Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interview with Nicole Weaver, author of My Sister is my Best Friend

Nicole Weaver is an award-winning children's author.  Her love for languages and other cultures resulted in her writing three trilingual children's pictures books, Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle, My Sister Is My Best Friend and currently under contract My Brother Is My Best Friend.  Nicole Weaver is  a veteran French / Spanish high school teacher and  adjunct professor of French at Arapahoe Community College in her hometown of Littleton , Colorado. Author , Nicole Weaver donates a large portion of her book proceeds to Mercy& Sharing .  To learn more about Mercy & Sharing please visit:

Do you consider yourself a born writer?

No, I am not a born writer.  I started writing when my two older children left home to attend college.  I experienced some major depression.  A friend of mine talked me into attending a local writer’s conference.  I left the conference with an urgent need to start writing.  I entered a poetry contest sponsored by my local library.  I won first place and from there I branched out and wrote a children’s picture book.  The therapeutic benefits from writing had me completely hooked.  

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

I got inspired to write My Sister is My Best Friend after I met my half sister for the first time in 2008.  We immediately became best friends.  My imagination took off.  I began thinking about what it would have been like if I had grown up with her.  I came up with a very positive story that portrays two twin sisters who get along and enjoy each other's company instead of being yet another typical story about sibling rivalry.  

Tell us about your children's books.

My first book titled, Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle is based on true events of my childhood days in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  I lived with my father near the beach.    Sea turtles came to shore to lay their eggs within walking distance from my home.  I loved watching the mother turtles lay their eggs and later return to the sea.  One unlucky turtle was stuck on the beach and much to my dismay; my father and uncles had plans for the poor turtle.  In short, Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle is about what happened at the beach so many years ago. 
My third book is very similar to My Sister is My Best Friend.  My Brother is My Best Friend is currently under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.  It is a story about two twin brothers.  A blogger left a message on my blog asking me to write a book about twin brothers, and that is how I came up with the idea to write the manuscript.  Much to my delight, My Brother is My Best Friend came to be.

What was your favorite book as a child?

 I loved The Curious George Series.  I loved the pictures and reading them helped me learn how to read in English.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a manuscript, which is currently being critiqued.  I think the manuscript should be ready for submission soon.  I wrote a story about fraternal twins.  I thought it would be great to complete the series.  My first book is about two twin sisters, second book about twin boys and now the third about a boy/girl twin.

Where are your books available?


My Publisher:

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

Yes, readers can go here:

Mayra , thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"The 5 Best Ghost-Related YA for College-Aged, Teen Girls," by Nadia Jones

Vampires are so passé. It’s not all about ghosts now. If you’re looking for a good read to spook you just in time for Halloween this season, you might want to check out some of these great YA titles below. Some are funny, some are spooky, and some are just down right interesting. Either way, none of the titles will make you say “boo”—they’re just that good.

The Summoning is the first instalment of a three-part book series called the Darkest Power, written by newbie author Kelly Armstrong. This coming of age story follows 15-year-old Chloe Sanders who initially starts off as a normal teenager with “normal” insecurities but then realizes she has something else to worry about —she can see the undead. When family and friends don’t believe her, she is sent to a boarding house for mentally disabled and disturbed teens. Soon Chloe learns that many of her new roommates share her same special gifts—but can they be trusted?  The Summoning is definitely a page turner and creepy in its own respect.

Anya’s Ghost is actually a beautifully illustrated and written graphic novel by Vera Brosgol, an author who I praise for her witty and dark-humor style of writing. In a nutshell, Anya is a young Russian teen that feels like an outcast trying to get acclimated to her new America high school. She struggles with common teen issues such as body image and wanting to belong with the “in” crowd. In the end she longs to have just one friend. Her wish finally comes true when she falls down a well and comes in contact with the ghost of a teen who is now long forgotten. But when Anya’s new BFF says forever, she really means it.

Bad Girls Don’t Die is the first installment of a three-part series under the same name by author Katie Alender. The book’s teen protagonist Alexis becomes severely concerned for her younger sister after she becomes obsessed with one of her new antique dolls. Alexis not only notices that her young is changing inside and out, but a bunch of paranormal activities start to occur within the house as well. Alexis soon becomes determined to find out why.

The title is a bit gruesome but foreshadows the intense ghosts and monsters author Kendare Blake attempts to introduce in Anna Dressed in Blood. Its male teen protagonist Cas Lowood comes from a lineage of ghost killers. With the help of his witch mother and special-skilled cat, he battles evil forces on a regular basis. One eerily evening, however, he is sent to vanquish a vicious murdering ghost named Anna Dressed in Blood, a name bestowed to her after she was murdered in a now blood-stained white gown in 1958. She kills all who crosses her path, but for some strange reason she chooses to spare Cas’ life.

Lastly but certainly not least is Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. This book combines mermaids, ghosts, and a good mystery all-in-one. Similar to Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid a beautiful mermaid falls in love with a male human and trades in her fins for a pair of legs. But there’s one huge difference: a curse is placed upon future generations in her family. Women who fall in love have an untimely death. Will Hester, a great, great granddaughter of the mermaid, see the same fate when she falls for a boy named Ezra?

Nadia Jones is a freelance education writer for, a website that specializes in online education. Nadia also enjoys covering an array of education-related topics that help college-bound teens expand their minds such as offering book listings. She welcomes your comments.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: The Adventures of Zeppi: New Friends (book 1)

In the middle of the night, a mysterious red truck races down Happy Town. Its cargo? Cages filled with penguins on their way to be shipped to another country. Suddenly the doors fling open and one cage rolls down the street and lands in a garden. From it, a little penguin steps out fearfully, awed at the world around him. Up until now, he has only known the constraints of the zoo.

In the morning, a boy named Alesdor discovers him and decides to keep him. Naturally, they immediately click and become the best of friends. Though the little penguin, Zeppi, is heartbroken from being separated from the rest of his family, he finds warmth and affection in Alesdor, who is as anxious for a friend as his new companion.

This children’s book by first-time Belgian author C.K. Omillin put a smile on my face throughout; not only because it’s about a penguin (and who doesn’t love penguins?), but because the story is sweet and weaves elements of friendship, family and ecological, planet-friendly values. This is the first instalment in The Adventures of Zeppi series and the beginning of their escapades. The adorable illustrations in soft pastel colors complement the story perfectly. This isn’t the standard picture book for 3-7 year olds that has short text and includes artwork on almost every page, but rather a picture book for slighter older kids (ages 6-9), who can handle longer stories. Still, there are 13 illustrations in this book, many of them spot illustrations.

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. The Adventures of Zeppi is sure to become a favourite of children, especially those who love penguins. C.K. Omillin is definitely an author to keep your eye on.

Find out more at
Rean my interview with author C.K. Omillin on Blogcritics

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Writing for Children Live," by Kim Taylor-DiLeva

If you are, or ever have been, an aspiring children’s book author, then like me, you’ve had times when you’ve either been closed out of great conferences, had to travel great distances to hear from experts in the field, or spent a lot of money on fees and travel.

I was a frustrated, but very motivated, aspiring children’s book author, who decided to do something about it.  Having been an aspiring children’s book author for a very long time (on and off for 12 years) and having made the decision to finally devote my free time and career to doing what I really loved (writing for children), I needed education and training from the best, experienced children’s book authors available.  So in an effort to help other aspiring, frustrated, and motivated aspiring children’s book authors (and myself), I began Writing for Children Live.   

Writing for Children Live is a website where you can learn from the best experts in the field of writing childrens' books, from the comfort of your own home, through FREE, LIVE teleconference calls and webinars.  No fees, no travel.  You can listen in on your phone or via your computer.  If for some reason you can't make the call or webinar at the time and date it is scheduled for, there is no need to worry.  A replay of the call/webinar will be made available for your convenience FREE for 24 hours following the live call. So no getting closed out, either. 

If you miss the replay of your favorite, author, agent or publisher, or if you heard the call, but wish you could hear it again, and again, for all of the great information and tips, all calls will be made available to purchase on an MP3 download (after the 24 hour free replay).  All webinars will also be available to purchase, so that you can watch it as many times as you want to. 

My favorite quote from the movie Field of Dreams is “If you build it, they will come.”  So when I decided to start Writing for Children Live, I thought that if this website was meant to be, the speakers will come.  You can imagine the THRILL I had when the first author to submit a proposal to speak on Writing for Children Live was the one and only, Newbery Honor Award Winner, Marion Dane Bauer!

I can’t wait to host Marion Dane Bauer’s teleconference call and webinar in September and am so tremendously excited about hosting all of the other great authors that are coming this fall:  Angela Morrison, Susan Shaw, John Micklos, Jr. and K. M. Walton.  Even more great authors are coming this Winter and Spring (you won’t want to miss my interview on writing coming this spring with Ella Enchanted’s author Gail Carson Levine!!!)

To get notified of how you can access upcoming author presentations, visit

Thank you so very much to Mayra Calvani for allowing me to be a guest blogger this week on her blog and giving me the opportunity to share the information about this great opportunity with all of you!!!