Monday, 5 December 2016

Win A Copy of Relationships by R.A. Kahn

After much debate, some research and figuring out how to use GoodReads, we are excited to announce our upcoming GiveAway on GoodReads.

If you have an interest in the Teenage Novel, Relationships by R.A. Kahn, here is your opportunity to win an autographed copy.

So click on the link, visit the competition and you stand a chance to win.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Relationships by R.A. Kahn


by R.A. Kahn

Giveaway ends December 15, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

The competition begins on 7th December and will be ending on 15th December 2016.

Wishing everyone who enters much success. It's an excellent book and very well written. Remember to tell your friends about it.

Shoshanah Shear

Interview with Children's Book Author - Susan Ross

The interview that follows is of a retired education teacher with a degree in psychology and specialty in primary education who spends her time writing children's books. 

Q 1) Hi Susan, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. You have a lovely website, can you tell us something about how you came up with the design. I love the idea of the train at the top with each compartment representing a different tab.

A: Thank you very much, Shoshanah. The train is taken from the last page in my first book, The Great Bellybutton Cover-up. I put it on the website to make sure the page looked gender neutral. I love bright colours for children and that's why the website is so colourful.

Q 2) How did you start writing books?

A: I have always been a story teller. One day, at an event at Fanshawe Pioneer Village a woman came over to me and said I should write my stories down for future grandchildren. So I started but only got so far. Then I saw the movie The Bucket List. That's when I started writing in earnest. (If you haven't seen the movie, you should. That's where the term "Bucket List" came from.)

Q 3) Can you share something about what inspires your stories?

A: My first three stories were created for children's events at Fanshawe PV. They were inspired by a sheep shearing event, a Halloween event and a strawberry festival (although in The Rose and the Lily the prince searches for the perfect hairpin, instead of the perfect fruit). Emma the Mouse Brings Joy to the House was initially inspired by their corn festival but then I remember my friend who died of leukaemia and incorporated her into the story.

Q 4) I noticed you have set up your own publishing company. Can you tell us about this process?

A: As I only publish my own books it was fairly simple. I searched for names that weren't already registered and came up with Giggle Press after many searches for other names I wanted. Then I registered the name with the government, and secured the domain name and the e-mail address.

Q 5) How do you find a suitable illustrator for your books or do you have one that you work with?

A: I used one illustrator for 4 books. I found Megan Stiver in a program called BealArt at local high school. I had called the school and arranged to meet with the students. The next illustrator, Nick White, was found on-line. My current illustrator, Stephanie Amatori, is a student at Western University. I called the school and they sent out my request for an illustrator to their art students. (These schools are both in my city, London, Ontario.)

Q 6) I noticed that you give book-talks. Can you tell us more about these talks?

A: In Canada they are called "author visits." I do presentations for children from junior kindergarten to grade four. I discuss how I came up with the idea for the book I'm presenting, the writing process, the illustration process (emphasizing that both the writing and illustrating take a very long time) and the publishing process-printing, marketing, etc. All this is done on their level and with a great deal of humour and energy.

Thank you Susan, for sharing about your books and your writing. Do you have a message for the parents purchasing your books or for the children who will listen to the stories or perhaps learn to read them too?

A: My books are written to bring joy into a child's life with delightfully comical stories and a creative craft activity at the end of each book. I envision your child(ren) curled up beside you, giggling while you read the story together. Then I see you working on the craft together, using your imaginations to embellish my ideas. If I've given your child the gift of giggles, my job is done.

For those interested in finding out more about Susan or visiting her delightful, colourful website, her books can be seen on her website:
This interview was carried out and compiled by:
Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer and co-author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom" and author of "Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story"

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A Little Bit of Family History

I had two great aunts called "Bertha" but the one I knew best and was very fond of, was Bertha Lazarus, my paternal grandmother's sister.  I think they were close friends as well as sisters, although my gran was seven years older.  Theirs was a large family of nine children, as far as I can remember but there could have been more!

I was thinking of great aunt Bertha today whilst doing some mending, using the compact sewing kit which she designed and made out of lovely soft leather.  These kits were known throughout our family as "the Aunty Bertha", as in "have you seen the  Aunty Bertha?" or "Where could I have put the Aunty Bertha?  I know I had it last week!" Mine is about 63 years old now and a little worn, but I love it. I gave another one that I had, a lovely yellow one, to my granddaughter.  I think she was quite amused when I arrived in Australia and told her that I had not come on my own because I had brought "Aunty Bertha" with me! Mira was only 9 at the time but loved sewing, so I thought she would enjoy the company of her very own sewing kit.  I know she has been looking after it very carefully.

As a young woman, Bertha took up nursing as a career and never having married, she worked for most of her life in a large hospital in London, where she became head matron.  She lived in an hotel, the Hotel Vanderbilt, 76 - 86 Cromwell Road in South Kensington, which was an imposing Georgian Mansion, once the home of the Vanderbilt family.  It was later converted into an hotel.  

I, of course ,only met her once she had retired and come to live in Cape Town, South Africa,to be near her sister, my grandmother. She spent her days doing handwork, making stuffed felt toys; weaving; doing leather work and other crafts. She made a handsome toy camel for my young brother, David, which he aptly named "Humpy".  I received books from her as regular gifts.  Even then she knew of my love of reading. 

I was eight years old when my family left Cape Town and settled in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia as it was then, and I only saw Aunty Bertha again when I was eleven and about to go to boarding school.  However, she had continued to supply me with books during those intervening years and I remember them well.  I usually enjoyed the stories but the illustrations were boring, mostly black and white or ink sketches and some were quite alarming.

My beloved grandmother died on the 7th August 1955 and sadly Aunty Bertha passed away twenty days later on the 27th. In the  short time I had known her she told me many  things about her life as a nurse and then as a matron.  She was always keen on handwork and she encouraged many of her patients to to take up various crafts to suit their abilities.  She said it was an important part of their healing process to keep as active as possible. 

My younger daughter is an Occupational Therapist and she knows the value of this too. In fact, she has just published a book on the subject, called "Healing your life through Activity".  I wonder if Aunty Bertha knew of Occupational Therapy as a profession all those many years ago?  It's an interesting thought and connection, isn't It?  That relatively new profession when my Aunt started nursing has grown tremendously and now covers almost every aspect of life, from before birth until the inevitable end, as my daughter has so carefully pointed out in her book.  Read it, if you can!


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