Today we published a very interesting interview with British author Susan Keefe. Read all about it on our new website.
Back in 2013 Bette A. Stevens gave us a glimpse into the life of Shawn Daniels in a little book titled PURE TRASH. Back then, Shawn was a little kid growing up in a small town in New England and he was trying to be happy despite the fact that his father was the town’s drunk.
The story, too small back then, left us wondering whatever happened to Shawn. We now have most of the answers in Bette’s debut novel, DOG BONE SOUP.
The Dog Bone Soup is a dish you are forced to consume every day when your family is broke, your father is gone and your mother is too proud to accept charity. As you can imagine, it is the sort of food that is easy to hate, as it becomes a symbol of everything that is wrong when you are a poor kid trying to understand why others have more than you and your family do.
Shawn may be the most underprivileged kid in town, but he is far from beaten. He still carries the indomitable spirit and that is characteristic of the children who have not known failure yet.
Although he is not quite eighteen years old, Shawn is confronted with several serious problems: He is trying to feed his family and keep his father from coming back home to beat his mother, all while struggling to get good grades in school and worrying about whether to go to college or join the army.
Unfortunately, not everything is going according to Shawn’s plan.
DOG BONE SOUP is a coming-of-age story that will set you thinking about your childhood and about your children. It is a novel filled up with both sad and happy moments, and unless I am mistaken, it is prose that will make you cry at least once.
Read it to understand how fortunate you and your children are and to remember to be happy.
To learn more about Bette A. Stevens and her books, you can visit the following links:
- Find author Bette A. Stevens and her books on Amazon
- Follow Bette A. Stevens on Facebook
- Visit Bette’s website
DOG BONE SOUP is not only the title of Bette A. Stevens’s debut novel; it ranks high among the paltry meals that the book’s protagonist, Shawn Daniels, wants to forget. Plodding through mounting snow and battling howling winds, Shawn is ready to leave it all behind—living in poverty, Dad’s drinking, life in foster care, the divorce, the bullies….
Travel with Shawn Daniels through the guts and the glories of life. You’ll find them all in DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming-of-age saga. Available now at “YOUR AMAZON”
From the Reviewers
“Dog Bone Soup is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when most others were on the crest of a wave. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. But most of all it will make you glad you read it.” ~ Charlie Bray, founder of the Indietribe
“In Dog Bone Soup, Bette Stevens captures the feeling and images of growing up in hardscrabble times perfectly.” ~ John Clark, librarian and author
DOG BONE SOUP
READ the opening Excerpt from Chapter One right here…
There were six of us ready to become soldiers. The other five guys were headed to Fort Dix. Soon as we were inducted, the sergeant who swore us in started calling us a bunch of lily-assed bastards and worse. When the jerk marched the other five guys off, I was happy as hell I wasn’t one of them.
Lieutenant Richards called me into his office. “You’ll be heading out tomorrow, Private Daniels. Here are your tickets.”
We sat in his office and talked about my future with the U.S. Army. Then he handed me a schedule for the next day’s journey and we went over every detail.
“Now let’s get you home so you can get a good night’s sleep before you fly off to serve Uncle Sam, soldier.”
“Good luck Private,” the lieutenant said when he dropped me off at the house. We saluted and I stood there watching until his car disappeared over the hill.
I’d always liked army people. They called me Mr. Daniels and even sir sometimes. Now I was officially a private in the U.S. Army and I was ready to start a new life. I pictured myself in an officer’s uniform one day—a lieutenant, a captain, maybe even a general.
Mum and I didn’t get much more than a few winks of sleep that night. I don’t know how many pots of coffee she perked while we sat at the kitchen table and talked the night away. Of course, it was Mum did most of the talking. Once she opened her picture books, I felt like I was drinking in the life I wanted to leave.
Mum took all of those pictures with her Brownie—that camera was her pride and joy. None of us kids was allowed to touch it unless she supervised a picture taking every now and then. If Dad wasn’t around, it was me peeking through the lens. Mum was fussy about taking pictures just so.
Five books were piled on the table and we went through them one page at a time. Mum had a story for every snap shot. Some made me laugh so hard that I doubled over.
It was two minutes shy of three when she closed the last album.
“Thanks for staying up. I’ve got the alarm set for six and I know that won’t give us much sleep.” Mum pulled out her hanky, sniffled and hugged me before we turned in. My leaving would to be hard on her.
Willie was snoring away, likely dreaming about cars. I slipped in next to him and pulled away some puffs and huddled under them.
The minute I closed my eyes I started dreaming about my new life. No more freezing to death up north. I was headed for southern sunshine and I saw myself soaking it all in.
Bzzzzzzz. I jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes, grabbed the suitcase and headed for the kitchen. Mum already had breakfast on the stove, so I ran outside to do my business and came back in to grab a hot biscuit and down it with a cup of steaming coffee.
I was half frozen and snow was whipping around me in circles when I headed out on the three-mile walk into town to catch that bus.
I shook flakes big as quarters from my jacket when I climbed the steps of the Greyhound. Two hours and I’d be boarding a plane headed to Fort Jackson. South Carolina was sure the place to be, especially in February.
### end of excerpt
- Read all of Chapter One
- OR Grab your own copy of DOG BONE SOUP here at “YOUR AMAZON” and dive right in!
About the author
Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).
Bette A. Stevens is the author of award-winning picture book AMAZING MATILDA; home/school resource, The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP.
Find out more about the author and her books right here on “YOUR AMAZON”
Crab is always cranky, lonely and sad. She believes that she is unhappy because she is not a dolphin. When she decides to become one, she starts asking around: what exactly does one need to do around here to become a dolphin?
The little Crab does not realize that dolphins are born and not made.
Nevertheless, Crab starts working towards fulfilling her dream. Dolphin, her new friend, gives her some tips and sends her on a couple of missions that could help her achieve her goal.
Along this self-discovery trip, Crab learns about Gratitude and about the good things that are present in her crabby little life and finally understands that to be happy, the change needs to happen on the inside and not in the world surrounding us.
Valerie’s book is illustrated by Carol Stevens, and both the prose and the illustrations are very professional.
This book is recommended for children ages 4-8 who need to learn the basics of positive thinking and also that the most important changes must happen within us if we wish to live happily ever after.
You can learn more about Valerie’s and Carol’s books at the following places:
- Wants to be website
- Valerie’s blog
- Wants to be on Facebook
- Valerie’s Amazon Author Page
- You can buy the book on Amazon here
Joe the elephant, Sam the dog, and Fred the mouse are invited to a Dinosaur Party. They have never been at a party like this, but they are excited to go.
The party has all the regular features: cake, candy, presents, a piñata and lots of fun. But there are still some surprises. Because this party is hosted by dinosaurs and for dinosaurs, not everything is planned for an elephant, a dog or a mouse.
Christina Johnson has written several books featuring her characters Joe, Sam and Fred and this is another of their adventures in their series.
The books are interactive, and they let the children choose where to send the characters through several points in the story.
This is a nice series of books for young children interested in animals.
To read more about Christina Johnson and her characters, visit the following links:
- Christina Johnson website
- Christina’s community in Facebook
- Buy the Dinosaur Party Adventure in Amazon
- Buy the Joe, Sam, & Fred’s Adventure Stories Collection in Amazon
“101 Text Messages”, written by Tor Constantino is a small eBook that deciphers for parents and guardians those cryptic messages that our teens are exchanging over their phones.
The book also shares some interesting numbers and gives us an inside peek into this phenomenon. For example, Tor tells us that one in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day. That amounts to more than 3,000 texts in a month!
It’s no secret that with all that heavy exchange of ideas, teens have created a special language not only to type less, but also to have more privacy. Unfortunately, many messages carry a heavy sexual tone.
Tor created this book, not for teens, but for their parents to understand these new acronyms and to be prepared, in case we find them.
And kids are not really saying LOL anymore.
Apparently, they are typing things like MOS, GYPO or LMIRL.
Are you familiar with any of those? I know I wasn’t.
So, I definitely don’t recommend violating the privacy of teens and reading their phone messages without their knowledge or consent.
But I do recommend reading the book to be familiar with some of the possible challenges that your son or daughter may be facing today.
If you are interested in these subjects and you want to read more about them, check out the following links:
Pippa Wilson tells us the story of Zaci the Zebra, Jabalini Giraffe, Eevie Elephant, Lado Lion and some other baby animals that have decided to go out in a big adventure.
Unfortunately, Maamuni Monkey has also joined the group and he has guided them to a scary, forbidden place.
When no one knows what to do, Zaci steps up to the challenge and takes the lead to get everyone home safe.
Young readers will learn to remain close to their parents in unknown places and also to stay calm if they happen to be lost.
The book is written in verse and has attractive illustrations.
Recommended to teach a gentle lesson to a young one who tends to run away in public places.
You can find “Zaci the Zebra is Very Brave” and other books from Pippa Wilson in Amazon.
You can also read more about Pippa Wilson at her website.
Do you remember your first communion? If it was anything like mine, probably mom was rushing around, finishing the last details for the party or the church; dad was either chatting with some friends who arrived early or running some errands ordered by mom; your brothers and sisters would be causing trouble somewhere around the house and you would be thinking about the big family reunion and your presents.
And maybe the real spirit of the sacrament would be forgotten or left aside as the nice plus of a family gathering.
Kathleen is a young girl getting prepared to do her communion and she’s being distracted by all kinds of different things, including her mom’s preconceived notions about what can be considered “good taste” for this important milestone.
Thankfully, Kathleen can always count with the help and advice of a wonderful grandmother, Nan Knowles, who not only knows everything about communions, but is also invincible at getting things done. Armed only with Nan´s special notebook and the help of the mysterious group called “The Girls”, Kathleen and her grandma must navigate through what seems to be an insurmountable pile of problems, including a church that is falling apart, a catastrophic dress, two brothers who seem to always create problems and… a selfish communion copter.
Read this book to relive your own childhood; to fill your heart with the tenderness of a young girl and the boldness of a grandma with a mission and to learn the true meaning of being Christian.
I certainly loved the book and the drawings by Avril and I hope you will too.
Julia Dweck really has to stop doing this to me.
Every time she has a new book, I declare “This is my favourite Julia Dweck book… ever!” I manage to stay put for a while and then along she comes with a new book, and I make a fool of myself proclaiming: “No, no, no. This is the one: This is my favourite Julia Dweck book…ever!”
I have to draw the line somewhere, so today I am announcing that “Jump!” is my favourite Julia Dweck book…ever.
Yes, I know my favourite was “Where are the dinos?” Those were adorable: little dinosaurs shopping and driving and doing all these cool things. I said, and I still maintain, that the word needs to have these little cute dinos as toys. I am still waiting to buy one to put on my desk.
But… “Jump!” has an unbeatable message that “Where are the dinos?” lacks: that a crisis is an opportunity in disguise; that you can accomplish anything if you believe in yourself and that once that you have gone there, nothing will ever be the same.
The message is conveyed in an easy way for children to understand, yet, full of enough charisma to appeal to grownups.
And the illustrations done by Brian Allen are simply amazing!
So, I am saying it now (this has to stop at some point, Julia): “Jump!” is my favourite Julia Dweck book ever!
The book is available now in Amazon: read it, have a big smile and think hard and long about your life and your goals.
The REMOTELY OPERATED BROADBAND INTELLIGENT NETWORKING DEVICE, also known as the R.O.B.I.N. is a deadly machine that is the size of a fly. Remotely controlled by a highly specialized technician, the R.O.B.I.N. can get virtually anywhere and watch everyone, sending back a video signal to be recorded or broadcasted. Since the R.O.B.I.N. can carry and launch tiny missiles, it can kill anyone, at any time.
What happens when the only engineer in the planet who can control the R.O.B.I.N. is kidnapped by a terrorist organization? This action puts the whole planet in danger, since, who can stop or even see a deadly bug?
Now the R.O.B.I.N. has been set up for a deadly mission: kill the president of the United States!
The R.O.B.I.N. is also a book written by Paul Dunn. The book has a very creative idea that it may not be far from reality: the US is producing smaller devices all the time and a real R.O.B.I.N. may be performing on the field soon, if it is not already. The book is also full of action and plot twists that will sure surprise everybody.
I loved the R.O.B.I.N. idea and the story in general. There were only a couple of things that I did not like: I think Paul´s writing could benefit from a professional editor who could fix some typos and who would stress the principle of “show” rather than “tell”. I also found it difficult to get attached to any character; they were just too many for me, and some of them passed so briefly through the pages that it was difficult to care for them. In my opinion the bad guys need to be meaner and the main characters need to express much more their feelings: pain, anxiety, happiness, sadness, etc. That way we will be able to empathize more with them. That is just my opinion.
If you like fast plots full of action and a story with a good idea, pick up the R.O.B.I.N. You will never look at flies the same way again.
If you are interested in the R.O.B.I.N., visit the following links: