Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blogging from the Heart Tour

I am extremely excited to be participating in the Blogging from the Heart Tour. When a friend and colleague announced she was looking for some of her "writerly" friends to participate in a blog tour with her, I of course, jumped on the opportunity. I have been so busy of late she responded with a bit of surprise. However, what is a writer to do if not write? 

First I would like to tell you a little about my friend, Cat Michaels. She is a talented children's author who started writing in fourth grade and she hasn't stopped sinceAfter earning an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, she spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential.  She also worked in the private sector and managed communication and staff development programs for an international high-tech firm.  However, she returned to her educational roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach for students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities. 

Cat builds on her teaching experiences to write illustrated chapter books for young readers of all abilities to develop imagination and critical thinking skills.  Watercolor illustrations by Irene A. Jahns help bring the stories to life.  Cat's booksSweet T and the North Wind and Finding Fuzzy: a You-Decide Tale of a Lost Friendcan be found on Amazon and ordered from local bookstores.

I encourage you to reach out and connect with Cat on her website:

We were all given the same four questions to answer so if you have been following the tour, you will already be familiar with them. However, I am looking forward to sharing my own experiences and giving you a deeper look into who I am as a writer.  

1.  What am I working on?  

It has been full-speed ahead as I sometimes find myself holding on to the thrilling roller coaster ride that has become my life. With its ups and downs, twists and turns, I sometimes don't know if I am coming or going. Suffice to say, it has definitely not been boring! 

Since the release of my first children's book Dani and the Haunted House was released in December 2013, it has become an Amazon Best Seller in Children's Detectives, keeping company with my childhood favorites: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. It has been an awe inspiring journey and humbling experience, all rolled into one. 

In May, I released Dani and the Mall Caper, which is the second book in the series. At the moment I am working on the re-writes of my third book, Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch. Soon I will begin the task of formatting the Kindle and paperback. The fourth book is already well underway, and the fifth book is currently on my storyboard.

Aside from preparing my third book for release, I am also working with a new illustrator to completely re-design my sweet & sassy protagonist, Dani P. Spinelli. It has been an amazing experience to see the "re-birth" of Dani. My illustrator, Katrina Glidewell, has been an absolute joy as we work hand-in-hand creating the new look. I love each piece of concept art I receive and I think as an author when you find someone who is willing to commit to your project and understands that your "character" is more than just mere words on a page, it truly helps the creative process.  

I have not yet begun the marketing phase of my books as I wanted to wait until I had three books in the series before attempting that next step. I am eagerly looking forward to that process. In the meantime, I have enjoyed connecting with readers and building Dani's reader base. 

*Breaking News:  As of this morning, September 5th, Reader's Favorite has rated Dani and the Haunted House 5 Stars, stating, "The friendship between the two girls and their different personalities add more vigor to the plot and their realistic portrayal lends credibility to the events...The plot is intelligent and creative and makes for a fun read."

Reader's Favorite has also granted Dani and the Mall Caper 5 stars as well, stating, "The writing style is so fluid that the plot moves smoothly. It is educational in that kids are introduced to new words which will help them improve their vocabulary. The best part in both the volumes is the friendship between Dani and her friend Chloe. Both of them are different personalities but the bond they share is strong. The combination of mystery, humor and fun works well here. The story is well crafted from the beginning to the end. It gives proper messages to kids and is also about a friendship in which both girls complement each other very well."

2.  How does your work differ from others?

We all have our different styles, viewpoints, and ideas when it comes to creativity so I believe we all do ourselves an injustice when we start to compare. I feel it is more important to support one another and celebrate each person's individuality and style. As I love to say, Books are like ice cream; there is a flavor for everyone. We need diversity to satisfy the many different readers searching for their idea of the perfect book.

I can tell you the key points I find important when I write. I want my characters to be believable; they have real emotion and feelings. They are not perfect and they are allowed to be quirky. In other words, they have their faults and eccentricities. Dani is often accused of being "weird" by her friends because of her off-the-wall remarks. My characters are also allowed to run the gamut from happiness to anger. I am trying to show that we don't all have to come from the same perfect world. 
I think it is important for kids to recognize that it is okay to be a little different, love who they are as individuals, and embrace it. 

Another key point is that I always try and provide some kind of lesson in what I hope to be an innocuous manner. Now I have read material where they say this is taboo. Oh, well! Again, it is my concept of writing and who I want to be as an indie child's writer when it comes to this series. I believe it is important to instill lessons into a child and if we can present that to our children in a fun, entertaining way it will hopefully resonate within them and they will learn how to deal with possible real-world situations. 

Finally, I love placing challenge words into the series! Children are so much brighter than we sometimes give them credit for and I believe they have the capacity to learn and expand their vocabulary at a much faster rate than we push them to achieve. Children have a natural curiosity and it is up to us to provide content that stimulates their minds.

3. Why do I write?

I have always enjoyed the process of putting words to paper or clacking on the keyboard. Over the years I have written for my own personal enjoyment. I like creating young adult works. The reason I write for children is simpleit is a gift of love. It all started with a quirky, honey-brown haired girl with a smile that charmed and whose laughter rang out generously. This old soul who always thought of others became my protagonist. To be honest, despite my strong belief in children's literacy, I never thought to release a children's book. It just happened. I always thought I would publish one of my young adult books. When the challenge was put to me to step out of my comfort zone and realize my dream, my first instinct was to turn to my daughter and the story I had specifically written for her. It struck me that I had the opportunity to promote children's literacy and publish one of my stories. 

It is my hope that other children will enjoy the Dani P. Mystery series. I want it to reach their adventurous side as they cheer Dani on and relate to what she is going through whether they be good times or rocky ones. I want them to know her as a friend who will be there, hidden within the pages of a book, when they need her. I have not been disappointed. Each time I receive a photo or letter from a child (via their parents or teacher) it touches my heart in a way that is hard to explain. It is profound. Their letters can bring a tear to my eye, a chuckle, or outright laugh. They make all of the hard work worth it. And trust me, being an indie author is not a simple task especially when it is not your primary occupation. Bringing a book from concept to completion is a huge time vortex and working into the wee hours of the morning is a regular occurrence.

As I think most children's authors would tell you, writing for children is not about making money.The picture/early chapter book market is a small niche that is extremely hard to capitalize on. Therefore, any author going into this market cannot realistically bank on making a living out of selling their books.I'm not saying it is impossible, but the facts do present a more negative outlook. This reasoning leads to only one conclusion: Children's authors write because they love what they do. They want to share the gift of literature with children. What better legacy can you give a child than to take them on a magical journey? Plus, the skill sets they learn by reading will last them a lifetime.

One of my proudest accomplishments to date is the number of free Kindle downloads I have been able to offer in an effort to help promote children's literacy. Since December 2013, I have donated over 2,200 copies of Dani and the Haunted House. I have also forged relationships with teachers and I have "adopted" and donated paperback books for their classrooms as well. When students write to me, or any child, I will respond to their letters. I believe that if a child is invested enough in an author's book to write, then the least we can do is offer them a response. 

If it were financially possible, I would give away the entire Dani P. Mystery series. Alas, it is not. Except for the classes I adopt, the first book is the only one I have been able to donate on a regular basis as the series does need to be viable and sustain itself in the future in order for it to continue.  With that said, I will continue to lend my support to as many teachers as possible. In addition, I will have regularly scheduled Kindle giveaways of the first book in the series. As the to the remaining books in the series, although impossible for me to give them all away, I will keep them at the lowest possible price-point in my effort to be a part of promoting children's literacy and helping to create the next generation of voracious readers! 

4.  How does my writing process work? 

I could go on and on about this topicoh, waitI already have! This is a question that delves far more deeply into an author's work than can be answered in a paragraph or two. It is why when I was asked in the past about this subject, I started an entire series entitled An Inside Look at a Working Indie Author that can be found here on my blog. I'd like to invite you all to read about my experiences as an author. The series is not yet concluded, because I am still on my journey. I will be continuing to blog on this topic as I move forward. I can tell you the past two years have been a string of lessons, filled with highs and lows, and many challenges. All of which I would not change. I would do every bit of it again without hesitation. The reward far exceeds any obstacle thrown my way. It is all about perspective and what you want out of life. When faced with adversity and I find myself two steps backwards, I choose to put a smile on my face and take the next step forward. In truth, in my mind I have already succeeded in my goals. What transpires from here is truly a gift that I shall embrace. 

Before signing off, Dani wanted me to be sure to give all of her readers a great big "thank you!" She thinks her readers are "awesupendous!"

I would also like to thank you for joining me on my portion of the Blogging from the Heart Tour. I'd also like to offer everyone a free download of Dani and the Haunted House on Tuesday, September 9th, on Amazon

Wishing you all a little mystery & adventure,

K. Lamb

If you would like to learn more about the Dani P. Mystery series or purchase one of Dani's adventures on Kindle or in paperback, you can find us at:

Dani P. Mystery's website
Dani P. Mystery Official Facebook Page
Dani and the Haunted House on Amazon
Dani and the Mall Caper on Amazon

Next up on the tour is:

Faith Cotter is an award-winning writer and editor whose background includes reporting for one of Pennsylvania’s premiere newspapers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; sleuthing through boxes of legal documents while writing for The Innocence Institute of Point Park University; authoring a thesis on Harry Potter; and a job as an editor for Technology Publishing Company, where she learned more than she ever thought she would about the intricacies of applying paint to incredibly large structures. She is currently working as a freelance editor, and will graduate with a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Chatham University in 2015. 
She has a lot of experience helping other people tell their stories. Now she's telling her own. Clara is the very first piece of fiction she’s published, and the narrative essay Paper Dragons followed shortly after.
Faith’s stories explore the connection of relics to the past and the future, as well as the ephemeral nature of memory, ideology, and emotion—with what she hopes are an endearing cast of characters tossed into the mix. Two more short stories, titled The Bone Daughter and Communion, will be out within the year.
She’s been teaching archery for five years and is pretty good with a bow when she has her glasses on. She has a recurve named The Everdeen and eventually wants to combine her love of archery with her love of horseback riding—if she can find a riding instructor who will let her.
Author Page: Wordpress: (On tour 09/12/14)
Twitter: @FaiththeWriter

Willy Robbins is aspiring to write children's books. Each of her books will support children in their quest to solve problems they may face when their imaginations run wild. Her love for reading began at a young age, and as a teacher she continues to spread the joys of reading to her students. After hearing the true encounter of a young man who thought there was a troll in his closet, she was compelled to write In My Closet.  Visit her blog at: (On tour 09/19/14)

Nelson Suit is the author of the Tilley Pond Mouse adventure series for middle grade readers. The series currently comprises of three books: Els Oot and the MapmakerEls Oot and the Baby Dragon and recently released Els Oot and the Lost City (all available on Amazon). Nelson’s children’s books chronicle the adventures of Els the mouse as he journeys into the wilderness beyond Tilley Pond and discovers some unlikely friendships, danger and, most of all, wonder. The stories are in the tradition of classic animal stories such as Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows or George Seldon’s The Cricket in Time Square. They revolve around imaginative play and the wonder of wild spaces. More about Nelson Suit and his writing may be found on his author website at
(On tour 09/19/14)

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