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A Man For All Seasons

Author Karina McRoberts brings a unique style of storytelling in her book A Man For All Seasons. This fascinating book is a beautiful work of science fiction and includes an enthralling account of Vidor’s mission to conserve nature from those who want to destroy it for their own benefit. Vidor and his two animal friends work in sync to make a meaningful contribution to saving nature and nature’s creations.

McRoberts is persuasive in her writing. She leads the book in a unique setting with extraordinary characters; for example, a raven who talks and thinks like a human and understands climate change is an interesting character. As a reader, one can appreciate the clarity she presents with her storytelling – the characters’ personalities, how they communicate, the background, and other small details that bring them to life. A Man For All Seasons is filled with relatable dialogue between characters, which adds appeal to readers, allowing them to fall in love with the plot and the setting. Parts of this captivating novel are reminiscent of other sci-fi movies and Disney animated films that are well known in pop culture.

One notable thing about this novel is the length of the chapters. McRoberts keeps the chapters short and sweet. One can move to the next chapter with a breeze and finish the book in one sitting. Overall a quick read and challenging to put down.

The friendship between Vidor and Clarissa is precious, and so are the animal characters. In Vidor’s plan to save nature from destruction at the hands of humanity, he also makes an effort to give dying people dignified death, which is so heart-touching. There are good guys and bad guys in this book, and the ending is justified. This book will appeal to readers across genres with a not-so-usual plot and a fantastic cast of characters.

Pages: 121 | ASIN : B09QVTXS77

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I Want To Encourage Children

Kathleen J. Shields Author Interview

The First UniBear follows a cub that through acts of kindness and compassion grows a unicorn horn and spreads acts of kindness all around the forest. When you wrote your story at the age of ten what was your inspiration?

I absolutely adore Unicorns and I loved watching the Care Bears. I never understood why there weren’t unicorns in the “Land without Feelings” or why there wasn’t a bear with a unicorn horn and special magical gift. That’s how the idea came to me to combine them.

I began by wondering why no one could SEE unicorns. I determined that they DO exist, that they are rare, and we haven’t “Earned” the ability to see them. Then I began wondering what we could do to EARN the ability. Being a good person, doing good things, that was a given, but there were plenty of good people in the world that couldn’t see unicorns. So there had to be more to it. That’s when I came up with the “Pay it Forward” idea (long before that movie came out). You have to help one person, then that person has to help another person, and down the line. So by having met all of those challenges, you could have the gift… but would you know it?

As a child, I hadn’t helped save someone yet, so that made sense as to why I hadn’t grown a horn. As an adult though, editing my rhyming story – yes, I wrote it in rhyme at ten years of age, and no, I will not share that hilarious version, I realized that it may be because I hadn’t met a unicorn yet, muchless, SAVED a unicorn. I had met horses, but none of them needed saving. There were a lot of dominoes that need to be lined up just right to get to that miraculous gift.

So in my mind, I still instilled the idea that you should all do good deeds, help each other and be kind, because in that rare chance a unicorn is involved one day – I want to earn that horn!

I really loved the artwork and character renditions. You drew some of the illustrations when you were ten what was it like working with illustrator Aashay Utkarsh to turn your vision into the final artwork?

I wrote a blog post late last year entitled “My memories behind the upcoming book” https://www.kathleenjshields.com/authors/the-first-unibear-my-memories-behind-the-upcoming-childrens-book/ and in that post, I shared the original illustration I drew at 10 years of age. It really was adorable (in my own opinion) but Aashay added a level of depth, emotion, and detail that I could never fathom! Finding him was a blessing from God and it was all due to covid! During the lockdown, so many authors that I had met over the years had extra time on their hands and they all wanted to do children’s books. Since I had done so many illustrated books, they came to me.

Over the course of the year, I worked with nearly a dozen different illustrators across the globe to help illustrate their children’s books, but it wasn’t until I saw Aashay’s first page (of another author’s book) that Unibear came rushing back to my mind. I hadn’t thought of Unibear for half a decade, easy! I had lost my father nearly three years earlier. The will to even attempt it had been shelved, and yet, seeing Aashay’s first sketch ignited that spark within me! I immediately asked him if he could draw a teddy bear and a unicorn and what he sketched for me made me feel like that 10-year-old girl – all giddy and excited! I told him he HAD to do my book (as soon as he finished with the other author) and I have been utilizing his illustrations since, in many other authors’ works.

Working with him has been an absolute joy! He understands what I want, and adds a flair and thrill to his work that I haven’t seen from any of the other illustrators. I’ve started projects with a half dozen more this year alone, only to be grossly disappointed. Good illustrators that just disappear or don’t return messages. Illustrators that charge a ton and submit subpar work… maybe Aashay has spoiled me. All I know is he was a blessing and he’s definitely a keeper!

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Originally, I just wanted to tell a story. I wanted it to be nice and magical and, as a ten-year-old girl who moved a lot, I wanted to make friends (out of a unicorn and bear of course). As an adult and author, my primary focus with all of my books is to educate and inspire. I want to encourage children to use their imagination, to do good, help others, and to believe that anything is possible. I want my stories to be fun and entertaining, and I don’t want to present major protagonists. I feel childhood is difficult enough without throwing so much ‘bad’ at them. And I wanted the story to be thought-provoking and a conversation started, which I believe it is.

I feel that 3rd, 4th and maybe even 5th graders can gain a lot from this story, especially Christian schools! Teachers could have the students point out Christian symbolism throughout the book; like the butterfly, the light leading the way, the ability to see with belief, and so much more. I even put together a document that detailed scripture along with questions of the theme which is available on my website.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I currently do not have an official book in the works. I have started a memoir but that has a long way to go! I also started writing a funny book about dogs, but it will be a chapter book. My illustrator for the Hamilton Troll series has come out of hiding and might want to work on the next part of the series… we’ll see. None of those are really inspiring me at the moment, and as any good author will tell you – when you force it, the readers can tell. A good story flows through you like warm chocolate cocoa on a bitter cold day. It comes to you like a frosty breeze and dares you not to shiver! When a story comes to an author, you have a very short amount of time to get as much of it written as you can because when that muse takes off, you’re left out in the cold without your cocoa. And for me… I want it to require illustrations because I want to work with Aashay again.

I am very grateful for the reception Unibear has received, all of the wonderful reviews, the awards it has already won, along with its stellar first day almost breaking the Amazon Top 100 Best Selling books in its respective categories! I honestly feel there are more awards coming up, and I have a dream of a screenplay making this inspirational and important story into a movie! Whether or not it makes it all the way is entirely up to God! Thank you for your support and don’t forget, “The First Unibear” is not only a full-color hardback book, but you can also get the full story in the black and white coloring book, for those young eyes that need a bit more activity to keep their attention.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website1 | Website2

This happy-go-lucky little Bear cub loves to explore! One day he follows a butterfly into the dark woods where he sees a curious sight and a shimmering light. A beautiful white horse needs help and this tiny young bear hurries to save him. What follows is a magically inspirational tale of what can happen if you follow your heart, have good in your soul, and do good deeds.

The First UniBear

A brave bear cub loves to explore the forest he lives in. There are so many wonderful animals and things to see in nature. One day he follows a butterfly even into the dark part of the woods he hasn’t been into before. Continuing to follow the butterfly, he finds a clearing with shimmering light. Laying in the clearing is a horse that looks hurt, and Bear rushes over to help the horse. The horse is caught in a vine, and Bear is able to free him. He is rewarded with seeing the horse for his true self, a unicorn. Bears good deed starts a chain reaction of kindness and compassion through the woods, and soon the unicorn magic is spreading to all the animals in the forest.

The First UniBear, written by Kathleen J. Shields, started as a project when she was only ten years old. This beautifully written picturebook contains the messages of kindness, compassion, and faith. Bear’s pure heart and compassion for others allowed him to receive his horn. His good friend Bunny prayed for a chance to meet a unicorn and had faith that they existed even though she had never seen one. Once Bunny helps save a baby squirrel, she gains the ability to see a horn on Bear. Surprised, Bear and Bunny talk to Unicorn again and learn how kindness spreads and how showing compassion is contagious.

At critical moments in this story, there are references to scriptures. This is a great way to introduce the sometimes confusing concepts of scripture to young children. The whimsical rhyming style by Shields gives the story an excellent flow and makes it a joy to read aloud to children.

Complementing the touching storyline is the bold and colorful artwork of Aashay Utkarsh. The art style brings characters to life with expressive faces, and the scenery highlights the emotions that go along with the story on each page.

The First UniBear is a heartwarming picture book sharing the love of God with children and teaching them how they too can spread love and kindness to help make the world a better place.

Pages: 45 | ASIN : B09DM64V6F

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Ursamer

There is something wrong with the world, and there has been for many years. A change is taking place, and, if left unchecked, it will forever alter the world as we know it. Something else strange is happening, and none of those who encounter this anomaly can explain it. A unique young girl and her stunning sled dog appear in random places, and, as suddenly as they show up, they are gone. They have, but one goal in mind and only have a short time in which to accomplish it.

Karina McRoberts, author of Ursamer: A Treasury of Feel-Good Stories Book 2, has delivered a socially-conscious book designed to build a more solid understanding of global warming and its most certain impact on the environment. But, more importantly, McRoberts’s tale illustrates how challenging it is for those struggling to raise awareness to successfully make their point to society.

This beautifully written short story is constructed so that young readers will easily be able to follow the story and the message the author is trying to convey. Each short chapter takes readers to a different location with Ursamer and her dog Nuga. The frustration she feels is apparent, and as her block of ice melts, her hope diminishes as well. Topics of language barriers, misunderstandings, and ignorance are presented alongside the message of climate change. However, this educational story is not all sad. There are moments of joy and understanding, and showing kindness and compassion still exists.

Ursamer: A Treasury of Feel-Good Stories Book 2 is a thought-provoking short story for children between ages eight and twelve, ideal for older elementary and middle-grade students. While the book’s topic is one that younger readers can and should begin to explore, it would make for excellent guided reading or as a teacher-led book due to the vocabulary and writing style. This is also the perfect story to introduce the topic of climate change to younger students.

Pages: 33 | ASIN : B09J1VN6N9

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Non-human Species Deserve To Live Their Lives Free of Exploit

Chuck Augello Author Interview

A Better Heart follows a filmmaker that reconnects with his father in an unusual way and causes him to question what matters in life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve had an interest in animal rights for most of my adult life and wanted to write about it in an engaging way that would entertain readers, but also inform them and perhaps challenge them to explore their own beliefs.  After my first novel, The Revolving Heart, was published, I started writing the opening chapters of a new novel, with an animal rights theme, that was nothing at all like A Better Heart.  After three chapters that novel stalled, and I put it aside for several months.  I then began hearing the first-person voice of Kevin, the novel’s narrator, and a character took shape.  I didn’t know that Henry, the capuchin monkey, and Kevin’s estranged father Brian would be critical characters until they literally walked into the opening scene.  Once that happened, the story fell into place, and I wrote the first draft in ten months, which for me is quite fast.   

Kevin thought his life was going great till he encounters Henry and reconnects with his father, causing him to rethink his personal values. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?  

Kevin feels responsible for the death of his mother and that guilt drives him toward a feeling of responsibility for Henry.  He’s someone who has always been self-focused.  As a filmmaker, he’s constantly drawing in his friends to help him with his projects.  He’s never really thought about the world beyond movies and his own ambitions, but as he learns about Henry’s experiences, he knows that he has a choice to help Henry reach freedom or to let him return to what can only be described as a primate prison.  

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Primarily, the idea that non-human species deserve to live their lives free of exploitation and pain. The way that most animals are treated is unforgivable, and a stain on the human character.   Another theme is one of forgiveness.  Kevin struggles to forgive his father for what he perceives as abandonment, and he struggles to forgive himself for his unintended role in his mother’s death.   

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently under contract for a book about the author Kurt Vonnegut.  It’s a mix of essays and interviews that I’ve done over the years with scholars and artists about their Vonnegut-themed works.  That should be available in 2023.  I’m also working on a novel set in the Bicentennial year of 1976.  The main characters are a college student and her uncle, who has returned home after living in Canada for ten years to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.   

Author Links: Twitter | Website

For aspiring indie filmmaker Kevin Stacey, it’s another day on the set of his first film, but when his estranged father, a failed Hollywood actor, arrives unexpectedly with a bundle of cash, a gun, and a stolen capuchin monkey, he’s propelled toward the journey that will change his life.
The monkey, Henry, has been liberated from a research lab by animal rights activists. Inspired by his friend Veronica to reevaluate his relationship with other species, Kevin learns about the pain and suffering inflicted on lab animals as he forges a bond with the capuchin. When father and son embark on a road trip with Henry, Kevin is caught between the egocentric father who abandoned him and the temperamental monkey whose fate is in his hands. With both the FBI and his mother’s ghost watching, will Kevin risk his career and his father’s freedom to bring the stolen monkey to safety? Meanwhile, Veronica’s encounter with an eccentric Catholic priest triggers her own journey toward change.
A heartbreaking yet comic family drama, A Better Heart examines the human-animal bond and the bonds between fathers and sons, challenging readers to explore their beliefs about the treatment of non-human species.

A Better Heart

A Better Heart by Chuck Augello follows Kevin Stacey, who is trying to make it in the film industry. His friend and coworker, Veronica, is with him when his actor father, George Gringo suddenly steps back into his life. One day in the middle of a shoot, George shows up with a mysteriously disheveled capuchin monkey, a bundle of cash, and a gun. Henry, the capuchin monkey, has been stolen from a research laboratory by animal rights activists and is supposed to be dropped off at a sanctuary. But, before that can happen, the authorities catch onto the plan. From there, a fateful journey begins where during a road trip, Kevin faces several moral dilemmas. He is torn between helping Henry and risking his father’s freedom or helping arrest the activists. During all this, Veronica finds herself in the ethical crossroads as well, between wanting to make a difference in the fight against animal cruelty and the indifference towards animals she grew up with.

This humorous story follows the bond between a father and son, the rebuilding of personal ethical philosophies in a young woman, and a question into how much an animal’s life is worth compared to a human one. The author uses a slow-burn style to start the novel in order to introduce all the characters and their backstories. The background information allows readers to really understand how the characters got to where they are and why the tension builds so strongly between them.

Chuck Augello’s writing is incredibly creative; his writing style is realistic and engaging. The characters come alive with his ability to capture their captivating personalities, humor, and self-reflective thoughts. The characters are the type of people that most readers will identify someone like them in their own lives, making the story more relatable and personal.

A Better Heart is a riveting comedy based around moral decisions and a family drama. Building relationships and discovering personal values are mixed with humor as people come together to save Henry, the rescued lab monkey.

Pages: 257 | ASIN : B09C2S6P78

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The Change Agents

Legal reporter Eliza is stunned when she finds a bug and two spiders talking to her and asking for her help with a cause. The puzzled and yet intrigued Eliza at the Mausoleum door follows the creatures through the crypt to NoHoSap, a safe place for living animals, away from humans and their exploration. As the surprises and shocks unfold for Eliza in NoHoSap, she learns of her role in a great cause – climate change. Will the Change Agents of NoHoSap be able to influence the world with the help of their human friends? Or penetrate the skeptical human conscience indifferent to the world’s real issues prowling the Earth?

In this unique urban fantasy novel, author Sarah E. Lewis honors her canine Bebop and inspires people to save the Earth from climate change. Bebop plays a significant role in the story as he is not only Eliza’s faithful companion but also a guide for NoHoSap, a change agent dedicated to making the Earth a flourishing home for all creatures. This intriguing story also satirizes the whole human race using several discourses and interactions among animal species. The story features a scene where animals protect and help rescue humans in a flood. It comes off as a silent mockery upon humans encroaching on animals’ natural habitat.

The Change Agents presents a critical topic wrapped in fantasy fiction, in which animals have taken over the role of humans. Readers will appreciate the comical representation of technology-driven animals in the story, such as BG (Billy Goat) rapping and mixing crazy tracks amid the dancing animals. Having the animal participate in such a serious social issue as climate change adds fun and makes the book ideal for older elementary children. The chapters were reasonable lengths and easy to break out for discussion topics.

The author wisely enlists the state of every habitat due to weather fluctuations by including the species that live there in The Alliance members of NoHoSap, who help explain to readers the ravaging change in the ecosystem. With subtle satire, the book invites readers to become Change Agents by adopting lifestyles that improve nature.

The Change Agents is a valuable book for parents and educators to teach children a valuable lesson on climate change while entertaining them with amusing creatures.

Pages: 380 | ASIN : B09LJX3MT7

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