An Interview with the Amazing Valerie Bolling
Valerie is an amazing writer. She has created many wonderful books that are not just read but allow children to get involved with the story. Valerie’s gift isn’t that she is a writer, but she’s a fabulous teacher. She devotes her time to everything kidlit. She works hard not only to help children, but also writers to be their very best. I am so honored to know someone as brilliant as Valerie Bolling!
Dani: What was/were your favorite book or books as a kid?
Valerie: I loved books as a child. The books that were read to me as a young child – usually by my great-aunt, Lucille – were Frog and Toad, Curious George, Amelia Bedelia, Charlotte’s Web, James and the Giant Peach, and The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. As I got older, I began to read these books on my own as well as Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib series, and books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.
None of these books are about BIPOC children or written by BIPOC authors. Fortunately, I still enjoyed reading, but I’m immensely aware of the importance of diverse books for young readers. Children, especially those who are marginalized, need to see themselves in books. And children who are often highlighted and validated in books – and in society – need to see and learn about the experiences of those who are different from themselves.
Dani: Congratulations on having so many books coming out! Is there anything you did as a pre-published author that helped you get here?
Valerie: I think the most significant thing I did as a pre-published author, Dani, was continue to write. That way, I had a number of manuscripts that were polished and ready or close-to-ready for submission when I signed with my agent, James McGowan.
Dani: When you pitched your first books, did you want these stories to be a series, or is it something that just happened?
Valerie: When I wrote Let’s Dance!, it was a stand-alone book. Later, however, I thought about writing a book about the games children love to play and about musical instruments from around the world, which were similar to Let’s Dance!. When I signed with James, he helped me reimagine these stories, and they are now Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun! (Abrams 2022) and Bing, Bop, Bam: Time to Jam! (Abrams 2023).
Together We Ride was also not intended to be a series, but Chronicle bought two books, so I knew I’d need to write another that would be a sequel. They suggested I write a book about swimming, which is how Together We Swim (Chronicle 2023) came to be.
Dani: Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun! is a fun rhyming story. What challenges did you have (if any) writing a rhyming book?
Valerie: I actually feel very comfortable writing in rhyme. I’ve written in rhyme since I was a young child, so there’s something natural about it for me. That said, the biggest challenge is to make sure the rhyme is tight. It also has to tell a story – share an experience – that’s engaging to the reader.
Dani: Where do you go from here?
Valerie: I plan to keep writing, and, hopefully, will have more books published that children and adults enjoy. I will continue to give back to the kidlit community as a mentor and presenter for conferences and other writing communities. And I plan to continue teaching picture book writing classes. I have a lot to do to keep myself busy!
Get Valerie's New Book!!!
RIDE, ROLL, RUN: TIME FOR FUN! written by Valerie Bolling, Illustrated by Sabrena Kadija.
Get this amazing book here: https://valeriebolling.com/ride-roll-run.html
I am lucky today. I get to interview the amazing Sylvia Liu today! I’ve known Sylvia for some time now and am so excited to get her new book Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation. I just preordered it (check out the pre-order swag at the bottom of this post! Sylvia is a co-founder of Kidlit 411 an excellent resource for children’s writers and illustrators!
Besides being a writer Sylvia also is an amazing artist. She creates such beautiful and fun illustrations. She had art in the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art New Waves 2012 exhibit; and art and infographics in Huffington Post, Oceana, and World Wildlife Fund! Sylvia is represented by the great Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary Agency!
Dani: Is it easier or harder for you to write a novel than a picture book and does the genre affect the difficulty?
Sylvia: Picture books and novels are very different beasts, but both are hard in their own ways! Writing picture books is like writing a poem, where every word matters, plus you also have to have great characters and a story, all in a few hundred words.
Writing novels is like putting together a complex 3D puzzle with moving parts. For me, genre doesn’t affect the difficulty as much as the theme, plot, and audience. For example, my middle grade contemporary, Manatee’s Best Friend, has a more straightforward plot and is geared for the middle of middle grade, while my sci-fi, Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation, has a twisty plot and is geared to upper middle grade. For those reasons, Hana Hsu was more difficult to write.
Dani: Do you have any fun rituals around writing?
Sylvia: I’m a very visual person, so when I plot my books, I like to draw graphs and put sticky notes on a poster board. This is my plot chart for Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation (don’t look too closely, or you might see some spoilers!). I listed all the chapters/main scenes on outside of the arc and included themes or internal character arcs on the inside.
Dani: What inspired you to write Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation?
Sylvia: I love science fiction in all media, and the cyberpunk subgenre in particular, so when I started writing middle grade, that was the type of story I was drawn to. The idea of a girl finding out about a corporate conspiracy against her classmates whose brains are about to be connected to the multiweb, came from reading about companies like Cambridge Analytica using people’s online data to manipulate us.
Dani: What kind of research did you have to do for this story, or was most of it based on already learned experiences and ideas?
Sylvia: After I came up with the premise, I did some research about the science of connecting brains to the Internet and came across some studies on mice. It wasn’t until after my story was under contract that the news about a certain billionaire’s efforts to do the same came to light. As I built the world, I would find cool research that supported my ideas (like bioluminescent trees). I also consulted with my sister to understand genetic editing.
Dani: What’s next for you?
Sylvia: I’m working on a Chinese myth-based fantasy that I’m excited about!
Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation Pre-order Campaign
Sylvia Liu has a preorder a campaign going on right now. Get the awesome swag in the image above!
BONUS: 20 lucky pre-orders will get a stunning 10×8 inch fine art print by Kathryn Ault Noble. You must submit proof of purchase (or proof of library purchase request) to be eligible for this gift.
Get a Signed Book: https://bit.ly/HanaPBks and get swag plus a signed book!
Pre-order Campaign: http://www.enjoyingplanetearth.com/pre-order-campaign.html (go here to get your swag after buying the book!)
Order from the Publisher or Anywhere Else Here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/669649/hana-hsu-and-the-ghost-crab-nation-by-sylvia-liu/ (You’ll get a book plate with the swag!)
The Glowing by Tom Rimer
Nice guys often finish last, but sometimes last is all that’s left. Majestic Mount Greylock always cloaked the small berkshire town of Adams in its shadow…until now. Until the skies illuminated. Until the Glowing began. When Kamryn Coe, her disheveled teacher, and a group of geeks that’d put a comic convention to shame witness the destruction of their hometown, they must combat a land teeming with drooling alien hordes, while Kam faces the truth of her own birth and its connection to the catastrophe unfolding around her. Time travel, extraterrestrials, humanity’s end.
TIME TO SAVE THE WORLD.
Buy the Book: https://shadowsparkpub.com/tomrimer
Tom’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/RimerTom
A Deceitful Evening by Vinisha Panwar
If your love turned out to be the most dangerous part of your life….What would you do to survive?
Three ladies, one guy and a gripping drama of dangerous romance. Here are the characters,
NEERJA – (A corporate employee: a loner, running away from her crazy past to find a new support system in a new city)
AARTI – (A police officer: self made personality with major difficulty in embracing emotions)
RAJESH – (A businessman: a mysterious guy, looking to expand his business in a new city with secrets buried in his heart)
AVNI – (A college girl: a vibrant soul and a free spirit)
Neerja has moved to a new city for a fresh start. In the city, she has attracted someone’s eyes to build up a steamy romance. Being surrounded by two new personalities (Avni, her young vibrant flat mate and Aarti, her landlord who is a police officer), she ends up discovering a dangerous side of her new world. Everyone was living with a grave secret inside. With Rajesh, comes a drastic turn when secrets couldn’t hide anymore.
Once secrets were revealed, a normal event turned out to be a freakish display of life & death. Could Neerja’s love stand the test of time? Who will manage to survive in the end?
A mysterious short story, an extreme romantic delight with moments of life & death.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088VWYX4Y?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420
Vinisha’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/readersvalley
Lust in the Stacks by Natalie Falkenwrath
In this library, the books aren’t the only thing worth checking out… Alex has a job she likes, doing tech support at Cowling University, and a beautiful – if difficult – girlfriend, Jasmine. Life is good. That is until Alex’s boss reassigns her to work in the university’s saddest little library. Alex feels like she’s been banished to a stuffy, quiet hell. Then Alex meets Cait, a living definition of ‘sexy librarian.’ She’s hot, smart, and her accent is to die for. But Alex has a girlfriend she loves and a job to get done. When the library pushes back on the system updates Alex was sent to implement, Alex must work closely with Cait to find a solution. Can Alex stay professional and maintain her relationship with Jasmine while working side-by-side with the alluring librarian?
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952057000
Natalie’s Website: https://www.nataliefalkenwrath.com/
There is Gold and Steel by Darklord Swashbuckler
Two colonies orbit an ancient star. On Boskia, a young warrior named Darklord embarks on his first mission. Before he knows it, he is traveling to the sister world, Tharnia, a world ruled by women who have decided technology makes males obsolete. What he discovers about their world, and his own, may change the destiny of both, and, perhaps, save both.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083WN98LC
Darklord’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarklordSwashb1
What May Rise from the Ashes by Susanne Schmidt
Ofronia Mills is far too old to retire. She has spent all her life as a librarian, and when Grand-Director Lorn Van Shipplestorm threatens not only her job, but the integrity of the library itself, she has no choice but to act. Evading her boss and Tess Dingly, it-girl and reluctant librarian apprentice, Ofronia descends into the library’s forgotten fourth basement, which once housed the collection of magic books.
While Van Shipplestorm plots to bar the general populace from even entering the hallowed halls, Ofronia must decide what to do with what she finds. Will she entrust her fate to magic, although she once refused to learn anything about it? Or will she walk away quietly, like she has done all her life?
Susanne’s Website: https://susanneschmidt.me/
Gravity's Heir by Sara Bond
“Legacy is nothing but history, if it doesn’t have a future.”
When her father threw her out, sacrificing his only living daughter for the good of his shipping conglomerate, Lena Lomasky swore she could make it on her own. But now she’s broke and desperate, and pride won’t fuel her spaceship. Her latest job is simple: carry a datastick of state secrets home to her father. The same man who cut her off without a cent. Whatever. She can do this. Pass the whiskey.
An ill-timed royal assassination ignites a war and Lena’s crew is blamed. When she thinks to use her cache of state secrets to save them, Lena discovers she’s actually smuggling the only known plans for her father’s invention: a gravity bomb that can vaporize entire cities.
Lena must decide: continue on and hope her father can design a defense to save millions of lives, or leverage the plans to save the only people who really matter.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084HLKVNJ/
Sara’s Website: https://www.saratbond.com/
Porphyry & Blood by Peter Sandham
The Republic of Venice.
Nine years on from surviving the fall of Constantinople, Anna Notaras now lives an empty life of luxury on the lagoon.
But the Ottoman empire has not ceased its relentless expansion and now Sultan Mehmed plans the conquest of Italy – and to stable his horses in St Peter’s Basilica.
When the Venetian Senate ask Anna to help stop her old Turk enemies, she quickly agrees. The mission seems simple: join an embassy to Wallachia to cement an alliance. But there is nothing straight forward about the ruler Anna is to meet: Vlad Dracula.
Moreover, Anna’s status among her fellow Byzantine refugees is built upon a lie, and not everyone among her travelling party has Anna’s best interests at heart.
Worse still, Anna’s embassy is not the only group heading for Dracula. A Turk army is closing in, intent on placing Vlad’s brother on the Wallachian throne.
Caught in a bloody web of intrigue, Anna will need the same wit and courage that allowed her to survive Constantinople if she is to return from her mission alive.
Recommended for fans of Bernard Cornwell, Dorothy Dunnett and Michael Jecks.
Peter’s Blog: http://porphyryand.blogspot.com/
Vampire Blood & Iron Bullets by Lily Luchesi
One vampire. One Fae. Countless assassins. Challenge accepted.
Energy vampires make excellent rock stars. Changelings make excellent actors. It’s been that way since time out of mind, and the best way to discover an actor is a changeling? Look at the awards they haven’t won.
Perry Gold is one of the most brilliant changeling actors out there, and one award has always eluded him. Until now. And now that’s he’s won it, he’s a wanted man on a hunter’s hit list. As a celebrity, he can’t run forever. He needs the type of protection only a vampire can provide.
If the world’s most successful special agent Angelica Cross can’t save him, no one can.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0848KTMN9
Lily’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/LilyLuchesi
Unholy bu Austin Valenzuela
Lord Jericho, the leader of the church of St. Damascus, trains students in the art of killing dragons and harnessing their magic.
Unholy tells the story of a boy named Isaac, a student of the church, as he is called to perform his final test of the year. For the last five years, Isaac has gone against the ways of the Lord and refused to sacrifice the sacred creatures his father had always taught him to love.
He doesn’t belong.
But when test day comes around, Isaac finally gives in to the pressure and sacrifices an innocent peach-colored dragon in front of the class.
Appalled with himself and bullied by the others for caring, Isaac seeks redemption by breaking Lord Jericho’s most important rule—never leave church grounds—and he stumbles into an adventure that will change his view of dragons forever.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/Unholy-Gothic-Fantasy-Austin-Valenzuela-ebook/dp/B08DVDG7ZD/
Austin’s Website: https://www.austinvalenzuela.com/
Slumberland by Derra Nicole Sabo
How do you dream? Are your dreams in color or black ‘n white? Do they feel surreal or all too real?Well, I’d like to introduce you to my little slice of bittersweet. These subconscious woods hold every fear and my anxieties masked are as wolves. Nightmares that play on a loop for weeks, even months at a time. Symptoms of waking in cold sweats and shaking. The only moments of peace are found in the sporadically studded dreams that happen every now and again. These woods house every past demon as well as certain past versions of who I once was. This place is worse than death, yet it inspires. So……Before my alarm goes off, before I take the last train out of here, I take one last glance back, one last glance at all of the Polaroids, pinned to every tree branch, Polaroids of every dream and nightmare that have stolen my nights since ’95……These dreams…these woods…this place…it’s my upside-down. This is my Slumberland…
Derra’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/derra_nic
I’ve been feeling better since my endoscopic sinus surgery last Monday. It’s been an experience. Right now I’m rinsing out my sinuses every hour (I know TMI, but I promise I’m not sharing photos). If you want to know what it’s like, it’s basically like having a sinus infection, or a head cold. It would be a bit worse though if I hadn’t recovered so quickly from the anesthetic.
I was really worried about the surgery before I got it. It wasn’t bad, and I hope to never have to do this again. Enough about my nose and on to creative and book stuff.
All of my creative goals have gone out the door with this surgery. I have been so busy doing nothing lately. Recovering is just so exhausting!
I dread this one most of all. I really don’t — just that it’s a long list of books. I finished Parachutes by Kelly Lang and The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding.
Parachutes by Kelly Lang is about two girls Dani who is Filipina American and Claire who is Chinese. Early on it’s decided by Claire’s family to send her to America because Claire refuses to cheat on one of her exams. Claire’s family is rich, so it’s nothing for them to send her to the US. Claire does not like this turn of events. Claire ends up living with Dani’s family. Unlike Claire Dani is poor and is on a scholarship to attend school.
This book comes with a big CW for Rape & Rape culture. Both girls are thrown into bad situations. Claire ends up in some bad relationships. Dani’s teacher ends up putting her in a terrible situation. The way that the school deals with both situations is disappointing to say the least. This story is very hard to read at times.
Though it is a hard read, I really liked the characters in the story. Both Claire and Dani were strong female characters. They had big personalities. There were a few times I disagreed with the character’s actions, but there was never a doubt of my mind that the characters involved felt like real people.
The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding is just a whole lot of fun! It was the perfect novel to follow up Parachutes. The story is about 17 year old Abby who has applied for an internship at her favorite fashion boutique. Abby is fat and is a fashion blogger and is just too fabulous (if I have any criticism of this book it’s that Abby is too fabulous). Abby is gay and I love that the characters in this book are all supportive of her being gay. Abby gets the internship, but is surprised that she has to share it with Jordi who is an extraordinary photographer. There is a job at stake at the end of the internship, and Abby has all kinds of doubt about the future.
Abby has a fantastic summer of eating burgers with a guy named Jax. She does not get to spend as much time with her friends as she’d like, especially her best friend. She also has a mom who is a blogger and a health food celebrity. Abby struggles with her relationship with her mother because her mother is all about eating low carb foods and the whole Healthy Eating with Nora has taken over their family’s lives.
Abby soon finds herself falling for Jordi Perez. This begins a wonderful sweet romance. Is this romance too good to be true?
I highly recommend the audiobook for this story. Abby is just so adorable, and hearing Cassandra Morris reading this story really brings Abby to life!
I’m currently reading We Use to be Friends by Amy Spalding and The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed. I’ll be talking more about them next week!
More Fun Stuff:
Please join me and Jeanette Bradley for Queer Kidlit tonight at 5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET. The LGBTQIA+ chat is every Wednesday night! All kidlit LGBTQIA+ and allies welcome. This is meant as a fun chat for all involved. Please be respectful of pronouns!
We will be talking about what you’d like to see in books, LGBTQIA+ book recs and censorship of LGBTQIA+ books! I hope to see you there!
My Dear Cousin by Anya Chen
‘What you did not tell him was that you now understood why you had those nightmares in the first place, for the face which had turned back to you in surprise was, in fact, the one you had daily seen reflected in mirrors from another lifetime.’
Disturbed by a string of nightmares, Abby is led to believe that she has recalled about her past life. She starts writing about it, remembering herself as a self-absorbed eight-year-old and her older cousin as a melancholy girl who, despite her striking red hair and good looks, seems almost invisible to the people around her. Lacking attention from her parents, she focuses all her energy on her older cousin, treating her with exceptional kindness and earning all her affections in return.
Meanwhile, Yu Qin/Eugenia, a discontented student in Singapore, reaches out to Abby over an internet forum and strikes up a friendship. Frustrated about her cancelled trip with her best friend, she is inspired to write about her family situation. She continues writing about her life and unknowingly betrays many similarities between herself and the older cousin in her new friend’s private writing. Wanting to escape from her family, she seeks to join Abby on her journey to search for her past in place of her cancelled vacation.
The book weaves together two different accounts, one focusing on the past and the other the present, both told through the characters’ heavily biased perspective. It was written with the intention of encouraging different interpretations depending on the readers’ perspective. There are several ways to interpret the story, to read it just as it is, to trust either one of the characters or neither, or to make things even more complicated—to see Yu Qin as an imaginary character dreamed up by Abby to help herself cope with regaining her memory of a deeply upsetting past.
Anya’s Website: https://twitter.com/Anyachenanya
Plague by Julie Anderson
There are many ways to die. Plague is just one of them.
Work on a London tube line is halted by the discovery of an ancient plague pit and, within it, a very recent corpse. A day later another body is found, killed in the same way, also in a plague pit. This victim is linked to the Palace of Westminster, where rumours swirl around the Prime Minister and his rivals.
As the number of deaths climbs, the media stokes fear. Government assurances are disbelieved. Everyone feels threatened. This has to be resolved and fast.
The Westminster connection enables Detective Inspector Andrew Rowlands, working alone on a series of rapes and murders of vulnerable young people in central London, to finally persuade his superiors that there is a pattern. He is assigned to lead the case. Cassandra Fortune, a disgraced civil servant, is given the uncomfortable task of investigating the investigation, while joining forces with Rowlands to find the killers before Parliament rises for recess.
Together they navigate the arcane world of the Palace of Westminster as the body count grows. But someone is leaking important details about the case to the press and the media ratchets up the pressure. Misinformation and malice online feeds distrust and panic and the Black Death begins to stalk the streets of London once again.
Meanwhile the commercial and political world focuses on the launch of a huge government Thames-side building programme worth billions. Powerful forces, in Parliament and the City, are competing for its spoils. How, if at all, does this link with the killings? Drawn into the melee, Cassandra Fortune finds herself the object of the attentions of one of the major players, wealthy City broker, Lawrence Delahaye. The attraction is mutual. Fortune and Rowlands discover a shadowy underground network of influence and power as they race against the clock to prevent the death of more innocents and the destruction of the Mother of Parliaments itself. Cassandra will be forced to make a terrible decision as she faces ruin. Time is running out and it’s not clear what, or who, is going to survive.
Julie’s Website: https://julieandersonwriter.com/
Familiar by T.J. Blake
For as long as she can remember, Arabella has communicated with those who exist only in memory.
Being the centre of attention growing up was uncomfortable, and now, as a renowned psychic medium, it is becoming more of a struggle. Arabella’s ability and reputation always made it impossible to hold onto lasting relationships, but with those who no longer walk this earth, that’s not the case.
Arabella returns to where it all began fifteen-years before – on the very same stage. After an evening reconnecting loved ones and exposing untold stories, Arabella can’t help but wonder about the one unclaimed ‘friend’, and their cryptic message.
In an unexpected turn of events, Arabella finds herself the subject of morning headlines and at the centre of Detective Barnes’ investigation.
Can Arabella use her ability to prove her innocence and uncover the truth about the past?
T.J.’s Website: https://twitter.com/TJBlake93
Reformed by H.L. Burke
Once a villain, always a villain?
Optimistic and idealistic superhero Prism is determined to redeem her father’s legacy by rebooting his supervillain rehabilitation program. To do so, she sets her sights on Fade, the relapsed supervillain who was the reason the government canceled the original program in the first place. However, when she petitions for Fade to be released into her custody, she finds out things might not be as simple as she thought.
Convicted of an unforgivable crime, Fade received a choice: surrender to trial and possible execution or endure a memory erasure so he could start fresh. Now with no recollection of his time before incarceration, Fade doubts he has the ability to be anything but the villain the public believes him to be.
A series of attacks by a mysterious power-swapping villain points back to Fade’s past and the crime that cost him his freedom and memory. With her father’s legacy and her own reputation on the line, even Prism has to wonder: can a villain truly be reformed?
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085X8N8FL/
H.L.’s Website: https://www.hlburkeauthor.com/
Undying Embrace by K.L. Bone
Death, Christabel thought bitterly. An inescapable fate that, for her,would remain forever elusive.
Life was perfect before he came. The vampire who shattered the world she knew. Handsome, intelligent, and charming, a single taste of Dracula’s touch overrode Christabel’s cautious sensibilities and left her breathless, craving a life beyond traditional expectations. A destiny of knowledge, which could only be found in the creature’s eternal embrace.
Fueled by unquenchable passion, and a desperate belief that the brilliant Christabel might break the curse condemning him to darkness, the vampire prince will do anything to claim her.
As her traitorous heart opens, will Christabel resist the vampire’s dark desires, or become his immortal bride?
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B085S4DXF4
K.L.’s Website: https://klbone.com/
The Watermark by Peyton Landry
Their friend’s wedding is everything Otto Ryerson and Darrius Beck had hoped for, but the day holds a great deal more excitement for Otto because the sexy, spiky-blond wedding photographer hired for the day has captivated him from the first click of the shutter.
But Ty Lansing’s darkroom holds more than just negatives, and although it’s Ty’s camera that’s brought the men together, it’s Ty’s history with it that will bring Otto to his knees in a way he never expected. And it has Otto trying to hold on to the man he loves while that man fights him every step of the way.
The last time Karrie Hayes saw Darrius, he was a mildly handsome teen, just growing into his body. Now, he is a stunningly virile man of thirty-four, every inch of him screaming that his adolescence has passed, as has his innocence.
The last Darrius laid eyes on his friend’s baby sister, she was an awkward child. Now, Karrie is a curvy, bubbly, twenty-four-year old blonde with a fierce mind of her own and an amazing presence.
But Karrie’s brother, Spencer, has a problem, and it has nothing to do with Darrius ebony skin; it’s his eclectic sex life that has the two men brawling since Darrius has always preferred his women petite and blonde, and his men muscular and tall. And Karrie is not the only person Darrius wants in his bed this time.
Although… with a snap of the shutter… Darrius isn’t the only man interested in Karrie’s picture.
With the continuation of the Blurred Lines Series, The Watermark will have you paying attention to not only the pictures, but the video.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B088HHJ8J1
Peyton’s Website: https://www.peytonlandry.ca/
Creative Writer's Master Kit by Zack Bozic
This book is a pragmatic induction to the trade and art of creative writing. You will learn not only how to successfully transform your great ideas into stories, but also how to properly edit your writing material and turn it into a complete work.
Additionally, you will be provided with an important element so many other books on writing are missing – with the very blueprint of creative writing that will make the whole writing process substantially easier for you.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0878ZQ1GW
Zack’s Website: https://twitter.com/ZackBozic
How to Live the Good Life in France by Lorraine Turnbull
Fed up with the rat race? Dreaming of a simpler life? A better life? A GOOD LIFE?
Since the 1990’s hundreds of thousands of people left it all behind and moved to France.
Are you dreaming about moving to France to live a simpler, rural life; perhaps on a smallholding or simply in the countryside? Then THIS is the book for YOU.
This practical and up-to-date book will lead you through the many questions you may have including:
* How Brexit will affect you
* Owning animals or setting up a smallholding in France
* Finding & securing the right property
* Starting a rural business
Benefit from Lorraine Turnbull’s own experience and read the case studies from real people who have moved to live the Good Life in various areas of France. It’s a big step to a brave new world and this timely book aims to help you in your journey to your Good Life in France. Lorraine is an award-winning smallholder and former cider maker who relocated to rural France in 2017.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B086DT7ZS3/
Lorraine’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorraineAuthor
Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower by Ronald J. Murphy
Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower is a stomach slit by knives and guts spilled on the pavement. It is the organized chaos of a man on the brink of running, a man gasping for air in those split seconds his head breaks through the surface—a man who’s realized you can’t outrun yourself—told in the narrative arc of a Crow Crowned King and a Corpse Flower Queen in their castle in the suburbs.
Ronald J. Murray’s debut dark poetry collection is a hard look in the mirror through forty poems that examine of one of the most terrifying monsters that could ever exist: the darkness that can bloom inside any one of us, and which can wreak havoc in every shadow-laden corner of our lives. It’s something sinister that can feed on our insides and reign from an unseen throne. Our ears are filled with its insidious, manipulative whispers that it’s those around us stealing our joy, our love, our lives. Our vision is clouded by its tendrils, taking root in our brains. It tells us to take that final plunge into a sea of lost identity. It uses our hands as extensions to enact its will, giving us a false sense of sovereignty.
Will you relinquish your crown?
Ronald’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/RonaldJMurray
Enchanted Knight by Keith W. Willis
Revenge… Dark magic… Murder…
Looks like this time the bad guys really mean business.
A storm is coming, borne on the wings of prophecy, and Morgan and Marissa stand squarely in the path of the tempest.
They should be preparing to celebrate a joyous wedding. Instead, Marissa struggles to master her newfound powers, while Morgan becomes enmeshed in an unwelcome alliance to repay a debt of honor.
As multiple cryptic prophecies unfold, the indomitable pair find themselves facing power-hungry wizards, treasure-hunting pirates, a wrangle of dragons, and an enigmatic woman driven by forbidden magic and revenge.
When Morgan vanishes under suspicious circumstances and Marissa’s power unexpectedly falters, the lines between enemies and allies swirl and blur like deadly Thundermist. With threats closing in from all quarters, Marissa’s only hope to save her enchanted knight lies in taming the wild magic she never wanted.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086XHJRF1
Keith’s Website: https://www.keithwillisauthor.com/
Lilly Belle: A Damsel Not in Distress by Joanna Pastro, Illustrated by Jhon Ortiz
When faced with the danger of giants, ogres, and witches, other damsels might quake with fear . . . but not LillyBelle!
At the School for Damsels, LillyBelle enjoys many damsel-in-training classes, like cake baking and vocal training, but the rule that a damsel must be in distress . . . not so much. When she’s captured by one villain after another, LillyBelle will need to use her charm and her wit to save herself and prove once and for all that damsels don’t have to be in distress–all in time for tea!
Joanna’s Website: http://www.joanapastro.com/
Jhon’s Website: http://www.jhonortizart.com/
Lani: The Girl Without Fear by Dan Cole
In a world controlled by fear, Lani is unique: a teenage girl who feels no fear, and often gets herself into dangerous situations because of it. Lani feels stifled by her overprotective and terrified parents, and after learning about family in a distant city, Lani plans to leave. Her faithful Minotaur bodyguard, Brutus, helps her escape the Great City of Ghal. In the Wilds, Lani learns much about love, herself, and her world. Mostly through a young woman named Kas who shows her what it’s like to live in the wilds and to feel something for another person. Death follows Lani though. Leaving Ghal wasn’t only to find family, but out of necessity after Lani hurt another student at her school. Fear Mongers, or Mongers for short, sent by her parents dog her steps and leave a trail of death searching for her. Lani must learn that although her lack of fear is quite the power in this world, it can be a burden.Especially to those important to her. Marauding robots, dangerous monsters, animal and human amalgamations known as Primals, and learning about her world makes Lani’s journey across the Flatlands a dangerous adventure. Lani also meets a mysterious warrior known as the Wanderer, who teachers her and her friends about the past, and about herself. After suffering great loss, and learning great truths, Lani’s plans have to change, and death creeps ever closer.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/Lani-Girl-Without-Dan-Cole/dp/B087L6SF5J/
Dan’s Website: https://www.dancoleauthor.com/
Audrey Orr and the Robot Rage by Jenny Moore
When Audrey Orr’s mum wins a luxury cruise to Norway, Audrey thinks she’s won the jackpot — until she realises it’s during term-time. With her no-nonsense headteacher, Mr Stickler, on her case, she has to resort to something a bit unusual: a robot clone! But can she trust Awesome the clone to stay home and pretend to be her or will Awesome turn out to be a bit… Awful?
Jenny’s Website: https://jennifermoore.wordpress.com/
The Girl Who Stole the Stars by Corrina Campbell
Corrina Campbell is the third Little Door Debut to be published by Little Door Books. She is a highly talented new author/ illustrator with a wonderfully quirky style, bringing to life her colourful world. This is a perfect alternative seasonal tale about friendship, love and happiness, and doing the right thing. Everybody loves the stars but have you ever loved them enough to steal them? Not just one or two, but all of them? When a little girl decides she wants a real star of her own she can’t resist taking them all. What she doesn’t realise is that taking the stars will have disastrous consequences for her and millions of other children around the world. But what will it take for her to give them back?
Corrina’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/corrinacampbell
Sunny By Celia Krampien
Most people would say there is nothing good about trudging to school on a rainy day.
Most people would say that being carried away by the wind and dropped into the middle of a tumultuous sea is a very bad sort of situation.
No, most people wouldn’t like that at all.
But Sunny isn’t most people. Sunny likes to look on the bright side. And when things get exceedingly bleak?
Well, isn’t that what friends are for?
Buy the Book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250316608
Celia’s Website: http://www.celiakrampien.com/
Grama's Hug by Amy Nielander
May and Grama are a team. They do everything together, from inventing creative projects to going birdwatching to preparing for the annual space fair. And they never, ever say goodbye without a hug. May’s love of science takes her far as her inventions win year after year, helped by Grama’s support, effort, and love. She travels to space camp and eventually beyond, earning her spot as the first kid astronaut to journey into space. As May prepares for her mission to explore the cosmos, she seems ready to go without looking back, making Grama worried that she will leave without a hug.
This picture book explores the importance of treasuring even the smallest moments with people you love with heartwarming illustrations, expressive characters, and delightful touches of whimsy.
Buy the Book: https://www.amynielander.com/index#/gramas-hug
Amy’s Website: https://www.amynielander.com/
The Ugly Doodles by Valeria Wicker
After an inspiring visit to the local art museum, Raven Rembrandt is eager to create her own beautiful masterpieces. But the only thing she can seem to draw are ugly doodles—and they won’t go away, no matter how hard she tries to discard them! After a few increasingly inventive attempts to get rid of them, Raven realizes that the only way to learn to love her art is to just create.
Valeria’s Website: http://www.valeriawicker.com/
The Third Sun by Victoria J. Price
After the death of her sister, eighteen-year-old Fia Aldridge knows one thing for certain: she doesn’t belong anywhere. But then she tumbles into the parallel world of Ohinyan—a world where angels and witches walk amongst mankind.
An ancient darkness is taking advantage of the dying sun, and Ohinyan needs Fia’s help. She soon learns that her arrival is not entirely by accident and that Alexander, leader of angels, is not the guardian she thought he was.
Torn between their feelings and their duties, together they must find a way to return Fia to London before the darkness consumes her and she is trapped in Ohinyan forever.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0837XVS7W
Victoria’s Website: https://victoriajprice.com/
The Last Witness by Claire McFall
Heather agrees to go camping with Dougie and his friends because she’s desperate to get closer to him, and a secluded beach sounds like the perfect place. But the trip takes a sinister turn that brings Heather’s plans to a violent end.
One by one, the group begins to vanish.
A year later, Heather knows she’s just lucky to be alive. And now, people are asking for answers, or else she will be the one to take the blame. But the truth about what happened on that trip is far more terrifying than anyone knows…
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y5NMLCK/
Claire’s Website: http://www.clairemcfall.co.uk/
Broken (The Stolen Series) by Marlena Frank
A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory, but at what price? Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?
Marlena’s Website: https://marlenafrank.com/
I published this and realized that I forgot to mention that I’m going in for sinus surgery on Monday August 10th. It’s a minor surgery, but I have no idea how I’ll recover from the surgery. I’ll try to set up posts for next week if possible, but it’s possible it may be a couple weeks before I’m able to post again (but that’s the worst case scenario).
I have a big announcement for Smart Dummies this year, but I will save this for a bit later in it’s own post. The only thing that I’ll say now is that the event will be a little different this week.
I need to go back and edit some of the images I was working on for my comic. I believe I’m done with the current ones, but the older images need some work. After that I need to add in text and edit the images I created.
I worked on a promo piece this weekend for the SCBWI spectacular. I like it, but I feel as though the coloring is not quite what I want to do for this, so I’ll be trying some other things before settling on a style. If I go with this one I’ll be developing the colors/shading further.
I’m currently reading Thorn by Intisar Khanani. It’s a wonderfully magical story about princess Alyrra who finds herself in an arranged marriage she has no say in. Though she does not want to leave her home, she is relieved to get away from her abusive brother.
Before she arrives at the castle a witch forces Alyrra into body of another person. She soon finds herself in the role of a servant cleaning up after geese and spending her time among common folk. Alyrra loves it all!
Alyrra doesn’t want her old life back. She may not have a choice where she stays, because the fate of the Kingdom may depend on her retaking her old body.
I am only halfway through this book and I do not know how things are going to end up! This is a wonderfully fun adventure. Here is a link to the book if you want to pick it up: https://bookshop.org/books/thorn-9780062835703/9780062835703
More Fun Stuff:
It’s been quite the week! I attended the SCBWI Summer Spectacular and it was Spectacular. Lots of great advice and fun with lots of wonderful industry people. Here is the link to the registration: https://www.scbwi.org/events/scbwi-summer-spectacular-2020/#event-registration
How about an LGBTQIA chat for kidlit? It’s happening soon. I’m still planning out the details with Jeanette Bradley. The first Twitter Chat is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday August 12th at 5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET with the hashtag #queerkidlit. Since this is a new chat there may be changes. I’ll officially announce the chat here in it’s own post when we get everything sorted out.
Lots more books this week. I keep thinking I’m getting close to the end of the list, but there are just so many books! I’m not complaining. This week is books for older audiences. Next week will be books that are picture books – young adult.
The Chimera Code by Wayne Santos
EVERYTHING’S FOR HIRE. EVEN MAGIC.
If you need something done, Cloke’s one of the best; a mercenary with some unusual talents and an attitude to match.But when she’s hired by a virtual construct to destroy the other copies of himself, and the down payment is a new magical skill, she knows this job is going to be a league harder than anything she’s ever done.
“A full-throttle magical cyberpunk superhero thriller” – Peter McLean
Wayne’s Website: https://www.waynesantos.com/
Seven Settings by Watt Morgan
It’s been a year since they graduated high school, and to celebrate their reunion, eight old friends take off to a cabin by the lake. And despite threatening omens from the locals, the party must go on. Until, one by one, the friends begin dying off in horrible ways. Are they the victims of a science experiment–one with the potential to destroy the fabric of reality itself? Will they be able to survive at the hands of the masked Hazmat? Or will they succumb to their own stoned and drunken idiocy? Prepare to simultaneously laugh and cringe with this comedy-horror novella.
Watt’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWattMorgan
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084FQGV4Z
From Ashes to Magic (A Supernatural Beings Anthology Book 1)
It’s when they creep out of the shadows that you should beware. The good ones will hold your hand when you’re having a nightmare; the bad ones BECOME your nightmare, seeping into your very soul and burrowing in the darkness until they’ve completely taken over.
Ten authors. Ten stories. Many supernatural beings you’ve come to know and love.
Once you plunge into these pages, you won’t want to leave.
Mikki Noble’s Website: https://www.mikkinoble.com/
Jennifer C. Covin’s Website: https://twitter.com/JennWritesVamps
Nita Pan’s Website: https://nitapanwrites.com/
Melony Paradise’s Books: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melony-paradise
Adi Denner’s Website: https://adidenner.com/
Abby Paul’s Website: https://twitter.com/APaulWrites
Carmen Adam’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Carmen-Adams/e/B07ZXL2GWY/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_7
Ryen Lesli’s Website: https://ryenlesli.com/
Evelyn Chartres’ Website: http://evelynchartres.com/
Ari Meghlen’s Website: https://arimeghlen.co.uk/
The Jealousy of Jalice (A Disaster of Dokojin Book 1) by Jesse Nolan Bailey
The Realms have split apart, the Stones of Elation have been hidden, and warnings of dokojin drift among the tribes.
The land and its people are corrupted. The Sachem, chief of the Unified Tribes, is to blame.
It is this conviction that drives Annilasia and Delilee to risk their lives. Afraid of the aether magic he wields, they enact a subtler scheme: kidnap his wife. In her place, Delilee will pretend to be the chieftess and spy on the Sachem.
Unaware of this plot against her husband, Jalice is whisked away by Annilasia. Pleading with her captor proves futile, and she rejects Annilasia’s delusional accusations against the chief. After all, the Sachem has brought peace to the land.
Yet a dangerous truth hides in Jalice’s past. As she and Annilasia flee through a forest of insidious threats, they must confront the evil plaguing the tribes and the events that unleashed it.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085BCZDT5
Jesse’s Weblinks: https://linktr.ee/JesseNBailey
Buried Alive: A Story of Hate and Acceptance by A. James
This remarkable true story of adolescent sexual abuse, survival and triumph offers realistic hope to all victims of abuse – both for recovery, and for a fulfilling life no longer defined by an abusive past. The author’s courageous struggle to achieve insight and awareness, and eventually see justice done, points a way for others to overcome childhood trauma and victimisation.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088TJSRWF
A. James’ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajames_buriedalive/
The Ups and Downs of Norman Drudge by Iain Dalgleish
A story of loneliness, friendship, love and a library.
Twenty-five year old Gemma Davies lives alone in her flat in Ealing where she likes to read and watch old movies. On weekdays, she works at the local library and on Saturdays works at the nearby charity shop.
Her only friend is recently widowed Mrs Dawson, a seventy-something-year-old pensioner who visits every Thursday on Gemma’s day off when they put the world to rights, drink tea from china cups, watch an old film or visit the nearby duck pond.
Sitting in Gemma’s kitchen window, they become obsessed with a neighbour whose life seems to involve just looking out onto the street while drinking tea and eating biscuits. They nickname him ‘Norman Drudge.’
When the local council decides that the library has to close, Gemma and Mrs Dawson hatch a plan to save it.
Meanwhile, Gemma finds herself falling for the local shopkeeper, Mr Patel.
Elowyn of Avalon: Tales of Avalon: Chronicles of a Forgotten Land by Wallace R. Hanson
Elowyn is an ordinary girl: studious, bright, and pious, an asset to her community and a willing volunteer to join the Youth of Promise, an elite group of ecclesiastical students. She leaves for her education and is trailed by her headstrong sister Windine, who is punished for her transgression with a secret quest in the Mother Land south of Avalon. Both sisters experience a swift and brutal crisis of faith due to corrupt leadership, aggrandized world views, and an introduction to a society and people they had been sheltered from. Elowyn finds herself gifted with enormous power she did not know she had within her and embarks on a worldwide ministry to inform the human race of their own divinity outside of the rule of heaven. Danger stirs in the west as Avalon’s sister country Atlantis mounts an attack on heaven itself led by Nimrod the Mighty Hunter, whose affront to the deities may mean the destruction of the entire world.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087RC7LB6
Wallace’s Website: http://www.wallacehanson.com/
Atonement (Heaven Sent Book 1) by JL Rothstein
To Hell, this world is fractured and faithless, perfectly ripe for the picking. Sent by Heaven, Guardians defend against a malevolent onslaught of demonic intrusion. For hundreds of years the nine siblings of the O’Mara family have been engaged in this merciless battle, fighting to protect the souls of all humanity.
Heaven and Hell have been waging this infernal war bound only by the rules of a contentious accord. On the anniversary of her husband Gabriel’s disappearance, Genevieve O’Mara’s lingering sorrow manifests into a murderous rage unfurled upon a demon. Vengeance is coming, not just for Genevieve, but for all those she loves.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088JZQ9LN/
JL’s Website: https://www.jlrothstein.com/
The Adulterer's Trial by Sam Anthony
Everyone has a secret. How much would you pay to keep yours?
Lee wakes from a coma to find himself on trial for double homicide.
His lover is dead. His wife is dead. His lawyer is hot! His girlfriend is jealous.
And, to make matters worse, the Alphabet Killer remains at large.
Find out what ensues in this the fourth instalment of The Adulterer Series.
Buy the Book
Sam’s Website: https://samanthony.net/
The Beloved Fire: The Beloved Series: Book 1 by Chelsii Klein
Mikayla has been stalked by the supernatural all her life. They’ve waited patiently for her 21st birthday. When her one night of freedom goes wrong. Purgatory is where she is taken and she soon discovers the real identities of the dream walking twins, Blake and James. They aren’t her only problem. In her new captive realm she discovers the very real existence of Angels, Demons, and the Magical.
Purgatory, a mansion filled with endless hallways and doors leading into any souls greatest nightmares, is ran by one irritatingly handsome Anock, Prince of Hell. Finding a way out may not be her only problem once she discovers why the supernatural is after her soul. She will have to put attractions aside if she’s to make it through this game. The world she never knew existed now lays at her feet. However; Purgatory is just the beginning.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H54JXY/
Chelsii’s Website: https://www.authorchelsiiklein.com/
I am only featuring 3 authors today because 2 of these authors have released so many books this year! Congratulations to all of you plus the illustrators as well!
Such A Library!: A Yiddish Folktale Re-Imagined by Jill Ross Nadler, Illustrated by Esther Van Den Berg
An old Yiddish folktale in a modern-day library… with a magical librarian! Stevie craves quiet until Miss Understood, a magical librarian, wreaks havoc in this modern-day twist on an old Yiddish folktale.
Jill’s Website: https://jillrossnadler.com/
Illustrator’s Portfolio: https://www.plumpuddingillustration.com/work/?page=1&artist=174&name=&cat=1&id=137
Layla and the Bots: Happy Paws by Vicky Fang. Illustrated by Christine Nishiyama
Layla and the Bots are in an awesome rock band! They also use problem-solving and creativity to build cool inventions. When a local amusement park is in danger of shutting down, Layla knows just how to bring in the crowds… build an amusement park for DOGS! But will cool doggie rides like the Rub-a-Dub Mud Slide and the Tummy Rubbing Machine be enough to keep the park open? With full-color artwork on every page and speech bubbles throughout, this early chapter book series brings kid-friendly STEAM topics to young readers!
This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!
Layla and the Bots: Built for Speed by Vicky Fang. Illustrated by Christine Nishiyama
Blossom Valley is hosting a go-kart race! The go-karts are provided for all the kids in town. Layla and the Bots can’t wait for race day! But one racer, Tina, needs their help. She needs a new cart that uses hand-controls and other cool features. Layla and the Bots know just what to do… they will build her a brand-new cart that’s even faster than her wheelchair! But will Tina’s go-kart have enough speed to win the race? With full-color artwork on every page and speech bubbles throughout, this early chapter book series brings kid-friendly STEAM topics to young readers!
Buy The Books: https://vickyfang.com/books/layla/#happy-paws
Vicky’s Website: vickyfang.com/books
Christine’s Website: https://might-could.com/about/
INVENT-A-PET By Vicky Fang, Illustrated by Tidawan Thaipinnarog
Katie is an ordinary girl who longs for an extraordinary pet—something more spectacular than a simple goldfish. Then one day Katie comes home to find a gift from her mother: a mysterious machine designed to help her create that one-of-a-kind creature. Each time she feeds different items into the machine, out comes a marvelously colorful new animal—like a purple monkey, rainbow-spotted horse, and green bunny! But none of them is just right. Through trial and error, Katie figures out the formula for her absolutely perfect SURPRISE pet.
Buy The Book: https://vickyfang.com/books/invent-a-pet/
Tidawan’s Website: No website yet!
I CAN CODE: IF/THEN and
I CAN CODE: AND/OR
Written by Fang, Illustrated by Jade Orlando
Written by an expert, I Can Code: IF/THEN uses simple text, colorful illustrations, and interactive flaps to help little ones discover the building blocks of coding all around them! As they follow along with an adorable story about cause and effect, they’ll explore fundamental concepts like conditions, rules, and logic―and have fun doing it.
Educators are saying every child needs to know the basics of coding―and this book will get them started as early as possible!
Buy the Books: https://vickyfang.com/books/i-can-code/#if-then
Jade’s Website: https://www.jadefrolics.com/childrens
How to Meet a Mermaid by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Legend has it that the only way to meet a mermaid is to know where to look and how to craft a beautiful gift that shows her you care. If you’re lucky, she may even take you on an adventure to explore the ocean!
Mermaids are rarely seen, and even more rarely met. But, if you gather some natural craft supplies–seashells, grass, pieces of coral, driftwood, and sea glass–you might just get to befriend one!
If you look closely, you just might discover a mermaid out in the waves at the edge of the shore. And if you do, you’ll need to be ready! By being observant, resourceful, and friendly, you can make a beautiful crown from natural beach materials that will show your new mermaid friend you truly care, and then you’ll be taken on an incredible adventure through the ocean’s depths, past ancient shipwrecks, and across the waves. You just might get to experience what it’s like to be a mermaid yourself, too!
Sue Fliess’s poetic read-aloud text and Simona Sanfilippo’s vibrant, whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to meet their own mermaids! Also included are guides for teachers and parents about how to engage children in building mermaid crowns themselves and how to interest them in the natural world, the history of mermaids, and the many cultures that have believed in them.
Buy the Book: https://www.suefliess.com/how-to-meet-a-mermaid
Sue’s Website: https://www.suefliess.com/
Simona’s Website: http://www.tissi.altervista.org/
How to Find a Unicorn by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Legend has it that the only way to find a unicorn is to know where to look and how to craft a beautiful gift that shows her you are a friend. If you’re lucky, she may even take you for a ride!
Unicorns are excellent judges of character. So, gather some natural craft supplies like daisies, sugar cubes, ivy, ferns, apples, grass, and straw, and get ready to find a magical new friend!
If your heart is pure, you just might discover a unicorn out in the mystical forests of the mountains. And if you do, you’ll need to be ready! By being resourceful, careful, and kind, you can make beautiful riding gear from nature that will show your unicorn friend you truly care, and then you’ll be taken on an incredible ride through sunny meadows, over sparkling oceans, and along the brilliant arcs of rainbows!
Sue Fliess’s poetic read-aloud text and Simona Sanfilippo’s vibrant, whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to find their own unicorn friend! Also included are guides for teachers and parents about how to engage children in building unicorn-riding gear themselves and how to interest them in the natural world, the history of unicorns, and the many cultures that believed in them.Buy the Book: https://www.suefliess.com/how-to-find-a-unicorn
Flash and Gleam: Light in Our World by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Khoa Le
The soft glow of a candle, the blink of a firefly, a burst of fireworks―light is everywhere in our world! Rhyming text and luminous illustrations follow four children as they experience many different forms of light.
Khoa’s Website: http://khoale.daportfolio.com/
The Princess and the Petri Dish by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis
Pippa isn’t your usual princess. She prefers petri dishes to perfecting her curtsying. And when she realizes that she doesn’t like peas, she gets a sweet idea that consumes her and almost the whole kingdom.
Buy the Book: https://www.suefliess.com/princess-and-the-petri-dish
Petros’ Website: http://www.petrosbouloubasis.com/
I’m going to start doing weekly updates again! I will be posting my own creative goals (and maybe some artwork), my current reads, and any art/writing events and fun stuff that’s coming up. The format and name for this may change a bit, but I’m really excited to have time to do these updates again.
I just got an iPad Pro. I’m currently using it to work on some illustration work! I have a cat book that I think will work well with on the iPad.
I have another cat graphic novel that I’m doing on my desktop. I am almost done with the images for this, but it is taking some time. I’m hoping that the work for this will give me more things to share for Smart Dummies later this year!
I have honestly not had much time for reading in recent years and that’s been very sad for me. I am listening to a TON of audiobooks right now. It’s easier for me to listen to something while I’m working on art or cleaning the house than it is to sit and read. I can read so much faster than I can listen, so I was resistant at first. I found that I do love listening to these books. I’ve had so much fun hearing these stories.
Stories I’ve read in the last little while:
Full Disclosure by Cameryn Garrett
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Tarnished are the Stars by Rosilee Thor
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
A Song Below Water by Bethany C Morrow
The Black Flamingo By Dean Atta
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Most of these are by Black authors other than Tarnished are the Stars and The Henna Wars. These are both queer stories! I highly recommend reading all of these books.
Currently Reading: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
This book is different from all the books I’ve been reading lately, because it’s nonfiction. It’s a memoir/manifesto. I’d also say there are CW for this book of sexual abuse, general abuse, homophobia, transphobia, racism and repeated use of the f-word and n-word. The writer of this book is Black, queer and does not put the bad things that happened in his life in a good light.
More Fun Stuff:
Just around the corner is the SCBWI Summer Spectacular conference! I’m attending this event. It starts Friday July 31st and runs through August 4th. I’m very excited for this to start. I honestly keep forgetting the start date, so posting the date here is as much for myself as it is for you! https://www.scbwi.org/events/scbwi-summer-spectacular-2020/
The Children’s Book Academy is having their Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books starting August 31st. This is an absolutely fantastic class. You will learn so much in this class. The fantastic Larissa Marantz is a new teacher in this course. She is absolutely fantastic! It will be the best year to take this class. ADs, Editors and Agents will be looking at your work at the end of the course so sign up now! https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/2020-craft–business-of-illustrating-childrens-books.html