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

Monday, May 16, 2022


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.


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:


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.


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


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


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 or


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 or


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.


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.


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!

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.


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.


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:


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.


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.
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