Friday, November 22, 2013

Count 1, 2, 3, With Me

Everyone will love learning how to count to ten with this bright, rhythmic picture book written by Connie Arnold and illustrated by Ginger Nielson. I had fun and I already know how to count to ten. The rhyme is beautiful and fun to say out loud. I even made a little song up using Connie's words.

One little turtle crawls on the ground.
He slowly, slowly creeps around.

At night, the turtle pulls in his head.
The shell that protects him becomes his bed.

The illustrations of the turtle creeping around and then pulling in his head are vivid and colorful.  Just like all of Ginger's art in this beautiful story. The pictures just jump out at you and come alive.

There are boys wrestling and girls shopping. Race cars racing and puppies playing. All the things that little ones love are in this delightfully engaging tale. The ending concludes in just the right place and no one could have written it better.

Published by 4RV Publishing, this story is meant to be read over and over again as little eyes twinkle, little hands stroke the art, and little voices learn to count amidst the giggling and maybe even singing to Connie's beautiful rhymes.

You can learn more about the author/poet or buy any of her books by visiting Connie Arnold's cyber house.

Please visit the illustrator at Ginger

You can also buy this charming book at Amazon or  at 4RV Publishing.

Know any little ones who might want this adorable picture book for Christmas? I can tell you they will not be disappointed! :-)

 I received a free PDF of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I am going to tell you about a book that I want all of you folks to go and buy. It's written by my very cool pal over at THIS KID REVIEWS BOOKS, Erik Weibel. His blog should be titled, THIS KID WRITES AND REVIEWS BOOKS. He can write!
< Like his picture? :-) I won his chapter book because chocolate is my favorite veggie. :-) I am buying a copy for my library this week. (This is something I forgot to do and so I have a note beside my computer to do this today!) I want to take a picture of his book on the shelf at the library. So if you see that picture suddenly appear here on the blog you'll have a heads-up on the situation. I'm also going to buy a copy for another writer/teen pal of mine for Christmas. I know he'll love it as much as I have.

The book is dedicated to Erik's uncle Dave. It's all because his uncle brought the stuffed Tomato and Pea to Erik and told him to write a story around them that the book was born.

The blurb:

“For years the evil villain Wintergreen had tried to destroy super crime-stopper, Tomato and his sidekick, Pea, and take over planet Oarg. In a plan gone wrong, Wintergreen traps himself along with his arch-nemesis in a runaway rocket ship that crashes on a strange planet called “EAR-TH”. Now these perennial enemies must learn to work together to survive the dangers on this strange world. Hungry birds, enormous snakes and the giant inhabitants of EAR-TH stand between this brawling bunch of aliens and finding a way home.”

My review:

Erik has done such a wonderful job of writing and bringing me on the journey, that I cannot wait for the next book.  It made me giggle, it has suspense, and it's just a fun afternoon of reading. I read it while hubby drove us all to Christopher's hospital visit. (We live 4 1/2 hours away.) I could NOT put it down. It has a prologue and nine chapters of pure delight! There's a Smidge glossary at the end. You'll need it. I didn't. *wink* (Really I did.) The smidges live on the planet Oarg. They're only 3-4 inches tall. Honestly, y'all must read this story. If you're too old for some space ship fun, then buy a copy for your library. (Be careful of the Wardoes (pronounced: war-doze) though.) They're HUMONGOUS aliens (10 inches tall). I love Tomato, Pea, Wintergreen, Skew, Pye, Poppy, (They all end up on EAR-TH.) and all the characters that Erik dreamed up in his imagination. His imagination SOARS! I can't tell you how the story ends. Let me just say that I'm worried sick! So get that next book ready Erik!

Linkage to buy the book, y'all:


Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Time For The MOONLESS Blog Tour, Y'all!

Please welcome my Write On To Build On (our facebook writing group) pal Crystal Collier who is here to share her journey into becoming a published author. *applause* Crystal is a special writing friend who also homeschools too! *applause* She loves cheese and chocolate which makes her super bodacious in my book! I’m chuffed she’s visiting today. So without further ado, heeere’s Crystal. 

Head over to Crystal's place and you can be entered to win. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Yay! I’m chuffed to be here, Robyn. *setting cheese platter down* Have some Muenster, eh? 

I didn't know you were bringing snacks. RAD! 

What inspired you to begin writing for teens?

I have always written. Always. And, I’ll never age a day beyond 16, in my head at least. The goal has always been to write books I wish I’d had at that age: adult worthy plotting/writing with PG content.

I know your hubby has started his own publishing company called Raybourne Publishing and is using MOONLESS as his model. Tell us about this path to publication.

I planned to be published by the age of 16. Which I was, in a few literary magazines. (Not quite what I’d expected.) While branching into theater, film and music composition, it was hard to focus. I had several of my skits performed and took awards for amateur film and acting, but in 2001 I finally realized my dream of a completed novel. And queried. And got rejected. Fast forward twelve years, writing a musical, seven novels, and three kids later… I was receiving requests like crazy. After much research, my husband formulated a unique social media-based publishing model, and forced me to sign with him. Yes, forced. He’s learning with my material. *gulp*

How did your novel change during the various drafts? What did you learn from this?

Some people write dozens of books as they learn. I rewrote MOONLESS. Again. And again. And again. It’s seriously been through about 200 drafts, so can we leave it at that?

I feel your pain, pal. *ahem*

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?


What books have influenced your writing?

…This is a very unfair question. Do you know how much I read? My Friend the Monster, Dealing with Dragons, Odd Thomas, The Silicone Mage Trilogy, Another Fine Myth, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, The Mortal Instruments, Twilight, Harry Potter, The Tiger’s Curse series, Indian in the Cupboard, Maniac Magee, The Magician’s Nephew, Unenchanted, Another Fine Myth, Castle in the Attic…and innumerable others.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? (Besides me, that is.) *wink* *wink*

Robyn, meeting you would be a dream come true! (What more do I need?) I would love to come face to face with Chanda Hahn, Dean Koontz, and ANY of the hosts from WriteOnCon. (I love the way you think!)

Who designed the cover of your book?

My amazing husband. He’s a tech geek of a hundred backgrounds. One of them just happens to be graphic design. And business. And marketing.

WOWOW! He’s gotta be made of coolness!

An early childhood memory.

How about my first story dream? I was 3. A giant fiery ball had been sweeping across the USA. We knew it was coming, but didn’t have much time to act. It engulfed the field across from our house as we fled out the back door, hiked up and crossed the Rocky Mountains, and found ourselves safely in China.

WOW, you dream big girlfriend! :-)

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?


Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?

Yes. And cheese on the side. =)

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

Anytime, anywhere, as long as I have a computer.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad.

A good book review is like Christmas morning, every time. Who wouldn’t love that? I haven’t had a bad one yet. *gulp* But I’ve had those responses from critique partners or beta readers. They’re hard to take, but I think we have to see them as motivation to grow. Better yet, we have to extrapolate the good, and leave the rest behind.

Crystal, thank you for stopping by on your whirlwind (I love saying that) tour. I hope it’s everything you want it to be and more! Have some cheese while you read my review of your book. :-)

Blog |

Title: Moonless
Author: Crystal Collier
Publisher: Raybourne Publishing
Series: Maiden of Time #1
Publication: November 13th, 2013
Category: Young Adult (YA)
Genre: Historical Paranormal

Log Line: Alexia must choose safety and an arranged marriage, or true love and being hunted by the Soulless every moonless night.

Do I have your attention with that logline? I thought so! 

 Now it’s time for my review peeps!

 I thoroughly enjoyed Moonless. It was at times gut wrenching and at other times mysterious. That's the makings of a great story. I fell in love with Crystals characters. All of them! She made me believe I knew them. She made me believe I was right beside them as the story unfolded. That's what it's all about folks! As I was pulled into the story world, I felt myself wanting to learn more and more about Alexia's life. In other words, YOU CANNOT PUT IT DOWN. I tried. But I just kept coming back for more. Until the family had to make do without me for a time. :-)

Crystal does a great job of characterization (deep people, deep) and she also is an expert at subplots. The story wouldn't be the same without her descriptions either. They were powerful and vibrant. She understands the art of painting pictures with her words. You'll worry about Alexia (trying not to be a spoiler here) and you'll smile too. You will feel as though you're watching the story unfold from a window. It's that real, y'all. You want action? It's here. You want a little romance? It's here! I'm so proud of Crystal and the writer she's become. (I sound like her mommy) I'll be there to read the next one for sure. I'm a card carrying member of the Crystal Collier fan club. Go buy the book. You will not be disappointed. You know you can trust me. :-) Oh, and watch out for the soulless on those moonless nights!

 Here's the rest of the tour y'all.

November 18
            Laurel Garver: How Crystal develops Characters
Gwen Gardner: Truth or Lie
Carrie Butler: Truth or Lie
Natalie Aguirre: Author Interview & Giveaway
November 19
            Christine Rains: Excerpt #4
Mary Waibel: Character Interview with Kiren
Bethany Kaczmarek: Character Interview with Miles
November 20
Scribbleweed: Showing VS Telling 
            Ellie Garratt: Character Interview with Kiren
            Aldrea Alien: Top Ten Reasons to Eat Cheese
November 21
            Meradeth Houston: Character Interview with Kiren
Mary Pax: Guest Post
Ashley Nixon: Excerpt #6
November 22
Elizabeth Seckman: Truth or Lie
Melanie Crouse: Review
Medeia Sharif: Excerpt #5
Nicole Zoltack: Truth or Lie
November 23
            Jessie Harrell: Excerpt #6
Hart Johnson: The Naked Cheese
November 24
TC Mckee: Review
E.J. Wesley: Five Things to Be Grateful For—Debut Author Edition
November 25
Michelle Wallace: Excerpt #2
Clare Dugmore: Excerpt #7 & Truth or Lie
November 26
Elise Fallson: Excerpt #7
Larissa Hardesty: Top Ten—You Know You Live in Florida When
November 27
            Julie Musil: Author Interview
November 28
            Suzanne Furness: Excerpt #8
Sharon Johnston: Review
Katharina Gerlach: Author Interview
November 29
            Julie Flanders: Excerpt #5
Misha Gericke: Where Moonless Came From
November 30
            Sherry Auger: Review
            Chrys Fey: Excerpt #8

Monday, November 4, 2013

Welcome My Dear Amigo, Karen Lange! *applause*

I want to welcome my good pal (and amigo) Karen Lange today to discuss her book, Homeschool Co-ops 101. This is a lovely lady who is ALWAYS ready to help her fellow comrades. I MEAN WE ALL LOVE HER!!!! So please enjoy and then comment to her with a word of congrads. Or ask a question about the process or anything. (She’s real smart too!) 

Your new book on homeschooling coops, Homeschool Co-ops 101, is chock full of information for homeschooling families. I especially love the hands on unit studies for grades K-12.

How did you decide to write the book?
Robyn, thanks so much for inviting me over, you are a wonderful friend! Thanks, too, for your kind words.  About ten years ago, I was encouraged by a dear friend in the homeschool community to write a booklet about co-ops. She knew that our family’s co-op experience was good, and that I had people ask me questions about how a co-op works. The booklet seemed like a good way to share the info, so I self published it.  In May, Helping Hands Press offered me a contract to expand it, and well, you know the rest!  

How did you come up with the title?
The book offers info on how to start a co-op, and weighs the pros, cons, and creative options available for homeschool families, so Homeschool Co-ops 101 seemed like a good fit.

Tell us about your book, Karen.
Here’s a breakdown of each section:
Section 1 includes essential, digestible info on co-op ingredients such as planning and organization, schedules, teaching, finances, and addressing conflict and burnout.  Section 2 shares a sampling of co-op games and activities, and Section 3 contains five hands-on unit studies. These ready to use studies include lessons on Leonardo da Vinci, Birds of Prey, Public Speaking, Tall Tales, and Creative Writing, and are suitable for co-op or home use. Section 3 also includes unit study guidelines that are easily customized to suit any topic. Section 4 offers suggested books, curriculum, and other resources.
What are your current projects?

Right now, I am working on a few articles and looking ahead to another possible book for homeschoolers with Helping Hands Press. I’m also gearing up for the fall online writing classes I offer for homeschooled teens.  

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I always liked to write but never thought about becoming a writer. I did have a high school literature teacher who told me I was a good writer. I think I left class that day about two inches taller! :)
When my kids were in elementary school, my husband encouraged me to take a correspondence course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. I enjoyed it so much I took another one, and began writing articles and taking on freelance work.  

I know your son designed the cover on the original booklet. Did he design this cover too?

Yes, he did. My other son  had helped me format the original booklet, and my daughter helped edit this book. So it’s been a family project! 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I had a tight deadline, so I was spending a lot of time in the writing cave. It was the tightest and most intense deadline I ever had, and it was hard to balance real life with meeting the deadline. Let’s just say my husband and I ate a lot of frozen pizza! 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing and learning. Connect with other writers and be open to feedback. Accept rejection as part of the process. Along those lines, I like what author Ann Gabhart says, “Rejection is not fatal.” She’s right!
Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, or anything that we don’t know about you.
1)      My first job, other than babysitting, was in my Dad’s shoe store. I started working there in my early teens, and worked there into my early twenties. The most frequent question I got from friends was, “Do you get free shoes?” Actually, I did! It was a great benefit.  :)
2)      My sons played hockey in their teens, and I was the volunteer time/score keeper for many games. That meant I got to sit in the penalty box where the scoreboard and clock were. It was a lot of fun!  
3)      I grew up on a barrier island in southern New Jersey, but I never liked the beach. I don’t know if it was the sand or the crowds (it was a big tourist area). As an adult who now lives away from the beach, I do miss it a little!

Thank you Karen. I am thrilled to be a part of your awesome book/blog tour for homeschoolers. (I love you amigo!) You know that.

Robyn, my sweet and faithful amigo friend, thank you for having me over today! It’s always so nice to stop by your place. Thanks so much for your support!

Go visit Karen and show some bloggy writerly love!
Helping Hands Press:
Twitter: KLELange
Homeschool Creative Writing Co-op for Teens:

homeschool co-ops 101
Essential co-op tools, tips, and options for today’s homeschool families. Thinking about joining or starting a homeschool co-op? Not sure if a co-op is a good fit? Homeschool Co-ops 101 weighs the pros, cons, and creative options available for today’s homeschool family.
  • Section 1 includes essential, digestible info on co-op ingredients such as planning and organization, schedules, teaching, finances, and addressing conflict and burnout.
  • Section 2 shares a sampling of co-op games and activities, and
  • Section 3 contains five hands-on unit studies. These ready to use studies include lessons on Leonardo da Vinci, Birds of Prey, Public Speaking, Tall Tales, and Creative Writing, and are suitable for co-op or home use. This section also includes unit study guidelines that are easily customized to suit any topic.
  • Section 4 offers suggested books, curriculum, and other resources.
Karen Lange has gathered insight from years of co-oping and now shares her own and others’ experiences in this valuable and encouraging handbook.
Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available at:
karen langeAbout the Author Karen Lange, her husband, and three children were active in co-ops during their sixteen-year homeschool journey. Her experience includes serving as a local homeschool support group coordinator and consultant for a state homeschool network in New Jersey. Karen’s children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for homeschooled teens. You can connect with Karen at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook. homeschool co-ops 101
Blog Tour Schedule
November 4 ~Ruth Schiffman, ~Robyn Campbell,
November 5 ~Carol Alexander,
~Diane Estrella,
November 6 ~Gena Mayo,
~Marja Meijers,
November 7 ~Sandie Crozek,
~Melissa Brander,
~Cecelia Lester,
November 8 ~Susan Reinhardt,
~Cecelia Lester,
November 10
~Laura V. Hilton,
~Melissa & Tiffany,
~Janette Dolores,
November 11 ~Susan Sundwall,
~Michelle Isenhoff,
November 12 ~Carol Alexander,
~Jeanette Levellie,
November 13 ~Susanne Dietze, ~Sherryl Wilson,
~Anne Payne,
November 14 ~Rhonda Schrock, ~Abi Buening,
~Amber Schamel,
November 15 ~Crystal King, ~Barb Winters,
~Tyrean Martinson,
November 16
November 17 ~Amada Chavez,
~Cindi Clubbs,
~Rebecca Boerner,
November 18
~Carlene Havel,
~Cindy Loven,
November 19
~Karen Loethen,
~Amy Smith,
November 20
~Darlene Arroyo-Lozada,
November 22
~Sarah Bailey,
~Thumb Updown,
December 2
~Jennifer Shirk,
~Ticia M.,
The Giveaway Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered: a Rafflecopter giveaway The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced December 5, 2013. Good luck!
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Karen Lange. The author provided me with a free copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101 to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.