Birthdays and a Big Book Giveaway!

September is a busy month for my family; we party a lot. There are at least nine birthdays including Tugger’s (that I can think of right now). Although my birthday is in September, we celebrated it in August at a “surprise” party that wasn’t quite a surprise. In typical fashion of my family, there was much confusion surrounding it, including how it was canceled and then put back on; miscommunication about who was supposed to invite/re-invite guests, which meant some people were not invited/re-invited; and a forecast of rain that made my mom want to reschedule for the following day, but my uncle wouldn’t let her because he didn’t have room to store all of the food that he made. (I probably should mention that we could have fed a small nation that day.)

My aunt Barb was a big part of the celebration. A natural party planner and crafter with a big heart, she decided that the theme would be “Kim’s Oh Brother! I’m Turning 40 Carnival”. Aunt Barb made the decorations, an ice cream stand, and modified a life-size Elvis Presley cardboard cutout to become Jon Bon Jovi. (Aren’t you a little bit curious as to who had that Elvis cutout?! Surprisingly, it wasn’t Aunt Barb!)

Maybe the real Jon can make it to our next party.

I hope that the real Jon can make it to our next party.

Aunt Barb also created all the party games, which came with prizes for winners.

What's a party without a homemade Plinko board?

What’s a party without a homemade Plinko board?

I didn't win any prizes at this game.

You had to get something into the mouth of this babe to win.

Rounding out the Bon Jovi-themed games were a Living on a Candy Wheel and Bad Medicine Knock Down. There were eight games in all, decorations related to Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale and Bon Jovi, and a video that she and my cousin made.

When my birthday actually rolled around, Aunt Barb blew up my phone with texts upon texts upon texts. There were so many texts that I decided to count them and have some fun with it. So, here’s where you come in…

To win signed books for a school (there will be up to 30 books for one classroom, so I can personalize them with the students’ names), a hospital, or another organization and one for yourself (if you want one), all you need to do is guess the number of texts that Aunt Barb sent me. Texts are limited to pictures, videos, and poems that she sent.  The person who guesses the closest without going over will win the contest (just like if you were in the Showcase Showdown of The Price is Right). All you have to do is enter your answer by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 2 in the comments section of this post. (Also, please feel free to comment on this post in general.) The winner will be notified on October 3 in the comments section of this blog.

If you don’t know of a place to donate books, I can add the books to a shipment to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and let my contact there know you selected St. Jude to receive more books.

In addition to copies of Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale, I will throw in one signed copy of Aunt Barb’s book, Llamas Need Pajamas. If you’re interested in checking that out, it’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Aunt Barb's book is adorable!

Don’t you want Aunt Barb’s book in your home?

So, let’s have some fun with this. I look forward to reading your comments and guesses. Good luck!

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Meet My Characters Blog Tour

I was asked to join the Meet My Characters Blog Tour by author, friend, and fellow Bon Jovi and Psych addict Kirstin Pulioff. Kirstin is a storyteller at heart. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management. Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in the foothills of Colorado and enjoys being a stay-at-home mom. When she’s not writing an adventure, she is busy living one. Her works include the middle school series that consist of The Escape of Princess Madeline, The Battle for Princess Madeline, and Princess Madeline and the Dragon; the young adult book, Dreamscape: Saving Alex, which is set for a December release; and the short stories, The Ivory Tower and Boone’s Journey.

Her post can be found on her website, www.kirstinpulioff.com. Also, feel free to connect with Kirstin on twitter and her author Facebook page.

Now to meet my characters…

What are the names of your characters? Are they fictional or historic people?
The main characters in the Nico and Tugger Tale children’s book series are my two dogs, Nico and Tugger. Once we brought home a second dog, it was clear to us that our pets act like children (or at least how my sister and I used to act with each other!), and I wanted to capture that in a children’s book. I would like to note that Nico is a bit more grumpy in the books than he really is at home, and Tugger is a bit more of a nudge at home than he is in the books.

They really love each other...

Tugger knows that he can always lean on Nico.

When and where are the stories set?
Both books in the series are set in the dogs’ home.

What should we know about them?
Despite having fur and walking on four legs, my boys display behaviors that are typical of children—fighting over toys, who gets to greet visitors first, who gets to sit by Mom, etc. Nico was an “only dog” before his brother Tugger came home. Like many siblings, Tugger does some things that annoy his older brother. Each book allows both dogs to explain their sides of the same story and why they do what they do.

What messes up their lives?
In Oh Brother: A Nico and Tugger Tale, Nico was used to not having to share his toys and his parents’ affection. He had to learn what it was like to have a new brother. On the other hand, Tugger had to learn what bothered the brother he always wanted.

In Grumble and Tumble: A Nico and Tugger Tale, Nico doesn’t like to be awakened from a sound sleep to play with the brother that he finds annoying. Tugger doesn’t understand why his brother doesn’t want to play. Of course, both books end with showing their affection for each other.

What is the personal goal of the characters?
Their goal is to learn how to behave and get along as family.

Is there a working title for this book, and can we read more about it?
The first version Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale can be found online at websites including Amazon’s and Barnes and Noble’s. The new version, picked up by a traditional publishing company, will be out soon (hopefully!). Grumble and Tumble: A Nico and Tugger Tale also is in production.

When can we expect the books to be published?
I am waiting to finalize the illustrations for the new version of Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale. It’s my hope that the book is ready to market within the next six weeks or so. Grumble and Tumble: A Nico and Tugger Tale has not entered the illustration phase yet, so release for that will be sometime in 2015.

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The dogs’ picture will be on the back of the new books.

As for the third book (which has yet to be written), I would like that to be out by the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. I guess I should get working on that…

Meet Some More Authors and Their Characters
Next up on the blog tour will be K. Lamb, Barbara Ann Mojica, and William Stuart.

K. Lamb is the author of the Dani P. Mystery series for children 7-11 years of age. Ms. Lamb has published two books in the series, both of which have earned the Reader’s Favorite 5-star rating. Her first book, Dani and the Haunted House, has become an Amazon Best Seller in Children’s Detectives. She recently released her second book, Dani and the Mall Caper.

Ms. Lamb is dedicated to promoting children’s literacy and is working on additional books for the series. In her spare time, she enjoys penning young adult literature as well. If you would like to learn more about K. Lamb, please visit her at the Dani P. Mystery website, Dani’s Official Facebook page, on Twitter, and of course, you can hop over to her blog, The Musings of K. Lamb.

Award-winning author Barbara Ann Mojica is an historian and retired educator living in New York. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in History. Barbara spent more than 40 years teaching in NYC and holds New York State teacher certifications in Elementary, Special Education, and Administration. She also spent several years as a Special Education Administrator and principal of a special education preschool for developmentally delayed children. Barbara, although retired from teaching, is staying busy: along with her series of Little Miss History travel books she writes historical pieces for The Columbia Insider, Pat Fisher and Ed Pollack Editors, under the banner “Passages”. Marrying her love of history and teaching, Barbara hopes her Little Miss History character will inspire children to learn about historical people, and visit landmarks such as the one covered in the first three books in the series, Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty, and Sequoia National Park, all of which have been reviewed on the blog section here on my website. Little Miss HISTORY’S next stop lands her at Ford’S Theater, scheduled to be released around the end of the year.

To connect with Barbara, please visit her Little Miss HISTORY website, her blog, and on Twitter.

Last but not least is William L. Stuart, author of the YA series The Gemstone Chronicles. Bill is a ten-year veteran of the US Navy’s submarine force who now works in the animal health world. He is the father to a wonderful daughter, grandfather to two extraordinary grandchildren, and husband of the most wonderful wife in the world. Bill’s wife inspired him with her blog (www.lanascooking.com) to take a chance on publishing books that were inspired by his grandchildren. In his spare time, he hunts for gemstones and prospects for gold in the north Georgia mountains, plays softball, plays golf badly (those are his words!), and reads a lot.

Connect with Bill at his website and on Twitter.

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