An Interview with Author: Amberly Kristen Clowe

Amberly Kristen Clowe has been writing stories since she was a little girl. She studied childrens literature in college and graduated with a degree in early childhood education. After college, Amberly taught second grade for several years. Her students inspired her to revisit her passion for writing children’s literature. She credits them as the inspiration for her first picture book, Katie Ling Fashion Queen, which was published in 2011 with Aware Now Publishing. I Really Love You, Ava is Amberlys second picture book. Her son, George, inspired this story about love and family.  In 2014, Kristen published 

Axel & Theo - My Dog is the Emperor of a Faraway Galaxy. Today, caring for her son, George, and daughter, Emma, along with tackling her many writing projects, keep Amberly very busy. Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash is Amberly Kristen Clowe's first chapter book in the brand new Teeny Sweeney series and will be released March 2018. 

Thank you, Kristen for coming on my blog. It’s so good to talk with you again. 

When did you realize you were a storyteller?
I remember the exact moment.  I was in third grade in Mrs. Stalling's class. We were taking the writing portion of the TAAS test. I know, I'm dating myself! That's okay. I turned mine in and she began to read it to herself. She laughed so hard. The other kids giggled and glanced in my direction as I made my way back to my seat. It felt so awesome to inspire such a happy, unexpected moment for her. 


Your new book in the Teeny Sweeney series is a chapter book, Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash published by Little Lamb Books.What is it about and who is the main character?
We are officially welcoming third-grader Teeny Sweeney to the world. In this book, her class is assigned to create a business plan. Teeny is one of those super spunky, fun, dramatic characters. She completely runs with this idea of hers. Teeny becomes quite the little entrepreneur. Unfortunately, her business takes a turn for the worse. Teeny learns a few lessons during this process, as well as grows closer in her relationship with God. 
What drew you to write for children?
Children fascinate me. I love to watch a child fall in love with a new concept. They bring these amazing, fresh perspectives to the table. Writing for kids just makes sense for me. 

How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from your first idea 
to finished the book?
Wow. Great question. Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash took me two weeks to write from idea to final page. However, the editing of that book--the back and forth between myself, editor, and publisher--that took about a year. The book debuts in April. So from the idea to the published book? That took about a year and a half. 

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you?
 I am a huge fan of Beverly Cleary and John R. Erickson. I am enthralled with the intricate, hilarious worlds they create. 

Do you have any plans to branch out into other genres?
I plan to continue the Teeny Sweeney series as long as Little Lamb Books will have me. They already have the second book, and I'll begin the third soon. I do enjoy writing and reading picture books, and I have also been quietly working (in my spare time, ha!) on a YA manuscript for over a year. So, who knows!!  
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would ask myself what I'm interested in. I wish I would have taken more initiative as a younger person to embrace what I enjoyed, instead of getting bogged down by what I didn't. I think I could have done both. Also, I should have listened a lot less to the naysayers--the people who, honestly, didn't think I could do much. As an adult, I realize all things are truly possible with God. 

What have kids told you about your books?
Kids like all that is funny. I've had young people tell me they like the humor in my stories. That is seriously the best compliment. 

What will parents like most about your new book?
Let me tell you, parents and teachers are going to LOVE the extras at the back of the book. There are around ten activities for kids to do that tie into the story, from word searches to games to crafts. As a teacher and parent, I am absolutely thrilled at the level of quality of these engaging activities. 

What is your next project?
Yay! I'm super excited about the second Teeny Sweeney book. I can't reveal too much, but I can say that Teeny Sweeney is smack-dab in the middle of a mystery! 

Thank you so much for having me, J.D.!

Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, and other major book distributors. 

BUY Amberly Kristen Clowe's books at:

Her site: Visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter or follow her updates on Facebook or Twitter.

An Excerpt from a Middle-grade novel by JD Holiday

An Excerpt from a Middle-grade novel by JD Holiday.
It's my latest book.  A 35000-word middle-grade novel.  I'm not sure what to title it yet. My ideas for below.
Bookworks Featured author.png
The book is about the Cameron children worried that they will not get the toys they asked for for Christmas. The uncle that Trisha Frankel has lived with most of her life with has died. The only option she has is to find the father she does not know, even though her uncle said, “He was no good.” Trisha takes her dog, Mitch to search out her father and find out what he is like for herself. Along the way, her dog is stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man connected to the Cameron children Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby. Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby are busy trying to figure out if their Christmas gifts will arrive. But helping Trisha makes them realize that sometimes the lives of others are more important their own interests.

                                                                         CHAPTER 1
              The Speed Delivery truck stopped in front of the Cameron house by the shoveled driveway. Kirby heard it pull up. Christmas was in two days and his mother was still waiting for ‘deliveries’ for some of the family’s Christmas gifts. In fact, all the big gifts like his racing car set, the MagMax Drone his older brother, Tucker wanted and for Phoebe, the oldest child in their house, the china doll she wanted for her doll collection.
              Kirby left the TV and rushed through the open French doors from the living room leading to the front windows of the sunroom to see if he could see what was being delivered. He loved guesting games and solving problems. He maneuvered between the computer table with the computer it, the tropical fish in the screen saver still swimming around, and passed the wicker loveseat to get to the window with the better view of the truck.
  Kirby rubbed the frost off the window and leaned his elbows on the sill and pressing his turned-up nose to the glass. All the Cameron children had inherited from their mother’s side of the family that same turned up nose, green-grayish eyes capped by dark lashes and eyebrows in a round faces and framed nicely with straight black hair. Their father always said every chance that came up that the children had his long legs that he, himself could always count on to carry him quickly down any basketball court he played on in high school and college.
              The driver hopped out onto the snow-covered road and headed to the rear of the truck. Kirby watched the truck’s roll-up door fly up and the man pulled out a hand truck, grabbed four boxes and stacked them on it. He then pushed it along to the driveway and up onto the sidewalk lifted the boxes and climbing up the narrowly shoveled stairs to their door. Kirby knew he would not be able to tell what was inside all the boxes, but he thought he might see the box with the Sotrux Racecar logo on it if he were lucky and it wasn't inside a larger box. But none of these boxes were big enough Kirby judged to hold his racing set.
              He looked back at the truck with its door still open and then he saw it. Still in the truck was the racing car label. Kirby jumped up and down. “YES!” he shouted to the empty room and then he yelled loud enough for his grandmother to hear him while keeping an eye on the man quickly coming down the stairs and heading back to the truck for more boxes. “Gram, a delivery is here.”
              When his grandmother didn’t come, Kirby ran to the kitchen. Gram was just entering the apartment from the back stairway that connected all three apartments in the house to a common outside door and to the entrance to the basement. She was cooking in the old kitchen area in the basement, which she said was the ideal place for her to prepare meals for a city mission where she volunteered. Her kitchen on the third floor was much too
              “Gram! Gram!” he shouted running to her.
              “What’s the yelling for, Kirby?” she asked. She went straight for the sink and opened the cabinet underneath it. Rattled some pans and pulled out a large pot. “I have a dinner to start. Your parents will be home from work and Phoebe and Tucker will be flying in from the after-school Christmas party they went to, and dinner is going to be late.”
              “It’s a delivery. The Christmas gifts are here,” he said, and raced back through both the dining and living rooms to get back to the porch.              
              "They'll leave the package, Kirby," his grandmother remarked as he ran back to the living room.
  At the window, Kirby frowned. Vic Silian, another of Gram’s grandsons, the oldest son of their mother’s sister, Aunt Junnie, was standing at the back of the truck. Kirby didn’t like Vic. Vic has a sweet and friendly dog that Kirby loves and Vic mistreats. Vic was thin and tall and dressed in dark clothes with a wool cap pulled down to his eyes and hiding his huge forehead which reminded Kirby of Frankenstein's, wrinkled lines and all. Vic's eyes bulged out from under the cap like those of a villain cartoon character.
              Vic was closing the back of the delivery truck and began to wade over the mounded up snow bank alongside the truck, looking behind him a couple of time before reaching the door to the front seat which he opened and got inside. There was something wrong with this, Kirby thought, staring at his cousin. “What’s he do there?” he mumbled.
              Vic had been in the basement earlier talking to Gram telling her he knew how she could get rich if she gives him some of her retirement money. And what would Gram do if Vic took her money? The thought made Kirby cross. But then, Vic did something else. His nose up against the window, Kirby said out loud fogging up the window with each word, “What was he doing getting into the driver side on the delivery truck?”
               He rubbed the window with his sweater sleeve in disbelief. Vic had never worked any job for too long and he never worked for a delivery service. So why was he driving the truck away? “I know what he's doing!” Kirby shouted.
              The answer to this one had to be the contents in the truck Kirby guessed. Vic was stealing so he could sell the things in the boxes. Vic had been in trouble before and this was just going to be another time. Kirby glanced behind him looking for grandmother. If I was only bigger, Kirby thought, I go out there and stop Vic myself. Gram would come out and find that he had tossed Vic to the ground to stop him from getting into trouble this time. She would praise Kirby, "I'm so proud of you, Kirby."
              Kirby craned his neck as the truck drove down the street. That's when the Speedy Delivery driver raced down their front stairs shouting, "Hey! Hey!"
              Shaking his head, Kirby went to the front door wondering what to say to Gram. She was not going to believe this.
              The doorbell started ringing as Gram came into the living room, her cherry color hair bobbing and her bony arms outstretched while wiping her hands on a dish towel.
              The bell rang again as Gram reached it. At the door, Kirby stood to one side as she opened it. The Speed Service deliveryman stood there. "Someone stole my truck," he said.
               Kirby winced thinking this was not going to go well.

              The tied-up Christmas tree leaned against the doorjamb on the back porch Uncle John, Trisha mother's brother had bought and they were going to put up last night. But things have changed. Uncle John died yesterday.
              With Mitch, her black lab, on his leash and sit behind Trisha as she closed and locked the door of the apartment she had shared with her uncle for the past nine years in their predominantly African-American street. Mitch was all there was left and people she did not know would soon be looking for her if they were not already. Before Trisha talked to anybody else she had something she had to do.
              Wearing her backpack stuffed with food and snacks for them both and carrying a duffle bag with all her belongings in it just in case she didn't return, Trisha and Mitch kept a steady pace as they walked along the snowy streets. Over the Seven Street bridge and pass many Riverside factories then up the long stretch of River Street where here and there someone had shoveled a path on their trek heading for the city. Once on Main Street where all the busy stores lined the street, they jostled with holiday shoppers and workers on break all avoiding mounds of dirting snow piles to get to their destinations. At a red light, Trisha and Mitch waited to cross through the narrowly shoveled path at the corner.

There are my ideas for titles. Let me know if you have an idea.

 'Simple things'
 ‘A Little Bit More’ 
 ‘With This Christmas Came A little Bit More’
 ‘Christmas Means A Little Bit More
 'Its Christmas Time In The City'
 'Sharing at Christmas'

Authors, How To Use Instagram to Promote Your Books

I just read a great article by Rachel Rueben. (She always comes up with  wonderful ways to help authors!) So here's the article. And check out Rachel Rueben second installment afterward!  ~JD

START HERE~ Instagram For Authors
Published by Rachel 

Instagram, is one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world with over 800 million monthly users.  With a user base that is between the ages of 18 and 29, it’s globally the most popular social media site beating Facebook and Twitter for online engagement.   

I'll admit when I think of Instagram, I image teen girls posting those duck face selfies or foodies, posting pictures of every crumb that touches their plate.  So I really didn’t believe that Instagram had anything to offer me, or any author for that matter.  I mean, I’m a writer and writers write, they don’t do pictures let alone, video.  However over the past several years, I’ve been seeing the trends in social media go from long form text to short visual posts.

Don’t believe me?  This past year, Facebook began letting their users choose to frame their text posts within bright eye-catching backgrounds.  This is mainly because their algorithms favor images and video over text which has left a lot of people complaining about reach.  So this was Facebook’s answer to the problem…
Rachels Happy Halloween on FB
Corny, right?  It’s no secret that visual media works better than plain text, it’s one of the reasons why Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012.  It’s also the reason why the most popular and fastest growing social media sites are the ones with richer content like pictures and video.
So using my brand new Instagram account, I went to work and started studying how authors and readers use the site successfully.
Rachels Happy Halloween on FB

Okay, So What Do Authors Post About?

At a place like Instagram, a long form post is not very practical. The content you share on Facebook or Twitter is most likely not going to work here. You need to tell a story with your posts which shouldn't be too hard for an author. Below, I've listed several examples of how authors are using Instagram to share their work and reach readers.

Ideas For Instagram Posts:
  • Share quotes (usually short)
  • Include teasers from a WIP (work in progress)
  • Ask questions to followers. Here’s writer @macxlopes asking followers if they would even want to read his book if it were published.
  • Share behind the scenes peeks. For example, author Barbara Freethy posted a pic of her cat starring intently while she worked.
  • Post pics of book swag like this one from author K.S. Thomas.
  • Reveal new book covers via pic or video.
  • Upload book trailers.
  • Do a live video. Many authors and celebs use live videos to do live Q&As but you can also use live video to make announcements about publication dates.
Here’s a tip: If you have a text post you’d like to share on Instagram be sure it’s written on visually appealing pictures or backgrounds. There are many sites that offer free graphic design software like; Canva, Stencil and Crello. These sites will provide backgrounds, and even resize your work according to the requirements of various social media sites.

Book Related Hashtags

After figuring out what to post, the second step on my journey was to find all the book and publishing related conversations. To my surprise, it wasn’t hard to find readers and book reviewers.
  • #Books 24,140,100 people used this hashtag in their posts
  • #Bookstagram: 14,223,284 posts
  • #Bookworm: 8,347,983
  • #Reading: 14,298,588
  • #Writing: 7,730,884
  • #Author 3,612,412
  • #Ebook: 892,842
  • #Shelfi: 836,264
  • #Readers: 565,197
  • #ReadersOfInstagram: 394,919
  • *Bonus: #Bookstagrammer: 1,251,555 to help you find reviewers on Instagram.
Tip: There are several sites that track the most popular hashtags being used on Instagram like TagBlender, RiteTag and

A List of Popular #Bookstagrammers:

I recommend just looking at these accounts to observe and learn about how Instagram functions. Find an author in your genre and look in the comments section. Engage and follow them, these people are your target audience.

More Word & Book Related Accounts:

There you have it, tips authors can actually use for their Instagram accounts. Stay tuned for next time, because I'll be sharing how to use Instagram for book promotion as well as sharing useful apps.


Invite Rachel's Site & Blog:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Storytellers and Wordsmiths everywhere!

Writing pic posteredge copyrighted JD Holiday 120resolition 4x3

WHY WRITERS WRITE A lot has been written about why writers write. Writers write for many reasons and some, for any reason. They write to express who they are and to say what they know. To teach and to inspire where no inspiration has yet taken root. To share the stories they see clearly in their imagination. To entertain themselves first, then those readers who find their works, some write to purge unhappiness or injustices for themselves and others. There will be some writers who tell you their reasons come from deep in their souls, at the very core of who they are. Jane Austen had Lady Catherine say, “I must have my share in the conversation,” as most writers want their voices heard.

8baae-vinegar-valentine-poem-the-typewriter-myer-c1910-postcardWriters show readers characters and pictures that keep them and us ‘safe and sometimes warm’ from our only realties. We are lucky today where stories are brought to life by writers and illustrators and visionaries in the many different ways there are to entertain us. But first, some idea is thought and it usually starts with a writer. So it really doesn’t matter why they write, it’s just a good thing they do!

So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Storytellers and Wordsmiths everywhere!


Copyright 12-7-08 by J.D. Holiday
All rights reserved.

LIMITLESS – Charity Anthology, In a Nut Shell!

A Charity Anthology
 A Charity Anthology of short stories and poems.


                Limitless is a collection of stories and poems that reflects our own live and times in all it stages through a wide variety of themes and issues we all have known or have heard about.

                In this book you may find stories or poems you agree with and that affirm your believes, while others might be reflective and thought provoking testing your emotions with soul searching on subjects like tolerance and if you have it yourself. In some of the stories about love I saw someone I’ve loved myself.

                As a short story author and reader, I love to dive into stories from a wide range of situations and subjects as well as the other authors’ styles.

                There were poems and stories that had deep meaning to me such as - Hidden Letter; To You; I Love You MOM, Now And Always; and, Dragonfiles And The Great Blue Heron. This is a 5 star read if ever I’ve read one.All profits for this book go to the Amar Foundation to help those scarred by was in the middle east.  ~JD Holiday

I'M DONE WRITING MY 35000 word Middle Grade Novel! YAY!!!!

I'M DONE WRITING MY 35000 word Middle Grade Novel! YAY!!!! 

I'm not sure what to title this story yet, but in it the Cameron children just want the toys they asked for for Christmas.
The uncle that Trisha Frankel has lived with most of her life with has died. The only option she has is to find the father she does not know, even thought her uncle said, “He was no good.”
Trisha takes her dog, Mitch to search out her father and find out what he is like for herself. Along the way, her dog is stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man connected to the Cameron children, who, long the way realizing what is truely important, and what sometimes the lives of others are more important their own interests.

An Excerpt from my story; Dangers In The Wilderness, New York 1755

62985-9780981861463cov Dangers in the Wilderness signed for online 120 dpi Read an excerpt from my story; Dangers In The Wilderness, New York 1755 at Angie's Diary. #shortstory #amreading #literary

Animal Lovers here!