Tuesday, June 30, 2009
For July, my guest author is Anita Yasuda, a children's book writer.
Read her interview and learn about her and her latest work.
Interview with Anita Yasuda, the author of Explore The Solar System! 25 Great Projects Activities Experiments (Nomad Press 2009)
Tell us about yourself first.
I am a trained Montessori early childhood teacher who works as a freelance writer. I’ve written ten books to date with more titles scheduled to be released next year. My family travels widely and as such I am lucky to visit places around the world. My non-writing self is usually volunteering at school events or is back stage at the local theatre.
When did you start writing?
My mother tells me I always had a pencil in my hand and would stay up for hours writing and writing long after the lights went out. Thank goodness for flashlights! I started working as a freelance writer ten years ago, shortly after my daughter was born and haven’t looked back since.
What genres have you written?
I write nonfiction because I love researching. It’s exciting to learn something new, to ‘meet’ famous and not so famous people from the past and present, to travel to unusual locations, learn about multicultural festivals, and to tell an interesting story of course! I’ve written books for collectors on many subjects including Japanese children’s fabrics, Hello Kitty®, Japanese anime, travel books on San Diego and Buffalo and even ghost books on California. My articles for children mainly focus on multicultural crafts and festivals. I’ve written pieces on voting in India, children’s toys from Indonesia, stargazing, and more.
Is Explore the Solar System: 25 Projects, Activities, Experiments (Nomad Press 2009) your first book?
Explore the Solar System: 25 Projects, Activities, Experiments is my first book for children. I previously have written nine books for adults. It was great to work on a book I could share with my daughter who is in Grade five and my niece and nephew. I was so lucky to have three eager children ready and willing to try out all the activities.
Tell us about your book. What is it about?
Explore the Solar System: 25 Projects, Activities, Experiments, takes children ages 6-9 on an amazing, standards-based journey to the solar system, teaching them about everything from the Earth to the Sun, to the Asteroid Belt and beyond. The activities run the gamut from creating an origami version of the solar system that can hang anywhere to making a solar oven to witness the power of the sun, providing a fun way to learn about the Solar System.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was thrilled when I was asked to write this book as I’ve always been an astronomy buff. I’ve enjoyed many nights looking at the stars with my daughter. As 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy and the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s astronomical observations what better way to celebrate than writing a text that children could use to discover the solar system.
How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote the book over six months. Most of the activities were completed in half that time as I had such enthusiastic volunteers!
Who is the publisher of your book?
Nomad Press located in Vermont published my book. They are a great company who publish quality children’s educational books. I was a customer before I wrote for them!
Where is it on sale?
Explore the Solar System: 25 Projects, Activities, Experiments is available through any major chain such as Amazon or Chapters, and at Independent bookstores.
What do you advise new writers to do?
Write about what you love. And remember to read as much as you can in the genre in which you are writing.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Interview with Joan Cartwright, the author of 9 books:
- In Pursuit of a Melody (memoirs, 350 photos, 35 poems, 40 songs, 2 lectures)
- GaiaMind Poems
- Rhythms of the Heart (poetry)
- The Moon, Sun Showers, Rainbows and Whipped Cream Clouds (spiritual poetry)
- Songs for my Children (4 songs with full-color images)
- Joan Cartwright Song Book
- Amazing Musicwomen
- So, You Want To Be A Singer? A manual for up-and-coming Divas, Musicians and Composers
- A History of African-American Jazz and Blues (3 essays)
Tell us about yourself first.
Diva Joan Cartwright has toured 5 continents and 15 countries including the
Joan's book also contains two lectures that she's given to over 5,000 children and college students, in
Diva JC names any ensemble of musicians she works with "Jazz Hotline". Why? Because the music swings and it's always HOT! Her most famous Blues are "Nobody's Husband", "OH, Baby!" and "Treat Me Right And You Don't Have To Marry Me".
Known as the "Hip Hop Mom of Atlanta", Joan performs "Jazz Meets Hip Hop" with her daughter's hip hop/soul group - Caustic Dames, in
Joan Cartwright is available for bookings around the world. Her knowledge of music and her professional attitude enables Joan to travel alone and work with professional jazz and blues musicians, wherever she is contracted to perform.
During her 30-year career, Joan has performed with Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Dorothy Donegan, Philly Joe Jones, Shirley Scott and hundreds of musicians in the
This talented lady is bound to bring a smile to your face with her swinging jazz and blues! Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy her performance when she comes to your side of town!
- BIO, PHOTOS & TRACKS: www.myspace.com/joancartwrightandjazzhotline
- JOAN'S BOOK INFO: www.myspace.com/divajoancartwright
- VIEW & RATE JOAN'S VIDEOS: www.youtube.com/divajc
1. When did you start writing? 1977, I began writing poetry in a blank book
2. What genres have you written? Poetry, lyrics, journals, memoirs, interviews, concert reviews, travel articles, cultural column in newspapers
3. Is In Pursuit of a Melody your first book? Yes
4. Tell us about your book. What is it about? My life as a singer with 350 photos
5. What inspired you to write this book? My musical career in
6. How long did it take you to write it? 13 months (3 months of writer’s block)
7. Who is the publisher of your book?
8. Where is it on sale? At Trafford, Amazon, my site www.fyicomminc.com/inpursuit.htm
10. What are the major challenges that you have faced in your career? Working enough to make a sensible income to cover my living expenses.
11. Has the Internet helped you in your writing career? Yes!
12. How? Lots of exposure on networks, especially, the ning networks for writers
13. What do you advise new writers to do? Read and reread their writing, check for spelling, grammar and sentence structure. Keep it simple.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Do you like science fiction? Henry Melton is one of my favorites in that field! Henry writes science fiction for young adults, but I feel that his stories are so brilliant that they can also be read and enjoyed by adults as well.
His novel, Lighter Than Air, has won the Eleanor Cameron / Golden Duck Award for 2009 Middle Grade Science Fiction. Check it out at
Read about him and his work in the interview that follows. Have fun!
How would you define yourself as a writer?
I suppose there’s two parts to that question; what do I write, and who am I. What I write is the easiest. For the past eight to ten years, I’ve been discovering that I like to write what is called Young Adult fiction. Young adult science fiction in particular. My larger body of work is general science fiction, with a few fantasies thrown in. But even the fantasies tend to have a ‘how it works’ flavor to them.
As a person, I’ve been telling stories since before I picked up a pencil, and it came so naturally that I had problems with ‘creative’ explanations to my parents when I got into trouble. Then there were stories of Alex the Martian I told to neighbor kids. I suppose it would have looked like the classic invisible friend to an outsider, but I knew I was composing fiction for their entertainment. Later, I discovered real science fiction and wrote little things, what would today be called flash fiction. It was a natural progression. I wrote for school, but they rejected my attempt to be part of the school paper–not enough school spirit and too much creativity. By the time I sold my first story I was confident I was a short fiction guy, but over time, they grew and now, all I write is longer stories.
Which titles have you published so far?
Emperor Dad was the first, where a teen discovers that his father may have invented teleportation. Roswell or Bust was a road trip through the American Southwest as a motel kid and the mute daughter of one of the Men In Black attempt to rescue the aliens that have been kept captive since the 1947 Roswell crash. Extreme Makeover is the tale of an overweight girl in the Pacific Northwest who was infected with alien nanobots. They tried to make her over into a weapon–their mistake. Lighter Than Air mixes a talented designer teen with a next door neighbor inventor who has discovered lighter than air foam. All goes well until his little sister gets mixed up with a shadowy figure on the Internet. Falling Bakward has a farmer kid discovering that the mysterious warm spot in the south field is actually a portal to another world where aliens have been waiting for him for 10,000 years.
Which is your favorite one, if any, and why?
My favorite novel is always the one I’ve just finished working on. I have fond feelings for them all. So, at this instant, I guess my favorite is Golden Girl, a time travel story, which I’m preparing for a September release.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I’ve been reading science fiction since childhood and the basic ideas of the genre; teleportation, aliens, time travel, etc. are just like air. However, I also travel quite a bit and I’ve found that I get inspired by certain places. In this current set of novels, each is born in a certain small town (flexible definition of small). Emperor Dad–Hutto, Texas. Roswell or Bust–Las Vegas, New Mexico. Extreme Makeover–Crescent City, California. Lighter Than Air–Munising, Michigan. Falling Bakward–Chamberlain, South Dakota. Golden Girl–Oquawka, Illinois.
By visualizing a real place where I’ve walked the streets and seen the sights, it lets me get into the life of the characters and to believe in the world I’m writing.
Why have you chosen this genre?
It chose me. I was watching NASA space flights preempting Captain Kangaroo in the morning before I went to elementary school. The best fiction in the school libraries was always science fiction. My father was in electronics and the laundry room was two-thirds filled with partially hand-built radio equipment that arc’ed inside the house during thunderstorms. And it didn’t hurt that science in school came naturally. I lived in a science fiction world.
Which are your plans for the future?
There will be more YA science fiction books, of course. I hope to keep traveling and finding inspiration. If I did nothing but re-work old stories up to my improving standards, I could keep putting out books for years, but I need to find a way to spend less time on marketing and promoting my books, and more on writing new ones. The publishing industry, with its demands on authors promoting their own work, is definitely limiting creative time. But I guess that’s something we all have to work on.
Where can readers find your books?
All of my books are available on the usual on-line bookstores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Bookstores can order them through Ingram. I have also put e-book versions out as Kindle and Mobi formats. However, if you would like to get a signed copy, go to http://www.HenryMelton.com/0/Webstore.html and order from me directly.
Have you ever experienced a writer’s block?
Yes. It’s easy enough to let the day to day stuff get in the way. That’s one of the reasons I love to travel. Getting behind the wheel and letting the scenery flow past gives me time to hear my own thoughts and let the story pieces fit together.
Any tips you would like to give us?
If you write, write lots. Nothing improves a craftwork skill like practice. It’s that skill, plus your honest thoughts that let your voice come through.
Do you have a motto?
Perhaps I do. I’ve said it enough. If you want to travel, “Travel now, while you still have the chance.” Nothing has enriched my life more than travel.
Buy my books! http://www.HenryMelton.com/0/Webstore.html
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Today, you can view his latest book,
The Poetic Musings of an Old Fat Man.
You can also read a sample of Harry's poetry here:
stretch out behind me
in a winding path that
disappears over the horizon
beyond my memory.
Some yesterdays were
red-letter days of triumph
and personal joy, days of
some momentous occasion
in my life. Others were black
days of pain and suffering.
Most were merely plain,
of no particular note.
All have melded together
forming the memories
marking the passage
of my existence on Earth.
I treasure all my yesterdays
since each day was a brick
that contributed to building
the mosaic of my life.
My yesterdays carried me
up the long hill to today,
where I stand looking wistfully
back at them, my yesterdays…
knowing now my yesterdays
outnumber my tomorrows.
I’ve learned I should endeavor
to make each today become
a shining, glorious yesterday,
for my yesterdays are
how my life was spent.
“It” can run rampant through the countryside,
easily jumping over the neighbor’s fence.
At the office “it” lurks and sneaks around,
making those at the water cooler laugh and wince.
With e-mail, it rapidly circulates far and wide,
although “its” initial source rarely can be found.
Those carrying and spreading “it” usually aren’t harmed,
while “its” victims suffer in ignorance, usually in the dark.
Whether “it” is true or false matters rather little to most,
since passing “it’ on adds to their humdrum lives a spark.
Hard to stop, harder to kill, “its” many lives seem charmed.
You can help by, if getting “it”, becoming a terminal host.
EXCERPTS from REVIEWS:
“Thoughtful, funny, & full of wisdom …I thoroughly enjoyed "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" from start to end. I was a little surprised at my reaction to this book, because while I enjoy poems, I am usually not as enthusiastic about books of poetry as I was about this compilation. The third collection by this author is definitely one not to miss reading. Harry Gilleland is a very talented writer, … The collection of poems includes stories about every aspect of life. Some of the poems left me with tears in my eyes, while others had me laughing about life's lighter side. … I applaud Gilleland on creating such a well written, thought provoking book. It is one that I will definitely read again. I highly recommend "Poetic Musing of an Old, Fat Man" to anyone who is looking for an enjoyable book to read this summer or for someone who is looking for a gift to buy for that person who has everything.” By Cherie Fisher for Reader Views
“One of the true purposes of poetry for a reader is not just to discover what the poet was intending to convey, but to find how you relate to the poem. Gilleland does a superb job of presenting an array of poems that are easy to understand and will certainly capture the attention, and the heart, of every reader. …. Verse after verse, this poet is to be commended for his true talent with words.” By Shannon L. Yarbrough
“Harry Gilleland often uses his storoems and poems to reveal life in its glory and its despair. This collection is not different. … ‘Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man’ offers something for every one in over 150 pages, which contain rhyming poems and storoems, two limericks, acrostic poems, and free verse poems.” By Vivian Zabel
“All in all, I highly recommend this book. Not only will the poems entertain you, but they will also stimulate your mind, as you begin to ponder some of the lessons they put forth. … Very insightful!” By Kristina N. Fountain
“This book illustrates my point that seniors should consider expressing their lives and their thoughts in poetic form. This book provides an interesting tour through the author's mind. … Gilleland's observations about life … ring true.” By Marlys M. Styne
“These are poems that often feel like having a light bulb switched on in your brain and after reading the poem you unconsciously cry out ‘eureka!’…
Probably one of the most outstanding qualities of Gilleland's poetry is his ability in proving that any topic or theme, if handled skillfully, can be transferred into persuasive poetry. This is effectuated with his balancing of his personal convictions and fervour with imaginative meticulousness that speaks to us at another level and touches us in a similar way as music. Moreover, Gilleland employs very little ornamentation in his poetry, which is one of the prime reasons why they contain meaningful content that leave a lasting impression. … Most of poems have a conversational rhythm containing a great deal of bluntness and a clear expression of emotions that brilliantly portray the work of a mature self-confident gentleman who knows what life is all about.” By
Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor Bookpleasures
“I must admit that poetry is not my favorite medium. Too often the author rambles on, not conveying his/her point. However, ‘Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat, Man’ is an awesome book. Harry E. Gilleland, Jr. has a talent for poetry. He conveys his message with a unique style that is easy to understand and that brings emotion to his readers. I was hooked from the first poem, … I will long cherish ‘Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat, Man’ and highly recommend it to others.” By Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com
“I have to admit when I first saw the cover of the book I wasn't too intrigued. However, the old adage holds true to not judge a book by its cover. Once I started reading the book I was hooked. Gilleland's writing is very readable and thought-provoking. … ‘Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man’ definitely has something for everyone and, if you enjoy stimulating writing, then I highly recommend this collection!” By
Kam Aures for RebeccasReads
COMPLETE REVIEWS for PMOOFM:
The Poetic Musings of Harry Gilleland Speak Words To Us All!, September 28, 2008
I was a poet long before I was a novelist or book reviewer. My first self-published book was a pop up book of poetry which was literally assembled by hand in the 4th grade for a young author's grade school event. In college, I continued to write poetry and fell in love with the words of Frost and Dickinson. Having only recently rekindled my affair with Miss Emily's words, I was eager to read more verse and from a fresh new voice. I'd had much success with the poetry I've reviewed here on the blog to date, so I knew Lulu was the perfect place to start. I didn't have to look far. Poet Harry Gilleland, Jr. had quieried us some time ago with his third collection of poetry entitled Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man.