Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Whole ot of Lucky by Danette Haworth

Product DetailsA Whole Lot of Lucky by Danette Haworth is a fun read.
Hailee Richardson can't help but be a little envious of her best friend, Amanda Burns, especially when she gets a new bike when it's not even her birthday or Christmas!
Hailee is stuck riding a boys bike that is rusted out and squeaks.
Then everything changes  (or should have) when Hailee's Dad wins the lottery.
To add to Hailee's frustration, her family still doesn't act like the millionaires they are.
But they do put Hailee in a private a school. Hailee now has the opportunity to be one of the popular girls.
Danette does a great job showing the inner struggle of wanting to do the right thing and wanting to be part of the popular crowd. She fleshes her characters out so well, that we feel the embarrassment that Hailee feels for her friends and the sadness when she almost loses her best friend.

A Whole Lot of Lucky is 288 pages. Published by Walker Company. Copyright 2012.
Danette Haworth has also written the following books:
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightening
Summer Moonlight Secrets
Me & Jack

This is the last week to enter a comment for a chance to win a copy of Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market or the book A Whole Lot of Lucky by Danette Haworth.
The winners will be announced next week.

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Interview with Irene Latham author of Dear Wandering Wildebeest

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Interview with Chris McCloskey, Author of The Adventures of Tooten and Ter

We Have Chris McCloskey author of The Adventures of Tooten and Ter: A Nose for Crime
Hi Sheila, Thanks for posting my interview.
Sheila: Tell us about yourself and interests.

Chris: I live in Boulder Colorado. My son and daughter are grown and married. Now, I have a new generation of grandchildren to write for. My first college degree was in art, and I spent ten years as a production potter, making dinnerware and teapots. It was fun, but I felt a calling to words.


I started teaching kindergarten when my kids were small, and I was fluent in kindergartenese. I grew up with them, teaching second grade, third grade, and elementary art. When they were in high school, I had evolved to the level of teaching GED and ESL to adults. Soon, I took on college composition at the local community college. I loved every day in the classroom and still teach ESL two days a week.


My interests include storytelling to elementary grades and senior centers. I write a monthly article for our Small Business Association, highlighting small business success stories. As well, I spend entirely too much time on my writing website,  And finally, it’s time for us to put our name on the list for another guide dog puppy. Our last one got a job and moved out in October. She did not meet the bar to go to Guide Dog training; however, she got a job as an elementary school reading dog and she got a good home with one of the third-grade teachers.


Sheila: How and when did you start writing?
Chris: I have written stories all my life—for my kids, for my classes, and for local papers.

When my kids were in grade school, and we drove to school together every day, I noticed my third-grade daughter waving at a dug out spot in the hill beside the highway. She informed me his name was Dent, and he was very influential in the area, directing traffic and weather. After school, on the way home, she asked me if I’d heard anything from Dent, and I started spinning tales.  Ten years, and sixty thousand words later, Dent and my kids had shared many adventures until they grew up and Dent got promoted and moved to the Royal Gorge (a Colorado destination). His dug out spot has been filled in as a result of road construction. The Adventures of Dent is my first dusty manuscript waiting for a home.


I could have made Dent any age or attitude, but I automatically made him an adolescent. I like middle-schoolers—I like the way they walk, the way they talk and the things left unsaid.


Sheila: How did you come up with the Idea for The Adventures of Tooten and Ter?
Chris: When my kids were in college, my husband and I traveled frequently because of his work.  I often found myself touring a city alone, so I had enough time and space to give my imagination full reign . We had recently raised a Guide Dog for the Blind puppy, and it occurred to me that lab puppies had a lot in common with thirteen-year old boys—they are both curious, helpful, brave, maddening, fool-hearty, and sincere. So, I had hit on the two main characters of my next project, The Adventures of Tooten and Ter. As detective partners. Tooten is a guide dog puppy-in-training and Ter is a thirteen-year-old foster kid (with a far too trusting foster father). I located many of the twenty episodes in the different cities we had visited..


Sheila: Do you write everyday? Only on weekends?
Chris: My writing process went like this: On the first morning in a new city, I’d get information about public transportation. Then I’d ask the concierge for a list of city attractions. I’d pick the quirkiest attraction and head in that direction. Along the way, I’d jot down details—sights, smells, sounds, and impressions. Upon arriving at my destination, I’d get a cup of coffee, find a place to sit down, and observe. I’d ask myself, “What is the weirdest thing that could happen here?” In that frame of mind, it didn’t take long to come up with a couple of interesting ideas, and I’d follow my own clues to create a gradually developing situation of interest, conflict, emotional response, partnership, danger, and ultimately a solution--the boys got free or the bully was taught a lesson or the crook was caught. What fun! Then, I’d go about collecting research—pictures, interviews, time schedules, historical facts, terminology, maps, and local details, like where a 13-year-old would grab lunch. Inevitably, when I got home and started organizing my notes, I’d have to dig up a missing fact or two. It was important to me that the settings and atmospheric details were accurate. I’d outline the story and then start the best part—weaving with words.
Sheila: That's some good information on how to go about researching an area.


Sheila: We all want to know about the first sale. What was that like?
Chris: I hadn’t considered publishing the middle-grade detective stories until I sent out ten query letters as part of a graduate-class assignment and got back one letter of interest. I accepted the challenge and undertook the task of rewriting until The Adventures of Tooten and Ter: was ready for publication as an e-book through The sequel, A Nose for Trouble is due out soon, and a free episode, A Nose for St. Patrick’s Day is available now, also on

 Sheila: What did you wish you knew beforehand about the writing/publishing process?
Chris: If I were to start writing these books again, I’d leave out details of the weather, clothing, dates, and holidays. I have reordered the episodes, more than once, to reflect changes in the characters relationships and other developments, and each time, I have had to make many changes like taking out the snow and turning Christmas into St. Patrick’s Day.


Sheila: What struggles did you face?
Chris: My other challenge has been marketing an e-book. I haven’t convinced bookstores and libraries to spotlight my book because it’s not on their shelves, and they decide upon their e-book selections at a higher level than the library person at the young-adult desk. Also, building a website has been a challenge. However, the bright spot is reading the book to fifth-grade classes. The kids are great—insightful and empathetic.


Sheila:  Thank you for visiting with us today Chris and looking forward to the sequel, A Nose for Trouble.

Be sure to visit and check out Chris McCloskey's books.
Also available are her websites:

Teachers’ website:

Kids’ website: