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Results 26 - 50 of 221,439
26. Hello, My Pretty

Last year when Wish You Weren’t came out, I was happy with the cover and hopeful that it represented the story well. I still love the cover, but I also started to realize that the static image implied a “quiet” type of story. If you’ve read Wish You Weren’t, you know that’s not the case. […]

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27. A new Scholastic Picture Book

Little Hoihoi by Stephanie Thatcher, Scholastic NZ

Stephanie’s first picture book The Great Galloping Galoot was published by Scholastic NZ in 2012. It’s a jolly, bouncing story – fans will find this second book is quite different in tone but just as satisfying. On her first foray out of the nest, a little penguin finds that not all birds are the same. Kotuku struts on beautiful long legs, Toroa flies on big wings, Tui can sing. Little Hoihoi can’t do any of these things. Of course, as soon as she falls into the water she finds there is something she can do much better than the other birds… The pencil illustrations are a delight with their gentle watercolours, uncluttered scenes and good use of white space. Little Hoihoi’s expressive face takes centre-stage and delicately conveys her emotions. The book includes a small amount of information about yellow-eyed penguins, but its true value will be as a group read-aloud to children of around 3 to 7.

ISBN 978 1 77543 249 4 RRP $19 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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28. Using Images in Your Content Marketing is a Sure Way to Boost Engagement

Images are similar to colors in that they can evoke emotions and even actions. In an interesting article on eight types of images, at CopyBlogger, the author explains how each type has its own psychological influences.(1) Before the types listed in the article are divulged, it’s important to know why images are so important. According to Web Marketing Group, “Ninety percent of information that

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29. Building Book Sales using the Reverse Engineering Method…

Remember that kid who decided to take apart a toy just to see how it worked? And then, surprise…that same kid couldn’t figure out how to put it back together again. We authors can sure learn something from that one kid. We can learn how to use reverse engineering to figure out why readers buy our books. Think about it. Kids take something (computer, radio controlled car, Barbie dolls) apart to see how it works, get to the guts of what makes that thing go, run, fly, burp. So why shouldn’t authors be able to take apart the sale that lured readers to buy the book in the first place?

The first question you should ask yourself is: Why did you purchase insert name of book? Was it because it was your friend’s book? Perhaps a suggestion? Or a book you learned about through a review? Was it an emotional purchase? A New York Times Bestseller? Or was the book part of Oprah’s book club? I want you to chase down the sale and figure out what made you buy that certain book. Got it? Good.

Now once you do this kind of reverse engineering you can build a profile for the sale. You get to see how a sale is built. You get to know how the book market works. That’s when you can develop a marketing strategy for your own books. Get it? Great.

A lot of times you’ll find the answer is word of mouth via the social media, or a friend suggested the book (or wrote it), or they passed by a bookstore window and the cover caught their eye. Even Oprah has the golden touch. Dig deep, and find the reason for that sale.

While doing my own reverse engineering, I suddenly saw this quote from Bill Gates in my Twitter feed: “You’re most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” That’s when it hit me. Book reviews. Not the one-star reviews you get from trolls, but those reviews that seem sincere, yet only give you a 3 star. Those are gold. Use these kinds of reviews to fine tune your writing. Listen, really listen to what the reader/reviewer is conveying to you, and apply their advice in your next book if it rings true with you. I know you can’t please everyone, but you can certainly make changes in your writing that will help boost your book sales and reach new readers.

Thanks a heap for reading my blog. Authors, if you have time, please leave a comment and share what you do to track down your book sales. If you’re a reader, please share what leads you to buy a certain book? I’d appreciate your input. Cheers!

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30. Interview and Giveaway: Kim Amos, Author of A Kiss to Build a Dream On

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Kim!  What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

{Kim Amos] Toast the ghost! He’s a stuffed ghost I found at Target one year on the Halloween clearance rack. He looked so lonely, so I took him home, and now I sleep with him even though I’m probably well past the age when I should be sleeping with stuffed anything but, hey, he’s super snuggly! When I travel, he always comes with me.

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

{Kim Amos] Post-Its (I’m forever making lists, hoo boy do I love a good list), Tana French’s novel THE SECRET PLACE (it’s amazing, everyone should read it, especially mystery lovers), and an antique pen that’s gilded and lovely, which my wonderful sister-in-law bought me.

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

{Kim Amos] CARBS OMG ALL THE CARBS NOW OM NOM NOM. Just kidding. Sort of. Not really. I’m a carb-o-holic, which I’m trying to change and be better about. It’s tough! So these days, I’ll probably snack on some air-popped popcorn (instead of, say, all the Doritos in a two-mile radius), or even an apple and peanut butter. Around this time of year, though, the Cadbury mini-eggs are definitely calling to me!

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

{Kim Amos] Amelia Earhart, I think. She was gutsy and brave in so many admirable ways during a time when not much was expected of women. I would love to hear her internal thoughts and learn how she shut out the haters. Her spirit of adventure awes me.

[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?

{Kim Amos] I would have the power to help every animal that needed a home, love, and care. I would be a voice for animals that had no voice. I’d help them in any way I could, and hopefully ensure they all had wonderful lives. *tries to hug all the animals*

About A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON

Twelve years ago, beautiful, blond, wealthy Willa Masterson left White Pine, tires squealing, for New York City, without looking back.  Since then, she’s enjoyed everything New York has to offer a girl with unlimited resources. But the recent discovery that her boyfriend has squandered her inheritance in a Ponzi scheme sends Willa back to White Pine, to the only asset she has left: her childhood home, which she plans to turn into a high-end B&B. 
Enter Burk Olmstead, the best contractor in town-and Willa’s high school boyfriend, whom she left high and dry when she moved away.  Hard-working, hard-bodied Burk, who has been taking care of Willa’s childhood home for years, also has plans for the beautiful old house-plans that conflict with Willa’s B&B.  When these two argue, sparks fly and reignite the fire that’s always been between them…but it may take the whole town of White Pine to get these two lovers back together for good. 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1xfmEZm
B&N: http://bit.ly/1ErH3HJ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1AxKQ4M
BAM!: http://bit.ly/1F4vQC8
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1I04MCu

About Kim Amos

A Midwesterner whose roots run deep, Kim Amos is a writer living in Michigan with her husband and three furry animals. 

Website: http://www.kimamoswrites.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimAmosWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimamoswrites

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimamoswrites/

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31. bologna book fair excitement!

Right now in children's book world, it's all happening in Bologna! Publishers and rights teams from all around the world have gathered in the vast Italian conference centre/warehouse for the Bologna Children's Book Fair to buy and sell the rights to publish each other's books in different languages. Britain is quite a small country, so if British writers and illustrators can have their work sold abroad, it's much easier to earn a living at their jobs.

So everyone who makes books is wondering... what will happen?? How are our books doing? Will the rights people talk up our books as extra-special, and will potential publishers notice our books when they walk past our publisher's stall? So nerve-wracking for everyone, but exciting, too!

So I was thrilled to see this banner in the OUP Children's stall, tweeted by our publisher, Liz Cross. Yay, PUGS!



And rights agent Karoline Bakken sent me a peek of the catalogue that visiting publishers will be looking at. Here's the Pugs page:



24 languages... that is AMAZING. Sometimes in the past, my books have sold in three or four languages, but this is incredible. Working with Philip Reeve and the OUP team was definitely a good idea. Liz just tweeted a picture of the rights team, here they are! A huge part of the success is down to their enthusiasm, and these people have done a great job so far. And huge thanks to our translators! A Belgian friend was recently reading the French edition of Oliver et les Isles Vagabondes, and she said that translator Raphaële Eschenbrenner's text was pure magic.



I actually have TWO books at Bologna this year! I'm still working like mad on Pugs of the Frozen North, but I've seen printed copies of Dinosaur Police, which comes out with Scholastic UK in May. That baby is ready to walk! Big thanks to my Scholastic editor Pauliina Malinen and designer Rebecca Essilifie.



I hope Dinosaur Police sells lots of foreign editions, too, fingers crossed. I mostly just make picture that please me, but there are a few things I did to make it so foreign publishers wouldn't be put off. Take this spread, for example:



If we zoom in on the police car, you'll notice it's not absolutely clear who is driving. Now, it shouldn't really matter, since this is Dinoville, not Hong Kong or Norway or Egypt, but if publishers in a certain country are fussy about kids learning the 'correct' side a driver should sit on, this won't actually be incorrect. (I actually find that rather amusing, this slightly mysterious car.)




Check out the writing on this cinema poster. If I'd made the writing all black, it could have been lifted and replaced with another language. (It's too expensive for foreign publishers to change all the colour layers, so the black text is on a separate layer they can lift off in one swoop.) But I didn't want the writing to be all black, and it's so tiny that I didn't think people could read it anyway, so I was able to make it red, and make it non-English. (Who says dinosaurs write in English, anyway?)



Now, you might say, 'Hey, the lettering of that PIZZA sign on the left is in white, not black. But ah ha, there is a tricky way around this! Notice how it's all surrounded by black. That whole black bit can come off, leaving a blank space for the foreign publisher to fill in different lettering. And the pizza poster on the right is obviously in dino-language; publishers can leave it as it is.



I'm not going to Bologna this year - I'm too busy finishing Pugs of the Frozen North! - but OUP did bring Philip and me out two years ago, to promote Oliver and the Seawigs. You can read all about that trip and find out more about the Bologna Book Fair in this earlier blog post. Bologna is notorious for not having a unified Twitter hash tag, but you can spot English-language news on #BolognaBookFair and #bcbf15.



And Philip has an exciting new book going there, too! I've actually read it - or even better, had it read to me, when I had a bad case of the 'flu for two weeks! Philip gave me daily installments over Skype, editing his text as we went. And this story is AMAZING. Here's the new cover, designed by Holly Fulbrook, Jo Cameron and the OUP design team!



Find out a bit more about the book here on Philip's blog. Today you can take part in the Railhead Twitter promo:



Ha ha, here's my 'RAILHEAD Ambassador Hat', some assembly required.



Of course, a big shout-out to our fab agents. Jodie Hodges reps me at United Agents, and Jane Willis is covering for her while she's on maternity leave; Philippa Milnes-Smith reps Philip. (Fortunately they're all good friends.)


Check out more at #PicturesMeanBusiness

And Philip's written a very interesting article about judging the YA Book Prize. First prize went to Louise O'Neill with Only Ever Yours, but Philip reviews four of his favourites from the shortlist. Do pop over to his blog, it makes for a good read.

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32. at home with stuart

I love it when Stuart irons his work shirts, it makes the flat smell all cosy.



Part of me thought this weekend that I needed to spend every moment working toward my book deadline. But I am turning into a creaky old lady, and I've been overdosing on biscuits in the studio, so exercise is very much in order. Stuart took me on a good hard cycle ride along the Thames and we stopped for coffee at one of our favourite cafes, Teapod. (It's also where my Jampires co-author David O'Connell and I used to meet up, when he lived around the corner.)



We also popped out today for a drink with artists John Aggs and Nana Li. (Look out for John's graphic novel adaptation of Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses.) Star Cat creator James Turner brought along his triplet brothers, ALL IN MATCHING JUMPERS.

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33. Absolutely Almost



Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff (for ages 8 to 12, Philomel, June 2014)

Source: my local library

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.

Why I recommend it: Kudos to Lisa Graff for being brave enough to create a character who is ordinary. This is a quiet, thought-provoking novel (if you're looking for fast-paced action, you'll need to look elsewhere). But if you like the idea of reading about an "almost" kid, who's not the best at anything (in other words, maybe you or someone you know), this book will warm your heart. Because even though Albie isn't good at anything like math or reading or art, he's kind and compassionate. And that's good enough, right?

I've lived in New York City and the city setting is perfect for this book. I also loved Albie's math club teacher, Mr. Clifton, who starts each class with a really bad math joke. 

Bonus: Short chapters and smooth writing make this a winner for reluctant readers.

My favorite quote: "Then won't you be glad you found something you love?"

(This comes after Calista tells Albie to find something he wants to keep doing, and maybe if he practices enough, one day he'll discover he doesn't stink at it. Albie responds that he might still stink at it.)


Lisa Graff's website

Follow Lisa on Twitter

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34. First Bite

A child from the 'burbs on a Big Apple trip
Found it all more than slightly exciting -
The buses, the taxis, the swings and the slide
All seemed magically more than inviting.

A glorious day on his grandparents' turf
For a long-overdue city taste
Gave this nana a glow and a grin ear to ear
That I hope will be echoed posthaste.

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35. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress – 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

I am loving the variety of books I am reading to complete this challenge, and today’s story comes under #5 bullying and #3 in as far as this little boy is questioning and non-conforming! Title: Morris Micklethwaite and the Tangerine Dress … Continue reading

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36. Newsletter-NEW!

Debbie Dadey is the author, with co-author Marcia Thornton Jones, of such best-selling reluctant readers children's series as The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, The Swamp Monster in Third Grade, Slime Wars, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books, the Keyholders series and the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.

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37. Talking with Cynthia DeFelice: About Writing, Inspiration, the Common Core, Boys, Guns, Books and More

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I have long followed and respected the work of author Cynthia DeFelice, who over the past 25 years has put together an expansive and impressive body of work. No bells, no whistles, no fancy pyrotechnics. Just one well-crafted book after another. There’s not an ounce of phony in Cynthia; she’s the genuine article, the real magilla. Last November, I was pleased to run into Cynthia at the Rochester Children’s Book Festival. Pressed for time, we chatted easily about this and that, then parted ways. But I wanted more. Thus, this conversation . . . I’m sure you’ll like Cynthia almost as much as her dog does.

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Greetings, Cynthia. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this conversation. I feel like we have so much to talk about. We first met sometime in the early 90s, back when Frank Hodge, a bookseller in Albany, was putting on his elaborate, gushing children’s book conferences.

UnknownIt’s nice to be in touch with you again. I’ll always remember those conferences​ with Frank Hodge.  He made me feel validated as a fledgling writer.  He left me a voice mail telling me how much he loved the book Weasel.  I played it over and over and over!   In 1992, the Hodge-Podge Society gave the first ever Hodge-Podge Award to Weasel.  It meant the world to me.  Those were great times for authors, teachers, kids, and for literature.

Frank forced me to read your book — and I loved it. So I’ll always be grateful to Frank for that; it’s important to have those people in your world, the sharers, the ones who press books into your hands and say, “You must read this!”

Well, good for Frank! He is definitely one of those people you’re talking about. His enthusiasm is infectious.

We’ve seen many changes over the past 25 years. For example, a year or two ago I  participated in a New York State reading conference in Albany for educators. The building was abuzz with programs about “Common Core” strategies & applications & assessments & implementation techniques and ZZZZZzzzzz. (Sorry, dozed off for a minute!) Anyway, educators were under tremendous pressure to roll this thing out — even when many sensed disaster. Meanwhile, almost out of habit, organizers invited authors to attend, but they placed us in a darkened corridor in the back. Not next to the Dumpster, but close. At one point I was with Susan Beth Pfeffer, who writes these incredible books, and nobody was paying attention to her. This great writer was sitting there virtually ignored.

9780374400200To your point about finding fabulous authors being ignored at conferences, I hear you. It can be a very humbling experience. I find that teachers aren’t nearly as knowledgeable about books and authors as they were 10-25 years ago, and not as interested. They aren’t encouraged in that direction, and they don’t feel they have the time for what is considered to be non-essential to the goal of making sure their kids pass the tests. Thankfully, there are exceptions! You and I both still hear from kids and teachers for whom books are vital, important, and exhilarating.

But, yes, I agree with you completely that literature is being shoved to the side. Teachers tell me they have to sneak in reading aloud when no one is watching or listening.

When I was invited to speak at a dinner, along with Adam Gidwitz and the great Joe Bruchac, I felt compelled to put in a good word for  . . . story. You know, remind everybody that books matter. In today’s misguided rush for “informational units of text,” I worry that test-driven education is pushing literature to the side. The powers that be can’t easily measure the value of a book — it’s impossible to reduce to bubble tests — so their solution is to ignore fiction completely. Sorry for the rant, but I’m so frustrated with the direction of education today.

Well, it’s hard not to rant. It’s disconcerting to think how we’ve swung so far from those heady days of “Whole Language” to today’s “Common Core” curriculum — about as far apart as two approaches can be. I think the best approach lies somewhere in the vast middle ground between the two, and teachers need to be trusted to use methods as varied as the kids they work with every day.

On a recent school visit in Connecticut, I met a second-year librarian — excuse me, media specialist — who was instructed by her supervisor to never read aloud to the students. It wasn’t perceived as a worthwhile use of her time.

Well, that is sad and just plain ridiculous. I was a school librarian for 8 ½ years. I felt the most important part of my job was reading aloud to kids

I didn’t realize you were a librarian. 
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9780374398996Yes, I began as a school librarian. But, really, my life as a writer began when I was a child listening to my mother read aloud.  And every crazy job I had before I became a librarian (and there were a lot) helped to form and inform me as a writer.  This is true of us all.  I had an actual epiphany one day while I was a librarian. I looked up from a book I was reading aloud and saw the faces of a class of kids who were riveted to every word… I saw their wide eyes, their mouths hanging open, their bodies taut and poised with anticipation – I was seeing full body participation in the story that was unfolding.  I thought: I want to be the person who makes kids look and feel like THAT.
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And that’s exactly who you became. Which is incredible. This can be a tough and discouraging business; I truly hope you realize how much you’ve accomplished.

Thanks, and back at you on that. I think we have to constantly remind ourselves that what we do is important. I think we’ve all had the experience of being scorned because we write for children. The common perception is that we write about fuzzy bunnies who learn to share and to be happy with who they are.

I loved your recent blog post about the importance of books that disturb us. I’m still amazed when I hear from a teacher or parent –- and occasionally even a young reader –- saying they didn’t like a book or a scene from a book because of something upsetting that happened in it. Conflict is the essence of fiction! No conflict, no story (or, worse, a boring, useless one). I love my characters, and I hate to make them go through some of the experiences they have, but it’s got to be done! Did I want Stewpot to die in Nowhere to Call Home? Did I want Weasel to have cut out Ezra’s tongue and killed his wife and unborn baby? Did I want Erik to have to give up the dog Quill at the end of Wild Life? These things hurt, and yet we see our characters emerge from the dark forests we give them to walk through, coming out stronger and wiser. We all need to hear about such experiences, over and over again, in order to have hope in the face of our own trials.

I admire all aspects of your writing, but in particular your sense of pace; your stories click along briskly. They don’t feel rushed, there’s real depth, but there’s always a strong forward push to the narrative. How important is that to you?

I love beautiful writing, I love imagery and metaphor, and evocative language. But all that must be in service to story, or I am impatient with it.  I don’t like show-offy writing.

The ego getting in the way.

Yes. Even the best writers need an editor to keep that ego in check! I seek clarity — what good is writing that obscures and obfuscates? The purpose is to communicate, to say what you mean. That goes for all kinds of writing, not just writing for kids. Kids want to get to the point. So do I.

Can you name any books or authors that were important to your development as a writer? Or is that an impossible question to answer?

 Impossible. Because there are too many, and if I made a list I would inevitably leave out a person or book I adore. Safer to say that every book I’ve read -– the good, the bad, and the ugly –- all are in there somewhere, having an effect on my own writing.

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You are what you eat. Also, your love of nature — the great outdoors! — infuses everything you write.

Nature and the great outdoors, yes.  My love of these things will always be a big part of my writing.  I find that after a lifetime of experience and reading and exploring, I know a lot about the natural world, and it’s fun to include that knowledge in my writing. Sometimes I worry that kids are being cut off from the real world.  But I do know lots of kids who love animals and trees and flowers and bugs, love to hunt and fish, to mess around in ponds and streams, build forts,  paddle canoes, collect fossils — you name it. They give me hope for the future.
Where do you live?

On and sometimes in (during the floods of 1972 and 1993) Seneca Lake in beautiful upstate New York.

Is that where you’re from?

Nope. I grew up in the suburbs of northeast Philly. I came up here to go to college and never left.
Your books often feature boy characters. Why do you think that’s so?
9780374324278You’re right: more than half of my main characters are boys.  I’m not sure why.  And I don’t know why I feel so perfectly comfortable writing in the voice of a 10-11-12 year old boy.  Maybe because my brothers and I were close and we did a lot together?  Maybe because my husband still has a lot of boyish enthusiasm?  At any rate, I am crazy about pre-adolescent boys, their goofiness and earnestness and heedlessness.  My new book (coming out in May) is called Fort.  It features two boys, Wyatt and Augie (age 11) who build a fort together during summer vacation.  I had so much fun writing it.  (I have to admit, I love when I crack myself up, and these guys just make me laugh.)
While writing, are you conscious about the gender gap in reading? This truism that “boys don’t read.”

I am. Sometimes I am purposely writing for that reluctant reader, who is so often a boy. I love nothing so much as hearing that one of my books was THE ONE that turned a kid around, that made him a reader.

I just read Signal, so that book is on my mind today. I had to smile  when Owen gets into the woods and his phone doesn’t work. No wi-fi. It’s funny to me because in my “Scary Tales” series I always have to do the same thing. If we want to instill an element of danger, there has to be a sense of isolation that doesn’t seem possible in today’s hyper-connected world. “What? Zombie hordes coming over the rise? I’ll call Mom to pick us up in her SUV!” So we always need to get the  parents out of the way and somehow disable the wi-fi. You didn’t have that problem back when you wrote Weasel.

9780312617769Thanks for reading Signal.  And, yeah, it’s really annoying that in order to be plausible in this day and age, you have to have a reason why your character isn’t on the phone with Mommy every time something goes wrong.  (Another good reason to write historical fiction!)  In Fort, Augie lives with his grandmother and doesn’t have money for a cell phone, and Wyatt’s with his father for the summer. His parents are divorced, and (unlike Mom) Dad doesn’t believe in kids being constantly connected to an electronic nanny.  So — halleluiah!  Wyatt and Augie are free to do all the fun, dumb, and glorious things they feel like doing!
My friends and I built a fort in the woods when we were in high school. Good times, great memories, just hanging out unfettered and free. I included a fort in my book, Along Came Spider. For Trey and Spider, the book’s main characters, the fort represented a refuge. It was also a haven for their friendship away from the social pressures and cliques of school. A place in nature where they could be themselves. So, yes, I love that you wrote a book titled Fort. I’ll add it to my list! (You are becoming an expensive friend.)
Well, now that I’ve discovered your books, I can say the same. Money well spent, I’d say.
Where did the idea for Signal originate?
The inspiration for Signal came one morning as I was running on a trail through the woods with Josie, my dog at the time.  She proudly brought me a white napkin with red stuff smeared on it.  I thought, Whoa, is that blood?  No, whew. Ketchup.  But what if it had been blood?  And what if a kid was running with his dog and she brought him pieces of cloth with blood stains?  Eww.  That would be creepy!  And scary, and exciting, and mysterious — and I started writing Signal.

You’ve always been extremely well-reviewed. Readers love your books.  And yet in this day of series and website-supported titles, where everything seems to be high-concept, it feels like the stand-alone middle grade novel is an endangered species.

I have been lucky with reviews.  But, sadly, I think traditional review sources are becoming increasingly irrelevant, as blogs and websites and personal media platforms take over. That’s not good news for me because I am simply not interested in self-promotion.  Can’t do it.  Don’t want to do it.  I just want to write the best books I can and let them speak for themselves.  I know it’s old-school, but there it is.  You said that a stand-alone middle grade novel is becoming an endangered species amid all the series and “high concept” books out there, and I think you’re right.  But when that stand-alone book somehow finds its niche audience, when kids and teachers somehow discover it and embrace it as theirs . . . , well, it’s a beautiful damn thing, and it’s enough to keep me writing, for now.

For now?!

Well, my husband is 9 years older than I am and recently retired, and there are a lot of things we still need to do!

Like what?

We have a farm property we are improving by digging a pond, and by planting trees and foliage to benefit wildlife. We stocked it with fish, and enjoy watching it attract turtles, frogs, toads, dragonflies, birds and animals of all sorts. So we like to spend a lot of time there, camping out. We love to travel, and are headed next on a self-driving tour of Iceland. We also have four terrific grandchildren we like to spend time with. I could go on and on with the bucket list…

By the way, I agree about the blogs. I think we are seeing a lot more opinion — more reaction — but less deep critical thought. It’s fine and useful for a neighbor to tell you they hated or loved a movie, but it’s not the same as a professional film critic providing an informed, and hopefully insightful, critique. Yet somehow today it’s all conflated. 

Well, there is a similar phenomenon with self-published books. I’m not a total snob about it, and there are plenty of good books that didn’t go through the process of being accepted by and edited by a professional at an established publishing house. But I’ll repeat that everyone needs an editor. And I’m often amazed at the brazenness of people spouting off in various social media platforms, often without being fully grounded in the subject they are pontificating about. But, hey, maybe I’m just getting to be an old fart.

Yeah, I don’t Tweet either. We’re being left in the dust! My observation is that the “kidlitosphere” is comprised 90% of women. Of course, many of those bloggers are passionate, smart, generous women who genuinely want to see boys reading. But I always think of a favorite line written by one of my heroes, Charlotte Zolotow, where a boy imagines his father telling his mother, “You never were a boy. You don’t know.”

-

zolotowa-father

I don’t think it’s an ideal thing that the blogging world — which has become such an important source of information about books — is overwhelmingly female. Of course, the situation is not at all their fault. 

That’s why it’s so great that there are writers out there like you, Bruce Coville, Tedd Arnold, Jon Scieska, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos –- who not only write books boys like, but are out there in schools demonstrating that REAL MEN read and write! I don’t know what we can do about the gender gap other than to be aware of it and to write the best books we can, books that both boys and girls will devour.

Tell me about Wild Life. Once again, you are mining the world of adventure — a boy, a dog, and a gun.

I never got as much mail from kids, teachers, grandparents and other caregivers as I did after that book came out. In our hyper-politically correct world, GUNS = EVIL. You can’t talk about them in school. So where does that leave a kid who spends his or her weekend hunting, who studies nature in order to be part of it, who hunts respectfully, with care, who is enmeshed in family history and tradition, who through hunting feels part of the full complexity of life?

8901928I had to keep silencing the censors in my head telling me I couldn’t put a gun in an 11 year old kid’s hands, unless it was a matter of survival in a book set back in “the olden days.”

I was amazed and immensely gratified to learn that a lot of kids found themselves and their interests represented in Erik’s story. I didn’t write it with an agenda in mind. I simply wrote it based on the experiences I’ve had when my husband and I take our bird dog on her yearly Dream Vacation to North Dakota to hunt pheasants.

Ha! I love that your dog has a Dream Vacation.

I get so much joy from watching her do what she was born and bred to do. I cherish our days out on those wide open prairies, and have learned to see the subtle and varied beauty of the landscape. I was just hoping to write a rip-roaring good story that incorporated all that wonderful stuff. Our hunting experiences have nothing whatsoever to do with “gun violence” of the sort you hear about on TV. It’s been interesting to hear from kids who really get that.

Yeah, I enjoy meeting those kids, often out in the western end of New York State. One of my readers from the North Country sent me this photo. Isn’t she great?

001-576x1024

Oh, man, I love that! We can’t forget those kids are out there.

What’s next, Cynthia? Any new books on the horizon?

Possibly, just possibly, a sequel to Fort. But that’s all I will say, even if you use enhanced interrogation techniques.

-

Huge-rubber-duck-13--196-pWe do not waterboard here at Jamespreller dot com, and I resent the implication! Those are merely bath toys that happen to be . . . nevermind!

According to the rules of the interwebs, I see that we’ve gone way beyond the approved length of standard posts. Likely there’s no one left reading. It’s just us. So I’ll end here with a big thank you, Cynthia, for putting up with me. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. I hope I’ll see you again in Rochester at the 19th Annual Children’s Book Festival

Yes!  I look forward to seeing you there.  It’s an incredible event, and gets bigger and better every year.

 

 

 

 

 

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38. How can I show my main character's inner struggles

Hello! I am currently writing a story about a character whose best friend commits suicide. The character begins to party and drink a lot to hide from her

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39. Review for Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo's Saturn Surprise by Oneeka Williams M.D.




Book Description

 February 18, 2015  6-12
The rings of Saturn go round and round,
Disappeared one day and could not be found.
To put them back, just take a chance,
And join me in the Saturn Dance!
Meet Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo-
9-year-old girl Super Surgeon on the Go.

Born with supernatural powers from electrical energy, she jets around the Universe fixing problems with her gifted hands. Dr. Dee Dee’s, and cousin Lukas’s, visit to the Island of Positivity Planetarium is interrupted when Gordon the Gullible Globe sounds the alarm that Saturn’s rings have disappeared. Dr. Dee Dee is skeptical but mobilizes her team of assistants and instruments for a mission to Saturn. Oh boy! Is she SURPRISED when she arrives at Saturn!



About the Author

Dr. Oneeka Williams grew up in the Caribbean with her mother, a science teacher, and her father, a journalist. Her love for the sciences and for writing developed at an early age, as did her desire to become a doctor. When she first entered the operating room while attending Harvard Medical School, it was love at first sight. Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo embodies all of these elements and encourages kids to live a life without limits. This is Dr. Williams third book. Dr. Dee Dee Dynamos Mission to Pluto and Dr. Dee Dee Dynamos Meteorite Mission were the first two. She is a practicing surgeon and lives in Massachusetts with husband, Charles and son, Mark.

Review:
Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo's Saturn Surprise is a delightful story filled with great information about the planet Saturn. 
Dr. Dee Dee has supernatural powers which allows her to fly around in space and help the planets. In this story she helps Saturn fix it's rings because they have gone crazy. While reading the story children will learn about what a ring plane crossing is, as well about the Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft, Saturn's moons, and the names of Saturn's rings. There is a lot of alliteration in the story which will help readers remember the characters names. Readers will enjoy the nonfictional information included in the story. It is very informative and will help readers for reports and such. 
A few quibbles. At times the illustrations are confusing. When looking at the illustrations for ring plane crossings, the boxed pictures help the reader understand what is going. The other illustration is confusing to the reader since all the Saturn's virtually look the same. Dr. Dee Dee has supernatural powers but Kyle ad Lukas don't so technically they shouldn't leave Freeda, which is why she comes along on the ride, and yet those characters, at times, are outside in space. Kyle is also very negative and weighs down the story. Dr. Dee Dee sends positive messages to kids like don't give up, use your voice, be confident and assertive, yet here's a character who is whiny and negative. The last illustration on page 32 shows Dr. Dee Dee applauding, yet the story says that Saturn and the rings applauded. Given the fact that neither Saturn or it's rings have any hands in the illustration makes this part impossible, though they could shout with glee. These are small things but are none the less noticeable. Otherwise, the story is well developed with a great message for kids. Amazon says that this book is for 5-6 year olds but it is really meant for older children. Some of the vocabulary is for older children, younger won't get it. Though the author did add in a vocab section in the back of the book as well as a glossary of info talked about, questions and a resource guide.
Overall, this series is informative, well written with great educational story lines, and has great messages for kids who are 6-12 years of age.



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40. Monday Mishmash 3/30/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Drafting  I'm 60K into my WIP, so that means I'll be finishing the draft this week. Yay! My street team, Kelly's Coven, also helped me decide on a title for this book, which I'm very grateful for.
  2. Different Blog Schedule This Week  The YA Scavenger Hunt is this Thursday, so that means my blog schedule will be a little off. I will still be posting my Writer Wednesday, but since the YA Scavenger Hunt needs to stay up as my main post for a few days, I will not be posting a Friday Feature this week. Make sure you stop by to join in the scavenger hunt fun and enter to win a bunch of amazing prizes.
  3. Editing  I have some openings in my editing schedule, which is rare. So if you have anything you need edited, feel free to contact me (khashway@hotmail.com) and we can discuss what you need and get your scheduled.
  4. Beta Reading  I'll also be working on a beta read for a writer friend this week. :) I always enjoy beta reading, but I've have limited time for it this year.
  5. Conventions/Conferences  I'm really bummed that I have no conventions planned. I won't be at BEA this year. :( I'm SO sad about that. I'm trying to figure out if there's another convention I can get to instead. Any suggestions? I'd love to do one where I can also sign my books.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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41. On My Nightstand

nightstand 2015

Yes, one book has been here quite some time. I’ll read it soon. Really!

What’s on yours?

 

The post On My Nightstand appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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42. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 3/30/15

   
********************
I hope you had a great reading week.  
 
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This is a weekly meme run by Book Journey!
 

Post the books completed last week, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish this week. 


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Books Completed Last Week:

No New Book completed this week.

THE RELUCTANT MIDWIFE by Patricia Harman

Absolutely loved this book.

Review is in the book's title.



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Book Currently Reading: 

ONE MILE UNDER by Andrew Gross for an April 7, 2015, post.

A thriller you won't want to miss.  Has me on the edge of my seat.



Books Up Next: 

LITTLE BLACK LIES by Sharon Bolton for a May 19, 2015, post.

 

DEATH IN SALEM by Eleanor Kuhns for a June 16, 2015, post

LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL by Rebecca Rotert for a June 30, 2015, post.

 
THE GIRL WROTE IN SILK by Kelli Estes for a July 7, 2015, post.

 
TAHOE GHOST by Todd Borg


HIGH SEAS DARKNESS by Burr B. Anderson

THREE STORY HOUSE by Courtney Miller Santo


GARDEN OF LETTERS by Alyson Richman



THE BEEKEEPER'S BALL by Susan Wiggs




NATCHEZ BURNING by Greg Isles

MADAME PICASSO by Anne Girard


THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joel Dicker


THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME by Hazel Gaynor


WOMAN OF ILL FAME by Erika Mailman




THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert



PERFECT by Rachel Joyce


UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY SKY by Nancy Horan


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The books below are not necessarily in the order I have planned to read them.  

I normally read in order of publication or tour date.

And....these are not for reading in the upcoming week.  They are books into and including all of 2014.

The "list" is a means of keeping me organized.  A visual display helps a lot for organization along with my Excel lists. 

     
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43. Article…. Happiness

आज सुबह मेरी सहेली मणि भागी भागी मेरे पास आई और मेरा हाथ खीचंती हुई अपने घर ले गई और मुझे अपने बगीचे के एक गमले के पास खडा कर दिया. मैं इससे पहले कहती कि क्या हुआ अचानक मैं हैरान रह गई और मुंह से निकला अरे वाह !! इतने सारे !! असल में […]

The post Article…. Happiness appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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44. What to do with all that Art

 One of the aspects of doing art festivals that I  used to enjoy is the interaction that I had with customers in my booth. People would come in and smile and admire my paintings and try to visualize where they would put one of my works in their home. Unfortunatley, I didn't always get the sale, because one of the barriers to purchase was the customer's issue with where they would hang it.  

How to hang art Salon Style

I often suggested hanging salon style like I do in my own home, which creates a kind of artwork in itself with a collection of paintings. Another suggestion that I had was to swap the artwork out, relegating some paintings to a closet or different room for a period of time, thus creating a personal rotating art show. 

Framing ideas


A percieved lack of space is no reason to stop buying art. We all  walk around in the same body all of our  lives but we don't stop buying clothes to put on it. (I know, different animal, but you get the point :0) 

Salon Style painting display in my own home
It's the same for your walls. There are lots of ways to dress and rearrange them to keep them attractive and interesting to yourself and all who enter your home.  

I display my own work and other artists that I collect in my living room salon.



Do you own a lot of artwork? How about pottery? Do you have fun or intersting ways that you diplay yours? Please share!





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45. Risks and rewards

2015 is my year for risks.  I have risked speaking up.  I have risked grappling in a tournament with people who were 20-40 years younger than me.  And last week I took an Urban Escape and Evasion class in Los Angeles.  It was amazing/scary/fun.

The first day, we learned how to get out of duct tape, zip ties, rope, and even handcuffs.




If you're duct-taped, hold your arms close together, then bring your hands high over head and and hit your elbows hard across your own ribs.  I learned the hard way that if your arms are too far apart, this doesn't work. This trick also works for zip ties, although it can hurt your wrists (which is why the instructor made "Wonder Woman" bracelets out of duct tape first).  If that fails, try rubbing your bound hands on a sharp edge like a door..  Above, author Hannah Jayne demonstrates the correct technique for breaking duct tape, as well as how you can use paracord (a lot of preppers replace their shoelaces with paracord, or wear it as a bracelet) to saw through paracord by bicycling madly in the air.  Later, we practiced shimming or picking our handcuffs using bobby pins or broken off barrettes with pillow cases over our heads.



Here's what happens if you get handcuffs/duct tape/zip ties etc. wrong:



We also learned how to pick locks and steal cars, although we didn't practice that last one.



We learned how to figure out if you are being followed and how to weaponize anything.  We learned that most people think they are in a survival situation if they miss lunch.

The last day, we were kidnapped, hooded, stun gunned (I still have marks!), and then your captors go for a “smoke break” and you have to use everything you just learned to make your way to a certain point, collecting information and photos along the way.

We learned that if you are full of adrenaline, you dont feel as much.  At the start of the exercise, we got caught in a parking lot surrounded by 10 or 11 foot high chain link fences.  And we were being chased by a real-life security guard.  Hannah started climbing the fence, which meant I had to, too.  At the top, the chain links had been cut off, forming a pointy barrier.  I have some crazy bruises, one for each point, on one leg.

But we made it. We had been to GoodWill the night before and cached some outfits. (It is very hard to cache anything in Los Angeles and then go back and find it the next day. You always have eyes on you, and cacheing arouses curiosity).  First I was a nurse (I even looked like a nurse even though it was just a plain pink Tshirt layered over a white Tshirt, and Hannah was a goth girl.  Then Hannah was pregnant with some of her previous clothes, and I was her churchy-looking mom.  Finally, we were both tourists.



Even though we were hunted by 10 people who had our picture, and we had to stay with proscribed boundaries, we were not caught!

I'm so glad I took this risk.  I turn 56 in two weeks and I'm pretty pround of myself.

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46. Parenting Failure

I’m welcoming my first guest blogger on the topic of failure today, writer and teaching artist Donna Trump. Is it easier to let yourself fail than your children? 

Donna's children
Who could ever imagine letting these beauties fail?

Twenty-plus years ago, my children had an excellent elementary school teacher who was a proponent of parents allowing their children to fail. I dismissed her, of course: What child doesn’t have ample opportunity to fail?

A closer look at my own parenting at the time revealed I was doing exactly what this teacher preached against: I was trying, very hard, to prevent my kids’ failure. From the arguably innocuous retrieval of lunches and assignments when they were left behind; to the poorly disguised control-freak aspect of perennially volunteering in my kids’ classrooms; to the absolutely cringe-worthy hyper-maternal defense mode I went into when one was called out on perfectionism (ya think?) and the other on punching a kid in the face; to the ethically bankrupt decision (after a particularly trying mix of personalities the year before) to hand-pick their Odyssey of the Mind team, which I was coaching—I had to admit, I was guilty as charged.

I did these things to shield my kids from various types and degrees of failure: bad grades, bad learning environments, bad reputations, bad relationships with friends and peers. I did not want them to fail. No one wants their kids to fail. We want to be our children’s champions. We need to be our children’s champions, their advocates, their biggest fans. It hurts, terribly, to watch them suffer—as they will, certainly, when we stop rescuing them from themselves. But having things turn out less than perfectly teaches them something, too.

Studies show that kids who have a chance to fail (and, notably, to recover) tend to develop personality characteristics like tenacity and grit. Occasional crappy outcomes teach them they’ll survive, even when the world’s not a perfect place.

As my kids got older, mouthier, more confident it occurred to me: What if I didn’t  replace that mysteriously crushed iPod? What if I declined decorating the gym for a dance when the child whose dance it was somehow managed to weasel out of the assignment? And what if I even called said child out, publicly, on errors in judgment about both me and that touchy issue of work ethic?

I wasn’t always strong enough to follow through. To understand that I wasn’t competing for popularity. I should have more often doled out a few key phrases: “You’ll live.” “Life isn’t a bowl of cherries.” “Try again.”

I’m sorry about that. I failed my children and myself. Nonetheless I stuck with it. This parenting thing (repeated failure and all) has brought out the tenacious in me. Opportunities for growth have abounded. Failure does that. And now I am more likely than ever to let failure happen.

Unless you want to rescue your children for the rest of time, from a failed job interview, or a failed relationship, or a failed dream, however heartbreaking, I suggest you practice these phrases: You’ll live. Life isn’t a bowl of cherries. Try again. Because if not now, then surely at some point you will no longer be able to rescue your kids in any meaningful way, and they will have only their own resources to draw on.

Disappointing and even devastating things will befall our children, at times as a result of their own doing. I wish this weren’t true, but experience tells me otherwise. One of our most important jobs as parents is to prepare our kids for these practically inevitable failures. Prepare them. Let them practice (while we’re still close by) with bad grades, bad behavior, bad decisions of all kinds. Teach them how to redeem themselves and then let them fail again, while the stakes are still relatively low and while they still come home, in victory and defeat, to us.

And if you happen to be a writer as well as a parent, be heartened: practice with failure—who knew?—appears to cross genres. Take it from me: opportunities for growth, as they say, abound.

Donna Trump writes about failure, success, doubt, faith, Vincent Van Gogh and heart transplants in her fiction and in her blog (www.donnatrump.org). Follow her on Twitter @trumpdonna1.


Filed under: How to Fail Tagged: how to fail, parenting

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47. Women's History Month - Spare Post

Some weeks ago, my friend Gillian Polack, historian extraordinaire and novelist, kindly invited me to do a post for Women's History Month on her Livejournal blog (and, as I discovered, her offical web site). The brief was to write about something that happened to yourself or a woman you know, and I wrote a post about my sister, who went from a secretary with a manual typewriter to a writer of articles published all over, and a delight in the Internet. After reading some other posts I concluded that I must have got it wrong; they all seemed to be about the author of the post. So I wrote another post and offered that. As it happened, Gillian ended up publishing my original post, so I have a spare I thought I might publish here before Women's History Month is quite over!

I'd only sold one story, a short, humorous fantasy tale, to Family Circle, via its annual competition, when I sold my first book.

I was at Richmond Girls Secondary College when this began. My previous school, Flemington Secondary College, had been closed down by the new Tory government, so that they could sell it to the Victoria Racing Club, which had lusted after the site for a long time, to turn it into a jockey school. I'd been there for eight years and was working with two wonderful people in the library. We had a delightful relationship. And then a new government, led by a man not unlike the current Australian PM, was in power, and was selling anything not nailed down.

Suddenly, my library was stripped bare and I was without a workplace. You can imagine how I felt.

Towards the end of January I was relieved to receive an offer from Richmond Girls'. My new library turned out to be old and shabby and had been a sewing room in the old days. But it was mine. I did have an offsider, a Vietnamese gentleman who taught maths and was hardly ever in the library. There was a technician who, for some reason, didn't like being in the library and was off socialising most of the time.

So it was up to me to do something to make the library worth visiting and looking at. My colleagues on staff were pretty helpful, one of them bringing in her Year 8 class to move the shelves around to let in some light. Then I started the displays. I wrote things to put up on the wall to go with them. History, science, SF, whatever the occasion called for.

And then I had a phone call from my friend Natalie Prior, who had started to sell quite a lot and is, to this day, one of the few writers I know in this country who can make a living out of it(and, unlike many of the others I know, managed to get going without being married at the time and having a partner to pay the bills so she could write full time). Natalie had been writing for Allen and Unwin and had rung to tell me that they had a new series beginning, True Stories, which was non fiction for children.

"I've told them about you, here's the name and number," she finished. I asked myself if I could even do non fiction, then looked at the library walls and thought, yes, I've done this. I can.

I phoned and made an appointment to see Beth Dolan, who was doing the series. Deciding to give myself the best chance I could, I researched a few things that interested me to make sure they were possible and prepared a list of potential book themes. When I met Beth, I invited her to choose a topic for me to write up as a proposal. She chose monsters.

That was my first book sale. It was in the very early days of the Internet; any Internet research I did had to be done at one of the few Internet cafes that had begun to turn up in the suburbs. It was at the end of a long tram ride, and cost $12 an hour. I limited it to once a week. The rest of my research was done in the State Library, two nights a week.

I didn't eat well, of course, buying my dinner as takeaway and eating quickly before my research session. It told on my body after a while, so when I eventually did another book I was more careful.

It was the first of several books and quite a few articles I wrote and I had quite a lot of work in those days, before publishers decided that children's non fiction didn't sell and stopped publishing it. These days there's only education publishing to do non fiction books and some published by museums to go with exhibitions. I did manage to sell to the education industry before my publisher suddenly left and was replaced by a gentleman who indicated he simply wasn't interested, despite the fact that my books for his company are still selling in the thousands, after twelve years. He told me in his last email that he has a stable of writers and doesn't want any more.

So, in recent years, I've gone back to fiction, mostly short stories, but I'll never forget that it was non fiction that made me a professional writer and taught me a lot. 

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48. MMGM Links (3/30/15)

Here's the MMGM links for this week!

- Cindy Tran is feeling energetic for THE WIDE-AWAKE PRINCESS. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- Sally's Bookshelf is interviewing author Gail Jarrow--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Natalie Aguirre has a quest post from author Caroline Starr Rose, and a GIVEAWAY of BLUEBIRDS. Click HERE for details. 
- RCubed is SAVING LUCAS BRIGGS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Susan Olson is featuring time travel books about Alexander Graham Bell.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Andrea Mack is showing everyone HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE WHEN YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED. Click HERE to find her review. 
- Jenni Enzor is highlighting ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA, THE FORBIDDEN PALACE, AND OTHER TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. Click HERE to read her thoughts. 
Katie Fitzgerald has another double-feature this week, with the first two books in the Sylvie Scruggs series. Learn about both HERE.
- Jess at the Reading Nook shares her opinions on THE ARCTIC CODE. Click HERE for her thoughts. 
- Suzanne Warr is spotlighting THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is raving about STORY THIEVES . Click HERE to read his feature.
- The Bookworm Blog is wondering at WONDERSTRUCK. Click HERE to see why.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--LIKE A RIVER: A CIVIL WAR STORY. Click HERE for details. 
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is featuring CRISPIN: THE CROSS OF LEAD. Click HERE to see why. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.  
- 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 for the coming Monday. (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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49. Remembering John Renbourn



John Renbourn, the eclectic guitarist who co-founded Pentangle, died at his home in Scotland on Thursday. I sketched him during a concert that he gave with Robin Williamson in 1995 in a little country church at Copake Falls, New York.

Remembrance on National Public Radio

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50. Mailbox Monday - 3/30/15

 
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.
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Every week Mailbox Monday will have a new linky posted for our Mailbox Monday links at Marcia's Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s a shout out to the new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree 
Vicki of I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Serena @ Savvy Verse And Wit 

THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.
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I hope you had a good mailbox.

I was excited to have two books in my mailbox since the past few weeks have been quite empty.
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On Thursday, March 26, I received:

1.  THE GIRL WHO WROTE IN SILK by Kelli Estes, courtesy of Lathea Williams of Sourcebooks.
 
Love the cover and the title.  I am really looking forward to reading this book. 

On Friday, March 27, I received:

1.  LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL by Rebecca Rotert, courtesy of Katherine Turro and Molly Brickhead of Harper Collins.
How about your mailbox?   

Any titles in your mailbox that you were excited about seeing?
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