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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Giveaways, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 854
1. OCEANBORN by Amile Howard {Giveaway & Blog Tour}

Check out the tour page HERE The coronation is over. But the battle has just begun. Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the

0 Comments on OCEANBORN by Amile Howard {Giveaway & Blog Tour} as of 7/30/2014 4:18:00 AM
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2. Coloring Page Tuesday - Peace Between Beasts

     There are a few scenes that I love to draw again and again, like this one. I love the idea of peace between beasts. I think it embodies my hope for the future - not just peace between beasts, but peace between people and countries too.
     CLICK HERE for more 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!**

0 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - Peace Between Beasts as of 7/29/2014 9:42:00 AM
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3. THE TIME FETCH by Amy Herrick - Guest Post and Giveaway!

Amy Herrick On writing THE TIME FETCH,
her first book for young readers

      I’ve always wanted to write about the end of December when the wheel comes around and the old year reaches its end. We modern guys, we tinsel up the streets and devote ourselves to jollification and fail to notice that the days are growing shorter and shorter and something dark is moving toward us. With the passing of the years we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into forgetfulness. But the ancients knew what was happening when they sat around their fires in caves, when they erected their great watching circles of stones. They felt the implacable turning of the earth and the cold wheeling of the stars, and they stood together and pushed valiantly back against the darkness. What came would be terrible. Or wonderful. For a long time I’d been searching for a way to tell a story about this, but I could but never find my handle. It wasn’t until right in the middle of one of our December holiday parties that an idea came to me. We’ve been throwing this party for years. It’s a tradition that has been passed down from my side of the line. My mother threw such a party and her mother before her. For our family, it has grown into a reckless mix of Christmas, Chanukah, and Saturnalia celebrations. Every year we sit down in November and make a reasonably sized guest list, and in the following weeks my husband and my sons, without consulting me, invite everybody else they run into. It’s true that lots of people will bring food, but each day in the weeks preceding the party, the guest list swells. I come right up to the brink of losing my mind. There will not be enough time to get it all done. Now I must add to the multitude of everyday chores and interruptions all the sugar plum fairy tasks of holiday schlepping and cleaning and baking. There will be reindeer cookies and six-pointed star cookies, latkes and a gingerbread house, spinach pies and lasagna, a turkey and a ham and smoked fish. I will decorate every doorway and window, inside and out, with lights and evergreens. The menorah’s candles will burn bravely against the ticking of the clock. Our tree will look out upon the street, hung to within an inch of its life with birds and bells and chocolate Santas and the little blown-glass carousels passed down to me from my mother.
      A few years ago, at the very topmost moment of the turning of the year, smack in the middle of one of these parties, I sat down for the first time in weeks. Slightly delirious, starving, and victorious. As always, I had no clear idea how I had gotten it all done in time. Outside, the cold and the dark pressed their faces to the window, but in here was light and warmth and everybody I loved. Over on the other side of the room, musical instruments were being toodled and tuned and tapped, an electric piano, a guitar, a violin, a set of bongo drums. Someone handed me a plate of food and a glass of wine, and my oldest friend, Kate, took a seat by my side. I’ve known her since we were six. Our moms were pals. “I swear,” she said, “it comes around faster and faster every year. I don’t know how you get this all done.” (Photo Credit: Breukellen Riesgo)
      I laughed. “I was just thinking the same exact thought.”
      “Doesn’t it seem to you our mothers had more time in their days?” she pondered. “More hours?” It was true. Our childhoods had felt so much roomier. It was then that the thought popped into my head and I said it out loud.
      “Wow. Wouldn’t it be weird if it turned out that something had gotten into our world and was stealing our time? I mean, what if all our minutes are just a little bit shorter than they used to be, and we just haven’t noticed it yet?”
      She looked at me nervously. She is easily spooked. “Who would do that? Who would steal time? What would they do with it?”
      Those questions, of course, I had no ready answers for, but I knew I had the beginning of my winter solstice story, the turning of the wheel, a time thief, and a gathering of friends to fight off the darkness and the cold.

Bio: Amy Herrick is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Every morning, she and her dog take a long walk in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, looking for adventure. They’ve seen and heard many wondrous things there, some of which have served as inspiration for this story.

Algonquin Press has kindly agreed to send a free copy of THE TIME FETCH to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

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4. CAT SAYS MEOW by Michael Arndt - Interview and Giveaway

I’m teaching Design in the MFA in Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating program at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia this summer. Since I began this venture, I’ve been paying more attention to really well-designed picture books, like CAT SAYS MEOW by award-winning graphic designer, Michael Arndt. He took a break from his busy schedule to answer some questions…

Q. Michael - Can you explain your love affair with design?
Hi Elizabeth, or should I say "Meow"? Thank you for having me here. How much time do you have?
      I have always liked to draw. I am the youngest of 5 children. My grandfather was a sign painter and would hand letter all his work with sable brushes and paint. My dad was a landscape architect and 4 out of we 5 kids studied design. Whether nature or nurture, we all liked to draw. I wanted to be an illustrator but through a series of circumstances ended up majoring in Graphic Design instead at the University of Cincinnati. Unfortunately they didn't have an illustration program so the first couple years there I spent trying to transfer to a school that did offer illustration. My design professors at UC campaigned for me to stay, saying that Graphic Design was a perfect foundation from which to go on to do several things in the visual arts field, even illustration. It turns out they were right! By the time I graduated I was hooked. Friends call me the consummate designer because I eat, drink and breathe it. It really is a love affair. Architecture, package design, interior design, furniture design, you name it. I love it; I surround myself with it; I search the world for it; and love to create it. I've been known to search for months for the perfect food and water bowls for my dog and cat (of course they ate and drank in the meantime!) I happen to be one of those people who believes that good design enhances our quality of life and our environment has a profound impact on our life experience. For a designer that is even more so. Beauty in, beauty out. And let's face it, who doesn't like to be surrounded by things that they find beautiful AND that function well?

Q. I like to think I’m a type geek, but I have a feeling your passion is above and beyond. What are your thoughts on type?
Graphic designers are communicators. I am fascinated by all things visual and all things relating to communication and so type falls perfectly in the overlapping middle area of this Venn diagram. I also love and respect words and language (my own native English and foreign languages). Type, in our culture at least, represents individual letters and sounds (the components of both written and spoken language) and therefore a method of writing and reading. Type makes thoughts and speech visual and tangible. It is also an entity unto itself with its own history. For example, it reflects the medium which created it (serifs come from the process of chiseling stone as well as painting with brushes). The form type assumes I believe can even reflect the sound that it makes. The sinewy curves of the letter "S" somehow mimic the "S" sound itself. The rounded curves of a lower case "m" almost seem to be an illustration of the two lips that in fact create the "M" sound when they force air out of the mouth. Type also has it own visual character derived from size, proportion, weight, color, texture, and shape. There is an inherent beauty in all its varied permutations. Type even reflects trends and time periods. Most interesting and fun to me is the fact that each letter, and in turn each typeface, has personality! I don't think it is a coincidence that the individual letters are called 'characters' as I see the characters in the Roman alphabet as being almost anthropomorphic. Their proportions approximate human ones and therefore there is a pleasing familiarity to them. Not only does type represent the denotative meaning of a word, i.e.: the letters C-A-T arranged in that order represent a feline animal in English, but the typefaces are definitely connotative as well; that is, their visual form suggests different attributes and personalities. The possibilities to then use this to communicate a message are endless. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Type to me is really just shapes or pictures and therefore the visual iteration of them tells its own story. I always like to say, the style of a typographic message should by itself communicate its content, even if you cannot the read the language in which it is written.

Q. You combine the sounds each animal makes to come up with the shape of the animal. You’re dealing with design and human senses on so many levels in this book. How challenging a project was this?
The designs weren't as challenging as you might think as that is what I do on a daily basis: use type and image and juxtapose them or even combine them conceptually and physically to create a synthesis of image and meaning. What WAS and continues to be challenging is coming up with which animals to feature and deciding what their sounds are! Not every animal makes a sound and if it does, it is not necessarily easy to transliterate that sound into human speech and then into letters that can be readily agreed upon. In fact, some of the animals in the book "go" instead of "say," meaning their sounds comes from their body like the rabbit thumping (its foot) or the squirrel chomping (on an acorn) whereas the others "say" things with their voices. Interesting anecdote, some animals had to be changed in the editing review process to conform the spelling of their sounds to traditionally agreed-upon spellings in English of what their sounds are. For example, I originally had the horse NAAYing phonetically. I then agreed to change it to say NEIGH based on historical precedents in children's literature. In the case of animalopoeia, this meant not just changing the copy but redrawing the corresponding animal itself from scratch. Luckily my editor, the designers at Chronicle, and I all were happier with the new horse. The "I" supplied a nice white blaze and the "H" became a tasty piece of hay. We also modified the hummingbird and rabbit due to changes in spelling. This resulted in the hummingbird gaining a flower and the rabbit losing a set of whiskers!

Q. Did some of the animals come more easily than others?
Definitely. The dog was the very first animal I came up with as anybody who knows me personally knows how much I love (read: am obsessed) with dogs, especially my own dog Clooney, who for the record—since this is an interview—is the cutest and best dog in the world. The cat was next and he/she (I haven't assigned it a gender) was very easy, perhaps the easiest. Cats say meow and "M" is a perfect set of ears, "E" and "O" are nice, round, eye-like characters, and what better letter for feline jowls than a "W"? The cow was likewise fairly easy and quick to come to life. The most challenging from a design standpoint were probably the chick, the rabbit, and the turkey. And in case anyone was wondering, the frog is my personal favorite illustration, just because I like the range of fonts used.

Q. This isn’t your typical picture book - what was your journey to publication with CAT SAYS MEOW?
Thank you, Elizabeth. A lot of reviewers have in fact called it unique-and I think they mean it as a compliment! I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I am neither a writer nor a traditional illustrator. As a Graphic Designer I naturally come to this with a different perspective and approach I suppose. animalopoeia (lower case intentional) started as just a cat and dog from which I had planned to create a small line of letterpress cards that I had planned to market by myself. After drawing the cat, the cow came to me fairly quickly and once I had expanded beyond pets to then farm animals, it was fun to see how many I could do. I quickly had 6, then 12, after a while 18, and by the end of about three months, a nice round number of 24. At that point I realized that both the number of animals and the format (Cat says meow, Dog says woof...) easily lent themselves to a familiar children's book format. I figured I had nothing to lose by putting together a prototype using an online book printing and binding service, and mailing it off to Chronicle Books along with a brand presentation, something I also do routinely in my 'day job.' I only sent it to one publisher, Chronicle Books (and told them such in my cover letter), as not only have they been my favorite publisher for years but I thought they would be the right ones to publish it if anybody were to. Luckily they agreed! I fully realize how truly lucky and unusual my story is (first book idea, first proposal sent, only one publisher submission) and live every day in gratitude and a bit of residual disbelief!

Q. Graphic design covers so much in our world - why did you concentrate on a picture book?
Yes! Graphic Design is EVERYWHERE in our world and the kids of today are more visually savvy than ever due to exposure to well-designed, smart visual interfaces from companies such as Apple Computers, apps, websites, etc. Why did I concentrate on a picture book? In a way it naturally evolved from the greeting card idea, but truth be told, deep down inside I suppose I always wanted to be an illustrator and in the end do a children's book as it is such an ideal project! The soul's desires have a way of rising to the surface! With picture books I get to be (actually am probably required to be!) fun, imaginative, simple, creative, different. Best of all children's book creators get to create a piece of someone's childhood and even learning experience. Librarians and teachers (our unsung heroes in my opinion) have been without doubt the biggest supporters of "Cat Says Meow and other animalopoeia" for its educational aspects. At first that surprised me (after all, I have no formal experience in childhood education) but on further thought, I realized that educators and designers have actually the same mission at the end of the day. To communicate information in a way that is simple, clear, interesting, and ultimately... memorable. When viewed that way, it starts to make sense that a graphic designer could, would and maybe even should do a children's book. Actually, there is long tradition of graphic designers who have done children's books from Saul Bass to Paul Rand to Bruno Mari so I am in illustrious company and honored and humbled to be so.

Q. Have you caught the bug? Will we see more fun works like this from you?
The bug has caught me and swallowed me whole! It is a dream from which I hope to never awake! Yes, with any luck you will see more. I already have more in the animalopoeia series in various stages of design and proposal and several more books, most of them—but not all—for children. Ideally any book I might do would be enjoyed by people of all ages as many reviewers are saying "Cat Says Meow" is. The common threads I aim to incorporate in future books are my love of design, animals, language, philosophy and desire to create something different, meaningful, and educational. The work that excites me most and that I admire from others is potent in concept and content but clean, clear, and minimal in its execution.
      Thanks for the interview, Elizabeth. This was fun! That's all for meow...

CLICK HERE to follow Michael on Facebook.

Chronicle (with Michael) has kindly agreed to give away one free, signed copy of CAT SAYS MEOW to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US/Canada to win - enter below.

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5. #NoiseforNess Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness Giveaway

It’s no surprise I’m a huge Patrick Ness fan. In the past I’ve written about how inspiring his work is as well as the time when I was actually able to meet him in person. I’ve also reviewed quite a few of his books:

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Ask and the Answer
Monsters of Men
A Monster Calls

I’ve also interviewed the narrator for the audiobooks, Nick Podehl, whom is a personal favorite of mine. The way that Nick narrates The Knife of Never Letting Go will turn any non-audiobook fan into a audiobook listener for life. He’s brilliant!

Chaos Walking paperback

So when the publisher, Candlewick Press, reached out to me to offer a giveaway featuring the newly designed paperback covers for The Chaos Walking series I couldn’t resist. Not only do I love the redesign, but it also reminds me a bit of the UK edition that I love. Also, they’ve added additional content to each book! Each paperback includes a short story that was only previously available in eBook format. Candlewick has really done an excellent job with this new edition and I’m thrilled to have a full set to giveaway to one There’s A Book reader!


Thanks to the wonderful people at Candlewick Press I have ONE FULL SET of this new edition of The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness which also includes a bonus short story within each book! Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US and Canadian residents only.


Find the new paperback edition of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN10/ISBN13: 0763676187 / 9780763676186

Thank you so much to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter, Google+ and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Original article: #NoiseforNess Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness Giveaway

©2014 There's A Book. All Rights Reserved.

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6. Coloring Page Tuesday - Gone Fishin!

     It's starting to get to the dog days of summer. Have you grabbed some check out time? Maybe bring your copy of Huckleberry Finn along.
     CLICK HERE for more 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!**

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7. Happy Book Birthday to Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard!

Happy Hour


Susan Dennard

StrangeandEver jkt hi-res

We’re celebrating over here at Pub Crawl. It’s not every day one of our members completes a trilogy, and today, Susan Dennard’s Strange and Ever After, the final installment in the Something Strange and Deadly series, hits shelves!

I (Erin) have loved this series since I got my hands on book one ages ago, but I have to admit: Strange and Ever After tops them all. Susan brings Egypt to life with ease (how is she so skilled at setting?!), but the journey Eleanor and Co. have to make is not easy at all. Packed with action and surprises, SaEA had me frantically turning the pages until the very end. And speaking of endings… this is one of the most pitch-perfect trilogy conclusions I’ve read. Bittersweet and moving. The last few lines (heck, most of the last chapter) was downright magical.

Oh, and if you’re an existing fan of the series, don’t miss the Something Strange and Deadly series recap Epic Reads has on their blog, complete with top 5 moments from each book. You should also sign up for Susan’s newsletter. Like, right now. Not only is it inspiring and packed with helpful writing information, but it sometimes includes bonus scenes from her novels!

Anywhoo, if all my gushing hasn’t sold you yet, here’s the official synopsis for Strange and Ever After:

In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus…all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

Goosebumps, right?

In honor of Susan’s release day, I’m giving away one copy of Strange and Ever After (hardcover if the winner lives in the US; e-book if the winner lives internationally)! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and be sure to wish Susan a happy release day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats again, Sooz! I’m so darn happy for you and proud of you and thrilled to see your series conclude with such an explosive bang. You’ve created a world readers are going to want to revisit many times over! <3

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8. Quarantine: The Burnouts: Book 3, by Lex Thomas | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Quarantine: The Burnouts: Book 3, by Lex Thomas. Giveaway begins July 22, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 21, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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9. THE SOUND OF LETTING GO {Blog Tour & Giveaway}

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10. ZERO TOLERANCE by Claudia Mills - Guest Post and Giveaway!

I am thrilled to introduce my new friend and fellow Hollins Professor, Claudia Mills. We walk every morning here, so I can attest to what a big heart and inspiring spirit she has. Claudia stopped by to tell us about her novel, Zero Tolerance. Take it away Claudia!...

      I don’t usually draw my books from events that happen out in the world. They are typically sparked from things that happened in my own life as a child, or experiences of my two sons as they were growing up. But Zero Tolerance did begin with an actual news story.
      Several years ago a middle school near my home in Boulder, Colorado, expelled a student for bringing a knife to school by mistake in her mother’s lunch. I don’t remember any particular details, although the incident triggered a media frenzy. I do remember thinking at the time: what would it be like to be that girl? It wasn’t the unfairness of zero tolerance policies that struck me so much as the human dimension of the story, how an honor student might find her identity unsettled and her world view undermined in the aftermath.
      So Zero Tolerance opens when “good girl” Sierra Shepard, honor roll student and member of her middle school’s Leadership Club, dismissive of the “bad kids” who are always doing time in the principal’s office, realizes that she has brought her mother’s lunch to school by mistake: a lunch that has a knife in it for cutting her mother’s apple. Rule follower that she is, Sierra turns in the knife instantly to the lunch lady. But her world turns upside down as she is now facing mandatory expulsion under her school’s zero tolerance policies for drugs and weapons.
     Sierra’s principal deeply regrets what’s happening, but is trapped by his own rhetoric: “zero tolerance” means no excuses, no exceptions, ever for anyone. Her attorney father is furious, bent on defending his daughter at any cost, even – or especially – if it means destroying the principal in the process. Her free-spirit mother wants to enroll Sierra in an alternative school for the arts, occasioning marital discord with her husband, who insists that such schools are “strictly for fruits and nuts.” Sierra’s crush, Colin, organizes a petition drive on her behalf: but is he doing it because he likes her or just because he believes it’s the right thing to do? And, of course, I had to create the character of “bad boy” Luke, who shares in-school suspension with Sierra as the date for her fateful hearing draws near.
      Writing Zero Tolerance was one of my greatest challenges as an author. Generally when I write a book, I know what has to happen to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion, and readers are going to know that, too, and read on with that expectation. So, if I’m writing Annika Riz, Math Whiz, I know that the story has to end with Annika finding some way to show her math-disdaining friends that math is worth caring about. If I’m writing Kelsey Green, Reading Queen, I know that the story has to end with Kelsey learning how to balance her competitive drive to win a school-wide reading contest with her reasons for loving reading in the first place.
      With Zero Tolerance, I truly didn’t know what was going to happen as I wrote. Would Sierra really be expelled? If she was allowed to stay at Longwood Middle School, would she even want to stay? I could hardly wait to sit down with my pen and pad of paper every day to find out what was going to happen next.
      I also struggled to find the philosophical core of Sierra’s story. I spent over twenty years as a philosophy professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, teaching courses on ethical theory and applied ethics. I’ve always been drawn to ethically rich subject matter in my books. But I don’t want to write about an ethical issue where it’s too easy to tell right from wrong. I like to write about hard ethical questions that lack any simplistic resolution.
      In Zero Tolerance, it would have been easy to mount an attack on the mindlessly rigid, needlessly harsh zero tolerance policies that have become all too common in schools today. When I give talks about the book to teachers and librarians, many of them share stories of children suspended for having allergy medication in a backpack after a weekend sleepover or for displaying a toy cannon in a Civil War diorama. But I was more interested in the harder ethical questions. Given that such policies are misguided and unfair, how do we respond? How do we fight morally problematic policies without developing an equally problematic crusading zeal that ignores real human costs and consequences? Caught between two titans, her father and her principal, each bent on advancing his own moral agenda, in the end Sierra has to redefine her own identity and decide what kind of person she wants to be.

Here's Claudia in her favorite writing spot at Hollins University...

Claudia has generously agreed to send a free, signed and dedicated copy of ZERO TOLERANCE to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

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11. If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal, by Carole P. Roman | Book Series Giveaway

Enter to win a full autographed set of the If You Were Me series, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman; including the newest addition If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal: An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures! Giveaway begins July 18, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 17, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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12. TWO PARROTS by Rashin - Interview and Giveaway!

There’s been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity in children’s books. Perhaps that’s why TWO PARROTS by Rashin has garnered so much attention. Or perhaps it’s simply because it’s wonderful! I’m happy to have Rashin here to today to talk about her debut US title…

Q. Rashin - You’re in Washington, DC now, but you come via a circuitous route - can you share your background?
I have been working as an illustrator and animator for 14 years now. I studied art at Azadegan Art School when I was in Iran and then I graduated with a masters degree in graphic design from Alzahra Art University of Tehran, Iran in 2009. I started my career as an illustrator with childrens magazines in Iran and then gradually I got involved more in book publishing for children in Iran and abroad. I love my job and I enjoy working for kids.

Q. TWO PARROTS is inspired by a Tale from Rumi, which I’m not familiar with. Can you tell us more?
Rumi was a famous persian poet who lived in 13th century. Ha wrote a lot of great stories for kids, which I grew up with. I wrote TWO PARROTS based on one of his poems. I wanted to write something that showed how freedom and friendship are essential to live happily for every single creature. I hope kids can get my message after reading the book.

Q. I love the big round shape of your main character and the rich colors. What is your method?
I used oil color to paint the images of the book, I also used handmade textured paper, which I got from my last trip in India. When you draw for a fiction story you can always do whatever comes to your mind, in my imagination the main character was a very big guy with a long, funny mustache, who is so kind at the same time and really loves his bird. Exaggerating some part of the body always makes it funnier.

Q. You have over 80 titles internationally. How did you come to do children’s books?
Well, I was very active in the art world, especially in the children's book and animation field both in Iran and Europe. I attended different international festivals, book fairs, exhibitions and conferences about book designing around the world. I won many awards, and that helped introduce my artwork to the foreign publishers.

Q. It seems like here in the US, we should have discovered you a long time ago. I’m just glad we finally have. How has your American debut been?
I have had a great experience working with NorthSouth Books. They believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start my career in the United States. I attended Book Expo America 2014 in New York to sign my books for the audience, which was so much fun. I had the chance to meet people and get their feedback about my book in person. I am also visiting different bookstores and libaries in the Washington, DC area and I will be signing at ALA at the end of June.

Q. Your next book, THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY comes out in September. It sounds like you’re on a roll! Can we expect more in the future?
Yes, I am going to work on three famous stories from "1001 Nights" next. These books will be full of adventures and it is very interesting to read. I can't wait to start this book project and I hope children enjoy it.

Q. You have a unique perspective. Do you have any last thoughts you’d like to share with us on diversity in children’s books?
Picture books are the first art gallery show for young readers, we should try to create books that help to improve their imagination and show diversity all around the world, whether that is through the style or the story.

Thanks so much for dropping by and I wish you much continued success!!!

NorthSouth and Rashin have arranged to get a signed copy of TWO PARROTS to two of my lucky followers - woosie!!! Must live in the US/Canada to win - enter below.

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13. Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway

The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. We are happy to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this award with some great blog posts and a giveaway!

For our post, we're featuring an activity for this year's winning picture book, A Splash of Red.

For more information about the Schneider Family Book Award: webpage | list of winners

Check out all of the links of the Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway:

July 6, 2014 Nerdy Book Club

July 6, 2014 Kid Lit Frenzy

July 7, 2014 Nonfiction Detectives

July 9, 2014 Teach Mentor Texts

July 10, 2014 There’s a Book For That

July 11, 2014 Kathie Comments

July 12, 2014 Disability in Kidlit

July 14, 2014 Librarian in Cute Shoes

July 15, 2014 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog

July 16, 2014 Read, Write, and Reflect

July 17, 2014 Read Now Sleep Later

July 18, 2014 Unleashing Readers

July 19, 2014 Great Kid Books

July 20, 2014 Maria’s Mélange

A Splash of Red: The Life & Art of Horace Pippin
Written by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

About the book

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. 

Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm, and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint--and paint, and paint! Soon, people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries & museums across the country.

About the activity

I love to paint, and I love Horace Pippin's art. People will give you all kinds of excuses for how they are "bad" at art. Not Horace Pippin. If you read the book, you'll learn that not only did he make beautiful artwork despite injury to his dominant arm, he also made art without being able to afford fancy materials and supplies. I based this activity on both of those things. 

  • Some paint and a palette (or other mark-making media)
  • A brush or brushes
  • A container of water
  • Paper or cardboard (or other surface that will accept your media)
  • A subject -- something you want to paint

For my project, I just picked supplies that I already have at home. I do actually have real watercolors and watercolor paper, but you can use any paints and painting surfaces you want. You don't even have to use paint, if you have pencils, pens, crayons, or other mark-making media. You also don't need special equipment--Horace Pippin didn't! As you can see, my palette was a paper plate. My container used to hold spaghetti sauce, but it's now filled with clean water. My brush is no big deal -- it's a well-worn watercolor brush*. You can use your fingers, or paper towels, or bits of sponges. Just make sure to clean up after yourself!

*If you are using a brush, make sure you take it out of the water right after you rinse it. Soaking it and leaving it standing in a jar of water will only damage the bristles! Rest your brush on the palette/paper plate/paper towel so the bristles don't get bent or pulled out.

Choose a subject:

For my subject, I picked some leaves and flowers from the garden. Make sure it's ok with your parent or whoever owns the subject matter you are taking! I also had this little wooden frog, though I ended up not adding it to the final composition. Oh, and my cats are in all of these photos, because they added an extra layer of difficulty to the project. I haven't painted them (yet). You might have some fruit, or a pair of shoes, or something else that interests you. Horace Pippin painted everyday things and sometimes things he imagined, too. So if you can't find any physical objects you want to paint, that's ok! Just dream something up.

Choose sides:

This is how I would normally set everything up, because I am left-handed. But for the purposes of this exercise, we are going to paint with our off-hands. Yes! Horace used his good hand to support his other hand, but especially if you have two good arms, it's actually quite difficult to stop your dominant hand from functioning normally. In this exercise, you switch hands, and you can use your dominant hand to stabilize your off-hand.


Here I am, trying to draw the stem and leaves of this jasmine sprig with my right hand. There is also a zinnia blossom, and of course, my assistant, John Carter. As you can see, I didn't have a lot of control over the shapes I was making, but I made them anyway. Watercolor is pretty forgiving like that. I was very tempted to switch to my dominant hand, but I managed to remember not to hand over the brush whenever I reached for it with my left hand.

Here is my finished practice painting. As you can see, using my right hand I couldn't really control my movements. That frog, for example, looks nothing like the real thing! It looks more like a rock. The point of the practice is to experiment. I tried different ways of holding and moving the brush, different ways of mixing the paint, all without using my dominant hand. The other point of this practice is to help you let go of your expectations that your artwork will be perfect.


For this exercise, you want to

  • use your non-dominant hand
  • express yourself
  • have fun

Don't worry about making your painting perfect or for how much you will sell your masterpiece--Horace Pippin's first paintings were priced at $5 and no one really wanted to buy them.

Go for it!

Here, I tried to make the zinnia petals by bouncing the rush rapidly off the paper.

It's ok if your paint spatters.

It's also ok if your cat tries to grab your paintbrush and makes you paint a big swoosh where you were trying to just paint a leaf or stem.

I tried to give my off-hand more control by stabilizing it with my other hand. It didn't really help.

Here is my finished painting. I showed a lot more than what I actually had in front of me. And there were quite a few abstract shapes as a result of the cats "helping" me paint.

Switch back:

I also tried painting with my dominant hand afterwards. What do you think? I like the off-hand one better, don't you?

I hope this off-hand painting exercise will give you more ideas about what disability means, and what it doesn't mean. What if you could only paint with your foot, or with the paintbrush in your mouth? Could you still express yourself creatively? Can you create something meaningful or beautiful? What other means could you use instead of painting?

- - -

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award, we are providing readers with an opportunity to win a set of all three 2014 Schneider Family Book Award Winners. Participants must be 13 years or older and have a US or Canadian mailing address.

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

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14. Worldwide giveaway of two translated Children’s Classics!

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m passionate about children’s books in translation, and so today I’m especially glad to have the opportunity to give one lucky reader copies of 2 translated books I believe are exceptional: I have a worldwide giveaway of The Cat who Came in off the Roof by Annie M. G. Schmidt, translated by David Colmer and The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt, translated by Laura Watkinson.


These are two of my family’s very favourite books: they’re so good we’ve read them multiple times in both their original Dutch, and in translation!

I summarised what I think of both books yesterday in this post – but basically, these are outstanding books in any language, and both have received rave reviews here in the UK, as well as back home in the Netherlands.

The nitty gritty

  • This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE.
  • 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 exceptional children’s novels great for sharing as a family over on @playbythebook’s blog http://www.playingbythebook.net/?p=30158

    (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 two weeks, and closes on Wednesday 30th July 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 (please note this if you are likely to be on holiday the first week of August).
  • Best of luck and happy reading!

    3 Comments on Worldwide giveaway of two translated Children’s Classics!, last added: 7/15/2014
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    15. Coloring Page Tuesday - Reading Fairy #4!

         You know I love my reading fairies - I hope you do too!! Here's another one for you...
         CLICK HERE for more 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!**

    0 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - Reading Fairy #4! as of 7/15/2014 9:31:00 AM
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    16. The Mortal Instruments T-Shirt Giveaway (US - Ends 7/31)

    Hi, everyone. I am back with another random giveaway. It's part of my quest to give away all of the great prizes I've been hoarding for you guys. I think I just have one more t-shirt giveaway and then it's on to books. Today I am giving away a new Mortal Instruments t-shirt. I got this at Comic-Con last year and it's a promo tie-in for the film. It's a women's size XL.  It's kind of in that baby doll style so it's sized pretty small. But it's an XL and I think it should fit a good range of sizes. This giveaway is for US residents only and ends on July 31, 2014. Good luck!

    Giveaway Rules:
    1. Open to US residents only.
    2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. 
    3. One set of entries per household please. 
    4. 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. 
    5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
    6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
    7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
    8. 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. Thanks!

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    17. Interview with Robin Bridges, author of The Gathering Storm

    Happy Hour banner


    Susan Dennard, featuring Robin Bridges

    I’m so excited to have Robin Bridges on Pub(lishing) Crawl today! If y’all don’t know her (or her Katerina Trilogy), then you’re in for a treat.

    First of all, she has the most beautiful covers.

    The Gathering Storm The Unfailing Light The Morning Star

    Second of all, she has the COOLEST book trailer of all time. Seriously, watch this.

    Third of all, her books are awesome. Just read this summary of The Gathering Storm and tell me you’re not hooked:

    St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

    An evil presence is growing within Europe’s royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina’s strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar’s standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina’s help to safeguard Russia, even if he’s repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

    The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

    But enough about Robin’s books–let’s find out more about the author behind them.

    Robin Bridges1.  Can you tell us how the idea for The Gathering Storm came about?  And why did you choose 1888 St. Petersburg (which I ADORED)?

    I love Russian history, and have always loved Russian fairytales like Vasilisa the Brave and the stories of Baba Yaga. I do hate the Romanov family’s tragic ending, however, so I prefer to read about the earlier generations of the Imperial family.  Alexander III’s family was my favorite. Nicholas and his siblings were teens during the late 1880’s- early 1890’s. Princess Elena of Montenegro really did attend the Smolni Institute and truly opened the Smolni Ball by dancing with Nicholas in the fall of 1888.

    Russia of the late nineteenth century, especially St. Petersburg, was steeped in superstition and mysticism and interest in the occult.  The Montenegrin princesses, Anastasia and Militza, were known as the Black Peril and they fascinated me with their séances. Papus, the French occultist, was one of their known companions. It was not hard for me to imagine a St. Petersburg where the magic was real.

    2. Wow, the Black Peril. That is just so cool. Now, can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? I’m sure our readers our curious.

    The Gathering Storm was the fourth novel I’d ever written, (not including the 118 page murder mystery I wrote on notebook paper in seventh grade.) The first novel taught me how to craft a novel, the second one taught me how to find an agent, and the third one taught me how to write just for fun. The Gathering Storm taught me the importance of persistence (and revision).

    3. Patience and persistence paid off! I love hearing such inspirational stories! Now, as I mentioned already, you have some of my FAVORITE covers out there not to mention the most amazing trailer around. Did you have any say in those creations?

    I was blessed to have Trish Parcell at Delacorte design all three covers for the Katerina Trilogy.  Katerina is played by a Ukranian model (I wish I knew her name!) and the dress she wears on the cover of The Unfailing Light is actually a dress that was worn by Empress Alexandra. I had no real hand in the process, other than crossing my fingers and being flabbergasted at how beautiful the covers turned out to be. :)

    4. WHAT? Worn by Empress Alexandra?! I literally have no words. Okay, last question: Make us a story cocktail. What ingredients do you think makes the perfect tale?

    Mmm, I like spicy and sweet foods, and the books I enjoy reading have a similar balance.  Half romance, half danger?  Sprinkle in lots of smooching and lots of scares, too.  Add a teaspoon of dark humor and one swoony male character.  Or two…

    Yessss! I love it!! Bring on the smooching and the scares! Thank you so much for stopping by, Robin!

    To celebrate her visit, we have a giveaway for The Gathering Storm. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to be entered!
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    By day, Robin is a mild-mannered writer of fantasy and paranormal fiction for young adults. By night, she is a pediatric nurse. Robin lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband, one teenager, and two slobbery mastiffs. The Gathering Storm is her first novel.

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    18. SILENT STARSONG {Giveaway & Excerpt Video}

    Eleven-year-old Kyra is meant to continue the Starbard's proud family legacy of interpreting the future from the stars' songs. Her deafness, incurable by the best medics, breaks her mother's heart and pushes her father to explore anything to help his little girl--including the expensive purchase of a telepathic alien servant to help Kyra communicate on a planet inhospitable to unfixable genetic defects. Marne's telepathy is too weak for his Naratsset culture, so he is sold into slavery and expects to die at the hands of human owners--until he meets a human child who begs her father to "save" him. Her kindness introduces Marne to a new world--one where he would risk his life to save a human from her own people's abuse and the stars' songs can touch even a deaf girl and a defective telepath.

    When an intergalactic terrorist organization kills Kyra's father, driving her mother to madness, Kyra and Marne only have each others' friendship--until even that is threatened by the danger surrounding the Starbard heritage. But can the two friends, not good enough for either of their cultures or families, manage to keep each other safe when several different worlds threaten their lives?



    July 14th
    Platypire Reviews (http://platypire.com) | Review
    Reading Tween (Http://readingtween.blogspot.com/) | Excerpt
    July 15th
    I Feel the Need, the Need to Read (http://ifeeltheneedtheneedtoread.com/) | Review
    Coffee, Books, & Art (http://sarityahalomi.blogspot.com/) | Book Highlight & Giveaway
    July 16th
    Deal Sharing Aunt (http://www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com) | Review
    A Leisure Moment (www.aleisuremoment.com) | Book Highlight & giveaway
    July 17th
    Book Lovers Life (http://bookloverslife.blogspot.ie/) | Top Ten Post
    The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia (http://hauntedorchid.blogspot.com) | Review
    July 18th
    Tanyas Book Nook (http://tanyasbooknook.blogspot.com) | Review
    Books are Love (http://hello-booklover.tumblr.com) | Teaser


    T. J. Wooldridge is a professional writing geek who adores research into myth, folklore, legend, and the English language. Before delving full-time into wordsmithing, she has been a tutor, a teacher, an educational course designer, a video game proofreader, a financial customer service representative, a wine salesperson, a food reviewer, an editing consultant, a retail sales manager, and a nanny. While infrequent, there are times she does occasionally not research, write, or help others write. During those rare moments, she enjoys the following activities: spending time with her Husband-of-Awesome, a silly tabby cat, and two Giant Baby Bunnies in their Massachusetts home hidden in a pocket of woods in the middle of suburbia, reading, riding her horse in the nearby country stables and trails (not very well), reading Tarot (very well), drawing (also not very well), making jewelry (pretty well), making lists, and adding parenthetical commentary during random conversations. She also enjoys dressing up as fey creatures, zombies, or other such nonsense at science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions.

    Trisha’s SHP Middle Grade Books: The Kelpie, Silent Starsong

    Visit Trisha online: Website, Facebook, Twitter: @novelfriend

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    0 Comments on SILENT STARSONG {Giveaway & Excerpt Video} as of 7/14/2014 1:07:00 AM
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    19. Coloring Page Tuesday

         Do you know about Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders? It was the 1st United States Cavalry and somewhere back in my family history, I'm related to one of them. I might have to do a story about that one of these days!
         CLICK HERE for more 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!**

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    20. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia | Book Giveaway

    Enter to win a copy of The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming. Giveaway begins July 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 8, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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    21. Guest Post: The Best Advice I’ve Gotten From Other Writers

    Writing Life Banner


    Ben H. Winters

    Note from Sooz: I am so excited to share this post from critically acclaimed Ben H. Winters, author of seven novels, including Countdown City (an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award). He has a great post for you today, in honor of his upcoming release, the third book in the Last Policement series: World of Trouble.

    Plus, Ben is running a VERY cool ‘reverse blog tour’ on his personal site, with guests like Ransom Riggs and Hugh Howey. They’re posting tips, doing interviews, and more! And, you can check out Ben’s own blog tour for World of Trouble here.

    Now take it away, Ben! (And don’t miss the giveaway at the end!)

    Ben Winters

    From Vonnegut: Start the Story

    The legendary Kurt Vonnegut came to Washington University in St. Louis in May of my senior year, and I got to interview him for the school paper. Two things he said stuck with me. The first was that the internet was just a fad, and he was wrong about that, although sometimes I wish he hadn’t been.

    The other thing he said was, when you’re done with your first draft, take the first 30 pages and throw them away. Like a lot of great writerly advice it was hyperbolic (see also Elmore Leonard’s much-quoted and rarely obeyed “rules”), but built around a gem of pure truth: we writers, especially novelists, have a tendency to start slow, to clear our throats, to give all the background at the beginning—which is exactly where it <span “>doesn’t belong, if indeed it belongs anywhere. Start with the story in motion , is what Vonnegut was saying, and let the reader run to catch up.

    I live in Indianapolis now, where Vonnegut is a hometown hero, and where a mural of him towers over hip Massachusetts Avenue. Every time I walk past I thank him for teaching me how to to start my books.

    From Terkel: Don’t be a fancy-pants writer jerk

    As a young journalist working at a free weekly in Chicago, I got to interview Studs Terkel, at his house. Studs told me that one of his tricks to gaining the confidence of the ordinary people he chronicled so vividly in his oral histories was to pretend that his tape recorder was broken. Then he would fuss with it for a while, cursing and mopping his brow, letting them see that he wasn’t some egghead, but just an average fella, like them. Then they’d be comfortable and open up.

    In the innumerable interviews I have done since, both as a journalist and now as a novelist, when I’m interviewing cops and astronomers and pathologists and insurance salesmen—and please, for the love of God, if you’re writing a book, hang out with actual humans with relevant experiences, and let them inform the truth of your text—I have done some version of this maneuver over and over. By doing something foolish and klutzy—drop my phone, borrow a pen, forget my questions—I enter into a sort of conversational intimacy with my subject, which is the kind of place that real deep truth comes out of.

    And unlike Studs Terkel, I am a total klutz, and I always do forget to bring a pen, so I rarely have to pretend.

    From William Penn: Get to Work

    This one is kind of a cheat, because the founder of Pennsylvania died three centuries ago, and I just got this quote from a magazine article or something. But it’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, as a writer and as a human being: Time is what we want most, and use worst.

    Because here’s what we writers always do—we complain about not having enough time to write. When will I get to write? Oh, man, I have no time to write. If only I had time to write!

    And then when we do have time, when that magical hour or two hours appears, when a plan-free Saturday miraculously turns up on the calendar, what do we do? We waste all that time. Check email, check Facebook, clean the house, read the newspaper, check email again, and then it’s Oh, God, where did all the time go! If only I had time to write!

    Take it from someone who wrote a whole series about civilization’s impending destruction: time is a precious resource. Embrace Penn’s dictum; train your mind (and you can train it) to get to work, even when it’s hard, even when you don’t feel like. There is no other way to be a writer.

    World of TroubleWow. I can’t believe Ben met Kurt Vonnegut. Also, Vonnegut’s advice is perfectly timed for me right now (I just spent >1 month “clearing my throat” with a new beginning). Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this, Ben!

    Now, for our dear Pub Crawl readers, there’s an awesome World of Trouble pre-order campaign going on here. Basically, if you pre-order you get all sorts of cool extras. AND, of course, we’re doing a giveaway for all 3 books in the Last Policemen series right here on Pub(lishing) Crawl! WOOHOO! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered to win!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Ben H. Winters is the author of seven novels, including most recently Countdown City (Quirk), an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award. Ben grew up in suburban Maryland, went to college at Washington University in St. Louis, and has subsequently lived in six different cities—seven if you count Brooklyn twice for two different times. Presently he lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife Diana, a law professor, and their three children.

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    22. A Very Pretty ARCssss Giveaway

    With the combination of BEA and Book Hauls, I've ended up with some duplicates of some pretty awesome books. What ever should I do with them? Hmm....I think I'll do a giveaway.  Then the winner can pick 3 (or 4 if they're really persistent),  then I'll do another giveaway with the remainders.  Sound good?  It's got to stay US only unless you want to pay shipping, since it'll be heavier.

    0 Comments on A Very Pretty ARCssss Giveaway as of 7/10/2014 1:55:00 AM
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    23. PLANET KINDERGARTEN - interview and giveaway with both the author and illustrator!

    What kid (or parent) isn’t terrified by the first day of kindergarten? I adore the approach in PLANET KINDERGARTEN written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shane Prigmore. They turn the entire affair into an interstellar space odyssey - which is much easier to handle. Don't you think? They both stopped by to answer some questions!

    Q. Sue - I have to know how the idea for this story came to you. Are you all astronauts at your house?
    A. No, so far I am the only one with astronaut aspirations. My daughters are more inclined to run off and join the circus – they defy gravity by climbing silks and hanging upside down Cirque Du Soleil style, and my husband Martin is in a whole different space – the automotive space. He founded a company called newcars.com – once we build cars that can travel to space then he might take more of an interest.
          The inspiration for this story goes back to my kindergarten year when NASA was busy launching Apollo rockets. NASA launched Apollo 7, 8, 9, and 10 when I was five years old. Then, they landed Apollo 11 on the moon just after kindergarten ended in July of 1969. There was so much excitement in America at that time for our space program and it has certainly infused my life with excitement over space missions. There was a time when I was deciding between growing up to be a ballerina or an astronaut. I gave up early on ballerina, but I still have high hopes for astronaut. Virgin Gallactic is touting 2014 as the year for space tourism. SpaceX has just released their new Dragon V2 and is readying for space tourism as well in the next couple of years. Kids who are reading Planet Kindergarten today may very well take their first trip into space by college. Planet College…that just might be a sequel.

    Q. Sue - The visuals are often very different from the images. So many writers wonder about adding illustration notes. What did you do with this manuscript?
    A. I had only one illustration note in the manuscript and that was about splashdown being a bathtub scene as I felt the rest of the text would lead to clear visuals. When I write, the scenes are clear and strong in my mind – as if I am watching the story as a TV show. But I can’t really see what the characters look like. It is so much fun to see what an illustrator comes up with when he/she reads my words.

    Q. Sue - You quote NASA in the book - “Failure is not an option.” Why do I get the feeling that has to do with more than kindergarten to you?
    A. After I wrote Planet Kindergarten, I set it aside for many moons while working on other projects. Then I visited NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with my family. That visit reignited my passion about space, astronauts, and the awe of rocket launches. We saw a rocket in the bay getting ready for a trip to space, and a launch control center that had the famed quote “Failure is not option.” When I got home I pulled out the (yet unnamed) Planet Kindergarten manuscript and added that line. I felt that it applied not only to NASA missions, but also to any child’s kindergarten journey.

    Q. Shane - Your bold, colorful images are so perfect for this story! But it looks like it was a complicated manuscript to work with - yes? How did you break up the text and get your head around how to handle it?

    Q. Shane - I love the intro of preparation before we even get to the title page. The book’s structure is a little unorthodox as a result (but FUN!). Did you come up with that, or did that take collaboration?

    Q. Shane - What is your method!? (And can you share a photo of your studio?)

    Q. Shane - I love how you make the other students look like aliens. Did that take a long time to nail, or did it come easily?

    Q. Shane - The overall layout and design of the book is really stunning. What is your background?

    Q. Shane - I hear you hid some groovy space-things in the book - like Mom is actually doing a Vulcan wave good-bye (Live long and prosper). What else did you hide?

    Q. Sue - What was your reaction when you saw how Shane had interpreted your text. Was it anything like what you expected?
    A. It was even better than expected. Again, I hadn’t imagined what the characters would look like. I still giggle when I look at them. The hero’s NASA eyebrows are simply brilliant, as are the scenes with the aliens from many planets, splashdown, and the shadowy parents. Oh, and the space lunch – fantastic! I imagined Shane’s illustrations would have great appeal to kids – as an award winning Dreamworks animator, I should have known that he would also be able to captivate the adults with his illustrations.

    Q. Both of you: Have you actually met or will you? And how have you celebrated the book’s release? (Please share the kudos it’s getting!)
    A. Sue: We were selected to attend and sign books at the Southern California Independent Booksellers dinner in April shortly before the release. It was so great to finally meet Shane and learn that he is as kind as he is talented. The weekend of the release we had our first book signing at a bookstore and set up a balloon rocket launches for the kids.
          Planet Kindergarten launched a few weeks ago but has already been chosen as:
          Amazon Kids Best of May
          Amazon Editor’s Pick for Summer Reading (kids books)
          IBooks Spring’s Biggest Books (kids books)
          American Booksellers Association: The Summer 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List

    I even love the dedications in the back. This is such a fun book. Congratulations to you both!

    0 Comments on PLANET KINDERGARTEN - interview and giveaway with both the author and illustrator! as of 7/10/2014 8:15:00 AM
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    24. Julie Mata's KATE WALDEN DIRECTS: NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIE CHICKENS - Guest Post and Giveaway!

    Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens
    Guest Blog Post

    By Julie Mata

          A lot of people have asked how I came up with the idea to write a book about a girl who wants to make movies. It was easy—I just looked at my own daughters! They loved to create little films with their friends when they were young. Kids like messing around with cameras, even if it’s just the one on their phone, so it seemed like a natural fit for my main character, Kate Walden. It also helps that my husband and I own a video production business, so I have some knowledge about writing, shooting and editing.
          Since Kate wants to be a Hollywood director when she grows up, I wanted the plot to focus on a movie she’s trying to make. Our daughters were always dragging our pets into their productions, whether they wanted roles or not! At the time I wrote Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens, we were living on a small acreage and had ten hens—the Ladies, we called them. From a kid’s perspective, chickens are funny creatures—the way they waddle and squawk, and the way they will, ahem, poop in their own food if you let them. So I decided Kate’s mother would raise organic hens and they would be Kate’s stars. And what kid doesn’t want zombies in her movie? So Night of the Zombie Chickens was born.
          In my story, Kate’s best friend abandons her and Kate makes some bad choices as she tries to get back at her. This plotline came from watching our daughters navigate middle school. I saw firsthand that those years can be tough. Kids are not always nice to each other. That’s why I created a character who isn’t always nice, either. She worries about her social standing. She gets in a fight with her friend. She quarrels with her younger brother. Like her peers, Kate is struggling to figure things out. She’s leaving childhood behind but adulthood is still a scary, gray fog on the horizon. It’s no wonder kids clump together in groups for support! And there’s plenty of poking and elbowing going on as they try to find their own place.

          Kate finds her niche by being the girl who loves to make movies. I do think that movie making is a great activity for kids. It’s fun, it’s creative, and it doesn’t involve video games, internet, or TV. On my Instagram, KateWaldenDirects, I post 15-second video filmmaking tips that kids can try in their own productions—everything from making blood to using a skateboard as a camera dolly. I hope that kids, after reading about Kate and her adventures, will check out these tips and then get together with their friends and think up their own creative ways to have fun shooting!

    Disney is kindly offering a free copy of Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US/Canada to win. Enter below!

    0 Comments on Julie Mata's KATE WALDEN DIRECTS: NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIE CHICKENS - Guest Post and Giveaway! as of 7/12/2014 9:19:00 AM
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    25. Prepare for a RUN TO YOU Read-Along & So Many Giveaways!

    That’s right! Starting Monday, July 21 2014, join Harlequin Teen, a whole bunch of fantabulous readers, fans, bloggers, and Author Clara Kensie on her Facebook page for a RUN TO YOU read-along! Here’s the schedule: The read-along is for Book One (FIRST SIGHT, SECOND GLANCE, and THIRD TOUCH). FIRST SIGHT: July 21 – July 27 (Moderated by Margie from Bumbles and Fairy Tales) SECOND GLANCE:

    0 Comments on Prepare for a RUN TO YOU Read-Along & So Many Giveaways! as of 7/13/2014 7:25:00 PM
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