Hi guys, today I’m talking about a pair of games that I was completely buzzing about from the first mention of their release, Pokémon Sun and Moon.
I’ve been a massive Pokémon fan since the original games, so I’m going to admit that this could be a biased opinion right now. This series is the reason I own every generation of Nintendo handheld consoles…
I’m sure everyone knows, but these are RPG games where you travel around the world collecting, trading, and battling monsters. The basic gameplay hasn’t changed that much from the days of Red and Blue but there are some major improvements that make the game feel slicker. My favourite is the introduction of ‘ride Pokémon’ which you can call to carry you across different terrains or destroy boulders, instead of wasting one of your Pokémon’s four move slots to teach them how to navigate these obstacles. And it’s really fun to just charge around on a Tauros everywhere!
There’s also new battle techniques called Z-moves, you can only use one per battle and the Pokémon using it has to be holding the Z-crystal for that move. It lets you unleash a powerful attack and some of the animations are fantastic, watching my Decidueye rain exploding arrows down on its enemies never gets old.
Speaking of that, I usually go with the fire-type starter, and when I saw Litten’s preview I was so excited to be getting a fire cat to play with. Torracat seemed pretty cool too, but then I was so disappointed with how Incineroar looked that I didn’t want to use it. I know a lot of people are sick of bipedal, humanoid 3rd stage fire starters, that isn’t my problem; Delphox is one of my absolute favourite Pokémon. I just though Incineroar looked goofy.
Look at that goofy fire cat!
I already knew that I wanted to use an Alolan Ninetales in my party, which gave me a fairy-type, so I took Rowlett over Popplio as my starter. I hardly ever use grass-types because I usually have the types they’re strong against covered by other Pokémon in my team, but I was really glad I did this time. Decidueye did me proud.
I’m still not 100% sure if I think changing some of the original generation of Pokémon to new forms was a good idea, a few are great like Ninetales and Raichu. But some are just plain odd or ugly like Dugtrio and Persian. I think if they put a bit more effort into the revamped forms I would’ve been happier with it.
The hands-down, most fun thing about the game though was Team Skull. They are easily the best villains in a Pokémon game so far! Usually you get some random evil guys that want to destroy the world for some weird reason, but Team Skull are a bunch of outcast, downtrodden teens that seem more confused about their place in the world and just want to be noticed. They were so easy to empathise with and see why they had turned out the way they had. The boss, Guzma, is my favourite character from the game, you can see he’s had a crappy life and gone off the rails but there’s definitely hope for him yet. Oh, and the Team Skull theme song will have you cranking up the sound on the your 3DS 😉
My only complaint about this game is that it’s far too easy. In the other Pokemon games there were caves that were a slog to get through, puzzles to figure out, and some genuinely tough battles. But in Sun and Moon, there was none of that. The only puzzles were a couple of obvious boulder pushing ones, and the only thing that put up much of a fight was Guzma’s Golisopod. Victory Road was so disappointing, it’s usually the last hurdle before the Elite Four and full of maze-like paths and strong opponents. This time I walked through a couple of tunnels and popped out in front of a Pokecenter, I thought they must’ve put one half-way to make it a bit easier on players but that was the whole thing! There was no feeling of being a triumphant conqueror, heading towards being a champion.
The story is good though, with some great characters, and despite the simplicity I still thoroughly enjoyed the game. Even after becoming the champion there’s still a lot left for me to do, I haven’t gone on to battle any of the Ultra Beasts yet and as always, it’s going to take a while to catch them all!
If you still haven’t played this yet, it’s certainly one to add to your game library. It’s been voted one of the best games to be released on DS and it’s the sort of thing that anyone can pick up and have fun with.
Have any of you guys been playing this? What did you think? Tell me about your team and how your Pokedex is coming along! Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you all soon 😉
Hi guys, I’m excited to tell you all that I’ve been given the sunshine blogger award! I’ve been honoured by an awesome lady, Brydie Wright, and you can check out the interview with Daddy from her book ‘Daddy and the World’s Longest Poo’ here.
As part of this award, I have a set of ten questions for a character from Heirs of Power to answer and I put it to a Facebook vote to find out who you would like to be interviewed.
So, here is your winner… Mr Asher Grey!
Seriously? Can’t believe you got them to vote, we both knew I’d win.
And we both knew I was just looking forward to making the cool little ‘who will you vote for?’ graphic.
Gotta get your kicks somehow, I guess. You got some questions, love?
Okay, I have the questions here, #1 What genre did your author write you into? What makes your character a great fit for this genre?
It’s a fantasy series. I can teleport anything I touch, so I doubt I’d fit in over at the historical fiction shelf. And I like playing with swords, so it works well for me, yeah, I’d probably get bored if I didn’t have any magical freaks to fight off.
It’s true, you are amazing with swords and sorcery, though from what some fans have said, I think they’d enjoy seeing you as a lead in a romance novel.
Can you blame them? Swoon away, ladies!
#2 What is the hardest thing about being you?
Holding back when people do really stupid stuff, seriously, I deal with morons on a daily basis. And I have to be nice to them.
I have a couple of quotes from you here- “I’d vote for the useless ditz to do all the decision making before I trust The Dancer with anything more crucial than arranging a bloody birthday party.” And “The Swordsman’s just baggage, I don’t think I ever met anyone less useful in my entire life.” Is this you ‘being nice?’
On a scale against their idiocy, I’m being a bloody gent there.
#3 Do you agree with all the choices your author makes for you?
You assume I don’t make them? That’s cute.
You do insist on being the centre of attention a lot of the time.
You know it works, that’s why you let me. *Smirks*
#4 Being a literary type, we really must know – are you a cat, or a dog person?
We never had pets growing up. Me and my dad were so focussed on getting stronger to fight the Tenebri that we’d probably have neglected a cactus to death. I guess, if I had the choice, I’d go with a dog. They’re loyal, trainable, intelligent. Damn, I’d trade in some people I know for one. Anyone got a spare puppy?
#5 Does your author play favourites with her characters? Where do you fit on this spectrum?
Yeah, she does, and I’m right at the top- she has great taste. I get a lot of page time, but I have a lot to say and we have fun figuring out the best way to get it across. I’m half-convinced this is secretly my story, though in the second book there’s more stuff with some of the other characters too so none are getting left out.
You’re much worse than me for playing favourites, Asher.
Yeah, I had to extend the lowest part of my spectrum twice to find a fair spot to put The Dancer on. Could’ve gone further but she’s not worth the effort.
#6 If you could choose a love interest from the other characters in your book, who would it be and why?
I’m kinda in the middle of saving the world right now, I’ll figure that out after.
But if you had to… People really want to know!
All the women are other Lucidians, we can’t share a first child or they won’t inherit our powers properly. There were a couple of other ladies in the book, pretty sure they were married to original Constellations though, so that’s another no. I just want someone that can deal with being constantly hunted and fighting off enemies. And me being a jackass now and again, apparently it happens.
#7 If you could choose a name for your own blog and write about what you know and love, what would it be and why?
I’m good at a lot of things, so it’d be hard to narrow down. Maybe just ‘Being Awesome with Asher.’ The best thing I could teach is fighting; I’d go through different weapons and styles, best tactics for each situation. Most people don’t need that though, I reckon I’d end up writing about art. I’m always drawing, and I paint pretty well too. It’s handy for gathering information, and I do enjoy it.
#8 Do you have any plans to take over the world?
Maybe I should, things would run way better. Gonna concentrate on saving it first though, we’ll see about domination after.
#9 What do you think your author’s best qualities are?
You’re assuming I think she has positive ones…
It says ‘best’ not ‘good’ therefore, you have to pick something.
She’s malleable, writes pretty much whatever I want. *Grins* We have a laugh though, I get on with anyone that appreciates my sense of humour and tells me I’m their favourite. She’s tough in her own way, my author, persistent and hard-working. I’d work with her again. And kill anyone that messed with her.
#10 If you could speak directly to your readers, without the author as a middleman, what would you like them to hear from the horse’s mouth?
Don’t half-ass anything, if you’re gonna do something, you put every bit of yourself into it and make it happen. You don’t waste time looking what everyone else is doing and moaning you aren’t as good, you could be using that energy to improve. Just don’t whine in general, no-one wants to hear that crap. And don’t tiptoe around the truth, if you don’t agree with what’s going on, say so. And then do something about it, even if it has to be something big.
Thanks, Asher, it’s been really great having you here.
Getting to talk about myself? Anytime.
For the second part of the Sunshine Blogger award, I have to nominate some other bloggers and set some questions for a character of theirs. So, I am passing the badge of honour to:
Your questions are:
#1 What genre is your book? Which other genre would you like your story to have been and why?
#2 If you and your author met up, what would you do?
#3 If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
#4 What superpower or ability would you like to have?
#5 How would you like to be remembered?
#6 If you and your author traded places, what would you make her do?
#7 Tell us one thing you are really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
#8 Does your author let you be in control, or does she rein you back a lot?
#9 What do you like most about your author?
#10 What other characters from your book do you get on best and worst with? Why?
Hey guys, it’s new series time!
I figured, seeing as this is an author site, I should spend more time talking about books. But there’s so many awesome books out there, where do I start? The plan is to work my way through my Goodreads ‘read’ list and tell you a bit about each of them, maybe you’ll see something that sparks your interest. Or things that you’ve read too and you completely disagree with what I say about them…
I’ll probably group most things by series as I get to them and if you want to check out what’s coming up here’s a link.
For the first post I get to talk about one of my favourite series of all time, woo hoo! Today it’s all about Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
This is an incredible mix of fantasy and steampunk with some of the most original world-building I’ve ever come across. The races of humans living across the world are each connected to a different insect and have abilities relating to them, like the Ant-kinden can speak to each other telepathically and the Wasp-kinden can shoot stings from their hands. People are also either Apt or Inapt, which means they are proficient with either technology or magic (the more traditionally mystical kind, separate from their kinden abilities) and utterly ignorant of the other; Inapt characters can’t even operate mechanical locks or fire crossbows, and Apt characters refuse to believe magic exists at all. Just with these ideas, there’s a lot to play with to make each character unique and create plenty of tension between them.
But the best thing about Tchaikovsky’s characters is their three-dimensional greyness. There’s a side to every protagonist that is flawed in some way, and each antagonist has solid reasoning and a real conviction that what they’re doing is the right thing. Sometimes it seems the ‘bad guys’ are more redeemable than the heroes.
Another thing I adore about this series is the perfect unpredictability. Sure, there are some typical fantasy tropes used throughout, but you will be shocked, blindsided, and heartbroken over and over again. There’s no such thing as plot armour in this world. George RR Martin would be proud.
The main criticism I have is that the story slows down around three quarters in. This is a mammoth ten books long (I love long series so much) and they average about 600 pages, which is great for me because I hate when series come to an end, but I could see it putting off a slow reader or someone that prefers a quick 300 page a piece trilogy. It only feels slower for a couple of books and then picks back up again as some major plot is resolved and new threats arise, and the eventual conclusion is extremely satisfying.
I’d class this as a must read for anyone brave enough to take up a decalogy, you’ll be gripped by the characters and engrossed throughout the whole saga. My personal favourite is the fifth book, The Scarab Path, I was reading this one evening and just couldn’t put it down until I got to the end. Then I looked up, bleary-eyed and realised it was getting light outside and I’d stayed up all night to finish it. Oh, and this was the second time I’d read it- I already knew what happened…
So, what are you waiting for? Click this link to go to the Amazon book series page to get all ten!
Has anyone else read Shadows of the Apt (or part of it)? What did you guys think? Or are you frantically pressing the ‘buy now’ button to get your own copy?
I hope you enjoyed hearing about this series that I’m obviously smitten with, and look out for the next On The Shelf where we have a beautiful bit of Discworld discussion going on!
Hi guys and welcome to another Let’s Talk About… Where I don’t quite review something and just have a chat about it!
Last weekend my husband and I went to see Wonder Woman, the latest film in the DC Extended Universe. I always love a good superhero movie but after how disappointing I found Batman vs Superman (that’s a story for another day) I was a bit apprehensive. So… is it a good film?
Diana was a great character from start to finish. After growing up on a secluded island, you get a real feel for her inquisitiveness and naivety when she finally has to deal with the rest of the world. She may be physically tough and an incredible fighter, but she has to rely on others to help her get around and this adds some much-needed balance to a hero that could easily have been too overpowered. I know Superman is a big fan favourite but I’ve never been that interested in him because he has so many abilities that make him unbeatable unless his enemy somehow gets hold of a ridiculously rare material.
I adored Diana’s resolve and compassion to; she stood her ground when it mattered and even when she saw an ugliness in the world that she’d never experienced before, it just made her more dedicated to helping people. Amidst the grittiness and morally grey characters that are prevalent right now (which I do love) it was nice to see a true archetypal hero.
And, my gosh, could she fight! Her beautiful blend of believable strength and effortless grace made every action scene a joy to watch. To the point where I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I’m not one of those people that went into the cinema excited because there was a female lead, I just enjoy superhero movies, so I wasn’t expecting such a release of emotion. It was as if all the times I bit my tongue in frustration and rolled my eyes because of the weak token women or otherwise pointless love interest spilled out. And I know there have been other great females in films, there was just something special and poignant about the way Diana was portrayed.
Despite this, there were the odd bits of slightly janky CGI where things didn’t always look quite right. Most of the film was well put together but these few scenes did pull you out of the action. And, even though the story was engaging, the film felt really long. To be honest, I think this was partly down to the copious amount of slow motions shots. There’s only so many times you need to see a close-up of Wonder Woman looking intense with her hair floating in the wind.
Should you watch this film?
I think so- it was a solid superhero film and anyone that enjoys the genre would be missing out if they didn’t watch it. It has a decent story and characters, and some great laugh out loud moments that some of DC’s other films seem to be lacking. It’s definitely a step in the right direction for them and I’m looking forward to their next releases a lot more now. Wonder Woman is easily my favourite DCEU movie so far but I think there’s still improvements that could’ve been made to it. With a bit of cutting and tightening up it could’ve been something incredible, but don’t worry- it doesn’t miss the mark by much!
Hey guys! Under the spotlight today is author, public speaker, and self-proclaimed recovering procrastinator- the wonderful Rita Emmett.
Hi Rita! Tell us a bit about yourself.
My Husband Bruce and I, as well as our 5 kids, were all born and raised in the Chicago area and are all Cubs fans. (Have you heard about them? They did something amazing Nov. 2 last year.)
My first four books are:
The Procrastinator’s Handbook
The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off
The Clutter-Busting Handbook
Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress
These books have been blessed with great success. They are in 32 countries and have sold over 310,000 copies worldwide.
When I searched to find books with procrastination help written for children, there were ones for every age except little ones. However, I keep receiving emails such as “My six-year-old constantly puts off cleaning his room.”
So I wrote a picture book to help little procrastinators stop putting off everything and am sending it to agents. Then I thought, “If I have to self-publish that book, how do I do it if I’m not an illustrator?”
That’s how FARKLE SHARK, YOU ARE NOT STUPID came to be. Originally it was a “practice book” to help me learn the process of self-publishing a picture book, but people like it and I’m hearing that little kids love Farkle Shark.
Now I plan to do another Farkle book. He’s a fun little shark.
As well as being an author, you’re also a professional speaker, how did you decide it was something you wanted to do and what advice would you give others considering this career?
In school, I never ever wanted to be on stage so it was a tough evolution from being a reluctant speaker to an enthusiastic one.
Writing books and giving talks is a perfect circle. When people are considering several speakers for their event, my books put me head-and-shoulders above the others and increase my chances of being selected.
They when you stand in front of a group speaking on your book’s topic, many of them run out and buy it.
I love writing and speaking (even though I still get stage fright every time) and am a lucky ducky because I get paid for doing what I love. Life is good.
Your earlier books deal with defeating procrastination, what’s the story behind them?
I was the World’s Greatest Procrastinator. Then converted. Am now a “Recovering Procrastinator”.
The only books back then were by psychologists for psychologists. I prayed that someone would write a book helping everyday people break the procrastination habit.
Then had a smack-yourself-in-the-head moment and said, “Rita, YOU are the one to write the book.”
I didn’t know a thing about books or agents or publishing so I took classes, joined a writer’s group and attended conferences. It was a slow process, but my book sold 100,000 copies its first year, so all the “homework” and preparation was time well spent.
And now you’re moving into writing children’s books, was the transition easy and do you think you’ll try out any other genres?
It was not an easy transition. I didn’t know a thing about writing fiction or picture books. Again, it has taken a lot of study and homework to figure out how to do it. I am wrapping up three picture books right now (one procrastination and two Farkle Sharks). And I presume picture books are probably out of my system because I’m eager to get back to two ideas for my usual genre, self-help books.
But the learning journey for the picture book process has been great fun. I’ve truly enjoyed it.
You seem to be a big nature lover. What are your favourite animals and what was your best wildlife-related experience?
Yes, one of my books is on Stress Management and a big part of my Stress Management Plan is getting out in nature. It’s not only relaxing, it clears my head and improves my thinking.
There are so many animals – both wild and pets – that hold a special spot in my heart, but two years ago I had an exciting experience with one of my very favourites – a majestic eagle.
In Ireland, driving through County Clare, we spotted a Birds of Prey Center, stopped in and attended a fantastic outdoor show of falcons, owls and eagles. Each one had been injured, was now recovered and all were free to fly out of the arena whenever they wanted.
As part of the show, they asked for volunteers to don a leather gauntlet and offer our arms for a bird to land on. The eagle flew to my outstretched arm and stayed with me for a while. It was thrilling, emotional, and I’ll never forget it. Aren’t you jealous???
Tell us about the fundraisers you’re involved with.
Our whole family volunteers regularly. The two I focus on most are:
1. The Loretto IBVM nuns who taught writing in high school and encouraged me to author a book someday. So now, with every royalty check I receive, we send 10% to them. Also I work with them on fundraisers throughout the year. Can you imagine how great it feels to be able to give back generously to the great teachers you had in high school?
2. The Irish American Heritage Center. Every October, they bring over from Ireland authors, artists and musicians for a weekend of immersion in Irish Culture.
The first year, they invited authors (in both Ireland and U.S.) to submit applications for selecting 25 authors representing Irish life. The head of the committee asked me why I had not applied and I explained that I don’t write about Irish history, art, music or life in general in Ireland. I write about procrastination and clutter.
He said, “The national past-time of Ireland is procrastination. Most Irish are sentimental and have tons of clutter. Go for it.” So I applied and every year for 9 years have been a selected author & presenter, plus I volunteer to work throughout the fund-raiser.
Give us your favourite tip on how to lead a more productive life.
Decide where you want to be in your future.
Decide what you need to do to get there.
Decide what specifically you will begin with.
Start working and learning.
While you focus on your ultimate goal, don’t forget to enjoy the journey getting there.
What genres do you enjoy reading? Which is your favourite book ever?
In school, history bored me. Dates. Wars. Who cares?
Then I read an historical fiction called The Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llywelyn. It ignited a passion for history within me and I especially love historical fiction. My whole family has fallen in love with Morgan’s books.
In that weekend of Irish culture mentioned above, we met her in person, friendships developed, and when we went to Ireland, she took us around to several sights, told stories of the history of the place where we stood, and created a lifetime of magnificent memories. Our kids talk about it often.
One of the joys of volunteering is that we often receive way more than we give, right?
If you could suddenly be an expert on any topic or master any skill, what would you pick?
I’d help develop successful treatment for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It would help many returning veterans who can’t seem to get back to normal life after their deployment. And will also help survivors of rape and sexual assault plus anyone who has experienced trauma, tragedy and crisis.
What do you find are the easiest and most difficult parts of writing a book?
For me, the easiest is at the beginning — the fun of Mind Mapping ideas, topics, stories and examples I want to cover.The hardest is promoting the book after it’s published. My self-help books are easy and fun – give talks, do radio and other interviews and write articles. I am still learning how to promote and distribute a self-published picture book. There’s lots more to learn. And I very much appreciate this opportunity to tell people here about FARKLE SHARK, YOU ARE NOT STUPID. Thank you for that.
Tell us all about your latest book! (Or an upcoming one if you have a release soon.)
My latest is my very first picture book, FARKLE SHARK, YOU ARE NOT STUPID.
It’s based on a favourite quote which is attributed to Einstein, that is: Everyone is a genius.
But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid.
I wish every child, parent and teacher would know that quote. Haven’t we all met kids who are doing poorly in school but when they talk about trains or dinosaurs or computers or anything they are interested in, they are brilliant. I believe they deserve to know how brilliant they are in spite of doing poorly in school.
So it’s a fun and funny picture book where that little shark learns … and teaches … an important message that can be life-changing for a child.
Get your copy here!
“Every child is a genius. But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid”. This quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, is the theme of Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid.
When Farkle tells his big sister Sparkle Shark that he is stupid because he can’t climb trees, she’s astonished and asks if all the other sharks in his class are climbers. Then, when she discovers that everyone else in the class is a monkey, she teaches an important life lesson – “Everybody is smart about something. But nobody is smart about everything”.
Farkle doubts this message because Big Bully Boy won’t let up. Then something happens that has the monkeys calling him a hero because he knows things that they don’t know. Big Bully Boy admits Farkle is a genius and a Smarty Shark.
If children grew up looking for other people’s strengths instead of judging their weaknesses we would see much less bullying. This fun and funny book will bring on laughs, cheers and an understanding of important life lessons about bullies and feeling stupid. (Haven’t we all felt that way some time in our lives?)
What interview question do you wish someone would ask you?
Rita, was this a good amount of questions to ask you?
Yes, perfect. Thank you for including Farkle and me.
Rita Emmett is a best-selling author of several books including The Procrastinator’s Handbook and The Clutter-Busting Handbook. Her books are published in 32 countries and have sold over 310,000 copies world wide.
She wrote her first picture book, Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid because she knows tons of children who might NOT be smart in school but they are geniuses when they talk about trains or insects or they can fix things or they have determination to stick to a hard job or they can make people laugh. Yet often — because someone bullied them or made fun of them — they are convinced that they are stupid.
Rita based this book on an Einstein quote: “Everyone is a genius.But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid”. She hopes that this book will ignite in children the understanding that everyone is a genius.
Twice Rita rode mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. This has nothing to do with her book. She just wanted you to know that.
Hi guys! Today, it’s over to Kathy Roberts to tell you all about herself and her wide range of books, seriously, there’s something here for everyone…
WV Native, still residing here.
Married, mother of 1 daughter (turns 16 in July)
I love to travel, do crafts, cook, play board games, (and practical jokes) and spend time with my family and friends.
I am very active in our church and I get involved in other projects and activities to help others.
My favorite famous author: Kathleen Woodiwiss
I am a multi-genre author
I was NOT one of those people who was destined to be an author because of all the stuff I’d written. In school I paid my aunt to write short stories and poetry that was due for Language class. I had one teacher let me do book reports for my writing assignments after 4 attempts at poetry. She was so kind and said we both knew I couldn’t do this, so she would work with me. As an adult and really just some 8-9 years ago; I did write some stuff, poems about people’s retirement, birthday, anniversary, etc. but nothing that ever made be believe I’d be a true author. I did enjoy it and I never had in school.
I began writing my first novel “Scars of the Heart” 30 years ago (1987) at age 26 in a composition book, sitting in bed each night. I dreamed of being published, but wasn’t famous and didn’t have the money to self-publish either. It is a clean romance novel set in medieval times and begins with murder, there’s kidnapping, deceit, mystery, espionage, treason, and more going on with a lot of pure romance thrown in. It’s a coming of age book, but continues through young adulthood for our hero and heroine. It’s really her story but with him, she’d have no story; and they had quite the struggle to arrive at a relationship.
In 2013 my childhood best friend’s daughter published a book, so I got mine out and started typing it to see if I might publish as well. I hadn’t finished the book and freaked out for a couple minutes, but I’d always known how it ended, so I wrote four chapters to finish it. I published it in 2014.
Yes I cried when I received my order of books. My story was written and my name was on the cover of a novel–it was such a proud moment in my life.
While writing those 4 chapters, I got the entire story line for the sequel “Truth Heals the Heart” (both, stand-alone books). Published in 2015 It continues the story of our couple and takes them through the struggles of their titles, starting a family, death, tragedy and the stress of being heirs to a throne. The ending to this book answers questions you didn’t realize you had in the first book, and is quite suspenseful. The story ends in each book, as I don’t really care for cliffhangers, but there is still room to write more chapters of their lives.
In early 2016 I dreamed the cover of “The Elevator” and began writing it a couple days later. A month later I dreamed the ending, so I was left to fill in the middle. I struggled a lot with this book as I felt a paranormal should be really scary and it’s not. Samantha is trapped in an elevator by something or someone and must free 500 souls and find someone to replace her. People are burdened down with problems they can’t resolve and have trouble functioning normally. She must help them realize they need help and give them advice on what to do to overcome the obstacle and move on with a productive life. The book is the stories of the people who entered her elevator and how she helped them. She finds she needs much help in her life too. She’s not quite Ms. Perfect as she thought when she got on that elevator that morning. There’s a lot of self examination going on as well as the struggle to help others when she can’t get the majority of the people to even see her, much less talk to her and take her advice. It was published in August of 2016. Cover artist is Laura LaRoche.
Shortly after finishing the elevator I began writing a Sci-Fi Novel “Chasing the Rift” I was making great progress with it and would have finished within a couple months, but I was asked to submit a political spoof short story in the sci-fi or horror genre for an anthology with some very big names doing the book for charity, so I stopped and did that project. Sadly to say, I was not accepted, so I stuck a cover on my story, printed a couple dozen and sold 20 copies when I was signing at my next book event. It was worthwhile doing it for the experience, but it was very hard to get back into my time-travel book. I love my home state and all it’s beauty, so I set the book in the mountains here. Professor Silvers has perfected his theory and calculations for time travel and has secured funding from NASA to conduct the experiments to see if he could determine the correct power source and actually achieve time travel. He has secures several geniuses from West Virginia University to participate in an internship at the Laurel Fork Federal Wilderness Area in the mountains of West Virginia to do the trials. They were not very far into their testing when they all decided that should they achieve this feat, it was too big for any government to have. There would be too many egotistical, power hungry, people that would want to make so many changes in the past and future that the world would up turned upside down, so they created an elaborate plan to keep NASA or anyone else from discovering time travel. It becomes quite the cat and mouse game and actually solves one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century in the end. Talk about twists and turns! This book was published in 2017 Cover artist is Laura LaRoche.
I have also written 6 children’s books for a teaching/self-help series called “Adventures With Freddy” They are full color picture books with great lessons. (*NOTE: They are not hardback, they are softback books, but have a nice heavy cover) The first two books have been published in 2017 with one more due to come out in the fall. The remaining three will be out in 2018 barring any unforeseen problems. I’d been searching for an illustrator since 2009 and finally found a very talented young lady. Lena Phillips, a Hurricane WV resident as well, is a high school graduate this year and will be furthering her education with an art degree from Bridge Valley in South Charleston WV. The first story is actually true, I did teach my little cousin how to scare monsters when he was three years old and I also taught his son the same lesson when he was three. The rest are based on issues and problems children face and problems their parents deal with in teaching them. They can identify with Freddy and get their own understanding of how to handle a situation they have to deal with.
The subtitles for the series is as follows:
“I Can Scare Monsters” Freddy is scared to go to bed because the monsters will get him. Cousin Kathy teaches him how to not be afraid because he could actually scare the monsters away.
“Where Do My Vegetables Go” Freddy learns how important vegetables are in building a healthy body and is taught that he has to taste them and ends up liking many vegetables.
“Watch Out for the Toy Snatcher” All parents struggle with how to get their child to pick up their toys, this teaches how toys left lying around may attract a toy snatcher and they could lose their favorite toys.
“I Want to Stay Up” teaches children the importance of rest.
“I’m not Afraid of the Dark!’ Freddy learns why he shouldn’t be afraid in the dark and helps children identify with him in overcoming their fears as well.
“Who’s Afraid of the Storm? Not Me!” Freddy learns what a storm is and how to deal with the fear associated with it.
All my books are available on Amazon and the links to each are above. They are all available on e-books as well.
My e-mail is email@example.com should anyone want to contact me with an order, questions, etc. Just put one of my book titles in the subject line so I can pick it out of the hundreds of spam e-mails I receive daily.
My Facebook page is here.
My website is here. Pricing includes autographed paperback and postage.
My current project is another new genre for me, Fantasy! It’s coming along nicely and I hope to publish it this year.
If I had to describe my books as a whole, they’re all about the journey. Which is what all our lives are really.
Here are the places I’ll be the rest of this year:
6/9-11/17 Sci-Fi Valley Con in Altoona PA
8/26/17 Cupcake Festival, Milton WV Pumpkin Park (Fundraiser for The Children’s Miracle Network)
10/28/17 Celebrating WV Authors at the Crossroads Mall in Beckley WV 10-9pm
11/11/17 Beckley Holiday Jam 10-3pm at the Raleigh County Convention Center (Fundraiser for Just For Kids, Inc.)
Thanks so much for joining us, Kathy!
I hope you all enjoyed getting to see a new author and spotted something that intrigued you from her collection. Make sure to go visit her at one of the events if you’re nearby, and support these great causes. Take care guys!
Hi guys. Today I get to introduce you to this absolute cutie! Muffy has her own series (which you should definitely check out) and is here to share a bit about her greatest adventures.
May 13th 2017 Interview of Muffy of Farmville, by Pete, the Dog Catcher
Hi, my name is Pete and I am a very unusual Dog Catcher. I live and work in a beautiful place called Farmville. I have an odd talent which I use to good effect in my work, and that is that I can understand what animals say and they can understand me! It really is quite awesome. Recently I met a lovely family called the Gabriels who live nearby. They have six or seven dogs now, Will and Sara Gabriel are such softies they just can’t help themselves from taking in any passing dog that needs them. Not long ago a little Goldendoodle pup named Muffy got lost after she chased a silly grasshopper from her farm in Farmville. She walked and walked all night long and in the morning she collapsed at the Gabriels’ front door. Well, of course the Gabriels have adopted her and now she chases bees and butterflies and lizards in the Gabriels’ huge back yard. The local Farmville newspaper asked me if I would like to do an interview for their Home and Garden section, so I thought that it would be fun to interview Muffy about her travels. So here we are sitting in the garden in the shade of the big oak tree with Oliver the Papillion and Radar the Golden Retriever keeping us company.
Pete: So tell me Muffy, that night long ago when you got lost, were you scared?
Muffy: Oh yes, Pete, I have to admit, even though I’d rather not, because you know I’m actually quite brave, but I was all alone and very hungry and very thirsty and I was scared as can be.
Pete: So when Will Gabriel found you were you scared of him?
Muffy: No, he had the nicest, kindest energy and I immediately felt safe, and Radar let me sleep in his cushiony bed and the others made me feel so at home, I just knew I belonged.
Pete: Now since then you’ve been on vacation to Florida, that must have been quite an adventure.
Muffy: Oh that was wonderful, we all got to go together in a big kind of house on wheels and we swam in the sea and we sailed on a boat and we saw dolphins and manatees, and Oliver was a hero!
Pete: Yes I see Oliver grinning over there.
Muffy: Oliver is my best friend, of course I love everyone here, but I am especially fond of Oliver because he was so brave and saved a little dolphin from drowning when we were in Florida.
Pete: What happened?
Muffy: Well, we were staying with Sara’s cousin, Mrs. Tonin, and her daughter has a tourist boat and she took us out to Teapot Bayou to see the sights, and oh my goodness we met so many cool friends there, but then as we were on our way back we made friends with a little dolphin named Puff, and Puff got caught in a shrimp net and Oliver hates water, but he jumped in to save him without so much as a thought for his own safety, now that’s really brave.
Pete: Well, you are brave too Muffy
Muffy: No, I’m silly! I always chase things and get myself into scrapes.
Pete: But you get yourself out again, don’t you!
Muffy: (Laughing) Yes, I guess I do.
Pete: I hear you have a new brother.
Muffy: Oh yes, we recently adopted a big, white Great Pyrenees named Winter. Boy, he is really something! See, I got myself into a bit of a scrape with Mama Porkee, the porcupine, and ended up at the vet, and I met the Medicine Cat there and then Doc Smith told us about Winter who had been lost in a storm and….
Pete: Woa, hold up there, you’re going too fast…
Muffy: Well, anyway, now we have even more brothers!!
Pete: So Muffy, if you have one important message for our readers, what would that be?
Muffy: Hmmmm, well, I think I would want to tell everyone to be nice! If you want to say something to someone ask yourself if it is kind, and if it is true, and if it is necessary. Then If not, don’t say it.
Pete: That sounds like good advice, but tell the truth now Muffy, do you always live by those words?
Muffy: (Laughing) Maybe not always, but I do try!
Oliver: She does try!
Muffy: Hey! This is my interview, you go suck on a stick!
Pete: Now, now, Muffy I thought you said to be nice!
Muffy: Well, most of the time!
Pete: Well, I must go, it was really nice chatting with you.
Muffy: I’ll walk you to the door.
Thank you to Muffy and Pete for joining us, maybe poor Oliver can have his own interview one day!
The Muffy Series is by the awesome children’s author Devra Robitaille. Go grab your copy of Muffy and the Medicine Cat from Amazon now! You can also find out more about Muffy and her friends going on tour on their website.
London-born Devra is a prolific composer, songwriter and keyboardist, as well as an author of books for kids. She had a successful career as a professional musician in England, playing keyboards and touring with Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame, before moving to America in the nineties. All through the nineties she directed musicals and theatrical productions in Los Angeles. Devra now lives in Florida with her family on the Sarasota Bay. She loves to kayak and bike and is a consummate foodie, baking lovely cakes and deserts.
Hey guys! We’re in for a treat today, I get to introduce you this wonderful lady- Becky Benishek.
Hi Becky! Tell us a bit about yourself.
This is the year I became an author, self-publishing two children’s books after a few too many years of just thinking about doing it. Finding the Navigating IndieWorld group on Goodreads was one of the best things I could have done.
I love singing and listening to music, playing with our guinea pig, Teddy, building Lego structures, going to Renaissance Faires, exploring bookstores, playing video games, trying new restaurants, and just plain hanging out with my husband and all of our friends.
When I’m not doing all that, I’m working to support all of these habits! I’m the social media & community manager at the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). One of my key roles is managing Yammer communities for our customers to share training strategies and success stories with each other. I absolutely love it. And it’s because of CPI and Yammer that I am now a second-year Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP)! It’s both humbling and awesome at the same time.
I’ve looked through your portfolio on your website and you have a lot going on! Tell us about some of the other projects you work on.
I am currently pursuing plans to get my third children’s book illustrated and out the door by this fall; this one is about a dragon with a very special, coveted gift that backfires completely! I’m also supposed to be rewriting a fourth children’s book. That one is a true picture book and when it went through the editing stage, I ended up with fewer words than the recommended maximum. The storyline supports putting in more, so I just have to do it now.
I was happy to have an article published in The Journal of Crisis Prevention, which our company puts out—not that that made it any easier for me to get an article accepted! I wrote about an aunt on my husband’s side who has never known him, because of a disease she was born with. It’s reprinted on my blog: Rosemary’s Face: The Legacy of Rh Hemolytic Disease
As I write this, for the past few months I’ve been occupied with fun yet busy things at work. In March, we had a huge social media campaign called #MarchMindfulness. Plus because of being an MVP, I have to do things to justify keeping that title, so I’ve been speaking at events, doing videos, and mentoring people. I also just submitted my speaker proposals for Microsoft Ignite 2017.
You’re obviously a huge guinea-pig fan, when did you first fall in love with them and what is it about them that grabbed your heart? If you could have any other type of animal for a pet, what would you choose?
The legacy of guinea pigs is long: I grew up with white rats, but my dad would just get too sad when they died because their lifespan (as far as we’re concerned) is so short. Then there was an ad in the newspaper: Someone had a guinea pig with an unexpected litter—this happens often with guinea pigs—and needed to give away the kids. When we showed up, the pig family was out in a safe space on the lawn. One of the little pigs detached itself from its pile of siblings and trundled over to us as if to say, “Get me out of here!” That pig became Chucky. I’ve loved guinea pigs ever since.
Every year we learn more about guinea pigs: How much space they really need (store-bought cages are NOT big enough), the interaction they crave, and that their lifespans can be up to 10 years old and probably beyond by now. They are intelligent, engaging animals and will find a home in your heart. /PSA
I was always fascinated by African Greys, though hearing how they can go into deep mourning when they outlive their owners deters me from getting one. I have, however, been named the godparent of my illustrator Kelly’s conure, Kiwi, in case anything happens to my friend!
I also hear you have a vast Lego collection, what’s the most impressive thing you’ve ever built? Do you have any pictures of your creations?
I still have the King’s Castle set from the 80s, which I think is the best ever, and I really loved the Harry Potter sets. I have a thing for Cream City brick, and the “sand” color brick used in a lot of the Potterverse sets easily reminded me of that.
I have since added a Lego bank/laundromat combination building (I suspect money laundering) and am working on the latest Creator set, Assembly Square, but here is a decent picture of my collection:
That is impressive! The castles are my favourites 😀
I have another tiny (and dusty) set from the 80s that has become a scene of a future crime, because before the flexible and enterprising Lego minifigs came around, we had a different kind of Lego person, to wit:
“The new neighbors were having a lovely time outside until the Sinister People showed up…”
“…they were invited to have a drink and sit down, but that’s when things really got ugly.”
As an author of children’s books, how do you find matching the words and the pictures? Do you envision the images as you write? How did you go about finding the right illustrator?
I do envision the images, but as my own personal illustration style lends itself to everything looking like guinea pigs, I don’t hold a firm image in my head so that I won’t get in the way of my illustrator. If I tie myself down too firmly to something that I can’t even draw myself, I would risk stemming the creative process and not having a final product that appeals outside of my head.
I was very lucky that one of my good friends loves to draw! Kelly Cline is a biology teacher during the school year, and one of her many talents is bringing animals and objects to life through her illustrations. She captured both Sidney Snail and Guinea Pig George perfectly.
A lot of authors write things they would like to read, do you find it a challenge to write for a younger audience?
I’m wholeheartedly glad my books do appeal to the audience I’m writing for!
I actually find it quite easy to tell children’s stories, though the biggest thing I try to watch for is what’s appropriate for the age group. That’s the more difficult part, for I do believe children will absorb and learn from words and concepts considered over their heads; I also don’t believe in keeping everyone to a low common denominator just because of an average or census. Much depends on the parents or guardians reading with the child as well. Yet I also want to be fair and appeal to a wide audience.
Do your book ideas come fully-formed, or do you get little bits and pieces that you fit together as you go?
Both! “What’s At the End of Your Nose?” came fully-formed after I’d seen some unusual photographs about snails, and underwent only a slight storyline tweak after I’d written it out in a morning (and I don’t often do that, but this time that’s how it happened); Dr Guinea Pig George sprung fully-fledged into my head as well.
My other children’s stories waiting in the wings for their turn to shine also came in fully-formed—and none of this is to say that editing doesn’t happen and things get changed–but the adult fiction I’ve been working on lends itself more to the bits and pieces kind, which I find very interesting.
I also have years’ worth of notebooks and scraps of paper with ideas that I always intend to do something about. . . .
You’ve said that you enjoy computer games (one of my favourite subjects!) tell us about some that you love and if they’ve influenced other areas of your life or work.
I grew up with my own Commodore 64, which had the best graphics at the time. I learned to program BASIC with Gortek & the Microchips. Beyond that, I had tons of games. “Riddle of the Redstone” is still my favorite from that era, a combination graphics, sound, and text-based game with a slightly sinister tone. You type your name in at the beginning, and ever after the prompts will read like: “A strange singing voice is coming from the basement. Do you investigate, Becky, or head out to the rose garden? Remember, time is running out to get the deed!”
Another fun one was “Montezuma’s Revenge,” which despite the colloquial expression was a super fun, ever-perilous warren of a multi-level game, with your little dude collecting jewels and of course killing enemies. Lots of jumping, climbing chains, sliding down poles, and having to collect the right keys.
I do have a working C64, but I also have a DOS emulator and just about every game I had back in the day so I can play on my PC.
Currently I play Fallout 3, Skyrim, and Elder Scrolls Online. I love world-building and hack’n’slash at the same time.
Has all this influenced me? I’m not sure! It might be the other way around; certainly growing up, I envisioned a wonderful fantasy world that combined nature with high-tech, and having the C64 was a fun supplement to that.
Where’s your favourite place to visit? And if you could travel anywhere in the world (or outside of it) where would you go?
I love Venice (Italy). Purely love it. I’ve visited twice and want to go back. But I also love Prairie du Chien right here in Wisconsin, which is home to Villa Louis, the most marvellous Cream-City brick Italianate Victorian house ever. The house itself feels so warm and welcoming—it’s been loved!
I would like to travel to Australia, but I confess I’ve always been rather curious about what’s in the Andromeda Galaxy…
Tell us about your latest release! (Or an upcoming one if you have a release soon)
All the upcomings are still nebulous, so I’ll just wax eloquent about “Dr Guinea Pig George,” which did after all get released after “What’s At the End of Your Nose?” even though I wrote it first—in 1999!
George is not based on any guinea pig I’ve ever known, but he definitely has their curiosity and “I think I can so therefore I can” mentality (some would call that bull-headedness) that is a hallmark of every guinea pig I’ve ever known. Besides hopefully enjoying the story for its own sake, what I hope to show children and adults is that you shouldn’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of what you think you can do.
What interview question do you wish someone would ask you?
“What do you think most characterizes your writing?”
I’d like to think I have my own unique or relatively unique whimsical style, especially when it comes to anthropomorphizing: I try to tap into what the animal is feeling and interpret that to the world at large.
Or so I believe. 🙂
Becky Benishek studied English and Environmental Science at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, and always hoped to turn her lifelong loves of writing, animals, and trees into something wonderful.
Becky writes both children’s books and adult fiction, has more than a few notebooks stuffed with poetry, and occasionally tries her hand (and ear) at songwriting. She is grateful for the support and unwavering belief of her family and friends.
Becky lives with her husband, Dave, and their guinea pig, Teddy.
Dr. Guinea Pig George really does think he’s a doctor–and it never occurs to him that he might be wrong!
Follow clever George through a very unexpected day as he navigates potential peril, takes advantage of a peculiar situation, and comes out on top.
These days, it’s more important than ever for all of us, children and adults, to believe in ourselves, even if what we aspire to seems out of reach at first glance. If you don’t take a chance, you’ll never know what might have been.
Sidney Snail is so sick of Slipperyville that he wants to go on an adventure-any adventure-anywhere but here! A timely word from mysterious Old Samuel Snail convinces Sidney to give Slipperyville one last chance before he snails out of town. Experience a snail’s-eye view as Sidney awakens the world around him.
Sidney will help show children (and adults!) that they can find magic, mindfulness, and meaningfulness in even the simplest things. All you need is a change of perspective.
Hi guys, joining me today is a man of many talents, Ben Jackson!
Hi Ben! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m Ben Jackson and I currently live in both Australia and Canada. I’m married to my wife Sam Lawrence, who lives in Canada and we work together on all our books (she’s the brains behind our books!) I work fulltime as a boiler maker welder specializing in Aluminium ship building and write in my spare time.
Have you always wanted to write books? What made you start?
I have always been interested in reading books and can devour them quite quickly. I just sort of fell into writing my own books and eventually writing children’s books with my wife Sam.
Tell us about all your different jobs, and the secret of how you manage your time between them!
I’m a full-time welder when I’m in Australia. I’m a freelance writer on Fiverr, and self-publish my own books and manage several websites and help other authors. I don’t know how I manage my time, organized chaos and mayhem would be a good definition.
What are your favourite genres to read and write?
My favourite genre to read is war and action. My favourite books to write are my children’s books.
You write in many genres, what’s it like writing in such a broad range of styles?
Hard. I’m helping another author with a large non-fiction book now as a ghost-writer. This is the first non-fiction book I have done in a while and I’m a bit rusty!
Where is your perfect holiday destination, and what would you do there?
Anywhere relaxing! I love the ocean and beaches, but it must have Wi-Fi! I don’t like being out of touch with the world.
You have a series of children’s book about a boy being friends with a fart, where did this idea come from and how did it end up being so cute?
My wife and I came up with the idea late one night and it all sort of spiralled out of control from there. She loves to work with the illustrator Danko coming up with the ideas for pictures, bringing the book to life.
Tell us about your latest release! Or an upcoming release if you have one soon.
The latest release was my If I Was A Caterpillar, and we are right now having the book The Day My Fart Followed Me To Soccer Illustrated.
What makes this book unique?
If I was A Caterpillar is a lot different than the Little Fart series. I wanted to write a book that showed kids that they could do or be anything that they wanted!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Thanks for having me!!! I love it and I love working with other Indie Authors to promote and build their work.