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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tips on Teaching Kids about Peer Pressure

"What are you bringing for show-and-tell, Maggie?" I draw a big fat zero. 
Stories like Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell can help kids understand peer pressure.
"Some kids don't even recognize peer pressure when it's happening, while others may be overly sensitive," says Fran Walfish, Ph.D., a child and family psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, California, and author of The Self-Aware Parent.  Peer pressure can come from social issues (hair styles or which television shows to watch) or material things (having the coolest lunch box or school clothes).                                                                                                    

Kids experience peer pressure as early as kindergarten!  Teasing and being laughed at is often a part of the pushiness.  No parent wants that for their kids.  Therefore, it's important to teach children what about peer pressure early on so they will know how to react. 
Child psychologists suggest parents can help children by crafting a clever and kind response which can be rehearsed through role-playing and used in any situation.  They can also help their children feel good about their own preferences by giving them frequent opportunities to talk about their likes and dislikes and things that are troubling.  
Parents magazine says that picture books will help your kid understand why it's important to not give in to peer pressure.  Pick up a copy of Maggie and teach your children to recognize peer pressure.  Here are more helpful books.   
A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon
Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes 
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown
Riding the Tiger, by Eve Bunting 
One of Us, by Peggy Moss  

I'd ♥ to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Maggie News, Events, and Happenings

January - February
Share the Love
Summit Family Chiropractic (859-271-2285). 
Pick up a copy of Maggie and part of the proceeds benefit Woodford Humane Society.

February 24th: 
Happy Tails Craft and Story Time
Brier Books (859-523-6404) with 
KY SAVE and Randi Lynn Mrvos. 
Listen to a story, make a craft, adopt love

Coming this spring:  
Randi Lynn Mrvos and local authors' book signing at the Lexington library

Maggie is available at:
The Cottage in Lexington, KY 90 Lexington Green Circle, 859-273-1552.  

Buy a book and get a free puppy washcloth!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Won't Go Viral

Wouldn't it be exciting to create a Youtube video that would go viral?  That's what I'd LOVE to do to promote my book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.  

I searched Goggle to find out how to get a video to go viral and found one of the requirements:  cute animals. 

My cat Ozzie qualifies!  But, the trouble is he sleeps most of the day.  And that wouldn't make an entertaining video.

So, I did the next best thing:  I made a montage of his favorite napping places and his favorite book and added music.

Please enjoy "Won't Go Viral," courtesy of Ozzie:   

And if you like it, Ozzie says please share.

Friday, December 15, 2017

On the Telly

A few months ago, I was invited to be part of a program on local television. WTVQ in Lexington, Kentucky hosts a morning show called Good Day Kentucky.  Since I was going to partner with the Woodford Humane Society at the book signing of Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell, the marketing director of the animal shelter asked me to join her during her taping. 

Naturally, I was flattered.  Who could pass up this amazing advertising moment?  But deep inside, I was wondering what on earth have I done? I'm terribly shy.

Way back in high school, I actually enjoyed performing in plays and loved being in front of an audience.  But fast forward about forty years. Like the other dance classes at Dancers' Studio in Lexington, Kentucky, my ballet class would perform at the annual recital. I knew the routine perfectly. On the day of the performance however, I got stage fright. My feet literally stuck to the floor.  We're talking deer-in-the-headlights frozen. Luckily, in what seemed an eternity, I snapped out of it and fell back in line to finish the dance.

Since then, being in front of an audience makes me nervous. But people tell me to relax.  They say being on television is no different than having a conversation with a friend.  They say it's easy when you talk about what you love.  
I love Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell. It's a special book because it shows the value of  pet rescue and encourages young kids to solve problems and recognize peer pressure.  And that's what I tried to remember when I sat upon the yellow sofa greeted by Troy and  Katie.  Granted, I was terrified being on live TV, but the experience was worth it because I was able to show people how excited I was about my book.    

If you have the chance to be on television to promote your book, go for it.  Don't let shyness stand in your way.  It's difficult trying to find ways to market your work.  Embrace this amazing opportunity.   

Tips for preparing for a television spot:
  1.  Prepare questions for the host ahead of time
  2.  Practice your responses
  3.  Stand (or sit ) before a mirror as you practice your responses
  4.  Arrive early and check in with the the receptionist.
  5.  Be aware that the host may not follow the script
  6.  Stay focused and listen 
  7.  Make sure the host mentions the title of your book
  8.  Look at the host, not the camera  
  9.  Be excited about your book (let it show in your voice)
 10. Women:  wear a little eye makeup and lipstick 
 11. Dress comfortably.  Wear solid colors, no patterns 
 12. Try to relax and smile 
 13. Have someone help you get miked  
 14. Have fun

Friday, December 1, 2017

Tips for Signing Books

On November 25th, I was invited to Joseph Beth Book Sellers for Small Business Saturday.  

Ten authors participated.  We were set up in a semi-circle near the back of the store.  

Most of the authors kept to themselves and sat quietly behind their tables.  After the event, I was shocked to learn that most of the writers only sold one or two books.  

I sold a good number of books.  Here's what I did that helped make the difference.

 1.   Emailed invitations to friends.
 2.   Sent Facebook invitations to local acquaintances.
 3.   Created an eye-catching display.
 4.   Stood in front of the table the entire time.  Yep, achy feet 
       were worth it. 
 5.   Gave away stuffed animals when three books were 
 6.   Handed out bookmarks to passersby. 
 7.   Talked to people about the local connection (a rescue 
       dog named Charlie) and showed them his gorgeous  
       picture in the back of the book.
 8.   Thanked people for coming. 
 9.   Ordered a "Budsies" doll of Maggie for the display table. 
10.  Tied into the dog theme by using water bowls filled with candy.

I'm not a salesperson, but I do know you have to plan ahead.  You have to get creative.  Selling books is hard work, but if you put forth some effort, you will find success.     

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fan Questions

When I meet fans of Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell, they want to learn about publishing and writing. 

Here are the answers to their questions: 

What was the inspiration for the story?  The story was inspired by a dog named Charlie.  Charlie was homeless and injured, but he was rescued and nursed back to health.

Was the character Maggie inspired by someone you know? Maggie is purely invented. She popped into my head.

How long did it take to write the story?  The story took a couple of months to write. 

How long did it take for the story to be published?  Maggie was rejected close to 50 times, so the manuscript was shelved.  When I returned to it five years later, the story was edited and submitted to a handful of publishers.  Maggie became a book nine months after Cactus Moon Publishing sent a contract. 

Did you have to pay to get it published?  My publisher is Saturn Moon's Press, a division of Cactus Moon Publishing.  It is a small press.  Small presses or indie presses do not charge to have a book published.

Did you draw the pictures?  No, we had the Italian illustrator Emiliano Billai create the drawings.  

Have you written a sequel?  YES!  This time it's about a cat.  I think my pet Ozzie may have had something to do about that! 

You can learn more about Maggie and buy an autographed copy at 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What People are Saying about Maggie

There is nothing better than reading an awesome picture book to a child. Here are some of my favorites:

Caps for Sale, Esphyr Slobodkina
Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems
The Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper 
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Suess

And of course

What makes Maggie awesome? Here's what some people are saying— 

Jen Isbell, Pet Friends Magazine
I reviewed this book for my website and I really loved it! It teaches kids what's really important in life - and that quite often comes in the package of four furry paws!

Elizabeth Tipping, book reviewer
Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell is a wonderfully-written picture book. My little one saw the cover and begged to read it with me. She was very engaged as we read, telling Maggie what she should and should not do, expressing affection in response to pictures of Trooper, and exclaiming her surprise at certain points in the book.

I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Doris Settles, writing instructor and editor 
Would have been 5* if there had been a bit of foreshadowing as she cuddles up with her pup. As a rescue dog enthusiast, this is a wonderful book to teach children about special needs dogs and caring for the rest of the world. Teaches how fancy, expensive, weird experiences aren't the only ones that matter. Caring for a hurt dog and having family time with grandparents is just as important...and perhaps more so! Illustrations are lovely...very ethereal and imaginative, especially the teacher's red shoes! Excellent job and highly recommend.

Anjali Amit, book reviewer
Very successfully the author weaves a story of love and caring, of giving up and receiving. Maggie’s family chooses to forgo the vacation to rescue a dog lying by the roadside. Every choice has a consequence. So much to learn from such a simple story. Young 4-8 years old will enjoy the tale, their parents will talk of problem-solving, compassion, care for animals.  

Here's how you get your very own amazing copy: or