Thursday, October 24, 2013

Presenting to Middle School kids about being an Author

Yesterday was my blog day but I spent it with about 60 - 70 6th graders. It was well worth the time. I gave tips a couple of days ago about presenting, however when presenting to kids it is a whole different animal. In some ways it is comparable to walking a tight rope (not that I have done that).

This is the Tokens sign that caught everyone's attention and as an author sometimes that is half the battle. It is a fun aspect that I pulled from my book.

Here are Tips when presenting to kids:

  • Prepare a fun presentation.
  • Ask the kids questions.
  • Bring something that they can do. (I brought my what elf clan are you sign and quiz- it was a hit.)
  • Do a drawing (because I could not give away that many tokens - I did a drawing in class for a token after they took the quiz and some of the bookmarks)
  • Be prepared for the unexpected. (When the teacher turned her back one of the classes came running up to me and it was a little overwhelming- but it was also great to see their enthusiasm.)
  • Be yourself (there had to be a reason you wrote for children or young adults - use that to connect to the kids).
  • Most important - HAVE FUN (if you are having fun so will the kids.)

I loved the Experience here are some of the highlights.

  • One boy was looking at my book that was being passed around the room and he started reading it and did not want to pass it on. - I took this to heart.
  • One girl said she wanted to be a writer and was excited to meet me.
  • The classes had a lot of great questions.
  • The tokens were very popular, they were excited and talking about the different clans and which one they belonged in.
  • The teacher told me, I was inspiring for being positive and starting my empire with just my family and myself. (Empire? That was the first time that I heard that word associated with me and my work- I promise to not let my head get big.)

  •  It was inspiring to hear the teacher, staff and children so excited to meet me. Their want to read and write stories was inspiring and heart lifting. It was an experience I would definitely be willing to repeat. It was fun.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Presenting as an Author

   Presenting can be extremely intimidating, but there is a silver lining. You get to meet great people.

   This post is about some techniques to help with presenting but it is also about my experience on October 15 and 17.


  • Take a deep breath and know that it is okay and normal to feel nervous.
  • Powerpoint or Keynote are great tools to keep your presentation on task.
  • That said, it is important to not read bullet for bullet in your presentation - it should be a guide not a script.
  • Add personal experiences in your presentation.
  • Most important - be yourself.


I presented to two different college classes at Oglala Lakota College. It was a great experience and I meet some great people.

It was fun getting all the questions that I did.
  What is my writing process? I get an idea which is the easy part, then I outline the chapters and what I want to happen. I have a couple of  journals for ideas and keep a least one journal with me at all time. Last, I sit down and write with no worries about anything - I just want to get the story down.
   Why did I pick elves? I picked elves, because I see a parallel with the Native Americans and the elves. They are both are graceful, beautiful, strong, and care for the Earth.
  There were so many great questions and it was great connecting with the classes.

Another great thing that the instructor did was have the class read their favorite parts from "Hidden Powers" and it was an amazing and touching event. To hear the students favorite parts and how they connected to that part was - well there are no words for how it made me feel. 

I received some great compliments -
      I was admirable for having the strength to be myself and stay positive in my writing. (I try and I am thankful that others notice the positive that I try to carry in all aspects of my life. I also love being myself - who else would I be. I would rather be consider weird than a clone.)
      I am the Native American Harry Potter ( this is a great compliment because I love the Harry Potter books.)
      I am not a reader, but I could not put your book down. (This is the greatest compliment and makes my heart happy.)

All in all the time I spent with the classes was well worth it. I would love to do more presentation if the people are as nice and welcoming as what I experienced here. So a huge Migwetch (Thank you) to the Instructor and classes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Native American Day

Tim Giago made a change for our people in 1990 and it is a small step in the right direction. Giago wrote an editorial in the Lakota Times in 1989 challenging Governor George Mickelson to introduce a Bill that would replace Columbus Day with Native American Day which is October 14.

This replacement was to honor the 300 Lakota men, women, and children who were slaughtered at Wounded Knee.

Giago did the editorial for the 100th anniversary in 1990 of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

South Dakota is the only state that celebrates Native American Day in lieu of Columbus Day.

However, not all parts of the United States celebrate Columbus Day. It is not a public holiday in California, Nevada and Hawaii.

It is good for people to understand the culture of Native Americans and this is one step in that direction.

So - from me to you - HAPPY NATIVE AMERICAN DAY!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

author swag Native Style

So I was thinking about how to promote my books and I thought that since they are a blend of Ojibwe / Lakota with fantasy. I love the term author swag and it is exciting to think of new ways to promote.

Book swag includes the free promo ideas that authors give away in order to promote their book. They hand them out everywhere they can bookstores, book signings, conferences, mailing them, including adding them to online book sales.

The basic swag is what everyone thinks of as book extras - bookmarks, pens, postcards, business cards, and notepads.

So I was thinking of new and interesting ways to share my books. These are the ideas that I have and I want to try at least a few of these.

A person needs to consider time, money and how to make them. However, thinking outside the circle and create some great ideas.

Swag needs to relate to the books of the author and be useful.

1) Little Books for Keychains. With the covers of the books and since it is a trilogy have all 3 made.

2) Beaded Bookmarks with the words HIDDEN POWERS. Use lazy stitch to make some.

3) Stickers. I love stickers and since it is a young adult book. I hope my readers enjoy them as much I do. Stickers of the book covers , but maybe I could do some with the clan symbols, a canoe and paddle, Respected Earth (an important group in the book).

4) Temporary Tattoos. Kids love these and they would awesome. Clan symbols would be the ideal tattoo.

5) Bandolier Bag. Instead of message bag or tote bag, it would interesting twist and great for carrying all kinds of book goodies.

6) Team Ishkode or Team Aki Buttons. The lead males in my books have their own teams.

7) Stuff Animals. Kestrels, dragons, fairies, unicorns, and other magical creatures that are key in my books would be awesome to have for a table.

8) Trading Cards. It would be interesting to create trading cards or playing cards based on the clans or powers of the characters.

9) First Chapter Booklets. I think that this would be an interesting addition to my tables.

10) Refrigerator Magnets. Either the clan symbols with the name of the book or Respected Earth.

11) Buttons. Saying Respected Earth, I Have Hidden Powers, (Akina inawem, akina manidoog, akina gikendaagozi, akina mikwendaagozi - All related, all spirits, all known, all remembered.- a saying in Hidden Powers.

12) Lanyards. Saying the same things that are on the buttons.

13) Paper weights. Saying the same as the buttons and maybe the clan symbols.

14) Sketchbook. In the new book that I am creating,  the main character is an artist - small sketchbooks would be a cute idea.

15) Door Hangers. Each door hanger would have room for the person's name and have saying for each clan.

16) Small Paddle. Creating a small charm for a keychain.

17) Book Plates. It would be fun to make these and design a few different templates.

18) Tokens. I have already made these for the four main clans and there is a five question quiz to see what clan you belong too.

19) Recipe Cards. Jean's Haven makes soup and sweet potatoe pie it would be a little fun to make a few.

20) Hair Sticks. The main character pulls her hair up with sticks that she carves herself. I may try to make them, just to try it.

21) Metal bracelets with carvings. This may be to expensive idea but it was interesting to think about making the bracelets (I may try to make some for my daughter for fun).

 22) Packs of Flowers. Having a pack stamped with the Hidden Powers for the fairies in the book.

23) Little Swords or foam swords for the blacksmith in the story.

24) Small Sailing Ship. Creating a small charm for a keychain.

25) Small Drum. Creating a small charm for a keychain.

Do any of you have ideas for your own book swag?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Storytelling - Keeping the Values

This is a short and sweet post due to the fact that we have only had power back on for 24 hours and there is still a lot to do :D

As we shoveled the 8 foot drifts and the neighbors came together to help one another. It made me think of something that one of the elders said - every minute is part of a story, we are creating a story right now.

This made me think about what kind of story will my children and grandchildren tell about me. Do I show and not just tell the stories our values. Generosity, Respect, Courage and Fortitude.

Sometimes the stories that we create are in our actions and not just words.

Do you think our actions today would be something that our ancestors would be proud of?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Here is the book trailer I created for Hidden Powers - Book 1 in the Hidden Magic Trilogy.

I used this wonderful site called Animoto. If you are trying to make a book trailer video this is the place to go.

This program is straight forward - you pick the song, pick the background, add the pictures and words and you create beauty.

Tell me your thoughts and what you think.