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Results 1 - 25 of 215,146
1. t's A Ruff Life Worth Winning

Hi Everyone, if you want a book that's filled with pizazz, action and comedy, then you've come to the right place to win the signed copy of It's A Ruff Life. But you had better hurry.  You have less than 36 hours to enter to win this ground breaking children's book.

Click on the link below to Enter.

Don't forget to click the Facebook like page at the top of this page.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

It's a Ruff Life by B.R. Tracey

It's a Ruff Life

by B.R. Tracey

Giveaway ends October 25, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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2. Children's Picture Book Review: The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt



The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt by Lise Chase

Wally and Warren explore the world of dinosaurs through rhyme and imagination. Learn about each unique dinosaur and their eating habits and physical details. From the herbivore to the omnivorous to big and small your young muses will learn about the stegosaurus to the tyrannosaurus and everything in between.

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Author and illustrator, Lise Chase combines her knack for rhyme storytelling and intriguing illustrations for a perfect blend of an adventure like no other.
Visit author and illustrator, Lise Chase at https://www.facebook.com/lise.chase.9?fref=ts

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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3. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lynn Cahoon, Author of Return of the Fae

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18063459-return-of-the-fae



In RETURN OF THE FAE, Book 2 of The Council series, Parris and Ty take off on a road trip to Cincinnati, Ohio to the stay at The Riverglen, the only magical specialty hotel in the downtown area.  Even though the hotel is warded against a guest using their magic to keep warring factions from using the facility as a hot zone, the staff members are skilled in the hospitality craft. Including those in charge of preparing the food guests ordered from the room service menu.


Parris brought road food along on the trip, munching on peanuts and Skittles during the drive up from St. Louis, but Ty disappeared before they could order real food. So she went crazy with the appetizers list for lunch and ordered one of each, hoping he arrived before the food either cooled or she ate her way through the trays of yummy-ness. The chicken fingers were to die for, but Parris loved the onion rings, their crispy outside reminding her of food from the best drive-in back home, The Hungry Onion.


Later, the couple ordered dinner and Parris had one of my favorite entrées of all time. Shrimp and grits.


With my recipe, I add crumbled spicy sausage, onions, and a touch of garlic to the mix before adding in a cup or so of whatever wine is open in the fridge. Then I let the shrimp steam on top while the grits are cooking. I just use the recipe on the box to cook my grits, with maybe just a tad more salt. Then as they’re finishing, I add a cup of various types of shredded cheese and a quarter cup of sour cream mixing until smooth.


Line a deep soup bowl with the grit mixture, then ladle the shrimp and sausage mixture into the middle with a lot of the pan drippings.


Heaven.

I’m sure the version the hotel gave Parris was just as yummy. And as fattening. Of course, as a witch in training, the one thing she’s realized is she never-ever has to worry about calories again. Now that’s one magic trick I’d love to learn. 



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lynn!




USA Today and New York Times best-selling author Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.



You can find Lynn here:







Return of the Fae – Book 2 of The Council series

A witch in training, a hunter on the prowl, and a world in jeopardy. Learning the rules of being a witch takes years, but Parris McCall needs to master them in only weeks. Ty Wallace is going mad with his desire for Parris, but she’s a distraction in his quest to find Coven X before they take The Council and everyone he knows down. The couple searches for Ty’s missing mentor. Their only clue comes from a banished witch. Upon returning, a new life hangs in the balance.

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4. Discovering Deborah Levy

Have you ever found an author that you just want to recommend to everyone you meet? The type of author that you just want to read over and over again. I found this author in 2012 and I am slowly working through her backlist. The first book I read of hers I loved so much […]

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5. Author Interview: Susan Kuklin on Writing Nonfiction & Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

From the promotional copy of Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, words and photographs by Susan Kuklin (Candlewick, 2014).

A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens. 

Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. 

Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. 

Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

What was your initial inspiration for Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out (Candlewick, 2014)?

First came an email. A librarian/friend wrote to me about the need for more YA nonfiction literature about LGBTQ teens. Although this is a subject I care about deeply, I was in the middle of another book – No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row (Henry Holt, 2008)–and so I tucked it away into the nether region of my brain. Nevertheless, the topic kept popping back up.

What was the timeline from spark to publication and what were the major events along the way?

The timeline from spark to publication was about six or seven years. The spark that helped me focus on transgender youth rather than the entire LGBTQ community was a conversation I had with my cousin, who is pansexual and a generation behind me.

She told me about a transgender friend who said to her, “When looking for love and friendship, it’s the person, not the gender, that counts.” That comment got me thinking. At the time the “T” in LGBTQ had not been talked about much in books or in the media.

The major event was meeting the staff at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Clinic’s Health Outreach to Teens program, [HOTT]. They do incredible work there, and are so thoughtful towards their clients. With their help I knew I had a book.

Then, of course, meeting each participant was a Big Time major event.

What were the literary and artistic challenges in bringing the book to life?

Every day brought a new challenge that had to be explored creatively. 

Susan photographs Christina shopping.
My process is a bit unusual. I write in the first person because I believe that it offers a more direct, intimate relationship with young readers. To do this, I need to capture the individual’s voice and convert it from tape to paper. But it’s also necessary to balance the person’s voice and experiences with a clear literary narrative.

Each chapter must add something new to the subject. The chapters need to have rhythm and arcs, highs and lows.

Recently, I’ve begun adding my voice to the narrative of my books as a way to change the pace, describe someone or something, or impart additional information. Although challenging, that’s part of the creative process. I love working this way.

How have you approached author marketing for this title?

I’m the world’s worst self-promoter. But I’m very happy to talk about my books at conferences, libraries, schools, blogs, and other media.

For Beyond Magenta, my wonderful publicist, Erika Denn at Candlewick Press, created a stunning press release that was to sent to media, libraries, colleges, and other venues. She also sent the release to LGBTQ organizations and publications. The Internet is a great publishing tool. Erika, along with my agent, friends, and I sent announcements, reviews, and articles to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. I blogged. Tweeting and re-tweeting helped the book reach a larger audience.

What advice do you have for authors when it comes to connecting a book that reflects a specific community but speaks to all readers?

At the end of Beyond Magenta, in my Author’s Notes, I wrote why it’s important for everyone to connect with the book. An Author’s Note gives writers the chance to make our themes known.

I believe it was Eldridge Cleaver who said, “If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem.” I hope my readers agree.

You’re a well-published author of children’s-YA nonfiction. For those new to your work, could you share with us a bit of your publishing history, highlighting as you see fit?

This is a big question because I’ve published over thirty nonfiction books with wide-ranging subjects. One of the joys of being a nonfiction author is that I get to learn about so many diverse topics.

I choose an issue and then go beyond the sound bites and “fifteen minutes of fame” to illustrate how real people deal with real events. I do it through interviews, research, and photography.

My photo essay, picture books for children are about simple events that loom large in a young child’s life [When I See My Doctor (NA), When I See My Dentist (NA), How My Family Lives in America (Simon & Schuster, 1992), Families (Hyperion, 2006)].



For slightly older kids there are photo essays with more text about other cultures [Kodomo: Children of Japan (NA)], and some about how objects or events in their lives are created [Fireworks, How a Doll Is Made (NA)].



I love ballet and modern dance so I’ve tried to do as many dance books as possible: Reaching for Dreams: A Ballet from First Rehearsal to Opening Night, with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater (Lothrop Lee & Shephard, 1987), Dance, co-authored with Bill T. Jones (OP), The Harlem Nutcracker, co-authored with Donald Byrd (OP), Going to My Ballet Class with the Robert Joffrey Ballet School (OP), and Beautiful Ballerina, written by Marilyn Nelson, with my photographs of the school of the Dance Theater of Harlem (Scholastic, 2009).

My young adults books are more text driven than photography driven, and are about very serious subjects, such as, teen pregnancy (What Do I Do Now? (Putnam, 1991)), prejudice (Speaking Out: Teenagers Take On Race Sex, and Identity (OP)), and suicide (After a Suicide (OP)).

I’ve authored books about our criminal justice system (Trial (Henry Holt, 2001), No Choirboy (Henry Holt, 2008)) and more about human rights (Iqbal Masih and the Crusaders Against Child Slavery (Henry Holt, 2008), Beyond Magenta (Candlewick, 2014)).

It’s been my good fortune to work with many interesting people from all walks of life. I hope they’ve enlightened my readers because they sure did inspire me.

To name but a few, Bill T. Jones (Dance) motivated me to break aesthetic rules and stretch beyond my potential. Human rights activists (Irrepressible Spirit (OP)), and buddies who helped people living with AIDS (Fighting Back: What Some People Are Doing about AIDS (Putnam, 1989)), and Bryan Stevenson, the lawyer and law professor who represents poor people on death row (No Choirboy (Henry Holt, 2008)), restored my faith in humanity. Getting to know these and other people in my books has helped cynical me understand that there are very good people in this troubled world of ours.

What advice do you have for other nonfiction children’s-YA writers?
  • Be totally passionate about your subject. 
  • Fall hopelessly in love. 
  • Honor that love by being faithful to its truth. Only write truth
  • Tell a good story. Then revise, revise, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite more. 
  • Find new and creative ways to make your subject jump. 
  • Don’t forget truth
  • Listen to criticism but make objective decisions about what to change and what to leave as is. 
  • And, hey, read lots of nonfiction.

On the illustration front, what are the advantages and challenges of photography?

It seems to me that people, especially kids and young adults, like seeing people like themselves in books. So I would say that’s a big advantage. It surprises me that there isn’t more photography in fiction, nonfiction, and picture books.

The biggest challenge is that a photograph is but a moment in time. It’s rare that you can go back and re-shoot. If, after six or seven months, the designer begins work and asks for a photo of the subject doing such-and-such, you’re stuck. An artist can redraw, a photographer usually cannot.

What advice do you have for photographers interested in creating books for and about young people?

Christina reads Susan's first draft.
Write a very strong proposal about a subject that you care about deeply. Check out which publishers seem to lean towards the kind of books you want to do. Put together a portfolio of your work and especially use images that backs up your proposal.

What do you do when you’re not writing and/or shooting pictures?

I like to have fun. I go to lots of concerts, dance, theater, and museums.

I’m also a foodie who loves restaurants and cooking dinners for my husband and friends.

My husband and I try to take one big trip a year. I study Italian but that’s not always fun.

I’m a big reader. I love reading long, thick books that keep me lost in a story for days–and nights.

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6. I asked PANDEMIC author, Yvonne Ventresca, to stop by and share some contagious facts about her book.

What is the title and genre of your book and a quick tag line?

Pandemic is a young adult novel published in May 2014 by Sky Pony Press. During a deadly contagious outbreak, one teenage girl must face disease, death, and her personal demons in order to survive.

Is this your first book? Second? Third. . .? (Feel free to list them all.)

Pandemic was my debut novel. I’ve also written two nonfiction books for teens: Avril Lavigne(a biography of the singer) and Publishing(about careers in the field).

(You can find more info on Yvonne's books here.)


Who is the intended audience for this book and why do you think they should read it?

Pandemic is for people ages 12+ who like survival stories. With Ebola in the news, Pandemic gives readers a way to think about a contagious disease in a fictional world. School Library Journal said, "This is an engrossing apocalyptic story, told through Lil’s eyes and newsfeeds as her neighborhood, then the East Coast, and finally the entire U.S. buckles to its knees as the pandemic spreads. . . . Themes of friendship and coming together in a crisis carry the novel."

What is your favorite thing about the main character?

Lilianna is resilient and good-hearted.

Where did the idea for this book spring from?

I find natural disasters and contagious diseases particularly worrisome, so these types of unpredictable situations have always been on my radar. When the Swine Flu pandemic occurred in 2009, it wasn’t particularly lethal, but it did make me wonder. What if a virus was extremely contagious and caused a high death rate? And what if a teen girl had to survive the outbreak on her own?

Tell us an unknown fact about the book.

Mr. B (the antagonist) was originally called Mr. D. During Pandemic’s final edits, my son switched to a school with a principal named Dr. D. Since the character is an evil man, I thought it would be wise to change the name. J

Tell us a little bit about you.

I grew up on Long Island and now live in New Jersey with my husband, two teens, two dogs, and some random fish. I write from home and am currently working on a psychological thriller set in Hoboken.

Give us a strange but true fact about you.

After attending an SCBWI conference and presenting a draft of Pandemic’s first page for critique, I returned home from the weekend with a horrible case of the flu. (The irony!) I took notes afterward and used parts of my delirium in later chapters of Pandemic.

If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?


When I’m not writing, I study karate. (You can learn more about my martial arts journey here.) I would love to go back in time and meet Tatsuo Shimabuku, the founder of Isshinryu karate.


If your main character could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Lilianna would want to meet the head of the CDC so she could learn the latest news about contagious diseases.

Thanks for stopping by Yvonne! 





To connect with Yvonne:
Facebook www.facebook.com/yvonneventrescaauthor

To buy Pandemic:
Book Depository www.bookdepository.com/Pandemic-Yvonne-Ventresca/9781628736090 

In person events:
October 26, 2014, Sunday, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
NJ Association of School Librarians Fall Conference
Authors' Alley
Long Branch, NJ

October 30, 2014, Thursday, 7:00 pm
Tour de Noir Author signing with Jennifer Murgia, Lisa Amowitz, Cyn Balog, Molly Cochran, Janice Gable Bashman, Dianne Salerni, Jessica Verday, Yvonne Ventresca and Elizabeth Keim.
Barnes & Noble, Easton, PA

November 1st and 2nd, 2014, Saturday and Sunday
NJ SCBWI Fall Craft Weekend, Faculty
Workshop: Revision Resources--Tools to Analyze Your Manuscript
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
Saturday Craft Day is *free* to SCBWI members, but registration is required.

November 15, 2014, Saturday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Author Day at the Hillsborough Library
Hillsborough Public Library, Hillsborough, NJ

December 13, 2014, Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Mary Jacobs Library Foundation Book Fest
Barnes & Noble, Princeton, NJ


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7. Harts Pass No. 223

"Finally feeling like fall!" And that's good thing :) Perhaps its the anticipation of winter (much adored as well), but I've always been fond of this cold and blustery time of year.

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8. Guest Post for Networking is the Best Way to Market Your Book


Networking is the Best Way to Market You and Your Book




Book Synopsis for The Magic of Friendship:

BABBAR is a fierce and mean tiger who cannot tolerate anyone, but he is lonely and sad. HASMUKH is a funny donkey but gets scared of everyone. When the Magic of friendship touches them see how it transforms not only their characters but also transforms the whole environment around them.

The Magic of friendship is a hilarious, action packed entertaining story. There are scary moments, celebration and comical moments. While the core focus of the story is about friendship it has elements of father son bonding and family values as well.

Book gives plenty of opportunity for parents to entertain kids with their own version of animal noises. And bright and interactive illustrations is sure to leave a mark on eyes.

This is a story about change -- a transformation that comes with the magic of friendship. Personality may not change, but nature can surely change. This story will show the value of friendship and how that can change a person, particularly, one who is lonely and never really had the gift of laughter.


Book Information
Title of Book: The Magic of Friendship
ISBN:  9-7-80-99031781-4
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Kommuru Books
Publication Date: September 2014
of Pages: 40
Title is available at Amazon
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble


The Best Way to Market Your Book
We always hear of people who come from nowhere and go somewhere beyond imaginations. That statement sounds very simple but you will appreciate that someone a lot more once you get your feet into this field. Networking  is an ongoing and an uphill battle.
I believe networking is the best way to market you. Being an author is unlike any other industry there are no competitors. Everyone is an ally and you just want to make sure that you have more and more of them. Every author I have met has helped a lot. It’s truly amazing you will not find a community like this in any other field.

Bio:
Subhash and Sujata hail from India. They migrated to the United States along with their memories of childhood and youth. Now that they are parents, just like every immigrant they crave to introduce their child to the culture and values of their upbringing. Yet it is challenging to teach something while you are in the midst of adjusting to a different culture yourself.

Subhash and Sujata both work in different disciplines and have different styles and backgrounds, but it is the upbringing of their son that brings them on the same page. That exact place where they meet is captured and reflected in their stories, where Subhash can express in words, and Sujata can illustrate them beautifully. Where he puts it in black and white, she adds color to it. You get the idea!

These stories are their attempt to share a glimpse of their childhood days with their son. He is their inspiration to write short stories that have meaning to them and provide teaching in some shape or form. 

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9. Banana Demo

Yesterday I painted a half-hour still life demo in gouache for the Painting 1 class at Texas A and M, where I'm here this week as artist in residence. 

James Gurney at Texas A&M, photo courtesy Felice House
The subject is a banana sitting on a red piece of paper. Painting a high chroma object strongly lit against a high intensity background is the same assignment that the students have done earlier. So they get to see me wrestling with the same issues that they have faced. 



Every color that we see is a combination of the color of the light and the actual color of the surface (or "local color"). In this case, the down-facing planes in shadow are receiving reflected light from the red paper, shifting those color planes toward orange. 

As the top planes turn toward shadow near each end of the banana, they catch the blue window light, which mixes with yellow to make green. 


I make an effort to vary the edges around the form from soft to hard to soft. Nearly the whole painting is done with 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch flat brushes. I turn the brushes edge-on for the thin lines, and use the corner of the brush for the dots.

Painting by James Gurney. Photo by Felice House
Gouache colors include: white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, and cobalt blue.

These are the only colors I have on the trip. Traveling with carry-on luggage means cutting back the colors so that they fit in the 3-1-1 TSA bags.

The palette surface is a metal pencil box primed and then painted white with enamel spray paint. The palette is held to my lightweight sketch easel with Neodymium magnets.

The students ask great questions throughout the session. Many of them are using what they're learning from these painting exercises to inform them in their 3D digital lighting projects.

Seated to my right is the professor of the class, Felice House. She says that the assignment "The Banana on Red" is a teaching project that originated with her first painting teacher at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, named Sheila Provazza.  

Whew! After that it's time for lunch and art talk with some of my student pals from the Department of Visualization. This week is going so fast for me and Jeanette and we're having a blast. 

If you can, please come on by College Station tonight for my Dinotopia lecture. I'll be glad to meet you or sign whatever books you bring afterward. 

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10. Unveiling the cover for my new book: Blood Will Tell

BloodWillTellI'm so excited to share my new book cover with you. It's for Blood Will Tell, the second in my Point Last Seen series. When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a few blocks feet away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland’s Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. Then Nick's DNA turns up on the victim. How is this even possible? And can his SAR friends Alexis Frost and Ruby McClure find a way to help clear his name before its too late?

The series was inspired by the the real-life Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, which is a teen-led group that not only rescues people lost in the wilderness, but also does crime scene evidence recovery for local law enforcement. This particular book was inspired by two real life cases where innocent people ended up in jail after coincidences were seen as clear-cut evidence. One involved a person's behavior, the other DNA. 

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11. Expectation, Event, Reaction

This month, as you pre-plot for NaNoWriMo, keep in mind that every story and plot idea you brainstorm encompasses 3+ potential scenes:


1) Anticipation
          Anticipation of an upcoming event, creates curiosity and sets up tension in the reader not knowing, will the protagonist be successful or not?

2) Event
          The actual event the protagonist has been anticipating with expectation creates external dramatic action

3) Reaction
          How the protagonist reacts to the event gives clues to the reader about how she internalizes what just happened

Today I write! Rather, today I pre-plot for NaNo!

For pre-plotting tips and tricks and how to write a novel in a month, check out my Plot Whisperer books: 

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
  •  
  • PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises


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12. Thoughts from a sensitive #6: Self

thoughtsfromsensitiveself


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13. YA Book Blast: Boy Red by Shanta Everington

Blurb:

Boy Red is a story about identity, about where you come from and where you belong.
The day after his sixteenth birthday, Red discovers that the man he calls Dadis not his biological father. Will Red be able to track down the anonymous sperm donor who gave him life? What will he learn about himself along the way? And just what else are his parents hiding?

Excerpt:

It was Saturday night, and Mum was up on the makeshift stage doing a classy numberthat is to say Tina Turner complete with big h air and five-inch red heels. The booths were taken by the karaoke regulars clutching their song sheets and medallions. A throng of studded students drank cheap German beer at the bar, disappearing outside every few minutes for a smoke. Tourists dripping with backpacks chatted in a zillion different languages.
A few weeks ago, I told Mum I wanted low key, meaning a night out down the Lock with Sino wigs, microphones, or other parental contributions in sight. But she would have none of it.
Red, baby, you only turn sixteen once,shed said. Youve got to mark it in style. Youve got to have a party.
My names actually Jed, but everyone calls me Red. I share two things with Mick Hucknall: mad orange hair and a slightly odd face. Sadly, I dont have his musical talents. Not like Mum. She wins a lot of prizes. Its embarrassing to see her in her Cher wig and polka dot dress, but it could be worse. She could be something really boring like an accountant. Dads an academic. Hes a professor of science. They make for a strange combo, but Camden caters for all sorts. The posh and the rough rub shoulders every day. Not that Im saying Mums rough or anything, but her Madonna impersonations can make for scary viewing.
So there I was down at the local pub, staring at the purple swirly carpet, starting to feel nauseous. My sixteenth birthday party. It may as well have been musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey. It was that bad. My six-year-old brother, Freddie, sat smirking in the corner while Mum warbled out her rendition of City Limits. Dave, the karaoke organiser, all burly biceps in a frilly pink shirt, tapped his right foot in time to the music. Dad smiled amiably at the bar as he downed an orange juice. That man lacked the capacity for embarrassment. He must have a gene missing or something.
Your mums reading the lines off a television. Wheres the harm in it?he reasoned. He could be so rational, it was maddening.
Si was chatting up a pair of Asian twins whod just finished their version of The Cheeky Girls Touch My Bum. He winked at me to join him, while Mum carried on gyrating in red polyester as she reached the climax.
Dad. Dad! Freddie tugged at Dads jeans.
Dad checked his watch, stood up, and cleared his throat. Uh-oh.
Oh, yes. Thank you, Freddie. Gaye!
Uh-oh. Uh-oh.
Mum smiled at Dave as she gripped the microphone. Thank you, everybody. I have a little announcement to make, she said. The shrieks and applause died down, leaving a low hum of conversation. The Cheeky Girls stopped drinking their Barcardi Breezers and looked expectantly at Mum. They wore white PVC hot pants and matching kneehigh boots. They were hot all right. Not the type of girls I wanted around to witness this kind of embarrassment. I looked on in horror and considered my options. This would have been a good time to escape to the bog, but Dad had already covered that one by asking Daves brother, Stu, to keep guard. Dads best mate, Phil, stood to my right, smiling inanely at me. There was nowhere to run. So I downed half of Stus pint instead. He didnt seem to mind. Just winked.
Okay, guys and girls, continued Mum, running her hands through her wig. I hope youll all join me in wishing our Red a very happy sixteenth birthday.
Id never get served alcohol in here after that. It was all right for girls, they always got served. The Cheeky Girls couldnt have been much older than I was, and they were knocking them back.
Stu waved manically over my head for the benefit of anyone who might not know who the lucky boy was. The Cheeky Girls whispered to each other and raised their collective eyebrows as I fixed a boomerang smile on my face.
Ha-a-a-a-ppy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you…”Mum had gone into Marilyn Monroe mode, all silly girly voice, while Dave brought out a blue football cake fit for a five year old, complete with sixteen flaming candles. It was excruciating.
When the humiliation was over, Mum came over and kissed me on the forehead and ruffled my already wild hair, just to add insult to injury.
I think that needs a cut, mister, she said.
I looked at Freddies smooth pudding basin cut performed by Mum the day before and shuddered. I didnt think so.
Id always been the odd one out with my orange mane. Jokes about the milkman were rife.
I blew out my candles and cut the cake as a million digital cameras flashed in my face. Another one for the family album.
It was all so normal. Well, normal as far as my family went anyway.
There were even napkins. 

Want to know more about S. D. Everingtion? You can find her at http://www.shantaeverington.co.uk/or on Twitter @ShantaEverAfter. 

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14. Close-out Shop Sale All this Week

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.33.58 AM

SHOP here


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15.

Your hope for Little John & Gayle keep you turning the page. Nightingale's Nest by @Nikki_Loftin http://buff.ly/1pA6Ohb #WeReadDiverseBooks CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEWS - NIGHTINGALE'S NEST by Nikki Loftin

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16. Agent Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Lit on Wanting Diversity, Comp Titles, and Book Love!

Welcome, Saba!

Saba Sulaiman is the newest member of Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She joined the team after working as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she worked primarily on their romance line. She's looking for up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir, both in adult and YA. She's also actively looking for MG. Follow her on Twitter @agentsaba




1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 

A strong, gripping, mature voice, well-rounded characters, and an instant emotional connection. I want to be invested in the story as soon as possible, and I love stories where there is a clear and relatable conflict. 

2. What is on your wish list? 

I'd love to see any story that incorporates diverse characters and backgrounds, and does it well. Throw in a unique twist to a classic story. Invert a tried and tested formula or trope, and make it compelling enough for me to get on board with it. I hesitate to be too specific because I'm open to almost anything within the genres I represent, but I'll definitely pay more attention to manuscripts with these qualities.

3. What are some things you love to see in a query?

Other than what's standard, I like to see comp titles -- but please don't compare your book to a huge bestselling book that everyone's heard of! You don't have to include comp titles in your query, but if you do, show me that you really know what's happening in your genre by making them specific.

4. Are you an editorial agent?

Yes I'm very hands-on! I'm happy to work with authors to polish their work, and I don't believe in presenting manuscripts that aren't quite ready to be looked at yet. That having been said, please don't query me with first drafts! I have to be convinced that you've already been through multiple revisions and that you know your craft inside out before I'll consider working with you.

5. Character, world, or plot? 

Character all the way!

6. What do you like to do for fun?

Well, other than reading (surprise!) and my other hobbies (see my webpage!) I mostly bother my friends and think a lot about my next meal (I take food very seriously.)

7. What genres are you drawn to most?

In YA, I'm generally drawn to contemporary realistic stories, but I'm also open to magical realism and historical YA with spunky, edgy heroines. 

8. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 

Emotional connection. Market trends come and go, but I need to connect with the manuscript in order to be able to back it 100% and make editors fall in love with it.


9. Why did you become an agent?
I read and talk about books for a living -- I think that says it all :)

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17. The glorious Dracula as presented by the Brandywine Ballet, and co-starring the stunning Emma Yasick




We drove through the rain to West Chester University—just the right mood, just the right weather—where we were granted the very special privilege of watching the dress rehearsal of "Dracula," a ballet for which the Brandywine Ballet has become rightly well-known.

This "Dracula" belongs to Nancy Page, a former dancer, a beloved Brandywine teacher, and the choreographer who brilliantly fit the essence of the Bram Stoker story upon the light limbs of delicate dancers, into the mauves and peaches and creams of fluid fabrics, and beneath the spackled lights of the Asplundh stage. It is a mesmerizing spectacle, perfectly steeped in visual and aural seductions. It makes room for dancers of many ages, asks the young to carry flames, bends into itself without repeating itself. The dancers wear masks, but we in the audience do not. We are open to this story, vulnerable to the talent, looking for the light inside the moody backdrop blues and purples and grays.

Among the dancers floats and lifts and reaches one Emma Yasick, the daughter of friends. She has been dancing much of her life. She is, even in a pair of jeans, a ballerina, pure. On a slender frame she carries her intelligence. With extraordinary poise she lengthens the distance between her chin and shoulderblades. She is integral to the dancing and she is very much herself, and when I sat there, beside her mother in the dark, I asked (a whisper):

Do you always see her at once when she enters the stage?

I always do, she said.

I am grateful that my husband was with us last evening. That he took his camera down to the edge of the stage and caught some moments on film. This is Emma Yasick dancing in "Dracula," with a company—the Brandywine Ballet—that is her second home.

I'm not sure if this extraordinary production is already sold out. It absolutely should be. But if tickets remain, and if you have time, I strongly encourage you to find out more here.

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18. The Flat Rabbit

Let me say it right away: This is one strange book. After a first read, I was pretty sure I would not be reviewing it. Then a few weeks passed and I picked it up again and reread it. It's still a strange book, but this time I saw its appeal.

The Flat Rabbit has a simple plot. A dog and a rat come across a rabbit on the side of the road. The rabbit is obviously deceased, run over no doubt by a car. Yet this fact is never mentioned. The crux of the book is the dog and rat deciding what to do with the rabbit. They knew her vaguely but weren't close. Yet something must be done; they both feel they can't leave her carcass lying there. After pondering the problem, the dog comes up with a solution. He and the rat peel her body from the road and attach it to a kite. Then they fly the kite until is high above them and release it to continue its journey skyward.

What I found compelling the second time around was the questioning attitude of the dog and rat. Much like children, neither one had answers--or even were sure of the questions. Yet they didn't flinch from the subject of death and how best to honor a life.

Marita Thomsen translated Oskarsson's text from Faroese, and to my ears has done a good job. The minimalistic text is understated and at times droll.

"They could leave her outside number 34, but what would the people there think if they saw a dog and a rat bringing back their rabbit, totally flattened? No good would come of that."

Oskarsson's illustrations, done in pastel watercolors, are equally spare. Everything isn't spelled out for young readers; they'll have to make connections by closely looking at the pictures. Is the gray car on the facing page that shows the flattened rabbit responsible for its condition? The author/illustrator isn't saying.

Honest, secular books for children about death are rare indeed. Margaret Wise Brown and Remy Charlip's The Dead Bird springs to mind. My favorite, though, is Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch. (Read my review.The Flat Rabbit has joined this short list. I'm glad I gave it another chance.

The Flat Rabbit
by Bardur Oskarsson
Owl Kids, 40 pages
Published: september 2014

  

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19. Tip for aspiring writers & illustrators: Make a routine and then stick to it.

A tip for aspiring children's book writers and illustrators: Try not to let yourself get sucked into too much fussing over preparation and ritual. Make a routine and then stick to it.

Now to follow my own advice...

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20. Waiting for Inspiration?

“Being a writer is not unlike being a medium; sometimes the message comes through loud and clear, sometimes it doesn’t,”   Joan Aiken said in a talk on writing ghost stories.  Perhaps this is particularly apt for those with a gift for sensing odd atmospheres or noticing the unusual in the everyday, as she certainly did, […]

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21. Interview with Chrys Fey, Author of 30 Seconds

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Chrys! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Chrys Fey] Rock obsessed auntie who writes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about 30 Seconds?

[Chrys Fey] 30 Seconds is a romantic-suspense novella about a woman who finds herself in the middle of a war between a police force and the Mob.

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he’s made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He’s determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob’s death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart’s life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she’s dodging bullets, she’s falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Chrys Fey] Oh there are so many! My favorite action scene is when Dani Hart runs from the Mob. They chase her out of the hospital where she works, down a packed street in the heart of Cleveland, and into an alley. They openly shoot at her, too, not caring that civilians are everywhere. It’s an intense, heart-pounding scene. I also love the scene when Dani and Blake have a snowball fight. It’s light and funny, a moment they desperately needed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Chrys Fey] Getting to know Blake and Dani. They were interesting characters from the first time they popped into my head. Blake arrived thanks to a dream and Dani showed up shortly after I had a layover in the Cleveland, Ohio airport on my way to Michigan. Dani is a tough doctor who loves rock music and horror movies. Blake is a sexy cop who struggles with his commitment to protect Dani due to his growing desires.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Chrys Fey] Chap Stick.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Chrys Fey] A witch’s cauldron that I turned into a writer’s cauldron with pens, pencils and scrap paper, “Queen of the Damned” by Anne Rice, and my Skull Candy headphones.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Chrys Fey] Sandwiches are my go to meal if I work through lunch, but when it gets to be around two or three in the afternoon anything sweet will do.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Chrys Fey] I would trade places with my character Dani to spend some time with Blake, a sexy police officer. Do you blame me? *wink*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Chrys Fey] I would want the power to blink my body from one place to another, so I could go to all the places I’ve dreamed about visiting, like Ireland, Venice, and London.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Chrys Fey] Moonless by Crystal Collier, Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc by PK Hrezo, and Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

Chrys Fey] I am very active on Facebook and my blog. I love to read and reply back to comments from readers; it’s the highlight of my day.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrysfey

Blog: www.writewithfey.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChrysFey

Amazon: www.authorcentral.amazon.com/chrysfey

Title: 30 Seconds

Author: Chrys Fey

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: Novella (105 pages)

Format: eBook

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Published: September 10th, 2014

Bio:

Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she’s writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

The post Interview with Chrys Fey, Author of 30 Seconds appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. ALL pictures posted by me on this site are copyright.

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23. My tweets

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24. Spain and conquerors

The most interesting thing about southern Spain is the architecture. It tells the story of the Visigoths. The Romans. The Moors and the Catholics. It’s all here in every city expressed in tiles, scrolls, gold,  statues and buildings. The most incredible mosques; some with Catholic cathedrals inside them. Others as stand alone expressions to their Catholic faith in Sevilla. Roman remains in gardens and a beautiful bastion in Granada- The Alhambra. Water, peace, protection and vestiges of power and wealth.

 

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25. PUMPKIN TIME by Erzsi Deak and Doug Cushman - GIVEAWAY!


Two amazing talents have teamed up to create THE perfect harvest time book for this coming fall - Erzsi Deak (of Hen & Ink Literary Studio) and Doug Cushman (writer and/or illustrator of over 125 picture books!). The book is called PUMPKIN TIME! . It’s about Evy, who is a consummate gardener and very good pie maker! Erzsi and Doug both stopped by to talk about their book… and France, where they both live. (Paint me green with envy!)

Q. Erzsi - Congratulations on Pumpkin Time! This isn’t your first book, but it is your first picture book (yes?). How did it come to be?
A.
It was three years after PERIOD PIECES: STORIES FOR GIRLS came out when I met the wonderful Markus Zusak, author of THE BOOK THIEF among other titles, and his talk and the discussions with other attendees. Doug Cushman was there along with Ann Jacobus -- whose book, ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT comes out from SMP in 2015 -- and Bridget Strevens-Marzo, whose book, TIZ & OTT’S BIG DRAW comes out from Tate Publishing in 2015! Zusak’s talk was a reboot for me creatively. I started dreaming up a new book on a napkin and hotel stationery (like the best authors in recent bestselling history). This time with words and pictures. It’s actual debut, in a slightly different form, was performed during the very first Dueling Illustrators event at the SCBWI booth at the Bologna Book Fair between Doug, Bridget and Paul O. Zelinsky!

Q. Erzsi - Were you and Doug friends before PUMPKIN TIME!? Was it a collaboration?
A.
Doug and I have been friends ever since Peter Sis introduced us in Paris. He knew Peter who knew me through Barbara McClintock who knew me because of the SCBWI. Doug moved to France over ten years ago, but for the first five we only saw each other at exotic SCBWI venues (Madrid, Munich, Bologna). Since then, he has designed the Bologna logo, critiqued picture book projects at the Bologna stand and created Pencil Boy (an irregular feature on the Here, There & Everywhere page). Doug graciously listened to various versions of the text and then illustrated sample art. Last year in Bologna, over lunch, Steve Geck told me that what he really wanted was a pumpkin book. I said, "Shoot, Steve," (not my exact words, mind you), "I have a pumpkin book." And the rest, as they say is history. (For the ongoing inside scoop on how we work, I invite everyone to check out CHICKEN SCRATCHES, the regular comic Doug creates for http://henandink.com)

Q. Erzsi - You run the Literary Studio Hen & Ink. Is being located in Paris ever a challenge for you? (Personally, I’d love it!) And does being an agent inform your writing?
A.
I actually work out of the South of France in a field (last year it was... pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!). With good internet, phone and postal/delivery service; a nearby airport and a high-speed train that can whip me off to New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Bologna, Frankfurt and even further like Seoul this year, it's pure pleasure. Okay, the lightening storms kind of kill the internet fun, but other than that, we're good! For Hen&ink and Pumpkin Time!, I'm excited to be heading to Portland, OR, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin (for the Texas Book Festival -- yay!) and New York.
      As far as if being an agent informs my writing, I suppose a bit; I do more editing and letter and email writing than manuscript writing of my own, however. It's probably more correct to say that my writing informs my agenting.

Q. Erzsi - What was your writing process for Pumpkin Time!? Do you find the picture book format challenging? (CLICK HERE to read more about Erzsi's writing process.)
A.
I love (love!) picture books and the interplay of words and pictures. I wrote poetry from the age I could hold a stick in the sand; when I worked in a bookstore in Fairbanks, AK, I spent all my money on starting my children's book collection (I still have those picture books). In art school, I played a lot with text and looked at possibly becoming an art director so I could continue to play with words and pictures. All-this-is-to say, I find the picture book format a fabulous format to work in -- especially if one is visual. The perfect word. The perfect pause. The perfect picture. I like rhythm and repeat (What was Evy doing? for example!); call-and-response; gorgeous writing and funny writing. Succinct writing. I'm wary of one-note joke books and seek out richness in the story as well as the writing and illustrating. So, not challenging -- invigorating and exciting!

Q. Doug - I love all the energetic animals in PUMPKIN TIME! How do you come up with such fun characters?
A.
I love drawing animals (mostly they are more human and real than, well, humans). And of course Erzsi’s energetic text and humor was perfect for creating some wild animal characters. It wasn’t a chore at all, in some ways I had to hold back and not get too crazy for fear of straying too far away from the original intent of the story.

Q. Doug - What is your illustration method?
A.
I try to get the main character nailed down at the get-go, in this case it was Evy and Turkey. I saw Turkey as Evy’s counterpoint, he saw and reacted to everything she missed. Turkey is the flip side of the same coin, her “animal spirit”, if I may. I gave them both the same boots and hat to accentuate that idea. Once I have the main characters in my head I start to sketch each page and lay out the action and design. The ideal is to make each spread flow into the next one so the book works as a complete unit, like a little film.

Q. Doug - You’re in Paris now too. Does that affect your career or your approach to illustration in any way?
A.
Paris and Europe are very liberating. There are literally centuries of art all around—even up the street!— that I can draw from (no pun intended). My approach to books hasn’t changed that much but there is an atmosphere here where I feel I can push my art and ideas a little further to the edge. It doesn’t always work for the American market but it’s easier to pull back if I need to than try and push forward. I’d like to see the American market take a few more chances. Children can handle it. We could make some great books, I think.

Q. Doug - You’ve created over 125 picture books - wowsa! Do you ever slow down?
A.
It’s closer to 130 now. It doesn’t feel like work at all. I get up every morning and draw pictures. That’s all I do. But each book is different and has it’s own problems. In one sense, I’m a beginner with each book. Every project is a blank sheet, literally, where I have to create something logical, seamless and fun. The challenge is to do better than the last book. It doesn’t always work. But I keep trying.

Q. Doug - Had to add that I am now teaching with Ruth Sanderson at Hollins University in the summers in their MFA in Writing and Illustrating Children's Books program. She says ‘hi’!
A.
I knew Ruth way back in art school. She was a star even then. I was thrilled when she came to visit earlier this year. We had a grand time sketching outdoors…and eating snails. Ask her about THAT!

Q. Erzsi and Doug - Are you doing anything special to celebrate PUMPKIN TIME!?
A.

ED-I think we should break out the pumpkin pie, don't you?!
DC-Sounds good to me!
ED-In celebration, we are taking the pumpkin patch on-the-road! We've just about nailed down the schedule. Doug starts next week at The Hickory Stick Bookstore in Washington, CT, and will go to Boston and Bank Street in NYC as well. I start at the Book Been Bookstore in Portland, OR, on October 15th and then go to the Yellow Book Road and a school visit on the 21st in San Diego, drop into NCIBA in San Francisco and possibly a school visit and then it's Austin for the Festival and Books of Wonder in NYC. Details will be on pumpkin-time.com. Hope many of you can meet us on this pumpkin-infused journey!

Q. Erzsi and Doug - Do folks celebrate Halloween and harvest time in France like they do in the US?
A.

ED- Everyone loves pumpkins here -- especially pumpkin soup, so Doug may be illustrating a new spread for the rest of the world that doesn't "do" pumpkin pie! :) The merchants in Paris have tried to get Halloween going, but with All Saint's Day observed the day after Halloween, it's a tougher call to get everyone out in ghost and witch costumes for Halloween. But the harvest, definitely the harvest! Around here, in the SE of France, the hay has been baled and the pumpkins are lined up in the fields.
DC-All true. Halloween is practically unknown in France. But as Erzsi said, the harvest, especially the grape harvest, is big. I just returned from the grape harvest in Burgundy. Obviously France has no Thanksgiving holiday, which is huge in America, and in many ways symbolizes the great Harvest in the States.

Q. Erzsi and Doug - Do you think you’ll do another book together?
A.
ED & DC-Yes!!
DC- We’ve known each other for a long time and have planned many projects over the years. We hope to do many more books together...and not only pumpkin-related (though food is one of my favorite subjects to write, talk and paint).

Q. Thanks so much to both of you for stopping by! I wish you much continued success, and with any luck, I’ll be able to say that to you in person, in France, one of these days!!!
A. ED & DC- Great! The first glass of Burgundy is on us!
Me: Oh, you have SO got a deal!

CLICK HERE to download a free PUMPKIN TIME! Activity kit! .

GIVEAWAY!
Sourcebooks has agreed to giveaway a free copy of PUMPKIN TIME to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US/Canada to win - enter below:

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