Friday, February 22, 2019

Please Help Spread The Word

When I started The Kamyla Chung Series I drew on my experiences as a public school teacher. During my tenure I witnessed the difficult situations many children live in and the violent outbursts that brought into my classroom.

I hope that Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully will be a stimulus for heartfelt, meaningful conversations between parents and their children and teachers and their students.

To cure school violence, we must address the mental health of students and offer consistent and viable support to those who are struggling. Books that approach the subject gently are one tool educators and counselors can use to accomplish this.

Awards are a great way to earn the recognition required to spread a book's message. Will you please help me get my message to those who need it by voting for Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully in The Author Academy Awards.

Click here to vote.

If you're interested in a community that shares resources on bullying and mental health please join my Facebook group Kamyla Chung's Bully Free Zone. 

Click here to join. If we work together on solutions for our children, we'll be one step closer to curing this social disease.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Story Starter! Once Upon A Time...

Photo courtesy of: Jo-B; courtesy of: Pixabay

                                                                    Write your fairytale!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Story Starter! Use The 5 Senses To Describe

Photo courtesy of: derwiki; courtesy of: Pixabay

I titled this as another Story Starter but after completing the task a more apt name would have been Story Challenge.

It's taken me a few days to write a list of descriptions for each of the 5 senses for the picture. Sometimes I agonize over words which then hinders my productivity.

Many authors describe landscapes so fluidly and with such finesse that I become intimidated. But, I refuse to let that stop me from working on my craft and sharing what I've composed. I know I need to improve in this area so that's what I'm doing.

I'm not overly pleased with every description but at least I did it. To improve my technique, I will continue adding to the lists I created.

Lush green hills surmounted by gray mountain tops
Thick clouds marbleized with patches of blue and smoky gray
A river surrounded by hills crowded with trees
A lake enclosed by hills thick with trees
A castle sitting on a hill rising above a small town
The sun is shining down

Birds chirping
Water lapping at the shorline
The scurry of furry feet over grass
Bees buzzing

The sweet scents of pine and spruce
A clean wind blew from the south rustling leaves and tufts of grass
Earthy aroma of dirt and grass

The smell of pine and spruce was so thick the scent clung to my taste buds caramel candy
I chewed on a piece of grass savoring the bittersweet flavor

A lazy wind brushed my face
Branches reached out to tickle my arms and legs
The sun felt warm on my scalp

How are you at describing landscapes? I'd love to read your descriptions.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Interview With Author/Teacher Jenny S. Burke

Photo courtesy of: Jenny S. Burke

Jenny S. Burke enjoys the wild side of life but only if she can experience it through nature. As a former marine biologist, she has an ocean of experience to fish from for her adventure stories.

A multi-award winner, Jenny's novel, Dragon Lightning, was featured on TV twice. She has also published five marine research papers, been nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award and done a host of radio and blog interviews.

Jenny has earned degrees in Math, Science, Marine Science and Education. 

Now that I've introduced you to Jenny let's get to know her a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Jenny, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Ellwyn, thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of your blog!

Why did you become a marine biologist?
I grew up land-locked. When I was eight, I saw a short movie on the sea and decided to become a marine biologist.

I took math and science courses, improved my writing, became a certified diver, and more, always working toward my goal.

I love the sea! This love became a unique undersea world in my Dragon Dreamer books.

Where did you work?
I’ve worked in several Florida cities, including the Florida Keys.

What did you do there?
I worked off of boats, studying life on the coral reefs and also in the dark abyss.

Photo courtesy of:Taken; courtesy of:Pixabay

Do you have a favorite animal? If so, which one is it and why?
Of sea life, the octopus is my favorite. Octopuses are at least as smart and clever as humans.

They’re fast-thinking and have amazing abilities; some types can shape-shift in the blink of an eye to perfectly camouflage or to mimic another type of sea life.

An octopus who was grabbed by a shark put her arms in his gills so he couldn’t breathe. He let her go.

Photo courtesy of: Jenny S. Burke

How has your experience as a marine biologist influenced your writing?
My experiences at sea and fascination with the natural world are part of my Dragon Dreamer Series.

My characters experience the sea storm that nearly killed me, and the three terrifying waterspouts that surrounded my boat. They enjoy the glowing sea life and watch the sun melt into the sea.

From The Dragon Dreamer: “Black clouds rolled silently overhead, devouring stars in the darkening night sky. A sudden barrage of lightning crackled above. Startled by the noise, Arak spun in the air. Again the lightning flashed! In the blinding light he clearly saw the monstrous black claw of the storm. His body shook as powerful waves of thunder rolled through him. His heart beat with the new rhythm.

The young dragon veered left, toward the weaker side of a storm. But this storm was huge. There was no escape.”

What inspired you to become a writer?
My marvelous third grade teacher started a poetry club, and I joined. She published anthologies with our poems.

I continued to write poems for years, for fun; I love playing with words. But I never planned to write a novel until one grew in my mind.

Which genres do you write?
I write science fantasy adventure and I’m working on a children’s book. I also have an educational Crystal Series that uses the angles of natural crystals, and a coloring book with the fantasy snowflakes my dragons grow in the winter clouds.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
I take longer than I’d like to write a proper novel that satisfies me.

What are you working on now?
I’m writing stand-alone books 3 and 4 of the Dragon Dreamer Series. I’m drawing more fantasy flakes as illustrations and for a second coloring book.

Photo courtesy of: Jenny S. Burke

How many books have you written?
There are two crystal books (Crystal Geometry and Crystal Colors) with cartoons and science/math/art educational activities.

The first novels of my science fantasy series are The Dragon Dreamer and Dragon Lightning.

There are hand-drawn mandalas in Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book. This coloring book includes information on natural snowflake growth and math-science-art connections.

Photo courtesy of: Jenny S. Burke

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
I love meeting readers and writers in person and online. A good review is satisfying. A few times, readers have added my books to lists on Goodreads. Knowing someone enjoys your work helps justify all the effort.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Just start writing! As you write, study what you like in your favorite books and apply this. Learn the basics of a novel. Get feedback from readers and writers. Start a website and join Goodreads.

What message are you sharing in your books?
The Dragon Dreamer books are first a science fantasy adventure story written to entertain.

Beyond this, there are messages about the priceless gift of friendship, the benefits of combining different abilities, using your wits to solve problems, persevering despite mounting problems, and environmental connections. 

When you not writing where can we find you?
I love wild spaces on land or sea.

What are your favorite books/authors?
Too many to list them all! I love the evolving poems in The Lord of the Rings, the beautiful message in The Velveteen Rabbit (I still cry when he becomes Real), Dune, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and many more. I also love many books by Indie authors.

What are your favorite TV shows/movies?
I love the many Star Trek Series, Dr. Who (especially Doctor #10), Psych, The Big Bang Theory, and JAG.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
I love to paint, draw, and make jewelry. I painted the covers for my books.

Do you have a website/Facebook page?

Where can we find your books?

Thank you, Jenny, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck.

Ellwyn, thank you so much for having me here!

Photo courtesy of: Jenny S. Burke

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Interview With Author/Sports Journalist John Coon

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

John Coon lives for adventure whether it be through writing or hiking through his favorite mountainside. John is a sports journalist who has turned his pen to fiction novels. His first novel, Pandora Reborn, debuted in 2018.

A native of Utah, John finds peace in nature and believes "life without creativity and imagination is hollow.”

Now that I've introduced you to John let's get to know him a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, John, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?
I've loved creating stories ever since I was a kid. I always had an active imagination. When I was in elementary school, for example, I daydreamed about being an actor starring in my own movies.

I had movie titles figured out and knew what each movie was about.  Some characters and fictional worlds I've created as an adult author can trace their roots back to this early time in my life.

Is writing your full-time profession?
Only if you include journalism into the mix. Reporting on pro sports and college sports remains my day job at the moment.

Fiction writing is a part-time pursuit for now. I hope to change that in the not-too-distant future.

Photo courtesy of: Devanath; courtesy of: Pixabay

How long have you been writing?
My first novel was published in June 2018, but I've been writing for three decades. I started writing my earliest stories when I was 12 years old. My parents owned an old manual typewriter and had set it up on a table in the back of the kitchen.

An older sister of mine wrote some short stories, and I decided one day I could write stories too. I grabbed some orange typing paper and started typing up stories on the typewriter.

Those early stories were about a litter of mischievous kittens based on some pet cats our family owned at the time. I eventually wrote nine connected stories about the kittens by the time I got into high school. Since that time, I have continued to write fiction and poetry.

Can you tell us about your experiences as a sports reporter?
When someone finds out I work as a sports reporter, their reaction is something like: "That must be so exciting getting paid to watch sports! You have a dream job."

It surprises them when I reply it's like any other job. Some days you enjoy it. Other days you can't stand it. I've had tons of fun experiences in my 15 years of writing about sports.

I've ridden in a race car at 160 miles per hour. I've been able to witness athletes set world records. I've covered March Madness (the NCAA men's basketball tournament) on several occasions.

I've also endured more stressful deadlines and sleepless nights than I care to remember. It can take a toll. Covering sports such as football or basketball creates a demanding day-to-day schedule, especially with social media basically demanding fresh content around the clock.

How has being a sports reporter influenced your work?
Being a reporter has helped me strengthen my observation skills. I see how people act, talk, and react in a wide variety of situations. I see how different personalities mesh with one another.

It has proven useful in crafting characters and dialogue that feel drawn from the real world. One of my primary goals in creating stories is to build a world populated with characters and settings that feel authentic. What I've observed and learned as a reporter helps me to better achieve such a goal.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

How many books have you written?
I've published one novel so far and I'm currently working on my second one. Pandora Reborn, my debut novel, was released in June 2018.

Which genres do you write?
I write in multiple genres because I have ideas for stories and characters I want to develop that fit into different genres. Sometimes, I blend multiple genres within the same story. 

Pandora Reborn is primarily a young adult horror story that also blends elements from fantasy, mystery, and thriller genres. My upcoming novel will primarily be a science fiction thriller, but could also include a few horror elements because of the characters and the setting.

Honestly, it's fun to not limit yourself to a single genre as a writer. It allows more flexibility and creativity in telling the story you want told.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?
For me, the one challenge in every story is making sure it feels authentic. I want to make these fictional worlds feel real, even when fantastic elements are involved.

Every fictional world is the real world to the characters who live in it. For that reason, I want their actions, reactions, and interactions to feel true to life.

Nothing bothers me more in genre fiction than plot armor. Forcing characters to say and do things simply because the plot tells them that's what they're supposed to do. It makes for uninteresting stories.

Drama and suspense build organically when characters feel like real people. You become emotionally invested in their journey and their fate ultimately matters to you.

What are you working on now?
I'm currently writing my second novel, the aforementioned science fiction thriller. I plan to publish it later this spring.

The story will follow four college students who are confronted with the results of alien genetic experimentation after being trapped in an isolated Texas town during a spring break road trip. It's a re-imagining of a short story I wrote in college.

I expanded the narrative and added some characters and subplots to help flesh it out to novel length. Beyond that story, I have other science fiction novels in the works and a pair of sequels to Pandora Reborn in development.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
My characters are a melting pot of various personalities I've encountered and interacted with throughout my life. Like I mentioned earlier, I always pay attention to how other people act, interact, and react in situations, so my characters feel like real people.

Still, I don't intentionally base any character on a single individual for obvious reasons. Many people would not react favorably to encountering a fictionalized version of themselves within a story.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 
Honestly, it has been a thrill to see so many people enjoy Pandora Reborn. I've received more favorable reviews and positive feedback than I ever anticipated. I love seeing other people embrace characters and stories that kicked around in my head for years.  It has given me tons of confidence while working on my second novel.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Find your own voice. I often see advice to new authors that tells them to mimic what popular authors are doing or tells them to figure out which genre sells and dive in head first. That's terrible advice, in my opinion.

The best thing you can do as an author is be true to yourself. Tell a story you want to tell. Then take plenty of time to craft it so that it is told in the best way possible. You will find an audience eventually and they will appreciate something that is authentic and well-written.

What readers don't appreciate are slapdash by-the-numbers stories that are transparently designed to make a quick buck.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
I'm the type of person who tries to make the world around me a better place. Life is so much better when we all choose to be good people.

We can bring happiness into our lives and other people's lives by being kind, honest, and caring. I strive to live each day with this philosophy guiding me.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

What message are you sharing in your books?
It really depends on the book. I don't set out to impose a specific message on a novel. It just evolves organically as the story unfolds.

With Pandora Reborn, for example, a key message that emerges is the danger of being isolated. You look at all the major characters and they are all isolated to one degree or another when the story begins.

Ron Olson illustrates this perfectly. He is in a new town cut off from his old friends and his dad. Ron wants nothing to do with Deer Falls. As the story progresses, he learns in a real way that he can't live isolated.

He is forced to find allies when a terrifying ancient witch begins wreaking havoc. It also forces Ron to repair his relationship with his mother to ensure her survival. The overall message, in a way, is that life's battles are not meant to be fought alone and cannot be won alone.

What are your favorite books/authors?
Growing up, my favorite authors were Jack London, C.S. Lewis, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe. I love the way they could build a world and make each character feel so real and alive — even in the most extreme or fantastic circumstances.

As an adult, I have also enjoyed fiction from authors like Michael Crichton, Stephen King, John Grisham, and Phillip K. Dick. My all-time favorite books are The Chronicles of Narnia. I've read every book in that series cover to cover multiple times.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
I have always loved Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's the perfect adventure movie with so many fun, iconic moments and memorable characters.

The original Star Wars trilogy ranks among my all-time favorites as well. My brother and I watched Star Wars so much as kids, we had memorized the dialogue from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi word-for-word at one point.

The Simpsons is my no. 1 favorite TV show. Anyone who is around me long enough will hear me start dropping random quotes from episodes of The Simpsons into conversations. Sometimes, on Twitter, I'll tweet out a quote of the day when I'm catching a first-run episode or a rerun.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

When you're not writing where can we find you?
If I'm not in front of my laptop, I'm most likely on a mountain conquering a new hiking trail or off finding something fun or interesting to capture in a photograph.

I grew up in a rural part of Utah, so I love the outdoors. I feel at peace when I can get away from the noise and lights of the city.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
My main author website can be found at I have a blog up there where I share my experiences, offer useful writing tips, and spotlight books I've enjoyed from other indie authors.

Readers can also connect with me in the following places:

Where can we find your books?
Pandora Reborn is available to purchase as an ebook or a paperback at most major online booksellers around the world.

Amazon -

Barnes and Noble -

Kobo -

Google Books -

Apple Books -

Wal-Mart -

BAM! (Books-a-Million) -

Indiebound -

Thank you, John, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Story Starter! Where Is This?

Photo courtesy of: Comfreak; courtesy of Pixabay

1. A Secret Place In The Queen Of Hearts Garden
2. A Valentine Theme Park
3. Cupid's Lawn
4. The Land Of Love
5. Rosy Red's Heart Tree Farm
6. A Red World
7. Heart Heaven
8. Heart Surgeon's Oasis
9. Crimson Hills in the Heartland
10. Hugs and Kisses Nursery School

What are your ideas?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

Calling All Authors and Bloggers!

Are you an author/blogger looking for a way to find more readers? If you answered yes, you've come to the right place.

Click the link to get started!

Spring Author/Blogger Sign-Up.

7 Facts You Never Knew About Pirates

Photo courtesy of: dimitrisvetsikas; courtesy of: Pixabay

Click here to discover things about pirates you never knew. Coffee House Writers

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Story Starter! Where Is This?

Photo courtesy of: Casey Horner; courtesy of: Unsplash

My List Of Answers:

1. Enchanted Forest
2. Aslan's Backyard
3. My Backyard
4. Elvenville National State Park
5. My Dream
6. Heaven
7. The Edge of Another Realm
8. Hidden Beyond A Castle Garden
9. A Magical Campground
10. A Magic Jelly Bean Plantation

Friday, February 8, 2019

Interview With Illustrator Sachin Modgekar

Photo courtesy of: Sachin Modgekar

Sachin Madgekar is a son carrying on the family tradition of drawing. Inspired and taught by his father, Sachin has sketched out his own career in the world of children‘s books as an accomplished illustrator. 

A multi-award winner, Sachin's pictures have been featured in over 50 children's books and satire cartoon catalogues all over the world.

Sachin lives in Vasai with his wife and two children.

Now that I've introduced you to Sachin let's get to know him a littler better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Sachin, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be an illustrator?
My father blessed me with this skill. He is a drawing teacher and has a book published Figure Drawing Made Easy And Memory Drawing. He is 80 and still working on a new book. He is my power generator.

Is illustrating your full-time profession?
Yes. I am working in an ad agency and also doing publishing work.

Photo courtesy of: Sachin Modgekar

How long have you been illustrating?
Since 1997 I have worked on various children's books on local, national and international levels.

Photo courtesy of: Sachin Modgekar

Have you won any awards?
I won the Silver Prize Certificate in China for The Thematic Cartoon Contest held for the Beijing Olympics.

I also won second prize for a National Level Cartoon Contest.

Besides that I take part in various satire cartoon contests all over the world where my art gets published in exhibitions and catalogues.

What types of media do you use to illustrate?
Pencil, brush & ink, watercolor, oil pastels, digital work with Wacom bamboo. I use all these mediums according to a client's requirements.

How many books have you illustrated?
I have illustrated over 50 books.

Which genres do you illustrate?
Any. One should mold according to subjects. I am flexible for work on any illustrative project.

What do you find most challenging about illustrating?
Choosing color schemes according to subjects is the most difficult task to achieve.

What are you working on now?
I am working on two different projects for children books.

Photo courtesy of: Free-Photos; courtesy of: Pixabay

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
Anywhere. Illustrators should keep looking for different styles and characters from any available sources. People around us, children, animals, things, and nature are your teacher when you see through an “illustrator's point of view”.

Photo courtesy of: Sachin Midgekar

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
When an illustrator has freedom to explore his own views in drawing, that's a rewarding part but still yet to come. So far I worked with children's award-winning author Mary Ann Vitale which is memorable.

What advice would you give to illustrators just starting out?
They should look at the world with a beautiful illustrative angle and should be ready to tackle new ideas, styles, techniques also at a workplace they should be ready to make good harmony with an author's ideas.

Is there anything else you'd like your followers to know about you?
I am a family man. Living in a joint family with father, wife, two children, my brother and his family in a small town in Vasai near Mumbai. I also do color Sand Art and Caricatures.

What message are you sharing in your books?
“Global brotherhood” is a word I read from a book on the 12th century saint “Saint Dnyaneshwar”. Today we are the luckiest generation because we are practically living this ideal with the internet.

So let's make this world a beautiful place to live with the help of the powers we have with us.

Who are your favorite illustrators?
R. K. Laxman, Mario Miranda, Dough Sneed, Dedini, Siddhant Jumde, Mukesh Singh, Saumein Patel, and Uderzo

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
Black Cat White Cat, Children of Heaven, Yesterday, Hotel Rawanda, Chocolate Factory, The Grinch, Horton Hears a Who, are my favorite movies and Pingu, Small Wonders, are my favorite TV shows.

When you're not illustrating where can we find you?
Chilling out with family.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Where can we find your books/artwork?

Thank you, Sachin, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

 Photo courtesy of: 1681551; courtesy of: Pixabay