“Road To Reviews,” Iggy Loo, Day 3

pg-34I made it to Virginia. They say it’s the state for lovers. Maybe I’ll meet my girlfriend here. You know I had to make my first stop at the Virginia Aquarium. They have hands on exhibits, a nature path and marshlands. I had to have a little fun and ride the Anaconda coaster at Kings Dominion. Whew, what a

Did you know Virginia has produced more U.S. presidents than any other sate in the United States. The first peanuts grown in the United States were grown in Virginia. And the first Thanksgiving in North America was held in Virginia in 1619.

Before going for a nap I checked in with my next reviewer Jody, @jodycalkins. Check out what she had to say on my new book, Iggy Loo.

Jody writes: Iggy Loo by Maria Ashworth is a heartwarming holiday tale of a little snow globe penguin longing to experience the wonders of life on the other side of the glass. This children’s picture book is wonderfully written and illustrated to capture the heart and longing of this sweet penguin. Children will fall in love with Iggy Loo as they join him on his new journey. Iggy Loo is sure to be a holiday favorite for young children everywhere.

Jody Calkins
Freelance Writer & Editor
Emery Road Writing Services, LLC

Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Clear Fork Publishing. Ask for it at your local book store and library.
Hard Cover $16.99
Soft Cover $10.99



Tiny Talk Tuesday With . . . Maureen Sky

blingMaureen is a wife, mother, and grandmother first. She lives in a small, quaint New England town that she shares with her husband, Eddie, and their tiger cat, Grueby.  They are antique collectors and just love a good auction and/or flea market.  Eddie introduced her to vintage jewelry, specifically, Bakelite jewelry, for which she used her knowledge of the Bakelite jewelry to write her first children’s book. She took some of the names of the Bakelite plastic bangle bracelets to use as some of the names of the characters in her book (i.e., Applejuice, Butterscotch, Pearl, etc.).

Maureen worked for more than 20 years in the public sector as a secretary in the main office of a local high school in my area.  She enjoys being creative, sewing, painting, crafting and always enjoyed journaling, as well.  Just recently, she decided to try her luck with writing and wrote a poem for an amateur poetry contest.  It encouraged her to continue on with her writing and prompted her to write, “The Bling Fairies of Junkett Falls.”  The book is about little fairies that live out of our jewelry boxes.  “Have you ever gone to your jewelry box to grab a piece of jewelry, only to find it is in a big tangled mess of gems and jewels, when you know full well, that when you left it last, it was nice and neat and organized? You say, how does this happen?”  Blame it on the Bling Fairies!

The book has opened some new doors for Maureen.  She attended a Pitch Festival held in LA last September 2014, where she pitched the book and its story to the Hollywood Film Industry held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  It is available via Xlibris online bookstore, Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and Ebooks.  One can also contact me at: skybookstuff88@gmail.com.   She’s also a member of SCBWI and on various book related websites.

And now for the “tiny” interview.

ME: What is your favorite word in the English language and why?

MAUREEN: My favorite word in the English language is the word “Try”, because it represents much about us and how our life story evolves, if we just “Try.”

ME: A very strong word full of meaning.

ME: If you were stuck on a deserted island forever, and you could bring one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

MAUREEN: I would have to say that I would want the book to be “The Bridges of Madison County”, because the main character in the story is a woman who (while her husband and two children are off to a county fair with their prize animals), falls passionately in love with a stranger who comes to town to take photos of nearby historical bridges.   So many women can relate to this woman and how she became lost within her routine marriage while taking care of her children, etc. We, as women, lose ourselves and our true identity, as we wind up putting ourselves and our needs last. The stranger brings out the desire and passion in her as she rediscovers herself and her body, her buried passion and desires, hopes and dreams. It would be exciting to end up on an island with this book and that perfect stranger.

ME: Here, here.


Me: Describe your writing style in one sentence:

Maureen: Because I am a first time author, I am still learning about my style, however, I am feeling that my style leans toward humor with a bit of quirkiness thrown in.

ME: A good laugh never hurt anyone. We need more of it.

Me: If you could spend a day with one of your book’s characters, who would it be and why?

MAUREEN: I would say the character, “Sarachie”(Bling Fairies), as she is sister to the main character, “Velvy.” She suffers from low self-esteem as she is not as pretty as her sister and has a weight problem, (both issues that I can relate to). However, I would want to spend time with her to teach her and let her know that she is beautiful no matter what shape and size she is and that the people who matter in this world, love her unconditionally.

ME: Something kids can easily relate to.


ME: What genre have you not written in but would love to try?

MAUREEN: A Romance novel. I think it would be interesting to see how I would create the characters, write the story, and navigate the plot.

Maureen, thank you so much for being part of my blog. Write everyday and never stop perfecting the craft. I wish you much success with your book.

Tiny Talk Tuesday With . . . Dee Leone

dee Dee and I go way back. Way before I started writing. I got to know her on a more personal level. I moved out of the area for a couple of years. Then one day I was at the Houston SCBWI conference and we bumped into each other. I’m like, “You’re a writer?” And she’s like, “You write too?” And sincebizz that day, we’ve been critique partners ever since. What I didn’t know when we first met was she has a knack for writing poetry and has quite a humorous writing style when she wants to.

Last year, Dee delighted us with the news that she was to have her first children’s book published with Penguin. Bizz & Buzz are two adorable bees who are great friends that love buzzing around together. In this book they decide to recreate a favorite recipe, but make simple mistakes. When they need a little flour they decide to find a little flower. A great play with homophones.

Dee is not new to the writing world. She has written several reproducible books for the educational market, covering themes such as science, language arts, and holidays. In addition, many of her stories, poems, plays, and activity puzzles have appeared in children’s magazines. She presently is represented by Jennifer DeChiara.

Now  IMG_1870 for the interview with one of my favorite authors.

ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

DEE: In high school, I was determined to make the gymnastics team. One practice session, the coach told me I should consider trying a handspring vault. Not wanting to mess up in front of her, I later set the apparatus on a low setting and had two students spot me. What they “spotted” was me flying completely over the vault and crash landing.

The coach didn’t see that 2.0 performance but was impressed with my other skills. She took me aside and basically told me I’d make the team if I tried out. I was thrilled… until I learned how much the team apparel was going to cost. There was no way my family could afford it.

The next day, I told my mother I was ill. It wasn’t exactly a lie because I was sick to my stomach. I missed school and tryouts. To this day, my mother and the coach have no idea why. There you have it… what’s been “in the vault” all these years.

ME: Shh . . .I won’t tell.

ME: How do you want to be remembered?

DEE: It’s standard for studios to develop feature-length animated films in-house. I’d like to break that mold by selling my current screenplay project as an individual. After all, I’m writing in my house, so I figure that should count, right?

ME: I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Love those canine pups.

ME: Describe your writing style.

DEE: My writing style varies with the project I’m working on, but I especially enjoy creating protagonists with a sense of humor and stories that involve puns or some kind of word play. And horror of publishing industry horrors, I love to write in rhyme.

ME: And you are the best rhymer I know.

ME: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

DEE: I’m going to call myself a plantser… a pantser with an “l” for loose outline. I tend to dive into a story to find the main character’s voice before developing any real plot. Taking the “pl” out of plotter, I know I otter make it easier on myself and create an outline first.

ME: If you could spend a day with one of your book characters who would it be, and why?

DEE: I’d choose Rosie, my MG protagonist whose story is currently in the submission stage. I have a thing against lying and thought it would be interesting to create a character with that flaw. Besides delving into the reasons Rosie acts the way she does, I’d get to hang out with her at gymnastics. (Spoiler: Her nemesis is beam, not vault.)

ME: I had the pleasure of meeting Rosie. I love her.

ME: I want to thank you Dee for doing my “Tiny Talk.” I can’t wait to see more great things from you. I’m pretty lucky to get a first look at a best seller every week.

DEE: Maria, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be a guest on your blog where you’ve interviewed the likes of Jay Asher, E.B. Lewis, and Debbi Ridpath Ohi. Thank you so much for having me.

ME: The pleasure is all mine.