Wednesday, June 29, 2011

amazon search widget

I've become an associate on and if you check my side bar you will see above where the email subscriber is a search box. You can search for my books specifically or you can search for whatever you would like on amazon. Check it out when you get a chance - Mrs. E :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi


CONTACT: Karen Cioffi-Ventrice
Author, ghostwriter, freelance writer
Email: karencioffi at ymail dot com

For Immediate Release

Chinese Tale: Walking Through Walls travels on a majestic virtual tour
Patience and fortitude are essential attributes to achieve life as an Eternal

(New York, New York) – The ability to slip into different eras and cultures through reading is the most glorious way to enjoy literature. Travel along through cyberspace to learn more about this 16th century ancient Chinese based tale, Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi when it releases July 15, 2011.

To celebrate this unique ancient Chinese tale’s book release, we welcome your visit and encourage you to follow along through the below tour. Leave a comment with your email address and automatically be entered at a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate, Writing for Children One Step at a Time e-Book, or Writing, Publishing, and Marketing – You Can Do It e-Book.

July 1 - Kelly McClymer - Book Review

July 2 – Renee Hand – Book Review

July 5 - Deb Hockenberry – Book Review and Interview

July 7 - Kathy Stemke – Book Review

July 8 - Donna McDine – “An Effective Book Marketing Strategy: Joint Ventures”

July 9 - Dianne Sagan – “Writing for Children: Finding Age Appropriate Words”

July 11 - Stephen Tremp – “Rewriting a Folktale”

July 13 - Heidi Thomas – “Book Promotion: The Foundation”

July 15th - Nancy Famolari's Place – Book Review

July 18 - Kristin Johnson – “Is Your Character One, Two, or Three Dimensional?”

July 19 - Elysabeth Eldering – Book Review

July 21 - Susanne Drazic – Book Review

July 23 - Margaret Fieland – “Writing Focus, Determination, Perseverance, and Positive Thinking”

July 25 - Maggie Ball – “Successful Writing Strategy: Know Your Intent”

July 27 - Susanne Drazic – “Storytelling – Keep Your Reader Engaged”

July 28 - Farrah Kennedy - Book Review

July 30 - Beverly McClure – “Writing for Free – A Means to an End: Visibility”

Title: Walking Through Walls
Author: Karen Cioffi
Illustrator: Aidana Willow Raven
Genre: MG/Tween/YA
ISBN: 978-0-9826594-7-2
Publication Date: July 2011
Pages: 61
Price: $14.99 paperback
Publisher: 4RV Publishing

Full Media Kit, Headshot, Book Cover Art and more are available upon request.

Karen Cioffi is an author and ghostwriter. Her new MG/YA fantasy book, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale.

The book will be available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and book stores by July 15th.

You can preorder it through Walking Through Walls today at 4RV Publishing

To learn more about Walking Through Walls check out some reviews

To find out more about Karen and her books, click here

Thursday, June 23, 2011

SC State Library, SC Festival of Discovery and State Capitals Bingo?

I realized after this past weekend's event and doing my workshop that I'm going to need more games to play for prizes in the workshops and at events where I'm not really doing my workshop; I had one girl in my workshop who remembered playing my game last year at the table and winning a prize, but thankfully she won a different prize this year.

Jess, my wonderful assistant, attended the SC State Library workshop during the time I was actually doing my "Writing Roads" workshop. She came back with a Day by Day calendar, which isn't dated but is themed by the month. Anyway, glancing through it, not only does it have daily activities that can be done as a family unit, but there are tidbits of events or activities going on around the state each month and recommended books to go along with the month's theme. I was scanning through the calendar and in July found the SC Festival of Discovery in Greenwood, which is only about 25 miles from where I reside. So I contacted them and after submitting my information (my sell sheet and a picture of my table setup) they decided that writing is a different form of art and that I could be a participant in the Arts & Crafts fair during the festival.

After sending off my registration form and check, I thought "hmm, I need some activity in my tent for the kids to do to win prizes that will be different than my "Road Trip" game and keep the prizes different too." So I texted Jess and asked that she brainstorm some ideas. I googled "free printable united states games" and this Super Teachers worksheets website came up with lots of state related pages. One of the first ones I pulled up was the State Capitals Bingo game - and decided to print it out. The first time I printed it out on regular paper and then thought it needed to be sturdier, so I printed again on card stock. Then I decided to color code the calling sheet and the bingo cards (yeah, I'm a geek, I use highlighters for work - usually just four colors but I do have the yellow that I haven't been using, so that gave me five colors, which worked out perfectly). This is the result of the calling card sheet and one set of bingo cards:

This is the call sheet, which I'll laminate and cut the pieces up so that we can put them in a box from which we will do the drawing.

This is a page with two finished cards. Again, these will be laminated (dry erase markers will be used to mark the spots) and cut apart but as you see, the colors go along with the call sheet - the bingo cards list the capitals and the call cards have the state and the capital under it.

I figured that we could call and show the color that would help the kids figure out the capital and if they have it on their card or not. The card on the left has 9 spots that are blue (hopefully not all the blue capitals will be called during a bingo game). The one on the right has 7 orange spots. Some game cards are pretty evenly distributed, but then again, no one was thinking color coordinating the call sheet with the bingo cards for prompting the kids.

I printed off another one which I may use in a larger workshop called "I have ..., Who has ..." - the cards have the capital of a state for the "I have" part and then you ask "Who has the capital of ??" and you say the state on your card. This may just be an occupier type activity - not for prizes.

Two other state capital things I'll probably use are the States and Capitals Quiz, laminate so that the kids can use the dry erase markers to fill in their answers to be checked and the numbered state/capitals worksheet - will probably do either state or the capital but they have to get so many correct in order to win a prize.

So what do you think of one of my new games? Any other ideas or resources out there to be used for small prizes to keep the kids entertained, state or patriotic related? Share your thoughts, please. Ma America :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SCHEA conference - Great weekend

We started out late Thursday (about an hour later than planned) and we arrived to USC-Sumter about 8:30 (supposed to be out of the building around 9) to get our table set up.

Jess and I had the table setup somewhat by about 10 or 15 after 9 and then a few minutes we were kind of pushed out by the cleaning people.

I needed a couple of things so Jess and I headed over to Walmart. Jess found this delightful rug that answers the question "Where will the adventure take you next?" and I decided to buy it, although it was $5 more than I was planning on spending (actually it ended up being half price when, so it was well worth the cost). What do you think?

When we got back to the hotel, we had a hard time getting online and it took forever. I wanted to check my email and do a little plurking or socializing online, but that didn't happen.

Got up and headed back to USC-Sumter to do last minute fixing up of booth and wait for the crowds.

My table, done mostly by Jess:

(Full table view with mat and map)

(first three books plus the passport booklet)

(Passport booklet with books 4, 5 and 6)

I forgot to put out book 7's cover that I had printed off (was hoping that Wilderness's cover had gotten to me before leaving to print out and show everyone the new cover for the re-release but it didn't arrive in my email until I had shut down my computer and didn't even get it until I got to the hotel and got to check my emails Friday night; Heather is working on another cover now so that should be ready to be shared soon). Anyway here is Uncle Beary peaking out from between the Passport booklet and the cover from State of Acceleration; I even had one girl ask me how much he was - lol. I had to let her know that he is just my mascot, but it's all good.

Had four kids in my workshop on Friday afternoon but overall I think it was a successful day. Did sell two copies of State of Successes and one of the Passport booklets on Friday. Went to the Hibachi Grill and Buffet with a couple (Kyra and Dwight, WriteShop representatives) and enjoyed the company.

Saturday was kind of a slow day for everyone as the crowds were low and with half the vendors as compared to last year, we just couldn't compete with the big convention that just occurred in March in the upper part of the state (The Great Homeschool Convention Southeast conference - was supposed to draw folks from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and possibly part of Florida). Dwight had said he was going to buy a couple of books for his nephew to read over the summer and after lunch, he came over to the table and bought a copy of all six books - lol. How is that for a day? All in all, a good weekend (I've not sold 9 books at any conference or event yet; I think the most I've sold at one sitting was 6 or 7 at the Love to Learn conference last August. I also had four or five people who remembered me from last year so that was a nice touch. My biggest thing is getting known and it is slowly coming, so I do consider this successful and we are on the right track.

Next big events that need to be paid for (and wow would I love to have some sponsors or some huge sales right about now - lol) will be the SCCSS and GCSS conferences ($425 and $300 respectively). I know if these are meant to be accomplished the funds will show up. Coming up in August is the school/library visit to Matthews Elementary School in North Carolina, Love to Learn homeschool conference, Mint Hill's Sunday in the Park, and maybe the Williamston Spring Water festival but may not do that one as I haven't heard much from folks about events. See you all in the postings - Ma America & the JGDS :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sumter bound for the SCHEA conference

(old cover, awaiting the new one for the rerelease of Wilderness next month)

This weekend, I'm heading to Sumter, SC, for the SCHEA (South Carolina Home Educators Association) conference. Friday will be a fast day since my workshop, Writing Roads, is scheduled for the kids right after lunch at 1:30. I don't know which room I'll be in yet, but am hoping to be in the same building as the exhibitor hall in one of the back classrooms there. My daughter's friend will be going with me again to help out; she's such a good helper.

I have all our maps and information already printed out and have a few surprises for her in the car. We have made plans to eat at a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant we ate at last year; for a local place the food was very good. I'm looking forward to a new trip. Hoping to be able to show my new cover for State of Wilderness (hurry up Heather and get me the cover so I can show it off - lol) and will have a printed copy of State of Acceleration's cover for display too. I hope we have enough books on hand and hope people are buying. I've checked the vendor/exhibitor list and it doesn't seem there are as many folks this year as there were last year so that could be a disadvantage in that there may not be as many attendees either or it can work to our advantage in that there aren't that many folks to browse from and therefore, we will do very well sales wise. Wish us luck; I'll post after the weekend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Study Guide process

As a response to one of the comments on Stephen's blog today about study guides, someone requested I make a posting of one my comments. So here it is, modified a bit, to show my process of creating a study guide to supplement my books.

The question was: Can you point to any study guides that you would hold up as shining examples? I'm still intimidated by the idea of writing one.

My study guides aren't very long (about 10 or 12 pages overall) and consist of a cover (I use an already created study guide to just swap out my information and change my footers to match the title of the book) which has across the top STUDY GUIDE, my website addy, cover of the book; my copyright page which includes information about reproducing the pages; an index of what all is in the study guide; the discussion questions or research projects; the science experiment or map/math skills activity or H.S.I in-depth social studies research project (H.S.I. stands for Historical Scene Investigation (borrowed the idea from this site - like CSI but it takes a specific clue further with the kids performing historical research and working on timelines and other parts of the clue; a simple clue can be very intriguing); an art or craft project if there is one; my secret message puzzle; and the end-of-book quiz (only in books 1, 2, and 3 for now until those come out of contract with the publisher and are converted over to the new format) or end-of-book trivia game (State map outline as the gameboard with question cards); the answer keys; and the bibliography - simple, not too long yet covers a lot of ground.

My response was as follows (this is modified a bit), which I was asked to post on my blog:

You can make them as simple or as in-depth as you feel is warranted. My basic formula is this:

First, before the book is published and the final stage of me "writing" the story, I go through the clues and figure out which ones would make short discussion questions to be included in the book; at the same time, I scan to see which would make more in-depth discussion questions or research projects for the study guide. The discussion questions/research projects for the study guide may include doing a project or writing an essay or something to go along with the research. This falls into the ELA curriculum.

After that, I figure out which clue would make a decent science experiement or map skills activity or even math or more social studies. I search for some fitting activity to fill in another piece of the curriculum. Sometimes it seems a book is very science based, and others there is a lot of history basis to the clues. With book 6, the first two books have had science experiements in them as have the 5th and 6th ones. I'm really trying to stay away from overloading everyone with science experiment after science experiment. After all, variety is the spice of life.

Some books will have clues that can be turned into a creative project/activity or be used for something for fun. State of Successes has a weave your own basket using foam circles (I picked up the idea from the making friends craft website in the Girl Scout swap section) and either plastic bags cut into strips or other things for the weave (I've also found that ribbons work well for the weave but have also used yarn and tried the raffia as suggested on the website).

I use Disovery's puzzlemaker for my "secret message puzzle" (there are five puzzles I'll use throughout the series). The secret message in my case is the state's motto.

And my last section, originally was an end-of-book quiz, is a trivia game using the state's map outline with the capital marked as my game board. I put the state map in paint and either flip it (if the state is longer than it is wide and won't fit properly on a standard sheet of paper) and then add the squares and lines to follow the track around the state until you end up at the capital.

Since my study guides are book specific, if you haven't read the corresponding book, then the quiz/trivia game may not make that much sense, as those are just to make sure the student has read the book completely.

I also include the same bibliography that is in the books in the study guides since I use the same sources for many of the clues in the books.

I create my study guide in Word first and then I convert it to a PDF file (I use cutePDF in my printers group to convert the document).

This is my process for creating a simple study guide of about 10 or 12 pages in length which are reproducible for a teacher to use in a class when using the books to supplement his/her social studies or US History class.

If anyone would like a sample PDF file of a study guide, just email me at eeldering AT gmail DOT come with "Sample study guide" in the subject line and I'll be happy to email you a copy of the 1st and 4th (the one with the end-of-book quiz and the first one with the end-of-book trivia game) - Mrs. E :)

Study guides article on Stephen Tremp's blog

Today, Stephen Tremp is featuring my quick article on study guides. Stop over and make my birthday a special one. Mrs. E :)

Web Page Hit Counter