Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sup With Me? Why Zompoemz and Catherine Johnson, Of Course.

Everyone welcome Catherine Johnson, the kid’s poet extraordinaire. YEAH! WAHOO! Look at you! There she is. Wave to her everyone. She's pretty inside and out. :-)

Catherine has published THREE books of poetry for children. The latest is the wacky, wonderful Zompoemz. I highly recommend it, y’all. Have kidlets? Grandkidlets? Then you need these books. I will give links at the end of this post for you. Here she is. Isn't she pretty? And her personality matches her pretty. :-) Here's Zompoemz. It's pretty too. Check it out! :-) BTW, Zompoemz is FREE for Kindle until Halloween night. So go snag it. And tell your friends and even strangers to buy Zompoemz. 

       My review:
      We have Catherine's first two children's poetry books in our LIBRARY so it just stands to reason that we should have Zompoemz too. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her poetry. I think Catherine did a service to kids everywhere. She is getting them interested in poetry. What a great thing! Kids who normally wouldn't touch a poetry book are interested in more poetry after having read these books of hers. This is not your ordinary zombie poetry book (is there even one of those?). This is a funny and wacky and kooky and deliciously wonderful read. It starts out with a drawing of a zombied out Bruce the Moose. It says: Bruce the Moose can really dance. But not when he's in a zombie trance. Kids LOVE that stuff. The art is so kid-friendly. Just look at the cover, and you can see that. There's zombies playing baseball, and the head comes off and so they play catch the head instead. It's a tickle your funny bone book that all kids should have access to. It's a sweet, short (for those reluctant readers that you know), and too fun to put down book. I'm going to buy a copy for our library. I hope a lot of people do that. The kids are going to love you for it.

        So Catherine, tell us where you got the idea for Zompoemz.
It was probably a mix of my kids talking about them and being a regular reader of Jack Flacco’s blog. He writes zombie books for adults. They are also a lot easier to draw than normal human faces. ;-)

        Didn’t you use the new Kindle Kids' Book Creator Tool when you published Zompoemz? Was it hard to figure out?

             Nope. It was dead easy or should I say undead easy bwa ha ha! There is a fab new thing you can do where you type the text of the page into a box and it automatically shows the enlarged text on whatever device you are reading off. I only used it for pages with tiny text but next time I might do it all. You don’t have to worry about pixels or anything as long as your photos are of a decent quality you are sorted. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

       What influenced your decision to pursue publication on your own, rather than submitting your poetry books for acquisition by traditional publishing houses using standard 'advance against royalty' contracts? (Although you’re lucky because you can illustrate.)

             For Weirdo Zoo a long time ago I did submit them to a couple of good publishers that I had researched to see if they would be interested. It is super difficult to get a whole book traditionally published if you are not an established poet. Out of a whole book full of publishers poetry really narrowed the field down. I have several poems traditionally published through the Poetry Institute of Canada’s yearly competition but I feel that for my quirky style I’ll have to stick to self-published. I realize many people look down on you for it and I probably used to be like that, but since I’m always wanting to be on with the next thing, I think it will suit me in the long run. I was also about to be sent out to get a proper job if I’d have still been just submitting poems. I don’t know how I would have fit in the blogging if I worked as well. Yikes! The pressure lol.

       What are the advantages of self-publishing in an economic and a creative sense?

             I think I need to get better at getting my work and my blog out there before I can make any money doing this. I don’t really know yet of I’ve broken even. Better get my accounts in order ;) I’m in awe at my friend Nata and her book launch she really nailed it. I hammered it lol.

          What new book idea do you have up that sleeve of yours? (Dare I ask?) *wink*

          Yes, you dare Robyn. I’m sketching some kids lighthouses and in November I’ll be taking Renee’s wonderful poetry course to try and write poems to go with the pictures. The next book will be more girly but hopefully still be fun for boys.

         It was so nice to have you here, my friend. I hope Zompoemz is a BEST SELLER! 
         Thanks so much Robyn. You are the best!
         When we moved from New Zealand to Canada, we initially didn’t know which part
we were moving to so we were very lucky to get to see Vancouver and climb Grouse mountain in a gondola. It was the first time Matthew had set foot in snow, and it was the first time we saw zombies.An innocent drive turned interesting when we took a wrong turn and encountered a scene from Shaun of the Dead. Let’s get out of here! There were zombies everywhere. Not costumes. Not cartoon zombies. Real ones.There was a little old lady hunched over looking in a window carrying a basket. Men hunched over sat on the sidewalk. At first I thought they were poor beggars. And then…. A zombie crossed the road right in front of our car and stopped in the middle and just shouted. Not at us. Oh no. At nobody, himself, who knows. We held our breath, hoping he would move on. He did, phew. Not because we were terrified, because I was creased up laughing. He could have gotten real angry. Tears streamed down my face. We’d only watched Shaun of the Dead a few weeks previous.
So please take a map everywhere. Be especially careful in Vancouver, and believe me 
zombies are real.

Linkage, y'all. 

Zompoemz Kindle Free until Halloween night

Catherine's Zombie house

Catherine's Goodreads

Zompoemz in paperback

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scrappy the Scarecrow, People! It's Time For The 4th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!

Susanna Hill's (like how I made her name orange? Cool touch, isn't it?)  contest draws writers from here to Timbuktu. Lots of competition. Here's her picture. 

The Rules:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words, WAHOO), using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak. Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words. (I used creaked. That's allowed.)

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 27th and Friday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT.

And so it goes. Here's my entry. Which I'm already second/third/fourth guessing. *GULP*

Scrappy the Scarecrow (100 words) Yep. I used every last one. *wink*
          Scrappy stood in that pumpkin patch every day.
He sighed. “Crow, I must leave to find my specialness.”
“How will you go?”
Scrappy scampered.
“I’ll ride that broomstick.”
“How will you fly?”
Scrappy grabbed the broom.
He soared! UP, UP, UP!
He plopped! DOWN, DOWN, DOWN!
Scrappy’s head slouched.
Then he heard something phantasmagorical.
The school bus doors creaked open.
“The children. I must return.”
“You’d better make hay.”
Scrappy scurried!
He settled into his spot.
“I figure I AM special, Crow.”
“How do you know?”

“Their laughter, of course.”

Thanks for reading. Go here if you want to read more entries. They're going to knock your socks off. Er, if you're wearing socks. :-) P.S. I have no idea why the weird spacing at the end. It looks normal until it posts. *deep sigh*
Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cover Reveal For VITAMINS AND DEATH, Y'all

Wahoo! I'm thrilled to be involved in the cover reveal for Medeia Sharif's book, VITAMINS AND DEATH. The book sounds fantastical and the cover is bodacious. Check it out. WOW! YOU MUST HAVE THIS BOOK! 

YA Contemporary, Prizm Books
Release Date December 10, 2014

Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother’s briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High.

Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, Deidra thinks no one will figure out they’re the Battles from recent news and that they’re safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed her life.

Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.

Find Medeia

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

YO! A Lizard's Tail and Bish Denham, y'all.

The blurb: When a feral cat threatens the lives of all who live at Stone Wall, Marvin knows his destiny has finally arrived. But how can a vain young lizard get rid of such a dangerous enemy?

Does that sound good or what? Come on! Well, it is MORE than good. It's SIMPLY BODACIOUS! You MUST buy. (And check out the cover.) WOWEE!! 

My review:

I've seen it called a picture book by some bloggers. It's a chapter book. Bish has outdone herself. Marvin P. Tinkleberry (love that name), a daydreaming show-off who has the perfect tail and wants everyone else to know it sets off on a great adventure not of his making. It seems that Marvin is descended from Prince Leopold. So it is up to him to save the bougainvillea from the CAT! Bish's writing is so delightful, so delicious, so engaging that I predict kids will not be able to put this book down. Her characters are endearing and captivating. Her description, dialogue, and narrative are so charming that A Lizard's Tail will become a classic in family libraries in no time at all.  Our family laughed with Martin and worried over him. He's an honorary member of our family now. Thank you Bish!

Linkage to buy A Lizard's Tail:


Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Linkage to visit Bish:

Bish's house, y'all

Her Goodreads place

Her Facebook page

Bish Denham was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. Her mother's side of the family has lived in the Caribbean for over one hundred years and she still has plenty of family there whom she visits regularly.

She says, "Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. Life for me was magical, and through my writing, I hope to pass on some of that magic."

Bish has known many lizards in her life. Marvin and Leeza are based on two that lived in her bedroom.

She is the author of Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Folk Tales which you can find on

Go buy it, people. It's well worth it.