It's a fantastic initiative to help encourage children to read. Books are offered for just £1 to children alk over the UK and Ireland.
There's also tips for young writers from published authors and lots of fun activities.
Susan Day Author
|Susan Day Author & Illustrator||
Check out World Book Day here: http://www.worldbookday.com
It's a fantastic initiative to help encourage children to read. Books are offered for just £1 to children alk over the UK and Ireland.
There's also tips for young writers from published authors and lots of fun activities.
Here is a sneak peek at the next additions to the Spylinks range. Spylinks are special weblinks that are hidden in the pages of my Astro books (From Major Dakota's Ghost onwards).
The links take the reader to a secret web page where they'll find games, activities and much more!
You can only find the links within the pages of the book. They are not posted anywhere else. They are available in the print and eBook editions of my books.
Spylinks add more value and fun to each title. I love creating them. I enjoy the challenge and get to call on my years of teaching too!
When you're looking for Spylinks just look for the Spylinks hound on the cover.
One of my blog posts is going to be published on Mom Spot - a wonderfully informative website for moms of all ages. It has articles on creativity, cooking, cleaning and heaps more. My post will appear on March 13 at 10 am. My post is about how to read to your child. I look at the use of voice and gestures to engage your children in the art of storytelling. Don't forget to mark the date in your diary and in the meantime check out the other great articles on Mom Spot here.
Here is a short story I wrote to encourage students to write. It gives the basic outline and then asks students to insert words - nouns and adjectives in particular.
This way the child gets to choose the details of the story. I’ve added suggestions in brackets just to get their creativity flowing but there are no right or wrong answers. Right click and copy the story and have a go yourself. I'm sure the young writers in your family will really enjoy this interactive story.
Once you've got the knack as the children to write a story like this for someone else. All they have to do is leave out certain words.
You can also focus on different words. As I said this story asks for nouns and adjectives but if you were teaching about verbs or adverbs why write a story about that too. Or you could focus on emotions or even pronouns. Think about a popular story like Little Red Riding Hood. How does the story change if we alter the female pronouns to male?
You can purchase the whole story here for 99c https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76991 or you can ask your young writer to finish the story off themselves.. enjoy!
THE WHISPERING CASTLE
In was late one night when I heard a loud ____ (crashing, banging) sound coming from the _____ (loft, spare room, basement). I climbed out of bed and picked up my lucky ______. Stumbling through the house in the dark, I felt a cold chill and smelt something weird. Although I couldn't be sure, it smelt just like ______ (cookies, burnt toast, Dad’s aftershave).
When I got to the ______ (loft, spare room, basement) I noticed a large hole in the side of the ______ (wall, door, ceiling). As I leaned closer the weird smell increased. I was feeling a little frightened but curiosity got the better of me and I looked deeper into the hole. As my eyes adjusted I could see a ______ (ladder, staircase, rope) waiting for me to climb. Tucking my lucky ______ under my arm I carefully climbed through the hole and my adventure began.
I no sooner took three steps down the ______ when I felt myself falling through the air. I tried to scream but only ______ (air, frogs, crackling) came out of my mouth. I held onto my lucky ______ tightly. I wished I had stayed in bed and not heart the loud ____ (crashing, banging) sound.
It only took a few seconds and I fell into a large ______ (cave, opening, pit). I stood up quickly and brushed the dirt off me. It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust because it was very dark.
Around me where seven doors each one had a different ______ (colour, symbol, picture) on it. There was a ______ door, a ______ door, a ______ door, a ______ door, a ______ door, a ______ door and a ______ door.
There was no other way out so I squeezed my lucky ______ and entered the ______ door.
Wow! I couldn't have ended up in a more magical place. As soon as I opened the ____ door, the sun lit up the ______ (cave, opening, pit) and I was surrounded by light. When my eyes adjusted I saw ______ dancing with each other and ______ lying together in the sunshine. There was a large fountain that had ______ flowing out of it. Some cheeky ______ were letting it run into their hands and they were licking it off.
As I walked through this magical place I saw several ______ flying together. They had strong wings that seemed to glisten and glow in the sunlight. I saw a special school for all the ______ where they were taught all sorts of interesting things like ______, ______ and ______.
After I had walked for ______ minutes, I noticed a little ______ sitting alone and crying. He was sitting beside a ______ and had both of his hands covering his face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked the little ______.
“I dropped my mother’s shopping list down this ______,” he sobbed. “I remember that my mother had written down to buy a ______ and a ______ and a ______, but there was one other item and I can’t remember what that was!” The little ______ howled and sobbed.
“I will try and help you,” I offered.
I leaned forward and stretched my arm into the ______. At first I couldn't feel anything but as I stretched deeper and deeper I did feel something but it wasn't a shopping list.
I told the little ______, “It just feels like a ______.
Just then I heard a terrible laugh. It sounded like a ______ and it really frightened me. I was just about to pull my arm out of the ______ when a ______ grabbed me tightly and pulled me in.
I yelled to the little ______ to save me but it was too late. I was dragged into the ______ quickly. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was dark and I could smell that same smell I smelt at home. It was just like ______.
I suddenly found myself back in the ______ surrounded by the seven doors. Next to me was the little ______’s shopping list. I picked it up and looked at it. The last item on it was a ______. No wonder he couldn't remember it.
I looked up and noticed a wicked ______ hiding in the corner. She made the same terrible laugh that I had heard before I was dragged in the ______.
“You think you’re so clever,” cackled the wicked ______. “You had better buy the items on the shopping list or you’ll never be able to find your way home!”
“What do you mean?” I asked. Up until now I had been really curious about this strange place. I had never thought about getting home.
“You are trapped here,” she croaked. “If you help me, I’ll help you get home! All you have to do is buy the things on the list and return them to the little ______. Then I will grant you your freedom!”
“But I don’t have any money,” I said. “What will I use to buy these items?”
“That is not my problem!” she yelled and with that she laughed louder and louder and then, all of a sudden, she vanished in a puff of ______ the colour of ______.
I looked at the seven doors. There was no use going through the ______ one again. I knew what was on the other side of that one. So this time I chose the ______ door and gently opened it.
What happens next?
What other exciting things can you write about?
Purchase the whole story here or 99c https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76991
Sign up for my lazy eNewsletter. I'll send out games and puzzles and information about my books every now and then ... if I feel like it.
I just read this interesting article from Media Bistro and I have to admit I'm a little bit grumpy! Not only are female authors being reviewed less but female reviews are not getting their articles published.
This is the article:
Books written by women are reviewed on average much less than books written by men, according to the annual VIDA count a report that tracks gender inequality in literary publications.
The organization looked at the number of women whose books were reviewed, as well as the number of female reviewers in 39 literary publications and found that some are more gender balanced than others. Gender-biased publications included The New York Review of Books which published 212 book reviews written by male reviewers in 2013, and only 52 by female reviewers. In addition, The London Review of Books reviewed 245 books written by men last year and only 72 written by women.
Not every publication was so biased. The Paris Review was very balanced with 47 men and 48 women represented overall. Granta reviewed books by 30 females and 36 males.
While the article only gives us only a few facts it does open a whole can of worms about how female authors are viewed in the literary world. There are some pertinent questions too, such as:
Surely, we’re not saying that women are not as good as men!
Do women write more romance or children’s books that reviewers deem as not worthy for review?
What does this mean for our young writers who are aspiring to become published authors?
More importantly what can we do about it?
Should we women authors address the balance by starting our own women only review group or should be appeal to the other half of our species to help address the imbalance?
Hmm…. Let me think…..
I just noticed this colour image of an envelop with a rainbow coming out of it. When I clicked on it I was taken to my new eNewsletter sign up form. How cool is that? I tested it and it worked really well. You don't have to go to Facebook to sign up, there's a form below the pic. But if you would like to catch up on Facebook you can find me here: https://www.facebook.com/sdayauthor
Hey everyone! I've just finished putting together this Activity Sheet for my books. I thought they'd be great to give away and leave at cafes and restaurants.
The sheet features all the dogs from my books, Astro, Indy, Alfie, Digger, Hans, Stella, Dingo and Rocky. There are lots of games and activities for children of all ages. You could also use them for travelling in the car or for children's parties - The games are designed to meet the needs of a wide age range and there's lots of pictures to color in too.
I drew each of the images separately and then built the sheet using Publisher 2013 (my new best friend!) I'd really appreciate your feedback too.
To get your FREE copy please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and just put "Activity Sheet" in the subject box - I'll send it as soon as I can.
I'll send you a pdf copy ready to printed on an A4 sheet.
When I read through this list I had to admit that when I use these words I don't really know exactly what they mean. Well, I know what they mean but I am not completely on top of their exact meaning. That's why I decided to share this graphic. If you want to see it for yourself click here.
To develop my writing skills and further education I decided to do the following exercises for each word. Why don't you do the same and ask your children too. This exercises are great for middle to senior high school students.
1 - Write the word in lower case and then in upper case. I find this helps with the spelling.
2 - Look the word up in a dictionary and re-write its definition in your own words.
3 - Use a thesaurus and find words of a similar meaning.
4 - Find the word's antonym.
5 - Use the word in a sentence. Then add two to three more sentences further explaining the word.
6 - Create a dialogue between two characters where one person uses the word and another asks them for an explanation.
Final touches are being put to Speed Bump Charlie's own website. The site is designed to showcase the illustrations of the book and create a central platform from which the print book and the eBook can be purchased.
You can also listen to a pod cast of me, the author, reading the poem. There'll be interesting activities for kids.
It's a great fresh looking site that I hope you'll love.
Please visit it here: www.speedbumpcharlie.net
You can subscribe to my latest ideas and news right here. You'll receive news about what's happening regarding my books, artwork, illustrations and much more. I'll be sending you writing tips and activities for children too. There will also be competitions and giveaways. And just like chocolate and wine, I don't share my email addresses with anyone so you can sign up with peace of mind!
This great infographic comes from a new website I just discovered called Life Hack.
You can find all sorts of inspirational articles here - go have a look. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-10-essential-habits-of-positive-people.html
I'm interested in writing and sharing literature with the world but especially children. I am a writer, author and illustrator because one or two people encouraged and inspired me when I was growing up. For those one or two wonderful people there were hundreds of negative, miserable sods who told me I'd never be good enough. They would question me and ask who did I think I was. My favourite 'gem' came from a grade four teacher who told me I'd never make any money when I said I wanted to be an artist - just think for a minute how much work there is now for graphic designers.... are you shaking your head in disappointment right now like I am?
Anyway, I just wanted to share this great site and in particular this article. I have looked at the image and studied and I think it's self explanatory. I'm hoping that educators, teachers and parents are encouraged to get the children in your life writing and telling stories. To help you I would like to offer these writing projects :-
1) Take the story of Little Red Riding Hood and share it. Ask your students to change the role from a little girl to a little boy and re-write the ending. How does the story change? What difference does gender make?
2) Write a story about how you got to class today but include at least two of the following - a dragon; a mouse; an old boot or a doona cover.
3) Write a conversation between three people (this is best for older students). Try not to use the word 'said'. There are over 140 different words that can be used instead!
4) Take an old story like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and take out some of the adjectives and nouns. For example, Goldilocks walked through the dark _______ until she saw a big house. She knocked on the _______ door.
5) Describe what must be like for a newly formed caterpillar to burst out of its cocoon and fly for the first time.
Check out these great titles for more ideas...
After many many months completing the illustrations and preparing the book for publication, Speedie's first book is ready! It's a big achievement for us both. It was a huge effort getting the illustrations ready and making sure the words rhymed and flowed well. Speedie was also exhausted from puking on the floor and sleeping 23 and 3/4 hours a day - it nearly killed us both!
This is from the back cover -
Speed Bump Charlie's ABC is not for the faint hearted. You should only read my story if you’re really brave. I mean really really brave. I mean are you brave enough to save your granny from a burning building? Are you brave enough to eat a worm? A live one?!!
I am the evil genius in the Astro's Adventures series of children's books. I got sick and tired of all the nicey, nicey stuff and decided to write my own ABC book for kiddies. If nothing else it is sickening and yucky and I'm sure your child will enjoy it. Well, I think they will. They will if they like worms, rancid, putrid bogs and generally things that slither and slop across the floor.
This is a poem and was written to be read aloud. This not only makes it sound better but it will have much more impact at scaring children half to death! So, enjoy... If you dare!
- Speedie (pictured below)
I hope you enjoy our book too! Susan ;-)
You can get the print and ebook copy at Amazon.com. It has only just been published but it will be available in the next couple of days. I'll send the links through then.
Here it is!
Recently Media Bistro (Click Here to Read it Yourself) published this short article:
Children ages 2-10 are reading an average of 40 minutes per day, spending 29 minutes reading print, 8 minutes reading on computers, and 5 minutes reading on digital platforms, according to a new report from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center called Learning at Home.
For the study, the organization spoke to more than 1500 parents of 2-10 year olds across the country. According to the report, 62 percent of these kids have access to eReaders or tablets, but only 31 percent actually use these devices because their parents want them to read print books.
While reading is definitely an important part of a child’s day, TV dominates. The research revealed that children spend an average of 42 minutes a day watching educational TV.
But is 29 minutes a day reading print enough for the older children in this study? I personally wouldn't count the time reading computers or other digital platforms. It's one thing to read an advertising brochure or the instruction booklet for your new vacuum but to read a story - a book - is quite different again.
If we want to fill the world with better writers we need to encourage children to read stories and books that have proper structure in them - a beginning, a middle and an end. They need to be exposed to plot developments where the characters are posed with a crisis and have to solve it. They need to see how good wins overall and the baddies get their comeuppance! (We are talking about children's books don't forget).
They need to read and learn about how hardship can be overcome with resilience and determination. And I'm not too sure this happens on Twitter, for example???
The more I am exposed to self published authors the more I can see that there is a lack of understanding of what constitutes the "proper" structure of a s story. As we know it is relatively easy to become a published author. All you need is a spell check, a computer and access to the internet. This is a wonderful thing but there a lot of examples from people who have not been exposed a great deal of well written work. You can tell. Their "books" lack an interesting plot line, the characters are under development and, dare I say, the books are boring.
If our future writers are to be great like Dickens, Austen and the ilk then they are going to need to be exposed to stronger more substantial examples of literature.
Here are some interesting webpages that encourage reading -
Check out these great books on Teaching Your Child to Read -
It took me a few minutes to understand what this clever graphic was saying but once I did I realized what valuable information it offered.
If you're a writer of Romance or History, for example, it shows you who you readers are and what some of their reading habits are.
I wanted to share it for other authors and people who are interested in writing.
It doesn't mention anything about children's literature which is a shame for me but I think it's a great piece of work nonetheless.
For more information check out this report at Media Bistro.
Introducing my good friend and fellow writer, Carmen Stefanescu.
Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping into a parallel world, that of the books.
She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.
In our post today we are looking at Carmen's book Shadows of the Past.
Anne's relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.
The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world--one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil's vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve's soul from its torment.
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.
Publish date: 4th December 2012
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Genre: paranormal/light romance/light horror.
Susan's Review -
The story tells the tale of a young nun's difficult life and the contentment she finds living under the protection of a convent. Genevieve decided to join the convent because there were so little choices for young women on their own. Her life there was blissful to begin with but things don't go well when the kind hearted Abbess who has sheltered and nurtured Genevieve is replaced by a wicked, soulless creature whose jealously and persecution of the young nun is relentless. Things are further antagonised when the beautiful Genevieve falls in love with a man who the evil Abbess has intentions of seducing herself. The man is himself a man of God and this adds to the drama of the tale.
Anne is our modern hero. She's a successful business woman who is trying to repair a damaged relationship. She heads her family's business and is intelligent and articulate. Although worlds apart, the lives of the two women are intrinsically woven together in this charming book.
Meanwhile, Anne is trying to reconnect with a past lover on a hiking holiday. Unbeknown to her she finds herself in the same mysterious forest that has haunted Genevieve. Ghosts and spirits haunt her sleep and visions worry her waking hours. They are her 'Shadows of the Past'.
Ms Stefanescu is able to bring her readers two different stories and lace them together to produce an intriguing and interesting tale. I was able to appreciate the both worlds represented here and I easy became entranced with the suspense and mystery evoked in this absorbing tale.
I am giving this five stars and I am looking forward to reading more from Carmen Stefanescu.
For more information see below:
Carmen Stefanescu's Blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/
Connect with Carmen here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carmen-Stefanescu-Books/499245716760283
Purchase your copy:
Amazon US- http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AK2D9I8/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AK2D9I8&linkCode=as2&tag=susdayaut0e-20
Amazon De - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AK2D9I8/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AK2D9I8&linkCode=as2&tag=susdayaut0e-20
Amazon UK - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AK2D9I8/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AK2D9I8&linkCode=as2&tag=susdayaut0e-20
Trailer: Shadows of the Past - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LmY-9yDl5s
Icky the Ugly Dog is the winner of the Astro's Adventures competition. Icky will play a role in the next adventure. He will team up with our heroes to battle sea monsters, scary sharks, the evil catfish pirates and more!!! The book is called Neptune's Trident. Stay tuned for more updates!!
Icky was our winner because his owner touched me with his story of rescuing Icky and then promoting the welfare of dogs. Icky has been on television and has a large following on Facebook. Icky's message is simple - it doesn't matter how you look on the outside it's what's on the inside that matters.
To follow the progress of Neptune's Trident join us at:
And find out more about the fabulous Icky here:
And congratulations to Icky for winning!! You rock little guy!!
After all my whining about layout and designs, Speed Bump Charlie's ABC, is now finally ready for a proof print.
For those of you who have never self-published a proof print is the actually copy of the book with the word "proof" printed on the back page. It's a real badge of honour for any author. I treasure my proof copies because they are the first printed copies of my books. They have a very special place on my desk.
The problem I faced is that the publishing company wouldn't print large size books in landscape format. I didn't realise this and although I checked the page size before I started the illustrations I didn't check to see if they would print the book the way I wanted. I spent nine months creating the artwork on huge A2 sheets of paper. Some of the individual pieces took over two weeks to complete. It was one of the most draining periods of my life!
The problem was overcome when the publishing company said I could print the book landscape if the book was bound at the top and not the left hand side. This means that the book will open like a calendar. I ran some dummy copies and practised how the book would feel.
In the end I have chosen to stay with this format rather than have the book printed smaller. The only size the publisher produced in landscape was 8 .5 x 6" This wouldn't have showcased the details in the artwork very well. Also there are only 40 pages in this book so it would have looked like colourful pamphlet; not a well produced children's book.
Now, we await the arrival of the physical proof!
I've just had the pleasure of reading through this great children's book. It explains the importance purpose that poop has in the world and how without poop our environment and all the creatures living in it wouldn't be the same. As yucky as we grown ups think poop is we have to face the fact that it's very very important! This book also carries an important message supporting research into bowl cancer.The drawings are great too.
This is the blurb:
This whimsical children's picture book follows a young boy named Skippy, whose fears about the potty got the best of him. So with the help of a friend he explored the loo, learned about poo, and the reasons we do what we do.
This book is available on Amazon - Even Poop has a Purpose and as a very fun interactive book on iTunes - click here.