Summertime Reading Fun! The “back” story of the Doonsey Adventures!

Doonsey 2 front coverHi Everyone, It has been so long since I’ve posted a blog that I hardly remember how to do it.  So, if I make some boofs – please forgive me!

This blog is about the backstory for my two “Doonsey” stories, book # 1 & 2.

I’m finally ready to release my newest adventure for kids, Doonsey Returns, the Great Rescue, part 2!  I have been working this book since 2015 – for 2 years!  Writing the story was easy, however, the illustrations have taken FOREVER!!  This is a beach adventure with mystery, suspense, imagination, fantasy, and realism! Quite a combination for a children story!

I’ve talked to some friends and fans.  Here are a few questions that gthey have been wondering about:

Q. So Grammy, what’s Doonsey’s back story?

A. A little orange and green wind-up toy crab, some shells, pebbles, a crab claw, and some seaweed were  the inspirations for my two Doonsey Adventure stories.

 

My husband and I, and our daughter and family, were vacationing at Kure Beach in North Carolina in 2013.  In one of the local stores, I found an adorable little wind-up toy Before & after Doonseycrab.  I bought him and presented him to our granddaughter, Sofie.  She immediately named him Doonsey!  For the rest of our vacation, Doonsey went everywhere with us. He was the focal point of many beach photo shoots.  He was our very own, “Where’s Waldo!”

Q. How did you come up with the “Beach Buddies?”

Beach buddies page 1During that same Kure Beach vacation, my granddaughter and I were beach combing.   We found lots of shells, colorful pebbles, some crab claws, and strands of feathery sea weed.  We added these items to our sand sculptures.  Our creations ended up having some very interesting faces and personalities!  We named them the “Beach Buddies!”

It was then that my imagination started to work.  I wondered, What would happen if these “creatures / personalitites” came to life?  What if they wriggled their way right up out of the sand?  What if they took on HUMAN characteristics?  

Beach Buddies - from my bio.pngEven though our “beach buddies” looked pretty crazy, they were cute and fun to make.  I took lots of pictures of them.  So in addition to plenty of Doonsey pictures on the beach, I now had these whacky “beach buddy” creations.  We LOVED them!!

Q. How did the loggerhead turtles enter the story?  Before our vacation ended, we took a longer walk up Kure Beach.  We were amazed to discover an area with tape marked, page 22 - CS.jpg“CAUTION!”   It was a protected space and the location of a sea turtle nest!  Oh my gosh, what luck!!  During this ONE vacation, the inspiration for TWO stories for kids emerged!  The first story: Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue.  In this story, Doonsey rescues Soferton, then helps rescue her friends, the Beach Buddies.  In the second story, Doonsey Returns, the Great Rescue, Part 2, Soferton, Doonsey, and the Beach Buddies are reunited, however, they meet some NEW little beach buddies – (shhhh) – sea turtle hatchlings!!  It’s so exciting!!

Q. Is there anything similar in both stories?

A.  In both stories, kids will use their imaginations and creativity.  The “Beach Buddies” imerge, there are educational activities, AND the Beach Buddies tell their silly knock-knock jokes (Beach Buddies LOVE knock-knock jokes!)

So what pre-readers saying?

  • My 6 year old niece and I really enjoyed this story. We particularly liked the way friends helped others and the interesting facts at the end. (J. Bombeck)
  • A fun summer beach book.  This cute kidlit book is filled with real life photos, mixed with an array of adorable illustrations. Readers and parents will enjoy going over the interesting facts and activities at the back of the book. (R. Russell)
  • If you are looking for kid friendly beach activities, pack this in your bag.  “Doonsey Returns” is a story that helps us see the treasures of the beach and shows us
    creative ways of how to have fun using them. An actual photo page gives us examples. The book also introduces us to an endangered creature that calls the beach home for part of its life. Best of all there is a whole page listing facts about it and a coloring page with questions to look back in the story. Another good point is it show all of us why it is so important to dispose litter properly. (R. Kairies)
  • I received the book as a gift for my daughter (age 7). She was quite thrilled. She found the characters entertaining and the story was at a level that she was able to take the concrete information and use her imagination. Her favorite part, though, was the information regarding turtles at the end. I found the transitions from one part of the story to the next slightly stiff, however, I am an adult reader. I actually find this to be beneficial in children’s reading, as it allows them a slight pause to use their imagination and logical thinking skills. it has inspired my daughter to create many of her own stories in similar fashion all this past week. (anonymous)

I am so grateful for the reviews coming in!  Thank you pre-review readers!!  My hope is that NEW readers and lots of kids will enjoy this fun, summertime, beach book that includes creativity, imagination, and realism!

Love from Rhonda Paglia, Grammy Pags Stories for Kids

Available from Amazon & Barnes & Noble:  Doonsey Returns, the Great Rescue, Part 2

Caleb ad for Doonsey - books available

Kindle Countdown: Jan. 16-23, 2017

Hi Everyone:   This is Kindle Countdown Week, Jan. 16- 23, for Grammy’s Rocking Color Rap-a-licious Rap ~ Teaching Kids Colors!  Starting atcolor-rap-ad $0.99, Grammy’s Rockin’ the colors with a boom-shee-boom boom beat!

From readers: “Rollicking” “Fun” “Colorful” “Humorous” “Educational”

Here’s the link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012HOFL2S

Includes 10 extra activity and enrichment pages.

 

 

Grammy’s Rockin’ Color Rap-a-licious Rap is available for Kindle and in Soft Cover. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012HOFL2S normas-review-color-rap

 

New Year’s Resolutions -Goals for 2017

Happy New Year everyone!  I wish you all a joyfilled, productive, healthy, happy 2017. Here are a few of my New Year’s goals for 2017, both personal and in my writerly life.

Several personal goals for 2017:

  • I would love to lose and keep off 5 – 7 pounds – haha – wouldn’t we all!
  • I want to try to do a 2- 4 minute plank 5 days a week – I’ve got to tone up!
  • I want to continue to enjoy every minute with my husband, kids and grandkids.  I love them so much!

And – a few of my “writing / publishing” goals for 2017.

  • cover-original-for-kidsProject #1:  I’m currently working on a story book to color for kids and adults about the life of Jesus, the Angels, and some very special Saints.  I know this book won’t be for everyone.  That’s okay. It’s definitely a niche book, most likely for my Catholic friends and audience, but again, I’m okay with that.  I love spiritual topics and the lives of the saints are facinating to me.  For Christmas this year, I created a story / coloring book like this for my grandchildren (my version of “super heroes”).  I thought something spiritual to take to church would be a little better than books about ninja turtles, you know what I mean.  I was so pleased with the outcome, that I’ve decided to expand the original book, add more saints, and set a release goal for Easter, 2017.  We’ll see if I can make this happen.  Watch for updates!
  • Project #2:  I plan to complete Doonsey’s second book – Doonsey’s Return, the Great donsey-2-coverRescue, Part 2.  Hopefully this picture book will be ready by summer 2017.  In this story, Doonsey receives a note in a bottle from his friend, Soferton.  She’s so worried.  The Beach Buddies need their help!  So once again, our little hero heads back to the beach, meets up with Soferton, and the two friends end up with not one “great” rescue, but two!

 

 

 

  • im-a-kindness-kid-smallerProject #3:  The Kindness Kids Project – This will be a book by kids, but for kids and adults.  Through artwork and the written word, kids will share how they are showing kindness throughout our communities and our world.  Little 5-year-old Maeli, USA, submitted the first entry.  I’m so proud of her and her way of showing kindness to others.  I hope lots of kids will enter this contest.  It’s for kids ages 4 – 17, entry deadline is June 30, 2017.  Kids and classes will receive a special “Kindness Kid” certificate from me – as long as I receive some kind of contact information.  For details, here’s the link in this blog:  The Kindness Kids Project.  I plan to share some of the entries as they come in, so you can check back at this link: Kindness Kids Project – Artwork Entries

I have a few other ideas on the back burner, but if I complete these projects this year, I will consider it a success.  Again, Happy New Year everyone!  Keep reading to your kids and grandkids!  Love Rhonda, Grammy Pags

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NEW Christmas Stories for Kids & Families

Ho-Ho-HO! Lots going on in Christmas story world! Mrs. Jessica Claus has got her “girl power” going on; Santa has shorted out the “power grid” and needs help from Lovable Lobo and friends; “Thingy” is causing all kinds of havoc for the “Top of the Wardrobe Gang;”and Sofie & Meeda are hatching a special Christmas plan for the grumpy Woozler who is freezing outside!  Check out these super cool Christmas stories for kids!

December: Guest #2 ~ Melinda Kinsman ~ Christmas Stories for Kids ~

me-w-christmas-hatHi Everyone!  This week, I’m delighted to introduce you to another “Indie Children’s Author,” Melinda Kinsman.  Melinda is from Northwest England.  She’s a prolific writer – 22 children’s stories to date!  She writes about a group of cuddly toys she calls The Top of the Wardrobe Gang.   So here she is – along with The Top of the Wardrobe Gang – plus introducing “Thingy” – the main character of the Christmas story, On the Run from Santa! 

 

melinda-kinsmanGrammy Pags:  Hi Melinda!  I’m so happy you could stop by and tell us about The Top of the Wardrobe Gang!  So where did you get the idea for the Wardrobe Gang?  What’s their back story? I hear this group of stuffed toys has some very interesting and unusual talents!
Melinda:  For those of you who haven’t met them yet, The Top of the Wardrobe Gang is a group of cuddly toys.  They write AND illustrate their own children’s books, with a bit of help from me! When I was little, I loved books about teddy bears that came to life, so I guess that had a lot to do with me originally creating this gang of characters. They are based on a number of my own cuddly toys, who did indeed move to live on top of the wardrobe in my spare bedroom when I grew older.
on-the-run-from-santa-6I wanted the gang to represent typical cuddly toys that might be found in any young child’s bedroom.  I started imagining what living toys would get up to once their human owner started school. Suddenly they would have no one playing with them all day, so it made sense that they’d get bored and need a new project to keep them busy and out of trouble!
There are six different characters, all with very different skill sets and interests.  However, they all pitch in together to work as a team. That was what I really wanted the gang to show to young readers – the idea that, “we are all different, but everyone can play their part and work together to take on tasks that might at first seem impossible.”
Grammy Pags:  I love these concepts – great for kids and adults!  I understand that you and the gang have had some challenges when you write and illustrate.
Melinda:  Over the last 3 years, I have learned to write and illustrate from scratch, all while lying on my side using an iPad. (Neck issues prevent me from being able to sit at a desk.) I think that may also have something to do with why I can easily relate to a group of ill equipped toys learning to overcome their own difficulties in order to write and illustrate children’s books!
Grammy Pags:  That’s amazing!  If we didn’t know this little back story, no one would ever know that you are illustrating and writing lying down.  You  – and the gang – are very talented! So can you give us the special scoop for On The Run From Santa?  I love the title and I think kids will too!
on-the-run-from-santa-5 Melinda:  This book really developed from a Christmas story that I’d published about the gang the previous Christmas called Odd Sock Learns about Christmas.  It introduces kids to the idea of what really matters at Christmas time:  time spent with our loved ones and kindness to others.  Any presents we might receive for Christmas are just an added bonus.
So in On the Run from Santa, Santa delivers a tiny, cuddly toy called “Thingy” to his new owner.  My imagination didn’t
on-the-run-from-santawant the story to end things there, so, you see, Thingy wasn’t going to be at all well behaved, unlike the other toys.
I asked myself, What if the gang spent a whole year living with a very naughty toy?  What would happen if Santa found out just how much trouble one of his presents had been causing?
 I had lots of fun dreaming up and illustrating this Christmas story. It’s meant to be read aloud and laughed about, but it may also start kids wondering whether they themselves have been “naughty or nice” this year! Although it involves a bunch of cuddly toys, the story is very much about human compassion, and the idea that families, however dysfunctional, can learn to love one another and to stick together, no matter what happens.  Thingy is the “wild child”, who sadly, may never learn how he’s supposed to behave, but who finds unconditional love anyway.
Grammy Pags:  Melinda, I laughed out loud when I read On the Run from Santa and I can’t wait to read it to my grandchildren.  They will love “Thingy” and his antics!  Thanks for sharing the back story and the wonderful message.  Is there anything else you would like to share?
Melinda:  In the build up before Christmas, I hope this rhyming story will be enjoyed by families at bedtime.  I also hope it will spark the imaginations of young readers and get them asking their own, “What if…?” questions. After all, Christmas is very much a time about believing in magic, when anything becomes possible!
Grammy Pags:  So where can readers purchase your books?
Melinda: 
  • Readers can find On The Run From Santa here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017ZI9N84
  • and the whole “Top of the Wardrobe Gang” rhyming picture book series here:  http://topofthewardrobegang.weebly.com/
Grammy Pags:  Thanks Melinda!  It’s been so much fun learning about you and your adorable gang!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, your family, AND The Top of the Wardrobe Gang!
santa-switch-2-booksGuest #1 – Laura Lee Scott – The Santa Switch & A Trip for Mrs. Claus
merry-christmas-woozler-w-moms-choice-sealAND – from Rhonda Paglia’s ~ Grammy Pags Stories for Kids:  The Woozler’s Christmas (Book #3 in the Meeda and Me series.)
Synopsis: Sofie and Meeda are excited! Christmas is coming and it’s time to get ready! The girls are having fun when Sofie starts to think about the Woozler. That old, grouchy Woozler lives in a hole under the apple tree in their backyard. It’s cold outside, the snow is falling, and Sofie’s worried. Will the Woozler be okay? Will he ever become friends with Sofie and Meeda? Well, Sofie and Meeda have a plan to brighten the Woozler’s Christmas!  For kids 3 – 8, beginning reader, includes extended learning activities in the back of the book.
Available on Amazon for Kindle & Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/150564223X 
grammy-reading-doonsey-to-o-ro-so-12-26-2013Rhonda Paglia ~ “Grammy Pags” ~ is a retired elementary teacher from Pennsylvania.  She and her husband have three grown children, five grandchildren, and a little pup named Bella.  To date, Grammy Pags has penned 13 stories for kids.  She has received awards for several of her stories:  a “Moms Choice Silver Award,” a 2015 “Gittle List Top 10 Children’s Picture Book Award,” a 2015 “Inkspokes Select Book Award,” and a 2016 “Readers’ Favorite Book Award Winner, Honorable Mention.”   Ms. Paglia is a member of SCBWI, PennWriters, and WestPA Authors.
Visit Grammy Pags Stories at:   Grammy Pags Stories Website
Facebook: Grammy Pags Stories on Facebook
Amazon:  Rhonda Paglia’s Amazon Author Page
Twitter: Rhonda Paglia @grammypags1

 

December: Guest #1 ~ Laura Lee Scott ~ Christmas Stories for Kids ~


Hi Everyone! Happy Holidays and Merry early Christmasme-w-christmas-hat!!
 

I LOVE Christmas and I especially love holiday stories for kids! As you probably know, I’m an “Indie Author,” which means I’m especially fond of, and supportive of, my fellow “Indie Authors!” For this holiday and Christmas season, I’m interviewing several of my fellow authors who are sharing their delightful Christmas stories for kids.   Enjoy!!  

Guest #1: 

Laura Lee ScottThis week, I’d like to introduce you to children’s author, Laura Lee Scott.  Laura is the award winning author of: The Santa Switch, a delightful, modern North Pole Christmas story with a “positive, gender-empowering message” for kids and families.  I love this!    The Santa Switch is the recipient of two Mom’s Choice Awards, a Cascade Writing Award, and a Beverly Hills Book Award.  It is beautifully lllustrated by Cheryl Crouthamel, who also illustrated the second book in this series titled, A Trip for Mrs. Claus.

thesantaswitchcover-with-3-awardslowresGrammy Pags:  Laura, what was your inspiration for writing The Santa Switch?  Could you give us the back story?

Laura:  My kids provided the initial inspiration for the series. My youngest son, Ben, couldn’t wait for Santa to arrive, and we started talking about Santa and Mrs. Claus. Ben asked me what her (Mrs. Claus’s) first name was.  I realized then, that I didn’t even know if she had one. That seemed a little unfair to me and my kids, since Mrs. Claus just HAD to be working hard alongside her husband. We talked about how, if she’s like most women, she’s probably the one doing most of the work!  I was proud of my boys because they also thought she should receive more love. Without their input, I doubt this series would have happened.

Grammy Pags:  So tell us a little more about this very special Christmas book.

Laura:  First of all, this book is intended for ALL ages, from the very young to the young at heart.  It’s a “family” book in every sense of the word.  In The Santa Switch, Mrs. Jessica Claus finally sheds her wallflower image to become the fabulous tour-de-force she’s always had the potential to be. This modern version of Mrs. C. believes in equality, compassion, and continued education. She loves her good-natured, big-hearted husband, and they share the same philanthropic vision – but she’s definitely his equal partner.  She’s the “doer” to his “dreamer!” Jessica Claus is CEO (Chief Elf Optimizer) of the world’s most successful, top-secret toy production facility.  She also loves to don hea-trip-for-mrs-twitter-coverr favorite slippers and bake her way into the New Year . . .  spreading peppermint-flavored joy to anyone willing to believe in a little Christmas magic.

The positive, gender-empowering messages, lovable spins on legendary characters, and colorfully detailed illustrations found in The Santa Switch and its newly-released sequel, A Trip for Mrs. Claus, are sure to warm hearts and tickle funny bones of the young AND the young-at-heart, making this fresh, award-winning series the perfect literary adventure for everyone who loves Christmas!

Grammy Pags:  This is so interesting and fun, Laura.  Where can readers purchase your books?

Laura: 

Grammy Pags:  Thanks so much, Laura!  I love dear, sweet, traditional, cuddly Santa Claus in your darling story, The Santa Switch, but it’s Mrs. Jessica Claus who is the rock star!! She’s an empowered, modern woman and a, don’t-take-her-for-granted role model for girls and women!  I LOVE her!!  I think kids and families will enjoy “Jessica Claus” and your rhyming tale too!!  You’ve tucked lots of fun in the colorful illustrations and some sweet surprises in the story like “Lichen corn pies,”  the “Gratitude Supper,” and so much more.  Check it out, readers!  The Santa Switch – it’s an updated, totally fun story for the Christmas / holiday season by author Laura Lee Scott!  Thanks for stopping by, Laura and friends!!

Merry Christmas, Woozler w Mom's Choice seal.pngAND – here’s a little holiday fun from Grammy Pags Stories for KidsThe Woozler’s Christmas (Book #3 in the Meeda and Me series.)

Synopsis: Sofie and Meeda are excited! Christmas is coming and it’s time to get ready! The girls are having fun when Sofie starts to think about the Woozler. That old, grouchy Woozler lives in a hole under the apple tree in their backyard. It’s cold outside, the snow is falling, and Sofie’s worried. Will the Woozler be okay? Will he ever become friends with Sofie and Meeda? Well, Sofie and Meeda have a plan to brighten the Woozler’s Christmas!  For kids 3 – 8, beginning reader, includes extended learning activities in the back of the book.

merry-christmas-woozler-cover-and-3-pages

Merry Christmas, Woozier has received a “Mom’s Choice Award” for Excellence.  Available from Amazon for Kindle & Paperback:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/150564223X
Rhonda Paglia ~ “grammy-reading-doonsey-to-o-ro-so-12-26-2013Grammy Pags”is a retired elementary teacher from Pennsylvania.  She and her husband have three grown children, five grandchildren, and a little pup named Bella.  To date, Grammy Pags has penned 13 stories for kids.  She has received awards for several of her stories:  a “Moms Choice Silver Award,” a 2015 “Gittle List Top 10 Children’s Picture Book Award,” a 2015 “Inkspokes Select Book Award,” and a 2016 “Readers’ Favorite Book Award Winner, Honorable Mention.”   Ms. Paglia is a member of SCBWI, PennWriters, and WestPA Authors.
Visit Grammy Pags Stories at:   Grammy Pags Stories Website
Facebook: Grammy Pags Stories on Facebook
Amazon:  Rhonda Paglia’s Amazon Author Page
Twitter:  @grammypags1