Three Times A Charm with Shevi Arnold

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry. 

Shevi ArnoldThis week author, Shevi Arnold, joins us. Shevi, tell us about you.

When I was little, I wanted to be God. But I discovered that job was already taken. So I decided I wanted to be a movie director. It seemed like the second-best way to create worlds.

As I grew up, I started telling stories to the little kids on the bus and my cousins’ little kids. It was fun, and I loved the enrapt looks on their faces when they listened to my tales. When I read the essays I had written for school to the rest of my class, they howled with laughter. Even the teachers enjoyed my writing.

In college I majored in English Literature and Theater Studies, because the university I attended only offered communications as a master’s degree. I still wanted to create worlds, but somewhere along the way I discovered that directing movies might not be the best way to do that. Directors have to deal with so many people who don’t share their vision for what those worlds should look like. Novelists, on the other hand…

So I decided to become a writer, but before I became a novelist, I worked in newspapers and magazines. Over twelve years I worked as an editorial cartoonist, a newspaper illustrator, a comics magazine editor, an arts-and-entertainment writer, and a consumer columnist. But then my husband and I discovered that our son was autistic, and the best schools for him were far away in New Jersey. So we quit our jobs, packed up our things, and moved.

After the anthrax scare of September 11, 2001, I found it hard to find freelance work as a journalist. I asked my husband what I should do. He asked me what I wanted to do. I told him that for a long time I wanted to write a novel. And so I did.

 Since then I’ve written seven novels and I’ve published three--Toren the Teller’s Tale, Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey, and Ride of Your Life.  Why My Love Life Sucks, book one in the Gilbert the Fixer series will be out later this year. After that, who knows?

Tell us more about your most recent book, Ride of Your Life.

The summary:

Ride of Your LifeSeventeen-year-old Tracy Miller met the love of her life . . . thirty years after her own death. Tracy was working at the House of Horrors at the Amazing Lands Theme Park when the fire broke out. Instead of running, she lost her life trying to save eleven-year-old Mack. Now suddenly, thirty years after the fire, everything changes with the arrival of two new ghosts: a little girl named Ashley and a cute seventeen-year-old boy named Josh. Josh would do anything for Tracy, but can he help her let go of the past and accept his love? 

Ride of Your Life is a bittersweet, romantic, YA ghost story that was inspired by a true event: the Great Adventure Haunted Castle fire, which killed eight teenagers in 1984. It is a fantasy novel about undying love, and it won third-place in Smart Writer’s Write It Now (W.I.N.) contest in the YA category, which was judged by Alex Flinn, the author of Beastly and Cloaked. Hang on. Love can be as terrifying as a roller coaster, but it could also be the Ride of Your Life.

Purchase from Amazon. The paperback is coming in a matter of days J!

Ride of Your Life sounds great! I can’t wait to read it.

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

The top three tools of the trade I couldn’t live without are my computer, my imagination, and my sense of humor. I also need books, lots and lots of books.

  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.

Do you want to be a writer? If so, here are three things you should do to get started.

First, read. Read a lot. Read classics, and read current bestsellers. Read in the genre you want to write in, but also give others a try. Read books about correct English usage, writing, publishing, and the writing life. Read, read and read. But don’t just read for pleasure. Read like a writer. Analyze what you read. What do you like about that part right there? What don’t you like? How does this thing or that thing make you feel? Are there places you feel bored, and are there places you just couldn’t put the book down? How might you fix the boring parts? How did the author make the book so exciting? Analyze everything, even the word choice. How does the author use adverbial phrases? Do they work? What would happen if you tried to replace those adverbial phrases with nouns and verbs? Analyze it all.

Second, apply what you’ve learned by analyzing these texts to your own writing. Is there a hero or heroine you’ve fallen in love with? If so, what is it about that character you admire, and how can you make your hero or heroine equally compelling? Do you like books that start slowly with a lot of description, or do you prefer books that jump right into the action? How can you give your own book the kind of beginning you like to see in other books?

Third, learn to separate yourself from your work. It seems like such a simple thing, but I’ve found the biggest stumbling block for so many new writers is they haven’t learned this very basic skill. They’re like those contestants on American Idol or America’s Got Talent who have never performed in front of an audience. Their egos are so tied up in their performance that they end up running away from the audition in tears or shouting that the judges don’t know what they’re talking about. You aren’t your story, and when someone says something critical about your story, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. The worst thing with having your ego tied up with your work is that it can prevent you from even starting. So many new writers are terrified to put anything down on paper because they’re afraid it won’t be perfect. First drafts are never perfect! Heck, I’ve even edited my answers in this interview. That’s what editing is for. So let your story be as awful as it needs to be—but get it written down! Don’t be afraid of criticism, and don’t be your own worst critic. Not every reader will love your story. That’s just the truth. But there’s something to be learned from every reader, just like there’s something to be learned from everything you read. Sometimes you learn more from something that’s badly written. You learn why you didn’t like it, and you learn how to do it better.

And I’d like to add just one more thing: have fun. 

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

1. Be yourself. There’s only one you. You have a special gift to give to the world, and only you can give it. But you can’t do that if you’re afraid to stand out from the crowd. Don’t give a damn about what other people think. The people we most admire are those who aren’t afraid to be themselves.

2. Let others be who they are. Don’t look down at someone because he or she is different. That person also has a unique gift that only he or she can give. Encourage that person. I believe bullying happens because we don’t respect each other’s differences, and we let bullying happen because we don’t respect our own unique gifts. It’s a theme in two of my books—Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey and Toren the Teller’s Tale. In both books, the title characters eventually come to embrace the things that make them special. If there’s one thing I want readers to take away from those books, it’s that feeling that it’s great to be exactly who you were meant to be. The world could be a wonderful place if we all encouraged one another to embrace and share our unique gifts.

3. Be humble and pay attention, because there’s something to be learned from every person you meet. Don’t think you know it all, because you don’t. No one does. But the smartest people are those who are always open to learning something new, and there’s something new to learn everywhere you look. You can learn perseverance by looking at an ant carrying a piece of food bigger than itself to its colony’s ant hill. If you can learn that from a lowly ant, just imagine what you could learn from the people around you?

Shevi, how can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?







Thank you for joining us for this week’s Three Times A Charm. I always enjoy visiting with you, Shevi. Best of luck with your writing.



I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

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Exciting, Sparkly Book News!

So much has been happening and I want to compile all my exciting, sparkly book news into one place.

Releasing in 2012:

Save the Lemmings

Lemmingaid8th grade inventor, Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards is the N.I.C.E. girl who finishes last with the kids in school. Sappy inspirational phrases and monochromatic outfits have all but her best friends wrinkling their nose at her. When Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky, goes nationwide, she becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly her days consist of photo shoots and interviews with little time left for her friends. A local reporter shatters her good-girl image by reporting a graffiti incident and the media launches into a smear campaign. It is so bad, even her friends start to believe the stories. How will Natalie stop the lies and win her friends back? And who will SAVE THE LEMMINGS?

The Wishing Well, Another Weaver Tale

003Molly Minstrel is treated worse than Cinderella by her mom and sisters. When Molly meets the magical creature, Unwanted, she wishes her problems away. However, you must first understand what you need before knowing what to ask for. Molly will have to look within for the solution to her troubles.

Releasing in 2013

King of Bad

I’m super excited to be joining the ranks of young adult author with this release.

            flameSixteen-year-old bad boy, Jeff Mean, has a way with the girls and their mothers. He’d rather be off setting fires than following rules or observing curfew. Jeff wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he’s recruited to Super Villain Academy -- where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can regularly perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

            He may never find out. Abducted not once but twice, Jeff’s life is turned upside down and leaves him wondering who is good and who is bad. Worse yet, he’s horrified to admit that he is developing manners and alienating his fellow villains. To everyone’s surprise, his rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil. And the girl he’s been crushing on is the catalyst. But is that necessarily a good thing?

Ongoing Publications

Don’t forget I’m a staff writer for Knowonder, an online children’s magazine. They publish a new story everyday that you can sit down and read with your children. Download the app to stay in touch.

Please visit my website for an updated record of ‘coming soon’ short stories and for links to the published ones. Download hidden word searches, book club discussion sheets, crafts.

Like my author page on facebook to get the fun and exciting announcements such as; book cover reveals, story publications or book signings.

Thanks for sharing my exciting news with me. And thanks for READING!
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Cover Reveal of When the Butterflies Came by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Author, Kimberley Griffiths Little has recently revealed the cover to her upcoming novel, When The Butterflies Came, scheduled for release Spring of 2013! And it is a beauty!

Here is the synopsis:

Everybody thinks Tara Doucet has the perfect life. But in reality, Tara’s life is anything but perfect: Her dear Grammy Claire has just passed away, her mother is depressed and distant, and she and her sister Riley can’t seem to agree on anything. But when mysterious and dazzling butterflies begin to follow her around after Grammy Claire’s funeral, Tara just knows in her heart that her grandmother has left her one final mystery to solve.

A strange butler shows up to take Tara and Riley to Grammy Claire’s house, where Tara finds a stack of keys and detailed letters from Grammy Claire herself. Note by note, Tara learns unexpected truths about her grandmother’s life. As the letters grow more ominous and the keys more difficult to decipher, Tara realizes that the secrets she must uncover could lead to mortal danger. And when Tara and Riley are swept away to the beautiful island of Chuuk to hear their grandmother’s will, Tara discovers the most shocking truth of all — one that will change her life forever.

From Kimberley Griffiths Little comes a magical, breathtaking mystery full of loss and love, family and faith.

And here is the cover!!!!!

When the Butterflies Came

Kimberley is celebrating by giving lots of goodies away. If you know ANYTHING about Kimberley, you know she’s a goodie-giveawayer. Hop on over to her blog to enter for a chance to win one of her fabulous books.

BEFORE you go, I want to know…what is your favorite thing about this beautiful cover?
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Knowonder Relaunch - A Story A Day

Parents, teachers, caregivers. Grandparents, counselors, aunts. Lend me your ear.

Knowonder, an online children’s magazine, is announcing its relaunch. It is bigger and better than ever! Promising a story a day, Knowonder is a valuable partner for parents and educators in promoting literacy. Some of the exciting features the newly redesigned site offers is:

§         New stories every day

§         3 new non-fiction articles each week

§         8 content categories, including classic favorites, kid stories and kid art

§         Contests & prizes; your opinion matters! Vote for your favorites to assure you see more like them in the future!

§         IPhone app available

§         Android app coming soon!

I am thrilled to be a staff writer for this newly designed site, but they are still open for submissions. Check the site for guidelines.

TODAY is the big day. Click on over to the newly designed Knowonder website. Browse, read, vote, read, download apps, read. Like what you see? Share, share, share. I’d love if you would help paper the internet with the news. Post a link on your Facebook page. Tweet about it. Email it to family and friends.

Then, visit daily and share a new story each day with your children.

Happy reading!

Three Times A Charm with Mary Cunningham

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week author, Mary Cunningham, joins us. Mary, tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in the sleepy little town of Corydon, Indiana. And I really mean “in the town!” My house was just beyond the main intersection that took Southern Indiana cars and trucks from north to west. That was well before Interstate 64 zoomed traffic just north of town, so you can imagine the teeth-grinding sound 18-wheelers made navigating the tight Walnut Street turn, then downshifting as they passed my house. Winter? Not so bad. Summer with the windows open? Countless sleepless nights were spent sitting on the porch with my dad telling me stories and pointing out the constellations.

After 10 years as a bank teller, followed by a horrifying stint as a travel agent and more rewarding experience teaching travel and tourism and the airline computer reservation system, I finally realized my heart belonged to writing. Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired me to create characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for the award-winning ‘Tween series, “Cynthia’s Attic.”

Tweens love a series. Tell us more about Cynthia’s Attic.

Cynthia had an attic. Not just an ordinary attic. Cynthia’s attic was magic.

Cynthia and I came into the world just three months apart. We grew up on the same quiet, sycamore-lined street, our friendship as close as our houses. Fifty years earlier our grandmothers were best friends. However, we didn’t realize the extent of their friendship until after our experience in Cynthia’s attic.

You can buy all four of the Cynthia’s Attic books:

Amazon (paperback)  HTTPS:// or

Amazon (Kindle)

B & N (Book Nook)

Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

1.      The most obvious tool of the trade is the computer I use to write and create. I can't imagine being a published author had I been forced to write longhand. No editor would be able to read my writing since I can't even read it myself! How J. K. Rowling did it is beyond me! Plus, the research I get from the Internet is invaluable. While all stories are set in my hometown (1964-1914) and many of my ancestors are main characters, all must be authentic relating to historical elements.

2.      Social marketing is the best promotional tool and something I lean on heavily to market my books and my writing. When Cynthia's Attic: The Missing Locket (Book One) was published in 2005, most marketing sites were just coming online, and it was much more difficult reaching my target audience. Now, I have to budget my time between sites. I've also come to rely on the social aspect, too. The world would seem so isolated without Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc., friends and fans!

3.      I wouldn't be published without networking. A writers' club in SW Florida gave me the confidence to finish the first 2 Cynthia's Attic stories and the know-how to write a professional query letter. I can't over-state the value of writers clubs and critique groups. I'm certain that my present writers club in Carrollton, GA has made me a much better writer.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.

1.      Oh, this is a fun one. We recently adopted our furry daughter, Lucy. Part of my day is set aside, at her insistence, for walks and playtime. She's not quite two, and is a 17-lb bundle of energy. She also forces me away from my computer to stretch and clear my mind.

2.      I was a tomboy; something that follows me to this day when it comes to sports. The older I get, however, the more my participation centers on watching. I grew up in Indiana, so basketball (Indiana Hoosiers!) is a prime focus. I also love NFL football and golf (participating and watching).

3.      Is eating considered a leisure activity? LOL! Seems so for me, which is why taking all those walks with Lucy is not only fun for her, but a necessity for me. Fortunately, I live in West Georgia on the top of a mountain, so strenuous walks up and down steep hills burn a few calories. 

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.

1.      Read! As an eight-year-old tomboy, lucky enough to have a library within walking distance of my house, AND a beloved aunt serving as head librarian, I gravitated toward sports biographies. I read from A-Z (Hank Aaron to Babe Zaharias). After those ran out, my aunt made sure I read books that challenged my reading level. I'll be forever grateful for that. So, kids, challenge yourselves!

2.      Write! Whatever you want to write is okay. Short stories about family (how I began my writing career), fantasy, poetry…anything that inspires and makes you happy. You'll be surprised how writing skills improve your over-all schoolwork. Plus, it's fun and something you can do for the rest of your life. Every teacher from 3rd grade on said, "Mary, whatever you do, don't stop writing." It ONLY took me 40 more years to write my first book. It's never too late.

3.      Teachers may not like this next suggestion but I believe far too much emphasis is placed on reading for points. I'll never forget talking to a 4th grader and her father at a book signing. He prodded her to tell me how many reading points she had and how many books she'd read the previous year. I couldn't help wonder how much comprehension she gained from any one of those 300 + books. I'm not suggesting AR shouldn't be used, but parents need to encourage their kids to stretch beyond the list

Great advice, Mary. Where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?

Mary Cunningham Books –

Cynthia's Attic Blog –

Facebook -

Twitter -

GoodReads -

Thank you for joining us on Three Times A Charm, this week. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hosting you on SoT. Hope you visit again. Best of luck with your writing, Mary.


I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have a book, a blog or a business related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.

Three Times A Charm with Susan Kaye Quinn

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry. 

This week author, Susan Kaye Quinn, joins us. Thank you for agreeing to be a part of my weekly feature “Three Times a Charm.” 

Thanks so much for having me!

I’m especially excited since today is your BIG launch day for Closed Hearts the second book in your Mindjack Trilogy.  Our lucky readers even get to enter your giveaway!  But first, Susan, let’s learn a little about you.

I grew up in California, where I wrote snippets of stories and passed them to my friends during class. I pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that I writes novels, my business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" and I don't have to sneak my notes anymore (too bad!). All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. I write from the Chicago suburbs with my three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as I can handle.

Tell us about Closed Hearts.

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.

This is the tagline for my second novel in the Mindjack Trilogy, Closed Hearts, which releases today! The Mindjack Trilogy is about a future world where everyone reads minds, except one girl. She soon discovers she can control them instead and is dragged into a hidden underworld of mindjackers. (Tag line for the first book, Open Minds: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.) The future of her, and her fellow mindjackers, is explored even further in the second book. I’m excited to see what readers of Open Minds think of Closed Hearts, while I’m busy writing the third book in the trilogy. All my novels and short stories can be found on my blog. Open Minds and Closed Hearts are available in ebook and print on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I can’t wait to read it myself! Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.

Scrivener for Windows - I use it for keeping all my research organized, including pictures and links, and notes on bestsellers, my current draft, outlines about edits, all kinds of stuff. The only thing I don’t use it for is writing - for that I’m an old fashioned Word gal.

My moleskine notebooks - I have a dozen of them in all shapes and sizes and I tote them everywhere. I especially use them to work through difficult plot points or any kind of struggle I’m having with the story. Writing long hand is a great creativity booster for me.

My corkboard - My newest addition to the “must have” category! I’m using it now to outline my third novel in the Mindjack trilogy. I have different colored cards for scenes, structure, love story, etc. It’s really cool to see it all visually laid out and also works as a creative booster.

  • Top 3 personal and/or professional goals.

My Writer’s Mission Statement has four components to it that guide my overall professional goals. From that, I have three (short, medium, long term) professional goals (recently updated in my Market Plan for Closed Hearts):

1) (short term) Finish and publish the Mindjack Trilogy, while also writing a series of short stories as a companion to the series

2) (medium term) Plan/write another series that my readers will enjoy

3) (long term) Make enough money from my indie publishing that it will pay comparably to a part-time engineering position (so I can justify, in a money sense, continuing to write). While it’s not possible to control sales or income, I can control output, so my plan to reach this goal is to continue putting out approximately 2 novels a year (and possibly more titles in short stories), building a backlist that will provide that kind of ongoing income to support my writing career.

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

Veterinarian (changed my mind when I discovered that blood made me squeamish)

Astronaut (applied; they didn’t want me :))

Engineer (check!)

Susan, where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?

Susan on FacebookTwitter, and her author blog, Mindjack Trilogy website


Announcing the release of Closed Hearts, the sequel to Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn.

Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.

Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.

Now available!
$2.99 Ebook at Amazon (and Amazon UK) and Barnes and Noble
Request a Kindlegraph
Paper copies available at Amazon or get signed copies from the author

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA novel Open Minds,  Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunesSusan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Mind GamesOpen MindsClosed HeartsIn His EyesLife, Liberty, and PursuitFull Speed Ahead

CLICK HERE to join the Virtual Party for Closed Hearts

(including bonus content for the Mindjack Trilogy and writerly guest posts) 

***Disclaimer: Rafflecopter code doesn't seem to want to work in this post - BOO. PLEASE click through to Susan's site with the link above and enter to the contest there. Might be user error, but I think it's Livejournal.

Thank you, Susan, for sharing such an exciting day in your life with us. I hope millions of readers discovers your Mindjack Trilogy. Happy release day to you and Closed Hearts!

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More Children's Book Week Fun!

My focus on children's literacy continues for the Children's Book Week blog hop.

Tuesday: Children's Literacy Promotes Strong Problem Solving Skills

Wednesday: Three Times A Charm with Mike Hays and bonus children's literacy content

I'm hosting on my blogger site this week because of the Rafflecopter giveaway. So please click over! Hope to see you there.

Good luck in the giveaway!
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Children's Literacy from a Teacher's Point of View


This week I am celebrating Children's Book Week over on my blogger blog. I am focusing on the importance of children's literacy.

Today I interview 3rd grade teacher, Susan Deatherage, to hear what she thinks about the benefits of literacy for children.

Be sure to enter for your chance to win a bag full of Guardian Angel Publishing books or a manuscript critique.
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Celebrate Children's Book Week with Guardian Angel Publishing Authors

M E D I A  R E L E A S E

CONTACT: Donna M. McDine



For Immediate Release

Children's Book Week: Celebrate with Guardian Angel Publishing Authors

May 7-13, 2012

Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running literacy initiative in the country. Each year, books for young people and the joy of reading are feted for a full week with author and illustrator appearances, storytelling, parties, and other book-related events at schools, libraries, bookstores, museums, and homes from coast to coast! 

Visit Guardian Angel Publishing authors via their blogs as they celebrate Children's Book Week. Each stop includes special topics of discussion: teaching writing and grammar using children’s books, road to publication, professional critiques, educator guides, Skype and in-person author visits, what’s selling in children’s non-fiction, writing narrative non-fiction, interviews, book reviews, individual book information, and so much more.

Enter at a chance to win two prizes:

·        One FREE Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Margot Finke

·        One FREE tote bag of children's books from the participating authors

Visit May 7-13, 2012 and automatically enter at a chance to win by commenting, GFC Follower, and/or become a Facebook Fan or Friend at each of the author blogs.

Guardian Angel Publishing Author Blogs:

Mayra Calvani -

Margo Dill -

Margot Finke –

Donna McDine -

Nancy Stewart -

Kai Strand -

Nicole Weaver -

About the authors:

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. Her children’s picture books include Crash, The Magic Violin, Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster, Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, The Doll Violinist, The Water Cycle: Water Play Series Book I and the upcoming The Fox in the Night. She’s had over 300 reviews, articles, stories and interviews published online and in print. She’s represented by Mansion Street Literary Management.

Margo L. Dill is a freelance writer, editor, and teacher, living in St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has appeared in publications such as Grit, Pockets, Missouri Life, ByLine Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, True Love, On the Line, Fun for Kidz, and The News-Gazette. She is a columnist, instructor, and contributing editor for WOW! Women On Writing. She writes weekly book reviews for The News-Gazette (Champaign, IL). Her first book, Finding My Place, a middle-grade historical novel, will be published by White Mane Kids in 2012. She also has a picture book accepted by Guardian Angel Publishing and another by High Hill Press.

Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family. She has 11 books published so far. Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Her husband is very supportive, though not interested in children's books . Their three children are now grown and doing very well. Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes! "

Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, The Golden Pathway, an historical fiction story book about the Underground Railroad. Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Donna has three more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, Hockey Agony, Powder Monkey, and A Sandy Grave. She writes, moms and is the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids, Publicist for the Working Writer’s Club, and owner of Author PR Services.

Nancy Stewart is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children. Her newest book, Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage, is the biography of Katrina Simpkins with Winter, the dolphin. All are published by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a frequent speaker and presenter at writing conferences throughout the United States. A blogger with a worldwide audience, she writes of all things pertaining to writing for children.

Kai Strand writes fiction for children and young adults. Her debut title, The Weaver, was a finalist in the EPIC eBook Awards. Her upcoming titles, Save The Lemmings! and The Wishing Well, Another Weaver Tale, will be released in 2012. Links to current and upcoming short stories can be found on her website. You can find book related downloads and more information about Kai and her writing at

Nicole Weaver was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti. She came to the United States when she was ten years old. She is fluent in Creole, French, Spanish, and English. She is a veteran teacher of French and Spanish. Her second children’s trilingual book, My Sister is My Best Friend was published by Guardian Angel Publishing, November 2011. She is also the author of a children’s trilingual picture book, Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle. The story is about a Haitian girl who resides by the beach in Haiti.

We look forward to your visit. Thank you and good luck!


love hope faith

My Between Shades of Gray Moment

Our daughter, double majoring in music & psychology, called on Monday and said, “I think I forgot to tell you that my recital isn’t next week, the 8th. It’s tomorrow night. So I called my husband, who was in Bakersfield, CA at that very moment and said, “You up for this?” Being the world’s best dad, he was all over it! So, he drove from Bakersfield, to Eugene, Oregon to drop off some family members, then home to Bend, Oregon. He got home about 1:30 am, slept a couple of hours, got up and went to work. We left at 12:30 pm and drove 5 ½ hours to Boise, Idaho. We got there about 7:00 pm and went straight to our daughter’s recital. I believe there were 9 recitalists (is that a word?). The music was lovely and they all did a beautiful job, but of course my daughter was the best.

After the recital, we went to dinner with our daughter and a few of her friends. The people at the restaurant graciously let us hang out talking an hour past their closing. Around 11:00 pm, my husband and I said goodbye to the kids and went to check into our hotel. We slept for three hours, got up at 3:00 am (2 a.m. our time, it was too short of a trip to switch to mountain time!) and headed home again. Whirlwind to say the least.

My husband drove the first half of the trip, but eventually he admitted defeat. I drove the last stretch of the long, boring road, but I didn’t mind because we had been listening to Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Between Shades of Gray is a powerful story of the people of the Baltic nations who Stalin sent to camps in Siberia and the Arctic.

I love finding the title of a book within the text. I feel as though I’ve uncovered a secret that I can share, or keep to myself. The moment the title was revealed in this novel happened to align with my trip in an evocative, thought-provoking way. I drove westward. The road stretched and undulated forever toward the horizon. The breaking dawn revealed sagebrush crowding together in a rolling desert terrain. A coyote ran across the road in front of my car. Grazing antelope, camouflaged by their arid coloring, only revealed themselves with a flick of an ear or a raised head. A red tail hawk perched on top of a fence post, patiently awaited the scurry of a field mouse or a baby jackrabbit.

“I began my walk through the snow, 5 kilometers to the tree line. That’s when I saw it. A tiny sliver of gold between shades of gray on the horizon. I stared at the amber band of sunlight, smiling. The sun had returned.”

I glanced in my rearview mirror and the sky behind me was alight with gold and orange and pink. I was struck by the hopefulness of that moment. The sun cresting the horizon behind me shone an apricot spotlight on the theme of the book.


The message, wrapped up in gray paper and tied with a thin gold ribbon, was so full of a dire beauty that only the suffering can appreciate. I instantly hoped that I already have or someday will present such a gift to my readers.

My husband snoozed beside me. The book ended with an inspiring epilogue from the author and her father. The miles droned under my tires. And I continued to hope. Hope that I can touch a reader so profoundly that it gives her strength or awards him confidence he hadn’t believed in before. Hope that my words resonate like the sunrise in my rearview mirror or the sun returning after an artic winter.

There are some really beautiful moments in life. Be sure you acknowledge them.