THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Mermaid Tales A Titanic Friendship by Debbie Dadey

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book prolific author and my friend, Debbie Dadey, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Mermaid Tales: A Titanic Friendship”. Take it away, Debbie …

Do Kids Still Like Titanic Books?
By Debbie Dadey

When I was a librarian, kids practically fought over Titanic books in my elementary library. I had to admit I was also fascinated by the legendary ship that was like a floating palace. When the opportunity came to write a Titanic book of my own, I was ecstatic. As with any book, I did the research needed. My merkids were to visit the sunken ship as it is today which is slowly disappearing courtesy of the steel-eating bacteria, H. titanicae. When I presented the idea to my editor my heart sank at her words, “Pick another ship.”

Another ship? But the Titanic was the ship of all ships! How could I choose another one? My editor noted that many people died when the big ship went down. True, but unfortunately people probably died in any shipwreck. So, I did something I had never done before, I did it anyway. I’ve pretty much have always acquiesced to my editor’s big demands, but I didn’t this time. My librarian heart felt that kids would enjoy a Titanic ship above any other ship story. My goal when I began a writing career was to focus on writing stories that would appeal to reluctant readers. Would a Titanic story fit the bill?

As it might be the last Mermaid Tales book, I also wanted to write about a character I’d never been able to have before-a mermaid in a wheelchair. Yes, the librarian in me said that there are all kinds of diversity and kids need to see themselves in books. I’d tried with Twist and Shout. I’d written the whole book with Echo in a wheelchair and ended up having to rewrite it with Echo on crutches. A Titanic Friendship released a few years later than Twist and Shout and perhaps the timing was right. Diversity won and there’s a mermaid named Anita in a ‘wheelchair’ of sorts on the cover. She plays a huge role in the story. Yeah!

Do kids still like Titanic books? A large part of the Mermaid Tales audience is girls. So perhaps the question should be phrased, “Are girls fascinated by Titanic stories?” Let me know what you think. My librarian brain is curious, and my writing heart is hopeful that kids will enjoy A Titanic Friendship.

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Book Blurb:

Echo has always been fascinated by human inventions, so she’s especially interested when her class studies the history of the Titanic and the bacteria discovered there, Halomonas titanicae. When Mrs. Karp announces that the class will be going on an ocean trip to the sunken vessel, Echo is thrilled to have a chance to see it, since the ship is decaying and won’t be around much longer.

The ocean trip isn’t the only big news at school—a new merstudent, Anita, will be joining the class! But Echo and Anita immediately don’t get along. Anita is rude to Echo the first time they meet, and all of Echo’s friends seem to like Anita better than her.

As the trip approaches, the merfriends learn that the Titanic site isn’t wheelchair accessible, meaning Anita won’t be able to join the class. Her friends decide to boycott the trip, but Echo has been looking forward to it for weeks. Is Echo willing to look past her jealousy and give up the trip? Or can she find way for everyone to be included in both the ocean trip and her friend group?

Purchase Info:

A Titanic Friendship is Mermaid Tales #22 from Simon and Schuster/Aladdin

ISBN-13-‏978-1534457355.

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About The Author:

I used to be Debbie Gibson when I was a little kid growing up in Kentucky. I got in trouble for talking too much in school.  In fact, I learned Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address by heart because I had to write it so much in fifth grade (punishment for talking). My older brother still lives in Kentucky. If you’re ever in Henderson, KY.  stop by Thomason’s BBQ for the best beans and mutton you’ve ever tasted and say Hi to my brother Frank.

Now I live in Sevierville, TN with my husband Eric and our dog Carmen. I’m very proud of my husband-he’s a smart scientist. He worked in industry, but now he teaches pharmacy. Of course, he’d have to be special to put up with a kooky writer like me!  My kids are awesome too.  My oldest son graduated from Penn State and the University of Colorado and now I call him Dr. Nathan.  Hurrah Nathan!  My daughter attended Penn State, but now she is in graduate school.  My youngest son was the nicest guy I ever knew. He would have given you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Sadly, he died in 2020.

Some people think that the Bailey School Kids series was named after my dog Bailey, but that’s not so. My grandmother’s name was Lilly Bailey and I loved her very much. Marcia suggested using the name Bailey for our books and I liked it. Later, when my family got our new puppy we named her Bailey, too. Bailey was a wonderful dog and it broke my heart when she died.  Her buddy, Skippy, died just about a year later.  I like to think they are playing together in puppy heaven. Many years ago, we had Cleo and Comet. They died within months of each other as well.

I think my Grandmother had a lot to do with me being a writer.  She always kept a diary and I thought that was so cool.

I spend lots of time watching my kids do their activities, like soccer.  My youngest son was also into skateboarding and my daughter was really involved in the plays at her school.  I also like playing the piano, hiking, scrapbooking, fixing up my log cabin, tennis, reading, and writing of course!   

In 2023, Debbie’s newest series will debut with Mini Mermaid Tales for kids in first and second grade.

Website: www.debbiedadey.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/debbiedadey

Twitter: www.twitter.com/debbiedadey


BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Scrawny Cat by Phyllis Root

TITLE: Scrawny Cat

AUTHOR: Phyllis Root

ILLUSTRATOR: Allison Friend

PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2011

SYNOPSIS:

The scrawny cat used to belong to someone, someone who scratched his ears and let him lick her chin and knew his name. Now the only thing anyone ever calls him is “get out of here!” But when a snarling dog and a blowing rain turn the scrawny cat into a sailor cat, he learns that even a scared and shivery stray can find a kindred soul at the end of a storm-tossed night.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :  My own two rescue cats snuggled next to me as I read SCRAWNY CAT by Phyllis Root this past weekend. Ms. Root introduces us to one homeless cat and invites us to follow it’s search for a forever home. This scrawny cat has to deal with hunger, cold, and the constant “name-calling” of Get Out Of Here! But it is an encounter with one vicious dog that forces Scrawny Cat to make a life changing decision which ultimately leads to the possibility he might finally find a forever home! Lovely illustrations by Alison Friend combines with a strong storyline to create a fun addition to any library!

RATING: ****4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



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Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published 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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: The Little Blue Cottage by Kelly Jordan

TITLE: The Little Blue Cottage

AUTHOR: Kelly Jordan

ILLUSTRATOR: Jessica Courtney-Tickle

PUBLISHER: Page Street Kids, 2020

SYNOPSIS:

The little blue cottage waits each year for summer to arrive―and with it, the girl. Through sunny days and stormy weather, the cottage and the girl keep each other company and wile away the long days and nights together. Until one year, and then another, the cottage is left waiting and empty season after season.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :   I love most picture books about life near the sea and this one is no exception. Author Kelly Jordan invites young readers to join in one little girl’s fun as she goes on a summer vacation to THE LITTLE BLUE COTTAGE by the sea. The house itself seems to come alive as it trembles with excitement when it sees the little girl has returned. Illustrator Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s lovely drawings invite children to turn the page and delve into life by the sea. But even little girls have to grow up sometime, and the little blue cottage wonders if it will ever hear the laughter of children ringing through its rooms once again? You’ll have to check out this cute book to find out what happens next! A fun addition to any library!

RATING: ****4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



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Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published 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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Treasure Hunt by Stephanie Wildman

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, Stephanie Wildman, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Treasure Hunt”. Take it away, Stephanie…

Treasure Hunt by Stephanie Wildman


Treasure Hunt is a book that started with rejection. I had written an early version of the
story, prior to the pandemic, for a “Green Story” contest – a contest that sought stories on
environmental themes. In that early version, a grandmother saved a big cardboard box and set up
a treasure hunt for her grandson. That story did not win anything.

But I clung to the idea that a story lay in those bones. I felt attached to the ideas because
during the pandemic I made a lot of puppets with my grandsons (out of toilet paper rolls and
scraps, just like twins Flor and Roberto do in the book) and we had planned a puppet show. I also
regularly prepare “treasure hunts” for the grandkids when they come to my house – looking for
the objects is the part they love best. And who doesn’t love figuring out uses for a gigantic
cardboard box from an appliance delivery? We had decorated one. I didn’t let the story go, even
as I worked on other books.

I did consult with my wonderful kidlit teacher Maxine Rose Schur. (If you don’t know
her work, you will want to take a look at her books.) I started writing picture books when I took
her class, which was aimed at middle grade and YA. When I told her a book idea I had, she said,
“It’s a picture book.” That’s the story that became Brave in the Water, my first book, which does
feature a grandmother/grandson relationship. But Maxine’s advice, when she read Treasure Hunt
was, “If you can take an adult out of a picture book, then you should do it.”

So, I imagined how the story would work without the grandmother and created a wise
older brother caring for his twin siblings after school. He watches an appliance delivery next
door and asks for the used box. The story just fell into place. The environmental theme remains
as former Senator Barbara Boxer observed in the blurb for the book: “Protecting the environment
has always been a priority for me so this wonderful story is very special. It shows how children
can enjoy doing something to actually make a difference!”

The Spanish language version Búsqueda del Tesoro (translated by Cecilia Populus-
Eudave) will be available in March.

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Book Blurb (coming November 1) :

In this light-hearted story, twins Flor and Roberto scamper through their house, hunting
for treasure hidden by big brother, Luis. Can these everyday objects really be treasures that offer
more fun than video games or TV? Join Flor and Roberto on their search and discover what fun
Luis creates with a gigantic cardboard box. Bonus content provides direction for creating your
own at-home fun!

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Hunt-Stephanie-Wildman/dp/1956357394/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3F84EWFW7AD4B&keywords=stephanie+wildman&qid=1663555644&s=books&sprefix=stephanie+wildman%2Cstripbooks%2C82&sr=1-2

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About The Author:

Stephanie Wildman served as John A. and Elizabeth H. Sutro Chair at Santa Clara Law
and directed the school’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service before becoming Professor
Emerita. Her books include Brave in the Water (illustrated by Jenni Feidler-Aguilar, 2021);
Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America 2d (2021) (with
contributions by Margalynne Armstrong, Adrienne Davis, and Trina Grillo); Race and Races:
Cases and Resources for a Diverse America 3d (with Richard Delgado, Angela Harris, Juan
Perea, and Jean Stefancic) (2015); Social Justice: Professionals Communities and Law (with
Martha Mahoney and John Calmore) (2013); Women and the Law Stories (with Elizabeth
Schneider) (2011). She is a member of the Writers Grotto and loves to plan treasure hunts for her
grandchildren.

Find Stephanie at:

Website: www.stephaniewildman.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWildmanSF

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Help Wanted Must Love Books by Janet Sumner Johnson

TITLE: Help Wanted Must Love Books

AUTHOR: Janet Sumner Johnson

ILLUSTRATOR: Courtney Dawson

PUBLISHER: Capstone Editions, 2020

SYNOPSIS:

Shailey loves bedtime, especially reading with her dad. But her dad starts a new job, and it gets in the way of their bedtime routine. So Shailey takes action! She fires her dad, posts a Help Wanted sign, and starts interviews immediately. She is thrilled when her favorite characters from fairytales line up to apply. But Sleeping Beauty can’t stay awake, the Gingerbread Man steals her book, and Snow White brings along her whole team. Shailey is running out of options. Is bedtime ruined forever?

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :  Most children have a bedtime routine. Change into pajamas. Brush teeth. Read a bedtime story. Drift off to sleep. A perfect routine…that is…until someone throws a kink into a familiar routine. Shailey loved the nighttime stories she shared with her father. When a new job prevented him from reading to her anymore, Shailey decides to find a replacement and that is when the fun begins! Shailey is forced to consider which fairy tale character might be the best replacement for her dad. Soon, she discovers she needs to fine tune her requirements until one lucky candidate seems to have all the qualifications one sleepy girl is looking for! A fun addition to any library!

RATING: ****4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published 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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Snail Crossing by Corey R. Tabor

TITLE: Snail Crossing

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Corey R. Tabor

PUBLISHER: Balzer & Bray, 2020

SYNOPSIS:

In a book that is as cheerful and charming as Snail himself, Corey Tabor tells a winning tale of slow but steady Snail, whose determination and kindness bring him the best reward of all: friendship.

When Snail spies a plump, crisp cabbage across the road, nothing will stop him—not a speeding car or even a hungry crow.

But then kindhearted Snail stops to help a crew of antsy ants in a rainstorm, and he loses his way. It looks like he will never get his treat—until Snail’s new friends come up with an ingenious idea. . . 

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :  Perseverance and friendship can come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes even in something so small as a snail. Author/Illustrator Corey R Tabor has created a cute story of one little snail’s journey to cross the road to reach a lovely cabbage patch on the other side. Nothing will stop him…no matter how large or small. Not oncoming traffic. Not a troop of angry ants. But when it starts to rain, Snail discovers he might not have to travel all alone, and friendships…even new ones…can have its advantages. Cute, whimsical illustrations help young readers to anticipate what might finally happen to Snail on his cabbage adventure! A fun addition to any library!

RATING: ****4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published 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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: The Existence of Bea Pearl by Candice Marley Conner

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, Candice Marley Conner , is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “The Existence of Bea Pearl”. Take it away, Candice…

The Existence of Bea Pearl by Candice Marley Conner

One of my favorite pastimes growing up was reading Nancy Drew books by a swamp in the middle of the woods. That, and creating stories. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. The ability to see through other’s perspectives has always seemed magical to me. I wanted to turn the mundane into something new too. I grew up on a fish farm that had been a recreational spot from the 1930s to the1970s thanks to an artesian-fed pool, and heard stories from teachers and old men in front of the hardware store of how they met their soulmates out there as teens. I could trace my fingers over couples’ names etched in the heart-pine windowsills and hunt for glass marbles and silver bracelets when we drained the pond every Spring to harvest catfish and tilapia.


My family and I would find sand dollar and shark’s teeth fossils in the limestone banks from when the whole area was under a primordial sea. We had alligators eating out of the dog’s food bowls, ‘possums in the cat’s food, crawfish in the swimming pool, and had to check our boots for tadpoles or snakes before putting them on. It was an amazing swamp-wild childhood with both a nostalgic and natural history that I wanted to claim somehow. Let the past and present exist together somewhere. It wasn’t until my first child was born, and my husband urged me to stay at home with her, that I decided this was it—my time to put butt to chair, lifelong dream to the computer screen. Nap-times were specially reserved for perusing Writer’s Digest issues as I scrounged for how-to, inspiration and writing prompts. The idea-sparks that ignited the original inspiration for my young adult novel, THE EXISTENCE OF BEA PEARL, were an amalgamation: a writing prompt from a 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest to write what scares you (losing a loved one), write what you know (the swamps and river I grew up in), my childhood adoration of Nancy Drew books, and wanting to explore a place that doesn’t exist anymore.


This story is my love letter to the swamp and river that shaped me. As one of the most bio-diverse river systems in the U.S., I want people to see through my perspective—past the mud and decay to the natural beauty and know it’s something valuable to treasure. With the talent of my artist friend, Erica Ross, I commissioned artwork that reflects this swamp and river-wild adoration. Her artwork, featuring native plants and animals, is now on the Threadless website with proceeds going to the Alabama Rivers Alliance to help protect the 132,000 miles of Alabama waterways. This story is also my ode to girls who search out the truth no matter how society tells them to behave. About believing in yourself and those you love. About existence and what kind of life you choose. I hope readers fall in love with Bea Pearl, her best friend Honey, and the mysterious Chatothatchee River as much as I have.

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About The Author:

Growing up between swamps, a river, and the Gulf Coast, Candice Marley Conner’s stories emerge from gnarled cypress knees, muddy water, and salty air. She is the kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookstore (but not haunted how you’re thinking), a Local Liaison for SCBWI, and an officer for her local writer’s guild. Her short stories and poems are in various anthologies and magazines including Woolgathering, Smarty Pants Magazine for Kids, Highlights Hello, Cabinet of Curiosities, Under the Full Moon’s Light, Babybug, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and more. She is the author of two picture books, CHOMPSEY CHOMPS BOOKS and SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL, as well as the YA Southern mystery, THE EXISTENCE OF BEA PEARL. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two children (one of whom is possibly feral, and definitely a velociraptor).

Candice is represented by Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary Management.

She loves to connect with other writers and readers!

Website: https://www.candicemarleyconner.com

Instagram: @candice_marleyconner
Facebook: @cmarleyconnerauthor
Twitter: @candice_marleyc

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Book blurb:

If her brother could stop existing, could she too?

Sixteen-year-old Bea Pearl knows her brother isn’t dead. Even if her parents don’t agree. Even if the entire town doesn’t believe her. She knows it’s true. When orders came to evacuate Lake George due to rising floodwaters, Bea Pearl saw Jim head toward the river. She followed him. Only she returned. When her parents have Jim declared legally dead, Bea Pearl decides it’s up to her to figure out where her brother could be if he is alive, and so begins to unravel the mystery of his disappearance. But it seems like someone else wants to know what he was hiding when his bedroom is ransacked. More clues come together: a scrap of paper, mysterious numbers that may lead to swamp monkeys, Jim’s shoes turning up in unexpected places. Bea Pearl can’t figure out what connects them all until she’s stolen from her bed in the dead of night.

Bea Pearl’s insistence that Jim’s alive and her quest to figure out why he went down to a flooding river in the first place takes a toll on her shattering family. But she must unearth the truth surrounding her presumed dead brother. Otherwise, the rumors are true and she has killed him. Because if Jim can stop existing, could she too?

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/ZKAqFwstL1A
Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Existence-Pearl-Candice-Marley-Conner-ebook/dp/B08WHTJSG7/ref=sr_1_1?crid=21CZTB5F1X9OM&keywords=the+existence+of+bea+pearl&qid=1662922018&sprefix=the+existence+of+bea+pearl%2Caps%2C83&sr=8-1

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Art & Max by David Wiesner

TITLE: Art & Max

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: David Wiesner

PUBLISHER: Clarion Books, 2010

SYNOPSIS: Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting. Arthur is an accomplished painter; Max is a beginner. Max’s first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various artistic media, which turn out to have unexpected pitfalls. Although Max is inexperienced, he’s courageous and a quick learner. His energy and enthusiasm bring the adventure to its triumphant conclusion. Beginners everywhere will take heart.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :   Friendships are a funny thing. Some come into your life for but a moment. Some bring with it a lesson to learn. And then there are some friendships that last a lifetime, surviving all of those rocky ups and down that can shatter a heartfelt connection. Author David Wiesner shines a light on one of those types of friendships in ART & MAX. Poor Art was just trying to spend a little quiet time painting when Max tumbles into his world like tumbleweed and shakes up Art’s simple life. Wanting to join in his new friend’s day, Max proceeds to color Art’s world…AND Art…and they both soon realize that both lives will never be the same again! This artfully illustrated picture book celebrates special friendships and all the colorful adventures that come with it! A great addition to any library!

RATING: *****5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but othe thers might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Bump-Night-Donna-L-Martin-ebook/dp/B0B5RSWYKY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=A+Bump+In+The+Night+donna+l+martin&qid=1662844643&sr=8-1

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published 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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: A Frog In The Bog by Karma Wilson

TITLE: A Frog In The Bog

AUTHOR: Karma Wilson

ILLUSTRATOR: Joan Rankin

PUBLISHER: Margaret K McElderry Books, 2003

SYNOPSIS:

There’s a frog on the log
in the middle of the bog.
A small, green frog
on a half-sunk log
in the middle of the bog….

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :  I have a feeling that I’m not the only person who enjoys author Karma Wilson’s stories. A FROG IN THE BOG is a cute counting story fashioned after the “woman who swallowed a fly” story. Young readers will be introduced to various critters found in the bog and they will laugh at the whimsical watercolor illustrations provided by Joan Rankin. Growing up near the bayous of southern Louisiana, I can certainly connect with the variety of life found in the bog. A fun addition to any library!

RATING: ****4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



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Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

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Hybrid published 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 flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Holding The Horse by J L Williams

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, J L Williams, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Holding The Horse”. Take it away, J L…

Holding The Horse by J L Williams

I began writing Holding The Horse in 2015. My dad and his brothers were getting older and frailer and I realized that their generation would soon be gone. Dad and his brothers told me about their happy childhood years. My gran told me about the tough times. I wanted to celebrate their lives and to record the courage and determination of post-WWII families as they faced emotional turmoil, financial hardship and the physical struggle of life.

After a while self-doubt crept in, and the research seemed daunting. My dad found out that he had cancer, and I put the manuscript aside. Looking back now, I think that writing break was necessary. While I thought I’d forgotten about the story, it was quietly growing inside my head and in my heart. In 2018, after my dad had passed away and family life had moved on, I recovered my drive to finish the story. The research now seemed easy and the emotional ride of writing was enormously satisfying. I sensed that I had an important story to tell, and not just for my family. When Storylines New Zealand announced a new award – the Janice Marriott Mentoring Award, I scrambled to put together an entry. I was chosen as the winner, and in 2019 I had the honor of receiving my award (by post, because Covid19 had finally reached New Zealand.)

Janice Marriott is an award-winning author of fiction and memoir who runs an international author tutoring program called Go Write Now. She set up the Storylines NZ mentoring award to encourage writers of junior or middle grade fiction in New Zealand. The experience of being mentored was truly life-changing. Janice gave me the confidence to complete the manuscript and assured me that my story was certainly an important story in terms of historical fiction and fiction that explores the relationship between fathers and sons, especially in times of difficulty and hardship.

In 2019 I completed the manuscript and entered it in the Storylines New Zealand Tom Fitzgibbon award for an unpublished junior fiction manuscript. I wasn’t the winner but I was shortlisted and attended the award ceremony in 2020. Holding The Horse was then placed with a children’s book agent for several months and then I was told that they were really looking for authors with ‘a body of work’ and not just one book. That was the beginning of my self-publishing journey. Holding The Horse is now available as both print and eBook through Amazon and through Kobo, Nook and many other platforms. My dream is to have my book available in libraries and schools.

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Book blurb:

A boy, a horse, a dream and a secret plan.

Set in rural New Zealand just after the second World War, Holding the Horse is the story of fourteen year old Sid, who dreams of becoming a famous jockey. Sid had expected everything to be easier after Dad’s return from the war, but now that his father is back, things seem to be worse in many ways. Dad is moody and unpredictable. And for some unknown reason, he is dead set against horse-racing. When Sid is invited to go to the races with his friend Rick, he has to invent other places he’s going to. And when he gets a job offer, working with horses, Dad refuses to let him go. Dad’s crazy friend Jack, his war buddy, agrees with everything Dad says. So does Mum, or at least she acts like she does. Sid’s family own’s a horse called Hugh, but he’s slow and steady, and very old.


A jockey needs to be able to ride fast, so Sid makes a plan to ride a fast horse. It involves telling lies, sneaking out at night, and riding a horse he doesn’t own. Can he achieve his dream? Or will his secret plan lead to disaster?

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About The Author:

J. L. writes stories that take you to another place and time, and another world, even though they’re set right here on planet earth. She believes that forgiveness is one of the greatest powers we can exercise, and that when our loyalties are tested, and we have the opportunity to forgive, it’s more than an opportunity. It’s a must. J.L. hopes her stories will make you laugh and keep you on the edge of your seat, as well as make you think about some of the deep stuff when you close the book.

Website: https://jlwilliamsauthor.com/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Holding-Horse-J-L-Williams-
ebook/dp/B0B9YNZHDR

Universal Book Link for wide publishing:
https://books2read.com/HoldingTheHorse
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jwilliamswriter
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jwilliamswriter/