Monday, May 19, 2014

Lisa S. Roberts, author of “Back to the Basics with Aydan and Addy / Leadership with Abraham Lincoln”

With a background in finance and management, Lisa S. Roberts has decades of experience generating creative and innovative ideas.  Lisa was raised on a farm in Brenham, Texas and enjoyed every minute of gardening and working with the farm animals.  A graduate of Brenham High School and St. Edwards’s University in Austin, the Texas native is the owner of Back to Basics Concierges & Home Care Services LLC located in Georgetown, Texas.  

A career that has included stints in entertainment and also working with children has paved the path to Lisa’s latest venture, children’s book author.

Earlier in her career Lisa worked as the Child Development Director for the YMCA of Austin, creating transitional specialty classes for children ages 18 months to six years of age. She worked with the Metro and Child Development boards on educational projects and trained her staff to adhere to the standards set by the National Association of Young Children. Her involvement with children’s causes included serving on a subcommittee of the Austin Child Care Council and the Austin Employer’s Collaborative Council and a relationship with the Austin Food Bank and the Child Adult Food Program of Texas to create less expensive, well-balanced and nutritional meals for our students.  Lisa also worked with the United Way in starting up projects for “The Day of Caring” program.  She also worked as a preschool teacher and as the Director of the Children’s Place/Creative World Private School and the Assistant Director for the University of Texas Child Development Center. 

Lisa worked her way up into a Vice President's position of an interiorscape company, Plant Interscapes Inc., for nearly nine years she managed horticultural teams while earning her landscape and gardening certifications.  While with this wonderful company, she was honored as the Outstanding Manager of the year, four years running, over all PI horticultural branches within the state of Texas.  

Lisa’s experience also includes acting, singing and performing as part of a family vocal group, Emerald Eyes. The experience gave her the opportunity to perform with Willie Nelson, Trini Lopez, and others. The group was invited to guest on radio shows, on the world famous Grand Ole Opry and at the renowned Nashville venue, the Bluebird Café.

All of these professional experiences have underscored Lisa’s commitment to children, education and sharing traditional values with her own children and grandchildren. What started as a spark of inspiration has grown into a series of books featuring two main characters, Aydan and Addy, named for her own grandson and the granddaughter of a family friend. In each of 29 books, the children meet and learn from a historic character that visits them and teaches valuable lessons based on the real life of that historic character. The author has written 29 books after completing extensive research on the lives of figures like Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lewis and Clark along with Sacagawea and others.

The first book highlights leadership with the spirit mentor, Abraham Lincoln, and has a street date of March 4, 2014. Back to the Basics with Aydan and Addy / Leadership with Abraham Lincoln is available from Tate Publishing.

Title: “Back to the Basics with Aydan and Addy / Leadership with Abraham Lincoln”
Author: Lisa Sellers Roberts
ISBN: 978-1-63063-841-2
Page count: 64
Genre: Children’s book series for ages 8 to 13.  Juvenile Fiction / Historical / United States / General
Price: $10.99

Tell us about your book:

In the “Back to the Basics with Aydan & Addy” series of books, God is deeply concerned about the moral compass of today’s youth, He uses historical figures, called Spirit Mentors, to assist and teach Aydan and Addy the fundamentals and basics of what America was built upon such as; having a good moral character, strong work ethics, close, loving and supportive family units, kindness, self-sufficiency, patriotism, respect of others and oneself, forgiveness and allegiances to God, fellow man, community and country, just to name a few.  The Spirit Mentors descend upon the two “chosen” eleven year old best friends from the small town of Brenham, Texas.  They are to guide them through a maze of current moral dilemmas plaguing America in the year 2014.  With the help of the Spirit Mentors, a supernatural moral compass, a Blue Heeler dog called “Leopard Girl”, a blessed garden hoe and a little red robin; Aydan and Addy travel across America by way of an old steam engine train.  They travel to fifty-five American cities where they will sponsor town hall meetings that will bring forth great discussions and planning on what each individual can do to bring into fruition the positive changes needed to get back to the basics of America’s founding values. The best friends change the course of history for the United States of America. They were warriors in many ways. Perhaps you too can be a warrior in your own life—in your day. Allow me to start at the very beginning—this is their story, your story, America’s story…  All Aboard!

How long did it take to write the book?

The first book, “Back to the Basics with Aydan and Addy / Leadership with Abraham Lincoln”, took me a couple of months to write due to the research I did on Lincoln’s character etc…

What inspired you to write the book?

I am a Mother, Grandmother, Educator, and concerned American Citizen.  Along with many other Americans I have become increasingly worried about the moral compass, work ethics and values of our youth.  This has concerned me deeply for quite some time.  Take a look at our headlines, talk to others who work with children and you will hear a similar mantra, they too are concerned about where America’s youth is heading.  I have dreamt of this book series for a couple of years now.  I have had conversations with Abe Lincoln in these dreams and many of the other characters within the stories.  I consider this series a book a mission.  A mission that could give our young children their own voice and discussion forum on how they can get America’s fundamental and founding values back on track and intact through the inspiration of two eleven year old children from Brenham, Texas!

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve? 

Yes, I have a writing routine.  Due to owning and managing a small home care and concierge business and caring for my mother who is terminally ill, I write late into the evening hours or in the early morning hours.  This allows me quiet time to think, create and research the characters that live among the pages of the book series. 

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

The young readers can become better stewards and citizens of/in their own lives and of America’s future by building today with yesterday’s essentials and also borrowing from yesterday to improve upon today.  Hopefully this series of books will speak to their adventurous minds and hearts and they will use the basic and natural essentials and wise practices of yesteryear and intertwine them productively with today’s lifestyles.  With all of this in mind, I believe the book series will inspire children to have these tough conversations with one another about the important subject matters discussed in each book

and will move them into action to really make a difference daily in matters such as; having a good moral character and fiber, close, loving and supportive family units, strong work ethics, self-reliance and self-sufficiency, respect for others and oneself, fairness, justice, kindness, forgiveness, patriotism, and allegiances to God, fellowman, community and country, just to name a few.  Aydan and Addy, the main characters in the book series, will take the young readers on adventures all throughout America via an old steam engine.  Through these adventures they will learn more about themselves, others and their beloved America. 

Excerpt from book:

Ms. Parker flicked the classroom light off and on to obtain
the rowdy student’s attention to the fact that class was indeed
in session. The class settled in their desks, and Ms. Parker
asked them to open their American history books to Chapter
5. She felt the need to raise her voice above the noisy chatter,
and the room fell to a near hush. She knew that they are stirred
up about this lesson. They understood that there must be some
sort of order so that she can properly introduce Chapter 5.
Ms. Parker will also discuss the great activities that will come
along with the role playing they will be doing to reenact this
period of time in our history.

Aydan and Addy looked at each other and smiled; they
were almost giddy with the anticipation of the upcoming hour.
As they both looked away from each other’s gaze and down at
the pages before them (the pages with Lincoln’s photo giving
the Gettysburg Address), the lights in the room began to dim
and flutter. There was suddenly a slight breeze in the room,
and Aydan and Addy looked at each other, and then they
gazed over their classroom, which has become perfectly still.
Are they actually seeing their entire class frozen in time?
Are their classmates strangely appearing as if their movements
were caught on film, like a photograph out of their history
book? Aydan and Addy were deeply perplexed in hearing
the roar of a crowd. They both quickly stood up and looked
around the room. No one else was moving. No one else was
saying a word, and yet the distant roar of a crowd grew in
volume. Their classmates were caught in their very last second
of their movement.

They heard the roar of the crowd grow louder and louder.
They heard a man’s deep and booming voice talking over the
roar, and the man asked the crowd to quiet themselves as he
passionately spoke these words, “Four score and seven years
ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation,
conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all
men are created equal.” Aydan and Addy stared at each other
in wonderment as most certainly they must be in a dream of
sorts. At this moment, they were both directed to look at their
history books upon their desks by a magnificently bright light
coming from the pages before them.

They became frightened as they both stumbled backward
away from their desks. They squinted and rubbed their eyes,
and to their amazement, there appeared the figure of a tall,
thin man wearing a hat that was similar to the one that now
sat upon Aydan’s head. They recognized this silhouette and
gasped as he spoke their names. “Aydan and Addy, be not
afraid. I am Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of
these United States, and I have been sent to you both by your
Lord God Almighty.”

Aydan and Addy stood transfixed like statues made
of stone. They could not move or speak. Their limbs were
heavy, and they felt paralyzed. Their minds were ablaze with
questions, doubts, fears, and, strangely enough, curiosity.
Addy was thinking to herself that perhaps someone in her
class was playing a cruel joke on her and Aydan since it was
so close to Halloween. She put a stop to this thought as she
scanned the room again for any sign of life from her teacher
or classmates. There was no movement and no sound except
for the breathing of this tall, thin, and sickly looking man who
was presently looking down upon them and who was claiming
to be Abe Lincoln himself!

Aydan at this point was questioning the punch. He had
never known any of his classmates or friends to take any type
of drugs besides an occasional aspirin for a headache. He was
speculating about who in the world would be so foolish and
careless enough to spike the punch. He did not feel woozy or
disoriented. As a matter of fact, he felt very much alive right
at this moment, a little frightened and unsure of the situation
he and Addy were in, but he felt fine and clearheaded.
Aydan was the first to speak back to the figure who was
claiming to be that of Abe Lincoln. He said, “Forgive me,
sir, if we seem a little frightened of you, but it is not every
day that one comes to class and a Spirit floats out of their
textbook!” Aydan proceeded to ask the figure of Lincoln how
he got there, how and why his teacher and friends were frozen,
and if they were okay and why would God send Abe Lincoln
to him and to Addy.

The shadowy figure of Abe Lincoln became clearer and
brighter as he spoke to Aydan and to Addy. He told them
that he apologized for frightening them, but that this was
the perfect moment for him to arrive to meet with them.
He explained that they both were in such a rare setting for
his appearance to them. He told them that he found it very
fitting to visit them at this hour while they were in a civil
war mind-set. He assured them that their friends and teacher,
Ms. Parker, were just fine. He clarified that when he left
their presence today that no time will have passed and that
their friends and teacher will not remember a single thing
about this occurrence, but that Aydan and Addy will indeed
remember every word spoken here today as today will be one
of the most important days of their lives.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Order the series’ first book, “Back to the Basics with Aydan and Addy/Leadership with Abraham Lincoln”, online today at".  Books will be available in book stores near you and on,, and on March 4, 2014.
If you are interested in selling the “Back to the Basics with Aydan and Addy”, book series in your retail establishment; please contact Tate Publishing’s Sales Manager, Candace Carter at (405)310-1379.

Any other links or info you'd like to share?

Visit Aydan and Addy at:
Write to Aydan and Addy at:   Aydan and Addy / P.O. Box 485 / Liberty Hill, Texas 78642
Email Aydan and Addy at:
Facebook with Aydan and Addy at:

What Others Are Saying…
*** “Lisa Roberts presents us with a delightful, instructive book that captures the reader’s attention from start to finish. The Author uses a novel approach as she creates a moral compass to guild and influence developing readers. This/these book(s) are must gifts for all the children in my life.”
Lynn Keegan, PhD, RN, HNC-BC, FAAN
Port Angeles, Washington
5 time national award winning author of 21 books

*** “Lisa Roberts, the original Mimi, has a heart for God and country, family and children. Aydan and Addy come to life in her series of books for children, and the small Texas town of Brenham will never be the same. She paints such a vivid picture of the farm that you’ll feel like you’re right there with Aydan and Addy. Lisa is one of the most caring, nurturing, faith-filled and resilient people I know, and her spirit comes through on every page. You won’t be able to put this book down, whether you’re a grown-up sharing these stories with your children or grandkids, or one of the lucky boys and girls to have this book in your hands. So be sure to grab your dog, and a big bowl of Blue Bell ice cream, before you begin reading this wonderful book!”
Kathy Fediw, LEED AP ID+C, CLP, CLT,
author of ‘Interior Plantscaping’ and fellow Texan

*** “WOW!  Aydan and Addy have all the ingredients needed to reach the rest of the minds and hearts of America’s children.” There are three generations of adult role models living, loving and working together on the family farm in a beautiful setting near Brenham, Texas. The inspiration of the great grandparents, grandparents and parents is evident as the children have adults to admire, receive inspiration and wisdom from throughout each and every day. The catalysts for Aydan and Addy to have Godly virtues, strong values and the true secrets to a long, fruitful life are sprinkled effortlessly in their lives. They are definitely primed for the adventure of a life time with many exciting opportunities to meet and be motivated by precious people from the past! I cannot wait to see what happens next!
Sherry Workman
PRF Children’s Academy Committee Chair
Workman for Texas, Treasurer

Monday, May 12, 2014

Joanne Huspek, author of Finding Cadence

Author Bio:

Joanne Huspek is an empty-nester who writes about everything: food, travel, gadgets, politics, culture, relationships, now combining all of the above for a foray into novel-writing land.

Her first e-published novel, VIRTUALLY YOURS is the offbeat and humorous journey of the on-and-offline relationships of six women who met and maintained a lasting friendship on the Internet. The Virtual Moms embrace a newbie – with a secret – and the dynamic is changed, adding an unexpected twist to the lives of the friends.) VIRTUALLY YOURS was released in March, 2012. Genre is best described as MOM-LIT, depicting the lives of us sassy former chicks. VIRTUALLY YOURS placed in a Query Tracker contest.

Currently, working on the sequel, VIRTUALLY YOURS FOREVER, which will be a little darker in content. And in the distant works, VIRTUALLY YOURS, BABY!

FINDING CADENCE was released in March/April 2014. Much different from the romanced laced VIRTUALLY YOURS, FINDING CADENCE explores loss and the tenuous bonds of relationships. FINDING CADENCE placed in the 2011 San Francisco Writers Conference Contest, and also did well in a Novel Rocket Contest in summer 2012.

Member, Romance Writers of America, Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. Received RWA PRO pin November 2011.
Joanne Huspek lives in the now-frozen tundra of Southeastern Michigan with her husband Brad, Boston terrier, Grace, and the very bad orange tabby, Purrby. In addition to writing, she enjoys cooking and creating twisted wire jewelry, which means her housekeeping skills are practically non-existent.

Title: Finding Cadence
Author: Joanne Huspek
ISBN: 978-1495249037
Page count: 435
Genre: Women's, contemporary
Price: 14.99 hard copy, 7.99 eBook
Tell us about your book:
The Reeds seem to have it all: an enduring marriage, wealth and social standing, a thriving business, and a talented pianist son attending a West Coast conservatory. But an accident on an icy Michigan highway leaves Cadence Reed an unexpected widow. After the funeral, Cadie learns her loss is not limited to Carter's passing. Layer after layer of secrets are revealed, exposing Carter as a philandering sociopath who has left his family in a precarious financial state. Her heart broken, her world in shambles, Cadie and her son embark on a journey, across the country and into Cadie's past. Cadence must look deep inside herself to find the will and a means to survive.
How long did it take to write the book?
Four long years, plus three additional years of re-writes and editing.
What inspired you to write the book?
The short answer: My life. The longer answer: I've felt pain, betrayal, embarrassment. I've been proud of my children beyond words. I'm interested in relationships, between husband and wife, siblings, parent and child, between friends. I wanted to explore all of these things in my book, and I think I've accomplished that.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
This was my first novel, and I didn't have a clue. I'd write whenever hit by a whim, which wasn't much back then. I used one NaNoWriMo to complete the bulk of it, and then powered through to completion. (These days, I have a schedule. I'm still a pantser when it comes to writing, but now I have a DEDICATED writing time.) FINDING CADENCE had to be thoroughly researched, and I'm appreciative of all the people who helped me.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope readers are entertained. I hope they cheer for Cadie and can relate to her.

Excerpt from book: First Chapter/First Scene
Part One
Butterflies and Hurricanes

Chapter One

I was deaf, dumb, and blind.
A savvy woman with razor instincts might have foreseen the cataclysmic squall converging on the horizon. What’s the adage? All good things must pass? Life was more than all good; hell, it was fabulous. A life lived in ignorant comfort, my needs and wants satisfied before I could address them. Whatever intuition I might have possessed had been kneaded into saccharine suburban complacency, not by harsh words or violence or financial deprivation, but by an embarrassment of riches. Problems brewed around us, storms menaced from a distance; messy predicaments didn’t happen to us.
February 10, a night blotted with blinding snow, after weeks of a warm, weird winter of granite skies and steady rain. TV meteorologists giddy for action predicted disaster with glee: Blizzard conditions. Travel not advised. I’d muted the volume; it’s Michigan, for Pete’s sake. In winter, snow is a given.
Carter, consistently late, would be later still because of the weather. A fine pinot, first a glass, then more, kept me company. Hours of waiting on my husband turned my annoyance to vexation. Outside, a collection of wind chimes banged hard against the garage wall, the once soothing metallic tinkles replaced with dissonant clatter. I remember thinking; if Jackson were here, he could name the pitches of each steel and copper rod, contralto A flats clanging against high C sharps. Behind the jolting discord, the wind’s relentless, anguished caterwaul.
Jolted awake by a thud, heavy boots traversed the snowy deck, purposeful, deliberate, unlike Carter’s energetic stride. Weak sabers of brilliance cut beams through the night. I should have been nervous or fearful, yet I wasn’t, the hour too late for casual callers or neighborly visits. Only those with malice in mind would venture out in this weather – or messengers bearing grave news.
Two figures peered into the French door glass, their movement interrupting the porch light. Men in dark uniforms armed with flashlights and cold steel, the glint of gunmetal a contrast to the mantle of enormous snowflakes settling on broad shoulders. Gloved knuckles tapped on the window pane, a crisp, strident rap. My visitors were not burglars; I sighed, relieved.
I stumbled toward the door and opened it. Snow swirled into the house. I shivered, instinctively pushed the door to frame, and leaned into the opening, my breath a steamy plume. “May I help you?”
One officer removed his hat, flashed a badge. “We tried your front door. I noticed the light on back here. Is this the home of Carter Cavanaugh Reed?” The baritone voice resonated, fringed with serious gravel. He brushed new snow from his brow.
“It is. I’m Cadence Reed.” It was late – or early, it was snowing, it was cold. Alone in the house – where was Carter? – I frowned. “I’m Mrs. Carter Reed. May I help you?”
“Michigan State Police. Ma’am, may we come in?”
I perused his eyes for content, his steady façade craggy and placid amidst gale-force winds. I shrugged, lethargy clouding my thinking. “Sure.” It seemed the courteous, civic-minded thing to do. I pulled the door open; the officers crossed the threshold as snowflakes danced around us. I secured the latch and motioned them inside.
The older one chose the sofa, while I took a chair. “Ma’am, I’m Sergeant Washington and this is Trooper Fulton.”
Fulton, standing sentry at the door, tipped his hat toward me and nodded.
Sergeant Washington cleared his throat. “We’re from the State Patrol station in Oak Park. Mrs. Reed, we have news. It’s bad.” He hesitated. For a moment my eyes locked on his, before absorbing his face. Skin so black it appeared an odd shade of aubergine; his hair, salt and peppered, the short curls trimmed close; brown eyes, like pools of deep, molten chocolate. Arrestingly attractive, yet his voice projected authority. “Ma’am, I regret to inform you Mr. Reed was involved in a traffic incident earlier today.”
 “Excuse me?” Angered, I might have sprung to my feet in surprise, rummaged the coffee table for my keys, and searched for my coat. I might have remained a stoic statue with hands folded stiffly in my lap.
“Ma’am, it’s more than a fender bender.” Sergeant Washington glanced at his partner. My gaze followed. The peachy fuzz on Fulton’s cheek belied his youth; he couldn’t have been much older than my son, Jackson. Fulton squirmed, exposing a rookie’s discomfort in his baby face. His eyes broke from mine, their focus drifted to his feet as he pounded them together. Melting snow slid from the hilly summit of his patent leather boots, thin ribbon rivers pooling onto the carpet. Sergeant Washington spoke again, this time with deliberation. “Unfortunately, Mr. Reed…was a fatality in an accident near Brighton…”
The words struck me and bounced off, swallowed by an uneasy silence. My anger evaporated, replaced with alarm and confusion. “I don’t understand. Where is Carter?”
A voice soft yet manly, compassionate; a warm hand on my forearm, a sympathetic caress. “Ma’am, have you relatives here? Are friends nearby? Someone should be with you…”
I pulled my arm away, instinctively triggered the Reed attitude. “You’re mistaken. My husband is an excellent driver. You have the wrong Carter Reed.”
The officers exchanged knowing glances. I was so naïve. Sergeant Washington words fractured into staccato measures. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Reed. You have our sincerest sympathies. We’re sure. Your husband did not survive.” The sibilance of language punctured the still room; “so,” “sorry,” “sincerest,” “sympathies,” “sure,” “survive.”
“No.” My lungs burst, collapsed.
“We’ll stay with you; help you call your friends and relatives.”
I heard a response grotesque and squeaky – a voice foreign, not my own, but departing my lips. “There’re no relatives here.” My mind had drained dry. I remember thinking, Cadie, collect yourself. Remember your status. We are Reeds. I withstood a hurricane of ping-ponging thoughts, futilely grasping for sanity. “My son…he’s a college student. He’s in San Francisco. My sister lives in Colorado…” I might have been standing at the time. My knees weakened and wobbled. They withered under the weight of my body, the density of tragedy. One trooper may have grabbed me, hooked me under the arms. He may have delivered me to a chair, or perhaps I crumpled to a heap on the floor.
“Mr. Reed’s family?”
“Deceased.” I willed my heart to stop, but damn it if the thing kept beating. I’d ignored its strident articulation before, when life had been stupidly carefree. Now a hard drumming rang in my ears, bongo hollow, deep, hollow again. “My friend, Maggie…Marguerite…” My best friend’s last name, someone I’d known forever, slipped into the ether. Mere hours before we’d spent a carefree afternoon shopping for Jackson’s upcoming birthday. The fog lifted briefly. “Maggie Thompson.” My eyes fell to the cell phone on the coffee table. One officer opened it and scrolled through the address book. Strong arms in wet navy wool lifted me up, or perhaps they put me down.
Where can we go to buy your book?
The hard copy is available on Amazon. Ebook is available now on Amazon.

Barnes and Noble:

You can also buy a signed copy from my web site: