Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator
 
Welcome back to week two with our interview with Beasley!!!

Today we will be talking to Beasley about his second book he has out called, “Beasley and Friends to the Rescue.”

Let’s get started!

Me:  Hello Beasley! Thank you for coming back to visit with us again! I see you brought someone with you today!

Beasley: Hello Miss Rosie! Thank you for having me. Yes, this is a character that is in my second book. Allow me to introduce Lola Duck. We have been friends for a very long time.

Me: Hello Lola Duck! Welcome! It’s nice to have you here. I must ask, is there something the matter?


Lola Duck: Hello! I’m very happy to be here. May I ask you a favor Miss Rosie?
Those lights are very bright and I can’t see. Can you turn them down a bit?

Me: Oh I’m sorry Lola Duck! We can’t do that but wait here. I have something for you.
There, is that better? 
Lola Duck: Oh yes, much better, thank you!

Beasley: Miss Rosie, you will have to excuse Lola Duck, she’s a little nervous to be here today. She gets very worked up at times.

Lola Duck: I’m so nervous I can hardly quack!!!

Beasley: Just breathe Lola Duck, I’ll do all the talking.

Me: Alrighty then, let’s see. In your book, you start off telling us all about what it’s like to live in the country.

Beasley: Yes, it is a beautiful place to live! In fact the opening page is how I spend my days in the country.
Me: So what’s this I read about there being a big racket over at Farmer Bill’s barn?

Lola Duck: Oh, it was just dreadful! The noise scared me so much I had to get Beasley!

Beasley: Yes, that was quite a day! I had just got all snuggled in for my nap and boom, here came Lola Duck squawking from down the road.


Me: What did you do then?

Beasley: Well we had to do something! I told her we would have to gather some friends and head over there. We didn’t want to make the trip alone you know. You never know what you might find these days.

Lola: After a while I did agree with Beasley that we should gather our friends. {{{sigh.}}}

Me: Who all did you get to come with you?

Beasley: First we stopped off to get Frank Frog.

Lola Duck: I sure didn’t want to go there!!! The alligators! The alligators!

Beasley: It all turned out find, didn’t Lola Duck?

Lola Duck: Then he wanted to get Jeter Jackrabbit. Well, I know Farmer Bill would not like that for reasons I won’t mention on the air!!

Beasley: Ha! Well, then we moved on to see if our friend Bubba could help.

Lola Duck: Eeeek! Just the sound of his name scares me!!

Beasley: That turned out fine too!

Lola Duck: Then, then, then…. You wanted to get Captain Coley Coyote. Boo, hoo, hoo, I just couldn’t even look at him! 
Me: My, this sounds like this was a hard day for you Lola Duck!
What did you find when you got to Farmer Bill’s Barn?

Lola Duck: Well, you see….

Beasley: We don’t want to give it away! We worked and worked and we found something….

Lola Duck: Spectacular!!!

Beasley: Shhhhh… don’t give it away!

Me: I’m sure readers will be very interested in finding out what was there.
How can we have them find your book?

Beasley: Oh that’s easy! It’s on:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Rainy Day Books

Createspace

Beasley: Did you know you can go to the book departments at Barnes and Noble and Rainy Day Books, they will order it online for you right there?

Me: I just heard about that! We will encourage all our readers to do that!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I wish you and Lola Duck many more fun adventures! 


Beasley and Lola Duck: THANK YOU FOR HAVING US! 
 
 
Hello Beasley! Welcome to Books by Rose! So happy you can join us today!

Beasley: Woof, woof! Thank you for having me Miss Rosie!

Me: My, my Beasley! You are quite the star on Amazon and Twitter! Let me see here. One reviewer writes in and says:  

“It is a sweet story of the dog's search for his family.” 

Another reviewer writes, “My 3 year old son loves this book! It's very engaging, has beautiful pictures, and is a wonderful story.”

Beasley: Ah, thank you! Now I’m blushing!

Me: Do you know you were written about a little beagle I knew?

Beasley: Yes, I heard about that! I believe his name was Georgie. From what I understand, he was loved by many!

Me: Yes he was Beasley. In fact, it was me that owned that puppy…well I should say, my brothers, my sister, and I.

Beasley: What happened to him?

Me: Unfortunately, he was hit by a car when he was very young.

Beasley: I’m sorry to hear that Miss Rosie! I’m happy to be able to keep his memory alive for you though!

Me: You are keeping memories alive for many! Our friend had two Beagles named Lexy and Penny. Another friend had a puppy named Allie. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, she’s a Bassett Hound. She was so cute, I had to include her! You were drawn to look like all of them!

Beasley: That makes me very happy! Ah Rooo!



Me: Beasley in your first story, “Beasley’s Journey,” you were accidently left in the city by your owners when they moved. How did that make you feel?

Beasley: Well, at first I was a little scared. I met up with the door man from where my home was on Carlson Street. He pointed the way they had left down the road. I knew I would find my way after that. Beagles have a tremendous sense of smell.

Me: Did you find your family right away Beasley?

Beasley: Oh no Miss Rosie! It took me all day! It was quite a journey to say the least!

Me: Did you meet anyone along the way?

Beasley: Yes indeed! I met many nice friends that day!

Me: Can you tell us more about that?

Beasley: It was a little tricky with a few of them. I did have a run in with a squirrel that was less than friendly. I understood though, I did surprise him. He was very protective over his tree and his park.


 


I startled a cat that wasn’t expecting me in his neighborhood. He sure was a cute little fellow. I feel bad now that I scared him.

Me: Tell us about some of your other friends you met that day? Beasley: Well let me see…hum, there was the little gray mouse, a charming bunny, a beautiful robin bird, a giant cow, and a pretty pony. 

Me: They sound like wonderful friends! So what happened after that?

Beasley: Yes, yes they were!

Thank you for your concern Miss Rosie!  I wouldn’t want to spoil anymore of the details about my adventure.

Me: Oh, of course not, I see!

One last question before we go. What do you want readers to walk away with after reading your story?

Beasley: I would want them to know, to make sure their pets are always safe. There is a way they can do that. In fact, there’s a question regarding that at the back of the book.

I would tell them that for each book sold, a dollar will be donated to an organization called “The Rescue Project.” They help animals all over our city with food, medical treatments, educating pet owners, and finding homes, if needed.

Lastly, never give up on your destination! Also, I want them to know that we are all different, but kindness wins in the end.

Me: That’s wonderful Beasley!!!

I understand you have another book out. Will you come back and tell us more about that one?

Beasley: Yes, I would love to! It’s called “Beasley and Friends to the Rescue.” My, oh my, what a day that was!

Me: I can’t wait to hear all about it!


Thank you again for your visit today Beasley!



For more information or questions regarding this book, or the others I have out, contact me at: www.booksbyrose.com

Thanks for stopping by!

As always, happy reading!

Rosie Russell


To find my books online, go to:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble
Walmart
Rainy Day Books
 
 
One of the first authors I met when starting this journey was author K. Lamb! She is a talented writer and helpful to many of us in the Kid Literature world. 


Welcome! 
1)Tell us a little about yourself.

Would you believe this is always the hardest question for me to answer? I never want to be redundant. I'm sure it won't be a surprise that I'm an avid reader and always have one of my Kindles nearby. And yes, that was plural. After all, I can't risk my battery dying in the midst of a good story! In addition to being an author, I have my own company, which allows me the flexibility and freedom to pursue my interest as a writer. It can also make for long days balancing my two worlds. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and living a quiet lifestyle.

Now, for something new…I'm a bit of a gamer. I'm sure that was the last thing you expected me to admit! But just like burgers and fries, all things in moderation! My all-time favorite video game is The Last of Us. It has a great story-arc and it's the only video game that has ever made me reach for a box of tissue after completing it. My mind is always thinking, and gaming is a good way for me to zone everything out and just relax when I need to decompress. It is also a great ice-breaker when talking with children. Although it usually surprises them when they find out that I like to play video games, too. 




2) How long have you been writing?

An avid reader my entire life, it is understandable that the books I read as a child stirred my imagination. It wasn't long before I began to pen my own stories. One of my favorite school memories dates back to Parents’ Night. To prepare for the event, my teacher required us to write and illustrate a short story and bind it into a simple book. Mesmerized by the project, I made two. I can still recall the feeling of contentment when the teacher predicted I would become an author. I had no idea I would fulfill that prediction. Writing is akin to falling into a wonderful dream. You don't quite know where it is going to lead, but you can't wait to find out! This is what I love about writing. It can be spontaneous or a detailed outline prepared in advance. My favorite though is when I sit down in front of the computer and let the words flow naturally like water running downstream. It is so visceral. I am experiencing it for the first time just as my readers would when they open the book. (After a lot of editing, of course!)


3) Tell our readers how your "Dani P. Mystery" series came about?

The Dani P. Mystery series is a labor of love and I am thankful for the positive response I have received from my readers. To be honest, writing a children's series is much harder for me than writing young/new adult, which is my typical genre. It takes a lot of self-censorship. However, when I first decided to publish, I knew the book had to be Dani's storyLuckily, it has resonated with my target audience and the children are receptive to Dani and her mischief! I like to describe her as perfectly imperfect. She has faults, which children can relate to because they make mistakes, too!  

The series originally started out as a short story. For those unfamiliar with the books, my protagonist is a fictional character based on, and written for, my daughter when she was a little girl. Dani, short for Danielle, is the honey-brown hair girl with the perpetual smile, big brown eyes, and big heart. Despite her best intentions, her curiosity and love of mysteries usually land her in some sort of dilemma. The books are also littered with 'Easter eggs' that would only be recognizable to a close family member. They are meant to bring a smile or jog a memory or two. 

The Dani P. Mystery series has given me a wonderful opportunity to interact with educators and families. Words cannot fully express how grateful I am for this experience.


4) What advice would you give others on how they can engage young readers to further their literacy?

One of my all-time favorite ways to get children to read is to interact with them. My daughter and I would read the same books and then discuss them. For younger children, the books can be read together. For older children, allow them to read independently to strengthen their reading skills. Think of it as a mini book club. Not only does this give you the opportunity to engage with your child on a different level, but it gives you great insight on their thoughts and how their mind works. It also opens a dialog that will help in other areas of discussion, which is important between parent and child. Valuing your child's opinions and thoughts also helps to build self-esteem. One thing I would like to warn parents against when trying this approach is not to pick their books! Let your child make the decision on what books they want to read. Forcing a book on a child will never end well and will only make them resistant to reading. Outside of assigned homework, reading should be enjoyable. 

Reading is the foundation for academic success, which is why I also encourage activity books, puzzles, learning games, and educational software. You can pick these up online or at educational/book stores---just make sure they are fun! There is no reason for learning to be boring. I carry this same principle into my books. Although they are a mixture of mystery and mayhem, I always try to incorporate a subtle message to help build self-esteem and to act as a spring board for open discussion between a parent and child. 

Please, #PromoteLiteracy and give the gift of reading to a child today! 


Thank you so much for being with us and letting us know more about you and the "Dani P. Mystery" series!
 If you have questions and would like to contact author K. Lamb, click on the links below. 


Websites:

Author Website:  klamb.net

Dani P. Mystery Website:  danipmystery.com

For free downloadable activity sheets, please visit one of her two websites.

Social Media:

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorklamb

Facebook:  facebook.com/danipmystery

Twitter:  twitter.com/danipmystery

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/authorklamb/


The Dani P. Mystery series is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine retailers. 

 
 
   Allow me to introduce a talented man that performs and inspires children and families with songs and storytelling.  
   Welcome Kid Rocker Jim "Mr. Stinky Feet" Cosgrove!
   Okay, I have to ask, how did you arrive at your wonderful name and title for this journey? 

   One of the greatest gifts I received from my young fans is my name “Mr. Stinky Feet.” I didn’t come up with the name myself. I’m not that clever. And it wasn’t the product of a marketing focus group. It just came about organically. After my second album came out, kids started calling me “Stinky Feet.”


   I still remember the day it really sunk in. I was high-fiving a bunch of students in the hallway of a school where I’d just performed an assembly.  A few kids started calling out, “Hey, Stinky Feet! Yo, Stinky Feet!” And I playfully shouted back, “Hey, that’s “Mister Stinky Feet” to you!” It somehow sounded more respectable.


   The name stuck, so I decided to embrace it. Kids identify with it. It’s easy to remember. And it suits me.


   And “kid rocker” is simply a description of what I love to do.

2) How long have you been performing?

   I’m heading into my twentieth year performing for families. I never imagined I would be doing something like this. I started my career as a journalist and moved into corporate public relations before having the sense to get a “real job” helping kids laugh and learn.

3) What is your Philosophy?

   For years my philosophy on performing has been – The kids are the stars of the show, not me. And through my writing and music I like to emphasize that we can build a better world when we stick together and rock together!

4) Who influenced you in this journey?

   One of my biggest influences has been my father, who loved to sing and who was a fabulous storyteller. And my mother who cherished words and their usage. She would always encourage me to write. And my lovely bride, Jeni, who is fabulous writer herself. She has always encouraged me creatively and has been an inspiring editor.

5) I see you do concerts, school assembles, library visits, and you're a Corporate Speaker!
On top of all that you have multiple Cd's, and books out there. Can you tell our readers about this?


   Over the past two decades, I have performed more than 3,500 shows throughout North America and Europe, including twice at the White House Easter Egg Roll. You’ll often find me singing to children in libraries, schools, theaters, and parks. And once my band and I played with the Kansas City Symphony at the world-class Kauffman Center. There’s nothing like hearing an 80-piece orchestra backing us up on “Stinky Feet.”


    I really enjoy speaking with adult audiences as a corporate speaker. I have a presentation titled “Live Like a Child. Succeed Like a Child” where I talk about lessons I’ve learned working with kids and how when we approach life with a more childlike (not childish) spirit, then great things happen. Also, I have produced eight award-winning albums of family music, and my band and I are working on our ninth. And, finally, I have released my first book for grown-up children “Everybody Gets Stinky Feet,” which is a collection of essays from my time as a parenting columnist for The Kansas City Star.

                                                     Book and other Products


Thank you so much Jim for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us and sharing your wonderful talent! 


To find more about Jim and where you can contact him for a visit to your school, camp, or special event, here is the link below: 
Jim Cosgrove


Please leave your questions or comments below, we would love to hear from you!
Rosie 
 
 
    Allow me to introduce to you a wonderful organization here in the Kansas City area that helps animals in need.  
   I became acquainted with The Rescue Project through a mutual friend and I'm passionate about helping them in all they do. 


1. Tell us about The Rescue Project.
   We are a non-profit organization in Kansas City whose goals are to offer education on pet care.  Our team offers such resources as spaying, neutering, and vaccinations. We help in supplying animals with food, shelter, and most importantly, human interaction. Through our outreach trips, members trek through the city and give care for neglected animals. We educate pet owners so they can continue to improve the lives of animals in our town.
   
2. You see many conditions out there with animals in need. Can you share a few of your stories?
   Common things we encounter are a large amount of dogs kept on heavy tow chains (which can weigh 15+ pounds) that pull down on their necks. For these types of circumstances, we cut them out of these chains and provide the owners with tie-outs. We see dogs without adequate shelter (i.e. no dog house), so they're forced to face the elements. Leaving dogs outside all the time, can lead to heartworms if not given preventative medicine. We’ve seen dogs with no food or water. In the summer we see many dogs with bloody ears from bug bites, and for this, it’s as simple has hanging fly bags to keep them away.

   A specific incident over summer happened when we received a call on a dog with an unknown skin problem. After arriving at its home, we spoke with the owner who led us to the backyard where the dog lived. It was shocking to see such a young puppy with that level of mange. He had severe hair loss and covered in scabs. Not to mention the hot weather which made his itching worse. We explained to the owner that this dog needed to visit a vet; but, he didn’t have the means to give that care. Our team helped him financially and the dog now looks and feels so much better!

   We TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Release) cat colonies. We've seen colonies of up to 20 or more cats at one home. Caregivers will try to feed them, but this can become too much for one person, so we help feed and spay/neuter them to prevent more breeding.

3. For those interested in fostering or adopting, who can they contact?
   The easiest way is to visit our website www.TheRescueProject.net where the info needed to foster or adopt is available. From there you can browse pets near you that are up for adoption and fill out the required forms. Fostering is as easy as filling out a form and emailing it to mubbalifan2004@aol.com. We welcome all the help we can get!

4. How can one help if they cannot adopt or foster?
   There's a couple different ways. One can get involved and do outreach. This is where we travel around KC and its surrounding areas to supply animals with dog houses, food, flea treatment, etc. We educate pet owners on the proper care that their animals need.

   Another way to help is by donating through our website. There are specific supplies we always need (i.e. food, collars, and traps) and happy to accept. Monetary donations always go to providing food and supplies for animals, and can donate onetime or monthly.

   We hold a variety of fundraisers that people can attend or help out! There are online auctions and garage sales to which people can donate items. First Fridays in "The Crossroads," we always have a booth set up educating people on who we are and what we do. If anyone is interested in volunteering at our fundraisers, they can contact our volunteer coordinator:

Beth Meyer at NineLives7601@yahoo.com.

   To stay up-to-date on all of our events and work, people can follow our Facebook and Instagram pages.


   Thank you Rescue Project for taking time for this interview. Keep up the great work!


   I hope you will look up their page and stay in tune with their progress. Since I have became aware of "The Rescue Project," I knew I wanted to help them in anyway I could. Three of my titles, donates back to them. One dollar of each of my pet books sold, will be given directly to them. 
   As always, thank you! 
   Rosie 
Go to:
Amazon 
Barnes and Noble
Walmart carries two titles - Beasley's Journey and A Search and Find of Every Kind with Jake and his Dog Named Cain.

Createspace 
You can also write me directly to order at booksbyrose.com
Due to shipping purchases, those orders are for USA only. 
 
 
   If you have been following Books by Rose, by now you all have heard of Beasley and the two books written about him.
   
   I'm excited to tell you the story of how his illustrations came about. 
   
   Paula Carlson has been a longtime friend. When I saw her two adorable Beagles, I knew they had to be a part in my books. 

   Enjoy this interview with Paula about her sweet Beagles.

1) Penny and Lexi were your family's pets for many years. Fill us in on them. 
 
   I met Penny and Lexy at the end of October 2003. I believe there were 12 pups in the litter.





   Penny was a fat little puppy who loved to tuck up her little rear end and run crazy from the other puppies in the litter. A friendly, happy little girl, with lots of brown and white spots on her, and the sweetest brown eyes! She melted my heart!
   The smallest puppy was Lexy, the runt of the bunch, small and skinny, but BOY could she howl! She fit in the palm of our hands and let out a howl that amazed us.  Lexy was our "problem child" of the bunch. She had black and white fur with a touch of brown.           She loved Busy Bones, and was always adamant she was ready, clean with no bath needed, and she told us that with her howling. 
   We began the potty training and the crazy wonderfulness of being Beagle parents. They were active babies, always getting into something. They never chewed up important things. Potty training came easy for them. I played soft classic music for them when I wanted them to nap. I did this for them until the day they died. 
   Hunting squirrels and rabbits in the little park in our neighborhood was a favorite for both of them. They never caught one.  Those two loved going on our canoe trips, riding and sleeping in the canoe. With dogs being experienced with canoes, they knew just when to shift their weight. We made stops and picnics along the many rivers we floated. They loved wading in the rivers and creeks we often took them too. We took them everywhere, on every trip.  When we weren't canoeing, we searched out different parks and places with woods to take them there. They loved being in the woods.

   Lexy loved kids. Our granddaughter dressed her up and played little tea parties. When our grandchildren were babies, I'd say Lex, watch the baby, and go upstairs or to the bathroom, and she'd sit or lay right beside them, watching them like a mother bird. She adored them. 
   Penny snuggled, and layed on the couch with them, and would get as close as she could, but did not appreciate getting clothes or hats put on her. She'd look at me like "HELP MOM," where Lexy was more the type, "I AM a PRINCESS", someone recognizes my royal blood! Now bow, you peasants! LOL. 
   Between the two of them, Penny was like my daughter, and Lexy was my best friend. They were different but both irreplaceable.

2) When they passed away, you became very passionate in helping other animals in need. 

   When they passed, I decided I wanted to do something that mattered for animals. Every animal deserves the quality of life that my girls did. 
   I found a wonderful organization called Beagle Freedom Project  that rescues Beagles and other animals from labs. They accept donations and offer items to buy with 100% of the money going to rescue! Beagles are the most used dog in laboratories because of their sweet and "aim to please" nature. It breaks my heart to see these precious animals exploited in this way. These sweet animals give so much love, yet they're abused. Animals should not be specimens for testing, and it's changed my life so I now shop cruelty free. I gave up many of the products I use, but it's important to take a stand on this! I use an app called Cruelty Cutter. You open the app, and scan the barcode of a product and the app tells you if the product if testing is being on animals. 


3) I understand you make many other crafts! Tell us more. 


   I make and sell memorial bracelets called Rainbow Bridge Bracelets. Included in each color of the rainbow in array of hand selected beads, a paw print, and a heart. I donate 100% of the profit to Beagle Freedom Project. They are a wonderful way to remember your pet!
   I love or should I say LIVE to crochet. I make amigurumi animals and dolls for my grandchildren, hats, scarves, Afghans, and even clothing!  I'm a passionate crocheter!

4) What advice do you give others to become more involved in helping animals in need? 

   If you want to help animals, there's many ways! Its great try to become cruelty free in your life. Search out products that don't test on animals. We have to get the message out and stopping buying these products sends a message. Commit to donating even $5.00 a month to Beagle Freedom Project or SPCA or your local shelter. Make or donate your used blankets to the shelter. Pick up a box of treats each time you shop and donate them. Frightened animals love the comfort of a soft blanket, a toy or a chew bone. It may be the first kindness they've seen. Little things matter. Many animals are in need out there. It matters much to ONE, and by helping one at a time, we can help each of them. It matters. 
    If you see or suspect animal abuse, call the authorities!

Thank you so much for sharing your story and photos of Lexy and Penny!
What great gifts to buy for someone and donating back to animals in need.  


If anyone is interested in buying a bracelet, or earrings, they can contact Paula at:
 pennysmom10@gmail.com, or call me at 816-304-6021.

   Feel free to print out this coloring page of Beasley! Enjoy! 
 
 
How long have you known you wanted to be an artist? In other words, how did you get started? 

   Always!! Came from a family of artists so I have drawn for as long as I can remember!
Tell us what you use to create your paintings. 


   My first love is pastels. I have used other medium in the past, but come back to this.
Do you have a favorite theme?


   My very favorite is paintings for and about children.
Paintings of family relationships and childhood memories. Also peaceful paintings geared for adults.
I love being out in nature

For artists starting out, what suggestions would you have for them? 


   It's important to just keep putting your work out there, let it be seen. The more artwork you create, the more comfortable you become in creating your artwork.


Here is a wonderful write up on Laurie's Esty page:
Art for Kids and Their Grownups by LaurieShanholtzer 


   Paintings of family relationships and childhood memories. Also peaceful paintings geared for adults.

   A unique feature is that each artwork can be personalized as a print. This means you can add family or friends names, their hair color and a saying or verse especially for the recipient.

   My primary career had been as a portraitist. I have literally done hundreds of portraits, Including 3 for USA Senator Evan Jenkins. Portraits has never been my first love; I now paint what I love.

   A third generation artist, my family members include my grandfather, the nationally recognized muralist, Vincent Maragliotti, (example: Philadelphia capitol dome), Aunt Iris Guarducci, a Pulitzer prize winner in portraits and my mother, Gina Tetzlaff, a prominent New York dress designer and portraitist. You can read more if you care to in the “about” section in Etsy and “ABOUT THE ARTIST” on my website.

   Please  take a look at Laurie's artwork on the links below.  There are pastel paintings, along with reproduction prints. The prints are on lovely canvases in many sizes, as well as on all cotton art paper. Also invitations and cards using my art.


Thank you for your time Laurie! Your art is beautiful!
Rosie

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/LaurieShanholtzer

Website: http://laurieshanholtzer.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LJShanholtzer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurieshan

Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaurieShanholtzer

Website: http://laurieshanholtzer.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LJShanholtzer

 
 
   Allow me to introduce to you a special author I met awhile back, Jennifer Milius! 
Jennifer is also a Motivational Speaker and a Radio Host!
    Welcome Jennifer and thank you for this interview!!

How long have you been writing children's books?

   That’s a great question! Although I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a young child, I started writing children’s books during the summer of 2011. The first story I wrote was actually the third book I published, Einstein & Moo and the Quest for the Catnip. It went through several iterations while I also worked on the first two books of the series, Einstein and the Leaf and Moo and the Case of the Mistaken Identity.

What inspired you to start writing them?

   First, let me tell you a little about the two characters, as they are our family’s real-life brother and sister tuxedo kitties, Einstein and Moo.  We adopted them in 2009 when they were about three and half months old.  They have brought our family so much joy! They are loving, sweet, and curious, but they have very different personalities. Einstein is quite talkative and will talk even more when it is close to mealtime; sometimes, he will play fetch.  Moo squeaks more than meows, and she loves to hide underneath the coffee table and wave one paw at your feet, like the monster under the bed.

   It originally started as a creative outlet to make up stories from their perspectives, especially considering they are indoor kitties. What might they think when they see a hummingbird go to the feeder by the window? What might they say to the squirrel or skink venturing on the porch during their backyard watch?  My husband would play along, and we would create some funny dialogues.  So, during that summer, I decided to take some of the ideas that I was verbally creating and put them to paper.  The first three stories started out as poems with minimal punctuation just because that was how I preferred to read them, unless there was dialogue or a specific inflection was needed, then appropriate punctuation was used.  

   As I was tweaking and polishing Einstein and the Leaf and Moo and the Case of the Mistaken Identity, I started to shift my thinking about how to turn them into published books and proceeded to figure how to make it happen.  For instance, I wanted to introduce each kitty individually, and then together, so the fact that the third story was still being revised was good.  

I see you have someone else illustrate your books. What advice would you give other authors that are looking for an illustrator?

   That’s correct. My stickmen are wonderful, but I wanted something more for the Einstein and Moo series.  Before I share some advice, let me share a little background for perspective.

   The first publisher I approached was concerned that there were no pictures and said I should find a friend or family member to do them for me.  I knew some talented people and reached out to them, but they all declined. They did not feel they could do the stories justice, but I continued to keep my ears open to new opportunities and eyes open to beautiful talent.  I also took each door closing as moving me forward to where I was supposed to be and not as rejection. At face value, it was a form of rejection, but I did not take it as a deterrent from my goal.

   After a couple of years and lots of “doors” ☺, but I connected with my publisher, who in turn, connected me with my illustrator.  It was important to me that the illustrations looked real because the kitties are real. I included pictures of the kitties to show what they look like and my publisher helped me by providing samples from various illustrators to see how they would capture a part of the story and the kitties. My illustrator not only captured Einstein and Moo's look beautifully, but also their personalities.  When I saw the samples, I saw love, and that was important to me. I knew I found the right person for my stories.

   So for advice, I would say: 


   Stay true to your vision.  There are many talented people, but you will know you found the right illustrator when you get that little feeling inside that lets you know this is the right step.  You will find the right publisher, illustrator, and path for you.
  • Read a lot – different genres, different authors. The different styles will help you improve your abilities as well as better articulate what you would like from an illustrator.
  • Be open to feedback
  • Don't give up
  • You can do anything you set your mind to – tell yourself positive things and really believe what you say
  • Take each door closing as moving you forward to where you are supposed to be - not as rejection

What is your biggest challenge/challenges being a children's author? 

   From the business perspective, I am challenged by how to increase marketing in an effective and efficient manner, but I see it more as an opportunity to creatively reach readers.  From a writing perspective, I am trying my hand at non-picture book writing, and there are times when I question myself, especially when I feel stumped or something isn't flowing. Writing about the kitties comes very easily to me. So when I feel stumped with other writing, I take a break from working on that piece and focus on another part of the business (i.e. read, lining up events, radio show, marketing, blog). I try it from a different angle, like changing the point of view or writing from a different point in the story. I also make sure that I am kind to myself by recognizing I'm doing the best I can do. I tend to think we can be our own worst critics, so sometimes the inner editor needs to be silenced until you are ready for that voice/helper to come out.  When I feel the inner critic, I will color or journal about what is on my mind, then when something starts to flow for the story I was working on, I'll resume that writing. I think it is important to make sure the inner dialogue going on is reminding you of your positive attributes. Let those positive thoughts encourage you, just like you would want them to do if you said them to a dear friend.

 

 Last but not least, I see you are not only an author, but also a Motivational Speaker and a Radio Host? Can you tell us more about that?

   Sure! Encouraging people is one of my passions. I believe that each of us have something special to offer, but sometimes it takes a leap of faith to be willing to share that gift. I think this belief started when I was three.  I was in the children’s choir at my church, and one Sunday we were going to sing “This Little Light of Mine” during a service. We were all told to put one finger in the air while we sang these lyrics: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”.  My parents said I was the one who dared to be different by putting my whole arm in the air while wiggling it and my hips while I sang, grinning from ear to ear. I let my little light shine that day and believe that when we are following our passions, our little light shines because we radiate the joy we feel. We feel empowered and that what we are doing is adding value.

   So writing, co-hosting the radio show with my friend and fellow author Doug Huggins, and doing speaking engagements are extensions of that passion.  On our radio show, Encouraging the You in Success, we talk about concepts and applications around employee engagement, understanding and leveraging individual strengths, effective communications, and process improvement efforts while considering both a personal and a business perspective.  Whether you are an individual contributor or team leader, a spouse or your child’s team coach, you can make a positive difference in all your endeavors, and our show is about enabling people to do that.  

   Sometimes the encouragement needed is not about sharing your gift, but coming through uncertain times. Change can be difficult, even if the change is expected.

   I believe that our thoughts are powerful and that it makes a difference what we tell ourselves, so I focus on positive, encouraging thoughts. Being able to engage with people and offer support and encouragement to others has enabled that light in me to shine brighter than before.

Thank you for your interview Jennifer! You are so inspiring! 
Rosie 




Click on the links below to find Jennifer's website and books.

website: www.jennifermilius.com
Facebook: /authorjennifermilius
Twitter: /AuthorJenMilius
Blog: www.jennifermilius.blogspot.com
Google: google.com/+JenniferMilius
LinkedIn: /JenniferMilius
Goodreads: /AuthorJenniferMilius
Instagram:/authorjennifermilius
Pinterest:/jenmilius
email: author.jennifer.milius@gmail.com

In addition to my website, my books are available at the following locations (I’ve included the links to my works directly):

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Milius/e/B00O5A55JM/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Waterstones
https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/jennifer+milius

Barnes and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Jennifer+Milius?_requestid=199504

Books A Million
http://booksamillion.com/search?id=6689374733564&query=Jennifer+Milius&where=All

Rocket Science Productions (Publisher)
http://www.shop.rsplaunchpad.com/searchquick-submit.sc?keywords=Jennifer+Milius

 
 
   Author Sandra Bennett is a mother of three boys, retired Primary School teacher. She appreciates the struggle of teaching reading to reluctant readers and understands the importance of hooking readers from an early age. Increasing literacy in our children has become her passion. Throughout her many experienced years in the classroom Sandra began writing stories to encourage and entice her students to develop a love of reading. She started by writing familiar stories about her students that they could easily relate to. These gradually became more involved, humorous tales that Sandra believed other children could benefit from also.

   Sandra had always wanted to write for children, even more so once she went to teachers college and began teaching. As she raised her sons and taught part-time she practiced the craft of writing, took a few courses and eventually grew in confidence to begin the process of helping early and reluctant readers with her own stories through independent publishing.  




I see you have four books currently out. Tell us more about those.

    First of all thank you for the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by you on your website and the chance to talk a little about my books and myself.

   As you know I currently have published four books. Two are the beginning of my short chapter book series for reluctant readers while the other two are part of a series of uniquely Australian picture books.

   Gingerbread Aliens and Alien Shenanigans are fun science based early readers designed with a bunch of pictures (for aid in comprehension) and a huge dose of humor to encourage reluctant readers. They have easily relatable characters, suspense, twists and hooks along with intrigue and often gooey science experiments for kids to try.

   The main characters are three mischievous brothers and one particularly cheeky little alien. You won't believe the antics and trouble they get up to together.

   I have written the third book in the series and hope to publish it next year. I introduce a new female character in  book 3 ( Alien Milkshakes) to encourage young girls to read the books even though so far I have found my boy characters does not seem to have limited  my readership.

   My Australian picture book series uses our beautiful wildlife to tell tales that help children explore their feelings and emotions while also learning about the birds and animals that are so unique to our country. I always add fact pages at the end of the books to learn a little about each character.

   Emma the Eager Emu is a bird with tenacity.  She is determined to learn to fly just like all her friends at flying school.  Emma has to learn a different way of flying and in so doing discovers her own very special qualities. On reading the story children also learn that it is okay to be different, and that if they have a goal, they can strive to reach it if they practice and don't give up.

   Frazzled Freya is a timid frill neck lizard much too frightened to join her friends and play in the heat of the desert sun no matter how much she desperately wants to join them. She must learn to reach out of her comfort zone to face her fears. Children come to realize that not all their fears are so bad after all.

   I am now working on two kangaroo stores where little joey must learn to listen to his parents and one about a playful platypus discovering the important lesson of stranger danger.

   Each tale is told with the moral tale being subtle so that children enjoy the story first and the lesson behind it second. I don't like to make it too obvious I like to encourage thinking and family or class group discussion.

After teaching for twenty-five years, what changes have you seen in the way literacy has been taught? Or in other words, would you say things have greatly improved in this area?


   In the 80's when I began my teaching career literacy was taught in a more holistic approach, a sort of one size fits all. It is great to see the changes that have arisen through the years since then. Now students are taught more individually, their different learning styles are taken into account. Guided reading groups and directed reading and writing are tailored to suit a wider range of needs within the classroom.
   
   I began with teaching on a chalkboard, progressed to a whiteboard and today we have smart boards. The introduction of technology has dramatically changed the way we teach and children learn. The days of rote learning have disappeared in favor of a mixed bag of strategies to enhance how to learn, research, discover, and grow. 

   Children arrive at school far more equipped and ready to learn to read than ever before. What we taught in Kindergarten 25 years ago, is now taught in preschools. Sight words and reading strategies are abundant as classrooms continue to evolve to find the most suitable solutions. Reading records are constantly being updated and checked to ensure children aren't left behind. 

   Parent helpers are welcomed and encouraged to listen to children read and become more involved with the daily classroom routine and activities. 

   As an author now, I enjoy the opportunities that enable me to be invited into classrooms to read to children. I remember from my teacher college days being taught that a love of reading, and reading aloud lots of great stories produces readers. The more words a child hears and sees, the more they become familiar with the written word. If children enjoy my stories, then I am still helping in some small way towards developing their literacy without being in the classroom full time. I can now share my stories to many more students instead of one class at a time.

Who are your illustrators for your books and how did you find them?


   Diana Querubin is my illustrator for my alien short chapter books. I originally had another illustrator however have moved on. Dianna has now produced the illustrations for all three books in the series even though Alien Shenanigans is the only published one with her illustrations at present. We work really well together considering it is all via email as she is in the Philippines. We met through the company that has helped me self-publish. When I said I was looking for a new illustrator, Dianna was recommended to me and I haven't looked back.

   Dianna Budd is my fabulous Australian illustrator who designs all the gorgeous drawings in my picture books. We met at a mutual friends book launch in Canberra where we both live. We began talking over a glass of champagne and hit it off instantly. I mentioned I had a couple of stories I really wanted to make into picture books if I could find the right illustrator. Dianna asked me to send her the manuscript to Emma the Eager Emu, which she adored and the rest is history. I loved her work, we developed a mutual respect and have worked together ever since. When I sent her the manuscript to Frazzled Freya she simply replied with "A Freya Fan."

   It's funny how both my illustrators have turned out to be named Dianna. It can be a bit confusing at times. At least I can distinguish between the two by the number of "n"s in their name. Mind you Diana does all her illustrations through computer graphics, while Dianna uses fabulous vibrant pastels. They both have very different and unique styles. Each suitable to the age group the books are targeted towards.

On you website, you mention you do many school visits. What advice would you give other authors for visiting classrooms when sharing their books?


   The best advice I would give anyway about school visits is be prepared.  By that I mean organization beforehand and during the visit. 

   Prepare a letter to be sent to parents and teachers at least two weeks prior to your visit introducing yourself with a brief explanation of what you plan to do with the children. Does it fit into the current curriculum? Give them a reason to want to see you there. 

   Also forward a poster for the school to display so that the children and school community become familiar with you before your visit.

   Ask permission to send a pre-order form of your books for parents to prepay. It saves handling money on the day.

   Make sure you arrive with plenty of time to introduce yourself to the organizing teacher or librarian and have plenty of time to set up.

   Be courteous at all times and set expectations from the outset regarding behavior. E.g. welcome children for their good behavior as they enter quietly. Thank them for using their listening bodies etc. 

   Things don't always go to plan, so have alternative strategies and activities or books to read. The more
material you have up your sleeve the smoother the visit will go.

   I like to use puppets to help read my stories and talk about our wildlife. Find something about your books that will engage the students and keep their interest.


Last, but not least, what advice would you give new authors starting out? 


   My advice to new authors starting out is never give up. If writing for children is your dream, then go for it! There are so many wonderful authors just willing to give support and advice never hesitate to ask. I love being a part of this wonderful writing community, it has given me so much encouragement and help, and I want to keep paying it forward. Write every day, keep honing your skills, seek reviews on your work and when you are ready to take the plunge and let your baby out into the world, dive right in. You'll never know if you don't give it a go!
Thank you for your awesome interview Sandra!


To find Sandra, here are her links to her website and books:


Website: http://www.sandrabennettauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GingerbreadAliens

Amazon: Frazzled Freya - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H8WPPMU

               Emma the Eager Emu - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YUDDK1Y

               Gingerbread Aliens - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H5WD2NI



 
 
   Shelly Sangrey is a mother and a home school teacher that offers her great day to day advice for those interested in home schooling. 


Hi Shelly!  What made you decide to home school? 


   I'm a mom of 11 beautiful children from 3 to 23 yrs. old. We are in our 8th year of home schooling, and what a journey it's been! My passion in life is encouraging new and struggling home schoolers. I've been blogging consistently at There's No Place Like Home for almost 7 months now, and it has been such an amazing opportunity to reach as many home educators as possible. Besides talking my husband's ear off about home schooling, I am an avid reader who would honestly move in at the library if they would just install a snack bar!  

   There were so many factors that culminated in our decision to home school. At the time, our school district was having frequent bomb threats and some difficulties with classroom management of unruly children. Besides that, the quality of education in our district leaves a lot to be desired and seems to focus entirely on test prep instead of actual education. I also was finding with my oldest son, who was in 9th grade at the time, that I wasn't in agreement with a lot of the things he was being taught. 

    When I began home schooling, I had just given birth to my 7th child and was finding the morning and after school rush to be terrible. Each morning we'd be frantically searching for missing homework papers, toothbrushes, shoes, backpacks...you name it, we lost it. After school, it seemed like a stampede, with everyone needing me to sign something, sell something, or help them with homework- all at the same time.

    After meeting a family with 6 children who home schooled, I thought to myself, "Hey. Maybe I can do this!" I'm so glad we did.

   


What does a daily schedule look like at your home for running a home school?


   I know this is going to seem confusing to some people, but I'll try to explain our routine. :)

   Since we have 10 kids being homeschooled, I've found it easiest to break them into 3 separate groups- the littles (ages 5, 6, 8, and occasionally the 3 yr. old when she feels like it), the middles (ages 9, 10, and 12), and the teens (ages 14, 16, and 17). We try to start at 10 am each morning with the littles. We begin with a Bible story and then move on to our "table time." This is usually spent one-on-one with each child while they are working on phonics/reading and math. As I'm helping one, the others usually just play outside or upstairs until I call them down for their turn. Afterwards, we all read a book together, and we do cross-curricular activities which pertain to the book. (This is called a unit study.)

   After they are finished, the middles begin their homeschool day- usually around 11:30. They follow basically the same routine as the littles, except they do math and spelling/copy work instead of phonics. We begin with a devotional and move on to a read aloud together, after which they do their table time. While they are waiting for their turn with me, they usually read silently and write what they read about, do some math review worksheets, and then play outside or upstairs. 

   At 12:30 we take a lunch break until 2:00 to allow them to eat, play, and do a quick clean-up before my husband arrives home from work. 

   At 2:00 we are usually still finishing up our table time. Once that is finished, we read another book together (yes, I'm reading 2 separate books to them...I AM a bookworm!) and then we move on to their unit study, which is usually based on character traits. For example, right now we are focusing on inquisitiveness by learning about the scientific method and famous scientists. Each day, they complete a note booking page, which is similar to journaling, about something they learned that day.

   My teens are a bit tougher to describe because they all work on their own and do everything completely differently from one another, although they all have one thing in common- a 4-day week with Fridays as their day to make up any work they needed more time on or missed altogether.

   After I finish working with the middles, usually around 3:30 to 4:00, I touch base with my 16 year old to give him his unit study assignments for the day. His homeschool routine has taken a lot of tweaking and creativity because he has ADHD and simply cannot sit for long periods of time. 

   Once I tell him what's on the agenda for his unit, he tackles it right away. These usually involve either hands-on activities, documentaries or YouTube videos, writing assignments, and field work. Every Monday I give him a planner for what is expected of him for language arts, algebra, reading, and note booking, so he usually completes that at night once the house gets a little quieter.

   My 14 year old prefers to learn through living books- biographies, historical fiction, trade books, etc. Like my 16 year old, she only uses textbooks for language arts and algebra. Everything else is done through library books and note booking. She is very meticulous and prefers to schedule her own work for the week. She has always shown much responsibility in this area, so I don't have a problem with that. She tends to work on her assignments off and on throughout the day, leaving algebra for after the kids are asleep (or are at least SUPPOSED to be), so that I can help her if need be.

   My 17 year old is the only child I have who prefers textbooks. She wouldn't admit to it, but she is very studious. She recently started working part-time, so most of her work is also done at night (which she would rather do, anyway). Since I wasn't able to find textbooks we liked for all of her subjects, she also uses some living books and notebooks through them to help her retain the information. Beyond that, she is extremely creative and loves to paint, make paper mache crafts, draw, and study the Japanese language and writing characters. 

   I leave a window of time open every night for the teens to come to me for help with any school work- usually math-related or chemistry.

   It's taken us some time to find a routine that flowed well for all of us, but it was well worth it and has helped to relieve much of the stress that can accompany homeschooling multiple children.

What are the challenges of home schooling? 


   Home schooling does present some challenges, but none that can't be overcome and none that are worse than when my children went to school. As I mentioned earlier,  multiple children definitely takes some flexibility. You have to be willing to change things up if they don't seem to be working. It's crucial to remember that homeschooling does not have to look like school. In fact, for most of my kids, the less it looks like school, the better they do. It can also be tricky when you've got several kids who all have different learning styles. It takes time to really get to know your child's preferences for learning and find ways to integrate it. Although it might be easier (in theory) to make all of the kids do things the exact same way, in reality, kids are individuals, and that really comes through in how they like to approach things.

   Another challenge is home schooling when you've got babies or toddlers in the house. As with everything else, it just takes some creativity and being willing to try new things until you find a way that works for your family. Two of my teens get paid a small stipend for helping to watch the littles when the middles are home schooling. If they're not available for some reason, I like to keep a basket of special activities for the younger kids to be brought out only during school time. And I'm willing to admit that when all else fails, I will turn on a movie to keep them occupied for a while. I say, whatever works!


What is your favorite part in this journey? 

   There are so many things that I love about home schooling that I could write a book about it! I'll try to narrow it down. :)


-I love having such a close-knit family.


-I love learning alongside my kids.


-I love reading aloud to them every day.

-I love our lazy mornings drinking hot chocolate, being aware of how blessed we are that we're not out rushing around to get the kids to school.


-I love being there for every new milestone my kids reach- Learning to read, add, and subtract. Watching their eyes light up when they make a connection about something we're studying. Watching them proudly write their name and write "Mom" and "Dad" for the first time. 

-I love that we can do school in our pj.’s if we feel like it and that my kids CAN chew gum in class. :)

-I love that we are able to tailor their education to fit them, and not the other way around.

-I love our trips to the library, and our animated discussions about books that we've read in common.

-I love that my teenagers sit down and talk to me every night and rest their head on my shoulder during church.

-I love that my 16 yr. old son tells us he loves us in FRONT of his friends.

-I love the fact that even though life is hectic, I wake up every day excited about what the day will bring.

Last, but not least, what suggestions would you recommend for others that may be considering home schooling?


   I love to work with new homeschoolers and encourage them. This is what I always say:
 
   Think about what a typical day looks like in traditional schools and throw that image out the window because homeschooling is not school at home. Find out what interests your kids, how they like to learn, and what they want to learn about. The library is a treasure trove for homeschoolers- anyone could easily homeschool practically for free by almost exclusively using the library. 


   Don't get stuck on a curriculum. Textbooks are a tool; that's it. Most kids actually do better when textbooks are not used, but excel through hands-on activities, field trips, living books, and educational videos. 


   The most important thing is to get to know your child. Ask for their input on what they'd like to do and incorporate it. Children who learn what they are interested in retain the information better than those who learn things simply because they're told they have to. 


   If you don't believe that's true, think back to your own days in school. How much do you actually remember? Did memorizing the dates of Charlemagne's rule stick with you? What about trigonometry? How much of that do you remember? Sentence diagramming?

 

Now think about what you DO remember. Chances are, the information that's stayed with you is information that interests you or has been beneficial to you in some way. This is why it's so important to take your child's opinion into consideration.

And remember that learning and living cannot be separated. Everything that your child does is a learning experience. The longer you homeschool, and the further from your mind you push your image of school, the clearer this truth becomes.

 

 Live a full life. Read to your kids. Cook with them. Take them with you on errands. Show them how to take care of household tasks. Stock up on art supplies and let their creative juices flow. Make frequent visits to the library, and let them explore the world around them. 

For the vast majority of recorded history, children learning at home was the norm. Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Lewis Carroll, Pearl S. Buck, Ansel Adams, and Virginia Woolf are just a few historical figures who learned at home and flourished.

 

Homeschooling can be such an amazing opportunity. All it takes is some creativity, a bit of planning, and, most of all, love.

 

Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator