Join us for this tour from Jan 18 to Feb 5, 2021!
Book Title: Mia and Nattie - One Great Team by Marlene M. Bell
Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 32 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Release date: October 3, 2020
Format available for review: print (USA and Canada), ebook (gifted kindle)
Tour dates: Jan 18 to Feb 5, 2021
Content Rating: G for everyone. Family based book for all ages,
Nattie’s mouth was a little crooked. Her legs were a bit shorter than usual, and one horn was too straight, like a unicorn’s horn. But Mia thought Nattie was perfect. In a read-aloud picture book for children who love animals, award-winning writer and sheep breeder Marlene M. Bell presents Nattie the lamb’s true story. MIA AND NATTIE is a heartwarming book that teaches readers about problem-solving, teamwork, and love. On a visit to her grandma’s farm, eight-year-old Mia discovers a newborn, orphaned lamb outside in the cold and takes her to the laundry room, naming her Nattie. As she tries to nurse the lamb back to health, Mia discovers that Nattie is different from the other lambs and struggles to fit in with them like Mia does with other kids her age. When her grandmother says she will sell Nattie to a neighbor, Mia must come up with a plan to keep her friend around—one that will show the family just how special Nattie truly is.
Meet the Author:
Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer, artist, and crazy sheep lady who resides in beautiful East Texas. Her renown sheep photographs grace the covers of many livestock magazines where she also writes newsy articles about raising sheep from her hands-on experience. Marlene offers the first of her children's picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team which is based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. It's a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Marlene shares her life with her husband and dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.
connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ goodreads
What inspired you to become a writer? My love of sheep. I had a story to tell about them and the rest naturally developed from there into fiction.
What are your hobbies? I’m an artsy person. My training is in fine arts with a preference of painting in oils. I dabble in mosaics and still sketch the sheep once in a while. When I’m not writing, I enjoy photography and even enter a few contests with my photos. Our sheep are part of my retail business where I take paintings and photos and turn them into merchandise for resale. My next project in 2021 is taking yarn from the sheep’s wool and punch hooking rugs.
What are you passionate about? I love to read mysteries and romantic suspense when I’m taking a break from writing. The sheep are a big part of our lives, so they would certainly take the top slot in the passion department.
What interests are you into? Photography and sheep. I also love to research my upcoming series books since much of the action takes place in foreign countries—places I haven’t visited.
What social media do you use to contact with your fans? My favorite platform is Twitter where I have over 34,000 followers, but I also like Facebook for conversations with my serious readers, the ARC Team and other sheep breeders. Facebook is filled with my support group members who keep me writing and encourage me to stay creative.
What is your username on the different social media platforms?
Twitter: @ewephoric (MY COMPANY NAME.)
My Facebook personal page is: facebook.com/marlene.bell.3194
My Author page is located at: fb.me/marlenembell
What did you do before you became a published author? I had a few jobs after high school as a receptionist at a flying service, then moved to production assistant at a fire protection company is the California Bay Area. I met my husband in late 1979 and he had the sheep, of course! When we married in 1982, he encouraged me to start a business showcasing my artwork. I did so on a part-time basis in 1985. Ewephoric went to full time in 1989.
Do you have another job other than writing? Yes! I have two websites where I retail sheep related gifts from my artwork and photography. The other site is my author website where my novels are featured.
How long have you been writing for? I began writing small articles for sheep magazines in the early 1990’s. My first book, a journal and how to raise sheep guide, started in 2007 and went into print in 2009. I began writing fiction in 2010.
What's your writing style like? I write complicated, hard-to-solve mysteries in third person and first-person. I’m big into descriptions and love to add plenty of dialog between characters.
What's your favorite genre to write/read in and why? Mystery and suspense are my favorite movies, and the same goes for the books I prefer to read. Romantic Suspense written by authors like Karen Rose and mysteries, cozies from Kendra Elliot and Cleo Coyle— Texas authors frequent my book shelves, too. The more complicated the plots…the better.
What's your least favorite genre to write/read in and why? Vampires and horror with gory blood scenes are my least favorite. I pass on Stephen King books since they are too far-fetched and masochistic. I don’t mind a little cussing and violence, but I have my limits. If I can’t relate to the characters and their situations, I’ll bypass the author. Book covers tell the reader a great deal.
Some writers have something playing in the background, do you and what? I like to write in silence for the most part, but if I do feel like background music, my choice is instrumental jazz.
What's the inspiration behind your books? I’ve had a saga in my head for years. With each book in the Annalisse series, I’m able to build on the basic story. I expect to write at least six books in the series.
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything about your books? I would have researched how to write fiction for the reader’s pleasure prior to writing my first book. There were many rules that were broken in my first attempt that had to be learned in order to complete my first installment, STOLEN OBSESSION. The learning process took eight years prior to publication, and there are still things that can be rewritten.
Is there anything you found particularly challenging about writing? Yes! How to please an agent and land a traditional publishing contract. I’m still working on that one, but it will have to wait for another book not associated with this series. Independent authors are surpassing some of the traditional house writers, in my opinion. Big Five publishers still have the pull to promote a book and get their authors noticed, but they are publishing fewer books in 2020.
Who are your cover designers? I’ve used two different designer firms. The first is Steam Power Studios, a husband-and-wife team from Australia and other is Isabel Robalo from Portugal.
What authors are your inspiration? I love Diana Gabaldon’s use of imagination, fantasy and actual history, although I think she’s a bit too wordy, and Karen Rose for her twisty, complicated romantic suspense.
What is your take on fanfiction? There’s something plagiaristic about writing characters already in print and on screen. I’m not a “fan” of the practice.
What advice would you give any newbie author or anyone that wants to pick up writing? I would recommend learning the correct way to write fiction for the modern reader. Read every fiction craft book you can get your hands on. Your writing will improve immensely. Read other authors’ work at the same time, but stay away from well-known bestselling authors. They break every writing rule, where the new writer should stick to rules. If you don’t read…you can’t write worth a darn. I’ve tried it. Not a good idea. 😊
What are your fondest childhood memories? Spending time on my grandparent’s small ranch catching lizards in coffee cans with my Italian grandfather who spoke broken English. Wandering their huge garden picking vine-ripened tomatoes, warmed by the sun. Biting into a hot tomato, the sticky juices running down my chin. I learned so much from him and my grandmother. Our love of gardening came from wandering the garden growing in the valley sand with my grandparents. In my late teens and early twenties, I lived with my grandmother prior to meeting my future husband who was a pilot, while I worked at the airport.
If you Don’t mind tell us a little about your personal life? Due to the sheep ranch where we reside, I’m a hermit and homebody. In the age of COVID-19, this works well with our lifestyle. Everything we need is at the ranch. The sheep require feeding twice a day and my husband, Gregg travels for his job. I’ve learned to take care of our 50-acre ranch and adjoining properties myself while he’s away.
Do you have any pets? We have two inside domestic cats and one outdoor model who keeps the gopher population at bay. Tia, our Maremma Large Guard Dog is also outdoors with the sheep. Last year, we reduced the number of sheep we keep. At present we have 20 head of Horned Dorsets. In 2021 we hope to pick up a few exotic breed sheep for my photography and the beautiful sunsets we get in East Texas.
What an adorable book! Mia and Nattie is a must read for all children. I read this book with my 9 and 7 year old sons and they both enjoyed this book very much. Mia finds a orphaned and cold baby sheep while visiting her grandparent. Nattie is not like the other sheep. Nattie is struggling to grow. Mia understands. She has had a problem with fitting in with others. Mia's grandmother wants to sell Nattie - and Mia makes it a mission to show her family that while Nattie is different - she has a special place in the family.
This is beautifully illustrated and written. It teaches kids the importance of loving and caring for animals. We enjoyed this book.
I received a copy of this book through Iread book tours -- all thoughts are my own.
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