Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Player King -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything. If you
don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t write stories
that other people love, you’ll never make it.”
~ Ray Bradbury ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Some years ago, I was in a critique group with several beginning writers. I was really a beginner at the time. One day we had quite an argument about point of view. One of the writers insisted books could only be written in either first person or third person limited, that nothing else was allowed. I tried to convince her there was such a thing as omniscient PoV, but she was having none of it. The Writer Magazine has an interesting article HERE on omniscient PoV. 

M. L. Keller has a good post HERE on secondary characters. We can’t get along without them. 

Writers Helping Writers always has good stuff. I especially like the post HERE on how to indicate a passage of time in your story. 

Last week, I offered a gently-read hardback of Why Fish Don't Drown? by Anna Claybourne to one of you. It's such a fun book. I guess it pays to get your comment in early. This week's winner is Linda, the very first to leave a comment last week. Congratulations, Linda! I will get your book out to you soon. For the rest of you -- yes, I do have another great giveaway this week. 

I find it hard to believe that I have never before read a book by Avi. This guy has written sooooo many books, and somehow I have never gotten around to reading him until this year. I read a review of The Player King on Dorine White's wonderful blog, The Write Path, and knew it was for me. I love historical fiction, and she made it sound so enticing. She has wonderful reviews, so check out her blog. Anyway, I was able to snag a copy for review and grabbed it. Here is the review I wrote for the Tulsa Book Review.

Lambert Simnel has no memory of his parents and doesn’t even know how old he is. All he knows of life is working in a dingy tavern, basting meat and fetching bread and cleaning up. It is 1486 in England, and King Henry VII sits on the throne. Young Prince Edward, who really has a stronger claim to the throne, has not been seen for some months, and it is thought Henry may have done away with him. A monk comes to the tavern and buys Lambert from the tavern keeper. The monk trains Lambert to be Edward, telling Lambert he has forgotten who he truly is. It becomes clear to Lambert that powerful men intend to make him the true king of England and that his life might be quite good if he goes along with their plans.

Author Avi has written a compelling story based on real people and true
Avi
happenings. The writing is crisp and the language perfectly suited to the time and place. The characters are fully realized and very believable. Avi’s setting descriptions are extraordinary and take the readers directly to 15th-century London. This book will turn young readers into history lovers. 

I have a gently-read hardback for of this for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Greg Pattridge's blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Why Don't Fish Drown -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love
what you are doing, you will be successful."  
~ Albert Schweitzer ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
One of my pet peeves is the overuse of the word “that” I see in writing — by critique partners and even in published writing. Grammar Girl has a good post HERE on that very topic. 

I don’t know how I missed this site before now, but Rachelle Burk’s Resources for Children’s Writers has soooooo many great links HERE. It’s going to take me a while to explore it all. 

I can’t get enough good articles about revision. HERE is another one. 

And speaking of revision, I have a bunch to do. Last weekend (when I was absent here) I attended the SCBWI Nevada conference in Las Vegas. It was a really excellent conference with wonderful speakers including agents Beth Phelan, Jen RofĂ©, and Jill Corcoran. (Yes, I can submit to all of them!!) I met my mentor, Suzanne Morgan Williams. She is terrific and gave me great revision notes on my manuscript. I will be sending one quarter of my revised manuscript to her at the end of each month through May, and she will give me another set of revision notes. So amazing. I met a lot of wonderful people, learned a bunch, and had a great time (except for the smoke in the casino -- ugh!). My exchange student, Amandine, flew in Saturday and did a lot of sightseeing while I finished the conference, then we went to the Grand Canyon. It really is grand. I've been there several times, but I never tire of it or cease to be amazed. We had a wonderful trip, but it sure was good to get home. 

Last time I was here, I offered a gently-read hardback of Confessions from the Principal's Kid by Robin Mellom to one of you. This time the winner is Tudy. Congratulations, Tudy! I will be getting your book to you soon. For the rest of you, I have another really fun book to give away, so please keep reading.

This week I want to tell you about one of the most fun non-fiction books I've seen lately. The entire title is Why Don't Fish Drown?: And other vital questions about the animal kingdom, and it's by Anna Claybourne. I just love this one and, while reluctant to give it away, I think I need to share it with the world. Here is the review I wrote for the Manhattan Book Review. 


If there is one thing in the world universally loved by children, it’s animals. Children have tremendous curiosity about animals of all kinds. The title of this book is pretty misleading unless one reads the second part of the title: “And Other Vital Questions About the Animal Kingdom,” which doesn’t show on the spine at all and is in a small box on the front cover. When people figure out how much more there is to the book than what the short title indicates, they will be happy to have found it. The book is chock-full of little chunks of fun information about all kinds of creatures, from dinosaurs to vultures, from dung beetles to blue-footed boobies and so, so much more. The writing is crisp and informative but very fun at the same time. Every page has one or two chunks of information along with photographs or illustrations to go along with the information. Author Anna Claybourne has certainly stayed in touch with her inner child, and she knows what questions they might ask and how to answer with lots of fun information. Illustrations by Claire Goble fill in some answer spaces with drawings that complement the
Anna Claybourne
photographs.

I have a gently-read hardback for of this for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Greg Pattridge's blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.