Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Interview With Nadia Ali and a Giveaway

Hi Nadia. Welcome to The Storyteller's Scroll.

Can you tell us your latest news?

My latest news is that my new book will be released in Spring 2023. Humphrey the Egg-splorer’ is written by me and illustrated Valenti Gubianas. I signed a book deal a year ago with Yeehoo Press via my superstar agent Joyce Sweeney. Today, we are in the preorder stage of the book and looking forward to the upcoming book launch. 

 If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

At this very moment in time, I would choose Dan Santat. His picture book ‘After the Fall’ inspired me to write ‘Humphrey the Egg-splorer.’ I loved his story and sat down and began thinking about ‘Humpty Dumpty.’ What if he had a grandson to continue in his footsteps as an egg-splorer and that’s how ‘Humphrey’ came to life.  


 What was your first published title and what was it about?

My first published title was ‘Pirates in the Library.’ It was published in 2016 by Star Bright Books based in Massachusetts. The story is essentially about Captain Jake who went in search of treasure in the library, only to find out it’s in the wealth of knowledge provided by books. It was an un-agented book deal.


What inspired you to write your first book?

That’s easy – the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ Having loved the movie, I just wanted to write a picture book story about pirates and treasure. Arggh matey!


How long did your journey take to publication and what were some significant events along the way?

I wrote ‘Pirates in the Library’ and in 2012 Star Bright Books were interested and we signed a book deal. The story changed a fair bit from the original. The significant event was that it took four years for the book to be released!  

What was the best thing about getting your first book published?

Initially, it was seeing my name on the cover of a book! Until, I saw the book online at Amazon! And then, I saw it available worldwide! But the best overall thing was the day a package arrived from the publisher, and I held the physical published book in my hands. Simply the best!


What is your most recently released book about? 

My upcoming release is ‘Humphrey the Egg-splorer.’ Humphrey is an egg who is determined to become a great egg-splorer like his grandad Humpty, but he doesn’t want to suffer the same fate and discovers how to become stronger. It is due out in Spring 2023 and is published by Yeehoo Press with a simultaneous release in the US and China.

How have you changed from your first published book to now?

Since the release of my first book back in 2016, I would definitely say I grew older and wiser. I have networked, joined online writing groups and now have a superstar agent, Joyce Sweeney who seals the deals for me.  


What are your current projects?

I am about to get my launch team ready in preparation for release day of ‘Humphrey. I always have a work-in-progress and my agent is about to go on sub with a picture book story.  


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I am really looking forward to introducing ‘Humphrey the Egg-splorer’ to the world. May Humphrey inspire young readers to swish Samurai spoons, box with the Forked Crusader, and strive to become a stronger egg.   


Bit of wisdom to share: 

My editor at Yeehoo Press asked me to think of a general quote of a life lesson that ties in with Humphrey. So, my bit of wisdom is... Be strong. Be positive. Let your adventure begin. 


And for fun, something that not a lot of people know about you. 

At school, I always loved art and English. I always believed that if I continued learning art I would someday work for Disney as an illustrator. And, if I continued learning English, I would someday be a famous writer of children’s books. Hopefully, one of these things will come true! 



Links to social media and website:


Twitter: @NadiaAwriter

Webpage: https://nadia-ali.weebly.com

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XQNVz3

IG: https://www.instagram.com/nadiaawriter/


Book Sale Links:


Yeehoo Media: https://yeehoomedia.com/product/humphrey-the-egg-splorer/

Amazon: https://amazon.com/dp/1953458572

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/39wjuydr

Book Shop: https://bookshop.org/p/books/humphrey-the-egg-splorer-nadia-ali/18729681?ean=9781953458575

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Humphrey-the-Egg-Splorer-Nadia-Ali-Valenti-Gubianas/9781953458575


GoodReads: Add it to Want To Read at GoodReads: https://tinyurl.com/ycxtdrju

Nadia is giving away a critique for a picture book. Just follow this blog and leave a comment below. Winner will be announced next week.



Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Second Annual Kid's Choice Kidlit Writing Contest

 So, today marks the Second Kid's Choice Kidlit Writing Contest. 

Last year, I won first place in the Middle Grade category with 200 words from a new MG Fantasy The Secret of Scaremere Forest. Here are the 200 words that won!

Title: The Secret of Scaremere Forest

Genre – MG Fantasy


Unearthly screams echo through Scaremere Forest.


“Grab my hand, Rollo.” Amara whisks her younger brother under the snow-covered brush along the frozen banks of Raven Lake. “The Shadowmen are close. I smell their stench.”


Moonbeams light the frosted forest as Rollo waits for his body to tingle. He peeks at the moon. “Come on, strike the witching hour, he whispers. I must save Amara.” No sooner does he call upon the moon, familiar pain shoots through his limbs. His body twists, growing larger than his lanky frame. Rippling muscles transform his thin shoulders. His skin itches, and white fur erupts from every pore. His fingers become claws and his night vision is precise.


One minute after midnight, as his transition is complete, Amara jumps on her brother’s back. She wraps her arms around his neck, and Rollo charges through the forest.


Brittle branches snag Amara’s black hair and ice-covered roots magically curl in front of Rollo’s paws, so she’ll fall, making it easier for the Shadowmen to seize her. 


If they capture Amara, she’ll bring them gold, not with her magical powers, but for the bounty the Dark Fairy Queen has placed on her head for stealing the obsidian opal. 

Today, I entered in the YA category with a YA suspense titled 

Dead Boys Tell No Secrets. 

Here are this year's 200 words.


Word Count: 196


Twilight cloaks the winding road with a mile to go in the last training run before the NY State Mountain Bike race. Head down and feet pounding the pedals, I rounded the bend—a quick downhill shot to town.

Glancing up, I wrench back at a dark shadow in the road ahead. Too late! A muffled thud flips the bike and me high into the air. Asphalt and pine trees blur as I spin and slam into the ground. “What the hell was that?” I peel myself off the stony grit and burning pain rips across my shoulder. "Shit!"

I yank off my cracked helmet and rake scraped fingers through my hair, so wet and dark it doesn't look blonde anymore. My eyes flash to my bike twenty feet away and my laidback attitude explodes like the bombs in Dad’s war stories. 

Great, Jules. Now, how are you going to race tomorrow? 

I shuffle forward, ignoring the gash on my arm and yank my mangled bike off the jumbled mess. “Oh… my… God!” I freeze. A limp hand falls, palm up, on the rural highway, deserted except for me and the dead guy at my feet.

Wish me luck! The judges are the kids/teens in the age categories. I'll keep you posted as the finalists are announced.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Interview and Giveaway with Andrea Denish, Author of THE WAY WE SAY HELLO!

 Hello Gail! Thank you for inviting me to contribute to your blog. 

It's great to have you at The Storyteller's Scroll., Andrea. My readers are anxious to learn about you and your new book release.

1. Can you tell us your latest news?


Yes, my new picture book - THE WAY WE SAY HELLO illustrated by BlueBean and published by Starry Forest Books, is hitting shelves on 

February 7th. 

The cover features a soon-to-be big-sister next to her expectant mother. When you see the facial expressions of the mother and daughter on the cover, it takes you right back to that moment in your own life, and all the preparations that take place before a new baby arrives. Those kinds of emotions parallel my feelings as I await the book’s arrival. You could say I’m in my nesting stage now. 

This looks adorable. What a clever concept? Something everyone can relate to, no matter what language they speak.


2. What is your most recently released book about?

 THE WAY WE SAY HELLO follows a young child around the globe in search of the best greeting to welcome a new special someone. The rhyming text introduces greeting gestures, languages and a little bit of history. I’m really proud of how the book turned out. It makes a great gift for a baby shower or for someone about to meet a new sibling. 

3. What was your first published title and what was it about?

 My first published book was EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!* illustrated by Guilherme Franco and published by Astra Books for Young Readers. That book came out in March 2020. Readers learn about some of America’s largest parades like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, etc… It’s a fun read aloud that highlights all of the great things about parades - and who doesn’t love a parade? Well, read the book to find out. 

It's true. I can't think of any child I know, who has never seen a parade. Another easily relatable topic.

4. Who/what were your sources of inspiration along the way? 

I find inspiration in unexpected places. Sometimes it’s a snippet of conversation that I overhear or a television commercial. EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!* was inspired by the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Championship Parade in 2018. THE WAY WE SAY HELLO came about during the COVID pandemic when people were encouraged to avoid handshakes and hugs. There were alternative greeting suggestions like elbow bumps and bowing. This whole idea took me on a deep-dive into the ways people greet each other and how those greetings became popular. 

Wow! At least something good came out of COVID.


5. What was the best thing about getting your first book published?

Getting the first book published was definitely a feeling of validation. I’ve been writing since elementary school - I’ve always loved it. But when you set a goal of getting published and you meet rejection after rejection - holding the physical book in your hands is a huge boost.  I remember when the editor of my first book called to let me know the acquisitions team met and wanted to make me an offer - I cried! 

Tears of joy. Well-deserved.


6. What was the hardest thing?

 The hardest thing for me about publishing a picture book is relinquishing control. As a writer, you take a little spark of an idea that pops into your head and groom it into a polished manuscript. You spend months, even years - writing, revising, querying, and hoping. You envision what the story could be and what the illustrations will look like. In traditional publishing, your work is open to interpretation by the editorial and illustration process. Traditional publishing requires that the author trust the professionals assigned to work on your book. It becomes a team effort by the publishing house to make the best decisions for the end product. 

I agree. You sit on pins and needles waiting to see the first glimpse of the illustrator's interpretation of your words.


7. What are your current projects?

I don’t have anything to announce today, but I have some picture book manuscripts in the works that I am really excited about. I hope one day they will also make it past the finish line. 

8. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

It’s really heartwarming to hear from people who tell me they’ve read one of my books to their children or a teacher who has read to the class. I hope people who feel inclined to do so, will leave a review to help others find books they might enjoy.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Dear readers if you are so inclined, please leave a review for Andrea. There is nothing greater you can do for an author than to leave a positive review.


9. Bit of wisdom to share: 

The road to publication is paved with rejections. Write or illustrate because you love it. If you love it you will want to create something every day, take courses with professionals and learn the craft. If you do this patiently, rejections will not crush your soul - they will make you more determined to keep going.


10. And for fun, something that not a lot of people know about you. 

Hmm, I’m pretty much an open book - LOL!  I’ll just tell you about some memories of my first attempts at writing back when I was a child. Once I wrote a song parody of You Light Up My Life called You Bite Off My Knife (no worries, Weird Al Yankovic - you’re still the master at song parodies.) In elementary school, I wrote a puppet show mystery about disappearing writing implements called, The Pencil Case. Then there was that advertisement I had to make for a communications class in high school. I invented a character called Count Grapecola. He had a purple cape and loved to drink purple soda. 

Alright, I’ll see myself out now. 

Ha! Maybe you should write a humorous picture book featuring Count Grapecola!


Website: www.andreadenish.com

The Way We Say Hello is available for pre-order at


Barnes and Noble



Andrea is offering a critique of a 500-word or less picture book. To be eligible follow these steps.

1. Follow The Storyteller's Scroll Blog (see right side of blog under followers.

2. Post a comment about Andrea's new book.

3. Winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog in ten days.

Good luck, creatives!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Interview With Candice Marley Conner: Presenting Her Newest Book

Today, I'd like to welcome Candice Marley Connor to The Storyteller's Scroll blog. 

Hi, Gail! Thank you for having me on the Storyteller’s Scroll.

Cover subject to change

It's a pleasure to have you visit us, Candice, and share your publishing news. 1. Can you tell us a bit about your most recent release?

 My latest news is that I have a Mardi Gras ABC picture book releasing on January 6th, 2023! That day is relevant because it’s the first day of Carnival—and more importantly, the first day you can legally buy king cake! Yum! M IS FOR MOON PIE is an alphabetical celebration of the birthplace of Mardi Gras. No, not New Orleans—in Mobile, Alabama! Our first Mardi Gras festivities were held fifteen years before New Orleans was founded. I had so much fun with the alliteration and researching historical fun facts, that I hope kiddos and their caregivers enjoy reading it just as much.

I love Mardi Gras, and we can never have enough alphabet books, especially with unique themes.

Illustration subject to change.

Illustration subject to change

 2. What was your first published title and what was it about?

My first published title is the picture book, SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL, about a squirrel who learns that the differences that all the other squirrels tease her about can help her save the day.

3. What inspired you to write your first book?

An actual squirrel with a teeny tiny tail! My then one-year-old (she just turned twelve at the beginning of this month!) and I were on a stroller-ride through our neighborhood and this squirrel with a tail like a chewed-up pine cone scampered across our path. I immediately thought about what I already knew about squirrels: how they use their tails for balance, so this one might be a little clumsy; and how they use their tails to communicate so this one might have trouble communicating with the other squirrels. But then the real story spark ignited when I turned the brainstorming upside down and thought: what could this squirrel be exceptional at because of her difference?

4. How long did your journey take to publication and what were some significant events along the way?

I started writing seriously when I became a stay-at-home mom with my firstborn (who as I mentioned is now twelve) and my first books debuted in 2021. SASSAFRAS was set to release in 2019, and my debut YA, THE EXISTENCE OF BEA PEARL, was originally scheduled for 2020, but due to California wildfires (affecting my picture book publisher), the pandemic, and life in general, they both ended up debuting a WEEK of each other in June of 2021! Then my third book, CHOMPSEY CHOMPS BOOKS, released in October of that same year, so suffice it to say, I needed this year just to recover and visit classrooms!

5. What was the best thing about getting your first book published?

Having my forever dream become something tangible and actualized that I could hug! Second best thing was having readers tell me how much they enjoyed my books. Being published is such a scary thing. Your book belongs to its reader now too. That fear of rejection and failure is strong, but being published is the best thing too!

6. What is your most recently released book about?

CHOMPSEY CHOMPS BOOKS is about a dyslexic alligator who wants to love reading as much as his book club swamp friends do. With the help of a heron mentor, he realizes there are so many different ways to learn. I was inspired to write this by one of my Reading Buddies (a reading program at local elementary schools) who had just been diagnosed with dyslexia. His dedication and determination blew me away! I personally have dyscalculia but would much rather write about words and books than grouchy ol’ numbers. 

7. What are your current projects?

My agent has a middle grade manatee/selkie story out on submission, as well as a STEAM chapter book series I actually started in college as part of my thesis and picked up again almost twenty years later during the pandemic. I was writing about a second grade classroom while I was listening to my (then) first grader virtually school from the next room so I felt very immersed in the story! My work-in-progress is an eco-fantasy middle grade, set in a haunted bookstore and I’m having the best time writing it!


8. Bit of wisdom to share: 

I’ve learned that your time in the query and submission trenches—while it may seem like you’re just twiddling your thumbs waiting for your dreams to start—is so important. Use it to build your writing community. You’ll need the support and encouragement when your books finally do come out and the new friends you make are so appreciative of all the encouragement you give. Gush about their books on social media, post reviews, share their good news! 

9. And for fun, something that not a lot of people know about you. 

I wanted to be a botanist biochemist when I was younger! I love the science behind plants. Chemistry class in high school kinda knocked that dream on its side when I realized I liked the idea of it better than the actuality so now I write about plants instead!

And a GIVEAWAY: Candice has graciously agreed to giveaway one of her four books to the lucky commenter. All you must do is flood this blog and make a comment on Candice's blogpost. It's a great opportunity for a last minute Christmas present.


Links to purchase Candice's books.

Links: preorder info Conner, Candice Marley - M Is For Moon Pie: ABCs in the Birthplace of Mardi Gras | The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama (thehauntedbookshopmobile.com)

website www.candicemarleyconner.com

 Candice's social media:  

Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Candice_marleyc 

Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CMarleyConnerAuthor

Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/candice_marleyconner/



Friday, November 4, 2022

An interview with Kim T.S.

Today,  THE STORYTELLER'S SCROLL welcomes K.T. SimsSo happy to have you join us today, Andrea. I'm sure we'll all learn something new from you.


Can you tell us your latest news?

 Our latest book is a fun collaboration with a 9-year-old boy who wrote and illustrated his own pirate book. It's called "The Crew of the Mighty Red Cuda" and 100% of profits will go towards children's education programs in the Philippines.

Excellent! Wonderful idea, inspiring creativity in young children.

We also hope that we can inspire more kids to write books and pursue their dreams- and hopefully help others as well. It will be FREE to download from Nov 7-9, 2022 from 12 midnight PST (3pm GMT +8).



If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I know there's been a lot of controversy surrounding her lately, but I really love the world JK Rowling created with her Harry Potter series. While I don't agree with all her views, I don't think anyone deserves to be treated unkindly on either side of the issue.  I look up to her as an author and would love to learn from her craft.


What was your first published title and what was it about?

Feeling All My Feelings Book, which is about helping kids and adults understand, accept, and overcome the biggest emotions. We want children and their parents to understand that all feelings are okay, but there are things we can do to make things better. We also want parents to realize that they, too, have to set an example so they can teach their kids how to regulate emotions by modeling the strategies that work for them. 

Feelings books are always important for both kids and parents.


4. What inspired you to write your first book?

My son was 3.5 years old at that time, and had the biggest emotions. His tantrums would go from 0 to 100 in minutes, and we'd both have such a hard time trying to figure out ways to help him calm down. When my dad died in 2019, it inspired me to seize the day and finally write my first book. It helped my son, Kyle, manage his own emotions. I hope it can help more families as well.

How long did your journey take to publication and what were some significant events along the way?

Writing is easy for me because there are days when the inspiration just flows-- but fixing the rhythm and meter takes a while. I didn't know about these rules when I first started. I tend to read rhyming books like prose, and most customers I talked to also don't mind the meter. But I see the value in it, and so I'm trying to learn as much as I can and improve as I go along. Illustrating is my biggest challenge. It took me a year before I found the courage and inspiration to start my sketches. Then I found a digital artist to improve my sketches and I was able to self-publish 2 years after I wrote my first book. I'm getting faster at it because I was able to write and publish my next 2 books in the same year! My 4th book is coming early next year. 

Congrats! Well done! It takes a special talent to both write and illustrate.


Who/what were your sources of inspiration along the way? How did it/ he/she/they help you the most?

My son inspires me the most. I'm amazed at how well he's growing both physically and emotionally. We've both been on a roller coaster of emotions as he was learning how to regulate his feelings. I believe in gentle parenting-- setting firm boundaries, but respecting your child's thoughts and feelings in the process and helping him through it all. Kyle is 6 years old now and is my biggest fan. He's emotionally invested in my books and career, because I always ask for his help and inputs. 


What was the best thing about getting your first book published?

Sharing a piece of myself to the world, and learning about how my books have helped others. It's the best feeling to know that you've made a positive impact, no matter how small.


What was the hardest thing?

I've always found it hard to take criticism, especially from people close to me. It's something I've learned to overcome, and that has helped me grow both as a person and as a writer. It helped to see it from a different perspective-- people aren't criticizing you. They're taking the time to offer constructive feedback about your work, and that's a good thing!  


What is your most recently released book about?

 I started a new series collaborating with child authors to bring their books to life for a good cause. My 9-year-old godson, Manu, loves writing and illustrating pirate stories. We worked together to make it better, and reached out to Angat Buhay Foundation in the Philippines to donate 100% of profits for their education programs. 9 out of 10 Filipino children aged 10 still can't read, and we want to change that.


How have you changed from your first published book to now?

I've overcome my resistance to following rhythm and meter rules, lol! It was a real struggle for me, because I felt it was restricting my creative juices. I think I'm getting the hang of it though, so to those of you who are particular about rhythm and meter, you'll be happy to know that my 3rd book is getting there. Still not perfect, but I'm learning as I go along. I'm also more open to feedback now. I know that my books aren't for everyone. But I also have enough confidence in my work because of all the parents and kids who shared how my books have helped them. 

Meter and scansion is a tough thing to master. Most people who attempt rhyme aren't even aware their meter is off. They tend to look at the end rhyme and not the meter to get there.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I want to hug all of you! Thank you so much for reading my books and going on this journey with me. Your support really means the world to me and Kyle, and we love seeing your photos and hearing all the stories about how you have enjoyed our books. If you haven't reached out to us yet, please send us a message anytime. We'd love to connect! We'll send you some freebies to go with the books.


And for fun, something that not a lot of people know about you. 

 I was born in a car! I was in a hurry to get out, so my mom only made it to the parking lot of the nearest hospital. I saved my parents a lot of money on hospital fees.





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