Books for Kids

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cranky Old Man....

I found this during my many wander across the net. As I’m fast approaching that time in life when people look at me and think (that’s an old person) I wanted to share this with you all. A beautiful but simple poem that needs to be set in stone and placed in every hospital, nursing home and place where the elderly dwell.

Read and remember….
Carol x

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, they thought he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that they made copies and distributed them to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appears in magazines for Mental Health. A slide presentation was made, based on his simple, but eloquent, poem. This old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man....

What do you see nurses?.... What do you see?
What are you thinking?.... When you're looking at me?
A cranky old man…. Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit…. With faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food…. and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice…. 'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice…. the things that you do.
And forever is losing…. a sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not…. lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding…. the long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?.... Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse…. You're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am…. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding…. as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten…. with a father and mother.
Brothers and sisters…. who love one another.
A young boy of Sixteen…. with wings on his feet.
Dreaming that soon now…. a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty…. my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows…. that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five…. now I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide…. and a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty…. my young now grown fast.
Bound to each other…. with ties that should last.
At Forty my young sons…. have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me…. to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more…. babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children…. my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me…. my wife is now dead.
I look at the future…. I shudder with dread.
For my young are all…. rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years…. and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man…. and nature is cruel.
It's jest to make old age…. look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles…. grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone…. where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass…. A young man still dwells,
And now and again…. My battered heart swells
I remember the joys…. I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living…. life over again.
I think of the years…. all too few gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact…. that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people…. open and see.

Not a cranky old man.
Look closer….see….ME!!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Carol Interviews Author Paula Shene

What inspired you to write?

Writing full time occurred in 2008 when my illustrator son faced a breakup of his marriage. My granddaughter developed nightmares with the uncertainty in her and her baby brother’s life. Mandy, she knew. Mandy did not have a good beginning and she too, had to learn to overcome. The story was written about Mandy for Samantha in an effort to help Samantha overcome her fears.

We are also into animal rescue, so 10% of our proceeds on this series, The Chronicles of the K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street, goes to animal rescue.

We sought publication for Mandy The Alpha Dog only after friends and relatives said ‘give it a try.’ In 2008, either there were not the resources for self publication there is now, or I was not aware enough of the market.

Finding self publication was prohibitive price-wise, I continued to seek a publisher even though reading about breaking into the ‘conventional’ print world is daunting.
Publish America  while in its early days had accepted all and sundry obtaining a bad rep, had also overcome as it went into its tenth year. After my initial asking for a ‘reading’ and including a synopsis, I waited; they insisted on reading one fourth of the story, I waited; then they requested all text in the story, I waited; followed by a request to see the pictures for the story which is written for the ‘smart aleck’ ages of seven through twelve’ ~ an attitude I seem to have kept. I waited. After weeks of ‘will they, won’t they?,’ we were accepted and then went into months of production. Mandy hit the waves in June of 2009. It is harder to break into the market for children than it is for the adult audience, and that is difficult.

The Midnight Caper was to have been the next instalment in this series. It is written except for the final scene and having my illustrator slow down long enough to sketch his cartoons. In the meantime, I found myself following a fellow author into the BookRix site and I’ve written more stories in this series which I’m slowly in the process of updating and publishing for sale. The first story I put into a contest on BookRix won third place. It was the only children’s story, and I think would have done even better if my illustrator had darker pictures which we fixed after the announcement of the winner. The name of the story is Digging Bones:
But, I found I also like to write stories for the adults. A lot of my dark humor seems to follow me into that age, too.

Do you have anyone you show manuscripts to and get advice from or are you a loner doing it all yourself?

My husband was my slash and burn partner when I was writing a monthly column for a church newspaper in the Northwest. He would always yell out to me... “You can’t start a sentence with an ‘and’ or a ‘but!’ But, my column was the one sought out by the women and the men alike.

I’m the lady with the Orange Juice Stand … “We ran out of lemons but have the most thirst quenching Orange Juice this side of the Mississippi. May I offer you some?”

I wanted to be involved with the newly formed newspaper - maybe in layout, which I had done for a living; hard copy, not virtual - but never could make the meetings. I was called and offered the job no one wanted. I interviewed one woman a month, prayed, culled and produced a column. I found after writing thirty-six columns, I enjoyed writing, but the winds turned and I had need to return to my roots to bury my aunt who was much more to me. She had been a mother, a friend, and a mentor.

My husband is no longer able to read, proof, and critique because of dementia actually caused by a smack to his head in a near fatal accident. He was misdiagnosed, said to have Lewy Body Dementia, put on anti-depressants, thrown into a full blown case of Parkinson’s and then... we went through a year of detoxification hell. I wrote about that in Lewy vs Al 
and for the humorous look at it in the children’s section, There’s Something Strange. My son is interactive with the children’s stories and if I can make him laugh, I know I succeeded. Then I have my neighbourhood fan club who look for the new story or the kids on the site who also are reading the stories. I’m always amazed when I run into someone I do not know and am told, ‘You wrote that book about Mandy. Hey, I loved it.’

What genre do you normally write in? Also, is there a genre you've always wanted to write in, but don't feel you could pull it off?

Not really. I write articles. I can write romance. I try to enter the contests because they each are for a different genre. I work well with deadlines - usually screeching to the finish. I have a lot of plates spinning and am always willing to add one more. So I try not to use absolutes in anything.

The one thing I find though is I am more of a sprinter than a long distance runner. I fare so much better with the short story then with a novel.

Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

“Snort.” All the time. Not necessarily physical, but certainly attitudinal.

What advice would you give to someone who was just starting off in writing?

Don’t quit your day job BUT write, write, write. Don’t let the critics kill your writing soul. I wrote an article for Angie’s Diary on What Not To Do in a Conference Call Interview and this was my take on this question: know what you are capable of writing and make sure your words are the ones that you mean to use – do not rely on spell check – if you use the wrong there {they’re, their}, or to {too, two}, or any other homophone in writing, the literate reader will pick up on it even if you miss it. {This is especially crucial if you’re your own editor}. I would also add, intimately know your target audience and what they like to read.

Go to your local library and scan shelves, then go to the catalogue which is now more than likely computerized and check the prolificacy of authors – read their books, what works for that genre and become so familiar with your subject, your writing flows.

If you do not have a passion for writing or a passion for the subject, it is time to change your direction either into another genre or profession or another time.

I wrote here and there throughout the years but did not seriously think of writing for the general public until recently when I was forced into retirement due to illness. When my body refuses to work but my mind is curious and my fingers tingle to type, writing becomes a God send for sanity. That’s my passion keeping me on the keys.

Do your stories tend to have morals, or special messages, included within them?

I don’t know how to write without a message somewhere. I’m not sure any writer is able to keep their views from seeping into a story. One of the characters is going to reflect their views either good or bad.

I do try to know my subject especially if I writing for the children. I do not want to give misinformation and that is so easy to do if you’re just breezing along and not thinking where you’re going until you hit the tree dead on.

This question was posed by a fellow author and I loved it so I decided to throw it into the mix ~ Oh no! One of your characters has escaped. Luckily, I have caught them! I will interrogate them with the help of a lie detector. Welcome! Take a seat, make yourself comfortable. You will be returning to your book once this is over. What's your name, where are you from and what is your role in the book?

“Well, hello. Carol? I ain’t ever met anyone I didn’t like, and I can tell I’ll be likin’ you. You don’t need to get that old contraption out. I’m a New York Dalmatian by the name of shadow. Shadow Hugh Shene, and I ain’t into lying. I’m into gettin’ information, too. That’s why I hang with Grandma. She’s the one at the computer and, um... she’s the one that feeds us.

I am the alpha dog, really. Just don’t go tellin’ Mandy. I like to keep her happy but she’s gettin’ up there in age, and I’m just helpin’ her keep up. Speakin’ of which, I really need to get back to work. It sure was nice meetin’ you though, Carol. Hope to see you again. Bye for now.”

Tell us why we would enjoy reading your books?
My stories evoke strong feelings and some people like certain stories, yet not others. I do seem to have something for everyone. My children stories are well received by the kids and most adults, but again not all. But, I do know there is something I’ve written that will bring a smile to your face.
To find out more about Paula, check out her author page on Indie Author Network:

 Carol x

Monday, July 02, 2012

Inappropriate Book Tags

Inappropriate Book Tags
We all know tags are useful to help readers searching for a particular book, so we create tags to help them and the internet bots find our precious offerings. You do add tags to your books, including your author name, don’t you? If you don't yet do it check out this  blog post I did a while back.

Now, while agreeing some tags on an author’s book the other day I came across a worrying trend and we all need to be vigilant. It seems someone has cottoned on to the fact that anyone can add tags to any book on Amazon. I’ve found some very inappropriate tags such as erotica and bogus authors name on a book about family life? Worse still similar erotic tags on children’s books again with an author’s name who has nothing to do with the books in question.
If you’re an author with books on Amazon, I suggest you go check the tags on all your book. If you find any inappropriate tags on your books or on the books of authors you know, shout about it. Complain to Amazon and disagree any tags you don’t want on your book.   

How to disagree inappropriate tag:

1)       Go to the book page, scroll down to the tag section: Tags Customers Associate with This Product’

2)      Then click on ‘See all tags’ if you don’t see this it’s because there are fewer than 16 tags so just click on ‘Agree with these tags?’ notice there is a question mark on this option.

3)      Now you should see tiny boxes to the right of all the tag words associated with the book.

4)      Click on the tiny box to the right of the inappropriate word and another little box will pop up with the words ‘Do you agree this product is related to (book title)’ you get two options yes or no, hit the no and you’re done.

If we all do this on any inappropriate tags we find, it will help keep the unscrupulous trolls from doing this because, Amazon does know who added the tags and they will be stopped.

Happy tagging

Carol x