Thursday, July 30, 2015

Free At Last!!

Free of what you ask? Well to most of you, this will seem really silly, but to me it's been a major battle all my life. My arms.



I have always hated my arms with a passion, still do. They are one of the first things I look at on a person, if you can believe that. Even though most people I've ever talked to say they could care less about someone's arms and never notice them.... I do!!

I've been in this prison of, "Oh no, I can't wear that...my arms will show!" or "I can't take my jacket or sweater off (even though I have sweat slipping down my forehead and my back), I have a sleeveless shirt under this and someone will see my arms!" Even putting on a swimsuit has been traumatic for me. Not because my stomach is big enough to reach California, or my cottage cheese thighs are in full view...but because my arms will show! How dumb is that?

It's really been a problem for many, many years and one I thought I'd never get rid of. However, I've been free now for about 2 weeks! I finally woke up, looked around and discovered that NO ONE CARES BUT ME. I so desperately wanted to be that woman in Walmart who looks confident of herself, even though her arms were in full view. Or my neighbor down the street who is even bigger than me and her arms are swinging in the breeze, however it's not bothering her one bit. I am finally tired of sweating to death just so I can cover my arms. Until now, I've always worn long or half sleeves in the dead of summer in Louisiana!! I even had a hard time just wearing short sleeves let alone sleeveless.

But now, I've broken out of that prison and realized 85% of the people out there, have ugly, flabby arms just like mine, and some are even worse! So what am I wearing sitting here typing this "ever so important" blog posting? A sleeveless shirt! Woo hoo! I'm free at last! And since it's 97 degrees out, guess it's time, huh. I'd post a picture for everyone's nightmares enjoyment but I don't want the internet to crash.

I'd love to hear that I'm not the only insane person out there. How about you? Do you have any kind of weird phobia you wish you could get over?


Thursday, July 2, 2015

So What?

I hate to admit this, but as usual, I can't help it. It irritates me when I read a children's book where it's so obvious that the author did not do their homework before writing the story. There's no plot, there's no conflict and most of all, there's no story going on. I recently read one that left me saying to myself, "So? Big deal, the kid took a bath!" And trust me, that is completely all the story is about.  And I don't believe a traditional publisher would have ever given it a second look. I have nothing against self-publishing, heck I'm getting ready to release one Sept. 1, but it's books like the one I just read, that give self-publishing a bad rap. It wasn't well thought out and to be blunt, only a 1 yr. old would like it.

The illustrations in the book I mentioned are beautiful, otherwise this would not be a book. I do believe that good illustrations are vital to a good picture book, however a good story is even more important. The story needs to capture a child's imagination. They need their "giggly" side to come out once in awhile. And they need to learn something or at least have a reason to want it read to them again and again.

I'm not trying to say that all my stories are perfect, that they capture everything they should, but I sure give them my best try and I've done my homework. We should all take pride in what we write and make sure there's some substance, even in a children's book.

Do you find that you get irritated when you read a book and are left thinking, "So what!!?"






Thursday, June 11, 2015

Giveaway Winner Announced and Award Given




And the winner of the Hippo Bottomless book giveaway is...drum roll please...




Sherry Alexander!! I'll be notifying you, Sherry so I can send your book and stuffed Hippo right out to you. Congratulations and I hope you enjoy the book!

I am feeling so honored today because a fellow author and critique partner has awarded me with the Encouraging Thunder award!
Thanks so much to Deanie for thinking of me. Below are the details.
What you can do with Encouraging Thunder award?
– Post it on your blog
– Grant other bloggers with the award
What you can’t do with Encouraging Thunder award?
– Abuse or misuse the logo
– Claim that it’s your own handmade logo
 What you should do after receiving Encouraging Thunder award:
– Enjoy the award
– Thank via comments or mention the blogger who gave you the award :)
That’s it. No questions to answer or cumbersome rules to follow. It’s acknowledgment to those blogger friends who have stuck behind you through good times and bad, whether through comments, social media, email, etc.
You don’t need to award it to anyone else if you don’t want to. Just accept it. So many people have my back, I can’t sit behind this computer and not give this Award to some very special people. Whether they choose to accept or display it is completely up to them. (They’d know I love them even without it!
Thank you so much, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, for giving me this special award! You really made my day and I'm honored to know you. Plus, you're a wonderful writer yourself. I encourage everyone to check out her blog to read about some of the books she's gotten published.
There are so many friends who always encourage me. I'm going to give this award to a few of those friends. Every single one of you who stops by to read my blog can claim this award because I appreciate you a great deal.
Courtney Rene - http://ctnyrene.blogspot.com/
Kelly Hashway - http://kellyhashway.blogspot.com/
Genilee Swope-Parente - http://swopeparente.com/
Sherry Alexander - http://rightsherry.blogspot.com
Claudine Gueh Yanting - http://www.carryusoffbooks.com/blog


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Picture Book Giveaway

In celebration of my new picture book Hippo Bottomless coming out, I'd like to do a free giveaway. This book would be great for kids 3-8 yrs of age. It's a fun book and might even teach your child a thing or two about swimming. But mostly about sticking to your guns and you'll get whatever it is you're trying to accomplish.













All you need to do is make sure you are a follower of my blog, leave a comment telling me what your favorite animal is and why. I'll randomly select a winner and announce it on next weeks blog. The lucky winner will receive a free signed copy of the book as well as a mini-stuffed hippo.







Of course if you'd rather purchase a copy, it is now availabe on amazon.com or you can purchase a signed copy from me!
http://www.amazon.com/Hippo-Bottomless-Allyn-M-Stotz/dp/069242752X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432735500&sr=8-1&keywords=hippo+bottomless

Thanks for playing and goodluck!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Two New Picture Books

Today is an exceptionally great day for me. I actually have two new picture books coming out. I tried not to have them come out around the same times but it just didn't work out that way. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad since it's never happened to me before. However, it just makes me doubly happy and more to celebrate!

My new picture book from Futureword Publishing titled Hippo Bottomless has just been finalized and will be available on amazon in just a few days. Woot Woot!!








Echo can't swim like his other Hippo friends. All he does is splash, splash, splash as he sinks, sinks, sinks to the cold murky bottom. Can some friends he meets along the way help or is he destined to spend his life sinking to the bottom, bottom, bottom.









My second picture book coming out by Mascot Publishing titled The Color of Love has also just been finalized but will take probably about a month to become available. This will be my first hard-back book which I've dreamed of for so long. This is a feel-good bedtime type story which has been a long time coming. Try three years to be exact. However, it was originally supposed to be a personalized book by Frecklebox but that fell through the cracks for various reasons. I was bound and determined to get it published though so I "bit the bullet" and decided to self-publish it. I did my research, talked to several authors in my writer's group and decided on Mascot Publishing because they produce quality books and I knew they were legit and easy to work with. I also found a great new illustrator in my writer's group who is a retired school teacher and was ready to finally pursue her dream of being an illustrator. The Color of Love is now her second children's picture book.







Denny asks his mother, "If the sun is yellow and clouds are white, what color is love?" Follow Denny and his mother as they jump on board their magic carpet to find the answer!










For those of you interested in purchasing an autographed copy of Hippo Bottomless, just let me know. I will have some by June 3rd. If you want to order through Amazon, it should be up and loaded within 3-5 days.

And have no fear, as soon as The Color of Love is officially available, I'll be announcing it on Facebook.

Thanks to everyone for their support!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Character Development

How many of you writers do any kind of character building before you begin a story? The answer to that for me is...sometimes. And other times, I just start writing and the character falls into place. However, on those times that I struggle for just the right character, I begin building one.

Sometimes I get on the internet and start looking at pictures of little kids (no I'm not a stalker) or animals. It helps me to look at their faces, their expressions, the way they dress. From those photos, I can begin to think about what characteristics, flaws, quirks and personality I want them to have. And then I start jotting down all my ideas.

But I have to admit that 50% of those times, I draw a blank and could really use some help. If you are like me and need help once in awhile, I've come across a software program that really looks great. It was introduced to me by Jon Bard of the CBI Clubhouse/Write for Kids. And like him and his wife, Laura, I love to share what little knowledge I have with other writers. So below is a link where Jon is describing this software and walks you through some of the steps. It really looks like it could be beneficial and is very reasonably priced. Check it out!

http://writeforkids.org/2015/04/jon-reviews-a-very-cool-piece-of-software-for-writers/


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lunch Shaming

My intention for today's blog was to write something that had to do with writing, however as I was watching the news this morning, I became so enraged that I knew what I had to write about today.

There was a story about a child who's mother ran out of fruits and vegetable so she packed a few Oreo cookies in her lunch. "Yay!" the little four yr. old probably thought
as she opened her lunch box. But to that child's surprise, she was not allowed to eat them. Instead, her lunch box was returned to her parents with the cookies in it and a note that preached healthy eating.

So I guess it's better to have your child attend school hungry than to put a "poisonous" cookie in their mouth! I am not a parent, however if I was the parent of that child I would be livid. When has a few Oreos ever killed a kid? And are we saying now that parents don't even have any say so in what goes in their own child's lunch? Some parents can't afford all the healthy snacks all the time. Or they don't have time to run to the story every time they run out! And by tomorrow, a study will come out saying that "supposed" health snack is no longer healthy anyway!!

I do believe parents should try including a healthy snack whenever possible but I know that when I was a child, that healthy snack is the one thing that would've gone straight into the trash. My mother always packed a sandwich, a fruit or vegetable and probably either a bag of chips or a dessert. I always ate it all, except most times that fruit or vegetable didn't get eaten. And guess what? I'm still alive! And I was never 1 lb. overweight growing up.

What I'd really like to know is, who knew those cookies were in that box? Does the school have "lunch" cops watching every thing that goes into every kids lunch box? Or are the teachers snooping in all the kids lunch boxes while they are out on recess? Who has time for that? Why can't we trust the child's parents to know what's best for their own kid?

This world is going too far. Parents aren't even allowed to discipline their children anymore without fear that their child will be taken from them or they'll wind up in jail for child abuse. And we wonder why so many children are in trouble today?

Don't get me wrong, I think there are many parents out there that should not be raising kids. I'm thankful when an abusive, neglective parent is caught and the child is taken from them. But I strongly disagree that in today's world it doesn't seem like a parent is allowed to raise their own children in the way they see fit as long as it's a safe environment. Giving a child an Oreo cookie once in awhile is not abusive!

We have so many children in the world that are out there starving to death and might live one day longer if they had one of those cookies to eat. But our 'warped' society chooses to throw that cookie away because it has a little sugar in it. Why oh why can't we let kids be kids while they still can!!





I for one would love to go eat a few Oreos right this minute but I'm an adult, therefore I know that I can't afford those extra pounds it will put on me. But a four yr. old child should be allowed to eat one and enjoy it for the rest of us!!





Here's the article if anyone is interested. I'm curious what you other parents are thinking about this.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/mom-lunch-shamed-school-packing-oreos-daughter/story?id=30674158