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Monday, September 26, 2016

Guest Post and Giveaway: Roger Ziegler, author of Hannah Grace and the Dragon Codex


Hannah Grace and The Dragon Codex
(Book 1: Hansu Chathri)
by Roger Ziegler
May 12, 2016

When an ancient book of wisdom is stolen, 11-year-old Hannah Grace and her karate besties must discover their true powers and rescue the book before Big Evil takes over the Universe.

Magic, positivity, adventure (and a sumo wrestling guinea pig), await readers in the first book of this coming of age fantasy series. It's perfect for all kids who love to get lost in worlds of wonder and imagination.

Every day after school, Hannah Grace does her homework and practices karate with her father John. But one morning when Hannah wakes from a strange dream where she sees an ancient and mysterious book, she's more than a little shocked when her dad reveals an amazing secret; it's The Dragon Codex, the most powerful book ever created and he needs Hannah to find it before Big Evil gets it and takes over the Universe!

Suddenly, Hannah, who can barely remember her homework, is thrown into a much larger world of magic and danger--and a whole lot of people are counting on her.

Hannah's got it covered though. Actually, she has no idea what to do, but she's not giving up just yet.

Filled with mysteries, demons and a sumo wrestling guinea pig, Hannah Grace and The Dragon Codex is a fun, thrill-ride adventure about discovering the power inside you.



How Kids Can Stop Thinking and Make Better Life Choices
by Roger Ziegler

Dreaming and imagination are fundamental to solving practical problems, in school, at home or in the office. Both big problems and everyday ones.
One of the challenges the lead character in my book Hannah Grace and The Dragon Codex faces, is how does she know she’s making the right decision?
She wants to do good, be good, but how do you know? For Hannah it comes down to trusting her imagination and heart. When she does this, things usually go well, when she doesn’t, they go kerflewy.
So what is Hannah learning? In everyday life when we don’t know the answer we usually say, “let me think about it,” or we encourage kids to “think hard” to find a solution. But this kind of problem solving is like using a hamster on a running wheel to power a jet plane.
As the great scientist and mystic Albert Einstein said, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”
We need more fire power to make better decisions and life choices. Where do we get it? From our heart and our gut. Our feeling and sensing centers.
One of the greatest pleasures of my life as a child, and now, is playing with my imagination, feeling out a situation. When I do, it makes my writing much better and my daily life easier.
When we connect the triangle of heart, gut and mind to make decisions, we engage our “Power Trio” and make better life choices.
These skills are not only for adults; they are essential for children. And great news, kids are usually naturals at this. We only need to encourage them to go in the direction they’re already heading.
Getting kids out of our adult habit just “thinking about it,” is one of the best things we can teach them.
Encouraging children to make decisions using their heart, mind and gut “Power Trio,” may help when they’re 20 or 30 or 40 years old and in a crisis. They’ll have developed skills and won’t need to reach for a self-help book that tells them to engage their heart and gut more.
Stop thinking. You’ll be better off. As the great sage Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.”
So then, what do you do instead?
How To Make Better Decisions By Not Thinking About It
ASK, “HOW DOES IT FEEL?” INSTEAD OF “WHAT DO YOU THINK?”
Kids are experts in expressing their feelings and playing with their imaginations. Imagination, in my experience, comes mostly from a feeling, not from our heads.
Instead of only “thinking hard” about a solution to a math or science or English problem, make it a game. Ask the child to look at the big picture. Have them compare the problem or the situation to something in their own life. An event, their family, things they have or want. Let them use their big picture skills to solve the problem.
BE HERE NOW
It’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Become aware of what is actually happening right now. Not what you think is happening, or what you wish was happening, but what is actually taking place.
Take a moment to stop your thoughts and notice, just notice, what you see and hear and experience that. This alone can bring about an awareness of options that weren’t there before.
Kids are generally much better at this than adults. Usually, all you need to say to a child is, “stop thinking for a moment,” and they usually get it.
Older kids already conditioned to “think about it,” make take more training.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Another cliché and yet, still one of the best ways to stop yourself and kids from over-thinking and making bad choices.
A simple deep breath in and longer breath out, can do wonders to stop the chattering mind and cool the situation. Give peace a chance, bro!
VISUALIZE
Cliché number 3? See and imagine your success as having already taken place before you begin. See yourself making the basket before you take the shot. What does it look like and feel like?
Imagine organizing the numbers correctly before you solve the math problem. And then practice this. These things, like anything worth having, take time.
Just because you imagine yourself sinking the basket doesn’t mean it will happen the first time or every time. But I’m betting it will happen much more often than if you don’t imagine that it already happened.
Which leads us to the next better decision skill for children.
DON’T QUIT
We all face obstacles when doing something new or even when we’ve done it 10,000 times. Allow yourself to make mistakes and keep going.
Discouraging children when they are beginning something new, is the biggest killer of success and imagination in my opinion.
KEEP IT A GAME
This is fun. If we turn the above steps into dry, boring, abstract lessons, we’ve missed the point. The goal here is to let our heart feelings and gut senses play free. Your true feelings will always result in more fun and enjoyment, and better results for you and the people around you.
In my book Hannah learns this, after many, many struggles to fight it.
I’ll end with our friend Einstein; “When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”
Just something to think about. Or not.

Roger long ago rejected the sensible (and sane), advice of his parents to be a lawyer or doctor and became a writer instead. He's been a journalist, taxi driver, actor, theater producer, collection agent and so much more!
He's received writing awards from the New York State Press Association and the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Roger coauthored the Amazon "best" selling humorous self-help book Pee On It and Walk Away: How to Deal with Difficult People. Life Lessons from Superdog Abby, www.peeandwalk.com.
Roger is a third-degree black belt in Seido karate and has a wonderful, magical nine-year-old daughter. Roger likes fudge.
This is his debut novel.  Website * Facebook


Win 1 of 3 copies of 
Hannah Grace and the Dragon Codex!
Roger has generously offered up three copies for three winners.
-US only
-ends 10/3/16
-three winners will each get one copy
-winners will be emailed and must claim prizes within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Penguin Problems Review Tour



Penguin Problems
from Jory John and Lane Smith
September 27, 2016
Random House BFYR
Source: from pub for review
A penguin levels with human readers about what penguin life is really like—and it isn’t all fun and games.
Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it’s a land free of worries and responsibilities! All of your problems will surely be blown away by the icy winds of that lawless paradise! . . . Won’t they?
Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no more a picnic than yours is here. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol’ crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you.
Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we’ve just learned that grumps are everywhere. . . .


Praise for Penguin Problems
“Well-paced, bursting with humor, and charmingly misanthropic.”—Kirkus Reviews starred review

“The temperature may be below freezing, but the snark level is cranked up high
in this collaboration between funnymen John and Smith.”— Horn Bookstarred review


Penguin Problems, from Jory John and Lane Smith, follows one honest and less than satisfied little penguin, as he explains to readers why life as a penguin isn't all cuteness and fluff. From too much snow, to predators in the too salty ocean, and the tricky situation of looking like every other penguin, our disgruntled narrator has lots of problems.

Penguin Problems is a charming picture book that will have little readers laughing. Jory John and Lane Smith create a humorously, slightly snarktastic voice that is both clever and relatable. With sparse, yet entertaining text, Penguin Problems creates an engaging and delightful encounter between the cute penguin narrator and readers. The penguins complaints are over-the-top silly, but readers will totally understand that universal feeling of  "I kinda hate everything today and want everyone to know it". The fun, captivating illustrations, with their soft colors, lively action, and expressive characters, are the perfect companion to the amusing story.

With its laugh-out-loud text, eye-catching illustrations, and message of appreciating what you have, Penguin Problems is a sweet and fun picture book read!


JORY JOHN (@joryjohn) is an author, a journalist, and an educator living in Portland, Oregon. Jory is the creator and coauthor of the bestselling All My Friends Are Dead, which has sold more than 200,000 copies. For 10 years, Jory worked as a seasonal camp counselor at a performing arts and circus camp, where he taught songwriting, guitar, juggling, and writing.

LANE SMITH has written and illustrated a bunch of projects including the 2012 Caldecott Honor book, Grandpa Greenwich.  His books have been New York Times Best Illustrated Books on four occasions and in 2012 The Eric Carle Museum named him an Honor Artist for "lifelong innovation in the field of children's books." In addition, he  received the Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement award in 2014.







Friday, September 23, 2016

Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk Birthday Celebration Blog Tour


This blog tour and giveaway are sponsored by M.M. Allen and Deborah Wynne and hsosted by The Children's Book Review.


Highly praised classic fairy tale, Wishapick Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk, a children’s book for all ages, written by acclaimed author MM Allen; and a CD of Wishapick Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk soundtrack composed by the talented Deborah Wynne.
Darkness-utter blackness. Was this why his mother had refused to let Jack unlock his father’s old trunk? It had been two years since his dad had died, and all Jack could think about was examining whatever treasures were stored inside the beloved trunk. But when he finally lifted the lid, he didn’t just fall in –he fell through it into a pit of rattlesnakes. Trying to recall his mother’s stories about the Breathe of All Good Things –anything to help him out of his dangerous predicament-Jack wished he had paid attention rather than mock the tales as childish myths… and that he’d waited to enter the trunk with his sister, Lilly. They could have at least faced this together. Jack quickly learns two things; the villagers in Wishapick think Jack is the only one who can bring light back to Wishapick –and accomplishing this feat is the only way he can return home.
Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk is available on Amazon.


About M. M. Allen
M. M. Allen, author of the acclaimed children’s picture book Let’s Play Ball, is the mother of two adult children and aunt to twenty-three nieces and nephews, including ten great-nieces and great-nephews. MM is a former teacher and university lecturer. She has also worked extensively in marketing and communications with varied businesses and non-profits. MM lives in a picturesque northern California town where she enjoys writing, tending to her rose garden, and caring for her West Highland terrier, Pip.
About Deborah Wynne
Composer and lyricist Deborah Wynne created a companion CD of songs to accompany Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk. Wynne’s primary talents lie in choral singing, stage musicals, and composing. Her musical projects include the 2013 album Strands of Gold and 2007 musical Moment of Truth. She is an active singer and composer in Santa Barbara, California, where she lives with her husband and their two shelties, Sparkle and Gracie.
Learn More About Wishapick
Wishapick Soundtrack Be sure to check out the companion music CD, Wishapick, for purchase or download from DeborahWynne.com
Book Club Questions Get to the heart of Wishapick by downloading this set of book club questions: Wishapick by M. M. Allen: Book Club Questions

OFFICIAL LINKS

One (1) Winner Receives The Grand Prize:
  • An autographed copy of Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk
  • A CD of the Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk soundtrack
  • A Fitbit Alta
Value: $153.77
Four (4) Winners Receive:
  • An autographed copy of Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk
  • A CD of the Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk soundtrack
Value: $23.82

Giveaway begins September 23, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 23, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to US and Canadian addresses only.
Prizes and samples provided by M.M. Allen and Deborah Wynne

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