My Writings. My Thoughts.
I’m thrilled to have received a five-star review by a Readers Favourite Reviewer. Check it out at their website.
Here it is below:
Reviewed by Author Anna del C. Dye. for Readers Favorite
This is a very enjoyable story for kids in Kindergarten to fifth grade. It has cartoon drawings here and there to optimize visualization. The language is age appropriate, witty and fast moving. I like it because it is written in an easy English which will be a plus to help readers in the lower levels to read. The story is well-developed and interesting for kids of that age.
Danny is a computer gamer and he is good at it. The only obstacles that keep him from more mature and fun games are his parents. He thinks, breathes and eats computer games, that is until he is ten-years-old, when he decides that the games have become boring. He is ready for the next level, but his mother always says he needs to stay with the safe ones. That has stopped him many times before but not today. He is swallowed up by his computer and finds himself in a place where everything is computer games. Yes! He is now in heaven. But that is until the most ugly monster in that place threatens to eat him. Now, he not only has to play what he likes, but also win a real fight for his life. These terrors will continue until he figures out how to return safely back home to his family.
This book should relate quite well with kids who are in elementary school now. It addresses a theme that they know about and will have experienced many times in their own lives. It is clean and very enjoyable. It will make a great catch for any school or home library.
There are a lot of children’s authors out there in cyberspace and quite a few lurking in bookstores that could use a boost in sales. For lesser known authors and self published authors such as myself, obtaining decent book reviews to post on Amazon and Chapters-Indigo (for us Canadians) can be challenging. That’s why I would be happy to consider swapping book reviews for books similar to Danny in a Newfangled World. If you are an author of a children’s chapter book with a word count in the range of 15,000 to 40,000 and would like to increase your web presence through reviews, send me an email describing your book (and a link to your amazon page would be helpful). If it’s a good match, we can swap books via email and post reviews for free. Neither party is obligated to write a good review, however both parties can decide whether they wish the review to be posted after it is completed.
I would also consider swapping completed manuscripts of children’s chapter books for free objective critiques. I have a completed manuscript for the sequel to Danny in a Newfangled World that could benefit from some honest feedback to ensure it’s the best story it can be.
If either of these options interests you, email me at dani.leonard5(at)gmail(dot)com.
Happy New Year! This day, January 1st, 2012, I have resolved to get serious about self-publishing the sequel to Danny in a Newfangled World in the coming months. Finding good books for boys has never been easier, yet still there are no other books in the marketplace that combine kids’ love of video games with their love of reading the way Danny in a Newfangled World does.
Parents and teachers can appreciate the underlying messages about internet safety, while kids can take pleasure in reading about an ultimate fantasy – getting sucked inside their favourite video games.
Additionally, for all the new owners of iPads and e-readers, buying books for kids online is easier than ever. Danny in a Newfangled World can be ordered online through Amazon or iTunes bookstore for super cheap! Looking for an ebook for boys and girls that will keep their eyes glued to a screen (in a good way)? Check out this link:
Amazon ebook $0.99 each
If you read on your iPad or iPod, download the version available in iTunes iBookstore.
I have officially started to prepare for the Christmas holidays. In other words, I’ve been shopping. My boys are asking for some heavy duty techno gadgets that I may or may not have bought for them. One request is an iPod Touch and the other is for Nintendo 3DS. While I dread the prospect of seeing my kids staring face-down more than ever into a mobile screen, I recognize that this technology is becoming an increasingly necessary part of our culture.
I am grateful, however, that my three sons are still voracious readers. This past weekend, my husband treated them to a visit to Chapters and they came home with four books that have been read and re-read several times over already. Admittedly, my 11-year-old is not selecting the most cerebrally-challenging books but I have to be satisfied with the fact that he is still as likely to bury his face in his book as in a mobile screen.
The new year, no doubt, will open new reading opportunities for kids, especially in my family. I plan to search for opportunities to download ebooks that suit their interests. So far, they’ve shown no desire to use their favourite devices as a traditional book, but with more and more kids’ books being offered in electronic form, this will likely change. Now if only I can find an app that locks them out of all those diversions that will prevent them from concentrating on the art of reading.
First of all, thank you so much for dropping in for a visit. Seeing as you have arrived, I assume that you have recently received a query for my two books: Danny in a Newfangled World and Saving Ivan. To help you better understand me and my books, I’ve compiled a list of personal facts:
- I only send queries to agents whom I have researched and feel certain that my book has the potential to fit into their roster of books.
- I have been toiling over my most recent synopsis re-write for an entire day (admittedly my day ends at 3:30pm when my boys race through the front door) and will continue to “perfect” it today. I’m serious about my writing.
- One prominent literary agent asked me for a partial review of both my manuscripts. However, as patient as I am (and hopeful), I’ve decided that after 2 months with no response, it is time to resume my search for representation. I still await their response and will apprise all queried agents of any change in the status of my manuscript.
- Saving Ivan is, in fact, the fourth novel I have written. My first – a somewhat cheesy teen novel was completed back in 2000 when I was 29. I cringe when I read it now.
- I have a small piece of paper hanging to the left of my desk with the words: Rejection Tally – Go up to 100. (I’d prefer to stop anywhere closer to 50, so feel free to help me out with that.)
- Although self-publishing Danny in a Newfangled World may have ultimately hurt my chances to find a publisher now, I don’t regret it because I am a better author, speaker, book seller, and risk-taker now than I was over a year ago when I decided to go for it.
- I now realize selling books is harder than writing them. Way harder.
- I actually think my sequel, Saving Ivan, is funnier and more exciting than Danny in a Newfangled World – which is strange because when I started writing it, I didn’t think I could live up to the first book’s standard.
- I take criticism very, very, very well. I may sit in my room sulk for a bit after I hear it (pity party!), but then I suck it up and make the changes, knowing they are creating a better story, article, assignment.
- I am now reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (yep, for the first time).
I hope you feel you know me a bit better now. Thanks for stopping by and it would be so lovely to receive a personal response, rather than a form letter, but I understand your predicament. So, no hard feelings if things don’t work out between us.
What a day! Sunday, I spent seven hours peddling my book to a fantastic crowd of book lovers in Toronto. Located in a section called Writer’s Block, I had my own booth set up where I was able to meet and chat with kids, parents, and teachers who dropped by to check out what Danny in a Newfangled World is all about.
I am always happy to see my book carried off by a young reader, parent, or teacher. It means more kids will have the opportunity to enjoy this crazy new story and potentially share it with others. There is no better way to increase the popularity of a kids’ book than through word of mouth by someone who really loved it.
Although a lot of visitors to my booth chose not to purchase my book, I appreciate that they now know about it. Certainly, there was no shortage of interest over the theme of the story and hopefully, they’ll remember Danny Lenesky come Christmas time when moms and dads are looking for a unique literary gift to leave under the tree.
Unfortunately, some parents looked at the cover of my book and assumed the story is written in a way to encourage their kids to play video games. In fact, the opposite is true. Yes, the back cover says this book is for kids who would rather be playing video games (the truth hurts, but it’s still the truth). That’s what makes it so ironic. With so many parents and teachers struggling to find a book that can compete with the video game console or computer, this is a perfect option. It caters to every typical kids’ fascination with all things digital thereby encouraging them to pick up this book and read (rather than turn on the screen).
In reality, the story is actually quite metaphorical in its representation of the difficulties kids may face online. It touches upon such important internet issues as online predators and commercialism in a funky, zany, out-of-this-world story. Most kids will get to the end of the book, however, and not realize that there was a single lesson in the story. And, that’s the point. Who wants to be preached to? Not me. Not you. But, a really great kids’ story helps children to make better sense of their own lives and how they fit into the greater community without making it painfully obvious. So, let’s not pretend that the digital screen isn’t a huge, massive, ever-burgeoning part of our kids’ lives. It is and forever will be. Isn’t it time to find a way for the literary world to help them grapple with it?
Yup. Read my book.
This past Saturday afternoon, I was at the Chapters Store in Scarborough signing my book. I met lots of wonderful kids and their parents. Kudos to the ambitious kids who worked hard to complete my scavenger hunt… Way to go!
This weekend, I will be signing books at the Guelph Chapters Bookstore alongside my author pals — all authors of adult books. The scavenger hunt will again be offered to curious kiddos (with a fun little giveaway), as well customers who drop by to say hello can help themselves to a free Starbucks coffee and a delectable treat by the chef extroardinaire, Carla Johnson, author of Cooking with Sin.
Drop by to meet us all:
- Steve Liddell, author of the humorous fiction novel, Honest Lee
- Carla Johnson, author of Cooking with Sin — recipes dipped in alcohol
- Mark Loeffler, Real Estate guru and author Investing in Rent-to-Own Property
- Steve Wilson, co-author (with Steve Ludzik) of sports memoir, Been There Done That
There will a bit of something for everyone. Hope to see you there.
My goal for the past few years has remained unchanged…it is to get my books published. When I received a slew of rejections for Danny in a Newfangled World over a year ago, I decided to give this self-publishing thing a try. The practice was gaining traction among unpublished writers and the odd success story was creeping into the mainstream media.
My book has done as well as I could have expected: it’s sold in many Chapters stores, I’m starting to offer author visits to schools, and kids have been thrilled with my book. Yet, my ultimate goal has not changed. I still plan to find a commercial publisher to represent my books (my sequel is ready to go, now, too). While I truly believe that one day (some day, any day) this goal will be achieved, there is no way of knowing when it will happen. That is probably the most frustrating part of being a writer. The waiting and wondering.
That’s why I run. Six months ago, when I finished my sequel and I got back to sending queries (and receiving rejections), the depressing possibility that I’d have to undergo another torrent of rejections had me hitting some serious lows. I needed another goal that was both challenging, yet absolutely achievable. At the time, I could barely run 5 km without gasping for air but I knew if I worked hard enough I could get up to 21 km – enough to complete my second ever half-marathon. The thought of running that far seemed almost impossible. But I knew I could do it. And, unlike my writing career, I knew I could do by the date I set out.
I’m now only a month away from running the Toronto Waterfront half-marathon and two days ago I ran 16 km. It was awesome. Hard… but awesome. When I’m running, I remind myself to ignore the pain. Ignore the negative voices in my head begging me to stop and catch my breath. And when I’ve shut that voice down, I turn my attention to that other irritating voice that wonders if, maybe, perhaps, I should give up on my writing. With the endorphins pumping and my legs burning, I proclaim that I will not quit. I will never quit. Because, one day soon, my goal to find a publisher who recognizes the potential of my writing will be realized.
See you at the finish line.
I’d forgotten how much my kids take up my day when they are not at school. This month of July has been wonderful: perfect sunny weather, amazing camping at Killbear, hanging by pools, um, sipping cocktails. Unfortunately, it has also been my laziest month of the year. I have not worked more than a few hours on my books or my blogs this entire month. The guilt has been tugging on my conscience.
But – good news! I set up a book signing for September 17 at Chapters Scarborough in Kennedy Commons. I look forward to meeting the young readers East of Toronto and their parents. There will be more information about the signing in August. So, come back for more info.