Jimmy Osmond of the Osmond Family and Children’s Author


      When Regnery Kids contacted me about reviewing Jimmy Osmond's children's book Awesome Possum Family Band I jumped at the chance.  I use to watch The Osmonds on TV and loved the Donny & Marie show so much. I was so enthralled with the crew, my mother had a friend who worked with them over at ABC (remember back in the day when there were only 12 stations?) and was able to get a signed photograph of them.  I can still remember how excited I was and the autographed photo was my prized possession for years! Talk about memory lane!  Jimmy is the youngest of the Osmond Family and shares his personal story of finding his special talent to bring to the Osmond Family band. As the youngest, Jimmy reached out to his older siblings to dabble in their special talents, but with no luck in finding his own. With the help and patience of his Mother, Jimmy was able to … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Mary Kole of Kidlit


    A few years ago I was introduced to Mary Kole at a Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators function. She had just graduated from college and was working as an Associate Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.  Mary spoke to a room of children's writers about the children's book industry and what changes she saw within the industry and what we could do to get our work noticed and published.  She was very dynamic and you could tell she was going places!  Fast forward a couple years, and she now runs a website Kidlit.com that has inspired thousands of aspiring writers with articles on the writing craft and getting published. Writer's Digest named one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers”  every year since its inception in 2009, and her success online led to a book on the art of writing novels for teens: WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, out now from … [Read more...]

The Helpful Honda Guys Celebrate Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week


Teacher Appreciation Week was held during the week of May 5-9th.  I had my daughter bring some flowers and a card as a little token for our thanks! Both her reading teacher and First grade teacher have done a wonderful job in teaching her basic math and reading skills.  What an amazing job they have - to help mold little minds!  I appreciate the hard work teachers do and I love that Honda, specifically the Honda Guys in Blue celebrate and honor outstanding teachers! The SoCal Honda Dealer's Helpful Guys in Blue  surprised winning teachers of the 2014 Helpful Honda Teacher Appreciation Awards last week with their personal wishlist of over $25,000 worth of teaching materials, art supplies, iPads and other technology while in their classrooms or during school assemblies to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week over May 5-9th. The Helpful Honda Guys kicked off their Helpful Teacher … [Read more...]

Hollywood Blockbuster Production Designer James Lewis creates Fun Town


NEW APP FROM HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER PRODUCTION DESIGNER JAMES LEWIS Touch & Learn, the development studio started by Hollywood Production Designer, James Lewis (credits include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Band of Brothers, Love Actually, Exodus and many more), today officially announced the release of their brand new edutainment app for 2 – 6 year old kids and their parents. In addition to being the Art Director of smash hit Hollywood movies, James Lewis has found time to design and release nine very special apps for his and everyone else’s kids! Latest offering ‘Fun Town’ sees a beautifully animated town  environment   turned   into   a   virtual   children’s   playground.   Kids   can interact with the townsfolk and vehicles, or visit the shops – each its own mini-game with 14 beautifully animated mini-games to discover in total. Learn how to grow your favorite flower … [Read more...]

Get Your School Involved During National Young Readers Week November 11-15th


  Next week is National Young Readers Week from November 11-15th.  Anything that supports a love of reading is always a good thing in my book. What I found intriguing about this week was that it was started by the President of Pizza Hut with the help of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress back in 1989.  The Book It website  states that the reason the President created National Young Readers Week was because his young son was having reading difficulties and was finding it difficult to get through his reading homework.  Boy can I relate to that!  We are experiencing this with our first grader and she is having some problems with phonics.  My husband and I both had some issues when we were in first and second grade as well so I guess it can run in families!  We are in the process of helping her get to where she needs to be so she doesn't get too frustrated. If you … [Read more...]

Spotlight on The Orange County Children’s Book Festival


This coming Sunday the 29th is the Orange County Children's Book Festival and I will be attending in the Author's Booth section dressed in my pirate gear.  This festival holds a special place for me because years ago when we attended with my (then) three year old daughter - Penelope the Purple Pirate was just a dream and I was at the very early stages of writing the story and had yet to meet Paul Johnson, our Illustrator.  I still remember walking through the book festival looking at the authors selling their books and thought to myself that one day I will be here too, selling my book.  I didn't know when (or how) this would happen, but I was determined to make it a reality.  Fast forward four years and this is my third festival where I will showcase Penelope and now Gerry the Giraffe.  My daughter has been there with me the past few years which made it even more special as I was able to … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Robb Monkman of React Mobile


Last month I was contacted by the React Mobile and was so impressed with this app that helps keep our kids (and family members) safe.  Basically, React Mobile is  an app that allows you to use your mobile device as a tool that will alert your pre-established network of emergency contacts with the push of a button. React is a powerful tool that was inspired by React Mobile cofounder, Robb Monkman’s life-altering experience of being held at gunpoint in a home invasion. My mother-in-law and I were talking about how we plan to download this app as well just for a peace of mind for ourselves when we find ourselves walking alone at night.  I had a chance to speak to the Mr. Monkman about the motivation behind creating React Mobile and how it helps keep our kids safe.       1. Tell us what was the motivation behind creating React Mobile. I first realized the … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: #Storyappchat


  Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime, Brooks Jones, author of storybook app, I Don't Like Pink from PicPocket Books, and David Fox of Electric Eggplant created #storyappchat two years ago that acts as an online community and resource for people interested in writing or developing children's storybook apps. Most Sundays, you can find them on Twitter at 6 pm PST with the tag #storyappchat as well as on Facebook here.  But what is #storyappchat exactly?  It’s a weekly Twitter meeting for those interested in creating storybook apps and ebooks for kids. They talk about all aspects of the business, from the latest software tools to avoiding burnout. Most of their weekly visitors are either authors, illustrators, software developers, librarians, consultants, app reviews and parents.  I like that each week after their chat, they will provide a transcript on their website in case you … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Roxie Munro

Roxie Munro studio bst

    I met Roxie Munro through Karen Robertson's eBook What is a Book App and Could YOU Create One? How 27 Writers Did! where she and I (and 25 other authors) wrote about our journey as a children's storybook authors. This group of authors connect weekly with emails to let one another know about what is happening with their apps or books, radio or TV spots featuring their books and is a great group of authors who support one another.  Some have been published with traditional publishing houses and yet others have taken the indie author route. Roxie is the author/illustrator of more than 35 books for children and recent apps include:"Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure," an interactive game app, and the 3-D app, "Roxie's DOORS." Out Fall 2013: K.W.I.i.StoryBooks (Kids Interactive Walk-in Story Books), with ten AR apps. Out August 2013: Slithery Snakes. Fourteen of her … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Mike Bowen of Monster Mobile Marketing


It is always interesting to me to hear about others in the app industry doing what they can to help promote fellow indie authors/developers as it can be a tough market for small independents.  Mike Bowen of Monster Mobile Marketing has come up with a great idea to help others build their audience and get their apps noticed.  Mike likens The App Collage as 5,000 developers standing up at once!  I had a chance to speak to Mike about his journey of creating apps and why he created The App Collage. Tell us how you got involved in the app industry. I have always been a huge fan of the iPhone since the very first one launched. After learning as much as possible about the devices and staying up to date on all the current apps, I came across an app that was described as learning how to build your own app. Even as a kid I always had a ton of ideas that I couldn't wait to create at some … [Read more...]