Monday, May 27, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The Fourth Stall Part II

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you are having a wonderful day today and able to take time to remember those who gave their lives for our country's freedom.

I have a winner to announce!  The winner of a paperback of DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE and a hardcover of NEW LANDS by Geoff Rodkey is


Congratulations!  You should have received an email from me with more information.

Walden Pond Press 2012

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post features THE FOURTH STALL PART II. For my thoughts on the original THE FOURTH STALL, click hereWith a second book, there is always the chance it won’t be as good as the first. This is not the case with The Fourth Stall Part II. We once again find Mac and Vince in the middle of a major situation.

From the back cover:
Mac has taken down legendary high school crime boss Staples, business has been booming, and Mac and Vince are getting ready for middle school baseball tryouts. But this can’t last. Especially when a new vice principal is bent on destroying their operation, and Mac and Vince meet the new girl at school, an eighth grader with a mean look who goes by the name Trixie Von Parkway.

Mac has always tried to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. But what do you do when you can’t tell the difference?

The best part of this book was that it kept me guessing. I honestly didn’t know who the “bad guy” was until almost the end. Rylander keeps the reader on their toes with a variety of twists and turns. I can’t wait to dive right in to Part III, the conclusion of the series. My son read all three books in the first part of May and absolutely loved them.  So if you're looking for a middle grader review, it would be five stars!. He promised me he wouldn't give the third book away to me, but I need to get it read, so we can talk about it. The third book I was able to have signed for him by Chris Rylander when I attended the Wild, Wild, Midwest Conference at the beginning of the month. 

Speaking of Chris Rylander, here is a picture of me with him. I attended one of his breakouts at the conference and enjoyed hearing his thoughts on humor in writing. His start in children’s literature is a story in and of itself. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak, I highly recommend it!

That's it from me this week. I hope you all have a great week! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - New Lands and a Giveaway!

A couple months ago I posted about the first book in the Chronicles of Egg series - DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE.  Today's MMGM features the second book, NEW LANDS, which was released the beginning of May. Read to the end of the post for a giveaway of both books!

by: Geoff Rodkey
released May 2013

NEW LANDS picks up right where DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE left off.
From Goodreads:
After a narrow escape from Deadweather Island, Egg and his slightly deranged partner Guts head for the remote New Lands. They’re in search of the lost Okalu tribe, who hold the key to the mysterious treasure map that Egg can't decipher. But the ruthless Roger Pembroke is hard on Egg's trail, and the New Lands are full of new enemies — against which our heroes only weapons are their brains, their courage...and the two dozen swear words Guts just memorized in the local tongue. 

They're going to need help. But who can they trust? Is Kira, the beautiful and heavily armed Okalu refugee, their ally…or their enemy? Is Pembroke's daughter Millicent on Egg's side…or her father's? Why on earth is the notorious pirate Burn Healy being so nice to them? And the biggest question of all: what shocking secret is Egg about to discover in the shadow of an ancient Okalu temple?

I'm about halfway through the book and loving it. This second book features more mystery then the first (like what is Burn Healy really up to?), but still is filled with action and adventure. I can't wait to find out what Egg is going to discover.

G.P. Putnam's Sons has graciously offered a giveway of a paperback copy of DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE and a hardcover copy of NEW LANDS. Please see the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Just a reminder, in order for your comments below or other options to count in the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter form to enter your email address. I will post the winner next Monday.

Have a great week and be sure to stop by the other MMGM features this week.  See my list to the right with my favorite sites.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A shout out to Midwest Illustrators

Since there was so much to share last week about the Wild, Wild, Midwest SCBWI Conference, I thought I would wait until this week to share one more great part of the weekend. Yes, many of the attendees are writers, but very talented illustrators also attend. Saturday night was a juried art show and I enjoyed seeing the work of so many talented artists. Today I thought I would share a few of my favorites. Click on their names to see some of their work.

I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, May 6, 2013

SCBWI Wild, Wild, Midwest Conference Recap

This past weekend was amazing! I can't believe how much I learned and how many cool authors, illustrators, agents and editors I met. Being with such a wonderful group just reinforces why I'm writing for children, and the support from everyone is so crucial in my writing journey. Rather than make this an incredibly long post, I'm just going to bullet point the highlights of what I learned.
  • "In writing, nothing is wasted but the paper." - Lin Oliver via Sid Fleischman
  • "Don't force the funny." - Chris Rylander
  • The key to Voice - maintaining the interior logic of your story. - Brett Duquette
  • Picture book writers - be sure to have little description or action in your words.  Leave that to the illustrator. - Peter Brown
  • When writing middle grade, be sure that your main character's thoughts match his spoken vocabulary. - Linda Pratt
  • When writing dialogue, write the way people talk. - Lin Oliver
  • You must know the primary role your character is playing for your story.  Once you figure that out, what is his/her controlling belief? - Kathi Appelt
  • Jill Corcoran is an amazing query letter teacher!
  • I also learned that it is smart to know your competition and how your book is different, manuscripts are pulled from the slush pile AND published, some editors don't read query letters, and award winning authors/illustrators can get nervous too.
Needless to say, my brain is full right now! I also wanted to give a shout out to Summer the owner of Summer's Stories, a bookstore in Kendallville, Indiana. She is the nicest person and a true book lover. I would definitely encourage you to check the bookstore out if you live in the Fort Wayne area.

Now I'm off to write and revise!  Have a great week!

Thanks, Chris Rylander!
Oh, one last thing - Just wanted to share the books I was able to get signed.
Thanks, Peter Brown!

Thanks, Kathy Appelt!