Saturday, January 24, 2015

Giveaway winner!

And the winner of children's author, Michelle Hirstius's giveaway is...drum roll...Kelly Hashway! Look for an email from Michelle on how she can get you your book.

As most of you know, I usually post on Thursdays. However, my family has just gotten some devastating news about my father's health and I need to be there to support them as we struggle through this difficult time. Right now I have no idea how long I'll be gone from updating my blog or what's going to happen so unfortunately I have to put my blogging on hold for now. I'm sorry to do this but my family is everything to me and my focus has to be with them right now.

Please check back from time to time and don't give up on me. I'll be back, it just might be awhile.

I appreciate everyone's patience and hope that you all have a better 2015 than I'm having!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Children's Author/Illustrator, Michelle Hirstius and a Giveaway!

Today I have the honor of spotlighting, Michelle Hirstius a very talented children's author and illustrator from New Orleans.  Michelle writes and illustrates the darling picture book series about a voodoo doll named JuJu. I can tell you from stalking watching her that she is an extremely busy author. Michelle is everywhere down here in the south. She works really hard to get her books out there and I'm sure it's paying off.

Michelle Hirstius was born and raised in New OrleansLouisiana; she calls herself a “NOLA girl through and through”.  Growing up in New Orleans is truly unique and there is no other place like it.  The music, food, art and culture! 

Michelle has a professional background in sales, marketing, acting and management.  She has been drawing since High School but it has only been a hobby. 

Since Katrina, she has been through many struggles trying to rebuild her foundation and career.  Michelle has realized there is no place like home and has gone back to her roots in New Orleans and her passion for drawing.  Doodling one day, symbols of New Orleans, she had an image of a voodoo doll and Michelle instantly fell in love and named her JUJU.   Michelle believes everything happens for a reason and if it wasn’t for her struggles and hard times, Juju would have never been created.  Juju is like Michelle’s “Superbowl” giving her motivation to keep on going.  Michelle is very excited to bring Juju alive and tell her story of how Juju became “Juju the GOOD voodoo” and can’t wait for all her adventures.

Most recently she has received a Proclamation of Recognition from the City of New Orleans for her accomplishments with Juju the GOOD voodoo children’s books.

Michelle lives in the Greater New Orleans area with her Cairn terrier, Sassy

And for my followers, Michelle has graciously offered a giveaway of her first book Juju the Good Voodoo. All you have to do is leave a comment. We'll announce the winner on next weeks blog.


From New Orleans author and illustrator Michelle Hirstius comes a charming tale about Juju.  Down in “da bayou” of Louisiana, we find a voodoo doll named Juju.  Juju is no ordinary voodoo doll, she happens to be the one Marie has been looking for.  This very special doll comes alive with an enchanting “good deeds” spell in the pages of this delightful fable where we find just the beginning of many adventures. 

Juju is adorable and will enter your hearts as she comes off the pages of this enchanting tale.

Children and adults will fall in love and enjoy reading the origin of where Juju came from and what she is set out to see and what “good deeds” are to come.  This book lets children learn about GOOD voodoo and that all voodoo is not bad, it’s turns a so called negative into a positive.

In this first book we discover how Juju becomes “Juju the GOOD voodoo” and we are left in anticipation of where she will go next or who will she help…

I've asked Michelle a few questions below so we can get to know her a little better:

Michelle, we hear that you’ve recently located to Baton Rouge, LA., and are wondering how you’re enjoying it and how it’s different than New Orleans?
So far I LOVE it here!  It's much like New Orleans as far as places to go and eat just more spread out.  It is though alot more family oriented which I like :)  Everyone has been very welcoming and not knowing anyone here I appreciate that!

JuJu is such a cute character, can you tell us a little more about how you came up with her and why you chose to make her a voodoo doll?
Well actually I'm an artist and I wanted to paint painting similar to Rodriguez with the Blue Dog, he inspired me to create a character that I thought could represent the city and state of Louisiana... I was sketching out a French Quarter scene and well basically Juju drew herself! She was so cute and I thought she had to have a story behind her. I wrote the first book in 20 mins! now all the books don't come that easily haha but sometimes things are just meant to be and I feel Juju was meant to be for me :)

What makes JuJu unique and what can kids learn from her?
Juju is very unique!!! Her being a voodoo doll and the misconception that voodoo is bad, not everything that is so called "bad" is, it's all how you look at things and what you do with them.  Juju puts and show the "positive" in coming alive with a "good deeds" spell.  It's just like money, people can be greedy and do harm with money or can they can do good and benefit other with money.  Voodoo was actually started to ward off evil spirits and help people get through troubled times.

Juju also looks different then other dolls and she shows that it's OK to be different, look different, be unique, that's what makes us all special in our own way.  Be yourself always, don't try to "fit in" because you think that's the norm... Juju doesn't she is who she is!


If you weren’t an illustrator/writer what would you be doing instead?
Probably still doing sales or retail, I have worked in sales, marketing and retail since I was 16.  I'm so glad Juju came into my life, I can't tell you I how I enjoy doing this than anything else.  I hope I inspire other to follow their dreams and always just "go for it" that way you can never look back and say "what if I would have...."

Do you plan to create other books that aren’t associated with your JuJu character?
Yes, I do.... I have about 10 books in my head for Juju and another 5 for another character, guess I need to get crackin! haha

What are you working on now?
Well, if I tell you it wouldn't be a secret then heehee element of surprise haha


Michelle has written and published five JuJu books, her most recent one Juju To The Rescue.

In Juju’s 5th book her latest adventure “Juju to the Rescue”, Juju thinks it’s an ordinary day to go for a ride in her airboat when she sees a crowd gathered.  She finds out that a puppy is stuck in a pile of fallen trees, Juju uses her “good deeds” spell and shrinks.  She rescues the puppy and brings him to a shelter so they can fix his paw and later Juju decides to adopt him,

In the back of the book Juju also teaches children what “good deeds” they can do to help shelters, how to care for your pet and helpful animal links.

10% of the proceeds will be donated to the Humane Society of Louisiana from this book. The Humane Society of Louisiana protects and defends animals from cruelty, neglect and mistreatment. Through our cruelty investigation, crime prevention, education and animal care programs, we promote nonviolence and compassion for all animals statewide. For more information go to www.humanela.org. 















Michelle’s books are available on amazon.com as well as many gift and boutique shops throughout the area. Please contact her for any additional information.

www.JujuTheGoodVoodoo.com
www.facebook.com/JujuTheGood
Instagram: JujuTheGoodVoodoo
Twitter: JujuGoodVoodoo


Don't forget to comment on this post for your chance to win an authographed copy of Juju the GOOD Voodoo.











Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year!



Happy New Year all my lovely followers! I hope your holidays were wonderful and that Santa was extra good to you this year.

My holidays were great. Quiet, relaxing, and enjoyable. My husband and I didn't get together with family this year but we enjoyed each others company nonetheless. Both of our families live far away so there's no driving to grandma's house with us unless we want a 16-17 hour drive. Plus our dogs love Christmas almost as much as we do. One of my dogs loves the unwrapping...but when there's a squeaky toy inside, she goes beserk! Who needs kids when you have dogs that get just as excited and then are exhausted afterwards and take nice longgggg naps.

But now that the holidays are over, it's time to get back on track and focus on my writing. I'm looking forward to a very good year. I have at least two books coming out, Hippo Bottomless and The Color of Love, hopefully early 2015. My sister and mom also have their third book in the Sam Osborne series coming out January 30 as well as a totally revamped look for that series. You can check it out here.

I didn't really make any "real" new years resolutions this year because I totally blotched mine from last year. Instead I made "secret" resolutions to myself. So I can't tell you what they are unless I succeed. Then I'll shout them out to ya'all next year!

Why did I make "secret" resolutions to myself? Because I'm tired of disappointing, Allyn. Some people may get more determined when they fail, but me...I just get depressed and am way too hard on myself. So instead of a resolution on this subject, I've made a goal which is to stop being so hard on myself. It doesn't help...not one bit! I'm doing the very best I can and that is not a failure. If we try, then we should feel proud about that. And when I feel proud and good about something, I do so much better. So it's time to get back on track and work on my secret resolutions!

Do you set New Years Resolutions?