Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Interview with Jen K. Blom, author of 'New Pony Day!'

Jen K Blom is an international award-winning author living in Berlin, Germany with her daughter, husband and hairless cat Yoda. Visit www.pony101.de to get all sorts of great updates and activity sheets featuring Josie, Floki and Pasta!

Her latest book is the children’s picture book, New Pony Day!

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Welcome to Mayra's Secret Bookcase, Jen! Did you always want to be a writer?

Always did! Wrote my first poem at 5, and carried on from there. Took a long time to get to this point but definitely, definitely worth it!

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

My recent release is NEW PONY DAY, a picture book about a little girl and her quest to find the perfect pony – who was there all along * spoiler!

My daughter is the inspiration for this series.

The process began over two years ago with a glimmer of an idea for my daughter (who was then 3). She adores horses, but had problems understanding certain things about them. Josie (then Heba) and her pony Floki (then Nosy) popped in my head, but it took a visit to the Sharjah Children’s Book Festival as a featured author to make me realize: I could make this book myself. Now, for her. While she was young. And so it happened!

It took awhile to decide on the format, whether I would submit to trad pubs or not, but in the end I had a shiny new book. It was definitely one of the more satisfying experiences of my life – and not only because I recently read her the final version with pics and she loved it.

Tell us about your children's books.

The PONY101 series is my first picture book series, and is targeted towards horse-crazy kids that also want to learn great facts about horses. It fills a great gaping hole in the marketplace, as well: there is no real series about a horse and a kid out there – especially not one that covers the theatrical (ALIEN VS PONY) as well as the more mundane (IT’S GROOMING DAY – coming soon).

I am a hybrid author, which means I have been published traditionally (POSSUM SUMMER and OUT OF THE WILD, with an agent for my middle grade books) as well as indie for the picture books. So far, I’m really enjoying my indie experience.

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

I do! www.pony101.de is a combined blog/website with lots of interesting facts, a blog, and activity sheets. I’m working on a special site there just for kids that read the books, but that might take a bit to finish. J

What are you working on now?

I am presently working on the second book’s illustrations in the series, ALIEN VS PONY. We had a vote to see which would come first (I was all for the grooming one, but was overruled. Because aliens!)


 About the Book:

Title: New Pony Day!
Author: Jen K. Blom
Publisher: Jen K. Blom
Pages: 28
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Today’s the day Josie gets her new pony – if she can find him, that is! Her cat Pasta’s along for the ride, too, but there’s no telling if he’ll help or not – he’s a cat!

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

My name is Josie and I'm happy as I can be. 

My kitty Pasta and I have a job just our size, you see. 

Today’s the day I choose my pony.

All mine. Only for me me ME!

I’ll know him when I see him! 

I KNOW I will. Only…

Thursday, October 1, 2015

On the Spotlight: 'The Secret Lives of Animals,' by Stacy Tornio

The Secret Lives of Animals


The Secret Lives of Animals is the perfect mix of field guide know-how and armchair entertainment. In addition to the standard field guide notes and range maps, the meat of the book will offer up “spark moments” in nature—something fascinating or memorable that catches your attention and sets you on a path of lifelong learning. The Secret Lives of Animals will feature more than 100 North American animals and over 1,000 tidbits in a fun, colorful, illustrated format.





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Stacy Tornio is an Oklahoma girl at heart, though she’s lived in Wisconsin for the last 10 years. As editor of Birds & Blooms Magazine, Stacy is able to share her love of backyard nature. Her first book, Cathy’s Animal Garden, takes readers on a picture journey into the neighbor’s scary backyard in search of a homerun baseball. Project Garden, her recent book, is a monthly guide filled with activities to keep the whole family gardening all year long. Along with her husband, Steve, Stacy enjoys watching her two children explore nature in their Milwaukee backyard and on trips up north.

Ken Keffer was born and raised in Wyoming.  A vagabond naturalist, he’s done a little bit of everything, from monitoring mice and vole populations and picking up carnivore scat in Grand Teton National Park to researching flying squirrels in the Tongass National Forest of southeast Alaska, and monitoring Bactrian camels in Mongolia’s Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area. He’s also worked as an environmental educator in Wyoming, northern New Mexico, coastal Maryland, and along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio. Ken enjoys birding, floating on lazy rivers, and fly fishing in the mountains out west.

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