A Sweetles Dream® ~ Guest Author Feature
with Salvatore Barbera ~ Helping The Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program
A Sweetles Dream®
Today I’m very pleased to be sharing a really good cause
to help the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program
Book Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Publish date: July 2012
Publisher: Sweetles Press
The story of Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow follows her adventures to figure out how to get the cows at a new farm to like and accept her. While she hopes to find friendship at her new home, instead she learns what it means to be different from everyone else. (Spotless!) Mary Elizabeth uses clever ideas, diplomacy and a keen sense of humor to gain acceptance and friendship at the farm.
This inspiring tale shows how perseverance in spite of obstacles, using a sound thought process to arrive at solutions and the importance of having fun, using humor and enjoying playtime can build friendships.
Watch the trailer: http://youtu.be/72fOn1tEbDM
From now through December 31, 2013, you can purchase Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow from the Sweetles website for only $12.00 (List price: $17.99) and on Amazon for $14.66.
When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program. to make a difference in the lives of children with critical and life threatening illnesses.
Visit https://sweetles.com/product/books/mary-elizabeth-the-spotless-cow-book/ for more information.
Sal is the author and illustrator of A Sweetles Dream® book series. As the Creative Director for Hartman-Barbera llc, a family media & entertainment company, he is also an animator, sculptor, painter and all around fun guy.
Sal lives the phrase: “A day without laughter is a wasted day.” To that end, he uses his writing, illustrating and animation skills to create endearing characters and comedic stories. Sal’s sense of humor and empathy for his characters explore personal and social situations in ways that makes it enjoyable for both adults and children to read his books and experience them together.
Born in New York City, Sal moved to North Bergen, NJ where he grew up on a steep hillside neighborhood with his four older sisters. He currently lives in sunny Arizona with his wife and artistic partner, Sheri, who he defines as his inspiration.
On any given day Sal might be painting, sculpting, drawing, animating, writing or enjoying one of his favorite pastimes: cooking, television, movies and golf.
Visit Sal Barbera’s website at http://www.salvatorebarbera.com
Book Buy links:
Amazon UK Kindle:
Mary Elizabeth Puppet Short Video
Once upon a time…there was a farm in Ohio with lots of Cows. They all had many spots to be proud of.
One day a truck pulled into the farm. The back door opened and out came a new Cow.
The other Cows were so excited to have a new friend!
But as the new Cow came out of the truck, the other Cows looked on in shock!
“What on Earth?!”
It seems the new Cow, whose name was Mary Elizabeth, had no spots!
“Where are your spots?!’’ Demanded the Cow called Anna Belle.
“I don’t have any spots. I was born spotless, you see.’’
Well, Anna Belle and the other Cows were horrified.
(Not mad, you have to be very careful about mad).
Hi Sal and welcome to my blog ~ I just love the look of your book!
Firstly can you tell us about yourself?
The thing I enjoy most is to make people laugh. No matter where I am; at work, in a store, on the phone…I try to get someone to laugh. It’s a quest. I’ve always wanted to do stand up comedy. But I get nervous at the thought of being on a stage. I even took a comedy class at a local college to get over the nerves. It was a great group of people and we had a lot of fun. Plus, I wrote a decent act. But the night of our real performance I looked out at the big audience and froze. I ended up reading my act from my cue cards. I haven’t stopped writing comedy, I have about a hundred or so three minute acts that friends and family might have heard on the fly.
I also enjoy illustrating and writing children’s books. It allows me to write about topics or issues that matter to me, like discrimination or prejudice. The great thing about kids books is that I can take a serious issue and write about it in a light hearted way with humor for kids and adults to enjoy reading together.
Are you working on anything new right now and can you tell us more?
I’ve completed the second book, after Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow, in the ‘A Sweetles Dream‘® series.The title is: Ernie The Dysfunctional Frog. It is a fun, goofy and wondrous tale about family, friendship, adoption, acceptance and frogs.
The concept behind the series is: Do Dogs Dream? I know my dog, Max (aka Sweetles) did. He would whoop and growl and his eyes would twitch back and forth and his little paws would run in the air. So my wife and I came up with the idea that he dreams about animals and their personal and social adventures. And that became the basis for the book series ‘A Sweetles Dream’®.
I’m currently working on a comic book for the Sweetles™ character and a children’s web series called Sweetles TV show. If you think Sesame Street meets Monty Python, you’ll get the gist of it. Educational with a huge dose of silliness.
What motivates and inspires you to write?
Life’s challenges and quirks. There’s always some new curve that get’s thrown at you. There are story lines and interesting plots everywhere. How you handle those challenges is what makes the difference in your life and the way it affects the people around you. In my books I incorporate positive solutions to serious issues that kids can use in real life. I’m inspired by children and how receptive they are to learning. I hope to give them valuable tools to deal with life’s quirks and challenges using humor, diplomacy and good moral judgement based on kindness and respect for others.
Do you have a favorite quote, if so what is it?
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” The great comedienne Charlie Chaplin said that. If someone is laughing then they’re feeling good and having fun. Even though it can be a real challenge sometimes, I always try to get people to laugh. Laughter, fun and happiness. My daily goals.
What is your preferred method of writing:- The plot pre-planned from day one, or just go with the flow and see what happens next?
It’s all inspirational. An idea for a book can come from something someone says or does. And then the whole story starts to populate in my head. The important thing is to incorporate a positive message in the plot. But it flows from there.
Are there any little tips or tricks you use to get to know your characters better?
I think of each of them as their own individual character, with their own back story. Then I inject my sense of humor into their story and make it their kind of humor to bring the character to life. It makes it easier to get my point across and make them accessible at the same time.
Which type of book do you prefer to read?
d. Non – I listen to audiobooks!
Hardback and paperback books are my preference. I like turning the pages and holding the book. For travel, I put paperback books in my computer bag.
Do you have any weird writing rituals? (Such as, you can only start writing after you’ve scoffed all the choc-chip cookies and drank 3 cups of full-caff coffee? Or only after you’ve listened to a certain song or playlist? etc… do share)
I guess my main writing ritual is using a pencil. Even though there are points flying everywhere once I start writing. I don’t want to stop because I’m afraid I’ll forget what’s in my head. And it all happens so fast that once I start a new book, I need total concentration. So really pencils don’t make any sense. I have to keep stopping to sharpen the point. I’ve started using mechanical pencils. But the points still break. But I don’t have to sharpen them every time. Just press and boom. A new point appears. So pencils are my ritual.
What is the very best thing about writing for you?
When a story comes together in my mind. When I know how good or funny it will be and all I have to do is get it down on paper. It’s exciting.
Who’s your greatest inspiration/s to date?
Charles Schultz who wrote the Peanuts cartoons. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and all of his characters are so relatable and lovable. They’re a group of characters we’ve all met at one time or another. And he brought them to life with the simplest tools: pencil, paper and ink. Pure genius.
Are you a:
• Laptop Writer
• Desktop Writer
• iPad Writer
• Pen and Paper Writer
When I write a story, the first draft is always pencil and paper.
I’m not the best typist in the world, so when I have an idea I like to write it out as quickly as possible. Plus those first fast and wacky drawings are always pretty funny. And they’re the basis for the final illustrations that go in the book.
Tell us one thing that no-one else knows about you – your darkest secret if you dare!
I’m addicted to Crunch and Munch. Carmel coated popcorn with peanuts. I buy it, hide it and eat it secretly. I also buy it, flaunt it and eat it openly. I don’t care. I’m a C and M addict. I think there should be a meeting for me to go. Maybe called “CAMAL” (Crunch and Munch anonymous lovers).
Can you tell us why you think we’d love to read your book?
First, you’ll love to read Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow to get a few laughs. Secondly the story is an adventure. You want to see what happens to her. It’s about a new cow on the farm that figures out how to get stubborn, stuck up and just plain mean cows to like her. We’ve all met cows like that. But the third and most important reason is because you’ll spend quality time with your children/grandchildren enjoying a book together. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Thank you for having me and giving me the opportunity to talk about my book!
– Sal Barbera
Thanks so much for joining Sal & I today, and if you have any cute kiddies buy them this gorgeous book, whether it’s a little Thanks Giving Gift or for a Christmas Gift, plus you’ll be helping the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program.
And even if you don’t have any cute kiddies, buy it anyway because: a. it’s for a really good cause & b. how can you resist a tale about a funny cutesy cow?
Moo know you can’t ~ sorry for the pun!
Have a great day and support a great cause