Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meet Talented Author J. R. Turner

I'd like to introduce author J. R. Turner to you today.

J.R. is a huge fan of all things fun and thrilling. She gets a kick out of surprising her kids and loves to tell goofy jokes—that aren’t always funny. She lives in Wisconsin, a state known for cheese, bratwurst, and beer—and 1001 recipes for Cheesy Bratwurst Beer Soup. Between writing books, enjoying the outdoors, cooking exotic recipes like Kitty Litter Cake, and trying her hand at all types of arts and crafts, her life is one adventure after another. Visit to learn more!

J. R. Thank you so much for having me visit today, Kathy!

KATHY: Thank you for coming J. R.  Can you tell my readers a little about your upcoming series?

J. R. I began writing this series at the request of my publisher. Electric Shorts—Sparking Young Imaginations is a pilot program designed to reach the reluctant reader. Each series runs six short stories and offers something unique. My series, Delbert Dallas and the Dragon Diaries, began in a brainstorming session with my 10-year-old son, Matthew. I had two themes I wanted to play with—musical instruments and history. Wow, did we go places!

KATHY: That's exciting!  I'm a retired teacher who knows how important interesting stories are to reluctant readers. I love that your ten year old son is your partner. Tell us more.

J.R. We began with the idea of a boy who had an electric guitar that turned into a time traveling dragon named Barbeque Bob. From there, we designed his archenemy, Walter Wheeler, with his own dragon named Firebrand. The boys visit different warriors and wars throughout history. From Vikings and Greek soldiers, to Denmark in World War II and all the way back to the Mongolian empire, we found little known facts and interesting myths and legends to include in the series.

KATHY: Wow!  Now I like your stories even better.  Not only do reluctant readers get to read, but they also learn history facts too.  When will the stories be available?

The titles and their release dates are:

March 22nd: Voyage to Viking Island

April 22nd: The Civil War Skirmish

May 22nd: Viva La Francine!

June 22nd: Meltdown in Marathon

July 22nd: Don’t Dis the Danish

August 22nd: Genghis Khan Do It!

Each short story will cost $.99 and will be available as an electronic download only. This makes them cost effective for schools and other literacy programs that wish to use them as teaching tools. We’re very excited to become part of summer reading programs as well. Our goal is to reach out to the kids who may not enjoy reading. For this reason, we’re using easy language and high action to keep the pace quick and hold the reader’s attention from beginning to end.

KATHY: Where can we find out more about you, your other books, and these great stories J. R.?

I’ll be updating my blog and website as we grow closer to the release date. Don’t be shy, stop on by, and let me know what you think! My website is and my blog is Leave a comment today and you’ll be entered to win a free book thong in your favorite color!

KATHY: J.R. has included this great activity for kids to do!  Have fun!!

Delbert Dallas and the Dragon Diaries Activity

Dragon Guitar

empty shoe box

large rubber bands

ruler or stick

Cut an oval in the cover from the box. Stretch the rubber bands around the box. Replace cover and tape in place. Attach the ruler or stick to the back of the box on one end to act as the arm of the guitar. Cut Dragon head and wings from card stock. Paint, color, decorate with glitter and fun objects like sequins or stickers. Glue head to the stick and wings to each side of the box.

To play, strum or pluck the rubber band.  Have fun!

J. R. Thanks again, Kathy, for having me here today!

KATHY: Your welcome J. R.   I know the kids will love making this dragon guitar.  Actually, so will I!  I wish you great success with this much needed series o short stories.

Tomorrow on our virtual book tour Nancy Famolari is featuring author Jennifer Wylie.

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J.R. Turner said...

So glad to be here, Kathy! Thank you!! :)


Cheryl said...

Oh, I am so getting these on my eReader. They sound fabulous and the price can't be beat.


Nancy Famolari said...

Jenny's series sounds like a wonderful idea. Reading is so important. Reluctant readers need to be drawn in by exciting stories that interest them. Good luck with this project.

Karen Cioffi said...

Jennifer, your children's series sounds wonderful. I think it's so important to have books/ebooks for reluctant readers. I wish you much success with them!
Great interview, Kathy.

Martha said...

Thanks for a great interview. I love the activity and so will my kids. I like that your partner is your 10 year old. Sometimes they have better ideas than we do.
Good luck with the series.
Martha Swirzinski

Anonymous said...

I'm a historian turned author. Funny thing is none of my books has taken a historic look at anything. My next book will be out in LATE February or early March. It is geared to reluctant readers & the main character is a dragon, but is a picture book.
I'm taking your info down for my dragon link list when I start my new blog. =0) Good luck.
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta's Gargantuan Wings

N. R. Williams said...

I love Wisconsin. It is so beautiful there. You're story is inspirational, I wish you all the best.

Hi Kathy, I have a award for you on my blog.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

elysabeth said...

Very fun and interesting sounding series. I'm impressed with 222 tweets on this posting and no comments. Kathy, you did a great job getting right into knowing J.R. Can't wait for the series. HOpefully it will be available on Kindle and I can start reading things on my newly won Kindle next month. Thanks for joining us, J.R. We look forward to getting to know you more -E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

Where will the adventure take you next?

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview. The series sounds great!

kathy stemke said...

Thank you for stopping by everyone.

Sorry it took me so long to OK the comments. Wednesday is when I teach most of the day. I also had to get my new stove and refridgerator home, get it installed, and give my old appliances to a friend in need. Now all I have to do is pay for them.

I'm honored to host J. R. and will leave her post up another day for those that miht have missed it.

Much success J. R. Way to go!

Virginia S Grenier said...

What a cool idea and I'm glad to know J.R. Turner and her work. Keep up the great job in getting children reading.

Mayra Calvani said...

Hey, there, Jenny! You're such a prolific short story writer! I also love to brainstorm ideas with my daughter. Her input is always so helpful! I'm going to check out your stories.

Mari said...

J.R. What an incredible idea to have the stories as electronic downloads. Best of luck with the series. It sounds like a winner!

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you J.R. and best wishes for your continued success. Writing childrens series sounds like quite the project and hope to write one myself soon! Its good you have a young partner to help!

Donna M. McDine said...


Congratulations on your ingenious series. Love the titles. Best wishes to your continued success.

Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway Story book Blog

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J.R. Turner said...

WOW!! Soo cool to see everyone here! :) Thank you bunches for your kind words and your support. I'm excited to see these come out. Covers are always fun to get and I'm eager to see what these will look like as well! :)

Okay, on to the contest winner now :)

I had my eldest choose a name from a hat (well, a basket I have beside my desk) and he picked....


Congratulations! :) Please feel free to email me at with your favorite color and the place you'd like me to mail your free book thong to and I'll be happy to send it to you.

Everyone else, you can still get your own book thong, a Thank You Thong, if you sign up for my announcement list here:

I hope everyone has a fabulous 2011 and thank you bunches, Kathy, for hosting me!!


Janet Ann Collins said...

Dragons are so cool! I'm sure lots of kids will learn to enjoy reading from these stories.

elysabeth said...


I tried emailing you but it wouldn't go through for some odd reason - my email is eeldering at - if you would like to contact me and maybe me replying directly to your email will let it go through. If you can't get mymailing addy via email, you can find it on mywebsite - - front page - thanks - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

Where will the adventure take you next?