Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Dream Come True for this First-Time Author

Jennifer Gladen has written for most of her life. Her first children's picture book, A Star in the Night, will be coming out this summer by Guardian Angel Publishing. Jennifer is also working on another book which comes close to her heart, a story about a little girl waiting for a liver transplant.

Do you consider yourself to be a born writer?

Yes! Even as a child, I could always be found writing something. I wrote stories and poems for my teachers. I wrote in my journal every day. In short, it’s always been a part of my life. Growing up, I was a quiet little girl. Writing was my way of communicating with the world.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I sure did! It wasn’t until I took a few courses at the Institute of Children’s Literature that I realized this was something I really could do. I’m grateful that I chose to follow my dream. If I didn’t, I’d be missing out on the greatest career in the world!

Tell us about your children's books.

My first children’s book, A Star in the Night, will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing sometime this summer. It is a Christmas themed e-book about a boy, Andy, going home on Christmas Eve. Andy, accompanied by a shimmering star, encounters three experiences, which change his view of Christmas forever.

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

Yes. My official website is
You can also find me on my blogs: and

What are you working on now?

My current project is a picture book about a little girl, Olivia, who needs a liver transplant and her brave journey to get it. While many children are wondering if they’ll learn to ride a bike, Olivia is wondering when that life-saving transplant will happen. We see the struggles and complex feelings in which she deals with daily.

This book was inspired by my own daughter who needed a liver transplant. When I looked for good books to read to her, I saw nothing which could help a child of her age cope with this situation. “There should be a book about this,” I complained to my husband. Voila’ – Olivia was born.

What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to stick with it. Be persistent in your dream. Don’t give up in the face of rejections. Just pick up your manuscripts, dust it off, revise (yes – for the umpteenth time) and send it out elsewhere.

This is your dream and your goal. The only one who can assure your success is you.

-Interview by Mayra Calvani,

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The winter issue of The Wash Rag newsletter is out!

The winter issue of The Wash Rag, the offical newsletter os The Reading Tub, Inc. is now out for your reading pleasure.

To see the issue, click here.

Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Doherty, the founder of The Reading Tub, for Blogcritics Magazine. You may read this fascinating interview here:
Part I
Part 11

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The 2007 CYBILS Winners Announced!


The winners of the 2007 CYBILS have been announced. Click here to see the list!

Congrats to the winners and happy reading!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Interview with Susan Berger, author of JAMIE'S DREAM

Susan Berger is the author of Jamie's Dream, a children's picture book she collaborated with her son, Christopher Corbin.

Did you always want to be a writer?

No. I wanted to be a ballet dancer. Then I wanted to be a nurse. (I was reading the Cherry Ames, Girl Nurse Series) Then I wanted to be a reporter. (I was reading the Beverly Gray, Girl Reporter series.) In my defense, I did not want to be everything I read. I never wanted to be an inventor (Tom Swift Series) or a detective (Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys) In my daydreams I wanted to be queen of the world so I could end all hunger and give all the orphans good homes. Then I wanted to be an actress.
By this time, I was twelve and knew myself for a fickle person since I wanted to be so many things.

I did not want to be a writer. I knew I was a writer. I won my first writing prize at St Cyprians School in Cape Town, S. Africa in 1955. It was a very nice story about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. It began... "Far away in the land of Holidays, where no mortal child has ever been, lived the Easter Bunny...." I wish I could remember the rest of it.

In 8th grade, in Westport Connecticut, I had a poem published in anthology of high school poetry. I suppose I wrote some more after that, but it must have been schoolwork. By the time I was in 9th grade, all my extracurricular activity was acting.
When I started to write again in 1992, the first story I worked on was Jamie's Dream with my son Christopher.

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

I was attending the 1992 Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. They gave out an exercise. "Write about a saying as if it were real" i.e. 'There is a skeleton in my closet.' I chose "Buy a Dream". I came home and discussed it with Christopher. I asked him "Where would you go to buy a dream?" He gave me that LOOK that children give grownups when grownups are being particularly stupid. "Dream's R Us, of course" he answered. And so our collaboration began. Chris was 9, but he was going to a school where writing was highly valued. His school mornings began with 20 minutes of creative writing. Then they read their work aloud. They critiqued each other, just as they did in my adult writer's group. He was a great partner. Over the next 12 years, Jamie was sent out many times. It was rewritten at least 16 times. Then Guardian Angel said they wanted to publish it. The joy of that moment is equaled only by the moment I first saw Kim's Illustrations.

What are you working on now?

This week I worked on Disasters Happen: Earthquake which will be published by Guardian Angel in 2008. It is a non fiction book for the science series. It is aimed at first - third graders. (What causes earthquakes? Can we predict them? Where do they happen? How do we prepare for them? What to do during a quake? What happens afterwards.)

I am also working on a storybook called Brittany's Wall, (Needs a better title.) and a mid grade chapter book called Tasha the Magnificent. Brittany is going into its 8th rewrite. Tasha is going into its 9th rewrite. I have contacted the SCBWI for a new critique group for Tasha. I find re writing to be both drudgery and magic. When I finish a story, I am always convinced that I have written the best story I am capable of writing. It is amazing to see how much better it can become.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

It is not your business to question your talent. It is your business to show up at the page. (okay, it's short, but it's great advice.)

Do you have a website or blog where readers may learn more about you and your works? links to my live journal and to mine and Christopher's pages. I am looking forward to making another website where I can list other books as they come out and link to other authors.

What is the IMDB?

It is the internet movie data base ( It is a wonderful site. You can look up any movie or TV show and see the full cast and credits. You can also look up any actor and (hopefully) see what movies and TV shows they have done. I say hopefully because I cannot seem to get my Hannah Montana Episode added. I don't have a large Movie and TV resume. Most of my professional work is theatre.

Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Andrea says to Melina in The Magic Violin, "I'll tell you what's magic-believing in yourself. That's magic!" Jamie says in Jamie's Dream "But mom, you said I could do anything I believed I could do." I think Andrea and Jamie's mom give very good advice. May you always find the magic.

--Interview by Mayra Calvani

Friday, February 8, 2008

Reviews of GIFTS FROM GOD and KITTY KERPLUNKING, by Cynthia Reeg

Beautiful and spiritually inspiring, Gifts from God is a tribute to God and all the things that are pure in our lives--the innocence and laughter of our children, the tenderness of a newborn, the magnificence of a sunset, the 'laughter' of a waterfall. With a few simple lines, some taken from the Bible, some from her imagination, author Cynthia Reeg has created a lovely book for the entire family, one to be read not only at bedtime, but at any hour of the day. The photographs and imagery are, in one word, captivating. This is a must children's book for your Christian fiction bookshelf.

Gifts from God
By Cynthia Reeg
Illustrations by Mary Sue Roberts
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-34-4
Print ISBN: 978-1-933090-33-7
Copyright 2007
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

In Kitty Kerplunking: Preposition Fun, Reeg teaches children, in a light and fun way, the uses of prepositions. How does she do this? With the help of one very cute Kitty and his antics about the house.

Each page features an engaging, colorful illustration and a sentence showing a preposition.

For instance...

"Preppy the kitty … pitter-pattered ON the piano keys."

Each time the preposition in the sentence is capitalized. At the end of the book there's a useful study guide as well as six pages of activities, including a criss-cross puzzle, word search, seek & find, and fill-in-the-blanks. This is the perfect book to introduce young children to prepositions.

Kitty Kerplunking:
Preposition Fun
by Cynthia Reeg
Illustrations by Marina Movshina
ISBN: 1-933090-27-8
January 2006
Guardian Angel Publishing

You may also want to visit this author's website at:

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, coming out in June 2008!

Are you passionate about books? Do you have the desire to share your thoughts about a book with readers, yet are unsure about what makes a good review? Are you curious about the influence reviews have on readers, booksellers, and librarians?

If you’re a beginner, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will show you how to write a well-written, honest, objective and professional book review. But that’s not all. This book will also teach you:

How to read critically
How to differentiate the various types of reviews
How to rate books
How to prevent amateurish mistakes
How to deal with the ethics and legalities of reviews
How to tell the difference between a review, a book report, and a critique
How to start your own review site
How to publish your reviews on dozens of sites and even make money while you’re at it, and much more

If you’re an author, publisher, publicist, bookseller, librarian, or reader, this book will also bring to light the importance and influence of book reviews within a wider spectrum.

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
by Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwards
Twilight Times Books
Trade Paperback/Ebook
188 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 15th, 2008
ARCs available for review, please contact the publisher, Lida Quillen, at