WHEN IT WILL BE AVAILABLE, WHERE IT CAN BE PURCHASED, ETC...
Off Line (the working Title) is a romantic comedy about a young woman who has an on line relationship disorder and is a total netaholic. She moves in with her gay grandfathers and tries to wean herself off the net by joining a rag-tag groups of off-line misfits. I think it’s pretty funny and will hopefully encourage folks to think twice before devoting their entire lives to surfing the net and texting.

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Author, Cathrina Constantine, on her award winning books

WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
When I was quite young, I loved to write plays. I wrote a few shorts and sent them to magazines and then life blossomed and I didn't begin to get serious until my five children were older and I could find personal time.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
An Actress. I did star in a few local plays, and took acting lessons, but then life happened and started me on a different path.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
Coming up with a title for my books has been and still is frustrating for me. I must change the title a hundred times before being satisfied.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
In Don't Forget to Breathe my favorite line is: "People are flawed, big time. I learned it the hard way."
WHICH CHARACTER FROM YOUR BOOKS DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Seeley Chase in Wickedly They Come. She's a caring loving mother.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
In Don't Forget to Breathe the message is hope in a flawed world.
In Tallas the message throughout the book is perseverance, the never ending fight for justice & freedom. The battle between right & wrong.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
So, so many. Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare, Veronica Roth, Marie Lu, Jan Karon, and of course, J.K.Rowling.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
The Bible.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Receiving the Gold Award for Literary Classics for Don't Forget to Breathe. And receiving the Silver Award from Literary Classics for Tallas.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
I love to write in the early mornings. Preferably outside (in the summer) with a cup of coffee. 
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
I did have an agent for two years, but then we amiably parted ways. I found my publisher Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly through the Internet and it's a relationship that's been thriving.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE WINNING YOUR AWARDS?
Framed my wonderful certificates!!
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
For aspiring authors my best advice is perseverance! Of course, read, read, and read to hone your craft. And~Don't give up . . . and grow a thick skin of armor!!
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Bloggers will happily help to promote your books and that is normally free advertisement. Promoting your books in Facebook groups is also free. Facebook also offers ads for money. You have to look at publishing like a business, like any business you have to put money into to it to thrive. With that said, check the Internet for wonderful book promoters.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
I'd like to thank all my readers for their support. And reviews are always great for authors, hint, hint.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Actually, I do. I just completed a YA/Fantasy. I'm in the process of writing a YA/Contemporary Spooky Thriller.

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Author Spotlight - Nasrin Mottahedeh on her award winning children's picture book



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
Up until the 9th grade, I averaged a “C” in creative writing, but in the middle of this grade, our Literature teacher went on maternity leave and a new teacher substituted for her.
My first writing assignment in her class was returned to me with no grade. In red, she wrote, “Nasrin, in the future, you will become an excellent writer if you stop writing so poorly now. Girl, don’t hold back your creativity. Re- write the assignment and resubmit it.”
It was there and then that I realized that fear of being different had made me hold back, and I ended up writing “poorly”. And that teacher’s challenge is how my love of writing began.  
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
As far as I recall, I always wanted to become a world traveler. During summer, my niece and I would have these elaborate plans for traveling the world. I remember, when I was around 6 years old, I had a tricycle that I tried not to use too much so I could use it in my future world travelings!
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
Ice Dream’s Wish was not my first choice. Since there is a mention of a computer in the very first pages of the book, I originally wanted to call it www.awish.com.true which I figured could be a good marketing tool for website and products as well. But my daughter thought it might be too complicated for children and suggested this name.  
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“The girl, who had given the snowman the rosebud heart found it a few steps away and noticed how it had changed. She did not know that all the love Ice Dream had felt during that day, had filled his heart, helping it blossom into a perfect rose.”  This is my favorite because I believe that, even love alone, could have achieved the conclusion of the book.  
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
As an author (whose name has skipped my mind) said, “In every book written, part of the author resides”
Any of the three kids in the book could have been my childhood; I was a very inquisitive child!
The angel is who I wish to be: a miracle doer. 
And the snowman is who I think I am: caring..  
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
Being caring and generous is not only good, but it’s cool as well.  
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
I do have a funny story to share about my book, Ice Dream’s Wish.
On the day it was published, I was on my way home with boxes of fresh off the press books, when I received a call from an old, elderly friend who, when she found out about my new book, insisted on receiving a copy that day. Once there, she asked me to read a few pages out loud to her. I was barely on the second page when she told me that she needed to close her eyes for better concentration. In less than a minute, I noticed that the deep concentration was making her snore! Just to find out if she really was asleep, I started to read, in the same tone, her shopping list, that was left on the table! And oddly enough, she would nod occasionally and then more snoring. I realized it was time for me to leave, so I got a little closer to her and shouted, “Boo” in her ears. That did the trick, and I said goodbye and left. 
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
I don’t believe I was influenced by a particular style of any author in writing this book. But there is one author who inspired me to write it.  When my daughter was 8, I was at a bookstore searching for a good book for her. While there are plenty of good children’s books, I just couldn’t find the one I was looking for. So I started browsing the other sections and found this inspiring quotation by Toni Morrison that said, “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” And this corresponded with my daughter’s writing assignment about “The day the snowman started to walk.”
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
Every good book I have read has influenced my life in a way. In my youth, reading The Fruits of the Earth by the French author, Andre Gide, strengthened joy, love of life and appreciation of every moment in me. A few years later, the Russian authors like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov taught me about social issues such as education, war, poverty, freedom, and so on which influenced my outlook on the world. And later in life, writers like Hemingway, Garcia Marquez, and Jose Saramago educated me about courage, honesty of emotions, and creatively mixing imagination with reality, and tragedy with humor. 
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
For many years, I used to publish a magazine that was the first official magazine for women in Farsi outside of Iran. And owing to the fact that I both published and edited it, I had complete freedom in writing and choosing authors and articles without interference or censorship of a superior, and that encouraged me to work with great enthusiasm and a sense of creating a unique magazine with high standards.  
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
Well, first I clean my computer screen and dust off the keyboard. Then I pick a number 2 pencil and start writing!
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED? 
I self-published and am still searching for an agent.  I am waiting to find a publisher and then have a big celebration!
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
God bless Google to find how. And don’t be afraid of rejections.  
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? 
Actually, I would like to share that I only tried to acquire a publisher once. He seemed to like the story, and he said he would gladly publish my book if I would westernize the illustrator’s and my names. His reasoning was that because of political issues, Middle Eastern names are not favorable and hard to market. Of course, I refused that offer, and now, after receiving four literary awards, I realize that, actually, book fans care about good writing, not the name of the author and I truly believe that this openness is what distinguishes progressive countries such as the United States.  
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, I am in the process of writing two children’s book, of which, one is a sequel to Ice Dream’s Wish. In addition, I am putting the finishing touches on a humorous book in Farsi for adults called The Mini Writings of N. On the internet, sometimes I am known as “N”.  

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall, by Shannon Kirk, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Vivienne Marshall has loved and been loved more greatly than many could ever hope for in a lifetime.  As she lies on her death-bed she is reunited with Noah, a childhood sweetheart who passed away years earlier.  Noah joins Vivienne as she begins her journey into the afterlife, easing her into the process of choosing the life she'll lead in heaven once she departs from her earthly body.  As Vivienne explores her celestial options she's torn between the ethereal world awaiting her and the loved ones she must leave behind.  


If only for the satisfaction of savoring the remarkable eloquence found within the pages of this book, The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall would be ranked as truly exceptional.  But when such exquisitely penned lines are coupled with a story so riveting as this, one can't help but delight in this marvelous novel.  Author Shannon Kirk's The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall 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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Author Spotlight, Robin Gregory, on her award winning title, The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
I started journaling as a teenager, and writing poetry, then short stories. It was not with
the dream of being a writer; it was the only way I seemed to be able to process events,
circumstances, relationships. The sixties brought new chaos with them, women’s lib,
drugs, sexual liberation, racial divides, the war, power shifting to the individual. It was all
quite bewildering for me. Writing is a way to witness myself, to observe, to know that I
exist. It helps me find myself in the seams of the inner and outer world.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I always wanted to be an trapeze artist.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
My son. His special needs have been extremely difficult, and yet he continues to be
charming, courageous, and enthusiastic about life. When family and strangers distance
themselves from him, he continues to offer them kindness. When other children exclude
him from play, he smiles at them. Moojie’s journey is a composite of both my son’s and
my own awakening. We both have been growing, either through the pain of our own
willfulness, or through surrender to the greater mysteries of life. If I learned nothing else,
it would be this one thing: the Creator, the Source, God, is infinitely patient, and will
grant us all the time we need to awaken.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
"If life were all sunshine and chocolate, there wouldn’t be any saints and
we’d never find our way back to heaven."
Moojie’s mother says this when he is having a particularly tough time. It represents the
foundation of the story. While our lives at times might seem impossible, challenges
serve a crucial purpose: they are exactly what cause us to develop our inner
resources, to master our gifts, and realize deep, lasting fulfillment.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO
YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
I suppose all the characters are drawn from parts of myself, but the one most like me is
Moojie’s mother. Though she is not quite awakened in the story, she is determined,
fierce, and believes in the power of love. She sees potential in her son where others do
not. She believes Moojie has an auspicious destiny. But I am also like Moojie in my
struggle to surrender with willfulness, impulsiveness, and self-sabotaging habits. Ha! To
one degree or another, I suppose I will always be working on these.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR
AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I would like to remind readers that each of us, no matter what our present state or
condition, is wired for miracles. Miracles occur when we merge with Grace. My greatest
hope is for readers to become engaged on a soul level while reading. It is a privilege to 
give folks a story that will invite them to take a closer look at themselves, to question
whether or not they have accepted false limitations. We all have challenges. But often it
is our own judgment of them that keeps us stuck. Miracles are a matter of opening
ourselves to the healing/guiding forces of the universe. There truly are no mistakes.
We’ve always done the best we can, and everything along the way has helped us
realize our power. No matter how we appear today—be it sick, well, able-bodied or
disabled, alone or with family—we shape our own possibilities.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
While working as a journalist, I wrote my first novel, a terrible thing, that I’m glad to say
never got published.
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Oh boy, I’m not sure I can name one. I love the classics, Homer’s Odyssey, Cervantes’
Don Quixote, and The Thousand and One Nights. Other books of great influence were
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, Kafka’s The
Metamorphosis, and Kipling’s Just So Stories.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is a mind-altering book that expanded my awareness
of what is possible, not only in literature, but in life.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
If you mean what do I feel has been my greatest contribution to literature, I would surely
say The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman. My hope was to write a story that
gave transcendence a pedestrian quality, that included miracles as natural
phenomenon.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
Writing for me does not require discipline, doing anything else does. I’d rather write than
eat. When I’m writing, I’m like the kid in the sandbox, building roads and moats and
castles, as if nothing else existed. Throughout the day, I’m always taking mental and
written notes because Life is always presenting ideas for interpretation. I prefer to write
the first draft by hand. When I am lacking inspiration, I clear my mind with meditation, or
read poetry and the classics. And oh yea, a fresh, steeping cup of English tea with milk
always helps. Writing can complicate family life. Once, I had to work 26 hours straight to
meet a deadline. Fortunately, my husband was able to take over. He’s a good cook.
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
After failing to secure an agent or a publishing contract that met my standards, I
discovered Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Co., Inc. They are a traditional publisher that
for 20 years has offered a mentoring program for self-published authors. A wonderful
foreign rights agent approached me after seeing my book in a contest. She’s repping it
at international trade shows. We just closed a translation deal with a Chinese publisher.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
After thirteen years, releasing my book was incredibly liberating. My husband and I took
a trip to the San Juan Islands. I felt fresh like a butterfly just out of the cocoon.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY
TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
The most important piece of advice I can give new writers is to allow their book to ripen
before publishing. Make sure that every page sparkles, and that the story represents
something important to you. Wait until someone you do not know well reads the
manuscript and jumps up and down. Audition your editors. Send them an excerpt to see
how they respond. No one ever charged me for this. Weigh their responses. Are they
respectful? Excited? Do they see what you are after? Can they offer suggestions to
bring your vision to clarity? Never settle for “good enough.” Strive for excellence
concerning every word, the design, the cover, editing.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO
PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Start promoting, entering contests, submitting for reviews, at least 3-4 months before
releasing your book. You can build up pre-order sales on Amazon, which can lead to
bestselling status right off.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Try not to take reviews too seriously. Every reader brings to a book the sum of their
state of consciousness. Not everyone is able to read with depth, or willing to take time
to savor what we have done. It is impossible to please everyone. Some of the best
literature stirs up controversy, and causes people to be angry. Anyone and everyone is
now qualified to be a reviewer. This is a two-sided blessing. While it provides readers
with an opportunity to support our work, it also gives a public platform to folks who get a
charge out of belittling our best efforts. The best feedback comes from our colleagues,
editors, publishers, and beta readers. Once your book is published, release it. Rather
than looking at reviews for feedback, go forward.
WHAT DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE IN THE WORKS?
Presently, I am working with a producer to develop Moojie Littleman for the big screen.
Also, I am writing and editing my collection of mystical poems. I’d like to publish the
audio book of Moojie Littleman after that, and get going on a sequel!
The Chinese translation of The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman will be
released by the Beijing Genuine & Profound Literary Culture Media Company, Ltd.,
February, 2018. It will be available on Amazon.