You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 SN Taylor, All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 30, 2011

Author Interview + Book Giveaway: Nadine Johnson: I Am and I Love

Hi Nadine! Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your journey to publication with us.

Nadine Johnson

First off, can you give us a little background info about yourself?
I am originally from the island of Jamaica but I grew up in Pennsylvania. I attended Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and received my bachelor’s degree in Business and later, a Graphic Design certificate from the Maryland College of Art and Design. I’ve been working primarily as a freelance graphic designer and writer for the past 7 years. I also have a fabulous son, who keeps me on my toes.


Please share with us some details about your two books, “I Am,” and “I Love”.
My most recent books include I Am, and it’s counterpart, I Love. Both books were written with fun, lyrical rhymes, and vibrant images. The books encourage children to appreciate who they are and all the things around them. I Am encourages children to explore the positive qualities that they possess. I Love invites children to explore their surroundings and think about all the things and people they love.

What inspired you to write these stories?
I was inspired by some of the children that I met while tutoring and presenting workshops in several schools. I believe we need to do a better job of building children’s self-esteem and self-awareness to help them appreciate who they are and the world around them. It sounds like a cliché but it’s needed.


What is your writing process like?
When I get a good idea (I have many not-so-good ideas), I can write a book fairly quickly. I write constantly until my ideas are all on paper. Then comes the dreaded editing process, which takes a long time. I pick every word and sentence apart to make sure it’s perfect (and it’s never really perfect). I then work on the artwork for the book. Each book can take a year or two to complete.

Can you share with us your publishing journey with “I Am,” and “I Love”?
I published “I Am” and “I Love” through my company, 123 Mango Tree LLC. I like publishing my own books because it gives me control over the content and look.

What was your biggest, “ah ha!” moment during your publishing journey?
At first I was trying really hard to find a publisher who would publish my work but one day it hit me – I could spent years and years trying to get an agent or publishing company to deem my work worthy of being published, or I can just do it myself. With that thought I stopped looking and started creating books.


What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing I am a mother, which means that I’m doing everything else under the sun!

Who are your favorite writers, past and present?
I don’t really have a favorite writer. There are certain books that I’ve read that I have never forgotten. I enjoyed reading “The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi” by Author Miller, “The Autobiography of My Mother” by Jamaica Kincaid, and “Remember Me” by Sophie Kinsella. I also love reading “Joy” by Joyce Carol Thomas to my son.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?
I want my books to motivate and empower children. But most of all, I want to get children reading at an early age. I would love to encourage parents to start reading to their children as soon as they enter the world, and to make reading with their children a part of their daily routine.

If you could share one piece of advice that you wish you had been given at the beginning of your publishing journey, what would it be?
Make sure you really ENJOY writing. The process is long, hard and filled with many roadblocks. It also takes a lot of effort to find the resources, including time and money, to create and promote your books.

Where can readers find out more about your books?
They can visit my Web site at 123MangoTree.com.

Quick…..three random things about yourself……..
I love playing tennis.
I still watch The Young and Restless (maybe I should keep this a secret)
A warm brownie a-la-mode is the key to heart…or ahh…stomach.

Another fun question:  If you could have one superpower, what would it be? J
Maybe the power to create the perfect husband (I’m just gushing at the thought) or the power to make my child listen to me most of the time. But really, I would love the power protect all children from pain and suffering.

I like THAT superpower, Nadine! Well, thanks again Nadine for joining us today. Everyone, Please check out her website: 123MangoTree.com



And now…………..It’s time for our

Book Giveaway!!!!!

One lucky winner will receive Nadine’s books: I Love and I Am. Please fill out the form below.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Marry Me




While driving to work today, I got to thinking about one of my characters and the particular situation he has gotten himself into when this song came on the radio. He is in love with another young warrior and wants to marry her but a marriage between them is highly unlikely. Unbeknowst to my character, the young warrior is engaged to marry another man from her world. You see, Naqabashi warriors only marry from their own race. And even more than that, they only marry from the Naqaban warrior clans. I feel bad, because she really does like him and thinks very highly of him, but being proud and bound by honor and duty,she will reject him if he ever gets up the nerve to ask her. And at this point, he is building up that courage.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's a Blog Hop!!!

*Posting a little early as I will be a little busy on the 26th :)
Falling Into Books Blog Hop
Click on the blog hop pic to find more wonderful giveaways!





In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 




Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.








Deep below the deceptively blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, guarded by hundreds of dolphins, lie the astonishing remains of a mysterious lost city much like the legendary Atlantis.
While mapping the ancient under water metropolis of Marinth, marine architect Hannah Bryson makes a shocking discovery: She may have finally uncovered the truth about the once glorious city's mysterious demise. Marinth's sudden disappearance has confounded scientists for years, but now, with the revelation of a key artifact, Hannah realizes that the long buried city's explosive secret could have dire consequences for the modern day worldWhen her key artifact is hijacked en route to a research lab, she is thrust into an adventure in which she must match wits against a terrifying enemy who will kill anyone who stands in his way. And when Hannah becomes his target, she knows that her best hope for survival lies with Kirov, a mysterious and deadly man from her past. Together they will race to unravel Marinth’s last great secret in order to prevent a catastrophe of global proportions. Before the lethal game is over, however, Hannah will realize that no one is above suspicion.


Dilara Kenner, an ambitious young archaeologist, must run for her life when an old friend is murdered right in front of her. Before he dies in her arms, he gasps a few cryptic words about a vast conspiracy to hide an awesome historical artifact and tells Dilara that the only person who can help her is a decorated former Army combat engineer named Tyler Locke. A second attempt on Dilara’s life convinces a skeptical Locke that there is truth to her story, that someone wants to stop her from discovering Noah's Ark. When a movie star’s private jet crashes into the Mojave desert, it proves to be another link to the conspiracy. Locke and Dilara head to Arizona, and their investigation reveals a chilling discovery. A group of religious fanatics has recovered a weapon from the Ark that will let them recreate the effects of the biblical flood and mold the remnants of humanity according to their leader’s twisted vision. Now Locke and Dilara have just seven days to find the Ark and the secret hidden inside before it is used to wipe out civilization again.






Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation... one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday's Muse: Nature Inspired

Photo source: National Geographic 
Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Isn't this photo just breathtaking!?!? I love the colors and patterns that nature has produced on this canvas of sandstone. For my next vacation, I would love to visit this canyon.  

Quote for the Day: 
"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play
no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality
and an imagined thought or image. What we continually
think about eventually will manifest in our lives."
~Robert Collier~

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Secret of Spruce Knoll Giveaway Winner

And the winner is.........................




Lindy Legends!!!!!!!

Woot Woot!!!

Lindy please contact me with your info so I can send you your prize, The Secret of Spruce Knoll!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In the News...... Everyday Heros!!!

OMG!!! What a great way to end my day. There is still hope for future generations, as long as there are selfless, kind-hearted people like these, there is hope for a better more caring world!!

Tuesday Tunes: I Hope You Dance

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monday's Muse: Nature and Camping! *posting a little early*

Taken at Camp Burton Vashon Island, Wa

     Last weekend I went on a camping retreat. While I enjoyed myself there, it wasn't something I was truly prepared for. I was under the impression that I'd have a lot of time for leisurely pleasures like writing and reading. Well, I did get some writing down and some reading but I mostly spent time with the other campers, hiking, boating, telling stories around the camp fire (well, I mostly listened and watched for critters on the ground in the light of the fire *shudders*) the usual camp stuff. 

     While on a hike, I came across this tree. It was the only tree along our trail that had mushrooms on it. I thought it looked out of place for some reason especially since I had not come across any others along the way or even after. Those mushrooms stuck in my mind for a long time. That night, as I settled in for some write time working on the first prompt of The Rule of Three Blog Fest, the image of the lonely patch of mushrooms popped back up in my mind and writing. Somehow, they made their way into my story! These mushrooms will play a vital role in the Renaissance Awakening.


I love nature, it is so inspiring! And now for some nature quotes :D

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
Navajo Proverb
"Trees give peace to the souls of men."
Nora Waln correspondent 1895-1964
To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
Terry Tempest Williams
It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The moment one give close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
Henry Miller
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
President Lyndon B. Johnson

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More Award Love..... :D


The Versatile Blogger award was given to me by the BornStoryteller :) Thank you!!
The rules (there are always rules!)
Anyone who accepts this is asked by the person selecting them to do three things:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.  
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!


SEVEN things about myself:
1. Have traveled and worked in over 3 countries
2. Went kayaking for the first time in my life last weekend! :D
3. LOVE Green Tea with mint and honey
4. Many of my children's stories and poems are based on the real lives and experiences of the children I work with
6. Don't like to drive, prefer to be chauffeured
7. Cheese and dark chocolate are the loves of my life 
Now the fun part! The blogs that I really want to acknowledge are:










Alex J Cavanaugh ( I know this makes 16, but I really like this blog :D )

Liebester Love

As some of you may know from a previous post, I received this lovely award from the even lovelier Kate Swenson. Thank you so much Kate! Being recognized and encouraged is an awesome feeling especially by fellow members of the writing community!

The Liebster Blog award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers who other bloggers believe deserve more followers, which is then passed on to more awesome bloggers.

Here are the official rules:

1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the camaraderie of the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
5. And best of all, have fun and spread the love.



Through this campaign, I have founds some really wonderful and fun blogs to join. So please check them out :) 


Now on to the even more fun part: here are my picks :D


Juliana L. Brandt I Aspire to be......


1000th.monkey


Nilganab 


Gail Shepherd Paradoxy


Lauren F. Boyd: My Path to Publication


So..... tag!!! You are it. Now go on and show some blogger love!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Author Interview + Book Giveaway: Heather McCorkle The Secret of Spruce Knoll

What a fabulous Friday! It is an honor and pleasure to introduce you all to a really wonderful person and author, Heather McCorkle and her debut novel, The Secret of Spruce Knoll.

I first found Heather's blog through another writer/blogger friend *smiles* I love the writing community! Since then, I have followed her blog (I L-O-V-E her Friday Feature Creature!) I went from reading one of her pitches for The Secret of Spruce Knoll to celebrating that her book was to be published!! I am so proud of her and would love for you all to get to know her! 

Oh, and did I mention there is a BOOK GIVEAWAY too!?! That's right, one lucky person will receive a SIGNED copy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll!!! Trust me, you WANT a copy of this book, along with a cozy blanket and hot tea or cocoa or coffee if that is your thing :D you will need the caffeine to stay awake until the end ;)

Book Blurb:
It’s hard enough being a teenager under normal circumstances; imagine being orphaned, sent to live with an unfamiliar aunt—and learning that there really is magic in the world. Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.

Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they~and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. 
Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, who shows her being a channeler isn’t all bad; in fact, it’s kind of cool.


As Eren and Aiden’s relationship blooms, so too does a mystery in Spruce Knoll. The town holds many secrets—and many enemies. It soon becomes apparent that the untimely death of Eren’s parents was no accident and that her life might be in danger, too. Only time will tell if young, inexperienced Eren has the power to protect the people she has come to love. 


And now the moment you have been waiting for, the wonderful author herself!! Thank you for joining us today Heather! :D


So tell us, what inspired you to write The Secret of Spruce Knoll?

 I was watching a special on how deforestation is causing the extinction of several species. It was so sad that I couldn't stop thinking about it, I even dreamed about it that night. When I woke up, Eren was born.
What type of research did you do for your story? Was it difficult to research topics for The Secret of Spruce Knoll? 

All kinds! I love research. Of course I use the internet, a lot, but everything I find on there has to be backed up and verified from another source like a library or history book. For places I haven't been I like to use Google maps that zoom in on the area with satellites, it is awesome. It was challenging to research Spruce Knoll because of the four different cultures, but so fun and inspiring!
Has researching for your novel ever gotten you into any funny situations? 

Oh my gosh yes! I ask some of the strangest questions of the most random people at the most random times, or sometimes I just wonder them aloud. We were in a restaurant one time and I asked, "Do you think if I trapped him in a cave and left him there he'd die of starvation or exposure first?" The waitress walked up just as I was saying it and you should have seen the look on her face! Poor girl. 

In TSSK, there are only four cultures that live in Spruce Knoll. Are there other channelers from different cultures in other parts of the world? 

You'll find out in book three! ;-)
Have any of your characters demanded more page space than you originally planned? 

Definitely! Fane stole the scene the moment he came onto the page. Readers will see a lot more of him in book two. 

What was your favorite chapter to write? 

*Spoiler alert!* That's a tough one to answer because I love these characters so much and each scene was special in some way to me. But I'd have to go with the scene at the party, when the fight breaks out and Aiden and Fane come to help Eren.
Is there a specific character you’d like to go back to and further develop? 

*Spoiler alert* Alin, Eren's uncle, didn't get much page time and I'd love to write more about him.
Can you tell us a bit about what you are working on just now? I'm polishing up the sequel to Spruce Knoll which is scheduled to be out next March!
What is the best part of being a published author? What is the worst? 

The best part is the wonderful people I meet and connect with. When it comes down to it, that's really what it's all about, entertaining people. The worst part is the constant fear of 'how is my book selling? Do people like it?' They don't tell you about that part. ;)
How has writing and publishing changed you? 

I've been writing since I was twelve so I can't imagine how I'd be if I didn't write. Publishing has connected me to more people and has made me a better writer because of it. I know people will be reading my novels now so I strive even harder to make them outstanding.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? How do you deal with it? 

That would have to be hearing that my manuscript was too slow paced and I needed more happening in each chapter. It isn't easy to hear that when you think you're done. But it was the best advice I ever received. I got back to work and made every single scene matter to the over all book. It took my writing to a new level.
Is there anything you wish you had known about the publishing industry before you became a published author? 

Many things! I wish I had known that agents and publishers will pass up a great book just because it will compete with another author or novel they already have. That's probably the biggest one.
What is your secret to a good ending? The plot threads and character arcs must all be tied up, but it doesn't hurt to leave room in the pattern for more.
As a writer, who are your main influences? 

There are so many lovely authors I admire! Saundra Mitchell, Judith Graves, Ebony McKenna, Jessica Subject, Krissi Dallas, Kristie Cook, Eisley Jacobs, Denise Grover Swank, Kitty Keswick. I could go on!
What do you do when you are not writing? 

I love the outdoors. Hiking, horseback riding, snowboarding, kayaking, and so much more!
And just for fun: If you had to choose between a walnut, almond or cashew, which would you pick?  

As a nut, I love almost all nuts! LOL! But it would a cashew, no contest! Though I do love almonds. Walnuts, not so much.

Thank you so much Heather for stopping by and sharing with us all about yourself and your book! Well there you have it folks! Heather McCorkle, author of The Secret of Spruce Knoll. If you are interested in knowing more about Heather, her book or where you can get your hands on a copy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll, I highly recommend you hop on over to her blog or visit her author page on Goodreads or Facebook.

BOOK GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!!!!!

AND THE WINNER IS............



The winner of the Back to the Books Giveaway is............

Ruth!!!

Congratulations Ruth!!! I will be sending you an email shortly to confirm and send you your prize!!!!

Thank you all for your support and participating in the giveaway. Please stay tuned for more fun and prizes!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Writer Platform Building Campaign: First Campaign Challenge!

Rachael has posted the first campaign challenge:



Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words willbe included in the word count.


If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)
For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!
So here is mine :D :D Vote for #128
The Creek
       The door swung open. Nani ran out clutching a red fleece blanket around her shoulders. It had been a good ½ a minute since a loud piercing scream shattered her peace and quiet, but it felt like an eternity. The silence that followed was just as deafening. 

     
     Nani rushed down a trodden and snow covered path from her backyard through the tree-lined woods to the frozen creek behind her property. She stopped in her tracks. She looked around. She was sure the scream came from this portion of her woods. 
     
     Nani has had to pull many hikers and kids out of the creek who got too close to its currents or slipped on the slippery algae covered stones and fallen tree bridges trying to cross it. 
     
     No one was there.  There was not a single footprint in the newly fallen snow. As she turned to leave, something caught her eye. A glint reflected off the solid cold creek. Underneath a broken tree bridge sticking out of the creek, Nani saw something familiarly red. 
     
     Nani let out a loud piercing scream as a pair of bulging eyes stared back at her, clutching a red fleece around its frozen shoulders.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway!!!

Oh Happy Day!!!! Here is another fun blog hop that is sure to make everyone going back to school, happy! Hosted by two wonderful bloggers, this hop will run until the 7th. With lots of goodies out there up for grabs, be sure to check out these bloggers who are participating in the hop.

Now for the really good part. What better way to begin the school year than with a little school shopping!! I am giving away a

  $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble!!!!!

Rules: well, I have very few!
1. Follow my blog
2. Leave a comment with your email addy so that I can inform you if you win (or you can use my contact page if you don't want to put it in the comment space. But please put in the header, the name of this hop)

It is that easy! Here's wishing everyone a happy school year!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fabulous Friday updates and more!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Friday!! It is Labor Day weekend and I have got fun plans in the works. I am going on a retreat to Vashon Island this weekend and hope to get a LOT of writing in. :) I need some beautiful, serene nature right now. I need the flow of its energy to help me release big time. Not to mention, I have been dying to play around with my camera, so this is the perfect chance to do so! :D

I am 33 chapters into The Secret of Spruce Knolls. It is one hot tamale! I'm really enjoying the pace of the story. for every chapter I finish, a question is answered but two appear! I like that in a novel, sort of moves the story along. I also like the character Eren. While I can't relate to her experience, I definitely feel for her struggles and the situation she has found her self in. She makes me want to jump into the story and kick something but she is one tough young lady. She makes me proud! And Aiden, I am quite curious about his story. If Heather does not write a novel about him, I'm going to be crushed! I'm also a scifi fantasy lover so anything out of the ordinary peaks my curiosity! Channelers have peaked my curiosity. Such a mysterious bunch they are, scary, very scary but quite mysterious. I can't wait to gift one lucky winner with this book! :D You are going to like it!!!!

I was totally surprised and floored today when I came to my blog and found I had an award! I was gifted with the Liebster Award by fellow campaigner Kate Swenson Is she not the sweetest!!! This award is given to blogs with fewer than 200 followers. I will be passing this on shortly along with a few other fun blog awards!



In other news, the sun is shining here in Seattle and that is always good news :)

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators