Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Heaven Really is for Real

What I needed as a side companion reading Heaven is for Real while commuting to and from work was a box of Kleenex. I cried like a child reading many sections of this book.

For two years I planned to read it, but I just got around to it now. And boy am I glad I did. This is just the spiritual inspiration I need in my life at this very moment.

This true story about Colton Burpo’s visit to heaven and his encounter with Jesus Christ happened when he almost died of a ruptured appendix at just three-years-old.  During his visitation to heaven, Colton attended school and meet John the Baptist and family members who passed on well before he was even a thought in the physical world.  He even got to meet a sister he never knew he had. 
After his recovery, bit by bit, Colton started to share various aspects of his encounter in heaven with Todd and Sonja Burpo, his parents. At first Colton’s parents, paid their toddler no mind and chalked up his evangelistic ministering to great Sunday School teachings, but as the stories became more detailed, complex and way too sophisticated for any three-year-old to comprehend, let alone retain, Todd began to probe his son on theological doctrine only to discover his son was indeed in heaven.

This beautiful revelation of Colton’s is delicately unwrapped in Heaven is for Real. It is inspirational for Christians, non-Christians, agnostics and atheists. Readers get a firsthand account of a toddler’s journey into the supernatural world and the solidification and confidence of his father’s faith in our Creator.
The events of Colton’s encounter in heaven were not shared with his parents in one sitting, but throughout the course of a few years after his surgery. This is one of the reasons why it took as long as it did for Colton’s father to write a book on it. 

I can’t see anyone not being blessed after reading this book. This is one book that will not disappoint. Visit to learn more.

Friday, 1 November 2013

A Conversation with Layla Price of Declan the Kid Detective

Here is my interview with Layla Price, assistant and best friend of Declan McLeod, of the new mystery series Declan the Kid Detective. We sat down at Latín Chisporroteo - Good Sweets & Eats to talk about her role in the series.

MD: “So, how are things with you?”

LP: “Great and very busy,” Layla sighed and then chucked one leg over the other. She was quite pretty with her tight ringlet afro reaching just below her chin and her delicate features resting on coco skin.
 MD: “Why is that?”

LP: “I’m a committee member for the Keep Cherryfield Clean organization, belong to the regional chess club, take lessons in a couple of things, work as an assistant for a detective agency and have a ton of homework. You know I’m in grade six now.”
MD: “Yes, I know. Let’s talk for a bit about your work as an assistant at the detective agency. What does that entail?”

LP: “The grunt of the work is gathering information on the suspects,” she placed her mug filled hot chocolate on the table. “In order to figure out who committed the crime we need to know the suspect’s history. This allows us to see if there’s anything in their past that gives them a motive to commit the crime in question. Declan and I then question each suspect to gather additional information and hope they accidently slip-up and reveal something that will help solve the case. I also take notes. We like to have all sides covered. There are other things I do as an assistant, but it varies from case-to-case.”
MD: “It seems like a pretty demanding job. You sound as if you like it a lot.”

LP: “I love it,” Layla beamed! “It’s the best job a girl could have.”
MD: “Speaking of girl, I hear you’re a girlie-girl.”

LP: “I hate that term,” Layla rolled her eyes, then shook her head. “I’m girlie, but I’m no girlie-girl. There’s a difference you know. I like fashion, wearing jewellery and painting my nails, but I also like to climb trees, jump off things that are not too high, skateboard and climb fences. I also watch sports. Girlie-girls are delicate and don’t do stuff like that.”
MD: “Yes, I see what you mean. Before we finish up, can I get your feelings on why I made Declan the protagonist of the book instead of you? There are a lot of people out there who say there are not enough girl protagonists in plum roles like Declan’s, especially girls of color.”

LP: “Maggy, it’s your book! I’m not a writer, I’m just a kid. But I do know writers are inspired by what is presented to them creatively. Obviously, Declan came to you as a detective and I came to you as his assistant. No biggie.
“However, if I was the protagonist of the book I would be a great one. But I know I make a better assistant then I could possibly make as a detective because it suits my personality and skill set. And Declan makes a great detective for the very same reasons. Plus, you have a new series on the horizon that has a female protagonist of color, so it’s all good.”

MD: “Thanks, Layla for your candidness and support of my creative choices. It was a pleasure speaking with you. We must do this again, and good luck on the book.”
LP: “Thanks!”

MD: “That wraps up my conversation with Layla of the new mystery series Declan the Kid Detective. To learn more about Layla and Declan’s adventures, read the first book of the series Kidnappingof the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin."

Saturday, 26 October 2013

An Interview with Declan McLeod of Declan the Kid Detective

I caught up with Declan McLeod, the protagonist of the new book series Declan the Kid Detective, at Starbucks to talk about the first book of the series.

MD: “Hi Declan. Thank you for taking some time out of your very busy schedule to meet with me. You must be so excited about your new mystery series Declan the Kid Detective.
DM: “You’re right on both accounts, Maggy,” Declan ran his hand though his thick curly golden blonde hair. “I’m so busy right now. I’m in grade six now, so the homework is way more than I’ve ever had before in my whole life. I’m a member of Inspire Children to Read Book Club, play soccer, take swimming lessons and solve crimes. And about the book series, yeah, it’s pretty awesome.”

MD: “Do you get paid to solve these crimes?”
DM: Declan tensed up a little at the question. “Yes and no,” he answered. “But as I told you before, I don’t want to reveal too much about the book.”

MD: “Yes, I do remember you mentioning this. I guess I got a bit carried away with my questioning. I’m new at this. What can I say?”
DM: “It’s okay. No worries.”

MD: “Thanks! Declan, without revealing too much, I do think it would be beneficial if the public knew a little something about the main characters. Would you share with me your impressions of them?”
DM: “Out of Samantha’s friends I would say Javier is the quiet one. I don’t know if it’s because of his home life or if it’s part of his DNA. Personally, I think it’s a bit of both. He works at his father’s café a few days a week. And boy is he lucky to have a father who can bake sweets like that,” Declan digressed. “I just love that stuff.  And he takes Spanish lessons once a week. Other than that, he only hangs out with Sam, Chris and Addison. Those are his friends. He’s pretty exclusive in that sense.

“Addison is a combination of the class clown and school jock. He almost single-handedly won Cherryfield Elementary School its first basketball trophy. He’s popular, a bit of a smart-alec, but always so cool.
“Christina, oh, Christina,” Declan rolled his eyes at the thought of her. “She can be difficult at times and quite demanding. She has a bit of a temper, so you don’t want to get her mad. But if that’s your goal, make sure to be next to an exit so you can get out of her sight before she deals you her wrath. Personally, I think Christina has way too much on her plate. She’s quite the ambitious one.”

MD: “Sounds like an interesting group of kids you go to school with. What about Samantha, the victim in Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin?”
DM: Declan’s facial muscles softened. “I knew little about Samantha until I became a member of Inspire Children to Read Book Club four years ago. Like me, Samantha is an avid reader. Unlike me, Samantha is an A+ student. She’s very nice. She loves animals and cares about people. But she’s too trusting and too sensitive. She always cries.”

MD: “She sounds like a real fluffy roll of Cottonelle toilet paper. How sweet.”
DM: “Yeah, I guess so!” Declan let out a faint laugh.

MD: “I can’t let you go without asking you about Layla. What’s she like?”
DM: “She’s cool!” Declan smiled. “She’s different from other girls I know. I mean, she’s kinda a girlie-girl, but she likes sports, video games and climbing trees just like Nigel and me. She’s also really organized, which I’m not. And she rarely ever loses her cool. Whenever Nigel and I argue over something Layla’s always the one to rationalize it.”

MD: “She sounds like a pretty level-headed girl.”
DM: “Yeah, I think so. She’s a lot of fun and a great assistant.”

MD: “One more question. Would you tell us a bit about yourself? After all you are the protagonist of the series.”
DM: Declan was wearing a matter-of-fact smirk on his face. “Maggy, I’m no good at talking about myself. They’re just going to have to read the book to find that one out.”

MD: “Well everyone, it sounds like that’s it for now. Thank you very much, Declan for being a guest on my blog, and good luck to both of us.”
DM: “Thank you!”

MD: “Join me next week for my chat with Layla Price, Declan’s assistant and best friend.”

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Do you have Kindle?

Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin is now available in Kindle version for the special price of $2.99.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Hooray for the Girl How Could Fly

Let me start off by saying Victoria Forrester is an exceptional storyteller.

Eleven-year-old Piper McCloud lives in Lowland County on a farm. She has been gifted with the extraordinary ability to fly since birth.

When Piper learns about her unique talent she decides to hone her God-given gift by flying from her parent’s roof top.  That is until her parents learn about it and put a complete stop to it, well they tried to anyway.  But like any tenacious child that went in one ear and came out the other. ‘How could she stop flying? She was made for this,’ Piper thought.

However, when the people in Lowland County learn about this, the gossip mill goes so far out that it reaches the headquarters of the Institute of Normalcy, Stability, And Non-Exceptionality (I.N.S.A.N.E), a government institute for children with extraordinary talents. Naturally, Piper becomes the latest recruit to join this talented pool of children.

Happy to be surrounded with children like herself, Piper settles into her new life at I.N.S.A.N.E. But just before Piper becomes all-too comfortable, her fairy-tale world begins to crumble, leaving her with shattered dreams and an urgency to get back home to her once simple life.

This story is so gorgeous and rich with quality writing. I could not put this book down. Each page came to life for me. It is a turn pager for sure.  I fell absolutely in love with the children, especially Conrad. There was a poignant part in the book that just left my heart broken in two.  

I highly recommend The Girl Who Could Fly for children both young and young at heart.

I hope she makes this into a series.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Reading on Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin


I will be giving a reading on Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin. Visit: London Children's Museum to learn more.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Living in a Hope and Hopeless World

Those of us who live in North America and Western Europe are truly blessed. We have so many things to help us get through the day that they practically get unnoticed, such as plumbing, hot water, showers and for most, at least two decent size meals a day.

As women we have laws that protect us just like our male counterparts and the liberty to shape our own destiny.  We also have what most people in the world don’t have, hope.

This four letter word is used so much in our day-to-day conversations that the essence of its meaning gets lost. According to The Free Dictionary online, hope is a wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment. So, if an underprivileged child growing up in North America has a dream to become a doctor, that child can attain his dream through dedication to his studies alone. Yes, he will have to take out a huge student loan that will take him years to pay off after he graduates; he will probably have to work part-time throughout his school years to supplement his income; he may even be fortunate enough to get a scholarship.  But one thing is for certain, this child can make his dreams a reality because he lives in a country that has a built-in infrastructure to assist him in achieving his goals.

But for the large majority of the world’s seven billion people the opposite is common place.  The word hope is just a by-word, a word people dream they could use. Because without the tools, support systems and finances to manifest ones dreams, hope becomes hopelessness. I’m not saying people in these situations don’t dream not to be hungry, travel the world or become a scientist, but they can’t act on achieving these desires because they don’t have the finances and social systems to aid them.   

When this reality began to crystallize into my psyche I decided to make a difference by sponsoring a child through the Christian Children’s Fund.  I adopted her when she was just a baby. She is now 10 years old and thriving in her studies. It may not be a huge contribution like saving a village, but I saved the life of a child. And every single one of us matters equally in this world. At first I made excuses and said I wasn’t financially stable. I had more important things to do with my money like pay bills, but my conscious wouldn’t let me get away with that hog-wash so I made my commitment to sponsor a child. And you want to know something, after almost 10 years since sponsoring a my little girl I have not missed one penny of that money.  Not even during my period of financial hardship.  I treat this expense like every other monthly expense of mine.

Helping someone I don’t know has helped me to realize that life isn’t just about pleasing me and my loved ones but helping my global citizens as well. I realized I didn’t have to empty my bank account or sacrifice my needs to help someone less fortunate, just make a little sacrifice without putting a dent in my wallet. For just $30 a month, it has since gone up to $38 a month, I have provide clean water, food, education and books for a child. What that money has done for this child is given her hope. What a beautiful gift to give to a child.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Knowing and Understanding the Neighborhoods of the World

With over 140 languages and dialects spoken in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, this metropolis is clearly one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.  Restaurants can be found for every one of the languages spoken in Toronto. There is even an aisle for international foods in many of the city’s grocery stores.  

Multiple cultural festivals, shows and celebrations are also commonplace in this great city I live in. So when I started to write Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Cookie, the first book of the Series Declan the Kid Detective, I made sure to inject the diverse culture l live in into this book. 

Aside from entertaining readers, one of my main goals in writing this series is to educate readers about some of the many cultures in the world, their history and customs. I want readers to go to their computers and Google the country in question to learn fact from fiction and in the process of doing this learn something new about a people, a race and a country. We all inhabit the same world. Why can’t we learn and understand more about the people we live with?

Question: Is the city you live in culturally diverse? If so, how?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Book Review of Theodore Boone the Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

Theodore Boone is a thirteen-year old boy who loves everything about the justice system. He’s on friendly terms with judges, police officers and lawyers. He attends as many court trials as he can, school is the only thing preventing him for attending more, he provides legal advice to his school mates. Theo even defends some of his classmates in animal court. Not surprisingly, both of his parents are lawyers, and he, too wants to become one.

With readers, the adventures of Theodore Boone begin when the murder of a woman takes place in the small city of Strattenburg.  The accused is the victim’s husband, a prominent business man. However, the evidence is circumstantial. Then from out of nowhere, Theo is presented with information that could break the case wide open, concrete evidence on exactly who committed the crime. But there’s only one problem, he can’t mention it to anyone.

This is an entertaining book for young readers and adults. It starts off a bit slow but gradually picks up speed after the first 60 pages. At times I found it quite amusing and had laugh-out-loud moments while coming home on the public transportation from work.

It also provides a great introduction to the judicial system for kids and those of us who know little about it.

This is definite read for young readers.

To learn more about Theodore Boone visit:

Monday, 19 August 2013

Humble Beginnings as a Fiction Writer

I always thought it would be fun to write a book for toddlers. So when a story came to mind I was ready to go. But there was only one problem, I was too busy with work to put pen to paper. So that dream was put on hold. It wasn’t until I was laid-off from work five years later when I would finally make an attempt to write the story that was unfolding in my head ever so rapidly. 

But after several pages later, I knew no toddler would have the attention span for it, plus the story wanted to take a different direction than I had intended for it, for the first time as a new fiction writer I experienced writer’s block.  So while I was battling it out with the main character of this story, a cute little chubby-cheeked golden blonde six year old boy came to mind. He was a snoopy little fellow who loved to solve all things difficult. The story flowed out of me like water from a faucet.  I had my protagonist, his side-kick, the victim, the suspects and the second book all in tow.  I was so excited I started outlining the storyline immediately.  From that day on I never looked back at my first story until one year and a half later.   

Like Declan, the main character of my second story, I love a good mystery.  Nothing is more gratifying to me than trying to make sense of something difficult. So the story just poured out of me.  Forty pages later I realized this book was too complex for any six year old to follow, so I aged the characters by five years – what’s it with me being one reading stage off when writing these stories?   
After I finished the first book, Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin, I started on the second. 
This was a wonderful experience writing both books of the series back-to-back.  This allowed me to really learn about my two main charters of the book, as well as the supporting cast.

Monday, 12 August 2013

When Kids Hate to Read

Reading this article When Kids Hate to Read conjured up images of my childhood years. As a child who did not care to read, I can sympathize with the many kids who feel the same way I did when I was their age. With the exception of Charlie and the Chocolate, Charlotte’s Web and the Judy Blume series, reading fiction for me was a waste of time.  This should not come as too much of a surprise, but I also found creative writing a waste of time.  It wasn’t until after college when I started to fall in love with all novels by Nora Roberts. From there I started to read mysteries, adventures and chick-lit. I finally ventured off into children’s books when a co-worker lent me Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Discovering fiction books as an adult made me a little angry at my younger self.  I thought of all the wonderful books I missed out on as a child.  The places they would have taken me, the things I would have learned. But there was no turning that clock back.  So I continue to move forward exploring all books both fiction and non-fiction. And maybe, just maybe this is why I’ve taken such a liking to writing children stories, so I can make-up for all those lost years of not reading them.

Reading fiction novels is like stepping out of your world and into someone else’s. Books take you places you may not be able to see otherwise and they give you hope to dream about achieving the seemingly impossible.  Books help to expand your creativity and appreciation for the arts, while improving your reading comprehension, grammar and spelling.

With the advent of computers/iPhones/text messaging, etc., the challenge to get children to read is even greater.  The article When Kids Hate to Read provides some wonderful strategies on getting children to read.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Tying up Loose Ends

Hello! I've been so busy with my full-time and part-time job, and finishing up the details related to promoting, publicity and publishing Kidnapping of the Diamond Eyes Gingerbread Penguin that I have neglected blogging all of you, so sorry. Right now my manuscript is at the stage where it is being made into a book.  My graphic designer is in the process of designing a cover page for the book.  I'm so excited! Both should be completed by late August 2013.  I hope you like both the cover and the book. Declan is a great kid and so is his best friend and assistant Layla. They will have many great adventures to share with all of you in the future. One of those adventures, the second book, will debut in the early part of 2014, so stay tuned.