Thursday, April 28, 2011

And The Winner Is......

Drum roll please........................The winner of Kelly Hashway's doggy bag of promotional items is............Beth Fred! Congratulations Beth. I've commented on your website about what to do to receive your gift.

Thanks to everyone for participating and commenting on Kelly's interview. And a special thank you to Kelly for allowing me to interview her. I also would like to wish Kelly lots of luck with her new picture book May The Best Dog Win, due to be released in just two days, April 30th!! If you'd like more information about Kelly please visit her website at http://www.kellyhashway.com/.

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for tuning in!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

For those of you who read and commented on Kelly Hashway's interview, don’t forget to tune in on Thursday, April 28th to see who wins her doggy bag filled with promotional items for her new children's picture book May The Best Dog Win.
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The other day, I was delighted to be awarded with The Versatile Blogger Award from a fellow writing pal. Thank you so much, Cat for nominating me! Cat also has a very interesting blog just full of valuable writing tips so if you get a chance, check her out at  http://katrinadelallo.blogspot.com/2011/04/amazing-outlining.html.

Now, in order to accept this award, I have to pay it forward to other blogs of my choice (easy), AND reveal 7 things about myself (not so easy)!! I'll do the hard part first.

Seven Things About Me That You Never Knew, and May Wish I'd Kept To Myself.

  • I loved playing Barbies. And I loved playing with GI Joe because he had muscles. I used to stick straight pins in his chest (and not just one, a bunch of them) and pretend he was being tortured because I thought it made him look sexy!! I pretended the girl had to save him. Now you know I’m a sicko!!

  • I dream about tornadoes all the time. To get away from the tornado, I jump in a lake or pond or some body of water. I go under until the tornado passes.

  • Robert Frost is a very distant relative of mine.

  • I cry at parades when I see people having fun. How silly is that!

  • If I had 3 wishes before I die, one would be to see Barbra Streisand sing in person and meet her.

  • I have a really silly arm fetish. I cringe when I’m forced to wear short sleeves. I’d rather sweat to death then have my arms hanging out. I’ve had this since I was a child!

  • I never even thought of being a writer until 3 years ago and now I can’t stop writing and don’t know how I ever survived without it!

Now I get to do the easy part of nominating some fellow bloggers!

Congratulations to the winners. Keep up the good work!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Interview with author Kelly Hashway

I am so excited to have had the pleasure of interviewing the talented children’s book author, Kelly Hashway. Kelly has been published in several anthologies, children’s magazines and has her first picture book May The Best Dog Win, coming out by FutureWord Publishing with a release date of April 30, 2011.

Kelly has graciously offered a prize that contains several of her promotional items for her book. All you have to do is comment on this interview. We will do a random number selection to choose the winner, which I will announce on Thursday, May 26th.

Below are the questions I asked Kelly in our interview.

Congratulations on the release of your first picture book! Can you give us a little hint about what your picture book May The Best Dog Win is about?
Thanks, I’m really excited about it. Here’s a very brief synopsis to avoid giving away too much. Dash has the perfect life until the Super Sweeper 5000 shows up. Sweeper runs all over the house sucking up the leftover food scraps, and he even gets his own room! But Dash won't give up his place as the favorite dog without a fight.

Why did you write about a dog and a vacuum sweeper?
I have two pets in my house, so I feel the need to vacuum daily. I know it’s a little crazy, but I can’t help myself. Even though my dog sees the vacuum once a day, she’s terrified of it. She gives it weird looks, sniffs it, stalks it, and ultimately runs away from it. I started to wonder what my dog thought the vacuum was. If you want to know my interpretation of my dog’s reaction, you have to read MAY THE BEST DOG WIN.

How many rejections did you receive before FutureWord Publishing gave you the word that they wanted to publish your book and how has the process of getting your book published gone so far?
Ooh, rejections. I’m not going to give you a number here, but let’s say I went through a “few” revisions before FutureWord picked it up. My experience with FutureWord couldn’t be better. Everyone has been great and just hearing others talk so enthusiastically about my book is such an amazing feeling. I knew I had found the right home for my book.

I viewed your trailer video for this book and the vacuum sweeper looks very vicious. Do you think kids will be afraid of it?
Not at all. All the illustrations are from the perspective of the dog, Dash. It’s how he sees the vacuum. I think kids will find the story humorous—at least I hope they will. I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator than Valerie Bouthyette.

Do you prefer writing picture book stories or stories for magazines?
Hmmm…good question. I write a lot of stories for magazines and I really enjoy it, but for me, nothing beats a good book.

If you couldn’t write stories, what would you be doing instead?
Couldn’t write stories? That’s a scary thought! I have a teaching degree and taught middle school language arts for seven years before having my daughter and pursuing my writing career. I loved teaching and getting kids to read. But honestly, I can’t imagine not writing. Even if I couldn’t sell any of my work, I’d still write for myself.

I’ve read that publishers are tired of stories with animals talking. Does your character Dash talk?
No. But Dash’s thoughts are in English. In order for kids to understand his perception of the sweeper, Dash’s thoughts had to be included.

How many hours a day are you actually able to devote to writing?
I spend about two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon writing or doing something writing related, like research. If I have a deadline to meet, I’ll work in the evenings as well.

Do you have a favorite Children’s Book?
I have many. I love the humor in the Skippyjon Jones books. The Little Critter books and Curious George books were among my favorites when I was growing up. I really love The Kissing Hand and Harry the Dirty Dog, too. I’ll stop there because I could go on forever.

Where will be able to purchase a copy of May The Best Dog Win?
You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other on-line retailers.

What are you working on next?
I have five picture books under submission right now along with one middle grade novel, and I’m polishing a young adult novel as well. In between writing books, I write short stories for children’s magazines, anthologies, and educational websites. To find out more about my published works, you can visit my website at http://www.kellyhashway.com/.

Thanks to Kelly for allowing me to pry into her writing brain a little bit and don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a prize!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD

Ok, who out there is watching American Idol this year? Is it my imagination or is the talent spectacular this year. In previous seasons, there was always one or two people that were really awful but they kept being voted in for popularity reasons. But this season there really is no one that is awful.

While I was watching the show last night, I realized that writing is a lot like singing. Like singing, I do believe you have to naturally have a little talent to begin with but in order to get really good at it, you have to practice, practice, practice. As well as do tons of research.

Singers, like writers, have to develop their special ability and find where they stand out the most in order to be effective and get their message across. Some singers can belt out a rock-n-roll song and others are far better at singing nice, soft ballads. Some writers have a natural talent for writing mysteries, romance novels, or they may be better at writing for children.

But just like singers, it’s important for us writers to stand out in some way. I am in a critique group where we send in a story every month, according to a certain prompt, and then we vote for which story we like best. I seem to always end up with only 1 or 2 votes! I have never won or really even come close. Although I do believe I have a talent for writing, I don’t seem to be able to bring out that certain SPECIAL something. That thing that stands out from every other story. That’s why I don’t ever enter writing contests. There is just too much competition. Maybe someday, once I find that special quality in my writing that will make my stories stand out from the crowd, I’ll enter one.  I know it’s in me to win so I will not give up until I find my strongest quality where I’ll shine above and beyond. Until then, it’s off to do more research and practice writing some more!

Have you found that certain SPECIAL talent in your writing that sets you apart from other writers? If so, please share!