THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Cautionary Tales and Other Fables by A. T. Schultz

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, Angela Schultz, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Cautionary Tales and Other Fables”. Take it away, Angela…

Cautionary Tales and Other Fables by A. T. Schultz

My love affair with the written word began at a very young age. 

Ever since I could remember, I read everything and anything I could get my hands on. During breakfast time cereal boxes were magical worlds with their colorful designs and prizes. The cartoon section of the daily newspaper was a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Nothing escaped my wide-eyed fascination—and when I didn’t find something entertaining, I grabbed a pencil and paper and created it myself. 

As a child, I aspired to be a cartoonist. I had created my very own Charlie Brown-ish series about siblings with a lovable dog named Rusty, but I quickly grew tired of the cartoon format when my stories grew and became much more elaborate and detailed. When I was twelve, I began to write an ambitious illustrated novel that later became the basis of an award-winning screenplay, The Obsidian Chronicle, of which my writing instructor, Arnaud d’Usseau, said was a “cautionary tale”. 

During my education to become an illustrator at the School Of Visual Arts in NYC, I became fascinated with screenwriting and instantly fell in love with the medium. I have written seventeen feature-length screenplays and many short films over the years, some of which have won awards, have been optioned, or produced.

In 2018, going back to art school roots, I wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book called Squeak! It’s a Dog Chew Toy World! which was based on characters from my screenplay, Rabble Rowsers. The Rabble Rowsers script was inspired by my dog who had stolen a stuffed toy from my baby niece’s stroller and inadvertently became the lead character of a story about doggy chew toys that don’t want to be chewed!

Over the course of thirty years, I had written a number of short stories and noticed that many of them had varying universal morality themes. I remembered what my screenwriting instructor had said, and thought that it would be a good idea to compile a book of my “cautionary tales”.  Thank you, Mr. d’Usseau!

For the collection of 37 stories, I wrote several new ones and ditched many others that were not good enough, (in my humble opinion). Many were underdeveloped scribbles on scraps of paper, while others were nestled together in the file cabinet of forgotten stories. 

I felt like an archeologist as I unearthed the treasures that I had buried so deeply in the cabinet beneath scripts and research papers.

I gathered all of the stories I had written over the years and even adapted several short film scripts as well. “Romancing the Shoes” was adapted from an award-winning script of the same name. Two of the stories, “Harry’s Portrait” and “Veni Vidi Vici”, had been published by the the School of Visual Arts Press in their Words anthology back in the 80’s when I was in college, so I included them as well. The coming of age story called “Daisy” was written for an Australian filmmaker friend, John Klaic, who sadly had passed away before he could make the film. I adapted it in his memory.

Finally,  over the course of three months, the book of Cautionary Tales and other Fables, was completed. I hired a amazing company of artists, MiblArt in the Ukraine, to design the swirling vortex of things on the cover. 

As to be expected in a story about people with problems, there is some profanity and gore, but nothing that the average teenager isn’t accustomed to seeing or hearing nowadays, but there are no “F” bombs.


Book Blurb:…

Be prepared to enter a world where strange and unusual things can happen.

This collection of morality tales is intertwined with an odd assortment of unique stories; some lighthearted and fun, while others delve into the darkest side of human behavior.

Be forewarned: not all of them have happy endings!

Desperation drives people to do unexpected, and sometimes crazy, things!

Purchase link…



A. T. is an award winning screenwriter who has authored numerous feature-length screenplays including the PAGE INTERNATIONAL SCREENWRITING AWARDS silver prize winning screenplay, ROBOMUTT, along with quarter finalists, RABBLE ROWSERS, and FAILSAFE.  A. T. graduated from the School Of Visual Arts in NYC with a BFA in Illustration and Graphic Design, and wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book called SQUEAK! IT’S A DOG CHEW TOY WORLD! based upon the characters of the RABBLE ROWSERS screenplay. A. T. is also the author of the upcoming Young Adult Fantasy series, THE DAEMONSPHERE CHRONICLES.

Want to connect?

Email: [email protected]



TWITTERA. T. Schultz /@rabblerowsers

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Vannetta Chapman




Title: Murder Freshly Baked

Author: Vannetta Chapman

Publisher: Zondervan Publishing

Ages: Young Adult to Adult




The Amish Artisan Village of Middlebury, Indiana, might be the last place you would ever expect to find a murderer. But Amber has been managing the Village for decades and there’s nothing she hadn’t seen. Or so she thought.


Why maybe you should read it:


I’m not usually a cozy mystery reader…I leave that genre to my sister. But there was something about the cover of this book that captured my attention so I thought I would give it a try. I mean what’s not to like, right? A cute Amish village where fresh baked goods are on the menu along with a slice of murder topped with a mystery.

Unfortunately, for me, this third book in the series didn’t exactly wet my appetite for more cozy mysteries. The beginning chapters of MURDER FRESHLY BAKED were very confusing to me with the introduction of so many different characters. I don’t know if it would have helped to have read the other books in the series first, but since I didn’t know who these characters were, it was challenging to feel connected to them.

I’m sure Ms. Chapman’s book would be a fine read for someone else but for me, MURDERR FRESHLY BAKED didn’t quite fit this reader’s palette.


Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 3 out of 5…take it or leave it.


**Rating scale**


 5 out of 5…grab it!


 4 out of 5…think about it.


 3 out of 5…take it or leave it.


 2 out of 5…maybe not for you.


 1 out of 5…forget about it!




Now on Tuesdays…at least for the foreseeable future…welcome to Flash Fiction Tuesday. In case you don’t know what flash fiction is, it is an extremely short story (sometimes created in 100 words or less) with a beginning, middle, and an ending.

But my case, I write flash fiction with an open ending. I allow my readers to draw their own conclusion as to what happens. Sit back, relax, and take a moment to find out what happens at Lacey’s Bridge…



Tears streaming down her face, Lacey raced to the bridge. She was numb to the feeling of branches scratching her arms and the winter wind tangling her hair. Her attention was focused on the destination. She had to get to the bridge in time.


Lacey broke through the trees just as the sun slid from behind dark clouds. Ahead of her were moss-covered posts and snow stung her eyes as she stumbled toward the bridge’s edge. Exhausted, she paused a moment to rest her head against the rough stone as memories of Tommy washed over her.


“You promised!” He said.


Lacey looked at him with tear filled eyes. “I know, but now I’m not so sure.”


He pulled her to him and kissed her softly, almost apologetically, before saying, “You know she will never stop. This is the only way. If two people believe in something strongly enough then even the impossible becomes possible.”


She hung her head, “Yes, I know.”


Lacey’s thoughts returned to the stone beneath her hands as his voice echoed into the night, “I’ll love you forever.”


Slowly she made her way to the middle of the bridge. Stopping long enough to register the sound of hounds barking in the distance, she reached into her pocket. Trembling fingers closed around cold steel as Lacey drew the gun to her lips for one final kiss before letting it slip into the dark waters below.


It was done…


Okay, it’s your turn! What did Lacey do? Why are the hounds after her? Why does she have a gun? Put your creative cap on and add a sentence or add a paragraph. Continue my story or start one of your own and leave a comment below…





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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, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.




Title: The Case of the Cursed Dodo
Author: Jake G Panda
Publisher: Woolly Family Studios
Ages: Young Adult, Adult



If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve found it. The name’s Jake G. Panda, and trouble seems to follow me wherever I go. I work in the protection racket at a flophouse for endangered critters called the Last Resort. I’m the hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It’s my job to keep these guests safe and outta harm’s way. This is the first of my many misadventures. A wild and woolly mystery involving a lost suitcase, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing animals. I’m calling it The Case of the Cursed Dodo.


Why you should read it:


Author Jake G Panda had me from the first chapter. With wit and charm, Mr. Panda dances across the pages of his book like the starlets of the silver screen. I found his clever analogy of the old time detective hot on the trail of his latest case to weave a story about endangered animals of the desert quite entertaining.

While I understand his take on presenting sections of this story from the lens of a movie camera, this was the only part of the book I don’t particularly care for and could have done without. I personally don’t think the storyline needs it.

But what little price to pay for such a delightful read. This is the first in hopefully many installments of the ENDANGERED FILES series and I’m sure readers of this first book will wonder what will Mr. Panda uncover next? The author has also recently released the audio version of this great tale as well so you can get your dodo fix any way you want it!
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5…think about 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!




Title: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall
Author: Sarah E Ladd
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc
Ages: Young Adult, Adult


Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could expose her disgrace.

Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own…one that has haunted him for years and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove Hall.

When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice. Will they continue running from the past or will they stand together and fight for a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long kept?


Why you should read it:


When I was a teenager I loved reading romance novels. One of my favorite authors was the prolific Barbara Cartland. It fascinated me that one person could write so many novellas (sometimes working on three or four at the same time) all dedicated to the fair damsel and the strong knight who comes to her rescue.

As I started reading A LADY AT WILLOWGROVE HALL I wondered if it was going to be along the same lines as all those romance stories of my youth. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Ms. Ladd’s novel was even better than I hoped for.

Cecily is a character many people can relate to as they see her struggle to come to terms with her past so that she might have a future free from secrets. She’s stronger than she first realized and helps one resident of Willowgrove Hall find peace with their past as well.

I found myself quickly turning the pages, eager to see if Cecily would be wooed by Nathaniel’s easy manner, if Nathaniel would ever get the opportunity to begin a life free from the responsibilities of being the steward of Willowgrove Hall, or would these two tortured souls find peace in each other arms? To the romantics among us, A LADY AT WILLGROVE HALL is well worth a read.
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5…think about 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!


young adulrt.jpg



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 really love this series because I get a chance to learn from so many wonderful writers like my friend Craig Lew. You can find him on his websites ( or drop him an email at ([email protected]). 


What Exactly Is YA?

by Craig Lew


YA is not shorthand for “Yes” or an abbreviation for “Yet Another.” YA is not “Yahoo Answers” or the Japanese word for “Arrow.” Well, it is but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

Some say, YA or Young Adult Literature is a story of teen angst, coming of age and first love generally written in first person, but to be honest, I was not sure. So I asked a bunch of much smarter than me authors, “What is YA?”

Gloria Skurzynski (Virtual War, Devastation, Afterwar, The Clones):

“…young adult fiction is for 12 to 18-year-olds. Supposedly. But YA fiction has grown increasingly popular with (mainly women) readers from the late teens to mid-30s. Examples: the Twilight Saga, and my daughter Alane Ferguson’s forensic mystery series, perhaps because in both these series the female protagonists have matured from high-school girls into actual adults.”

Amy Allgeyer Cook (Smelvin and Goulash Boy, Iron Bodkin):

“I define YA as a book that is too mature in theme, language or content for the average twelve year-old to process. Disclaimer: kids vary.”

Sarah McGuire (Turbo Monkeys):

“YA is about thresholds- and those events that define the adult a child is going to become.”

Kristin Elizabeth Clark (Freak Boy):

“I would define YA as a genre of fiction intended for an audience between the ages of twelve and eighteen or so (though I think twelve is actually kind of on the young side). It’s marked by protagonists who tend to be between those ages – and regardless of the outward trappings of the story, whether it’s fantasy, paranormal, or contemporary, there tends to be a thread of growth for the main character in terms of human development. I’d say most leave off with the sense of life yet to be lived – and if there’s no clear, happy ending we usually see the protagonist “on the road to O.K.,” as my editor, Joy Peskin, says.”

Suzanne Morgan Williams (Bull Rider):

“YA needs to be honest and irreverent – to challenge the reader to see the world in new ways while reflecting a teen reader’s emotional experience.”

Terri Farley (Baby Teeth, Seven Tears into the Sea, Phantom Stallion):

“I think the strongest YA novels focus on that time when kids are separating from parents and peers to learn how they can live within & without the dominant society.”

I think YA is the lumpy stuff in the lava lamp…sort of warm, glowy and ever changing. It mesmerizes you to no end and yet is impossible to define because it seems to never stop changing.

Have I totally confused you? Yes? Then my work is done.




Biography: Craig Lew’s storytelling career began even before he had learned to write. As a child, he would steal his father’s tape recorder and make different voices for each character recording tales about strange planets or scary creatures. His favorite story openings at that time were, “Once upon a junk yard heap…” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”

An entertainment Industry consultant, Craig has worked with Dreamworks SKG, PBS, KCET, Deluxe Labs, ITC, Nortel Networks and The New Getty Center.

Craig produced the Sci Fi comedy movie, “Rock Jocks” about a group of dysfunctional government employees responsible for shooting down asteroids that would destroy Earth.

Official Trailer








***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: Cassa Storm

Author: Alex J Cavanaugh

Cover Design: C. R. W.

Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press, LLC

Ages: Young Adult




An occasional pirate raid and dealing with government bureaucracies was the only thing Byron thought he had to deal with these days. But as a galaxy-wide war comes ever closer to the desert planet of Tgren, Bryon is caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans as well as trying to prevent his son from losing his mind from nightmares caused by the declaration of war. A storm is coming and Bryon is caught in the middle…


Why you should read it:


I have to confess I’m not a huge science fiction fan except for occasionally watching Star Wars and being a follower of Star Trek, both old and newer versions. Sci-fi books don’t normally find a spot on my bookshelf, but I might have to make an exception with Mr. Cavanaugh’s latest book. CASSA STORM is the third book in a trilogy and follows one man’s journey to make his world a better place. It doesn’t really matter that this story takes place in space…it has the universal themes of hope, tolerance and survival. A good story no matter the genre is a good story and THIS is a good story!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 4 out of 5…give it a try!

**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!





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.