Monday, 22 December 2014

Kindle Countdown Deals on Books by @JoLinsdell

As a special holiday treat I've set up some discount deals on a couple of my books. How to be Twittertastic ( and Fairy May ( are both available for $0.99 on 22nd Dec and $1.99 on 23rd Dec.

How to be Twittertastic is currently a best seller on the Amazon UK site (

screenshot from
As always, reviews are most appreciated 

Disney illustration study

My kids love Disney. I love Disney. Who doesn't right? Disney cartoons are common viewing on our TV. So, what is it about Disney characters that makes them so lovable? 

I decided to do a study into the Disney way, starting from the illustration style. One of the first things I realised is that the illustrations are simple and yet contain so much detail all at the same time. 

Then there's the amount of expression they give their characters. I was watching Aladdin with my kids the other day and was reminded of what a fantastic character the flying carpet is. No face, no limbs... just a carpet... but wow did it have character!

Anyway, I decided to start my study by looking at the Disney Princesses as they play key roles. Here's a few of the sketches I've done so far:

Elsa from Frozen illustrated by Jo Linsdell
Elsa from Frozen

Ariel from The Little Mermaid illustrated by Jo Linsdell
Ariel from The Little Mermaid

Belle from Beauty and the Beast illustrated by Jo Linsdell
Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Princess Jasmine from Aladdin illustrated by Jo Linsdell
Princess Jasmine from Aladdin

I'll be doing more character sketches as I continue my study. Who is your favourite Disney character? Why?

I'd also like to take this opportunity to invite you to check out my illustrations on my Pinterest Board at

Friday, 19 December 2014

Featured Friday: King of Bad by Kai Strand

Title: King of Bad: Super Villain Academy Book 1
Author: Kai Strand
ISBN: 978-1-61160-665-2

Purchasing links: 

Book blurb:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.
He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

Author bio:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,


It's about time we see the perspective of the world from a super villain! All too often, books tend to focus on the super hero. I liked the idea of a Super Villain Academy and seeing how the children were all trained to be bad. -The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl

This story was well worth the read, and the author pulls the 'bad' aspect off with balance, structure, and - believe it or not - goodness. The super powers Strand uses to create her characters' world are altered slightly from the norm, giving freshness. -SA Larsen

It was a light read that got better and better as it went on; the author threw in a few twists with the main character, too. I can't wait for the sequel to come out! –Goodreads review

Mini Interview:

Why did you write this book?

King of Bad was a NaNoWriMo book (National Novel Writing Month). Originally, I had outlined a middle grade novel for the project, but on November 1st when I sat down to write, a young adult book about teenage super villains came out of me. Yes, I was surprised. But boy is it fun to write about the baddies!

Anything in particular you'd like to share about this book or it's creation?

Even though the main character is a super villain and he attends a school that trains villains, not every character is grumpy and filled with angst. It's a story of good vs bad and about finding your way through life. 

As part of the giveaway, I'm offering several sets of character trading cards. It's a first time I'm offering them and I'm so excited about them. This set was designed specifically for King of Bad. There will be a unique design for each book, so this is the best and most fun time to get a set. From the beginning!

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

The second book in the series, Polar Opposites, is out already and the third and final book will be released next summer. The third book in my Weaver Tales series, The Lumpy Duckling, released in October. The Weaver Tales are written for middle grade readers. Readers can visit my website to learn more about all of my books. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Virginia Jennings hosts Jasmine's Got Talent!

Jasmine's Got Talent! by Maria Rochelle. Illustrated by Jo Linsdell

A big thanks to Virginia Jennings for hosting +Maria Rochelle  and I on her blog as part of the Jasmine's Got Talent! virtual book tour. 

On the 5th December she hosted me for an interview about illustrating Jasmine's Got Talent!  (You can read that post at

On the 12th December she hosted us both for an interview (check that post out here:

And on 18th December Virginia will be hosting us again. This time she'll be sharing her own review of Jasmine's Got Talent! (Looking forward to reading her feedback).

Would you like to host us on your site? Or maybe for a live social media chat via Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ hangouts? Get in touch and we'll be happy to organise :)

Want a copy of Jasmine's Got Talent!? Grab a copy here:

All reviews are most appreciated 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Featured Friday: Puck’s Choice by Skye Hegyes

Title: Puck’s Choice, book one from Shifters & Mages series
Author: Skye Hegyes
ISBN: 978-0990744986

Purchasing Links:

Book Blurb:

Puck Dupree moved in with her sister after spending over a year trapped in the form of a fox. She had hoped to move on with a normal teenage life; however, trouble seems to have followed her.
The Council wants her to partner with a mage or forfeit her life, a friend of hers has a stalker who may or may not be trying to destroy her, and a boy at school keeps watching her. If only she could decide if he wants to kiss her or kill her.
Author Bio:

Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree...

Author Website:

Mini Interview:

Why did you write this book?

I am a fan of writing books I want to read but can’t find. At the time I started writing “Puck’s Choice” there were almost no fictional books about witches and familiars meant for young adults. I was in that stage where I wanted to read more adult books but with upper high school/college level kids. There was Harry Potter, but they just weren’t the same as what I wanted to read. So I decided I wanted to write my own.

Anything in particular you’d like to share about this book or its creation?

Some of Puck’s history is my own, although not a lot. There are many people (mostly friends and family) who have started assuming that Puck is me. I assure you… She’s a lot cooler – even without being a shifter. It was a tale that took me two years to write and three years to edit and get ready to submit for publication. That’s a lot of time to work with a set of characters. Because of this, I feel particularly close to Puck, but not to the point where I think she’s me, and Rand? Well, he’s just a bit different than most of the guys I know and a mixture of all of them in a way.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Hopefully, more books. Ha ha ha! I love writing. I am currently working on several projects. One is the next book in the Shifters & Mages series, which will feature a couple of the side characters from the first book – Jenna and Daren. Another project I am working on is a piece I was asked to submit for consideration for an anthology for a LGBT book. It’s certainly a new realm for me and a new experience altogether but one I’m really excited about participating in.

Currently, there is no blog tour schedule set, although there is aim to do one in January. If you are interested in being part of the blog tour, feel free to contact Skye via her website to learn more about how you can contribute.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Susie Caron reviews Jasmine's Got Talent!

A big thanks to +Susie Caron for hosting +Maria Rochelle  and I on her blog for a book showcase and review as part of the Jasmine's Got Talent! virtual book tour. Check out the post here:

Screenshot from
Would you like to host us on your site? Or maybe for a live social media chat via Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ hangouts? Get in touch and we'll be happy to organise :)

Want a copy of Jasmine's Got Talent!? Grab a copy here:

All reviews are most appreciated 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Quick Tips: Add a category to your Pinterest boards

This weeks Quick Tip is to add a category to your Pinterest boards.

Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel at to catch all my Quick Tips and other videos.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Interview About Illustrating Jasmine's Got Talent!

Yesterday I was hosted on the website of +V.L. Jennings for an interview where I talked about illustrating Jasmine's Got talent! (the 3rd book in the Jasmine Dreams series written by +Maria Rochelle) 

Please drop by and check out the post. All likes, comments, and shares are most appreciated.

Screenshot from the website
Thank you for your support.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Piu Libri Piu Liberi Book Fair, Rome 2014

Yesterday I had an awesome morning at the Piu Libri Piu Liberi book fair here in Rome, Italy. Unfortunately I only managed to stay for a few hours as I'm not well at the moment but it was worth it. Now have loads of new ideas and feel motivated to get some work done (health allowing). Even got an offer from a publisher.

The big debate of this years event was over ebooks. The speeches given, and recent statistics, all show a huge increase in the use of tablets for reading here in Italy and a significant push in that direction. That said, I spoke to some small publishers who only publish in print and have no interest in embracing this "new" way of reading. Whilst I admire them for making a stand for their beliefs, I couldn't help but feel like they were shooting themselves in the foot. How can a publisher NOT do epublishing and still survive especially when they are a small press? 

According to the stats, 1 in 3 families in Italy has a tablet and 82% of those are used by children. This takes me to the other big topic of the event... children's books. There was a clear increase in the number of stands offering children's books this year compared with last years event. During the speeches, several comments were made about the need and demand for more children's books. As a children's author, I was happy to see this growth within the Italian publishing industry and hope they continue to encourage young readers... whether by print or ebooks.

Here's a few photo's from the event:

Collecting my pass

At the entrance

With a copy of Jasmine at Work

With a copy of Italian for Tourists

With a copy of The Box

Listening to the opening speeches

During the opening speeches

Fab abstract art displayed inside the venue

My pass, program, and catalog

Checking out some of the great children's books

During an interview for TV station Tele Ambiente
about using recycled paper to make books.

Books, books, and more books :)

Christmas tree on the stand of publisher Book Salad
with mini book keyrings as decorations.

More books. This stand had some great bilingual books for kids.

At this stand they sold books by their weight. €5 per kg.

A small piece of the book fair can be seen behind me.
Also in this pic you'll see that I took my Italian for Tourists shopping bag
with me to carry all the handouts and do some subtle promoting ;)

Script magnets! Love this. On my Christmas list.

Literary mugs with quotes from books.

Outside Palazzo Dei Congressi.

Monday, 1 December 2014

#PiBoIdMo Winner!!!!

YAY!!! Happy dance time. I got my 30 ideas and 30 days and therefore I'm happy to announce that I'm a PiBoIdMo winner again this year :D

PiBoIdMo Winners banner
I'm really excited about some of the ideas on my list too. Some of which have been put on my publication list for 2015 so keep your eyes open for updates on those in the near future ;)

Unfortunately due to personal problems and a variety of viruses and other seasonal joys (both my kids decided to bring home every cold, cough, stomach bug.... that was on offer this year and generously shared them with us all), I didn't manage to be a WNFIN winner too. I had hoped I'd get the book finished by the end of November but life just got in the way. I am however closer to finishing it than I was at the beginning of the month and so I still class that as a mini victory even if I didn't meet my goal. How to be Pinterest Perfect will be finished soon though and is scheduled for release early in the new year.

Did you meet your writing goals for November? 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ask Jo: Why do you self publish via Amazon?

In this weeks Ask Jo video I explain why I self publish via Amazon.

Subscribe now at to stay up to date with all my latest videos.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Quick Tips: Add a Call to Action in Your Facebook Cover banner

This weeks Quick Tip is to add a call to action to your Facebook Cover banner. A great image is good. A great image with a call to action is better ;)

Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel at to catch all my Quick Tips and other videos.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Review Showcase: Jasmine the Chef

This weeks review showcase is for Jasmine the Chef (written by Maria Rochelle and illustrated by yours truly). Jasmine the Chef is the 2nd book in the Jasmine Dreams series.

5.0 out of 5 stars
 Delightful children's book!October 29, 2014
Join Too Chef Jasmine and her friends in making her dreams come true cooking up cupcakes, pizza and more! Delightful, easy read with recipes at the end of the book!

Carla Burke, Award -Winning Author of "I Spy a Dragonfly".

5.0 out of 5 stars
 A pinch of sweetness and a whole lot of awwwwAugust 17, 2014
Just as sweet as the first adventure and just as recommended for young readers in search of something sweet to lead into slumberland.

5.0 out of 5 stars
 ... book in the Jasmine Dreams series that I have enjoyed with my grandchildrenJuly 15, 2014
This review is from: Jasmine The Chef (Jasmine Dreams) (Volume 2) (Paperback)
Jasmine The Chef is the 2nd book in the Jasmine Dreams series that I have enjoyed with my grandchildren. Jasmine's adventures will keep children interested and giggling. We can't wait to see what Jasmine dreams next!

4.0 out of 5 stars
 Cute BookJune 21, 2014
Cute story with great pictures and fanciful rhyme. Children who like dogs will enjoy Jasmine's adventure! Definitely worth the money.

5.0 out of 5 stars
 Cute BookJune 11, 2014
Very cute book. My kids love dogs and they get excited when we read about all the things Jasmine can do.

5.0 out of 5 stars
 great bookJune 1, 2014
Love the book Maria is a close friend. My granddaughters love the series. So proud of the writer she has became.

Grab your copy of Jasmine the Chef here. Once you've read it, please take a minute to post a quick review. Little things like that mean a lot to us ;)

P.S. The 3rd book in the Jasmine Dreams series is now available for pre-order. Be one of the first to get your hands on it and order now!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Featured Friday: Twee’ for Two by Susie E. Caron

Title: Twee’ for Two
Author: Susie E. Caron
ISBN: 978-0-9889113-4-5

Book blurb: In this 3rd picture book from Susie’s “Between You and Me” series, Twee’ realizes she has no friends, except for Rock, who never talks with her. Twee’ can see children playing in the apple orchard, and she wishes for a friend who can play with her. Her wish comes true, but not in the way she anticipates. Join Twee’ as she learns the meaning of real friendship and discovers that new friends can be right around the corner.

Susie with the real life cat
the character in the book is based on
Author bio: Susie E Caron is a Mommy Coach, Blogger, Psychologist-Master, Christian, Wife, Mother, and Author of 3 picture books from her 'Between You and Me' series. Susie created these books following years of experience working with children and families. In Twee', I Am Twee' and Twee' for Two, Susie illustrates childhood feelings and experiences through the eyes of childlike pine tree, called Twee'. When read aloud, Twee' stories help kids to talk with their parents about their own experiences and feelings. Susie also writes blog-articles to help Mommies understand and enjoy their children, and gain their cooperation and have more fun. Her unique gifts include her authentic presence, an ability to connect at the deepest levels of need and want, and wisdom to share. Find out more at Susie lives in VT with her husband, two horses and a bouncy Boxer named Coda.

Author website and/or blog url. 


Twee’ for Two, the third book in Susie Caron’s Between You and Me Series, is just as delightful as the first two books. Twee’ has grown in this book. She is the same adorable and loveable pine tree, but she is faced with handling changing surroundings, feelings of loneliness, managing new relationships, and dealing with loss. She does so with the help of her new friends, and young readers are left feeling empowered about dealing with similar situations in their own lives because, if Twee’ can do it, they can too! Twee’ for Two, is sure to capture and hold the hearts and minds of children and parents alike. It will spark meaningful and heartfelt conversations between parent and child. Once your children have read a Twee’ book, it will become a part of your nightly bedtime story routine. Twee’ will soon become a welcomed part of your family, like she has ours.
~ Lindsay Brant-Brumwell, M.Ed., Author of Fiddle and Dee and the Bedtime Band (The Adventures of Fiddle and Dee Series)

By marcy on October 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
Wonderful book for kids of all ages. Great story about friendship.

By Kellet Garnett on October 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
A wonderful read for any child. This is the third book in the Twee series and the whole series is wonderful for my 2 year old. The illustrations are great and the story is wonderful.

By Susan Paquette on October 21, 2014
Format: PaperbackI  love twee and so do my little clients. I have this in a special place on my desk and the kids come in and ask for it every time. I can't wait to show them Twee for Two. I know they will love this story of friendship as much as i did.

By Joanne R Fiske on October 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I have known Susie Caron for a number of years and when I heard she was writing the Twee books I was very excited because knowing her, I knew she would create great entertainment with a very important lesson for kids of ALL ages. That’s what all good writers do, layers of meanings so as to reach and impact for the better as many people as possible with what they are passionate about; even us 60+ kids! I too fell in love with Twee. I adore his honest personality and willingness to learn and and sure enough the lessons hit home all too well with me too. This past week I had the opportunity to read Twee for Two to my 7 year old grandson. I thought, he’ll be bored, after all it’s not the movie Transformers or an exciting video game. But delightfully, he sat listening intently, engaged in the story and making comments on the pictures. After we finished, he said it reminded him of a first time classmate in school who he liked a lot but who had moved away. He said, I miss her, but I have new friends now...but it was good to have had her as a friend. It was a good reminder for him that he still cared about her but that it was OK. Reading Twee for Two together helped us grow closer just talking about his feelings…Thank you Susie! Your books are keepers and remain on my coffee table for kids of all ages. Keep them coming. They are fun and helped me as a grandma teach and talk about how best to handle the ups and downs of emotions in life with my grandson.
Susie with her dog
Mini Interview:

Why did you write this book? I wanted to offer children and parents a book about what it means to be a friend, and how sometimes that includes saying ‘goodbye’. Children and adults often don’t have a chance to have a good – “Good-Bye” with some of their friends and family members. This is so important and I illustrated that in Twee’ for Two.

Anything in particular you'd like to share about this book or its creation? Yes! Twee’s first talking friend is a cat who appears quite suddenly. His name is Link and he belongs to my daughter, who adopted two kittens from a barn litter. Both kittens grew into large Maine Coon Cats. The female is sweet and a beautiful sable color. Link is dark with a lot of white markings, and he has such a personality, that I couldn’t resist using him as the model for Twee’s friend.

What can we expect to see from you in the future? I enjoy writing children’s books and I plan to write more. Currently, I write parenting articles on my weekly blog- “Between You and Me”. I have sketched out a gift book based on Twee’, a parenting book, and I hope to release a book of my poetry as well, all in the next year.

If part of tour: Where can people find out more about your tour? I’d like to do a virtual book tour over the next few months. To find out more about my tour and how you can help, please go to and click on Tour.

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Thank you Jo Linsdell for hosting me on your Featured Friday Posts. I love visiting you!

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