Saturday, September 12, 2015

We have a new home!

I have an all-new blog site at

Please join me at my new location and change any RSS feeds to stay tuned in to my latest articles.

Thank you, and I hope to see you there!

K. Lamb

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Creating a Cozy #Reading Nook for the #Classroom or #Home #Teachers #Educators #PromoteLiteracy #Parents

I am ashamed to say it has been quite some time since I've written a blog post. Not because the desire isn't there, but because there is just not enough time in the day for me to accomplish everything on my task list. I've been working hard on trying to re-release the second editions of my first three books on top of my normal day job. Suffice to say, I have my hands full! But, no complaints here. You know I love every minute of it. 

Now that I've gotten all of my excuses out of the way, on to today's blog topic: Creating a cozy reading nook for the classroom. When I was chatting with a dear friend of mine the other day, she was excitedly telling me about preparing her classroom for the upcoming school year and getting ready for their Open House. Of course, knowing how I feel about promoting children's literature, she sent me a picture of their new classroom library reading area. I loved it! Look how cozy and inviting it is for children. Wouldn't you want to pick out your favorite book and read? Imagine settling yourself down into one of the comfy blue chairs and reading Clifford the Big Red Dog (or your favorite almost eight-year-old detective) with the sun streaming in through the window, while the birds chirp away outside.

Now there are some important things to note. First, look at how she made it a quiet, relaxing space where they can actually focus on reading. Secondly, all the books are easily within reach and at a child's level. Displaying the books on top of the bookcase also creates interest. Be sure to cycle through the bookcase and change the display out on a regular basis to promote their curiosity in new books! As for the bear, well, he just makes for an awesome mascot! 

I love how this bookcase is neat and organized by topic with a large assortment of books. Providing a child with ample reading selections will help prevent boredom. Of course, we all had that favorite book we read over and over again, too! 

As I reflect on my friend's classroom library, I  see only one issue. How will she manage to keep the kids from quarreling over those two blue chairs? ;)  Oh, to have such problems! I see many days ahead with children's noses buried in books as they wile away the time and unearth new adventures.

As always, I'd like to remind you to change the life of a child today. Read to them. Invest in them and watch the world unfold around them. 

- K. Lamb

Parents, for more information on creating home reading nooks, visit us on Pinterest:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Making Eco-Friendly Choices: How to Edit with a Tablet #editing #proofing #authors

When our daughter moved home from college after graduating, my own education on making sustainable and eco-friendly choices began. Our daughter has always been conscious of the world around us and its limited resources, however that concept burgeoned while away at school. Upon her return, she started to show me all the different ways I could make small changes in my daily life that would be better for our environment and to preserve our natural resources. (To be honest, I sometimes miss my paper plates; a routine I had gotten into when making dinner late at night to save time washing up.) 

By this point, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with editing? The other day when I was printing another manuscript to edit, I thought there had to be a better way. I am the Queen of the printer. The money I spend on cartridges and paper is ridiculous, but that is another topic. The real reason I paused was that I thought about
the resources I was wasting. I knew there had to be a better way. Unfortunately, I love the feel of a pen in one hand and paper in the other while slashing at a manuscript.

You can't get that when working on a large computer screen using a mouse. Still, I wanted to make better choices so I started surfing the net. I knew the answer was out there, it was just one I hadn't explored. What can I say? It hadn't occurred to me before, and I daresay I'm not the only one still practicing this method, which is the purpose of this blog post.

After reading several articles and researching tablets, I decided to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Tab A. I liked that it was similar to my Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone, wouldn't have a learning curve, and I didn't want to shell out the money for a more expensive Surface Pro 3. The only thing I planned on using the Tab A for was editing, so it is sufficient for my needs. Bonus: I was able to pick up a bundle pack, which came with a cover and 32 GB versus the standard 16 GB for a decent price at Costco. 

The next step is to download Adobe's free program Adobe Reader DC and download it onto your tablet. When you want to edit your document, save it to a .pdf format and transfer the file to your tablet. To do this, I use a microchip that I switch between my laptop and the device. Now all you have to do is switch over to the comment view and use your stylus to mark-up your manuscript. DC's features allow you to highlight, use a pen (I like a 3 pt. weight), strikethrough, underline, and input a comment box. Oh, and if that's not enough, for all of you out there that love those proofreading stampsyou can add those, too! I typically switch between the comment view and the regular view.

What I didn't expect, and found to be quite beneficial, is that this manner of editing mimics an e-reader. I found it much easier to pickup on little nuances because I was "reading" the manuscript. Yes, you can argue that we always read the manuscript while editing—obviously. But there is something different about laying out on the couch and being relaxed as if you were enjoying your favorite classic or whodunit. You are able to pick up on those little subtleties that sometimes our more analytical minds might skip over. It's about the enjoyment of the experience.

I hope you found this post beneficial, and if you are not already using technology to edit your manuscripts, that it convinced you to look at making a more eco-friendly choice in the future.

Happy editing,


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dani P. Mystery Quarterly Newsletter

Hello Readers,

Oh, wow. Have we been busy here at Dani P. Mystery! There is so much to tell you and we can't wait. So kick back, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy reading about our latest adventures!

The Official Dani P. Mystery T-Shirt

First off, since we are on a countdown, let me tell you about our t-shirt campaign. Now through April 5th you can order your official Dani P. Mystery t-shirt at  T-shirts are available in children's, women's, and two unisex styles. Prices vary on the t-shirt ordered, but are at actual cost. If you previously ordered a t-shirt, we apologize, but that campaign has been replaced by this one and a new order will need to be placed. 

 You may be wondering what has been keeping us so busy? 

We are fervently working behind the scenes on the second editions of Dani and the Haunted House and Dani and the Mall Caper. Below are copies of the new covers. Each book features all-new illustrations by our amazing artist, Katrina Glidewell, and I have updated some content.  Dani and the Mall Caper should be available in the coming weeks and Dani and the Haunted House will follow soon after. 

In addition, we have been working on a Companion Activity Book!  The activity book will cover the first three books in the series and will include trivia questions to test your child's comprehension, puzzles, coloring pages, and more--- all of which fit into a compact size to match the book series! 

As always, is the exclusive Seller of the Dani P. Mystery series. 


Upcoming books.....

Even though we've taken a step back to work on the second editions, we're still thinking of the future! I am currently writing Dani and the Hidden Treasure and I can't wait to get Dani and the Magician off the storyboard and onto paper. Especially since we will be having a special "guest star" magician. You may wonder how that works since this is a fictional book. Well, we have been granted permission to use the likeness and name of a real professional children's magician! We're so excited! I know, I want to know who? Well, I'm afraid you'll just have to wait on that mystery......

Classroom Visits!

Since we have been operating on a soft release of the series, which means we really haven't started our marketing campaign, we have not opened up our schedule to classroom visits---UNTIL NOW! Since the first three books in the series are almost complete, we are going to start focusing on our marketing and reaching out to our readers. 

We have two types of visits available. For local schools we are offering classroom visits based on availability. We are also offering Skype visits to non-local classrooms. Want to know what to expect during a classroom visit? Check out our YouTube video below.


Around the World with Dani P.

As I mentioned before, we have been operating under a soft release. Based on that premise, you might think that Dani P. Mystery has been limited to our local area since we've been relying on word-of-mouth. Well, you are in for quite a surprise! Check out the map to the right. The areas highlighted in yellow are all the states Dani has already visited, plus we've made it to Australia and the United Kingdom! And this is only based on the people reporting their location. Who knows where else she has visited! To see some of the pictures submitted by our readers, please visit our Around the World with Dani P. Mystery slideshow.

Whew. Did I fib? You can see for yourself how busy we've been. If you want to keep up with our latest happenings, you don't have to wait for our quarterly newsletter! Visit us on Facebook or on our website

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and helping to make Dani P. Mystery the success it has become. We are growing slowly, but solidly. As I have always said, "I would rather be the tortoise than the hare." Thank you my friends and readers for taking this journey with me!

All the best,

K. Lamb

Organizing and Editing Author Skype Visits #editing #skype #videos

Editing your Skype Author Visits

I was recently asked what software I used to edit the above video. I thought the question would make an excellent blog topic and might prove useful to other authors. I was also asked by Cat Michaels to be a guest on her Author 101 Blog to discuss Skype in the classroom. Please stay tuned for more information on that upcoming event!

Before we begin, you might find it helpful to watch the short 3 minute and 40 second video. 

Important Note: Do not ever post pictures or videos without express permission! In this case, the teacher authorized the use of pictures and video and cleared it through the school's principal. Every school will be different as far as their rules and regulations. This school's only stipulation was that I did not specify the name or location of the school. Please remember, a child's safety is more important than our marketing!  

Before you start your Skype call: 

1.  Do you have a good webcam? I don't use the standard webcam that came with my laptop. Instead I use this one by Logitech. You want to get as clear a picture as possible, which can be tough!

2.  Check your Skype connection speed! Can you achieve a "fast" connection, which is needed for the best call quality. If not, consider upgrading your service. Remember, your connection will also only be as good as the other person's call quality as well! You can have a super-fast connection speed, but if their connection is slow, your call quality will be degraded. 

3.  Turn off any unused computers, gaming equipment, etc. that may cause a draw on your connection speed. You don't want them bogging down your connection speed during a call!

4.  Pick yourself up a good mic. I use the Yeti and I love it! I also use it to record story segments.

Recording your Skype call: 

I'm not going to go into the specifics of how to record your calls because that will really depend on your computer operating system, whether you are using Mac vs. PC, etc. There are a lot of software options to choose from and Skype gives you a list of applications here.  

Editing your video:

Once upon a time--a long, long, time ago--my husband had a hobby video business. We had all the latest equipment and programs, and back in the day, I could easily put 40 hours into editing a phenomenal wedding video for someone. Boy, am I glad those days are gone! Programs are so intuitive and advanced nowadays. You can create videos in a fraction of the time and I'm always looking for an easier, more cutting edge way to do so. Why? Because I don't want to spend hours making videos when I can spend that precious time writing. After all, that is my true objective. 

Knowing I would be needing a simple software program to accomplish this task, I started doing some research and came across Wondershare Video Editor. 

Here is a capture of the main screen---it really is this simple! 

So which mode do I use? 
Full Feature. And here is the reason why....I'm used to editing and like a bit more flexibility to tweak and to split up my call into video segments. For example, the original video length of this call was 33 minutes and I knew I only wanted to create a short snippet. From that video I had to decide what I wanted to portray in the video above.  Let's break it down:

1.  Opening Titles -  Include any clips and pictures from the event to capture the attention of the watcher. I loved that the teacher in this video immediately posted pictures to the internet and shared their experience! Take the opportunity to grab those pictures! 

2.  The greeting - This is when we first came on and said hello. This is your moment to connect with the students. Get them talking! Let them know you are approachable. If you think you might be a little nervous, just think how they feel!  

3.  Introduce your book or series - Give the kids a little history about your books or yourself. Don't make it too long, make it interactive, and don't bore them! 

4.  Read the first chapter of your book -  Since this class had already started in on my third book (gosh, I love those dedicated Dani readers!) we read Chapter 13 together. 

I like reading off a split screen. In my humble opinion, when you read from the book during a Skype call you detach yourself from the kids. If you read from the screen they still feel that connection to you as you are facing them. Also make your reading as lively as possible. I also took this moment to give one of my many little messages--it's the mom in me--that you can't always "judge a book by its cover" and it's important to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

5.  Q & A - I love this part! Kids come up with the best questions! They can also keep you on your toes! Use this valuable time to not only answer their questions, but encourage them! Let them know how important reading and writing is. 

6. Closing - Be sure to say goodbye and let the children know how much you enjoyed visiting with them. Encourage them to visit your website and/or Facebook page with parental permission. Finally, take this opportunity once more to encourage them to read! I like closing with one of my quotes, "Books are like ice cream, there is a flavor for everyone!" Yes, yes I know. I misquoted myself at the end of the video! Silly me! 

Cutting your segments

You might wonder why I don't show the entire video call and only include snippets. I want teachers to schedule their own Skype visit! I don't want kids to watch some recycled video of me on YouTube. I want them to feel the same excitement as these children did at the thought of meeting an author.  

I can give you a real life scenario based on an email I received from a teacher. Not long ago I dropped off some posters to a local school where I will be appearing in April. After recess the teacher took the package I had left at the main office to class. She told her students as soon as she opened the package they would know who stopped by their school.  Slowly she pulled out one of the posters, which was abruptly accompanied by a shriek, "K. Lamb? K. Lamb was here?" Apparently there was also some cheering and "wows" involved, too! :)  

That is the kind of reaction you are trying to create. You want this to be a magical experience for a child. You and I know we are both just regular people struggling as we write our books as get lost in our own imaginations---but to a child, we are the creators of some of their favorite stories! Keep that magic alive for them!

Easy Mode

Now if your Skype call isn't very long and you're not worried about control over the video, this is the mode for you. I hope you're ready for the next few steps because they are a doozy! Go ahead, take a deep breath, and grab that can of Dr. Pepper while you still can because we are moving on to Wondershare in "Easy" Mode. 

Here's how to make a video: 

1. Import your file, which will probably be an .avi format 

2. Pick a pre-made template 

3. Select from a list of music 

4. Preview video

5. Save

Did I fool you into thinking it might be difficult? Nope? Hmm, I guess the name gave me away. It's really that easy! No treading dangerous waters. No hidden doozies. If there was a Video Editing for Dummies software, this would be it! And trust me, there will be times I will be using this feature. Why? Because sometimes I just don't have the time to invest in editing as much as I might enjoy the excuse when I have writer's block. 

This concludes today's workshop in the Author's Corner, but if you have any specific questions you'd like me to answer please do not hesitate to leave a comment below! I'm always happy to help my fellow authors as we make our way through the world of Indie publishing!

Have a wonderful day--and may you all be inspired to write your next adventure!

K. Lamb

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Around the World with Dani P. Mystery #kidlit #childrensbook #adventure #reading

Our daughter recently had the opportunity to study abroad on a scholarship. Because of the time difference, each morning I couldn't wait to jump up out of bed and discover where she had visited while I was asleep. I was living vicariously through her, and dreaming of the places she was able to experience first-hand. The pictures she shared left me in awe and I knew that she was taking in memories that would last her a lifetime. It gave me a wonderful idea.

It has been a little over a year since I published the first Dani P. Mystery book. Unbelievably, I am working on my fourth book! Why unbelievably? Because I am not a full-time writer, and as an indie author, it is very difficult to publish a paperback book and ebook on one's own. It is a very time consuming, yet rewarding experience. I feel blessed that we (with the full support of my family) have accomplished so much in so little time!

With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to learn exactly where Dani P. has traveled to since she first began her adventures! I have been lucky enough to hear from several parents and their children who have submitted beautiful pictures or letters so I have learned a tad bit about where she has landed, i.e. Texas, New York, Washington, Oregon, Arkansas, Massachusetts, California, the United Kingdom, etc. But then I got the idea of doing an actual campaign to track Dani's travels and call it Around the World with Dani P. Mystery. All of the photos collected will be put in a special gallery on our Facebook page and website.

I hope you will join me on her journey and consider submitting a picture of you with your favorite Dani P. Mystery adventure. Most importantly, don't forget to let us know the state/country where you reside. If you care to share a little bit about your city, state, or country---we'd love for you to share that as well! Help us all learn a little more about the world, and how truly connected we are with one another.

I can't wait to meet you and to see all of Dani's exciting travels!

Wishing you a little adventure!

K. Lamb

Submit your photo to one of the following: or @danipmystery

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The smell of Christmas #familytraditions #ThankfulThisHoliday

We all have our special family traditions. Something that sparks deep within us and makes us smile at the memory. For me, it is Christmas morning. The tradition stretches back to the time of being a little girl. The excitement of the morning, and the smell of Christmas.

The smell of Christmas. That is an odd phrase, but if you think upon it for a moment, I am sure you will agree. Christmas does have a smell. It may be different for you than for me, but it is there. 

I loved Christmas as a child. I still do. The excitement of the evening and waiting for jolly old St. Nick; the anticipation was palpable. My Christmas morning started the same every year. I would wake up in the middle of the night, sneak out to see what Santa left, and play with my toys until my parents awoke...or the phone would ring. If my parents overslept, I could always count on my dear grandmother to call at 6:00 a.m. I would race to the phone and happily answer it to hear my grandmother's cheery voice greeting me with Merry Christmas and assuring me breakfast was ready. 

Once that call was received, I knew it was safe to pounce on my parents. Sometimes they would stretch it out another half hour while I would anxiously bob up and down waiting. I was ready to start the day! Finally, they'd head toward the door and I was gone. I would race down our walkway, out the front gate, up the sidewalk---all the way next door---and arrive at my grandparents' doorstep. I wouldn't bother with the doorbell, knowing my grandfather would have already unlocked it. As I burst into their home, the smell of Christmas would hit me. Hot fresh blueberry muffins and bacon. It was the same every year, and it was my favorite. This was Christmas to me. This was love. It was the prequel to my grandparents' waiting arms. 

The good thing about family traditions is that they stick with us, even into adulthood. Gone are the days of Christmas morning at my grandparents' home as they passed long ago. But the tradition remains. Not one Christmas has passed that the aroma of blueberry muffins and bacon hasn't filled my home. And there is always one extra plate dished with a warm muffin. It stands alone, uneaten. It serves only as a memory and tribute to two very special people that meant the world to me. To a woman whose voice is embedded in my mind and my heart and still whispers Merry Christmas to me with each passing year.

God bless everyone. May your Christmas be rich with tradition.

K. Lamb