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Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview with Donna Fasano
author of The Merry-Go-Round, Mountain Laurel, and An Accidental Family


I'm pleased to welcome back Donna Fasano to Cookie's Book Club. The last time Donna was here, while I was on vacation, quite a little party broke out! Let's see what happens this time.

Donna is a bestselling, award-winning author of over thirty romance and women's fiction (aka 'chick lit') novels. I have now read three of Donna’s books: The Merry-Go-Round, Mountain Laurel, and An Accidental Family. All three of these books were fun reads.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Golden Sky Blogfest

Recently, I spoke to you about EC Stilson's new book The Golden Sky, and gave away two copies of the book to two lucky winners! Click here to view that post which includes an excerpt from the book as well as Elisabeth's words on why she wrote The Golden Sky.

Today, Elisabeth hosts The Golden Sky Blogfest!

EC Writes

It's an opportunity for bloggers to come together and show their support as they speak about their own experiences of loss. You can read my submission, Remembering 'G', at Cookie's Book Club.

Check out some of the other submissions: The Golden Sky Blogfest is here!

And enter to win an iPad 2:

The Golden Sky Book Launch and iPad2 Giveaway

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two advance copies of The Golden Sky
by EC Stilson

On November 18th, EC Stilson will release her new memoir, The Golden Sky.

This story is as real as it gets! Elisabeth Stilson tells the story of her journey through the pregnancy, birth and loss of her son Zeke. The text of the book is taken directly from Stilson's journals. We learn of the raw emotions and very real outcomes that follow the tragic loss of a child. It's a fascinating and touching read.

Elisabeth Stilson on writing "The Golden Sky":

    "One of my best friends inspired me to reread my journal several years ago. The whole experience seemed so far away, almost like it didn't happen. It was painful at first, but I made myself read everything I'd written from that time. After revising my original journal, I finally feel at peace with Zeke's death. Thank God I wrote everything down!
    It is interesting, looking back at my past and seeing things through new eyes. Cade (my husband) has read my journal, as well, and we've had many late night discussions regarding our memories and the lessons displayed there.
    I love all of my children, and Zeke will never be forgotten. My time with him has been pushed into a special place in my heart. Nothing can take that away, and those memories will always be here to keep me strong and help me be the person I know Zeke would want me to be."

An excerpt from The Golden Sky by EC Stilson:

    Ruby asked if we could go to the store today. She begged and begged until I said "yes." She wanted a balloon, for crying out loud. After we made it to the store, and she finally dragged me to the balloon area, she got so picky I couldn't believe it. Before I could contain myself, I said, "Just pick one, Ruby. Please! Mommy has had it!"

    Her perfect little hand grabbed a blue balloon, and she eyed it suspiciously, like it was the lead suspect in a crime, or something.

    "This one, Mama! This one," she yelled, because apparently it was innocent.

    "Okay, Honey, calm down." I took a deep breath and paid for the balloon.

    The minute we got outside, Ruby let go and waved "bye-bye," as the costly thing floated into the sky. "Ruby!" I groaned, but she didn't look at me, and kept waving to her helium friend. "Ruby! Why did you do that?" 

    She looked at me seriously, and in a toddler accent no one understands except me, she said, "Are there bawoons in heaven, Mama?"

    "I don't know, Honey." The anger vanished from my voice.

    "I don't think there are, so I gave my bawoon to Zeke." She smiled up at me, the beautiful smile of innocence.

    "Oh, Honey," I sobbed, and hugged her. "Zeke loves balloons."

    She put her hands on her hips then, and said, "Mama, don't get mad unwess you know the whole story, k?"

    "Okay! I promise," I said, and we shook on it. 

About the Author:

     EC Stilson (Elisa Hirsch) has her degree through the University of Phoenix. Her particular degree has a counseling emphasis and she finds it very useful when leading grief counseling groups for parents who have lost children. 
    Elisa plays six instruments; the violin, piano, drums, alto sax, tenor sax and the clarinet. Her husband is also a musician. They love to play at weddings, funerals, coffee shops and restaurants. 
    She also enjoys speaking publicly and meeting new people. She has spoken at M.O.P.S., been Juliet in the local play and made it to the final three for the Salt Lake Story Tellers contest in 2001. She hopes to continue being asked to speak at functions and counsel people who need help overcoming grief.
    Her husband and four beautiful children are a blessing. She is so proud to have them in her life especially since one of her little boys passed away. He was born with birth defects and he changed her life. Since his death, writing has become an even stronger passion of Elisa's. She always wrote, even finishing a ninety page manuscript at the age of ten, but now writing is one of her best driving forces. She tries to write for at least two hours each morning and is in a writing critic group as well as the Writers League of Utah.  

To enter the giveaway, click Click Here/Click for Instructions and then click I DID THIS! once you have completed each entry. There is the potential for anywhere from 1 to 5 entries per person.

Thank-you for participating! Good luck!

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This giveaway is listed on:
The Giveaway Gallery Maple Leaf Mommy's Blog Post Your Giveaway Linky's

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Free Writing Books

Just had to let you all know about a few books on writing that are being offered as free e-books today at Amazon.com.

This one I  own in paperback:

How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play - Barbara Baig

Product Description (source: Amazon.com)
Athletes practice. Musicians practice. As a writer you need to do the same. Whether you have dreams of writing a novel or a memoir or a collection of poems, or you simply want to improve your everyday writing, this innovative book will show you how to build your skills by way of practice. Through playful and purposeful exercises, you'll develop your natural aptitude for communication, strengthening your ability to come up with things to say, and your ability to get those things into the minds (and the hearts) of readers. You'll learn to: 1. Train and develop your writer's powers—creativity, memory, observation, imagination, curiosity, and the subconscious2. Understand the true nature of the relationship between you and your readers 3. Find your writer's voice4. Get required writing projects done so you have more time for the writing you want to do5. And much moreEmpowering and down-to-earth, How to Be a Writer gives you the tools you need, and tells you what (and how) to practice so that you can become the writer you want to be.Praise for How to Be a WriterThis is a wise, humane and practical book for anyone who wants to write; it guides the novice and re-awakens the veteran to processes and practices which can bring out the best writing in all of us.—Emma Darwin, author of A Secret Alchemy

About the Author (source: Amazon.com)
Writer and self-described "maverick educator" Barbara Baig has been helping adults and college students learn how to write since 1984. Barbara's real-world writing experience, combined with her passion for teaching, has enabled her to develop an approach that is innovative, practical, and empowering, helpful to amateur and professional writers alike.

Getting the Words Right - Theodore Cheney

Product Description (source: Amazon.com)
The Secret to Good WritingWhen asked by the Paris Review what compelled him to rewrite the ending of A Farewell to Arms 39 times, Ernest Hemingway replied, "Getting the words right." His answer echoes what every successful writer knows: The secret to all good writing is revision.For more than twenty years, Getting the Words Right has helped writers from all professions rewrite, revise, and refine their writing. In this new edition, author Theodore Cheney offers 39 targeted ways you can improve your writing, including how to:create smooth transitions between paragraphscorrect the invisible faults of inconsistency, incoherence, and imbalanceovercome problems of shifting point of view and styleexpress your ideas clearly by trimming away weak or extra wordsYou'll strengthen existing pieces and every future work by applying the three simple principles—reduce, rearrange, and reword. Once the secrets of revision are yours, you'll be able to follow Hemingway's lead—and get the words right!

About the Author (source: Amazon.com)
A longtime University professor, Theodore A Rees Cheney is also the author of Writing Creative Nonfiction.

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book - Marilyn Ross

Product Description (source: Amazon.com)
Take Control of Your Destiny!Bottom line: You want to get published. You want to control the future of your manuscript and your writing career.Best-selling author Marilyn Ross and publishing expert Sue Collier show you how to make your own success—whether you're a published author, entrepreneur, corporation, professional, or absolute newcomer to writing. In this expanded and completely revised 5th edition of the "bible" of self-publishing (over 100,000 copies sold), they empower you to publish your own work with minimal risk and maximum profits. You'll find:Complete step-by-step guidance on publishing and marketing a bookWays to leverage social media marketing to build your platform and make yourself stand out from the crowd A thorough explanation of the difference between POD self-publishing, subsidy publishing, and true self-publishing—and how to decide which is the best option for youPractical advice on making the decision between offset printing and print-on-demandHow to leverage the Internet to create "buzz" and promote your book with killer PRThe latest information on e-publishing A detailed marketing plan and timetable to keep you on trackProven marketing strategies to get free publicity, reach nontraditional buyers, and sell booksInformation-packed appendices with marketing contacts, organizations, and vendors, complete with names, addresses, and websitesValuable case studies and examples of how other publishers excelAn in-depth discussion of exclusive distributors, plus coverage of the most recent changes in bookstores and the book-selling industryThirty-one creative ideas for generating capital to launch your publishing companyThe Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is the one book you need to take control of your writing career. Read it. Believe it. Do it. Your future depends on it.

About the Author (source: Amazon.com)
Marilyn Ross is an internationally acclaimed self-publishing authority who has helped thousands of authors sell millions of books. She has been quoted in a multitude of magazines including Publishers Weekly and Newsweek, and has appeared on scores of radio and TV shows, including NPR's All Things Considered. Sue Collier has an extensive background in writing and editing having ghost-written a half-dozen books and edited hundreds more. The two have been collaborating for the past 15 years on a myriad of projects, but most recently focused their efforts on Self-Publishing Resources, a writing, marketing, and publishing consulting firm that assists authors in surpassing their personal and professional publishing goals.

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go - Les Edgerton

Product Description (source: Amazon.com)
The road to rejection is paved with bad beginnings. Agents and editors agree: Improper story beginnings are the single biggest barrier to publication. Why? If a novel or short story has a bad beginning, then no one will keep reading. It's just that simple.In Hooked, author Les Edgerton draws on his experience as a successful fiction writer and teacher to help you overcome the weak openings that lead to instant rejection by showing you how to successfully use the ten core components inherent to any great beginning. You'll find:Detailed instruction on how to develop your inciting incidentKeys for creating a cohesive story-worthy problemTips on how to avoid common opening gaffes like overusing backstoryA rundown on basics such as opening scene length and transitionsA comprehensive analysis of more than twenty great opening lines from novels and short storiesPlus, you'll discover exclusive insider advice from agents and acquiring editors on what they look for in a strong opening. With Hooked, you'll have all the information you need to craft a compelling beginning that lays the foundation for an irresistible story!

About the Author (source: Amazon.com)
Les Edgerton (MFA, Vermont College) is a novelist and author of Finding Your Voice. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories 2001, Kansas Quarterly, Arkansas Review, North Atlantic Review, Chiron Review, and many others. His honors include a Pushcart Prize nomination, Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, and an Indiana Arts Commission Fellowship.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spanish for Young Readers
Guest post by Barbara Mascareno-Shaw

I am pleased to have Barbara Mascareno-Shaw visiting Cookie’s Book Club today. I’ve asked her to tell us about a few books for young Spanish learners.

“What’s in a Bilingual Book?”

Is it possible to find just one book that can help all bilingual readers or beginners in Spanish? Could there be books that can give young readers an easy access to new Spanish words?

A Spanish bilingual young reader is one that is learning how to read, write, and eventually speak Spanish. Usually when young readers are starting to learn to read, they start to sound out words and syllables. This is helpful in letter recognition and phonemic awareness.

For a bilingual young reader, it is even more important to distinguish between the vocal sounds in English and Spanish. In this way, books that have easy to read fonts and pictures are essential for young bilingual readers. 

One particular series of books is Tupi by Merce Aranega

Here, the author establishes the relation between Spanish words with the pictures in the book. It links the notion of the visual understanding between the words and words in context by using different pictures. The young or beginner reader must sound out the picture word in the sentence to continue reading. This book series incorporates basic daily tasks such as bathing, playing music, fieldtrips to parks and farms, and storytelling and uses easy to recognize pictures to complete the sentence in the story.

Another good example of easy to understand bilingual books is the Wordbook (Libros de Palabras) series by Mary Berendes

The author also uses pictures as a visual tool to build a relation between words and meaning. In this case, the words are not just stand-alone concepts as in a dictionary but are part of a complete scenario. For instance, in learning about seasons, winter could be portrayed as a winter wonderland with ice-skating, snow, snowmen, cold weather, and many more examples of winter. The best part of this series is that the reader can build the story as they pronounce the words in the picture since the words are all related to that topic in that specific scenario.

In learning Spanish, there are many different bilingual tools but it’s always fun to build vocabulary with easy to read picture books.

Barbara Mascareno-Shaw has a dual degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry and has taught K-12 children under the No-Child-Left-Behind program. The students in this program are struggling in school and are about to repeat a grade unless there’s parent/teacher intervention. Barbara is a native Spanish speaker from Argentina that’s lived in the United States most of her life. She believes in promoting reading skills at any age level whether bilingual or not. She encourages her daughter, Savanna, to learn Spanish through books, songs, projects, and of course Science lessons. Barbara currently lives in Las Vegas, NV with her wonderful husband and daughter Savanna. She also is a Science, Math, and Spanish tutor. You can learn more about her by visiting her at her blog, Spanish4Kiddos - The Spanish Science Corner. You can also follow her on Twitter and visit her Facebook page.

Thanks Barbara! These look great. I think I'll pick up a couple of them as Christmas gifts for my four-year-old. (He loves Dora and Diego and wants me to send him to a Spanish school!) 
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