If you’ve been following my island project, Finding Corte Magore, then you’ll know it has been my lifeblood for the past fifteen months or so. What’s miraculous is that my lifeblood has flowed to numerous volunteers who have given of themselves freely to see this incredible project come to fruition. What’s miraculous is, my lifeblood has also become theirs, too.
In that time, my team and I went from having a dream of making a fictional place real – to actually being awarded an island in Nicaragua by the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S – and now have the ability to put the island to social good use, reversing the cycle of poverty along the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS) in Nicaragua – a bio-diverse region that serves some of the world’s most poor. And, that poverty is what is driving the nation’s children from school into the workplace. (Guardian).
29-acre, Hog Cay, Nicaragua is now ours to share with the world. And we can put it to very good use by creating revenue producing opportunities from it that work to keep kids in Nicaragua in school.
Here’s what I know to be true. My dream is not your dream. I know you have dreams of your own. I know the economy is tough and many don’t have a great deal of discretionary income. I know you probably already have your own, favorite cause. I know people inherently like to give, but sometimes can’t. I also know I have to ask. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but raising money is not one of them, so I hope I’m going about it the right way.
Today, what I really want you to know about this island is that it’s not some ruse to generate huge corporate gains. It’s not my island. It’s everyone’s island. It’s about turning dreams into reality – setting out to do something so big and grandiose – that proves to the world, particularly its children that anything is possible, and their obstacles can be overcome, just like mine were growing-up in the U.S. My story as it connects to the island can be read about here.
So, I’ll make my plea short and to the point. Today, I’m asking you for 5 minutes of your time, to go to our website, to click the PayPal link at the top, and to make your $10 (or any amount you can give or afford) tax-deductible donation to our California Benefit Corp and that money will flow to our joint partnership with Ambassador Campbell on Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua. You can make a difference by contibuting now – and you can help me keep this island dream alive.
If you can’t donate, I understand, but I’m asking you, please, for your share on each of your social networks you participate.
Throughout this blog, there’s more detailed information about the Finding Corte Magore project, it’s sustainability measures and what not – should you wish to learn more about it. In the meantime, thanks to your donation today, an indigenous child in the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua can have access to learning materials delivered by the human rights organization, CEDEHCA, through the Finding Corte Magore project.
Join us on our first money-raising initiative for the Finding Corte Magore project. With your tax deductible $250+ donation – you, or someone you love – can be memorialized forever by “Hugging a Tree” on Corte Magore, at Hog Cay, Bluefields, Nicaragua. I promise you, with every ounce of my being, your money will be put to very “GOOD” use.
On Google Maps the Coordinates for Corte Magore at Hog Cay are the following:
Tree Huggers® are created using high-grade stainless steel and are noted for being the only tree plaque that gently wraps around the tree (by means of plastic-encased springs) and expands without harming it as it grows! It will not rust or corrode or release any harmful toxins or chemicals that could harm the tree. There are hundreds and hundreds of trees on Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua – and we anticipate that eventually, every one of them will be memorialized by our donors. Click here to make your tax deductible donation.
The Finding Corte Magore Project Problem: 42% of all children along the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua drop out of school by sixth grade, if they ever enroll at all. Poverty in Nicaragua drives kids out of school and into the workplace. (The Guardian). They drop out because they don’t have shoes to walk to school, because they have to watch their siblings while their parents work, or because they have to work to support their families. They drop out because they see school as pointless. Guess what? They’re right. There are no jobs waiting for students if and when they graduate. Which means poverty will live on in Nicaragua forever. Unless…
Solution: Our project, led by Author, and Entrepreneur, Tonia Allen Gould, along with her team, aims to start to reverse this cycle of poverty in one large region of Nicaragua by driving sustainable, best practices, social good tourism to Bluefields via the island of Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua. Our social enterprise works like this: Eco-Tourists and Flashpackers visit our island in Bluefields, driving revenue to fund programs such as: Jobs and job training on the island for locals seeking to better provide for their families, such as eco-building, island maintenance, security, hospitality, transportation, and cooking, training they can take back to their communities to earn money. By showing kids along the Atlantic Coast that their parents can be trained and then gainfully employed, we can offer children hope for a better life for themselves. Hope that may start to reverse the cycle of poverty. By providing job opportunities for parents and making school meaningful for students, the island will free students to stay in school, go after their dreams, and spread prosperity as they become business-owners, entrepreneurs, tourism professionals, artists, scientists, coders, teachers…
We also intend to fund educational programs for students in Nicaragua – programs like a floating educational barge that delivers teachers and and school supplies to remote indigenous regions, after school sports and crafts programs that only students who stay in school can partake in, or on-island biodiversity and environmental learning research camps for older students.
The Finding Corte Magore project will establish ecotourism operations in under-developed and ecologically vulnerable areas, and set the precedent for sustainable development in a way that prevents the destruction of pristine natural habitats by irresponsible tourism. The FCM business model will be validated in the Hog Cay pilot site in Nicaragua given the biodiversity attributes and relative lack of development in the area, as well as the recent influx of visitors to the country. The FCM platform will subsequently be exported to similarly vulnerable areas with a viable and repeatable business model that creates investable and scalable opportunities to promote sustainable development.
Meanwhile, we intend to build a global, K-12 environmental learning curriculum from eco-projects happening on the island -which is an identified bio-diverse hotspot, projects that have research attraction from many of our potential partners and universities, as well as will put locals to work with proper training:
Building our Eco-Beach complete with a volleyball pit
Mangrove protection and devising ways to eliminate natural, island erosion
Building the bar and commissary
Renovating the basketball court with recyclable products like used tires
Building floating casitas
Training of locals to do construction, learn hospitality, cooking, bartending and how to captain a panga, etc.
Creating a Zipline from one part of the island to the other or connecting the island to a neighboring island via zipline that won’t infringe on passing boats
Eco-Spa – Building natural, spas from collected rainwater
Lighting the island for evenings
Building eco-sensitive tree houses on the island
Rebuilding the island’s suspension bridge
Artisanal Fishing Demonstrations with natives
Creating Cultural Excursions like to the Garifuna annual anniversary celebration
Coral Reef Restoration Projects
Turtle Protection and Migration Projects
Building Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors to convert solar radiation into thermal and electrical energy to power the island and how people may be use similar technology to power their lives after a hurricane
Farming Mussels in the lagoon to clean up the brown water
Various Eco-Farming projects – (we have access to an eco-farm across the lagoon) – training on planting and growing foods in tropical climates despite global warming
Figuring out how to divert town rain water and brown water from flowing into the lagoon
Creating and traveling with our floating educational barge to indigenous regions, bringing education to children who otherwise can’t access education
Inventing hurricane resistant “kit” housing for poor coastal communities led by a team of engineers in a think tank
Building a bird sanctuary
Creating Vertical Gardening Systems despite the clay soil which is conducive to growing certain types of food only
Implementing fishing best practices
Introducing diving to the area and along the many shipwrecked boats
Finding the tradewinds and introducing surfing to areas which are untapped or undiscovered
No other tourism venture strategically connects the dots between social good, environmentalism and education – making our project the first of its kind and further promoting sustainability by making the number of visitors, to the island, virtually limitless. Planned educational opportunities at FCM are extensive and do not just include educational experiences consumed by the eco-tourists we attract. Rather, we see an opportunity to build a K-12 environmental educational platform that makes FCM virtually accessible from anywhere in the world. A FCM student/teacher/professor/university inspired curriculum will be at the core of our offerings.
We have been in talks with many notable agencies and insitutions such as NOAA, Conservation International, CREST and UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science. Sustainable, best practices and conscientious travel is imperative to this region or it may be devastated by tourists. That said, the tourism is still coming to the region regardless, here’s why: Eco-Tourism is already happening in Nicaragua A dirt road from Managua that normally takes twelve hours to drive, is currently being paved. This connects the Atlantic Coast to the rest of Nicaragua without having to fly. Lonely Planet calls Nicaragua the Top 4 place in the world to visit The Canal de Nicaragua is a shipping route under construction through Nicaragua to connect the Caribbean Sea (and therefore the Atlantic Ocean) with the Pacific Ocean.
Our business partner is:Ambassador Francisco Campbell, Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S. and owner of 29-acre, Hog Cay. FCM has negotiated a 15-year leasehold already on the island. We are halfway there to make our vision at Corte Magore a reality.
Hog Cay Google Coordinates: 11°59’25.2″N 83°45’09.7″W.
We believe the dreams of children are the most precious resource in Nicaragua – but also the most squandered. So many dreams go unfulfilled due to extreme poverty. Something needs to be done about this. Every child deserves a shot to go after their dreams, and the Finding Corte Magore Project intends to give it to them. We believe that achieving dreams can not only elevate children above their birth circumstances, but also their communities and, over time, their nation.
We have acquired the island through a lot of hard work and dedication, and now we need to build it out, develop programs and put the island to work to keep a nation of children in school.
Finding Corte Magore is a California Benefit Company. The purpose of a benefit corporation includes creating general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment. A benefit corporation’s directors and officers operate the business with the same authority as in a traditional corporation but are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on society and the environment. Finding Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua is a Nicaraguan joint partnership formed under Nicaraguan law.
Check out our video to learn more about Team Finding Corte Magore’s first visit to the agricultural area of La Dalia, Nicaragua. When we arrived at the schoolhouse on a reputable coffee plantation, we began to understand the educational needs of the children who live there. Many of these children held a crayon in their hands for the very first time.
Our goal is to crowd-fund a “social good” island in Nicaragua to raise awareness to the children who may drop out of school before reaching the sixth grade. In an effort to promote dreaming amongst children at home and abroad–our goal is to rename the island Corte Magore, after a fictional island in the children’s picture book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. The main character in this story had to overcome a lot of challenges to accomplish his goal of building a life for himself. We believe, with a little help from students and teachers in the US, crowdfunders, and the Finding Corte Magore project, the children in Nicaragua too can dream of a better life for themselves.
See you on Corte Magore!
Tonia Allen Gould
Author and Founder of the Finding Corte Magore Project
Here’s a quick, deserved plug for a company in which I’m very impressed! Square: The credit card app called Register and Square Reader at https://squareup.com. This awesome device and application rings up credit cards and records cash and check payments on mobile devices. The accompanying, no hype and easy to set-up Square Market is something I already can’t live without.
I’m using Square to sell and service autographed and school orders for my picture book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, which requires me to touch each of my books personally. (These orders can’t be serviced for me by employees or the publisher.) This is seriously brainless stuff and it’s no surprise this company has literally exploded. Got a second? Check out my book and swag store on the Square Marketplace and order your copy of for Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore!
A friend of mine suggested I re-write a previous post I made here on my blog about marketing and publicizing a book. He told me that very few people understand that, while a major a coup, publishing a book is winning only half the battle. He suggested I write about what I have been doing, specifically, to get the word out about my picture book app, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, particularly since I’ve taken a somewhat unique and varied marketing approach to the matter. Taking into account my almost twenty years of marketing experience, owning and running a promotional marketing company, Tagsource, perhaps I do have something to contribute in helping others on marketing and brand messaging a children’s picture book, or any book for that matter. I don’t know. But believe me, even with my professional background, even I am still feeling my way. All that said, in just three months, I do feel I’ve made significant progress, and hopefully, if you are a writer, you can benefit from my experiences. So what did I do?
I hired a Publicity Agency:
I knew that I needed to get the word out exponentially to the masses, and the best way to do that was for me to hire a publicity agency, right off the bat. After thorough research, I selected Smith Publicity, a global publicity firm, and contracted with them on an initial, six-week publicity campaign. Special thanks to Lauren Covello, Publicist, at Smith Publicity for her work on publicizing, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. With the help of Smith Publicity, I’m happy to announce we are off to a great start! During and after the campaign, Smith continues to deliver some interesting results. The most notable: InformationWeek asked me to be a contributing, bi-monthly writer covering the educational and mobility segments on their online digital publication. As a busy executive, I have to look at the investment of time and weigh the ROI on the writing obligation. For me, this was a no-brainer. InformationWeek is one of the world’s largest information technology publications. They have over 220,000 subscribers and receive something like 2.4 unique visitors to their website each month. My profile picture and bio will be positioned on their website with each article they publish, which will link back to my businesses and my book. Publicity turned marketing. I like it. Not to mention, this “writing gig” is a pretty major bio booster.
In addition, Smith Publicity lined-up numerous radio and print article interviews for me. iMedia interviewed me about approaching technology use for children. Recently, I wrote a bi-line article for Today’s Parent, “Coming Soon to an Electronic Device Near You.” Today’s Parent boasts a readership of over 100,000 site visitors a month, and the article included a blurb about me and the book. I have also enjoyed being on various talk radio programs. I really enjoyed this particular radio interview on Tots and Technology on IMI Tech Talk with Tom D’Auria. (Move ahead to about the twelve-minute mark to bypass all the tech news at the start of the show.) I am in the process of putting all my radio interviews up on SoundCloud, so stay tuned for links to all of those. This interview with Derrell Connor on 620 WTMJWisconsin Talks was another one of my favorites, if you haven’t heard it yet. In addition, I’ve been interviewed on the Kim Pagano Show, Manchester University’s radio program, and several other programs throughout the country and Canada. The goal is, with each interview, people will act and download my book.
I Collaborated with Connected and Celebritized People Who Helped Me Produce My Book:
Aristo Media, the publicity agency who represents Robby Armstrong, the Nashville star who wrote and produced my book app’s original Americana-style musical score, pressed news about Robby’s involvement with Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. That press release went out to many country radio news outlets, and the release has cropped up all over the web! It was pretty neat to see Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore mentioned on a CMT site! Country Pulse also wrote up a nice story called, “Catch a Rising Star,” about Robby and mentioned his collaboration on my book. You can read about Robby on his website, here. In addition to Robby Armstrong, I selected Mr. Steve McCoy, a renowned radio broadcaster to narrate the book. Steve boasts a huge fan base and has a lot of clout in the world of broadcasting. Mr. Doug Lawrence and Mark Ceccarelli, both notorious illustrators, and former original storyboard directors for SpongeBob SquarePants, co-illustrated my book. When I produced my book, I knew that each of these unique collaborators would have vast networks of their own. I wanted to cast my personal net out as far as it reached through my own network, but I knew that having networked, connected people working on my book would do nothing but bring more recognition to my project.
Something Interesting Happened, I Became Perceived as a Bit of an Expert:
Being an author who produced an animated book straight-to-digital through my publisher (Skies America)brought me some publicity I didn’t expect. All of my work garnered me a bit of attention as a tech expert. Recently, I was asked to write a bi-line article on app development : http://www.beginningiosdev.com/app-case-studies/children-book-app. Circle back to the radio interview on Tots and Technology, being interviewed for the iMedia article on kids and technology, and then being asked to write on mobility topics for InformationWeek. It’s all connected, and was an outcome I wasn’t expecting.
I Put My Experiences to Work:
I’m a marketing entrepreneur, a conversationalist and a networker, and I put all that experience to work for me. I set up a Facebook page where I dialogue with my fans, and tweet about my book and experiences on Twitter via @toniaallengould. I converted my existing blog to an author’s page and changed the domain to www.toniaallengould.com, to brand myself. There, I continuously pressed new articles about my road to publishing and authorship.
I take pictures of kids who are engaged while reading the app:
I’m producing swag and giving it out to various contributors and people who have become book evangelists. I produced coloring t-shirts with washable markers and posting pictures of kids coloring the t-shirts. I produced magnets, and microfiber cleaning cloths for electronic devices. I deployed the services of the promotional company, at www.tagsource.com, for the swag.
I’m in the throes of being scheduled to speak at an elementary school that has recently moved to an iPad only curriculum (notable since I have an iPad only book), and really do hope to start working with children on writing and going after their dreams, and will invite the press to be there whenever I have a speaking engagement. I can’t wait to spend more time in the classroom with kids engaging them about reading!
I created several videos featuring kids who enjoy the book while showcasing the music and the narration:
Through all this marketing effort, the book made it to the 2nd Best App in the App of the Week Contest at iHeartThisApp. This is a parent/teacher/peer voting opportunity and you can help by voting anytime for the book by clicking the link above. Sam also reached the Top 100 Books in the App Store list for iPad, which in my elated and humble opinion is a major feat, given the legions of books out there! Recently I saw that we are at #100, if those stats are even accurate. But, oh what it would be like to reach #1!
Even better, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore just got a 5-Star Video Review at Give Me Apps where also the reviewer mentions the great functionality and the collaborative efforts that went into the book. At one point in the review, he describes the animation as “something that almost looks like a Hollywood movie!” Here’s their Blog Review as well. Right after the review, Best Preschool Books, put Sam on their list! That’s some really great news and hopefully will continue to help me reach my target demographic, children ages 4-8.
As you can see, I have a lot of great things in the works after just three months since my book app went live in the App Store on iTunes. Writing a book is one thing, getting it published is another, and marketing and publicizing a book is still another. I can honestly say—it’s all hard work. I can’t tell you if I’m doing it right. I can only firmly say, at this juncture, that I’m laying down some important groundwork for the future success of my book.
I failed to give proper credit where credit is due! “Mr. Lawrence” (incidentally, also the voice of Plankton), and Storyboard Director for SpongeBob SquarePants, creatively directed many of the Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Illustrations in cooperation with Marc Ceccarelli, also a SpongeBob SquarePants StoryBoard Director, who mastered most of the final illustrations. Michelle Fandrey, from Skies America Publishing, also contributed to the illustrations. I had failed to mention Ceccarelli leading up to this point, but without him, this story couldn’t have come to life. Dmitriy Toloknov performed all the illustrations seamlessly working with Mr. Lawrence’s, Marc Ceccarelli’s, and Fandrey’s illustrations.
And, while I’m at it; let’s not forget the book was narrated by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and a top radio personality, broadcaster, and voice-over in the country, Mr. Steve McCoy, who lent his charming voice to the project. In addition to narrating Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, McCoy has voiced the narration for a children’s book app for Dream Works “Rise of the Guardians,” and legions of other high-profile works.
Country artist Robby Armstrong wrote and produced the Americana-style musical score for the children’s eBook/app, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore (Skies America Publishing, 2013), which is now available on iTunes. One of my favorite people of all time, Emily Kilimnik (violinist/fiddler), put the finishing touches on the story with her exceptional fiddle playing for the app–because no self-respecting fiddler crab on Corte Magore can be seen and heard without his fiddle and his bow! Kilimnik was working in conjunction with Armstrong on the project, and Armstrong can also can be heard on the guitar. The release of the professional narrated and musical eBook/App coincides with Armstrong’s single release, “Rodeo,” which is currently at Country radio. Written by Armstrong and Darrell Brown, the toe-tapping track is Robby’s first single from his forthcoming 2013 full-length album, which is additionally produced by Brown (LeAnn Rimes, Ty Herndon, Radney Foster). Robby has three songs, including “Rodeo” in the major motion picture, Gambit (featuring Cameron Diaz, Colin Firth), wherein he and his band make a cameo appearance. The songs are also on the official soundtrack. Additionally, “Rodeo” is featured in The Sims video game and has been heard at Angels’ stadium as the Los Angeles Angels’ rally song. The dance remix for the song is circulating through line dance clubs across the country. Robby’s “Rodeo” video was also selected for pre-race entertainment for the upcoming Indy 500. For more information, visit http://www.RobbyArmstrong.net and on Facebook and Twitter.
Many, many special thanks to Jacqueline Merrill, Creative Director at Skies America publishing, for all of her important contributions to the story once it entered the animation stage.
A children’s book written by Tonia Allen Gould (moi), the story is of a tenacious land and sea fiddler crab that will stop at nothing to build and save his home from his rival. Complete with a fiddle and his bow, Samuel T. Moore marches forward with his mission, even though he is met with adversary while onlookers and naysayers mock him in disbelief. The book teaches children about courage and tenacity, to stand up and fight for what they believe in.
Yes, little old me produced, authored and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight years old, and only for the mere price of $4.99! Please buy Samuel T. Moore here!
–Determined Cartoon Crab Sets Out to Build Himself a Home
Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore(Skies America Publishing, 2013) by children’s author Tonia Allen Gould tells the story of Sam, a small cartoon land and sea fiddler crab (complete with a fiddle and a bow) that finds himself on the sandy shores of an idyllic island named Corte Magore. When he arrives at Corte Magore, Sam decides he wants to make this place his permanent home, but he realizes he will have to build himself a shelter from the rising tides that could take him and his fiddle and bow back out to sea. He must work diligently – and ignore mocking from hermit crabs and seagulls and beat the clock on his arch nemesis, The Great Tidal Wave – if he wants to stay.
Gould’s daughter, now a sophomore in college, was just two years old when she inspired Sam’s story. “We were taking a drive to Santa Barbara and talking about our beach day ahead, when I heard her babbling what sounded like, ‘Corte Magore, Corte Magore, Corte Magore,’ over and over again,” Gould says. “My family knows that publishing this story has been a dream since that day. I want kids to believe, mine especially, that it’s important to dream and that almost anything is possible if you’re willing to do the work.”
As a mother, Gould knew Sam’s story would have to be unique and interactive to capture the attention of today’s children, so she decided to publish the book as an iPad app with original animation, an engaging voiceover, and upbeat Americana music. As a marketing expert, Gould was determined to assemble a powerhouse team to create a book that both children and parents would enjoy. Sam’s story is partially illustrated by “Mr. Lawrence,” an original illustrator of SpongeBob SquarePants; the musical score was written and produced by up-and-coming Nashville musician Robby Armstrong; and the book is narrated by radio personality Steve McCoy, a two-time Marconi Award Nominee.
“I wanted Sam’s story to be an engaging and interactive process,” Gould explains. “Unfortunately, you can’t include animations, voice, and music in a conventional book. But producing the book as an iPad App allowed us to create a whole new world for little ones to enjoy.”
The short, colorful eBook (available through the iTunes store for $4.99) explores several important themes for young readers, including:
·The concept of “building a home”
·Hard work and self-reliance
·Daring to dream of a better life
·Dealing with bullies and naysayers
“I want this story to help parents start a conversation about hard work, dedication, and independence,” Gould adds. “Sam does everything himself in this book, and he doesn’t ask for help. I want children to understand that life isn’t always peaches and cream, but if you’re willing to put your nose to the grindstone and ignore bullies and naysayers, in the end, everything usually works out okay.”
Tonia Allen Gould is a wife, mother, author, marketing expert, and sought after speaker. She is the founder and CEO of Tagsource, formerly Tag! The Creative Source, an award-winning eighteen-year-old consumer promotions and marketing agency, and BRANDHUDDLE, a new marketing startup that caters to clients, suppliers, and distributors of promotional branding products.
In Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore (Skies America Publishing, July 2013), Gould explores the concepts of perseverance, hard work, bullying, and finding a place to call home for young readers. Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore is available through the iTunes store for $4.99 and can be purchased here.
Until now, you wouldn’t have been able to find Corte Magore on any map. Now that Samuel T. Moore has discovered this beautiful place, we had to have a map created just so kids could find it. In the coming months, be on the lookout for more news and information on Corte Magore, and how this fictional place may actually become very real one day…because the author of Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, wants to teach children that its okay to dream.
Can your kids find Corte Magore on the map? Look closely and they might actually find Sam’s hut.