Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Chance to Win Imani’s Moon!
Click on this image to watch the book trailer.
Imani's Moon is a picture book written by JaNayBrown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. It has received the Principal’s Award for Children’s Book of the Year from the National Association of Elementary School Principals!
Imani is the smallest member of an African tribe, but she’s got the biggest of dreams. She wants to touch the moon. During her attempts to reach her goal, she encounters obstacles from taunts and teases to falling out of trees. But in the end, this littlest of girls, has an abundance of determination.

I fell in love with Imani from the first moment I saw her smile and outstretched arms on the front cover. I kept returning to the first page to soak in the vivid color of Imani's clothes and the simplicity of an African landscape with its yellow soil and solitary tree. And there’s nothing I want more than to meet her loyal and adorable companion, her goat. On multiple pages, the love between mother and child is portrayed so naturally via body language and facial expressions. I was touched by their connection. Another favorite of mine is Olapa, the moon goddess, whose magical pages are filled with hues of blue and purple, and paired with a glowing white.

In turning the last page, I was filled with curiosity and awe to learn more about adumu (ah-deh-moo), the African Maasai tribe’s jumping dance. And I’ve been inspired to keep jumping for my moon.

A great book for family members of all sizes, though recommended for ages 6 - 9.

How can you win this beautiful book?
Just leave a comment below about a dream, your moon, for which you are jumping.
Winner will be selected by pulling a participant’s name from a hat,
and announced November 25, 2014.
Check back to see who won!

Just picked a name out of my hat. And the winner is. . .  
Catherine!  Whose comment was:
My dream is to have my own picture books published one day. Thank you for a great giveaway :)

Congratulations, Catherine!!!
And best of luck on achieving your dream!

A big thank you to all who participated in this giveaway!
Don't stop reaching for your moon!



Hazel & Toby
Hazel Mitchell is originally from England and now lives and works in Maine. When she wasn't riding horses as a youngster she was drawing them. After attending art college in the UK, she spent several years in the Royal Navy and then worked as a graphic designer. Now she's doing what she always dreamed of - creating books for children. Her latest titles include 'Imani's Moon', 'One Word Pearl' and '1,2,3 by the Sea'. Her first book as both author and illustrator 'TOBY' will be published in 2016 by Candlewick Press. Her work has been recognized by Bank Street's Best of Children's Books, Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, Foreword Reviews and Learning Magazine. She is represented by Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, NYC. 

Other Hazel Mitchell visits to Curtin Corner:
Just One! Contest and Monkey Tales

#HazelMitchell #JaNayBrownWood #Illustrator #ImanisMoon #PictureBook #SCBWI #NAESP

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Troubled Spirits

Teri Lee!
Teri Lee with her new book, Troubled Spirits.
Teri Lee (AKA Teri Ridlon) is a never-give-up, dig-deep-into-your-gut sort of person. Inspirational. Motivational. A true keeper of a friend who, because of her relentless determination, has sculpted her creativity into a newly published book called Troubled Spirits.

Her story, published by Black Rose Writing, is about teen, Annie Waters, and her encounters with the spiritual realm. It’s a book that has you hooked from the very first page. 

But if getting a book published isn’t formidable enough, Teri is now meeting the challenge of the marketing aspect of being an author. She was excited to share insight into her own journey…

Why a ghost story?
Troubled Spirits was inspired by a few of my former co-workers. They were planning on a ghost excursion into one of the older hospital buildings. When they invited me I almost said no.  And then I thought it might be fun to tag along and maybe get some story ideas. I had just finished a middle grade fantasy novel and until that moment wasn't sure what I was going to write next. Even though we never ventured on any actual excursions, the story had already taken hold in my imagination. 

What have you learned on this journey to publishdom?
Editing, marketing and preparing for a new book can consume you. For a while it was hard to find time to write. I realized I needed to set time limits on editing and marketing, otherwise, Troubled Spirits would end up being my one and only book.

Favorite part of this journey?
Working with INHAUS Productions on the book trailer was the most fun.  I loved watching the process and I developed a whole new level of respect for the patience that it takes.  I was so impressed with the energy the teens from Monmouth Academy put into the filming.

Most daunting/haunting aspect?
Marketing. I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to small talk. But I couldn't see a way to be successful without stepping out of my nice little introvert bubble! What I know about marketing isn't much.  But I did attend a workshop at the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers andIllustrators) this past year that helped. That's where I set my goals.

The first step in marketing my book has been talking about it.  I started talking about writing at work and when they'd ask, I'd slip people the first couple chapters of my book. I let them take it home, show their friends, etc. But I never gave them more, no matter how they pleaded.  Although, I did consider breaking this rule with one nurse.  She lives a mile from Stephen King. I told her I'd give her the entire book on the spot if she could get Mr King to write a blurb for the back cover. 

Part of online marketing included a book trailer. Using media to get the attention of readers made sense to me. So I watched lots of book trailers and I discovered that some were pictures, music and words and others were 'moving people'. I felt like the 'moving people' option was way out of reach until I sat down with Kyle, the owner of INHAUS Productions.  I gave him excerpts from my story that I felt gave the reader a glimpse of what the book was about. After he read them, he said Troubled Spirits deserved a 'moving people' trailer. And then I waited while Kyle worked his magic and turned a scattering of scenes into the Troubled Spirits book trailer.

The next phase of online marketing includes a blog tour. I started researching bloggers of YA novels and once again I was overwhelmed. Then I talked to another Black Rose author, Judy Serrano, and she told me there are companies that set up blog tours. After a bit of research, I chose Enchanted BookPromotions.  I scheduled the tour and a release party.  Mine is coming right up on September 4th. The blog tour begins on September 11th and will include book reviews, author interviews and character interviews.  Troubled Spirits will make at least 20 online appearances for the next thirty days.

The last part of my marketing plan is the press release. I have three versions. A digital version with links to the trailer, my website, and the various places to purchase Troubled Spirits online. The print version has all the same information, but obviously the websites are written out. I will be sending this out to book stores, radio stations, newspapers and teachers.

I am doing free school visits in Maine and New Hampshire until the end of the year.  When I schedule a book signing, I plan on providing the local school with information about the signing. After all, that's my target audience.

I know there's a lot more to marketing, but this is where I'm starting.  

Advice for other writers....
Keep writing. Don't be afraid to re-write. Be receptive to critiques, but remember in the end it's your story.  And start planning how you'll market your story when you start writing it! 

**Troubled Spirits is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Black Rose Writing web sites.**

#TeriLee #TeriRidlon #TroubledSpirits #BlackRoseWriting #EnchantedBookPromotions #INHAUSProductions #YoungAdult #Author #Book #Ghosts #Paranormal  #Marketing #SCBWI

Friday, August 15, 2014

Black Rose for Teri Lee

Reagan with wife, Minna and daughter, Lena
One of my most favorite of people and fellow McWriter, Teri Lee Ridlon, is getting published! Her young adult ghost story, Troubled Spirits, will be haunting bookshelves on August 21st, at Black Rose Writing, Amazon, BN, and more.

Reagan Rothe, owner of Black Rose Writing, is the person who’s making that happen. So, I conjured up a few questions for him. Turns out, his name and publishing company are slightly unique…

Does Rothe rhyme with broth or both? Or neither?
Rothe actually is pronounced “Roadie” with a little more of a “t” and “d” sound altogether. It’s a tricky one to get right the first time.

Reagan told me that in his first book, Misanthropy: Book I: The Tower, a black rose symbolized death and caused long periods of sleep. But he assured me that it’s the uniqueness of the rose that represents his publishing company.
I wanted our authors to have more open communication lines and be part of a publishing house that remained open-minded and flexible, adjusting to the changing industry and not getting left behind. Each year we have grown in one way or another, whether by adding more projects or expanding our promotion and marketing for our current projects.

What kind of stories/authors interest you?
I read a vast array of genres, ranging from fantasy to horror to sci-fi. My favorite fiction writer is George RR Martin, but I also read plenty of non-fiction books as well.

Once a manuscript reaches Black Rose Writing, then what?
Your manuscript is then reviewed by my trusted staff, looking first for clean writing and an original storyline. Depending on our release calendar, the time varies for us to respond, but is typically 2-3 months.
If accepted, we provide our authors with some valuable pre-release information and set a publication date, which is currently 4-6 months from acceptance.
We continue providing our authors information and a timeline of what to expect, and then enter production (cover design, book design, etc.) at eight weeks prior to the release.

Reagan said that they are currently accepting manuscript submissions and…
The best advice I have for writers is that when querying, they should definitely know who they are contacting. Read through the submission guidelines or learn about the publisher’s genres. It wastes both the author’s and publisher’s time when a horror writer submits blindly to a Christian book publisher.

Photo: Can't wait to order your copy of Troubled Spirits? Then don't! Order your copy before August 21st and save 10%.  Use code SPIRITS21
Order your copy of Troubled Spirits before August 21st, 2014, and get 10% off…
Just click her book (above) and use code SPIRITS21 at checkout!

Other books brought to you by Black Rose Writing:
Descent of the Gods by Mark Cosman (October 2, 2014)

#spirits #ghosts #books #haunted #BlackRoseWriting #ReaganRothe #authors #TeriLee #TeriRidlon #submissions  #youngadult #ya #novel