Janice Spina – Reading Recommendation Revisited

Janice Spina has been a guest on Reading Recommendations several times – first in May 2014, then she returned for two updates in Dec. 2014 and Oct. 2015. I’ve now invited Janice to become part of the Reading Recommendations Revisited group of Authors, because of her enthusiastic promotion of me, my work, this blog, and the many other Authors who are writing and publishing independently – from around the world! Janice is a valuable member of this writing community and I thank her for the support she’s given to “all a we”, as they say on Bequia!!

author photo

RRR: Since your first promotion on RR, what have you been doing?

JS: Before I answer this question I want to express my gratitude to Susan Toy of RR who has been a wonderful support to me. She has tirelessly continued to post updates about my work. For her kindness and unending support I am truly grateful!1f44d

Since my first promotion on RR I have published three more children’s books, PS-Grade 3, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, and Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey.

I am currently working on a paranormal/mystery/romance, How Far Is Heaven, which I hope to publish this month or next. My husband, John, who is my illustrator, is working on my new children’s book about a cat. Book 3 of Davey & Derek Junior Detective Series is in its early stages as is a mystery/romance novel. I plan to publish Davey & Derek books 3 & 4 this year and the novel in 2017. I have a YA fantasy that needs serious editing which will be another project that I will undertake in 2017. A girl’s detective/mystery series is running around in my head for 2017 also.


Writing keeps me quite busy but I do spend time posting on my blog JemsBooks writing about my books, helpful tips for authors, guest posts, author interviews, supporting authors, and my travels.

On my website I offer copy editing services for authors. My credentials and references are listed at my website.


I am an avid reader and book reviewer on Amazon and Goodreads. If you look me up there you will see that I have read extensively and gave myself a reading challenge of 125 books for 2016. In the past few years I have surpassed each of my goals. My reading preferences are eclectic, from children’s books to mystery, thrillers, fantasy and historical fiction. Since I have a long list at present on my TBR list (to be read) I cannot promise to take on any more books for review at this time though.

RRR: What else have you been doing, outside of the writing?
JS: Hobbies: When I can I crochet hats, scarves, afghans, cowls, and amigarumis (animals & other characters) for my grandchildren during the winter months. This gives me a break from my writing and makes my grandchildren happy. That is what makes me happy too.

I plan to keep writing, entertaining and educating children about the importance of reading while teaching them important life lessons and family values.

Children are my main goal in my writing. I have donated my books to libraries and as gifts during Christmas. I recently blogged when asked for help obtaining books by the Civitain group in Arizona that helps special needs children to get up to their reading levels. This post was extremely well received and many authors have donated books to the Civitain group – 31 books at this time. I was thrilled to send copies of all my books to these children. It was a sincere pleasure to assist this group in procuring the books they needed. I thank all my fellow authors for their kindness and generosity in taking part in this needy cause.

I am happy to help any group that needs assistance in spreading the word about their group if it aids children in any way.

RRR: Is there one marketing tip or trick you discovered while promoting your own books that worked particularly well and that you’d like to share with other authors?
JS: I did a guest post on Chris The Story Reading Ape‘s blog about social media needs for authors. Here is the link in case you want to read the complete post.

I have found that when new or aspiring authors are just starting out they need to get their names and work out there on social media. That means starting a website and blog, signing up for FB, Twitter and other sites. Visit, follow and leave comments on other blogs and you will find that these bloggers will respond in kind and follow back. Helping others to promote their work will bring more followers to your blog. I have met so many wonderful people online through social media and many have become good friends and my wonderful support system, such as Susan Toy. It has been a joy to work together with other authors on group promotions and blog hops, etc. I have learned and grown with each new interaction. I look forward to many more rewarding experiences.

RRR: Please recommend three other authors whose work you have “discovered” or rediscovered this past year.
JS: Being an avid reader I have been fortunate to have met some creative and talented authors. There are so many of these authors’ books I have enjoyed and find it difficult to choose just three. If you will indulge me I will list three but also others that I have enjoyed.

These authors I list have many books to choose from and I have read a few of each of theirs. I have a good feel as to their distinctive writing styles. Here are my thoughts.

Robert K. Swisher, Jr. is a creative author who incorporates his wonderful sense of humor into his entertaining stories. His stories are eclectic and unforgettable. Robert’s Facebook Page.

Robert Thornhill is a talented author of the Lady Justice Series who mixes mystery/detective stories with humor. His characters are fascinating, well defined, memorable and fun to read. Robert’s Amazon Author Page.

These two authors I have recently discovered and only read one of each of their books.

Christoph Fischer is a talented storyteller of epic proportion. I read his incredible book, The Luck of the Weissensteiners, that tells an unforgettable tale of life during wartime for a family trying to survive. He reminds me of best-selling author Jeffrey Archer. Christoph on Amazon.

Mae Clair is a creative author who knows how to weave a tale of mystery and suspense. I look forward to reading more from her. Mae on Amazon.

Some more of my favorite authors are Sally G. Cronin, Nicholas Rossis, Peter Cimino and, Don Massenzio. I could go on and on about many more wonderful authors. (Sally, Nicholas and Don have all been featured on Reading Recommendations!)

Thank you, Susan Toy, for inviting me here today to your fabulous blog. A special thank you for all that you do for me and other authors to help promote our work.

My slogan is: Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Happy reading everyone!

Blessings to all!

Thank you, Janice!

Rick and Erica Bergh

BERGH ER12 Rick and Erica Bergh

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Mr. Lumberjack is a children’s book for ages 5-9 (illustrations by Franceska Dnestrianschii)

Quick description: Mr. Lumberjack is horrified when he discovers his forest in a shambles. A journey takes him to the culprit and a surprise ending that leads to a valuable lesson about being a steward of the environment. Includes a free sing-a-long song.


Brief biography:
Rick Bergh has been telling children’s stories all his life – first to his own four children and now to his grandchildren. They are the inspiration behind many of his heart-warming and humorous tales.

Erica Phare-Bergh is an accomplished choral conductor, music educator and pianist. Her original songs that accompany these books include excerpts from classical composers in order to familiarize children with that genre of music.

Links to buy the Berghs’ book:
Mr. Lumberjack is available on Amazon.ca and Indigo online platforms as well as in select Chapter’s bookstores in Calgary.

The Berghs’ promo links:
Email: sunshine (at) songwitheverystory.com

What are you working on now?
Our next children’s book is entitled The Stretchy Cheese Pizza. It’s based on an experience that our young grandson, Connor, had when making a pizza with him mom. When she left Connor for a moment, he dumped the entire package of cheese on top of the pizza despite a warning not to do so.

What ensues in our children’s book is the crazy adventure that the cheese takes Connor on when it explodes out of the oven and all over the neighborhood.

The Berghs’ reading recommendation:
I’m really trying to figure out how to best promote our books and have enjoyed Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Betty Jane Hegerat Recommends Glen Huser


Book title and author:
Time for Flowers Time for Snow
Written by Glen Huser
Illustrated by Philippe Béhe
Music by Giannis Georgantelis

What genre is it?
A children’s book—the retelling of a myth— but one that will surely delight all ages.


Quick description:
Time for Flowers Time for Snow is the retelling of the myth of Demeter and Perspephone. This book is the collaboration of author and lyricist, Glen Huser, composer and director Giannis Georgantelis and a choir of more than 180 Quebec children, and the Orchestre Symphonique Pop de Montréal. Illustrations are by Philippe Béha. The book includes a CD of the music, and narration by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. The book is an enchanted telling of the myth in narrative and song. As well as the story of Demeter and Persephone it is a contemplation of why seasons change; the cycles of plenty and scarcity, and joy and sorrow.

Far more than a children’s book, this is a work of multi-disciplinary art of the highest calibre.

Why I recommend this book:
Everything about Time for Flowers Time for Snow delights me. I believe the best of books for children are equally appealing to adults and beg to be read aloud and shared. This book has the added eloquence of song—opera by children. I recommend it because I want it in my own library and I want to give it to every special child in my life.

Links for people to buy it:
Always, I recommend that readers first seek books from local independent booksellers who are usually delighted to order the book if they do not have in stock.
Online: Amazon
Tradewind Books

HEGERAT BR09Guest reviewer’s latest title or project:
My newest title Odd One Out (Oolichan Books) is a book for young teens to be released this spring 2016. Betty Jane Hegerat has been featured a number of times on Reading Recommendations, most recently announcing this new about-to-be-published book she mentions.

Sharon Clark – an update on two new books for children

Sharon Clark was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in May, 2014. She is back now to tell us about the publication of two new children’s books!

A Strange Guest in an Ant's Nest

A Strange Guest in An Ant’s Nest
written by Sharon Clark
illustrated by Roberto Gonzalez
Genre: Children’s picture book

A Strange Guest in an Ant's Nest-4This picture book will delight children between the ages of 5 to 9. It is told in a unique story format from the perspective of Amber, a meadow ant. Children will learn some fascinating facts and behaviours of this type of ant, as the story unfolds.

Amber has recently emerged from her cocoon and is amazed at her surroundings. She quickly learns how to help with various duties. She carries eggs to warm and dry locations within the nest and helps to feed growing larvae.A Strange Guest in an Ant's Nest-3

One day she needs to leave her nest to bring back food – the consequence of an ant battle. Most of her trips to and from the nest are uneventful. But one of them is different. She encounters a large and different creature that frightens her. Amber fills the air with alarm scents to call for help from other workers. But when they arrive, they don’t attack. Instead, they do something strange – they transport this odd creature into their nest.

A Strange Guest in an Ant's Nest-2This picture book illustrates how insects that are very different from one another can live together in harmony. Their peaceful co-existence benefits both species. Kids can draw on their example. This story will encourage children to embrace the differences of others. It will help kids to understand that people of other cultures, religions and races enrich our lives in many ways. Without them, we would never have the opportunity to experience their delicious foods, unique music and art, or their interesting ideas.

The Caterpillar That Learned to Fly

The Caterpillar That Learned to Fly
written by Sharon Clark
illustrated by Roberto Gonzalez
Genre: Children’s picture book

The Caterpillar That Learned to Fly-2This picture book will delight children between the ages of 5 to 9. It is told in a unique story format from the perspective of Cutter a caterpillar. Children will learn fascinating facts about this caterpillar as the story unfolds. They will also discover the amazing transformation of one caterpillar into a butterfly.

Cutter is a caterpillar that eats, grows and sheds his outer skin a number of times. Although he lives a simple life on milkweed leaves, it often is filled with danger. The Caterpillar That Learned to Fly-3

A few weeks later he feels different, and he senses that he needs a very long rest. This time, as he hangs upside-down on the stalk of a milkweed leaf, great changes occur to his body. Cutter transforms into Flutter, a beautiful Monarch butterfly. The Caterpillar That Learned to Fly-4

He wastes no time in exploring a vast new world that he never knew existed. This book will let kids see how wondrous the natural world can be. It will also encourage them to follow Flutter’s example and discover what is beyond the world they are familiar with.

The Caterpillar That Learned to Fly-5

Where to buy Sharon’s books:
AmazonA Strange Guest in an Ant’s Nest
AmazonThe Caterpillar That Learned to Fly

Thomas Wharton – an update on a new children’s book

Thomas Wharton was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in August 2014, and is back now to tell us of a new illustrated book for children he has just published!


Rutherford the Time-Travelling Moose
written by Thomas Wharton
illustrated by Amanda Schutz
Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0-9948434-2-5, 32 Pages
Contact Information: info (at) rutherfordhouse.ca

Robin had no idea that a trip to Rutherford House with her grandma would lead to an adventure with a time-travelling moose! Come with Robin and Rutherford as they journey through Edmonton’s history, from the ice age to the present day, and discover how our city has changed through time. This 32-page adventure visits such sites as Rutherford House, the Alberta Legislature, Strathcona Library, Princess Theatre, the High Level Bridge and Garneau Theatre.

Available to purchase from:
Rutherford House – The Lilac Tree Gift Shop
11153 Saskatchewan Drive

Audrey’s Books
10702 Jasper Avenue

Tix on the Square
9930-102 Avenue NW

Carbon Environmental Boutique
12543-102 Avenue NW

Nicholas C. Rossis – an update on a new book for children

Nicholas C. Rossis was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in October 2014 and is back now to tell us about a new illustrated children’s book for which he has written the text.


text by Nicholas C. Rossis
illustrations by Demitris Fousekis

Purchase copies here

Let’s Face the Music and . . . Conduct

A group of animals has evolved into musical instruments. Or is it the other way around? Whichever the case, they have now formed their own little village: Musiville. And bands. Lots and lots of bands. When everyone starts playing their own tune, buildings get torn down by an invader. Can Musiville be saved from this unexpected threat?

Here is Musiville, in all its glory. I think you’ll agree that Dimitris Fousekis did a amazing job with the illustrations, and Alexios Saskalidis a great job with DTP. I hope you enjoy it! This is the perfect opportunity to step into the world of Niditales – my award-winning children’s books series.

Musiville is the second children’s book of Nicholas C. Rossis. Until the year’s end, you can read it in its entirety for free on Nicholas’ blog. The first book, Runaway Smile: An unshared smile is a wasted smile is also available. You can check it out on Runaway Smile’s page.

Hazel Hutchins

good hazel picture 2015 croppedHazel Hutchins

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Snap! is a picture book for ages 4 – 7, illustrted by Dušan Petričić and published by Annick Press

Quick description: Evan has a brand new set of crayons, perfect in every way, until…..the inevitable happens. But that’s when the delight of discovery truly begins to unfold.

snap from annick

Brief biography:
Hazel Hutchins has been writing picture books and novels for children for the last thirty years and continues to find inspiration in the interesting corners of everyday life. Her many awards include the Marilyn Baillie, R. Ross Annett and Shining Willow Young Readers Choice. Hazel is a popular presenter at schools, libraries and conferences.

Links to buy Hazel’s book:
Annick Press

Hazel’s promo links:
Hazel Hutchins’ Home Page

What are you working on now?
My latest, greatest, most-wonderful idea of course! A writer has to have that kind of enthusiasm for a story in order to put in the weeks, months, years of hard work needed to bring it to fruition. But I find I can’t talk about stories in progress or the energy fizzles out. For me, at least, stories need a great deal of time and a safe, quiet place in which to grow before they can become all they are meant to be.

Hazel’s reading recommendation:
Author Alex Brett has written two mysteries that combine murder, science and Canadian politics in a manner that immediately drew me into her stories and has left me wishing there were more. Both involve Ottawa investigator, Morgan O’Brien, who specializies in science fraud for the Canadian government but the books have different locals and different science themes … both of them totally intriguing and well researched.
Dead Water Creek (Dundurn, 2003) – salmon fisheries on the west coast of B. C.
Cold Dark Matter (Dundurn, 2005) – astronomy observatory atop the high peak of Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Nicholas C. Rossis Recommends Charles E. Yallowitz

Hero Cover Final

Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero by Charles E. Yallowitz

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Quick description:
Luke Callindor was born into Windemere’s most decorated family of adventurers. Since his birth, he has been treated with the greatest amount of respect and awe. Now, with a lifetime of training and the reckless cockiness of youth, Luke sets out to prove that he deserves the admiration that comes from being a Callindor.

Soon, he finds himself in over his head and constantly in trouble, until he realizes that the only things he has on his side are some new friends and his unwavering courage.

Charles author photo B&W
Why I recommend this book:
Yallowitz weaves an intricate plot that begins with Beginning of a Hero and already spans half a dozen books. He has plans for publishing a total of 15 books! His world is richly detailed, but it’s the characterization that makes his books an exciting read. More than anything, his characters are three dimensional. They bleed, laugh, suffer and make mistakes. In a sense, the major plot of story is not as important as the subplots that force the characters to mature along their path. These focuses make his books relatively quick reads and help them appeal to a wide audience. For more information about Charles, visit his website, The Legends of Windemere.

Links to purchase Charles’s book:

book photo NR_500


Guest reviewer’s latest title or project:
Nicholas Rossis lives in Greece, is the author of an epic fantasy series, Pearseus, has also published The Power of Six, a collection of short sci-fi stories, and was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Oct. 2014.

Runaway Smile: An unshared smile is a wasted smile is his most recent publication. It’s an illustrated children’s book you may currently read free online.


Lisa Bowes – update on a new book

Here’s Lisa Bowes, author of Lucy Tries Luge, published a year ago and featured on Reading Recommendations in Dec. 2013. Lisa is back to tell us about a new book in her Sports for Kids series of picture books.


Lucy Tries Short Track
written by Lisa Bowes, illustrated by James Hearne

After trying the sliding sport of Luge, Lucy is back for another speedy adventure—this time, she laces up her skates and tries short track speed skating!

It’s not as easy as it looks. When you skate really fast around tight turns, you just might crash!
But with her friends at her side, Lucy skims across the ice in a thrilling speed skating race.

LUCY MAINNeck and Neck




Claire crashes





Lucy Tries Short Track Olympia Full Cover

Lucy en patinage de vitesse French Full Cover

The book has already received some great promotion!
From Speed Skating Canada’s press release
And a short video clip from Global TV
A Radio Canada French Report – Lucy en Patinage de Vitesse
Video of Launch at Edinburgh School in Montreal West

Here’s where you may purchase Lucy Tries Short Track:
Independent Bookstores in Calgary – Owl’s Nest Books and Monkeyshines Children’s Books

Linda Granfield – new edition of “In Flanders Fields”!

Linda Granfield was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in March, 2014. She’s back now to tell us about the new edition of a book she originally published in 1995.


Linda Granfield is pleased to announce the release of a new, commemorative edition of In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae. This new edition comes at a particularly poignant time for Canadians as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War and as we look to the future, May 2015 will commemorate 100 years since In Flanders Fields was written.

During the First World War, Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote what was to become one of Canada’s best-known literary works after the death of his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer. Author Linda Granfield incorporates interesting facts and details of daily life in the trenches with lines from McCrae’s cherished poem. Accompanied by the evocative artwork of Janet Wilson, this beautiful collaboration is a moving tribute to this emotional subject.

This new edition includes the original text, maps, and powerful paintings of the acclaimed, classic 1995 edition and also features a new introduction by noted historian Dr. Tim Cook of the Canadian War Museum, along with striking new cover art by Janet Wilson.

Linda Granfield is the author of thirty non-fiction books for young readers and adults; each title reflects her lifelong interest in history. She has received numerous awards for her books, which cover themes such as immi- gration, slavery, and war and remembrance and has written about the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and the war in Afghanistan. For more information please visit her website.

Janet Wilson is the award-winning author and illustrator of over fifty books for young people. Inspired by the philosophy of Gandhi, “To reach peace we must begin with the children,” her non-fiction books address vital global issues of social, indigenous, and environmental justice. Janet lives in Eden Mills, Ontario. For more information please visit her website.


Photo taken by Linda Granfield. The Tower of London commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. As Linda says, “One bloom per soldier. A sea of red. And still we fight one another.”

In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae is available in paperback and a limited edition hardcover.

Where you may purchase the book:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.

Also available by Linda Granfield from Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.