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Book Review: Where Does Santa Go on Vacation

This is the perfect time to discover a new Christmas or holiday book, and I’m glad I discovered the picture book Where Does Santa Go on Vacation by author Kim Ann.

This 32-page book is filled with beautiful illustrations by Nejla Shojaie, which complements the magic and wonder a child has about this holiday. The story starts as a question: Where does Santa and Mrs. Claus go on vacation? The following pages are filled with fun and imaginative possibilities that can spark conversations with your little reader throughout the story.

Overall Rating: 📚📚📚📚

I Wish You Happiness – Book Review

Several months back, I purchased the picture book I Wish You Happiness by Michael Wong and illustrated by Ann Baratashvili through Michael Wong’s Kickstarter campaign. I was delighted to get it in the mail recently. Let me tell you, I am so glad I chose to support this book.

It. Is. Gorgeous. Everything about the book is beautiful from the lustrous illustrations to its message of tranquility, peace, and happiness. Page after page is filled with wishes of encouragement for various life experiences complemented by the sense of awe and wonder created by the illustrations. The team of author and illustrator in this book was a perfect match.

I also loved the supplemental pages at the end that highlights a few surprises in the illustrations. This was a great book that I highly recommend. Hopefully, you can grab it before Christmas this year. What an amazing way to begin 2021 – with messages of hope and encouragement.

Rating: 📚📚📚📚📚

Book Review: Nonnie and I

Sweet Book About Friendship and Change

This is an adorable story about a sweet young girl who loves her bff, Nonnie.

Not just isn’t just any friend, but a lovely giraffe. What I loved about the story is how the main character grows and has room for all kinds of friends in her heart. The illustrations were beautiful throughout the story.

Excellent story, especially if you are looking for one on friendship.

You can get it here.

To learn more about Savannah Hendrix, visit her website.

Rating: 📚📚📚📚📚

Review: Rhythm Rescue

Rhythm Rescue is a musically themed picture book. The author Vicky Weber did a great job integrating musical beats into the story so that the reader can join along.

In the story we follow Tala in the land of Music Metropolis as she makes her way through the city to visit her friend. Along the way she ran into a few problems- but we see that with the power of music, anything is possible!

Rhythm Rescue by Vicky Weber

This was a fun, engaging read which I’m sure children will enjoy clapping to the best as they help our hero Tala. While I would have loved to see more explanation of the musical notes used, I found it informative and an excellent way for children to “feel the beats”.

Over all, this was a fun way to to help child become familiar with musical beats. I definitely recommend it! You can get a copy at Amazon and it’s currently available for free in Kindle Unlimited! But, if you’re going to read it in the classroom, definitely get the paperback!

Learning By Doing

I’ve always been one who learned best through doing an activity. There’s nothing more educating than going through the actual experience. I have recently applied this thought to my writing career.

See, I want to know as much as possible about the industry. Learning about the writing process is just one step of the whole picture.

After having four picture books traditionally published, I once again stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote a tween novel. I finished the first draft in January. Just comprising the novel was a whole other process. Then I started paying attention to some indie publishing groups on Facebook. I’ve studied them for a few years- watching what they do, the questions they ask, the tips they suggest and I knew one thing: independently publishing was hard, back breaking work. Yet I wanted to try it.

Why? For one,the route allows you more creative control. You also earn out better royalties.

As my novel is finishing up the final editing stages, I decided to prepare for the next hurdle: the print run. Ideally, it is best to have enough funds for a decent first run – at least 1,000 books.

How do you come up with the money to fund such a project? This is when I learned another new thing about publishing independently. If you don’t have the funds to do this, you need to look into crowdfunding. Much like I stated before, I have been following authors who have been working on these crowdfunding campaigns and I have seen how much work they are.

But, I decided to go ahead and try it. I could still publish by way of Print on Demand if I didn’t raise enough for the print run. Before I committed to that, I did what I often do: educate, educate, educate myself.

I found a course that helped me strategically plan out my campaign. A friend of mine suggested I contact Lisa Ferland and check out her course. I am glad I did because even my small successes are due to her tips. (If you’re considering a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, see if she can help you.)

As I am halfway through this campaign, I am learning so many lessons at once. I’ve learned that I love every bit of the creative process from creating the book to hiring my own hand selected artist.

I’ve learned the rest of it is hard work, but it is an interesting side to publishing that I haven’t experienced closely before. What I am finding tough is that it is taking away from my writing time. This is a huge drawback for a writer. Is independently publishing something I might do again in the future? It’s possible- I am still mid process right now, but I just don’t like how much time I haven’t been writing. So, we’ll see what my final thoughts on this are in a few weeks.

As for now, if this is something you are considering, definitely do your research. Join several writing communities on Facebook. Build your audience. I’ll say that again as this was a weaknesses for me. BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE. And if publishing independently is an option for you, definitely get a head start on your crowdfunding by checking out sites like Lisa’s.

The Writing Process of SOULED

The Inspiration:

It started as a spark of inspiration. Watching children spending so much of their day using screen time and particularly video games, I wondered what if the reason children are so drawn to it is because there’s another force behind it. Someone or something makes the pull irresistable.

The Writing Process:

I decided I would write this during the annual NANOWRIMO challenge (National Novel Writing Month) challenge . While the novel wasn’t finished with the first draft at the end of November, I was well on my way. My first draft finished in January. Once I finished, I set the book aside for a while before moving on to editing.

After a month, I began the editing process. I went through the story several times before hiring a professional editor. This step is really important. No matter how well you know your book, you need a separate pair of unbiased eyes to help make the book the best it can be.

My favorite part has been hiring the illustrator. I worked with Junior of Junior’s Digital Designs a few years ago and loved their work. The team was the first group that came to mind knowing that my book included gaming characters.

Second Way to Earn a Free Book

The Campaign is going well for SOULED on Indiegogo. We are on day three and at 20% of our goal. If we can reach 30% by the end of the day, EVERYONE who contributes will get a second hardcover of Souled FREE. So be sure to share, click and contribute!

What is Souled?

Souled is a novel about Ethan and his friends who end up getting trapped in a video game.

When Ethan and his friends play the much anticipated new game Seeker, they are thrown into a new world where the lines of reality and gaming are blurred. As people close to Ethan, including his sister, start to disappear, Ethan and his team must free the trapped souls, defeat the dark wizard and stop the destruction before he and his friends are trapped forever.

Get a FREE Copy of Souled

This morning we were at 12% funded. Now we’re at 15%.

This means another Giveaway has been unlocked! This will be ongoing and in addition to any other ongoing perks.

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What’s the deal?

Simple. When you send people to the SOULED campaign and they contribute, you will earn a referrer credit. When 5 people contribute from your referral, you earn a FREE HARDCOVER!

How will this work?

1.) Log into your Indiegogo Account


2.) Go to the Souled Campaign


3.) USE the Indiegogo Share tool- URL LINK.

  • Right under the pledge option is a SHARE tool
  • Click the LINK button.
  • USE ONLY THIS. THIS IS YOUR REFERRAL URL
  • SHARE and encourage others to join the campaign

4.) When they contribute, you get credit as a referrer

5) That’s it! 5 contributions credited to you = a free book.

Souled is Moving

Moving Clip Art

This is a tough thing to post, but I want to be sure my energies are utilized the best they can be. We were on day 6 of the campaign and at 17%. In order for this to succeed in reaching the goal I chose, I should have been over 30%. So I chose to stop the All or Nothing Kickstarter and relaunch it here with a better goal and more flexibility.

WAIT! HEAR ME OUT!

art by Junior’s Digital Designs

That isn’t a bad thing, really.

In fact, it just means I’m going to go about this another way. I wanted the Kickstarter so I could get a decent print run but that’s not the only way to publish a book.

Instead, I relaunched this on Indigogo. Any funds I raise will cover your rewards and printing in a smaller quantity. The good news about this, with the nature of my plan, is there will be no risk to either you or me. Those who order a book, will get their books. No matter how much is raised.

We also won’t have to wait as long for delivery of the books.

So head on over and get your books!