Interviewing author Deryn Pittar

deryn-croppedI asked Deryn Pittar, author of this week’s featured new release Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South, to share her thoughts on her writing with us.

 

Deryn, tell us about the first book you had published.
Love’s Bright Star was published by Secret Cravings in 2012. It was a huge thrill and from that experience I learned about the editing process, prior to publication.  They also published the following four books in the Future Movers series; but unfortunately Secret Cravings closed down in 2015. These futuristic romances are being republished over a six weeks’ time span in June/July this year with Junction Publishing. I am reading through them again (yet another editing process) and I’m delighted that I don’t have the desire to change anything. Because they are set in the future, luckily, nothing has dated!

Six years later, with their republishing, I will have had published a total of eight novels, with a ninth one coming out in October. But I have had many short stories and poems published in between times, in a variety of genre.

Was ‘Love’s Bright Star’ the first novel you’d written?
I’d love to be able to say ‘yes’ but in truth it was about the fourth. One of them I rewrote five times and it still sits in my files. (I can’t bear to delete 70 thousand words. I might need a bit of it one day.) I tried to write for Mills and Boon to begin with, but my mind refuses to stick to a formula; this is probably why I often set my stories in the future, where there are no restrictions on my imagination. However, I consider all those original unpublished manuscripts as a learning curve I had to travel, and not one word was a wasted effort.

Do you write today in the same genre as your first published novel?
Sometimes, but I jump about. I’ve written and had published a few contemporary romance novellas and lots of short stories, some sci.fi., some a comment on a serious subject and a few light romances. I tried to write horror (with a friend) and we ended up with a black comedy. I like to put a twist at the end of my short fiction. I’ve also dabbled in haiku and other forms of poetry, plus I love a writing challenge. Often a contest’s premise is a good reason to try another genre.

What authors have  influenced your choice of genre?
Asimov’s science fiction novels gripped my imagination as a teenager, opening up the possibilities available to a writer. Then Anne MacCaffrey came along with her Dragons of Pern series, which introduced dragons instead of robots.

LutapoliiHow long did it take from when you began Lutapolii’s manuscript to launch date?
I wrote Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South quite quickly, over a few months, about two years ago. He grew from a short story, which became chapter one. He took on a personality and had a life plan I simply had to follow. Once told, his story lurked in my files for a year as I searched for a cover, then Junction Publishing said they’d like to take him and they found his picture. I had to change one scene to fit in with his final appearance, but he’s such a magnificent fellow I didn’t mind at all. I’m thrilled with the response to his story. It’s not often you get to read a story written by the dragon himself. It’s written for adults, but it fits just as well into the Young Adult classification. There is a mating scene in it, but that’s all noise, smoke and frightened sea birds. I don’t know how dragons mate and Lutapolii refused to tell me.

What is your latest project – or projects?
I recently co-wrote a novella with Meg Buchanan, about an angel who falls in love with a soldier. It centres on Halloween, her brother’s plans for that night and the soldier’s decision to prevent her being harmed. Angelfire is a quirky love story and was fun to write. I had a short story which became the premise for the story. We shared further plot lines and wrote the scenes we each had ideas for; then shuttled the manuscript back and forth to be read, changed and added to until it all hung together. This will be released in October this year, with promotion beginning in September. Perhaps when Meg has time in her busy publishing schedule we will write a sequel.

I have just finished a novella for a winter anthology submission call for Roane Publishing. I called it Thunder Makes Me Cry and I’m hoping it will get accepted. I wrote it with a winter theme, just for their submission call. Heaven knows what I’ll do with it if they don’t want it. They are releasing another novella of mine, Escorts for Hire….Heartaches Free, in their summer anthology in August.

What question do you always wish an interview would ask you?
You often hear writers moan about ‘writer’s block’ (no ideas) or the editing process and how they hate cutting out words and scenes; and how dreadful it all is. Yet no one actually asks them if they enjoy it!

I‘m asking you now. Do you enjoy being an author?
Yes, I love it. Sometimes I run out of ideas, but I never panic. Eventually something will pop into my mind; a kernel that grows into a scene, which might develop into a novel. I love the craft of tightening a story, getting rid of extra words, paring it down to say as much as possible with as few words as you can. Of being able to give the readers a time, place and setting that will drag them into the story and, best of all, hold them there.

Through writing I’ve met a wide group of people I can correspond with, and share work and ideas with. To know there are like-minded people out there, tapping away, feeding their mind-pictures onto the page is a comfort because writing can be a solitary hobby – if you let it. I don’t.

What are you currently reading?
I belong to two book clubs, so often have to read a book that is not of my choice. This doesn’t do me any harm and often leads me to discover new authors. I’ve just read The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, with beautiful language. At page 30, I decided I was reading too fast, so I began again and took my time to savour every page.

Daniel O’Malley has written two fabulous science fiction/fantasy novels: The Rook and Silhouette. I’m waiting for his next novel. I also enjoy Robert Galbraith’s series (JK Rowling) and I’m waiting for Lethal White to be released. I think the lady at the library is tired of me asking if they have it yet.

Thanks, Deryn, for giving us this time. I’ve learned more about you than I knew!

 

Interviewing author G P Gadbois

crop-soft-portrait_G D Gadbois

G P kindly spoke about herself after the launch of her latest novel, Trust Me, released on Monday. She is shown here reviewing her earlier novel Caught Between Worlds.

What made you choose to write in the romance genre?
The idea for my first novel came from a reoccurring dream I had a few years back. At first, I thought I’d purchase a dream analyser book to find out what the dream meant. Instead, as I wrote down the highlights, and shared my dream with family and friends – it became clear, I had to write the story. So, the genre kind of chose me.
Like many women I work full time, so when I read I want to relax and escape.  Although I enjoy suspense and mysteries, I love a story with a happy ending.

In what other genres have you written / or can you see yourself writing in the future, and why?
Many, many moons ago, I wrote a weekly column, in the French newspaper of my hometown, describing the highlights of my high school. On my Facebook author page, I write and post a monthly short family story. It is nonfiction; however, my children have questioned some of the details…
One day, perhaps when I retire from my day job, I might try my hand at short thrillers or write a novel based on true story – I’ve started gathering information.

Of the two books you have had published, which would you most like adapting to see on screen? How would you adapt it?
I find this question amusing. When I finished the first draft of my first novel, Caught Between Worlds, I asked my youngest son to proofread it. I even bribed him; but when he saw the stack of papers I held, he said, “Mom, I’m sure it’s good, but I’ll wait and see it in the theatres.” – I told him not to hold his breath.
I have no idea how I’d adapt my story; however, I’d be willing to review the manuscript as suggested by the experts in that field. I’d also ask my son to be my date on opening night and he’d say, “I told you so.”

Tell us about an exciting, surprising or stressful aspect of the lead-up to or after your first book launch.
I stress over the unknown. Until the first book launch in 2016, my mind had a field day. I worried about everything, including the release blitz and reviews. I still do today, but at least I know what to expect. On this note, I enjoy hearing from readers, whether good or bad. I am after all a novice, and the feedback helps me improve.

Who is your writing hero/heroine (author)? Why?
Nora Roberts and Kathy Reichs. I love their characters and the stories. They make me laugh, they make me sad and they keep me interested.

What are you currently reading?
Your questions. 😉
Before I tackled the final round of edits for Trust Me, the last book I read was my own, Caught Between Worlds. I wanted to make sure my main characters had remained the same.

What is your latest project?
Book 3 of the series ‘A Moment in Time’. This one will be the story of Wendy, and I challenge you to guess who her happy ever after partner will be? 

What question have you always wished an interviewer had asked you? And, please answer it.
I have never given it any thought, but I’ll be creative:
Q: Which actor would you like to see as your main character?
A: A young Richard Gere. ❤


You can find Ms Gadbois at FacebookTwitter, and her publisher’s site


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“Lutapolii – white dragon of the south”, by Deryn Pittar

LutapoliiA credible fantasy for adult and YA readers, featuring dragons in a new light. Don’t expect knights on a mission. The story’s lead is a dragon on a mission – to live a life of peace and lead his own Flight.

Lutapolii has fled his northern matriarchal flight’s malicious bullying and teasing – even from his mother.

 

Living alone deep in the south, he discovers a haven in which to shelter and feed through the winter as he develops new skills for life on, above, and in the island’s seas.cave_Lutapolii
Strengthened by the island’s environment, he returns home to find he has been declared officially dead.

 

“What absolute madness. He might be officially dead but he wasn’t stupid enough to become really dead. In the winner-takes-all stakes of the mating game, truly dead is what happened to the challengers that lost.”

With nothing to lose, Lutapolii goes about his plan despite being pursued and battled, eventually building a new Flight in the richly resourced southern part of the world. Not easy, given the cold, new creatures, and the ongoing drive of the old matriarch and his mother.

deryn-cropped

Author introduction:
I write futuristic and fantasy fiction, spiced with romance and adventure. This allows my imagination to run free, to create interesting characters caught in unusual circumstances and events. Sometimes I have the pleasure of watching science and technology catch up with my imagination.

I also write Young Adult, short stories and flash fiction; articles on writing and I am published in these genre. I self-published a children’s rhyming book and once won a prize for a short screen script.
I’m a published poet and I endeavour to put my poetry skills into my fiction writing to enhance the word pictures I create.
I live in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand which lives up to its name. I belong to the Romance Writers of N.Z., Tauranga Writers, and Spec.Fic.NZ (speculative fiction NZ).

 Facebook                          Twitter

Published in ebook and print by Junction Publishing, Lutapolii is available at Amazon

 

Reviewing “Scaredy Book” by Devon SILLETT & Cara KING

cover_Exisle_Scaredy BookThis story’s premise is that, to make a change and find new experiences one must have courage. Even though it may seem scary, it is worth it in the end. It is amusingly related through the adventures of ‘Book’ who reaches out at last to take its first step to meet a reader, Emma. Emma’s life is full of adventures she has found in other books. But up to now, Book has seen other books return damaged by readers, which is why he is scared. However, when he does take that first step, he gets to have his own wonderful adventures as Emma takes him to different places.

SILLETT could have done the ordinary – she could have written about a timid child (‘Timid Tabatha’?), but by using a normally inanimate object she has created a comforting distance between a nervous reader and his fears. It is a delightfully unusual approach to writing to help children.

Words such as potential, gumption, or pizzazz may not be in the independent vocabulary of many child readers younger than eleven or so, so an adult reading to a child will have opportunities to explain these, and extend the child’s vocabulary.

KING’s illustrations give delightful character to each book in Library, and to the imagery of Book’s and Emma’s adventures.

spread_Exisle_Scaredy Book

Exisle saysScaredy Book contains the perfect message for kids afraid of leaving their comfort zone (and hand-wringing helicopter parents too!).

It is written by Devon Sillett, a former radio producer who is now doing her PhD in Australian Children’s literature. Devon is passionate about the capacity for books to inspire the imagination, and about libraries as jumping off places for exciting voyages into the unknown.

These themes are explored in her latest picture book, Scaredy Book, in which Book lives at the library and desperately wants to go outside, but is intimidated by all the things that might happen ‘out there’. A page might get torn. Book’s cover might get dirty. Book might never be returned to the library! Meanwhile, Emma loves visiting the library and delights in the many adventures to be had in the stories she finds there. When Emma meets Book, they find they are just what each other needs. Together, Book and Emma move out of their comfort zone to try new things, meet new people, and enjoy a few quiet adventures — climbing trees, laughing in the rain, and even cheering along at a soccer match. Along the way, they discover that ‘out there’ needn’t be scary if you just take it one step at a time.

Children and parents alike will enjoy this story about being brave, taking risks, and living to tell the tale!

The Author: Devon Sillett is a former radio producer, turned writer and reviewer. She has loved books as long as she can remember — so much so that she even married her husband Matthew in a library! Currently, she teaches in the writing department at the University of Canberra, where she is also a PhD student, researching Australian children’s picture books. Her first picture book, The Leaky Story, was published by EK in 2017.

The Illustrator: Cara King is a designer and illustrator, who runs her own design business, Caratoons.

“Scaredy Book” (published 2018) by King & Sillett is available from E K Books as a hard-cover and teacher notes are available. Recommended age group: 4 to 8 years.

EKBooks NZ
E K Books is an imprint of Exisle Publishing, NZExisle Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925335-68-2
RRP (NZ) $24-99

Releasing Today – “Trust Me” by G P Gadbois

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO G.P. GADBOIS
AND “
TRUST ME”!

Trust Me
A Moment in Time Novel
by G.P. Gadbois
Release Date: May 7, 2018
Publisher: Roane Publishing
 

The attraction Suzanne feels towards Bill is intense when their paths cross again. Because he is seeing someone else, she keeps her feelings bottled up and leaves. To heal from the heartache, she turns to family, her girlfriends, and her horse.

Bill knows he’ll never settle for another, but trusting Suzanne has its risks. He listens to his heart, breaks up with his current girlfriend, and takes a trip to Canada to woo Suzanne.

Bill must return home. Unable to deal with the separation and a long distance relationship, Suzanne makes a life changing decision and moves to Bill’s home town.

Will the nasty graffiti, the threatening notes, the interference of Bill’s ex-girlfriend, and the tragic break-in impact Suzanne’s decision and send her back home for good?

 
Excerpt:


The sky grew dark, the wind picked up, and it started to drizzle. Bill hurried, bought a burger, fries, a drink and returned to his bench at the top of the bleachers. On fairgrounds the further away he was from the horses, the better, he felt. He pulled his jean jacket on, put on a baseball cap, and kept his head down. He munched on the greasy food, and watched the Flag Races.

Suzanne’s turn came up once again. Her skill, speed and accuracy to pick up and drop off the flag into the barrel in 9.352 seconds got her the fourth place. Bill found her results amazing since this class had a larger number of participants, both male and female.

It poured rain during the Keyhole race. The spectators thinned, only the die-hard stayed to watch. Bill kept his eyes on the gorgeous cowgirl waiting near the gate. He kept his head down as Suzanne scanned the bleachers often. I’m a sitting duck here. To his relief, her name was called. She patted her horse’s neck and readied herself. She raced between the four barrels. Cinderella turned sharply, slipped and bumped into a barrel that wobbled but didn’t tip over. Bill stood holding his breath until he realized Suzanne was safe and the race was over.

Only a couple races left before I surprise her. Bill wiped his sweaty hands on his damp jeans. To calm his nerves and stretch, he left his seat. I should have brought flowers. The muddy path leading to the carnival area didn’t have one single wild flower, not even a dandelion. I’ll get her a teddy bear instead.

“Everyone wins.” The girl at the dart booth shouted, waving her arm. “Come here, give it a try. You can’t miss.” She convinced him.

He handed her five dollars and she gave him three dull darts. He burst two out of three balloons and walked away with a plastic mini-dinosaur. If this doesn’t win Sue over, nothing will. He shoved his prize into his coat pocket and returned to the bleachers.

The rain stopped, but the sky remained grey. In the arena, the Pole Bending races were taking place. Bill decided this race was his favorite. Cinderella and Suzanne raced to the far end of the poles, maneuvered around each pole with skill and grace once, then again in the opposite direction and raced back to the finish line at a high speed. Suzanne hugged Cinderella when she stood in the ring with her second-place ribbon.

The Dash Race was the last game of the day. Speed being the main objective, Bill thought it breath-taking. Cowboy hats flew off as riders and horses sped from one end of the ring to the other. All-in-all he found this race demonstrated the strength and speed of the horses more than the skill of the riders. Suzanne and Cinderella were good, Serge and Alexander the Magnificent were better in this race, finishing three seconds sooner.

Games are over, it’s show time. Bill followed Mr. Martin’s instructions and found Suzanne in between trailers, brushing Cinderella. Although the horses appeared to be tied safely to the trailer, Bill froze; too many horses in the small, confined area. You came this far, don’t let this stop you. Bill’s pep talk was interrupted.

“Sue, are you hungry?” A voice boomed from behind him.

“Only if you’re buying.” Suzanne replied without looking up.

“Come on, you won more than I did.” The man squeezed past Bill and stopped beside Suzanne.

Bill envied and hated the guy all at once. He’d moseyed in and stolen his moment.

“Brian, stop whining…” Suzanne said as she stood and turned to face the intruder. She closed, and then opened her eyes. “Bill!”

Brian followed Suzanne’s gaze and his eyes narrowed as he examined Bill.

“Is it really you?” Suzanne moved around Brian. “How long have you been here?”

“All day. Please come closer?” Bill ignored the intruder, and sprung his declaration for all to hear. “I’d like to take you up on that second chance offer.”

Her eyebrows rose for a split second before she smiled, and ran into his open arms.

“God I’ve missed you, Sue.” He lifted her off the ground.

“Sue, will this reunion be long?” Brian barked.

“I hope so,” Suzanne replied without looking at the guy.

Bill set Suzanne down and pulled her against him. She was finally where he wanted her.

“Fine, I’ll see you around.” The intruder took his leave.

Suzanne ran her hands up and down Bill’s back. “I’m so glad to see you, but I can’t believe you’re here.”

He’d waited so long for this moment, and didn’t want to waste it with explanations. There would be plenty of time later. He tilted her chin up and kissed her. She tensed, but didn’t fight it. A hint of peppermint lingered on her soft responsive lips and the combination excited his senses. Horses neighed and Bill’s head shot up. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath when he saw no one around. His promise to Mr. Martin would be hard to keep.

“Bill, are you okay?”

He nodded. “Let’s go grab a bite to eat. I’ll buy.”

~~~oOo~~~

About the Author:

G.P. is a Canadian wife and mother of three who works in school bus transportation. In her last year of high school, she enjoyed writing a weekly column published in the French newspaper in her home town. Writing took a back seat for years and now her children are grown, it’s become her favorite hobby.

Entertaining others is like breathing – it is part of who she is.

LINKS:

 

 

Choosing your Editor

The following are questions for you, the author, to ask the freelance editor you are considering approaching. Originally by Jenny, for the website Writers Edit

Pexels-photo-220312 onPixabay
Picture by Pexel, on Pixabay.com

What should I ask a prospective editor?

  1. If they have any qualifications or memberships.
    You might prefer someone with the theoretical grounding of a degree or certificate, or someone who upholds the standards of an editing society.
  2. If they have experience or a portfolio.
    Do you want the seasoned veteran who’s been in the game for twenty plus years, or the enthusiastic novice who’s just starting out?
  3. How and what they charge.
    {For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2IyGJ3n}
  4. What systems they use to edit.
    Are they on a Mac or a PC? Do they prefer MS Word, Adobe Acrobat or InDesign (or hard copy)? Be sure that your systems are compatible.
  5. If they respond quickly to enquiries.
    As we said, editing is all about communication, so make sure they’ll give you the time of day rather than ignore your email for a week.
  6. If they seem honest and respectful.
    You want your editor to be upfront, but not insensitive. There’s a difference between telling someone that their writing needs improvement and telling them it’s garbage.
  7. If they genuinely appreciate the story you have to tell.
    Editors who believe in your writing will be more committed to its success, and will thus be more likely to go the extra mile on your behalf.
  8. If they respect the boundaries between author and editor.
    At the end of the day, it’s your work: will they give you the final word, or will they try to steamroll you, based on what they think is right?
  9. If they know what they’re talking about!
    Do they know what a style guide is? Can they justify their editorial decisions? Or are you the one having to explain the difference between en- and em-dashes?

Eye on the Ball, by Francine BEATON

What would prove stronger? Love or Loyalty?Rugby player in a blue uniform on a stadium.

Top professional rugby player Jakes du Plessis desperately wants to keep his team’s vow of celibacy in order to win the new International Rugby Club Competition, but he didn’t count on meeting ethereal artist Angie Summers.  Even a promise to his friends and teammates, demons from his past, and a distance of more than 9000 miles, could not stop Jakes from falling in love with Ange.  In the end, it took teamwork, perseverance and a whole lot of grovelling from Jakes’ side for them to overcome these obstacles, and find their Happily Ever After.

#1 of Series – Playing for Glory
by Francine Beaton

A Contemporary Romance Novel, Published by Roane Publishing,
Released 19th March, 2018


Purchase Links
Amazon – Print & eBook      SmashWords       Kobo
Barnes & Noble – Nook      !ndigo
Roane Publishing Author Page


About the author:

portrait_Francine BEATONBorn and brought up in Pretoria, South Africa, Francine had no choice but to fall in love with rugby at a young age. With three older, rugby-playing brothers and a father who was a fanatic supporter of the local team and the Springboks, Francine adopted the motto, If you can’t beat them, join them. After trying to play one game, Francine gave up the idea to play rugby. She opted to watch the boys from the side.

At the tender age of ten, she discovered the romance section in the local library and that was it. She was a fan. By fourteen, she had read all the ones in the Afrikaans section and switched to the English section. There was a time when Francine briefly abandoned her favourite genre to lose herself in crime novels, but as they say: you never forget your first love.

Rugby, romance and writing is not all that keep Francine busy. If she does not spent time with her Scottish husband and teenage daughter either at home or travelling, Francine loves to read, or dabbles in photography and painting.

She is a member of the Romance Writers Association of South Africa (ROSA).

FRANCINE CAN BE FOUND AT HER WEBSITE, AND ON FACEBOOK

Trust, by Avery WOODS

cover_Trust Why does society treat you as an outcast when you’re single? Is it not bad enough that I have my two best friends pressuring me to date every chance they get. It’s probably because I still haven’t told them the reason I’ve avoided dating: The fact that I am HIV positive. It’s this dirty little secret I’ve been keeping to myself for the last two years. I’ve tried telling my friends and family numerous times, but something always gets in my way. At least that’s what I tell myself. Don’t worry, I’m ninety percent sure you can find my picture under the word cynical in the dictionary.
Since my ex-boyfriend basically called me a walking disease, I’ve lost a bit of my self confidence you could say. I mean, how am I suppose to tell my friends and family? I guess writing a letter to my parents won’t cut it.
More importantly, how is Travis, the new guy I like going to take the news? He is perfect, and I am far from it. I have to trust him, but trusting someone is easier said than done.
If dealing with HIV wasn’t enough, the bombshell my mom decided to invoke on my sister and I sure takes the cake. At least that’s what I thought, until I attended Lauren’s birthday party. Who knew that would be a night I would never forget.
Who would have thought ripping off a band aid would be the most painful route to take?


Available at…
Roane Publishing;     Amazon;     Amazon UK;
Barnes & Noble;      Kobo;      Smashwords;
iTunes;      Bookstrand


Excerpt:

This isn’t good. She knows, damn it. I can’t even lie to her and tell her I take the medications for a different reason. She knows what the medications are for. I completely forgot I had my medications in my purse when I gave her permission to go into it to grab the tampon. I mean, I wasn’t thinking. I was half asleep. I don’t know what to say. She’s caught me off guard. I stay silent.

“The medications are anti-retroviral medications. They are used to treat HIV.”

Cori gasps, completely shocked. She looks at me, but I turn my head. I can’t look at her. “Do you have HIV?” she asks.

I stand up to clear my plate. I’ve lost my appetite. What am I supposed to say?
“Those aren’t mine.”

Brennley stands up. “Hayden, I saw your name on them.”

I get defensive. This is my worst case scenario. I wanted to be the one to tell them on my own accord, so Brennley finding out this way? It’s awful.
“Maybe I took them out under my name for someone else, did you ever think of that? Maybe someone who’s ashamed of having to go to the pharmacy to buy them, worried they will be judged? Did you ever think of that?” Okay, that was a horrible lie, but I’m feeling cornered.

Brennley blows out a breath, and scratches her head. “No, I didn’t. I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I was just stating what I saw.”

I’m angry, but only because they found out like this. “Well, don’t jump to conclusions.”
I look over at Cori and I can see tears forming in her blue eyes.

“Hayden, just be honest with us. Whose medications are those?”

I squeeze my eyes shut. I will not cry. “No one’s!” I shout.

I look over and see tears now forming in Brennley’s eyes. I can’t do this. There are too many emotions floating throughout this room. I’m sad, hurt, angry, devastated, frustrated, and feeling very, very guilty.

“They aren’t mine,” I sob. My shoulders begin to shake.

Cori comes over and lifts my hands away from my face and wraps me in a hug.
“Hayden, it’s okay if they are yours, just be honest with us. We don’t care if they are yours.”

You know the feeling you get when you are about to cry and someone asks you if you are alright and, it’s them saying that, that makes you ultimately cry? That’s what I’m feeling right now. I release Cori’s grip on me and gently push her away. I turn and walk to the other side of the kitchen. I turn to face them. I wipe the tears that have spilled down my cheeks. I shake out my hands. My heart is hammering in my chest. My chest feels tight, like an elephant is sitting on it. I feel a bit dizzy, like the room is moving and I’m having trouble seeing straight. I take a deep breath until both of them come back into focus.

I decide it’s time for the truth to come out. Although when I tell them I can’t look at them. I’m scared to see their reaction.

“Alright, I give up. Those pills are mine.” I cry. “Because in fact, I am  HIV positive.”

Three Wonderful Children ‘s Picture Books, by Australian Authors

Presented by the publisher, Exisle Publishing, with these three new releases for review was an instant delight. Beautifully bound, delightfully illustrated, and all with a story both entertaining and enlightening… they are ideal for a shared reading experience for non-readers.
Such fine books are they, that they were immediately snagged by an Early Childhood Education teacher trainee for use at her pre-school centre. I had to fight to retain them until this review was written! For each book, I have summarised the story outline, and included the official blurb provided by Exisle. I have also calculated the “Initial Independent Reading Age” (using NZ’s Noun Count method) so parents may allow an older child to read it to the younger child. Refer to * notes within each book’s details.

Click on each title to Buy
or visit the www.ExislePublishing.com site.


cover_Grandma Forgets Grandma Forgets, a journey of love by Paull RUSSELL & Nicky Johnston

Exisle says: A warm, uplifting picture book about a family bound by love as they cope with their grandmother’s dementia.
When your grandmother can’t remember your name it should be sad, but maybe it is just an opportunity to tell her more often how much you love her. Over the years, the little girl in Grandma Forgets has built up a treasure trove of memories of time spent with Grandma: sausages for Sunday lunch, driving in her sky-blue car to the beach, climbing her apple trees while she baked a delicious apple pie, and her comforting hugs during wild storms. But now, Grandma can’t remember those memories. She makes up new rules for old games and often hides Dad’s keys. Sometimes Dad is sad because he has to hold onto the memories for both him and his mother now, but fortunately his daughter is only too happy to help him make new memories to share. This is a warm, hopeful story about a family who sometimes needs to remind their grandmother a little more often than they used to about how much they care. She might not remember any of their names but she will always know how much she is loved.
Red says: So many children have grandparents going through this stage, bewildering to the children. This book is perfect for helping them understand.
Hardbound ISBN 978-1-9235336-47-7
Paperback ISBN 978-1-9253358-1-1
* Initial Independent reading age 7 ½ to 8 ½


cover_Visiting YouVisiting You, a journey of love by Rebecka Sharpe SHELBURG & Andrea SIMMONDS

Exisle says: A heart-warming celebration of the power of love, and how it’s our similarities, not our differences, that matter most.
Setting out to visit their loved one, a child curiously asks a fellow commuter, ‘Who are you going to visit?’, and in answer to this simple question, the child learns about the love and loss in the life of a stranger. A father who lives apart from his small daughter, a husband who has lost his wife, a granddaughter who is forgotten by her grandfather, and a mother who fears for her son’s recovery. After each conversation, the child understands that the other commuter has someone in their life that they love ‘as much as I love you’, and it is this understanding that allows the child to explore the most universal of human experiences: the power of love in the many different forms that it can take. Visiting You also explores a sense of community. Under his mother’s supervision, a young child reaches out and connects with the people around them; they’re not scared of strangers, or people who might ‘look’ scary, or people who are different to them. Sometimes it can take conscious decision and determination to look past outward appearances. Visiting You encourages us to find the similarities between people instead of focusing on differences, to recognise some part of ourselves in the life of a stranger.
Red says: One of a child’s social challenges is accepting differences with their social environment. This book introduces them kindly to people who are not so different from anyone else.
Hardbound ISBN 978-1-925665-66-8
* Initial Independent reading age 9 to 10 years


cover_Art GardenThe Art Garden, sowing the seed of creativity by Penny HARRISON & Penelope PRATLEY

Exisle says: A whimsical story about friendship and nurturing our creative flair.
Sadie wants to be a painter, just like her best friend, Tom. She loves playing with colour and finding shapes in unlikely places. But whenever Sadie picks up a paintbrush she makes a big mess. So instead, she spends her time working in the garden or playing with Tom. But, one day, Sadie gets a look at things from a different perspective — and makes a big discovery about herself and her own creativity. The Art Garden is a whimsical story about friendship and finding our creative flair. It encourages children to explore different ways of expressing themselves and celebrates the importance of individuality and self-acceptance.
Red says: Some children soon realise they cannot “do” what others can; this book helps them understand that it is not necessary to give up on what a child can do, for struggling to imitate what another child can do – all children have different learning styles, and different ways of expressing their creativity.
Hardbound ISBN 978-1-925335-59-0
* Initial Independent reading age 11 ½ TO 15 ½

 

 

A post on using Brand-names in your writing

This stellar advice can be found at this blog, by Mark Fowler at Blogspot, an attorney in New York City with 29 years of experience working for media companies – book and magazine publishers, newspapers, broadcasters, and online publishers, among others.

A full description of the what and how of dropping names into your writing

Thanks, Mark…