Author Assistant Services

Are you an author in need of help and looking for an assistant on a full-time, part-time, or as-needed basis? Well, then I'm your gal! Learn more about the services I provide HERE.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Picture Book Round-Up

I have some fantastic new and upcoming picture books to share today! Little A (my four year old niece) and I both enjoyed each of these charming and wonderfully illustrated books...

Cookiesaurus Rex
By Amy Fellner Dominy & Nate Evans
Illustrated by A.G. Ford
September 26, 2017
As soon as Cookiesaurus Rex comes out of the oven, he declares that he is King of All Cookies. He should be frosted before all of the standard-shaped cookies, in a nice bright green. But the other cookies are getting sprinkles, or shiny stars, or even gumdrops . . . WAIT ONE STINKIN' STOMPIN' MINUTE! Cookiesaurus wants a do-over. Problem is, he might not end up with the kind of "do" he wants. Readers will love the funny back-and-forth between this cheeky cookie and the hand that frosts him. See who gets his licks in at the end!

Bruce’s Big Move
(Bruce #3)
By Ryan T. Higgins
September 26, 2017
After the events of Hotel Bruce, the curmudgeonly bear shares his home with not only his four geese, but three rowdy mice besides! Fed up with their shenanigans, Bruce sets off to find a rodent-free household. But as usual, nothing goes quite according to plan. . .

Twinderella: A Fractured Fairytale
By Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated by Deborah Marcero
Setember 5, 2017
G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFRY
Have you heard the story of Cinderella? Well, you don't know the half of it.

Cinderella had a twin sister, Tinderella. They each did half the housework, half the mending, and half the mean step-sister tending. But when they meet only one prince, what will they do?

Ruby Rose, Big Bravos
By Rob Sanders
Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
August 29, 2017
Harper Collins
Ruby Rose has a fantastic idea—a dance recital! But when Ruby Rose untangles her tights, fits her costume, creates the tickets, and makes her way onto the stage, it turns out the audience is caught in the rain! Oh no! Will Ruby Rose let a little thunder and lightning ruin her performance? With some swirling and twirling (and her best friend, Bearishnikov), Ruby Rose finds a way o star in the best recital ever!

Go Go Gorillas ( a romping bedtime tale)
By Patrick Wensink
Illustrated by Nate Wragg
August 22, 2017
Harper Collins
Ever wonder who the life of the safari is? It's go-go-gorillas!

All safari guide Jungle Jed wants is for the gorillas to go to sleep, but after they brush their teeth and comb their fur, it's an all-out jungle boogie, complete with baby gorilla doing the robot.

Brought to life with colorful and dynamic illustrations by Nate Wragg and bouncy text by Patrick Wensink, Go Go Gorillas is the perfect read-aloud. Fans of Giraffes Can’t Dance will giggle along at the silly antics of these not-so-sleepy gorillas in this lively, rhyming bedtime tale.

Through Your Eyes: My Child’s Gift To Me
By Ainsley Earhardt
Illustrated by Ji-Hyuk Kim
November 7, 2017
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Take Heart, My Child and popular FOX news anchor Ainsley Earhardt comes a sweet new book that celebrates everyday wonders and miracles.

Ainsley Earhardt reflects on her experiences as a mother and viewing wonders of the world through a child’s eyes in this stunning follow up to Take Heart, My Child. So often as we race through life, we need the wisdom and perspective of a child to remind us what is important and what should be celebrated and remembered: the everyday joys and miracles and simple pleasures of life. Our children teach us and awaken our own inner child.

*I received copies of the titles above for review and feature purposes.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Laurel Gale, author of the middle-grade Monster, Human, Other

I'm so excited to have author Laurel Gale here today, chatting about her new middle-grade, Monster, Human, Other...

Monster, Human, Other
By Laurel Gale
September 19, 2017
Crown BFYR
Wren is human. Isaac is not. Having switched places at birth, they now live with each other’s families. Growing up among a different species is difficult—for Isaac, who has to keep many secrets, and for Wren, who is teased for her lousy human senses. They’re told it’s necessary, though. The exchange is the first step in an ambassador program meant to ensure peace.

But not everyone wants peace. There are creatures that live deep underground, coming up to the surface to feed. For them, war means food. They have a plan to stir up trouble, and so far, it’s working. In the end, it’s up to Wren and Isaac to prevent a war and to save both their kinds. 

Q1. What three words best describe your new novel, MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER?

Unusual fantasy adventure.

Q2. Grab a copy of MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER and answer the following:
Favorite chapter?21

Favorite page? 210

Favorite setting? The burrow

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
The thing had left, but it would return. Its entrance had been blocked, but it could find another.

Q3. What inspired MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER? How did the story come to be?

I was thinking about living in different cultures, and how that can be both interesting and challenging. But I gravitate toward fantasy, so as I developed this idea, it became different species, not just cultures, and I added other frightening creatures and a looming war.

Q4. Can you tell us a bit about your characters Isaac and Wren? What makes them special and what do you love about them?

Isaac is a clepsit—a humanoid creature with a tail and other characteristics that humans don’t have—living in human society. Only a few humans know of the clepsits, so he has to keep his identity a secret. Because his appearance changes drastically every spring and fall, he also has to move twice a year. Many people in his situation would just give up and resign themselves to being lonely, but he keeps going out there and making new friends, even though he knows he’s going to have to leave them soon.

Wren is a human growing up in clepsit society. All the clepsits know about her, and they tend to have very strong opinions of humans. Many see humans as weak and destructive, and she’s determined to prove she’s not.

Q5. What do you hope young readers learn or walk away with after reading MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER?

Well, most of all, I want young readers to think it’s an exciting tale. But I hope they also pick up on the idea that it’s not good to rush to judgements about other groups. Any group has both bad and good individuals, and even the ones that seem bad might have reasons for their actions. Few individuals are truly evil. Most just want to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Q6. If you could be ANY monster/mythical creature or being, what would you be and why?

At first, I thought about saying I’d want to be a mermaid, but then I remembered that the ocean kind of terrifies me. Live next to sharks and giant squid? No thanks.

Then I decided to make a list of criteria. I’d like to be something intelligent and possibly humanoid. (Hybrids are fine.) Magical powers would be great. The ability to fly would be a bonus.

Next, I started listing mythical creatures. I consulted some resources to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything.

Finally, I compared the two lists and decided I’d be happiest as a fairy.

Q7. Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at juggling ferrets. Okay, I don’t actually juggle them, but when they’re trying to find trouble (something they’re awesome at), and I’m trying to keep them away from trouble, it can feel like it.

I’m really embarrassed to admit I’m afraid of moths. Actually, this is nothing to be embarrassed of. Moths are horrible and everyone should fear them.

The last great book I read was The Wild Robot. I just finished this and found it charming.

Q8. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

It’s lemon and blueberry with poppy seeds. It needs to have three distinct elements, and I like the poppy seeds for the voracans. Let’s call it the trifecta.

Laurel Gale lives with her husband and their own tiny monsters—also known as ferrets—in Vancouver, Washington. She is also the author of Dead Boy, which Reading Rainbow called "a magical and mythical story of loneliness, courage, friendship, and living life to the fullest—even when you aren't technically 'alive.'" You can find her at or on Twitter as @laurel_gale.

Win a signed, hardcover copy of 
Monster, Human, Other!
Laurel has generously offered one signed copy for one winner.
-US/CAN only
-ends 9/25/17
-the winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes in the mail

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends Giveaway Tour

The Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends Giveaway Tour is stopping by today! This tour is sponsored by Mila Svetnikov and hosted by The Children's Book Review...

Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends
Written by L.B. O’Milla

Little Yaga is a teenage forest dweller. She is unhappy because, unlike other foresters, she cannot howl or roar, and both of her legs are human-like. There have been rumors that Scraggard the Immortal, a powerful and ruthless Ruler of The Forest, is not exactly immortal. He is sustained on the energy of humans.

When he lures Ashley, a human teenager, into The Forest, Little Yaga, feeling sorry for this weird creature, helps her escape. Infuriated, Scraggard sends Little Yaga and her best friend Kikimra to the human town to bring Ashley back. The forest girls, stunned by technological “miracles” of humans, believe them to be as powerful as the Immortal himself. Unwillingly, Little Yaga and Kikimra become instrumental in Scraggard’s pursuit to recapture Ashley. Distressed by her disappearance, Ashley’s boyfriend and her brother manage to sneak into The Forest. Combining their efforts with Little Yaga and her forest friends, the teenagers embark on a perilous journey to rescue Ashley and save The Forest from Scraggard’s malevolent reign. As Little Yaga discovers the secrets of her forest home and her own origins, she comes into contact with creatures and settings straight out of Russian fables and mythology.

Available Here:

Illustrations from Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends

L.B. O’Milla was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and loved to read and write from an early age. When she was 26 years old, she with her husband and daughter fled the country escaping the ethnic and religious persecution. She arrived to America as a refuge.

In the US, O’Milla graduated from NYU and worked as a physical therapist while raising her family, but she never gave up her love of writing. Having grown up in a family that exposed her to the arts, literature, and music, O’Milla enjoyed Russian folklore and its characters.
She studied and mastered English, so that her first book could be written in the language of her new country. O’Milla’s novel, Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, mixes Russian folklore with the American tech that her own children love.

In her spare time, O’Milla enjoys reading, writing, attending Metropolitan Opera performances and off Broadway shows, spending time with friends and family, and participating in outdoor activities. She lives in New Jersey. Now widowed, her biggest supporters are her children and her sister. O’Milla is at work on a sequel containing more adventures of Little Yaga.

Author links

Enter to win an autographed copy of  Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, by L.B. O’Milla, and a $25 Visa gift card.
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, signed by L.B. O’Milla
  • A $25 Visa gift card
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A copy of Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, signed by L.B. O’Milla
Giveaway begins September 9, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 9, 2017, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Prizes provided by Mila Svetnikov.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
LitPick Student Book Reviews
icefairy's Treasure Chest
Denise Mealy
Word Spelunking
The Fairview Review
The Lovely Books

Friday, September 15, 2017

Put Me In The Story & Sesame Street's Messy Blog Tour (review & giveaway)

I'm thrilled to help Put Me In The Story celebrate their newest personalized Sesame Street Book, 
Sesame Street: The Messy Alphabet...

$34.99 hardcover personalized book
$19.99 paperback personalized book

A is for applesauce dripped down the wall.
B is for birthday cake wrecked by a ball.
C is for cookies all covered in goo.
D is for doughnuts all frosted with glue.

Join Elmo, Oscar, and the rest of your Sesame Street friends as they splat, splash, crash, and dash their way through the Messy Alphabet Book!

Oscar the Grouch is tired of the same old ABCs. They’re too predictable, too perfect, too clean. In his version, your child finds out that G stands for gooey, M stands for mud-coated, and S stands for slimy (yuck!). Your kiddo will have a blast learning their ABCs in this silly, scribbled take on alphabet books.

Personalize Messy Alphabet Book with your little one’s name, photo, and a dedication message to remind them that sometimes learning is a little messy. At the end of the book, your child can decorate their initials using all the tricks they learned from their Sesame Street pals!

$34.99 hardcover personalized book
$19.99 paperback personalized book

All your favorite Sesame Street friends have gathered together to celebrate YOU!

Show your little star how special they truly are—with the help of Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and more!

There’s nobody else in the whole world just like you—someone who can do all the things that you do! Your friends over on Sesame Street are here to tell you just how unique you and your gifts are.

The perfect storybook to shine the spotlight on your one-of-a-kind cutie! Personalize this book with a special child’s name on the front cover and throughout the story. You can also include a photo and special message on a dedication page.

$34.99 hardcover personalized book
$19.99 paperback personalized book

Show your little one the many ways you love them with the help of your friends over on Sesame Street!

There are lots of ways to say “I love you,” but it’s how you share and show it that matter most! The sweetest book to share every day of the year, I Love You Just Like This! brings parent and child close and cozy together in a special storytime experience to spread some love. Often, always, and time and time again, this personalized book will show your little one how much you love them… just like this! Personalize the story with your child’s name, photo, and a special message with lots of love on the dedication page!

$34.99 hardcover personalized book
$19.99 paperback personalized book

Welcome to “Let’s Make a Friend!,” hosted by everyone’s favorite game show host, Guy Smiley. Today’s contestant on the show is Elmo! Elmo answers questions about friendship from a team of panelists, and involves your child in his thoughts on different friendship scenarios. When the third judge, Cookie Monster, rushes off stage in search of cookies, your child steps in as the surprise guest judge! This book will get your little one thinking about what it takes to be a good friend. Watch your kiddo's face light up when they realize that Elmo’s winning prize is a hug from them!

I received a copy of this book for review purposes

In Put Me In the Story's newest personalized Sesame Street book, Sesame Street: The Messy Alphabet, everybody's favorite grump, Oscar the Grouch, teaches little readers their ABC's in a hilarious and deliciously messy way!

This certainly isn't your average ABC's WAY more fun! Through charming and giggle-inducing rhymes, Oscar uses silly, icky, messy objects to teach the ABC's and all your favorite Sesame Street characters join in the irresistible antics. Each page is brightly illustrated, with wonderfully colorful and engaging kid-friendly illustrations that will have readers laughing out loud, and each character is sweetly brought to life. Little readers will not only learn their ABC's, but will have a blast doing so. And once readers finish Oscar's lesson, they can messily color their own initials provided at the end of the book.

Of course, just like any awesome Put Me In the Story book, Sesame Street: The Messy Alphabet, features fantastic personalized details throughout the book (your little reader's name on the front, picture, and dedication). My preschool aged niece absolutely loved seeing her name and picture alongside beloved Sesame Street characters.

For those seeking an out-of-the-box way to engage little readers and get the excited about their ABC's, Sesame Street: The Messy Alphabet is the perfect reading choice!

Win a personalized book bundle and plush Elmo from Put Me In The Story!

runs 9/11/17 - 9/22/17

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Open to legal residents of USA who are 18 years or older. Giveaway begins September 11, 2017 at 12:01am and ends September 22, 2017 at 11:59pm (“Promotion Period”). Enter the Giveaway during the Promotion Period online by submitting the entry form. The entry form can be found on the following website at . Winner will be selected by and be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. ONE (1) winner will receive ONE (1) Sesame Street Personalized Book Bundle and Plush (approximate retail value or "ARV": $155). By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to Put Me In The Story. Put Me In The Story does not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of this giveaway. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are in no way associated with this giveaway.