Monday, October 31, 2011

Costume Party

This is my first video attempt. It's kind of rough cut. At the very least I hope you get a few laughs either at me or with me. :-) :-) :-)

And, think "layering."

Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Stubborn Seed of Hope

How do you feel about middle-grade novels that deal with life's harsh realities? My debut novel, May B., focuses on a child who has been abandoned, who faces starvation and possible death. Several young readers have confessed parts of it are scary. I'm okay with that. What I'm not okay with, though, is leaving my readers in a place of despair.

Here's a quote from the amazing Katherine Paterson on just this topic:

I cannot, will not, withhold from my young readers the harsh realities of human hunger and suffering and loss, but neither will I neglect to plant that stubborn seed of hope that has enabled our race to outlast wars and famines and the destruction of death. If you think that this is the limitation that will keep me forever a writer for the young, perhaps it is. I don’t mind. I do what I can and do it joyfully.”

I love Ms. Paterson's idea of a "stubborn seed of hope", something that grows beyond painful circumstances, something that can anchor both the character and reader in a better future to come.

 Do you shy away from heartache in the books you read or write? Why or why not?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BODY OF WATER Interview with Sarah Dooley

Today, Project Mayhem welcomes Sarah Dooley whose novel, BODY OF WATER, was released yesterday! First, a little about the book:

Twelve-year-old Ember's trailer home has been burned in a fire set most likely by her best friend, a boy whose father believes Ember's family are witches. Yes, Ember's mom reads Tarot cards as a business. Ember's friend set the fire to warn the family before his father did something worse to them. The friend never intended to do so much damage.

Now the family is homeless, and living in a campground. They have no money. Ember's beloved dog is missing. School is going to start, and Ember and her sister have no clean clothes, no notebooks. The only place Ember feels at peace is floating in the middle of the lake at the campground. She has to make a fresh start. Can she?

PM: Hi Sarah! We've heard some high praise for Ember's story. Kirkus reviews calls it "An enthralling tale that demystifies Wicca, humanizes homeless families, and inspires reflection on friendship, forgiveness, and moving forward." Wow!

Congratulations on BODY OF WATER and many thanks for joining us today. Let's dive right in. Both your debut novel LIVVIE OWEN LIVES HERE and BODY OF WATER are contemporary novels that deal with challenging themes. What inspired you to write these stories for the middle-grade audience?

SD: Some of my best reading was done when I was a middle-grader. That's the age where you put together your knowledge of what the world is. When I was that age, it was tough to find books that dealt with poverty in a realistic way. Not that there weren't some great ones that did.

We loved HOMECOMING by Cynthia Voigt, WHERE THE LILIES BLOOM by Bill Cleaver and Vera Cleaver, SHILOH by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - but when I was twelve, Ember's age, and starting seventh grade from the campground where my family lived, I was reading about kids whose biggest problem was whether they would win at the horse show, or whether they would pass math class, or - ironically - whether they would be allowed to go on a camping trip. These were good, quality books and I was entertained, but I was also forming a world view that said those characters were normal and I was something else. I write for middle-grade readers because sometimes their lives have challenging themes, and they should have access to books that reflect that.

PM: You've mentioned your own experience with homelessness as a girl, and it seems likely that your thoughtful portrayal of the challenges facing Ember's family will motivate people to action. Do you have any recommended resources for readers interested in learning more about homelessness?

SD: It's wonderful to volunteer your time or money to an organization that assists people dealing with poverty and homelessness. You can check the yellow pages or use Google to find soup kitchens, food pantries, and organizations that hand out clothing, school supplies, diapers, and other necessities in your area. But keep in mind with each donation, and especially with each interaction, that you are trying to help a human being - not a "homeless person" but a PERSON. Be mindful of treating each person with whom you interact with respect and allow them to retain their dignity.

I once taught a young boy who did not own a good pair of blue jeans. His only jeans had holes in the knees and were slowly fraying up from the ankle. What I should have done is, I should have bought him a pair of jeans and stuck them in his backpack. Instead, I allowed the school principal to buy the jeans. She brought them into the classroom and made a show of presenting him with this brand new garment. She told him how lucky he was to receive the gift and how he should now treat it with respect because it was newer and nicer than anything else he owned. The child, ever polite, grinned from ear to ear. I could see the tears starting in his eyes. He took the jeans and went home. I never once saw him wear them.

PM: That just makes my heart sink. You are so right to point out the importance of respecting each person and how easily our focus on "the issue of homelessness" can block out the inherent dignity of each human being. Ember encounters this when the church that is helping the family seems to breathe a collective sigh of relief when Ember's family (and their problems) disappear to the campground. Could you tell us about the role of religion- both the practice of Wicca and its interaction with Christianity - in BODY OF WATER?

SD: Ember starts the book in a very bitter place where religion is concerned. The few experiences she's had with Christianity have been negative, and may even have cost her family their home. But her faith in her own religion, Wicca, has also been shaken. Her beloved brother has decided that it isn't for him, and, for the first time in her life, she questions whether her beliefs match her parents'. Ember's turmoil over religion is one reason she is so challenged by her friendship with Lucy. Through Lucy, Ember struggles with adapting her world view to allow that she may have been wrong to lump together those of a Christian faith. In so doing, she adapts her perception of Wicca as well, realizing that religions are made up of people and that people deserve acceptance.

PM: Excellent point. You've created some strong characters in BODY OF WATER. Which character do you most relate to in BODY OF WATER?

SD: I tend to hide a little piece of myself in each character I create. When I wrote BODY OF WATER, I was thinking back on being twelve years old, living in Battle Run Campground, starting seventh grade from a dome-shaped tent. Two characters emerged: Ivy, who represents the way I felt early in the summer, before school started. And Ember, who feels the way I did once I had other seventh-graders to compare myself to. School has an immense impact on the way kids view themselves. In the summer, I was just another kid on vacation, and, like Ivy, I made half a dozen friends and climbed every tree in sight. Then school came and
I had to worry about things like getting to sleep early, doing homework in whatever light we could find, going to school clean and dressed, and finding things to talk about with my classmates. I started to feel a lot more like Ember, growing a little quieter and more subdued.

PM: I like how you've put it: hiding a little piece of myself in each character I create. Writing can be such an emotionally draining - and liberating! - process. Do you have any advice for other writers?

SD: If you want to write, but you find it difficult to get started, I can recommend a great jumping-off point for you. It's called National Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo. During this wonderful project, people with an abundance of both bravery and foolishness agree to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. Yup - that's 1,667 words per day. Both LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE and BODY OF WATER were NaNoWriMo novels. If you're interested in jumping in headfirst to noveling, check it out at

PM: And how timely that is, since the first of November is nearly upon us! Thank you so much for joining us, Sarah. Best of luck with your book release and whatever your NaNo project is for this year. :)

And, for all you readers, hop on over to Amazon or Indiebound to learn more about BODY OF WATER.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RUMORS book giveaway!


Rumors from the Boys' Room, A Blogtastic! Novel is the MG second book in this series, released October 11th by Random House. I'm very happy to do the first giveaway here for a signed copy of this book.  It's written in notebook format with illustrations to go along with the text. 

From B&N: These days the lives of middle schoolers seems to take place as much online as off. In this male counterpart of her Gossip from the Girls' Room, Rose Cooper takes us inside the blogosphere as preteen boys and girls find their way in a place where shared secrets and posted rumors can change almost everything in just a click. Editor's recommendation.

Just post a comment to be entered to win!

Friday, October 21, 2011


I was surprised the other day when I went to a website and saw a big advertising banner for a movie that was “coming soon.” I was surprised because I had no idea the movie was being made, and it was based on a crazy popular MG book. A book I love! And that movie? HUGO, based on THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, by Brian Selznick. And it’s directed by Martin Scorsese. Talk about a movie I absolutely HAVE to see!
* By the way, the movie releases November 23rd.

And this leads to my topic, which is: MG books to movies. It’s obvious that most movies were once books, and avid readers, like us, often feel a stronger connection to the story after reading the book version, and then we feel that strong connection when watching the movie version. We don’t want the sacred story we cherish to be chopped and sliced and diced the way they often are when books are turned into movies. And this is why we approach most movies with extreme caution when we’ve read the book version beforehand. I have a good feeling that HUGO will not be a let-down, due to the fact that the book had so many drawings that it was basically a storyboard Scorsese could use when adapting it to film. And then there’s the fact that Scorsese is a filmmaking god. Yes, I am very much hopeful the movie version will be a pleasure, much like the book was when I read it.

So let me ask you a couple questions. What are the best MG books-to-movies? And tell me about a MG book that hasn’t been turned into a movie yet but should?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indie bookstore + pb release = sales!

So maybe there isn't a magic formula for writing bestselling novels. But a chance encounter in an independent bookstore has revealed to me the secret to sales! *dun dun dun*

At my local indie store, I approached one of the three people manning the counter of the bookstore and asked, "Do you have Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John?" (That happens to be an amazing but YA book, and therefore irrelevant.) (You should still all check it out, though. I <3 it.)

The guy did a search on the computer; both hardcover and paperback appeared on the screen. "No, we don't," he said, and as usual followed it up with, "But we can order it for you."

Now that implies that you, as a customer, will return when the book gets shipped in and buy it. So instead, I said, "No, I was just wondering if you usually stock new releases of paperbacks."

And bam -- the guy went: "Yeah, we usually do." Insert thoughtful pause here. "You know what, I'm going to order two copies."

Would you look at that? Without requesting specifically for the bookstore to order you a copy, you've gotten the book in-stock -- there for other customers to discover and spread the word around. And I'm betting this situation is easily replicated. If all four of the indie bookstores in your town order an average of two copies, the demand for that book has just increased by 8. Multiply that across the country, and the demand exponentiates.

Thank goodness for indie bookstores, eh?

A note -- this probably won't work in the chain stores, simply because the employee you talk to most likely won't have the ability to order stock for the store. All the more reason to shop indie, mmhmm? ;)


Monday, October 17, 2011

Middle Grade Readers - A survey of what books they like and the impact of ereaders

Middle grade writers spend a lot of time thinking and talking about what kids like to read, so I thought I would take the opportunity to ask some children themselves. I did a survey of 47 children in the 4th through 6th grades about what types of books they liked to read, and also about ebooks. Some of the results surprised me.

First, some facts about this group: The children attend a small private Montessori school, so there are only about 50 total students in the 4th-6th grades at this school. While these kids are a very small, privileged piece of the demographic pie, they are interesting, because they’ve had access to a variety of books their whole lives, and they have parents who have the funds and the resources to either take them to the library or buy them books, even hardcover new releases. They are aware of the choices of books out there. Not all of them like to read, as is typical with any group of students.  In fact, one boy who took the survey crossed out all the choices, I think as his way of indicating he really doesn’t like to read.

The survey they filled out did not ask for names, because I didn’t want them to feel they had to choose accepted or more popular types of books if they didn’t want to. It asked for their ages and whether they were a boy or a girl, and then asked them to choose their top three favorite types of books to read. I gave them the choices below and also told them examples of each category to make sure they understood. Not all of the children picked three; some picked more and some picked less.

Here were the choices:

Books set in imaginary places, fantasies

Science fiction, books set in the future or on different planets or spaceships


Books set in schools or in towns with kids like you

Books about animals

Books about adventures in faraway places or wilderness adventures

Books about sports

Books set back in time (historical)

Books set in today’s time, but with characters who have special powers or who are fantasy beings

Books with magic in them

Here are the results broken down by sex (I'll try to edit the post to get the choices more readable, but it's going to take me a bit of time to figure out how to do that):

I was particularly surprised by the results of the boys. It was interesting to see mysteries as the top choice and historicals right up there with several other choices. I also wouldn’t have guessed that scary stories would score as highly with the girls.

There are also two factors about this group that might influence the results. One is that while many of these children participate in sports outside of school, there are no organized sports at school, and that may be why interest in books about sports is low.  Two, all the children know me and know my adventure books. My daughter pushed my first book, WILDFIRE RUN, to many of them, particularly the girls, so that may be why that category scored higher than it would in a school where one particular book wasn’t promoted so much.

The most fascinating part of the survey was about ebooks. I showed the children a Kindle and a Nook  and talked about the IPad to make sure they understood what an ereader was.  Silly me. I should have realized children this age are fascinated by technology and far more up-to-date than I am. When I asked how many had read a whole book on an ereader, twenty-seven said they had.  That’s 57%. Seven children even had ereaders of their own. This is at a school where very few children have cellphones, and where the parents of many of these kids don’t allow them to play video games or don’t encourage them to do so. I also asked of those who hadn't read a book on an ereader, how many thought they might want to try one. Thirteen of twenty said they would. That's kind of a trick question though. Most kids won't turn down a chance to try a new gadget.

I’m going to be talking to many more children in about a month from a different sort of school and will ask them to fill out the same survey. More results to follow!

~ Dee Garretson

Friday, October 14, 2011

Treasures in More Ways Than One

One of the things I love about used bookstores is that the books there have history. They’ve been read, held, laughed over, cried over, curled under bed covers with, enjoyed with a cup of coffee or a chicken salad sandwich. And some of them have the stains to prove it.

And then there are the bits of history you don’t expect to find. Like the time I pulled a copy of Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (great dragon book!) from the shelf, flipped through it, and discovered a photograph tucked between pages 110 and 111. It was somewhat aged, judging by the dull colors—and the afros and bellbottoms worn by the people in it. They looked like they were having a good time, though. It appeared to be a picnic somewhere grassy and green. It was a sunny day, the people were smiling, and there was a big table piled high with food.

When I went to the cash register, I gave the photograph to the bookstore owner.

“I know it’s a long shot,” I said, “but I thought you should keep this in case someone comes back for it.”

What followed was an amusing conversation in which the owner, who had been in the used book business for well over a decade, related the many objects that he’d found inside used books over the years. It’s a pretty long and sometimes surprising list:

  • Photographs - yes, apparently people tuck lots and lots of photographs into books, including what we will call photographs of a not-so-family-friendly nature. He said it’s really awkward when you recognize the person. (He has a lot of regular customers.) He’s never sure whether he should try to return the photograph or not.
  • Money – sometimes hundreds and hundreds of dollars. A friend of mine used to have a grandmother who was so mistrustful of banks that she instead hid her savings by tucking the bills between the pages of books on her living room shelf. I supposed some people forget that the money’s there. Or perhaps when elderly book owners pass away, their family members may sell or trade their books, not realizing the small fortunes they contain.
  • Old letters and postcards – these would be so much fun to find! Can you imagine the history—the loves, woes, travels, and dreams of generations past. And yes, I guess it would be kind of nosy to read them, but I’d do it anyway :)
  • Visa Platinum cards – don’t ask me, I don’t get this one, either. I have no clue why someone would put a Visa Platinum card in a book. Personally, when I don’t have a bookmark handy I reach for something disposable to use, like a tissue or a Post-It Note, not the nearest high-limit credit card.
  • Uncashed checks – for when your Visa Platinum card isn’t handy.
  • Old lottery tickets – hope they weren’t winners!
  • Driver’s licenses – as long as you take the book with you whenever you drive, you’re all set.
  • Social Security Cards – sure, identity theft is a concern, but marking your place in a book is well worth the risk, right?
  • Legal documents such as wills, trusts, marriage certificates, etc. – I mean, it’s not like they’re important, and you weren’t using them, anyway…
And my winner for the most unexpected:
  • Illegal drugs – ok, these weren’t actually inside a book. They were in a small plastic baggy inside a duffle bag donated with a bunch of used books. Still, I bet it was a bit of a shocking find!
So yes, used books definitely have history—and sometimes treasures beyond the stories they contain. (Not the drugs. Those are bad.)

The moral? Always flip through your books before donating or selling them off. After all, someday you might actually need that Visa Platinum card or marriage certificate, if only to mark your place in another book.

So, please share: what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found/placed in a book or used as a bookmark?

photo credit: austinevan via photopin cc

photo credit: AMagill via photopin cc

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Billycan!!! The White Assassin Book Giveaway

It was such a thrill last year when Nightshade City came out, but an even bigger thrill this year to officially be a series! You never know what's going to happen in life and if you'd have told me years ago I'd be writing a middle-grade series about super intelligent rats, well, let's just say I'd think you were spiking your Captain Crunch with something not exactly legal. ;) 

THE WHITE ASSASSIN, Book II of the Nightshade Chronicles is officially out! My blog tour just started last week, so be on the look out, because many of these fantastic bloggers are giving away a signed ARC. Speaking of signed things...I'm giving out a signed hardcover of The White Assassin! To enter, simply follow Project Mayhem and leave a comment! I'll be announcing the winner Tuesday, October 18th.

For those of you who know the series, this book is all about the rat we love to hate, Billycan! You know I love bad guys, so having a book dedicated to one was an honor to write. Maybe by the end you'll understand why he's so darn bad!

Here's the blurb:
Book II of the Nightshade Chronicles begins three years after Juniper and his rebel band liberated the Catacombs from Billycan's vicious control and established the democratic Nightshade City. A sense of peace has settled over Nightshade, but it is a false one. Billycan, the White Assassin, has been found deep in the southern swamps, where he now rules a horde of savage swamp rats eager to overrun Nightshade City. With the help of an ancient colony of bats and an uneasy alliance with the swamp snakes, Juniper and his council set out to thwart Billycan's plans. When a shocking secret is revealed everything changes. The fate of Nightshade City and the life of Juniper's only son depend on Juniper's decision: should he help his mortal enemy? The past resurfaces with devastating impact in this sequel to Nightshade City, a dark tale of intrigue, deception, and betrayal. 

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive to me and my writing! Writers are such a kind and encouraging group of folks and I'm lucky to have gained so many friends because of it. 
xoxo -- Hilary

Monday, October 10, 2011

What I Learn When I Write With Kids

Teacher man impression
First off, this is my inaugural post for Project Mayhem and I'm more excited than a bread-lovin' duck outside a bakery. One thing I've noticed about the Project is that Team M is very strong (Marissa, Matt, Mike W., and now me, Mike G), and we far outnumber Team D (Dee and Dawn). Now, if I can only convince Paul Greci to change his name to "Maul," we will be invincible!

Paul as "Maul"
But I digress, as usual. I mean, who cares about teams and such when the topic at hand is kids writing. I'd like to share an experience I recently had being the "writing instructor" for a group of kids and what I learned from these young writers.

A few days ago, I was invited by my good friend Corey S. to come and talk to the group he mentors, the Young Willamette Writers. (Background: Willamette Writers is our local writers' organization, named after the Willamette River that wends through Portland, Oregon.) During the group's monthly meeting, students in grades 5 through 10 are invited to come and write together. This month, 6 intrepid souls slogged through a wet Oregon evening to listen to me talk about dialogue in fiction.

We started off with some real-life dialogue, as I am incredibly nosey about kids' reading habits. In our introductions, I asked them to tell me what they were reading. Here are the results:

The Boys (both 5th graders): Percy Jackson
The Girls (all 7th graders): Scott Westerfeld's Uglies; Sarah Dessen's Dreamland; Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak; and Twilight.

Then I blabbed a bit about dialogue and told them to write a scene--any scene--as long as it incorporated some dialogue.

The results? MINDBLOWING. First of all, these kids didn't sit around staring at the wall and moaning about writer's block. Their pencils moved at warp speed. Occasionally, they made small sounds of satisfaction, gave quick bursts of laughter, or just plain muttered. I was on my second paragraph when I heard pages flip over. Yikes!

Now, I must admit I expected no great things from these speed writers, but when it came to sharing their writing (and let me tell you, these kids were eager to share), what they'd written actually was pretty good. Sorry, I misspoke. It was AMAZING. It had narrative arc, conflict, and imagined conversations full of sarcasm and bite. Hmm, no way was I going to share my own plodding prose.

The sweetest thing about this little exercise, though, was the change in attitude of one of the boys. He'd tagged along with his older sister and had told me at least a half-dozen times "I'm not here to participate, okay?" I don't know if the kid thought I was going to have them all diagraming sentences or something, but when I said "you can write whatever you want. Free rein," it didn't take but a second or two before he was scribbling away and calling me over to ask how to spell 'bazooka.' (He never did share, so I'm not sure whether the bazooka did any talking, but the kid did leave with a smile on his face.)

This was admittedly a small sampling of kid writers, and ones who are particularly motivated. But my experience with them mirrored the times I had several years ago when I taught a weekly creative writing class in my son's 5th grade classroom. Kids--before we drum it out of them with timed essays--love to write creatively. They write fast. They write fearlessly. And they write with breathtaking exuberance. I need to bottle me some of that.

Parents: Do your kids like to write? What kinds of stories excite them? Is there a young writers' group where you live, like the Young Willamette Writers, that they can join?

Teachers: What have you found when you let your students have "free rein" in their writing?

(Oh, and Rose Cooper, what d'ya think about joining Team M? You can be "Mose!" Got kind of a ring to it, wouldn't you say?)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Characters Must Not Always Be What They Seem

Before we get started, please watch the video above. I promise you won't regret it. You only have to watch about half to get my point.

It's not necessarily the best representation of what I want to talk about today, but it does illustrate quite well how pleasant it can be to be surprised. Never before (well okay, maybe Susan Boyle) have I seen a singer whose lungs, tone, passion, and presence so vastly defied his appearance and the first impression I'm willing to admit I judged him on.

People are like this. People are funny looking, irritating, mean, judgmental. They have all kind of flaws. Many of them aren't worth knowing, but most of them are, flawed as they may be.

We must make our characters equally as many-faceted.

I struggle with this myself, because I have a rather large cast in my novel, and there is very little space to give deep characterization to all the people in my story, but you'd be surprised how little can go a long way.

Dialog is a great tool for this. A tiny turn of phrase. Evidence that a character would be willing to interrupt a certain character, when they would never interrupt most others. Telling the truth. Lying.

In fact, I think that interaction between characters is the most important key to all of this. Everyone behaves differently, even if only slightly, depending on who is in the room. We worry what people think of us (or our confidence raises us above that), but we also think differently of everyone we worry will be judging us.

Put your characters in situations where what they think and feel about each other must be revealed, and hopefully one (or more) of them will end up doing something that surprises you, and will therefore surprise your reader.

And remember, in a book, unlike on TV, it doesn't always have to be a pleasant surprise. It just has to be compelling, and believable.

How do you keep your characters from falling flat? From being thin and predictable? Do you write secrets and surprises into them ahead of time, or do you allow them to be revealed to you along the journey?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Writer Cramps

For a few years I wrote full-time. Since I had left my teaching job to write, I treated writing as my job. I’d roll out of bed very early, often before 5 a.m. and plant myself at my desk. I’d take short breaks throughout the day to stretch and do chores, and one longer break to exercise, and by the time five or six p.m. rolled around I’d have put in about eight hours. Sometimes at night I’d write a little more. My productivity soared.

After eight months or so, my body started rebelling—I couldn’t get the keyboard height quite right, so my wrists hurt and my neck and shoulders were slowly but surely turning to cement.

"Help! I'm stuck!"

In response, I went to see a physical therapist.

I carted my laptop all over the house, writing in a rocking chair, on the couch, standing at the kitchen counter. These things helped but not enough.

So, I finally settled on this.

It took two hours to build the desk top.

Being an exercise addict, I already had a treadmill to help me through the 40-below cold snaps we get every winter.

I’m back in the classroom now and have much more limited writing time. But when summer rolls around and I’m putting in some longer writing days I’ll probably hop back on the treadmill.

Does the physical strain of writing ever limit you? What adjustments have you made to your writing space and routines over time? How have these things helped you?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Rose Boys on Life as an Author's Kid

My boys, Noah, 10, and Caleb, 8, weigh in on what it’s like to live with a writer in the family. I'll be honest: not all their answers are flattering and have shown me a few things I'd like to do better in the mom department. But a couple made me smile. Without further ado, I give you the Rose Boys.

What’s one good thing about having a mom who’s an author?
N: You like books.
C: You get money so we can do special things, like buy our dog, Boo.

What’s one bad thing about having a mom who’s an author?
N: Sometimes, when no one else is at home and I want to do something with you, I can’t because you’re writing your story.
C: You go on your blog and don’t do stuff with us. Not always, but it seems like it.

Describe May B. in one sentence:
N: May B. is scared when the Oblingers don’t come back, so she basically hides in the house.
C: It’s a survival story.

Finish this sentence: At first I thought May B. would be ______ . Now I think _______.
N: Boring. Now I think it’s good.
C: Good and it was good. I knew Mom would be a good author.

Why should boys read this book?
N: More girls should read it, but boys should read it too because she’s not really girly and she doesn’t play with girl toys like My Little Pony.
C: I think girls would read it more. Boys won’t read it because a girl’s in the story. I think it’s good. I don’t care there’s a girl in the story.

Thank you, boys, for sharing your experience with Project Mayhem!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Winners - IVY AND THE MEANSTALK Giveaway

Congratulations to Andrea Mack, Janet Johnson, and our own Mike Winchell for being the lucky winners of signed copies of IVY'S EVER AFTER and IVY AND THE MEANSTALK. If you haven't done so already, please e-mail me at with the address to which your books should be sent. And many thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway!