Mama Diaries

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

IWSG Post and Should I Go or Should I Stay?

It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post of the month. The question is, "What would you like to see changed in the publishing industry?"

That's a tough one. Ebooks seem to be here to stay. And Amazon seems to be the mega-giant from whom everybody purchases books. I wish the little bookstores with physical books would be able to compete with Amazon and be found in every town. But that probably won't happen.

I guess the other thing I would like to see is an end to "trends." For a while, it was all about vampires. And then it was about books featuring diversity. And then in the middle-grade world, it's been all about relationships and bullying. Which is all good and well. But why do publishers have to go with the trends? Why can't they have a variety? Maybe people want to read something other than what everybody else writes.

Is there anything you'd like to see different in the publishing world?

And here's the other part of the post:

I'm supposed to go to Florida in a few weeks to see the University of Tampa and find an apartment for my daughter, who will be going there in August. The coronavirus numbers there are increasing and are now over 10,000.  I'm concerned about getting it again. And I don't want to do that, especially since I have to go see my dad get married at the end of August. He's no spring chicken. I definitely don't want him to get it!

So, do I stay home and leave it to my ex to help her find the apartment and disappoint my daughter by not going, or do I go and risk getting the virus? What do you think?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Getting Out and About

I don't know about you, but I've gotten a little antsy hanging out in my little apartment all day, quarantined. I decided to get out and enjoy the great outdoors a bit.

Adventure number one:  Tubing down the Hooch.

The Hooch, aka Chattahoochee River, in Georgia.  Looks pretty, doesn't it?

This adventure involved hanging out with a bunch of teenagers who thought it would be a good idea to tube the Hooch. All was well until my tube got stuck on some rocks. Then I had to get out of the tube, into the river, to free myself. It wouldn't have been bad, except the part where I got stuck ended up being much deeper than anticipated. The freezing cold water came all the way up to my neck! So, not only did I have to get my tube over the rocks of a small waterfall, I had to climb over those rocks myself while freezing my little tush off! Mama was not pleased!  Getting out at the end of the trip was a good trick, too. The current was moving a bit fast, and the exit point was on the opposite bank. I actually had to get out again and swim against the current, dragging my tube. Probably not very safe, but I managed to do it. Needless to say, by the end of the two-hour tubing expedition, I was extremely cold and tired! But hey, it was better than sitting in my apartment! 

Adventure number two:  Beach trip to Lake Lanier

Another trip with a bunch of teenagers. Same bunch, by the way. This time, I decided to stay on dry land and observe. These kids thought it would be fun to swim all the way out past the "safe swim zone" to the "kayak zone" buoys. I shook my head and watched as they swam, praying I would not have to call a rescue squad to save them. They made it to the buoy and hung out there, clinging to it for about 20 minutes. They must've been freezing! Finally, they decided to swim back, and almost all of them ended up floating on their backs, probably because they were so exhausted! So much for being invincible! The good news is, they all made it back safely.  

So, that's what I did last week. What about you? Same old same old in quarantine?

Before I go, I'd like to let you know that I will be doing an online book tour in September to celebrate the release of Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure. If you'd like to sign up to be a part of it, go here. Thanks to those of you who have already signed up!  I'm looking forward to being a guest on your blog!   


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Book Release: Bad Fairy by Elaine Kaye

Today, I have a new book to tell you about:  Bad Fairy by Chrys Feye's mom, Elaine Kaye. Read on to learn some new fairy words!

Title: Bad Fairy
Series: A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book One)
Author: Elaine Kaye
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy Middle Grade
Length: 66 pages
Age Range: 8-12

BLURB: Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn't like rules, and it's just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her.

Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse?

Barnes and Noble,  Amazon

When you write for children, you get to make things up and let your imagination run wild. For fairies, I didn’t want to use the same sort of terminology and popular phrases that kids use these days, because fairies wouldn’t know them! So, I decided to create fairy alternatives. I had fun coming up with phrases like okum sokum and boogles, two of the most commonly used words by Thistle and her friends.

To get hip with fairy language, check out these words and their definitions.


Batty Eye - a facial expression of disgust or distrust.

Boogles - darn it, dang it.

Flea Fit - an outburst of anger.

Flutters - what the girl members of the Flutter Club call themselves.

Fuddlebug - similar to “boogles,” it means “shoot” or “crude.”

Moon’s Day - the Greek name for Monday.

Okum Sokum - pronounced oh-com so-com, it is the Flutter’s rallying cheer and means “YESSSSSSS!!!!”

Saturn’s Day - the Greek name for Saturday.

Speckles - amber pieces of fossilized tree sap used as money.

Spoogling - when a bad fairy throws rocks at another fairy while they’re flying.

Sun’s Day - the Greek name for Sunday.

Twisty - a tornado


“Now on to the subject of my tardiness. Dusty and Moss have struck again.”

The Flutters jump up. “Now what?” Those words echo in the clubhouse.

All of us have one thing in common—our dislike for Dusty and Moss. We are almost convinced they are related to trolls. As I tell them what happened, they sit on the edge of their chairs.

“They spoogled me!”

“Isn’t that dangerous?” Lilly asks.

“You bet. A pebble could’ve torn my wings. Then Moss grabbed my wing and flung me into a fern bush. See the tear in my shirt?” They get up to look. “Right now, I could be lying in the fern bush or on a hard leaf at Fairyview Hospital.”

Lilly stands up, facing the other Flutters. “We have to get even!” She raises a clenched fist.
“I agree,” I say.

“Well, it can’t be today,” Clover interrupts. “I need to get home before my mom throws a flea fit.”

“I told my mom I wouldn’t be gone long, too,” Rose says. “She has a punishment all planned out if I’m late. I’ll have to pull thorny weeds from the flower beds.”

“Ouch,” we say in sympathy.

“As President, I end our meeting. I can’t get a Flutter in trouble. We will meet tomorrow morning. Now let’s go home.”

We start to zoom off in different directions.

“And watch for Dusty and Moss!” I warn.

“Okum sokum!” they holler back.


3 Signed Paperback Picture Books –
Pea Soup Disaster, Doctor Mom, The Missing Alphabet

Eligibility: International

Number of Winners: One

Giveaway Ends: July 1, 2020 12:00am Eastern Standard Time



Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup DisasterBad Fairy is her middle grade debut and the first of A Bad Fairy Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Graduation: COVID Style

My daughter has graduated! And as fate would have it, she graduated during the COVID pandemic.

All things considered, I think it was a very nice graduation ceremony. The first part involved a parade. Seniors decorated their cars with balloons, posters, and paint and drove down the street to the school.

Onlookers cheered with noisemakers, posters, and more balloons. After stopping at Point A to check-in, the Seniors pulled around to the front of the school to receive their diploma. And of course, due to COVID safety regulations, the volunteers who distributed the diplomas all wore masks.

I was concerned there'd be some fender-benders. Put together a bunch of crazy high school Seniors and make them drive on the left side of the road -what could go wrong? But somehow it all seemed to work out.

The following day there was an online graduation ceremony. We sat there in the comfort of our home as the principal, Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and district supervisors gave their speeches. And then we watched as each student in the graduating class was announced and the pictures of about 400 Seniors went across the screen. The whole thing took about an hour.

It was kind of nice not having to go to downtown Atlanta, fight the traffic, and deal with the crowds. They should do it like this every year!

Have any of you had graduating kids in your family? If so, what was the ceremony like?

Friday, May 15, 2020

Guest Author, Stephanie Faris and The Popularity Code

Today I have a special guest, Stephanie Faris at my place talking about her new release, The Popularity Code.

Hi, Stephanie! Welcome to my pad! 

Tell us about your latest book, The Popularity Code.

The Popularity Code focuses on an app called SlamBook, which allows students to anonymously post comments about each other online. Many of the comments are mean, which puts the main character, Faith, in a tough position. She figures out how to hack into the app and see who’s posting what, but she doesn’t know what to do with the information.

Online bullying is such a relevant topic for toady’s middle-grade kids. What do you hope they’ll take away after reading your book?

We seem to think that bad-mouthing others is a way to bond with others and win over friends. But those words have consequences. I would hope that readers would see that even when they’re posting anonymously, there’s someone at the other end of those messages, and words have consequences.

Without giving away too much of the story, tell us who your favorite character in the book is and your least favorite and why.

My favorite is always my main character. In this case, I really admire Faith’s determination to become a successful computer programmer. My least favorite is Janelle, the popular best friend. I started out rooting for her, but in the end, she’s half the person Faith is.

What challenges, if any, did you encounter when writing The Popularity Code?

That’s easy! The biggest challenge was writing a story where most of the action happens online. I had no idea how challenging that would be. I had to find ways to describe what was happening through the characters’ reactions, rather than just showing what was on the screen.

Do you have any advice for authors who write middle-grade stories?

So much of a person’s life at that age is tied into friendships. The way we all navigate those relationships at that age sets the stage for how we’ll handle relationships later in life, I think. Most of the best middle-grade books have friendship at their core.

Are you working on anything else?

I have three books in various stages of development right now: a spooky chapter book series and two middle-grade books. Fingers crossed on all three! 

Mean Girls meets The Clique in this relatable M!X novel that tackles the effects of online bullying.
Faith Taylor is popular by association, thanks to her BFFs, Adria and Janelle. When a new website called SlamBook targets her school’s popular kids, Faith gets sucked in. And when she discovers her own page on the site, she finds herself obsessing over the comments people are posting about her. Some are good, some are…not so good. Faith becomes determined to match the negative comments to the people and begins to retaliate by posting negative comments of her own.
Soon, Faith finds that people are talking about the comments she’s leaving. Even though she does feel guilty, it’s just so easy to be mean behind the anonymity of her laptop. But when her comments go too far, she realizes she must figure out a way to make things right before it’s too late.

My Review:
When a new website called Slambook starts up at Faith Taylor's school, kids become obsessed about seeing what others write about them on their pages. Under anonymity, they can write things about other students too. What starts off as a place to share sweet comments about each other, soon turns to ugly bullying. So ugly that it sends one person into a serious state of depression. Faith needs to use her coding skills to figure out who is behind all the nasty comments and change things for the better.

The Popularity Code addresses a real problem middle-school kids face: Cyber-bullying. This book sheds light on the problem and shows how harmful hurtful comments can be. Perhaps those reading it will think twice before "slamming" someone when they realize how serious the consequences can be.

This is a well-written book with a topic that's very relevant to middle-school kids. 5 Stars.


Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle-grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. When she isn't writing books for children, she writes technology, finance, and business content for a variety of websites. She currently lives in her hometown, just north of Nashville. Visit her online at

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Voyagers The Third Ghost Book Release and IWSG Post

I am super-excited that the IWSG anthology, Voyagers, The Third Ghost is being released!  Here's the latest blog post about it where I  share a little about the inspiration behind my contribution, The Ghosts of Pompeii: Click here to read.

Voyagers: The Third Ghost
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Journey into the past…Will the third ghost be found before fires take more lives? Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is buried again? What happens if a blizzard traps a family in East Germany? Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII? And sneaking off to see the first aeroplane – what could go wrong?

Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of
Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales
will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!
Release date – May 5, 2020
$13.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 168 pages
Print ISBN 9781939844729 / EBook ISBN 9781939844736
Juvenile fiction – historical/action & adventure/fantasy & magic

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter. A Writer’s Digest 101 Best Website for Writers and The Write Life’s Best 100 Website for Writers
Links:Amazon -
Barnes & Noble -
ITunes -
Kobo -
Goodreads -

And since it's time for the IWSG post of the month, let me do that.

The question is, what do you do to get in the "zone" for writing?

I grab my notebook, pencil, and all of my notes and park myself on the floor with my legs stretched out. I never sit at my desk when I write. I'm stuck there with my computer all the time for my other jobs. Getting away from my desk gets me into the writing zone.  Sometimes I'll take my notebook outside. My favorite place is to write is at the beach. What about you? What do you do to get in the writing zone?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Guest Author, Beverly McClure

I’m delighted to be participating in author Beverly Stowe McClure’s Blog Tour today for her latest release, GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL.

Beverly is offering a tour-wide giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

by Beverly Stowe McClure
* Paperback: 214 pages
* Publisher: Freedom Fox Press
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1939844665
* ISBN-13: 978-1939844668

Gabe Montana is clumsy. He's overweight, and he's dyslexic. Worse yet, the bullies make his fifteen-year-old life even more miserable-so miserable he wants to die.

Charley, his guardian angel, says no to that idea and comes up with a different plan. He'll give Gabe self-confidence so he can solve his problems, not run away from them. But Gabe wonders why the angel doesn't just help with the bullies. What's with this self-confidence stuff?

Can Charley help Gabe stand on his own two feet? Will Gabe give up hope life can improve for him? Or will he finally listen to the angel's advice?

GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL is available at the following sites:AMAZON PAPERBACK 

Hi, Beverly! Welcome!  What gave you the idea for the book?

Several things. I retired from teaching in elementary school many years ago and hadn't really kept up with what was happening in town or the schools. But a newspaper article woke me up to the facts. It seems that some boys were bullying another boy and they told him to "go kill himself." So, he did. How sad he must have been to take his own life. I couldn't help that young boy, but perhaps I could help others. But how? Maybe write a book showing how precious each life is? So, GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL was born.

My heart breaks for kids who are bullied like that and choose to end their lives. It's a horrible problem! I hope your book helps!

Have you ever felt that a guardian angel was watching over you?

Yes, I have. Nothing big or major, but he's always with me. When I'm taking a walk, he walks with me. Sometimes I talk to him. He doesn't answer in words but I sense his presence. A  peace flows over me. When a crazy driver whips his/her car in front of me, my angel keeps me safe. When I'm thinking how dumb I am, my angel sends me encouragement. The little things each day comfort me. I bet your angel walks with you, too.

It's nice to think that someone or something is watching over each one of us.

What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?

I hope readers will see that sometimes, maybe, not always, a person who bullies others may be a victim also.  Some people are basically sour with life and the world and find nothing good about it. Perhaps, however, a bully has problems of his/her own that make him/her take their frustrations out on others. I'm not trained as a specialist, but it's my idea and Gabe has a lesson to learn as does the bully. And us all.

Yes. A lot of times bullies are being bullied by adults at home. It's so sad!

Are you working on anything else? 

I have four ideas sketched out, roughly.  Two are middle grades and one is a young adult and another I'm not sure about.

I'm sure you'll come up with more great stories!

Thanks for visiting my space and sharing your book!

Here's my review of Gabe's Guardian Angel:

Fifteen-year-old Gabe has no self-confidence. He's overweight, clumsy, and dyslexic. The bullies at school see that he's an easy target and torment him relentlessly. It brings him to the point of wanting to commit suicide. Fortunately, his guardian angel is there to save him. Gabe takes this second chance on life and grows, not only bettering himself but the lives of the bullies.

This is a heart-warming story with likable characters and a positive message that can help teens struggling with self-esteem and being bullied. 5 Star Review

For those who aren’t familiar with Beverly, here’s a bit of background on her.

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds.

She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.


Author Beverly Stowe McClure is giving away one print copy of GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL to a lucky US winner.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Beverly on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you think Guardian Angels come in all shapes and sizes?