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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Diversion Press Welcome Adrianne Hunter, Author of An Easy Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food

We sat down with Adrianne Hunter and asked her about her book, An Easy Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food.  This book is a must have for any new or expectant mother!  Who doesn't want the best possible food for their child? Plus, everyone could stand to save a little money!  This book is jam packed with beautiful pictures and easy directions.  You don't need expensive equipment or a War and Peace novel about baby food to be able to make it for your baby.  Follow Adrianne's easy to follow guide and you will be an expert in no time and can get back to being with your baby and sleeping!

What inspired you to write this book?
When it was time to start thinking about starting my son on baby food, I started to do the math in my head and realized how much money it actually was to buy pre-made baby food from the store and I was shocked by how much other ingredients went into them. We were going through a tough time, financially, so I was trying to find any way possible to save us money. After doing a lot of research on the subject, I was very excited to see how much money I could save our family simply by making Will’s food as opposed to buying it pre-made. It was great to know exactly what my baby was eating as I would be making everything myself.

I was the only person amongst my friends or family who made homemade baby food, and I began to get so many questions about it that I thought to myself that perhaps other mothers out there would want this same information. So, one day I just decided to write a book for other mothers out there. I wanted to share the basic essentials on how to make homemade baby food, a resource I had a hard time finding but wished I had. My goal was to write an easy to follow recipe book with all of my lessons learned and tips in one place.

How hard was it for you to sit down and put together the book?
Writing the book came easy to me because I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but finding the time was difficult because I was working full time and taking care of a rambunctious toddler. I didn’t have much free time, needless to say.

What advice can you give to someone who is thinking about writing a book or is in the process of writing?
To be honest, writing a book was never on my “list of things to do.” But I began to feel a passion for this and felt inspired to write. My advice is to just go w/ your inspiration and write what you’re passionate about so your writing is truly heartfelt.

Also, I would say to be persistent. It is hard being an unknown, first time author. If you truly want to write and be published, keep on trying and sending your manuscript out to publishers. I think I received several rejections before Diversion Press believed in my book as much as I did.

What can you tell a reader about the book that will make them want to pick up a copy?
This book gives simple, straight-forward instructions on how to make baby food and has all of the wonderful recipes that my son loved to eat. Every other book that I found on this topic went into too many details about science and nutrition and only focused one chapter on baby food with the rest of the book focusing on toddlers. Many websites I searched were very overwhelming to me as a new mother as they had an enormous amount of information to read through. This book is a step-by-step guide providing the essentials on what to make, how to make it, and when to make it as your baby grows with useful tips along the way.

What advice do you have for new (or seasoned) mothers who might be considering making their own baby food?
It’s not as scary as you may think it would be! It’s actually pretty easy as long as you know the basics. Once you have the basics, you can get as fancy as you like or just keep it simple. All you need is a little time and a little knowledge, and the rest is easy. This book will gives all the tools you need without all the extra stuff.


How with your second child did you use the book?

I will have to admit that I have used my own book SEVERAL times w/ Eliza. It's amazing how fast my memory faded! I have used the reference chart the most to help me know what foods to serve for the appropriate age.

How did that work out?

To be honest, I found my book quite helpful - it is exactly the type of book I was searching for when Will was a baby. Although, by the look on Eliza's face in the attached picture, it seems she is not too confident in my cooking skills - I can assure you that she loves her food! Her favorite meal was also Will's favorite: banana and pumpkin.

How much money can someone save making homemade baby food?

Making your own baby food can save a lot of money. Below is an exert from the first chapter where I discussed some estimated cost savings. Store Bought Baby Food

Homemade Baby Food
1 oz of Bananas = $0.23
1 oz of Bananas = $0.01
1 oz of Peas = $0.23
1 oz of Peas = $0.04
1 oz of Sweet Potatoes = $0.23
1 oz of Sweet Potatoes = $0.04
1 oz of Applesauce = $0.23
1 oz of Applesauce = $0.03

Now, looking at the store prices, they don’t seem too bad, but if you keep multiplying these prices over and over, serving after serving, it definitely adds up over the months. For example, if you bought a jar of bananas (a typical jar is two ounces) for one meal a day, every day of the week, that is a total of $3.18 a week. Homemade bananas would equal $0.14 for a week. So, by making one serving of bananas, you are already seeing a savings of 12.5 percent over buying one serving.

Keep in mind that is only one meal a day. After a while, you will be feeding your baby three times a day not to mention that your baby will be growing, therefore needing larger amounts of food. So, the cost will only go higher and higher …

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?

The best part of being a publisher author is the pride I feel in myself. It's quite an accomplishment to have a published book; it's not something that everyone in the world can do. It's just a really cool thought to know that I'm "out there"!

I think the worst part is being an unknown author and trying to get the word out about my book. It's not as easy as people think. All my cowokers keep asking me why I'm still working there when I'm probably making millions on my book - but it's not like The Today Show just calls every single author to come and interview with them about their book. :) The other worst part is the fear of people not liking my book. I put in so much work and feel so passionate about it that if someone were to write a bad review, I'd be really upset! Fortunately, all of my reviews so far have been very positive!



What would you like potential readers to know?

I just want potential readers to know that this book is truly a passion of mine. I was a mother looking for some guidance and couldn't find it - so I solved the problem myself in hopes to be a help to others!

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?

Do you have any humorous stories about your own attempts to make baby food and/or your baby's reaction to your cooking?

The first time I made bananas for Eliza, I added way too much water to the mix. I ended having to go back to the store to buy more bananas to help even up the consistency. I think I ended up using about 20 bananas! (generally I use about 4-5) Needless to say she was eating that first batch of bananas for a good solid 2 months! After that episode, I grabbed a copy of my own book to reference for future!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Diversion Press Welcomes Antonio Thompson, Author of German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass

Camp Sketch done by German POW
 Antonio Thompson is the author of German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass.  He has his Ph.D. in Foreign Policy from the University of Kentucky and is an Assistant Professor of History.





For every 20 comments on Dr. Thompson's Diversion Press tour stop, we will be giving away a personalized, signed copy of German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass.

We sat down with Antonio to find out more about his research and German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass.

Why did you choose to research this topic and how long have you researching this field?
When I was working towards my Master’s Degree, I needed to find a unique thesis topic. I knew that I wanted to work on World War II, but I wasn’t sure what aspect exactly. Before class, a professor was chatting with us. He mentioned that German POWs were transported through Kentucky. A light went on, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Your book contains a wide range of materials from numerous sources. Where did you conduct research for this book and how did you know to look in those places?
The sources come from primary and secondary accounts. I looked through state and local archives in several states. While this book is focused on Kentucky, my other POW research has focused on other states, individual camps, individual POWs, and the entire nation.
Fort Knox, Kentucky Canteen
I also visited numerous camps to look through their records. I found very good material at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. My best sources, however, came from the Americans and Germans that I interviewed. I have been fortunate to speak to many former American soldiers, guards, farmers and co-workers of the POWs, and a good number of POWs as well.

One source often led to another. Someone I would interview would have a photo, a document, or a friend who was also involved.

You have interviewed numerous people for this project. Can you tell us about this experience?
 I should first say that I love to interview people. The World War II generation is fascinating. One of the most common comments that I got from those that I interviewed when I started this project was surprise that someone in their mid-20s was so interested. I seem to get it a bit less now that I am in my mid-30s, but I still do. I am happy to interview people, and in fact, I have about 30 people that I need to contact. If you are one of them I am sorry, this has been a busy semester!
Antonio Thompson, Walter Mathis (US Veteran),
Howard Tromp (Former German POW/US Veteran)
Some of the German veterans that I interviewed were very guarded, or were at first. One Kentucky woman said that they did not employ Germans because her family was German and found it repulsive. She didn’t want me to use her name in the book.

Other former German soldiers are quite talkative and tell some great stories. I think that what surprised me was that many of the POWs were just soldiers and simply young men. If you are not sure about that, read the accounts of these guys escaping looking for beer or to meet women or about how they pretended not to understand English so that they could eavesdrop on GI conversations and swipe documents from the trash. If you find it interesting to read about, imagine hearing it first hand!

You talk about German POWs returning to live in the US after the war. Did they just never go home or if they did go home, why did you find that they wanted to return to the US? During the war we held about 371,000 Germans and they were all required to go home after the war was over. Only one POW never left the U.S., and he was an escapee that remained “at large” working as a tennis and ski instructor until he turned himself in in 1985.

A lot of POWs found that they had discovered something as prisoners of war in the U.S. and returned later to visit or to live. It is hard to put a definition on what exactly the reasons for returning were, since each POW might have their own reason. One, for instance, returned to the U.S. permanently because his daughter married an American soldier, another because there seemed to be more opportunity for work, and a third because he enjoyed the freedom and democratic ideals. Some of this actually ties into the next question.

POW drawn sketch
 German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass discusses the excellent treatment of German POWs during WWII. What did the US learn from this experience and can any of these lessons be applied today?  This is a question that in many ways frames my study. World War II was a brutal war; we fought enemies that were often unkind on the battlefield, in taking surrenders, and in the treatment of prisoners. I think it is not overstating that the Axis powers had global designs, which also sets World War II apart from other conflicts.

We signed the Geneva Convention of 1929 stipulating rules for the treatment of the captured enemy. We did not take that obligation lightly and went above and beyond what was required. I spend time discussing this good treatment in all of my works on U.S. handling of POWs in WWII.

This good treatment sets an example that despite the nature of World War II a captured enemy can be treated with humanity and dignity. I argue that we probably have never treated prisoners of war as good as here. Of course it pays us back. During the war the good treatment led to the POWs writing letters home, which in turn helped convince other soldiers that America treated POWs well leading in some cases to more surrenders. After the war many of the Germans either worked for the occupation government in post-war Germany or came back here to live or visit. Of course, we also were playing into the Cold War world of East and West Germany.

You have done numerous speaking engagements. What types of groups have you spoken to and what advice can you give to the new author who might not have as much speaking experience? Do you have a standard talk or do you tailor your talk to the group or some of both?
I just spoke to my daughter’s 4th grade class and talked for 15 minutes about what I do as a historian, what I write about, and what education you need. Handing out pennies to help them remember Abraham Lincoln got them a lot more excited than German POWs, the 8-12 years of college required to get a Ph.D., or my talk about what I do.

I love to speak to groups though. I have given formal talks to the Sons of the American Revolution, the Sons of the Confederacy, the history faculty at USMA West Point, local history groups, guest lectured on my topic at my college and been an invited speaker to several others.

I always give at least a quick overview of the POW program to provide a foundation, but typically I try to give a different talk each time. Some of the stories are so interesting or important that overlap is going to happen, but I also want to vary my talks.

POWs boarding train
 What are you working on now? Do you have other books or projects?
I have a couple of published articles and a second book that came out in the fall of 2010 from the University of Tennessee Press titled Men In German Uniform. I am also working with a colleague and friend, Dr. Christos Frentzos, on The Routledge Handbook of U.S. Military and Diplomatic History Since 1865 and am proud to say that my Ph.D. advisor and mentor, Dr. George Herring will be contributing.  I am also looking for a publisher for a book about the life Howard T., who served in the Luftwaffe and the USAF.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
I like being a published author. I like doing book signings and talking to people. I don’t like having to push my book. I’ve had people come talk to me about other people’s books, about their taxes, and even ask me if I worked at the store at book signings. Once I got up to stretch my legs and lost my seat, the only one at the table with my pen, water, and books.

What would you like potential readers to know?
This is the best book about German POWs in Kentucky. Yes, it is the only one as well, but it is one of my favorite two books that I have written and I think you will like it.

POW mess hall
 Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?
You can discover great, interesting, and important historical things right in your own town. Is there anything that happened, big or small, in your area, that others living there don’t know about?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Diversion Press Welcomes Charles Suddeth

Charles Suddeth's book Halloween Kentucky Style is the perfect fun Halloween read.  Pick up a copy now for your middle grade reader or for a trip down memory lane.


About Halloween Kentucky Style
In 1959, two eleven-year-old boys try to trick two girls, but the trick’s on them when they tangle with a homeless man and a nine-year-old neighbor. Halloween Kentucky Style  is a 14,000-word mix of action, humor, and nostalgia for middle readers. This story has no violence but plenty of Halloween frights. Additionally, it also deals with teasing and telling the truth in a gentle way.


Charles Suddeth Biography
I live in Louisville, Kentucky with my two cats, Binks and Wendy. I am a graduate of Michigan State University. I have done graduate work at Michigan State University, the University of Louisville, and Spalding University. I belong to the Midsouth SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and Green River Writers. I like to hang out at the nearby Tom Sawyer State Park, where I walk, write, and watch the deer.
For more information visit http://www.ctsuddeth.com/

When did you begin writing middle grade novels?

I started seven or eight years ago, but just because I enjoyed writing stories. A children’s librarian encouraged me to write for publication, so here I am.
Charles is available to answer questions.  Leave a comment or question for him below.

Why did you choose Kentucky as your backdrop?

Half my family is from Kentucky, and they had told me countless stories about the past, so I could write about it more easily than other states. A horse figures in the story, and Kentucky is the horse state. Most of Kentucky is still rural, and in 1959 it was even more rural.

Can you tell us about the characters in the book?

First of all, they are not me, not consciously. Not even Mike. And I didn’t use anyone from childhood as a model. They are people with strengths and weaknesses, even the homeless man. Everybody deserves dignity.

There is a picture of a horse on the cover. How does that fit with the book?

A horse is important to the end of the story, so the horse makes it special. Without the horse, it would be just another Halloween story.

What is one thing that you would like potential readers to know about your book?

I have written this book so young readers (and their parents) can have fun reading it. I believe that above everything else, reading should be fun.

What is the best and worst thing about being a published author?

The best thing is that your writing is validated—someone else appreciates your writing enough to read it. The worst thing about being published is the danger of resting on your accomplishments. You need to keep growing as an author and as a person.

What advice do you have for aspiring middle grade novelists?

 I am not the first one to say this, but you need to enjoy writing your novel, or kids will not enjoy reading it. And don’t be in a hurry. Take the time to craft a good story, and take even more time to edit and refine it.

You are a member of a writer's group. Can you tell us about it?

I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The Midsouth division includes about 300 members in Kentucky and Tennessee. They have workshops, retreats, critique groups, and bulletins to help writers and illustrators. I am also a member of Green River Writers, who are primarily adult writers, but they’re patient with me.

Do you have any other books in the works?

I have written a follow-up book, Winter Olympics Kentucky Style. Another publisher is reviewing my picture book manuscript, James the Pirate. My critique group is helping me edit One Summer’s Day, a Civil War story about a twelve-year-old boy.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses? My question is: Do you think that kids in 2011 are different from kids in 1959?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

LIVE EVENT

Blog Readers,

Don't forget that Gregory Turner-Rahman is on the BLOG live today to answer your questions as they come in.

His interview and the comment box are in the post just below this one.

Diversion Press Welcomes Gregory Turner-Rahman

What influenced you to write Ellabug?

When my eldest daughter was very young she entered a daycare after many years of being taken care of at home by family. The poor kid had spent so much time with her paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather, me, my sister, and my wife's sister that she had a rather vast set of influences. My wife and I were in school and too poor to afford daycare but were very fortunate to have family that helped raise Aneesa. The mix of cultures (my wife's family is from Bangladesh and England, my family is English, Czech and Sicilian) had come together in this beautiful kid but that she had a hard time initially relating to the others in her class. It was heartbreaking as a parent to see the other little girls exclude her because they didn't really understand her background, her uniqueness. I worried that as she got older she'd be ashamed of those things that made her unique. But it all worked out and I am happy to say that she is a big, happy, well-adjusted tweenager with a thick skin and wicked sense of humor.

What is the message in Ellabug?
Our families make us who we are and regardless of what others think, we should celebrate and enjoy the craziness and uniqueness that makes us!



Tell us about the main character and the other characters that she encounters.
Ellabug is a rough and tumble kind of kid. She is curious and headstrong. Her family annoys her but deep down she knows they are harmless and fun loving creatures. The ants, though, are very different. To her they seem like they have got it all together. They are organized, orderly, and, ultimately, very focused on their work - everything that Ellabug's family is not.

In creating the characters I tried to create visual clues that'd let the reader 'get it' quickly. Her boots imply her rugged individualism. The ants are the antithesis of Ellabug and are therefore modeled on a stereotypical image of German performance artists. I saw them as somewhat stern and very alike, in their neo-beat black turtlenecks. The other characters in the family - the supporting cast - are all rendered in a scruffy yet (hopefully) lovable manner. I wanted them to be the visual equivalents of well-loved, well-worn stuffed animals.

The illustrations are beautiful! Were you formally trained as an illustrator?
I have been cartooning much of my life. But I am formally trained as an industrial designer and architect - both professions require gratuitous amounts of drawing and sketching. I started taking illustration seriously just a few years ago. After receiving some attention for a drawing I did for the New Yorker, my co-workers at the University of Idaho, who prior saw me as a serious, theory-drenched bookworm, were very positive and encouraged me to pursue it more vigorously. I love all forms of visual storytelling and I see how all my education and training have lead to this current obsession with illustration.

A lot of readers don’t know about your incredibly cute Youtube video. How difficult was it to create that and what has been the response to it?
I did some 3D animation in architecture school so I understood how it should work but this was really my first attempt at 2D animation. I took the original drawings and in the computer application Photoshop made multiple layers of certain parts then moved them in a crude, stop motion kind of way. Photoshop is not really meant for animation and it took forever to create with fairly mediocre results. I have since invested in actual animation software. I can't wait to do another video.

As far as reception, there have been over 650 views of the Ellabug trailer. For a YouTube video that doesn't include adorable (real) animals being tickled or extreme ironing, I think it has done well and serves its purpose.

My kids want me to add that they did the voiceovers and that my direction and the thousands of takes it took were not too damaging to their self-esteem (see what I mean about a wicked sense of humor).

Bonus feature! Here's an experiment that didn't make the final cut of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdqAJbpaYoc

(Note from Diversion Press: After you play the experiment video over and over and stop laughing, the next video is the actual Ellabug video. Check it out!) 

Do you focus mostly on children’s books or do you write other genres?
I am an academic in my other life so I write about my fascinating (*stifles a yawn*) research on creative communities. I am currently writing a book chapter on authorship in the digital realm, for example. With that said, I prefer visual storytelling. This summer I hope to get traction on a possible web comic or graphic novel and another children's book project.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
Best part: Seeing the book on the shelf at a bookstore or at the library next to my heroes and childhood favorites.

Worst part: not having the time to travel and properly promote the book. I have enjoyed the few readings and school visits that I’ve done. The story resonates with kids and adults alike so it usually leads to good conversations.

What would you like potential readers to know?
About Ellabug: Readers can submit drawings of themselves and their family as animals. I like to post them on the Ellabug blog. You can see a few at:

http://ellabug-thebook.blogspot.com/

They are very funny. One boy drew his mother as an atom. Another made himself as a cockroach!

About writing and children's books: have fun and write because you want to tell a story – not because you want recognition or wealth.

About stuff in general: don't eat from tin cans that are warped, buckled, or from a company called Botulism Farms.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?
I am curious as to how many in your audience have Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Diversion Press Welcomes Kathleen Bullock, author of Far Corners

How did you come up with the idea for Far Corners?
It began when I had the idea of writing a ghost story without the scare and gore. I felt that if there really were ghosts, there would have to be a really good reason for hanging on Earth. I tried to create that in the character of Lady Catherine and her desperate need to make peace with her son.

Can you tell us about the transformation to the past in this book and the ghostly figures that the main characters encounter?
Several readers have wondered if the children were descendents of Lady Catherine or the Danburys, and I've left that deliberately ambiguous. I let the ring be the token that transports them to the past on that one night only. Mary the maid dropped it presumably and it lay in a crevice until the children found it on the one day it mattered.

What was your influence in developing these characters?
I love history, American History, and I found that era before the Revolutionary War to be full of exciting characters and events. The whole country was wide open to immigrants from every part of the globe. And I couldn't help throwing in George Washington as a cameo. He actually spent time surveying his cousin's landholdings during those years.

How did you come up with the idea for the title Far Corners?
The title was a tough one. After many 'working' titles, and dozens of ideas, I chose the name of the Inn. My idea being that the Far Corners Inn was exactly that, in those days, situated right on the edge of the Ohio wilderness.

This book is set on Christmas Eve. Is it a Christmas book?
Yes. It is much more a Christmas Book, than Halloween. My characters (though crude and cruel) are not scary.

Is there a takeaway message from your book?
Several, I hope. One, of course, is the devotion of family; the mother for her son and her willingness to travel to a wild place to correct an injustice, and then there's the bond between the Brooks siblings that grows more evident as their ordeal evolves. I'd like to think independence of thought and self-worth are other themes. Serena, Tom, and even Carrie the farm girl, are independent souls, even under terrible circumstances. Another theme is about the way history changes and horrible things are righted.

Who is the target audience for this book?
Good readers, ten and up, particularly those in Middle School.

What makes your book unique in reaching that audience?
Teachers! Teachers read to their students regularly and they are always looking for good books.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
So far, there are no worse parts (except for money.) Writing is theraputic on so many levels. It can be done at home in your nightgown. One world after another opens up for you, and always there's the secret hope that someone, somewhere is reading your book at that moment.

What would you like potential readers to know?
I'd love young readers to know that nothing on film, or TV, can match the pleasure of reading. The reader himself peoples the world he reads about, and nothing can match the uniqueness of that.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?
I'd love to know how many adults still find pleasure reading so-called novels for children and young adults. I believe more adults indulge in the wonderful fantasy there, even if secretly, than one expects. I'd love to hear from anyone who wants to recommend a great kid's book! I'll start by recommending the "Princess Academy" by Shannon Hale.


In addition to Far Corners, Kathleen has published several other books. For more information about these and Far Corners, visit Kathleen Bullock's website at:
www.kathleenbullock.com

Spotlight on Kathleen Bullock: Her Biography

I was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area, the oldest of ten children. My parents bought a rundown, crumbling sort of spooky old house near San Carlos that was reputed to belong to the first governor of California – as his stable! It was also supposed to be haunted by wife of one of the previous owners who had been struck down by a Model-T. However, no ghost in his right mind would dare to materialize at our house.

With a large family like ours, one can imagine the chaos. The five boys were all smack in the middle, full of spit and fire (literally, my youngest brother set the detached garage and several ancient trees on fire playing some kind of chicken poker with lighted matches. Don’t ask.).

One of the anomalies about our house was the Sunday evening blackouts. We figured that the City lowered the wattage grid on that day, but whatever the reason, as my father made a fuse run, we children would gather in the dark and tell stories. I think that’s where my love of spinning a spellbinding yarn began.

Art was big in our family, too. I can’t think of a single brother or sister who isn’t artistic, musical, or dramatic.

I studied art in college, and planned to be an art teacher until a prospective employer at Sunsett Magazine told me I’d get a better education BEING an artist, than studying to be one. He said artists work at it, and all the rest teach. A little harsh, I think, but I got the job. My year at Sunsett was indeed an education. I left to marry, but learning the basics of book design has never left me.

I’ve lived in Oregon for well over 35 years. My three kids were born here. And when my fabulous, beautiful, funny husband passed away, I found myself raising teens and a preteen alone. The results have been mixed. (Just kidding.)

What I knew for sure was that I needed a job. I began my own graphic arts business and ran it for ten years, but my real love was writing and illustrating for children. I was lucky enough to be picked by Simon & Schuster for a new children’s imprint. My first book was It Chanced To Rain. I sold five picture books to them, had a ball, and would have written and illustrated books forever. Unfortunately, I needed a more secure job. I found one working with good friends at an educational publisher, and my illustrated books sort of fell by the wayside. In my spare time, however, I did begin to study the art of writing.

My first completed novel turned out to be Far Corners. I feel privileged to have found a wonderful, young publisher in Diversion. My day job is very intense, full of deadlines, re-dos, and weeks of panic when it’s catalog or book convention time. I love my work but it leaves little time for much else.

Nevertheless, I keep writing.

A blatant self-promotion bid: my second novel, the YA fantasy The End of Dominion will be out this year, and I’m hoping to sell two more novels in the young reader genre.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blog Tour Updates

Readers,

Although today is a quiet day at Diversion Press, head over to these stops and support Charles Suddeth and Antonio Thompson

April 19

Write for a Reader hosts Charles Suddeth, author of Halloween Kentucky Style

Tammy’s Book Parlor hosts Antonio Thompson, author of German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass

Don’t forget to FOLLOW our Blog and that we are giving away books based on the number of comments we get on the Blog. Go to the top of the Blog and see the Giveaway Page for more details.

Also the full calendar is on the Diversion Press homepage, http://www.diversionpress.com/

Keep those comments coming in and we will post them during the entire tour. Our authors will keep responding to them.

Here is our next day of events:

April 20

An Abundance of Books hosts Robert Bresloff, author of Wanderland

Diversion Press hosts Kathleen Bullock, author of Far Corners

Lisa’s World of Books hosts Ryan Nemeth, author of I Can Make Out with Any Girl Here

Far Corners Giveaway Starts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Diversion Press Welcomes Ryan Nemeth, author of I Can Make Out With Any Girl Here

Where did you get the idea for this book?

I was inspired by looking back on my day's as a college student...which I did while I was still a college student. I just thought that college was such a weird world to live in-- it has very little to do with real life, in many ways. I thought it would be funny and interesting to explore that world with this story.

Your book is different from a lot of the other books published by DP and this was a reason that we developed the Yellow Snow line. I guess you could say that in some ways, your book has body slammed the DP reader population. J Any comments on that?
I am happy to hear that it stands out! I never want to write anything that blends in or seems too much like anything else. Woo hoo! But, body slams hurt, so I am sorry for that.

Speaking of body slammed, we heard a rumor that you and your book have been making a splash in the world of wrestling. Is there any truth to this gossip?
Canadian professional wrestler Lance Storm, a former WWE champion, read my book and posted a positive review of it on his website. I was excited that it made him laugh, because as wrestling fans know, he can be quite serious sometimes... Also, http://www.dolphziggler.com/ did an interview with me about the book. That was cool, because Ziggler recently became World Champion, and I think reading my book probably had something to do with it!

As for me, the last few months have been very busy and exciting: I was offered a developmental contract with WWE and am currently training in their developmental system (Florida Championship Wrestling) in Tampa, FL. Hopefully my writing career and my sports entertainment career will blossom together!

Is there a take away message in this book?
I think Donny, the character in the book, makes a lot of foolish decisions and doesn't completely think things through, and he faces consequences for that. You know how we can learn from others' mistakes? Well, Donny is a perfect example of that. The main thing I want readers to learn is that setting fetal pigs on fire will NEVER lead to a good outcome.

This book obviously would be a good read for college students or those thinking about college. Any college advice? Any life advice?
Before you go to college, you should definitely get a copy of my book. Maybe 2 or 3, in case you lose it. Enjoy college because it will be over before you know it, and you will probably realize too late that life after college is quite lame.

Yellow Snow is a new imprint for Diversion Press and your book is the first on this imprint. What kind of books do you envision that would pair nicely with your book under this imprint?
Unique books that stand out. Books that may make you uncomfortable while at the same time entertaining you.

How did you develop the characters for the book?
I took people I knew and changed them, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways. But everything in it is somewhat based on or drawn from reality.

What is one major challenge that you faced when writing this book?
I was writing it while finishing grad school, so I regularly put writing in front of studying. Staying focused on my school work was a big challenge, because writing the book was just so much fun!

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
The best part is looking at a copy of the book and seeing your name on it. That is really awesome. It's something no one can ever take away-- that book was published. You can't unpublish it! The worst part? When people want free copies, or want to buy copies from me. I wrote it, I don't sell them!

What would you like potential readers to know?
You can do anything. You really can. I have been told "you won't make it" or "you can't do that" so many times that it doesn't even mean anything to me anymore. But I got this book published. I mean you can really do anything as long as you work hard for it. I know that sounds simple and unoriginal-- but it's true!

Donny led us to believe that he will be continuing school at Kuhlman. Will we be reading about Donny’s second year in college?
You just have to wait and see! I am working on something new... I'm just not going to tell you what it is yet, though.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Diversion Press Welcomes Bill Rosencrans, Author of Dakota: A Work in Progress

Diversion Press talked with Bill Rosencrans about his book, Dakota: A Work in Progress and of course, about Dakota.  Below is what we learned.

How old is Dakota now?

Dakota is now five years old. It’s hard to believe. Like the old saying goes “Time flies when you’re having fun.” He still seems like a pup to me. I see to it that he squeezes as much fun as he can out of each and every day, and in turn, I have as much fun as he does. We’re inseparable.

Has he calmed now or is he still active?
No, he hasn’t really calmed down much at all. Aside from the fact that he no longer runs along the top of the couch coming dangerously close to knocking a large painting with a heavy frame off the wall and on to the heads of our guests sitting there, he is still very active. All of the other dogs in the neighborhood, which are mostly golden retrievers, gravitate toward him because he is so much fun to be around. Friends of mine told me that they can’t mention Dakota’s name in their house without their two goldens going bonkers. So, they refer to Dakota as “D” in their conversations. Dog owners have told me how their dogs pull them on their leash, wanting to come to the house to see if Dakota is home and wants to come out and play (including a Jack Russell and a twelve-inch hound). I’ve found Harper, my next door neighbor’s golden retriever, at my front door numerous times. I open the front door and in he comes, and out the back door the two of them go. Dakota then begins running laps around the yard. It’s the excitement of having a friend stopping by to see him that sets him off. It’s kind of like seeing a space shuttle taking off from Cape Canaveral.

Is he still getting into trouble?
Dakota is always in trouble. During the winter he’ll steal the gloves off your hand if you stop to pet him. He almost strangled Penny (a girl in her twenties who is a friend of the family) when he grabbed hold of the scarf she had tied around her neck and began pulling on it like he was in a tug-of-war. She was turning purple, and I couldn’t get the scarf out of his mouth. I actually began thinking “How in the world am I going to explain Penny’s death to Brett (her husband).

Where is Dakota’s favorite place to go?
That’s a toss-up. He loves going to Pet Smart, naturally. The girl at the counter loves Dakota, and consequently allows him to devour the entire supply of treats she keeps in a bowl on the counter alongside the register. But, Dakota also loves going to the bank. His head is next to mine, with his eyes locked on the teller at the drive-thru window, who sends a biscuit his way along with our transaction. He makes sure that she sees him - all the while panting in my ear, and drooling on my pant leg.

Who are his favorite people to be around?
Dakota loves children, being a child at heart himself. When he sees a gang of little kids laughing and playing he wants desperately to go to them. I have to keep telling him ‘Turn around. Pay attention to where you’re going.” He has walked into parked cars with his head turned around while walking forward, watching children at play.

Does he have any dog friends?
Dakota has more friends than I do. Six golden retrievers – Harper, Jackson, Rosie (whom Dakota is currently in love with) Cinnamon (who lives around the corner), and Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Harry likes boxing with Dakota while Ted watches. Ted’s a little up in the years.

Which story do people seem to like the most when you give talks?
Children like “Thief !” That was the short story where Dakota devoured the roast beef sandwich I left sitting on the counter-top while I was outside cooking a portabella mushroom on the grill. The adults seemed to enjoy the book in its entirety. Below is an e-mail from a woman who bought numerous copies of the book to give as a gift during the holiday season.

I have to tell you about some good friends of ours who received "Dakota" from us for Christmas.

Kathy, the wife, started reading the book before Jon, the husband. They have always had "Dakota" kinds of dogs during their 30+ year marriage. All of their children are now out of the house working or at college. Recently they adopted a very young, frisky, and "not so bright" female named Quinna. Well, when Jon returned from work one night Kathy read a chapter out loud to him. He laughed out loud and asked Kathy to read another chapter. And that's how they read the whole book. Kathy read it aloud to Jon while he had Quinna on his lap - a couple chapters each night. We got the funniest thank you card describing the entire process. They described every detail - including getting Quiinna into her "coat" to go outside for a "potty break" during one of the chapters.

Another couple we gave the book to have a 13 year old special needs daughter (their youngest) and after reading the book themselves, they read the book to her aloud. Now she has been trying to read it aloud to them, because Dakota is "just like" their dog, Sasha. Nathalie's interest level has been so high, her ability to read the book has been remarkable.

So do thank your husband for me...Everyone has truly enjoyed their experience with the book! Not to mention that I have been given great accolades for being the best gift giver ever!! It will certainly be hard to maintain that reputation, unless of course book 2 comes out for the next holiday season.

Can you share a story about Dakota that isn’t in the book?
Dakota nudged me with his nose waking me out of a sound sleep. I had no idea what time it was. All I knew was that I was dead tired and hoping that I wouldn’t have to pet his head, then hold his paw, pet his head again, then hold his other paw, for hours and hours. I wanted to get back to sleep. He then stood with his front paws on the frame of the bed looking down at me. It was then that he did the strangest thing. He did the Martian Mind Meld - a mind reading tactic that My Favorite Martian employed. My Favorite Martian was a TV show I used to watch when I was a kid – it obviously left a lasting impression upon me. I use the Martian Mind Meld on Dakota all the time, and now in the middle of the night he was doing the same thing to me. He put his forehead to mine and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I glanced at the clock on the VCR and saw that it was a quarter to four in the morning. Dakota got down off the bed, curled up on the floor, and went to sleep. Dakota didn’t need to read my mind to know how much I love him. I tell him so every five minutes, but sometimes the words alone are not enough, which is why we have The Martian Mind Meld.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
The best part of being a published author is going to book signings and seeing for yourself the joy that you were able to bring into someone else’s life with your words. The worst part? There isn’t any.

What would you like potential readers to know?
I would like for my readers to know that this not a book about pet-care or how to train your dog. Far from it. Dakota will leave you laughing out loud – and there is no sad ending like Marley. It is appropriate for all ages, and it makes a great gift book.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?
Yes. Did you get your copy of Dakota: A Work in Progress yet? Buy it. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Giveaways and Comments

Readers don't forget that we are giving away a number of free books.  Our giveaways include If You Don't Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut and Broomsticks

Bill Rosencrans is appearing tomorrow and we are giving away a copy of his book, Dakota:  A Work in Progress.

We also have a Big Blog Tour Giveaway.

Just look at the top of the blog for the giveaway page to find a list of all of the free books and directions.  You must be a blog Follower and a U.S. resident.

Also, even though some of the authors have already visited the DP blog, you can still comment and they will continue to answer your questions.  Many have stops on other blogs as well. 

Stay tuned readers and authors.  You are what makes this event great!

Tour UPDATES and Directions

Hello everyone,

We just wanted to drop a note to say:  WOW!  What a great start to the blog tour.

We don't want to interrupt this, but we do want to provide what may be some helpful directions for everyone.

The full TOUR Calendar is on our website http://www.diversionpress.com/ 
It is listed as Version 1 (a standard calendar) and Version 2 (a broken down list of stops)
Both have the stops linked, so it is a great way to keep up with the entire tour at all the stops.
The links are current, and will be updated so that you can click on them and go directly to that posting.

Please do FOLLOW our Blog and comment on the appeareances.  The Comment box is always at the bottomn of the current post.

Finally, FREE STUFF.  We are giving away lots of free stuff.  We will announce these on certain days throughout the tour.  Those days are also listed on the calendar AND listed on our blog at the top click BLOG TOUR Giveaways for the list of giveaways only.  Once the giveaway is active, we will link to that blog post from this page.

Finally, we are opening a page called The Blog Tour, which will have all the information that you need to follow the tour.

Diversion Press Welcomes Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker, Authors of Broomsticks.

Sean and Katie--Living on the Air in Cincinnati!
The book is called Broomsticks, but what is it about?
It's about two extraordinary nine-year olds from completely different backgrounds who develop a special friendship based on the one thing they have in common....magic!

Can you tell us about the characters?
Pocky: On the outside, she's your average , sweet, level-headed girl-next-door who has a talent for writing which lands her at Asher School For Gifted Children. However, there is one thing that separates her from her classmates.... she's magic! Only she has no idea why. Raised by her ordinary mortal grandmother, Pocky has a lot of questions about her background that nobody can seem to answer. Feeling alone in the world, it is a breath of fresh air when she meets Stamp.

Stamp
 Stamp: Anything but average, Stamp is a full-blooded witch and proud of it! This goatee-sporting, Shakespeare quoting nine-year old doesn't mind standing out a little as he has broken away from his family's traditions to attend a mortal school to study acting. Although excited to meet someone of his kind at Asher, he is quick to dismiss Pocky upon finding out that she has been raised by mortals. He has been somewhat mislead to believe many stereotypes about mortals. When he realizes that Pocky does not have any prejudices against him, he has a change of heart, which he has difficulty showing, then the real magic begins. He suddenly takes pride in showing Pocky how to manage her craft. In turn, he finds out there is a lot left to learn about mortals. ( But don't expect him to admit that!)
Pocky

Blevins: Stamp's quiet, observant familiar can say a lot with just a look! He can also shapeshift and will appear in many forms throughout the story.

Maggie Gumm: Pocky's roommate and friend... the groovy, quirky, somewhat paranoid daydream believer.

Brooklyn Meadows: Pocky and Maggie's no-nonsense friend who provides a nice balance to the two.

Rick Parker: Maggie's crush... the "school blonde-haired boy" who ultimately is a bully.

Mrs. Wheeler: One of the only two adult characters in the story. She is the glue that holds the gang together.

Grandma McGuire: Pocky's Grandma... the epitome of what a grandmother should be.

Is there a takeaway message from your book?
Don't judge a book by it's cover and don't be afraid to be yourself!

How did the Elizabeth Montgomery statue get a copy of your book?
That awesome photo was sent to us by Peter Alachi, a Broomsticks fan who lives in Salem. Peter also wrote a wonderful review of Broomsticks which he posted on Amazon.com. We are so grateful to Peter and everyone who took the time to post a review on Amazon.

You got an endorsement from Erin Murphy, tell us about that?
Erin is a sweetheart! As many of you know, she played Tabitha on the TV classic, Bewitched. I (Sean) first came in contact with Erin in 1996 when I designed a logo for her website. Years later, I wrote to her about Broomsticks and asked her if she'd mind taking a look at it. Well, she not only read the first book, but she also read the yet-to-be released second Broomsticks story and the synopsis for our third story. She loved the books and sent us a wonderful quote that now graces the back cover of Broomsticks. Keep in mind, she did all of this before we even had a publisher. Like I said, Erin's a sweetheart.!


Your books are now available in Salem, Massachussetts, can you comment?
WOO-HOO!!! How's that for a comment? But seriously, we are thrilled by the news! To be honest, we don't even know where in Salem that they are available. We sent out press releases and "how-to" order forms to every bookstore, gift shop, and witch museum shop in the Salem/Boston area. When you spend ten years looking for a publisher, you do a lot of marketing research. We learned that if you sign with a smaller publisher, you should concentrate on your hometown area unless there's a place or event that goes along with the theme of your book. Well, besides our hometown of Maysville, Kentucky, we could think of no better place than Salem to promote a book about a couple of witches. We have several Salem fans in our Broomstick Fan club on Facebook. Gosh, we even have a fan in Australia! We are so grateful for the support!

You told us about an art contest and giveaway? Can you tell us how this will work, where we can find more information, and if all the entries will be posted?
Yes! Thanks for mentioning it. We're really excited about it! We wanted to do something that kids could have fun doing and maybe spark their interest in the book. It's for kids between the ages of 5-12. All they have to do is draw a picture of Stamp & Pocky and mail it in. The winners will receive a signed copy of the book and will post the winners on our website, blog, and facebook page. Details and rules can be found on our blog. http://www.broomsticksbooks.blogspot.com/

What has the local response been to your book?
Phenomenal! For our first signing, we had people lined up outside the door and the store sold their entire inventory within 30 minutes! We had to get our personal inventory to sell it too! After that sold out...we had people lining up to place orders. It was great! After that, we had 3 more successful sell-out signings! We were in the newspaper, on the radio, and on TV. We did a reading at the local library. I (Katie) spoke at a women's club luncheon before it was even published. People are still asking about it and where they can get it. We are overwhelmed by the continued support we receive from our hometown, Maysville, Kentucky. We hope every new author out there is lucky enough to have a hometown like Maysville. We are truly Blessed.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
The best part is the sense of accomplishment after years of trying and finally getting to introduce the world to our characters and our story! The kids we talk to blow us away! They are really into the book and ask us countless questions about the characters. Some even dressed as Stamp & Pocky for Halloween last year! Knowing that you've added a little fun and magic to someone's childhood... Nothing beats that! The worst part: There is no bad part of being a published author!
What would you like potential readers to know? Comparisons to Harry Potter are inevitable, but we'd like potential readers to know that, although we love Harry, Stamp & Pocky have very different adventures that deal with more down to earth problems that ordinary kids deal with everyday. We'd also like them to know that even though our first story deals with bullying and bigotry, Broomsticks still has all the fun, magic, humor, and escapism that you would hope to find in a book about two little witches.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?
Left to Right--Antonio Thompson, Amy, Thompson, Sean McHugh, Katie McHugh Parker, and Charles Suddeth
The Diversion Press Gang in Maysville, Kentucky.
Yes. Besides Harry Potter and a handful of other books like Broomsticks, do you think children's books today are becoming too reality-based and message-heavy? And what children's books helped you escape into a world of fantasy and magic as a child?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Diversion Press welcomes Linda Loegel, author of If You Don't Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut

We are going to get our BLOG TOUR started with one of our newest authors, Linda Loegel. Loegel’s book, If You Don’t Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut, was recently published by Diversion Press. It is available directly through the press, Amazon.com, or other online and retail locations. After you read through our interview with Linda and view the photographs that she provided, please take a minute and provide a comment or two in the comment section.


What is your favorite story from the book?

My Mom was making sandwiches for a picnic with our neighbors. I asked her what kind she was making and she said, "Tuna fish and egg salad." Being a very finicky eater, I said, "I'll make my own jam sandwiches!" Mom thought I swore and turned and snapped my lips without skipping a beat, thinking I had use a swear word. When I told her I said "jam," I was Queen for the Day because she felt so bad.

What is your best childhood experience?

There are so many! But I would have to say going for walks with my Dad and Donnie. Dad would point out various wildflowers, then he would make us each a basket out of fallen birch bark and we would gather berries and put them in the basket. Tied for best would also be Donnie and I playing at Dad's work bench, nailing pieces of wood together to make ships.

Can you tell us a story that was not included in the book?

My Aunt Alna (Dad's sister) and Uncle Nelson lived on a farm in Woodstock, VT. We would go visit them, usually at Thanksgiving or Christmas. My first memories of visiting them were before they had an indoor bathroom. They had a privy, a two-holer, attached to the house, in a shed just outside the kitchen door. That was the only house I've ever known that didn't have a bathroom. The book included stories about Donnie and Cookie, what was their response to the book?

Cookie: I was elated to be written about; it's fun to read about yourself. The experience as a fresh air child enriched my life and exposed me to a different way of life. I found that people are really not that different regardless of race or color. I found a new family that I'm still in touch with.

Donnie: Sometimes my ears perked up, but mostly you were very fair and honest about everything. It was pretty equal as to which one of us did what to whom. I notice you didn't put in the time you ratted on me to Dad! I loved that your book brought back so many beautiful memories, memories that only we could share. The last paragraph in the book sums our family up completely.
Is there any advice you can give for today’s children—things to do that don’t require today’s technology?

Read. Don't be afraid to be alone with your thoughts. Get outside and play ball. Go for walks. Ride a bike.

What is the title based on?

My sister played a trick on me. We were walking down a steep hill one day and she said, "Let's play a game." I worshipped my older sister, so if she wanted to play a game with me, I was all for it. She then said, "Close your eyes." I closed my eyes. She said, "Open your mouth." I opened my mouth. What I didn't know, was that there was a worm hanging from a tree in direct line with my mouth. She had seen it and I hadn't. I was spitting out worm for a long time afterwards.

What do you want potential readers to know about your book?

That there was a simpler time in life, before tv, computers, faxes, and cell phones. A time when you could keep your doors unlocked, when kids played outside, when parents were parents and not pals or play date arrangers. That the little events that happen when we are kids help shape who we are as adults.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?

The best part is knowing that what was once an idea in my head was given life and grew into a book that people can now hold and read and, hopefully, will make them smile. I haven't found a worst part yet.

What would you like potential readers to know?

That some people actually do have happy childhoods with a stable and loving family. You don't have to live with Mommy Dearest in order to write a book. We all have a book within us. Also, I have a second book out at the moment called "Bumps Along the Way," about a 10,000 mile trip my husband and I took with all its highs (God's exquisite handiwork--Bryce, Zion, Niagara Falls, etc. etc.) and lows (two trips to the hospital, a fishing trip from hell, and a motel from hell). The book is available through www.lulu.com.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?


Can you relate to some of the events in the book?
What events in your childhood helped to shape who you are as an adult?


Thank you Linda.  We are sure that our readers will leave you some comments and respond to your questions.  Don't forget that we are giving away up to 2 copies of Linda's book, 1 for each 20 unique comments.









Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Big Blog Tour Giveaway

Begins on April 15 and ends May 15.

To be eligible to win you MUST
*Be a blog FOLLOWER
*Live in the U.S.
*Comment on the author appearances on the DP BLOG.

For this giveaway only posts made on an author visit will count (not other giveaways, calls for submissions, or announcing new anthology releases)

Linda Loegel will be our first author, so the first comment made on her stop will be number 1. We will continue with each new author until we finish the tour on May 15.

We will generate a random number from all the comments received at the end and then use randomizer to pick a number.

We will then count up beginning with the first comment on Linda Loegel’s author page and continuing through each new author, going in order of appearance, until we get to that number.

The more comments that you make the better chance you have of winning.

*Prize-1 winner will get one 1 copy of each of the following books (7 books total)

Urban Falcon
Dakota: A Work In Progress
German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass:
                        Housing German Prisoners of War in Kentucky, 1942-1946
If You Don’t Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut
Meanderings: A Collection of Poetic Verse
People Poetry (our new poetry collection)
Galley copy of Far Corners
Diversion Press Bag of Books Bag

We will also be giving away single book copies. Visit the Diversion Press blog and comment on an author's stop. We will randomly choose one commentor from each author's stop comments to win that author's book. The same rules as above apply.

Also, you can win only once!

All winners will be announced at the Diversion Press block party on May 15! Good luck!

THE BLOG TOUR IS HERE

This IS the Diversion Press Event.

It will run from April 15-May 15

What you can expect

*Nearly non-stop hosting, interviews and comments on our blog

*Comments being open on the DP blog 24/7 (with moderation of course)

*Numerous blogs hosting our authors during the stop

*Several new book releases being announced

*Giveaways throughout the 4 weeks

*Several new calls for submissions

*A calendar to help keep track of it all

*Did we mention Giveaways?

What you NEED to do

*Follow our blog, follow our host blogs

*Sign up for the giveaways

*Visit all the stops, comment regularly, check for responses

*Tell friends, family, colleagues, neighbors . . . just tell everyone

*Let’s have FUN!!!

Thanks to everyone who is involved and all of you who will be involved

Sincerely,
The DP TEAM

Speaking of comments, you can start by commenting here

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blog Tour and Diversion Press Event

We have been very busy organizing the blog tour and Diversion Press Event. 

Stay tuned for the final schedule. 

If you are interested in hosting an author or reviewing a book during the event, contact us ASAP.  We can still fit you into the schedule.