Monday, October 16, 2017

Bookstop, Kirkus, and War Eagle

So much is hopping around here. We are finally settled (sort of) in our new home in Springdale. Boxes are coming out of storage, and we are finding places for everything (and determining there is still more we can donate and move along). Several of you have mentioned worrying about the cats settling in, and I assure you they are all doing fine. We had a plan on how it would all work, and they have shown us their plan and decided much of it on their own. We try to keep up.

Cheetara took control immediately and supervised the unpacking.
We gave up on keeping cats off the kitchen counters long ago.

The master bedroom is the daily sleeping zone. Kimba, Hiro, and Miss Fatty Cat all insist on spending the day lounging and napping in there. Cheetara and Max follow me wherever I am and nap accordingly. Max is very excited about his new yard with a FENCE. He can just wander around and lie in the sun without supervision. He missed that very much, though he did love his mountain yard.

Miss Fatty Cat claimed the window viewing seat behind my chair once,
but she prefers the quiet of a bedroom for serious sleeping.
Kimba has taken to finding stealthy places to get away from the unpacking for serious naps.
She is very proud of this one and seems kind of sad when I spot her. So sneaky!


We are gearing up for the War Eagle Fall Craft Fair in a few days. It is our biggest event of the year. Four full days of hundreds of thousands of people can be overwhelming, but after having a booth there several years in a row I have discovered that people come looking for me and my newest book. That's about the best compliment ever. It is a huge party, so if you have never been, you should check it out. My booth is normally right across from the bridge in Sharp's Field. Stop by and say hello! You can even get a peek at a sample copy of Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess. 

I'm also participating in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Bookstop promotions this month. Authors/illustrators who have a book coming out in 2017 can purchase a promotion page, and you can stop in and "like" them or leave a comment. So many wonderful books! I've been working my way through them all slowly. Be sure to check it out. My page is at this link.

Besides this promotion, we are getting down to the final gasps for Bianca and her official launch day December 1st. The blog tour is filling up nicely, and I'm putting the final touches on the hardcover formatting. There will be some updates to the book cover as early reviews come in. I was thrilled to have Kirkus not only do a review but say lovely, quotable things. I can't post the whole thing here, but you can click on this link to read the review. Their pull-out quote is:

"Runs to surprising depths, and Sammy the donkey will live long in young memory."

I'm partial to the part about "spry and charming" and their words about my "exquisitely characterized animals" and that "Bianca, all told, is a memorable middle-grade heroine."

Yay!

You can already pre-order the Kindle version at this link from Amazon. I also have pre-order links up at my website for paperback and hardcovers. I'll only be ordering the copies that I think I'll need for December, so be sure to get a pre-order in if you want a copy for the holidays. Then you will be assured of one in time. 

I'll also be participating in Fayetteville's Lit Fest. There are lots of wonderful events, and I'll be part of the Local Children's Author Festival on Saturday, October 28th, at the Fayetteville Library. Follow this link for more information on all the great speakers and events. 

That's all the excitement for now -- and it's plenty! I'm off to unpack a box. I hope you have a lovely week and are enjoying the fall weather. 



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway

The Goodreads Giveaway for Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess is now underway! Five copies are up for grabs. Click here to enter.

I will also be having a drawing for five free copies from those who sign up for my Reader's Group at either Penned Con or War Eagle over the next few weeks. If you're in St. Louis, don't miss out on this fun event in just a few days.


So many amazing authors, all in one place, and it's a charity benefit for Action for Autism as well. How can you lose??


Hope to see you or meet you for the first time there. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bianca Early Review

We are in that scary zone of pre-publication where review copies have been sent out but it could be weeks before we hear back on how my Brave Frail and Delicate Princess Bianca has been received. One early response was decent, but nothing great. That stirred up massive author anxiety. What if all the reviews are like that? What if Kirkus hates it and says nasty things?? What if everyone hates it?? (Yes, this is how an author's brain works.)

Then this arrived.

"Princess Bianca rules, in every way! This tale of intrepid discovery and determination will delight young readers and will dare those who deal with the dragons of self-doubt, frustration, and bullying to step out and challenge those menaces to a duel." 
New England Children's Book Review -- Listed as a "favorite" on their site



I tell you, my heart skipped a beat or two when I read that. Scott even got a little teary. It's hard to imagine how much words like that mean about something you have worked on and worried over and fussed with for years. It is everything.

It isn't necessary for every reviewer to love it, but if even a few do, it lets me know I'm on the right track. And, on the business side of things, it gives me material to post on sales pages and puts Bianca in front of librarians who use NECBR as a resource for book selections. That's such a boost!

So now we continue to wait for the next round. Kirkus is the big dog in the pen at the moment. Fortunately, if they don't really like it, it's not the equivalent of being blacklisted or anything. I don't promote the review and it just sort of hangs out there. I don't think the average reader checks Kirkus for book recommendations. It's mostly just a waste of lots of money.

But if Kirkus likes it...Well...

We won't even talk about the fireworks that will be lit if they give it a star. Mid-October is a long way off. I try not to think about it if I can avoid it.

In the meantime, we are finishing up our move to Springdale and getting ready for Penned Con in St. Louis (Sept. 29-30th). October will be full with formatting the hardcover version of Bianca, which is a whole new venture for us, and setting up blog reviewers for the fall and December 1 launch of Bianca. We also have War Eagle to look forward to (Oct. 19th-22nd). Meeting readers there always gives my spirits a bump.

For now, I leave you with birthday photos of Miss Fatty Cat (aka Samantha) and Slinky (aka Tabitha), who turn 12 sometime this month. Happy Birthday, Ladies!!



Monday, August 21, 2017

Five Great Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog

Please welcome Alexandra Seagal, editor at Animalso, who is sharing a guest blog with us today. Our rescue dog Max (now an old man of 12 himself) is very excited to talk about the benefits of adopting a senior dog. You can find out more about Alexandra and Animalso at this link.


Thinking About Adopting a Dog? 

5 Great Reasons To Get A Senior Dog 




Many people head straight for the puppies when visiting a shelter, but there are lots of healthy senior dogs that are waiting for a home too. Adopting an older dog comes with many benefits that you might not have considered. So, in this article, I’m going to share 5 reasons to get an older (and wiser) pooch.
                                             
Stick with me to see what they are!

1. Save a life


Most people prefer to adopt a puppy or a young dog. Yes, those little fluff balls with their puppy-dog eyes will melt the coldest of hearts. But sadly, this means that, at overpopulated shelters, it’s the older dogs that are the first to be put down.
  
So, adopting a senior pooch really can save its life. And wouldn’t that just feel great?


2. Spend less


Let’s consider the expenses that come with getting a puppy - various vet visits and vaccinations, spaying or castrating procedures, puppy classes, and you might even need to replace expensive household items if you get a particularly aggressive chewer.

Well, most senior dogs come vaccinated, neutered, trained, and they’ve already been through that pesky teething phase, so you won’t see your bank balance drop quite so much.

Just get her some quality senior dog food, a cozy place to sleep, some toys, a leash, and you’re set!

3. They’re not all “problem dogs”


Contrary to popular belief, most senior dogs are not in a shelter due to bad behavior. Actually, it’s usually because their previous owners could no longer look after them, whether because of financial issues, allergies, or a death in the family.

So, think twice before you brand senior dogs “problematic.” There is a story behind each older dog, and it’s usually nothing they have done that has landed them in a kennel.


4. Chill together


Don’t feel like waking up to whining at 2 a.m.? Or having to play with a bouncy, energetic puppy throughout the day? What about going through the whole potty training ordeal, and - let’s be honest - probably having to clear up more than a few accidents?

Senior dogs are generally much more chilled and require much less work, meaning there will be minimal disruption to your current routine. You can simply enjoy their companionship, snuggling together, enjoying calm walks - oh, and you’ll get to sleep through the night.



5. What you see is what you get


With puppies, it’s not always clear how much they will grow or what personality traits and behaviors they will develop. Will she get on with children, cats, and other dogs? Will she be small enough to carry? What color will she be?

The great thing about getting a senior dog is that you know what you’re in for. Straightaway, you will be able to see her size, color, and temperament - you’ll even know her food preferences. This means it’s much easier to get the right match for you.


Conclusion


So, if you’re considering adopting a dog, don’t overlook the seniors. They can make great pets. Compared to puppies, they are far less costly, more chilled, plus they have already grown into themselves, so you’ll be able to judge if they are the right fit or not.

Remember, most of them are there through no fault of their own, and, by choosing one, you could be saving her life.






















Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sweet T and the Turtle Team & $75 Giveaway

Today I'm stepping outside of my normal posts to support the release of an adorable new book. Cat Michaels and I have rubbed elbows on kidlit publishing social media sites, and I was excited to be included on the blog tour for her new book: Sweet T and the Turtle Team.

 Link to blog tour kickoff

First of all, I loved the book. It is a sweet educational story about a group of kids who work to protect sea turtle nests and help the hatched youngsters make it to the ocean. It is the third book in a series, but I never felt like I had missed out because I hadn't read the others--though you should read them too! The real Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program actually does this crucial conservation work and helped advise her on the content. If I have not made it clear, I highly recommend this book for readers young and old.

Second, Scroll down for more information about Cat and her new book...and for the Rafflecopter $75 giveaway. Someone's going to win. Might as well be you!





Title: Sweet T and the Turtle Team
Author: Cat Michaels
Illustrator: Irene A. Jahns
Publication Date: July 2017
Publisher: 2101 Ink
Number of Pages: 72
Recommended Ages: 6 to 11
Summary: It’s nesting season for loggerhead sea turtles on North Carolina's Gull Island. Nine-year old Tara (or Sweet T as her family sometimes calls her) is determined to see hatchlings make it safely from their nests to their ocean home.Summering on Gull Island with Great Aunt Mae could be tons of fun, but T is having a hard time making new friends with island children, let alone finding kids to help her monitor a sea turtle nest.There’s little sister Jenna, but Jenna is, well, little. Fuzzy is around, too, but Jenna’s blue stuffy rabbit gets lost all the time. Besides, a toy bunny can’t help protect turtle nests.Tara befriends Billy, a moody island child. He teaches her skimboarding and shows her the best shelling spots. But Billy stomps away when she asks him to read the “Turtle Team Guide” and join her in saving baby sea turtles. What’s up with Billy? He’s nice one minute and grumpy the next. And why does he refuse to join T’s Turtle Team? T can't figure him out. A tropical storm threatens Gull Island just as the sea turtle nest is ready to hatch. T must abandon the nest and prepare for bad weather.

  • ​Will Sweet T and her friends keep safe from the storm?
  • ​Will the sea turtle nest survive angry ocean waves?
  • ​Will Billy reveal his secret?
Dive into adventure, fun and secrets on Gull Island with “Sweet T and the Turtle Team” to find out! “Sweet T and the Turtle Team” is the third book of the Sweet T Tales Series of chapter books for early and reluctant readers by Cat Michaels, MS., Ed. With a glossary, comprehension quiz, sea turtle hatch photo gallery, and discussion questions, “Turtle Team” delivers powerful messages about protecting marine life while helping young readers empathize with children who struggle to read.


Pre-order Now ~ Available July 21, 2017




Author, blogger CAT MICHAELS, M.S., Ed., has more than two decades of experience helping students from kindergarten to college with learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome.

​Her chapter books and Sweet T Tales series for beginning readers tell of every day life with a twist of magic and mischief. Cat’s books encourage young and reluctant readers to use their imagination and solve kid-sized dilemmas as they enjoy reading.

Cat lives in North Carolina with her family, where she enjoys digital photography and graphic design, creates pocket gardens, works out as often as she can, and writes. ​
Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter Pinterest Instagram
Find Cat’s books on Amazon and iTunes
Blog Tour Giveaway
Prize: One winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift card or $75 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Giveaway ends: August 9, 11:59 pm, 2017 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Cat Michaels and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, here's a quick excerpt from the book for you to enjoy.





Follow the Tour

July 12, 2017
Blog Tour Kick-Off
BeachBoundBooks

 
July 12, 2017
Tickling Dragons (Excerpt)
Domestic Chanteuse (Promo)
The Blended Blog (Review)

July 14, 2017
Java John Z’s  (Excerpt & Promo)
 
July 15, 2017
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima (Excerpt & Promo)
PJ LaRue (Review)
Peggy’s Hope 4U (Excerpt)
 
July 17, 2017
Untamed Doodler (Review)
Bargnhtress (Excerpt & Promo)
 
July 18, 2017
A Wildflower Mom (Character Interview w/Sweet T)
 
July 19, 2017
Rockin’ Book Reviews (Excerpt)
 
July 20, 2017
Meg’s Blog (Review, Excerpt, Character Interview w/Sweet T & Promo)
Grab the Book (Promo)
Word Magic: All About Books (Review)
 
July 21, 2017
Sandra Bennett, Author (Review)
 Baby Boomer Bliss (Promo)

July 24, 2017
Raising Kids of Gratitude (Promo)
 
July 25, 2017
Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog (Review)
 
July 26, 2017
Kay LaLone (Review)
 
July 27, 2017
Amanda’s Books & More (Review)
 
July 28, 2017
Deal Sharing Aunt (Character Interview w/Sweet T)
 
August 1, 2017
Stitch Says (Review & Character Interview w/Sweet T)
 
August 2, 2017
Eloquent Articulation (Review, Excerpt & Promo)
 
August 3, 2017
Reading Authors (Review)
 
August 4, 2017
Books Direct (Review & Excerpt)
 
August 7, 2017
Bound 4 Escape (Review)
 
August 8, 2017
Fundinmental (Review)
 
August 9, 2017
Bookworm for Kids (Review)
 
Blog Tour Wrap-Up
BeachBoundBooks

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess Cover Reveal

There are stages in writing a book that bring extra excitement, a little giggle and thrill, and make it seem much more real and tangible than all those hours of slogging away and editing and revising. Seeing the book cover for the first time is certainly one of them. So I'll share it with you now!



I hope you love it as much as I do. My daughter Callista provided the drawings of the dragon and the princess (she did the drawings in Max's Wild Night and Dottie's Daring Day as well), and cover genius Kelsey Rice made it all colorful, textured, and beautiful.

For those of you who have followed the adventures of my real-life pets, this book is a new direction. It has actually been floating around and coming in and out of drawers in my desk for decades. I'm so happy to have it finally taking form to share with the world once and for all.

One of the things that always amazes school groups I talk to is the length of time it takes to publish a book. Not write it. Just publish it. Even when you do it yourself, there are many stages and steps that involve other professionals who have their own time frames and other projects to work on. With a publisher, authors often wait over a year to see their final book in print. Self-publishing can move a bit faster because you can focus on just that one project, but it is still a journey of many months. For Bianca, we are also going through the full six month review process that many publishers follow. If you want a book review from Booklist or Publishers Weekly or most other large (and influential) publications, they need the book six months before the publishing date. Bianca should be ready to hit the review circuit by August, so that puts us at publication in February or March of 2018.

Yes, it is a long process, but I'm sure I'll be keeping you up-to-date as reviews come in and we get closer to release day.

We are also stepping into new territory with a hardcover version of this book. That's what libraries really need to have on their shelves. Paperbacks are quickly torn and broken by young readers. So I will be figuring out that whole process at Ingram while reviewers are having their chance to read the book. I may even venture into audio book territory. It should be an interesting autumn this year!

I'll leave you with the teaser for Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess.

Princess Bianca had never set foot outside the castle walls. Not once in her over-protected, pink, fluffy life. But when a dragon is spotted in the land and fear spread that the monster has conquered the king and his brave knights, Bianca realized that it was her duty to protect her kingdom. She will have to prove that she can be braver and stronger than anyone believed because the threat outside the protection of her castle tower is more dangerous and magical than she ever imagined possible, except in a fairy tale.