Friday, August 14, 2009

Down to the Core: One Lovely Blog Award

Down to the Core: One Lovely Blog Award

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children: One Lovely Blog Award

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children: One Lovely Blog Award#links

One Lovely Blog Award

In the past couple of days, I've been touched and honoured to receive One Lovely Blog Award from two very different women, who are themselves very worthy recipients of the award: Karen Cioffi and Heather Paye.

Karen is the founder and coordinator of the yahoo group VBT-Writers on the Move. She is a tireless and selfless promoter of fellow authors, someone who is never daunted by obstacles, who is always looking to find better ways to do things - and her determination and positive attitude are inspiring.

Heather is a fellow VBT-Writers on the Move member. Heather is still very young but she has enormous drive and determination. Her passion for writing and reading comes through in everything she does and she has already had a novel published. She is someone who is not afraid to go all out to make her dreams a reality and as such is an inspiration to old and young alike.

All my fellow VBT members are worthy of this award and I know that several of them, like myself, have been recent recipients, such as Carolyn Howard-Johnson, who – despite being an amazingly busy and successful writer involved in all kinds of projects – still finds time to read others' books, post reviews and give encouragement.

It is now my pleasure to pass on this award. These are the rules for those individuals I choose. They are simple:

1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.
2) Pass the award on.

3) Notify the award winners.

There are three women I would like to pass this award on to, who have inspired me in different ways: Liana Metal, Yvonne Lewis and Jan D. Holiday.

Liana Metal: Liana is a fellow modern languages teacher. She is Greek and she teaches English, but she is also a book reviewer and freelance writer. She writes picture books for children, which she illustrates herself, as she is also a talented artist. The aim of her picture books is to not only encourage children to read but also to help them learn something about nature, and she writes in both Greek and English, which is no mean accomplishment! Liana was the person who first introduced me to the group VBT-Writers on the Move, so I have much to thank her for! She is also someone who is incredibly generous with her time and talents, she is a dedicated teacher and she is someone who is always looking for new challenges. I find her attitude truly inspiring.

Yvonne Lewis: Yvonne is a fellow poet from the UK. I recently came across Yvonne's blog when participating in one of the VBT-Writers on the Move blog tours and I immediately liked her style of poetry - quirky, humorous, affectionate, emphasising the positive things in life, the things we have to be grateful for. Her poems often tell a story, something I like to do in my own poetry.

Jan D. Holiday: Jan is a fellow children's author whom I first met on MySpace. When I eventually joined Facebook, Jan very kindly sent suggestions to all her writer friends to send me a friend invitation and so, thanks to Jan, I quickly had a long list of interesting and stimulating fellow authors to connect with there. She is another person who is also very generous with her time and is always willing to give advice.

None of the above may be bestselling authors (yet!), but they inspire me through their selflessness, generosity and kindness and their desire to emphasise the positive side of life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Limits, no limits

What the world says and what the spirit says - some thoughts....


not enough,
I can't,"
the world screams -
and we listen...

"No limits,
no lack,
more than enough,
all things possible,
I can,"
the soul whispers -
but we don't hear...

Copyright © Helena Harper

Monday, August 3, 2009

Interview with children's author Dorothy Massey

For my second post this month about children's author, Dorothy Massey, I asked Dorothy some questions about how she started to write for children and why she likes to write for this age group.

Q. Dorothy, can you tell us how you got the commission to write stories for the "Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies" anthology?

A. I'd be delighted to, Helena. In 2007, the publishers, Pinestein Press, held a competition called Things That go Bump… . The brief was to write a short story for 7-9 year olds which was spooky and humorous. The setting was a school lunch room. I wrote a story called Little Red Riding Hoo…ood, based on the traditional fairy tale. As a result Pinestein asked me to write a further three stories for the anthology, which is called Mini Mysteries & Kooky Spookies. The result was The Ghost Twin Tales, three stories featuring the mischievous but lovable Wiggle and Woo.

Q. Had you written children’s stories prior to this?

A. I’d completed the Institute of Children’s Literature Course in Writing for Children and Teenagers and had written a couple of stories for that. Until then, though, I hadn’t had any children’s stories published.

Q. Have you written more children’s stories since?

A. Yes. Winning the competition and getting published gave me the confidence to write and submit more stories. Since then I’ve won another two children’s story competitions. Last year, I won Kangaroo Press’ Scary Halloween Competition with a story called Charlie’s Pumpkin Head. Recently, I was one of the winners of the Munch Bunch Storytelling Competition. My entry for that competition, Munch the Storyteller, was released as a podcast recording on the Munch Bunch website in March. The stories are read by the popular T.V. presenter and celebrity, Gail Porter. I’ve also received a commission to write for an upcoming children’s magazine, but details of that are still under wraps at the moment.

Q. What are your current writing projects?

A. I’m writing stories for a British publishing company who have requested submissions for a number of upcoming anthologies. I’ve also started a fantasy novel and am working on a couple of picture book manuscripts.

Q. Why do you like writing for children?

A. It’s so much fun and the possibilities are endless. It’s challenging, but rewarding too. We all have a part of us that is still a child. Writing for children allows me to take mine out to play.

I so agree with that, Dorothy. Thank you for your time, it's been a pleasure!

You can catch up with Dorothy on her blog at

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Introducing Dorothy Massey – children's author and teacher

It's a real pleasure to be able to introduce to you today children's author and teacher, Dorothy Massey. Dorothy is a fellow member of the yahoo group, VBT – Writers on the Move, and she is the author of a set of three stories about ghost twins, Wiggle and Woo, published in a Pinestein Press anthology in Dec 2007, entitled Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies. Dorothy was delighted to be commissioned to write these stories after winning first prize in Pinestein’s ‘Things that go Bump …’ competition with a story comprising a spooky twist on the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood. Since then she has won further competitions, with one of her stories being recorded as a podcast by TV presenter Gail Porter to launch a new storytelling character for Munch Bunch products.

Dorothy has specialised in teaching literacy and has taught ESL, Adult Basic Skills, Family Learning and Creative Writing. The third edition of her publication for ESL students, ‘Better English’, published by Studymates, has recently been published in India.

She now writes fiction for children from pre-school to Key Stage 2 as well as teaching Creative Writing for Durham County Council’s Education in the Community. Two packs of poetry resources for Key Stage 3 written by Dorothy are awaiting publication with Zig Zag and she has a fantasy novel in progress.

Dorothy lives in Crook, a small ex-mining town in the North East of England and is a member of SSWAG (Seven Stories Writers and Artists Group). For more information about Dorothy and writing for children, visit her blog:

Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies

Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies by Stephanie Campisi, Calvin Innes, Dorothy Massey and Marcia Nass is available from:
ISBN 0-9795364-2-1
Price $5.99/£4.75

Mini Mysteries & Kooky Spookies is a collection of one dozen mysteries and spooky stories for early readers. The book features six simple everyday mysteries that readers can solve along with six not-so-scary tales of some hauntingly memorable spooks. The three stories written by Dorothy Massey feature the ghost twins, Wiggle and Woo.

As one Amazon reviewer has said,
This is a terrific book. It is well-written, fun, exciting and challenging. It is a wholesome book that teaches children how to deal with tough, life-like situations, use logical reasoning and acquire people skills. I gave my 7 year old grandson a copy of this book and I was so impressed by his reaction that I gave another copy to my other grandchildren.
Sound good? Then why not purchase a copy of Mini Mysteries & Kooky Spookies today!

I'll be posting an interview with Dorothy on Monday. Drop by to learn more about this interesting and versatile author. If you have any questions for Dorothy, please leave a comment.