The Art of Science: Day 4

Continuing on the tour, see more about the book at VBT- Writers on the Move from Karen.

Does the audience have any questions? Sometimes I’m just curious what readers are thinking. (Those are the days I’m not wondering just who’s reading this blog, anyway!)

Yes, I am still taking entries for the giveaway for people who comment on today’s post, even if it isn’t listed. I apologize for the earlier link not working – it’s been fixed now.

Schedule for Blog Tour

Beginning May 20, learn more about The Art of Science! The blog tour will show more about the book and probably a bit more about the author.

May 20 – Vivian Zabel at Brain Cells and Bubble Wrap

May 21 – Jamie Eyberg at A Continuity of Parks

May 22 – Shanachie at Ramblings of a Confusted Writer’s Mind and Quill, Parchment, and Ink – Writings and Ramblings

May 23 – Karen at VBT – Writers on the Move

May 24 – Nancy Famolari at Nancy Famolari’s Place

May 25  – Crystalee Calderwood at Crystalee Calderwood, Writer and Poet

I will be giving away one copy to a lucky winner drawn randomly from comments, so be sure to leave an email address for contact information.

For an additional chance, check out giveaways!

Meet Karen Cioffi and Day’s End Lullaby

Bio: Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman are advocates of education, reading and the environment.  Two of their favorite sayings are:

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”

“You must be the change you want to see in the world”

Karen Cioffi is a former accountant turned author and freelance writer.  She has a number of articles in  Karen spends part of her day managing Virtual Book Tours and her blog, following up on emails, and writing.  She also watches her toddler grandson and baby grandson two days a week.  She is co-moderator of another yahoo group, Intense Writing which covers children’s stories from picture books to young adult.  She is currently revising a chapter book, Walking Through Walls and working on a articles for children’s magazines.  In addition to this she and Robyn are working on another picture book and a science fiction middle grade short story.  Karen plays a little piano and guitar and does art work for friends and family.  She lives with her husband, Donald Ventrice, in New York City.

Do you have a personal philosophy about life?

My personal philosophy is based on words from the Bible: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”   These are two simple sentences that if the world adhered to would eliminate all wars, murders, violence and theft.

There are a couple of other adages that I believe in such as: nothing ventured nothing gained, try, try and try again, and you must be the change you want to see in the world.

And finally, life to a large degree is what we make of it.  Don’t want too much out of life – just the basics: health, peace and happiness.  Then when pleasant surprises or perks come along you truly appreciate them.  I think a lot of today’s younger generation don’t understand that one.

What’s in the future pertaining to your writing?

I am venturing into writing magazine articles.  I have several published on Ezine Articles and will continue to use that venue.  But, very soon, I will submit a non-fiction article to a children’s magazine.  I’m not sure which magazine yet; I have a list of possibilities though.  This is actually an assignment in the Children’s Writers Coaching Club.  I will also write articles geared toward magazines other than children’s.

What is the most difficult part of writing for children?

I have a couple of problems that I’m working on.  One is I need to use age appropriate words.  I tend to use words that are too difficult for the age group I’m writing for.  I also need to work on my “show, don’t tell,” although that one goes for all writing.

What are a couple of your best tips for aspiring children’s authors?

The first tip I would give is to learn about writing for children.  You can do this by taking courses or by researching online, reading books geared toward that topic, and reading many, many, many children’s books.

Also, you can join a writing coach’s class/club.

Next, I would advise the aspiring author to join a good children’s critique group.  There is so much that is caught by those extra eyes.

Also, it is important to join groups such as The Society for Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating.  I personally also joined the Chidren’s Writers Coaching Club with Suzanne Lieurance.  This is when I began to learn about the business of writing.

Finally, I would say if possible attend a conference.  My first conference was this October, the Muse Online Conference.  It was amazing.

Day’s End Lullaby

A review for Day’s End Lullaby:

Bedtime is the most precious time between a loved one and a child.  Day’s End Lullaby will soothe any precious little one to sleep after a long day of play.  I look forward to sharing this book with my daughter every night and waiting for Mr. Sandman to kiss her thoughts to dreams.

Veronica DePaolo
Assistant Principal, The Abigail Adams School
Jamaica, New York

Lea Schizas with Bubba and Giganto

Lea Schizas joined me for an interview on her blog tour for Bubba and Giganto. I’ve run into Lea a few times as another author with 4RV and also through the Muse Online Conference.

What inspired you to write Bubba and Giganto?

I find kids nowadays have no understanding of the hurt they cause to other children by their bullying. Bullying can be anything from name calling, shunning because of how one looks or dresses, to the actual physical pushing and shoving. There are consequences for their actions. All of these areas I use to get the message to children that bullying is a no win situation.

Past events in my children’s lives was the inspiration to write about. Although my children were brought up knowing making fun of others, or pushing others is not acceptable, they were in situations where they were bullied because they stood up to help other children who were being terrorized. I’m talking about elementary age here. Very frightening that they start so early, and because of this I believe the more books that show consequences, various ways to combat anger and frustrations, can only be a plus in a child’s life.

What themes are woven through the book? How do you insert them, or do your characters decide for you?

My characters show me the way in most of my books. I create, flesh them out, but when the story begins they take a life of their own. The themes I use are:

Friendships and its importance
bullying, its outcomes, and the danger associated with it
the victim’s need to retaliate but in a way that is dangerous to them
and soccer, a sport that can help to learn sportsmanship

You said you like to end chapters like episodes in comic books.

I love to use cliffhanging chapter endings only to entice the child to continue reading. As writers we need to instill a love for reading and writing in our younger generation. Since kids love to read comic books I figured the closest connection – seeing how my books for that age level don’t have pictures – is to use these cliffhanging endings, use humor that kids can relate to, come as close to their ‘lingo’ as possible, and use social themes they can associate with.

What do you hope to give kids or inspire in them with your writing?

The most important thing for me is to instill a love for reading. That’s why I believe with all my heart that writers need to try and touch kids with their words using areas kids can relate to: using humor, their ‘now’ speech, and characters they can step into their shoes and say, “Wow, sounds like me.”

What do your characters teach you, if anything?

They teach me patience. I try to move them at my pace but that never goes as planned. They have their own speed I need to work with.

The reviewer said ‘another surprise ending.” Do you ever get surprised by your endings?

Oh heck, yes, all the time. I write when I get a title. From the title I know who my characters are and what the obstacle will be. As for the ending, that pace I mentioned above, comes from my characters and they lead me to their conclusions.

How do you spend your downtime? (Do you get downtime as a full-time mom and writer?)

Downtime? Shoot, I knew there was something I was missing. I read, watch TV, go to the movies, play board games with my kids, and if there’s time…I sleep.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’ve begun another adventure with Bubba and Giganto. This time the boys will combat students’ indifferences when it comes to children who have disabilities.

I hope you check out Lea and her book as well as continuing with the tour.

Summer’s Story

The debut novel by Nancy Famolari promises an interesting read. When Summer Langston loses her father, she has few options for her livelihood. She’s been training horses on a farm owned by Ned. She’s determined to keep her only inheritance, a potentially great trotter Meadow, for her own.

On her way, she partners with Davis, a famous race driver. They fall in love, complicating Davis’s original plan to get the horse away from Summer and into Max’s hands. Max is a wealthy owner who has reputation for fixing races and drugging horses and has been paying Davis for help to get Meadow.

Summer claims the right to drive Meadow on race day, dismissing the concerns Davis has about trouble. Meadow and Summer are both injured, though Summer has a much longer and harder recovery. Davis blames himself and leaves the scene for awhile.

She finds a place for herself and Meadow at a stable, but will she end up with Davis? Does continued trouble from Max cause her to lose Meadow? Will someone else sweep her off her feet?


Purchase information for Summer’s Story.

What inspired you to write this story? Summer’s Story takes place in the fast paced world of harness racing. For fourteen years, my husband and I had a small Standardbred breeding farm in New Jersey. We raised and raced these marvelous horses. Harness racing is very exciting. There are many heart warming stories about an owner or trainer believing in their horse and against the odds getting the horse to win a big race. This is what happens in Summer’s Story. There are also people who take advantage of both horses and people for personal gain, not caring the least about how the horse is affected. I believed these elements would make a good novel. I hope people agree.

Do you have a favorite character? Summer Langston is my favorite character. She’s a very determined lady who cares about her horse, Meadow, and overcomes severe personal and professional obstacles to get her horse to the winner’s circle. In the process, she learns something about herself and how to give and receive love. I like the fact that she’s gutsy and doesn’t give up easily.

What are your future writing plans? I have a second book under contract to Red Rose Publishing. This novel is a murder mystery, Murder in Montbleu. The setting is a small town in Pennsylvania similar to the one I live in. I’ve become very friendly with the characters in this novel and have two other novels that use the same setting, Lake House and Buttermilk Falls Murder. I’m still in the process of editing them, but hope to find a home for them.

Meet Nancy Famolari

Nancy Famolari lives with her husband, five horses, two dogs and five white cats on a farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. Her stories and poems have appeared in Long Story Short, Flash Shot, Fiction Flyer, Lyrica, Alienskin Magazine Clockwise Cat, and Matters of the Heart from the Museitup Press. She received an award from Fiction Flyer for one of her flash fiction stories. Her novel, Summer’s Story, will be available from Red Rose Press in the fall 2008. Her mystery, Murder in Montbleu, will be available from Red Rose Publishing in 2009.

What are your future writing plans?

I have a second book under contract to Red Rose Publishing. This novel is a murder mystery, Murder in Montbleu. The setting is a small town in Pennsylvania similar to the one I live in. I’ve become very friendly with the characters in this novel and have two other novels that use the same setting, Lake House and Buttermilk Falls Murder. I’m still in the process of editing them, but hope to find a home for them.

Do you write the same genres you read?

I read mysteries and romance. These are the genres I write. I find that when I’m writing something I’d like to read myself, my story is more interesting. The characters start to talk to me, and I have fun listening to them. I’ve tried to write in genres I don’t read and it comes out flat.

What draws you to the genres you write?

I’ve always loved mysteries. In fact that’s my preferred genre. My next book Murder in Montbleu due this year from Red Rose Publishing, is a cozy mystery. I had great fun with it. I decided on a romance for Summer’s Story because I think harness racing is romantic. I’d been involved in harness racing as a breeder, owner, and trainer for years. I thought it would be fun to write a book with that as background. When I read, I like to be taken to a place outside my ordinary work-a-day world. Harness racing for most people, except those who work in it, is quite foreign. I enjoy romance, particularly the Nora Roberts style of romance. I don’t do serious erotica. I also have great fun with mainstream romance, but mysteries are my first love.

What is the best tip you can give someone who wants to write?

The best tip I can think of is apply your seat to the chair and write. Courses are great, so are critique groups, but the sad fact is that you have to put in the hours developing your voice and learning to use all the things you’ve discovered in courses. Critique groups are a double edged sword. You can get valuable information, but you have to have enough self-confidence to decide what to accept and what to reject. It is, after all, your work. It has to please you.

Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. More about her book, Summer’s Story, will appear in this blog on the 21st of January!

The Locket, by Suzanne Lieurance


Galena, an eleven-year-old Russian-Jewish immigrant, lives in New York City with her family and works at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory with her older sister Anya. The factory pays low wages and has terrible working conditions, making Anya yearn to join a union. Soon a horrible fire guts the factory leaving Galena with painful, horrific memories. Follow author Suzanne Lieurance in this dramatic historical fiction novel, as she describes how Galena uses the support of friends, family, and Jewish traditions to inspire her to fight for workers rights.

The Midwest Book Review calls it “a fast-paced, gripping story hard to put down.”

Find it on Amazon.

Meet Suzanne Leiurance

How do you set about promoting your books? How many hours a week do you spend on book promotion?

I promote my books in a variety of ways. Mostly through school visits and speaking at writers’ conferences and other events, plus through my websites and blogs. However, I probably spend more time every week promoting my coaching than I do promoting my books. Nowadays, I seem to be a coach who also writes, even though I started out as a writer who also coaches. Still I love to make school visits. And I love to talk to other writers about my books and their books.

Which element of historical fiction writing comes more naturally for you-plot, characterization, description, dialogue? Which one gives you the hardest time?

Characterization comes easiest for me. I have to “feel” what the character is going through in order to write about this person. But I can generally do that. Description is sometimes difficult with historical fiction because every detail about the time and place must be accurate even though the actual events are not all true.

What draws you to historical fiction?

Well, you know what they say, “Truth is weirder than fiction.” So with historical fiction, I get the best of both worlds. I get to take some period and incident in time that actually happened and then create my own character who lived through this event. It’s interested to do the research needed to make the character come to life. And about halfway through the manuscript I really get caught up in the story.

What advice would you give to aspiring children’s writers who are trying to break into the field?

First, take a course or workshop to learn the basics about writing for children. Next, join or start a critique group for children’s writers and be sure there are at least a few published children’s authors in the group. Third, read, read, read all the children’s books you can. Finally, write, write, write!

Can you tell us more about your radio talk show?

As for Book Bites for Kids, I started that show because I wanted a way to help children’s authors promote their books and I wanted a show to tie in with the National Writing for Children Center. The most challenging part of having a talk show like that is not what to say during the show. The hard part is keeping guests booked for the show. Since the show airs live 5 days a week, it’s a constant battle to keep up with booking guests, reading their books, etc. But I really love doing the show. And I get so many wonderful, appreciate comments from listeners.

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime children’s author, freelance writer, and The Working Writer’s Coach. She teaches children’s writing for the Institute of Children’s Literature based in West Redding, Connecticut, and is the founder and director of the National Writing for Children Center.

Lieurance is the author of 20 published books and has written articles for a variety of magazines, newsletters, and ezines like Family-Fun, Kansas City Weddings, Instructor Magazine, New Moon for Girls, Children’s Writer, and many others. She hosts a talk show about children’s books, called Book Bites for Kids, every weekday afternoon on

Lieurance offers a variety of coaching programs via private phone calls, teleclasses, listserv, and private email for writers who want to turn their love of writing (for children and/or adults)  into a part-time or full-time career.

The Working Writer’s Coach
Suzanne Lieurance, Children’s Author Website
National Writing for Children Center
Build Your Business Write
Book Bites for Kids

Meet Boyd Hipp, II

Boyd C. Hipp, II was born and raised in Greenville, SC. He graduated St. Andrews School in Boca Raton, FL and went on to attain a BA in English from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC and a MBA from The University of South Carolina School of Business. He has been actively engaged in real estate development since 1977 with communities throughout the two Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. He closed his business in June of 2006. His journal, initially written for his children, reflects his experience as he went through alcohol rehab in Statesboro, Georgia in the summer of 2008. It details not only his physical transformation but his spiritual one as well. He currently resides in Charleston, SC. This is his first published work.

The Book: Glad You Are Here

The story of an unexpected intervention and the subsequent experience of 38 days in a rehab hospital is the theme found in Glad You Are Here. It is a journey borne of despair and hopelessness that transcends to one man finding his spiritual compass while beginning the long road back to sobriety. A must read for anyone wrestling with the demon of addiction and personal turmoil this is a message of hope for all. Around the rooms of AA all over the world newcomer and visitor alike are always greeted with a resounding “Glad You Are Here”.

Meet Dehanna Bailee

I had the chance to interview the author of Calypso’s Revenge. This book is pretty exciting, and she’s definitely an author to watch!

Tell us about yourself, Dehanna.
I’ve been writing for over six years and my published works include True Nature (paranormal romance), The ABC’s of POD (nonfiction) as well as an assortment of other e-books, articles, anthologies, etc. I have two new fiction works coming out this month and next, a science fiction novel with romantic elements titled Calypso’s Revenge: A Traitor’s Heart and a contemporary paranormal novella For Better or Worse.

What are your writing habits?
Admittedly, my writing habits are not what I would like them to be but, even so, I do try to write, or at least do something writing-related, every day. I often find forced inspiration difficult, especially if things are chaotic, however I figure if I can’t actually create anything new I will spend some time reworking what I have written and/or trying to strengthen my skills to be a better writer.

What drew you to write Calypso’s Revenge?
Calypso’s Revenge came out of the blue. I have always enjoyed science fiction books and movies but as for writing it, this was a leap, but once I started writing it, I had to finish it. No matter how long it took—which this one took much longer than anything else I’d written not only due to the original length but the amount of work it took to get it to where the story is now.

What about Calypso’s Revenge keeps you excited and makes you want to share it?
What got me excited was that although it wasn’t picked up by a major publisher, it was looked at, which means it might not have been what they were wanting at the moment but at least it got me in the door. What makes me want to share it is that I know it breaks the rules; it’s not just like everything else out there for it’s not merely a sci-fi, nor is it even close to the present definition of a textbook romance, and as for the ending, well…that’s a whole ‘nuther story in its own.

What advice do you give to beginning authors?
Write what you want to write because in the first place, writing should be fun, and second, words that come from the heart seem to have more of an ability to make that all-so-special connection with the read than any amount of rule-following and conformity. This doesn’t mean that a writer shouldn’t know the rules, and always strive to improve, it just means that it’s okay to just let the words flow from your fingers then go back and tweak them later to fit a certain market (if you choose to do so). Remember that they’re your words, enjoy the expression of the mind and do with them what you will.

Do you have other comments?
I’d like to thank you for letting me come be a guest on your blog and to invite any readers who are interested in learning more about me or my books to visit me online at

Thanks for joining me, Dehanna! Best of luck for Calypso’s Revenge!