Sign up for Newsletter - Blog Talk Radio ShowsShows

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Manic Network Interviews

Thursday, July 7, 2011An Interview with J.D. Holiday

J.D. Holiday is the author and illustrator of two children’s books: Janoose the Goose, picture book and a chapter book for six to eight year olds, THE GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE. A chapbook of her short stories called, Trespasses was published in 1994 and she has had short stories printed in literary magazines and numerous articles about writing and publishing published. She is a member of both The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI) Small Publishers of North America, (SPAN) and a c-host on The Writing Mama Show on BLOG TALK RADIO’S World Of Ink Network.

As well as being an author you're also an illustrator. Does this effect the way you write your books?

I think so. I see everything I write as a picture or scene and I find it easy to tell what scenes should be pictures for my children’s picture books.

How did you get started writing and how long have you been drawing and painting?
My father wrote every weekend for as long as I can remember though I never thought of writing myself while he was alive.

I had problems reading and spelling as a child which didn’t start to improve until high school. Also I was so self-conscious about my spelling difficulties that I didn't think I could write seriously. But in the sixth grade I did write a story on a rainy afternoon by myself and loved it.

It wasn’t until 1983, years later that I started writing when a friend asked me to read a few pages from a historical romance she was writing. I told her what I thought about it and she asked me to help her write the book. We did finish it and sent it to an agent who was kind and sent the manuscript back with a detailed account of what was wrong with it. My friend went on to other things while I found that I loved writing and did not want to stop. I’ve been writing for years now.
I started drawing and painting in high school! I had a teacher who saw something in my artwork I didn’t know myself and encouraged me to draw and paint.

What's the hardest thing for you to draw?
People. I have to study faces for a long time and even then I might get them wrong.

How long does it take you to write and illustrate a book?
That always depends on what is going on around me. Most of my stories I wrote years ago, but I think most of them took a few months to write and even up to eight months for the longer stories.

My latest published book, The Great Snowball Escapade, is a chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds which I wrote in 1989. The illustrations took about 6 months fitting them in around my family, work, cooking and pets who all come first.

Do you illustrate other peoples books too or just your own?
So far I’m only doing my own books because I have about 10 more manuscripts of my own to illustrate. I don’t have plans of doing illustrations for others.

Why do you write children's books?
I have many stories to tell for children. I had a fun childhood and many stories have come out of it.

Do you feel that fewer children are reading today--or is it about the same?

I think that more children are reading and it has become somewhat important to kids today because of the use of computers. Kids have to know how to read to use them. Kids wanting to use them to play games and keeping in touch with their friends as well are looking up information on things they just want to know about.

When you write, do you plot or do you write by off the top of your head?
I plot all my stories heavily. I write detailed outlines of about four pages and make notes on anything available to scribble on as things come to me. The notes are clipped, stapled or taped in a binder that no one else would want to try and read through. But I wade on through the mess to write out my story on loose leaf paper that is then added to the binder until the story is done. That’s the first draft. Then I type it on the computer and begin again to edit. This can not be changed, I’ve tried. This is what works for me!

Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?
Yes. Besides the two books I mentioned, I have about four other picture book manuscript already written that I have to do the illustrations for, and a second young adult novel that needs to be written.

What was your road to publications like?

It wasn’t easy. For many years I submitted my manuscripts to the big publishers getting many rejection letters. Though during all that time I had some short stories and a Chapbook published, some editors were interested in my children’s stories, and I even had an agent for a time, but none of my children’s books made it into print.
In 2002, I decided to try one of those print services, which for me, was a disaster. I had my publicity plan ready to go but the print service had made a mess of my book and the galley was not ready for printing. I tried working with them to fix it, but the next galley had the same problems and the deal collapsed.
At that point, POD publishing, or Print On Demand had come along and was affordable to get books into print. That was when I decided I could do the job better myself and I started my own publishing company, Book Garden Publishing, LLC.

Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
That’s easy. My publisher is me! After years of submitting manuscripts to the big publishers and waiting for the rejection letters I was giving up on getting published. I had a agent and editors along the way that were interested in my work, but no books published. Then, POD publishing, or
Print On Demand came along and was affordable to get books into print. I decided that was what I was going to do.I tried one of those print services, which for me, was a disaster. I had my publicity plan ready to go but the print service had made a mess of my book and the galley was not ready for printing. I tried working with them to fix it, but the next galley had the same problems and the deal collapsed. That was when I decided I could do the job better myself and I started my own publishing company, Book Garden Publishing, LLC.

What’s your next project?
I have three book manuscripts I’m working on at the moment. One is a picture book I have done the drawings for and am now digitally painting them in Painter Essentials 4 which I love. It is a story about a boy who wants a puppy but gets a dog that is older. It's what they do together that makes them pals.

The other book is a young adult novel titled, ‘Christmas in the City.’ This story about two girls, one with a family and one without and both searching for what is important to them.

And my third project is a sequel to my first children’s picture book, Janoose The Goose which I’m still in the writing stage.

Lots of people make dire predictions about kids & reading & new media. Can you offer one *counter* prediction for where your current readers might be 10 or 15 years from now?

This is a hard one! It’s hard to tell how things will be in the future. I went to the 1960’s Worlds Fair where many predictions where made on the future. Some of their predictions were correction but many were not and some we have surpassed.
I do know that we are in the e-book reader future now and see that continuing. As for books themselves, I think, they will always be around. I can’t see a world without books, though they may be printing less and/or for special reasons. And with the invention of machines like the Espresso Book Machine where a whole book can be printed on demand, in fifteen minutes!, one at a time, just because you want to have that favorite in your own book library.

Where can members and visitors to Manic Network find out more about you and your work?
People can find out mostly everything about me on my website: and my blogs: &

Thank you so much Michelle for having me as the first interview on Manic Network. I enjoyed it!
~J.D. Holiday

J.D. Holiday’s two books, 'The Great Snowball Escapade,' a chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds, and ‘Janoose the Goose‘, a children’s picture book, are both available online at B&N and Amazon or order in bookstores as well as order in bookstores everwhere.

‘Janoose the Goose‘ is $10.00 at:

'The Great Snowball Escapade' is $5.99 at:

Read an excerpt from the children's chapter book,
The Great Snowball Escapade at:

Posted by Michelle at 12:13 PM Email This
Share to Twitter
Share to Facebook
Share to Google Buzz

Home Publishing blogs
Independent Publishing News
Book Publishing News! Part I
1 week ago wellerwishes
Happy Birthday To Me!
1 week ago How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator
When kids’ book illustrators go wild…
2 weeks ago Writing for Children
Anthropomorphic Animals: From Folklore to Modern Storytelling
2 weeks ago The Purple Crayon Children's Book Guild

Manic Network Pages
Who We Are
Manic Network
Manic Network Pro
Manic Network Critiques
Manic Forum

Manic Network Members
Michelle Munger
J.D. Holliday
Blog Archive
▼ 2011 (1)
▼ July (1)
An Interview with J.D. Holiday

Picture Window template. Powered by Blogger.

Posted By Marsha Casper Cook to A Good Story Is A Good Story at 7/07/2011 03:56:00 PM

Marsha Casper Cook- Children's Books

Book reviews by Sass Ashe Posted at: 6:38 PM

If you have children you'll want to know about the books that Marsha Casper Cook has to offer. I'm combining three of them in this post because you need to get them all!

The Magical Leaping Lizard Potion
Isabella Pimpinella is quite a character!She is a Junior Witch and she, along with the other Junior Witches are preparing for the Magical Leaping Lizard ceremony. All the junior witches have to particpate in the ceremony before they can become full-fledged witches and learn to fly! But things don't go exactly as planned and Isabella has a bit of worry as the night goes on.
This story is a good one and friendly for all ages of children. Isabella and her puppy are wonderful and the illustrations are so adorable and fitting for the story.

The Busy Bus
Children love rhyming, heck adults love rhyming. "The Busy Bus" is a collection of short children's' poems that will tickle your funny bone. Marsha shows her love of simple pleasures and rhyming fun with poems like: Whose Smelly Socks are Those? Winona the Begonia, Hiccups and My Baloney. Your little ones will giggle with glee when they are introduced to Isabella Pimpinella of "The Magical Leaping Lizard Potion" along with an interesting umbrella!

Snack Attack
Addison Apple is not a fan of oatmeal, that much is clear! He convinces his mom to let him choose what he eats. Well Addison has quite the culinary adventure, and along the way he may have learned a lesson about cakes and cookies, he may even have decided to like oatmeal.

As a former finicky kid Snack Attack was a great read for me and I highly recommend it to parents for their picky eaters!

Marsha Casper Cook is a great author, she's written books in several genres, and is so talented in so many areas that it's hard to capture it all. So this post is about 3 of her children's' books. You'll have to come back another day to see what I think of her romance novels!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


You Are A Leader

Author: Jon Bandra

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Walking into the room everyone turned around and smiled as she shook hands with those present. Small children raised their arms in the air as he walked by hoping to receive a hug, nod or smile. Others that were at a greater distance waved cheered and sought some kind of recognition. His warm smile, expressions and gestures said it all. Everyone has the ability to make a positive impact or difference in this world. Each of us can guide, inspire and support others helping them reach success. Are You A Leader? Are you someone who wants to create change? Are you committed to teamwork, sets a good example, listens to others before making decisions and builds important relationships? Are you ready to take that next step? Everyone is a leader. You just might not know what others already see in you and now is the time to cultivate, explore and develop your inner YOU! I bet you are wondering why did everyone stop when he walked into the room. Simple enough: one word: Presence- an intangible quality yet imperative and vital to becoming leader.

Take a look in the mirror. Who do you see staring back at you? Look hard, deep and past the surface of your reflection. Think hard! Everyone has the innate ability to become more than their physical being. Everyone has the ability to lead, sculpt and create a better world for others whether in government, business, at home, in school or in life. Leadership should not come with a negative price or with stress, anxiety, fear and disillusionment.

Take the journey from beginning to end and learn, embrace and understand the ten intangibles that you need to become the leader you already are. As I review ”You Are A Leader,” by author Jon Bandra you will hear the voice of the author, read the personal stories shared by many and understand that you can be a better you and take that first positive step to becoming a better you and of course a leader.

We do we being our journey. Remember that man who entered a room. He was about to deliver a speech to a graduating class in a Middle School. Although he was a famous athlete and heads his own company if he did not have PRESENCE, that intangible something that you cannot feel or touch, the quality that makes people notice you when you walk into a room, he could have been anyone at all and the reaction totally different. Author Joe Bandra wants to awaken the presence, simplicity, emotion, sensitivity, perception, passion, trust, flexibility, energy and finally celebration in all of us. Welcome to becoming a better you: A REAL LEADER!

Let’s restart the process with the first intangible: Presence: What makes people respond when someone walks into a room. Presence: that quality that allows others to know you can lead with respect, are motivated, recognize impersonal presence and lead with calmness, confidence and authority. Confidence, thought, understanding what needs to be done, recognizing what needs to be improved and doing it is the mark of a leader. The ability to have fun doing what you have to and bringing joy to others not just you.

Children are perceptive, sensitive, keen and more aware since their feelings, wisdom and judgments have not been conditioned nor clouded. Parents tend to create or try to create the world in which their children live programmed to their own specific blueprint or floor plan. Choosing their friends, interactions with neighbors, family members, following their direction and enveloping their thoughts, desire and interests hoping they seek parental guidance, advice and approval every step of the childhood and hopefully continuing later on. Children are really smart. They can size you up in a nano second. Perceptive, wise, and can decide in a flash whether they like you, want to be near you or whether you are trustworthy or not. Interesting to say the least. Children do not think twice about disappointing other to be true to themselves. Simple word to sum them up is a vital intangible: Intuition. A feel, connection or vibe that help them to interpret a person or as the kids say: Read someone! It’s within them and of course you. You can enter a room and sense what is happening if you pay attention.

Sensitivity is the second intangible the author brings to light in your journey to becoming a leader. Understanding your wants, desires, whom you trust, natural enthusiasm, innocence, presence and sensitivity. Many people focus on EGO- knowledge and lose sight of their sensitivity and become insensitive. They become anxious, self-centered and concerned about the market value or profits that will be yielded. According to the author sensibility is a prime component for corporate leadership success. Insensitive people tend to be dangerous to work with and are often influenced by the appearance of things. Citing many examples of the importance of this intangible the author explains the harmful effects of leaders that are insensitive and those that have this indispensable leadership quality, which enables them to complete tasks, make better choices and good judgments. The author then continues to discuss emotions, energy and perception and their roles, characteristics and importance in rounding out this journey to its final intangible Celebration.

Emotions are “subjective experiences that urge us to act in a particular way,” says the author. The right emotions expressed to the right person make a big difference as a leader. How emotions plays a part in leadership is discussed in detail in Chapter 3 where he focuses on how to achieve balance between your head and your heart using emotions. Leaders are calm, able to face challenges and forgive someone for their shortcomings. To fully understand the wide spectrum of how emotions come into play in leadership read pages 27-28, the examples are profound and will give the reader much pause for thought as we continue on to energy, perception in our journey. Read Teddy’s story and you’ll understand.

I am not going to expand on each intangible. I am going to focus on passion, flexibility and finally celebration. You are the reader need to take this amazing journey on your own, read every personal story the author shares to truly understand his message. However, the main thrust is to be aware of by interconnecting with everyone and realizing that you are a bundle of energy. Throughout the book the author’s message is strong. We must learn to realize and understand our true self; his/ her self’s vision, boundless energy, boundless joy leading to infinite possibilities. Perception, simplicity and trust: Read Chapters 5, 7 and 8 to learn more.

Passion, flexibility and celebration round out the ten intangibles. Passion results in the strong desire to succeed. It comes from understanding and knowing what you want. Giving you the permission to say out loud what you want and finding the courage to do it. “To have passion, one must reach their core desire.” A passionate person does not waste time living someone else’s life and they are not trapped or ensnared living with the results of to other people’s thinking. They think for themselves. Read Steve Jobs speech and you will understand much more. You have a limited time on this earth use it your own way.

Flexibility: the ability to bend and adept to change. A person who is flexible admits his/her mistakes. Many people have one point of view, look at things the same way and will not even entertain the viewpoints of others or change their own. Inflexibility does not create an enlightened leader. Enlightened leaders actually listen to the ideas of others, are open to the discussion and other viewpoints and eliminate ego and do not take themselves too seriously.

I think my favorite-shared story is the Anonymous resignation: where the writer resigns from being adult and wants to take on the responsibilities of a seven year old. It sort of sums up quite a bit as you read this letter and remember how uninhibited, flexible, passionate, simplistic, smart, resourceful, organized, perceptive and energetic you were at age seven.

At the end of any college graduation, completed course, or even a birthday we celebrate our successes, another year on this earth, an accomplishment. But, how many people celebrate just being and enjoying what they do each and every day. If you hate what you are doing why do it? If you find yourself answering people in a brusk and abrupt manner and the man laying concrete does in the final story on page 102 shared by our innovative author, then you need a change and are definitely not a happy person. But, when someone stops and asks directions, you are busy and you stop what you are doing, explain what your about to accomplish and are still smiling, laughing and singing and include all in your project as we not I, then I would say that calls for a celebration that you as a person bring joy, spirit and are a potential enlightened leader.

Are you ready for change or do you just want to stay in the same place forever? Stop groaning, complaining and start your own journey : Read this innovative book with simple and understandable explanations, real life stories that will touch the reader’s heart and decide: Are you a leader? Of course you are! Just find the inner leader you and you are on the way! Look in that mirror now: I bet you see a leader now!

Hilary Wagner: Back By Popular Demand...HOPE!#comment-form

This is a great piece of advice for all writers !
Thank you Hillary- Hope is a good thing!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sassy's Book Blog - Evolution Of The Fallen By MJ Goodnow

Evolution of the Fallen by MJ Goodnow
Author: Sass Ashe | Posted at: 2:28 PM | Filed Under:

Evolution of the Fallen, MJ Goodnow, Teens, YA Fiction

Have you ever met a teenager you knew could be so much more than they are? It happens to all of us but occasionally there is a writer who is able to truly get in the head of a teenager and write the perfect story of evolving from a person known as a "throwaway" or a "problem child" into the person that you knew they could be. There's really no better way to express how Goodnow has written the characters in "Evolution of the Fallen."

The people in the book are realistic, they have real problems and real challenges. They also have real talents and real goodness inside them no matter what the outside may look like. Goodnow doesn't gloss over the pain and the feelings of the teens like many authors do, he examines each hurt and each challenge from start to finish without trying to "pretty it up".

I laughed, I cried out of anger, out of sympathy and out of pure pleasure while reading this book. There are some stories that you just refuse to put down until you finish and this was one of those for me. Pick up Evolution of the Fallen by MJ Goodnow to get a taste of the storytelling skills the author has, then be sure to look for his other books so you can really get to know this great author.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Rodger Dodger Meet Dr. Glee: The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog

Poor Rodger Dodger is quite sick you see

He turned green like the color of a sweet pea

Feeling Fuzzy and weird Rodger Dodger called fox

Told him the problem and sending him to the nearest phone box

Calling Dr. Glee the only one who could find the cure

Of Rodger’s ailments this was for sure

But, he was so sick and his head was too small

He could barely move and Dr. Glee could not make a house call

So poor Rodger thought of what might be the cause

Could it be the green dessert he ate because

His stomach was queasy and his body so green

What could be wrong with him?

He just wanted to really scream

With the help of his good friends they carried him to the zoo

Hoping that Dr. Glee would know exactly what to do

Just what was wrong with poor Rodger and who is always on the go?

To find out the answer read the book and then you’ll know.

But Rodger was really quite sick as a dog you see

The rest you will have to find out but not from me.

Author Jan Britland is quite creative and unique

Writing in rhyme allowing each character to speak

Colorful pictures, great animation and drawings you see

This book gets Five Green Stars from this reviewer that’s me.

Fran Lewis

Creatively written with pictures that are so beautifully illustration and life like. You will definitely fall in love with fox, bunny, eagle and all of the animals and don’t forget Dr. Glee as they race to find a cure for poor Rodger Dodger Dog. This book teaches teamwork, kindness, loyalty and the meaning of true friendship and that you don’t have to be a dog to be Rodger’s friend. Michael Swain’s illustrations made the story come alive for the reader. This is one book that will make you smile.

Rodger Dodger: A Christmas Story

It takes teamwork to put up a Christmas tree. Rodger Dodger Dog is really clever and quite special. He and Bunny decided to go and find the perfect Christmas tree. But, when they got home they knew something was missing- the decorations. Being innovative and really smart he enlists the help of all of his animal friends to help string the lights and decorate the tree. Duke made a paper chain and Spark the Turtle snowflakes made of tin. But, when the entire tree was decorated and all of the lights were strung you would not believe what happened. Realizing that something was off and definitely missing the animals stopped to think about what would make the tree just right.

The best part of Christmas of course is waiting for Santa to come and bring gifts for all those good boys and girls. Well, our animal friends are no different but definitely quite special in the friendship department. After a good nights sleep they saw what Santa had left them and if you want to find out what each animal received and the unique gift they gave our Rodger Dodger you need to read A Christmas Story by Jan Britland and illustrated by Michael Swain to find out. If children learn anything form this wonderful story written in rhyme, it is teamwork, friendship, kindness, understanding and love. The illustrations are so lifelike, and the faces of the characters and their facial expressions are so vividly described not only in the words of the poem but in the pictures too making the story come alive for the reader.

This story gets: FIVE GOLD STARS

Rodger Dodger Dog: Saves Bunny

Rodger is a really helpful and special dog. Poor Bunny was passed out on the ground and no one knew what to do. Rodger needed plan to try and save poor Bunny. The other animals were afraid he was really not going to make it and the expression on the flowers let you know this was really serious. But, our Rodger was resourceful and he picked up dear Bunny and brought him home. He put him under the covers and kept him warm. Watching over him an entire night he hoped for the best. But, after two nights when our Bunny finally felt like himself you won’t believe what he does and what happens. He blames poor Rodger for his illness and his stress. Thinking all along that if he did not protect and safe Bunny that Fox, Mack or even Eagle would eat him for dinner, you would imagine Bunny would have been grateful for his help. But, no that was not the case. Wait until you find out what Bunny tells our Rodger and what Rodger learns as a result. Talking out your differences is so important and understanding the feelings of others really seals friendships. What happens between our Rodger and our Bunny you will have to read for yourself? Why is Bunny angry with Rodger? Will they ever become real friends? Find out when you read Rodger Dodger Saves Bunny by author Jan Britland and illustrated by Michael Swain.

Jan teaches children the true meaning of understanding the feelings and emotions of others and not to assume that others accept your actions and ways. Discussing your differences and not fighting but using your words and expressing your feelings and really listening to the other person, or in this case animal is vital. Children and adults can learn a lot from reading these stories.


MICHIGAN AVENUE MEDIA BOOK REVIEWS: BOOK REVIEW BY FRAN LEWIS - AUTHOR - GARY BRAVER-...: "Tunnel vision Author: Gary Braver Reviewed by Fran Lewis Can a corpse rise? Can someone declared dead just get up and walk out of a ho..."