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This week I'm joining the Start with a Book
blog tour organized by Amy over at Show Me Librarian.
It was an easy yes when Amy asked if I might be interested in participating. The Start with a Book
site is so rich I almost feel like a millionaire when I am using it. So.much.at.my.fingertips.
As busy librarians, we juggle so many balls in the air - desk work, programming, budgets, selection, displays, outreach, planning and more. So time is often precious no matter what size library we work at. With summer around the corner, the speed of the balls increases exponentially.
When I discovered this resource, a project of Reading Rockets
, my work got immeasurably easier. While the site supports parents and caregivers, it a treasure trove for librarians as well. I'd like to sprinkle some gold and jewels on one of my favorite parts of the website: the 24 Learning Summer Themes
.Once there we are greeted by lots of fresh-faced and diverse children ready to take us on incredibly rich adventures in math, science, social studies - all with strong literacy support.
Pick a theme, click, and scream with happiness! You find a list of excellent book titles for multiple ages that can be used as a selection tool to strengthen your collection or to pull for a display inhouse if you already own them at the library. You also discover a nifty downloadable pdf "Reading Adventure Pack" that supplies activities, questions and information on effectively using both fiction and non-fiction books for kids. These packs could easily be put together and made available to your families to check out.
Each theme also has a number of resources featuring more activities, videos, apps and exemplary websites for kids and families to browse to learn more information. One of the perks of this portion of the theme is it lays out rich content that can be easily used to build programs for kids at the library. Everything in the themes truly underscores literacy and adventure for kids.
It's almost a steal to have this kind of resource at our fingertips as librarians. If you haven't been here before, be sure to dig into this treasure chest of ideas not only for summer but also year round!
Read the rest of this post
Ok let's get totally awesome here!
Today, I’m participating in the blog series, “Show Me the Awesome!” that was started by Kelly
, and Sophie
. It's a chance to step up and talk about something special that you've done or want to promote, for instance. For more AWESOME, please check over at their sites for the official link-up. Also, don’t forget the tag #30awesome on Twitter, Tumblr, Vine and/or Instagram if you’re liking what you’re reading and want to talk about it!
One of the things I'm proudest of in my career is my success building partnerships and working with public schools in my communities. I didn't think too much about it until I started to tune into the fact that colleagues seemed to have far fewer happy collaboration stories than I did.
Not only far fewer happy stories but also far more horror stories. Did I just always luck out and get jobs in great communities with uber-responsive schools? Hmmm. I don't think so.
My secret has been confidence, dogged persistence and patience. Each time I move into a community, I make appointments to meet individually with all the principals for a chat. I also meet with school media colleagues. If I have a question about the reading curriculum, I meet with the reading teachers. If I am wondering about a policy or subject being taught with third graders I reach out to those teachers. I drive wherever in the school district I need to go to be there rather than asking the staff to come find me.
What is the subject of most of these meetings? I introduce myself. I ask, "What can I do for you?" and we chat about the library and their dreams, concerns, pressures and how we might work together. I don't bring ideas as much as let my colleagues know I am there to support them and make magic happen when they are ready.
Everybody is my potential partner and colleague - not just LMC colleagues - but everybody.
I work with and will put together or join in meetings with reading coordinators, LMC folks, curriculum folks, principals, grade level teachers to talk about mutual concerns and mull ideas. If I can't get my foot in the door, I enlist my director or a board member with strong school ties to help me open the door.
One director set up a meeting with the principals, curriculum director, LMC folks, superintendent that resulted in decades of positive collaborative work (mutual programs, schools presenting programs at the library, school vans delivering library materials to the schools, shared collections and more). The tenor was so positive that staffers took it for granted that we would be there for them and the partnerships were dynamic - kids won far more than we did in this situation.
I also chat with classroom teachers who come into the public library - listen to what they need and ask for suggestions for what we might do to help them in their work. I make sure that I have at least one school staff advocate for the public library in every school and we build from there. I make sure that I am there for them as much as they are there for me. Ideas have to be created equally and honored equally. Listening and creating together is key.
If the relationship works, I also meet with our school superintendent as a colleague - not as a lesser asking to speak with someone far above me - but as an equal. I make the case for our mutual work in literacy and how the public library is the school's best friend. And on we go from there.
Is it easy? No, it takes time, the ability to listen and understand needs far different than our public library needs. It takes commitment and the ability to keep knocking on doors until the first one opens. Once that starts, more doors open and then more. Partnership ideas sprout up and success builds on success.
Another key ingredient: I don't make demands or work on a proposal before I meet with school folks. First we just chat and look for mutual areas of benefit. From that point we start to explore ideas for action . It's a delicate dance to honor both of our needs and perspectives but once started, it just keeps rolling. I often hear people say "Well, I created this and brought it to the schools, and nobody liked it or wanted it." Creating on your own in a partnership isn't a collaboration- it's looking in the mirror. It may please you, but will it really answer a need that schools have?
When I moved to my present job almost five years ago, I had alot of trepidation. I left a hugely strong collaborative partnership of decades at my last job. There was a little collaboration happening at this new job with the schools. Could I start all over to strengthen the ties and encourage my team? The answer is a resounding yes. First with one principal who opened the door to others. Then with a couple of the LMC people who met and planned with us. Now with classroom teachers. Once more the partnerships and collaboration are growing and strengthening. My team is stepping up and out as partners and developing even stronger ties and initiatives.
I think my mantra on this is from the Galaxy Quest movie: "Never give up; never surrender". It's what has made the collaboration with schools an ever-present awesome in my work. To see more tips, stop by my recent series
on real-world, real-life suggestions for collaborative work. It can be done and we all can be awesome at it!
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
ISBN: 1442421622 | 9781442421622
Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.
So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.
But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.
You can enter to win Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below.
Check out the rest of the blogs on the tour schedule, too. Good luck!
I was tagged by my friend Jennifer Marsh Morris to participate in a blog tour. I've known Jennifer several years now (hell we were even roomies at a conference) and she's ALWAYS busy! She has two books out soon: the first is called The Ice Cream Shop. It's being released by Scholastic next summer (2014) A second book called The Sea Monster is scheduled for the fall. Here are the critters who inspired the stories ...
... read more about Jenn's books here http://jemorris.blogspot.com/2013/04/i-was-tagged-by-my-friend-sue-fliess-to.html
Here are the questions that I am supposed to answer...
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The title is 'One Word Pearl
' written by Nicole Groeneweg.
2) Where did the book idea come from for the book?
Nicole is the winner of The National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation Annual National Children’s Book of the Year Award Contest - the winning book is published by Charlesbridge Publishing. It's a very cute story about a little girl who loves to collect words!
3) What genre does your book fall into?
It's a picture book.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm ... I think it would be an animated story. I am thinking Emma Watson for Pearl.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Pearl loves to collect words and uses them whenever she can - until one day the words go crazy and chaos ensues!
6) Who is publishing your book?
Mackinac Island Press, an imprint of Charlesbridge.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
In this case the manuscript was already written, so my job was to create a rough layout of the book which took me about 2 weeks.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think Pearl would relate to Madeline, Fancy Nancy, Lady Bug Girl.
9) Who or what inspired you to write and/or illustrate this book?
Pearl reminded me of ME in a way, I was always cutting out words and pictures and making up stories when I was young, so it wasn't hard to relate. The story also allowed me to work in a more abstract way with some of the images and with collage, the language used is a lot of fun and inspiring!
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Definitely the use of words. This is a great book for teachers to use with young children, to get them thinking about words and how they can be used in with the core curriculum. I hope the reader will enjoy the fun pictures too!
Pearl is available on pre-order http://www.amazon.com/One-Word-Pearl-Nicole-Groeneweg/dp/1934133531/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1366981322&sr=8-1
Check back soon for another author illustrator to link to in this blog tour....
I'm doing a blog tour this week and next. Hope you can drop by one of these sites. A few of them have giveaways, so you can enter for a chance to win my book, Unraveled.
15 – Spotlight @ Dana’s YABook Pile
15 – Guest Blog and Giveaway @ A Little Bit of R & R
17 – Spotlight and GIveaway @ The Rambling’s of a Toddler’s Mom
17 – Interview @ Laurie’s Non-paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
18 – Spotlight & Review @ Lindsay’s Scribblings
18 – Spotlight @ The Bootheel Cotton Patch
19 – Spotlight & Extended Excerpt @ Laura Diamond
19 – Guest Blog & Review @ My Guilty Obsession
22 – Guest Blog @ Karen Y.Bynum
24 – Interview & Review @ Out There Reviews and Stuff
25 – Interview & Review @ Girls Heart Books
26 – Spotlight & Review @ Falling into Reading Reviews
29 – Spotlight @ New Age Mama
30 – Character Post & Review & Giveaway @ Reader Girls
(Post from Autumn's Point of view: What makes a great FBI profiler and what she expects to gain from becoming one?)
Please welcome debut author Clare M. Caterer to GreenBeanTeenQueen! She's currently on her blog tour to celebrate the release of her middle grade debut, The Key and the Flame. I asked Clare to share her thoughts on libraries!
Thanks so much to Sarah for letting GreenBeanTeenQueen host a stop on my blog tour! Sarah asked me to talk some library love, so I’m paying homage to two special libraries I know.
When I was 22 years old, I was a walking cliché: Midwestern girl with big-city dreams. Two days after receiving my college diploma, I hopped a plane to New York City, where I intended to get a job and become a famous writer.
New York is a tough town to hang out in all by yourself. I knew no one, had no job, and the culture shock was extreme, though I never admitted it at the time. Still, I knew I needed to find a home base, somewhere I could feel like myself.
So of course I went to the library.
Even my cocky, I’ll-conquer-the-world attitude was humbled by this library. You know the one I mean: that grand, yawning building guarded by stone lions and opening into glorious, chandeliered interiors.
It’s not a cozy place with armchairs and reading nooks. It’s intimidating. But that’s what I loved: I walked into it and felt small, just like I did when I was a kid in my small-town library, feeling the awe-inspiring weight of all those unread books. Despite its churchlike literary opulence, the NYPL was home. It held amazing secrets in its dusty back rooms full of ancient manuscripts. I could find anything there. I could hold in my hands letters written by a World War I doughboy to his girl back home. One entire room was devoted just to maps, for God’s sake.
And like an alcoholic set loose on Bourbon Street, I marveled that another library was right down the block—the smaller, friendlier Mid-Manhattan Library. Here I could take home Jane Austen and Stephen King for free. All the books I’d been forced to leave behind in Kansas were here waiting for me in hushed rooms shielded from harsh voices and honking taxicabs.
When I was swindled out of $200, when I was grinned at by gin-soaked men, when I wondered what I was doing in New York and why I didn’t go home, I wandered into the NYPL to feel that familiar weight of more books than I could ever read. I didn’t need to go back to Kansas City. I had my own chair under the window at the library. It was right there in the fiction section of the children’s room, where I could curl up, pull down a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and know that I’d come home.
photo credits from top: 1. NYPL exterior by Ken Thomas (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons; 2. NYPL Maps Division by GK tramrunner229 (own work), reusable under GFDL orCC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; 3. NYPL, Mid-Manhattan branch, by Beyond My Ken (own work), reusable under GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
I really think that Clare and I are kindred spirits! We both moved to big cities after college (although I went to Chicago) from the same Midwest town and both found refuge and comfort in the library! What a wonderful story!
About The Key and The Flame: Holly wants an adventure. So when her family travels to England, Holly is sure that an adventure awaits. When they arrive, the elderly caretaker of their cottage gives Holly a gift-a key. Holly soon discovers this key is no ordinary key, but has the ability to unlock another world where magic is outlawed and Holly is mistaken for an adept-one who practices magic and must be hunted. When her brother Ben and friend Everett are kidnapped by a ruthless king, Holly must discover the magic within herself to have the adventure she's been waiting for!
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Ok, first off, big props to the Simon & Schuster marketing team for creating an awesome cover. I was reading this book in bed one evening when Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan (who is notoriously picky about his books) picked this one and said "that looks interesting and it has a great cover!" So anytime you can get him to pick up a book, extra points from me!
The Key and the Flame is an epic adventure that tween readers of fantasy will love. With echoes of Narnia, tweens will love the fantastical worlds, creatures and medieval setting that Holly, Ben and Everett find themselves in. The story started off a bit slowly for my taste, but once it got going and the trio found themselves in a magical world, the plot picked up and the adventure was non-stop. There is a full cast of characters that awaits readers and the story is full of magical surprises.
If you have tween readers who are wanting the next fantasy series to get hooked on, give them The Key and the Flame for a nice blend of magic, friendship, and history.
Book Pairings: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from finished copy sent by the publisher for review
& giveaway contest
Judy Mandel’s story begins years before she is born. A horrifying accident begins the string events ultimately leading to Judy’s birth and her story Replacement Child
. A plane crashed into the family’s home, leaving one daughter severely burned and another dead. The death of the child leaves a hold in the family that threatens to tear it apart. In an attempt to fill the painful gap, her parents give birth to Judy, their “replacement child.”
In this powerful story of love and lies, family and hope, Judy L. Mandel tells the story of being the child brought into the world to provide “a salve for the burns.” As a child, she unwittingly rides the deep and hidden currents of her family’s grief—until her discovery of this family secret, years later, changes her life forever, forcing her to confront the complex layers of her relationships with her father, mother, and sister.Paperback:
Seal Press; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)ISBN-10:
978- 1580054768Twitter hashtag:
is available as a print book at Amazon
and Barnes and Noble
.Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Replacement Child
, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, April 5 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!About the Author:
Judy Mandel's writing life began as a reporter. She later worked in public relations and advertising and somehow found herself in corporate communications at various insurance companies, where she earned a living for 20 years. Her memoir, Replacement Child
, grew out of early essays and the promise she made to her family to tell the story.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Judy's website: http://www.judymandel.com/Home.html
Replacement Child website: http://replacementchild.com/Home.html
Judy's Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/judy.mandel
Replacement Child Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ReplacementChild
-----Interview by Crystal OttoWOW: Judy, when you originally started writing your memoir what was your goal for the project? Were you initially intending to write a book for publication or did you think of it more as a personal exercise or capturing family history for your children? Judy:
I always thought of it as a book that would be published. At the same time, I looked at it as a way to give my son an understanding of who I am, and a view of how his life may still be effected by his family history.WOW: Geneology is popular right now, what advice would you give to others as they piece together their own family histories?Judy:
I didn’t happen to use any of the geneology tools that some use, but I would say that stories emerge from the details of a family history. The general facts are usually not that interesting, it’s the individual stories of relationships that I think make for the best family histories.WOW: What made you decide to seek publication for your story?Judy:
People have always been intrigued by the story. You read headlines like this every day. Shootings, accidents, plane crashes like the one in my book. But those people disappear from our view after a day or two. The news marches on and we lose track of the lives that have been changed forever by that news event. I felt that the long view aftermath of a tragic event, and how it changes the lives of those involved, possibly for generations, was an important story to tell.
The story of my parents struggling through the grief of losing their seven-year-old daughter, nursing their two-year-old back to health and then through years of reconstructive surgery—that was part of the story I knew would give others hope. My sister Linda, who survived the plane crash and fire, but suffered for much of her life as a result, is a story of courage that I felt a responsibility to tell. As with any courageous tale, it gives us all strength.
Then, after making the connection to being a replacement child, I also realized that my story could be helpful for other replacement children who have had no clue to the origins of some of their own personality traits and life choices. There truly is no support group for replacement children, or much recognition of their issues.WOW: Judy, how do you feel about your place in the family after having written Replacement Child? Judy:
It is comforting to realize through the writing that I was indeed some kind of healing force, especially for my mother. My relationship with my father was complicated, but I have found peace with that as well as I understood more about what he went through. Since my sister’s Linda’s death, who died in 2009, I think I relate most to the quote from Job in the bible: “I alone am left to tell you” the story.WOW: Was it difficult to face emotions and truths about your family while writing Replacement Child or did you find it healing?Judy:
Both really. It was almost like a magic trick that I would write my memories of certain incidents and would see a new truth emerge. When I had just begun writing and understanding some of my complex feelings toward my father, it was painful when I realized that in some way he resented me for not being his first born daughter. It was definitely a journey to come out the other side of that hurt. My mother’s secrets were not as unsettling as you might imagine. Writing through some of our times together was a pleasure that kept her with me through that part of the work. I was actually sorry to let it go.WOW: The memoir genre is experiencing a boom in popularity. Why do you feel so many readers are drawn to memoir? Do you enjoy reading memoir and if so, do you have any favorite authors or books?Judy:
Real life is still fascinating. As they say, “you can’t make this stuff up.” In fiction, if you told some of the stories that are actually true, people would say they were too far-fetched and could never happen. In memoir, there is no arguing whether it could have happened or not, because it did! I do enjoy a good memoir. The Liars' Club
by Mary Karr is my favorite. I love her down to earth, quirky voice.WOW: You started out self-publishing your memoir. Could you tell us why you decided to go that route? Was it difficult marketing your book on your own? If you could give our readers a bit of advice you learned while marketing your book what would you tell them?Judy:
I self-published Replacement Child
after I had no success finding an agent to represent it after a year of queries. There were very nice rejection letters, mostly saying they liked it but didn’t think they could sell it. I felt strongly about the book, and its potential readership, and went ahead with self-publishing. The best thing I did was to hire a professional editor. I have thirteen full revisions of the manuscript still in a cabinet in my office. And, yes, marketing a self-published book is not easy, although it’s getting easier. Since I first self-published in 2009 things have changed quite a bit. More and more are being picked up by traditional publishers, and more reviewers are open to them. My biggest piece of advice is to be persistent and pursue all avenues available for marketing a self-published book. Do your own book tour, start a blog, be engaged on Facebook and Twitter, do as much publicity as you can, or hire someone to do it.WOW: How did you eventually hook-up with a traditional publisher?Judy:
My eBook picked up speed and sold around 14,000 copies in three months and was still selling steadily when I reached out to an agent I had met four years earlier at a writers conference. She had been receptive to the manuscript but didn’t take it on at that time. Now, with the sales coming in, she took a fresh look and sold it quite quickly.WOW: Do you have a preference for self-publishing or traditional publishing?Judy:
Given the option, I would prefer traditional publishing. There is still a measure of credibility, still an easier road for reviews and being present in bookstores. And, I’ve had a wonderful experience with my publisher and my agent.WOW: What are you writing now?Judy:
I’m working on a couple of projects. One is a novel, and the other non-fiction concerning replacement children.WOW: What words of encouragement would you give someone trying to put together the pieces of their family’s history? Judy:
Start with the stories you know. If you are lucky enough to have members of your family around, pick their brains for family history details and follow the breadcrumbs. Start writing the memories that resonate with you the most. You can put things in a structure later. Write every day and revise and edit each piece until you are pleased with it as a stand-alone section or chapter.
Give yourself time. Let chapters sit for a week and then go back and look at them with a fresh eye. Read your pieces out loud. You’ll be amazed at what you find that you don’t see on the printed page. I always proof my work in hard copy and then read it out loud.
Also, try to see the arc of your story as early in the process as you can, but be patient. It may take time for it to emerge.WOW: What or who was most helpful as you put your memoir into print?Judy:
That’s an easy one. By far, it was my husband who encouraged me and believed in me. He was my first reader for everything, even though people warned me against that. I am positive that I would not have had the faith in my writing if it hadn’t been for him. Of course, there were others who were instrumental, like my sister Linda. She had some of the information I didn’t know.WOW: What's the most useful piece of writing advice you've ever received?Judy:
Not to expect your first draft of anything to be great. It takes editing and revising to create good writing.
----------Blog Tour Dates Monday, April 1 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/Thursday, April 4 @ Words by Webb
Stop by to find out what Jodi has to say about Replacement Child
, a memoir about complicated family dynamics, by Judy Mandel. http://jodiwebb.comWednesday, April 10 @ CMash Reads
Don't miss Cheryl's take on Replacement Child
, a memoir about love, loss, and family by Judy Mandel and a chance to win your own copy!http://cmashlovestoread.com/ Monday, April 15 @ Choices
Today is your chance to hear from Madeline about her thoughts on Replacement Child
, a memoir of growing up as the replacement child by Judy Mandel. http://madeline40.blogspot.com/ Wednesday, April 17 @ Tiffany Talks Books
Don't miss Tiffany talking about her thoughts after reading Replacement Child
by Judy Mandel. This is a great memoir about family and loss.http://tiffanytalksbooks.com Tuesday, April 23 @ All About Audry
Stop by to learn more about Judy Mandel, author of the memoir about family, Replacement Child
.http://www.allthingsaudry.blogspot.com Thursday, April 25 @ Mrs. Mommy Booknerd
Fact or Fiction? That's the topic today with memoir writer Judy Mandel, author of Replacement Child
.http://mrsmommybooknerd.blogspot.com/Thursday, May 2 @ White Elephants
Enter to win a copy of Replacement Child
by Judy Mandel and find out what Chynna has to say about this memoir about life, loss, and love from a child born into a family that had suffered the loss of a
daughter. http://www.seethewhiteelephants.com/Friday, May 3 @ Memory Writers Network
Enjoy an interview with writer Judy Mandel and discover why she felt the need to write her memoir, Replacement Child
.http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/Tuesday, May 7 @ National Association of Memoir Writers
Stop by to learn more about a riveting memoir, Replacement Child
, and its author Judy Mandel.http://www.namw.org/
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar
. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Giveaway Contest:
Enter to win a copy of Replacement Child
! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget this Friday, April 5.a Rafflecopter giveaway
YOU GUYS! So, I don't do that many blog tours, because they can be work. But occasionally I do, usually for an author I'm already a huge fan of.
The good people at Albert Whitman approached me for this one and it said I could interview the author. I COULD INTERVIEW HILARY MCKAY. Fortunately, they asked over email, and not in person, so they didn't see my stunned stammering followed by my ecstatic happy dance.
Then it took me FOREVER to come up with questions, because all I really wanted to ask was "what's your secret to being totally awesome?" and "Is Saffy real, and if so, can I be her second-best friend (after Sarah)?"
Luckily (for you), I pulled it together. I reviewed McKay's latest, the Lulu books, yesterday.
Questions about Lulu:
Lulu is known for animals. At the beginning of Lulu and the Dog from the Sea, she has "two guinea pigs, four rabbits, one parrot, one hamster, a lot of goldfish, and a rather old dog named Sam." She's also not your only character to have a backyard menagerie (the Cassons, for instance). How many pets do you have? What animal have you always wanted as a pet, but are unable to have?
At the moment I have only one cat and a lot of goldfish. I am looking out for a puppy but it has to be the right one. In the past, especially when my children were younger, we have had rabbits (several) hamsters (three) guinea pigs (two) dogs (two) hedgehog (one) tortoise (one). As a child I longed for a donkey, but I have got over this now.
What is Lulu's dream pet? Where would Lulu's parents draw the line at what she could adopt, even if she did clean up after it?
Well, Lulu isn't silly! I think she would probably like all sorts of wild and interesting animals in her life, but perhaps not as pets. Maybe she will end up working in conservation. She is very interested in animal welfare.
I think her parents might draw the line at snakes. In a later book in the series a snake is mentioned and her mother is not enchanted.
In the illustrations, Lulu is a person of color, even though this is never mentioned in the text. How did you convey this factor to your editor and illustrator?
I said "Let's make Lulu black." And they said, "Yes okay." So we did.
Will we see more of Lulu?
I hope so! There are six books out here and I have two more to write.
Questions about your work in general:
You've written for a wide variety of ages, from picture books to YA. What's your favorite age-range to write for? How hard is it to switch between age-ranges?
My favourite age range is the 10+ books, when you can be a bit more self indulgent with jokes and descriptions and hope the reader hangs on with you. I think books for younger readers are much harder- you need an equally strong plot and characters, but you have fewer words to achieve your end. Illustrations help. Priscilla Lamont's Lulu illustrations have been a wonderful asset to the stories.
Which one of your characters is your favorite? Whose voice refuses to leave your head?
I don't have a favourite character- or at least not a perennial favourite. There are some that I have become very fond of. Lulu is one (and Mellie is another). I have a grumpy young lad in my latest book who has stolen my heart at the moment!
English-English and American-English are not the same, which can cause issues for Americans, especially new readers. The Lulu books have been 'translated' into American. How much of your work in general gets this treatment? How do you feel about it?
I should say that at least three quarters of my work eventually makes its way across the water. The translations are minimal, and I rarely find them difficult. We have a lot of American culture over here, don't forget; films and tv and music, perhaps more than goes back the other way, so the American editions feel quite familiar. (I wonder a lot more about the translations into languages I have no hope of reading! Chinese, Korean, Arabic- I look at the pretty writing and hope for the best!) Also, I was brought up on American children's literature- everything from Alcott onwards. Laura Ingalls, Eleanor Estes, LM Montgomery (okay, Canadian there), Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and lots more. Ursula le Guin. So in some ways I feel quite at home.
How do I feel about it? Thrilled. Enchanted. Privileged.
Questions about you:
If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were Lulu's age, what would say?
Things were not good for various small reasons when I was Lulu's age. I would say, 'It'll be all right in the end.'
What are you currently reading?
Sara Wheeler The Magnetic North
What are you currently watching?
Grey light across the valley. I wish Spring would come!
What are you currently listening to?
Nothing. I can hear a blackbird singing, far away traffic, my daughters flute, and the washing machine.
Thank you so much for stopping by!
Tomorrow, Hilary McKay will be at Bring on the Books. You can see her full tour schedule here. I especially want to highlight her excellent post about libraries that appeared earlier in the week on GreenBeanTeenQueen.
Want to win a signed copy of a Lulu book for your very own? (The answer is OF COURSE I DO, JENNIE!) Fill out the form below and I'll pick a winner next weekend!
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You know that scene in Disney's Snow White when all of the forest creatures gather around Snow, and she sings A Smile and a Song? I feel as though Hilary McKay's newest protagonist, Lulu, would appreciate that scene. I know I do. Pretty much every time an animal crosses my path, I say hello. Whether that animal has two legs, four legs, or a tail matters not; I greet most passersby and wish them well.
Sadly, I am not hugging a deer as I type this post. Happily, I did have the chance to speak author Hilary McKay about her animal-friendly characters and her past and future stories.
The protagonist of your latest series, Lulu, has a wonderful way with animals of all kinds. What inspired this series? Have any of your own pets, past or present, wiggled their way into the books?
Yes, I grew up with pets as a child: dogs and rabbits, birds and guinea pigs, and a pet hedgehog rescued from a bonfire (named Bonny!) Everything except cats, because my father could not bear cats. It has been just the same with my own children (only we have a cat as well). Naturally, they found their way into my stories - in fact, my daughter's hamster and its epic journey across rooftops and inside wallspaces gave me the entire plot for the sixth of the Lulu series, LULU AND THE HAMSTER ON THE ROOF.
How many books are currently planned for the series?
There are six books here in the UK, and I have two more to write.
(Note for American readers: Book #3, Lulu and the Cat in the Bag will be available fall 2013.)
You are known for your books about the Casson family - Rose, Saffy, Caddy, Indigo. Do you have siblings who resemble any of the Cassons?
No, I don't have siblings who resemble the Cassons. Nor do my own children resemble them, or their friends. Deliberately. They would not appreciate being used as book-stuffing! But on the other hand, we do have guitar players, and drawing-on-the-wall artists, and animal lovers, so how can I truly say? I suppose I borrow little bits from time to time.
Which character is the most like you?
Which is the most like me? None of them. They are all much nicer than me.
Your novel Wishing For Tomorrow is a Sequel to A Little Princess. What moved you to write this story?
I always loved this story, and when my daughter was very little I read it to her and she loved it too. One of her many questions was, 'What happened next?" And so I did wrote the book for her, but also for me, because I also wanted to know what happened next.
Did you have to get the rights/clearance to write the sequel?
I did not.
Which of your novels has taken the longest to write?
I have written so many books that I really cannot remember which has taken the longest. Even after I finish them there is still so much work to be done with cover art and illustrations and things like that. They generally take a couple of years, start to finish.
What do you do when you have writer's block - or when it's tough to sell a story?
Writer's block is hard. I go for walks. I make the characters speak in a different way -- write a diary or a letter, have a conversation etc. I doodle!
It's never been tough to sell a story. I sold my first and went on from there. I've always had somebody wanting to publish my work. I have been lucky, lucky, lucky, and met the right people at the right time. I am very aware of that.
Are you working on anything presently?
Yes, I am working on two more Lulu stories and a sequel to my latest longer novel, Binny For Short, which is already out here in the UK and will be published in the US this summer.
Ask (and answer) a question you always wish someone would ask you, but no one ever does.
Would you like wings to fly? Yes, please.
Name ten of your all-time favorite books.
Well, I will name five, just in case by the end of this tour I am listing dozens!
The Once and Future King (T H White)
The Worst Journey in the World (Apsley Cherry Garrard)
The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)
David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)
Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein)
Tomorrow's tour stop is Biblio File.
Follow Hilary McKay's blog tour.
Visit Hilary's website.
Please welcome Hilary McKay to GreenBeanTeenQueen! I am so excited to share her newest books, The Lulu Series, with everyone. Lulu is a seven-year-old who loves animals. The rule in Lulu's house is the more the merrier, as long as Lulu cleans up after them!
In Lulu and the Duck in the Park, during a class trip the park Lulu discovers an egg that needs help hatching. Her teacher has told everyone no more animals in class, but Lulu can't leave the duckling egg alone!
In Lulu and the Dog From the Sea, Lulu and her family vacation to a cottage by the sea. They discover a stray dog who everyone in the town is trying to catch and Lulu believes she can be the one to tame him.
This series is charming and adorable and perfect for beginning readers. Each book is about 100 pages and is full of beautiful illustrations on almost every page. The writing is wonderful and never sounds too simple or talks down to the reader and I think new independent readers will feel like they are reading a very smart chapter book when they read this series. Lulu reminds me a bit of Clementine-getting into some silly adventures and she's very passionate. I think she'll easily earn her place among the spunky, plucky girl characters that fill beginning chapter book series.
What made the Lulu books stand out for me was Lulu and her cousin Mellie. They have a very sweet friendship and even though they are very different, they are the best of friends. I also adored Lulu's passion for animals. Each book is a new adventure with Lulu and a new animal and her love for animals shines through on the pages.
I also really appreciated the fact that this series features multiracial characters without it ever being an issue. This is much needed in children's lit, especially books for beginning readers.I can't wait to give these to my young library readers who love The Puppy Place series and want books about animals-the Lulu books are sure to a be a hit!I asked Ms. McKay to share her thoughts on libraries:
I was lucky with libraries growing up. There was one within walking distance, on the way to school. Looking back, having seen more beautiful libraries, it was a utilitarian affair: steel shelves, hard wooden seats, and a most unfriendly librarian. At the time this did not strike me at all; it had a delicious smell of polish and paper, books by the thousand and it was beautifully quiet. I think nowadays quietness is less fashionable in children’s libraries, but after the noise of four children in a very small house it was lovely to me. My sisters and I visited it very often. We were allowed four books each, so that was sixteen. They usually lasted us about three days. Our most popular authors, such as Joan Aiken, Arthur Ransome, L M Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Noel Streatfield caused many quarrels, and much clutching of the-book-to-be-read-next to indignant bony chests before it was seized by a predatory sister. We were all very bad sharers. One of my sisters used to read on her stomach, her entire pile shoved underneath her. I often went so far as to stow them under my sweater. Anyone would have thought there was a shortage of books, but there was not; there was a limitless supply. How lucky we were, how little we knew that we were so lucky, but if ever a library was appreciated, that one was, and I remember it now with love, steel shelves, hard seats, unfriendly librarian included.
Want to win a copy of Lulu? Leave a comment below with your favorite animal!
-Thanks to Albert Whitman & Company for the contest
-Open to ages 13+
-US and Canada address only
-Contest ends April 1st
Today, I'd like to welcome Kathleen Tucker, author of Ten Tiny Breaths, to talk about the hot, up-and-coming New Adult genre!
New Adult: What’s all the fuss about?
New Adult is a relatively new term in the publishing world. So new that, up until very recently, publishing houses have not accepted works as “New Adult”, classifying them as either “Young Adult” or “Adult”. But finally people are giving this thing that exists between YA and Adult a closer look. Why do I call it a thing? Well, I’ve heard NA called a genre, a sub-genre, a category. I can’t say exactly what it is.
The NA books hitting today’s shelves (both virtual and physical) take the romance genre and give it new life, or an edge. Up until about a year ago, I didn’t read a lot of contemporary romance. In my head, I pictured one of two things: one—a bored housewife diddling the next door neighbor to satisfy her long-lost urges or two—fifteen-year-olds and a climatic kiss at a school gym dance. Neither appealed to me, especially with all of these amazing paranormal, dystopian, and high fantasy books out there, full of excitement and gripping heart ache; love stories tied to big, disastrous situations. Exciting, right?
Well, then I got schooled. Last summer I read a few fantastic books that could be considered New Adult or Mature YA romance. No vampires, no magic. Just real people dealing with disastrous situations and love. The authors took situations like rape, physical violence, and inappropriate relationships and spun stories that I couldn’t put down. Those books were Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Slammed by Colleen Hoover, and Easy by Tammara Webber.
NA books have breathed new life into the romance category, creating a need to tell edgy stories about problems that people face in their late teens and twenties, when they are old enough to be out on their own and make decisions but still don’t really know who they are. It’s a time in their lives when they will make mistakes and stupid choices, where angst over love interests still exists, and where partying and sex can steer decisions. To be clear, New Adult isn’t about drugs, alcohol, and sex (not a well-written story anyway). That’s not what I’m saying. But, as is the case for many people during this time in their lives, these elements are a part of what makes life confusing. Sometimes it’s a big part.
That’s my take on why New Adult has taken the industry by storm. :)
Thanks to The Bookish Type for hosting me today! xoxoThanks so much to Kathleen for stopping by!Buy the book
Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.
Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty year old Kacey and her fifteen year old sister Livie escape Grand Rapids, Michigan to start over in Miami. Struggling to make ends meet, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.
Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds.
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.
For more about this author, please visit:
And follow the rest of the tour:
March 18: I Love Lady Porn AND ChickLovesLit
March 19: 3 Chicks & Their Books
March 20: A Book Lovers Review
March 21: FicTalk AND Shh Mom's Reading
March 22: Chapter by Chapter AND The Bookish Type
March 23: Waves of Fiction
March 24: Brittany Blabs Books
March 25: The Book Hookup AND The Bookish Babe
March 26: ReaderGirls AND Books Complete Me
March 27: Anna's Romantic Reads AND BookBite Reviews
March 28: Stuck in Books
March 29: Book Bitches Blog
Enter to win 1 of 3 signed galleys! Physical copies will not be available elsewhere until October, so you don't want to miss your chance to get your hands on a copy!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Poison Me by Cami Checketts
Jake Merrill was raised by his grandmother, Ruby, and her hilarious friends. After a suspicious death at the retirement home where Ruby lives, she enlists Jake and Chanel, the beautiful activities director, to help her find the killer. But secrets Ruby has kept for decades threaten her family and the man she’s always loved but could never have. Chanel’s unstable ex-boyfriend, a presumably dead relative, and vicious criminals add to the confusion. Time is running out as Jake, Chanel, and Ruby desperately search for clues to solve the murders and fight to save those they love.Praise for Poisen Me Poison Me made me laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoy myself. I wish I had a friend like Ruby! Snappy dialogue, romance, and a strong sense of family made this book well worth reading. Rachel Ann Nunes, bestselling author of Line of Fire and Before I Say Goodbye
Author Cami Checketts
Cami is a part-time author, part-time exercise consultant, part-time housekeeper, full-time wife, and overtime mother of four adorable boys. Sleep and relaxation are fond memories. She's never been happier.
A portion of the proceeds from Cami's books will be donated to The Child & Family Support Center. For more information on this worthy cause, please go to www.cachecfsc.orgBook BlogFitness BlogFacebookTwitter
Blog Tour Giveaway
$50 doTERRA Oil basket and $35 wholesale membership, $50 Kate Ryan Skincare GC, $50 Amazon GC. Ends 3/30/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Release Date: 3/12/2013
About the Book:
(From Goodreads) Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counselor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide. Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but she’s haunted by her own attachment to him. The two shared an extraordinary night during their first week freshman year; it was the only time at Keaton when she felt like someone else really understood her. As the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn't have taken his own life. Bound by her oath of confidentiality—and tortured by her unrequited love—Devon embarks on a solitary mission to get to the bottom of Hutch's death, and the stakes are higher than she ever could have imagined.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Escape Theory is a boarding school mystery with an interesting setting and premise. Devon is grieving over the death of Hutch, who she has had a long unrequited crush on throughout high school after their night together freshman year. This makes her become very obsessive in figuring out what happened to Hutch and at times her obsession is a bit grating. Devon can be a bit annoying as she tries to solve the mystery and pushes constantly to figure out what is going on. She's also a bit bland at times and there were many times I wanted to yell at her for not being so stupid.
The mystery of what happened to Hutch kept me interested, even if some of the plot twists were a bit predictable. The thing that I struggled with the most was the fact that Devon was a peer counselor who had bee assigned people who were directly involved with Hutch and grieving his death. I would think that after a suicide a school would have professional help for students, especially a rich boarding school like Keaton, instead of relying on and allowing a student to counsel other students. That aspect of the plot required the biggest suspension of disbelief from me.
There is a large cast of characters and at times I found it hard to remember who all the side characters were, but the main characters are fairly engaging. The mystery was enough to keep me reading and mystery has a nice twist ending that I'm sure will surprise many readers and teens will love it.
Despite having to suspend disbelief and at times disliking Devon, it was an interesting and engaging read. Readers who enjoy boarding school stories with a touch of mystery are sure to love this one.
Book Pairings: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (for the suicide
and mystery elements), The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (for the peer counseling)
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from egalley received from publisher
Please welcome author Margaux Froley to GreenBeanTeenQueen. Her debut novel, Escape Theory, was just released on March 12! I love asking about libraries and Margaux answered the question, "When has a library really made a difference for you as a writer."
I’m a big fan of libraries, so this is a tough question. Last year my boyfriend and I decided to move to Los Angeles from New York. We got to Los Angeles and stayed the first few days with my dad and his wife in their house near Santa Monica. I’m from here, so it was nice to be back near my family, and my family was happy to have me. But I also vividly remember the first morning, Joel and I woke up, had breakfast, and our intention was to sit down and write that day. My dad’s house is big-ish, so there seemed to be plenty of space to write. He even had the housekeeper clean off a big table just for us. We got our laptops out, our coffees ready just how we like, and sat down to write. It was going to be a great writing day.
But, within the first five minutes we could hear my dad and his wife bicker about getting their printer to work, they have small birds that suddenly made a huge amount of constant noise, and the phone kept ringing. Without even saying a word, we just exchanged a look, and very quickly we packed up our computers and just grabbed our stuff and left the house. I started driving and didn’t quite know where we could go to find any peace. I vaguely remembered that Santa Monica had a new library, and we ended up there. The Santa Monica library is a beautiful, modern building with lots and lots of space and bright windows. We were in heaven. I quickly got a library card, and we ended up spending most of the next week writing our own pilot scripts at that library. I still love that library because it provided such a safe haven when we’re wandering travelers just trying to find a quiet place to write.
I recently made the acquaintance of Leslie Stella, a novelist, journalist, and former magazine editor whose newest book, Permanent Record, is her first release in the Young Adult market. This story of a bullied Iranian-American teenager has caught the eye of many a reviewer (hello, Liz at Tea Cozy and School Library Journal!) Its serious tone is a stark contrast from her previous comedic novels, which were written for adults. Many thanks to Leslie for talking to me about her books and for encouraging kids and adults alike to stop bullying and start listening.
When did the idea for Permanent Record first take hold in your mind? How long did it take to get it from brain to paper (or computer), then from first draft to final draft?
It first emerged as adult fiction about ten years ago. I wrote the book with the same setting (a Chicago private school) and many of the same characters, but from the perspective of a teacher who no longer appears in the book. Bud, the protagonist in Permanent Record, appeared in that version, but as a supporting character. That version didn’t work for a variety of reasons, so over the years and in between other projects, I rewrote it twice. Third time was the charm. I realized what I had liked about the earlier versions were not the adult characters and their arcs, but the teens. When I gave the story to Bud, it all came together.
Did you ever reinvent yourself, as a teenager or as an adult?
Not really. I’m generally the same person on the inside that I was as a kid, a direct result of that one-two punch of growing up weird and shy.
Did you feel like an outsider in high school?
I felt like an outsider in elementary school and junior high, but not high school. My high school was an all-girls school, and removing boys—and perhaps the kinds of girls who were overly focused on boys—helped tremendously in terms of me fitting in. I was not bullied to the extent Bud was, but I had my share of cruelty handed to me in junior high from girls who stalked me and made a game of ostracizing me. Crippling shyness and being known for being strange didn’t help, but on the other hand I didn't have to deal with a physical or mental issue that would call up daily sh!tstorms of abuse. But there are children who have those issues, and who do endure that kind of daily abuse. I was lucky because many of the girls in my high school classes were nerdy like me and didn’t expect a high "coolth" quotient from anyone else.
How can we help the next generation break the cycle of bullying?
Smaller class sizes and more faculty/adult supervision out of the classroom can make it more difficult for mean children to bully, but I realize our schools are overburdened as it is; advocacy on the part of parents of bullied children may be the answer. Don’t tell a bullied child to “just get over it” or “ignore it,” as my mother told me, because it makes the child feel responsible for fixing a situation that she cannot possibly fix. Certain children can stand up to bullies, but for the most part children are targeted by bullies in the first place BECAUSE they are not the type of children who feel capable of standing up for themselves. Classmates began calling my house in seventh grade, threatening me and hurling invective over the phone (my punishment because I was friends with another ostracized girl they disliked). I believe if my mother had called their mothers, it would not have happened again. But she told me to ignore it, and it kept happening. So I stopped telling her.
How can we teach tolerance in a real and effective way?
As far as teaching tolerance, it begins in the home of course, but let’s face it: there are just some fundamentally cruel children (and adults) out there. Teaching kindness by example does not always work. In other words, school bullying initiatives need to hold to account bullies and the adults responsible for them.
How did you get your publishing deal with Skyscape/Amazon Children's Publishing?
My agent had originally sold the book to Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in summer of 2011. In 2012, Marshall Cavendish Children’s was acquired by Amazon Children’s Publishing—a brand-new publishing division of Amazon. We Marshall Cavendish authors just went with the flow. This year, Amazon Children’s has divided up into two imprints, Two Lions (which publishes picture books and books for young readers) and Skyscape (my publisher, which is dedicated to young adult books). Luckily, I kept my same editor from Marshall Cavendish, Robin Benjamin, so editorially speaking, it was pretty seamless. Robin and I still worked together on the manuscript just as we had begun to do before Amazon acquired the imprint.
Permanent Record is your first YA novel, and your fourth published novel. What's the publishing story behind your first novel?
My first novel, Fat Bald Jeff, was adult fiction—the story of a disaffected copyeditor who hatches a plot to bring down her employer with the help of a disgruntled tech support guy—and it was published in 2001 after a relatively quick and easy submission process. Down the road, this taught me that nothing in publishing is as easy as it might seem; that nothing is a sure thing. I had three novels published in five years to middling acclaim when I found myself in the space of one day dumped by both my publisher and my agent. Those were dark days. It took me years of writing and throwing out, writing and throwing out, hoping to hit upon the magic formula that would please a new agent and fit into whatever was hot at the moment. Surprise: it didn’t work. Finally I said, fine, I may not be published ever again, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop writing. So I wrote to please myself, and that book was Permanent Record, and that is what sold.
Do you approach writing YA differently from writing adult fiction?
My approach for YA is much different than adult fiction. I felt cynicism and bitterness creep into my writing when I wrote for the adult market. It just wasn’t for me. Writing for young adults feels right. There is an openness and honesty that comes naturally in writing for teens; life is still ahead of them, no matter what they’ve been through. I love that sense of possibility. Their emotions are not blunted by life; everything is raw.
Do you find it easy to title your books and name your characters?
Naming my characters has always been easy. I either draw from people I’ve met, or the names themselves have significance. Coming up with a title for the books is harder. In fact, my first novel was the only one I titled that was not changed by the publisher. A collaborative effort with my editors determined the other titles.
Do you have a writing routine?
Before I had children, my routine was very strict—I had to get up and start writing in my office before I interacted with humans or read the newspaper or ANYTHING—and I felt if I varied from it at all, that I “couldn’t think right” or be creative enough to get any writing done. How lovely it was to have that choice! Now, I have learned to make use of the snatched moments of time that I get, late at night, before everyone gets up, weekends, whatever it takes. I open up my laptop and launch into it; I don’t have time to be a prima donna about this or fool around. If I have to work in the library because it’s too noisy at my house on a Saturday afternoon, then that’s what I do. My brain works differently, perhaps even more efficiently, now that the demands on my time are greater.
Name your top ten favorite books.
My list is going to be all over the place here, not just YA, and not even just fiction. These are the books that have stuck with me, books that I have read many times over, that shine as examples of their authors’ craft.
- Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (I love how he lampoons the world of academia)
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (Thus began my love affair with the unlikable protagonist)
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (A very realistic portrayal of human cruelty and conformity set in the microcosm of high school)
- Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (Sports writing as art form)
- The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (Mystery/crime/noir all bundled into razor wit)
- Division Street by Studs Terkel (Love letters to Chicago)
- Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien (Fantasy writing as art form)
- Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (Middle-grade fantasy for EVERYONE)
- Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau (Perfect example of setting functioning as character in nonfiction)
- Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Yes, an obvious choice, but with reason: I read this at age 13, when so much is hidden about the world and about yourself too, and this book pulled back the veil for me.)
Visit Leslie Stella's website at http://lesliestella.com/
Please welcome Annette LeBlanc Cate, author of Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Check out my review of Look Up!
So much about life now is very different for The Young People Of Today (how i put it when i want to particularly annoy my 12 year old son) than for us pathetic old people. For example...The Young People have many, many tv stations, they may roam freely when they talk on the phone, their Lego people have faces, and on cold days they don't have smelly damp wool scarves wrapped around their faces, because they have Polar-tec. And they are never bored, because they have many devices with various entertainments on them. And every little bit of information they could ever want or need is right at their fingertips, and they are so used to this that it never occurs to them that this is an incredibly overwhelming concept, their heads never spin with this knowledge, like mine still does, because I am, you know, a pathetic old person.
Of course, much of life is the same, too. For the past 6 years I have volunteered in my sons' very large and cheerful elementary school library, and every week the kids march in and drop their books with a satisfying thump onto the desk to be checked in, and then later they skip up to the desk, eyes shining, with new selections clutched hopefully to their chests.
When I went to school in the '70's, we would also march down to the school library, (of course ours was really more like a giant closet) and we would have ten minutes or so to pick a book, and although there must have been a librarian who rubber-stamped the cards, i do not remember her. Then I would have a new deliciously musty smelling cloth-bound Black Stallion series book, with thickish yellowy pages and lovely mysterious black ink illustrations, and it was mine for the week, and that was that, and I was happy. I would write my book reports, and i did well at that because i was very smart and always read well past my grade level, and everything was perfect until 10th grade or so when i suddenly was supposed to be able to write a 10 page research paper on a theme of Henry James, and then life was not so perfect, because i had no idea how to research a theme of Henry James. And it was really shocking to me, because i thought i knew how to do stuff, and really... when i got right down to it, i had no idea at all how to even begin.
I am betting this is not going to happen with the Young People of Today...and I am not even making fun of them here, I am sincerely very, very happy for them...because their libraries are so different, and kids' librarians are so different, and that is all so wonderful. While i shelve the books the kids have just dumped onto the desk, I have had the pleasure of eavesdropping on Mrs. DeCesare's delightful library lectures...the little kids start off with a song, and then they get a talk... maybe about what's a fairy tale, what's a fable, what are the parts of a book... and then she tells them a story. The older kids - and this is what really fascinates me... are learning about how to do research, they learn all the good places to go to find information... and how to weed through it, and what to do with it, how to assimilate it and make it part of their own understanding. When I hear Mrs. DeCesare patiently explain what a source is and how to document it... I honestly think WOW! To think someone thought to explain this to kids, in small yearly easily understood chunks, a little at a time, all in one place... how to navigate not just the library... but the whole world of information out there.... so kids will not be lost and overwhelmed when it is time to identify a theme of Henry James.... I think, good grief, what a great idea this whole library program thing is.
At times I cannot help to be a little worried at just how much completely accessible stuff is out there... I'm a mom and I can't help it. I didn't grow up with the internet and I am suspicious of it sometimes. I know I am nostalgic for my musty old book being rubber-stamped and being sent on my way, and i can't really help that, either. But I love all this new library business. I am encouraged by the work of Mrs.DeCesare and all the other youth librarians out there who help and give talks and point out the good books, who guide kids toward making good choices, who help them figure stuff out. How different life is going to be for these kids, how ready they will be to write their papers and their essays, to think about college. I'm really thrilled it is a whole new world for them.
(But of course I'm happy kids still bring me, eyes shining-ly, their occasionally musty old books. I'm happy those still get to live at the library, too! I just wish I could rubber stamp them)
This morning I want to make you aware of Poison, a book that was written by Bridget Zinn. Poison is Bridget’s debut novel, but tragically, she passed away before she could see the publication of her book. Before I share a first from my life, I would like you to take a moment and think about the people you love in your life. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was about ten. Thanks to early detection, she has been cancer free for decades. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer, and again, because of routine testing and early detection, he, too, is in remission. Please go in for routine testing. Please urge your family members and friends to do the same. There are no guarantees in life, but early detection does increase the odds of beating the big C.
To help celebrate Bridget’s first, a group of bloggers got together and we are all going to share a first with you. I hope you enjoy visiting the other blogs and learning more about the bloggers running them. (Thank you, Inara Scott, for facilitating the tour.)
My First Job
I’m going to share my first job with you. When I was a teen, a used bookstore opened close to my house. My mom and I made many, many trips, every week, to the store, and after a while, got to know the owners and many customers very well. I loved this bookstore.
One Saturday morning, we dropped in, and one of the owners was overwhelmed with bags and bags of trade-ins. She asked me what I was doing the rest of the day, and since I didn’t have any plans, she asked if I wanted to help her in the store that day. Of course I did! I loved books then just as much as I do now. That afternoon turned into years of helping run the store. At one point I seriously considered buying them out, but circumstances didn’t work out that way.
Now I am glad that things didn’t work out, because I wouldn’t have met Dean, I wouldn’t have had my dogs, and I wouldn’t have started riding. I learned so much working there, about selling books and sharing my enthusiasm for reading, with other people who loved reading, too, and had so much fun along the way. My first job never felt like a job; going to work always seemed like hanging out with good friends, talking about the latest releases, and pouring through the catalogs for upcoming books. I loved it!
What’s your favorite first?
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
Purchase your copy from these booksellers:
Barnes & Noble
Add Poison to your Goodreads pile!
About Bridget Zinn
Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the "summer of love" and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was "Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect."
Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.
Welcome everyone to my stop on The Fellowship for Alien Detection Blog Tour! Today I have the pleasure of hosting the author himself Kevin Emerson. He is going to share with you how important pancakes are to the main characters of his book and to everyone who is on an adventure!
The most important food in THE FELLOWSHIP FOR ALIEN DETECTION (and, arguably in all road trip adventures) is
Over the next several weeks, I have the pleasure and privilege of being the launch blog for a few talented authors on their latest blog tours. To kick things off, here is my friend from across the sea: Kate Tenbeth.
I wrote the first draft of Unlucky Dip
over 6 years ago. It’s hard to believe it took that 6 years to tweak, edit and then publish but, like so many other authors, I have to juggle a lot of other things – I work full-time, run a house, a son, cats, father, etc. - it can be difficult to find time to draw breath sometimes, let alone sit down and write!
With this particular story all I had in mind was the first section of the plot i.e. where Holly is thrown into the Thames by her step-mother. I didn’t sit down and work on a complete outline plot, I just let it go its own way as I wrote. Sometimes I do write in a more organised way but this time Unlucky Dip
just took on its energy. I think it was helped along by the fact I constantly had a house full of teenagers around me so it was easy to pick up the way they spoke and thought about life – I just had to grab the moment while it was still there. I have, in fact, dedicated the book to my son and his friends because without them I wouldn’t have been able to write the book in the first place!
It took me a long time to come up with a title. The book had been written and was ready to go and really, you’d think it would be easy to come up with a title, but no, it really wasn’t and I ended up with pages and pages of ideas. Unlucky Dip
came to me in the small hours of the morning (3.34am to be precise!). I woke up, wrote it down in a barely discernible scrawl on the notepad that I keep next to my bed and promptly went back to sleep! Unlucky Dip
just seemed perfect to me - I like the tie-in with the ‘lucky dip’ sweets I used to buy when I was younger, i.e. life is just a unknown mixture of randomness, you never know what you’re getting and that feeling of surprise reflects the character of the storyline, although in Holly’s case her surprises are not necessarily nice ones! I also like the fact you can have a ‘dip’ in the water which ties in with the start of the novel when Holly is thrown into the Thames.
I had the book, I had the title and then all I needed was a front cover. I knew that one of my son’s friends, Elizabeth Eisen
, was an artist and when I looked on her website, I absolutely loved her style so I invited her to design a cover for the book. Other than asking her to read the book I gave her no guidance whatsoever – I know that I work better when I’m allowed free rein, so I let her do what she wanted. I could not have been more pleased with the result; I have an unusual and eye-catching cover that is most certainly a one-off. Thank you Liz!
I have many stories, mostly YA fantasy, that are sitting on the hard drive of my computer but Unlucky Dip
was the one I chose to publish first. I learnt a great deal along the way, mostly through trial and error about how to structure a story, the importance of character development, continuity, etc. I learnt that loving writing isn’t enough, it’s actually very hard work if you want your story to be captivating. I also learnt the importance of editing – you have to edit, edit and edit again! The reviews I’ve had from Unlucky Dip
have taken me to the next step of actually believing that perhaps I can write, that I do have some small talent so that’s something else I’ve learnt!
At the moment I’m torn between completing the other YA works I have sitting on my hard-drive and seeing if I can build on my children’s books I have published already, The Burly and Grum Tales
, because they seem to be doing well and I’m being invited to speak to school children, take part in events, etc. It’s a hard choice but one that I’m going to have to make a decision about very soon.
I can’t imagine life without writing but there’s so much more I know I need to learn in order to improve skills. I want to write wonderful stories that people can enjoy and being able to write full-time is certainly something that’s high on my agenda!
Thank you for inviting me onto your blog.
You can get Unlucky Dip here:
About the author: I live in Essex with my son, who is studying at University, and my two cats, Puzzle and Bud. I’ve always loved writing and in January 2011 I got together with some friends and set up a writers’ group at our local library. One of our first guest speakers was a young lady called Penelope Fletcher who talked to us about self-publishing – I was so inspired I went back home, found some stories I’d written for my son when he was young and started the process of learning how to self-publish. I published 3 books in the Burly & Grum series and then in July 2012 was lucky enough to be signed up by GMTA. I’ve enjoyed every single second of my journey so far, learnt an incredible amount and I’m looking forward to the future!
CONNECT WITH KATE
About the artist:
Elizabeth Eisen is 23 year old freelance illustrator from North London. She graduated from the University of Westminster with a BA Hons in Illustration in 2011 and has since worked on commissions ranging from album artwork to editorial. Further examples of her work can be found at www.elizabetheisenillustration.co.uk
About the book: There are always high stakes to play for in the world of gambling, but it’s a world 15 year-old Holly Maddon knows nothing about until her step-mother tries to kill her. The race is on as she tries to discover what her step-mother is up to and whether her father was murdered. She comes up against gangsters, multi-million pound land deals, treachery and deceit, she’s kidnapped, shot at and loses just about everything she loves – it’s a rollercoaster of a ride and Holly's intent on turning the tables.
Kelly from the Stacked blog rounded up a bunch of bloggers, booksellers, and librarians and asked them to list the YA novels they'd recommend to someone who is just starting to dip their toes in the waters of the Young Adult bookshelves. When she asked if I'd like to kick off this round, I replied, "Twist my arm!" Here are a dozen books to get you started.
Body Bags by Christopher Golden begins with the line: "It was a beautiful day to grow up." Body Bags is the first in a line of ten novels - collectively known as Body of Evidence - which follow Jenna Blake as she begins college and starts working as an assistant at the Medical Examiner's office. I highly recommend this series. Both adults and teenagers will discover plenty to relate to and enjoy in this line. Readers will find Jenna visiting crime scenes and autopsy rooms nearly as often as she's in her dorm. Her relatives, friends, and studies factor into the books just as much as serial killers and detectives. Throughout the series, Christopher Golden - and, later, collaborator Rick Hautala - created characters who are believable but anything but cookie-cutter. The quality of Body Bags is above and beyond most suspense novels, and it continues throughout the series, versus other series which lose the momentum after a few books, or series in which the books become carbon copies. If you enjoy medical thrillers with great characters, especially if you watch(ed) television series such as CSI or Profiler, or read or watch Rizzoli & Isles, then you need to read these books right now. You won't be sorry.
Read my review of the book, and the entire series.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart is, dare I say, a coming-of-age story. It's not about breaking the rules, nor it is about controlling others. It's about daring: daring to be yourself, daring to stand up for yourself, daring to step outside of your comfort zone, daring to change the world. This novel possesses all of the elements necessary for a good bildungsroman, following the protagonist's journey through her formative years. Both snarky and serious, this History is written by the victors: the memorable narrator and the author. Frankie is smart, grounded, and direct, but she also has a quirky side. Author E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List, Dramarama) writes with heart and authentic feeling. History has an incredible conclusion, and Frankie becomes a remarkable young woman.
Read my full-length review of the book.
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen is about grief, acceptance, and everything in-between. It's about running - running for fun, running out of fear, running from yourself, running from the truth. It's also about to-do lists, kitchen messes, and really good waffles. It's about long conversations and comfortable silences. It's about forever, which is yesterday, today, and tomorrow - and forever is never long enough. Dessen is always good, and this is Dessen at her best.
Read my reviews of all Sarah Dessen's novels.
Deb Caletti writes really fantastic realistic novels. My favorite Caletti novel to date is The Nature of Jade, about an overachiever who has developed panic disorder. Jade doesn't know yet that she wants something more out of life - and that she is about to meet someone that will change her life.
Read my reviews of all of Deb Caletti's novels.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is an absolute staple of modern YA fiction. This story is an example of how to use first-person narration to connect readers to a largely silent and introverted protagonist - and how to reveal things slowly, to connect actions and emotions. This book is gritty and real without being gritty for the sake of it. Often imitated, never replicated, this book is what inspired the wave of YA books that tackle tough issues.
Check out my Speak playlist.
The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark. Wow, wow, wow. After her mother passes away, Alison is reluctant to confide in anyone other than Laurie, her long-time best friend. She pulls away from pretty much everyone else and decides to quietly lives by the rules she's made for herself. Read it, then share it.
Read my full-length review of The Alison Rules.
I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak, which you should go into completely spoiler-free, so I'm not going to tell you anything about it. Go read it, and when you're done, tell me what you think, because you will definitely have a reaction to how this story unfolds and how it turns out.
Check out my interview with Marcus Zusak - and then read The Book Thief.
Feathered by Laura Kasischke tells the story of two best friends who travel to Cancun for Spring Break. After an auspicious start, the unexpected happens, and their dream vacation turns into a nightmare which they can't simply escape by waking - which, perhaps, they cannot escape at all. Feathered wonderfully captures that feeling of freedom one gets while far from home, when it's possible (easier?) to be uncharacteristically impulsive. Fueled by the toxic intensity of perfect strangers, fast friends, and foreign cultures, the girls find themselves in an extremely dangerous situation, and, in the blink of an eye, everything changes. Every high school student who is planning a big-deal trip for Spring Break (or for any break) needs to read this book - and so do their parents, teachers, and chaperones. So do writers who aspire to craft stories with alternating points of view.
Read my full-length review of the book.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is not your typical boy meets girl story. Sure, it starts when boy meets girl - but then boy asks girl to pretend to be his girlfriend for the next five minutes, and girl agrees. Over the course of one night, two perfect strangers fall in and out of love with life, music, friends, cars, food, the city, and maybe - just maybe - each other. This book definitely popularized multiple narrators in modern YA fiction.
Read my review of Nick and Norah - Check out my own Infinite Playlist
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers shows that sometimes, what you don't do can be as consequential as what you do. Parker was a good girl. A nice girl. A cheerleader. A straight-A student. Then something happened. Something which changed Parker completely. Something she wishes she could change. Her mood, her grades, and her spirits have all plummeted. Haunted, Parker is no longer the girl she once was - and she doesn't want to be, not anymore. Courtney Summers' debut novel is not to be missed. When the characters speak, they sound authentic: some kids swear and some kids laugh while others toss out a word or two while swallowing down what they really want to say. Adult readers will quickly be transported to the halls of high school and feel as if they never left. Pick up Summers' other novels while you're at it, but start with this one.
Read my review of the book.
The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski led the pack of immortal/angel fantasy/action stories that now line the YA shelves. The premise: Aaron has always known that he was adopted, but he never suspected he was half-angel - or that he could be a hero in the ultimate fight between good and evil. Fun fact: Before he portrayed Stefan Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, Paul Wesley starred as Aaron Corbet in the film adaptation of Fallen - and Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad played Lucifer!
Check out the Fallen website.
Looking for Alaska by John Green has energized a new generation of readers, writers, and all kinds of people searching for their great perhaps. It's thought-provoking, poignant, and lovely. Please read it.
Here's my Looking for Alaska playlist.
For those of you dropping by Bildungsroman for the first time, welcome! I'm Little Willow. Here's a quick intro to me and this blog: In addition to being a bookseller, blogger, and writer, I'm also an actress, singer, and webdesigner. I always have a script or a book in my hands and a song in my heart. I primarily review YA novels, hence the blog name:
Bildungsroman: A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character. (dictionary.com)
Looking for additional YA staples and recommendations? Click through the blog and the corresponding archive for reviews, exclusive author interviews, and more. I have a slew of booklists I hope you'll check out, including:
Tough Issues for Teens
Transition Times / Set in School
I am so excited to be featuring the first stop on The Chronicles of Egg
tour! Author Geoff Rodkey is traveling around the blogosphere to give readers a look into his series, The Chronicles of Egg
. Here on GreenBeanTeenQueen, he's giving us a peek into the character of Egg. Don't forget to follow the tour and enter for your chance to win one set of signed, personalized copies of the paperback of Book One: Deadweather and Sunrise and an ARC of Book 2: New Lands
.MEET EGG MASTERSON
Egbert "Egg" Masterson, the narrator and unlikely hero of Deadweather and Sunrise
, has no shortage of problems.
First of all, there's his name. Egbert might just be the world's worst first name, made all the more awful for the fact that his older siblings are named Venus and Adonis.
Those siblings are a whole other problem. Venus and Adonis are as cruel as they are stupid--although the stupidity's actually a blessing, because if they were any more clever, they'd be absolutely lethal.
The children's tutor, Percy, is no help at all--not just because he's staggeringly lazy and every bit as mean-spirited as Venus and Adonis, but because he's a complete fraud. He owns a hundred and thirty-seven books but hasn't read a single one, and while he's fond of spouting endless facts about science, history, and the like, none of them are actually true.
Not that Egg's father notices any of this. He's too busy running the family's ugly fruit plantation, which is the only non-criminal enterprise on Deadweather--an island that, except for the Mastersons, is entirely populated by pirates.
The pirates, as you can imagine, are not very good neighbors. Although in some ways, they're less of a threat than the volcano--which belches smoke and shakes the earth just often enough to remind Egg that some day, life on Deadweather might turn REALLY nasty.
But Egg's not the type to complain--and he does get some comfort from reading Percy's 137 books, as well as playing an occasional game of ugly fruit catch with Mung, a mute former pirate who's missing a large chunk of his brain.
Still, life is pretty lousy. Until one day…
Egg's father makes a mysterious discovery on the plantation--and takes the family on an equally mysterious errand to Sunrise, the carefree, rich, blissfully pirate-and-volcano-free island next door.
Within hours of arriving on Sunrise, Egg's entire family disappears in a freak accident, and he's taken in by the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Life at the Pembroke's mansion is like a happy dream, and for the first time in his life, Egg's problems vanish.
Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.
Suddenly, Egg's got a brand-new problem: he's running for his life, marked for death with no idea who's trying to kill him or why, and with nobody to help him except Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy named Guts.
That's when the fun really starts.Visit Wanted Readers for the next stop on The Chronicles of Egg Blog Tour.
Enter to win one set of signed personalized paperback copy of Deadweather and Sunrise
and an ARC of New Lands
-One entry per person
-US and Canada addresses only please
-Open to 13+
-Extra Entry: Become a fan of Chronicles of Egg on Facebook
-Contest ends March 12
Read the rest of this post
Welcome to Author Carolyn Meyer
Carolyn Meyer is as versatile a writer as you will find. Along with historical fiction and realistic novels for young adults she has written nonfiction for young adults and books for younger readers on topics as diverse as the Amish, the Irish, Japanese, Yup'ik Eskimos, a rock band, rock tumbling, bread baking, and coconuts. And ten of her books have been chosen as Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association. In her most recent historical novels she has dealt with the young lives of Mary Tudor, Princess Elizabeth, Anastasia, and Isabel of Castilla, Spain.
Queen Victoria’s personal journals inform this captivating first-person account of one of history’s most prominent female leaders.
Queen Victoria most certainly left a legacy—under her rule as the longest reigning female monarch in history, the British Empire was greatly expanded and significant industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military changes occurred within the United Kingdom. To be a young woman in a time when few other females held positions of power was to lead in a remarkable age—and because Queen Victoria kept personal journals, this historical novel from award-winning author Carolyn Meyer shares authentic emotional insight along with accurate information, weaving a true story of intrigue and romance.
CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH PRINCE ALBERT
Tell us, Your Highness, about your first meeting with the future queen of England.
My brother and I were invited to Kensington Palace for Victoria’s seventeenth birthday. I knew that I would be examined carefully as a potential husband for Victoria, and I was very nervous. The visit went well, I thought, though Victoria seemed to want to dance all night and I have always gone to bed rather early. Then I came down with a bilious attack and could not leave my room. Not an auspicious beginning!
And then what happened?
Nothing for a long while. I went back to Germany where I was born and continued my studies, and I did a great deal of traveling. But not a word from Kensington! Victoria and I are first cousins, and I had frequent reports from our uncle Leopold, who favored the match. Everyone seemed to favor the match, in fact, although I heard that the British people were not fond of the idea of their future queen marrying a German. And I had no idea how Victoria felt. Frankly, I’m not sure how I felt either.
There must have been a second visit.
Oh, there was, and it proceeded splendidly. It happened three years later, Victoria had become queen, and I think there was considerable pressure put on her to marry. But the moment I entered Windsor Castle and we looked into one another’s eyes, we knew we were in love.
Did true love run smoothly from then on?
It did not. After a few weeks I had to return to Germany to prepare for my permanent removal to England, and it was a painful separation. We argued about all sorts of things, and I saw that my future wife could be very stubborn and very insistent that she and she alone would rule. I was even more nervous when I returned for the third time, now as a bridegroom, but again, I saw a love in her eyes that burned brightly, and my eyes returned the fire.
How did you get on with your new country?
Tour Giveawaya Rafflecopter giveaway
I worked devotedly for the English people throughout my life, but I don’t believe they ever fully accepted me. I was always a foreigner, a German. Victoria wanted to give me the title of King Consort, but it didn’t happen. For years I was simply Prince Albert, although eventually I was titled “His Royal Highness the Prince Consort.” And that was good enough for me.
I'm excited to welcome author Sherri L. Smith to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Sherri L. Smith has written several award-winning novels for young adults. Flygirl (2010) won the California Book Award, was a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and has received fourteen State Award nominations. She lives near Los Angeles. For more information, visit her website or her blog, The Middle Hundred. She can be found on Twitter @Sherri_L_Smith.
Be sure to follow Sherri on her Orleans tour to the next stop at I Read Banned Books.
About Orleans: (From Goodreads) After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
What made you decide to write a novel set in the future? I guess the devastation left by Katrina had me worried for the future, so it made sense to look ahead. I was weaned on science fiction and I remember my dad always had a copy of Alvin Toffler’s FUTURE SHOCK by his bed. It’s a book about the psychological scars caused by the perception of “too much change in too short a period of time.” I didn’t know that at the time, of course, but my dad talked about what was to come, so it seems like a natural direction to look toward. Where did you get the inspiration for Orleans? My mom was a New Orleans native and she was trapped in the house she grew up in during the storm and for a week after. It was hellish, and we had to do all kinds of crazy things to finally get her evacuated. During that time, she reported to me what was happening and I posted on the local newspaper’s website chat room. I also read everything I could about what was going on, trying to find a way to get her some help. There was an article about gangs protecting their turf when the cops had fled, and it struck with me. And then, in the middle of the week, looters gave my mom enough water to make it a few more days. Fortunately, the Coast Guard (of all groups!) helped get her out of the city before that bit of help ran out. It made an impression. A little later, I heard Fen’s voice in my head. And ORLEANS the novel was born. How did you create the world of Orleans? Brick by brick. Seriously, I thought about all of the places I know and love in the city of New Orleans, and where the guide books would tell a tourist to go. Then I imagined how those places would change based on the events in the book. It’s not an exact map of New Orleans, and I’m sure locals might take exception to the condensing and stretching of the landscape, but there are landmarks there: restaurants, marketplaces, libraries and churches. And a healthy dose of make-believe. Funny how that can make things seem real. What fictional character would you like to have over for dinner? On the heels of Orleans, I’d want to have dinner with Fen. Make sure she gets a proper meal and a clean, safe place to sleep for once. Although I suspect it would be rather intimidating. At least until I served my mom’s gumbo. That wins everyone over!
What books are in your to be read pile?
That’s an embarrassing question. I’ve been trying to read THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS about the African American expansion across the US from the 40s to the 70s, but I keep getting distracted. There’s a book about the young Sherlock Holmes, a manuscript a friend of mine is honing, a book on life in Victorian England, another one about Victorian crime (research… can you tell?), and a few things on my Kindle I can’t even remember. This list would be longer, but I’m just coming off of a month of bed rest courtesy of knee surgery (zombie obstacle course. Zigged when I should have zagged…), so I’ve torn through a giant pile: ROOTLESS by Chris Howard (fantastic!), DARK STAR by Bethany Frenette, CHIME by Franny Billingsley, RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles, and RAIDERS!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made by Alan Eisenstock. That last one is fascinating because, not only is it a true story that will make every film geek and Indiana Jones fan swoon, but it’s about a friend of mine. Want a weird experience? Read a biography of someone you know!
Sherri has compiled an Orleans survival kit! One lucky winner will receive a Delta Relief Kit, complete with a signed ARC, a blood type ID dog tag, a glow stick, and the ever-crucial Snickers bar—everything you need to navigate ORLEANS, at least from the comfort of your armchair!
-Leave a comment about what candy bar you would put in your relief kit!
-US Address Only
-One Entry Per Person
-Contest ends March 14
Welcome to Author Maria Hoagland
Maria Hoagland graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English where she married her especially-devoted home teacher. She and her husband have three children and have lived in Texas, Missouri, Utah, and Idaho. Maria enjoys watching anything her children are involved in, going to book clubs and lunch groups, long-distance running, walking barefoot in the green grass, and eating raspberries from her backyard.InterviewAny other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I'm excited about my next project, as I'm sure all authors are. I'm planning on playing with POV a little more, and of course, throw in another medical issue or two; but since I'm still in the researching/ outlining stage, I don't want to say specifically what I've got in mind, because I don't know if it's going to work yet.What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
In second grade, I read The Wizard of Oz six times in about as many months. As a preteen, my favorite book was Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I would have to say there are little bits of me in all three of the main characters of Family Size, but in saying that, I hope that all of my readers will be able to relate to each of the characters at some point, and feel like I could be writing about their life.What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
I'm looking forward to the movie The Host as well as buying Les Miserables on BluRay.If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be?
Chocolate. Or sleep. No, probably Facebook :)What's your favorite season/weather?
Summer. Definitely. I need sunshine and green grass.What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit?
Well now, why would I admit it if it's going to embarrass me?How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?
While I'm writing, or usually while I'm editing the previous one, ideas come and I take notes. The one idea that sticks around longest and has the most possibilities when I finish the previous book is the winner.Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
I have to have silence or I can't hear the voices in my head.How many books are in your TRB pile?
I have a TON of books on my Kindle that I'm waiting to read, but I get my favorite books as suggestions from friends. I've got a list going...now if I could find the time to read them all....What one item would you eat for the rest of your life?
Chili's Southwestern EggrollsWhat is your view on self publishing?
My favorite song to get me in the writing mood is "Defying Gravity" from the Wicked soundtrack. Some days it's exactly how I feel about self publishing. In many ways I wish I didn't have to self publish, but there are many things I don't want to have to give up to pursue traditional publishing in the LDS market. I wish I had some way to meld the two together and I'll keep working on it. Someday I'd love to have my book in an LDS bookstore.How do you overcome writer's block?
If I'm having trouble with a particular scene, I move on to another. So far, knock on wood, I haven't been completely at a loss because I write what interests me.Do your characters really talk to you?
Okay, no, they don't. But don't tell the other authors that because I don't want to be the only one.What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I love that just when I get sick of a particular part of the writing process, it's time to move to the next: Tired of writing? Start editing. Tired of editing? Time for cover design.This or ThatTV or Movies?
MoviesNight owl, or early bird?
Night owlChocolate or Vanilla?
chocolateRegular or Diet?
dietCoke or Pepsi?
coke!Horror or Romance?
romanceAction or Drama?
dramaPizza or Pasta?
pizzaSummer or Winter?
summerHarry Potter or Twilight?
Harry PotterBeach or Pool?
BeachCats or Dog?
catCause or Effect?
cause--it's more funHeads or Tails?
tailsFacebook or Twitter?
Facebook. I can't figure out Twitter, which is not good for a writer.Text or Talk?
textIntrovert or Extrovert?
previous answer should tell you :)Family Size
Jessica loves being the mom of an ever-expanding family, but when an ultrasound throws her a curve, can she adapt with grace?
Dragged away from home, Maya feels deserted by her workaholic husband in a land of confusing accents and church cliques. What will it take to acclimate and save her marriage—or does she even want to?
Sloane is an algebra teacher and runner who would give up both to be a mom, but no matter what she does, pregnancy remains elusive. Can she adjust her thinking and find purpose in her life?
As their lives intertwine, can friendship and faith help these women hurdle expectations of an ideal family size?
Blog Tour Giveaway Enter Here: http://mariahoagland.blogspot.com/2013/02/family-size-giveaway.html
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I am participating in a global blog tour to bring awareness to authors and illustrators about their books. A big thanks to the talented Maggie Smith
for asking me to participate!
To answer these questions-
What is the working title of your latest book?
The lastest book that I can talk about because it has already been released is Un Beso Antes De Dormir
. Spanish for, A Kiss Before Bedtime.Where did the idea come from for the book?
I really only illustrated this book. Teresa Tellechea
, the writer who is also the editor, was the one who came up with the idea.What genre does your book fall under?
©copyright Alicia Padrón 2013What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
That’s an interesting question! This book features babies kissing their mommies before going to sleep, so it would be lovely to have actresses playing themselves along with their babies. Since this board book has animals of all kinds living in their environments I would love for the actresses to be from all over the globe, in their native homes with their babies.
Juliette Binoche (France
), Salma Hayek (Mexico
) and Meryl Streep (US
) come to mind.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
All kinds of baby animals gently kiss their mommies goodnight.
©copyright Alicia Padrón 2013Who is publishing your book? Ediciones SM
. First Spain then Mexico.How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Teresa was in charge of that but I will answer this in the point of view of the illustrator. I took me about 2 weeks to roughly sketch these 10 spreads plus the cover.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are a large selection of goodnight books like Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Baby, to name a few.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What inspired me to illustrate this was the fact that I’m a mom and the strong love and affection I feel for my kids. I’ve mentioned this before, I feel I wouldn’t illustrate the way I do
, If I didn’t have children. Being a mom changed me to what I am today. This may sound a bit of an exaggeration to some, but seriously, I think the way I draw kids, babies (human or animals) and their parents are a reflection of how I feel.
©copyright Alicia Padrón 2013
What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Well, here is a little secret.. I’m not sure I should say this but I know my editor Teresa wont mind, she is a sweetheart plus has complete trust in me for which I am forever grateful.
There is a tiny, little detail in one of the pages of the book that was drawn by my 11 year old daughter. She was thrilled to see the book come out with her own little illustration in it and I was even more delighted to see her face light up the first time she saw a printed copy. :o)
The Next Big Thing Blog Tour continues next Friday with:
Make sure to visit her and check out these new super adorable books.
Just look at that mouse!! Hee.. too cute for words! :o)