Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why You Need Integrity to Write Children's Literature, and Why Julie's Cat is Evil / Galia Oz

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Why you need integrity to write children’s literature, and why Julie’s cat is evil / Galia Oz

Creating a living and breathing story and building a complete, convincing, three-dimensional world around it; portraying rounded and thought-out characters; writing without it seeming like you are trying too hard; writing a story that seems to have always existed but never put to paper.

How does one do that? My first answer: I have no idea. I can recognize beauty when I see it, but I don’t believe in a magic formula. I only know how to try to write well. My second answer: You need to have talent to write well, but that’s not enough; you must have integrity.

About ten years ago, I published a short children’s book in Israel about a group of kids, written entirely from the perspective of Julie, the owner of Shakshuka, a little dog with big adventures. The book quickly became a series that has sold 150,000 copies thus far, and has been translated and published in France, Spain and Brazil. The first three books in the series were recently published in the United States as one book, under the title Dog Trouble.

I'm not sure I was able to do half of the things I mentioned in the first paragraph. If only... At any rate, I hope I write with integrity. In other words, the protagonists of my books are not perfect in any way: Julie is jealous of the new popular girl who recently arrived at her school; insecure Effie is jealous of almost everybody; cynical Brody mocks Adam's stutter; Danny is a bit violent at first, although the conflict between him and the other children takes on more a sophisticated form later in the series; and even the cat adopted by Julie’s is described as ‘a really evil cat.’

And yet Julie and her friends are brimming with joie de vivre and drive, and a sense of confidence that allows them to be playful and inventive and imaginative. They thrive in an imperfect world with evil cats – which means they can come to terms with problems that don’t necessarily have an immediate solution.

True, there is also hostility. Many times, hostility exists alongside with love. Anyone who thinks it is possible to raise children in an environment free of hostility or conflict is simply lying to themselves. You cannot spare children pain; you can only spare them literary representations of it.

Here, I return to the second answer I gave to the question: Integrity. Integrity is vital not only for a writer who hopes to establish a three-dimensional reality in his writing but also for the children reading it. Otherwise, in the name of political correctness, children are told that someone who behaves well will always be rewarded, that the wicked are always punished, and that the rejected will without a doubt have some sort of curative experience. There is no limit to the manipulative practices of well-intentioned adults in children's literature. There is an underlying desire to “improve” the child, to socialize him, to impart a life lesson, to hide and protect him from the real world.

The point is children have an inbuilt lie detector. When you try to sell them a sermon dressed as a story, they shut down emotionally. They may enjoy the plot, but the moral will pass right over their heads.

In short, children understand nuance. They are able to empathize with complex characters rather than with saintly, stock characters. Simplistic messages and manipulation are an insult to their intelligence. When children are exposed to quality literature, they are likely to grow up to read quality literature. And most importantly: beauty has value in and of itself, and children, just like everyone else, have the right to enjoy it. Just as they have the right to read of evil cats without someone jumping to their defense.

About the Author:
Galia Oz was born in Kibbutz Hulda, Israel, in 1964. She studied film and Television in Tel Aviv University 1984-87.

Her award winning series of 5 books titled DOG TROUBLE was published in France, Spain and Brazil – and recently in the US by CROWN BOOKS Random House. The series is a steady seller in Israel for over 10 years (selling over 150,000 copies). 

Oz has directed several documentaries, all screened in international film festivals, and in Israeli leading television channels.

Over the years, Galia Oz has been meeting thousands of readers in Israeli elementary schools, and taught creative writing and classic children's literature to kids in public libraries.

Galia Oz is married and has two kids, a dog and a cat, and they all live in Ramat Hasharon, just outside Tel-Aviv.

About the Book:

Readers who have graduated from Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean will fall head over heels for feisty Julie and her troublesome new dog.
Julie has only had her dog for two weeks, but she is already causing all sorts of problems. For starters, she is missing! Julie suspects the school bully Danny must be behind it. But it will take some detective work, the help of Julie’s friends, and maybe even her munchkin twin brothers to bring her new pet home.

Wonderfully sassy and endlessly entertaining, the escapades of Julie and her dog are just beginning!

Julie’s adventures have sold across the globe and been translated into five languages. Popular filmmaker and children’s author Galia Oz effortlessly captures the love of a girl and her dog.

"A funny exploration of schoolyard controversy and resolution.” –Kirkus Reviews 

"Will resonate with readers and have them waiting for more installments.” –Booklist  


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Monday, October 9, 2017

Back Story l The Song of Solomon Revealed by Owen Sypher

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I am Owen Sypher and I love to understand the mysteries in the Bible. I got inspired to write my book from listening to someone who preached some from Song of Solomon.  I started to research the book so that I could give it out in church services as small sermons. I feel like God really started to reveal more truth and understanding about this book to me over the next 3 years.

This is a beautiful story or love letter if you will between Jesus and his bride or chosen people. It uses       
the natural to illustrate the spiritual and has we gain an understanding of the types and shadows my hope is that it will draw the reader into a closer walk with the Lord.

Someone told me they did not want to hear lessons on this subject so I was not going to preach on the subject anymore, but felt like I had to much understanding to just let it go to waste so I started to write it down for my own sake in case I decided to use it later in life. The more I wrote the more I revelations God revealed to me. I started to joke about how it was becoming a small book and before I knew it I had decided to publish it as a book.
Then I needed to make the decision on who I wanted to publish my book. This was a new experience for me and I ended up picking a company randomly off of the internet who did a good job. I decided after it was publish that I had to revise it with new revelations and went with Litfire Press to re-publish the book with the intent of getting into book stores. This book and an e-book can be gotten off my web page at: www.sypherbooks.com

 The greatest thing about writing this book outside of the understanding that I have personally gained from writing this book was on a more personal level and that was being able to do a long term project and actually finish it.  As a kid we were always starting projects with good potential and never finishing it so for me to start writing a book and then publishing it was not only a personal victory but also a major accomplishment in my life and I thank the Lord for that victory.

About the Author

Owen L. Sypher is a devoted servant of the Lord. At eleven years old, he started a spiritual journey to discover and understand God and his word.

In 1979, he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Since then, he has had fellowships with the same group. Song of Solomon is his first book.

You can visit his website at http://www.sypherbooks.com.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Challenging Myself as a Writer / Caridad Pineiro @caridadpineiro #onesummernight

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I’ve always been an avid reader, but it wasn’t until a fifth grade teacher assigned a class project – to write a book for a class lending library – that I realized that I could maybe write one of those stories that I loved to read.
I went home that day in the fifth grade and started writing and I haven’t stopped.  Through high school, college and law school I kept on writing. After my daughter was born, I decided that I had to finally try to have one of my stories published.  I wanted to show my daughter that anything you wanted was possible if you were willing to work hard for it.
It took me nearly eight years to get “The Call,” but when it finally happened it was amazing!  I jumped up and down like a little kid once I hung up the phone.
Since then I’ve written over 50 novels/novellas and have sold over a million books.  Again, amazing!  I still wonder at times if it’s all been real or just a really exciting dream.
I love challenging myself as a writer and have written in a number of romance genres:  contemporary, paranormal, vampire suspense, romantic suspense, erotic romance, women’s fiction, and military romance.  You name it and I love testing my writing chops by trying it although my heart will always remain true to the first series of my heart, The Calling is Reborn Vampire novels.  Those characters have taken me through some tough times and have also brought me great joy.
I’m working on another series of my heart right now:  The At the Shore Contemporary Romance series.  The women in this series came to me and would not stop until I wrote their fun, tender and sensual tales.  The first book in the series, One Summer Night, will be out on October 3 and it’s a Romeo and Juliet tale (but with a very happy ending) of enemies who become lovers despite a decades long family feud.  This is also a series of my heart because the stories are set on the Jersey Shore.  I love the Shore and spend as much time there as I can.  My dream is to one day one a small place close to the water!
Here’s a little excerpt from ONE SUMMER NIGHT for you!
“Owen,” she sighed as the man rose and she recognized his silhouette. She stopped, unsure whether he would acknowledge her, but he smiled and walked toward her. She noticed that he had changed into casual clothes, not that they lessened the sense of power that always seemed to surround him.
“Maggie,” he said with a dip of his head as he sidled up to her. “You’re up late.”
“You too.” She started walking again, alternately worried and excited that he would join her for her walk.
“Too many thoughts in my head.” He matched his pace to hers, taking an occasional puff on his cigar as they strolled down the beach.
“Me too,” she said, but then they fell silent. They had known each other all their lives and had been friends at one time, but in recent years, they’d kept an awkward distance. Even with the silence, there was something comforting about his presence beside her during the walk. Maybe it was that aura of innate strength and assurance in the way he carried himself. Maybe it was that she felt not so lonely with him. Regardless of the why of it, the quiet as they walked side by side along the beach soothed the riot of thoughts that had kept her from sleep.
With a half glance in his direction, she noticed that he seemed more relaxed as well, and a part of her wondered what it would be like if they could be more than just distant acquaintances. Deciding to breach that distance, she said, “Will you be at the lighthouse rededication at the end of the month?”
She and Owen had worked on their town’s committee to repair the destruction done by Hurricane Sandy years earlier. Federal and state funding had helped to rebuild most of the public areas, like the boardwalk. Their fundraising efforts had gone toward fixing the damage to the Main Street business area in time for the first summer season after the horrific storm, but it had taken much longer to raise the funds to fix the lighthouse and a nearby pier. The committee was still working on how to help repair the many private homes and cottages not covered by insurance and that still languished years later.
“I hope to be there. It all depends on some business items that need to be wrapped up.” He paused as they neared the long rock jetty that marked the end of Sea Kiss and the start of the next town. She hadn’t realized that they’d walked nearly a mile together in companionable silence. With a wry smile and a wave of his hand, they turned and started the walk back up the beach. Every now and again, he would meet her gaze and hold it, almost as if to reassure himself she was still there.
“Is that what kept you from sleep?”
“Possibly. What about you? Will you be there? Seems like we should attend, considering how much time we put into the committee.”
“I’ve got some things I need to do as well, but it would be nice to be there to celebrate. It took so long to reach this point.”
“But we did it. The town was ready for the first season. We helped a lot of people get back into their homes, even if we still have a long way to go to set everything right.”
“You led most of that, Owen. I was hard-pressed to know one end of the hammer from the other,” she said with a laugh, recalling her tortured efforts when they had volunteered to do some construction work on one of the damaged homes.
Owen chuckled. With a sexy grin, he said, “You did okay, and more importantly, you were there to help. People appreciated that, and they won’t forget it any- time soon.”
“That’s not why I did it,” she said. He nodded. “I know.”
His easy reply and the warmth of his gaze confirmed that he understood what had motivated her to volunteer, and in truth, she’d always known that he’d helped for the same reason. They both loved Sea Kiss and considered it home, even though they both worked and had residences in New York City.
They fell quiet again until they reached the board- walk for the Pierce mansion. Maggie waited for him to head there, but Owen kept on walking beside her.
“No need for you to see me home,” she said.
He rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I always see a lady home,” he replied and did just that, going so far as to walk her up the boardwalk and across the great lawn. When they reached the patio, he looked back toward the dunes and jerked his head in the direction of the corner of the lot.
“I see you rebuilt the gazebo that Sandy took out.”
“I couldn’t imagine not putting it back up.” When the storm surge had gouged away huge pieces of the protective dunes behind the house, it had swept the old boardwalk and gazebo out to sea.
“You always spent a lot of time there reading,” he said, surprising her.
“I didn’t realize you’d noticed,” she replied, but as she glanced toward the Pierce mansion, she recalled that he would often sit on the second-story balcony where he would have a clear view of the gazebo.
“I’ve noticed a lot about you, Maggie,” he said and then walked with her again until they reached the french doors to her home.
Maggie faced him and stood there awkwardly, wondering how to end the night. A handshake was way too formal given the situation. A hug way too friendly. A kiss was…unfathomable.
That Owen was feeling the same way was obvious as he rocked back and forth on his heels and then shoved his hands into his jeans pockets. With a very masculine head nod, he said, “I guess I’ll see you around.”
She dipped her head in agreement and said, “See you around.”
He forced a smile, pivoted on his heel, and walked away, but as he did so, she called out to him.
Turning, he stared at her, a perplexed look on his face.
 “This was nice. Thank you.”
His smile was brilliant in the dark of the night. “It  was nice. Get some sleep, Maggie.”
“You too, Owen.” As she headed through the french doors and up to her bedroom, she suspected her thoughts would once again keep her from a restful slumber. Only this time, those thoughts wouldn’t be about her family’s business problems and losing the home she loved. They would be about something much more pleasurable.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and find out more about me.  I hope that I’ll get to know more about you and love hearing from readers via e-mail or on social media.  You can contact me by visiting my website at www.caridad.com.  Talk to you soon!
About the Author

Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with pork roll and the Jersey Shore, but still can’t get the hang of tomato pies. When Caridad isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk to maintain her sanity and burn off that pork roll, she’s also a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million books sold worldwide. Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at the RT Book Club Convention, Romance Writers of America National Conference as well as various writing organizations throughout the country.
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About the Book:

An offer that’s impossible to accept . . .
Maggie Sinclair has tried everything to save her family’s business, including mortgaging their beloved beach house on the Jersey Shore. But now, she’s out of options.
The Sinclair and Pierce families have been neighbors and enemies for almost thirty years. That hasn’t stopped Owen Pierce from crushing on Maggie, and he’s determined to invest in her success. Now he has to convince her that he’s more than just trouble with a capital T…
Watch the Trailer at YouTube!


Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | B&N | iBooks

How Fixing Your 'Sweet Tooth' Could Save Your Life l Tony Hampton MD

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Fixing your “sweet tooth” may help save your life. Why fructose and most refined sugars should be public health enemy number one and why you should avoid them.

Research has confirmed that consuming the various forms of refined sugars is harmful to your health.

Fructose increases your risk for:

• Insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity

Elevated blood pressure
• Elevated triglycerides and elevated LDL
• Depletion of vitamins and minerals
• Cardiovascular disease
• Fatty liver disease, cancer, arthritis, and gout

Why is fructose bad:

• The organ that metabolizes fructose is your liver which is a different process compared to glucose. This puts an unusually high burden on the liver leading to a fatty liver in many cases.
• Our consumption of refined fructose is high, allowing its negative metabolic effects to occur.

Why is fructose different:

• When you eat fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver leading to a fatty liver. The liver only has to break down 20% of the glucose you consume.

• Glucose is a more pure form of energy utilized by your cells. Fructose, however is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat. Fructose makes you FAT!

• The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism causes fatty liver and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

• Fructose metabolism results in waste products that increase blood pressure and causes gout.
• Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

Alternatives to your sweet addition:

• First realize that you may have a sugar addition. So stand up, look at your audience, admit you have a problem, and start your journey fixing you “sweet tooth”. It’s hard to imagine but I promise your new life will be much better.

• If you must, use organic cane sugar or raw honey but only rarely and in moderation. They are less harmful than fructose.

• Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners, which can damage your health even more quickly than fructose. If you must a substitute, use Stevia or Monk fruit.

• Avoid agave syrup since it is a highly processed sap that is almost all fructose.

• Avoid soda, natural juices, energy drinks, and sports drinks because they are loaded with sugar, sodium, and chemical additives. Better options are water first followed by teas and at times coffee. Try teas with a variety of flavors. Try coffee with non sugar creamers (I like coconut cream) and use vanilla flavor, nutmeg flavor, cinnamon flavor, and others.

About the Author

Dr. Tony Hampton has been treating patients with multiple chronic conditions for nearly two decades. In addition to his role as an Advocate Medical Group (AMG) family physician over the last nine years, Dr. Hampton currently holds multiple responsibilities within the Advocate Healthcare, including Medical Director of AMG Beverly, Vice-Chair of AMG’s Governing Council, Chair of Health Outcomes Committee and Co-Chair of Executive Diversity Council. 

Over the last two years, Dr. Hampton has worked closely with AOS, successfully piloting advancements in AMG’s operations management systems. He is a champion for change that results in greater work-life balance for physicians and an enhanced patient experience. His interpersonal skills, clinical knowledge, and desire for strong patient/team engagement will continue to make Tony an asset to the AOS team. 

A regular speaker for the American Diabetes Association and consultant for the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Initiative to Improve Diabetes Care, Dr. Hampton is passionate about empowering patients by changing old beliefs to new ones which better serve them using evidence-based medicine. Educating them on the root cause of disease processes and the importance of diet provides the path to positive health outcomes for diabetics, borderline diabetics, and patients not at their ideal body weight. 

He is a Certified Physician Executive (CPE) and earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix. Tony authored the book Fix Your Diabetes, Fix Your Diet, Your Dietary Solution to Reversing Diabetes which was published in April 2017.


Saved By My Paper Blizzard | M.K. Theodoratus @kaytheod

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Saved By My Paper Blizzard
by M.K. Theodoratus

Paper makes it possible for me to be a writer. I’m so old I can remember when gurus promised the world that computers would rid it of paper. They made the pronouncements without considering my addiction to sticky-notes.

Yeah, I’d be lost without those little squares of paper with the gluey-stuff down one edge. They’re my idea-saver. Without them, I could never be a writer.

Losing ideas is a common gripe among the writers I know. My critique partners often complained about the “idea that got away”. They’d give up on something that wouldn’t work, thinking the idea or solution would come back when they’re doing something else. The missing piece would, eventually, pop into their heads at the most inconvenient times. After a firm resolve to remember the idea, they’d lose it before they got the idea into the manuscript.

I’m no different. For years, great ideas would flash between my ears only to get lost in the ether. Since I wrote fiction mainly to amuse myself, it didn’t matter. I just jotted down whatever popped into my head, wondering what would happen next. Maybe it’s just as well most of those sheets of paper are lost.

Then, I got more serious about writing fiction. I started working with critique groups that expected me to write something coherent. My sense of duty got in the way of my laziness. I felt obligated not to waste my partners’ time.

First, I jotted new insights or plot developments down on any handy piece of paper, only to lose most of them. Worse, there usually was never a piece of paper or a pen in sight when I needed them. Of course, I never remembered the idea beyond a couple nano-seconds. Fortunately, 3M came to the rescue with their Post-Its.

3M didn’t solve my problem, though. The sticky pads sit at my elbow at the kitchen table. Lay in the clutter by my comfy chair in front of the TV. Are buried under the clutter around my computer. Lurk in my wallet and car. The ideas get written down, but the sticky notes don’t do any good unless they’re organized.

I solved that problem two ways:
  1. I classify them at the top, like the book and character they pertain to.
  2. I enter them into my computer…eventually. Each of my projects gets a folder on my desktop. Ideas get written in a document and filed. If I’m not getting any new ideas about a project, I file the folder in another folder called “Inactive”.
It may not be neat and tidy, but it helps me keep things organized and accessible.

 One good thing about the pile of sticky notes, they tend not to go anywhere. They stick together in a clump.

I know there must be some neater way of salvaging those lost inspirations, but I haven’t found it. Doubt if I’ll ever discover it. So, I make do with a salvage system that that works for me.

About the Author

Fantasy has always been part of M. K. Theodoratus’ life, starting when she starting playing with an imaginary friend when she was three. Comics, books, TV, and movies followed throughout her life. A northern California girl, many of her Andor alternative-world stories are firmly rooted there. Today, she lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two lap-cats, and writes when she’s not wasting time on social media.



About the Book:

Author: M.K. Theodoratus
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 360
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal
Heroes come in all shapes.

The war for Andor has lasted a century. Humans and their allies, the Angeli, fight demons from another plane who need a warmer planet to hatch and raise their young. Trebridge becomes Ground zero when Abraxas, a minion of the demon Prince Vetis, opens a secret portal into the city. The demons’ goal is to build an army to subjugate the city before the humans realize they are under attack.

Standing in the demons’ way are two disparate groups: the humans of Andor and their Angeli allies who command gargoyle warriors.

Leading the four gargoyles guarding Trebridge is Gillen, a proven war hero who uses magic to fight demons. But Gillen is an outcast, mocked for his tuft of hair that normal gargoyles lack. It’s up to him to prove once and for all that he’s worthy of his command, in spite of dissention in his ranks. When Gillen asks the Angeli Commanders for reinforcements to fight the growing demon menace in Trebridge, headquarters send four human teens from the projects.

The leader of the humans is Britt, a 14-year-old half-Hispanic girl who is one of the four magic-possessing Chosen. But Britt was never trained in the art of magic, and like most girls her age, spends her days preoccupied with school and romance. Like Gillen, she must rise above her station in life--if she is to save the ones she loves.

But Gillen and Britt are facing formidable demon foes, Abraxas: a chicken-headed demon who possesses several humans as part of his plan to build the demons’ base in Trebridge and power-hungry Prince Vetis who is his commander. Neither will let the deaths of expendable humans get in their way of the conquest.

In There Be Demons, author M.K. Theodoratus spins a brilliant tale of good versus evil. In this thrilling Young Adult fantasy novel, unlikely heroes rise to challenge a relentless enemy. Join them as they risk everything to save their city.




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