Thursday, November 1, 2012

What a treat! A Kindle Fire Giveaway!


I hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!  If you have any extra candy I'll be happy to help you eat it... especially M&Ms! 

I know that, due to Hurricane Sandy, some kids will have to wait until this weekend or next week to go trick-or-treating.  Don't worry.  You'll still have a fun time.  I'm just happy that you are all okay.  My thoughts and prayers are with all the families impacted by the storm. 

Whether you've already stuffed your belly with candy or can't wait to do so, here's something fun you can do today - enter the Kindle Fire Giveaway that my author friend, Crystal Marcos, is having.

To enter for a chance to win a Kindle Fire (with special offers version) or $150 Amazon e-gift card please stop by Crystal's website. 

A second place prize will also be awarded!  How cool would it be to win copies of these three eBooks?  I'd say, "Super cool!"
Bellyache: A Delicious Tale by Crystal Marcos (Twitter @crystalmarcos)
Lionel's Grand Adventure (Lionel and theGolden Rule) by Paul Hewlett (Twitter @lionelsnod)
Smell My Feet! 10 Seriously Silly and SweetShort Stories for Squirts by Martha Rodriguez... that's me! (Twitter @SmellMyFeetBook)
Stop by to enter the giveaway today and as always... stay cool!
Martha
Giveaway begins November 1, 2012 and ends December 15, 2012.  Open to the U.S. and Canada.
 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to A Reel Cool Summer!

Ah, yes.  I remember it well.  June 21, 2011.  You could fry an egg on the sidewalk that extremely hot day just one short year ago.  (You could fry an egg in a pan, too, but that's beside the point.)  There it was, in all its colorful glory, my first picture book.  7x10" and 5.4 ounces.  Labor had been long (about a year or so) but it was worth it.  As soon as it was published I forgot about the pain and concentrated on the delicate little one I held in my hands.

About two minutes later, reality set in.  I had heard the question before but had pushed it back, way back, in my mind, not wanting to deal with it just yet... How are you going to market your book?  "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I screamed, then decided I was being a bit over-dramatic about the whole thing.

Does anyone have a manual for that? Well, sure, they're out there but who has time to read when you have to market your book?  "Now what?" I wondered.  "Just try everything," I told myself.  "It can't be harder than raising three kids, can it?"  Well, actually, it can!  Sort of.  But I got through that so I knew I could get through this, right?  Right?!

Of course I could.  And here we are, one year later and doing just fine.  Enjoying all the marketing (Twitter, Facebook, blog, etc), thoroughly loving the school visits with the little ones, and just watching my little book grow up.  He (or she, I'm not quite sure) has a little sister (or brother?) called Smell My Feet! and we're starting the process all over again and working on a third one.  We're happy to see our little book family expanding.

So, to celebrate this joyous occasion, the first birthday of A Reel Cool Summer, I'd like to give away (U.S. only) five signed paperback copies to get the kids' summer reading off to a wacky start.  Just leave a comment below.  We'll choose the winners on June 28th.  Tell us about your most memorable summer, ask us a question, or just say hello.  Be sure to invite your family and friends to participate.  The more the merrier!  Oh and don't forget to leave (or email us at martha@readtomepublishingllc.com) your Twitter handle or an email address so we can contact you if you win. 

Sincere thanks to all who have purchased a paperback or Kindle copy of A Reel Cool Summer, all who have reviewed it, and all who have supported and encouraged me throughout this past year.  I am truly grateful.

I hope all the kiddos have a fun and relaxing summer filled with lots of good books to read and wonderful memories to last a lifetime!

Until next time... stay cool!

Martha 

P.S.  Don't forget to stop by our website to watch the very wacky booktrailer, read reviews and more!

Congratulations to our winners!! Fun L., MaryAnn K., Courtney W., Teresa K. and J.R. O.  We hope you enjoy A Reel Cool Summer!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Let's Have a Giveaway!

Thank you very much for entering the giveaway of Smell My Feet!  And the winners are...

Morgan Nyberg @MorganNyberg
Crystal Marcos @CrystalMarcos
Jeff Whelan @spaceorville

Congrats to our three winners!  Sorry, nose plugs are not included!


Smell My Feet! 10 Seriously Silly and Sweet Short Stories for Squirts will be released on Friday, May 11, 2012.  (Shhh, don't tell anyone but you can get it on Amazon right now.  What am I saying?!  Tell everyone!)  So what do you say we have ourselves a giveaway?

First, a little bit about the book...

Smell My Feet! is a collection of eight short stories I had written for this blog, and two brand new ones.  Some were inspired by family and friends or true events and others were sparked by writing prompts I found here or there, from this group or that.

The eight stories that were posted here beginning in October 2011 have been viewed a total of over 850 times.  I thought it was time to release them into the wild so that others, who don't yet know about this blog, can enjoy them, too.

An angel, a hero, and a cute dog named Charlie are just a few of the characters in this book of silly and sweet short stories for kids.

Don't be surprised if you recognize yourself, a funny uncle, or a friend in one of the characters.

Boys and girls ages 7-10 will enjoy reading on their own or get everyone together for read-aloud fun!

Smell My Feet! 10 Seriously Silly and Sweet Short Stories for Squirts
     An Angel Without Wings 
     A Hero at the Beach
     The Man on the Bench
     The Purplest Day Ever
     Charlie's Search
     The Disappearing Doughnut Dilemma
     The Puzzling Mystery of Lulu and D
     Leaving
     The Book Party (or, Has Mr. Humbleheart Lost his Mind?)
     Smell My Feet!

I guess we have to have rules:

Three (3) lucky winners will each receive one (1) copy of Smell My Feet! for the Kindle.

Three (3) ways to enter:

1.  Post a comment below.  It would be fun if you described the smelliest smell you have ever smelled (but you don't have to).  Please include your Twitter handle or Facebook page, or end an email with the subject "Smell My Feet! Giveway" to: smellmyfeet@readtomepublishingllc.com.  I will contact the winners by Twitter, Facebook or email.

(NOTE:  This is a family blog.  Comments deemed offensive will be removed and will not be entered into the giveaway.)

2.  Follow @SmellMyFeetBook on Twitter.  If I catch you tweeting or retweeting about the giveaway you'll get an additional entry!  Be sure I catch you by including @SmellMyFeetBook in your tweets! 

3.  "Like" the Read To Me Publishing, LLC Facebook page.  If I catch you sharing a post about the giveaway or tagging the my page, you'll get an additional entry!

Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EDT, Friday, May 18, 2012.

Winners will be announced on this blog and will be notified via email, Twitter or Facebook as soon as possible after the entry deadline. 

Winners must respond to my Twitter, Facebook or email notification with the appropriate information by Friday, May 25th at 11:59 pm EDT in order to receive the Kindle book.  If a response is not received by that time, a new winner will be chosen.

Okay, I think that's it.  Thanks for stopping by and GOOD LUCK!

Until next time... stay cool!

Martha

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

We Busted our Guts in the Library!

After my visit with the Senior Kindergarteners and 1st and 2nd graders at Sacred Hearts Academy Lower School earlier this year, Ms. Taylor, the Library Media Specialist, asked me if I would return to make a presentation to the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.  They were going to be writing and publishing stories and she thought they would enjoy hearing from an author and publisher.

I was thrilled to have been asked to return and set about planning my presentation.  Unlike my visit with the younger students, where I read my book and we dressed up like the characters and reenacted portions of the story, this would take a little more planning.  I had a feeling that nine, ten, and eleven-year-olds were going to be a tougher crowd.

So, I put on my thinking cap and tried to think back... way back... way, way back to the days when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I was in grade school.  I remembered that the best visitors were the ones who engaged the students with hands-on or brains-on activities.  I took my cue from them and planned an activity and a few back-ups -- because you just never know what's going to work.  I was happy to receive a positive response from Ms. Taylor when I presented my plan to her.  Now it was time to face the crowds... I mean classes.

The students were very welcoming and attentive as I told them a little bit about myself and my book.  Then we talked about writing to "show" rather than "tell" readers what is happening in a story.  They were happy to participate when I asked them for examples.

"The roses were the color of blood," said one student.  I thought I was dealing with sweet little girls here!  I did love the comparison though.

"His ears were as yellow as the sun," volunteered another student as we made up a story about two aliens in love.  So that's what attracted our alien Planeta to the cute Johno Deppo.  It was very silly and tons of fun.  And we hadn't gotten to the gut-busting part yet.

Our next activity was to complete a MadLib together.  The students were not allowed to read the MadLib until the end.  I asked them for the appropriate words (adjective, adverb, verb, noun, etc.) and we plugged them into the story as they shouted them out.  It was the loudest library I had ever been in.  Organized chaos would be an appropriate description.  Ms. Taylor is a good sport!

With the MadLib completed I decided to add an extra layer of fun and ask for a volunteer to read it in an accent appropriate for the theme of the story.  Hands shot in the air and the students volunteered themselves or others to read in an English accent or like a Valley Girl or a villain.

It was gut-busting time!  By the time each MadLib was read, our faces hurt from laughing so hard.  Most of the stories didn't make sense (that was the best part!) and the accents were very upper-crusty and goofy and scary!  What a wonderful time we had together.  The kids were creative and smart and the activity was a success because they were willing to participate fully.

I never anticipated that writing my book would lead to experiences such as the ones I've had at Sacred Hearts Academy so I want to thank everyone there for putting a permanent, face-hurting smile on my face.  What I do know now is that I don't want the fun to stop.  I can't wait to see what's next! 

Hold onto your guts!  Below are the MadLibs as completed by each class as well as the winning entries in the "Finish that Story Contest" where the students were asked to use one of the MadLibs as a prompt and write another paragraph to continue the story.  Kids are so COOL -- and honest!  Congratulations to all who participated and especially to the winners!

Until next time... stay cool!

Martha


So You Want To Be a Villain?
It is not easy being a pudgy villain in a sea of fairy mushroom-mothers, magical ballerinas, and orange princes and princesses.  To be a really successful villain like Count Justin Bieber or Nancy the Wicked Unicorn will take practice and the right tools. First, you’ll need a really noisy laugh, since you have to cackle alongside the most evil witches and horrible strudels.  It is also recommended that you hire some evil henchmen like Natasha or Brad Pitt to help you steal golden crayons or kidnap wealthy schnitzel-makers.  And, of course, you’ll need a place to hide out. A dark, psychedelic cave is good, but so are rigid alleys.  Follow these directions and you will certainly become a really sparkly, world-famous villain!

Our 1st Place winner KP continued the story like this:
Every wizard loves this wand because it’s easy to use!  Husbands can make their wives talk less and wives can make their husband do everything!  This can also help you be smarter at school. A simple tap on the head makes you smarter, or dumber!  Side effect may include you to be dumb, die, get hurt, bark and other terrible things! Buy this Now!

How To Throw a Party
Here is a list of bananas to make throwing a tubular party as easy as one, two, 9,712,345!
1. Boring Food. Choose things that everyone likes to eat, like pizza or fried bubbles.  And make sure you have an assortment of toilet soda to drink!
2. The Right Music. You’ll want to pick songs that are creamy.  Try to select bands that everyone knows, like Mandi’s Band or the Jumpy Dolls. Most importantly, choose music that’s easy to lick to!
3. Bumpy Decor.  Making the witch look right is a big part of the night! Hang lots of toe nails from the ceilings and walls, and have warty favors for everyone.
4. The Perfect Guest List.  Of course your squirmy friends have to be there, and maybe even the cute worms  you’ve had your ear lobes on in school!  Just make sure your guests all get along clumsily or a fight could really ruin your Ala Moana!

Our 2nd Place winners CA and IY continued the story like this:
To throw the perfect party, you need clogged toilets and plenty of beans. For entertainment you should have games such as Flubby Turtles.  You need amazing gourmet food like fancy acorns. You will need jiggly goody bags for your guests when they leave. Remember to always climb at your guests throughout the whole watermelon.

Our 4th Place winner SL-B continued the story like this:
After the warty favors were passed out everyone went home. There were still extra fried bubbles left over, and the creamy songs were everyone’s favorite hot tunes. The most fun part of all was Mandi’s band and the jumpy dolls.

Our 5th Place winner P continued the story like this:
5. Parents. Make sure your parents don’t bug you and that they don’t know you have a party. Wait until they go on a trip or go out. Make sure to not wreak too much or the most important stuff. Only wreak a small amount of lame stuff. Clean up. Don’t worry, make sure you have a clean-up plan so you don’t get in trouble. Buy extra garbage bags.

Magic Wand For Sale
Are you a wizard, a fairy godmother, or an entomologist looking for a magic dog that can do it all? Do you need to turn frogs into birds or make pandas fly or have an evil witch vanish into a puff of smoke?  Well, look no further!  This is the wand that can do anything!  That’s right-the Wandinator 2000 is here! Hand crafted from the finest clowns, this is the same wand that the famous wizard Paige uses.  With the Wandinator 2000, you, too, can change a pile of worthless zombies into valuable brains.  Tired of wands that are fergilicious and wear out too fast?  The Wandinator 2000 is guaranteed to last 6,892 years or your vampires back!  Act now and get a free disgusting carrying case.  Don’t miss this glamorous opportunity.  Buy it now!  Gold, silver, chocolates, and credit cards accepted.

Our 3rd Place winners JF and K continued the story like this:
But wait!  We’ll give you some blood for your vampire.  But Wait!  We’ll double this offer. This is a $75 product, but you will get it for just 100 chocolates.  Call this number NOW! (679) 108-324 Call before it’s too late.

Princess Seeking Fairy Godmother
Wanted:  One goofy godmother needed immediately for Isabella, a very slimy young princess with a purple personality.  Applicant must have at least 1 kazillion years of greasy experience helping princesses or other royal flowers live up to their cow and making their monkeys come true.  The ideal candidate should be able to turn pumpkins into planets and mice into rodent bones who are capable of pulling oversized mouse guts.  Since the princess enjoys ballroom snoring with gushing princes, expertise in waltzes, polkas, and piggies is a must.  Salary will be paid in golden dancing ballerina pigs - as many as you can carry in your armpits.  Please apply as happily as possible!

A Royal Fairy Tale
Today was the most barf green day of my entire life!  When I woke up this morning, I was a regular frog like everyone else.  But then I found out a hairy secret.  I was biting through the closet where my mom keeps all of our carrots and I found a baby picture of me wearing a shiny, swampy tiara.  When I asked my socks why they had dressed me up like that, they finally told me the rubbery truth:  I’m actually a royal Titanic!  It turns out that my dad is the son of the King of the jail, which makes him the prince of the jail and me the princess of the jail.  My parents moved here to get away from the funky life, but they say I have the right to live my life like a true pie if I want to.  And do I want to? You bet your puddles I do!

A Royal Fairy Tale Part 2
Now that I know I’m a royal doggie, I’m going to live stupidly.  I’m not going to ride my hairy bike to school anymore; I’ll have a driver pick me up in a stretch hippopotamus instead!  And I’ll never have to take out the cream cheese or wash the elephant again!  Maybe the mayor will ask me to cut the bananas at the dedication of our new spunky building.  And since Taylor Lautner and Isabella are both subjects of my country, I might even get to invite them as my spikey guests for a fat dinner!  I’ll ride on the magical float in the Queen Elizabeth Day Parade, sing the “Whale Spangled Banner” at the Funny Bowl, and even give a speech at the Mercedes Awards!  But the best part is that maybe I’ll get to be friends with the very creepy Prince Johnny Depp of Hollywood.

Mademoiselle Floofy
I have the most furry pet ever:  Mademoiselle Floofy Von Ooga-Ooga!  She’s a beautiful platypus with floppy ears.  I got Mademoiselle Floofy when she was 1,952,476,000 months old.  She was so tiny! I worked hard training her, and now she is completely mustache-broken and knows a lot of highly imaginative, chubby tricks.  She can sit and plank and she knows how to dance on her back eyebrows.  Mademoiselle Floofy loves to eat pizzas, and she’ll do anything to get some!  Her best friend, a mule named Miss Hamana-Hamana, lives across the street, and I take them both to the gooey park to play when it's nice outside.  And at night when I read a tangerine in bed, Mademoisell Floofy curls up on my intestines and falls fast asleep.  She’s the best pimple a girl could ever want

Besties For Life
I met my BFF when we were both 1 million years old, and since then, we’ve been like two peas in a lovebird.  We met in drama class.  She helped me learn my gooey lines, and I taught her how to speak with a smelly accent.  After class, we bonded over French geese and milk shakes, which we both love! Back then we used to ride our moose around the neighborhood and play with beautiful dolls, but now we spend our time shopping at the forest and watching movies starring Taylor Lautner, our favorite actor.  At weekend sleepovers, we flew to our favorite music, read our handsome magazines, and talk about the psycho boys we like. And we love to make chocolate chip teeth!  We tell each other our deepest sheep, and I know I can always count on her to be there!  I’m lucky to have such a really loopy best friend.




Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Back to our Youth; Authors Playing Tag

A few days ago I received a tweet from my friend and fellow indie author, Patricia Paris.  Patricia is a lovely lady and my virtual-sash-wearing sister (sorry, inside joke!).  She is a romance author who has published several five-star books and has at least one more in the works.  Please visit her on Twitter @PatriciaParis1 and on her blog at http://patriciaeparis.com/wordpress/?p=221. 

Although I ran as quickly as I could, her tweet tagged me in a game of Lucky 7 Meme.  She must have heard from my other author friend, Scott Bury, (@ScottTheWriter) that I'm slow... a slow runner, I mean.

Okay, I'll play.  Here are the rules:
1.  Go to page 77 of your current WIP (work in progress).
2. Go to line seven.
3.  Copy down the next seven lines or sentences as written and post them to your blog or website.
4.  Tag seven authors.
5.  Let them know they've been tagged.

I don't have 77 pages in my book yet so I decided to go to page 7 for my lines.  These are from my WIP (untitled), a middle-grade fiction that I hope to release sometime this summer. 


"That's okay Mrs. Mays, we can't stay very long.  Scotty and I have a mystery to solve."

"Oh, that sounds very exciting, boys!  What kind of mystery?" she asks.

"Didn't you hear about Barnaby Q. Percival?  I don't wait for her answer.  "He's gone and he left his squeaky toy behind."

"Well that's not like Barnaby at all; that mutt wouldn't take two steps without that slobbered-up old thing."


Because I write for children, I've decided to tag seven indie children's book authors who are fellow members of The Independent Author Network.  Tag, you're it!  Now write a blog post using the rules listed above.  Don't forget to tag seven other authors.  Have fun!

David Anthony
@realheroesread
http://www.realheroesread.com/blog/

Pauline Brasch
@jinxpicturebook
http://jinxpicturebooks.blogspot.com/

Bill Breckenridge
@rhumtetum
http://rhumtetum.wordpress.com/

C. A. Chicoine
@CAChicoine
https://sites.google.com/a/cachicoine.com/graylocke/home

Cindy Meyers-Hanson
@mchanson714
http://mchanson714.blogspot.com/

D. Robert Pease
@drobertpease
http://www.drobertpease.com/

Susan Ross
@susanrossca
http://susanross.blog.com/

I look forward to reading your seven lines!

Until then... stay cool!

Martha








Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm it!

Scott Bury, a fellow author and blogger, recently decided to play tag.  I guess he's still a little kid at heart.  I like that.  I'm not a fast runner, so he got me!  Thanks a lot, Scott!  Now I have to answer the questions he posted and then I have to tag 11 others.

Further below in this post I answer Scott's questions but I'm not going to tag others because I know how busy my writer friends can be and I want others to be able to participate.  Instead, I invite everyone who visits to respond to my questions by leaving a comment at the end of the post or by responding on their own blog (if you are responding on your own blog, please post a link to it).  You can answer many of the questions in just a few words.  So, kids, parents, authors, bloggers, teachers, librarians, and all other visitors please join our game of tag.  Feel free to invite others to do the same.  When answering the questions, please remember that this is a family-friendly blog. 

Because I write for children, I thought I'd ask questions that bring out the child in all of us.
1.  What is your favorite dessert?
2.  What board games do you like to play with your friends and family?
3.  Who is your favorite family member and why?
4.  What was the hardest elementary school project you ever had to do?
5.  What kinds of books do you like to read?
6.  Do you have a pet?  (Tell us a little about him/her.)  If you don't have a pet, would you like to have one and what would it be?
7.  What was the grossest lunch your mom or dad ever packed for you?
8.  Did you ever throw up in grade school?  Please give us the juicy, or shall I say, disgusting, details!  (If not, what was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you in grade school?)
9.  What was the best Halloween costume you wore as a kid?
10.  If you could meet a famous person, who would it be and why?
11.  What is your favorite word?


Here are my answers to Scott's questions:
1. What’s your Easter egg—in other words, what unstated message do you want readers to take away from your writing?

That a kid's job is to be a kid.  Play, imagine, be silly, pick on your siblings, eat sweets... shall I go on?

2. Other than your main character, which character in your work is your favourite?

I actually have two; Piggy and Stimpy.  They are two guinea pigs who are really good actors.

3. Who is your favourite fictional character from any writer’s work?

Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind.

4. If you write in a genre, which convention or rule frustrates you most? Which would you like to change?

I prefer not to follow any rules.

5. Among the genres in which you have NOT yet written, which two would you like to combine in your next work?

I'd love to take old letters or postcards, you know, the kind you find in a beat-up box in the back of an antique store, and create my own context for them.  So, how would you describe that genre?  I don't know but I'm sure I'd be combining more than two!

6. Do you ever include real people, from your own life or elsewhere, in your work?

Yes, the characters in my book, A Reel Cool Summer, are all real people or family pets.  I often get ideas for characters from the people in my life; past and present.

7.  What do you hope that fans will say about your work?

That wackiness is bound to ensue.

8. What do you dread that readers will say?

Stop writing!

9. If you could appear as a character in any other writer’s work, which one would it be? And what role would you like to have in that story?

I would love to be the main character in a Rod Clement book.  One of my favorite children's books is Grandpa's Teeth which he wrote and illustrated.    

10. Is there a living writer, other than yourself, whom you feel does NOT get enough recognition today?

This one is hard to answer.  I have met many indie authors since I published my book and so many of them are terrific children's and young adult authors.  I hope they will soon get their much -deserved recognition. 

11. If you have a soundtrack for writing, name the first three songs on it (yes, I’m copying carrying this idea forward from Sylvia van Bruggen).

My current soundtrack is the noise of a busy city and the awesome and thunderous roar of mighty military jets!  God bless our troops!


Tag, you're it!

Until next time... stay cool!

Martha

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This is a dream, right?

Wide eyes in all shapes, sizes and colors, big smiles (some with missing teeth), listening ears eagerly awaiting the first word, and a touch of awe at meeting an author.  That's what I witnessed last week as each class entered the Sacred Hearts Academy Lower School Library.  It was a week I will never forget!

The excitement had been building for me since November when Ms. Taylor, the Lower School Librarian, and I began making plans for my first school visit.  My daughter is a senior at that very special school where students and their families feel a genuine love. I figured that if I made any mistakes there, I would be among family and friends. They would surely forgive me, hug me, and help me get back on my feet. 

Even knowing that, I wasn't sure what to expect and, I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. Is my book good enough? Will the students laugh at the funny parts? Are there actually funny parts, or am I imagining the whole thing? Is the story right for their grade and reading level? Am I a good read-aloud reader? Is that "so-so" review I received a few days ago right? What was I thinking?

Finally, the day arrived. No more time to ask questions I couldn't answer.

As I walked into the school office to sign-in and get a visitor's pass, Ms. Ching greeted me with open arms. She had actually been expecting me and was just as excited about me being there as I was. What a great way to start the day! She showed me to the library where I met Ms. Taylor and Ms. Maggini-Mackay, the Library Assistant. Smiles and hugs came my way! I thought that maybe we should just stop right there. It couldn't possibly get any better than that. 

My nerves returned for a split second. Again, I questioned myself, my book, my being there.

Then, Ms. Taylor told me how much she and the children had enjoyed my book. The students had been engaged in the story and had laughed in all the right places.

I asked myself, "This is a dream, right?"

Well, yes, it was a dream. Not a black-and-white, fuzzy dream whose details escape you as soon as you awake, but a full-color, every-detail-etched-in-your-mind-forever kind of dream.

I read A Reel Cool Summer to six classes of smart, sweet, curious, silly, beautiful girls in three days. They listened carefully to the story, making mental notes of each detail. They laughed out loud as the characters in the book did, and said, harebrained, ridiculous, funny things.

More fun was in the works when students dressed up as the characters in the book and reenacted the movie scenes from the story. Those very simple costume pieces I had purchased and made brought out the actor in each child. One became a pirate who doesn't really like broccoli, another turned into a princess who gets help crying from an onion, two squeaky girls transformed into cute guinea pigs who turn out to be mean, evil aliens, and, finally, an artistic visionary stepped into the role of movie director shouting, "ACTION!" and "CUT!" at just the right times.

The students asked questions and told me their favorite parts of the book. One told a story about making a silly movie with her dad and brother. Another student talked about important things to remember when writing her own book for a class assignment. "Always start a sentence with a capital letter and finish with a period or a question mark," she reminded herself and her classmates.

Pictures were taken and hugs were given and received. The beautiful crocheted and fresh flower leis, the delicious cookies, and the adorable handwritten notes are treasures I will always cherish... although I must admit the cookies are already in my tummy. So yummy! 

It was a dream come true. The pesky questions that had been floating around in my head finally got their answers. 

As the children left the library at the end of their time with me, they repeated lines from the book and talked to each other about their favorite characters. I had just spent three amazing days surrounded by sweet children and the terrific adults who work every day to encourage them to read, write, explore and wonder.  What more can a children's book author ask for? Nothing, I say! 

There really aren't enough words to express my gratitude to the students, faculty, and staff of Sacred Hearts Academy for their warm welcome, wonderful smiles and great hugs. They will always have a special place in my heart. They will always be "reel cool" in my book!

Until next time... stay cool!

Martha

P.S.  I also want to thank my daughter, Jacqui, and her friend, Jhunette, for joining in the fun and reading to two classes with me.  You're the best!