BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Debbie Ridpath Ohi

bored

 

***Welcome to BOOK NOOK REVIEWS where I will share my thoughts (and reader rating) on a variety of children’s books…from board books and picture books to chapter books and young adult novels. Why, I might even sneak in an occasional family-friendly adult novel when I get the chance. If my review entices you to buy the book as a gift or to even add to your own home library, why not share this post with others by clicking on the social share links below!***

 

Title: I’m Bored

Author: Michael Ian Black

Illustrator: Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Ages 4-8

 

“I’m bored.
Bored. Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
I’m so BORED!
Hey! A potato! A potato?”

 

Synopsis:

 

Being a kid can be boring sometimes. That is, until a potato comes along and agrees. Then it’s one little girl’s mission to show that old spud there is NOTHING boring about being a kid!

 

Why you should read it:

 

While I wondered at first if this picture book would keep my attention, I found Mr. Black’s engaging story reminding me a child’s endless possibilities for fun are only limited by their imagination. But it is the fabulous illustrations of the talented Ms. Ohi which invited me to join in! I love the expressions on the little girl’s face as she tries to convince a potato there is more to being a kid than he realizes. Kids of all ages will enjoy the surprise ending to this book.

 

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…Grab it!

 

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

Author Profile Pic

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, My Journey, My Journal, is scheduled to be released by Expert Insights Publishing in the Fall 2018.

 

 

An Indie Author’s Journey: Editing & Accounting

correcting

 

I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

I’ve finished all the first level revisions of LUNADAR so now it’s time for…

 

STEP FOUR: EDITING AND ACCOUNTING

 

After finishing the first draft, I set my manuscript aside for a few weeks before starting any revisions. I needed time and distance away from LUNADAR so I could look at it with fresh eyes and a new perspective. But after revising my story as far as I could go, there still comes a point when someone with more editing experience needs to look at it.

Professional editing services vary depending on what type of editing is needed. Basic proofreading averages $1,200 or more for a 100,000 word manuscript, with copyediting averaging over $2,000, and developmental editing costing up to $9,000 or more.

What’s a poor gal to do?

I started out running my manuscript through the basic editing algorithm for Word and then ran the story again through Grammerly’s free program (www.grammarly.com). I then requested the help of beta readers to work on the developmental editing arena. Finally, I received the special help of a friend of mine who offered to line edit my manuscript for free. I’ve known Steve for over ten years and with him having a background of reading and editing numerous fantasy novels, I felt confident he would be able to point any plot holes needing filling.

End result, LUNADAR went through an advance edit for FREE. For this poor gal’s budget, FREE allows me to focus my limited finances on other areas while still focusing on providing the strongest story line I can.

I also set up my basic accounting for Story Catcher Publishing to keep track of any business expenses related to my writing and publishing work. Again, I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a bookkeeper familiar with small buisness requirements so she was able to provide information on setting up my EIN as well as what I should be tracking for end of year taxes. Here are the areas I track:

  1. Contract Labor…fees I’m paying for book cover design and illustrations.
  2. Office Supplies…paper, pens, ink, toner, tape, folders, envelopes, etc.
  3. Advertising…business cards, flyers, postcards, banners, etc.
  4. P O Box fees…I use a post office box for my business mail.
  5. Utilities…I have a separate office as well as a secondary desk in my livingroom so a portion of my utilities can be written off.
  6. Office Equipment…my new computer, printer, filing cabinet, etc.
  7. Interest…any interest on my credit cards where I make business purchases, or a portion of mortgage interest can be written off.
  8. Event Expense…any entrance fees or rentals to attend community festivals, book fairs, book signings, etc.
  9. Professional Fees…my fees for SCBWI, CBI, industry magazines, seminars, workshops, etc.
  10. A T & T…internet fees.
  11. Repairs…a portion of home repairs when in relation to my business office.
  12. Book Donations…costs of books donated to school or public libraries, book fair giveaways, and donations to community groups.
  13. Car Repairs…portion of repairs due to traveling to events, meetings, etc.
  14. Mailing Fees…stamps, money order fees, shipping expenses, etc.
  15. Car Insurance…portion of car insurance in relation to business travel.
  16. Car Tags…portion of car tag expense in relation to business travel.
  17. Tax License…any business tax fees.
  18. Mortgage…portion of mortgage in relation to business office.
  19. Software…all formatting, editing, book design, or other publishing software program costs.
  20. Other…anything business related not covered under any of the other areas like mileage, gas, travel expenses, etc. that I haven’t generated enough yet to warrant setting up a separate file.

At the end of the year my friend has also offered to look over my taxes to make sure I’ve filled out all business forms like Schedule C correctly. This will greatly reduce or even eliminate tax preparation fees which puts a smile on this gal’s face!

Next week I’ll share how I went about choosing a quality book cover on a poor gal’s budget!

Author Profile Pic

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna’s latest book, My Journey, My Journal, is schedule to be released in the fall of 2018.

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Darlene Foster

old

 

Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. Award winning author, Darlene Foster, is just another wonderful writer I met while coordinating writers for this series. You can reach Darlene at her website  (www.darlenefoster.ca), or on her blog (www.darlenefoster.wordpress.com).

 

Never Too Late To Become A Writer
by Darlene Foster

 

A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Many of us dream of being a writer. After all we have tons of ideas. We spend years talking about it, fantasize signing our books, and envision people saying, “I read your book and loved it.” But there is always an excuse. We are too busy working, raising kids, keeping a house, volunteering, looking after grandchildren or aging parents; the list goes on. Then one day there is a bit more time and we say, “Now I’m too old to write a book. If only I had started years ago. Its too late.” I have heard this many times.

I was one of those people. I had so many excuses for not sitting down and writing a book. I took writing courses and attended seminars, wrote a few short stories and submitted to the occasional contest, but the idea of writing a book was too daunting and I often felt I left it too late.

Then I went on a fabulous holiday to the United Arab Emirates and decided I needed to write about it. It worked best for me to write my story from the point of view of a twelve year old and target it to middle readers. Although I was already in my fifth decade, I was still busy working a full-time job, tutoring part-time, volunteering and sitting on a few boards. How was I going to fit in the time to write a book?

I came up with a clever plan. The plan was to write the book in three years; a realistic time frame for me. How was I going to do this? I planned to write one chapter a month by writing one hour a day. By breaking it down into doable steps, it was not so difficult. I simply eliminated watching television for one hour every evening. Soon my friends and family understood that I could not be disturbed for that one hour. If I missed one day, I would write for two hours the next day.

My plan worked. At the end of three years I had Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask completed and ready for submission. It took another 5 years to find a publisher, but I persevered. In those five years, between researching publishers and writing query letters, I continued to write and completed, Amanda in Spain-The Girl in the Painting. After all, I was used to writing at least one hour a day.

Now in my sixth decade I have three books published, I have organized numerous book signings and people of all ages have approached me saying, “I love your books. I hope you write more.” I write two hours everyday now and managed to write my latest book, Amanda in England-The Missing Novel, in one year. I am working on the fourth novel as we speak and have many more ideas. There is no stopping me now!

The lesson I learned is that it is never too late and you can never be too busy, to make your dream of writing come true – if you make a plan and stick to it. As a much wiser person than I once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C. S. Lewis

 

debbie

 

Biography of Darlene Foster
dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

 

Darlene Foster is a writer of children’s stories, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends. Her grandson calls her “super-mega-woman-supreme”. She was brought up on a ranch nearMedicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She lives in Tsawwassen, BC with her husband Paul and their black cat Monkey.

Darlene has always had a desire to write. Her latest book in the Amanda Travels series is Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind (Central Avenue Publishing 2017).

She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true!

 

amanda

 

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Keiko Kasza

kieko

 

***Welcome to BOOK NOOK REVIEWS where I will share my thoughts (and reader rating) on a variety of children’s books…from board books and picture books to chapter books and young adult novels. Why, I might even sneak in an occasional family-friendly adult novel when I get the chance. If my review entices you to buy the book as a gift or to even add to your own home library, why not share this post with others by clicking on the social share links below!***

 

Title: Badger’s Fancy Meal

Author: Keiko Kasza

Illustrator: Keiko Kasza

Publisher: G P Putnam’s Sons

Ages 4-8

 

“Badger’s den was full of food, but he was not happy. ‘Apples, worms and roots…same old, same old,’ he sighed. ‘I wish I could have a fancy meal for a change.'”

 

Synopsis:

 

Poor Badger has all the food he can possible want but it isn’t enough. He wants more. He wants a fancy meal and he goes on an adventure to find it. At first Badger thinks Mole, Rat, and Rabbit will make a delicious meal. When each gets away from him, Badger decides to return home but boy, is he in for a big surprise!

 

Why you should read it:

 

Ms. Kasza is both author and illustrator in this delightful story that children of all ages will love! I was captivated by the “turned-down” pages artwork which allowed me to peek into another part of the story and kept me fully engaged until the very end.

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…Grab it!

 
**Rating scale**

 
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

Author Profile Pic

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, My Journey, My Journal, is scheduled to be released by Expert Insights Publishing in the Fall 2018.

 

 

An Indie Author’s Journey: Converting Files

 

ebook.jpg

 

I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

If you missed the first two installments of this new series you can go here for step one, and here for step two in my process. Now onto…

 

STEP THREE: Choosing The Right Publishing Software

 

When I decided to self publish my novel, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound, I started researching how I needed to convert my Word document into the proper files for publishing. I knew I wanted to offer both an eBook and Print On Demand paper back, so I would need something to convert my manuscript into both an EPub and Mobi files to be able to work with the most distribution channels.

Sites like CreateSpace will convert your manuscript for you free of charge. but it basically restricts you to the Kindle world only, and I wanted more for my first venture into self publishing.

 

book design

 

With so many to choose from, I finally decided on Book Design Templates (https://www.bookdesigntemplates.com). Their state of the art software allows me to copy & paste chapters of my novel into any one of their many book templates with ease and with just a few tweaks, I have a file ready to upload to either eBook or POD format. I purchased two different programs (one for novels and one for chapter books) and the entire package, including a multiple use license allowing Story Catcher Publishing to produce unlimited files only cost me $120. Now, instead of paying someone else each time I need to convert a manuscript, I will be able to use the Book Design Template to convert ALL my books to reduce my overall publishing costs.

I also received my LUNADAR postcards in the mail last week. I am working a booth at the Children’s Festival of Reading next month and with over 12,000 people attending, it’s the perfect opportunity to spread a little writerly love…

 

LUNADAR postcard

 

Next week I’ll talk about editing and accounting as I continue to set up STORY CATCHER PUBLISHING into the best little press on a poor gal’s budget that I can make it!

 

Author Profile Pic

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Donna’s latest book, My Journey, My Journal, is schedule to be released in the fall of 2018.

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Steve DeWinter

plotter

 

Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. I met Steve DeWinter while lining up authors and established writers to post on this original series.

You can find Steve on his website, http://www.stevedw.com, connect with him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stevedw, or send him an email to writer@stevedw.com.

 

Pantsing or plotting?

By Steve DeWinter

 

 

Pantsing or plotting?

Which is better?

Which one is the right tool for the job of writing a story?

If you have been around for a while as a writer, you might already know what these two terms mean. If these are new to you, let me sum them up.

Pantsers write by the seat of their pants with little direction beyond the spark of an idea. The story grows organically and can take sudden twists and turns.

Plotters outline the story from the beginning to the end. They already know the story’s direction, and ending, before they write the first line of prose.

But which one is better? A quick Google search reveals many lively debates on this issue.

The pantsers main argument against plotting goes a little something like this: Plotting kills the muse. I want my characters to surprise me. I want to experience what my readers experience and not know how the story ends until I write it. If I plot out my story ahead of time, the characters will be one-dimensional and the story will be predictable. My story will be cookie-cutter garbage.

The plotters have just as strong an argument against pantsing that sounds a little like this: Pantsing results in a wandering mess that requires umpteen revisions to mold it into a cohesive story, usually resulting in tossing out large chunks of previous drafts as unusable during each rewrite. What a waste of time.

Looking at the graphic at the beginning of this post, you might think you know which side of the fence I land. If you think I am on the side of plotters, you would be half-right. If you think I am on the side of pantsers, you would still be half-right. I firmly straddle the fence on this issue because (drum roll please) both sides are right.

To be honest, I am not sure why anyone is debating these as two conflicting methods of writing. It is a little like debating whether the hammer or the screwdriver is the best tool for the job. For the repairperson staring into the toolbox, it would depend on the job as to which tool to use.

Plotting is your roadmap. It gives you direction and lets you know right away if a path strays too far from the main story. Plotting provides focus (i.e. the plot) for your story. If your story is unfocused, and is instead a rambling mess, you will lose and confuse your readers. That is the worst crime a writer can ever do. Life does not make sense, but our fiction has to.

Pantsing is the detailed experiences of that journey. Here is where you discover the sights, sounds and emotions in your story. Pantsing provides character for your story. It is the voice of your writing style.

Writing a book is not a singular activity. It is a collection of separate and distinct activities. Pantsing and plotting are two unique tools in the writer’s toolbox to be employed at different times during the writing process. Using both skills shapes your story in the most efficient and well-organized manner while still allowing for the thrill of discovery.

I urge everyone who wants to take writing as a serious business to look at every tool in your toolbox and see the benefits of using each one where necessary. Plumbers and engineers use a variety of tools in order to complete the different tasks of their job. The same is true for the writer.

Learn and practice every writing tool at your disposal and learn how to use the right one at the right time, every time.

 

steve

 

Steve DeWinter is an American born adventure/thriller author whose evil twin writes science fiction under the pseudonym S.D. Stuart. His latest novel, “Child Of Shadow”, is available on Amazon.

 

dewinter

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Brenda Reeves Sturgis

Turkey

 

***Welcome to BOOK NOOK REVIEWS where I will share my thoughts (and reader rating) on a variety of children’s books…from board books and picture books to chapter books and young adult novels. Why, I might even sneak in an occasional family-friendly adult novel when I get the chance. If my review entices you to buy the book as a gift or to even add to your own home library, why not share this post with others by clicking on the social share links below!***

 

Title: 10 Turkeys In The Road

Author: Brenda Reeves Sturgis

Illustrator: David Slonim

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children

Ages 4-8

 

“Ten turkeys blocked the road one hot and hazy day. A pickup screeched. A farmer beeped. One turkey flew away.”

 

Synopsis:

 

One day a poor farmer is traveling down the road when he comes across ten circus turkeys determined to distract him. Suddenly he is without a ride and wondering who will come to his rescue?

Why you should read it:

 

Take a cute story, add some tricky turkeys, throw in one frustrated farmer and what do you get? A fun children’s counting story accompanied by delightful illustrations to entice young and old to come see the circus!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…Grab it!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

Author Profile Pic
International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.