For weeks I’d been promising more info involving the progress of my upcoming debut novel, Gabriel, and today I can share some sobering, yet exciting news.

Let’s get the sobering news out of the way, and let me first say this: Gabriel is still getting published. But due to circumstance and miscommunication beyond my control, I had to part ways with G8Press, who originally acquired Gabriel in December 2012.

Okay, now the good news, Gabriel as I said will still be published, but now by ALTEN INK, a new publisher created by my (former) editor from G8Press, Debby Alten, who had also help found G8Press but left earlier this month for personal reasons, and because my contract was not honored regarding Gabriel’s release, I was free to withdraw Gabriel and am following Debby to her new venture because she really “Gets” the book, and only makes me want to work all the harder.

As such, I’ve updated the videos I’ve done for GABRIEL so far with the branding of my new publisher, ALTEN INK, which you can see below-

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 They’ll also be on both my (Author) YouTube Channel-


And on the “Talking Animal Addicts” YouTube Channel-


For the writers out there, I’ll talk more about what led to this decision at a later date, but that’s all for today. (Or tonight, if you live on EST [Eastern Standard Time] as I do…)


I’ll have more news about Gabriel in the coming months.

But you can always find out what’s new with Gabriel and Co. at:

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.

Weekly Readings III

UPDATE (1-24-14): Had to re-upload video below due to typos. Your Literary Rat apologizes for those who saw any or all of the original 3 uploads ridden with typos. Sometimes I move too fast for my own good…



Weekly Reading 3


This edition of “Weekly Readings” is a little different.


For new readers, “Weekly Readings” is normally when I give short reviews on picture books I’ve read in the past week, and I sadly have not read any new picture books since Holiday 2013, and recent changes concerning my debut novel Gabriel, and entering the world of podcasting has taken so much of my time, but I’m getting back in a groove.


Slowly but surely…


Anyway, for our first Weekly Readings of 2014, instead of a review, I’m sharing a video I made for a novel  (Not by me!) I have read (and “re-read” the audiobook version of it over and over) that’s first in a series that I believe NEEDS more love-

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As I always tell my author friends, this is the book I would be hand-selling to every man, woman and child I could if I owned and ran a book shop, and this is  book that pushes away from the “Norms” of which traditionally has been mostly picture books/early readers or clan-based warfare in the vein of Redwall and Warriors, and there’s nothing wrong with them, but I started T.A.A. to get folks to realize the variety and depth this genre is capable of when we’re willing to be open to new approaches and voices. 

Time Stops for No Mouse is a prime example of this. It’s like “Beatrix Potter for Grown-Ups” meets “Murder, She Wrote” though the protagonist not a widowed mystery writer.

This series I feel can be the “Gateway” for getting readers BEYOND 5 to see how fun and poignant this genre can be when done with heart and thought, NOT a commercial gimmick.

Every other genre (Even erotica, and so-called trite romance, I read romance, but I can’t write it, nor am I interested in erotica) has a palette of discerning readers of varying tastes and interests, yet we lump all animal stories in the same boat, and that’s doing both a disservice and missing the broader point.

Just like how Twilight’s vampires are NOT mirroring the original Dracula.

Or why we don’t confuse Clifford the Big Red Dog with Snoopy!

If you’ve read a previous “Letter From the Editor” from 2013 giving a retrospective of this series, you know I’m in love with it, wish I could’ve written it, and one of my WIP books was inspired (Not in a scummy way!) by this first book in particular, and the series in general.

I will be reviewing this series shortly, and I’ll be doing a special giveaway to tie in my needing to bring these series further into the literary limelight.

Until then, I’m taking a more visually direct approach. Video is the future, after all.

If my words can’t get eyeballs to this book, I’ll use video!

Love to get some feedback on it. What did you think? Will it make you curious to at least TRY the book? (Preview on Amazon, library, wherever!)

If there any other Hermux Tantamoq fans out there, will you come out and share the love with me! Comment on the blog or tweet us (@TAA_Editor or @Taurean_Watkins)

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.

T.A.A.’s Next Big Thing

NOTE: For those of you who subscribe to our newsletter “Bites From The Cheese Shop” I apologize for the delay in bringing it out, I had lot of early year stuff I had to address, but will assume a regular schedule soon. Thanks for your patience.

Sorry I’ve been MIA much of this month. I’ve been busy with lots of boring offline stuff that had to get done, and there was a bit of drama regarding the status of my debut novel GABRIEL, which I’ll talk more about at a different time.

But today I’m happy to announce our newest project! If you follow us on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook (We’re also on Pinterest!), you’re already aware, but to you loyal blog readers I’m happy to announce our newest project for T.A.A. in 2014-




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Here’s a promo for “Guido and Bonnie”  one of the shows available on T.A.A. FM-
(Plus, learn how to get your questions answered on the show!)


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Another show debuting on T.A.A. FM is about a dynamic duo of a different sort…

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T.A.A. fans, let’s make them feel welcome by sending them your support be tweeting out your congratulations to them via @Swinebert_and_D

(You can also find Guido and Bonnie on Twitter via @GuidoandBonnie)

I’ll have more details about these and other content on T.A.A. FM when we launch later this year. #TAAFM

You can always click  the “T.A.A. FM” tab at the top our homepage  as updates and behind-the scenes content is added before and after launch. Get ready, T.A.A. fans, soon you’ll be taking your fantastical fauna with you anytime, anywhere, via our podcasts. If you’ve got comments, questions, and suggestions for T.A.A. FM, feel free to share them below (And tell your friends about us!)

I’ll be inteviewing Guido and Bonnie along with Swinebert and Dempsey on the blog, and you can send them questions in the comments below or emailing me at

They don’t have a website yet, but you can find Guido and Bonnie on Twitter (@GuidoandBonnie)

You can learn more about Swinebert and Dempsey via Facebook, Twitter (@Swinebert_and_D), and Pinterest

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you!

NEVER TOO LATE: Letter From The Editor


Letter From The Editor

Never Too Late!

-January 3rd, 2014-

Dear Readers,

2014 has begun.

For this “Literary Rat” the first days of the new year are particularly poignant for me more so than years past.

As some in my inner circle may already know, I made the difficult decision not to retake the GED, a test for students (In the U.S.)  who weren’t able to graduate high school to attain certification which allows the student to be eligible for accredited college admission, and despite exceptions, it’s getting increasingly harder to begin a meaningful and reasonably profitable career without going to college, and as of January 1st, 2014, the test resets and becomes harder and more expensive to take, I took the test in 2012 but didn’t pass a few areas.

If I take the test again, I’ll be paying more to take it and I’ll have to begin again, and it will be harder, and desptie what some people told me, it wasn’t “Easy” before the change, and at this time, I can’t stomach taking it again.

I’ve never been a great tester.

But the weight and importance of this test weighed heavily on me.

It sickens me at times that this country, America, my country, is putting more stock in testing in general more than the actual living, breathing, people who take them. That teachers across the board are being constrained and chastised for not bringing up test scores more than giving the joy and tools to learn effectively. 

It’s downright insulting that we on the one hand put prospective teachers through a decade or more of schooling and training only to get them into a classroom of kids or teens, and then tell them how and what to teach like they spent the last 10 or 20 years of their lives and no NOTHING about teaching.

Why should all teachers be marginalized because a few aren’t effective? 

It takes a lot of courage to admit this. Because I’m a novelist at my core, and a lot of what I write is for children, this absent feather in my proverbial cap is especially hard to bear. But in 2014, I’ve made a necessary decision that will get my head and heart in better unison, 

As many authors, educators. and avid readers already know, author Kate DiCaMillo (Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Desperaux) is the newest “Ambassador for Young People’s Literature” and as past ambassadors have done, each author has particularly focus or theme they champion during the time this period. 

if I ever hold that title, I know I have three competing ideas for what my focus as embassador. Until I have to make that decision, I’ll use T.A.A. to champion a specific focus for the year. That focus is in the text under the image in this letter I type-


Too often we put deadlines on ourselves to motivtate ourselves to take things seriously. Or we have to live with deadlines set by outside pressures, be it school, work, parenting, etc. But speaking solely for myself, more often than not deadlines only add pressure, pain, and guilt that I don’t need. It doesn’t make me a better writer. It doesn’t make me a better person. It only produces stress that keeps me from making any effort at all. Or I second guess myself so much it’s really not funny. 

I may very well have Charlie Brown beat in terms of how wishy-washy I can be at times…

But from this year onward, I will make my personal AND Professional motto be: Never Too Late

Our newest Ambassador for Young People’s Literature knows a thing or two about the words “Never Too Late.” It’s no secret many great writers today and in the past knew from an early age they’d be writers somehow, someway, but many like Kate came to her journey as a writer later in life.

As impatient as I am, and as much as the writing process demands patience, something authors who’ve been through the slogs of querying and drafting book after book for YEARS with no sales or reaching other key milestones too easily forget is that some of that impatience is positive!

While I could count off countless authors who didn’t publish until they were 50+, that’s really not the point I wish to make, the point I make in saying all this is that it’s not bratty impatience that spurs our desire to be authors, it’s that we know we don’t have forever to achieve our goals as writers.

Despite what some “Old Pros” in the business say, I’m full aware of my mortality, and while I can’t speak for all twenty-somethings, I’m speaking solely for me, and just because I may have more “Time” than many of my author friends who are as old or older than my sixty-something grandmother (my stand-in parent) that doesn’t mean my impatience comes from wanting things “Handed” to me without working for them.

I worked 10 YEARS for my first sale. As much as the phrase “One book doesn’t make you writer” is true, you still have to start somewhere, and I wish older writers would understand that some of the impatience is not because we don’t want to work hard. But it’s really hard to START. We can’t be authors without readers, and we can’t reach readers without our work being tight, and despite the advances in self-publishing, not everyone can afford that option, and for those of us who can’t write nonfiction, that only limits where we can submit our work.

Just like there’s ageism for experienced seniors, there’s ageism for us “Rookies” too!

But to all my honorable elders, please hear this, YOUTH ISN’T EVERYTHING!

You also need to understand that while some things may be easier than when you went to school and started working, a lot has changed, and if you don’t fit a certain mold, sometimes you get left behind, please don’t lump us in with the people who did give up without trying. I understand the need for accountability among teachers and students, but when people start DYING over stress from test scores, to quote Miss Clevel from the first animated Madeline special-

“Something is NOT right. Something is Quite Wrong. Something is NOT right! And so…I sing this song…”

What we have in youth we lack in experience, and it’s getting harder to get experience if you don’t meet certain criteria. 

In closing, please understand I’m not against education, but my experience is no less valid than those who got the kind of education that others like myself would envy.

I’m grateful I learned to read and do some basic math (Which I’m still sketchy with at times) but didn’t have many warm and empowering moments as many of my author friends did, and many of them are retired teachers or are still teaching, and I hope nothing I’ve said comes off as dishonoring your profession. Teachers the world over are doing or have done a job I could never do. 

As hard and sobering the road of a writer is, I at least have more of the freedom and self-direction many teachers today do not, and those who can spark engagement and joy in learning to kids and teens, in spite of the “Testing Absolute” environment many of us live in are nothing short of heroes.

So while I do my best to put the pain of my school experience behind me, I press on to forge my own path, and hope I won’t have to rely on family or government aide indefinitely, I will do my best to let go of the guilt and pain I had from my education experience, and not let it stop me from doing something with my life. 

While self-education can’t solve all my problems, it will serve me, even if it can’t pay my bills and taxes: It still matters.

Self-education HAS VALUE.

I HAVE VALUE. Whether I have degrees or not.

While I wish I were more self-reliant financially, I’m doing okay, and one day I will do better than okay, that’s in my reach, and some days it takes extra special effort on my part to remember and believe that.

Take Care, and remember, it’s NEVER TOO LATE for you, whatever you want to do to better your own life.

Your Literary Rat,

Taurean J. Watkins


Talking Animal Addicts