Archive for the ‘Children’s Books’ Category

skeleton-clip-art-15UPDATE!

We only have to wait a week now! Next week I will post the first contest. Get ready for some crazy halloween fun!

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Yea. So what if I start preparing for Hallowe’en in August. I still have a bride and groom skeleton set hanging from my window from last year. In my world, everyday is Hallowe’en.

We won’t start any of the festivities until Oct. 1st (whimper heard around the world). But I wanted everyone to be aware that there WILL be festivities. I had to take last year off, but I’ll more than make up for it this year!

I already have some amazing books from extremely generous publishers like Little, Brown, Walker, Quirk Books, and Abrams, lined up for giveaways. Ghosts, skeletons, murderers, maniacs, and good old spooky fun haunt these pages.

There will be contests to win books. And they are difficult contests. They involve writing, and reminiscing, maybe some old Hallowe’en pictures?! There will be plenty of books, thus plenty of creepy contests.

Get ready…

Set…

Wait a month and a half…

Kenneth Kit Lamug is a trend setter.

Sure, the habit of children playing with and/or in boxes has existed for ages. But if my 18 nieces and nephews have taught me anything, it’s the boxes that house their precious (and expensive) toys that they play with.

What Kenneth’s magnificent book proposes, is that a box can lead you down a rabbit hole of adventure, just as a box. Not as a box that held a 200$ tricycle or a beloved American Girl Doll. Just a box. A Box Story strips the box down to its skivvies and then the real fun begins.

Starting with the cover. I can’t tell you how much I love this cover. It’s as simplistic as a box itself, but holds a certain mystery about it. What could possibly be between the covers of a book called A Box Story, it asks the viewer. It’s so simple that it becomes completely eye-catching.

The first page on the inside features one of my all time favorite things: a This Book Belongs To space. As a child, there is nothing greater than being able to mark something as your very own. And then the adventure begins…

Something that I found incredibly remarkable about the illustrations is that the box stays in the same place on every single page, but becomes something new and exciting every time you flip to a new page. This gives the reader the impression that it is in fact, the same box being used for a myriad of adventures.

I first came across Kenneth’s illustrations while working on my children’s magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree for which Kenneth regularly contributes. He was asked to do one of our earliest covers because his art is so exceptional. While A Box Story keeps the illustrations somewhat simple, that classic Kenneth comes out and it’s downright stunning.

The words are simple but thought-provoking. They help build the imagination while simultaneously challenging the reader to find a purpose for their box. A purpose all of their own. Every child will want to build a life inside a box after reading this story.

I’ve been an avid proponent of children using their imaginations to entertain themselves, and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of this book.

I challenge you. Buy A Box Story for your child, read it with them, run to the store and pick up a brown cardboard moving box, tape the bottom together, and watch your child’s imagination grow. Join the revolution: www.aboxstory.com

While speaking at the wonderful Whidbey Island Writers Conference this past weekend, I was asked a question: “If you’re not a literary agent, how do you get an author to agree to appear on your blog?” Oooohhhh. It struck me that it must seem MUCH harder than it actually is to interview an author for your blog or to have them guest blog for you. So raise your sword because I swear by the power of Grayskull…you can do this.

…and here is how, aka, follow the pictures.

Pick an author. For our purposes, we will choose an author that has appeared on This Literary Life: Gitty Daneshvari. Author of the School of Fear series.

Now, there is a reason I chose Gitty. It wasn’t a random choice. I KNOW my readers. They are writers and they write children’s books. This was a calculated choice. You do not want to feature an author whom none of your readers will identify with. Plus, Gitty is just absolutely fantastic.

So, I’ve selected my author. The next thing you will want to do is get in contact with your author. Sometimes you will not be able to do this, and that’s just a fact. But for every author who does not put contact info on their Web site, there is an author that does. So I head on over here:

Then I went here:

Can you feel it? We’re getting closer…

VOILA! So the truth is, the easy part is over. Now you write an EXTREMELY polite and informative email to the author and…WAIT. DO NOT PESTER. I don’t think I can stress that enough. Write once, and wait. If they never get back to you, move on.

So this was my next step:

It took her a few days to respond, and we found a time that worked for HER (do not make this about yourself, they are doing you a huge favor. You work on their time schedule).

A word about blogs: Always tag and use categories on your blog!!! When tagging or using categories, use “hot words” like Gitty Daneshvari and School of Fear and Middle Grade Books, etc. “Hot words” are words that people use in a Google search. You do this so that your blog has a higher chance of appearing when someone searches these words. Advice: Look through your entire blog post after you have finished writing it and think to yourself: what key words or ideas are used in this post that people would Google search? Then tag them or use them in the categories.

Also, use images. Not only does it make reading a blog post much more exciting, but when people Google Image Search for Gitty Daneshvari, the image I used of Gitty will appear with the many others, and will drive traffic to my blog.

ALWAYS feed your blog link through other social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, etc.

**It’s important to remember that authors are people too. Which means a few things: They love to promote their books, as well they should. It also means that they have crazy hectic lives just like all of us, and “no” is very much a reasonable answer. So, be patient, choose wisely, and remember that “if you never ask, you’ll never get.”

“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.”-Rita Mae Brown

Often times I find myself standing at the edge of a cliff. Arms out, eyes closed. Although I can feel the exhilaration of the decision I am about to make, there is always a bit of hesitation. But falling slowing into the ravine always turns out to be the most exciting creative act I could ever do.

Sometimes I break an arm. Sometimes I end up with a headache. Often times I realize it’s a lot of work to find a successful life for myself inside that ravine. But I always trust my instincts. And through that essential trust in myself, I find creativity in myself. And it’s my creativity that ultimately makes that jump.

I’m once again plugging Underneath The Juniper Tree because it is the embodiment of all that is creative. In addition to pushing your creative boundaries, it pushes your comfort zones. Both of these things lead to becoming a better writer. Which I assume is your goal since you are reading this post write now.

(A piece from UTJT)

Check out the NOVEMBER ISSUE and learn from all of those who have made that leap into the dark ravine of creativity.

 

Before I begin. Watch this trailer:

Are we feeling the gravity of the world that we are a part of? I’m not talking about this universe (or multiverse, according to the geek Bree that I am), I am talking about the publishing industry. The literary world. Are we understanding the GRAVITY of this beautiful world that we are a part of?

Recently I have had the pleasure of sitting down for a delicious lunch with former Vertigo senior editor Joan Hilty. And as we spoke of graphic novels and art, and books, and creations that have yet to happen in the literary world, my head started to spin because of the sheer potential of the literary life.

Things are changing.

Let us embrace and intensify it.

Art and literature are mixing, and I’m not talking about graphic novels and comics. I’m talking about novels such as The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck, and now this incredible unique work of literature Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which utilizes old photographs throughout the book.

There’s not much of a point to this post except to say this:

OPEN YOUR EYES. UNFETTER YOUR MIND. LOOSEN YOUR IMAGINATION. CAPTURE YOUR CREATIVITY, HARNESS IT, PERFECT IT, THEN UNLEASH IT ON THE WORLD!

There is so much uncharted territory. DO NOT for one second believe that because this territory is uncharted that it is not meant to be explored.

In fact, quite the opposite.

Go there.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

MACABRE picture books! Sweet music to my ears. Let’s talk about it.

Thanks Jen! Hope to hear from you again…

I’ve received a very important and seemingingly dire email from The Creepings of Creeping Hills. D.M. Cunningham has gone missing. (Although I’m not too sure how much I trust the Creepings of Creeping Hills. They are a diabolical bunch.) However, they have found the last known footage of D.M.:

I’ve been asked by the Creepings to post he Halloween Tree animated series, which I think is a brilliant idea. In this animated video, you will see a more cohesive version of what we have been reading over the last 19 days. I hope you take some time this lovely Halloween and enjoy this classic book by the legendary dreamer, Ray Bradbury.


Happy Halloween!

I hope you have enjoyed our crazy Halloween Tree readings, as well as agentbree.worpress.com’s month long Halloween extravaganza! It’s been a blast for all of us to bring this story to life in a somewhat unconventional form.

Go be deliciously evil and spontaneous tonight!

I love you all! Thank you for participating in this very special month!

Aunt Kate gets a massage while she reads the Halloween Tree Chapter 17.

Addison and Avery do their best to simultaneously make Kate’s life difficult and make her life bliss while she reads. I’m going to miss these girls, their incredible cuteness, and their commentary “It’s impossibly impossible!”

LOVING the voice and body language of this Halloween Tree reading. FEARING the gorilla mask.

Let’s just say, I grew up in Phoenix, AZ and was once traumatized as a young girl by the Suns mascot…

…that sounds a lot darker than it should. I just physically ran into him in a dark room of the arena and he grabbed me to steady me… TRAUMATIZED. So thanks for opening up old wounds, Peter!

This is about as “experimental” as it gets.

Let me set the scene. I decided despite the weather (roughly 48 degrees), that I would put on my wig and go fully clothed into the Puget Sound (my backyard) and read Chapter 15 mermaid style.

Halloween Tree Reading FAIL.

So you get the bathtub instead. And by the time I had roughed the freezing perilous waters of the Sound, I was so delirious, that this reading is really quite boring. If you watch my hair sway in the water, it might even hypnotize you to sleep. Happy ZZZzzzzz’s!