Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Pandora Device, by Joyce McPherson, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Stella, a sixth grade girl, has been raised by her grandmother ever since the death of her parents when she was very young. One day while looking through some of her grandmother’s hoarded treasures Stella finds an old keepsake box which belonged to her mother. Inside, she discovers items from a summer camp which her mother had attended. Stella investigates and learns the camp is still in operation.  She subsequently applies for, and is granted, a scholarship to attend. Soon after she begins receiving strange notes warning her not to look into her parent’s past. Undeterred, she forges on and seeks out any information she might be able to learn about her parents.

The Pandora Device is an engaging adventure with the familiar presented in a unique way that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled. Historical tidbits are sprinkled throughout with references to many well-known, and some more obscure, characters of note. The action is swift-moving and the events are delightfully unexpected. This funny, scary, adventurous and intriguing novel has much to offer readers of all ages.  Preteens will devour this story and will find the campers’ challenges to be highly relatable.

The Pandora Device 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, November 21, 2017

Eloquent Quill Recipient on his Top Honors Award Winning Book



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
The thought of putting a smile on a reader’s face.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING - PLEASE ELABORATE:
My co-author, Jim McGuiggan of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is the author of 20 to 30 books. The depth of his wisdom and the engaging style in which he presents his wisdom has always captivated me. When I write, I try to write like Jim.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
Reading the story of the green children of Woolpit in a magazine on Scottish history and thinking I could turn it into a sort of Celtic Wizard of Oz.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
"It's true that in this world there are Scrums who do terrible things. But there are other folk who do honorable and lovely things, and among the finest of these is this: they come offering their hand and heart in friendship and having come, they stay all their life through." My friends, to paraphrase Lincoln, are some of my greatest treasures. To write a story extolling the glory and richness of friendship seemed like a worthy endeavor.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Ennis or Orin, Scrum's (the bad guy’s) henchmen. Both are bumblers, which I tend to be.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
There are times in life when we need friends who are courageous and who love us enough to be courageous on our behalf.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
Something random: encountering kids in public who have read my book or heard me read it, and making a fuss about knowing me. I love that.

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY?
G. K. Chesterton. I cannot touch the hem of Chesterton’s garment in terms of originality and genius, but Chesterton never took himself too seriously and was a big kid at heart. No one is more boring to me than the one who can’t see the humor in life and takes him- or herself too seriously.

WHAT BOOK / PERSON / INCIDENT HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
There are too many to mention, but one of my earliest influences in terms of children’s fantasy literature was the Teenie Weenies books by William Donahey.

HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
I sent out a couple hundred e-mails seeking an agent, without success. So I self-published.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?
If it’s an illustrated book, their biggest challenge will be finding an artist who can portray their vision at a price they can afford.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
I don’t think I’ve done too well in this category. I’ve mainly relied on Facebook, word of mouth, and sales at some local craft shows.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
I’ve written a book on the resurrection called The Gospel Argument for God that has gone through several editions. I’ve also written a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew that is soon to appear as a revised edition.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
At this point in life, to write on some other Biblical subjects.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
The Green Children has been turned into a musical play, which had its world premiere in Champaign, Illinois, in September 2017. The play is a bigger story than the book, with more characters and a more developed plot. We’ve put together an outstanding cast (all the principals are from the Lyric Theatre program at the University of Illinois). There’s no business like show business!

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Ol’ Pigtoes (prairie-papers.com)
The Gospel Argument for God (currently out of print)
Commentary on Matthew (DeWard Publishing)

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR AUDIENCE?
Parents have asked me if my children’s stories are scary. Of course they are! But children like being a little scared. C. S. Lewis, in a lecture on writing children’s stories, said: "Since it is likely that children will meet with cruel enemies in life, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” There are no knights in my story, but there are brownies, gnomes, and hobgolins who are loving and courageous. Maybe my tale will, in some small way, encourage courage and love in all who read it.

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Author Spotlight - Regina Puckett on her award-winning book



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I don’t know that it was any one thing that made want to be one. I just knew that it had to be the most exciting thing in the world to be able to make people, laugh, cry or make someone want to be one of your characters for however long you had their attention.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
 I’m not certain if anyone in my life, parent, sibling or teacher ever thought I would ever make anything out of my life. I was raised during an era when most didn’t expect a woman to be more than a wife, mother or if you were lucky enough, a teacher.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I saw a wonderful photo I wanted to use as a book cover. I had never written a Steampunk book, so I had to do tons of research before I could begin writing, but I was determined to give this new genre my best shot.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“I will breathe enough for you, if you will love enough for me.”

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
There are many similarities between Liberty and me. We both are cranky and foul-mouthed but we are also good-hearted people.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
That love can change the world.

WHAT BOOK / PERSON / INCIDENT HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
Gone With the Wind – it was the first book that drew me into the story so much that I never wanted it to end.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?
Writing is hard work, but you must never give up.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
I find Twitter to be a great way to connect with new readers and other writers.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Finishing my first book and my last book. I have a hundred works published and I’m just as proud of the last one as I was the first. Writing takes patience and determination. You have to be willing to dream even when no one else believes in you.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
My greatest aspiration was to become a writer and my next is to get better and better at my craft.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
My greatest joys are my daughters and four grandchildren.

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
I just finished writing my third regency romance. I planned six in this series and hope to have my Closed series completed by the end of 2018.

Enclosed in This Heart will be available to purchase on Amazon in late fall of 2017 on Amazon.
I have several books and short stories available on Amazon. Please stop by my author page and check them out. I write romance, horror, poetry, steampunk and I write and illustrate children’s picture books.


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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Author Lynne Stringer on her award-winning book






WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I have always loved creating stories and wrote my first book when I was eight. It was only a few pages long. During my teenage years, I tried to write some full-length manuscripts but it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I managed to finish one. About that time, I became a journalist so that was my writing focus for the next few years before I returned to novels. Not long after that, my debut novel was published. 

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
In Once Confronted, my protagonist is the victim of an armed robbery. I too have been the victim of an armed robbery. In fact, the manuscript that became Once Confronted I originally wrote when in my twenties, about six years after the incident. I don’t know if it was written in an effort to recover from it or if I just enjoyed putting my protagonist through the same pain I’d been through. However, rewriting it was harder than I imagined!


WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
My protagonist, Madison Craig, is like me in some ways. Her journey through post-traumatic stress disorder was based on my own, so we share that. In many other ways, though, she outshines me. 

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
That just because a person has done something bad it doesn’t mean they can’t change.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
One of my favourite experiences as a writer happened when I was walking my son to school one day. I knew the school’s book club had read my debut novel, The Heir (Verindon #1) but I was surprised when one of the high school students came up to me and said, ‘Are you Lynne Stringer, author of The Heir? I loved your book!’ It was a great moment.




HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
I was fortunate that, during my time as a journalist, I began to work as an editor as well. Once I left the magazine I worked for I started a professional editing business and went to work for a small publishing house. They taught me a lot more about fiction than I knew at the time and eventually went on to become my publisher! 

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?
Make sure you go to some writing classes and learn the best ways to write first. That way, you can avoid developing bad habits. Also, always get a professional to edit your book after you’re done. You will never find all the problems yourself—you’re too close to the story for that. You need professional eyes on it.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Winning two Literary Classics silver awards—one for my debut novel, The Heir (Verindon #1) in 2014 and one for Once Confronted this year. 




WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
I have published the Verindon trilogy, a young adult science fiction romance trilogy. 



DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
I am currently working on another science fiction book called Our Own Kind but I think it will be a while before it’s ready. If you want to keep up with progress on it, you can visit my website.



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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Almost a Minyan, by Lori S. Kline, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Almost a Minyan is the lovely story of a young girl whose devout father visits the shul daily for public worship.  But if fewer than ten people are present, they do not have a minyan and are therefore unable to say certain prayers, or read the Torah.  The girl is not yet old enough to attend worship at the shul, but she looks forward to the day when she too, will be able to help reach a quorum.  Nothing makes her father happier than when they make minyan. But after her grandfather passes away, it seems nothing will make her father happy ever again. 

Almost a Minyan is written in rhyme and denotes the bonds of family and faith in a reverent and loving way.  Author Lori S. Kline has crafted a book filled with the warmth of time-honored traditions and unfailing devotion.  This book, with wonderful illustrations by Susan Simon, is a cultural gem that will connect with readers of all ages.  Almost a Minyan 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

Author Christina M. Pagés on her Top Honors award winning book



WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I first wrote poetry as a child, usually high up in a tree. The beauty of nature, and the mysteries of being human on this extraordinary planet inspire me to write, paint and play music.
WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING? 
The romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, as well as the transcendentalists, Emerson and Thoreau showed me that I wasn’t alone in my feelings of connection with nature. Also, while studying for my Ph.D. in English, James Dickey, the well-known poet, was one of my professors who encouraged me to explore different ways of writing. He, other skilled teachers, and the works of literature helped me to expand my way of expressing myself on paper.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I first got the idea from Wordsworth’s poems about Lucy Gray, who is part-child, part spirit. When we read about her we are not sure if she is an actual child, or a spiritual presence in the grass, trees or stones. This idea also came from my own childhood. Sometimes I felt imprisoned indoors, either at school or at home, because where I grew up in Kent, England, was always so beautiful outside, regardless of the season. My house was surrounded by lush fields and magnificent oak-trees, and the garden was almost always filled with flowers. Luckily, my mother encouraged us to play outside most of the time, and we were free to wander for hours over the fields and farms. Farmers, cows, sheep, dogs, even the birds, rabbits, and foxes. seemed to recognize us as part of the landscape. I often walked alone in those woods and fields and imagined myself as part-child, part-flower, or tree. I was in everything and everything was in me. This gave me the idea of my main character, Lucy, in Lucy in her Secret Wood, an eight and a half-year-old child who was locked away indoors, for years, by her mean stepfather, and never knew the joys of being outside. When, one evening, her stepdad takes her out into the remote woods and abandons her there, Lucy wakes up to herself. By that, I mean that she recognized herself as part of the creation surrounding her. Having been deprived of life and beauty in her dirty little room, her awareness of beauty is much greater than for most humans. The animals, trees, flowers, and brook are all miracles for her, and because she feels the same magic within her, all her creativity and imagination is unleashed. Later, this manifests in the enchanting music she plays on a recorder.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“But then [Lucy] remembered Alone [the deer], her body the colour of sunrise, her eyes full of the wood’s shadows that were saying, ‘Yes, shadows and darkness will come; night creatures will come, but light will always follow.”
Lucy is trying to settle down for her first night in the woods, inside the hollow trunk of Grandpa tree. She begins to feel afraid of the descending darkness, but then the doe, who she calls Alone comes through the trees and stares at her for a long time, as if trying to tell her that she has a friend and is not alone.
I like this passage because it shows how Lucy finds the courage to overcome her fears by connecting with her new family of woodland creatures who are beautiful, but also wise in the ways of survival.

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Lucy is the most like me because finally, after almost nine years, she is able to experience the childhood I had in nature. As in my case, nature becomes her palette for wonder, her main comfort, inspiration, and teacher. Like Lucy, I became interested in music because of nature’s sounds, and also because my family played classical music. At the age of 11, I begged my parents to let me learn the piano, but in those days parents did not cart children to and fro. I had to walk across four fields to get to my piano teacher's cottage, often in rain, and usually through a great deal of mud. My piano playing became a primary way for me to express myself, just as Lucy’s playing on the recorder is her most important way of communicating her feelings when she is alone.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I hope they will be even more encouraged to see that we are surrounded by miracles and creativity, and happiness comes from experiencing life directly rather than through electronic gadgets and screens. Even city children can know a relief from playing outdoors, feeling the breeze, and seeing the sky, that can make them feel more alive than being enclosed inside a room. More and more cities are closing off streets so children can play outdoors, and schools are recognizing the importance of exposing children to nature in one way or another. The Children and Nature Network headed by Richard Louv, who coined the term “nature deficit disorder’ for children deprived of outside experiences, is doing all they can to increase children's connection with nature.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
As a child, I would climb trees with a piece of paper and a pencil so I could scribble out a ‘poem.’ I wanted to escape the scorn of my three older sisters who never took me seriously, but I also wanted a longer view over the tops of trees, into the fields beyond. I thought that view would make my poem more interesting. Often, I screwed up the poem in disgust, because I knew it was no good (and I certainly didn’t want my sisters to find it). At other times, I tore it as I scrambled down and lost interest in putting it back together. I don’t remember what I wrote in my tree-nooks. But I do remember feeling that pushing up higher through scratchy branches would make my writing more dramatic somehow.
I will continue to keep easing my way through leaves, hunting for a rise of ground that will give me a clearer view for my writing!

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY?
I cannot think of a well-known writer I would like to be compared with! I love the classics but I realize their writing can seem old-fashioned and verbose for modern readers! I’ll just say I want to write clearly, spontaneously, and with just a touch of poetry that will inspire!

HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
I heard about Waldorf Publishing, a relatively new publishing house, through a friend. I contacted them directly, not through an agent.

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM?
Tap into your inner voice. Write spontaneously without thinking about the effect of your words on an audience. Don’t try to be reasonable or logical. Just write a stream of consciousness about the idea/event/story you have in mind. Put it aside. When you come back, perhaps after a day, you will find the gems. There will be some nonsense, but stay with the gems and build outwards from those, making sure you stick with that authentic voice, which is YOUR voice, not the one you are supposed to have, or that your audience might demand. Don’t be afraid to throw out what you know is unnecessary. Don’t get attached to what you write. Be merciless and objective when you are editing.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
No. I am not a good marketer! This is the most difficult part for me. I would say that if you can afford it, find someone to market your book for you. Of course, there is always the social media – Facebook, Linked-in, Instagram, etc. These help a little. You should also make an Amazon Author page, and create your own website.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Winning the Eloquent Quill Award from Children’s Literary Classics for Lucy in her Secret Wood is a thrill! They have also given me a Gold Award. Several months ago, Readers Favorite gave me their Silver Award. All of these are a wonderful pat on the back. My first publication award was from The International Society of Poetry back in 2004 for my first poetry collection. That gave me the taste and the drive to keep writing.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I would like my children’s writing to creep into the minds and hearts of children, and encourage them to look at their surroundings with wonder and excitement. I would very much like the Lucy Series – Lucy in her Secret Wood (Book 1), and The Woodland Adventures of Lucy and Will (Book 2) to become best-sellers and to be made into movies. (Book 2 will be published in 2018).

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
I was a terrible student in England from ages 11 to 16 (when I left school). I was always in the clouds, in my dream world, and I never studied until the last minute before an exam. Then I stayed up all night. The result was I was so tired when the exam came, that I had forgotten everything. I could not wait to leave school, and I began working in London when I was sixteen. Given how much I detested school and teachers, it is incredible to me, that I ended up getting a Ph.D in Literature and becoming a professor myself!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
For young readers: Remember that watching television, or a movie, or playing a video game, doesn’t require much imagination. The “pictures” are already given to you, so you don’t have to create them yourselves as you do when you read about characters and situations in books. Reading will keep your minds and imaginations lively and interesting, and books are the best friends you will ever have.

WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Poetry:
Published in 2006 by Watermark Press
Published in 2013 by Summerland Publishing 
Children’s Books:
Published in 2007 by Summerland Publishing

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Lucy Series Book 2 - The Woodland Adventures of Lucy and Will is already written and illustrated. It will be published by Waldorf Publishing in 2018.
Lucy Series Book 2 – The Woodland Adventures of Lucy and Will starts off a few seconds after Book 1 ends. Will, Lucy’s best friend, and kindred spirit, will join in her adventures, and I hope this will encourage more boy-readers to pick up the book. One nail-biting situation follows another, which makes this second book a page-turner. Now they are slightly older, Lucy and Will’s incredible friendship begins to become a little more like a childhood romance.

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