Author Interview with Brenda de Jong

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself!

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I am Brenda Grace de Jong, and professionally, I hold a Master’s Degree in Human Services Leadership with a minor in Women’s Studies. I have worked with individuals from every population, and delight in encouraging and aiding women to fulfill their highest goals. Personally, I am an avid barefoot, tree-hugging, candle-lighting student of the Universe, who follows the phases of the moon and the turn of the seasons.

Tell us about your latest project or publication, including where readers can purchase it.

I am an author of both short and flash fiction published works, and I have just released a book entitled, “My Name is Elpee: A Trilogy”. ‘Elpee’ is a darkish fantasy about a girl from a Brooklyn brownstone who escapes the neglect and abuse within it by creating a realm in which she experiences both fun and pain on her journey to wholeness. It is available on Amazon.


How did you become a writer?

When I was a young child, my mother foretold that I would write a book and her words have stayed with me throughout my life. I was a dreadful and delinquent student in grammar and high school and discovered that utilizing my writing skills could make the difference between a failing and a passing grade.

Tell us something people would be interested, but surprised to know about you.

Publically, I am seen as a highly educated, reasonably intelligent woman. People also perceive me to be privileged and ‘all together’ . . . It is partly an illusion. I have done community service, volunteered, and cleaned factories in the middle of the night, to pay my bills and put myself through college. Also, I possess a slim amount of common sense and often do not think things through before doing them. Although this has mostly served me well, there have been times it ended dreadfully. Here are a few examples of the latter: As a grown woman I have: accidentally driven my car into my house; fallen out of a tree; broke my back and was rendered incapable of walking; concocted a mixture of bleach, turpentine, and paint thinner in an enclosed shed resulting in a police boat ride off Fire Island. The list is endless. They all have back-stories, which made sense to me.

What was the high point or best part of your latest project?

The relief of, after almost a decade, publishing, “My Name is Elpee: A Trilogy”, which finally freed me to pursue writing my next book!

What was the hardest part or the lowest point of your latest project?

Becoming emotionally ready to let go of the story contained within the book in order to publish it. 

What is the one you would like your readers to know and remember about you or your latest project if nothing else?

I am fortunate to have experienced a number of different lives in this go-around on the planet. In a more recent one, I left behind an extremely affluent existence, and all I knew, to construct (brick by brick) my authentic life. I stood, stripped of my identity, in a stark and humble place for several years before I could see my way to the other side.

It was through courage and grace that I am where I am today. As said by Elpee, “People will think you odd or insane, and perhaps you are, but weigh your options. Is it better to leave and be deemed crazy or to stay and be driven mad?”

What have you found has been the most successful marketing forum for your latest project?

I am still exploring those avenues, however, above all, I write because I must, and as an aside, I market.

What is your biggest hope for your latest project?

That those who read it will find value in the many hidden messages woven into it.

Please share your links where readers can learn more about you and your work!, Facebook, LinkedIn, and

What advice would you give prospective authors?

Identify as an author. Write. Ignore the rules. Edit later.

What is the one thing or skill that has helped you be most successful as a writer?

Dropping out of Chemistry class in high school and taking typing instead.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

I indulge in many and feel guilt about few.

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

That people would push through their fear of change and uncover the world that exists on the other side of it.

What are YOU currently reading?

“The Alienist” by Caleb Carr (again).

Thanks for visiting with me today Brenda. Your story is inspiring and your advice to writers is insightful!!!



Sunny the Skunk Visits Amazon!

“How Sunny the Skunk Found His Smell” is now on pre-sale in eBook format on Amazon. The 8×10 paperback will also be available for purchase by July 20th.

A heartwarming tale about an adorable young skunk who is a bit different from all his other friends. Sunny wants to play Hide and Go Smell but none of the other skunks can ever find him, because he doesn’t have a “Smell”! Join Sunny on his journey to find his smell. A great story, that will help build your little one’s confidence and self-esteem. This is a great resource for early childhood classrooms and daycare providers.


8 Basic Tips for Social Media Etiquette

A great article on Social Media Etiquette! I highly recommend following the PBS Blog!

The PBS Blog


On social media, everything is a part of your brand and is an extension of you. People don’t know you personally so all they have to work with is the vibes you give off. From the way that you send emails, your blog posts, your social media posts and newsletters, everything. What you publish reveals who you are and can tell people one or two things. Either you’re a nasty, disrespectful person or you’re a kind, respectful person. It doesn’t take much to show others respect and appreciation and it may also grant you a follower, or more, a supporter for life. Below are some basic actions we can implement to help to keep our respect levels at an all-time high.

Give Thanks

When someone reblogs or pingbacks on one of your posts, say thank you. It really just takes a second. Although the person probably didn’t share your post…

View original post 904 more words

Great 2018 Summer Reads For Kids

Delilah’s Birthday Surprise By Danielle Van Alst

Available in eBook & Paperback

Coming Soon in Early June 2018

It’s Delilah’s seventh birthday and what could be more fun than a birthday surprise! When Delilah wakes to the excitement of her big day, she is looking forward to a party with all of her friends complete with hats, noisemakers, decorations, and games. However, when Delilah’s Grandma shows up with a special birthday present, Delilah can’t believe her eyes. What is this extra special present Delilah’s Grandma brought? That’s the surprise!
Best for Readers Ages 5-9

Three Reasons to Read This Book
The illustrations are beautiful and extremely detailed.

This book will remind your child that they can have fun without a computer or phone! It will inspire them to use their imagination.

It’s the first in a series so your little ones can look forward to more great stories about the adventures of Delilah and Louise!

Where to Buy This Book
Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo starting in early June 2018

Five Fun Facts about the Author
Fact #1: Danielle has Master’s Degree in Psychology from Phillips Graduate University with a minor in Child Development
Fact #2: She is an only child, which is how she developed such an amazing imagination.
Fact #3: She has another book out called A World of Imagination (available on Amazon).
Fact #4: Danielle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Fact #5: She is very superstitious. When writing in a notebook or journal she must have her “lucky” pen.

You can learn more about Danielle by visiting her website or following her on Twitter @d_vanalst, Instagram @dvanalstwriter or Facebook at

Of Course Said The Horse By John Scott Morton

Available in eBook & Paperback

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Camels need to borrow flannels; a giraffe needs his bath and of course, a lion wants to use his iron! Horse says “Of course”, to all these unusual requests. Llamas are after his pajamas, will horse say ‘”of course”, to them?

Best for Readers Ages 5-10



Three Reasons to Read This Book
Written in rhyme, the book is fun to read both silently and out loud.

It has a terrific happy ending where the main character (the very generous horse) gains the happiness he deserves!

It’s not just a fun story, but also one that contains a valuable lesson about taking care of our planet!

Where to Buy this Book
Amazon and

Five Fun Facts about the Author
Fact #1: His right foot is a full size larger than his left; causing him to buy odd size shoes.
Fact #2: He personally illustrates each of his books.
Fact #3: John had the idea for “Of Course, Said The Horse” while recycling the trash at his home. He decided it would be a great idea to write a book that entertained, but had a serious message for children about helping the planet.
Fact #4: His family was in the military so as a child he moved 23 times and lived in several different countries.
Fact #5: John always finishes every story with either a valuable lesson about life, or a way to help others. He would love it if his messages permeated people’s thoughts.

You can learn more about John by visiting his website or following him on Facebook at

How Sunny the Skunk Found His Smell By Antalaya Israel

Available in eBook & Paperback

Coming Soon in Early July 2018

This is a heartwarming tale about an adorable young skunk named Sunny who is a bit different from all his other friends. Sunny wants to play Hide and Go Smell but none of the other skunks can ever find him, because he doesn’t have a “Smell”. Join Sunny on his journey to find his smell.

Best for Readers Ages 0-9




Three Reasons to Read This Book
The Illustrations are beautiful but simple making them very appealing to small children.

The story is short enough for young children to memorize, which will cause them to delight in pretending to read the story, as they recite it aloud.

The book teaches kids it is okay to be different, while reminding them that everyone eventually grows comfortable in their own skin, and thus “finds their smell”.

Where to Buy this Book
Amazon and Barnes & Noble starting in early July 2018

Five Fun Facts about the Author
Fact #1: Antalaya wrote How Sunny the Skunk Found His Smell, while still in high school.
Fact #2: She loves cherry Pepsi, especially in a can.
Fact #3: Her favorite place to write is in the park.
Fact #4: One of her favorite authors is Stephen King.
Fact #5: She hopes her book will empower children everywhere who feel different or like they don’t belong.

You can learn more about Antalaya by following her on Pinterest @AntalayaIsrael1220, Instagram @TheOnlyAntalaya or on Facebook at

Are there Monsters in My Closet? By Jack Batcher

Available in eBook & Paperback

monsters in my closet

Calvin’s imagination runs wild when he is startled awake by strange noises. Now alone in the darkness of his bedroom he must figure out if these thumps, rattles, and bumps could be the very thing that his sisters warned him about. The question Calvin has to answer… Are there Monsters in My Closet?

Best for Readers Ages 4-8

Three Reasons to Read This Book
It is hysterical, especially if your child has a sibling!

Since the book is part of a series, your little one can immediately enjoy more great books like this one.

It will make the monsters in your child’s closet a lot less scary!

Where to Buy this Book
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Five Fun Facts about the Author
Fact #1: He got his start in elementary school. He can remember making his own books out of construction paper.
Fact #2: The first book he published was a joke and coloring book called “Silly Cow”.
Fact #3: Jack is an accomplished musician and songwriter with over twenty years of experience as a musician.
Fact #4: If you can believe it, in addition to being a musician and published children’s book author he also writes poetry!
Fact #5: Jack’s nieces and nephews were the inspiration for his Critter Books series. He is a devoted uncle who delights in seeing the joy his books have brought to his own family, as well as, others.

You can learn more about Jack by visiting his website  or at Good Reads at Additionally, you can follow him on Facebook at

The Tortoise Meets the Sea Turtles By J.D. Parsons

Available in eBook & Paperback

JD 2 Join Teddy T. Tortoise, the famed tortoise who raced the hare, on another adventure as he vacations at the beach and meets a group of sea turtles. However, one of his new buddies finds it hard to accept Teddy because he’s different! However, Teddy is gentle, kind, and accepts everyone as they are. Can he convince his new sea turtle friend that it’s okay to be different?

Best for Readers Ages 1-12
Three Reasons to Read This Book
It contains a very important social issue prompting discussions about the dangers of judging others negatively, just because they are different.

The illustrations are beautiful!

It’s part of a series and the other books in the collection also have social themes.

Where to Buy this Book
Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble

Five Fun Facts about the Author
Fact #1: He was once a photographer.
Fact #2: He enjoys watching cartoons.
Fact #3: He has a deep interest in religious texts and politics.
Fact #4: J.D. participated in writing competitions in high school.
Fact #5: Dr. Seuss was one of his inspirations for becoming a children’s author.

You can learn more about J.D. by visiting his website or following him on Twitter @JDParsonsAuthor, Instagram J.D.parsons_author_editor, or on Facebook

Weeds in Nana’s Garden By Kathryn Harrison

Available in eBook, Hardback & Paperback

weedsinnanasgardenA young girl and her Nana hold a special bond that blooms in the surroundings of Nana’s magical garden. Then one day, the girl discovers that her beloved Nana has Alzheimer’s Disease. Over time, her Nana declines, but the girl learns to accept and support the changes, and takes over as the magical garden’s caregiver.

Best for Readers Ages 4-10

Three Reasons to Read This Book
You directly support the Alzheimer Society of Canada with each purchase. The organization supports those living with dementia and their families. Each purchase results in a $1 donation to the society.

By reading this book, your children will enhance their understanding of this disease and dispel fear, building compassion if they encounter it.

It won two distinct book awards, one with Wishing Shelf Book Awards and the other in the Authors Talk About It Book Contest.

Where to Buy this Book
Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at

 Five Fun Facts about the Author
Fact #1: She loves to swim and is part of a synchronized swim team.
Fact #2: She has an identical twin sister who lives in California.
Fact #3: Her garden has flowers that she transplanted from her mom’s garden (Nana’s Garden).
Fact #4: Kathryn shares her art studio with a sweet golden tabby cat, named Elara.
Fact #5: She use to dream of illustrating books when she was a little girl, and now she is an illustrator, so dreams do come true.
You can learn more about Kathryn by visiting her website or by following her on Instagram and Twitter @KathHarrisonArt.

I Smile For Grandpa By Jaclyn Guenette

Available in Paperback

flat front cover_3in_3in When Grandpa is diagnosed with a dementia disease, Little Buddy realizes playing soccer together won’t quite be the same. However, while the activities that Grandpa can do are changing, there is still much fun to be had. In fact, spending time with each other is as special as ever!

Best for Readers Ages 5-9
Three Reasons to Read This Book
Discussing Dementia with children can be difficult. Adults will appreciate the “Tips for Parents” and “Q&A” sections in the book.

The story drives home the importance of connecting with loved ones.

The book is beautifully illustrated. Children will love the little animals and creatures found throughout the book.

Where to Buy this Book
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Five Fun Facts about the Author
Fact #1: She is a registered social worker.
Fact #2: Jaclyn loves to travel and will be traveling on a trip to Europe for a few weeks with her family.
Fact #3: Every year, she runs a half marathon with friends.
Fact #4: She loves sports, especially soccer.
Fact #5: Jaclyn hopes people will consider ways to keep children involved and talking about Dementia.

You can learn more about Jaclyn’s upcoming projects by visiting