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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2nd Annual Summer Giveaway Hop!


It's that time of the year again, the summer giveaway hop!!! Thanks to I am a reader, not a writer, and Mary @ Bookhounds for co-hosting this event. 

I have a long list on my tbr list so instead of giving away a book, I will giveaway a $10 dollar gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble that way you can get a book from your own tbr list :D

Rules for joining?

Be a follower (via GFC or Twitter)
and
Leave a comment with your email and how you follow

Easy Peasy!!! :) 

Now, you want to win some more awesome prizes? Then hop along and visit these other blogs in the Summer Giveaway Hop!



The Book That Could Not Be Read.


So I am having a bit of a problem. There's this book that I have been trying to read for a very VERY long time. And guess what page I am on - a whopping page number 36! Believe me, I have TRIED to sit down and read the book but I just can't get into it. I am one to stick with a book up until the end, even if it is a bad book. For some reason, I feel defeated if I don't finish a book from start to end. But this book is different.

But now, I am reaching the "I Quit" zone. And to think the book had such good reviews on Goodreads, but I'm just not feeling it! Then there is the matter of disposing of said book. I want to get rid of it but I feel bad giving it away when I think it is boring, confusing and just not written very well. Is it okay for me to give it away to perhaps someone else who may or may not like it? Should I give it away with a disclaimer? Ugh! I have never really been in this kind of predicament before. I need help!

At what point do you put a book down for good? What do you do with a book that you just can't read?


Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Buzz: Tea Cakes for Tosh


I just love Kelly Starling Lyons! I knew I found  a children's book author that could really bring history to life for children (and adults :D) from the moment I read her book, One Million Men and Me, a picture book that recounts the historic Million Man March through the eyes of a little girl who was with her daddy on that day. 

I also had the opportunity to review her book, Ellen's Broom which tells the story of a young girl who learns a new meaning for freedom during the time of Reconstruction.

Kelly is a wonderful writer and I'm just so happy to learn that she has a new book coming out called Tea Cakes for Tosh. It is a touching story about a young boy, Tosh, who helps his beloved grandmother, Honey, remember an important family story. 

I am really looking forward to its release in December! Check out her blog or Amazon.com to pre-order Tea Cakes for Tosh! 



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Author Interview: Asma Zaman


It is a pleasure to introduce a new author to you all, Asma Zaman, author of Grandpa and Grandma Come to Stay. 

Book Description: 
Grandpa and Grandma are coming to stay and Muhammed and Musa are so excited! Mommy and Daddy say the twins must help their grandparents. 

Why would grown-ups need any help? Can Muhammed and Musa really help Grandma and Grandpa?


Welcome Asma, please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Asma Zaman I’m a London based Law Graduate and currently pursuing theoretical and practical qualifications as a Psychological Counsellor/Psychotherapist. My aspiration of becoming a writer began at a very young age but only became a reality as a consequence of a long term condition I was diagnosed with about 10 years ago.  From not being able to read and write, due to it effecting my neurological system, to now having my work published is a great feeling Alhumdolilah!  Now I actively raise awareness and provide support to fellow sufferers of M.E (Myalgic-Encephalomilitis (an auto-neuro immune condition)) and Fibromyalgia and their carers.

What were your earliest memories of writing?
I remember being one of those geeky children who, instead of going out and playing, would be sitting at their desk writing stories! Believe it or not I still have those stories I wrote all those years ago!!
 
What was your favorite children’s book growing up?
It had to be any books written by Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton.  My collection has now been passed down to my nieces and nephews and hopefully to generations to come! The older and dustier the book the better I say J

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
I think my love for writing came from reading so many books, and I have to thank my sister for encouraging me to read every night before I went to sleep (although half the time I had one eye open and the other closed!!)  But I have to say certain life changing experiences gave me the incentive to start writing ‘properly’.

What inspired you to write, Grandpa and Grandma Come to Stay?
Having been born and brought up in the west but from an asian background, the importance of helping your elders and showing them utmost respect and love was always instilled in me from a young age.  The same values are now being instilled in my neices and nephews so I really wanted to share these values to forthcoming generations.  And seeing the wonderful relationship my parents have with their grandchildren made me want to dedicate this story to them.

What is the most difficult part of writing?
The most difficult part has to be executing all your ideas down on paper.  Sometimes you have so much to write about and so many new storylines that in the end you’re so exhausted of thinking that nothing actually goes down on paper!! Usually at the end of a ‘writing session’ I have screwed up pieces of paper all around me but I do get there eventually Alhumdolilah!

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?
Without a shadow of a doubt it has to be the moment when I received my book through the post and shared it with my family.  It’s a true blessing to have been working towards becoming a published writer for years…to then have something to show for it!!

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I study from home so depending on how my health is on the day I try to complete assignments, which can be so hard because you’re the only one that can motivate yourself to actually study! I enjoy cooking, baking, reading but most of all I love spending time with my nieces and nephews. 

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Alhumdolilah! (God be Praised) I haven’t had a bad review yet but if I ever did I think I would take it as ‘productive criticism’…as long as YOU know that you have tried 100% to please your readers the rest truly is in Allah swt hands J
I don’t tend to suffer from ‘writers block’ but I do suffer from ‘writer’s amnesia’!! ;-) On a more serious note I don’t think I know one writer that hasn’t’ suffered from ‘writer’s block’.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I really want the readers to appreciate the precious relationship between children and their elders, whether it is their parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents.  Most of all I want the children to come away learning with a smile!

How can your book be used in the classroom?
The book is a great way to build a solid foundation for young children to learn basic family values; the classroom is a wonderful place to explore these values with fellow peers and friends.

Are you working on a new book?
Yes I am working on several new books at the moment, for both adults and children, which I am really excited about!!  I am working on a collection of novellas and poetry in Urdu (which is my mother tongue) for adults and several more exciting children’s books… SO watch this space!! J


What author inspires you the most and why?
I honestly cannot think any one author who has inspired me.  However, I have met many wonderful people in my life who have inspired me with their strong faith and sheer diligence to survive through various trials and tribulations, we have so much to learn from these individuals!

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding writing schedules, goals, etc.?
I don’t discipline myself as much as I should, but that does have a lot to do with the way my health affects my day to day living, this means whenever I get the urge to write I write (even if it is at 3 in the morning!!).  But regardless of my situation I have never given up on setting goals because I truly believe, whether we succeed or not, we need something to work towards and sometimes it’s not about the destination but the journey we take along the way that holds the biggest reward!

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
The best way any child would learn anything is by exploring!  And it’s important to encourage children to read books that teach them morals and values, and ultimately this would give them confidence to be the best they can be as they get older.  The key is to have fun while you learn!!

What advice you would give to new writers?
As cliché as this may sound…never ever give up!! Writing is a form of expression so there is no end to what you can write about so start by writing about what you believe in and what you have experienced in life because no-one knows that better then you do!! 
Lastly, always keep a note pad and pen handy because you never know what or who will be your inspiration!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bookmarks are so fun!

Yipeee!!! I'm so excited. I just got the jpgs for some kids bookmarks I had made to promote another blog of mine, www.familyshipstories.blogspot.com I mostly only do kids' book reviews as the blog is geared for children and parents looking for good stories to share with their family. Take a peek at them, they are so cute :D


Monday, July 16, 2012

Inspired!!!

I have seen the light! No more searching the children's section of the library on my hands and knees in search for books to read and help me learn the art of picture books! I was looking for a book by a member of a group I belong to, 12 x 12 in 2012. Well, it was at my library but for some reason could not be found. With sore knees I finally gave up defeated! Well, I got home and went online to see if another library had it. Lo and behold they did so I put a hold on it and requested that it be sent to my library. When I got the confirmation that it would be sent to my local branch I thought to myself, that was easy, I wonder if I can get these other books I have been trying to get my hands on. Well, I spent an hour searching for member books and blog friends books. And guess what? They all came! :D I went to the library to pick up the books that numbered close to 15! I'm so glad my library has an elevator!

While I loved all the books I have read so far ( I still have 9 more to read :D), my faves are:







These books are so cute! And with the economy they way it is, it is nice being able to read so many wonderful books without paying through the nose! Although, if I had the cash, I would definitely buy books. I am all about supporting authors, especially indie and new authors! As for my inspiration? Reading these books made me sit down and spend two hours working on a picture book manuscript that has been cast aside because I could not seem to get it right. Well, it still isn't right but at least I am hyped up to work on it! :D

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Picture Perfect 4th of July

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th! I sure did! Here are a few pics from my day :)











Friday, July 6, 2012

Photo Friday! A Kitty Siesta!

Kitty Dayz

Ah, the life of a cat is totally awesome. Meet Cali-fat and A-Wall, my niece's cats who for some reason think mi casa, their casa.


A Kitty Siesta!

Lounging in a chair
Relaxing on the bed
Munching on Kibbles
Sipping some milk

Lazing on the window sill
Watching the birds in the trees
Napping on the stairs
Resting by her feet
Snacking in the kitchen
Searching for another treat
Dozing underneath the table
Snoozing by the fireplace
This is my life
A Kitty Siesta!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Old Treasures



As much as I love visiting the bookstore and checking out all the new titles being published left and right, there is nothing better than visiting a library and finding amazing and fun older published books. Even better than that (if that is possible), is finding these little treasures at a book sale or two for dirt cheap!

 A while back I heard about a school that was having a book sale. When the Barnes & Noble located next to my job moved (sniff, I’m still really upset about that) the store donated its entire inventory to the school. Well, the school to raise funds decided to sell the donated items. Naturally, families and students of the school got dibbs on the merchandise before the public. Picture books, MG and YA went really fast! 







The school went through their own library to add some picture books to the tables because they had none by the time they opened their sale to the public. I was a little disappointed (very disappointed actually) but as I rummaged through the pile my disappointment slowly faded away.  For twenty dollars, I walked away with an arm full of old treasures. Most, if not all, of the books were published pre-2000 era. But then life happened. I tucked the books under my desk and forgot about them until my niece's cats started eating at the bag they were in and reminded me I had a treasure trove of 'new' books to read. 

Yesterday I got a chance to go through the bag and check out my goodies. I am really glad I did not just walk out of the book sale as soon as I saw the pathetic picture book table! I sat and went through the books one by one, feeling like the young girl I was in my hometown library devouring all the picture books I could. Each book reminded me why I loved picture books growing up and why I still love them today :D




Oh, and I was extra happy to find Tiger's Quest in the mix of YA books that were left for only $2! I've been wanting it for a while but never wanted to pay the 17+ bucks for it and I could not find it at my library. All in all, I have to say I am one very happy happy camper :D





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