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MEET THE AUTHORS: Richard and Mary Rensberry


“MEET THE AUTHORS”

Authors Richard Rensberry (GOBLIN’S GOOP ) and Mary Rensberry (I AM SPIRIT, the ABCs of an Ideal Spirit) are with us today to share a bit of their personal story and to tell us about their latest books. So, let’s get ready to meet the authors! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Welcome Richard and Mary Rensberry. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Tell us a little about your family life how it fits into your writing life.

Our lives have always been rooted deep in family. I was one of nine children born and raised on a farm in Northern Michigan.  I am an uncle, great uncle and great, great uncle many times over.  Mary was born and raised in Texas in the city and also on a ranch in the country. She is the mother of two morally sound and positive adult children.  Family values was one of the integral connections that brought Mary and I together. We now have three thriving grandchildren and can’t wait for more. Both of us believe that strong family values is one of the major driving forces in building strong and ethical communities. You will find strength of family inherently woven throughout our collaborative children’s books as well as our own individually authored books.

How long have you been writing and how do you work together OR do you?  

I (Richard) began writing at the age of twelve and had created my first poetry chapbook by the age of fourteen. Later in life my poetry appeared in small journals like the Midwest Poetry Review and Touchstone Press.  In 2013, Mary and I formed QuickTurtle Books®. We have since collaborated on writing and publishing several children’s books as well as offering editorial advice on each other’s independent works. Both of us value and respect each other’s critical input and helpful insight. Mary is definitely my muse and inspiration. For her, I am her editor and often times, color coordinator. She knows how to work the internet more than I and I know how the smaller parts fit into the whole, if that makes sense.

While we are both authors, passionate about writing, we draw from different backgrounds for the materials in our books. Mary’s background for years was teaching children and she tucked away her desire to write so that she could help others with the basics of learning. Her writing career began around 2009 with ideas of writing followed by a book self-published on Blurb entitled, Fowl Art in 2010 then Listen: Listen to YourSelf  in 2011. So Mary has been writing for a shorter length of time but is definitely just as passionate about the works we do not only together but on her own.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of the books we are featuring today? 

Mary’s current book, I AM SPIRIT, the ABCs of an Ideal Spirit, made its début the first of this year. It is about being “spirit-filled”and the capabilities and potentialities we all have as the divine lives within us. This was written on the heels of Christmas Christmas Everyday published in 2016 for children of all ages with the simple message that giving and sharing can be done each and every day of the year and not only during the Christmas season. Mary is actively following up the Everyday Series book with a children’s version of I AM SPIRIT for 6-9 year olds due to be out in less than a year.

Mary was prompted to write  I AM SPIRIT, a spiritual book with universal messages, due to the prevalent attitude in society that we are at the effect of life itself, that we are only a body. She adheres to the viewpoint that television and the media have capitalized on this erroneous idea of being a body with their prescription drug advertisements, sexual innuendoes & escapades, all materialistic in nature.

My brand new children’s picture book GOBLIN’S GOOP is a modern-day take on the Battle of Jericho. It is an environmentally friendly book swarming with bugs and goblins from the Evil Empire of Monsanto. Like most of our children’s books, GOBLIN’S GOOP, is thoughtfully illustrated and written in verse and rhyme. It is for children five years old and a bit older. Mary formulated the idea and I ran with it, being prompted by the GMO grains that have polluted our organic seed bank even here in the Amish Country. I guess I should add that adults should and could benefit greatly by reading it, too.

Can you give us a favorite line from each of the books? 

A favorite line from Mary’s book I AM SPIRIT, would be “I AM observant,”

This line is chosen out of the 26 simple messages because ‘LOOKING’ and being observant is a lost art in today’s world. People see what they want to see verses what is really out there in the environment. When you are able to really look and confront the environment, then that ’s when something can be done about it.

One of my favorite couplets from Goblin’s Goop, is “Crickets came screeching with fiddles and bows. Mosquitoes came blowing their notable nose.”

The rest of the book follows the same lively pattern and rhyme.

What’s the hardest part about writing?

The hardest part for Mary is writing words upon words. She likes a simple message as life  to her is simple and can be put down in simple language. Other than that…the hardest part about writing is the marketing aspect. It is difficult to get our books in front of enough people to create the effects we are trying to create. This interview is an opportunity and promotional avenue to help do so and we thank you, Bette and the readers, for the privilege to be here.

How can readers get copies of your books? 

Readers can find and get copies of all our books from Amazon by just typing one of our names into the search box. Links to our books are also available at:  http://richardrensberry.com and http://maryrensberry.wordpress.com. Autographed copies can also be ordered directly from us by contracting us at: maryandrichard@quickturtlebooks.com

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to new authors?

The best piece of advice we can give to new and unknown authors is to understand that writing is just a small part of being a successful author. We write for about three months out of the year and the remainder of the year is spent on the marketing and technical aspects of the business. Be prepared for not being well enough prepared to sell your books.

The best piece of advice Mary can give to new authors is don’t give up: Be persistent. Find out what you are passionate about and then find the audience for the topic being written about. Develop relationships with your family, friends, and those online, too.

What’s next on the agenda for authors Richard and Mary Rensberry?

I just completed my new adult travel book called CITY SLICKER’S GUIDE TO THE AMISH COUNTRY. It is a look into the nature and commerce of North Eastern Michigan’s Amish Country of Fairview, Comins and Mio, our home. I am currently at work on a new children’s book about the AuSable Railroad built and operated locally by a couple just down the road. I am seeking the help of a local illustrator to begin the project. We are also looking for someone to take over the marketing aspect of our projects.

What’s next for Mary is putting I AM SPIRIT into paperback and Kindle format while continuing with the children’s book on that subject. Look for our latest books at the beginning of 2018.

Richard and Mary, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you better and to learn more about your writing and your books. It’s been a pleasure!

FIND THE BOOKS

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With freedom…


So very happy! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Sacred Touches

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**Signed image via Pinterest

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Book Review Sunday: Dog Bone Soup by Bette A. Stevens @BetteAStevens


Kim's Author Support Blog

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens

Book Blurb

DBS HighRes BW Border BEST

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 in DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming-of-age saga. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but mostly you’ll be glad you read it.


Book Review (from AmazonUK)

5.0 out of 5 starsBeautifully Written
By Amazon Customer on 3 April 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Beautifully Written
The poignant story of Shawn and his family opens as he leaves home to serve in the armed forces. Looking back over his childhood he…

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Online Resource: Reading Free Rare Books


Happy Reading! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Kristen Twardowski

UB_Utrecht_-_Louis_Renard_-_1782_-_Natuurlyke_Historie_-_page_90 Louis Renard, Natuulyke Historie (1782): 90, Special Collections, University Library of Utrecht, via Samuel Fallours and Wikimedia.

Sometimes I get a hankering to read old books. Luckily I’ve found a website that allows me to explore some of the rarest books in the world for free.

The Rare Book Room is a website created by Octavo, a company that has digitized hundreds of rare books from the greatest libraries in the world. The collection contains books by Galileo, Copernicus, Shakespeare, Einstein, Wollstonecraft, and numerous others that cover subjects like art, exploration, history, and music.

Despite the obvious care that went into digitizing the books – the website proudly discusses the the resolution of each image – the site itself is very simple and lacks the bells and whistles of many of its contemporaries. Don’t let the project’s unadorned nature fool you though; the creators regularly add excellent new…

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New 5✰ Review + #1 Amazon Best Seller in ‘butterflies’ too!


AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens reached #1 on Amazon’s Best Seller ‘butterflies’ category during Earth Month 2017. This award-winning Monarch Butterfly adventure (Ages 4-11) is available in paperback ($9.49) and eBook ($3.99) versions. However, when you purchase the paperback, the eBook version can be downloaded for #free (Kindle Matchbook).

BUY “AMAZING MATILDA”  at YOUR AMAZON http://bit.ly/19Qr3Y0

Latest Book Review

AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale  written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens

on April 20, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I love Matilda! Her story is wonderful! I recommend! For children and adults!

I love nature and animals. All animals. I love butterflies. When I saw Amazing Matilda, I had to buy and read it. Little Matilda is desperate to fly, but doesn’t know how. This is a wonderful and cute story about learning patience. It’s an encouraging book for children and adults alike. The story takes you from Matilda as a small caterpillar to her metamorphosis as a beautiful Monarch butterfly. A quick read, you’ll be done with it in no time at all.
I highly recommend this book to lovers of nature, animals and children of all ages from two to 100. It is beautifully yet simply illustrated.

Book Blurb

This “Gem of a Tale” about a Monarch Butterfly teaches kids lessons in friendship, patience and persistence as AMAZING MATILDA transforms from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. (Age 5-11).

Love Monarch Butterflies?

BEYOND THE   BOOK—find resources at your finger tips: Have fun and learn even more about Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ monarch butterflies by downloading Bette’s FREE Click here: FUN & LEARNING with Monarch Butterflies PDF where you’ll find:

  • Monarch Facts
  • Coloring Pages
  • Crafts
  • Gardening
  • Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
  • Butterfly Teacher Guide and so much more…
  • FIND OUT how you can help protect our Amazing Monarchs

Talking Books with the kids

Download Bette’s #FREE AMAZING MATILDA FINGER PUPPETS and “Get talking about books with the kids” CLICK HERE https://4writersandreaders.com/amazing-matilda-finger-puppets-free-download/

 Find out more about Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens and her books:

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#FREE Limited Time: PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens


pure-trash-kindle-from-amazon-page

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction) by Bette A. Stevens
#FREE eBook through February 26, 2017
Grab a copy of this must-read prequel to DOG BONE SOUP today at Your Amazon http://amzn.to/1T5tMAZ today!

5gold-star3

“This is a glimpse into the characters of Shawn and Willie Daniels who take front and center in the author’s full-length novel, DOG BONE SOUP. A nostalgic vignette, PURE TRASH will whisk you into an era and place where many struggled to survive the grip of poverty. This short novella is filled with adventure, and the fun of boys being boys–riding bikes, collecting bottles for penny candy, and running into trouble…and prejudice.

“Enjoy this short read but when you are finished, I highly recommend purchasing DOG BONE SOUP. It’s a gem of a book that will leave a lasting impression with its memorable characters, heart and story line. Don’t miss it!” ~ Mae Clair, author

Book summary

PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/Ages 10-adult) In this short story adventure set in New England in the 1950s, two young boys set out on a Saturday adventure you won’t want to miss! Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard-earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP.

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Author Spotlight—Meet Stephanie Collins


Happy Love Month! I can’t think of a better way of spreading love than by sharing my love of reading and writing with you.  So, today, I am sharing with you a fellow author, hard-working mother of four, loving wife, and the unsuspecting author of a true medical drama/unconventional love story called With Angel’s Wings.  Stephanie is a member of Rave Writers – International Society of Authors (RWISA). Join me in welcoming award-winning author Stephanie Collins and learn more about this amazing gal in our interview. ~Bette A. Stevens
profile-pic-rwisa-blog-tour

Stephanie Collins, author of award-winning memoir With Angel Wings

Welcome, Stephanie Collins. How long have you been writing?

I began writing therapeutically in 1996. It was sometime around 2010 when I started seriously considering turning those writings into a book.

How many books have you authored?

I never intended to be an author at all. As I said, I wrote therapeutically through some rough times in my life, and later turned that into my one and only book—With Angel’s Wings.

Do you have a writing schedule?

I’ve been asked a number of times to write a sequel. That project doesn’t feel right to me, so I “compromised,” and write a monthly blog that acts as something of a continuation to the book’s epilogue. Writing once a month feels like a comfortable pace. It’s fun, it’s therapeutic, and the length of time between posts gives me plenty of time to find a new, interesting subject matter to focus on.

You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?

I was accepted into RWISA because I didn’t have a lot to do with the writing process. I am in awe of REAL authors. I wrote a memoir. I didn’t have to come up with a plot or a storyline. I didn’t have to worry about character development or believable dialogue. Someone with a much higher pay grade (and apparently a rather twisted sense of humor) took care of all that for me. I just had to play my role, then honestly and accurately document what happened. Now, living it…THAT was a challenge. Writing it down was a relative walk in the park. Heck, I didn’t even have to have good grammar; I had a great editor for that!

Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?

In all seriousness, what sets our story apart is the story, itself; not my writing. It’s all about the content. I’m not the star of my book (as a character or as the author), it’s the circumstances I and the rest of my family faced. Having a compelling, intriguing and thought-provoking story that demonstrates humanity (at its best or worst…or, better yet, a little of both) and touches the reader’s heart—that’s what can make a story great. Like I said, I am in awe of fiction authors when they can create that for us readers. As an author I was “lucky” enough to have all of that taken care of for me. I guess you could say I had the best writer of all on my staff! I WILL take credit for finding a great editor before I ever shared our story with anyone. That’s advice I’ll give to EVERY author. Find. A. Good. Editor!

If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?

There are a number of authors I’d love to sit and chat with. I’m a romance junkie, and something of a history buff, so I’d have a particularly great time talking with any historical romance author who has done extensive research. One that comes to mind (off the top of my head) is Pamela Clare, who wrote a historical romance trilogy that had to do with the origins of the US Rangers. The love stories were great, but I was fascinated by the history of the Rangers, and would love to chat further about all she learned in her research.

Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?

I’m a fan of being an indie author. I’m a bit of a control freak (and by “a bit” I mean JUST shy of obsessive/compulsive), so I guess it fits my personality. I started off with a small publisher (who was also my editor). We were a great team, I learned a lot from her, and was happy to begin my publication journey with her. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor about a year after we published, so she had to sell her business. The woman who bought the business was NOT at the same level as the woman she had bought the business from. To make a long story short, I fired her and went solo. I have LOVED being an indie author. I don’t know that I would have been so successful as an indie author without the lessons I learned from my publisher, so I’m thankful for that experience, but I can’t imagine ever accepting a publishing deal in the future.

As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I hope to be pretty much where I am now as an author. I set out to educate people about some realities of special needs parenting. I think I’m rather successful in getting the message out there. If I’m still reaching new people in five years, I’ll be ecstatic.

What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?

My marketing “plan” heavily relies on social media. It has been an AMAZING marketing tool…at JUST the right price! Twitter has been, by far, the most useful tool for me, but I try to keep up with multiple pages (mostly Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest).

Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members? Why?

I read Amie O’Brien’s “The Merchant’s Pearl” months ago, and I still find myself thinking about the story. It was a unique, memorable, and touching read. I can’t think of better qualifiers for mention, recognition, and addition to the RWISA library.

What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?

Write with your heart. If it doesn’t reach you it won’t reach your readers. Then find a good editor.

Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?

I’ve never paid too close attention to the publication dates of the series I’ve read (or multiple stand-alone books by a single author), so I don’t know that I’m qualified to answer that question. I’ve certainly read books that felt rushed (lack of editing, “shallow” plots, etc.), but I don’t know if that was due to rushing, neglect, or lack of writing talent (or some special combination of the three).

If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why?

I wouldn’t want my name attached to anything that is less than the best I feel it can be. That has actually happened in the past, and I’m still horrified. I had my book translated to Spanish. It was a reputable agency and the translator had a good track record. The book was in Spanish, though, and I’m not fluent in Spanish. I just assumed it was fine and I published it. Not long after publication (and THANKFULLY before I made any sales) I had a friend from Madrid and another friend from Mexico City read a sample. Both women said it was a horrible translation. I immediately pulled the book off the market. After some legal intervention, the translation agency gave me the choice of a few new translators to re-translate the book. I chose a gentleman who I felt would do the best job. He finished the translation months ago, and—despite the fact both of the women who read samples from the previous translation have given it a thumb’s up, I hesitate to put it back on the market until I can find at least one more person to check it over.

In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”

A “great book” is one that the reader thoroughly enjoys reading. What might have been a “great book” to you last week might not be this week, because last week you were in a different mood. A book that you’re not enjoying today you may enjoy next month. There are things that, in my opinion, make books more difficult or frustrating to read (editing concerns, proofreading concerns, inconsistencies in the story, etc.), but I don’t think there’s anything specific that makes a story “great.” Reading is subjective—even to a single reader. I read “great books” as a kid that I’m sure I would roll my eyes through today, wondering what I was thinking to ever consider it a “great read.” So, I guess you could say what makes a book “great” is the perfect combination of content and current reader mindset.

If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?

I have occasionally been alerted to typo’s in my book and I, of course, made the corrections as soon as I could. That process is much easier now that I’m independently published. With other issues mentioned, however, I carefully consider what is said. I recently received a review that suggested I get the book re-edited because the reader didn’t care for the amount of inner dialogue included. I respect and value the reader’s opinion, but I don’t think I will act upon that particular suggestion. I have received reviews that specifically commend the quality of editing, and others who specifically mention their appreciation for the inner dialogue. I think you have to balance out what is truly an editing issue and what is reader preference. Certainly, if you see a trend in reader feedback, you should seriously consider making adjustments. You can’t please everyone, though, so—to some extent—you have to follow your heart.

with-angel-wing-cover-for-rwisa-tourWhy You Need to Face Down the Fear of Publishing a Memoir by Stephanie Collins

In what felt like the blink of an eye, I went from being a young woman wrestling with a temperamental marriage to a single mother of an asthmatic, autistic toddler and an epileptic infant in heart failure. There was suddenly an overabundance of OMG moments, WTH moments, and “Hold my head in my hands in utter disbelief while I try to just breathe through it” moments. I began writing therapeutically.

Then other people (specifically nurses and therapists) began to read what I had written, and urged me to share our story, insisting it would be helpful to other special needs families. I wanted to help others if I could, but my heart was laid bare over those pages, and I feared judgement—as a writer, as a woman, and scariest of all—as a mother. After years of similar feedback, however, I decided to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and offer my exposed, bleeding soul to the world.

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the generally supportive response from readers. Here is why I am thankful to have been talked into publication, and why others with important stories to share should work through whatever fears of judgement they may have: A mother in of a special needs, medically fragile toddler reached out to me via social media about 2 years ago. She said, “I recently stumbled upon your book. Reading it gave me hope that things will get better when hope is hard to come by. Also, before reading it, I never felt understood. I’ve ordered 3 more copies to give to family and friends. I’m hoping if they read about you, they’ll better understand me. Thank you so much!” Now, tell me; could there be any bigger reward for taking a leap of faith than that?

Find out more Stephanie Collins, take a look inside her award-winning memoir and follow her:

Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members!  Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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