Elias: Happy to be here, Jourden?
Jourden: This is the biggest honour of my life, Elias.
Elias: You use a pen name, Teddy O'Malley. How many aliases do you have and are you really a double agent working with the North Koreans?
Jourden: I am not working for the North Koreans. As to whether I am a double agent, I am not at liberty to discuss! I only have two aliases, my pen name (Teddy) and my real name (Jourden.) However, when I was a kid I was not fond of my first name and tried on several different aliases. It often confused people!
Elias: Everybody knows you're Jourden Renee and Teddy O'Malley, so why still use a pseudonym? Are you hoping my slugs will get confused and attack the wrong one?
Jourden: I like the idea that if someone who hasn't met me is searching for my book, then my name is easy to pronounce and memorable! However, if it helps fend off slugs, then that's great too! Also, in some alternate universe in my mind, Teddy is a nickname for Jourden.
Elias: Why did you choose the pen name, Teddy O'Malley? What's wrong with Elias Zapple, Version 2?
Jourden: Teddy is cute and cuddly. It brings to mind fond images of childhood like a teddy bear! Who doesn't love teddy bears? I think it's possible that Elias Zapple, Version 2 was already taken. O'Malley is to honour my Irish heritage.
Elias: What was the inspiration for your book, 'Tell Me How You Say Good Night'? Were you inspired when Coco the Slug came to visit you and outstayed her welcome?
Jourden: Actually, I was inspired by an unexpected surprise of six adorable puppies, Alistair, Humphrey, Jean-Luc, Michaela, Marilyn (Mary), and Magdalena (Maggie). I took a lot of photos and put them together with the idea of the book in mind for a few months. I ended up publishing it as a way to both honour Alistair (who I lost on April 9, 2013) and share my love of puppies and languages with the world!
Elias: You used puppies for 'Tell Me How You Say Good Night' when everybody knows slugs are cuter. Why didn't you use slugs?
Jourden: Mainly because I have puppies and not slugs. I do have a kitten book planned for the future, but no slug books planned as of yet!
Elias: In your other book, 'Bristol's Big Wish' the protagonist - Bristol, wishes for a best friend. Her doll Mallory then comes to life. Wouldn't it have been better if Bristol had had a cabbage and became best friends with that?
Jourden: I don't think I've seen a little girl become friends with a cabbage yet, but I haven't seen everything! Bristol's Big Wish was actually inspired by my own doll that I had when I was a child. Her name was Mallory too! And Mallory's personality was inspired by my best friend at the time.
Elias: Did Vincent the Slug do the illustrations for Bristol's Big Wish?
Jourden: I didn't know that Vincent the slug was an illustrator. I have illustrated all of my books so far. Bristol's Big Wish is done in “virtual acrylic”. It's a medium I really liked working with.
Elias: Aside from infiltrating the NSA, what other projects do you have planned?
Jourden: My next step will be to convert Bristol's Big Wish into an eBook. Then I am trying to get Tell Me How You Say I Love You out by Valentine's Day. I also have more than ten manuscripts on my computer and around my office screaming, “Me next! Me next!”, but I'm easily distracted. And terrible with deadlines.
Elias: Are you the one taking cabbages from my cabbage patch?
Jourden: If they were genetically modified cabbages, then the answer is no.
Elias: Tell us about your writing process. Is it like mine? Tea, throw a cabbage, prick a finger, grill a slug then write?
Jourden: If you exchange tea for soda, 'throw a cabbage' for 'check Facebook a little too often', and remove the other two, then write, yes.
Actually, I have a sort of complicated process. Writing is the first and easiest part of the process for me. As I said before I have several manuscripts lying around waiting to be edited and illustrated. After I've written a piece I edit, edit, edit, then I get distracted and check Facebook or take a phone call.
I edit some more. My content editor suggests changes. I curse the book. Then I edit some more. After all that editing is done, I illustrate the book. That usually takes about two weeks. Getting the proof in the mail is like Christmas and makes the whole frustrating process totally worth it!
Thank you, Jourden.
Destiny and Faith Go To Twincentric Academy!
Destiny and Faith are going into second grade and their mom has a great idea. She's going to send them to a school for twins! They're not sure whether to be excited or terrified. Come join them and see what happens!
Destiny And Faith's Summer Adventures (Volume 2)
Faith and I are out of school for the summer, and we are eager to explore and seek new adventures! We'll start by checking out the new neighbors and their rickety old house. But what do a creepy old house, American Sign Language, and purple lemonade have in common? Come join us and find out!
Tell Me How You Say Good Night
With visually stimulating photos of puppies you can help your child say "Good night" in English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian. Tell Me How You Say Good Night is the perfect book for bedtime. Parents and children can enjoy this story and learn together as they say "Good night" to each little puppy.
Bristol's Big Wish
Bristol only wishes for one thing. She wants to have a best friend. But what will happen when Bristol's favorite doll Mallory comes to life? Will Bristol ever get her wish for a friend?
Elias: Welcome, Robin.
Robin: I'm so honoured to be here that I'm on the verge of fainting.
Elias: My slugs are not at all happy about my interviewing you due to your book, Anne and Stan's Magical Salt and Pepper Pot Adventures. Could you reassure them before they take military action?
Robin: Yes. Unfortunately, Anne and Stan have no interest in your slimy slug empire. So your slugs are safe from them. Anne and Stan are currently having the time of their lives, enjoying all that life now has to offer them. They prefer to spend their time learning about more colourful, and interesting creatures.
Elias: What inspired you to write the Anne and Stan book? Was it my inspiring moustache?
Robin: No, Mr Snazzy! Your moustache has not inspired me. My inspiration comes from a combination of reading Enid Blyton books over many years, and the story of "The Adventures of Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi. I wanted to bring some characters to life in my story; and Anne and Stan (my novelty salt and pepper-pots) gave me that opportunity.
Elias: Will there be a sequel to this book in which slugs slime Anne and Stan?
Robin: I would love to bring back Anne and Stan for another story in the future. Sadly, for you, there will be no slimy slugs!
Elias: How about a book about vinegar and ketchup next?
Robin: No! I don't think so. I've had a few ideas thrown at me, (no cabbages) - such as "Anne & Stan in Japan" - time will tell.
Elias: Is it true that you've been stealing my cabbages?
Robin: Yes! They make excellent ammunition for undesirables, such as slimy slugs; and unpleasant neighbours!
Elias: How has living in Wiltshire helped to shape your work? I myself spent a considerable amount of time in Maputo where I managed to perfect my cabbage-growing technique.
Robin: I live in a beautiful and quiet rural setting in Wiltshire, where you can sit down in the garden, and listen to skylarks, singing their hearts-out. It's an ideal location for freeing-up your mind, and forming pleasant ideas. Your fancy tent in the mountains of Mozambique sounds interesting though.
Elias: What is Hallow-e'-en all about? Wouldn't a cabbage be better than a pumpkin?
Robin: No! Pumpkins make really great lanterns, and you can also make very tasty winter soup with them. Please see question 9 for more information on this book.
Elias: Tell us about your next book before I throw a cabbage at you.
Robin: I plan to put together another Children's book, but this time with a 'mystery' theme. I have plenty of ideas running through my head! It will certainly be a challenge. Watch this space!
Elias: Your book, 'Halloween, What's It All About?' is doing exceedingly well in the Amazon charts. Any tips for the Funslugz in how to achieve similar success? Bribing Amazon officials?
Robin: Yes! I've read about your idea of courting one of the head honchos at Amazon, and working your way into their affections, in the hope of getting them to promote your books! I've been surprised at how well my Halloween book has done. It's a very short 'education & reference book.' My historical research didn't take me very long, and I actually put it all together, in just a couple of days. I was very lucky to find an ideal cover from the kindle library. It's a book that I still want to improve.
Elias: What do you do when you're not writing books and not stealing my cabbages?
Robin: I run my own self-employed bookkeeping practice to earn a crust. This means that I only get to do my writing in my spare time. I enjoy to read, review and exchange books. I also like art, drawing, music, gardening, comedy, travel and sport.
Thank you, Robin. Paramedics are standing by in case you still faint.
Anne and Stan's Magical Salt and Pepper Pot Adventures
Anne and Stan are not your everyday salt and pepper pots. Their magical adventures goes beyond the family's kitchen. When their opportunity comes to take a risk and go on a magical adventure, they don't hold back, they make the transition with an abundance of energy, fun and expectation. Anne and Stan quickly meet and make some treasured friends and together their expectations are more than met. Will they decide to return to their family kitchen? or will their desire for even more magical adventures get the better of them! Get ready to join the ride...
Halloween, What's It All About
This book describes some of the concepts of Halloween. It includes a couple of easy recipes for a Halloween party, and some tips on the preparation of the pumpkin.
Elias: Welcome, PJ. You kept me waiting a long time to interview you.
PJ: I apologise profusely. It shan't happen again!
Elias: PJ, are you from another planet sent to Earth to destroy us all?
PJ: No, I was sent by the Greek gods to restore their powers. I am using the Mystic Princesses as my front for now. As little girls become enamored with the series, they will learn that they also have inherited powers similar to the Mystic Princesses. I will then have the little girls band together to bring the message of the gods back to the people of the Earth. I'm keeping that message a secret for now, because I don't want to blow my whole operation.
Elias: Your book, The Mystic Princesses and the Whirpool seems to be based on the Greek Mythology but set in modern times. Which character from the Greek Mythology would you be? I would be Zeus, of course.
PJ: I would be Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and purposeful battle. But, that would also make you my father since you have claimed to be Zeus. I would use my war shield to block your lighting spears and cabbages. And I would use my wisdom and intelligence to outwit you. Because everyone knows that children are smarter than their parents, especially during their teenage years.
Elias: Why did you become an author? Was it to follow in my footsteps?
PJ: I've always been an author, as I've written since high school. I wouldn't follow in your footsteps though, because they are littered with rotten cabbages and slimy slugs.
Elias: For your next book, will your main protagonist have the power to throw cabbages?
PJ: No, my protagonist has the ability to turn the other characters into birds which will then eat your slugs. However, one character does throw fireballs. So, I could have her throw flaming cabbages if I decided that it was warranted.
Elias: You're also noted for your poetry. Complete this rhyme: Elias Zapple gave a cabbage to PJ LaRue...
PJ: Elias Zapple gave a cabbage to PJ LaRue.
She thought, so many are hungry, I'll make a stew.
I'll need carrots, onions, potatoes, and of course, some beef.
When Elias smelled the stew, he said, "Don't forget the bay leaf."
But PJ added an extra ingredient much to Elias' surprise.
A chewy, slimy slug lay on his spoon staring right into his eyes.
Elias: Will a book based on Roman Mythology or based on my slugs be coming soon?
PJ: My next book still focuses on Greek Mythology. However, the third book will feature the daughter of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. The fourth book will feature the daughter of Mother Nature. Because of that, I can see where the fourth book has potential to incorporate both slugs and cabbages, but you will have to pay me large sums of money and make all my publishing dreams come true to make that happen.
Elias: You started the group, Best Family-Friendly Book Club, did you copy this idea from the great Elias Zapple's Fun-tastic Children's Books (Slugs Welcome)?
PJ: No. I only recently heard of your group, and I am enjoying being a member of it, when you aren't tossing cabbages or infesting people with slugs. I started Best Family-Friendly Book Club with a couple of other authors nearly a year ago because we couldn't find a group that fit our needs. While it is predominately children's book authors and books we have YA and adult family-friendly books, as well. We have some teachers and librarians in the group. Our motto is that we can leave our books out on the coffee table without being embarrassed if someone stops by unexpectedly, especially our mothers and grandmothers.
Elias: Ever considered breeding slugs?
PJ: No. kittens maybe, but definitely not slugs. How many slug farms do you run? And how much cabbage does each slug eat per day?
Elias: If the Mystic Princesses were to be made into a film, who would you like to see play the roles of the Mystic Princesses? I have five slugs that would be perfect!
PJ: I might consider having your slugs can play the antagonists, the Children of Ares.
Princess Coral – played by MacKenzie Foy
Princess Harmonie – played by Maggie Batson
Princess Breanna – played by Rhiannon Leigh Wryn
Princess Catie – played by Willow Smith
Princess Janna – played by Isabella Acres
Elias: You're quite an experienced self-published author now. Any advice for new authors about to publish their first novels, perhaps advice along the lines of 'do everything Elias Zapple does'?
PJ: This is everything I wish I'd known the first year after I published. (And even before publishing!)
~Join both of our groups to meet other authors, but wear body armor when visiting the Fun-tastic page.
~Other groups to check out are IndiesUnlimited and Book Viral on Facebook and @BookViral on Twitter.
~ Follow RachelintheOC Thompson and BadReadHeadMedia on Facebook and @BadRedHeadMedia on Twitter. She understands marketing, books and blogs relevant advice.
~Start a blog and post regularly. You will build an audience. I'm still working on the blog posting side of this, but I'm doing pretty well with posting book reviews.
~To find your readers, go through the bloggers that have already found them. Google "children's book bloggers" or "YA book bloggers" or "slug and cabbage bloggers," etc. Select a few of those bloggers and visit their sites regularly, comment,
Share on Facebook and tweet them. Be their friend. But this is the key, keep being their friend after you've had your blog tour. Don't use them and drop them. When book 2 comes around, you still want them as your their friend.
~Understand that other authors are not your audience. They are your support network. If you make friends with them and share their work, then they will help spread the news about your book, but don't push them to buy your book.
~Do not spam people with your book links all the time. Social media users hate that! If all you have in your tweets and shares are links to books, you are spamming. General rule of thumb that I've learned along the way (from Rachel
~1/3 content relative to the subject or readers of your books, 1/3 other interesting articles, quotes or pictures unrelated to your books, 1/3 sharing other authors' works and your own work.
~Set writing goals and make a time calendar so that you don't spend so much time on social media that your writing or your relationship suffers.
~If you review another author's work (even a friend's book) and don't like it, or it has major issues with the grammar and editing, you need to have a policy about how to handle the situation. Your name is going on that review and other readers are relying on the reviews when they buy the books. I personally prefer to talk privately to authors about issues, so that they can be corrected. In this day of POD and ebooks, one is not stuck with a huge print run when errors are found. And, if you trash an author's book publicly, you've made an enemy.
Elias: When do you plan to publish your next cabbage book?
PJ: I am currently working with a new illustrator to reissue the 1st book, The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool. When I decided to change artists, I wanted the artwork to be consistent throughout the series.
~My website is also being redesigned. As soon as that is complete, I will end the 1st edition and it will no longer be available for sale. I will then begin sharing the new look while I wait for the rest of the illustrations.
~I hope the 2nd edition will be published in the spring.
~I have written the 2nd book in the series, The Mystic Princesses and the Magic Show. It is in the final stages of edits. It is set in New Orleans and Alaska. I hope to publish it during late 2014.
~I have started writing the 3rd book in the series. Right now, it is tentatively called The Mystic Princesses and the Volcano. It is set on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Thanks, PJ! And please make it a little bit sunnier here in the UK!
The Mystic Princesses and the Whirpool
Princess Harmonie, the daughter of Aphrodite, makes people feel peaceful. Her life in New York is disrupted when the war-god, Ares, demands that his five warrior children capture her so they can fight and cause wars. Princess Harmonie must give up all that she loves, including her beloved brother, Eros, move to Hawaii, and live with her new protectors, whom she doesn’t even know. Together, the five girls are The Mystic Princesses, and they learn they have inherited powers from their mythological parents. Along the way, The Mystic Princesses learn life-lessons in personal safety, trust, keeping secrets that could cause harm and stopping bullies. But will the princesses learn how to use their powers in time to protect Princess Harmonie from the Children of Ares, when their hiding place is discovered?
My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.