Monday, April 16, 2018

My First Book Review!

More exciting news! I have just received my FIRST EVER review of one of my books!

The School Library Journal provided a review of the Understanding the Basics series offered by The Child's World, in which my book How to Read Scratch Computer Code is included.

Here is the review, which  you can also check out here if you click on the Reviews tab: https://childsworld.com/shop/show/6944


A Review of "Understanding the Basics" in School Library Journal

These guides develop skill sets that are easily transferable to schoolwork, home life, and future jobs. In Calendars and Clocks, digital takes a backseat to analog for a truly introductory lesson about units of time using a familiar clockface with three hands. The back-to-basics focus covers a great deal of terminology, and the individual authors are consistent in offering a rigorous level of detail. Nutrition Labels, for example, not only explains what protein, calcium, fat, and carbs are, but matches photos of common food sources and how the body uses them to best advantage. Scratch Computer Code will walk junior techies through step-by-step screenshots of sprites and blocks. Color-coded vocabulary in text matches glossary colors, and readers are quizzed at the end as a self-check for understanding. VERDICT Interdisciplinary and timeless enough to ensure a long shelf life. A fine addition to early nonfiction collections.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

TWO Bits of Writing News

I'm back with more writing news.

First, my first physical book, How to Read Scratch Computer Code, is now available on the Child's World website! I'm so excited for people to have the opportunity to get it. It's a great introduction to the world of Scratch programming for young kids ages 6-9.




The book is part of The Child's World Understanding the Basics series, which includes How to Read Nutrition Labels and How to Read Clocks and Calendars.

I'm including links with info about the book, the entire series, and the publisher again in case anyone wants to order it.

How to Read Scratch Computer Code:
http://childsworld.com/shop/show/6944

The Understanding the Basics series:
http://childsworld.com/shop/show/7085

The Child's World:
http://childsworld.com/about

You can also order it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or through your favorite independent bookstore. Also, feel free to mention it to your local libraries and schools so they can stock it too.


Second, I have a BRAND NEW book available at the Reading A-Z website called I Collect That, co-written with Elizabeth Jane Pustilnik. It is an early reader book for kids age 7 (level N) that talks about the concept of collections and some interesting and odd things people like to collect.


The book is also available at the H and K levels. You can find it at the Reading A-Z website, here:

https://www.readinga-z.com/books/leveled-books/book/?id=3481



While I'm shamelessly plugging things, check out my past books as well, here:

The Variety Show, an anthology of short stories for kids ages 6-7, created by members of my writing group, The Magic Story Makers. My short story, "Conjuring Up Trouble", is included inside.



At Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Variety-Show-Magic-Story-Makers/dp/150059802X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522084135&sr=1-2&keywords=The+Variety+Show



I'm the Small One, an early reader for kids age 7 (level P), about Sophie's frustration with being small and how she learns that being small may not be so bad after all.


The book is a multilevel reading book for younger kids as well (levels J and M).

At Reading A-Z:

https://www.readinga-z.com/books/leveled-books/book/?id=3351



There's more to come! What? you ask. Well... here's a hint... you can put my name in amazon.com and see what comes up... but I'll report more on that later, when I have more info.

Thanks for following and for all your support!

Friday, February 2, 2018

My Second Children's Book - or, When Two Worlds Collide

You know the old writing adage - Write what you know? Well, I decided to do that this time, and here's the end result. My second children's book!



And here's the proud author.



And here are a few links with info about the book and the publisher.

How to Read Scratch Computer Code:
http://childsworld.com/shop/show/6944

The Understanding the Basics series:
http://childsworld.com/shop/show/7085

Some info about The Child's World:
http://childsworld.com/about


When the idea for this book was presented to me, I couldn't pass it up. Here was a chance to write about something I knew a lot about - programming. Although Scratch is a language I was only familiar with and had never used before, it was very easy to learn, and my own knowledge of programming concepts guided me along the way in my research.

I suppose it was inevitable that my two careers would collide. I've been in the software business professionally since 1993, but I was using computers long before that. And writing even before that, since elementary school. When I first starting using computers, one of the things I loved to do was talk to people from around the state on BBSs (bulletin board systems, the precursors to the internet and the WWW as we know them today). Many of my early stories were posted on Drag-Net, a BBS run out of Burrillville, RI. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who has read them), only a couple of those stories survived. Unless the SysOp somehow manages to resurrect the BBS server someday. ** hint hint, John, if you're reading **

If I have one lesson to pass along about this strange journey I'm on, it's this - never give up on ANY of your passions. You never know when they might come to fruition. And they may even become intertwined someday in unique ways.

More to come, so stick around!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I've Been Anthologized!

Time for some more writing news. I've been anthologized! (I've always wanted to be part of an anthology.) 

I belong to a children's writing group, and we've put together an anthology of children's stories that is now available from Amazon! This book is perfect for children ages 4-8 and has a variety of stories inside, showcasing the talents of our group. Read below for some additional details, and keep watching the blog for more writing news. Yes, there's more coming!
--
Need a GIFT IDEA for a child 4 to 8 years old?
Local Writers Group Publishes Children’s Anthology
Young readers will find mystery, mischief, and magic woven into The Variety Show, an original anthology of twenty-two stories and poems published by a group of local authors and artists who call themselves The Magic Story Makers. Illustrated with full color pictures, photographs, and cartoons, this compact collection provides opportunities for read-aloud fun as well as quiet time independent reading. Many members of The Magic Story Makers are affiliated with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the international professional organization whose standards provide the basis for the writing and artwork featured in The Variety Show.
The Variety Show (Magic Story Makers) is available for purchase at Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Variety-Show-Magic-Sto…/…/ref=sr_1_1…) or from any of the local authors and illustrators: Pat Blackman, Margo Lemieux, and Nadine Mullins (all from Mansfield), Daryl Enos (Norton), George Kulz (Cumberland, RI), Donna Morin(Wrentham), Jennifer O’Keefe (Taunton), Charlotte Sheer (Foxboro), Nancy Tupper Ling (Walpole), and Licia Rando (Sharon).
Proceeds will be used to fund the donation of author/illustrator-autographed copies to children whose families are being supported by Hurricane Relief organizations.
PHOTO>L to R seated:Nadine Mullins, George Kulz
Standing: Charlotte Sheer, Pat Blackman, Licia Rando, Nancy Tupper-Ling


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cue Big Announcement Music!

Hi all.

I know, I know. I've been absent once again. But this time I have good reason. See, I have some exciting news.

*Cue Big Announcement Music*  




















It may have something to do with the first book I've ever had published.

Yes, you heard me right.

MY.

FIRST.

BOOK.

*Cue Confetti*


















OK, maybe not the confetti.

So, details. My first book is called I'm the Small One. It's being distributed by Reading A-Z in e-book format. Reading A-Z is a company that supplies downloadable leveled readers and other educational material for teachers, educators, and parents geared toward kids grades K-6. It's a great program, and I'm happy to be a part of it.

So, without further ado, here is the cover of my very first children's book:
















And here is a link to my book on the Reading A-Z site:

https://www.readinga-z.com/books/leveled-books/book/?id=3350

A quick synopsis of the story:

I'm the Small One is the story of Sophie, a second-grader who feels frustrated because she is so small. After hating her size and failing in her attempts to grow faster, she finally learns that being small has its good points.

For those of you who are educators or that may be interested in subscribing to their service to get access to leveled readers, the link above will bring you to my book on their site, and you can find more information on Reading A-Z from there.

It's been quite a journey to get here, and this is a happy first stop, but it's not over yet! I've been incredibly busy lately, in case you haven't noticed, and there's a very good reason for that. Stay tuned for more news that's coming. And thanks for those of your who have been following me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Like a Boomerang - I'm Back!

Hi all

It seems that life takes out a flyswatter every so often and whacks me upside the head, and when I finally come to, months have passed. But fear not. I'm just giving this quick update to let you know that I'm still around and still writing.

At the beginning of the year, I set some new goals for myself. I put aside all my old writing and resolved to write one new piece of writing per month and to work on one brand spanking new book this year. 

So how am I doing? 

So far, the one new piece of writing a month - which I'm referring to as George's year of half-baked ideas - is working out swimmingly. I've even had one month where I wrote more than one. None of those pieces will win any awards, even if you set the bar REALLY low (with a couple exceptions, which I'll go into in a minute), but the work is getting done, which is the most important thing.

As for the book, well, that's a whole other story. I DO have an idea. I've had it kicking around for a long time but didn't know what to do with it. Then I attended the Writing in Reverse workshop given by K. R. Conway (https://capecodscribe.com) at the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators spring conference, and suddenly it opened my eyes to a whole new way of approaching my novel idea. It also forced me to point out some problems I've been creating for myself when writing novels in the past. Now granted, the techniques I learned are more in line with a "plotter" type of writer, and I consider myself more of a "pantser", but I'm hoping that a combination of these two disciplines will be the way to go. The notes I took at this conference will definitely help me get there. Even though I haven't technically started my new novel yet, there's also National Novel Writing Month coming up in November, and if I can get the "plotter" stuff out of the way before then, I'll be free to write by the seat of my pants like I normally do. 

One final thing. Back to the one piece of writing a month thing. Not all of my new ideas are in the rough draft, unsubmittable state. I decided to submit two of the pieces, both of them non-fiction geared toward 3rd-4th graders, as part of a submission package to a publisher where I was hoping for an opportunity for some write-for-hire type of work - another first for me. The editor who reviewed my work loved my writing, so now I'm (hopefully) in the rotation for new work that might come! For now, I'll leave out the details until something more concrete happens, but it did help to justify my decision to come up with some new, fresh ideas for this year.

That is all for now. I'm off to buzz around a bit more and avoid the flyswatters so that I can come back for another report soon. Also, I have a huge backlog of books to review for George's Backlogged Book Reviews page, which I'll hopefully be getting to soon as well. So stay tuned!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cover Reveal for Death of an Assassin by Ian Hiatt

Hi all

Author Ian Hiatt is busy working on release info for his first novel, Death of an Assassin, which will be out June 16th of this year, so he'll be guest blogging closer to that time.  

In the meantime, I am including the description and the cover reveal of his new book here, along with info on the author, so you can check out more upcoming details and news directly from him.

So, without further ado, here is the cover of Ian Hiatt's new book, Death of an Assassin.





 



How cool is that? And if you think the cover is awesome, the description will hook you even more. This one's definitely going on my To Read list:


Description:

Technically, Layla hasn't killed anyone. Ask the witnesses. It was a misstep here, a trip-and-fall there—accidents happen.

And Layla is paid very well to ensure that they do.

Her mother once traced their lineage back to ancient times. Go flip throughThe Odyssey. Some great-great-great grandmother is in there beckoning sailors to rocky deaths. For eons her kind has made it their business to bring hapless men to quick and messy ends. Layla can't help it that Saint Roch City has job listings for someone who can cause blameless death. You go where the work is.

When the most difficult hit of her career goes sideways, Layla finds out that what she's been told about her own history may not be so accurate. And there is no forgiveness in the business of assassinations. When you're paid to kill someone, there better be a dead body.

Either the mark's—or yours.



If you would like to learn more info about Ian Hiatt and follow his journey to publication, or if you would like to know where you can find his book, you can check out his bio, where I've included information on where else he can be found on the Internets:


Bio:

Ian Hiatt is the crazy guy who lives on your block. You know the one that all the neighborhood kids point at and whisper about. He’s cleverly hidden himself by marrying an incredibly tolerant woman and finding himself an adorable dog. This is the best disguise for living in New England. The villagers have not yet run him out of his castle.

When he’s not scrawling delusional words about mythical-filled cities or dinosaurs, he’s busy tapping out code for websites and software. If he’s kept away from writing implements, he treks aimlessly through forests hiking trails, across abandoned beaches, and wandering the shelves bookstores. These three things don’t overlap except for that one time, and that was a really weird day.


Links:

Official Website: www.ianhiatt.com