Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Office Space!

For those following my renovations ... and the story of the "Man Cave"  here is my office corner - finally complete! (Yes - I decided against hanging the ballerina pic & getting the flowery lamp, but I still love it!)


Notice - we left room on my corner walls for more book covers ;)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Daughter's Review of "Nate Rocks the World"

Before I post my 11 year old's review, I would like to thank  Alan Tucker, Author of the Mother Earth Series.  Alan is running a brilliant contest on his website. In an effort to get more teens reading and writing, Alan is giving away either a Kindle Fire or a Nook - to a teen! The catch - the teen has to write and post a review online to get an entry. See the above link for all the details.

I thank Alan because my 11 year old daughter, upon hearing of this contest, eagerly proclaimed, "I want to enter!"

This is the child who I have to practically beg to read or write (unless it is for homework.)  Her immediate response - can I write a review for Nate Rocks the World?  FYI - I've been trying to get my daughter to write a review of my book since it came out last July. Apparently I had to offer prizes - who knew?

The rules of Alan's contest state the teen has to be 13 or over to enter. My daughter is 11. So I contacted Alan, and he said she could enter her review if I posted it for her.  So here we go:



"Nate Rocks the World is about a 4th grader named Nathan Rockledge. He's not very cool, especially with his annoying 13 year old sister and his mom who needs some cooking lessons. But Nate loves to draw. Using his imagination, his drawings come to life and goes on many adventures.


I think Nate Rocks the World is a great book. The authors name is Karen Toz and she is one of the best authors I have ever read. (Note from Karen Toz: there was no bribery involved in having her write that line.) This book is a great book for all ages. Whether you're reading it to someone or reading it by yourself you'll love it."


*****

Not bad! She is now on her second review... good luck to all who enter!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Friday Five 2-24-12

It's Friday Again! It's been a pretty awesome week here... let's get right to it!

1. Award! You know I usually do not start with book news, but this was just too exciting not to mention first. Nate Rocks the World was named runner up in not just one, but two categories in the 2012 UP Author Awards! Best Cover (thank you Deana Riddle at Book Starter) and Best First Chapter! In case you can’t tell, I am very excited!


2. Renovations. The construction part of our office is finished! The desks we purchased should be set up today (cannot wait!), and then we still need to get some bookshelves, bedding for the day bed & of course the leather recliner and flat screen TV for my husband’s “man area.” As for the family room – it is DONE & I am loving it!! Check out the before and after pics...

Before: Our dark & cluttered 70's cave: yup that is black vinyl on the floor...




After: We have light & room to move & play! 






3. Spring. I’m not complaining – no I’m not. It’s been in the sixties all week here in Southeast PA. My crocuses, daffodils, and tulips are starting to peek through, and even the birds are back and singing. I know the chances of this weather sticking around are slim to none. But for now, I am loving it!

4. Baseball. I find it funny that I even include this in my Friday Five, but it’s a hot topic in my house and has been for the last ten years (which coincidentally is how long I have known my husband). After ten years of being together, I know more about baseball than I ever really wanted to know. For instance – pitchers and catchers reported this week (my husband is all giddy.) It is also the time of year fantasy baseball begins. My eyes start to glaze over as my husband talks about prices, inflation, spreadsheets, and caps. But I know how much it all means to him. So much in fact, he gets invited to participate in the CBS Expert Analyst League every year amongst the pros. For those interested in following along with his analysis, he has a blog: http://rotothinktank.blogspot.com ... it's good stuff (so I've heard.)  Check it out!



5. Book News. Congratulations to the winners of the Goodreads Giveaway. Your books will be in the mail by tomorrow. In other book news, I’ve started the task of contacting bloggers who have been so kind to highlight Nate Rocks the World on their blogs, to see if they would be interested in participating in the Nate Rocks the Boat blog tour in May. The response has been great, and I still have many more to contact! Thank you to all who agreed to participate – we are putting together quite a line up with lots of giveaways! If you would like your blog to be a part of the fun, please let me know.

I hope everyone has a great week. See you next Friday & hopefully sooner.

xo
Karen

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Opposite of Writer's Block


photo credit: Olivander via photo pin cc


I have a problem. I have the opposite of writer’s block. Now before you *pshaw* me (or something stronger), hear me out. It’s a serious problem. Particularly for someone like me who cannot multi-task to save her life! I don’t care what people say about women and their innate ability to multi-task. This women is seriously lacking in that department. Texting while walking? Not happening. Folding laundry while on the phone? It will probably wind up in the refrigerator. See? I’ve already gone completely off topic! Okay, perhaps it’s more of an ADD issue, but the bottom line is I cannot concentrate on more than one task at a time. So let’s get back to the original problem – my over active brain.

It started a couple of years ago when I began writing. I was completely focused on writing my novel, an adult contemporary story. I had a lovely little outline, with a timeline for each character. Everything was going just fine when WHAM! An entirely different story, in an entirely different genre, popped into my head. Enter Nate Rocks. I worked quickly to finish my current project, not putting nearly as much heart and soul into the last chapters as I had in the beginning chapters. I just wanted it finished so I could explore these new ideas that were coming fast and furious.

I tucked my adult book neatly back onto my hard drive and clicked “new document.” It was time to get started on this new kid’s story. My brain behaved, thankfully, and Nate Rocks the World came alive. Once published, I decided it was time to revisit my very first manuscript. I struggled through the first fifty pages. I just couldn’t put Nate out of my mind. I needed to write more about him and his adventures. So for the second time, my poor adult manuscript was pushed to the back burner. A few months later, I proudly sent the second of the Nate Rocks books – Nate Rocks the Boat – off to my editor. (By the way, it comes out May 1, 2012!)

Okay, now, it was time. I think you know what is coming. Yup that’s right – take three on that original manuscript. A funny thing happens as you develop as a writer. You discover that your first manuscript is really awful! I decided to re-write the entire thing. I was pumped up. Ready to tackle this project once and for all. I hate to say it, but it happened again as I rounded chapter six. And not just with one new project idea, but with three completely different ideas.

The first is a third Nate Rocks book. Seeing as though book two is not even out yet, I decided this one could wait. I returned to my story. But then a few days later, a second idea came – this time a new middle grade novel about a 12 year old girl. Again – I was very excited, but determined to finish my current project. I wrote a page of notes for my new main character, came up with a possible title, and put it to the side. This current project was getting done. Period. Then a few days later – a third project. A joint project with another author that really caught my attention. Nope! It was going to have to wait.

I have to get this finished. On top of all of that, my editor returned Nate Rocks the Boat to me, and I still have to go through that manuscript again asap. What to do? What to do? I know working on both WIPs at the same time is not going to happen. I have reviewers currently lined up for both books. I desperately want to start writing these new books. And I have a long list of blog posts I want to write as well. Oh and did I mention it's tax season? My seasonal day job is back in full swing.

Why yes my head is spinning. I suppose it’s all good. I would just like to slow it down slightly.



Friday, February 17, 2012

The Friday Five: 2-17-12

Happy Friday! We've made it through another hectic week! I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day. Can you believe February is half over?  What have you all been up to? Here's what's been going on in my little corner of the world:


photo credit: dmitri_66 via photo pin cc
1.Knees. So I didn’t mention it last week, but I took a little spill on our icy road last Thursday. For me, this is an annual event. Every year, I seem to injure a different body part. This year it was my knee. I was worried when a few days later it was still bothering me and was twice its normal size. Luckily, after a lot of tlc and ice, it seems to be doing much better. Just as I thought all knee woes were over, my oldest son fell and hurt his knee playing basketball Monday night. Then on Wednesday, my daughter fell at school and she hurt her knee! Anyone else .. going.. going? Luckily (thankfully) all knees appear to be healing nicely.


2. Dance Competition. Saturday was my daughter’s first official dance competition. My daughter is on three teams – lyrical, hip hop, and jazz. What can I say? All three teams were awesome. I even managed to put her hair into a bun thanks to an entire can of hairspray and about a hundred bobby pins. We’re still finding them in her hair (kidding! ... although I did use a ridiculous amount of hair pins & spray.) One down, four more to go!


3. Renovations. We have a usable family room and office – walls, carpet, cabinets, furniture - everything! Today is walk through day. There are only a handful of odds and ends left, and then we can FINALLY start moving stuff back into the rooms. So far I’m loving everything. We still need to finish buying furniture for the office, but we should have that wrapped up soon. Have you seen the artwork for over my desk?





4. The S Word. As if knee issues weren’t enough, two of my three kids are also sick. I took them each  to the doctor this week (One on Monday, the other on Thursday.) Both times, the doctor asked the same question – how long have they been sick? Both times I couldn’t really answer. I feel like they’ve both been sick for at least a month, maybe even two. (Bad Mommy.) Antibiotics all around...

5. Book News. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Win For E-Books Promotion – there were over 2,000 entries! I really really hope one of my readers wins the Kindle Fire ! Visit www.winwithebooks.com to find out! I know it’s not quite as exciting as winning a Kindle Fire, but I’m giving away 5 copies of Nate Rocks the World on Goodreads this week! All you have to do is click on the box below and follow the instructions – no purchase necessary. You also have a few days to get in on the giveaway over at I’m a Reader, Not a Writer. Good Luck!




Goodreads Book Giveaway





Nate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz



Nate Rocks the World


by Karen Pokras Toz



Giveaway ends February 22, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.




Enter to win




I hope everyone has a great week! See you next Friday and hopefully sooner.

xo
Karen

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Lost and (Never) Found


photo credit: waltarrrrr via photo pin cc


I walked into my five year old's school yesterday morning to see a pile of clothing in the lost and found that was taller than he was. I know I shouldn’t be jinxing myself, but he has yet to lose anything. Not a hat or scarf or even a mitten this winter. Come to think of it, he didn’t lose anything last winter either.

Don’t get too jealous – my two older children have more than made up for my youngest child’s bizarre (and I mean that in a good and loving way) ability to keep track of his things.

Here is a list of things belonging to my two older children that haven’t made it back home over the years (some as recently as last month):

Dance shoes
Socks
More gloves, hats, and scarves than I am able to recall
A bookbag – yes full of books and notebooks
An iphone (ouch)
Homework folders (shocking)
Umbrella
Umbrella
Umbrella...
Winter coat
Flash drives
Sweatshirts
A shoe (yes just one)
Water bottles
Gym shorts
Lunch Box/Bags
And the list goes on...

Judging by the pile I recently walked by in the school, I’m guessing I’m not the only one with forgetful children. One out of three isn’t bad I guess.

************




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sample Sunday - Nate Rocks the World: Valentine's Day Edition

Yes, I'm aware it is not Sunday... but since I didn't do a Sample Sunday this week, I thought I would do one now, especially because it's Valentine's Day and Nate has a lot to say on the subject:

********************

I do not understand Valentine’s Day. Oh, I get that it’s a day to celebrate love and all that weird mushy stuff, and I suppose that is nice for people like Mom. But why do ten year-olds have to get involved? In particular, why do I have to get involved? I do not have a girl friend – seriously, I don’t even like girls!

Every year, Mom goes to the craft store and buys a package of pink construction paper and a bunch of lacey paper she calls doilies. Then, while Tommy and Sam get to pick out cool store valentine cards with Captain Asteroid or racecars on them, she makes me cut out twenty-five hearts, while she glues them to the lace.

On each one, I have to write: To: insert name of classmate that I could care less about. From: Nathan. Then I take them to school, drop one in each person’s Valentine’s Day box, and eat candy that the teacher hands out, while I read the cards that are in my own box. Not that I mind the candy part – it just seems like a lot of wasted effort for twenty-five pieces of paper that I’m going to throw out anyway.

This year, my goal was to skip valentine cards altogether. I know, I know – not the most realistic goal. But, at least I could try to convince Mom to let me use store cards instead of her frilly hearts. My plan, however, ended before I could even ask – Mom was already sitting at the kitchen table with her supplies, when I came home from school today. Next year, I should start convincing her earlier, I suppose.

“Oh good, Nathan, you’re here.” Mom hands over the scissors to me. “We only have a week before we leave for Florida, and I have so much to do. I started cutting, but you’ll just have to finish the rest of these cards yourself.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier if we just got some store cards? That would save the most time, and then I could help with the packing.” Sometimes I think I am just too smart for my own good. I sit back in the kitchen chair and smile.

“Don’t be silly, Nathan! We always make our own cards. Those store ones are just so impersonal. Besides, I already bought all the supplies. Now sit down, you can help me pack your things when you are done. I’ll be upstairs.”

“Okay,” I sigh and start writing on the first of many pink hearts, as Mom heads up the steps.

Oh, oh, baby, can you feel it, my heart’s on fire, my heart’s on fire...

“Abby – do you mind? I’m trying to work here. What are you singing anyway?”

“It’s the new Desmond Harper song – duh – My Heart’s on Fire. What do you live under a rock or something? It just came out for Valentine’s Day. Isn’t it romantic?”

I roll my eyes and go back to writing out my cards, hoping Abby will just leave the room, but instead she walks over to the table and looks over my shoulder.

“Dear Lisa, Be my Valentine – I dream of you always, Love, Your sugar pie, Nathan.”

“That’s not what it says!”

“Well at least write something besides, ‘To: Lisa, From: Nathan.’ That just looks like you don’t even care!” Abby says, picking up the card.

“I don’t care – that’s the point.”

“Just trying to help you out, Nathan. One day, you might actually like girls, and if you start treating them nice now, they might actually like you back. You should listen to your big sis.”

“Whatever,” I say and go back to writing my to/from cards.

********************

Will Nathan have a change of heart?  Pick up a copy of Nate Rocks the World to find out and follow all of Nate's adventures. Only $0.99 for Kinde, and if you buy today, you could even win a Kindle Fire!




Monday, February 13, 2012

Do You Have A Reluctant Reader?

The following is a re-print of a guest post I wrote for Books 4 Tomorrow last month. If you haven't been over to their blog yet, check it out for some great book reviews and more!

************


It finally happened – my 14 year old finally said the words I had been patiently waiting for – words that inspire me to write books for middle grade children. Yesterday afternoon, he sat down on the couch with me as I was reading a book on my Kindle and asked:

“Can you show me how that works?”


What? You mean my teen was interested in something book related? Surely, I must be dreaming.

I had to move fast, before something else caught his attention, so I saved my spot and showed him how to maneuver around. He was fascinated. He then did something else I never expected. He pulled out his phone and downloaded the Kindle app along with some free books.

Wait it gets better – he actually said, “I think I want to read more.”

Seriously – who stole my fourteen year old? This is the kid who every year scans the school’s summer reading list, finds a book he has already read and proclaims, “I’m done.”

Now, he was actually asking if he could have an Amazon gift card to purchase books.

In reality – his actions validate something I have been thinking about for a few months now: Kids love to read on electronic devices! And while Kindles and Nooks are awesome, all you really need is a computer or phone to begin. The apps are free, and as my son quickly found out, so are several of the books.

So don’t give up parents – there is hope for your reluctant readers! Encourage your children to read every day and prove to the children in your life that reading can be fun!

************



And speaking of Kindles....

Win a Kindle Fire and Amazon Gift Card





How? Easy peasy. Head on over to winwithebooks.com or the Facebook fanpage and follow the directions on the Rafflecopter. Check back daily for 50 extra chances to win.*no purchase necessary*

Sunday, February 12, 2012

W!n With Ebooks - Feb 12-15th - Great Books, Great Prizes!

Okay, Now you can buy my book :)  Good Luck!


Win a Kindle Fire and Amazon Gift Card



How? Easy peasy. Head on over to winwithebooks.com or the Facebook fanpage and follow the directions on the Rafflecopter. Check back daily for 50 extra chances to win.*no purchase necessary*

Congratulations to Chris from Ohio who won the Kindle Fire in December!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nate Rocks is on Strike - Do Not Buy This Book Today!



Yes, I know that sounded strange – especially since it is my own book... but believe me, when you find out why, you will thank me. You see, if you buy my book for Kindle today, you’ll get – well – a book (actually a digital file for Kindle.) Now – there’s nothing wrong with my book. In fact, I’m quite fond of it. However, if you are planning on buying my book for Kindle today, don’t. Instead buy it tomorrow or any other day between the 12th and the 15th.

If you purchase my book for Kindle (or any of the other 19 other participating Kindle books) between February 12th and 15th, you not only get the book – but you also get entered to win a Kindle Fire or a $200 Gift Card to Amazon. Now which would you rather have? Book plus your choice of either a Kindle Fire or $200 Gift Card, or just a book.... I thought so... see you tomorrow! Oh by the way, all the books will be just $0.99... You’re welcome :)

For more information ... visit www.winwithebooks.com














ps ... if you are interested in purchasing the print or nook version... carry on... 



Friday, February 10, 2012

The Friday Five 2-10-12

Hi all - how’s everyone doing? I just noticed there are now over 200 followers, and I have had over 40,000 page views! Sometimes I forget that anyone actually reads my ramblings! With a household of five people, this is often the only place I can get a word in.If you've made it this far - thank you for being here!! Now on to my crazy week...


photo credit: marcp_dmoz via photo pin cc
1. Super Bowl. I’m not really a football fan – well not at all actually, unless my son is playing and even then I don’t really understand what is happening. I pretty much just sit in the stands and pray he doesn’t get hurt. Anyway... this year, our hometown team didn’t make it into the Super Bowl. I don’t think anyone was surprised by that. Even so, the Super Bowl did have something going for it – even for us non-football loving folks. It gave us an excuse to get together with friends. Plus there were the ads (thank you David Beckham.)

2. Renovations. We’re in the final stretch! Family room carpet went down this week. Paint disaster has been fixed. Office carpet will hopefully get installed today and miscellaneous other punch list items are moving along ... and ... drum roll – we are expecting a furniture delivery today! We still have to pick out the rest of the office furniture, but I will be so happy to have a usable family room once again – not to mention having my calm peaceful living room back. Have I mentioned it looks like a day care exploded in there?

3. Tax Season. Is it April yet? No seriously, I really enjoy doing taxes. It’s a sickness, I know. I’m back to work three days a week now, and the clients are coming in fast and furious (actually so far they are quite pleasant.) In case you were wondering, 67 days left until tax season is over. My tax tip of the week: you do not need to label each form for your accountant with a sticky – they know what the forms are (& if they don’t you need a new accountant.)



4. Dance Competition. My daughter has been texting me all week from her bedroom when she wakes up – 7 more days, 6 more days, 5 more days... you get the idea. We’ve had costume fittings, makeup run thru’s, hair 101 (I’m still completely incompetent, but the other moms assure me they will come to my rescue) – oh & they’ve practiced their dance over and over. Tomorrow is the big day. Good luck to all the Zero Gravity teams!

5. Book News. Hey what are you all doing today at 1:00pm? I’ll be on BlogTalk Radio with Nanci Arvizu of Page Reader talking all things Nate Rocks! Speaking of Nate – Nate was interviewed twice this week! That’s right, it was my main character’s chance to be in the hot seat for once. Read what my quirky 10 year old had to say on Book Bags and Cat Naps and on Ritesh Kala’s Reviews (and read his 5 star review of Nate Rocks the World while you are there.) Don’t forget about about the give away on I am a Reader Not a Writer for your chance to win a copy of Nate Rocks the World until Feb 22. Oh and speaking of giveaways, did I mention you could win a Kindle Fire? How about a $200 Amazon Gift Card? Yup – it’s true – and there is no purchase necessary. Although if you choose to purchase my book, I will be so grateful (and you get extra entries)... for all the details, visit www.winwithebooks.com Good Luck!





I hope everyone has a great week! See you next Friday and hopefully sooner.

Xo
Karen

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Moments That Make You Go Huh?

Not just ‘Huh?’, but also “What?” & “How” (which clearly would have made the title of this blog post way too long.) The other night I had one such moment. Let me back up a little.

It started with an email I received from my oldest son’s principal last month. My son is in 8th grade. Middle school. I’ve had two years to accept the fact that my oldest child is already in middle school. It’s finally starting to sink in.

The email was to notify me of a meeting on February 1 at the high school for incoming 9th graders. I read the words, put the meeting on my calendar, and pretended they were referring to some other child. But then February 1st arrived. I drove to the high school. There were some kids standing on the front steps directing parents where to go. They looked so big compared to my son. Yes – I know my son is 6’3” and 185 lbs, but when I look at him, I still see my one year old toddling around. I must have looked like a deer in headlights.


photo credit: Conor Keller | fortysixtyphoto.com via photo pin cc


I sat down in the auditorium with the other parents and waited for the meeting to begin. One by one, people got up and talked about schedules, activities, school climate... I think. To be honest, it was hard to hear anything other than the voice in my head. (Please tell me I'm not the only one.) The voice kept saying: “I’m sitting in the high school. I’m sitting in the high school listening to people talk about courses my son will take next year. My son who will be in high school. My son will be in high school next year.”




Huh? What? How?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Longer Than Six-Sentence Sunday: Nate Rocks the Boat – Sneak Peek!

My original plan was to do a Six Sentence Sunday this week with a peek of my soon to be released book: Nate Rocks the Boat. But as usual, I had trouble finding an excerpt I wanted to share that was only six sentences. Plus, the book is not final yet, as it is still off with my editor. So I was going to scrap the post all together.

But then, I was asked to do an interview by blogger and book reviewer Ritesh Kala. Ritesh recently reviewed Nate Rocks the World (thanks for the 5 stars Ritesh) and wanted to follow up with a few questions. One of his questions asked for an excerpt from my next book.

So I did what I usually do when I am asked for an excerpt. I opened the manuscript and randomly picked a page... A page that happened to have a letter to Mom from Nathan (from overnight camp.)


Dear Mom,


Sorry you couldn’t make it to visiting day. To be honest, you really didn’t miss much, although it was nice to see Dad. My friend Charlie’s mom and dad came in first place in the three-legged relay race. Dad and Mr. Jensen were also in the race. They were partners, but fell over each other after one hop and never finished. Then Abby hit Mrs. Jensen in the face with an egg that she was supposed to be throwing to me in the egg toss competition. Abby says it’s my fault. She says if I hadn’t been standing so close to Mrs. Jensen, she wouldn’t have hit her. If you ask me, Abby just has bad aim – or needs glasses – maybe both. Anyway, I hope you are having a nice time with Grandma and all of these relatives I previously knew nothing about. Perhaps we can have a family reunion when camp is over, so I can meet them. Miss you.


Love,
Nathan


P.S. Remember Mama T’s dog Daisy? She finally had her puppies last week.


**********

Stay tuned for more excerpts from Nate Rocks the Boat in the coming weeks!

**********



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Guest Post: Meet Jonathan Fluck, Author of T-Bot & Peabody Explore The Zoo




It was a bright sunny day. The two brothers stood at the gate knowing that this journey was going to require a sharp mind and a keen eye. The roar of the lion, thunder of stampeding giraffes, and trumpeting calls of the elephants filled the air. The two brothers, filled with excitement burst through the gate, armed only with curiosity and a computer they race through the zoo on their first learning adventure!


Hi, my name is Jonathan Fluck. Karen Toz invited me to write a guest post today about myself and my most recent book, T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Zoo. First a little about myself, I am a husband and a father. Together with my wife we write and illustrate a non-fiction picture book series called T-Bot and Peabody Explore. The first book of the series is T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Zoo. We started writing these stories because my oldest son, 5 at the time, had trouble finding books in a style that he liked. He wanted fact filled books with photographs. My wife, an elementary school teacher and now stay at home Mom, agreed that it is hard to find the type of book he is interested in despite the fact that classrooms are starving for books like this and most boys enjoy reading them. At that moment my mind began reeling, gears were turning, and ideas were bubbling. That night, our boys asked for a bedtime story. As usual, we made one up on the fly, always the same characters, but in a new adventure. After we tucked them into bed and turned off the light in their bedroom the light in my head turned on! Why not take the characters from the bedtime stories and put their adventures on paper. T-Bot and Peabody were born.

I love brainstorming ways to solve problems. I love fixing things. I have a hard time finishing things. The last thing I want to do at this point is tell anyone that I was writing and illustrating a book because I didn’t want to tell them that I didn’t finish it. So I kept it a secret. The next day I began drawing the concept art for the characters and began modeling them. Remember that we needed a book that was filled with facts and photos. In order to meet the “realistic” requirement the models had to be realistic too. After a few months went by I finally finished the models and had outlined the story. It was time to tell my wife about my secret project. Knowing that I don’t typically finish things, she was supportive and insightful but remained grounded in reality. She reviewed the book at every step, provided me feedback, and offered suggestions. In July the final draft was complete, we self-published, and by the end of the month T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Zoo was available everywhere books are sold.

Since then we have been hard at work creating more adventures for our robot brothers. My wife, Karen Fluck, now co-authors the stories with me as well as offering all the insight and support she always has. T-Bot and Peabody’s upcoming adventure, T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Ocean, takes them through the depths of the ocean where they meet some of the most colorful sea life and some of the strangest creatures on earth. Our goal for the series is to introduce and teach children about the world around them. Not just the world they encounter like the farm and the fire station (even though these adventures may be in T-Bot and Peabody’s future) but the awesome worlds outside of their reach like the ocean, the pyramids, and the African savannah. Our hope is to introduce children to the awesome wonders of the world and spark a desire and interest to learn more about these treasures as well as look for ways they can help protect these unique and wonderful places on earth.

If you are curious as to what you can find inside the book. Here are a couple of my favorite pages.






If this series looks like something you and your children or classroom would enjoy please feel free to stop by Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/ziUBLk) and grab a copy, both kindle and paperback copies available. If you would like to help support T-Bot and Peabody, please check out our Kickstarter.com project (http://kck.st/zHOvyg) where you can pre-order a copy of T-Bot and Peabody Explore the Ocean or grab some T-Bot and Peabody tee’s and water bottles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing this. Hope you all have a great day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Friday Five 2-3-12

Image: chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's February! Well, unfortunately it looks like according to Punxsutawny Phil we still have six more weeks of winter. But my husband made a good point tonight – he said, “in other words we’ll only have six weeks of winter this year.” It's true. It’s been so mild. My teen actually wore shorts to school today. Teens! It was in the 60's though – hard to believe it’s February. Here’s what else has been going on:

1. Happy Hanukkah! Yes, you read that correctly. This past weekend my family came in from out of town to finally celebrate Hanukkah with us. It’s not easy finding a weekend where we are all free. We had a great celebration, but um, sorry about those paint fumes! Speaking of...

2. Renovations. And the fun continues. This week was a week of fixing. Fixing the countertop that didn’t come out right, fixing paint snafus (don’t ask), touching up this and that. Next week, everything crossed, we will hopefully see some carpet and maybe even furniture... although I don’t want to get too excited...

3. Dance. It’s that time of year again. My daughter’s first dance competition is just a few weeks away. This year she is on three teams. That means, three costume changes, three hair changes, and three makeup changes. She can do almost everything herself for the first time, so that is a huge help. But I still have to do her hair. I don’t know why I am so incompetent with hair! I just cannot get it right. Maybe I should get one of those big Barbie heads to practice on.



4. Dentist. I think I may have mentioned a few weeks ago that I needed to get a couple of crowns. It all seemed to go so smoothly. Too smoothly. On January 5th, I went in – the dentist prepped both teeth. He put on the temporaries. Two weeks later, I came in. He popped off the temp on tooth one. The new crown went right on. No problem. Then he moved on to tooth two. The new crown didn’t glide on like the other one did. The dentist pushed on it – hard. It hurt! I told him something didn’t feel right. They took an x-ray and sure enough, the crown had an extra little ridge that was now nestled in my gum line. Um – told you it didn’t feel right. So off with the crown! He had to re-prep my tooth (I’m still not sure why.) Took another mold and told me to come back in two weeks. Yesterday was the two week mark. Yup – you guessed it. Rinse and repeat. And so it continues.

5. Book News. What a fun week I had. Last Friday, Nate Rocks the World was featured on Writer’s Block Party. On Monday, I was a guest on the Eclectic Artist Radio Show with Joann Buchanan. We had a blast. Then on Wednesday, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by fellow author Willow Cross. This was no ordinary interviewed. She asked the best questions – like who is my favorite superhero and how would I take over the world. Curious? Check out her Blog: Magic, Immortals, and Being A Good Monster to read the answers. I closed out the week with a 5 star review from Ritesh Kala’s Book Reviews for Nate Rocks the World. Coming up... watch for details about a new promotion taking place soon called Win With E-Books! For now, don’t forget about the giveaway with I am a Reader Not A Writer – you can enter to win both a paperback copy and an e copy of Nate Rocks the World – through Feb 22nd. Whew that’s a lot of stuff going on!

I hope everyone has a great week! I’ll see you next Friday and hopefully sooner.

Xo
Karen

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rabbit Rabbit!


Confession time... I’m superstitious... but only for some things. For example: I’ve had two black cats over the course of the last eighteen years. I’ve crossed their paths more times than I can count. No big deal. Walking under ladders seems risky to me from a physics standpoint. As for mirrors, I’ve broken my share. Do I blame my bad luck on them? Not really. I also am not a fan of the throwing salt over my shoulder every time I cook with it (what a mess!), nor do I care if I open an umbrella indoors.


photo credit: Eric Bégin via photo pin cc

But – when it comes to the calendar, the 1st of month (and year) is serious business. First off, I do not officially turn the page on the calendar until the 1st. Yes, I may lift the page to glance at it, but it does not actually get tacked into place until the 1st.

Then there is “Rabbit Rabbit.” It’s supposed to be the first thing you say on the 1st of the month for good luck. Since my husband usually leaves for work before I am even fully awake, the first thing I generally say every morning as he is kisses me good bye is “Have a good day, I love you.” I think he would think I had officially lost it if instead I sleepily said, “Rabbit Rabbit.” But afterwards, when I’m more awake, and I realize that it is in fact the 1st of a new month, I do indeed say out loud “Rabbit Rabbit.”

Then there is Jan 1st – not only the 1st of a month, but also the 1st of the year! There are many superstitions that go along with the 1st. There is of course the southern tradition of black-eyed peas, which I recently learned was a Jewish tradition as well. I’ve started making them the last few years. Why not – they’re tasty and they supposedly bring good luck. Also, I refuse to pay bills on January 1st. Someone once told me if you pay on the January 1st, you’ll pay all year long. Uh yeah – don’t want that happening! Besides, any excuse not to pay the bills (especially on a day off) works for me. I have also heard that the first person to walk over your threshold into your home on January 1st should be a male with dark hair... or was it a female with blonde hair? On New Years Day, my husband went outside to get the newspaper and then walked back in – so technically he was the first. He does not have dark hair, but he used to be blonde (until the kids and I turned him grey) so he has two of the possible four requirements for luck. Do you think it gets pro-rated?

In any event, here’s wishing everyone a very lucky February! Rabbit Rabbit!

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