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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: blog tour, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Blog Tour: Rockin' the Boat by Jeff Fleischer PLUS Giveaway

Rockin' The Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries- From Joan of Arc to Malcom X

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About the Book: We love to root for the underdog, and when it comes to underdogs, few are more impressive than the world’s great revolutionaries.

After all, it’s pretty hard to find a more powerful opponent than the world’s biggest empires and emperors. And that’s part of why we’re drawn to the stories of revolutionaries. Many of these men and women were born into virtual dystopias, and they fought throughout their lives, against all odds, to forge a path to a better future. And whether they succeeded, failed, or succeeded only to become a new kind of enemy, there’s something inherently fascinating about that effort to change the world.

Rockin’ the Boat tells the stories of fifty such iconoclasts — including the gladiator Spartacus, the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, the inspired religious fighter Joan of Arc, the abolitionist John Brown, women’s rights icon Margaret Sanger, and Maori chief Hono Heke — from an incredibly diverse set of places and times. Each entry includes a mix of history, biography, and analysis, and is supplemented with photos, sidebars, and an incredible amount of trivia as well.

As a result, Rockin’ the Boat provides a unique and powerful view of history — a view from the bottom up, through the eyes of people who dared to imagine a different world from the one in which they lived.

You know what I always think is weird? History is not my favorite subject (sorry GreenBeanSexy Man history teacher!) I found it interesting enough but never anything I wanted to keep researching or read about in my free time. Yet I'm a sucker for books that give interesting tidbits and facts about cool people and events in history. I'm not sure why. Maybe it makes history a bit more engaging? Maybe I can handle the small snippets? I'm not sure. But even if you have readers who may snub their nose at a history book, they should still give Rockin' the Boat a chance.

There are 50 people profiled in the book. Some are well known and others are not. Each section is short and they can be read in order (chronologically) or you can jump around and read about whoever you're interested in that moment.  Pictures and clever captions add to the lighthearted appeal of the book.

Want to win a copy? Fill out the form below! 
-One entry per person
-Ends March 30
-Ages 13+
Contest thanks to Zest Books!

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2. Blog Tour: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman


Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 3/10/2015

About the Book: Three months after the events in Seraphina, Goredd is facing a brewing war between dragons and humans. Seraphina discovers that there may be a way that she and the other half dragons may be able to fight the dragons in a powerful way. Seraphina is given a task to gather other half dragons and sets off on a journey to find those she's only known in her mind garden in real life. Along the way she encounters a dangerous someone from her past who can enter into others minds and control them and has her own motives for gathering the half dragons together. Seraphina needs to keep herself and the others safe and embrace a powerful new destiny.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: When someone is looking for an epic high fantasy, especially one featuring dragons, I have to suggest Seraphina. The characters, worldbuilding and story are so rich and unique that I know it will be a great read for someone wanting lots of high fantasy detail. The same can be said for Shadow Scale which is a richly detailed sequel to Seraphina.

Shadow Scale is a sequel and I do think readers should read Seraphina first because things would make a lot more sense, but I do love that Shadow Scale isn't just a continuation of the story introduced in Seraphina, but also has it's own new plot and storyline. So often sequels just feel like someone took the first book, cut it in half, and the sequel is just more of the first story. Shadow Scale does not suffer from that problem and it stands well on its own feet with details continuing the story as well as introducing a new villain and journey for Seraphina

Characters from the first book are there as well as many new faces giving the book a very large cast of characters. Yet each character is balanced well and I felt as though I knew each character well. Ms. Hartman has a talent for creating characters that you fall in love with and you feel as though you know them and they are part of your life as you read the story. Each of the half dragons we meet have a great story and we get to know them, yet the story never feels bogged down in telling their backstories or giving information about them. It's all wonderfully weaved into the plot.

I was sucked into the book and got lost in Seraphina's world. The book is long, but it has a very quick pace. The worldbuilding is wonderfully done. As Seraphina travels around The Southlands, each new region and city has a distinct culture and atmosphere. The new villain introduced is frightening. Maybe because I listened to part of the book on audio as well and the narrator does a fantastic smarmy and manipulative voice that it added to the character's evilness, but she was chilling! 

I also love that these books feature a romance without it being a big central focus of the story. It's there, but Seraphina and Kiggs know that they have bigger things to deal with than their feelings for each other. Seraphina has larger battles to fight than analyzing her feelings for the Prince and I love her for it. 

Shadow Scale is a fantastically rich and engaging sequel that is sure to please fans of the first book. I would happily read more from this world and Seraphina and I love visiting her again for awhile.

Full Dislcoure: Reviewed from ARC received from publisher

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3. Rockin' the Boat

Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries - From Joan of Arc to Malcom X Jeff Fleischer

Woo-hoo! I'm back on Zest's Rockin' Blog Tour.

Much like Members Only: Secret Societies, Sects, and Cults Exposed! this new offering by Zest is a little more text-y than previous similar titles, and is a more YA-friendly trim size.

In this one, Fleischer looks at 50 iconic revolutionaries (in case you couldn't figure that out from the subtitle) with a brief introduction to their life, any context you need to know about what they were rebelling against, and what their revolution was. Most also have a pull-out box or two about the lasting legacy of their rebellion or how history and/or pop culture has changed their story (such as the real story of William Wallace vs. Braveheart)

Arranged in chronological order, the first part is pretty heavy on the anti-Romans (Hannibal! Boudica! Cleopatra!) Sam Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson are here, as are Metacom, Tecumseh, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and Liliukalani. Other Americans include Daniel Shays, John Brown, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emma Goldman, Cesar Chavez, Malcom X and Marting Luter King, Jr. (If I counted correctly, 19 are Americans or were rebelling against something in the US, or doing it in what would become the US.)

It's not all white guys, and it's not all winners, which is a serious win. I also like while they are all certainly political revolutionaries, it's a nice blend between reformers and those who went to war. I would have liked to see more outside of the Americas and Europe, especially some less-known names. I mean some of these Americans are a bit obscure (Mary Harris Jones), and some of the early European ones definitely are (Vercingetroix, Arminus, Owain Glyndwr) but most of the ones south of the US aren't (Che, Castro, Simon Bolivar, Pancho Villa) And the ones that are further afield are pretty well known (Mao Zedong, Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Ataturk, Nelson Mandela). The one exception is New Zealand, where we get Hone Heke and Kate Sheppard.

It's a great introduction to some serious empire building and tearing down (as much as there is a lot of focus on the anti-Romans--8 out of 50, it also really shows the sweep of the Roman Empire, as well as its definite limits.) As well as major political movements, which still very much shape our world today.

While it's an easy one to dip in and out of, I recommend reading it in order, as many of the revolutions build on each other, or reference each other, so the context from a previous chapter is often useful, which is why the chronological order works so well here. Everything's only 3-5 pages, but it covers enough so people know what went down and why. IT's also short enough you think "oh, I can read just one more" and then you end up finishing the book in one session. (NOT THAT DID THAT. *whistles while looking innocent*) This is a great one for a wide range of readers and I really really really wish it had been around in 2012 when the National History Day theme was "Revolution, Reaction, and Reform". So many teens didn't know where to even start picking one-- I would have loved to be able to have them leaf through this book for inspiration!

Another fun and engaging, but still wildly informative, one from Zest.



Book Provided by... Zest, for blog tour inclusion

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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4. Members Only: Secret Societies, Sects, and Cults--Exposed

I'm super excited that Zest asked me to be part of their Rockin' Blog Tour and let me have 2 dates and 2 books to talk about! As frequent readers, and anyone who's heard me present about nonfiction knows, I love Zest's work.

Members Only: Secret Societies, Sects, and Cults Exposed! Julie Tibbott

So, I was expecting this to be along the lines of previous Zest titles such as Scandalous!: 50 Shocking Events You Should Know About (So You Can Impress Your Friends), Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes-From Cleopatra to Camus, and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About...Before It's Too Late, but about secret societies and shady groups.

In essence, it is, but it's a little more text-y and has a different trim size-- 9 by 6 inches instead of 6 inches square. I'm a big fan of YA nonfiction having a more standard trim size, so YAY for trim size.

Tibbott introduces us to 22 different secret or exclusive groups, giving their history, what they do, and what's secret about them (if anything). (And here's where I mean it's a bit more texty--it's slightly longer, but covers fewer things than the previous books, with bigger pages. Also, the design has fewer pull-out boxes.) It's a great introduction to groups--some of which teens will have heard of, some of which they'll probably hear of at some point, and some of which they may never come across again.

The format is a great one for browsing, or just dipping in and out of. They're arranged in alphabetical order, which makes for a few jarring transitions-- Branch Davidians go to Club 33 (a super exclusive dining room club at Disneyland) or the Society for Creative Anachronism leading into the Symbionese Liberation Army (which also just gives a good sense of the wide range of groups covered.) After each group, there's also a few pages of further information--usually a brief introduction to several other similar groups, or an interview with someone involved in the group (including a young Freemason.) I also appreciate that, when appropriate, she offers hotlines and other places for help if you or someone you know is effected by a similar group or related issues (such as hazing or cult membership.)

Now, I'm an educated adult, so I knew about several of the groups (Skull and Bones, Freemasons, Know-Nothings, SCA, SLA) and there were more that I had heard of, but didn't know a lot about (La Santa Muerte--Shapeshifted now makes more sense--Thuggees, The Hellfire Club) and some I had never heard of before (The Bilderberg Group, Club 33, The Machine). So, something for everyone.

Like Zest's other titles, it's a great introduction to some really big movements or ideas, done in a way that will appeal to a wide range of readers. It's a perfect book for extremely reluctant readers, and your more hardcore readers will also love it--and then come back wanting to know more about certain groups.

Also, bonus for Arrested Development fans-- The Magic Castle is covered, which gives some great background to Gob and the Gothic Castle and Magician's Alliance. So we all have "Final Countdown" in our heads now, right? Good.

Come back on Friday for my review of Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries - From Joan of Arc to Malcom X and in the meantime, check out the rest of the tour.


Book Provided by... the publisher, for Blog Tour inclusion.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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5. Blog Tour: Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye PLUS Giveaway




Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

Release Date: 3/3/2015

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About the Book: Did you know a gravy boat can change your life? Charlotte and Tobias Eggers do. After a prank on their terrible nanny involving gravy and tadpoles ends in a misunderstanding, Charlotte and Tobias's father packs them in the car, drives them to the desert, and leaves them outside of Witherwood Reform School. Before he can change his mind, a car accident leaves him with amnesia. Charlotte and Tobias have no choice but to enter Witherwood Reform School with is odd teachers, fierce animals, and unending chocolate pudding. But Witterwood is no ordinary school-the headmaster has perfected mind control. Can Charlotte and Tobias escape before it's too late?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Obert Skye is a middle grade reader favorite at my library. He's a regular fixture at our local children's lit festival and he makes quite an impression on the kids. Each year I have a new group coming into the library asking for his books and eagerly wanting more. I'm delighted to report that Mr. Skye has a new series and it's one I know my fans will devour!

Charlotte and Tobias are pranksters and they're also very smart. They know to question things about their new school and they're determined to figure out the secrets of Witherwood. But what happens when the school gets the best of them and they get sucked in? And what happens when your father doesn't even remember that he's looking for you?

Witherwood Reform School is the first in a new series that is perfect for readers who enjoy their humor to be a little dark, their characters slightly mischievous, and mysteries with a side of suspense. Told in the vein of Lemony Snickett and Jason Segal's Nightmares, readers who want something that's just a bit dark, just a tad creepy, and with a slight silliness will be sure to be lining up to get their hands on this one. There are plenty of questions remaining about this mysterious reform school so readers will be eagerly anticipating book two.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley sent by publisher 


Want to win a copy? Fill out the form below to enter!
One entry per person
US Address only
Contest ends March 10
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Follow the Witherwood Reform School Tour!


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6. Netgalley/Review Tour: Cursed by Fire by Jacquelyn Frank



Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author, Netgalley or the publisher for this honest review.


About the Book

For centuries, Dethan has been trapped in a fiery inferno for defying the gods and snatching the power of immortality. Condemned to have his battle-hardened body licked by flames only to regenerate and be consumed all over again, Dethan has lost all hope—until the Goddess of Conflict appears. She will release him from torment—if he’ll use his power and strength as a warrior to raise an army and defeat a fierce enemy faction of gods.

Free to live as a man once again, Dethan meets Selinda—heir to the throne of Hexis—and his thoughts quickly turn from the conquest of cities to the conquest of this headstrong beauty. Betrothed to a cruel, calculating powermonger, Selinda needs a champion, and so Dethan enters into another bargain: If she will share her bed—and her body—with him, Dethan will save her city from destructive forces within and without. As the lovers ignite a searing passion, Dethan will risk all—even the wrath of the Goddess of Conflict—for a chance to make Selinda his forever.

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Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4.5 stars

Here's why:

I am in love with this couple. Dethan and Selinda make up one of the best pairings I've read in a while.

Scarred, yet beautiful and with a innate fierceness and love for her people made Selinda one of the most believable characters I've read about in a while. Dethan was no slouch either in that department.

Intelligence, flaws, redemption, treachery, I read this book in one day and can't wait to read the next one in the series.

Well done, Ms. Frank, well done.

Would I recommend this? That's a resounding YES!

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7. Blog Tour: Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye (Review & Giveaway!)

3 soft & chewy snickerdoodles.

Cover Love:
This is one of those covers that I feel would be better in person than a digital file.  I don't love it, but I think if it was in my hands I would feel different about it.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Witherwood and Obert Skye is a popular middle school author so I decided to join up!  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Evil mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger—especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control. If only their amnesiac father would recover. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves.

Romance?: Not that kind of book!

My Thoughts:
This story started out laugh out loud funny.  The first chapter when Tobias and Charlotte played their prank on their "nanny" was at times both funny and sad.  For a dad who seemed to love his children as much as theirs did, he was certainly clueless when it came to his children's needs and who was watching them.  But the description of the prank was gross and funny.  It would make a good read aloud.

I loved the author's style of writing.  I am not sure that authors like being compared to Roald Dahl, but that is was kept coming to mind as I got started reading this.  Fortunately kids really don't get tired or reading the wacky and unbelievable if there is a good dose of humor with it.  I haven't read any other Obert Skye books but was pleased at this style of writing. And a boarding school is always a good setting for the fantastic to happen.

I liked Tobias and Charlotte, very relate able characters. Tobias dives right in without thinking ahead and Charlotte observes more, but goes along with Tobias. They are fiercely loyal to each other and when they find themselves at Witherwood they are worried, scared and lonely.  Kind of like kids starting middle school for the first time!

Witherwood is a great setting, perhaps evil, certainly not normal and a little scary. I loved the illustrations and glad they were included. This book could get away without the, because of the authors clear descriptions, but I felt they added to the reading for me.

This is a series, so intends with no real resolution, which I didn't love. It's a reason I never read the whole Series of Unfortunate Events. I like a little more of an uptick at the end of my books, even ones that are series.  However, it never seems to bother young readers. This one will fit comfortably on my middle school library shelf, but not for long because I think it will be very popular.

To Sum Up: I think this would be a great beginning of the school year read aloud, but also just a fun read for older elementary and younger middle school readers.

GIVEAWAY!
Macmillan is offering a copy of Witherwood Reform School to one of my readers. Please fill out the form below to enter to win.  US residents only, contest runs through March 15.

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Please visit the other blogs involved in this tour:
2/18: Little Red Reads
2/19: A Reader’s Adventure
2/20: Stories & Sweeties
2/23: The Hiding Spot
2/24: Bumbles and Fairytales
2/25: Manga Maniac Café
2/26: The Book Monsters 
2/27: Mundie Kids
3/2: Milk & Cookies: Comfort Reading
3/3: Green Bean Teen Queen


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8. One Witch at a Time Blog Tour PLUS Giveaway


About the Book: In this reimagining of "Jack and the Beanstalk," an unsuspecting girl brings one witch's magic into another witch's province, stirring certain disaster.

One Witch at a Time is a sequel to The Brixen Witch, but it can completely stand alone. It's a fun fairy tale retelling with a new spin and fairy tale fans are sure to love it.

I got to ask Stacy DeKeyser about her writing and love of fairy tales-I'm hoping she decides to explore those unanswered questions in Hansel and Gretel and gives us another book!







-What inspired you to write books with a fairy tale/folklore theme?

It started with the Pied Piper. There are so many unexplained things in that story. Why didn’t the villagers pay the piper for getting rid of the rats? And then, why did the piper take it out on the kids? I decided to try and write my own version of the Pied Piper story that answered some of those questions. The result was The Brixen Witch. Writing that book made me realize that every fairy tale has unanswered questions. For example, “Jack and the Beanstalk”: If Jack is clever enough to climb the beanstalk and steal stuff from the giant, how can he also be dumb enough to trade a cow for a handful of dried beans? I love exploring those questions and trying to fill in the blanks with plausible answers.


-Why do you write for middle grade readers?

Those were the books that made me a reader. And the themes that middle grade books explore—finding your place in the world, coming to terms with all the craziness life throws at you—have limitless possibilities, and they are topics that I still struggle with every day. I never get tired of writing about them. Lastly, I think middle grade books tend to preserve the most classic, traditional form of storytelling. (Sort of like fairy tales!) A middle grade book needs a good plot that keeps moving, and characters you care about. And the best stories broaden a reader’s experience while they entertain. That’s what I love to read, and it’s what I try to write.

-What book (or books) would you recommend for someone wanting to start reading middle grade?

Oh, wow, where do I start?

Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) and Because of Winn Dixie (Kate DiCamillo) both prove that a short, simple story can be very satisfying and profound. Any book by Barbara O’Connor. Historical fiction (Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff is a favorite of mine) can make readers curious about the facts of history. If you think you don’t like poetry, try Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. And of course I love fantasy, especially Jonathan Stroud’s books. I love his long sentences and complex plots. I love how he never underestimates his readers.

-If you were trapped in a fairy tale, which one would you choose?


“Hansel and Gretel.” First of all, Gretel has a buddy, which would be nice. Secondly, she’s the hero of the story! She rescues her brother and kills the witch. And what’s going on with that witch, anyway? What makes her want to eat children? She’s clearly very clever, to build a whole cottage out of gingerbread. Couldn’t she put that talent to use for good instead of evil? I’d love to know her story.

Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, which received two starred reviews and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Pick, and its sequel, One Witch at a Time, as well as the young adult novel, Jump the Cracks and two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives in Connecticut with her family. To learn more and to download a free, CCSS-aligned discussion guide, visit StacyDeKeyser.com.

One lucky winner will receive a set of Stacy DeKeyser’s bewitching reads for middle grades---ONE WITCH AT A TIME in hardcover and THE BRIXEN WITCH in paperback.  (U.S. addresses only. One entry per person. Contest ends February 20)

Leave a comment below to enter!



Follow the One Witch at a Time Tour for more about the book and more chances to win!


Mon, Feb 9
Cracking the Cover
Tues, Feb 10
Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Wed, Feb 11
Mother Daughter Book Club
Thurs, Feb 12
GreenBeanTeenQueen
Fri, Feb 13
The Book Monsters
Mon, Feb 16
Word Spelunking
Tues, Feb 17
Read Now, Sleep Later
Wed, Feb 18
Small Review
Thurs, Feb 19
Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Feb 20
The Flashlight Reader

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9. Interview: Una LaMarche

The 2015 Sydney Taylor Awards were recently announced, and Like No Other by Una LaMarche received an Honor in the Teen Readers category. The book was also named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of Summer 2014, a 2014 Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Summer 2014 Indie Next List Pick, among other accolades.

When I interviewed Una as part of The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, here's what she had to say about love stories, teen stories, and true stories.

LNO paperbackWhat inspired you to write Like No Other?

I knew I wanted to write a love story, I knew I wanted to set it in Brooklyn (where I grew up and still live), and I knew I wanted to write something with real stakes. I felt like a lot of the supposed "obstacles" in contemporary romance - He’s rich, she’s poor! She’s popular, she’s a nerd! Etc.- weren’t strong enough. I’m no Shakespeare scholar, but I kept thinking about Romeo and Juliet, about how their families were sworn enemies, and how great it would be to find something similar in modern-day New York. One of the greatest things about living in the city is how inclusive it is, but I needed to find two groups who could believably be at odds. I wanted true forbidden love. Luckily, I barely had to do any work to connect the dots, since they were literally right in front of my face.

Growing up, I had always seen Hasidic families at the park or out shopping, but there was an unspoken rule that we would never interact; we were "other" to them and they were "other" to us. It struck me that that kind of extremely insular religious group might provide the perfect environment for the story I wanted to tell, and after speaking to women who had grown up in those communities, I knew I'd found what I was looking for. There are rules of Hasidic life that govern how to live, whom to love, and who to be. For anyone to break those rules, let alone a young woman - let alone with a black man - well, that would set some seriously Shakespearean stakes.

How has real life impacted your writing, and/or vice-versa?

I draw as much as I can from what I know, just because that’s both what’s easiest and most genuine. In Like No Other, what I knew best was Brooklyn - that experience of growing up in a dense, vibrant, diverse place that’s alternately comforting and a little frightening - but even though I didn’t have a huge amount in common with either Devorah or Jax, I always try to put as much real life experience into my characters as I can. The great thing about being human is that regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion, most emotions are more or less universal. I may not have had any firsthand experience with Devorah (my Hasidic character's) upbringing, but I know what it felt like to be a teenage girl. And I'm not male or black like Jaxon, but I know what it’s like to be a city kid under pressure from your parents to make them proud.

What's your favorite part about writing fiction? How do you approach writing non-fiction?

I love writing fiction because A) there are no limits, but mostly B) I’m a control freak and can decide what happens. When I’m writing nonfiction I’m very careful to make sure everything I’m writing is as accurate as possible; I don’t even like to write dialogue in my memoir pieces for fear of getting it wrong or manipulating it somehow. But in fiction there is no getting it wrong - at least from an artistic standpoint - and manipulation is the whole point! It’s pretty awesome.

What books or authors did you love as a teenager?

As a preteen I was a card-carrying member of The Baby-Sitters Club fan club, and a little too emotionally involved with the goings-on at Sweet Valley High. Later, I got into horror and devoured anything by Stephen King or Christopher Pike. I loved Lynda Barry’s cartoon anthologies, and of course Queen Judy Blume. But I also dabbled in Jane Austen, Cynthia Voigt, and Maeve Binchy… when I wasn’t busy obsessively reading Sassy magazine. UnaHeadshot

You are a novelist, an essayist, and an Etsy enthusiast. What other nouns or vocations suit you?


Mother. Wife. Oenophile. Karaoke hustler. Ball of emotion.

When you were a kid, you kept a diary. Do you still keep one as an adult? Does anyone else in your family keep a journal, or write regularly?

I have actually never kept a regular or honest* diary. I was a diary dilettante and still am; I have a sort-of-diary that’s an ongoing letter to my (currently three year-old) son, and I still only manage to update it about twice a year.

*As a teenager I tried to make my life seem a lot more exciting than it was. Maybe that’s why I write teen fiction now?

What are your top ten favorite books?

It was so hard to narrow it down to ten, but here’s an attempt at a reflection of my current list, in no particular order:

It’s So Magic, Lynda Barry
The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
Candyfreak, Steve Almond
Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz
No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel, Janice Dickinson (I’M BEING HONEST, DON’T JUDGE ME)
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

Visit Una's website at http://www.unalamarche.com/

Check out the full blog tour schedule as posted at the AJL blog.

Drop by the Association of Jewish Libraries website and the official Sydney Taylor site.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2014
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2013
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2012

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10. George O'Connor Blog Tour





Ares: Bringer of War
by George O'Connor
First Second, January 27, 2015
review copy provided by the publisher

"The stories that make up the body of Greek myths are what remain of their culture’s deeply held beliefs. The stories of Zeus and his family are more than just entertaining yarns about giants who slice open the sky and monsters so fearsome their gaze can turn a person to stone. They were, and are, an explanation of the world that that ancient culture’s people saw around them: a lightning storm could only be the King of Gods hurling his thunderbolt; a volcano could only be the escaped vapors of an entombed Titan. 
Not many people today believe in the gods of Ancient Greece. But their stories are still around, and they live on in all of our memories." George O'Connor (from his website, The Olympians).
The volumes in George O'Connor's Olympians series (Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Aphrodite) do so much more than simply retell a story from Greek mythology. They also feature a detailed family tree at the beginning of the book. At the end are extensive G(r)eek notes that cite page and panel numbers and are a combination of author commentary, historical context, and vocabulary and classical art connections. After that, there are resources for the reader who wants to know even more.

The whole premise of Ares is pretty amazing -- in it, O'Connor retells the Illiad with a focus on the gods' role in the Trojan War. In a 66-page graphic novel. For kids.

Wow.

Everything you know about Ares is shown to be true in this book -- when it comes to warmongering, he is the opposite side of the coin from Athena, who is the disciplined strategist of war. Ares represents the violent, crazed, bloodthirsty side of war. But in this book, we also see that he is a father with at least a teeny tiny soft spot in his heart.

One of my favorite spreads in the book is p. 12-13. It takes you by surprise as a reader, because the top half of both pages is one large panel. It shows the gods gathered around a sort of table that is the battlefield in the mortal world. The panels below the large top panel read left to right as usual, but all the way across both pages. When you turn the page, the story continues in the usual page-by-page format until the climax on p. 52-53 when the gods can't stand it anymore and they go down to the mortal world to battle it out "god-on-god" (p. 73 in the G(r)eek Notes) All of this is to say that besides being a master of mythology and storytelling, George O'Connor is an amazing graphic artist.

I recommend this book for students in grades 4 and up...all the way up to adults who would like a refresher course on mythology and a peek into some of the best graphic novels around.

You can follow George O'Connor on twitter @GeorgetheMighty.


STOPS ON THE BLOG TOUR:

Monday, January 26th
Kid Lit Frenzy

Tuesday, January 27th – A Year of Reading -- You Are Here!

Wednesday, January 28th
Great Kid Books

Thursday, January 29
Charlotte’s Library

Friday, January 30
Graphic Novel Resources

Saturday, January 3
Librarian’s Quest

Sunday, February 1
Musings of a Librarian

Monday, February 2
The Graphic Novelologist

Tuesday, February 3
Supernatural Snark

Wednesday, February 4
Panel Patter

Thursday, February 5
Finding Wonderland

Friday, February 6
The Book Rat

Saturday, February 7
Teen Lit Rocks

Sunday, February 8
The Brain Lair

Monday, February 9
Haunting Orchid

Tuesday, February 10
Alice Marvels


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11. Tuck Everlasting 40th: What If You Could Live Forever

Tuck Everlasting was a book I missed out on reading until I was teaching fourth grade a few years after college.  I adored the book and had several amazing conversations with my students.  Almost without fail they would tell you they would drink from the spring.  I guess when you are 10 and 11 forever doesn't seem like anything at all.  Back then I knew I wouldn't want to drink from the spring, but I thought about it longer.

Then I became a parent.

I would never want to outlive my children.  Never.  And there is a part of me that thinks I wouldn't want them to drink from the spring either.  I have loved growing and maturing and getting older and I want that for my children.  I want them to experience the full circle of life, because I have loved most every stage of my life.

The things that the Tucks had to do to avoid suspicion, like separating for years at a time, makes me sad.  But then again, living together for eternity probably wouldn't be good either--can you imagine how on each others' nerves you'd be?

Now that I am older and have lived, I truly cannot see an upside to living forever.

What about you?  If you had the chance, would you want to live forever?  Would you drink from the spring?

0 Comments on Tuck Everlasting 40th: What If You Could Live Forever as of 1/23/2015 8:57:00 AM
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12. Blog Tour: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski PLUS Giveaway



About the Book: (From Goodreads)-Winning what you want may cost you everything you love 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: As an avid reader and librarian who has a constantly huge TBR pile, it takes a lot for me to get into a series and want to read a sequel and keep a series on my radar. And oh my goodness, let me tell you that The Winner's Curse is a book that I am keeping on my radar and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series and I can't wait to keep going!

There are so many things to like about The Winner's Curse. First off, I really love Kestrel. She's a strong female character and I love seeing strong women in YA, especially young women who really come into their own and learn to stand up for themselves over the course of the book. She doesn't swoon for boys or need a guy to save her. Kestrel is uncovering the veiled world she's lived in and questioning what she has always thought she knew and her journey there is fantastic to read. 

Arin might be a bit on the broody side, but he's a strong character as well. I LOVE that there was not a love triangle in this book-thank you Ms. Rutkoski!!! Kestrel and Arin are both having to uncover long held truths and put aside prejudices they have about each other and this aspect of the novel is especially well written and developed. I really liked the interplay between them as they go from mistrust to an uneasy trust to a possible relationship that has too many barriers in its way. It's intriguing and makes the novel especially appealing.

The world building is also fantastic. It's hard to classify this book exactly-it's a bit fantasy, a bit historical, a bit dystopian, a bit romance, a bit adventure, a bit mystery, and a bit political intrigue. There really is something for everyone. And while there is a romantic plot line, it is not so central to the story that non-romance readers would be turned off from it. 

I actually listened to this book on audio and I really enjoyed the various accents the narrator used throughout. It made the characters even more realistic and I thought it created even more intrigue. With a big surprise cliffhanger for the ending, readers will be eagerly anticipating the sequel!

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook checked out from my local library

The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price.  What would you pay too much for?

As part of The Winner's Curse blog tour, participants have been asked what they would pay too much for. That is such a hard question! 

My first answer when I saw this question was books-ha! I know Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan would say that's the truth! But I can't help it-I love books. And while I don't think I would spend thousands of dollars (or more) for a signed copy or a limited edition (I'm not that much of a collector), I do think in my own way I spend too much for books at times. 

It's always a risk-taking a chance on a book that you may or may not like. If it turns out to be something you don't like, did you pay too much for it? Or what if you purchase a book and you don't ever end up reading it? And then it takes up room on your shelf (shelf space is valuable!!) and you keep telling yourself you promise you'll read it this year, but then another year passes and you still haven't read it? Was the price too high then? And like I tell my readers at the library all the time, life is too short to read bad books. It takes time to read-precious time out of your already busy day, so you want to make the most of it and read something that you will enjoy reading. You don't want it to be a chore. And if it becomes a chore, than it's not enjoyable anymore and you've paid too much by loosing your enjoyment of reading.

Maybe that's silly to think of books in that way. But with as much time as I spend thinking, researching, reading, talking, and writing about books, books make up a significant part of my life! I want to get what I paid for! Maybe that's why I should just stick to library books!

GIVEAWAY
Want to win a copy of The Winner's Curse? Enter the giveaway below!
-One entry per person
-US  address only
-ages 13+
-One entry per person
-Contest ends January 30


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13. Review Tour: Stefan by V.A. Dold

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.


About the Book

El is a beautiful, successful, plus sized woman suffering a debilitating humiliation that has left her hating all handsome, wealthy men exactly like Stefan Le Beau. Unfortunately for Le Beau, she’s known him since she was sixteen and was totally snubbed by him. To her, he’s a hound dog and a man-whore.

Stefan is a playboy to the extreme with one hard and fast rule: date a woman only once, take her to bed, and be gone before morning. Until El.

Stefan’s dream of finding his mate comes true when he bids two hundred thousand dollars to win a date with El at Simon’s charity ball. Money well spent in his opinion.

Now, if she would only talk to him. Or look at him. Or touch him, or…like him.

Can Stefan convince El he's a reformed man?

Can El learn to trust a man who is the epitome of what she avoids and could shatter her heart?

It will require drastic, strategic measures from the entire family to make this mating happen.

Buy the Book

AMAZON

Other books in the Le Beau Brothers Series


Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Stefan is the most intense book in the Le Beau so far. Learning El's trauma and watching her emotional journey as she tries to figure out what Stefan means to her and for her. El is a spunky, honest character and I truly enjoyed reading about her and Stefan.

Stefan was an interesting character unto himself because his "perceived image" and the "real man" were very far apart. Yet when it is time to fight for his woman, he's top notch in my book.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, absolutely! I am firmly on the Le Beau love train.

0 Comments on Review Tour: Stefan by V.A. Dold as of 1/15/2015 7:29:00 AM
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14. Interview with Red Savina Review

I have a new interview up at the Red Savina Review blog! Wendy Gist, the managing editor of Red Savina Review, asked me some challenging and thought-provoking questions, but it was a pleasure to answer them. You can read the interview here.

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15. #IndieHooplaPromos Tour: The Guardians of Man (Part 2 of 2)

Tour Schedule Here

I'm excited that I get to host on this tour because I met Lori several years ago and she's an amazing person and author. Crystal, I hope to get to know better. So ladies, I'm putting you in my hot chair, one at time of course, to see what myself and readers can learn about two authors working as one. Time to play 10 questions with Crystal! 

Do you prefer to write with a typewriter, pen and paper, or a computer?
Hi guys! Thanks so much for your time today. I like to write everything out by hand, once I get to the point where I’m satisfied I type it out and save it for my editor.

Do you need music or silence to write?
Once I start writing it doesn’t matter what’s going on around me. Once I started writing while I was in a movie theater. The movie wasn’t boring but sometimes, especially when I get to a certain point in the story, my writing trumps everything

Did you read a lot as a child?
As far as reading is concerned I was a late bloomer. I really didn’t start reading on my own until Jr. High.

How did you pick your cover art? What was the inspiration?
For the covers of In the foothills of Mt. Empyreal our inspiration came directly from the stories, which is why there are angels and birds on both covers. Our cover artist for this project is Rebecca Treadway over at http://atrtink.com/

I’ve worked with her before, this was Lori’s 1st time working with Rebecca but because I trusted her so completely Lori trusted her too. We sent her a few images and gave her an idea of what we wanted then we stepped back and let her run with it.

Because both books revolve around the same event and takes place in the same location, but are completely stand alone stories she reversed the images and joined both books together by using fire and ice color schemes. We both approved the very 1st concept.

What would you like to be remembered for?
Hopefully for the little things, for my random acts of kindness, something nice that I said. I hope that I can be forgiven for the times I was bullheaded or intentionally cruel because I let my anger get the best of me or I wanted to hurt someone for hurting me. Being a good person is hard and I haven’t always been that, so hopefully if I do what I need to, if I can think before I speak, to think before I act, I can be remembered as being a good person.

Are there any of your characters that are based off of any people in real life?
No. Some of my characters do and say things that remind me of people I know in real life and after the release of my story The Monster I had distant cousins contact me asking if some of the characters were based on family members, that was fun but, it was just a coincidence.

Of your characters, whom do you favor most, and why?
I don’t have an all time favorite but for instance like in the Spectrum Trilogy there are parts in the story as a whole where one character will blow me away.

How long did it take you to write your very first novel?
My very 1st novel The Darkness took five years to write, but I wasn’t writing full time.

Of your characters, who is it that you just love to hate? Why is that?
Lol, sometimes they piss me off but I don’t hate any of my characters. When I was working with Lori on Mt. Empyreal I created a character named Khrystle that I wasn’t really feeling but Lori wanted to keep her and that made me resent her for a while but I didn’t hate her.

How old were you when you first started writing?
Well I always told really creepy stories, I remember being invited to slumber parties for the sole purpose of telling a spooky story but I really didn’t start writing them down until I was in Jr. Highschool.

To see Lori's answers, VISIT HERE.


The Guardians of Man by Connor Titus

In the valley of Mt. Empyreal, the fight for humanity has already begun.

In the mountain community of Fate's Keep, the global power outage and the onset of winter are only the beginning of what is yet to come. Along with the first snowfall, an ancient evil has come. With time running out, will the Guardians be able to save mankind?


Buy the Book: Amazon



About the Authors

Lori Titus

Lori Titus is a native Californian with a penchant for stories that are twisted, scary, or both. She also enjoys a dash of romance in her storytelling when she can get away with it! She is the author of Hunting in Closed Spaces (The Marradith Ryder Series, Part 1). She is also half of the writing team known as Connor Titus (with author Crystal Connor) and has co-authored two novels, The Guardians of Man and The End Is Now. Lori has authored many short stories and two novellas, Lazarus and Hailey's Shadow. Some may know her as the Managing Editor at Flashes in the Dark. Upcoming work for 2015 includes a novel called The Bell House and the second installment of the Ryder Series.

The Darkest of Lore Blog  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads | Amazon Author Page


Crystal Connor


Washington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Along with inducing insomnia within her readership Crystal also reviews indie horror and sci-fi movies for HorrorAddicts.net








 GIVEAWAY

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire HDX 7" (US Only - $229 value) or Amazon Gift Card ($199 value/ International) Ends 12/17/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 Comments on #IndieHooplaPromos Tour: The Guardians of Man (Part 2 of 2) as of 12/9/2014 12:01:00 AM
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16. Interviewed on Grab the Lapels

The lovely Melanie Page interviewed me today on her blog, Grab the Lapels. You can read the post here.

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17. #IndieHooplaPromos Tour: The Guardians of Man (Part 1 of 2)

Tour Schedule Here

I'm excited that I get to host on this tour because I met Lori several years ago and she's an amazing person and author. Crystal, I hope to get to know better. So ladies, I'm putting you in my hot chair, one at time of course, to see what myself and readers can learn about two authors working as one. Time to play 10 questions with Lori!

1. Do you prefer to write with a typewriter, pen and paper, or a computer?
I usually write on my computer, but when I want to experiment I will go back to pen and paper.

2. Do you need music or silence to write?
I don't like writing in silence. I usually have on some music, or have the tv on for background noise.

3. Did you read a lot as a child?
Yes, I was a voracious reader! I think that was one of the things that inspired me to write.

4. How did you pick your cover art? What was the inspiration?
R.L. Treadway did both the covers for The Guardians of Man and Hunting in Closed Spaces.  I discussed the stories with her and she came up with a few choices for each.

5. What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as someone who enriched the lives of others in some way.

6. Are there any of your characters that are based off of any people in real life?
None are actually based on real people, but some of the characters do have qualities of people I know.  For example,  Marradith's mother in Hunting has some personality traits of three different women.

7. Of your characters, whom do you favor most, and why?
In The Guardians of Man, I love Rythy.  She is so completely evil,  and has no clue about rules or limits. Justin Granthem is a favorite because he's flawed and sometimes comical, but in many ways he is an ideal man.

8. How long did it take you to write your very first novel?
About a year and a half.

9. Of your characters, who is it that you just love to hate? Why is that?
There are several! Leighton Ryder, Marradith's great grandfather, and Adam from Guardians.

10. How old were you when you first started writing?
I was nine.


The Guardians of Man by Connor Titus

In the valley of Mt. Empyreal, the fight for humanity has already begun.

In the mountain community of Fate's Keep, the global power outage and the onset of winter are only the beginning of what is yet to come. Along with the first snowfall, an ancient evil has come. With time running out, will the Guardians be able to save mankind?


Buy the Book: Amazon



About the Authors

Lori Titus

Lori Titus is a native Californian with a penchant for stories that are twisted, scary, or both. She also enjoys a dash of romance in her storytelling when she can get away with it! She is the author of Hunting in Closed Spaces (The Marradith Ryder Series, Part 1). She is also half of the writing team known as Connor Titus (with author Crystal Connor) and has co-authored two novels, The Guardians of Man and The End Is Now. Lori has authored many short stories and two novellas, Lazarus and Hailey's Shadow. Some may know her as the Managing Editor at Flashes in the Dark. Upcoming work for 2015 includes a novel called The Bell House and the second installment of the Ryder Series.

The Darkest of Lore Blog  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads | Amazon Author Page


Crystal Connor


Washington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Along with inducing insomnia within her readership Crystal also reviews indie horror and sci-fi movies for HorrorAddicts.net








 GIVEAWAY

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire HDX 7" (US Only - $229 value) or Amazon Gift Card ($199 value/ International) Ends 12/17/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 Comments on #IndieHooplaPromos Tour: The Guardians of Man (Part 1 of 2) as of 12/4/2014 5:09:00 AM
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18. Blog Tour Stop: Children’s Literary Podcasting Loves a Winner

LetsGetBusy1 293x300 Blog Tour Stop: Childrens Literary Podcasting Loves a WinnerOn April 19th of this past year I hosted a Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL called Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs. Unlike a lot of my Salons, this one was actually recorded and turned into a podcast here.  Why am I telling you all this?  Because that podcaster, one Matthew Winner, has just hit a very important milestone.  As of  November 21st the Let’s Get Busy podcast celebrated its 100th episode.  To celebrate this momentous event, Matthew organized a Blog+Pod tour.  And lo and behold, I’m on the schedule.

Now if you don’t listen to children’s literature podcasts but have been vaguely interested in starting, I can’t recommend Matthew’s enough.  But that’s enough from me.  Let’s hear from the man himself.

Betsy: Great to have you hear Matthew!  Let’s start with an easy question.  Why don’t we delve deep into the nature of podcasting itself?

Matthew: Sounds great! You know, podcasting has gone through much of the same trend the blogging did in the early days of the internet. It’s so easy to do and requires so little prep that it seems like hundreds of new podcasts are popping up every week. And that’s such a good thing, because it means that people are sharing their voices and their unique perspectives on a myriad of topics. 

Betsy: So what’s the advantage of being a podcaster?

Matthew: The biggest draw for me as a podcaster is getting to interact with my content in this authentic and meaningful way that an interview format allows. I love being able to ask whatever question comes to mind in the context of our conversation, but I also love hearing guests work through their responses. There’s always a prized moment where an unexpected insight is shared that just rocks me to the core. Those are the moments I live for and it’s the quality that I think keeps people listening. Also, podcasting is a bit less time-consuming for me. Most of the time spent with Let’s Get Busy is on setting up the interviews, confirming that the guest’s technology works, and prepping the episode for publication. I still write reviews, post lesson ideas, and share insights on advocacy and ed trends through my Busy Librarian blog, but it’s really nice to have an outlet where I can interact with a human being, make a connection over great literature or art, and then share that conversation with others.

Betsy: And what’s changed since you began?

LetsGetBusy5 300x298 Blog Tour Stop: Childrens Literary Podcasting Loves a WinnerMatthew: I’m now receiving interview requests pretty frequently from publishers and publicists organizing blog tours and looking to promote their big releases. I don’t say yes to every request, but when I do I always love being a part of the book’s send-off. Whether it’s the author’s debut into publishing, their first work for a particular age range, or it’s just a great book that is receiving some extra publicity, it’s a huge honor to be a part of the celebration. But most of my guests come through recommendations from previous guests. This might be the quality I feel like is working best of all for the podcast. We’ve built a family through the podcast guests of friends, colleagues, mentors, and man-would-I-love-to-hear-you-speak-with-NAME-about-TOPIC. It’s a really wonderful thing. Oh! And the other thing that’s changed is that I’ve started to find more kidlit podcasters! When we met at the NYPL Literary Salon the only other podcasters doing something similar to Let’s Get Busy that I was aware of were Katie Davis (Brain Burps About Books), John Sellers (PW KidsCast), and The Kids Comics Revolution (Dave Roman and Jerzy Drozd). Now I’ve made pals with Gregg Schigiel of the Stuff Said comics podcast, Nick Patton of the Picturebooking Podcast, and a handful of really cool people on Twitter who have plans to start podcasting soon. I feel like collectively we’re all helping to give a greater voice to children’s publishing. 

Betsy: Have you gotten any feedback from the public that’s surprised you?

Matthew: I keep a digital folder of all of the nice things people have said about the podcast via email, Facebook, or Twitter. (I know, I know… I’m such a teacher. You do know we all keep “smile” folders with these kids of notes from kids, parents, and administration, right?!) It helps me to know that people are listening and that the podcast is becoming for them something bigger than I ever expected. I even share a couple of them through my “Nice Things Said” tab on the podcast homepage (http://lgbpodcast.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html) as sort of testimonials for new visitors to the podcast.

But the comment that surprised me most and still gives me chills today was from Dan Santat, author of Sidekicks, Beekle, and illustrator of half of your favorite picture books). He visited Julie Danielson’s Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog and had the following to say about Let’s Get Busy:

“I’ve recently become addicted to Matthew Winner’s Let’s Get Busy podcast, where he interviews authors and illustrators in children’s publishing. Everyone should check that podcast out. It feels like I’m hanging out with all my friends. I think in about a year, when everyone catches on, it will be one of the most important media sites in the children’s publishing field.”

My interview with Dan was a really special one and I point people back to it all the time just to hear Dan himself tell the story of Beekle. It makes me a little weepy just thinking about it now. I admire him for his deep sincerity in not just what he writes, but also for who he is. He’s top notch in my book and knowing that there are people like him out there that believe in me and the future of this podcast the way he does is a truth I hold very near and dear.

LetsGetBusy4 375x500 Blog Tour Stop: Childrens Literary Podcasting Loves a WinnerBetsy: Where do you see the future of podcasting even going?

Matthew: Podcasting is such an easy way to consume media. We’re already seeing a decline in network television and an increase in digital content streaming and on-demand media. In that way I think that much of our content is going to start trending toward formats like podcasting because of the ease of reaching a wide audience and the flexibility in how the content can be presented.

Betsy:  And if you could add one cool feature, what would it be?

Matthew: I may have talked about this on the podcast before, but if I could add one feature to the podcast it would be to have a digital shop for all of the past and upcoming guests to share their books, their art, and their talent. A number of illustrators are on Etsy or similar sites. Some sell through their own host sites. But as a huge fanboy of kidlit I feel like we don’t have a central location to access all of this good stuff. A place for me to pick up a tee of Dan Santat’s Beekle alongside a print of Molly Idle’s Flora partner skating with a penguin and an amazing handmade fairtrade Little Lost Owl based on Chris Haughton’s gorgeous books. I feel like what we need is to see more of our favorite books and characters on the walls of our rooms, schools, and libraries and on the totes, tees, and rub-on-tattoos of every card-carrying kidlit fan out there. That would be amazing.

Betsy:  Abso-friggin’-lutely.

Well big time thanks to Matthew for stopping on by.  I think this post may be the most useful encapsulation of the state of contemporary children’s literature podcasting today, thanks in large part to Matthew’s knowledge about the field.  Now be sure to check out the rest of the Let’s Get Busy Podcast blog tour:

Wed. Nov. 19 – Picturebooking Podcast

Sat. Nov. 22 – The Library Fanatic

Sun. Nov. 23 – Laurie Ann Thompson

Mon. Nov. 24 – 100 Scope Notes

Tue. Nov. 25 – LGBPodcast via McSpedden Elementary Library blog

Wed. Nov. 26 – Writer Side Up

Thu. Nov. 27 – Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Fri. Nov. 28 – Brain Burps About Books

Sat. Nov. 29 – LGBPodcast via Aimee Winner

Mon. Dec. 1 – Here!

Tue. Dec 2. – LGBPodcast via Carter Higgins

Wed. Dec. 3 – GreenRow Books

Let’s Get Busy podcast - http://lgbpodcast.blogspot.com/
The Busy Librarian blog - http://www.busylibrarian.com
LIKE the Busy Librarian on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BusyLibrarian
Follow Matthew on Twitter - @MatthewWinner

LetsGetBusy2 Blog Tour Stop: Childrens Literary Podcasting Loves a Winner


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19. Blog Tour: The Rise of Aurora West and EXLUSIVE ART by David Rubin




About the Book: Monsters are plaguing Arcopolis and children are not safe. Haggard West is the hero that is trying to take them down and he has an apprentice: his daughter Aurora West. Aurora discovers that the monsters may have something to do with the mystery behind her mother's death and if she can unlock her childhood memories and remember her imaginary friend, she might be able to piece it all together. All she has to do is survive Sadisto and his murderous gang long enough to uncover the past.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: The Rise of Aurora West is set in the same world as Battling Boy but is a prequel to that graphic novel and stands on its own. No prior knowledge or readership of Battling Boy is required, but I'm sure readers will want to pick up Battling Boy after finishing this one! The story is fast paced and is a bit dark with an everyday hero out to fight monsters in a dystopian future.

The Rise of Aurora West is a graphic novel with lots of adventure, mystery, family drama and secrets, an awesome hero on the rise and a fantastic father/daughter relationship. Add in some pretty creepy monsters, a city with no hope, and a a bit of archaeology and you've got one action packed story that is easy to get lost in. This is part one of a two volume series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next part of Aurora's story! If you have graphic novel fans who enjoy adventure and hero stories, be sure to add this one to your shelves.

Check out this exclusive art from David Rubin featuring one of those creepy monsters-seriously, I would not want to run into this guy!



 Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for review

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20. Blog Tour: Can I Come Too by Brian Patten, illustrated by Nicola Bayley


About the Book: A young mouse sets out on a grand adventure to discover the biggest animal in the world and makes new friends along the way.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Can I Come Too is a sweet and charming cumulative picture book perfect for preschoolers. The little mouse wants to discover the biggest animal in the world and spends the day meeting new animals and discovering bigger and bigger animals along the way.

The illustrations are gorgeous and are sure to inspire readers to pour over the pages and take in all the details. The text is simple enough for young readers but engaging enough for older readers to join in.


I love how the author deftly includes some science into the text. What animal is the biggest animal in the world? What animal will be next-it has to be larger than the animal we just met. It's a great way to get kids thinking about animals and their size. Pair this one with Steve Jenkins Actual Size for a fun filled animal science storytime! 

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from finished copy sent by publisher for review

Be sure to follow the tour: 


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21. Author Guest Post: Julie Sternberg PLUS GIVEAWAY

Please welcome author Julie Sternberg to the blog! Julie writes very funny books for middle grade readers and they include fantastic illustrations. I asked Julie to talk about what it's like working with an illustrator with her books since her books are such a big combination of pictures and text.
Credit:Meredith Zinner

I am embarrassed to admit this, but here goes:  I did not instantly love the illustrations for my first book, LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE. 

I love them wholeheartedly now. I can’t imagine better ones.  And a framed copy of this one is the first thing I see when I walk into my apartment. It makes me very happy:


But, in the beginning, I found the illustrations jarring, for this reason: Although the PICKLE JUICE story is fiction, it is based on a moment in my life; and I had a clear picture in my head of most of the characters. The book’s immensely talented illustrator, Matthew Cordell, has never met me (authors and illustrators don’t typically meet) or the people I had in mind when I wrote the story. The illustrations show his vision of the characters, not mine. That can be hard, especially for a first-time author. 
But I adjusted! Matt made it easy for me, with pictures like these:  

I skipped the startled phase with Johanna Wright’s illustrations for FRIENDSHIP OVER, the first book in THE TOP-SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE series. I’d gone through the process before, and the story and characters are farther removed from my life. So it was easier to simply enjoy Johanna’s vision.  
Our process for the FRIENDSHIP OVER illustrations was particularly fun for me, too. Usually authors are urged to include very few, if any, art notes for the illustrator. The general rule is that an art note is only appropriate if the text requires a particular image—and one that isn’t clear from the text itself. (For example, the author might want to make a joke that the text sets up and the illustration finishes. In that case, an art note can set out the punchline for the illustrator.) 
I can’t remember including a single art note for Matt. But, in FRIENDSHIP OVER, Celie is supposed to be drawing the pictures in her diary. They are very much a product of her thinking. So I was able to include many art notes, saying, essentially, this is what Celie wants to sketch here. It was astonishing how well Johanna translated those notes into pictures that absolutely could have been drawn by Celie herself. 
Just as one example:  The art note said, “insert dispirited doodle by Celie, maybe of a very small Celie on very large sofa,”and Johanna drew:

I want to emphasize that I have NO visual artistic ability. I struggle with bubble letters (particularly S and N). Yet all of my stories have been enhanced by remarkable art. I feel very, very lucky. 

Follow Julie's blog tour for Friendship Over:
Mon, Sept 29
Mother Daughter Book Club
Tues, Sept 30
5 Minutes for Mom
Wed, Oct 1
Sharpread
Thurs, Oct 2
KidLit Frenzy
Fri, Oct 3
The Hiding Spot
Sat, Oct 4
Booking Mama
Mon, Oct 6
Ms. Yingling Reads
Tues, Oct 7
GreenBeanTeenQueen
Wed, Oct 8
Great Kid Books
Thurs, Oct 9
Teach Mentor Texts
Fri, Oct 10
Unleashing Readers
Sat, Oct 11
Bermuda Onion

Want to win a copy of Friendship Over? Leave a comment below!

One entry per person, contest ends October 14, ages 13+, US address only, contest thanks to Blue Slip Media


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22. Doodles and Drafts – A bewitching encounter with Angela Sunde

Hold on to your broomsticks because today we have someone special visiting. She’s a bit of a drafter and doodler, a fellow resident of the magical Gold Coast and a wickedly wonderful conjurer of stories. Snap Magic is her latest light-hearted, fairy tale inspired fantasy novel about friendship and young girls approaching the precipitous edge […]

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23. Blog Tour Launch & $100 Giveaway: A Year in the Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters

The Blog Tour has begun!

A Year in the Secret Garden

Just this week our delight was compounded when Valarie announced that the physical version of the book had arrived, just in time for the upcoming launch and blog tour.

A Year in the Secret Garden

This book was a labor of love between two creative people (Valarie and Marilyn) who not only wanted to bring a classic children’s tale to life, but encourage families to step away from the computer and into the garden, craft room and kitchen.

Title: A Year in the Life of the Secret Garden | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters | Publication Date: November, 2014 | Publisher: Audrey Press | Pages: 144 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 99

Book Description: Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

Amazon * Audrey Press * Goodreads

 

buy1

A Year in the Secret Garden provides the perfect companion to the original story.  The book is divided into major sections by months of the year.  For each month, a character from the book (e.g., Mary Lennox, Dickon, Colin) is introduced and their role in the story is described.  Each month also features a number of activities including planting activities, crafts, recipes, children’s games, as well as snippets of information about some of the themes covered in the story (e.g., death in Victorian England, language spoken in Yorkshire), and so much more!’-Renee @Mother/Daughter Book Reviews

In honor of this exciting new release,  there will be a special blog tour that will run from November 1 to 30, 2014. We encourage our readers to stop by and experience the magic of A Year in The Secret Garden through book reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts from this activity-packed book.  The blog tour will include a shared giveaway for a $100 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash prize, open worldwide.

To get a snapshot of A Year in the Secret Garden book month-by-month AND a sneak peek at the blog tour schedule, go HERE.

For a chance to enter to win our Amazon $100 Gift Card, Go HERE

A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour Schedule

A Year in the Secret Garden blog tour

EXPLORING SEPTEMBER

November 1

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch)

Coffee Books & Art (Guest Post)

WS Momma Readers Nook (Book Review)

November 2

Cherry Mischievous (Excerpt)

Hope to Read (Excerpt)

November 3

Eloquent Articulation (Book Review)

Enter Here Canada (Excerpt)

 

EXPLORING OCTOBER

November 4

BeachBoundBooks (Excerpt)

Books, Babies and Bows (Book Review)

November 5

Monique’s Musings (Book Review)

November 6

SOS-Supply (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING NOVEMBER

November 7

Randomly Reading (Book Review)

November 8

Adalinc to Life (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING DECEMBER

November 9

100 Pages a Day (Book Review)

November 10

Edventures With Kids (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING JANUARY

November 11

Icefairy’s Treasure Chest (Book Review)

November 12

Girl of 1000 Wonders (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING FEBRUARY

November 13

Seraphina Reads (Guest Post)

November 14

Juggling Act Mama (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING MARCH

November 15

Pragmatic Mom (Author/Illustrator Interview)

Purple Monster Coupons (Book Review)

November 16

Stacking Books (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING APRIL

November 17

Oh My Bookness (Book Review)

November 18

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING MAY

November 19

The Blended Blog (Book Review)

November 20

All Done Monkey (Book Review)

November 21

Geo Librarian (Book Review)

Grandbooking (Author/Illustrator Interview)

 

JUNE

November 22

My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 23

Christy’s Cozy Corners (Book Review)

My Life, Loves and Passions (Book Review)

November 24

Bookaholic Chick (Excerpt)

Hide-N-(Sensory)-Seeking (Book Review)

JULY

November 25

Ninja Librarian (Guest Post)

November 26

Jane Ritz (Book Review)

Rockin’ Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 27

I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach (Book Review)

 

EXPLORING AUGUST

November 28

Deal Sharing Aunt (Book Review)

November 29

Mommynificent (Book Review)

November 30

This Kid Reviews Books (Book Review)

Java John Z’s (Author/Illustrator Interview)

Visit our A Year in The Secret Garden page to learn more about this one-of-a-kind unique keepsake book for children and families.

PicMonkey Collage

The post Blog Tour Launch & $100 Giveaway: A Year in the Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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24. Guest Post: Shelby Bach



I'm excited to welcome middle grade author Shelby Bach to GreenBeanTeenQueen! If the middle grade readers at my library are anything like yours, fairy tales are huge! 




About Shelby: Shelby Bach was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, but while writing the ever afters, she moved almost as many times as her main character. She came up with the idea for the series right before she left New York City, and she finished the first book, of giants and ice, in Montana—the second, of witches and wind, back in Charlotte. Driving up the West Coast to research the settings for the third book, of sorcery and snow, Shelby fell in love with Portland, Oregon and settled there. She would love to set up a Door Trek system in her apartment to visit her family and friends around the country, but she makes due with much slower and less fictional transportation. These days, while finishing up the fourth and final book, she also works part time for a real-life afterschool program. It is strangely similar to the one where her stories are set—except the students study math instead of fairy tales.   






What Fairy Tales Taught Me About Plot
By Shelby Bach

I love adding new characters, and I especially love giving a side character a strong subplot of their own. Of course, this enthusiasm led to several unruly early drafts of my first novel, Of Giants and Ice, and as an inexperienced novelist, I spent weeks overwhelmed by the number of plot threads I was failing to keep straight and develop effectively. Somewhere around draft number five, I started to use the Rule of Threes to help me structure each of the story arcs. It was a good decision—both for my book and for my sanity.

The Rule of Threes is usually explained as a pattern that occurs three times, which happens a lot in fairy tales. In some, these repetitions occur in just one section: for instance, at the end of “Cinderella,” three people try on the glass slipper the prince is carrying: the two stepsisters and Cinderella. Sometimes, these repetitions make up most of the fairy tale: for example, Jack climbs the Beanstalk three times.

I took a fairy tale course in college that analyzed the Rule of Threes in more detail. (Believe it or not, this was one of the hardest classes I ever took at Vassar. Professor Darlington was a stickler for structure and precision in every paper. My grades suffered, but my writing improved.) First of all, plain repetition gets pretty boring, so our class examined what the three instances actually achieved within the fairy tale: the first one describes the process of actually climbing a beanstalk and sneaking around a giant’s house. The second instance establishes what part of that process is a pattern: Jack climbs the beanstalk again but steals a golden goose from the giant instead those gold coins. (It’s usually the shortest passage.) The third instance, however, breaks with what was established with the first two occurrences and leads to some sort of big change: the giant notices Jack stealing his harp and chases him down the beanstalk. Describing just one trip up the beanstalk would have made a fun story, because the first two instances establishes certain expectations, Jack’s third trip has a bigger impact.

Limiting myself to three occurrences helped me tame the plot threads in Of Giants and Ice. It also forced me to make sure every scene in a certain arc served a purpose. An almost spoiler-free example is the subplot around Rory’s dad. Her parents are divorced, so readers don’t actually see her father in person in Of Giants and Ice. Rory does, however, speak to him on the phone—exactly three times. During the initial call, Rory’s father, a Hollywood director, invites her to a shoot in England during the summer. Rory knows immediately that she doesn’t want to go (he barely pays any attention to her while he’s filming a movie), but afraid of disappointing him, Rory tells him she’ll think about it. Her father doesn’t listen well—he starts telling her all about the actress he wants her to meet when they’re in England. This leads to her mother stepping in and Rory’s parents fighting. The second call takes place a few weeks later. Rory tries to talk to her father about something completely different, but he asks her when her school lets out—he wants to book her flight. She reminds him that she hasn’t made up her mind up and quickly ends the call before her mom can step in again. That’s a tiny step forward—she avoids a fight between her parents, but she still isn’t honest. The third call takes place after Rory has come back from her quest. She discovers from the tabloids that her father has started dating the actress he wanted her to meet in England, and Rory calls him up and tells him that she won’t go on the trip with him. Then she explains exactly how much it upsets her that she had to find out about his new girlfriend from an outside source. Because readers have seen Rory struggle to be honest about her feelings in the previous scenes, her strong stance in the final call has more oomph.


This isn’t much different from most goals in fiction—to show how conflict has changed our characters—but the Rule of Threes was a helpful way to think about it, especially when working with an overwhelming amount of plot threads. As I mentioned earlier, the Rule of Threes was most helpful during the revision process—conscious repetition is easier to develop when you have a whole plot to work with. It’s also easier to recognize where plot threads intersect. In my second novel, Of Witches and Wind, I challenged myself to take several story arcs and see how many third instances I could pack into one scene. It tightened the book’s pacing and gave the ending a way more epic grand finale.

 Find Shelby online:

Blog Tour – Shelby Bach


November 3 – Middle Grade Mafioso
November 4 – From the Mixed-Up Files
November 5 – Log Cabin Library
November 6 – Amanda K. Thompson Blog
November 7 – Novels, News, and Notes
November 8 – Green Bean Teen Queen

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25. Weeklong Blog Tour for PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month beginning December 1st

Thanks to a very generous benefactor, we are taking PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month on what appears to be developing into a massive blog tour beginning December 1st through the 5th!

Seven years ago, I began offering the beta version of PlotWriMo for novelist word drunk from NaNoWriMo. Over the years I continued refining and perfecting the steps to help writers revise all those words generated in November into a compelling story with a plot (and all other novelists and memoirists and screenwriters alike struggling to create a pleasing form for their readers)

Earlier this year, I partnered with Jill Corcoran who brought her insight and love of concept and knowledge of the inside of publishing. Together we created an entire video series of the program. The feedback and "ah ha" moments we have received have been enormously rewarding and makes all the time and hard work worthwhile.

Sample of feedback:
"Jill (video 4, I think) explained what agents meant when they say "They didn't connect" and it was like a lightbulb had been screwed in my head-- I failed to meet all of the essential elements of a scene. There was always something about my former MS that I could never pinpoint that felt off, and that was just it! I needed more emotional development, conflict/ tension, dramatic action and clear goals PER scene."

"I watched the Revise Your Novel in a Month videos and really began to understand the difference between crisis and climax and the key ways to develop each part of the plot."

"PlotWriMo is the closest “formula” for structuring a book I’ve ever discovered. It’s like an algebra equation for writing – if you’re missing any of the energetic markers you can’s solve for X."

"It’s helped me re-envision my own work and I can’t stop myself from dissecting every movie and book I’ve read since."

"I've learned a lot through the PlotWriMo series. I've always struggled with revision, but the PlotWriMo series has helped me organize my revision so that I am going deeper than I ever have before at making my story shine."

"Now, what did I learn from the videos? Goodness, what did I not? It's all about the structure. Being a pantser doesn't work when you are revising (Not sure it would work for me - ever), but you have to be clear in your journey. I also learned to forgive myself. To keep writing. And that we can learn from our mistakes and become better writers."

"I watched PlotWriMo and learned about EMs, concept and that the antagonist OWNS the middle."

“Ah, ha” Moment: The exercise of writing down all of the themes, and getting down to the grittier ones. And when I found my darker theme was about loss, and the threat of losing someone you love. I couldn’t believe when I went back and looked at the Energy Markers and found that common theme. I’m working on deepening the scenes with metaphors and thematic significance."

"Don't start drafting until you're happy with the concept and markers."

"As for what I learned, viewing both the crisis and the climax from my antagonist’s point of view gave my story dramatic action and the depth it needed to bind the story and pull in the reader."

"Yet my greatest aha moment came with the challenge of writing the concept, giving my story definition. As a young woman I took my family on some exciting adventures, wounds and all, and the only dream still intact in the end was my passion and desire to be a writer. I couldn’t just throw out my concept because it wasn’t good enough, or my life wouldn’t be either. Crafting my concept, meant validating what I had done and why, all the parts and pieces."

"I really had an "aha moment" when Martha Alderson talked about the end mirroring the beginning."

The icing on the proverbial cake was the news that one writer secured an agent (having the amazing opportunity to chose from 3 offering her contracts). As she writes: "No word of lie - it is absolutely thanks to Jill Corcoran and Martha Alderson! The last round of revisions changed everything! I just thank god I have the videos and future classes for other books! I have worked like a dog on this book, but the videos and Martha's book really changes everything. The advanced workshop kicked my butt in the best way possible and made me really rethink some things and made the work so much better!"

The tour begins December 1st through the 5th so if you'd like to add your blog to the tour, please sign up ASAP. 

We're using the opportunity to spread the word about writing and revising stories and about A Path to Publishing in general. Jill and I will visit all the participating blogs, comment and award prizes. (If you'd like to simply follow along on the tour, I'll list the participating blogs during the tour.)

See you soon!

For help about the Energetic Markers to write toward every week of NaNoWriMo.
The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories

For plot prompts to move your writing everyday and reach each major turning point: The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing. To complete write your story in a month, complete 4 prompts everyday. (As one writer proclaims: The PW Book of Prompts is my lighted path…)

For plot help and resources during NaNoWriMo

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
  •  
  • PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises

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