Sunday 25 December 2016

A Fun Sale

We had a lot of fun at a YardSale on Friday. A few potential buyers were looking at some of the art at the back of the table. One lady decided she would like an Oriental drawing. As she debated whether or not to purchase it, the gentleman next to her decided he would like it too. It was funny to hear the interchange. I do admit I considered raising the price and turning it into a mini auction. Needless to say the first buyer made her purchase and the gentleman and his wife began to browse to see if there was anything else they would like. All of a sudden there was a hoot of delight on discovering "Relationships" by R.A. Kahn.

What was the excitement we wondered? Had they heard of the book? Did they know the author? Did they like the title or the cover design?

I mentioned that they would be purchasing from the author....

They looked at each other and asked who the author was. I introduced her standing on my right. They were very excited. Evidently they have a relative who is also R. Kahn.

One never knows what will inspire a sale. For one, it is the title of the book. For another it is the cover design. For another it is the blurb on the back cover, in this case it was the author's name.

What inspires you to purchase books? Let us know in the comment section below.

Have a wonderful week

Monday 19 December 2016

Interview with Author Robert Skead

It's always wonderful to come across an author who has a motive to inspire others, especially that they should use their gifts too. This next author is just such an author. Enjoy the interview that follows.

Q1) Hi Rob, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for our blog. I loved to read on your website that "Writing is your gift". When did this begin? Or how did you discover your talent in writing?

A: My writing gift began in second and third grades when I always received As in Creative writing. I never thought much about this until I was in my mind 20s and trying to figure out what to do with my life. I spent a lot of time praying asking God to show me what my talent was. Soon thereafter I started getting ideas for stories but I didn’t know what to do with them. Still frustrated, I did what any 20-something year old boy would do—I went crying to my mommy. She reminded me about those As in Creative Writing in Elementary School and suggested I go back to school and get a Masters and focus on writing. Her recommendation combined with the ideas I was receiving made me feel this was a revelation.

I later took my Mom’s advice, went to grad school, and focused on writing.

Q2)   On your website you state: "I also love to inspire others to discover their gifts. Because when we use our gifts and talents to help others, purpose is born and life is fulfilled." This is such a beautiful message. Can you share something about this? How did you develop it and what can you share with our readers to help them to want to help others to achieve their talents too.

A: Lots of people want to be rich and famous—they think that will make them happy and give them purpose.  It’s so far from the truth. I’ve discovered purpose comes from discovering your talents and using them in life—that brings pure joy. My parents’ generation used the word vocation, which implies a calling to one’s work. I believe that is true and when that happens and we use our gifts to benefit others, life also has joy and others get blessed from our talents. 

I always encourage others to find their talent, develop it (practice) and find ways to use that talent for the good of others (this doesn’t even take a lot of work—we all have skills and gifts that can be used somewhere in a volunteer or other capacity) – and then joy will be the result. We are blessed to bless others.

Q3) On your website you state that when you were at school you did not enjoy reading. However, your creative writing was your strong point. That is fascinating. Authors / writers are usually told that you need to read a lot in order to be a good writing. What are your thoughts about reading now and how would you inspire children to improve their interest in reading.

A: I disliked reading as a child, mostly because I never connected with any books that moved me or grabbed me.  I liked biographies on Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. That’s pretty much it. Today, there are so many great books in so many varieties of genres to appeal to any kid—that wasn’t the case in the 1970s.

The first book I read that I couldn’t put down was The Hobbit.

Then school work took time from reading for enjoyment.

But I agree—to be a great writer one has to read a lot. I became a voracious reader beginning in my 20s—for enjoyment and to study storytelling to get better at my craft.

To improve your interest in reading, it’s simple---find a writer or type of story that interests you and try it. Professional booksellers at B&N are great about giving great recommendations.

Q 4)  Who inspires you as a writer? Do you have a role model or someone you admire that inspires your writing?

A: No one person inspires me as a writer. But I do aspire to be as good as authors like Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, Rick Riordan and John Grisham.

Q 5) Did you take any courses to further your writing or was it more a case of you loved to write and got on and began producing books?

A: As part of my masters’ degree I took courses in screenwriting and story structure. Since then I’ve learned by reading and studying how best selling books and their stories are set up, characters created, etc..

Q 6) I notice your books are historical fiction and sport. Can you share about these Genres. What do you love about them?

A: Historical fiction: I am an American Revolution buff and when we I visited a house that General Washington used as his headquarters for two days in 1777, a story idea was born. That story took greater shape when my father discovered our ancestor fought in the American Revolution for the Continental Army and Connecticut Militia, and our book Patriots, Redcoats & Spies was born.

Sports:  I love baseball and since we should write about what we know and love, several stories birthed from this interest.

Writing is fun—and even more so when we write about things we love.

I hope that love shines through in the storytelling and that all those who read my books finish each book with a great feeling. 

If you would like to learn more about Rob and his books, you can visit him on his

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"

Sunday 18 December 2016

SLOW READER AT WORK - in praise of the Reader's Digest.

I am lucky enough to be a relatively fast reader, which allows me to get through masses of "stuff" on the internet each week plus at least two full length books.  However, I came across this delightful item the other day and thought it might be of interest to others.

"All my life I have been the victim of a senseless and superstitious feeling that once I start to read something I must finish it verbatim.  There can be no turning over two pages at a time, no peeking ahead to see if there's a happy ending.  Possibly there lurks in my subconscious the fear that if I skim lightly through a printed work the author will turn up to haunt me in some nasty way.  Or it may be an exaggerated sense of guilt like the remorse one experiences after cheating at solitaire.

This conscientious thoroughness has resulted in a good many hours of ennui and the dubious satisfaction of knowing that I am fulfilling a cockeyed duty toward some writer who doesn't give a hoot anyway.  For I am a slow reader.  As a child I never learned the modern streamline method of absorbing an entire paragraph at a glance. My father was my instructor. We used a small yellow volume entitled "The Land of Song: Book One" and we lovingly spelled out each sentence, word by word, syllable by syllable.  I still catch myself muttering aloud over posers like "phthisis".  It takes me a week to read a novel and ten days for the average biography.  This naturally narrows down my selection of reading matter.

But now comes The Reader's Digest to keep me abreast of the times and to shrive my conscience.  The cutting and skipping has been done in advance by the editors - let the printer's ink be on their souls!  The pieces are of such compactness that even I can finish three or four in a taxi on my way to a party and arrive sparkling with information.

Looking back on the days when there was no Reader's Digest is much like looking back on the days when there was no such thing as air conditioning.  One wonders how one ever got along without it - at least this one does."

Written by Cornelia Otis Skinner - in 1944!!!  And produced here for the comfort of all slow readers, by Rosemary Kahn.

Friday 16 December 2016

Give Away on Good Reads has Ended

Over the past week, we have had a Give Away campaign on the go on Good Reads for the book Relationships by R.A. Kahn . The campaign has now ended and the winner has been drawn. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this. We are very excited to say that 527 people entered to win this book. That is so amazing and very encouraging.

We are waiting to receive information as to who the winner is and will share once the book is ready to send. Maybe we can put up a pic or make a short video. We have to see. In the meantime, thank you again to everyone who participated and a very big Congratulations to the Winner!

Do let us know when the book arrives and how you enjoy it. We love to hear from our readers.

Have a wonderful weekend.

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!

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Interview with Illustrator Luis Peres

We are excited to share with our readers an interview with another talented illustrator. We invited you to meet Luis Peres

Hi Luis, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for our blog.

Q1) How did you decide to be an illustrator as a career?
Answer: Back in the mid 70s the TV show "Space 1999" (with Martin Landau) was something that shaped my imagination when I was 7 and from that moment on I started to create my own spaceship models in cardboard, foam etc. Because I was yet too young to think about illustration of course, I would do some spaceship sketches and tried to create my own worlds on paper.

But what really changed my life was the movie ( and book ) - "The Neverending Story" which I saw in theater back in 1984 when I was 14. That was the day were I decided that I really wanted to learn how to create landscapes like those in that movie.

The first image of "The Ivory Tower" that appears on that movie forever changed me.
That day when the movie ended, instead of going home, I bought another ticket and went back to see it again. Just to look once more at that - Ivory Tower- scenery. That image stuck in my mind and since then I knew that I wanted to create worlds like that one way or another. Because there´s no movie industry in Portugal, the only choice was to go into illustration and that was what I did. Self taught because there was no illustration schools here either...
Just bought a lot of books on painting, did a lot of drawings and watched a lot of cinema to learn everything I could.

Q2) That is very inspiring, thank you for sharing your story. I noticed on your website, that you have been an illustrator for 24 years. What change or development have you seen in the illustration process since you began illustrating?

The most important change was of course the introduction of Digital. I used to be really against digital stuff because I always have done everything traditional. I love to mess around with real paint, real watercolor and all that sticky stuff that can cause your house to explode if you´re not careful.

BUT... digital to me was the thing that totally changed the market.
Suddenly with digital, the creative process got faster, easier to experiment and less risky to try something new as I did not need to worry about wasting all my paint supplies just to create some test pics for clients. The digital opened a lot of creative doors and personally I think it helps people grow as artists because the risk in experimenting is almost non-existent.

I was totally against Digital a few years ago, because there was a time way back then, when the first digital image editing softwares appeared when the market was inundated with "pics" made by people using the obvious "filters", "plugins" and all that. This inundated the market with "automated" illustrations that looked the same no matter what artist was doing them and I didn´t want to be a part of that so I stayed away from digital when it comes to illustration; although I´ve been working with Photoshop since day zero when it first came out because I did a lot o graphic design back in the early 90s too.

I decided to get into digital when I noticed recent software almost scrapped that "automated" stuff out of their options and if you´re using a painting app now you really need to know how to paint from scratch, because if you go into illustration trying to use some filter to create an obvious "automated" image the clients reject your work because it will be similar to everyone else that´s doing the same. And so when I noticed I could finally paint "traditionally" but using digital just as a tool I dived into it and now I totally love it. So digital was the most important change ever in my view.

The creative process has always been the same. If you don´t have good foundations you cannot do good illustration and no magic computer will help you get good results no matter what you think.

Q3) Thank you for sharing, that is very interesting. What is your favourite project / book to illustrate and why?

A: I do a lot of children´s books and my favorites are the ones that need real fantasy. Dragons, castles, knights, spaceships, aliens; that is what I love to draw. Either in a more toon style or within a more realistic approach, although I´m not into realistic depictions of stuff, I´m not that type of illustrator at all and I hate to draw human characters in a realistic way because I find the human form boring to do.

Actually, what I truly love to do is create imaginary landscapes, like the concept paintings you see on my site and which were done for a lot of different clients and projects. If I could have my way, I would only do landscape and scenery illustration; sci-fi and fantasy scenery illustration.

As you might notice most of my landscapes don´t have character´s in them because I´m not really into characters at all. I get bored just painting clothes. What I love is scenery, environments and imaginary geographies; drawing characters is a necessary evil for me and I usually just use them to create scale if I can avoid doing pieces where they are the central theme.

I also love to create comics, but comics in the European way. I´m not into the Marvel, U.S. style comics at all. I grew up with the classic European French, English, Italian and German "comics" and that is what I love to do. Although comics for me are more of an hobby because I don´t get to do much of that professionally. You might have seen my "Once Upon a Time on Mars" at my site:

My problem is that I got myself stuck on some niche. Because I do a lot of children´s book material and I illustrate a lot of school books for publishers, people tend to approach me with more projects like that when what I loved to be doing instead is creating more sci-fi and fantasy landscape and environment paintings (or fantasy and sci-fi/science/history children´s books); but my time is so much occupied with regular children´s book material (that just need day-to-day depictions of kids in school, at play, etc (boring)); that I rarely have spare time to work on my fantasy and sci-fi portfolio that would get me to do more of the work I really enjoy.

Fantasy and imaginary stuff is where I think my art really is!

Q4) That makes sense, I did notice some beautiful fantasy type images / illustrations on your website. I hope this interview will help you to get more jobs doing what you enjoy, fantasy and imaginary illustrations.
Where do you get inspiration from for your images or illustrations?  

A: Movies, books, music and talk radio. Cinema is one of the most important things in my life and where I learned a lot from too. All my illustrations are always planned as if I was doing them for the big screen; composition, lighting and all that, I always think of movies when I do that. Casablanca taught me how to use black and white; The Sound of Music how to use color and composition, Blade Runner how to light dark environments, The Neverending Story how to place real elements into a fantasy landscape... and so on... and so on...
Oriental Cinema is nowadays one of my big source of inspiration and I have a blog about those too:
Also I get a lot out of cult-scifi stuff and I have another blog about those movies too:

Books to me are the most important thing ever if you want to become an illustrator. Simply because in books you need to use your imagination and because it´s your very own vision it helps your mind to think visually which is very useful when a client approaches you with a concept but needs you to come up with an original design from your imagination. So books (novels with no pics) have always been very important to me and one of the greatest sources for my imagination. A real fuel.

Music also is very important. And it does not need to be thematic at all. I can get an idea for a Fantasy setting or a sci-fi pic out of a Tom Waits, song , a Springsteen song or a Leonard Cohen poem for example. The songs I like best are the ones that immediately turn into a movie in my head when I listen to them and so I listen to all types of music (except Mtv pop stuff out of the charts or dance music which I hate ). Love singer-songwritter type of stuff, love Northern European Heavy Metal (Nightwish type of stuff ) and listen to a lot of Classic, Movie Soundtracks, Brazillian, Portuguese, Japanese stuff. Anyhting that brings images into my head I usually love it. Music is really a big part of my creativity.

Talk Radio, is what I listen mostly when I´m working. I love supernatural / UFO / mars / quantum-physics shows like the classic ones by - Art Bell - ; more recently love a British independent talk radio show called "The Unexplained" with Howard Hughes for example.
These types of shows fuel my imagination with concepts and are very important to me when it comes to creativity.

Q5) It is amazing to hear how many different mediums provide ideas for art. How do you determine if a book or project suits the type of illustrations that you are involved in or enjoy?
A: Usually when the client sends me the manuscript I can detect if it´s something that I will enjoy doing or not. I rarely work on a project that does not relate to what I like to create because I think I´m a terrible, terrible illustrator if I force myself to illustrate stuff I don´t care about. That is the reason why I do not accept commissions that involve a lot of realistic human figure or realistic character work; totally hate to do portraits for example or anything that is - fashion - related.  I tend to accept stuff that is more fantasy involved or children book material that gives me freedom to dream.
Freedom to dream is the key for me. My best work is when a client sends me a manuscript and leaves me completely loose to create what I dream.

I avoid illustrating projects with day-to-day depictions of mundane activities; kids in school, kids with parents at dinner table, kids with grandparents at the garden, little girls in shopping malls, and all that ordinary real life stuff. I immediately accept projects with; kids that dream of being knights, little girls that travel through fairy worlds, stories about distant planets, weird cool aliens, or anything that allows me to really put my dreams into my art.

I love to illustrate board games, create sci-fi and fantasy concept art, children's books that don´t involve day to day life. Anything that requires something away from reality is my field. No matter what the illustrations are for.

Q6: Thank you for sharing the type of illustrations that you prefer and accept. What would you recommend to someone interested in getting into illustrating?

A: That would take a looooong answer. But mainly right now the most important things you can do is to build a solid portfolio, and then start posting it anywhere you can; also more than a website get a blog because blogs attract a lot of visitors more than portfolio websites. Get a portfolio website but don´t worry if you don´t get many visitors (websites are more like bussiness cards right now); spread your art everywhere and make sure your contact is visible. 
Don´t bother about rejections if you knock on publishers doors. Sometimes rejection is a filter process that companies use just to see if you give up easily; come back later with better stuff than what you sent earlier. Use twitter A LOT. Forget about Facebook; FB is no more than a club for friends to hang out and even the illustration groups only attract people that are doing illustration and not much else. Twitter is the best tool because people really get to see what you publish contrary to FB where getting likes does not even mean that someone has seen what you did. Get a FB page for your art, but connect it to Twitter so that everything you post there Twitter will publish, saving you some time. Participate in online competitions and even enter some crowdfunding sites if you see someone looking to buy original work out of those. Contrary to popular belief don´t be afraid to work for free once or twice if a project can really, really give you some exposure, just don´t make that an habit.

Don´t bother about rejections.
Keep building your portfolio.
Don´t bother about rejections.
Keep showing your work around.
It does not matter if 1000 people hate your art. There´s another 1000 that will love it. And what it takes is 1 person that loves it with the right connections to get you started.
Keep building and spreading your portfolio around. ;)

Thank you Luis. It has been wonderful and very interesting getting to know you and your work. One last question, if someone is interested in hiring you for illustrations, what is the process and what is the best way to contact you?

If anyone wants to contact me with a project, the best way is through the contact form in my website at
Just fill that in with info on a project  or send me a message there and it will  reach me.
Other than that there´s the FB page for my illustration work at:

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 24 November 2016

Book Review by Lynette Hampton of Teenage Novel: Relationships

It is so wonderful to receive a new book review. Just about a month ago we shared a new review. Now we have another to share:

"Relationships" by R. A. Kahn

"An easy read that shows a real understanding of the issues teenagers face, particularly at school among their peers. Through Bella's interactions with her friends and adults around her, it becomes apparent that there are constructive ways of dealing with these problems.
The emphasis on positivity and being able to truly listen to others sets the tone throughout the book. Leading us to feel sympathy for Deidre, the troublemaker, adds a deeper dimension to the story. This book will leave teenagers waiting for the next one."

~ Lynette Hampton (art teacher)

If you have enjoyed reading this book, please do write a review. You can post a review onto Amazon or any of the other online retails bookstores or send it in to the Author.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Interview with Laura Camby McCaskill

Hi Laura,

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for our blog(s). I particularly enjoy the fact that you promote your mother's book. Please tell us about your mother. What was her profession before she wrote her book?

Laura: "Mom has had many different jobs, housekeeper, fast food, clothing store, she even worked on a production line that made parts for machines. She raised three children while working. I am the youngest of all the children, my mother lost two children before my sister, brother, and myself came along."

I love the fact that you are helping to continue your mother's work. Can you share more about where the books go to?

Laura: "In 2014 I started a mission to get Mr. Book's Story into the hands of children that could benefit from it or needed a little something to cheer them up. Without the worry of having to pay for it. Why? Because that's what my mom would have wanted. Yes, she did want to become a famous author like most of us, but her number one goal was to help children. I have donated copies to the local libraries and elementary schools around town. Mr. Book can also be found in the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Erie PA and Salt Lake City Utah.
In 2015, I joined with Americare Pharmacy to donate book bags filled with school supplies to elementary school children who needed them but couldn't afford them. Inside each book bag was a copy of Mr. Book's Story.
Just this weekend I visited a local orphanage, Black Mountain Home for Children, and I read Mr. Book's Story to them (which they loved). Afterwards, I donated a copy to their library. I'm also going to meet with another home this year to do the same."

How do you raise funds? Do you have an NGO?

Laura: "I have taken up collections in the past to support my cause. My sponsors have also played a big part in getting copies to children in need. Sometimes the money comes out of my own pocket."

Do you know what inspired your mother to write Mr Book's Story?

Laura: "My mother LOVED children. She wanted nothing more than to see them succeed in anything they put their heart into. She wanted to help teach through her stories. Mr. Book's Story for example, teaches children that no one is more important than the other, and if you work together you can do great things."

Can you share something about Mr Book's Story? Who published and illustrated the book?

Laura: "Synopsis: "I bet everyone wishes they were like me. I´m the most important letter!" Bragged Mr. S. Join Mr. Book as he tells the story of the alphabet and their fight to see who was the best. Children will learn the importance of working together and learn their own worth.
Recommended age group: Kindergarten - Second Grade.
Mr. Book's Story was the first story my mother wrote. It was her baby. I can remember watching her at the kitchen table, drawing characters for the story.
Xlibris published Mr. Book's Story but my mother was the writer and illustrator."

Can you share something about the children who receive this book?

Laura: "80 percent of the children that have received copies of Mr. Book's Story I have never met. Some I probably never will, the children at the Shriners Hospitals for children go in for different types of surgeries to better their lives. There are some local children I know that have read Mr. Book, either at the library or in school. For most of the children, I don't know much about their lives. The only thing I know, they have one thing in common; at some point in time they needed a little extra help or something to brighten their scary circumstance. For the children I have met, I have been blessed by them. They've made my life a little brighter."

What is the main way that you promote Mr Book's Story?

Laura: "Mom (Mr. Book's Story) goes with me everywhere I go. I promote Mr. Book's Story by taking it with me. Whether it's my own book signing, or working with communities, libraries, homes for children. I also promote Mr. Book alongside my own work through my website, Facebook, Twitter, etc."

In addition to promoting your mothers book, you have also written two novels. Can you share something about how you came to write these books?

Laura: "My mother had a key role in everything that I do (writing wise). She was the first one to encourage me to write, the first to edit my work, and coach me on what to do next. Just last night I found an old story I had written very early on (maybe middle school or below) she had gone through it doing edits. She gave me direction on anything I needed. It all started with her. Her Keepers (a paranormal thriller) was published in 2012, the inspiration for that story came from the loss of my own brothers. I never met them but I still think about them daily. My second work, Fallow (a romance thriller) was something I did for fun. Something new, thrilling, and hopefully something that inspires others to love."

Thank you for your time and for sharing something about your work. 

Laura: "My mother has several other stories for children not published. She passed away before she could publish them. Last year my sponsors from Americare Pharmacy, agreed to work with me to begin publishing more of her work. I have been working all year putting together different stories and finding illustrators to finish her work. I'm excited to share that several of her stories will be coming out in 2017, in a book entitled A Collection of Love. I would also like to share with you the post I shared with my followers at the beginning of this year, to announce the news.
My mother had one dream and that was to become a published author.  She wrote children's stories, which she read to me when I was small. I remember her sending out letters to publishers and receiving rejection letters from them, I remember seeing the disappointment on her face each time. At that time, I was small and did not fully understand her pain but I do now. She worked hard on her stories, she loved writing and even if the world thought they were not good enough; they were to me.  
One year for her birthday I decided that the best present we could give her, was something she had always wanted but had never gotten. I rallied my sister, brother-n-law, and my husband together and bought a small publishing package. We took great care in hiding what was happening from her. I explained to the publisher it was a surprise and they worked with me to keep it that way. The book was already finished along with the artwork she had done herself, so it was not very long before the book was ready. I was very happy how the publisher was able to bring the cover to life; I never could have imagined a cover like that.  
Her birthday was in July but the book was live several weeks before that, I spoke with my sister and we both agreed we couldn't wait anymore. We had to give it to her early. The publisher had sent a "Congratulations New Author" letter that I had hidden away, so I grabbed it along with my camera. I remember it very well, my sister and I (along with my father, who had known about it and was bursting at the seams to say something) gathered with her in the kitchen.
She realized something was up when I handed her the manila envelope and then took a picture. She opened it and started to read, her facial expressions were priceless. There was confusion at first and then it slowly dawned on her. She had already started to tear up before she gave us the 'What does this mean' look. My sister then pulled the book out from behind her back and presented it to her. She cried. Years of hard work, rejection letters, and worry faded away. We got plenty of pictures of her as she looked through her first published work for the very first time. Anyone could easily tell it was the best present she had received in a long time. If I could do it all over again at triple the publishing package I would, just to see that look of happiness on her face. My father cried because she cried and my sister and I knew then, we would never be able to top this gift.
My mom thanked us and immediately started calling everyone she knew to tell them about it. Everyone was excited to hear the news and wanted to know where they could get the book. Sales and book signings followed. My mother had already begun to get sick then. I think deep down I knew I needed to do this before it was too late.  Mom's book was published in 2008, she passed away shortly after (2010). My only regret is that we could not publish more of her work. That is about to change."

Laura and her mother's books can be seen on

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"


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