Finding a Co-Author is Finding a Soul Friend (Guest Blog Post by Professor Gore)

I was born into a family of literati.

No one recognized that I had a talent with language because everyone did.  The best evidence of this? At nine months old, I hollered out in the night.  Mother rushed to my bedroom and flipped on the light. I said clearly, “Mommy, let’s visit.”  Instead of realizing how remarkable this utterance was coming from a nine-month-old, she closed her eyes and said, “Dear God, why, oh why did you give me such an annoying child?” She flipped off the light and went back to bed.

The first person to acknowledge and encourage my skill as a wordsmith was my private music teacher and junior high band director, Maestro Wilson.

He would catch the subtlest of quips I would tender during our lessons and laugh out loud.  He would twist them and flip them back at me. I would toss him a pun and he would toss one back.  By ninth grade, band kids would fill his office on Friday afternoons to watch our official pun wars.  We were fierce and worthy opponents.

I adored him and began to think of him as a second father, one who made time for me, while he began to think of me as his daughter.  We became anam cara: soul friends.

Almost as exciting as word playing with Maestro Wilson was that when I was excited about a book, I would give it to him, and he would read it. I gave him O Ye Jigs and Juleps and he laughed and talked about it with me for days.  

He stayed up all night reading the terrifying Rosemary’s Baby after I gave it to him.  We talked about it for weeks like a father and daughter would. I began to see myself through his eyes, and that made me feel like I could be a writer.

I declared English as my major in college.  But my mom’s friend, a first-grade teacher who was like a second mother to me, said, “Millie, only six people in America can make a living as a writer at any one time, and honey, you ain’t one of ‘em.  I’m not going to look across the street when you’re thirty and see you living at home with your parents supporting you because you got a degree in something that you can’t make a living at. You have to change your major to Elementary Education.”

We argued, and argued, and argued, but she refused to go home until I promised I’d change my major to elementary education.  

That ended my dream of becoming a writer.  I became a teacher, and although that wasn’t what I’d wanted to do with my life, I was a great teacher, won awards, was highly valued by my administration, and was adored by most of my students.

Over the years, I sold a few small articles and stories, but teaching is so demanding that I had little energy to devote to writing.  

However, after I finished a doctorate degree at age 40, an academic publisher offered me a contract based on my dissertation.  That first book was followed over the next twenty years by four others for parents and teachers.

But I was yet to write what I was aching to: a picture book for the children of LGBT parents.  I wanted it to be lyrical with a beguiling cadence, filled with metaphor and subtlety, and based on the Hero’s Journey.  A book as much for parents as for children. And I wanted a co-author to share the journey with me.

Only one name came to mind: the teacher who had made words such fun for me. My second father. Maestro Wilson.

Recently widowed, he agreed that we would talk one hour every night, seven nights a week, until the book was complete.  

Over the next months, I taught him about the Hero’s Journey and about same-sex families.  I taught him about character development and how plot grows out of characters rather than characters being forced to fit a plot. I taught him about dialogue and beats, eliminating adverbs and using strong verbs.  

Then we began creating our characters, King Phillip and Don Carlos. We developed the men’s back stories, knew their strengths and vulnerabilities, their triumphs and defeats, how they met and fell in love.  

Maestro Wilson is Hispanic at heart, having grown up in downtown Santa Fe where his brothers of affinity had names like José or Carlos.  He was called Felipe (the Spanish form of Phillip) even by his father, and when he’s tired, lapses into a gentle Spanish accent. So Don Carlos grew from Maestro Wilson’s soul.  

We began creating the Blue Star and baby Milliflora, and although that process was different from creating the men, their essence emerged from my soul.

Every day I’d write based upon what we’d talked about the night before.  Then I would email the maestro what I’d written, and that night, he’d read the draft to me and we’d re-work it. Because he was a musician, his ear for the rhythm of language was magical.  

The next day I would write a new draft based upon our discussion. We continued writing every night for five months until we had created our perfect 1000-word story, All is Assuredly Well.

We have six more books to go in this series.  We’ll have the second book, Most Assuredly Well, ready for our illustrator on January 1.  

The first person ever to recognize my literary skill was my teacher, my soul friend, my second father: Maestro Wilson. I was eleven, and he a grown man with three children and four more to come.  Now, more than a half century later, we’re having the time of our lives writing together. Each book will be one of our legacies to children and families. Our message? The only ingredient necessary to be a family is love.  Shared DNA not required.

 

professorgore

Professor M. C. Gore holds the doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas.  She taught first grade through graduate school for 36 years in New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas.    She was a professional horse wrangler and wilderness guide and continues to play clarinet in two community bands.  She is Professor Emeritus from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas where she held two distinguished professorships. Her books for teachers and parents are shelved in over a thousand libraries throughout the world.  She is retired and lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

Advertisements

All Is Assuredly Well by Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson (Illustrated by Angela F.M. Trotter) Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Hello there everyone. I am thrilled to be able to present to you today the official blog tour for the illustrated children’s story All Is Assuredly Well by Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson (and illustrated by Angela F.M. Trotter). Today I am going to be presenting a review of the story, as well as information on the book itself and at the end of this post you will be able to find a giveaway for a print copy of the book. First, here’s my review.

 

Authors Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson, along with illustrator Angela F.M. Trotter, have created a unique and one of a kind children’s story that brings together two men deeply in love and their journey to find a daughter to make their family complete. Here is the synopsis:

 

This pre-Raphaelite picture book is a remarkable contribution to the canon of books for the young children of same-sex parents. King Phillip and his husband, Don Carlos, live contentedly for decades until the king is called to the Hero’s Journey to earn a baby girl to complete their family.

 

This book was incredible to read. Including a modern day tale that brings the love and inclusivity of the LGBTQ community to the forefront and allows parents in that community to feel like they have a story to read to their children that will reflect their own lives, this story showcases not only a strong LGBTQ couple in a fairy tale, but also does a wonderful job of highlighting the struggle all parents go through to have and keep safe their children. The story is beautifully illustrated and brings a classical feel to the story itself. It’s positive message and beautiful artwork make this a one of a kind read.

Overall I loved the book. While a short read and a children’s story, the simple story held a fantastic theme and message that parents will be able to read between the lines of and express the amazing message to their children. In a time when politics and hatred can be overwhelming, a story like All Is Assuredly Well is exactly what will bring families out of that darkness and into the light once more. A story of love, hope and the true meaning of family, authors Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson did a phenomenal job of crafting and weaving a one of a kind fairy tale that parents need to have in their lives, and illustrator Angela F.M. Trotter did a wonderful job bringing that story and vision to life. Be sure to pick up your copy of All Is Assuredly Well in print and eBook formats today!

 

Rating: 10/10

 

Professor Gore & Maestro Wilson’s

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

All is Assuredly Well

 

Book Summary


King Phillip the Good and his husband, The Most Excellent Don Carlos Emiliano Felipe de Compañero y Campañero, live sedate, uneventful lives until King Phillip dreams of having a baby girl. Structured around The Hero’s Journey, King Phillip must follow his mentor, the Blue Star, and encounter allies (a newt and a bluejay) and overcome gatekeepers (a biting fish and a bear) as he completes a series of tasks to prove himself worthy of becoming a father. Once proven, the Blue Star presents him with a baby girl in the middle of a fairy circle of a thousand different flowers in a thousand brilliant hues.  He returns home to present Baby Milliflora to his husband, and the loving husbands joyfully become loving fathers.

Genre: Children’s Books

Publisher: Camille Lancaster Literary Children’s Books

ISBN: 978-0-9998880-0-1

 

All is Assuredly Well is available as an ebook and print at Amazon.com.

 

About the author, Professor Gore

professorgore

Professor M. C. Gore holds the doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas.  She taught first grade through graduate school for 36 years in New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas.    She was a professional horse wrangler and wilderness guide and continues to play clarinet in two community bands.  She is Professor Emeritus from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas where she held two distinguished professorships. Her books for teachers and parents are shelved in over a thousand libraries throughout the world.  She is retired and lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

 

About the Author, Maestro Wilson

maestrophillip

Maestro Phillip Wilson was a public-school band director, music teacher, composer, and arranger for 28 years.  His primary instrument is the trumpet, and he is also a campañero (bell ringer). Although he is over 80, he continues to serve as Music Director and Cantor at his church.   He is a life-long resident of New Mexico and was born in Santa Fe. Although his genotype is Dutch and Scotch-Irish, his soul is Hispanic.  He was Professor Gore’s music teacher and band director, and although the loving biological father of seven musical children, he is a soul-father of the hundreds of students he has taught.

 

About the Illustrator, Angie F. M. Trotter

illustratorangie

Artist Angie F. M. Trotter holds a BA in Religion and Fine Art. Her pen and ink illustrations are a fusion of icons, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass window design, and her spiritual life. She is also a chronic migraine suffer and her art helps calm her symptoms. Her mother was a folk artist; her father was an architect and fine artist, so she has been surrounded by art her whole life. Her work has been compared to the masters of the Golden Age of British book illustration.  She lives in Arkansas.

  

You can find more about All is Assuredly Well and the authors and the illustrator online:

 

www.AllisAssuredlyWell.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/All-is-Assuredly-Well-355497344947289/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AssuredlyWell

 

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for. This novel was incredible to read, and I want to share it with you all. That’s why thanks to the incredible contribution and generosity of the authors and WOW Tour, we have a free print copy of the book available for one of you guys. In order to be eligible for this giveaway, all you have to do is share this post, follow @AssuredlyWell and @AuthorAAvina on Twitter, and tweet this post tagging both our accounts and using the hashtag #​AllisAssuredlyWell when you do so. In two weeks time I will choose one person who has tagged us both on Twitter in a post and that person will receive a free print copy of the book. This giveaway is limited to US citizens only. Thanks everyone, and I look forward to announcing the winner within the next two weeks.

Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My! by Author Heather L. Beal Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Another beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written story of nature and safety come to life in author Heather L. Beal’s children’s book, Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My! Here’s the synopsis:

Lily and Niko Rabbit are at childcare when the weather changes and a thunderstorm strikes. One of the children’s parents is a meteorologist and he talks with the children about thunderstorms. They learn about severe weather events like thunderstorms and what conditions these events can bring, like lightning, hail, and winds. They also learn what to do to stay safe.

This is another fun illustrated adventure from author Heather L. Beal. The story focuses on thunderstorms, and how dangerous they can be. It allows kids to learn about common weather in our world that can affect our daily lives, and how to be safe when confronted with this weather. Children will love the colorful art and humorous writing that will allow them to connect with the story, while parents will love the way the story allows them to bond with their child and helps teach their child valuable lessons going forward in life. It’s everything you want in a children’s novel and more, combining fantastic creativity, passionate characters that teach the children about this topic, and an important life lesson on safety and not taking unnecessary risks. Overall I loved this story, as it brings another fantastic chapter to the books from this incredible author that fuses education and creativity beautifully. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copies of Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My!

 

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Lions-Leopards-Storms-Oh-Thunderstorm-ebook/dp/B07D6VK1ZH/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527224122&sr=1-5&keywords=Heather+L+Beal

Train 4 Safety Press

http://www.train4safety.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Train-4-Safety-Press-243072872831212

Twitter: https://twitter.com/train4_safety

The Adventures of Venessa & Teddy by Miejoiee McClinton Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A cute story of two creatures who ignore social standings to become friends brings parents and children alike together in author Miejoiee McClinton’s The Adventures of Venessa & Teddy. Here’s the synopsis:

Meet Venessa, a spunky, outgoing, little bunny and her best friend Teddy, a blunt and sarcastic bear. Get ready to go through all the excitements and challenges of these two unlikely heroines after a simple game of hide-and-seek goes terribly wrong.

This short yet incredible read was a fun, exhilarating and surprisingly intense book. The dangers of wandering into unknown waters comes to literal life in this story, as Venessa and Teddy are thrust into a dangerous situation that ends on a kind of cliffhanger ending, leaving the reader to make up their own minds regarding the final outcome. The story of these two woodland creatures who you’d never expect to get along becoming fast friends was heartwarming to see, which is a perfect message to send to kids. The whole story feels like a message to testing the waters figuratively and leaving your comfort zone to explore the world as a whole.

Overall this was a great read. Filled with heartwarming interactions, surprising endings and characters children will fall in love with immediately, this children’s book was the perfect read that parents will absolutely love to read to their children. If you haven’t picked up your copies of The Adventures of Venessa & Teddy by Miejoiee McClinton, do so today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1522844627/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1522844627&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

The Blustery Day by Caroline L. Thorton Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A wonderful children’s story takes life in author Caroline L. Thorton’s The Blustery Day. Here’s a quick synopsis:

A windy, winding, wonderful adventure. Grab your wellington boots and join the fun of The Blustery Day in this charming picture book for children.

This delightful children’s book was just charming. The artwork was beautiful, and the deeper message about people or things that come into our lives suddenly, helping us through one crisis or another and leaving before we even realized just how much that person or thing helped us is something we can all relate to. It teaches us to be appreciative of those who help us through tough times, and not to take anything for granted. Children will be delighted with the truly wonderful artwork in this story, and parents will love going on this magical journey with their child.

Overall this was an incredible children’s book. Full of passion, heart and emotion, this story not only has all the earmarks for a good children’s book, but goes on step further with vivid imagery throughout and a rare lesson not many people are able to master in their lives. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Caroline L. Thorton’s The Blustery Day today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BV4615B/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07BV4615B&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

It’s A Bright World TO Feel Lost In by Mawson Bear Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

We all had that one special toy, that one stuffed animal that was always a source of comfort, friendship and love when we were children. In author Mawson Bear’s book It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In, adults and children alike can reconnect with that special connection we all shared with that special toy in our lives, and remember what it’s like to search for love and your place in the world. Here’s the synopsis:

Are you feeling a little lost? Got that ‘left in the spare room’ emptiness about you? Mawson does too.

He sits atop his cushion and ponders about baffling things.

The world is a funny place for a curious teddy bear to live in. Friends approach him about their own dilemmas. They seek instant answers that will make everything all right. Mawson does his best. But after he ponders deeply, most things remain for him just as baffling as they were before.

Take a moment out of your day to pawse with him and explore the world. For the many frazzled readers who feel, secretly, much the same, he offers the comfort that the world is a bright place to be.

This book has a surprising emotional pull for adults that you wouldn’t expect just looking at this book’s cover. While it features a stuffed animal bear as the narrator, the story takes a wonderful journey of self discovery as we explore what it means to be needed and loved. It highlights the simplistic yet care free nature of being a child, and the painful process of growing up. The theme of the story reminds me a lot of the overall theme of Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story franchise. It’s the story of growing up, and finding a way to still be wanted or needed in the world.

Overall this was a wonderful story. Filled with heart, emotion and a unique picture book style with photographs in lieu of artwork. The story felt personal, emotional and incredibly powerful. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Mawson Bear’s It’s A Bright World to Feel Lost In today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Its-Bright-World-Feel-Lost/dp/1922200441/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522411782&sr=1-1&keywords=9781922200440

 

 

Ebba, the First Easter Hare (SPRING) (FOUR SEASONS Book 2) by Leen Lefebre Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Looking for the perfect spring/Easter book to share with your child? Look no further than author Leen Lefebre’s Ebba, the first Easter Hare! Here’s the synopsis:

[2018 REVISED EDITION]

King Stern rules over a dark empire of hares. His brother Atta leaves. Before his love Hulde gives birth to their first child, he wants to find a field of his own, bathing in light. Every day Hulde runs to the frontier, where she stands on the lookout for Atta. But then the baby arrives, too soon.

At a rapid pace, Princess Ebba grows into a smart child. Hulde notices that this curious girl resembles Atta more and more – and that is not a gift. When they discover an abandoned bird’s nest in a rabbit cave, Ebba wants to go on a trip just like her father. But, is she as brave as him?

[Crossover Fiction]
[Modern Fairy Tale]
[Family Read Aloud]
[Middle Grade Novella]
[Seasonal Stories, Holidays]
[FOUR SEASONS #2/4: SPRING]

The story is well written and incredibly creative. The tale of a ruthless and evil King and his brother the Prince is a tale as old as time itself, and yet this book puts a new spin for the holiday season as we look at a journey a daughter goes on in honor of her father. Fighting to shed the darkness of her evil uncle’s rule, Ebba sets out to find the brighter future her father disappeared searching for. Taking a story about the lives of simple woodland creatures and turning into a modern day fairytale of dark kingdoms and journeys of self-discovery is an enlightened choice. The story will delight children while giving adults a great new story to bond over with their children. The character’s relationships are the emotional core of the tale, and brings the seasonal story to life in a really fantastic way.

Overall this is a must read children’s book. Bringing a story to life in a seasonal way is a fantastic choice, and makes for a great story to read with your child during the holiday season. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up a copy of Ebba, the first Easter Hare by Leen Lefebre today!

Rating: 10/10