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FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow (19th and 20th December) – Save $2.99

In Amelia Curzon blogs, Free on Amazon, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor on December 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Please feel free to download – You won’t be disappointed and I will be really, really grateful – so thank you!

“With great dastardly characters and lovable up risers, and set amongst the glorious, if disappearing backdrop of an undisclosed jungle, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor is a cautionary tale and a must read book for all”   (BookChatterCath – New Zealand)

amazon.com http://goo.gl/iOeV7
amazon.co.uk http://goo.gl/4KFXD

Children’s Book of the Week and Other Book Reviews

In Children's Book of the Week on December 19, 2012 at 1:03 am

Hi everyone, having decided to change the format of C.B.W., I am pleased to say that the highlighted Children’s Book of the Week is still featured,  but there are now also three other children’s book reviews for you to read, so please don’t forget to scroll down the page at Mungai and the Goa Constrictor where you can read the full reviews of all the books.

Pibbin the Small: A Tale of Friendship Bog by Gloria Repp featured on ameliacurzonblogger.wordpress.comChildren’s Book of the Week: Pibbin the Small: A Tale of Friendship Bog by Gloria Repp

Other Book Reviews:

The Incredible Escape of the Sly Little Fox by lily Lexington

Nimpentoad by Josh Herz, Henry Herz and Harrison Herz

Gnit Wit Gnipper and the Ferocious Fire Ants by T J Lantz

Woo Hoo! “Mungai” is the Main Feature This Week on The Bridge of Deaths Blog

In Books, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor on December 12, 2012 at 2:05 am

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor - A Children's Book by Amelia E Curzon - Book CoverMUNGAI AND THE GOA CONSTRICTOR

(recommended reading age: 9 to 90)

Probably one of the best books you and your family will read this year!

Likened to both Orwell’s Animal Farm and Kipling’s Jungle Book (though a very different tale) it is hoped Mungai and the Goa Constrictor will …… Read more at: The Bridge of Deaths on Tumblr

Children’s Book of the Week: Lionel’s Grand Adventure (Lionel and the Golden Rule)

In Children's Book of the Week on December 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Children's Book of the Week - Lionel's Grand Adventure, Lionel and the Golden Rule promotion of  Carte Blanche by Amelia Curzon

This week’s choice for Children’s Book of the Week is the delightful read, Lionel’s Grand Adventure (Lionel and the Golden Rule) by Paul R Hewlett. With its well-constructed text and its light touch, it has all the right ingredients for the intended reader; originality, humour, a touch of magic, a likeable hero, and above all a sound lesson in how to treat others.

Please come over and read more about this great little book at Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Guest Post: Read, Reflect, Review by Cathy Speight

In Guest Blogger, Reviewing on December 9, 2012 at 12:01 am

I am absolutely thrilled to introduce my latest Guest Blogger, book reviewer Cathy Speight. In this wonderfully informative post, Cathy shares some very constructive tips, and much of her own wisdom, on the criteria which make for a good review and a good reviewer. A very big welcome to you, Cathy!  And thank you so much for accepting my invitation to be my guest here.

Hello everyone!

Well, I won’t bore you with a long and dreary bio, but just so that you know a little about me, my name is Cathy Speight, I live in Bristol, UK, am married, have twin daughters, and three (nearly four) grandchildren.  I opted for retirement four Cathy Speight Reviewer Guest Blogging on aecurzon.wordpress.comyears ago when the company I worked for relocated to London and then last year, I did two things:  I signed up to Facebook (I’m a late developer), and I bought myself a Kindle.  Those two things are actually how I find myself here.  Thank you, Amelia, very much indeed for inviting me along.

The Kindle revolutionised my reading.  After only one eBook  I was well and truly hooked, and I joined a number of Facebook book groups where I met a hitherto unknown (to me) group of people:  indie authors.  I discovered an Aladdin’s Cave of indie books, got chatting to lots of authors and—long story short—I found myself creating my own review blog.  For me, clicking the last page of the book wasn’t quite The End. Complete closure was writing about what I thought of the book.  And lo, Cath ‘n’ Kindle Book Reviews was born—an album or an anthology of all my Kindle books.

Having reviewed for a couple of book-reviewing sites, I picked up some very useful hints about writing reviews, and together with what I personally like to see, I’d like to share those elements I believe make a good review and offer some ‘tips and wrinkles’ (where did that expression come from?) about becoming a reviewer:

  • Read the book from beginning to end (not as obvious as it sounds!) and carefully. (I have been known to read a page three times if I thought I hadn’t read every word).
  • Were the characters well-conceived, varied enough, did you like the heroes/heroines?
  • The plot—was it well-structured? Were there any loose threads?
  • Did you like the author’s style—was it suited to the genre?
  • The pace of the story—too fast, too slow?
  • Did it evoke any emotions? Did you cry or laugh?
  • Was the dialogue natural?
  • Was it well edited?
  • Would you recommend the book?
  • Would you read another book by the author?
  • A detailed synopsis of the story isn’t too important as there is always one at the point of purchase—but of course, it’s difficult to talk about the book without reference to the story, so keep it short with no spoilers—please, no  spoilers.
  • Try and be sensible about the length of your review—too short, and there are too many unanswered questions for the potential reader: ‘this was a good book, couldn’t put it down, I could relate to the heroine, and loved the ending’ isn’t going to influence a reader very much.  By the same token, if your review is too long—you will lose a reader’s interest—not just in the review, but maybe even in the book.
  • Most importantly, if you expect a well-edited, well-presented book from an author, I feel the very least you can do is give the same in return, so there should be no typos, spelling mistakes, etc.

Finally:

  • What didn’t you like and why?  This is the most ‘delicate’ part of reviewing. Don’t be afraid to say if you didn’t like a book—but be constructive, try to be helpful, and above all, don’t be nasty or abusive.  Not liking the book because you didn’t like the subject matter is, well, a bit of a non-starter.  Don’t read a book in a genre you know you don’t like or deals with a subject in which you have no interest or would prefer not to read about;  you just won’t be able to give an objective review

Try to take a bigger-picture view.  Not long ago, I posted a review on Amazon of what I thought was an excellent book. I discovered nearly 60 reviews, most of them good. I don’t often read reviews after I’ve read a book, but I was intrigued (and surprised) by the one- and two-star reviews. I thought it was a very good book, how could it possibly be worth only one or two stars? Had these readers put their reviews on the wrong page? Of course, we all have different tastes, and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but when I looked at these reviews more closely I thought they were a tad harsh.

The review was for a detective thriller. Amongst others, there were comments about certain issues that would never have happened in real life. Well, no, quite possibly that was true, but this is fiction. Isn’t that part of why we read? To escape from an ordinary real life? Isn’t that true of all entertainment, films, and drama shows? How many times have you said to yourself, yeah, like that really happens. But it’s drama, so we cut a little slack. Because it’s all good fun. Poetic licence is allowed.

Every book that lands in my lap for review is to me an extraordinary achievement by another human being and one I could never accomplish.

So before slapping one star on a book you didn’t like, it’s worth taking a moment to step back and reflect how that book got to be on your Kindle/eReader. It didn’t just happen. It may have taken years of hard work and dedication, first by the author and then a team of people doing their best, both parties keen to continue to improve in their respective crafts.  A little encouragement is one of the things that helps this process along.

A very handy tip for authors when they self-edit, is to step back from their potential bestselling masterpiece for a few weeks, even months, before rereading it.  A little break before writing a review is something I also advise.  Not weeks, though:  if you’re anything like me, I’ve forgotten characters’ names almost as soon as I’ve dived into the next book.  But after a few days, it’s surprising how differently you feel about a book.  I have sometimes upgraded from a two-star rating to a four-star rating after having had a few days to ‘digest’.

Judging by the number of books I have waiting to be read and reviewed, it would appear that there can never be enough reviewers!  Your to-be-reviewed list will grow rapidly to almost daunting proportions. Authors—especially indie authors—surf the ‘net searching for book reviewers and their blogs, and if their searches find you, you’ll be overwhelmed by requests.  Keeping to the genres you like (but don’t be afraid to try one you think you might) will keep your review list to a manageable level (says she whose TBR is quite off the radar).

Finally and most importantly, enjoy yourself: have fun writing your reviews, start a review blog, and share them!

Cath ‘n’ Kindle Book Reviews

Book Junkies’ Journal

Book Junkies Group on Facebook      

Find Cathy on Facebook

Follow Cathy on Twitter

Indies Unlimited

Guest Post: As Luck Would Have It by Zackary Richards

In Guest Blogger, Success on December 2, 2012 at 12:01 am

Author Zackary Richards guest blogging on Carte Blanche by Amelia Curzon

I am delighted to welcome my guest for the week, Zackary Richards, with his pragmatic look at the reasons why some succeed where others fail. 

I had a boss once who was truly a brilliant man. I asked him how he became so successful. He said, ‘If you want to be successful at anything, you need to figure out what it is you want, learn how to achieve it, then persevere until you get it.’

‘Or,’ he added. ‘Be lucky, because if you’re lucky all that other crap doesn’t matter.’

Over the years I have found those words to be one of the greatest truisms I have ever come across.

Recently I read that Frank Miller, the famous graphic novel writer and illustrator of the acclaimed The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, went on a rant about the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Called them lazy whiners who needed to go out and get a job.

I have noticed this attitude in many of the successful people I know. They often go on about how, in the beginning, they put in 16 hour days, 7 days a week, never took a vacation and firmly believed that if everyone put in that kind of effort they would be equally as successful.

Poppycock.

I have had the good fortune to have been in the company of talented people on both ends of the spectrum. Wealthy, successful people who have made their place in the world and poor, beaten down people, who, if their great talent is ever recognized at all, it will be after they’re dead.  Both types are equally talented, worked just as hard, and persevered through unrelenting hardships. One group succeeded, the other didn’t.

Why?

Simple. One group was lucky, the other wasn’t.

How often have you heard the saying, ‘he was a man before his time’? Take the artists Vincent van Gough and Paul Gauguin, two of the greatest painters who ever lived. Yet both had their work ignored and dismissed during their lifetime and died miserable and penniless.  Their paintings now sell for millions of dollars. Were they lazy, whiners who needed to go out and get a job?

Gregor Mendel, the now famous botanist and geneticist’s work was ridiculed and labeled nonsense during his lifetime. After his death however, his theories were proven correct and he is now considered one of the greatest scientists who ever lived.

I could go on and on about the multitude of personalities from all walks of life who worked hard, persevered and died broke and unappreciated, but I’m sure you get my point.

W.C. Fields was once quoted as saying, “If first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And then give up. No sense being a damn fool about it.”

Was he right? Not if you believe that Henry Ford had 5 failed businesses before his success with his car company. Or that R.H. Macy had 7 failed businesses before hitting it big with his New York store. That certainly says a lot for determination BUT I’m curious as to where Ford and Macy got the money to finance all these businesses. I know businessmen whose businesses failed. And from what I’ve seen, it takes years to rebuild their credit and to dig themselves out of debt. So if Ford and Macy had so many opportunities, that wasn’t perseverance, that was just plain luck.

And in many instances perseverance can ruin your life. I know a man who is struggling to get a business off the ground whose time has simply passed. He loves it with all his heart and truly believes the industry will bounce back.

I’m sure many a blacksmith felt the same way.

But it’s not going to happen.

So I’m going to ask all my successful friends to remember that at one time, after years of hard work and perseverance, you just happened to be at the right place at the right time, met the person who believed in you and gave you the opportunity to run with the ball. And you did, which made you the success you are today.

And while you’re doing that I would also ask you to remember that there are many people who worked just as hard, sacrificed as much and persevered as long, who never made it to the right place at the right time, never met that special person, never had the opportunity to show what they could do.

So in conclusion I’d like to ask all the people out there who dream big, are hungry for the good life, have a passion for success, wealth and independence, just one question.

Do ya feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?

Visit and read Zackary’s awesome Blog and view his books

Find Zackary Richards on Facebook

Follow Zackary Richards on Twitter

How To Get Your Book Published   (A tutorial video by Ari Publishing)

Last Chance to Buy Mungai and the Goa Constrictor at the Sale Price

In Books, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor on December 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Originally posted on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor:

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor by Amelia E Curzon - Book Cover

Today is the last day to snap up a copy of Mungai and the Goa Constrictor at the bargain price of 99 cents or 77 pence

Tomorrow Mungai and the Goa Constrictor will revert to its original price of $2.99.

Be sure to get your copy now on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

You won’t be disappointed!

This is a classic tale for children and adults alike.

Action, adventure, humour,deceit, friendship and environmental awareness – all in one!

Read all 15 good and honest  reviews here

View original

Children’s Book of the Week: Thomas and the Lily Pond

In Children's Book of the Week on November 27, 2012 at 12:38 am

Thomas and the Lily Pond - Book cover

I am thrilled to introduce this week’s Book of the Week, Thomas and the Lily Pond by Jane Whiteoak. With enchanting animal characters, charming illustrations and a fast pace this enjoyable little book shows children how friendship ultimately will triumph over bullying tactics.

Please come over and read more about this great little book at Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Guest Post: Take Aim and Target Your Children’s Writing by Valerie Allen

In Guest Blogger, writing on November 25, 2012 at 12:01 am

As a children’s author myself, I am particularly pleased to welcome this week’s Guest Blogger, Valerie Allen. Valerie, who also presents workshops on the same subject, shares her philosophies on targeting specific audiences, and what to take into account when doing so. Welcome, Valerie, and thank you for being my guest.

To successfully reach their target audience, children’s writers must keep in mind four basic considerations: the child’s age, grade, reading level, and interests.

Age Level                                                                                                                             Most children enjoy reading about characters who are a few years older than they are. Children want to reach beyond their peers and experience possible future events in the here and now as they read. Most children’s books are written within an age range, for example, 6 to 9 years or 10 to 12 years.

Grade Level                                                                                                                       Grade level is usually an indication of a child’s reading skills, such as phonics, sight words, and comprehension. Books do not have to be written at an exact grade level, but within a grade range, such as preschool through Kindergarten, or sixth through eighth grade. Most computers can easily provide the reading level by grade. This is often written as 3.2 meaning third grade second month or 7.9, which means seventh grade ninth month. Keep in mind grade levels are based on the school year with September as the first month. A reading level of 4.5 would indicate the youngster is in January of the fourth grade.

Reading Level
A child’s reading level is not always the same as his or her grade level. Reading is based on comprehension as well as word attack skills.

There are 250 basic sight words, which make up approximately 70% of all reading. Most children have mastered these words by the end of third grade. Basic sight words are typically one, two, or three-letter words. An informal way to check your sight words is to highlight all of the little words on a given page of writing.
                                                                                                                                            Interests
Books based on hobbies and interests are varied and must be written within the youngster’s age, grade, and reading level. Vocabulary is critical in these books and the author often includes an index of terms and definitions, with or without diagrams. Both fiction and nonfiction can be used to engage youngsters in reading about their hobby or interest. Using the solar system as an example, you can write a book that:

1.  Describes the solar system and encourages learning and understanding
2. Provides facts, greatest moments, or important figures in space exploration
3.  Tells a story involving a child who wants to walk on the moon.

As adults we can make an instant connection with others when we mention Dick and Jane, Nancy Drew, or The Hardy Boys. Today’s young readers will connect with Hop on Pop, Harry Potter, and Pippy Longstocking. Helping children read for pleasure and information is the primary goal for an author of a children’s book. Creating those enjoyable memories that last a life time is the reward of writing for children.

Valerie Allen, psychologist, author, and speaker writes fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Her two books for children in grades three to five are, Summer School for Smarties and Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends. She presents writing workshops for authors based on her book,Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged.

Buy on amazon.com          Website           Facebook

Write, Publish, Sell! by Valerie Allen - Book cover
 

Children’s Book of the Week: Who Will Hug the Sun

In Children's Book of the Week on November 20, 2012 at 1:13 am

Who Will Hug the Sun by Ey Wade - Book cover

Short, sweet, and uplifting. Those are the first words which spring to mind about Who Will Hug the Sun by Ey Wade. This informative, and somewhat touching little book which will surely engage any child and I am delighted to able to feature it this week.

Please come over and read more about this great little book at Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

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