Should you adapt? Do you have a choice?

Let’s imagine that you’ve always written teen mysteries. You’ve never experimented with any other genre. But suddenly you find that the market for teens has changed. Now they prefer Young Adult novels instead. What can you do? Should you try something new? Should you look for a new career? Before you make a rash decision, here are some things to consider:

  •  You might decide to write for children because they love adventure, humor and mystery. Do some research to find out what kinds of children’s books are successful. Don’t read only one or two and decide you’ll be bored stiff with it.
  • What if you’ve already submitted a teen mystery to an editor? Are you going to pitch a tent at the mail box waiting for the response to arrive? Rather than that, why not start a new, exciting project?  keep busy revising your new project.This way, you can focus on something positive, instead of moping around, staring at the mailbox.
  • Keep writing, keep submitting-It’s important to remember that you’re an author. It’s your passion. You are content and joyful when you are creating something new.
  • Remember this important advice: I recently had a disappointment, related to my writing career. I allowed myself a few minutes feel sad. But then I remembered advice my dad always gave me when something unfortunate happened. He said, “No matter who you are or what you do, not everyone is going to like it.” When you receive news that is less than what you desire, remember it’s only one person’s opinion. Try to let the negative comments slide off, instead of ruining your day.

Where can you get your ideas?

I think one of the most difficult things is to come up with appealing ideas for your stories. Where can we get them? Don’t you wish you could plant an idea tree in your yard and water it so fantastic ideas would be hanging from every branch? Wouldn’t it be nice to have an idea Leprechaun who would show up now and then when inspiration is scarce? Since we can’t do these things, here are some suggestions that might be helpful.

  • Take the ideas from your past- You’re probably thinking that your childhood, or your family events would be bor-ing! I thought that too, but I wrote my first book, Tails of Sweetbrier about my childhood challenges and it’s inspiring children, teachers and parents so you never know what can happen!
  • Did you have a vivid, exciting dream? Sometimes our dreams seem absolutely real. What if you had an amazing adventure? You could expand it. Embellish it, make it come to life. You might have a best seller!
  • Did you adopt an amazing pet?Sometimes incredible animal friends come into our lives. We love their personalities. Maybe we taught them an amazing trick. You might craft a wonderful, heartwarming story about your pet and how you found him.
  • You could be anywhere- That’s right, you might be in the supermarket choosing your  fruits and veggies when something funny happens. Be sure to write it down so you can use the idea.
  • I hope these suggestions give you the inspiration you need to write an amazing story!



How can you make your non-fiction story come to life?

Many authors ponder about how to make the fiction stories appealing to children. What about non-fiction? Sometimes when people think of factual stories or articles they immediately think “bor-ing.” But there are things you can do to make your non-fiction story or article memorable. Here are some ideas:

Create an opening that is fun and interesting: Children are generally not known for patience, especially when it comes to reading a story. If you don’t win them over in the first paragraph, you’ve lost the battle. One way to capture their attention is to start with a little known fact. You might mention that Benjamin Franklin was one of seventeen children! Imagine what an adventure it must have been for his parents just to gather them together at each meal. I wonder if they had food fights.

Ask a question: You might ask a question, such as “What happened to Wilma Rudolph when she was small? Then you could discuss the fact that she had polio and Scarlet Fever when she was young. Isn’t it amazing that she became an Olympic track star?

Sprinkle antidotes here and there: See if you can find bits of generally obscure anecdotes to scatter throughout your story. For example, everyone knows that George Washington was our first president. but do you realize that he was passionate about table manners? He wrote several books about manners. Did you know that George Washington always had trouble with spelling? He had to ponder words like “cough”. Was it ‘cough” or “coff?”  Most people are aware that Thomas Edison was a renowned inventor. But do they know he loved to read? Do most children remember that Teddy Roosevelt was passionate about Science and he read constantly while he was recovering from bouts with Asthma?

Now you have some new ideas on how to make your non-fiction article or story remarkable.

Author Deb Hockenberry’s interview!

Deb HockenberryBeepy V3

“This morning I have the pleasure of interviewing children’s author, Deb Hockenberry, who has written an adorable book called Beepy’s Christmas Wish.” Thank you so much for spending time with me to discuss your book today, Deb.”

“You’re welcome, Deanie. I’m pleased to be here with you, as well.”

Have you always wanted to become a children’s author?

Yes I have. I remember telling stories to  my siblings and the neighborhood children when I was in elementary school.

Please share with me how you got the idea to write Beepy’s Christmas Wish:

You’re going to get a kick out of where the idea came from! One year, back in the 1960s, Santa brought my youngest brother a lot of Matchbox cars for Christmas. My brother got so many of those cars that he made a Christmas parade out of them going from the living room to the dining room! Beepy was born out of that incident. I didn’t realize that I even had this idea until years later when I was attending the Institute of Children’s Literature. This just proves that ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. Even from a younger brother who is playing with his cars.

I wanted to include many other Christmassy things, like my brother’s Christmas parade, in the story. But I had to shorten the story to keep it within the word limits of for the youngest of readers and listeners.

Please give me a short synopsis of Beepy’s Christmas Wish.

My synopsis is very simple. Beepy is a taxi cab who wants to wish people Merry Christmas like everyone and everything else. People are wishing Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to everyone else. There are Christmas lights twinkling, Christmas music playing and decorations that sparkle. These things wish everyone a Merry Christmas that way. Beepy thinks that there has to be a way for him to wish everyone a Merry Christmas too.

He seeks out help from his friends and come up with a few ideas to solve the problem. Does Beepy ever get to wish people Merry Christmas? I’m not telling! Ha-ha!! You’ll have to read the book.

What is the main idea you’d like children to remember after reading your book?

That anyone or anything can say Merry Christmas. All they have to do is want to and they’ll find a way!

Do you have any projects you’re working on now?

Yes, I have a few things I’m presently working on. I’m working on another Christmas story (can you tell that Christmas is a big deal for me?), a middle grade book and a book for young adults.

I also currently have a children’s picture book that was recently accepted by 4RV Publishing. The tentative publishing date for this is March/April 2014.

 Where can we buy Beepy’s Christmas Wish?

Beepy’s Christmas Wish is available as a FREE ebook. I wrote Beepy’s Christmas Wish as a Christmas present to everyone and won’t charge anything for it. If any of your readers would like a copy of the free download, all they have to do is contact me at and I’ll send it to them.

What is the best advice you’d give to aspiring authors?

I’d tell aspiring authors just how important it is to follow your dreams and to never give up. I’d also advise them to keep studying this ever changing craft we’re in.

 “I certainly enjoyed our time together talking about your delightful story, Deb. I look forward to a return visit with you soon. I’m sure many children will be thrilled to read Beepy’s Christmas Wish!

“This was very nice, Deanie. Thanks for having me!”





 Today we’re sitting down to chat with Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. Deanie is the author of four children’s books. Today we’re going to ask Deanie about her series of books about Charlene the Star. Welcome, Deanie!
Thank you so much for inviting me to speak with you today, Deb. It’s a pleasure to be here.
 Where did you get the idea for the Charlene the Star books?
I thought that it would be fun for children to read stories told from Charlene’s point of view, so that they could read about her amusing thoughts and actions.  I had briefly introduced Charlene in my second book, Charlie the Horse, because she’s Charlie’s little sister. The Charlene the Star series actually started with Charlie’s adventures.
 It must’ve been very lonely for Charlene the Star to be sent off to Sweetbriar Racing Stables at such a young age. Why was she sent there?
In real life, horses are often sent away for training, so it was natural for me to have the same thing happen to Charlene. I named the stable Sweetbrier because I wanted a connection to the farm where I grew up, called Sweetbrier School of Equitation.
 I hope I’m not giving away any spoilers but Charlene is sent to Jumping For Joy Farms after going to Sweetbriar Racing Stables. Can you tell us why?
 I thought it would be a normal part of the training process for her to be sent to a stable that specializes in training jumpers. This sort of thing often actually happens when you are planning to have a horse trained.
 Charlene is very encouraging for kids today. By that I mean she’s determined to practice until she gets it right and isn’t disappointed when she realize that she’s not cut out to be a race horse. She seems to know that everyone has different gifts or talents.
Did you intend for the Charlene stories to show this?
Yes, it was my intention to show children that it’s okay to have different abilities, so that they realize they are all special and unique, regardless of their God-given gifts. Charlene’s actions also show that hard work and perseverance are keys to success.
 In the book Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, you show what a true friend is. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
 In this story, Charlene is already becoming famous for her abilities, but she is looking for something special to do in her spare time.  She meets new friends, Hattie and Wooliam, who  work with her to create a wonderful new career. They show the value of friendship, caring for one another, and working to make your dreams become a reality. They have creative solutions for their problems and they even amaze themselves.
 Did you grow up around horses? I imagine you had a wonderful childhood if you did.
 Yes, I grew up at a riding school.  I had an exciting childhood with lots of challenges and surprising events.  My first book detailed some of the experiences, but perhaps we can discuss that another time.
 Is it common to put other animals in the same stall with a horse? I would think it would teach children another important lesson, tolerance for people who are different from you.
It does happen on occasion, particularly with race horses. If the horses are very nervous, they often are given a special companion to keep them content. Sometimes horses do form an attachment with other horses or other animals. The Charlene the Star series does teach tolerance as well. For example, Charlene’s friends, Shy Ann and Blossom, love racing, but they remain her friends, even after she pursues a different path. They are also friendly with Elliott, the dog with the oversized head. All of the animals recognize Elliott’s talents, too.  In reality, Elliott is our family pet and he appears on the covers of both books.
When Charlene goes home for vacation, she meets Lily. Lily is afraid of everything, but Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes are patient with Lily and get her over her fears. Did you realize you were teaching another lesson?
Yes, I meant to show that it’s common for everyone to have fears of some sort. But  fears can be overcome if you really dedicate yourself to conquering them. I think that extremely courageous people act, in spite of being afraid.
 Will there be more Charlene the Star books?
Yes, my sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, creates amazing illustrations for our books. We’re working on the illustrations for a new book called Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog. We expect it will be released later this year.
 Where can people purchase your books?
My books are available on,, or you may email me and we can arrange for you to purchase signed copies directly from me.  In the near future, you will be able to purchase signed copies from my website,
 Thank you Deanie, for sitting down and chatting with us today!

Interview with Talented inspiring author, Murees Dupe`


picture for Murees' interview 2

Today I have the honor of interviewing aspiring author, Murees Dupe`.Thank you so much for spending time with me today, Murees. It’s an honor to speak with you. I know many people will be interested in learning more about you.

“You’re welcome, Deanie, I’m excited to be here with you as well. Thank you for the opportunity to chat with you.”

 Have you always wanted to be an author?

Actually, no,  I never thought that a regular person could be a writer. I always thought that only super intelligent people with absurdly high IQ’s could be writers. But I have always written in one way or another, I just never knew that it was actually called writing until a few years ago.

  What genre would you like to specialize in?

Romance, I love romance novels. I guess I love reading about that one great love and because I am still looking for my own, I can’t stop writing about it.

 Are you working on a book project now?

I am currently between projects. I can’t decide whether to edit and re-submit my first novel, The Amaranthine, or finish another, still untitled. I am working on a few ideas for the untitled one, but progress is still slow.

 What are your goals for the future?

I would really like to be published and share my stories with others. Also, to actually find a day job that I like and which offers a permanent position and not just a temporary one. I  am planning to write many more stories.

 What do you think are the elements of a good story?

For me, as story should be well told. It should read easily and there should be something the reader can relate to. If you can walk away from that book feeling that some aspect of it had made you felt good or inspired or that you just enjoyed that book, then that is the best outcome. Drama, intrigue and plot are always good, but if your reader can’t finish the book, then what is the point?

 Would you like to share your website address and/or other social media addresses where people may contact you?

I am currently just blogging over at:

A mouth full, I know. I am still getting around to figuring out the other forms of social media. They kind of scare me.

“It was such fun finding out more about you, Murees. I wish you every success in your writing career. I look forward to the day your books are published and you can come back to discuss their success. Remember to always follow your dreams and you will prevail.”

“I’d like to thank my readers for stopping by and encourage you to visit Murees’ website. You’ll really enjoy it there.”

(c) Deanie Humphrys-Dunne 2013

Deanie’s H. Dunne’s interview with Author, Janice Spina!

Deanie and Little Man from Tails of Sweetbrier

Deanie and Little Man from Tails of Sweetbrier Illustration by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj

Welcome to another segment of my blog, Interview an Author.  Today I have the extreme pleasure of interviewing for the second time my very good friend and a funny and talented author of children’s books, Deanie H. Dunne.  I have reviewed all of Deanie’s books on and on previous blogs.  Please note all the beautiful illustrations here and above that were done by Deanie’s sister, Holly Humphreys Bajaj, who is a very talented artist.

Hi Deanie, I am so happy to have you back again

Thank you so much for inviting me back for another interview, Janice. It’s always such an honor to spend time with you, and we have a great deal of fun together as well.

1.  What news do you have for us about your new publication?

I’m excited to share the news that my first book, Tails of Sweetbrier is now available in the revised second edition. This is my inspirational autobiography that was originally released in 2009. It was chosen “Most Inspirational” book by the staff of the Pawling Book Cove. Now we’ve added more information, including a question and answer section, which I think both children and teachers will enjoy. Tails of Sweetbrier has a beautiful new cover as well. It’s a true story that will show that anything is possible if you persevere.

2.  This is the second time you’ve been on my blog. What has transpired in your career since the last time you were here?

  My sister and I are still discussing our illustrations for my book,    Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog.  At the present time, we’re not sure when it will be ready, but we’ll announce the news as soon as it’s published. I’ve also been working on another story starring my husband’s little sports car, Margaret. You’re probably smiling thinking about the fact we name all of our cars, but we want them to be devoted to us so we give them names. That way, they’re officially part of the family. Margaret is named after our British friend who used to work with my husband.

I have also been honored by being chosen for several blogging award nominations recently.

3.  What do you want to accomplish with your children’s books?

My goal is to help children to reach their full potential, by writing entertaining books, which convey valuable lessons. My parents were careful to teach many things to me that I would like to share with children. It’s essential that each child realizes he/she is valuable and unique. I hope that my books will help reinforce that.

4.  Please share a synopsis of your newest books with us.

Charlie the Horse has also been recently revised and has a beautiful new cover, created by my sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj. Charlie comes from a family of famous racehorses, but he’s not sure he has the talent to succeed. He also has problems focusing on his work. But he learns that hard work reaps rewards. The story is amusing and told from Charlie’s point of view.

Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes is my most recent book. Charlene the Star has become well-known for her particular talent, but she and her friends, Hattie, Wooliam, and Elliott, are looking for something exciting to do in their spare time. They have a brilliant idea that they should start a business to help other horses. Their efforts make a huge difference to their clients. The story is funny, entertaining, and it highlights the value of friendship and teamwork, for example. Hattie, Wooliam, and Elliott are incredibly creative in finding solutions to their problems. Readers also are able to read about all the animals’ funny thoughts and actions.

5.  How do you spend your free time when you have some?

I love watching all kinds of equestrian events, such as jumping or horseracing. I’m also a big fan of baseball, figure skating and gymnastics. I love spending time with my husband, Francis, our sons, Brendan and Shane, and of course, our dog, Elliott. In addition to those things, I love music.

6.  Do you want to share anything else with us that we don’t already know?

Some of you may not know that I lived in FL for many years and our children were born there. I really prefer the hot weather there to New England weather. But my husband is the exact opposite. He used to say that we must have been crazy to live in FL in the Summers!

I’m the middle child in my family. Once when I was talking to my mom on the phone, she wasn’t sure which daughter was calling. I told her “I’m the one that fills in the space in the middle.”

I started crying before I got on the bus for my first day in Kindergarten. When my mom asked what was wrong, I told her that I thought the bus driver would drive around forever and not bring me home!

7.  Please tell us where to go to purchase your books.

My books are available on If anyone would like autographed copies, you may email me at: and we can make arrangements. My books will soon be available from my website;, but I’m not sure exactly when that will happen.

8.  Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully, I’ll have written several other children’s books by then and will have succeeded in being a positive influence on many children.  

Janice, I thoroughly enjoyed our time together today. I certainly treasure our friendship and admire your talents. 

Thank you Deanie for your kind comments; it has been my pleasure.  We do have a wonderful time together, I agree.

Thank you also to my regular readers and to any new readers out there, welcome!  I hope you enjoyed this interview with my talented friend and author, Deanie H. Dunne.  Please stop by her website and award winning blog to check out her inspirational, humorous and educational books for children.  You parents will like them too!  I know because I have read all of Deanie’s books and thoroughly enjoyed them.  I found myself laughing out loud at the antics of some of the characters.  They are very endearing and will capture your children’s hearts.

Please stop by again soon for another fascinating interview with an author.

* I hope that all of you stop by Janice’s site: She has posted more illustrations from my books, and she has many wonderful author interviews posted  there.ImageImageImageImage