Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator
I'm happy to introduce author Lois Petren. She is the author of some adorable books for all readers to enjoy.
Welcome Lois!
1) Tell us a little about yourself and how you became the author for your Lulu and Lainey series.

I’m a retired IT business analyst, wife, mother, and avid knitter.  My mother and grandmother taught me to knit as a child and I still have the original Barbie dress I knitted, using some lovely angora yarn found in my mother’s knitting basket. Throughout my life, I’ve rarely gone very long without having a needlework project in progress.  My most interesting project was crocheting shoe soles for espadrilles from hemp purchased in the hardware store – very hard on the hands!  I never finished that one. 

I did not grow up intending to become a published author, but the writing bug hit me a couple of years ago. After returning from a family vacation in France I realized that I had lost a ball of yarn sometime during the trip.  A friend and I were exchanging some jokes about the great adventures the yarn was having in the streets of Paris and – voilà!  This became the inspiration for my first book, Lulu and Lainey … a French Yarn.

2) I see you have four stories currently available. Can you tell us about your books? 

Yes, so far there are four books in the series and I’m currently working on a coloring/activity book that includes material relating to all the books.  It will be published in March, 2018.The series is about a little French girl named Lulu, who loves to knit with her grandmother.  Lulu also has a favorite ball of yarn (doesn’t every knitter?) that has a problem staying in her knitting basket.  The ball of fuzzy, green yarn, which she calls Lainey, seems to have all the adventures.  Lainey ends up in some unusual situations – in a bird’s nest, having a close encounter with Père Noël, on a wild ride through the treetops of the Luxembourg Garden and being offered to help a baby goat keep warm.  Throughout the books, the reader is introduced to sites in Paris and elements of French culture.

 Lulu and Lainey … a French Yarn

In a flurry of activity after a soccer game, Lulu loses her beloved ball of yarn – or so we think.  A heart-warming adventure ensues involving a most unlikely cast of characters.  What actually happens is that a bird mistakes the ball of yarn for one of her eggs and carries it up to her nest, where it remains until her two baby birds grow up and fly away.  All is made right in a very unexpected way and Lulu is reunited with the ball of yarn.

The bird that was chosen for the illustrations is a beauty – the Eurasian Jay - which has gorgeous wing feathers that are part striped and part blue. You can see other examples of the bird and feathers on my Pinterest inspiration board for this book (see below for link to page)

 Lulu and Lainey … a Christmas Yarn

It’s the week before Christmas and Lulu wants to knit a special scarf for her best friend, Pierre, with her favorite yarn.  While visiting her grandmother the ball of yarn gets lost and, with all the excitement of holiday preparations, it is forgotten until Christmas Eve when it reappears with very surprising results.

This heartwarming book weaves together the beauty of the holidays and French traditions with a unique story that is sure to become an annual holiday favorite.

I think the illustration of Père Noël with Mimi, Grand-mère’s cat, says it all!  With a sly wink to the reader, they pull the reader into the secret about what happened to Lainey on Christmas Eve night.  Pictures of Paris in the snow are timely this year, as well.

 Lulu and Lainey … the Lucky Day

A springtime outing to the Luxembourg Garden with Grand-mère combined with two rambunctious squirrels.  What could go wrong?

Lulu and her grandmother spend a sun and fun-filled day sailing boats, riding the carousel and – of course - knitting.  An encounter with a couple of energetic squirrels sends Lainey on an adventure no one expected.  The day ends with a delicious cup of hot chocolate for Lulu and a pot of tea for Grand-mère, proving that it truly is a lucky day!

The illustrations in this book beautifully capture the sites found in the Luxembourg Garden – the bee hives, puppet theatre, Grand Basin with the colorful boats and, of course, the carousel.  There’s also a very nice illustrated map of the corner of the Garden where all the kid-friendly activities are located.

 Lulu and Lainey … at the Farm

Lulu and her family make a springtime trip to her grandparents’ farm.  Participate in all the family fun, playing soccer, and board games.  Tag along with her while she visits the animals, and welcomes a new baby kid.

When the weather abruptly changes and the baby goat gets cold, Grand-mère pulls out her knitting needles and gets to work. 

A surprising request to Lulu involving her favorite ball of yarn provides a valuable lesson in sharing!

There are so many gorgeous images in this book – the farmhouse and interiors of the barn immediately come to mind.  Also, there are adorable special details – many little things for the kiddos to find - such as a smiley face “drawn” on the foggy train window and the Chutes and Ladders board game that Lulu and her brother play on the farmhouse floor.

3) The illustrations in your books are beautiful. Can you tell our readers about your illustrator and how you found her for your books?
I agree with you – the illustrations are beautiful.  Tanja Russita is the illustrator and I found her via one of the online services for freelancers.  I was drawn to her work because I wanted an illustrator who could portray action and movement while keeping a hand-painted, art book feeling.  I think she has done this with her amazing artistic talent.

We have a very collaborative working relationship, in spite of the fact that we are many time zones apart.  I provide art notes for each illustration and then we work in an iterative fashion to get to the final images for the book.  It’s always a pleasure to work with her.

4) Where can our readers find you and your books?
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Thank you so much for taking the time to share your awesome books with us Lois. 

If you have comments or questions for Lois Petren, please click on the comment section below. 
We would love to hear from you. 

As always, happy reading!

A few months ago, I was lucky to meet another wonderful author in an author group. Her real name is Sharon McAleer, but goes by the pen name, Selma P. Verde. 
Welcome Selma (Sharon!) 

1)  I see you go by the name, Selma P. Verde. Can you tell us more about how you chose this name?  

Selma P. Verde is my author name. I decided to have a pen name a few years ago, since I'm writing for preteen and young adult audiences. I wanted a name that is easier to pronounce and remember than my real name. How did I pick this name? Believe it or not, I started with a random name generator. The name it came up with was Sheila Varde. My finance' and I both have aunts named Sheila. So, we changed the first name to Selma. P is for Patricia, which is my mom’s name. She passed away almost ten years ago from breast cancer and I wanted her to be a part of my journey. And, I changed Varde to Verde. Verde is green in Spanish and green is my favorite color.

2) Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. 

I grew up in Minnesota and continue to live here. I have been writing since I was a young girl. First in diaries my parents used to give me for Christmas. I started by writing the day to day happenings in my life. I still have those diaries in my hope chest. I should pull them out and look at them. Then I started writing the silly stories I would come up with in my head. Through those two things, I found out I really liked to write and journal. As a preteen, I dreamed about publishing a novel someday. I wrote a couple of full manuscripts before I wrote "The Hard Way," which I published in April 2017. Finally making childhood dream come true.

3) You have a book out called "The Hard Way." Can you enlighten our readers more about this story? 

"The Hard Way" is a preteen/young adult novel about kids dealing with peer pressure and consequences of decision making. Here is the blurb from the back of the book.

"Shortly after moving from small-town Johnson Place to the metropolitan borough Manor City, Paul Jones meets his neighbor Desmond Peterson and they become instant friends, bonding over their love of a video game called Tangorka. When Desmond moves away just before the start of their freshman year of high school, Paul wonders if he’ll ever find a friend like Desmond again. After suffering through four months of school without someone to hang out with, he makes fast-friends with a fellow Tangorka player—a kid named Anik Hatcher who Paul meets in after-school detention. Paul starts spending time with Anik outside of school and meets his gang that creates mischief throughout Manor City. But the mischief quickly turns into real violence, and once Paul becomes a key player in their most harmful “prank” yet, he’ll soon learn who his real friends are—and how the decisions he makes, good or bad, can quickly affect his whole life."

 4) What are your goals for 2018? 

My goals for 2018 are to market "The Hard Way," build my writing business, and continue writing.

Through increased marketing and setting up my writing business, I want to earn enough money through book sales to publish my second book, "The Bully’s Way," in October 2019. To help me with the marketing, and to have a site to call my own, I recently launched my self-hosted author website,

For my writing goals, I will continue blogging, but I also plan to self-edit "The Bully’s Way" to get it ready for an alpha/beta read by my book club for our October meeting this year. They read "The Hard Way" for our October meeting in 2016 and their feedback was a huge help to get my book ready for my editor. I plan to hand "The Bully’s Way" over to her for review in January 2019.

Manuchi Pixabay
5)  Where can our viewers find you? 

My website,





Thank you so much Selma (Sharon) for your time and telling us more about you and your book. I'm looking forward to your future projects.
If you would like to ask Sharon a question or leave a comment, please click on the comment section below. 
(PS. If it says it didn't take and try again, don't worry it will. A little glitch in this website.) 

Thanks again and Happy Reading!


Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator