Q&A with Children's Book Author Anne Kaufmann






Anne Kaufmann is both the illustrator and author of the Pippin and Nigel adventure series for young children. She is the also the author of “Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude.” Anne is a former teacher librarian. She studied English Literature at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. Her passions include music, books, animals and creating nature journals. She has shared her life with dogs, horses, cats and birds.A nature lover, she spends many hours exploring the forests north of her home and walking her dogs, Indy, Maya and Pippin. She loves spending time with her horse, Aria. Some of her favourite childhood memories include summers at her cottage on Lake Simcoe, settling back on the family couch reading while listening to her dad’s weekly String Quartet group, playing with her dogs and wishing for a horse. She is currently working on the third book of the Pippin and Nigel Adventure series and  a historical fiction novel on the great Canadian horse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer. She lives in Ontario, Canada.





As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious about the characters in a book. Can you tell us a little about them?


That'll Do Pippin is an imaginary story about two real puppy brothers, Pippin and Nigel.
Pippin is an affectionate, gentle and cautious puppy. He admires his brother Nigel, who is brave, strong and charges into any exciting situation or possible adventure. Pippin wants more than anything to be like his brother Nigel. He dutifully follows Nigel everywhere and unquestioningly believes that Nigel will protect him. The pup brothers are inseparable. Nigel's blissful dream is to be a great agility dog. Pippin's grand dream is to be a great sheep dog. He fears that he is too weak and little to do a job that is for bold,  
clever and talented dogs. The one desire they have in common is to discover what is beyond the farm gate. One day a rare opportunity to explore is before them. As the puppies experience one adventure after another, they learn about a fascinating world and their own genuine natures. When darkness falls, as the puppies race home to safety, they must confront a most daunting challenge and Pippin finally realizes what kind of dog he will undoubtedly become.


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?


Remember when you lived in the moment, enjoyed experiences to the fullest and felt emotions the deepest.


What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?


 When I write a character, action or scene it runs through my mind as though I were directing a movie. I absolutely need two things - my dogs nearby and an extremely large cup of coffee. Sometimes I'll play music in the background or tune to a news station on the T.V. (that I pay absolutely no attention to). 


Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?


I have heard from parents and grandparents. Their (grand) children ask if the puppies are real, and if those experiences in fact happened. Every so often, their (grand) children will express what they would do if they were the puppies. The children seem to enjoy the illustrations, and they encourage many discussions. 


What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?


The harshest criticism that I invariably suffer is my own feeling of inadequacy: dissatisfaction with character development, plot action or sentence structure. I often feel isolated, on a remote island with no one to relieve my insecurity or support me through a terrible writer's block.
I often discuss my key ideas or read passages to trusted friends and even though I know they are hesitant to criticize, they typically offer some constructive suggestions.  



What has been your best accomplishment?


I'm unsure if I would use the word 'best' accomplishment. There was one accomplishment that unexpectedly opened the door to a new world of invaluable and life enriching experiences.

Aside being able to write books about the things, I love; my most rewarding accomplishment was realizing my lifelong dream to ride horses. Ever since I was a child, I had begged my grandmother to allow me to ride. It never happened. I remained steadfast because I knew that someday I would not only ride, but also have a horse of my own. I started riding the year I began teaching (quite late in life for this sport). I signed up for lessons at a local riding school. I was more than slightly intimidated by these massive, swift and unpredictable animals. Consequently, with trembling hands, I carefully groomed and tacked up my school horse and managed to get into the saddle. The horse immediately trotted off and since I had absolutely no basic ability to post, I bounced up and down in the saddle, barely holding on. (Poor horse!) Suddenly, the horse quite properly fed up, gave one buck (albeit a modest one). I felt a tightening in my stomach as I instantly flew through the air, landing hard. I had other falls, but refused to be discouraged and continued my lessons. Six months later, I acquired my first horse, Amber. Riding through my fear and inability resulted in a rewarding relationship with horses that has continued to this day. The beginning of those riding lessons opened up a rich world of deep emotions, new friends and exciting (sometimes very bizarre) experiences.  


How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?


I am working on final revisions of a historical fiction book, Northern Dancer: A Stable Girl's Journey on the great racehorse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dance.
I have started another children's picture book for the That'll Do Pup series to join, That'll Do Pippin and Pippin and Nigel's Christmas Adventure.


Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?


There would be a sanctuary for unwanted dogs, adorable puppies and noble horses. A delightful place for them to flourish, enjoy life to the fullest and know that they are treasured. The odd assortment of other creatures in need would be most welcome. Of course, several elusive cats would survey with disdain the disorganized activities from a distant fence post, lofty tree or cushioned lounge chair.


Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?


I sincerely hope that you enjoy your journey with Pippin and Nigel. May they inspire you to pursue your own exciting adventures and to realize your wonderful and unique gifts.






BOOK BLURB:

Pippin and Nigel are two charming puppy brothers who live on a wonderful farm. They are best buddies and do everything together. They are full of mischief, energy and fun! Pippin is the smaller puppy who wants with all his heart to be like his brother Nigel. Nigel is brave. Nigel is strong. Nigel is smart. One day, the puppies escape from their yard into the woods where they experience many adventures. Nigel is always there to help and protect Pippin. Then Pippin solves a dangerous problem all by himself and learns that it is okay just to be Pippin.
This story teaches young children the importance of believing in themselves and that they each have their own wonderful gifts and abilities.







🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Paranormal Romance Author Laura Simmons




Laura Simmons grew up in northern Virginia and spent most of her career working for various Department of Defense contractors in the Washington, DC area. She has a fascination with all things metaphysical. She enjoys writing, jigsaw puzzles, adult coloring books, vacationing at the beach with her husband, and studying tarot cards and other types of divination systems.





As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  Can you tell us how you got the idea to write your book?

I’ve always been fascinated with psychic phenomena and wished I could astral travel. I can’t think of a particular thing which inspired me to write a book about this other than my avid interest in the subject. It just came to me and I let it unfold.  Bryce and Amber are strong characters and wanted me to tell their story.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

Bryce Decker is the strong, protective type and has been secretly in love with Amber Macklin for most of his life. They grew up as first cousins until they learned that they were not blood relatives.  She was always the beautiful girl he couldn’t have.  They are lifelong best friends and confide in each other and truly enjoy each other’s company.  He keeps her grounded and soothes her soul and she deeply appreciates him. Finding out there is no blood connection opens the door for a beautiful romance in Tough Karma.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

Not everyone will like your writing so don’t fall to pieces when someone tells you that your book is terrible. Take whatever criticism you are given and ask yourself if it is valid. You can always work to improve your writing.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

I don’t know if it is interesting, but I tend to write several pages of a scene that bursts out of my mind and then I go back and massage it to death with constant changes until I’m happy with it. I’m not the type of writer who gets everything written down regardless of how bad it is and then goes back and refines it. I think that would be the easier way to write a story. I have to do it in chunks and then figure out how to connect the story.

Do you hear from your readers?  Only when they leave a review for one of my books.  What do they say? Thankfully, most of them have liked my stories.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? 

I would say the toughest criticism given to me has been that I did too much “head hopping” in my debut novel. I didn’t even know what that was until I did research on it. 

What has been your best accomplishment?

I would have to say that publishing three books has been my best accomplishment. I have survived criticism and bad reviews and continue to write.

Do you Google yourself?  Now and then.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Just one. I’m writing my fourth novel and I’m not even half-way done with it.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Yes, a big thank you to all who have read my books. Even if you didn’t like the story or my writing, I still appreciate the fact that you took a chance on me.





Astral travel and a deadly secret make for a gripping paranormal romance from start to finish.

Amber Macklin's world is cruelly shattered when she loses her baby girl three months after her husband's sudden death. Her cousin, Bryce, comes to her rescue, moving her into his home for fear she will kill herself from the grief. He provides solace and a shoulder to cry on, and he has loved her as more than a cousin for a long time. Amber and Bryce soon discover they are not blood relatives, which opens the door for romance as he pulls her through her darkest hours. When Mike, a college friend of Bryce's, stops by to visit, Amber senses a deadly secret behind his nice guy persona. She has a frightening dream that Mike is trying to kill her and recurring sleepwalking episodes where she draws detailed pictures of him torturing her. Deeply troubled, Bryce uses his ability to astral travel to investigate Mike and uncover his terrifying past. Mike has had his eye on Amber for some time, and when he learns that Bryce and Amber have become lovers, he is furious. Mike abducts Amber and takes her to his rural Georgia hideaway, and Bryce must rely on his astral abilities to track her down. But will he be too late? 


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🏰 AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Time Travel Thriller Author Kaylin McFarren




KAYLIN MCFARREN has received more than 45 national literary awards, in addition to a prestigious Golden Heart Award nomination for FLAHERTY'S CROSSING - a book she and her oldest daughter, New York Times/USA Today best-selling author, Kristina McMorris, co-authored in 2008. Prior to embarking on her writing journey and developing the popular THREADS psychological thriller series, she poured her passion for creativity into her work as the director of a fine art gallery in the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon; she also served as a governor-appointed member of the Oregon Arts Commission. When she's not traveling or spoiling her pups and three grandsons, she enjoys giving back to her community through participation and support of various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently the president of the Soulful Giving Foundation - a non-profit focused on cancer research, care and treatment at hospitals throughout Oregon







As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  Can you tell us how you got the idea to write your book?

Kaylin: My father worked for United Airlines for 30 years, and I watched passenger planes develop from prop engines to jet engines. I’ve always felt safer on a plane than in a car and have virtually traveled around the world. I also love time-travel stories and thought that combining both loves into a book would be a fun way to share my passions.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

Kaylin: Skylar Haines is a 21-year-old survivor from a murdered and dysfunctional family. She channels her energy into stunt flying and can hold her own against any kind of threat. Her 25-year-old father died before she was born, but comes into her life when she is transported back in time. He’s smart, talented and kind but he’s also too trusting, which results in the dilemma he finds himself thrust into. Jake Brennen is Skylar’s 29-year-old business partner who is deeply in love with her but hesitant when it comes to sharing his feelings.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

Kaylin: Don’t let the opinions of others prevent you from writing the story you’ve longed to tell.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

Kaylin: Actually, I have three. I keeps a glass of wine close by while writing love scenes, Kleenex on her desk while writing heart breakers, and have been known to empty a box of chocolates when I’m completely stumped.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

Kaylin: I love hearing from my readers! Mostly, they want storylines to continue because they thoroughly enjoy the characters in my books and hate to see stories end.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Kaylin: I’m not a true mystery writer, but I own it. I agree that I’m not just that, since I’ve been known to blend genres together. What I create now are psychological thrillers, which truly defines my work.

What has been your best accomplishment?

Kaylin: My three daughters. Each one is beautiful, loving and successful in their own right. They were raised to be strong and have minds of their own and, most important, they value the importance of family.

Do you Google yourself?

Kaylin: I have mostly out of curiosity, but I don’t make a habit of it. J

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Kaylin: Actually none. I’m proud to say that I’ve completed and published every book that I’ve written.

Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?

Kaylin: Cocktail parties on Wednesday nights and Dance-off events on Saturdays with the whole kingdom invited.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Kaylin: Thank you for your support and for giving an Irish lass a chance to be read…and heard, now that audio books are available! J






 …ten minutes to survive the past.

Skylar Haines has struggled with personal demons most of her life, going to dark extremes to subdue anxieties rooted in her tragic past. On a perpetual hunt for the next adrenaline hit, she discovers a passion for flying and becomes a hard-edged stunt pilot, verging on obsession. In the sky, following her most daring airshow, she encounters a mysterious storm and almost collides with another aircraft, sending her into a perilous dive. Guided by a mysterious voice, she manages a safe landing but finds herself transported to another time. Eight months before she was born, one week before her father was murdered. 

Though baffled by her circumstances, Skylar soon arrives at a single certainty: Before her lies a remarkable chance to change her family's destiny drastically for the better -- or possibly even worse -- depending on the choices she makes, before her window of opportunity closes. 

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Review: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery, by Jean Paul Paulynice



Title: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery
Author: Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA
Publisher: PAULYNICE CONSULTING GROUP, LLC
Publisher’s contact info: INFO@PAULYNICECONSULTING.COM
Non-Fiction
Genre: Self-help/Inspirational
Publication Date: May 30, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7330427-9-6 (Hardback)      $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-7335601-9-1 (Paperback)    $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-7330427-0-3 (eBook)           $3.99
ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook)   $3.95

Do you feel as though you’re on autopilot, going through the motions every day—wake up, go to work, come back home, have dinner, sleep, repeat—without real meaning, depth, and purpose in your life?

Even if you have a fulfilling job and earn a good salary, that doesn’t mean you’ve found your passion in life. The problem is, finding your passion can be elusive, especially in our present society where we are constantly seeking external validation from others and are being judged in public platforms more than ever (i.e. social media). Perhaps the wisest statement in this book is that “the moment you start to listen to yourself, you can start shutting out all the noise.” This little book is all about soul-searching, self-analysis, and reflection. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and seek out your passions. Sometimes you have to change your mindset and shift your perspective about things in order for transformation and growth to take place. Likewise, it’s also about the choices you make, not so much the major ones but the little ones you make on a daily basis.

In his light, honest, and engaging prose, Jean Paul Paulynice encourages you to do some introspection so you can begin your path toward finding your passion and bliss in life. For those who journal, the reflection questions he asks make very good journaling prompts. A very quick read, under fifty pages, It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! is a little morsel of goodness and wisdom that will help on your journey to self-discovery.

Meet the Author: Michael Houtz, Author of Dark Spiral Down


After a career in medicine, Mike Houtz succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. A rabid fan of authors such as Clancy, Mark Greaney, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, traveling for research across the globe, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a Gold Medal trout stream.

He lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

His latest book is the thriller/international/action novel, Dark Spiral Down.



                          https://www.facebook.com/mike.houtz.77




 Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

The main protagonist, Cole Haufner, has led an interesting life. He was born in Massachusetts to a Chinese mother and German father. At the tender age of 6, he is stranded in China at a Shaolin monastery, along with his older brother. At the age of 15, he moves back to the U.S., finishes high school and college before embarking on a meteoric rise in mixed martial arts. Funny thing is he hates fighting. He prefers a quiet existence which brings him even more fame and attention. The dichotomy perplexes him.

Butch “Dragon” Haufner, the older brother, is a Delta Force team leader in the U.S. army. He’s part of a task unit that works primarily in the Pacific region and finds himself operating back on his old home soil.

Ron “Hammer” Thompson is Butch’s second-in-command. He’s a former linebacker for Univ. of Texas who gives up a possible career in the NFL to serve his country. He’s forced to teach Cole, on-the-fly, basic military tactics when the two meet on foreign soil.

“Lilly” is a 19 yo Chinese girl who is one of the world’s top computer hackers. She helps her adoptive father, a former CIA operative with various tasks. She’s sweet, naΓ―ve, and only wants to escape her existence in southwest China.

Barret Jennings, offspring of a wealthy railroad magnet, is a former CIA employee living in exile in southeast China because of a key failure twenty years ago. He groomed Lilly from an early age because of her extraordinary intellect and his multitude of illicit activities.

Commander Park is a notorious North Korean agent and sociopath bent on obtaining an invention capable of producing clean energy. He’ll kill anyone and anything in his way.


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

Believe in yourself. It’s a long process of becoming a published author and too much time and outside influence can strain a commitment to write. Any new skill takes time to accomplish a certain level of proficiency, and writing takes a little longer than most others. Trust in the habit of constant improvement.




What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

For action scenes, I crank the heavy music to get fired up. You’re not in a life or death situation without a massive dose of adrenalin. I find my mind sharper for deadly struggles if my blood is pumping.


Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

I’m very fortunate that readers actively seek me out. I get a rush when they start telling me about their favorite scenes. Their excited voices are really satisfying to hear. Our conversations are really unique in that no two people seem to focus on the same things. That speaks to the individual experience. I hear words like “shocked”, “intense”. or “I never expected that” most frequently.


What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

I received feedback from a contest judge saying, “Good thing you have the option of self-publishing, though I wouldn’t recommend it for this work.” Two months later, I won a big award and landed a contract. Suck it, Mr. Judge.


What has been your best accomplishment?

For writing, it was winning the Zebulon award which launched my budding career. My most important accomplishments usually have something to do with my kids—my primary focus in life. I happened to save a number of lives in my medical career—a major milestone in my desire to help others.

Do you Google yourself?

Only when I was figuring out how social media plays into the writing career. I was already pretty familiar with the things I’d accomplished (insert smirk). I’m not famous enough to have too many erroneous mentions about me, but I’m hoping that changes.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have two WIPs—the follow-up to this book launch and a medical thriller I’m working hard on. There’s a 3rd in my head, but I have to put my foot down somewhere.

Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?

As a prince, I’d get rid of all lawyers and bring back pistol deuling.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Just that it’s my sincerest goal to entertain you all, and I welcome the chance to interact with everyone, whether in person or social media. I know what a thrill it is when I get to interact with my favorite authors, and I’m hoping I can be there for people who might look to me in that same way. Nothing makes me happier than someone who read my work reaches out and tells me they’re glad they chose to spend time with my book. High five!


Title: DARK SPIRAL DOWN
Author: Michael Houtz
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/International/Action

COLE HAUFNER is a reluctant superstar in the professional mixed martial arts world. After his latest fight, his wife and child perish in a car crash. His grief deepens when his brother, BUTCH, a Delta Force operator, is absent from the funeral and reported missing by two furtive strangers who show up unannounced at the burial. Despairing, and acting on a tip, Cole travels to his childhood home in southeast China, looking for his brother.

Butch and his teammate, HAMMER, are the sole American survivors of a gun battle between their unit and North Korean commandos, both sides fighting over possession of a stolen suitcase containing a miniaturized fusion device that could either provide unlimited clean energy or be converted to an undetectable bomb seven times more powerful than a nuclear explosion. Leading the North Koreans is the sociopath, Commander PARK. Pressed into helping the Koreans is a disgraced former CIA operative, BARRETT JENNINGS.

Cole meets with the uncle who raised him, MASTER LI, and is warned to stop his search for Butch. Barrett discovers Cole’s identity (with the help of a genius computer hacker, LILLY), which opens a twenty-year-old wound when Barrett was blamed for the disappearance of Cole’s father, along with the man’s invention. Barrett enlists the 14K organized crime syndicate to help capture Cole. Hammer, separated from Butch during the fight for the device, thwarts the gang’s attempt to kidnap Cole, and the two then set off to find Butch and the device. All parties converge on the city library where Butch, now disguised as a monk, is attempting to communicate with the Pentagon. Barrett and Park capture Butch, while the 14K gang nabs Cole.

Danger mounts as Chinese authorities begin investigating foul play within their borders. Cole fights his way free of the gang and reunites with Hammer.  Both men find Barrett’s apartment and discover Lilly (the man’s stepdaughter), who divulges Barrett’s identity and plan. Cole clashes with Hammer, who is willing to sacrifice Butch in order to recover the fusion device. Lilly offers her help in exchange for her and Barrett’s rescue from Park’s grip. Meanwhile, Barrett discovers the true nature of the case the North Koreans are pursuing and, sensing he and Lilly are to be assassinated by Park once he has the device, frees Butch. Butch, trusting Barrett was sent to rescue him, leads the turncoat to the site where he hid the device. Barrett, hoping to make a quick fortune selling it, shoots Butch before escaping with the case.

Cole, along with Hammer and Lilly, arrives at the location of Butch and finds him gravely wounded. Butch fingers Barrett for shooting him and for stealing the case. Cole wants only to save his brother but Butch makes him promise to kill Barrett and recover their dad’s invention. The revelation that the device is his father’s scientific discovery propels Cole forward to fulfill his brother’s mission. Cole is forced to abandon Butch at a hospital. Cole pursues Barrett to a remote dock where the ex-CIA man is planning to escape China by boat. With the Chinese military now actively looking for Cole, Cole confronts Barrett and Park sparking a gunfight. Barrett kills Park. As Barrett turns the gun on Cole, Hammer kills Barrett. Cole, Hammer and Lilly escape via the boat, and the fusion device is safely returned.

Readers Love Michael Houtz!

“If you’re in the market for a fast paced, action filled, page-turning thriller, Mike Houtz delivers a must-read novel. I highly recommend this emotional rollercoaster of a book for every die-hard thriller reader…Get it ASAP!”
~Lima Charlie Review
~*~
“…this work proves that author Houtz is undoubtedly a rising star in the publishing world.”

~Andrea Brunais, Author

~*~
“Mike Houtz takes us on fast-pace adventure in Dark Spiral Down, a thrilling ride along the border between China and North Korea, where Cole Haufner is in pursuit of his Delta Force brother and a device that has the potential to change the world forever or destroy it.”

~Dan Grant, Author

~*~
Dark Spiral Down is a phenomenal debut novel by Mike Houtz. This book has everything readers of the genre love: a great plot, memorable characters, and a powerful voice. It’s a must-read!”
~Ammar Habib, Bestselling & Award-Winning Author, Editor-in-Chief of Thriller Magazine

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