Welcome to my blog Rae! Thank you for stopping by.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was in 7th grade.
How long have you been writing professionally?
I published my first children’s book, Cowgirl Lessons, in 2017. I have been writing off and on for years.
What does your writing schedule look like? I have a full time job, as well as several contract jobs. I squeeze writing where I can. Usually it’s in the barn while my daughter is riding her horse.
What are your favorite books to read?
I love books of all kinds. My favorite book as a child was called Molly’s Moe.
What have you found to be the most difficult thing about writing? Trying not to be overly critical of my own writing.
What have you found to be the most rewarding? Connecting with both children and adults when I am doing readings of my books.
What advice to you have for aspiring authors? Just keep writing. That’s the trick.
What publications do you have out now?
Four. Cowgirl Lessons, Cowgirl Christmas, Beach Day, and Mountain Girl
Do you have an upcoming release? If so, tell us about it. I just released Mountain Girl in June. It’s a charming story of a girl and her family on a vacation to a quaint mountain town and their adventures.
What writing projects are you working on? I’m working on another Cowgirl book. Tentatively titled Cowgirl and the Ghost Horse.
That sounds interesting! Where can we follow you and purchase your books? You can follow me on Instagram @raerankinauthor, Twitter @cavezzale, Facebook @raerankin, my website at http://www.raerankin.com. All of my books are available at Amazon and other online retailers.
Thank you again for stopping by. Readers, if you or your child are a fan of cowgirls, give these books a try!
This week I interviewed children’s author Amanda Lowney. She is the author of the picture book Zora the Water Dog. JG: We all had that “A-ha Moment” when we knew we wanted to be a writer. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? AL: When I had my children and I was looking for something productive to do during the odd hours I had free. JG: What does your writing schedule look like? AL: Very sporadic. In between watching my kids, marketing my first book and all the other odds and ends! JG: I can relate to that. What have you found to be the most difficult thing about writing? AL: Finding the time to write. Marketing. JG: What have you found to be the most rewarding? Watching my two daughters ask for my book at storytime. JG: Aww. That melts my heart. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? Take your time when finalizing your book. Don’t try and rush it just to get it out there. You will be happier in the long run!
JG: That is so true. Very wise advice. What publications do you have out now? Zora, The Water Dog
JG: Do you have an upcoming release? If so, tell us about it. Just released Zora, The Water Dog in the last few months. I do have the second book in the series hopefully coming out late this year! JG: Where can we follow you and purchase your books? You can find me on Facebook and my book is on Amazon.
Thanks so much for stopping by Amanda.
Are you an author who would like an interview or book review posted in my newsletter and blog? If so, please fill out this form and when it’s complete I will let you know when I’ll post it.
When we write, especially with fiction, there will be taglines. Taglines clear up who is speaking in your manuscript, but if used poorly they can be a distraction to your reader. With this in mind, I’ve compiled several rules when using tags.
First, choose the tag “said” first above any other tags. It is the most common one and is generally invisible to the reader. When using fancier tags such as “exclaimed” or “mocked”, it becomes distracting. The less distracted your reader is, the more focused on the story they will be.
This rule can be extended to using adverbs as a tag. Adverbs tend to “tell” rather than “show”. An alternative to this might be to use an action before or after the quote. For example, instead of writing:
“Don’t cry,” Jane exclaimed sadly.
Jane frowned and held out a tissue. “Don’t cry.”
Finally, use a good balance with tags. Don’t use to little, which will confuse the reader and cause them to stop reading to look back and see who is talking. Don’t use it too much because it no longer is invisible. Instead, it becomes distracting.
An alternative could include an action from a character, as shown above. An action points out who the speaker is with out the tag. Another option is to have the speaker name the other character. For example: “Sarah, why did you do that?”
With the dialogue written this way it makes it clear who is doing the talking.
Place your comma before the last qotation mark in that quote before the tag.
If there is no tag, a period or other required punctuation goes inside the quote.
I like to reflect on my past and current “reads”. For this post I’m thinking about my 5 favorite picture books. As I was making my list, I realized that I have much more than 5 favorites. So I’m changing the focus to Picture Book Picks instead so that it can be a regular feature.
Today I’ll start with some classics. Here we go. My top 5 Picture Book Picks this post are:
1. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. Illustrated by Michael Smollen . I love the humour and reader interaction with this book. If you have reluctant readers, definitley start with this one.
2. Chicka Chicka Boom Boon by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault. Illustrated by Lois Ehlert. This is a great book for reinforcing the alphabet with out saying “This is Letter A”. It also has a great rhythm that will engage readers.
3. If You Give A Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. Illustrated by Felicia Bond. This is a fun book that brings imagination to life. I love who the whole story connects from beginning to end. This is also a fun way to explore consequences . “If I do this, then that will happen.”
4. Corduroy by Don Freeman. This was an adorable story that I read to my children repeatedly. It was fun to follow Corduroy around as he learns about his world and his quest to be brought to a home.
5. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. This was fun to read as we follow Harold around while his purple crayon creates a world around him.
Please join me in welcoming author Aaron McGinley, the author of the beloved book Aiden McGee Gets a Case of the “Actuallys”.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Children inspire you. I’ve always done professional writing, and
my silly side always came out in my work with kids and at a summer camp. But I
knew when I had my kid and she inspired a dream, I had to model for them to
How inspirational! How long have you been writing professionally?
This is my first book!
What does your writing schedule look like?
Have you ever tried to write a book with a
crying baby in one hand and a keyboard in the other, at 9 at night? I have!
Yes. It is quite the struggle. What are your favorite books to read? Any that might not be well known?
I love a good thriller. Also, as a therapist, I devour psychology
What have you found to be the most difficult thing about writing?
In my case, it was realizing that the
traditional publishing route has very regimented ideas about what makes a book
sell. For instance, my book targets highly intelligent children, and realizing
that parents know they can manage a higher word count, but that publishers
don’t was disheartening. I don’t regret going the independent route though,
because now my book is landing into the hands of parents, kids, teachers, and
therapists that appreciate it!
What have you found to be the most rewarding?
Almost daily, I hear from parents that are
using the book as a tool to help their bright children to connect with others.
That is truly rewarding. What advice to you have for aspiring authors?
This was an adorable book about Aiden who can’t seem to help himself in correcting other people. He becomes aware of this habit one Monday during a school trip. His mom, who is also a doctor, diagnoses Aiden with a “Case of the Actuallys”. During this discussion, Mom suggests Aiden asks himself if something is necessary, kind, or true before saying something.
I loved this part of the story because as a Technology Teacher, I often discuss the THINKmethod that children use before posting online. Ask yourself if it is True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind. I can see myself reading a story like this to my students next year as we review digital citizenship.
You can get your copy of Aiden McGee Gets a Case of the “Actuallys” here.
Next week don’t miss the amazing interview I will post with author AAron McGinley. If you want to see the inteview before it goes live on my blog, join my newsletter (You also get free coloring pages and a free lesson plan.)