SittieCates

SittieCates has been writing for more than ten years. She has covered topics about health, travel, recipes, writing, family, children and many more.  The author of Sleepyhead? NOT!, 13th Breath: A Collection of Poetry and Prose and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You,  she is currently working as a freelance writer.

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Cates.

Cates photo2SittieCates: SittieCates is my virtual pseudonym. My real name is Jacqueline, which I mostly prefer my family, old friends and relatives to use. Most of my friends call me Cates. Online, a lot of people call me Sittie. I prefer having my pseudonym, “SittieCates”, written without a space to denote oneness or balance.

I have worked for traditional publishing firms as a Writer and Editor. I also taught English to Filipinos at a local school. I’ve handled students from Grades 3 up to 4th year High School. I was the Guidance Counselor and the Head of the English Department. Aside from those jobs I had at that school, I was also the adviser for the school publication and was in charge of the Theatre Guild.

After a few years, I became an ESL teacher for Koreans. Then, I had an offer at another publishing firm so I went back to writing and editing.

In between those full-time jobs, I tried to squeeze in time to engage in writing the stories that I love; not the articles that I usually spin at work. I’ve managed to publish a poem, a few short stories for kids and some articles in other local magazines published by other publishing firms. While my aim was to write about topics I really love in snippets of time available, I have to admit that there were lots of times when I was too tired to engage in that because of my hectic work schedules. You see, whenever I came home, all I wanted to do was collapse on my bed and pray that I would have a restful sleep so I could function well the next day.

When did the writing bug bite?

SittieCates: I’ve always wanted to write. My parents and siblings would scold me because I would write everywhere. They particularly hated it when I would write on the walls. It looked really messy, but all those scribbles were, in a way, special, because they held dozens of stories only I could understand.

I wrote my very first “nearly legible and more understandable” story when I was in kindergarten. It was part of an assignment. There was a blank page for that in the book, and we were tasked to write a story. We were encouraged to draw the characters, too.

So, I peppered the page with stick figures, the only drawings I could muster. J And I wrote a very, very short story about three girls who always wanted to sing. And when I say short, I really mean short because I only used a few sentences. The title was written as one word; it included all three names of the little girls in the story.

What particular genre/s do you prefer?

SittieCates: For the genre, I seem to gravitate more towards children’s stories. I published two ebooks for kids. One is Sleepyhead? NOT! and the other is Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You. I have a third one that’s already with my illustrator. It’s about learning colors. It’s perfect for kids aged 3 to 5, but younger and older ones up to 8 would also love it.

I also love poetry. I’ve compiled a few of my poems and published them together with some essays in my ebook, 13th Breath: A Collection of Poetry & Prose. The ebook is inspirational and autobiographical. If you read it, you’ll get to know a few things about me. I’ve created an ebook trailer for this at: http://youtu.be/31TfRehsfSU. One of my favorite poetry lines that I’ve written in the ebook includes this one: “In the evenings when the wind speaks softly in my ear… When the stars give out a shine so enchantingly clear… When the soft beams of moonlight leave a trail of shadows in sight… I listen to the sweet, melodious sound of your voice at night.”

What other genre/s are you interested in venturing in?

SittieCates: I have a novel. Currently, I’m polishing that one. It’s my first novel and it’s a romance story, but there’s a little bit of twist there. J I’ll just announce that when it’s ready.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

SittieCates: That’s a good question, Shelagh. When I started writing, just like most authors, I wanted to share my works with a lot of readers. I wanted my works to be read and, hopefully, bring something helpful, amusing or inspiring to the readers – whether the story is for kids or for grown-ups. I truly wanted to give my readers that experience. Even though they may not always have a smile on their faces after reading what I’ve written, I wanted them to feel satisfied or complete, with nary a nagging and confusing thought bothering them afterwards when they close the book.

How do you develop characters?

SittieCates: I’m a people watcher. I observe people of different ages, professions, etc. I’ve been doing that since I was like 6 or 7 years old. It was just like a game before.

People may think I’m naturally talkative. But I’m only like that online. In person, I’m often what you may refer to as “unusually quiet”, especially when there are so many people around. It’s not that I’m a snob, but I merely prefer to observe people and things around me. That is if my nose isn’t buried in a book.

Often, I listen to how people talk. I take note of how they carry themselves, what clothes they prefer to wear, their mannerisms and other things. I also try to feel the underlying messages that their statements try not to reveal because, as I’ve observed, there are some who would tell you one thing but mean another thing, and I could somehow feel and notice that even if they try really hard to keep that to themselves.

It’s amusing to observe people because I feel that by doing this, I would be able to create the possible lead characters and antagonists of the story, sort of like getting inside their heads and seeing how they think. In real life, I try to capture all that. I try to incorporate these things in my stories so it would adopt a “real” atmosphere, especially in my upcoming novel. (Other character sketches I’ve had are kept in a notebook and I’ll be using those next time.)

What about the setting?

SittieCates: When I created the story setting for my upcoming romance novel, Bookworm, I had to struggle for awhile. I was trying to decide if a serious mood would be best or not. With regards to where and what time the story would take place, I chose what I knew, what I was familiar with, and injected that in the novel. Hopefully, the readers would love it.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

SittieCates: For most of the articles I’ve written, I would say that I’d go for the first-person POV.

But with stories, I try to experiment. I used both the first-person and third-person POV for my stories for kids. Sleepyhead? Not! was written using the third-person POV while Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You used the first person.

However, for my upcoming novel, things are totally different. It’s not going to use any of the POVs normally used in writing novels. I wanted to try something else. So, I decided to use a different approach, which you’ll all see when my novel will be published. And I sincerely hope you would all wait for that.

How does your environment or immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues color your writing?

SittieCates: I find that a part of me seems to come out – regardless of whatever I create (poems, songs, articles, stories, etc.). It may be about the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had or the experiences that I knew someone had.

Sometimes, I find that helpful. Other times, no, because when I’m faced with a certain character, and I see that character as someone I know, it wouldn’t help the tale at all, especially if something happens in the story. What I mean is that being the real person that that character is, when he or she is faced with a dilemma, obviously, he or she would do the same thing that his or her character’s “real” counterpart would do. When that happens, all creative juices would be blocked, and that wouldn’t contribute well to the story because I wouldn’t know what else to write. As you can see, for me, when that story character thinks, feels and behaves like the real-life counterpart, that’s the end of the story. You can’t move past that because you would say that the real person wouldn’t behave, feel or think as such. So, there’s no more ideas coming in. You’re blocked! I’ve encountered that when I was writing the first few drafts of Bookworm. It was really hard to move beyond that. So, I changed the story a bit, and tried to see a story character as not being totally similar to a real-life counterpart.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve had.

13th_Breath_Book_Cover_1563x2500SittieCates: Delighted to do so, Shelagh! Some of the links for the book reviews I’ve received for 13th Breath: A Collection of Poetry & Prose” and “Sleepyhead? NOT! are at the tab marked as “Book Reviews Written by Others for My Works” at my two blogs.

I also loved this one that was posted on a retail site. It was for one of my ebooks for kids, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You. It reads:

“A wonderful and delightful story, adorably illustrated, about a little girl’s faith and innocence as she starts understanding about change and learning to love her baby brother. Well done! Five stars all the way (the stars seem to be missing on this review). My child loved it, too!” ~ Patrick Heffernan, Author of Greywalker, a novel

Could you tell us more about your current book bundle promo for kids?

SittieCates: I’d love to, Shelagh!

The Sittie Case Book Bundle_SittieCatesAs I’ve mentioned earlier, I have published two ebooks for kids that are up at Amazon (at http://amzn.to/1dTolwE) and other retailers, priced and sold individually. These two are included in a book bundle at http://flipreads.com/sittie-bundle. The bundle, Sittie CASE, is offered at a very, very low price until January 31, 2014 only.

To give interested readers an idea of the children’s stories included in the bundle, here are the descriptions for both:

Sleepyhead? NOT!
Mabel Robbins is a bright, sweet and cheerful kid who likes to play make-believe. She faces no trouble during the day. But when nighttime comes, her problem begins. She couldn’t sleep easily like the rest of her family. Thinking that she is different, she seeks help to correct her sleeping problem.

But nothing seems to go right!

Will Mabel Robbins be able to find the “right” way to sleep easily? Find out now at Sleepyhead? NOT!

Sleepyhead? NOT! children’s ebook trailer can be seen at YouTube.

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You
When Kaitlyn Zamorra learned to write letters to God from her parents, she started telling Him everything: the things that she likes and what she considers to be “no fun” at all. She also told God about a precious gift that was lots of fun. But then, something happened. Her source of happiness seemed like it was going to be taken away from her.

Will she be able to save something that gave her lots of happiness? Or will Kaitlyn soon realize what’s truly “lots of fun”?

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You Children’s ebook trailer is at YouTube.

While the denomination there is in Philippine Pesos, interested buyers can avail of it in dollars by choosing Paypal as a mode of payment. I would suggest that readers check the FAQ at the site to know more about the file reading formats before they purchase and download the bundle.

Since it’s my first time to have a book bundle, I thought of celebrating it while the promo was running. So, I created a worldwide event on Google Plus. But not everyone could join. So, I transferred the event to Facebook, invited some friends and encouraged them to invite others. The Facebook party, which I named, ♥ The Sittie CASE Book Bundle Party  has already started, and would end by January 31. Others can still join the event if they like, provided that they do so before the last day of January.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

SittieCates: People can follow me in a number of ways:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SittieCates

My Blogs: http://www.myownwritersnook.blogspot.com and http://www.sittiecateslovestories.blogspot.com

Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/TheMusingsofaHopefulPecuniousWordsmith and https://www.facebook.com/SittieCatesLovesStories

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/114470887211929135419

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7415659.SittieCates.

Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/sittiecates

Thank you for joining us today, Cates.

SittieCates: Thank you so much, Shelagh! I really enjoyed the interview. All the best to you and your site! And happy holidays to everyone! J

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O. Warfield

O. Warfield, author and poet,  wrote the Omar Blue Saga, which includes Omar Blue,  K-9 Town, USA, and the new publication Led By An Eagle,  to reach out to families, avid readers and dog lovers of all ages.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

O. Warfield: I live in Richmond, Virginia,  with my loving husband and daughter.  Accompanied by my daughter, Joy, I offer special entertainment to hospitals and facilities for children and adults with special needs and to seniors in assisted living communities. The events include readings of Omar Blue and a host of gifts and surprises.

When did the writing bug bite and in what genre?

O. Warfield: When I was a young girl, I wrote short stories. As I got older,  I wrote little poems too. No one would see them. It was just something I did.

A while back, I started writing poetry for friends. Just to brighten their day if they were having a bad one. Usually silly stuff about something that may have just happened or more serious for something they were going through such as sickness or even death of a loved one.

After being told many times how comforting my words were and how I should become a true writer, I decided maybe I should put more thought into what I was writing. In doing that I began to realize how easy and comforting writing is to me.

I’m told it’s a rare gift how fast I think up poems and/or stories for almost any scenario but I think it’s just a trait most writers have.

I write prose when it better suits the story I’m telling, but my real love is rhymes.  My Omar Blue Saga is told in rhymes, with special attention paid to meter and flow.  My rhymes don’t distract, they enhance my stories, making them unique.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

O. Warfield: Until I started writing my books, my only goal was to make someone feel better when they read what I’d written especially for them. My short poems.

When I started writing Omar Blue and K-9 Town, USA, my focus was on entertainment and humor. I had a very sick family member who loved animals. At least once a week I’d read what I had completed to her. I wanted everything to end on an upbeat note even though there were serious undertones. My first book is a little more juvenile than the second, Led By An Eagle. It was geared towards family reading, children especially, and included  illustrations. I’m happy to say that readers of all ages have and are enjoying it.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.

O. Warfield: Led By An Eagle has leader Omar Blue taking his Pack into the mountains to meet his kin. K-9 Town is full of excitement. Though reluctant to leave their beloved K-9 Town, USA the pack sees this as their chance to find out more about their mysterious leader whom they have grown to love and respect. A leader who makes each of them feel a part of something wonderful and invincible.

But … just before their departure, Rottweiler Brady has a confrontation with Mountain Lion Booby while he and Pit Bull Sammy are on an enjoyable morning stroll. The mountain lions’ plan backfires when Booby is embarrassed in front of his followers. Livid because “Professor” Brady had gotten the best of him, the mountain lions vow to rid “their” land of Omar Blue and his Pack, forever. They’re going to follow the pack into the mountains, picking up kin as they go.

Meanwhile, it’s no secret they’re being followed by Mountain Lion Booby and his Pride. But fearless to a fault, Omar Blue and his Pack’s attitude is, “Let them come. We’ll handle them when they think they’re ready.”

Having a ball, as Omar Blue and his Pack are known to do, even those lovable naughty puppies get into the act.

The showdown is one of a kind and will have you right in the middle of the action. To be remembered as unique and I hope, powerful.

This book is to be enjoyed by the whole family.

 What’s the hook for the book.

O. Warfield: Led By an Eagle is made up of a community of diverse characters. Big, small, mixed breeds, purebreds are all the same at K-9 Town, USA. Each has its own personality and background. Love, friendship and loyalty are taken to another level. My characters know they are loved and needed and will protect each other above all else. They love the town they have founded and the way of life their leader has shown them. For this they would live or die for Omar Blue, just as he would for them.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

O. Warfield: My characters are imagined from real life animals and people. I put in some of the breed’s natural characteristics in most cases, then add what I need for a particular scenario. Some of my main characters belong to family and friends. My dog Omar Blue has a strong character. That’s what it takes to be a respected leader. I’m talking about a strong presence so he can lead my rottweilers, pit bulls and the others and make it fictionally believable. I built his character around his real personality. Sweet as can be but definitely an alpha. Some of my stories come from listening to people talk. Especially my naughty puppies. We all know how funny babies are when they are just learning to do things on their own. As I listen, I start formulating my stories for Omar’s K-9 Town Pack.

My settings are always wilderness with trees and mountains for shelter and wide open spaces where the pack can run free and the puppies can run wild.

O. Warfield: Who are the most unusual/most likeable characters

In Led By An Eagle there are two. The oldest of the Elders. Komondor Rasta Mama who was introduced in Omar Blue and K-9 Town, USA along with her son Rasta Kooley and his family, and, Great Dane Granny who is making her first appearance.

These two have special gifts. Rasta Mama has the gift of second sight. She can see bad things that are about to happen. Great Dane Granny is able to cast away evil. They have named themselves the “Seers” and plan to travel together and use their gifts and “special potions” to keep Omar’s Pack safe.

O. Warfield: Do you have specific techniques to help maintain course of the plot?

Maintaining the course of my plot isn’t hard because there are so many directions I can go. Just as real life takes us in many directions. K-9 Town, USA is just getting on its feet. There are many adventures ahead without changing the course of the plot.

O. Warfield: Do you have a specific writing style?  Preferred POV?

I really don’t know if I’d call it a style of writing. I love to rhyme but I’m just addicted to writing. I entertain myself with what I write, so I hope my writing, no matter what form, is entertaining to others. My stories seem to have little lessons attached to them. I think that’s because reinforcement of good ideals never hurts. Maybe I can label that a part of my writing style because it comes naturally.

O. Warfield: How does your environment/upbringing color our writing?

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and became an adult in the late 60s when “make love not war” was one of the more popular sayings.  Omar Blue’s K-9 Town, USA is an example of this philosophy.  They want to live in peace but will go to war at the drop of a hat. They won’t let anything disrupt their way of life and the happiness it brings them.

O. Warfield: Share the best review you’ve ever had.

I’m very proud of this review. My reader captured every feeling I envisioned. The review is from: Omar Blue and K-9 Town, USA.

Omar Blue and K-9 Town, USA – I have to say that when I saw the book – slim in size I thought at first it was going to be detailed with facts about dogs, so thankfully it was short and to the point. I never ruffled through the book to get a glimpse of what my eyes were about to enjoy. I took it to my desk and planned to take a sneak peak. After the 3rd page I was hooked. Literally I could not put the book down – the stories are delightful, and I felt like I was right in the middle of action with the K-9’s. Darn the phone is ringing – put the book down – great wrong number – back to the stories. Before I knew it I was on chapter 8, and I decided to stop reading so that I could savor the rest of the book on a slower pace. The author made this a fun, easy to read book, and the problems presented, along with the way they were solved relate to life – trusting, leadership, teamwork, diversity and so much more. Its a great book for any age bracket. I think each age group will relate to it differently based on their own unique set of challenges.

― Ricky

O. Warfield: What are your current projects?

I’ve finally published the e-book and paperback versions of Led By An Eagle. It’s now available on Amazon.com. I’m on cloud nine about that review I mentioned above but I know this is only the beginning. Writing is the fun part. Promoting is serious business.

A never ending project of mine is working with an agency called Fetch A Cure. Through community outreach by way of events, campaigns and fundraisers, FETCH works to promote the need to help pets live long, healthy lives. We continually work to raise awareness and further education about pet cancer prevention, detection and treatment and senior care and aging issues. I could go on and on but instead I’ll let you find out about the wonderful programs we have in place by visiting http://fetchacure.com.

In addition to the above, I am now gearing up for my yearly contribution to the Combined Virginia Campaign. This is a statewide fundraising effort done by State agencies. Each year for the last eight, I’ve coordinated a spectacular talent show with proceeds going to the Sickle Cell Foundation, the first six, then we brought the money even closer to home, changing our theme to “Pampering Tots.” All funds are donated to a diaper bank program known as Capital Diaper Bank, to purchase pampers for babies in the community.  This takes place mid November. Lots of fun and talent in addition to being very gratifying.

O. Warfield: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Visit my blog to learn what makes me tick and be entertained at the same time, http://omarblue.blogspot.com

Linkedin  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=104878369&trk=tab_pro

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/O.-Warfield/e/B004SIXGDI/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100001606294213

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OWarfield

Thanks for joining us today.

O. Warfield: Thank you again for what you are doing.

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Barbara Ebel

Barbara Ebel is an author and a physician.  She has lived up and down the US East Coast and now resides in a wildlife corridor in Tennessee. “Perfect for writing,” she says.  Her first novel is a romantic suspense:  Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know …who’s in the OR.

Please introduce your self, Barbara.

Barbara: I am a physician-turned-author who sprinkles interesting, credible medicine into the background of my storylines.  However, that doesn’t take center stage to my plots or vivid characters.

Another thread you will find in my writing is dogs.  There will be at least one four-legger as a main character, especially since I own a few and have made one a star in a children’s book series called Chester the Chesapeake.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Barbara: I am a physician-turned-author, so my “M.O.” is to sprinkle credible medicine into the background of my plots. However, my characters and plots take center stage!  Also, since my specialty is anesthesiology, my operating room scenes shine. I love for readers to get realistic views into what goes on and there are messages they pick up by my showing and not telling them.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Series or stand-alone?

Barbara: Since I have written several genres, I’ll focus on my fiction which best suits your site: Operation Neusosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR.  This novel was written as a stand-alone.  However, I am consistently asked about a sequel because of the characters and their development, so writing a sequel is in my future!

Here’s a short description:

Who says a rising neurosurgeon can’t fall from his pinnacle?  From the skullduggery taking place deep in the Tennessee woods to the silent tension in the OR, Doctor Danny Tilson’s life takes an abrupt turn after performing surgery alongside a scrub nurse with aqua eyes and a velvet voice.

Can Danny’s situation get any worse after the alluring lady disappears, he inherits her roguish retriever, and his Albert Einstein historical book turns up missing? A pack of Tennessee attorneys pursue Danny while he develops a scheme with his paramedic best friend to payback the mysterious woman who left in a hurry.

What’s the hook for the book?

Barbara: Will an esteemed neurosurgeon fall prey to a calculating seductress during an astonishing surgery?

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Barbara: Ha!  My characters happen to emulate some character’s I’ve bumped into over the years and the setting for Operation Neurosurgeon is straight out of Tennessee.  The geography and description spans from Memphis to Knoxville, and from Nashville to the Caney Fork River to a character deep in the woods. You will enjoy the flavor!

Who’s the most unusual/likeable character?

Barbara: Even though Danny, the neurosurgeon, is the protagonist and takes center stage, he’s pretty stupid for being so smart. My favorite character is the dog and the paramedic who you may fall in love with. He stands by his friend no matter what. The most despicable and unusual character is Rachel. How diabolically cunning she is, but I’ll post no spoilers!

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Barbara: The beautiful state of Tennessee was perfect for the plot’s progression. The contrast between the big cities and backwoods, along with the contrast between urban and rural characters, makes for great spin and variety.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Barbara: Red Adept Reviews, the critical in-depth eBook reviewer, gave Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR an overall 4 ½ stars and a perfect 5 stars for characters. And here’s a tight review or the “verdict” from Indie Book of the Day which was awarded to it on 6/26/12:

Author Barbara Ebel creatively uses medical facts by deeply embedding them into the storyline and at the same time keeping the readers hooked. Operation Neurosurgeon stars a character whose single mistake can cost him a career but everything is not over yet, or is it? Barbara Ebel has managed to keep the suspense & mystery alive, till the very end. An enjoyable read & recommended for those who prefer detailed descriptions with logical plot progression.                                                                                                    – IBD Verdict.

What are your current projects?

Barbara: I am simultaneously working on the text and photographs for the two final Chester the Chesapeake children’s books in the series. I don’t rush ‘producing’ them, but let the storylines come to me. Since I illustrate with real pictures of my dogs, it will take me at least two years to finish them.  I also hope to start the sequel to Operation Neurosurgeon by the end of the year.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Barbara: Please visit my website where you’ll find my eBooks & paperbacks; book videos & a few reviews; as well as links for purchase:

http://barbaraebel.weebly.com

Please visit my children’s book website all about Chester the Chesapeake!  Who doesn’t love dogs?

http://dogbooksforchildren.weebly.com

Twitter:  @barbaraebel

Thanks for joining us today, Barbara.

Barbara: Shelagh, thanks for having me!

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Sequel out at last!

The sequel to Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine is now available on Amazon’s Kindle.

I’ve had tremendous fun writing this book, the second in the Planemaker series. Dell and Emmelisa are put through their paces again when they decide to take on a gang of cyber criminals. They attend the Cyber Fraud Busters Institute, take scuba diving lessons and enrol on a course at the School of Aquatics to train to become submersible pilots.

With all the training behind them, they set out on their next mission: to fish out the cyber criminals.

This adventure is action packed from the start with never a dull moment for the two young Planemakers. It’s also full of information about cyber crime and how to prevent it. Learning has never been so much fun!

Find it on Amazon.com: Mr. Planemaker’s Diving Machine

Find it on Amazon.co.uk: Mr. Planemaker’s Diving Machine

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Mark Glamack

Today’s guest is Mark Glamack, animator, businessman, director, producer, writer, and patented inventor. Mark has worked in every area of the animation industry. Over the last twelve years, he has created, written, and developed two motion picture projects and a television series.

Shelagh: Hello Mark, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Mark: Born and raised in Rochester, New York, I attended Art Center College of Design, UCLA, PCC, Sherwood Oaks Experimental College and various animation courses. Currently, I’m the creator, author, and illustrator of the novel, LITTLUNS: and the Book of Darkness: the “Mom’s Choice Awards” Gold winner for 2009.

Earlier in my career, I worked at Walt Disney Productions and went on to work on the animated classic The Jungle Book, and animated many of the special effects for the combination live-action/animation, Bed-Knobs and Broomsticks.  I also worked on the EPCOT promotional film, animation inserts for The Wonderful World of Disney, and The Story of Walt Disney: a Disneyland attraction.

Drafted out of Disney to serve in the Viet Nam War, I spent a year as a medic with the First Air Cavalry Division based thirty miles from the DMZ. I also photographed and directed an ambitious documentary entitled Is Freedom Just a Word? I was awarded the Bronze Star.

Back home in the United States, I continued my career working on countless projects for Hanna-Barbera, Filmation Associates, Film Roman, HBO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and others. Some of the titles I’ve animated, directed or produced are: All Dogs Go To Heaven, Life with Louie, He-Man and Shera-Princess of Power, Oliver Twist, Bobby’s World, Zazoo – U, Spawn, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Do, Tom & Jerry, Dyno-Mutt, Future FlipperG.I. Joe, A Flintstone Christmas, Last of the Curlews, the animated inserts for That’s Entertainment II, and many more. Also, the direct to video projects: Gen 13, Christmas Classics,  Tom Sawyer, All Dogs Christmas, and All Dogs Go To Heaven. In 1999, I was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Special Class–Animated Program for Life with Louie.

During those years, I created the Over One Hour Program Category for animation and the first annual individual achievement awards’ categories (Emmy’s) for the following talents: Animators, Background Artists, Background Stylists, Layout Artists, Production Designers, Storyboard Artists, Voice Over. In 1996, I successfully brought the daytime Emmy awards structure for animation consistent with primetime.

Appointed by the President as Vice-Chair for the ATAS Activities Committee 1991 – 1992, I later served on the Budget, Awards, and Membership Committees.

In 2002, I completed my sixth term as Governor for The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Shelagh: When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Mark: The writing bug hit me early on in my film and television career when I realized that if I wanted my ideas and imagination to be fully realized, and done right, I would have to do it myself. Well, I had written scripts and other writings, but a novel? Not in a million years would I have ever considered writing a novel. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to do so, but I always thought there were far better qualified people than I to take on yet another new difficult and demanding journey. And then I had an epiphany; a vision and experience of pure love asking me to write “Littluns.” After this brief, profound, and powerful exchange and calling I shelved all my other projects that were most important to me, and dedicated full-time while understanding the huge odds against such an endeavor.  I guess only time will tell why He wanted me to do this.

For me, the genre is determined by inspiration which has mostly been in fantasy and science fiction – a place where my imagination has no limitations or boundaries.

Shelagh: When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Mark: For some time now, many parents and others have voiced their concerns about popular books that send the wrong messages to impressionable minds. Most of these people talk about their concerns, but few new options exist that have any appeal to both Christian and secular; young adult and grownup readers. Also, some titles have become more a peer issue than anything of substantive value. Some of these works have significant dangers where, as one example, some people would have everyone believe that there is good and bad evil. Hopefully most parents can explain the difference. And hopefully young and old alike will discover “Littluns.”

God as my guide, was with me every moment, and provided many miracles to enable me to survive while working on “Littluns.” I don’t say this lightly. Three years later amongst every imaginable deterrents, obstacles, negative distractions, and relentless invasions on my life, seemingly to stop me at all costs, the novel “Littluns: And the Book of Darkness” was born; then published, and now finally available for sale.

I smile in the knowledge that whatever God has in mind, it will be good.

Shelagh: Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Mark: “Littluns” stands alone, but there is a possibility of one of two sequels. Sales will determine what will happen next.

Shelagh: What’s the hook for the book?

Mark: The hook is in the peradventure and the decisions we must all eventually make in this life for right or wrong, good or evil, for the Light or for the darkness. To this end, “Littluns” is everyone’s journey.

The end of days begins when five Littluns journey down from their isolated and secret mountaintop homeland on what should be a cautious, but pleasant ‘Scavenger Hunt’ outing.

For these pure ‘little people,’ they could not have anticipated or even imagined what awaits them. The results and consequences are however unavoidable. Darkness has come, and is spreading its evil influences to the land below on the eve of destruction and extermination.

Disguised as a human and Necromancer, he has placed most of his dark powers into words; words reserved for his wicked purposes. But ‘The Evil One’s’ ominous Dark Book becomes lost, resulting in him becoming trapped somewhere between the living and the corrupted dead. He must have his book back at all costs.

Shelagh: How do you develop characters and setting?

Mark: My life’s experiences and gifts have enabled me to unite my vivid imagination into a visual representation of my written word. Each character becomes a literal and visual embodiment of the human condition that has touched my life one way or the other. As people and events have crossed my path, it is all what it has become, as I have seen it, and into our not too distant future.

Shelagh: Who is the most unusual or most likable character?

Mark: There are many likable and very unusual characters, but I think it’s important for readers to discover their favorite(s) for themselves. In “Littluns” it becomes an integral part of the reading experience.

Shelagh: Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Mark: From sub-plots to unpredictability, to unexpected plot-twists in their mission, “Littluns” takes the reader on a peradventure where it’s becomes impossible for the reader to predict what will happen next.

Shelagh: Do you have a specific writing style or preferred POV?

Mark: I wrote “Littluns” in the third omniscient voice present-tense to give the reader a NOW experience every time they pick up the book. It is in every writers unique voice found that a one-of-a-kind writing style is born. When all is said and done it becomes what it is.

Shelagh: How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Mark: My environment and upbringing set the stage and prepared me for this moment in time. God did all the rest through me with all His colors of the rainbow.

Shelagh: Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve even had.

Mark: I am humbled by ONLY wonderful reviews for “Littluns” which can be found on our website and blog. FYI, this is the most recent review from MIDWEST BOOK REVIEWS.

Littluns and the Book of Darkness
Mark Glamack, Author
Mark Glamack, Illustrator
EZ Gift Shopping
PO Box 285, West Bloomfield, NY 14585
9780615169972 $29.95 www.littluns.net

Adventure, courage, and determination surround loyal friends in the fantasy novel Littluns and the Book of Darkness. Movie Producer and Director now Author, Mark Glamack, uses his background in animation and writing to create this family friendly and Christian based young adult novel. With a mission to positively motivate, educate, enlighten and inspire through entertaining content, Glamack uses his own spiritual guiding light to draw his readers into the struggle between good and evil in this debut novel. The Littluns and the Book of Darkness will entertain audiences of all ages with its fast paced, intriguing storyline and elaborate illustrated life of the Littluns world in the Hollow Hills of the land, Terra Fermata. Author, Mark Glamack, shows off his artistic talent with colorful and meticulous illustrations. His veteran motion picture experience shines with expertly written detailed scene changes and engages readers with screenwriting skills that make his audience feel like they’ve been deep inside a high production animated movie. Glamack has exceeded his goal in depicting the journey of life, how to choose between the light and dark side of the world while showing the gifts of friendship and how they can influence us in the shadows of our own life choices. Littluns and the Book of Darkness is a delightful, skillfully written novel that will capture both young and mature readers and leave them with full hearts and the tools necessary to know the difference between good and evil. Littluns and the Book of Darkness is a wonderful gift for lovers of fantasy, for parents and educators who want to offer a faith based book and for librarians who want to expand their offerings.

Sara Hassler
Reviewer

Shelagh: What are your current projects?

Mark: For now, I’m just trying to figure out how to get readers to find us, connect, and experience “Littluns” for themselves. I’m finding that marketing has become yet another full-time challenge. Truth be told, I’d rather be doing what I do best and through God, writing the sequel to “Littluns.”

Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Mark: For more information about “Littluns” you can visit us at…

BLOG:   http://www.littlunsblog.com

WEBSITE:    http://www.littluns.NET

Shelagh: Thanks for joining us today, Mark.

Mark: Thank you Shelagh for this opportunity to get the word out about “Littluns.”

God Bless and Good Light!

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Matthew Ball

Today’s guest is children’s author, Matthew Ball.

Shelagh: Please give us a brief bio.

Matthew: I’m a former attorney, a children’s book author and founding editor of William Joseph K Publications, and a blues & boogie woogie performing artist under the stage name of The Boogie Woogie Kid

Shelagh: When did the writing bug bite?

Matthew: I’ve been writing short prose therapeutically for years, but never with any specific intent or direction before.

Shelagh: Briefly tell us about your latest book.

Matthew: My latest book is a children’s book about friendship and teasing called Minnie & Melvira.

Shelagh: What’s the hook for the book?

Matthew: The book contains a life lesson about choosing friends. It was also a collaboration with my father Larry Ball who is a 22 year veteran of the auto-worker industry, recently laid off with the economic downturn.

Shelagh: How do you develop your ideas?

Matthew: I have an idea or concept that I share with the illustrator, who then offers their thoughts, and the end product is a combination of visions.

Shelagh: Who is the most likable character?

Matthew: The caterpillar from my book The Worm & The Caterpillar because he is the indomitable optimist against the voice of the cynic.

Shelagh: Do you have a specific writing style?

Matthew: My writing style I would describe as a whimsical rhyme, I’m always, however, trying convey within my writing a meaningful message about life.

Shelagh: What are your current projects?

Matthew: I’m writing another children’s book called The Adventures of Fred d Fly.

Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Matthew: Folks can always find out what I’m doing next through our website: www.williamjkpub.com

Shelagh: Thanks for joining us today, Matthew.

Matthew: Thank you.

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Tony Peters

Today, we have a new, young, children’s author, Tony Peters, visiting Literature & Fiction.

Shelagh: Hi Tony, please tell us a little about yourself.

Tony: I guess I can start at the beginning. I was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, and I was raised in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. I have my Youth Care Worker Certificate, and my General Biblical Studies Certificate. I love working with kids, so having written a young reader book kind of suits as it gives me a chance to interact with kids. I have been married for two years as of May 12 (I know I am only 21, but I am proud to be happily married to my high school sweetheart). I love reading, and have been reading novels since as far back as I can remember. Being a published writer is a dream come true and I hope to make a full time career out of it.

Shelagh: When did you begin writing and in what genre?

Tony: I think I started writing when I was eight or nine, I am not sure which. When I learned how to write stories I was hooked, I couldn’t stop writing. Looking back they seem really lame, almost funny, but hey we all have to start somewhere right? I started taking writing as a serious career path when I took Creative Writing in high school, and I haven’t stopped pushing onward since. I love to encourage kids to write if that’s what they are passionate about. Pursue the dream, and don’t let any failures get in the way. Persevere through the trials and you can’t go wrong, the only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes/experiences and carry on. When I first started writing it was in a whole bunch of genres. My first two books though are kid’s mystery, one is published and the other I am in the process of seeking out a publisher.

Shelagh: What was your inspiration for Kids on a Case?

Tony: My inspiration… good question, I guess that I remembered reading a lot of mystery books growing up that dealt with really childish mysteries and I always wanted to find a mystery writer who wrote more adult situation mysteries for kids. When I couldn’t find any (with exception to the Hardy Boy Series) I decided to create one myself, and so began the creation of characters, setting, and plot (all before I thought of writing as a career choice). The characters in my book come from a combination of my school friends. None of the characters are created from one person. They are all little pieces of people’s characters.

Shelagh: Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Tony: When Kimberly Mockton is kidnapped by a gang of hardened criminals, it shakes her school down to its foundations. Her family is terribly distraught and their cry for help goes out to the community. Tyler Bowen, Kimberly’s good friend, fellow classmate and local trouble maker, gets caught up in the fray when he overhears a conversation at an abandoned house that leads him to believe he has discovered Kimberly’s kidnappers. Knowing no one would believe such a story coming from a child, he pleads to his classmates for help. The few who believe him form their own group of private investigators.

It’s Tyler Bowen and the “Kids on a Case” to the rescue! The group of friends find themselves searching for the kidnappers and with the help of Police Chief Goodall they are hot on their trail. They must use quick and strategic thinking in order to keep up with the moves of the criminals. It will lead them to use methods someone of their young age shouldn’t have to result to. With their lives at risk, they will use both determination and perseverance to follow the investigation where it leads them.

Their investigation will challenge them to search within themselves for the strength to go beyond their age. It will stretch their minds and physical strength to limits they never imagined they had. Their young lives will never be the same again…

This is a short series (there may only be two; I have not decided yet).

Shelagh: What’s the hook for the book?

Tony: The hook for Kids on a Case is that it is adult style mysteries taken on by children. This draws in the attention of children as they really are miniature adults who want very much to be like us in every way. Also my characters are all very different bringing many aspects to the table making it easy for the readers to find someone they can connect with.

Shelagh: How do you develop characters and setting in your books?

Tony: I will deal with setting first. Since my books all take place on a planet very similar and yet very different than ours, I have created detailed maps of the planet. When I bring up a city I must create a map for it so that it will match up in every book. These maps help me develop settings and keep them congruent with the previous work.

Characters are a lot of fun for me to create, I especially like coming up with fun names. I will have to keep in mind the characters role in the book and try to come up with characteristics/personality traits that will suit their role. I come up with as many little details as I possibly can, although many of these details never come onto the paper, they are still kept in mind when molding them. It’s kind of fun to picture the character in your mind, the hard part is getting that picture into the minds of your readers.

Shelagh: Who is your favorite character?

Tony: My favorite character so far is Tyler Bowen, my main character. Maybe it is because he reminds so much of myself when I was younger (with a few major changes of course). I have molded him into a brilliant young boy with a heart of gold, who cannot keep himself out of trouble. He goes where his curiosity leads him with no regard of the consequences.

Shelagh: Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Tony: When I write I make sure that I have a clear picture of the plot before hand, writing down as many details as I can. Of course things do change as I write, but then I still have my outline to fall back on. I am a compulsive organizer so everything must be done just so. Keeping an outline and detailed plot in mind focuses my attention when writing so that I will always be able to keep the end goal in sight.

Shelagh: Do you have a specific writing style or preferred POV?

Tony: I actually do not have any particular Point-of-View that I stick to. I like to write a variety. I guess first person makes it easier to relate with your characters, but it does limit what you can do with secondary and tertiary characters.

I think that my style also changes with each book, it kind of depends on what I hope to accomplish with each book. I do prefer fun and easy going, but I can be serious. I enjoy reading sarcasm in books, so that may have affected the style of Hunting Black Dragon. As Tyler ages he is becoming more bright and sarcastic. He does not like stupidity and the reader sees it in his thoughts, which I hope will bring some chuckles from my young readers. Sarcasm also slips into my next YA drama through Liam Kerrigan and his dealings with two inconsiderate detectives.

Shelagh: Share with us the best review that you’ve ever had.

Tony: This review was done by Ariel at bookatopia.blogspot.com/:

Tyler is well known for having a knack for getting in trouble, and when his friend Kim goes missing he gets together a group of friends to try and find her. The police are on the case, however they always seem to be one step behind the kidnappers and the kids’ help proves to be indispensable to track them down.

When I was reading this book I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end, the plot is well thought out and the author is great at using imagery in his descriptions. I would have liked to get to know the characters better and for Donuro to be explored more, it sounds like it has the potential of being an interesting place but it isn’t mentioned much, it left me curious about it. This is the main reason I have given this book a rating of 3.5 and not 4 as I personally like some level of detail where relevant. I only wish that this book was longer and I am looking forward to the release of the sequel.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in young adult mystery novels. Visit the author’s website for more information http://tonypeters.webs.com.

Shelagh: What are your current projects?

Tony: My current projects are my sequel, Hunting Black Dragon, where Tyler and his friends are hunting down a gang of ruthless criminals. He must free a friend’s father, while working with the police and government agents. It ends up being much more difficult and dangerous than he could have ever imagined.

I am also working on an adult war novel called The Swenoran Rebellion. This one is about Admiral Juan Alvarez. He must free his country from the hands of a ruthless tyrant. All because of a promise he made to the previous Emperor. Although it may very well cost the lives of everyone he holds dear, he will honor his oath.

Another project is a young adult drama about a pair of young boys. Six year old Jordan Connor, whose parents are divorcing, while he suffers from leukemia; and Liam Kerrigan who has been abused by his drunk father for many years, whose parents are also divorcing. The pair develops an odd friendship and must help each other through these hard times that no child should have to deal with. The question is who is helping who?

Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Tony: To find out about my books and events they can go to my website, http://tonypeters.webs.com

I am also on www.facebook.com www.shelfari.com www.gather.com www.myspace.com and www.goodreads.com

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