Sunday, April 28, 2013


 Nancy Stewart

I have known Nancy Stewart for some years, and we both share a publisher.  Nancy is an oh so talented writer, blogger, and great friend.  Today I have the great  pleasure of being a small cog in a Virtual Tour for  her new book:

Bella Saves the Beach
Illustrations: Samantha Bell

Nancy is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children:  One Pelican at a Time (eighteen weeks on Amazon Bestselling List), Sea Turtle Summer (which won the Children’s Literary Classic Gold Award), Bella Saves the  Beach (which won the Gold),  and Mystery at Manatee Key.  The authorized biography of Katrina and Winter:  Partners in Courage, is the story of Katrina Simpkins and Winter, the dolphin.

One Pelican at a Time and Nancy were featured in the PBS Tampa special, GulfWatch.  All are published by Guardian Angel Publishing. 

She is a frequent speaker and presenter at writer’s conferences throughout the United States.  She conducts workshops and seminars and speaks to school children on writing and helping save their planet.  A blogger with a worldwide audience, she writes of all things pertaining to children’s literature.

Nancy’s travels take her extensively throughout the world, most particularly Africa. She is US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education.   She and her husband live in Tampa and St. Louis.

                                        Bella Saves the Beach
is part of Nancy Stewart’s award winning beach series. It features Bella and her friend Britt.  The story is simple and charmingly told.  The two girls love their beach, yet something bad is happening - beach goers are throwing their trash all over the place, instead of putting it in the bins provided.

With determination and some thought, plus help from their friends, Bella and Britt find ways to clean up their beloved beach.  The author also introduces some intriguing beach birds, tide pools and crabs.  A glossary at the back explains these creatures.

The illustrations, by Samantha Bell, have that sun drenched feel that yell, “Day at the beach. . .!”  The story and illustrations fit together – like bare toes in sand!

Littering is a huge “green” problem today, and Nancy’s fun story encourages children to clean up around their play area – beach or park.  However, don’t expect your kid’s room to be sparkling clean any time soon. . .

I recommend reading Bella Saves the Beach with your kids or to your class. 
What kids read often hits home. What a parent/teacher SAYS. . .
not so much.

Available From:


 Do take time to dabble your toes in the remainder
of Nancy Stewart's Blog Tour

Monday, April 29th
Book review at Hook Kids on Reading
Guest post at The Pen and Ink
Tuesday, April 30th
Wednesday, May 1st
Book review at LadyD Books
Thursday, May 2nd
Book review at Kid Lit Reviews
Friday, May 3rd
Monday, May 6th
Tuesday, May 7th
Book reviewed at The Picture Book Review
Wednesday, May 8th
Book reviewed at My Devotional Thoughts
Thursday, May 9th
Book review at It’s About Time Mamaw
Friday, May 10th
Monday, May 13th


Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques


Sunday, April 7, 2013

"DOWN-UNDER CALLING" - Coming Soon ( young teen )

Below is a SAMPLE
from the beginning of my
young teen book:

( Grandma Rose Spins a Web )

Margot Finke

 A tale of two generations divided by an ocean.

Andy, a grandson in Oregon, more interested in his own problems, than
in writing to a grandma he hardly remembers.

 Where the Pacific Ocean laps at the Oregon shore.

Rose Larkin, a grandma in Queensland, Australia, who misses her
daughter and grandson. A lady with love to give
and memories to share.

The path behind Rose Larkin's house that leads to the bush.

Both have something special the other needs.
They just need to discover what it is.



 Grandma Rose

On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, where water lapped the sandy eastern shores of Australia, Rose Larkin slept. She lived on the edge of the Queensland bush in a small town called Morningside. At sixty plus Rose was a light sleeper, so the sound of the rifle crack snapped her awake.

Silence. This was followed by the mutter of distant voices. Rose’s cat, Lady, sleeping at the foot of her bed, had not twitched a whisker.

“The same hooligans again I’ll bet,” she muttered, “Shooting at whatever moves!”

Stiff from sleeping, Rose threw on a dressing gown and headed for the back door. Outside the door she grabbed the long handled garden fork that leaned against the wall. She hefted it. Not a bad weapon – just in case.

A skimpy moon left the back yard in complete darkness. But Rose didn’t need a flashlight. Her feet had long ago memorized every pebble, dip, and curve that lead to the back fence. The voices now grew more distinct.

“Cripes mate, I killed somethin’!”

“Dumb git! I think you offed a roo. The old biddy’s heard us for sure. Let’s scarper!”
The voices faded, lost in the far reaches of the wild bush area that backed onto Rose’s property.

Grim-faced, Rose reached the fence line. Soft scrabbling noises came from the bush side of the fence. Leaning the garden fork against a fence post she hiked up her nightie and dressing gown. Climbing over the broken section of the fence wasn’t easy. Rose struggled. Then came a tearing sound. Blast! My favorite nightie too!

Finally, she made it over the fence and into the bush, hoping to find whatever was making those distressed rustling sounds.  Aha... She peered down at the ground around her – dim and blurry.  Stupid woman - forgot my glasses! Her toe hit something furry. Kneeling in the darkness Rose searched the ground with outstretched hands.  She felt something warm, sticky and soft. Oh Lord, NO!

In front of her lay a still warm but very dead female kangaroo. Snuggled beside his dead mum, yet very much alive, was her joey. “There, there,” murmured Rose. “Not to worry little mate. You'll come with me.”

It took a few more rips and tears to her nightie, but she finally got the joey over the fence and safely back to the house. Tucking him into a spare pillowcase, Rose hung the makeshift pouch on the back of a kitchen chair. The joey’s small head peeked out, all big ears and long snout, a wistful look on its face. The pillowcase, loosely knotted at the open end, was the best she could do to provide a pouch.

Oh-ho, he’s shivering.  Mustn’t let the little bloke go into shock. Rose quickly filled a hot water bottle and slipped it into the pillowcase. A quick look through her winter woolies, and joey wore a blue beanie scrunched down over his ears - one she had knitted last winter.

“That’ll have to do for now. First thing in the morning I’ll find out what to feed you. Then I’ll phone the police. I just hope they catch the hooligans that killed your poor mum.”

Rose, chilled to the toenails, made herself a steaming cup of tea. The creature, blue beanie askew over one eye, ducked inside the makeshift pouch every time she ventured near.

“You just hold on ‘till I get you the right food, little mate.” Rose yawned and said, “Whoever said older people needed less sleep was nuts.  I’m a bit long-in-the tooth to be hopping fences
. . . and in the middle of the night too!” She looked at the bulge at the bottom of the pillowcase. If she moved the chair into her bedroom, she might disturb him. What to do?
Dawn woke Rose to a raft of new aches and pains. These were mostly due to napping away the remainder of the night in an armchair close to her young guest. A hot shower helped, plus two aspirin. Several phone calls later, she had operation “save joey” well under way. The police promised to investigate, and the Lone Pine Wildlife Sanctuary had been most helpful. They gave her great information about joey care and joey food. However, it seemed they wanted her to look after the little bloke until one of their staff could come and take him off her hands.
“No problem,” Rose assured the nice lady from Lone Pine. “He’ll be jake with me.”

Bright and early, on advice from the Lone Pine lady, she took joey to visit her veterinarian. The Vet checked him out thoroughly and pronounced him fit-as-a-fiddle. He handed her a bottle and teat, plus a package of Kangaroo Milk Replacer.

“Just the ticket for a beaut young joey,” he told Rose. ”It’s a completely balanced diet. Easy to use, too.” He patted the young roo’s head and added, “Kangaroo milk comes in four strengths, for different stages of growth. Oh, and don’t forget to let him hop about a bit after you feed him, because he’ll need to poop and pee.”  As she left, with the joey safely tucked into his pillowcase, the vet called, “Don’t worry, Rose, I’ve plenty more milk if you need it.”

The tiny ‘roo slept all the way home inside his makeshift pouch on the front seat. Rose smiled as she drove. Hmmm. . . Car travel seems to sooth animal babies as well as human babies.  

Once home she put some of the kangaroo milk into a bottle, warmed it, and then took joey out into the garden. No more shivers, so she removed the hot water bottle. The beanie had disappeared, lost in the depths of the pillowcase.

Joey snuggled on Rose’s lap, still mostly inside the pillowcase, with only his head and two tiny front paws out in the open. He sucked like a trooper, both front paws clutching the bottle. After he finished drinking, Rose rubbed his tummy like the Vet said.  He looked at Rose, twitched his nose, and then slid down into his pillow case pouch. A soft burp followed.

“Oh, no you don’t,” cried Rose. She grabbed the pillowcase full of soon to be pooping-and-peeing joey,’ and hurried to the laundry.
“I’m too old to chase you around the yard,” she told him. Closing the door she gently pulled the baby ‘roo out of hiding, and put him on the cement floor. ”Pillowcase pouches don’t have bathroom facilities, mate – understand? Cement floors can be hosed down.”

He took a few tentative hops, and then looked up at her, head cocked to one side.

“You want me to turn my back?” asked Rose. Chuckling, she told him, ”I imagine my grandson Andy would be bug-eyed over a little bloke like you.”

A few hops later, and joey attended to business. Rose dealt with the cleanup while the perpetrator hopped around the laundry.

“Right-o little mate, time for a nap.” Two sleepy eyes blinked up at her while she smoothed the fur on his head. Scooping him up, she slid him into his pillowcase pouch. Joey folded himself into a ball at the bottom of the pillowcase, and slept.

Rose carried him outside. She hung his pouch on the back of her garden chair, and hurried to see if the mail man had brought anything worth reading.  “A-hah, what have we here?” she peered at the sender’s label. “Well, blow me down, a letter from my grandson, Andy.” Pleased and happy, she went to her chair, ripped open the envelope, and read his letter.


                                                                                                        55-A Pine Meadows Way
                                                                                                            Portland OR USA

Dear Grandma,
Mom said I should write, so here it is. I'm twelve years old. I'm in sixth grade. I have a friend called Kelly. She’s in sixth grade too. I'm real good at math and computers. But I don't much like reading, and English is boring.

My friend Kelly has twice as many computer games as me. I asked Dad for another music CD, but he said no. He said I have enough e-junk and computer games. Dad’s way tight-fisted.

     That's about all.
     Your grandson,




From "Down-Under Calling"
will appear here again soon.

           ( by Awesome Agy Wilson )
Is also coming ASAP!

I would love to read your comments
. . . or opinions


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