Sunday, April 6, 2014

Stained by Cheryl Rainfield -- A Review and Giveaway and Overview of A Bird on the Water

Thought for the Day:

“I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.”  ~ Vladimir Nabokov ~

Some Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Kathleen Temean gives us a story that is particularly motivating and interesting. All writers should read this one. Click HERE

We all know we have to make readers care about our characters or all is lost. You can find a great post HERE about making your readers care.

Anne R. Allen has a not-to-be-missed post HERE that examines the changing role of agents in this digital age. 

New Book on My TBR List: 

I am adding a new section here. There are so many great books coming out that I hope to get to soon, but don't know just when I can. But I think these sound interesting enough to mention here. So, for the first book in this section, I'd like to mention A Bird On Water Street by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. This middle-grade book is based on a fascinating (and scary) piece of history and is a cautionary tale everyone should read. This is what Goodreads has to say: A Bird on Water Street is a coming of age story about Jack, a boy growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices and pollution. Jack is opposed to the mine where so many of his relatives have died, but how can he tell that to his Dad who wants him to follow in the family trade? Jack just wants his dad safe and the land returned to its pre-mining glory with trees, birds, frogs, and nature—like he’s learning about in school. After Jack’s uncle is killed in a mining accident and the Company implements a massive layoff, the union organizes and the miners go on strike. It seems Jack’s wish is coming true. But the cost may be the ruin of his home and everything he loves.

Last week I posted an offer to one of you to win a copy of Shane, the best western ever, in my humble opinion. The winner this week is Anne R. Allen! Congratulations, Anne!! Anne is a writer of romantic-comedy/mysteries and blogs about writing. I often link to her blog posts in my Gifts to My Writer Friends section. Coincidentally, I mentioned her posts both last week and this week. Anne is getting a lot of love around here! You can learn more about her (and about writing) by clicking her link above. Anne, I will get your book out to you this week.

Yesterday was our regional SCBWI conference and it was TERRIFIC. Great line-up of speakers and workshops. If you missed it, save May 2 for next year. The big thrill for me was a little visit at my critique group table from Melani Grube, who told me she loves my blog and never misses it! WooHoo! Made my day! (Hi, Melani!) I'm one of the volunteers, so I had a loooong day yesterday. This morning I had two airport runs for conference speakers -- at 4:00 am and 8:00 am -- and then my grandson had a double-header at noon. That said, I am merely going to run a review here I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review. The book is Stained by Cheryl Rainfield, and this is 5-star review I wrote. 

Sarah has lived all her seventeen years with a rather large port-wine stain on her face. Now, when she
Cheryl Rainfield
is finally to begin treatments to erase it, her father’s business has been ruined by an embezzler. They don’t have the money for the treatments. She is devastated. She really believed she could be normal, that the bullying and meanness could be gone from her life. She can barely get through the day, but after school faces the worst bullying incident she’s ever faced. Her best friend turns against her and joins the bullies. When Nick, a really amazing guy who is one of her few friends, offers to walk her home, she kind of blows him off. Brian, a handsome young guy who works for Sarah’s father, offers her a ride home. She refuses, but he drags her into his car and ties her up. Her life becomes hell and makes her earlier problems look like nothing. It will take all her strength and will to survive, and that may not be enough.

“I think I was trying to punish myself by staring at all those perfect faces. Punish myself for how I look, and for the way people treat me.”
Cheryl Rainfield has written a dark, edgy, realistic fiction that plumbs the depths of human evil and, at the same time, depicts what really defines heroes.

If you would like to win my gently-read hardback of Stained, all you need do is be a subscriber or follower, have a U.S. address, and leave a comment. Please tell me in your comment if you are a subscriber or follower so I can put you in the drawing. I'll put your name in my proverbial hat. If you want extra chances, post this link on your blog or Facebook or Tweet about the giveaway and tell me that in your comment and you'll get your name in the hat an extra time. Thanks for reading. I hope to see you here again soon.

Please visit Shannon Messenger's blog (HERE) for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Franklin's Big Dreams -- A Review for Perfect Picture Book Friday

Thought for the Day:

"If writers of children's books had to take an oath it might begin, 'First tell the truth.'"
~ William Zinsser ~

 Some Gifts for My Writer Friends:
The folks at Children’s Book Insider and the Fightin’ Bookworms posted an interesting article about generating some fresh ideas. In case you haven’t seen this, click HERE to have a look.

Kathleen Temean has a guest post from Erika Wassall that SHOWS a way to TELL if you are TELLING, not SHOWING. Click HERE. It’s worth your time.

Some great ideas for getting ready to write from Writers Helping Writers. Click HERE to find these great ideas. 

Last week, Susanna Leonard Hill didn't run a Perfect Picture Book Friday, so neither did I. But I am going to try to keep this up, although time doesn't always cooperate. This month is Poetry Month and my friend JaNay Brown-Wood told me about a month-long series of posts all about rhyme and poetry and rhyming picture books called RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month). It is put on by a wonderful, sharing writer/illustrator named Angie Karcher. There are guest posts and lessons (and HOMEWORK!!!) every day. It's a bit overwhelming at times, but I am loving it and am getting a lot of writing done. If you are interested, it's not too late to jump in. You can find it HERE.

The book I've chosen for today, unfortunately, is no longer in print, but you should be able to find it in the library and you can find used copies on Amazon. I found this book while working on something special for my blog that will appear the end of the month, and I simply fell in love with it. 

Title: Franklin's Big Dreams
Author: David Teague
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Year: 2010
Intended audience: ages 3-7
Topic: Dreams and Imagination

Opening: One night, while he was staring at the moon, wishing he could visit it, Franklin heard somebody tapping on his wall. Only it wasn't exactly tapping. It was more like . . .

Isn't that a great opening? You have to turn the page. Franklin seems to have a little trouble going to sleep at night and, consequently, he isn't yet asleep when, well, odd things happen that would normally happen while a child slept. Things that would happen only in a child's dream.

David Teague
Boris Kulikov
This is simply a wonderful, imaginative book that will free children to use their own imaginations. It will help them think and will give parents a lot of "what if" ideas to charge up that imagination. At the same time, the children and the adults reading with them will be charmed completely by this beautifully illustrated story. Unfortunately, when a book goes out of print, there are not usually a lot of resources available, and this is no exception. There is, however, a wonderful interview with David Teague you can find HERE. Some of Boris Kulikov's illustrations can be found HERE.

Don't forget to check Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday for lots of other suggestions for picture book reading. Just click HERE to find it.