Saturday, March 24, 2012

Recent Doodlings

I hope you'll take the opportunity to review this week's interviews offered on The Writer's Block. I am inspired by these creative people to stretch my imagination a little bit more as I learn and grow. Today, I would like to share some recent artwork from current and future projects. Enjoy your weekend!

This is a little girl named Brooklyn who depicts a character from a book I recently completed.

And this is a scene from one of my upcoming releases Smart Girls Like You!

Artwork from my line of birthday cards...

...and here's another!

And one more!

Keep your pen to the paper! Remember, inspiration is everywhere...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Author Darlene Quinn Explains Why Writers Should Promote Each Other on Facebook

(Darlene Quinn's article sums it all up for me. Enjoy and take heed!)

"For some writers, self promotion is a hard pill to swallow. We are authors and artists, not sales people. Self promotion makes some of us feel uncomfortable and cheap. After all, they always say the hardest part about being an artist is selling your own work.

"For others, self promotion is easy and glides through Facebook like a bad virus. For the everyday family member, friend and fellow writer, the multiple postings and unreciprocated feedback can be distracting and downright annoying.

"The key to promoting your book on Facebook is to let others do it for you, while you promote the work of others.

"The number one rule of Facebook is to be Social, not self-centered. You cannot build meaningful relationships with fans or fellow writers by talking about yourself all the time.

"That said, consider these points in regard to promoting literature on Facebook.

"Announcements for book releases, awards and other literary achievements should be shared in a modest, yet effective, way. You on the other hand should also share the achievements of others within your network and groups. It’s so much easier for the Facebook audience to respond to a “suggested reading” or a “have a look at this new cover art” posting or “take a look at this new book trailer” share in the form of a third-party endorsement. This represents a trusted friend recommendation, as opposed to a used-car salesman’s approach to self-promotion.

"Are you getting the picture here? How many times have you entered a group and saw one random member monopolizing the posting thread with his or her own self promotion and thought, OMG, he or she is at it again!

"Imagine the power in numbers if we writers took one modest, yet effective, post and shared it with our friends and fellow writers. That is the viral power of Facebook..." Read the entire article HERE.

[Darlene Quinn is the author of Webs of Power, Twisted Webs, and Webs of Fate.]

Keep your pen to the paper! Remember, inspiration is everywhere...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Linda Joy Singleton

1) Describe your journey to becoming an author.

I wrote as a kid but put writing aside for a job, marriage, and kids until I was nearly 30 when I joined a local writing group. This led to a critique group and attending conferences where I learned so much that I sold my first book (chapter book) within a few years. After that I did some work for hire, writing a Sweet Valley Twin, 5 Sweet Dreams romances for teens, and two Pick Your Own Dream Date books. I finally got an agent after trying many years, and she sold my first original kid series, MY SISTER THE GHOST to Avon Books. I continued to write series: CHEER SQUAD, REGENERATION, STRANGE ENCOUNTERS, THE SEER, DEAD GIRL and my recently released book BURIED: A GOTH GIRL MYSTERY from Flux.

2) What kinds of books do you write? Who is your ideal reader?

I mostly write books for teens, although adults read them, too. Anyone who loves books is my ideal reader.

 3) Where do you find your inspiratiion?

 I'm inspired by people, places and my imagination; always wondering what would happen "IF."

 4) How do you choose your publisher(s)? 

I used to study the marketplace, but now I leave marketing/submitting to my agent.

 5) Who are your favorite authors? What is on your reading list right now?

I'm a huge fan of YA and midgrade fiction. Holly Black, Maria V Snyder, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Dawn Lairamore and many more.
Currently reading: INTERROGATION OF GABRIEL JAMES by Charlie Price.

6) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?

 Facebook, Twitter and yahoogroups keep me in contact with friends & fans. I also speak at writing conferences and school/library events.

 7) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?

Speaking at Left Coast Crime in Sacramento, Roseville Literary Festival in April, SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference in April and some more plans in the works.

 8) What is your definition of success as an author?

It keeps changing. Publishers judge authors by sales, so that's a big consideration. I feel like a success when fans tell me they love my books.

 9) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

Don't rush to publishing without learning about craft and rewriting. I believe the saying: books aren't written, they're rewritten. I rewrite, rewrite and rewrite, and I love how much each rewrite improves my book.

Author Bio

Linda Joy Singleton has published over 35 YA & MG books about Goths, psychics, mermaids, aliens, cheerleaders, clones, parallel worlds and ghosts. Her YA series, THE SEER and DEAD GIRL, were honored as YALSA Popular Paperback/Quick Picks. When Linda isn't writing, she enjoys reading, movies, country walks, camping, bowling, watching reality shows and collecting vintage girl series mysteries like Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Trixie Belden. She lives with her husband, David in Northern California, in a country home where she’s surrounded by horses, peacocks, dogs, wild turkeys and demanding cats.

 Contact Linda




Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Tiah Short (DC Bookdiva)

1) Who is DC Bookdiva?

DC Bookdiva is the name given to me on the streets of Washington, DC. I have several mobile bookstore locations in and around the DC Metropolitan area. They couldn’t call me a man so they coined me "The Bookdiva".

2) Do you specialize in any particular genre(s)?

African-American fiction.

3) Tell us about your most recent projects.

In addition to the mobile book store, I own DC Bookdiva Publications, and I am the founder of Urban Literary Review Radio. To date, most of my attention is focused on DC Bookdiva Publications, we have a team of seven authors (the lucky seven as I call them) and all of them have multiple projects with the company. We plan to release five titles this year.

4) How do you promote your authors? What strategies have been the most successful?

I use many outlets to promote my team. I am known for non-traditional book signings, up close and personal meet and greets, and internet marketing. Depending on what the subject matter is, I use different techniques to draw attention to our titles. Each book released has a marketing plan treatment.

5) What services do you provide?

I try to assist new authors as much as possible, but at this time, I mainly provide a retail outlet for authors not signed to my label to be seen and promoted. As far as my authors on my label, they are backed with promotional and marketing opportunities and in-house publicity. We work as a team to push the brand and our books to the forefront in person and online.

6) Tell us about Urban Literary Review Radio.

Urban Literary Review is my baby; we are one of the first, if not the first talk shows dedicated to people of color on the network. Martin Pratt is the co-founder and since my hiatus he has continued to move forward with the brand, expanding the show to syndication in several states. If you check our archives you will see that we have interviewed many industry leaders in addition to providing great resources and tips that many new authors and publishers can use.

7) What do you plan to accomplish in 2012?

So far this year, we have released two titles: Secrets Never Die by Eyone Williams, A Valentine’s Day Massacre by Pinky Dior and forthcoming are our follow-up titles to our titles released last year.

8) What advice would you give to budding writers?

Stays focused, grounded, do your research, learn the business, and pace yourself. This industry has changed for the past seven years that I have been in it. Stay innovative and think out of the box.

9) What is your definition of success as a publisher?

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I would have to say being independent. I can’t stress enough how important it is to create your own wealth and to tap into your own self-worth. My grandmother has always told me to create my own job, create something that no one can take from you.

Contact Tiah Short

President and CEO
DC Bookdiva Publications
1866-928-9990 Ext 1
In Stores and Available on E-Readers Now!

Up The Way, Ben

Dynasty, Dutch- Nominated for Best Street Fiction of the Year 2010- African American Literary Award

Dynasty 2, Dutch
Trina, Darrell Debrew
A Killer'z Ambition, Nathan Welch
Lorton Legends, Eyone Williams
A Beautiful Satan, RJ Champ
The Hustle, Frazier Boy
Available Now from our Urban E-reads series! Available on The Nook and Kindle
The Cross, Eyone Williams
Hazel Eyes, Pinky Dior
Stella, DC Bookdiva

Coming Soon!
Que, Dutch
A Hustler's Daughter, Pinky Dior
Secrets Never Die, Eyone Williams

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Terry Hueffed

1) How did you get your start as a writer?

I was talking to a teacher friend of mine telling her how much success my children were having in my room with their reading. She stated that I should write a book with these ideas so that parents and teachers could benefit, thus, Motivating Children to Excel in Reading was born.

2) What kinds of books do you write?

Mostly I write children's books for the ages of 7 to 10 year old children. Booger Planet, and Terry & the Pirate's Treasure, are written for this age group. I have a new book coming out soon entitled, Girls Can Do Anything, Even Be Pirates; The Story of Mary Read the Pirate.

3) What are your top 5 tips to get children reading well and more often?

1) Set a regular time each day for everyone in the house to be reading or to be read to.

2) Have young children who can't read be shown the words that repeat in a book and have them say the word as you are reading when they see the word on the page. 

3) Make a weekly visit to the library to check out books, these things make your child know that reading is a priority in your family's household.

4) Learn the reading level of your child, the Lexile level, and get books that are of interest to your child at their level. If they have to sound out 2 to 3 words on a page the book is too hard. If they don't have to sound out any words the book is too easy. The next higher Lexile level will be in increments of 50 or more. 

5) Children should have a good sight word vocabulary, that is words that they don't have to sound-out. When a child misses a word on a page write it down on a 3X5 card. Put the card on a shower curtain. Then have your child study no more than three cards at a time until they have learned these words and they become sight words.

4) Tell us about your journey to publication. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Keep on keeping on! In other words keep writing. Join a writers critique group either by joining a critique group at the or go to Before submitting a manuscript to a publisher, Google the publishers name followed by the word scam to see if the publisher is legitimate or go to the following URL address to see what publishers to stay away from:

5) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?

So far I have not had much success promoting my work, but that is going to change soon as I have learned many things recently. I write on my blog at something about my books, then I tweet a teaser on with a suggestion to find out more go to my site.  I also have begun to use to maximize my presence on the web. 

6) Who are your favorite authors and literary genres?

Virginia Degner, author of Without Consent. She is an inspiration to me as an author and as a friend. Also, John Kremer author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. Lastly Will D. Rhame author of the Voyagers Series for children. He has developed a unique way of engaging children in his books to ensure greater comprehension and literacy at

7) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?

More writing, more publishing and more and better marketing.

8) What is your definition of a success as an author?

To be a well read author. It is my hope that many parents and teachers across the nation or even the world will read and implement the content of this book. It is my hope that this book will help millions of deserving children become avid readers.

9) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

Show don't tell when you write. Telling your story is the kiss of death for an author.

About the Author

Terry Hueffed, is a retired grammar school teacher and pre-school director.  He has taught classes in child development, child psychology, and parenting skills.  Mr. Hueffed is a guest lecturer on many subjects of interest to parents in the San Francisco East Bay Area.  Mr. Hueffed has a AA degree in Early Childhood Education, a BA degree in Psychology, and a lifetime teaching credential in early childhood education. He has two children, two step-children and five grandchildren and another one on the way, all of which he is very proud of.  He spends most of his time writing children’s stories and has a Kindle book entitled, Motivating Children to Excel in Reading.  His children’s storys include, Booger Planet, and Terry and The Pirate’s Treasure. he has a new book coming out entitled, Girls Can Do Anything, Even Be Pirates: The Story of Mary Read the Pirate.

Contact the Author

Web Site Link:

Facebook link:

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Jodi Fiore

1) What inspired you to start writing children’s books?

I have been writing stories and poems since I was a young child. My grandmother, Leah Wilhelm, was a true inspiration for me. When she graduated high school, my grandmother was offered a college scholarship for journalism to Temple University in Philadelphia, however, she did not pursue this because 'back then, girls just did not go to college.' My grandmother felt I had a gift for writing and encouraged me to follow my dream to be an author. I named the main character in my stories, 'Lia-Ria' after my grandmother.

2) How important is early childhood literacy?

When I had my first son, my dad told me I should start reading to him every day. I took his advice very seriously and began reading to him each and every day. I recalled favorite stories that we read to me during my childhood and I wanted to instill a love of reading in my own children. As a teacher, there is nothing I love more than reading a great story to my little students. I have always felt that the most educational tools children need to succeed in life are the ability to read and write. In my opinion as a teacher, parent, and educator, there is nothing more important than early childhood literacy!

3) Which came first: a love of writing or a love of teaching?

Oh my! Which came first? The chicken or the egg? I believe I was a writer first; however, now that my goal is to teach lessons through my stories, I have to say that teaching comes first for me.

4) What books have you written? Where can readers buy them?

I have created a series called Lia-Ria Adventures. My stories are: Lia-Ria and the Lockdown Drill, Lia-Ria Meets the Angels, and debuting later this spring, Lia-Ria and the Ostrich Feathers. My books are currently available online through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

5) How did you find your publisher?

For my first book, Lia-Ria and the Lockdown Drill, I went with Publishamerica. I was concerned that there were absolutely no other children's books related to lockdown drills (an emergency drill now required by law in many states) and I wanted to put my story out there before anyone else did. After my experiences with Publishamerica, I probably would have waited and gone a different route.

My books Lia-Ria Meets the Angels and Lia-Ria and the Ostrich Feathers are published by Mirror Publishing. Neal Wooten of Mirror Publishing is fantastic and was referred to me by a friend Tammy Johnson (author of The Tangle Fairy.) Mr. Wooten is a writer himself and is helpful with both publishing and writing support/advice.

6) How have you promoted your work? What strategies have been the most effective?

Self-promotion is not only a never ending occupation, it also has been quite a learning process for me. As a full time kindergarten teacher, parent and wife, my time is very limited. Each day, I give myself one job or one goal to accomplish for my books. I accomplish most of my work during the summer when I am not teaching.

When I first started publishing, I was determined to find an agent. I sent out countless letters and researched many agencies. One evening, I drafted an email for an hour and a half to an agent that I thought would be the absolute perfect fit for me. Within minutes of my sending the email, the 'perfect' agent responded, 'NO THANKS! NOT FOR ME!' I had no choice but to laugh! I then decided to promote myself and will attempt to look for an agent at a later date.

Because my stories are related to a lesson, I promote myself to organizations that will benefit from my story. For the Lia-Ria and the Lockdown Drill story, I sent postcards, emails, and letters to schools, government officials, businesses that promote school and public safety, etc. For the Lia-Ria Meets the Angels story, I have sent out postcards to Angelman Syndrome organizations, doctors offices, special-needs schools, etc.

I love the Vistaprint website as they offer great deals on postcard, business cards, pens, etc.I have also used a local company, The Sign Company in Atco NJ, to help make promotional items for my book signings.

I am also learning to promote myself through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and my own website as well. I currently feel that distribution of my postcards and letters have been the most successful ways to promote myself.

8) What is your definition of success?

My dream is to become like Marc Brown, creator of Arthur the Ardvark stories. I have so many unique story ideas and envision my stories coming to life someday right on the PBS channel.

Recently, I took my son to a doctor appointment and he pointed out my Lia-Ria Meets the Angels story was on the bookshelf in the waiting room. I brought the book up to the receptionist and asked her if she would like me to sign the book. The whole office staff got very excited and came out to meet me! It was quite a surreal experience!

I have learned in the publishing world that patience is indeed the key so I am elated and overjoyed each time I am asked to visit a school, a library or I am asked for an interview. I am truly grateful for all that has happened so far and am looking forward to all of my ideas coming to fruition in the future.

9) What is next for you in 2012?

In 2012, I hope to have my 4th and 5th books completed by the end of the summer! I am on a roll and there is no stopping me now!

About the Author

Jodi Fiore is a kindergarten teacher who began writing stories and drawing pictures as a little girl. Each day she gets inspiration for a new story because of the brilliant imagination of her young students.

Contact Jodi


Twitter account. @jodifiore