Anna Questerly

Anna Questerly
Bookseller and bibliophile turned author, Anna Questerly writes medieval fiction and fairy tales for smart kids and young hearts. For adults, she creates Utopian fantasy as A.J. Questerly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Thought some parents and teachers might find this helpful.

#1000BuriedNoses. You can make a difference. email  your picture of your nose buried in the book that made you fall in love with reading to  I'll post it on this site. You never know, it may give a mom or dad an idea of what their child may love and create a brand new booklover!

Friday, July 18, 2014

1000 Buried Noses: More Tips to Get Your Kid's Nose Buried in a Book

In my last Buried Noses post, I suggested getting other family members involved. This time, let's involve your child's friends. After all, peer pressure is a powerful thing. Make it work for you.

I know what you're probably saying to yourself right now, "If I can't get my kid to read, how can I encourage even more kids to read?"

Don't worry, there's power in numbers.  This may take a bit more effort, but you'll have special memories, which can last a lifetime.  Depending on your child's age, choose an appropriate theme and then use your imagination to tie the book to a few other fun activities for your child and his/her friends.

Let me give you a few examples:

Ages 8-11  Read Little House on The Prairie and then try making homemade bread or pies from scratch.  Dan Gutman writes some great sports books.  Have the kids choose a book to read. Meet to discuss it and then take a field trip to a game, or play the game at the park.  Choose one or more of the Animal Ark Series and then visit a petting zoo or farm.

Ages 10-14  Read Black Beauty, The Black Stallion, or Misty of Chincoteague and then visit a horse farm or horse rescue. Have the kids read John Flanagan's first book in the Ranger's Apprentice series, and then practice archery in the backyard or at a range. Read a Goosebumps book and then visit an old cemetery.

Obviously, there are so many ways to get kid involved and make reading a more holistic experience.  Make sure to take plenty of pictures and keep your book club going. Use your imagination, meet monthly, alternate parents hosting if possible, have fun!

Let me know in the comments of any tips you have to help parents get their children's noses buried.  And please don't forget to email me a photo of your child with his/her nose buried in their favorite book.


Monday, July 14, 2014

J. D. Scott tagged me for Blog Tour

What exactly is a blog tour, anyway?

That's exactly what I asked when I was tagged by a fellow writer whose book I enjoyed reading. I liked her description. "Don't worry," she says,"a Blog Tour is tag for grown-up social media junkies." I felt honored to be “tagged” for a blog by a writer I admire and so, of course, I decided to tag two awesome authors to play along. Alan Black and Ethan Erway. They agreed to post their blog next Monday 'tagging' two to three other authors. Ethan and Alan will answer the same four questions about their writing process that I discuss below, and so the Blog Tour continues. Want to play? Contact Alan or Ethan and introduce yourself. They just may tag you in their post. Their profiles and links will be at the end of this blog.

How the Blog Tour Began for me.

I met J.D when she presented at Dog-Eared Pages Friday Night Writes event a few months ago. She gave us so much great information, I had to read her book, The Disillusionment of Anahera Daniels, and can highly recommend it to teen and adult readers. J.D. created an intriguing world that will sweep you away from Earth for a while.

J.D. Scott is a lover of reading, writing and good movies. She has been the organizing member of Abba's Writers in Phoenix, Arizona, for three years. She leads, organizes, and teaches both critiquing and story development to its members In 2013, J.D. Scott became part of the team at A Book's Mind as a Publishing Consultant. She enjoys working alongside writers, helping them fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors. Before being bit by the writing bug, she spent 20 years working with children as a nanny, mentor, camp counselor, and youth group leader. With a heart for today's youth, J.D. Scott set out to write books entertain and inspire them to rise above the current culture and see their value. Paperback edition of The Disillusionment of Anahera Daniels is available at

Here goes!

What am I working on now?

Most of you know, I’m currently rewriting and editing a sci-fi/fantasy novel tentatively titled, Pangaea.  This is quite a departure from my previous work. It’s not for kids and I’m thinking of using the penname, A.J. Questerly, for this book to differentiate it from my work for children.

Pangaea is a place where Tolkien’s Elves and Star Trek meet. A bit of fantasy and a bit of science fiction. I'm not really sure which way to classify it. The land has almost become a character in its own right. I can see the architecture of the buildings, ancient forests, and unexpected wildlife here. I'm hoping my rewriting will allow my readers to see Pangaea just as vividly.

I love living in this make-believe realm. It’s so different from ours.  Since I've been working on it, I haven’t had to discuss politics with Thom. I just tell him, “that kind of thing would never happen on Pangaea. That alone, is worth all of the hours I've put into it. If up to me, I would never leave.

But then I fell in love with another idea, so while I'm rewriting Pangaea, I'm also writing the first draft to another book. My working title is #RKBAM. I can't tell you what that means yet. This one is a contemporary young adult novel.  I’m about a third of the way into it. I know how it will end, and what needs to happen. I just need to get it on the page in the right order.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Unfortunately, according to publishers and agents, it differs too much. For example, I wrote my books, The Minstrel’s Tale Trilogy, for smart kids (ten years old and up). Every rejection I've received from agents and editors said, “although I like the story,  since it doesn't have a child as the main character, it’s NOT a children’s book”. Can’t sell it to a children’s publisher, can’t shelve it in the children’s section of a bookstore. No deal.

I guess I could have rewrote it and cast Amos as a younger minstrel, and tried harder to get a contract from a major publisher. I thought about doing it, but didn't feel it would be fair to Amos. After all, he told me his story, trusted me with it. I only wrote what he whispered into my ear as my fingers hovered over the keyboard. I decided to self-publish instead and Amos is thrilled with that decision.

Besides, some of my favorite novels when I was younger did not have young main characters; 1001 Arabian Nights, Gulliver’s Travels, and The Hobbit, to name a few. When I brought this up to the first publisher who rejected The Minstrel’s Tale, his answer was, “but those are classics.”

Well, I wouldn't want to write one of those, would I?

Anyway, I’m almost certain to come up against the same type of argument with Pangaea. Since it doesn’t follow the formula for either sci-fi or fantasy, and has romantic element, but isn't exactly a romance. It won't fit neatly into any genre, which is what the five big publishers seem to require. I'm still going to submit it and try the traditional route first, but I'm not holding out much hope and I’ll have no problem self-publishing if needed.

I guess my problem is that I don't write for publishers; I write for people who enjoy reading the same kinds of books, I do. Smart kids, open-minded adults, and escapists.

I'm okay with that. I'm also fortunate enough to live in a time where self-publishing is an option. Sure, it’s a lot more work. The editing, proofreading, cover design, formatting, and marketing, but I'd rather self-publish than write a different type of story from the one which captured my imagination in the first place. I don’t think I'd have the patience to even finish such a book.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I’m crazy? I write what the voices in my head tell me to write. I don’t know how else to explain it. Ideas bombard my brain like flights of butterflies. Every day, I have dozens of ideas for new stories.

The ones I write, are the ones which pester me the most. They haunt my dreams at night and plague me during the day. A scene plays out in my mind, complete with dialogue, emotion, and body language. Or an entire world begs to be called into existence. Or a house implores me to close my eyes and explore every nook and cranny.

With The Minstrel’s Tale, it was Amos’s constant whispers. His fairy tales, his problems, his worries and concerns. Pangaea was sparked by a question my son frequently asked when he was little. “Why do we have to have money?” #RKBAM ignited my imagination with picture of a beautiful home for sale. The ultimate dream home. A home designed with love and money. So much money, even if I'd won the lottery I couldn't afford it such a house. So much love, I was inexplicably drawn to the people who lived within its walls. Since I couldn't exactly stalk the actual owners of this home, I made them up. They're great people, I can't wait for you to meet them.

How does my writing process work?

I'm ADHD so I need absolute quiet when I write. No distractions whatsoever. No music. No one else in the house. My phone turned off. To resist temptation, I don't have cable or the internet at home and I only keep books in my house which I've already read.

I schedule two days a week to stay home and write while Thom runs our bookstore, Dog-Eared Pages. This way, I know I have plenty of uninterrupted time to really get into my scenes. I also take advantage of early mornings. I write at 4:30 in the morning. I don't get much accomplished during this time, since there are so many things that need to be done in the mornings, but I’m at least able to work on some minor parts of my book or my blog during this time.

I can usually finish a first draft within 30-45 days. However, I've found it takes about a year to rewrite and edit each book. Although this may sound discouraging, I've found rewriting to be just as rewarding as creating. In fact, more so. Many writers think of their books as their children, and that analogy holds here. As wonderful as it is to bring a child into the world, the real joy is in helping to shape that child’s life. To me, rewriting is shaping my book to face the world. Making it strong enough to stand on its own, without me there to explain what I meant to each reader. Like child-rearing, rewriting can be frustrating, delightful, surprising, and terrifying. Sometimes all in the same day.

To me, writing truly is a journey and each story is an adventure to be treasured.

Tag! Alan Black and Ethan Erway, you guys are it!

Alan Black

I've read several of Alan's books and plan to read more. He's also been very helpful as one of my alpha-readers for Pangaea. That should give you an inkling as to how much I respect his writing. 

Alan Black has been writing novels since 1997 when he started Eye on The Prize. His writing tastes are as eclectic as his reading preferences. Alan admits that he loves writing much more than editing the whole publishing process. Marketing of his work leaves him as baffled as the whole string theory thing.

Alan was born in central Kansas, but grew up in Gladstone Missouri. He graduating from Oak Park Senior High School and eventually earning a degree from Longview Community college in liberal arts. He spent most of his adult life in the Kansas City area. The exception came at the orders from the U.S. Air Force where he was stationed in Texas, California, Maryland and Japan. He and his wife were married in 1977 and moved back to Independence, Missouri, but they now live in sunny Arizona. He says the dry desert air stimulates his creativity more than the juicy air in Missouri (pronounced here as ‘misery’) and he has yet to shovel sunshine out of the driveway.

His desire to write started in the second grade. He was given an assignment to write a short story about Greek mythology. His teacher took the time to call his parents. Although neither his father nor his mother remembered the incident, it had an impact on him eventually leading him to on the Price. He has gotten faster since them completing his last manuscript in three weeks.

So far, Alan Black has written the following books. Check them out!

1. Metal Boxes. Published September 2014 by CreateSpace. Military Science Fiction at 140,000 words. Print Length: 339 pages.

2. Chasing Harpo. Published June 2013 by CreateSpace. General Fiction, Humor, Action Adventure at 62,000 words, Print Length: 214 pages.

3. Chewing Rocks. Published December 2013 by Create Space. Near Earth Orbit Science Fiction at 82,000 words. Print Length: 214 pages.

4. The Friendship Stones. (with Bernice Knight, book one of An Ozark Mountain Series). Published November 2013 by CreateSpace. Young Adult, Historical, Christian, Action Adventure at 62,000 words. Print Length: 245 pages.

5. The Granite Heart. (with Bernice Knight, book two of An Ozark Mountain Series). Published February 2014 by CreateSpace. Young Adult, Historical, Christian, Action Adventure at 62,000 words. Print Length: 193 pages.

6. Steel Walls and Dirt Drops. Published June 2014 by CreateSpace. Military Science Fiction at 110,000 words. Print Length: 390 pages.

Ethan Erway

Ethan Russell Erway, author of the ADVENTURES OF MICHAEL BELMONT young adult fantasy series, and THE BLEEDING STAR CHRONICLES and BLOWING OFF STEAM adult novellas, has been a life long fan of the fantasy and science fiction genres. His third book, MICHAEL BELMONT AND THE CURSE OF THE THUNDERBIRD, is due for release in late 2013. All these works are available from and various retailers. Ethan is a regular participant in Phoenix Comicon and other sci-fi/fantasy conventions.

He is currently the Minister at Agua Fria Christian Church in Humboldt, AZ where he lives with his wife Kara and sons Gabriel and Caleb, who are homeschooled. The family also provides care for foster children.

When you get a chance, give these guys' books a try. They're fun reads!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My New Mission

One Thousand Tiny Noses Buried Between Pages!

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents to read to their children from birth. This offers a great start, but how do we get the kids we already have to love reading?

I’m on a mission to bury one thousand tiny noses between pages.
Want to help?

Whether you’re a parent, teacher, sister, brother, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or friend you can make a difference. If each of us buries just one tiny nose this year, we can improve the lives and futures of so many children and their children.

As a bookstore owner, a children’s author, and a mother I’ve been helping kids find their love of stories for years and plan to continue. But I don’t have all the answers. If you know of a way to get kids reading, please post it in the comments. By working together, we can make this a go-to site for parents. 

Comment, share, post a pic of your NEW reader with their favorite book and let's get 1000 tiny noses buried this year!

Check out my 1000 Buried Noses Page on this site for updated pics of new readers!

Tip: Turn reading into a family affair. To a child, spending time with Mom, Dad,  an older brother or sister is precious time. While being handed a book and told to "go read" feels more like punishment. Instead, spend 15-20 minutes a day either reading to or reading with him or her. Take turns with other family members reading with your child and don't get discouraged. With some kids, it takes a bit longer to find the magic book. That one book which they can read like a movie in their mind that hooks them forever.  

Also don't forget to recruit extended family. Reading is a great way for aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents to bond. Even if done over the phone, these moments can become so meaningful to young children. 

Think back to when you were younger and I'll bet your favorite books were those you read with your parents or someone else to whom you felt close. Reading together creates fond family memories that will last a lifetime. I have adults who come into the bookstore and catch a glimpse of an old children's book, and exclaim, "I remember reading that with my grandma," as their gaze takes on a faraway look.

I'll leave you with a few links for more info.

In the meantime, grab a kid and a book and journey to another world!