Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Author S.A. Larsen on her Award-Winning Book, MOTLEY EDUCATION



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I was a huge film buff when I was in middle grade and high school. I’d examine scenes, plot-lines, and character motives, trying to dissect the workings of the tale. It always irritated me when a scene took a twist I didn’t agree with or when a film ended differently than I believed it should have. So I’d rewrite the scene or the ending. Eventually, that fixation turned total focus on my dance career – the first way I conveyed stories to the world. But I never lost sight of my affection for storytelling.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
At twenty-two months, my youngest child was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, a neurological disorder where no pathways from the brain to the mouth muscles exist. Picture books and puzzles become his outlet to communicate with us. Through this process, he became fixated with mythology, and in turn, so did I. (Side note: after years of speech therapy, he’s now a thriving thirteen-year-old at the top of his class academically, which I actually attribute to his years of disciplined therapy.)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“Look beyond the extraordinary and you will see most value in the simplest of things.” Life can sometimes distract us with all sorts of bobbles and trinkets. We look for answers in all the wrong places, making us lose focus on what’s really important. That doesn’t mean we can’t have all these other things. Just don’t let them cloud your judgment and the truth of happiness in life.



WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Without a doubt, it’s Ebony Charmed – my main character. I was a Catholic school kid. We had rules and daily rituals about attire, homework, and attitudes to follow. While those are needed, such set structure limited my growth as a child. Ebony is the closet middle-grade me. I wanted to wear combat boots and dye my hair funky colors. My favorite color was black and I liked the creepier side of life. Cemeteries and the lives of those residents fascinated me. The only difference between me and Ebony is that I really can’t see ghosts and she can.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
With MOTLEY, I set out to convey one special theme – self-acceptance. I want kids to grasp the truth that their uniqueness is a gift, not a detriment and that, despite any flaw they might have, they are valuable.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
My journey as a magazine writer gave me the opportunity to interview some amazing youth athletes. All were martial artists, but some were also stars in other athletic arenas, modeling, and even childhood acting. It was wonderful talking with these young kids. A few still stay in touch with me through social media.

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY?
My answer, hands down, is Jane Austen. The depths of her writing and the mastery of her character development go without saying. Simply amazing. But to do it during a time in human history when woman were thought of as lesser, as homemakers and a product to marry off to increase the family’s standings in society was remarkable. I often ponder the courage it must have taken her to do so. I can only hope to live my life in such a way.

WHAT  INCIDENT HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
I’d say the death of my grandmother, who was the greatest support system any young thirteen-year-old girl could have asked for. Not simply in life, but in dealing with my mother, who is a severe depressant. My memere – as I called her – understood the uncertainty I faced every day with my mother. The grace with which she continued to love my mom and shield me from as much pain as she could is a priceless gift, one I’ve tried to live my life by in return and pass on through my work.

HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
As with most writers, my journey to publication has been a twisted one. I began writing for small news publications, youth athlete magazines, and eventually young adult anthologies. Somewhere between all of that I began writing children’s manuscripts.

After many near-missed signings with agents, I submitted my young adult manuscript to publishers and received multiple offers from smaller presses. Instead of accepting an offer, I signed with an interested agent. A sale looked promising at first, but then my author-agent relationship fizzled and I found myself going it alone, again. Listening to my gut, I did a complete rewrite of that YA manuscript. Fortunately, this resulted in another round of several offers, and I chose my YA publisher.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?
This question made me laugh out loud a little because when I think about it my answer has nothing to do with the act or craft of writing. It’s all about self-belief and the stubborn pursuit to achieve. The journey of writing a book takes pure determination, a will of steel, the openness to learn, and the acceptance of one’s flaws.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
People always talk about branding. I’d rather describe it as ‘Being you.’ You must decide who you are as an author, what you stand for, and what purposes you want your books to have in the lives of others. The key is to be genuine. When focusing on the physical sale of a book know that each book will sell differently. Discern what is unique and important to each and use that as a catalyst to pique the interest of purchasing readers. Also, mingle with the writing community because they will be your greatest asset in promoting your work.  

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
MOTLEY has been well received by the award-giving writing community, receiving five literary awards to date. As affirming as these recognitions are to me, my greatest accomplishment has been seeing the sparkle in the kids’ eyes when I chat about MOTLEY with them at their schools. I can see their little brains aspiring to be more than they thought they could be. I am truly blessed.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
Like most writers, I’d love to achieve the title of New York Times Bestseller. But at the heart of it all, my greatest literary yearning is for my writing to touch people’s lives, inspiring, encouraging, and giving them a mirror to reflect on themselves and their world. Ultimately, I want to leave my mark to help others long after my time here has ended.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
While a high school senior, I was approached by a professional Broadway dancer who was impressed with my skills. She offered me a position in her New York City class. However, I never took the position because multiple sclerosis struck my mother, who already was a severe depressant. For the sake of my family, I stayed home to help care for her. I was lost, having no idea what to do with my life. Looking back, I realize that I’ve always been a storyteller. Back then it was exploring the joys and tests of life through motion and music. Today, it’s through words.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
If your readers would like to stay in touch with me they can sign up to be part of my MVR Mulisha, where I share great books and sales from other authors, updates on my work and latest releases, and giveaways for members-only: Newsletter.

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
Marked Beauty – Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords | Kobo | Website
Gears of Brass – Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | Publisher
Under a Brass Moon – Amazon | B&N | IndieBound 

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, the second book in the Motley Education series and book II of Marked Beauty. I also have a young adult story that explores the realities of living with a parent who suffers from depression.
The second book in the Motley Education series is tentatively entitled The Shifting Hollow. Think the eeriness of Sleepy Hollow mixed with the adventure of Sleeping Beauty. But with crows and zombies. And of course, all that Norse Mythology has to offer.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Author Spotlight, Natalie Lynn Rekstad and Sophie Noelle Lynn on their Award-Winning Children's Picture Book



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME WRITERS? Sophie and I had such fun writing anonymouse notes, and thought it would be fun to create a book together to inspire other children to random acts of kindness.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING - PLEASE ELABORATE: Kathleen Pelley, author of The Giant King (amazing!) mentored me, and was a godsend.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? "May you never be bored or have nothing to do, for you are blessed with kindness and intelligence too."

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? Sophie Mouse is EXACTLY like the real Sophie, co-creator of the book!

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Kindness is contagious, rewarding, and fun!

TELL US SOMETHING RANDOM/INTERESTING/FUNNY ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: The illustrator is from Romania and we never spoke on the phone - everything was done online!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? Earning a gold medal from Literary Classics! And that Anonymouse is being translated into 12 languages and reaching millions of children around the globe via a UN sanctioned curriculum on social/emotional learning.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? To spread the message of Anonymouse globally, inspiring millions of children to lift our world through simple acts of kindness.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING: I (Natalie Lynn) am a fundraising strategist for global nonprofits via my company Black Fox Philanthropy. The company is named after the black fox I saw the day I brought Sophie home from the hospital after she was born.




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

Friday, December 7, 2018

Author Spotlight - Carmela Dutra on her Award-Winning Book



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? It was not a goal of mine to become a writer; I just fell into it. As a child, I knew that art was my calling. Everywhere I looked I saw the artistic side of things, the way colors blend and weave throughout daily life is something truly magical. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that involved art and kept it at the core of my everyday life. I wanted to illustrate; I never imagined that I would one day illustrate my own books. As my writing began to take off, I became more excited at the possibility of reaching and encouraging so many more children through a published book. Now, I cannot imagine a day without writing books for kids.

WAS THERE A MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING? I had a teacher throughout high school who left her mark, Kristine Estrada. She was by far the one individual who made the biggest impact in my school years. No matter what, she believed her students were capable of anything they set their minds to. She always encouraged me to pursue the artistic side of life, she knew as well as I did that art was my calling. I can recall the writing projects she would give us, she would then encourage me to add illustrations to my papers telling me “It adds an additional layer of depth that others are lacking.” They say that teachers help shape the lives of their students – I can attest to this first-hand. I am unsure if she fully grasps how much of lasting impact she had on me.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Oh, this is an easy one to answer, I saw a picture online. There was an illustration of a little girl that said "Reach for the Stars!" All of sudden I was flooded with ideas for a book about a young girl traveling to the Moon.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? 
*SPOILER ALERT*
“Maybe someday, you can go to the moon for real!”
Little Katie whispered to herself, “One day I will!”
This is a line from the end of the book, and for me, it sums up everything perfectly. In these words, I can feel the emotion a parent has as they believe their child can do anything they set their mind to. I can also sense the excitement and passion that young children have when they think about the possibilities that open to them. Nothing is ever out of your reach.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? Little Katie. She is fearless and headstrong. She is only limited by her imagination. In fact, for me, Little Katie is the embodiment of all children. Curious about things around them, playful and imaginative, the way a child should be.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Girls can do anything that boys can (and then some) I hope to help young girls get excited about S.T.E.A.M and to never hold back from the unknown. I hope all children reach for the stars, the Moon, and more; that they never stop dreaming!

TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: I don’t always write the story first. Sometimes I work up the illustrations and then the words come to mind. My writing process varies with each book I write. Sometimes I have everything at my fingertips, very organized and easily accessible. Other times, it’s like a tornado devastated my work space. Leaving a havoc of papers and pencil shavings everywhere! The funny thing is, the writing is my LEAST favorite part about my books. I much prefer the illustrating side.
IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR, WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. He influenced nearly every living American who ever learned to read, and I was one of them. He introduced millions of children to the joys of reading and the magic of wordplay. The way he could see things through the eyes of a child, teaching important lessons through tongue twisters. To this day I still say when I grow up I want to be like him.

WHAT HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE? Meeting and Marrying my husband, David. He has been nothing short of supportive and encouraging. Without his loving support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED? The first story I wrote and illustrated as a gift for my niece and nephew. I never had any intentions of going public with my stories. Upon completing my second book for them, my husband took it upon himself to send out manuscripts to various houses. After many rejections, I was done. I wanted to keep the stories the way I meant them to be, as a private gift for my loved ones. Then, out of the blue, I was contacted by a local publishing house who had received my manuscript. As they say, the rest is history.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? Just do it! Everyone has a story to tell, make sure you tell the world your story.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? Marketing is never easy for anyone, but it’s especially hard when you write in a field that is heavily saturated and competitive. It’s a struggle at times trying to find new ways to get your name out there without feeling like your spamming everyone. Don't be afraid to try new things, and be prepared to give away things for free. Writing can often be lonely too, so you must find the means to get creative and not let that stop you when things don’t go as you would have hoped.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?  Being traditionally published right from the start, that was an awesome feeling. Winning Silver in the General Children’s Category in the 2017 Literary Classics takes the cake.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? I would love nothing more than for Little Katie to one day become a household name. A name that when individuals hear it, they think of how their children (especially girls) have been encouraged to consider STEM/STEAM fields and set free their imagination and discover new things.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MIGHT FIND INTERESTING ABOUT YOU: My father was in auto body for over 40 years. I used to be his pinhead at the shop. If you are unfamiliar with what that is, look it up!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? Thank you. Thank you for your time, your support, your reviews, and your encouraging words. Thank you, it means more to an author than you might realize.

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? I have three books published in my first series The Adventures of Lorenzo the Bear. This series focuses on friendship, looking for the good in others, and helping those in need. Who doesn’t love a cuddly swashbuckling brown bear, am I right?
Signed copies can be purchased directly from my website 

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? I’m super excited for the next books in my new series Exploring STEAM with Little Katie. Due Fall of 2017, is my coding book. This is not a” how to code book” for kids, rather, it’s more of basic introduction into the world of coding to help kids get the sense of how computers work. In Spring of 2018 is my third book in the series, Coral Reefs. Little Katie and her puppy Smudge will explore the beauty of coral reefs as the reader will learn important facts along the way. 

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

Author Katelynn Marie Renteria on her Award-Winning Book



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?: I’ve always had a love for reading, and I enjoyed the adventures books were able to take people on. Writing enabled me to express my thoughts and create new scenarios, and I loved it from a young age.

WAS THERE MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
My 7th grade Language Arts teacher, Mr. Greg Rustico, always encouraged me to write to the best of my ability. He helped with tips on how to improve my work, and he motivated me to always keep writing, no matter what.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? 
I have always been a fan of superheroes, but I particularly liked the heroes who accomplished amazing feats despite not having any superpowers. The main character in my book, Kay Verdant, appears to be just your average teenage girl, but through hard work, determination, and being herself, she is able to do incredible things.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? 
My favorite line would have to be, “Remember, the world is a dangerous place.” This line recurs
throughout the novel, and encompasses the concern one character has for the other. When I wrote this line, I wanted to remind the reader of how scary the world can be, but with determination and good people by your side, anything can be conquered.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU
BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU? 
I relate the most to the main character, Kay Verdant. She always does her absolute best in everything she does, and she doesn’t give up easily to challenges. She cares deeply for her family and friends, and when life gets rough, she perseveres through it.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? 
I hope for people to read my novel, and discover a newfound feeling of empowerment, knowing that no matter who you are or where you come from, you too can change the world.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST
PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?
I would advise them to never give up. If you have a dream, then run with it. Do not let the fear of failure keep you from pursuing your goal of writing. Failure may find you regardless of your success, but it is something to learn from, not run from.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR
BOOK?
Creating a social media platform that you can visit daily and build an audience with is crucial to promotion. By spreading the word through social media, you can reach a larger audience. By inviting readers to come to you, you connect with people who are receptive to your book.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? 
My greatest literary accomplishment so far is receiving the 2017 Literary Classics Silver Book Award and Seal of Approval for my novel. In receiving both of these honors, the summer of 2017 has been a milestone in my career as an author.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? 
Most authors dream of winning prestigious awards or seeing their names on the best-sellers list. While these are amazing accomplishments, my main aspiration as an author is to promote literacy and serve my community in the capacity in which I am able to empower youth and children to believe in themselves and dream big.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND
INTERESTING 
I love music. I spend hours on my guitar and ukulele when I need a break to take my mind off of things. This helps me collect my thoughts.

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? 
I am currently writing the sequel to “The Other Side of the Law”. I have created a new story-line that I think will appeal to readers.  The sequel will be available worldwide on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

2018 Literary Classics Book Awards Announced

NEWS 
Literary Classics Announces Youth Media Book Award Recipients

Release Date: November 15, 2018
Literary Classics
pr@clcawards.org


SOUTH DAKOTA – The 2018 Literary Classics International Book Award recipients have been announced.  Selected from submissions by entrants around the globe, these distinguished honorees are recognized for their contributions to the craft of writing, illustrating, and publishing exceptional literature for a youth audience.  In this highly competitive industry, these books represent the foremost in literature in their respective categories.

The competition this year was extremely impressive and we congratulate all honorees for their outstanding and inspiring work.  All Silver, Gold and Top Honors award recipients will be invited to attend a writers’ conference, awards ceremony, formal gala, and other related events in Rapid City, South Dakota, to be held in conjunction with the Great American Book Festival, May 10-12, 2018.

The Literary Classics selection committee is proud to recognize this year’s titles in literature which exemplify the criteria set forth by the Literary Classics selection committee.

Top Honors Award recipients are listed below.  For a complete listing of Literary Classics International Book Awards all awards, categories and levels, please visit the Literary Classics Book Awards 2018 Book Awards Listing


TOP HONORS BOOK AWARD RECIPIENTS


The Enchanted Page Book Award
Monsters
Arlo Guthrie 
Illustrated by Kathy Garren
Rising Son International, Ltd.


Lumen Award for Literary Excellence
The Dragon Grammar Book
Diane Mae Robinson 
Diane Mae Robinson Ink



The Eloquent Quill Book Award
The Great & the Small 
Andrea Torrey Balsara  
Common Deer Press



Words on Wings Book Award
Mourning Dove 
Claire Fullerton 
Firefly Southern Fiction







The Eighth Annual Literary Classics Book Awards will be presented in May, 2019 


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