Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Project Writeway contest

The talented group of writers at the Throwing Up Words blog are hosting a contest that starts next week. Check it out! It should be a worthwhile experience to participate.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I am taking a break this week from writing/blogging in order to catch up on other business in my life that was neglected over the past month--like studying for a major exam that's coming up--but I wanted to thank my readers and fellow writers for their support. The Ghost in Me found a home on many Kindles over the holidays, and that couldn't have happened without word-of-mouth. So, thank you! And let me know what you think of Myri and Wren.

Also, I've decided to keep the 99-cent price on the ebook edition of The Ghost in Me, as well as Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again, for the next couple weeks in order to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. Didn't they start yesterday? Take advantage, and happy reading!

But thanks to you, my ranks on Amazon have never been so high.

#3,451 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Moving up in the Book Lists

Found out my book, The Ghost in Me, holds #3 and #10 spots on two kindle lists:

Seeing this is great, because the characters are involved in a play, and it is one the driving elements for the plot.

Plus, it's a little better than the last list that The Ghost in Me was on, which was "spine-tingling horror" in children's ebooks. If my book is anything, it is definitely NOT that. ; )

Monday, December 19, 2011

Update. And do Nook users exist?

It's been a while since my last post. Happy Holidays!

I have some good news to report. Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again is now available on Kindle. An extra bonus with this edition is that the images are in full color for those lucky enough to have the lastest version of Kindle or some other full color reader device. And although I haven't put my marketing into place for this edition, I'm glad that a few people have already found it. I hope they and the kids they'll be sharing it with will enjoy it.

Which brings me to my next question. Do Nook users exist? Although The Ghost in Me has been available on bn.com for a while, and Little Red has been available there for at least a few months, sales are absolutely flat. Compared to Amazon, those sales are not even out of the gate. Although other authors have reported similar trends, it seems odd. Perhaps the fact that Amazon offers the ebooks in other formats for other devices helps those sales as well. But for a nontechie like me, who has a hard time keeping up with gizmos from the last decade, this is a question I can't really answer.

But here's another question that I finally can. I've been asking it for a while now: What will the cover for my next book look like? I've struggled with it for a long time now, but it seems I've got something put together that works. Let me know what you think. I hope to release this next book in June 2012, if all goes as planned.

Last, but not least, The Ghost in Me is part of a 12 Days of Christmas IndieBookBlowout. This event features ebooks from indie authors for 99 cents thru Dec 24. So, if you have time, you may want to head over to the site to see what titles are available. I've noted a few that are on my list to read. www.indiebookblowout.com

Have a wonderful holiday season!!!! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Surf's Up!

Soccer, surf, and taking in the coast at Dana Point, California. A Thanksgiving tournament that was a lot of fun with friends.  Good job to the Infinity Girls U16 soccer team!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Audiobook Bootcamp for Little Red Riding Hood

I can't believe I had it in me, but I actually made an audio recording in mp3 format of Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again. Why did I put myself through such pain and suffering (never having done this before?) It's all because of that big word called Opportunity. Last month Little Red made it onto the 2011 Kart Kids Book List. As it turns out, Little Red may be selected to be read on Kart Kids Radio sometime in December and/or throughout 2012.  So...... That sounds pretty exciting. Thus, I learned how to do all this technical stuff in the span of one weekend, in my sound-studio-slash-office. I think I'm beginning to love technology, or at least my computer's end of it, which I didn't know was so handy and capable....to think I've had it for more than a year... I feel like we're just beginning to get to know each other.

If I get brave, I'll post a sample of the audio file here. Who knows? Maybe it will come in handy for a kid or two that you know who is travelling over the holidays.

Oh, and I almost forgot,.... Kirkus Reviews magazine, which claims to hold the toughest children's book critics in the industry, gave Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again a nice review! Whoot! They wrote: "Wenger’s tale is filled with catchy rhymes that impart a rhythm to the story, balancing fun and humor with a dark undercurrent of suspense. ...A fun fairy tale with an enduring message: friends come in all shapes and sizes—and they all love cake."

Happy reading, writing, and eating, everyone!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Top 5 reasons to love St. George in October.

1. Warm weather! After missing out on the sunny skies last weekend due to a video project that came up, I was rewarded with great weather for the last weekend of the month. It worked out perfectly since Eric was playing baseball all weekend.

2. Palm trees. Life can't be too bad, when you've got palm trees right outside the hotel room door.

3. Kneaders! Need I say more? The boys were treated to their first Kneaders soups and sandwiches. YUM!

4. 50% on Saturday nights at Kneaders. Yes, we returned for dinner here on the second night. I asked the cashier if he'd rung up the bill wrong, because it seemed way too low.... but surprise, surprise! It was 50% off! We immediately ordered seconds on dessert.

5. Finding a reason NOT to give up chocolate. ...At least, Kneader's chocolate.... After giving up beer and then coffee this year, I thought I might be ready to add chocolate to the list. But then I had one of those chocolate mint brownies from Kneaders. My son had ordered it, and I tasted it--reluctantly, because I wasn't sure I'd like it. Wham! I was wrong. Now I know what heavenly chocolate should taste like. And the timing couldn't be better, because all those Hershey's treats waiting to be given out at the door tonight definitely don't measures up. Woot!

6. Okay, so I know I was only going to give 5 reasons to like St. George, but here's another: scary movies to entertain us at night in the hotel room. Tis the season.

Trick or Treat!
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Skyping with 3rd Graders, and other giveaways

This morning was a lot of fun. I got to spend it with the 3rd graders from Amherst Street school in NH, who had read Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again. We talked about what makes a book become a favorite and they shared with me a poster they had made of one of their favorite quotes from the book.

I've also had an interview and giveaway posted at www.Readinista.com for The Ghost in Me. Readinista offers a treasure trove of information on the latest books. I highly recommend checking out her site, if you are looking for ideas for fall and winter reading lists.

Another interview and giveaway for both of my books is at www.beachildagain.com. This beautiful site is new. Given its focus on kids books and its wonderful layout, is definitely one to start following. I'd recommend a visit.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good News for Little Red Riding Hood!


Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again is a winning book selected for the 2011 Kart Kids Book List. It's placed on the list for middle school books (4th-6th grades).

I'm so excited! I know as parents and authors we aren't supposed to have favorites, but for me, this book was one of my favorites to write. I'm glad others have found it worthy as a favorite to read and share with kids.

One of the options for winners is to be featured on Kart Kids Radio. In order to do that, I'll need to make an audio version of the book for broadcast.

I guess it's off to the studio and other new experiences!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Good Week with Reader Reveiws

I've had a good few weeks. The sun has shined more days than not. The kids have made me laugh often. (Check out the art project one student made of my computer! It's the most adorable elephant I've ever seen!) And tasks continue to get done.

Plus! A few more readers have posted nice reviews about my books on their blogs. And I guess it makes sense. Since it IS October, The Ghost in Me has been getting some attention.

The first nod was at Melissa T Liban's blog. She is an illustrator with a unique, clean style. I just love the characters that she has created throughout her site. They are so adorable, I'd love to take one home, or at least let one take up residence on my own website. Her site is definitely one worth visiting!

The second was at Cathy Witbeck's blog. This posting was such a nice surprise to wake up to. It definitely made my day. And Cathy is right. The Ghost in Me definitely fits in with October's Hallowed Eve theme.

The Ghost in Me has also shown up on a few other sites: www.NewBookJournal.com, www.BunnyCates.com, www.Readinista.com, and www.thechildrensbookreview.com.

And last month I posted about the wonderful review that Little Red got at www.kid-lit-reviews.com

Writers couldn't go it alone in this muckity world without readers! So, THANK YOU so much to everyone who is helping get the word out!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moose!!! Or, Batty Moosen!!!

My youngest son captured this photo while standing on the roof of my truck. Meanwhile, my other son and daughter warned us of the dangers of unpredicatable, charging meeses, or mooses, or specifically, the moosen we were capturing with our digital camera.

But he and I feared not.

As far as mooses go, this was a small moose.

And as far the English language goes, I think it needs to take care of words like moose, which for some reason don't like to be associated with plurals. If I had followed the rules, I would have repeated the word moose far too many times in the paragraphs above, driving my readers batty.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Into the Forest Again nets a great review

This review made my day, so I thought I would share. Thanks so much to Suzanne Morris at Kid Lit Reviews for giving her time to one of my favorite "babies."

If you'd like to find some other recommendations for children's books, visit Kid Lit Reviews.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nook vs Kindle for the Indie Author

First, good news! The Ghost in Me is now available at B & N for the Nook reader. It includes the graphics that are included at the beginning of each chapter in the printed edition, with the added bonus of the pics being in color! Based on what I've seen so far, I love effect that the color images like this one add to the story. >>>>>>>

Now for my comparison of the Nook vs Kindle with respect to Indie Authors...

After going through the steep learning curve of converting The Ghost in Me to digital format for the Kindle last December, I was less than enthusiastic about repeating the process for the Nook. I'd heard that all the different readers weren't necessarily compatible. And so I slipped into the ease of procrastination--a habit I've mastered when facing difficult challenges. However, after mustering up the courage to tackle the task TODAY, I couldn't believe how easy publishing my story on Nook turned out to be!

Unlike Kindle, which required me to use Amazon's digital conversion software, Nook allows the author to simply upload their publish-ready manuscript directly from their word processing software. (I use MS Word). Nook does the conversion to digital format for the author in mere seconds. Plus, Nook was also able to handle the images that were included within the Microsoft document. The images showed up exactly where they needed to be on the reader, in color, which was a nice bonus. The whole process, beginning with setting up my indie account at B&N to publishing my book in digital format, along with all the supporting information needed to go along with it, took about an hour.

If only Kindle were so easy. Perhaps, in the near future it will be. After all, the kindle direct publishing site keeps adding new features all the time, with the intent of making it author friendly. But for now, Nook wins out in my opinion. 

I can only hope that the next two stores where I will be uploading my books--Apple's istore and Smashwords--are equally author-friendly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On Setting, as it relates to: Living, Loving New Hampshire Again

My summer vacation with the kids was truly incredible. It was wonderful to connect with family and friends. The days were so full of sunshine, sailing, boating, fishing, and swimming, it was amazing to think I actually found time to sit back and relax in one place from time to time and simply enjoy the scenery.

Yet, even in those quiet moments, I was reminded of how when we settle down and be still, the world continues to move and breathe and fill in all the spaces around us with some form of energy, however subtle that may be.

The same can be said for writing, or more specifically, for writing about settings. (Yes, I always try to connect my posts to the subject). In a previous post, I said that a story is lost without a sense of setting. However, a setting is not simply colors and temperatures and textures and sounds. It's not enough to say, "The ridge was lined with green trees."

It's important that the setting be layered with a sense of movement, or energy.

Avi begins The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle with a setting that moves with the character:

Just before dusk in the late afternoon of June 16, 1832, I found myself walking along the crowded docks of Liverpool, England, following a man by the name of Grummage.

In Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz's setting seems nearly alive:

Lakes were scattered all over this part of the country, their outlines different, but their innards just the same. They were drops and drips and splashes on the land. They were holes and craters lined with skin too thin to hold back the springs that rushed to fill them, and most of them were dotted here and there with stubborn little islands, knobs of land that refused to dip their heads under water.

Good stories are written with settings that carry their own form of action, their own essense of life. In the real world, in nature, we become unsettled when something goes wrong, when the world becomes suddenly still--like the calm before the storm, causing us to stop, step back, and wonder what has happened.

Likewise, a reader can be thrown out of a story, or become disengaged, when the setting is too quiet, or too stark, or too absent (unless that in itself is part of the storyline). If too much is missing, if the reader doesn't become connected with a living world inside a book--one that moves and pulses with energy--then the reader isn't likely to stay too long. They'll wonder what is wrong, and perhaps, if they can't connect on a personal level with the character, they may walk away and connect with the energy of another.

I'm happy to say, my vacation, with all the combined energies of the quiet and action-packed moments, was far too hard to walk away from. But it's one that I can relive in the memories again and again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cache Valley Outdoor Photo Contest

Yes, I entered! If you like this photo or the next, give one or the other or both a quick vote
; )

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Details Matter for Setting a Sense of Place

I started carrying my camera a while ago, not wanting another moment to go by where I'd find myself wishing I had it with me. Today, the tumultuous sky captured the attention of my daughter and I.

I believe that in the deepest sense of being alive, whether each of us realizes it or not, we are connected to the world around us--both biologically and spiritually. That is why we're drawn to the outdoors--to watch and to experience what nature has to offer. And that is why we are drawn to books and to stories--to connect with something outside ourselves and to deepen our understanding of what it means to exist.

Creating a setting is one of the most important aspects of creating a story. It gives a foundation that readers can connect to. It the is foothold that keeps both your plot moving along. Without it, your characters and your readers can be left adrift, lost, and without balance. And when key aspects are missing from your setting, their absence echoes.

This spring, with the unusual weather, the absence of one of nature's pivotal species--the director of new life--has been sharply brought to my attention.... Bumblees.

The bees are gone. They have been missing from my yard. Whether it be due to the long, rainy spring we've had or disease, I'm not sure; but their gentle flitting among flowers has been missed.

Thus, I've been reminded. Details matter. Even the faint buzzing of a bumblebee--or, lack thereof--doesn't go unnoticed, both in stories and in life.

So, in both places, take care to not overlook the small stuff.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trolling Deeper Waters, Pelican-style

Pelicans "hunt" for fish in much the same way that sheepdogs herd sheep. They swim together, fanning out in a line, which spooks the fish into swimming ahead of them. The pelicans continue swimming forward, herding the fish into shallower waters where the pelicans can scoop them up into their expandable bills. I love pelicans! And I'm so happy we have a flock nesting in Cache Valley this year.

But of course, I'm not just a pelican lover, I'm a writer, and so now, I'll connect the dots between these two, because there's a lot to be learned from these magnificent birds.

Re-writing or editing a novel can be a lot like fishing, pelican-style. You swim over the surface of your story, checking plot, sharpening your characters, defining their motives, while herding the entire story into the shallows. Doing so allows you to focus in on what you've been mining for all along, the underlying message you really want your story to say, the emotional connection that feeds readers and keeps them connected.

Herding the "meat" of your story takes patience; it takes time; it might even take a little team work from your critique group; but it is entirely necessary for bringing up the treasures lying beneath the surface.

And if you do your job right, perhaps those treasures will even take flight.

Happy writing everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Challenge for the Week....

Do something different, something you wouldn't ordinarily do, just for the heck of it.

What have you got to lose?

Not the experience. That, you get to take with you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Winners of Children's Book Week Giveaway.....

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered the giveaway!

Christie won The Ghost in Me
Ruthie won Duck Duck Moose
Elizabeth won Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again

This was a fun week, and I hope you had time to participate in some local events in your area.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Giveaway for Children's Book Week! May 2-8, 2011

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I am giving away 3 signed books.

The Ghost in Me by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger
Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger
Duck Duck Moose by Judith E. Torres

Each of these books has been talked about and summarized on this site, so browse around to find out more about them.  ;)

Entering the Giveaway is simple. Simply leave a comment telling me which book you'd wish to receive, and leave an answer to these two questions:

Who is most likely to hear about a great book you have read?

Where do you find new books to read? (friends, reviews, sites, etc)

Check back at the end of the week to see if you are a winner!

Lastly, jump on the link here to see other book giveaways.

Children's Book Week is hosted by Mymcbooks & Co-host Family Literacy and You

Good luck, have fun, and spread the news of a good book or two!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Children's Book Week May 2-8

Photobucket kids and books! What could be better? To help celebrate, I am giving away 1 copy of each of The Ghost in Me and Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again, and another book or two that will be announced during that week. 

My site will be linked to a bunch of other sites giving away children's books as well. All you have to do is hop on the blog link and hop away to enter free books! Details will be posted at the end of the month, so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Photo - Op with a Star (sort of)

How many times do you get to have your picture taken with a movie star?

For me? Never.

Until today. A day that will go down in history for the celebration of birthdays.

Because today, I got my picture taken with Tina's son, Elvis.

You remember Tina.... The llama from Napolean Dynamite?

She was great. Is great. And I got to meet her son, Elvis. He's a new neighbor of mine.

Isn't he cute?

I had to duck, because he was getting ready to spit on me. I'm sure it was a friendly birthday kind-of-spit,... because I told him it was my birthday.

Book-signing event at Hastings in Logan, Utah

Fun evening! Hastings did a great job promoting the event.

Who is that gorgeous girl on the cover?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baby Animal Days at the American West Heritage Center

Fun times with Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again
Judy and kids enjoying "Duck Duck Moose"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Out and About

I'm starting to like the idea of being published again, especially when I have a friend who can share in the experience.

Judith Torres (author of Duck Duck Moose) and I went to the UELMA conference together, where we shared a booth and got the opportunity to introduce our books to school librarians in Utah. It was a great weekend. As it turns out, we were able to schedule some school visits, the first of which is coming up at the end of April at Edith Bowen. We're both looking forward to spending the day with those students.

On our way home, we learned once again, the power of perserverance and the importance of never turning down an opportunity when it presents itself. As Judy was driving toward my house, we passed a red-tail hawk sitting on a fence post. It's one I had seen a few times over the previous week. Great minds think alike, and we both decided as we drove past, that we wanted that picture. We immediately went into "stalking" mode. Judy put the car in reverse and rolled down the window, and at the just the right kodak moment, I snapped the picture.

We're proud of this one, even if it turns out the hawk wasn't really cooperating and only showing its butt.

This weekend, we are presenting our books in story time at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, Utah, as part of the Baby Animal Days celebration. I'm storytelling and singing with the kids for my book, Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again, while Judy is sharing Duck Duck Moose. Both of these books fit into baby animal days, because of all the little critters that star in the books.

I'll post more photos on that later.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Litte Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again

It's been a busy few months. I'm thrilled with my latest announcement. Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again is now available.

This book is a chapter book for ages 7-10 that follows Little Red, as she makes a second journey through the forest. Will she follow the advice of her mirror, who warns her about talking to strangers?

I wrote this story several years ago, and it was one of my favorites to write and illustrate. It's a great feeling to finally see it published.

Here is the book trailer, if you'd like to see what it's all about.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roll it!....... A book trailer is born.

Hello friends! Here is my new video for The Ghost in Me. I hope you like it!

If you like it, please feel free to go ahead and share it. ; )

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goodreads Giveaway

My book, The Ghost in Me, is being offered in a giveaway contest on http://www.goodreads.com/.  Enter if you like. Contest ends on the 20th.

Find the link under the "explore" button.

Or, try the link here.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ghost in Me (Paperback) by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger

The Ghost in Me

by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger

Giveaway ends March 20, 2011.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Good luck!

In the meantime, I am recovering from a 3-hour Genetics mid-term.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

famous last words...

Can you guess which movies this line is from?

My, what big eyes you have....

I've actually been looking forward to this movie, so I hope the writing and desire to stick to the original story doesn't make it as ridiculous as the new trailer leads me to believe. It IS supposed to be a thriller, right? Not comedy?

I think most people know what the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood is about, so I fear that lines like "My, what big ears you have.... and My, what big eyes you have.... are just going to put me over the edge, because WHO talks like that in a creeeeeepy forest?

Maybe I'll just watch the movie with earplugs, because the visuals look pretty intense.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Memories, and lack thereof....

My recent blog post to extreme donuts brought me down memory lane, at least in regards to telephones. I remember when my family owned a Mickey Mouse telephone, like this one.

I loved that phone! But where did it go?
I don't remember.
I fear Mickey may have met his demise after one to many falls off the counter.

Which brings me to my new quest. Or, request.
I think I'd like a new phone. One that is reminiscent of the character and zest of the good ol' days. 
Mickey would be nice, but I think the stilletto phone shown below is more my style. 

Why? Because I figure, if I can't learn to walk in a pair of shoes like this, at least I can have fun talking in one.
Any takers?
Anyone not worried about giving up 20 pounds or so for the investment? (It's available in the UK).

As for the rest of my rant today on memory, mine is ka-put. I knew I should have noted the steps I was following while I was transforming my Word doc into PDF format in a way that would  not compress the pictures. So far, in my goal to repeat that process and move beyond the last stage of copy-editing my next book, Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again, I can not remember what I did before. All my pics are being saved at a low dpi in the PDF document, which doesn't bode well for printing in quality form. Thus, I can't release the book. YET.