Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baby Smarts Book Review

Did you know:

· A baby’s brain is 250% more active than that of an adult?
· The networking of the brain’s synapses is nearly complete after the first three years of life?
· Playing music for and singing to your baby stimulates the neurons in the brain that are used for math and logic?
· Repetition produces growth and development?

Forget about all those expensive toys—there’s a new way to entertain and teach your baby. All you need is yourself and this book: Baby Smarts by Jackie Silberg.

Already the winner of two prestigious awards, the iParenting Award and the National Parenting Publications Gold Award, Baby Smarts simply helps you unlock your baby’s brainpower.

Designed for parents with babies from 0–12 months old, this book is laid out in four chapters:
· Birth–3 months
· 3–6 months
· 6–9 months
· 9–12 months

Each chapter begins with the age-appropriate subheadings of Physical Development, Social-Emotional Development, and Intellectual Development, which help you better gauge where your baby should be at each stage.

Now comes the fun part. Each chapter then outlines several fun activities that you and your baby can do together without any fancy toys. For example:

· Babies 0–3 months of age may enjoy the “Fly Away” game or the “I See You” game. This is a time of discovery for your baby, so most of these games only involve you and some quality time with baby.

· Babies 3–6 months of age are ready for games that involve sounds and listening like “Sounds are All Around” and “Listen to the Sound.” This is also the chapter where simple sign language is introduced to your baby. And if you think 3–6 months is too young to teach your baby the art of conversation, you’re wrong (page 50 tells you how to do it).

· Babies 6–9 months of age are discovering the world around them and gaining a greater understanding of it. In this chapter baby may learn more sign language and is now capable of the “Hat Game” and “Roll the Ball.”

· Babies 9–12 months of age may have fun with “Nursery Rhymes” or a “Texture Walk.” This chapter helps build on baby’s vocabulary and shows how using an ordinary pumpkin can teach smell, touch, and sight skills.

Author Jackie Silberg has an M. S. in child development, so you know she’s left nothing out of this wonderful “must have” book.
Baby Smarts is available through Gryphon House for only $12.95, and you can visit their website at http://www.gryphonhouse.com/. It would make a perfect shower gift for any mom-to-be. So don’t delay—pick one up today and begin to unlock your baby’s brainpower.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What's New?


Check out our newest addition to Families Matter - New & Now.
This section is located at the end of the regular Blog Spots. Here we'll feature new products, tips, contests and anything else that's "New & Now." And unlike our regular Blog Spots, New & Now will change often and won't be pushed down or in an archive.
So don't miss out! Check out what's 'New & Now.'

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interview With Dr. Erika Schwartz

Tips on Staying Healthy

We live in a world where disease seems to run rampant. Every day we hear about people battling cancer, diabetes, or some new strain of influenza. If that’s not enough to make us want to live in a plastic bubble, we’re constantly being bombarded with commercials of new products trying to sell us the latest in medical technology: pills, drops, ointments, creams, and balms all claim to “cure” the latest disease. So what are we to do? How can we keep our families and ourselves from getting sick?

Dr. Erika Schwartz, Medical Director of Cinergy Health (http://www.cinergyhealth.com/), is a health industry veteran with 25 years’ experience of working in both ER and private practice, as well as appearing on Oprah and The View. She was kind enough to share several useful tips on staying healthy.

First, Dr. Schwartz says, “Make the effort to make healthy choices. You will feel better and enjoy the summer much more.” Rather than eating fast food, try some delicious healthy snacks, such as “carrots, dried fruit and nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)” and “fruit of any kind always with nuts, avocado, hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, fruit smoothies made by you or freshly made and nothing canned or pre-bottled.”

Okay, now that you have healthy snacks, don’t forget about the essentials for enjoying a day relaxing at the beach, camping, or playing in the park. Dr. Schwartz’s “must have” list includes “sunscreen (SPF 15), bug spray, sports drinks, clean wipes, nuts and dry fruit you mixed for the trip, towel, hat/cap and comfortable, loose clothing.”

However, even with all the prevention, you may still get a sunburn. Don’t panic, Dr. Schwartz says. “Treat it like any burn; ice, cold packs, hydration with Gatorade or other sports drink, rest in a dark room and no alcohol.”

Of course, if you plan on spending any time outdoors, getting a bug bite is almost inevitable. Dr. Schwartz recommends that you “ice the bite,” then apply “Caladryl (calamine lotion) to the bite, Benadryl if you have an allergic reaction and the bite swells up or gets red. If it does swell up and gets red, put a hot wash cloth on it three times a day for a couple of days for 10 minutes at a time. It will help it heal better. Also, Vitamin B complex 100 mg a day may help bugs stay away from you.”

So now that we have all our summer snacks, preventatives, and remedies, what can we do to avoid that newest flu bug? Dr. Schwartz reminds us, “Wash your hands often and do not touch your face, mouth or nose. Stay hydrated and exercise regularly. Eat a well- balanced, high-vegetable, protein and complex carbohydrate diet. Use Vitamin C, 5,000–10,000 mg a day.” She also advises, “Do relaxation exercises like yoga and breathing before bed every night.”

And if you have already been exposed to the flu bug, Dr. Schwartz recommends “Lactoferrin 300 mg twice a day and Elderberry Extract (Blockade) 125 mg twice a day for five consecutive days if you are exposed or rundown. Sleep 8 hours a night and do not go to work if you are sick.”

Follow this advice from Dr. Schwartz and you’re sure to have an easy, breezy, healthy summer for your loved ones and yourself.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mamapedia Founder Artie Wu

You already know that Mamapedia is an online “one-stop-shop” where moms can get real advice from other moms on a variety of topics. But did you know that the founder of this wonderful resource for moms is a man?

Artie Wu, father of two and a start-up entrepreneur, says he came up with the idea of Mamapedia because “we never had a large network of parents with same-age kids from whom we could get the most current parenting wisdom and to share experiences and practical advice.” Wu admits, “It was a real struggle for us.”

Even though Mr. Wu searched the Internet for resources, he found they fell into two categories: the “highly editorial parenting sites with the official answers” or the more “social networks and chat rooms.” He says, “We really wanted something in between, something more like a “Google for Moms.””

So after several months of developing and using Mamasource’s community of over 2 million moms, Mamapedia was born. This site gives a “treasure-trove of wisdom, all written by moms, in response to very detailed and specific questions on every parenting issue you could imagine. . . . Here is what real moms like you have actually tried, and here is all their feedback detailing what actually worked and what didn’t,” says Wu.

So how has the response been? “We’ve had amazing response from moms. The biggest thing I hear is that moms love the practical advice and real-world wisdom, and it’s all no pressure and judgement-free.” Wu goes on to say, “Moms have told us they can ask questions on Mamapedia that they might otherwise feel uncomfortable asking their girlfriends or even their own moms.”

This site offers a “full range of honest, real perspectives on issues like breast-feeding, co-sleeping, or how to talk about religion, and you decide for yourself what approach will work best for you and your family—no pressure, no judgement.”

Even though Mamapedia is already packed full of advice and honest answers, the site is still growing. Wu says, “We will be constantly making improvements, and there will be even richer sections of the site which focus on the areas moms are most interested in.”

So if you haven’t already, check out Mamapedia at http://www.mamapedia.com/.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tip for a Hassel Free Summer - The Shadewagon

Summers at the beach are great, but who needs the hassle of packing everything up? From coolers to beach chairs to umbrellas (not to mention the many hikes back and forth from the car), the list seems endless. It’s all enough to make you want to just stay home and watch old reruns of Baywatch.

Well, not anymore. Two moms, Jennie and Nicole, have come up with the perfect solution: The Shadewagon.

This innovative carry-all holds up to 800 pounds and comes complete with a heavy duty umbrella, all-terrain tires for that thick beach sand, holders for beach bags/garbage bags/totes, straps for carrying chairs, and a fold-down feature that turns the wagon itself into extra seating. It even has MP3/iPod speakers that run on batteries.

This wagon comes in four colors and is not only great for trips to the beach, but also for sporting events, parades, water parks, camping/fishing, and more. It can go where you go, anytime, anywhere. And since the umbrella acts as an anchor, the wagon is always sure to be firmly in place.

To find out more about the Shadewagon, check out their website at http://www.shadewagon.com/

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DVD Being Dad-Tips for new Fathers

“We’re Pregnant!!!”

Have you ever been in a room when a happy couple announces that they are going to have a baby? Then you have probably noticed that everyone immediately runs to the mom-to-be with hugs, kisses, and tears of joy.

But what about the dad-to-be?

Sure he gets the slap on the back or a handshake of congratulations, but mostly we tend to think of the dad as more of a bystander in all this, there to grab the bags and rush mom to the hospital when it’s time. But nowadays men generally want to take a more pro-active role in the pregnancy stage. But how? It’s not their bodies and emotions that are in a constant state of flux. How can they possibly understand, much less help out?

Being Dad was made for and by men in the daddy-to-be stage. Forty men from all around the United States have compiled their thoughts, concerns, fears, and joy from “I’m pregnant,” through to their baby’s first cry in the delivery room. This 80-minute DVD helps men better understand what their wives are going through from morning sickness, mood swings, and cravings to finances, sex, and what not to say. It also includes advice from experts, including a doctor, a midwife, a dula, and a sleep counselor. Being Dad would make a great Father’s Day gift for any new daddy-to-be, or you can pop one in with your upcoming baby shower gift.

Know someone who’s already had a baby? Then there’s Being Dad 2. This entertaining 99-minute DVD features dozens of new dads from around the world. Watch these fathers as they balance being involved with the day-to-day activities of raising a new baby while still maintaining a busy lifestyle. This DVD also covers important topics like sleep deprivation, building a routine, and strengthening your relationship as a couple, as well as diaper changing, traveling, making sure babies get all their immunizations, combating illnesses, and much more.

DVDs are available on http://www.beingdadusa.com/ for a special Father's Day sale of $26.99 separately or $49.99 as a set.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Make it a Snapily...It's a Snap

Tired of those same ol’ boring, generic greeting cards? Sure the sentiment is nice, but how long does the recipient actually keep them? A few days? A week? Not to mention that sometimes you purchase one of these ordinary, high-priced, run-of-the-mill cards only to have someone else give the same one.

Now there’s an exciting new company called Snapily that will change that regular greeting card into a personalized, 3-D print that you’ll be proud to give to your friends. And with prices starting at only $3.99 per greeting card, it isn’t only fun—it’s affordable.

Snapily uses lenticular printing, which gives the image the illusion of depth and enables it to flip or morph when viewed from different angles. This technology has been around since the 1940s, so it’s about time a company used it to create unique, meaningful cards. Plus, the creations with Snapily are endless. You could:

· Blow a kiss to that special someone
· Wave “hi” to grandparents
· Morph a baby picture into a grad picture
· Create a fun notebook for back to school
· Develop business cards that will keep you remembered
· Design fun scrapbook pages
· Create unique invitations

Handing someone a Snapily card will make any occasion special. Plus, you’ll know your money was well spent since it’s sure to become a treasured gift.

Snapily makes it easy to create a “living print” in seconds at http://www.snapily.com/. Once you’re registered, you can begin to browse, upload your images, and customize your message. With Snapily’s online tools, you can change the font size and colour as well. And when you’re happy with your creation, just place your order. It’s that easy. Products are usually shipped within five business days.

So what are you waiting for? Visit Snapily.com and give your dad, grad, or that special someone a unique and lasting gift made just for them by you.

Snapily . . . it’s a snap.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tips for Coaches and Parents - Jack Perconte

THE MAKING OF A HITTER

Take me out to the ball game. . . .

The sun is shining brightly, and parents’ expectations are high. Once again, it’s time for the kids to grab their bats and gloves and head out to the field to play a game of baseball.

But before they do, have you talked to the coach?

Moms and dads all have high hopes of their little player having fun, doing his or her best, and of course, knocking a few outta the park. And as we all know, a lot of this falls onto the coach’s shoulders.

After 12 years of playing professional baseball, including seven seasons in the Majors, Jack Perconte knows how important parent/coach relationships are. In fact, after his retirement in 1987, Perconte opened a baseball training academy in Naperville, Illinois. He estimates that he’s given more than 60,000 hitting lessons here. Plus, Perconte has written a book entitled The Making of a Hitter. This book details the ways in which you as a parent can help your little-leaguer learn techniques to “hit more homers.” Perconte also teaches coaches how to better teach their young players, as well as how to communicate with the parents more effectively.

Jack says that “the key to a successful parent-coach relationship is having a mandatory pre-season meeting between parents and coaches,” which he “encourage[s] both parents to attend.” Jack goes on to say that “this meeting is important because it will give them the opportunity to learn your philosophies and guidelines (as a coach) and give them the chance to ask questions.”

Mr. Perconte gives a few suggestions to coaches on how to run a successful parent-coach meeting:



1. Tell the parents your background, playing experience, and/or coaching
experience. Be honest.

2. Express your philosophy of coaching.

3. Discuss how you plan to run playing time, batting order, and playing positions. Basically let parents know how you will run the team.

4. Discuss when and how you as the coach are to be approached during the season to avoid any unnecessary and potentially embarrassing confrontations.

5. Make sure parents also reiterate your coaching philosophies to the children.

6. Become a role model for and teacher to your players.

To learn more about Jack Perconte’s book The Making of a Hitter or to order a copy, check out his website at http://www.themakingofahitter.com/.

This would be a great Father's Day gift for your little leaguer's dad or coach.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nothing Bundt Cakes

If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then Nothing Bundt Cakes has found the loving answer.
Nothing Bundt Cakes was founded in 1997 by Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz, who just wanted to please their families with a delicious cake. But it didn't stay on a small scale for long. Using only the purest ingredients, handcrafted recipes, imaginative decorations, and a whole lot of fun, Dena and Debra have expanded their flourishing home business to multiple locations in the United States.

So forget about that boring ol' bundt you once knew. These cakes come in flavours that are sure to please even the fussiest of tastebuds, such as White-White Chocolate, Pecan Praline, Red Velvet, Marble, Cinnamon Swirl, Chocolate-Chocolate Chip, Lemon, Carrot, and White Chocolate Raspberry.

If that's not enough to make your mouth water, each one of these wonderful flavours comes with thick frosted petals of velvety cream cheese and real butter frosting (or just a light drizzle, if you prefer). In fact, these cakes are so yummy, you'll wish they didn't have a hole in the middle. However, since a bundt cake wouldn't be a bundt cake without the hole, Dena and Debra have come up with some clever decorations that turn each cake into a work of art. From birthdays to baby showers, anniversaries, and even Father's Day celebrations, Nothing Bundt Cakes can fill your every occasion with a unique and delicious treat.

VS Grenier, author of "Babysitting SugarPaw," says, "From a person who doesn't like cake, even chocolate cake, I would eat this one hands down. It's really moist, not too rich, and has just a nice texture."

Nothing Bundt Cakes has gotten so popular that even celebs like Alice Cooper, Deidre Hall, Paula Abdul, and even Adam Lambert (American Idol's second place winner) are now fans of this delectable dessert.

To find out more about Nothing Bundt Cakes, place an order, or find the location closest to you, check out their website at http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com/.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Father's Day Getaways

Father's Day is just around the corner (June 21), so let's give Dad a reprieve from work and the "honey do" list. Even though the economy and budgets are tight these days, it doesn't mean you have to forget "dear ol' Dad." Why not surprise him with a fun, relaxing getaway?

Here are a few budget-friendly and unique vacation spots Dad is sure to love:

Dad the Golfer: Does Dad like to tee up on the green to relax? Here are some "hole-in-one" spots that may have him on par:

  • If you're in or around the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, area, this is one of the best spots to golf. It's the home to 120 18-hole courses and has many budget-friendly packages to choose from. This area also offers many affordable accommodations, so book now for Father's Day.

  • Florida is a great place for golfing. The weather is fine, and there are a wide variety of cheap courses to putter away on.

  • Las Vagas isn't just for gambling anymore. Nevada offers golfers inexpensive lodging and many affordable courses to choose from.

  • Traverse City, Michigan, has turned up again and again for the golfer's "must play." Known for its beauty and affordability, this is any Golfer-Dad's dream come true.

If you're not in or around any of these areas and still want to give Dad a golf weekend, check out Golf Zoo, http://wwwgolfzoo.com/. All you have to do is enter the dates and the location you want to visit and let Golf Zoo do the rest. Plus, they offer Gift Certificates.

Dad the Outdoors Man: If Dad loves the outdoors, why not give him a weekend of fishing, hiking, camping, and enjoying nature?


  • Two Rivers State Recreational Area in Waterloo, Nebraska, is the outdoors man's dream. This 650-acre natural paradise offers fishing, swimming, seven miles of hiking trails, and even cycling. For an added kick, why not stay in a restored Union Pacific Railroad caboose? These sleep up to six people for only $60 a night.

  • Great Sand Dunes National Monument (Colorado). For the dad who likes to "sleep under the stars," the Pinyon Flats campground at the base of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains is sure to please. For $12 a night, plus a $3-per-person park entrance fee, families can camp out, build sand castles, and take nature walks. There's even a Junior Ranger program for your little campers 3–12 years of age.

  • Gold Bluffs Beach Campground (California). Even though it's in California, this location is extremely easy on the pocketbook. For $22 dollars per site, your family of four can camp in the dunes along 10 miles of beach. Even though there's no swimming allowed, you can still have lots of fun beachcombing, gray whale watching, fishing, hiking, and so much more.

For more great outdoorsy vacation spots, check out FamilyFun.com http://familyfun.com/ under "Travel."

Dad the Driver:
Rather than Dad driving the family everywhere, why not let Dad really "put the pedal to the metal"? These unique facilities allow the speed-racer Dad to test his nerves and his abilities:

  • Bob Bondurant School of High Performance in Phoenix, Arizona: With one, two, three, and four-day courses available, Dad can get a taste of the fast-paced life of a real racecar driver.

  • Daytona Beach: Yes, Dad can even drive on this world famous beach as long as he obeys the rules. Plus, it's only a short ride down to all the action.

So whatever Dad enjoys doing, whether it be golfing, camping, or racing around a track at breakneck speed, be sure to let him know how much you love and appreciate him this Father's Day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Karen Cioffi - Day's End Lullaby - Synopsis and Book Review

Day’s End Lullaby is a tender and charming illustrated children’s book. From a reminder that the sun has set and all beloved toys are awaiting tomorrow’s play, Day’s End Lullaby soothes and quiets even those children who struggle against sleep. The authors’ artistry is found in their understanding of the sense of security needed by children at bedtime.

“Your day’s been long and full of fun. But, now you’re much too tired to run,” sings the parent to the child in the lullaby. Day’s End Lullaby has rhyming phrases along with a rhythmic flow.

Author Cioffi composed the poem and music over 30 years ago to help her first born fall asleep and then used it again for her second child. She saw positive results in singing it and now sings it to her two young grandsons. She reassures them, “The sun has set, it’s out of view. The moon’s now shining bright for you.”

Authors Cioffi and Feltman wrote and illustrated Day’s End Lullaby as a loving book to comfort little ones and provide a sense of security at bedtime. The simple and colorful illustrations are intended to hold the child’s attention while the parent’s soothing voice helps the child gently drift off into a peaceful slumber.

BOOK REVIEW

STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE

BOOK: Day's End Lullaby

AUTHORS: Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman

ILLUSTRATOR: Karen Cioffi

PUBLISHER: Book Surge (2008)

ISBN-13: 9781419691577

ISBN-10: 1-4196-9157-0

READING LEVEL: Infancy to age 4

RATING: 5 stars

REVIEWED BY: Wayne Walker

A child has his favorite teddy bear. The sun has set. The moon is out. The day is over. The child is tired. Now it is time for him to close his eyes and go to sleep. This lovely little book, with its lilting, lyrical poetry and its soothing message, is intended for just such a time. One of the best things that parents may do for their children is to read aloud to them. It can be both fun and educational. Our family has tried to have two read aloud periods each day. One is after lunch, when we have generally chosen historical fiction, and the other is right before bed, when we have used other books which relate to our children's interests.

Reading aloud before bedtime serves several purposes. First, it is an opportunity for personal interaction between parent and child. Second, it is helpful in getting settled down for children who have been playing for a while to have a period of transition between the activities of the day and the need to rest at night. This picture book is perfect for that purpose. It has the additional benefit that the text has been set to music, and the lullaby is included. Author Karen Cioffi says that she wrote the lullaby to the story over 30 years ago for her firstborn who didn't like sleeping. This is one of those books that wee ones will probably want read over and over to them.

Related websites: www.childrensbooksbykarenandrobyn.com (book), http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com (author), www.booksurge.com (publisher)



Monday, June 1, 2009

VBT - Writers on the Move - Karen Cioffi


Karen Cioffi is an author and freelance writer. She is also the creator and manager of VBT - Writers on the Move as well as co-moderator of a children's critique Yahoo group, Intense Writing. She has two grown daughters and two very young grandsons. She spends much of each day learning her craft, researching and writing, and following up on things. She is a member of the Children'sWriting Coaching Club where she does some of that learning. Author Cioffi lives with her husband, Donald Ventrice, in New York City. Come along for this interesting and insightful interview with Karen. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions. Karen is more than happy to respond to you.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a children's book?

KC: I am a former accountant. In 2000 I was diagnosed with MS and had to give up my profession. I have been writing stories and poems since I was I grade school, but never took it seriously. After going on disability I eventually began thinking of writing as a career. Writing specifically for children came about when my daughter was majoring in Children’s Literature.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the book?

KC: I wrote the lullaby to the story over 30 years ago. My firstborn didn’t like sleeping. I sang it to her as I paced the hallway carrying her in my arms to get her to sleep and again when she’d wake in the middle of the night. I did the same thing with my second daughter and it became a family lullaby. Now my family sings it to my grandson and we will also sing it to my grandson due mid November. How it became a book is, after my first grandson came my daughter and co-author, Robyn, thought it would make a great bedtime story and here we are.

Q: What is a typical writing day like for you?

KC: I do most of my chores or other things that need to be done in the morning. When I’m done with that, I go on the computer. I would say I spend anywhere from 4-8 hours a day, sometimes more, writing and researching and learning to write. But, I definitely need to create a better time management plan and stick to it. I am usually all over the place. It seems the groups I belong to, and emails can take up a lot of my day.

Q: What influenced you to create Virtual Book Tours.

KC: I was fortunate to be able to participate in The Muse Online Conference in October 2008. One of the workshops I took was Denise Cassino’s Book Marketing. She suggested the attendees do virtual tours for each other. I decided to create a group that would be organized and include other marketing tools and strategies - a group in which each member helps every other member by participating in those strategies put in place.

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing for children?

KC: Children are such a joy and source of inspiration. My co-author, who happens to be my daughter, and I are both advocates of education and reading. Reading opens new worlds to children. It can enlighten them, it can open their imagination and it can teach them. Being a part of that is just a wonderful feeling.

Q: What is the most difficult part of writing for children?

KC: I have a couple of problems that I’m working on. One is I need to use age appropriate words. I tend to use words that are too difficult for the age group I’m writing for. I also need to work on my “show, don’t tell,” although that one goes for all writing.

Q: What are a couple of your best tips for aspiring children’s authors?

KC: The first tip I would give is to learn about writing for children. You can do this by taking courses or by researching online, reading books geared toward that topic, and reading many, many, many children’s books.

Also, you can join a writing coach’s class/club.

Next, I would advise the aspiring author to join a good children’s critique group. There is so much that is caught by those extra eyes.

Also, it is important to join groups such as The Society for Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating. I personally also joined the Chidren’s Writers Coaching Club with Suzanne Lieurance. This is when I began to learn about the business of writing.

Finally, I would say if possible attend a conference. My first conference was October 2008, the Muse Online Writers Conference. It was amazing. I’m looking forward to this year’s.

Q: What are you working on now?

KC: I am currently working on two picture books (around 1000 words each). One is about a child’s imagination and the other is based on colors.

I am also fine tuning a fantasy chapter book geared for ages 8-12; this is based on an ancient Chinese tale. It is about a 12-year-old boy who wants more than anything to learn magic.

In addition, I am working on another fantasy chapter book geared for ages 8-12. This one is about two boys lost in space.

I am also writing articles for ezines as well as children’s and trade magazines.

Q: What’s in the future pertaining to your writing?

I have ten years experience editing college papers. I am planning to offer services for that sometime soon. I am also looking into ghostwriting and copywriting.

Q: What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

KC: That’s a tough one.  I would probably say loyal, caring and dependable. 
Q: How do you think others would describe you?

KC: For this question I went right to the sources. I asked my husband and he said: sweet, level headed, and a nice person to be around. Then I asked my younger daughter and she said: hardworking, caring, and dedicated

Q: Please tell us what you are passionate about outside of writing.

KC: Right off are the obvious ones, God and family. After that I am passionate about injustices, senseless violence to innocent people, and people who recklessly endanger others’ lives. Then would come the environment and after that drawing and music.

Q: Do you have any pets?

KC: I use to have a sweet German Shepherd, but she passed away several years ago. I am now allergic to cats and dogs so I don’t currently have a pet. But, I am grandmother to a beautiful black Cocker Spaniel named Luna. We call her Luna Bin because she’s hyper.

Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

KC: Prior to writing I was an accountant. If I didn’t have Multiple Sclerosis I’d still be in the accounting field. I was an assistant controller for a number of years and I truly loved it. If I wasn’t a writer now I’m not sure what I would be doing.

Q: In two paragraphs or less, write your obituary.

KC: That’s actually funny. Prior to being diagnosed with MS, I was told by a two doctors not to worry about my symptoms, it was just anxiety. I was told to take a warm bath or go for a walk. It got to the point where I told my sister that if I died to make sure they put on my tombstone: Don’t worry, it’s just nerves.

As for my obituary, I’m not sure. Maybe… Karen was a woman who always tried her best, who took care of others, and who loved God and family unconditionally.

Q: Do you have a personal philosophy about life?

KC: My personal philosophy is based on words from the Bible: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” These are two simple sentences that if the world adhered to would eliminate all wars, murders, violence and theft.

And, life to a large degree is what we make of it. Try to be content with what you have while striving to achieve your best. I am also a firm believer in positive projection.

Q: If someone were looking for you what is the first place they’d look?

KC: That’s easy, either at the computer or the kitchen sink. I don’t have a dish washer so I’m often washing dishes.

Q: Where do you get your ideas from?

KC: I get ideas from my grandson and my great nephew. Children are such an amazing source of inspiration and joy – ideas just blossom. They can also come from the sights and sounds all around me as well as my imagination.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

KC: Being in the writing business means more than just writing – you also need to take steps to promote your works. To do this and help other authors I created and manage the yahoo group Virtual Book Tours. We are a group of authors who through the use of ongoing virtual book tours help each other gain visibility and promote our books. If anyone reading this is interested in joining our group or if you’d like information about the group, you can contact me through Facebook.

To learn more about Karen and her work, visit:

http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com/

http://www.childrensbooksbykarenandrobyn.com/

http://www.facebook.com/KarenCioffiVentrice

Join us again on Friday, June 5th when we share with you a synopsis and book review ofKaren's book, Day's End Lullaby.







PLEASE NOTE

*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive. SFC does not review any samples sent without a request for review to the Blog Editor, VS Grenier. SFC's staff members will not return unauthorized samples to the senders, but will donate them without review.