Sunday, June 29, 2008

Upcoming author spotlight

Bob Avey will have a guest posting on my blog July 21st. I have read his book "Beneath a Buried House" and hope to have a review posted by the end of the week (along with a couple other reviews that are long overdue). I should have his author bio and book ordering info posted before his article. See you all in the postings. - E :)

News and upcoming events

My first book has gone to the printers and is available for ordering now on Vivian's website for only $10.99. The book will be available just in time for school to start back so if you like a bit of trivia, a bit of geography and a bit of history all mixed in one, order your copy today.

If you want to wait until the book is actually out in print, come visit the 4RV group at Decatur Book Festival Labor Day weekend. We will have a book there with all the newly released books available. We will have games, readings, and prizes - lots of fun. Vivian will be doing a 20-minute presentation on "Writing for the Reluctant Reader". I am so looking forward to this trip. There is a lot to be done before the end of August so I guess I better get back on track so I can be ready - looking forward to seeing all you - E :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Walking on a Rainbow: How I Became a Children’s Book Author
By Mayra Calvani

I used to think writing children’s books was boring. Writing for those demanding, whining creatures? Are you kidding? Not for me. No thanks.

That was a few years ago.

Now, nothing fills me with more joy and excitement than writing a picture book or a novel for tweens. Writing for children is like stepping into a fresh, magical, innocent, marvelous world of color and words. Writing for children is, in fact, like walking on a rainbow.

So how did the change happen?

Easy. I had children.

I recently read an interesting post by another children’s author about how in order to write good children’s stories, one must know children. Of course, as always, there are exceptions to the rule, but in general, I find this observation to be true. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one must have children in order to write great children’s stories, but it does mean that one must interact with them, know their fears, fantasies, dreams. In sum, one must have a clear idea of what goes on inside their little heads and hearts.

In my case, having children brought out a tender, gentler part of me to the surface, a part I didn’t know I had. Suddenly, as I read to my little daughter every night, picture books, with their beautiful and evocative illustrations, began to appear very appealing to me. I don’t remember when the exact moment hapenned, the moment when I thought, ‘I want to write a children’s book.’ But I do know I went from extreme to extreme: from chilling horror to sweet picture books. Two very different worlds, but I’m able to switch from one to the other without much problem. On the contrary, each one serves as a refreshing break from the other. So I may work on a lovable children’s story in the morning, and dive into a disturbing werewolf scene in the afternoon. It’s fun, like having split personalities, without the crazy element (or at least, I hope so!).

So far, I’ve written four picture books. Two have already been published: The Magic Violin and CRASH!. The other two are in the illustrating stages and will be released next year. I also have a finished tween novel in the editing stages and another one in progress.

The world of children’s book publishing is extremely competitive, to say the least. It takes hard work, dedication, perseverance and commitment to become a published author. I know the stakes, but once you step into that magical rainbow, there’s no turning back.

Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover, and animal advocate. A regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and American Chronicle, she is also the author of CRASH!, a children’s picture book about a little boy and how he learns to care and find the perfect name for his new golden retriever puppy. Check out her ‘Crash the Puppy’ blog.

Introducing Mayra's newest book, Crash!

This is Mayra's newest addition to her stories.

Ordering can be done from a number of places: or Guardian Angel's page.

Stop by Mayra's blog or Pump Up Your Book Promotion for more info.

A quick run down of places Mayra will be:

June 24 - - Review

June 25 - – Guest Post

June 27 - – Review

Also, Mayra is having a drawing, so be sure to stop by her blog and find out how to be entered for the $20 gift card drawing.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Introducing Mayra Calvani

Mayra’s Author Bio:

Multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover and animal advocate Mayra Calvani hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She's a regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and American Chronicle. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, playing the violin, interviewing other authors for her blogs and newsletters, watching reruns of Gilmore Girls, and walking her golden retriever, Amigo. She’s the author of the picture book, The Magic Violin, also published by Guardian Angel Publishing.

State of Wilderness available for presales

Clicking the title of this post will take you directly to the publisher's store page on the website and you will see my book, State of Wilderness available for order, for only $10.99 plus shipping you can have your own copy of State of Wilderness. Hope you all are liking the cover.

Stop by my JGDS blog to leave a comment or sign up for the monthly newsletter to keep abreast of all the activities going on with the stories, 4RV Publishing and around various states - see you all in the postings E :)

4RV Author's Page

I have an author's page on my publisher's website now. Click the title of this post to be taken directly to my page. You will find a video with my cover and some of the illustrations in my book there as well as my logo. Remember State of Wilderness is available for preorders now and that can be found on the 4RV Publishing store page on the website. Vivian has lots of fun looking books coming out this month or by the end of this year. We have been really busy getting ready for Decatur Book Festival of late that it seems all we do is talk about what else we can do to help boost sales or that will draw in a crowd.

I encourage anyone in the Atlanta/Decatur Georgia/South Carolina/NorthCarolina areas to come visit us Labor Day weekend at the AJC Decatur Book Festival. For more info, please click here. See you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Awesome natural phenomenon

Now if this picture doesn't say there is a being that is more powerful than any of us, I don't know what does. This is so gorgeous; how anyone can stand looking at this and not be amazed and awed would be beyond any comprehension I have - I was awed seeing it in an email would love to experience this for real one day - who knows, maybe I will. Let me know what you all think of this - E :)


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chris Verstraete interview/Searching for a Starry Night

With us today is Chris Verstraete author of Searching for a Starry Night. Chris and I have known each other from forums for a couple of years now. She writes short stories, now a young adult novel and probably several things in between.

Don't forget to stop by her blog and website for contests and other fun stuff.

Interview with Christine Verstraete, author of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A MINIATURE ART MYSTERY

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Probably in the womb. Ha! My favorite baby photo is of me with a newspaper and pencil behind my ear. Destiny, I guess.

Do you work outside the home and only write when you can or do you have set writing times, keeping "office hours" so to speak?
I do freelance writing (newspapers and magazines) so I’m always writing, it seems. It’s harder to “not” be writing sometimes.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I have a hard time jumping back into a project I’ve let sit. I’m trying to get this other book done and if I get sidetracked, it’s hard to continue without going over the previous things. Drives me crazy! :>)

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I wonder that myself at times! Sometimes the ideas seem to come out of “nowhere.” But I have to stew on them awhile to see if they’ll work.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was a big reader as kid, so I’d bet there was a book started somewhere, which I’ve totally forgotten about. But I’m a “late-bloomer” and didn’t really start the first book until a few years ago. I still like the idea and try to rework it now and then.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I always have a new miniatures project going and a long list of things I’d like to work on. Some of my projects can be seen at my website, I also like to read and enjoy being outdoors.

Who is your favorite author?
I read in many genres. I love Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I like historical fiction from authors like Diana Gabaldon, Ann Benson or Judith Merkle Riley. I seem to be drawn to reading about the 1500s to 1700s.

Who does your writing resemble or imitate?
I can’t say that there’s any particular style I imitate. I’m a pretty straightforward writer.

When did you take your work with miniatures into the writing venue? How do you incorporate the two?
I’ve been writing about miniatures for a long time. I enjoy writing about collectors and their collections for dollhouse magazines and sometimes for general magazines. Since I enjoy the hobby, it’s fun and interesting to talk to other collectors, as well. It seemed a natural step to incorporate miniatures into Searching For A Starry Night since I figured it was something that kids (and adults) would find interesting and unique. See and my blog,, for details.

Creating miniature scenes must be time consuming. Compared to writing, which takes longer, working on your miniature scenes or writing a story?
Oooh, good question! I tend to labor over both. I’m meticulous in planning my miniatures and can’t proceed until I have things the way I pictured them. But writing can take just as long; depends on the day. Ha! I’d have to say that the miniatures take longer, though, since I don’t have any deadlines.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned how much I thought I knew and didn’t! I found myself double-guessing things after awhile.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I actually have two other books underway; one is done but needs to be reworked. I’m working on the other now. Both are mysteries. I love Searching For A Starry Night as I enjoy the topic and love the characters. I’m also kind of drawn yet to my first unpublished novel, which has a 1920s theme running through it. I like that time period and enjoyed doing research. I still hope to revamp and revise it.

What do you think makes a good story?
A unique topic does it for me. I like stories with interesting settings and historical backdrops.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Being a big reader, I always wanted to write, so studying journalism and doing newspaper and other writing seemed to be a perfect fit.

Elysabeth, thanks for letting me stop by!

Visitors should go to my website for details on a special contest I am holding beginning June 12. This will be the first of several contests to celebrate the release of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT.

Introducing Chris Verstraete

As promoised, here is some info on Chris. She and I met through several forums and she was the first winner of the fast and .... contests that Karen used to run. Her story, The Witch Tree, is still available on

Chris is into minatures and so it would make sense to write a story involving minature artwork.

For orders, click here

Chris's bio:

Christine Verstraete thinks you’re never too old to play with dollhouses, so when she’s not writing, she is probably working on a new miniature project.
Christine also is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in various newspapers and magazines. Her short fiction has been published in print and online.
Her short horror story, “The Witch Tree,” was a contest winner published by Echelon Press. She also is author of the e-book, “In Miniature Style,” with stories about collectors, photos of their miniatures and how-to projects.
Check out more of Christine’s miniatures and stories at her website and at her blog Candid Canine.

Searching for a Starry Night is available through Quake Me, a subsidiary of Echelon Press. Look for the book coming soon to a store near you. E :)

Apologies to all my readers and to Chris

I've been internetless all week and I was supposed to do postings for Chris's virtual book tour. I apologize. I thought I would be back yesterday but the courier couldn't find my house and they had the incorrect phone to call in case that happened. So I'm back and will be posting some information about Searching for a Starry Night and a delightful interview with Chris. See you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Virtual Book Tour host - Searching for a Starry Night

Christine Verstraete

Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery
– Coming June 15 from Quake/Echelon Press –

ISBN 978-1-59080-579-4

Buy at:


Samantha Ann Carlton would rather spend her summer vacation anywhere but a spooky old house in Wisconsin…like Lake Geneva!
Somehow Sam knows it is going to take more than a couple days to find a missing painting no bigger than her hand. But maybe things won't be so bad, she thinks, since she gets to take a friend's lovable, nosy, and often mischievous Dachshund, Petey, and her best friend, Lita. If they're lucky, the three of them can find the miniature replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" and help Sam's mother get it to the museum, where it belongs.
It's not going to be easy, Sam realizes, when she discovers that her family has some spooky secrets. Then Petey digs up an ancient curse and Sam fears her friendship with Lita is doomed.
Can Sam find the miniature masterpiece before it's too late?
Will she and her best friend go home forever friends – or enemies?

I've been asked by a friend to host her during her virtual book tour. Well get ready, she will be here Thursday with a wonderful interview. Post your comments on Chris's website and be entered for her drawing. I hope you all will follow her tour as well. More coming soon - see you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Still time - B-day noncontest and Midnight Hours launch party

There is still time to sign up for my newsletter and check out Vivian's Midnight Hours virtual launch party below. Hurry - noncontest ends at midnight Thursday night.

Hey everyone

There's still time for my birthday noncontest. Just sign up for my JGDS (geography series) newsletter and let me know by email with your snail mail addy so I can mail your gifts out to you. Tomorrow midnight is the deadline (since my birthday will officially be over then). So tell all your friends, sign up and get the newsletters keeping you abreast of the series. Check out my blog, for a signup area.

Speaking of midnight, check out my publishers new book coming out soon and her contests on You have to be a member to participate but it's free to sign up too. Here is the link to the Midnight Hours forum on - - come on over and check it out.

Also, pass on to your friends and relatives and acquintances that might be interested - thanks - see you all in the postings - E :)

Coming soon, State of Wilderness, part of the Junior Geography Detective Squad 50 states mystery trivia series.

Where will the adventure take you next?