Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Another one…

Well, there it is – I have managed to combine my two professional loves, both not really known in my life as big money-makers:) – teaching and writing. Perhaps two minuses can make a plus, huh? Just kidding.

As the note says, this is the rough draft which I will soon be typing into the plan, proofreading and sending off to some beta readers.

As for the teaching method described, it refers to a little mindset I have devised for myself and shared with colleagues. I know it works because it has served me well these last two decades, from the micro to macro lesson planning, and thinking about learning and teaching in general.

Looking forward to revisions and edits, and all the little ‘bloopers’ I probably let slip. Ta-ta for now!

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Visiting award-winning author Ashley Uzzell with my book Spikes for Hank

It is such a rare privilege to be a guest on a blog with a children’s book. So happy Hank made it:)

Thank you, Ashley Uzzell!

https://wp.me/p6WQKo-cq

By the way, if any of you enjoy wordsearches, this book has its own here: https://thewordsearch.com/puzzle/284113/spikes-for-hank/ and it’s free:)

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Play a wordsearch race with kids?

Who can find all the words in this wordsearch faster – you or a friend? All the words are from my children’s book Winky’s Colours:).

#free #online #printable #wordsearch
https://thewordsearch.com/puzzle/273436/

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Franky the Finicky Flamingo by Wanda Luthman – my review

What a lovely children’s book, fun for kids and helpful to parents whose children are fussy about food.

In a very gentle way, through rhyme and colourful illustrations, without laying blame or preaching, the author guides us, along with Franky, to the realization why food is important (I love the metaphor about the colour fading, which is also why the illustrations are rich in colour elsewhere). Furthermore, the children are shown that not all kinds of food are good for everyone, and the goal is to find what is healthy for your particular body and lifestyle.

Eating suitable and healthy food lets you live an active, fun-filled life, and share your adventures with your friends nd family. And keep your ‘colours’:). I can see this book used by parents, teachers, even nutritionists, especially in kindergartens. Another good one, Ms Luthman!

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Have you learned to love your spikes?

We are all born with some part of ourselves we don’t especially like. In fact, sometimes we hate it and wish we were different.

But with time, and a little help from our friends and family, we all discover we are as we are for a reason, and each of us is special and unique in our own way.

Sometimes, quite often in fact, what we thought our weakness turns out to be our most prized possession. Would it not be a dull world if we were all the same?

From the Foreword to Spikes for Hank, #childrensbook

#ebook https://tinyurl.com/y8np4as5

#paperback https://tinyurl.com/y86wkq56

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What do YOU have to say? – interview with Wanda Luthman

A few days ago I had the pleasure of introducing the latest children’s book by award-winning author Wanda Luthman, and today Wanda is here.

INTRO ABOUT AUTHOR

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at http://www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wluthman.

INTERVIEW

1. Welcome to Anita’s Haven. Pull up a chair, relax and fire away. Firstly, tell us five things about yourself that you think matter the most.

Hi, thank you so much for having me here today. I think the most important things to know about me are that I’m a mother of one child and a step-mother of four children and a step-grandmother to 2 children. I love my family. My parents are still alive and are married to each other. I enjoy the outdoors and animals, especially dogs and cats. I am a Christian and love God and participate in daily meditation to deepen my walk.

2. When you were a kid, what did you want to do in life as an adult? Can you remember the moment you realized you had become an author? How did it feel to transcend from that point when you just wrote for yourself to the point when you realized this was what you wanted to do full time?

When I was a kid, I went through various ideas of what I wanted to be but finally decided on being a therapist. I went to college for that and then got my masters and worked in the mental health field for 10 years. Then, I transferred to a school setting so I could have a schedule like my daughter’s. I didn’t become an official published author until after my daughter left for college even though I had been writing my whole life. I remember when I first started calling myself an author, it felt strange but also like I had finally come home. I was finally at home in my own skin.

3. Why do you write?What’s the most challenging aspect of your genre? Which genre can you never see yourself writing and why? How do you feel when you write? Is there a special ritual to it, a playlist, place, company, technology?

I write children’s books. The most challenging is to remember to keep my word choices on their level. I don’t see myself writing erotica. I feel it conflicts with writing for children and I just don’t want to. I don’t have a ritual for writing. Inspiration will hit me out of nowhere and I just have to write it down. One time while riding my bike, I became inspired with words to a song. When I could stop and take a break, I sang it into my phone so I would have it for later. I’m no singer either, but that’s what I heard in my head so I tried to approximate it when I was saying it to my phone. LOL

4. Tell us more about your book characters. Who inspired you for the heroes and villains? Who is your favourite character and why?

I have two female heroines and then three animals as main character. Dreama in the Lilac Princess is strong-willed and determined which, of course, gets her into trouble, but is also what gets her out of it and helps to save her kingdom.

Gloria in Gloria and the Unicorn has a facial disfigurement and believes she is unlovable but through the help of a kind unicorn, she sees herself differently and learns to love herself and becomes key in helping to save her unicorn friend from danger.

Tad, the turtle, in A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, doesn’t like his shell because it makes him too slow. He takes some bad advice to go see the wizard to have it removed. He means some other wonderful creatures along the way that help him to see his shell as the blessing that it is.

Little Birdie in Little Birdie Grows Up is a spirited little bird who upon entering the world longs to learn how to fly. He is determined and eventually realizes his dream.

Franky in Franky the Finicky Flamingo appears to be a picky eater because he doesn’t like the food that other birds eat. It takes a wise owl to help him discover the right food for him.

My favorite character is always the last one I wrote about which, right now, is Franky. I love his bow tie and beautiful pink color and that he keeps trying different foods to see what he might like.

5. We all know typing those special words, the end, gives us a priceless feeling, but that is when the actual work begins. How do you deal with the editing process? Are you your toughest editor and beta-reader or do you rely on someone for that?

I edit quite a bit after I’m done and then I have several online programs I use to help me catch weak works, overused words, and to keep my sentences short, etc. Then, I have a few beta readers that help me tweak it even further. Then, off to my editor who is worth her weight in gold.

6. How much do praise and positive reviews help to fuel your creativity and keep you writing? How do negative reviews affect you?

I love positive reviews because it validates me. Since I don’t have formal training, I don’t really know if I’m hitting the mark or not. After winning the Readers’ Favorite Award in 2017 for Little Birdie Grows Up, I finally felt like a real author. As people who don’t know me react to my book in a positive light, I know I’m getting it right.

7. What do you do when you are not writing books? Any hobbies or projects you are particularly passionate about?

I ride my bike. I swim. I walk. I enjoy the outdoors. My two lovable yorkies, Scruffy and Tessa. And I have about 15 feral cats that live outside. All are fixed. My neighbor and I took them on as a project when two female cats showed up pregnant around the same time. It took time to tame them and their babies and then catch all of them and get them spayed and neutered.

8. If you could be any famous book character, who would you be and why?

My favorite book character is Winnie the Pooh. He’s so cute and cuddly and loving. And he loves his honey which I would have to trade out for chocolate but he’s my guy.

9. What’s the funniest or most interesting reaction you‘ve had from people when you told them you were a writer?

Most people are super supportive and tell me congratulations, but it’s always interesting the people who also want to become writers. They will usually start telling me a book idea. I love being an inspiration to them and offer to help in any way I can.

10. If you could interview any famous person in human history, who would it be and what would you ask?

Jesus and I’d ask how is this thing going to end. I really don’t want to be here for all the trouble, just saying.

11. Would you like to add anything, share a brief sneak peek into your book, or send a message to the readers?

Because of my background in psychology and guidance counseling, my books while being magical adventure stories also include positive social/emotional messages in them such as forgiveness, perseverance, and self-acceptance. I want children who read my book to come away better than they were before.

QUICK POP-QUIZ

Dogs or cats Love them both!
Ice-cream or fruit Fruit. I’m lactose intolerant (TMI, I know!)
Meat or salad I’m a meat eater but I eat more salads nowadays
Fact or fiction Fiction, it’s way more fun
Music or silence I prefer silence when I’m writing and often in the morning as I’m just waking up and getting started for my day and especially when I’m meditating
Indoor or outdoor I love the outdoors but I’m definitely not a camper type person. I love the comfort of a bed and air conditioning. I live in Florida after all.
Ocean view or mountains I love the ocean. Water soothes my soul.
Books or movies I love to read, books!
E-book or print I prefer print but have gone to ebook lately because I’m running out of shelf space.
Teach or learn Learn. I’m a sponge. I love to be challenged mentally. It keeps me sharp and on my toes.
Romance or crime Romance. I’m a hopeless romantic.

AUTHOR LINKS

Books myAuthor.to/WandaLuthman

Website http://www.wandaluthman.wordpress.com

Social networks Facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/wluthman/

Twitter https://twitter.com/wandalu64

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCskx2N_lGOY9ZHwkb46BHaA

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wandalu64

Google+ https://plus.google.com/+WandaLuthman

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14469611.Wanda_Luthman

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The power of kidlit

Fear is nothing to be afraid of.

#ChildrensBooks #empowering #kids and #parents

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Franky the Finicky Flamingo by Wanda Luthman

It gives me great pleasure to be able to feature the latest book by award-winning children’s books author, Wanda M. Luthman. She has been kind enough to send lots of info about her Franky, so enjoy her text below. I am looking forward to reading the book, and you can read my reviews for The Little Birdie Grows Up and A Turtle’s Magical Adventure.

(Text & images below provided by Wanda Luthman.)

Do you have a picky eater in your family? Are mealtimes a battle?

I can completely relate. My daughter was super picky as a child and when she was about to be school-aged, I wanted to figure out something she could take for lunch. She liked peanut butter, she liked jelly, and she liked bread so I thought, naively, that she would like a PB&J sandwich. Oh my goodness, did we have a standoff?

Sound familiar?

Don’t despair. Determine which battles you want to pick and be patient. Here’s my story…

My newest picture book, Franky the Finicky Flamingo, was inspired not only by my child’s pickiness but my own. I know that’s not a very “grown up” kind of thing to admit but alas I am picky. Most of it is due to texture issues but some of it is actually due to taste. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was a much pickier eater when I was a child. So, I’ve outgrown a lot of it. And if you have a picky eater, I believe they’re going to grow out it as well.

When I was in Elementary School, I didn’t eat the school lunches so my Mom packed me exactly what I wanted every single day and that was a cold hot dog. Not the healthiest food, but I was happy. Somewhere around Middle School, I started eating school lunches. I know she was relieved.

I can honestly say that vegetables are just not my thing. I found out as an adult that I actually prefer my vegetables raw. Part of that is definitely texture, I don’t like mushy vegetables but the other more surprising thing is taste. I find vegetables in the raw are much tastier than after they have been cooked. I have even been told they are better for you. So, who’s picky now? Am I right? LOL

The other types of food that I really don’t like are citrus fruits. They have those strings in them. I choke on them. Still to this day! And I don’t like orange juice with pulp in it. Other fruits are all good though. What about you—do you have any foods you don’t like?

One time I heard a story about a set of twins that were separated at birth. One Mom said their child was a difficult eater because they wouldn’t eat anything unless she put ketchup on it. The other Mom said her child was the easiest child to feed because she would eat anything as long as she put ketchup on it. Maybe it’s all in perspective.

I just want to challenge you today as you think about your child’s picky eating–what battle do you want to pick?

And just maybe Franky the Finicky Flamingo might help encourage your picky eater to try new foods. You can check it out today at myBook.to/Franky

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 4 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, and Little Birdie). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest.

To download a free exclusive children’s ebook by Wanda Luthman’s visit her website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and sign up for her newsletter (it’ll be in a pop-up box)

Follow Wanda Luthman at

Blog–www.wandaluthman.wordpress.com

Twitter–@wandalu64

Facebook–https://www.facebook.com/wanda.luthman

Other children’s books by Wanda Luthman (available on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/wandaluthman)

The Lilac Princess

A Turtle’s Magical Adventure

Little Birdie Grows Up (won 2017 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal)

Gloria and the Unicorn

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​And what do YOU have to say? – ELLEN L. BUIKEMA

Due to popular demand, my first author interview series is continuing. I hope it gives you a chance to meet some interesting new authors, or to find out more about the ones whose books you have already read. Today we are joined by Ellen L. Buikema. Thank you very much for your time, Ellen.

Ellen L. Buikema

I am a writer, speaker, educator, and mom. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, received a M.Ed. specializing in Early Childhood, and have post-graduate studies in special education from Northeastern Illinois University. I worked as a teacher for 23 years.

During the school year I have the pleasure of being a visiting author, either in person or via Skype. I usually visit with students in Pre-K through fourth grade, although I have spoken with students through eighth grade. For Pre-K through first grade I bring Sock Puppet Tim along to help. He is a well-loved addition to author visits as he is funny and helps maintain students’ attention.

IDENTITY CARD

Name/pseudonim: Ellen L. Buikema
Book(s): Parenting . . . A Work in Progress, The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series, currently working on The Hobo Code
Genre(s): Self-help, Children’s Fiction, Young Adult Historical Fiction
Day-job: Writer
Likes: Dark Chocolate and wine
Dislikes: Yelling
Favourite virtue: Sense of Humor
Fault: Very Stubborn
Favourite movie genres: Comedy, Suspense/Thriller
Favourite song/band/musician: I have an eclectic taste in music, so there are too many to mention.

INTERVIEW

1. Welcome to Anita’s Haven. Pull up a chair, relax and fire away. Firstly, tell us five things about yourself that you think matter the most.

Patience, persistence, love of children and animals, creative, humorous.

2. ​When you were a kid, what did you want to do in life as an adult? ​Can you remember the moment you realized you had become an author? How did it feel to transcend from that point when you just wrote for yourself to the point when you realized this was what you wanted to do full time?

My mother told me that when I was three-years-old, I lined up all my dolls and conducted school. However, I didn’t become a teacher until after I had my own children and decided that kids are awesome.

I knew I was an author when I held my very first proof in my hand. Until then it wasn’t real. The physical book made it truly real for me. It felt great!

3. Why do you write?What’s the most challenging aspect of your genre? How do you feel when you write? Is there a special ritual to it, a playlist, place, company, technology?

I write to get the ideas out of my head and to keep the characters quiet. I’ve had characters request name changes, as odd as that might sound. One insisted on being named Hugo.

I write on a laptop on our dining room table. A foot tall, plush dragon named Nom Nom, as in nom-nom I just ate another faerie, sits across the table as I write.

Currently, I am writing my first YA historical fiction novel after writing a children’s chapter book series. Two more are written, making it a series of five. I find the change in genre isn’t as difficult as the age change. This genre requires a great deal of research, so I am having fun talking to people all over the country about trains, hobos, and specifics about some cities and towns. I spend an hour on the phone with the owner of a bar in Wausau, Wisconsin, the location of the story’s beginning. She was able to give me details that make a huge difference in the setting for one part of the story. My list of acknowledgements is growing all the time.

4​. Tell us more about your book characters. Who is your favourite character and why?

There is a little bit of me in the majority of my characters. My favorite character in The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series is Frankie, the worlds most obnoxious goldfish. He is the main character’s pet and a wonderful comic relief. Of the characters in The Hobo Code, so far I am most fond of Hannah. She begins the story as a feisty, eight-year-old who loves art, puts up with her older brothers, and is quite stubborn.

5. We all know typing those special words, the end, gives us a priceless feeling, but that is when the actual work begins. How do you deal with the editing process? Are you your toughest editor and beta-reader or do you rely on someone for that?

Wow! Editing is so important, too much for just one person. I go to two different critique groups, have beta readers, and use professional editors as well. I do not mind editing and find many of my errors when I read the chapters aloud, but I never, ever find all the errors myself.

6. How much do praise and positive reviews help to fuel your creativity and keep you writing? How do negative reviews affect you?

Positive reviews are awesome and appreciated. They do keep me writing.

When I get a negative review, I read it with an eye towards making a better story if the comments are constructive. If the comments are a bit off-the-wall, I read the reviewer’s comments of other authors’ works to see if there is a pattern. Sometimes people don’t like my work, preferring other genres and writing styles, and that is fine. Differences of opinion are to be expected. No one that I know of enjoys all genres and all styles of writing.

7. What do you do when you are not writing books? Any hobbies or projects you are particularly passionate about?

When I have a bit more time, I plan to go back to drawing and painting. I love art in its many forms. I can carry a tune and love to sing. Maybe some day I’ll learn how to play the guitar. Right now I am working on fluency in Spanish. I feel it is important to speak more than one language.

8. What’s the funniest or most interesting reaction you​’ve​ had from people when you told them you were a writer?

I have been looked at in awe and asked for my autograph. A few students have asked me if I am wealthy. I find that amusing.

9.​ ​Would you like to add anything, share a brief sneak peek into your book, or send a message to the readers?

Here is a snippet from The Hobo Code. Most of the story is in Jack’s perspective. This is a Hannah chapter.

John Schmidt opened the front door and herded his children into the largest building they’d ever seen. They entered a cheerless hallway of bare, drab-colored walls. I think if people stared at those walls long enough, they’d lose their imagination. Wooden cane chairs and a few stark benches leaned against one wall.
“Sit here while I speak to someone in charge.” Their father walked into the main office, directly across the hall from the uncomfortable bench Jack, George, and Hannah occupied.
The three children sat together, carpetbags on the floor in front of them, and waited to learn their fate.
“Jack, I think Hannah is right,” said George. “We shouldn’t be here. I feel like we’re being watched.”
The three huddled together, Jack speaking quietly so no one could overhear. “If all of us feel the same way, something has got to be wrong.”
They were being watched. A man dressed in dark pants and a blue work shirt, washing the floors, whisked his mop in their direction with a practiced rhythm. Every now and then he’d flick his brown hair back and sneak a peek. He licked his lips. The corners of his mouth tilted up into a leering grin.
I don’t like how that creep is staring at me. The closer he came, the greater Hannah’s urge to either smack him or to grab her brothers and run.
The creep was a few arm’s length away when John exited the office of the headmistress, followed by a tall, silver-haired woman in a waist-cinching, long black dress that swept the floor has she walked. The creep looked away and mopped in the opposite direction and down another hall.
John held his hat in his hand. “Children, this is the headmistress. She’s in charge of the orphanage.”
They sat frozen on the bench.
The willowy headmistress bent down and shook their hands. It was like shaking a fresh-caught fish—moist, droopy, and cold.
“Welcome to your new home, children. I’ll give you a few moments to say goodbye to your father, then I’ll have someone show you to your rooms.”

QUICK  POP-QUIZ

Dogs or cats Cats
Ice-cream or fruit
fruit
Meat or salad
salad
Fact or fiction
fiction
Music or silence
music
Indoor or outdoor
outdoor
Ocean view or mountains
Ocean view
Books or movies
Books
E-book or print
print 
Teach or learn
learn – this keeps the brain young so-to-speak
Romance or crime
crime

AUTHOR LINKS

Books:

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Charlie-Chameleon-New-Beginnings/dp/0990897931

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Charlie-Chameleon-School-Days/dp/0990897966

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Charlie-Chameleon-Summertime/dp/0990897990

https://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Work-Progress-Ellen-Buikema-ebook/dp/B00R2807X8

Website:

http://ellenbuikema.com

Social networks:

https://www.facebook.com/ecellenb/

https://twitter.com/ecellenb

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellen-buikema-b289a661/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJugScmUYKs6L3NH9oyYn2A

https://www.pinterest.com/EllenKidsAuthor/pins/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+EllenLBuikema

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12592731.Ellen_Buikema

https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-L.-Buikema/e/B00THGTSA6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

(All images and replies provided by author Ellen Buikema herself.)
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Reading with Children

To parents, friends  and educators reading to children

The actual process of reading, sitting down with somebody you care about, whether it is your child, grandchild, student, or even an adult, is a wonderful experience – you share time, place, dreams, worlds… Children are especially open to gratitude. After a busy day, having their parent sit down and set this time aside only for them… there is nothing better than this! There is no better gift that you can give your child than your time and attention. 

Of course, if you read and comment along with children, ask for their opinion and challenge them to think, it is even more worthwhile, but it is not always necessary. Sometimes you are tired, you skip words and they correct you, they stop you with questions, and you really don’t feel like reading at all. But their questions, their corrections, their hillarious comments, all this will just magically wipe away your stress, make you smile and forget about everything else. 

It is the love they share with you in those moments. 

The same goes with reading to and with adults. If you read with your partner, to your mother or father, to people who can no longer read to themselves, remember – we are all children at heart! Stories have that mysterious power of waking up that honest, non-constricted, free and imaginative child, dormant but present within us. 

I have seen the magic of reading stories to all age groups, and would never trade in its power and positive effect for any technological device there is, much as I respect and use them in my teaching. Reading awakens playful freedom, sets emotions free and channels them, challenges the mind into critical and creative thinking, and lets us grow, develop and express ourselves. 

So yes, children, meaning all of us, associate books with love and affection, because this is what we share when we read together. 

And if you are ever lucky enough to have your child read to you, relish every second of that love. 

(From the afterword of Mimi Finds Her Magic)

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