Author Interview-Carol P. Roman

Hello Everyone! Welcome to another edition of Author Interview Fridays! Today we’ll be speaking with children’s book author Carol P. Roman. Welcome Carol. Let’s get right in to it and start with the questions:

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1)      Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author. 

My son’s dared me to write a book. I had always wanted to, but was afraid. They told me to write about what I knew, so I chose to use playtime with my oldest grandson as the subject, and Captain No Beard was born. I love to play imaginary games with my grandchildren, so putting our adventures to paper was an easy task.

Children’s imaginations are AMAZING. I love seeing what my daughter comes up with. She and my nephews have been the source of  more than one story 🙂 Besides, who can walk away from a dare?
2)      What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I write in both fiction and non-fiction. Captain No Beard is an exciting adventure series involving a group of cousins who travel the seven seas in search of adventure. Each book has a gentle lesson and is based on events in my own life. If You Were Me and Lived in…is a non-fiction series that introduces culture to young children. I am a former social studies teacher and love to examine what makes the people of our world similar, so this series was a natural for me.
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As a former writing and science teacher,  I always love to read books like this and to see how people react to them! Isn’t it so much fun to follow your passion?
4)      Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.
Captain No Beard’s crew are based on my four grandchildren, so they are by far, my favorite characters, ever. The stuffed animals are based on different family members. It fun to see if they can guess who is who, and sometimes a relief when they can’t figure it out!  My all time favorite fiction character is Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. I adore reading her story over and over again, watching circumstances change her.
I always find pieces of myself or my friends/family in characters I write, to some extent. I am often happy when they don’t find themselves! Can I admit something here, just between the two of us? I’ve never read Gone with The Wind. I know the circumstances and I’ve seen bits of the movie, but that is one classic I’ve never even tried to pick up. 
  5) There is a lot of controversy among fandoms about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
I would love to see my books reach more people. I think they have a very important message. Captain No Beard teaches children they are never alone. The series touches on bullying, sharing, working well with other, stranger danger. If those messages are sent to a bigger audience, that would be great. The cultural series teaches tolerance through knowledge. I would hope Hollywood wouldn’t mess with those ideals.
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  6) How do you handle writer’s block?
Never had it. I always find subjects to write about. It’s fun, not pressured. My day job has pressure enough, so this is a labor of love.
That’s amazing. Even if I don’t have any pressure, I still sometimes find myself with writer’s block. I think it stems from the insanity of day to day life. 
7) What inspires you?
Success inspires me to do more. The reaction of my fans, the awards and reviews make me feel appreciated. This has given the second part of my life so much meaning.
8) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
It is one of my jobs and I usually add it in last. I guess I am not that comfortable with it yet. It is just one of the things I do- I am a wife, mother, grandmother, businessperson, teacher, and an author.
 Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!) 
Thank you Carol! 
Remember, if you or someone you know is an author, an illustrator, an artist, or a musician and would like to be interviewed for this blog please leave a comment down below or message me on Twitter @writerbaby13 or Facebook facebook.com/TyreeTomes
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Pre-Orders are OPEN!

Ladies and Gentlemen…the time has come! Little Monster is currently available for pre-order and goes LIVE on October the 5th.

Now, I know that I told you pre-orders would be available on September 20th, and I’m sorry for the delay, but there was a family emergency that involved going to my other hometown, which I haven’t visited in several years for many not-good-anymore reasons, and being without internet for 5 days. HOWEVER, he is here now!

I hope that you enjoy this simple story with gorgeous artwork. This was truly a labor of love.

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Screen Free???

I’ve been noticing lately how much time my child spends either asking to watch a movie/Netflix, or actually watching a movie/Netflix. You want to know what I found out? Here’s a hint…it’s more than I would said if you had asked a few weeks ago.

How much more?? A LOT! (Today a drawer got stuck and she asked if it had run out of batteries. :/ )

I’ve been working on writing, crafting, sewing, and so forth…and time slips away from me. Which is not excuse, I agree. When I tell her she can watch ONE EPISODE I need to pay attention and turn it off as soon as the credits roll. Sometimes, even when I’ve been sitting with her for the entire show, I don’t even realize that the episode has tolled over into the next. My focus isn’t just split, it’s almost completely gone.

The bottom line is, I need to do a better job. I watch where she’s at and make sure she isn’t playing near or with anything that could injure her. Now I need to make sure she isn’t just on the television all the time. In order to do that, I need to set a better example.

I’m rarely watching shows at the moment. Usually when I watch a show, I’m crafting or writing at the same time. It’s background for me, and often includes an element that I’m writing about. But she’s just almost 3 and, while whip-smart and gorgeous (she takes after he mother!), she isn’t mature enough (at all) to understand that Mommy’s job is to be on technology, but hers it to play.

How do I fix that? Well, Mommy’s job is to write and to craft and to PLAY WITH HER MONKEY! All things I can do without the computer or the television.

I thought there might be another parent or two (or auntie, uncle, grandparent, etc) out there that could be struggling with this same issue. No matter the child’s age, you can find non-tech things to do with them. In that spirit, here is a list of things to do with your children that does not involve staring at technology.

Quick Note: Please don’t be afraid! I promise that public places, sunlight, fresh air, real honest to goodness hold in your hands physical toys and books, glue, glitter, paper, etc are all fairly safe for your family. In fact, before the past 20 or so years happened, they were ALL THE RAGE for hundreds of years!

Screen Free Activities:

1) Pull out that old CD player (or if you’re lucky enough, tape/8-track/vinyl record player), blow the dust off the old cases, and have a ‘retro’ dance party! Kids from 0-Adult will pretend to be disgusted and embarrassed, and then will begin to emulate your moves.

2) Play dress up! Get out your old clothes, silly party favor wiggly headbands, etc. and dress up. OR Pick out outfits for each other and then have a fashion show.

3) Take the kid(s) thrift shopping, downtown to the cute local stores shopping, or to some other area of shops you have either always wanted to check out or have enjoyed without the little whirlwinds. Make sure its not a china shop, and go for it! Thrift shops are a great source for dress up items and cool painting projects! Combine #1-3 for an EPIC DAY that will have everyone forgetting their lack of screens.

4) Find nearby museums, petting zoos, kid zones, etc. There are more than you think and they often go unnoticed in our day to day existences. Search them out, drag the kids, and watch the fun happen. They won’t even realize they learned something in the process.

5) Art projects: This can be as simple as grabbing a few large sheets of paper, several colors of whatever drawing utensil you prefer (i.e. crayon, colored pencil, marker, finger paints), and the kids. Lay out on the floor, and CREATE! Add glitter, cut and paste objects, etc to create something unique and special. Then either frame them or just tape them up in a display area. Make a habit of it, change the artwork out, and save what you take down to either make a memory book from, or have screen printed on material for quilts etc. Or just, you know, use material to begin with.

6) Purchase plain material, fabric markers or paints, and embellishments. Have everyone take a piece or a section of the material, and let them decorate! The material can then be made into whatever you want it to be.

7) Story Time: Make up stories, write stories, read your books. Take a huge bag of books, some water bottles, a few apples (or snacks), and a big blanket. Sit outside and read together. Read to each other, read to the wind, read to yourselves, but read together.

8) Make a blanket fort. read in there. Play board games in the fort. Sleep in the fort.

9) WATER BALLOON FIGHT!!!!!!! (’nuff said)

10) I don’t care how old the kids are…go play at the park. Seriously, Go. Now. Play. SLIDE

11) Go to the Lake. Build a fire. Eat S’mores. Crack Jokes. Sing Songs. LIVE

12) Learn how to turn a cartwheel. Think you still know how? Try. Now raise your hand if your kid needs to re-teach you when they can stop laughing and breath again.

13) Cook together. I know, I know. I can hear the toddler moms and the parents of teenage boys all lamenting about messes and knives. Here’s the deal…if I pick up after her, my Monkey forgets that she needs to pick up after herself pretty quickly. But the days I make her help me clean, she loves playing the cleaning games and she remembers how to put things away for a while afterwards. And the mixing, measuring, spooning, baking parts of how the mess got made? “Forget about it!” She created a baking song that she now sings when in her play kitchen. It goes something like “Mix, mix, mix, mix, OH I’M SO HAPPY! MOMMY AND ME MIX MIX BECAUSE I’M SO HAPPY! Mix, mix, mix, mix, mix, mix” (she also begged until someone got her one of those little miniature wire whisks. She has to be able to mix in her mini-bowls you know!) Go, cook with them, teach them, learn from them. Make your own pizza and put down that take-out menu!

There are hundreds of ideas out there for things to do without using screens. I’m not saying you can’t ever watch anything again. Please, I’m on the computer, looking at the screen while I type this! Just watch what you’re doing, see how many hours you are ok’ing for your family. Make sure they (and you) know what the most important things are in life. Because I promise you, the screen can be replaced if it breaks. It’s probably going to be a lot more difficult to replace the bridges we burned while everyone concentrated on the smart phone, tablet, laptop, and television instead of on their family.

May your life be blessed and full of love. May your inspiration never run dry, and your bridges stay firm.

I look forward to hearing from you all!

Leonard the Lemur

A few years ago I wrote an early elementary book about a little lemur. The lemur’s name was Leonard and he LOVED lighthouses. Now Leonard was raised by a sweet lady who read to him and taught him about all sorts of things, and when he was old enough to move to the zoo she still came to visit him often. I have always loved this book and intended to edit, illustrate, and include lemur and lighthouse facts. However, by the time I finished Stone Dragon 1 and 2 and thought to take a break for Leonard, the old computer had lost most of his story again.

I felt dejected and upset at myself, so I went back to my dragons and tried to remember what I had lost with the lemur. Fast forward 2 years. I am sitting at my desk observing while a classroom full of 22 students takes state tests. Suddenly, a little lemur begins to dance across my mind again. Not to give me the story I had already written, but to show me how it began. So I wrote a new book. A picture book prequel. Leonard the Lemur Who Loves Lighthouses. 

A few days later came the realization that I would have had to re-write the 1st (now 2nd) book anyway, even if it hadn’t been lost, because it is actually TWO books! So Now my illustrator (Mom) is really going to have a load of work to so this summer because there are 3 early literacy (hopefully leveled) readers to get done. Leonard the Lemur Who Loves Lighthouses, Leonard the Lemur Takes a Trip, and Leonard the Lemur Finds His Home.

Each one will come complete with a small section of facts about lemurs, lighthouses, and other animals/areas he encounters during his adventures.

I am SO EXCITED to get this project back up and running again.

I always look forward to hearing what you think. Leave a note and let me know!

May your inspiration lift you up from the mundane and let you dance in the clouds today!

The Trouble with Writing

I am an author and I am a teacher of the future of writing…and the trouble with all of that is this: some days writing feels like no trouble at all.

That shouldn’t be a problem, right? On days like that I should be skipping happily (in slow motion of course) across meadows of perky flowers with their little faces turned to the sun as they wave merrily in a light breeze. And sometimes I do allow myself that little daydream moment where I realize that I have spent ten minutes on the computer and somehow managed to crank out a week’s worth of word count and I do a happy dance around the house.

Then I start to worry. First of all, when is it all going to start crashing down? Because nothing in a writer’s life will stay lined up long enough for us to get that feeling all day every day (and I don’t think it should). But mostly I worry about my students getting that feeling. If they begin to feel that writing comes easily all of the time then how will they feel when it doesn’t?

I teach a grade in which my students will be taking a state mandated writing test at the end of February. STATE MANDATED WRITING TEST. why yes, I am freaking out, thank you for asking. So what happens when they open the test booklet, look at the response questions, and totally blank from the stress? I have 80 students. How many of them will be freaking out at that point? I know I would be! In fact, I know I WILL be!

Maybe the real problem with writing isn’t that somedays are more difficult than others. Perhaps the problem is that we spend so much time worrying about the eventual writer’s block or poorly written draft that we set ourselves and psych ourselves out, thus creating the blockage we worried about.

*SIGH*

Since today is the first official day of my Christmas break, maybe I should focus on my own writing for a few days and try to rejuvenate myself for the intensity of writing that will follow. I’m sure everyday will bring us a new trouble with writing!

Parenting New Year’s Resolution

Ok, so I’m a few weeks early. But Courtney DeFeo’s new book In This House We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love, and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life has me anxious to get started.

DeFeo has offered up a book on parenting that is not only applicable AND virtuous (which are occasionally difficult traits to find now a-days) but is also GODLY. She has come up with advice, anecdotes, memory verses, and activities for each of 12 virtues, and then outlined a month’s worth of focus for each.

Since my daughter is only two, some of the activities may have to be put on the back burner for a bit but I am very excited to see how this wonderful book can help me teach her to be a Godly and virtuous girl. The advice and anecdotes are already helping me to see that I’m not only mom in the world who does the hurry up offense every day (among other things).

If you are a parent/grandparent or even aunt/uncle I would highly suggest giving this a few moments of your time. Throughout the entirety of the book the one thing that has struck the biggest chord with me is that she cares about her readers and their families. This is not a self help book designed to make the author a little richer, but a family life book designed to make the reader’s life a lot richer.

There were a few areas that came off a little bleeding heart preachy to me, though that could just be coming from a woman who teaches hyper fifth graders all day! But overall I truly enjoyed the read and am excited to implement some of the ideas provided.

I give Courtney DeFeo’s In This House We Will Giggle 4.5 out of 5 dragons!

*I was provided with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

Toddler Quotes

There are many lovely things that happen with the “terrible” two era. One of those things, at least in my house, happens to be a plethora of quotables to keep my daughter embarrassed well through her teens and beyond.

Here, for your reading pleasure, are the contenders for this week’s top spot:

1) on the occasion of explaining a red mark on her neck
Monkey – “Jesse hit me”
Me (Mom) – “why?”
Monkey – “I don’t know. Jesse hit me.”
Gaga (grandma) – “what did you do to Jesse?”
Monkey (exaggerated and very Southern) – OH NO! MY PONY FALLED DOWN!”

2) when choosing a cd in the car
I hold up Jimmy Buffett and Taylor Swift. She almost always wants Taylor Swift. Not this time! The reason? Jimmy Buffett’s case is yellow with red writing which, according to Monkey, makes it Curious George and The Man’s favorite cd. Or in her words “Jooge and the Hat’s music”

And

3) Gaga – “which button is the mute?”
Monkey – “the one that says MUTANT!”

Bonus – uh oh wait Mommy the monsters are coming…THE MONSTERS! (FYI-she’s talkin Monsters Inc. and we have to let them catch up most of the time. Though she randomly decides to play scared…I guess of Randal)

Do you have a favorite toddler saying? Want to vote on one of these? Just wanted to stop by and say hello? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Sheep

This morning my daughter looked very seriously at the wall in our restroom and told me that there were sheep eating RIGHT THERE MOM! I suppose it is true that inspiration can come from anywhere…Enjoy!

There were sheep on the wall in the bathroom,

grazing on grass we could not see.

Sheep on the wall in my bathroom,

not one, not two, but THREE!

Sheep on the wall in the bathroom,

Wandering by the corner happily.

Sheep on the wall in my bathroom,

Where are they from? You can search me!

Catawampus – A Short Story

In just a few short minutes my life went from neat and orderly to a catawampus mess…all because of an actual cat.

Not just any old regular cat though. NO! This ferocious feline was a tiny, terrifying tyrant. Oh sure, she looked sweet and adorable at the shelter with her big greenish gold eyes looking so innocent and her soft fur so well coiffed. As soon as I came into view of her kennel the little actress started up, mewling and purring and looking deep into my soul….of course I took her home immediately!

At first she snuggled her soft, warm body into the crook of my arm and accompanied through a Netflix bender. I guess she got bored with the movie after I fell asleep though because I woke up to see her nibbling on my leftover burrito. Within seconds something changed though and suddenly there was a MONSTER destroying my pillows.

My once soft and sweet siamese must have been a secret Gremlin! Sharp nails and teeth tore at everything in sight. Fluff and saw dust covered what used to be my seating area, cords were quickly clipped, torn, and frayed, and my shelf of ceramic Care Bears was teetering dangerously in no time.

I tried to stop the madness, I really did, but as soon as I moved, she turned glowing eyes in my direction and hissed. There’s not way I’m getting my security deposit back now!

I guess that’s what I get for naming her Gizmo. Next time I think I’ll get a nice big dog instead!