Words to Live By

Putting crayons in the dryer is an ineffective way of dying fabrics.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Interview With Mike Revell

I have Mike Revell on my blog today. Mike fell in love with the magic of books when he read the "Harry Potter" series. It is his goal to create the same kind of magic in his books, so that more people will become readers. How can you not love a person who wants to create more readers? You can't! Love Mike, his interview and his books. Not because I say so, but because he's great.
Mike's first book, "Stonebird' is published by Quercus. You can pick up his book on Amazon here. Want to know more about Mike? Check out his website: http://mikerevell.com/


Dani: Why gargoyles?

Mike: I've always been fascinated by gargoyles. It started with the cartoon, which was one of the shows I enjoyed most as a kid, where these great stone monsters came alive at night under the glow of the moon. Ever since then, I noticed them when I walked past castles and churches, or high up above the streets of Cambridge. They're supposed to protect buildings from evil spirits, but Stonebird came about because I wanted to find out what would happen if they could protect people too.

Dani: What kind of magic would you like to have in real life?

Mike: Since Harry Potter is what got me reading, I'd have to say I'd like that kind of magic: the sort that would get me into Hogwarts. Maybe one day, eh? If not that, then my top magic power would definitely be the ability to turn invisible!

Dani: Finish the following thoughts:

I like...

Finding new ways to tell old stories. One of my favourite books is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It's such a simple twist on the old Kipling classic, but so effective. The idea of twisting stories like this, playing with myths and fables and looking at them from a different angle, is a really appealing one.

Other than writing...
I spend most of my time obsessing over American football. I've been a huge fan of the NFL for almost fifteen years, and have met some great people through playing the game in the UK.

Tomorrow I want...

the sun to come out for long enough that I can sit in the park and read without getting drenched.

Dani: What's special about your work?

Mike: That's a good question, and one that perhaps I'm not overly well suited to answering! I suppose every author's work has something special about it, though, because every story is unique and no one else can tell a story in exactly the same way. What makes my writing unique is that I write for me when I was 11 years old. I was a very reluctant reader then, and I know what put me off, and I know what made me stop and think about picking up a book. If I can make my 11-year-old self like the story I'm trying to tell, I should be onto something...

Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Mike: To recreate the magic spark that changed me from a reluctant reader to a devourer of books when I was a kid. If I can do that for other people, if I can turn reluctant readers into eager readers, I'll be a very happy chap.

Follow Mike:

Website and Blog: http://mikerevell.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RevellWriting

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dani's Updates - May 27

It's almost June! It's funny how busy a person can be during vacation! I've spent the last week recovering from said vacation.

Interview Schedule:
May 29 - Mike Revell
June 5- Vanessa Barger

Non-fiction books about the human body. My 4 year old is obsessed. 

I have finally decided on which dummy I'm working on next. Two 4 year olds are screaming in the background. Now I forget which dummy I'm drawing. I also can't remember my name.

Every Day Possible
Naps and more naps. Also lots of work. 

Wed 05/27 Write Dani's Updates... Done! 

Thursday 05/28-  Working on sketches for a new dummy.

Friday 05/29- Sketching and family stuff doing.

Saturday 05/30- Hitting a swap meet with a good friend!

Sunday  05/31 - Ice cream. This shall be an ice cream day.

Monday  06/01- Candy, candy, candy!

Tuesday  06/02 - Important things.

Wednesday  06/03 - Update Day!

Starting to have a nice garden.


Toddler Minding 
The screaming. It burns us. All. Night. Long.

The plants in the garden are not dead yet!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Interview With Margo Sorenson

Margo Sorenson is a writer who can boast that she has 29 books under her publishing belt. That's a lot for any writer and she's still going strong! Margo's most recent books include: Aloha for Carol Ann, Spaghetti Smiles, Island Danger and Time of Honor. Not only does Margo write both Middle Grade novels and Picture books, but she also writes in a wide range of genres. These genre's include: Humor, Non-Fiction, Adventure, Romance, Mystery and the list goes on. The sheer amount of Margo's work is staggering. I don't think there is anything this woman can't do. How does she create so much? Read on to find out more!


Dani: Are Picture Books or Middle Grade Novels your favorite?

Margo: Picture books are my favorite right now, because I love to write whimsy and off-the-wall scenarios, playing with words so I can use as few as possible to make each word really count. Picture books these days are usually fewer than 500 words, and to create a sympathetic character and a tight plot with vivid language with that word count definitely keeps the brain in gear. Some of my older picture books, such as AMBROSE AND THE PRINCESS (Liturgical Press, 2005) are longer. With ALOHA FOR CAROL ANN (Marimba/JustUs Books 2011), I needed to cut a lot of words, which was hard, because I loved living in Hawaii and the aloha spirit in friendship and wanted to communicate that to young readers. SPAGHETTI SMILES (Pelican Publishing 2014) needed serious cutting, too. I wrote so many more crazy scenes about Italian food in silly situations, but they made the story too long. Ouch!

Dani: Which genre is easiest for you to write?

Margo: There isn't any genre that is easiest for me to write—sadly, they're all hard! The challenge of being spare and economical is fun to try, however, and picture books definitely fill the bill. I loved writing my tween novels, though (ISLAND DANGER and TIME OF HONOR, MuseIt Up Publishing 2011) because I really enjoyed the main characters, Todd (spoiled brat) and Connor (smart mouth debater) and had a great time watching the trouble they got themselves into and out of (ooops! spoiler alert!). Vivid settings were really important to setting up the plot and conflict, so the settings in Hawaii and in medieval England were fun to research and write.

Dani: Finish the following thoughts:

Next Week...

Margo: I will be working on a new idea for a picture book (think of bunnies, like the ones who live in our backyard and write letters to our Adorables) and going to Grandparents' Day at our Adorables' (grandchildren) school.

Next Month...

Margo: I hope to have a first draft done of the picture book and keep revising and revising others. As all writers know only too well, that process never ends, honestly. It's all about being willing to make changes and then, in turn, change those changes, too! Also, the Adorables will get another visit, so I'll get my hug-fix!

Next Year...

Margo: I hope to have another picture book or YA manuscript accepted by a publisher! Hope does spring eternal! Keeping a notebook of ideas and listening and observing what goes on around me are always important for idea generation, and I'll keep that up. More author visits, both real at schools and virtual through Skype will be on the agenda, as well. It's always so much fun to meet with and listen to young readers!

Dani: What's special about your work?

Margo: As writer Anne Lamott says, we can do our work in comfortable pants. Seriously, though, I love playing with words and letting characters act out their lives in my head. It's like taking a vacation in your mind. Reading gave me such hope as a child and I hope to be able to give that same hope to my readers.

Dani:What is your ultimate goal in life?

Margo: My ultimate goal in life is to love my family and the Lord. Writing is something that I love to do, but it takes a back seat to that goal! (And besides, writing keeps me out of my dear husband's hair!)

Website: http://www.margosorenson.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ipapaverison

Margo's Books:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dani's Updates - May 13

I have not had a good time this past month. Been absolutely exhausted. Went to the doctor (after spending yesterday in bed) and was told that I need rest (more rest rather). I'm hoping the worst of it is over, but I will continue to take it easy this week.

Interview Schedule:
May 15 - Margo Sorenson

Not much of anything. Been too tired!

I have three dummies I'm excited about. I need to focus on one, though. Once I get more energy back I'll be working on these stories!

Every Day Possible

Wed 05/13 Write Dani's Updates... Done! 

Thursday 05/14-  Cleaning and spending time with family.

Friday 05/15- Spending the day with family.

Saturday 05/16- Sending out a dummy to an agent today!

Sunday  05/17 - Father-In-Law's Birthday!

Monday  05/18- Everything will be better by this day.

Tuesday  05/19 - Finding things for my son to do that don't require me to talk or move.

Wednesday  05/20 - Update Day!

Sleeping. Really isn't working, but still doing it a lot!


Toddler Minding 
He's eating things. Growth spurt here we come!

No ect. I'm too tired!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cynthia Kennedy Henzel's "Myth Rider"!

Today was not my day for posting! My electricity was out, so of course the internet was down as well. This will teach me not to schedule my posts! I have survived and now I bring you Cynthia Kennedy Henzel's "Myth Rider"! If you'll remember I interviewed Cynthia back in July of 2014. If you've forgotten or (*gasp*) never read my interview with Cynthia then you can read it here: http://daniduckart.blogspot.ca/2014/07/interview-with-cynthia-kennedy-henzel.html.  Read below to find more about Cynthia's book "Myth Rider" and to see the beautiful cover!



In 1910 a young girl races an ancient myth to return the Centaurs to their homeland in Georgia. As a shadow falls over the land and danger lurks ever closer, Tamara flees to a place that seems as strange to her as Dorothy dropped into Oz. With a new horse, new friends, and a daunting new challenge, she adapts to this land of opportunity. Now she must choose: race for the American dream or heed the cry of the Centaurs calling her home?

Cynthia Kennedy Henzel began her writing career at the Perry Daily Journal in Perry, OK writing the “An Optimist’s View” column. Since then, she has traveled the world and written over 50 books for young people. Her travels took her to the country of Georgia, where she discovered this story that led her home again.


by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel

Publication date: April 2015

ISBN-13: 9781940310251

$15.99 152 pages

5.5 x 8.5 paperback

Published by 4RV Publishing

What others are saying:

"Creating a bridge between countries and cultures, race and gender, science and story, Myth Rider is a beautifully written novel that will rope you in, take you for a ride, and ultimately bring you back home again."- Lindsay Eland, author of A Summer of Sundays.

Cynthia Kennedy Henzel lives in Tucson, AZ.

Please see

www.cynthiakennedyhenzel.com for more information about her books

www.Facebook.com/MythRiderBook to ride along with Myth Rider

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Winner!

I was going to announce the winner for Amberly Kristen Clowe's Axel and Theo Book and Lunch Bag yesterday but forgot. For those of you who have not checked the original post you can see the winner below. Thank you so much to everyone who entered!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday I have Cynthia Kennedy Henzel for a book announcement (Myth Rider) on my blog/

Next Friday (May 15th) I'm interviewing Margo Sorenson on my blog.

Stay tuned for more updates and exciting changes to my blog!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Interview with Amberly Kristen Clowe

Today on my blog I have Sci Fi Writer Amberly Kristen Clowe! She wrote the book Axel and Theo: My Dog is the Emperor of a Faraway Galaxy. Want to win a book and bookbag for the series? Click here to enter now!

I just got my copy of this book in the mail today (technically yesterday by the time you read this) and haven't had a chance to read the whole story. The story is fast paced and very cute. I love the colored illustrations done by Katy Huggins. They are so much warmer than the old black and white!
About Amberly: An avid story writer since elementary school, Amberly Kristen Clowe truly discovered her passion for writing after enrolling in a college, children’s literature class, where they read and analyzed children's books. After completing her BA in early childhood education she began her teaching career. “After my first year of teaching second grade, I had so many ideas swirling around in my head, I had to write. I might have gone crazy if I didn't!” Clowe expresses.

Axel & Theo is the first chapter book series for ages 7-12 written by Clowe, though
she already has two other children’s picture books in print, for which she has received
accolades and the Emerging Novelists “Children’s Novel of the Year” award in 2011.

Win a copy of the book and a Axel & Theo Lunch bag!*

*Contest is limited to those living in the US and Canada. Lunch bag colors are available in red, green and yellow. Picture of the lunch bag below!

Dani: Why write Sci Fi children's literature?

Amberly: This genre came very easy for me. I've always loved the idea of a different, often improved, world than our own, and who doesn't love cool gadgets! I still can't believe I get to imagine worlds with crazy characters for an actual job. I so enjoy the Axel and Theo series as an adult. I would have been ecstatic as a kid. Kids have the ultimate imaginations. They can truly lose themselves in what they're reading without that nagging thought that plagues many adults: “That could never happen!” Sci-fi for kids is the perfect fit for me.

Dani: Is your dog (or any of your fish) an emperor of a faraway galaxy?

Amberly: Unfortunately, we have no emperors at our house (at least none that have revealed themselves…yet). Believe me, if my dogs could snap their paws and get a t-bone, they’d be snapping away!

Dani:  Finish these thoughts:

Cats are...


Yeah, cat-people are so not going to like that one.

I want to write...

YA fiction. At the moment, I’m thinking about dabbling in the young adult genre. I love to read this genre but haven't taken that plunge. I think once I wrap up the second book in the Axel and Theo series, I might try my hand at an outline and go from there.

Readers should know...

Um…for me, coffee makes any bad writing day, a good one. And biscotti with coffee—well, that makes for a GREAT writing day.

Dani: What's special about your work?

Amberly: I’m really not one to toot my own horn, but you did ask, so…what I find, and have been told, is special about my work is its voice. I am one of those total optimists. I often use humor to make a situation bearable. I like humor. My writing reflects that. I enjoy one-liners, and the Axel and Theo series is full of them. To write a science fiction adventure and wrap it in humor, yeah, my eyes just fill with cartoon hearts.

Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Amberly: Whew. I think I broke out in a sweat just reading that question.

Well, my main goal in life is to please God in all I do. To me, that means striving to be the best mother I can be, wife, daughter, sister, niece, friend, teacher, writer, and the hat-list goes on and on. I want to have the kind of love for others that Jesus Christ lived. I want to use my passions and gifts in a way that helps others and makes my creator proud.

Deep, right? You did ask for ultimate. 


Theodore Howard wants a white flag. The kind of white
flag that will show Riverwood Elementary’s biggest bully,
Theo’s given up on ever surviving the fourth grade, and
achieving his dream of becoming a real-life astronaut.
But, Theo’s seemingly pathetic future gets a glimmer of
hope in the form of a very talkative weenie dog named
Axel. Theo learns that his best friend on four legs, is
actually an alien from the planet Doglin, and just when
he begins warming up to the idea of having an alien for a
best friend, Axel is kidnapped by two cats from the
planet Catlat. Theo chases after Axel and his
kidnappers, embarking on an adventure he could never