Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Passing on the Lovely Blog Award

According to the rules, recipients of The Lovely Blog Award must pass it on. It's an honor to have the award, and it's even better to acknowledge someone else.

I'm passing The Lovely Blog Award to Kathy Stemke for one very special reason: she believes in herself. Kathy is one of those people you know you can count on. She actually reads the Virtual Book Tour blogs and makes good comments, does her own posts on time and doesn't complain about the amount of work. However, what really impressed me about Kathy was her decision to self-publish her book: Moving Through all Seven Days. My mother was a teacher who believed in movement and physical activities to unlock the language arts and teach people to read. She would have loved this book. Check out the reviews at Nancy Famolari's Author Spotlight.

I hope Katy gets lots of readers, but I think she'll gain most from the experience of being published. It's wonderful if you find an editor or publisher who's interested in your work, but most important you have to believe in it yourself. Therefore, I applaud Kathy and present this award. If you don't believe in yourself, who will.

Kathy, please retrieve the picture from my blog, paste it on yours and, of course, make a link back to my blog. I hope you enjoy the award as much as I enjoyed giving it. Now it's your turn to pass it on.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Internal Conflict in Summer's Story, a Romance Novel

When the story opens, Summer's father is dead. Although he was an out of control alcoholic, Summer blames herself for not being able to save him. Likewise, she blames the farm owner, Ned, believing that telling her father he couldn't work with the horses killed him. In the opening scene, Summer's guilt drives her away from Ned and his lovely farm into the arms of Davis Clayton, a charismatic racehorse driver much like her father. Choosing Davis over Ned sets the stage for the near tragedy that follows.

Summer's internal conflict affects everyone in the novel, Ned, Davis, and even her enemy Max Schiller. The major external conflicts in the story revolve around Summer's desire to get her trotter, Meadow, to the Hambletonian Oaks. How Summer and the people around her respond to this conflict is driven, not only by Summer's internal conflict, but by the needs and desires of those around her. How she resolves her issues involves more excitement and romance than most of us experience in the real world, but isn't that what makes a romance novel such a good escape?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spider in the Mailbox by Linda Asato

Linda Asato has written a delightful children's book, Spider in the Mailbox.

Here's what one reviewer had to say about it:

Children love stories about family, animals, and other creatures, especially when they can learn things at the same time. Linda Asato tells the tale of a little girl who checks the mail every day – allowing children to learn the days of the week, and sees a spider in the mailbox (number one). The second day, she sees two crows (number two). Each day the types and number of creatures changes, but the spider remains. Each day, the girl runs to tell her busy mother what she saw.

Lessons to learn are counting to seven and the days of the week, learned in a fun way.

Ryan Shaw brings Asato’s delightful story to life with his bright illustrations.

Spider in Our Mailbox

by Linda Asato

illustrated by Ryan Shaw

published by 4RV Publishing

released May 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0-981

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meet Linda Asato

Linda grew up in the Canadian woods on her father’s lumber camp. She and her younger sister shared a bedroom in a 3-bedroom house that her father and his men built on the edge of a small river within sight of the saw mill and planer mill. Her family life was one of security, encouragement, and love, which helped to foster her talents of writing and playing the piano. Not having access to TV or other entertainment sources, Linda found herself interested in life itself, and when she wasn’t taking long walks in the woods with her two dogs, she became interested in oil painting landscapes, taking photos with her camera, fishing, playing the recorder as well as the accordion and piano. Helping her mother with the huge garden in the summer and harvesting the crops in the fall nurtured her love of plants and gardening, which later became her area of study at the university in Edmonton, Alberta.

She began writing poetry at the age of nine and shared her poems daily with her Grade 3 teacher who supplied her with fancy notepaper on which to write them.

Later, she took to writing short stories, and her teacher at that time mentioned to her parents that she had a unique way of viewing things from the other person’s perspective.

During her 3 years of attending University, she wrote numerous poems, two of which appeared in two separate anthologies of poetry. During the last year, she married Brian Smith and completed her Bachelor of Science. Moving to Thompson, Manitoba, the couple had two kids, a boy and a girl that kept Linda busy raising a family for the next few years. She was divorced years later and raised her two kids mainly on her own while running her own Janitorial business to keep the family financially afloat.

As her own kids grew up and left home, Linda worked for many years both as a teacher and also as an executive at a boarding ranch school where kids lived and worked together as well as studied. It was here that she wrote many courses including workbooks for the education of the students.

Years later, she moved to Florida where she endeavored to continue her writing and even editing for others. As a ghost writer, she wrote a book on mortgage traps as well as a book on improving one’s credit score, plus many other shorter reports. She has edited for others over the past 4 years.

Her first picture book for children, “Spider in Our Mailbox,” is now published by 4RV Publishing and illustrated brilliantly by Ryan Shaw.

I asked Linda some questions about her writing.

Q: You were raised in the forest in a lumber camp in a very caring and religious family. How did this affect your writing?

A: When I was young, I became very close to nature, animals, plants, trees and the outdoors. Many of my poems reflect this. I also have a deep spiritual side of me that is actually not like the usual one you would see in someone brought up going to church at least twice a week. Many times this comes out in my writing, although very subtly.

Q: How has your educational background affect the subject matter of your writing?

A: I had a very good education and great teachers. The most important thing I learned in school and also from my father was to question everything and to investigate. Therefore I love to do research and this helps me to write about subjects that I initially have no inkling about.

Q: What hobbies, interests, or activities do you participate in during your leisure time?

A: I garden and spend time outdoors with my two cats and the two dogs that I am taking care of at the moment. I often take my camera with me and take pictures of the environment around me. Then, of course, I teach piano so I enjoy playing my electric keyboard and composing music as well.

Q: What keeps you writing?

A: I get these awesome ideas for a book or an essay and I just can’t keep from writing it down. I also get such a thrill when I write something I am inspired to write that I want to experience it over and over again.

Get in touch with Linda:

Website: Linda’s Writing Web

Blog: Linda’s Writing Desk

Publisher: RV Publishing LLC

Illustrator: Ryan Shaw