Halloween Book Reviews – kid’s books

Image result for corduroy's best halloween everCorduroy’s Best Halloween Ever! by Don Freeman – I had high hopes for this book, but Corduroy’s discovery of a costume was a let down. Sadly, I don’t think kids would find Corduroy’s costume great either.

10 Busy Brooms by Carole Gerber – Cute Halloween themed counting book. Illustrations by Michael Fleming fill out the story nicely. Image result for 10 busy brooms

Image result for hubble bubble granny troubleHubble Bubble, Granny Trouble by Tracey Corderoy -Although this is not a traditional Halloween book, it works as Granny is a witch. The story takes a different approach regarding the importance of being yourself and accepting that of others too.

For the older kids – three classics which are a fun read (a movie is coming soon based on the series) – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz – Kids will love to read these themselves with a flashlight in hand.

Autumn Book Reviews – kid’s books

Image result for fall leaves bookFall Leaves by Loretta Holland – This book was rather different both in illustrations as well as text. I loved that a parent could read the large print poem version or/and the non-fiction aspect of the book. The illustrations by Elly MacKay provided exceptional three-dimensional imagery.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson – Although this story was cute, it didn’t flow for me as an easy Image result for fletcher and the falling leavesto read book. The illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke were a little too rough draft for what I like to see in a picture book.

Image resultDuck & Goose, Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills – Cute story where the pictures and text are simple and short. Reads perfectly for a toddler.

Image result for hocus pocus it's fallHocus Pocus, It’s Fall by Anne Sibley O’Brien – This was a classic feeling picture book, almost seventies inspired colors and illustrations. If the words fail to entertain the kids, the illustrations by Susan Gal will keep them turning the pages.

*Stay tuned! I will be posting upcoming theme book reviews for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December*

Seeing Differently

20160I’m working on the final edits for my middle grade novel, and diving into two prior picture books that I have set aside for about four months. Upon my return to their story I have edited, and tried something new. I made a small 32 page book and took EACH sentence and cut it out and taped it together in the book. In doing so I realized several sentences didn’t belong where I had originally placed them.

As you can see, not fancy at all, just a sample to get you thinking about how well it will fit in book format, how it flows, and how illustrations can be placed.

Happy writing🙂

Facts About the Writer in Me

  1. I read the author bio on the jacket flap at least 3 times in the course of the book. (Before I buy it, mid-way through, and once I finish).
  2. I watch movies and think about how it would have played out as words on a page.
  3. New story ideas come to me when I’m writing a current story, thus throwing my current story off track.
  4. I critique other author’s head-shots/profile pictures. (That one is uber cool/that one looks horrible).
  5. I’ll go weeks without checking Amazon stats, then suddenly start checking every hour.
  6. I ponder which celebrities actually wrote their books and who had ghost writers, then get upset that celebrities get book deals like it’s a Wendy’s drive-thru, yet I love to read their books more than most other books…then I feel guilty about this.
  7. I lose hope in my writing and gain hope like a game of Chutes and Ladders.
  8. Either I accidentally starve myself or I accidentally over-eat when I write.
  9. I’m severely jealous of those who get to write full-time, then wonder about their possible lack of health insurance.
  10. I dream of my stories as movies or TV, then remember when I tried screenplay writing for a year, and it was horribly terribly awful.

Hop on Big Brother

Image result for hop on popAwesome here, wanted to let you know that Menace is still bothering me something awful. He enjoys his daily hop on top (much like HOP ON POP) of me, like I’m a bull. I try and buck him off, but the little man is strong. His paws wrap around my neck and he just hangs on for dear life. I do manage to get him to fall off, but he hops back up too quickly that I can’t run away. I think Mom should have him try out for the rodeo. It would give him something to do outside of the home and I think he has real talent for this. Of course, Mom would probably chew her nails off and scream “MY BABY, MY BABY BOY!” the whole time, so okay, scratch the rodeo. Maybe Mom will just buy him a cowboy hat and chaps and he can chew those up for an activity.

Author Interview with Jane Haseldine – THE LAST TIME SHE SAW HIM

pix6Your writing comes off so well that several times I stopped reading and wondered, gosh did she really have this happen to her in real life! Do ideas come to you that you DIDN’T experience as a journalist?

First of all, thank you, Savannah! That’s a very kind thing to say. I definitely used my experience in the newsroom and on the crime beat to help shape my main character, Julia Gooden, and as background for certain scenes in the story.

But as a journalist, I never covered a child abduction case.

As a mom, the thought of something bad happening to my children is my greatest fear. So in this book, I wrote about what scared me the most.

The majority of the story was my imagination running away with itself (with a bunch of fact checking when I was done, of course). I’ve been a huge mystery, suspense, thriller, horror (with a touch of supernatural thrown in for good measure) fan for a long time. My mom, who was also a journalist, loved mysteries and read me, “And Then There Were None” when I was eleven, and I’ve never been the same since (in the best possible way).

So I think my experience as a journalist helped create a framework for the story, but most of the book wasn’t based on personal experience, and hopefully, years of reading mysteries helped spark a seed of creativity inside of me.

Do you find when you write powerful scenes, like many in this book, that you are exhausted afterwards?

Interesting question! No, I’d have to say that when I write an action-packed scene, I feel energized. Same thing when I was a reporter chasing a story. When you’re covering a breaking story, there’s a major adrenaline rush. My husband— who I first met at a newspaper where he was covering politics and I was covering the crime beat—and I used to talk about this after we got home to decompress about our day. Of course, if it’s a story where there are victims involved, you can’t desensitize yourself to that, and I would always have a hard time shaking what happened to them long after the story was written.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I’ve got two sons (Nash and Beck, both great little boys), and my writing desk is smack in-between the kitchen and our family room, so my “office” is located in command central of our house. That’s the only place where I write. Working in a newsroom helped me tune out background noise. A former city editor called it “being in the zone.” I’ve never gone to a coffee shop to write. My cluttered desk that has my kids’ homework piled to the side of it is my one and only writing spot. I have some treasures around it though: a black and white picture of my parents on their wedding day, and photos of my kids. There’s a bunch of clutter, but I love having those pictures around me when I write.

Is there anything you do to help spark your creativity?

No. I wish I had that magical formula though! Story ideas to me are like gifts. If I’m lucky, they come, and I follow their lead.

I do always draft a synopsis of the book (and man, I hate writing a synopsis, but in publishing, you can’t dodge that). For my own roadmap, I outline chapters before I write them. For me, sometimes the story will take a different turn as I’m writing it, and I just go with it. I just finished writing book 3 in the Julia Gooden series and the original synopsis I sent my agent and editor is going to need to be updated (ugh), because the story led me in a different direction.

If I ever feel stuck when I’m writing, I find that working out the scene in my head while doing mundane tasks (insert folding laundry here), helps. Just walking away from the story for a few minutes has always seemed to do the trick for me.

The last time she saw him revise comp#1The cover is rather peaceful, yet intriguing. Although it’s a great cover, was it the cover you had envisioned?

I love the cover, and thank God for my editor and publishing house because I’m horrendous at anything that is remotely art-related. Before the book came out, my editor asked me if I had any ideas for the cover. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to give him one okay option, and truth be told, my ideas probably completely stunk. I’m not being self-deprecating. I truly lack any artistic skills. When my 10-year-old son Nash has an art project for school, he knows he better ask his dad for help, because everyone in my house knows I’m helpless in that area.

If you could have been the author of any other published book on the market, what would it be and why?

Oh boy. Tough question. Stephen King is, was, and always will be my favorite author, but I can barely put myself in the same sentence with him. As far as mystery writers, there are so many I admire, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Robert Crais, Michael Koryta, Lisa Jackson, and Lindwood Barclay. But one mystery novel I truly admire, from one of my all-time favorite mystery authors, Dennis Lehane, is Mystic River. Gone Baby Gone, another of Dennis Lehane’s books, is also a favorite. He’s brilliant. And he’s from Boston, where I used to live, so he has my hometown vote!

Do you prefer your watch/read order to be: book, then movie based on book OR movie based on book, then book?

I’m a book then movie type of gal. Books rule!

What do you like the most and the least about the main character Julia?

When I first started writing The Last Time She Saw Him, I wasn’t sure if people would like Julia. She’s certainly a flawed character. She is ultra-paranoid about her two boys when it comes to their safety (which I hope is understandable since her brother was abducted when they were kids). She’s stubborn. And she’s tough, out of self-preservation, something she learned as a little girl, since her father, a grifter, and her mother, an alcoholic, abandoned her after her brother, Ben, was abducted. But I like the fact that Julia is a good mom, an ethical, yet driven reporter, a loyal sister who’s never given up on the memory of her brother or her pursuit to find out what happened to him, and she is fearless when it comes to doing anything to bring her child home. I think she’d be a very loyal friend. I’d like Julia to have my back if I were ever in a fight.

DuplicityTell us about book 2 – Duplicity – releasing April of 2017. Had you planned on writing a series when you first started book 1?

I first thought about turning this into a series when I was trying to land a literary agent. One agent who I queried asked me if the Julia Gooden story line would be a series. It got me thinking, and that’s when I started to come up with an idea for the second book.

Duplicity (releasing April 2017)

Detroit newspaper reporter Julia Gooden is up against the city’s most devious criminal and her own painful past.

Julia Gooden knows how to juggle different lives. A successful crime reporter, she covers the grittiest stories in the city while raising her two young boys in the suburbs. But beneath that accomplished facade is another Julia, still consumed by a tragedy that unfolded thirty years ago when her nine-year-old brother disappeared without a trace.

Julia’s marriage, too, is a balancing act, as she tries to rekindle her relationship with her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner, while maintaining professional boundaries. David is about to bring Nick Rossi to trial for crimes that include drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and bribery. But the story becomes much more urgent when a courthouse bomb claims several victims including the prosecution’s key witness and leaves David critically injured.

Though Julia is certain that Rossi orchestrated the attack, the case against him is collapsing, and his power and connections run high and wide. With the help of Detective Raymond Navarro of the Detroit PD, she starts following a trail of blackmail, payback, and political ambition, little imagining where it will lead. Julia has risked her career before, but this time innocent lives, including her children’s, hang in the balance, and justice may come too late to save what truly matters.

You can find Jane at janehaseldine.com, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

You can order The Last Time She Saw Him here Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books A Million, Indie Bound, or Hudson Booksellers.