Monday, December 11, 2017

My new release: Mama Graciela's Secret... PLUS Goodreads Giveaway!

Hi all,

I'm thrilled to announce the release of my latest picture book, Mama Graciela's Secret...
Do you like cats? How about 1,000 cats?
The book teaches compassion for animals, decision-making and ethnicity, and is available in dyslexic font.

Join Mama Graciela in a beautiful Puerto Rican backdrop as she sells codfish fritters, unexpectedly collects cats, and has to face an angry inspector threatening to close her restaurant down. Can she save the cats and her restaurant?

Mamá Graciela’s Secret
Publication date: October 10, 2017
Written by Mayra Calvani
Illustrated by Sheila Fein
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing
36 pages, 3-7 year olds
Reading guide at:

Mamá Graciela’s TENDER, CRUNCHY, SPICY bacalaítos fritos are the best in town...
Local customers (including stray cats!) come from all over the island to enjoy her secret recipe. But when the Inspector discovers that Mamá secretly caters to so many cats and he threatens to close her tiny restaurant, Mamá must come up with a plan to save it—and all of the animals she loves.

About the author:
Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her children's picture book, Frederico the Mouse Violinist was a finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards; her anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses was a First Place winner at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards; her nonfiction book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, was a Foreword Best Book of the Year winner. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer's Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others.

She lives in Belgium with her husband of 30+ years, two wonderful kids, and her three beloved pets. When she's not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Connect with the author:

About the illustrator:

Born in Queens, New York and living in Los Angeles since 1987, Sheila Fein has always been inspired by the changing world around her. Earning her BA in Design from Buffalo State College of New York, her concentration was on drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. Sheila's education as an artist has taken her everywhere from Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia to Bath University in England. Today, Sheila Fein runs two figurative workshops, Imaginings Sketch in LA and People Sketchers in Thousand Oaks. She has been featured in numerous collections, magazines, books, solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings and drawings reside in public and private collections. Sheila loves to make the imagination of others a reality and has done so through her commissioned Fein Fantasy Portraits and Interactive Paintings. In addition to being a fine artist Sheila works as an illustrator. She just completed the book "Mama Graciela's Secret" for Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing.

Book info:
ISBN:HC 978-1-365-86153-6
SC 978-1-365-86155-0
ISBN Dyslexic Font Version:
DY HC 978-1-365-86154-3 DY SC 978-1-365-86156-7
**This book also has version printed in the Dyslexic font, the typeface for people with dyslexia. Go to to find out more about the typeface.
Suggested Retail Price - 17.99 Hardcover & 13.99 Softcover 40 % Discounted Price – 10.80 Hardcover & 8.40 Softcover
Available through - Ingram - Discount 40% Returnable – Yes
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing – Discount 40% - Returnable – Yes
Publishing company Contact Info: MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 1024 Iron Point Rd 100-1478 Folsom CA 95630
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 620 Buchanan Way, Folsom, CA 95630 916-897-1670


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mama Graciela's Secret by Mayra Calvani

Mama Graciela's Secret

by Mayra Calvani

Giveaway ends December 31, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Interview with Davin Whitehurst, Author of 'I Have Faith'

Davin Whitehurst lives in the beautiful high desert of Southern Arizona with his wife and son. He is releasing his first book "I have Faith" in May of 2016 but has so many more that are in the making. The motivation behind the books are deeply rooted from in his own past. He is a living testimony of Proverbs 22:6. Growing up in Southwest Kansas and in a Christian household, he was trained up in the way he should go. By the time he became a teenager, Davin turned away from God and left church. Fast forward into his late twenties and God brought him back with a powerful calling. He and his family have been faithfully serving at Seed of Abraham Christian Center International for over seven years now. Proof that when we teach our children the way they should go. When they get older, they know where to turn and will not depart from God. Davin wants each book written to be a resource that parents have to help train their children in the way they should go. He writes stories in a simple way that will be fun and practical for every child. He wants children to get excited about faith and the things of God.

His latest release is the children’s book, I Have Faith.

For More Information
Welcome to Mayra's Secret Bookcase, Davin! Tell us, do you consider yourself to be a born writer?

I do see myself as a born writer. Just like anything though we have to perfect our craft. I have always been a creative person with ideas and stories that have written down over the years. It has taken me a long time to realize that I should finish them and get them published.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I never wanted to be an author and I ran from my calling for years. God began to speak to me about writing children’s books about eight years ago. I was in the middle of a music career and a developing government job. I just could never shake it though. About two years ago I told God that I would do what He had called me to do. From that point forward I have been working on getting every book idea and concept He has given me written, illustrated and published. I Have Faith is the first of those book ideas.

Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

I Have Faith is my first and latest book released. This is a story from my childhood. I had believed God for a dog and through faith and patience that puppy became mine after months of believing and trusting in God. A few years back God had spoke to me about turning that experience into a story for children to learn faith.

Tell us about your children's books.

I Have Faith is about a young boy named Danny who has been believing God for a dog. The story takes the reader through the journey of where faith comes from, that it may not come right away but God is faithful to His word and to not let doubt and outside influence distract you from what God said to believe Him for. The book has scriptures and a discussion section at the end which allow parents and children to dig deeper into developing faith.

Some writers go on long walks, others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?

I have always sought the wisdom of God and his plan for my writing. I am in the middle of a young adult novel now with some writers block and I am waiting on His guidance. He has never let me down. I think it is also time to move distractions out of the way and get focused back on the storyline. I always have my digital notepad on my phone ready and a small pocket notebook available because I never want to let an idea slip away.

Are you a disciplined writer? What is your working style? 

I am a very sporadic writer. So I have rearranged my recording studio to be more of my creative studio. I am in the process of getting to be a more disciplined writer. I have only been writing for about two years now so I am trying to find my balance in the midst of family and work schedules.

Do you like to outline and plot ahead, or are you more of a stream-of-consciousness writer?

I think I am a bit of both. With I Have Faith, I started off with a story board but as the illustrations were completed we changed some things and then I started finishing the writing as it came to me. Now with the YA novel I am working on I had main ideas and concepts that I am sticking to but also have been making things work as new ideas and concepts approach.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?

The website is under my publishing company Childlike Faith Publishing and can be found at

What are you working on now?

I have more children’s book ideas that I am in the process of getting illustrated and then published. I Have Faith is releasing in Spanish (Yo Tengo Fe) and will be available as an ebook. My next book is a book out of Genesis chapter one. It will be an educational book for ages two to five and tell the story of how God created the world around us.

I am in the process of writing my first young adult novel also and should be completed sometime in 2017. God has been so good to me and looking forward to getting many more children’s books published over the next couple of years.

Where are your books available?

I Have Faith is available on my website, Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble and you can order it from any book store.

What was your experience in looking for a publisher?

I had been struggling to finally finish a book for so long that I never went through a publisher. I decided to self publish through my own publishing company because I did not want to wait on publishers reviewing the book and just wanted to get this first book to the reader.

What was your experience in working with an illustrator?

Since this was my first book and experience with an illustrator; I had no clue what to expect. The process was very good. My illustrator did a wonderful job on getting across what I wanted and the overall process from start to finish was painless.

What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid to follow after the dreams God has placed in you. If your scared do it scared. There is nothing more fulfilling than living out the life you were meant to live. Don’t look at others as competition but learn from them and see what they have accomplished and learn from them. The bible tells us that as iron sharpens iron one friend sharpens another. When iron strikes there will be sparks but when you have people in your lives to mentor and push you to grow, it won’t always be fun but that growth and stretching will take you to levels that you never would have gone by yourself.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I think one of the books that stand out in my mind the most is the berenstain bears picnic. I have not read that book in so many years but can still remember the story and what they went through to have a great family picnic.

What is the best advice on writing you've ever received?

Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged. I now know what authors were telling me. Sales up to this point are not bad but can get better, even though that was not what I was going for when I published the book. Sales are just an indicator of where my reach is in the world and I would like it to be everywhere, but I will not give up. I will not get discouraged. I know I have to keep writing and put in the time and work it takes to become successful.

We hear again and again that picture books are incredibly difficult to write. Why is that?

I did not have that experience. I was thinking that it would be in the beginning but the process for me went so smooth. I was wondering when the hard times were going to come but it was an amazing time for me getting I Have Faith completed. My process may have been a little backwards from the norm to though. I did not write a manuscript until after the illustrations were done. I knew what I wanted the story to be about and I wanted the pictures to say just as much as the writing would. It worked out very well for me.

How do you see the future of children’s picture books?

I see it moving to the digital realm to a certain extent. I don’t have children any more, but I would rather have a physical book to share with my child. Many parents and kids are very comfortable with digital devices and I see apps, ebooks and programs catering to this more and more.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
I have some great books that will be releasing over the next couple of years so stay up to date with Childlike Faith Publishing and myself as an author. My goal is to bring the bible to life in a practical way for children to understand and live out. Thank you very much for having me on today.

 About the Book:

Title: I Have Faith 
Author: Davin Whitehurst
Publisher: Childlike Faith Publishing
Pages: 26
Genre:  Children

Are you ready to get your child excited about faith? “I Have Faith” puts your child right in the footsteps of Danny as he begins to learn about faith. Danny and his older brother have been wanting a dog, but both know their parents don’t think they are ready for a dog. When Danny’s mom begins teaching him what the bible says about faith, he puts his faith into action. After praying and releasing his faith for a dog, doubt and even his best friend keep telling him that he will never get a dog. Over time Danny never loses his faith in the promises of God and finds that God is faithful and that faith works. Come along on this journey that is a real life event that took place in the author’s life as a child.
This book has great illustrations that support a wonderful story about finding faith in God. As you are teaching your child about principals in the bible; this book will help you teach faith. What a wonderful experience it is when we can see our children begin to develop their faith in God, and grow from a tiny mustard seed to a firmly planted tree. The back of the book has a parent/child discussion which will help children gain understanding in faith and some scriptures that Danny’s mom used to get him excited about faith.

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

“Hi! My name is Danny.” This is how I learned to trust God and believe His word.
It’s called faith, and you have faith too.