Category Archives: Joan’s books

Wondry Dragon Finds a Home

Children’s Bookwatch: February 2016
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Wondry Dragon Finds a Home
Joan Marie Verba
FTL Publications
PO Box 1363, Minnetonka, MN 55345-0363
9781936881444, $6.87, PB, 66pp,

Do you like dragons? The follow the adventures of Wondry Dragon as she finds a new home with her new human friend, Rhea in Joan Marie Verba’s delightful story, “Wondry Dragon Finds a Home”. Rhea and her mom and dad have never had a dragon in the house before, and they all learn what Wondry can and cannot do. Rhea and Wondry play together, help out their neighbors — and try to stay out of trouble. Rhea can never tell what Wondry will do next because Wondry is always surprising her with what dragons can do. Wondry will surprise young readers ages 6 to 8 as well! A children’s chapter book story suitable for students in grades 1-3, “Wondry Dragon Finds a Home” is very highly recommended for both community and elementary school libraries. For children’s personal reading lists it should be noted that “Wondry Dragon Finds a Home” is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Coloring Books from Joan Marie Verba

I’ve recently started putting together coloring books. Here are the first two:

These 25 designs are generic cityscapes for both children and adults who want easy drawings to color. Most of the drawings are simple, though some are more complex. Feel free to color entire sections or individual buildings. You can even create a mural or write on the side of a building. There are dotted lines at the side of each page. There is only one drawing per piece of paper, so if you wish to cut them out and save them, use the dotted line as a guide. Whether you need a coloring book for an adult or a child, this is one to consider!

Paperback available here.

This coloring book is for both kids and grownups who want easy drawings to color. Most of the 26 drawings are simple, and you can add your own designs in the blank areas if you wish. There is only one drawing on each piece of paper (the back side of the page is blank). The dotted lines on each page show where you can cut out the page from the book if you want to display the finished piece, or color the drawing outside of the book. Whether you need a coloring book for an adult or a child, this is one to consider!


Henry Jenkins is the Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He recently interviewed me about Star Trek, Darkover, and Thunderbirds.  

An account of early Star Trek and Darkover fan fiction by archivist/chronicler Joan Marie Verba:

Thunderbirds are Go and Joan Marie Verba Explains Why.

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 5/19/2010 1:20 PM 


On Tuesday, May 18, 2010, I’m hosting a virtual online (re)launch party for my Thunderbirds books, particularly Countdown to Action!

On that date, if you order one or more of the Thunderbirds novels, you will be able to download free bonuses!

A number of partners are helping me with this virtual party. These include:

Dan Poynter, author of the Self-Publishing Manual.
Peggy McColl, author of Your Destiny Switch and other self-help books.
Michelle Cimino, Digital Etiquette Expert.
Hasmark Services, The Heart and Soul of Book Marketing
Steve Miller and Sharon Lee, authors of the Liaden series of science fiction novels.
Henry Jenkins, popular culture expert, the author of Textual Poachers, and the Provost’s Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Art at the University of Southern California.

Put the date on your calendar so you won’t miss out on these special offers!

More information will be posted as the Countdown to the Virtual (Re)Launch continues!

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 4/22/2010 8:02 PM 


I am thrilled to report that my novel, Thunderbirds™: Action Alert, is a Mom’s Choice Awards® (Silver recipient) for 2010. The Mom’s Choice Award is given to books the judges feel represent the best in family-friendly entertainment. I am proud of this because it is my goal to create novels that are family-friendly, and this award confirms that I have met that goal.

My novel Countdown to Action! won the same award last year, so I am doubly pleased to get another award this year.

Most of the time, I find that others are pleased and impressed when one of my books gets an award. Other times, the response isn’t as favorable.

There seems to be a thought among the unfavorable responses that some awards are better than others. Last year, for instance, when I called the local newspaper to ask if they’d announce I’d won this award, I was told, “I haven’t heard of this award.”

Well, so what? The fact that I won an award means that someone who I do not know, have never met, and am not related to thinks that my book has merit. Really, almost any award, better known Hugo Awards, etc., has this characteristic. Hugo Awards, for instance, are reader awards, and most voting for the award are not literary professionals. Even so, the Hugo Award has prestige and significance.

Last year, I read a blog from a professional book critic who slammed one of the lesser-known awards. She claimed that this award (and this wasn’t the Mom’s Choice Award, by the way) had a paid entry fee and that everyone who paid the fee got some sort of award. Not true. I have entered my books for this particular award. The award granters state very clearly that they get on the order of 1000 entries, and maybe 50 titles get an award. That means 95% of the books entered don’t get an award. 

There may indeed be “vanity” awards; I have heard of them, though I’ve never entered my books in one of these to my knowledge. Almost all the awards that I enter are judged by professionals (and if not professionals, they are readers, such as the people who voted on the Hugos are). Some have fees, some don’t. I don’t necessarily think paying a fee to be considered devalues the award. Before I enter any award, I check to see (and the reputable awards committees provide this information up front) who is judging, what standards are used, etc.

Therefore, when I win an award, I’m happy, no matter what anyone else thinks!

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 2/1/2010 4:33 PM


My books, and in particular, my October 2009 novel, Deadly Danger, are featured on the Reading Minnesota blog:

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 10/2/2009 4:14 PM


When I ask for suggestions on how to sell more books, inevitably, someone will suggest that I visit local bookstores (chain and independent ones) to see if they’ll carry my books.

It isn’t as if I haven’t tried this. Both local science fiction bookstores (Uncle Hugo’s and Dreamhaven) already have purchased my books (for which I am grateful). I have also tried the Barnes and Noble Small Press Department…their response was, in essence: don’t call us, we’ll call you. Generally my experience with bookstores is similar to that of sf author and small press publisher Steve Miller, who reported driving from his home in Maine down the eastern seaboard to Florida, stopping at every sf bookstore he could find along the way. None of them purchased his books.  Most bookstores won’t purchase books from authors (or small presses). They just don’t. They prefer to purchase books from suppliers, and suppliers prefer not to handle books that don’t bring in at least a couple of thousand dollars in immediate sales.

I have also attended the midwest bookseller’s convention—twice—to promote my books, with no success (oh, they’ll take free copies, but they don’t order any). I have used a service which lists your books in their catalog, then forwards review copies of books to interested booksellers who request them. Although I have sent books to these booksellers, I’ve never received any orders from the ones I sent copies to. I’ve also sent a large number of copies to a national distributor for their “sales reps,” presumably so those sales reps can show my books to bookstore owners and get them interested in purchasing. I haven’t seen any results of that, either.

However, at the Bloomington Book Fair earlier this year, a man (let’s call him Joe Author), told me that he had success selling his self-published book locally. He specifically indicated the University of Minnesota bookstore, Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books bookstore, and the Science Museum bookstore. So I thought I’d give them a try.

Joe was most enthusiastic about the University of Minnesota bookstore. According to him, the book buyer there was eager to purchase books from alumni, and wrote a check on the spot for Joe’s books. I brought them both Thunderbirds books and Boldly Writing. I went to the bookstore (which had moved since I was last at the campus bookstore), and asked for the manager, who indicated there were 2 buyers. One came to talk to me. I introduced myself as an alumna and went on from there.

I talked about Boldly Writing first. I told the buyer (twice) that I received comments and e-mails regularly from professors in the field of popular culture saying that this was a valued reference, that it had been cited in academic papers, and that I had been told by Ph.D.s that they had used Boldly Writing in their dissertations. Despite this, she indicated she wasn’t interested.
I then brought out the Thunderbirds books, asking if they carried science fiction. She said they did, but that they “only carry the big science fiction authors.” In parting, she said that my books weren’t the kind that their bookstore carries.

Before leaving the subject of the U of MN bookstore, I do want to say that the newsletter of the Department of Physics and Astronomy (from which I graduated), has always been eager to print news of my books in their department/alumni newsletter. (The general U of MN alumni magazine, however, has not.) Obviously, the Department of Physics and Astronomy isn’t running the U of MN bookstore.
From there, I went to the Red Balloon Bookstore in St. Paul. This wasn’t a bookstore that Joe Author recommended, but it is a bookstore that members of the MN SCBWI recommended, and I had called ahead. The manager there was very nice and took 2 copies of each Thunderbirds novel “on consignment” and asked me to check back in 3 months to see whether they sold.

After that, I went to the Common Good Books store, which was not far away. This bookstore is a basement store, and I found it well-lit and comfortable. I approached an employee at the front desk and asked her if they purchase from Minnesota authors, and if they purchase science fiction. She was very nice and replied that they do, but they only carry books that one of the staff has read and would recommend. I asked if I could leave copies of my books for her to read. She said that was fine, and I did.

Last, I went to the Science Museum and asked to talk to the bookstore manager. He was courteous and explained their purchasing policy, saying it was their experience that only books that relate to the current exhibit sell. For instance, he said, when they had the “body works” display, the only books sold were those relating to the human body, and to their frustration, none of their other books sold. He said that for that reason, they did carry science fiction when they had the Star Wars exhibit, but wouldn’t carry sf again until or unless they had another sf related exhibit, and added that they may in the future and I could contact them again.

Such is my experience with trying to sell directly to bookstores. Joe Author may have had a different experience—of bookstore managers writing him a check on the spot—but most authors who try to sell direct don’t have that kind of success.

POSTSCRIPT: Common Good Books never got back to me about my books. The Red Balloon Bookstore returned the books to me after several months–they did not sell any of them.

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 6/30/2009 3:54 PM