Jen Lowry, Author

I’m so excited!

#6 of #70 – Adventures in Barn Town – LOVED THIS CHAPTER BOOK for young readers – just adorable! The storytelling drew me in and made me smile! ❤️ I can’t wait to interview the #author on my #podcast tomorrow at #jenlowrywrites #chapterbooks #childrensliterature #readaloud#bedtimestories #farmlife #kidsbooks #adventures #animals #talkinganimals#iamreading #challenge


Eve Culley -adventures in barntown cover

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corrected: Review of FLUNKED

Flunked - coverBook Blurb:

This is the other side of the fairy tale where the ordinary folk live. You know, the trolls, the bad fairies, and in this story the cobbler’s daughter who live in a shoe.

Gillian, Gilly to her friends, is a thief. She steals from the royals to buy food for her family. Then the long arm of the law finally catches up to her and it’s off to reform school.  Where she meets trolls, fairies, magic mirrors, live gargoyles, reformed villains, and really bad villains. It’s up to her and her school friends to figure out who is trying to kill the Princesses Ella, Snow, Rapunzel and Rose and save the day.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that she gets to ride Pegasus. The school has a stable of flying horses that the kids get to ride. There are appearing and disappearing hall ways in the school and the proverbial dungeon for those really bad villains. This book is a fun read. Enjoy!

My Take on This Book:

I really like this book. This is a unique take on fairy tales; the flip side of the coin if you will. With magic mirrors, troubles with parents and other characters from fairy tales as teachers at the school, it’s a blast to read. The humor is well done and the troubles are true to life with a magic twist, of course.  I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it as a good read.


Jen Calonita

About the Author:

Jen Calonita has always loved writing. Her first published piece was in the sixth grade newspaper where she wrote about an attack snake who bothered her canoe on a class field trip. These days she writes about fairy tale worlds, Hollywood lives and music. 

A big fan of Cinderella as a child, Jen always wondered what would happen if the Wicked Stepmother apologized to Cinderella for her behavior and tried to prove she was now a good fairy tale citizen. Jen figured the Wicked Stepmother might convince other villains to behave and together they would teach children on the path to wickedness how to be good at…Fairy Tale Reform School. The series, which includes many classic fairy tale characters, has its own stories to be told, starting with Misfits. 

For more about Jen, check out her website:

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Happy New Year

We at Barn Town Children’s Books wish you the very best for this New Year!

Blessings and Squishy Hugs from all of us.

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Little Man’s Letter to Santa

Little Man Santa letter

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Romance Author – Vivi Holt

Vivi Holt


Vivi Holt lives in beautiful Brisbane, Australia with her husband and three young children. Growing up on a farm she learned to love the country life and now she writes about it in her books. History has always fascinated her as well, so writing historical romance seemed a natural progression. She loves horse-riding, hiking, and reading.

Her goal is to write touching, emotional and sweet romance stories that captivate the reader and transport them to another place or time.

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Fanya in the Underworld

Jordan Elizabeth – author

Jordan - Author pic 1




Aaron Siddall (Illustrator)

Aaron Siddall







Fanya in the Underworld









I have reviewed many of her stories and am always on the lookout for her next one. Normally Steampunk is not my genre, but Jordan’s work is the exception. I was also excited to see the cook illustrations by Aaron Siddall. Good job man, good job.

The character of Joy confused me at first, mainly because of who or what he is in the story. However by the end, I was very happy that he had made it all the way through the story.  There were other characters who I rooted for (the mammoths for one) as well as the ones who had evil in their hearts. Overall, it was a well-balanced story I thought. There were many twists and turns and some really unexpected consequences of Fanya’s actions. All in all, it is an interesting, thrilling, dramatic, mysterious, and a little scary story (not for the faint of heart) which I think all readers can enjoy.

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The Writing Life: Write What You Know—Or Not – Pandora’s Box Gazette

November 19, 2018

Michelle Janene

Write What You Know—Or Not

by Michelle Janene

I have often heard workshop and conference leaders say, “Write what you know.” According to these experts it is important for authenticity and grounding readers in your story to stick to information, situations, and locations that are familiar to you.

Well, that leads to a huge problem for writers like me. I have never met a dragon—though it is a dream of mine. I have never travelled to a distant planet. And I don’t have any neighbors who are fairies or elves. Yes, I am a fantasy writer. Other times I write historical fiction, but—again—this is a problem. I have never lived in the Middle Ages. There are some advantages to having access to primary sources for research and a lot of other history buffs out there who have synthesized the research for me. But even with all I can read and research, would it be considers writing what I know?

Currently, I’m writing a sequel to my first publication for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s a story about a spy and a kidnapped woman who ends up running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Never been kidnapped. Never been in Spain. So does this mean I can’t write about these things? Perhaps it’s time to book a trip to Spain.

But recently, I sat around a table talking writing with a group of friends and I heard something that put a new light on our writing. “Write what you are passionate about. And do your research.” I am definitely passionate about my fantasy worlds. I love creating creatures and locations that are inspired by my experiences yet like nothing I know. I have books on dragons, swords, and a shelf full of volumes about the Middle Ages in Europe. Lately, I have spent a lot of time on YouTube watching others run with the bulls, and on Google Maps strolling down the streets of several cities in Spain trying to find new locations for my characters to be seeing and experiencing.

What if neither of those is completely correct. Could it be that writers need to do both? We have to love what we write about. For if there is no joy in the writer there is no interest in the reader. We still need to know our facts no matter the topic of the writing. I’ve heard more than one author say that a reader found something in their story and took issue with its inaccuracy.

Whether we write, fantasy to women’s fiction, historical fiction to literary non-fiction, or any other combination, we can all include the human experience. We know how it feels to fall in love, be betrayed, or win the prize. Emotions are universal and can reach our readers whether they experience them through the life of a dragon, or a knight, or a kidnapped teacher.

This is truly where our story comes to life—in the lives of the characters. The world they live in and the technology they have access to can add layers. But when all is said and done, people want to root for the hero, celebrate when the villain gets his just punishment, and each of us want to know that we are not alone. There are others out there that feel the same way.

So, dear writer here is your mission—should you choose to accept it. Find your passion. Spend time in quality research. And write what you know of being a person who is surrounded by a world of hurting people.

About the Author

Michelle Janene lives and works in Northern California. Most days she blissfully exists in the medieval creations of her mind. She is a devoted teacher, a dysfunctional housekeeper, and a dedicated writer.

She released her first novella Mission: Mistaken Identity in 2015. God’s Rebel came out in 2016, followed by Rebel’s Son and Hidden Rebel in 2017. She has been published in “Guide Post Magazine” and several anthologies. She leads two critique groups and is the founder of Strong Tower Press—Indie solutions for indie authors.

You can find her at Strong Tower PressTurret Writing, on Facebook, Twitter, and on Goodreads.

You can read Michelle’s column on the 3rd Tuesday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.

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Anna’s Interview on youtube with Dana

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Interview with Children’s Author – Ben Langhinrichs

Hello Ben!

Ben Langhinrichs


It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

 It’s nice to meet you as well. I grew up in upstate New York near Buffalo as one of four boys. My father was a Presbyterian minister, and my mother was a teacher, and we lived in a little house in the country far from any neighbors. We all loved books, and my childhood was spent reading and wandering in the woods, both things I still love to do today.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create? 

I’ve always loved words, especially very short stories and poetry. I was the kind of dad who sent letters to my daughter in summer camp in iambic pentameter. But even after having many short stories and poems published in various magazines and anthologies, it took me a while to get up the nerve to write a novel. But the inspiration is all about giving other children the kinds of adventures and magical worlds that I enjoyed so much when I was young.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? 

Before you publish your first book, you have all the time in the world to think about it and play around. I wrote the very first iteration of my first novel, DANGER TASTES DREADFUL, as part of NaNoWriMo in 2010. Then I put it aside, only picking it up a few years ago to expand and polish and make it ready. It was published by Clean Reads in August 2018.

But now that my debut novel is out in the world, I am far more focused on getting both the sequel and a separate stand-alone book for older kids ready. I’d like to get to the point where I publish one or two books a year, and you can’t take eight years per book and do that!

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

 My series is aimed at 7-12-year-olds and is about a pair of young trolls named Bernie and Tish and adventures they have. Bernie lives under a bridge with his parents, and Tish lives behind a waterfall with her Granny Mac. In their first adventure, DANGER TASTES DREADFUL, giants stomp into the woods where they live and steal away their parents, and Bernie and Tish must travel to Mount Dreadful to rescue their loved ones.

One of the decisions I had to make about this series was whether to make it one continuing adventure, or a series of fairly separate adventures. Because I am writing for fairly young kids, I decided the latter was better. So in the sequel, TROUBLE SMELLS TEMPTING, Bernie and Tish wind up visiting the Treacherous Sea with mertrolls, giant fire wasps, and more. I hope to continue the series with different adventures and different mythological and invented creatures all over the place, but always with Bernie and Tish who will remain about the same age. That will let kids pick up any one of the books and read it individually rather than have to read the books sequentially.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?

I like writing in different genres, and have written and published short stories in many different genres for different age groups from kids to adults. Now that I am writing novels, I’m likely to be a little more constrained, though my stand-alone novel is a mash-up of fairy tales and science fiction aimed at 9-13-year-olds, so you might say “imaginative fiction” is my genre for the moment.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

I am a very loose plotter, but I re-plot frequently. By the time I’ve written my first chapter, which I often do without much more than a character and a situation, I need to start thinking about where I am going and how to get there. I lay out the loosest of outlines, but as I write, I often see problems and may change the entire trajectory of the novel a few different times as I get to know my characters better, and realize themes or issues I want to explore. Each time, I revisit the outline and expand it.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer? 

First, start where the story starts, not with an explanation of how you got there. Don’t set the scene or explain the world or tell the character’s childhood, just start the story and let the rest of that come out as your character tries to evade the aliens or win the title or train the horse or whatever.

Second, be willing to stop if the story isn’t moving you, but not if the story is simply hard to write. Every story worth writing is hard to write, but not every story turns out to be worth writing (for you). Every writer has abandoned stories that were not working for them.

Third, learn how to hear criticism without being wounded by it. You will get criticism, you need to get criticism, but not all criticism is constructive. Learn how to take the part that helps you move forward and learn your craft, and ignore the part that slows you down or makes you feel bad about yourself. Somebody can like you and dislike something about your story, but if all their message is negative, find somebody else to listen to (even if it means ignoring your mother)!

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

I am working on a science fiction/fairytale mashup that should be ready for querying to agents by year’s end, and also on my next Bernie & Tish book, which should be ready sometime in Spring 2019.

So, where can we get your books?

Danger Tastes Dreadful


Barnes & Noble:

Local bookstores:

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

I read everything, though I have been blessed to have no really negative reviews on my novel yet, though I am tempting fate to say so.

I’ve had plenty of negative reviews of short stories and poetry over time, and I find I let most of it roll off me. It is fairly obvious when the negativity comes from the reviewer and not any reaction to the writing, so I just let that go. On the other hand, sometimes a negative review has a very valid point and I try to learn from that.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

One of the very best parts of being a writer is having writer friends. I sometimes tell my wife that I only write children’s books, so I have an excuse to hang out with cool children’s authors. I have learned an incredible amount about the writing craft and about dealing with the publishing industry from authors I’ve met.

For many years, I have been part of, which is an excellent writing community for beginning writers. I highly recommend it as a place to find others who can help you grow and keep you company as you do.

This year, I have been fortunate enough to be part of the Electric Eighteens, a group of traditionally published authors who had their debut MG or YA novel come out in 2018. Sharing the ups and downs and worries and celebrations has made the entire year more enjoyable. Even as 2018 draws to a close, I know that we will continue to be friends and follow each other’s journeys.

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

My family and friends have been very supportive, though not very hands-on. It can be extremely difficult to read and respond to somebody’s work when you are too close, as you are terrified of doing or saying the wrong thing. For that reason, I mostly don’t share my writing with family and friends until it is published, but they have been extremely encouraging and supportive once I let them near it. My wife is one exception, though even for her I wait until the writing is fairly well polished. She is an excellent editor but I don’t want her to have to wade through the disaster which is my first draft.

Thank you Ben for taking time to share with us about your work. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

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CORRECTION -Interview with Urban Fantasy Author, Carolyn M. Walker

CORRECTION!  Carolyn’s name was misspelled in the previous publication of this author interview.  I most humbly and abjectly apologize for my error.


Hello Carolyn!



It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Hello back! I’m originally from Southern California, but I now live in Central Florida! Writing is my number one passion, but aside from that, I enjoy of course reading, baking, swimming, scuba diving, and lounging at the beach with my family.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

I started writing from a very early age, so early that I wrote my first short story at the age of six! It was a super short two-pager, but it was that first brush with storytelling that had me fall in love. I’ve written since. My inspiration to create was always there, and my mother saw it early on, so she fostered it with a vengeance. She would always buy me writing tools—journals, fancy pen sets, calligraphy kits, felt-tipped pens (because I loved to doodle in the stories too), troves of writing pads, and all other manner of stationary. On top of that, she also surrounded me with hundreds of books at home because she knew I loved to read. Her overwhelming support of my interest in literature and writing really helped to shape me into the writer I’ve become today.

Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

There’s way too many to list but here are some who have REALLY inspired me growing up and still to this day: Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Richard Matheson, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, and J.K. Rowling.

What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?

I love psychological thrillers and mysteries best. Something about those really gets me going. I love to consider the big “why” behind the character’s actions, and I love a good tale that makes me think throughout and long after the story’s over.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?

My first novel is an Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Thriller, but I really have a soft spot for non-fantasy mystery! I’m working on a hometown mystery now with elements of women’s fiction. I’m super excited to branch out beyond fantasy fiction!

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

I’m a die-hard plotter. I love to plan ahead and really map out disasters *evil laugh*. However, my characters sometimes seem to take over the story, and before I know it, I’m in left field. I still use my planning notes to keep me on relative track. It really helps me with the process to have a set of tracks already laid, even the train derails and becomes a runaway. With the tracks already in place, I can always find my way back. 😉

So… where can we get your books?

I’m all main places books are sold! Here’s some links to where you can buy IMMORTAL DESCENT:

 AMAZON (for paperback)

AMAZON (for ebook)

B&N (for paperback)


Indie Bound


Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Personally, I think that having a big ego really doesn’t help anyone, writer or not. Sure, you can know yourself and be confident but letting your life be led by your ego is not very genuine. I’m the real deal.

I think we should always remember where we come from, while never forgetting to realize how far we can go.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I’m a “neck-deep” researcher, meaning I go all in. I LOVE learning new things so at times I might even get carried away in my research. I believe in genuine details for a story, and so I am thorough in research efforts. I do it throughout the writing process. Sometimes I’ll have to pause from writing to research, and that’s okay because it’s fresh in my mind and it’s the right time to get the information I need. This process does take longer, but it works for me.

What’s your writing schedule like?

In the past, it was somewhat erratic as I tried to find my best process. These days, it is somewhat intermittent. I’ll have months where it is steady and regular—2000 words a day. Then I’ll have months where it is just not happening, and I cannot get the right words to formulate. On top of that, I can be an impulsive writer as well, drilling out 5,000 words or chapters at a time in one sitting. When writing IMMORTAL DESCENT, the first half took me almost a year to draft (in spurts), then the second half of the book was a whirlwind, and I wrote it in less than three weeks. With the second installment, I’m far steadier and clipping along to where it will have only been a few months, start to finish.

Where would you like to travel to and why?

I have always wanted to travel to Japan! I studied Japanese for two years in college and loved it. The language is comprehensive but beautiful. I also admire the music, culture, and food too. It would be a real joy to visit Japan and add that to my list of travels. I would love to write a novel set in Japan one day.

Thank you so much for the opportunity! 😊



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