Monday, October 13, 2014

Blogging from the Heart - Children's Author Tour

Hi Everyone,

I have been invited to participate in the “Blogging from the Heart” Tour by my author friend, Enisca Jones. 

Author Enisca Jones
Before I take my turn, I would like to introduce you to Enisca, the author of the “Anya Stories” and “Just Write it!”

~ Enisca L. Jones ~ was born in Nassau, Bahamas. She grew up with a love for the outdoors which was mostly seen in her fondness for climbing trees and going to the beach. She was, and still is, a barefoot girl who loves to explore. A new comer to writing and illustrating, she is determined to use her new found love to share valuable life lessons, adventure, creativity and her heart with the world. She is an avid reader, artist, blogger and most of all loves to tell stories.  Her first series of books include Anya's Stories Valuable Lessons that teach the lessons of Love, Independence, Responsibility, Decision Making and Listening.  Anya Goes Exploring Coloring and Activity Books that teach about the sites of Nassau Bahamas.   Mookie's Excellent Adventure has now joined her group of books. Please check out Enisca’s stories at:
Thank you for inviting me, Enisca! 

Rhonda Paglia
aka - Grammy Pags
Before we start, I want to introduce myself: 
I’m Rhonda Paglia of “Grammy Pags Stories.”  I’m a retired elementary teacher and a "not so retired" grandmother from Pennsylvania. My husband and I have three grown children and five grandchildren. We also have a little Yorkiepoo named Bella!  She’s my shadow!!  I enjoy gardening and tap dancing - YES, I'm a Grammy tap dancer!!  I also do yoga, play with my grandchildren and Bella, and of course, enjoy writing stories for kids!

I have been asked to answer 4 questions on this blog, so here we go!

1.  What am I working on?
Coming soon!
I have several projects going on right now.  I’ve finished a funny, actually, it’s a pretty wacky book, that will help young kids learn their colors.  It’s titled, “Grammy’s Rockin’ Color Rapalicious Rap.”  Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy and it is – but it really rocks!  This Grammy had fun rapping and writing it.  Now I’m looking for an illustrator to bring it to life. 

Doonsey's Beach Adventure,
the Great Rescue
I’m also working on Doonsey’s second adventure.  Doonsey is the main character in his first book titled, “Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue.”  Doonsey is a feisty ocean crab.  He’s small, but mighty, and he loves to explore.  The inspiration for Doonsey was a little wind-up toy I purchased for my granddaughter when we were vacationing at Kure Beach in North Carolina.  She immediately named him Doonsey, and before I knew it, Doonsey started on a merry adventure – exploring the beach, and later becoming a hero!  I have one or two more ideas for Doonsey adventures, so stay tuned.

Three Little Gnomes
& a Boy Named Orion
Illustrated by
Ratna Kusuma Halim
The other story that is tip-toeing around in the back of my mind is a sequel to the “Three Little Gnomes and a Boy Named Orion.”  Now that the gnomes have been introduced, I’d love for them to share more adventures in and around Grammy’s garden.  We’ll see. 

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Droppin' Time Stes
Teaching is my background and my love, so I always try to add a learning activity or component to my stories.  Sometimes the learning is subtle, like in “Three Little Gnomes.”  One of the gnomes is hard of hearing.  He talks REALLY LOUD!  His friends don’t make fun of him or call him names because of this problem. They just try to gently remind him to be a little more soft spoken.  The name Orion gives him ends up quite fitting, and helps this particular gnome remember to be a little more quiet.  I’ve also added a recipe in the Gnomes book for “Droppin’ Time Stew.” Kids can make it with an adult.  In the “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission,” my hope is that kids . . . and adults too . . . will follow the Lambs’ “BE” messages:  to BE
Follow the BE Attitudes
kind, Be a friend, BE polite, etc.  If we would all follow the “BE’s”, we would help make the world a better place.   In Doonsey’s adventure, kids have the opportunity to create their own Beach Buddies.  And in “Duke ‘n’ Matt, Rescue Road Warriors,” there are key vocabulary words with definitions and some look back in the story pages.  I write books I would have enjoyed using as a teacher.

3.  Why do I write/create what I do?
Duke 'n' Matt,
Rescue Road Warriors
I started out writing stories with my own three children when they were young.  We had a blast and they still have their original story folders.  Writing with my kids helped them become early readers.  As an elementary teacher, I would always have my students write and illustrate their own stories.  It was a huge undertaking, but I can’t tell you how many students, who are now adults, have told me that they kept their books and how grateful they are to have those special treasures.   Now that I’m a grandmother, I write stories with my grandchildren.  It’s great fun!  We have written cute, endearing stories, and my grandchildren love them because they get to be the main characters.  These stories will probably never make it into a real book, but you just never know.  A few of the titles are “Tractor on a Stick,” “The Scary Monster,” “Sofies trip to the Zoo,” and “Rowan’s Great Adventure." Do they sound like adventures you would read?

4.  How does my writing/creating process work?
I have been writing for fun.  My stories are based on real . . . and imagined events . . . that happen with my grandchildren.  I use facts, but also take the liberty of stretching the tales andadding some imagination to tell the stories.  After reading “Rowan’s Great Adventure,” to my grandson, Rowan, he said, “Grammy, that didn’t really happen!”  I laughed until I cried!  I’m still laughing!! [To date, this is one of those unpublished stories.] 

The Little Lambs
and the Very Special Mission

co-illustrated with
Taylor Galaska
I never thought about releasing any of my stories to the public, because I was just writing for the fun of it.  But all of that changed after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.  Twenty-one first graders and their 6 teachers were killed that day.  As a mom, a grandmother, and a retired elementary teacher, I was horrified by what happened.  I prayed for the victims and their families.  I prayed hard. During my prayers, I was “given” a sweet children’s story.  I didn’t ask for it and I was shocked when the story came to me.  I didn’t know what to do with it.  I tried to push it away, but it wouldn’t leave me alone.  So I followed through and wrote and illustrated it to the best of my ability with the help of 14-year-old, Taylor Galaska. That story became “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission.”  This story is dedicated to the children and teachers of Sandy Hook.  I donate all of the profits to the “Angels in Charge Scholarship.”  The funds go to students from Newtown High School, CT, who are planning a career in education.  I wanted to do something to honor the fallen teachers.  “The Little Lambs” is a sweet, gentle story and has a universal message.  It has received the endorsement of the "The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc., November 12, 2013: To date, I have sold 1,000 books and have donated $5000 to the scholarship.  I'm very proud of that accomplishment.

So, how does my writing / creating process work?  It depends on the situation, the idea, and the moment.  I would say most of my stories come to me with a beginning, middle, and end.  I just try to put everything together and make it fun.  

The next Doonsey adventure has been on my mind.  This summer, we were on vacation at the beach. During my walk one morning, the whole scenario came to me.  When I got home, I took notes so I wouldn’t forget my ideas and could work on the story when I had time.  That one came together quickly.  Now I just need to work on the illustrations – which are really difficult for me – so it may be a while before the next Doonsey story is ready.  I have several other story ideas, but I don’t have the ending yet.  Sometimes the endings are the most difficult for me.  Again, it depends on the story.

The other part I enjoy is the designing my books.  I have done all the layout and design of all my books - from cover to cover. It's quite a process, but I enjoy the artistic aspect and the end results are very rewarding.  I'm not a professional designer, so it's a huge accomplishment when my book is in hand, and  I can say, "I did that!" Writing and creating books are something that I never dreamed I would be doing, but I'm having aa great time!

Grammy Pags and Bella
Well, I’ve got to run!  Bella wants to go for a walk, Doonsey wants me to start illustrating, the grandkids are calling, and Papa wants dinner!  Such a busy place!

Thanks for reading and thanks to all the other children’s authors who shared their stories on:
The Blogging from the Heart Tour!

YYYHappy reading everyone!! YYY

To learn more or to follow Grammy Pags Stories, check out these links!
Website: ~ or ~
Special website for The Little Lambs:

YPlease check out these other “Blogging from the Heart” children’s authors!!Y

Carmela Dutra - Author of The Adventures of Lorenzo Bear:
Ensica Jones – author of the Anya Series:
Kristen Lamb - author of the Dani P. Mystery series:
Cat Michaels - author of Sweet T and the North Wind and Finding Fuzzy: a You-Decide Tale of a Lost Friend:
C. L. Murphy - author of the Lovable Lobo Series -
Jamie Stevens - author of Peep's Spring Surprise -
P. J. LaRue The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool  
Karen Emma Hall – author of Hello Teeny Pheeny:
Kirstin Pulioff – author of the Princess Madeline series: