Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thank you to Cheryl Malandrinos of Pump Up Your Book Promotion

My sincerest thank you to Cheryl Malandrinos
of Pump Up Your Book Promotion for coordinating
my first ever Virtual Book Tour for The Golden Pathway.

It was a wonderful experience and I also want to thank all the
people that took the time out of their busy schedules to visit
with me throughout the two month tour.
I appreciate your interest and time more than you know.
If you are ever interested in being hosted on my blog, contact me
and I'd be happy to arrange an interview with you for a feature profile.
Best wishes to you all!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Final Day of The Golden Pathway Virtual Book Tour

The Golden Pathway banner

Thank you to one and all for your never ending support before and during The Golden Pathway virtual book tour.

The two month tour has flown by and today is the last day and celebration.

I'm hosted with two UNIQUE interviews at:

The Story Ideas Virtuoso is thrilled to be part of The Golden Pathway's virtual book tour at

Donna McDine has come full circle with The Golden Pathway’s virtual book tour by VS Grenier at

If you are ever interested in being interviewed for my blog, please feel free to contact me privately at:  

Thank you!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Golden Pathway Virtual Book Tour Reaches the Homestretch

The Golden Pathway banner

It's hard to believe that The Golden Pathway virtual book tour coordinated by Pump Up Your Book Promotion reaches the homestretch. The adventure of introducing David and Jenkins to the literary world has been a wonderful opportunity to meet so many advid readers I may have never met otherwise. Even though this portion of the journey will end on October 29, I'm anxious to keep their story swirling through cyberspace and into classrooms, libraries, and bookstores. So don't forget to check back for updates on appearances both vritually and in person.
Thank you to one and all for your never ending support and please follow along on the last stops, for when one's journey ends, another adventure awaits.

Monday, October 25

Book spotlighted at Book Tours and More

Thursday, October 28

Book reviewed at Thoughts in Progress

Friday, October 29
Book reviewed at Book Reviews by Molly
Guest blogging at SFC Blog: Families Matter
Thank you for your time and interest!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Journey Continues for The Golden Pathway

The Golden Pathway banner

It has been quite the exhilirating journey for The Golden Pathway and David and Jenkins. Overcoming prejudice and obstacles has developed into an endearing friendship for both David and Jenkins even though they know it will end bittersweet, for once success is met they will never see each other again. Journey along with David and Jenkins and learn from these two determined characters what it means to truly care for another human being.

Monday, October 18

J. Aday Kennedy’s A Writing Playground

Tuesday, October 19

Interviewed and book reviewed
A.R. Silverberry’s blog

Wednesday, October 20
Book reviewed
J. Aday Kennedy’s: A Writing Playground

Thursday, October 21

Guest book review
Pump Up Your Book

Friday, October 22

Book reviewed
Beth’s Book Basket

Thank you for your ongoing interest and time. Your support means the world to me!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When Characters Demand for Their Stories to be Told - The Golden Pathway Virtual Book Tour Continues

The Golden Pathway banner

I have spoken often how characters many times take over a writers thoughts and demand for their story to be told. David and Jenkins of The Golden Pathway are those type of characters for me. I shelved their story for quite some time and tried to ignore their cries. They begged and pleaded in my mind, to the point I started dreaming of them. When it came to this, I could no longer ignore them and finally let their story be told and I couldn't be happier.

Come along for this historical fiction story of the Underground Railroad and the unlikely friendship that formed.
Monday, October 11
Book spotlighted at The Plot

Book reviewed at Carpe Libris 

Tuesday, October 12
Character interviewed at The Plot

Wednesday, October 13
Interviewed at Blogcritics

Thursday, October 14
Book reviewed at A Moment with Mystee

Friday, October 15
Book reviewed at Mayra’s Secret Bookcase

David and Jenkins (and myself) thank you for your interest and time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing Tips from Alexa and Monique Peters

Meet this interesting mother-daughter, author-illustrator team, Alexa and Monique Peters.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 4 of L.D. Harkrader's Virtual Book Tour by the National Writing for Children Center

Join me in welcoming L.D. Harkrader on Day 4 of her Virtual Book Tour by the NWFCC.

L.D. Harkrader loved books from the minute she first held one in her hand. She loved bedtime stories and convinced her amazingly accommodating parents to read the same books to her over and over until she had memorized the stories and could recite them out loud even before she knew how to read. Once she did learn to read, you couldn’t pry books from her hot little hands. In school, her favorite days were library day and the day her teacher passed out the Scholastic Book Club flyers. In the third grade, she realized that somebody had to write all those books she loved to read, and decided that someday one of those some bodies would be her. Now, nearly forty years later, she’s making that third-grade dream come true.

Writing Tips from Children’s Writer L.D. Harkader

In college, I took a course in magazine writing. The focus was nonfiction, rather that fiction, but the first day of class, the instructor gave us the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever heard. It has served me well no matter what kind of writing I’m working on. He said, “Write with verbs.”

He meant write with strong, active, concrete verbs, Anglo-Saxon verbs such as rattle and lumber and yearn, verbs that get to the point and paint a picture, rather than abstract Latinate verbs such as maximize and precipitate. When I read “the woman lumbered,” I see exactly what she’s doing and what she looks like doing it. When I read “the woman maximized,” I see. . . nothing. The last thing I want to give readers is nothing.

When I write, I focus on those strong verbs, as well as strong nouns. I’m suspicious of adjectives and (especially) adverbs. Sometimes you can’t help using an adjective. Sometimes readers need to know that the vampire’s eyes are red. But too often writers use adjectives and adverbs to try to prop up weak nouns and verbs. When I find them in my own writing, I stop and try to find a more vivid way to write the sentence. If I see:

The truck steered carefully over the uneven road.

I rewrite like this:

The truck bumped over the ruts.

By eliminating the adverb and adjective and using a stronger verb and noun (not that there’s anything wrong with steer or road; in this sentence, bump and rut are just more descriptive), I not only paint a more vivid picture, I shorten and simplify the sentence. The best writing is clear, simple, and concise. With a strong verb, you get all three.

Lisa, thank you for your tips on writing strong.

Be sure to leave Lisa a comment and/or question for she will be checking in throughout the day to interact with our visitors. By leaving a comment you are automatically entered at a chance to win the Giftbox Giveaway from the National Writing for Children Center.

Follow Lisa on her next virtual book tour stop on Oct 13 hosted by Suzanne Lieurance at

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mieke Blommestein Visits on 4th Day of Virtual Book Tour by the National Writing for Children Center

Mieke Blommestein is a contemporary spiritual teacher who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. She lives in a small mountain village in British Columbia with her husband. They have three grandchildren. The Tale of Miss Spider Who Spun Her Web is the first story channeled just for children by Mieke’s Spirit Guide, Emanuel. A wonderful teaching tool for parents, The tale of Miss Spider will inspire and help children listen to their own soft, loving and kind inner voices.

Mieke takes the time out to share with us her Top 7 Writing Tips. Who doesn't love tips? They are direct and easy to reference to as you journey along your writing path.

Welcome Mieke!

The first thing I would like to say is be patient with your self. Trust and believe in your self. Pick up your pen and piece of paper, silence the mind, and let the words flow in. Make sure you are in a room where it is quiet, stop the mind chatter, and listen to your soft, inner voice.
Do not block your self by your mind that might say: This is not going anywhere, I can not write anything!
 This will only block your creative flow. Again trust in your self, know that you can do anything you want to do in your life. You are the creator of your life; you are the creator of your stories. And the words for your story will appear in your mind, this is a place where everything starts to flow, only if you allow it to flow.

  1. Silence the mind.

  2. Situate your self in a quiet space, without phone or any other things that might disturb you.

  3. Pick up your pen and paper, and listen to your inner voice.

  4. You might say to your self, today I am going to write a story about.......................................... then be still and listen to the words coming in your mind. Then start writing, open your mind to all possibilities, and trust in your self.

  5. Trusting in your self is very important. This will give you the energy flow towards your creations. Trust alone will avoid writers block.

  6. Take one-step at the time. Do not look to far ahead, do not look at the outcome. For when you do, things might be come to overwhelming for you, and then you might stop writing.

  7. Ask for help from Family or Friends, teachers etc, support is very important.
Be sure to leave a comment and/or question for Mieke for she will be checking-in throughout the day to interact with our visitors.

Follow all 7 authors on their 6-day Virtual Book Tours and leave comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the National Writing for Children Center.

Visit with Mieke on Oct 12 with Suzanne Lieurance as her host at

Thank you for your interest and time.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 4 of Suzanne Marion's Virtual Book Tour with the National Writing for Children Center

Welcome to Suzanne Marion as she continues to travel through cyberspace on her Virtual Book Tour by the National Writing for Children Center.
Suzanne Davis Marion grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and graduated from the University of Arizona and from the University of Houston Moores School of Music.  She is a mezzo-soprano, pianist, composer, and teacher.  Several years ago she developed a small business creating personalized lullabies and play songs for children (  She and her husband Stuart live in Houston, Texas with their two large dogs, Laura and Diana.
Suzanne is here today to share writing for children advice.
Welcome Suzanne.
My best advice for those interested in writing for children is to read to children, tell stories to children, ask them to share stories with you, and in general find out what it is they enjoy and would like to hear.  It has also been of help to me to remember what it was I liked to read about when I was a child, and what kind of stories I enjoyed having told to me or read to me.  It is always helpful to try things out on actual children to see their reactions.  They will provide an honest and spontaneous audience.
Thank you for your sound advice.
Follow all 7 authors on their 6-day Virtual Book Tours and leave comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the National Writing for Children Center.
Be sure to leave Suzanne a comment and/or question for she will be checking in throughout the day.
Follow Suzanne on her next stop hosted by Suzanne Lieurance on Oct 11 at

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 4 of Mayra Calvani's NWFCC Virtual Book Tour

Writing Tips from Children’s Writer Mayra Calvani

Writing original, engaging, fun children’s picture books kids will love takes A LOT more work than people think. Just being a mom or a grandma doesn’t qualify someone to write a children’s story. This is especially true for picture books. Writing great picture books takes special skill. Sure, a few lucky people possess a natural talent for it, but for most of us, it is a craft that must be learned.

Here are a few tips for aspiring authors:

It’s absolutely essential to learn the craft! If you’ve never written a picture book before, you need to learn its structure, elements, as well as the various types that exist. Study books on the technique of picture book writing. I especially recommend: Picture Writing, by Anastasia Suen and Writing Picture Books, by Ann Whitford Paul. Yet, don’t settle on just reading these books. Take online courses or workshops. As many as you can afford. Learning the craft of writing is a never ending process.

Join a good critique group. This is vital. It’s difficult for writers to be objective about their own work. They need those extra pairs of eyes to spot the weak parts in their manuscripts. Eventually, the greatest investment you’ll ever make in your writing career is to hire a professional children’s editor to go over your manuscript. Not just any editor, but one that has extensive experience with picture books. The editor I hired for one of my picture books, one that eventually landed me a contract with an agent, was a former editor at a major NY children’s publishing house.

Support, support, support! I’m a firm believer that most writers need moral support and encouragement to help keep them inspired and motivated. Join a local writers group or a club such as the Children’s Writing Coaching Club. You can also start your own group, either locally where you live or online.

Subscribe to a few newsletters and publications, such as Children’s Insider and Children’s Writer Not only will you read great articles on the craft but you’ll also keep up to date with new agents and publishers and what they’re looking for.

If you’re serious about starting a children’s writing career, you should consider joining the Society of Children’s Book Author’s and illustrators (SCBWI). You could join their local chapter. Plus, it looks great on your query letter!

Prepare a writing schedule. I know some beginning writers who have been working on only one story for years. You won’t grow as a writer that way. You learn by doing it. So you have to write. Write. Write. That’s the only way to improve and hone your craft. The more you write, the better you get and the easier writing becomes. It’s just like learning an instrument. Can a violinist improve her skill by practicing a few times a year? Then why should it be any different for a writer? It doesn’t matter if you can only write for 20 minutes 3 times a week. The important thing is to make your plan and to stick with it.

Finally, even if you’ve written a masterpiece, it will never see publication if you leave it in the drawer. You have to SUBMIT. Non stop. Obsessively. Submitting only once or twice a month is a drop in the bucket.

I hope you’ve found my tips helpful. Good luck!

Be sure to leave Mayra a comment and/or question for she will be checking in throughout the day.

Follow Mayra on her next stop when she visits with Suzanne Lieurance on Oct 10 at

Thank you for your time and interest.

Friday, October 8, 2010

NWFCC Virtual Book with Nicole Weaver: Day 4

This month I'm hosting Day 4 of Nicole Weaver's Virtual Book Tour for all the children's book authors/illustrators who are part of the October Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center.

Nicole Weaver was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti. She came to the United States when she was ten years old. She is fluent in Creole, French, Spanish and English. She is a veteran teacher of French and Spanish. She is the author of a children’s trilingual picture book, Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle. The story is about a Haitian little girl who resided by the beach in Haiti.

Writing Tips from Children's Writer Nicole Weaver

It takes a lot of patience and many revisions to write a marketable children’s book. Never give up on your dreams of becoming a published author. Keep writing and be sure to join a critique group specifically designed for children’s writers. It is very important to get feedback from other authors. No matter how many times you may have read your manuscript, there is always room for revisions.

I also recommend joining an organization like The National Writing For Children Center, where you can get top notch help with your writing. Do not wait until your book is published to start promoting your book.

Nicole will be checking in throughout the day, so please sure to leave Nicole a comment and/or question.

Follow all 7 authors on their 6-day Virtual Book Tours and leave comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the National Writing for Children Center.

Visit with Nicole at her next stop on Oct 9 when Suzanne Lieurance is her host at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NWFCC Announces Karen Cioffi's Virtual Book Tour: Writing Tips

This month I'm hosting Day 4 of Karen Cioffi's Virtual Book Tour for all the children's book authors/illustrators who are part of the October Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center. Without further ado, I'm pleased to announce: Writing Tips from Children’s Writer Karen Cioffi

I recently read a post about writing for children. It focused on the story’s characters.

Basically, the post advised to create and know your characters inside and out before beginning the story. In fact, it suggested that the author build the story around the characters once they were fully developed. While this is good advice, and many experienced authors recommend this technique, there are some authors who occasionally watch their characters unveil themselves right before their eyes.

This is such an interesting method of writing. Your character introduces himself and gradually reveals bits and pieces, and blossoms as the story moves along. I’m currently working on a middle grade science fiction manuscript that is using this style. I didn’t intentionally start the story this way . . . it just happened.

You do need to be careful with this method though, you may lose track of all the bits and pieces that make up the character. So, a good way to keep track of those quirky telltale marks, expressions, behavior patterns, and physical features is to note them on a separate page or character card as they become unveiled. You wouldn’t want your character to have brown eyes in one chapter and blue eyes in another - unless of course, it’s a science fiction or paranormal and part of the storyline.

Actually, in this particular story of mine I used the ‘seat-of-the-pants’ method of writing for the entire story. I had no idea what the story would be about until I began writing it. I’m about half finished with it, and I have no clue where it will go from the point it’s at now, but it’ll be interesting to find out.

It’s true that many authors prefer the outlined method of writing, and I actually do also. Although, it seems once in a while a story and the characters can lead the author through an entire manuscript without the benefit of a structured outline. I find it so fascinating, watching characters evolve and a story unfold. It’s almost like magic . . . characters . . . a story . . . even worlds appear from thin air.

Karen is an author, ghostwriter (for authors, bloggers, and businesses), freelance writer, reviewer, acquisitions editor intern, and on the team of DKV Writing 4 U "" She is also the founder and manager of VBT Writers on the Move, and co-moderator of a children’s writing critique group.

Be sure to leave Karen a comment or question, she will be checking in throughout the day to interact with our visitors.

Follow all 7 authors on their 6-day Virtual Book Tours and leave comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the National Writing for Children Center.

Kep following Karen's tour on Oct 8 at - "On the Go With Karen Cioffi"

Thank you for your time and interest.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Golden Pathway Continues to Brighten Up Cyberspace

The Golden Pathway banner

How Can the Underground Railroad be a Golden Pathway, the Virtual Book Tour Continues – October 4-8, 2010

The fun continues with The Golden Pathway (Guardian Angel Publishing) virtual book tour.

Title: The Golden Pathway
Written by: Donna McDine
Illustrated by: K.C. Snider
Ages: 8-12
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1-61633-081-1; 1616330813
Soft cover: ISBN: 978-1-61633-088-0; 1616330880
eBook: ISBN: 978-1-61633-082-8; 1616330821
Published: August 2010


Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa. Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David attempts to lead Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.

Virtual Book Tour stops the week of October 4-8, 2010:

Monday, October 4
Interviewed at Beyond the Books – 

Tuesday, October 5
Book reviewed at 4 the Love of Books –

Wednesday, October 6
Guest blogging at Writing Daze –

Thursday, October 7
Book reviewed at Just One More Paragraph – 
Friday, October 8
Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag –

Donna will check in throughout the day at each location to interact with the visitors to field any comments and/or questions. Take this wonderful opportunity to show your support and ask your questions.

Each stop is UNIQUE so please check-in daily through October 29, 2010 at to see where Ms. McDine will pop up next.

Thank you in advance for your interest and support.
Full Media Kit, Headshot, Book Cover Art and more are available upon request.