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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Chronicle Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 266
1. Celtic Tales: Kate Forrester

Celtic Tales Cover

Everything about Celtic Tales, Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales calls to be held, read, and visually absorbed. The design is simple but beautiful. Kate Forrester's imagery is beguiling. I've awaited this release with images from the catalog taped to my wall. In the sophisticated art, there's a refined simplicity. The Celtic tales themselves are fresh and surprising.

This is a beautiful pick to gift someone for the holidays. Just be aware:

"Do not think the fairies are always little.
Everything is capricious about them, even their size...
Their chief occupations are feasting, fighting, and making
love, and playing the most beautiful music."

~William Butler Yeats, Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry.

Celtic Tales
illustrated by Kate Forrester
Chronicle Books, 2016
LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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2. Writing from the Inside Out. . . Author Michaela MacColl shares + Giveaway

Dear Friends,

It's been awhile since I had a guest author who writes for the Young Adult age group, and what could be more exciting for Jane Austen fans and mystery lovers, than a book featuring Jane herself in a mystery of espionage, intrigue, and romance? Besides Secrets in the Snow featuring Jane Austen, our guest author, Michaela MacColl, has written mysteries featuring our favorite heroines from the 19th-century literary world--Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, and the Bronte sisters! A complete set would be a perfect gift this season not just for teens, but for all of us!

But before Michaela takes the stage, we have TWO winners picked by random.org from last week's post. Winner #1: KATHY WEICHMAN. Kathy, you may choose from either A Christmas Spider's Miracle or Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble. Winner #2: JANA ESCHNER, you will receive the remaining book--the books will be personalized for the winners.

***Congratulations, Kathy and Jana!***  
 (Kathy and Jana please e-mail me: claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and how you'd like the book personalized.)

And NOW, please welcome historical fiction author and my friend, Michaela MacColl. Michaela is generously donating a copy of her newest mystery, Secrets in the Snow, featuring Jane Austen! All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment about the post or share your favorite Jane Austen title. Thank you!

Dare I imitate Jane? by Michaela MacColl

I’ve written four literary mysteries now featuring famous writers as young adults – and I do say so myself, I’ve dared a lot. I channeled Emily Dickinson’s unique take on the world and explored the sibling rivalry between the Bronte sisters. Louisa May Alcott fell prey to my pen too (actually I found her matter-of- fact problem-solving ethos very modern). But Jane Austen? The undisputed Mistress of Conversation? How dare I put words in her mouth?

When I begin these books I read biography and their body of work in tandem. I look for emotional links in their writing to my understanding of their lives. With Emily D. I found connections between her shyness and search for someone who understands her in her poetry. With Louisa it was easy – Jo March is for all intents and purposes, Louisa with all the rebellion and childhood mischief that implies. But Jane was a different story. Her life was practically event-less. She lived quietly with her family, a dependent spinster. There were no deaths or mysteries in her life – just tea, county dances and conversation. Lots of conversation. In fact, the more I looked in Jane’s work for physical descriptions of characters or places, the less I found. Unless Elizabeth’s “fine eyes” tell you more than me – we have no idea what she looks like. But we do know how she talked. That’s mostly what all the characters in Jane Austen do – they talk.

So I read the books out loud. I watched my favorite adaptations – BBC anyone? -- and of course the 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park. By the time I started writing, I had the rhythm and the vocabulary. I put Jane in the scene with her mother and a romantic interest and let them talk! I think it worked – but would love to know what you think?

Check out Secrets in the Snow (Chronicle, October 2016) and let me know!

Review From School Library Journal --Secrets in the Snow. Gr 7–10—Nineteen-year-old Jane Austen—yes, that Jane Austen—finds herself entwined in some serious intrigue when the War Office suggests that her cousin, whose French aristocrat husband lost his head to the guillotine, might be engaged in traitorous activity against England. Jane is determined to get to the bottom of the situation, even if it means veering into unladylike territory. Adding to the drama, a gentleman studying the law has entered Jane's social circle—and all of her family members are eager to encourage a marriage match regardless of his condescending first impression. MacColl's fidelity to Austen's biography and family, with a bit of creative license woven in, results in a charming historical mystery. Her playfulness with Austen's voice is a delight, and she peppers the story with hints at characters and plot points from the author's oeuvre—nothing that distracts from the narrative, but tidbits that serve as inside jokes to readers who have already dived into her works. These elements more than make up for a somewhat rushed conclusion. Readers whose interest in Austen is piqued will enjoy the biographical back matter. VERDICT A solid addition for fans of cozy mysteries and literary reimaginings.—Amy Koester, Skokie Public Library, IL

New York Times bestselling author Michaela MacColl  attended Vassar College and Yale University earning degrees in multi-disciplinary history. Unfortunately, it took her 20 years before she realized she was learning how to write historical fiction. Her favorite stories are the ones she finds about the childhood experiences of famous people. She has written about a teenaged Queen Victoria (Prisoners in the Palace, Chronicle 2010) and Beryl Markham’s childhood (Promise the Night, Chronicle 2011). She is writing a literary mystery series for teens featuring famous writers such as Emily Dickinson, the Bronte sisters, Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austen.  She has recently begun a new middle-grade series with Boyd’s Mills/Highlights called Hidden Histories about odd events in America’s past, including orphan trains, Dred Scott’s daughter and the Carlisle Indian Boarding School.  

Learn more about Michaela MacColl and her books: www.michaelamaccoll.com
Follow her on twitter: @MichaelaMacColl
FaceBook: AuthorMichaelaMacColl

Currently, Michaela is working on a new entry for the Calkins Creek Hidden History Series. This one is about an ancestor of hers who came to America from Shanghai in the 1870’s. 

Thanks, Michaela, for sharing your exciting new Jane Austen mystery--Secrets in the Snow--here at Writing from the Inside Out. . . I especially loved that line--I've dared a lot. That's a great challenge and good advice for all of us who write.

I'll be back on Monday, December 12th, to announce the winner of Secrets in the Snow! Thanks, dear readers, for continuing to support authors and books! You're the best!

Happy Holidays to all!


13 Comments on Writing from the Inside Out. . . Author Michaela MacColl shares + Giveaway, last added: 12/29/2016
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3. a most extraordinary review of THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU

I have spent this day in two ways only: At an early hour I Skyped with Ms. Tina Hudak and the young men of St. Albans Lower School of Washington about freedom, walls, inspiration, and building scenes and fictional time during a phenomenal conversation inspired by my Berlin Wall novel, Going Over. I was deeply impressed with those young men. With their recognition, among other things, that whether a wall is metaphorical or physical, it counts. It separates. It divides.

The rest of the day I have been writing my column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, finding it particularly challenging, this time around, to say just what I wanted to say. I fought with words until the words gave in and, at last, relinquished story.

Just as I was completing that work, news came in via Twitter of a GuysLitWire review of This Is the Story of You. The review, written by author and critic Colleen Mondor, is an absolute masterpiece of writing about writing, and I am so deeply taken by the artistry of it.

Taken by it.

Grateful for it.

On a day when words came slow to me, Colleen's words arrived as a salve. This is a deepest kindness.

2 Comments on a most extraordinary review of THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU, last added: 12/29/2016
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4. an honor, an excerpt, my husband's clay

I struggle, perhaps I always will, with striking the right balance. How much do we talk about ourselves out here? How much do we turn our attention to others? What does a small personal moment mean against the backdrop of grave concerns or else-where suffering?

I don't have the answers.

But here, today, is this:

This Is the Story of You, my young adult novel about the consequences of a monster storm, was named to the 2017 TAYSHAS Reading List today, and I could not be more grateful on behalf of this quiet book that means to much to me. Thank you, TAYSHAS, and thank you, Taylor Norman of Chronicle Books, who is so consistently kind to me. The link to the full list is here.

An excerpt from Nest. Flight. Sky., a Shebooks memoir about the loss of my mother, appears on the beautiful literary site, The Woven Tale Press, today. Woven Tale is like a book you want to read—beautiful considered and laid out. That link is here.

Finally, my husband's work will be featured in a major exhibition that opens tomorrow. This international show, Craft Forms, has its home at the Wayne Art Center, and tomorrow night I'll abandon my ordinary, often wrinkled, not exactly glamorous garb for a dress and heels to help celebrate the opening night. The link to my husband's work is here.

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5. They All Saw A Cat

They All Saw A Cat. Brendan Wenzel. 2016. Chronicle. 44 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws...and the child saw a CAT, and the dog saw a CAT, and the fox saw a CAT. Yes, they all saw the cat.

Premise/plot: Have you ever wondered how a mouse sees a cat? how a dog sees a cat? how a fish sees a cat? how a bird sees a cat? Brendan Wenzel's picture book plays with young readers' concept of perspective.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I did. Each spread is unique and interesting. Each reveals how a creature--a flea, a bee, a skunk, a bat, a child--sees a cat. Though it is the same cat, ever creature "sees" a different cat. I'll be honest, the illustrations steal the show. That plus the premise. I would definitely recommend this one.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. books and mud: remembering the flooding of the Arno (and One Thing Stolen)

Oh, bless that Taylor Norman of Chronicle Books, forever uplifting, forever near. Her email of yesterday shared this news that the 50th anniversary of the terrible flooding of Arno will be honored in San Francisco's own American Bookbinders Museum.

This was the natural and cultural catastrophe that inspired my novel One Thing Stolen (Chronicle Books). This forever-proximate possibility of culture (and the art of the mind) being lost to forces beyond anyone's control.

As Matthew barrels down on this earth, as natural disasters hovers, as we keep looking for more credible ways to feel secure, this story of the Arno spilling into and across a great city, into the rooms of great museums, into the basements of churches, into homes and shops is pressingly relevant. This story of those Mud Angels who brought their wings to the resurrection of that place still matters.

We depend on one another to see each other through. To dig down into the muck and salvage beauty.

My praise, then, to the American Bookbinders Museum. And my thanks to Taylor, for letting me know.

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7. This is the Story of You: Beth Kephart

Each Beth Kephart book which sails onto the shelf is like polished sea glass refracting the light of truth. This is the Story of You is a poetic rendering of loss and isolation after an epic storm. Mira is asked if she is strong enough to stand on her small, destroyed island and help the community that has shaped her every heartbeat. With her mother and brother off-island, she finds her family is broader than she ever expected.

Find the work, readergirlz, and listen to Beth's love of the sea. Draw your mind in directions unexpected, and finish the last page with the sound of the ocean and one girl's resilience shoring you up in your own story of you.

This is the Story of You
by Beth Kephart
Chronicle Books, 2016

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8. in which a reader of STORY taps deeply into its mystery

In which Serena Agusto-Cox of Savvy Verse and Wit discovers the breadcrumb clues I've been leaving for readers all along, book to book. So many thanks for this truly gorgeous review of This Is the Story of You.

From the end of the review:

This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart will astonish you with the resilience of young people, their drive to make things right, and their ability to withstand more than expected, but it is in the final pages that the true mystery is resolved.  I will say this, I’m not often surprised by book endings or mysteries, but Kephart exceeded my detective skills for the first time in a long while.  (I had suspicions, but not a fully formed conclusion.)  Readers who love to immerse themselves in realistic places and explore humanity won’t be disappointed.  Kephart is a talent at creating places that come alive and characters that grab hold of us emotionally.

**You’ve probably already suspected this is a contender for the best of 2016 list at the end of the year!**

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9. my first area signing of THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU, Main Point Books, April 30, 2 PM

I'll be signing THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU, my Jersey Shore novel (Chronicle Books), tomorrow, Saturday, April 30, 2 PM, in celebration of Independent Bookstore Day. Hope to see you at Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, PA.

I love the sea, I love the shore, I wonder about storms and now, the mysteries of family and friendship.

I wrote of these things.

I hope to see you there. Not a reading, just a signing. Come any time between 2 and 3 PM.

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10. D is for Dress Up: The ABC’s of What We Wear, by Maria Carluccio | Book Review

The ABC's have never been more fashionable in this delightful alphabet book.

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11. THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU, in the Philadelphia Inquirer

So grateful for this opportunity in the Philadelphia Inquirer today.

I'll post the live link tomorrow.

In the meantime, for more on this book—the reviews, the story—please go here.

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12. BookPage on THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU, and thank you, Carrie Gelson

This morning I thank Sarah Weber of BookPage for her glorious review of This Is the Story of You:
... Kephart's liquid prose drives the story, fueling the reader's own emotional turmoil and rendering Mira and her friends brave and loyal despite their fear. Kephart's worldbuilding is meticulous and vivid, with details that make Haven feel like a place out of time.

This smart, poignant novel is an absolute pleasure to read.

Just as I thank Carrie Gelson, self-proclaimed Book Fanatic and author of the blog, There's a Book for That, for her kind inclusion of This Is the Story of You in this Must Read 2016 Spring Roundup.

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13. Sarah Laurence reflects (so kindly) on THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU

Sarah Laurence, who posts beautiful images from her coastal-Maine life and wide imagination on her popular blog, has been so kind to me in my journey as a young adult novelist. Asking for and reading the books, thinking about them, making powerful and important observations, introducing me to her friend, Cathy Fiebach, of Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, PA, where I'll be doing the first area signing of the book featured above at 2 PM on April 30.

This is what Sarah does for others' books—even as she writes her own.

In the quiet months leading up to the launch (this coming Tuesday) of This Is the Story of You, Sarah asked for a copy. Yesterday she shared her thoughts.

I hope she knows how much this means to me.

I'm sharing just a fragment of Sarah's Story post here, so that you'll be forced to read the rest on Sarah's blog itself. I hope you stay there for awhile, and poke around to see what else Sarah has to say about words, stories, and place.

This is a Story of You is a modern parable of the horrors of climate change. When a storm cuts off an island from the Jersey Shore, 17-year-old Mira must fight for survival with only a stray cat for company. Earlier that day, her single mom had driven her disabled brother to the mainland hospital for emergency treatment. As the storm rages and the sea floods their beachside cottage, Mira must decide what to save and how to stay alive. If that weren't scary enough, a mysterious intruder is lurking outside, and without power or cellular service, Mira can't call for help.

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14. the booksellers' kind words about THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU

There is ocean, storm, community, friendship, family, mystery in This Is the Story of You. There are model airplanes pinned to a ceiling and bobbing in the breeze.

There is this book, which will launch next Tuesday, April 12, and be featured in this weekend's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Yesterday afternoon, Hannah Moushabeck, Associate Marketing Manager at Chronicle, began to send me Story word from independent booksellers. Mired in memoir newsletter management and an odd strain of politics, I had not, in any way, expected this.

Next Hannah sent me two images. The one above. The one you're about to see.

What a glorious touch, I thought—this photo of the real book beside one of the figurative and metaphoric planes within its pages.

Thank you, Hannah. And thank you, booksellers. Their words below.

 “What we lose, what we find, how we survive. Mira is alone when the storm hits her barrier-island town, with only a half-grown cat for company. The furor and devastation of the storm is horrible, but it is the aftermath, in the days before emergency help arrives, that is the most harrowing part: looking for loved ones; finding the dead; treating the wounded; finding food and water and shelter; and holding on to hope. The story of a huge storm and its impact on one small community, This is the Story of You is shot through with the gorgeous lyricism of Kephart's writing.” —Nancy Banks, Bookseller, City Stacks Books and Coffee
“Beth Kephart has written a lyrical novel where it is as easy to get lost in the language as the story. As often occurs in YA novels, Mira Bunal, is forced to face the worst on her own when a storm like Sandy hits the NJ island she lives on while her brother is receiving a treatment for a serious congenital illness. Mira finds the strength she needs and help in places she doesn't expect it. A great read for both teens and adults --that you might not want to read while summering at the Jersey shore.” —Cathy Fiebach, Bookseller, Main Point Books

“To pay attention, to love the world, to live beyond ourselves."  This is what they learned living as year-rounders on the 6 mile long 1/2 mile wide vacationers paradise of Haven.  This gripping, powerful YA novel is the story of family and friendship, of learning and learning more, of place and tragedy and resilience.  It is the perfect summer read, but This is the Story of You  will linger long after the last page is turned.  —Angie Tally, Bookseller, The Country Bookshop

“Beautifully written, This is the Story of You follows the life of Mira Banul, a year-rounder living on Haven, a six mile by one-half mile island. Year-rounders are prepared for everything so when news of a giant storm blowing in reaches the island, they think nothing of it. But the storm is like nothing they've ever seen before, and when her family is stuck on the mainland and one of her closest friends is missing, Mira must learn how to cope with loss and rekindle her hope if she is to help the island recover. With new mysteries popping up every chapter, This Is The Story of You is impossible to put down.” — Marya Johnston, Bookseller, Out West Books  

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15. #840 – We There Are Yet? by Nina Laden and Adam McCauley

Are We There Yet? Written by Nina Laden Illustrated by Adam McCauley Chronicle Books   3/01/2016 978-1-4521-3155-9 32 pages    Ages 3—6 “We’ve all been there. Or more accurately, we’ve all been with kids in the backseat clamoring (over and over!) Are we there yet?” [back cover] Review It’s time for a trip to grandma’s. …

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16. #835 – Apples and Robins by Lucie Félix

Before you check out Apples and Robins, an amazing picture book if there ever was one, check out the winner of two Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians author signed books. Each reader who commented was assigned a number, beginning with the first comment posted. (reverse order of there placement). Using Random.org ‘s generator, the …

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17. This Is the Story of You: a scene from my Jersey Shore novel

In less than five weeks, This Is the Story of You, my Jersey Shore novel, will be released by Chronicle Books. A Junior Library Guild selection that has received two early stars, this is a mystery set in the wake of a monster storm. It's a meditation on our environment and an exploration of friendship, sisterhood, loss, and resilience.

It is, perhaps, the most urgent novel I've yet written, both in terms of themes and pacing.

On March 18, in the New York Public Library, as part of the New York City Teen Author Festival, I'll be reading from the book and talking about the perspective adults bring to the novels they write about teens in a panel gorgeously assembled by David Levithan and featuring Carolyn Mackler, Luanne Rice, and Francisco Stork. On March 20, I'll be signing early copies at New York City's iconic Books of Wonder. And on April 30, at Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, PA, I'll be doing a signing.

This morning I'm sharing this scene.

Here I should probably explain the rules, the lines in the sand, the ins and outs of Haven. We were a people shaped by extremes. Too much and too little were in our genes.

To be specific:

Too little was the size of things—the dimension of our island, the we-fit-inside-it-bank-turned-school, the quality of restaurants, the quantity of bridges.

Too much was The Season—Memorial Day through Labor Day. Vacationeers by the boatload, bikinis by the square inch, coolers by the mile, a puke-able waft of SPFs. The longest lines at night were at Dippy’s Icy Creams.

The longest lines by day circled the lighthouse. During The Season the public trash bins were volcanic eruptions, the songbirds were scarce, the deer hid where you couldn’t find them, the hamburgers were priced like mini filets mignons, and the rentable bikes streamed up, streamed down. At the Mini Amuse the Giant Wheel turned, the Alice in Wonderland teased, the dozen giraffes on the merry-go-round looked demoralized and beat. At Dusker’s Five and Dime the hermit crabs in the painted shells sold for exorbitant fees.

Whoever was up there in the little planes that dragged the advertising banners around would have looked down and seen the flopped hats, crusted towels, tippy shovels, broken castles, and bands of Frisbee fliers—Vacationeers, each one. Whoever was up there looking down would not have seen the bona fides, the Year-Rounders, the us, because we weren’t on the beach. We were too employed renting out the bikes, flipping the burgers, scooping the Dippy’s, cranking up the carousel, veering the Vacationeers out of riptides—to get out and be seen. From the age of very young we had been taught to maximize The Season, which was code for keeping the minimum wage coming, which was another way of saying that we stepped out of the way, we subserved, for the three hot months of summer.

We Year-Rounders had been babies together, toddlers together, kindergartners together, Alabasterans. We had a pact: Let the infiltrators be and watch them leave and don’t divide to conquer. We knew that what mattered most of all was us, and that we’d be there for us, and that we would not allow the outside world to actually dilute us. Like I said,we knew our water.

Six miles long.

One-half mile wide. Haven.

Go forth and conquer together.

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18. #828 – President Squid by Aaron Reynolds & Sara Varon

President Squid Written by Aaron Reynolds Illustrated by Sara Varon Chronicle Books    3/01/2016 978-1-4521-3647-9 44 pages       Ages 5—8 “President Squid hilariously explores the ideal qualities of a President. Squid knows he’s perfect for the job because he lives in a big house, does all the talking, bosses people around, and wears …

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19. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, by Juliet T. Lamana | Book Review

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere will appeal to young people who have had to cope with catastrophe and its aftermath.

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20. THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU: The Goodreads Giveaway, and signings

Friends, This Is the Story of You, my Jersey shore storm mystery, is (I have heard it said) printed and on its way to me. Story has received two stars in these early days (Kirkus and School Library Journal) and kind words from BookPage and Publishers Weekly. It is a Junior Library Guild selection and will be featured in an upcoming story on environmentally aware novels for younger readers in The Writer Magazine.

The launch date (early April) grows near.

In celebration of it all, Chronicle Books is sponsoring a Goodreads Giveaway, starting tomorrow.

Information is right there (I turn to glance toward the left side of my blog, where I hope you now glance as well), should you wish to enter. Twenty-five will win.

In the meantime, a big box of One Thing Stolen paperbacks has arrived. One Thing Stolen, which won a Parents' Choice Gold Medal and is a TAYSHAs selection, among other things, will launch alongside of Story.

I'll be signing early copies of Story at Books of Wonder, during the New York City Teen Authors Festival, on Sunday, March 20.

I will be signing Story and Stolen (and possibly even Love: A Philadelphia Affair) at Main Point Books, in honor of Independent Bookstore Day, at 2 PM.

I'd love to see you.

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21. let's talk about book courage

It should have gotten easier. In fact, it has not.

Because I always forget. I always forget when I am writing my books—happily writing my books, lost in my books, compelled and impelled by the making of books—that at some point along the way the book that is privately mine will no longer be private or, even, mine. It will be an object to be dismissed or discussed, dissed or shared. It will have very little to do with me, except that it is all of me, a part of me, an emanation of my heart, a hope.

Time and again, I have told myself that I can quit, that there are other ways, that the book biz is too cruel a biz (too tilted, unfair, overly made; too much about the in-crowd and the out-crowd; too forced a spectacle). And then: There I go, back to the couch with some paper and a pen because I cannot help myself, because I am most at peace while writing, because the stories demand to be told, because I somehow forget how being published feels, because books themselves aren't the problem here; it's the selling of books, which is different. I'm not a brand. I'm not a platform. I'm not a trend. I don't know how to be those things. I don't really have any business doing what I'm doing, except: writing is who I am.

Reviews are subjective. Of course. Every reader is a market of one. Absolutely. I religiously do not Google myself, search for reviews, seek Big Attention. I am, every single time, stunned when generous words find their way to me.

And—yes—unspooled when the less generous comes knocking, too.

I have been trying hard not to think (in a real way) about the upcoming launch of This Is the Story of You. I have no readings planned, no book-specific appearances, no celebration party, no whirlwind. Still, I realized this snowy weekend, that the angst of the book's release lives loud in me. That I care more than I should about how it will be received. That—especially because Story is so much about the world we live in now, this world of storms and environmental shifts and (still) love and need—I want it to succeed. I want it to find the right readers. I want them to love my Mira Banul and her brother, Jasper Lee, and her friends, and that beach. I want them to think about our world, the sand, the wind, the rising seas.

I write all of this because early this morning, 4 AM, when I woke to work on the first flight of student assignments, I was alerted a flurry of tweets about Story.

A very early reader speaks.

I am embarrassed by how much this means to me. But it means so much to me.

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22. This Is the Story of You Giveaway (and the winner(s) are...)

A few weeks ago, when I posted the THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU giveaway, I hoped for a handful of stories about the sea—quick imagery.

What happened instead is that some very beautiful memories, shaped inside some very beautiful sentences, came my way.

And then I was stuck. How could I choose (even randomly) a single winner?

With thanks to Lara Starr and the entire Chronicle team, I do not have to. Please read below the words that floated my way for this giveaway. All of you here have won. Please send me your mailing addresses.

Hilary Morgan:
There is a sea in Scotland, bordered by a black beach. A beach of stone, covered in seaweed. The sea is a brilliant color, a stark contrast to the dark shore. The sea is almost so enchanting I almost don't see my friend slip on the sea-wet seaweed and fall right on his back. But I do, and this trip to the hardened coast of Scotland is all the more memorable.

Jennifer Hoppins:
I've only ever taken one trip with my daughter, just the two of us. Although we've shared years of family vacations there was this one adventure we had---to celebrate my graduation from college. I had read in a travel guide about this place on the Outer Banks where you could go hang-gliding near the beach. Not a big risk taker, I surprised everyone by saying that this, more than anything was how I wanted to mark the occasion---by soaring on the breeze. On the evening after our solo flights (a feeling that now makes me jealous of all birds, even vultures!) we got a permit to have a campfire on the beach. That night, my teen daughter opened up and talked to me, laughing and being completely free, as if the roles of mother and daughter had been erased, and we were simply people who loved one another. I will remember her face in the dark, while the waves rolled in under the full moon, always.

Melissa Sarno:
A sea story... I learned to swim at my Aunt and Uncle's house on Bayville beach, thanks to Aunt Angie. She wasn't actually my Aunt. She was, just, everyone's Aunt. She wore a bathing suit with a skirt that bubbled up and ruffled around the surf and she called herself 'a waterbaby'. I don't even really know what that means. But she held on to my belly while I kept my chin high and I paddled and paddled above the safety of her arms. And when she decided I was ready, she let go, and I magically stayed afloat, chin up and paddling. Every year, somebody somewhere at some family function will mention Aunt Angie and, inevitably, that person will say, 'she taught me to swim at Bayville beach' and her sister will say, 'she taught everyone to swim at Bayville beach. She was a waterbaby.' 

Colleen Mondor:
I can not tell you only one story about the sea; I can only tell you I have thousands. When you grow up on the ocean, when your feet are in the sand before you can walk, when you learn to ride the waves by catching them on your father's back, when this is the life you have known then it is impossible to distill it down to one story.

How do I make you understand that there is an ocean, a stretch of beach, that I know better than my own body?

I will give you this then, Beth, one short story, a few lines of what it is to be me and my brother and my father. After my father's surgery, his body cut open to remove a cancer that never left, he asked me to take him to the beach. He had never spent the night in the hospital, had never even broken a bone, and now he was shredded and tired and worn. He was pale; my eternally tanned father was pale.

So we drove across the causeway, looked at the pelicans on the Indian River, turned onto A1A and then up to his beach. He had an "office" there on the sand, he was known as the "Mayor." Every day before his second shift job, swimming with the lifeguards half his age, fishing with us, body surfing with us, listening to ballgames on countless lazy summer afternoons. This was his beach in all name.

I had to help him up the six steps to the boardwalk and he sat down there heavily on the bench, too tired to walk on the sand. He just wanted to see it he told me, he wanted to smell the salt air.

"Now I believe I'm still alive," he said.

I didn't cry. He didn't want me to cry, so I didn't. But it was one of the hardest things I've ever done to keep those tears at bay.

My father died almost three years later and, good Catholic that he was, made arrangements to have his ashes interred in consecrated ground at a church on A1A, where you can hear the ocean's roar. My brother and I, beach babies all our lives, agreed to hold back a small portion of his ashes and my brother took them out into the water a few weeks later as a storm brewed offshore. We had to give some part of him to the sea; it's where he had taught us over and over that he truly belonged.

That's the ocean for me; impossibly connected to the heart of my family. I miss it everyday.

Victoria Marie Lees:
As always, Beth, I love your photos and your words. All the best in 2016! A short sea story/scene:
Can a sea breathe romance? It can if you escape from the daily grind of parenting five beautiful children for a few days’ respite on your fifteenth wedding anniversary.

Two lovers drag their toes in a beach drenched in gritty powdered pink coral; the sea clear as glass displays a dance of sergeant major fish. The sea is frigid for so late in May. At Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay Beach, the couple reminisces about life and love and strive not to repeat an element of their honeymoon when they both turned as pink as the sand.

Emily Lewis:
The first time my toe touched the ocean I felt like I was hugged by God himself. The smell of the ocean, the crash of the waves and the feel of sand and salt between my toes was truly moving. Coming from Wisconsin I am no stranger to beauty...I am surround by forests, lakes, fields of corn. But the vastness of the ocean...the endlessness of the sea...makes you feel like a speck on the map of the world. It allows you to put life into perspective. How can one not be moved to tears to see the wonders in the world? The hidden treasures are among us...whether an ocean, a butterfly or a snowflake find your wonder!

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23. Chronicle Books Editor Gives Career Advice

Ariel Richardson, associate editor at Chronicle Books, has some great advice for job applicants looking to get into the book industry.

In a blog post on the publisher’s house she shares advice on networking, internships and the kinds of jobs out there in the publishing business. Here is an excerpt:

And finally, read the genre you want to edit. As Stephen King so aptly puts it in On Writing, “The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.” So, if you’re interested in mysteries, read the Edgars. If you’re interested in children’s literature, read the ALA award winners every year—and livestream the awards to get a feel for the excitement.

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24. Best Selling Picture Books | January 2016

Our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is one of our all-time favorite books: Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell!

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25. This Is the Story of You: Teacher Guide

Jaime Wong of Chronicle Books works tirelessly on the teacher guides for author books, and I learn so much from her when I read them.

She's just shared this one with me.


I'm grateful for her curious mind, and her reach.

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