Posts Tagged ‘childrens literature’

 

I hope you are having an amazing Monday!

Today has been about growth, values and moving forward, full steam ahead! I was so moved by my good friend, Dr. Coyte Cooper PhD. at this summers TEDxHillard, that I officially took my first step towards possibly being on a TEDx stage myself in Evansville, Indiana! Though this is the first step, it is always the step needed to begin growing and moving forward!

As for Barney & Lexi this morning, they are just about ready to make their way to Atlanta, Georgia and to Peachtree Publishers. I’m excited to see what happens and wish them the best of luck!

As I get ready to head in and to the 2-10:30 job, I resolve to keep moving ahead, Full Steam! I’m wishing for you, a wonderful and successful week ahead!

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Here are a couple of videos, I shot before my presentation in Chicago. It was worth its weight in gold to experience this moment and grow from it!

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I finished my week on a new level! I went to Chicago, Illinois, faced every challenge getting there, crushed my presentation and made an impact!

Up at 5:00 a.m. and ready to rock it! Lynden spent the night with me because he went was going with me. I rocked my morning routine of reading and prepping my mind for the day ahead. My mother also went and we rode with her, even ole Jimmy wouldn’t make it to Chicago with out possibly having a breakdown.

With Fiji water in tow, we hit the road for the five hour drive to Chicago! It began quite cool, so much, I put on my running pants. I wore them to Chicago and realized that it was warmer in northern Illinois from where we left from!

The view upon arrival was amazing! The buildings reached into the fog as morning lifted and we made our way to Navy Pier with hours to enjoy the lake before the presentation! I will be returning to the pier after having a great time and great food from Giordano’s on the pier.

No matter where I go, traveling always takes me out of my comfort zone and I enjoy the rewards from taking my career to the next level! There were so many shops and eateries and the smell of Lake Michigan was so serene! If you travel to Chicago, I highly recommend Navy Pier!

 

Then came time to leave the pier and the crazy adventure began! We headed towards the hotel that had been covered for us. After seeing the firsthand, the insane skills it takes to drive in the city, we made it passed Wrigley Field as a game was closing in on beginning and made it to our hotel.

Upon arrival, we discovered that the room reserved for us would not accommodate three people and that their were no other rooms available. This left us with no place to stay, two hours before my presentation. We drove to the nearest gas station and sat for a hour, working on making other arrangements.  With an hour to go, we made our way to Everybody’s Coffee where I was speaking.

The owner of the coffee shop was super cool and let us hang out for the hour before others arrived. We got juice and a bakery item and relaxed for the hour before I used the restroom to change and prepared to rock my presentation. I gave my presentation and crossed the hurdles that came up that I had not planned for during my dry runs with determination and crushed it!

Chicago 22I gave my presentation just as I had rehearsed and when it was over, I had gone to the next level of my career! Dark and in a rougher neighborhood of central Chicago, we loaded up and decided to find lodging just outside of the city. It was an incredible day that grew my character so much and as I laid down that night, I was grateful for the opportunity to rise to the occasion! In life, we can choose to or not to do something, I chose to because regrets are hard to eat on your death bed! Live With Passion!

 

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Today, I completed my outline for my SCBWI presentation in Chicago next month. 10 pages of, what I feel, a well laid out blueprint of what makes my elementary school presentations so successful. Now that it is printed and covered, I’m ready for 27 days of run through to get it down! I’m gonna crush this one come September 14th!!

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Now, the summer vacation for kids around my home is over, it is back to the evening shift at my job. That’s a good thing! I will now have time to travel to schools!! Here we go and I love it!

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I am now 75% through writing my presentation for the SCBWI of Chicago, I am looking into what I need to do to make a photo slide show to play during my speech. Once I have it written, I am going all in on the slideshow!

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I am excited to have my bookmarks and postcards in for Barney & Lexi and they look spot on with my hopes. I am excited to get them out to schools in the U.S. and help give Barney & Lexi more push!

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I woke up to a busy morning, having three orders for Barney & Lexi to go out. Florida, Georgia and Kentucky readers will be receiving their copies this week. Just swung by the post office and got my daily mail sent out.

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Also got an email from Two Tomatoes Records, in appreciation of my gifting copies of Barney & Lexi to them during the trip to Moline with my kids. I was grateful to read the email and thank them for their kindness.

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Welp, off to work. My goal, this being the last year that I work for anyone but myself. Let’s go get it!! Have a great day guys!!!

Just got home from TEDx Hilliard, where Lynden and I had the most amazing time of 2017!

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We made it to Indiana and picked up our rental car, (I love my Jimmy but, at 260,000 miles, wasn’t chancing a breakdown). We packed up and set out across the Midwest for our five hour drive to Columbus, Ohio.

0807171524_HDRThe five hours flew by and before we knew it we had reached our hotel. With the exception of an accident on the bypass in Indy, (which I hope the drive is alright), we were not slowed by construction or weather.

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We arrived at the Marriott and I have to say, that of all of the hotels, this one was splendid! Clean, friendly and accommodating, My trip last month with Ethan and Rylen to Moine, the hotel left me with a checklist for my next trip and this hotel in Hilliard passed with high marks.

Lynden and I took in the spa and got in an hour workout before bed. We both got some of the best sleep that night. Waking refreshed, we took up an invite from friend, Coyte Cooper for lunch before the seminar.

Coyte was one of the speakers for TEDx Hilliard and impactful. One thing I get excited about making friends in a positive circle is that I see bars that must be set to reach my own desires and goals. You get outside of your own element when around others and that is a perfect opportunity to learn from others!

One thing about Columbus, Ohio, the city does not simply fade into the countryside, it is one intersection busy and chaotic and then half a mile down the road is cornfield and patched blacktop road. The ted talk was being held in Bradley Hilliard High School and lived up to the expectations of being a part of the TED seminars family!

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What followed was three hours of being reminded just how powerful the human mind is and what is truly possible! Every speaker brought their best, amazed the audience and made every person think about their true potential! One young lady, Miss Frankie Soleil, used music to battle here enemies and while, not in entirety, the clip below show just how amazing she was!

In all, 13 amazing people made their mark and I am so excited to see Lynden pumped about the experience. We met Coyte backstage and I got both of my books of his that I have read, signed and we wished one another a safe trip back home, ours to Illinois and his to Washington.

0809171015_HDRWe returned to the hotel, got in a 30 minute workout and turned in. Before leaving that morning, I left my mark, hoping that one child will be given a copy of Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville that I left behind. I think reading is so important at any age but especially to young children!

On our way home, Lynden found Badda Bing Pizzeria on Google in the town of Springfield, Ohio. Talk about having flare and an uptown feeling, the calzones we ordered were great and the service and atmosphere were wonderful. We highly recommend Badda Bing Pizzeria to everyone!

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Returning home, I feel my own growth and know that I made moments with my wonderful son that neither of us will forget! Make memories with the ones you love and grow yourself, every chance you get!

 

Back in April, I submitted Barney & Lexi to Kirkus Review for a book review. Kirkus Review is a longstanding organization that gives unbiased reviews on books, looking for a boost from having a favorable review from them. Some books gain positive reviews, while some gain not-so-positive ones. Kirkus Review has earned a reputation over many, many years of being a pulse on books ability to sell in the literary marketplace.

Today, (Monday) my review came back. When I first read the notification, I cleared my mind and told myself, “Regardless of the outcome, I did it and didn’t let doubt hold me back.” Knowing that Kirkus Reviews are straight up and favor no genre, author or any other mean in the literary world, I knew that what they saw in my story could be different from what I saw in it. However, forward progress only moves in one direction, and that next step was to open that review and be proud, regardless.

I read through the review, and when finished, closed my eyes and thank my God above for His favor. Kirkus Review of Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville was positive and while being unbiased, the end result was that Barney & Lexi walked away being considered, good characters.

*Following is two excerpts from the Kirkus Review and for professional purposes, I need to let it be known that in no way, have the excerpts been altered from their original review. *

“Fox (The Adventures of Marky, Slash & Levy, 2014) brings out the personalities of his animal characters well.” – Kirkus Review

“A mild story with good characterization.” – Kirkus Review

Positive reviews from Kirkus Review can often be a boost for any author and is one reason I paid for my review. That’s right, I paid for this review. Kirkus Reveiw builds its reputation as being unbiased but only reviews works done by authors who pay for their services. While it cost me a bit of money for my review, to have a favorable review of Barney & Lexi made the cost irrelevant compared to the benefit of having a review with Kirkus Review after it.

This review is great and I am honored to be given my review for Barney & Lexi, but this review didn’t happen because I paid a service fee and out popped a review. This review came because I spend many, many nights up after everyone else was sound asleep, writing, editing and working hard to bring Barney & Lexi to life. The result of hard work was a great review. The result of believing in my work and not allowing anything stop me from succeeding or, at the very least, learn from the steps I have taken.

I am not sure what it is that you may be thinking of doing in your life, but I want you to know that it is 100% possible. The only thing stopping anyone on this Earth is not their parents, their friends, their boss or the system. Its the person in the mirror…YOU! You are the result of the hard work or lack of work you put in. If I had sat around at home an thought, “Oh man, $450.00 is too much for a simple review,” then I would have never done it. What I did believe is that, “This 450.00 review could lead into a career, earning $850,000 a year.”

The truth is, most times, the people closest to you will not always see your dream the way you see it. You may start out and feel your all alone. I can’t begin to tell you what 12 years out of 14 was like when no one knew my name or could even guess close to it. If your willing to put in the late nights, the early mornings, if your willing to go all in, despite the naysayers, it will happen. It may not happen in six months, it may not happen in a year, (in fact, mine beginning to see the light has taken almost 14 years,) but if you put in the hard work, the result will be ultimately your dream come true!

In one week, Lynden and I will be on our way to Columbus to sit in on TEDx hillard. My good friend, Coyte G. Cooper PhD. will be speaking at TEDx for the first time. In a seminar of positive mindsets and elevated focus for achieving success. I am proud to support Coyte in what will be the first of many presentations given at these events. I’m proud to have spent the last year and a half learning from Coyte and taking my own success to an entirely new level!

Part of that level has been seeing signs everywhere as I work hard to succeed. Today, one sign revealed itself! As you know, I will be presenting to the SCBWI in Chicago September 14th. This is the largest organization for children’s book writers in the country and hand down, so very generous. I was informed that as part of my presentation, the SCBWI will be renewing my membership for next year! That’s $100.00, just for showing up and doing what I love doing! Success is not always a dollar in the hand but reward of value given at the climax of hard work paying off.

What ever you are wanting in your life, chase it and make it your reality. You really can have what you want!

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