Bad luck, all the time

I have terrible luck. All the time, it’s just awful. I actually don’t believe in luck. I think it all comes down to what you are willing to out into something.

Anyway, we started looking for a new illustrator for the Lizzie Andrews Series. We have had some awesome submissions with a lot of real talent being shown off. They should be proud.

I have talked to probably 15 people who are interested. But then, my computer died. In the middle of all the emails and messages and file saving to forward to my collaborator, the computer died.

Oh and guess what else happened. My Neuro issues caught up with me and I missed 2 days of because I can barely walk. It’s been a great week.

It could be a lot worse. I can still use my phone to work on stories and get things in order. I should be back to work Saturday, but my wife has asked me to put in my notice.

She will be starting back to school soon and is working on getting her classroom ready. So, I will be a stay at home dad again. It will definitely help with the writing. The blog can get much needed attention, and I can spend time with Bella.

It’s been an interesting week, but nothing we can’t get past. I am looking forward to writing more. Maybe it was all just good luck at a bad time. It’s all in how you see it.

I may schedule some haunted trips too to add some stories there. I will be able to focus on my book sales on Biblio and promote my previous and upcoming works. There is plenty to do. It’s just overwhelming right now.

Advertisements

Author Interview featuring Tammi Van Hollander

Hi Everyone! Today we start our Author Interviews. I have been looking forward to these. I have several great interviews lined up to come at you over the next few weeks. Let’s all show some support to our author community. Let’s get it started with Ms. Tammi Van Hollander.

IMG_8993

NAME: Tammi Van Hollander, LCSW, RPT
PUBLISHED TITLES: Casey’s Greatness Wings: Teaching Mindfulness, Connection and Courage to Children.
Q: Where are you from (City, State)?
A: A suburb of Philadelphia, PA
Q: How long have you been writing?
A:. I finished this book pretty quickly. Although it felt like a long time, it was about 6 months of perfecting the story, illustrations and formatting.
Q: What were your goals prior to writing? How did you becoming an author happen?
A: I always loved writing and wrote poetry in High School. My dream was to be an author and started a book for a large company, but life got in the way and I never follow through with it. The “Back” story of this book has not been told until now. My mother passed away 6 years ago and she told us that we would always be connected by rainbows and butterflies. As a child therapist, I was in session with a tween client who had experienced significant trauma. As a way to help her express her feelings , we colored mandalas. A mandala represents wholeness and it is often a symbol that is utilized to help people focus in on meditation and achieve a sense of oneness. Mandalas can be colored, made, or they are created in the sand tray On this particular day, my client and I both created separate mandalas and it happened to be the year anniversary of my mother’s death. I picked a butterfly mandala to color. We spent time listening to relaxing music, to help quiet the mind and nervous system as we colored and then on the back was a free write for a story to come out of it. I do not often do my own story with the client, but this client always wanted me to do the same activity as her. So, I did, and I began to write and write and write. The Brave Butterfly came to life and I wanted it to be a metaphor of her trauma and how telling her story could free her. After reading the story to her, she took over and began to make parts of it her own. This was a breakthrough in her healing process.
Fast forward 5 years later……In October I took a 5 day intensive training in FirstPlay Infant Massage Storytelling® http://www.mainlineplaytherapy.com/firstplay-r and Kinesthetic Storytelling®. I fell in love with this technique and was inspired to write a kinesthetic story. This is a story that is told on the child’s back. Reading to children is so important and the added element of touch enhances the bonding experience. Dr. Janet Courtney, my mentor helped me with the book process and really inspired me to get the ball rolling. I was connected to The Brave Butterfly, the idea of transformation and mindfulness. I am also a certified trainer in The Nurtured Heart Approach ® which transformed my practice and I really wanted to use the idea of greatness to empower others. Although the story started as a trauma story, I wanted to shift it to a mindful, empowerment story and go deeper to give parents, teachers , clinicians and others tools to ignite greatness, help kids understand their worries, and ways to quiet their busy minds. Casey’s Greatness Wings is for all ages and for everyone. I have had couples do it on each other, siblings, etc. The family can tell the story in a circle doing the story massage on each other’s backs.
Q: What genre(s) do you write? Why?
A: My passion is to inspire children, families and professionals working with children. I love my work and want to spread it with others. I am a national presenter and I am passionate and knowledgeable about my work.
Q: Did/do you self publish or traditionally publish? What was attractive about this option?
A: I self published. I knew I had a following and various ways to promote it independently.

IMG_8967

Q: Are you a full-time author? If not, do aspire to be?
A: No, I hope to write more books , but my heart is providing play therapy to my clients in my playroom and presenting workshops to others on my work. I definitley, want to do more work in schools with my book. I am receiving such a nice response from professionals working in the schools using Casey’s Greatness Wings and the activities provided with their students. I have a special section in the back of the book for professionals. There are activities to do with the child or classroom with a list of greatness words.
Q: How many books have you published?
A:. I have published chapters and creative play-based interventions, but this is my first independent book.
Q: What is one thing you wish you had done differently during the process of publishing your first book?
A: So many things……. The big one was that the size of my book made it very hard to publish and I had to change from CS a IS. This was very stressful as I did not know if my book was going to be published. If you were to ask me what was the hardest thing about my book…….the answer would be that there is so much information in it. It is a psycho-educational book, a children’s book, a guide on how to do stories on a child’s back and an activity book. That is a lot of info in one book.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: My favorite children’s author is Todd Parr. I love his books. I have a wonderful therapeutic library of children’s books. So many great books that aid in healing children, by offering that safe psychological distance from their problems.
Q: To expand on that, what is your favorite genre to read? I want to be a better reader and make more time to read.
A: Most of my books are psycho-educational and children’s books.
Q: What book or books have influenced you as an author?
A: Too many to list. I think it is really my passion for my work that inspires me and the children that touch my heart every day.
Q: What is your writing process?(time spent writing, planning, performance goals)
A: My writing process was so challenging because I had hand movements integrated into the story. The story was long and there needed to be many edits. I eventually made the story into two parts, so it could be divided up to read to children of all ages.
Q: Do you write each day?
A: no

IMG_9023
Q: How do you set your writing mood? Is there a routine you follow?
A: No, I wish I had a routine and I highly recommend you having a schedule. Lesson learned for next time.
Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: From the time I committed to really writing this book, I put my heart and soul into it and it took about 6 months.
Q: Do you prefer paperback, hard cover, or eBooks (reading and writing)? Why?
A: I like to have a book in my hand and never read e-books. I think this is because I read so much to children and we need a physical book.
Q: Who would your dream co-author be? Why?
A: Someone like Dr. Dan Siegel who I admire. I am a huge fan of his work and he has made a massive contribution to the field of parenting, therapy and mindfulness. His work on the brain and helping children to understand how their brains works is brilliant. I am a fan of all of his books.
Q: What will be your next book release?
A: Probably a book on all of my greatness interventions for children to compliment my first book. I also plan for the other characters in my story to have their own leading role. Next, may be the worry elephant, but no spoiler alerts just yet.:)
Q: What are some of your goals outside of writing?
A: Now that I have written my book, my other dream is to one day do a TED Talk. I am heading to India with my daughter this summer and would like to travel more and to continue volunteer service projects in the future. I also have been wanting to do more crisis management work.
Q: What is your biggest obstacle when writing?
A: Organization and time management
Q: Do you have any advice for new authors?
A: It is a lot of work and get as many people to read your book as you can. My clients were so helpful with the hand movements and they were a big contribution to my book. Get some good people in place from your illustrator to your formatter. The process can be frustrating and exhausting and I wanted to quit many times. I figured if my book can help one child or family then I am happy.
Check out Casey’s Greatness Wings on Amazon today https://www.amazon.com/Caseys-Greatness-Wings-Mindfulness-Connection/dp/1643167782/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529500009&sr=8-1&keywords=casey%27s+greatness+wings&dpID=51iw73XoGzL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch and show Miss Tammi some love. You can also visit Tammi’s website at http://www.mainlineplaytherapy.com/children-s-book. She has a good story here, with a good message.
Check out our next Author Interview when we talk to Kerry Orchard, author of The Adventures in Behaviour Series – How to Tame Dragons and Hush Hyenas.

Kickstarter Update

A while back I agreed to help a guy by promoting his Kickstarter campaign. It’s for a neat concept, but it’s not generating interest. It’s a campaign to start a cartoon series about a group of friends gaining powers.

It’s raised a whopping $1. My concern is that it’s too similar to other things out there and the market is over saturated with them. The other possibility is it’s just a bad idea.

We have set up different rewards for help, including signed thank you pictures, all the way up to a cameo or mention in one of the episodes. Still no interest.

Check it out here. Something isn’t clicking like it should.

Pilot for Fantasy Adventure Animated Series, via @Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1420291301/pilot-for-fantasy-adventure-animated-series

Kickstarter Update

Pilot for Fantasy Adventure Animated Series, via @Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1420291301/pilot-for-fantasy-adventure-animated-series

Hey guys. This is a neat project. The creator used a lot of his life experience and imagination to come up with this project. His hopes are to make it into a series, and is raising funds to make the pilot episode and maybe the second.

Check him out. Show him some support. It’s got some pretty cool donation rewards. You can even be included in an episode. Kinda cool.

Back In Action

I have been away for a few days, but still tried to post stuff. It failed. We have been swamped with a move and getting a million things done.

I will be posting regularly again in the next few days. Hopefully by the end of next week we can start getting some author interviews going. It depends on the response.

In other news Morgan Goes Fishing has sold almost 40 copies. It’s moving along nicely. It could be better, but I’m happy with the progress.

I will also be setting up a page to share some antique books that i lucked into. There will be others along the way. I’m looking forward to those. Until next time.

Would You Do It?

My last few posts have been of a paranormal nature. It has always been an interest of mine. My first apartment was haunted. Shortly after my wife moved in she started experiencing what I already knew happened.

Every morning I would hear footsteps shuffling across my floor to the head of my bed. My wife, Abbie, called me one day to tell me someone sat down at the foot of the bed while she was in it alone. And there were the typical things being moved.

Another house we lived in had a randomly flushing toilet. The dog wouldn’t let Abbie into the basement on more than one occasion. My son even saw an old lady sitting on the bed.

We found this out when he said, “mommy, the old lady was sitting on my bed. It’s okay though she was nice.” When he described her, it was exactly the same description my wife and I both had for what we had seen.

One night I had had enough of him being scared of his bedroom and went in with a digital recorder to have a chat with her. I asked a few questions, even got some responses and she turned on my flashlight, which had been laying on the bed.

There were the events that I shared on other posts in the hotel and museum too. This has fascinated me. I want to pursue more haunted hunting locations. I want to go in and see what I can find.

So, the question is, Would you do it? Would you go into a place said to be haunted, by yourself and see what happened? Would you face fears just for the heck of it? Would you spend your money for a hobby like that?

I’m not so sure my wife would let me. If she did I know she would worry. That’s okay because I would do it. Would you?

Are there spots you know that should be on my list? Is there a place I should avoid? I want input on this. I know South Dakota is a heck of a place to start. Maybe I should.

Museum Ghosts

I worked for a group of museums in a small town in South Dakota. It was a fun job. I met people from around the world, and heard some interesting stories. A common question I heard at one museum in particular was, “Is this place haunted?”

My boss had told me stories of things happening that couldn’t really be explained. On my third day, I saw my first apparition there. That was pretty mellow for me.

One day as I played a wooden flute, terribly I might add, I heard music. I was tired of hurting my own ears and decided to put the flute away. I heard music again.

I listened and heard beautiful flute music playing. We had 2 videos that would play on repeat, so I decided the music was coming from them. When I checked, it was neither.

After about 5 minutes the music stopped. I have had experiences my whole life. For me this was nothing new. I enjoyed it.

I walked through opening the museum in the mornings and get to the basement and say, “Let’s have some fun today guys,” to our ghostly friends. These were the days I had the most questions.

Most were stories of one horse drawn hurst in particular. This was a beautiful white hurst. I loved seeing it every day. The best story actually got me pretty excited and almost scared.

I had a guest come in one day and we had a sign up for paranormal tours at another museum. It was just before closing time and they had walked up from the basement.

The lady of the couple asked me angrily, “I suppose you expect me to believe this place is haunted!”

I responded, “ma’am I don’t expect you to believe anything, but I will say I have had reports of strange occurrences.” I figured this would be enough to relax her a little. She got even more angry. For the next bit let’s call her G.

G: “WELL I DIDN’T EXPERIENCE ANYTHING!”

Me: “Well I’m sorry to hear that if it’s something you were looking forward to.”

G: “where are these supposed ghosts.”

Me: “I have the most reports of things happening in the corner by the white hurst.”

At this point the she stopped talking, her new dropped and went white. I grinned at her then asked, “What happened?”

She stared for a minute before she replied quietly, “I was taking a picture by that hurst and my camera died. It was fully charged when I came in. If I walk out of this museum and my camera turns back on I will be furious!”

I told her that was not an uncommon complaint, and for her sake, I hoped her camera didn’t turn on. She stepped outside and I locked the door behind them and changed the sign over to “Closed”.

I watched for a second as they went down the stairs and she turned around, glaring at me. Her camera had turned on woth no problems. They walked to their car and I turned to lock up.

Normally I would lock up the upstairs portion of the museum first. This time I went right to the basement. I got to the room with the carriages, that they had just left and the energy in the room was intense.

It was the only time I felt uncomfortable in this room. As I got across the room to the white hurst I heard, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK! It was coming from the front of a carriage.

I walked to the front and heard the same KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, from the back of the carriage. I walked to the back and heard three more knocks from the front. At this point I knew my ghostly friends were mad.

I told them, “calm down guys. I’m sorry she upset you, but she’s gone now. Just have a good night.” Yes, I talked to the ghosts. Why not?

The intense energy in the room lightened after that. I got out of the room as fast as I could and finished closing the museum.

I decided that I needed to pick up a recorder to see if I could get anything on there. I picked up a few things, but nothing major. There were spurred footsteps, wood creaking, and a sound I couldn’t identify.

This was easily the most interesting job I had. I am convinced this place had something going on. I welcomed them and enjoyed them. Why not have someone to talk to on a dead quiet day, right?

Author Interview

I have decided to add a section for author interviews on this page. As a freelance children’s author I know the importance of networking. Each one will be a short typed interview where we discuss current works and share other projects you may have done. I can be contacted through the contact me link below or through facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dan

Morgan Goes Fishing

For a few months I have been working on my first children’s book, Morgan Goes Fishing. It was inspired by a day of fishing with my 3 year old. The excitement she had and the way she played captured what I felt would be relatable to a lot of little girls. She wanted to have an adventure and she wanted to look pretty. I got the pictures in today and think the water color adds a really special effect that helped to set the feel of the story. I am unsure of the release date, but I am excited to get to this stage. And for those who may wonder, she really did kiss her fish before I threw it back.