Friday, May 29, 2015

Heart Wrenching Story Encourages Children to Recognize and Report Risk

Eyer
Cover
A
little girl remembers her two-year-old brother, killed at the hands of their birth father, and helps readers realize that others share their pain


The facts are grim. Every ten seconds, a child abuse report is filed. Every year, more than a thousand lives are lost as the result of child abuse. By extension, many thousands more are forever changed.

The newly published book "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story," illustrates the impact of loss through one young girl’s words and experiences as she grieves the death of her "Baby Maxwell."

Written in verse by Gwenn Eyer, Valerie’s adoptive mother, this beautifully illustrated book relays a story of love, loss, and hope. Valerie was just four years old when her baby brother died at the hands of their birth father. Valerie’s story describes her sad, scared, and angry feelings and traces her journey from her sudden removal from her home and the loss of everything she knew to her placement in foster care to her eventual adoption.

Eyer explains that "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story" offers a message to be shared with children and families who have been impacted by child abuse and loss. Traumatized children will identify with Valerie, and adult readers will benefit from viewing the impact of child abuse and domestic violence through a child’s eyes.

Eyer comments, "If allegations of child abuse are made every ten seconds, how many more incidents go unreported? This book, written in our adopted daughter’s words with childlike illustrations, provides encouragement for children to recognize risk and report it." She adds, "The book can be used at home and in therapeutic settings. It is my hope that it can serve as a ‘wake up call’ for families currently at risk."

"The artwork is amazing and the questions posed by one little girl give voice to the confusion and pain of many children." ~ Kimberly A. Mann, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

Author: Gwenn Eyer is the mother of five adopted children ranging in age from eleven to forty. Valerie, her youngest daughter, came into the family following the death of her younger brother Maxwell at the hands of their birth father. Valerie shared her heartache with her "new" mom, writing journal entries and songs for her brother Maxwell along the way.  Gwenn used Valerie’s words and experiences as the basis for Valerie’s adoption Lifebook, a tool used in adoption to help children and youth take experiences and connections from their past to build on with hope for the future. This Lifebook became "Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story." Gwenn has worked in the child welfare field for more than twenty-five years, spending much of that time training foster and adoptive parents and other trainers. An experienced conference presenter, she enjoys writing prose and plans to share more stories about children who have experienced life in foster care and in adoptive families.
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Why Did We Have to Say Goodbye? Valerie’s Story written by Gwenn Eyer with 11-year-old Valerie Eyer; Illustrated by Sharon Coker; Category: Family & Relationships; Hard Cover: 978-0990883807, $20.00; Availability: Amazon.com, BN.com, Ingram, ValsPalsBooks.com

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Interview with Kate Louise, Author of Pierre the French Bulldog Recycles



Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. 

Pierre the French Bulldog loves digging things up. He tosses some old stuff into the trash but forgets to recycle, and before he can right his mistake the garbage truck comes and empties the trash bin. Pierre then chases the truck through town, with the help of the neighborhood dogs, on a mission to make sure his recyclables don’t end up in landfill.

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

My publisher is Sky Pony Press, the children’s imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. For me, the process after writing the script was to send to my agent, who then worked with me to edit and prep for submission. My agent represents a lot of talented illustrators, so I paired up with Bethany Straker before the MS went out to publishers. Bethany drew up some full color samples to accompany the script and we sent out. We received an offer from Sky Pony after a few months and continued working on it alongside our editor and the rest of the team there.

How did you get the idea for this book?

I used to work somewhere that’s big on recycling, and we make sure to recycle properly at home, too. The idea started with the two bins – a greedy, smelly garbage bin and a sad, hungry recycling bin. I wanted to include some knowledge of why we recycle, but also make it a lot of fun to read.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

If I’ve got the day to myself, I like to have a quiet breakfast and cup of tea before starting up the computer. And I take the dog for a walk somewhere in the middle. It depends how much I’ve got on at the time. Some days I can stop, take the dog, and come back and do my own thing. Other days I need to use all the time I have to meet deadlines etc.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s relaxing (at times!). I enjoy the quiet. It’s also amazing to see a project develop. To go from a first draft, through each stage, until it’s looking like a finished book.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Motivating myself at times when I want to be doing anything but. We all have those days, but at home on my own there’s no one but me to say “Come on! You can do it!”

How has publishing a book changed your life? 

I just think it’s amazing to interact with readers, both online and through visits to schools and stores. It’s both wonderful and surreal to hold a book with your name on and get to share your story with others.

What are your plans now?

I have another picture book out this year with the same publisher – Tough Cookie, about a mischievous gingerbread man who learns the positive effects of kindness, illustrated by the fabulous Grace Sandford. I also write young-adult novels under the name Kate Ormand, and have a book out this September that is currently going back and to between my editor and me.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

To believe in yourself and your work. Every piece of writing is beneficial – accepted or rejected, it’s never a waste of time. All we can do is move forward.

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?

You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (katelouiseauthor.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@katelouisebooks).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Interview with Chantele Sedgwick, Author of Love, Lucas



Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. 


LOVE, LUCAS is about a 17-year-old girl names Oakley, who is trying to recover from the loss of her older brother, Lucas. As she struggles with her depression, the book follows her journey of picking up the pieces of her life and putting them back together. There’s healing, first love and a journal full of letters Lucas left for her to help her find herself again. 

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

Sky Pony Press is amazing. My awesome agent, Nicole Resciniti, submitted LOVE, LUCAS to Nicole Frail and after a few months we got an offer. I’ve loved working with Sky Pony. They’ve seriously been so professional and kind. 

How did you get the idea for this book? 

I got the idea while I was waiting to pick up my kids from school. I had a letter come to me, a letter from an older brother to a younger sister, and I wrote it down. Then more letters came and it all flowed amazingly well after that. 

What is a typical writing day like for you? 

A typical writing day for me is chasing around 4 kids all day and getting time to sit down to write after they go to bed. I write from about 8:00-bedtime Mondays through Thursdays. So, not as much time as I’d like, but when the kids are older and all at school I’ll have a bit more free time to get things done.

What do you enjoy most about writing? 

I love words. I love putting them on the page and watching characters come to life. Each one is different and has their own story and I’m so happy I get to tell them. 

What is the most difficult part of writing? 

Picking which idea to start and finish. I have so many, it’s hard sometimes to know which one is the right one. 

How has publishing a book changed your life?  

It’s amazing and wonderful, but I’m still me. My family will always come first, but I hope to publish as many as I can because I truly love what I do. 

If your book is based on true events, how has that affected those around you or why made you choose to use historical events?  

It’s not based on true events, but I hope my book can help someone going through what Oakley is going through. It’s hard to lose someone you love, but you still have to keep moving forward, even if it feels like you can’t. 

What are your plans now?  

Keep writing! 

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?  

Don’t give up. You will get rejected, you will have hard times that will make you want to quit. Believe me. Even after you’re published things don’t work out like you plan sometimes. But love what you do and do the best you can. Things always do work out in their own time. 

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.)  

This book has a little bit of everything. A summer on a beach, healing, first love, the bond between a brother and sister, and most fun of all, surfing! 

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 

 http://chantelesedgwick.blogspot.com/
 
http://www.chantelesedgwick.com/

All the links are on my website!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Delightful new picture book demonstrates the importance of being true to yourself


Buttar Cover

Prolific children’s book author Debbie Buttar knows that animals are the perfect medium through which to gently teach important lessons. Her newly published fourth book, "Funky Little Monkey," is no exception.

In this inspiring tale filled with bright and colorful illustrations by Christopher Davis, a funky little monkey who loves to disco dance is laughed at because he is different from the other monkeys. The little scamp perseveres and continues to enjoy what makes him happy, in spite of some rather rude comments from his animal companions.
An excerpt from the story demonstrates how the other monkeys feel about disco dancing:
They say, "You’re actingCrazy, and don’t be a flunky,Stop wasting your time, andAct like a monkey!"

But the Funky Little Monkey stays true to himself. After all, when you love something, you’ve just got to stick with it, no matter what anyone else says. To his great joy, as often happens in life, the Funky Little Monkey soon discovers others who think his dancing is just great!
Buttar comments, "We all express ourselves in unique ways, and we all need to feel good about it. This story helps readers be themselves by teaching them to embrace their individuality."
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of "Funky Little Monkey" is being donated to AMESPA Research & Treatment Foundation for the medical treatment of children suffering from cancer and autism.

"Another great book by Debbie Buttar! What a fun story encouraging kids to march to the beat of their own drum! The fun rhymes and cute animal characters that are beautifully illustrated will keep your child coming back again and again, and soon, they too will be dancing like a Funky Little Monkey. Love it!" ~ Reader Review by Karri Freeney

Author/illustrator: Debbie Buttar was born in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA. She currently resides with her husband, young son, and stepson on their farm in Huntersville, North Carolina. Debbie is inspired by animals and ways to nurture and help them. Her first book, "Tonga the African Elephant," was published in 2008 followed shortly by her 2009 Children's Moonbeam Silver Medal winner "Giraffe Sounds?" and its sister book "Llama Sounds?" "Funky Little Monkey" is the fourth collaboration between Debbie Buttar and illustrator Christopher Davis.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview with Author and Illustrator Beth Anne Maresca


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)
Megan Owlet doesn’t want to play basketball, learn karate, or practice the violin. Every day she goes and cheers her brothers on as they participate in their own activities, but one morning she wakes up and realizes she’s bored! It’s time for Megan to find something of her own to do. After an unsuccessful brainstorming session with her animal friends, Megan stumbles upon a dance studio, and with an excited screech she begins to dream big dreams of whirls and twirls. Dancing is trickier than Megan expected, but with a little help from her brothers, Megan can do anything!
 
Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?
I started writing this story about three years before it was taken in by editor Julie Matysik at Sky Pony Press.  In the beginning I was working with an agent who guided me through the process of taking my story and making it into a book.  She was really helpful in many ways and helped when it came time to sending it to publishers.  It was not accepted by several publishers which was discouraging.  However, many editors that rejected "Megan Owlet" gave good advice either on my story or the art.  I took these critiques and revised and rewrote or reworked the pictures.  I believe it is from these rejections that Megan blossomed.

How did you get the idea for this book?
I was inspired by my four children to write this book.  My daughter, the youngest in our family with three older brothers, had been shuffled from games and activities constantly on the weekends going to and from her brothers' activities.  When she was three she was finally old enough to have something for herself...and she tried dance class.  It was just such a joy for me to watch my little girl in an adorable pink tutu, something that was all hers!

What do you enjoy most about writing? 
I love writing.  I love most creating characters and giving them really fun things to do or go through.  I love writing because it takes me away to imaginative worlds.  When I am writing, it is funny how that particular story stays with me.  It is always on my mind, what the character should say or do or how the character would look or behave in certain situations. 

What is the most difficult part of writing? 
The most difficult part of writing for me is finding the time.  Working full time as a teacher and having four school-aged children who all have after school activities make it difficult to find quality writing time.  Because of this, I try to keep a pen and paper handy wherever I go.  I also use the "notes" on my iphone, too, to capture my thoughts about stories and parts of a story I am working on...because sometimes I just never know where I'll be when just the right wording pops into my head!  I do try, once the craziness of a day is done, to work on projects at night, when things are a bit more peaceful in my house!

How has publishing a book changed your life? 
Thus far, not much has changed, although it does make life exciting when friends and acquaintances start finding out about "my secret life" as an author and illustrator! Since my book is coming out on April 7th, I am looking forward to doing book signings and readings!

If your book is based on true events, how has that affected those around you or why made you choose to use historical events? 
 This book is not based on any historical events, but it is based on my family!  And I must say...my kids love the fact that they are in a book and are very proud of the characters based on them (even though they are owls!)

What are your plans now? 
My plans now are to continue writing and illustrating!  I have two stories I am currently working on and getting ready to submit to publishers...so we will see!

What is your best tip for aspiring authors? 
Take criticism and turn it into a positive.  Whether it be from your kids, your husband or wife, your critique group or an editor, take their critiques and use them to your advantage.  Separate yourself from your writing for a moment and really try to see what they are saying.  It is so easy for us as writers to get attached to "our" writing that it is hard to let go or change.  But, from change great things can emerge!

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.) 
When people read "Megan Owlet" my hope is that they will come away with a happy feeling.  I hope children and parents see the importance of family and how important supporting each other within a family is. When my children were younger, around three or four, they did not like books that had grumpy faces or arguing. So, I wanted to make this a happy story and show how siblings can come together for each other.

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?

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.