Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Introducing Author / Illustrator, Jodi Stone

Today I'm introducing the wonderful children's books author and illustrator, Jodi Stone.

Jodi Stone is following her dreams of writing and illustrating children's books. She now has contracts for five children's books that are currently on the market through Solstice Publishing. Jodi's stories and drawings are inspired by her three beautiful daughters and her amazing and supportive husband. She has a degree in Education and is soon to finish her degree in Creative Writing at The University of south Florida.

Here are some of her beautifully illustrated children's books. I've read them and highly recommend them. And I just adore Jodi's illustrations.

Brooke is a young girl who is about to take an amazing journey...one that begins when she awakes with a crown upon her head.  When Brooke forgets who she really is, it doesn't take long for her to realize that it's much better to be a princess with gratitude than a princess with attitude.  Go on this journey with Brooke in 'Confessions of a Pre-Teen Beauty Queen', the first of two stories in Princess Stories you'll be sure to love!
You can order at: http://www.solsticepublishing.com in paperback or e-book

Savannah is about to take an adventure in her own backyard.  When Savannah goes out looking for a doll amidst the grass she finds a tiny door.  Curious Savannah tries to open the tiny door, but to no avail.  When Savannah returns again later the door is gone and a mouse named Frey is in it's place begging for cheese.  Savannah must decide what's more important and might find some suprises along the way. Go on this fantastic journey with Savannah and discover that when you lend a helping hand, more doors will open for you. To read more, order 'A Louse of a Mouse' through Fairy Tales and Dreams at Solstice Publishing: at:

This book is also available in paperback with a second story, 'The Little Witch's Hat, in the book entitled, 'Two Great Stories'.

Here is a link to Jodi Stone's wonderful website: http://www.jodistories.mysite.com/

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Introducing Author: Veronica Randolph Batterson

I recently read Billy's First Dance by Veronica Randolph Batterson. What a wonderful coming of age book. The story has many wonderful characters and is about the love and kindness a thirteen-year-old girl has for her invalid younger brother. The boy, Billy is in a wheelchair and would love to dance. 

Real family dramas and comedy happen and the story will make you laugh as well as cry. It's a coming of age book, so young girls will love it and maybe even some boys. Reading this story brought back many wonderful memories of when I was thirteen. 

The writing was perfect and I enjoyed the unique descriptions of all the relatives, especially the old woman. I read the whole book in one day

Veronica received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her short stories and essays have appeared in various publications. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and their golden retriever, Lily, and is working on her next novel.

Thirteen-year-old Junie dreams of becoming a writer. Her youngest brother, Billy, afflicted with Spina Bifida and confined to a wheelchair, dreams of dancing. Their quirky but loving family finds a way to stay together.

Set in the southeast in the 1970s, BILLY'S FIRST DANCE unfolds with attention to family bonds, special needs and coming of age. Junie wants desperately to become a writer but must deal with the unusual circumstances of her family. She and her three half-siblings live with their grandmother and aunt, and none of the children know where their mother is.

BILLY'S FIRST DANCE is written for the middle grade reader and older. It is available on amazon.com, buybooksontheweb.com, borders.com and waldenbooks.com. Any bookstore may order copies.

You can find Veronica's books at the following links:  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Introducing Fantastic Y/A Author Jayde Scott

Jayde Scott is one of my favourite authors of all time and I'm so excited to interview her and introduce her to you. You'll love her book as much as I do. Promise.

Hi Jayde, thank you so much for letting me interview you. First of all, tell us about yourself and where you sit to write your wonderful stories. Do you have an office? Or do you just write anywhere?

Hi Trish , thanks for inviting me. I write dark fiction including the paranormal and mythology. My books are aimed at teens and young adults, though at times, I also venture into women's fiction. I'm very particular about my writing environment and prefer dark spaces with no windows because I can't write with distractions. I don't have an actual office so I'd say I can write anywhere, but there has to be a bed or sofa since I tend to write leaning against a wall with my MacBook cradled on my thighs. Depending on the scene I write, I need either perfect silence or music.

That’s funny, Jayde, but so understandable, especially since you also write dark fiction, which I love of course.  Gee, no way could I write like that though. I love to gaze out of a window occasionally. Now, I have this great image of you writing in a dark room. It sounds cosy though. Now, tell us how long you’ve been writing?

Ever since I could read and write. I started out writing poetry and the endings of my mother's romance novels, then moved on to short stories. In my teens, I figured why not try my hand at a vampire novel. The book was horribly bad and clich├ęd, but it certainly taught me a thing or two about writing.

It sounds like you’ve always wanted to be a writer then?

Well, not always. At some point I wanted to be a poet. When my aspirations were shattered, I went to uni to get a degree and didn't do much writing because I figured no writer can ever live on royalties alone. It was only two years ago that I really wanted to be a writer and started changing my life in that direction.

Wonderful. You found what you loved and decided to do it, no matter what. I love that. Do you remember your first writing attempts?

Oh, gosh, yes. They were horrible because I had a tendency toward flowery, verbose description. I thought I sounded like Anne Rice, but I was probably just a bad copycat. I still think my poems were great though.

What genre do you write the most?

I prefer to write fantasy and paranormal (mostly YA), but I do dab into contemporary women's fiction at times just to give myself variety.

Great, and they're wonderful, I know because I've read them. What other genres have you written in, or would like to pursue?

At the moment, I don't really see myself writing in other genres. My paranormal fiction may take a darker turn in the future since I'm really drawn in that direction, but I don’t see myself changing genres because I really love what I do right now.

I know what you mean. I love writing children's stories, so that's my genre. I think it's great that you write Y/A because you're so fabulous at it. I love all of your books and would love to read more. What goals do you set out to achieve when you start writing a new story?

I try to write at least 2000 words a day and have the first draft finished in six weeks.

Gee, that’s fast. I’m much slower than that. You must be a fast writer.

Yes, I'm a fast writer and can write up to 5000 words a day, but I tend to break off in the middle and not write for a few weeks and months, then return to a story and finish it.

How long does it take you to write a whole book?

It depends. I'd say anywhere between two and six months. It took me six months to write A Job From Hell, but only two to write The Divorce Club, which might have something to do with length and how much plot is in there.

That’s about the time it takes me, but only if I’m left alone to write. There are always so many distractions to stop me though. Like family, animals, marketing and work. Jayde, how do you cope with certain friends and family that don’t support your writing or believe in your writing?

Easy, I don't tell them about my books.

Great advice, Jayde. I’m getting that way too, but now my family are starting to believe at last. What is your next project?

My next project is Voodoo Kiss, the third book in the Ancient Legends series. I don't want to reveal too much about it, so let say it's much darker than anything I've done before with lots of Voodoo, rituals and betrayal. It's going to be a wicked read.

Fantastic. I can’t wait for that. Do you ever base physical appearance of your characters on people you know, portraits or actors?

Yes, I believe we all do that every now and then, though I wouldn't say it applies to all characters. Aidan from A Job From Hell is a very famous rock star. Everyone else was just a figment of my imagination.

I would love to know what rock star that is, but I know you won't want to reveal that, so I won't ask. Introduce the main character from your latest book. Who are they? Let them speak for themselves. What would they like to say?

The main character from my last book, Beelzebub Girl, is Cass who happens to be Lucifer's daughter. She's a bit of a klutz but very endearing. At just seventeen, she has quite a bit on her plate. Think, parents are separated and she lives with her conventional father. Soon she'll be bound to Hell forever if she doesn't find the love of her life to save her from her curse. Trouble is, said soulmate is mortal and her family isn't exactly thrilled. Now she not only must persuade the family that he's worthy of their approval, she also has to protect him from the psycho causing havoc in Hell. And that's quite a task for a seventeen-year-old.

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Jade, and good luck with your new book and the ones already published. I'm reading BeelzeBuB Girl at the moment and absolutely loving it. The book cover and title are fabulous.

Thank you for inviting me, Trish. I appreciate it.

You can purchase Jayde’s wonderful books online at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. Here is a link and to purchase her books click on >> Amazon.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Children's eBooks under a dollar plus Paperback Giveaway.

Because my readers are mainly children, I decided to lower the cost of all my eBooks. They're now all available at the low price of  $0.99 and available at Amazon Kindle: http://tiny.cc/klwu2 and also with Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TrishaPuddle  I've also lowered the cost of the paperback versions, available at Amazon books or CreatSpace. To purchase paperback copies or eBooks, just click on the cover of the book of choice in the side bar on the right hand side of the blog.

My children's books vary from chapter books for beginner readers to junior fiction and also fantasy books. So far, I'm having wonderful feedback from children and also from pensioners, who also enjoy my stories. I would love to hear yours. So in August, I'm giving a free paperback copy of one of my children's books to anyone who purchases all three ebooks and also reviews them on either Amazon or Smashwords. I also have a new children's book being released in August, so there will be four books to chose from.

To some of my best fans, six elderly ladies in a retirement village, I thank you for your support and for rushing me to finish my next book. At your request, it will be available sometime in August. Thanks you so much. I really appreciate it. And thank you to my new young fans, Faith, Matthew, Braelynne, Dana, Will, and also the wonderful ladies in my village.

Oh, and I have to thank the local coffee shop that also sells my books. Thank you:  Shots of Happy.

And to the wonder DJ, Michael Hilsden, who mentions my books on his radio show on Wednesday afternoons. You can listen to him here: http://www.greatlakesfm.org.au/studio_streaming.htm

Saturday, July 2, 2011

An Interesting post from George Straatman

Today we have an interesting post from the wonderful fantasy author, George Straatman.

Elizabeth Simpson and the impact of characters on those who create them

     There are many aspects of creative writing that are truly mystifying even to those who have devoted their lives to the art. Writing the Converging Trilogy was a twenty year undertaking and as I look back over those two decades and the process of evolution I’ve undergone, both as a writer and an individual in the world beyond…I realize that this series of novels and the characters I created to populate the Converging’s landscape, have left a lasting impression upon me in ways I could never have anticipated. I’ve often been asked about my creative process or more specifically, “Where I learned to write like that?” I suspect that those who pose the question find my response rather odd because my writing style is highly intuitive and is simply the way I naturally write…In that time, I’ve received some fairly effusive praise for the series and I’m still rather uncomfortable with the compliments because I’ve always felt that the stories wrote themselves and I was simply medium through which they were recorded.
     With this notion in mind and as the Converging’s final word was committed to paper, my thoughts turned to the character of Elizabeth Simpson…and through her, I finally came to some epiphany of what it really means to be an author...to weave tapestries with words and emotions…to create characters whose lives and struggles can reach out beyond the printed page and leave an indelible mark on those who have shared their journeys.
     I spend a portion of each day trying to learn more about the specifics of marketing in the new age of social media. In this process, I have heard the sage advice to ‘write to an audience’ and to ‘tailor your writing to their specific needs.’ While I have no doubt this works for those who have advocated the concept, I could no more write this way than I could draw down the moon. It’s simply not how my creative engine operates.
     When I first took up the pen and began writing the first volume of the Converging the character of Cynara Saravic…the novel’s truly vile antagonist…was set firmly in my creative eye. Elizabeth Simpson, who would fall victim to Cynara’s demonic allure through the course of the novel, was to be a main character to be sure, but she was a nebulous creature whose character would be defined by the flow of the story. I mentioned that my writing is mostly intuitive and this was never more than case than it was with Elizabeth. As the story began to gain tangible shape, she spoke to me…quietly and with whispered grace and dignity and through the course of the 1,800 pages plus journey, Elizabeth’s tribulation-filled journey became the primary focus of the tale. Elizabeth came to define herself and endured the depths of despair and the heartache of ineffable loss that I contrived to heap upon her throughout the story with a stoic dignity. She suffered all of these things and through her grace, taught me the nature of perseverance, dignity and compassion even in the shadow of her own grief. Though provided with every opportunity to do so, Elizabeth fiercely refused to surrender her grip on the fundamental virtue of her nature and found the wherewithal to stay true to whom and what she was. When I first decided to write this horror trilogy, it was my aspiration to craft a horror story that would pay homage to all that I loved about the genre, but to also weave a tale that could transcend its limits and resonate with everyone who might embark upon reading it. If I have achieved this at all, it is to Elizabeth Simpson that all the credit must go.
     I recall the night I finished the epilogue of Closures in Blood (the final novel of the Trilogy) in the summer of 1995. As I was inclined to do, I reread these final page and came to the stunning realization (one that I was unaware of during the actual writing) that I had just crafted one of the most poignant and heart-wrenching pieces of story-telling I had ever written…I had taken everything from Elizabeth that an omnipotent creator could take and in the end, had given back only the slim prospect of hope that was nebulous at best. Elizabeth endured even this with her customary grace. I recall how, through those twenty years, she taught me who she was and how best to recount her tale…and I know that I see her as a daughter…a friend and an example that I can look to when faced with my own trials to overcome.
     One of the greatest compliments I ever received as a writer came when a fan of my series approached me (an avid reader who had never read a horror offering prior to mine) and told me that the conclusion of the final novel had left her crying unabashedly…not an easy emotion to arouse with a horror story. I was pleased because I knew that I was not alone in feeling the emotions that this ending evoked and also because I could take comfort in knowing that I had succeeded in telling Elizabeth’s story precisely as she would have wanted me to.
     I’m not sure where a novel’s characters go once their tale has been told, but where ever Elizabeth Simpson might be, I hope she has found comfort and happiness there in exchange for all she has taught me about writing…and about life.

George Straatman