Friday, July 31, 2015

Spend Your Summer Vacation with NOAA

 NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, wants to take you on vacation.  During August, NOAA will be conducting research off the Hawaiian Islands using Remote Operated Vehicles to dive deep!

And you can go along!  Use the link to join in the fun!

For Book Three of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series, I am looking for sea monsters.  Naturally, I want to spend August under the sea with NOAA.

Start your adventures with Azuki and Shota today.  Reviews coming in -- reviews are wonderful.  Go read them.  Then buy these wonderful books.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Fun Sites for Kids

Obviously, I am a science geek.  I love exploring the vastness of the universe.  Interesting information!  Great pictures!  Ways to roam while never leaving my chair.

A child who has an internet capable device needs thing to do with it.  Reading books is, of course, #1.
Finding out more about Things of Interest is #2.  While I do think there is value in playing games, I'd put that way down on the bottom of the list, right around where I put watching movies and television.  There's value in some of it, but there's more value in awakening minds to the universe around us and encouraging them to explore.  Not all sites are suitable for all age groups or interests, but poke around.  More importantly, give your child a start and let the child poke around.

Google Maps is always fun.  There are many other map sites as well.  Find your house!  Find out where you are!  Check out where you're going!  I wandered off in interesting directions just checking the link!

PBS provides series, documentaries, music, travel shows -- and the list goes on.  The website is always of interest and doesn't depend on schedules (or on what your local station chooses to show.) is a fun site run by the Native community, including history, art, stories, maps -- all kinds of good stuff showcasing the history and culture of America's First Peoples.

Art and More Art started as an educational resource for students in Indiana.  Now, it's so much more!  Galleries, projects, exhibits and fun for creative types.  Find ideas here!

Archaeology!  This wonderful site is for those who like to dig in the dirt and explore the past.  Just today, I saw several different ways to build houses, several mummies (and how they are studied), and a few birds.

There's five for today.

Lovely reviews for The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book Two Chasing Dreams.  This links to Amazon, where you can read the reviews and buy the beautiful hard copy or the Kindle edition.  All e-formats are available at Smashwords or the retailer of your choice.  After a bad experience with a good book that wasn't properly distributed by its publisher so nobody could actually BUY it, I am delighted to assure everyone that The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series is available to bookstores, libraries, schools and YOU through all your regular distribution channels.  Read them:  they're good.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Internet Fun for Kids

Now that your young readers have personal log-ons or devices with internet access as well as reader capability, you're going to want to point them in interesting directions.

Here are a couple:

National Geographic is always a winner with budding nature buffs and aspiring travelers.  Such a fun site!  Always something interesting going on.

The Old Farmer's Almanac is great fun, especially if you have a future gardener or ecologist on your hands.  This is a wonderful compendium of information about the planet and growing things.

Turn your kids onto wonderful sites like these and watch them nose-dive into knowledge.

Reviews are coming in, and they are great!  Go read them, then get The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book Two Chasing Dreams.  This link goes to Kindle, but connects to the beautiful hard copy.  All e-formats are available at Smashwords, and also (pretty soon, if not already) at the retailer of your choice.  Hard copy retailers can easily order what they don't stock -- these books are available from all major distributors.

More fun sites next week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Locked and Loaded (with books)

You've bought that device that will give your child access to bazillions of books and other great stuff. But until it's loaded, it's just a tool.

Start out loading it with books!

Of course, you'll begin with The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy and The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book Two Chasing Dreams.

But there is SO MUCH MORE.

And so much of it is FREE!

You can start here:

 American Library Association's Free Books for Children

And then go on to:

The Apple Store;;;;;;

These sites will bring you all the wonderful classic books you love, the ones you want your children to love.  Load your child's new device with a couple of dozen wonderful books.  Now, they have something to enjoy!

Web sites coming on Thursday.

Friday, July 17, 2015

5 Things to Consider When Looking at E-Readers

1.  Start with an app.  I have the Kindle app on my phone, my iPad and Big Mamma Mac. iBooks comes installed on Apple devices, and I like that one, too.  I just don't like reading on computer screens.  I think most e-readers have apps available.  They're generally free.  Get the apps.  Pick up a couple of those free books and start reading.  That's the best way to find out which one works best for you.  

2.  What's the battery life?  Dedicated e-readers use a lot less juice than a tablet.  An iPad won't last over a 24 hour travel day unless you can charge it somewhere.  Turning on Airplane Mode saves lots of power.  A backlit screen uses more juice than one that isn't (you can turn that feature off), but a backlit screen is incredibly useful for traveling, camping or reading in bed.

3.  Tablet or e-reader?  I prefer reading on a dedicated e-reader because I like the non-glare screen.  Other people don't notice a difference between an e-reader and an app.  You'll have to try it and see.  When something strikes me that I want to look up on line, I grab my iPad, as my (couple of years old) Kindle doesn’t have a great browser.  However, my daughter's Kindle Fire keeps the Kindle screen pretty well, and has enough internet capability to handle everything she needs from a tablet as well as a reader.  Going with a tablet gives a child immediate access to immense quantities of information.  "Look it up" takes on a whole new meaning.  You'll be surprised at what they find, and how much fun they have doing it.  

4.  What format does your local library support?  It probably does them all, but check.  This is your portal for access to the world for free, so use it. 

5.  Think about durability.  I have broken an iPad, I am ashamed to say.  I haven't broken a Kindle yet, and I am rough on them.  Ask around.

Clearly, I am a Kindle devotee, since I started with Kindle when they first came out in pre-tablet days.  I also love my Apple products, though Windows and Android aren’t really all that different in use.  I don’t know what you have or what you like.  Look at everything.  Talk to everybody you know.  Try things out.  Then make the selection that will work best for you.

The bonus is that starting a child on an e-reader or tablet gives that child access to the world.  That child will, without even trying, learn how to “look things up.”  That child will, without even trying, become a life-long learner, a self-educating adult.  What greater gift could you give your child?

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy and The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book Two, Chasing Dreams are both available on line at Amazon in both hard and Kindle format, and available at Smashwords in ALL e-formats.  They’ll be available at all retail outlets very soon!  Five-star reviews are already coming in!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

7 Reasons to love e-readers for kids

It's no secret that I am in love with my Kindles.  It's also no secret that I am totally pro e-readers for kids, no matter what the form or format.  Whether it's an app on a tablet or a dedicated e-reader, I think they're great for children, and here's why.

1.  One device holds an entire library!  I have something like 673 books available to me any time I have an internet connection to search my archives.  It's a virtual bookcase!  I have free classics from The Gutenberg Project and elsewhere.  I also have so many books in the device itself I can be happily reading for several weeks even if I don't have the internet.  Never a problem finding something to spark interest.  Never a problem finding a place to stow it.

2.  Children are intuitively computer literate, as far as I can tell.  When I got my first iPad, a young friend, then 5, wanted to play with it.  I'd had it about a week.  In fifteen minutes, she had it doing things I didn't even know it could.  My grandchildren were using full-blown computers when they were younger still.  It is amazing to see a little kid make a computer sing.  Show them how it turns on and how to log in, and they'll be off and running.  (Give them their own log-ons.  You  never know.) Using an e-reader or e-reader app enhances their enjoyment of tech and helps make them fantastically computer literate, which will benefit them their entire lives in ways we can't begin to imagine today.

3.  Words, glorious words.  When I touch a word on my Kindle Paperwhite, the definition pops up.  I've been reading Frazer's The Golden Bough and he uses some words I didn't know.  Hovering is so much easier than getting up to consult a dictionary, on-line or otherwise.  It's a great vocabulary-building learning tool.

4.  There's a full-service English-language bookstore everywhere!  It's horrible to be stuck in a country where they don't speak any language you do often enough to have a bookstore!  I can jump into a bookstore anywhere I can get the internet and buy new books, if I am seriously desperate or there's something I just have to read right now.

5.  Libraries are great.  I love my local library.  My library is my portal through which I can get all kinds of information from around the world, including books, as well as borrow any paper book it only stocks in that format.  However, no library can possibly be as comprehensive as the internet, not even the great print libraries of the world.  But if you're going about it electronically, you can visit those, too, courtesy of your local library.  Without going out in the rain.

6.  Books are expensive!  The greatest thing about the library is that it's a free community service.  Free books are fabulous.  Readers can get plenty of books, both classics and new releases, free for their devices on line, too.  Paper books are really expensive!  E-books from "major houses" have recently gone way up in price, but they're still less than half the price of a hard-backed paper book.  Use your library and use other internet resources, and you get a lot more bang for your buck, book-wise.

7.  Yes, the illustrations, maps and diagrams come through.  At least on my devices and apps.

Obviously, I am an Apple Fan-girrl and a Kindle devotee.  I haven't tried other devices, and they may be just as great or even better.  You won't know until you look.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy and The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book Two, Chasing Dreams are both available on line at Amazon in both hard and Kindle format, and available at Smashwords in ALL e-formats.  They’ll be available at all retail outlets very soon!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hard copies now available!

I am thrilled to announce that the paperback copies of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy and The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book 2 CHASING DREAMS are NOW available on Amazon Smile!

It will still take a while for other retailers to get linked in, but these are FINALLY here.  And Book One has a new cover to match that of Book Two.

While I like e-readers for my own use, and also for young people, if you prefer to read really beautiful books in hard copy format, THEY ARE HERE!

These are links to Amazon Smile.  When you buy from Amazon Smile, a portion of the proceeds are donated to a charity you choose.  Brighten YOUR day with a couple of excellent books (see reviews for Book One) and brighten someone else's day with a donation to a worthy cause.

Please do buy, enjoy and review these books.  You will like them, whether you're a kid or an adult.  I am very surprised at how much adults enjoy them!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Galley Proofs are HERE!

The galley proofs came, so I can give them a final proofread before hard copies become available on Amazon.  That'll be this week.  Schools and libraries can order now.  Ask you library to order them!


Within four to six weeks, The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy AND The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book 2 CHASING DREAMS will be available in ALL retail outlets.  If you don't see them, order them!

Arranging major distribution is tough.  It takes a LONG time.  But the Apple Store, Kobo, B & N and actual brick and mortar retail outlets will have them soon.

And I am already putting Book 3 together, doing research and plotting in my head so I can start writing that about Labor Day.  It takes a year to put out a book, and with several going at once, it's often a busy time.  Like now!

Reviews should start coming in soon.  You WILL enjoy these books!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

More good news!

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book 2 Chasing Dreams is now live on Amazon, with the first book in the series, The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy.  All e-formats are available at Smashwords.

Still to come are the hard copies and placement directly in various retail outlets, like B & N, iTunes, Kobo and even -- gasp -- brick and mortar stores.  Ask for it!  These books should be available everywhere and any retailer SHOULD be able to order it.  Sometimes the system works!

Which leads to my guest blog post at Writing About Writing, when I wonder if another kind of publishing venue would possibly be any less of a pain at this stage, when all I want is start working on The Next Book.  I'm researching, I have the glimmer of a plot, but HEY.  It's hard to do that when I am fighting with the Computer From Hell and Help That Hinders, and an expert really handles this.  This is just MY little part assisting her at the Tiny Publishing House handing this series.

Meanwhile, I am anxiously awaiting bound galleys for the print edition.  It should be a beautiful book.  The e-formats are lovely.  And it reads like a diving dragon.  Enjoy.