Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hi, My Name is Bobo.: (A Weekend in the Life of a 5th Grader) by James Gordon

Hi, My Name is Bobo.: (A Weekend in the Life of a 5th Grader)
James Gordon
Print $10.99 US/Kindle $1.50 US

Hi, My Name is Bobo by James Gordon is a cute memoir. Each scene is written from the child's point of view and immediately draws the reader in by peppering the pages with references to famous pop culture figures and images of familiar family dynamics. He brings an innocence to his words by asking the questions we all wondered as children, such as why it is okay for adults to engage in behaviors they tell their children to refrain from doing. Additionally, the author shares his childhood pictures which helps the readers connect personally with the dialogue.

My children loved this story because they could picture themselves in the same scenarios, like hanging out with their siblings, going to church, and watching some of their favorite superhero characters. And they loved the interesting way James Gordon wrote each scene. 

This story was endearing, and it was great getting a glimpse into the author's life. It will leave the reader reminiscing about their own childhoods, sharing those memories with their children, and smiling for hours afterwards.


If you would like your book reviewed for free, please shoot me an email with a Kindle Version or PDF. Currently, I am only taking on short reads--Children's Books Only--since my chapter book schedule is full. Sorry for the inconvenience. No Spammers Please!

Jaclyn M. Bartz
Author/Illustrator of "The Retired Tooth Fairy"
Volunteer Book Reviewer for Midwest Book Review

email: theretiredtoothfairy (at) outlook (dot) com

Official Website
Amazon Author Page
Facebook Author Page
"The Retired Tooth Fairy" Fan Page
Tweet Me~ @JaclynMBartz
Connect w/ me on LinkedIn

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: A Filly for Laura--Ashley Hotter

A Filly for Laura
Ashley Hotter
Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC 
127 E. Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, Oklahoma 73064
Print Edition $8.99 US/Kindle $7.99

A Filly for Laura follows a young eight year old girl who lost her parents and now lives in a foster home with her brother. Having a hard time dealing with the loss of her parents, Laura is withdrawn and unhappy. When her foster Dad gives her the responsibility to take care of a pregnant mustang named Mae, Laura begins to change.

As a debut title for Ashley Hotter, A Filly for Laura showcases this young author's talents. The story is well-crafted, skillfully illustrated, and delightful. It is written from Laura's point of view, and Hotter did a wonderful job evoking emotion through her carefully planned words. The story is short, only 24 pages total; therefore, the pace is fast, making this a quick read for a child.

This book is great for all elementary-aged children. Additionally, it would make a great gift for a child dealing with loss and depression because the theme is about finding happiness after a tragedy. Overall, I enjoyed reading this story with my children and I would highly recommend it to other parents looking for a children's book with deeper meanings.

You can purchase A Filly for Laura by Ashley Hotter Below:

If you would like your book reviewed for free, please shoot me an email with a Kindle Version or PDF. Currently, I am only taking on short reads--Children's Books Only--since my chapter book schedule is full. Sorry for the inconvenience. No Spammers Please!

Jaclyn M. Bartz
Author/Illustrator of "The Retired Tooth Fairy"
Volunteer Book Reviewer for Midwest Book Review

email: theretiredtoothfairy (at) outlook (dot) com

Official Website
Amazon Author Page
Facebook Author Page
"The Retired Tooth Fairy" Fan Page
Tweet Me~ @JaclynMBartz
Connect w/ me on LinkedIn

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Importance of Point of View

This is an excerpt from Green Owl Publications:

George pushed his way through the crowd. "I need to get past all of these people," he whispered to himself. As he shifted and stammered, he tripped over the lengthy dress of his colleague.
"What a clumsy man!" Stephanie thought. She yanked her dress out from under his feet. George kept moving ignoring the woman's glare. His mission was too important.
What is wrong with this passage? If your answer was a switch in the point of view, then you are correct! Point of view, or POV, is extremely important when writing a coherent, well-constructed literary piece. POV is the glue that holds the story together. It helps the reader enter the world the author created by placing them directly into the character's soul. They get to escape into the character's foreign world and experience it as though they are that character. (Of course this leads into another related topic of showing instead of telling; but, that is a topic for another date.) So think about it, would you want to be ripped from one character and tossed into the soul of another? No thank you! It is not pleasant and extremely unfair to the reader.

To Read the full article click here!

Green Owl Publications is a new resource to help inspire, advise, and educate other artists. Founded by Jaclyn M. Bartz in 2014, Green Owl Publications is an independent publishing company solely dedicated to sharing information and helping others become the best artists they can be. Jaclyn is a published author/illustrator who has been writing and illustrating for over 20 years.  Join this new company on Facebook for updates.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Inside Jaclyn's Head--An Interview of an Artist By a Musician

I had the pleasure to help my super creative brother out with his school assignment. Little did I know we both ended up inspiring each other in our respective artistic journeys. How awesome is that?!
Steve Carr is an Indie Musician, Drummer for Nobodyz Business, and Audio Producer finishing his studies at Berklee College of Music.
Check out his skills-------------->
"Learn to Fly" Cover---Fitting because we both had to learn to fly. ;) 
Someone in my life that has helped inspire me with my drive for pursuing my dreams in music is my sister, Jaclyn M. Bartz.  She has always been someone who showed me support in my dreams and doing this interview, something that is really cool that I found out is that I also helped inspire her to pursue her passions of using her artistic and writing skills to become an author.  It’s a two way street between us that is something really inspirational.  So without further a-do here is the Q&A interview session between us.

1. Discuss your background—name, title, degrees, awards.
My name is Jaclyn M. Bartz. I am a Children’s Book Author & Illustrator. I also do freelance designs. Although I have had college courses in writing, art, healthcare, and accounting, I do not have a formal degree. But my experiences and acquired knowledge has helped me achieve the publication of my first book, “The Retired Tooth Fairy”. And I still continue my studies so I can grow as a professional. Maybe one day, I’ll finish; but, not today.

2. How do you define the art that you create—can you describe it?
Multi-dimensional: My art varies between all spectrums. I am an illustrator, a designer, a maker of words, a portrait artist, a story teller, etc. I use it to convey emotions, to tell a story, to inspire others, or as an educational tool. My art is also amorphous--- meaning it has no direct style. I can switch between graphic art and abstract to surrealism and manga. It all depends on the subject.

3. Describe your artistic journey—what was the path you took as an artist/writer?
Wow, I took the most difficult path ever! My artistic journey started in the crib when I was a baby. I am sure my mom loved my artwork back then. I used to create pics on her windows with the only medium I knew--- the contents of my diaper, ha ha! Eventually, I found a less stinky and gross medium. My mom was happy she didn’t have any more poo-poo paintings from me.
I am a self-taught artist. I practiced every day and always tried to do the complicated stuff. Sometimes it worked—other times it didn’t. I pursued a career in Graphic Design, at first, but I was discouraged by bitter teachers and horrible clients. I always had people tell me how good I was at writing and how good I was at drawing. But no one ever suggested to do both! And I never put it together.
So I went to school for Dentistry. Sounds weird right?! Well, I was just as passionate about healthcare. And I pursued Dentistry in honor of my Grandma. She lost most of her teeth while in a nursing home, mainly because the staff neglected her dental care. I wanted to change it. Since I worked in a factory, I had to take some steps. Dental Hygiene was one of those steps. I worked my butt off, until I suffered a work injury that forced me out of the dental field forever.
I was crushed. Amiss my sadness, destiny called to me in the form of a child’s voice. When my daughter lost another tooth, she asked one simple question: What happens when a grown-up loses a tooth? At that moment, everything came together for me: art, writing, and dentistry. I created my character, wrote her story, illustrated, and came up with enough ideas to make books for years!

4. Were there early successes and/or failures that were important in shaping you?
I have too many to name, but I will share one that sticks out: Lilly Rose Jewelry was a small business I created. I designed and made jewelry pieces. I made it into the Bead Style Magazines’ Gallery, but sales were dismal. It was a terrible bust. The take away is that I gained a lot of knowledge about how to run a business, how to market, and how to manage inventory.

5. What educational experiences best prepared you for the work you do?
All of them! Learning is key to becoming the best artist you can be. There is always a piece of valuable knowledge in the most mundane things. I took courses in almost every area in school. My arts courses helped show how to do new techniques and the foundations required to make believable art. My writing courses taught me about grammar rules, story development, etc. Dental courses taught me more about people and how to interact with them. I learned public speaking, planning speaking events, and valuable interpersonal skills. In my business courses, I learned about sales, inventory, marketing, customer service, etc. They all prepared me for the work I do today, and I am still learning.

6. What other experiences prepared you for the work you do?
Everyday life experiences have also prepared me. At home and at work, there are many things to learn to help make us the best we can be. These fall into the categories of cleanliness, organizational skills, time management, etiquette, relationships, team work, etc. As I have said, there is always something valuable in the most mundane things. You just have to be open to it.

7. What has been your greatest accomplishments as an artist/writer?
My greatest accomplishment is publishing my first book! I am an independent author, meaning I do all the work myself. Well, except for editing, I had a professional editor help polish my words. But it feels so amazing and is very surreal having a book that I had written physically in my hands. I think I did a happy dance for weeks. Actually, I still am doing a happy dance. Please excuse me for a second while I take a moment to do another!

8. What are your goals as an artist/writer?
My goals as an Author/Illustrator is simply to educate and entertain people. And, of course, to continue writing and drawing.

9. How does your art relate to other kinds of art? Can you speak about a connection between your art and other performing or fine arts? For instance, is there a relationship between writing and film or music or otherwise...that is important to consider?
All art is related. Whether it is music or writing/illustrating, we all go through the same creative processes. We have to brainstorm, create our first drafts, revise and edit, revise and edit again, strive to make it the best it can be, then we finalize it. Afterwards, we stress. Is it good enough? Will people like it? Will they like me? Why am I doing this again? Until we learn to accept that no matter how awesome we are, there will always be that one person who wants nothing to do with our work. Think Picasso: Some people like him; some don’t. The most important thing is to keep creating!

10. Are there other artists/writers working today or artists/writers from the past who are/were particularly important to shaping your work?
I can break my inspiration down to three main people/stories. My artwork is heavily inspired by Stan Lee. I learned how to draw by studying his comic book characters. He has helped me with perspective and how to create exciting characters. He and his Marvel Universe characters have been central to my drawing abilities and character development.
My next inspiration would be the Bunnicula series by Deborah and James Howe. Their story was very unique and fun. I remember being intrigued by their style. I loved that the story is told through the point of views of the family pets. And I mean, come on! It is about a vampire bunny who drains the juice out of veggies. It was cool.
The next inspiration comes from a book that I cannot, for the life of me, remember the title or the author. But it has been a huge inspiration. I read it around the same time I read Bunnicula. But this was a mid-grade horror story about a girl trying to kill this little boy because he was her reincarnated brother. She had killed him before and didn’t want her family finding out her secret. It shocked my system. And the ending was absolutely amazing! It did a wonderful job with plot twists, just like Dean Koontz does.

11. How does your art relate to society/politics?
Right now I am using my art as an oral health educational tool. I also introduce empathy, creative thinking, conquering limitations, and kindness. But the process I took to publish my story is all about politics. There is a war brewing between traditional publishers and independent publishers right now. The big publishers do not want to loosen their choke-hold on the market and are trying to slam independents any chance they get. But what they refuse to see is that the markets are finally changing in the author’s favor. With higher royalties and services provided by Amazon, more and more talented authors are jumping ship. Standard royalties for traditionally published authors range from $0.20 to $0.30 per book sold. Whereas independents are making $3+ royalties.
Along with royalties, traditional publishers keep publishing rights for years and do not provide marketing services like they used to. So even if you are traditionally published, you have to do your own book marketing; signings, appearances, etc. And if your book does not meet sales goals, they pull the book from the shelves. Author’s then have to wait years before they get their publishing rights back. It is crazy right now. I look forward to the day when Indies are as respected as their traditional counterparts.

12. How does your art relate to, reflect, define your identity, if it does?
I always tried to be normal. I never embraced my quirkiness—the things that make me unique. I was always afraid to show my true colors thinking I would be rejected. Being a creative personality, I had trouble fitting in. I remember in school, we had to draw our version of the Holy Spirit. I created a flame that flickered. Everyone else copied an image out of their workbooks. When the teacher hung them up on the wall, my classmates laughed at me. Every day since, it reminded me how different I was, and I hated it.
It took me awhile to shake that poison from myself. Who wants to be normal anyways? I ended up opening up more when I noticed my brother following his passions. He was so confident and self-assured in his talents. Me, not so much. But he inspired me to celebrate my artistic side. I haven’t looked back since.

13. What advice do you have for young artists/writers?
Don’t do what I did! Ha ha! Seriously though, my advice is to celebrate your uniqueness and never ever give up following your dreams. Don’t listen to the negativity and ignore the naysayers. Keep learning and make your path your own. Trust me, one day it will all come together!

Her book “The Retired Tooth Fairy” can be bought here: