Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guest Post: Kathryn Craft's Newest Book


The Far End of Happy is a powerful new novel based on author Kathryn Craft’s personal experience with a stand-off involving her husband. Here Craft delivers “real, raw emotion” (Library Journal) exploring a marriage unraveled by mental illness; and one man’s spiral towards a violent conclusion that tests the courage, love, and hope of the three women he leaves behind.

When the emotionally troubled Jeff engages police in a deadly stand-off, his wife, mother-in-law, and mother struggle to understand why the man they love has turned his back on the life they have given him, the one they all believe is still worth living.

“Framing the novel within a 12-hour period keeps the pages turning (Library Journal).” Narrating from the alternating perspectives of three women, whose lives will be forever altered by Jeff Farnham, gives an intimate look at the steps a woman will take to get the help her husband so urgently needs while desperately trying to keep her children safe.


A former dance critic who wrote for The Morning Call daily newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for nineteen years. Craft wrote exclusively nonfiction until she was plunged in the kind of real-life drama that demands attention. In 1997, after fifteen years of marriage, her husband committed suicide in a police standoff, leaving her and their two young sons.

The Far End of Happy was born from Craft’s need to make sense of what her husband had done. Kathryn has been a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania writing scene for more than a decade and is also the author ofThe Art of Falling. She lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Guest Post: Kevin A. Springer

Greetings, loyal followers. I know, I know, I've been incredibly delinquent in my posting. Lots of catching up to do, but enough about me. I am excited and honored to have Kevin A. Springer stopping by to share with us his thoughts on getting started. 

Kevin grew up on a farm in Maryland where his imagination knew no limits. As a husband and father, he reconnected with his creativity while telling bedtime stories to his two young boys. One such story evolved into his debut book, Extraordinary Sam And the Adventurers’ Guild (March 2015, Bookfish Books LLC.), which tells the tale of an ordinary boy who finds a hatbox and discovers a world of adventure and self-discovery.
Order Here
Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs. He is the co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia Blog (

Now without further adieu, take it away Kevin...
Getting Past Writer's Block

Over the weekend, I attended an SCBWI conference and had the privilege of listening to a keynote speech by Giuseppe Castallano, a Senior Art Director at Penguin Random House. His message was simple – get started. A very simple concept, but one we as writers and artists have trouble doing at times.

On my drive home, I thought about the keynote and how I've spent days staring at my computer, wishing some magical fairy would come down and wave her wand so I could get something down. No fairy came to my rescue and frustration would build. Doubt crept in and I was sure I would never write again.

Luckily, inspiration intervened and words flowed once more, but that was days later. If I had heard Giuseppe’s speech prior to that day, I could have avoided the grinding halt. He mentioned that getting started means move forward. Put those fingers on the keyboard, pick up that pencil, and write. If you are having trouble finding the words, write about that. If you want to throw the computer across the room, write about that. It is through the process of writing that writing will get done (sounds like something from a fortune cookie). You can't run a marathon without putting on your running shoes and taking the first step.

The more we write during these tough times the more productive we will feel. The act of writing can free us to write more, move our story forward and get closer to finishing the marathon.

So, the next time you have that sticking point and you're sure you will never type another word, move past that and before long you will be back on track. Now is the time for us all to get started. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What I've Been Doing...

Hello Everyone,

I've missed you all terribly but I've been very busy. Here are just few of the things I've been up to.

1. I finished up my first classes at CFI, Celebrant Foundation and Institute. I am now a certified Life Cycle Celebrant, qualified and trained to create personalized ceremonies for events throughout the life cycle: mother's blessings,  milestone birthdays, rites of passage like memorials and funerals, coming of age, house blessings and other important transitional times throughout our lives.
    This isn't some New Age path into the weird or supernatural. This is work that is closely related to our human need for navigating the mental and emotional realities of human transitions. Ritual—effective ritual is individualized expressions of intent that can give us the pattern to promote and sustain healthy change.

3. The second edition of my first book in the Project Madison Series was just released and I'd love to get your feedback on what you think. The title, cover and interior design have changed, but the story is the same.

4. I've been training with my daughter, Adrienne I'm feeling strong and losing some weight. Whoo hoo!

5. I began art journaling as I go through this transition and I'm finding it helps me remember what I'm doing and why. I'm also realizing that this process is forcing me to do some inner work that I've been reluctant about going through. Having the journal to record my thoughts and impressions is a great tool for this.

6. Coming up on the 21st I will be conducting my first official ceremony for the Autumnal Equinox with family and friends. Watch for pictures and a peek at the ceremony. I have some fun things planned and I'll tell you all about it.

7. I will be starting classes again at the end of the month. I hope to get in another post or two before that. Thanks to all of you for your patience and support.

If you've been going through a transition this past summer, I'd love to hear about it and how you're dealing with it. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Author To Author: Peggy M. McAloon

If you've kept up on the blog, you'll know that I'm going though a transition. One that, when I emerge, I hope to have come to a "Right Livelihood." A term coined by the Buddhists as one of the ultimate goals of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path. 

Hold on, don't jump to the conclusion I'm converting to Buddhism. What I am doing during this transitional phase is striving once again to find the path that is best for me, the one that makes the most sense according to who I am, my true self. 

As I was reading through Peggy's answers I remember that my life isn't all that unique, in that we all go through transitions, changes in our lives that have a beginning, middle and end. Just like the stories we tell, our lives are stories that repeat that pattern over and over again. 

I want to thank Peggy for sharing her story with us today. This will be my last Author to Author post for awhile. Hope you're all having a great and wonderful summer. 

Peggy and Anneka 

Can you tell us three interesting things about you that people usually wouldn’t guess about you?

1. I am terrified of heights. When I was a child, we took wonderful vacations. I was probably five or six when we went to the Grand Canyon. Mother insisted we take a cable car across the canyon. It was a terribly windy day and the cable car broke in the middle of the river; dangling high above the water for nearly an hour before they got it fixed. I remember the cable car swinging back and forth and making creaking noises as it swung in the high winds. I was convinced we were going to die. On another vacation we went to Niagara Falls. We stood on a rock outcrop between two areas of the falls. The next morning on television they showed that same spot where we had been standing. It had fallen off into the raging waters below over night. I’m guessing those two experiences are why my stomach drops every time I’m up somewhere high.

2. My grandmother was a Kennedy. Two cousins came to the U.S. One stayed in the New England area and became quite wealthy … the other moved to Virginia and became a farmer. My grandmother received a personal note with a picture of JFK from Rose Kennedy after the assassination. She slept with it under her pillow every night for the rest of her life.

3. I was a contestant in the Miss Iowa Pageant in the 60’s.

How did you get into writing?

The last 25 years of my working career, I was the national sales manager for the Minneapolis division of the National Association of Credit Management. I did a tremendous amount of training, prepared and delivered seminars, and wrote articles for the newsletter. During that time I wrote my first published book, “The Art of Business Credit Investigation” which was featured in Inc. Magazine. I have loved writing and fabricating stories since I was a child. I used to make up complete movies in my head, but I didn’t write them down. After retirement I started writing guest posts for the local newspaper and was editor of “Lake Talk” the newsletter for the Tainter/Menomin Lake Improvement Association where I spent ten years working for the conservation of our water resources. That involved communication with other groups and politicians. I was awarded the National DAR Conservation Award in 2013.

What are some of your favorite MG/YA books?

Books were my method of mental escape during the abuse of my childhood so I do have to say that the ones nearest my heart are those that gave me hours of blissful entertainment: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – The Chronicles of Narnia set by C.S. Lewis – To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper – Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - and of course the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and 007 series of books. I’m also a pushover for Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and the Prince of Malorn (Annals of Alasia Books) by Annie Douglass Lima.

Who are your role models?

First and foremost is my grandfather. He had the kindest and most compassionate heart of any human being I have ever met.  I love Maya Angelo for her courage and inspiration. Dr. Eichler, my humanities instructor in college for teaching me that dates mean little in history, it is only through learning how one event leads to the next that we will be able to improve our lives and avoid making the same mistakes. I also adored Mother Teresa, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” And, “I alone cannot change the world. But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

What are you working on right now?

I am working on the 2nd book in the Elle Burton Series. This book will further explore the other dimension of Fiori and the Sacred Scrolls to determine if Elle is the one who it has been predicted will change the direction of the world.  One of the projects associated with the first book in the series is to find funding to provide the book free of charge for women’s shelters for the high-risk children there.

Tell us a bit about how the character of Elle Burton evolved?

Year after year we hear the stories about kids who have been abused and the numbers continue to astound me. The most recent figures indicate there are three million cases of child abuse reported each year in the U.S., involving nearly six million children. This is one of the worst records in all industrialized nations. I was one of those abused children and I have struggled with how we could possibly convince kids like me to share the secret of their abuse. My abuser made threats against my mother if I told anyone. I was terrified for her. Threats are the weapons most readily used by the abusers and I wanted to create a character who could empower kids in trouble to seek help and inspire the rest to recognize and offer help to the kids in trouble.
To be perfectly honest, Elle is the kid I wish I had been courageous enough to be. She’s flawed like me, she makes some bad decision, but she is still willing to stand up against some extraordinary threats to her well-being and the safety of others. I knew she would have to have my grandfather’s heart. I never heard him say an unkind word. I gave her his last name as a constant reminder of her gift of compassion as I wrote the story. She is only ten when the first book begins, but I expect to follow her to adulthood.

Reflective portals are pretty original. Where did the inspiration for those come from?
Everything I have written in this book has been done to inspire kids. What better way to entice them into the story than to allow them to be part of the magic? Elle and the other Earth Guides have two ways to move from Earth to Fiori. One is through a wish and the other is through the reflection of a child. Conversely, the Fiorins can only travel into Earth’s dimension through the reflection of a child. This creates some conflict in the book because it appears the devilish Zorins have found a way to interfere with the reflections in the ponds of Fiori. (Fiorins can travel through a wish with a Guide, but they do not have the gift of wish travel themselves.) Perhaps it is because I love to sit by the water and imagine myself in other places that I chose reflections as the inspiration.

Currently giving away pendants and books! Go to Peggy's website.

Tell us a little bit about Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals.
Elle Burton is an ordinary kid…or so she thinks. On her tenth birthday she encounters Eunie Mae, a tiny, fairylike being who comes from a world called Fiori. She begins a journey that leads her from this world into another dimension through reflective portals where creatures called Fiorins are linked to all human life.  Other than some children under the age of eight, the only human beings who can see Fiorins are guides—people who have been chosen to help protect the children of Earth.
Being a guide seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Elle has always loved helping others, and now she’ll have magical assistance. But not everybody wants her to succeed. There are evil forces that do everything in their power to keep the guides from offering support to those in need.

Join her as she enlists the Fiorin warrior Amadeus and others to help her protect the human children against bullying and physical abuse. The children at risk Elle encounters are dependent on her decisions and quick responses.  Travel with her to Fiori and discover magical foot lockers, spider elevators, and the beloved Pegasus. Join her journey on the crusade to protect the world’s children.  Her journey to adulthood begins as she completes the three challenges, predicted centuries ago.  She is a modern-day role model who embodies everything that is good in this world. Will she be strong enough to combat the problems children face in the 21st Century?

Can you tell us about your publishing journey, any surprises along the way?

I was extremely lucky to meet Mayo Clinic’s Dick Edwards (Mom, Dad ... Can We Talk?: Insight and Perspectives to Help Us Do What's Best for Our Aging Parents) who was gracious enough to help me on more than one occasion in my quest for a publisher. Anyone who believes they have a book that needs to be written should seek out and find other authors who can help them along the way. Some of the people who have been the most supportive are other authors who are committed to the industry and in helping new authors. Those who have been truly inspiring are Elmarie Porthouse, Connie Dunn, Annie Douglass Lima, D’vorah Lansky, Sandra Beckwith, Jenny Orelle, Jeannie Frazier, PeggyLee Hanson, Moreen Tropy, and Vickie Newman. Without them, I would never have come as far as I have.

I had no idea that my blog would be transferred to LinkedIn. This was done by the publisher. All of my old customers are on that platform and I was both surprised and terrified to learn that my posts on the tougher elements of parenting were showing up on LinkedIn.

I fought Twitter. I didn’t want to do it, although at one point I thought it might be fun to do as Elle. I’m glad I forced myself to get involved because I have met some wonderful and inspiring people through that platform. I have now done roughly 3,000 tweets…pretty amazing for a Grandma. 

The hours: This is the killer. I had no concept how many hours it would take to build and maintain a platform on all the various social media sites. As a manager in the business world I had one golden rule. If I couldn’t learn to do it, and do it well, I would not ask an employee to do it for me. This has been a difficult learning curve because we did not grow up with the technology folks a few decades younger find so easy. Hopefully I will be able to outsource some of this in the future.

Do you listen to songs while you write? If so, what are they? Do certain songs get you into a certain character’s head?

I love to listen to music. I started playing the organ for church services when I was only nine. I have used music my entire life to maintain my mood. If I’m sad or tired, I play soft and soothing music until my mood begins to lift. At that point I switch to a livelier tune. After a trip to BarHarbor, and the Bluenose Inn, I frequently have one of pianist Bill Trowell’s CD’s playing in the background.

What character is most like you?

That one’s simple: Ginny Burton, Elle’s mom.

If you had a power, what would it be?

Again, that is also simple: I would love to be able to enjoy ‘wish travel’ like the Earth Guides.

What is your favorite quote or saying?


I truly believe if we all did one additional thing each day to improve the life of another that everyone’s life would improve.

What would you tell people who want to become authors?

I would ask them why they haven’t started the journey. I wrote two other books before the Elle book. They are still sitting in a file but I do intend to get back to them one day. They are the works that helped me find my true self and my voice. Elle is the story that I pray will change lives. We all have stories inside us that will inspire others. I have been so blessed by the women who have contacted me after reading the book and who shared they were also abused as children. I wrote the book to empower and inspire children; I had no idea it would provide healing to other adults.

Any last thing you want to tell us?

The statistics tell me that one in three women reading this suffered abuse by their 18th birthday. When I was little I constantly tried to be perfect in everything. I always thought if I could be just a little bit better the abuse would stop.

It took decades for me to realize that a child is incapable of doing anything to warrant abuse by an adult. I watched my own children grow, unable to fathom how anyone could ever hurt a child. If you were the victim of abuse as a child and still have unresolved issues, please find someone you can confide in. The healing begins when you stop being afraid. The power of the abuser ends when you reject the fear they instilled in you.

Thanks for joining us, Peggy and sharing such wonderful words of support and wisdom.

On her website Peggy offers a free drawing each month. Currently, there is also a drawing for the pendants and books. Check it out here!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Just Another Life Transition...

My life is a series of transitions. Times where things shift in such a way that it requires a period of adjustment. I'm in one of those times now. As usual it requires a willingness to let go of the familiar and embrace the confusion of this moment. I'd like to say I know where I'll come out, but the reality is, I don't. 

It's been my experience that the less I attach myself to the familiar the easier the transition is. With transition comes confusion. I struggle to come to terms with what's changed and what will stay the same. Letting go of old patterns of thinking and embracing the new ones isn't easy. There's an anxiousness. A burning need to see what's on the other side. The unknown. 

One of the things I'm going to have to let go of for the time being is my blog and, sadly, my reviews. A sabbatical of sorts. While I don't know many specifics of the change, there are a few things I do know.

+ I've begun a new area of study. I'm currently completing course work through the Celebrant Foundation and Institute.

+ Ritual has always been important to me.

+I've struggled to create a sense of spirit in my life after choosing to leave 
  organized religion behind.

+ This new work will engage my writing, and creativity to provide meaningful
   ritual and personal ceremony during important life transitions we all 
   experience over and over again in our lives.  

As I enter this labyrinth of change, unsteady and anxious, I am confident, that like the many transitions that have gone before,  I will emerge a better person. My desire to serve others in meaningful ways and connect with others on a deeper level will be improved and I'll become truer to the person that I am, the person I want to be. 

There are a couple of loose ends that I will need to tie-up. 

On July 24th, Project Madison's 2nd birthday, I will be releasing the second edition of the first book, under a new title, If Dogs Could Blog. 

Next week I will release the new cover design, with chances to win copies. This new edition features illustrations by both the original artist the same creative gals that did It's NOT Just A Dog! 

I have a few more Author to Author interviews that I will be posting down the road.

When I will return to a more regular blogging schedule and what that will look like still remains a mystery. But, rest assured...I will be back...

In the meantime, I'll be lurking around my favorite blogs, finding new ones and periodically, when I have something worth saying I may pop on for some dialogue.

Thank you for your understanding. 

I hope this resonates with some of you. If so, let me know, it would be nice to hear from others that have or are going through a life transition. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gram's Pick of The Week: Quiet Kids by Christine Fonseca

Gram's recommended!
Today's Gram's pick is a non-fiction book that covers the important topic of understanding and helping an introverted child succeed in our extroverted world. The assumption is: What kid wouldn't want to be on T.V.? The reality not every child comes into the world with a desire to be out front. Does that make them lazy? Does that mean that there isn't a place for them in this world of loud, pushy go-getters? 
    According the Fonseca, introverts have much to offer the world and it's time we recognize those strengths and instead of forcing them to change who they are. To help them find their voice and place in a world where people spend less and less time developing an inner world. What do introverts have to offer as we head into the next century of fast moving, high tech innovation? Fonseca will have you changing your perspective and draw the line between introverts and being shy. There is a difference. I highly recommend this book to educators and parents. 

About The Book: Being an introverted child is difficult, especially in an ever-increasingly noisy world. Often viewed as aloof, unmotivated or conceited, introverted children are deeply misunderstood by parents, educators and even their peers. That’s where "Quiet Kids: Helping Your Introverted Child Thrive in an Extroverted World" comes in. Designed to provide parents with a blueprint for not only understanding the nature of introversion, Quiet Kids provides specific strategies to teach their children how to thrive in a world that may not understand them. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses real-world examples and stories from introverts and parents to show parents and educators how to help children develop resiliency and enhance the positive qualities of being an introvert. With specific strategies to address academic performance, bullying, and resiliency, Quiet Kids is a must read for anyone wishing to enhance the lives of introverted children.

About the Author: Christine Fonseca
Who:Critically acclaimed nonfiction and YA author Christine Fonseca is dedicated to helping children of all ages find their voice in the world. In fiction, she explores the darker aspects of humanity and delivers gothic thrillers that take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

In addition to writing, Ms. Fonseca is a frequent presenter and trainer on subjects ranging from writing to behavior and understanding the unique needs of gifted children. She blogs regularly on many sites and participates in events throughout the country. See the News/Events page for upcoming events.

When Christine isn’t crafting her next book and working with kids, she can be found sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or exploring the world with her family.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

...AND The Winners Are:

First, I have to thank all those that made this month long blog tour a great success. I couldn't have done it without all of you. Thanks, to all those that took the time to spread the word about Project Madison. And now...

#DRUMROLL  #Please!

Our grand prize winner is:

Victoria Alexander who had to have tweeted a million times!

First Prize:

Mary G. Loki who came to us from I Am A Reader.

Second Prize:

Courtney Whisenant who stopped by from Social Cafe Magazine.

Third Prize:

Also coming to us from I Am A Reader Kristine Peacock.

Swag Packages:

Danielle Bateman
Kristy Petree

Congratulations to the winners! And thanks again to everyone that blogged, tweeted and helped spread the word about the release of It's NOT Just A Dog! 

If you want to get first hand news about what's next for Project Madison be sure to like the Project Madison Facebook Page. 
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