Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From My Bookshelf to yours: The Many Adventures of Mortimer Crump: Mortimer's Sweet Retreat

Mortimer meets a monster who at first sight is scary, but he gets to know him and has a wonderful adventure. This is a beautiful story about friendship and not judging others based on their appearance. In an age where we are are dominated by computer generated images it was refreshing to see the hand drawn and colored pictures. My children LOVED all the beautiful sweets drawn as rides and things especially the chocolate commode. The sing song rhyming put the "icing on the cake" for me. A beautiful tale that should be shared with all children. Maybe the author can write a book about a vegetable land. If she does dedicate it to me!

*A free copy of this book was given to me for  a honest review.  No other compensation was provided for this review.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Interview with Mandi Tillotson Williams, author of Mortimer's Sweet Retreat

Tell us a little bit about you: I am your average mini-van driving mama but I do have an imagination that is FAR from tame! (I may need to invest in tranquilizer darts just in case it happens to get loose) Often times when my kiddos and I are driving around in "Mandi's-Mini" we will crank the radio up and I will then proceed to make up new silly songs to whatever happens to be playing on the radio. The kids seem to think it's fun and often times a book idea will strike me right there in the mini! :)

How did you begin your writing career for children? I have always LOVED to write and draw since I was a young child. I would make up stories for fun and I was pretty convincing at times. I had several friends believing that I had actually traveled to Earth by way of a large bubblegum slide from an undiscovered candy-coated planet. I began my writing career after a person family tragedy-turned-miracle gave me the shove I needed to pursue my dream.

Was there someone or some event in your life that inspired you to write your book?  I wrote my first book about 10 years ago but put it aside because I had never even considered pursuing publishing it until several years later after my youngest child was born. He was very premature (only a 28 weeker) and the doctors said due to a grade III bleed on both sides of his brain he may not walk or talk. He faced many more complications while in the NICU and at that time, I prayed and made a promise to God that if he would just save my baby's life, I would share my miracle with as many people as possible. Well my little one is now almost 6 years old and has no trouble walking or talking and is actually a very smart little boy. He recently had to get glasses but I made up a What if question in my second book that made glasses COOL for him. I read it to his class and half of them wanted glasses too!! Lol. One little boy even wore sunglasses to school the next day! :o) In order to get my miracle spread to the world as I promised, I decided to publish my book and since then I have written a total of 4 but am working on illustrations for the other two. Good things can come from bad, I have living proof. 

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? A photographer of course. This actually is my other job when I am not writing. I love it because it lets me express my creativity.

What feelings or lessons do you hope your book leaves its readers? I want for those that read my first book, Mortimer's Sweet Retreat to come away with new outlook toward others. You can't judge someone by looks alone. Just because someone may look strange, it doesn't mean that they are any less of a person than you are.

Describe yourself in five words Mother, Photographer, Author, Illustrator, Creative

Is there a children’s book that you have read that you wish you had written?  Shel Silverstein's poems, I love those. :o) Also the froggy books are super cute.
Whats next for you? Right now I am working on the second book in The Many Adventures of Mortimer Crump series and also another series as well. The first book in this series is about Henrietta Hexagon - A happy little shape with six beautiful sides. :o)
Do you have any advice for others interested in writing books for children? I would say research is the key for sure! I have done a huge amount of research and you learn things every day. Also, I would say that if you are planning on pursuing writing go ahead and join communities such as goodreads, absolutewrite, or SCBWI. These boards are also wonderful places to find valuable information as well as make friends and gain fans.

Do you have a website or a fan page?  I do!! :o) and

Where can we find your books to buy? They are both available in ebook and print
Mortimer's Sweet Retreat on Amazon: Amazon
       on Barnes and Noble: 
Moritmer's Book of What-if's on Amazon: 
       on createspace:

I do want to also share my poem I wrote about my son's time in the NICU if that's ok.

My answer as to why?

I woke up this morning with a really clear view.
My answer as to “Why?” I hope you see it too.
Several years ago, I had a two pound baby boy
12 weeks premature… I felt anything but joy.
He wasn’t doing well, his life was hanging by a thread
Not knowing why this happened, my heart was filled with dread.
The doctors said he may not walk, his brain was full of blood
He wouldn’t learn, he may not talk, none of this was good.
I sat and wrote that very day, an email to my friends
Asking all of them to pray and then to please hit send.
Within a week, to my surprise, I had an inbox full of letters
Strangers sending hope our way, praying he’d get better.
They sent him home after 73 days but again, with not much hope
We had no clue of what may happen on this scary uphill slope.
On this day, he’s five years old and no one would never know.
He’s doing great, he’s really smart. He’s anything but slow.
As I said before, I woke today with an answer as to “why?”
I came to my desk to try and type and then began to cry.
My child was saved so I’d spread the word of what Jesus did for me.
I feel that’s why I rhyme so well. I want all the world to see.
Something big will come of this, I can feel it in my heart.
For now I’ll spread to my home town, but I know it’s just a start.

Click here to read Mortimer Book Review

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From My Bookshelf to Yours: Toonopolis: Gemini by Jeremy Rodden

Wow! What an unexpected and fun surprise this story was. It was an imaginative and original look into the world of cartoons. I found my self wanting more pictures. It was laugh out loud funny and kept me turning pages. I read this at the office in between clients and a couple of therapist poked their heads in to see what was so funny.

This is a story about a human, Gemini, who finds himself in a world full of toons were things are predictable but make sometimes make no sense. He is the supposed hero and is expected to save the toon world from a shadowy villian. I usually pride myself on being able to forsee the ending of a book, but I was taken by surprise by a certain revelation. I love how Jeremy, wove in facts about characters that will appear in his next books and left the readers with questions making them wnat more. I highly reccommend this for middle school and YA readers. and dad may want to take a peek (no shame).

*A free copy of this book was given to me for  a honest review.  No other compensation was provided for this review.

You can buy this book at:
Toonopolis: Gemini.
Amazon UK

Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo (it is currently free at Smashwords!)
Amazon UK:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview With Jeremy Rodden, author of Toonopolis: Gemini

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a stay-at-home dad who formerly has worked as a High School English teacher and a manager in two different Fortune 500 retail companies.  I spend my days taking care of my two boys (6 and 1) and my hard-working emergency physician wife.

What inspired you to write Toonopolis: Gemini?
I wanted to write a story that was designed mostly for entertainment, much like the cartoons that the book parodies.  I find that too often, fantasy stories are trying to send a message or have some underlying theme instead of just allowing people to have fun while they read.  That isn't to say there aren't any messages or lessons to be learned in my book, but that's not the primary purpose.
What are your favorite children's authors/books?
I am a big fan of both Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) and Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl).  They both have created wonderful urban fantasy worlds that are fantastic but still grounded in the real world.  While my work is more of a high fantasy (in that it takes place in an other-world, like Alice in Wonderlandor Wizard of Oz), I still very much admire their ability to create such wonderful works.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Read, read, read.  Never stop reading is my mantra.  I fell into a little bit of a funk in my writing after completing Gemini and found that I had stopped reading.  As soon as I started reading more aggressively again, I was able to pick up the pen (so to speak) and get work done.  Delving into other people's fantastic worlds helps me find both the motivation and inspiration to get back to work on my own.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I've never been asked "boxers or briefs", but I guess I'll go with a different one as that one's a little trite.  How about "What is your favorite section of Toonopolis?"  That one's never come up!  I'd have to go with Adventure Realm, I think.  It is the section of Toonopolis that parodies roleplaying games, my favorite genre of video gaming.  I am able to take lots of jabs at the games I loved as a kid and still love today while pointing out some of the silliness that we RPG gamers have just blindly accepted over the years.
How old were you when you began to write?
I recall creating characters and writing little stories as young as ten or maybe even younger.  I know I spent a good deal of time in junior high school (12-14) writing poetry and other stories.  It wasn't until High School that I started getting into longer form stuff but never tried to tackle a full length novel until I sat down to work on Gemini.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
I laugh at your "spare time" theory! When I'm not chauffeuring my six year old or changing diapers or folding laundry, I like to play basketball and softball.  I also try to maintain my geek status with video games and movies, but find it hard to maintain.  I am able to justify watching cartoons as "research" for my books and my cartoon review blog.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Clever, sarcastic, silly, dedicated, father.

Do you have any other books you are working on? If so give us a sneak peek.
I have actually just released a new novella called Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo.  It is a coming-of-age hero story about a minor villain in Toonopolis: Gemini.  We learn how Yoshi of Higeki became the anti-hero turned villiain of Animetown (a section of Toonopolis based on Japanese cartoons).  It is a little more serious of an adventure story than my debut novel but still has a taste of my humor and sarcasm that people have enjoyed in my writing.

Next on the list is Toonopolis: Chi Lin, the sequel to Toonopolis: Gemini.  It is a story about the last real unicorn on Earth who transports himself to the Tooniverse to try to keep himself and his maiden, Avantika, from facing death.  He learns lessons on humility and humor along the way.
Is there a lesson to be learned from your book?
The major theme is to learn to accept who you are and try not to be something you're not.  Gemini comes across this lesson when dealing with some of the Rogues of Toonopolis, creations who have changed who they were by attacking their own creators' minds.  There are lessons on compassion and forgiveness along the way as well.
Has there been any obstacles in your writing career?
Life!  My wife and I had our first child at 23 and got married the same year.  My wife was in medical school so I had to work full-time while completing my own degree.  When she began her medical residency, I went back to graduate school for a Masters in Education but I still had to work full-time to help support our family.  It wasn't until our second son was born in 2010 and my wife began working as a 'real' doctor that I became a stay-at-home dad and found time to work on my writing.  I have no intentions of looking back from this point and my wife has been incredibly supportive of my chosen path.
Anything else you would like to share?
I have mentioned a few times in this interview my stay-at-home dad status.  Inspired by this as well as the fact that I opened my own publishing company, I recently opened submissions for a non-fiction essay anthology called The Myth of Mr. Mom.  I am seeking stay-at-home dads to share their stories about their transition into the homemaker profession in an effort to raise awareness that men are not only capable, but should consider it as a viable career.

Where can we buy your books? Do you have a web page or fan page?
Buy links for Toonopolis: Gemini.

"Buy" links for Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo (it is currently free at Smashwords!)

I can be found at my cartoon review blog/author blog at  I am an active Twitterer @toonopolis and my Facebook fanpage is  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From My Bookshelf to Yours: T-Bot And Peabody Explore The Zoo by Jonathan Fluck

Are you ready for a fantabulous zoo adventure? T-Bot And Peabody Explore The Zoo is a cleverly written story full of fun animal facts . Your children will enjoy learning about all the amazing zoo animals with robot brothers, T-Bot and Peabody.

This book is an awesome source for children to learn about zoo animals. This book is a great reference book for young readers. I  recommend this book to parent and teachers to help teach children  interesting facts about animals in a fun and memorable way.

I can't wait to read more adventures of T-Bot and Peabody!

You can visit the author at or for a more interactive experience you can "Like" them on Facebook, They share discounts, coloring pages, tips to encourage reading, and so much more. So please check it out.

You can buy their books on, Powell's Books, Barnes and Noble, our Facebook Page, and pretty much any bookstore.

*A free copy of this book was given to me for  a honest review.  No other compensation was provided for this review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Day No One Played Together: A Story About Compromise is a Mom's Choice Award Recepient

The Day No One Played Together: A Story About Compromise is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, Ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times Best-Selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, Motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books; and Tara Paterson, Certified Parent Coach, and founder of the Mom's Choice Awards. Parents and educators look for the Mom s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families. This book/product has been honored by this distinguished award.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Interview with Jonathan Fluck: author of the T-Bot and Peabody Explore series.

Tell us a little bit about you:
I am married to the most amazing woman and together we have 2 awesome little boys, ages 3 yrs and 5 yrs. I enjoy family time, 3D modeling, writing, and outdoor activities.

How did you begin your writing career for children?
It all started with a bedtime story. One night my oldest son asked for a bedtime story, so I threw together a few characters and a few of my son's interests and eventually came up with the first book of our T-Bot and Peabody Explore series.

Was there someone or some event in your life that inspired you to write your book?
If it weren't for my son's bedtime request, I never would have started down this path. The characters, T-Bot and Peabody, are based on my two sons. T-Bot is based of my oldest son and Peabody is based on my youngest. My two sons started my down the writer's path, but I start new adventures all the time, it's finishing them that is an amazing feat and had it not been for the encouragement and help of my wife, Karen, T-Bot and Peabody would have remained an oral story that never made it outside of our house.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
This is a tough one. I am very techie and nerdy with a love for 3D modeling and animating. If I weren't writing and could have any job I wanted, I think I would work either in the film industry or video game industry making 3D characters/animations. Assuming I could cut the mustard for the jobs. The guys that actually have those jobs are amazing at it and have an artistic gift.

What feelings or lessons do you hope your book leaves its readers?
Through this series of books I want the readers to be in awe of nature and have both a respect for it and a desire to take care of it. There is no subtle or overt message about saving the environment in the stories, but after reading the books, seeing the animals, seeing the landscape, I think the reader will walk away wanting to preserve all that for future generations. I also want readers to walk away proud of themselves for reading and hopefully having fun doing it.

Describe yourself in five words
"Horse of a different color."

Is there a children’s book that you have read that you wish you had written?
The Cat in the Hat. I wish I wrote The Cat in the Hat. Dr Seuss created worlds that have changed the lives of generations by aiding the young and the old in creating a deep, life long, love of reading. He told entertaining stories with whimsical characters that spark the imagination.

Whats next for you?
I am completely excited to be working on the next book of the series, T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Ocean. I am co-authoring this one with my wife Karen. It's been great. So far the story is written and largely illustrated. Just working on the last few pages. Readers will journey with T-Bot and Peabody through coral reefs all the way down to the deep dark depths of the ocean were life is unique and stunning!

Do you have any advice for others interested in writing books for children?
Try. No matter what you're interested in pursuing, try. Give it your best shot. My advice for aspiring children's authors would be this, approach the world from a child's perspective, be fascinated and consumed by the wonders of the world around you and by the limits of the imagination. Whether you pursue the traditional publishing route or opt in to the self publishing path you need to have a story that children want. It'll take time and effort but a quality children's book will have success. If you don't believe me, try your hardest. You will either prove me wrong or spark the love of reading in a child.

Do you have a website or a fan page?
We have a website or for a more interactive experience you can "Like" us on Facebook, . We like to share discounts, coloring pages, tips to encourage reading, and so much more. So please check it out.

Where can we find your books to buy?
Our books are available on, Powell's Books, Barnes and Noble, our Facebook Page, and pretty much any bookstore.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From My Bookshelf to Yours- The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure by Sonya Kimble Ellis

 Do you want to be transported back in time? Well,  The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure is the book for you!

This is a book about a group of children who reside in Southern California. They hang out together and build sandcastles. Rosa, Richard, Daisy and Kamal find a magical sand dune and the adventure begins!  They are transported  to 420 AD Central Peten where they meet  a Mayan Indian who asks for their help in building his village a bridge.

Matthew Hebert's illustrations are beautifully done and will make you feel as if you too were magically transported to another time. A wonderful bonus is the last page  has ten discussion questions to help lead you into a discussion with your  child about what they've read.

This book is an engaging adventure that will teach children about the Mayan culture, hieroglyphics and lending a helping hand! It is a perfect tool for teachers that want to get their students exciting about learning history and for kids who love to learn. History lovers must buy this book! I can't wait for the new adventures of the Sandcastle kids.

Get your copy of the book at

Want to win a free copy? Go to Wild About Reading
*A free copy of this book was given to me for  a honest review.  No other compensation was provided for this review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview with Sonya Kimble-Ellis, author of The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure

Tell us a bit about you?
I have been a magazine writer and editor for quite some time. I have also freelanced quite a bit for the Web. I've written five books, all for young people, and plan on starting work again on an adult novel I began a few years ago. I enjoy traveling, interior design, and have other hobbies as well.

What inspired you to write The Sandcastle Kids?

I actually wrote the initial version about ten years ago and got turned down by several publishers. So I decided to publish it myself. I wanted to write a book that allowed kids to learn about other cultures in a fun way.

What do you hope children learn from your book?

I want them to know the importance of history as well as the contributions that people of various cultures have made to the world.

Are you planning to write any new books in the future? Can you give us a sneak peek?

There will be more Sandcastle Kids books in the future. So keep an eye out for those.

What do you do in your spare time when you're not writing?

I'm trying to find more spare time. I'd like to get back to my love of photography and writing songs.

Who was your favorite author when you were young?

James Baldwin.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read as often as you can and write as often as you can. Be persistent when working with editors and publishers. But keep in mind that there's a fine line between being persistent and annoying. You just have to find it.

Describe yourself with 5 words.

Kind; focused; versatile; reliable; somewhat adventurous.

How did you get interested in writing children's books?

I've always wanted to write a picture book. I've written children's activity books and biographies for teens. So picture books were a natural progression. But breaking into that area of publishing is not all that easy.

Where can people buy your books?

Right now, people can purchase the book on my site It's also available at select book stores in New Jersey. Hopefully it will be available on the Barnes & Noble and/or Amazon web sites within the next few months.

Do you have a web page or fan page?

My Facebook page is: The Sandcastle Kids

Anything else you would like to share?

Thanks for all your support and please visit our page and hit "Like."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

From My Bookshelf to Yours: Shanna's Lost Ribbon by Tiana Washington

This is a cute story about a little girl who is excited for picture day. She dresses in her best dress. Her mother gives her a beautiful ribbon that she wore herself when she was little. Unfortunately picture day does not go as planned. Although this may not be the best picture day it will be the most memorable. This story is a sweet lesson about never giving up. A nice story to share with a little girl. 

This book is available for purchase on,, B&,,,