Friday, June 3, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Tales from Cloud Canyon by Dr. Rachel Kowert PhD

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Tales from Cloud Canyon by Dr. Rachel Kowert PhD. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the inspiration behind the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $75 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card and one copy each of the books in the series. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Series: Tales from Cloud Canyon
Author: Dr. Rachel Kowert PhD
Publisher: Your Own Castle, LLC
Expected Publication Date: June 2022
Genre: Children's Fiction
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THE STORIES

Tales from Cloud Canyon is a series of character driven, topical short stories celebrating the everyday child, doing everyday things, with their everyday abilities designed for children aged 3+. Developed by a research psychologist and mom of 3, these stories were developed to be entertaining, educational, and celebrate the power of the everyday within our the beautiful, diverse world.

This Kickstarter collection features three topical short stories from the Cloud Canyon Universe: Here, There, & Everywhere, The Secret to Success, and Invisible Friends. Each of these titles are fully illustrated from artist Randall Hampton and are about 25 pages long.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE WRITING

The fictional characters in childhood stories are some of our earliest teachers. We learn a range of things through the observation of these symbolic models, such as what is right and wrong, a desirable and undesirable behavior, gender roles, norms, stereotypes, and more. The role of models is particularly influential in childhood as it can have a long lasting impact on development.

Each story in this collection was developed to not only be entertaining but educational as well, with the stories' characters modeling a range of age-appropriate skills spanning four areas of human development: intellectual, social, emotional, and moral. The skills that are modeled within any particular story are displayed on the back cover of each book and explained in more detail on the last page of the book.

DIVERSITY, REPRESENTATION & INCLUSION

Tales from Cloud Canyon changes the narrative by reflecting and celebrating the beautiful and diverse reality of our world. The characters within the Cloud Canyon Universe were developed to represent a range of shapes, sizes, abilities and disabilities, and traditional and non-traditional families.

In the Cloud Canyon universe:

-More than half the characters are female

-More than half the characters come from an ethnic-minority background

-1 in 10 characters have a visible disability

-Characters come from traditional and non-traditional families

-Different body shapes are represented

-she/her, he/him, and they/them pronouns are represented

It was also equally important that these details were not the central theme of the stories themselves as our shape, level of ability, and what our family unit looks like are just some of the many parts of who we are and not necessarily the defining feature of our stories.

PRODUCTION AND RELEASE

All of the stories have been written and are currently being brought to life through the illustrative magic of Randall Hampton. The physical production of the books is expected to start in June 2022. Time from production to shipping is about 6 - 8 weeks (+/- 2-4 additional weeks due to COVID delays). Once Rachel receives the books, they will be shipped to backers. There is an expected arrival date of the books no later than November 2022.

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BOOK TRAILER:
Watch the book trailer below or by clicking here.
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EXCERPT:
(Here, There, & Everywhere is the story of Eli and Ophelia. Ophelia notices Eli isn’t at school one day only to find he is at home mourning the loss of his grandmother. This is a story about death, dying, and grief told in a child appropriate way from a faith-agnostic perspective. Meaning, it would be just as appropriate in a religious home as it would be in a non religious home.)

“First we are kids, then grown ups, then wrinkly and old,
And life is a cycle that way, so I’ve been told.”

Eli paused and looked back up at his friend,
“But what about after? What happens in the end?”

“Well, that is a really big, difficult question,
There are a lot of ideas, superstition.

Some say you go up in to Heaven in the sky,
And reunite with everyone who passed you by.

Others say you come back here as something different,
A bird or butterfly, something significant.”

“But whatever happens, a part of them stays here,
Inside of all the people they’ve met and held dear.

We hold pieces of everyone we’ve loved, embraced,
Those who are still here and those in a different place.”

“Though she’s not here, your grandma is a part of you,
Who you are and the things that you think, say, and do.

The way your hair springs up, your encouraging gaze.
Those are just two of the many possible ways.

So really you two will always be together,
In your heart and your mind, today and forever.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Rachel Kowert is a research psychologist, award-winning author and mom of three. In 2019, she launched her first Kickstarter project from the Cloud Canyon universe was a collection of female centered stories entitled Pragmatic Princess: 26 Stories of Self Sufficiency and raised more than $25,000 in 30 days and won an INDIES award for educational children's picture book.

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GUEST POST:
- Who or what was the inspiration behind this book series?

The initial ideas behind Tales from Cloud Canyon came to me in 2019 when my daughter was 4 years old. I was lucky enough to pick up about a hundred different paperback books at a garage sale of a former teacher and had started reading her a new book every night before bed. After a few weeks of this, I started to notice a theme: there were very few books with female protagonists and when there were, they were pigeonholed into a damsel in distress or only successfully navigated their challenges with the use of superpowers. While there is nothing wrong with a female superhero or a knight in shining armor, I wanted something different.

After a bit of digging I realized there was a dramatic lack of representation in children’s literature. The Nielson 2018 book scan report found that of the top 100 best selling children’s books, 1 in 5 did not feature a single female character, only 2 out of the top 100 featured a black, Asian, or minority ethnic character in a central role ( with 70% of the black, Asian, or ethnic characters were in non-speaking roles) and only 1 out of the top 100 featured a disabled child but they did not speak or have a key role.

After some encouragement from a friend, I decided to sit down and see if perhaps I could be the change I wanted to see in the literary world and in less than two weeks I had written what ended up becoming the first collection in the Tales from Cloud Canyon Universe: the 26 stories of Pragmatic Princess. In 2019, I successfully kickstarted these stories as the collection Pragmatic Princess: 26 Superb Stories of Self-Sufficiency and raised more than $25,000 in 30 days and earned an INDIES award for educational children’s picture books. So I guess I can write children’s books.

Over the last few years, I have continued to write and expand the Cloud Canyon universe and am excited to announce that I am launching a second Kickstarter June 4 for a BRAND NEW collection of three topical short stories: Here, There, & Everywhere, Invisible Friends, and The Secret to Success. These stories are the ones that I felt were still missing from my children’s library.

The primary motivation for these stories continues to be the desire for every child to see themselves as the hero of their own story. When children grow up not seeing themselves reflected in the media they consume, they grow up feeling like they don’t matter. So within the Cloud Canyon universe more than half of the characters are female, more than half come from a minority background, and 1 in 10 have visible disabilities. It was equally important that these details were not the central theme of the stories themselves as our shape, level of ability, and what our family unit looks like are just some of the many parts of who we are and not necessarily the defining feature of our stories.

My goal with Tales from Cloud Canyon is to change the status quo around children’s literature and let children know that they are the heroes of their own story, no matter their gender, ability or background. I want all children to have the opportunity to celebrate the power of the everyday through the magic of storytelling… and maybe learn a thing or two along the way.
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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
Randall Hampton is an author, illustrator, husband and father of 3. He is the Creator of "The Little Game Master" series of books and considers himself a story teller above all else. When he is not spending time with family and friends, Randall enjoys reading, video games, music, and table top games of all sorts.
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GIVEAWAY:
Dr. Rachel Kowert PhD will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card and 1 copy of each of the 3 Cloud Canyon books (available in November) to a randomly drawn US winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

105 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book, and I love the cover.

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  2. I would love to read your book and I just love your cover.

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  3. Sounds like a great book for my grandchildren. Congratulations on it's release.

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  4. I would love to read this book with my nephews!

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  5. These books look wonderful. I think I'll recommend them to my neighbor who has a grandson.

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  6. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  7. I love this. Diversity is our future

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  8. Great guest post and excerpt, Tales from Cloud Canyon sounds like an awesome children's book! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a fantastic TGIF!

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  9. Happy Friday! Thank you for sharing your guest post and book details, I am looking forward to sharing these stories with my grandchildren. Do you have any specific reading or writing plans for the weekend?

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  10. I think that the cover of your book is colorful and attractive.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  11. David HollingsworthJune 3, 2022 at 8:51 PM

    I like the diversity of this book. It looks progressive.

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  12. This book would be perfect for your grand kids!
    Maybe Christmas gift?
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  13. I would love to buy a few copies of this book to share with friends to read with their kids!

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  14. These stories would be perfect for my nieces.

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  15. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  16. What age were you when you first started writing?

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  17. Looks like a delightful children's book. I know some little ones that would love.it.

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  18. Do you have any advice for new writers?

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  19. Thanks for the great blurb, interview and excerpt. The book sounds intriguing.

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  20. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  21. David HollingsworthJune 5, 2022 at 1:35 AM

    What inspires you?

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  22. This looks so good! Can't wait to read it!

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  23. How do you select the names of your characters?

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  24. I think my niece would love these books .

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  25. So glad that there is a place where everybody is represented

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  26. Do you have any extreme hobbies, like extreme couponing or cave diving?

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  27. Where is your favorite place to write?

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  28. David HollingsworthJune 7, 2022 at 2:57 AM

    What inspires you?

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  29. Your book have a very diverse set of characters.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  30. Do you have characters living in your head?

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  31. David HollingsworthJune 8, 2022 at 2:11 AM

    I think this is going to be an important book for kids.

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  32. I love everything about this book - genre title and cover!

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  33. This book sounds incredible. She hit so many things right on the head in terms or doing better as an author!

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  34. What's your signature alcoholic drink?

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  35. What has been your favorite road trip?

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  36. David HollingsworthJune 10, 2022 at 1:29 AM

    What's your favorite food?

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  37. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

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  38. Do you set an alarm so you don't write for too long at a stretch?

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  39. How do you think we should warn future inhabitants of earth about nuclear waste?

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  40. David HollingsworthJune 11, 2022 at 2:43 AM

    Happy Saturday!

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  41. What author do you most admire?

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  42. If you could stay one age forever, which one would it be, and why?

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  43. Where do you wanna go on a cruise?

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  44. David HollingsworthJune 13, 2022 at 3:50 AM

    Where do you go for relaxation?

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  45. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  46. Do you relax on the weekends?

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  47. When do you think you could have used a second chance in life?

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  48. What authors do you enjoy reading?

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  49. Are you glad when a book is finished?

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  50. David HollingsworthJune 14, 2022 at 6:33 PM

    Happy Tuesday!

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  51. How do you handle very hot weather?

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  52. I would love to read this with my grandkids

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  53. Your book cover is colorful and catches the eye.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  54. Have you started another book yet?

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  55. This looks like a great book.

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  56. How do you relax after a long day of writing?

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  57. David HollingsworthJune 18, 2022 at 10:27 PM

    Happy Saturday!

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  58. Wonderful that you switched to children's stories, yes we need more with stories of positivity, ethics, morals, responsibility, respect and more.

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  59. This sounds great!! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  60. I'm sure my step son would love to read this.

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  61. David HollingsworthJune 20, 2022 at 4:25 PM

    Happy Monday!

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  62. Any advice for someone starting a new job?

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  63. This sounds like a book series that would be helpful for many children.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  64. David HollingsworthJune 22, 2022 at 5:12 PM

    Hope you're keeping cool during this heat.

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  65. looks like a fun one

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  66. Wow, I love the details of your universe!

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  67. Do you ever take notes when you're out and about?

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  68. David HollingsworthJune 23, 2022 at 7:41 PM

    Do you sometimes have a ghostwriter to help you?

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  69. LAST DAY
    Thanks for the contest.

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  70. Thank!.s for giving us a chance to win somethong great

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  71. Sounds like a good book. I like the excerpt and cover.

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  72. Love that the stories are educational as well as entertaining.

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  73. Dr. Kowart, congrtulations on your INDIES award! I like how the characters are desribed as everyday and would be relatable to our little one.

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  74. David HollingsworthJune 24, 2022 at 6:32 PM

    Happy Friday!

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  75. This book looks like a good read for all kids and shows the art of compassion and listening.

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  76. Thank you for celebrating diversity!

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  77. The stories in Tales from Cloud Canyon sound like they might be helpful to many children.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  78. Do you have any advice for getting some sleep?

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  79. This sounds so good. I’d love to read it. What’s your favorite genre to read?

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