Play With Me Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Play with Me 
Written by Kat Chen 
Illustrated by Lorraine Nam 
Ages 1+ | 24 Pages 
Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop | ISBN-13: 9780593659717 

Publisher’s Book Summary: This board book series invites young readers to take part in a playdate activity of their choice, thereby empowering them with autonomy and validation. The picnic playdate models balanced and shared play, creating a positive experience that will provide readers with a reference for what caring and considered friendship looks like. Many toddlers and preschoolers consistently ask for someone to play with them, and this book provides just that for the quieter moments of the day. Simple language and gentle questions will help children develop their social skills by practicing conversations, all while engaging them in fun and familiar topics. 

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and


Kat Chen is the author of several bestselling contemporary and historical romance books. She also serves on the advisory board for Books for Newborns.

After becoming a grandmother and spending most of her free time helping with “the fun stuff”—conversations, crayons, and crawling—she was inspired to delve into children’s books and help kids master the art of simple conversation through shared play.

Learn more about Kat and her work on her website, Facebook, Instagram.


Lorraine Nam is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Philadelphia and spent her childhood drawing pictures and folding origami to pass the time at her parents’ jewelry store. She now spends her days combining those two loves to create her illustrations.

She is the illustrator of the picture book biography on Neil deGrasse Tyson, Look Up With Me, and the upcoming Wei Skates On, by Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Chen.

Learn more about Lorraine and her work on her website, Instagram, and Twitter


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired this story?  

Kat Chen - Do you want the official answer or the truth? Official answer: I saw a TED talk about how kids learn to talk with questions. Someone asks, what’s your name? They answer. Someone asks, What color do you like? They think about it and answer. It’s how most conversations begin—a question and an answer. So that’s what I wrote. (That’s all true, it’s just not the full truth. For that…see below.) 

 The secret, unofficial answer is that I watched a relative reading to my granddaughter and was surprised that he just read the words. There was no pausing, no interacting, no questions with the child. That’s when I realized many people don’t know how to read with a toddler. They need help learning how to engage the child with the book. So, I wrote the questions and the interactions to help the adults engage with their child and the book together. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you hope readers will learn from reading Play with Me

Kat Chen - I hope the adults learn how to read books interactively with their child. Reading should be fun play for everyone, not passive entertainment. This series helps people see how to interact with the child in a way everyone enjoys. 

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think small learnings and tender moments are important for a child? 

Kat Chen - I think they’re important for everyone! The journey of a thousand miles begins and continues with one step. It’s the only way to make consistent progress. And if you can make those small steps fun, nurturing, and tender, then the world opens up for you. Not just for children, but for adults too. I don’t know if my three-year-old remembers how we read books together, but I certainly do. And I cherish those moments because every single one adds to a lifetime of joy. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think children will like most about this story? 

Kat Chen - That the adult reading to them asks them questions. The child gets to choose what they want, what they like, and at times, even what they see. (There’s a couple pages that look up at clouds and ask what the child sees.)  I hope they think it’s fun, fun, fun. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you like most about the story? 

Kat Chen - I love the art. I’m a wordsmith, so I can see the skill in the words. But the art blows my mind. Lorraine Nam gave perfect color and shape to my words in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Every time I see it, I’m absolutely floored by her art. 

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share your writing journey? 

Kat Chen - I started writing after college. Fantasy and romance, mostly. None of it very good. Then I decided to become the great American screenwriter and got an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) at USC (University of Southern California). Then, before I could really get going in Hollywood, we followed my husband’s job back to Illinois. Not much film work going on in central Illinois, so I turned to novels. And babies. I had my children, broke into adult romance novels, and many years later, I revisited my love of picture books. 

 I got some excellent training from my literary agent in exactly how to write these delightful short form works. And then—years later—I finally sold to RISE. I cannot tell you how much joy these books bring me. I’ve published almost 80 novels, am a USA TODAY and AMAZON bestseller, and nothing beats sitting down with my grandbabies and reading the Play With Me books.  

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now?

Kat Chen - I’ve got several pictures books in submission, so I’m pausing writing more until those flow through the pipeline. (Although, when inspiration strikes, I’m always ready to grab a pen!) Right now, I’m working on an adult romance under the name Jade Lee. Sometimes you have to create the loving family that will support the child. That’s what my adult books do in several hot and sexy ways!


Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Play with Me and a $25 Amazon gift card! 

This post is sponsored by Kat Chen. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Monday, April 15, 2024


Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs
Written by Stacey Rayz
Illustrated by Nenad Taskov
Ages 5-10 | 32 Pages
Publisher: Two Season Press | ISBN-13: 9789769628137

Publisher’s Book Summary: In this modern mashup between Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red dares to be different and takes bold risks as she ventures into a field that is out of the norm for girls. Perfect for girls and boys ages 5 to 10 who love cars, fixing things and fairy tales.

Available for purchase on Amazon.


Stacey Rayz, hailing from the Caribbean, left her desk job to delve into the world of art and eventually to become a children’s book author. For more information, visit the author's website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter/X, Goodreads, Bookbub.


Nenad Taskov, a children’s book illustrator, and cartoonist from Serbia has professionally created cartoons and children’s book illustrations for more than 9 years. What amazes him particularly about this type of art is that it offers the opportunity to demonstrate creativity and a sense of humor and create diverse, interesting, funny characters and situations.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs?

Stacey Rayz - As a child I enjoyed reading the classic fairy tales and as an adult now, I felt that a fresh modern spin to them would have been fun. Children would be able to have a fairy tale character in a modern setting that they could identify with. So I tried many title variations until I came up with the final title then built the story around that.

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers learn from this story?

Stacey Rayz - They will learn to persevere despite setbacks. They will also learn that sometimes help comes from unexpected places and at unexpected times.

Little Red’s famous words “Don’t worry, I can fix it!” helps readers to have a positive outlook under the most challenging situations.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think will kids like most about this retelling?

Stacey Rayz - Kids are helpful, so I think kids will like the fact that Little Red Driving Hood is trying to help others.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you feel the illustrations add to the message of the story?

Stacey Rayz - I am hoping readers realize the nod to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in both the illustrations and the story.

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share your writing experience?

Stacey Rayz - When I was in school, I enjoyed my assignments to write about what I did for my school vacation. But my children’s book writing experience came from training I received from Children’s Book Mastery. I’ve attended some of their bootcamps and that really helped me polish my story to make it shine. I have authored two previous books as well.

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on next?

Stacey Rayz - My next book is a playful story about a young cow who is not your typical-looking calf and who learns to feel comfortable in her own skin.

Life Is What It's Called - What else should readers know about you?

Stacey Rayz - Not only do I write children’s stories, but I also write and perform a type of calypso music called ‘Extempo’ for fun to entertain my friends.


Enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs signed by Stacey Rayz and a $75 Amazon gift card!

Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs: Book Giveaway 

This post is sponsored by Stacey Rayz. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Fairy Day Games Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Tuesday, April 9, 2024


Fairy Day Games
Written by Mari Sherkin
Illustrated by David Gnass
Ages 4+ | 38 Pages
Publisher: Mascot Kids | ISBN-13: 9781637555064

Publisher’s Book Summary: Get ready for fun at the Fairy Day Games! Join children’s author Mari Sherkin as she peeks inside a secret world, where magical creatures come together to prepare for the most festive Fairy Day of the year!!

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and


Raised in Toronto by an English father and Canadian mother, Mari Sherkin was always the happiest playing outdoors and using her imagination. She still is. Her first children’s book, A Fairy on My Sleeve, was an international success.

For more information, visit the author's website, Instagram, and/or Twitter.


Life Is What It's Called - What did you like most about writing this book?

Mari Sherkin - I was actually writing another fairy story at the time and one night my husband and I decided to watch an old movie. The movie was located in a very small, quaint town which was holding an old-fashioned county fair. 

My mind turned to fairies as it often does and I wondered, what if the fairies had a fair? A whole day of fun and games organized by the fairy folk and their magical friends. What would that be like? After that, the rhymes just started coming to me. 

Life Is What It's Called- What do you think readers will like most about this book?

Mari Sherkin - I love the idea that there could be wonderful, magical worlds that we don’t know exist, right in our back garden. I think it is that “What If” scenario that made Fairy Day Games so much fun to write.  What if there are fairies in the woods behind our house and what if had their own Olympic games?  What if it was only for one day? What if everyone who lived in the forest had to work together for months to get it all ready? What if I were invited?  

Yes, my favourite part of writing Fairy Day Games were definitely the “What If’s” 

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story?

Mari Sherkin - In my magical fairy world, everyone is different but they all work together to make a wonderful day at the fair for everyone. It is a cheerful, safe space where there is no poverty, hate or war. 

 There are fairies, gnomes, squirrels and frogs and everyone gets along with each other. I suppose if I did have a message, it would be to put aside differences and work together for a common cause. There really aren’t that many safe spaces left these days in the real world, so I wanted to create a place that was special for children to go in their imagination.  

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers like most about this book?

Mari Sherkin - I think the best thing about this book is the artwork. David Gnass, with whom I’ve worked before, has a wonderful eye for detail. I told him that I wanted children to be able to stay on the pages even after they finished reading the words, so they could examine the artwork and find something new and exciting each time. This also helps younger children feel more included in the story, even if they don’t read quite yet. 

Life Is What It's Called - What makes your book stand apart from others on the market?

Mari Sherkin - Fairy Day Games is about friendship and joy, innocence and excitement. I didn’t write it with any sort of lesson in mind, nor is any merchandise is being marketed or sold to children, which I suppose is different. Really, Fairy Day Games is just a happy little escape from the everyday routine, a place to go for daydreams. 

Life Is What It's Called - Are you working on any other writing projects?

Mari Sherkin - Currently, I have one book ready for illustration, with two more books in progress.  I am also in the process of recording an album of children’s songs that I wrote, one of which will be filmed as a video this summer. These songs are actually part of a larger body of work - a children’s musical - that I hope to pitch within the next two years. 

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share your background in writing?
Mari Sherkin - I do not really have a professional background in writing. In high school, English and Drama were my two favourite classes - I read a lot of Shakespeare and wrote a lot of poetry - however in college, I studied Interior Design and then turned to fitness. 

I didn’t really start writing my poems down until my son was a teenager, and nothing was published until 20 years after that. They sat in a folder in the bottom of a drawer until I found them again and thought they might be nice as Picture Books for preschoolers. 

Life Is What It's Called - What else should readers know about this book?

Mari Sherkin - Fairy Day Games is a picture book about fairies, for preschoolers. It is all about an elusive, magical world, that is usually hidden from humans, making her dream of an invitation that much more exclusive.  My hope is that it will help invigorate a child’s imagination, letting them take the story further, perhaps inspiring them to make up some new games for the fairies to play. Hopefully, it will encourage and stimulate creative conversation and play, just by asking the simple question “What if?” 


Enter the giveaway for the chance to win a signed copy of the Fairy Day Games!

Fairy Day Games: Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Expound Publicity. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs