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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book launch, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. To Savor Gotham: book launch

Food lovers with a soft spot for New York City gastronomy congregated to celebrate the upcoming book Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City, edited by Andrew F. Smith.

The post To Savor Gotham: book launch appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. The Art of Story – Festivals and anthologies in review

Editor, publisher, author, and all round busy guy, Paul Collins describes his latest anthology as ‘a sumptuous literary feast’ in which ‘no one will go away hungry, as the collection is a literary banquet with something for everyone.’ If that doesn’t whet your appetite for the collection of Australian stories, poetry and artwork that is, […]

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3. Book Launch: The Sparrow and the Trees

SparrowTreesSome writers always knew that they were destined to tell stories, others came to the craft a little later. That was the case with new author Sharon Chriscoe. Her first picture book The Sparrow and the Trees is a retelling of a native folktale that explains why some trees lose their leaves in winter while others do not.

Find out why Sharon chose to retell this story:

SharonChriscoeWhat was your incentive to write this particular book?

I love the Native American folklore, Why The Trees Lose Their Leaves, and it was exciting to base my own story on that wonderful folklore. It was the story I was meant to write. I was thrilled when Arbordale agreed and offered publication.

What is most rewarding and/or challenging about writing children’s books?

The most rewarding aspect of writing The Sparrow and The Trees for Arbordale is knowing that children all around the world are going to read and learn from my book. Arbordale is so fantastic with the amount of educational elements they include with each of their books, from online resources to worksheets to Creative Minds Information — there is something for everyone to learn. I learned a lot while researching this book!

Do you have any advice for parents of young readers and writers?

Read to your children every day. Make it a fun, memorable experience and they will become lifelong readers. One of my favorite quotes is “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald.

Get the full interview on the book’s home page, click here!

Don’t forget comment on this post to win a copy of The Sparrow and the Trees. And color to your hearts content with these fun pages.

SparrowTrees_TA 23 SparrowTrees_TA 24 SparrowTrees_TA 25

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4. Book Launch: They Just Know

TheyJustKnowRobin Yardi is releasing her first picture book this week, They Just Know: Animal Instincts. The combination of the whimsical and real life come together perfectly with Laurie Allen Klein’s art as readers learn how some animals don’t need mom and dad to show them the way, they just know!

Before we get to the inside scoop on hidden gems in the art meet Robin and find out how this story came to be…

RobinYardiWhat was your incentive to write this particular book?

When my daughter was young we loved to talk about animals that didn’t need their mothers. I remember playing mommy and baby butterfly with her (a game of her invention) and trying to explain, “Well actually, butterflies never meet their mothers.” You should have seen her face! “Who teaches them to fly?” she asked. “Who makes them breakfast?” After years and years of watching butterflies in our garden this still amazes her, so I thought a book about the wonderful things animals can do all on their own would appeal to other kids too.

What animals in They Just Know have you seen before?

that winter and really don’t have many left. Now when I find ladybugs I give them to my children to wish on.

I’ve never seen a spring peeper, or pinkletink as some people call them, but I do love and worry about the world’s amphibians. I’ve had pet frogs and toads and once ended up with about two hundred tadpoles!

I’ve swum among Green Sea Turtles in the waters of Hawai’i. These turtles are protected and you cannot touch them, but you can look deep, deep into their eyes. I’ve rarely seen anything so beautiful, curious and gentle.

As a kid in California I caught two species of kingsnake, both strikingly and stripingly beautiful!

To read the full interview with Robin, click here, but first play find and seek throughout the book with Laurie Allen Klein’s art!

Hide and Seek in They Just Know

LaurieAllenKlein(hint, Laurie answers these questions on Nonfiction Nook, but see if you can find them yourself)

  • Find the t-shirt with all the animals from the book pictured on it.
  • Which way is the current headed for the baby swimming turtles?
  • What kind of “helmet” might a ladybug wear for flying?
  • If a shark needed a nightlight what kind of fish serves that purpose?
  • First flights are celebrated with a ritual, why is a cut t-shirt so special?
  • What is the equation on the frog’s blackboard showing?TJK-spread-13
  • What game are the king snakes playing?
  • What other Arbordale book is pictured within the pages here?

Comment here and enter to win your own copy of They Just Know!

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5. Book Launch: Tortoise and Hare’s Amazing Race

TortoiseHareMarianne Berkes and Cathy Morrison are not newcomers to children’s books, Tortoise and Hare’s Amazing Race is their third book together at Arbordale and individually each of these ladies has an impressive collection of stories and book awards. We are happy to release this adaptation of the classic fable and bring a bit of math into the race!

To learn more about the inspiration behind Marianne’s writing here is a sample of her interview:

CathyMorrisonWhat drew you to writing, children’s books ?

As a child our home was filled with books and music. I wrote plays that my friends and I performed in the summer, in our backyard. My dad even helped us build some of the scenery. Reading, writing, music and theater have been a constant in my life. In high school I did interviews for the school paper, and in college wrote my first picture book for a children’s lit class. But it was many years later, after I moved to Florida, that I said “I can do this!” Reading so many books to children at the library where I worked, I kept coming up with ideas of my own. Because I love kids and love “words” I started submitting my stories to publishers, and one day…

What do you hope children get out of your stories?

An appreciation of our earth and respect for nature. I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child and still do. Discovering nature is a life-long adventure that I hope kids today still appreciate. Nature has so many stories to tell and is available to anybody, any place, any time. I hope kids will be entertained by my books, but also that they will want to learn more about the topic. My first book, published in 2000, was about frogs making music in the night. Hopefully after reading this book, kids will go outside in the early evening, especially after a rain, and listen for the sounds I’ve written about. I’ve followed with stories about birds, shells, creatures living in an ocean reef, rainforest animals, Arctic animals, animals that migrate, Australian animals, forest animals (like Polly Possum) and river animals. In Arbordale’s The Tree that Bear Climbed kids also learn how a tree grows, and Daisylocks is about plant life. I’ve also written a book about the planets that I hope kids enjoy. How can we ask them to save the earth, if they don’t learn to appreciate it first? My books are lyrical in verse, making it easy and fun for kids to read with lots of fact blended in. I want kids to really get inside my books, to read them more than once, each time finding something new and exciting!

Do you want to know more read the full interview here!

Leave a comment and enter to win your own copy of Tortoise and Hare’s Amazing Race! Then click below for fun math activities in the For Creative Minds section.

Pages from TortoiseHare_FCM

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6. Don't miss the NEVERSEEN SoCal Launch Party!!!!

I can't believe it's that time again--NEVERSEEN comes out in less than five weeks!!!

(*tosses confetti whilst hyperventilating*)

(*chokes on confetti*)

And just like last year, I have ALL KINDS of updates coming up, including the pre-order swag giveaway and the NEVERSEEN tour dates and locations. (I'll also be sharing character art and teasers on social media, so if you aren't following me on Instagram, you might wanna click HERE and correct that)

But in the meantime, I have one thing you can mark on your calendars--the Official NEVERSEEN Lauch Party!!!! 

And in case that graphic isn't loading for some reason, here the details are again in plain text:

Friday, 10/30/15
7:00 pm
Barnes &Noble Montclair Plaza
5183 Montclair Plaza Ln.
Montclair, CA 91763

And yes--that date is correct. Thanks to when I leave for tour, the Launch party is FIVE DAYS before NEVERSEEN comes out. So that means--if you come--you can buy your copy FIVE DAYS early!!!!! 

As if that weren't incredible enough, let me give you another AMAZING reason to be there: Everyone who comes to the official launch--and buys a copy of NEVERSEEN--will be given one of these SUPER SHINY alicorn buttons (perfect for fastening your cape--or, yanno, decorating whatever you want):

For those who don't live in SoCal, I *will* be handing out (or raffling off) a few of these buttons at each of my tour stops. Plus there will be online giveaways to give everyone a chance to enter for one.  And they'll be given out at the Launch on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last. So if you're worried about getting one, better get there early. :)

There will also be some very special CUPCAKES!! (*whispers* they might be mallowmelt flavored) And SWAG. And BOOKS!!! Shiny EARLY copies of NEVERSEEN!!!! And I'll be signing ALL of them!!!!! Who doesn't want to be a part of that?????

So mark your calendars for 10/30/15, and start begging your parents to bring you. It's going to be EPIC!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments section below.

And ....  that's it for now. But like I said--stay tuned. Soooooooooooooooooo many more exciting things are coming up over the next few weeks. 

*tosses more confetti and gets back to writing*

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7. dinosaur police launch party + fun activities!

RAWR!!! Join me and Scholastic UK for the launch of my new picture book, Dinosaur Police!

Tales on Moon Lane, a lovely indie bookshop in Herne Hill, south London, is hosting the big party in the afternoon (2-3pm, with a signing after), and if you can't come to that (or it's more convenient), pop over to Dulwich Books at 11am for a smaller storytelling, drawing and signing session. A full day of dinosaurs! And it's optional, but if you want to dress up dinosaur or police themed or both, that would be FABULOUS. There is a small booking fee for the big party (£2.50), but if you buy a book, they'll deduct if from the cost of your book. I hope you can come, and if you have any friends that might enjoy it, please let them know! Here's the Facebook Event Page, if you want to let me know you're coming.

Photo by Elissa Elwick

My web designer Dan Fone has just posted the free activity sheets on my website, so now there are fun things built in that librarians, teachers, parents, adults who like to colour, can print out. (You could even use the colouring sheet and drawing tutorial to make a Pin-the-Pizza-on-the-T-Rex for a Dinosaur Police themed birthday pizza party!)

Here's a close-up of How to Draw Inspector Sarah Tops:

I tested this out on Twitter, to see if the steps were too complicated. So big thanks to these people for helping: @sillyweeowl, @alexthepink, @froyoho:

@helenclarkjones, @nelliejean, @crgn:

@paper_teacher took it to school and got her class to try!

And @MehsiLovesBooks went the whole way to lovely colour:

Please to check out the new Dinosaur Police web page, and if you have any friends who love dinosaurs or police stories, point them in this direction! If you want to tweet or Instagram your drawings, I'd love to see them, and use the hash tag #DinosaurPolice!

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8. The Billy and Monster Collection Audiobook is LIVE!


It’s been a while since my last blog post and a lot’s been happening in my personal and professional life as an authorBilly and Monster Meet the President… all good stuff by the way and I hope to share more with you over the coming weeks.

So, I have 2 BIG morsels of news for you today.

First of all, my illustrator has finished the illustrations for the next Billy and Monster book titled – Billy and Monster Meet the President.

I subtly deal with an ever present danger in the world we live in today – terrorism.

I hope this book will be a springboard for grown-ups to share with their loved ones how to deal with strangers and practice good etiquette in public places. This should be out mid June and I’ll let you know when its live.

And now for (perhaps) the more exciting news…

The Billy and Monster Collection Audiobook is now LIVE and I’d like to offer you a free copy in exchange for a review.Billy Combo Cover Red brick

Simply follow the instructions below to get a copy

1. Go to my book’s page on Audible.com or audible.co.uk

2. Add the audiobook to your basket

3. If you are prompted to sign in, please create a new Audible.com account or log in. Otherwise, proceed by clicking “Do you have a promotional code” beneath the cover artwork of the audiobook.

4. Enter the promo code, and click “Apply Code”

5. A credit for the audiobook will be added to your account. Click the box next to “1 Credit” and click the “Update” button to apply the credit to purchase.

6. Complete checkout, and start listening to a free copy of the book.

I have 12 free codes to share today. Simply leave a comment below and let me know what you love best about the Billy and Monster books and I’ll send you the code asap.

This audiobook contains the five books in the Billy and Monster series and J.B. Burgess – the narrator – did a wonderful job with the sound effects and accents and brought each story to life. My wife and two bambinos were in stitches when we listened to it for the first time.

This audiobook can be purchased on Audible, iTunes and Amazon.

Thanks for all your support and do have a great day.

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9. dinosaur police: the launch party!

Today's official launch of my new Scholastic UK picture book, Dinosaur Police, involved quite a lot of preparation, but not all of it by me. Deadly Knitshade and her crew of dinosaurs were very busy:

And I was BAKING, something I almost never do!

Then we all gathered at the Herne Hill bookshop in south London, Tales on Moon Lane, which had a lovely display of loads of the books I've worked on:

My sculptor friend Eddie Smith had been busy making my hat (for Hay Festival and the launch), and here he is with my Dinosaur Police editor, Pauliina Malinen:

And the hats were terrific! Check out Deadly Knitshade (aka Lauren O'Farrell):

Photos tweeted by @deadlyknitshade

Look at this Officer Brachio badge, stitched by Sami Teasdale! She gave it to me at the end of the day, totally amazing.

My excellent Scholastic publicist, Dave Sanger, and I did a little Masterchef cooking demonstration: how to make a dinosaur pizza.

And everyone dug in to the various Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous tomato pastes, swamp cheese, chili, mushrooms, everything needed to make a particularly sweet pizza.

Then I swapped hats because my big one kept getting tangled up in the chandeliers. I did a reading... (photo tweeted by Deadly Knitshade)

Photo tweeted by @deadlyknitshade

And Dinosaur Dave acted out some particularly emotional parts of the story:

Then we did some drawing and a song. Look, here's my husband Stuart's drawing! (You can download more drawing activities over on the Dinosaur Police webpage.)

Then we went out to the bookshop back yard for bubbly and book signing and Pauliina gave a fab speech:

Big thanks to Pauliina, my designer Rebecca Essilifie, Dave, Scholastic, Tereze, Juliet and staff at Tales on Moon Lane, my studio mates (Elissa Elwick, Gary Northfield and member-at-large Lauren O'Farrell), web designer Dan Fone, and Stuart for being so supportive! And to everyone who came along for the launch! Lauren shot a Vine video of me signing a book:

But Tales on Moon Lane wasn't our only stop! Earlier that morning Dave and I had taken part in a smaller Story Time at Dulwich Books, which was also good fun!

As Philip Ardagh pointed out, we even made the newspapers, ha ha... Young Holly managed to capture the rascal on paper:

Big thanks to everyone who came along! I also took off my big hat after the intial introduction because I think its sheer size was scaring one of the littlest guys in the front row. (It's better designed for big stage events, I think>)

This event was the first time Dave had drawn with me in public AND his first public outing in a dinosaur onesie. VERY BRAVE.

Big thanks to Sheila and Annie for hosting us!

And one last thanks to brave Dinosaur Dave.

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10. How to Organize a Book Launch Party

By Candy Gourlay If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know that I attend a LOT of launch parties. At the spring launch of my pal Joe Friedman's warmhearted book The Secret Dog I try to accept invites when I can. I know the agony and ecstasy of writing a book. I also know that without a launch party, the publication of a book feels like a great big non-event. It was in your head and then

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11. Fall into a Great New Book!

Time for pumpkin spice, changing leaves, chilly air and curling up with a good book! Well you’re in luck we are launching seven new books this week perfect for the changing season!

Get to know each book and author throughout the week with profiles, giveaways and author interviews. But first we will kick off the celebration today with an introduction to the seven new titles!

Amphibians & Reptiles

AmphbnReptile_187What makes a frog an amphibian but a snake a reptile? Both classes may lay eggs, but they have different skin coverings and breathe in different ways. Pages of fun facts will help kids identify each animal in the class like a pro after reading the fourth book in Arbordale’s Compare and Contrast series. Similar to Polar Bears and Penguins, Clouds and Trees; Amphibians and Reptiles uses stunning photographs and simple non-fiction text to get kids thinking about the similarities and differences between these two animal classes.

Get to know the author @KatieGHall

The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea

HungriestMouth_187The animals of the South Sea are hungry. But who is hungrier than all of the rest? The kicking krill may swarm and the blue cod are out hunting for dinner, but neither is fierce enough to be tops in this habitat. Could it be the lurking sharks, pointy-tailed rays or the toothy barracuda? Dive into this rhythmic text to discover who is at the top of this food chain.

Get to know the hungriest mouth on Instagram 

The Lucky Litter: Wolf Pups Rescued from Wildfire

LuckyLitter_187As a huge wildfire roared along the Funny River in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, firefighters rushed to the rescue. When they found five three-week-old wolf pups in need, they raced into action to save the whole litter. With no wolf parents to help, zookeepers and vets at the Alaska Zoo made sure the babies grew into a healthy, happy pack. Follow this true story as the pups travel from their charred forest to the Alaska Zoo, where they grow big and strong before finally moving to their forever home at the Minnesota Zoo.

Get to know the author @MySaymag And the photographer

Sounds of the Savanna

SoundsSavanna_187From the first light of dawn until the sun sets at night, the savanna is alive with noise. A lion roars in the early morning, a young baboon shrieks at noon, and a young mouse squeals at dusk. What are the animals saying and why? Animals communicate in many ways; explore the thriving African savanna as its inhabitants “talk” to one another throughout the course of a day.

Get to know the author and the illustrator

The Sparrow and the Trees

SparrowTrees_187The Sparrow family is ready for their trip south for the winter, but Papa’s wing is hurt and he cannot make the trip. He asks the trees for help. One by one, the mighty, leafy trees of the forest say no! Will any of the trees help Papa Sparrow? What will happen to the selfish trees that turned him away? Discover why some trees lose their leaves in winter in this retelling of a Cherokee pourquoi tale.

Get to know the author @schriscoe_ and the illustrator

They Just Know: Animal Instincts

TheyJustKnow_187How do some young animals know what to do and how to do it? Does someone teach a caterpillar what to eat? Who gives a baby shark swimming lessons? Sometimes young animals learn things from their parents, but other times… they just know! Explore animal instincts through engaging text and fanciful illustrations.

Get to know the author @RobinEggWrites and the illustrator 

Tortoise and Hare’s Amazing Race

TortoiseHare_187A retelling of the classic story with a math twist. Henry Hare was always bragging about how fast he was. One day he challenges Tessie Tortoise to a mile-long race up the hill. Henry leaps ahead for the first eighth of a mile. As Tessie approaches, he bounds ahead again. Fractions and distance measurements mark their progress as Tessie and Henry race to the finish line.

Get to know the author and the illustrator @Cathy_Morrison

Stay with us all week and enter to win each of these books! Also check out our Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for crafts and activities, author events and more!!

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12. Book Launch: The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea

HungriestMouthWho is the Hungriest Mouth in the Seas of the South? Where is the Seas of the South located? Find out in our For Creative Minds section linked below, but first meet the creator behind this fun and colorful book!

PeterWaltersPeter Walters lives in Cornwall England, but has traveled all over the world as an educator. He has helped children write their own picture books, but this is the first published picture book of his own. Find out what inspired Peter’s book and his art…

What was your incentive to write this particular book?

I can quite vividly picture where the journey of this book began. I was sitting on sandy dunes in Otago, NZ watching two brave yellow-eyed penguins scamper past a snoozing fur seal to a rocky alcove. I felt then that the richness of the environment and web of predators and prey was so detailed; that I believed it could so effectively engage with a child’s curiosity.

How has teaching children all over the world influenced your writing?

I am fortunate that my work with children has exposed me to a variety of cultures and it has always been fascinating to observe the role of the child and the attitude towards childhood wherever I have been. While I have seen many differences between cultures I have also witnessed traits that appear universal and I am certain the relationship children have with storytelling is one such trait. One other direct influence on my writing for children is their interaction and interest in the natural world. We of course, as a species, have an intimate relationship with nature and while the modern world increasingly obstructs the time children have to cultivate this relationship, the deep-routed curiosity that an image of a lion, eagle or dolphin generates still remains.

Learn more about Peter in his full author interview here, or dive into the For Creative Minds section to learn more about this wild habitat!


Leave a comment and enter to win a copy of The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea! 

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13. Book Launch: The Lucky Litter

LuckyLitterIt’s no secret; at Arbordale we are big fans of Jennifer Keats Curtis and her ability to write wonderful books about animals. This season she pairs up with John Gomes again to bring us The Lucky Litter: Wolf Pups Rescued from Wildfire. John’s beautiful photographs really bring out the personality in these cute pups and paired with Jennifer’s insightful words, this book is already getting praise…

“This is a charming tale full of child appeal for young readers who love true animal stories. The large font, bold type, and short but informative sentences make for easy, comfortable reading.” -Kirkus Reviews

Have you ever wondered how Jennifer begins a book, She was kind enough to share her process of creating The Lucky Litter:

JenniferCurtisLast year, a huge wildfire in Alaska consumed vast amounts of wilderness, forcing people and animals to leave their homes. I learned about this devastating fire from my buddy John Gomes, the Alaskan photographer with whom I’ve worked on Animal Helpers: Zoos and Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue. With John’s update came a tip –  the Alaska Zoo was expecting five wolf pups just rescued along the Funny River Horse Trail. John was looking forward to photographing the babies. Was there a story here?

I began gathering information about the pups and the rescue, tracking down the firefighters, wildlife biologists, vet, and keepers involved in helping these animals. I also connected with Alaska residents who had been affected by the fire. As it turned out, the adult wolves caring for those pups had been driven away by the heat of that massive fire. They were unable to return for the babies. Fortunately, a firefighter found one of the pups and rushed to get help. It is clear that Gannett, X-Ray, Huslia, Hooper, and Stebbins would not have survived without human intervention. There was indeed a story here. The Lucky Litter is the true story of the little pack’s survival.

This story almost wasn’t written. There was a question about whether wolves are a good topic for a children’s book. It turns out that people feel strongly about wolves and tend to fall into one of two camps: they love them or they hate them. Those who love wolves are awed by their power, beauty, and strength. Those who hate wolves believe these animals are frightening and view them as vicious, eating machines.

It is true that wolves are predators. But, they play a crucial role in the ecosystem. The gray wolf is a keystone species. A keystone is the big, important stone at the top of an arch that holds all of the other stones in place. The keystone anchors the structure so that it does not collapse. Keystone species are animals that help all of the other animals in an ecosystem stay in place. Gray wolves may be small in number but they play a big role from the top of the food chain all the way to the bottom. They help maintain the balance between predator and prey. When a keystone species is harmed, the entire ecosystem suffers. This important premise is beautifully shown in the video How Wolves Change Rivers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q) about the demise and reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park.

I am thrilled that this story has come to fruition. My goal in writing for children is to help young readers see what I’ve seen and learn what I’ve learned. For this book, I discovered a lot about wolves and wildfires. I had the opportunity to work with people who are making a difference in the lives of animals. The photos capture the personality of each of the wolves. What’s not to love?

Learn more about Jennifer and John’s work on the book’s page, but don’t forget to enter to win a copy of your own by commenting on this post!

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14. Book Launch: Sounds of the Savanna

SoundsSavannaTerry Catasús Jennings has a talent for taking a simple concept and telling a great story. In her newest book Sounds of the Savanna, Terry takes readers to the African plains and shows them how important sound is to the animals that live in this habitat.

Get to know a little more about Terry’s writing:

TerryJennings72How did you first become interested in writing, and writing for children’s picture books?

When I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott as a very young girl, I knew I wanted to be a writer, just like Jo March. I believe though, that I would have ended up being a writer even if I hadn’t read the book. Stories are always rolling around in my head. Whenever something happens I like to report on it, like writing a newspaper story, in my head. I also like to figure out why people may have acted in a particular way, so I take what happens and I figure out a plot line that may have led them to their actions. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? What I like best of all is figuring out the very best way to convey each message—the best words to use, how to form each sentence and that is especially important in a picture book. I love to use the rhythm of language when I write a picture book. It’s almost like writing a poem.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Look at the world with curiosity and try to figure out why things happen they way they do and why people act the way they do. Listen to people talk. Pay special attention to how they move. Capture a scene as if you were a movie camera and store it in your mind. You’ll use all those things that you have stored in your mind when you write your books.

You can read the full interview here!

But first here is a great roaring lion craft to go along with the book’s For Creative Minds section, check it out.

IMG_1112What you will need:

  • You can use felt or paper (for our mask we used paper).
  • You will need light brown, dark brown or black, A shade of red/pink, and white.
  • Scissors and a pencil
  • A large circle and small circular container for tracing
  • A stick, for ours we used a pipe cleaner
  1. On tan paper use the large circle and trace three circles in a heart shape pattern. Connect the two top circles to the bottom and cut out your back portion.
  2. On the same paper trace two circles connect them together at the top to form a straight line and cut those out. For the nose of your lion.
  3. On the dark brown or black paper use the smaller circle and repeat step one. This will form your open mouth.
  4. Again on the dark paper cut a triangle for the nose and then round the edges
  5. On the pink paper use the bottom of the open mouth form and trace the lower portion of the tongue. Use your small circle to overlap and form the heart shape of the top of the tongue.
  6. On white paper cut two narrow triangles.
  7. Glue the dark mouth to the background, glue the tongue in place and then the teeth. Glue the triangle nose onto the tan nose, then glue that on top of your lion mouth.
  8. Tape or glue a stick to the back and you have your finished roaring lion!

Leave a comment and enter to win a copy of Sounds of the Savanna!

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15. gary's garden launch!

Last night the Fleece Station studio was out in force to celebrate the launch of Gary Northfield's new comic book, Gary's Garden! You may recognise Gary's Garden as a frequent strip in The Phoenix Comic, one of the comics in there that the parents like as much as the kids do because it works on so many levels.

Elissa Elwick and I both wore Chompy the Caterpillar-themed garb. Gary's Garden makes the perfect prezzie for kids (say, 5+ with some help reading), adults who love nature and gardening, anyone who likes a good laugh. Buy it here a The Phoenix Comic online shop! Gary works so hard on these comic strips, has such great drawing skills an perfectly pitched comic timing; we're all very proud of him. Look, Lauren O'Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade) makes a perfect perch for Bob the Butterfly!

And here are the lovely Ficklings - David and Caro - who make it happen, at David Fickling Books, based in Oxford. It was also great to see Gary's Garden amazing designer Ness Wood (who also designed Jampires!), DFB's Phil Earle and John Dickinson. Jonathan Main and Justine Crow of Bookseller Crow in Crystal Palace hosted the party, and they've been great supporters of lots of our books, we love our indie. I love buying books from them, even online; they stock a great selection, including lots of beautiful graphic novels.

Gary's sister, Susannah Northfield, made the cake!

...Bits of which were consumed most elegantly by Gary and his partner Nicky Evans.

Speaking of elegance, just as David Fickling was giving his speech, a giant bird swooped down and placed a wafer upon his lips. We all bowed our heads for a moment of awed silence for this great book.

Gary made a big window display; here he is stage directing Nicky in setting it up.

There were a couple other Phoenix Comic people present: the fabulous Jamie Smart (Bunny vs Monkey, also out now as a book!) and the excellent Matt Baxter, who creates the Live from HQ strip with the Phoenix comic-character editorial crew. I didn't manage to get a photo of Jamie, but here's Matt. And you can just spot illustrator and app-creator Heather Kilgour over his shoulder! There were quite a few comics makers there that I didn't manage to photograph, including Francesca Cassavetti.

Hee hee, another hat photo.

This Thursday (called 'Super Thursday' in publishing) was also the official publication date for my book with David O'Connell, Jampires, and wow, a couple of them showed up!

It was really Gary's night, but we had a happy mix of new creative stuff.

I was very proud of my Chompy hat, made from a pencil case, foam balls and pipe cleaners from Poundland, some felt, a yoghurt pot and a coat hanger.

When creating Gary-themed characters, it's very important to get the wonky eyes right.

Before the launch, we went for a top-notch Afternoon Tea in Alex Milway and Katie Lee's garden (Gary lived with them for a couple years while he was working on Gary's Garden), and Dave and I brought along some of our local Butch Institute Jampires-themed jam.

Huge congratulations, Gary! Gary's Garden is amazing, and everyone, spread the word and help it fly off the shelves! And subscribe to The Phoenix Comic for ongoing Gary's Garden goodness.

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16. Review – Spud and Charli

Does your imagination ever run wild? I bet kids will have no difficulty answering this one and for me that answer is still an empathic, yes! Horse-obsessed Charli finds it difficult to rein in her run-away imagination too in Samantha Wheeler’s new novel for primary-aged readers, Spud and Charli. This story gallops full speed from […]

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17. cakes in space, the london invasion

Yesterday morning we had our Cakes in Space launch! And there were cake hats! Cakes with eyes! Cakes that were ALIVE....

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

The previous day, my co-author Philip Reeve and I had signed stock for indie bookshops and prepared for the next day's event, but we had no idea what sorts of life forms we'd encounter.

In the morning, my trusty companion, Stuart, and I travelled light years to Marylebone High Street to the space station that is Daunt Books.

And we were met by cakes! Cakes with eyes!

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

These fearsome creatures were carefully herded by cake wranglers from Oxford University Press, including Cecily, Camille Davis and Hattie Bayly.

Sweet wheat-based morsels clamped on to people's heads and wouldn't get off!

But somehow, these people took it in their stride...

...They couldn't seem to understand their peril.

In fact - shock horror - some of the visitors even ENCOURAGED the cakes in their ferocious tendencies.

I sensed these cakes had undue influence on their hosts.

Photo by Deadly Knitshade - whodunnknit.com

Fearless scientists that we are, Reeve and I took to the podium to investigate these strange happenings.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Philip demonstrated the wonder of SCIENCE, how in the future in Cakes in Space, people can insert protein sachets into the marvellous NOM-O_TRON and produce the most excellent food you can imagine. In Philip's case, it was a chocolate biscuit.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Of course, I had to jump in and try out this science of the future.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

I could envision MUCH more awesome treats than Philip, so I'd be sure to get something at least a hundred times better.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

But what was this? A carrot?!! ...Science is not all it's cracked up to be.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

This little girl was seriously skeptical. I expect she'll grow up and become the sort of scientist who relies on things like DATA and EVIDENCE, which is rather an odd concept.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

But those cakes were still lurking, so we delved into our carefully researched report and read out useful passages to the audience, warning them about their impending doom.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Now, I ought not to give away all the secrets of our research, but I can allude to a strange occurrence during the event, brought on by Visitors from Elsewhere, which left Philip struck to the heart with tragic loss. ...A moment of silence, please.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

To deal with these dangers in the future, we need TECHNOLOGY, mostly in the form of robots who look rather friendly. I drew a diagram of a Cakes in Space-featured robot named Pilbeam. And so that the schematics of this fine robot would not be forgotten by future generations, I had everyone draw Pilbeam along with me, implanting the robot's makeup directly into their brains.

And the implantation was successful, each diagram slightly altered so that the memory could not be wiped out by a single virus. (Clever, yes?)

Pictures by @LAWsomeTweets and Katie on Martin Hand's Flickr page

To lighten this dark, prophetic mood, Philip and I sang a ballad from the future, dating to just the time before everyone gets artsy-fartsy and starts singing only in binary.

What wonderous things these humans have wrought!

We practiced our Battle Cry of the Future, in case our defensive technology is not enough to ward off the killer cakes.

And still the cakes lurked, preferring the cranial regions.

Don't be deluded by their enticing appearance...

...these cakes have issues.

Photo by Rebecca Portsmouth - rebeccalouise.com

Despite the gloom and doom of the presentation, the front window display at Daunt Books Marylebone looked quite jolly. We suspect they may be in collusion with the killer cakes.

After our signing, Philip and I traveled with Norwegian starship captain Karoline Bakken to another satellite of Daunt.

Despite its rather old-fashioned facade, Daunt Books Highgate IS the future and houses a time machine in its basement.

The staff let us inscribe coded warnings for future generations in their Cakes in Space books but pretended not to know what we were talking about when we asked them about the time machine. So we left them, vowing to return when their secret could be revealed.

As we traveled, Captain Bakken lavished unwarranted affection on our captured cake. Being nice to cakes doesn't help anything, you ought to know. Eat the cake before it eats you, that's our motto.

Next stop: Daunt Books Holland Park.

But what is this? My co-pilot decided to go undercover, to wear CIVVIES, while I remained still properly clad in my fighting uniform. Obviously this is a sign of some overarching PLAN we have, but I can't tell you about it or I'll have to kill you.

Be aware. Be vigilant. Run to your nearest bookshop and snatch up a copy of Cakes in Space so that you, too, can be prepared for alien cake attack. You NEVER KNOW when they might strike. I will leave you with our public service broadcast:

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18. EVERBLAZE Official SoCal Launch Party Details

Wow--we are less than five weeks away from the release of EVERBLAZE!!!!

(*cue all the jumping and flailing and scrambling and panicking*)

So keep an eye on this blog--and the rest of my social media--because I have ALL KINDS of fun updates coming for you, including the pre-order swag giveaway you're all so eagerly waiting for, and my Fall tour dates.

But while that's all getting finalized, I wanted to share one event that's already set: The Official EVERBLAZE Lauch Party!!!!  Here's all the deets:

And in case that graphic isn't loading for some reason, here the details are again in plain text:

Monday, 11/3/14
7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble Montclair Plaza
5183 Montclair Plaza Ln.
Montclair, CA 91763

And yes--you're reading that date correctly. The official Launch party IS the day before EVERBLAZE comes out. So that means--if you come--you can buy your copy a day early!!!!! 

As if that weren't incredible enough, let me give you another AWESOME reason to be there. Everyone who comes to the official launch--and buys a copy of EVERBLAZE--will also be given one of these amazing Black Swan mirrors:

For those who don't live in SoCal, I *will* be raffling off a few of these mirrors at each of my tour stops. Plus there will be a few online giveaways during the weeks after release to give everyone a chance to enter for one. But this Launch Party is the only time they'll be given out to everyone at the event. And they'll be given out first come, first served, while supplies last. So if you're worried about getting one, better get there early. :)

There will also be some very special RAFFLE PRIZES! And CUPCAKES!! And SWAG. And BOOKS!!! So many shiny copies of EVERBLAZE!!!! And I'll be signing ALL of them!!!!! Who doesn't want to be a part of that?????

It'll be the perfect way to kick off launch week, and I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!! I hope to see you there! Mark your calendars for 11/3/14. It's going to be EPIC!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments section below.

And ....  that's it for now. But like I said in the beginning--stay tuned. I still have lots more events and giveaways and amazingness coming your way!! The next few weeks are going to be so much fun!  

((Team KEEPER Group Hug))

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19. Craft Book Recommendation – Writing Great Books for Young Adults

Writing Great Books for Young Adults Released – October 7, 2014 By Regina L. Brooks ISBN: 9781402293528 Trade Paperback/$14.99         Praise for Writing Great Books for Young Adults “Written from the perspective of an industry insider, the … Continue reading

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20. New Book by David Chuka – Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas

They’re back!Billy and Monster's Golden Christmas

The latest Billy and Monster book - Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas – will be published on November 25th and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.

So you might be wondering what the inspiration behind this latest book was?

Well, in writing this book I was looking to address that scenario that children (as well as adults) experience during Christmas, birthdays or any other occasion when they receive a gift(s). What happens when you don’t like the gift that you receive? Do you:

- Chuck the gift in the bin?

- Grit your teeth and pretend you like it?

- Thank the giver and show appreciation regardless of your impression of the gift?

It was this scenario I was looking to explore in this book and see how Billy would react to receiving a present he didn’t like.

Something else I’m happy to reveal in this book is the origin of Monster. We get to see in this book where Monster came from and get to meet his family.

This book contains all the great illustrations, dramatic moments, funny situations and wholesome lessons that you’ve come to expect in all the Billy books. Dare I say it but this might actually be the best one I’ve written and I’m happy to share it with you.Billy and Monster

I used a new illustrator for this project and his name is Renato. He’s a wonderful guy and brought a lot of energy and fun to each illustration.

Can I ask you a favour?

The book’s currently available to pre-order on Amazon and I would like you to get a copy today. Simply click the link below. It’s 99c at the moment but this will increase at some point once it’s published.

Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas on Amazon

On November 25th, when it’s published, it’ll be delivered to your Kindle device or app and I would like you to have a read and share it with your loved ones.Christmas Presents Once you’ve done that, please drop a review on Amazon saying what you liked/disliked/enjoyed about the book. Reviews go a long way in helping a book to be discovered by other readers. Your few words might just be what introduces a reluctant reader to Billy and Monster’s world and the joys of reading.

That’s all for now. Remember to grab your copy.

Your support means the world to me.

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21. Welcome to the world, EVERBLAZE!!!

I can't believe it's finally here--EVERBLAZE's launch date!! The day I hand my beautiful book baby over to you guys...

...and hope you love it as much as I do. And I cannot thank you enough for all your excitement and support leading up to this day!

((Team KEEPER Group Hug))

 I can't wait for you to see where Sophie's journey takes her. And I hope you laugh and cry and stay up too late, and come up with all kinds of crazy theories about what will happen next, because that means I did my job right.

I know many of you will read quick (in fact, some of you got your copies a couple of days early and already finished--which is extra amazing since this book is more than 600 pages long). And I KNOW that means you're going to immediately want book 4, and obviously you'll have to wait a bit (or, um... a year. *cue all the wailing*). But I promise book 4 will be worth it--I'm hard at work making it the best it can be. And in the meantime, you have EVERBLAZE to read again! (after all, it's a 600 page book, surely you missed a few details!) :)

If you've been following me here for a while, you know that I usually run a contest around launch time--and I swear, that contest IS coming. But not until I'm home from tour. So keep an eye out for that in a few weeks. And if you're in Colorado, Utah, Texas, or Arizona, I hope you'll come see me at my events! Here's where I'll be (or if that doesn't load, check my EVENTS PAGE):

I also have lots more fun extras and whatnot to share in the weeks and months ahead. Book 4 may be a year away, but there are LOTS of things to reveal in the meantime. So stick around and stay tuned. And in the meantime, to show you how much I <3 book:="" cloud="" commonly="" everblaze="" i="" in="" made="" most="" of="" p="" some="" the="" this="" used="" with="" word="" words="" you="">

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22. Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas Launch

It’s finally LIVE!Christmas Presents
My latest book - Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas - is now live on the Amazon store and you can grab a copy today for the early bird price of 99c or 77p.
Below is one of the reviews that the book had over the weekend
Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas is a cute little book with great illustrations. This book contains a great little life lesson about being thankful for the little things around you. You meet little Billy who gets a present that he feels is not as good as a present a cousin gets. He is jealous and does not say thank you. He is transported to the home of the Monsters where their happiness over the little things teaches Billy that happiness does not come from what you get but those around you.
Bonnie Rediske
If you bought a pre-order copy, Amazon must have sent it to your kindle or kindle app. Please download, read, share with family and friends. And before I forget, please leave a review once you’ve finished
reading on Amazon, GoodReads, Facebook etc.
Thanks for all your support and do have a Golden Christmas
Grab your copy at the link below


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23. The makings of a book launch by Tracy Alexander


I opted for a couple of weeks after the publication date for two reasons, because things have been known to not run smoothly at the printing stage, and because if I left it too long I'd lose the high that seeing the spines of your new book produces. I can never imagine people wanting to come at the end of the week when they could have a wild night out, so I picked a Tuesday.

Previous launches had been at Borders (such a shame it disappeared), and View Art Gallery in Bristol. This time I thought it would be more businesslike to go back to a bookstore so I chose Foyles in Cabot Circus. Robb, the events organiser, is also a drag queen so if you want a rather fabulous intro, he's the go-to man.

Invitations aren't my job. Luckily I live with clever people. Guest list was my job - I invited friends, teenagers aplenty, librarians, and every teacher I know. I didn't count the replies because I didn't want to set my expectations high and be disappointed. This is a head-in-the-sand approach. Robb asked me how many people were coming so he could order the stock. I answered with a well-considered lie.

Food and drink
I don't like messy food and books - it doesn't seem right. Majestic delivered red and white wine, fizzy pop and ice to the shop. I brought Maltesers and Flying Saucers (because there are drones in my book).

What to wear
Charity shops are the answer to everything. I invested £5 in a wee silver skirt.

There's something tricky, for me, about an audience of all ages, some that know you really well as a friend, and others that have met you briefly as an author. I was a bit nervous, despite being in the middle of a tour of secondary schools with audiences of up to 250 teenagers. Adopting the usual head-in-the-sand, I scribbled some notes at two in the afternoon, and arrived at Foyles at five with a postcard of drivel. 

How did it go?
Like a wedding, in a blur, but there were lots of people, lots of books sold and a satisfying level of laughter. By half-past seven the crowds had thinned and a group of us headed over to Giraffe for something with chips.

Was it worth it?
I know not everyone has a launch, but I think the arrival of a book, knowing the ups and downs of the process, is something worth celebrating, but that's not to say I'm not pleased when it's over.

Tracy Alexander

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24. Can You Smell What DC is Cooking?

Before I let you know what’s cooking, I’d like to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve done something I’ve always wanted to do and some of my fans have asked me to and that is to publish a boxset of the Billy and Monster books.The Billy and Monster Collection Included in this boxset are the first five books in the Billy and Monster series. They are:

Billy and the Monster who Loved to Fart

Billy and Monster: The Superhero with Fart Powers

Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

Billy and Monster’s New Neighbor Has a Secret

Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas

Over the weekend, I posted the cover you see to the right on my Facebook page and asked family, friends, authors and fans to let me know what they think. One recurring theme was that the grey color was a bit dull so I’ve asked my designer to change it to a brick red and I know that is really going to stand out. If you have any thoughts, I’d be interested to hear them.

I have to admit that the driving force behind me doing this boxset was because I wanted to covert it to an audiobook. I use a company called acx.com (an affiliate of Amazon) to do my audiobooks and will be working with a professional voice-over artist over the next month to give Billy and Monster a voice. Can’t wait to share that with you.

#BREAKINGNEWS You can actually get a copy of this boxset at the link below!

The Billy and Monster Collection

Thanks for all your support. It’s much appreciated.

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25. Guess whose now on Apple, Nook and Kobo?

One of the big takeaways (for me) from attending the London Book Fair last year was to publish my books to multiple platforms. Now, when I started this journey as a children’s book author, I had my books exclusively on Amazon.Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

Why you may ask?

Well, the Amazon platform was very simple to use and Amazon had wonderful perks for newbie authors like myself that made publishing exclusively to their platform a no-brainer. Plus, and I believe this is still the case, most eBooks are downloaded from the Amazon Kindle store.

Well, things have changed and let’s just say the publishing world has changed a bit since 2012, warranting a change of strategy from myself. I hope to reach new readers and fans by having my books on other Online retail channels. It’s been a gradual process but I’m happy to say you can now get the books below on Apple, Kobo, Nook, Barnes and Noble and Scribd.

Billy and Monster: The Superhero with Fart Powers

Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

Billy and Monster’s New Neighbor Has a Secret

Kojo the Sea Dragon Gets Lost

Counting to Ten and Sharing My Easter Eggs

I’ll be migrating more titles in the days to come. Would love to know what Online channel you download your eBooks from.

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