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Book Details:
Book TitleGus' Fortunate Misfortune by Susan Pepka
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  62 pages
Genre: Children's Book
PublisherFull Cycle Publications
Release date:  December 2018
Content RatingG.

Book Description:

How do you turn a Very Bad Day into a Hopeful New Beginning? Gus, an ordinary mouse, must find a way to do just that. Following a series of unfortunate events, Gus finds himself trapped, separated from his family, and transported far from home. Alone and frightened, the young mouse must confront his deepest fears. Using his wits Gus solves problems and makes discoveries. Adapting to his new surroundings, Gus receives help from an unexpected friend. Each trial brings a new lesson... but will Gus ultimately succeed? Will Gus find what he's truly looking for?  - Ages 3-7

Buy the Book:
Full Cycle Publications
B&N ~ IndieBound ~ BAM
Add to Goodreads

Author Interview

In your book you make a reference to….how did you come up with this idea?

-          I make reference to a mouse in a Buddhist Temple!  I actually listened to a monk describe his experience with a mouse in the temple and it was such a delightful story I began to imagine the events from the mouse’s perspective. 

What made you write a book about…?

-          A mouse in a Buddhist Temple?  There are so many lovely lessons to be found here…some more obvious than others.  I wanted to share this so that others might enjoy and find benefit.

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

-          Gus was inspired by actual events. I also look at lessons and stories from Buddhist scripture and try to find ways to incorporate them into stories in a lighthearted way using nature and animals as backdrop.

There are many books out there about….What makes yours different?

-          Don’t think there are too many books about a mouse in a Buddhist Temple! My book looks at different themes and gently wraps the storyline in Buddhist teachings without (hopefully) forcing Buddhist thought on others.  This book can be enjoyed by anyone of any faith.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

-          Although I’m semi-retired I do still see a few clients in Atlanta in my capacity as a hydrotherapist.

What is your next project?

-          I’m mostly focused on getting my yard and garden going now that I’m in my new home. But there may be another book or two coming out!

What’s  the  most  courageous  thing  you’ve  ever  done?

-          It took a great amount of courage to leave my Christian upbringing aside and espouse the teachings of Buddha. The payoff is incredible…I’m happier now than I’ve ever been!


Meet the Author:

A native of Detroit and currently living in Atlanta, Susan Pepka has enjoyed great diversity throughout her life. Mother of three and grandmother of four, Susan has experienced life as a preschool teacher, technologist in diagnostic imaging, co-owner of a successful wellness center, meditation teacher, and now a published author with the debut of her first children’s book, Gus’ Fortunate Misfortune.

One of Susan’s greatest pleasures is reading wonderful stories that stir the imagination and nourish the spirit. Her passion is helping others find ways to healthier, happier, and more meaningful lives. Her wish is that all beings live together in harmony.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads


Book Details:
Book TitleZ is for Zebra: A Mosaic Menagerie by Judith Caseley
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  53 pages
Genre: ABC Book
PublisherFull Cycle Publications
Release date:  May 2019
Content RatingG.



Book Description:

NEW from beloved illustrator/author, Judith Caseley, Z is for Zebra is a delightful reading romp for the very young child.

With vibrant art and quirky rhymes, this sure-to-be-a favorite book uses a child's innate love of animals to move the reader through the letters of the alphabet. Displaying gorgeous mosaics, rich with colors and details, the book presents the alphabet in an easily accessible and entertaining presentation. Perfect for teaching the child in your life about language and the animals we share the planet with. A delight for the mind and a visual feast for young book lovers and their parents, each page features an alphabet letter and a highly colorful animal mosaic along with quirky, funny memorable phrases.

Using glass tile, pebbles, and found materials instead of her usual paints and brushes, Caseley's words and pictures celebrate the imagination of every child, weaving her magic for the youngest would-be zoologist. It appeals to a young child's shorter attention span and innate love for animals and color. From jeweled starfish to bright butterflies, comic giraffes to venomous vipers this book is sure to be one your child will cherish.

Buy the Book:
Full Cycle Publications

Guest Post

What Makes You Pick Up a Book?

When I’m choosing a book, the jacket is so important. It’s make or break for the reader…will you open up the book  and see what’s inside, or not? When I’m illustrating my books, the cover is the last picture to be created. For Z is for Zebra: a Mosaic Menagerie, I was terrified to do the zebra. In high school, many years ago, I was not the star artist. The really great artists could draw horses and animals, and I could not. But for my alphabet book, I knew that I would have to draw a zebra. For one thing, graphically, it’s a beautiful animal: black and white and very bold looking. A zorse exists, and so does a zebu, a zebra shark, as well as a zonkey, but none of them topped the beauty of the zebra. It was my last mosaic, because I did them in alphabetical order. To my surprise, it was my best, and I hope that the jacket makes a child or a parent pick up the book.

Of course, sometimes “simple” is great. Harold’s Purple Crayon is so lovely and spare that you are dying to see what’s inside the book. When I was young, there was a little book called The Dot and the Line, by Norton Juster, which was made into a short film. The power of simplicity!

For novels, the flap and back jacket are key. For some publishers, I have had to write the text, but it’s very hard to distill your own book’s importance, and compliment it. But making a young adult novel look exciting is tough. I wrote a book called, MY FATHER THE NUTCASE, loosely based on my father, who gave me permission to write it. He suffered periodically from clinical depression, and describing that book so that kids would read it was very difficult. We made it funny and upbeat, because there was an end in sight, and my dad lived to laugh about his author/daughter calling him a nutcase.

For Z is for Zebra, we decided to gear the book to the smallest reader, or tiniest botanist, and the art lover as well. Mosaic artists have purchased the book, because so few are published using mosaics. As far as I know, it’s the only children’s book created solely with mosaics, and I am currently working on a counting book…yes, using mosaics. 

Meet the Author:

Judith Caseley has written and illustrated over forty books for children, including “Dear Annie” and “On the Town: A Community Adventure”. She fell in love with the mosaics that decorated a restaurant in Sea Cliff, New York, and in the unique style of her picture books, began making her own.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ goodreads

Tour Schedule:

May 3 – Cover Lover Book Review – books spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Gina Rae Mitchell – books spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – fundinmental – books spotlight / giveaway
May 5 – Stephanie Jane – books spotlight / giveaway
May 6 – Lisa Everyday Reads – books spotlight / author interview with Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 7 – 100 Pages A Day – books spotlight / giveaway
May 10 – Writer with Wanderlust – books spotlight / guest post by Judith Caseley / guest post by Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 11 – Reading is My Passion – books spotlight
May 11 - Lisa's Reading – books spotlight / guest post by Judith Caseley / guest post by Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 12 – The Bespectacled Mother - books spotlight / guest post by Susan Pepka
May 13 – A Mama's Corner of the World – books spotlight / giveaway
May 14 – Laura's Interests – books spotlight / guest post by Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 17 – Splashes of Joy – books spotlight / author interview with Judith Caseley / guest post by Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 18 – Jazzy Book Reviews – books spotlight / guest post by Judith Caseley / author interview with Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 19 – Rockin' Book Reviews – books spotlight / guest post by Judith Caseley / guest post by Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 20 – Pick a Good Book – books spotlight / author interview with Judith Caseley / author interview with Susan Pepka / giveaway
May 21 – Locks, Hooks and Books – books spotlight / giveaway

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