Monday, April 27, 2015

Ohioana And Some Really Great Authors

As I mentioned in my last post, April is a busy month. This past Saturday I spent the day in Columbus, Ohio at the OHIOANA Book Fair. One of my favorite pastimes at book fairs is getting to meet social media friends in person, and this time around, I was able to meet fellow Ohio authors Brandon Marie Miller and Tricia Springstubb. My librarian friend, Miss Holly, also stopped by to say hello.

Brandon Marie Miller, Tricia Springstubb, and Me
 
Miss Holly and Me
 
Brandon writes a super informative and interesting series about some of our early Presidents and historical figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin. These books would be great for teachers to use in the classrooms or for kids who love history. I am simply awed by the amount of research and work that Brandon has put into these books.





 
Tricia has several books. Her picture book Phoebe and Digger is adorable, and her brand new middle grade book Cody and the Fountain of Happiness is sure to be a great success with the eight to twelve girls. Tricia even passed out buttons that said HAPPY on them. How can you not love a book about happiness?



Next week I will be attending the Hudson Children's Book Festival in New York, I can hardly wait to see what other great authors and books I will encounter!

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Southern Kentucky Book Festival and some really great books!

Spring is proving to be a busy season for me, and every weekend is pretty much booked until May second. On the eleventh I went to my local library for the Drop Everything And Read event. This past weekend I went to the Southern Kentucky Book Festival. Next weekend I will be participating in Ohioana. And the weekend after that, I will be at the Hudson Children's Book Festival in Hudson New York.



 
Marvin Memorial Library Event
 
Since I am so busy, I don't really have time to read and review books like I normally do, so I thought I would share some great books from the events I attend. I made a new friend in tablemate Gail Nall this past weekend. Her debut book is called, Breaking The Ice. It is a book about a girl who wants to be an Olympic Skater. The cover alone is enough to catch my interest, and the back matter makes it sound perfect for girls eight to twelve.


 
Gail Nall and I at SOKY

 
And of course there was Finley Flowers Original Recipe by my friend Jessica Young. And since you all know I love to cook, how could I not recommend this book about a girl entering a cooking contest?

 
Flanked by Kristin Tubb, Jessica Young, and Gail Nall

 
And last but not least, a book illustrated by my friend Susan Eaddy called My Love For You Is The Sun. Her work with sculpting clay is so amazing that you just have to purchase this book and see for yourselves.

 
Susan Eaddy and I 
 
 Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Backyard Camping



Spring has finally sprung here in Ohio and my giant crocus and daffodils are in full bloom. Spring also means a trip to the Southern Kentucky Book Festival in Bowling Green. This time, Bobby and Emily will be joining me and will be seeing the sites as I sign books and present to a room full of children.

 
Although there are still a few days before we leave, I have been getting things ready. The snack box is filling up with items like sweet potato chips, Triscuits, apples, my favorite tea, and some Oreos because traveling just wouldn't be as much fun without a special treat. I'm also making my list of what to take so I don't forget anything, and I am making sure all the batteries for our assorted electronics are charged.

All of this packing makes me reminiscent of  my childhood vacations. Every year my father would take our family camping for a week. I mean the old fashioned canvas tent type of camping. The kind of camping where we were able to drink soda every day and roast marshmallows over the camp fire because it only happened once a year. The kind of camping where you had to make sure your coolers were locked up for the night so the raccoons didn't have a midnight feast.



And speaking of midnight feasting and camping, leads me right into the book I happened to review for this week. It is called Billie B. Brown - The Midnight Feast, and it is a story about what I just described___ tent camping and feasting.

Billie B. Brown

Written for the very beginning chapter book readers, it is the story of Billie and her best friend Jack who are going to camp out in Jack's back yard in his brand new tent. Billie brings lots of treats, including marshmallows, so they can have a feast at midnight. But midnight is so far away, that the snacks start getting eaten. As their adventure continued and the darkness of night began to settle in, Billie and Jack heard noises and imagined large scary monsters. They were scared, but didn't want to give up their camping trip. The solution to their problem was a simple change of location.

I loved this book for many reasons. First because it took me back to my own childhood and camping, which also included backyard adventures. strange noises, and location changes, although the location change in my case was due to rain. So if you and your children love camping or even if you have never been camping, I think you will enjoy this adventure with Billie and Jack.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Taking The Time To Appreciate...

I  hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. My side of the family came over and we had a big feast and great fellowship. All the children received the traditional chocolate crosses from my mom and they searched for plastic eggs full of treats. It wasn't any different then any other day my family gets together, but cherished none-the-less because we appreciate each other and what we have.

 
And speaking of appreciation, one of the books I read this week was all about how we so often forget to appreciate what is going on around us. It was called The Man With The Violin and was a realistic but fictional picture book. It was the story of a small boy going through the day with his mother when he heard a man playing a violin in the subway. He wanted to stop and listen, but his mom was in much too big of a hurry and she pulled him along with her. Later in the day, the boy hears about the music man on the radio and finds out that he was a world famous violinist.


The beautiful thing about realistic fiction like, The Man With The Violin, is that they are usually based on a real figure and a real event. This book was based on world famous violinist Joshua Bell who actually did play in the subway station as an experiment to see if people would stop to listen.

The second book I read was also a realistic fictional picture book. It was titled Elizabeth Queen Of The Seas, and was a picture book about an elephant seal in New Zealand that lived in the Avon River in the middle of Christchurch. The people of the town tried three separate times to take her to a new location, but she always managed to find her way back. In the book a fictional boy looks for her every day, but the basic story of the seal is true-to-life.

 
Although I would say these books were probably written for five to eight year olds, my ten year old daughter enjoyed both books tremendously. As a matter of fact, so did I.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Surprise At The Library

At the beginning of last week, it was warm and spring-like and my crocus were in bloom. But before I really had a chance to enjoy them, that last sprinkle of snow from old man winter's big duffle bag of weather descended upon us. Unfortunately, my crocus did not survive, but I still see remnants of what will undoubtable be beautiful daffodils once the snow melts.


And speaking of beautiful, when Emily and I made a trip to the library, I found they had acquired some new books. Of course that in and of itself is a wonderfully exciting event, but imagine how my level of excitement jumped dramatically when I found two of the books were by some of my on-line author friends.

The first book I eagerly devoured was Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by the ever popular Jarrett Krosoczka. It is a delicious tale of friendship and forgiveness. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are great friends who work hard to ignore the unkind comments that Crabby spews at them each day. Despite his bullying, the two go to Crabby's rescue when he is trapped in a lobster trap. Working together they manage to rescue him, find out the reason behind his taunting, and in the end, make a new friend out of a one time enemy.


The second book I read has been garnering lots of praise and recognition, especially since it recently won the Caldecott Medal. It is The Adventures of Beekle The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. Beautifully illustrated and written, Beekle is the story of an imaginary friend waiting to be imagined. His wait is long and disappointing, so he sets off on a journey to the real world to find his friend. The real world seems strange to him and after much searching, he still doesn't find his friend. Just when it seems that all hope is lost, he hears someone calling to him. His friend has finally found him and they find they are just right for each other.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


The Top Five Things I’ve Learned as an Author       

 

Patience: The publishing industry often seems to move at a snail’s pace, so if you don’t have
patience you will go mad. It takes time for agents, editors, or publishers to go through the mountains of slush they receive on a daily basis. Because of this, an author needs to learn to play the waiting game without becoming discouraged.


 

There Are No Short Cuts: There are no short cuts when it comes to the publishing industry, at least not if you want a quality book. Whether you publish traditionally, self-publish, or go the hybrid route, you cannot skip important steps like having a professional editor read through your work. You also cannot have the “Field Of Dreams” mentality. Just because you write it, does not mean the fans will come.  It takes a lot of hard work to build a fan base, a platform, or a brand.

 

It’s Up To You: And speaking of hard work and brand building, it is up to you. It is not your
publisher’s job to promote you and your book. They may offer assistance, but not necessarily. By definition, a publisher is a person or company that prepares and issues books, journals, music, or other works for sale. They are not your public relations department. They are not your salesman. They are not your go-to-guy.

 

You Will Make Mistakes: You will make mistakes along the way and that’s okay. Anyone who takes the time to try new things, anyone who takes the time to be creative, or anyone who takes the time to interact with others is bound to make mistakes. I have sent an agent a request and typed Mr. instead of Mrs., as well as having asked a fellow literary blogger if he would link to my page because I needed more traffic. Definite faux pas, but mistakes I learned from and did not repeat.

 

Persistence: Establishing yourself takes time as mentioned in point one, but it also takes persistence.
You have to stick with your writing, your marketing, your social networking, your pursuit of an agent or publisher, your pursuit of excellence, or any other numerous tasks related to being an author. You cannot give up just because the journey is long and difficult. You have to believe in yourself and your writing and know that eventually, all the waiting, the hard work, the brand building, and the learning from your mistakes will pay off.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Change Is Inevitable

Despite our wishes to the contrary, change is inevitable. My husband felt this keenly over the past weekend as he attended a Father/Daughter Dinner with our daughter, Emily. He was so proud to be her escort, but at the same time, looking at her so grown up in her dress and  high heels, it made him wish he could freeze the hands of time.


Most parents have probably felt this at some point. Heck, even children can feel this as you find out in Olivia Measures Up. Olivia is thrilled to finally measure tall enough to ride the coasters. Her brother is not yet tall enough, but her parents mention that one day he will probably be taller then her. Olivia has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that her brother might be taller then her at some point and goes out of her way to convince him he should stop growing. In the end, she comes to realize that no matter how tall her brother might get, one thing would never change. She would always be the older sister.


And while there is nothing at all that we can do to hold back the tides of change, we can encourage creativity. Creativity comes in many forms, music, art, writing, cooking, inventing, gardening, and so forth. One way of encouraging creativity is to encourage reading. Reading be it fiction or non-fiction opens the doors to the universe where anything is possible.

If I Built A Car is a prime example of this. As Jack rides along in the back seat of his father's car, he begins to tell his father about the car he will create some day. As we follow his whimsical journey of creation  told in jaunty rhyme form, we see just how much fun dreaming and creating can be.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequel, Return To Fern Valley, and the soon to be released Cooking In Fern Valley (fall 2015)! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days