Monday, April 20, 2015

Miriam Spitzer Franklin, author of Extraordinary



Author Bio:
Miriam Spitzer Franklin is a former elementary and middle school teacher who currently teaches homeschooled students and is a writer-in-residence with the Charlotte Arts & Science Council. Other jobs she has held include working as a frazzled and unorganized waitress at a number of restaurants, driving the Zamboni and working the skate counter at the ice skating rink, teaching ice skating lessons, and owning a toy and gift store with her husband, Scott. Miriam lives with her husband, two daughters, and two pampered cats in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Title: Extraordinary
Author: Miriam Spitzer Franklin
ISBN-10: 1632204029
ISBN-13: 978-1632204028
Page count: 256 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Price: $14.99

Tell us about your book:
Ten-year-old Pansy Smith wants to become an extraordinary friend to make up for all the mistakes she's made in the past....and she has only 14.5 weeks to reach her goal.

When Pansy chickens out of going to sleepaway camp with Anna, she realizes she's let her best friend down one time too many. Anna is right; Pansy has broken a lot of promises. But Anna suffers a brain injury at camp, and Pansy worries that she'll never be able to make things right between them, or even worse, that Anna will never be the same again. When she hears that Anna is going to have brain surgery in 14 weeks that might cure her, Pansy knows she's been given the chance she's been waiting for- a chance to get Anna back, by finally facing her fears and becoming extraordinary, the kind of best friend Anna deserves.

How long did it take to write the book?
I began writing a form of this book over ten years ago. The first draft was about a girl who wanted to become extraordinary, but her motives were totally different. Anna was a minor character in the book at the time. I queried agents and though I had some requests, I knew there was something missing so I put the manuscript away for a while. When I realized that Anna's and Pansy's stories needed to be linked, I took the manuscript out and rewrote again. Although I was able to sign with an agent with the new version, the book went through many more revisions before it sold a few years later.

What inspired you to write the book?
As a teacher, I've worked with children who persevere despite challenges, treat others with kindness, and are full of spirit and heart. Although they may not be the top students or the most talented in the typical ways that get noticed, they have extraordinary gifts that others may not recognize. My original plan for the book was to write about a girl who considered herself "hopelessly average" but wanted to become an extraordinary person by chasing after numerous goals.

Pansy's character is still based on the original character, but I transformed the story when I made Anna a major part of it.

I wanted to write about Anna because of a niece who suffered a brain injury when she was two. A sudden high fever led to a stroke and a brain injury, which changed her life and her family's life forever. I've always been amazed and inspired by the way her family accepted the challenges and focused on the joy that Anna brought to everyone. Even though their hopes and dreams for her had changed, they adjusted and learned that living with a child with severe special needs can be a gift that makes you view the world in a different way.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I'm one of those writers who doesn't outline. I start with the character, exploring strengths/weaknesses, interests, and personality traits. I spend a long time brainstorming so that I know my character well before she even appears on the page. I come up with the main plot: what the main character wants, what obstacles stand in the way, and what's at stake if she doesn't reach her goal. I know where I want the story to end, though I won't discover how the character gets there until I begin writing. Once I have a rough draft, I send it to my critique partners for feedback, and then it's time to revise. By the time my agent offered representation for Extraordinary, I had completely rewritten the book numerous times.

Although Extraordinary dealt with some medical issues, I didn't have to do much research since I knew about it because of a family member's experience.

When working on a project, my goal is to write 4-5 days a week, for at least 2 hours each day. Occasionally, I'll have to get out of bed because a scene is playing itself in my head and if I don't write it down, I'll forget the whole thing!

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
We can't control all the circumstances in life, but we can learn to accept them and grow from them. Pansy is a person who perseveres despite challenges and is full of heart. I hope that readers will come away with an understanding that extraordinary things can happen, even when we least expect it.


Excerpt from book: (from page 30, when Pansy attempts to practice roller blading since she'd signed up for skating lessons with Anna and quit after one lesson)
I tried to step back out of the way. Instead of rolling backward, I rolled forward. Right into three outstretched leashes. My arms waved around in the air, and I could feel I was losing my balance, so I reached out for the leashes to keep from falling.
            The skateboarder jumped off his board. “Whoaa!” he commanded his dogs, which might have meant “stop” in some languages but not in a language the dogs understood. 
            “Hey, wait, come back here!” the skateboarder yelled when he realized his dogs were no longer pulling him.
They were pulling me!
            “AAAAHHH!!!” Screams echoed in my ear, and it took a second to realize they were coming from my mouth. The other people on the path turned into a colorful blur as I flew past, clutching the leashes. My heart dropped to my toenails and I finally got what people meant when they said, “My life flashed before my eyes.”
And then the craziest thing happened. The three dogs must have sent ESP messages to each other because together they turned, heading down the hill towards the lake.  
            “HELPPPP!!!!” I screamed. My rollerblades hit the uneven ground and my legs shook as I rolled over rocks and bumps.
            “Tiko! Bansai! Moochers!” yelled the skateboarder.
            I heard Andy calling my name, but I couldn’t answer him. I was being hurled toward my death. I was about to sink into the mucky lake, my rollerblades sticking out of the water to show where I’d gone. There’d be no Good Citizens party for me because I'd be dead. Which, of course, would disappoint Anna once she got better.
            I wouldn’t be too happy about it, either.


Where can we go to buy your book?
Readers should be able to purchase the book wherever books are sold, both in stores and online.

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
Here's a link to my website: www.miriamfranklin.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @123miris

Monday, April 13, 2015

ARNOLD RUDNICK, author of LITTLE GREEN - A Picture Book for Young Readers



Author Bio:
ARNOLD RUDNICK has written for many television shows, including THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY.

Title: LITTLE GREEN
Author: ARNOLD RUDNICK, illustrated by MARCELO GORENMAN
ISBN: 0981587976
Page count: 30
Genre: Picture Book 0-7yr
Price: 9.99

Tell us about your book:
LITTLE GREEN is about a small frog who wants to be special. He hops around asking a goose, horse or koi “Isn’t it possible?” he can be one of them. While the reader learns animal groups, skills, sounds and traits, Little Green learns he has to be himself.

How long did it take to write the book?
LITTLE GREEN took about 18 months to create. The first draft took only a couple months, translating the story into rhyme and the illustrations took about a year.

What inspired you to write the book?
LITTLE GREEN began as a bedtime story I told my daughter.  After I wrote a middle grade chapter book (ESPete: Sixth Grade Sense), I wanted to have a book for younger readers available for school visits, so I decided to write LITTLE GREEN down. What began as a catalog item evolved into a rhyming adventure, which was brought to beautiful life by artist Marcelo Gorenman.  When it was completed, I was thrilled with the response I got from readers, and the message of LITTLE GREEN became a personal mission to help promote literacy and confidence.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
The story for LITTLE GREEN was pretty straightforward after being developed and kid-approved at bedtime. After I got comments on the first draft, I decided to write it as a rhyming book, which is more difficult, but I felt the repetition and rhymes will help early readers.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I am excited to share LITTLE GREEN because it is a fun way for kids and parents to talk about possibilities, and for children to learn new things each time they read it.  I remember the books that taught me geography, history, and other fun facts. I love that some day a kid who grew up reading LITTLE GREEN will know that Frogs travel in Armies.  Hopefully, they will have learned that from LITTLE GREEN, and maybe they will even remember where they picked it up – but they will know it, and that groups of geese are flocks.  (Although a flying flock is really a skein, I used poetic license since I preferred “A flock of geese flew by overhead…”.)  Even more, I want readers to realize they have to be themselves, because no one else will be.  And that when they embrace who they are, almost anything is possible. I really hope that over time, “Isn’t it possible?” will be as empowering as “I think I can”!

Excerpt from book:
In the middle of the swamp, on a bright sunny day, sat a little green frog who wanted to play. A flock of geese flew by overhead. “Wow!” Little Green Frog jumped up and said.  Amazed by the way they soared through the sky, Little Green wanted to be as special and let out a sigh. He wanted to do something wonderful, too, so he hopped out of the pond in the direction they flew.

Great Goose held class at a nearby beach, teaching little geese to fly and extend their reach. “Believe in yourself,” the Great Goose said. “Anything is possible, if it’s in your head.”

Where can we go to buy your book?
LITTLE GREEN is available at Amazon.com and BN.com.  Discount copies are available for schools, pre-schools and libraries. Contact: Books@paraphrasellc.com

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
www.isntitpossible.com
Paraphrase, LLC: Read a Book, Read a Mind ®


Monday, April 6, 2015

Savneet Singh, author of One Nonprofit’s Journey to Success

Author Bio:
Savneet Singh:Savneet Singh, discovered the world of freelance writing ten years back and she is currently exploring the endless possibilities associated with it. She is a learning technology specialist/ Gamification consultant but enjoys writing non-fiction. She had the pleasure to work on several projects. She holds a Master of Science in Education from California State University and a M.Sc in Ecology and Environment from IIEE. She has a strong inclination for spirituality, and practices meditation and yoga every morning during the sunrise.

Title: One Nonprofit’s Journey to Success
Author: Savneet Singh 
ISBN: ISBN-10: 0692398953

Page count: 106
Genre: Biography General
Price: Full color-$23.99, Black and white-$9.99, Kindle-$3.99

Tell us about your book:One Nonprofit’s Journey to Success, written by Savneet Singh, is an inspiring story of the New Heights Educational Group, a nonprofit, and its founder/director Ms. Pamela Clark. The book chronicles a woman’s amazing journey who stepped out of her home to help families unhappy and disappointed with the traditional school system. The bullying incidents and lack of IEP assistance at local and charter schools made her sons feel uncomfortable and unsafe. So, she decided to home-school them and to fight for the families looking for an alternative way to educate their children. Despite all the roadblocks, she kept moving forward and devoted her life to helping parents in a unique way by establishing nonprofit. Ms. Clark’s humility and good work ethic shine through New Heights Educational Group today. She gives ample credit to current and former volunteers for the success of the organization and all the awards and recognition it has achieved over the past nine years. The book also details the wide range of educational services offered by New Heights Educational Group and wonderful tips to manage a nonprofit organization.

How long did it take to write the book?
Almost an year.

What inspired you to write the book?
Ms. Pamela Clark’s life and the cause she cares about.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I started gathering facts and information about the New Heights and talked to Ms. Clark over the phone several times  to know more about the organization. I also gathered pictures and other facts related to her life. After that I actually started writing the book.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Ms. Clark has accomplished something that was not easy for a beginner, middle class mother of two to achieve.This book will make people believe that there’s a natural power dynamic that comes along with personal experience and willingness to serve others.Parent, nonprofit stakeholders or just someone who wants to learn more about educational services and opportunities- everyone will find this book helpful. Many readers will find Ms. Clark's good work, perseverance and Christian faith inspirational.


Where can we go to buy your book?
Amazon.com and in stores

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

Excerpt from book:
How This Book Came to Be
One Nonprofit’s Journey to Success: New Heights Educational Group, Inc. has been a very special project to me. I am deeply grateful to Ms. Pamela Clark, founder and director of New Heights Educational Group (NHEG), who has inspired me as a person, a mother and a woman. After talking to her for the first time in 2013, I found myself captivated by her life, mission and values of NHEG. For the past year and half, I spoke to her over the phone for hours and exchanged long emails on a regular basis. This convinced me more than ever that people should know about NHEG and Ms. Clark’s efforts.
New Heights Educational Group is a nonprofit organization that maintains its commitment to the cause it cares about with ingenuity, passion and dedication. NHEG aims to build community resources and support for the families by providing access to educational opportunities, enrichment programs and special services. NHEG strives to equip youth with skills they need to excel in academics and meet the competing demands of work and personal life.
Ms. Clark’s innovative work, focus on relationships, and commitment to both work and family, will inspire people from all walks of life. The chapters here have been brought together with the approval of Ms. Clark. This book presents the life of Ms. Clark and her earnest efforts to establish New Heights Educational Group as it exists today and her widespread influence on the lives of people in Ohio. For a decade, she has inspired and helped hundreds of families and children. Ms. Clark's story shows how the power of one person can make change happen. This book will make people believe that there’s a natural power dynamic that comes along with personal experience and willingness to serve others.
I hope this book will bring a new perspective to the way education and schools are seen by parents. The programs run by NHEG may also appeal to other nonprofit organizations that are looking to expand their educational services. I trust that readers will be motivated by Ms. Clark's life and her efforts to build an organization that reflects her values and beliefs. In her lifelong endeavors of personal and organizational development, Ms. Clark has learned a multitude of valuable lessons—many of which you will find in this book. I hope this book contributes to the nonprofit sector working to help families educate their children, and I welcome your suggestions on how NHEG may support more families as a nonprofit organization.
-Savneet Singh


Book Trailer Link: