Friday, March 30, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award: My First Award!

Fellow author Martha Steward (Darby's Story and Bangle Bear) recently nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. I want to thank Martha for honoring me for my work! Blogging is an integral part of a writer's platform and I choose to share it with my fellow artists. Martha recently interviewed on my blog series, "The Writer's Block":

A little kindness goes a long way. Pay it forward today!

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Allison Quering

1) Describe your journey to becoming an author.

I started writing stories when I learned to spell. When I was 13 years old I began typing the first chapter of The Second Hand, while scribbling notes and ideas in a composition book. The story took a backseat to high school, but after my freshman year in college, I found the first chapter and my composition book. I wrote throughout the summer and finished the first draft of the manuscript a few days before starting my sophomore year.

The process of turning the draft into a published book first involved a little serendipity, and then some luck, and then encouragement and help from very good people. I don’t know where The Second Hand would be if I didn’t have so many people cheering for me throughout the journey.

I decided to illustrate The Second Hand in black fountain pen, with the intention of pulling together the look of old storybook artwork and slightly grungier ink drawings of graphic novels and the like.

I’m so proud to see this work available online. I know it will be the first of many, and that I will continue to grow as an author.

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

So far, I write for young adults. My ideal reader is someone who enjoys vivid, cinematic adventures.

3) Where do you find your inspiration?

I get inspired by real relationships and interactions between people. As for the fantasy, I like to draw from what I remember from make-believe as a kid.

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

Star Cloud Press gave me so much artistic freedom with The Second Hand’s design and artwork, and I think I needed that with my first book.

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

I finished The Hunger Games trilogy this summer, which has a remarkably creative storyline and dynamic characters. I recently enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and The Night Circus is next on my list. Sensing a pattern?

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

Social media have been very helpful in spreading the word about my book, as well as word of mouth.

7) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?

I will be finished my master's degree in May, and then I'll be moving back to the East Coast this summer. Also, I am simultaneously working on two more books. I hope to have both drafts finished within the year.

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

I think success, for anyone, is about setting an important personal goal and then achieving it; satisfaction that follows is the feeling of success.

9) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

Bring a notebook everywhere and write down ideas as they come. When you’re ready, get someone to read your work critically. Use the amazing tools at your fingertips to reach out to people. Don’t stop!

Author Bio:

Allison Quering grew up in New Jersey. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and she is working on a master’s degree in rhetoric and professional writing. Allison is currently writing and illustrating other books.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Robin Garland

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

Well first off, let me say writing is in my blood. I mean-that if I do not write every day or every other day, I get cranky. Writing feeds my soul.

A while ago, my Mother gave me a baby picture of me at two. It showed me holding a picture book. She politely said, “See even at that age you loved books.” Moreover, when growing up I wrote short stories, never realizing that later in life I would have a life-altering change that had me deciding to make something of my passion. So as serendipity would have it I took writing classes …and one thing lead to another.

2) Tell us about Livingtree Media and the work you do there.

I do interview articles. I love finding out about people and their passions. I have done articles on well-known writers and new writers alike who are trying to highlight their talents or new books.

 I edit manuscripts/novels, short stories, children stories, dystopian, fantasy, romance--you get the picture. I adapt novels to screenplays. I do book reviews.

 Mainly I will do anything if it is related to creative writing. I love it that much.

3) How did you start doing screenwriting/screenplay adaptations?

I have always been a movie buff. I go all the time to see movies. There is nothing like seeing pictures on the big screen. In my opinion, you do not get the same results or feelings watching it on TV or a laptop.

As a student at UCLA’s Writing Program, you had to choose elective classes. I took screenwriting. Boy was I hooked. And go-figure--writing screenplays come easy to me. Besides I like seeing my name on the title page after, “Written By.”

4) Should authors write their novels with the potential for film adaptation in mind?

Good question. And that depends. Authors need to ask themselves what they want from writing. Completed novel? Successful sales? Or the satisfaction of seeing your ideas come to life on the written page. Usually movie deals come later after a book has been out for a while. But I've also seen some get bought up quickly so a movie can be made. Producers like to see how popular your book is with the public, and of course how much success you've had in book sales.

Adaptions are not easy. Most movies run 130 minutes. And most screenplays are 120 to 130 pages. Therefore, each page represents one minute of time on the screen. So the words you chose to write need to be clear and concise. There is no room for run-on sentences or long camera-shot descriptions. Every word must count.

5) What inspired you to write the Tanglewood Series Books for Children? What are your publishing plans for it?

Ah… thanks for asking, currently my favorite subject.

I am in the process of re-writing this entire middle-grade series. Cowlicks and Freckles is the first novel. My intention is to make these stories more witty and a touch more humorous. I am a firm believer in using my character’s creative imagination to help solve the quandaries I put them through, besides if you can get a reader to laugh-you’ve got them.

I have already adapted Cowlicks & Freckles into an animation screenplay and will do for all the others as well.

The second novel is finished; I’m just doing final touches. I have at least four more storylines to make this a six book children series.

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

My tastes vary, but I have to confess, I have been so busy writing my own stuff I have slacked off on reading others work. But I have a few books waiting for me to read them.

One of my all-time favorite author’s is Jean Auel. But I must say when someone first gave me her first book to read-Clan of The Cave Bear, I said I didn’t want to read about cave people. Then I read a few pages. Well... I could not put the book down. I became in love with Ms. Auel’s writing. Other books by her in this children's series are, The Mammoth Hunters and Valley of the Horses. Ms. Auel is very descriptive in her research. Her characters pull you in, and you want to turn the page to find out what happens to your favorite character.

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

Just like this. Interviews, word of mouth, my blog, websites. UCLA is going to post one of my recent successes on their website.

I try to write crisp query letters. I do a thorough research before sending them out. My first interview article was accepted on my first try. And, of course I have a twitter account and Facebook page. I am also on LinkedIn. I write on Livingtree Media blog and have received several ping backs and others saying that they liked what I had to say. Isn’t it such a great feeling when other writers share? Yes!

8) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?

I am going to finish the editing and revising on the second book in the Tanglewood series then adapt that into a screenplay.

 I've written a romance western and entered the screenplay in the 2012 Austin Film Festival. I am now in the process of writing the second novel in this series.

I entered the 2012 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Contest. And that story, I am now working on to make it into a full length novel.

I also edit other writers work and help them with their creativity. I am an open and honest editor.

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

For me it is reading or hearing words like: “We would like to offer you acceptance of…” those few words make all the lonely days and nights writing worthwhile. And for those friends who make fun of you because you would rather work on your novel then go out dancing (I am joshing here but you get the picture) I just say, “I am doing what I love.”

I am certainly not in it for the money however I find that each time you are accepted your payment fee goes up. And that is good. Yes? In addition, you can add those successes to your bio helping you get other assignments.

10) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

Do not give up under any circumstances. Be patience with your successes and failures. Nothing happens overnight--but wouldn’t that be great if it did? Write-edit-write-edit, best advice any writer can have. The more you write the better you become. Take a variety of writing classes.Use editors they are here for a reason. And lastly-even if you get fifty rejections… number fifty-one might be the one that is accepted.

Robin Garland’s Bio – Short List

Entered the 2012 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Shorts Short Story Contest.

Entered the 2012 Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Contest.

Interview article with Caroline Leavitt New York Times Best Selling Author March 2012 The Writer Magazine.

Completed and Editing second book in Tanglewood Series tentatively titled: This Could Be Big!

Adapted and copyrighted Cowlicks & Freckles into screenplay.

Creator of children’s series: Tanglewood. First book: Cowlicks & Freckles.

Author of Because of Me an original historical novel.

Completed and copyrighted adaption to screenplay: Because of Me.

Listed in San Diego’s Film Institute as a Freelance writer.

Scriptwriter’s Network, Los Angeles - script reader and active member.

2011 Big Bear Lake Annual Screenwriting Contest - story analysis and script reader.

The Love of a Good Story. Interview article with Lisa Cron, published by The Writer Magazine January 2011.

One of three photographers for: Creative Screenwriting Expo 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

UCLA Writer's Program

San Diego State, Technical and Scientific Writing

Contact Robin Garland
Twitter: @robin.garland
Facebook: www/

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Will D. Rhame

1) With a background in business, sports, entrepreneurship, web design, coaching, and writing, how did you transition into children’s literacy?

 I have always been involved in some form of teaching. Whether in business, sports, or education, the objective was the same; “What is the best way I can educate someone, so they will enjoy the experience and retain more of what I am trying to teach them?” In my life’s travels, I have also taught in the public school arena, quickly finding out a terrible truth about our educational system. We have yet to advance our teaching techniques to best serve our children. We are still teaching the same way we did hundreds of years ago. That realization prompted me to write The Voyagers Series. It inspired me to bring together all of the techniques I had learned in order to teach companies like IBM, GM and The Wall Street Journal.

2) Tell us about The Voyagers Series. What inspired it?

I have often been asked what inspired me to write The Voyagers Series. Never will I deviate from what I believe has led me to do all the things I have accomplished in my life. I take no credit in it and reserve that for God.

3) What resources can readers expect to find on your website?

The website is designed to support each book by housing the games and other elements that relate to each chapter. The website also offers a teacher’s and parent’s “Guide” for each book that helps support the reading experience for the child. The books are designed for teachers and parents to actively be involved with the reader. This supportive role helps the child in the reading and retention process. Additionally, the website is designed to offer supportive links for education relevant to children

4) Who are the team members behind The Voyagers Series? How did you come together for this project?

I have been blessed to have so many incredible people join, support, and contribute to this project. The Board of Advisors encompasses people from Harvard, MIT, and USF. I extend my thanks to Donna Massa-Chappee, who donated the illustrations; Barbra Sealund, who donated the games; Peter Alcivar, who helped in the web design; Ginno Legaspi, who produced the sound-track. This has been a team project, and without the support of those who have donated their time and expertise, this project would not have been possible. We all believe that this project can make a significant impact in helping children read better and retain more, which is the foundation of any education.

5) Tell us about your journey to publication. How did you choose your publisher?

The journey to publishing is not yet complete. Currently, the books are self-published. The goal is to find an appropriate international publisher whose expertise will enable us market the series.

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

I had thought that the hard part was the creation of this very complex project. But, the hard part, as always, is the marketing of it. We are concentrating on establishing awareness in the private, home and charter school arenas. These marketing efforts include contacting politicians, school administrators, state and federal officials, TV talk show hosts, and more. It really is a function of getting someone to “see” what we are doing. Experience has proved that once they understand, they immediately become involved. After all, it’s all about helping our children, who are the future.

7) Who are your favorite authors and literary genres?

My favorite authors are everyone else but me. There is so much talent out there. This project is designed to help children find the power and fun of reading, so they will experience the creative works of art found in the written page. Personally, I like to “float” when I read. To me it’s a vacation, and the more I read, the more I find myself in the universe of education, knowledge, and understanding. It is a path of constant exploration.

8) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?

2012 is an important milestone for me. My goal is to create national if not international awareness of the series, to possibly find a publisher that sees and understands our goals, and to write many more titles that eventually bring readers closer to current realities, in order to better see the state of global affairs. Young as they are, our children deserve to know what our nations have done and where we are headed. They need to understand the reality of our world, so they may help make a positive difference in the future. The story lines of The Voyagers Series are fictional, but the information given is entirely factual.

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

Some authors count their own personal success as merely having written something. Some write with the sole intention of financial benefit. However, if an author writes with purity, in the hopes that the target market can benefit from his or her inspiration, then never ever give up. Therefore, write to inspire, write to educate, write to entertain…just write, write, write

10) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

How can I give advice to those who are so much more creative than I am? All I can say is, please never give up. Be vigilant, strive for perfection, and continue to use the creative juices that feed your soul.

Author Bio

Mr. Rhame's latest project is the writing of the first book series of its kind for children, The Voyagers Series. The Voyagers Series’ utilizes 5 different retention techniques to help kids not only understand what they read but better remember the details of what they read. The Voyagers Project is much more than a series of books it is a highly interactive experience using the technology/internet along with the books. It’s changing the way kids learn to read and retain more. Each book is accompanied with a detailed Teacher’s and Parent’s Guide.

He is a web designer working primarily with CSS, XHTML and HTML coding. Among his other achievements, Rhame is the inventor of the first coin-operated, instant, color "Bumper Sticker Machine".

Rhame has three children, played college tennis and is a professional tennis instructor. He has a 12 handicap in golf and is an avid surfer.

My priorities in life are in this order: 1) God, 2) Wife & Family, 3) Business, 4) Fun

May you never 3-putt in life,

Will D. Rhame
Read his complete bio here:

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Julia Dweck, M.Ed.

1) Describe your journey to becoming an author.

I was a child who loved books, movies, and daydreams. This led me to tell fantastic stories, which were far more exciting than my own mundane life. I was an extroverted introvert. By that I mean, that while I appeared shy and apprehensive inside, I loved to imagine fabulous technicolor scenarios that I directed, orchestrated, and produced in my mind. My stories and drawings brought me attention throughout my school years. Later on in life, my poetry and stories brought great moments of bonding between my family and myself. My skills in writing helped further my education and served me well in my career. However, it was not until my sons grew older that I began to pursue writing as a career. The explosion of the digital eBook market brought children’s books to life in an interactive way that matched my childhood fantasies. I eagerly dove into the waters and I haven’t turned back since.

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

I like to write books that are alive with humor and rhythm. I’ve always been a huge fan of music, laughter and dance. I believe that children are especially engaged by the melody of rhyme in reading. As a former stand up comic, I also feel that humor brings people together and breaks down walls. I have found that laughter opens up children’s hearts and minds. My ideal reader is a child who still retains the innocence of an untarnished imagination, because the greatest gift is a creative mind. I hope that my stories inspire the daydreamer that will become tomorrow’s creator.

3) Where do you find your inspiration? 

Inspiration comes to me in the course of daily events. I’ve never developed an affinity for housework, which inspired me to write Robo-Mike. It would be terrific to have a Robo-Julia to do all of my boring chores for me. Conversations with my students inspire me. For example, a student tells me a joke and that spawns a whole story in my mind. Word play also inspires flights of fancy for me. As a teacher, the curriculum and my students’ interests can generate great ideas for stories. Rich literature can further or enhance understanding of skills and concepts. My day-to-day adventures and even my dreams are fodder for stories. There are stories all around us if we just stop long enough to listen.

4) Please share your educational/professional background and how it impacts your work.

I currently work as a gifted specialist in a public school setting. I teach gifted students in grades 1-5. It’s the best job in the world, because I get to create projects that inspire creativity and innovation. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Cedar Crest College and my Masters in Elementary Education from Gratz College. Both my education and my career have afforded me insights into how children learn to read and develop comprehension. They’ve also given me great respect for the power of good writing and how it can influence and inspire our thinking. As an educator and writer, I feel it is my duty to preserve and nurture this type of creative thinker.

5) How did you come to work with such fantastic illustrators?

I’ve been fortunate in approaching the industry’s most talented illustrators and having them agree to work with me. We respect each other’s talents and appreciate each other for sharing them. After working with me for a while, illustrators realize that I am one doggedly determined individual, which can open new doors and opportunities. Beyond that, I’m a very nice person. I follow the old golden rule, which never goes out of style in my book.

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

I love to find a quiet moment when I can read. I’m a big fan of chapter books for young readers. My favorite thing to do is to share a book that I love with my students. My top picks include: Children of the Lamp by P.B. Kerr, Airman by Eoin Colfer, Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson, Simon Bloom Gravity Keeper by Michael Riessman, and Year of the Hangman by Gary Blackwood. I prefer fiction that weaves in aspects of history or culture. I love learning new things and visiting new places. I just finished reading Sunflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, which is set in 19th century China and centered on the lifelong friendship between two girls. I loved it and felt sad when it ended.

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

I have been utilizing all the current technology of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I just started exploring Pinterest too. Currently, I’m participating in a promotional movie service for authors, which affords exposure to my stories, and promotes the joys of reading. Wonderful writing blogs, like The Writer’s Block, offer authors a great opportunity to familiarize readers with my books and me. Thank you, Raychelle. This has been fun.

8) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?

I will keep teaching and writing. It’s as simple as that. I will keep listening to the day-to-day inspirations of life that ignite new tales. My stories are now currently available with a few different distributors. I’d like to continue to grow and expand my collection of stories and my connections with readers.

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

I feel successful each time I complete a story. Whenever I am about to begin a story, I worry that it will be the last time that the creative muse will visit. So when I complete a new story, it comforts me to know that there are still more stories inside me. Then, of course, success is when there are readers who love what you write and want to read more. As a teacher, I also feel successful when my writing inspires my students to love and appreciate reading and writing.

10) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

Write. Write. And then write some more. Don’t wait until the muse strikes you. Just write a little every day, even when you don’t think you can. Sometimes I know where a story is headed before I even begin. Other times, the story takes me along for the ride and it can end in a pleasant surprise.

Author Bio

Julia writes children's stories for digital and traditional publication. Her stories span the spectrum of humor, fantasy, and edutainment in rhyme and in prose. Julia's background in elementary education affords her the opportunity to be in touch with what children want to read about and what makes them giggle. Julia collaborates with some of the leading artists in the world of children's literature. Julia is also a designer of educational adjuncts for children's literature, and has worked with such notable publishing houses as Penguin Young Readers. Julia is currently working with Jumping Pages, a leading children's book app developer, as a collaborator on an upcoming project (

Contact the Author

Please, check out my frecklebox™ bio:

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View my profile on LinkedIn:

Like me on Facebook:

Follow me on Twitter:!/ Twitter handle is @juleloves2write

You can find Julia’s books here: