A Testimonial of a Lifetime

This private message appeared on my book’s, Samuel T. Moore of Corte MagoreFacebook page yesterday.  Sometimes, we just want to hear that we are making a difference and we’re doing it right. It’s feedback like this that ignites me and fuels my passion for writing books for children. I’m indebited and grateful this person took the time to reach out to me. 

book jacket

May 21st, 12:12pm

I just wanted to thank you for creating a fun, educational & totally magical experience for children. There is nothing that compares to an excellent book for a child. I am the proud grandma of a curious 2yr old girl who loves books more than any toy. I am a former teacher, so I have guided her from before she was born. I was reading to her in utero. I think authors and animators don’t receive the gratitude they deserve. So I wanted to applaud you and thank you for the gifts you extend to all the little people in the world. I don’t own a copy. I read a copy a friend had and I was so impressed. I have a Masters Degree in English. I review books for a few major publishers…but they never allow me the enjoyment of reviewing children’s books….only long boring adult literature. I read the copy of your book my friend’s child had left out on the table. I LOVED it. If I was still teaching, I would be pulling strings to get you to speak at the school….not many authors have the ability to create an endearing character as well as create a magical world kids will want to return to again and again. You are a force to be reckoned with. I wish you great success.   -Kimberly Wright Shadwick

Every Gal Needs to Update Her Bio Every Now and Again

IMG_3282Tonia Allen Gould is a wife and mother and frequently writes about the trials and tribulations of balancing life as an entrepreneur and writer from the female perspective. Here on this blog, she’ll write about whatever compels her at the moment.  In addition to being an author, she is the owner/founder of Tagsource, (AKA TAG!) an award-winning, consumer promotions and marketing agency.  With a creative, client-centric approach to brand development, TAG! builds unique promotional marketing campaigns that assists its clients in taking their products or services to an enlightened consumer in a rapidly changing media environment.  A promotional industry veteran, she’s also an“Industry Voice”, a recipient of a PPAI Golden Pyramid, and has been named on ASI’s Hot List.  TAG! is a recipient of a Supplier of the Year award through the Women’s Business Enterprise Council West, as nominated by Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Tonia’s also a Contributing Writer at InformationWeek, one of the world’s largest, most trusted information networks for business and technology professionals, addressing mission critical business and technology content across its many websites, applications, magazines, and events it delivers.

Tonia is excited to announce that her first children’s picture book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore  released in July, 2013 (Skies America) on iTunes in the App Store, and on soft cover in January 2014 and then hard cover in February 2014 (Mira Publishing).  Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, was written and produced by her, and co-illustrated by “Mr. Lawrence” the voice of Plankton and an original storyboard director of SpongeBob SquarePants, along with another SpongeBob storyboard director, Marc Ceccarelli. The book app was narrated by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and one of the top radio personalities and broadcasters in the country, Mr. Steve McCoy.

The original musical score for the picture book app, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, was written and produced by Robby Armstrong, one of the hottest acts in Southern California, who is incidentally making a name for himself in Nashville. Robby collaborates with Nashville-based music industry icon, Darrell Brown, who has produced people like LeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban, and Josh Turner. Robby’s signature music has been featured in the Coen Brothers movie “Gambit” where he and his band also appeared in the bar scene giving him the opportunity to work alongside his sister-in-law, Cameron Diaz. Check out Robby Armstrong’s tempo-driven hot new video, “Rodeo,” a song that will also be included in the upcoming Cameron Diaz / Colin Firth film Gambit.

After the book’s release, Tonia founded the Finding Corte Magore project. The impetus of the Finding Corte Magore project stems from Tonia’s background – growing-up below the poverty line, in rural Indiana. A product of Indiana’s foster care system, she is the first to say that books, a solid education and teachers, taught her that there was a life for herself, tangible and within her reach, she just had to reach out an grab it – and that she did. Centered around the book’s themes, she wanted to promote dreaming, hard work and perseverance, by finding an island in Latin America, naming it after “Corte Magore” the fictional place in her book, and utilizing it for social good.  Today, the 29-acre island of Hog Cay, Nicaragua- through a joint partnership with Ambassador Francisco Campbell, the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S.-will be utilized by the Finding Corte Magore Project to work to keep Nicaraguan children in school.  The Finding Corte Magore project will carry a fifteen-year leasehold on one-half of Hog Cay and be named Corte Magore on Hog Cay.

The Finding Corte Magore Project works virtually to connect a global community of professionals, students and crowdfunders in real time with the plight of educationally and economically repressed Nicaragua. The project incorporates social enterprise and involves showcasing and managing an eco-tourism operation on one of the Nicaragua’s own  beautiful islands. The goal of The Finding Corte Magore Project is to create social awareness coupled with building a sustainable, positive and long-term educational impact on the country’s children who have an on-average fifth grade dropout rate.

Environmental strategies implemented will be based on  innovative sustainability practices and initiatives tested worldwide that are most appropriate to FCM at Hog Cay’s bio-diverse conditions, and will immediately help prevent the environmental impact that would otherwise be caused by irresponsible tourism. FCM will also contribute to social development in two major ways; first, by helping to formalize the tourism industry in the area, FCM will provide higher quality and sustainable employment for local communities. The second social benefit lies at the very core of the Finding Corte Magore project, which is to further educational opportunities for children locally (working to keep them in school), as well as to engage and educate children globally about environmentalism.


Hope is in the Oven

I’m an excellent chef, but I’m also the world’s worst baker. Because of that, I can define the word hope. Hope is the yearning look on my family’s faces when I’m standing at the counter making pie, or cheesecake or cookies. The look of “hope” screams – this is it…maybe she’ll get it right this time…maybe, just maybe, this time everything will turn out ok. #hopeisintheoven

  1. 1
    a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
    “he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information”
    synonyms: aspirationdesirewishexpectationambitionaimgoalplandesignMore

Telling a Different Story Through Differentiation

Porsche Macan

I test drove a very nice car yesterday, the Porsche Macan, my idea of a zippy and creative, mom-car on caffeine and steroids. After winding-up with a bonafide lemon the last time I bought an SUV (don’t ask, it makes me crazy); I wanted to be sure I covered all my bases on my next purchase. Poised with questions, I eventually asked the salesman, “How fast does it go from 0-60?” He turned to me and said, “Don’t you really want to know how fast it stops? Check to make sure it’s safe, and then slam on the brakes.”

While I pondered his question, I got off on a side road, checked my rearview mirror and slammed hard on the brakes. The experience was like no quick braking and traction experience I’ve ever had. There,” he said, “That’s what I want you to remember when you test drive any other car.”  

Folks, if you are in sales, that’s a great example of how to differentiate yourself from the competition. I asked a pretty typical question and my salesman gave me a rather untypical response – one that made me think long and hard about what matters most when considering my buying options, and one that’s probably going to make this car stand out above and beyond the rest.

Books Make the Perfect Valentines Day Gift for Children

For the month of February, order Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore and receive complimentary inscription, free shipping, plus a promotional five-sided starfish crayon! Order Your Copy Today!

Promotion ends 2/28/14


When the Water Beckons You

If you grew-up near the water, it doesn’t matter where you are – when you see it again, it beckons you closer, daring you to its rocky edge, tempting you to take off your shoes and test its temperature with the tips of your french manicured, but otherwise bare toes. It’s all you can do not to stay and frolic there awhile, where you can conjure up your days of youth, and make architectural plans in your head. In that setting your mind becomes a drafting table. What would it look like if you could build a home in that very same spot?

T.A. Gould
writer, author, poet, photographer and dreamer.


Everything Happens in Threes: An Ode to an Olive Tree

I wouldn’t say I’m a superstitious person, necessarily, but sometimes things in my life – ultra-important, good or bad – seem to happen (to me) in threes. One of my favorite relatives from my childhood, my Aunt Grace, died recently (rest her soul) from a heart condition. A week later, my beloved dog, Bogie, my sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, also died from a heart condition.

Two. When the second coincidence strikes, two-in-a row like that – I earnestly wait, fearful that proverbial “other shoe” will eventually drop, and something tragic will happen once more. I knew that day soon would find me, and it did. The bad news finally arrived today in the form of the sound of a loud crack from the fall.

Forty-five MPH, howling winds appearing from out of nowhere, shook it’s thick branches, rattled its frail heart, sending it soaring to a perilous demise – killing my precious olive tree. The same tree that was freshly planted right before we bought the house. The same tree that grew- up alongside my children. The tree that over-shadowed the pool where the kids splashed around while I sat beneath it, stretched out on the chaise, reading a book with my dear Bogie splayed out by my feet.

The olive tree was tall and luscious – a handsome, winding, fruit-bearing, full-of-life kind of tree, but it was growing too fast and I knew it. It was too big for its living quarters set on its small, sloping bed of Lantana and variegated Bougainvillea. After all, it had already lost a major limb a couple of years ago. I knew then my tree was in trouble, that perfect tree near where we spent impossibly perfect summer’s days – but I didn’t work to save it. And, while I loved that olive tree, today I am almost thankful and glad we didn’t try and save it, because after all – it’s just a tree and not another person or pet we could have lost and loved more. During this time when life begins speaking to me in threes, I always stop and take the time to listen, and today it rings of three. Death. And I am, in this case, thankful this is, perchance, the number three.

So, dare I say goodbye to your rustling branches on sweet summer’s days. So long to your dark fruit squished beneath our flip flops. Farewell, oh sweet olive tree…may you truly be the third in this series of threes. But, not to worry as you lie there, lifeless and snapped in two; I suspect your roots are strong and you’ll wind your way back to me.

If a tree falls in the middle of your yard, would you hear it?