Monday, December 24, 2012

If you have arrived in the middle of the adventure, you may start at the beginning by going HERE!

Erik chooses to search for a ford:

Erik wanted no part of that bridge.  He would not risk his pony’s life.  He turned to the left and rode downstream.

Although it was winter, the river wasn’t frozen solid, so they couldn’t cross that way. There were chunks of ice here and there, bobbing up and down in the river current like miniature icebergs. There was mud, too. Squelch, squolch, splorch went Benton’s hooves as he plodded through the muck on the riverbank.

Benton nudged Erik with his nose. He was trying to say, “Let’s go back to the bridge, this muck is not fun anymore,” but unfortunately, Erik didn’t understand Equine. 

“Hey!” Erik exclaimed, as his feet skidded in the mud. “What are you trying to...” He looked across the river. The water wasn’t so deep just where Benton had stopped. And someone was crossing the river ahead of them. Benton had found the ford! “You are one smart pony, Benton!”

Benton nodded his head and snorted. He knew he was a smart pony, even if Erik had misunderstood what he was saying. They started across the river, Benton placing his feet very carefully. This was not easy. Ponies really shouldn’t have to do this sort of thing... but with a prrrrrrr of his lips and a shake of his head, he reminded himself that it was in a good cause, helping his boy.

Just then, the wagon ahead of them lurched. The driver scrambled out and splodged through the muck on the other bank of the river, grabbed his donkey’s harness and tugged. Splooosh! He landed on his backside, while the donkey and cart just stood there.

“Oh no, Benton!” Erik exclaimed. “That cart is stuck! We have to help them!”

Benton knew it was no use arguing that they might get stuck, too, and besides, there was that problem of Erik -- bright boy though he was -- not understanding Equine. He plodged forward, his hooves getting heavier with mud at every step.

Once on the riverbank, Erik noticed all the tin cups and plates and other things hanging from hooks on the sides of the stuck wagon. The tinker! He went everywhere and knew everything! Maybe, just maybe...

Erik hitched Benton next to the tinker’s donkey, grabbed Benton’s harness to urge him forward and started tugging. Splodge, grunt, squoosh, oof, SWOOOOOOOSH! As the cart finally came loose from the mud, bits of water and muck flew everywhere. Erik and the tinker were covered in the stuff!

Spitting bits of mud out of his mouth, the tinker said, “Thank you, young fellow-mi-lad! I am forever in your debt! I will repay you if it takes every tin cup I own. Simply speak what you wish.”

Erik wiped his muddy face with an equally muddy sleeve. “All I wish is to find my birthday present. It was stolen from the box before I could even find out what it was! Someone said something about a rider on a black horse. I’ve been following clues all over the castle and now the forest.”

The tinker grinned from ear to ear. There was mud on his teeth, so it wasn’t really a pretty sight. “I believe I can help you! I saw that very rider just before I started across the river. It was a young girl with fair curly hair streaming in ringlets down her back. She was riding low on her horse, clutching something long and shining in her hand. She disappeared into the forest.”

Erik paced around rapidly, kicking up more and more mud. “Lady Josie! The young princess’s lady-in-waiting. Well, girl-in-waiting. But what would she be doing in the forest -- she belongs in the castle. And with something long and shining? Maybe that’s my present! Maybe SHE stole it! But why?” He stopped and stared at the tinker. “I must find her! Which way did she go?”

“She went thataway,” the tinker said, in the first recorded usage of that phrase in history. He pointed south. 

Erik slithered onto Benton’s back (he had to try three times, because the mud made him slide off the other side) and they headed off.

It quickly grew very dark and spooky as he rode into the forest. Benton was all for getting out of there, but he didn’t seem to have much say in the matter. Ahead of them loomed a huge, twisted tree. Benton neighed in alarm, and Erik reined him in.

There was a sign nailed haphazardly to the tree. It pointed right to “Soggybottom Swamp” and left to “Mystery Mountain”. 

“We have another choice to make, Benton,” Erik said.

Choose the Swamp and go HERE.

Choose the Mountain and go HERE.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Escucha Means Listen (Perfect Picture Book Friday)

Escucha Means Listen

Written by Talia Aikens-Nuñez Illustrations by
Dina Ashraf Helmi

Published by Musa Publishing November 2012

Suitable for ages: 2-5

Theme/topic: bilingual Spanish/English, nature, people, loving

Opening: Listen. Escucha. Listen to everything around you. Ree-aaarr! Ree-aaarr!What do you hear? La ambulancia (the ambulance) is going to help someone.

Synopsis:Escucha Means Listen helps children discover the world in Spanish and English. Just listen to the world around you. Escucha Means Listen helps children discover sounds around them in English and Spanish. Bilingual books are one of the best language learning tools you can use with children.
The sentences are short, the vocabulary is basic and the illustrations teach the words in a fun, easy to figure out way.

Activities: Take a walk and talk about the truck or the leaves and read the story with your children reinforcing the words. AT&T Natural Voices
is an excellent way to learn another language with the kidlets.  

Why I love this book: It teaches Spanish in a very kid friendly way. It's a lovely book with the most vivid illustrations I have ever seen. From the ambulance to the wind blowing. You have to buy this book for your little ones. They will absolutely love it. I promise! They will love to say the words with you in Spanish. :-)

You can buy this lovely book here.

For more wonderful picture books visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa's NICE LIST.

The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.Thank you Angela and Becca! :-)

Ever since I read about it, I've been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!

I found a little part of that list peeps!

I wanted to share with you four folks who keep on giving. They give all the live long day. Every day! Every year!

Sharon Mayhew This lady is my friend, crit partner, confidant, and prayer warrior. The last year has been rough as most of you know, but she's been there for me in every way. I want to thank her for all she's done. Be positive day has lifted my spirits each time we've done it over on twitter. Sharon has read my stories and offered wonderful feedback. (Even the yuck ones) Ha. She never complains about the yuck ones either. As a matter of fact she tells me the yuck ones are good. ;-) She prays for me and I pray for her. That's just how we roll. (She sent me a gift package not long ago. Boy did it lift me.) I heart you and truly love you woman! Please go and see this lovely lady if you don't already know her. And if you do know her, go and tell her she's wonderful. Okay? Merry Christmas, Sharon. Enjoy your gift that will arrive in your inbox this week. Mwah!

Next up, Lynn Kelley. This lady has prayed for me, critiqued for me, loved me and is a most lovely human being. She too has brought me through my bad times. Always there to lend a cyber ear and a real ear. (She called me on the phone when hubby fell off the roof) She's funny and loving and would give someone the shirt off her back. This woman took four chapters of my MG novel to her crit group. (I couldn't fly out to CA. Busy yanno? The kids??) *wink*   (When you gonna send me something to crit for ya?) Lynn loves me even when I'm unlovable. Bless her heart! (She sent me a gift package too.) Dang! I said I need to do the same for her. So Lynn, you will receive a gift from moi this week in your inbox. Please know I love you. You and Sharon are my besties. Mwah! (Sugar pops woman)

Next up, my mentor and pal,

Susanna Leonard Hill. (Longish name to type, uh-huh.)

She's helped me in so many ways. This woman has encouraged me, read my stories and offered valuable feedback, listened to my junk, looked at my horse pics, (she sent me a few, I sent her a ton) and chose me for a certain thing  and I got to be in on this first and I learned so much doing it and she just doesn't know what all she's done because she's just like that. *gasp* (run on sentence here) You have won a prize! Not really. But you will be getting something in your inbox this week from me. Love you encourager woman! 

One more mention. T.  (Theresa Milstein)
 She critiqued me without worry about tit for tat (I owe you. When you gonna send it??)and called me when hubby fell off the roof. She urged me on with my writing and listened to my worries. So T, look for something in your inbox this week from me. I'm heartin' you! :-)

 Thanks to these ladies for keeping my head above water. I needed that this year. Please go visit them and tell them they're BODACIOUSLY AWESOME!   

Merry Christmas ladies and to T a late Happy Hanukkah wish. 

I have a picture book review on Friday, then I'll be taking off for a couple of weeks. 

Joyeux Noel peeps. (Ivy fancies herself a french woman now.) So that's for her. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Time For the 12 x 12 End Of The Year P-a-r-t-y

*Party hardy* *happy dance* 

I completed the 12 x 12 challenge. I have written  12 picture book manuscripts this year, although some are nonsensical malarky, I tell ya. But they all have some promise, providing I can sprinkle the magic dust on 'em.  :-) And I know I can. :-)

This is the end of the year blowout party. 

Boom chuca, boom chuca, chuca, boom chuca, boom chuca, chuca! (Like that? Well I am an accomplished rapper now.)

When I first signed up, I wondered if I had what it takes. You know. THE stuff. THE STUFF it takes to write one every month. Discipline=YIKES! But I met up with some cool peeps and they said I had THE STUFF to write a new draft every month. *whew*  

The first story I wrote last January has already been revised and is my favorite one. It is almost ready to face the world.  So 12 x 12 has been very good to me. I think of it as my writerly mama. So I love you 12 x 12 and a supercalafragalisticexpealadocious hug for the mommy of all 12 x 12'ers, Julie Hedlund.  I love you Mommy. *wink*

Monday, December 10, 2012

Alex Cavanaugh! This Is Your Life!!!!! :-)

Psyche! ;-)

Okay really. I signed up for the blogfest like 100,101,240,20 times, but linky no likey. He would not take let me sign up. *deep sigh* So the hosts of this blogfest defied stinky Linky and signed me up. Thanks to Mark Koopman! (And thanks to THE man, Alex Cavanaugh for alerting him to this horrible travesty.) Take that Linky! Bwa ha ha ha!

It's time for the "Cheers, Cavanaugh BlogFest." Uh-huh! This blogfest is brought to you by Mark “The Madman” Koopman, ”Marvelous” Morgan Shamy, Stephen “Breakthrough” Tremp, and David “Kingpin” Powers King.

All VERY cool peeps. *waves peace sign*

Now I must answer their very curious questions. Ready?? 

1.  In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like?
Hmmmmmmmm. Did they say in +/- 20 words? Minus?? *finger thump* *bangs head* *flicks pencil on desk* *turns on music* *dances around the room* (But not on the desk)
Dark hair, super mysterious, smiles a lot, very positive #bepositive, tall, and incredibly musical. (I can hear that new guitar strumming right now). Twenty-two words, discarding my gobblygook)

2.   In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary? (Living or dead.)*ahem* Did you say dead?? And did you say documentary?? On Alex??:-) 
 Okay. How'z about sci-fi author Harry Harrison?? (In his younger days, that is) Eh?? He would have done documentaries. Right?? And he was almost as cool as Alex. Bill, the Galactic Hero was CLASSIC! (thirty-four words excluding my drivel)

3.  In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?  
(This minus thing is gettin' to me.) He reminds me of a Ninja captain who puts out super de duper sci-fi stories, and is the coolest among the cool, of course.:-) Twenty-four words (plus my nonsense)

4.  In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:


My flash fiction is a rap song.(Please don't think about me doing the rap to this song.) No. Really. Don't.
Going for a Grammy award here:

THE ALEX RAP (Make the Beat-Box music with your mouth and sing along with)

 Ah one two, ah one two

That Captain Ninja dude,
his guitar speaks a song.
hear what he has brewed,
come on, I'll bring you along
He makes his Cosbolt purr
that man called Cavanaugh
my head is all a blur,
he's gotta be an outlaw
making music like that
for his IWSG peeps
he's a swingin' wildcat
they love him heaps and heaps.

 For Bonus Points:
In +/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing. 

The most fantastical thank you among thank yous, to the ravishing Lady C for sharing your writer hubby with all of us. He's awesome and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that. Do tell him to put your feet up every night for this entire week. Cause you're awesome and you deserve it. :-) (53 words) 


Did I get the Grammy? Who is Alex anyway? *wink*

Thanks for the opportunity Alex. It's truly an honor. You are always helping out so many of our peeps. You are a most cool writer pal and an awesome sci-fi author to boot! And to linky I say, "Pshaw!"

Go visit more Alex, This Is Your Life stuff here. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Here's a Reminder For Ya

Today, December 6th is #bepositive Day over at Twitter. This is Ivy and Frodo. He's very positive. Even though he only has one eye. (He was abused as a puppy. We rescued him. Now he's our baby) :-)

Tweet encouraging thoughts all the live long day using the hashtag #bepositive. Retweet all the positive tweets you can get your hands on. I hope to see you there.

You are a gift to this world. #bepositive :-)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


THE (and I mean THE) Editor is going to give away a free (and I mean FREE) picture book edit. Contest ends tonight. HURRY PEEPS! HOP TO IT!!! Here's the linkage: Dear Editor.

*jumps away from stampede* :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let's Be Positive!

Have you heard?? (Be positive like Ivy here. She's tall, but Saber is taller. Just look at her jumping horse! She could fall off of him. It'd be like falling off the Empire State Building. Well, not that high, but you get my drift. 

(Don't be like this bunch. Thinking of their school work.) Bwa ha ha ha!

December 6th, 2012  is National Be Positive Day!!!!!!! The ultra- talented and most lovely, Sharon Mayhew coined the holiday. (Ain't she cool?) She and I figured a little positivity can't hurt, so this Thursday if you're on twitter, will you join us? Purty please?! At least one time that day say something positive followed by the hashtag #bepositive. Then when the day is done, go and follow the wonderful folks who joined the party and do a few retweets to encourage others on twitter.

You are special!!#bepositive

Success is failure turned inside out#be positive

Please say you'll come and join us, Thursday December 6th.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Little Moxie, Y'all! Let's Speak Out Against Bullying and a giveaway!!

 Did you know the word moxie comes from a brand of soft drink marketed as a nerve tonic? Just a bit of trivia from yours truly! Uh-huh! Giveaway info at the bottom of this post.

 I am thrilled to be included in the Speak Out Against blog tour. The lovely gals over at Moxie Writers, Susan Oloier (my Write On pal) and Rebecca Green Gasper want to make folks aware of bullying and the violence that can arise with teen dating. Their books are about these super important topics. I asked them both some questions about their books and about these very serious subjects.

Susan, how did you come to write your book, Outcast? And for Rebecca, the same question. How was your story, Break from You born?

Susan: Thanks for being a part of the tour, Robyn. We really appreciate you using your voice and your blog to speak out. I wrote Outcast eleven years ago. In fact, it was my very first novel. I was the victim of bullying in junior high and high school. So it was a subject that was very close to home for me.

Rebecca: Robyn, thank you so much for hosting us during the Speak Out Against Book Tour. Break From You started with a dream about a fire and a cowboy, and another element I can’t tell you about because it will give away the book. I know- a dream- very clique, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Eventually the idea developed into a story about dating abuse and became Brooke’s story. I did a lot of research about dating abuse, abusers, and victims.

Do you both find that bullying is on the rise even though more teens are aware of it?

Susan: I think awareness of the issue is on the rise. In the past, bullying was considered a right of passage, part of “growing up.”  I believe social media has contributed to the awareness. In the past, bullying happened during lunch time or in the high school hallways or locker rooms—and it still does happen there. But now people can bully in more insidious ways—through Facebook or texting. I think there have always been bystanders. And those are the people who really need to speak up. We’re a long way away from resolving the issues.

Rebecca: I don’t necessarily think that bullying is on the rise as much as I think that it is more severe. I feel that bullying is more intense with the increase of technology and social networking. Pictures, words, rumors, etc. can be sent to millions in seconds. I also think that parents, teachers, and administrators are in denial of the severity of bullying.

Do we know the characteristics of bullies?

Rebecca: Bullying is defined as the use of strength- either physical, verbal, or emotional- to intimidate someone to force them to do what he/she wants. A bully can be anyone: any size, any looks, any gender, etc.

Susan: I agree with Rebecca. There’s no stereotypical profile that fits the bully like we’ve seen in many 1980s movies like The Karate Kid—big, burly, always popular. However, there are some things that may contribute to bullying behavior, such as witnessing aggressive behaviors at home (physical and/or verbal) and lacking empathy for others. Bullies may also be individuals who are also victims of bullying themselves. I have seen this first hand.

Are there any statistics on how often teens actually see someone in their schools being bullied?

Rebecca: According to the over 13 million kids will be bullied this year. Over 1 million kids will be absent from school because they feel unsafe at school.

How should someone react if they’re bullied?

Susan: I believe silence is your enemy. It’s important to tell friends, family, or someone you trust if you’re being bullied or if you’re the victim of violence. There is strength in numbers, which often works to the bully’s advantage. If, as a victim, you can stack the numbers on your side—telling trusted adults or friends who can help advocate for you—then you’re in a much better position than being alone. If there is no one in your immediate circle to turn to, there are always online organizations willing to help. No matter how much it seems like you are alone, you’re not.

I was shocked at this stat: One-in-five between the ages of 13 and 14 say their friends are victims of dating violence, such as getting struck, hit or slapped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, and nearly half of all tweens in relationships say they know friends who are verbally abused. What can we as a society do to stop this?

Rebecca: The most important thing to do is raise awareness on this devastating issue and to encourage schools to recognize the issue as a priority and develop programs against abuse.

Are there any stats that answer the question of whether or not videos like Amanda Todd's really help turn bullies away from bullying or turn them toward bullying? Do videos like hers stop kids from wanting to commit suicide because of bullying or do these videos make suicide even more desirable?

Rebecca: I had the opportunity to walk with the Executive Director from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this past September at the Out of the Darkness walk.  We had amazing conversation, and one of the things that came up was a discussion on the power of the internet. He said they had no idea if certain events increased suicides across the nation because of the internet and how wide of an audience videos, stories etc. can reach. It was unclear if they caused suicide epidemics or not, where once, without internet, they could pinpoint those things. Personally I think stories like Amanda's should be shared because it helps raise awareness.

Susan: As far as actual research and statistics: so far, we couldn’t find any. But it’s definitely food for thought.

Thank you so much for your insightful questions and for hosting us on your blog today. 

I loved having you guys over today. I would have offered you chocolate, but I ate it all. *wink*

Susan Oloier


Noelle dreams of a different life, one where Trina Brockwell doesn’t exist. Trina has bullied Noelle since junior high. Now she’s tired of it. With the help of her black-sheep aunt and a defiant new classmate, Noelle seeks revenge. But vengeance comes with a price: Noelle risks friendship, her first love, and herself to get back at those who have wronged her.

Rebecca Green Gasper

Break from You   

Love shouldn’t hurt this much…Brooke Myers wants to believe she has it all: the perfect guy, the perfect relationship, the perfect life. She wants to believe it so much that she's willing to overlook the fear, the isolation, and the pain her boyfriend has caused her. She knows it isn't right but tells herself that love isn't always easy. However, when a fire destroys the restaurant during homecoming dinner, she forms an instant bond with the boy who saves her, one her boyfriend wouldn’t like. With the pain of a concussion reminding her of how bad things can get, she is forced to re-evaluate the relationship she has with her boyfriend and face the ghosts that haunt her. Brooke once believed love was all it took…but is it enough? Is it truly love when you've lost yourself in it?

People! Buy their books and PLEASE do what you can to help STOP bullying. Talk, talk, talk, about this to anyone and everyone. Write your own stories and most of all SPREAD THE WORD, PEEPS!

And the giveaway with Rafflecopter!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's the Amanda Todd video in case you have not seen it. She committed suicide a month or so after making this. Let's do all we can to stop bullying. :(