Hearts of Briarwall Blog Tour

Thursday, August 4, 2022

 




ABOUT THE BOOK
Lydia Wooding is fascinated by the latest inventions the new century brings, including motorcars. She longs for the independence they represent and believes that women should have a say in the future of the industry―just as they should have a say in suffrage, adventure, and, of course, love.

Spencer Hayes is a man of practicality and innovation, but he lacks the financial backing to make his dream a reality. When he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, about a promising business venture, he is invited to Briarwall Manor to discuss the terms. Once there, he is surprised to find that Andrew's once shy, younger sister, Lydia, has grown into a young woman of beauty, wit, and a bit of fire. Even better, the two share a passion for motorcars.

Andrew, however, is wary of cars, having lost his parents in a tragic auto accident when he and Lydia were young. And he's not sure a relationship between his sister and Spencer is the best idea―not when Sir Lawrence is available and could match both Lydia's social status and her fortune.

Torn between risking their hearts and being loyal to their dreams in an era of whirlwind change, Spencer and Lydia anchor themselves with the determination they both share: to live life to its fullest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author KRISTA JENSEN works and plays in the Pacific Northwest with her spunky little dog and anyone else who wants to tag along. When she’s not exploring the outdoors, she can likely be found with her laptop, a pretty spiral notebook, and a Pilot Precise V7, writing about love, triumph, and really great kisses. Either that or she’s switching laundry wondering who keeps wearing all these clothes. (It’s her.) For book info and other good things, follow Krista on Instagram @kristajensenbooks

REVIEW
Hearts of Briarwall is a clean and wholesome romance set in 1906 during the Edwardian era in England. The story moves along at a good pace and the author does a good job at keeping the reader entertained. The characters are interesting and likeable. The romance builds slowly and gives the reader a chance to get to know the characters and see the romance develop. You also get the beginnings of the suffrage movement and the differing reactions to the relatively new idea of motorcars.  Readers experience the Edwardian time and learn more about concerns during that time as well as social norms.
 
There were a two moments when I groaned as a reader. The main character, Lydia, was part of a secret society of women that wanted to fly like Wendy in Peter Pan. There's a trend in wholesome romance right now of packing characters in secret societies and it's starting to become overdone. The only other time I groaned is when the author described a character waggling their eyebrows, which also seems to be used excessively in clean romance novels. 

Overall, I felt like it was an entertaining read, and the author shows a fresh take on the Edwardian era and the clean romance genre. It's a read that romance readers from teens to adult will enjoy especially with Lydia's vibrant character and ideas. To learn more about this book, click here.


Please note that I receive a free copy of this book, however, this is my honest opinion. This post also contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

The Dreaming Beauty Blog Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway

Thursday, July 21, 2022

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Once upon a dream, two cursed people fell in love . . .

Tansy White doesn’t want to end up alone like her three aunts who raised her, but when she is betrayed by her would-be betrothed, she fears she might never change her fate. At her aunts’ suggestion, she seizes the chance to visit Rose Cottage, the country home of her late mother. For years, dreams of the cottage have haunted Tansy, and she is convinced it holds the answer to her hidden past. But after getting caught in a terrible storm, she meets a man who is just as determined as she is to learn all her secrets.

Marcus Taylor, brother to the Duke of Westmorland, is also troubled by vivid dreams. On a sleepless night, as a tempest rages outside his brother’s estate, he makes a discovery far more mysterious than any dream: a young woman, cold as ice, lies unconscious in the library, and he is sure she is the key to solving his problems. When she wakes, what begins as a shared quest for information turns into an unexpected friendship. As they piece together the fragments of their pasts, they discover a tangled web of lies, and their feelings for each other become just as entwined. But is their love as strong as their dreams . . . or their fate?





AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from other books on the market?

Anneka Walker - Regency Romance has become a popular genre for good reason. In The Dreaming Beauty, you will see a familiar countryside setting and the proper rules of Society we all love, but it has a unique fairy tale twist that adds mystery and secrets to the romance.

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers take away from this book?

Anneka Walker - I hope readers will have a greater appreciation for people with a variety of personalities. I hope they will see what matters most to them--which is often relationships. I also hope they will be entertained and smile over the romance. 

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

Anneka Walker - My readers inspired this story. I hadn't planned to write another book like The Masked Baron, but when I had people asking, I was suddenly motivated to write another fairy tale retelling!

Life Is What It's Called - How is this book similar and different to your other books?

Anneka Walker - It's most similar to The Masked Baron in style, but you will find a loveable cast of characters in all of my stories!

Life Is What It's Called - Which authors inspire you?

Anneka Walker - Recently, I've been inspired by Heather Moore and Rebecca Connolly's historical fiction stories. History has such a way of teaching timeless lessons we can learn from over and over again.

Life Is What It's Called - What have you learned from writing this story?

Anneka Walker - The three topics I researched heavily were asylums, sociology, and dreams. I learned so much! But I would have to say I had the most fun learning the tricks to tell if someone was lying. 

Life Is What It's Called - What scene did you enjoy the most writing? 

Anneka Walker - I don't want to give away any spoilers, but the climax was so fun to write! I could feel my adrenaline racing as my male main character raced to save the day. Also, I loved writing the epilogue. Concluding a story is truly satisfying.




REVIEW

The Dreaming Beauty tells a new twist on the fairy tale classic, Sleeping Beauty, in this imaginative retelling. The author instantly draws you into the story as Tansy tries to navigate her life with haunting dreams and what the future may hold for her and her aunts. The characters are more robust and engaging than the traditional fairy tale with unique pasts and personalities. The author does a good job at layering the story with many turns that the reader has to unravel to get to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding the story. The story does reference Anneka Walker's previous story, The Masked Baron, however, it can also be read as a standalone. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was very well written, and it pays tribute to the original classic, while also making it into something completely new and surprising. This book was a clean romance and teens to adults will find it enjoyable. To learn more, click here.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Please note that I received a free e-book to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post also contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

The Crystal Beads: Lalka's Journey Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Tuesday, July 12, 2022



ABOUT THE BOOK

The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Written by Pat Black-Gould
Illustrated by Katya Royz
Ages 8+ | 40 Pages
Publisher: Purple Butterfly Press | ISBN-13: 9781955119207
Publisher’s Synopsis: A Star of David necklace or a rosary?

In 1939 Poland, a young girl is asked to give up one of these and accept the other without understanding why. However, what she must part with happens to be her most prized possession—a precious gift given to her by her father before he died.

The child’s mother then teaches the girl a “game” to prepare her for what is to come. As the Nazis invade the country, the mother is forced to make a heartbreaking sacrifice.

This beautifully illustrated picture book is loosely based on a true story. Although told through the eyes of a young girl, the book is written for readers of all ages. It also contains two study guides. One is for children, parents, and teachers. The other is for adults who may gather in places of worship, book clubs, and small groups. Discussion topics include themes of compassion, empathy, and diversity.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Barnes and Noble.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pat Black-Gould, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and an author. Her short stories have appeared in several literary journals and anthologies.

Many years ago, Pat heard a powerful story that haunted her until she committed it to paper. The Crystal Beads was first published in Jewish Fiction. net in 2020. The short story then won first-place honors in two writing competitions conducted by the National League of American Pen Women, Washington, D.C.

The first was an award by the Pen Women Florida State Association. She then received the Flannery O’Connor Short Story Award as part of the National Biennial Letters in Competition. Pat felt it important to bring the story to a younger audience. At that point, she rewrote it as a children’s book. She hopes that The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey, will do justice to the story she once heard and carry its message to younger generations.

Pat’s writing explores topics such as compassion, tolerance, and diversity. She continues to examine these themes in her upcoming novel, Limbo of the Moon, written with her co-writer, Steve Hardiman.

For more information, visit www.patblackgould.com.

Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write The Crystal Beads?

Pat Black-Gould - Many years ago, my rabbi told me about the experiences of a little girl during the Holocaust. What he said haunted me so much that I wrote it down as a short story, telling it through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl. The story was published in Jewish Fiction. net as The Crystal Beads and then won first place in both state and national writing competitions. Following that, I conducted presentations on my work and found that the story’s themes led to thoughtful and passionate discussions and questions. I felt I had to do something more with this story to reach a wider audience. That’s when I wrote a picture book, and the title became The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think readers will gain from reading this story?

Pat Black-Gould - We are at a time in our history when we are witnessing the rise of hate crimes and of anti- semitism. Additionally, just as I was completing this book, we saw the unfolding horror of war crimes in Ukraine. I believe my book is a timely reminder of the consequences of allowing hatred to gain a powerful foothold in any environment.

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from the others on the market?

Pat Black-Gould - Although this book is written as a picture book, it’s a story for almost all ages, from age eight upwards. I designed the book specifically to include two study guide questionnaires. One for children to discuss with their parents and teachers. The other is for adults who gather in places of worship, book clubs, and small groups. Further, this book also contains the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, the words of a son of survivor, and the words of a granddaughter of a survivor, Katya Royz, who also illustrated the book. I wanted readers, especially young ones, to have a connection to generations of survivors to foster an understanding that the Holocaust did not end when the camps were liberated.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you see this book being used in the classroom?


Pat Black-Gould - The study guide questions will aid teachers in framing discussions. There’s also a section in the Afterword about the Paper Clip Project conducted at Whitwell Middle School in Whitwell, Tennessee. Readers will learn how a group of students at this small school made a big difference in the lives of others after they studied the Holocaust. This story may inspire children to develop ideas for their own projects aimed at helping others.

Life Is What It's Called - Why is it important to share stories about the past?


Pat Black-Gould - In answer to this question, I can't improve on the words of George Santayana, who said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905).

Life Is What It's Called - What other books will be good companions to this one?

Pat Black-Gould - I have not found any other books that include all the components that I added to my book, but I have noted some that stand out. These include:


Life Is What It's Called - What themes run throughout your writing and why?

Pat Black-Gould - Love, courage, compassion, empathy. The love of a mother for her daughter gives her the courage to make a heartbreaking sacrifice to keep her daughter safe. Sister Teresa demonstrates empathy, compassion, and courage in offering sanctuary to the little girl, knowing she is putting her own life at risk.

Life Is What It's Called - How has your psychology background helped you write this story?


Pat Black-Gould - The child in the book is interrogated by Nazis. This is obviously a harrowing and confusing experience for this little girl. As a psychologist who works in the trauma field, I wanted to be able to convey these emotional experiences while being mindful of the necessity of not provoking vicarious trauma in young readers. This was a difficult balancing act, and I believe the words of Rabbi Mark W. Kiel are validation that I achieved this balance: Concerned parents often ask if children can handle the subject of the Holocaust. The answer is yes, if its story is told with subtlety and grace, as is true in “Crystal Beads, and where the tragedy is redeemed by love.

Life Is What It's Called - How can this story relate to present-day circumstances?

Pat Black-Gould - In our country and many others across the globe, we are seeing the rise of hate crimes and anti-Semitism on an almost daily basis. We are also witnessing an ongoing war in Ukraine that has resulted in millions of innocents fleeing for their lives from Russian forces. My illustrator’s grandfather also fled Ukraine as a child when the Nazis invaded his hometown, but the safe haven for his family was Russia. This is a reminder that we must be aware that hatred may be cloaked in many different guises and come from many different directions, but the target is always the same: the innocents.


Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to know about you as an author?


Pat Black-Gould - As well as being an author, I’m also a playwright, and I believe stories can be told not just with words. I have been working on turning the book into a play. Additionally, I recently collaborated with a dancer, Genevieve Fortner, who choreographed and performed a section from the book to music written by Sheila Firestone, a Jewish composer. I believe we should encourage this type of creative interaction, as it helps to bring our stories to a broader audience.

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

Pat Black-Gould - I am writing a coming-of-age novel about a young girl growing up during the Vietnam War era with a co-writer, Steve Hardiman. The title is Limbo of the Moon. This adult novel has the same themes as my children’s book: Love, courage, sacrifice, compassion, and empathy.


GIVEAWAY


Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Crystal Beads, Lalka's Journey!

Four (4) winners receive:


The Crystal Beads: Book Giveaway 


Disclosure: This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Purple Butterfly Press in both your blog post and all social shares. This post also contains affiliate links.

Not Dead Yet Blog Tour, Author Interview, Review, and Giveaway

Monday, June 27, 2022


ABOUT THE BOOK
Cassidy Edgemont has been dead for four years. At least, that is what the world has been led to believe. After becoming unwittingly entangled in a group called the Coalition, known for using fake news to generate political unrest in the United States, Cas was offered a devastating choice: stage her own death and join her rescuers, the guardians, or risk the wrath of the organization she betrayed. She chose death.

As an invisible government operative, Cas has been living in Paris with no complications—until her family pays an unexpected visit to the European city, changing everything. They think Cas is dead, and she has to keep it that way. But when a bomb is detonated nearby and fake news incites riots in the city, Cas recognizes the mark of the Coalition.

Donovan, a fellow guardian, is summoned to join her in Paris to attempt to untangle the intricate web linking Cas’s past with the recent bombings. But as the threat level escalates, Cas must again make an impossible decision: face possible exposure to her family in her race to uncover the truth or risk the loss of innocent lives.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas for suspense novels as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists. She considers shoes an optional accessory which became evident when she won her first three Whitney Awards in 2013 (Code Word), 2014 (Deep Cover), and 2016 (Failsafe). Safe House won Whitney Awards for both the mystery/suspense category as well as 2017 Adult Novel of the Year. She added two additional awards in 2019 (Mistaken Reality - best mystery/suspense and Sanctuary - Adult Novel of the Year.) She currently lives in Virginia with her family where she enjoys sports, travel, writing, and recently retired from coaching high school swimming.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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

Traci Abramson - I had met the main character, Cas, in previous guardian books, and I knew that I wanted to tell her story. Originally, I had planned to set it in Sarajevo, but my research trip was cancelled because of Covid. When I sat down to write this one, it was shortly before the George Floyd riots. After that incident, I saw the impact that the media, especially the rampant amount of misinformation, was fueling the problems, I integrated a piece of those challenges into my plot. 

Life Is What It's Called - What did you learn from writing this story? 

Traci Abramson - Because I was writing characters of color, I took extra care to chat with friends who came from similar backgrounds to my characters. It was interesting how appreciative these friends were that I would take the time to listen to their experiences to make sure I was as authentic as possible while writing Not Dead Yet. 

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

Traci Abramson - I think readers will really enjoy the interaction between the main characters and how much they come to appreciate and respect one another. The cameo appearance of Cole Bridger from Heirs of Falcon Point was a fun addition, and there is a fun shout out to a couple of my favorite authors. And then there's the food. Donovan loves his food, and several readers have mentioned that reading this book made them hungry. You've been warned! 

Life Is What It's Called - How is this similar and different to the other guardian books? 

Traci Abramson -The main similarity between Not Dead Yet and the other guardian books is the desire by the main characters to protect others. This one did have quite a few differences though. First, the main love interest is another guardian. Also, this is the first time any of the guardians have had to deal with the potential of being found by their family members and others from their past. Even as I wrote the book, I didn't know how the story would resolve itself in the end. 

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

Traci Abramson - Right now, I'm co-authoring another Falcon Point suspense novel with Sian Ann Bessey. This will be the second in the series that spins off of Heirs of Falcon Point. The first, The Danger with Diamonds, will release this October. 6. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want your readers to know most about you? 

Traci Abramson - That's a hard question. People who follow me on social media already know a lot about me. I'm pretty open, except when it comes to my former career with the CIA. I write because I love it, and I'm as eager to discover the stories as anyone who reads my books. Shoes are an optional accessory, sort of like earrings. I don't wear earrings very often either. And even though I'm far from perfect, I do my best to create a positive environment for everyone around me. 

Life Is What It's Called - What authors inspire you and why? 

Traci Abramson - I have such a long list for this question. 
  • Booker T. Washington - I love the way he encourages everyone to become a contributing member of society and the way his love for education is so contagious.
  • Jane Austen - Her stories are timeless and have become a way for so many people to connect.
  • Sarah M. Eden - I don't know if I've ever met an author who works so hard despite facing constant challenges. And she is such a quiet supporter of so many others. 
  • Sian Ann Bessey - Sian is so humble and yet so talented. And she has become one of my greatest cheerleaders when I need one the most.
I could go on, but I will say that my favorite part about being an author is the people. Other authors in the writing community inspire me in how they support one another, and the readers who continue to ask for more make all the hard work worthwhile.


REVIEW
Not Dead Yet engages the reader in an exciting and suspenseful read. The main characters dodge dangerous thugs as they try to unravel the mystery of who's out to kill Cassidy and why. The author creates villains that fuel the media with misinformation to cause confusion and to mask other nefarious schemes. The story is well-told with a quick pace that's just right for an adventure and suspense read. The main characters were likable and the romance between them develops at the right pace - not too quick and not too slow. I really enjoyed the character Cassidy who seemed to understand characters around her, cared about those she loved, and knew how to stand her ground when needed. I would like to see her in more books. This novel is part of the Guardian series, but it could be read as a standalone or along with the series. Overall, I found it to be a fun read for the summer. To learn more about Not Dead Yet, click here.





Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, I shared my honest opinion. This post is in coordination with the publisher and author. This post also contains affiliate links. The giveaway is run by the publisher.

The Golden Quest: Your Journey to a Rich Life Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway

Friday, June 3, 2022



ABOUT THE BOOK

The Golden Quest: Your Journey to a Rich Life

Written by David Delisle

Illustrated by Travis Hanson

Ages 5-18 | 108 Pages

Publisher: David Delisle | ISBN-13: 9781777718909

Publisher’s Synopsis: The Golden Quest is an illustrated adventure about a young boy who embarks on a Hero’s Journey with his dog Shelby to discover the Golden Rules of Money. Along the way, he encounters a dragon, flies on an airship, spots an elusive stone whale, saves an alien, and learns the secret to living a rich life.

The lessons taught are universal and will help children of all ages, from 5 to 95, achieve financial freedom through Money Mindfulness. And don’t worry, there’s no math, budgeting, or complicated charts. Your journey has just begun…

Available on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes and Noble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Delisle is the author of The Golden Quest, a graphic novel that teaches kids about money based on the simple idea of “only buying the awesome stuff” and creating the freedom for what’s most important to YOU. His goal is to teach an entire generation of kids how to live a rich life and he’d love to have you join him in this journey.

You can learn more and order the book at, www.theawesomestuff.com.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write The Golden Quest?

David Delisle - My boys, 6 and 9 at the time, were the inspiration for the Golden Quest. I wanted to teach them the most important habits and mindset so that money was never a cause of stress in their lives.

Life Is What It's Called - Why did you decide to make the format a graphic novel?

David Delisle - I volunteer at my kids school library. While volunteering, I would watch the kids continually get drawn towards the graphic novels section of the library. As this continued to happen and I began to talk to them about what they were reading and read the books myself, a seed of an idea slowly grew until it hit me all at once that the lessons I was trying to teach my boys could be written as a beautifully illustrated adventure in a fantastical world full of dragons, castles, and amazing creatures. And from there, everything just clicked and fell into place. It really was one of those instances that Elizabeth Gilbert describes in Big Magic, where the idea found me…like magic.


Life Is What It's Called - How do you see this book being used in homes, schools, or classrooms?


David Delisle - I recommend reading each chapter out loud as a family or to a class... then following it up with a 20-30 minute discussion about what you just read. It's so much more powerful when this is read & discussed together as a family or group and can result in some of the most ground breaking conversations you’ll have.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want kids to learn from this book?

David Delisle - The habits and mindset to truly live a rich life.

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

David Delisle - That they will feel like they are on the adventure themself.


Life Is What It's Called - Why is the topic of money important for kids to learn?

David Delisle - Because most of us never learn these lessons even as adults.

Life Is What It's Called - Are you like the character in the book?

David Delisle - Not exactly. But many of the questions are things I have asked or thought. And of course, I have some very similar blue glasses :)


Life Is What It's Called - If you were going on a quest, what would you want to discover now? And as a kid?


David Delisle - I wish we could all discover how special we are and truly love ourselves. This is just important now as when we were kids and something that I’m still discovering. Maybe that will be the next book…

Life Is What It's Called - What authors and illustrators inspire you?

David Delisle -
  • Bill Watterson creator of Calvin & Hobbes
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Jen Sicero
  • Charlie Mackesy
  • Dr. Seuss

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

David Delisle - I’m focused on sharing the message in The Golden Quest and inspiring others to “Only buy the Awesome Stuff” so that they can also share this message and change the way an entire generation thinks about money and what it means to live a rich life. For now, that’s enough :)


GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Golden Quest!

Four (4) winners receive:
The Golden Quest: Book Giveaway

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and David Delisle. This post also contains affiliate links.


Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Monday, May 16, 2022




ABOUT THE BOOK

Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday

Written by Alysson Foti Bourque

Illustrated by Chiara Civati

Ages 3-8 | 32 Pages

Publisher: Pelican Publishing | ISBN-13: 9781455626489

Publisher’s Synopsis: Alycat wakes up to seafood gumbo for breakfast, and even though her house is the first stop for the school bus, the bus is already full when she boards. Alycat’s whole day is turning topsy-turvy. What is happening? Young readers will tag along on Alycat’s adventures during her very “cattywampus” Wednesday and learn that a little help from some friends and a good attitude can make your day.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes and Noble.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Award-winning author Alysson Foti Bourque is a certified elementary education teacher and earned a law degree from the Southern University Law Center in 2007. After practicing law for six years, she traded writing trial briefs for writing children’s books. Alysson collaborates with non-profits to support philanthropic initiatives and enjoys speaking with children and teachers at schools and libraries, where she is accompanied by the life-size Alycat mascot.

For more information, visit the author's:


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday?


Alysson Foti Bourque - I was inspired to write Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday during the pandemic when the world seemed strange, odd, and a bit skewed. I knew that readers needed a resource to cope with an abnormal world, and this story is written to provide comfort and grace on any unusual or strange day for them. 

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

Alysson Foti Bourque - I believe readers will gravitate towards the innuendos and wacky events that occur on each page and enjoy guessing how Alycat will react to each wild encounter. There are literary Easter Eggs hidden throughout, and I hope readers enjoy finding them!

Life Is What It's Called - What lessons can readers gain from reading Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday?

Alysson Foti Bourque - Readers can use this book as a tool to gain the confidence to conquer a day where things just aren’t going right. Alycat could get frazzled and upset by the changes and uncertainties throughout the book. But she relies on her friends and family for comfort and stability to get through the strange day. I hope readers will use this book as a tool to know that they can get through whatever life throws at them and find solace in knowing that sometimes things are out of our control, and we can’t plan. 

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you feel it is important to utilize positive thinking with change?

Alysson Foti Bourque- It appears that everywhere you turn— the news, social media, friend conversations—the topic of discussion is always geared toward what’s wrong with society. We can change that narrative by employing positive affirmations and anticipating good in the world and teach our kids to be leaders of positive thinking. Our children hear our conversations and mimic what we, as adults, conversate about and believe. The world is always changing, that won’t change, but we can correct the way we deal with uncertain situations. By being a leader of positive thinking, we can encourage an upbeat attitude among others around us, keep morale high, increase productivity, and encourage growth with their energy, interests, and their actions.

Life Is What It's Called - What are some discussions that parents or teachers can have after reading your book at home or in the classroom?

Alysson Foti Bourque - No matter how backward Alycat’s day gets, friends and family are still there for her, and she can rely on them. Kids need their own security and people who are constants in their lives. Hopefully, parents can use this book in conversation to remind their children to turn to loved ones who have and will always be there for them when their day goes cattywampus.

Life Is What It's Called - Do you have any suggestions for other tools parents can use to help children cope with change?

Alysson Foti Bourque - Change can be difficult for children. Whether it is a change in weather or a change in schools, it can be overwhelming for a child to cope with. Parents can help alleviate the stress of change by doing the following:
  • Create a diversion. Take their mind off the situation by redirecting their attention to happy thoughts or an activity that they love.
  • If the change involves a new setting, visit the place together several times before the start of the change. If it’s a new school, schedule play dates with other children who are in the same class. Or tour the school several times to create a sense of belonging and homeliness.
  • Have the child write a letter or draw a picture of what he/she is feeling. After several months, have the child draw or write a letter again of how they feel to see how time heals all. Keep these entries for the future to reinforce that “this too shall pass”.

Life Is What It's Called - How have your experiences helped you to write this book?


Alysson Foti Bourque - I wrote this book during the pandemic when I felt that the future was uncertain, and every day felt different than the last. Not knowing when the world would feel “normal” again, I began to wonder how kids must feel. They were suddenly pulled from school and their friends with no end in sight. I found so much comfort in relying on the fact that if I picked up the phone and called, my friends were still there to answer. And my family was still there—just at a distance. We went through each day, taking it one day at a time, and accepted that sometimes a day or year may be cattywampus. This experience led me to write Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday where Alycat is faced with a backward day and must take it one step at a time. She finds comfort in relying on friends and family and “rolls with the punches”. 


Life Is What It's Called - Would you like to tell us about some of the other books you have written?

Alysson Foti Bourque - The Alycat Series features five titles: Alycat and the Thursday Dessert Day (2016), Alycat and the Monday Blues (2017), Alycat and the Friendship Friday (2018), Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday (2020), and Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday (2022). The series has won over 17 awards, has original songs on iTunes and YouTube, and has been featured in the Official Grammy’s Swag Bag and Oscar’s Gift Bag.


Having a background in elementary education, I know the importance of connecting the reader with the story emotionally and physically. By adding a craft or activity at the end, readers can continue the journey with the character after finishing the book and foster a greater love for reading. In Alycat and the Thursday Dessert Day, there is a recipe to make Alycat’s Popcorn Popsicles in the back of the book since she made this dessert in the story. Alycat and the Monday Blues has a song with lyrics that the reader can sing as Alycat did in the story’s talent show. Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday has a glossary of golf words to entice readers to pick a club and try something new. Alycat and the Friendship Friday has instructions to make Friendship Friday Bracelets as Alycat did to solve her friendship problem. And the new book has tips for dealing with a cattywampus day. By connecting crafts and activities to their reading, it increases reading comprehension and a love for literature.

I believe books are a powerful tool and resource for our young generation, and The Alycat Series aims to bring more positive, self-motivating stories into children’s lives. This series reflects on themes of friendship, imagination, creativity, and problem-solving and I hope Alycat and her friends will encourage young readers to find their special gifts, shine brightly, and support their peers around them.

GIVEAWAY



Enter for a chance to win a copy of Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday and a plush Alycat!

One (1) winner receives:

  • A copy of Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday by Alysson Foti Bourque
  • A plush Alycat

One (1) winner receives:

  • A copy of Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday by Alysson Foti Bourque

Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday: Book Giveaway

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Alysson Foti Bourque. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links.

Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway

Thursday, May 12, 2022




ABOUT THE BOOK

Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants

Written by Susan R. Stoltz

Illustrated by Melissa Bailey

Ages 1-5 | 32 Pages

Publisher: Lyric & Stone Publishing | ISBN-13: 978-1733759861

Publisher’s Synopsis: Dash and Zoom are really good friends. But when Dash takes things that don’t belong to her, even Zoom’s ball, there’s a problem to be solved because not only is Dash taking things that don’t belong to her, but she’s also hurting Zoom’s feelings.

Kids often have a difficult time understanding that they shouldn’t take things that don’t belong to them. When we don’t rescue kids from mistakes and instead focus on the solution, it’s an opportunity to help them learn to make good choices. The illustrations are extremely engaging and it’s always fun to see how many things you can find under that precarious chair.

Dash And Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants is written for young children who are learning social norms. It exemplifies good decision-making and helps kids solve problems rather than being ‘in trouble’ for making a mistake. If children are approached with the opportunity to fix what is wrong without fear of anger it often contributes to good decision-making skills all throughout their lives. These two dogs are so engaging that children will want to read the book again and again.

Available for purchase on Amazon or Bookshop


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Stoltz is a Jack Russell mom and author of 13 children’s books. An avid gardener and stained glass artist, she spends most early mornings in the garden. When she’s not writing, she’s either caring for and playing with her well-trained and highly energetic dogs, creating mosaics and stained glass, reading, and teaching. She occasionally cleans the kitchen!

Susan lives in Arizona with Dash and Zoom and is well known for eating chocolate cake for breakfast.

For more information, visit susanrstoltz.com or https://www.instagram.com/susanrstoltz_author.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Melissa Bailey is owned by two poodles and is an award-winning illustrator of over 50 children’s books. She’s also an author and loves dreaming up story ideas while being walked by Biscuit and Archie. They are training her to take them on 3 or more walks a day!

Melissa lives with her family in rural Michigan, which is perfect for walking.

For more information, visit mbaileyart.com or https://www.instagram.com/mbaileyart.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants?

Susan Stoltz - After 7 years of writing children’s books about wildlife and conservation I felt it was time to try something new. I’m a firm believer in helping small children learn to make good choices, something I have seen lacking in today’s youth. What’s tough in today’s society is teaching that good choices don’t always result in getting what you want, but rather, what is right. Learning this skill at an early age will help with critical thinking throughout a lifetime.

Life Is What It's Called - Do you own dogs like Dash and Zoom?

Susan Stoltz - I own Dash and Zoom. They are two hilarious Jack Russell Terriers that delight my life everyday with their cleverness and mischief! Dash has been a sock thief since she was very young, and her adeptness at hiding them is beyond measure. I’ve found them in Christmas tree stands, under recliners, behind sofa cushions, and recently four of the missing socks came up when the plumber had to fix a backed-up toilet! Zoom, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with being sneaky, but she has her own problems. Her upcoming book is entitled: Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Barksalot! Because she barks…. A lot!

Life Is What It's Called - What will children like most about Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants?

Susan Stoltz - Young children will love the illustrations. They actually tell the story completely without words at all. Young readers will enjoy being able to read the simple text and add to the experience.


Life Is What It's Called - What will kids learn from this book?


Susan Stoltz - My hope is that this book will help teach young children some problem-solving skills in order to make good choices. Children that are guided through how to make good choices to solve mistakes learn critical thinking rather than fear about making mistakes. This is so important for future decision making during their lifetime. Mistakes can be used as learning tools rather than for shaming or punishing.

Life Is What It's Called - What are some kid-friendly activities that will go along with this book?

Susan Stoltz - Problem-solving games are an excellent gateway to making good decisions. Games like pick-up sticks, as simple as it is, makes the player ‘consider’ their next move. And if it’s incorrect there are immediate consequences, another important lesson. However, critical thinking and decision-making skills can be taught with simple things such as choosing what to wear. Remind them of the weather, the event – are they going to a park to play or to school? This enforces thinking carefully and decision-making based on their critical thinking. Provide the opportunity for them to make a decision and develop those cognitive skills. Musical chairs is good for on-the-spot decision making, a simple card game called ‘Memory’ requires a child, not only to remember where cards are, but to decide to choose the correct card to win the game. All of these choices, simple for an adult, are key to developing the skills to make better decisions later in life.

Life Is What It's Called - What makes Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants different from the others on the market?


Susan Stoltz - First, they are real dogs. Their picture is inside the front flap. This makes them much more tangible and effective to small children who know, that although the story may be make believe, the characters in it are not.

Second, it’s not simply a narrative. It has audience interaction, with Dash listening to the narrative and inviting children to give the correct answer.


Last, you can’t beat cute dogs in any situation!


Life Is What It's Called - How do you see this book being used in a classroom setting?


Susan Stoltz - For young children, the interaction in the book invites conversation. Questions such as “What do you think Dash should do?” “How do you think Zoom feels when Dash takes her ball?” “How would you solve this problem?” invites discussion, storytelling, and conversation.

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


Susan Stoltz - Besides Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Barksalot, I’m currently working on a set of workbooks aimed at teaching science skills, critical thinking skills, research and geography skills, etc. They are aimed at schools and homeschools and are easy for parents and teachers to utilize and measure learning success on each page. These workbooks are also lots of fun for students because they can draw their favorite animals, dinosaurs, bugs, and still be learning without actually being in a classroom setting. These learning ‘notes’ are available for K-2 and 3-5.


GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants and a Dash and Zoom metal lunchbox

One (1) winner receives:
  • A copy of Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants, signed by Susan R. Stoltz and Paw-tographed by Dash and Zoom
  • A Dash and Zoom metal lunchbox
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A copy of Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants, signed by Susan R. Stoltz and Paw-tographed by Dash and Zoom

Dash and Zoom: Book Giveaway 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Susan R. Stoltz.

Falling for Felicity Review and Author Interview

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

 About the Book

Escape with over 20 Historical Romance stories 

  • Horses, animals and love, oh my! 
  • Happily ever after 
  • This sweet historical romance collection contains over 20 original historical romance novellas from best-selling authors.
All proceeds benefit animal rescue All Seated In A Barn. Don’t miss this limited edition box set, featuring some of your favorite authors.

A few of the stories included...

  • Floods and Foes by Julie Daines: When Beatrice’s dog pulls a man from the flood, she is shocked to find it’s the man who betrayed her.
  • A Heart's Quest by Julia Ridgmont: Can Camilla, a mail-order bride, help an anguished father and his little girl overcome a tragedy and catch a killer?
  • Sir Jack and Lady Jill by Anneka R. Walker: When Sir Jack loses his memory, can Lady Jillian convince him to love her before it returns?
  • The Duchess Contract by Samantha Hastings: Lady Selina marries for convenience. As she gets to know Theophilus, she wants a new bargain…for love.
  • Falling for Felicity by Tiffany Odekirk: Felicity is determined to free the fox. Her older brother's best friend joins the hunt, jeopardizing everything.
  • The Stable Master's Son by Julie Wright: Clara must distract Holden from hindering her sister’s engagement. She doesn’t count on falling in love.
  • Miss Bird’s Desperado by Brittany Larsen: A disfigured recluse finds love when his guard dog becomes smitten by an adventurous pastor's daughter.
  • Love Among the Brambles by Rosalyn Eves: When a prickly widower takes on a practical governess, neither expects to bond over kittens.
  • All of Beauty by Kaylee Baldwin: When Rosalie falls for Theo Bradshaw, she doesn't realize he's the detective investigating her brother.
  • Walking Lady Guinevere by Mindy Burbidge Strunk: Mariah hates dogs. But could a simple walk in the park change everything?
  • May the Best Earl Win by Gemma Stuart: His manor house, a noble title—to love Bethany, Lord William Cottrell has to choose or lose it all.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called -What inspired you to write Falling for Felicity?

Tiffany Odekirk - Falling for Felicity is part of multi-author anthology Horses, Hounds, and Happily Ever After written to benefit the animal charity All Seated in a Barn. As such, I needed to include an animal in my story. I was thrilled about this because my favorite writing buddy is my dog Max. I guess you could say my dog inspired this book!

Life Is What It's Called -What do you hope readers will like most about Falling for Felicity?

Tiffany Odekirk - I hope readers will fall in love with my characters! I am a character-driven writer, so my characters are very important to me. When a reader feels like they are in a character’s head and they just can’t stop thinking about the story, that’s when I know I’ve done my job.

Life Is What It's Called - In what ways are you similar and different to Felicity?

Tiffany Odekirk - Great question! I’m similar to Felicity in that I am a very loyal person. I’d do anything for my family and friends. Felicity is more outspoken and daring than I am, though. She isn’t afraid to chase a fox in the dead of night, but I would be terrified.


Life Is What It's Called - What did you like most about working on this collaboration with different authors?


Tiffany Odekirk - This was my first experience working in collaboration with other authors, and I loved it! It was so much fun to be given then same theme and see how we all came up with unique stories.

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

Tiffany Odekirk - Right now, I’m working on my second book in the Haven for Love series. Summerhaven was book one and Winterset (Ollie’s story) will be book two. This book is a bit different from anything I’ve ever written, and I’m finding the writing process both enjoyable and challenging. Wish me luck!


Life Is What It's Called -What do you want readers to know most about you?

Tiffany Odekirk - I want readers to know that I’m so grateful for them! If it wasn’t for my readers, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. I mean, I guess I could write, but stories aren’t nearly as satisfying to tell without an audience. Also, I love hearing from my readers. Kind emails, comments, and posts help motivate me.


Life Is What It's Called - How is writing historical fiction different from contemporary romance?

Tiffany Odekirk - Writing historical fiction is different from writing contemporary romance because it requires a different type of research. Everything from how fast and far a carriage travel in one day, to how to properly introduce one person to another, requires research. Good thing I love history and searching through sources, but stopping to look up information does have a tendency to slow down the the actual writing process sometimes!


REVIEW
Falling for Felicity tells a sweet, wholesome romance story, during the Regency time period in England, in a new way. I liked that Felicity was adventurous and stood up for what she believed in even if it bucked social standards for that time period. The characters were interesting and engaging in how they interacted with each other and their actions. I felt like the story was well-written and entertaining. A must read for Regency romance readers. I look forward to seeing more books and novellas by Tiffany Odekirk.

Check out Falling for Felicity in the anthology Horses, Hounds, and Happily Ever After here.


Please note that I received a free copy to review, however, this is my honest review. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Anything But Pink

Written by J.C. Benthin

Illustrated by Andy Catling

Ages 3-8 | 34 Pages

Publisher: Kaleidoscope Volcano | ISBN-13: 978-1733990028

Publisher’s Synopsis: Zinnia is the only pink person in a very gold world. After being told that pink stinks by a golden bully, she goes on a quest to get rid of her pink for good. Along the way, Zinnia learns a valuable lesson. Will she embrace her unique pink, or will she change to be just like everyone else?

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes and Noble.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J.C. Benthin has been writing since a young age winning a Father’s Day essay contest with the Kansa City Star justifying “Why my Dad’s the Best Outdoorsman” which won a John Deere Lawnmower and a Weber Grill. She has written Timmy the Time Machine, Pink Princess, and Anything but a Prince for a next-generation interactive children’s publisher. She has also written two young adult novels titled Catapult and Slingshot in The Kingston Chronicles Series. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She resides in Berkeley, California.

For more information, visit the author's:

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write Anything But Pink?

J.C. Benthin - I was 22 and I was at a point in my life where I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and where I fit in the world, so I think that time of my life played a big part in the initial inspiration of this story. Originally, it was titled The Pink Princess with a strong fairy tale vibe, and it was more of an outline with no clear ending. In 2011, I was a stay-at-home mom and I decided to take a Children’s Book Writing class. I revisited the original idea that I had as a young adult which led me to complete the first primary draft of The Pink Princess.

Honestly, I would say that the inspiration of the main draft came from my childhood. At a young age, I felt like I didn’t fit in. I would try to fit into the status quo and discover that I didn’t really like being the same as everyone else. Additionally, I wanted to inspire my daughter that it was okay to be her unique self. After I finished the final draft, I was approached by a storytelling app company to submit the story for production. The Pink Princess made it to the storyboards, but the company shut down before it was published. During the pandemic in 2020, I was finishing up my second novel Slingshot and I thought that it would be a good idea to pull the story off the shelf. I worked with a great editor who helped keep the heart of the story the same but gave key ingredients to make the story even better including changing the title to Anything but Pink.


Life Is What It's Called - Why did you focus on the colors pink and gold throughout the story?

J.C. Benthin - I wanted the colors to be fantastical. Gold has this aspirational attribute that symbolizes wealth, success and what everyone “should” want. Pink has this approachable, friendly quality and at the time pink was my daughter’s favorite color. I wanted the main character to stand out and I thought that pink and gold created a good contrast to what I wanted to convey in the story.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want kids to learn in Anything But Pink?

J.C. Benthin - It’s okay to be unique. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to stand out. It’s important to love who you are and that opinions are not the truth.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think kids will like most about Anything But Pink?

J.C. Benthin - I believe kids will like the colorful world especially the Cloud Escalator and the Kaleidoscope Volcano. I do hope that they can relate to one of the characters in the story and that they find the little gold bird named Max throughout the book.

Life Is What It's Called - How is this book different from the other books on the market?

J.C. Benthin - Anything but Pink is different than other books on the market because it’s a timely message told in a simple and colorful way. Not to mention, the illustrations alone make it stand out. The illustrator, Andy Catling did such an amazing job in bringing this story to life.

Life Is What It's Called -  How is this book similar to the other books you have written and how is it different?

J.C. Benthin - Anything But Pink is a huge departure from the fictional black ops world that I’ve been inhabiting and writing about for the past several years. I have written two young adult action-adventure novels, Catapult and Slingshot, that are a part of The Kingston Chronicles. Anything but Pink is my first picture book.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you love most about writing?


J.C. Benthin - Honestly, I love storytelling. That’s the part that I can’t get enough of. Coming up with the plot is so much fun. I truly enjoy developing the characters and creating the world around them.

Life Is What It's Called - What are some of your next writing projects?

J.C. Benthin - I am currently working on Boomerang, the third and final installment for The Kingston Chronicles. I have also begun to draft out the sequel to Anything but Pink. The working title is Anything but Brave.

Life Is What It's Called - What authors inspire you?

J.C. Benthin - That is a tough question. I love to read. I absolutely love the work of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Moe Willems and Jennifer Fosberry. Then I am a huge fan of Ruth Ware, Charles Martin and Liane Moriarty.

Life Is What It's Called - What would you like readers to know most about you?

J.C. Benthin - What I want readers to know the most is that I’ve loved writing since I was a young girl. My claim to fame was when I won a Father’s Day essay contest with the Kansas City Star justifying “Why my Dad’s the Best Outdoorsman” which won a grand prize of a John Deere Lawnmower and a Weber Grill. Also, if they would like to know more about follow me at @j.c.benthin on Instagram.



GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Anything But Pink and a Pink is Unique tote!

One (1) winner receives:

  • An autographed copy of Anything But Pink
  • A 'Pink is Unique' tote

Two (2) winners receive:

  • An autographed copy of Anything But Pink

Anything But Pink: Book Giveaway



This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and J.C. Benthin.

The Bella Santini Chronicle Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Friday, April 29, 2022




ABOUT THE BOOKS

Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change

Written by Angela Legh

Illustrated by Whitnee Nixon

Ages 8-12 | 204 Pages

Publisher: Waterside Productions | ISBN-13: 9781954968080

Publisher’s Synopsis: An ordinary teen girl stumbles into a fairy ceremony; is arrested and brought to the fairy kingdom, the Land of Everlasting Change, a land caught in the struggle between good and evil, where Queen Tatiana fights to keep the balance of power from tipping. Queen Tatiana spreads the message of the truth of fairyland, that fairies are emissaries of love. This gripping tale in a magical land crosses time and dimensions, bringing readers on a journey of self-discovery.

This book series seeks to plant seeds of wellness into every child’s hearts and minds who reads or has the books read to them. The seeds planted are unconditional love, inner peace, and emotional self-mastery.

Available for purchase on Amazon or Bookshop



Bella Santini in the Troll War

Written by Angela Legh

Illustrated by Whitnee Nixon

Ages 8-12 | 204 Pages

Publisher: Waterside Productions | ISBN-13: 9781956503203

Publisher’s Synopsis: In The Land of Everlasting Change, Bella Santini is an ordinary girl who was spirited away to the land of the Fae. She completed her admission trials and was initiated into Yelimoon fairy school. Her nemesis Novaq continues his campaign to get her thrown out of the school. Under the cover of darkness, Novaq and friends conspire to kidnap Bella and deliver her to Ginekei, who will banish Bella from the kingdom.

Her friends Shibohna, Matteus, and Torvieto, race to her rescue. Together, they use their collective wisdom to foil the kidnappers. However, the rescue party is unable to return to Yelimoon School. A trek through the night brings them to Thessaeria, where Bella learns the truth about who she is.

Meanwhile, the Trolls, under the direction of Ginekei, lead an attack on Fae cities. The balance between light and dark is at risk in the Fae realm. Who is Bella, and what will become of her?

Bella Santini in the Troll War is book two of the Bella Santini Chronicles series. This book series seeks to plant seeds of wellness into the hearts and minds of every child who reads or has the books read to them. The seeds planted are unconditional love, inner peace, and emotional self-mastery.

Available for purchase on Amazon or Bookshop



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Legh grew up in San Francisco, CA. She learned from her father that men were people to fear, and that anger is bad. She learned from her mother how to love unconditionally. For the first 54 years of her life, Angela was bullied, first by her father, then by the man she married. In both stages of her life, a fire caused the family to break up. The first fire, when she was five, resulted in the children being sent away for months while her parents sought housing. The second fire, a disastrous California wildfire, caused Angela to question her choices in life; leave her marriage, and seek to find herself. Angela is now an author and self-development mentor.

Her children’s book series, The Bella Santini Chronicles, has received high praise and is known for helping children learn how to manage their emotions.

For more information, visit https://angelalegh.com.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write the Bella Santini series?

Angela Legh - For years I knew I had a book in me, itching to get out. But I wasn’t sure what I would write about. Different ideas for non-fiction books kept surfacing, but none of them seemed to be the right topic. Out of the blue, I decided to write a short story for my friend’s daughter one day. I started writing and never stopped. I wrote a story that turned into a chapter, which magically turned into two books. And the best part is, the story continues—I am now writing book five of the Bella Santini Chronicles! It is fun to see the characters grow with the story.

It wasn’t until I was halfway done writing the first book, I realized my life lessons were sprinkled throughout the story. I recognized that if I had been taught as a kid the wisdom contained in my books, I could have made a completely different life for myself. From that point on, I knew my books were designed to plant seeds of wisdom in young girls and boys to make choices that empower their lives.


Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think the topics addressed in your books are essential for kids?

Angela Legh - Through the experiences in my life, I understood the energy that lies underneath substance abuse, self-harming, and suicide, which are painful feelings the person is trying to avoid or numb. I learned that rejection, repression, or entanglement with emotions, is the underlying cause of much suffering in our society. I discovered how to face my most painful feelings; to be a witness to them with no reaction. This ability to witness my emotions without reaction brings emotional freedom.

The problem today is no one teaches children how to be present with their feelings. Many parents will say, “Don’t cry,” without realizing they are, in essence, telling their children to repress their emotions. It isn’t the parent’s fault; they repeat what they learned from their parents. Today’s parents were not taught how to manage their feelings, and their parents weren’t either.

The generational repression of feelings has brought a heavy load of substance abuse and other harmful behavior. When we give kids emotional management tools, they can find emotional balance with no need to numb through alcohol or drugs.


Life Is What It's Called - What would children like most about this series?


Angela Legh - Children seem to like the fast-paced adventure of the series and the relatability of the characters. What kid hasn’t felt like a stranger in a strange land at some point? What kid hasn’t experienced or witnessed bullying in school? The lessons learned about finding your emotional center, understanding the energy involved when someone hurts someone, and embracing the power of love will serve children throughout their lives.

Following Bella on her adventures, children are encouraged to discover their inner strengths. If Bella was just an ordinary kid, and she could stand up for herself, stand up for what is right, can’t the readers?


Life Is What It's Called - What would a parent or caregiver like most about the series?


Angela Legh - The parent or caregiver will also find the story to be engaging—many of my fans are adults who can’t wait to get the next book. They may be surprised to find that emotional management tools help them find more balance in their lives. As they delve into the story, they may be more open to talking about their emotions with their children. The parent or caregiver may discover a deeper connection that fosters conscious communication between adults and children. The book club questions were designed for parents to be able to talk about the problematic situations Bella and her friends face, which may open pathways for conscious communication about similar topics affecting their families.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you see your books used in homes or classrooms?

Angela Legh - I ask busy parents, “What if teaching your child emotional intelligence is as easy as reading a bedtime story?” The fact is, parents are pulled in so many directions. They want what is best for their kids, but if they don’t know the topic of emotional management, they cannot impart wisdom on that topic to their kids. The beauty of my series is both parent and child learn new ways to find emotional balance. Through the story, a parent can then speak with their child on the topic without the child feeling they are being lectured to.

Life Is What It's Called - What are some additional activities or books that will go along well with this series?

Angela Legh - I am in the design process of creating daily affirmation cards and a wisdom card game. Those may be available on my website by the end of this year. For those interested in expanding on their emotional intelligence, I am creating a year-long course and mastermind group designed to take parents and their children into a richer knowing of the concepts written about in the Bella Santini books.


Life Is What It's Called - Why do your books differ from what's on the market?


Angela Legh - There are many picture books for very young children that talk about emotions, but few in the pre-teen age group. Some books deliver a strong message; others may bring awareness to difficult topics. I am unaware of any other book series that brings a strong message (that you, the reader, are made of magic, and your magic is love) that brings awareness to difficult topics, and provides tools for emotional management, all wrapped in an engaging story.

Life Is What It's Called - What should readers know about you as an author?

Angela Legh - My life was filled with adversity; through the difficulties I experienced, I learned practical tools for emotional management. But more importantly, I carry an immense love for all children and their parents. Through my love for them, I offer the same tools that helped me through the difficult phases of my life, so they may find ease and wellness on their journeys through life.

Life Is What It's Called - What are some of your next writing projects?

Angela Legh - I am still concentrating on writing the Bella Santini book series. Book three of the series will be released in the summer of 2022. Book four will follow, perhaps around Christmas. My current writing projects include book five of the series, which is about halfway done, and will likely debut mid-2023. I am writing articles on conscious parenting for Gravid magazine, based in Europe. I also am experiencing an urge to write picture books for younger children; we shall see if that ever comes to fruition.


GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a Bella Santini Chronicles book prize pack!

One (1) winner receives:

  • A copy of Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change
  • A copy of Bella Santini in the Troll Wars
  • A Bella Santini Chronicles Back Pack

Three (3) winners receive:

  • A copy of Bella Santini in the Land of Everlasting Change
  • A copy of Bella Santini in the Troll Wars

The Bella Santini Chronicles: Book Giveaway 


This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Angela Legh.

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