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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Giveaways, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,041
1. Little White Lies, by Katie Dale | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of Little White Lies, by Katie Dale. Giveaway begins December 17, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 16, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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2. Coloring Page Tuesday - Stocking Elf

     Elf in a stocking - is he stuffing it full of treats? I hope so!
     CLICK HERE for more Christmas coloring pages! I have Hanukkah images too - CLICK HERE. And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA! Makes a GREAT teacher gift! Click the cover to learn more!
     Don't live in Georgia? Check with your local bookseller - Sterling has a version for each state.

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3. MIX IT UP by Hervé Tullet - GIVEAWAY!

Well, I wasn't able to get Hervé Tullet on, but his new book is getting a ton of praise and deserves every drop of it! MIX IT UP! is absolutely BRILLIANT! And it's not just for kids - it's a great introduction to color and color mixing. Heck, I want to use it in my Design class at Hollins University next summer. It's that good. It's also interactive...
Remember PRESS HERE? (also by Hervé) - watch THIS VIDEO:

MIX IT UP! also has you interacting with the book in ways you never would have thought of (in France, it's called "Couleurs"):

CLICK HERE if the embedded video gives you any issues.
Truly, this is such a fresh approach to what a book can be, and presented in such a pure form - simple color! I think the man might be a genius. CLICK HERE if the video doesn't work for you.

Despite not getting an interview, Chronicle has agreed to give away a free copy of MIX IT UP! to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US or Canada to win. Enter below:

0 Comments on MIX IT UP by Hervé Tullet - GIVEAWAY! as of 12/13/2014 9:26:00 AM
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4. Eric Kimmel's HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS - Guest Post and Giveaway!

Some books become classics and need to be shared again and again. Such is the case with HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS written by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Trina is no longer with us, but I’m thrilled to have Mr. Kimmel here today to talk about the book…

Q. Mr. Kimmel, Hershel of Ostropol is so clever he even tricks the King of the Goblins. Tricksters fare strongly in so many classic tales (and in many of your books). Did you shape him after any in particular?A. I didn't have to do much shaping with Hershel. He comes fully formed. Hershel of Ostropol or Hershele Ostropolier is a traditional Jewish trickster character. He's based on a person who actually lived during the early 19th century. His character contains a number of subtle nuances. He's not just a poor guy trying to earn a living. He's a Jewish man living in Czar Nicholas I's Russia. All of Russia's czars were Jew-haters. Nicholas was one of the worst because he saw himself as a "reformer." Among his "reforms" was a program for drafting Jews into his army. Drafted soldiers served 25 years. They were as good as dead. Most never saw their homes or families again. Nicholas added an additional 6 years of service for Jewish recruits. He stuck this number at the beginning so they would go into the army at age 12. Even worse, Jewish community leaders were responsible for providing a certain number of recruits. They automatically sent off orphans and the children of the poor. If there weren't enough 12 year olds, they sent even younger children. They weren't above hiring kidnappers to fill their quotas. The Russian writer Alexander Herzen writes of encountering a convoy of 8, 9, and 10 year olds on a march down a road in winter. Even the hard-bitten sergeant was moved by their plight. He confessed to Herzen that these children were useless to the army. They should be with their mothers. Nearly all would get sick and die. What was the point?
      The point was sheer oppression. Hershel lived in a world where everything was stacked against him. If he survived, it would be through his own wits. That's exactly how he gets through those eight nights with the goblins.

Q. You have been writing children’s books for 40 years! How many books have you created in total, do you know?A. I recently was asked to do a count, which I hadn't done in years. I was surprised by the number. It's 106 separate titles. But they're short. And they have pictures.

Q. What drives your passion for children’s books?A. I was a voracious reader as a child. I still am. I was hopeless at sports. Books were my friends. I could lose myself in the world of books for hours. A great deal of that passion comes from the joy and adventure that books gave me. I want to share that with children. Secondly, I despise the way reading is taught today. We don't learn to read so we can pass tests. We learn to read so we can read books. Explain to me how you can have a reading program without a well-equipped library and a trained librarian. Most schools today think they can do it. I think they're fantasizing. It's not enough to hand a child a book. You have to hand the right book to the right child at the right time. That's what makes a reader. That's why we need teachers, librarians, and parents who know and love books themselves. Don't worry if you weren't a reader as a child. You can start now. As I used to tell my children's literature classes at Portland State, "Don't worry about doing all the reading in this class. Your problem will be doing the reading for your other classes because you'll find these books so interesting and wonderful that you won't want to read anything else." That's how I feel today.

Q. The text for HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS was copyrighted in 1985. What was the industry like back then and how has it changed?A. It was another world. The industry has vastly changed…and not for the good. The industry was much more stable. An editor could expect to spend her entire career working for one publisher. She could develop authors who might be with her for decades. Not every book had to be a best seller. Editors had the freedom to publish a book because of the quality of the manuscript; because it filled a need; because they saw promise in the author. Margery Cuyler was my editor for Hershel and Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock when she was at Holiday House. I wrote some of my best books with her. I followed her to four different publishers over 25 years. She was my editor at Amazon when she retired last year. I miss her terribly.
      I don't think that kind of relationship is possible these days, although there are a few exceptions. Holiday House is one. Editors acquire manuscripts. They rely on agents to do most of the editing. Their jobs hinge on acquiring books that make money. A couple of losers and they're gone. So is the author. The flip side of that is if a book is successful, the agent may offer the next manuscript to other publishers and go with the one who offers the most money. There's no loyalty and nothing long-term. The publishing industry has become like the movie industry. You're as good as your last film.
      Margery made an interesting comment when I saw her in February. I had come to New York to accept the National Jewish Book Award for Hanukkah Bear and we had a chance to get together. Margery said: "In retrospect, I don't think Harry Potter was such a blessing. We had this tiny little industry that was off in a corner. Nobody knew we were here and no one bothered us. Harry Potter proved there were vast amounts of money to be made in children's books. The people who run media companies like to make vast amounts of money. Children's books suddenly began to catch their attention. That's when our world began to change."
      I think she's right.

Q. Trina Schart Hyman illustrated this book. Did you know each other? Were you blown away by her illustrations?A. We knew each other in passing. We had been introduced at a reception hosted by Cricket Magazine. She was wearing a pair of antennae on her head. We became close friends after having dinner together one night at a conference. She was one of the most remarkable, wonderful people I've ever known in my life. A true artist; totally dedicated to bringing all her talent and skill to whatever project she undertook. Trina wanted to illustrate the story from the start. She grabbed it when she was art editor of Cricket Magazine. The story first appeared in Cricket in December, 1985. As Trina told me later, she was getting so tired of drawing knights and princesses. Hershel was a bit of a rogue, a welcome change, and the goblins were pure fun. She confessed that she fell a little bit in love with Hershel as she drew him.
      Was I blown away by the illustrations? Who wouldn't be? And to have Trina write to me, saying that she felt this was the best work she had done in years! That was one of the high points of my career. I seriously don't think anything else ever equalled it.
      What would Trina think of developments in publishing today if she were still alive? I can tell you: not much. She would easily have a profitable career drawing covers and interior art for endless fantasy series if she wanted to do it. She had no equal at that. She owned the brand. But Trina was not about brands. She was about art, integrity, creativity. She despised computers, digital art, and illustrators who had not mastered their craft and were cruising along on hype. Toward the end of her life she spent a lot of time painting with artist friends. They would sit in a studio and just paint. I don't know where those paintings are. I imagine Trina's daughter Katrin has them. I've seen some of them. They're scary, disturbing; not at all what you'd expect. That was her real art and what she took the most pride in.
      I could go on and on. Let's just say I was honored to have known her and to have her consider me a friend. (Although I think she liked my wife Doris better.)

Q. Are there any subjects for a book that you haven’t covered yet and feel the need to?A. I have a lot of stories I want to write. Unfortunately, I can't find much of a market for folk tales and story picture books for older children. Editors have told me to keep the text young and short. Aim for a reader between 3 and 6. No stories about children in foreign countries. No folk tales. That pretty much leaves me out. Margery is convinced that market will come back. I'm not so sure, but I'm willing to wait and see. Meanwhile, I'm working with smaller presses. A small book is better than no book at all.
      No matter what happens in the future, I'm fortunate in that I've had a great career and that I've written books that have given children lots of pleasure. A few, like Hershel and the Anansi stories, are finding a second and even third generation of readers. It's not how many books you write. What matters is how good they are. As I often tell children when I visit schools, Harper Lee only wrote one book in her entire life. As long as that book is To Kill A Mockingbird, you don't have to write anything else.
      I like to think I've written a couple that might almost be that good.

Thank you so much for being so candid, Mr. Kimmel. It's been an honor to have you drop by.

Holiday House has kindly offered to send a free copy of HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

Illustrations © 1989 by Trina Schart Hyman Used by permission of Holiday House.

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5. The Wolf Chronicles: Guest Post by Dorothy Hearst

Thanks to Dorothy Hearst for answering some questions about her Wolf Chronicles series today! Stick around and check out the giveaway as well as the other stops on the blog tour. 

Five most common questions about The Wolf Chronicles

I often get questions from young people who have read The Wolf Chronicles. Here are answers to the questions I hear most:

Talking wolves? How did you get that idea? 

One day, I was thinking about dogs, and how remarkable it is that we’re so drawn to them and they’re so drawn to us. I wondered how that came to be. And I thought about wolves—about how so many people hate and fear them. Then, a voice in my head said “I should write about how the wolf became the dog from the wolf’s point of view.” No one else was in the apartment, so I took the idea for my own. I didn’t have much choice. The wolves really wanted their story told, and they can’t type, so it was up to me.

Was it hard to write a wolf narrator?

It was easy in some ways and challenging in others. I’d been trying to write for about ten years when I got the idea for TWC.  As soon as I started writing, Kaala’s voice was there. I realized that I had written about three pages in her voice ten years earlier. So I had a dog-like narrator in my head already. Then the work began.

I did my research on how wolves perceive the world, then experimented with different ways to make Kaala seem wolflike, but not so unfamiliar that she would be hard for readers to relate to. I played with it until I got it just how I wanted it.  

Which character is most like you?

I think that Kaala and Tlitoo are two sides of me. Kaala takes things seriously and is a bit of an outsider. Tlitoo is a jokester and impulsive, and can’t resist chaos. I found it interesting that these two parts of my personality came out in two very different characters.

How did you come up with the names?

Some characters just came with names, like Tlitoo (ravens deliberately chose difficult-to-pronounce names). I had to work at others. I would start with a name and write about that character for a while. Then, often, something about the name wouldn’t match the character, so I’d try another. Eventually I would find the right name.

Then, I needed to make sure that readers would know right away whether a wolf, raven, human or Greatwolf was talking. So I developed naming conventions for each one, an idea I got from Anne McCaffrey. All the wolves have double letters in their names, the Greatwolves’ names end in “dra” and “dru” (in honor of their ancestor, Indru), and the humans have their villages at the ends of their names.

How do you write a whole book?

Keep on going. Most people think that if their first drafts aren’t good it means they can’t write. People also think that if it’s hard, they’re doing it wrong. Both are untrue. You have to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff, and writing seems hard because it’s hard. Just keep working at it.  It’s the only way to get to the end.

About Promise of the Wolves


At least that's what the wolves of the Wide Valley believe. Until a young wolf dares to break the rules--and forever alters the relationship between wolves and the humans who share their world.

This is the story of such a wolf. Born of a forbidden mixed-blood litter and an outcast after her mother is banished, Kaala is determined to earn a place in the Swift River pack. But her world is turned upside down when she saves a human girl from drowning. Risking expulsion from their pack and exile from the Wide Valley, Kaala and her young packmates begin to hunt with the humans and thus discover the long-hidden bond between the two clans. But when war between wolves and humans threatens, Kaala learns the lies behind the wolf's promise. Lies that force her to choose between safety for herself and her friends and the survival of her pack--and perhaps of all wolf- and human-kind.

Set 14,000 years ago, Promise of the Wolves takes us to a land where time is counted in phases of the moon, distance is measured in wolflengths, and direction by the scent of the nearest trail. Years of research into the world of wolves combines with mythical tale-telling to present a fantastical adventure set in a world filled with lore.

About the author

Before the wolves barged in the door, demanding that their story be told, Dorothy Hearst was an acquisitions editor at Jossey-Bass, where she published books for nonprofit, public, and social change leaders. She loves dogs but doesn’t have one, and borrows other people’s whenever she gets the chance. After seven years in New York City and nine years as a San Franciscan, Dorothy now lives in Berkeley, California.

Spirit of the Wolves, the third and final title in The Wolf Chronicles, will be released December 2. For more information, and to download free CCSS-aligned discussion questions for all three novels, visit her website www.dorothyhearst.com.


Simon & Schuster is pleased to offer a complete set of The Wolf Chronicles--PROMISE OF THE WOLVES, SECRETS OF THE WOLVES, AND SPIRIT OF THE WOLVES--to one lucky winner! (U.S. addresses only.) Giveaway ends December 20, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

Check out all the stops on The Wolf Chronicles blog tour!

Mon, Dec 1 - Novel Novice

Tues, Dec 2 - The Book Monsters

Wed, Dec 3 - SLJ Teen

Thurs, Dec 4 - I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

Fri, Dec 5 - I Read Banned Books

Mon, Dec 8 - Library Fanatic

Tues, Dec 9 - YA Book Nerd

Wed, Dec 10 - Read Now, Sleep Later

Thurs, Dec 11 - The Brain Lair

Fri, Dec 12 - Unleashing Readers

Sat, Dec 13 - The Children's Book Review


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6. Coloring Page Tuesday - Sleeping Mouse

     All the holiday hub-bub can just wear a little mouse right out! How are you getting in the holiday spirit?
     CLICK HERE for more Thanksgiving coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA! Makes a GREAT teacher gift! Click the cover to learn more!
     Don't live in Georgia? Check with your local bookseller - Sterling has a version for each state.

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7. Zodiac, by Romina Russell | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Zodiac, by Romina Russell. Giveaway begins December 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 8, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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8. Jennifer K. Mann's TWO SPECKLED EGGS - interview and giveaway!

I am thrilled to share TWO SPECKLED EGGS by debut author and illustrator (on the same book), Jennifer K. Mann. I adore this book. Who hasn’t had a Lyla Browning in their life (or been a Lyla Browning) - that girl who was a little too smart, a little too geeky, perhaps a little too creative? I know many writers and illustrators who can relate to that! Jennifer is visiting today to answer some questions about her new book…

Q. First, Jennifer, CONGRATULATIONS! This is your first book as author/illustrator and only your second picture book (the first you illustrated - Turkey Tot by George Shannon). How’s it feel?
It feels amazing! I’ve dreamed about being published for a long time, and now to see my dreams and my effort in the form of a book, in bookstores, in kids’ and grown ups’ hands---I think every author/illustrator knows the feeling of that first book. The excitement that comes with each step toward publication is so much fun, like being a kid again!

Q. Your path into children’s books certainly hasn’t been direct. How did this passion take hold of you?
I’ve always loved to draw, and that is why I became an architect. But something was missing for me in that kind of drawing, and I didn’t realize it until I had kids and started reading beautiful picture books with them. I knew then that I wanted to make that kind of art!

Q. The story of TWO SPECKLED EGGS feels so familiar. Is it based on true experiences?
Yes! I have two photos of my own 7th birthday party. I am all dressed up, and so are my friends. In one photo we are all squealing with delight at someone’s performance during a party game, but I can also remember feeling unhappy with that part of that party—girls out of control! In another, we are all seated on the sofa. There is a girl I don’t recognize—who is she? Had I invited her? How did she fit in with the rest of the girls? I remember too that I sometimes felt alone at my own birthday parties. It seems that birthday parties rarely go just the way the birthday girl, or boy, wants them to.

Q. How long have you been creating art and illustrating?
I have been an artist my whole life, but more of a dabbler than anything. I have been a printmaker since college, and I also love to paint in miniature (mostly birds---not sure why) on little collaged scraps of paper. (You can have a look at my tiny collage bird paintings on my website). Even while I worked as an architect, I took art classes on the side, and secretly wished I had gone to art school instead of architecture school. When I recognized my desire to make books for children, I shifted gears and really focused on learning how to make narrative art that would delight kids and adults.

Q. Your journey will inspire so many of my readers. How did you break into the children’s book market?
The short response is: desire, diligence, grit, patience, and a little bit of luck! I think it helped that I developed a thick skin as an architect!
      The long response is: I happened to mention my early interest in picture books to just the right person in about 2004, and he gave me the best advice ever: join SCBWI! So I did. And I enrolled in a terrific UW extension course in illustrating for children taught by the wonderful and talented Brenda Guiberson. I had some early ideas, worked on them lot, sent them out to editors, and received many kind but firm rejections. (but most were personal rejections, which I learned was code for “Keep Trying!”) I also took advantage of every SCBWI workshop and critique and portfolio show that I could, while studying very closely stacks and stacks of picture books. I analyzed my favorites, and tried to figure out just how those masters did what they did. Finally, after a lot of hard work, I had a dummy that felt like a book! That dummy helped me win the Grand Prize in the SCBWI Western Washington Portfolio Show, and then the SCBWI Don Freeman Award. I took that dummy to the portfolio display at the SCBWI New York conference, where it got some nice attention. Soon after, I signed with my wonderful agent—Holly McGee at Pippin Properties. My story and dummy went down a bit of a winding path and remained unpublished for a few years. But in the meantime I illustrated TURKEY TOT by beloved author George Shannon, published by Holiday House, and I wrote and illustrated TWO SPECKLED EGGS! And now, I am so pleased to say that that dummy, the first one that felt like a book, will be published this spring--my second picture book as author and illustrator. It is called I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS BENSON’S BLACKBOARD, and will be published June, 2015, by Candlewick Press.

Q. What is your illustration method?
For these first three books, I developed a technique that allowed me to achieve the look of collage, without the permanence of glue and paper—because I don’t like commitment, I guess!
      So, here’s roughly how I do it: I don’t necessarily start with thumbnails, but I tend to go back and forth between thumbnails and full size sketches—I have to switch scales depending on the problem I am solving. Once I have worked out sketches of all of my spreads, I draw the individual elements of a spread in ink or pencil smaller than full scale so that I am forced to stay nice and loose. I scan them, enlarge them to full size, and print them on watercolor paper. Then I paint each little bit, and scan it all back into Photoshop. This is when I pretend I am using scissors and glue, but I use Photoshop to cut out each element in a spread, and collage it all back together, moving elements around, changing scale and composition until it feels right. Sometimes I incorporate photographs, or textures that I have scanned or created in Photoshop. Ultimately I delivered digital files for my final art. However—I am working on a new project with Candlewick that demands a somewhat lighter hand and more tender style, and it just may be traditional pencil and paint—we’ll see!

Q. How are you celebrating the release of TWO SPECKLED EGGS?
I’ve had not one but two terrific book launch parties—one here on Bainbridge Island at Eagle Harbor Book Company, and the other in Seattle at Secret Garden Books. Suzanne at Secret Garden made the most delicious Silver and Gold Cake (Ginger’s favorite) and my friends gladly put on their party hats and pecked at the cake for me, just like Ginger and Lyla. I made a Silver and Gold Cake for the Eagle Harbor Books party, but it wasn’t nearly as scrumptious as Suzanne’s. And of course I made sure that all kids who came to my book parties took home some malted milk eggs—not as ubiquitous these days as they were when I was a child!

      Right now, Two Speckled Eggs is being celebrated in an exhibit of children’s book artists at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. My work is hanging alongside that of Julie Paschkis, Nikki McClure, and Woodleigh Marx Hubbard. What an honor to be featured alongside those amazing artists in this beautiful new museum!
     By the way, I thought I had invented the Silver and Gold Cake, but if you look it up, it exists outside of my kitchen! But the recipes I found had no coconut or pineapple—a travesty. So if you want to try to make Ginger’s favorite Silver and Gold Cake, find a great recipe for a light and fluffy pineapple layer cake, and then make Seven Minute Icing (my childhood favorite) with coconut in it, and Voila! (This is Jennifer's good luck mug.)

Q. I wish you much continued success and look forward to seeing more from you! What's next?
I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS BENSON’S BLACKBOARD, will publish this June. This is the story of Rose, who’s a little dreamy and rather messy. She’s also an artist, and she finds it a little tough to get on her teacher’s right side.
      And, I am currently working on a new book with Candlewick, tentatively titled SAM AND JUMP. It is due out early spring, 2016. It’s a sweet and tender story of a little boy who leaves his beloved stuffed bunny behind on the beach one day. I’m excited to take a new approach to the illustrations for this book, much less Photoshop, more pencil and paint, I hope!

Candlewick has kindly agreed to send a free copy of TWO SPECKLED EGGS to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win. Enter below:

TWO SPECKLED EGGS. Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Mann. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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9. Santa Snoopy Holiday Book Giveaway

In Celebration of 50 Years on TV for A Charlie Brown Christmas, enter to win a Santa Snoopy book prize pack! Giveaway begins December 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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10. A giveaway: Win the first two Pigsticks and Harold adventures!

Today I’ve a lovely giveaway just in time for Christmas! Leave a comment on the blog to be in with a chance of winning these two books by Alex Milway:


They’re tremendous fun and would just about fit into a Christmas stocking…

The nitty gritty of the giveaway

  • This giveaway is open to UK/Eire addresses only.
  • To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post.
  • For extra entries you can:

    (1) Tweet about this giveaway, perhaps using this text:
    Win 2 hilarious Pigsticks and Harold books by @alexmilway over on @playbythebook’s blog http://www.playingbythebook.net/?p=31550

    (2) Share this giveaway on your Facebook page or blog

    You must leave a separate comment for each entry for them to count.

  • The winner will be chosen at random using random.org.
  • The giveaway is open for one week, and closes on Saturday 13 December 2014 5pm UK time. I will contact the winner via email. If I do not hear back from the winner within one week of emailing them, I will re-draw as appropriate.
  • Best of luck and, as always, happy reading!

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    11. Mike Wohnoutka's LITTLE PUPPY AND THE BIG GREEN MONSTER - Interview and Giveaway!

    Mike Wohnoutka has a new book out and I’m thrilled to have him on dulemba.com today. His latest is called LITTLE PUPPY AND THE BIG GREEN MONSTER and it will melt your heart as surely as the little puppy melts the monster’s heart. I’ve always loved Mike’s artwork anyhow - especially in JACK’S HOUSE, MAMA’S LITTLE DUCKLING, and THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN MINNESOTA (I did the Georgia one). Let’s get a peek at his process...

    Q. Mike, I love to study your work. I think I see you working with under paintings in scarlet or other colors. Am I seeing right? What is your method?
    Yes, I always start my paintings with an orange/sepia tone under painting. This helps me figure out the lighting situation. It’s much easier to do this by using all the values of just one color. This technique also adds continuity and warmth to the overall painting.

    Q. Your use of light is always so warm and friendly - how do approach that?
    Thank you. I’ve always struggled with color. I was told once by a fellow artist to approach painting thinking about values rather than colors. This approach has helped immensely and has made me a more confident painter. It keeps me thinking about what’s being hit by light and what’s not. This gives the painting a lot of volume and I think it gives a warm and friendly feeling too.

    Q. I also admire how you switch up the viewers point of view. Again, how do you approach that?
    I took a film history class in college. I loved learning about Alfred Hitchcock’s process of creating films. He was one of the first directors to change the point of view of the camera to add tension and create suspense. When I work on the sketches for a book I like to think of myself holding a camera moving around the scene looking for the best angle and view to show each scene in the story. I’m also thinking about zooming in and out.

    Q. LITTLE PUPPY AND THE BIG GREEN MONSTER is such a sweet story - what inspired it?
    After illustrating 20 books by other authors this is my first book as both illustrator and author. It’s hard to say exactly where the idea for this book came from, because it evolved through many, many different versions over five years. But there is no doubt that watching my two young kids navigate their way through the maze of making new friends has influenced the story. Also, I’ve realized since finishing it, that it may have been somewhat inspired by my inattentive father!

    Q. I have to tell you, the puppy reminds me a little bit of my dog, Bernie - an overgrown beagle or short foxhound - we’re not sure. But with the same markings. Is Little Puppy a real dog in your world?
    My first roommate out of college had a dog named Ryder. She was a very small basset hound. Everyone thought she was a beagle mix. The look of the puppy was inspired by her, but definitely not her personality. She was a very mellow dog. She definitely didn’t have the energy the Puppy in the book has.

    Q. You’ve got quite the bibliography of books at this point. Do you work with a particular publishing house?
    I do not work with one particular publishing house. I’ve been working consistently with four different houses. I would be happy to stick with just one publisher, but when I’m asked to illustrate a book, my decision to take on the project has more to do with the story rather than the house.

    Q. How do you advertise yourself (or do you need to)?
    I have a website (www.mikewohnoutka.com). When I was first starting out I would bombard publishers with samples of my work. I would also go to every SCBWI conference. I don’t do those things nearly as much any more. One thing I do, which I feel is extremely helpful, is I try to go to New York as often as I can. Meeting with publishers and putting a face to your work, making those personal connections, is a wonderful way to promote yourself. My first trip to New York in 2006, to show my portfolio, was one of the best things I ever did for my career.

    Q. How are you celebrating LITTLE PUPPY AND THE BIG GREEN MONSTER?
    I had a launch party at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN. I also, painted a 10 foot tall monster on their window. (Click the image to see a larger version in a new window.) It was a roaring good time.

    Q. What’s next in the pipeline for you?
    I recently finished the illustrations for the second book that I am the author of. It’s a story that was inspired by my son, Franklin, starting school and how difficult it was, not so much for him, but for me! It’s titled DAD’S FIRST DAY and is scheduled to be published Fall 2015 by Bloomsbury. Also, the MOO! board book is also coming out on November 4th!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Holiday House has kindly agreed to give one free copy of LITTLE PUPPY AND THE BIG GREEN MONSTER to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below:

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    12. Getting the Words Out (8)


    Hello everyone!

    You know, I actually kind of hate it when bloggers make a big announcement about going on hiatus (or coming back from one, or whatever). It's like the "man behind the curtain" moment--I'd rather not see. So this is not going to turn into that. I'm just going to tell you what fun stuff I've been doing instead of blogging (which is also fun, but in a much more time-consuming way than you might imagine).

    • I have really revived my passion for knitting and sewing. I have my pals at Twisted Stitches to thank for that. I just finished a scarf and I'm starting a pair of gloves for a Christmas gift. I plan to make myself some dresses as soon as I finish all of my Christmas crafting!
    • I have been exercising on and off just to maintain my weight so I could pig out like I wanted to on Thanksgiving (mission accomplished) but I sprained my ankle the other night, so no running for a bit :(
    • My husband got me hooked on Serial, a nonfiction podcast that unfolds a single story week by week.
    • I am binge-watching Criminal Minds. Great tv fare for both ankle-elevating and knitting (and very occasional blogging).
    • I'm trying to toilet-train my cats (to use the actual toilet!). Week one is almost over and so far, zilch. But apparently it's to be expected with a two-cat household.
    • I got a new bookshelf. Hallelujah! I am trying NOT to double-stack this one, but it does reach floor-to-ceiling.
    • I made pumpkin cream cheese bars, which smelled so bad during the making (due to gelatin and egg white components) that I swore I'd never make it again, but tasted so good afterwards, I had to give most of it away so I wouldn't eat it all myself.
    • I was in the same room (well, theatre) as John Cleese and Eric Idle. Watch here.

    I got a new MacBook Air. OMG. OMG. Ok, I'll be honest, the feel of the keys under my fingers is totally why I'm blogging again.

    :) More soon!

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    13. Coloring Page Tuesday - Elf Paints

         Did you know that elves make books? Oh, how I wish it were that easy!
         CLICK HERE for more Christmas coloring pages!! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
         Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

    my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, coming out next week! Click the cover to learn more!
         When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
    **A SIBA OKRA Pick!**
    **A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!**
    **The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**
    **eLit 2014 Gold Medal Winner in the Environmental/Ecology/Nature Category**

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    14. 5 Tips for Researching a Novel & Cover Reveal!

    Writing Life Banner


    Meredith McCardle

    The Eighth Guardian

    I, Susan, am a huge time travel dork. Like, I grew up on a steady diet of both time travel fiction and just straight science time travel books, so when I say that The Eighth Guardian is one of the BEST time travel books out there, I think I’m pretty qualified to make that assertion. ;)

    Now, imagine my ABSOLUTE delight when the author of The Eighth Guardian, Meredith McCardle, asked if she could do a guest post + cover reveal on Pub(lishing) Crawl? Cue FREAK OUT!

    And as if that wasn’t awesome enough, Meredith and Amazon have been kind enough to donate a Kindle Paperwhite!!! So scroll down to enter that giveaway–and to check out the Blackout cover!

    Now, onto Meredith’s guest post!

    5 Tips for Researching Your Novel

    1. Wikipedia is a great place to start, but it probably shouldn’t be your only source.

    Wikipedia is great for the small things—like figuring out who the candidates were in a gubernatorial election in the 1870s. But for the really big stuff, definitely branch outside of Wikipedia. In BLACKOUT, one of the biggest missions that Iris goes on is to Washington during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Wikipedia was great for giving me a basic timeline of the crisis—when the US discovered the missiles on Cuba, when President Kennedy addressed the nation, that sort of thing. But Wikipedia can’t give you a feel for how terrifying it must have been to be living on the eastern seaboard of the United States in October 1962. It won’t let you experience the protests that built outside of the White House every day. For that, you have to go deeper. These are some of my favorite sources for further research:

    • Museums and museum websites. There are museums for everything. Many times, you’ll find they maintain really excellent websites with a lot of information and videos readily available.
    • Books! Good ole’ fashioned history books, to be exact. I’ve made fast friends with my local librarians who are always willing to escort me to the right shelf or track down a book through inter-library loan if I need it.
    • There’s a reason 90% of my Netflix suggestions are documentaries.

    2. YouTube is a godsend.

    You really can learn to do just about anything on YouTube. It’s taught me how to pick a lock. It’s taught me how to defend myself against both a knife attack and a gun in my face. You can also find a lot of documentaries on YouTube that aren’t available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Google Image Search is also a godsend. Not quite sure what a civil war-era rifle looks like? Want to know what a well-heeled Colonial woman wore? Google images! (But brace yourself because you never quite know what you’re going to get. And do me a favor and never, ever, ever do an image search for gangrene. Trust me on that.)

     3. For settings, primary research is best, but it’s not a total necessity.

    I set both THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN and BLACKOUT primarily in Boston because I know that city very well. I lived there for several years. But there are scenes in the books that take place in New York City, Washington D.C., and Vermont, places I’m far less familiar with. And as much as I would love to research all the places I mention in my books specifically, it’s not always logistically (or financially!) feasible. But I have friends who live in those places. I have Google Earth. I have access to all sorts of historic maps. As long as you spend the time researching the setting, you can skate by without buying a plane ticket.

     4. When is it time to stop researching?

    Have you ever fallen down a research hole? I know I have. The Kennedy assassination plays a huge role in THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN, and I’m sure you can imagine the sheer volume of information out there on it. I turned THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN in to my editor nearly two years ago, and had I attempted to read everything I could find on the assassination and all of its various conspiracy theories, there’d probably still be a stack of library books on my nightstand. And by probably, I mean definitely. So here’s a good rule of thumb that I learned from my days as a lawyer: When you’re running into the same information over and over again in different sources, you probably have a good enough base knowledge. Move on!

     5. Keep your notes.

    You’ll need them when you revise. I am a huge fan of printing out every tiny little thing I find on the internet that might be useful. (I’m currently leaning over a full copy of the Geneva Convention in order to get to my keyboard). The papers will pile up on my desk, I’ll scribble notes directly on them, and then once I have a complete first draft, I punch holes in the papers and stick them in a three-ring binder. It’s kind of a pain to organize everything at once, but it makes life so much easier later on. And trust me, you’ll use them later!

    Oh my gosh, having written historical with LOADS of research, I (Sooz) cannot emphasize #5 enough! I was so disorganized with all my research in book 1, and it made copyedits as well as sequel-writing a giant pain in the butt! So be organized and be fastidious!! Meredith’s right that it will make life easier later on.

    Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for ;)–the cover for the second Anum Guard book, Blackout!


    Seventeen-year-old Amanda Obermann (code name: Iris) has more on her mind than usual. As a member of a covert government organization called the Annum Guard, which travels through time to keep history on track, Iris has been getting some particularly stressful assignments. Plus, Jane Bonner, the Guard’s iron-fisted new leader, seems determined to make life as hard as possible. Thankfully, Iris has Abe (code name: Blue), her boyfriend and fellow Guardian, who listens to her vent—and helps her cope with her mentally ill mother’s increasingly erratic behavior.

    When Guardians start to disappear on their assignments, Iris makes a terrifying discovery: a “blackout” squad is targeting anyone who gets in the way of a corrupt force that’s selling out both the Annum Guard’s missions and Guardian lives. Together, Iris and Blue must go undercover to untangle the Guard’s elaborate web of secrets and lies. But when Iris discovers that the terrible truth may involve her own father, a former Guardian undone by his own greed, she must decide how much she’s willing to risk to rescue her friends…and how dangerous the consequences will be for all of humanity.

    A thrilling time-traveling adventure that spans from Abraham Lincoln’s assassination to the Cuban Missile Crisis and back to the present day, this pulse-pounding sequel to The Eighth Guardian reveals that playing with time can turn into a deadly game.

    I have read Blackout, and I can honestly say it is just as good as The Eighth Guardian, if not more so. Meredith really takes the stakes up a notch, and aaah! SO much tension!! (I really love this series, if you can’t tell.)

    So, if you’re interested in starting the series or reading an early copy of Blackout OR just getting a shiny new Kindle Paperwhite, be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Meredith McCardleMeredith McCardle is a recovered lawyer who lives in South Florida with her husband and two young daughters. Like her main character, she has a fondness for strong coffee, comfortable pants, and jumping to the wrong conclusions. Unlike her main character, she cannot travel through time. Sadly. The first book in the Annum Guard series, THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN, was released in May of 2014 by Skyscape. The second title, BLACKOUT, releases January 13, 2015.  Learn more about Meredith on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

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    15. Giveaway: Falling Kingdoms 3: Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes (US only)


    Book 3: Falling Kingdoms Series
    by Morgan Rhodes
    In stores December 9th   


    The seeds of revolution have been sown…but in Mytica the lust for power reigns supreme.

    THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo slays with sweetness—and a secret that might control Lucia’s magic—as she and vengeful Jonas lead the hunt for the all-powerful Kindred.

    THE KRAESHIANS join the fray. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the vast kingdom across the Silver Sea, prove to be just as ruthless as they are charming as they manipulate their way to victory.

    THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally, in the flesh, with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

    And which side will Prince Magnus choose, now that he’s been betrayed by everyone he’s ever loved?



    In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering.

    As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed…and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even love.

    In AURANOS, privileged Princess Cleo is forced to confront violence for the first time in her life when a shocking murder sets her kingdom on a path to collapse.

    In LIMEROS, the king’s son, Magnus, must plan each footstep with shrewd, sharp guile if he is to earn his powerful father’s trust, while his sister, Lucia, discovers a terrifying family secret about her birth that will change everything.

    In PAELSIA, rebellious Jonas lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

    Witches, if four, are put to death, and Watchers, immortal beings who take the shape of hawks to visit the human world, have been almost entirely forgotten. A vicious power struggle quickly escalates to war, and these four young people collide against each other and the rise of elementia, the magic that can topple kingdoms and crown a ruler in the same day.

    Morgan Rhodes is the New York Times bestselling author of the FALLING KINGDOMS series. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess—the king that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, and reality TV, and is an extremely picky yet voracious reader of all kinds of books.
    Follow Morgan Rhodes on TumblrTwitterand Instagram
    Find the Falling Kingdoms series on Facebook
    Three (3) US winners receive:
    ·         Falling Kingdoms postcard set
    ·         Falling Kingdoms tshirt,
    ·         plus copies of Falling KingdomsRebel Spring and Gathering Darkness.
    Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30-60 days after the giveaway ends.

    During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: Who is your favorite character in the Falling Kingdoms series and why?



    Read More

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    16. The Orphan of Torundi, by J. L. McCreedy | Book Giveaway

    Enter to win a copy of The Orphan of Torundi, by J. L. McCreedy. Giveaway begins November 29, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 28, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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    17. Candy Fleming's THE FAMILY ROMANOV - Guest Post and Giveaway!

    I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to have Candy Fleming here today to talk about her amazing new book, THE FAMILY ROMANOV. It's non-fiction at its best and deserves every bit of Newbery buzz that it's receiving. So, take it away Candy!

          Thanks so much for asking me to stop by, Elizabeth. I’m so excited to talk about my new book, The Family Romanov. Today I want to share a little bit about my research. It was a journey that took four paths. The first, of course, was primary research. After all, the heart of research is the firsthand accounts and eyewitness testimonies of those who lived through an historical event. And so I read reminiscences written by the children’s’ tutors, and Alexandra’s ladies-in-waiting and Nicholas’ courtiers. I delved into the royal family’s letters and diaries and other personal papers. I read Yakov Yurovsky’s chilling account of the murders; statements from the guards; depositions from the priests and cleaning women who visited the Romanovs in their last hours. All of it was so personal, so intimate. If you think about it, it really is the height of nosiness… and probably the reason I love this sort of research so much. I get to be part detective, piecing together testimony from all that conflicting testimony, and part gossip, reporting on all the juicy details I uncover.
          My second path? Secondary source material. There are hundreds of books about the Romanovs and the Russian Revolution (although almost none for young readers). Dozens of scholars have made the rigorous examination of Russia’s past their life’s work. They’ve written insightful, enlightening histories. And I read dozens of them. For months every night I curled up with books with titles like The Russian Revolution of February 1917 or The Fall of the Romanovs. There’s no denying that my book stands on the shoulders of these works.
          My third research path led to experts – scholars, historians, and other writers. They are, I’ve learned, incredibly generous. All my nonfiction titles have been immeasurably improved by their time and effort. But no one was more helpful than Dr. Mark Steinberg, professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. While doing research, I came to rely on Dr. Steinberg’s work – his accessible histories of Russia, his impeccable translations of documents recently released from the Russian archives, his re-examination of Nicholas’ leadership abilities, his new and brilliant scholarship on Lenin, his admiration for Maxim Gorky. Can you tell I am a fan? So as the first draft of the book neared completion I approached him tentatively. More than anything, I wanted him to read what I’d written. I wanted his opinion, his knowledge. I wrote him, explaining my purpose and my readership. Then I crossed my fingers and hoped he’d answer. He did… enthusiastically. Over the course of the next six months, he read my draft, made suggestions, pointed out errors, suggested more appropriate source material and forced me to look at the evidence in different ways. He sent along books and articles he believed would help in my work. He re-read portions of the book I’d reworked based on his comments, and patiently answered what must have felt like a tireless stream of questions throughout the entire publication process. That’s generosity!
          Last, but certainly not least, my fourth research path took me traveling. I think it’s imperative to visit the places where the story happened. Landscapes speak and houses hold memories and secrets. This was especially true when writing The Family Romanov. In August 2012 I traveled to Russia where I followed in the Romanov’s footsteps, wandering the shady paths of Tsarskoe Selo and traipsing through the hallways of the Alexander Palace; visiting Rasputin’s apartment; exploring worker’s neighborhoods, Lenin’s headquarters and the dark, dank jail cells of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Just walking the streets and feeling the air brought my biographical subjects closer. And because of those travels, I made a surprising and important discovery – one that changed the scope of the book. It happened while I was visiting the Alexander Palace. In none of my sources had anyone mentioned how close the palace sat to the front gate. I’d assumed it was somewhere in the middle of the park, away from prying eyes. Not so. The tall, main gate with its golden, double headed eagle opens directly onto the palace’s circular driveway. Every day the family could look through its iron grillwork to the town of Tsarskoe Selo just on the other side. It gave me pause. The family was so close to it’s people. They were just on the other side of the gate. The Romanovs could look out their windows and see them. They could hear the voices of their people from the palace balcony. They could smell their cooking. They really weren’t as physically removed as sources had led me to believe. So why, I wondered, didn’t the Romanovs feel more attachment to their subjects? I mean, they were right there. The question led me down entirely new paths of thought. And it eventually led to the book’s inclusion of first hand worker and peasant accounts under the title, “Beyond the Palace Gates.”

    Random House has kindly agreed to send a free copy of THE FAMILY ROMANOV to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

    0 Comments on Candy Fleming's THE FAMILY ROMANOV - Guest Post and Giveaway! as of 11/29/2014 8:26:00 AM
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    18. Molly Idle's FLORA AND THE PENGUIN - interview and giveaway!

    I've been a Molly Idle fan since I saw her first pieces through my Picture Book Artists Association message board. It took the rest of the world a short time to find her too, and award her a Caldecott Honor for FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO - which I interviewed her for HERE. Well, Molly and Flora are back, and this time it's winter with FLORA AND THE PENGUIN!

    Q. So I heard a story that the idea for this story was almost serendipitous - it began with a light conversation between you and your editor?
    I would say it was entirely serendipitous! We were talking about how I was drawing the reflections in the water in Flora and the Flamingo, and Amy, my art director, said they reminded her of a reflected sheen on a sheet of ice. And I said something like, "Oh, if it were ice she'd be dancing with a penguin... " And then there was this prolonged pause... And then we both started talking at once: "The penguin would come up through a hole in the ice!" "The book could be all blue!" "They'd be ice skating!" Then we calmed down a bit and Amy said, "But first, let's finish THIS book."

    Q. This is such a different color palette. How did working with an entirely different set of colored pencils affect your general mood?
    The colors of a book don't affect my mood nearly as much as the characters' expressions do. My mood tends to shift along with theirs. If Flora is smiling, I'm smiling while I draw her... If the penguin is completely grumpy, so am I. Brow furrowed, mouth turned down... Yesterday afternoon I was drawing yawning bunnies- I could barely keep my eyes open!

    Q. Was it difficult to work with such a cool color palette after the warm one in FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO?
    Only at first. At first I would look at a finished piece and think, ridiculously, "It's not pink." I mean, of course it wasn't pink! But it took a while for me to warm up to the new palette [e: Ha! Warm up - no pun intended!] and feel like the pieces looked right in their cool blue hues.

    Q. Flora seems to get in a bit of a bad mood in this book. Where did that come from?
    Well, don’t we all from time to time? And I thought if was important for Flora to be a really real little person. I mean, it would have been easy peasy to write a story where she's this idyllic child who's always cheery and never cross... But have you ever met anyone who is actually like that? I haven't. Even the best people loose it from time to time. We make poor choices. Do unkind things... We're human. But then, if given the chance, a good person will do their best to make right their wrongs. I think that’s the best part of our humanity.

    Q. Obviously she gets over it and makes a lovely new friend. Was it difficult to work out this story?
    Yep. Though we had all these wonderful ideas that set the making of the book in motion, working out the source of Flora and the Penguin's conflict and resolution took me a while...

    Q. It’s such a perfect winter book. How are you going to celebrate it?
    With the perfect winter treat- hot chocolate and marshmallows! Although, if you're a penguin, you'll probably prefer celebrating it with mackerel..

    Q. I hope FLORA AND THE PENGUIN does as well or better than FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO - not a bad goal considering the Caldecott honor. What was it like to get the call?
    Oh wow... That was an awesome thing. Actually made me a bit weak in the knees... I remember holding onto the kitchen counter after I hung up the phone. Positively faint with happiness!

    CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN! Check out this adorable book trailer for FLORA AND THE PENGUIN:

    Candlewick has generously offered to send one free copy of FLORA AND THE PENGUIN to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US or Canada to win - enter below.

    0 Comments on Molly Idle's FLORA AND THE PENGUIN - interview and giveaway! as of 11/27/2014 10:12:00 AM
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    19. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis, by Carole P. Roman | Book Giveaway

    Enter to win a full autographed set of the Captain No Beard series, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman; including the newest title Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis! Giveaway begins November 22, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 21, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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    20. Lynn Cullen's MRS. POE - Guest Post and Giveaway

    I have a surprise for you today - an adult book, MRS. POE by my dear friend Lynn Cullen. Lynn has also written books for the younger set, like I AM REMBRANDT'S DAUGHTER and MOI AND MARIE ANTOINETTE. So, I'm thrilled to have Lynn on today to help promote her latest book, although it's been selling gang-busters. Lynn shares a touching story with us about reading to her children. Take it away Lynn!

         I’m all about books. I read them every spare moment I have, which these days is generally only when I’m not writing them. I got my affliction from my dad, who so loved reading that he always kept a Reader’s Digest in the glove-box of the car, on the toilet, and in his coat-pocket, so he would never be caught without a story to peruse. My favorite activity as a kid was to ride my bike a couple miles to the library and load a paper grocery sack—the big size—with fictionalized biographies of Abe Lincoln, Helen Keller, and Daniel Boone, as well as every last book in the Little House on the Prairie series. I’m one of those people who cannot sleep without a nightcap of turning the pages of a novel before bed. Whenever I pass a bookstore, be it in an airport, shopping center, or strip mall, I look longingly at all the lovely spines and wonder what I’m missing. I’ll willingly sacrifice gazing at the scenery for reading while riding in a car.
         But as addicted as I am to consuming the written word, for a few short years there was time when reading was not quite a complete and utter pleasure. There was a time when I dreaded it almost as much as changing a tire: the years when my kids were small.
         Granted, this brief anathema to reading came only at their bedtime. And it increased with the ratio of kids to mom, especially after throwing the birth of three kids in four years into the equation. But after doling out three home-cooked meals a day, plodding along under the weight of kids and their bags of gear to the park, a museum, or the library, and then scrubbing three wiggling, chattering monkeys and pinning them down to brush their teeth, I was the one who was cooked.
    A photo of Lynn in one of her fave writing spots and with her dog, Rosie.

         Yet I never considered the possibility of NOT reading to them. It was almost as if I thought their vulnerable brains might melt without a dose of nutritious reading each day. I knew how important infusing their minds with story construction and ideas and laughter had to be for them. What I didn’t know was how good reading to them would be for me.
         Now that my girls are grown, when I look back over their childhoods, what comes back to me most vividly is reading with them each night. I can still smell their damp hair, soap-scented skin, and young breath as they lie in the crook of my arm. I can still feel the delicate wings of their shoulders and the rise and fall of their narrow chests. I can hear their baby voices and the funny construction of phrases unique to each as we talked about the stories. More than the trips, the meals, the baths or anything else, I remember the bond with and the awe for each of these wondrous souls as we turned the pages together.
         Now when I read to my grandchildren, I notice my daughters hovering nearby, relieved to give up their duty for a switch but also not quite comfortable with resigning from their usual place behind the book. I understand. These precious moments are finite in their number. But little do my children know that even as I am delighting in their babies, I am savoring, oh, I am savoring, the sweet memory of cradling them.

         Lynn Cullen's newest novel, Mrs. Poe, examines the fall of Edgar Allan Poe through the eyes of his lover, poet Francis Osgood. A National Bestseller, Mrs. Poe has been named a Target Book Club Pick, a NPR 2013 Great Read, an Oprah.com "Books That Make Time Stand Still," an Editor's Pick at The Historical Novels Review, an Atlanta Magazine Best Books 2013, and an Indie Next Pick. Lynn is also the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 Indie Next selection. She has written numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and an ALA Best Book of 2008. Her novel, Reign of Madness, about Juana the Mad, daughter of the Spanish Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, was chosen as a 2011 Best of the South selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was a 2012 Townsend Prize finalist" and was just chosen as a "Book That All Georgians Should Read" by the Georgia Center for the Book. Her newest picture book for children, "Dear Mr. Washington" will be released by Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers in early 2015 and is a Library Guild Selection. She is currently working on a novel about the women in the life of Mark Twain."

    Simon and Schuster has generously offered to send a free copy of MRS. POE to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below:

    0 Comments on Lynn Cullen's MRS. POE - Guest Post and Giveaway as of 11/22/2014 9:34:00 AM
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    21. Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories: The Big One! | Book Giveaway

    Enter to win a copy of Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories: The Big One! Giveaway begins November 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 23, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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    22. Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3 | Book Giveaway

    Enter to win a copy of Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3. Giveaway begins November 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 23, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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    23. Holiday Giveaway: Win McFarlane Toys Eli Manning and Joe Namath figures Signed by Todd McFarlane

    Hey people, football playoff fever is well underway with so many unanswered questions keeping people up at night. Is the era of the scrambling quarterback over? Did it ever begin? Will Geno Smith ever start another game? Will the Giant or The Jets being more shame to the Meadowlands? And can Mark Sanchez redeem himself while still wolfing down Phillie cheese steaks all the time?

    To celebrate this and more, we have a very special beat giveaway, in conjunction with our partner, Lockerdome. Just hit the links to register to win one of TWO special action figure packs to remind you of TWO of New York’s  Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, Eli Manning and Joe Namath. The figures are made by McFarlane Toys and are highly detailed in the style of the company figures. And both are SIGNED BY Todd McFarlane.

    Void where prohibited. Contest is not open to Beat employees.


    0 Comments on Holiday Giveaway: Win McFarlane Toys Eli Manning and Joe Namath figures Signed by Todd McFarlane as of 11/24/2014 9:28:00 PM
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    24. Coloring Page Tuesday - Owl Cook!

         Everybody wonders how to cook the best treats for Thanksgiving. I'm betting a wise owl will have the best recipes!
         CLICK HERE for more Thanksgiving coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
         Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

    THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA! Makes a GREAT teacher gift! Click the cover to learn more!
         Don't live in Georgia? Check with your local bookseller - Sterling has a version for each state.

    0 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - Owl Cook! as of 11/25/2014 10:32:00 AM
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    25. Annual Black Swagday Giveaway

    Wow, I can't believe we're already to Black Friday weekend--seriously where has the year gone??????

    But deadline panicking aside (MEEP!), it's also time for my annual Black Swagday Giveaway!!!  

    Since this is the time of year where everyone has gifts on their minds--and I personally feel that signed books are THE BEST gifts anyone can give--I have a nice handy way for you guys to make your gifts even more special.

    If you buy any of my books (Keeper of the Lost Cities, Exile, Everblaze, Let the Sky Fall, and/or Let the Storm Break) this weekend--which just so happens to be the biggest shopping weekend of the year, between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday--and fill out the form at the end of this post, I will send you the corresponding swag pack below.

    If you buy any of the KEEPER books, I'll send you this (for each book purchased):

    And in case you can't tell, that's:
    - a signed (and personalized) bookplate 
    - 4 Team Stickers
    - 1 5x7 character art print (featuring the awesome illustrations by Courtney Godbey)
    (*whispers* if you buy more than one KEEPER book, I *might* throw in some other goodies as well... #justsayin')

    And if you buy either of the SKY FALL books, I'll send you the corresponding swag you see in this pic (for each book purchased):
    So if you buy Let the Sky Fall you'll get: 
    - a LTSF signed (and personalized) bookplate
    - a LTSF bookmark
    - a LTSF sticker

    And if you buy Let the Storm Break you'll get:
    - a LTSB signed (and personalized) bookplate
    - a LTSB bookmark
    - a LTSB sticker 

    All of this swag is exclusive--only available here--and hand signed by me!

    And there's no limit on how many I'll give away. Everyone who fills out the form between now and 11:59 pm pacific time on Monday, December 1, 2014 WILL get the swag. I'm also not requiring proof of purchase. If you say you bought it, I believe you. But remember, every time you lie, an alicorn's poop stops sparking AND WHAT WOULD THE WORLD BE WITHOUT SPARKLY POOP??????

    It also doesn't matter where you buy the book (though supporting your Local Indie Bookstore guarantees you a life of sunshine and happiness) or if you buy the paperback or the hardcover (ebooks and audiobooks count too!). And you're welcome to buy as many books as you want! (Just make sure you fill out the form separately for each book, so I know to send you more prizes).

    Giveaway is also open internationally!!!

    **Please note** This giveaway ONLY applies to books purchased between 11/26/14-12/1/14, and does NOT include books previously purchased. Of course I super-appreciate if you've bought my books before now, but I've also done previous giveaways for many of those purchases that you would've had a chance to take part of (sorry if you missed them). So this is only for new purchases, and if you are desperate for the swag you could always buy a book to give as a gift (what better gift could there be, really? Plus then you can get your friends/family/teachers hooked on the books so you have someone to talk about them with) and keep the swag for yourself--I won't tell! :)

    Um... I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, of course feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments. 

    Here's the form you'll need to fill out (and if it doesn't load for some reason, go HERE)

    Loading... Read the rest of this post

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