Thursday, August 20, 2015

Downton Abbey

I'm not exactly sure why but I'm addicted to the TV Series Downton Abbey. I'd been hearing over and over from people how good this show is but I always seemed to miss it when it was on. When I did catch an episode, it just didn't grab my attention. I thought it looked "cheesy."  I never really watched a full episode.

However, while I was browsing through Target one day, the Season 1 DVD would for some reason not let me continue with my shopping without purchasing it. So I did. Then I went back and bought the rest of the seasons.

I am totally hooked on this show now. In fact, so
much so that I am watching the seasons for a 2nd time around, which I have never done in my life! Sure, I watch reruns of some shows but it's really only because nothing else is on. There are only a handful of shows that I would intentionally watch over again. But would probably never buy the DVD's.


Downton Abbey is brilliantly written, in my eyes. The characters all have something very unique and special about them. They really draw you in. This show also makes me realize the power of make-up, clothes and hair. This picture is what the lady looks like playing her part of a "devious, manipulative" ladies maid on the left and on the right is how she really looks. What a tranformation!

But what I really love about the show is learning how they did things back then and the difference between how the rich live and think, versus the serving staff. I also enjoy that the show brings out problems that you and I face even today. But totally shocking to me is when the "high and mighty" rich family show that they have real feelings of love towards their staff.

The show also makes me completely thankful that I wasn't born back in those days. They didn't even have TV's or computers! For shame!! Actually, it's not for those reasons that I'm glad I wasn't alive back then. There is no way I could dress up for every meal like they do. The women have to wear long gloves for dinner and the men white tie tux's.


There is one episode where one of the men's white shirts and ties disappeared so he had to wear a black tie! Everyone at dinner noticed this and made some kind of comment. Anyway, not my thing!

And the ladies all have to wear their hair up for some reason. You only see it semi-down at night when they go to bed.




Although I would have a very hard time with most of their "rich" traditions, there is one I could definitely get used to. When a woman gets married, she no longer is required to come down for breakfast. She is served breakfast in bed! I would be all in for that tradition.


Now, all my husband needs to do is ask for at least a 20 million dollar raise or I need to become the next J.K. Rowling and maybe I'll get that breakfast in bed!!

So how about you? Do I have any other Downton Abbey addicts out there?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Marketing

I'm sick of this heat, anyone else with me!!?? It's been over 100 degrees here in Louisiana for the past week. Oh if only we could buy weather like we can buy everything else in this world. But it's the one thing that is entirely left up to God. However, if he ever decides to "put it up for sale", I'll take some 70 degree weather, please! I want to breathe again!

But since I can't buy good weather, I bought a spot in an online marketing class instead. (At least I can take it indoors in the air conditioning!). I'm not finished with the course yet but one of the things it's teaching me is that marketing isn't all about getting my face out there to sell my book. It's more about getting my face out there to offer people something they might really want. Then once I make that connection with them, then I can plug in my "buy my book" pitch once in awhile.

I'm learning that on social media if all you're doing is advertising that you have a book for sale, that that doesn't really work. People get tired of seeing that all the time. People want something that will benefit them. Which is so true. I myself get tired of authors who only advertise their books but have nothing else to offer. So why was I thinking it would work for me?

Well, I just didn't know any better, that's why. What this course is teaching me is really making sense and I'm learning things I've never heard before.

So, my first order of "changing my marketing strategy" starts today. Instead of telling you more about my books, I'm going to give you the link to this course, put on by Children's Book Insider/CBI Clubhouse  so that you might get some benefit out of it too. It's at a very reasonable rate and in my opinion, well worth it. To find out more, click here: http://easyauthormarketing.com/order

I'm also going to share with you a link to one of my favorite blogs. Kristen Lamb is a hoot and not only gives authors all kinds of very valuable info but she also delivers it in a very entertaining way. Here's the link: https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

Enjoy!





Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Picture Book Release

I'm so happy to announce that my newest picture book The Color of Love, is now available for purchase!


 
 
This book has been a long time coming. I first wrote it in 2011, had a contract on it in 2012 but that fell through. So after that experience, I decided to try my luck at self-publishing. I was able to hook up with a local artist in my writers group and together we worked really hard to get my story finally published. This was only the 2nd book Deborah Forbes has done and I think she did a great job, don't you?
 
I'm proud of this story because it sends an important message without shoving it in a child's face. Denny is concerned about what color love is so he and his mother go on an adventure to find the answer. Of course the best way to get answers is to sprinkle a little magic into the picture so that's just what I did.
 
 
If you decide to purchase, I hope you enjoy it and I'd love to hear from you. I'd also love for anyone who does purchase a copy and has time to post a review on Amazon.com. Thanks so much!
 
Look for an announcement about my next book Cookies for Punch, coming soon!
 
 
 
 
 
'

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!