Sunday, July 28, 2013

At the Candy Shop with Paul Day

Tristan Wolf, our imaginative hero is eight years old when his adventure begins. He is as dreamy and clever as only a child can be. We were all Tristan once in our life and maybe now, we have one in it. My guests- smart, creative and inspiring personalities- have accepted the challenge to go back to those years, to go back to when they were around eight or ten to answer some questions about the world around them.

Let me introduce you to Australian author Paul Day, when he was eight.

Mariana: Hi, Paul, it’s very nice meeting you. Where do you live? And who do you live with?

Paul: Hi Marian, I mean Mariana. Is that right? I have an Aunt Marian so it’s a bit confusing. It’s nice to meet you too. I live in a big house with my family in Bendigo on McColl Street, just down the road from the mines. It’s not a very big house and I have to share my bedroom with my six brothers. I even have to share my bed cause there isn’t enough room. We only have a black and white TV too and we have to share that also. My Mum and Dad and my two sisters have their own room cause they are girls. Not my Dad though, he’s a man.

M: How do you get along with your siblings? What do you fight about?

P: I don’t get on very well with my brothers, except for Aaron. He’s

 the youngest and we do everything together. My other brothers pick on me a little bit cause I’m small. Plus, they call me dummy and stupid and I don’t like that so I get upset, a little bit. My oldest brother is ok, but he is always busy. We fight a lot, me and my brothers, mostly about nothing. Once, my brother went to hit me and I dodged and he missed and broke his thumb when his hand whacked into the window. He cried like a baby but I got in trouble cause he dobbed and Dad thought it was my fault. But it wasn’t.

M: What school do you go to? What do you like to do at school the most?

P: I got to Leura Public School in the Blue Mountains in NSW Australia. I’m in the third grade and my favorite teacher is Miss Simons. She’s the Music and Art teacher and she is really pretty and nice too. She doesn’t like it when the other kids pick on me and I spend recess and lunch in the Art room drawing and playing the trombone. I like camping and hiking and sometimes we get to do that at school. I also like music and art cause Miss Simons takes it and she is very pretty.

M: And the worst about school?

P: I don’t like some of the big kids. They steal my lunch and pick fights and that. I also don’t like Math because I’m no good at it.

M: What’s your best friend’s name?

P: My best friend is Daryl. He’s a bit silly and gets into trouble, but not because he’s naughty. He gets stuck in things and is always late for class. Once he got stuck in the drain chasing a stray cat and the teachers couldn’t get him out so they had to call the ambilians. When they got him out he giggled and said that they tickled him. It was so funny. But his mummy wasn’t laughing. She was crying. She yelled at him for getting stuck again. He’s my best friend cause he’s the only one that doesn’t call me shorty.

M: What is the food that you absolutely dislike eating? How does it taste like?

P: I hate brussel sprouts and broad beans. They are yucky. Mummy makes me eat them. I chew them then I ask to leave the table to go to the toilet and when I’m in there I spit them out and flush them down the dunny. Mum doesn’t know though so please don’t tell her.

M: Do you have pets?

P: I have a very special little dog. His name is Latch. I called him Latch cause he followed me home one day and latched onto me and he never lets me out of his sight. He’s my only other friend in the whole world, besides Daryl. Latch is funny and silly and he barks at the wall and chases Sally, our cat. She doesn’t like him, but he likes her, which is why he chases her all the time. I tried to tell her but she just hisses at him and if he gets too close she scratches his nose and then he yelps.

M: Are you scared of the dark?

P: No, not really. Well, maybe a little. I don’t like dark places, like when me and my brothers went down to the caves and we got stuck half way along and then my younger brother screamed because he thought he saw a hand sticking up from the bottom. It turned out to be just some roots or something. It was so funny.

M: Do you dream a lot? Do you daydream?

P: I dream all the time. Sometimes I dream I am a little bird stuck in a small cage and suddenly the door is open and I am free. Only, I don’t want to leave. Sometimes I dream I am flying like superman. Sometimes I have bad dreams that the world is ending and everything is exploding around me and I don’t know where my family is or anything. I can’t even find Latch and that worries me a lot. Most of the time I like to dream, but I don’t want the world to end. My teacher told my Mum and Dad I daydream. But I don’t know about that, cause I rarely sleep during the day so how can I dream?

M: Who do you look like, your mom or dad?

P: I look like my Dad. But I sound like my Mum. One day I will look and sound like my dad, like Peter does. He’s big and tall and he has muscles and he sounds grumpy all the time, just like Dad.

M: Who is your favorite artist?

P: I like ABBA. I love the blonde singer best. She’s beautiful and pretty like Miss Simons. Sometimes I go over to next doors and me and Sandy pretend we are in ABBA and we sing all their songs with microphones we made by ourselves.

M: What is the best book that you’ve ever read?

P: My very favorite book is the Loaded Dog. It’s really funny how the dog runs around the mines with dynamite in its mouth and doesn’t know the fuse is lit and all the men go running in all directions. The dog is black like Latch and the Policeman chasing him reminds me of Daryl cause he trips over everything all the time when he chases the dog. It’s so funny. The dog doesn’t blow up though, but the buildings do.

M: Do you think you’ll ever get married?

P: My brothers don’t think I will. They tease me all the time and say mean things like, “You’re too ugly to get married”. I would like to marry Sandy, but she’s a little bit older than me by thirteen months. She’s pretty and me and her play together sometimes. I think she would like the blonde singer from ABBA to be her bridesmaid and I think I would like my youngest brother to be my best man when he is old enough. He’s only four now though.

M: What do you want to be when you grow up?

P: I want to be a writer and write funny stories about little dogs doing silly things and getting into trouble. I like writing stories and Miss Simons, who is also my English teacher, thinks my stories are really good.

M: Thanks for sharing with me Paul. I hope we can be friends for a long time!

P: Thanks. If we are friends, then I can have three friends instead of 2, Lucky, Daryl and now you. That’s more friends than I have ever had in all my life. I like you cause you remind me of my teacher Miss Simons.

This is Paul Day nowadays, in his own words: 

"My wife Jennifer and I have been married for 25 years (last January) and are still very much in love. We have 2 children, both now adults. Our son, Josh, now lives away from home, but our daughter, Beck, is still at home and wants to be a writer also.

Right now I have 13 books published on Amazon (more if you count the print versions). I mainly write Children’s Books and YA Fiction. I am a Qualified Teacher and have worked in Public High Schools for the past eleven years. Before that I was a Motor Mechanic with 13 years experience. I studied at University for 6 years in between careers.
We live on a property out in the country with our 2 horses, one dog (Soxy), one cat (Toby) and 2 birds (Cocky and Teal)"

When I was eight I used to daydream, I played pretend and I loved to write. I still remember my 8th birthday present and the feeling of
joy it gave me. What was it? A journal, covered in
beige leather, with a writing pad of white satin pages and a black fountain pen that attached to the inside of my elegant and beaming new friend. And this is me, at that age, smiling at the world that I knew…oh, yes, I knew, someday would me mine!
Mariana Llanos

Thursday, July 25, 2013

REVIEW: Mailbox Kitten by Mammy Oaklee

Mailbox Kitten is a charming and nostalgic story that transports the reader to the Heart of the Bottoms Up 2/3 Acre to follow the adventures of Mammy and Pappy when they move into their new home in the country.  A special delivery in their mailbox will bring not only joy and excitement but also will make them face loss, grieve and eventually, hope.

I enjoyed reading this short story, told in a very evocative prose. The style is contagious and took me back to my own childhood memories: my house in the suburbs, the chickens we raised in our big yard, the cats that wandered around, my beloved dogs and the sadness and pain we had to go through every time one of them departed.  And that’s the special quality of this book: It can help a child cope with the death of a dear pet. But it is not somber or sad in anyway, on the contrary, it ends with hope, with laughter and joy. The illustrations are nicely done and convey the spirit of the story. They can help a wandering little mind to stay focused and understand the action in the story.

I have a feeling that author Mammy Oaklee has more sweet stories under her sleeve and that she’ll entertain us with her memories for years to come.
Mariana Llanos

About the author: Mammy Oaklee is a mom, a grandma and a city chick who always longed to be in the country.
*A free PDF version of the book was given to me in exchange for my honest opinion
IWrite is associated with the Amazon Affiliate Program

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

REVIEW: Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare by Penny Estelle

I like stories that not only amuse but also
teach children about historical characters or legends. Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare takes us to an entertaining dream. Billy is a cool, laid back seventh grader that can’t wait for his school week to be over. But this time his teacher decides to give them an extra credit assignment. Each kid needs to draw a name out of a box and do an oral report about that character. Needless to say, Ms. Wickware’s class is not happy. Billy draws William Tell as his subject and of course that only means that he’ll have to research about this William Tell guy on his already busy weekend. But, that night he has an enlightening nightmare (if such thing exists) and he is taken to Tell’s hometown where he’ll not only get to meet him but be a witness of his famous feat.  
Written with humor and in a relatable and engaging style, I am sure that kids will enjoy this short story and will look forward for more stories from this author, where they’ll be learning without realizing. Available on Kindle for only .99 there is absolutely nothing to lose, but a lot to gain!

Mariana Llanos

Author Penny Estelle was a school secretary for 21 years. She is now retired and, along with her husband, lives in NW Arizona on a "green" ranch powered only by solar and wind energy.

This blog is part of Amazon Affiliate Program.
*I received a complimentary PDF copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Welcome to Iwrite. A little bit about myself first: I am Mariana Llanos, author of Tristan Wolf. I  write since I was very young. What did I write about? Mostly poems about things around me. As I grew older I started writing short stories and also school plays. I even remember writing a new chapter for the Star Wars movies (that would be very useful now!) One thing I enjoyed a lot  was to adapt classic plays (Hamlet, Faust, Romeo and Juliet) and turn them into comical skits to perform at school.
As I grew older I kept on writing but decided to try to be an actress and studied drama. I have also done some arts and crafts, specially with papier mache, my favorite medium. For the past 8 years I've worked at a preschool. I've found another creative outlet in working with those kids and teaching them how to be creative through different arts. Currently I'm teaching them music and art.
Just a couple of years ago I decided to resume my writing. I created Tristan Wolf and I'm trying to become a full time writer...which would be my second full time job since I'm also a full time mom of three smart children.
Well, in the meantime and while I make  some dreams come true, here I offer you my blog that I hope to fill with experiences, thoughts, ideas, interviews and  lots of entertainment.
Truly yours,
Mariana Llanos

Saturday, July 13, 2013


by Galina Granovsky

“Motley Wings” is an interesting tale that 

takes readers to the world of butterflies. Lily, a pretty, young, white-winged butterfly is preparing herself to go to the ball that Prince Apollo organizes every year. She wants to look her best but her bright white wings get accidentally stained. Her friend Stripy Bee offers to help and paints her wings with beautiful colors that truly make her stand out. At the ball she is noticed by the Prince, not only for her beautifully colored wings but for her modesty and honesty. Prince Apollo himself invites her to join him and his following to their annual trip to the Hare Cabbage Gardens. Lily will have a great adventure as she meets new friends and gets closer to the Prince.
I read this book with my boys. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t their‘cup of tea’. Maybe they just don’t like reading about pretty butterflies in a fairy-tale style story; they go for more boyish adventures. Oh, well. Their loss. I do think that there are very interesting elements on this book: I especially liked the metamorphosis chapter and their flight over the lake and I even liked the moths’ part, but, in my opinion, the story ended too abruptly and there were some situations left in the hanging.
“Motley Wings” has been translated into English from Russian, and although it reads pretty well, it needs a little tune up here and there for some typos and minor oddities. They are easily fixable though and do not affect the story but they could be a distraction for the readers(I should know that pretty well! As I was writing this post, a friend messaged me to tell me that on my previous post I had written "on the park" instead of "at the park"... not once, but several times.Darn it!)
I'm pleased that I got to know this author’s work, new to the English language book market. She is a writer with a prolific imagination able to transport her readers to a world of beauty and fantasy.

Mariana Llanos

Author Galina Granovsky lives in Russia close to the Black Sea with her husband and her cat. She has published several children's stories and adult novels in her language. Some of them are being translated into English.

This blog is a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program.
*I received a complimentary PDF of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

REVIEW: An Evening with Grandpa

by Diana Matlin

An Evening with Grandpa is a nicely crafted story within a story. It starts when Annie is “forced” to spend an evening with her grandfather, who she thinks is boring and will never play with her. But that evening, Grandpa agrees to play chess and teach her how to play it through a story. Grandpa and Annie take us to Chess Kingdom, where Queens and Kings do what they do best: fight. They’ll introduce us to Pawnie, a determined little pawn who wants to be a princess.
I  liked the fact that Pawnie is a girl doing what girls in stories usually don’t do: going on the battlefield.  I believe this story will empower girls to try on other roles that are not traditional for girls and it will get both, boys and girls, interested in the game of chess.
In my opinion, though, the White and Black Queens motivation for helping their husbands win the battle could've been more substantial. A dress and a fancy party sound superfluous and stereotyping. But that's probably just my feminist side talking.
I read it to my 6 years old and I can tell that he lived the story. And how not since it's interesting and engaging from the beginning. It explains the moves of the game of chess in a creative way. Annie and Grandpa’s conversations are easy to read, familiar and very relatable. It feels like we could heard them talking.
An Evening with Grandpa is a very good read that will entertain and teach. I also love that I can relate to it, since my grandfather taught me how to play chess. Now I wish we could've read this book together.
Mariana Llanos

Author Diana Matlin lives in New jersey with her husband and three kids. In her free time she loves to read, travel and spend time with the family.

*This blog is associated with the Amazon Affiliate Program

 *I received a free PDF copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.