Author: CatBlount

Cat Michaels Interview

[This is the transcribed version of the live show with Sass Bloom and Cat Michaels already in progress.]

Sass:  Hello, Cat Michaels!  Thank you so much for joining us. 

Cat:  Hey, Sass.  Excited about guesting in Blountville to chat with you and your readers -:D!

Sass:  Well, we are so very happy to have you here!  Today I would like to focus primarily on your new and soon to be released title, but would you mind telling us a little about your earlier stories first?

Cat:  Sure!  My “Sweet T Tales” series follows the adventures of three sisters. 

In Book 1, “Sweet T and the North Wind,” Sweet T finds magic to help her face the illness of a beloved grandparent.

Sass, you know how kids get attached to their favorite stuffed toy animal? And the catastrophe when that lovey is lost? 

Sass:  Oh boy do I…  LOL

Cat:  Well, that inspired me to pen my second book, “Finding Fuzzy: a You-Decide Tale of a Lost Friend.”  My characters from book 1 travel to North Carolina’s shore for a family vacation.  Little sister Jenna faces a tough decision after losing Fuzzy, her beloved blue stuffy rabbit. Young readers step in to finish the story by writing or drawing the ending.  I am over the moon to see the awesome ways junior authors and artists end my story!

Sass:  Even though this is a duo series, I love how you bring the same characters into the new story, but also allow for readers to enjoy a completely different adventure.  Tell me about your third title.

Cat:  My last book, “The Magical Aquarium,” was penned as a birthday gift for my niece, so it has a different set of characters.  Never expected to publish it. (Hah! NEVER say, “never!”) When I discovered juicy software apps to create e-books, I couldn’t wait to publish this standalone e-fantasy.

Sass:  You can just about find apps for everything now, and The Magical Aquarium’s name alone sounds exciting, which brings me to my next topic and question about your new title…  I love that your books carry your imagination to creative scenes and adventures, would you say your current title is similar to your previous books, or is there a distinct difference with Sweet T and the Turtle Team?

Cat:  Aw, thanks!  My stories mix mischief and imagination for early and reluctant readers, and what one reader called “family-centered vibes.”

“Turtle Team” returns to the Carolina coast and introduces boys to the plot at the request of readers in the Boys’ Book Club.

Sass:  I like that you take suggestions from your readers!  That’s great.

Cat:  And yes, also at my readers’ request, Fuzzy returns and gets lost AGAIN.  Sweet T is challenged with making new friends, dealing with name-calling, and protecting sea turtle nests while summering on Gull Island.

Like “The Magical Aquarium,” you’ll find strong messages about protecting the ocean and marine life.

One difference — “Turtle Team” highlights my characters’ tech savvy.  Mama shares  photos of sea turtle hatches on her blog.  Middle sister Kristen, staying at home for computer camp, exchanges parent-approved text messages with T each night. Kristen even supplies a texting glossary to help older family members learn texting shortcuts.

Sass:  Ok, so you are going to be able to relate to many of your young readers, for sure, with this new title.  Now let’s talk a bit about the images for your works. How would you describe the similarities and/or differences in the style of the illustrations for each of your books?

Cat:  Irene A. Jahns’ dreamy watercolors add just enough context for my series for my early and reluctant readers, typically in grades K-4.  Grown-ups tell me they appreciate Irene’s stunning art, and junior artists are inspired by her drawings.

My UK-based artist pal, Corrina Holyoake, created “The Magical Aquarium’s” vibrant centerpiece illustration is guaranteed to make kids smile because it shows … (Oops! Spoilers! Cannot tell you WHAT it shows because that reveals the aquarium secret!)

Sass:  HA!  Love it!  Yes, let’s not give away the secrets, LOL!  And the remainder of the illustrations?

Cat:  I purchased cartoony stock art for other images that are perfect for this whimsical e-tale.

Sass:  Do you know ahead of time what you are looking for in terms of the images in your stories, and, when working with an illustrator, how easy, or difficult, is it to convey the images you see in your mind to the illustrator?

Cat:  I’ve been lucky to work with Irene and Corrina, two brilliant artists!  I provide them with a draft of my tale, and we discuss which scene conjures up the best image for each chapter. Sometimes, their concepts totally delight and surprise me.  Other times, I offer photos representing strong visuals in my mind’s eye (like a skimboard of the Gull Island beach house with red rocking chairs).

Illustration by Irene A. Jahns

They send their sketches and usually nail the illustration on their first attempt.

Sass, my BIG challenge as a solo Indie authorpreneur is converting their beautiful drawings into perfect digital images, at the correct resolution and page positioning, for publication across print and e-book platforms.

Sass:  Yes, that, I am sure, is probably one of the largest challenges of many indies when converting digital images.  I would like to say, before moving over to another topic, that you made excellent choices in illustrators!  Their work is fantastic, and aligned with your words perfectly!  Now, over to another topic, if I may.  Your books are all chapter books.  Does it just happen that way or do they naturally flow out of you as longer-version titles?

Cat:  Having taught kids who struggle to read and penned tales for young nieces and nephews, that style comes easy: short chapters sprinkled with one or two illustrations, peppered with simple sentences, and topped with occasional challenge words.

I don’t want young readers discouraged by too much on a page.  OR turn off older kids with a ‘baby’ story. I want to hold kids’ attention with relatable characters, bouncy plots, and kid-sized challenges they enjoy.

Sass:  And that you do!  Now, let’s talk specifically about Sweet T and the Turtle Team!  We have adventure, a mysterious secret, an approaching storm, and baby turtles that may be in peril!!!!!!!!  You can’t make this stuff up, but you did, LOL.  Tell us how this story, with its multifaceted scenarios, came about.

Cat:  tee-hee!  Love your description of my plot, Sass!  You must be a writer -:D.

Sass:  I am not a writer, but I am very close to one ;-)!  Thanks for the compliment, though!  Now please tell us; we can’t wait to hear!

Cover by Irene A. Jahns

Cat:  During my author visits, I tell children to write about what they know and love.  And that’s just what I did for “Sweet T and the Turtle Team.” Growing up on the New England coast and now visiting the shore near my North Carolina home, I have salt water in my veins. I’m no stranger to hurricanes, either,having lived through scores of them.

Sea turtles fascinate me, but I did not know a lot about them.  I researched their habits and interviewed my neighbor, Lauren Schaale, a research scientist who worked on Bald Head Island, NC, protecting marine life there.  Lauren shared her real-life hatch photos  (featured in Mama’s blog) and helped me find kid-magnet marine facts for my tale.



I mix everything together and stirred in enough kid-sized challenges for my characters to tackle to keep kids engaged, having fun and learning.

Sass:  Oh I love hearing stories behind the stories.  They can be so fascinating, and actually entice readers to want to experience the story that was birthed from the author’s own experiences.  Oh how very wonderful, Cat!  Tell us, what is the best part of the story for you, and which image is your favorite?

Cat:  Hmmmm. <thinking hard here>

My fave moment is when T discovers Billy’s secret.  She finds out quite by accident from another island child. I hope readers will be surprised, too, although I add a few clues before it’s revealed.

As for the image…..
T’s not sure what to do to help Billy with his secret, and she asks her Great-Aunt Mae for advice.
Irene’s illustration of this moment is pure emotion.  Characters are silhouetted in muted grays against the warm colors of Gull Cottage.  Gives me goosebumps every time I flip to that illustration.  What do you think?!?

Illustration by Irene A. Jahns

Sass:  Cat, I am excited about this entire interview with you, and I can’t wait to share the transcript of it, but I have to tell you, sincerely, this is one of my favorite moments.  I work closely with Cat Blount, as you know, and she is MEGA into illustrating purely from within, from emotion, from the spirit of the illustrator.  I can see her tearing up when she reads this part, and when she sees this image.  And yes, this was perfectly illustrated by Irene.  Perfectly.  Bravo!

Wow, what an interview thus far, right audience!?!  

Audience:  YES! *cheers and whistles*

Sass:  Great stuff!  Cat, I understand there is a secret to be revealed in this story?  Without giving it away, of course, any hints?

Cat:  NO spoilers, Sass, but ….

Billy’s secret is one many children encounter (teachers and parents, too!).  If you know a little bit about my training in education and the writerly focus of my tales (to early and ‘reluctant’ readers), you’ll guess his secret.


Sass:  The intrigue, Cat, I am loving the intrigue! *smile*  It will be so much fun for readers to try to figure out the secret before it is revealed!  Tell us please, will this be the last volume for your Sweet T collection, and I hope not, or do you think there are more tales waiting within you to come out?

Cat:  I love my characters and Coastal setting.  I’m already dreaming about my fourth Sweet T Tale, probably a return to Gull Island and more adventures to be had and secrets to unravel, but I’ll let my readers (including the Blountville gang, I hope!) help me decide.


Sass:  Do it!  Audience?

Audience:  DO IT!

Sass:  LOL, ok, switching back to all of your works, what are people saying about your books?  Are you pleased with the consensus of your reviews thus far?

Cat:  I’m over the moon when I hear from readers and receive feedback about my stories, Sass!  No reviews yet on Turtle Team, as it debuts 21 July, but hoping for early feedback on it soon.

Can I share two reviews with your readers that apply to all my books?

Sass:  Absolutely!

Cat:  
“A playful story, full of fun, adventure, friendships and loving sibling relationships.  Powerful lesson to care for our environment and all creatures that live in the sea. Beautifully told and certainly a joy to read.”
– Emily-Jane Hills Oxford for Readers’ Favorite: “The Magical Aquarium”

“Irene A. Jahns provided the beautiful watercolor illustrations to accompany the text. Jahns does an amazing job of creating a ‘vacation’ mood for the setting through the depiction of sweeping oceanside landscapes and snapshots of images that will leave you longing for summertime adventures to begin.”
– Renee, Mother Daughter Book Reviews: “Finding Fuzzy”

Sass:  Such beautiful, sincere reviews!  I can see why you are so pleased.  Now I must ask, are there plans to offer both paperbacks and ebooks for all of your titles?

Cat:  Yep, ebooks for sure.  Now that I learned how to use iBooks Author and Vellum software, I want to offer all my books in digital format. No plans for a print version of “The Magical Aquarium” at this time.

Sass:  Yes, very wise to offer your titles in as many formats as possible.  Now, let’s talk a bit about marketing for a moment.  What would you say has been your best marketing technique for getting the word out about your titles?

Cat:  It takes time but is totally worth it to build a street team to help with marketing.  It’s made up of writing buddies, bloggers, and readers who are excited about reading my tales, writing reviews, and recommending my stories to others.  It is THE best.  My fourth book is easier to launch than the first, thanks to my tribe of readers and writerly friends I find on the writing road.

Hey, your readers might like to know that Cat Blount and I met on social media after a comment about our Catly likeness.  Friendship on social media often starts with simple and authentic steps just like that -:D!

Sass:  Yes, she did tell me how you met.  She was thrilled to find out that I chose you to be one of the first authors that I interview!  Your marketing strategy doesn’t seem like a strategy at all.  It’s authentic, like you say, and that is why it works!  And that is why your fans and friends adore you so!  Now, on the other side, has there been anything that you tried that you now deem as “a total waste of time” in terms of marketing?  Indie authors, listen up!

Cat:  I wish I had given away fewer books on Goodreads over shorter periods of time.  Instead of many books in a single 30-day period, fewer books over two weeks, repeated at one or two intervals, would be more effective.

btw…..author tip:
GR is great for discoverability, but it has not driven sales or reviews for me.
  I use it more as a reader because, well, b/c I love to read and find out what other readers enjoy.

Sass:  I hope authors take note!  I know that what works or don’t work for one, may work or not work for another, but it is so helpful to hear experiences like the ones you shared to assist in others making better choices.  That was valuable information, Cat, thank you.  And staying along the same theme, now I have a question from Cat Blount.  If you could change anything about your journey as an author, what would it be?

Cat:  Mercy, where to begin?!?

I knew authoring would be tough, but I had no idea how difficult it would be.  The learning curve is humongous!

My biggest ah-ha was understanding that ‘writing’ is just a small part of the process.  There are tons to know about social media as a business.  And marketing!  I worked in marketing communications for a global firm, but constantly coming up with new ways to market MY books can keep me up at night.


Sass:  Isn’t that the funniest thing!  Cat Blount has a marketing degree, and she also says that the marketing of her work is the worst part of it all! LOL!  You actually have something else in common with Cat Blount; she also began writing stories at a very young age.  The difference, however, with her is, she could never finish her stories, and she stopped writing for a very long time.  What advice do you have for others who dream of becoming an author and don’t continue writing or even start to write?

Cat:  Another Catly connection….love it!
I don’t want to discourage Cat, but I’m keeping it 100.  Ready?

Sass:  Uh oh, LOL.  We are more than ready, let us have it!

Cat:  Writing starts with a dream.  However, getting books into readers’ hands requires the time, focus and diligence of a pragmatic “business” mindset.  It entails skills beyond writing, like knowing social media and marketing and being tech-savvy.

A writing journey begins when would-be authors embrace this paradigm.

But they start with baby steps and never go it alone.  They engage with other like-minded folk to support and motivate each other long before the first book is ever published….while they are still dreaming!  So, Cat Blount is on the right path -:D.

Sass:  Some more awesome advice for you authors out there.  Now I have to ask one more question before I turn the questions over to your younger fans.  When you think of yourself and where you are as an author, what is the first word that pops into your mind and why?

Cat:  My Awesome Editor/Spouse calls me “Ms. Busy Pants,” because I’m always on the move. LOL!

I’ll go with “DETERMINED” because writing on the Kid Lit road is a long, slow journey.  Gotta stay energized, innovative, and optimistic facing challenges that feel like scaling Mt. Everest.  Plus, have fun along the way!

Sass:  Oh I like that nickname!  And with another title buzzing about in your mind, I can see the reason for the name. *smile*

Ok, we are ready to turn the questions over to your very eager, and patient, I might add, fans!  First we have Casey, an elementary school student, with a question.  Casey?

Casey:  Which one of your books did you enjoy writing the most?

Cat:  Hey, Casey!

I most enjoy whatever book I am currently creating because it requires most of my love and attention.  So right now, I am all about “Sweet T and the Turtle Team.”

Sass:  Great answer.  Next up we have a middle school student, Michael.  Michael, what’s your question for Cat Michaels?

Michael:  Would you want to change any of your stories, or add to them?

Cat:  Michael (love your name!), I am actually moving in the opposite direction: writing smarter and faster, and being satisfied with fewer changes in order to move on and get more books out to children!

However, as I learn new software, I may make my ebooks even more interactive and fun for you to read.

Sass:  Ooooh, more books by Cat Michaels.  Exciting!  Next question is from Caitlin, and she’s in elementary school.  Caitlin?

Caitlin:  If you could visit the Magical Aquarium, what type of fish would you want to be?

Cat:  Definitely dolphins, Caitlin.  They are smart, sleek and social!  And boy, can they jump and dive.

Sass:  I am loving these questions.  You guys are doing great!  Next, Bella, elementary school.  Go ahead, Bella.

Bella:  Do you have any pets?

Cat:  Ah, Bella, I have seven grand-dogs and one grand-cat.  I also grew up with dogs, turtles, parakeets, lizards, and a duck named Cuddles.

Sass:  I think guys I can safely say that Cat Michaels likes animals! *smile*  Ok, we have another elementary school student.  Benny, what’s your question?

Benny:  Do you spend all day writing?

Cat:  I don’t, Benny.  I take breaks for play and exercise, so I can come back to the keyboard feeling refreshed.  I also spend much of my day working on writerly projects: blogging, reading the latest news in children’s books and publishing, talking to librarians and booksellers about stocking my tales, meeting teachers and parents.  Whew!  Not writing, but definitely writing-related.

You know the best part of any day? Connecting with readers like YOU and folks in Blountville!

Sass:  “Whew” is right, my goodness.  But it is a business, and what you love, so you have to do what you have to do.  And we are all very happy that you love connecting with all of your fans!  We thank you very much!  Next question.  We have Alexa, who is actually a high student.  What’s your question for Cat Michaels, Alexa?

Alexa:  What inspired you to want to be an author at such a young age?

Cat:  I learned how to read before I got to kindergarten and always had a book in hand, Alexa. Maybe that’s why writing comes naturally to me, like smiling or breathing. I enjoyed it from the start and continue to work hard to perfect my craft.

Sass:  Cat, we now have Sabrina who is in kindergarten.  Sabrina, you can ask Cat Michaels your question now.

Sabrina:  Why don’t you write books about pancakes?

Cat:  Brilliant idea, Sabrina! There are lovely pancake and french toast books already written, so I might feature pancakes as a special food one of my characters enjoys.  Ooooo.  Maybe I will include a mystery about missing pancakes on Gull Island  -:D!

Sass:  Another great question, Sabrina; great job!  Beautifully answered as well!  Ok, we have one more question, and it’s from Stacy, an elementary-schooler.  Stacy, what’s your question?

Stacy:  What is your favorite season and why?

Cat:  Summer, summer summer, Stacy!  Beach and swimming especially! I loved summer as a kid (and a teacher) because of the loooonnnng summer v*a*c*a*t*i*o*n.

Sass:  Ha ha!  Perfect question to end all questions.  Cat, this has been such a treat for us here in Blountville.  Thank you sincerely for agreeing to talk with us today.

Cat:  Awww, thanks for inviting me, Sass!

Looking forward to hearing more about your blog and Cat’s writerly journey.  I hope I bump into you and your readers in cyberspace, too.  Don’t be strangers, y’all.  Happy tales!

Sass:  You’re quite welcome, and thank you, Cat!

Now, we have something special for all of you listeners today.  You heard all of the cool things waiting for you in Sweet T and the Turtle Team, well how would you like to receive a free digital version of that title?  Be the first to answer the following question in your comment, and you will be sent a digital copy free!  Ready?  Here we go…

WHERE did Cat set the story of Sweet T and the Turtle Team and WHY did she select that location?


WAIT!

We have a winner!
Congratulations to Sheri S. Levy!!!

And that is that!  This is Sass Bloom, and I thank you for being with us today.  A special thank you to the wonderful author Cat Michaels and our unbelievable studio audience.

Sass Bloom signing out!

For more information about Cat Michaels and her wonderful stories, please visit her at http://www.catmichaelswriter.com.

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Cat’s Summer Ebook Giveaway

Hello all!

I have wonderful news for all of you lovers of children’s stories!

I will be offering several of my ebooks for you to enjoy for free throughout the summer months!

So, if you haven’t experienced my stories, this is the perfect opportunity for you to indulge in my unique collection of works.

 

Here’s the first story for you to own.

Click to Own

In short, a young rabbit wants to find friends, but every time she meets an animal, they are on their way to the one place her mother told her not to go.  Will she end up going to the forbidden part of the forest, or will she hold on to her mother’s warnings?

Will you be able to figure out the mystery of this tale before it is revealed?  Are you ready for a story packed with lessons for everyone?  Do you need a read that makes you want to keep turning the pages?  A Lesson Learned: The Lake in the Middle of the Forest is the book to own.  

Obtain your copy today!

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A Lesson Learned Introducing the climax!

Ok, we are finally here.  This is where the climax begins.  There is an important detail that I haven’t revealed in any of my updates for A Lesson Learned: The Lake in the Middle of the Forest.  You know that Allison’s mom has forbidden her to go to the lake in the middle of the forest, however, you don’t know why.

“There is a horrible, terrible alligator that follows the river into that area.  He is said to be vicious!”

That’s right.  There’s a vicious alligator in the lake, Allison’s mom told her.  So now you know why she was told to stay away.

We are at the part of the story where Allison meets a new furry friend, Jessica.  This new furry friend will change everything!  She represents one of all parents’ worst nightmares.  SOMEONE WHO CAN CONVINCE YOUR CHILD TO NOT ADHERE TO YOUR WORDS.  It seems that Jessica has information, beyond what Allison’s mother knows, that makes oodles of sense.  However, will Allison’s obedience to her mother keep her from giving in?

I am so excited for this part of the story.  The buildup to this point is natural, and this climax is the perfect peak to where this story is headed → A twist you will not expect.

Well, back to the story.

Cat 

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Interview with Mrs. Engles from Sleeping Through the Night

[This transcribed interview took place before the children of Crimson were driven off to be cured of their inability to fall asleep in the story titled Sleeping Through the Night]

Sass Bloom here again!  Hello to my wonderful audience.  Today, everyone, in my studio, we have with us Mrs. Engles from Sleeping Through the Night.

Sass Bloom:  Mrs. Engles!  I can’t tell you how very happy I am that you decided to come sit with me today for a bit.  How are feeling?

Mrs. Engles:  Hello, Sass.  Thank you for having me on.  Um, to be honest, I am a little tired.

Sass Bloom:  A little tired?  Mrs. Engles, we all know of your plight.  Exactly how how long has it been now?

Mrs. Engles:  Well, very close to a month.

Sass Bloom:  A month?  Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine.  If I don’t go to bed every night before 10, I am a zombie the next day.  How are guys able to function over there?

Mrs. Engles:  It’s been pretty tough for my husband and me.  Not being able to sleep, as you know, can take a toll on one’s mind, body, pretty much everything.  We can hardly function.  The girls, and every other child in Crimson, on the other hand, feel fine.  Even though they are not able to sleep, for whatever reason, it’s not having an effect on them.

Sass Bloom:  You see that’s the thing that amazes me the most, other than, of course, that a game caused this phenomena…  Why aren’t they at least sleepy?

Mrs. Engles:  No one can figure it out.

Sass Bloom:  And your mayor has been back and forth to the city to try to get answers, right?

Mrs. Engles:  Right.  No answers to why this happened to our children, but, a possible solution to bring it all to a close.

Sass Bloom: The sister, brother duo, Sally and Sam.

Mrs. Engles:  Yes, Sally and Sam.  We met them a few days ago.

Sass Bloom:  And they are going to fix it that your children are back to sleeping again?

Mrs. Engles:  That is what they tell us, and we feel very optimistic about it.

Sass Bloom:  You know, Mrs. Engles, there are some who criticize you, your husband, and the other parents in the town, for your decision to send your children away with Sally and Sam.  How do you feel about that?

Mrs. Engles:  Well first of all, we are not sending them away.  It’s only one night.  Also, I am sure these critics have never dealt with staying awake, without proper rest, for a month!  We are parents.  We take care of our children.  We work.  We have to be able to continue to do these things.  Without sleep, it’s almost impossible!

Sass Bloom:  In other words, unless they have walked in your shoes, they shouldn’t have much to say.

Mrs. Engles:  Exactly!  Listen, we have tried everything. The mayor, and his friends in the city, have tried to figure this all out.  We, my husband and I, sat across from Sally and Sam for a good amount of time.  They are great people who are trying to help us, and I believe they will.

Sass Bloom:  And I hope they will, Mrs. Engles.  I truly hope they will.  I can tell that you love your children, and that you only want the best for them.

Mrs. Engles:  [*Sniff*]

Sass Bloom:  If I may continue, only for a bit more…

Mrs. Engles:  I’m fine, you may continue, I understand.

Sass Bloom:  How do your children feel about this?  Are they ok with leaving you and your husband for a night?

Mrs. Engles:  My youngest, Maddie, is super excited.  She can’t wait to go on this “adventure,” and I have to tell you, it sounds pretty fun.

Sass Bloom:  I know.  When I heard about what the children will experience, I thought, “Oh wow, they’re going to have a great time.”

Mrs. Engles:  I know.  Sally and Sam put so much into this.  It’s pretty spectacular, really.

Sass Bloom:  And Sara?

Mrs. Engles:  Welllllll, Sara is a little different.

Sass Bloom:  How so?

Mrs. Engles:  Sara is the type who always, pretty much, questions everything. [*smiles*]  She always thinks that “something is going on,” or “something doesn’t sound right.”  I blame it on the spooky shows she watches.  Better yet, I blame it on myself for allowing her to watch them.  I thought they were innocent enough, but I guess not.

Sass Bloom:  So Sara doesn’t want to go?

Mrs. Engles:  No.  She thinks something is wrong with Sally and Sam, and that they are out to take all of the children away or something.  She will be fine, and I will be removing those movies from her list of recordings.

Sass Bloom:  Mrs. Engles, it has been great having you here with me.  I am humbled by your experience and I pray that your family is back to normal very soon.  I sincerely do.  Who ever thought that a game could cause all of this hullabaloo???

Mrs. Engles:  We didn’t.  That’s for sure, and again, thank you for having me.  I do hope that now people understand our story a bit better.

Sass Bloom:  Please, try to come back after your children’s return.  It will be my pleasure to sit with you again.

Mrs. Engles:  I will honestly try.  Thanks, Sass.

Sass Bloom:  Thank you.

And there you have it.  My interview with Mrs. Engles.  She is truly a sweet mother, and cares deeply for both her children.  If you are interested in how it went with Sally and Sam, and the children of Crimson, click on the book cover and own a copy of Sleeping Through the Night.  

Sass Bloom signing out.

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Back to the Place from which it Came

So, there’s Santa Claus to represent Christmas, the Baby New Year to represent the coming of the new year, and the Easter Bunny to represent Easter.

Where did they get these characters?

As a christian, I told my children the true meaning behind Christ-based holidays.  Santa visited our home, as well as, the Easter Bunny, and so on, but we always celebrated and acknowledged Christ first and foremost.  But still, the question: “Why these particular characters?”

I grew up watching Santa Claus is Coming To Town around Christmas every single year.  My family still watches it when it comes on.  The special explains how Santa Claus came to be.  At one point, Kris Kringle was making toys for the kids of Sombertown, and handing them out to them each day.  He started getting so many orders for toys that the task later became difficult to perform.  Kris decided that he needed to pick just one day to provide toys for the children.  It said that he chose the most special day of the year, Christmas Eve.  I loved how they brought it back to where it belonged.  They acknowledge the origin of Christmas.  The moment was so beautiful; I was grateful that they added it.

In What Does a Bunny, a Chicken, and Colorful Eggs Have to do with EASTER? you will see that everything is 100% brought back to where it truly belongs in a sweet, natural, special way.

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A Lesson Learned is Coming Along Great!

I am so excited to announce that A Lesson Learned: The Lake in the Middle of the Forest is coming along great!  I am so excited because I am about to get to the really meaty part of the story.  Hee Hee Hee!  Right now, I am at the part where Allison gets a bit of advice from her kind neighbor, Mrs. Bird.  Allison can’t understand why everyone is on their way to a place where her mother forbid her to go.  She feels that the real reason is that they just don’t want to be her friend.  Mrs Bird assures Allison that she will find a friend soon.

I will send you more updates soon.  I am so excited!

Best.

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We Know What The Green Slime Is! by Ana

Ana here, reporting for Blount Village Press.  

Ok, so I know that some of you have been waiting a while to hear about what was found near the creek just last week.  In case you are not aware, Michael McGivons, while fishing with his dad, noticed a green puddle near the edge of the water.  After poking it, which may have not been so wise, he saw that it was thick and slimy, and had a strange smell.  His father gathered it up in a can and brought it to the sheriff’s office.  

Lots of rumors have been flying around about what it could possibly be, and finally, thanks to Dr. Roadley, we now know for sure what the strange goo is.  Tickle Monster slime!  It’s true, Blountville, the tickle monsters have returned, and if we don’t want what happened the last time to happen again, something must be done NOW!

Sheriff Woodley asks that you please stay away from the creek until further notice.  At this time, he doesn’t see any reason to stop going about your daily activities except for the following.  For school-aged children, he asks that they return to their homes immediately following school, and that everyone stay off of the roads after nightfall.  His men will be more visible throughout this time, and he asks that if you see anything strange, to please notify one of his men or his office.  More importantly, if you see green slime, PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH IT!

I’m Ana, reporting for Blount Village Press.  As soon as we gather more information, we will get it out to you immediately!

Be safe.

Ana Bacasian
Writer
Blount Village Press

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Interview with Dan from LISA

[This transcribed interview took place before the events in the story titled LISA, of The 3 Screams Trilogy.]

Sass Bloom here!  Today, in my studio, we have with us Dan Oldson from The 3 Screams.

Sass:  Hello, Dan!

Dan:  Hello.

Sass:  Dan, thank you so much for agreeing to come in and talk with us.

Dan:  Yeah, my mother thought that it would be a good idea.

Sass:  Well, be sure to thank her for me because I am so happy to have you here.

Dan:  Uh, ok.

Sass:  Dan, here, at Cat Blount Studios, we like to get right into the mix of things.  I understand that tomorrow your parents will be going out, and you and your sister will be watched over by a babysitter.

Dan: My mother told you that!?!  Are you kidding me?  What???

Sass:  Dan, it’s ok; really it is.  Besides, I doubt that your friends are among my listeners.  Everything will be fine; you don’t have to worry.

Dan: That’s easy for you to say.  I don’t want to do this interview.

Sass:  Now, Dan.  Having a babysitter is not that big of a deal.

Dan:  It is when you’re a 14 year old boy!

Sass:  Yes, well, why exactly do you think your parents found a babysitter to watch over you and your sister?

Dan:  She’s not going to be there to watch over me.  I don’t need anyone watching over me.  She can watch over Abby.

Sass:  Couldn’t you have watched over your sister, you know, being that you’re 14, and most babysitters start at that age?

Dan:  Yes!  I could totally watch her like always.

Sass:  Oh, you’ve watched her before?

Dan:  Yeah.  When my parents go out, I’m the one to watch her.

Sass:  So why the change?

Dan:  I don’t know.  It’s silly.  My mom thinks that I don’t watch her close enough.  I mean she’s 7 years old!  How closely do I have to watch her?

Sass:  But something must have happened for your mom to think that she needed to call a babysitter, Dan.  What was it?

Dan:  Not my fault!  That’s what it was.  I had the guys over like always, and Abby was in her room.  When they left, I went to my room, and then out of nowhere, when my parents got home, I heard my mom calling out for Abby, and then she came running into my room.

Sass:  Who your mom?

Dan:  Yeah.  She was like, “Where’s your sister?  Were you not watching her!?!”  Did she want me to stay in Abby’s room with her?

Sass:  So where was Abby?

Dan:  For some reason, and with Abby, there doesn’t have to be a reason, she went out back and climbed into my old tree house.  She was pretending that she was in a castle or something.  So instead of getting mad at her, they got mad at me.

Sass:  I see.  What time did they get home?

Dan:  I don’t know.  Around 11 I guess.

Sass:  What time did your friends leave?

Dan:  I think about 9.

Sass:  Do you think you see their point at all?

Dan:  No,  I mean a little.  Hey, listen, they need to stop treating Abby like a baby, and Abby needs to start making better decisions.

Sass:  Well, Dan, I thank you very much for sitting with me this afternoon, and I hope it goes well with the babysitter.

Dan:  I just want to get it over with.

Sass:  Dan, one more thing…  Do you spend time with your little sister?

Dan:  I guess.  We eat together, and I see her in the house.  She’s 7 years old.  There’s nothing to do with her.

Sass:  She doesn’t ask you to play, or anything?

Dan:  Yeah, but she wants to play silly games all of the time.  We used to play together, but I’m older now.  

Sass:  I see.  Well, thank you again for visiting me here in the studio.

And there you have it.  My interview with Dan.  If you are interested in how it went at the Oldson’s the night the babysitter came, click on the book cover and own a copy of LISA.  I have a feeling that Dan is going to learn something very important; I just hope it won’t be too late.  That’s all for this evening.  As always, my beautiful listeners, have a wonderful night.

Sass Bloom signing off.

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A Lesson Learned – On its way!

I wanted to give you a quick update on how I am moving along with A Lesson Learned: The Lake in the Middle of the Forest!

Right now, I am in the process of re-coloring illustrations that I already had placed in the story, and transferring those illustrations from the ebook version to the paperback.  Whew!!!  Yeah.  It can be tedious, but I love it.

The scene above, in both the ebook and paperback versions, is Allison giving her sister advice about brown carrots.  You see, Allison’s mom, each day, expects Allison to tell her younger sister, Maggie, something she [Allison] learned from the day before.  Her mother calls it, “A Lesson Learned.”  Ah Ha!  Allison finds it totally annoying.  She doesn’t see the point, and feels that she will never have anything really important to share with her sister.

Ok, I will keep you posted!

Best.

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