Thursday, May 29, 2014

Alex Marestaing, Author

Author Alex Marestaing loves to create. He's written for media outlets such as The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins, and The Los Angeles Times and has authored three YA novels. His latest, I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages, recently won an honorable mention at the London Book Festival and was nominated for a 2014 Epic Award. Though he spends most of his time imagining ideas for the youth market, he's also written for faith based publications and has covered his favorite sport, soccer, in Europe and the U.S. for Sports Spectrum Magazine and Yanks Abroad. When Alex isn't writing or speaking at conferences, you'll most likely find him hanging out in California with his wife and three kids…

Who is your favorite author/inspiration?

When I was around five, my family and I went on a camping trip to the UK.  And each night, after days spent exploring the British countryside, my dad would read C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to me. Reading Narnia in England, where the whole wardrobe experience began for the Pevensie kids was pretty cool. So, because of that, I would have to choose C.S. Lewis as a favorite.  I appreciate the way he creates settings full of "wonder" and the way he weaves deeper truths into his work without sounding preachy. I think that's what's made his work last through the ages.

Where do you like to write?

I have this big desk that I write at. It's decorated with objects that remind me of important events, things like:
…a Mickey Mouse wind up toy (since Disney gave me my first freelance writing job)
…Izzy's Pop Star Plan (My very first novel)
…a sticky note from my wife that says, "Fear Not," (flying used to make me nervous, and I found it in my backpack on a flight to Germany. She had snuck it in there before dropping me off at the airport.)
…and, of course, my latest book, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages.

How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?

Ideas come at all times of the day and night, so I'm often scrambling for a piece of paper to jot them all down on.  If I'm lucky, I'll have my idea journal with me, and I can write them down there.

Music also inspires me. I don't think anything inspires me more than hearing a song that moves me, whether it be instrumental or lyrical. For some reason, songs just open up the side of my brain where possibility and wonder hide, both essential ingredients when it comes to penning a good tale. But whether I'm inspired or not, I keep writing.  Writing "through the silence" is a necessity in this job.

What are you currently writing?

Besides getting the word out on my latest release, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages, I'm working on a new YA series. It's about a sixteen year old who has to take care of his kid sister under the most extraordinary of circumstances.  A publisher might change the name down the road, but for now it's called Sketched. I wish I could tell you more about the series because I'm totally excited about it. But I can't yet!  When I can, I'll tell readers all about it on my website,

Are your characters based upon personal events?

My stories aren't really based on personal events, but I'm sure that there are bits and pieces of people I've met sprinkled across the pages. For example, the main character in I'm Nobody is extremely shy, as I was as a kid. And the girl he meets, Iris Elliott? Well, she's a total extrovert like my wife.

What is the gist of I'm Nobody: The lost pages'?

I guess the gist would be: Emily meets Caleb, Caleb meets Iris, and a broken world turns Technicolor.

And here's the official synopsis for you:

Agoraphobic Caleb Reed is about to step outside for the first time in seven years, meet indie filmmaker Iris Elliott…and definitely not fall in love. It’s all because of the notes, the weird and wonderful notes he keeps finding on his front porch, notes signed by someone claiming to be long dead poet Emily Dickinson. Caleb’s parents think he’s losing his mind, but he knows they’re wrong. Something’s going on outside – something strange, something terrifying …something beautiful. 

Do you have advice for novice writers?

My advice would be that they need to memorize one word - TENACITY.  I speak at writing conferences and one thing I tell my audiences is that it is impossible to succeed in this business without being tenacious.  Every great author has had to have tenacity in huge doses. Whether it be Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, who kept all her rejection letters in a bag under her bed until the bag became too heavy to lift, or C.S. Lewis who was said to have been rejected over 800 times before The Chronicles of Narnia was published, grabbing hold of that dream and never letting go is an absolute must.  

List 10 things that people may not know about you...

…I love The Adventures of Tintin comic books, and my dog is named after the main character's dog.

…After being on a plane once that tried to take off but didn't, flying freaked me out for a while (but I'm good with it now).

…I once helped Lego set designers in Denmark brainstorm new ideas.

…My wife, three kids, and I lived in Europe for a year.

…While working freelance as a sportswriter, I got an unexpected call from a famous soccer coach when I was completely sick with the flu and lying on the floor. Luckily, I was able to crawl to the phone and get through my interview in one piece.

…I love CANDY, and my kids and I often drop everything to go out and buy some.

…When I was little, I got stuck in a gas station bathroom. The gas station owner, and my sisters, were cracking up when he finally got me out.

…I speak three languages, English, Swedish, and Spanish.

…My favorite city in the world is Tokyo.

…I have more writing ideas than I have time to write!

Connect with Alex…

Friday, May 23, 2014


Cherokee is a Quarter Horse - Bashkir Curly cross. He is reliable, great on trails, a master in the show ring, and a very good friend. His Bashkir Curly heritage means he wears a very heavy winter coat.  

It's amazing how the same horse can look so different from winter to spring! 

With the arrival of spring Cherokee sheds his heavy winter coat, becoming sleek and shiny.

The transformation from fuzzy to smooth takes several weeks. Now his winter coat is completely shed and he is ready for summer!    

Saturday, May 17, 2014


There's a sound
In the woods
Near the hole
In the oak
Where the daylily
Grows through knotty
Grapevine and root;
The sound of
A sigh, an
Internal exhale, a
Ripple of sundust,
A hiss of
Mirth; she's tired
Today, my piece of


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Angela T. Roberts

Welcome author Angela T. Roberts!

This is Angela's third installment on caring for your pet! This month, Angela talks about the importance of ADOPTION:

FAQ’s, Part 1

How old should my puppy be when I bring him home?  Are you ADOPTING a puppy from the humane society, a responsible breeder or even from a pet owner that responsibly raised an accidental litter?  If so, your puppy should be around 8 weeks old. The smaller the breed, the longer puppies need to stay with mamma dog, in my opinion. Even with larger breed dogs, puppies should not be taken away from mamma until they are eating and drinking independently, no longer nursing on mamma, have been wormed on a regular schedule since age 2 weeks, have had a veterinarian check-up and a clear/negative stool check within adoption week.  Your puppy should also have received his first set of vaccines, which normally happens at age 6 weeks.  By leaving pups with mamma dog for a while after receiving their first vaccines, the breeder will have time to watch for adverse reactions from the vaccine, and puppies will continue to socialize and develop personalities until adoption day.

Am I financially prepared for a dog?  The expenses in this paragraph do not include emergency doctor visits for the occasional accident or illness encountered while owning a dog.  I suggest that you obtain an “estimate” from your veterinarian regarding the cost to properly immunize and protect your dog.  Some vets offer a wellness plan that covers all basic vaccines, stool checks, heartworm testing, spay/neuter and more, for a low-cost monthly payment.  I recommend researching what is included in these unique plans compared to paying “per visit” with a new puppy.  Vaccines are normally administered 3 to 4 weeks apart and most veterinarians require at least 3 to 4 sets of immunizations plus the rabies vaccine in order for your puppy to be protected against fatal diseases common to this area.  Regardless of who you adopt from, you are still looking at several trips to the veterinarian within the first year of pup’s life in order to keep him healthy, along with purchasing heartworm prevention and flea/tick control as “monthly” health maintenance.  There are many products available – some are all-in-one pills or topical liquids that prevent heartworms, fleas and ticks, making life much easier on the pet owner.  Another expense to consider is spay/neuter surgery while your dog is young; please consult with your veterinarian on the proper age for your dog.  If you already own dogs and you do not have a trusted veterinarian, please consider a spay/neuter clinic.  Most clinics keep surgical fees as low as possible and offer rabies vaccines and a few other immunizations at reasonable prices.  In addition to health maintenance, don’t forget about general supplies!  The “basics” include a crate, food/water bowls, containment options (fencing, tie-out lines, leash/collar/leads for walking), and a continuous supply of high quality dog food; nutrition is the key to raising a healthy dog.

Am I physically prepared for a dog?  If your dog is an inside pet, he will need potty breaks quite often.  Unless you have a fenced yard with no gaps that allow for “escape,” you should be prepared to leash-train and walk your dog frequently throughout the day for potty breaks.  If you plan on training your dog with puppy pads in the house, this may save you some steps, but you will be doing much more clean-up and odor control.  If you crate-train, you still have puppy pads or newspaper to deal with several times per day; this involves bending down or sitting in the floor to maintain a clean crate.  New puppies scream through the night unless you master the art of making them feel completely safe in their kennel/crate (see my book, Chapters 3 & 12), so be ready for sleepless nights.  If a pup stresses out from crying, I can guarantee a trip to the vet’s office to control stomach and bowel issues resulting from stress.  Housetraining is physically demanding on the dog owner, requiring much supervision, constant bending, clean-up, and walk-time outside.

If you have questions that are not answered in my book or through my website, I welcome your calls and/or emails.

Angela T. Roberts, Author
Raising Dogs With Common Sense

Monday, May 12, 2014


He stomps a leg, feeling
The wind

It’s all coming off, it’s
Leaving again
Itchy, scratchy, pulling
And tug
Finding a post, rubbing
The rump
Dangling, puffy, dangling
Some more
How much can a
Body endure?

Finally, relief, it begins
To undo

And gently releases to
Curry’s pull
But, some linger – there
You know
The place; deep recess where
Hair shouldn’t

Clippers it is! Total release!
Winter over

Shedding takes grace


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Realistic Poetry: Delano Johnson

Delano Johnson is the co-proprietor of Realistic Poetry. He is a performance poet and author of several intriguing and inspiring poetry collections. With 5 star reviews and over 700 downloads, Delano’s sensational poetry is quickly becoming the talk of the poetry community!

Welcome Delano! 

At what age did you write your first poem?
I was in middle school when I first began to write sweet, innocent, letters that resembled poetry to girls I liked.  I tried to be as sweet as I could be. I would use the dictionary to find different and new words I thought sounded attractive or pleasant. This is when I first developed my love and passion for words and even writing. Unfortunately, I do not have one of those earlier poems, but I do have the first poem I wrote when I first began to take my writing in a much more serious manner. This poem is entitled, “Who Am I”: 

Who am I!
Who am I!
Who am I!
I am just a figment of your imagination.
My spirit must live,
my birth was only rumored about in ‘87.
Dark nights,
sunny days,
it get’s hard to decipher sincere curses from honest blessings.
My education from the Old and New Testament.
I’m 23 with 0 patience,
I’m on the brink of greatness.
Blind eyes,
I can smell fake-ness.
My poetry is considered flagrant.
Call me a pilgrim,
who wants to follow me to a new nation?
Silent to corrupt conversation.
No more dirty language.
Truth when I speak,
pure honesty,
like morality was a brand new innovation.
Advice from council told me to be careful with who I am acquainted.
I love everybody, and maybe that’s my problem,
but I think,
how can I hate one of Gods creations.
So hate me!
Declare vengeance and concentrate on me.
Search for the secrets that make me weak.
Find the perfect opportunity,
defeat me when I am weak.
I just say a prayer and wait for delegation.
I still have nightmares,
I’m scared to go to sleep.
That’s too much information.
You will never consider this lion weak.
I made loyal friends out of future enemies.
Business mind,
so I entertain it.
Envy is ugly when its endureth from equals with lack of explanation.
I love words,
I start at the roots and learn the basics.
Growing up I lost my role model,
3 letters and a black book gave me inspiration.
I read my history,
so I don’t understand this worlds segregation.
A rebel to what’s cool,
I don’t follow trends,
maybe that’s why I don’t have many friends,
but I know my destination.
I care about salvation,
and I never lied and said I was blameless.
How can you make wrong so shameless?
If you refuse to think,
donate your concentration and remain brainless!
If you refuse to think,
donate your concentration and remain brainless!
Now ask me again,
who am I?
Who am I?
Who am I?
My name,
do I really have to say it?
Who am I?
Can I just say who I'm not?
I'm sorry for the inconvenience,
I never had my father,
my mother told me to go become a man!
She forever let go of her little boys hand,
and I was not defeated.
My grandmother whispered,
she’s going home,
I was left all alone.
I promise I was not comfortable with kicking rolling stones,
and sleeping cold on the cement.
Green leaves and white rocks called my name,
I was searching for achievement.
The street life was misleading,
but the hood lies,
I did not believe it.
I am not a failure brave,
I am not afraid to face my demons.
If you want me to shut up,
kill me,
6 feet,
don’t walk away if you only eye witness bleeding.
Miracles happen,
lyrical inhalation of  poetry,
you will not stop my words from breathing.
I’m against violence and guns,
I have no use for profanity,
I’m in love,
I have a family,
stop looking at me like I’m committing treason.
Call me a punk,
a sellout,
tell me I turned my back,
changed up,
I just look in to the eyes of my children,
and say,
“I have good reasons.”
jail is not an option,
I no longer want to play a gun target,
red or blue,
slave manipulation,
read it.
I don’t owe no explanations,
who am I?
I see victory
and a opportunity to make history.
Think about how many kids together around the world we can reach.
If I have to do it alone,
then I will have to be twice as loud,
and 5 times more bold.
I have to be a hundred percent real,
this world gets dirty,
people are scandalous,
everything is not buttercup sweet.
Play the game and lose,
and you will die or go to prison.
So you can pick the streets,
I choose to uplift and help positively.
Look how easily the youth can relate to me.
A wise man told me before he began to fly,
after you learn,
its time to teach.
the truth is,
success is as easy as  1, 2, 3.
Find something you love,
and pursue it passionately.
Don’t worry about who I am,
or who I'm not,
I am nobody,
but my words are infinity.
Who am I?
Who am I?
Who am I?
not afraid,
but I do no shame,
I have a kind heart,
I’m in love.
It gets deeper with every kiss and every hug.
I’m gentle,
caring and nurturing.
I’m a daddy,
I know I’m young,
but never mind age,
it never properly described me.
I’m a leader,
poetry gives me wings.
In the middle of the summer,
I’m thinking about springs forgotten leaves,
and winters white snow,
I’ve imagined scenes you wouldn’t believe.
I need to slow down,
one of my favorite words is overachieved.
I was homeless at 17,
so I am nothing more than a dream.
Just a vision.
Dedication and discipline.
I am interesting.
but experienced.
I am educated,
I despise ignorant.
I am Black and I love it.
I am fascinating and very strong.
I love to admit when I'm wrong.
Creative, innovative,
my talents amaze me!
I am  make believe,
and I want to be positively everything,
I really hope I’m inspiring,
I am KING!
I can pick a thousand words out this dictionary,
but nothing I found can fully describe me.

Name a favorite poem or two....
My all time favorite poem is “Voyages of Love” by Callie Johnson. This poem means a lot to me and is sentimental to my heart because it is such a powerful poem that uplifts love and marriage. 

Name a few of your favorite poets...
Some of my favorite poets are Lisa D McCraw, Maya Angelou, and Langston Hughes, just to name a few because there are so many. A great poem is a great poem, no matter who writes it, in my opinion. 

What books have you written?
Currently, I have written “Rare Images of Love” and “Live Etah”. I have also written “Sacrifice Lies for Faith”  which has not yet been released yet. 

Do you write poetry for yourself, for others, or for both?
It definitely starts with myself; I enjoy putting my feelings, thoughts or ideas on paper, but I am also aware that when I write I have to keep other people in mind as well. I do not want to ever set a bad example in any way or take on a position that I cannot handle, so, you could say that I write for both myself and others.  

Where do you like to write?
I have a special place in my home that I go to where I am most comfortable when I am writing, that always consist of 4 important components: my laptop, notebook, dictionary, and classical music.   

Do you have a favorite muse or inspiration?
My favorite inspiration will always be my wife and children. I love to write poems that deal with different types of love and life in general. My family is the best inspiration that I can have when it comes to those subjects because I get the opportunity to watch my wife’s and I love grow, while at the same time witnessing my kids grow up and deal with different situations. 

What other talents do you possess? 
I believe that I have a gift and talent when it comes to speaking and communicating. I have always enjoyed presenting speeches and using words not just when it comes to writing, but also when it comes down to actually reciting my work. I find that it comes natural to bring my work to life by performing it with full heartfelt emotion. In addition to this, I also enjoy teaching younger children. I found that growing up, some qualified teachers still just do not connect with the students, despite their educational background, while I have always seemed to have a natural connection with them.  

Do you think poetry is important on a global scale, or just an indulgent hobby?
Poetry definitely has significance on a global scale. It is amazing the masses that you can bring together by just one poets words. Poetry has the power to influence and change the world. Poetry can mend a broken heart, encourage someone to do better, or inspire someone to do something they have always dreamed of. Whatever the case, poetry has the power to impact lives from all over the world! That is the importance of writing period; words have power and are also an excellent form of expression for anyone, artistically. 

Define Realistic Poetry...
Our Motto at Realistic Poetry:

“Words have the power we all seek GO DEEP. Every letter of your life is important.” ~Delano Johnson ~

Realistic Poetry is a new chapter to poetry’s never ending story and is clearly distinguished from any other style of poetry. So, if you are new to who we are and what we do, you are surely in for an undeniable treat! I am almost sure you have probably heard similar sayings before, because as poets and authors, we actually should each have something uniquely different to distinguish us from other writers. We each have something special about us, but Realistic Poetry is much more than a name. My team and I actually sat down to thoroughly sketch out the development of our company. We aim to separate ourselves from the rest, including those who have already stepped out of the “norm” by creating different and new ways to write books, and poetry especially. We have a great appreciation for rhyme, metrical patterns, intense imagery, and enjoy amplifying the usage of exotic fresh words.

Realistic Poetry can also be defined by its unusually intense usage of vibrant energy. This is to ensure that when a new reader decides to read one of our poems, books, or listen to one of our audio recordings, they are guaranteed something original and rousing every time. Whether we are spreading a sincere message of love, or simply entertaining a particular audience, readers will not be let down! After experiencing the effects of a Realistic Poetry composition of ones preferred desired choice, (romance, love, life, education, politics, geography, children, etc.) one could possibly fall in love, or, become lost in the rapture of emotions. One thing is for sure, as a company, we will always maintain the necessary confidence needed to produce quality literary and art work. We trust that diverse organizations and different people from all around the world will give Realistic Poetry a chance to become a new edition to their collection of favorite poets and authors. We pledge to always provide the very best in quality, never lowering our standards and designing every project with utmost excellence and creativity. As a company, and as well as individuals, we value genuine honesty, integrity, and earnest support, but most of all, the team of Realistic Poetry has and maintains an incredible love and adoration for words with a compassionate heart for the happiness of people.

People may wonder, what exactly are the element’s, or, how does someone write a Realistic Poetry inspired poem? Or questions like, is Realistic Poetry only a company of poets and authors working together? This is the million dollar question, which is not a price I am willing to pay at this precise time to avoid business-related complications. Due to copyright infringements and trade marking we are unable to publicly discuss our trademarked secrets. The best thing I can say is that, we will be releasing vital information very soon, because I do dislike withholding information I feel the world deserves to know. So, I can assure everyone that all of your important questions will be addressed very soon! In the mean time, we appreciate your interest in our company and thank you for allowing us to speak to your hearts! As we continue to spread our positive message to the entire world, we hope everyone enjoys who we are as people and also what we do as poets and authors, while welcoming all to join us in this history making journey!  

Connect ...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Press Release

Gina McKnight, Author & Freelance Writer
Member: Ohio Arts Council & Outdoor Writers of Ohio

Author, freelance writer and equestrian, Gina McKnight, shares her current interview series of Equestrians from Around the World! Enjoy informative anecdotes, training suggestions, world-class riders, and much more…

From Hertfordshire, UK, welcome Janette Perrett, CEO of The Original Rug Bag Company! The Original Rug Bag will revolutionize your tack room by not only keeping your rugs clean but making it look smart and tidy. It is what we have been waiting for to protect our expensive rugs and to help them last longer.

Welcome from Port Elizabeth Area, South Africa, Cheryl Giacchetti, Founding Board Member of Mkulu Kei Horse Trails & Riding Holidays cc. An avid equestrian, Cheryl enjoys sharing the waves with other riders! Gorgeous horses, stunning landscapes, beautiful accommodations, and much more; if you’re looking for the perfect South Africa horseback riding adventure, connect with Cheryl and find what is waiting for you on the Sunshine Coast!

Welcome equestrian and equine writer Natalie Reinert! From the short stirrup classes at dusty hunter/jumper shows in Florida to galloping the inner dirt at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City, it's always been about Thoroughbreds. Beginning with a blog about retraining a retired racehorse named Final Call, Reinert published her first novella, The Head and Not The Heart, in 2011. This was just the first of her "horse books for grown-ups." The Alex and Alexander series follow two racehorse trainers determined to do the right thing by their horses and themselves in a trying business. In 2014, the second volume, Other People's Horses, was named a semi-finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, for full-length horse racing literature.

Welcome USA author and equestrian Heidi Furseth! Heidi is the author of EASY LOVE, a wonderful, heartwarming tale between horse and rider! EASY LOVE delves into a young girl's passion for horses; the overpowering need to touch, connect, and ride! Recommended reading, EASY LOVE is for every rider and horse owner - and for those just wishing.

Roland Clarke’s debut novel, Spiral of Hooves, is a thriller that will leave you feeling exhilarated. Something of an exposé on the competitive horse riding community, Roland’s beautiful prose will leave you romancing nature. Read this exciting novel and follow Armand Sabatier’s journey in trying to forget his painful past by creating a new life for himself on a beautiful stud farm, only to be lured by the need to uncover truths and to protect the innocent, tumbling directly into the hazards of trust, friendship, and lo

Tapestry Institute is proud to partner with The WINGS Foundation and Understanding the Horse to make the Itahoba Horse program available to adult survivors of childhood sexual assault.

All articles copyright protected. No duplication without permission.

An Interview with Comic Book Artist/Author Sandy Plunkett

  An Interview with Comic Book Artist/Author Sandy Plunkett Originally from New York City, Sandy Plunkett is a wizard with a pencil. A lon...