All posts by Monique Bucheger

Reading IS an Adventure–

 

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One of the best parts about being out of school is the Summer Reading Program in your local library. Their themes may be different: Reading is Fun, Jump into a Good Book, Reading is an Adventure, —but they all have a wonderful thing in common: they encourage kids to explore the world around them by reading.

Where else can you take a journey into your imagination of endless possibilities? Whether you read for knowledge, adventure, escape, fun, entertainment, exploration … reading a book is a passport to somewhere new and exciting.

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In a perfect world, when you open a book, you are transported somewhere both new and familiar … but with an exciting twist or ten.

Time travel books may take you into a future you hadn’t anticipated, but would love to explore or may thrust you into the past where you will have to learn how to navigate life without electricity and devices to simplify your life.

(Just how did kids wash the dishes without a dishwasher or even without plumbing piping hot water to their kitchen sinks?) 🙂

Some books explore problems you may face on a different scale—bullying, illness, peer pressure, having to save the world, or a best friend from some awful circumstance. Reacting to situations in a way that allow you to explore different scenarios from the safety of your bedroom, living room couch, or the backseat of your car—is it better to punch a bully in the nose or come up with a creative solution to where you both get what you want?

 

reading_adventures_with_cartoon_bookworm_poster-rf8abb0ae03dc4d77bed343d795c550b5_92p_8byvr_324Every book has conflicts—how the main character reacts and solves them (or doesn’t) propels readers on in the journey to resolution. Some readers find heroes to emulate or figure out that a different solution might be what is necessary to make their own life’s story have a satisfying ending.

 

Some books thrust you into a world of magic, where mirrors allow you to communicate, cars fly you from one adventure to another, a magic wand helps you escape from an evil wizard—the possibilities are endless.

 

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Is non-fiction your thing? Any number of interesting science experiments can be achieved by following instructions in a book. Cooking and craft books are a great source of learning new skills.

Learning how to make  homemade ice cream or root beer popsicles on a hot summer day seems a refreshing way to spend a morning. 🙂

 

Great adventures come in all shapes and sizes.

Some journeys are physical—getting the magic amulet back to its rightful owner while being chased by an ogre or racing through the Rocky Mountains by horse drawn wagons before winter hits so that the pioneers aren’t stranded in shoulder deep snow.

Maybe the journey is emotional: righting a wrong that shouldn’t have happened or figuring out how to prepare to live life without a mother or father or best friend who is losing their fight with cancer?

The best books are a mix of many things: wonder, horror, crazy circumstances, overcoming obstacles, physical and emotional limits– met and exceeded — by sheer willpower and courage to overcome because failure is NOT an option.

Books that make you both laugh and cry, hold your breath as you root for your hero or heroine to persevere through impossible odds, journey on because there is no turning back—those books are the ones that will break your heart and strengthen your resolve to live a purposeful life.

Those are the books that will whisper courageous words to you when real life throws you a curve ball you weren’t expecting.

Books ... hopes, dreams

And they can all be found at your local library or book store, or at home on your favorite reading device. Jump into a good book today—Reading IS an Adventure.

Laugh lots … Love much … Write on! 🙂

When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, three adorable granddaughters, two  adventurous grandsons, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of the GINNIE WEST ADVENTURE series.

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Good Books and Good Friends = Good Times

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As a kid, I read a literal armful of books almost every week. I loved to go to the library and treasure hunt among the shelves to find books by new authors as well as familiar ones. Mostly I looked for great stories—ones I could invest my time and emotion in.

If I found an author I loved—I read every book they wrote that I could get my hands on—in both my school and public libraries. I saved money from my paper route and would splurge on a dozen books at a time through Scholastic and library sales.

Every book I opened was an invitation to be transported to a new world—sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively—always eagerly. I fell in love with with the Civil War Era and learned that people on both sides of the war had a lot in common—they cared about their families, their friends, their country. I admired America’s early pioneers—marveling at how much they could accomplish so much with so little—and most especially without electricity and indoor plumbing.

I loved stories about friendship, about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and I especially loved stories where the hero or the heroine made the “right” choice—which usually complicated their lives for most of the book, but their courage would finally be validated by the ending.

I read stories about contemporary kids dealing with the same problems I dealt with: peer pressure, bullying, homework, book reports, obnoxious siblings, the awkwardness of adolescence. I cheered some characters on and booed others. Some gave me courage to keep going when life got tough. 

Some books made me laugh out loud— while others made me cry. The best ones did both.

Some books, like Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, are extremely memorable. I loved Leslie’s imagination and felt Jess’s pain as the picked-on only brother in the middle of four sisters. I was just as eager as Jess to embrace Leslie’s make-believe world and was equally devastated when that world ended way-too-soon. 

One thing I love about middle-grade is that kids aged 8-14 can go on limitless adventures and accomplish great things: whether the stories are set in the “real” world or in fantasy worlds–with or without magic objects.

Imagination and wonder are key.

I am partial to middle-grade novels that help kids believe that they can be heroes in their own lives. Whether the main character dons a super hero costume or not, I love characters that find courage within themselves to solve their own problems—because it helps the reader to understand that they, too, can be a super hero in their own life.

To me, it isn’t Harry Potter’s wand that makes him special, it’s his sense of loyalty to his  personal code of ethics, his friends, and his courage to make the right choices—even when it would be easier not to.

Good friends and good books are still very important to me.  Though now I write books about good friends and enjoy hanging out with my husband and kids as well.

Good books

Laugh lots … Love much … Write on!

When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She is the author of the middle-grade Ginnie West Adventure series, a picture book titled “Popcorn,” and in the process of releasing two new series in the near future-a family drama and a middle-grade fantasy.

Why Book Promotions are Good for both Authors and Readers

Book promotions are a fun way to get others involved with your books. This week my books are in several promotions so I am going to chat about why and how authors promote—and most importantly–what’s in it for the readers.

Promotions can be put together by one or more people and can happen in many ways. Just last week the Emblazoners authors wanted to spread the word about our blog and attract new readers at the same time.

Because we write for tweens, we tried to engage teachers, librarians, parents and kids. We brainstormed on how best to do that and decided to offer a brand new kindle filled with 50 AWESOME middle grade books. We spread the word on our individual social media sites and now have a winner. Congrats to Debra C.

Hopefully others who heard about the promo stopped by and liked what they saw and will come back. We have a new post every Wednesday and talk about and share all kinds of stuff with our readers.

GINNIE WEST ADVENTURES BOOK TOUR NOV 17-30

I have hired a Blog Tour company: Loving The Book Launch Party to host my books this week and next. I write middle-grade realistic contemporary fiction with a bit of humor. My series: The Adventures of Ginnie West Blog Tour FB page is here. Every day for the next 2 weeks, 1 or 2 blogs will highlight one of my four books and add a feature: an interview with me or one of my characters, a snippet from one of my books, or a review of one of the books. This helps other people see what different readers think of my series. Loving The Book Launch holds super fun book launch parties–mine is Dec 4th–come on over–there will be a lot of FREE prizes.

Another company, Mother Daughter Book Reviews, a mother-daughter team as the name implies—Renee and her 10 year-old, Danielle—read and review middle-grade and younger books.  Thankfully—they liked the 2 books of mine they reviewed. 🙂 You can see their reviews here of my first middle grade book: The Secret Sisters Club and my first picture book: Popcorn. Illustrated by my fellow Emblazoner blogger, Mikey Brooks. Check out his other books here:

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Because I wanted to find new readers for my series, Renee agreed to promote all 4 of my middle-grade books. She is also running a review blitz (this is different than a blog tour) and offering a chance at a $50 Amazon Gift Card  to any reader who reads one of my books AND posts a review on Amazon & Goodreads.

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If you’d like to participate—please check out the details here. Renee will send you up to 2 of my books at a time, in exchange for posting an honest review of them. Renee is a joy to work with–in case any other authors want to promote with her. 🙂

Twice a year, Bookmarked Bargains, another group of author friends, offers promo opportunities to its members. Over 30 authors are offering over 50 books at last count for 4 DAYS only—today (Nov 19) and tomorrow (Nov 20) are the last days. Most books are .99 and FREE. The books in this sale are Clean Reads meaning: no profanity, no sex, and no gratuitous violence, just like the Emblazoners authors’ books.

MIKEY'S TBW (Purple)

 

There are 13 different tabs representing different genres from children’s books to adults’: something to fit everybody. My second book, Trouble Blows West is FREE and my third book, Simply West of Heaven is .99. Both are found underneath the “middle grade” tab.

MIKEY'S SIMPLY (Green)

 My first book: The Secret Sisters Club is .99 during my blog tour. It will also be a part of the Fussy Librarian promo Nov 25th. This is a company that sends suggestions for free and way reduced books to large lists of people, with authors hoping new readers will take a chance on authors new to them. It’s the first time I’ve participated, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it will turn out.

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Life is all about relationships. Connecting people to other people with similar tastes, interests, feelings, standards. Marketing is no different. While we get bombarded daily with a lot of choices, it can be magical when we make a connection with a person, a product, or a good book that makes a positive difference in our life.

 

Among other things the purpose of a good promotion is to give someone a good enough deal so they will take a chance on a product or service that they need or will bring  ease, productivity and joy into their lives.

I write my books with the hope that when people finish it, they will have enjoyed the time they spent in the world I created. Sometimes stronger connections are made. I can’t tell you how awesome it is when a reader takes the time to let me know that not only did they enjoy my book, they felt a part of my characters’ lives.

Along with writing humorous and heartwarming stories about BFFs trying to navigate through this thing called life, I write about tough subjects like divorce, child abuse, and abandonment in an uplifting way. That may seem like an oxymoron, but I do it through strong characters who also know the magic of having good friends and families, characters who fail and try again, who make decisions to change their circumstances in small and meaningful lives–just like the rest of us have to do.

Today and tomorrow my 2nd book, Trouble Blows west is Free–please check it out. It’s about 12 year-old Ginnie who gets on the wrong side of the biggest bully in 6th grade on page 1. Later on, when she discovers his secret–he is being abused at home–she is determined to be his ally, because he won’t let her be his friend. If you like it, please leave a review on Amazon. We both win: you try a new author and if you like the book, I get a new reader.

If you like Trouble Blows West or any of my other books, please consider signing up with Mother Daughter Book Reviews to read and review that book and any others. You get a free book AND a chance to win a $50 Gift card or Paypal cash.

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Laugh lots, love much, write on!

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Making Choices that Matter by Monique Bucheger

 

DRAWING DRAGON 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, I’d like to talk about choices: Ones we make deliberately and ones we allow to be made for us—and how each can impact us.

The 4th through 8th grade or “middle grades” are extremely important years in everybody’s lives. These are the formative years when kids realize that life outside of their family home can be very different from what they are used to.

New ideas and concepts are pondered; new strategies to deal with the good, the bad, and the frustrating are explored—and experimented with.

Personal ethics and codes of behavior are tried on for size and comfort—often tailored and adjusted to fit the whims of peer pressure—good and bad.

Kids learn about who they are or what they want to be known as, and spend a lot of time trying to make others see them as they want to be seen or adapt their self-image to reflect what they see in other peoples’ eyes.

This can be positive or negative—depending on who is doing the accepting and / or rejecting of ideas and concepts.

We all remember the cliché kids: the class clown, the nerd, the bully, the bullied, the overachiever, the underachiever, the geek, the jock, the oddball, the social, the prep, the kid everybody liked, and the one who never quite fit in anywhere, but desperately wanted to.

Perhaps we were one or more of them—or another cliché student—either mixed up or altogether different at some point in our career as middle-grade students.

There comes a time when each person needs to make determinations about who they are, who they want to be, and take the steps to be that person.

This exploration and defining of our core self (of who we are and who we want to be and what that person looks like) becomes earnest and most important in our middle-grade years. This process is often the biggest foundation and shaper of our future self.

Children who are blessed with positive influences and a belief in their inherent goodness, travel through these formative years less scathed than children who are told they are worthless, and those who have the sad misfortune to believe such an atrocious lie.

Until Oct 1st, my friend, James A. Owen has given this link to allow his book: “Drawing Out the Dragons” FREE (a $19.99 value). He is highly sought after as a speaker for middle school audiences.

James is a supremely talented artist, and internationally bestselling author, and a superb human being—a self-proclaimed “Awesomist”—one who seeks to bring out the best in others and shares hard learned insights to bring light to other peoples’ lives.

I bring this up because a big part of the reason James is as successful as he is today is because he made courageous decisions about who he wanted to be as a middle-grade student.

Because we Emblazoner Authors are all about middle-graders—I wanted to take this opportunity to share this amazing book and it’s incredible insights to the audience it was meant to influence most: Tweens and young teens. (and it is only FREE for the next week.)

When he was 11, James spent several months in a hospital pretty certain he was going to die—three of his young roommates did die within a month of his admission to the hospital.

Doctors didn’t know what was wrong with him; they only knew he was becoming sicker as time went by. At age 11, James had decisions to make about what his future would—and should—hold. Believing he didn’t have much of a future—quite possibly only weeks or months, James fast-tracked those decisions with actions so that he could make the most of the time he had left.

The top banner on the cover of “Drawing out the Dragons” says: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Choices that Matter. This is a profound concept because quite often—even adults allow things to happen to them rather than be heroes in their own lives by making deliberate choices to be the best person they can be.

To be a hero in your own life, each person needs to take a stand and become the wind—rather than the leaf—that is buffeted about by the wind.

Making deliberate choices about how you live your life, and what you do on your personal journey here on earth directly affects your influence on what happens to you and how you affect those around you.

Two powerful messages that James repeats in his book are:

 If you really want to do something, no one can stop you.

But if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you.

 ~and~

Never, ever, sacrifice what you want the most,

for what you want the most at that moment. 

 

Think about these messages a minute.

To further quote James:

“All good things happen . . . In Time.”

Choices are cumulative, but the results are not always apparent, or immediate. Sometimes you just have to keep making the right choices, even if it seems there’s no benefit to doing so.

Sooner or later, there will come a moment when what you really want most is tested, and how you respond in that moment will reveal the culmination of your choices. 

At that defining moment, his second message becomes truly powerful:

Never, ever, sacrifice what you want the most,

for what you want the most at that moment. 

It is my hope that the Tweens and others who read this post realize how important it is to make deliberate choices as to who they want to be and learn to believe in themselves and their dreams because truly:

 If you really want to do something, no one can stop you.

But if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you.

So go forward and make informed choices–your future self will thank you.

Laugh lots … Love much …Write on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taglines

Bookmark FRONT (1)

By: Monique Bucheger

I am preparing to attend one of my favorite writing conferences this week: LDStorymakers in Salt Lake City. I attended the conference in years past as a wanna be author, as a newbie author, and now as an author launching my fourth published book.

Writing conferences are a great way to meet new readers, agents, publishers, and fellow authors. Without exception, I have met all of the above, in addition to making a few new friends.

In preparation for this conference I wanted to make new bookmarks, since my last ones sported my old covers. I wanted to include all four of my fabulous new book covers.IN the coop

At the last conference I attended: Superstars Writing Seminars, I learned an important rule about the nitty-gritty part of the writing and publishing business (editing, marketing, formatting, making covers, and other art, etc.): Do what you are good at and want to do … and hire out the rest.

In a time crunch, and not feeling particularly creative, I gave my awesome illustrator—one of our own Emblazoner authors—Mikey Brooks, a quick call. (See the above picture.) He came through for me, as I knew he would.

Mikey put all four covers on the front and then added some other art work to fill in the spaces. On the back he added my contact info and left a big space to write a quick comment and signature.

Some fans want a signature and that’s a good place to add one. Plus, people are less likely to throw away a signed bookmark. 🙂 (A tip I learned from Tracy Hickman, an internationally best selling fantasy author from last year’s Superstars Seminar.)

You can also add a QR code to direct people to the online site of your choice: like your blog or author FB page.

In addition to the artwork, he suggested that I include a tagline. We brainstormed and came up: Operation Secret Sisters: Two Determined BFFs plus Two Reluctant Parents MIGHT Equal One Happy FamilyTaglines give a quick overview of what people might expect in a book or movie. They should include the protagonist(s), a conflict, and an antagonistic presence.

Bookmark BACK (1)They must also be short. Technically, my tag line is probably a little long at 15 words. Ideally— they should 10 words or less—but coming up with a tagline to do justice for 4 books is even harder than creating a tagline for one book. I decided to use some poetic license and make an exception since it is going on my bookmarks for the entire series.

My first book “The Secret Sisters Club” has been described as “Parent Trap” Meets “An American Girl,” so we decided to play on my main characters’ secret mission in that book: Operation: Secret Sisters. In the following books, the theme of becoming sisters is always a subplot or minor arc, while the girls also navigate through new obstacles and conflicts in their lives that have nothing to do with becoming sisters.

While trying to defeat the biggest bully in 6th grade in book 2: Trouble Blows West and trying to make sense of a “crazy-blast-from-the-past” that puts the girls at odds with one another in book 3: Simply West of Heaven, and dealing with one of the girl’s lousy-excuse-for-a-birth-father in book 4: Being West is Best, both girls come to terms with the sometimes unpleasant reality that their dream of becoming sisters, might actually turn into a nightmare.

However, since they are best friends, they have some great motivation to work through the difficulties to attain their goal of “round-the-clock-girl-talk” and the “ultimate sleepover” that never ends.

Most movies and books now have taglines. For example, the Harry Potter series can be broken down to 7 words: Boy Wizard Battles Evil Dark Lord, Parent Trap could become: Twice the Fun, Double the Trouble. Frozen: The Ice Guy? The Nice Guy? The Snowman or no man? Or Pixar’s Brave: Change Your Fate. I found these on rotoscopers.com.

JournalsYou can make up your own … and if you are an author, you really should. If you are a reader, it might be a fun challenge to reduce your favorite book or movie to a few words with some of your friends. If you take the challenge, please share. I’d love to hear from you.

Laugh lots, love much, write on!