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1. lisa rose paints the town!

Meet Lisa Rose

Meet Lisa Rose

What a delight to welcome Lisa Rose back to Frog on a Dime. She’s so honest, funny and genuine. She first visited in March 2014 to talk about her upcoming picture book. And now [cue the fan fare!] SHMULIK PAINTS THE TOWN has just released!

To celebrate, I’m letting Lisa take the wheel . . .

When my agent suggested I write Jewish books I wasn’t thrilled. True, I was Jewish.  I suffered through Hebrew school.  I had a Bat Mitzvah.  I didn’t have a Christmas tree or even own a Christmas sweater.  I used words like tush, schlep, and nosh.  But I didn’t really want to write a Jewish book.  At the time I was writing outside of my race.  Inspired by the students I taught in Highland Park and Pontiac, Michigan,  I believed their story needed to be told.  I have been fighting for #blacklivesmatter long before it was a hashtag or even twitter was invented.

It wasn’t until I adopted my daughter that I thought about my culture.  How would I make her feel part of the community?  It was then I realized how little I knew about my own history.  I knew much of it was slaughtered in the Europe’s concentration camps.  And what was known was not discussed.  The memories were too painful.  There was just an attitude of  “move on and live.”  Simple and yet profound.  We lived.  We learned.  We laughed.

So, I believe it isn’t accident that my first published Jewish picture book is both funny and empowering.

Thank you for sharing, Lisa. I’m very excited for you and for the children who will enjoy your book. (And hey, you’re a pretty good driver!)

Shmulik Paints the Town coverSHMULIK PAINTS THE TOWN just released from Kar-Ben Publishing is about a painter who has to create a mural for Israeli Independence Day.  He can’t decide what to paint and gets a little help from a very unexpected source—his dog!

 

Shmulik Paints the Town spread

 

 

 

 

 

And now, it’s time for True Confessions, Random Facts and Inside Info with Lisa Rose . . . 

True confession:  Rose is actually my middle name.  I have two terrible last names.  So I chose to go by Rose because it was easy to pronounce and also honored the grandmother I never knew.  She, against all odds, escaped to Detroit.  There, she lived, learned and laughed so that one day her granddaughter could tell the story.

Lisa Rose:

  • Loves the color blue
  • Hates ketchup
  • Taught 1st grade and her students often lived in homeless shelters
  • Owned pet turtles named Broccoli and Peapod
  • Practices yoga
  • Prefers frosting and ice cream to anything spicy or garlicy
  • Likes to wake up early–like before 5 a.m. early
  • Prefers Law & Order reruns to reality TV

Would you like to know even more about Lisa Rose, my crispy little waffle cones? What a silly question. But of course you would. More info about Lisa Rose, click here.

When you write, magic happens. Doors open. People smile and the world is a better place. ~ Alan Dapre


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2. the inevitable inquisition of ms. kelly barson

Filing income taxes.
K.Barson Author 2232
Yup. That’s her all right. The one I was telling you about.
Eating tongue.
Folding a fitted sheet.
These, my wee wombats, are all things we would rather not do. And yet, oft times we must (well, hopefully not too oft. Yeesh.) So is the case with today’s post. Do I want to pummel my dear friend and sublime author young adult Kelly Barson with question after needling question? Nay. And yet, pummel I must. It is for your own good, dear readers.
And so, steel yourselves, and let the unfliching query of Kelly Barson begin . . .
What is your favorite day of the week-and yes, why? This isn’t popular, but I like Mondays. I like a week that’s full of possibilities, open for a fresh start.
Have you ever kissed a toad? No, but I have almost stepped on one. In my bare feet! I stepped, but before I shifted my weight to the point of no return, I felt the toad’s muscles ripple under my feet. I jumped and screamed. The toad jumped, too. We were both grateful he didn’t croak.
What is under your bed? Drawers full of treasure and an impressive collection of dust bunnies, many of them vintage.
Who makes you laugh the most? My husband Larry. Because we’re so different, he sees and navigates the world very differently from me. As a result, he often says the unexpected and that cracks me up.
If you were a cheese, what kind would you be? Pepper jack because no matter how hard I try to be smooth, I just can’t hide the fact that I’m kind of spicy.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Forgiveness.
What kind of music feels like torture to you? Country music. Not a fan. Not at all. Listening to it makes me really grumpy.
What was the last thing you ordered from an infommerical? This exercise contraption called The Bean. I loved it! It was super comfortable and perfect for lounging in front of the TV and eating chips. It didn’t help my abs at all though.
What is your inner adult/inner child ratio? I was much more of an adult when I was a child. Now that I’m older, the ratio is closer to 50/50. I’m guessing that when I’m old, I’ll be totally childlike.
If you could make a guest appearance on a sit com, which one would it be–and why? Life in Pieces. It’s one of my newest favs. I would want to be friends with Dianne Wiest, both in the show and in real life.
Describe your sock drawer in three words or less. Colorful and woolly.
If you hadn’t become a writer, what would you be? Sad and grumpy. Oh, you mean as a profession? A hermit who sells vintage dust bunnies on eBay.
What is your favorite punctuation mark? The em dash because I like to interrupt a thought–both in real life and in my writing–to insert random info.
What is your favorite food or drink while writing? Coffee before noon. I drink a lot of water, so I always have a glass with me. While writing, I like crunchy snacks like pretzels or garlic plantain chips. And candy. (However, while writing CHARLOTTE, I kind of OD’d on pretzels and garlic plantains, so I’m taking a break from them for a while. I’m currently seeking a new obsession and am open to suggestions.)
And your fantasy roadtrip destination? I’m kind of a homebody, so whenever I fantasize about a cross-country road trip, it usually morphs into an Upper Peninsula Michigan trip because Michigan is beautiful and close to home. I would like to see the Grand Canyon someday, though, but I probably won’t drive there.
Can you do any impersonations? If so, who? No, none, not one. All of my voices sound like me.
Dear insatiable readers, you want to know more now, don’t you? I knew it, you inquisitive little weasels, you. Well, click here and you’ll learn even more about Kelly and her amazing YA works published by Viking Books for Young Readers.
As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left? ~ David Bowie
Charlotte

Available April 5, 2016

 

 

45Pounds_COVER

Kelly’s first young adult novel.

 


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3. Susan Kaye Quinn – Author Interview

In 2011, the year I began this blog, I took part in a month of bloggers/authors connecting with one another through a whole host of activities. As part of this, I chose to participate in the book launch for an … Continue reading

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4. Night Study Blog Tour

Welcome, one and all, to our NIGHT STUDY blog tour post! Read on to find out more about the sequel to SHADOW STUDY, including an interview with author Maria V. Snyder, and a giveaway (open internationally)! 

NS High Res_SMP.jpg

About NIGHT STUDY

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek... secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

About SHADOW STUDY

Release Date: February 24, 2015

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.

As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked.And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

About the Author

mariavsnyder.jpg

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.

Maria's research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.

Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.

Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She also earned a master's degree in writing fiction from Seton Hill University.

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: maria@mariavsnyder.com.

You can find out more about Maria here:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads

Q&A with Maria V. Snyder

RNSL: The world of the Study series is so deep and wide now, how do you keep the details (about characters, plot, etc.) straight?

MVS: I have a couple things I do to help me keep all the details organized. For each of my novels, I have an old fashioned notebook where I write down all those details for the book, including the story's timeline and all my research notes. I also have an Excel spreadsheet that has details for all my characters from the books. That spreadsheet is a wonderful resource. I can't take any credit for that as Natalie, one of my readers, put it together for me. She also did one for each of my other series as well! The last thing I do is just refer back to the book. I keep a copy of all my books next to my computer.

RNSL: Authors are so connected to social media now. How much do you let fan reactions affect the decisions you make when you write?

MVS: I really enjoy interacting with my readers, but I let the story develop without worrying about their reactions. However, I do think about them when I'm writing. I smile and think, “Oh, they're going to love this.” Or “I hope they don't kill me over this.”  :) And I did write more Study books for them.

RNSL: From your first book to this one (your 14th novel!), has your writing style or method changed, and how?

MVS: I don't think my style has changed, but I have started writing from multiple POVs in my books and doing third person because I wanted a challenge and I really like showing what's going on with the other characters in the books. My method is about the same. I still use the notebooks. However, when my kids were little, I wrote when they were at school. Now, I write at night and love it.

RNSL: We love hearing about the things that inspire you from the real world that end up in your Ixia/Sitia stories. Has Night Study added any new hobbies or interests to your list?

MVS: I've learned quite a bit about plants, including cross breeding and grafting techniques for Night Study. It's doubtful the knowledge will help me as all my attempts to grow green things has resulted in failure. 

RNSL: What's your preferred writing fuel right now?

MVS: Decaffeinated English Breakfast tea for when I'm writing and then, if I hit my word count for the evening, a glass of red wine to celebrate.

RNSL: You dropped the biggest bombshell at the end of Shadow Study! Do you think it accomplished what you set out to do?

MVS: I knew I wanted to reveal that bombshell near the end of the novel.  I really didn't plan to make it the very last line, but when I reached that point in the story, it felt right.  And I think it was fun for my readers since it's not quite a cliff-hanger—the main plot/story was resolved, but it gave them something they'd been hoping for and something to think about while waiting for Night Study.

RNSL: Will the next Study book be the last, and if so, how do you feel about the series ending/rolling along?

MVS: Dawn Study will be the last for Yelena and Valek. Yelena's journey was the focus of the first three books and these new ones are a bit more focused on Valek's journey. And that's a good thing—I think writing more about them I would have to raise the stakes so much it would be like “jumping the shark.” There are a few characters—Reema, Teegan, Fisk, Heli, and Quinn—that I would like to explore more and might write a few books about them—no plans yet as I usually like a break and a chance to do something new before I return to a world.

RNSL: The cover changes in tone from Shadow Study to Night Study--I like them both, but prefer the direction Night Study is going in. Can you discuss the changes?

MVS: Yes I can!  The reason is I had more input into Night Study's cover! I expressed my concerns about Shadow Study's US cover to my new editor—I really wished they hadn't put a model on the cover—not that she wasn't beautiful, but her makeup was so over the top, it appeared as if she had a black eye! So when they were designing Night Study, I was able to give the art department more feedback. 

RNSL: Were there any other book or series ideas percolating while you worked on Night Study? If you can't share details, can you discuss what it's like for you to have multiple ideas vying for attention?

MVS: I generally concentrate on one book or story at a time—I can't work on a short story in the afternoon and a novel at night. I have to stop one to work on another. However, I do get ideas and I write them down when they come to me. When I have time between projects, I explore those ideas. Right now I don't have any set plans for what's next, which is kind of scary! I have three different novel ideas and I'll see which one of those my publisher will be interested in (if any!). 

Giveaway Details

6 Winners will receive a finished copy of NIGHT STUDY, US Only.

4 winners will receive a finished copy of NIGHT STUDY, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One:

1/18/2016- Dark Faerie Tales- Interview
1/19/2016- The Bibliophile Chronicles- Review
1/20/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
1/21/2016- The Moonlight Library- Review
1/22/2016- Read Now Sleep Later- Interview

Week Two:

1/25/2016- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review
1/26/2016- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Excerpt
1/27/2016- a GREAT read- Review
1/28/2016- Fiktshun- Interview
1/29/2016- Mundie Moms- Review

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5. 10 surprising facts about atheism

Atheism is the absence of belief that God, and other deities, exist. How much do you know about this belief system? Julian Baggini, author of Atheism: A Very Short Introduction, tells us the ten things we never knew about atheism.

The post 10 surprising facts about atheism appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Lights! Camera! Action!

Happy Holidays to all my followers! If you didn't get the chance to watch my first video author interview with the charming Adam Giles for Mirror World News, then here's your chance. During our interview, I talk about my time travel series, what's coming up next, and give some pointers to fellow writers. It was fun to do, and although I was a tad nervous, I think I pulled off my first face-to-face interview with style and finesse! At least I hope I did! Wink.

Wishing you all the best in 2016, and thank you for investing your time by tuning into my weekly blog! I really appreciate your support and kind comments. Cheers and please enjoy! Roll'em, Adam...



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7. DOODLES AND DRAFTS – Carrying on with Sam Wheeler and Mister Cassowary

Australia is home to some exceptionally strange flora and fauna. The ubiquitous tropical heat of Far North Queensland seems to accentuate oddities and none typifies unique peculiarities more vividly than Australia’s heaviest flightless bird, the Cassowary. Beautiful yet deadly, the Cassowary is a natural magnet of mystery and misinterpretation so naturally is a prime candidate […]

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8. YA Shot Tour- Interview with Lisa Williamson

Today, I’m very excited to welcome Lisa Williamson on the YA Shot tour!
YA Shot is an event that will take place  in Uxbridge on 28 October, organised by Alexia Casale and many other people. Over 71  will be there, tickets are up-to £20, and there’s a full day of panels and booky –MG and YA- things happening!

 Lisa Williamson is the author of The Art of Being Normal, which I reviewed here and really enjoyed. I got the chance to interview her, and I loved her answers, and couldn’t wait to share!

Do you think reading is important for teens today, and why?

I do! I'm convinced those who read fiction make for kinder, more sensitive and empathetic people. Having said that, not every teen is going to be reader and I think it's important we don't ever make anyone feel bad or inadequate about not reading for pleasure. What we should really be doing is finding a way of exposing reluctant readers to the range and breadth of books out there in such a way that doesn't feel enforced. I often meet young people who adore the Hunger Games films but would never think of reading the books. Changing that mindset without being preachy is hard! I often describe my personal experience of reading the Hunger Games for the first time and try to communicate just how intense that was, because instead of sitting in a cinema full of people watching Katniss fight to the death, I was actually there with her, in her head, just the two of us! For me growing up, books represented escape and relaxation. I loved how private and personal my relationship with a book felt, regardless of how many other people I knew had also read it. Reading also helped me figure out who I was, or rather who I wanted to be, and how to make sense of my place in the world. 

Has reading ever done anything for you that you wouldn't mind sharing?

As I mentioned, as a teenager, reading was an escape. When I was thirteen, I was bullied for a short but intense period. Reading made me feel safe and a bit less lonely. I've grown up with the feeling that books are my friend. 

Do you have any stories of people saying how TAOBN has helped them?

I do, and it's probably been the best part of being a published author. TOABN is told from the point of view of a young transgender person, and although I'd done masses of research and endeavoured to be as authentic and sensitive as possible, I was mindful of my responsibility as an author and, pre-publication, very fearful of 'getting it wrong'. Since the book has been out, I've been overwhelmed by the tweets and emails I've received. One young person said the book gave him the courage to come out to his parents. Another said she'd given it to her friends to help them understand what she's going through. Another said how happy she'd been to see the book displayed proudly in a high street bookshop and how it made her feel like she was no longer 'a freak'. All these messages have moved me deeply and demonstrate just how vital diverse books are! 

Do you think books can help people in ways that other media can't?

Books are an amazing tool for sparking discussion. It can be daunting to have a conversation with your family about, for example, gender identity, but if you use a fictional story as a stimulus, it can be a much easier and safer way in. My boyfriend's mother died recently having suffered from Alzheimer's for a number of years. There is a lot of literature on the subject available online. However, I found the most useful material for helping me understand the disease were fictional titles (namely Still Alice, Elizabeth is Missing and Unbecoming). By inviting me to step into the shoes of a dementia sufferer, my perceptions and understanding were turned upside down and I feel I became more compassionate and patient as a result. Emotions are so powerful and I think stories that tap into this part of our brain have the power to change hearts and minds in a way I just don't think a pamphlet or online article can. 

What's your favourite way of promoting books to teens?

Talking to them! I love talking to teenagers, not just about books but pretty much anything that excites them. I did an event recently where I ended up talking a lot about my personal experiences as a teenager. I was really open about being bullied and being in an emotionally abusive relationship and feeling scared about my future and afterwards several teens came forward and opened up to me in return. I think there's a real expectation that adults have their shit together and I wonder if we're doing teenagers a disservice by not being more open about our thoughts and feelings, even if they're in retrospect. I think it would have made a massive difference to me growing up. 
I also love speaking at literary festivals. A whole festival devoted to books? What's not to love? 

How important do you think compulsory reading eg for GCSEs is?

I think it's very important, even if those young people never go on to read a single book ever again. However, I definitely feel it's time to shake up the reading list. Teenagers are reading the same books I read at school twenty years ago and that's not right. For one, the teachers need to feel passionate about what they're teaching and how can they feel energised and motivated to teach a book when it's the tenth, twentieth, maybe even thirtieth time they've shared it with a class? The books I remember from school are often the ones I got the sense my teacher really got a kick out of teaching us.

I wonder if it's at all practical to introduce weekly or even daily 'story time' in schools? Every time I read aloud in a school, the kids seem to really chill out and actually listen. It made me think of how there's something really relaxing and uniting about listening to a story in a big group. Being read to at school would also mean young people who don't usually read off their own backs would be exposed to stories they would wouldn't be otherwise, and might, just might, be motivated enough by the experience to seek out a book of their own. 

If you could give one book to every teenager, what would it be and why?

Yikes, that's tough! This is perhaps a more female-focussed title (although I think boys should most definitely seek it out too!) but 'Am I Normal Yet?' by Holly Bourne is an utter joy, celebrating female friendship in a way that's not often seen in YA fiction. It's also funny and moving and explores mental health in a way that's really accessible and real. I also recently read 'Goodbye Stranger' by Rebecca Stead. It's for slightly younger readers (the protagonist is twelve) and absolutely nails the nature of adolescent friendships in a very beautiful and understated way. I'm all about the friendship at the moment! 



Reminder: you can find Lisa on Twitter here, TAOBN on Goodreads here, and you can buy it in hardback from Hiveor from David Fickling. If you’d like to wait for the paperback, it’ll be here on 7th January 2016.


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9. Author Interview: Glenn Langohr author of Roll Call

About your Book Roll Call, A True Crime Prison Story of Corruption and Redemption ( Roll Call Volume 1 ) Roll Call shines a light at the dark, hidden underbelly of the U.S War on Drugs. The author...

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10. Author Interview: A. C. Ellis author of Shadow Run

About your Book: Shadow Run Someone is trying to kill Susan Tanner! A Federation Fleet captain, she had not commended a ship since losing Defiant ten years ago during a colony’s bloody rebellion....

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11. Author Interview: Tina M.E. author of Dantalion Of The Goetia

About your Book Dantalion of the Goetia: Taste The Obsession Of A Demon Dantalion, an immortal angel of God, has fallen from grace and is condemned as one of 72 demons of an ancient 17th century...

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12. Author Interview: Leo Averbach author of Breakup; Enduring Divorce

About Your Book: BreakupAid BREAKUP is a brutally honest and surprising divorce memoir, written as a journal in real time. The narrative interweaves the story of Averbach's painful divorce with his...

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13. Author Interview: Marilyn L Rice author of Sofia's Legacy

About your Book: Sofia's Legacy In Sofia’s Legacy, the second novel in author Marilyn L Rice’s fascinating trilogy, Sofia has died, but has come back from “upstairs” to watch her own funeral. She...

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14. Author Interview: Marilyn L Rice author of Sofia's Legacy

About your Book: Sofia's Legacy In Sofia’s Legacy, the second novel in author Marilyn L Rice’s fascinating trilogy, Sofia has died, but has come back from “upstairs” to watch her own funeral. She...

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15. Author Interview: Leo Averbach author of Breakup; Enduring Divorce

About Your Book: BreakupAid BREAKUP is a brutally honest and surprising divorce memoir, written as a journal in real time. The narrative interweaves the story of Averbach's painful divorce with his...

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16. Review – Sad, the dog

Trying new things can be an exciting, daunting and ultimately rewarding experience. Just ask Sandy Fussell, author of the acclaimed Samurai Kids series. She is venturing into the fastidious and fascinating world of picture book writing and I have to say, has come up trumps. Together with illustrator, Tull Suwannakit, Fussell has brought to life […]

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17. An Ember in the Ashes: trailer feature + giveaway

Two months ago, I was invited to attend a lunch to meet author Sabaa Tahir and to watch the filming of  the trailer for her book An Ember in the Ashes. The shoot took place here in Los Angeles, and while I’ve been on location before as a film publicist, this was the first time I’ve ever walked into a studio filled with smoke! It was a dark, moody setting that suited the book perfectly, since the story follows an orphan named Laia who risks her life to save her brother Darin, who’s held captive by a brutal empire. The actress who played Laia was friendly and chatty, and she showed us the tattoo painted on her shoulder. It’s an important and serious part of the book, so it was cool to see the attention to detail in the make-up and costumes. The Kommandant was small, blonde, and totally badass... Read more »

The post An Ember in the Ashes: trailer feature + giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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18. Author Interview: Tor Seidler

Photo of Seidler by Charles Gold

Some of my favorite email exchanges are with the authors of the books I read and review on my blog. 


      Interview with Tor Seidler:
         author of: Firstborn, Toes, Brothers Below Zero, 
                Brainboy and theDeathmaster        






Tell us about your experience doing research for Firstborn. How long did you spend observing wolves? Where?

 Seidler: By my standards, I did a lot of research for Firstborn. Beyond the whimsical premise of the animals speaking in complete sentences, I wanted the story to be as close to nature as possible.  I read fictional and nonfiction accounts of wolves, but more importantly I had a friend who was a great source of information: Jean Craighead George, author of Julie of the Wolves, among many other books.  Best of all,I went wolf watching with Jean in and around Yellowstone Park in late May and early June, 2005.  The wolves had been reintroduced into the park in the mid 1990’s, and by the time of our visit they were pretty well established.  The pack we observed in the northeast corner of the park had twenty-six members.  We would arrive before sunrise and set up our viewing scopes on a hillside above a creek.  Often we got to see the alpha male lead the other hunters back from their night hunt on the other side ofthe creek and distribute food among the pack’s six new pups.  An amazing experience!  In more recent years I’ve also visited the wolf reserve in northern Westchester County.  But there’s nothing like seeing animals in the wild.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

 Seidler:There are always a lot of challenges for me in writing any novel, but in this one I think the biggest was figuring out how to tell the story.  I initially wrote it from an omniscient point of view, focusing solely on the wolves.  The story began with Blue Boy, the alpha male wolf, awaiting the birth of his pups.  But the story wasn’t quite lifting off.  When I hit on the idea of writing it from the point of view of a bird, a magpie who attaches herself to the pack, it seemed to give the material another dimension.

After writing a book about animals, do you have a favorite animal? Which one and why is it your favorite?

 Seidler: I’m a great believer in bio-diversity, so I like all animals.   But I must say in studying the wolves I gained a deep respect for them.   Their life is very hard.  Few live to see their first birthday.  But the way they learn to work together, both socially and in the hunt, is awe-inspiring.  I also have a soft spoke for coyotes, who lead much more individualistic lives than wolves.

Unlikely friendships develop in Firstborn. Did you observe any unlikely animal behavior or relationshipsin doing research? 

 Seidler: I’ve read about unlikely relationships developing between different species, but to be honest I didn’t observe any in my wolf watching.  I love the idea of multi-culturalism, though, and I’ve written about it before in the animal world, especially in a book called The Wainscott Weasel.

Your book involves conservation efforts for wildlife reintroduction. Are there any conservation efforts you would like to encourage in your young readers?

 Seidler: I’m a fan of all conservation efforts, be it joining the Sierra Club or encouraging your parents to recycle orminimizing your carbon footprint.  I have a particular fondness for the World Wildlife Fund.

 What made you want to become a writer?

 Seidler: Reading.  I enjoyed books so much as a kid that I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do that!”

What suggestions do you have for young readers who might like to become writers someday?

Read. And then read some more. And don’t accept what people tell you. Look at things with your own eyes and reach your own conclusions.

 Is there anything you would like to add about your writing and/or books?

 Seidler: Well, I hope some of you enjoy them!


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19. Doodles and Drafts – Getting silly with Gregg Dreise

As one strolls about this wondrous planet, one encounters a variety of individuals who may astound, influence, enrich, or even, deplete you. Not everyone we meet ends up a friend. Life is often an ongoing cycle of trials and consequences. How we survive and interpret the progression of life builds character and shapes us as […]

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20. The Dungeoneers Blog Tour

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I'm so sorry this is late, dear readers! It's been a day. Part good, part bad, mostly late. Anywho.

Walden Pond Press is giving away a signed hardcover copy of The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson! Read on for more info about the book and author, as well as a Q&A!

About the Book

THE DUNGEONEERS by John David Anderson (June 23, 2015 from Walden Pond Press) 

THE DUNGEONEERS by John David Anderson (June 23, 2015 from Walden Pond Press) 

The Dungeoneers is an action-packed, funny, and heartbreaking middle grade fantasy-adventure from the author of the acclaimed Sidekicked and Minion, John David Anderson.

The world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler's earnings, Colm can't help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It's just a question of how far you're willing to go to get it.
 
In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery, or he can become a member of Thwodin's Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will. Colm soon finds himself part of a family of warriors, mages, and hunters, learning to work together in a quest to survive and, perhaps, to find a bit of treasure along the way.

Q&A with John David Anderson

Read Now Sleep Later: Tell us what inspired The Dungeoneers. Was it something from real life or something from fantasy that finally sparked the premise so you could turn it into a novel?

John David Anderson: I’m a fly-by-seat of your pants kind of writer. I don’t outline. I seldom have a plan. I’m lucky if I have a general sense of direction. I go where the story takes me, and The Dungeoneers was literally a “I wonder what happens next?” kind of experience for me. Every day I would sit down to write with wide eyes, eagerly anticipating Colm and party’s next adventure. So the novel started for me just the way it starts for everyone—with Colm complaining about his sisters, one of whom gets sick. I knew he was going to try his hand at pickpocketing. I knew he was going to be good at it. That’s pretty much all I had. The rest, I think, was a great, big blended mess of fantasy tropes from books and films and games (both video and board) dating all the way back to my childhood, cobbled together the deeper and deeper I got.

I will say, though, that my parents often struggled to make ends meet when I was young, and I grew up with a sense of both the powers and dangers of money and the vast disparity between the have-mosts and have-a-littles. I think that sense of class disparity—and the notion that men of talent can find their own path to riches—informed upon the novel from day one. That and the significance of friendships and the price of loyalty were probably the chief motivating themes that drove me forward.

Mostly, though, I had fun with it. I had more fun writing The Dungeoneers than any other book I’ve written. It was basically just one giant roleplaying game for me.

RNSL: If there would be no consequences for you, what would you steal (for the greater good, anyway)? Are you good at sleight-of-hand? (Alethea for example would probably steal kittens. She is pretty sure Thuy and Kimberly would steal all the yarn and books--then distribute them to those in need.)

JDA: If it was for the greater good, I’d probably say I’d go all Jean Valjean and steal food for those in need. There are a lot of problems out there in the world that need solving, but hunger really seems like one that we—as intelligent as we are as a species—could have figured out a solution to. According to some estimates, as many as one out of every nine people suffers from hunger or malnutrition. I know it’s a Robin Hood kind of answer, but if you’re going to be an outlaw…

On a lighter note, if it was me, and there were no consequences or downsides, I would steal Lego. Lego, for me, is the epitome of extraneous expense. I love them. I love the feel of them, the sound of their clicking, the mathematical genius of their construction, but I can’t (usually) justify forking over forty bucks for 300 little pieces of snap-together plastic that’s just going to sit on my shelf. If could just steal them, then I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about spending money on them, though I would feel guilty for stealing them. I guess there’s no Lego without guilt. 

I would say books, but I’m a writer. If I want a book, I go out and buy it anyways.

In paperback. 

RNSL: Did anything specific inspire your cast of characters for The Dungeoneers?

Not really. I’d say my motivating principal was contrast. Obviously I needed a balanced party in terms of talents and professions, but also in terms of foibles and concerns. I wanted them all to be dungeoneering for different reasons, to each have something specific they were questing for, whether it was Serene overcoming her fears, Lena living up to her name, or Quinn gaining control over his power. It’s not all about the gold—though that certainly has its appeal, as Colm Candorly will tell you. The characters were all very distinct for me, which made them easier to write and easier to appreciate. What started as a story just about this one kid picking pockets in the street really became an exploration of this makeshift family getting each others’ backs, growing alongside each other. It’s an ensemble piece.

RNSL: If you still play RPGs, do you always play the same type of character, or do you switch around and try to be different? (I usually try to stay with Barbarian or Paladin... hack and slash, don't get in my way!)

JDA: I play a version of Pathfinders with my family, and I like to switch up who I play, though I tend to gravitate towards multi-talented types. Swordsmen who can enchant their blades with flames. Spellcasters who also happen to be good at throwing daggers. Talking pigs who can transform themselves into fire-spewing dragons. I tend not to play healers. I don’t want people counting on me to bring them back to life all the time. Too much pressure. I also don’t play guys who wear lots of heavy armor, mostly because I feel like they’d get too sweaty.

RNSL: Would ever you consider writing up part of the premise as an RPG? Or at least make up some character sheets for Colm, Finn, etc. :)

JDA: Funny you say that. I actually have Pathfinders sheets and stats for each of the four major characters from the novel. When my family and I played I was Quinn Frostfoot. 

I do create board and card games in my spare time, and if (for some blessed reason) The Dungeoneers was ever to become a thing—you know, like big big—I’d be more than happy to branch out and adapt the story to a more playable format. I think a lot of cool things are being done with game books and interactive fiction now, especially on mobile devices. I can certainly imagine The Dungeoneers taking that form. Maybe some computer genius out there can help make it happen!

RNSL: Did you encounter anything particularly challenging while writing The Dungeoneers that's different from your previous books?

JDA: Honestly third person perspective is a challenge for me. First person narratives come easy because there’s no negotiation, no competition between my voice and that of the main character. I appreciate the limitations that first person narratives provide, so the freedom that comes with panning out to a third person viewpoint—even one focused on one character like Colm Candorly—is daunting at first. I wanted to create a narrative voice that could poke fun one moment with tongue thoroughly in cheek and then get completely serious about the world and its dangers the next. That was tough.

Also the sheer scope of the book was bigger than my previous novels. More characters, more subplots—and so much I wanted to cram in, explore, and make fun of. I’m just grateful my editor let me keep most of it. It’s a hefty book. But fantasy novels aren’t always known for their thinness. 

RNSL: We love the cover. Did you have any input on the final art? Any thoughts you would like to share about it? (It makes us want to grab our dice bags and go on an adventure.)

JDA: Awesome, right? The cover is the work of the incomparable Dan Santat and, at least from my perspective, it was pretty solid right out of the gate. I do remember two significant changes, though. The first was that Quinn was way too confident in the beginning—his facial expression suggested a Gandalf-level of competence, and I remember saying that he needed to be a lot more worried about the spell he was casting (it will make sense when you read the book). The second issue was Lena—we needed her to be hardcore barbarian but still obviously female. The solution, I think, was to just give her a different haircut and more weapons. Other than that, it’s exactly the kind of book I would have picked up as a ten year old aching for a little dungeon diving adventure. I adore the wrap around and the font, but most of all I think I like how it focuses on the team effort. After all, the book isn’t called The Dungeoneer.

Now I’m off to play with my Lego.

About the Author

John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked and Minion. A dedicated root beer connoisseur in his spare time, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org. Tweet @anderson_author and find him on Facebook.


Blog Tour Schedule

6/2/2015 - Maria's Mélange - mariaselke.com                                 
6/5/2015 - Unleashing Readers - unleashingreaders.com                    
6/6/2015 - The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia - hauntedorchid.blogspot.com          
6/7/2015 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers - insatiablereaders.blogspot.com     
6/8/2015 - This Kid Reviews Books - thiskidreviewsbooks.com                  
6/8/2015 - Ms Yingling Reads - msyinglingreads.blogspot.com           
6/9/2015 - Read Now Sleep Later - readnowsleeplater.org
6/10/2015 - Charlotte's Library - charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com 
6/11/2015 - Nerdy Book Club - nerdybookclub.wordpress.com
6/12/2015 - The Hiding Spot - thehidingspot.blogspot.com     

Giveaway Time!

One intrepid adventurer will win a signed hardcover copy of The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson. US only, ends 6/25/2015.

  • Open to US only, ends 6/25/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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21. 5 Questions for YA Author Joshua Pantalleresco…


Welcome to Part Two of my crossover interview with young adult author Joshua Pantalleresco! If you didn’t get a chance to read Part One of Joshua’s interrogation, er I mean interview, you can find it HERE. I’m still smarting over his infamous ‘unicorn’ trick he did to me on Facebook, but for the sake of my reputation (if I still have any shred left), I’m willing to channel my inner Elsa, and just let it go.

One thing I’ve learned about Joshua (besides his warped sense of humor) is that he’s a pretty damn fine poet! His epic poem The Watcher, makes you see poetry in a whole new way, and hopefully will reach a younger audience. Joshua also writes comics, which is one of the things on my bucket list. Bravo, Joshua! So let’s get these 5 paybackquestions rolling…

Welcome, Joshua! What are you working on right now?

I am working on catching up on a bunch of things.  I just posted an interview with an author.  Some lady that likes time travel. 

Hmm…I wonder who that could be? What are you working on specifically?

I got a list of five things to do this week on the literary scale.  I have a bunch of columns to get ahead on.  I write a wrestling column for Wrestling Glory where I focus on the storytelling involved in the rivalries of wrestling.  I am doing a female rivalry that defined a generation and I'm trying to do two or three more columns before it starts posting again.

I am also transcribing two other interviews.  One of them is ready to go and will be up next week.  The other involves a certain publisher you and I are familiar with.  

I'm putting together a comic script for Twyla April, my collaborator on Paradigm.  She is finally ready for the third issue and I plan to oblige.

Finally, I'm acquiring video software to finally finish a trailer that's long overdue.  It will be awesome.  I think it will change how book trailers are done.

I’m sweating just reading what you’ve got in the pipeline! What influenced you?

I was 8 years old and my parents had just been separated.  My dad took me to Fanshawe park in London Ontario.  There was this hill at the bottom by the stream.  My dad just barreled up it like it was nothing.  I struggled.  My dad said to me, "Come on Josh you can do it!"  I denied it and tumbled down it.  I got up and asked for help.  "You can do it!" My dad said.  I didn't believe it but tried to climb the thing anyway.  I said I couldn't do it the whole time I was on it.  Yet, step by step I got closer to the top, and before I know it, I was there.  "I - I did it!" I said, in disbelief.

My dad is the biggest influence in my life.  He told me I could even when many others told me I couldn't.  And I've never forgotten that lesson with whatever I chose to undertake.  I can do it, and if it wasn't for him, I don't think I would be able to say that.

Your father sounds amazing! What are you most proud of accomplishing?

I am making my dream a reality.  I dreamed of being able to write stuff and making a living doing it.  Bit by bit it is happening.  Beyond that, I'm proud that on this journey I've learned so much.  I didn't just learn how to write, I've shot videos, made movies, have had the chance to work with great people all across life.  I've travelled, worked with my heroes, and have been on this incredible journey.  I may not have the zillions of dollars, but I've become someone I wanted to be.

Wow, Joshua, sounds like you’ve lived a full life and are still rearing to go! What is your favorite thing about the changing face of publishing?

Like you said in your interview, the barriers are down.  I can interact with people I never imagined I would meet.  I am interviewing someone from Germany because of twitter.  I got this super cool card from an artist named Asia Alfasi.  She sent it as a place holder for me sending her a book.  It's still one of the coolest things I've ever seen.  It's opened up the world and has forced me to be more than the shy artist type.

It’s a small world, after all! Cheers for stopping by and going head-to-head with me on my blog, Joshua!

If you love poetry, and want to be swept away into a world of imagery, please give Joshua’s book a read. You won’t be disappointed!

Buy Links:




Connect with Joshua:
@Jpantalleresco (twitter and wattpad)


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22. I Want His Job

Headline news can be depressing. Which is why it makes me happy to find news stories like this one: This Teenager Discovered a New Planet on his Third Day of Work. Seriously. At 15, this kid shows up for day three of his “work experience” project, they’ve assigned him the task of wading through all […]

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23. Review – Lulu

At first glance, life on the icy floes may seem appealing. (Unless you reside in SE Queensland as I do with no real concept of what cold is until you have to live through ‘an unseasonably cold winter’ with little more than a cotton tee-shirt and a pair of bed socks). In Lulu’s world, there […]

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24. Doodles and Drafts – On Track with Kathryn Apel

An aphorism by Will Rogers has been rattling around on my train of thought recently: ‘Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.’ One author who has not only found her right track but is chugging along it at an impressive pace is, Kathryn Apel. […]

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25. Book Launch: The Sparrow and the Trees

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

Find out why Sharon chose to retell this story:

SharonChriscoeWhat was your incentive to write this particular book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SparrowTrees_TA 23 SparrowTrees_TA 24 SparrowTrees_TA 25

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