Friday, March 28, 2014

Just a Little Cover Reveal...

Okay, so this is BIG, BIG NEWS! 
     After years of writing, rewriting, subs, rejections, awards, more rejections and then new possibilities, I'm happy to announce that I've hopped off the Roller Coaster of Perpetual Publishing Limbo, to send my middle-grade novel, BINGO SUMMER, out into the world!
     It was SO MUCH FUN working with Heather McCorkle on this cover. Bringing the visual components of a story to life with illustrations and/or photos has always been one of my favorite aspects of publishing. I love to see how an artist interprets an author's words. Heather's vision for Summer was so perfect; I'm thrilled with the results!
     Here's the back cover copy:
     On her thirteenth birthday, Summer Haas scratches the lottery ticket her mom tucked into her birthday card and the down-on-their-luck family become instant millionaires. Then the attention gets crazy in their small Illinois town, and the family moves north to ‘disappear’ in the Chicago suburbs. Summer’s new home might as well be on the Moon, it’s so different from where she used to live.
     Suddenly, Summer is a candidate for student council, trades her t-shirt and jeans for mall-brand clothes, and throws a party for her entire grade even though she didn't invite a single guest. Everyone wants Summer to be someone other than herself, including the super-popular Suri who Summer hopes will be her new best friend. There’s Mara who wants Summer to forget about competing with her for third base when softball season comes. And Summer just wants to avoid Dink and Anna even though she has more in common with them than she wants to admit.
     But when Mara discovers how Summer’s family made their millions, and threatens to tell the whole school, Summer needs a friend more than ever. Can Summer fit in AND stay true to herself?

     I'm planning on a May release if all goes well. Stay tuned for more news on the official release date, giveaways, contests, etc. Yay!
     

Friday, March 21, 2014

List Mania, Challenges & Giving Thanks


   It's officially Spring Break, I have an empty house (not counting the dog), and my to-do list is quickly hatching sub-lists. One of my top priorities — and there's 23 'top' priorities at this point — is catching up on blog reading and writing. So many of you are writing your A to Z April Challenge posts, and I have been reveling in the theme reveals today. There are some seriously creative posts coming next month - can't wait to be a part of it! 
     Aside from working on the A to Z posts, I've also been beta-reading a really FUN middle-grade fantasy novel. I'm also going over details of my own so-to-be-published middle-grade novel. How many read-throughs is enough? I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that yet; I keep finding things I want to change! And the cover is almost done. I can't wait to show it off! 
      One thing that I'm especially thankful for this week includes this writing community. I'm so happy to to be a part of such a warm, generous, and creative group of people. Today I'm celebrating YOU!

     (This post is brought to you in part by the Celebrate the Small Things blogfest, a weekly adventure courtesy of Viklit's Writing Blog. Check out her blog to see what everyone else is celebrating.)




Monday, March 17, 2014

Within the Pages: Wordsworth and the Dragon

Wordsworth and the Dragon
By Scotti Cohn
Published 2013 by Cavabok Press

Looking at the cover of Wordsworth and the Dragon, you'll figure you're in for a retelling of a classic fairytale. There's a dragon, a kingdom, and a boy riding a...a cavabok? And that's just the first surprise in author Scotti Cohn's charming chapter book with the equally whimsical illustrations by Christina Wald. Read on to find out more about why I loved this book.

First, a summary of Wordsworth and the Dragon from Amazon:
     The Kingdom of Atoz is thrown into a panic when the letter C disappears from the Royal Alphabet. No one can say or write the letter, and it has vanished from all the books in the kingdom. Sir Clooney becomes Sir Looney. A sign in a bakery window offers "akes" and "fresh baked pie rust." The librarian, Lord Reading, tries to recite his favorite poem but the lines come out all wrong. "A terrible rime has been ommitted!" he wails. A young page named Wordsworth believes that the letter C was stolen by a dragon. Seeing a chance to prove himself worthy of knighthood, he heads into the Forest of Spells to fight the dragon and recover the missing letter. Wordsworth isn't acting alone. He has the help of Phrasia, the local witch; Klause, a goat-like creature called a cavabok; and his friend, Princess Rho, who has a secret power. But will that be enough? What will happen when Wordsworth has to face not only a dragon but a gang of large, mean creatures called muddletonques? Who will protect him?

The Character Who Would Have Your Back: Wordsworth, of course! Brave yet humble, the knight-wannabe sees an opportunity to prove himself and save the townspeople from a life without letter 'C'. He's a reliable guy who doesn't let dragon encounters and greedy trolls stand in the way of his goal.

The Character Who Holds a Few Surprises Up Her Mutton Sleeves: Princess Rho. We should expect as much from someone who lets Wordsworth sneak a peak at the royal alphabet behind her father's back. So it's not entirely out of character when she takes matters into her own wings, err, hands when Wordsworth needs a little help.

The Character You Fear and Then You Love: Dash the dragon. Oh! I beg your pardon — that would be Dashburn Drak the Fifth. When he first appears with a mighty WOOMPH!, you fear the worst. But he proves to be one of Wordsworth's greatest allies. And allies are definitely needed against those dreaded Muddletongues.

The Character(s) You DON'T Want to Meet in a Dark Alley: Muddletongues! The big, hairy, troll-like creatures ape around their mud huts with flaming torches, grunting and growling. What trouble have they caused for Wordsworth & company?

Why I read Wordsworth and the Dragon: Author Scotti Cohn is the author of three picture books published by Sylvan Dell, including One Wolf Howls, BIG CAT, Little Kitty, and On the Move. She has also written a number of non-fiction books published by Globe Pequot Press. Aside from being a masterful storyteller, she's been a great writer-friend for over 10 years, so I'm especially pleased to see Wordsworth and his friends finally alive within the pages of this charming story.

Visit Scotti at wordsworthdragon.blogspot.com

Check out Wordsworth in a YouTube trailer, too!

You can also purchase Wordsworth here.



Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Favorites: An Author Visit, Links, and Small Things to Celebrate

 
    Last night our local SCBWI network hosted local author Patricia Hruby Powell and heard about the delightful journey that her book, JOSEPHINE, the DAZZLING LIFE OF JOSEPHINE BAKER has enjoyed from idea to publication. So far it's received rave reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and a slew of others. Christian Robinson's electric illustrations compliment Patricia's high-energy prose. I LOVE this book and am so happy that Patricia has struck gold with JOSEPHINE.
     A few posts from this week which caught my attention are: from Women on Writing and the challenges of being a parent who writes; the author/reader friendship at Project Mayhem; and particularly the post on what kills your interest in the early stages of reading a book at Writers Helping Writers. I've put down two books in the last month that I just couldn't continue. What didn't resonate with me? This post made me think about what might have happened when a reader can't connect with a book.
     What *small* accomplishments am I celebrating this week, in the spirit of Tara Tyler's Celebrating the Small Things Blog Hop? I'm at the stage of finding a cover for my middle-grade novel, BINGO SUMMER. Adding visual pieces to the writing puzzle has always been one of my favorite aspects of the publishing process. When contributor copies with my short stories came in the mail, it was always a thrill to see how the illustrator interprets the characters and setting. So being more involved in this process is particularly exciting.
     I'm also celebrating the fact that small patches of grass are showing through the melting snow in the yard. I am SO READY for Spring!
     What have you been up to this week?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mad for Middle Grade: Faery Swap by Susan Kaye Quinn

I'm SO EXCITED to feature 
Susan Kaye Quinn's middle grade fantasy,
 FAERY SWAP, during Middle Grade Madness month! 
Watch the trailer, enter the GIVEWAY, read this fantastic book!

March 3rd - March 21st
A little about Faery Swap...  KindleNookPrint
Warrior faery princes can be very stubborn. Especially when they possess your body. Fourteen-year-old Finn just wants to keep his little sister out of Child Protective Services--an epic challenge with their parentally-missing-in-action dad moving them to England, near the famous Stonehenge rocks. Warrior faery Prince Zaneyr just wants to escape his father's reckless plan to repair the Rift--a catastrophe that ripped the faery realm from Earth 4,000 years ago and set it adrift in an alternate, timeless dimension. When Zaneyr tricks Finn into swapping places, Finn becomes a bodiless soul stuck in the Otherworld, and Zaneyr uses Finn's body to fight off his father's seekers on Earth. Between them, they have two souls and only one body... and both worlds to save before the dimensional window between them slams shut.
NOTE TO TEACHERS: Check out the Virtual Author visit video and Common-Core-Aligned Teacher's Guide for Faery Swap here.
2 minute book trailer

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Signed Paperback of Faery Swap
Two Faery Wands
ENTER TO WIN

Susan Kaye Quinnis the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. Faery Swap is her foray into middle grade, which is her first writing love. Her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" and she always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can subscribe to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!) or stop by her blog to see what she's up to.
Faery Swap
Kindle | Nook | Print
Fourteen-year-old Finn is tricked into swapping places with a warrior faery prince and has to find his way back home before the dimensional window between their worlds slams shut. 
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