Friday, February 21, 2014

Blog Talk Radio's Families Matter Show - Topic: Alone Together

Join Irene Roth and Virginia S Grenier every 3rd Friday of the month for the Families Matter Show here on BTR's Freatured World of Ink Network.

Each month the Families Matter Show will cover topics on the importance of family to empowering our children.

This months topic: Alone Together: How Technology has Separated Us from Each Other
We are all over-connected through cell phones and other technological gadgets. Even when we are together as a family with our children, we seem to be texting and playing video games. We are multi-tasking masters. But it is at the peril of teaching our children the true art of communication. Kids are having a harder and harder time to really connect with each other, be they friends, siblings or parents. We as parents should find ways to show kids the importance of empathic connection.  We could this in the following ways:
  • Having unplugged times when we could related to one another personally and face to face;
  • Having times when we are doing things as a family as opposed to watching television all the time;
  • Going out for walks as a family;
  • Doing family activities;
  • Just hanging out as a family;
  • Having a sit down meal at least a few times a week.
By taking these steps we could saving our children the hardship of not being to effectively communicate when they get older. We need to be parents who are not alone together but openly and empathically together.

Listen to the podcast at

Monday, February 3, 2014

Author Interview with L.R.W. Lee of the MG Fantasy Series Andy Smithson

From an early age L. R. W. knew she wanted to write a children’s book. Her imagination for such a book was cultivated early on as her family didn’t have a lot of money. She and her older brother were encouraged to use their imaginations to entertain themselves. And use them they did – climbing trees and tree forts, using a quilt for a matchbox car city, making puppets and putting on shows, and much more and her creativity and imagination grew.

She went to college and got a degree in Accounting. However, most folks frown on “creative accounting”, so she continued to put her imagination/writing on hold.  Her business and creative interests eventually led her to found and grow a successful company which, with her partner, she sold in January 2012, leaving her time to imagine and write for the first time.

L. R. W. lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, her daughter who is a Longhorn at UT Austin and her son who is in high school.

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. (You can follow this up with any points you hope readers will take away with them)

Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning is the continuation of L. R. W. Lee’s well-received debut novel Blast of the Dragon’s Fury and the next offering in this seven-book Andy Smithson allegorical, fantasy, adventure series for middle graders.

In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Lee continues to weave a tale of mystery and intrigue as the main character, Andy Smithson, who is now 11-years-old, returns to Oomaldee to retrieve the second ingredient needed to break a 500-year-old curse enacted to punish the current ruler for murdering his older sister when she was 15. Not one to forgive easily, Imogenia’s spirit is bent on thwarting Andy to preserve the curse and naively aligns herself with the evil, scheming Abbadon. 

Things go from bad to worse when a creature Abaddon conjures from the darkest magic steals the Stone of Athanasia, the source of the ruler’s immortality, causing the king and his wizard, Mermin, to fall gravely ill. Andy is forced to choose between retrieving the stone to save those he loves or obediently going after the second ingredient. What will he chose? Will he be able to save the King and Mermin?

You won’t want to miss the non-stop action, drama and thrills on this adventure that is Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

I self-published book one as well as book two. I went through Createspace for the paperback and Amazon KDP for the ebook with both. I have to say, having been through the process once already, things went smoother the second time.

Because I’ve never seen anyone detail the self-publishing process and what is involved, I thought I’d do so for folks thinking of self-publishing as well. After writing for seven months including inventing a detailed outline, I finished the manuscript October 31st and handed it off to my editor who had it for 2 weeks. I worked with a cover designer to create the cover while I waited for my editor to send her changes back. I took the opportunity to redo the cover for the first book so it would work with the second and successive books in the series. I got the manuscript back from my editor a bit bloodied and bruised on November 15th and modified until November 23rd when I handed it off to three people who agreed to read it and give me a snippet for use on the back cover of the paperback. I got their responses back by December 15th and sent the manuscript and completed back cover to Createspace on December 17th. I had Createspace format the interior so it took a bit longer than uploading a completed manuscript. I got the proof copy of the completed paperback on January 9th and published the book after approving the hard copy.

How did you get the idea for this book?

This is the continuation of a planned seven book series. The series is about a boy, Andy Smithson, who is brought to a land to break a 500-year-old curse. It’s a coming-of-age fantasy adventure geared to middle grade and young adult readers.

The idea came from an amalgam of Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I’ve always loved those series, particularly those with allegorical meanings.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I start with an hour of exercise during which I organize my thoughts for writing and work through specific parts that aren’t as clear as they need to be. After that I spend about 2 hours working social media and talking with fans. After that I focus on writing what has been ruminating for several hours of the day. I usually write for 3-4 hours until my brain can’t invent anymore J and then go back to social media and anything else needing my attention. Sometimes it’s the next episode of the book 1 podcast, other times its website updates and more.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Inventing narratives and sharing uncommon life principles with my readers. I have a mentor who I worked closely with while growing a multi-million dollar company. He taught me many life lessons that have made my journey significantly more peaceful and meaningful. I love weaving these principles throughout the story line in hopes that my readers can begin to hear and apply them, making their lives better as a result.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

One word. Editing. While necessary, I hate going back through something I’ve already written. My brain rebels and gets bored really fast. I’m glad I have a good editor who catches a lot of my goofs J.

How has publishing a book changed your life?

I wouldn’t say publishing has changed my life. What I would say is that hearing feedback from fans as they work through a book is very meaningful. I also have a sense of legacy now that I didn’t before. My books will be around long after I am gone, and I hope my grandchildren and many thousands of other children will read and be impacted by my work.

What are your plans now?

I’ve already started work on the third book in the series, Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor that will be released in Fall 2014.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Believe in what you’re doing and stick to it. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. And, if there is a reason you are passionate about writing (like me sharing uncommon life principles), only you can hold that narrative and see it through.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership? (Here you can share about characters, historical facts, setting or whatever else you would like our readers to know about your book.)
First, thank you for your support! It is you that I write for and it is gratifying when I hear feedback from you as I have over the year since publishing the first book in the series.

Also, I am very excited to announce that the free serialized podcast of book 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now available on the iTunes store at as well as on my website at!podcasts/c18hh

As well, as part of my book launch tour, you have the opportunity to win 9 fantasy adventure ebooks from highly acclaimed authors. To enter go to my website at!giveaway/chq4.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?



*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.