Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trockle Trick-or-Treat tour prizes

This is just about the prizes for the tour - Good luck to everyone - E :)

Grand Prize: A customized Halloween short story featuring your child (or grandchild, niece, nephew, or friend) with Trockle - written by Holly Jahangiri and illustrated by Jordan Vinyard.

Second Prize: A $20 gift certificate to

To enter, complete the following steps:

(1) Purchase a copy of Trockle directly from 4RV Publishing ( between 12:00 AM October 5 and 11:59 PM October 13, and

(2) Send an email to with your answer to the question posted at

You may enter as often as you like, but all completed entries must be received before midnight on October 13!

Winners will be announced at and at

The winners will be chosen randomly from all correctly completed entries (see "To enter" above) and winners will be notified by email. IMPORTANT NOTE: The Grand Prize winner will need to work directly with the author and illustrator to create a memorable gift for that special child. To include the child's likeness in the illustration, you will need to provide a digital photo upon notification that you have won. Every effort will be made to deliver the prize prior to Halloween, but circumstances beyond our control may prevent that and we do not guarantee that it will arrive by October 31.

Trockle Trick-or-Treat tour coming

Trockle is making a second appearance with us and Ms. Holly and Ms. Jordan are planning a wonderful fun tour this time around. (Not that the first one wasn't wonderful or fun). You can follow the tour by making stops at each person's blog during the week of October 5 through October 13.

We have a special treat (so Ms. Elysabeth tells us) planned for our stop. There is also a super special prize being offered this go-round - so make sure you get your Trockle book from Ms. Vivian and well, you'll see when the prize information is posted what you have to do. You have to order a copy of Trockle and answer the question to be entered. So don't forget to stop by and leave comments and have some fun. We'll leave the porch light on and the Jack-O-Lanterns glowing. Oh yeah, and the Monster Mash will be playing so come by and visit a while. Dance a little, bob for apples and have fun - the JGD squad

October 5: Joyce Anthony @ Books and Authors

October 6: Joyce Anthony @ Books and Authors

October 7: Janet @ Janet’s Book Nook

October 8: Kimberly @ All About Kimberly

October 8: Jen (Pantheistic Mom) @ My Terrene Reality

October 10: Elysabeth Eldering @ the Junior Geography Detective Squad

October 11: Ron Berry @ The Surreal Writer

October 12: Lynne Thompson @ La Vida Es Un Sueno

October 13: Wrap-up by Holly Jahangiri and Jordan M. Vinyard

Traveling the States book tour coming

The JGDS series, book 1 - State of Wilderness will have a virtual book tour in November. The stops on the tour include two homeschoolers, three children's authors, and a teacher in Utah. I found Mr. Hughes blog on blogcatalog, thinking that having teachers' blogs would be my best bet to do the tour. I visited his blog and left a comment as I couldn't find an email for him and asked him to host me during the tour. Grant it, he was hesitant and unsure about having an author contact him and wanting this small favor done. He emailed me and asked for more info and after about two email exchanges, he was excited that he contacted me via Google Talk and we spent several hours two nights in a row chatting. We have decided to make his hosting day as a wrap up of a class project we will be collaborating on - a virtual classroom visit working on writing and a small class contest. So we are bringing together the JGDS series on tour, using the contest format that led to my second place win on Armchair Interviews in 2005 and a challenge from my good friend Batya's newsletter to participate in a 2-month long build-up to my book tour. The kids will be excited as I've felt Mr. Hughes excitement through chat about working with a real author and someone who has a book that appeals to their level. I know that 6th grade in his school study World History for their social studies curriculum, but he is willing to do something out of the norm to teach the kids and even go back to a little bit of 5th grade US History for the project to work.

I will do a weekly update on how the project is doing leading up to the tour dates. So be on the lookout.

Virtual classroom visits begin Monday, September 29 and will end about the time the book tour starts on November 17. Looking forward to sharing what this 6th grade class gets out of the pre-tour visits. -- See you in the postings - E :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Slide of Aiken Book Festival

The first few are from Friday's workshop with Jefferson Spurlock and Vonda Skelton. The Cat in Hat ones are from the Friday's author reception, and then the rest are just different booths around the book festival. I was trying to get everyone's booth but again, I had the camera on the wrong setting and it kept saying I was running low on my battery. But I did get some good ones (Hailie said a lot of them blurry and she didn't put them on the disk which is fine).


If you would like to check out all the authors that were set up at the book festival, you can always check the Aiken Book festival page and click on their names to check out their websites.

Aiken Book Festival success

I met up with some old friends and made some new ones. I had a blast. I may not have had many sales but I think the contacts and information I gathered from other authors will make up for it in the long run. One homeschooler from Georgia is going to give all my information to the homeschool folks she works with and see about getting the books used in their curriculum. Georgia apparently is pushing for social studies to be more on the history of the state and she feels that even the one book about Georgia would be a step in the right direction. But my feeling is that it's more fun to collect all 50 states and learn about all the states as you go along.

I am willing to change the order of the states written if I am contacted with information about how they would like to get the story that covers their state out in the second year. This is only fair since the first six are pretty much set and I can't do much changing now. Otherwise, it may take a few years to get your state out. I have a list of how the states will be written from here on out but that is only between my publisher and my illustrator and myself. The reason is that the fun of the series is guessing the states along with my characters and if everyone already knew what state it was, I probably wouldn't sell any (okay I would sell a few but not many local sales and the sales would probably only be reflective in that particular state).

I also received some other information from other authors of places to try to get myself known in order to get into the schools and be seen there (which is ultimately my goal - to be in the schools and have the state stories used as a supplement in the Social Studies classrooms, particularly whatever year they are doing US History, as they can learn some fun interesting facts about the states without being bogged down in a lot of detail. Most of the clues can be used as projects of some sort so really the stories can be used cross curricula.

Next posting will be some pictures I took around the festival but I had the wrong setting on the camera and it kept saying my batter was low. I had tried several times to call Hailie to find out what it should be on but she never answered her phone, so I just picked a setting and went with that. What do I know, I'm not very good with some of these mechanical objects as I don't use them too often. There were several folks taking pictures throughout the festival and I'm sure I'll get some of those to be able to post as well.

ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention that I stayed at the Howard Johnson's in Aiken, possibly considered South Aiken (I saw a sign for S. Aiken Elementary School near where I stayed) and compared to my bad experience in February with hotels, this was a much better experience. The staff were really friendly, the continental breakfast was pretty good (except they were out of apple juice, wahhhh :() and location was not bad. I was right behind the high school and if I had stayed on my balcony area, I could have watched the rest of the football game but I didn't. Once I closed my door, I never even heard the noise from the football field. I do have to tell you that when the desk clerk gave me my room key and after we had stood there for a while chatting, I went back like she said to get to my room. I got my stuff, trekked up the stairs almost to the top only to realize I must be in the wrong area - my room was 408 and at the top of the stairs was 208. Now there are only two floors in the building. So I put my stuff back in the car, go back to the front and find out that there are actually two buildings to the hotel and my room was in the back building. I felt really stupid, but I really hadn't seen the parking lot area continue to the other building. I was tired and just ready to go to my room. Other than being a dummie, I had a wonderful stay (can't beat that my room was complimentary either). I would recommend this hotel to everyone.

See you all in the postings - E :)

State of Quarries cover

We have a cover for State of Quarries, book 2 of the JGDS series. What do you all think. Can you guess the state from these clues - Diamond mines, Chalk, and excavating quarries (can't reveal what is excavated as this will definitely give it away)?

I can't wait to see the other illustrations for the story. You all let me know what you think of the cover - likes, dislikes, et cetera - see you in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aiken bound

The Squad and I will be in Aiken this weekend for the Aiken Children's Book Festival. If you are in South Carolina and in the lower part of the state, come visit over 30 children's authors and some fun characters like Cat in the Hat, Schmooney and Amadeus the Traveling Dog. If you happen to be there, stop by the JGDS table and try to win a puzzle or a state related item, maybe even pick up a copy of State of Wilderness and get it signed.

Hope to see you all there. For more information, go to the Aiken Book Festival site and see what's going on - E :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Congratulations and moving to the next stop

My time for hosting Trockle has come to an end. It has been a fun day. Thank you to all who visited my blog today. Don't be a stranger now that you know where I am.

I had 90 hits with 40 comments total, with thirteen commenters and fourteen comments that were not from Vivian, Jordan or myself. (Rena posted a comment on each article.)

Now for the good news; congratulations goes to Chris Redding for winning the tote bag. Congratulations, Chris. Enjoy it. (Vivian will email you for your mailing address).

Now it's time for me to get serious and get some work done - see you all in the postings and be on the lookout for some updates on the states soon.

Next stop on the tour, tomorrow, Monday, September 15: Aidana's Cover Chat blog - Stop over and see what interesting article or other information Aidana has for us.

Monsters Under the Bed, part 2

by Jordan Vinyard

I am not a parent, so I haven't had any first hand experience combatting monsters under the bed. That being said, I do understand the notion of monsters. No, not the orange horned kind, but illogical lurking beasts just the same. Everyone has fears, and often we can't even explain the basis for those fears and concerns.

When I first read Trockle, I was immediately captivated by the developing relationship between monster and boy. The aspect I liked best, was that this was not just a lesson for children. This was a lesson for everyone. I began thinking about all the times that I had pre-conceived ideas about a person, and how worried or fearful I was that I wouldn't get along with them or we wouldn't like one another. Often, I found that they had the same worries or concerns. Like children, our imaginations often get the best of us. We let our minds run wild, and get in the way of realizing the commonalities between ourselves and others.

Don't forget the comments - see you all in the postings - Ms. E :)

Monsters Under the Bed

Monsters Under the Bed: Don’t Bother to Look for the Logic
by Holly Jahangiri, author of Trockle

It’s pointless to argue with a child who believes there are monsters under the bed. Parents who try to apply rational logic to an irrational fear are setting themselves up for frustration and sleepless nights.

Imagination and fear make powerful allies. It’s dark at night. Suddenly, the child is deprived of sight – a whole sense gone in the flick of a light switch. And mom or dad insists that darkness is a good thing – you need darkness to sleep. (In fact, we all know that it’s just because Dad doesn’t really own stock in the electric company, and we don’t need light to see when our eyes are closed. Already, the parents’ credibility is going down the drain with the sewer monsters.) The house creaks. Grandpa snores. The water heater gurgles. The faucet drips. The refrigerator downstairs crackles and growls as it goes into the defrost cycle. A branch taps against the glass on the other side of the curtains. Children are smart, but their imaginations know no bounds; it’s just unthinkable to them that the adults they trust can’t see the monsters that lurk beneath the bed, in the closet, down in the basement, or up in the attic. Don’t they know that the darkness draws them out of their cool, dark hidey holes? Surely they’re not in league with the monsters…
Apply all the logic you like; it’s just not going to convince anyone under the age of ten. I suspect it won’t convince anyone over the age of ten, either, but middle schoolers are too cool to admit to having irrational fears or believing in monsters. Authors like R.L. Stine and Stephen King know better. We never outgrow our monsters – not really. Mine masquerade as spiders and hypodermic needles.

But we can make peace with them.

We can try to be equally irrational and spray the room with Monster Repellent (Febreeze makes a good one with a nice fresh scent that also helps to eliminate funky tennis shoe odor) or we can go with the flow and offer up the monster’s side of the story.

That’s what I did with Trockle. Of course, my sole intent, at the time, was to see to it that a sleepless night with the ceiling light on was at least not wasted time. William could practice reading. I started out writing the story of a little boy named Stephen who didn’t want to go to bed because he was afraid of monsters. Suddenly the little monster under the bed piped up and insisted I tell his story, too! He told me that his name was Trockle. He liked Choco-Tacos. (My son and I were standing in Ace Hardware one day after Trockle was published, and he was looking for an ice cream treat in their freezer. “Mom, they have Choco-Tacos!” Imagine my surprise – I didn’t know there was such a thing! William and I had to try them, of course. Thanks, Trockle – they’re pretty tasty!) Trockle showed me what it was like for him, under the bed. He didn’t want to go to sleep, either. I smiled as I watched his mother tuck him in. She gently reassured Trockle that Stephen – the great big, scary boy over the bed – wasn’t so terribly different from him. Once you got past the rather startling differences in their appearances, they had more in common than they realized. Trockle thought it was just hilarious that Stephen was afraid of him.
See? Grown-ups aren’t stupid. We know all about the little monsters under – and over – the bed. And we love them, icky sticky hands and all.

Don't forget - leave comments or questions (and don't forget the email addy) for Ms. Holly or Ms. Jordan and your name will go in a drawing to win a Trockle tote bag.

Trockle is available at 4RV's site,, and bookstores everywhere.

Next stop is Ms. Aidana's Cover Chat blog tomorrow. Hope to see you all in the postings and following the tour. - Ms. E :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One more day!!

Did we tell you we were hosting Trockle here? Well if not, you should know we are. So we thought we would introduce the creator and illustrator of the book by giving you their bios and a picture (we tried to upload the back cover of the book but it is not wanting to do so, but you can check out the the 4RV site to see it). You can also find the first blog posting on Ms. Vivian's site along with how the story came about. Tomorrow, an article by Ms. Holly and Ms. Jordan will be posted, but it is our understanding that Ms. Holly is without power right now due to Hurricane Ike being a brat (kind of like Mary Beth over here) and coming up through Texas area where she lives. So we don't expect her to stop by to make comments, but maybe her sister-in-law can post something to keep us updated on what is going on with Ms. Holly. Hopefully Ms. Jordan won't be too busy and can take a few minutes to come visit us and leave some comments.

Remember everyone who leaves a comment and a valid email address will go in a drawing for a tote bag with the cover of the book on it. It is so cute since it has both front and back covers on it. Remember to ask questions and leave comments for them so we know that you are following the tour.

And now Ms. Holly and Ms. Jordan -

Ms. Holly:

Holly Jahangiri is a professional writer with over twenty-five years’ experience: In technical writing, freelancing, and editing, which feeds the family, and in creative writing – fiction and poetry – which feeds the soul.

On a really good writing day, she claims (tongue-in-cheek) to be channeling the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, Erma Bombeck, and O. Henry. Her writing has been compared to Spider Robinson’s and Douglas Adams’s. On a really bad writing day, she claims to have poured every last ounce of her creative ability and energy into childbirth, and has two wonderful children – her son, William, and her daughter, Katie – to prove it. But regardless of whether it’s a good day or a bad day, she’s grateful for her friends, and for the love and support of J.J., her husband of nearly a quarter century.

Ms. Jordan:

From small awkward sketches at the age of five to highly detailed photorealistic drawings, detail oriented paintings, installation projects, and colorful illustrations; Jordan Vinyard’s pursuit of art has been ever prevalent At the age of 24, Jordan graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and was honored by the College of Arts, Media, and Design with the Award of Excellence, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Scholarship, and was the fall 2007 Class Marshall. Upon graduation Jordan become an illustrator for 4RVPublishing as well as continuing studio work and mural painting. In the winter of 2008, she had an exhibition, Dichasms, at the Indpendent Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, as well as marking the completion of her first book, Trockle. Shortly afterwards she was included in a group exhibition, Opposites Attract, at the Arts Alliance Center in Houston, Texas. She also received the Momentum Spotlight Honorarium, in which the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition funded an installation and drawing proposal for Liggett Studios in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the fall of 2008 Jordan prepares for another group show, 12X12 in Oklahoma City, and the completion of her second book, Prarie Dog Cowboy. Jordan’s goal is to continue her multifaceted pursuit of art, and exemplify her passion for it.

Tomorrow, a couple of wonderful articles - enjoy - the JGDS and Ms. E :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pictures from the booksigning that didn't happen

As promised, I have the slide show together, so here are the pictures Hailie took Saturday at the booksigning.

Announcing title of second book in series

Well, after brainstorming with titles based on some of the clues already in the story, Aidana and I have come up with State of Quarries. Another friend suggested State of Mines but I like Quarries better. We tossed around a few others - State of Pits, State of Dredgers - but we both liked Quarries. So the next book will be State of Quarries and it is being worked on. Aidana has several of the clues to start working on illustrations and the cover, which means I might have a cover to show by the end of the month. More updates as I get them. - Ms. E :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Trockle is coming!

September 13 - 21, 2008

Trockle - author Holly Jahangiri and illustrator Jordan Vinyard

(click on host name to go to site)

Sept. 13 Vivian Zabel

Sept. 14 Elysabeth Eldering

Sept. 15 Aidana WillowRaven

Sept. 16 Steph Cardin
Also Miguel de Luis Espinosa

Sept. 17 Ian William
Also Lea Schizas

Sept. 18 Susan Thompson
Also Joyce Anthony - first of 4 days to host
1st day - Introduce book, synopsis, etc.
2nd day - Author/illustrator bios
3rd day - Author/illustrator interviews
4th day - Author's choice of guest-blogging, an excerpt from book, or book review by host

Sept. 19 Beverly Stowe McClure and Beverly's 2nd Blog
Also Joyce Anthony - 2nd day (see first day)

Sept. 20 Joyce Anthony - 3rd day (see first day)

Sept. 21 Karen L. Syed
Also Joyce Anthony - 4th day (see first day)

Be on the lookout over the next couple of days leading up to the Trockle tour for bios and pictures of both the author and illustrator.

On my day of hosting, Holly will present a short article with comments from Jordan as well as replies to comments left here. Everyone leaving a comment on the 14th of September during my hosting time for Trockle, Holly and Jordan, will have his/her name go in a drawing for a Trockle bag. So remember to leave a valid email address so that if you are the winner, you can be contacted and have your prize mailed to you. Thanks for coming to see us - Ms. E

Book signing update

So I had my first, on-my-own, real book signing yesterday. I tried to give away another puzzle but the four people that guessed the state, none of them got it correct, so no one won the puzzle. I also tried to have fun and games for everyone there and had a few snack things. Trisha, Hailie and I were there pretty much by ourselves for the afternoon. So Hailie took pictures of the displays and I did a mock reading to both the girls and she took some pictures of me reading and then I was told I could leave 10 signed books, so I had her take a picture of me signing one of the books. I will post pictures later when she returns from church and puts them on a disk so I can put them on my computer.

Hopefully the next event, which is in two weeks, will be better. See you all in the postings - Ms. E :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Invitation to book signing

Elysabeth Eldering, author of the Junior Geogrphy Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery trivia series

Cordially invites you to a Back School Presentation/
Book Signing

WHEN: Saturday, September 6, 2008
WHERE: The Open Book
110 S. Pleasantburg Drive
Greenville, SC
TIME: 3 to 5 PM
WHY: Launching of Book 1 of the JGDS series

· Learn a bit of trivia of one of the states
· Play games
· Enter to win a United States puzzle
· Listen to a reading
· Get your copy of "State of Wilderness" signed

This is open to teachers, parents, grandparents and students, so please come visit me on Saturday, September 6, from 3 to 5 PM and find out more about the JGDS, 50-state, mystery, trivia books.

Congratulations to Jordan H.

This weekend at Decatur, I had this puzzle up for grabs. Well the contest was simple enough, guess the state based on one clue from the book on a bookmark. I had five entries and of those five, three had the correct state guessed. So upon returning home last evening, I let Hailie draw from the three correct guesses and she pulled Jordan H.'s paper. Congratulations to you, Jordan. The puzzle will be put in the mail today.

(this picture is the inside part of the puzzle because my scanner won't scan the whole thing in one piece; but it does give you an idea of what the puzzle looks like)

See you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Decatur and Back

Ms. Elysabeth has been so busy she has kind of left us hanging. We knew she would be right up until leaving for the book festival. So a bit of a rundown of what went on from your favorite kids.

Funny how you plan things in your head and want to do some fun stuff and then you never get around to it.

Ms. Elysabeth had some plans to do some matching games and fun things with the bookmarks and perhaps some state related giveaways but she was so out of her element that she didn't get to do what she wanted. Hopefully next weekend she'll be better prepared for the book signing at The Open Book.

This is Ms. Elysabeth and Ms. Jacque and Ms. Vivian right after Ms. Elysabeth had been unloaded and got to the booth. She had called Ms. Vivian to tell her she was going to get some ice and that she would be back to help fix the booth up. So she gets there and these two women had already done all the work.

Sunday night packing up was the same way. She had a good time and if nothing else she did get the bookmarks in the hands of the kids. Started a guess the state based on the clue the child had to give away one of the puzzles.

She wore us out but all in all it was a very good trip - For more information you can hop on over to Ms. Vivian's site and check out some pictures and other things about Decatur.

Next up we are going to be doing a book signing at the Open Book on Saturday so come see us from 3 pm to 5 pm and have fun, learn some geography factoids and who knows, you may even win a puzzle - see you then - the JGDS

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