“Do you make money for public appearances?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You were drawing for visitors to your booth at the ALA. I believe you also do these types of drawings during your art presentations at schools. Do you do these public art projects because of your desire to perform your art before a live audience? Do you ever make money on these appearances? Do you use them for research or to market your illustrations to kids? At ALA, were you giving any of the resulting drawings away? You had tossed a few of them onto the carpet in front of you at ALA, and you toss them on the floor of auditoriums etc. in your school presentations. Do you toss them down for symbolic reasons or to illicit sympathy, or because you want to display them and you don’t have board to clip them onto? Were you drawing what visitors asked for, or whatever came to mind? Do you doodle and free-draw to come up with ideas for your illustrations? If not, what do you do to research ideas or to come up with initial character sketches?

AdamsDrawing Is My Super Power! That would be my t-shirt slogan. I find an audience, whether drawing on a pad, a napkin, or in a Best Sketchbook. I drew for free when I was younger. Some people appreciated the gesture, other discarded my effort. In the 3rd grade, I began to charge for my time and the appreciation level increase. This remains true today.

My first professional illustration contracts came from tossing drawings on the floor at Book Expo America in Los Angeles, California. I did this both for symbolic and sympathetic purposes, depending on the audience.

Publishing (writing, illustration, and marketing) is about inspiring an emotion. I can’t keep every drawing, so I give them to conference audiences who feel sympathy when they step on a “pretty picture.” I also joke, “This drawing is worthless until I sign it!” Publishing audiences find my personality a plus in the working relationship.

IMG_6356I’ve meet over 1 million students through paid elementary school visits. I walk on “pretty pictures” to show students and teachers sheets of paper have less value than the pages within a book. This reinforces the need to journal in hardbound books.

Do I give away drawings for free? Yes, I’ve given away over 45,000 drawings in eight years like the ones you mentioned at ALA. My gift makes others happy and in return makes me happy. I do have two rules. Children are the recipients of most drawings unless it’s for a teacher’s classroom or at a conference. Also, I only draw one picture per person, per day. This rule stemmed from my own children asking me to draw instead of doing it themselves. My children get one picture, just like anyone else’s child.

IMG_3952I have over 100 journals (23,000 pages of drawing and writing). These journals are 20 years of research and inspiration. Illustration clients are asked to provide me a list of 5 of their favorite children’s books, 5 new books they discovered at the library or bookstore, and 5 things they’d do for free. Their favorite children’s books tell me who they were. The new books tell me what they expect based on paper types, finishes, and dimensions. Lastly, incorporating something they love in the illustrations will boost discussion topics with readers.
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD


“Do you currently have a great studio?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: In the OUTBACK, one of your characters, Marq, seems to reflect some of your thoughts when he tells Driew, “‘I think I-4’s been under construction since they started. It’s like a house or this studio – a perpetual work in progress. Seventeen years of seeking a studio when what I wanted was out back all along.’” Then Driew proposes visiting a Kentucky State Park, and Marq agrees, and then he says he admires Marq’s drawings, and asks if they are for a new book, but Marq explains: “‘Actually, they’re not for new books. They’re from thoughts – past and present. I figured getting them on paper would free me to focus on the money makers…’” (148). Have you had any difficulties building an art studio in terms of constructing it, gathering funds for it and the like? Do you currently have a great studio? Is it open to the public? Do you think a modern artist needs a studio, and if so why?

AdamsI-4 (Interstate 4) is the highway that extends from the East Coast to West Coast of Central Florida. Informational text is included throughout OUTBACK and the series to educate both U.S. and international readers who may visit the places in the books. The continuous construction of I-4 and of a home is to show how environment shapes family life. The Family Tree Novel Series will have two editions: a novel and an illustrated novel version.

As an illustrator no one asks me, “Which character are you?” As an author, that’s the first question readers ask. My answer: I’m every character, action, and moment. In OUTBACK, Marq, Driew Qweepie’s father, is a freelance illustrator who never became a professional. I won’t cause a spoiler, but Marq’s back story is reveled throughout the series. His character is a compilation of numerous illustrator friends and the challenges we all face. Marq voices his concerns, like a parent, to help Driew and readers understand an illustrator’s career. Rarely do illustrators have a studio bigger than a table in a remote corner of their house. And when we get a studio, it’s years in the making.

Mark Wayne Adams and Elaine Goldberg.

I do think some artists need a studio, not a hideout. Every book I illustrate is created remotely: kitchen table, poolside, gymnastics practice, airport, or a Costa Rican rooftop deck. I’m an illustrator dad. While my children finish homework at the kitchen table, I work. During gymnastics practice, I work. Even while the family sleeps in on vacation, I work. Author/Illustrator is a family friendly career. Managing and committing to a work schedule is the greatest challenge.

I have three main “studios”: an outdoor patio table by my screened pool, the Kentucky book warehouse, and a Panera Bread. My best work is created in public. While illustrating Parts of Speech Parade: New York City, written by Irina Dolinskiy, I painted in various Orlando, Florida Panera Bread locations. Patrons compelled to comment would say, “I’ve been to New York City before!” Instant feedback and a new fan eager to purchase a prerelease copy of the book!

Ciao Rolling Carry On BagHonestly my art studio is a rolling bag, stocked with several pads of watercolor paper, Prismacolor pens, five favorite brush sizes, and a Grumbacher watercolor set (24 colors). One $40.00 watercolor set creates illustrations for approximately fifteen children’s books. The watercolor paper investment in each 32 page book is about 3 pads of 12 sheets (roughly $30.00). Gathering funds to start an illustration business is easy. For under $100, anyone can start an illustration business!

IMG_3796My business model is unique in that I license the digital illustrations to the publisher. All physical artwork remains property of MWA, Inc. The words “digital illustrations” in my contracts helped my business make choices. MWA, Inc. owns illustrations from over 40 children’s books (approximately 1,200 original illustrations). My CPA says the art is valued at the cost of the paper, $1,200.00. When sold as art, the value ranges from $500–$1,000 each. Most fine artists don’t consider illustration as art, but I beg to differ. This children’s book illustration collection could cover a football field; fill multiple art galleries at once; and continues to generate an annual income through reproductions. The reproductions generate more money than the original is worth. I’ve only sold a few originals to serious collectors.
Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

30 Telltale Signs of a Self-Published Book

Many people believe that they can spot a self-published book by merely observing its cover. However, there are far more things on the inside of a book that may earmark it as self-published. Some of these oversights have to do with editing issues while others have to do with interior design issues. With respect to a book’s interior, how can you almost always tell that a book is self-published?

1. Inconsistency with regard to dashes

Many self-published authors commingle hyphens and dashes. Never use a hyphen when what is called for is a dash. Hyphens look like this (-) while dashes look like this (–) or, more commonly, like this (—). The shorter dash is called an en dash (the width of the capital letter N in any given font) and the longer dash is called an em dash (the width of the capital letter M in any given font). Also, with respect to book publishing, never use double hyphens (–) when what is called for is a dash.

2. Use of too many boldface words and/or too many italicized words

The overuse of these stylistic devices not only makes the text look busy but will also serve to patronize the reader.

3. Spelling and punctuation inconsistencies

An edit style sheet can ensure consistency with respect to spelling and punctuation (e.g., Web site vs. website, toward vs. towards, thank you vs. thank-you)

4. Failing to include standard information on the book’s title page

There are five pieces of information that appear on a book’s title page: the book’s title, its subtitle (if applicable), publisher’s name, author’s name, and company logo—and in that order. It is not acceptable, for example, to include only the book’s title on the title page.

Contrast this with a half-title page, which when used, comes before the title page and it should only contain the title of the book.

5. Overuse of exclamation points (!) and/or overuse of ellipsis (…)

With respect to exclamation marks, while it is common practice nowadays to liberally use exclamation marks when texting, tweeting, or emailing, it is not considered acceptable to “sprinkle” them throughout your text in formal publishing. With respect to ellipses, many self-published authors appear to use ellipses to give their writing a sense of informality. In formal writing, it is not acceptable to use ellipses to string written thoughts together; a better practice is to say what you have to say and err on the side of using standard punctuation.

6. Not controlling for orphans or widows

Orphans and widows usually refer to words and phrases that are left dangling at the bottom and tops of pages. Without getting distracted by the definitions of orphans and widows, here is a brief summary of things to avoid: 1) Do not let a paragraph end with a single word left on a separate line. That is, don’t let a single word sit at the bottom of a paragraph on a single line by itself; 2) Do not let a paragraph begin or end with a single sentence that appears on a separate page. That is, for paragraphs that continue from one page to the next page, there should be at least two sentences at the bottom of the first page and/or at least two sentences at the top of the following page.

7. Problems with hyphenation

Words that form compound adjectives are hyphenated. However, when these same words are not used as compound adjectives, they are not hyphenated. So we would write “step-by-step approach,” but would write “approach the problem step by step” (not “approach the problem step-by-step”).

8. Not writing out numbers from one to nine

Numbers from one to nine are written out and are not written as numerals (notwithstanding some subtle exceptions). Do not write “There are 2 or 3 reasons…” but rather write “There are two or three reasons…”

9. Inconsistent use of periods for information contained in lists

When bullet points are used for information contained in lists, if the information set off by a bullet point is a complete sentence, it will be followed by a period. If the information set off by a bullet point is not a complete sentence, it will not be followed by a period.

10. Use of too many different font styles and/or too many different font sizes

11. Mixing of single and double quotation marks

Use single quotation marks in some places and double quotation marks in other places. With few exceptions, double quotation marks are required in American English (or books published according to The Chicago Manual of Style).

12. Inconsistent capitalization of words in a title and putting periods at the end of titles or at the end of headers within the body of the text

13. Putting page numbers (and/or page headings or footers) on “blank” even-numbered pages

14. Use of overly large paragraph indents

15. Use of Times New Roman (serif) and/or Ariel (sans serif) as the main font in your book

These two fonts are default fonts in Microsoft Word®. It is not the case that these are “bad” fonts, technically speaking, but rather they are so overused that they are not considered acceptable for use in book publishing.

16. Inconsistent punctuation with regard to the abbreviations e.g., i.e., e.g. and i.e.

In American English, a comma follows the second period in these abbreviations. In British English, a comma is not used.

17. Use of hyphens when an en dash is called for. In other words, write “pages 15–17,” not “pages 15-17.”

Note that an en dash, when as used in this manner, takes the place of the word “to.” In other words, the en dash translates as “to” and we can read this as “pages 15 to 17.”

18. Indexes—avoid “strings of unanalyzed allocators”

If an entry appearing in an index contains, say, fifteen or more page references, the entry in all likelihood needs to be broken up into sub topics.

19. Using asterisks for section breaks

With the exception of ebooks, the use of asterisks (that is, ***) is best avoided in print publishing as it suggests a lazy publisher. It is best to choose among a myriad of alternative stylistic symbols that can take the place of asterisks.

20. Combining bolds, caps, and underlining

There is an unwritten rule in publishing that we should never bold text, place it in capitals, and underline it. In other words, any two of these three treatments is acceptable but not all three.

21. Placing the copyright page on an odd-numbered or right-hand page

The copyright page is placed right behind the title page. It is always a “left-hand” page and never a “right-hand” page.

22. Starting chapters on even-numbered pages (also known as left-hand pages)

With respect to nonfiction books, we typically begin chapters on odd-numbered pages (right-hand pages). With respect to fiction books, particularly commercial fiction released as mass market paperbacks, new chapters may start on either even-numbered pages or odd-numbered pages.

23. Tables: cramming text in tables and not leaving enough space around words in a table

24. Using only rounded black bullets—not varying the type of bullets in bulleted lists

25. Using straight quotations marks when curly quotation marks are called for

There are two different styles of quotation marks: straight quotes and curly quotes. Straight quotes are also known as computer quotes or typewriter quotes. Curly quotes are commonly referred to as smart quotes or typographer’s quotes. For the purpose of publishing (printed) documents, we want to make sure we always use curly quotes and avoid straight quotes. Correct: “I’m happy.” (curly quotes) Incorrect: “I’m happy.” (straight quotes)

26. Failing to use a larger inside gutter as opposed to an outside gutter

The inside gutter of a book (that is, the border that faces the spine) should be larger than the outside gutter (page margin).

27. Leaving two spaces after periods rather than one space

28. Indenting the opening paragraph that begins a chapter or a new section

29. Putting the word “by” before the author’s name

On the book’s title page, the name of the author or authors is not preceded by the word “by.”

30. Using the wrong apostrophe to represent missing letters: rock ’n’ roll vs. rock ‘n’ roll

Note that when apostrophes are used to represent omitted letters, they are always “nines” not “sixes.” This means they curl backwards not forwards.

— Brandon Royal, www.brandonroyal.com

Self-Publishing Bloopers by Brandon Royal ©2016

Reading Skills PreK–5th

For productive and enjoyable lifelong reading, these recommended reading skills will turn poor readers into good readers, and good readers into great readers.

Reading Skills for 4-Year-Olds to Kindergartners

Children at this age learn letter recognition, beginning phonics, and easy Dolch Sight Words. Children learn to read simple words and short sentences, and develop a love of books and reading.

Recommended Reading:  Nicholas, That’s Ridiculous!, Jilli, That’s Silly!, and Little Miss Grubby Toes, Steps on a Bee!

Reading Skills for 1st and 2nd Graders

Children at this age become independent readers. Phonics, Dolch Sight Words, and reading fluency and comprehension are key. Building confidence and cultivating a love of books and reading continues.

Recommended Reading:  Dinosaurs Living in MY HAIR!Parts of Speech Parade, New York City, A Hand Truck Named Dolly, Jace’s Adventure in the Forbidden Forest, Jace’s Adventure at Crystal Lagoon, The Rocket Ship Bed Trip, and The Afternoon Moon.

Reading Skills for 3rd, 4th & 5th Graders

Children become skilled, enthusiastic readers. Long-word decoding, reading fluency, and strong comprehension skills are developed. Reading comprehension in both fiction and non-fiction helps children be more successful in school, and reading becomes enjoyable.

Recommended Reading:  Mayflower: Fly on the Wall Series, Voices in St. Augustine, Trouble on the St. Johns River, Adventures on Amelia Island, Ghosts on the Coast, and Lost in Boston.

Reading Resources for the above recommended reading are noted on the respective book description page.

“Were you faced with challenges running your company?”: Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You have done a lot of illustration, but the OUTBACK seems to be your first self-written children’s book. Why didn’t you attempt to publish one of your authored books with your own publishing company or with other previously? Did you try to sell this book to other publishers before releasing it with your own press? I am writing a book on author-publishers (Dickens, Twain, Woolf, Scott, Poe, etc.) and as part of this research I am curious why authors, artists and others are frequently driven to found their own publishing companies when they encounter problems with other publishers as they attempt to create traditional careers. It seems that you have had great success finding well-paying employment as an illustrator, animator, and the like, so I am curious where you faced challenges that made you realize that the independence that comes with running your own company was necessary. I believe you also wrote some of your picture books, including: King for a Day, the Story of StoriesBest Sketchbook, and Good Night Mare.

Adams: Well-paying employment is called a JOB. “Don’t work hard—work smart,” my dad once said. I’d been working hard since I was about thirteen. This phrase inspired me to graduate college and work for several major companies, where I managed or lead others. I never felt fulfilled. So, I began illustrating books again in 2007, while working as an Art Director.

steven_rileySteve Riley, fellow illustrator of the Little Ty Cooney National Wonder Series and college friend, gave me great advice! “Two incomes are better than one. Don’t quit your day job until your employer asks you to leave.” I paid attention while building my illustration business 2 hours a night, 5 days a week. Every four weeks I finished another children’s book in only 40 hours. When I finally left my day job, I was an award-winning illustrator of children’s books and a national public speaker.

I sold thousands of books annually for my publishers making about a 10–20% royalty. Authors who were illustrators made double royalties. I had a college degree, so I decided, I’ll write a children’s book and illustrate it too! My publishers said my books would never sell; there was no audience for my writing. I visited 45 plus schools a year, selling thousands of books to my audience.

Jilli thats Silly-3D-bookPeople say, “No!” for control. I had illustrated and created layouts for numerous published books. I had been an Art Director and Printing Manager in control of large production budgets. Taking control of my publishing journey wasn’t a difficult decision. Adams Illustration & Design, my illustration and graphic design business, became Mark Wayne Adams, Inc., mine and my wife Angela’s publishing company. MWA, Inc. purchased a block of 1,000 ISBNs and published award-winning books like: King for a Day, the Story of StoriesNicholas, That’s Ridiculous!Jilli, That’s Silly!and Teddy TalesThese four books combined won 14 children’s book awards.

If you’re passionate about writing and drawing make them a second JOB until they become the bread winner. Once the second job makes a small income, the day JOB becomes more bearable. Treat writing and illustration like a business and you’ll be in business.

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

Review: The Rocket Ship Bed Trip

The Rocket Ship Bed Trip 3D-bookThe Rocket Ship Bed Trip describes a young boy’s dream about floating into outer space on his bed— an exciting fantasy that has got to appeal to young readers.

This beautifully illustrated book stimulates a child’s imagination with colorful depictions of meteors, asteroids, and the Milky Way. The simple language and rhyming text make it easy to understand and fun to read.

Subjects like gravity, galaxies, and nebulae are introduced, arousing the curiosity of young space enthusiasts. Actual photographs from space are included at the end of the book adding a learning opportunity to this captivating read-aloud book.

This book reinforces several concepts that are included in early primary school curricula, such as: observing big and small things in the sky; recognizing that there are many stars in the sky; and identifying information in pictures. By including educational resources with a delightful story, N. Jane Quackenbush has written an award-winning children’s book that both captivates and educates.

Reviewed by:

Jane R. Wood is the author of Schools: A Niche Market for Authors and an award-winning series of chapter books: Voices in St. AugustineAdventures on Amelia IslandTrouble on the St. John’s RiverGhosts on the Coast, and Lost in Boston.

Website(s): www.janewoodbooks.com

Teacher Resources for Jane’s Books

Wood-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-templateSocial Media:

Entrepreneurial Author Brandon Royal

Brandon Royal is an award-winning writer whose educational authorship includes The Little Red Writing Book, The Little Gold Grammar Book, The Little Green Math Book, and The Little Blue Reasoning Book. During his tenure working in Hong Kong for US-based Kaplan Educational Centers — a Washington Post subsidiary and the largest test preparation organization in the world — Brandon honed his theories of teaching and education and developed a set of key learning “principles” to help define the basics of writing, grammar, math, and reasoning.

A Canadian by birth and graduate of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, his interest in writing began after completing writing courses at Harvard University. Since then he has authored a dozen books and reviews of his books have appeared in Time Asia magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal of America, Midwest Book Review, The Asian Review of Books, Choice Reviews Online, Asia Times Online, and About.com.

Brandon is a five-time winner of the International Book Awards, a seven-time gold medalist at the President’s Book Awards, as well as recipient of the “Educational Book of the Year” award as presented by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. He has also been a winner or finalist at the Ben Franklin Book Awards, the Global eBook Awards, the Beverly Hills Book Awards, the IPPY Awards, the USA Book News “Best Book Awards,” and the Foreword magazine Book of the Year Awards. He continues to write and publish in the belief that there will always be a place for books that inspire, enlighten, and enrich.

Contact Brandon Royal via E-mail: contact@brandonroyal.com or Web site: www.brandonroyal.com

FAPA Founders Award recipient Mark Wayne Adams

On Saturday eventing, August 6, 2016 during the 2016 FAPA President’s Book Awards ceremony in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Mark Wayne Adams received the 2016 Florida Authors & Publishers Association Founders Award. This achievement award recognizes a longstanding FAPA member for contributions to FAPA, the publishing community, the reading community, and professionally published books.

Mark’s FAPA Founders Award Message:

Thank you Terri Gerrell for allowing me enough time to prepare an acceptance speech. I actually prepared two—a short and long version. Unfortunately, I lost the short version.

Receiving the 2016 FAPA Founders Award is a tremendous honor. When Terri told me I had been selected, I asked myself, why me? I know many deserving individuals, most of which are here tonight.

I began publishing in 2004—33 years old. Craig Winstead, employer and friend, inspired me with these words: “I’ll print your book for free, if you learn to publish it.” Within a month I had purchased a block of ISBNs; registered an LCCN; bought a barcode; and printed 5,000 copies of my first book, Miss Mary’s Missing Book Bag.

Printing books isn’t publishing. Selling books is publishing. The first publishing lesson I learned was, if you don’t sell books they get heavier. My family, those books, and I moved four times between 2004 and 2006. I became a stronger and wiser publisher in no time.

In 2009, Nicholas, That’s Ridiculous! A Story About Being a Boy released. It was not only Christa Carpenter’s first book, but also the first book I published for anyone besides myself. Nicholas won an IPPY, an Eric Hoffer, a Moonbeam, and a FPA President’s Book Award! Elated by my four-medal publishing success, I joined not only FPA, but also the board. I learned book awards lead to unexpected opportunities and a surge of confidence.

From 2009 to 2016, I served in various FPA and FAPA leadership roles—president being one. I thought, what can I do differently from my predecessors? I proposed ridiculous ideas, that if they failed, would make me famous: Mark Wayne Adams leader of FAPA’s demise!

With many of the current FAPA board members’ support, we doubled the book awards submissions; added national librarian judges; attended Book Expo America; and hosted the largest conference and book awards since FPA’s inception. This was a great honor for our board’s commitment. During this time we learned the real definitions of: donating time, working board members, and delegation.

In mid June 2016, I was invited to speak at my first American Library Association ConferenceDr. Anna Faktorovich, a Ph.D in English Literature and Criticism, email queried ALA speakers for blog interviews. When she discovered I wasn’t her traditional academic guest, my interview was declined.

One week later I tossed drawings on the ALA convention floor. A young woman, carrying an armload of books, marched down the drawing path. She quickly apologized for stepping on my art.

“No worries, it’s only paper!” I said.

She glanced up at the booth banner; down at the drawings; then shouted, “You’re Mark Wayne Adams!”

After visiting over a million elementary school students, hearing my name shouted isn’t strange. The six degrees of Mark Wayne Adams story that follows is strange.

“I’m Anna!” she shouted. “I rejected your interview last week, remember!”

Anna shouting my rejection publicly wouldn’t sell books. However, my ability to “draw her into my world” filled Anna with a barrage of publishing questions.

I finally said “Anna, I’m working. Send me your interview questions, if you want answers.” She agreed and asked for a review copy of my latest book. I handed her my first novel. Countless hours went into researching and revising the manuscript for this moment—a review by a Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism. 

OUTBACK-Bothers & Sinisters-www.markwayneadams.com-3D-book-72DPI-RGBIn my twelve-year publishing career I’ve learned that rejection, criticism, and affirmation are all the same—feedback. How I choose to use feedback defines my professional success. Feedback from my publishing peers, beta readers, editor, and a group of national librarians, made today a founding moment. I can now say OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters is my first award-winning novel. 

At last year’s awards I shared: we all have one person responsible for inspiring our publishing career. As Diane Harper accepted her first of several book awards, she whispered, “Mark, you’re my one!” She was the first of many that night to repeat those words. 

I met Fast Freddy long before I met his creator at the FAPA and Readers’ Favorite book awards. One year ago, author Lee Ann Mancini reluctantly confessed she hadn’t sold any of her award-winning books. She recently posted on Twitter, “450 off to LifeWay book stores!” What a Bragger! Lee Ann Mancini.

Jane R. Wood has gone from visiting schools, a niche market for authors; to publishing the book, teaching others to succeed. She is also the first author I know to sell over 6,000 books in one day!

Having your first stalker sound likes Misery, but Patti Brassard-Jefferson went from stalking me for StuPendous publishing tips to being featured in Publishers Weekly for her indie bookstore, PBJ Boox. Indie authors and publishers are now her stalkers—I’m her biggest fan!

Like I said there are many people more deserving of this award. Before I close, I’d like to thank my family: my beautiful wife, Angela; my overly talented daughter, Isabella; and my handsome giant son, Carter; you all keep my ego in check. Thank you to my author family: Christa Carpenter Blaney, Linda Smigaj, Eddie Price, Irina Dolinskiy, John Hope, Kay Whitehouse, and many other talented authors who ignite my imagination. Thank you also to my FAPA family, who work equally as hard to support others as they do me. You’ve shown me the Founders Award is not about being first but placing others first and contributing to their success.

Review: Jace’s Adventure in the Forbidden Forest

Jaces Adventure in the Forbidden Forest-3D Book-www.mwa.company

What young reader doesn’t like an adventure? And Jace certainly has one when he enters the Forbidden Forest to retrieve a lost baseball. His best friend Rocco urges him not to go, but Jace thinks he can go right in, and come right back out. But that does not happen, and that’s where his adventure begins.

Jace is initially scared when he encounters two dinosaurs—a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a baby Pterodactyl who hasn’t yet learned to fly. His fears are soon dismissed, and the story becomes one of friendship and caring. Jace helps his new friends solve some problems, and they help him find his way home again.

But more importantly, Jace learns that things aren’t always what they seem to be, and that just because you come from a different place, you can still be friends with someone who is not like you. When Jace returns to the real world, he shares his journey with Rocco and they change the name of the Forbidden Forest to the Friendly Forest.

Chapter books, like Jace’s Adventure in the Forbidden Forest, provide teachers with an opportunity to reinforce some basic standards, like: identify details in text including who, what, when and where; identify words and images that evoke feelings such as happiness or surprise; and identify characters, settings, main problem, and sequence of events in fiction.

Another meaningful discussion could include how people from diverse backgrounds can make contributions. Even though dinosaurs are not human beings, they can be a metaphor for people from different cultures, stimulating a discussion about ethnic diversity and not judging a book by its cover. Jace learns that lesson during his visit to this magical place.

D.W. Harper includes simple illustrations adding a touch of whimsy to this engaging story.

Reviewed by:

Jane R. Wood is the author of Schools: A Niche Market for Authors and an award-winning series of chapter books: Voices in St. AugustineAdventures on Amelia IslandTrouble on the St. John’s RiverGhosts on the Coast, and Lost in Boston.

Website(s): www.janewoodbooks.com

Teacher Resources for Jane’s Books

Wood-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-templateSocial Media:


“How did you come to be president?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: How did you come to be president and board member of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association? For how many years were you a member before you were elected/ nominated to the presidency? Were you actively volunteering your time and energy for the association to make your candidacy? What would you recommend to somebody new to an association that wants to attain these positions?

Adams: For over five years I’ve served as a Board Member for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA). From day one, I brought the same drive and vision used in my publishing business. My main concern was, how much time would volunteering take?

During my terms as VP of Communications to the President, I illustrated over 30 picture books. 15 of those were published for other authors. My marketing efforts included more than 90 school visits each year, encouraging over 100,000 students annually to write and illustrate books. Creating and marketing books while serving as a board member had challenging but manageable moments.

IMG_5042Rewards to volunteering began with the creation of annual conference sessions, and grew into implementation of new programs like the BookExpo Display Opportunity and the national FAPA President’s Book Awards growth. Writers’ conferences and book festivals invited me to share publishing knowledge that I gained through the FAPA organization. My personal network of publishing professionals also grew through educational events, social media, and annual board retreats.

I remain active in the organization as Past President—mentoring future board members and members. My goal has always been to make a positive impact on FAPA through guidance and encouragement. Unexpectedly, FAPA positively impacted my publishing success. Volunteering was the greatest reward!


Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD