December 6, 2011

Another Great Review for My Brother the Frog

Oh, my poor neglected blog. I think it’s time to make amends.

I’ve been busy with writing-related tech stuff that involved learning some new technology. I don’t have a finished product to show off yet, so I’m afraid the news will have to wait for another time. Sorry to be dropping vague hints, but I like to have something concrete to show off before I make any kind of announcement.

I’ve been neglecting plenty of stuff including writing new material, my critique groups and my website. I still had Halloween references there, yeesh!

Catching up has been a little like playing Whack-A-Mole. All these little things kept popping up, but I’m almost there.

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to share another nice review by children’s author, Lori Calabrese, for my latest picture book, My Brother the Frog. Ms. Calabrese has this to say.

MY BROTHER THE FROG is a humorous read that dives into a little sibling rivalry. As I said before, we've all probably imagined turning our brother or sister into a frog, but MY BROTHER THE FROG takes it one step further and really examines what would happen if it actually came to fruition. Kids will get a kick out of the illustrations and parents will enjoy the hidden message that a sibling can actually be your best friend.

To see the full review and other book info, please click on link below.

Pretty cool feedback if I do say so myself. :-)

November 4, 2011

Great Review from Stories for Children

Hi All

I received a great review for My Brother the Frog that I wanted to share. Being that writing can be such a solitary pursuit sometimes, getting recognition from other independent people in this field helps makes the effort all the more worthwhile.

This review is from Stories for Children, which says: Overall thoughts: There are many great lessons to learn from this book for kids. For one thing, it can open up some much needed discussion about the problems that siblings have with each other ... Secondly, it can teach kids that there is no point in trying to change their brothers or sisters. All they have to do is accept them for what they are and love them unconditionally. What a great message for kids.

How nice is that? :-)

Please see the link below for the entire review.

October 7, 2011

I Have A Spooktacular Book Reading Coming Up

I just finalized the date and time for a Halloween-themed event at Main Street Pediatric Dentistry in Tuckahoe, N.Y. I did a book reading there last year and had a great time. The entire office is designed with an ocean theme and includes a life size deep sea diver in the waiting room. It’s a large space and able to accommodate a good size crowd, but they are wisely separating the event into two separate sessions.

They serve refreshments and have crafts for the kids to do. So there’s always a flurry of activity with kids being guided from one activity to the other. It was extremely well organized and I’m very happy that they are asking me back again.

I’ll be reading from my books and since it’s close to Halloween, I’ll be reading selected poems from An Eyeball In My Garden: And Other Spine-tingling Poems. This is a terrific poetry collection that includes two of my poems, Our Neighborhood and The Gargoyle. As you can guess from the title, this book is perfect for a Halloween-themed event.

So if you are anywhere near the Westchester County area and would like to attend, just RSVP mspeddent(at)aol(dot)com to reserve your child’s spot. The flyer below has all the details. You’ll be walking away with some good memories and most likely, a new toothbrush (they give our goody bags from what I remember).

Hope to see you there.

September 20, 2011

Eyeball featured at Writers on the Move

Hi All

Now that Fall is here and Halloween is on its way, I just wanted to drop a quick note to let everyone know that An Eyeball in My Garden: And Other Spine-tingling poems is being featured at Writers on the Move.  If you get a chance. please stop by for book information, links to Halloween craft ideas, and a cat wrapped in tin foil (you'll just have to see for yourself). :-)

September 13, 2011

It is Alive!

Hi All

Halloween will soon be upon us (scary isn't it?)  So I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you all know of a Halloween contest for writer and poets being hosted by the Storytellers Scroll.  The winner can get a free copy of An Eyeball In My Garden, the collection of 44 sensationally spooky poems by 14 terrifyingly talented poets, including yours truly. :-)  So if you get a chance, please stop by  for more info and the contest rules. 

Good luck!


August 17, 2011

Guest Post at Writers on the Move

Hi All,

Just a quick note to tell you that I have a guest post today on Writer on the Move.  I will be talking about the story behind my latest picture book, My Brother the Frog. If you get a chance, please stop by and say hello.

Thank you,


August 8, 2011

Nice Review for My Brother the Frog

Hi All

I'm just coming back from vacation all refreshed and rejuvenated (at least for the rest of the day).  I went to Disney for the first time and really enjoyed myself, almost more than my daughter did.  But I can see that I have been neglecting my blog a little.  Well, to make amends, I'd like to share a nice review I received for My Brother the Frog.  This is from the Children's and Teens' Book Connection where they say:

"I’ve enjoyed every one of McNamee’s books that I’ve read, and My Brother the Frog is no exception. He knows how to reach kids right where they are with fabulous books and unique storylines they’ll enjoy"

How nice is that? (Big Grin)  To see the full review, please click on the link below:

July 8, 2011

My Brother the Frog has been released

Whoo Hoo!  I am extremely happy to announce that My Brother the Frog has been released.  Below is the media release for this book.  :-)

M E D I A 

For Immediate Release

My Brother the Frog by Kevin McNamee: A Fun and Creative Approach to Sibling Rivalry

It’s a chicken! It’s a giraffe! It’s a penguin! It’s my brother? Humor and imagination come together in this entertaining picture book about sibling rivalry.

Sibling rivalry can be a problem in any family. But in this amusing story, a little brother deals with this dilemma in a most unusual way. He changes his brother into a frog. He does have a bit of trouble changing him back though. He manages to change his brother into a variety of animals until he finally gets it right. Meanwhile, he starts to realize how much he cares for his brother, and how much his brother cares for him.
Top notch illustrations by Alexander Morris bring the story to life and help make this book a welcome addition to any home or school library.

So while relationships with siblings may not always be perfect, this book points out some very good reasons to love your family … warts and all, especially if your brother just happens to be a frog.

This book is available as a print book, an E-book, or a book on CD from

Books are also available from,, or ask your local bookstore.

Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, N.Y., and has never, ever changed anyone into a frog, although there were times that he really wanted to.

Other books by Kevin include: If I Could Be Anything, The Sister Exchange, Lightning Strikes, The Soggy Town of Hilltop and What Is That Thing?

Kevin’s poetry has been published in the collection, An Eyeball in My Garden: And Other Spine-Tingling Poems.

To find out more about Kevin, please visit his website at or his blog at

Thank you for your time and interest.


July 6, 2011

July 2011 Edition of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is Online

Hi All,

I’m happy to announce that the July Edition of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is now online. This month’s theme is Outer Space. So if you or your little ones would like to see some great stories, poetry and articles (or even some online games created by yours truly), please visit The full media release is below.


CONTACT: Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine



For Immediate Release

Children's Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Swirls through Outer Space - July 2011


The unknown and intrigue of outer space is a delightful way to engage our

youngsters in the planets beyond Earth. To watch the amazement flash over

their faces and their onslaught of questions to follow is a splendid way to

explore space from the pages of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine.

We are proud and thrilled to share with our readers the July issue of

everything "outer space" and all its amazement through poetry, stories, and

articles at -angel-kids. com.

Please feel free to drop Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine an email at

submissions@ guardian- angel-kids. com and let them know what you think of

Guardian Angel Kids and what you'd like to see in the future. They aim to


Letter from the POETRY editor: Donna J. Shepherd

Featured Books:

Video Special Feature: Sparkie: A Star Afraid of the Dark by Susann Batson

What if the Moon written and illustrated by Tracy Ahrens

Children's poetry, SHORT STORIES, and articleS:

"I Spy Wishes," by Corinna M. Johnson - sparkles with vivid imagery.

"Out of this World," by Abigail Charles - swirls you through outer space on

an alphabet adventure. Clara Smith's illustration will leave your young

muses wanting to learn more about the wonders of outer space.

"The Star Way," by Sandie Lee - like us stars are all different and go

through many stages in their lives. Share this wonderful article with your

young muses and learn about the life cycle of a star.

"An Orbiting Laboratory," by Lee Rosenfield - learn how a space station

stays "afloat" and how the astronauts live aboard the space shuttle in this

intriguing article of an orbiting laboratory.

"The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Child," by Nicole Weaver - as parents

we must prioritize our time, so we can stay engaged in our children's

emotional and educational growth. Learn important tips to implement in your

child rearing.


Whispering Wally written and illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier

I Can't See, But I Can Imagine, a musical picture book by Patricia Bennett

Wilson. Illustrated by Sharon Bean. Video Production by Blazing Trailers

"Jack and the Beanstalk" as told by a 2 year old! Be prepared for a

wonderful out loud chuckle!

We look forward to your visit. Thank you for your time and interest.


June 23, 2011

Counting Down the Days

I just took a look at the interior galley for My Brother the Frog and I’m very happy with the way the book came out. Alexander Morris did an excellent job with the illustrations and really helped to tell the story as well. I’ll let everyone know when the book is finally released. But I think this will be a great “boy book” which deals with sibling rivalry. In my humble opinion, I don’t thing there are enough books written for boys. So I’m happy to add one more into the mix.

On other fronts, this seems to be one of those days where I’m constantly moving, but I’m not getting anywhere. I still need to do some work on my website, do revisions on a new story to submit to my critique group by the end of the month, and put together a cover letter for a new submission. What have I accomplished so far? Not much. But at least I can cross “update my blog” off of my To Do list now. :-)

June 11, 2011

Featuring Marietta Taylor - Your Voice Or Mine?

Today, in a departure fro the kid-lit realm, I am happy to be hosting Marietta Taylor, who will be talking about a very important aspect of writing - maintaining your own voice.  Marietta, please tell us your story.

I am a member of a writer's critique group. For the most part I enjoy the group. However, there was one session that really rubbed me raw like a sandpaper burn. I was having some devotional work critiqued. They were written from the perspective of the Proverbs 31 woman. I thought I had a pretty cleaver idea since much had been written about her and how women could be like her, but nothing was written from her perspective.

One of the other writer's told me my work wasn't believable to her because it wasn't written in what she called a “true Jewish voice”. She proceeded to give me the name of a Christian romance writer. She instructed that I should read this woman's books and the pattern my “voice” after hers. That really got under my skin. And it stayed there for a while.

I actually stopped working on this book because of her criticism. I just recently picked it back up to review and decide if I was going to continue. I may actually change some of it, but I'll tell you what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to mimic another author's voice. As a writer, I need to be authentic to myself. Voice is who I am as a writer. It is how I uniquely communicate my message to my readers. If I try to mimic someone else, it will come across as not being authentic.

While I understand that we can learn a great deal from other writers, I'm not a believer in being a copycat. I don't mind being influenced by another writer's strong voice. I just don't want to steal it and try to pass it off as my own. At the end of it all, I've got to be me. And I think that's important for every writer. Each one has their own unique voice. They attract readers based on communicating with their own voice. One of the things we as writers keep hearing is “Find your voice”. Once you do, go with it. I think it's the strongest part of your identity as a writer.

Readers can connect with me in the following ways:


Personal Blog:



Buy my book:


Kindle Edition:

Thanks for stopping by today, Marietta and for giving us a chance to get to know you and your book.  Best of luck to you.

June 2, 2011

June 2011-Issue of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is Online

Hi All

The June issue of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is now available.  The theme this month is "Wheels"  If you get a chance, please stop by  I'm sure your children, grandchildren, or other special child in your life will enjoy it.  If they like to draw,they can give my online paint program a try.

May 18, 2011

SlushPile Warrior - Erin Liles

Today, I am bringing back an old feature on my blog called SlushPile Warriors. SlushPile Warriors focuses on the trials and tribulations of pursuing publication, and what is learned along the way.

I am delighted to be hosting SlushPile Warrior, Erin Liles, who will be telling us about her own travels on the road to publication.

Erin, please tell us a little a little about yourself:

I grew up in California but moved to Texas when I was in my twenties. After college I went to work for a literacy program where I got to share my love for reading with kids and their parents for almost 10 years. But when my husband decided to go back to work after staying home with our two children for 4 years, I got to do what I always wanted to do, stay home with my kiddos and write!

How many submissions do you have out there now?

About 10

How do you research where to send your manuscripts?

I read Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, but I also do a lot of internet research. I try to stay very connected to other children’s writers through message boards and writer’s groups. Whenever I hear of a publisher, I go to their website and look at their catalogs. If any seem to be similar topics or styles to one of my manuscripts, I will look up the book on and use the preview option to get a better feel for the book.

But nothing beats reading books! No picture book passes through my hands without my checking who published it. My kids are so used to this, that if I have forgotten to look, they will say, “Who published this book mommy?”

What was your biggest submission goof?  What did you learn from it?

My biggest goof was that I started submitting before I was truly ready. I tend to be pretty impatient this way. But I have since learned to let a manuscript “sit” for at least a month (usually longer), and have it go through at least three critiques before I’m allowed to even think it’s ready.

Why do you want to be a writer?

I have always loved to write. I remember being around six years old and painstakingly pecking out a story on my parent’s old typewriter. To this day, my parents love to share the stories I wrote as a kid. I was one of those super shy, but imaginative kids, who always had her head buried in a book, so writing stories just seemed like a natural extension to reading.

What is your favorite style of writing? Why?

Although I blog and occasionally write articles, I love writing picture books. I love the challenge of telling a clear and concise story in 700 words or less. I guess it is the style that just feels the most “right” for me.

What is the most frustrating thing about being a writer?

Rejections! Aside from those, the most frustrating thing is trying to get a story so clear that it cannot be misunderstood in any way. I am often surprised when a story of mine goes through a critique and someone totally misunderstood, or saw something in it differently from what I intended.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Acceptances! Aside from those, finishing a story and having the feeling that what you wrote is good.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

That while writing is a solitary activity, you really can’t do it alone. You need as much feedback as possible on your work. You also need emotional and technical support from other writers.

Have you been published? If so where?

Yes. I’ve had two stories published at Stories for Children Magazine and a third to be published in June. I have also had a story published at Bumples. And I’ve had a number of parenting articles published in Austin Family Magazine and Mothering online.

How can people find out more about you?

I blog (about whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time) at:

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I have come to learn that nothing in writing comes quickly or easily. We have to work at it, love it as an art form, and be prepared to wait endlessly for publication. Don’t give up!

Thanks for stopping by Erin and for giving us a chance to get to know you.  Congratulations on your publishing successes!  I'm sure many more will follow.

If any other SlushPile Warriors are interested in being featured, please email me HERE and I’ll send you some interview questions.

May 12, 2011

Featuring Author/Educator - Kathy Stemke

Today I'm delighted to welcome author/educator, Kathy Stemke, to my blog.

Kathy: I’m soooo excited to be here, Kevin.

I'm so glad to hear it.  Any particular reasons for the excitement?

Kathy: Within the next couple of weeks my first printed picture book, “Trouble on Earth Day,” will be available for purchase. I’ve been waiting for over two years for this incredible event to happen.

What’s it about?
Kathy: It’s about friendship, helping others and helping the Earth.

Why will kids like it?

Kathy: They will fall in love with the adorable characters, enjoy learning about recycling, and get lost in the exciting story of two new friends.

What makes your book different than other picture books on the market today?

Kathy: As I said before it is a wonderful story and it has 22 pages of songs, discussion questions, worksheets, games, activities, and recycling projects to do at school or at home.

Can you give us an example of one of the songs?

Kathy: Sure, Kevin. Here’s one verse of Shelby’s Recycling Song.

Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb

Shelby squirrel saved and saved,
Saved and saved, saved and saved,
Shelby squirrel saved and saved,
She used her things again.

Can you give us an idea of the worksheets and activities you offer in the book?

Kathy: There are word searches and matching activities as well as recycling games and silly compound words. Here’s a darling coloring sheet that kids can get from my blog. While you’re there, you can also sign up for my free monthly newsletter, Movement and Rhythm.

Congratulations on your new book and thanks for stopping by today.

Kathy: You’re welcome. It was fun. Happy spring!

Kathy Stemke’s websites:

Moving Through all Seven Days link:

Follow me on twitter:

Follow me on Facebook:!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile

Follow me on LinkedIn:

May 6, 2011

A Great Review at Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

More reviews are coming in for What Is That Thing? I received a great review from Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection where they say:

In this delightful new story from talented poet and writer, Kevin McNamee, we see him doing what he does best–create a story that youngsters will love.

How sweet I that? They also go on to say:

The artwork by K.C. Snider is absolutely wonderful. From mom the space alien with kitchen utensils sticking out of her head to Jungle Jenna swinging on the vines, her illustrations will capture the hearts of young readers who really want to now how Jenna feels.

To read the full review, please click on the following link.

 To me, one of the finest moments in the life of a writer other than getting an acceptance, is getting a great review. After all the hours spent bringing what was once a vague idea to an actual physical book, someone else looks at it and says, “This is good stuff.” It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

May 4, 2011

Guardian Angel Kids Ezine - May 2011

The latest edition of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is now available. This month’s theme is All About Horses. I’m the Technology Director for this Ezine and I am very happy to be involved with this online magazine. If you get a chance, please stop by

I’m sure that your kids or grandkids will love it. The Media Release is below.


CONTACT: Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine



For Immediate Release

Children's Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: All about Horses May 2011 Issue

Horses are beautiful animals and often times are utilized in therapy
programs to help stimuli children with special needs and learning how horses
communicate to a delightful poem of an Arabian Filly the Guardian Angel Kid
May 2011 is sure to be both entertaining and educational.

Without further ado we invite you to come explore the May 2011 issue of
Guardian Angel Kids Ezine -angel-kids. com. And to add to your child's learning
enjoyment be sure to partake in the interactive activities, games, and

Letter from the editor: Donna M. McDine

Featured FLIP Books:

A Horse of Course by Shari Lyle-Soffe and illustrated by Eugene Ruble -
Aaron thinks he received the perfect birthday gift. Is a house the best
place for a horse? Aaron thinks so, but Horace may feel differently.

Clip Clop Tippity Tap: French Vocabulary on the Farm by Kim Chatel and
illustrated by Kathleen Bullock - Learn French vocabulary on the farm with
Mini-moi the pony as he finds a job just his size.

Children poetry and articleS:

"Drinker of the Wind," by Sheila DeCosse - mesmerizes in a delightful poem
about an Arabian Filly and brought to life with Jack Foster's magical

"Sue Sharp: Dream Rider," by Amy Cobb - shares the importance of a
therapeutic horse riding program.

"Horses that Help," by Randi Lynn Mrvos - defines hippotherapy and explains
how this unique equine treatment works.

"How Horses Talk," by Donna Marie West - answers how horses communicate
mostly with body language, using their ears, eyes, lips and teeth, legs and
tail s well as their voices to tell other horses and us what they want and
how they are feeling.

"Using Reflective Learning Logs for Reading Success," by Dorit Sasson -
effective strategies for teachers to add to their professional growth by
observing and reflecting on what goes on in their classrooms.

We look forward to your visit. Thank you for your time and interest.


Full Media Kit and more are available upon request electronically.

If you click the link below, you can see some of my handiwork. :-)

Challenge your child with word jumbles, word puzzles, and mazes at GAK Ezine
interactive games htm

April 26, 2011

Nice Review at Stories for Children Magazine

Reviews are starting to come in for What Is That Thing? And I received a very nice one at Stories for Children Magazine. Ms. Irene Roth reviewed the book and had this to say:

Overall Thoughts:This is a heart-warming story of how a young child can accept a new member of the family. The illustrations are hilarious and witty. It will keep a child spellbound and captive.

I recommend the book to any child who has younger siblings or is about to accept the arrival of a new sibling. They will be able to laugh and also accept the little being into their lives, and even be very happy and enriched by the new little baby sister or brother.

One of the hard parts about being a writer is that many times, you work in a vacuum. You never really know how your work will be received. How great it is when someone else sees the value in it.

To see the full review, please click on the link below.

April 13, 2011

VBT-Featuring Nancy Famolari

Today I an pleased to be presenting Nancy Famolari, who will be talking about her latest novel – Winner's Circle.

Nancy, what is this book about?
Summer's father is dead; his only asset, a fabulous trotter. Two men want to help her. She refuses Ned, blaming him for her father's death. Davis, a famous racehorse driver, wins her heart but deserts her after she suffers a serious accident on the track. Max, her rival, will do anything to get the horse for his stable. Summer's dream is to race her horse in the Hambletonian Oaks. Will she get there and will she, finally, find love?

Nancy, please tell us a little about yourself:

I live in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania in the summer and on a small farm near Ocala, Florida in the winter. My favorite hobby is trail riding. My horse, Ambrosa de la Pluma is a registered Paso Fino. The breed came to the new world from Spain. Paso Finos have a unique four beat gait that is very smooth. They can go for hours on the trail. They are smart and friendly and make wonderful companions. I feel lucky to live in two areas with lots trail riding.

What inspired you to write this story? 

Winner's Circle takes place in the fast paced world of harness racing. For fourteen years, my husband and I had a small Standardbred breeding farm in New Jersey. We raised and raced these marvelous horses. Harness racing is very exciting. There are many heart warming stories about an owner or trainer believing in their horse and against the odds getting the horse to win a big race. The desire to win drives the plot in Winner's Circle. There are also people who take advantage of both horses and people for personal gain, not caring the least about how the horse is affected. I believed these elements would make a good novel.

Do you have a favorite character?

Summer Langston is my favorite character. She's a very determined lady who cares about her horse, Meadow, and overcomes severe personal and professional obstacles to get her horse to the winner's circle. In the process, she learns something about herself and how to give and receive love. I like the fact that she's gutsy and doesn't give up easily.

Tell us a little about your writing schedule: 

I try to write everyday for two hours. Obviously this isn't easy with farm chores and other activities. During Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) I can almost always keep to the schedule because the incentive is to have a novel at the end of the month. I find the first draft fun and relatively easy to do. Editing is the part that gives me trouble. It takes much longer to edit well than to write a first draft.
What are your future writing plans?
I write a series of mystery novels based on life in the Endless Mountains. Murder in Montbleu and The Lake House are available from Amazon. I'm editing the third book, Death at the Writer's Conference. It will be available later this year.

Nancy’s book, Winner’s Circle is available at

To find out more about Nancy, please visit her at:

Blogs: Nancy Famolari's Place (

Nancy Famolari's Author Spotlight (

Thanks for stopping by Nancy and giving us a chance to get to know you and your book. Best of luck with your book!

March 29, 2011

Great Review for What Is That Thing?

I received a really nice review for What Is That Thing? from Nicole Weaver at Ms. Weaver highly recommends my book and has this to say:

“This cute and heartwarming story should be read to all children who already have or are about to have a new addition to their family.

Further value is added by the award-winning artist K.C. Snider, who elevates the story with her top-notch illustrations.”

K.C. really did do a great job with the illustrations and I’m very fond of the text, myself. ;-) So I’m so glad this book is getting a good reception.

To read the entire review, please follow this link:

March 23, 2011

First Review for What Is That Thing?

I received my first review for What Is That Thing? from author Janet Ann Collins on her On Words blog. An excerpt of which is below:

“McNamee has done a great job of capturing what the experience of having a new sibling can be like.

Illustrator K.C. Snider provided colorful pictures that show both Jenna's imaginary adventures and the real world in a cute way.”

To read the full review, please follow this link

One criticism she had was that newborns don’t smile. But I respectfully disagreed with her and mentioned it in a comment on her blog.

My daughter smiled when she was a newborn, and there are plenty of others who will tell you that their babies started smiling right away. I’ll always remember that little toothless grin on her face when she was an infant. Even if it was gas, I’ll still take it. :-)

I even sent Ms. Collins a link to a parenting site to back me up. Because the last thing I want to happen is to give inaccurate information in my books. You can read more about this at the website below.

March 15, 2011

VBT-Marvin Wilson -Author of Between the Storm and the Rainbow

Today, in a departure from the children's book world, I am happy to be featuring Marvin Wilson, author of Between the Storm and the Rainbow. Marvin, what is this book about?

This book is based on Between the Storm and the Rainbow, the internationally popular award-winning Free Spirit blog. It is an anthology of the best of the best posts that will inspire you, stimulate your deep thoughts and emotions and also give you plenty of laughter. Read the spiritual/inspirational writings of author Marvin D Wilson and join the global community of readers who count on their daily dose of Free Spirit.

This sounds very interesting, Marvin. Please give us an excerpt from your book.

Freedom through Discipline

(August 31, 2008)

I was able to go to college on a music scholarship. My father was a poor Christian minister, and had I not been born with the gift of music, the advantage of higher education would have been denied me. Thanks to my God-given talents, I was able to go. I was a music major with a thespian minor at Central Michigan University. At age eighteen, I thought I knew everything. I had talent, intelligence, youthful bold confidence and a brash attitude, and a social/political/religious view of our world (this was the late 1960's, mind you) that was one of "I know everything." And anyone who disagreed with me (especially my parents and any authority figures in the older generation, those despicable leaders of the hypocritical oppressive "Orwellian - big brother" government of the times), were dead wrong. I was a "Free Spirit," venturing forth into a brave new world that me and my Hippie friends were forging with our new lifestyle, our drugs, sex and rock and roll religion of freedom.

In my freshman year at college, I met Professor Stephen Hobson. He was my choir director and my private lesson voice coach. He looked to me to be in his late sixties. He was (well, he seemed to me at the time) stodgy and stiff, and a strict disciplinarian. He demanded of me a level of self-discipline and rigorous diurnal practice regimen that I was completely without the ability to understand, let alone adhere to. One little flutter in-between voice registers, any tiny slippage in tonal and/or pitch control when singing my assigned lessons in his torture chambers he called a "practice room" every Wednesday, he would stop playing his piano accompaniment, look at me with this "you know as well as I that that was not good enough" expression and demand that I try it again. Over and over … until I got it perfect. Perfect according to his obnoxious elitist opinion.

I couldn't stand that man. He was asking way too much of me, and for no good reason. I did not see the need for such a tyrannical imposition of discipline on me and my life, my singing, my anything. I was writing songs about freedom and liberty, gigging at night in my rock and roll band, getting over to thunderous applause at the hands of my Hippie peers, why did I need discipline? I was a one-of-a-kind talent; my uninhibited, serendipitous, wild and natural style was destined to become the standard for future generations. Professors in decades to come would teach their students how to emulate ME!

Ah, but those of you with any substantial life experience can guess the rest of the story. I never "made it" as a big impact famous rock and roller. I eventually wound up playing for modest money in little disco bars, playing live juke-box cover tunes for young people to get drunk to and screw each other. But I had learned something along the way.

I learned that in order to become "free" with anything, any pursuit, any hobby, any career, any craft, any aspiration of great accomplishment, you had to go through the discipline first. I never made it as a big name musician, but I did learn how to play my instrument. To this day, I am free when I pick up a guitar. I can express emotions, elevate my consciousness, get all heaven-bound and glorified, and anyone around me will experience the same thing I am feeling. It's a miracle I can produce, at any time, in any place, on any guitar of reasonable quality. But it took years and years of discipline to reach that plateau. Years and years of overcoming sore fingertips and blistered split open calluses, learning the scales, studying the modes, practicing the positions, emulating the recordings artists, getting so familiar with the neck I owned it as an extensions of my hand.

Towards the end of my bar-playing nightclub career, Professor Stephen Hobson came out to see my band. I had called him, letting him know we were playing in his town that week. Even so, I was surprised to see him in the audience – remember, this is a classical musician, a prim and proper professor, a patron of the fine arts, someone who goes to operas and symphony performances. For him to go to a dance club and listen to a top forty band was rather impressive.

And you know what? He was impressed with our performance. I went and sat at the table with him and his wife after the second set and he was beaming. He had wonderful accolades to bestow upon me and my ensemble, complimenting the vocals, the arrangements, our use of dynamics, our overall command of our instruments. And it was then that I told him what I had wanted to say for several years. I told him that I finally understood what discipline meant, what its value was. I knew, I told him, that undertaking the arduous discipline of any given art or craft was the necessary and ONLY way to get free within that art or craft. I told him that I finally appreciated what he had been trying to get through to my thick headstrong skull all those years ago. I knew I had been a special student to him, he had a great amount of belief in my talent, and I also knew I had been a disappointment to him, because he never “got through to me” when I was under his tutelage. I apologized to him for that shortcoming and assured him that his teaching had stuck with me all these years and had now been realized in my life and practice.

The now retired Professor Stephen Hobson's eighty-year-old eyes filled up. He said, and I quote, "Then my life, my career, has been worth it!"

We hugged. Long and sincere. That was the last time I ever saw him. He died a couple years later. I will never forget Professor Stephen Hobson and what he taught me about applying discipline to my life in order to get beyond boundaries and break free.

It applies to relationships and marriage, to any career, to any sport, to any hobby, to any life pursuit whatsoever. If you want to eventually be free, you must initially go through the discipline. It may sound like an oxymoron, "Freedom through Discipline," it did to me as a young Hippie, but it makes perfect sense to me now.

God bless and keep you, Professor Stephen Hobson. Your legacy, your teaching, lives on.



“I stumbled upon Marvin’s blog clearly by accident and found his words to be like verbal magnets pulling me into this world he inhabits. It is a terrain full of wisdom, humor, homespun philosophy, good common sense, a poetic sensibility and uncommon spirituality. Reading this man’s work makes it easy to become a confirmed ‘Marvaholic!’”

-L.M. Ross, poet, and author of Manhood and The Moanin’ After

“Marvin Wilson’s award-winning Free Spirit blog not only surprises and shocks you; it tells it like it is, with a generous dollop of love.”

-Jean Henry Mead, author of A Village Shattered and Escape

“I can count on one of three things from my daily visit to Free Spirit … a smile, a feeling of spiritual growth or something to make me think deeply. Many days, they are all rolled into one.”

-Joyce A. Anthony, author of Storm

“It’s an adventure reading what Marvin Wilson writes on Free Spirit since you never know what to expect from him, other than something that will delight, amuse, enrich or inspire!”

-Connie Arnold, poet, and author of Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace and Abiding Hope and Love

You can find Marvin’s book at the following stores:

Direct from publisher:

On Amazon:

You an also follow Marvin’s Free Spirit blog url at:

Thanks for stopping by Marvin and for giving us a chance to get to know you and your book.

March 14, 2011

Fun Interview at The Eyeball In My Garden Blog

Hi All,
I did a fun interview at the Eyeball in My Garden blog. An Eyeball In My Garden is a poetry collection put together by 14 terrifyingly talented poets.  I have two poems included in this collection titled, Our Neighborhood and The Gargoyle.  So if you would ever like to know what I would do if I encountered a Winking Wot, please stop by and say hello.


March 10, 2011

Being Featured on Karen Cioffi's Blog-Writing for Children and More

Hi All,

I'm be featured on Karen Cioffi's Blog, Writing For Children and More.  I'll be talking about the story behind my picture book, If I Could Be Anything.  If you get a chance, please stop by and say hello.

March 7, 2011

What Is That Thing? has been released.

"It’s an alien from outer space! … It’s a strange and smelly creature! … It’s a mysterious, roaring animal! … It’s my baby sister?!"

Jenna uses her imagination to understand this new person in her life. When she finally sees things as they are, will Jenna like what she sees?

It is with great pleasure that I announce the release of my latest picture book with Guardian Angel Publishing. It is titled, What Is That Thing? This book deals with the arrival of a new baby. Jenna uses her imagination to try and figure out this new little person in her life, and to understand the changing family dynamics involved in having a new addition to the family. K.C. Snider did a terrific job with the illustrations.

This book is available as a print, book, ebook and book on CD from Guardian Angel Publishing at

and as a print book at at

I’ll be adding be adding new links for this book as they become available. This is so new, Amazon doesn’t have a picture for it yet. This book was a lot of fun to write. I hope people have just as much fun reading it.

March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Today is Theodor Geisel’s birthday. However, for those who don't already know, he is better known as Dr. Seuss. I loved reading Dr. Seuss as a child. The Cat in the Hat was one of the first books I remember reading. I loved all the entertaining characters he came up with, The Star Bellied Sneetches, The Lorax, Thing1 and Thing 2, not to mention that he was the first one to draw a Nerd and coin the phrase.

As an adult and especially as a children’s book writer, I admire his tenacity. His first children’s book, And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before it was published. I was quite a bit luckier with my first acceptance. The Soggy Town of Hilltop was the first of my books to receive a contract. It was only rejected 18 times by my records before it finally found a home with Guardian Angel Publishing. It is written in rhyme and I’ve been told that this book shows some Seussian influences. That may have contributed to my story’s success. I do have other work that’s coming close to exceeding Mr. Geisel’s record.

I also admire the fact that he continued to work at his day job in advertising while pursuing his writing career.  He didn’t discard writing and illustrating in favor of what was paying more money at the time. We are all better off for it.

I hold down a day job and struggle to find a way to keep writing despite the demands on my time. I lament how difficult this business is to begin with, and how the economy is just making it worse. But still I keep plugging away, without knowing if anything I do will ever bear fruit. When I look at the cold, hard facts with a rational eye, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have rocks in my head.

Fortunately, I save rationality and cold, hard facts for my day job. I’m a writer and always have been. It’s what I do and it’s part of who I am. Luckily for me, giants have gone before me doing exactly what I am doing. It helps strengthen my resolve.

So, Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.  May your books continue to delight and entertain children and adults alike, and may the struggles you faced continue to inspire writers everywhere.

February 16, 2011

Virtual Book Tour Guest - Darcia Helle

Hi All,

Today I am pleased to feature author Darcia Helle, who will be talking about her book, Beyond Salvation.

Beyond Salvation is a suspense novel written for adults. This is a departure from my usual topics which usually focus on the kid-lit world. But I think it always helps to change things up every now and then and hey, we adults could always use a good read too.

Darcia, what is this book about?

A teenage runaway disappears from the streets. The only people who care, or even notice, are her two best friends who are also runaways. For reasons of their own, they can't go to the police for help They seek out Michael Sykora, a software designer by day and hit man by night. Known on the streets as The Ghost, Michael has a reputation for taking on the twisted criminals. Rapists. Child molesters. He has never been hired to find the lost. Until now.

Michael teams up with ex-prostitute Nicki and full-time hit man Sean. Together they bend the rules of the justice system in order to find a young girl few people care about. In the process, they uncover a world where salvation comes with a price tag and God's words are used to incite fear in a congregation of believers.

What is the story behind the book?

Homelessness is a huge problem in the U.S. Every age range, from children to the very old, exist in a separate and hidden world on our streets. According to a study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty approximately 3.5 million people, 1.35 million of them children, are likely to experience homelessness in a given year (National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 2007).

In No Justice, the first book in my Michael Sykora series, two homeless teens made a brief appearance when they helped Nicki out of a difficult jam. I wanted to bring them back and let them tell their story. That’s when Sara popped into my head and led the way.

Sara is a teenage runaway, friends with the two boys, and missing. The problem with runaways is, when they disappear from the streets, no one but their few friends on those same streets notices. Often there is nowhere to turn for help. Michael Sykora works within that lost world and sets out to find Sara.

To be honest, when I began writing this book, I had no idea what had happened to Sara. I don’t outline and only began with that vague premise. As I explored the reasons behind Sara and her friends winding up on the streets, I was led to the few options they might have to reach out for help. Sadly, there will always be people who prey on those who are desperate. Cults are one of the biggest offenders, often masking themselves as Churches and various sanctuaries of hope. Sara stumbled upon one of these.

As I was writing this book, I wasn’t looking to give a lesson in morality or write a societal thesis. I simply wanted to give these lost people, the characters in my head, a voice. I hope that I achieved that and managed to entertain at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by Darcia, and giving us a chance to get to know you and your book. You can find out more about Darcia and her books by following the links below.

Darcia Helle gives voice to the characters trespassing through her mind. She currently has six books published, all variations of the suspense genre. Originally from Massachusetts, Darcia now writes in the sunshine of Florida.

You can find Darcia in the following places:



Her Message Board:



January 21, 2011

Out of the Slush and Into Some Slush Piles

It’s been a fairly annoying winter here in the New York City area. It snowed twice this week, dumping more snow on top of the previous storm’s deposits and it’s only warmed up enough so that the whole mess can refreeze into ice. The snowman in front of my house has transformed into a vague, pyramid-shaped thing and has since shed its eyes, nose, scarf and hat that were once part of a snowman kit. I rescued all those pieces last night lest they become buried by today’s snowfall and not be seen again until the spring.

I don’t really mind the snow, as long as I don’t have to go out in it, that is. I think it pretties up the place. I’m quite content to stand there with a cup of coffee and watch it come down. However, I rarely have that luxury, especially if it snows on a weekday.

The first snowflake to hit usually causes my daughter’s school to close or at least have a two hour delay, causing us to scramble to find alternate child care arrangements. The second snowflake usually causes both the roads and mass transit to become hopelessly snarled, making the commute to and from my day job, an adventure in perseverance.
However, there are advantages to all this nasty weather. It keeps me indoors and close to my computer. This is a good thing right now because my next book, What Is That Thing?, is due to be released by the end of this month. I still have plenty of prep work to do for it. My virtual book tour group is starting up again in February and I want to start the tour with this book. I’m also trying to revise the presentations for my other books to keep the material fresh. It’s no small feat, but I’m happy with the progress I am making.
But I am not happy with one realization that I made this morning. While going through some files for my books, I opened up the file I use for submissions. I do not have one single submission out there, not one. I’ve always tried to have multiple submissions making the rounds out there, but somehow I let everything slip. I’m a little disappointed in myself. It’s time wasted and time is a very precious commodity. One lesson I learned early on in my career, is that I needed to just do my research and get it out there. No editor is going to come to me.
I do plan to correct this mistake during the weekend. I’m going to write my cover letters and have at least three submissions ready to go for next week. I just better get to the post office by Tuesday though. That’s when they are predicting the next snowstorm.

January 4, 2011

The Prose Shop is looking for new members

Hi All,

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I’m still currently digging out from the holidays and from a snowstorm that dumped almost two feet of snow here in the NY City area last week. But things are slowly returning to normal, which means that I have no excuse for not writing and will now need to find some other reason to procrastinate. ;-) However, I digress… (I’m good at that)

The reason for this post is that one of my children’s book critique groups currently has openings. If any writers out there are looking for a critique group, please read below and email if you are interested.

The Prose Shop is a supportive community of people who write picture book manuscripts, as well as magazine stories for children up to 12 years of age. We are an established online critique group created in 2005 and have a mix of both published and unpublished writers. We are dedicated to helping each other to improve technique, become more confident and capable writers, discuss and share information, and get published.

The Prose Shop is organized via a message board. This has huge advantages over groups that use an e-mail system for submitting critiques. Here, members are able to view all critiques. This is where we work as a team. Members are encouraged to comment on critiques, thus bringing about general discussion and debate that is invaluable to the author.

There are only a few rules pertinent to our group. First, we critique at least one story for each story we post. That is a minimum. The more critiques you give, the more you will receive.
Second, we expect at least one critique every 30 days from each member, whether or not they post a story.

Third, to keep the group active and encourage writers to write, we require that you post a story at least every three months. Rewrites of previously posted material will be acceptable.

We are looking for writers who demonstrate a long-term commitment to writing. We would like to see applicants who have an inventory of several picture book manuscripts and/or magazine stories available for critique.

If you are interested in becoming a member, please email and we will send you an application.