Good News About Our Members
SLO NightWriters is a group of talented, hardworking, persistent and dedicated artists.
Within this area of our website, we'll keep you informed -- as best we can keep up -- about our members' blog tour interviews, speaker engagements, book signings, radio show appearances, etc., so that you can help us celebrate their success.
If you are a SLO NightWriters member who would like to have your good news shared here, please click the left sidebar menu item labeled "Contact Info And Driving Directions," scroll down to the webmaster link, and send me the appropriate information via email. Type the words, "Good News" in the subject line of your email message. For guideline details regarding the kind of information I need from you, please click HERE.
Interview with Beryl Reichenberg, author of The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake June 2013
l. Congratulations! You have written over 35 titles of children's books! Tell me about your history in writing.
Six years ago I began writing children’s stories. Initially, I wrote my first book for my two-year-old grandchild, Zoe who was afraid of a blue dinosaur in her closet. For her benefit, I decided to write The Blue Dinosaur, a story about a friendly dinosaur that included her and her cousin as story characters. From that point on, I have written, illustrated and published over 35 titles, some fiction and some non-fiction.
Three years ago, I met a publisher at a book festival, Billie Johnson from Oak Tree Press. We signed a contract to publish Ants on a Log. Since then, she has published two more of my books, The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake and Camouflage. Two additional books will be released in June, When Caterpillars Dream and Butterfly Girls. Both these new books are about Monarch butterflies in a fiction format.
Recently, I self-published through CreateSpace, a series of four wildlife books. These books, containing my photographs and text in verse about various animals, are entitled Wild Africa, Elephant Families in the Wild, Wild Hippos, and Backyard Birds. All the African animal photographs were taken on safari in Africa. Additional books will follow including books on zebras and camels.
2. Did you illustrate and do the photography for all of them, and why do you illustrate in mixed mediums?
To illustrate most of my books, I first draw my characters using watercolors and pencils and then select backgrounds from my own photograph collection. Using my MAC, I float the drawn and scanned characters onto the photo backgrounds, slightly blending in the edges of the characters with a blur tool. Sometimes, I also blur the backgrounds a bit so that they look more like drawings.
I use this technique in order to combine reality and fantasy in my illustrations. Children do this process naturally, often not differentiating between fantasy and the real world. In addition, stories by their very nature are often a blending of these two elements.
In a few books, I have drawn the backgrounds as well as the characters, as in Ants on a Log and The Littlest Dinosaur. In my wildlife series, I only use photographs because these books are non-fiction, and I want to convey the immediacy of the natural world. In a few books, I have collaborated with other artists as illustrators.
3. Tell me a little about your book The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake.
I wrote this story because my publisher, Oak Tree Press, has numerous mystery writers. At one point I was the only children’s author, so I thought it would be fun to write a children’s story that was designed as a mystery.
A missing birthday cake from a party seemed the ideal starting point for children to enjoy. Such a story would teach children about following clues while using deductive reasoning in an engaging way. Each animal has certain personalities based on their characteristics, for example, a raccoon who is fearless and persistent teamed with a mouse who is shy and easily frightened. And, of course, young children welcome happy stories that promote friendship and sharing, understanding that working together can solve problems.
4. Tell me why you write for children?
For me, becoming a grandparent was a profound experience. For the first time, I could enjoy children without having all the parental duties and responsibilities. In addition, I also have my own fond memories of sitting with my grandfather in a rocking chair by our fireplace as he told me stories about the Three Jolly Fleas. Writing my first book, The Blue Dinosaur, was going to be a once-in-a -lifetime adventure. I found that I enjoyed writing and illustrating this and later books, first just for my grandchildren and then for other children. The more I produced stories, the more I enjoyed this experience. Being an artist, as well as a photographer, means I can combine my talents in a meaningful way.
Connecting with children, whether at a signing, a school or workshop, is a joy. It reminds me of my teaching days many years ago. Although I taught high school English and Social Studies, I find teaching and relating to young children is similar. Moreover, I can combine several of my talents into one media and have fun as well.
5. Are you currently working on any other title?
I am working on more books for my wildlife series, including books on zebras, camels and giraffes. I have several, self-published books with Blurb which are being revised and will be submitted to Oak Tree Press. New books include a story about a persistent black bear wandering down from the mountains, invading suburbia. This story is awaiting illustrations by another artist. There is a long list of stories I’d love to write some day, including a book about children in Burma. I have traveled extensively throughout the world and there are other exciting ideas to be gleaned from those travels.
My two new books, When Caterpillars Dream and Butterfly Girls, are now available!
Ants on a Log
Elephant Families in the Wild
Member Tony Piazza:
Author and actor Tony Piazza has a featured interview up on the Dames of Dialogue website.
In that interview Tony speaks about:
How he came to write his first published novel, Anything Short of Murder.His upcoming novel, The Curse of The Crimson Dragon (March 2012).
- His genesis as a writer.
- His writing methods and goals.
- The ways he promotes his books.
- And much more!
Click HERE to read the interview!
The KVEC website (http://www.920kvec.com) includes live hookups to Dave Congalton's show and stores podcasts (recorded episodes).
To find out more about Tony and his work, please visit:
Bullitt Points, a new ebook by film historian and author Tony Piazza. Tony shares his memories of Steve McQueen during the filming of Bullitt. You won’t want to miss this fascinating behind the scenes account of the making of the movie! Introduction by Dave Congalton, popular KVEC talk show host, and screenplay writer.
Purchase at bullittpoints.com or Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords websites. All proceeds goes to The Boys Republic, a charity that helps troubled youth.
See our MEMBERS' BOOKS website section to read about and purchase Tony Piazza's book.
Tony Piazza was employed for ten years in the film industry as an actor, extra, and stand-in. He worked with Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and Karl Malden. He owns a Biology degree and has worked in scientific research and pathology. Combining his background in the film industry with his knowledge of police procedures - his father was in law enforcement -- he wrote "Anything Short of Murder." His second novel is due for release in March 2012.
Member Anne R. Allen:
I'm sure that many of you follow, as do I, the successful blog of our own Anne R. Allen (http://annerallen.blogspot.com).
Anne R. Allen has so many books published and soon-to-be-published, that it's hard to keep up with her. See our MEMBERS' BOOKS website section to read about and purchase her books.
1. Anne is these days making the rounds on a blog tour, a series of interviews that are interesting in their own right.
Please join Anne over at Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog for an interview she shared with Morgen:
Click the following link to read . . .
An Interview with author Anne R. Allen
2. Anne's books are taking off on "both sides of the pond." Enjoy this fabulous (unsolicited) review for her book, The Gatsby Game, written by Irish author and poet, Gerry McCullough . . .
A Review of The Gatsby Game
Anne R. Allen is the author of five comic novels which are debuting in fall or 2011: Food of Love and The Best Revenge (Popcorn Press), The Gatsby Game. Ghostwriters in the Sky, and Sherwood, Ltd, (MWiDP). She is a freelance journalist as well as a prize-winning poet and fiction writer. Her work appears in dozens of print and online journals including the literary humor magazine, Opium.
Member Rolynn Anderson:
Join an author and six craftswomen on 11.11.11 at the Cypress Ridge Fitness Center (off El Campo, on the Mesa). 4:00-7:00 p.m. Get in on a drawing for a gorgeous lead crystal ice bucket. Browse and shop while you sip on wine!
Rolynn Anderson describes herself as a Scandinavian, Army Brat, Midwesterner, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, and Author. She's bursting with stories about extraordinary people and amazing settings. She owns a competitive spirit and loves "the makeover." One day she'll play a stunning eighteen holes on the golf course. One year she'll pilot her boat from Washington State to Alaska. But today she'll write another "makeover" novel that you'll devour in the wee hours of the morning.
See our MEMBERS' BOOKS website section to read about and purchase Rolynn Anderson's book, The Last Resort.