Monday, June 30, 2014

School's Out for Summer! #FeaturedFiverr Sale!

It's time for bright blue skies and ginormous, gorgeous flowers. School is officially out for summer! Yes, around here, school gets out pretty late. I get done a little earlier, but have an extra week of childcare that I provide. 

What does this mean for you? It means I am offering up yet another #FeaturedFiverr sale! For the rest of the month of June, choose the Extra Fast Delivery option on any of my book-related gigs and get a free Gig extra! You have your choice of an ad in the blog's sidebar for one week, or five bonus tweets of your book's direct buy link. Plus, the bonus of having your promotion start immediately.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review of 'Ladybugs Have Lots of Spots' by Sheryl and Simon Shapiro

Book description:

Circles can be fat or thin / There can be lot--or one / And round things can be big or small / And learning can be fun.

This innovative new picture book encourages children, through poetry and photographs, to explore the idea of what is round--from the spots on a ladybug's back to a ring on a finger or a wheel on a bike. Using words such as "dot," "spot," "loop," "hoop," and "ring," it shows that round things aren't all alike, but can be anything!

A perfect companion to Zebra Stripes Go Head to Toe, the simple text and vibrant design of Ladybugs Have Lots of Spots encourage children to look for and identify similarly shaped objects in their own environments.


**My thoughts**

The rhyming prose is catchy and will make children want to listen. I love the real photographs that are used, to help children better connect the concept of round items to the world around them. They connect objects that are different, which can help with later analytical thinking, such as rings on a hand versus on a cat, or wheels on a car versus lights on a stoplight. What makes me crazy is the title is misdirecting. When you look at the title, you are expecting to read a book about ladybugs, not looking at shapes that are round. That doesn't mean that kids aren't going to still understand the concepts being taught within the title. It can still be a cute addition to a children's library.

Available in paperback 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 2, 2014

'Abigail Learns to Swim' by Lynda Raymond

Abigail Learns to Swim
Written by Lynda Raymond
Illustrated by Elly Color


Abigail is afraid to swim! She imagines monsters waiting for her in the pool. Even her best friend, Elmer, can’t convince her to go swimming. Find out how Abigail overcomes her fear in Abigail Learns to Swim. A cozy read and the perfect chance to talk to your child about trying new things and overcoming fear! FREE Bonus Video-Book Included!


Abigail shaded her eyes and wiped five drips of sweat from her forehead.

“It’s hot enough to fry bacon on the sidewalk,” said her friend Elmer.

Abigail plopped down beside him in the shade of a huge oak tree. In the sizzling air, the leaves on the tree drooped like wilted balloons.

“Let’s go swimming!” said Elmer. “Come on! I have a pool in my backyard.”

Worry wiggled its way through Abigail’s tummy. “Go without me,” she said.

“But everything is more fun when you bring a friend,” said Elmer.

Abigail stood and brushed away the dirt sticking to her sweaty legs. “Then you’ll have to bring a different friend. I’m not going.”

She marched off toward her house. Elmer ran after her. “But Abigail, give me two good reasons why you won’t go swimming.”

Abigail was too embarrassed to admit she was afraid of the water. So she stuck her nose high in the air. “I don’t even have to give one good reason,” she said. “It’s my private beeswax.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Lynda Raymond is a multi-published author and an educator who adores young children, reading, and learning. She loves spending time writing and enjoying her grandchildren. She also loves to travel and explore other cultures.

Children are Lynda's passion. Her goal is to entertain and build the love of reading in your children while sharing valuable life lessons.


Purchase Abigail Learns to Swim:

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Free Report: Value of Reading to Children:

Friday, May 30, 2014

'That's Nothing!' by Clint Morey Kindle Countdown Sale!


Three friends learn that always trying to top each other's stories isn't the best way to build a friendship.


Clint Morey is a bestselling novelist but he was a teacher for twenty-five years and loves telling stories to children.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

'Amazing Dolphin Pictures' by Cuddles


In this book you'll discover an exciting adventure as you browse through the 100 awesome photos of dolphins. After a brief informational introduction you will be in awe with these crisp and clear images. Although most of the mammals in the pictures are bottlenose dolphins, there are a few cool photos of wild orcas. This is the book that provides the high quality and high quantity of dolphin photos. Whether swimming underwater in groups or just one leaping out of the water, be prepared to be amazed!

AMAZING DOLPHIN PICTURES is available in both paperback and ebook formats. A Kindle version may be fun to browse on occasion, but as always, a paperback copy is recommended for young children to have in their own libraries. This allows them to get lost in the pages on a regular basis! It has hundreds of photos of dolphins!

Visit the Cuddles website for more pictures, to sign up for a newsletter, and to check out other books by this creator!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Meet Jimmy Vee, author of 'Little Jimmy Says, "Same Is Lame!"'

What was the inspiration behind this book?
The inspiration for this book is the message itself. I came up with the “Same Is Lame” concept several years ago and have been teaching it to business owners and entrepreneurs. I would teach the concept as it relates to their advertising, marketing, image, approach and business culture. If you look up lame in the dictionary it means, “pathetically lacking in force or effectiveness.” It’s a pretty striking definition. The phrase and concept of Same Is Lame has been very sticky and people really seem to resonate with it. So much so, that we trademarked the phrase. When I thought about writing a kids book, I figured Same Is lame would be the perfect message to introduce to kids to help them get pointed in the right direction early. It has applied to me and I have used it nearly all my life, well before I discovered the words to sum up my philosophy.
What message are you trying to send? Why is this so important for children?
The outermost layer of the message is self-acceptance. Simply, being comfortable with who you are and understanding that it’s OK to be different. At a deeper level, I’m trying to get people to realize the power that lies in fully embracing the traits that make them different and giving them the confidence to leverage them, capitalize on them and exploit them.

SIDE NOTE: I love the word “exploit.” Most people think of it as a negative word but it’s really not. The definition is quite wonderful and very fitting in this case.
:to use (someone or something) in a way that helps you unfairly

:to make productive use of

:to get value or use from (something)
Why is humor so important when dealing with children?
I believe humor is important when dealing with any one and every one. I also believe that humor is very hard. It takes innate talent or hard work to be truly funny and to master the use of humor. Humor works to break down walls, it brings people together and relieves tension in a group. Humor can be extremely effective at getting people’s attention. Grabbing and holding people’s attention is the first (and most critical) step in the communication and learning processes.

For me personally, I love to make people laugh. I love to hear people laugh and I love to watch people laugh. Especially kids because they laugh so freely, without restrictions or reservation.
What can parents, educators, and other caregivers do to empower children?
Encouraging kids to read is the number one thing. I believe that leaders are readers. Also, allowing children to make small decisions and deal with the ramifications of their choices can help empower children. This accountability builds confidence and self-esteem and prepares kids to make bigger decisions later in life. It also teaches personal responsibility.
How closely did you work with the illustrator?
Mike and I worked very closely. I actually wanted to find an illustrator I could work collaboratively with. Not because I’m a control freak. In fact, when it comes to artists, I’m the exact opposite. I like working with experienced and talented artists of all types. I love to bounce ideas, give a general direction and allow them to do what they do. I love watching them bring to life my ideas by adding their creative spark and life. Mike and I did that on this project. I gave my initial direction and then let him go. When he was ready, he showed me pencil sketches page by page and I tried to only give minor tweaks when necessary. Occasionally, Mike would make a suggestion to completely change my art concept. I really liked that. I love when an artist puts himself/herself so deeply into the work that they don’t just do what’s asked. A collaboration is tug-of-war on all sides of the creative box. Each artist pushing the other to move beyond their walls and what they have done in the past.
This is your first published children's book. Do you have more in the works?
My original plan was just to do this project. I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book and thought Same Is Lame would be a good project with lots of opportunity to do good and make a positive impact on people. Writing the book was on my list of goals for 2013 and one day I just woke up with the first few lines of the book. By the end of the day I had a rough draft. Now, I’m not sure. I think I’ve been bitten. I have lots of ideas and it’s just really fun.
On what other projects are you currently working?
Tons. I am a partner in an advertising agency. It’s one of the top three agencies in Central Florida. We have over 40 employees so I’m always working on some new and creative projects. I also do a lot of writing. Sometimes advertising copywriting, sometimes content writing and sometimes I’m working on book projects.
Please tell us about your other publications.
I have co-authored a marketing book titled Gravitational Marketing: The Science Of Attracting Customers published by John Wiley & Sons in 2008. We’ve also self-published several niche-industry trade books and I’m the co-author on a business parable book which will hopefully be released through a major publisher by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

I have a bunch of kids book ideas in my journal. I’m not sure which one I want to work on next. I like that this book has a message and a purpose but I kinda want to write a book that’s just fun. No real purpose but to make kids and parents laugh when they read it. To just enjoy the ride. Super silly and outrageously over the top. That’s my personality and I’d like to write a book like that.
We love ventriloquists! Please tell us about that! Do you have any videos?
I have loved puppets my whole life. When I was in elementary school two events changed my world. I grew up in a small town in Florida called Beverly Hills. No, not the one with the famous zip code. We didn’t get a lot of big events at the school but one year we had a ventriloquist come to the school and another year we had a magician. Both of those shows lit a fire inside of me that still burns today. I never did anything serious with either ventriloquism or magic when I was a kid. It wasn’t until I was in college that I got serious and it was another random chance of fate that pulled me in. I was in college full time and I had a job at a retail eyeglass chain.

One day I was walking through the mall and saw a guy selling marionette puppets out of a kiosk. Completely by coincidence, I had been doing research on marionette puppets and was building them in my apartment. I struck up a conversation with the shopkeeper and told him about my love for puppets and the marionettes I had been making. He encouraged me to bring them down and let him take a look. So, a day or so later, I brought down my string-puppet creations. He liked my puppets and asked if I would like to put them on in his kiosk and sell them on consignment. I instantly agreed. So with my puppet hanging in all its glory, I kept coming back to check in and over time I made friends with the man at the kiosk.

A couple weeks had past, I kept coming by and even starting working at the kiosk as a puppet demonstrator. They sold those wrap around puppets that has a stick on the hand. I would perform the puppet as people walked by and get them to stop. I would put the puppet around their body and show them how to manipulate it. It was lots of fun. One day while working the kiosk, some kids came around and my new friend pulled out a small ventriloquist puppet and starting performing for the kids. I was blown away. I loved it and my fire for talking without moving my lips was reignited.

I ask him if he could teach me how to do ventriloquism. He told me it wasn’t that difficult and suggested I get a book and learn from it. This was before Amazon, so I went to the Barnes And Noble store and they didn’t have any books on the shelve about ventriloquism but they did have ONE in the system they could order. I order the book and devoured it when it came in.

I practiced ventriloquism for a month straight every time I got in my car. I would sing songs on the radio without moving my lips. Soon I had it down. Then I bought my own puppet and starting to make a little show. It was at this point that I figured I needed to add a little something else to the show and sought to add a little magic… literally.

I decided to look for other ventriloquists in the area and discovered that there used to be an active ventriloquist club in Central Florida. It was not defunct but I found an old list of the members and started to call them. I restarted the club and met a bunch of new friends.

One of the people I met was a guy named Mike Palma who was not only a ventriloquist but also a magician. His father had even owned a magic shop at one time. Through Mike, I got back into magic and then added that to my show. Mike and I are still very close friends.

Once I had a little show, I started performing in people’s garages for $50 bucks. I got better, the show got better and I started doing lots of birthday parties, events and all kinds of shows. I also started charging a lot more too. I still perform today. I have since taken Imporv comedy classes and have done standup comedy with my dummy at the Improv comedy club.
How does your family support you and your work?
I am married. My wife is very supportive. She is very funny and creative too. She is a cake designer and a stay-at-home mom. We have two kids Autumn (8) and Vincent (2). My daughter told me that all I do is make stuff up all day. Which I guess is fairly accurate. The kids love the book and we have a lot of fun. Lots of laughs in my house. Everyone is trying to be funny all the time.
Give us a nutshell look at your typical day.
My day is fairly structured. I get up at 6:30 AM and go to the gym. I get home clean up, eat breakfast and drive my daughter to school. School is 5 minutes from the house in the direction of my office (this is by design). I hate wasting time and waiting around. Although I have a short commute, I always listen to audio books on the drive. Even with a short drive I cut through a lot of books. I try to read over 40 books a year. At the office, I have a very specific schedule. We block all of our time, group like tasks for efficiency and work strictly by appointment. I try to leave the office around 4PM. When I get home, I usually spend time with the kids, work on writing or practicing my magic or ventriloquism routines. Around six, my wife feeds the kids and we make dinner and then we read with the kids and put them to bed. After the kids are down for the night, my wife and I will either read or I’ll work on the computer writing or doing some other project. We also like to watch the tennis. I have to have a project going on or I go crazy. Occasionally, my wife and I will watch a bit of TV. Mostly creative shows like FaceOff on SyFy. Right now, I really like Jim Henson’s CreatureShop Challenge. We don’t usually watch a lot of TV though.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I really am Five Feet Tall. I wanted to be a special effects designer for movies and make puppets and animatronics.
Thank you so much for your time!

All proceeds from the book go to the Same Is Lame Foundation for children

About the author:

Jimmy Vee is known around the world as the "Five Foot High Marketing Guy." He has been creative since any one in his family can remember.

Today he spends his days making things up and joking around (that's how his kids and clients describe it).

Jimmy got his creative start acting with action figures, building high tech gadgets out of trash, tooting made-up tunes on his trumpet and practicing the ancient arts of magic and ventriloquism.

In real life, Jimmy is the co-owner of an advertising agency and has co-authored numerous books on sales and marketing, including the bestseller Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers.

His agency has received numerous accolades and is recognized by INC. Magazine as one of fastest-growing private companies in America. His marketing campaigns have been heard all over the US and Canada and have been featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

Jimmy has dedicating his life to helping people discover what makes them unique and showing them how to capitalize on it.

He is also children's entertainer and regarded by his peers as one of the leading professional ventriloquists and kid show entertainers performing today.

Jimmy lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, Christy, and their two children, Autumn and Vincent and a horde of ventriloquist dummies.


Author Facebook:

Book Fan Page:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review of 'Bee Helpful' by J.W. Edwards III


Bee_Helpful_webFor Sunny Bee, being truly helpful means going anywhere and everywhere. When his beautiful sunflower friend Myah becomes very ill, Sunny travels to the “far side of the hills” seeking help. Faced with a series of challenges including a raging storm, large spiders, or even the intimidating Grandfather Oak, Sunny’s dedication never wavers! (ages 4 - 8)




Companion coloring book:

**My thoughts**
Bee Helpful is a sweet story about a bee who will do anything for his best friend the sunflower. She is getting dehydrated in the hot sun and really needs water. Along his journey, he meets several other animals, some of whom try to be helpful and others who admonish him for his actions. This is not unlike how people act about us and our friends in real life.

It has a strong lesson about friendship and about persevering to do what is right. The characters are adorable, sort of a throwback to classic ones, such as in the Uncle Wiggly series. I really liked the illustrations and am glad that this book is available in hard copy as well as Kindle. It is the kind of book that children will want to page through, as well as hearing read out loud. (The rhyming speech of the characters is fun to read out loud!)

About the author:

DSC_0107J.W. Edwards III was born in St. Louis, Missouri and spent the majority of his childhood there. Eventually he left St. Louis for engineering school and job opportunities. He has traveled across most the U.S. in search of a place to call home. He currently resides in northern California with his wife and three boys and works full-time as a software engineer while writing stories for his youngest son in his spare time.

J.W. Edwards is busy these days working on a variety of writing projects which includes the Sunny Bee Book Series. Book number three, Bee Helpful, was the first one to be published. Books 1, 2, and 4 will follow soon in 2014. Learn more about this series at

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