Friday, November 23, 2012

A Magic Carpet Ride. . .

Like it or not, the holiday season is upon us.

I may be prejudiced, but as a writer I feel that books
make the best gifts ever - especially for children.

So give them

 A ticket to their own
Magic Carpet Ride

   Fun, adventure, and a lifetime of reading enjoyment.


No surfing needed.

(All 13 books listed with direct purchase links)

My writing is a habit I can't kick - an addiction if you will.  To not write is unthinkable!  Over the years my best stories came to me in the middle of the night. They had me creeping into the bathroom to write them down before they became lost, along with my other dreams. 

Some flowed into my computer as smooth and easy as honey on hot toast. Others were stubborn, difficult, or just plain antsy.  I had to cajole, threaten and bribe the characters to stick with the program - MY program. I won some and I last some.  Yet however the story finally ended, I fell in love with it.  I even admit that the characters sometimes had better plot ideas than I.  Shush. . . don't spread that around, mates.

I wrote each story with the idea of HOOKING kids on reading. Teach a child to love books at an early age, and you make them into lifelong readers.  And the way to do that is to read them books that have giggles, fun, adventure, love,  and that unique WOW factor that makes them into re-readable favorites.

   I love each book I wrote, and I am hoping to
make converts out of YOU!

Some clues about my books.

Catchy rhymes that help and encourage kids with dyslexia.
Sneaky rhyming that shows how sudden BIG change can really
mess with a child.  Two fun reads that come with helpful parent/teacher guides.

Boy type rhymes
that offerer just the right helping of yucky BOY stuff.

Then came WILD and WONDERFUL!
7 rhyming stories that tell about critters from the US and Australia.
Fun, educational, and full of real facts.

My Young Teen reads:
A coming of age adventure set in the Aussie Outback.
Blimey, whoda thunk that a sulfur crested cockatoo named Claude could become
such a great character, along with a young aboriginal boy called Taconi,
+ a  Man Ceremony, a bunch of  witchetty grubs, and a freaked out emu.
coming soon
Featuring the grandchildren of Taconi and the Boss, in a fight to survive an outback
walkabout, a crazed Medicine Man, and sibling rivalry that begins
with a lie and expands to threaten friendship and family.

 A ghost with a determination to make her killer pay, has searched forty years for help.
Frannie James is her last chance.  The ghost, and her giant arachnid "familiar,"
are hard to resist.  Add a twin brother, a missing Mom, a few e-mails, and a handy
frying pan.  Killer is caught!

If these tantalizing story tit-bits don't whet your reading appetite. . .
nothing will! 

For those who like to sample before they buy,
a  "Sneak Peek" inside 8 of my latest books.

Oh, and I guess I should throw
in a cover or two -
just to make it interesting.



A taste of 13 different covers.
Kindle - Amazon - Powell's Books - Nook -
Publisher - Autographed WEBSITE



for YOU!

My Memoir
FREE Download



BOOKS for KIDS  -  Manuscript Critiques  


Sunday, November 4, 2012


I am thrilled to introduce a book by 
new author,

Penelope Anne Cole

Guardian Angel Publishing

Penelope Anne Cole, after various positions in HR and Teaching, now writes and review children's books.  Her reviews and book news can be found HERE.  One of her special joys is reading to children, and encouraging them to read on their own and love literature.  Penelope lives in Silicon Valley, California, with her family and their rescued cats and dogs. She enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church activities, singing in choir, and watching select TV shows: drama, comedy, romance, crime solving, and happy-ending movies.

Although she has written throughout her life, "Magical Matthew" is her first published children's book. It celebrates the magic of childhood and the milestone of attaining "double digits."

Magical Matthew is a delightfully told story about  a young boy with a unique ability. When Matthew discovers he can magically fix what is broken, he sets out to fix things that need fixing.  Yet his magic can only fix things - sadly, not his best friend, Lily. With Grandma and Lily as allies, Matthew follows good family values. This makes even his trickiest problems come out right. The story also shows that confiding in a trusted adult is a good thing. Matthew is such a likeable little boy, that kids everywhere will root for him to succeed. A surprise at the end makes it very likely there will be an equally enjoyable sequel coming soon.

Kevin Collier's lively and colorful illustrations are the perfect compliment to Cole's magical theme.
I recommend this picture book for the fun read, but also for the gentle way it nudges children down the path of doing the right thing. 

I am sure YOUR copy of  Magical Matthew will soon
become dog-eared with many readings.

Book Trailer:

Available from:


·  ISBN-10: 1616333251
·  ISBN-13: 978-1616333256 
   In soft cove and hard copy - Read Amazon REVIEWS.

Guardian Angel Publishing

Magical Matthew
- download fun coloring sheets.


BOOKS for KIDS  -  Manuscript Critiques

Manuscript Critique Service


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TRY Goodreads HOOK Kids on Reading!

 Today is something 

My Goodreads
HOOK Kids on Reading

Books for inclusion:
Picture book, young adult - and all ages in-between

I am fairly new to Goodreads, yet I do have a presence + followers and friends. As well as my own page of books there, I began a NEW group called Goodreads HOOK Kids on Reading. Being fairly new to Goodreads, I have found it tricky navigating around and finding things. So I will be grateful for any help from old hands.

HOOK Kids on Reading  is a PRIVATE LIST where members need to be approved before joining.  This so our target audience, teachers, parents, school librarians, and grandparents etc, get to choose from books that are well written, and have received great reviews.
                                                         The best of the best!
                                              I have already invited a few authors who have
                                                   written terrific books for kids and teens.

Email me at if you would like to
chat further about joining this quality
book recommendation list.

 A list of great book properties:

*Fun to read.
*Kid friendly.
*An adventure.
*A mystery. 
*Educational details that are cool to learn.
*Make ecology and being "green" a great thing.
*Prove helpful in a kid friendly way.
*HOOK readers with a WOW factor.
*Tempt reluctant readers to keep reading.
* NOTE: Traditional or self- published makes no difference. It is the aim of HOOK Kids on Reading to offer a selection of wonderful books -  no matter who published them.

To JOIN and Include your BOOKS:

*GOOD REVIEWS that reassure parents, teachers, etc
*Add covers only,  a short description + a link where your book can be purchased.
*A Book Trailer or a Video reading can also be added - see list of options on the top right. 
*To add your book, go to GROUP HOME and then click "PICTURES."   See how I added my cover, and what I wrote will give you an idea.  
*"Pictures" offers a simple way for people to find information, and choose great books for kids. The "Bookshelf" section is more for reading, review and comments.

If the books we list show a consistent high quality, our target buyers and readers will return time-after-time.  Let these books show what a fun and fascinating Magic Carpet Ride wonderful books can take you on. All aboard!!

Do you have one or more a children's books that received great reviews? If so, please consider adding them to "Goodreads Hook Kids on Reading" - where the books listed are perfect for the children in all our lives.


BOOKS for KIDS  -  Manuscript Critiques  

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"Short and Sweet"  sneak peek inside 8 of my books –

Friday, October 19, 2012

Today I have two treats for you.

It has nothing to do with Halloween.

These are Natasha Yim style treats . . .

Sacajawea of the Shoshone

If you have read Natasha Yim's other wonderful books
you will understand why I call this new epic a "treat." 

I am very happy to be a part of the Book Tour that introduces
this new addition to many readers book shelves. 

Natasha Yim is a children’s book author, freelance writer, and playwright. She is the author of three picture books: Otto’s Rainy Day (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2000), which was a Kids' Pick of the Lists selection, Cixi, The Dragon Empress (Goosebottom Books, 2011), and the just released Sacajawea of the Shoshone (Goosebottom Books, 2012), the biography of the Shoshone teenager who traveled the American West with Lewis and Clark. Sacajawea of the Shoshone is an addition to Goosebottom Books’ award-winning first series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real Princesses.
Natasha has also published articles in Highlights for Children, Appleseeds, Faces, Vibrant Life, Mendocino Arts and other local and regional magazines, and her ten-minute plays have been performed at Mendocino Community College in Ukiah, Pegasus Theatre in Guerneville, Secret Rose Theatre in Los Angeles, and at the Short and Sweet Ten Minute Theatre Festivals in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia. 
Natasha’s next picture book Goldy Luck and The Three Pandas will be released by Charlesbridge Publishing in January 2014.


                                                Treat #2 
                                                   Inside Natasha Yim . . .

*Has writing been a lifelong passion, or an interest that recently surprised you?

I've wanted to be a writer since I was about 11, so I can say that writing's pretty much been a lifelong passion for me. I received a creative writing assignment in my 7th grade English class and I was hooked! I used to journal a lot as a teen and I'd keep notebooks where I wrote poetry and short stories.

*Have you always been interested in American Indian history?

I have a little Native American ancestry in me and my ancestor has a really interesting story. I'm not sure how much of it is true and how much of it has been romanticized over the years, but the story I've grown up with is that my great-great-great grandfather, Chin Chun Hock, went to America to seek his fortune leaving Wife #1 in China. He eventually settled in Seattle and started a very successful merchandizing business. He is now known as the first Chinese settler in Seattle and his business, the Wa Chong Company, is frequently credited as the business that started Seattle's Chinatown. During his time here, he met and married a Native American woman who was the daughter of a chief. Family lore states she was one of the daughter of Chief Seattle and his second wife. However, my sister made some inquiries to the Duwamish tribe and the tribe disputes this saying that all his children were accounted for and they don't have any records of any of them having married a Chinese man. In spite of this historical discrepancy, Chun Hock did have a Native American wife with whom he had 3 sons (I actually have a photograph of her and 2 of her boys as children). Also according to family lore, Wife #1, who was childless, heard about this, traveled all the way to America unchaperoned, quite a feat for a Chinese woman of the time, kidnapped the three sons and ran back to China with them. Eventually, Chun Hock returned to China and the Native American woman followed suit in search of her sons. It is believed she died in China. You can imagine, this story has always intrigued my writer sensibilities, and it's still a story I very much want to tell one day either in fiction or non-fiction form, so I did grow up with a fascination for Native American history and culture, although at the time it was limited to my great-great-great grandmother's particular history. Until I was an adult, we didn't even have any idea what tribe she was from.

*How did you find your publisher?

The publisher, Goosebottom Books ( ) is a small, independent press that started in 2010 with their first series The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses featuring 6 amazing women in history. The second series, The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Dastardly Dames featured powerful women in history with dastardly reputations. All six books in the first series were written by the publisher Shirin Bridges, but for the second series, the publisher and editor Amy Novesky put out a call for submissions for 1,000 word writing samples. I sent mine in and was one of 6 writers selected to write one of the books in the Dastardly Dames series. Cixi, The Dragon Empress was released in Oct. 2011. Both series received critical acclaim and the Princesses series was awarded the IPPY silver medal for best multi-cultural, juvenile non-fiction. So when Goosebottom Books decided to add a Native American and an African woman to the mix of historical women and asked if I would write one of them, I jumped at the chance. I chose to write about the Native American woman because of my ancestry and I suggested Sacajawea because of my fascination with her story.

*Do you find research fun and interesting, and how deep did you have to delve for this book?

Research can be a lot of fun and I always find very interesting facts about my subjects. For me, there's a slight bit of groaning when I first begin because research can also be daunting and overwhelming, particularly when I find a wealth of information and I'm trying to funnel it down to 2,000 words for a children's story. With Sacajawea, there was such a lot of neat historical and cultural information that it was quite difficult at times deciding what should go in the book, in the sidebar, or left out completely.

I found that not much of Sacajawea's story was told in adult books. She usually gets a mention in books about Lewis and Clark, but there were quite a few books written about her in the juvenile section of the library. I read about 5 or 6 books about her and perused a ton of websites. Sacajawea's story has always appealed to me because it's such a great adventure story and to travel all that way with Lewis and Clark, through the rugged American West, with a baby in tow just showed what a remarkable woman she was. While doing the research on her, I discovered that she was kidnapped from her Shoshone tribe by Hidatsa warriors at the age of 11 or 12 and taken 500 miles away to the Hidatsa village along the banks of the Missouri River. The Hidatsa and Shoshone had vastly different lifestyles, languages, culture and foods. Not only did Sacajawea have to adapt to this new environment but what she learned from both tribes played a big part in her adventure later on. I read some books on Hidatsa and Shosone culture and stories and found it totally fascinating.

*Do you ever plan to write for an adult audience?

At one time in my writing career, I thought I might want to write an adult book some day. But lately, I've discovered that I actually have NO interest in writing for adults. I am moving from picture book projects to middle grade and young adults though and I enjoy the freedom this gives me because you are less restricted by language and word count perimeters. So, I'm moving towards an older audience but if a picture book idea grabs me, I'll still write it. I currently also have a picture book project in the works.

*Are your family supportive of your writing – or mainly uninterested?

They are very supportive. I have 3 kids and my oldest daughter is often one of my first readers. She'll give me her pre-teen perspective on things and I'll brainstorm ideas with her sometimes, particularly when I'm stuck on something. She's also helped me set up books at book events and been part of the audience at my book launches and readings. My husband supports me by letting me go to writer's conferences and retreats where I can not only learn my craft and network, but rejuvenate myself. However, I think he's only just now beginning to understand that I'm not going to bring in the kind of income JK Rowling does and to understand what a lot of hard work it all is to not only create books that are published but what it takes to market and promote them as well.

Both my daughters are very interested in writing stories and my middle child has declared that she wants to be a writer when she grows up, so I'm very proud of the fact that through seeing my creative process and through my reading to them a ton when they were little, it has inspired their own love of writing. 

*Are you in a critique group, and if so, did their feedback prove helpful?

Yes, I'm in my second critique group. The first one I was in lasted for 8 years then the members went their separate ways. This current group is a small one with only 4 members, but they're all such wonderful writers and their feedback is always insightful and very helpful. It's also a great place to go for camaraderie and support. We'll sometimes go to writing conferences or writing retreats together, and we celebrate each other's successes. We're all so busy though that we don't meet terribly often, maybe once every six weeks. My last group met every two weeks but I think every 6 weeks seem to work for us at the moment. I think every writer should have a critique group. Getting feedback from others about your work is invaluable. There are often things you don't pick up about pacing, language, characterizations, plot holes etc. about your own writing. If your writing group can spot writing errors, so can your readers.

*There are others in this series, right? – do tell us about them.

Yes, Sacajawea is a new addition to Goosebottom Book's first series, The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses. The series features women, real-life princesses, who have attained amazing achievements in spite of incredible odds and made their mark on history. The princesses are: Hatshepsut of India, Sorghatani of Mongolia (the mother of Kublai Khan), Isabella of Castille, Nur Jahan of India, Artemisia of Caria, Qutlugh Terkan Khatoun of Kirman, and now Sacajawea. These women defied the cultural and gender biases of their times to accomplish extraordinary feats (Artemisia became an admiral and led a navy into war, Nur Jahan rode an elephant into battle, Hatshepsut became the first female pharoah). They're stories of empowerment for girls, and they span across different times, countries, and cultures, and every book has sidebars that include "What She Ate", "What She Wore", and "Where She Lived" which gives readers some historical context and a glimpse into the lifestyles of the time period in which these women lived.

*How can people buy your books – paper, Kindle, ebook or all three?

The book is in hardcover and can be purchased at your local bookstore, from the publisher's website:, the distributor's website:, from, Barnes &, and on my website:

*What do you think a book's plot and characters must have to GRAB the red hot interest of this teckie minded younger generation – even nonfiction needs to HOOK the reader.

Compelling characters that your readers can relate to. Sometimes with non-fiction, it's easy to get bogged down with the details and historical facts. In Sacajawea's case, there were so many little interesting tidbits about her and the Lewis and Clark expedition (some of these ended in the sidebars), and in my last book Cixi, The Dragon Empress, the political climate and intrigues of Cixi's day really informed how she responded to situations as a ruler and a person. It's tempting to put all this in. My editor kept asking me one key phrase, "What is her story?"  Behind the factual and historical data is the story of how a woman from a modest upbringing, entered the Forbidden City, bore the emperor's only son, and became the most powerful person in China, the first time a woman had accomplished this in 1,000 years. It's the story of how a young Native American girl faced and survived the most traumatic event of her life—being kidnapped by an enemy tribe—to be taken on the adventure of a lifetime and become the most famous woman in American history. How must Cixi have felt to first see the opulence of the Forbidden City, and for Sacajawea to be reunited with her brother and her Shoshone tribe again after six years? What must Cixi have thought when she saw her beloved Summer Palace lying in ruins after the foreign powers invaded Peking, or Sacajawea when she finally saw the pounding waves of the Pacific Ocean? Of course, I didn't have first hand knowledge of this, and the challenge was trying to make these incidents visual or personal enough so kids can sense the horror, awe, anger, excitement of these women's experiences. There's a universality to these emotions. The fun part of writing these books was making history and the lives of these women come alive.

*Tell my readers something about yourself that you have never shared before.  Funny or shocking, they lap it all up, mate.

I've always had this deathly fear of tidal waves. I've never seen a tidal wave in person or even heard much about them. I'm not sure where the fear came from, but I used to be haunted by recurring dreams of tidal waves. In the dream, I'm on the open top deck of a cruise ship. Suddenly, the sea gets rough, tosses the ship about, and this huge wave forms and towers over us putting everything in shadow. I usually wake up as the wave is about to crash down on the ship, my heart in my throat and a gripping panic pulsating through my body. When the 2004 Tsunami hit South East Asia, that's when I actually first saw the devastation of a real-life tidal wave. I was appalled and horrified by the destruction I saw in the news footage, but yet also strangely fascinated.

Connect with Natasha:

Two treats are always better than one! 

 Tour List for Natasha Yim

 .              OCT. 22 — Highlighted Author, Interview
·                  OCT. 26 — Beach Bound Books, Book Review
·                  OCT. 30 — Jody Gehrman's blog, interview

Congratulations, Natasha, on your
kid and teen friendly list of books.


Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques 

FREE Sneak Peek inside 8 of my books