Amazing Book-To-Movie Adaptations Coming To SA’s Big Screens

If you’re a bibliophile or a film buff, 2018 is sure to put a spring in your step, as a large array of popular novels will come to theaters and televisions.

Between June and August, expect to be entertained by movies adapted from books hot off the bestseller list. From family and musicals to drama, comedy and horror, there is something for everyone — and still enough time to read one or two of the books on which these movies are based.

1. “On Chesil Beach” (based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan) – June 2018

What’s it about? In 1962 England, a young couple dates and marries in quick succession, but immediately runs into trouble on their honeymoon night.

Genre: Historical

Who’s in it? Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff


2. “Love, Simon” (based on the novel Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda) – June 2018

What’s it about? The book follows a high school student whose life is turned upside down when his classmate threatens to out him as gay.

Genre: Young adult, coming-of-age

Who’s in it? Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel

3. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (based on the Marvel comics with the same title by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby) – July 2018

What’s it about? As Scott Lang balances being a superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.

Genre: Superhero, adventure, sci-fi

Who’s in it? Evangeline Lilly, Hannah John-Kamen, Paul Rudd

4. “The Meg”(based on Meg, A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten) – August 2018

What’s it about? Seven years ago, and seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Dr Jonas Taylor encountered something that changed the course of his life. Now he must confront his fears and return to the crushing depths to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

Genre: Suspense, thriller, sea adventure

Who’s in it? Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson


5. “Asinamali” (based on the play of the same title by Mbongeni Ngema) – August 2018

What’s it about? Adapted from Mbongeni Ngema’s Broadway production of “Asinamali”. In the prison yard on Robben Island, a man named Nelson Mandela told Msizi Dube: “Go and do it for all of us, for all our people. So one day we may join you in a free South Africa.”

Genre: Drama

Who’s in it? Kevin White

6.  “The Darkest Minds” (based on the novel of the same title by Alexandra Bracken) – August 2018

What’s it about? Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control over their future. For fans of “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games”.

Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, thriller

Who’s in it? Mandy Moore, Amandla Stenberg, Gwendoline Christie

7. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (based on the novel of the same name by Mary Ann Schaffer) – August 2018

What’s it about? A writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II, when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

Genre: Drama, historical, romance

Who’s in it? Lily James, Matthew Goode, Michiel Huisman

8. “Crazy Rich Asians” (based on the novel of the same title by Kevin Kwan) – August 2018

What’s it about? Three wealthy Chinese families prepare for the wedding of the year. When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

Genre: Comedy, romance

Who’s in it? Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding

9. “The Wife” (based on the novel of the same title by Meg Wolitzer) – August 2018

What’s it about? A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. But behind the compromises, the disappointment and disillusionment, there lies a secret…

Genre: Drama

Who’s in it? Christian Slater, Elizabeth McGovern, Glenn Close

10.  “Black KkKlansman” (based on Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime by Ron Stallworth) – September 2018

What’s it about? Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.

Genre: Comedy, biopic, thriller, drama, crime

Who’s in it? Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier

11. “Submergence” (based on the novel of the same title by JM Ledgard) – September 2018

What’s it about? In a room with no windows on the east coast of Africa, a Scotsman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance.

Genre: Thriller, romance, drama

Who’s in it? Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Alexander Siddig

12. “A Simple Favor” (based on the novel of the same title by Darcey Bell) – September 2018

What’s it about? Stephanie, a mommy vlogger, seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s sudden disappearance from their small town.

Genre: Crime, mystery, thriller

Who’s in it? Blake Lively, Linda Cardellini, Anna Kendrick

 

13. “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” (based on the novel of the same title by John Bellairs) – October 2018

What’s it about? A young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.

Genre: Adventure, fantasy, horror, thriller

Who’s in it? Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Sunny Suljic


14. “Venom” (based on the Marvel comics by Todd McFarlane and David Michelinie) – October 2018

What’s it about? When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he has to release his alter-ego, Venom, to save his life.

Genre: Horror, sci-fi, thriller, superhero

Who’s in it? Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson


15. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (based on the novel Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel) – November 2018

What’s it about? Melissa McCarthy stars in the adaptation of the memoir “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, the true story of bestselling celebrity biographer Lee Israel. When Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

Genre: Biopic, comedy, drama

Who’s in it? Melissa McCarthy, Julie Ann Emery, Richard E Grant

16. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” (based on the classic story of The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffmann) – November 2018

What’s it about? A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.

Genre: Adventure, ballet, family, fantasy

Who’s in it? Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Mackenzie Foy

17. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” (based on the novel of the same title by David Lagercrantz) – November 2018

What’s it about? Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.

Genre: Crime, thriller

Who’s in it? Claire Foy, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks


18. “Hunter Killer” (based on the novel Firing Point by George Wallace) – November 2018

What’s it about? An untested American submarine captain teams up with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.

Genre: Action, thriller

Who’s in it? Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Ryan McPartlin

19. “The Grinch” (based on the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss) – December 2018

What’s it about? A grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.

Genre: Adventure, animation, children, comedy, family

Who’s in it? Benedict Cumberbatch

20. “Robin Hood” (based on the novel The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle) – December 2018

What’s it about? A war-hardened crusader and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography and a timeless romance.

Genre: Adventure

Who’s in it? Taron Egerton, Jamie Dornan, Eve Hewson

21. “Mortal Engines” (based on the book of the same title by Philip Reeve) – December 2018

What’s it about? Many years after the Sixty Minute War, cities survive on a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels, attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.

Genre: Fantasy, sci-fi, adventure

Who’s in it? Hugo Weaving, Frankie Adams, Stephen Lang


22. “Mary Poppins Returns” (based on the books by P.L. Travers) – December 2018

What’s it about? In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins. Through her unique magical skills, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Genre: Family, musical

Who’s in it? Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth

 

Here are nine of the book-to-movie attractions to look forward to in 2018 in South Africa between January and May.

1. The Maze Runner: Death Cure – January 2018

What’s it about? – When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze.

 Genre: Young adult, teen, adventure

2. 12 Strong (based on the novel Horse Soldiers) – February 2018
What’s it about? 12 Strong” tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.

Genre: Intelligence and espionage, history.

3. A Wrinkle In Time – March 2018

What’s it about? In 1962, Madeleine L’Engle debuted her novel “A Wrinkle in Time“, which would go on to win the 1963 Newbery Medal. Bridging science and fantasy, darkness and light, fear and friendship, the story became a classic of children’s literature and is beloved around the world. Now Disney is bringing it to the silver screen!

Genre: Teen, young adult, time travel, science fiction

4. Red Sparrow – March 2018

What’s it about? Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to “Sparrow School”, a Russian intelligence service, where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. But her first mission, targeting a CIA agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.

Genre: Espionage, political thriller

5. Peter Rabbit – March 2018

What’s it about? A feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden.

Genre: Children’s, bedtime, animals

6. Ready Player One – March 2018

What’s it about? It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty and disease are widespread.

Genre: Young adult, dystopian

7. The War With Grandpa – March 2018

What’s it about? Peter is thrilled that Grandpa is coming to live with his family. That is, until Grandpa moves right into Peter’s room, forcing him upstairs. Peter decides to declare war in an attempt to get it back.

Genre: Teen, young adult, humour

8. Death Wish – March 2018

What’s it about? Dr Paul Kersey is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city’s violence as victims are rushed into his ER – until his wife and college-age daughter are viciously attacked in their suburban home.

Genre: Mystery, thriller, suspense

9. Every Day – May 2018

What’s it about? From the genius of David Levithan, co-author of “Will Grayson, Will Grayson“, and “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist“, comes a love story like none you’ve read before. A shy teenager falls for someone who transforms into another person every day.

Genre: Teen, young adult, science fiction, dystopian

These two articles combined have been initially published on Huffington Post SA in 2018.

Huffington Post SA
HuffPostSA

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We Need A Multicultural Children’s Book Day In South Africa

We Need A Multicultural Children’s Book Day In South Africa – Reading expands children’s levels of empathy and broadens their minds.

U.S. readers of all ages will celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day on Saturday, January 27.

In 2014, teachers and educators from Jump Into A Book and PragmaticMom presented their very first January 27 Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

The result was overwhelming, as authors, publishers, parents, teachers, bloggers and librarians joined forces to present an online event designed to shine the spotlight on diversity in children’s literature.

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Thanks to their sponsors, book review bloggers and thousands of readers, Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2014 achieved its goal of highlighting all of the amazing multicultural children’s books available to young readers, teachers, librarians and parents worldwide.

What is a multicultural book?

Multicultural children’s books are:

  • Books that contain characters of colour, as well as characters that represent a minority point of view;
  • Books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions;
  • Books that embrace our world and offer children new ways to connect to a diverse and richer world.

Our total social media shares for three days of our 2017 event (on the day before, day of and day after Multicultural Children’s Book Day) were an astounding 3.6-billion!

Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” Maya Angelou.

Reading puts us in touch with our humanity

Reading and access to diverse books offer children a safe door towards real life; towards what life is or how it could be; towards the lives of people from different nations and cultures. Towards different kinds of struggles, emotions and ideals; how and why are they like or unlike our own.

Reading expands children’s levels of empathy and broadens their minds.

Diversity and its meaning today in the book industry

The fact that different kinds of people – poor or rich, men and women, white and black – can write books is often a revelation for many young readers. “If they can do it, so can I!”

The book monopoly is a thing of the past. Today access to books and their creative journeys belongs to the young as well, and to women equally. The knowledge of this variety is undoubtedly empowering for many young minds.

Why diversity in children’s books is a win-win situation

The more children are exposed to different cultures and emotions through books, the more empowered they feel, as these books reflect their own race or inter-race, religion, sex or physical health, and home upbringing (including divorced families, immigrants, and single-parent families). Children feel good about themselves when they read about characters like them.

You can find free diversity book lists and activities here for teachers and parents.

The more we are exposed to different cultures, the more we gain in variety and humanity. By telling the same story in different languages, each time it becomes a new narration with a new lesson to pass on.

We live in a world that’s confronted, more than ever, with a wide variety of issues that impact directly on our lives and those of our children: global warming and social migration, terrorism and out-of-control political spectacles.

Access to diverse books offer our children the best tools to comprehend and deal with the worldwide chaos they have to live in. A diversity of books will hopefully empower our children and grant them the wisdom to understand themselves and their world . It will help them discover the power needed to stand on their own two feet and lead a life of humanity and empathy.

10 diverse books to enjoy (or find your own at your local library):

Who Was Nelson Mandela – As a child, he dreamed of changing South Africa; as a man, he changed the world.

Malala’s Magic Pencil – As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil that she could use to redraw reality.

The Cheetah And The Dog – Inspired by the true story of Kasi, the orphaned male cheetah, and Mtani, the female labrador, who struck up a remarkable friendship and remained lifelong friends.

They All Saw A Cat – The many lives of one cat – and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

A Long Walk To Water, Based On A True Story – The New York Times bestsellerbegins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two 11-year-olds in Sudan: a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985.

Home Of The Brave – Kek comes from Africa, where he lived with his mother, father and brother.

Little Suns – “There are many suns,” he said. “Each day has its own. Some are small, some are big. I’m named after the small ones.”

Giant Steps – Elephants have long been targeted by humans: not only are they killed for their ivory, but their extraordinary strength, intelligence and charisma have seen some of them captured, chained and effectively jailed for life.

We’re All Wonders – The unforgettable story of August Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face.

Wishtree – Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories…

Until South Africa hosts its first Multicultural Book Day, you can join the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Partyon Saturday, January 27, from 9:00pm to 10pm; U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

This article was initially published on the Huffington Post SA on 26 January 2018, here.

Huffington Post SA
HuffPostSA

Puppy, FREE to a good home – Free 5* eBook Giveaway only 20-23 Jan. 2018

Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles FREE eBook, SPECIAL Giveaway 20-23 January, only on Amazon

Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles
Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles by Patricia Furstenberg

Get Puppy NOW on Amazon US 

Get Puppy NOW on Amazon UK

Get Puppy NOW on Amazon DE

Get Puppy NOW on Amazon FR

Here is what book readers and book reviewers have to say  about Puppy:

My daughter loved this book. She enjoyed pointing out what was happening in the illustrations and listening to what the puppy got up to.” (Jodie for Whispering Stories)

“This is a gorgeous, uplifting collection walking us through the introduction of a new canine family member. From the moment that gorgeous little bundle is brought home, through the settling in and growing bond between family and friend.” (Mama B on ReadAllAboutIt)

Puppy, 12 Months of Smiles and Rhymes
Puppy, 12 Months of Smiles and Rhymes

“What a charming book this is. I must first commend Patricia Furstenberg on the fabulous quality of the illustrations as Puppy: 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles could be enjoyed through the pictures alone as there is so much to look at and discuss. It would be just right for pre-school children. ” (Linda Hill, on Linda’s Book Bag).

“This is such a delightful little book that made me smile and giggle at all the antics in Puppy’s first year of life.” (Susan Hampson on Books From Dusk Till Dawn).

“Puppy: 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles would be a great addition to any family’s story time reading although adults beware…..if you don’t already have a dog in your life your “human pup” may just suddenly want one after seeing how much fun they have.” (Mandie for JenMedsBookReviews)

“This is a lovely book with cute illustrations. A book I think will be loved and read over and over again by children and adults, especially those who are dog lovers.” (Kerry on Chat About Books).

Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles
Puppy, FREE eBook 20-23 Jan

Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles by Patricia Furstenberg is a fun, exciting, adorable, and a must-read children’s book.” (Nada for Nadaness In Motion)

“This is such a sweet, well thought out book that will be perfect for children. I think parents and children will enjoy reading this together. There will be so much that children can relate to.” (Laura on NovelKicks)

“This is a fun little book that would be a great gift for a child with a new puppy, or an adult who simply wants to relive those puppy moments – without all the teeth.” (Casey on She’s All Booked!)

“This is a really cute children’s book that lets the reader follow the first year of a young puppies life but from his point of view. ” (Jessica on Books A Plenty)

Read more Puppy reviews on Goodreads.

Puppy, free special kids eBook 20-23Jan on Amazon
Puppy, free special kids eBook 20-23Jan on Amazon

Get Puppy NOW on Amazon US 

Get Puppy NOW on Amazon UK

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Sneak Peek Inside my Diverse Children’s Books

This Christmas Season, have a look inside my illustrated children’s books: Joyful Trouble, Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles, The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog

Buy on Amazon Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg
Buy on Amazon Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg

Joyful Trouble

  • Kindle UK Storyteller 2017 Top Reviewed
  • When a Great Dane arrives in a Navy base nobody expects him to win everybody’s hearts, although breaking some rules along the way.
  • “A story that reads like a movie.”
  • I picked up this book intending to just read the first chapter to get a feel for it. I was utterly sucked in and I am completely in love with Joyful Trouble – what a dog!
  • Also available in LARGE PRINT
Buy on Amazon Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg, sneak peek
Buy on Amazon Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg, sneak peek
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg, sneak peek
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg, sneak peek
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg, sneak peek
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg, sneak peek
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg

 

Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles
Amazon link to Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles

 Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles

  • Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles: is an auditory feast for children, a fun read-aloud for parents, and treat for dog-lovers, young and old.
  • If you have a dog, or you’ve ever had one, there’s no question that you’ll find yourself having a little giggle at this! Whilst clearly designed as a poetic children’s book composed of vibrant colours and illustrations which any little reader would love, it also resonates brilliantly with their adult counterparts.
  • This book is definitely aimed at younger children and will delight them as an adult reads it out loud to them. However any dog lover will also love this book and will no doubt smile as they do so.
Link to Amazon: Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles
Link to Amazon: Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles
Link to Amazon: Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles
Link to Amazon: Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles by Patricia Furstenberg

The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog

  • Link to Amazon: The Elephant and the Sheep
    Link to Amazon: The Elephant and the Sheep

    The Elephant and the Sheep: “Beautiful illustrations, a lovely message of friendship and overcoming lifes struggles and of course, as this author does so well, another fantastic story showcasing the brilliance of our furry (or not so furry!) friends.

  • Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog
    Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog

    The Cheetah and the Dog: “The moral of the story is that no matter your colour or creed, friends come in different forms and help each other. They are there for one another no matter what. The illustrations are beautiful. They are vibrant and portray the animals and their surroundings perfectly.

  • Link to Amazon: The Lion and the Dog
    Link to Amazon: The Lion and the Dog

    The Lion and the Dog: “The illustrations are bright and depict what is happening in each stage of the story. There are lots of other animals to spot in the illustrations. My daughter enjoyed pointing them out and naming them as I read the story to her. She was sad for the lion but was so pleased when the lion became friends with the dog and cheered up.

Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog, diversity stories
Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog, diversity stories by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: The Lion and the Dog by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: The Lion and the Dog by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: The Elephant and the Sheep by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: The Elephant and the Sheep by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog by Patricia Furstenberg
Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog by Patricia Furstenberg

 

Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog, diversity stories
Link to Amazon: The Cheetah and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Lion and the Dog, diversity stories

Find ALL my eBooks, paperback books and large print paperback editions on Amazon:

Amazon US, Author Patricia Furstenberg

Amazon UK, Author Patricia Furstenberg

Amazon Deutschland, Author Patricia Furstenberg

Amazon Japan, Author Patricia Furstenberg

 

 

 

 

Author H.A.Leuschel: My Sweet Friend, Hot New Release, and Telling Stories to Understand the Human Mind

Helene Andrea Leuschel is a wonderful Twitter friend and a talented author of psychological thrillers and writing dwelling into the human psychic. Her writing style has been described as “gripping”, “thought-provoking”, “full of depths and pathos.” She is the author of “Manipulated Lives” and  “Tess and Tattoos”.

My Sweet Friend by H.A.Leuschel
My Sweet Friend by H.A.Leuschel – A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

H.A.Leuschel’s new novella “My Sweet Friend” is coming out today, a fascinating modern story told from two points of view, that of the victim and of the manipulator, moving seamlessly between the two.

My sweet Friend on Amazon UK

My Sweet Friend on Amazon US

My Sweet Friend on Amazon Canada

My Sweet Friend on Goodreads

My Sweet Friend, Book Blurb

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

Read Helene’s thoughts on why writing stories for grown-ups is so compelling to her.

Telling stories to understand the human mind

Manipulated Lives
Manipulated Lives

Human beings have been telling each other stories for times immemorial, and this for many different reasons. Oral tradition has allowed knowledge to be passed on from one generation to the next, making sure that traditions, folk songs, general information and historical facts are not lost. This transmission was mainly done through speech or song.

As opposed to stories that are written down and can therefore be debated about more objectively, stories passed on orally are more vulnerable to distortions or misrepresentations. Hence, apart from the obvious and innocent problem of falsification, verbal transmission has always been a potential for fraud. A king or emperor for instance may have wanted to make sure that only good things were spoken about him or her, that any flaws were erased, and documents destroyed that could compromise the image of a perfect leader.

Tess and Tattoos
Tess and Tattoos

As much as a writer may also be misunderstood by her readers, the orator has a more difficult task in passing on information successfully, yet also the advantage to use the weakness of speech to manipulate and control. A lie is born whenever this happens, a deception to confuse and mislead another person.

The longer a person lies and improves in tricking others, and the more they enjoy the success, the more likely it is that they become addicted to telling a false story.

In my first book Manipulated Lives, I wrote five stories that were centred around psychological manipulation, a tool that although it can vary from mild to severe, has one underlying symptom in common: lying.

In my new stand-alone novella, I explored the pathology further where it is one character’s main skill in life and the curse she is unable to shed …

Helene Leuschel
Helene Leuschel

Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

For more information about the author and her upcoming books, please visit:

Helene Leuschel Author Website

Helene Leuschel on Twitter

Helene Leuschel on Facebook

Find Author Helene Leuschel on Goodreads

Art Vibes Exhibition by Heinrich Pelser, Live Performance by Lily and Bear, Ice Cream from Legendairy @ Leaky Tap Craft Exchange

What is better to do on a rainy summer’s day in Pretoria than to visit a cutting-edge art exhibition, listen to great live music, enjoy home-made  gelato and smash a Leaky Tap Golden Ale while having a relaxed conversation with interesting people?



Heinrich Pelser
is an accomplished South African musician and a much treasured music teacher. A classical guitarist by training and a rock player at heart, his first art exhibition, Art Vibes, explored the connection between art and technology in a modern world. Just like through his music, Heinrich effortlessly communicates playful and optimistic ideas, backed by what appears to be graphic simplicity. Heinrich has offered us the gift of a true artist, as the many layers of work and thought transpire in each and every one of his creations. Each piece of art on display vibrates with a story to tell; some by the use of lines and shadows, some featuring brightly colored shapes that kindles the art, giving it an impression of movement.

DoctorPatrickAdvisesAnOldManAboutElvisBird, Heinrich Pelser
DoctorPatrickAdvisesAnOldManAboutElvisBird, Heinrich Pelser

Heinrich’s art is definitely perceived in a different light if you have the chance to listen to Heinrich the musician in a live performance together with his talented and beautiful wife Bianca, as Lily and Bear. Bianca’s refined and velvety voice blends to perfection with Heinrich’s classical guitar tunes, just as their personalities do, on and off the stage.

Lily and Bear
Lily and Bear

I had the great pleasure of asking Heinrich and Bianca a few questions. Here’s our chat on art, music, family and dreams.

Pat: Who is Heinrich Pelser and what would he normally be doing on a rainy Saturday morning?
Heinrich
(inward smile): I am quite the day dreamer, imagining myself in various scenarios all the time, from being on stage with my friends at massive venues to thinking what a dragon would say if he had to be in a musical production. Rainy Saturday mornings will have me drinking coffee and being busy with preparing food. I love to write songs and draw when the weather is gloomy, but my wife’s influence also has me watching movies when the thunder comes for a visit.(he hugs Bianca)
Bianca (with her warm, glowing smile): What he means to say is that I make him watch more television than he wants to! 😊

Pat: How do you balance art, music and your teaching job?
Heinrich:
I feel it comes quite easy and as a necessity as well, diverting my mind and helping me to not fall into a routine rut. Teaching helps me tremendously because kids have pure and colorful minds that aids me with ideas and also to break the loneliness one can fall into while drawing or writing music alone for hours on end.

Pat: Tell us about the media you use.
Heinrich (his fingers seem to have picked up an imaginary pen): I feel the media guides my style. With pen drawings the type of ink has a massive influence over the type of hatching I would use and the length of my lines. With digital drawing I took to the pen fairly easy and various programs have me apply different techniques. The tablet allows me the freedom to draw absolutely anywhere and that is super for when inspiration comes.

Pat: What is your creative process like?
Heinrich: I draw a lot in my classroom at school in between lessons and then I will take ideas home and finish them on the patio outside. I love late evenings and listening to music while I do creative things. There are guitars nearby almost always so If my mind throws a lyric at me I would put that idea down. Whatever I feel the vibe for I would do, I never force myself to finish a certain idea if I am not in the groove to do so.
Bianca (excited): It is amazing and very inspiring to see Heinrich while he is drawing or writing/composing. The creative process totally encompasses him and he gets in the flow very easily.

Pat: As a musician, you can take your guitar with you everywhere you go. Has this proximity influenced your choice of medium used in your art?
Heinrich (nods while his fingers seem to drum a little tune) : It has indeed. I always carry small sketch-pads with me so quite a few of my drawings are rather small. The digital medium changed that due to the fact that I can store any canvas size on my tablet. It is different not to see the big picture when you step back but that is part of the fun waiting for the large prints to arrive at the print store.

Pat: How has this art exhibition come to life? Who supported you?
Heinrich: Friso Woudstra and I were having a beer after a band meeting at Craft Exchange where he is an owner. The conversation steered in the direction of an art exhibition and I started planning. My father Willem was instrumental in everything, his arm was in a sling but he helped me with all the logistics and to build the various crazy things we attempted to have a decent display area. My friend Brenton Watt at Brand Inventors helped me with the UV printing for the bigger pieces I had on display and our experiments ended up being some of the key pieces on display. My wife is a legend and she drives me to do things a bit better every time. She is a beast when it comes to events so her planning skills and helping hands is an absolute blessing.(winks at Bianca).

Pat: What is the coolest part about being an artist and a musician?
Heinrich: The fact that they feed on one another so well. Music can also be a visual medium that creates images with sounds in the mind of the listener. I think over the years the two amalgamated for me personally and in many aspects they cannot be separated.

The Indulged Man, Heinrich Pelser
The Indulged Man, Heinrich Pelser

Pat: Which artwork is your favorite and why?
Heinrich: The Indulged Man is probably my favorite. I drew this at school so it was my first big project and it taught me so much of my own style and mind. I have fond memories of drawing this at my Mom’s dining table while listening to the radio.
Bianca: I remember seeing one of Heinrich’s artworks up on the wall of the art class in high school. It moved me deeply and I had, up until that point, never seen anything quite like it. The intricacy with which he composed that piece and the amount of detail he put into every square centimeter was just amazing. He was the first graphic artist at our school and inspired me to major in that medium as well. I don’t think he has that piece anymore. My favorite work at the moment is Whaleybubsinthecity.

Whaleybubsinthecity, Heinrich Pelser
Whaleybubsinthecity, Heinrich Pelser

Pat: What’s next for Heinrich Pelser?
Heinrich: I will keep on building my repertoire of songs and artworks. At the moment I am focused on creating and with the December holidays coming up I have ample time to create and consume fresh ideas and moments to feed me for another year.

Thank you, Heinrich and Bianca, for great art, good music and great company. I left Heinrich’s Art Vibes Exhibition with the enlightened feeling that anything is possible  when one works hard, believes in one’s dreams and, yes, perhaps, “with a little help from my friends”.

Quick links to contact Heinrich Pelser:

Heinrich Pelser on Instagram

Heinrich Pelser on Facebook

Heinrich Pelser on YouTube

You can buy Lily and Bear music here (CD baby, ITunes, Spotify)

Lily and Bear on Facebook

Many thank to our sponsors and friends 🙂

Thank you Friso Woudstra @ Leaky Tap Beer on Tap

•Leaky Tap Beer on Tap
• Leaky Tap Beer on Tap

Thank you Willem from Gelato by Willem from Legendairy.

•Gelato by Willem from Legendairy.
•Gelato by Willem from Legendairy.

Creamy Espresso, bursting with the flavor of freshly ground coffee,  smooth Chocolate, as sinful as a chocolate custard and fresh Blueberry that bursts with the flavor of the fresh fruits!

  Thank you Scheckter’s Organic Energy Drink.

•Scheckter’s Organic Energy Drink•Scheckter’s Organic Energy Drink

Thank you Brentonn Watt at Brand Inventors.

Susan Day – The Best Christmas Gifts are Books

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Susan Day,the author of the new and upcoming grand-parenting  book Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.

Susan Day, AuthorSusan Day is a passionate author, educator and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. She is author of the children’s book series Astro’s Adventures which also has its own book club, Astro’s Book Club. Susan also runs a website for grand-parents, The Happy Grandparent.

Here are Susan’s insightful thoughts on why:

The Best Christmas Gifts are Books

Well, it’s nearly time for the silly season, and parents and grandparents will be running to and fro trying to purchase toys for the children in their lives.

While most children will ask Santa to bring them the latest must-have gadgets, dolls and games there is one item which has been a popular favourite for many years.

Books are a wonderful gift for anytime of the year, and should be included in all gift packages. They might not get the initial attention of flashing toys that speak or zooming cars or glitter-covered fairies, but books have a worth that goes far beyond those first few moments of unwrapping.

Books Open Up New Worlds

Children can learn about people, places, and events outside of their own experience. Reading can take them to worlds they may never travel to. They can learn about tribes in deepest, darkest Papua New Guinea. They can learn how the people of Siberia keep warm, and they can learn what life is like for a child just like them in cities far away and unknown.

They can also learn about other cultures, festivals and with the rise in self-help books for children, they can learn how the world around them works. They can also learn what they can do if they feel unhappy or depressed; what to do if their grandparents are sick, or where their little siblings came from!

E-Books Make Great Gifts

Anyone with young children will tell you just how tech-savvy kids are now a days. They are born instinctively knowing how to swipe, download, upload and more. It’s really amazing.

Keeping this in mind, gifting an e-reader such as Kindle is a great idea. Not only are they portable which means children can read anywhere such as the car, the bus or when visiting grandma, but you can literally load hundreds of books onto just one device.

This means that your child can take their favourite books everywhere with them without needing a suitcase to lug them around. And, we all know that books can become our friends and having them close gives children an added sense of security.

Taking Time to Read Together is Important for Bonding

The most important reason why you should be giving books this year, however, is because you can read and share them with your very important small people.

Create wonderful memories cuddled up together sharing lovely stories about dogs, cats, or cheeky monkeys living in Africa.

The children in your life will cherish those times when you both discovered the magic of books. They will always remember how you both laughed at the crazy antics of the characters or hid behind the sofa cushions when the big bad wolf appeared.

Books are remarkably powerful tools that bring so much joy to our lives. They will outlast all toys; they don’t need batteries, and best of all they are not too expensive.

I can’t think of a better gift.

I couldn’t agree more, Susan!

Susan Day is happy to connect with readers of all ages as well as with fellow authors and bloggers, which she always supports. I have the honor of writing the Sunday Column for Susan’s website for puppy-owners and dog-lovers, Mypuppyclub.net.

Connect with Susan on Facebook, Twitter.

Visit Susan’s Websites – The Happy GrandparentAstro’s Book Club, Susan’s  Amazon Author Page .

Amazon US: The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing
Amazon UK: The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing
Amazon Canada: The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing
Amazon Australia: The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing

Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.

The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing by Susan Day, book coverTHE TOP 10 THINGS HAPPY GRANDPARENTS NEVER REGRET DOING – Media Release

IT’S TIME TO PUT THE ‘GRAND’ BACK INTO GRANDPARENTING!

The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! looks at the modern changes of grandparenting. It is an open and honest look at how much the role of grandparenting has changed, and what lies ahead for this growing section of our population.

Written by Dunolly author (Central Victoria), Susan Day, this book aims to empower all grandparents to share their knowledge and experiences with their beloved grandchildren.

Grandparents often worry that their grandchildren will grow up and forget them. Some are concerned about being alone and distant from their families emotionally and physically.

Most grandparents want to have a positive impact on the lives of their grandchildren, and create memories that will last forever.

The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! takes its readers on an insightful journey into what they need to do to become the best grandparent they can be (even better than the one they are now).

At the end of each chapter are questions to complete. These are designed to create a unique and personal Grandparenting Philosophy. Best of all, readers will then learn how to adapt their own Grandparenting Philosophy into their life.

A Grandparenting Philosophy is an important document that is, not only uniquely about each gran, granny and pop, but about their family, and their goal to connect with their grandchildren.

Readers will also learn the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! These wonderful values will be incorporated into their Grandparenting Philosophy so they can develop a strong, meaningful relationship with their grandchildren.

As well, there are lots of free educational resources also available for each person who purchases a copy.

Now is the time for grandparents to reclaim and strengthen their relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents have so much to offer.

Susan Day, AuthorAbout the Author

Susan Day is a passionate author, educator and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren.

Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.

Website – The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! 

link: https://thehappygrandparent.com/susanday/

Media Material –

https://thehappygrandparent.com/susanday/media/

Amazon – The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! 

link: http://amzn.to/2yLj1NI

Interviews can be conducted over the phone or via Skype.

Susan Day can be reached on: 0421 582 067

Skype: susandayauthor (please state which media outlet you are from)

Hot New Release – a look inside my children’s books

The Cheetah and the Dog, The Lion and the Dog,The Elephant and the Sheep
The Cheetah and the Dog, The Lion and the Dog,The Elephant and the Sheep – click on the image to buy from Amazon

The Cheetah and the Dog 

The Lion and the Dog

The Elephant and the Sheep

The Cheetah and the Dog, The Lion and the Dog,The Elephant and the Sheep – click on the image to buy from Amazon

“The Cheetah and the Dog by Patricia Furstenberg is yet another fun, colorful, and poetic read. It is about an unlikely friendship of a cheetah and a dog in Africa. It’s how they form a bond of friendship and protect one another from their foes. A bright and colorful book with a beautiful poetic story, young readers will thoroughly enjoy this tale. And parents will enjoy reading and discussing the book with their young children as well.” (Singing Librarian Books)

The Elephant and the Sheep by Patricia Furstenberg is an absolute delight. Filled with fabulously fun and brightly colored page and an engaging and enjoyable poetic story, young readers will immediately be drawn to this charming read. It is a sweet book about the friendship of a jungle animal and a farm animal—an elephant and a sheep. Parents will not want to miss sharing this story with their young readers. (Singing Librarian Books)

The Lion and the Dog by Patricia Furstenberg is an absolute delight. Filled with bright and colorful pictures and an enjoyable poetic story, young readers will love this delightful and colorful read. This is an unexpected relationship and eventually friendship between a lion at the zoo and a dog that roams the zoo. Parents will enjoy sharing this story with their young readers. (Singing Librarian Books)

 

 

 

 

Two Authors. Worlds Apart. The Jennieration – Pat Furstenberg

Two Authors. Worlds Apart. Serendipity on their Side.

What is better for an author than to do a book signing event? Maybe a book signing half way across the world?

Better than a book blog tour?

When my new book publisher asked me to do a book signing at an historic book shop in some quaint little town within the state of Ohio, I didn’t hesitate for a second to agree. First, because I’d never set foot in the New World and I was so curious to find out if everything in North America is really ‘bigger than life’ as they say! But more importantly, because the bookshop where I’d been asked to do my signing could only have been a plan of pure serendipity or fate.

*** 

Of all the bookshops all over the world I was about to walk into hers! Jen, with her uncurbed enthusiasm. Talented author Jennifer Lopez!

*** 

So now, here I am at this very moment, nervous with excitement for the experience. I’m holding a red rose, searching among the myriad of busy Americans around me, for Jen and her red rose.

I know people do look a tad different when you meet them in person as apposed to their website or Twitter, so I’m hoping she’ll recognize me. We’re to meet for coffee first, here at this small and chic (I am impressed) coffee place right next to the bookshop. It feels like I’ve stepped into a world of times past. The coffee shop is one that’s been there for a very long time and has that old vintage feel. I see large windows at the back of the cafe- there are people looking down. I remember then, Jen saying the bookshop and café sat right atop a waterfall. I could hear it now—despite the bustle. Wow. This was definitely not what I imagined the U.S.A. to be like. Maybe because we aren’t in a large city.

And yes, I’ll answer your question before you even speak; we decided to meet like this for the fun of it! Is there a more exciting way for two writers to meet, I’m asking you?

*** 

There she is. We walk toward each other unable to contain our smiles and laughter.

Jen hugs me tight and says,

 “Finally a real hug instead of a virtual hug! You are so precious Pat.”

We tap our roses together and chuckle.

“Come on Pat, I’ve gotten us a table. The café will be clearing out soon- as the afternoon rush is over.”

The waiter sets down our two cups of expresso.

PAT: Ahhhh… It’s chilly here so this is perfect Jen. We’ve wanted to chat about so many things, but with our kids, family and writing, well—we just never have the time. I love your humanitarian efforts and you know it’s something we both feel passionate about. I’ll never forget when your Middle School ESL students read my book HAPPY FRIENDS and how they responded. It felt so great to hear that my little book had been appreciated in such a way.

JEN: Pat, it was so awesome to experience. Then, when your book JOYFUL TROUBLE came out, it spoke on such a deep level to both kids and adults alike. Ella and I were thrilled to write our endorsement for the cover. Are you so excited to be signing today for all your special animal stories?

My coffee’s gone cold, or is this the second cup already? We’re too engrossed in discussion to notice.

PAT: I can’t even begin to express my happiness Jen. Talking about JOYFUL TROUBLE (now in Large Print) is so fun—maybe because it is based on a true family story. Also it really seems to appeal to young and adults alike. I think it’s his human nature that makes the dog such a huge success. Through his sheer size, he commands respect. He reveres his sailor friends and has a loyalty towards them that is unsurpassed. The things he does…well, dogs do have this rare quality about them, to sense when they are needed. But Joyful Trouble is also a peaceful dog (almost As Good as Gold), a contrasting quality with his size.

Perhaps the fact that there is no self-interest in Joyful Trouble’s actions—yet they leave the reader astounded. I am grateful for its positive impact.

JEN: It sure does have a positive impact, Pat. Animal stories reach into the hearts of readers because of the unconditional love and tenderness their actions express. They themselves are lessons we humans can learn a lot from.

PAT: How did you develop such a tremendous love of Culture, Jen? I’ve always seen & admired it—so I have to ask.

JEN: I think we both feel it within us, Pat—you know? I’ve known culture is strongly rooted in you as well. Even your efforts to convey acceptance and the love of differences in HAPPY FRIENDS was tremendous. Maybe it’s something so deep, it’s a challenge to explain. I can’t say mine came from upbringing, because I didn’t grow up in a family completely immersed in this appreciation. So, I guess I’m inclined to feel as if my love if culture and the ‘uniquenesses’ of the world were just innately present and then grew. Every time I would interact with someone from another country, see a beautifully unique face from the rest of those around me, hear a new language, or be invited by a friend to take part in a cultural family celebration—it touched me deeply—all of it…

As I grew older, I read more and more about the cultures of our world, the rich traditions and the beauty in differences. I was magnetized by the sheer simplicity of cultures different from my own and how this very simplicity took nothing away from the people—in fact—it contributed tremendously to people’s happiness. It was as if there was no drive compelling me more so, than this deep reverence for culture. I believe my writing is an extension of this reverence for a simpler life and that kind of genuine happiness. That’s why I love HAPPY FRIENDS. Anyway, eventually I had to go, to live, to be a part of it for myself. Once I’d experienced the deeply endearing qualities of life and people in Italy, Spain and Mexico—I was forever changed. I felt myself connected, rooted forever-more in these distinct and beautiful cultures. What about you sweet Pat?

PAT: Well, I am so excited to visit America! I find it interesting and stimulating to see new places and be among people of a different culture. It’s quite diverse here, which is exciting to see. The way individuals think and their attitude towards the simplest facts in life is of great interest to me. When I grew up in Romania we didn’t have much access to the world outside its physical borders due to political restrictions and regulations. So other cultures were like a forbidden fruit. You would get what you could from movies, from books, by reading foreign author’s works and learning about their respective countries. I was lucky enough to be able to travel after the fall of the Berlin wall and the fall of the Communist regime. I felt like a sponge, ready to assimilate everything I saw. From art and music to the way people live and spend their free time; their national imprint and the way climate influences their lives. Everything was fascinating…

South Africa is the rainbow country. People from many nationalities live in harmony, or so we try. We have 11 official languages. What people share is their humor, the fantastic foods, the blue sky and the love for music.

It is a country that has inspired many artists and writers and it definitely influences my writing. Although my roots remain Romanian as does my heartbeat, I say.

JEN: I love that! Oh my gosh- it must be incredible living in Africa and still having that depth of appreciation for your own culture. Not only that, but you explain it so beautifully—something that affects so many: the desire to truly know the world—but be restricted from this possibility in its purest form. Media and the movies can actually taint one’s perspective regarding the truths of a culture. Thank goodness for good cultural literature.

PAT: Yes, you know, when I grew up I would study about famous Romanian people of culture who left to further their educations in ‘The City of Light,’ Paris. This was the beginning of the 20th century. And they all missed the blue sky from back home, the way the birds sing, the way the air smells. I could not understand that longing – until now. That is culture to me, being rooted in your own. I guess it is the way our hearts have been wired.

JEN: So interesting…all of it. And really, I feel we could talk forever. Are we still okay on time Pat? I don’t want you to arrive late to your signing?

PAT: We are just fine, it’s not until 7:30pm and I set aside this time to be with you. Let’s share a pastry. How does the Raspberry Custard Tart sound?

JEN: You picked my favorite!

I raise my hand and motion to the lad behind the counter. He smiles and points. He heads over with two forks and the tart.

JEN: So, children inspire your writing as does making a difference. How did you get to be such a dear one? Huh?

PAT: I think when we have our feet firmly grounded in our roots, in what drives us—as you say—(the moral compass), then all we want is to make a difference. Having roots is very import for our children. And books can help a great deal in discovering one’s roots. Because books tell stories and stories do have a source. Before ‘the story’ was printed, it was told—at the beginning of its time—and it went from mouth to mouth. Each story was sparked by one previous to it. Each is rooted in an old folk tale, somewhere in a forgotten corner of the world…

Just as Joyful Trouble and Happy Friends, my stories- depict unusual friendships between animals. Friendship regardless of differences…

Animals and children have this special gift of seeing beyond boundaries; to them there are no boundaries. Nothing stands and nothing should stand between a child and their hopes and dreams and life learning…

With Animals, when they look at each other, they see the possibility of friendship, especially baby animals.

Children, when they look at each other, they see beauty and they see the possibility of a friendship or the excitement of learning.

JEN: YES!! So then the nature of an animals’ emotional intelligence is essentially what draws you to write about them? There is such a clear undeniable connection between the purity and selflessness of children and animals.

PAT: Right and since we now live in a hyper-technologically-driven world, what was important yesterday might not have the same value tomorrow. The world is most definitely changing.

IQ- Intellectual Quotient, was of high value… yesterday.

Today, Emotional intelligence- EQ is what our children need to excel in life. Being aware of your feelings and of the feelings of those near you, knowing how to express them and how to put your feelings into words.

Animals can sense things long before we do. They can read our emotional cues; this is why writing about animals is so exciting and attractive to me. Animals have no boundaries when given the opportunity to thrive in an environment, they do not shield their emotions, they do not misunderstand them.

Giving animals human qualities in a story can have an amusing effect but in the end it isn’t the real life. Because animals are so much more emotionally intelligent than we know…

Children can easily relate to animal stories because children have an innate desire to care for and look after those smaller than themselves. Care, as they are being cared for. And who out there, is smaller than a child, but a baby animal or, at least, a furry character from a book? It’s why so many generations of children loved Winnie-The-Pooh, or Paddington Bear.

JEN: You yourself have proof of this beautiful truth in the story of Joyful Trouble. I love this because there are some who don’t acknowledge the keen emotional intelligence of animals. Their potential to contribute to each human’s life is unfathomably beautiful. My sister would love you as well. She has a highly intuitive sense related to animals and for this I admire her. Another fellow humanitarian- she cares for animals and advocates for them as you do. Pat, we just connect on these ideals and it makes me overjoyed…

Do you enjoy the Raspberry Custard Tart? It feels such a privilege to share with you and I still can’t believe we are sitting here together!

PAT: It’s yummy and I could sit here all day. It’s like the café cleared out for us to have this time.

JEN: That’s because they’re all getting ready for your book signing—is what’s happening! You know what- We also have this funny Elephant connection-you and I do. I just remembered this. The little elephant, Pete- in your Happy Friends book. My sweet daughter, Ella and I loved Pete and the cute story behind his becoming part of the book. —Ella herself has the Elephant’s namesake because of the deep emotional intelligence these stunning animals exhibit throughout their lifetimes with loved ones and the matriarchal strength that guides their family.

PAT: I know. I love the cover of your Fearless Thinkers book with the two Elephants. That book is a help to many families, aspiring to take a different path with parenting. It is evident that you wrote the book with the intention of helping others too. Elephants sure are an inspiration for both of us Jen. And yes, my idea to write about an elephant came not only from the plastic, old, yellow toy elephant (Pete) we have at home, but also from my mother’s interest in elephants and what they symbolize: courage, wisdom, strength, family. Perhaps the fact that elephants have a matriarchal family also influenced my decision!

But Pete, our yellow toy elephant with a twinkle in his eyes, was just sitting quietly on his shelf… until one day when he couldn’t keep quiet anymore and told me that he had a story to tell. Could I help him?

Turns out, my children’s book- Happy Friends was just that.

JEN: I know. So super sweet. The simplicity of that inspiration!! Well, let’s take a quick walk down to the waterfall so we can take in the sounds of nature and you can prepare for this evening’s events. The time has flown. I did mean to ask what your future plans are though Pat. We can’t leave without knowing what’s next—besides time with our kids—of course.

PAT: Well, I have lots of children’s books in my plans for the future, most of them about dogs! Fun stories, some sad ones as well—they are based on true events. One needs to raise awareness about animals’ feelings and their status and import in our busy lives.

JEN: Yes, I agree. Your FOUR latest books (that you’ll be releasing in the next few weeks) after your well loved-Happy Friends and Joyful Trouble, remind me of the tremendous stories you hear of around the world about Unlikely Animal Friends. They are utterly heart-warming. There’s been so many beautiful reviews and guest posts for your books. We loved your cover reveals for: Puppy, The Lion and the Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Cheetah and the Dog. OHHH! What treasures!

PAT: Thanks Jen. I hope they will be cherished in many homes for years to come. You know, I wanted to ask you the same thing—what’s next for you in your writing and in your career? You keep so busy with your Spanish Interpreting, your writing and your Homeschooling of Ella to boot! Do you plan to continue all of this?

JEN: You know how we are. Where there’s a passion- there’s always a way. So my passion to support the Spanish-speaking Cultures is ongoing. It’s as if it were embedded in my DNA. My hope is to continue my involvement in bridging the language and cultural gaps with TheJennieration.com through Interpreting and Translating. It is always incredible for me to witness others embracing the rich family traditions, ideals and work ethic of Latin Americans. They are some of the most tremendous people—and precious neighbors in Central and South America. Here in the U.S., we SHARE the very same continent—all of us in ‘The Americas’…and our American Continent’s farthest points reach both the North and the South Poles. I do plan to continue my writing, editing and proofreading. How can we not? It is our fuel, right?! Words, language and communication equate to passion and connection with culture. My own upcoming books… well one has been in the works for quite some time. The program has existed for 15+ years and I am finally putting it into book form. A writer’s work is never done though- so I keep making the tweaks.  When I am fully satisfied, you’ll be one of the first to know.  It’s a rapid Spanish Language Instruction book—an intrinsically Easy-to-Learn Spanish Program—different than any out there I’ve seen in my own research over the years… The other is a series of short stories called: Empathy Power. Much like your true animal stories, these are powerful due to their truth—each carrying a unique message. As an educator, my hope is for them to captivate while they educate. Time will tell my friend…

Well Pat, now it’s time we take that walk. I can’t wait for your book signing!

PAT: I can’t either Jen. Thanks for sharing this time with me, this has been incredible. I love conversations like these- where each of us can share a bit of ourselves, our deeper thoughts, our aspirations—and I just can’t believe fate allowed us this chance. The universe works in mysterious ways and far be it for me to question them. I’d rather embrace them and live to tell about them.

As they are about to leave the cafe, Pat looks back and smiles at the two spoons, two espresso cups, one plate with a bit of raspberry drizzle and the two red roses that were left on the table. She smiles and thinks….

HAPPY FRIENDS!

*****

Thank you for joining us today.

Read Jen’s Reviews of Pat’s books- Joyful Trouble & Happy Friends:

CLICK FOR REVIEW OF JOYFUL TROUBLE on AMAZON: 

CLICK FOR REVIEW OF HAPPY FRIENDS on AMAZON:

Initially published on Jen’s website. This is a collaboration between two authors.

 

eBook Publishing Day, Three Children’s Books Celebrating Diversity

eBook Publishing Day, Three Children’s Books Celebrating Diversity

Children's books by Patricia Furstenberg celebrating diversity
Children’s books by Patricia Furstenberg celebrating diversity

Available in paperback and eBook – FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited / KU on Amazon:

The Lion and the Dog

The Elephant and the Sheep

The Cheetah and the Dog

Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles