Thursday, January 19, 2017

Author Spotlight - Sarah Hill on her award winning children's book, Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
Well in truth, I didn't! I went to Bristol University here in England to study Veterinary Medicine and I qualified as a Vet from there in 1999. I then worked in practice for 10 years and at that point our second daughter was born. My husband was travelling overseas quite a lot with work then and so I decided to take a career break to stay at home and raise our very young girls.
Within 6 months of being at home, 'Posie Pixie', the main character in my first 7 Whimsy Wood books, appeared in my head and she wouldn't go away. She's terribly persistent you see! So I really had no other choice but to start writing about her exciting adventures in Whimsy Wood
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I always wanted to be a mum. That was an absolutely definite aspiration of mine and I am now very fortunate to have 3 happy, healthy children. Olivia, aged 8, Poppy, aged 6 and Monty aged 3 years old.
I remember considering journalism, but then I opted to study to be a Vet because of my passion for animals. 
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
Well, each of the 35 books in my Whimsy Wood Series for 5-8 year olds is written for a specific month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna change as you read through the series. Book 1, Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle, happened to be written for the month of August, which meant that book 4, Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party, would be written for the autumnal month of November.
Instantly fireworks and bonfire night sprung to mind, when I was contemplating a storyline for book 4. These thoughts were very quickly followed by the tasty treats that often accompany bonfire night, such as toasted marshmallows in all their gooey, stickiness and very soon I was considering a fireworks party! 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
My favourite line from Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party is:-
' "Fizzling Fireworks!" exclaimed Posie as she saw the pretty firefly lights twinkling in the trees, the tablecloth laden with party treats and her guests all smiling at her! ' 
I love this because Posie has been struggling away, trying to organise a surprise party for her cousin Ping who has invented a brand new firework. Unbeknown to Posie, her best friend 'Wibble Woodlouse', has roped in all their friends to help Posie out with the work that needed doing, to ensure the fireworks party is a great success. Not only has Posie been organising a surprise party for her cousin, but she has a surprise all of her own with this extra help from her friends!
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Posie Pixie is most like me because she is very determined, even though she is a small wee creature. She also isn't very good at asking for help, rather like myself. Finally, I asked my children why Posie Pixie and I are similar and they replied, "Because you're fun just like Posie!" 
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
The proverb that is woven into this November story is, 'Many hands make light work'. I hope that readers will realise how important and fun team work is and how rewarding doing something for someone else can be.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
Books 1-9 in my Whimsy Wood Series have been published to date and all by Abela Publishing based in Sandhurst, England. These Whimsy Wood titles are:-
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
Shortly after the release of my 3rd Whimsy Wood children's book, titled Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic, I received an absolutely amazing review from an online parenting magazine based in the South West of England called Chopsy Baby. This review was, "Think of the best bits from Enid Blyton's fantastical stories for very young children." Well, I was overjoyed to read this! To be likened to Enid Blyton was phenomenal! So I squealed with delight and jumped up and down for joy......only, I happened to be too near our dining table and as I leapt up in the air, I whacked my knee on the underside of this rather large and hard table! "Ooooww!" I shouted, whilst my 3 children (who had witnessed their lunatic mummy squealing, jumping and then causing herself an injury!) were laughing hysterically!
When I tell my children that another brilliant review for my Whimsy Wood Series has come in, they'll say, " Will it be another 'Yes! Yes! Yes! Bang! Ooooww!' " kind of review mum?!"
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
I remember loving Enid Blyton's 'Faraway Tree' collection and Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge series as a child, so I would say that they are the authors who have influenced my writing style the most. 
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
This would probably be Salmen Rushdie's Haroun And The Sea Of Stories. For me, this book is the most imaginative and wonderfully written children's book around. I remember being blown away by its psychedelic storyline and wanting to read it all over again as soon as I had finished it. 
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
It would definitely be Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party winning the Chapter Book category in this year's Children's Literary Classics Book Awards.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
No I don't have any specific writing rituals. However I do have to be very disciplined with my writing time with having 3 young children and I tend to write when they are in school and nursery, or when they are in bed at night.
If my writing isn't flowing, rather than wasting the time I have set aside to write, I will research what wildlife would be out and about in a woodland for the particular month I am writing for. This will often help my writing to flow again, or I will have gained and written down a few more ideas, ready for the next time I sit down and write.
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
Once I'd started writing about Posie Pixie, Fearne Fairy and the other Whimsy Wood characters, I discovered just how much I loved getting lost in my own imagination. So I started submitting my manuscripts to various literary agents and publishing houses.
After 3 years of writing, editing, submitting, getting rejected, picking myself up again and then writing, editing and submitting some more, I finally received my author's contract with Abela Publishing in January 2013. Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle, book 1 in my Whimsy Wood series, was published in July 2013. 
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
When I'd completed Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party, I punched the air in triumph whilst shouting "Yes! Yes! Yes!" to myself! I then moonwalked (rather badly I'm afraid!) across the floor! 
We celebrated the publication of Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party back in 2014, by holding a book launch for it at the WHSmith bookshop in Bath, which is the nearest city (and my most favourite!) to where I live.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
I opted for the path to traditional publication so I can comment on this from my own experience. For me, this journey was an emotional roller coaster, filled with uncertainty and the need for utter determination and dedication. Expect to be rejected. This is part of the process. Don't be disheartened, do not give up and listen to constructive criticism. 
The bottom line is that you must believe 110% in the series, characters and stories that you have created. If you don't, who else will? 
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Use all social media sites that you are familiar and comfortable with to help promote your book. AskDavid.com is a very good and reasonable website for book promotion. Finally, the National Writing for Children Centre in America will showcase your latest book and help you carry out a virtual book tour to aid promotion. This I used to help promote book 9, Fearne Fairy And The Chocolate Caterpillar:
For more whimsical information, please follow the Whimsy Wood children's series and connect with its author Sarah Hill at the official Whimsy Wood Website .
You may also find Whimsy Wood updates at the following sites:

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

Monday, January 9, 2017

Author Spotlight, C.M. Huddleston on her award winning book, Greg's First Adventure in Time

WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
I realized as a teenager I wanted to be a writer, but didn’t know how to get started. So I signed up for one of those writing courses advertised in magazines of the period. My mother was cool and calm when the representative came to our house unannounced, but a bit angry with me later in the evening. I was only 16 and, of course, did not have the money to spend on such nonsense. In college, I received an invitation to the Jesse Stuart Writing Workshop based on class work a professor submitted on my behalf. However, again money was an issue, as I needed to spend the summer employed to pay for college in the fall. Then careers, children, and life kept me busy until I self-published Greg’s First Adventure in Time in 2014.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? 
A historian
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
Greg’s First Adventure in Time had about 5 names before it was published. All rejected by my author daughter, her children, friends, and family. Finally, I decided to simply use a title that could be adapted throughout the series and would tell children exactly what the book was about.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“I think they pretended that I was talking to God as he was obviously the only one willing to listen after a few years of incessant one-sided conversations.” When I wrote this book back in 1987, I received about 15 rejected notices from editors. I put the story away and didn’t read it again until 2013. When I did, I realized Greg had NO personality. So, I rewrote the book and made Greg into a mixture of my two grandsons. The youngest talks constantly, unless overwhelmed by life - just like Greg.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Oh, that’s easy - Greg’s mother. I worked as a professional archaeologist for more than 20 years. I had two children and often took them along to dig sites when a child sitter could not be found. Very, very few of their friends had mothers who dug in the dirt for a living, and I was often seen as a novelty.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
My Adventures in Time series is designed to teach children that history can be fun to read and learn. With that said, I also want children to see how Greg matures and gains self confidence through his adventures.
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
One of my daughter’s friends homeschools her children. She was planning to read “Greg’s First” aloud, along with her son. When she introduced him to the book, she said “Ethan’s grandmother wrote this,” to which he replied, “I don’t want to read a book written by someone’s granny!” After the first two chapters, she asked if he wanted to continue. He answered, “I guess you can read another chapter, it’s not awful.” What better praise can you get!
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Larry McMurtry is a storyteller whom I strive to emulate. His ability to make characters and adventures come to life draws me to read books like Lonesome Dove over and over again. He builds stories around flawed characters that fully capture our hearts and minds. I only hope that my writing might one day be even one-tenth as good.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
I have to list two books by Janice Holt Giles, Miss Willie and The Enduring Hills. I read these books, along with many of Giles other books, over and over in high school and college. Sadly, they all disappeared in one of many military relocations. Giles’ books tell stories of Kentucky folks, people of my home state. I learned from Giles how many of the best stories are of simple folks just living their lives. In the last few years, I have worked to rebuild my collection of her books, which I again enjoy and often re-read.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Mittie & Thee: An 1853 Roosevelt Romance (under the name Connie M. Huddleston) 
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
My oldest grandson told me that Greg’s First Adventure in Time made him laugh and cry. He argues with his brother about who Greg resembles more!
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
I require quiet. I have no near neighbors and live on 6 secluded acres. I don’t play music when I write. And each day, I begin at the beginning of the current book and read and edit all the way to where I left off. As the book gets longer, I then begin to skip the first few chapters in this process. Still, I spend about 2 hours reading and editing each day before I begin writing.
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
I have published three adult history books with traditional publishers, and I make about $100 per year on all three. So when self-publishing became an easy process, I decided to go that route instead. It takes a lot of work, but I am happy with my choice. I now have three published Indie books.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
Nothing, except take a short break from writing Greg’s adventures.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
When I decided to self-publish, I talked with my Indie-author daughter about the process. I then hired an editor and learned to use InDesign for my layout. I already knew about copyrights, ISBNs, etc. ., from helping others get their books ready for publication. I found this part of the process to be the easy part. The hard part was promotion of the books. I am still learning and working on promoting my books. I know that part of being an Indie author will never end. One critical thing I have learned is never rush to publish. Take your time and edit, edit, edit.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Read anything and everything about book promotion. Don’t pay for services you can do yourself. BE PATIENT.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
I read at least one children’s book each week and post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I try to read Indie books, as those authors need the reviews and support. I never post bad reviews. If the book would require a review of only one or two stars, I simply stop reading and move on. This also keeps me in touch with what other authors are writing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, I am currently writing four books, two fiction and two nonfiction.
Greg will be back in the third installment of the Adventures in Time series. For the first time, Greg and Rose will time travel. I expect to publish sometime in late fall or early winter. It will again be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram and as an ebook. Check my website for updates - sign up for my newsletter to get snippets from the new book.
I've also just recently released Mittie & Thee, titled Between the Wedding and the War: The Bulloch/Roosevelt Letters: 1854 to 1860 released on 5 October. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram and as an ebook.
The third is a biography of James Stephens Bulloch, President Theodore Roosevelt’s maternal grandfather. I have been writing this book for seven years. I hope it is someday finished!
I recently wrote a book simply called Leah’s Story. Leah is an African-American slave, and the book tells her life story in her own words. Publication not yet planned.

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

Author William Jones reading from his award winning book, Reset



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Author Sarah Hill reads from her award winning book, Posie Pixie and the...



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Nicole Henning reading from her award winning book, My Wish for You



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Nicole Audet reads her award winning children's book, Are You Eating My ...



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Laurel Downing Bill reads from her award winning book series, Aunt Phil'...



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

JE Prewitt reads from his award winning book, A Long Way Back



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Friday, January 6, 2017

CM Huddleston reads from her award winning book, Greg's First Adventure ...



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Brian Adams reading from his award winning book, KABOOM



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Patricia Reding reads from Select - Book II from the Oathtaker Series



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Susan Signe Morrison reading from her award winning book "Grendel's Mother"



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Jacqui Letran reading from her award winning book, I Would but my DAMN M...

What messages are you sending to your brain? Don't miss this powerful reading from Jacqui Letran as she shares an excerpt from her award winning book "I Would but my DAMN Mind Won't Let Me!"



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & ReviewsInternational Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approvalhttp://www.clcawards.org

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dager of the Tasman Empire, by T. Schapansky, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Dager of the Tasman Empire is the story of a three-year-old boy who is kidnapped and sold as a slave.  For years, the boy lives under the brutality of his captors.  But his family never gives up trying to find him.  A tale of undying love and the conviction that family is the most important thing above all, this book reaches down to the depths of one's emotions and sets flight to the human spirit. A literary treasure to readers of all ages, Dager of the Tasman Empire is a magical tale full of wildly imaginative moments that will keep young readers enchanted and enthralled.  Recommended for home and school libraries, 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

The Sword of Telemon, by Murray Lee Eiland Jr., earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Orfeo, a prince and the younger brother to the king's heir, is ransomed as a young boy to a neighboring kingdom.  Raised in the teachings of a wise philosopher, he eventually escapes and returns home in shame, having broken a treaty as well has having become too much like his captors in mannerisms and thinking. Having little contact with his royal family, Orfeo lives the life of a lowly shepherd.  But when his brother, the heir, is captured and believed to have been forced into slavery, Zurga, a respected advisor, persuades the king to include Orfeo in the search party.

Orfeo and Zurga join forces with Telemon, a mighty warrior, and Orton, Telemon's trusted fighting companion.  Together, the four journey to Pylos, in hopes of returning with the heir.

Murray Lee Ieland Jr.'s The Sword of Telemon, book one in the Orfeo Saga, is a gripping novel.  Set in ancient Greece, and interspersed with cameos of myths,  legends, and historical events, this is an enticing read which builds in intensity as the story progresses.  With a genuinely flawed cast of characters, the author regales readers with a tale of honor and courage, in which an unlikely band of brothers learn they all can benefit from the wisdom and experience of the others in their group.  Philosophers and poets join forces with fierce warriors in this compelling story that won't soon be forgotten.


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