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1. Join Jennifer and me in supporting the Giving Tree

On Saturday, December 5, Jennifer and I will celebrate the release of our new holiday-themed books — her Revenge of the Angels and my ‘The Nutcracker’ Comes to America — with an open-to-the-public event at Austin’s BookPeople benefiting the store’s Giving Tree charity program. Giving Tree provides a way for BookPeople customers to provide books […]

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2. Mary Christmas Season! {+Giveaway!}

Happy Thanksgiving!  It snowed here and so we had a white Thanksgiving.  I love the snow.

I also love digital painting.  When I was a kid taking art, digital wasn’t a thing.  All the art supplies were sooo expensive and messy, and if you messed up, you had to start all over again.  Now you can try and do billion different styles and colors…I sure am grateful for that.

Anyway, here’s a piece that I’ve been meaning to do all year ^_^


I drew it for my sweet Instagram buddy, Nerdpoppins.  She loves Mary Poppins as much as I do!  You should check out her etsy shop–so many amazing MP things!

She was also the host of this year’s “Mary Poppins in the Park”–a Mary Poppins day at Disneyland.  I went and it was so much fun.  Every dressed Mary Poppins-y and THE Mary and Bert came (!!!) Everyone had a great time.

Nerdpoppins is on the right…my sis is in the middle, and I’m on Bert’s arm, dying.  (Isn’t the skirt beautiful?  It was sewn & hand-painted by Nerdpoppins.  I’m in awe.)


Speaking of that event, I gave out a limited edition print to the attendees!  And I have some left over!


Would you like this sweet little 5×7 print?  I’m gonna mail it out to the first 50 commenters!  Here’s how to play:

1 – Leave a numbered comment of something you’re grateful for.  (So, if the comment before you says it’s #12, you would write #13.)  (If you are reading this from tumblr, you’ll want to comment here, on the actual blog.)

2 – If your comment is below 50, send your mailing address to storyboarder{at}gmail.com  (That’s me!)  And I’ll send you the print right away!

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was the best ^_^

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3. and the “groundhog’s dilemma” giveaway winner is . . . [ahem cue drum roll please].


Congratulations to Buffy Silverman! You’ve won your very own copy of Kris Remenar’s debut picture book GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA. I’m so happy for you! This adorable book will be available in early December, so I’ll pre-order your copy and have it sent your way quick as a bunny on Red Bull.

Bushels of thanks to everyone who visited Frog on a Dime and offered such kind, encouraging comments for Kris. You’re the best! Honest. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick my finger in my nose, I mean, pie.

P.S. Pssst. Buffy, please send me your mailing address and I’ll whisk your prize to you as soon as its available.

groundhogsdilemma (2)

By Kris Remenar, Illustrated by Matt Faulkner, Charlesbridge Publishing


Though the groundhog and crocus creep into their holes
It’s Spring, and the almanac shows it;
Though a polar wave over the continent rolls
It’s Spring! And we don’t care who knows it!
~ Robert J. Burdette, “March,” c.1888

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4. you’ve sold your first book–now what?

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

We are in for a treat, my little ginger scones. Frog on a Dime is delighted to welcome a very special guest blogger–debut author extraordinaire Kris Remenar.

Leave a comment on this post by Noon (EST) on November 25, and you’ll be entered to win your very own copy of GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA.

Okay, Frog on a Dime is all yours. Take it away, my darlin’ friend!





Congratulations! You sold your first manuscript! After you’ve popped the champagne to toast your sale, you might wonder – what do I do now?

Become “findable” online. You want people to know who you are, what you write, how they can buy your books, and how to contact you. Build your own website or hire a web designer. If the idea of a website makes your throat close, start with an author page on a book site like Amazon or GoodReads. Explore social media options like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Trying to do everything at once is guaranteed to scramble your brains, so take it slow and do what works for you.

Set up book signings. Contact local bookstores to set up a book launch party. To broaden thegroundhogsdilemma (2) marketing reach, consider creating signing events with other authors/illustrators. Research events where there will be people with a special interest in your book. Because my first picture book is called GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA, Matt Faulkner and I will be signing books at the Howell Nature Center on February 2nd during their annual Groundhog Day celebration. If you’re willing to travel, see if you can sign books at conferences for groups like the ALA (American Library Association) or NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).

Consider school and library events. Check with area libraries to see if they have author events in which you can participate. For school and library events, you want to offer more than just a reading of your book. For younger ones, plan an interactive story time, and for olders, prepare a presentation about your process, or publishing, or ways your book ties into the curriculum.

Overwhelmed? Reach out to experienced authors and illustrators for advice, or ask librarians and teachers what they’ve seen that works. Hire a marketing genius like Kirsten Cappy of Curious City or an educational guru like Deb Gonzales for promotional ideas.

Literary genius Sarah Miller asked me an important question when I was frazzled making multiple promotional plans: “Will it be fun?” After working so hard to get published, don’t forget to enjoy signing the books and interacting with your readers. There is no magic formula to guarantee your bestseller status. Do what works for you, do what makes you happy, and keep writing so you can go through the whole process again soon when your next manuscript sells.

Illustrator Matt Faulkner and Author Kris Remenar

Illustrator Matt Faulkner and Author Kris Remenar

Kristen Remenar is busy promoting and hugging tightly her first picture book, GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA (Charlesbridge, 2015, illustrated by Matt Faulkner) and her first adult book, DRAW WITH A VENGEANCE: GET EVEN IN INK AND LET KARMA HANDLE THE REST (Running Press, 2015).



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5. Giving Back for the Holidays, Part 3: BookSpring

When Jennifer and I celebrate our new holiday-themed books with an event at Austin’s BookPeople on December 5, we’re going to spotlight the store’s annual Giving Tree charity program. Guests buying any hardcover children’s book to donate to Giving Tree will be in the running for the giveaway of signed sets of Jennifer’s Revenge of […]

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6. The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition Book Review & Giveaway

No certainly this can’t be true? Has it really been 30 years since that magical Christmas tale of a train pulling up into a young boys front yard and hurling him over hill and dale until he reaches the North Pole? Oh, with hot chocolate of course.

To my astonishment, it’s true. Thirty years later, The Polar Express has become a holiday Caldecott Medal-winning classic leaving children all over the world laying quietly in their beds on Christmas Eve, hoping to catch a ride on that magical train.

For 30 years author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg has inspired us to “believe.”

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has released a 30th anniversary edition complete with a new jacket design, expanded interior layout meaning we get to see and experience more goodness, a letter from Chris Van Allsburg, a downloadable recording of the story read by none other than renowned actor Liam Neeson and a gorgeous golden keepsake ornament.

The added benefit is that HMH has generously given Jump into a Book a copy to give away! See below for Rafflecopter Giveaway details.

Polar Express

Along with this good news are oodles of things to do.

Somethings To Do

Want to Ride the Polar Express

This season there are more than 50 Polar Express train rides around the United States. Riders will enjoy listening to author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg reading the book, while they drink hot chocolate, eat nougat as they travel north to meet Santa Claus. Of course there will be a jingle bell to help each traveler to “believe” in the magic of December 24th.

Now here’s the big news……The Polar Express is having a sweepstakes where one lucky family of 4 will get to journey north on the Polar Express from Durango Colorado. The Sweepstake runs from October 15-December 31st 2015. To learn more about how you can enter please visit www.polarexpress.com

The Polar Express sweepstakes

One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • Four tickets to ride THE POLAR EXPRESSTM Train Ride in gorgeous Durango, Colorado*
  • Four round-trip airfare tickets
  • Two nights in a hotel
  • Four free ski lift tickets to Purgatory Resort
  • A free signed copy of The Polar Express: 30th Anniversary Edition

What inspired author/Ilustrator Chris Van Allsburg to write the Polar Express?

This great interview on Story monsters will give you a up close and behind the scenes look at what inspired Chris Van Allsburg to write this classic holiday tale.

Tasty Treats From the North Pole Kitchen

You know that you get to eat everything you’re not suppose to on the Polar Express and one never gets a belly ache. Here are some favorite recipes from that magical train ride. How could we ever refuse Snowball cakes, cozy hot chocolate, or reindeer chocolate mint cookies ? Well we can’t and it’s as simple as that.

Interactive Count-down Calendar

Starting December 1st, you and your family, classroom, or community, can experience an innovative way the count down to Christmas. Each day holds a ew delight for families, such as Polar Chocolate Nougat Caramel squares, reindeer crafts, online games, mazes, and more. Be sure to go each day to find a little moment of goodness. You can find it right here.

The Ultimate Polar Express Party Kit

All Aboard !!!! Why not host a Polar Express Pajama Party? This kit has everything you’ll need to have hours of fun. Not only are there round trip tickets, but amazing games, crafts, invites, name tags, ideas about how to present the story, more amazing recipes, music, print outs and much much much more. Loads of fun.


ONE winner will receive a copy of The Polar Express 30th Anniversary book. Giveaway begins November 19, 2015

  • Prizing & samples  courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Giveaway open to US addresses only
  • ONE lucky winner will win one copy of each of the above books.
  • 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 12/31/15

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition Book Review & Giveaway appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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7. Guest Post & Giveaway: Greg Leitich Smith on Time Travel & Tracking Dinosaurs

Borrowed Time launch party at BookPeople in Austin
By Greg Leitich Smith
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

There’s a line from the first "Jurassic Park" movie to the effect that the place has all the problems of a major theme park and a major zoo.

I sort of feel the same way about writing time travel fiction: You have all the major problems of historical fiction and all the major problems of science fiction/fantasy.

And in writing a dinosaur time travel novel, I found, to my surprise, that of the two, the more problematic one has been the historical – dinosaur -- aspect.

We are seeing new discoveries and new interpretations of dinosaur behavior and evolution almost weekly. In publishing, of course, there can be up to a two-year lead time from a sale of a manuscript to its publication. A lot can happen in that time.

For example, there is a dinosaur called Tsintaosaurus – long thought to have had a single horn coming out of its head like a unicorn. In 2013, however, a study was published that concluded that the “horn” was placed in the wrong position and Tsintaosaurus didn’t resemble a unicorn at all. Any manuscript set for publication that featured the unicorn became instantly outdated.

Sometimes, though, the science is less settled, as in the case of Nanotyrannus. Nanotyrannus is a name that was assigned to a specimen of a dinosaur that resembles Tyrannosaurus rex but is somewhat smaller (Hence “nano”). Although some of the evidence is ambiguous, some recent analyses suggest that Nanotyrannus was just a juvenile T.rex.

(That said, there are new specimens that some paleontologists believe may prove the existence of Nanotyrannus that have yet to be fully examined).

So, what’s an author to do?

Do your research until it hurts. For me, this involves getting as many primary sources as possible. In the case of paleontology, this means journals such as PloS One, Cretaceous Research, and the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

I tend not to trust media reports of new discoveries but sometimes they link to or you can infer a link to the original article. Most articles on the new discoveries will have a recap of past thinking on an issue.

Know your point of view. Chronal Engine (Clarion, 2012) and Borrowed Time (Clarion 2015) both feature a small tyrannosaur the point-of-view protagonist Max calls Nanotyrannus. Max does mention the ambiguity in the naming (because he’s slightly pedantic), but nevertheless continues to call it Nanotyrannus throughout.

Why? Well, first, “Nanotyrannus” is kind of a cool name and continually referring to the animal as “the juvenile T.rex” would’ve been clunky. Also, he didn’t have the wherewithal to perform an analysis of the creature to determine what species it actually was...

Don’t be afraid to make an informed judgment call – in fiction, at least, there’s room for poetic license. And, besides, the science might catch up to you. Both Chronal Engine and Borrowed Time feature a variety of dinosaurs of differing sizes in the dromaeosaur family (These are the “raptor” dinosaurs made familiar by "Jurassic Park").

In the location and era the book is set, however, the bones of only small raptors have been recovered, although there are some ambiguous teeth believed to be from larger raptors. Consequently, in the books, I feature different-sized species of raptor. And recently, paleontologists announced the discovery of Dakotaraptor, a giant-sized “raptor” dinosaur – somewhat larger than the raptors from "Jurassic Park" -- from the same era in which my books are set.

What’s a reader to do?

I tend to be the type of reader who gets annoyed by factual errors. They trip me up and make me less trusting of the author and less willing to suspend disbelief. So here’s my strategy:

Whenever I pick up a book for the first time, I always look at the first publication date (often the copyright date). I had assumed that everyone did this or learned to do this, and was surprised when I was informed this was not so.

But the original date of publication will give you a heads up on the mindset of the author, the era in which he is writing, and what facts are known (or should have been known) to him or her at the time.

For example, Arthur Conan Doyle’s portrayal of sluggish and scaly dinosaurs in The Lost World (published 1912) is very different from the active and intelligent predators in Michael Crichton’s Lost World (1995). But I’m willing to accept Conan Doyle’s portrayal because of the era in which he was writing. (I’m also willing to accept Crichton’s featherless raptors because his book was published prior to the discovery that raptors had feathers).

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win signed copies of Chronal Engine and Borrowed Time by Greg Leitich Smith (both Clarion). Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8. Tips for Loosening Up, Plus a Bonus Giveaway

Watercolor illustration of a bear and snail in a forest by Jessica Lanan

Hello, dear readers! Today I have a mishmash of a post to share with you, so I hope you’ll bear with me. (Ha.)

I have been on a bit of a quest lately to loosen up my technique. If you also struggle with this, know that you are not alone. It takes an enormous amount of practice to get the “quick and effortless” look instead of the “catastrophic disaster” look, so we watercolorists often get very tight and controlled in order to compensate. Of course, there are many different ways to work with watercolor and some artists do the “controlled” thing extremely well, but if you’re looking to loosen up, here are a few techniques I’ve stolen from other artists over the years that I’ve found helpful:

  • Using brushes that are much larger than I find comfortable
  • Minimizing the number of washes. The entire background of this image was one big, wet wash, not twenty-seven separate washes detailing every single leaf and bush
  • Using a lot more water and paint than seems reasonable; enough that I often end up having rivulets of liquid draining off the paper
  • Getting to know the paint. Many colors lighten in value or lose saturation when they dry, so it needs to be even darker than you think when you paint it on
  • Waiting for a wet-on-wet wash to completely dry before moving on to add details
  • Varying textures. I used some dry brush technique in the trees to simulate pine needles
  • Painting lots of really bad paintings that will never, ever see the light of day. I plan to burn these so that no one can accidentally find them when I die
  • Working as fast as I possibly can
  • Occasionally closing my eyes. (Just kidding! Or not…?)

I hope those help someone out there just as they helped me!

In other news, copies of The Story I’ll Tell are here, so I can also do that second giveaway that I promised you several weeks ago.

The post office didn't do the best job ever on this one

The post office didn't do the best job ever on this one

Fortunately, the books are just fine.

Fortunately, the books are unscathed!

Leave a comment below if you’d like a chance to win a signed book! I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday.


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9. New Voice & Giveaway: Christine Hayes on Mothman’s Curse

Mothman Selfie Sheet
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Christine Hayes is the first-time author of Mothman's Curse, illustrated by James K. Hindle (Roaring Brook, 2015). From the promotional copy:

Josie may live in the most haunted town in America, but the only strange thing she ever sees is the parade of oddball customers that comes through her family’s auction house each week. 

But when she and her brothers discover a Polaroid camera that prints pictures of the ghost of local recluse John Goodrich, they are drawn into a mystery dating back over a hundred years. 

A desperate spirit, cursed jewelry, natural disasters, and the horrible specter of Mothman all weave in and out of the puzzle that Josie must solve to break the curse and save her own life.

How do you psyche yourself up to write, to keep writing, and to do the revision necessary to bring your manuscript to a competitive level? What, for you, are the special challenges in achieving this goal? What techniques have worked best and why?

I so envy writers who are able to follow a set routine. That would be the ideal. I’d love to be more productive, more disciplined! But the truth is, while I try to spend time every day writing or revising, I often end up staring at the computer screen, reworking the same passage over and over, or finding jobs to do around the house that could easily wait.

If I go several days without any forward writing progress—and to me that can include blogging or marketing efforts—then I become anxious and unsettled.

Christine's work space
I find I have to set small, measurable goals and break big projects up into bite-size pieces to fool myself into not feeling overwhelmed. I’ll mark a deadline on the calendar, then work backward to determine how much I have to get done each day. Even imaginary deadlines can be valuable motivators!

Then I try to follow through in unconventional ways, mixing up my routine from day to day. I’ll work a few days at home at the kitchen table, another day sitting in the car at the park, another at a local café. On a few occasions when I was facing critical deadlines, I checked into a hotel to sharpen my focus and cut down on distractions.

For first drafts, I get the most done with a notebook and pen, writing things out by hand. Later, as I type what I’ve written, I’m able to self-edit, adding or cutting as needed. It’s an effective way to shape the story early on.

For the next round of revisions I often print out a chapter at a time and use a red pen to mark it up. Sometimes there are only a few usable sentences left per page once the ink dries. It’s tough to watch the word count shrink, but satisfying to see those few sentences that are able to withstand a more intense level of scrutiny.

As far as making a manuscript competitive—polished, professional—I think it’s a dichotomy. You can’t compare your work to others, because you will always feel like you fall short.

Christine's pottery collection
I love the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I see this with my kids all the time. If I were to give them each a cupcake, they’d be happy for a minute or two, but they would inevitably notice that a sibling has more frosting or less frosting or a better color of frosting or whatever. As adults, we never quite grow out of this.

At the same time, you should be reading every day—books both in and out of your genre, news articles, magazines, something. Not to compare, but to fill your mind with words of all kinds, drinking in what’s beautifully done, learning lessons from work that’s perhaps less polished, clichéd, poorly paced, etc.

Set a high standard for yourself. Maybe six months ago you wrote something and said, “This is my best work.” But then you write something new and when you revisit your earlier work you realize that you’ve grown as a writer. It’s a beautiful and amazing process.

I struggle with procrastination and self-doubt. I also tend to overthink, to tinker with passages too much, but at some point I have to stop fussing and just let go. The gauge for me is feeling like it’s the best I can produce in that moment in time, until my agent or editor gently points out the many ways a piece can be improved!

As a paranormal writer, what first attracted you to that literary tradition? Have you been a long-time paranormal reader? Did a particular book or books inspire you?

I’ve been fascinated with the paranormal since grade school. As a young teen, I would check out stacks of ghost story anthologies from the library. I had mostly given up on kids’ novels at that point. I found it so disappointing when I would choose a book that seemed like it was about a ghostly mystery, only to discover that the “ghost” was a fake, dreamed up by the bad guy to hide some evil plot. I craved books that celebrated the unexplained.

One book I do remember falling in love with was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (FSG, 1963). Though not precisely a paranormal story, it was full of wonder and possibility.

I had the same teacher, Mrs. Tapscott, for both fourth and fifth grades. She read to us every day, and one of the books she read was A Wrinkle in Time. She had this sweet southern voice, and she had no patience for kids who thought they were too cool to listen during reading time.

She also read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (George Allen & Unwin, 1937), The Cay by Theodore Taylor (Avon, 1969), and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (Dutton, 1959). She was an incredible lady.

I also remember seeing commercials for a series of Time Life books called Mysteries of the Unknown. I wanted so badly to own every volume. A few years ago I found one at a garage sale for a dollar. Of course I snapped it right up! Isn’t it funny, the things we carry with us from childhood?

Outside of books, one specific influence that stands out in my memory is the show “In Search Of,” hosted by Leonard Nimoy in the late 70s/early 80s. Each week they would explore an aspect of the unexplained: the Bermuda Triangle, aliens, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster. I ate it up.

Then, of course, were the slumber parties where we watched movies like "Psycho" and "The Lady in White." It was delicious, that shared feeling of fear: hiding behind our pillows, imagining footsteps outside the window—because in fact we were perfectly safe. We were seeing new facets of the world, exploring what it meant to be brave.

I think spooky books are appealing because they offer adventure, escape—a vicarious experience in a parallel world. They allow kids to view fear through a lens that hopefully makes their real-world problems a little less scary, a little easier to face.

These days I love "M Night Shyamalan" movies and the show "Supernatural." I even watch the occasional episode of "Ghost Hunters." My husband teases me about my “creepy side.” But I’ve never enjoyed slasher movies or anything gory, especially zombies. They give me nightmares!

It’s probably why I write middle grade. I love a good scare, but nothing graphic. I think what you don’t show can be even scarier than spelling out the grisly details. The movie "The Village" comes to mind here. It wasn’t well-received by critics, but it created an almost tangible atmosphere on the screen. It had gorgeous, enticing cinematography, a washed-out color palette with hints of red (“the bad color”), and an epic soundtrack. I thought it was beautifully done.

I’m also fascinated by old things and abandoned places. Every broken-down barn or rusting piece of junk tells a story. You can almost feel the history there as you imagine the ghosts that might be lingering. It’s my go-to source for inspiration.

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10. The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

You get two for the price of one today–Layla has a review of The Scorpion Rules for you, and Wendy has a giveaway + recap of the Erin Bow event she attended awhile back! Review: I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I have been in the middle of a fairly severe reading slump (and am also reading nonstop for my dissertation, so you know, take that into account, too) and The Scorpion Rules is one of the few books that have successfully broken through the haze of grumpiness I’ve been in for the last few months. But The Scorpion Rules really worked for me. From what I can tell, though, it seems like it’s been a fairly divisive read – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Luckily for me, I am firmly on Team Scorpion Rules (and Team Talis!). If you like dark humor, morally ambiguous AIs,... Read more »

The post The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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11. The Impostor Queen glossary + giveaway

Today, we’re kicking off a mini tour for Sarah Fine’s upcoming book The Impostor Queen! Sarah is one of our favorite authors here at The Midnight Garden, and we’re all pretty excited about her new series. About the Book: Publication Date: January 5th, 2015 The elders chose Elli to be queen, but they chose wrong in this beautifully crafted novel in the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Victoria Aveyard. Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule. But when the queen dies defending the kingdom... Read more »

The post The Impostor Queen glossary + giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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12. Giving Back for the Holidays, Part 1: Women’s Storybook Project of Texas

When Jennifer and I celebrate our new holiday-themed books with an event at Austin’s BookPeople on December 5, we’re going to spotlight the store’s annual Giving Tree charity program. Guests buying any hardcover children’s book to donate to Giving Tree will be in the running for the giveaway of signed sets of Jennifer’s Revenge of […]

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13. Voyagers Giveaway

Voyagers: Project Alpha by D. J. McHale

About the Book: Earth is in danger! Without a renewable source of clean energy, our planet will be toast in less than a year. There are 6 essential elements that, when properly combined, create a new power source. But the elements are scattered throughout the galaxy. And only a spaceship piloted by children can reach it and return to Earth safely. First the ideal team of four 12-year-olds must be chosen, and then the first element must be retrieved. There is not a mistake to be made, or a moment to lose. The source is out there. Voyagers is blasting off in 3, 2, 1…

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was thinking the other day about trends in middle grade lit and I realized that science fiction and stories set in space are becoming more popular. Add that to the multi-platform trend of middle grade books written by various authors (think 39 Clues, Spirit Animals) and you've got a winner. I know that I have an audience of readers ready to go crazy over Voyagers. I mean, what's more exciting than the idea that only kids can save the world and they have to go into space and have adventures in order to do so? In some ways, Voyagers could be likened to Star Trek for tweens if kids were sent on a mission. 

The books are action packed, part mystery, part science fiction, part adventure and they are lots of fun. The cast of characters is also diverse. I really love Piper, who is in a wheelchair, yet demonstrates that that won't stop her from traveling in space and being part of the team-she can do what everyone else can. (If you're a savvy reader, you'll figure out from the cover of book 1 who gets chosen for the mission, but there are still surprises along the way, so don't worry!) 

The additional elements on VoyagersHQ.com are engaging and fun. I love the videos of the possible candidates and the quiz-kids really get a chance to feel like they're part of the Voyagers mission. 

The series is fun and exciting and sure to be a hit with middle grade readers who are fascinated by space-and can also be a good intro into science fiction for young readers. 

Want to win The Voyagers Experience prize pack?

Get the full Voyagers experience! One (1) winner receives:
·         The first two books in the series;
·         Branded iPhone6 case and home GadgetGrip button to deck out your device while experiencing the Voyagers app.

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Random House Children’s Books.

FIll out the form below to enter! One entry per person. Contest ends 11/22


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14. Monsterland, by Michael Phillip Cash | Giveaway

Would you rather be a werewolf, a zombie or a vampire? Enter to win an autographed copy of Monsterland, by Michael Phillip Cash; plus a living dead themed travel mug and a $50 Amazon gift card! Giveaway begins November 14, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 16, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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15. Author Interview & Giveaway: Angela Cerrito on The Safest Lie

"The Power of Poetry," an award-winning play!
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Welcome back, Cynsations reporter Angela Cerrito, and congratulations on the release of The Safest Lie (Holiday House, 2015). Could you tell us a little about the novel and what inspired you to write it? 

The Safest Lie follows the fictional Anna Bauman attempting to hide her Jewish identity and pass herself off as Anna Karwolska in Warsaw Poland during WWII. She confronts many of the same hardships and horrors children actually faced during the war. 

I was inspired to write about Anna when I learned of Irena Sendler’s covert operations to rescue children from the Warsaw ghetto.

How did you approach the research?

First, I read everything I could get my hands on in English. Next, I relied on translators to help me translate documents from Polish and German.

I applied for and was awarded an SCBWI grant that allowed me to travel to Poland for research. In Warsaw, I was able to study primary sources including testimonies of children recorded when they were staying at a home for Jewish children immediately after the war. Those first-hand accounts, documented so close to the actual events, were extremely valuable to me as a writer.

I was also able to meet and interview Irena Sendler and her biographer Anna Mjeszkowska. Reading extensively prior to the interviews was a great help because it allowed me to go deeper into the subject matter and clear up inconsistencies in my research. Also, like most biographers, Ms. Mieszkowska was very passionate about her work and eager to share research that wasn’t included in the published biography.

What were your biggest challenges in terms of craft and framing the story for young readers?

Excerpt & Educator's Guide
You’ve asked the question I repeatedly asked myself while writing this novel. How can I possibly write this story for such young readers?

I was determined to be honest, completely honest, yet it was important that I use language and experiences appropriate for young readers. This was a difficult balance. 

Some of the early versions were too bleak. Yet, there were some things I couldn’t change and still portray what children actually faced.

Over time I was able to have Anna learn about things that happened to other children rather than experience them herself. Also, as the many revisions turned into an actual novel, there was more of Anna’s past, before the war.

The turning point for me was when one of my versions introduced Jacob as a more significant character. This prompted me to explore more of Anna’s past and helped give the book the balance of honest yet hopeful.

What advice do you have for other historical fiction writers?

Advice for historical fiction writers would be the same as advice for any writer: write what you want to write in your very own way. No one else can feel your stories, no one else can imagine your words. Write.

How was writing your sophomore novel different from writing your debut, The End of the Line (Holiday House, 2011)?

I actually wrote the first draft of The Safest Lie before I finished The End of the Line. The writing process wasn’t significantly different, although The Safest Lie required many more drafts. And obviously from the long time from start to finish I took many breaks from the novel along the way.

Though the two novels are very different: The End of the Line is contemporary and features a boy protagonist at a school for troubled youth while The Safest Lie is historical and follows a girl protagonist hiding in plain sight.

They have much in common. Both characters long for their family and are struggling with identity. Robbie and Anna are both trying to find a way to be the person they were before. In Robbie’s case, he can’t forgive himself for Ryan’s death and wants to be, in his words, normal again. Anna, wishes she could be her true self though her very life depends on hiding her identity. I enjoy exploring the internal emotional conflicts of characters and their struggles with identity.

You're involved in SCBWI International and the Bologna Book Fair! Can you tell us more about your related efforts? 

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is very special to me. It was the very first SCBWI event that I ever attended. The SCBWI presence in Bologna has grown and we now have an exhibitor’s booth where SCBWI members, from anywhere in the world, can display their recently published PAL books. There is also an SCBWI Bologna Illustrators’ Gallery.

In 2016, we will display the top illustrations and for the first time ever we will have a People’s Choice Award where visitors to the SCBWI exhibit at the fair will vote on their favorite illustrations.

Cynsational Notes

Angela Cerrito (@angelacerrito) is an author and playwright. Her newly released novel, The Safest Lie (Holiday House, Fall 2015) is based on research in Warsaw, Poland including interviewing Irena Sendler, a mastermind spy in the Polish Resistance who rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. 

Her debut novel, The End of the Line (Holiday House 2011), about a boy coming to terms with his role in the death of a friend, received many awards including VOYA’s Top of the Top Shelf, a YALSA Quick Pick and a Westchester Fiction Honor Award. Her play, "The Power of Poetry," was awarded the Best Play Audience Choice award at the 2015 IMCOM Europe new play festival. Angela is a Cynsations reporter, covering Europe & beyond.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a bookplate-signed copy of The Safest Lie by Angela Cerrito (Holiday House, 2015). Publisher sponsored. Eligibility: U.S.

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16. Silly Willy Winston in the Adventures of Super Snout: Have NO Fear and Fire HD7 Kindle Giveaway

Prize and sample courtesy of Donna Maguire The Children’s Book Review | November 7, 2015 Enter to win a copy of Silly Willy Winston in the Adventures of Super Snout: Have NO Fear, written by Donna Maguire, and a Fire HD7 Kindle! One (1) grand prize winner receives: An ebook copy of Silly Willy Winston in the Adventures of Super Snout: Have NO […]

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17. Win an iPod Nano and Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk, M. M. Allen | Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk written by acclaimed author M. M. Allen; plus an Apple iPod Nano to listen to your downloaded copy of the Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk soundtrack composed by the talented Deborah Wynne! Giveaway begins November 5, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 31, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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18. Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway WINNERS

Winners – Big Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway

Wondering who won the big Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway back in September? The wait is over!

In September KidLit TV launched our first ever Big Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway! We partnered with Pragmatic Mom, Jump into a Book, Franticmommy and Multicultural Children’s Book Day, to give parents, teachers, and librarians a chance to win a multicultural book bundle for their school library. The results are in!

Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners of our very first Big Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway! KidLit TV will be shipping off books to the libraries below, in the name of each winner.

WINNER: Margaret Barham

LIBRARY: The Exploris School (Elementary Campus) – Raleigh, NC

WINNER: Johana Castillo

LIBRARY: North Grade Elementary – Lake Worth, FL

WINNER: Twila Claycomb

LIBRARY: Oswayo Valley Middle School – Shinglehouse, PA

WINNER: Kelly Gesser

LIBRARY: Potowmack Elementary School – Sterling, VA

WINNER:  Margaret Hufstedler

LIBRARY: Alton Elementary School – Alton, MO

WINNER: Lauren Lim

LIBRARY: Myford Elementary School – Irvine, CA

WINNER:  Becky Morales

LIBRARY: Colony Meadows Elementary School – Sugar Land, TX

WINNER:  Alison McKinney

LIBRARY: Round Hill Elementary School – Washingtonville, NY

WINNER:  Jennifer Verbrugge

LIBRARY: Expo Elementary School – St. Paul, MN

WINNER:  Anjanette Young

LIBRARY: Donner Springs Elementary School – Reno, NV

We put out a call for diverse books and publishers listened. We’d like to thank the publishers below for donating books to the giveaway.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Candlewick Press

Abrams Books

Dreamscape Media

Dial Books

Lee & Low Books


Books featured in the giveaway bundle include:

The Whale in My Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan

Beauty and The Beast by H. Chuku Lee, illustrations by Pat Cummings

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Gone Crazy In Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

The Seeds of Friendship by Michael Foreman

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown, illustrations by Sara Palacios

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Rafael López, illustrated by Samantha R. Vamos

Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Legg, illustrated by L. C. Wheatley

We urge parents, teachers, and librarians to support publishers who have a diverse roster of authors, illustrators, and titles.

You don’t have to wait until next year to enter our giveaway (yes, we’ll be doing this again!). There are many school and local libraries in need of new, or used books in great condition. Please consider donating a book or creating a book drive to support your local schools and libraries.

Pragmatic Mom
Pragmatic Mom was born of several circumstances; one child’s lackluster academic year, a mishap during a reading session, and realizing it was okay for a mom to love kid lit more than adult fiction. Mia Wenjen chronicles her family’s journey through education, parenting, and children’s literature via Pragmatic Mom. Mia is a leader in literacy and parenting. She is one of the co-founders of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

Connect with Pragmatic Mom on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Jump into a Book
Jump into a Book (JIAB) is a site about the love of children’s books and how they can be incorporated into our everyday lives through play, crafting, cooking, movies, games, traveling and author visits. At JIAB, they strive to pull books off shelves and stories off pages to create reading experiences for families. Amazon and iTunes best-selling author and founder of Audrey Press, Valarie Budayr is a play and reading advocate, whose mission is to inspire children, families, and communities to experience and create a world together through books while having fun.

Connect with Jump into a Book on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Rebecca Flansburg (a.k.a Franticmommy), is a freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant. Franticmommy.com, is filled with laughter and love about the joys of parenthood. Rebecca is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoying life beyond the cubicle, and find clarity in the work/life/family balance.

Connect with Franticmommy on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Multicultural Children’s Book Day’s (MCCBD) mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event.  On January 27th, 2014 Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom presented the very first Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books. The results and support overwhelming as authors, publishers, parents, teachers, bloggers and librarians joined forces to offer up an online event designed to shine the spotlight on diversity in children’s literature.

Connect with Multicultural Children’s Book Day on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

KidLit TV
KidLit TV is a community of authors, illustrators, educators, and parents all working together to bring great books to kids. We hope to reinforce an appreciation of reading that children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Click here for more.

Connect with KidLit TV on Facebook (page), Facebook (group) Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Sign up for the newsletter too!

The post Multicultural Back to School Library Book Giveaway WINNERS appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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19. Voyagers Series | Book Giveaway

Enter to win this new multi-platform middle-grade series: VOYAGERS (Random House Children's Books, 2015). Get the full Voyagers experience! Giveaway begins October 26, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 25, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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20. Guest post (and Giveaway) from Suzette Valle, 101 MOVIES TO SEE BEFORE YOU GROW UP

I'm honored to be part of the blog tour for an adorable new book about movies! 

101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up by Suzette Valle (Oct 13, 2015, Walter Foster Jr/Quarto Publishing, for ages 8 and up, 144 pages)

All of my favorites are in here! I'll bet yours are too. This is fun for the entire family. It's a bright, colorful book, plus it's interactive (you can rate the movies yourself). This book would be a perfect gift for the middle grader in your life.


Suzette Valle is an award-winning mother of two and freelance writer focusing on family entertainment. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of San Diego, and has a Master's Degree from Oxford University, England. She also has her own blog, Mamarazzi Knows Best.com, where she writes about parenting in a celebrity-driven society and all aspects of entertainment. She is a featured Hollyblogger at the award-winning Hollywood publication The Wrap.com where she contributes film reviews, interviews with celebrities, and has covered and written about pop-culture events like Comic-Con International where she's interviewed actors, directors, producers and writers about current and upcoming projects. She wrote over 30 articles for the monthly column Parent Talk for AOL's Patch.com, and headed this publication's Parents Council in her community. Suzette lives in the seaside town of Coronado, California. This enchanted island is also known as the Emerald City because L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, penned several of the Oz books here. Suzette enjoys watching movies, and walks on the beach with her husband of 25 years and Bella, her adorable dog.

Follow Suzette on Twitter

And now for an exclusive guest post from Suzette. I asked her what her favorite movie was when she was growing up. Take it away, Suzette!

One of my favorite movies growing up was “The Parent Trap.” The original 1961 film starring Hayley Mills as the twins just captured my imagination. This film had to be in the book, especially since there was a popular remake with Lindsay Lohan that introduced this plot to a new generation. Though this is still one my personal favorite films, I think I would rather tell you about my favorite movie experience with my family, one that made a long-lasting impact on all of us: “Harry Potter.” This movie franchise had to be in the book. It was so significant that the American Film Institute gave Harry Potter a special award and recognition, “Eight films that earned the trust of a generation who wished for the beloved books of J.K. Rowling to come to life on the silver screen. The collective wizardry of an epic ensemble gave us the gift of growing older with Harry, Ron and Hermione as the magic of Hogwarts sprung from the films and into the hearts and minds of Muggles around the world.”

Before we watched any of the Harry Potter films, my husband and I would take turns reading the books aloud to our kids. We had a special routine for this. We'd sit by the fireplace with our favorite blankets, a cup of hot chocolate, and we would try to read each character in a different voice and (terrible) British accents. It usually ended up being just the voices of a boy or girl without accents since the kids would ask us to simply stop the torture. Ha!

Going to the theater to watch the books come to life on the silver screen was the first experience our children had with the book-to-movie process! We also encouraged our kids to wear their favorite Harry Potter costume to watch the films, which most kids and families tended to do at the time. I'll never forget the wide-eyed looks on their faces when they'd recognize a scene from the book, or getting elbowed when the kids noticed something was a little different from the original storyline. As adults now, 20 and 23, our kids now know that sometimes the film version has to be a little different from the book to add an element of surprise for the audience members who might think they already know the story.

After watching each of the Potter movies, it was fascinating to hear our children compare the book to the film, and listening to their observations about the differences they noticed as little film critics made all the effort we made to make this a special experience for them worth it.

One aspect that we really enjoyed about reading the books before watching the movies, was how this filled us with anticipation and excitement to see Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hogwarts materialize on screen as we had seen them in our mind's eye -- it was unlike any other movie had done before or has since then. This series had a gripping effect on us all, didn't it? I'll never forget these precious movie-moments with my family -- they were magical!

If children are not quite ready for the action and adventure of the Harry Potter films, another series that's becoming a family-movie-watching tradition is "How To Train your Dragon." There are 12 books in this series, and they've started to roll out in theaters, too.

This type of family bonding opportunity that movies provide, are the main reason I wrote "101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up." Watching movies at home is the most common activity we share as a family, and I think most families in America do as well. Taking these cinematic journeys together, from the safety and comfort of your home, is a fantastic way to spend time with your children not only before they grow up, but as they grow up. Just like mine grew up along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione!

Thanks so much, Suzette. The original Parent Trap has always been one of my favorites, too. And of course, I watched all the Harry Potter movies with my own kids!

Readers, be sure to check out the next stop on the tour: 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fandom Monthly Magazine


Now for the giveaway details: One lucky reader will win a copy of 101 MOVIES TO SEE BEFORE YOU GROW UP. To enter, you must be a follower of this blog and you must comment on this post. If you mention this giveaway on Twitter or other social media, please let me know and I'll give you extra chances. This giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only and will end at 10 pm EST on Sunday November 8, 2015. The winner will be announced on Monday November 9th. Good luck!


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21. Guest Post & Giveaway: Beth Revis on: Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice

 By Beth Revis
 for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Beth Note: Don't miss out on the giveaway at the end of this post. And remember all orders of Paper Hearts made before Nov. 15 from Malaprops will come with a special gift--see details below! 
You can win a journal with this cover!
I wrote Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice for the writer I used to be. The questions I used to have plagued me when I was starting this career path.  

How do I get to the end? What's the proper way to structure a novel--is there even a proper way? How do I make my book stand out from all the other ones on submission?

Now, fifteen years, eleven unpublished books, three New York Times bestsellers, one self published book, and countless hours working on craft and working with other professionals, I think I finally have the answers that I needed way back then.

Unfortunately, I can't travel back in time. But what I can do is try to help others. I've been compiling articles on the things I've learned about writing, publishing, and marketing for years, first informally on blog posts, then collectively on Wattpad.

After hitting 100,000 reads, I realized that I should take Paper Hearts more seriously...and that I had not one book, but three.

Fully revised and expanded, the Paper Hearts series will feature three volumes, one each on writing, publishing, and marketing. Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice will be out on November 1, with the other two following in December and January.

Pre-order it now from: Independent Bookstore ~ Amazon ~ BN ~  Kobo ~ Smashwords

About the Book

Your enemy is the blank page. When it comes to writing, there's no wrong way to get words on paper. But it's not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won't make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.
Practical Advice Meets Real Experience
With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:
  • How to Develop Character, Plot, and World
  • What Common Advice You Should Ignore
  • What Advice Actually Helps
  • How to Develop a Novel
  • The Basics of Grammar, Style, and Tone 
  • Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
  • How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
  • How to Deal with Failure
  • And much more!
Plus, more than 25 "What to do if" scenarios to help writers navigate problems in writing from a New York Times Bestselling author who's written more than 2 million words of fiction.

Beth Note: if you pre-order the print copy from my local indie bookstore, Malaprops, you'll also get a chapbook of the best writing advice from 12 beloved and bestselling YA authors included for free!

Paper Hearts Excerpt

Write What You Know
Probably the most clichéd and oft-used phrase for any writer is the old adage, “write what you know.”

So how did I end up writing a novel that takes place hundreds of years in the future, on a spaceship populated by genetically modified people heading to a planet that might not really exist? It’s definitely not something I “know.”

Typically, we don’t really “know” our stories. Or, at least, I don’t. I’ve never been the youngest person on a spaceship, but I do know what it’s like to not fit in. I’ve never had my parents cryogenically frozen, but I still remember that moment when I realized that I’d grown up and was no longer under their safe protection.

Many times it seems that people who aspire to write teen fiction are more focused on writing teenagers than on writing characters who behave realistically. They will often do research on the outward appearances: clothing, slang, mannerisms. Very often, this is where they trip up, because that’s not the important stuff.

Focus on the stuff you know—the stuff everyone knows. We have all experienced the same things most teens have experienced: first love, first heartbreak, betrayal and fear, joy, sorrow.

This is what the writer must know—and if the writer knows this, then everything else—the characters, the plot, the world—will fall in place.

Find the beating heart of the story. Invention is a wonderful thing—a necessary thing when it comes to writing. You need to have invention, but, somewhere beneath everything that you create, you also have to write what you know. Not literally. Emotionally.

Cynsational Notes 
Beth Revis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe trilogy, as well as The Body Electric, Paper Hearts, and the forthcoming A World Without You.

She lives in the Appalachian mountains with her boys: one husband, one son, and two very large dogs.

Find out more on Facebook, Twitter, or online.

Sign up for her newsletter.

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22. Giveaway: Author-Signed Poster & The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, illustrated by Brandon Dorman

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Enter to win one of two copies of The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (Shadow Mountain, 2015) and an author-signed Fablehaven poster.

Caretakers of magical preserves need to visually identify dozens of mythical and magical creatures. This book will open your eyes to a secret world most humans know nothing about. Study these pages and learn about the many magical artifacts, potions, and weapons that could potentially save your life.

Furthermore, a smart caretaker will need to know how to recognize (and stay away from) the more nefarious creatures found in this book. Most importantly, The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven will give you the inside scoop about other magical preserves around the world, including the most magical and powerful creatures known to ever exist—dragons!

Scattered throughout the book are tidbits of wisdom and counsel from previous caretakers. For example, "Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real smart ones learn from the mistakes of others."

Immerse yourself in the secret knowledge that has been handed down through the generations by reading the handwritten updates and notes scribed in the margins by the former (and current) caretakers of Fablehaven, including Patton Burgess, Grandpa Sorenson, Kendra, and Seth. Fully-illustrated, this unique encyclopedia has gathered the world of Fablehaven into one volume.

Publisher sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. only.

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23. The Bear Necessities Giveaway, Including Beady Bear

Prizes and samples provided by Dover Publications, Inc. The Children’s Book Review | November 1, 2015 Enter to win The Bear Necessities prize pack from Dover Publications: a copy of Beady Bear by Don Freeman, The Berenstain Bears’ Story Time Treasury, The Berenstain Bears’ First Time DO-IT! Book, and The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature! Two (2) winners […]

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24. The Fox and the Snowman Book Blast through November 4th – $100 GC or Paypal cash giveaway

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for our new picture book,”The Fox and the Snowman” (November 2 to 4, 2015).

The Fox and the Snowman

About the Book

Title: The Fox and the Snowman | Author: Angela Muse | Illustrator: Helen Wu | Publication Date: October 5, 2015 | Publisher: 4EYESBOOKS | Pages: 28 | Recommended Ages: 0 to 8

Summary: This is a story of a lone fox and his journey through a year of changing seasons. He discovers friendship and family in this colorful winter tale.

Also check out Lil Glimmer, The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure, The Pig Princess, The Bee Bully, Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play, Cactus Charlie, Suzy Snowflake, Monsters Have Mommies, The Christmas Owl, The Cat Who Lost His Meow, Caterpillar Shoes & Ten Thankful Turkeys by this author.

Grab a copy of the ebook, available for a limited time at the introductory price of 99 cents! (REG $2.99)

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

iBooks * Createspace * Goodreads

About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela MuseAngela Muse was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to being the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends, but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first rhyming children’s book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children’s picture books and released her first young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls.

Angela’s husband, Ben Muse writes suspense/thriller books that can also be found on Amazon.

Check out what else she’s working on by visiting www.4eyesbooks.com

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

** Book Blast Giveaway **

Prize: One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card or $100 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice

Giveaway ends: November 15, 11:59 pm, 2015

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Copyright © 2015 Mother Daughter Book Reviews, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up to receive the HTML from all of the Book Blasts hosted by MDBR in the Fall, 2015.

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25. Guest Post & Giveaway: Lyn Miller-Lachmann on Presenting Contested Histories in Fiction

Dana on Writing from the Marrow
By Lyn Miller-Lachmann
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Last spring I interviewed Dana Walrath about her debut YA novel Like Water on Stone (Delacorte, 2014), a story of the Armenian genocide told from the perspective of three child survivors and an eagle that observes all.

The comments that I received on my review of this novel revealed that this is still a contested history, especially among some Turkish Muslims who continue to deny the genocide.

My own novel Surviving Santiago (Running Press, 2015) addresses a contested history as well, that of the Pinochet regime in Chile. By the time the Chilean people voted General Pinochet out in a 1988 plebiscite, he’d been favored to win, his name had become synonymous worldwide with assassination, torture, and censorship.

Yet nearly ten years after his death, many Chileans continue to see the seventeen years of his rule as a time of stability and prosperity. They see the human rights violations as a necessary cost of a radical economic restructuring that has made Chile a prosperous nation. My husband’s uncle in Santiago happens to be one of those people.

Tina’s family has a different point of view. Pinochet’s forces imprisoned and tortured her father, a human rights activist and socialist, and left him disabled. But I could not write this novel without thoroughly researching and taking into account the other side.

Just as Like Water on Stone shows through the father’s musical trio that not all Turkish Muslims supported the genocide, Surviving Santiago offers a character, Tina’s aunt, who appreciates the country’s economic growth under the dictatorship while condemning oppression in all its forms.

Cynsational Giveaway

Moonbeam Award Gold Medalist
Enter to win one of two signed copies of Surviving Santiago (Running Press, 2015). From the promotional copy: 

To sixteen-year-old Tina Aguilar, love is the center of her world with its warmth and ability to make a place into a home. Thus, Tina is less than thrilled to return to her birthplace of Santiago, Chile, for the first time in eight years to visit her father, the man who betrayed her and her mother’s love through his political obsession and alcoholism. 

Tina is not surprised to find Papá physically disabled from his time as a political prisoner, but she is disappointed and confused by his constant avoidance of her company. So when Frankie, a mysterious, crush-worthy boy, shows interest in her, Tina does not hesitate to embrace his affection.

However, Frankie’s reason for being in Tina’s neighborhood is far from incidental or innocent, and the web of deception surrounding Tina begins to spin out of control. Tina’s heart is already in turmoil, but adding her and her family’s survival into the mix brings her to the edge of truth and discovery.

Romance and intrigue intertwine in Lyn Miller-Lachmann’s coming-of-age story set amidst the tense anticipation at the end of the Pinochet regime in 1989. Fans of Gringolandia will recognize the Aguilar family as they continue their story of survival and redemption.

Author sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. only.

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