Friday, May 30, 2014

Photo Friday

Just looking around, and decided that in honor of my picture book, A Is For Alpine, and the start of summer vacation, I'd do a little photo essay on what little kids do when backpacking.  These were taken on a 6-day trip in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, in 2005 when our boys were 6 & 7 years old.

What do kids do in the woods?


Wherever they are, they'll find swords and have a sword fight.   Right in the trail.  Don't imagine you're going anywhere in a hurry!  Taking kids to the woods will change your perspective and priorities.

***
Kids will stop and snack.  Also right in the trail, and more often than you would have thought possible.  Note that Mom's pack is larger than the kid.  That's also something kids will do--increase your pack size!  Taking your kids hiking will make you a stronger and fitter person.

***
Kids will explore.  You did bring dry clothes for them, right?  Because kids and water?  It's pretty much a magnetic pull.

***
They'll find treasures.  You didn't know that old bones were treasure?  You must not have boys.  Or you've not taken them outdoors.  Every stick is a weapon, and as Calvin said (that's Calvin as in Calvin and Hobbes), there's treasure everywhere.

***
Like mother, like sons.  Sometimes all they want is a pad of paper and a pen or two for some quiet play--to do in the woods just what they'd do at home.

***
And sometimes they sit and eat in the best seat in camp.  Mom thought that was her seat!

***
Sometimes they'll just sit, because being outside can be tiring.

***
Eventually they'll crawl into their tent, and into warm sleeping bags, and listen to a story.

***
And when the pack comes off at (or near!) the end of a long hike, they might just fly away!


And of course, when it's all over, they'll eat ice cream.  And burgers.  And fries.  More of all of it than you would have thought possible!  If you're lucky, they will NOT proceed to become carsick.

So what are you waiting for?  Take your babies camping!

###
 On an unrelated topic, the Wendig Challenge this week was to write a complete story in 100 words.  Here's mine, exactly 100 words, exclusive of the title.

The Mountain


The mountain was their god, the one thing on or about the Island that was always there.  And then, one day, it wasn’t.  After that, there wasn’t much to do but survive, for the few people left.  Most of the island’s people were gone, buried under the rubble and the lava.

Those who were left worked and struggled and ate everything that wasn’t stone, and they survived.  But they did not pray to the mountain-god that had turned on them.  Gradually, they rebuilt their world with neither mountain nor god.

When the rescuers finally came, the survivors refused to go.
 #
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Middle Grade Review: Dear Papa, by Anne Ylvisaker


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Title: Dear Papa
Author: Anna Ylvisaker
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2007, 192 pages
Source: Library

Summary:
When the book opens Isabelle is 9, and learning to write letters at school.  She chooses to write to her dead Papa, because she sometimes feels like she's the only one who thinks about him.  To make it worse, her mother sends her and her older sisters to live with relatives, which feels to the 9-year-old like a total rejection.

Eventually, Isabelle writes to her Aunt Isabelle, her sisters and brother, and her friends, as well as her Papa.  But the whole story is told in her letters--letters written over a span of years, though the bulk of the story takes place between ages 9 and 12.

Set during WWII, the story reflects its time, but it is ultimately the story of a girl growing up, not of a country at war.

Review:
The epistolary format makes this book a quick read, but that doesn't mean it's shallow.  I think that the author captures nicely Isabelle's sense of isolation, her fears, and above all her in-the-middle place in the family.  Her older sisters are old enough to be realistic about their father's death and the fact that there mother is moving on--must move on.  Her younger brother and sister are young enough to quickly forget their father, except in a vague sort of way.  To Isabelle, all these are betrayals.

The author does a great job of letting the reader see and understand more than Isabelle does, even though all the words are hers.  Though I think a child reading this would be much more likely to take characters (like the new man in her mother's life) at Isabelle's reading of them, at least as an adult I could see that there was more depth there than she credits.

Recommendation:
A decent, though not exceptional read, and good for those who enjoy historical fiction and coming-of-age novels.

Full Disclosure: I checked  Dear Papa  out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: Minding the Manor

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Title: Minding the Manor: the Memoir of a 1930s English Kitchen Maid (published in the UK as Aprons and Silver Spoons).
Author: Mollie Moran
Publisher: in UK, Penguin Books, 2013.  In US, Lyons Press, 2014.  348 pages.
Source: The library (where else, right?)

 Summary:
The subtitle really says it all.  This is the memoir of a woman who worked in the kitchens of the British Aristocracy in the time between the wars, the last years of the real servant system.  She started as a scullery maid at age 14, and by just past 20 got work as a cook.  Though she includes a bit of her childhood to provide context, and a quick summary of her life after she got married and left service, the book is about being part of the "downstairs" society.
Review:
Mollie Moran has retained a writing voice that reflects her upbringing.  The book reads very much like she's talking to you about her life then, including some odd grammatical quirks and a tendency to directly address the reader.  It's a style that makes the book feel less professional, but at the same time more real.  Dialogue is used freely, though obviously it must be reconstructed, a permissible stretching for a memoir, I believe.  The book was a quick, easy read and definitely interesting to those who like the history of that period (like me), despite an unpolished feeling.

Recommendation: 
The cover says that if you are a fan of Downton Abbey you'll like this, and it's probably true.  I'd recommend it for those interested in the period, for whatever reason, and perhaps especially for us Yankees who may not have a very good grip on the class system (I spent a winter taking a dive into that system in a way, working as an au pair for a rather wealthy family in Monaco.  I didn't take very kindly to being treated as a servant.  Maybe you have to be brought up to it!).

 #

Full Disclosure: I checked Minding the Manor out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

*****************
Today is Memorial Day here in the US, so I want to just take a moment to say "thank you" to all those who have served and died for our country.  So many of my parents' generation were lost to WWII, and so many have been lost since in all that "non-wars" we've fought.  We honor their sacrifice, and would like to see an end to any need for more.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday: What's Cooking?

I didn't care for Chuck's challenge this week, so I decided to pick my own challenge, from the book I reviewed Monday, Spilling Ink.  I took the "dare" on page 103, to turn an ordinary event into something suspenseful.  I chose a kid watching mom cook dinner.  I could have made it suspenseful by having aliens land during the process or something, but that was cheating.  I just made it nerve-wracking to watch Mom cook dinner.  It's short this week, at only 700 words.



What’s for Dinner?


What’s for Dinner?

Mom’s acting weird.  Well, that’s kind of normal, if you follow me, because she’s always weird, but usually she’s weird like wearing strange clothes and working all night on one of those bizarre sculptures she makes.  I won’t ever tell her this, but I don’t like them.  They have too many jagged edges.  They’ll tear holes in you if you get too close.  I sometimes wonder if she’s out to destroy someone, or if she just sees the world that way, all jagged.  Either way: weird.

But what’s really weird is that she’s started cooking.  No more Swanson’s pot pies, and no more trips through the fast food drive-through window.  So now, I have to eat what she calls “real food,” which is sometimes pretty unreal, if you follow me.

The thing is, her idea of real food can get pretty disturbing.  And that’s why I am sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework, instead of in my room with my music.  I’m keeping an eye on the cooking, between algebra problems.  I’m watching for that moment that says she’s gone over the edge, so I can try to save the rest of us.

She’s put on a big pot of water to boil.  That seems pretty safe, so I turn back to my math book.  6x + 7y=23.  If y=2, what is x?  Okay, algebra’s weird, too.  What do I care what X equals?  I can see at a glance that it’s not going to be a nice round number.  I don’t like decimals.  They’re messy.  And I need some kind of motivation for X, if I’m going to care why it’s multiplying six.

Pasta.  She’s gotten out the spaghetti, which is good, and matches the pot of water.  But a lot depends on what she wants to put atop it.  My palms start to sweat as she begins pulling things off of shelves and muttering.  She’s got an awful pile of weird stuff: ginger and allspice and beans, and for some reason a bottle of pickled pigs feet.  And is that an incantation she’s muttering?  We have never in our lives eaten pickled pigs feet, and I do not intend to begin now.  I forget all about algebra and concentrate on willing the bottle to disappear.

She puts the first cupboard load back on the shelves, and I heave a sigh of relief when the pigs feet disappear.  Then the search starts all over, and I start to sweat again.  What is that green stuff?  And is it supposed to be green, or is that a very bad sign?

Mom does the search three times, and I can’t tell what she’s selected.  By the third shelf of the third cupboard, I’m a nervous wreck, and algebra is a distant memory.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure this is the night she poisons us all, and I can only wonder if it will be on purpose or just because she let her artist’s imagination get loose.  But if I’m poisoned, I don’t have to turn in my homework, so I won’t hurry.

I start to pray.  I’m not religious, but when we studied world religions last fall, my best friend Griffin and I memorized prayers from every one of them, mostly in languages we don’t understand.  We made up a couple of our own, too, in the elf language J. R. R. Tolkien invented for The Lord of the Rings.  I repeat them all now.  Maybe at least one of the gods will appreciate the attention and save me.  And Dad and my sister, though by this time I’m thinking mostly of myself.

Mom plops the big pasta bowl onto the table, interrupting my prayers and scattering my algebra.

 I stare into the bowl, horrified.  It’s green.  Radioactive waste is green, isn’t it?  Or ectoplasm, or space aliens.  And mold.  Mold is green.

“Eat up,” Mom says.  “Come and get it,” she calls to Dad and Lily.

My hands are shaking.  We who are about to die. .  .

“It’s just pesto, for heaven’s sake Joseph!”

I sag in relief.  Pesto’s bad, but it’s better than interplanetary ecto-slime. 

Rats.  I’ll have to finish my homework after all.


###
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2014

Empty the box and find a meal hidden therein!


*********************

Not sure how well I'll do, with my summer travel plans (real world, not blogosphere, travel), but I've jumped onto the A to Z Roadtrip to help remind me to keep visiting the blogs I didn't get to during the A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Middle Grade Review: Timothy of the Cay



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Title: Timothy of the Cay
Author: Theodore Taylor
Publisher: Harcourt, 1993.  161 pages
Source: Library 

Summary:
Billed as a "Prequel-Sequel" to The Cay, this is both the continuation of the story of Phillip Enright after he is rescued from the cay and a series of flashbacks that tell us who Timothy was and how he ended up on the cay with Phillip.  Chapters alternate between Timothy's life, starting in 1884 when he was 11, and 1942 as Phillip recovers from his time as a castaway.  

Note: though The Cay is a "middle grade classic" in my classification, having been published in 1969, this is a much more recent book and doesn't fall into that category.

Review:
This is an interesting project--an effort on the part of the author, many years after the first book, to answer the questions left hanging in The Cay.  I found the structure intriguing, and not at all confusing, with the switches back and forth from Phillip's story to Timothy's easy to follow.  The real problem at the heart of the book, and the reason it is not the great book The Cay was, is that there's not a lot of point.  The question of Phillip's eyesight (will it return?) is of course the central issue of his part of the story, but we already know the answer from reading The Cay.  And Timothy's story is interesting, but lacks a focus, though I was glad to know how he became who he became--and why he was so determined that Phillip should live.

Taylor also tries in this book to address more directly the racism of some characters (especially Phillip's Virginia-born mother), as one might expect in 1993.  Even in 1969 her attitudes, though realistic for 1942 when the books are set, would have grated; but 1993 they had to be refuted by a Phillip who has learned better.  It's necessary and inevitable, but feels a little blatant.

Recommendation:
I can't give this book the enthusiastic recommendation I gave the original, but I will say that anyone who enjoyed The Cay will enjoy reading this and getting a little more insight into the characters.  As a short and easy read, it's worth the time and effort to round out the story.

Full Disclosure: I checked  Timothy of the Cay out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, May 19, 2014

Writing Book Review: Spilling Ink

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Title: Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook
Authors: Anne Mazer & Ellen Potter; illustrated by Matt Phelan
Publisher: Roaring Book Press, 2010
Source: Library

Summary:
Just as it sounds, this is a book of advice and almost instruction for grade-school aged kids who want to write, with illustrations that will make you smile.

Review:
So why am I reviewing a book of writing advice for kids on one of my usually adult-book days?  You guessed it--because the advice in this book works for writers of any age, and it's written in a fun way to boot.  There is the standard advice about giving yourself permission to write messy first drafts--and then putting in the effort to revise them.  But there are also less conventional ways of thinking about things, and examples for a kid's life.

One of my favorite bits is the chapter on characters.  The authors suggest having a sleep-over with your character, so you can learn all his or her deep dark secrets.  Since the instructions for doing this begin with "grab some cookies from the kitchen," they got my attention right away.  I am a firm believer in cookies (alas).  All kidding aside, however, the questions they suggest asking your character are spot on, including things like "what are you afraid of?" (a sure trigger for something you'll do to the poor soul) and of course including what is their heart's desire.  When you know what your character most wants and most fears, you have a story.

Mixed in among the discussion are "dares"--assignments, we might call them, if that weren't a dirty word.  These dares are great prompts or exercises, and I'll be trying some (use a boring everyday thing as the subject of a suspenseful story?  I'm on it!).

In short, this is a fun, light-hearted, but useful book on many aspects of writing, from getting ideas to honing your prose and revising your MS.  

Recommendation:
Add it to your collection of books on writing, whether you are 8 or 80.   We can all learn something here, and have a few chuckles in the process (and you know I'm a fan of humor in all places, appropriate or not). 

Full Disclosure: I checked  Spilling Ink  out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday! The Power of Poetry

 This week, Chuck Wendig gave us three random phrases to incorporate into whatever story we could come up with.  Fortunately for Xavier Xanthum and Larry the Eyeballs, one of the phrases gave me the idea I needed to rescue them from the fix I left them in last week!  Thanks, Chuck!  I'll let you guess the phrase, or you can cheat and look here.

The Power of Poetry

Xavier Xanthum, Space Explorer, watched the alien ship approach.  He wiped his sweaty palms on his pants and fought panic.  He didn’t care about the fame that might come of making first contact with a new species.  He’d happily let someone else have that fame and go on exploring uninhabited reaches of space.

There were just so many ways this could go wrong.  For one thing, there was the translation module. The TM had been producing translations profane enough to get a person thrown out of the worst dives in the sleaziest spaceports in the system.  At least, Xavier thought it would.  He’d never tested that kind of language, and stayed out of the sleaziest dives.  He avoided conflict.

“Larry, are you sure the TM is going to be okay with this?  First contact is tricky.  And Space only knows what the aliens might make of a foul-mouthed translation.”  He thought a moment.  “How long until we’re out of this gravity well and can make the jump?”

Larry didn’t answer.  Xavier looked around.  He didn’t see the eyeballs that were the computer’s semi-human manifestation.  “Larry?”

“Um, here, Captain?”

Xavier felt a chill.  Not only did Larry call him “captain,” which he did only only when he had bad news, but he had hesitated as though unsure.  This was no time for Larry to turn human.

“What is it, Larry?”

“At the current course and speed we will be ready for the jump in 21.35 minutes.  We contact the alien ship in five point five minutes.   Assuming the TM can handle the alien language, have you considered what you will say?”

“Isn’t there something in your protocols?”  Larry was the AI, for Earth’s sake!  He was supposed to know things.  Xavier wiped his palms again.

“There are several options.  None seems apropos?”  Larry ended on a rising tone, the way an Earth-speaker would, to indicate uncertainty.  Another human trait.  Xavier suppressed a shudder.

“Lay them on me.”

“One.   ‘We come in peace.’”

“That has promise, though I’d rather go in peace.  Next.”

“’Do not approach any closer or we may—‘”

Xavier cut that one off before Larry even finished.  “Definitely not.”  They lacked significant weaponry in any case.

“How about, ‘Greetings?  Do you want a drink?  Are we—‘ Wait, no, that’s for meetings in bars, not first contact.”

“Different kind of contact.  The opener has promise, though.”

“Then there’s this one.  It’s a list of everything of interest in the local space region.”

“Like a tourist brochure.  That might be good.”

Larry had reappeared at last—his eyeballs, that is.  Until now, he’d remained a disembodied voice.  Now he was a disembodied voice and a pair of floating eyeballs.  “The last one is. . . odd.  I do not understand.”

“What?”

“It begins, ‘Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote.’”

“That doesn’t even sound like English.”

“It goes on a very long way, and there is a notation which says, ‘a poetic pattern retains inertia.’”

“Weird.”  Xavier thought a bit.  “A little inertia on their part might be helpful.  We could try that.”

The alien ship now loomed large on the vid screen.  Xavier studied it, trying to decide if it bristled with weapons, was covered with sensors, or was just a truly ugly design.

The external audio input crackled to life.  The alien language hurt Xavier’s ears.  Even Larry’s eyeballs seemed to flinch, though as far as Xavier knew he didn’t have ears.  Then the TM kicked in.

“’Who the #$%#  @#$%@# are you?’”

Xavier groaned.  “It’s still doing it!”

“We must respond, Captain.  Failure to respond would be worse than a tactless response.”

“Give them the tourist brochure response.  At least it goes on for a while.  It might buy us some time.”  He wondered what a recitation of the local attractions would sound like in the profane language the TM seemed to have adopted.  “At least the TM can handle the alien language.  I always wondered how they do that.”  Xavier’s musings on the miracles of translators were cut short by a long string of speech in the alien tongue, their TM’s broadcast of where to find hotels, bars, brothels, and other necessary amenities.

The aliens put up with it for a full minute before their response came back.  Stripped of the decorative profanity, it amounted to “your mama.”  Followed by something along the lines of “—obliterate you.”

“Holy asteroids, Larry!”  Xavier scrambled for an idea, beyond the notion that maybe the cussing didn’t come from the TM after all.  They needed back-up, and they needed to get away.  “Code message to Gamma Sixteen about this hostile alien.  And hit that poetry thing.  I hope to Hades IV that it’s right about poetic patterns and inertia, because we have got to get out of here.”

“I have adjusted our course for optimal achievement of a moderately safe jump.  Three minutes and four seconds.”

“Accelerate gradually away from them after the TM begins.”

The harsh syllables began pouring from the TM.  Xavier hoped that the poetic pattern translated, if nothing else did.  And he wondered what the Canterbury Tales sounded like in cuss words.  And if the cryptic comment about inertia meant anything.

It seemed it did.  At least, the alien ship didn’t adjust its course this time to follow as they moved obliquely away from it.  Xavier didn’t know if the aliens were inertialized by poetry, numbed by early English verse, or awed by the TM’s obscene vocabulary.  He didn’t care.

Larry monitored their progress, as Xavier strapped into the jump couch.  A minute later, he initiated the jump, and they were in another system.

Just how had the TM translated “And smale foweles maken melodye,” anyway?

###
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2014

Last chance to enter the May I Suggest. . .  giveaway!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Early Middle Grade Review: Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew

Okay, I have to say it: I love the sound of The Gumshoe News Crew Review.  And this is the review I was supposed to have had up Monday, for the Blog Tour.  Follow that link to enter the drawing for good stuff!

Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew by Melissa Perry Moraja 

Title: Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew: The Super Secret
Author:  Melissa Perry Moraja
Publisher: Melissa Productions, Inc.  2014.  94 pages
Source: Advance review copy

Summary (the official blurb): 
Up until a few days ago, nothing extraordinary had ever happened in ten year old Josh Wunderkind’s life - except eating a whole pot of pasta by himself. But that all changed after a mammoth-sized bird hit him smack on the face with a glob of neon green bird poop, triggering his superhuman Wunderkind ability and leaving him with the responsibility of caring for a baby bird he named Max. Now Josh was just like his older brother and twin sister Madison-super extraordinary! But what Josh didn't realize was that being superhuman wasn't all fun and games. And things only got more complex in Josh’s life when his two siblings and a couple neighborhood friends persuade him to lead a super crime-solving, neighborhood news team—the Gumshoe News Crew. But not before they agree on the Super Secret and complete Gumshoe Boot Camp. Find out what the Super Secret is. Will the Gumshoe News Crew complete boot camp? Or will Josh let his team down?

Review:
Intended for a slightly younger audience than my usual books, this story was a super-quick read.  Charming and witty, it moved swiftly, narrated by the slightly hapless Josh, who is happy to finally find his super power, but is pretty worried about messing things up, and with some reason.  The tone and humor are perfect for the target audience, and were enough to keep this alleged adult turning pages too.

I really had only two complaints about Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew: for one, the role of the baby bird in the story is sufficiently unreal that it needs to be very clear that there is a lot of magical stuff going on there.  He learns to fly in a single, 5-minute lesson?  The author is careful to be sure the readers know that in the ordinary way of things, touching a wild animal or baby chick is a very bad idea, however, which is good.  My second complaint is that the ending was rather sudden.  The story hints at a further mystery they will need to solve--but we are apparently to be left to figure that one out in the next book.  No fair!

Recommendation:
This looks like a great series for readers making the transition from easy-reader books to more advanced chapter books.


Full Disclosure: I was given an advance review copy of Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Josh and The Gumshoe News Crew Blog Tour

Since I've been a little distracted (and posted a few things out of order, and failed in some other areas. . . ), here's a shout-out to Melissa Moraja and the blog tour for Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew!  A fast, fun middle-grade read you should check out!


  







About the Book

Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew by Melissa Perry MorajaTitle: Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew: The Super Secret | Author: Melissa Perry Moraja | Publication Date: May 5, 2014 | Publisher: Melissa Productions | Pages: 154 | Recommended Ages: 6+ (read-aloud) Summary: Up until a few days ago, nothing extraordinary had ever happened in ten year old Josh Wunderkind’s life - except eating a whole pot of pasta by himself. But that all changed after a mammoth-sized bird hit him smack on the face with a glob of neon green bird poop, triggering his superhuman Wunderkind ability and leaving him with the responsibility of caring for a baby bird he named Max. Now Josh was just like his older brother and twin sister Madison-super extraordinary! But what Josh didn't realize was that being superhuman wasn't all fun and games. And things only got more complex in Josh’s life when his two siblings and a couple neighborhood friends persuade him to lead a super crime-solving, neighborhood news team—the Gumshoe News Crew. But not before they agree on the Super Secret and complete Gumshoe Boot Camp. Find out what the Super Secret is. Will the Gumshoe News Crew complete boot camp? Or will Josh let his team down?  

Purchase

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes

 

Review by the Ninja Librarian here!

 

About the Author: Melissa Perry Moraja

Melissa Perry Moraja, Author Melissa Perry Moraja[/caption] Melissa Perry Moraja, Award-Winning Author and Founder of Melissa Productions, Inc., is an entrepreneurial mom, a multifaceted business woman, a creative producer, and an author and illustrator of numerous modern-fantasy children’s books and self-help books. And that’s just the beginning! Melissa also has published articles, appeared on television, been interviewed on radio, has spoken in front of hundreds of people, and held workshops at local schools, discussing creative learning, publishing and parenting. Her desire to make a difference in her four young children’s lives inspired her to leave her six-salary career at IBM in 2007 to become a full-time mom, children’s author, speaker, and consultant. Melissa spends her personal time coaching soccer and softball, painting, and coming up with fun art projects for her kids. She also blogs for Working Mother blog, has guest blogged for Charlotte Observer Mom’s Charlotte, and has her own personal blog at Not Your Ordinary Psychic Mom. Melissa is also committed to building awareness and support for type 1 diabetes. Her twin daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes November 4, 2011. To learn more about Madison’s type 1 diabetes disease please read Madison’s Story. For more information about Melissa and her books, please visit http://www.melissaproductions.com and http://www.notyourordinarypsychicmom.com

Website | Wunderkind Family | Blog | Facebook (Author Fan Page)

Facebook (Book Fan Page) | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

 

* Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew Blog Tour Schedule (2014) *

May 5
May 6
May 7
May 8
May 9
May 10
May 11
May 12
May 13
May 14
May 15
May 16
May 17
May 18
 

* Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: June 3, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Melissa Perry Moraja and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services