Author Spotlight: Children’s Author & Illustrator Maxine Sylvester

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Happy early Holidays, my Friends.  It’s been a while, I know, but I am happy to take this time to get back into promoting authors and other entertainment folks on my blog.   Since it is very close to the Christmas holiday, and because books make a really wonderful gift, especially for the kiddos, I am starting this venture back off with World-Traveling, Children’s Author & Illustrator Maxine Sylvester!

  1. “About the Author”

I was born in London but now live in Bali, Indonesia, with my partner, Mark.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first book in the Ronaldo series, The Reindeer Flying Academy, three years ago. I followed up with The Phantom Carrot Snatcher one year later, and self-published Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza last month.

  1. What was your life like before becoming an author?

Ha! It took thirty years to find a job that I love. I enjoyed art when I was a child but in my teens, I became obsessed with traveling. I abandoned any career in art to work as a Holiday Representative in Greece. I then sailed the ocean waves working in the gift shop and casino on board cruise ships, which is where I met Mark. After 10 years on ships, we decided to try our luck in the desert and accepted positions at a casino in Jericho, Palestine. After two years the casino was forced to close due to political unrest.

Mark was offered a job in Moscow. By this time I was itching to get back to art so I took some time out and enrolled in The College of Cartoon Art. I was mentored by top British cartoonist/caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I then did a course in children’s book illustration.

After 8 years in Russia, Mark decided he wanted out of the casino industry and bought into a scuba diving business in Bali. I was now a qualified cartoonist and wanted a reason to illustrate so decide to write a short children’s book. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. I unleashed an imagination I never knew I had. I now love writing as much as illustrating. I feel imagination and illustration are my strengths, not grammar, so I use a professional editor on my books.

  1. Who or what inspired you to write?

This is the part where I am supposed to list authors I admire, but in fact, it was Walt Disney. I am obsessed with Disney animation, I always have been. So I think my stories are courtesy of a lifetime of watching Disney movies. They always make me laugh and feel good. I try to put the same values into my books. I hope my readers feel the same way about Ronaldo as I do about Disney.

  1. Do you have a specific writing style or genre?

I write for the 6-10 age group. I try to keep my books fast-paced, funny and adventurous. When I was in my thirties, I got very excited about going to see Tarzan, the latest Disney animation. A work colleague laughed and said I was too old to be watching cartoons. Her comment really touched a nerve (I even stopped shopping at The Disney Store!). I told my niece, a wise pre-school teacher called Gemma, what my colleague had said. She told me I was in touch with my inner child. I now think it is an advantage to be in touch with my inner child as I naturally write for children, and my illustrating enhances my stories. For the first time in my life I can honestly say I love what I do.

6. Tell me about your latest book.

It’s a colour version of my first Ronaldo adventure, The Reindeer Flying Academy. My books have black & white illustrations and some reviewers mentioned they would have preferred colour. As the book is set in winter, I thought it would make a perfect Christmas book. I’ve had so much fun illustrating it; I think children are going to love it!

The story introduces Ronaldo. He is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license and becoming one of Santa’s reindeer, just like his hero, Vixen.

At flying school, Ronaldo, his loyal best friend, Rudi, and the other second-year cadets face their toughest ever flying test – The Endurance Challenge. Freezing conditions make the task nearly impossible, but Ronaldo remembers his grandad’s inspiring words:

“Imagine, see it, feel it, believe it. You can do anything if you truly believe in yourself.”

The book has plenty of laughs for both the young and young at heart and has a clear message for children – to believe in yourself!

  1. What was your favourite part of the book to write?

The ending – I think it’s hysterical! Reviewers say the book is ‘heartfelt’ and love what happens to Ronaldo at the end of the book.

  1. What was the hardest part to write?

I can’t think of any issues I had with the first book – it was the second one, The Phantom Carrot Snatcher! I loved the ending but my editor said it didn’t fit with the rest of the book. After a week of digesting her comments, I re-wrote the ending. I am delighted every time a get a good review for Phantom as it took a lot of extra work getting it right.

  1. What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?

All of it! I love writing and illustrating. I think it helps that I did a few jobs that made me miserable as I really appreciate what I do now. Good reviews are very rewarding. I am always humbled by people’s kind comments and thrilled when they enjoy my books.

  1. Do you have any other books complete or in progress?

There are four books in the Ronaldo series.

  • The Reindeer Flying Academy
  • The Phantom Carrot Snatcher
  • Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza
  • The Reindeer Flying Academy (colour edition)

I will start work on The Vixen Pederson Workshop in December. I have been illustrating for months so can’t wait to start writing again. Ronaldo and Rudi go to the North Pole in the next installment!

  1. What are your future plans in regards to writing?

I always planned on writing a series before sending my work to an agent or publisher. I now think the time is right so I will start applying to agents in the new year. I plan to finish The Vixen Pederson Workshop by October 2018, ready for a Christmas release.

  1. Are you listed on the major social networks like facebook, twitter, Goodreads, etc…

Yes, yes and yes! Fortunately, Mark is more computer savvy than me and helps with social networking. Ronaldo also has a website with children’s activities, which I am immensely proud of.

Website:    ronaldotheflyingreindeer.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaxineSylvesterAuthor/

Twitter:      @flyingronaldo

Pinterest:   https://id.pinterest.com/flyingronaldo/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maxinesylvester/

  1. What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

To believe in yourself and follow your dreams (it’s what I say to Ronaldo!). Also to take advice on board and listen to people who have experience in the industry. My editor once annihilated the first draft of one of my books. I was so upset; I couldn’t look at it for a week. When I calmed down I read her comments again. She was 100 percent correct in what she said. I made changes and the book was stronger because of it.

  1. Outside of writing, what is your most favourite thing to do and why?

I wouldn’t say Pilates is my favourite thing to do but I couldn’t survive without it. Our bodies are not designed to sit at computers all day and Pilates strengthens the muscles that support the spine. I practice three times a week.

Mark and I have a movie day most weeks. We catch an early showing, then go to the beach and watch the sun go down. When I’m back in England I love going to the theatre in London or catching an Arsenal match.

  1. Anything you would like to add for future fans and friends?

THANK YOU!!! I am so grateful to every person who either purchases one of my books or kindly writes a review. Reviews are essential to self-published authors and I really appreciate the time it takes to write them.

Thank you too, Maxine!  It has been a pleasure to get to know you and your awesome work!  Much success to you.

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Writer’s Write Program Sponsored by Inkitt – November 2017

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We’re launching a huge writers event in November to assist authors to finish their novels and I thought your audience might be interested. There will be free writing coaching sessions (e.g. with the editor of the Martian), Q&As with famous authors such as Andy Weir, Lauren Kate, Gayle Forman, etc. a writing buddy system and much more. Currently, we’re inviting authors to pledge here:

https://www.inkitt.com/writerswrite?utm_source=writerswrite_spotlight

https://www.inkitt.com/

NEW RELEASE: “A Woman’s Grief” by Tracy James Jones

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“A Woman’s Grief” by Tracy James Jones

“A shattered spirit is not easy to mend – When a broken heart is your closest friend.”

Anesha Allen was a strong, independent, young woman of color. At least that is what she always told herself during the most difficult times in her life. But it wasn’t all true. She was actually a woman who had been ruled and ruined by her emotions, and those emotions had often determined the direction she would go throughout her life. With renewed determination (and a little bit of medication therapy), she finally forces herself to face up to the worst heartbreak she had ever endured. The outcome for her future, especially in concern to life and love, greatly depended on how strong she truly believed herself to be…

Release Date: September 1, 2017

Amazon Kindle Pre-order Link: http://a.co/gvLenpi 

The first thing for her to acknowledge was the scream.  It wasn’t out loud, just bouncing there in the back of her mind like it always did when she knew she was on the edge. Even the tears that threated to fall from her light brown eyes were held at bay if by nothing but sheer will.  Staring at herself in the bathroom mirror, the tips of her fingers were practically numb from the grip she held onto the porcelain sink.  “I’m a strong black woman,” she mentally reminded herself.  How long she would be able to survive on that strength, she knew, depended on how well she could handle the issues that it was finally time for her to face…

 

Author Spotlight: Urban Literature, Romance & Erotica Author Kai Storm

Author Kai Storm is a new face in the Urban Literary world, has brought us shining jewels called Alani’s Bigger Hustle & Alani’s Hustle Gets Bigger. Kai was born in Panama in 1972 and came to New York in 1981 with her mother. She discovered her writing gift as a junior at Boys & Girls High School when an English teacher gave her an assignment to develop a story from just one paragraph and since then, her pen was hot. Thru the years, Kai continued to write any and everything not only to keep her gift alive but also for therapeutic reasons, either way her pen and paper kept her sane. In December 2007, Kai was working at a hospital as a temp and even though the assignment was over the first week of December the hospital kept her on for two more weeks just so that she would have money for Christmas presents but there was nothing for her to do during those two weeks so she decided to pen the first three chapters of Alani’s Bigger Hustle. Only after she submitted the first three chapters did she decide to write the rest of the book “just to see what I would do with it”, and when she pushed this out, it was nothing but fire!

“This story literally lived inside of me since I was 12 years old, it grew up with me and I knew one day it would be out in the world for all to see, it just had too!”

Kai was first signed to a publishing house in August 2008 and because she was so excited about the whole venture she never fully researched the company and the works they produced and because Kai had her own personal life issues, she never fully pushed for the book to be released. Once things in her life calmed down and she was ready to be published, in October 2010 she discovered the company was not all ready to put out her book and thru Author to Author connections that she made on Facebook, she found a publishing company that was not only ready, they couldn’t wait to sign her on. This company was Twenty First Street Urban Editing & Publishing, LLC and they along with Kai, brought Alani’s Bigger Hustle to life.

When meeting Kai for the first time, you can see the excitement that she has about her book, the confidence and the great work ethic she exudes is intense and the best part of all is that it’s genuine to the core. Kai always has promotional information about her book, upcoming book signings and events and anything she is currently working on, and if you are an up and coming author seeking advice, Kai will go above and beyond to provide all the information you need because “If we supported each other more we could rule the world!”

Kai is not only a writer but also a mom. In 1997 Kai was blessed with her first daughter named Africa who taught her the real meaning of life and responsibility and the lesson was so overwhelmingly beautiful that she had another daughter named Agodess in 2009. Her third daughter Anaya was a wonderful surprise in 2015. All in all, Kai is a woman that is thankful for all her blessings and plans to continue writing as long as she can. Her third novel is promising to be hot thriller; it’s called You Just Don’t Know, it’s written under genre erotica kink and the best part of all….Miss Kai Storm is gracing the cover of her third book! Kai has written contributing stories for a group collaboration book called Sistah’s With Ink Voices as well as another anthology called Lipstick 3 where Kai dropped another jewel called “Love Vibe”. Kai continues to do book signings and events around the country while she writes great reads. Checkout for her collaboration with Black Books Publishing on a anthology called 21st Century Black Erotica in which she has a hot story called “I am Your Master” and if you haven’t heard the great news, the third leg of the Alani series called La Familia AND a love story called That One Voice are both available for your reading pleasure! Her latest novel which is a very dramatic based on a true story novel called Where’s My Daddy, is also available now.

At one point in time, Kai was doing author features for an online Christian magazine called Elation but for whatever reason, the site took a small hiatus. This left Kai Storm in a sort of a situation because authors were steadily sending her their info to her to be featured. Through the encouragement of a close author friend, she was given the idea to use her current websites to do the author features and Kai absolutely loved that idea. Using her own websites, Kai launched a feature section called KAI’S AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT which allowed her to escape the restrictions previously set upon her by Elation and it has been a great success for her. Her two websites www.nattiekai.com and www.nattiekai.wix.com/kaistormbooks get a great amount of weekly traffic so it’s not only a benefit for the author featured but also becomes a benefit for Kai Storm and the ever growing brand with over 6,200 Facebook likes and an ever rising hit counter. Kai currently blogs for Vocal Media, a blogging site with several blogging platforms, one of which is called Filthy. So far, her hot blogs have not only opened people’s eyes to her hot pen but also have provided her with yet another level of audience to captivate. For your reading pleasure as you sip your tea, you MUST check out all of her blogs, you can find all the live links on her Nattiekai site.

Kai has also been successful in getting copies of her novels purchased by libraries across the US. For her, knowing that her books exist means that her life will forever be remembered so to speak; her mark is left on the world for years to come.

kaistorm@21streeturbanediting.com

www.nattiekai.com

www.nattiekai.wix.com/kaistormbooks

www.21streeturbanediting.com