Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gigi Sedlmayer, author of Talon, Come Fly with Me



Author Bio:
Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany.
Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.

Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.

In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handicraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots of which she sold thousands in a few years.

In 1988, they decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.

Two years later Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, 'Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life'.

She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English became increasingly better so she pressed on to develop her creative writing. 

Albert taught her how to use a computer and she wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave her confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and the characters to life.

She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves travelling, 4x4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking and enjoys good adventure DVD's or going to the movies.

 Title: TALON, COME FLY WITH ME
Author: Gigi Sedlmayer
ISBN:  9780992339920
Page count: 183 pages
Genre: Children, YA, all ages
Price: Kindle US $ 3.91, Paperback US 17.88

Tell us about your book:
Nine year old Matica lives in a remote village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved to Peru when she was five with Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents. Because Matica is trapped in the body of a two year old, her growth handicap has caused her to be rejected by the local people and they would not accept her into their community or allow her to play with the children.

With patience and a sense of adventure Matica befriends a pair of condors. A strong bond and love develops between them.

Matica rescues the egg the condors, Tamo and Tima, are trying to protect from poachers and nurtures it to hatching. The egg hatches on her 10th birthday and she names the new fledging Talon.

Many adventures unfold, including her finally being accepted into the local community. And something totally unexpected...

This is the beginning of many incredible adventures with Talon and Matica. It is a story of hope, determination and love.


How long did it take to write the book?
That is actually a question, I really don’t like answering, but here it is: I started the book, not thinking of a series at all. It was a short story for competitions. The judges said, it is a good story. And so I worked on it and thought, I could do a book out of it and even make a series. And so it started. All in all, the first book took me more than 15 years to get published with so many rejection letters, that I lost count. Finally I published it with an self-publisher.

What inspired you to write the book?
Surviving cancer and finding myself still alive after two years of just sitting around, but still locked after my two little girls and my husband, Albert, I finally came to my senses again. Since I couldn’t work at a traditional job any longer, I couldn’t stand or sit too long, Albert, my husband, taught me how to use a computer. I started to write, since there was nothing else for me to do. In the beginning I wasn’t sure, in which language I should write. But then I decided to write in English, since my English became better and we live in an English-speaking country. 
I wrote many short stories and entered them into competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave me confidence to go on writing and inspired me to go on. One of the short stories was about Talon and Matica. Judges from the competition loved the story and so I thought, I could develop a series about Talon and Matica. And so the TALON series came to life. 
I wanted to write a story about a handicapped or challenged girl to show readers what they can achieve if they put their minds not to the negativity (the challenge) but to the positivity (what they can achieve). (As Matica had to learn it as well, and I have done nearly my whole life myself. Being rejected in school as well, I was always an outsider, keeping to myself in the turtle shell, had hardly any friends.) And since I love birds, I decided to let her have a bird. But then came, what bird? And then the idea went even further. What is if she could fly on the bird? That would be something. But to do that, she has to have a disability to be very small. But again, the bird has to be big as well. And there the condor came to my mind. I loved the condors before. Amazing birds. They are the biggest land birds (vulture) on our wonderful earth. And so the story about Matica and Talon came to existence. And then I had to set the scene in Peru close to the great Andes where the condors live. And so it came, that I decided to let her family go to Peru as missionary from Australia.
My motto was and is: “Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others.” Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. (As I faced in my own life) This pressure is leading to record rates of depression among preteens and teenagers and this to suicide. Parents look for ways to build their children’s self-esteem; however, teens look to their peers and popular culture for acceptance rather than their parents. This puts parents in a challenging situation. Most children of this age group have issues with acceptance and this is explored and resolved in a positive manner within the story line of the Talon series. Matica shows children and teens that they can overcome great obstacles with love, patience and a selfless attitude toward helping others and experience exciting adventure on the way.
I just wanted to let the world know that, when you put your mind to something and really want it, you can achieve it. Matica was rejected by the local Indian because of her disability. She hated that state, but couldn’t do anything against it. As it is in real live. But, there is always the ‘but’. Even that Matica was not always happy, but she tried to be. And so she chose being kind over being right. She had to learn it as well, but she learned it well, as I have as well, because if you think like that, you’ll be right all the time.
A quote from my books: “If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’.” That is just what Matica does in my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Now she can handle every obstacle…In the beginning Matica acted out of instinct and her own survival. Only so she could cope with the rejection.
And something else: I had to face myself and being the hero in my own books. And as Mira, Matica’s mum, and Matica are saying in my books: ‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’ And I have been outgrown them. Many times, I might say and so has Matica. Yep, I certainly am the hero of my story. I am even a hero in how I befriended the condors I named Tamo and Tima. I am also a hero raising Talon, the offspring of Tamo and Time, to the majestic condor he needs to be. I am a hero because of defeating the poachers, defeating my sorrow.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I spent three full days in a library to get full information about Peru and their people, the land and about the condors and everything else I needed before I started to write the first book. In that time, there was nothing really available on the Internet yet, as it is now. Not even pictures of a condor. But there are now a lot. Love them.
To face myself and the struggles I went through and being the hero in my own books. I don’t have the challenge as Matica has, but different things. I had to struggle nearly all my life. Matica is me. 
And as Mira and Matica are saying in my books: 
‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’ And I have been outgrown them. Many times, I might say.
Yep, I certainly am the hero of my story. I am even a hero in how I befriended the condors I named Tamo and Tima. I am also a hero raising Talon, the offspring of Tamo and Time, to the majestic condor he supposed to be. I am a hero because of defeating the poachers, defeating even my own sorrow.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I let Matica, my main character, speaking in her own voice. It’s best to describe her:
My name is Matica and I am a special needs child with a growth disability. I am stuck in the body of a two year old, even though I am ten years old when my story begins in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Because of that disability, (I am saying ‘that’ disability, not ‘my’ disability because it’s a thing that happenes to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad. I can say that now after I learned to cope with it.) I was rejected by the local Indians as they couldn’t understand that that condition is not a sickness and so it can’t be really cured. It’s just a disorder of my body. But I never gave up on life and so I had lots of adventures roaming around the plateau where we live in Peru, South America, with my mother’s blessings. But after I made friends with my condors I named Tamo and Tima, everything changed. It changed for the good. I was finally loved. And I am the hero and I embrace my problem. In better words: I had embraced my problem before I made friends with my condors Tamo and Tima. I held onto it and I felt sorry for myself and cried a lot, wanting to run away or something worse. But did it help me? Did it become better? Did I grow taller? No, nothing of that helped me. I didn’t have those questions when I was still in my sorrow, but all these questions came to me later, after I was loved and was cherished. One day I looked up into the sky and saw the majestic condors flying in the air.  Here and now, I made up my mind. I wanted to become friends with them. I believed if I could achieve that, all my sorrow and rejection would be over. And true enough, it was over. I was loved. I even became famous. And so, if you are in a situation, with whatever your problem is, find something you could rely on and stick to it, love that and do with that what you were meant to do. And I never run from conflicts.

Excerpt from book:
Well, I maybe give some examples what is in my books. There are so many good proverbs I have written in. Here they are: 
“Size is nothing. The heart is all that counts. And you have the best, softest and most caring heart I ever have encountered. Because of your heart, you survived the hardship the Indians have put you through.”
“Be you, yourself, be happy again. Don’t let life pass by you. Don’t look back, look into the bright future. The future is as bright as the promise of God. Smile – it’s the most beautiful attire.”
“I can do it. These four words are the most power-filled words.”
“Let your smile change the world, don’t let the world change your smile.”
“If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’.” 
Not really, for not everyone can find a condor, but whatever they would like to find and love, as Matica loves Talon.
That is just what Matica does in my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Now she can handle every obstacle…

Where can we go to buy your book?










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


Book Trailer Link:

Friday, December 4, 2015

Fiona Ingram, author of The Search for the Stone of Excalibur



Author Bio:
Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—The Chronicles of the Stone. This was inspired by a family trip the author took with her mom and two young nephews aged ten and twelve at the time. The book began as a short story for her nephews and grew from there. Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is a treat for young King Arthur fans. Fiona is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico.

While writing The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, Fiona fostered (and later adopted) a young African child from a disadvantaged background. Her daughter became the inspiration for the little heroine, Kim, in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. Interestingly, the fictional character’s background and social problems are reflected in the book as Kim learns to deal with life. Fiona’s experiences in teaching her daughter to read and to enjoy books also inspired many of her articles on child literacy and getting kids to love reading.

Title: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur
Author: Fiona Ingram
ISBN: 978-1622492183
Page count: 376
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Price: Pbk $29.95 E-bk $6.95

Tell us about your book:
Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?
Join Justin and Adam as they search not only for the second Stone of Power, but also for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, they learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped.
Book extras include some historical background on King Arthur, the Dark Ages, warfare and weaponry during Arthur’s time, and details on Excalibur. A fascinating peek into the life and times of the real King Arthur, perfect for young time travelers and budding archaeologists.

How long did it take to write the book?
It’s hard to say because while writing Book One: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, I was already planning a second, third book and subsequent books. I would say about two years all told.

What inspired you to write the book?
The Search for the Stone of Excalibur grew from Book One, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. I am a huge King Arthur fan and having travelled all over Scotland, visiting castles, I decided that Britain would be the location of the boys’ quest for the Second Stone of Power. The legends and stories about King Arthur and Excalibur are the perfect vehicle for this book. There is so much magic and mystery surrounding this historical figure that I had enough material to craft a fascinating adventure. If you love history, geography, action, adventure, archaeology and a story that grips you from page one (plus lots of danger!) then this is the book for you. This will also appeal to anyone who wants to save the world or (for those readers a little older) remembers their plans to do so!

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
When researching and writing Book 1, I was already doing a lot of thinking and researching subsequent books. I try to go to the locations where my Middle Grade adventure series take place, and have been lucky enough to have travelled widely. There is a huge amount of research involved because all the books in the series involve historical, geographical and archaeological facts, as well as myths and legends of these various places and cultures. The subsequent books take my young heroes to Mexico, France, India, and Turkey, and finally back to Egypt as the adventure is completed. I try to plan a writing routine but find that marketing and my book review editing job always eat into that time. Miraculously, however, I do manage to get my books written.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Total enjoyment, of course, and the feeling that they have experienced the most fantastic adventure with the young heroes. I also hope that young readers will be interested to do some further research, maybe even checking the facts detailed in my books, and actually be encouraged to read even more books that will stimulate their imaginations and cement a love of reading in their lives.

Excerpt from book:

The eerie figure came closer, the horse lifting its feet carefully, clip-clopping right up to the trembling boy. The horse was huge, its trappings gleaming with pinpoints of metal rosettes, its long tail and mane hanging like ghostly cobwebs in the pale moonlight. The beast snorted and stamped restlessly. Adam saw the burnished glint of a helmet with a dragon-shaped crest topped by a red plume. Although the cheek pieces of the helmet obscured the man’s features, the shadowy figure was looking right at him. A red cloak swirled around the warrior’s body and, as the fabric swung aside, Adam saw the gleam of chain mail and the dark shape of a breastplate on the man’s chest. The warrior’s armor seemed more Roman than he expected. A banner flapped from the spear of a man behind the warrior: a red dragon on a white background. The warrior raised one arm, and a roar erupted as the sounds of cheering burst from what seemed to be thousands of throats. Although Adam heard strange words in another language, somehow he understood what the voices said.
“Hail the Pendragon!”
Adam was so close that he could have reached out and touched the rider. The spectral figure drew his sword from its scabbard and held it aloft. It seemed to Adam that he saw every detail with strangely magnified clarity. It was the same sword from the museum, but it looked so different now. The metal gleamed with a peculiar bluish sheen. Curious characters embossed the length of the blade. At the top, just under the crossguard, was a small circle with a seven-pointed star inside it. Sparkling gems decorated the hilt and pommel, with two dragons’ heads facing inward on the crossguard. The stone between the dragons’ open mouths glowed brilliant red. Suddenly, a fiery, almost blinding light shot from the stone, dazzling him. The white horse reared on its hindquarters. The radiant beam lit up the forest as the warrior whirled the blade around his head several times. Adam fell to his knees, shaking with a mixture of terror and excitement as he realized the second Stone of Power was embedded in the sword of Arthur. But the stone in the museum sword was nothing like this one.

Where can we go to buy your book?


Any other links or info you'd like to share?
The Search for the Stone of Excalibur has won a Silver Medal in the 2015 Children’s Literary Classics Awards http://www.clcawards.org/2015_Book_Awards_Winners.html
AUTHOR DETAILS
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/fiona_ingram

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sherry Ellis, author of TEN ZANY BIRDS



Author Bio:
Sherry Ellis is a freelance writer and award-winning children’s author. Her books include, That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN, That Mama is a Grouch, and Ten Zany Birds.
She is also a professional musician who plays and teaches violin, viola, and piano.
Sherry lives with her husband and two children in Atlanta, Georgia.
You can learn more about Sherry Ellis on her website, www.sherryellis.org

Title:  Ten Zany Birds
Author:  Sherry Ellis
ISBN:  978-1497404588
Page count:  44
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Early Learning, Basic Concepts, Counting
Price:  $12.99 (soft cover) $2.99 (e-book)

Tell us about your book:
Ten Zany Birds is the story of ten feathered friends who are having a party in a tree. They’re all having fun, but one by one, they become distracted. One is frightened by a loud plane. One gets hungry. One wants to race, and another needs a bath. Only one stays to sing in the tree. Kids will have fun figuring out who it will be.

As parents and teachers read, children are introduced to counting and basic subtraction skills. Whenever a bird leaves, the number of striped, spotted, and polka-dotted birds changes, teaching the application of simple classification rules. With its simple rhyming text, it’s also a good book for developing reading skills. 



Excerpt from book:
A gray, sneaky cat
crouching near a bush,
jumps as a green bird
scares it with a WOOSH.


 
How long did it take to write the book?
Writing the first draft did not take long – about a month. It was the revisions that were time-consuming. It took a year and a half to revise it to the point where I was happy with it. My critique group and editor were very helpful! Even though the text is very simple, it wasn’t easy to get the rhythm and meter just right. It was deceptively difficult!

What inspired you to write the book?
A few years ago, my daughter received a birthday party invitation. On the front of the card was a picture of some crazy little birds. That ignited my imagination. I had wanted to write a counting book, and I thought ten zany birds would be perfect for it.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I worked on Ten Zany Birds a little each day until it was complete. Normally, with other projects, I do a lot of research, but this one did not require any. What I did, was come up with a list of things that could distract a bird. Then I began the arduous process of creating rhymes for each activity. Once that was complete, I had to do some math. Yes, it’s a math book, and it required that I do some number crunching to make it all work out! I had to make sure the colors and striped/polka dotted classification all matched with the text. I chuckle because most people reading the book would think it was easy to write. It wasn’t. It required a lot of thinking!

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I wanted Ten Zany Birds to be more than just a counting book. I wanted it to teach colors, patterns, classification, subtraction, and be a book early readers could use to develop reading skills. I also wanted it to be a fun book for kids, one that they would want to read again and again, and get something new each time. I think it does that. Illustrator, Charu Jain, did a fantastic job creating the colorful, whimsical world of the ten zany birds. Kids will enjoy seeing the spider and snail on every page, and picking their favorite feathered friend.    



Where can we go to buy your book?

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
Readers can connect with me on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Sherry-Ellis-388897186076/