Month: January 2020

In Support of Support!😉

 

A few weeks ago the writing community on Twitter started a discussion on support, and the encouragement we receive from family and friends during  our writing journey. It all started out fine, and then people began to make comments about how their mother’s wouldn’t read their books, or others who told them that being an author wasn’t a real job. Wow! We’re my eyes opened.

I have to admit, when I announced that I was taking early retirement from a job I loved to write a book, I was met with some skepticism, but once my family came to see that I was serious, they were behind me 100%.

The conversation on Twitter made me stop and think about support, and how often we don’t give credence to other people’s dreams because they aren’t our own. For instance, my childhood health issues made me want to become a nurse, but my dad thought I should be a teacher, like my mother was. His thought was that teaching would be less taxing, but please, have you seen what teachers go through today? Schools are way more frightening to me than any  germ warfare!

Unfortunately, my dad’s lack of support kept me from even trying nursing, and I  went the route of business instead. Thankfully  it turned out to be a good thing for me. It led me into banking, marketing, and management, and achieving those led me to writing Lottie Loser.

So back to support, and how important it is for an author. One of my Twitter friends wrote that her mother said her writing was evil, and even went on to Amazon and left a bad review. That’s more than sad. My 94 year old mom has read all of my books, and while she admits she wishes her daughter hadn’t written the love scenes, she loves the books, and is extremely proud of me. That’s support.

My husband and youngest daughter are my biggest cheerleaders, and have sold my books to most of their friends and coworkers. Bob even hands out my business cards and reminds me to if I forget. It’s actions like that that make me feel valued and loved, and know that I’m a real author, and this is my real job!

How can you support an author? But their books! If it’s a genre you enjoy, read the reviews first, and then give it a try.  If you loved it tell your friends and family and encourage them to buy their own copy. It’s important for authors to support each other as well, so I too buy books, and always leave reviews.

And speaking of reviews, please leave them! On both Amazon and Goodreads, if you can. Your words let others know if it’s a book they might like, as well.

The dictionary describes support like this.

1. Bear all, or part, of the weight of; hold up.

2. give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act.

Authors don’t want their friends, family and readers to bear all the weight of making them successful, but they sincerely appreciate their support.

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

From the bottom of my heart, a huge thank you to all of you who have supported me, and helped make my Fairytale come true. I can’t wait for you to read Noah’s Lark!🧜‍♀️

 

http://www.syppublishing.com

Rhonda Goodall; National Award Winning Author and Champion for kids!

I first met Rhonda Goodall when she joined the SYP Publishing family of authors. She is such a positive force in bringing sensitive issues for kids to the forefront, but in an age appropriate way, that I couldn’t help but be drawn to her. Her story is wonderful, and you need to hear it in her own words.

I know you will  enjoy this interview with my friend, Rhonda Goodall.

    When you were a little girl how would you have finished this sentence “When I grow up I want to be a ……….

Mom, a Nurse (working with children), and an Artist on the side.

   Did you achieve that dream?

I achieved the most important one – becoming a Mom!

And although life took a different path from Nursing and working with kids, I spent several years doing artwork for various Children’s Charities and Organizations. And now, I am achieving my goal of helping children every day through my writing.  I illustrate my own books (ergo the artist on the side 😊)

I absolutely love what I’m doing in life, so I am achieving my dreams!!!

   When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

It started about 11 years ago, when I wrote the text for my first (2) books. I loved developing the stories, and actually, how easily the thoughts and story lines were coming to me. However, we were busy raising young children and I didn’t really have, or make, the time to see the books through and illustrate them, etc., to complete them.

They sat, stagnant, for several years.

Then, 5 years ago, after very suddenly and tragically losing my Mom, I knew I had to really throw myself into something that would consume every free moment I had. Through the help of my husband, Doug, my family and one of my many wonderful friends at the time, I illustrated my original 2 books and they were published.

I was not only realizing how much I was enjoying writing and illustrating books, but I was realizing what a catharsis it was for me.

    What inspired you to write children’s books? Especially books that deal with chronic illness and the loss of a loved one.

My heart, my Children and my love of Children inspired me to write Children’s Books.

Having a child with a medical condition (Type One Diabetes) and realizing how that condition could make him feel very different form his peers, was the inspiration behind “My Pancreas Needs Glasses”. This book, as well as my others, allowed me to use my children, as well as many of our family members, as characters in the books.

Losing my Mom, and the terrible impact it has had on my kids, was the inspiration behind “Where’d Grandma Go”. Because “My Pancreas Needs Glasses” focuses mainly on Zach and Julian, two of our older boys, I wrote “Where’d Grandma Go” through the voice of Sage, our youngest son, who was only 4 at the time of my Mom’s accident.

Although the goal behind this book is to help young children deal with the pain and confusion of losing a loved one, I actually think it can help anyone facing this very real and difficult situation.

    Was there one book in your childhood that was especially meaningful to you?

I don’t think there was one in particular, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Mr. Rodgers, Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Suess and the book, “The Giving Tree”.

   When you find time to read for pleasure, what genre or type of storyline are you drawn to?

In the last 5 years, definitely more Spiritual Books that are based on true life (or after life) experiences. I find books like “90 Minutes in Heaven”, “Hello From Heaven” and “Appointments With Heaven”(which I’m currently reading,have been very comforting for me.

I also like combination Detective, Thriller and Romantic Mystery’s.

    If there was one thing you could do over in your life, what would it be?

I’m sure there are probably a couple personal things, but overall, I’m happy with who I am and the majority of the choices I’ve made in life. I’ve always chosen to live life in a way that hopefully, when my time here on Earth is done, I will have as few regrets as possible in regards to the choices I’ve made and how I’ve treated others.

   At the 2019 Florida Authors and Publishers Presidential Awards your book My Pancreas Needs Glasses was awarded a Silver Medal. How did becoming a National Award Winning Author change you and your life?

Winning hasn’t changed me as a person at all, other than the fact that I feel very proud, and honored. Winning has also given me a very strong drive and desire to do it again! And hopefully, someday, it will be Gold!

As far as changing my life, it’s extremely rewarding to be recognized as an Award Winning Author. I feel as though I’ve accomplished something wonderful and as grateful as I am, I’m hungry for more!

   What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I love that I can create a storyline in my mind, develop it as I go, draw the pictures to tie it all together and end up with something that a child can hold in their hands and not only enjoy, but in many cases because I deal with real life situations in my books, find comfort and even security in it. I love knowing that I am helping kids through my writing! It’s so rewarding when kids or parents contact me to let me know how much they, or their child loves one of my books!

I also love all the people that I meet through visiting schools, book events, etc.

   Did you have a career outside of writing before publishing My Pancreas Needs Glasses?

I had been a stay at home Mom since the kids were born, but prior to that, I worked in the Medical Field while at the same time, doing artwork for several Children’s Charities in and around Pittsburgh (Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House and the Children’s Miracle Network). Doug and I also had an Ice Cream Shop in our last couple years living in Pittsburgh.

   Tell us about you. Your family, your dreams…what makes Rhonda who she is?

Hmmm…

Well, I’m a wife and a Mother of five living in Ponte VedraBeach, Florida with my wonderful husband, Doug, two of our children and our Golden Retriever, Ollie. My step children, Nicole and Jesse, are both grown and living with their families in Pennsylvania. Our son, Zach, is living in Gainseville, going to school and writing for Sports Illustrated. Our son, Julian, is a senior in High School who loves to surf and our son, Sage, is a third grader, who loves doing what third graders do. I adore my husband and ourchildren!

Family is everything to me and I’m so grateful that I’vealways been extremely close to my parents and my entire family and extended family, in every direction that goes!

I’ve actually used my parents and many family members as characters in my books.

I am someone with a very strong Faith and Belief in God.

I love the beach and the Peace I feel while there. I’m truly a people person. I talk to everyone, and before long, we’re friends.

I’m a huge Pittsburgh Steeler fan (and football in general), as well as a Pittsburgh Penguin fan.

I do like the Jacksonville Jaguars, but they’re number two. Doug, the kids and I all enjoy football and music a great deal and make both of them a big part of our lives. Maya Angelou is an inspiration to me and I’m an animal lover.

I’ve spent the majority of my life working with children. I have an incredibly strong passion for molding every child’s world into a safe place of happiness, love and kindness. This message is conveyed in the books I write, as well as every character I introduce. Kid’s immediately fall in love with these unique and fun characters and don’t realize that they are learning loving life lessons from each and every one.

I wish the world we live in could be more like “Happy Town”, where Frizzle and his friends live. Where characters are kind and supportive of each other. Where they find a way to always help others in need, and, as will be seen in my next book, “Frizzle’s Funky Day at the Zoo”, they discover how much happier people (and animals in this case) are when they’re allowed to simply be who they are and not what others want or expect them to be.

My hope in life is that I am making a difference in this world while I’m here!

If there was one thing you want my readers to know, what would it be?

Wow, there are a lot of things, but since I’ve already talked so much, I’d say this:

That this is one of my very favorite quotes. I got it from my Dad…

A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, what sort of house I lived in or what make of car I drove.

But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of  a child.”

​​​​​Author Unknown

                             Meet Rhonda and Frizzle 

Rhonda’s books are available on the links below.

https://www.amazon.com/Rhonda-Goodall/e/B01G5Z66NI/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

http://www.syppublishing.com

 

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L. ❤️

Free and Fearless: The Amazing Impact of One Precious Life 🦋

As an author I’m often asked to read other author’s work. I’ve read books written for children, books that are still being written, and every once in awhile I read a book that leaves an indelible mark on my heart. Free and Fearless is one of those books.

Philip Moser and I connected through LinkedIn, and that’s where he approached me about reading the story of his daughter, Brittany, and the incredible relationship that they shared. Through my profile Phil knew that I was an alumnus of Ball State University, as was Brittany, and also a fellow Hoosier. Because we both had busy schedules I sent him my email address and asked for a couple of weeks to get through the Christmas and New Years holidays before I started reading. The book came on January 12th and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

Free and Fearless is the perfect title for this book. Brittany Moser was a young woman with the soul of an adventurer, and she didn’t let anything get in her way. You’ll notice my use of past tense when talking about Brittany because her beautiful life came to an end when she was just thirty-one years old after years of living with Addison’s Disease, a disorder of the adrenal glands.

Addison’s disease is rare with fewer than 200,000 cases diagnosed in the United States annually. There is no cure for Addison’s Disease, but there is treatment that can help. Unfortunately  for Brittany the medication caused problems and discomfort, so she learned to handle it by living a healthy lifestyle, something she believed strongly in.

The connection that Philip and Brittany Moser shared was one like few I’ve encountered. In an era when young people spurn their parents advice, Brittany gravitated towards her Dad. They trusted and leaned on each other, and became avid travelers of the state of Colorado as they explored what Brittany called “the list”. Quoting from Free and Fearless, “They were a combination of places and experiences so unique and beautiful that they could literally take your breath away.”

I could go on on, sharing examples of Brittany’s remarkable spirit, and her love of family and friends, but I truly want you to experience Free and Fearless for yourselves. You will definitely grieve with the Mosers at the loss of their youngest daughter, but your grief will be surpassed by inspiration and awe. Newswire.com  puts it this way.

Once every generation comes a story so powerful and personal that it will change the way people look at life.”

It did for me, and I know it will for you, as well.

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L.❤️

 

Free and Fearless is available in both book and ebook formats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winchester Writers 📝📕

A little over eighteen months ago I came up with an idea for a writers group in Winchester. I’ve mentioned it here before, and told you about the writing contest we held last summer, but now I want to share with you some of the talent that the Winchester Writers is blessed with. I found out pretty quickly that this group doesn’t need anything from me. So, we meet and share our writing, and sometimes I give them assignments, but for the most part we share our joy of the written word, and our own unique slants on it.

I asked each member to come to our January 7, 2020 meeting with a paragraph or poem they were working on and I’m excited to share some of them with you today.

Melanie Walker is the published author of The Ones That Live in My  Head: A Collection of Short Stories, but she is also an accomplished writer of poetry. Both her stories and poems are hauntingly beautiful, and she always brings a fresh perspective to the group.

Simon Says

With the hot revolver still in my shaking hand, I stare from the woman to the now dead man lying in a pool of blood.  I look at the gun again and have no idea how to react or what to say.  I realize how foolish and terrifying I must look to the petrified woman.  She has no idea why or what just happened.  Reaching to the back of my brain, it is certain I am just as clueless, but I can’t let on.  I’ve always been a liar.  I lie out of necessity, but honestly, I also like to make up crap .  I like to see what I can get away with.  With smoke still in the air, I begin to wonder if this is one of those things .  Hell, I don’t even know what THIS is! As I try to shake the cobwebs out of my head, she begins screaming.  Not just yelling, mind you, but full-out primal momma lion, blood-curdling screaming.  Who is she and who am I?  Looking around this unknown Cracker Jack house, I picture myself as Oliver Hardy – hat, belly and all… shaking my head and declaring, “What another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”  With that, I shrug my shoulders, walking past the screeching woman, stepping over another dead body and out the door.  The blue sky and the bright sun now have me whistling Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah with an imaginary blue bird sitting on my shoulder as I make my way to my ‘72 black and silver Cougar.

Beth Moland is a former newspaper columnist, who still does freelance work for our local newspaper.  She wants to write a novel, and has great ideas, but like many of us she let’s life get in the way. Below is a poem she wrote about her son’s enlistment in the US Navy.

My Sailor Boy to Man

My “sailor boy” who always loved water,

Took the ultimate challenge of the sea,

He signed up, like his grandfather,

To serve his country’s Navy.

Smooth waters, troubled or strong,

All these, he will eventually see,

Will he survive or flounder

Upon the glassy waves of aquamarine?

 

I pray he returns a “sailor man”,

After his stint on board,

High seas he found to withstand,

And his soul having soared.

 

Reaching goals never before dreamed,

Pledging honor, courage, commitment,

When the ship docks, loved ones will beam,

With love and pride for his enlistment.

 

My little child who once loved his ship toy,

Soon will no longer be my “sailor boy”,

But a “sailor man”, who finds special joy,

In the simple phrase, “Ship Ahoy”!

 

Don Honenberger is the senior member of our group. A retired engineer he brings knowledge about so many things to our meetings. His wife of 66 years passed away in 2019, and I feel certain that our writing group gives him the interaction with people that he needs. Sometimes I have to work to get him back on topic, but Don loves to write and we’re pleased to have him as one of us.

Friendship

Just as the clock in the hall struck eleven, Walter Jacobs opened the front door to his friend Harold Johnson and his wife, Carol, ushering them into the small group celebrating New Year’s Eve together. Richard and Belinda Collins had arrived a few minutes before, and now they only needed Fred and Connie Jacobs to make the party complete. Walter’s wife Harriet took the wraps and laid them on the bed in the guest room. The last few weeks had been mild but now it was chilly enough for coats and hats again.

 

An author friend of mine asked me once what I get out of our writing group, and it took me some time to come up with the answer. Because while I thought I had something to share, I really had lots to learn. For instance Darren Snyder is writing a graphic novel, and I thought that meant sexually explicit! Everyone loved it when I told them that.

Or Jeff Pfohl, who is now the published author of books on Abraham and Jonah. Jeff is a pastor who joined our group specifically to get his thoughts into books. I love that we were able to inspire him to do that.

The Winchester Writers isn’t a critique group, and we know that we’re different from other writing groups out there, but we feel comfortable with each other, and we enjoy our two hours together every other week.  I look for great things to come from some of these people, and when they’re famous I hope they’ll remember me.

Until we read again…📚

Blessings,

Dana L❤️