Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Author, Marc Remus, on his Award-Winning Book



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I am a painter and illustrator. In a painting you can only express a portion of a story while in a novel you can tell much more. This limitation led me to writing.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
In college I began taking picture book classes. I had a fantastic instructor, who believed that I was not only gifted enough to illustrate a book but that I could also write a book. After graduating with a BA in illustrations I took classes at the Institute of Children’s Literature for over ten years. There, I learned the foundations of children’s book writing. Along the way, I had some fantastic instructors who influenced me a lot.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
One day I was working on an illustration when I wondered how it would be if the painting came alive. This was the start of a picture book story called “Painting Brian.” Soon, I realized that the story was too complex to be told in a short story. I created an entire world inside a painting. This is how the Magora series, with six books, came about.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I use little epigraphs about art at the beginning of each chapter of the Magora books. The very first one is the start of the series and also my favorite: “The line between reality and fantasy has many shapes. It can be thick or thin, colorful or dull, wavy or straight, blurry or sharp. It is always changing.”

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
The leading character, Holly, struggles with self-confidence. It takes a journey into the fantasy painting of Magora to make her believe in her artistic talent. Readers can learn from “The Gallery of Wonders” that they should trust in their talents. And if they work hard on them, like Holly does, they will come out on top.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
When I created the different species in Magora in the 90s I was really proud that I came up with an interesting name for a fantasy species. The Ledesmas are humanoid beings who have butterflies in their heads instead of brains.

I was excited when I created the name “Ledesma” and thought it was very unique. A few years later I met a lady. After a few weeks I found out that her last name was “Ledesma” and that the name was a common last name. It was certainly not an amazing, unique fantasy name by an unpublished author. 

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? I have always been fascinated by the creativity of Roald Dahl. He created unbelievable stories for children that still fascinate people today. He always surprises the reader and comes up with completely unexpected twists and turns.

WHAT HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
As much as I would love to say that a book had its greatest impact on my life, I have to say that it was cancer. Having had cancer ten years ago made me aware that it is important to seize the day and accomplish something wonderful each day without looking at the financial benefits. A day full of boredom is a day lost.

HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
After twenty years of writing the six books in the Magora series, I wanted complete control of the layout, design, illustrations, and covers. A publisher usually doesn’t give an author this kind of freedom. As a painter/illustrator I didn’t want someone else to illustrate my covers. So I decided to self-publish the books under “Misty Moon Books.” This way, the paperbacks now look exactly the way I wanted them to be.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?
Take a course in writing and have your book edited by a professional structural editor. Many people think, because they are English teachers or have some friends who are good in English, they don’t need editors. But editors make books shine. I worked with about ten editors on the Magora series. Without them, the series would have never reached such a high level of sophistication.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
The completion of the Magora series. I have started writing the Magora series in the mid-90s and finished the series in 2016. Even though the first books seem to have a simple plot, the overall story is very complex. It reaches a metaphysical realm in the sixth book which no one can expect in the first three books. The planning of the series was very difficult, and it took me years. Having won over ten literary awards with this book has proven not only that it is my greatest literary accomplishment but that it is also appreciated by the world outside.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
As a full-time painter it is always a struggle to pay the bills. Therefore, writing is always something that suffers. It would be wonderful to have a year without financial worries so I could focus more on writing. I would love to get to the point that I could make a living, writing books.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
When I was a kid I had a chameleon as pet, and I created a dwarf species called Peenoo. As a teenager I played hide and seek in some ruins left from WWII. Later I lived in Tokyo and studied Japanese and Zen painting. During my college years in LA I was in a huge earthquake that left my apartment in ruin so I had to move. After college I spent a year in Honduras and was almost killed there by a stingray. I lived for a while with an Indian tribe in the Mosquito Coast. After my return to Europe, I visited almost every single country in Europe, except for seven in Eastern Europe. My family lives in three different countries: Germany, France, U.S.A., and I commute between them all the time now.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
I have worked on a soundtrack with a composer for the Magora series. And one of the fantasy characters, Tenshi, came to life with the help of a great animation team. The critter is waving at you and doing all kinds of things on my website www.Magora.net
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, I have a few books in the making. The next book in the Magora series is coming out in 2018.  I have also started a younger middle grade story with the working title “Henry’s Giant Chocolate Clouds.” It is about a fantasy candy land.

Another project is a young adult fantasy series called “Mystery Black” with trolls, dwarfs and all kinds of magical creatures.

I am also working on a German translation of “The Gallery of Wonders”, and hope to get that published soon.
The next book is a young adult book called “The Language Thieves.” It is about a mysterious tribe in Scotland that steals languages out of people’s minds.

The book is already completed and it has been edited a few times by various editors. I just need to find the time to illustrate the cover and do the layout.

Once it is done, you will find it on Amazon. But if you sign up to my newsletter you will always stay updated and find out the exact dates of publication. 

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Loretta Neff, on her Award-Winning Children's Picture Book


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
Over my life, and as part of my professional role in the etiquette and hospitality field, I’ve spent decades writing letters and thank-you notes. That probably qualifies me as a Master Note and Letter Writer, doesn’t it? Kidding aside, I had always envisioned creating a nonprofit to share my expertise with children who most need and are often the most enthusiastic to receive basic life and social skills.
Writing a book was the best way to provide an affordable and lasting benefit for children. Also, books allow us to reach far greater numbers. In our 3-hour character development and manners programs, there’s a great deal of expense and time involved to facilitate a 1/30 teacher to student ratio. Then there are those most vulnerable children whose families lack the means necessary for them to attend a summer camp or similar program. A tangible, long-lasting book resolves these limitations. Providing a dual benefit, my books are designed to inspire children not only to read but also to develop the character strengths that will take them far in life.
The illustrator was another fortuitous decision, as Anirban Mitra’s talent made our finished product a striking combination. Readers rave about the illustrations.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
The late Edmund Milberg, a former superintendent of Miami-Dade Schools and real estate investor, was for many years my friend and mentor. In fact, had it not been for him and others, I might not have become the success I am today. A most memorable example of when he influenced an outcome followed the untimely death of my beloved fiancĂ©. I was devastated. Up until that time, I had never been a person who gets depressed, but this loss was something new to me. Privately, it was an emotional struggle and somehow Mr. Milberg knew I was feeling uncertainty about the future. To provide more context, a favorite past time of his was to clip and send relevant NY Times articles to his mentees but for this occasion, he sent a bookmark with a quote by George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Seems silly, but at the time, those words truly resonated with me and were exactly what I needed to move forward. I still use that bookmark today. My shelves are filled with books gifted by him, most of them in the area of self-help…try not to judge. Mr. Milberg and his friendship were magnificent gifts to my life. I miss him.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
Taking into account my love for children’s classics and the inherent character lessons in those stories, I began to extract and develop an outline using the characters and emphasizing corresponding core values to each.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
In Sip Tea, I believe I am most like Mad Hatter. Mad Hatter has integrity and “muchness”, a term we refer to in the book as having passion and a very big heart.
In Tame Your Manners, I am definitely the Whino Rhino pouting in the corner. With a goal-oriented type-A personality, patience is something I struggle with and make a concentrated effort to manage well. I cannot tell a lie, I’ve been a Whino Rhino on occasion. Of this, I am least proud.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
That the content—character development, emotional intelligence, etiquette, manners, social skills, socio-emotional learning—is not the fluff stuff, rather the critical foundation and skills that will greatly enhance a formal education. It’s unfortunate that many parents and teachers think test scores are most important when research shows that character strengths and social skills are as important if not more so, in early stage development and in helping children succeed in life. When social skills are combined with academic ones, children are equipped with a powerful combination.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
I consider myself to be very self-aware. As such, I realize my writing mechanics and style leave a lot to be desired, and therefore, I try to emphasize my strengths whenever possible. Emerson’s quote, “Tis the reader that makes a good book,” sums me up pretty well. What I lack in technical writing skills, I hope to make up for in creativity and dramatic story-time performance.
I’m fortunate to be an expressive reader, singer, though not extremely well, and a skillful ballroom dancer. Putting all three aptitudes to work, our story times are fun and engaging with interactive lessons, sing-alongs, dances, and quizzes. One of my favorite testimonials by a teacher is, “Ms. Neff was by far the best motivational kids author we have experienced. The journey took the students through the different animals of KAMP Safari to be the best they can be using the pillars of character. She was insightful, meaningful, and comedic at the same time.” - Mrs. Henderson Grade 5 Teacher

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY?
This is an easy one…Roald Dahl, the greatest children’s author of all time. Dahl’s characters and storyline in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” perfectly align with our Foundation’s core values and vision.
Dahl’s storytelling is not only pure imagination but also pure genius! Masterful at intertwining adult humor while drawing out the bad traits of spoiled children who won golden tickets, Dahl has brought delight to millions of readers. I mean, who could come up with concepts of an Everlasting Gobstopper offering a three-course meal and orange Oompa-Loompas working at an irresistible chocolate-fantasy factory? The best part is the plot—that Mr. Wonka’s motive behind the contest remains a secret throughout the tour, all the while repeatedly testing children (and parents) on their strengths of character. Extraordinarily magical!

WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE? My father has had the greatest impact on my life. I was sixteen and a daddy’s girl when my father died at the young age of 49. I admired him and hold special memories from my childhood and the many things we enjoyed together. If you believe in Freudian psychology, then it’s not surprising that even in my father’s absence, some of his habits have become my habits, good and bad. The good: a love for books, knowledge and constant learning, watersports and even golf. The bad: easily irritated by noise, overly responsible with a touch of perfectionism. I think he would be pleased that I became self-reliant, strong and a life-long learner in his absence.

HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
Following a life-threatening diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer and a prognosis of a year to live at best, I didn’t have a year-plus to query an agent and bring a book to market. So I decided to develop our own publishing arm, hire expertise for developmental editing, and execute my first book. This was a very good decision with no regrets, and ultimately provided greater financial benefit to charity partners.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? I tend not to offer advice in areas where I’m unqualified. I can say however, that I did a lot of research and had a good sense of what was needed at the outset; I continue to learn from the publishing process. I also realize that what has worked well for me, may not work for others, or for that matter, for me in the future. Each author has different audiences, goals, and hopefully, platforms, and must constantly reevaluate as the publishing landscape is ever-changing. Thanks to review boards such as Literary Classics, a well-done self-published product can gain credibility and traction from winning coveted literary awards. Thank you!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Creating a successful educational nonprofit has been my greatest achievement and privilege. Since 2014, we’ve been able to provide author visits and a signed book for each child to twenty-six (26) academies and schools and seventeen (17) charities totaling 12,778 children. Our outreach and underwriting program underscores character education and literacy and brings our award-winning books to children in low-income communities and Title I schools. Of this, I am most proud.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I have two aspirations. The first, to have one of our books from the series, preferably Tame Your Manners, recognized by Oprah Book Club. Oprah not only promotes an “attitude of gratitude,” which aligns with our platform, but also demonstrates her belief in the way she lives her life. I often fantasize about being invited to the school she established in Africa, taking children on a Safari through my story, and gifting them books. To me, that would be a dream come true!
The second aspiration would be to have a successful book series that remains relevant and continues to inspire and enrich the lives of children and their families.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
I’m a philatelist (stamp collector/enthusiast) and love to adorn notes and letters with a stamp that is meaningful to the recipient.

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, two are underway:
Win a Golden Ticket at KAMP {Kids Arts & Manners Program - possibly for younger age group 4-6}
Desi and Lucy Go to KAMP {Kids Animals & Manners Program - Desi and Lucy are dogs doing good deeds}
These two books are anticipated to be released next year. Our books are available online and in most bookstores.


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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sammy the Seahorse, by Martha Driscoll and Andrea Driscoll Ed.D, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Sammy the Seahorse
, by Martha Driscoll and Andrea Driscoll Ed.D, is an entirely engaging children's picture book all about seahorses and their underwater homes. With fascinating details about sea life and the plants and animals which share the seahorse's saltwater kingdom, this book provides a unique perspective on seahorses and how and why they are unlike any other fish in the sea. Wonderful illustrations by Susan Andra Lion are perfectly paired with this entertaining and educational book which offers the perfect blend of fact and humor. Children and adults alike will enjoy reading this book time and again as hidden illustrations are discovered and, with repetition, children become familiar with various fish in the sea.  Recommended for home and school libraries, Sammy the Seahorse 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, July 27, 2018

Glorious Fourth of July, by Mary Gibson Sprague, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Catherine Rademacher Gibson was born in 1907, graduated with a degree in art in 1929, and taught art until she was married. Later, in her golden years, she began a series of watercolor paintings depicting memories from her childhood. These vibrant and expressive paintings were the inspiration for the picture book, Glorious Fourth of July and Other Stories from the Plains. Penned by her daughter Mary Gibson Sprague, Catherine's paintings take on greater depth and meaning as Sprague breathes life into the captivating stories of a young girl growing up in the early 1900s. This collection of 32 "memory paintings" is one that provides heartwarming insight into a colorful history as retold in this engaging pictorial memoir.  

Readers of all ages will delight in the stories of young Catherine growing up in an era in which automobiles were a rare and exciting mode of transportation and the heating of water on a wood-burning stove was the norm.  Equally appropriate as a coffee-table book and as a read-aloud for classroom reading, this timeless book spans reading audiences of nearly any age as it captures the heart and kindles the imagination.  Recommended for home and school audiences, Glorious Fourth of July is highly recommended 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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Whisper, a Small Tale, by Darren Reiley, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Whisper.  But Whisper wasn't quiet at all.  In fact, she spoke so loudly and so often that she failed to see or appreciate the world around her.  But then a friend helped her find beauty in the spaces between the sound of her own voice.  And when she did, an entirely new and wonderful world became known to the girl named Whisper.

Author Darren Reiley's Whisper, a Small Tale, is the most enchanting of children's picture books.  With layer upon layer of depth and beauty, woven within a gilded tapestry of quiet introspection, this children's picture book is exquisitely penned.  A heartfelt story and one that readers of all ages will want to revisit time and again, Whisper, a Small Tale, 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

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Who Can Fix It?, by Leslie Ann MacKeen, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



One afternoon, as Jeremiah T. Fitz is taking a drive to his mother's home for Sunday dinner, his car quits running.  He tries his best to restart the engine but to no avail.  So he muses aloud, "Who can fix it?"  That's when, one at a time, a slew of animals come to his aid with ideas to fix Jeremiah's automobile.  With each suggestion, Jeremiah does as his animal friends advise, but each time he is unsuccessful in getting his car to start and he asks once again, "Who can fix it?". 

This wonderfully whimsical book, written and illustrated by Leslie Ann MacKeen, is an engaging read that is sure to incite lots of belly laughs at reading time.  A fun introduction to word-play, the story keeps a nice pace and the illustrations are a terrific addition to this delightful children's picture book. Sure to be a hit with youngsters, Who Can Fix It? 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, June 26, 2018

Authors, Molly and Gary Whitney, on their award-winning book Thistle Downe



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? MOLLY This requires a somewhat unusual answer. A miniature house built of twigs inspired me to write for the first time. I started writing this book at age 74.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING? MOLLY Two teachers in particular. A high school English teacher, Miss Rhodes, who ignited my love for the English language, and Mrs. Falk, a Creative Writing teacher whom I encountered in college, who relentlessly refined my use of that language.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? MOLLY My husband Gary had built a small twig house for his children years ago to accommodate a set of little troll figures presented to them as a gift. They grew up, circumstances of Gary’s life changed, and the house went to the care of a librarian friend of his who stored it in the rafters of her garage. It remained there for years, forgotten. Fast forward to 2012, when Gary and I married. His friend returned the magical little twig structure to him and I was instantly entranced. We began to make additions to it including lighting and exterior facades. Gary, an interior architect, and designer, let his imagination take flight with shapes and structure of the additions. Tiny handmade beds, sofas, and chairs furnished the rooms, and I began to see it as a fairy house. Friends, fascinated with the tabletop home, kept asking what the story was behind it, so we decided to write one. Gary gave me carte blanche on the writing, with the caveat that a troll have a place in it since trolls were the genesis of the house. Thus the story of Tyson, a troll, and Amelia, a fairy, was born.



WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? 
MOLLY It may be a spoiler, but my favorite line is the last one of the book. "He was ready to start his joyous new journey with Amelia, down the road to Happily Ever After." It’s my favorite because it defines Tyson from beginning to end. Always looking ahead with enthusiasm and an intrinsically happy heart, determined to overcome any obstacle.
GARY "His shoulders sagged momentarily, but then Amelia reached out and rested her slender fingers on his forearm as lightly as thistle down, and he rallied." It is my favorite because it explains the reason for the name of the book and of the house. It is very powerful, that light, reassuring touch.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?  
MOLLY Probably Amelia. I grew up in the Deep South in the 1950’s. I was taught to be well-mannered, a good conversationalist, and to take pride in my family heritage. Emphasis was placed on my education and on exposure to the arts. Also, my great- great- grandmother emigrated from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Her name was Amelia. Her portrait and mine always hung side by side in my childhood home. Gary says he identifies with Tyson because he is a troll who fell in love with a fairy. How’s that for making his wife feel very special?

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?  MOLLY & GARY Never give up on your dreams. Honest determination and tenacity are your best tools. If you fail it’s not the end. Just get up and try again and again. Keep your spark no matter what.

TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS AN AUTHOR:
MOLLY As I began to write the book some of the characters first appeared in my dreams before I transferred them to paper.

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY?   MOLLY I would consider myself presumptuous to compare myself to any well-known author. I greatly admire Margaret Mitchell, whose first and only book captured the imagination of the world, and Harper Lee, whose first published book did the same. They were both from the South, as I am, and I would love to aspire to their quality of writing.

WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?  MOLLY The most constant book in my life has been the Bible. It is ancient history and relevant guidance at the same time. It’s a book for every time and all time.

HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?  We knew of a local publisher in Houston. We were so green we didn’t even check their requirements for submitting a manuscript. We just delivered it to their office. Fortunately for us, they liked our book so we didn’t suffer through countless rejection slips we had heard stories about.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?  MOLLY Write about something you know regarding plot, characters, and locations.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?  Have a website built for your book or learn to do it yourself. Build a presence on social media promoting your book by means of a page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the very least. By all means, enter competitions for book awards. Speak at book clubs and, if your book is appropriate for it, in classrooms. Always be alert to any opportunity, no matter how unexpected, and be generous with your time and talents.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?  MOLLY
This Literary Classics Gold Medal, of course! To have such a personal effort as writing this book to be recognized by a national group of judges as having merit is an indescribable feeling.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?  MOLLY I’d like to continue in the company of the trolls and fairies of Orkney, letting their lives take me into new books about their adventures. I have come to know them so well that sometimes they lead me to new places, and not the other way around. I don’t expect to write great literature in my lifetime, but I think sometimes small stories can touch someone’s heart. We have a real empathy with today’s young people and the obstacles they face, like prejudice, bullying, loss, illiteracy, lack of self-esteem. They are the same barriers Tyson has to face, and we hoped that he could inspire kids to persevere.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:  MOLLY My parents thought my college education should be a practical one that would ensure my eventual employment, so I was 45 years old before I took my long desired first art lessons. I became an accomplished water-colorist with gallery representation in two cities.  Gary lived aboard a sailboat in the boat basin on the Hudson River in New York City for five years while he worked in Manhattan. We both illustrated Thistle Downe ourselves.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?   MOLLY If there is a book in you, it is never too late to write it.

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?  MOLLY A sequel to Thistle Downe is underway. People kept asking what happens next. We didn’t know, so we decided we had better write a sequel to find out! Are children a part of Tyson and Amelia’s life together? Are there rough waters ahead for the couple? Do we introduce any new characters? Stay tuned…..



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

Friday, June 22, 2018

Judah's Scepter and the Sacred Stone earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.




Author D.A. Brittain's Judah's Scepter and the Sacred Stone is a tale of adventure and romance. Shining light on the story of Princess Teia Tamar, this novel offers a fascinating conclusion to what may have become of the little-known daughter to the last King of Judah. Some theorists believe the princess may have traveled with Jeremiah, the prophet, to Ireland following the overthrow of Judah by Babylon. This novel chronicles Princess Teia's desire to follow the will of Yahweh, and the struggles she endures as she travels with Jeremiah as they seek God's intended path for his people.

Brittain has woven a unique tale of romance that is altogether intriguing. The author's grasp of history and biblical scripture is apparent throughout this thoughtful and introspective novel. Her depiction of Jeremiah the prophet, as he yearns to share the truth of God's desire to be at the heart of one's life ambitions, offers a wonderfully uncommon perspective of this man's role during this pivotal time in history. A captivating and compelling work of historical fiction, based on biblical scripture and some historical conjecture, this book has many levels of depth and won't soon be forgotten by readers of any age. Judah's Scepter and the Sacred Stone 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, June 14, 2018

Stranded, by Matthew P. Mayo, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Author Matthew P. Mayo's Stranded is inspired by the true story of Janette Riker.  Through a series of unfortunate events, fourteen-year-old Janette was left alone at the foot of the Rocky Mountains to brave the harsh conditions of winter in 1849. Written in journal format, this novel is altogether riveting. Harrowing scenes are told so vividly, and with such powerful prose, it's easy for readers to become entirely immersed in Janette's story. The young frontier girl's heart-rending account, as represented by Mayo, is one that will not soon be forgotten.  Equal parts fascinating, inspiring, and endearing, the story of this determined young lady who endured unbearable conditions in the unforgiving wilderness is suitable for readers of all ages who will surely be entranced by this historically accurate work of fiction.

Stranded 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, June 7, 2018

Author Sandra L. Rostirolla's, Cecilia, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



18-year-old Cecilia, along with her mother, and two brothers, live together in a utopian society formed after the Great War. Cecilia has never known the cruelties of humankind; but following a violent and senseless raid on her village, she is the only person miraculously spared from carnage or kidnapping. Against all odds, she determines to find and free her brothers who were taken as prisoners.  Emboldened by a fierce determination the spirited young woman sets off to the city of Vitus where her brothers are held captive.  

Soon after leaving the only home she's ever known she begins to doubt the sanity of her quest.  But before she has a chance to reconsider she is taken prisoner by Amalardh, an assassin sent to kill the person bearing the symbol which she wears around her neck. 


Author Sandra L. Rostirolla's Cecilia is a true literary gem.  Insightfully penned, with characters that are well-developed, and a plot that sizzles, this book 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, June 1, 2018

Author M.J. Evans on her award winning book, The Stone of Mercy – Book 1 of the Centaur Chronicles








WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? When people ask me when I started loving horses, I respond that I was born with Manure in my blood. Well…I was also born with ink in my blood! I have always loved to write but I didn’t have time to actually become a published author until my fifth child entered high school.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING - PLEASE ELABORATE: Other authors are my inspiration! I grew up devouring all the Marguerite Henry horse stories. I also love all the C.S. Lewis books and, of course, J.K. Rowling.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? My ideas for stories always come when I am least expecting them. I never sit down and say: “I need to come up with a new story idea!” The idea for “The Centaur Chronicles,” of which “The Stone of Mercy” is the first book, came to me while I was reading the Bible. I read Ephesians 6:14: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” My brain became overwhelmed with the whole story!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? As an author, I think of myself as an artist with words. Therefore, my favorite line would be any line where I get to beautifully describe a setting or emotions in a way that the reader can understand. Here is one example: “Lit by the silver moon, the rolling hills looked like ocean waves, and the gentle breeze rustling the grasses sounded like whispered secrets.” And one other example: “The shimmering signs of spring did nothing to quell the storm clouds of emotion that were building inside Carling.”

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? I don’t want to claim that I am the star, but, in this case, I really am! I am the most like Carling. I doubt myself but am willing to do what needs to be done. I’m also very obedient by nature and always strive to do my best. Carling’s response to the Wizard when he tells her that she is to become the queen is what I would say: “I’m sorry to question you, sir, but how is this to be as I am still but a child? I know not the ways of the world. I have barely left the confines of my own little village. And now I am alone in the world with no one to guide me.”

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? As they read the series and gather all four of the Stones of Light, I hope they will see the value in developing the four virtues of Mercy, Courage (to do what is right), Integrity and Wisdom.

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? One critic called me “This generation’s C.S. Lewis.” I couldn’t have been more honored. He teaches valuable, spiritual lessons through his fantasies. I hope I can become as good as he was.

WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE? Obviously, the Bible and The Book of Mormon are the greatest books ever written and the greatest person is Jesus Christ. They are my source of peace and strength in an otherwise confusing and challenging world.

HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED? I have never used an agent but I published “The Mist Trilogy-Behind the Mist, Mists of Darkness, and The Rising Mist,” and “North Mystic” through publishers. I did it the traditional way: submit query letters and whatever else they ask for and wait, wait, wait. It is very exciting to be selected for publication by a publisher. I learned so much from them. However, I have since started my own company to publish my books. I hired graphic artists and editors. Creating a book from start to finish is an even more exciting process.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? Writing takes about 10% talent and 90% perseverance. You have to spend hours and hours not only writing but studying the craft of writing.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? You need to figure out who your audience is and where to find them. My audience is 9 to 14 year-olds, especially those who love horses. So, I go to the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo and the Little Britches National Rodeo and other places where young readers and riders are to be found. I also do a lot of school presentations.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? My greatest accomplishment is the critical acclaim I have received from award programs such as Literary Classics. Of course, my friends and family love my books because they love me. But when professional critics love your work, you know you are on the right track!

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? At the moment, I’m focusing on finishing all four books of “The Centaur Chronicles.” After that, I have another book in my head that I want to finish…but that one may take me until I die!

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING: I was a cheerleader for two years at Oregon State University!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? If you want to be a better writer, read more!

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? “In the Heart of a Mustang,” (2016 Literary Classics Gold Medal winner.) “North Mystic,” “The Mist Trilogy: Behind the Mist, Mists of Darkness, The Rising Mist,” New: “The Stone of Courage-Book 2 of the Centaur Chronicles.”
All of my books have received national awards and may be purchased (and autographed) through my website: www.dancinghorsepress.com. They are also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or independent bookstores.

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? I am currently revising “The Stone of Integrity-Book 3 of the Centaur Chronicles.” I hope to have it out in early 2018. It is possible that pre-release copies will be available before Christmas. I am very excited about Carling’s third quest. She travels to a hidden island populated by fairies who always wear masks! The Heilodius Herd of Centaurs are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to stop her from completing the Silver Breastplate.

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