Monday, February 24, 2014

Interview With Author Gia Volterra de Saulnier

Meet Jazzy Author
Gia Volterra de Saulnier
What inspired you to write your first book? 
 This was actually a project for a class I took at Bunker Hill Community College in 1999.  The project was to write and draw a picture book for children.  My concept was “Journey to Jazzland” about a Flute named Windy who gets a little bored in Orchestra and wants to learn more about jazz. 
When did you start considering yourself a writer? 
Actually, I’m really a musician and performer, I never (ever) dreamed I would get this book published and now I have been encouraged to write more.  However, I did start writing some in High School and then later on, when I was asked to do the promoting of our events (Renaissance Faires and Festivals we do in MA and NH –USA) I had to do a lot of Press Releases and writing.  I joined LiveJournal and found a few groups to join that was looking for short fiction pieces.  I did do some writing and was encouraged to do more.
Out of the books you've written, which is your favourite? 
This is my first book I have ever gotten published so it will always be my favorite as well as my “baby”.
How do you feel about being interviewed by a children's book character? 
 I think it would be a neat idea to be interviewed by a book character, it’s not happened in the past, but I have been interviewed by a “cat” (Cefa the Cat) and a “dog” – (Stiches the dog) so it would be cool if I could get interviewed by a character.  Maybe Red Riding Hood?  I would love to get her perspective on jazz. J
What are you working on next? 
I wanted to see what the response was for my picture book “Journey to Jazzland” since I’m still an unknown author, but I’ve been encouraged to do a sequel and I’m already working on ideas for “Journey to Dixieland” but also I have a YA Renaissance Faire love story that I just started out.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Sure, here is a blurb: One day during an orchestra rehearsal, Windy Flute was playing a piece of music and her mind started to wander.  Over and over, she had practiced the piece and played the piece.  Feeling bored, she felt that she wanted to be a little different.  Then something special happened.  She began to hear notes that weren’t on the page of sheet music on her stand!
Out of your own characters, do you have a favourite? 
 I suppose since I am a flutist myself that Windy Flute is my favorite.  She’s spunky, sassy and very curious – kind of like me!
Do you have any advice for other writers? 
 Look, I’m really new to this business, but here is what I do know.  Do your homework and research your genre!  No matter if you get a publisher or you do self-publishing, YOU have to be the one to plug/promote/market your book.  NO one else will do this for you!  Get reviews of your book!  If you don’t get a great review, just say thanks for the review and take it with a grain of salt.  Not everyone is going to LOVE your book.  Yes, it’s your work, but review it yourself and get a professional editor if you are not one.  Even having someone to review your mistakes can be the meaning of WORD to WORLD (see what I did there?).  Also, no matter what you do, please make sure you copyright your work!!!
What do you do when you are not writing? 
Like I mentioned before, I am really a musician and performer.  My husband and I promote small Renaissance Festivals here in New England area: Black Swan Inn Renaissance Festival coming to Tilton, NH in late June, possible one for Hammond Castle in July and Silver Kingdom Renaissance Festival in Charlton, MA coming in mid- August.  I am also a mom, wife and looking for a full time day job doing Accounts Payable here in MA area.
If you had to live in one of your books which book would it be? 
One of my books? I’d love to visit Jazzland!  It looks so cool!!! Oh I would love to perform for that audience too!
What was your favourite book when you were a kid? 
My favorite picture book has to be “The Giving Tree” by Shel Siverstein
Anything you would like to add? 
 I just want to inspire kids by learning a little bit about music and jazz with my book and hope that music teachers read it to their classes!  I have inspired a few kids but would love more!  Thanks for this opportunity!!! :D

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Journey To Jazzland by Gia Volterra De Saulnier

Journey To Jazzland is a fun picture book about Windy, a flute, who gets bored with playing the same kind of music all the time.

Windy wants to have fun and be creative, but the conductor isn't too fond of instruments who want to improvise. Windy Flute goes with her friends on a journey to Jazzland, a place where they can play any kind of music they like. But what they learn is more meaningful than just playing music.

The moral that I found in this story was that life isn't about trying to fit in, it's about standing out and being yourself. You don't need to find a special place to stand out either, you just need to find it in your heart.

Not only will this lovely story inspire children to be themselves, it will hopefully inspire a love of music as well.

Emily Zieroth's illustrations are adorable and match the text very well.

This book is top shelf!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Interview With Author Kathryn L. Novak

Introducing The Author That Inspires Self-Esteem

Kathryn L. Novak

What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote my first book to help children. “It Stinks to be Pink!” is based on my own life, and how I overcame the challenges I faced as a child. I always thought how much different my life would have been if I had been given this information as a young child instead of later in life.

When did you start considering yourself a writer?

After my first book was edited, and I was half way through the illustrations, I began to feel as though I was already a published author. I knew the story was good, but when the illustrations were so beautiful, I could see it already published and selling.

Out of the books you've written, which is your favorite?

I love all of my books. Though I must admit that I am quite fickle. I always love my newest creation just a little bit more than the others. (ha-ha) So, today I will say my favorite is, EZ as 1-2-3 Come Learn About Bugs A-Z. It is a rhyming picture book about bugs, and an ABC book as well. I love the illustrations, and the interesting bug facts in rhyme.

How do you feel about being interviewed by a children's book character?

I like it, and think it is quite ingenious.

What are you working on next?

I published my third children’s book this week, it is a children’s rhyming picture book. I have written my fourth book, and am editing it right now. In between books, I spend my time painting. My focus now is on fine art abstracts.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My newest book, “I’m No Baby!” is also a rhyming picture book. The title says it all. This book is written from the perspective of a two or three year old comparing their abilities to those of an infant.

Out of your own characters, do you have a favorite?

I still love the Fuzzipuffs from my first book.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be persistent! I believe the key to success is focus. Make your book a priority in your life. The first thing I do every single day is work on my current book or painting. I believe persistence more than natural talent is the key to success.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I paint, and paint, and paint.

If you had to live in one of your books which book would it be?

My first book, “It Stinks to be Pink!”

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton was my favorite book as a child.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

EZ as 123 Come Learn About Bugs A-Z by Kathryn L. Novak

This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read about bugs! 

Kathryn L. Novak's illustrations are amazing as always. But she also ties very interesting bug facts in with learning the alphabet. Some of the bugs are more beautiful than others. For example:

"X is for Xerces, a blue butterfly. This beauty's extinct, we shall never see him fly."

The book is full of sweet rhymes which makes it a very pleasant read. If you are not a bug lover before reading this book, you might turn into one! 

I think this book would not only be useful for having at home to read with your kids, but also for teachers to have at school.

I will definitely be reading this one over and over again because this book is top shelf!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Interview With Anna-Christina

What inspired you to write your first book?

My very first Music Audio Story ‘March of The Ants’ was written for a college assignment! I was studying Music and Sound Technology at the time and I already had the music composed so all I had to do was write a story over it. It all happened very quickly and I remember a few days after I handed the project in, my tutor Dino was so impressed, he told me I should be doing this for a living! I thought perhaps this story was a one off and wondered if I could write another one but as soon as I sat down to write my second story ‘Chris the Caterpillar’, it flowed out of me so naturally. I just kept writing more and more stories and music.

When did you start considering yourself a writer?

The moment we started to get the amazing reviews we’ve had! People have really seen how unique the stories are and that has been very exciting for me. It was great when I saw my name on the Amazon website as an author too!

Out of the books you've written, which is your favourite?

That’s a hard question because they all feel like a real journey for me. I find my favourite story always changes. At the moment it’s ‘Johnny No Cash’.

How do you feel about being interviewed by a children's book character?

I would love that!

What are you working on next?

It’s a very busy time at the moment in the land of Music Audio Stories! We’ve been invited to many libraries, nurseries and primary schools to do ‘Story Hours’ which will be great fun and we’ll be taking part in a few events too. I am always writing new stories and developing ideas with my Busy Bees Partner Adie Hardy. We’re also about to expand our shop so people can buy Cds as well as downloads and we have some new exciting features that will be on our website soon.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

We currently have a free download of ‘March of The Ants’ on our website at for everyone to have. No registration is involved so anyone can download the story and enjoy it.

Out of your own characters, do you have a favourite?

Another hard question! Sid the ant from ‘March of The Ants’ is so cute but I also love Joe the dog in the story ‘Jimi & his friend Joe’ and Ronnie the worm in ‘The Big Apple’ is very sweet too.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing, stay creative and then be prepared to do a lot of work to get your stories out into the world but never give up! There’s always space for more stories.

What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing Music Audio Stories, I’m working on developing my classical, film and TV music. So basically I’m always writing or composing!

If you had to live in one of your books, which book would it be?

I think I would like to live in Chris the Caterpillar’s garden and look after all the flowers with Butterfly the fairy!

What was your favourite book when you were a kid?

I had many books that I loved and I remember listening to audio stories when I was little too. I had cassette tapes with books. I’ve always loved Roald Dahl stories but I really couldn’t pick a favourite one because they’re all so great!

What made you decide on creating Audio Books?

After I finished college, I began working with producer/engineer Adie Hardy on another project and I asked him if he would help me produce a new version of ‘March of The Ants’. It was so good that we both decided to start creating more audio books together. We knew what we were doing was very unique and so we invented our own genre and decided to call our audio books “Music Audio Stories”. We set up Busy Bees Publishing and it all began from there. Over the last year or so, audio books have made a real comeback, so that’s great but nobody is creating stories like ours! We discovered that we’ve both got a hidden talent for doing funny cartoon like character voices, especially Adie but we’ve also been very lucky to have had many very talented actors and musicians doing voice-overs for us. What we do involves many things and it’s a real challenge for us to make everything fit together and work. These stories take many, many hours of work to make but it’s all worth it in the end.

Anything you would like to add?

These stories are a great way to allow children to use their own imagination, acting out the stories, drawing how they imagine the characters to be, singing, dancing and joining in, stimulating their creative senses. They can be enjoyed by children aged 3 to 7 and are of great enjoyment to the blind. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.
One of the things that makes our audio stories special from others you may have heard, is the strong themed original classical music behind the narration. Unlike other audio books, the music continues throughout and is an essential part of the stories. We combine cartoon style voices with Sound Effects to create a lot of movement in the sound and instil positive messages in each story.
We also have a very unique website with behind the scenes video footage. No other audio book makers have done this before!

We’ve had a great start to the year with so much interest and wonderful things to look forward to and we can’t wait to introduce our new stories to everyone!

Johnny No Cash by Anna Christina and Adie Hardy - Destiny's Review

Johnny No Cash is very exciting! It's about a hamster and a robin who need to go on an adventure to visit their sick friend, Cowboy Dan. Johnny encounters plenty of problems on this adventure, but he also gets to listen to some great music. He meets some crows who are pirates and other interesting characters.

What is so unique about this book is that it is an audio book with music. It really draws the reader into the story. This could be great for blind children or any child who is differently-abled and has difficulty reading. But every child will love these books.

This book was fast paced and particularly fascinating. I really enjoyed singing along with the crows' pirate song. It is catchy and will get stuck in your head. I really loved this book and highly recommend it.

It's top shelf!

You can learn more about Johnny No Cash and the other audio music stories at There is even a free eBook so you can try them out. It's called March Of The Ants. You can also learn about the people behind the scenes. The website is a lot of fun and definitely worth a visit!

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Apologies

I'm sorry to everyone who is waiting for reviews. My sister has been in and out of the hospital and I had to take an impromptu train trip to Saint Louis to be near her. I will be resuming normal posting as soon as possible. - Teddy and Destiny.