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A Children’s Book is Nothing Without a Great Illustrator!

GASPAR_cover_RGB_eBookI took a little break from my legal suspense mysteries to write a children’s book. Okay, I didn’t actually take a break. It was written while I was working on my last book. When I needed a break from the killing and chasing and all that makes up that fictional world…I would write a couple of pages about Gaspar, the Flatulating Ghost. It was really fun to do.

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One of Zack’s paintings.

This process was so different from what I usually write and once you finish a children’s book, you have to get someone to do the illustrations. Unless, of course, you are talented enough to do them yourself, which I am not. But I found the best illustrator ever! His name is Zachary Settle. You can see some of his artwork on Facebook. He is an incredible artist eve though this venture is quite different from what he usually does. He tackled it with a great attitude and a lot of perseverance. He was such a delight to work with.

Zack is a growing talent. Check out his artwork on Facebook. His prints are still reasonably priced, but someday they may be worth a fortune. He has already made incredible progress in the artistic world. He started as a street artist and has since turned professional. I look forward to working with him again.

We don’t have an exact release date yet, but I will post it as soon as we do.

Teresa Burrell

teresa@teresaburrell.com

 

Another JPism

Thank you all for the wonderful submissions of your favorite JPism. Here’s the one from William Burroughs:
Bad chicken

Please keep them coming. Just tell us your favorite line by JP and we’ll create the image. Respond here, private message on Facebook, or email me at teresa@teresaburrell.com.

Teresa

Author of The Advocate Series

All Hat and No Horse

A week or so ago I posted athe first JPism with an image. I asked readers to submit their requests for their favorite. Here’s the request from Jamie Billings:

 

Hat and Horse

 

Anyone else have a favorite they would like to see in an image? If so, you can leave a note here or send me a private message on Facebook. Email works too: teresa@teresaburrell.com.

Teresa Burrell

Author of The Advocate Series

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

purple Stop Domestic ViolenceOctober is the month set aside to build domestic violence awareness and to remember those who have been victims of this horrible ctrime. How many of you are aware that October was set aside for this? It has been in effect since 1987. That’s 27 years and I would bet at least fifty percent of you weren’t aware. I didn’t know either until about fifteen years ago, and I expect that was because of my work. It’s one of those social issues, similar to child abuse, that we just don’t want to hear about. But it does exist and is going strong. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence approximately 1.3 million women are victims of domestic assault every year. One in every 4 women will experience abuse in their lifetime. I speak mostly of women because 85% of the domestic abuse is on women. On top of that, it’s generational. Children who witness abuse between their parents are more likely to be abusers, or victims of abuse as adults. And where there is abuse on partners, there is greater chance of abuse on the children as well.

What can we do about it? Start by being aware, and by reporting abuse when you see it. Most fatalities from this crime are not the perpetrators first act. It escalates over time.

The first Monday of October is set aside as the Day of Unity for victims of abuse and awareness promotion. If you want to participate in this campaign please LIKE this post and SHARE. The purple ribbon is the symbol–pass it on.

Teresa Burrell

www.teresaburrell.com

 

I Made the All-Stars!

In August, Amazon started this new program where they list “All Star Authors.” Each month they take the top 100 authors in their Kindle Unlimited Program and give them special recognition. They send out a letter and notify you if you make the list. A couple of weeks ago I received such a letter. I was thrilled! The letter also said that a note would be added on Amazon stating that I was an “All Star.” I checked a few times but I didn’t see anything posted there. Today I discovered this:

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If you look at the bottom of this screenshot it says, Kindle Unlimited All-Star, and it’s on every one of my book pages. Or better yet, go to one of my Amazon book pages and see it. I feel like a third-grader receiving a star from the teacher. I have to say, though, that it is a bit of a motivator.

Thank you, Amazon.

Teresa Burrell

All-Star Author of The Advocate Series

What’s Your Favorite JPism?

JP has become a favorite character in The Advocate Series. Every woman wants him, every man wants to be him. Well, maybe not everyone, but he certainly is popular.

JP is known for his slang remarks that he learned from his Texas-born-and-bred grandpappy. Some of the sayings aren’t necessarily “Texas” slang, but they were his grandpappy’s favorites just the same. Like this one…


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For the next few weeks I’m going to post some of the readers’ favorites. Please let me know if you would like to see any particular one. What is your favorite JPism?

 

Teresa Burrell

Please join me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theadvocateseries.

The Advocate’s Felony

felony_bookcover_bookstoreThe Advocate’s Felony was released on August 6th and has reached best selling rank on Amazon. I’m so grateful to all my readers who have helped keep this series alive. Most recently it has also become a big hit in Australia. I think that’s reason enough to take a trip “Down Under,” don’t you? Here is the screen shot from the top 3 books in Legal Suspense on Amazon in Australia on 8/8/2014. 

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A month later in Australia, it is still number fifteen. I’m thrilled. Yeah, I really need to go there!

Sydney-Australia-8Teresa Burrell

Author of The Advocate Series

Has Someone Sit on Your Cake?

“A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.”–Danielle Steel

Baby Sitting on Wedding Cake

I was never one to write reviews for books until it became easy. (I love technology!) There was a time when there were very few places to write a review or I probably would have. I know that because I was very good about writing reviews on waiters in restaurants or in hotels when there was a form to fill out. Now we live in an age where you can write reviews for anything and everything and it only takes a few minutes. So, do you take he time to do that?

Let’s talk specifically about books because after all that’s what I do, write books. Now, I write reviews, or at least give them a rating, for almost every book I finish reading. I say that, because I tend to only write reviews if I can say something positive and if I really don’t like a book I’m reading, I won’t finish it. That’s a more recent behavior because I used to finish everything I started. I just had to see it to the end no matter how much I hated it. Now that I’m in my autumn (or at least late summer) years of my life, I’ve learned I don’t have to do that. I choose to spend my time doing things I enjoy. But back to the review part…I’m much better about writing them than I used to be. Some of that I’m sure is because I appreciate whenever someone takes the time to write a review for my books.

I know how important the reviews are to authors, but how much are those reviews worth to readers? As a reader, do you buy books based on the reviews? Do you even read them? And when you write one, why do you do it?

Some authors read their reviews, others choose not to. I read all of mine. I try to learn from the negative ones, and I’m motivated by the positive ones. I have well over 1400 combined reviews for my books and they all average around 4.5, but sometimes I wonder if the readers are reading the same book. I understand people have different tastes and I’m good with that. But I had a review that said she was upset because the book had less than 150 pages. Another reader said he was overwhelmed because the book had over 600 pages. This was for the same book! The book actually has around 300 paperback pages. Now I realize you can change the font if you’re reading on a digital device, but that’s a bit of an extreme range.

And then there are those that just make me laugh. Like this one, for example:

It was a 3 star review.

I purchased this kindle book because it sounded like something I enjoy reading and it was Free on Book Bub. I have purchased many books and I haven’t had time to read them all yet and this is one that I have not read yet (hence just an okay rating). When I get around to reading it, I will try to remember to come back and update my post.

Can anyone tell me why someone would post such a review? I just don’t get it. Another reader apparently couldn’t leave it alone. He or she responded:

What a ridiculous waste of time for you to post this “review.” How could you give the book a rating when you haven’t even read it?

Then there is this 1 star review for The Advocate:

 There was far too much detailed sex. Had I known it was “R” rated due to sex, I never would have read it. As it is, I skipped over many pages due to the sexual material. I won’t read any more of her books. However, if you like that type of material, you’d probably like the book. Story line was good.

FYI: This book had NO sex in it, not even a kiss. There was no relationship, no romance, nothing, zip, nada, zilch! I can only guess that the review was placed on the wrong book…or someone stole my cover and put it on a “smut” book. Hmmm…

And then there’s the spoiler:

I love this book….this book was very thrilling until the bitter end I would have never thought it was ______ that did the killing. 

I removed the name above and replaced it with the blank. She gave me 5 stars. You gotta love her! Of course, no one else has to read the book now because they know “whodunit.”

And one of my favorites:

I felt relief at the end, knowing I wasn’t going to have to pick up this book again.

What does that even mean? It was a 3-star review. I would expect a 1-star with that statement or perhaps a 5-star if you want to put a really positive spin on that statement…Like I wore her out with all my suspense and twists and turns. But a 3-star? Go figure.

Readers, authors really appreciate reviews. Write them when you read a book you like because it will encourage the author to write more books. I want to thank all of you who have written a review for me. I understand not everyone has the time or the interest in writing a review. That’s okay. Thank you for reading my books.

For two reasons, I don’t agree with Danielle Steele when she says: “A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.”  One, because I get good reviews and I get bad reviews. Fortunately, I get more good than bad, and as I said earlier, I use the bad ones to grow. And second, if I were to bake a cake, one would likely be better off sitting on it, than eating it.

Teresa Burrell

Author of The Advocate Series

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

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In 1983 April was proclaimed Child Abuse Prevention Month by the president. I don’t know how April was chosen but it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we have a month where there is an extra effort made to stop this awful behavior that is so rampant in our society. 

According to Children’s Bureau (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) there were 686,000 children abused or neglected in the fifty U.S. states, DC, and Puerto Rico. Of those, 1640 died. Many of those could have been prevented with good community programs in place such as early childhood development programs, parental support, and maternal mental health.

The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides some good information on how to help your community prevent child abuse.

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This is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. I have spent a great deal of my life fighting this battle. I worked as a child advocate for many years and I continue to do what I can to prevent child abuse. This is a cause you can join as well. There are many organizations joining in this fight this month. I noticed when I stopped at In N Out Burger (my favorite burger joint) they have a program this month where they are collecting donations and matching 3 to 1 whatever they collect up to $250,000. Many other businesses are doing similar things. This is one way to help, but for those of you who can, getting personally involved is the best way.

 

Teresa Burrell, Author, Attorney, Advocate

Author of The Advocate Series 

Technology and Child Abuse

Some recent studies have been done indicating that there is a serious lack of training in technology for professionals who work with abused children. This includes nurses, child protection workers, and educators. The professionals dealing with these children need to be at least as technologically smart as the pedophile seeking the children online. Computers, tablets and smart phones are here to stay and we need to keep up. We need to know what to look for and how to find it or we aren’t going to be able to provide the service we need to our children.

A study was done in the UK by Plymouth University and University Campus Suffolk showing a serious gap in technological training, but a definite desire by the same workers to get that training. I couldn’t find any study that has been done in the US. I doubt it is because we don’t have the same problem here, but rather that we haven’t even gotten far enough to assess the problem.

Many parents today have already been surpassed by their eleven or twelve-year-old child in their internet savvy. To me that is frightening. Professionals need to keep up. Parents need to keep up. It’s an important and significant way to help in the prevention of child abuse.

Teresa Burrell

Author, Attorney, Advocate

We don’t need everyone’s help to prevent child abuse, just yours.