You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 SN Taylor, All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Tour & Review: The Story Catcher by Donna L. Martin


Title: The Story Catcher

Author: Donna L. Martin (read an interview with Donna, The 3 B's of Storytelling.)

Illustrator: Alyson Peterson

Publisher: Anaiah Press

Topics: Reading, Faith, Patience

Age: 4 - 8

Book Description: 
Addie comes from a long line of readers, or "story catchers," as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.


My Review:

The Story Catcher is a sweet tale about a young girl who wants to learn how to read, or "catch a story." She sees that everyone in her family can catch a story but when she tries, the stories, hide, play games and fly away from her. No matter how hard she tries, she just can't seem to catch them. No one seems to be able to help her except to say she will catch them "one day."

Many children will find this story relatable since learning how to read can be difficult and most children have little to no patience when it comes to learning how to "catch words/stories." I love Addie's dedication and desire. I love that she does not give up, even though she is frustrated with how difficult it is, something that is not unfamiliar to children. Her attempts at story catching were humorous and fun to follow. Faith. Faith is an important theme in the story. Children are encouraged to not give up and to believe in themselves.



About the author:

By day, Donna L. Martin is a Fourth Degree TaeKwonDo Black Belt; by night, she is a self-proclaimed “ninja author” of picture books, middle grade chapter books, and young adult novels. Somewhere amidst all this excitement, she also created the Free Author Promotion event that takes place every May during the Children’s Festival of Reading. Donna loves laughter, snuggling with her cat, and reading good books. To get a sneak peak of what it was like growing up among the swamps of southern Louisiana, check out Tales from the Bayou on her blog at www.DonnaLMartin.com.




I received an e-copy of The Story Catcher in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Book Birthday!!!!! The Story Catcher by Donna L. Martin

We are so excited to share our first picture book release today!

The Story Catcher BT Banner
Title: The Story Catcher
Author: Donna L. Martin
Imprint: Adventures
Release Date: January 20, 2015
The Story Catcher Book Cover

BLURB:

Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it  will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.com/0990908542

 
THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB: Fan club membership includes:
Membership Certificate
Bi-monthly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news and other goodies
Reading log for earning Story Catcher Award
Short story starring YOU!



TRAILER LINK:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvuB8FQXcmM


Donna L. MartinAUTHOR BIO: By day, Donna L. Martin is a Fourth Degree TaeKwonDo Black Belt; by night, she is a self-proclaimed “ninja author” of picture books, middle grade chapter books, and young adult novels. Somewhere amidst all this excitement, she also created the Free Author Promotion event that takes place every May during the Children’s Festival of Reading. Donna loves laughter, snuggling with her cat, and reading good books. To get a sneak peak of what it was like growing up among the swamps of southern Louisiana, check out Tales from the Bayou on her blog at www.DonnaLMartin.com.  






GIVEAWAY:
Anaiah Press will give away a $20 iTunes Gift Card to one lucky winner and Donna L. Martin will give away a beautiful writing journal.
journal

Enter via the Rafflecopter below.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Tour and Review: Cranberry Bluff by Deborah Garner


How far is far enough to get away from your past?

Title: Cranberry Bluff

Author: Deborah Garner

Publisher:Cranberry Cove Press; November 21, 2014

Book Description: Molly Elliott’s quiet life in Tallahassee, Florida, is disrupted when routine errands land her in the wrong place at the wrong time: the middle of a bank robbery.

Accused and cleared of the crime, she flees both media attention and mysterious, threatening notes, to move across the country to Cranberry Cove, where she has inherited her Aunt Maggie’s bed and breakfast on the Northern California coast. Her new beginning is peaceful – that is, until five guests show up at the inn for a weekend, each with a hidden agenda.

Mix together one blushing honeymoon couple, one flamboyant boutique owner, a deadpan traveling salesman, and a charmingly handsome novelist, and there’s more than scones cooking at Cranberry Cottage Bed and Breakfast. As true motives become apparent, will Molly’s past come back to haunt her or will she finally be able to leave it behind?


My Review:

Cranberry Cove sounds like a place I would visit and I would definitely stay at Cranberry Cottage Bed and Breakfast. On whole this was a good read. It was a bit tedious in a few place with a lot of descriptions but I still found it enjoyable to read.

The story is about Molly, a bed and breakfast inn owner who is trying to make a new life for herself after involuntarily being involved in a bank robbery. Life seems to be settling in for her until five guest show up. Five guests who are out for something other than a relaxing vacation in Cranberry Cove.

Mr. Charlie Miller was my favorite character. He was odd, reclusive and oh so O.C.D, he reminded me of one of my favorite detectives on tv, MONK. The other characters included Susie and Dan, the newlywed, Sadie, the wealthy boutique owner, I envied her ability to literally shop till she dropped! And then there was Bryce, a single, flirtatious novelist. While Miller was my favorite guest, the others were also well written and added their own charm and wit to the story. Each character is somehow connected to Molly and each other. The plots and twists throughout the story kept me on my toes (well, actually my bum) and reading on. I was pleasantly entertained and pleased with the ending. Kudos to the author. I did NOT see that coming! :D

Oh. Oh. Oh........

There are recipes at the end of the book!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doubly awesome!!!! :D

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review: Khadijah's Got Her Groove by F. A. Ibrahim

Title: Khadijah Got Her Groove

Author: F. A. Ibrahim

Publisher: University Publications
Book Description:

Khadijah Aziz, who only shoots for the stars, has running the perfect Muslim household under control. That was until a mysterious phone number from a woman named Saffron surfaces from her husband Raheem's pocket. Confused and distraught, Khadijah pushes the questionable number to the side and tries to maintain her grip on life as a slew of challenges arise in the relationships she holds most dear. With the threat of slipping, Khadijah struggles desperately to maintain her fascade, but inevitable change is already in motion. Putting family first isn't always easy. Will Khadijah lose everything she's worked for when escalating dilemmas leaves her life boiling like a volcano of issues of the heart, or will she push on to forge a new path for herself: choosing mastery over weakness, peace over strife, and love over fear?


My Review:
I was impressed with Khadijah's Got Her Groove. It is not normally the type of fiction I read, I'm more of a scifi-cozy mystery-action/adventure type of reader but this book really sent me on an emotional roller coaster. Any book that can have me in tears and reaching for tissues is a good book.

Khadijah is a woman in control, of her life, of her family, of her home, of her reputation. But then her life is turned upside down and soon realizes she does not have the control that she thought she had and struggles to the point of a break down and potentially causing harm to her unborn baby. Khadijah is pregnant and stress can cause her to have a very premature delivery. But stress seems to be in her face 24/7. From her daughter rebelling against her and her hijab, her best friend's spiteful and antagonizing non-Muslim sibling, an unknown woman's name and number found in her husband's coat pocket, and a dead-beat father who now wants to make amends. Khadijah learns she has siblings from her dad, her daughter, Laila, is failing school and add to all of this, she is not sure if her husband is faithful or not, if he is lying to her about the woman, Saffron, or not. Khadijah is seriously at a breaking point. But just when she figures out a way to put control back in her hands and bring peace to her heart and her family, she is tested again with the ultimate of handing over control.

I was moved by this story. It takes a lot of courage to learn how to forgive when you have been broken and hurt for so long. It takes courage to remove anger from heart, it takes courage to face your fears. F. A. Ibrahim takes you on a journey with Khadijah as she makes that terrifying effort to grow and become more forgiving, patient and strong enough to face her greatest fears and disappointments.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Book Review: Gilt By Association by Karen Rose Smith

Book Title: Gilt By Association

Author: Karen Rose Smith

Publisher: Kensington Books

Book Blurb:

Between training her new puppy, helping her sister with her baby, and searching for the perfect vintage dress for Kismet's Valentine's Day dance, home-stager Caprice De Luca has a lot on her to-do list. But she's never too busy to do a little staging, and she's looking forward to thawing February's frozen real estate market with her Hearts and Flowers Open House. Her client Louise Downing's romantically decorated home practically staged itself. But when Louise is found murdered, Caprice is forced to turn her attention from sweethearts to suspects. And as the truth comes out in stages, she discovers that Louise had more secrets than a box of chocolate truffles.

My Review:

A great cozy mystery to read on a wintry night with a cup of steaming tea. :)

I take it there was a book before this one as through out the story Caprice mentions her involvement in a previous murder investigation case. While it doesn't make a huge difference in this particular case, it's often mention was a bit annoying and could have been limited. But I guess the author had to since Caprice's "relationship"with Grant was based on their encounter in her first investigative case where he apparently saved her life. But other than that snag, I really enjoyed Caprice as a character who was dedicated, loyal and true to those she cared about.

When Louise, an old family friend is found murdered in her own greenhouse, just hours before her home staging event, Caprice promises her mother to find out the who and why behind the awful death. Between helping out with a charity event, her job as a home stager, raising and training her puppy, Lady, and her cat, Sophia, and wondering if there is even something between her and Grant, Caprice manages to not only reveal a vengeful killer but unearth secrets of Louise's troubled past.

There are a few recipes at the end that I plan on trying out :D

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Muslims and Romance: An Interview with Papatia Feauxzar

Today's interview is with author Papatia Feauxzar. Papatia is the author of many books in the genre of romance and the founder of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing .

As Salaamu Alaikum and thank you for joining us sister Papatia.


Can tell us a little bit about yourself?
1- Papatia Feauxzar is my pen name. I wish to remain anonymous and to any sister who knows who I am, please keep it to yourself. Everything about me always has a French stamp on it because French is my first language. Writing is a hobby as I have a day job. I consider myself well-rounded with flaws. And it's very hard to get under my skin. I do have a breaking point though but I am always in a good mood even when below the layers, it's chaos.
What was the inspiration behind your book, Between Sisters, Svp?
The inspiration behind the book comes from many sources. First, it comes from the daily Muslim lives of many women I came across, myself included. As Muslims, our activities don't differ much from non-Muslims if you take out the required salat we observe daily. At the end of the day, we are all humans and we face daily struggles like any other human being. We have jobs, we worry about finances, we have marital problems, we go out to movies, we read sometimes in the goal of gaining more knowledge, we use social media, we talk like our peers, we eat, we love and the list goes on. Secondly, I also wanted to have an edge because I didn't want my work to be another boring love story with no kick (no drama, etc). And since intimacy is an untapped market in Muslim authored fiction, taboo in the ummah, and that I am comfortable around that area, I went for it. Finally, I was also tired of reading stories where the characters are always rich. They come and sweep a good virgin off her feet. Why can't it be about normal people who have 9 to 5pm jobs or 6pm to late hours or even broke? That's more realistic in my opinion, and it can still be dreamy.
Can you highlight for us some of your achievements and challenges while working on Between Sisters, Svp?
It was challenging writing the love scenes while avoiding spilling the beans on the main character's bedroom secrets or avoiding coming off vapid. It was also challenging to get over the hurdles of self publishing with the editing and reediting process. There is also the wary vibe you get from some sisters not quite sure how to categorize or accept a different kind of writing. From my debut in July 2011, I have definitely learned a lot about writing professionally. And everyday, I learn something new steering me in the right direction Alhamdullilah and getting me close to becoming great and bestseller author :) .
Describe your writing style in ten words.
My style is heavily related on Islam and pop culture.
Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Spiritual, Loyal, Crazy, Fun, and Loving.
Thank you so much sister Papatia for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your book and publishing experience with us.
Thank you for having me. May Allah reward you for taking a leap of faith in me and my work and not caring if you would be tag 'guilty by association.' ;)
If you would like to learn more about Papatia Feauxzar and her books, please visit at

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators