Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator
 
   It’s a great honor to introduce to you a friend of ours that we have known for a very long time. I want to say thirty-five plus years. In the past few years, our friend Gary has performed at a gathering that we have at a yearly reunion with friends.

How long have you been playing the guitar?

   My earliest memory of playing the guitar was when I learned a D chord on my neighbor’s guitar. I was 11 years old then. My parents loved music and had stacks of 78 records. My mom especially loved Pete Fountain, a jazz clarinet player. My dad played the guitar on his lap with a metal slide. He only knew a few songs, but it was always a fun time when he played.

Who were some others that influenced you in getting into music?

   Some of my early music influences were Motown artists like Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. I remember wearing out the 45 record we had on our Silverstone hi-fi, "Sock it to me baby." I also had a record by Archi Bell and the Drells, “Tighten it up baby” when I was just about 12 year old. Then came the 1960's, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, all great songs and fertile ground to learn how to play the guitar.

How did you get started?

   I joined the service when I was 17 years old and became a missile crewman, this gave me the GI bill.  When I was discharged, I started college at Penn Valley Community College, and took music theory and harmony, and class piano. I was invited to join the Penn Valley Jazz band, playing guitar. I was already in my first real rock band called the "Highland Blues Band", this is the first band I remember, and we practiced in my kitchen at 71st and Highland. 

I understand you write some of your songs. Can you tell us more about that? 

        It was during junior college that I remember starting to write songs, about 1978. It was common to be in several bands, some just basement jam bands. It was easy to start a chord progression and when the band got it going, and if you were ready with verses, a song was born. I later started doing this with an acoustic guitar, which is kind of backwards, because a lot of people who write with a guitar start with an acoustic. A friend on Facebook, who I was in one of those jam bands with, recently asked me about "Mental Duress." I wrote that in the late 1970's and recorded later in 2008. It’s about a girl I saw at a concert in Sunny Side Park in south Kansas City, and he was happy to hear it made it on iTunes.

Do you have a favorite song you have recorded and why?

“Mental Duress” is one of my favorites I have recorded because it blends rock and jazz elements together. All of my songs are written from the heart and have a message. I continue to write and have many new songs in the works. We are releasing a band version of, “All I Know," this fall.

Last, but not least, what would you suggest to others that are starting out in creating music or a band?

   For young songwriters or musicians, get your hands on an instrument as early as possible, and start playing and listening to music. There are many tutorials on Youtube on how to play most any instrument. If you have ideas for songs don't be afraid to try and put words to music. It's art and there are no rules! Keep it fun!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mental-duress-single/id383796748

   The current band I am in is the "Not Too Late Players" formed to perform some of the songs that I have written that are on most digital platforms. We are currently active doing selective gigs and having fun playing music. !

facebook.com/nottoolateplayers


Thank you Gary for your time and sharing your inspiring talents with us. 
Rosie 
 
 
   Introducing this great band, Crosseyed Cat and longtime friend, Karen Baum.


Your band is called "Crosseyed Cat." What can you tell us about this unique name? 
   We named the band after one of our favorite Muddy Waters songs. Jeff Graefe, our lead guitar player, and myself started the band and we are both are cat people and Blues people, so it seemed fitting.

   The song is about a man leaving his woman because she has a crosseyed cat that does not like him very much. I thought it was very funny and I took a bit of a liberty with the last line of the song;
You know my man says he’s so sorry, but he’s gonna leave me all alone
You know my man says he’s so sorry, but he’s gonna leave me all alone
But I’m not really by myself you know, I got a crosseyed cat living with me in my home.



How long has the band been together?

   We have been together for over eight years, with mostly the same lineup the whole time.
Blues, Rock, and Swing is what your website says you play the most.  Can you tell us more about that?
   We are generally a Blues based band, meaning that most all we play is based in the Blues and we can really rock it out! We do Blues covers and originals. Our harmonica player, Chris Ryan, brought his love of West Coast Swing music to the band. We do unique bluesy West Coast Swing covers from Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Rod Piazza and others, along with original Blues Swing that we have written.



How many people do you have in your band?
We are a five-piece band;
Jeff Graefe
, on Lead Guitar
Chris Ryan, Harmonica and Vocals
Tom Tipton
, Bass, Vocals and Songwriting
Ron Still, Drums
Karen Baum, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals and Songwriting
How did you get together?
   Jeff, Tom and I knew each other from local Blues jams around town, and Jeff and I were part of another band for a short time before forming our own band. Tom Tipton and I have been writing songs together for years. In the beginning we had the core band of myself, Jeff, Tom and Greg Fowler on drums. We then met Chris Ryan at a Blues jam and really liked the sound of his harp playing. Chris had just moved to Kansas City from Iowa after being transferred by his day job. I believe he has one of the best harp sounds I have ever heard! Ron Still, our drummer, we brought on board about 3 years into the band. Ron is also the drummer for the Rick Bacus/Journeyman Band in town and has been playing locally, regionally and nationally since he was 14. 

I understand you are a songwriter!
   Yes, I’ve been writing songs since I was about nine, sending away for my first copyright when I was 10 years old. I got serious about being a songwriter when I was in my twenties. Together with my ex-husband we had a studio in our home, where we wrote and recorded. We shopped our songs in Los Angeles and New York, but it was hard doing it from Kansas City with three small boys. Came close a few times to getting one of our songs in a movie.

   Songwriting is my first love! Besides playing in my band, I also have an acoustic solo and duo act with original songs that are more in the alternative or roots genre. I host an Open Mic Night at The Piano Room bar every Wednesday and have been for over two years. It is located at 84th and Wornall Rd, in Waldo - Kansas City.  This Open Mic is very dear to my heart. I call it The Anything Goes Open Mic, as we welcome originals and covers from any genre. There is a piano set up and ready to go and most folks bring acoustic guitars, but we have also had banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, bag pipes, flutes, congas, even a saw! We also encourage spoken word, rap and acapella singers.

If you were to encourage our readers out there to start their own band, or write their own songs, what advice would you give them starting out? 
   Just do it! Get your core group together and practice, practice, practice. Then get out and play as much as possible. The more you play live, the more you can see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t get discouraged if a club or owner won’t hire you right away. Some of our steady gigs took years of nicely bothering the owner/club before we were given a shot. I would discourage anyone from playing for free or for less than the going rate. It ends up hurting all bands in what we can charge. Most of all … have fun!

Do you do much in the way of charity events?
   Crosseyed Cat band does quite a few benefits each year and we love supporting KKFI Community Radio, 90.1 FM. We have participated their band auction every year for the past eight years! I have also done a few solo acoustic gigs for different causes.

Do you have a CD?
   We are in the studio right now working on our first full-length CD. It is full of fresh original Blues and a few of our favorite covers. I’m very excited about this CD! Each song is unique and we have some great guest musicians lending their sound with Hammond B3, Accordion, Boogie Woogie Piano, Saxophone and more! It’s truly been a group effort and labor of love.
How can folks find you?
You can find the Crosseyed Cat band, some of our music and our schedule in several locations;
Facebook – www.facebook.com/crosseyedcatkc
Website – www.crosseyedcatband.com
ReverbNation – www.reverbnation.com/crosseyedcatkc

My solo music;
Facebook – www.facebook.com/karenbaummusic
ReverbNation – www.reverbnation.com/karenbaum

Thanks for your time and answering these great questions Karen!
Rosie
 
 
   Author and illustrator, A.J.Cosmo is a talented writer with engaging stories. His illustrations will keep readers turning the pages for more. 


1) How long have you been a KidLit author and illustrator?

   My first children's book came out in the winter of 2011, so I've been doing this professionally for about five years now. I have always drawn and written in one form or another and have found children's books to be the perfect intersection of those talents. It also help to have the creative mind of an eight year old. 


2) How many books do you have out? 

   As of this writing I have sixty-nine unique titles (there were some anthologies created.) This equals out to a little over ten titles per year. My pace has slowed down significantly as my focus has shifted to doing detail oriented illustrations and complex narratives.



3) I see you have stories for younger readers and stories for older ones. What grade level is the most challenging for you to write for and why?

   I can't say that any of them are more challenging than the others, however, each one has a challenge in relation to the demands of that audience. What I have found is that reading level is fluid for children. Some children read beyond their level while others prefer easier titles. I've met six year old readers who are almost on young adult and I've read to a class of sixth graders that preferred picture books. The true difficulty in all this is communicating what grade level you intended to read the book when you made it. That's something I still haven't mastered.

4) You illustrate all of your books. Can you give us an example how you do this? 

   Sure, there are two main techniques I use to make the pictures. One is to do a completely digital process that uses a combination of Manga Studio Pro and Adobe Photoshop to create the images. There's a video of this process for "Nuts" you can watch here. The drawing is done with the help of a Wacom Intuous tablet which allows for natural pencil movements. The other method uses pencil sketches which are then scanned into Photoshop and colored. This is done mostly for speed, as the computer programs cannot do any of the work for you (there's also the added perk of being able to undo mistakes.) Coloring in Photoshop involves a lot of layering and "pushing" of color in order to get rid of the digital feel and make it look organic.

5) Last, but not least, what you want readers to walk away with after reading your stories. 

   My stories are intended to teach imagination and heart to children. They cover a wide set of topics, characters, and tones, but the main themes always involve understanding other people and including them. Beyond that, I just hope that the children are entertained and that they have shared a special moment with their parents.

Thank you for sharing your inspiring work!

To find A.J. Cosmo's books,  click on the links below:

A.J.'s Website: www.ajcosmo.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajcosmokids/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJCosmokids

I also welcome any and all emails :) aj@ajcosmo.com

 
 
   What a pleasure it is to feature Author D.A. Hawes and illustrator Maggie Parr! Their book, “Ogopogo Odyssey” will warm the hearts of young and old.
   

   Here is my review. Five Shining Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 "Ogopogo Odyssey" written by D.A Hawes and illustrated by Maggie Parr will delight young readers with the tale of the famous lake monster known as Ogopogo from Okanagan Lake. He is known to live in an underground cave near Rattlesnake Island. Colin meets a mysterious stranger on the beach that tells him all about the tales and history of Ogopogo. Readers will enjoy the enchanting illustrations with crystal blue waters, the beautifully drawn pirates and mermaids, of Colin's imagination. They will love the drawings of Ogopogo that will leave them with a smile.

   See more reviews here from Promontory Press:

 https://www.promontorypress.com/books/97/ogopogo-odyssey 
    Watch this fun book trailer: https://www.promontorypress.com/ 
   Listen to this podcast with Author D. A. Hawkes and illustrator Maggie Parr: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ogopogo-odyssey-victoria-teacher-works-with-disney-illustrator-to-create-children-s-book-1.3570764
                                                                 Illustrator Maggie Parr’s website: http://www.maggieparr.com/index.html


1) How long have you been writing and what inspired you to become a children's author?

   I guess I've always considered myself a writer in one sense or another. When I was a student in elementary school, I loved to write stories that came out of my imagination. In university as an English major, I did a lot of academic writing, which was interesting but not as much fun as writing stories for children. I became most interested in writing for children when my own kids were young and we spent so much time in the library and reading picture books voraciously!

2) Tell us about your story "Ogopogo" and how this darling tale became about?
   I grew up in Vernon, a small city located in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. We swam in Okanagan Lake during the summer months and I grew up hearing lots of stories of the mythical Ogopogo. This rather famous Canadian icon was featured on tourist brochures, postcards, t-shirts, mugs, etc. and many of the parks throughout the Okanagan had large caricatures of the Ogopogo. Before dropping us off at the beach to swim, my parents would often jokingly tell us to “watch out for the Ogopogo!” Later in my life, once I had children of my own, I decided to write a story based on my own childhood recollections of the Ogopogo. Given the many sightings of this mysterious creature over the years, I tried to imagine the excitement of a young boy who believes he has an encounter with the Ogopogo. I also felt that including the story of Chief Timbasket and his encounter with N’ha-a’itk was an engaging way to show respect for the First Nations heritage in our province. 

3) Your illustrator, Maggie Parr, did an outstanding job with your story! Tell us more about her and how you found her?
   Maggie Parr has been a gift to Ogopogo Odyssey and has transformed this book into a visual delight for children and adults alike! Maggie and I met in a rather serendipitous manner at the San Francisco Writers Conference many years ago. We happened to be standing in line for an event and began to chat, and at the end of our conversation we exchanged business cards. Her business card featured a caricature of an adorable looking dragon and the first thought that entered my head was, “This is exactly the sort of art work I picture for Ogopogo!” When I returned to Canada, we began to correspond by email and I finally had the nerve to ask this very talented Disney artist to illustrate my book. Lucky for me, Maggie agreed and so began a long-term collaboration.

4) Do you have more stories to come in the future?
   I am currently working on several manuscripts, some of which I wrote a few years ago as well as others that are new ideas and concepts for future books. I am also working on a YA novel which is a new venture for me but I'm loving the process.

5) I see you are a teacher and teach Senior English at St. Michaels University School. What advice would you like to share to young writers starting out?
   The best advice I could give is to never give up! It took me a long time to see this book come to fruition, but after many attempts with various publishers, I finally found the right fit. It's important to believe that you have a voice and that your writing is unique and worthy. And most of all, just keep writing and writing, and editing and editing! Always put away your drafts for a day or two and then revisit them. It's surprising how much you will discover after your work has fermented for a while!

Dorothy also offers this wonderful teacher’s resource guide for K-5:
Teacher resource guide for Ogopogo Odyssey 2016.pdf


   Thank you so much for your time Dorothy! I enjoyed visiting with you! It was fun learning more about your interesting tale, “Ogopogo Odyssey.”
    

   You can find Dorothy at the following sites:
Author’s website: http://dahawes-author.weebly.com/


Facebook link - https://www.facebook.com/Ogopogo-Odyssey-184195595306313/?fref=nf


Link to amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Ogopogo-Odyssey-D-Hawes/dp/192755974X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471364098&sr=8-1&keywords=ogopogo+odyssey


Link to illustrator Maggie Parr:
http://www.maggieparr.com/index.html


Link to book company:
https://www.promontorypress.com/books/97/ogopogo-odyssey
 
 
My interview with author and illustrator Rhonda Paglia last fall. Enjoy everyone! 

   I’m so please to introduce you to a special author friend of mine! I know you hear me talk about her and the wonderful books she has written for young readers! Two of her books are written for ages 10 and up. Please welcome Rhonda Paglia (also known as "Grammy Pags") of “Grammy Pags Stories for Kids.”

1) Before becoming an author, you were an elementary school teacher. With the start of the school upon us, what advice would you give parents and students to assure that they have a successful school year?

   Hi Miss Rosie, Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your back to school blog!! I’m now a retired, but I was an elementary teacher for 26 years.  One of the most challenging things I remember was the time it took for kids (and teachers) to transition from summer vacation mode to the back-to-school mode.  

   Every family and family schedule is unique, but here are a few suggestions to help kids transition:

   Make sure your children get some down time after their long school day.  Kids should have time to play outside, read for fun, work on hobbies, take a nap, or just have a little time to focus on their own interests.   

   Make sure there is enough time to complete homework assignments. 

   When my own kids were young, homework time was right after dinner.  After assignments were complete, the rest of their time, until bedtime, was “free time.”  This schedule seemed to work for us.  I know a lot of kids participate in after school activities, so scheduling time for homework can be a challenge, but it’s so important that it is completed before bedtime.

   Finally, make sure your kids get proper nutrition and plenty of rest to keep their batteries charged and ready for success. Have a great year, kids and parents!!


2.  Tell us how many books you currently have available to readers and a little bit about them.

   Thanks so much for asking!  Currently I have independently published 12 books.  They are available in soft cover and for Kindle.  Ten are fiction books for kids ages Pre-K to grade 3.  Two are non-fiction for kids ages 10 to adult.  Here’s a little summary for each of my books: 

 

What advice would you give authors that are starting out with the journey of writing children's books? 

Rosie, here are a few suggestions, but I am still learning!!

1.    Writing books for kids is not for the fainthearted! It is a journey – so be patient, pace yourself, and become your own best cheerleader and promoter. 

2.    There are two routes to an author can pursue:  traditional publishing, through a publishing agency, or self-publishing, where you publish your book yourself. 
a.    If you decide to pursue the traditional publishing route, be very careful.  There are many ‘predatory’ book companies out there that will happily take your money.  These are the “pay to publish” sites – stay far, far away from them.
b.    If you decide to independently self-publish, be prepared to spend most of your time on marketing and promotion.  Marketing and promotion often takes more time than the writing, editing, and creation process.

3.    Find your niche groups and build your communities.  Social media groups like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, plus your personal blogs and websites are where you will find your supporters.  When you become established, your “groups” will help you share and promote your books.

4.    A few other suggestions:
a.    If you decide to go the self-published route, have your work professionally edited.  My author friends and I can look over our manuscripts 100+ times, but we still sometimes miss those darn little mistakes.  Of course we don’t find them until AFTER our books are published – and the mistakes just pop off the page!  Yikes!  So I would suggest hiring a professional editor – it’s worth every penny!
b.    Your cover also needs to shout “professional!”  (I’m working on this!)  If you cannot create a professional looking cover, then hire someone to help you!
c.    Finally – readers DO judge a book by its cover, especially the BACK cover!  I read that readers will give the back cover a 30 second scan.  That 30 seconds will make or break a purchase.  The back cover is the place for your “hook.”  Professionals recommend that the text be no more than 150 words - or less!  So every word must count!! (I’m learning this too!)  Good luck! 

4) Last, but not least, what do you want your fans to walk away with after meeting you and reading your stories?

Oh gosh – I would love for my young readers and fans to know the following:

* I hope you enjoy my stories.  Some of my characters are a little whacky, but fun!  I hope my stories and characters make you smile and laugh and stir up your imaginations! 

*I would certainly encourage kids to read and read a lot!  Reading will make you smart and empower you!

*Read a variety of genre – include both fiction and non-fiction.  Read about what you are curious about and topics that you enjoy. 

·         I also would encourage kids to write!  There are times throughout our lives that we need to write.  So practice!  The more we practice, the better we become. 
          Finally, this is a little off topic, but it’s important to me.  We all must remember that every person has unique gifts and talents.  We need to use our gifts and talents to do good things at home and in our communities.  We also need to recognize the gifts and talents in others and support them too.  When we do good things - we help lift up our whole world and make it a better place for everyone.  In my book, “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission” – the little lambs ask that we follow their special “BE messages!” (BE kind, BE a friend, BE a leader, etc.) So please follow the BEs!

Thanks everyone – and thanks Miss Rosie for letting me share my books and time with you!  Have a GREAT school year!  Love from Rhonda Paglia of Grammy Pags Stories for Kids

To read more about Grammy Pags Stories for Kids – here are some links:

Website: http://www.rhondapagliaauthor.com/

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00G5X3WO2

Barnes and Noble Author page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Rhonda+Paglia?_requestid=169762

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/grammypagsstories

Blog: http://rhondapaglia.blogspot.com/

E-mail:  grammypags1@gmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/grammypags1

PS – I’m working on a NEW project - “The KINDNESS KIDS Project!” Watch for details!! 

Don’t forget to watch for: “Doonsey ReturnsThe Great Rescue. Part 2 Coming 2017!!!


 
 
   In our Kidlit Parade Group, we discuss many things each month. Science was our focus back in the month of May, 2016. We researched and shared how students and children explore,"Writing for Science"
   Allow me to introduce to you our niece, Sophia McCall! She is a Scientist. See how she has been inspired to choose this field.
   Sophia has a Bachelor’s of Science in Geoscience, a Minor in Environmental Science, and a Minor in Urban Planning and Design. She's little over halfway through her Master’s of Science degree in Physical Science. Her title when working at 
APAC Kansas City, INC and The Midwest Regional Division was: "Environmental, Health and Safety Professional." 
   

   In a interview, we asked her the following questions.
                                                                                                 Sophia McCall
What inspired you in both writing and science?
   Science experiments and writing down the hypothesis and comparing the results. For example, my
daughter loves it when I do science experiments with her. We will pick an experiment and then I ask her
what she thinks will happen in the experiment. We write down in a notebook what we think the
outcome will be, then we do the experiment and compare the actual results with what we thought
would happen. I think it’s important to do things that are hands on very early. The messier the better! I
think getting a book full of science experiments and reading through each one testing out theories and
ideas is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday exploring the world around us. I’m a scientist and I still do
this. I do it with my daughter and I do it because no matter how much schooling I have had or how old I
get, I always want to learn more—and there is always something more to learn. It’s a lot of fun!
Here are some links to come up with ideas.

https://sciencebob.com/category/experiments/
http://dep.disney.go.com/billnye.html
http://www.livescience.com/21536-oobleck-recipe.html


                                                                                              Image from www.pxabay.com
 Any special projects or work that inspired you to become Scientist? 
   When I was young, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I actually started college out as an English major. I liked it but it wasn’t very challenging. I have always been interested in Science. So, to make school more challenging I took an Environmental Science course and I loved it! From that point in college forward, I took every science course I could, biology, chemistry, bio II, physics, anything geology or hydrology I could possibly enroll in—I did. Science was so cool! There was a whole universe that you couldn’t see, that you could see with a microscope—a whole world in a drop of water! It was amazing to me and I wanted to know and see everything! I wanted to know how mountains were made, how oceans were formed, how rain worked and why tornadoes, volcanoes, and earthquakes happened, I wanted to know everything and reading about science seemed like a great place to get some of the big and small questions I was curious about answered. I loved reading, writing, and science so I found a way to combine all of them together. I get to write reports on my scientific studies and research new topics and get paid to do it! I love being a scientist and helping people! Several different writers in science inspired me, but I particularly loved Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. There is a whole series of books called the “Who was….” series. If you want to learn more about a person who helped to change the world, they have books on scientists like Marie Curie and Rachel Carson they are very fun and informative to read. Here is a great link to look up!
http://www.whowasbookseries.com/who-was/

What does writing and reading mean in your work? 
   Reading and writing are very important to my work on a daily basis. I need to be able to tell people how and why something works the way it does so I can help fix big problems. Reading is equally important to my work. It’s important for me to stay up to date on new methods of investigation in science and technology. This helps to have more knowledge on different topics in science so I can make the best decisions possible.
                                                                                  Image from www.pixaby.com

Sophia, when you were out teaching children about what you do, what type of things, activities, etc. did you do with them?  
   When I took children out to show them what I do first is teach them about the rock cycle, I show them all the really cool things we use rocks for and how we get the rocks out of the earth (blasting). I talk to them about the science behind how we use chemical reactions to get the rocks out of the earth and how we safely do it. I go out and collect fossils, pyrite (order from a vendor), and calcite then spread it out in gravel at the quarries so the kids who come see how quarries work and can hunt for fossils and learn about rocks hands on—they get to keep what they find which is always fun for them. I give them safety vests and hard hats that they wear while at the quarries and we take a tour in a bus where they can see the big machines at work. They ask questions and we talk about how other items in the environment like water and air help shape the surroundings that we see, we talk about geological time and how important it is to take care of our environment after we get done mining. 


What's a good way to get children excited about science?
   The children in my experience are super excited about science when I start talking to them about rocks— some of them say they never have really thought about it.  Some of them tell me about their rock collections that they have at home. It really depends on the kids—but they all seem to really love the experience. It’s one of the best parts of my work. I get to show kids how cool it is to be a scientist and share what I love so much with them!

   Thank you Sophia for visiting with us and sharing your great knowledge. 
I hope this has encouraged boys and girls to look into the Science field if this is something they find interesting.  


   Please leave a note if you have any questions. 
As always, we would love to hear from you!
Rosie 
 
 
   Allow me to introduce to you a special young lady I met through social media when I first started my own page, “Books by Rose.” Sometimes people walk into your life and you know you have met someone very special. You may see her name, Lucy Garcia McCracken. She has a beautiful website called “Lucy in the Sky Creations.” She featured a contest and I was a lucky winner of one of her paintings. After that, I was hooked! I know you will be also once you know and see more about Lucy. 

Tell us a little about yourself Lucy?

   My husband and I have been fostering kids for the past 9 years. Last November we had an opportunity to adopt our 11 year old foster son. That has been very exciting. I'm also an animal lover and I love to create art. 

 What inspired you to start your business with your beautiful art?

   I think my inspiration came when I found out that whenever I was drawing or creating my anxiety would diminish. From there, I discovered how much I loved creating and it's something that I've grown to love.  



Recently you did a post on Facebook on portraits with female heroines who inspired you to read as a young girl. Can you tell us more about that?

   Yes, I would love to inspire the love of reading to young girls. In this fast paced world, I think that more and more girls are losing interest in reading great books. I thought it would be fun to create a series of fictional and nonfictional women who loved reading. Here's a few of the names of the girls I've been working on Anne Shirley, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March and Maya Angelou.

When I visit your website, I see your motto is "Expressions for your heart. Be the Change." What piece of art or article have you created that has made the biggest change in your life, or someone else's life?

   The one that comes to mind is an art piece that I created for a dear friend's Aunt. It was a portrait of her daughter, who used to be a dance and who tragically had passed away at a young age leaving behind two beautiful children. When I delivered the portrait to the Aunt she started to cry. It was all so very touching. I felt so honored to have created that piece of art for her. 

Thank you Lucy at Lucy in the Sky Creations. I enjoyed getting to know more about you and I know others will also.

Please click below to find Lucy’s items on her site:


http://shoplucyinthesky.storenvy.com

 
 
                                       I know you will enjoy my next guest. 

                           Please welcome Voice Actor and Teacher, Jill Cofsky!

1) Hi Jill! Can you tell us why you have decided to become a voice actor?

 
   I grew up dancing for a local dance studio and performing in class plays in my elementary school. I had always had dreams of acting and performing, but as I grew older I found memorizing lines to be a challenge. For this reason, I decided to pursue my passion by becoming a professional voice actor! Voice acting fulfills my love of performing, while at the same time, I am able to use a script so no memorizing is necessary! Yay!
 
   I initially trained with Voice Coaches, Creative Voice Development Group, LLC, in New York to become a voice actor and now I continue to gain valuable knowledge and experience by participating in voice acting workshops and professional conferences, such as the inspirational Mid-Atlantic Voiceover Conference, which I recently attended in Virginia.

​2) On top of being a Voice Actor, you are also a teacher! 
 
   Yes, in addition to being a voice actor, I also hold a Master of Education degree and teach first grade in a public elementary school. I like to use my acting skills to bring children's literature to life in the classroom! I believe in inspiring a love of learning in my students and encouraging them to follow their dreams, just as I have! I think it's so important to always keep learning and to also love what you do. I strive to be the best person I can be and to live a happy life.


3)  As a voice actor, I see you have recorded commercial and narrative track demos. Can you explain more about these? 
 
   On my voice acting website, prospective clients can listen to my commercial demo and/or my narrative demo to get a sense of my voice and if they feel it would be the right fit for their audio project. In addition to the other projects that I have narrated for clients in the past, these demos showcase my voice through the use of a variety of short audio samples. 


4)  You are also involved with many organizations where you volunteer your work. What can you tell us about that?
 
   I truly believe in the importance of giving back to my community. I am thankful for the opportunity to use my voice over skills to volunteer for some amazing organizations. I am a volunteer broadcaster for Audio Journal, a wonderful non-profit radio, cable, and online broadcast service which seeks to inform and empower people who are visually impaired or otherwise unable to read printed materials. Another organization I highly respect is Learning Ally, a U.S. non-profit helping students with learning and visual disabilities, which I volunteered to narrate children's audio books for. I am also currently in the process of donating hours of vocal recordings to VocaliD, a voice company which will combine my voice with a few seconds of a matching recipient's sounds, and through the wonders of voice blending technology, create a natural, personalized voice for a voiceless recipient. I am incredibly grateful to be able to contribute to worthy causes such as these.   
 
   In addition to the organizations I volunteer for, I would also like to mention my involvement with a very special group that is near and dear to my heart. Together with my dear friends Nelson Suit, Cat Michaels, and Kristen Lamb, we founded the group KidLit Parade. KidLit Parade is a caring community of children's authors, teachers, parents, and other bookish creatives intent on promoting children's literacy. In this supportive group, our members are dedicated to sharing creative ideas that encourage children to read! I feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful kidlit community!


5) Last but not least, what would you like to leave our readers with? 
 
   I would like to encourage your readers to keep chasing their dreams. Do what you love and love what you do! Personally, I find it incredibly rewarding to be of service to others while having the opportunity to do something I am so passionate about. I have enjoyed so many of the voice over projects that I have had the privilege to work on. I am always eager to voice projects that make listeners smile! I love narrating children's audio books and book trailers, inspiring others by sharing positive and empowering content, and promoting clients' products or services that make a difference in the world. I love assisting in the creation of collaborative projects that we can all smile about! 


Thank you Jill for being with us and sharing your awesome journey!
 
Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog, Rosie! I hope I can be of assistance to some of your readers looking to add a professional voice to any of their projects in the future! It would truly be my pleasure! 
 
For more information about Jill and her voice over services, please connect with her on the below links:  
 
Website -  
https://jillcofskyvoice.com
Twitter account - 
https://twitter.com/JillCofskyVoice
Facebook page -
 https://www.facebook.com/JillCofskyVoiceActor/


 

Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator