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Results 26 - 50 of 215,022
26. scribble: my 24-hour comic

Hello! Here's the comic I made for the 24-Hour Comic Marathon at this weekend's Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal.

The challenge I set myself (besides making a whole book in 24 hours!) was to make a comic book that an adult could read aloud to a child. (Usually comics are rather difficult to read aloud.) So there are bits that might be slightly wordy, but I was doing that to try to make it read better. It was an experiment, so see if you think it works!


















































Ta-DAH! Thank you for reading! I'll blog more about the event and creating process soon, but big thanks to Scott McCloud, who set the original 24-Hour Comic challenge, and came all the way from the USA to give the festival a boost and pop his head into the room a couple times with his wife, Ivy, to cheer us on. Here we are in the Page 45 room with the six other creators who were working on their own books along with me through the night (from left): Jack Teagle (@jackteagle), Kristyna Baczynski (@kbaczynski), Warwick Johnson Cadwell (@WarwickJC), Scott ((@scottmccloud), awesome coordinator Dan Berry (@thingsbydan), Fumio Obata (@FumioObata), Joe Decie (@joedecie) and me. Dan was amazing and worked with a local Kendal printer, Absolute Digital Print, to roll out 50 copies of each book by that evening. (Wow!) I've sold out of my copies, but perhaps sometime I'll print some more.



Oh, and did you notice that big crowd scene, when Jamie the scribble is on display at the art museum? I got some help with drawing the crowd from the amazing team of Kendal College assistants who stuck with us through the night, in two shifts. A lot of the people were drawn by Janet (here with her sketchbook), who's ace.



And here are Phil Welch and Katie White, who stayed with us through the WHOLE 24 HOURS and created an AMAZING BLOG, tweeting as @24hcm and using the #24hcm hash tag. Also, a little look at my work desk, and a pose on the following Sunday with festival-mascot-creator Felt Mistress and the two top festival coordinators, Julie Tait and Sandra Wood. Thanks so much, everyone!



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27. The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta Book Review & Activities

I’d like to thank authors Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta for sharing their book The Diwali Gift with me.

dewali

In the Diwali Gift , three curious monkeys, Suno, Dekho, and Jaano get together for a playdate when a mysterious box from their grandmother appears.

What could be inside ?

Sparklers ? Bracelets ? Small lights known as divas?

No none of the above.

Inside is something very special to use on the night of Diwali. A special something which grants the owner their wishes to come true.  To find out what the special something is, you’ll have to read the book.

This book is a simple and lovely story that invites us to share in the Hindu festival of Diwali. The Diwali Gift is fun, entertaining, and wonderfully educational. One truly feels the spirit, anticipation and festive feeling of the holiday.

From Wikipedia:

“Diwali also known as Deepavali and the “festival of lights”, is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja (prayers), fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.”

The illustrations by Anna Koan are fun and captivating.  There is a glossary in the back of the book as well as an explanation of Diwali and how one celebrates it.

dewali2

I advise reading the glossary before hand so you can clarify the story when reading it to children.  I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

Book Review – The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta & a Giveaway
The Diwali Gifts is a contemporary and fun book and is also a great tool for explaining Diwali to young readers. The Diwali Gift does a wonderful job of holding reader’s attention and making Diwali fun!
dewali1
About the Authors and 3 Curious Monkeys:3 Curious Monkeys is a California based start-up that was started by Indian moms Shuchi Mehta and Shweta Chopra. 3 Curious Monkeys creates  interactive digital toys and books for kids and this company was born out of need and passion to bring the sights, sounds and vitality of multicultural and multi-hued India to children all over the world with fun characters that encourage them to see, hear and learn more!

Somethings To Do:

Kim Vij  from The Educator’s Spin on it has some really wonderful Diwali Activities.

Have a look at how the Activity Village celebrated Diwali.

3 Curious Monkey’s has a wonderful Dress Up Party app on iTunes

Playing dress up is always fun. But its even more fun dressing up your favorite monkey in traditional Indian fabrics and accessories while learning to compliment in eight different languages. (for ages 4-8). Download the App HERE.

dewali3

Need more gift ideas? Books are always a great choice! NOW AVAILABLE!

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook by Donna Ashton.

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

 

The post The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta Book Review & Activities appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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28. Christopher Yasick: a son leaves the world too soon, a father reaches out from his distance

Remembering an extraordinary young man, lost too soon, a year ago today.

With deepest love and affection for his family.

Sometimes I'd be sitting in Mike Yasick's office at Shire, a client company, and he'd get to talking about his family.

The phone would ring, and he'd lift one finger, check the number, and discover his son, Chris, on the line.

"Hold on," Mike would say to me.

"Hey," he'd say to his son, his face lighting up two additional degrees of bright, which was really something for a man already so fully illuminated. Maybe Chris had some news. Maybe Chris was hoping Mike would pick up some ingredient on the way home to complete the meal Chris was cooking. Whatever it was, Mike glowed. Whatever it was, afterward, Mike would sit, talking about Chris and the rest of his family. It was a favorite topic for a famous raconteur, because Mike may have been a super star in the pharma world, but more to the point, and through and through, he was a purely devoted family man.

The world lost Mike Yasick eight months ago to a rare genetic condition. He was with us, laughing one day, parading his bright red pants, and then—suddenly—he was gone. Imagine the largest Catholic church you've ever seen. Then imagine it filled, wall to wall, with friends and family—mourners—most of them wearing Mike's trademark red. Imagine a small blog tribute—mine—read by 15,000 people. That's how loved Mike was.

Yesterday, Chris, just twenty-five years old, was taken by the same terrible disease that took his father. Another sudden passing. Another terrible loss in the world, an unimaginable heartbreak for a beautiful family. I got the news in the dark hours of the morning that Chris was in the hospital. I got the news several hours later that he was gone. In between, I prayed—so many of us prayed—for some kind of miracle.

Chris was a civil engineer, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. He was a young man on his way up in a job with Skyline Steel. At his father's funeral he was dignified, one of those people you really hoped you'd get a chance to personally know—his face so much like his dad's, that Yasick sparkle in his eyes. So this is Chris, I kept thinking. This is Chris.

Miracles are so hard to come by. Miracles aren't every day. The disease took Chris. But here are two things that all of us who loved Mike, who mourn with and for his family, will always see as miraculous. On the day that Chris grew so suddenly and terribly ill, Mike's best friends were in town. They had come to town specifically to see Chris, to take him out to dinner, to tell him some stories about his dad. They were there when it happened. They were there for Chris—all night in that hospital, they were there for Chris. They were present.

Just as another friend just so happened to land in Chicago, on his way to somewhere else. He checked his phone. He saw a text from Chris's sister, Katy, he changed his plans, he hurried to the hospital, he was there, too. There.

"I haven't connected on a flight in years," this friend, Matt Pauls, wrote to me. "Why last night? In Chicago? Why were his buddies in town? Because Mike made sure Chris was covered."

Mike made sure his son was covered. As other family rushed to town, as Chris's mom got there as fast as the plane could fly, as the doctors did all they could do, Mike, through his friends, was there for his son. A beautiful thing in a most tragic time, and the thing we will hold onto as we honor Chris.


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29. Auburn Writers Conference Wrap-up!

I'm exhausted but smiling after spending three days at the Auburn Writers Conference hosted by the amazing Chantel Acevedo and her supportive crew.
     Thursday morning, I drove over early from Atlanta to spend time with two classes at Loachapoka Middle School (7th and 8th graders).
They made some sweet signs to welcome me:

The first class had received a group set of copies of A BIRD ON WATER STREET from Auburn University's University Outreach program - how cool! And their English teacher (I'm sorry, I forgot her name) had them all fired up for my visit - fun!



     Here I am with LaDerrial, one of the students who wants to be a writer herself someday:

     The teachers were so kind to present me with a certificate of appreciation - how nice! Having teacher support means SO much!

Here I am with the English teacher and the Principal, Mrs. Kitt, who I saw at the writers conference later.


Friday I awoke early and walked the Auburn campus - so pretty. Then Mark Wilson, my schools escort and PhD Coordinator of community and civic engagement in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University, picked me up to head to Duke Middle School. I met with two classes there as well.



Mark's son was in one of them - HI! The kids asked fantastic questions and I wish I could have spent more time with them. Here I am with another budding writer.

     Thanks to Mrs. Laura Hardy, the Librarian for making me feel so welcome.

And thanks to Michelle Hopf, their teacher who was actually at the conference (we caught up later after years of talking online). She has some great students and they obviously love her! Here I am with Michelle and Angela Jordan (we talked Appalachia and could have gone on for hours if everybody wasn't so tired from the great weekend!).

     Saturday I once again walked around campus - what a nice way to start the day. Then I got ready for my workshop, "What to Do When the Story Finds You," this time with adults! I didn't get pictures this time, but several people thanked me afterwards saying how much they got out of my workshop. LOVE to hear that!
     All said, it was a fabulous time. I caught up with writer friends and met several new ones. I also got to reconnect with the kind folks in Alabama. Along with conferences and festivals, I do quite a few school visits over there and I'm sure they have a lot to do with that. So, THANK YOU to all for a lovely time! I hope I can return soon!

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30. The Character and The Values

Students at the French academies didn't get a whole lot of instruction from the teachers. Most of the masters came into the drawing and painting classes once a week at most, and sometimes their feedback was brief and enigmatic.


John Lavery (1856-1941), A Scottish art student who spent three winters under William Bouguereau's supervision at the Academy Julien, recalled that he received just one sentence from the master. 

After looking at his drawings from the nude and asking him a number of questions, Bouguereau kindly said: "Mon ami, ça c'est comme bois; cherchez le caractère et les valeurs" ("My friend, it is like wood; look for the character and values.") 

William Bouguereau, Biblis, to be auctioned in NYC at Sotheby's Nov. 6 

Sir John Lavery, Miss Auras, The Red Book
Lavery admitted that he had a tough time learning French, so he probably missed out on a lot of the art talk in Paris. But looking back on his training, he said, "The rest of my training came and continued to come from what I saw rather than from what I heard."
-----

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31. Writing Links

DSC_0677

Debut Year Reflections, Tips for New Authors :: YA Highway

Novel Revision Charts: 2 Tools for Smart Re-Thinking of Your Story :: Darcy Pattison

Life Doesn’t Permit…and Other Wise Words On Making Time to Write :: Kate Messner

The Crushing Weight of Expectations :: Writer Unboxed

Redefining Expectations in Order to Stay Sane :: Read Write Thrive

The Hectic Life of a Multi-Published Author :: Jody Hedlund

 

The post Writing Links appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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32. Teaser and Giveaway: Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler

This morning I have an exclusive teaser from Paige Tyler’s Her Lone Wolf, as well as a giveaway. Please check it out, and make sure to follow the other blogs on the tour!

Her Lone Wolf

Series: X-Ops Book 2

Author: Paige Tyler

Pubdate: November 4th, 2014

ISBN: 9781402292125

Leaving him was Impossible…

It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance…whether they like it or not.

Seeing her again is even worse

The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he’s tried to bury comes roaring back—and there’s no way this wolf shifter is going to let her get away this time.

Paige Tyler is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.

An Excerpt:

“Now I’d like to introduce Danica Beckett, one of the lead agents on the case. She’ll brief us on what we know up to this point in the investigation.”

Clayne stiffened at the name, sure he must have heard wrong. But then he smelled a scent so familiar, so intoxicating that he knew he hadn’t. The air left his lungs and he suddenly couldn’t breathe. He gripped the folder in his hand in an effort to keep his claws from coming out. Danica-freaking-Beckett. He felt as if he’d just been kicked in the balls.

He didn’t dare look at her as she walked to the front of the room and took her place at the podium, afraid if he did he might completely lose it. Not that he needed to look. He knew every inch of her body from her full, luscious lips to the tiny beauty mark on her right hip, and everywhere in between. Her face had haunted him every moment of the day and night for the past two years until he thought he’d go insane.

But one memory seared hotter than all the others. When the woman he’d loved more than life itself had looked at him with cold, hard eyes and told him she never wanted to see him again.

“Thank you, Agent Carhart.”

Her voice might as well have been that of a siren’s call for all the power he had to resist it. Unable to help himself, Clayne lifted his head to look at her. She was dressed in a dark pantsuit with a blue blouse underneath, her silky brunette hair up in that twist thing she always did when she was working.

It had been two years since Danica had dumped his ass, and she looked even more beautiful than she had the last time he’d seen her. That only made it worse. It would have been easier if she’d let herself go to hell. It hurt to gaze at her. Getting away from him had clearly done wonders for her.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to follow all the blogs on Paige’s teaser tour so you can read all of the excerpts!

20-Oct

Manga Maniac Café

http://www.mangamaniaccafe.com/

Teaser Excerpt 1

21-Oct

Bitten by Love

http://www.bittenbylovereviews.com/

Teaser Excerpt 2

22-Oct

Long and Short Reviews

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/

Teaser Excerpt 3

23-Oct

Joyfully Reviewed

http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/

Teaser Excerpt 4

24-Oct

Love Romance Passion

http://www.loveromancepassion.com/

Teaser Excerpt 5

Weekend

27-Oct

Reading Between the Wines

http://readingbetweenthewinesblog.com/

Teaser Excerpt 6

28-Oct

Anna’s Book Blog

http://annavivian.blogspot.com/

Teaser Excerpt 7

29-Oct

Literary Escapism

http://www.literaryescapism.com/

Teaser Excerpt 3

30-Oct

The Reading Café

http://www.thereadingcafe.com/

Teaser Excerpt 9

31-Oct

Romancing the Dark Side

http://romancingthedarkside.com/

Teaser Excerpt 10

The post Teaser and Giveaway: Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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33. The Crowdfunding Alternative, Part 2: Mid-Campaign

Scott Plumbe checking in again about his Kickstarter campaign to publish his illustrated novel, THE UNCLUKY FOX via digital installments. Really interesting stuff, I’m really enjoying seeing a glimpse from the other side of the crowd-funding curtain! Please check out his campaign if you’re interested. It promises to be a very cool project if the funding is successful.

***

My Kickstarter campaign has been equal doses exhausting and rewarding. So far The Unlucky Fox has nearly 100 backers. I am grateful for this solid base, but the campaign still has a long way to go to make the $30,000 goal. In fact, financially I’m only just over 10% of the way there. I’m now considering ways to tune up my campaign mid-stride.

Going on the assumption that my project isn’t completely undesirable, the first place to look is the rewards. Kickstarter allows you to edit and add new rewards once the campaign is underway. Some people have mentioned that they want the physical book as a reward. I understand that. I’m a bibliophile too. I’d love to be able to offer it, and it is tempting, but I’m not sure realistically how many people would be willing to pay up front and wait almost two years for a hard copy. That was one of the considerations for choosing the incremental release model. So I’ve decided to stick with my original offering, especially as so many people have already pledged on the current reward tier. It seems disrespectful to change that now.

Recently there have been articles surfacing from news sites like Gawker Media about how successful KS campaigns often have a hired ‘guru’ who is responsible for preparing and presenting the campaigns. I did find a few such individuals online during the pre-launch stage but confess I was skeptical. Essentially, they work as a PR company to position your project, devise rewards that will pique a backer’s interest, and spread the word through social media, blogs and various media outlets. Some such consultants even guarantee success! When I reviewed my rewards and calculated the time it would take me to fulfill what I’d promised, I didn’t see any room left for a consultant’s commission.

Some people have suggested I set my financial goal too high. Conversely, I have had people tell me I’m not ambitious enough with my project! They advise that I should aim for more and deliver my story in a variety of formats and through numerous channels. While I appreciate that kind of strategy and input, I don’t feel it squares with who I am. I want to guarantee that I fulfill my promises. I have a realistic understanding of what is achievable and can be delivered with quality and professionalism. I’m a firm believer in the practice of ‘bootstrapping’ for small businesses — and that is exactly how I think of The Unlucky Fox, as an emerging small business. Furthermore, doing it in steps allows it to happen on my terms. That may at first seem narcissistic, but what’s the point of following your passion if you’re not going to be true to yourself as a creator? I could have easily set a much lower goal in hopes it would be easier to reach. I have seen many projects on KS that have done so. But they’re not honoring their backers and are selling themselves and the crowdfunding platform short. Especially if they then struggle to fulfill their rewards in a timely manner — one of the #1 criticisms of crowdfunding.

So where does this leave me? I’m an independent creator who has spent countless hours getting this project underway and is now asking for an injection of support to bring it to fruition. So far, I’ve felt genuinely blessed to have so many backers that believe in my quirky project. The enthusiasm shown by absolute strangers is utterly humbling. More than ever, I feel a deep obligation to ensure The Unlucky Fox happens for those who have entrusted me with their hard-earned money!

Now that the campaign has launched, there is a limit to what I can do, yet I do still have a few avenues. Spread more press releases and woo various bloggers. Continue to engage on art and writing forums like DeviantArt, Wattpad and others. I’ll continue to post updates to my Kickstarter page and provide answers to the questions I receive daily. Social media, you ask. Yes — I can do that too, although not being ‘social’ by nature makes it particularly agonizing! Ironic, yes. As many other creators can understand, being less social is how I’ve found the time to hone my art! Now it’s time to flip the switch in the other direction.
In a few weeks time, I plan to submit my final report on my crowdfunding process. I look forward to reaching this to a conclusion.

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34. 3 Steps to Pre-Plot for NaNoWriMo -- Part One

Begin pre-plotting your story for NaNoWriMo with the 1st exercise in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories.

1) Brainstorm how all three major plot lines in your story will evolve from the beginning into the middle and all the way to the end of the story

2) Imagine how your protagonist's traits change / transform over the course of your novel as a result of the dramatic action. Use that to create a transformation summary for the protagonist of your story

3) Jot your notes on a Plot Plannerfor a bird's eye view of your story

Strive for story ideas that keep the suspense and curiosity high with clearly defined goals and ticking clocks. Scenes linked by cause and effect. Provocative themes explored. Historical details / exotic locales and unusual lifestyles and breath-taking occupations.

Terrific! Right?

Though the dramatic action plot stays true to the structure of the Universal story, the character emotional development plot is devoid of its most important element = no character transformation in the end. None. Not one character. All the characters are exactly the same at the end of the story as they started out in the beginning.

Don't let this problem befall your story.

Begin pre-plotting for NaNoWriMo, with the ultimate character transformation in mind. Start there. 

For more 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.

Today I write! Rather, today I pre-plot for NaNo!
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising:


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35. Content Marketing - Is Your Social Media Marketing Increasing Your Website Traffic? (Tools to help you find out)

I recently read an interesting blog post at Social Media Examiner. Its focus was on how to increase social media shares. If you’re a content marketer, this should be of interest to you. It sure is to me. Today’s marketing is about discoverability and shareability. This means you need to be involved with social media marketing. All the search engines ‘watch’ how you do on the social networks.

0 Comments on Content Marketing - Is Your Social Media Marketing Increasing Your Website Traffic? (Tools to help you find out) as of 10/20/2014 8:00:00 AM
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36. Like every superhero, every book has an origin story...

Pib1-smShe wears glass slippers.
She sleeps in a tower.
She sings to birds.
She is the perfect princess.
And for a monster-fighting heroine, that is the perfect disguise.
Princess Magnolia is...

The Princess in Black

When she was four years old, my daughter Maggie (aka Magnolia) was examining her favorite article of clothing: a multicolored, butterfly-covered skort, the kind of thing that makes her feel pretty and princessy while still allowing her tumble about with ease.

She pointed to each of the butterfly colors.

“Pink is a girl color,” she said. “And purple, and yellow. But not black.”

“Girls can wear black,” I said. "I wear black all the time."

She looked at me as if to say, you're not a girl, you're a mama.

“Well, what about Batgirl?” I said, sure I'd won the argument.

Maggie said, “Mama, princesses don’t wear black.”

It was like being struck by lightning.

All day I couldn't stop thinking about a princess who did wear black. I took inspiration from The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She'd be a seemingly typical princess with a secret. She'd secretly be a superhero, working hard to keep her kingdom free of monsters. And like Superman needs Clark Kent, the Princess in Black would maintain a secret identity. To all the world, she is Princess Magnolia. But when trouble calls, she sheds her fluffy dresses and glass slippers, dons a black mask, leaps onto her valiant pony, and rides off to save the day!

I pulled my husband Dean into writing it with me, because he's awesome. And funny. And clever. And I like working with him. And there would be monsters, so he'd have insight to offer, being of their own kind. LeUyen Pham agreed to lend her bedazzling illustration sorcery to the project, Candlewick published it with aplomb, and the result is something I love dearly. Here are things that are important to me about this book.

1. The kind of book you can read to a four-year-old, because even though it's a longer chapter book (15 chapters, 80+ pages, over 2000 words), there are full-color illustrations every page that will keep their interest.

2. The kind of book a 6-7 year old might be able to read to you, and feel so proud doing it! Because the font is larger, a young reader will be capable of reading a big, thick book in one sitting and feel a surge of self-confidence afterward.

3. The kind of a book a mom like me can read to all my kids at the same time--10yo, 7yo, and 4yo--because the slightly more complicated plot interests older readers and high-concept story and ubiquitous illustrations keep the younger readers interested.

4. A book unashamedly about a girl (a princess even!) that any boy can enjoy too. She's a ninja! She fights monsters! There's an awesome goat boy! It's very important to me that from a young age, boys realize they can read and enjoy books about girls. If they start young, they're more likely to keep reading about girls and more likely to develop empathy for that other gender.

5. This is a girl who enjoys wearing the fluffy pink dresses and glass slippers and having tea parties. And this is also a girl who enjoys wearing black combat boots and galloping on horses and waging battle against huge monsters. She's not an either/or, just like my daughters. Girls are more complicated than some characters make us out to be.

6. This is not a traditional early reader. While the sentences are short and manageable and most words are short and manageable, and there's lots of repitition to aid in learning new things, there are also lots of wonderful, fun, big and crunchy words for new readers to sharpen their teeth on, like: "minced," "pranced," and "swished." Like "handkerchiefs," "snuffling," and "hog-tying." Why, there's even "hornswaggle."

7. As a parent, it's hard for me to find those transitional books that can carry a my kids from picture books and early readers to chapter books. This is longer and more complex than Fly Guy, Go, Dog, Go!, etc., but shorter and simpler than Junie B. Jones, Magic Treehouse, etc. I think the best comparison is Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson books.

8. There's a unicorn named Frimplepants. (at least, he seems to be a unicorn...but is he reallly?)

9. The Princess in Black's signature battle move is "Twinkle Twinkle Little SMASH!"

10. This is the first of a series. I've seen LeUyen's sketches for book 2, and you are going to die when you meet Princess Sneezewort. Those who have read all of them often love book 3 the most (so funny, Dean worked some magic). And book 4 is going to make fans of book 1 very, very happy. I hope for years to come, Princess Magnolia/the Princess in Black and her pals will be your pals too.

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37. New Voice: David Zeltser on Lug, Dawn Of The Ice Age

Curriculum Resources
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

David Zeltser is the first-time author of Lug, Dawn Of The Ice Age: How One Small Boy Saved Our Big, Dumb Species (Egmont, 2014). From the promotional copy:

In Lug’s Stone Age clan, a caveboy becomes a caveman by catching a jungle llama and riding it against the rival Boar Rider clan in the Big Game. 

The thing is, Lug has a forbidden, secret art cave and would rather paint than smash skulls. Because Lug is different, his clan’s Big Man is out to get him, he’s got a pair of bullies on his case—oh, and the Ice Age is coming.

When Lug is banished from the clan for failing to catch a jungle llama, he’s forced to team up with Stony, a silent Neanderthal with a very expressive unibrow, and Echo (a Boar Rider girl!). 

In a world experiencing some serious global cooling, these misfits must protect their feuding clans from the impending freeze and a particularly unpleasant pride of migrating saber-toothed tigers. 

It's no help that the elders are cavemen who can't seem to get the concept of climate change through their thick skulls.

Could you tell us the story of "the call" or "the email" when you found out that your book had sold? How did you react? How did you celebrate?

On Friday, December 7, 2012, I got an international call. It was my agent, Catherine Drayton, in Sydney, Australia. She told me that Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age and a sequel was going to be published. I started sobbing--which felt strange, embarrassing, joyful and cathartic all at once.

My daughter was two at the time, so I remember feeling especially happy that she might read the books one day. After the call--thinking I was all cried out--I called my wife. I immediately started bawling. Then I called my parents . . . you get the idea.

We celebrated by going out for dinner. I have no idea where or what we ate, but I’m sure there was dessert involved and that it tasted especially sweet that night.

One of the best memories I do have--my mother-in-law emailed me to say: "Congratulations! Don't let it go to your head."

She’s from Scotland.

As a comedic writer, how do you decide what's funny?

I have a giant stuffed iguana named Pedro next to my computer. I’ve noticed that whenever I write something funny, Pedro winks at me and whispers “Bueno.”

What advice do you have for those interested in either writing comedies or books with a substantial amount of humor in them?

I wouldn’t advise setting out to write in any particular genre or style. I think the key thing is to find a story and characters you love, and then to try various approaches and see what reads best.

Deborah Halverson
Lug started out in third person but--on the advice of the wonderful Deborah Halverson--ended up in first person. It was just more fun to read that way.

More importantly, I would make sure you love the process of creating stories more than anything else. If it’s not your true calling, do the thing you love more.

Be completely honest with yourself--are you doing this more for the love of storytelling, or to ‘become an author’ one day? Are you genuinely enjoying what you’re writing? If the answer is ‘kinda,’ chances are that’s how other people will feel too.

Finally, find writer/reader friends and show them your stories. Listen, learn, and rewrite. Put your story away for a while and look at it again fresh. Then, rinse and repeat. Since you usually only have one shot with a manuscript, only go out to agents after you’ve gone through this process a few times.

Having said all that, I think the funniest books aren’t too focused on the funny. They’re compelling stories with interesting characters who happen to be in comic situations. We’re not going to laugh much if we don’t care about the characters or the story.

Personally, my favorite kind of humor is situational. I like building scenes so that the humor comes from what’s happening to the characters, rather than from the author commenting on what’s happening.

If that’s not enough unwanted advice, I recommend The Complete Guide to the Care and Training of the Writer in Your Life.

Cynsational Notes

David Zeltser emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child, graduated from Harvard, and has worked with all kinds of wild animals, including rhinos, owls, sharks, and ad executives. He has a forthcoming picture book, Ninja Baby, with Caldecott Honor illustrator Diane Goode (Chronicle Books). David lives with his wife and daughter in Santa Cruz, California. He performs improv comedy and loves meeting readers of all ages. His second book about Lug is scheduled to publish in Fall 2015. Follow David on Twitter: @davidzeltser

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38. MEET MY CHARACTER BLOG TOUR ~

Good morning, Good Afternoon and Good evening wherever you happen to be:









A BIG thank you to Patricia Keeler who tagged me for this blog tour. I know Patricia from our association CBIG-NYC or the Children's Book Illustrator Group based in New York City. Although we have never met, I feel an artistic bond with this talented artist.  Her paintings depict the most delightful aspects of all children.  You can see more of her  work on Patricia Keeler's Blog  andher Website, I LIKE BOOKS With PICTURES


This time it is my turn to tell you about a character in a picture book I am creating.   

What is the name of your character?
Lenny is a very lonely, but hungry dragon. It has been given an enchanted cookie by a little man with a rather wicked sense of humor. That little man loves to play tricks on the forest creatures.

When and where is the story set?
The story opens in the  forest but soon moves to a castle kitchen just as Catherine, the  cook, and her helpers, Trevor and Amelia are preparing a huge birthday dinner for the Queen.

What should we know about Lenny?
 Lenny is an especially lonely and hungry dragon, but the favorite food of this particular dragon has unexpectedly become something other than what you would expect.  Even the dragon doesn’t understand why its tastes are so particular.  Fine china, crystal goblets and the Queen's favorite Golden Bowl seem too tempting to resist. (I would suggest that the forest trickster has something to do with this.)

What messes up its life?
 After gobbling up most of the china in the kitchen including the Queen’s favorite Golden Bowl, the dragon is chased throughout the castle by all the staff with swords, daggers and brooms.   It can’t get away unless it makes its way into the deep caves below the castle. Hiding and hungry the dragon is lonely, afraid, and in danger.

 What is the personal goal of your character?
 This poor dragon desperately wants to be free of the caves, return to a normal life of eating what it really wants, and find one or two true friends.

But what about that Golden Bowl?


You can see more of my work on my website and once there you can find my books, and more about how I work.

and now....

I have the pleasure of passing the Meet My Character Blog Tour to  two amazing children's book illustrators: Look for their introduction to their characters next Monday, Oct. 27.

 Christine Mix Blog  and Christine Mix Website

It was just after Christine Mix graduated from the University of South Florida in 1988, with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Mass Communications, that she painted her first children’s illustration in watercolor, titled Spike & Wordo’s Magical Wish. Hence, Spike the Dragon was born and Christine realized she had found her niche in art and her future.

Her children's illustrations can be found in Stories for Children Magazine, Back- to- School- Issue, 2012, in SCBWI’s Bulletin in 2005, 2009, 2010 and so far, one children’s book, Write Out of the Oven! by Josephine M. Waltz & Illustrated by Christine Mix, published by Teacher Ideas Press / Greenwood Publishing, 2005. As a children’s author, Christine has one non-fiction short true story, Standing Up, that was published, in Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul Character-Building Stories to Read with Kids, Ages 5-8, May 2007.
Christine is currently working on her second PB story & dummy, featuring Spike the Dragon and some ghoulish friends.





I have the pleasure of also passing this task to Amy Cullings Moreno.  This will introduce Amy Cullings Moreno's Blog...And you can find her website and portfolio here.


I have been creating children’s illustrations and art since I was a child. I have always enjoyed reading, writing and books, and creating art. The combination of these passions led me to study commercial illustration in Boston at Butera School of Art, where I specialized in children’s illustration.
I enjoy creating images that inspire and uplift, as well as sharing my faith in a Good God, and hopefully allowing that faith to shine through my art. 
My husband and I live in Northern Virginia, and we have three wonderful grown children who have been much of the inspiration for my children’s illustrations.
I am currently studying oil painting again, and finding great joy in it. I hope to add more of this style to my newer illustration work.


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39. Book Review: A Brief History of Seven Killings




When New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani described A Brief History of Seven Killings as “epic in every sense of that word,” I thought my reaction would be similar to Dr. Johnson’s response to another epic, Paradise Lost: “None could have wished it a word longer.” Coming in at just under seven hundred pages with a cast of at least seventy-six named characters from the laconic Josey Wales to the inscrutable Nina Burgess, A Brief History of Seven Killings spans three decades of Jamaican history during the post-independence era.

While A Brief History of Seven Killings could be reduced to the chronicle of Rolling Stone journalist, Alex Pierce, who stumbles on to information about the assassination of Bob Marley, which puts his own life in danger, that would be only one of the plots. And such a reductionist view would be a grave injustice to this monumental work. For Marlon James is updating many of the questions raised in Jamaican classics such as Brother Man, an exploration of the influence of Rastafari; Voices Under the Window, which captured the race, class, and colour conflicts of Jamaican culture, and The Children of Sisyphus, a Dantesque vision of a Jamaican ghetto. 

James is also asking questions that affect the life of every Jamaican at home and abroad: Why was the CIA involved in the destabilization of the Jamaican government from 1972-79? Why did the peace movement fall apart? Why would anyone try to kill the famed prophet of reggae and Rastafari? Only a writer with the prodigious talent and assiduous attention to the craft of storytelling that Mr. James possesses could have attempted such an ambitious project and created this spellbinding narrative. As someone who lived through those turbulent times and who is knowledgeable about many of the facts, rumors, and half-truths about the attempted assassination, I was impressed not only by James’s approach, but also with his treatment of the events surrounding December 3, 1976.

Perhaps, the most intriguing aspect of this novel is the shift in perspectives. Just when I thought I knew a character such as Josey Wales, the brutal leader of the Storm posse, I found myself in the middle of a tender scene between him and his son: “I smile with the boy so that he don’t feel like I threatening him too much, but he is sixteen now, and I still remember sixteen, so I know the hunger growing in him. All this talking back is moving from a little cute to a little threat. Part of it sweet me, seeing this little shit puff him chest out.” Or another killer, Weeper, who reads books such as Bertrand Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy and will not hesitate to murder and maim, yet still finds time to enjoy moments with his lover: “He thinking I going to be the one to look away first, but I not going look away and I not going to even blink.”

A Brief History of Seven Killings, which was dubbed the “Great Jamaican Novel” by Fader, has rightly earned this title. For even after six hundred and eighty eight pages, I was still concerned about the fates of Alex Pierce and the enigmatic changeling, Nina Burgess. Or whatever she calls herself these days.




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40. REPOST: A Hallowed Tradition . . . Falls Into the Gutter

UPDATE: I originally posted this three years ago.

——-

I’ve previously documented our Halloween scarecrow tradition. It’s something we enjoy, keeping it alive for at least 60 years now.

Well, this year, I don’t know what to say . . .

Here’s the view from the other side (and yes, he’s doughy) . . .

And now the backside again, the view from the street . . .

It’s either the most awesome Preller scarecrow ever, or a serious lapse in taste.

As for the old days, here’s a snap from 1953. My father built these every year . . .

This is about 20 years later, from the 70′s. It’s amazing, but most of our family photos are cropped this way. It’s hard to imagine why, or what was so difficult about keeping everybody in the frame, but there it is . . .

This is a more recent example, 35 years after that, from my own front yard, thanks to a little (and I mean, a very little) help from my kids . . .

Last year we experimented with the pillowcase head and gratuitous gore . . .

But this year, 2011, I’m afraid we’ve finally cracked. Wait, wrong word. Butt . . . you know what I mean. I guess you could say it’s a living tradition, we’re not slaves to the old ways of doing things. Or maybe, in my mother’s old expression, “We’re all going to hell in a hand basket!”

HEY, I JUST REALIZED . . . THIS IS MY 700th POST!

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41. MMGM Links (10/20/14)

Since we are so incredibly close to the release of EVERBLAZE, plan on me (shamelessly) starting these posts with a few updates.

First: the EVERBLAZE pre-order giveaway is in full swing, so if you missed the post--and you want to get your free swaggish goodies--make sure you go HERE.

I've also announced another of my EVERBLAZE tour stops (Salt Lake City--WOOOO!). You can find details about all my upcoming events HERE.

Phew--okay, that wasn't so bad, right? And now, onto the MMGM links:

- Suzanne Warr is highlighting LUG: Dawn of the IceAge. Click HERE to see why.
- Rcubed is gushing about TURTLE IN PARADISE. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Michelle Mason has a special series recommendation on THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE. Click HERE to see why
- Sue Heavenrich is convinced that THERE WILL BE BEARS. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Amara Jabber has chills for THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Dorine White is GIVING AWAY books 1-4 of The Code Buster's Club. Click HERE for details.
- Greg Pattridge thinks SMASHER is simply smashing. Click HERE to read his review.  
- Susan Uhlig has two middle grade recommendations for you, A SNICKER OF MAGIC, and THREE TIMES LUCKY. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Andrea Mack is dishing about WHO WHAT WEAR: The Allegra Biscotti Collection #2.  Click HERE to see her feature.  
- Susan Olson is cheering TUT, TUT. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.   
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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42. turning point

Question: I've written many published non-fiction narratives with a character turning point but I'm having trouble figuring out the t.pt. for my protagonist.

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43. Her House and Other Poems – Book Recommendation

Title: Her House and Other Poems Written by: Donna Marie Merritt Cover art by: Wendell Minor Published by: Stairwell Books, 2013 Themes/Topics: family, nature, gratitude, fragility Suitable for ages: 15+ Adult poetry, 64 pages Snippet: NOW                 … Continue reading

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44. From Bad To Good

Question: Just like I said in my previous question, I'm writing a book that takes place in an apocalyptic era. I have a character question though. How

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45. Mockingbird Song



I'm awakened by

a gull, a sparrow, a crow

and a mockingbird


Image and Text© Copyright 2014 by Sannel Larson. All rights reserved

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46. Where's Lenny Lee????




 LENNY LEE IS 15!





Happy 15th Birthday, Lenny Lee! I really miss you and all your helpful and sunshiny posts! Here's a sunny picture just for you. It's from Lake Geneva, Switzerland. I always think of you when I see sunshine. And I always smile when I think of you. I hope you will get back to blogging soon.


Wishing you plenty of sunshine and smiles and lots of cards and presents on your 15th birthday.








Readers, if you're not familiar with Lenny's blog, Lenny's World, zip on over there and check it out. He writes about holidays and sunshine and animals and all kinds of good things.

He has lots of helpful stuff on there for writers, too, like how to write a good ending for your novel, and how to get ideas, and what to do about rejections. He writes with great insight and enthusiasm.

Lenny Lee's avatar!


For other Lenny Lee posts today, see Sharon K. Mayhew's blog.



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47. Why I LOVE Cliches and Tropes


30 Days to a Stronger Novel Online Video Course

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I confess: I love a good cliche or trope.

A cliche is a phrase or expression that has been used so often that it is no longer original or interesting.
A trope is a common or overused theme or device, as in the usual horror movie tropes.

I’m in the middle of plotting a massive 3-book story and I need all the help I can get. Here’s the problem: what happens next?

No, let me rephrase: what could possibly happen next?

Sometimes, I just need to know possibilities, or what a story typically does at a particular stage. What are the possibilities? Is this a place for a murder, a confession, a love scene, or a time to gather information?

Literary folk say that there are only a limited number of stories in the world. Depending on who you talk with, there might be just two stories: a character leaves town, or a stranger comes to town. Others say there are up to 32 plots. I’ve written about 29 plot templates before. And it helps immensely to narrow down the choices.

But that’s on the level of an outline. Now that I’m deep into deciding on scenes, my imagination comes up short.

Enter tropes. A trope is a common theme, something that’s been done before. That doesn’t scare me away, because it’s the same as the variety of themes. Every story is a cliche, trope or template in many ways. It’s all in how you TELL that story. The beauty is in the particulars.

Romantic Subplot

Kiss Romantic Trope


My story needs a romantic subplot. I know the basics.
Act 1: Boy Meets Girl/Girl Meets Boy
Act 2: Boy and Girl Fight or are otherwise kept apart.
Act 3: Boy and Girl get together.

But what else? What is possible at each stage?

I turned to TVTROPES.org for help. Their site is a wiki that list all sorts of tropes. The Romantic Arc Tropes list was helpful because it listed typical things that happen at every stage of a romantic relationship.

For example, a story might start with this trope/subtropes:
Love Before First Sight

  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Childhood Marriage Promise
  • Red String of Fate
  • Girl of My Dreams
  • New Old Flame

Each of the tropes listed has its own wiki page, which explains the trope in detail. Particularly valuable are the examples drawn from traditional literature, manga, comic books, fanfics, films, live-action TV, professional wrestling, table top games, theater, video games, webcomics, western animation, real life and more. It’s a treasure trove of examples of the POSSIBILITIES of a particular stage of a relationship.

In fact, I used this romance arc by choosing one trope from each stage of a relationship and slotting that into my story.

Place Holders

Are you afraid that my story will be trite and boring? I’m not. I know that this is a trope and therefore, I must transform it in the storytelling phase of the project. Right now, though, this trope acts as a place holder, something that indicates approximately what will happen in this spot of the story, but not exactly. The nuances that make it fresh await the actual writing.

Using tropes to hold a place with something reasonable makes the plotting easier. I’m loving this help in plotting.

Here are some Arcs to get you started. Be warned: this is a massive wiki and it’s easy to get lost in it. Know what you are looking for and get it/get out.

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48. My tweets

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49. Inspiring Day of Lectures and Connections: Both Old and New - 19th Annual Rockland Literacy Extravaganza and Collingswood Book Festival


For the past year or so it has been my quest to get out of my comfort zone, both personally and professionally. I took baby steps at first, one to never where dresses (except for special events and when I worked in corporate America, which feels like a hundred years ago) I started wearing sundresses on vacations and then it expanded to wearing sundresses for no special reason. For those that know me, I have always been a jeans and capri girl, so yep I've stepped a wee bit out of my comfort zone. Then on vacation in the Dominican Republic I went zip lining. It was exhilarating to say the least. 

With my blood pumping and the desire to keep stepping out of my comfort zone. I focused professionally and jumped into researching book fairs and teacher conferences and applied for participating to several area events. Recently I participated in the Collingswood Book Festival and the 19th Annual Rockland Literacy Extravaganza. Both events targeted a different audience and to compare the two, would be liking comparing apples to oranges. The Collingswood Book Festival focused on families in attendance and the 19th Annual Rockland Literacy Extravaganza focused on teachers. 

Connections were made at both… At the Collingswood Book Festival I had the opportunity to meet several authors I have never met before and we have made a delightful connection which we continue to expand on. Great big waves to (in no particular order)… Christina Paul, Brad Hecht, Lynmarie McCullough, Louis Romano, Mark C. Collins, Scott Alboum, Karen Scheuer and Dianne Salerni.  

At the 19th Annual Literacy Extravaganza a special thank you goes out to Dr. Michael Shaw and Deborah Studnitzer for their coordination of this amazing literacy event focused on the common core standards and beyond… I met over 60 teachers and had the opportunity to engage with them at my book signing table. I'm honored to meet each and every one of you! A special shout out to Jennifer Rankin of Barefoot Books, I look forward to staying in touch for the grand opening of your new store in Pearl River, NY and Marcy Schickler of PS 307, whom I met in 2010 at the very same literacy conference. Lovely to see you again, Marcy!

Wishing you an inspirational day and to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. 

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

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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50. YA Author Krysten Hager's Top 10 Facts About TRUE COLORS...

1. The idea for the story came about originally when I was in the sixth grade. I used to read those YA and middle grade novels about those groups of girls who had the perfect close-knit relationships—the whole best friend forever thing personified. I was in grade school and I saw the cover of the Bangles “Everything” cd and they looked like that type of clique and I wondered what they were like at thirteen/fourteen.  As an adult I wrote the story to show how Landry thinks everyone else has these tight groups of friends who never get mad at one another and everything is always perfect and she wants that and hopes to find it with Devon, Peyton and India. However, reality sets it…reality is such a bummer sometimes, isn’t it?

2. The older actor Devon has a crush on that the other girls make fun of her for is based on my crush on Liam Neeson.

3. People ask if I had best friend necklaces/bracelets/earrings/etc. when I was growing up. Yup, with several friends. Some I’m still close with, too. The day I told my writing group about my book contract I noticed I was wearing a silver bracelet with a heart charm and it never occurred to me before how much this was like the bff bracelet in the story—or the bracelet Landry’s dad gives her. I took that as a sign and that’s why you see the broken bff heart on the cover dangling off the, “s,” in “Colors.” BTW, one of my favorite gifts is still a thoughtful bracelet from a friend.

4. Landry’s last name, “Albright,” comes from Madeleine Albright. As a kid I was very aware there weren’t a lot of female role models in my social studies books. I distinctly remember being amazed as a kid seeing Benazir Bhutto in my Weekly Reader at school. So I used the name to pay tribute to a woman who broke through the glass ceiling—the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

5. The designer, Franciszka T, all the girls are obsessed with got the name because my great-grandmother, two of my great-great-grandmothers, and my great-great-aunt, were all named Franciszka. I picked “T,” because the great-great-aunt used to design and make clothes (she made her sister’s wedding dress and her own bridesmaid’s dress). Her last name started with a, “T.” I also look a little bit like her—we have the same big alien eyes.

6. When I first saw the possible cover models, I thought the one who ended up on the cover looked like a couple cousins of mine. I knew she was the perfect choice. Months later, the cover model found out about being on the book and contacted me. Turns out she lives in Poland and is from a town next to the city my great-grandpa was from! Crazy coincidence.

7. I’m not from the city the story is set in (Grand Rapids, MI), but my parents were, so I decided to have Landry and her mom live there. I’m actually from the other side of the state—an hour north of Detroit.

8. Landry’s name was originally, Sydney, but I changed it because the name was getting overused. My mom suggested the name Landry because she had a little girl in her class years ago with that name. I loved it and what’s funny is she had a student named, “Krysten,” too, and she told me that Landry and Krysten were best friends.

9. I named the ice cream parlor everyone hangs out at in the story after my great-grandfather. I picture the ice cream place being  in Grand Rapids, MI (where the story is set)right near where he lived when he first moved to this country. In case you’re from the area and curious, I picture it being on Diamond Avenue.

10. Like Landry and Ashanti, I was a big soap opera fan. My favorite was, One Life to Live. I pictured two of the characters, Colin and Lanie, as being Landry’s parents. If you look at the cover model, she really resembles them both.

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like.
She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Krysten's Links:

Website:
http://www.krystenlindsay.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHager?fref=nf

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay





Author Giveaway Krysten Hager

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