A Billion Giveaway

1 12 2015

logo billion ebookFor “Giving Tuesday,” ustyme has embarked on a huge literacy outreach campaign called the Billion eBook Gift! Through the Billion eBook Gift, they will be kicking-off the largest gift of books in history! Over a billion classic ebooks will be given free to families across the nation.

This campaign supports Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and other literacy programs to ensure that children have access to a choice of books caring adults can read and share with them. To see more info on this campaign, check out their site at billionebookgift.org or read about it in the New York Times, Business Wire, PR-WEB, and CBS News (SF Bay Area).

I’m excited that a book I illustrated, Teeny Tiny Woman, will be part of this giveaway. Teeny Tiny Woman cover web

See some of the other 50 books here:

billion ebook gift

Peace on Earth

3 12 2013

CANDLELet your light shine, bringing peace to the world. Click on individual links:




  South Africa




Puerto Rico

Hands Around the World

10 05 2013

Gimbi, Ethiopia
Photo by Janeen Talbott

I’m so excited about several recent projects. As many of you know, I spent my early years in Africa, so I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to work on two Africa-related projects.


Gimbi, Ethiopia
Photo by Janeen Talbott

The first one is an English reading book for students in Ethiopia. I finished final edits today and received jpgs of two watercolor illustrations.

The artist is an instructor at Addis Ababa University. Wish I could share the art, but I don’t want to run into any copyright issues, so instead I’m sharing photos of the setting, courtesy of Peace Corps volunteer, Neen Talbott, who helped me throughout the project.

I couldn’t have done this project without her. She sent pictures, answered questions, confirmed details, read first and final drafts, and shared the final work with others in her town of Gimbi** to be sure they liked it.


Gimbi, Ethiopia
Photo by Janeen Talbott

It was great working with Neen, but the best part was discovering that she’s also a wonderful writer and a kindred spirit.

Neen was also kind enough to agree to an interview, which I’m posting here. So here’s a brief introduction to the amazing Janeen Talbott.

Where are you from?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in south Florida (West Palm Beach).

How did you get interested in the Peace Corps?
I got interested in the Peace Corps when I did a story about its anniversary for my college newspaper. After talking to people who were in the process of applying, or had already served, I decided to take the plunge.
What projects are you working on now?
I just finished a Global Youth Service Day(s) project. Students rallied around to pick up trash on the school grounds, we hung a tree swing and will be decorating old oil barrels in order to use them as garbage cans.


Gimbi, Ethiopia
Photo by Janeen Talbott

I also have a teacher’s English club, tutor aspiring nuns (ages 17-21), help a deaf boy in the town make greeting cards, and run an English teacher’s mentorship program.


Gimbi, Ethiopia
Photo by Janeen Talbott

What do you do for fun during your time off?
Honestly, I sleep and talk to family when I have time off. If I’m not too tired, I read and draw.

How has being in Ethiopia changed your worldview?
Ethiopia has changed my worldview by helping me to understand how fortunate I am. It has also taught me that being fortunate comes with a responsibility. It is my duty to share what I have whether it be knowledge, skills or a kind word.


Gimbi, Ethiopia
Photo by Janeen Talbott

What do you hope to do in the future?
I hope to go to graduate school and one day have my own non-profit organization.

Please tell us a bit about your writing.
My writing is straight from the heart. I do it, mostly for my family and for my sanity. Lately, I haven’t written because I’ve been so busy, but I hope to return to my blog and continue sharing with those who wish to indulge.

If you’d like to learn more about Neen and her experiences, you can see some of her lovely writing at her blog.


Gimbi, Ethiopia
Photo by Janeen Talbott

And stay tuned for more about my next Africa-related project. It’s definitely awe-inspiring.

**Interesting fact about Gimbi for all you Harry Potter fans: As you know, there’s a quidditch team called the Gimbi Giant-Slayers. But the people in Gimbi don’t read Harry Potter or realize their town is mentioned in 450+ million books around the world.

Awesome Book Launch Party

23 05 2012

mini-champagne bottleWow! I was totally impressed by the book launch party last night at the Fredricksen Library in Camp Hill, PA. Some great pics at Cate Masters‘s and Don Peschel‘s blogs. As Cate said, it was definitely “A Launch to Remember.”

Great readings, champagne toast (note the mini-champagne bottles–with the book title–they had for the authors), and a booksigning. This was the first time I’ve done a booksigning where it was non-stop signing during the whole event. Absolutely amazing!

Mega-thanks to the library staff for arranging the event and to Ann Elia Stewart, the editor, who has her own novel, Twice a Child, coming out soon.

All proceeds from  benefit the library.

Angel in the Mist

26 01 2012
Angel in the Mist

Photo Credit: Zsolt Zatrok

Just got word that my short story “Angel in the Mist” will be published in the charity anthology A Community of Writers (Sunbury Press, 2012). Even cooler: All my CPs will also have stories in the book. Joint booksignings, here we come.

Royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to the Fredricksen Library in Camp Hill, PA.


What if you sacrificed your life so others could live? A different kind of ghost story.

There I Go Again, Being Rude…

18 12 2011


As we’re hustling and bustling to get the last of the holiday shopping done, it’s so easy to get annoyed with slowpokes who block our speed-walking through  a store on our lunch hours or with rude people who push ahead of us in line. But recently I heard a suggestion that totally revolutionized how I feel when that happens.

Whatever label you’ve just given that person who’s upsetting you–irritating, pushy, nasty, inconsiderate–put it into this sentence: There I go again, being…

There I go again, being pushy.

There I go again, being rude.

Wait a minute, you might say. I wasn’t the one who was doing that. Ah, but if you believe, like I do, that we’re all interconnected and that what you see is a reflection of what’s in your heart, then it’s easy to see that you made the choice to see rudeness or unkindness. And I find when I say that, it reminds me that I’ve done the same thing at times.

Perhaps that’s what’s meant by: There, but for the grace of God, go I…

Although some people use that to make themselves feel superior, if you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize you’re saying that any differences between you and the other person are because of grace. You are the same, but someone is looking at your actions through forgiving eyes. Now it’s your turn to do the same.

But the wonderful thing about this sentence is that you can use it when you see acts of kindness, generosity, and love.

There I go again, being generous and thoughtful.

There I go again, being helpful and considerate.

So while you’re shopping, which “you” will you see. I hope you have the special joy and privilege of seeing “you” through the eyes of a child, with all the magic and wonder that entails.

Saving the Indies!

25 06 2011

Today’s the day!! Head to your local bookstore and buy a book. Agent Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary has created a buzz for the event on Facebook.

Go and add your name to the attending list, and hie thee to an Indie store this morning, June 25.  Details are below.

Saturday, June 25 · 10:00am – 1:00pm

Your local brick and mortar bookstore!

Created By

More Info
Who: You
What: Buy a book (or 4)
Where: Your local bookstore (or Powell’s ships)
When: June 25th (the first Saturday of Summer!)
Why: Because we need to support our storefronts. No more obituary section in publishing news, please!

Helping Japan

31 03 2011

I support Kidlit4Japan Authors are some of the most generous people I know. So many fellow authors have helped me along the road to publication by offering advice, critiques, and contacts. If it weren’t for their assistance, I wouldn’t be where I am today–able to make my living by writing. I only hope that I can do the same for others.

But authors aren’t only generous with their time and advice, they’re willing to give monetarily as well. Many children’s authors, illustrators, and publishers have banded together to help Japan. They’ve donated goods and services that are being auctioned at Children’s Authors and Illustrators for Japan. Everything from books to prints to editorial services are available.

Even if you’re an adult author, you can take advantage of some great critiques by well-known agents and editors going up for bidding over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out as postings are added daily.

If you’re a YA author, Leap Books editor Kat O’Shea is offering three critiques. If you’ve been dying to submit to Leap Books, here’s your chance. Normally they take only agented submissions, but the authors that Kat critiques can submit manuscripts to Leap Books. Watch for Auction #67 posted today.

Want a critique by agent Ammi-Joan Paquette? Or from Liz Waniewski from Dial? Watch for those coming up later this week.

And while you’re there, be sure to look at all the other great items. Nab one of these terrific badges to show your support. Better yet, pop over to the website now and start bidding.Link

Check out some other auctions:

Authors for Japan
Genre for Japan
Write Hope
Writers for the Red Cross