Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spotlight on Children's Author, Sherry Alexander

Today it's a real honor to feature an author who is not only very talented but has a heart of gold. She has written a new children's picture book, Oliver's Hunger Dragon and is donating a portion of the proceeds to help end childhood hunger. Now THAT is someone with a warm heart. Meet Sherry Alexander.




Sherry Alexander, a 2013 graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, is a writer, author, blogger, and child advocate who writes both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. This is her first picture book, and comes from her own childhood memory of two Portland Police Officers who brought her family a food basket when they were in need. It is her dream that someday no child will ever experience hunger again. She lives with her husband of 45 years on a small SW Washington ranch with their two horses, two dogs, and the occasional pack of coyotes.  Visit her online at www.sherryalexanderwrites.com
 
ABOUT HER BOOK:
 
Oliver has a Hunger Dragon who rumbles and grumbles. He wants it to go away, but Hunger says he plans to stay. Is Oliver the only one who has a dragon deep inside?

Join Oliver as he discovers the power of friendship and the sharing spirit in Oliver’s Hunger Dragon by Sherry Alexander and illustrated by Amy Rottinger.
 
MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK:
Oliver has a secret that he’s never seen! But boy does it make loud rumbling and grumbling noises. What could it be?
In this adorably illustrated rhyming book we travel through the life of Oliver who is suffering from hunger. This story makes us realize there is a lot more to feeling hungry than just the dragons in our belly.
Oliver and his friends unite together by sharing what they have and making those nasty, loud dragons disappear!
The biggest lesson in this wonderful story is teaching kids to realize if they have something to share, it could really help another person.
I loved this book both in the style of writing, the message it sends and the beautiful illustrations. I highly recommend it to everyone not only because it’s something kids will enjoy but because the author wrote with her heart, unselfishly, and for the sole purpose of helping, one step at a time, the problem of world hunger.
Don’t forget when you buy a book a portion of the proceeds go to:
The Clark County Washington Food Bank
Feeding America
The Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division of Oregon

Olivers Hunger Dragon is available at the following locations as well as Barnesandnoble.com and other online retailers.
 
Congratulations, Sherry! I hope Oliver's Hunger Dragon is a tremendous success and that we'll see more of your wonderful books in the future.
 

 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Spotlight on Author, Courtney Rene

Have you ever wished you could disappear away from everyone and everything into the shadows? Wouldn't that be awesome? Well if you've read any of the Shadow Dancer series, you'd realize it isn't all fun and games.

Today I'm so excited to be spotlighting the very talented author, and good friend, Courtney Rene. She has just released her 5th book! As I read the words Courtney writes, I find myself stopping to chuckle and think to myself, I can so hear Courtney saying that! She has a very subtle way of bringing out some of her own personality in her characters. But even if you don't know Courtney, you'll enjoy her style of writing as she always sprinkles in a little bit of humor and makes your heart and soul get involved in her characters.

Courtney's Bio:



Courtney Rene lives in the State of Ohio with her husband and two children.  She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature.  Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, as well as her young adult novels, A Howl in the Night and the Shadow Dancer series, published through Rogue Phoenix Press.  For a complete listing, visit www.ctnyrene.blogspot or feel free to contact her at ctnyrene@aol.com








This latest book titled Shadow Fire, is the 4th book in her YA Paranormal Shadow Dancer series. The first three books were told from Sunny's perspective who is her female protagonist. However, in this book she's added an interesting twist and is telling the story from a man's POV. For those of you who've read her series, this is Leif's story. Remember, he was Sunny's love...well for awhile, until he watched her die!







Here's a teaser to get you excited!

No one really knows who Leif is. They know the man he portrays and the things he has done, both good and bad. He was a boy that came from nothing and grew into a man full of rage that almost killed the one person he set out to save. He roams the realms waiting for death,. Waiting for an absolution that doesn't come. Then a rumor surfaces. A threat has been made against Sunny. Leif sets out to try to right the wrongs of his past. He sets out to do what he was meant to do from the beginning, save the queen. Can he do it alone or will he have to do the one thing that is hardest for him, which is: ask for help.
 
 
 
Shadow Fire is available at the following locations:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Congratulations, Courtney!
 
 
 







 
 
 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pushing Ourselves

As many of us writers know, creating a good book is all about pushing ourselves. Sure, most of us have done our research on what it takes to write a good story. The right way to do it, the wrong way to do it. We work hard at perfecting our grammar and punctuation so it's as flawless as we can get it but what makes us different from other authors?

The bottom line is we need to push ourselves to accomplish our uniqueness.

 

When I was writing Kailee Finds Magic IN Words, I sent a good story to my publisher, she loved it. But I was using the typical magic wand, and a creature that's been used a dozen times before. My publisher reminded me that maybe I should make the story more unique. You know, throw out the magic wand and come up with something different.

When I read her comments, I thought to myself, "What's wrong with a magic wand? What the heck else is there?" Then after hours of thinking, thinking, thinking, a magic light bulb finally popped on in my head and said, "Come on, you're a fiction writer, use your imagination to create something that fits the part!"

So I racked my pea brain for what magical instrument would a chipmunk need fixed? That's when I decided I needed something a chipmunk uses on a daily basis and that I could make current with todays decade. And suddenly a magic "broken" nutcracker appeared and Oliver the chipmunk needed the password to reboot it.


I felt good about coming up with something a little different. I patted myself on the back but quickly took another big "sigh" when I realized that my job wasn't done. I needed to invent someone special who could fix it!

And that was when the Grand Garoogle came to life. Check back with me later and I'll share with you how I created that creature and where its name came from.





And no, I didn't do the illustrations, that was all Valerie Bouthyette's talent coming to life. She was able to take the picture in my head and make it come alive.

I have to admit, pushing myself was tons of fun. It was a lot of work but very uplifting and left me feeling much more satisfied with the story.

So, I'm curious. Have any of you had an experience where you really had to push yourself? And what did you come up with?