Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Karen Cioffi - Author of Day's End Lullaby

Please welcome Karen Cioffi.


      It is a pleasure to be able to do an interview with you. 

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a children's book author?

I am a former accountant.  In 2000 I was diagnosed with MS and had to give up my profession.  I have been writing stories and poems since I was I grade school, but never took it seriously.  After going on disability I eventually began thinking of writing as a career.  Writing specifically for children came about when my daughter was majoring in Children's Literature.  

I have a good friend with MS.  My heart goes out to you.  You are accomplishing quite a lot in spite of this illness. 

How did you come up with the idea for the book "Day's End Lullaby"?

I wrote the lullaby to the story over 30 years ago.  My firstborn didn't like sleeping.  I sang it to her as I paced the hallway carrying her in my arms to get her to sleep and again when she'd wake in the middle of the night.  I did the same thing with my second daughter and it became a family lullaby.  Now my family sings it to my grandson and we will also sing it to my grandson due mid November.  How it became a book is, after my first grandson came my daughter and co-author, Robyn, thought it would make a great bedtime story and here we are.

Virtual Book Tours is amazing. It is so well organized.

What influenced you to create Virtual Book Tours?

 I was fortunate to be able to participate in The Muse Online Conference in October 2008.  One of the workshops I took was Denise Cassino's Book Marketing.  She suggested the attendees do virtual tours for each other.  I decided to create a group that would be organized and include other marketing tools and strategies - a group in which each member helps every other member by participating in those strategies put in place.  



What do you enjoy most about writing for children?

Children are such a joy and source of inspiration.  My co-author, who happens to be my daughter, and I are both advocates of education and reading.  Reading opens new worlds to children.  It can enlighten them, it can open their imagination and it can teach them.  Being a part of that is just a wonderful feeling.


I can't agree with you more.  Reading to children is a wonderful way to give them a love of reading at an early age.

What are you working on now?


I am currently working on two picture books (around 1000 words each).  One is about a child's imagination and the other is based on colors.


I am also fine tuning a fantasy chapter book geared for ages 8-12; this is based on an ancient Chinese tale.  It is about a 12-year-old boy who wants more than anything to learn magic.


In addition, I am working on another fantasy chapter book geared for ages 8-12.  This one is about two boys lost in space.


I am also writing articles for ezines as well as children's and trade magazines.


The fantasy book for boys sounds exciting.


How do you think others would describe you?

For this question I went right to the sources.  I asked my husband and he said: sweet, level headed, and a nice person to be around.  Then I asked my younger daughter and she said: hardworking, caring, and dedicated



Do you have a personal philosophy about life?

My personal philosophy is based on words from the Bible: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "Love your neighbor as yourself."   These are two simple sentences that if the world adhered to would eliminate all wars, murders, violence and theft.  


And, life to a large degree is what we make of it.  Try to be content with what you have while striving to achieve your best. I am also a firm believer in positive projection.


    That is a wonderful philosophy to have.


To learn more about Karen and her work, visit:





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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Interview of Vivian Zabel by Pam Devor


Welcome to my blog Vivian Zabel. It is a great pleasure to interview an author of such diverse talent.
Vivian, I see that you are a very busy lady, involved in lots of different groups.  You are even president of the group
"PEN AND KEYBOARD WRITERS'. What are some of the normal activities this group does?


Pen and Keyboard Writers meets the second Saturday of each month in the Edmond, Oklahoma library. The group is an OWFI (Oklahoma Writers' Federation Inc) affiliate: 


We critique each other's writings, provide suggestions and support for improvement, encourage each other to enter writing contests or to publish. We have workshops and speakers to help with our writing endeavors. For instance, best selling author Jordan Dane visited us in February and will return in May.


Several of our group entered the OWFI writing competition (33 different categories available to enter), and we'll find out at the conference the first of May if any of us were successful. Last year my mystery/suspense manuscript took second, and it is now published as Midnight Hours.

I have been looking on the 4RV publishing site. As publisher at 4RV Publishing, do you pay each author a set royalty % of book sales?  Are the books available to be purchased online at Barnes & Noble &  How many books are printed on each run. Do the authors get a discount on their own books?  Is the price of the book set by how many pages are in the book?


All 4RV authors receive royalties on the sales of their books. Authors and illustrators of children's books share a higher royalty than an author of a book without illustrations receives.


Our books are distributed through Ingrams, the largest book distributor in the world, I think. Therefore books can be purchased through all bookstores or online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the 4RV bookstore.


The number of books in each print run depends on the type of book and the possibilities in the market for that book.


Yes, authors can buy their books at a discount.


The price of a book is set by the type of book, how much it costs us to get it printed.  We are charged a base amount and then per page above a certain number.


How many titles have been published at 4RV publishing?


So far fourteen books have been published by 4RV in the past sixteen months. We have at least two more ready to send to the printer this month. 


Vivian, How many books have you written?  Could you list them here?  Which book is your most recent?  Are there any books currently in the works?


I have written or am a major contributor to six books:


Hidden Lies and Other Stories with short stories by Holly Jahangiri and me;

Walking the Earth: Life's Perspectives in Poetry with poems from eight of us.

The Base Stealers Club, a juvenile mystery/ baseball book;

Case of the Missing Coach, a sequel to The Base Stealers Club;

Midnight Hours, a mystery/suspense novel;

and  Prairie Dog Cowboy, a juvenile historical novel


I use the name Vivian Gilbert Zabel for adult level books and V. Gilbert Zabel for books for younger readers.


Prairie Dog Cowboy is the most recent release, with Midnight Hours coming out just a few months before.  At present, I'm working on a sequel to both books: Prairie Winds and Darkest before Dawn.


My juvenile books all have illustrations of some kind so that reluctant readers won't be afraid of nothing but words.


Do you do speaking engagements and school visits?


I speak at schools, libraries, and writing groups. I've had book signings. I'm looking for more appearances all the time.


Last summer I was a presenter at the Decatur Book Festival, and last spring at the North Texas Book Festival. Two months ago, I spoke at the local Pen Women's meeting.


What do your children and grandchildren think of your writing?  


Mostly, my children are rather quiet about what they think, but they haven't turned down copies of any of my books (of course I don't know if they hide them or throw them away, either). *laugh* My grandchildren seem to enjoy the books, especially the ones written for their ages.


My great-grandchildren, the two old enough to read, like my books and want to be in them.


Prairie Dog Cowboy sounds like a very interesting book.  What age is this geared towards? 


My husband grew up on a farm and worked for neighboring ranchers. He shared many of his experiences as a cowboy and as a horse breaker. I wanted to put some of those in a book. Prairie Dog Cowboy became that book, although the setting is fictional and is set long before he was born.


I wanted to show that children of all eras face hardships such as bullying and having a dysfunctional family and that people can help make a child's life better.


The reading level is about sixth to eighth grade, but the book has appealed to children as young as six or seven and to adults.


What would you most like your readers to feel while reading your books?


I want readers to feel they are observers of the interactions and actions of the characters, as if they are there, that a movie is running in their heads.



Vivian's blog: Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap 

Vivian's web site Vivian Gilbert Zabel 


Thanks so much Vivian for allowing me to interview you.  It was very interesting.



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Saturday, January 31, 2009


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Author, Dehanna Bailee


My guest author this week is: Dehanna Bailee



Pamela: Welcome Dehanna, I see that one of your books hit #1 at for being the best-selling fiction title! That is quite an accomplishment.
Dehanna: Yes, it hit #1 at for being the Best-selling Science Fiction Title by a woman author. It was a nice little benchmark that came right on the heels of another one of my works making the Top #100 Hot New Releases in Romance at (in Kindle format).
Pamela: That's wonderful. Did you always love writing? And how did you get started?
Dehanna: I used to write stories when I was in high school but fell away from it in my mid-twenties due to working full time and life in general. For the next few years I dabbled a bit here and there in a few notebooks, but nothing serious, so it really wasn't until my early thirties before I was able to get back into it and that's when I wrote "True Nature."
Pamela:  I see that you've written both fiction and non-fiction titles. Do you prefer one genre to another? And which is easier for you?
Dehanna:  In fiction genres, I prefer to write things that have a romantic lean or focus. As to what I think is easier, fiction or non-fiction, I think I would have to say non-fiction because I can pretty much map out the whole work before I even get started. Guess there's something quite simplistic to that linear, 'just-the-facts-Jack' aspect.
Pamela:  You write fiction & non-fiction books, articles, and ebooks. You review other authors' work as well as host the POD Database. You must have a very full schedule with all you are involved in. Do you have a set schedule for blocking off time to write?
Dehanna:  Well, admittedly, my schedule is a full one--not just with the writing part of it, but also with my other responsibilities and commitments. I sometimes wish I had more time to write but don't think it would actually help me achieve more because it seems that my creativity likes to be spurred by the chaos that surrounds me (if that makes any sense). I like having something creative to work on to expel my excess energy.
Pamela:  Where can readers find out more about you, your work, or your books?
Dehanna:  Readers can visit me online at or at my blog All my available titles are listed in the bookstore at my main website, along with links to where they can be found. Also, there are excerpts and a couple free downloads for those who are interested.


Thanks for allowing me to interview you Dehanna!

Bye for now.




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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Writing Contest

Open to Kids aged 8 – 11 & 12 - 15.

Write a short story using the characters in "The Troll Door, The Trunk & The Compass". (You are not required to use all the characters.)

Stories Due: February 28th, 2009.

Include Name and Age of author and contact information.

Email submissions or questions to:

Prize: The author in each age group of the best short story will get their stories on my website & their names will be used as a character in my next book, which is a sequel to "The Troll Door, The Trunk & The Compass". The winners will also receive a free copy of the book with their name in it.

The sequel is nearly finished & should be out in a few months. Possible title of sequel is "The Dragon, The Trunk & The Magic Carpet".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Radio Interview

Pamela J. Devor, Author
The Troll Door, The Trunk, & The Compass
Home Page
To Order a book

Radio Interview

Radio interview on WDLJ The Rock on September16th,2008. Book Give-aways.
Also on September 16th, Spoke to Carlyle Junior High students about the book and the process of becoming a published author

Book Signings

Pamela J. Devor, Author
The Troll Door, The Trunk, & The Compass
Home Page
To Order a book
Past Events
Book Signings

Book Signing at B'Dalton in Mt. Vernon on Saturday November 29th 2008 1:00 - 3:00 and December 20, 2008 1:00-3:00.

Book Signing September 6th, 2008 at McCleansboro Fall Festival.
May 10th, 2008 from 2:00 - 4:00 at Characters Beyond Books Phone: 618-532-1111 located at 204 West Broadway in Centralia, IL 62801 The owners are Michael & LeighAnn Miller. The book signing was a success. Characters sold out their supply of my book. (They are going to order more.)