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Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.
Here's what's on my mind today:
Curse of the Granville Fortune Releases Tomorrow! I can't believe tomorrow is the big day! My middle grade fantasy will be available 10/21.
Out of the Ashes on Goodreads You can now add Out of the Ashes, book two in the Birth of the Phoenix Series, on Goodreads.
#IntotheFireChallenge Halloween will be here before you know it, so get your review of Into the Fire up on Amazon to be entered for a chance to become a phoenix in the third book in the Birth of the Phoenix Series. You could also win signed copies of all three books in the series.
Beth Fred's Writing Class My friend Beth Fred is teaching another class through Colorado Romance Writer. It's called The Art of Blurb Writing. Sign up here.
Witches Three Tour I signed at Books-A-Million in Exton, PA last Saturday along with Jennifer Murgia and Molly Cochran. Jen and I will be signing at BAM in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA this Saturday from 1-3pm. Come see us if you're in the area.
I love poets and am lucky to have a few friends who are truly passionate about it. One is Irene Latham and I'm thrilled to help her celebrate her new book of poetry here today as she interviews the illustrator of DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEESTE, Anna Wadham.
When I was a child writing my first books, I always illustrated them as well. To this day, I am a doodler, and a huge appreciator of art – not only was my first novel LEAVING GEE'S BEND inspired by art, but I have written many poems inspired by works of art that hang at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC). So, when my editor at Millbrook Press contacted me to let me know they had selected Anna Wadham to illustrate DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST, I was on her website within seconds. And I was thrilled! I love Anna's work, and I'm so honored to share a book with her. Anna will also be illustrating another book of mine – SUMMER IN ANTARCTICA, coming from Millbrook Press in 2016. From the grasslands to an ice desert... Anna is versatile, too! While Anna and I have never met – she makes her home in Norwich, England – we do keep in touch, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for me to share with all of you. Thanks, Anna! And thanks, Elizabeth, for inviting us to your blog!
IL: What draws you to a manuscript? What makes you say yes? AW: To begin with I try to visualize how the finished book could look in my mind (roughly!) When considering a project it's important to me that my painting style "matches" the writing. With our new Antarctica book project on the horizon I'm imagining lots of painterly effects and stripy icebergs. When I read the manuscript for WILDEBEEST, I knew instantly it was a yes! I've really loved illustrating for poetry- it's not as repetitive as a traditional picture book but still has a sense of place and continuity, starting with morning- through to night in the African grasslands.
IL: Tell us about a challenge you encountered during your work on WILDEBEEST. AW: “Triptych for a Thirsty Giraffe” was the most challenging, a giraffes legs whilst bending down are very hard to fit on the page- especially when considering space for text as well! Also, “Lioness, After the Hunt.” I wanted to make her look ready to pounce- even when asleep. I was also thinking of my cat Charlie. She always hears me enter the room when she's sleeping and has a sneaky look at me! I'm not sure it's totally realistic (or possible?) for a cat to have one eye open, but think it still works for the poem. (Click the image to see a larger version in a new window.) IL: Which spread are you most proud of? AW: My favourite at the moment is “Tree For All.” I also like “Says Nightjar to the Stars.” I like the little details and surprises in these pages for the reader to spot- little snails, anteaters and insects! “Oxpecker Cleaning Service” feels quite special to me, it was my first painting for the book and set the scene for others to follow. (Click the image to see a larger version in a new window.) Thank you, Anna! That lioness's one eye open is one of my favorite parts of the book. And “Says Nightjar to the Stars” is so gorgeous and resonates so deeply with me that I begged Anna to let me use it as a header for my email newsletter! So thrilled she said yes. :) Here's to many more books illustrated by Anna!
Thanks again, Elizabeth, for inviting us to your blog today. Your generous spirit shines! xo
Irene Latham was inspired to write DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST after viewing images from wildlife photographer Greg du Toit, who submerged himself in a Kenyan water hole in order to best capture the animals drinking. In response, she submerged herself in research and waited for these poems to arrive. She is also the author of three volumes of poetry for adults and two award-winning novels for children: LEAVING GEE'S BEND and DON'T FEED THE BOY. www.irenelatham.com
Anna Wadham is the illustrator of several picture books and has an MA in children's book illustration. She currently lives in Norwich, England, where she enjoys the city cafes and the rooftop views of trees, gardens, and chimney pots from her flat. Inspiration is drawn from many things - memory, great painters, pattern, and a bit of imagination. She loves to paint animals and create colorful landscapes for them to inhabit. www.annawadham.comThanks, Irene
GIVEAWAY! Irene is generously offering a signed copy of DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US/Canada to win - enter below:
Little Gestalten (a German publisher) is bringing some very cool children's books to the US for us to enjoy. The first I'll share with you is ISSUN BOSHI written and illustrated (together) by Raphael Urwiller and Mayumi Otero. English is not their first language (they are from France), so I'm thrilled to have them both here today - what a treat!
Q. It seems every culture has a “Tom Thumb” sort of character. How did you become familiar with the story of ISSUN BOSHI? A. Issun Boshi is a Tom Thumb, but in its poetic own way, a naïve little boy walking through the wilderness with a rice bowl on its head. In fact Mayumi, who is one half of Icinori, is half Japanese, and it was one of her most beloved story that her mother was telling her when she was a child. The other part of Icinori, Raphael Urwiller, is fond of traditionnal tales, and we discovered that Issun Boshi was never well adapted in France as a children book.
Then we made it, for all this good reasons !
Q. I know older tales often don’t fit well in modern sensibilities. How much adaptation did you have to do to make the story work for new readers? A. A children's book has its own constraints, the number of pages, size, color, printing technique, and each of these constraints are a creative challenge. The original story comes in many forms, some versions are like the Grail legend, never finding the end.
Raphael cut the text and rewrote it in a very modern rhythm paced modern book of 32 pages. This text has been designed to be read aloud with parents, but also to be read by the child alone, with simple words and very understandable images to help reading. The original story contains quite violent actions, Issun Boshi attacks monsters, we decided to keep these moments but by approaching them in a thoughtful way, working the figures and innuendo.
We were very surprised at the extremely positive way children greet the story we made. In fact we did this book for the two children we were.
Q. I adore the art style - it’s both retro and so fresh - what is the method? A. We are engravers, screenprinters and strange book publishers (unique popup books and more) , we made this book using our printing techniques (screen printing is an ancient technique invented by the Chinese to work very accurate and efficient color), which we adapted to the constraints of traditional offset printing, allowing this book to benefit from these very beautiful colors. (Click the image to see a larger version.) Q. Were there specific challenges to making this style work for ISSUN BOSHI? A. We admire many popular old images and ephemera, as well as the current underground art, the two share a wonderful and colorful graphics generosity power. We much inspired by old Japanese prints that contemporary artists. We try to follow the course huge illustrators, Sendak, Ungerer, Gustave Doré, Topor, etc. The challenge was to find the balance between all of this influences and our own wills!
Q. The story was originally published in France. How did it make it to the US? A. Gestalten – a great book publisher for designers and artists – made us the great possibility of being published in its first collection of books for children, translating the book in german and english! The book was also published in many countries (spanish, italian, chinese, dutsch etc.) and had a price in Bologna, the biggest children books festival. It's great, we don't realize the meaning of all of this but it's great!
Q. Neither of you live in the US. How is it to have a book launching in America and how have you celebrated the release of the book in your home towns? A. Yes, we opened a bottle of wine from Napa valley. For us, french peoples, it's a strong symbol!
GIVEAWAY! Little Gestalten has generously agreed to send a free copy of ISSUN BOSHI to one of my lucky followers. Enter below!
Welcome to Jump Into a Book’s Three Months of Book Giveaways!
With the winter months upon us, I feel this is a great time for readers of all ages to snuggle in with a good book. I have been blessed with tons of amazing books titles for kids over these last few months and I want to get these books into the hands of young readers. SO, for the next three months Jump Into a Book will be hosting a book giveaway every Wednesday! Some giveaways will be a single title, some will be a “Book Bundle,” but all will be books that your readers will love and cherish. I think these books will also make great gifts as well!
This Book Bundle Giveaway includes three excellent chapter books that would appeal to girls (boys will love these books too!) and I’ve listed these books below. A few of them I’ve already done reviews on (I’ve included the links if that is the case) and the we’ve the requirements to enter-to-win short-n-sweet! Good luck!
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it’s up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale of modern-day America, a dazzling ode to the power of fantasy, and a heartbreaking meditation on how growing up is as much a choice as it is something that happens to us.
In Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu tells, in her one-of-a-kind voice, a story that brings together fifty years of children’s literature in a tale as modern as it is timeless. Hazel’s journey to come to terms with her evolving friendship with Jack will deeply resonate with young readers. To read about JIAB’s review of Breadcrumbs with accompanying activities, go here.
As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it’s been! During this period she’s Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool-dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. To read about JIAB’s review of The Meaning of Maggie with accompanying activities, go here. Father Daughter Tales from Barefoot Books
A companion volume to “The Barefoot Book of Mother and Daughter Tales”, this anthology features ten thought-provoking stories, all of them showing the importance of the father-daughter bond, not only in traditional societies but also in the modern world.
Rules and Guidelines for the Giveaway!
*One lucky winner will win their own copy each of the three books listed above (ONE winner each receive a copy of Breadcrumbs, The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern and Father Daughter Tales from Barefoot Books).
*Giveaway begins October 15th and ends October 22th
• Prizing & samples courtesy of Audrey Press
• Giveaway open to US addresses only
• Residents of USA only please.
• Must be 18 years or older to enter
• One entry per household.
• Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
• Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
• Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 23rd
It's time again for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! This runs Oct 15th-31st and is hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer. The links below will be going live sometime on 10/14-10/15; check out all the blogs on the hop for more chances to win!
For this hop we are giving away 1 of our favorite spooky YA books. (1 young adult book worth up to $20 USD.) The winner can choose from a list of titles below. We will take suggestions, so comment with the name and author of the spooky book you'd like to get if you're the winner!
Here are some of Alethea's favorites:
Open Internationally. Ends 10/31/2014.
We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
One set of entries per household please.
If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here.
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!
V is for Vulture! Halloween creepeth closer. It's time to pull out the pumpkins and creepy coloring pages! My favorite time of year! CLICK HERE for more Halloween 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. AWARDS **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**
Now that we are only three weeks away from the launch of EVERBLAZE (*pauses to flail*), it's time for the annual Pre-Order Swag giveaway!!!!!!
This is my way of trying to make up for the fact that it's simply impossible for me to tour to every city. So everyone who pre-orders a copy of EVERBLAZE before the cut-off date AND fills out the form at the end of this post*, will get this awesome EVERBLAZE swag mailed directly to them:
In case you can't tell from the picture, that is:
1 hand signed, limited edition Iggy a l'orange postcard art print
1 hand signed (and personalized, if you'd like) EVERBLAZE bookplate
1 EVERBLAZE bookmark
And yes, EVERYONE who pre-orders the book and fills out the form will get that!!!!!
But wait--there's so much more!
I will also choose ten (10) of you at random and give you this: (yes, that's in *addition* to the other swag!)
And again, in case you can't tell, that is:
1 sheet of four EVERBLAZE stickers
4 EVERBLAZE mini cards featuring Sophie and Fitz
As if THAT weren't awesome enough, I have one more prize. Five (5) additional winners will get all of the swaggish goodies up above, plus one of these:
The shiny, super-awesome Black Swan mirrors I'll be giving out at the official launch party! (for another picture of what they look like, go HERE) These might be the coolest swag I've ever seen, so trust me, you want to win one.
You don't have to do anything special to enter for the extra goodies. I'll choose the winners randomly from all the people who fill out the form for their swag. So that's the only requirement: you must fill out the form at the end of this post. Which of course means you also must pre-order a copy of EVERBLAZE.
And because I like to keep things simple, I'm not requiring proof of purchase. If you say you bought it, I trust you. I'm counting on you guys to be honest. And remember, lying makes an alicorn poop on your head--but telling the truth makes it rain mallowmelt and Prattles! I also won't be announcing the winners online anywhere. If you're one of the lucky ones who wins the extra swag, you'll find out when your prize arrives with your extra goodies.
I'm also willing to mail the prizes anywhere--even internationally. And it doesn't matter if you pre-order an eBook or a hardcover. As long as it's EVERBLAZE, it counts. And you can buy that copy anywhere books are sold. Of course I recommend shopping local from your favorite indie and supporting a local business. But it's up to you where you want to shop.
I also know lots of you pre-ordered yours months and months ago. (which is awesome, btw.) And if that's the case, you can definitely still fill out this form and get your free swag. But you must pre-order your copy before 11:59 pm (pacific time) on 11/3/14 AND fill out the form before then. After that I'll close the form and there will be no more ways to enter.
And there's no limit on how many swag packs you can get. If you buy five books, you can get five swag packs (also five chances to be one of the winners for the extra goodies.) Just make sure you fill out the form separately for each copy you pre-order, so that I know how many swag packs to send you.
Also: since I'm leaving for tour the same day this contest ends, there *will* be a slight delay on when your swag gets mailed to you. But I promise I'll have them all in the mail before November 30th. (most likely much sooner). Sorry for the delay, I can't deal with mailing stuff while I'm traveling.
Um........... I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, feel free to ask in the comments.
And I just want to end by thanking all of you for your enthusiasm and support for this series. It is SO FUN watching it grow and find new readers. Thank you for telling your teachers and friends, and posting your edits on instagram, and sending me your fan art, and all of the other amazing things you guys do. Keep doing what you're doing--its working like a charm. And I can't wait for you to read EVERBLAZE.
Only three weeks left--AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, here's the form you need to enter, And if it doesn't load, click HERE.
*Please note: you must be 13 years or older to fill out this form. If you're not, please have your parent or guardian fill it out for you
Have you ever felt like an artist in a world full of cavemen - where nobody appreciates what you do? Enter LUG: DAWN OF THE ICE-AGE. David Zeltser stopped by to talk about his debut mid-grade...
Hey there, Elizabeth and Dulemba blog readers! Like you, I love middle grade and picture books. More specifically, I gravitate toward anything with a strong visual element. LUG is an illustrated middle grade book series where the main character is a cave painter. My next book out will be a picture book. No matter what the genre, I want both kids and adults to experience and enjoy my books. In Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age, Lug is a boy who loves something that is forbidden by his clan. Here’s a taste of his clan’s rules: The Macrauchenia Clan’s Official STONE REGISTRATION SYSTEM All privately owned stones must be registered as one of the following: o Stone good for bashing someone because easy to hold o Stone good for bashing someone because easy to hide o Stone good for bashing someone in eye socket o Sleeping slab o Dining rock 0 Boulder in front of cave (aka door) 0 Boulder not in front of cave (aka obstacle) You’ll notice that “Stone good for art” is not listed. The Clan Council considered making art to be uncavemanlike behavior--a waste of time when you could be bashing perfectly good heads with perfectly good stones. So Lug has to keep his cave art a secret. Q&A Why Lug can’t share his art - what was your motivation behind this idea in the story? Part of it is Lug’s relationship with his father, Big Lug, who is a much more traditional caveman. Unlike Lug, the father hunts well, loves to bash things, and is very good at a game called Headstone—a game that their clan plays against their rival clan every year. (Here’s an excerpt of Lug talking about Headstone: “No one else in my clan seemed to care that it was getting colder. All they ever cared about was playing in the next big headstone game against the Boar Riders. Headstone is a game where you bash the opposing players’ heads with stones. In order to increase the risk of major injury, all players are also required to ride large animals while doing their bashing.”) Of course, like any of us on some level, Lug wants his father to be proud of him. So he hides the fact that he has no interest in hunting and Headstone and would be much happier cave painting all day. Another motivation I had for this approach--and the book in general—was satirizing our culture. I enjoy playing sports, but I feel like American culture overly emphasizes and overfunds competition, and greatly undervalues--and underfunds--creativity in its kids. Competition is very important and definitely has its place, but I think we are losing sight of other just as crucial activities that aren’t so win-lose. When two kids are engaged in something creative, it’s a win-win situation for them and the culture. Of course, it’s one thing when a kid chooses to be competitive, and another thing when he or she is pushed into it. Lug is definitely in the ‘pushed’ group.
David says helping with the veterinary care of a newborn rhino at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center also eventually led to him writing LUG.
How does Lug fight against the powers that be to express himself and why is that important? Lug’s clan is dominated by a bullying leader called Boulder and Boulder’s son, Bonehead. Lug’s journey is not to fight them physically, but to stand up for what he believes in and become a natural leader in his own right. While there is a good deal of action in the book around a particularly nasty group of saber-toothed tigers, I wanted to avoid the typical mano a mano approach when it came to the main conflict. Despite what Hollywood feeds our kids, most of the important conflicts they’ll face in life won’t be resolved by physical violence. The powers that be in this story are defeated through all kinds of other interesting means. I hope you’ll read LUG to see how!
Bio: DAVID ZELTSER emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child, graduated from Harvard, and has worked with all kinds of wild animals, including rhinos, owls, sharks, and ad executives. He is the author of Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age, the first book in a satirical series about the world’s inaction on climate change, for ages 8-12. He also has a forthcoming picture book, Ninja Baby, with Caldecott Honor illustrator Diane Goode (Chronicle Books). David lives with his wife and daughter in Santa Cruz, California. He performs improv comedy and loves meeting readers of all ages. His second book about Lug is scheduled to publish in Fall 2015. Visit David’s website at www.davidzeltser.com. He’s also on Twitter: @davidzeltser
CLICK HERE to visit other blogs on David's blog tour!
GIVEAWAY! Egmont has kindly agreed to give a free copy of LUG: DAWN OF THE ICE AGE to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below:
Hey Everyone! I am so excited to be here today. I absolutely love Reading Teen, and am grateful they let me stop by today to talk about my new book. Thanks guys!
Cinder & Ella is a contemporary retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. Cinderella has always been my favorite fairy tale and I've always known I'd eventually write my own adaptation of the story. It was only a matter
Remember how you played "Telephone" as a kid, and how messed up the message could get from one end to the other? Well, there's a new picture book about it called, what else, TELEPHONE! It's written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jen Corace. Jen stopped by to talk about it...
Q. Jen, you're no stranger to illustrating great picture books. In fact, you've illustrated some of my faves: LITTLE PEA, LITTLE HOOT, and LITTLE OINK. How did you get into this business? A. It all happened like a big organic snowball. I had been interested in working in children’s books but didn’t really become serious about an illustration career until I was 27. It just clicked. I created an online portfolio and sent out promotional postcards and packets to publishers and art directors I wanted to work with. And then I waited. While I waited I became involved in the DIY movement and started doing fine art shows with galleries that worked with illustrators. By the time I started to create a name for myself in that field I was approached by Chronicle Books, who had had me on file for the past two years, to work on Little Pea. By the time they asked me to work on Little Hoot I had been approached by Steven Malk for representation.
Q. Your first books work strongly with white space, where as TELEPHONE is fully saturated. Did this feel different to you? A. It doesn’t feel different, it feels like a natural progression. On the one hand, TELEPHONE is the culminating marriage of the more spare, negative space-aware work I’ve done in the past and the more detailed, fuller style I work in for fine art and even titles like SWEET DREAMS and STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER. On the other hand, there still is a lot of negative space encompassing the characters, it just happens to be clouds and sky. I think that there is still that sort of shape on shape breathing room going on. It’s just disguised in a bit of blue.
Q. You're obviously a very talented designer as well as illustrator. I love the wires on each spread. Were they problematic to work with? A. Oh! Thank you! The wires weren’t problematic for me as I put them in last. I was worried that they would smudge and I was hesitant to use something like fixative to set them in place, not knowing how it would interact with the combination of watercolor, ink and gouache I was using. The only other concern that I had, which I also had with I HATCHED! … which also uses a fair amount of pencil … that in the scanning the work the scanner might pick up some shine off of the graphite. So far I haven’t run into that problem.
Q. My favorite spread is the one with the turkey. I laughed out loud at the idea of a turkey sitting on a telephone wire! Did you have fun coming up with all the birds you used? A. I had the best time thinking about just the right birds and just the right impossible birds to put up on the wire. My art director, Kristine Brogno, was a great sounding board to navigate all the options we had at hand. She’s the best.
Q. It seems that Mac gave you some great words to play with. Did the visuals come easily or did you have to work at them? A. I was thrilled to work with Mac. I was very excited to work on TELEPHONE. Typically, when I get a new manuscript, I print it out, read it several times over, make notes. When I printed out the manuscript for TELEPHONE I experienced, for a brief, few days, the “fear of the blank page.” More often than not manuscripts have context clues to point an illustrator in a direction. TELEPHONE, for the most part, is wide open. Outside of birds and a telephone wire it’s pretty wide open … Montana skies open. My only in was what these amazing, succinct, spare lines said about personality. That degree of play is a lot of power. And me being me who is at the start, extremely literal but excited to play, was very conscious about balance. Balance between everything that could possibly be with what specific, right visual voice I could bring to the book.
Q. What is your illustration method? A. I have all the usual steps … pagination, character design, sketching stage back and forth with my art director and editor. The one thing that is key in how I come around to solving visual problems or find my way in a project … a fair chunk of thinking and staring. Usually I say thinking, sitting and staring … but more often than not I am lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling. It’s a good quiet time. Loosely holding onto the project at hand and letting my mind free associate a path into a solution. It gives me an opportunity to see a piece or a book as a whole. I love it.
Q. How are you celebrating the release of TELEPHONE? A. How aren’t I celebrating it? On September 9th we have primary elections in Rhode Island. And I LOVE to vote. LOVE IT. On the same day I fly out to Portland, Oregon so that I can attend the opening of my solo show on the 11th. I will definitely get a cocktail onboard and if there is an inflight cheese plate … I will eat it. When I arrive in Portland I will be staying with my friend, Amy Martin, who has been boasting about her stew prowess on Twitter. I am imagining that I will be eating stew she makes and she will be drinking the manhattans I make. TELEPHONE’s release is gonna rule!
Q. What's next in line (get it - ha!) for you? A. Well, I have two solo shows that are back to back. September 11th at Land Gallery in Portland and October 11th at Art Star in Philly. After that I will be designing a new game with my brother, Jason. Last year we worked on Lords & Ladies … a game about building a status hungry family via Edwardian societal rules … the next game is a real juicy one and I can’t talk about it much right now.
Enter to win an autographed paperback copy of Adventures Of Meg: The Just In Case, starring Megan Holmes and Dr. Roxon, by Ade Unwin.
Giveaway begins October 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 8, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Yes, I have a lifeguard gorilla image too. But really, can you ever get enough gorillas? That's what I thought. 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. AWARDS **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**
BELZHARby Meg WolitzerHardcover: 272 pagesPublisher: Dutton Juvenile (September 30, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.
She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic
I need your attention right now.
I just finished a book. Only it wasn't just a book, it was a magic book. I mean, it's a book about magic, but it's also a book that IS magic! You know how there are a lot of books that you like, but there are only a few special books that you just want to read over and over? This is one of those books.
I LOVED Compulsion.
Today, I’m delighted to have Meagan Spooner back on the blog. The final book in her Skylark trilogy, Lark Ascending, just released last week, and if you haven’t yet read these books, then now’s the time!
For one, the books are EXCELLENT (and if you’re a fan of my Something Strange & Deadly, then you’ll definitely love Skylark).
For three, just read this summary and tell me you’re not intrigued:
Now, let’s get down to the interview!
1. Alrighty, Meg. Biggest author inspirations/influences. Go!
Way too many to count! I’m one of those who firmly believe everything you read (or watch or listen to or see or eat…) goes into the imagination compost and shows up in your work when you least expect it. But some big ones include: Diana Wynne Jones, Garth Nix, Robin McKinley, Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle, Philip Pullman, Tanith Lee, Tamora Pierce, Patricia C. Wrede, and pretty much every myth or fairy tale I’ve ever heard.
2. You have basically listed all of the authors on MY list as well. Plotter or pantser or…plantser?
Definitely a pantser. When I first started writing Skylark, the first book in this trilogy, I had absolutely no idea where it was headed. There were a few twists and themes I knew I wanted to hit, but part of the joy of writing for me is the act of discovery. Often the ideas that come to me as I write, whether totally out of the blue or as a response or solution to some problem that pops up, are my best ones. Of the three, Lark Ascending is probably the most “planned” of the three, simply because most of the ideas in it came to me while writing Skylark and Shadowlark. I had all these awesome, epic scenes that I knew I wanted to hit in this third book. It was tons of fun.
3. I feel you on the “art of discovery” bit. So now that you’ve finished, how does it feel wrapping up an entire trilogy?
AMAZING. I think it’s no secret that writers often have a love-hate relationship with their books, particularly with their series books, and I’m definitely one of those. Like any long-term relationship, being with someone–or some story–for that many years means you know it inside and out. Its good, its bad, and everything in between. But despite every time I wanted to throw the story–and my computer along with it–out the window, seeing all three books lined up and knowing that I finished telling Lark’s story in a way that feels complete and satisfying—and TRUE—to me… that’s an amazing feeling.
4. Wow. I’m even more excited to read now. Okay, here’s a fan question: in the Skylark trilogy, which character do YOU identify most with?
Definitely Lark herself. Skylark was the first novel I ever wrote, and for me, at least, that meant that of all my characters, my main character was the one most drawn from my own thoughts and personality and experiences. Lark is an odd combination of things I wish I was, things I’m afraid I am, and things I one day hope to be. She’ll probably always be the character most like–and most unlike–me in all my books.
5. That’s TOTALLY how I feel about me with Eleanor! She’s both part of me and who I wish I could be. So cool. Now, final question: If Lark Ascending were a literary cocktail, what ingredients would it need?
Equal parts fantasy and dystopian with a shot of steampunk and a sprinkle of moral grey area. Garnish with a rebel uprising, and serve on the rocks.
HA! Love the “garnish” bit. Nice touch.
Okay, dear readers. To celebrate having Meg stop by, we’re doing a giveaway (international!)! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, help us spread the word about Meg’s amazing series, and we’ll choose a winner next week.
Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and she currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina. In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads. Learn more about her at her website.
One of my relatives was a Rough Rider for Teddy Roosevelt, so I've always been fascinated by him from that point of view. Add to that our National Parks system was his doing, and he's just a fascinating guy. Then came Doreen Rappaport's TO DARE MIGHTY THINGS: THE LIFE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT beautifully illustrated by C.F. Payne. I'm so hooked! And I'm happy to have Doreen here today to answer some questions about it!
Q. Doreen, Congratulations on this beautiful achievement! What was your initial draw to Teddy Roosevelt? A. My husband who collected political presidential memorabilia, has been after me to do Teddy as he was such an interesting, astounding man.
Q. You obviously did a ton of research to write TO DARE MIGHTY THINGS. Did you find it especially challenging to gather such in depth information? A. The research in some sense is the easiest part of doing a book. The hard part is finding the "hook" on which to tell the story. There are many important major biographies on Teddy. I started with them and then went to their "footnotes" to get to primary sources. I also ready Teddy's books and visited his home on Long Island.
Q. Did you learn anything that surprised you? A. I don't think I realized before I did the research what a fearless person he was. I don't necessarily agree with everything he did, but he stuck to what he believed in was best for the country and pursued it. He's one of the great founders of the conservation movement As much as he loved "the hunt," when he realized that hunting was destroying the Dakota territory, he jumped right in to do something about it.
Q. I love the way you structured the story with facts and quotes throughout. How did you come up with that? A. My first book which combined quotes and my narrative was Martin's Big Words and that gave me the idea to combine words by the people I decided to write about to give children a close, firsthand look and feel of what these people were really about.
Q. Indeed, MARTIN’S BIG WORDS blew away the children’s kid lit world and won several awards including the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, a Caldecott honor, a Coretta Scott King honor, and an ALA Notable Children’s Book Award - among others. I don’t think there was enough room on the cover for all the stickers it earned! What was it like when all those awards started coming in? A. It's wonderful to win awards, but the real award is to write a book that YOU think is a good book and contributes to children's literature.
Q. The story itself is written so beautifully - not at all like one might expect from a non-fiction story. How did you keep it sounding so fresh and lyrical? A. I work very hard on it. Me: :)
Q. What was your reaction when you saw the luscious illustrations by C.F. Payne? A. I was bowled over by C. F. Payne's art and still am.
Q. One of the most interesting design decisions on this book is the lack of a title on the front cover - just that big close up of Roosevelt. (The title is on the back cover.) Did you love that straight out or did it have to grow on you? A. This idea came again from Martin's Big Words. The cover of that book is Dr. King with an enormous smile on his face--an unusual way to see Dr. King, to think about Dr. King, to gain another perspective about him, and so we decided as the books progressed to put only a face on the cover and the title of the book on the other side.
Q. There's a whole series of these now, yes? You must be so proud of these beautiful books! A. I am.
Q. I hope the books are being used like crazy in schools. How do you choose which ones to focus on when you do a school visit? A. I focus on all of them.
Q. So many people who dream of creating picture books, never think of non-fiction. Yet, that's your specialty. What are your thoughts about non-fiction? A. I absolutely adore fiction, but the amazing thing about real life is that it's as exciting and dramatic as ANY fiction writer could dream up.
Q. Doreen, thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to more lovely books from you!
GIVEAWAY! Disney has kindly agreed to offer a free copy of TO DARE MIGHTY THINGS: THE LIFE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT to one of my lucky winners. Must live in the US/Canada to win. Enter below:
Everything Must Go!
Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING, but some things must go. Like, for instance, seven copies of Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson!
Hachette Audio is moving offices, and needs to get some audiobooks out & into your hands! Lucky you! :D
Thanks so much to Mitch, if you don't know Mitch, you should introduce yourself immediately, we have a bunch of audiobooks to give away. We have
Everything Must Go!
Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING, but some things must go. Like, for instance, three copies of MARINA by Carlos Ruiz Zafon!
Hachette Audio is moving offices, and needs to get some audiobooks out & into your hands! Lucky you! :D
Thanks so much to Mitch, if you don't know Mitch, you should introduce yourself immediately, we have a bunch of audiobooks to give away. Today we have
To celebrate an extremely rare visit by Dav Pilkey, author of the best-selling Captain Underpants series, to the UK later this month I’ve got an amazing giveaway for you today.
You could win a full set of signed Captain Underpants books, just by leaving a comment on this blog post!
Yes, Dav Pilkey is will be in London on October 11th and tickets are now on sale to see him. Full details of this event can be found here. But even if you can’t make it to London, do enter the giveaway; if not for you, how about for your school or club?
The nitty gritty
This giveaway is open to UK/EIRE addresses only (NB You personally could be based outside UK/Eire, but the winning books can only be posted to UK/EIRE addresses)
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 a full set of signed Captain Underpants books over on @playbythebook’s blog http://www.playingbythebook.net/?p=30959
(2) Share this giveaway on your Facebook page, blog or other social media
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 only, and closes on Saturday 11 October 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..
One of my favorite things about my blog and newsletter is when I get to help celebrate a close friend's new book - like today. Vicky Alvear Shecter has a new non-fiction mid-grade out called HADES SPEAKS. And like it's predecessor, ANUBIS SPEAKS, it is full of fun, snarky history through the eyes of an ancient god. Vicky dropped by to talk about it...
The Funny Thing about Funny Things
Most of us have watched videos of babies cracking up over strange noises. If you look closely, many of the videos show that right under the surface, the child is trying to manage his or her fear of either an unexpected noise or something unfamiliar. The video of the baby with the mother who sneezed is a perfect example of this—first come surprise and terror, then laughter. Click the image to watch the video at Youtube in a new window. I bring this up because I think sometimes we forget how important laughter is, not just as entertainment, but for helping us manage our fears. By laughing at something, we are not undone by it. We become masters of it. Now, I could say that I “write funny” about mythology because I’m trying to give kids an outlet for processing the weirdness and darkness of mythological stories, but I’d be lying. The truth is, I write with humor about mythology because so much of it—to me anyway—is downright hysterical. I have an eleven-year-old kid inside of me who likes to crack up over absurdities. Just for the sheer pleasure of it. Still, that’s not to deny that laughter or humor is a powerful tool for managing fear. Especially for kids. Even so, an irreverent or humorous approach sometimes makes adults uncomfortable. That’s why I loved this review from a school librarian (Ms. Yinging Reads – CLICK HERE to read) that acknowledged this truth with Hades Speaks! A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead: “I prefer a more serious treatment of the gods (D’Aulaire, Hamilton)…but I know that most of my readers prefer the funny spin on the myths.” Right. Let’s meet kids where they are and inspire them to learn more! In Hades Speaks, Hades tours the reader through his dark and spooky realms. We meet unhappy ghosts, blood-sucking hags, bats that flap nightmares into your sleep, terrible tortures, and a three-headed dog with poison spit. Scary, right? But not so much if the guy telling you about it is furious that his little brother (Zeus) got the bigger piece of the pie and it’s not fair that everyone likes him better. Or if he keeps getting tricked by a not-so-smart demigod. Or if he gets his feelings hurt that his people didn’t build him enough temples. Suddenly, Hades’s world is not just dark, but humorously dark. I hope readers enjoy their trip over the River Styx—as well as meeting Cerberus, dodging monsters, and peering into the pits at Tartaros. I also hope they end up giggling their way through it too!
GIVEAWAY! Vicky has kindly agreed to give a free, signed and dedicated copy of HADES SPEAKS to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US/Canada to win - enter below:
On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when
I'm so pleased to kick off the Afterparty Blog Tour! We've got a ton of
great blogs featuring this edgy YA novel by Ann Redisch Stampler. There
will be guest posts, deleted scenes, interviews, reviews, and a huge
giveaway! Make sure you hit all the stops along the way for more chances to