Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Squirrels That Celebrate EARTH DAY!

It is my great pleasure to welcome fellow G.A.P. author,
and writing companion in arms,

Let's give the 4th day of her Book Tour
a rousing reception


Her charming picture book, which doubles as an activity book, teaches kids how to rethink, reuse and recycle our Earth’s precious resources.  Shelby squirrel, the main character, after winning an Earth Day poster contest finds things around the house to re-purpose. When she meets a bluebird in distress on Earth Day, she comes to the rescue. With Earth Day drawing near, join me in celebrating our beautiful Earth with…..

"Trouble on Earth Day"
available at a discounted price on Kathy’s  blog:

and through
Amazon, B & N, and other online stores.

Fun Facts About Squirrels

Squirrels start mating when they are a year old. Male is the cleaner sex in squirrels. A male squirrel makes a sneezing sound when ready to mate.

The newborn squirrels are naked (without fur) and are called kittens. They remain blind for almost 2 months or more.

A squirrel stands motionless on two feet when it senses danger.
The tail helps the squirrel to balance its body while jumping.
They communicate with their distinctive chirps.

Another interesting fact about squirrels is that they have sweat glands on their feet. 
Phew, stinky feet.
White squirrels are rare and are mostly found in South East Asia and Thailand.

The African Pygmy is the smallest squirrel in the world. Its head and body length is only two and half inches long with a tail approximately the same length. They are found, in Southeastern Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon.

In the United States the largest concentration of squirrels is in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington, D.C. Some call it the "Squirrel Capital" of the World. Squirrels roam free and are well feed by the thousands of Government employees and visitors that tour the park daily.


                              Kathy's Other Book:
         Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep
             is available through the publisher,
               and through Amazon, B & N, and other online stores.

 Throughout Kathy's book tour visitors will be asked
to send their best EARTH photo to
They will be displayed on the last day of the tour.

A winner will be selected and awarded a

$10 gift card

Author Bio:

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy Stemke has published over one hundred of articles in directories, magazines and on websites. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Stemke is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes.  http://www.dkvwriting4u.com
Award winning author, Kathy Stemke’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011.  Visit her book blog at http://shshshletthebabysleep.blogspot.com

Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips, and children’s book reviews, as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog: http://educationtipster.blogspot.com

Kathy Stemke is an
Award Winning Author/Educator/Freelance Writer
Trouble on Earth Day earned the Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval
Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep won the Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval

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Movement and Rhythm:



Margot Finke
                          Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques                       

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"DON'T" - a Picture Book Kids Will LOVE!

I don't often do book promotions on this blog.
Yet I do help fellow writers by daily promo mentions on
Facebook, Twitter and GoogleX!

However,  I will make an exception for:

a children's writer of exceptional talent

Ann is a fellow Aussie.  
But she is legit: unlike me, she still lives Down-under!
Ann is one of the original members of OPUS, the critique group I founded years ago.  All the members are well published now, but we still keep in touch, and cheer each on to ever greater heights.  This time it is our turn to cheer Ann.

Ann Harth, an award winning children’s writer, studied psychology in New York before moving to Australia to travel, build a home and raise children. Before becoming a full time writer and tutor, she waited tables, bar-tended, picked strawberries and punched keys on various tills. She also spent many years working with children with special needs which is where some of the ideas for her stories originated.

As a writer of various genres, Ann has been published internationally. Her fiction and non-fiction children’s books are available in Australia, the USA and the UK. She has also written over 120 short stories for various magazines and educational programs
As a dual citizen of Australia and the US with over 20 years’ residency in each, Ann is comfortable writing for the international community. Her background and education supply her with an endless supply of characters, experiences and settings on which to draw.

When Ann isn’t writing or looking after their land and animals, she and her family are searching for new and remote places to camp, hike and explore. From her home in northern Australia, she works as a freelance writer, ghost writer, manuscript assessor and writing tutor. She lives with her family and an occasional orphaned marsupial.

Ann's new Picture Book. . .

Illustrated by 
Angelita Ramos
Soto Publishing 

Vicki Stanton

Don't is a story that will ring true for young and old alike. Jackson's busy family is always telling him, 'Don't.' But as soon as he hears that word, he is immediately drawn to the forbidden and disaster inevitably follows. However, Jackson's school teacher Miss Connor prefers 'do'. This simple act boosts Jackson's feelings of self worth and even when disaster still ensues he is able to stay calm.

Ann Harth carefully selects her words and the reader is with Jackson all the way as his 'shoulders twitch and ... fingers tremble.' My particular favourite is 'my skin quivers like a horse with flies'. The text is filled with humour and though the story has a powerful message it never comes across as didactic.

Angelita Ramos's bright and colourful illustrations faithfully portray the text. She is particularly good at depicting Jackson's facial expressions. i could almost see his mind ticking away.

With its message of positive reinforcement and the encouragement of children, Don't would be especially useful within pre-schools and in early primary school as well as reminding all of us in contact with children that encouragement wins out every time.

·  ISBN-10: 0982171110
·  ISBN-13: 978-0982171110

Amazon (US and Australia)
Barnes and Noble

Now that I've blown Ann's trumpet a bit, let's get to the good stuff -


Tell us a little about yourself.

Currently, I am juggling my time between writing my own books and stories, tutoring on-line writing courses, and working as an editor for an environmental consultancy group. I am married with two children, and live on a small property in rural northern Australia. I was born and bred on the east coast in the US, but when I finished college, I travelled, met an Australian, married him and have lived in this great country for over 25 years.

Why did you begin writing for children?

I had no choice. The stories were there, my children were there, and they simply had to meet. I started writing picture books when my kids were little and then, as they grew, my target audience seemed to grow older as well.

Who or what helped you most when you first began serious writing.

The person who helped me most at the very beginning of my career was Marg McAlister, my children’s writing tutor. She became more than a teacher, and believed in me and encouraged me when I thought I was finished. We have stayed in touch over the years, and I still feel like an excited child when I can tell her about one of my writing successes. Another group that helped me was my wonderful critique group OPUS. They are a group of talented and generous writers who took the time to give me valuable feedback on many of my children’s novels. I learned more from them than I would have thought possible.

If you had not become an author, what would you have been?

It’s hard to imagine. I worked with kids with disabilities for many years and also with the elderly. I might have found myself working along those lines.

What author, dead or alive would you love to meet – and why?

Stephen King, without a doubt. His books, though very different from mine in content, have always transported me into worlds that I felt were real. His ability to create characters, settings, and make me feel as though I'm a part of their world is inspiring. His memoir on writing is the most concise book on the craft of writing that I’ve ever read.

What advice would you offer someone just beginning a writing career

As many writers say, write every day. This might mean working on a novel or short story, journaling, freewriting or even writing a letter – but write something every day. This is what has always defined me as a writer. I have always felt that no writing is wasted, even if it’s not fit for another human being to read. If I write every day, I am a writer. When I don’t, I feel restless and flounder within my own doubts. One more piece of advise? Persevere. Writing is a never ending learning curve. Learn the rules, write from your heart and enjoy the process.

When is your next book due out, and can you tell us about it?

My next book, The Art of Magic, is a middle grade novel that should be out by the end of the year or early 2013. It will be published by Solstice Publishing, a company that creates printed books but is also moving quickly toward the digital world with ebooks. I’m attaching the cover (which was designed by my husband). The following is the blurb:
Devastated and confused by his father’s death, Andrew abandons his painting and turns his back on those who care. A gift from his dying father sits abandoned in the corner of the kitchen until he meets Max, an aging and eccentric artist who paints only one thing – a specific 19th century cottage.  Through his friendship with Max, Andrew embarks on a quest to discover the importance of his father’s gift and whether Max’s obsession with the cottage is touched with magic – or madness.

 Coming Soon

Awesome cover, Ann.  Your husband is a treasure.
Best of luck with both these books, mate!!


Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques
BOOKS - a Gift for ALL Occasions!



Monday, March 12, 2012

KEVIN SCOTT COLLIER - Children's Writer and Illustrator.

 Today I want you to meet  Kevin Scott Collier,  a very special man:

 Writer -  Illustrator - Animator -  Children's TV Host,
and Friend.

 Kevin Collier lives in beautiful Grand Haven, a quaint port city along the Lake Michigan shoreline with his wife and son. He has worked as art director for the daily newspaper there for 30 years. His lifetime interest in writing and drawing lead him to become a published author of youth fiction, chapter books and children's picture books. He has illustrated over 120 picture books for kids. Kevin says,  "Life is more than what you do, it's about who you spend it with. In that book, I am blessed, and life is good!"

If you need a talented and experienced art director, or you have a picture book that needs the perfect illustrations to  set off your story,  I can recommend Kevin Collier without reservation.  He has talent to burn, and he is inclusive - you are never left out of the artistic loop!

Kevin introduced me to Guardian Angel Publishing
and then illustrated Rattlesnake Jam, my first picture book with them.

Just a small sample of Kevin's cover art.

Kevin is also an award winning illustrator:

New York Book Festival 2008 First Place Children's Book- Monty the Traveling Cat.

The National Best Books 2008 Finalist- Picture Book-
BiC's Baptism

 See more of Kevin's fun and kid friendly art

Check out more about Kevin Collier


Friday, March 9, 2012

5 Fabulous February Releases - by Guardian Angel Publishing.

5 Fabulous February Releases

Guardian Angel Publishing

Picture books that kids will want parents to read to them -
over-and-over again.


Author: Janet Ann Collins   Artist: Alexander Morris
The giant worm, Lump, lives on a farm but the other animals run away from him. He escapes to a town and meets Jake, who takes him to a park where he plays with other kids. This early chapter book for young readers encourages them to think about accepting those who are different.

The Clown-Around Kids have wonderful acts in the Rubadub Circus. All except Noodle, the littlest clown. One night, a lost pup appears, and Noodle trains him to do circus tricks. Noodle and Pipsqueak are a big hit. All goes well until a man arrives and demands his dog back.

Last oak leaf wants to fall from the tree but cannot. Many forest friends come along to encourage the leaf. The leaf does not realize photosynthesis is diminishing, changing the leaf from a beautiful green into a deep red. Once the transformation is complete, the leaf finally falls.

Author: Mary Esparza-Vela  Artist: Kevin Scott Collier
A tiny turtle crawls to the top of a hill to watch his friends play in the meadow. He imagines himself outside his shell, doing everything they do. When he falls asleep, he dreams that he is outside his shell, but things do not turn out as he imagined.

Author/Artist: Roey Ebert
Vivien plans all year for the beach. She decides that she will never leave. She comes up with clever ways that she can stay at the seashore. Her mom reminds her of the things at home she will miss. Will Vivi come home or will she stay on the sand forever?

Lynda S. Burch, Publisher

Children's Books - 
written and published with
YOUR kids in mind

Guardian Angel Publishing

http://www.guardian-angel-kids.com   -   http://guardianangelfamily.blogspot.com/


BOOKS for KIDS  -  Manuscript Critiques


Thursday, March 8, 2012


 LA Times Kid’s Reading Room

 It is hard enough these days to 
HOOK Kids on READING. . .
Without newspapers like the L A Times
killing off the popular


I have permission to post these comments PLUS the student's letter below.

Clarissa Ngo, Founder and Teacher of Magic Pen Kids,
sent the following to the people notified regarding the
LA Times Kids’ Reading Room

Hi everyone,
My students have been published in the Kids' Reading Room over 300 times since 2005, and written the main story nine times, so I have seen the inspiring effect being published in the L.A. Times has on children. I am very sad the Main Story is being discontinued and that only half as many poems will be published. I think if the L.A. Times wishes to lure kids to read the paper, the children should have more of a voice in the paper, not less.

            I am including a funny, touching letter from my student, Sydney, about the demise of KRR. Sydney says you can use it to save the Kids Reading Room.
           I have contacted a bunch of libraries in O.C. and L.A. about this issue.
          Clarissa Ngo - Teacher


Dear Mr. Hartenstin and Ms. Thomson:

Now that the Kids' Reading Room is mostly gone, my thoughts slump in plain wooden chairs with not a hook to hang them on. The silence slithers. Cardboard plasters my tongue as the gray overcast clouds cling to the neurons of my mind.

I am stomping bull mad about it, with a scorching scarlet thunderstorm on my tongue. How can this be? The Kids' Reading Room is practically the only place a kid can get published!

Without the Kids' Reading Room, my life is an empty ice cream cone, I think as I gaze at the quiet midnight sky. Why? Why do they think puzzles would be better than stories? My thoughts curl into balls, crawl, then limp from my brain like tired old men into the lonely Arctic where nothing lurks.

Every time I was published, it became one of those warm sweet red velvet cupcake days, when your thoughts skip over fields of golden sunflowers and the sky is as clear as a sheet of aquamarine glass.

If you bring back the Kids' Reading Room, my thoughts would whirl in weightless wonder. It will be butterfly weather in my heart.


Sydney, age 12 


 So wonderfully written for a 12 year old, and so sad
there can’t be more markets that encourage
imaginative minds like this.


                          Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques                      


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


A great ride for kids who are reluctant readers.  Find books with a WOW Factor.