Monday, June 27, 2011

Interview with Author June Bourgo

Here is the wonderful June Bourgo and her wonderful book Winter's Captive that is due out in October this year.

Hi June, welcome to the Adventures of Molly Mavis Gumnut Blog.

Thanks so much for having me, Trish.

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

First, I was born and raised in Montreal. I moved west in my late teens. I love BC. Victoria and Vancouver are beautiful cities. I can enjoy the sophistication of the big city and live in the raw beauty of nature not too far away.

That sounds wonderful, and perfect for an author. Where do you write, June? Do you have an office? Or do you sit in your garden?

I have an office to write in, but I like to sit by our trout stream and write. I usually carry paper and pen with me wherever I go, because sometimes I see interactions with people that inspire me to write and I don't want to forget what I saw.

That's like me, I always carry a pen and notebook wherever I go. You never know what might inspire you and it's so easy to forget things. Now, tell us how long you’ve been writing, June.

I always enjoyed writing as a child. I was an average student because I was a lazy student. I did what I needed to, to get through the course. But I always exceled in English and got top marks.

That's great. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

As a teenager, I was very shy and definitely a dreamer. Secretly I wanted to write, be a rock star, and be a stewardess so I could travel the world. I grew up in a loving and protective family but the support to have a career really wasn't there. As a female, I was encouraged to take typing so I could work as a secretary until I met a man and became a wife and mother. The fifties dream LOL.

Yes. I can relate to that. Not all parents see the artistic side of  their child. I look for it in my grandchildren and can already see that one is a potential author. He has a great imagination and is great at drawing.

Do you remember your first writing attempts, June?

I do. I remember writing about being a snowman when I was nine and walking down the street and melting away in the hot spring sun LOL. I got an A for that. Then, as a teenager, I tried to write the great Canadian novel about a girl in Quebec in the days of the French Voyageurs (fur trappers). Like I knew all about that! That was my first lesson in writing about what you know. Haha.

That's funny, June. I remember my first story. It was about a miniature person that lived in my pocket. I named her Inchy and she was a right trouble causer. LOL.

What genre do you write the most?

Fiction - women's stories, all about empowerment.

What other genres have you written in, or would like to pursue?

Well, at the moment, my passion lies with women's stories. I love getting into the psyche and I'm very character driven as opposed to plot driven. I enjoy creating plots, but they are there to serve my characters only.

What is the main theme of your latest book? And what inspired it?

Again...empowerment. That shy protected teenager, along with being a dreamer, was extremely niave. I married the wrong person for all the wrong reasons. He was an abusive alcoholic. It took me nine years to finally get the courage to get myself and my son out of that destructive relationship. My first novel, Winter's Captive, is based on the lessons I learned and the growth I gained from that time of my life. It is a fictitious story about a pregnant women who is abandoned by her cheating husband and she escapes kidnappers in the Canadian north. She spends the winter lost and alone in a remote cabin, experiences childbirth solo, and reflects on her life while trying to survive a harsh winter. The book was a healing process for me and my therapy.

That was very brave of you to do. Many women never have the courage to do that as they fear the reprisals, and quite right in some cases. You're also very brave to talk publicly about it too. Good for you, June.

What goals do you set out to achieve when you start writing a new story?

Wow, that's a tough question! I don't write outlines. I loosely write down the main characters name and list all the things I see happening to that character before my preconceived ending. I, also, don't write in any particular order. I know a beginning and an end. I write where the muse takes me knowing only that that piece will be near the end, or in the middle somewhere, etc. I just follow the muse of the moment and sooner or later all the pieces fit together. It is the only way I can do it. To start at chapter 1, go to 2, then 3, etc. sounds so restrictive to me and boring LOL. So after all this rambling, my only goal is to write, no rhyme or reason to it.

Are you a fast or a slow writer?

By some peoples achievements, slow. My first novel took nine years. Well, actually two and a half years. The rest of those years, life got in the way. But the past year I completely rewrote it and found a publisher after three tries.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I guess I answered that above partly. I expect my current novel to take me a year. If I could retire full-time, probably six months.

How do you cope with the friends and family that don’t support your writing or believe in your writing?

Generally, if we don't support something a family member is doing, we keep our mouths shut, unless it is somethng destructive. But the rest of us will talk to each other about it. A typical family LOL. I can be a private person and some of my friends didn't even know I write.

That's sensible. I make the mistake of telling everyone I'm an author, leaving myself wide opene for critisism, sometimes, but not always.

What is your next project, June?

A sequel to "Winter's Captive". My main character has more to say and more to share about herself with the world.

Great. Do you ever base physical appearance of your characters on people you know, portraits or actors?

Good question. Portraits or actors - no. Physical appearance somewhat, but I do draw more from personality traits and character of people I know. I use names of my grandchildren for secondary characters that may only appear in the story on one or two pages where we don't need to know anythng about that character. I don't use names of people I know for main characters because first, I can't disassociate their name from their personalities and that gets in the way of the character's development. And secondly, I don't want anyone I know to think a character is based on them, especially if the character's role in the story is a bad one LOL.

I know what you mean. For my characters, I merge a few people I know together, then they can't recognise themselves. LOL.

Introduce the main character from your latest book. Who are they? Let them speak for themselves. What would they like to say?

My name is Georgia Charles. The most important thing I can tell you is to get to know yourself. Don't define yourself by what you do or who you are with. Be your own person. And if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. It's up to you to decide how much sweetness to add to the lemons, no one else. Live for today.

Fantastic, June. Thank you so much for answering all the questions. That was very entertaining.

I enjoyed it too, Trish, and thanks for inviting me to your blog.

June's bookWinter's Captive will be published in October 2011 by Asteroid Publishing Inc, Toronto.
You can follow June at:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Children's Books for Reluctant Readers

Lately, I've been asked by a number of folks why I write children's books instead of Y/A. Well, I don't know why, it's just that I love writing for children. My aim is to make children laugh, cringe and squirm on the edge of their seats. I think that's the aim of most authors who write for children, but I particularly like writing stories for reluctant readers, the ones not yet interested in reading.

I had difficulties at school because of childhood illnesses and was slow at catching up, but I loved reading stories with mischievous characters and nasty adults. I especially loved Roald Dahl's books and Enid Blighton's.

I was a very mischievous child and ended up in all sorts of strife with my teachers and parents. Once when I read my childhood diaries to some children, they laughed their heads off. It was a wonderful feeling and  I became addicted to writing stories to make make children laugh. I also turned my diaries into fictitious children's stories for reluctant readers. At first, I was worried about the content of my children's books because I added the naughty things I did as a child, and some things weren't what parents would like their children to do.

I gave one of my books to a neighbour to read and he said no way would he ever let his grandchildren read such a story, and that humour like that should be kept in the bathroom. Well, that didn't put me off, I donated that book to the local schools and  libraries. One headmistress told me that they kept such books in their schools and libraries because children loved them and that those type of books helped reluctant readers to want to read. I'm going to post a sample of my first reluctant reader book, then at the end, I'll post one of the reviews I received from a customer on Amazon. This lady bought my reluctant reader book for her granddaughter even though she's quite an advanced reader. So that's why I love writing for children and so far, I've receive such wonderful feedback from them.

Excerpt chapter from Star-Crossed Rascals:

Chapter Seven – Germs

“You little nitwit!” yelled Auntie, holding her forehead. “I can’t leave you alone for one minute. Just look at this mess.”
No way was I hanging around to poo my pants. I jumped off the toilet seat, pushed past her and ran downstairs. Holding my bum, I hurried to the outside dunny.
When I swung the creaky door open, a big stink hit me in the face. Eww! I pinched my nose. I hated that smelly outhouse. It was always full of creepy-crawlers.
My stomach gurgled from the worst bellyache ever.  It felt like wild animals were fighting in my tummy. I sat on the loo and rested my feet on a milk crate. But there was no privacy. That grouchy grownup pounded on the door.
“Pollyweena, get out here this instant!” she barked. “I want to talk to you, but I need to use this toilet first. You’ve blocked the other one and the darn plumber can’t come until tomorrow.”
I ignored her and farted real loud. Take that, Auntie!
“Did you hear me?” she bellowed.
“Yeah,” I shouted, then I farted again. “Did ’ya hear that, Auntie? Did ya? I need to use the loo too, ’ya know.”
“This’ll be the last time I’ll ever babysit you!” she yelled. Then she must have gone indoors ’cause the back door slammed.
In the middle of the night, I had another tummy ache.  That didn’t please Auntie. She had to take me to the outhouse again. When I sat on the loo, my teeth chattered. I nearly froze to death.
Auntie shouted through the door, “Hurry up, Polly! It’s cold out here.”
“Well, guess what?” I hollered. “It’s your own fault. You shouldn’t feed liver to little kids – or make them clean toilets.”
“Just get on with your business,” she said. “You didn’t even eat any liver.”
“I’m trying to do a poo, but you’re bothering me,” I moaned, holding my belly.
When I finally went back to bed, the sun was already peeking in my window. Auntie felt my forehead. “Seems you have a fever,” she said. “No school for you today. I won’t be accused of being a bad babysitter.”
“No way!” I wailed. “I wanna go to school.”
“Too bad,” she said, covering me with a blanket. “That’s what happens to naughty girls who eat other people’s muck. I bet Dirty Gertie McDoodle is sick, too.” On her way out, she turned back. “I’ll bring you water and dry crackers.”
Water and crackers? What sort of breakfast was that? Even prisoners got real food. I sighed and snuggled under my covers. How was I gonna see Gertie? School was the only place I’d ever get to see her until Mum came back. I didn’t ’wanna stay home with that cranky old boiler. I was never going bubblegum hunting, ever again.
I looked for Jenny, but I couldn’t find her. And where was Mange? He usually came up to my room. I got out of bed and shouted down the stairs, “Auntie, where’s Jenny and Mange?”
Auntie came upstairs, carrying a tray. “Get back into bed. This minute!” she demanded. “I’ve put that yappy dog’s outside. I won’t have flea-bitten animals in the house. And I threw that smelly rag you call Jenny in the washing machine. It was full of germs.”
“No, Auntie, no,” I cried. “She’s my baby. Give her back!” Tears filled my eyes.
“Bed!” she repeated.
As I climbed under my doona, I wailed, “But Jenny will drown and get dizzy from spinning. And Mange will be lonely.”
“Tough luck,” she said, setting my breakfast on the dresser. Then she headed out the door.
My lip quivered. I wanted my pals, not dry old crackers. I sniffed and sipped my water. Auntie didn’t even like Mange. I bet she only likes black cats.
When she started banging pots down in the kitchen, I screamed out,  “I bet you’re cooking another horrid meal of bats and snails.”
She shouted up the stairs, “Watch it, Polly.”
“Watch what?” I yelled. “There’s no TV in here.”
Staying home with no one to play with was so boring. Auntie left Jenny, hanging on the washing line all week. Her pretty face got all smudged. And poor Mange had to sleep in the shed with the chook poo. Mum wouldn’t do that.
On Saturday morning, I got very excited. I jumped up and down. “Whoopee!” Mum and Dad were coming home. That meant I could play with Gertie again. I did a little jig around the room, then my door opened.
Auntie popped her head in. “Your parents are staying away for another week, so you’ll have to put up with me.”
I gulped. “Why?”
She sighed. “’Cause your grandmother’s sick.”
I frowned. “Can you take me to see her?”
“No, you’ll stay here with me,” she snapped.
But Grandma’s your sister,” I said. “Don’t you want to see her? You could stay and look after her.”
“I wish I could,” said Auntie. “She’d be less trouble than you. But your parents insist on staying, so don’t you dare leave this room until Monday.”
I frowned. Poor sweet Granny was sick, and I was stuck here with her nasty old sister.
On Monday morning, I grabbed my new shoes. Mum bought them before she went to Grandma’s. I put them on and did my happy dance. I spun around real fast. Yippee! Now I could go to school and see Gertie.
Grinning, I headed for the bus. Gertie wasn’t there. But when I got to school, she was getting out of her mum’s car. I ran and threw my arms around her. “Oh, Gertie, I’ve missed you!”
Gertie pulled my hands away from her neck. “I’ve missed you too,” she said, “but don’t smother me. I’ve been sick.”
“Me too,” I said.
Just then, Gertie’s mum came running towards us. “Gertie,” she shouted, “I’ve told you – you’re not allowed to play with Polly anymore.” She made squinty-eyes at me before marching back to her car.
Big tears pricked my eyes. I sniffed and looked at Gertie. But she ignored me and waved at her mother.
My shoulders drooped and I trudged across the playground. As I walked into school, Gertie ran up behind me. “Wait,” she shouted.
When I turned around, she was grinning. “Silly,” she said. “I had to fool my mum, didn’t I?”
I giggled. “You should get a big trophy for acting, Gertie.”
She looped arms with me. “At least my mum can’t see us in the classroom. And we can meet in the park after school.”
I smiled. “Auntie’s going home next weekend. Then you can play at my house.”
“And you know what?” said Gertie. “We can ride to the riverbank on my bike and you can sit in my basket again.”
A loud voice boomed behind us.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the bicycle terrorists.”
I nearly jumped out of my skin.
Patting her belt buckle, the headmistress glared at us. “So, you’re the two girls who ran me off the road. Aren’t you?”
Gertie nudged me and gave me her be-quiet look.
“Answer me!” snapped Mrs Godbolt.
With a big gulp, I said, “It … it was an accident.”
“Go to my office!” she ordered, pointing to the door. “Now!”
My tummy shook. I’d forgotten about Cuthbert’s. I held Gertie’s hand and we shuffled into Mrs Godbolt’s room.

I hope you enjoyed my sample chapter. Here is one of my five-star reviews from Amazon Books:

5.0 out of 5 stars Want the Truth? Ask a kid!June 18, 2011
This review is from: Star-Crossed Rascals: Adventures of Rascals, Polly and Gertie. (Volume 1) (Paperback)
I bought this book for my grandaughter. She loves it. I could stop the review right here because that says it all.

I'm sure we can all relate on some level to this story about two childhood friends who get into trouble all the time when thinking back on our own childhoods.

Just as these two adventurous, mischievious girls appear to go over the line, something funny happens, creating an amusing and entertaining tale.

My grandaughter is only seven, but advanced in reading and an avid reader. She carries this book with her and reads it over and over in bed before she falls asleep. I just bought her Patricia Puddle's newest release, "Molly Gumnut Rescues a Bandicoot". My grandaughter can't wait to read it.

Kudos to the writer. Not only does she reach kids on their level, she has great comedic timing that make her children's stories unique.

Thank you so much for that, June, and to all the other wonderful reviewers who posted great reviews on Amazon Books, Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, and Goodreads. I posted this review because it came from an child that loves my books. It makes all the hard work so worth while.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Children's Books By Irene Kueh

I recently purchased these two children's books by Irene Kugh and Kathy Kesner.


My four-year-old grandson loved learning to read with these two colourful children's books books. He loved the bright letters and pictures and enjoyed me reading the rhymes. So did my two-year-old granddaughter, and although she can't read yet, she loved pointing out the numbers and saying them out loud. These books will certainly encourage her to learn the alphabet and numbers. The two children wanted to take the books home to their house, but I said no, they're staying at Nana's house so they have them when they come to visit me.
Irene Kugh is talented writer who also writes Y/A Fantasy stories. I can't wait to read her upcoming book, Voices. Hopefully, it will be out soon.

You can purchase Iren's children's books at Amazon: Here And Smashwords: Here

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Star-Crossed Rascals eBook

Star-Crossed Rascals is now available as an eBook with Amazon and Smashwords. I'm giving away a paperback version on Goodreads so if anyone would like to read this story for free, just go to the Enter To Win link at Goodreads and click on the Read More button underneath. You will then be able to read the whole story, but on the Gooodreads website. Here is the link: Read More. (If that doesn't work, try this link:

You can also enter to win the paperback if you like the story.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Author Patti Roberts

Patti Roberts lives in Cairns Australia and is the author of Paradox Available on Amazon Kindle here

Book two will be available later in the year:
Book three will be available in 2012

Patti writes paranormal romance novels and is offering a free eBook to the first five people who leave the word: 'Paradox'on her blog Here:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Children's Book Giveaways for June and July

Three Children's Books Giveways at Goodreads. 
See below for details:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Star-Crossed Rascals by Patricia Puddle

Star-Crossed Rascals

by Patricia Puddle

Giveaway ends June 30, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Molly Gumnut Rescues a Bandicoot by Patricia Puddle

Molly Gumnut Rescues a Bandicoot

by Patricia Puddle

Giveaway ends July 30, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Velvet Ball and The Broken Fairy by Patricia Puddle

Velvet Ball and The Broken Fairy

by Patricia Puddle

Giveaway ends July 06, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win