Ready to Meet Fiona the Dog?

Oh my! Things are going missing!

Don’t believe me? Here are real live testimonials from a dog, a frog and a bunny. Enjoy!

New Book Coming VERY soon!

hardback10

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Another Amazing Young Entrepreneur

I LOVE WHAT I DO!

Not only do I get to sell my books at a tradeshow every single weekend, but I get to meet some amazingly creative people – many of which are children! Today’s amazing Young Entrepreneur is Racquel and what she does is truly creative.

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From a distance, walking by her table at the show this weekend, it looked like yarn, knitted together to make these displays. It wasn’t until I looked a bit closer and then, even touched one, I realized she made these out of rubber bands! I swear – I’ve never even been able to start a rubber band ball and she created this!

RUBBER BAND NATIVITY SCENE

She started by teaching herself rubber band bracelets. Once she mastered the simplicity of a bracelet she began getting creative by adding a cross to the design. Eventually, she started making Joseph (wearing green), Mary (in light blue), Baby Jesus (white swaddle in brown manger) and even a little white lamb (with a pink nose). She figured out how to make Mary kneel in prayer and Joseph stand upright.  I think at her age, I had mastered paper dolls – flat paper dolls.

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The creativity and amount of work that went into these were mind-boggling.  For a young girl to put forth so much effort, on her own, is inspiring. I pray she will continue to put forth so much effort into everything she does for God – we all will be blessed for it.

If you were inspired by her work, let her know – I will forward your comments to her.

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Wiki? Hamilton Troll

Hamilton Troll – Species Classification

(A short chap with a cheery smile, whose face can be seen as far as a mile)

Hamilton Troll

Hamilton Troll

The word troll brings about fear and disgust in many people. There are plenty of stories and variations of troll species, most of which exhibit unfavorable traits and bad behaviors. Some say trolls are ugly, hairy giants with hooked noses and humps on their backs. They’ve also been known to smell bad and do mean things, but that is just a stereotype. Not all Trolls are disagreeable and mean. Some trolls live around people and manage to get along and interact quite well; they also love animals and can be quite creative.

There are dozens of types of trolls that vary in size and appearance. There are forest trolls, ice trolls, river trolls, bog trolls, rock trolls, desert trolls, mountain trolls, stone trolls, hill trolls, cave trolls, snow trolls, and so many more. While that seems like a lot, there are also various types of magical creatures that are very similar to trolls like; elves, dwarfs, gnomes, leprechauns, sprites, assorted faeries and a huge list of other unpronounceable international creatures. Depending on where the story originates on the earth, Norway, Scandinavia or abouts, the name too, takes on its own very special meaning.

Trolls are known for taking on the general characteristics of their natural surroundings, but with the age of modern technology, transportation and such, trolls have grown with the times. They have sprouted out, explored the world and over time adapted to become helpful additions to natures society. Hamilton Troll is an excellent example of this, but before we get into that, we should explore his origins first.

Origin

hamilton happyWhile Hamilton’s past is mostly an unknown, we know that he did have a mother who taught him to take pride in his attire and clothes. She taught him to always look his best: (Wearing neck tie and vest, he was taught to look good. He was taught by his mother, that he always should). The general consensus is that Hamilton’s mother must have been a Norwegian female troll which are said to be beautiful small humanoids with red-hair. This is where Hamilton gets his colorful yet visible tangled red hair.

Hamilton’s father however is an unknown. There are thoughts that he was a Tomte, a small three foot tall creature with a kind face, who wears knitted caps and is attracted to bright colors. Some think he was a Risi, a heroic and courtly being, but very little is known about them. Others have said he might have been a helpful elf or a curious gnome. Gnomes are small humanoid creatures that live under the ground. The fact that Hamilton chooses to live in a hole, next to a chopped down tree could be indicative to his gnome genetics. The important part is that Hamilton Troll won’t be defined be his past predecessors.

Intelligence & Behaviors

ht fix tie2Folklore and fairy tales are not accessible to Hamilton in the woods that he lives in, so he hasn’t read about how mean and horrible most trolls can be. His mother was nice to him and so he is nice to others. (He walks through the woods, helping all of the bugs, gather food, nuts and grain and giving out hugs) He is curious about everything and wants to explore the world, going on adventures, asking questions and learning about this beautiful planet.

Once Hamilton learns something; he enjoys sharing what he’s learned with others. Education is very important to Hamilton, both his own, and in doing so for others. While Hamilton is not college educated, he doesn’t feel that should be a stop-factor, as he feels he has something genuinely important to share with children; love, guidance and understanding.

Roles with Humans

Whether Hamilton Troll realizes it or not, he is leading the way towards a better understanding of the once disgusted troll species. Not all trolls are made equal and Hamilton aims to prove just that by being the ambassador of education for this generation. So fear not, the fact that Hamilton is a small green troll is a wonderful thing, because he alone intends on changing the perspectives of the planet, one happy child at a time.

Physical Characteristics

His head is the shape of an upside down pear, and it’s topped with a mop of tangled red hair. He wears a flat hat with a patch on the rim, so everyone he knows will be sure to find him. His eyes are like chocolate, big brown and fat. His pants are red-patched on the place that he sat. His heart is as big as a giant brick house, even though Hamilton is as small as a mouse.

Educational Aspects

hamilton lightbulb2Through his curious nature, Hamilton Troll learns about animal characteristics: Young skunks cannot control their scent gland, bees are color blind, owls need to be taught how to hoot, beaver teeth are constantly growing.

Through his interactions with others, Hamilton learns various social skills; how to make friends, face your fears, practice makes perfect, do not bully, do not steal…

When he asks questions, he learns scientific data, like; how petrified wood is made, where fossils come from and the names of Texas wildflowers.

htcampfireAs his adventures continue in this educational children’s book series, Hamilton will learn even more and thus teach the children reading his stories. Children can inevitably grow-up with Hamilton Troll, learning with him and from him, all while reading these fun rhyming stories.

To learn more about Hamilton Troll, please visit www.HamiltonTroll.com

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Writing Prompt! “Never once thinking this could happen…”

What would you write to the phrase in purple below? Write a sentence or two in the comments field and see where it takes you.

“Never once thinking this could happen…”

I fell to my knees and sobbed in the middle of the neighbors yard. I didn’t care if anyone was looking. I had no intention on pulling it together or even explaining myself. This was happening to me and this seemed like the only thing I was capable of doing at this exact moment.  

Categories: Writing Prompts! | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Amazing Young Entrepreneurs

This weekend I met a young boy with his own business card. We were talking books when I suggested he take one of my cards. He then offered me, his. Wow! He twists balloons into fun animal shapes for birthday parties, picnics and events and also creates amazing Paracord bracelets and key chains. I then noticed how he was wearing about 10 bracelets on his wrist and his mom had a few on hers. Needless to say, I now own a homemade Paracord bracelet (in rainbow colors of course.)

Here is my bracelet and a picture of some of his latest works:

IMAG2180 10917861_732237900222723_3907243273131073310_n

His creativity is amazing and I highly encourage you to support him. You know you want a pink ribbon or an Ichthus fish. And if you check out his Facebook page, you will see his creativity doesn’t stop there. Talent, ingenuity and desire. A young man following his dreams. Learn more about this amazing young entrepreneur here: https://www.facebook.com/twistedTx

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Later that day I met another amazing girl, a 10 year old published author! I absolutely adore young authors because I know, from firsthand experience, how amazingly imaginative and creative they are. Yet get this, her book, by “The Decade Author” consists of 10 short stories, one for each year of her life. How cool is that? I just bought a book and encourage you to do the same. My goal as an author has always been to encourage children to write (hence my Call to Write Challenge) and I am always amazed to learn that some are pushing forward a heck of a lot faster than I ever did! You go girl!

Support a young author. Help her follow her dreams and learn more about her book at: http://www.amazon.com/Short-Stories-Poems-Mind-Year/dp/1499290039/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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Finally, last but certainly not least, another absolutely amazing twelve year old author. I met this boy at the Weihnachtsmarkt in New Braunfels (don’t ask me to pronounce that). Standing at his table selling his book made me proud for him. I loved his excitement and enthusiasm, but better yet, I LOVED his book! I thoroughly enjoyed the story and found the creativity a joy. His mother helped him edit it and I truly felt they both did an amazing job. He captured my attention to the end and I laughed many times as he came up with some of his ‘plans’. I think everyone should read this, not only to support a young authors dreams but because it was simply fun to read.

Show your support for this young author and buy his book.  It is a scary, exciting thing getting your story out there and encouragement is key if you want them to keep at it. Learn more about his book here: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-My-Backyard-Ethan-Peltier/dp/150077409X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425908156&sr=8-1&keywords=dragon+in+my+backyard

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Over the years, I have met many young authors and entrepreneurs. We are blessed to live in a era where technology can easily assist us in seeing our dreams come to fruition. Yet holding our published book or handcrafted bracelets are only the first step. We must find the people willing to buy them, to support us and then later (hopefully) tell us what a great job we did. It is the encouragement that keeps us going. So give these kids an ‘atta boy or girl’ and share their work with others.

Categories: Author, Inspiration, Young Entrepreneurs | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re coming up in the world…

Hello all, the tradeshow season has started out with a blast! We started with the Home & Garden Show in San Antonio this past weekend debuting the most amazing display we’ve ever had – and I will literally be hitting the road running as we go forward. This coming weekend I’ll be in Killeen Texas. Next weekend at the Wildflower Fest in Dripping Springs, then Blanco, Austin, Houston, Kerrville…. Please take a note at the Upcoming Events to the right of this page, they will update after each weekend automatically so you can plan your visits accordingly.

Here are a few pictures our NEW display:

 

Also take a look at this amazing Time Lapse Photography of our booth. This video, our new friends Elma & Fred of the Enchanted Fairytale Portraits in Wimberley, TX took. 30 Minutes worth of shopping in 11 seconds (sure wish I could do that in real life!)

ENCHANTED FAIRYTALE PORTRAITS

If you want an outstanding portrait of your child – check them out! Absolutely amazing work.
Awe-inspiring – makes me want to write a story for each picture!
Enchanted Fairytale Portraits in Wimberley, TX

 

Looking forward to seeing you just about any time this year!

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Where are the book sales?

I just received a newsletter entitled “Why won’t my book sell?” and to be honest, after reading it, I felt they were doing the author wrong…

 

They start out with: You wrote a good book, you are pleased with its looks, you’ve done some social marketing but the sales you’ve gotten are mostly from friends and family… They go on to say – you should revamp your book cover, change your book’s title, work on your book’s description, ask for reviews, etc. While, if you are self published and haven’t worked that hard on your description, kept the first title that came to your mind and created your cover in PowerPoint or bought a template – then I say – YES – work on those aspects – big time.

But if you’ve got a professionally designed cover, something eye-catching…
– If your title is creative & unique, something that makes the reader turn the book over to read the back…
– and your description is well written and informative enough for the reader to want to pull out their wallet…
– then you’ve done everything you can for your book…

The rest is up to YOU!!

 

Being an author is NOT about writing a book. Yes – you read that correctly. Read it again. It is NOT about writing a book! Yes, the first part of the journey is writing the book, without a doubt, no book no author, but your job is not done when the book is finished – it is just starting! Most marketing firms will say that is when you develop a website, create accounts with every social media platform out there.  Spend multiple hours out of every day reading other’s posts and replying to them to build your social status, etc. While yes, that is important (heck that is what I am doing right now with this blog which updates on every social account I have instantaneously thus saving me hours of time) that is NOT the last step – that is step 2.

Step 3 is getting your book – OUT THERE -

 

Now let me be clear – you want your book available everywhere books are sold online. If you are on Amazon only, you NEED to use their expanded distribution, you don’t want to limit your exposure, but I am in NO WAY condoning the use of Amazon’s CreateSpace (I won’t go into it, but they are not THERE for the author the way it seems).

Enough of that – back to the point – you want your book EVERYWHERE books are sold online.  When the reader learns about your book they will do a search for it and you want the first three pages of search results to pull up every online bookstore that has it. Simple as that.

But if you are clued-in to the written word then hopefully you caught the most important part of that sentence - No, it was not about search results – it was: “when the reader LEARNS about your book”.

They Must KNOW it Exists to Find It.

 

This is the part none of these newsletters will EVER mention. The internet is great. You can learn about anything YOU want to. If YOU want to learn about Aardvark’s you type it in a search and wikipedia pulls it up and you can learn anything your heart desires about Aardvarks. Do you know what it doesn’t do? Unlike a real paper encyclopedia, you can’t turn the page and learn about  the Aardwolf. You will NEVER learn about that African animal if you don’t KNOW to look for it first. The same can be said about a web store, your blog or your book. If the world doesn’t know your book exists, they will not know to look for it. They will not buy it because they can’t find it because they aren’t typing it’s title into a search because they do not know it exists.

This is where the REAL WORK begins.

 

Yes, you can pay for marketing; newspaper and magazine ads, radio and TV commercials, pay per click campaigns. You will find you spent your retirement to make enough sales to pay one mortgage payment. Why did that not work? Because you have to do it constantly – a person needs to be inundated with your info, 8 times by various different outlets before they remember it enough to look into it or be curious enough to learn more.  Well, what then?

You have to get your book on book shelves. No Barnes & Noble won’t stock your book because you asked nicely, you have to prove to them it is worth it through your sales – the catch 22. You have to have the sales to make the sells.  What to do?

Do consignments; get your book on the shelves of mom and pop shops, trinket stores, etc. When someone is out shopping and they see something they are interested in, they pick it up. When it is in their hand, it is more likely to be purchased than when they see an intrusive ad online. While you will pay as much as 50% of the sale to the consigning store, you will get exposure for the book, not JUST from the purchaser but everyone who walks by and glances at it. The second or third time they walk into the store they may buy it – OR they see it in the store, then see an ad that reminds them of what they saw, that will spark an online search or a return back to the store.  It is the ultimate adwords campaign that doesn’t cost you for every glance.

Do tradeshows; book fairs, arts markets, craft shows, church bazaars, library visits… anything the public will come to that you can BE at. I do a ‘show’ every single weekend! If they don’t buy the first time, the likelihood is, the next time they see me they WILL buy.  You have to be in front of them. Put your book in their hands and talk to them. Don’t just sit there and smile as they walk by. Stand up, talk to them, ask if they’ve heard of your book. Ask if you can tell them about your book. Introduce yourself as the author. Get them excited by being excited and prove to them through your actions that if YOU are interesting, imagine how exciting your story will be. Sell your book by selling yourself. Then keep it up.

That is the key. Keep selling.

 

The day you stop marketing, doing shows, not educating the public about your book… is the day your sales dwindle away. You can’t build a business and not work it. You can’t open a grocery store and not stock it. And you can’t write a book and not market it. It is hard work and it is constant. But if you want it – you have to shoot for it. The BEST person to market your book is YOU. So if you aren’t marketing it, you now, can’t ask why it is not selling. You know.

book marketing (Small)

Categories: Author, Education, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Writing Prompts! “In the morning…”

Hi there, lets have another fun writing prompt and see what results we get.

“In the morning when the clock struck six…”

I sat up from bed and stretched, knowing this was going to be the day I had been waiting for, for so long. My heart immediately quickened as I began contemplating how the events of the day would turn out.  Would I be able to handle everything? Would I freeze up and let everyone down?  I had planned, and prepared for so long and finally, it was here and I was terrified!

What would YOU write to this writing prompt? How would your story change? Use the comments field below to finish the sentence. Let’s see how creative we all can get.

Categories: Writing Prompts! | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

WE DID IT AGAIN!!!

 

No Oops here readers, we REALLY did it again!

We won First Place
Best
Children’s Educational SERIES
from the Texas Association of Authors.

 

series-TAA

9books

I guess hard work really DOES pay off… along with dreaming, following God’s plan and persisting no matter what.  It is quite an honor to now be able to say I have an:

AWARD-WINNING SERIES!

Yet, this is just the beginning.

On April 11th the winners from this contest will be presented at the State Capitol.

Then as part of the D.E.A.R. Texas Program (Drop Everything And Read)
I will be doing a book reading, then signing at the

Barnes & Noble at the Arboretum in Austin

 

It is a wonderful opportunity and one of many coming up this year! We’ve got the Home & Garden Show at the Alamodome at the end of this month, the FEAST Convention at the Christian Academy of San Antonio (Homeschooling) and more shows in the works that will literally fill every weekend for the rest of this year!

I, of course, couldn’t have done any of this without my super talented illustrators, Leigh A. Klug and Carol W. Bryant, my supportive husband, and God who makes everything happen. I wonder what’s in store for us next?

 

Read the Press Release Here

 

Categories: Author, award, Children's Books | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Roman Numerals and Super Bowl XLIX

Super-Bowl-XLIX-Primary

So I was watching the Super Bowl last night… for those who know me – they KNOW that would NEVER happen! But alas, I was invited to a Super Bowl party, so I studied up on football and went in ready to enjoy the game (and commercials and halftime show!). While watching the game I noticed the roman numerals detailing the number of Super Bowls there had been:

XLIX

So, I knew:   I = 1     V = 5     X = 10  and  M = 1000
I had forgotten that L = 50, until I looked it up on my phone.

I know if the lower number comes before the bigger number you subtract, if it comes after you add…

IV = 4     VI = 6     IX = 9     XI = 11 

Then I did the math.

IX is:  1 – 10 = 9      XL is: 10 – 50  = 40

For a total of: 40 + 9 = 49

But then I wondered…

Why didn’t they just do

IL

1 – 50 = 49

Was it because it just didn’t look cool enough?

The world may never know.

:-)

Categories: craziness | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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