Monday, February 13, 2017

Skinny White Freak, by Paul Haddad, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Growing up in the 70s in California meant baking in the sun, while slathered in baby oil, catching rays for that golden tan considered a prerequisite for looking one's best.  But Adam Lipsitz can't catch a break.  Not only is his skin entirely pigment challenged, he also takes gangly and geeky to bizarre extremes.  He might just as well paint a bullseye on his forehead to alert bullies looking for an easy target.  Add to this his list of prior summer camp fiascos and one can easily imagine his apprehension at being shipped off to suffer six weeks of hell at Kamp Kickapoo.

Skinny White Freak, by Paul Haddad, is an often snarky and entirely entertaining coming-of-age tale of a teenaged boy who has finally reached his bullying threshold.  Pushed to his limits he digs deep within to find a resolve he didn't know he had.  Often witty, occasionally heart-rending, but always honest, this book offers an introspective glimpse into the tender frailty of youth.  Skinny White Freak is a triumphant exploration of the weaknesses and strengths of the human spirit and a book that will resonate with readers of all ages.


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Author Spotlight - Beverly Stowe McClure on her award winning book, Under a Purple Moon



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
When I was teaching fifth-grade, we read Newbery honor books. Seeing how much my students enjoyed the stories, what great reports they did, sometimes even dressing like the main character, I started wondering what it would be like to write stories young people loved. So, I took a writing course and discovered that writing a novel was even better than reading one. That was almost 20 years ago, and I'm still writing.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? A ballerina or an opera singer.
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE? One day, a girl (I hear voices a lot) whispered in my ear that her mother criticized everything she did and all she wanted was her mother and father to love her. So, Eden's story was born, the story of a broken family and their struggles to find that elusive word: love. 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
"Who's to argue with the butterfly?"
It's hard to choose just one line but this one is a theme throughout the story about butterflies granting wishes.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Josh is most like me. He keeps his troubles to himself, not wanting to bother others.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I hope teen readers will see from the story that they are not alone in their troubles. They can get help, from friends and from school counselors. Others do care.
TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
I laugh about it now, but was rather annoyed when it happened. My first book signing at a bookstore, they forgot I was coming. They apologized, of course, and hurried about setting up a table. In the meantime, I wandered through the store and decided to talk to customers. So, I pushed some popular author's books to one side of a table, put my book beside them and gave out my freebies to people that passed by. A lot of them talked to me. We had fun. Finally, my table was ready and I even sold a few books.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
Gone With The Wind
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
One of them is winning the Children's Literary Classics Award. Five of my books have been honored with other awards. My historical fiction for teens also won or was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Awards, Next Generation Indie Publishing Awards, Sharp Writ Awards, and Reader's Favorites. 
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
No. I just write better in the mornings.
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
I got published the hard way, without an agent. I sent lots of queries to publishers and agents.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I smiled, said, "Finished," and searched for a publisher to submit it to. No special celebration. Then the acceptance letter arrived in my mail. I was happy. 
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? I have 14 other books published and short stories in 3 Chicken Soup for the Soul Anthologies. 
These are the latest: 
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
I started writing articles for children's magazine and they were published in Humpty Dumpty, Ladybug, Clubhouse Jr. and others. My accomplishments in the magazines gave me the confidence to submit to book publishers. I received a lot of "no thanks" letters, but I never gave up. I learned from the editors' comments what wasn't working and studied to improve my writing. All I can say to aspiring others is "Never give up. Be tough. Learn what the publisher wants. And send it." 
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Promotion is tough for me. I'm very shy and hate to seem "pushy." So I hesitate when talking about my stories. I'm working on doing better. I have two blogs, belong to Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, Book Bub, Lit Pick and Library Thing. I watch what other authors do to promote their books. I love contests. Helping my writer friends promote their work goes both ways; they help me in return. I read their books and write reviews. There's so much to do.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Just hang in there. Take it one day at a time. If a former non-reader like me became a reader and a writer, you can do it too. A prayer helps.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Three other stories are in various stages, mostly rough drafts.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Do Awards Matter?



My name is Gary Scogin and I am the author of the multiple award-winning children's series about Penny the Palomino Quarter Horse.  Winning the awards has been a wonderful and fruitful experience for me.  

Some of the benefits since receiving the awards include the ability to place 'award-winning author' on the cover of my books along with the image of the medals, the ability to interact with other award-winning authors in my genre as well as other genres, and to get in touch with and eventually work with my very first editor, as well as noticeable increased sales.  

This came through a meet and greet we had at the awards celebration.  I have since teamed up with another author I met at the event a few months ago and we will be attending a horse expo together in Denver.  She writes middle grade fiction about horses and I write children's books about a quarter horse.  This is a perfect partnership that would not have happened if it weren't for the awards and the meet and greet. I see us working together on many future endeavors. 

I would say to anyone on the fence about submitting their book for the awards given by Literary Classics that it is a great opportunity for you as an author and you never know what will come by putting yourself out there (which can be difficult). I am forever grateful for Literary Classics and the wonderful people that work there.

I look forward to submitting future works.


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Monday, February 6, 2017

Heaven Breaks In, by Nicholas Cappas, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval

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Heaven Breaks In is the story of Davis Chandler, a freshman going away for his first year of college.   Davis has always been firmly rooted in his faith.  But now that he is in a new environment the secular world and many seemingly innocuous moments threaten to weaken his resolve to remain strong in his faith.

But the spiritual warfare going on in Davis' life is deeper than one might see on the surface. Fighting on the frontlines are a team of angels assigned to help Davis maintain, despite the many obstacles in his path.  The Archangel Michael, and Littleton, the angel assigned to intercede on Davis' behalf, engage in a series of letters between each other as they strategize a series of plans to steer Davis in the right direction.

This thought provoking book  provides a unique perspective of another dimension in which angels and demons duke it out in a battle to win human souls.  Author Nicholas Cappas puts a modern spin on C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters offering readers an introspective glimpse into the seductive ways in which secular influences can insidiously whittle away at the foundations of a person's faith.



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hopping to America, by Diana Pishner Walker, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Joby Riepules, a young rabbit, and his family took a very long trip across the ocean from Italy to live in America.  The family soon became a part of the community where they lived and worked on a farm.  The Riepules family slowly came to feel at home in America, but they still loved and missed Italy along with the family, friends, and traditions they had left behind.

Hopping to America teaches young readers about immigrant families, their hopes and dreams and the longing they sometimes have for their homeland.  This heartwarming tale of a tightly-knit family of rabbits will help youngsters gain empathy and a better understanding of what immigrants experience when they come to America.  Expressive illustrations by Ashley Teets are a wonderful addition to this book which is recommended for home and school libraries.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Corinne's Fin, by Dayle Dabney, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval


Corinne, a gold-fish, is the fastest swimmer in Lavendar Lake.  She is revered by the young fish which all aspire to swim like her.  But one day Corinne experiences a tragic accident and her fin is permanently damaged.  Nobody knows how to talk to her, or what to say after the accident.  They want to help, but they just don't know how.  Finally one of her friends helps her understand there's more to her than her damaged fin.

Corinne's Fin is an inspiring book about learning to cope with disability and finding a "new normal".  Author Dayle Dabney tackles a tough subject in a tender way that kids will find highly relatable.  Powerfully expressive illustrations by Ashley Teets help reinforce Dabney's message of hope for young readers.  Corinne's Fin is recommended for home and school libraries and for use in clinical settings.  This book earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Drummer Girl, by Hiba Masood, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



As a young girl Najma was warmed by the wonderful traditions surrounding Ramadan in the lovely town where she lived in Istanbul.  She loved the lights, the steaming bowls of shorba, and the sound of night prayers at the mosque near her small white house with the brick red roof.  But most of all, Najma enjoyed waking before dawn to the sound of the musaharati strolling through the neighborhood beating a drum and chanting songs.  Najma dreamed of one day becoming a musaharati, but she'd never before heard of a girl who had fulfilled this special role.

Drummer Girl, by Hiba Masood, is a story that will inspire young girls to reach for their dreams regardless of what others might say or think.  This lovely picture book, illustrated by Hoda Hadadi, depicts the many sights, scents and sounds of this very special time of year. Young readers will delight in the rich traditions of Ramadan as seen through the eyes of Najma, a child who wishes to become a drummer girl.

This book is recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Author Spotlight, William R. Jones on his award winning book, Reset



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?: My Freshman year of college. I'd always had a yen for storytelling, but being tasked with having to produce written works as an actual prerequisite to passing Freshman Composition gave me a whole new appreciation for the actual journey associated with a writing assignment. After years of convincing myself that the ends justify the means when completing a required task, I found myself enjoying the means in and of themselves. The process became the satisfaction derived from the finished product. It kind of goes without saying that I received an A in Freshman Composition.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?: Like a lot of my peers, my aspiration was to become a professional athlete of some sort: Baseball, Basketball and Football were tops on my list. However, as I reached my late teens, the reality of my athletic limitations set in and I altered my focus to the arts: Music and writing
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?: The Civil War has always intrigued me because of the stakes associated with its outcome. What if?.... the Confederates had been victorious at Gettysburg. Would it have been the impetus of change in momentum for them to win it all and provided the preface for the 'Stars and Bars' being the flag of our nation? To what degree, if any, would an alternate ending to the war have changed slavery in our country, or the world for that matter? I think this subject matter would intrigue anyone; especially a person of color, such as myself.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?: "Beautiful day down in the Bayou.... I bet the catfish are jumping" This phrase resonated with me throughout because at eye's sight, it's innocuous at best. However, its underground meaning was instrumental in determining who the ally was versus the enemy in the struggle to restore true democracy.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?: It would probably be a little self-righteous to say Marcus Woods, though I do aspire to be like him. Smart, funny, dedicated and determined to do the right thing, no matter what the sacrifice.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?: No matter how long it takes, so long as you do the right thing, success is inevitable.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: I find it interesting to know that until we accept in our gut that writing is re-writing, we can never truly be writers.
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?: I found Stephen King to be a great influence because his storytelling is so gripping. Even though his choice of topic often borders on the bizarre, he keeps the reader engaged and the pages turning.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?: Many books have moved me, but if I had to name a few, I would have to say that three have made a significant impact on me from as far back as my early to mid-teens: Peter Benchley's "Jaws", Mario Puzo's "The Godfather", and William P. Blatty's "The Exorcist". These books introduced me to the concept of Story and what it means to pull a reading audience in and keep it engaged throughout.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?: Until receiving this award, it had been self-publishing my works and an honorable mention at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival. 
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?: My only ritual is to write - edit - rewrite and continue this cycle until the writing is right.
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?: Well, I'm still looking for an agent, so if anyone can offer up advice beyond query letters, contests, book festivals, workshops and conferences, I'm all ears. As for getting published: Thanks to the genius that is Amazon's Create-space, I've been able to self-publish in print and ebook formats.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?: When I completed the first draft of 'Reset' it was Thanksgiving morning. I had a glass of quality scotch and one of my favorite cigars.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING WRITERS?: If you self-publish, the process is fairly simple. One caveat: because it is so easy to self-publish these days, it's not uncommon to be inclined to put out a book before it's ready. My advice is to hold off on officially publishing your book until it has been fully read and re-worked at least three times; and by an objective reader(s) if possible.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?:
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOKS?: Anything and everything (within reason): Press releases, Email blasts, social media posts, book expos and festivals, contests, seminars, book giveaways, and networking. I found Goodreads.com to be a great outlet for networking and self-promotion.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?: If building your story isn't the most fulfilling part of your publishing experience, then you should find something else to experience.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?: Yes. "Tuesdays & Saturdays" is based on a romantic comedy screenplay I wrote back in 2003. It explores the concept of romance and how much, if any of it, is directly related to an infatuate's socio-economic status. It will be available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO and directly through my website.


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Author Spotlight - Sarah Hill on her award winning children's book, Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party



WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
Well in truth, I didn't! I went to Bristol University here in England to study Veterinary Medicine and I qualified as a Vet from there in 1999. I then worked in practice for 10 years and at that point our second daughter was born. My husband was travelling overseas quite a lot with work then and so I decided to take a career break to stay at home and raise our very young girls.
Within 6 months of being at home, 'Posie Pixie', the main character in my first 7 Whimsy Wood books, appeared in my head and she wouldn't go away. She's terribly persistent you see! So I really had no other choice but to start writing about her exciting adventures in Whimsy Wood
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I always wanted to be a mum. That was an absolutely definite aspiration of mine and I am now very fortunate to have 3 happy, healthy children. Olivia, aged 8, Poppy, aged 6 and Monty aged 3 years old.
I remember considering journalism, but then I opted to study to be a Vet because of my passion for animals. 
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
Well, each of the 35 books in my Whimsy Wood Series for 5-8 year olds is written for a specific month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna change as you read through the series. Book 1, Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle, happened to be written for the month of August, which meant that book 4, Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party, would be written for the autumnal month of November.
Instantly fireworks and bonfire night sprung to mind, when I was contemplating a storyline for book 4. These thoughts were very quickly followed by the tasty treats that often accompany bonfire night, such as toasted marshmallows in all their gooey, stickiness and very soon I was considering a fireworks party! 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
My favourite line from Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party is:-
' "Fizzling Fireworks!" exclaimed Posie as she saw the pretty firefly lights twinkling in the trees, the tablecloth laden with party treats and her guests all smiling at her! ' 
I love this because Posie has been struggling away, trying to organise a surprise party for her cousin Ping who has invented a brand new firework. Unbeknown to Posie, her best friend 'Wibble Woodlouse', has roped in all their friends to help Posie out with the work that needed doing, to ensure the fireworks party is a great success. Not only has Posie been organising a surprise party for her cousin, but she has a surprise all of her own with this extra help from her friends!
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Posie Pixie is most like me because she is very determined, even though she is a small wee creature. She also isn't very good at asking for help, rather like myself. Finally, I asked my children why Posie Pixie and I are similar and they replied, "Because you're fun just like Posie!" 
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
The proverb that is woven into this November story is, 'Many hands make light work'. I hope that readers will realise how important and fun team work is and how rewarding doing something for someone else can be.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
Books 1-9 in my Whimsy Wood Series have been published to date and all by Abela Publishing based in Sandhurst, England. These Whimsy Wood titles are:-
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
Shortly after the release of my 3rd Whimsy Wood children's book, titled Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic, I received an absolutely amazing review from an online parenting magazine based in the South West of England called Chopsy Baby. This review was, "Think of the best bits from Enid Blyton's fantastical stories for very young children." Well, I was overjoyed to read this! To be likened to Enid Blyton was phenomenal! So I squealed with delight and jumped up and down for joy......only, I happened to be too near our dining table and as I leapt up in the air, I whacked my knee on the underside of this rather large and hard table! "Ooooww!" I shouted, whilst my 3 children (who had witnessed their lunatic mummy squealing, jumping and then causing herself an injury!) were laughing hysterically!
When I tell my children that another brilliant review for my Whimsy Wood Series has come in, they'll say, " Will it be another 'Yes! Yes! Yes! Bang! Ooooww!' " kind of review mum?!"
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
I remember loving Enid Blyton's 'Faraway Tree' collection and Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge series as a child, so I would say that they are the authors who have influenced my writing style the most. 
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
This would probably be Salmen Rushdie's Haroun And The Sea Of Stories. For me, this book is the most imaginative and wonderfully written children's book around. I remember being blown away by its psychedelic storyline and wanting to read it all over again as soon as I had finished it. 
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
It would definitely be Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party winning the Chapter Book category in this year's Children's Literary Classics Book Awards.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
No I don't have any specific writing rituals. However I do have to be very disciplined with my writing time with having 3 young children and I tend to write when they are in school and nursery, or when they are in bed at night.
If my writing isn't flowing, rather than wasting the time I have set aside to write, I will research what wildlife would be out and about in a woodland for the particular month I am writing for. This will often help my writing to flow again, or I will have gained and written down a few more ideas, ready for the next time I sit down and write.
HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED?
Once I'd started writing about Posie Pixie, Fearne Fairy and the other Whimsy Wood characters, I discovered just how much I loved getting lost in my own imagination. So I started submitting my manuscripts to various literary agents and publishing houses.
After 3 years of writing, editing, submitting, getting rejected, picking myself up again and then writing, editing and submitting some more, I finally received my author's contract with Abela Publishing in January 2013. Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle, book 1 in my Whimsy Wood series, was published in July 2013. 
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
When I'd completed Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party, I punched the air in triumph whilst shouting "Yes! Yes! Yes!" to myself! I then moonwalked (rather badly I'm afraid!) across the floor! 
We celebrated the publication of Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party back in 2014, by holding a book launch for it at the WHSmith bookshop in Bath, which is the nearest city (and my most favourite!) to where I live.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
I opted for the path to traditional publication so I can comment on this from my own experience. For me, this journey was an emotional roller coaster, filled with uncertainty and the need for utter determination and dedication. Expect to be rejected. This is part of the process. Don't be disheartened, do not give up and listen to constructive criticism. 
The bottom line is that you must believe 110% in the series, characters and stories that you have created. If you don't, who else will? 
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Use all social media sites that you are familiar and comfortable with to help promote your book. AskDavid.com is a very good and reasonable website for book promotion. Finally, the National Writing for Children Centre in America will showcase your latest book and help you carry out a virtual book tour to aid promotion. This I used to help promote book 9, Fearne Fairy And The Chocolate Caterpillar:
For more whimsical information, please follow the Whimsy Wood children's series and connect with its author Sarah Hill at the official Whimsy Wood Website .
You may also find Whimsy Wood updates at the following sites:

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Monday, January 9, 2017

Author Spotlight, C.M. Huddleston on her award winning book, Greg's First Adventure in Time

WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER AND WHY?
I realized as a teenager I wanted to be a writer, but didn’t know how to get started. So I signed up for one of those writing courses advertised in magazines of the period. My mother was cool and calm when the representative came to our house unannounced, but a bit angry with me later in the evening. I was only 16 and, of course, did not have the money to spend on such nonsense. In college, I received an invitation to the Jesse Stuart Writing Workshop based on class work a professor submitted on my behalf. However, again money was an issue, as I needed to spend the summer employed to pay for college in the fall. Then careers, children, and life kept me busy until I self-published Greg’s First Adventure in Time in 2014.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU ASPIRE TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? 
A historian
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE?
Greg’s First Adventure in Time had about 5 names before it was published. All rejected by my author daughter, her children, friends, and family. Finally, I decided to simply use a title that could be adapted throughout the series and would tell children exactly what the book was about.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
“I think they pretended that I was talking to God as he was obviously the only one willing to listen after a few years of incessant one-sided conversations.” When I wrote this book back in 1987, I received about 15 rejected notices from editors. I put the story away and didn’t read it again until 2013. When I did, I realized Greg had NO personality. So, I rewrote the book and made Greg into a mixture of my two grandsons. The youngest talks constantly, unless overwhelmed by life - just like Greg.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
Oh, that’s easy - Greg’s mother. I worked as a professional archaeologist for more than 20 years. I had two children and often took them along to dig sites when a child sitter could not be found. Very, very few of their friends had mothers who dug in the dirt for a living, and I was often seen as a novelty.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
My Adventures in Time series is designed to teach children that history can be fun to read and learn. With that said, I also want children to see how Greg matures and gains self confidence through his adventures.
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
One of my daughter’s friends homeschools her children. She was planning to read “Greg’s First” aloud, along with her son. When she introduced him to the book, she said “Ethan’s grandmother wrote this,” to which he replied, “I don’t want to read a book written by someone’s granny!” After the first two chapters, she asked if he wanted to continue. He answered, “I guess you can read another chapter, it’s not awful.” What better praise can you get!
WHICH AUTHOR HAS MOST GREATLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Larry McMurtry is a storyteller whom I strive to emulate. His ability to make characters and adventures come to life draws me to read books like Lonesome Dove over and over again. He builds stories around flawed characters that fully capture our hearts and minds. I only hope that my writing might one day be even one-tenth as good.
WHAT BOOK HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
I have to list two books by Janice Holt Giles, Miss Willie and The Enduring Hills. I read these books, along with many of Giles other books, over and over in high school and college. Sadly, they all disappeared in one of many military relocations. Giles’ books tell stories of Kentucky folks, people of my home state. I learned from Giles how many of the best stories are of simple folks just living their lives. In the last few years, I have worked to rebuild my collection of her books, which I again enjoy and often re-read.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Mittie & Thee: An 1853 Roosevelt Romance (under the name Connie M. Huddleston) 
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
My oldest grandson told me that Greg’s First Adventure in Time made him laugh and cry. He argues with his brother about who Greg resembles more!
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING RITUALS?
I require quiet. I have no near neighbors and live on 6 secluded acres. I don’t play music when I write. And each day, I begin at the beginning of the current book and read and edit all the way to where I left off. As the book gets longer, I then begin to skip the first few chapters in this process. Still, I spend about 2 hours reading and editing each day before I begin writing.
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
I have published three adult history books with traditional publishers, and I make about $100 per year on all three. So when self-publishing became an easy process, I decided to go that route instead. It takes a lot of work, but I am happy with my choice. I now have three published Indie books.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
Nothing, except take a short break from writing Greg’s adventures.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF BECOMING PUBLISHED AND ANY TIPS YOU MIGHT OFFER FOR OTHER ASPIRING AUTHORS?
When I decided to self-publish, I talked with my Indie-author daughter about the process. I then hired an editor and learned to use InDesign for my layout. I already knew about copyrights, ISBNs, etc. ., from helping others get their books ready for publication. I found this part of the process to be the easy part. The hard part was promotion of the books. I am still learning and working on promoting my books. I know that part of being an Indie author will never end. One critical thing I have learned is never rush to publish. Take your time and edit, edit, edit.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Read anything and everything about book promotion. Don’t pay for services you can do yourself. BE PATIENT.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
I read at least one children’s book each week and post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I try to read Indie books, as those authors need the reviews and support. I never post bad reviews. If the book would require a review of only one or two stars, I simply stop reading and move on. This also keeps me in touch with what other authors are writing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
Yes, I am currently writing four books, two fiction and two nonfiction.
Greg will be back in the third installment of the Adventures in Time series. For the first time, Greg and Rose will time travel. I expect to publish sometime in late fall or early winter. It will again be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram and as an ebook. Check my website for updates - sign up for my newsletter to get snippets from the new book.
I've also just recently released Mittie & Thee, titled Between the Wedding and the War: The Bulloch/Roosevelt Letters: 1854 to 1860 released on 5 October. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram and as an ebook.
The third is a biography of James Stephens Bulloch, President Theodore Roosevelt’s maternal grandfather. I have been writing this book for seven years. I hope it is someday finished!
I recently wrote a book simply called Leah’s Story. Leah is an African-American slave, and the book tells her life story in her own words. Publication not yet planned.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org