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Results 1 - 25 of 51
1. Podcast Interview: Read-Aloud Revival

Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things interviewed me about my family’s book-crazy lifestyle for her wonderful Read-Aloud Revival podcast.

Read-Aloud Revival podcast

 

The post includes links to the many books I gushed about (I swear, once you get me started on book recs there’s no stopping me) and a Prairie Thief giveaway. I had a great time chatting with Sarah about how read-alouds work in my family with our many ages of kids, how I do dialects, how we squeeze book time into the various parts of our day, etc. Basically: my favorite topic in the entire world.

While you’re checking out the podcast, you’ll want to bookmark the two Jim Weiss episodes! What a treasure.

 

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2. Two Podcasts

The one I mentioned yesterday with Sarah Spear of The Parentalist—such a fun conversation we had.

And an upcoming one with Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things. She interviewed me last week for her delightful Read-Aloud Revival podcast (you know that’s a topic near and dear to my heart). It will air in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime don’t miss her chat with the wonderful Jim Weiss!

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3. Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors Fair, part 2

Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors Fair

From left to right: Suzanne Santillan, me, Edith Hope Fine, Joy Raab, Virginia Loh Hagen, and Lori Mitchell at last week’s Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors’ Fair, held at Pacific Beach Elementary School. Photo shared by Lori Mitchell on Facebook. (Thanks, Lori!)

It was a pretty incredible day. I had sessions with two classes and then a booksigning. Both classes have been reading The Prairie Thief aloud, and it just so happened that the 5th-grade class was up to the Big Reveal chapter near the end of the book. I’ve never gotten to read this to a group of kids before! I usually read a section near the beginning, so as not to give away any of the book’s surprises, and when the class told me where they were in the book and asked me to read the next chapter, I was over the moon. Their reactions at the moment of the reveal were delightful and immensely gratifying. They jumped and and cried out in surprise. It was exactly the sort of reaction I hoped for when I wrote the book. What a treat for me to get to experience that moment with them! And then we had a nice long Q&A and they asked fantastic questions, really thoughtful stuff. Love love love.

The second class, a 4/5, blew me away with the papers they had written about Prairie Thief! And what timing, coming right after our conversation last week about how authors feel about critical approaches to their work. These kids did some serious analysis and I was very impressed by the quality of their writing. They, too, had a million questions for me about craft (seriously—they are studying it) and reading and lots of things.

Huge thanks to all the folks who helped put the fair together. A splendid day all around.

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4. Recent mentions that made me smile

• Over at Waltzing Matilda, Charlotte shares the details of the Prairie Thief book club meeting she hosted. She is tremendously creative and I so enjoyed seeing the activities and treats she came up with to go along with the book. She had the fun idea of having me record a video greeting for the kids.

• At Everead, Alysa’s young son wrote a book report on Fox and Crow Are Not Friends and drew the absolute cutest illustration to accompany it. I melted. Several times.

Kort, whose blog is quietly wonderful and gives me a little burst of happiness whenever it pops up in my reader, wrote a sweet note about Julie Bogart and me. Julie‘s one of my favorite people on the internet, too, so I was delighted to be in her company.

• Last Saturday, one of my books made an appearance at the Virginia Discovery Museum: children were invited to “join Kelly Sulick, principal flute of the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra, and Kate Tamarkin, CUSO’s music director, for a musical reading of Fox and Crow are Not Friends.” Now that’s a performance I wish I could have seen! Especially since there was an “instrument petting zoo” afterward. :)

I have been pretty low-profile about my work this past year, after a busy 2012 when I had three books launch in the same month. I do occasional local events but don’t undertake a lot of travel, not nearly as much as most of my kidlit author friends. I’m always reading (with pleasure) about the conferences they attend, the bookstore appearances, the school visits all over the country; and I enjoy their travels vicariously but know that I couldn’t maintain that kind of pace myself, not without giving up the learning-time with my kids that I treasure so much. (Not to mention without seriously impeding Scott’s ability to do his own work.) So while I do have several events planned for this summer, and a giveaway in the works for next week, I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about not having lined up a full slate of events to usher Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare into the world. I’m fond of the childbirth metaphor for book publishing, but it falls apart the moment the book is ‘born’ into the world (generally about a year after delivery)—because by then, the moment of its appearance in the wide world, I’m already about fourteen months pregnant with the next one. So it is with this newest book-baby—actually in this case I’m about forty months along with the next one, who promises to be a twelve-pounder. (It’s possible the metaphor is getting away from me here.) At any rate, the point of all this musing is that in a season when I can’t do a lot of traveling to help my books meet new readers, it is deeply gratifying to see them land in the hands of kids who enjoy them.

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5. The Writing Process Blog Tour

So, funny story. A few weeks ago my friend Sarah Tomp, whose upcoming YA novel My Best Everything I can’t wait to read, wrote to ask if she could tag me in the Writing Process Blog Tour. It sounded fun, but I was feeling pretty swamped that week, so I thanked her and declined. A day or two later, another local writer friend, Marcie Wessels, asked me the same question, and again I said I appreciated the nod but would have to pass. Well, about a week after that, my pal Edith Hope Fine issued the same invitation! And that very same day, my friend Tanita Davis did one better—she went ahead and tagged me. :)

SleepyTime Me by Edith Hope FineWell, okay, I can take a hint! And what do you know, a holiday weekend rolled around just in time for me to participate. So first: a big thank-you to all four of these generous friends, so eager to share the bloggity fun with me. Do click through on the links above to read their very interesting answers and find out more about their books. (Edith decided to sit out the hop herself, but you guys—I got a sneak preview of her new picture book, Sleepytime Me, illustrated by Christopher Denise, and it is a swooner. This year’s favorite bedtime reading, mark my words. It launches tomorrow! And I happen to know she’s got a companion workbook coming for her excellent Greek and Latin roots book, CryptoMania!, and it’s top-notch. Homeschoolers and teachers, you’re going to love it.)

Okay, so here are the questions, which I actually feel pretty shy about answering. I hardly ever talk about my process.

• What are you working on?

Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare by Melissa WileyGenerally, multiple things at once. The Main Project, always, and then two or three other works-in-various-stages-of-progress, and a scrawly list of ideas. Right now, the Main Project is the book I’ve been laboring over (very much in the childbirth-metaphor sense of the word) for a very. long. time: a historical fiction YA I’m writing for Knopf. It’s a project very close to my heart (involving a good bit of my own family history) and is probably the most challenging book I’ve written yet, in terms of research and subject matter. And I’ll want to talk lots more about it before too long.

So that’s the front-burner book. Then there are the things I work on when that one is being obstreperous: I’m playing with a new Inch and Roly idea, now that Sunny Day Scare has packed its knapsack and gone off into the world to seek its fortune. (They grow up so fast!) And there’s a fantasy novel I play with when historical fiction is besting my brain.

And! And! Very very slowly, very very occasionally, I add a little to a memoir of sorts I’m writing (or thinking of writing, is probably more accurate) about our years in Astoria, New York, when Jane was going through chemotherapy. I have a lot of stories piled up from those days.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

That is a really good, and really hard, question. I feel like in a way it’s a question best answered by readers, not by me about my own work. I like to work with characters who are grappling with ethical dilemmas—Louisa struggling to find a way to clear her father’s name without revealing Angus’s secret and therefore exposing him to probably dangerous public scrutiny (The Prairie Thief); Martha wrecking her dustgown and getting away with it, but fessing up after an internal struggle (Little House in the Highlands). Kids trying to sort out right and wrong when the lines seem fuzzier to them than adults give the impression they are. I think in terms of my style itself, I may work differently (but who knows?) in that I’m hearing the work read aloud as I write—probably in part because read-alouds are such an enormous part of my life. I mean, I’m reading aloud all morning long; I’ve spent nearly nineteen years this way, days full of the written word spoken. I think that gets into your fingers, as a writer: the cadence and lilt of a good read-aloud, the distinct character voices, the aural underscoring the visual images created by the text. I think, too, my having studied as a poet comes into play here, too. I entered my MFA program as a poet and emerged as a writer of prose fiction, but you can’t get poetry out of your blood.

• Why do you write what you do?

I put this question to Scott, adding lamely that I write the stories I’m burning to write. “I don’t know how to nail it down more accurately than that.” He chuckled. He knows me better than I know myself. “Well, first,” he said, “there’s the pioneer thing—” and he’s right; he doesn’t mean just Pioneers of the American West, though certainly that period is a lifelong fascination of mine and my original concept for Prairie Thief jumped right out of Edwardian England, where I’d envisioned it taking place, and emigrated happily to the Colorado prairie, circa 1880. Scott, who knows what ideas are crammed into my mental Possibilities drawer, was speaking also of my love of all kinds of frontier stories—the Pern books, the Darkover novels, any kind of pushing forward to unknown terrain and making terms with it.

The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley“But also,” he continued, “there’s your fascination with miscommunication and injustice. The injustice that arises when someone has been misunderstood. You’re always wanting to set that straight, in your work and in real life.”

As soon as he said it, I could see it: this thread woven through so much of my work. It’s the central conflict of Prairie Thief, of course: a man falsely accused, his daughter intent on clearing his name. And other misunderstandings nested inside that larger one. But also: there’s Martha’s first governess, who doesn’t like her and misreads all her errors as deliberate. I had to bring in Miss Crow, didn’t I, to understand her. :) Over and over in those books, there are miscommunications between family members that lead to conflict. Scott pointed out that Sunny Day Scare, too, plays with this theme: Inch and friends are interpreting a horror in the grass in different ways, and Roly simply has to figure out what the scary thing really is. Even Hanna’s Christmas, my little commercial tie-in from long ago, has Hanna’s parents incorrectly blaming her for all the acts of mischief around the house. This is kind of revelatory, actually, and you can bet I’m going to be pondering it further.

• How does your writing process work?

Ahh, a nuts-and-bolts question. Now I’m in my element. The way I work is married to time. When Jane was a baby and I was first starting out, I had to hurry and write during her naps, sometimes actually wearing her in the sling, though it was hard to type that way. After Rose was born and Scott left his job at DC Comics to stay home and write, I worked longer shifts, a couple of hours at a time. I had very tight deadlines in those deadlines, staggeringly tight as I look back, and had to work with furious efficiency in the spaces available to me. I probably work best that way.

Later still, after Beanie came along, Scott and I settled into a rhythm. My writing time was from 3-6 every day. So again, mega-focus required to stay on task. I started this blog as a way to help me do that: after a day with the kids, spending 20 minutes writing about them helped me transition from mom to writer, and then I could work on the book at hand.

We had a rough year after Wonderboy was born, but that same schedule allowed me to work. It was after Rilla came along that things changed dramatically: Scott took an editing job out here in San Diego, we moved, he was away long hours, I wrote on Saturdays. That’s why The Prairie Thief took so long: years of Saturday afternoons. In 2011, he came back home to freelance (hurrah!) and now I get the whole afternoon and evening to work—meaning both my fiction and my editorial gig at Damn Interesting.

I can’t stand writing by hand. I have complaining wrists. With the current novel, I began working in Scrivener and fell in love—it keeps all my notes, fragments, timelines, character sketches, and primary source material organized and accessible much more handily than any paper system I could contrive. I mean, I really think I’d be lost without it.

I’m a slow writer in that I self-edit ruthlessly, never having managed to do the sort of pour-it-out first drafts that the writing instruction books urge upon you. Dear Anne Lamott, I’ve tried, but I just can’t pull it off. And it’s too bad, because I always write way more than actually belongs in a book. I’ll labor over huge chunks of manuscript, polishing at the word-level, and then wind up ripping them out, a stitch at a time (agony) to hide in a file somewhere. If I were to gather up all my Martha fragments, I’d probably have enough for a whole nother book. (Sorry, it’s not in the cards.)

Every day, I dread starting. After I’ve made myself enter the cave, hours pass in a blink, like Narnia time.

I think I probably love the research stage best of all. I’m happiest with all my papers and books spread around me on the bed, and some old newspaper enlarged on my screen. An orchard robbery in 1817; the constable arrested “a man named Peter Twist and two well-dressed women.” What’s the story there? No one can tell me, so I’ll have to make it up.

Up next:

Now I’m supposed to tag some writer friends. Laurel Snyder (The Longest Night, Bigger than a Breadbox, Seven Stories Up) and Jennifer Ziegler (Sass and Serendipity, How Not to Be Popular, and the hot-off-the-presses Revenge of the Flower Girls—how’s that for a great title?? both said yes, so look for their replies in a week or so. I’m also tagging Chris Barton (Shark Vs. Train, The Day-Glo Brothers, Can I See Your ID?) and my dear friend Anne Marie Pace (Vampirina Ballerina, Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover, A Teacher for Bear), in case they’d like to play along. But no pressure, guys! (See paragraph 1, above.)

And Sarah, Marcie, Edith, Tanita: thanks for tagging me. I had fun!

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6. Come See Me at the San Diego County Fair

Sunday, June 8

Reading in the Creative Youth Tent: 3-3:30pm

Booksigning: 4-5pm

The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare by Melissa Wiley

Come say hi!

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7. Always a squee moment for me

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8. The Prairie Thief in Paperback

The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley

Hurrah! I love it when a book comes out in paperback. Such a thrill to know it will reach a new audience. :)

Handy-dandy purchasing links for you, because I’m helpful like that:

AmazonB&NIndiebound

Do you know what I would love? If you happen to buy a copy (or if you have already purchased the hardcover) from your local indie, would you leave a comment to let me know the name of the bookstore? There are few things lovelier for a writer than knowing someone wandered into a bookshop and met your book on the shelf, and adopted it for keeps.

Here are some reviews:

“Wiley has created a charming, inventive tale that reads like a delightful mash-up of Little House on the Prairie and Tony DiTerlizzi’s ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ (S & S). Short chapters and the air of mystery and suspense keep the pages turning, and readers will be taken with Louisa, who is sweet and mild-mannered, yet has the strength to fight for what is right. The writing is breezy and lyrical…[a] top-notch story.” —School Library Journal

“Fans of the Little House books will recognize the setting and enjoy the fantastic twist. Stylized black-and-white illustrations capture key moments and add to the warm tone. The comedic, unexpected, satisfying conclusion hits just the right note. A pleasing folkloric/historical blend.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Wiley’s cleverly constructed story, which switches over to the circuit judge’s amusing perspective for a few chapters, is not only a fine tall tale but also gives some sense of nineteenth-century frontier life.” —Booklist

“Frontier fiction and folkloric fantasy are an unusual combination, but they actually blend remarkably well here, and Wiley does a fine job of staying true to the pioneer inflections of Louisa’s story while effectively integrating the magical brownie…The effective mashup of popular genres will make this a hit with a variety of readers, so try handing it to Little House fans and folktale-lovers alike.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“…a delight from start to finish.” —Jen Robinson’s Book Page

“Every now and then a book makes me miss having a class to read to. Some books absolutely beg to be read aloud. The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley is that kind of book….And then, the must of all musts for reading a story aloud… the language. The Prairie Thief is rich with gorgeous, evocative language that begs to be heard as well as read. We feel as though we’ve been transported back in time when we listen to expressions like, ‘He was wailing loud enough to curdle milk,’ or ‘Ye look like last year’s scarecrow.’ Even the simple ‘Balderdash!’ sounds better out loud. Wiley uses big words too—words that some kids will latch on to and roll around in their minds and mouths—like audacious, gesticulations, rapscallion, scrutinizing—they add to the mood and help us sink into this world.” —Writing on the Sidewalk

“Wholly delightful. I found it impossible to put down and read it in one great gulp. I don’t think I could have loved it more, had I read it as a child. The characters are lovely, each and all. The story, while never veering from the path to a happy ending, had plenty of dips and bobbles and surprises. I grinned my way through much of it, and am not ashamed to tell you my eyes filled with tears at the end. It’s wholesome without being smarmy, and fun without being arch.” —Salamander House

“…a mystical mystery not to be missed.” —the kids at Bookie Woogie

The Prairie Thief is a Junior Library Guild selection, an SCBWI Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award nominee, and a Bravewriter Arrow selection. It is currently a nominee for New Hampshire’s Great Stone Face Children’s Choice Award. (Check out the rest of the books on that list, you guys—looks like some fun reading there.)

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9. San Diego Library Grand Opening

Tomorrow, Saturday the 28th! I’ll be there—will you?

Look for me at the SCBWI booth between noon and 5. Lots of other children’s authors attending too. My books will be available at the Yellow Book Road booth. The San Diego Mini Maker Faire will have a booth as well—I can’t wait to check it out!

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10. I Met One of My Favorite People EVER This Weekend

missrumphiusandme

She passed by the SCBWI booth at the San Diego Central Library grand opening celebration where I was signing books, and I dashed down the street after her, hollering “Miss Rumphius! Miss Rumphius!” like a loon. Because I was Just That Excited to see her, lupines and all! She’s my role model, after all.

(Instead of lupines, I plant milkweed.)

The library celebration was marvelous. I never actually made it into the new building for the sneak peek! The line was four blocks long when I arrived for booth duty at noon. But I had a wonderful time visiting with Edith Hope Fine, Cynthia Jensen Elliott, and my other fellow local children’s authors at the SCBWI booth and chatting with our friends at Yellow Book Road on one side of our table and the very nice Mysterious Galaxy folks on the other—along with author Mary Pearson, whom it’s about time I met in person after all this time being Facebook friends, and YA author Kiersten White, whom I know from Twitter, and whose new book sounds very much up Rose’s alley. (Human daughter of ancient Egyptian gods: you have her at hello.)

Kiersten White at San Diego Central Library grand opening celebration

(Isn’t that the most gorgeous cover?)

The street fair covered many blocks and was one of the best I’ve ever been to. San Diego Mini Maker Faire was there—I’m counting the days to the December event (December 7th, Del Mar Fairgrounds; spread the word!)—and lots of other interesting artisans and entertainers.

Not Miss Rumphius

Not Miss Rumphius.

IMG_2768

The Maker Faire booth. I finally got to see a 3D printer in action! It made that orange comb right before onlookers’ eyes. At least, I think it did. I wasn’t there for that part.

Happy to say I signed many copies of The Prairie Thief! And perhaps my favorite sight of all (after Miss Rumphius, of course) was this mother and son who sat down to read Fox and Crow on the spot. :)

mom and boy read fox and crow

I’ll have to make another pilgrimage downtown soon (with the kids, this time) to see the inside of the beautiful new library that was thirty years in the making.

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11. Bookstore Event Today

San Diego folks: I’m doing a booksigning and reading at the Hazard Center Barnes & Noble today at 2:30, right after the St. Didacus School choir concert. Come say hi!

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12. The 12 Days of Christmas (Bookstore Style)

Look for a cameo from two (not) best friends!

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13. A Hanna’s Christmas surprise for Santa Lucia Day

Hanna's Christmas

No, it’s not back in print—as I wrote that subject title I suddenly realized I might be setting some of you up for disappointment. But I hope you’ll find this almost as good a surprise. This time of year, I get a lot of email from readers looking for copies of Hanna’s Christmas, which has been out of print for, I don’t know, a decade at least. Sometimes the letters sound pretty frustrated: as the holidays approach, used copies of the book jump to astronomical rates in the resale market. I don’t have any available for sale myself—I didn’t even hold on to enough copies for my own children. (I didn’t have quite as many kids when I wrote the book.)

But a couple of days ago, I got a lovely email from a teacher who said her class really wanted to hear the story, and would I consider reading it aloud in a video. Would you believe that has never occurred to me? It was a great idea, and that’s what I’ve done. I made a short video intro below and then comes a second video with the reading of the book. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

(Direct link here.)

(Direct link to read-aloud.)

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14. Authors Fair at Pacific Beach Elementary

I’m so looking forward to participating in this event tomorrow, March 14! I’ll be visiting with 4th and 5th graders at Pacific Beach Elementary in the Greater San Diego Reading Association’s 41st Annual Authors Fair, along with Patty Hall, Edith Hope Fine, Virginia Loh-Hagan, Lori Mitchell, Joy Raab, Suzanne Santillan and storyteller Marilyn McPhee. Can’t wait!

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15. Thursday Things

First up: Into the Thicklebit | Overheard.

Next thing: We’re talking books in the comments of this postKristin Lavransdatter and Papa’s Wife. Got other Scandinavian favorites?

Next thing, for San Diego locals: My signing’s on Saturday! Yellow Book Road @ beautiful Liberty Station in Point Loma, 3pm. Come! Say hi! Eat cookies! Listen to me attempt a Scottish accent! (Serves me right for writing characters in dialect.)

Book reviews & interviews.

Other shareworthy links in my sidebar.

***

We have an excursion to City Farmers Nursery planned for this afternoon. Rilla is planting her own butterfly garden. (The one that spans the width of our backyard isn’t enough for her, evidently.) ;) She’s making a list. Excuse me, I mean a LEIST. So far, she’s got:

1. MiLKWED

2. HOT PENK DRANEYOM (hot pink geranium)

I can’t wait to see what’s next. :)

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16. Book Launch Party Today!

3pm at The Yellow Book Road
2750 Historic Decatur Road, Barracks 15
Liberty Station, San Diego

A lovely children’s bookstore in a beautiful setting.
Hope to see you there!

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17. Recent Reviews

 Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books review of The Prairie Thief:

“Frontier fiction and folkloric fantasy are an unusual combination, but they actually blend remarkably well here, and Wiley does a fine job of staying true to the pioneer inflections of Louisa’s story while effectively integrating the magical brownie…The effective mashup of popular genres will make this a hit with a variety of readers, so try handing it to Little House fans and folktale-lovers alike.”

School Library Journal,Fresh and Fun | Books for Emergent Readers“:

Melissa Wiley retells and expands upon an Aesop’s fable in Fox and Crow Are NOT Friends (Random House, 2012; Gr 1-3). Three entertaining chapters describe how these two enemies repeatedly—and humorously—try to outwit one another to earn bragging rights along with a tasty piece of cheese. Sebastien Braun clearly depicts the animals’ antics with lighthearted artwork in sherbet hues. The straightforward text, amusing illustrations, and hilarious rivalry will encourage developing readers to persevere. Expand the reading experience by sharing other fables, and having your students come up with “what happens next…” scenarios.

(Bunch of other fun-looking books in that post I’m eager to check out.)

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18. Best. Review. Ever.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of clicking to one of your favorite book blogs and discovering your own book is the day’s entry.

Dad:  Tell me about the “Thief” part of the title…
Lily:  The girl’s dad was accused of theft-ing.
Gracie:  You’re not even saying it right.  It’s “thievering.”

The Prairie Thief at Bookie Woogie. I’m thrilled. And that art! ASTOUNDING.

P.S. Gracie really is the Blurb Master.

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19. Catch me tomorrow on #parent!

Am looking forward to tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Feb. 12th), when I’ll have the fun of being a guest on Geek & Sundry’s #parent show, a Google Hangout hosted by the awesome Kristen Rutherford. My fellow guests are authors Jenni Holm and Chris Barton, two of my family’s favorite children’s book creators and some of my all-around favorite people. Going to be fun!

The details: 8-9pm Pacific time. I’ll post the direct link when we have one. You can watch the Hangout live (and ask questions in the chat window) or catch it later on video.

Got any questions for us? Fire away!

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20. Attention SCBWI Members

Don’t forget to cast your vote in this year’s SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards! Voting ends March 15.

Here are the finalists for the California/Hawaii division:

• Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan ( HarperCollins Children’s Books)

• Tina Nichols Coury, Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore (Dial Books For Young Readers, Penguin Young Readers Group)

• Katherine Longshore, Gilt (Viking Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers Group)

• Ginger Wadsworth, First Girl Scout, the Life of Juliette Gordon Low (Clarion)

• Melissa Wiley, The Prairie Thief (Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster)

You can see the other division finalists here. One Crystal Kite winner will be chosen for each division.

From the SCBWI website:

To cast a vote, go to your Member Home page, click on “See what’s going on in your region,”  then on the Crystal Kites tab. The list of the finalists listed below will be there and all you have to do to vote is click the button next to the desired title for your region. [Note: To get to the voting buttons, you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the finalist list.]

Please remember there is no campaigning of any kind for individual titles but you are encouraged to promote the awards in general using all social media! This includes but is not limited to blogging, tweeting or social networking of any kind.

Anyone participating in an individual voting campaign (promoting a specific title) will be disqualified. This is to ensure the votes are based purely on personal opinion.

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21. Why did that book go out of print?

Across the Puddingstone DamGot this question in the comments yesterday, and since it’s an inquiry I get often, I thought I’d pull it up into a post here:

“Why have the Martha, Charlotte, Caroline and Rose books gone out of print? As a huge fan of Laura’s books I read all the books and the books about her family. Now being older I want to purchase them all for my own collection as the libraries are getting rid of them. It does not help that I am Canadian and have a hell of a time of even finding them! Do you know of any places that still carries them?”

When a publisher allows a book to go out of print, it pretty much always means one thing: the book isn’t selling very well anymore. Warehouse space is extremely expensive, and there’s a certain point when it becomes more costly for a publisher to store books that are selling slowly than to just remainder them.

The decision to shutter the Little House prequels and sequels happened before social media took off, so if HarperCollins ever decides to bring them back (particularly as ebooks, which has been discussed but doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon), we’d be able to give them a nice big push and I think they’d do very well.

You can sometimes find used copies on eBay or Amazon Marketplace, but they tend to be extremely expensive in those outlets. (I don’t get royalties on used book sales, so please know those crazy prices don’t have anything to do with me!)

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22. I’ve started an author newsletter—care to subscribe?

Sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll get news about my books, giveaways, appearances, and more delivered right to your inbox. (But not too often, don’t worry.) I’ll also share recommendations for books my kids and I have enjoyed together—you know I can never resist a nice juicy bookchat!

I’ll also include links to fun learning resources, games, and apps. Basically, it’s a little taste of Bonny Glen distilled down to a monthly newsletter for kids, parents, teachers, and homeschoolers. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

And a promise: I will never, ever share your information with anyone else.

Click here to subscribe.

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23. Tagged!

Three times I’ve been asked by lovely writer friends to participate in the Next Big Thing, a blog hop in which writers talk about their upcoming books. Tanita Davis and Gail Gauthier caught me in busy spells and I had to pass, with regrets—but I loved reading their posts and appreciated the invitation. This time, my SCBWI pal Andrea Zimmerman asked if she could tag me, and third time’s the charm. Gail, Tanita, Andrea—thanks, all of you, for thinking of me!

I’ll work on my answers soon, but for now, do hop over (it’s a blog hop, after all) and read about The Warthog Smoked (Andrea), Saving the Planet & Stuff (Gail), and Favorite Son (Tanita). And then you can follow their links to the other folks they tagged. Books books books books books, there is nothing better.

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24. A Sneak Peek of Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare

Just got the cover of my next Inch and Roly book! Isn’t Ag Jatkowska a wonder?

Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare

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25. SDCC Hijinks

photo lifted from Lalitha's FB

Fun times at Thursday night’s Scholastic party at SDCC with my pals Allison Tran, Jenni Holm, and Lalitha Nataraj. I lifted this photo from Lali’s FB page—thanks!

Jenni and Matt Holm won an Eisner last night for Babymouse for President! Wild huzzahs from here.

pirateship

What’s Comic-Con without a full-size pirate ship in the harbor?

frankreade

This book caught my eye—the fictional adventures of pulp-novel hero Frank Reade in history. Gorgeous illustrations, intriguing premise. It’s on my take-a-closer-look list.

hyperionsdcc2013

Always fun to spot friends’ books at a show!

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