Spooky Picks for Nerdy Chicks

If you know me, you might know that I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to be scared. I have never seen a horror movie in my life, and I have no plans to change that! I’ve never read a Stephen King novel, and I don’t plan to change that either. I just don’t do scary. Unless…. well, unless the scary something is created by a fellow Nerdy Chick. Then I push myself to read things I might not otherwise read. Out of solidarity, you know.

A recent wave of Spooky Nerdy Chick News (giveaways, deals, new book news, film premiers…) inspired me to share some Spooky Reads (and more) from some fabulous Nerdy Chick authors. I’ve read or am reading all of these books! So I suggest that the next time you want to sit on the edge of your seat, you pick up one of them. And make sure you read to the end, because you’ll have a chance to see a film that is perfect for Halloween right here on the blog.

Young Adult:

fractrFracture by Megan Miranda! Fracture is suspenseful with just the right amount of creepiness. Here’s a brief intro to the novel: “By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead.” You can visit Megan’s website to learn more and to read the first two chapters! Also, don’t miss a chance to win a free ARC of Megan’s newest title, The Safest Lies. Click HERE to enter.

ripperRipper by Amy Carol Reeves! I blurbed this book as, “Thrilling, chilling, and beautifully written.” Here’s more about it: Set in London in 1888, Ripper follow’s Arabella Sharp’s eerie account of volunteering at Whitechapel Hospital, helping women and children. “Within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper. Even more horrifying, Abbie starts having strange visions that lead her straight to the Ripper’s next massacres.” Click HERE to read more about Ripper and its sequels.

Middle Grade:

jumbiesThe Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste! I just finished reading this story set in Trinidad and featuring Jumbies, mythical creatures that dwell on that island! And it features a super-brave heroine! Here’s a blurb: Corinne La Mer knows that jumbies aren’t real; they’re just creatures parents make up to frighten their children. But on All Hallows’ Eve, Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden woods. Those shining yellow eyes that follow her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they? 

cabinetCabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet: I’m currently reading this page-turner, which is available for a limited time in ebook form (Kindle and Nook among others) for $1.99! It’s about twelve-year-old Maya who is miserable when she has to move from California to Paris. Not speaking French at a school full of snobby French girls is bad enough, but Maya believes there is something sinister going on in her new city. A purple-eyed man follows Maya and her younger brother, James. Statues seem to have Maya’s face. And an eerie cabinet filled with mysterious colored bottles calls to her. 

Picture Books:

Hampire_jacketHampire by Sudipta Bardhan Quallen! When Hampire creeps around the barnyard at night with red oozing from his fangs he terrifies the other animals, especially Duck. Check out this picture book with not only a kid-pleasing twist, but also the best illustrations of terrified barnyard animals every created. And if you have a little pirate running around your house this Halloween (and even if you don’t), you’ll want to check out Sudipta’s Pirate Princess too!

monstore The Monstore by Tara Lazar! What kid doesn’t dream of having his own monster? The Monstore is the place to go to get one. The only problem is…. certain rule and restrictions apply. So getting his own monster doesn’t work out the way exactly like Zack plans….  Check out this book and Tara’s brand spanking new just-released-this-week book Little Red Gliding Hood!

vampirina_ballerinaVampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace! Vampirina wants to take ballet lessons, but what’s a little vampire to do when she can’t step into sunlight or see herself in the dance studio mirrors? Check out this book as well Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover. Vampirina fans will be happy to know that Ann Marie just announced that a third Vampirina book is in the works!

MORE SPOOKY NEWS:

Nerdy Chick Jocelyn Rish is made of steel. She’s not afraid of facing scary subjects in books or on film. HH&H_poster_Jocelyn has recently joined the MTV news staff (Congrats Jocelyn!) and has written these two articles about these spectacularly spooky subjects: Goosebumps and Zombies! And, High Heels and Hoodoo, the short film she produced with her brother is premiering today! Today is the first time the film is available for the public to watch online. Click HERE for details about the creation of this film and to watch it for free! I saw this  film for the first time at the Beaufort Film Festival and it is clever, entertaining, and spooky! What’s not to like about a graveyard and hoodoo film on Halloween?

Here’s a brief synopsis of the film: A greedy party girl is so determined to get what she wants that she employs the dangerous magic of a Gullah root doctor.

Can’t wait to see this amazing film? Go ahead, you can start watching right now! It’s a full story in about seven minutes, so treat yourself to a movie premier this Halloween!

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The Long Road to BEAUTY

The night before her book release,

The skies were cold and dreary.

And in her house

The author groused,

“The wait has made me weary!”

 That opening is an homage to my newest book, SNORING BEAUTY, which will be celebrating its book birthday tomorrow. It’s strange for me to call it my “newest” book in that it was one of the first picture books I ever wrote way back near the beginning of my career, in 2005.

Snoring Beauty, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

“Fun for reading aloud, and children will be happy to help with the multiple snoring sounds.” – Booklist

Let me remind you guys about 2005:

  • Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch over his love for Katie Holmes (they are now divorced).
  • George W. Bush declared, “I’m the decider.”
  • Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was the top grossing movie, despite it grossing out Star Wars fans everywhere.

That’s how long I’ve had to wait to see this book come to life. And this is how I’ve felt about it:

“This journey has been very slow!

For nine long years I’ve waited!

My kids have grown,

I’ve had six phones!

My patience has abated.”

As an author, I suffer under the delusion that the book is mine – that I am in control of its destiny. (Even after over a decade in the industry, that delusion persists.) But the truth is that there comes a point when the fate of most books is more outside the author’s hands than not. I’ve been very lucky – in the intervening years, I’ve written and published many other books. I didn’t have to wait day after day for the SNORING BEAUTY box – there were other boxes to fill the time until this book’s time had come. But that doesn’t mean the wait was easy. Think about when you miss someone terribly. The presence of other people you love may distract you from missing him, but it never truly takes it away completely. You still find yourself staring longingly out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of him coming to your door. That’s what it was like to wait for this book to go through the production process.

But this is how I felt at the end of that loooooooooong process:

But then she takes a single book

And rifles through the pages.

“It does look grand!

I understand

Why this has taken ages!”

I know I’m biased, but SNORING BEAUTY is a beautiful book. Jane Manning’s art is perfect and it looks almost exactly as I’d imagined it. I’m very proud of it and it seems to be getting a warm reception. While it is never fun to be patient, in this case the old adage is true – good things come to those who wait. Now there’s only one more thing to wait for: tomorrow’s official release date.

I can’t wait.

Some fun SNORING BEAUTY facts:

  • SB dediThis is not my first animal-kissing-human book. I’m not sure what that says about me.
  • Most of the time, my kids fight over who the book is dedicated to. This time, my girls (either of whom could be B.) are fighting to establish that the book is dedicated to the OTHER. The funny thing is that neither of the girls is really B! (The real B., by the way, does snore – I have it recorded! – and is beautiful.)
  • The whole wedding day concept was not part of the original story. All that came out of the revision process as a way to but the focus on Mouse and increase the urgency of waking Beauty that night.
  • I have a checkered history when it comes to mice. Check out my secret things to learn more.

ORANGUTANGLED Book Birthday! (and Giveaway!)

We have a winner in the original art giveaway! Everybody put your hands together for

@BookishAmbition!

Thanks to everyone for entering!

 

Have you ever had a day that starts out bad…and then gets worse and worse and worse? One of those days where you know it’s one disaster after the other no matter what you do? And you know that fighting it won’t make it better…but you fight it anyway?

It was a day like that that inspired ORANGUTANGLED. I’m proud to announce today is this darling book’s birthday!

orangutangled coverIn honor of this book, we have a very special giveaway.

Illustrator Aaron Zenz has very graciously created an original piece of ORANGUTANGLED artwork.

orangutangled art Aaron Zenz

(I’ll tell you the truth — I want to cheat and just declare myself the winner so I can keep this gorgeous piece.)

I’m sure you’re all wondering How do I win???

This is how:

1) Required. Fill out the entry form below. (Don’t forget to hit ‘Submit’!)

2) Copy one of the following blurbs and post it to Facebook or tweet about it. Here are your choices:

ORANGUTANGLED is here! Original art #giveaway! http://goo.gl/KXLKJa @SudiptaBQ @AaronZenz

(This one links to this blog post)

Have you ORANGUTANGLED? http://goo.gl/WDQHL0 @SudiptaBQ @AaronZenz

(This one takes you to Sudipta’s ORANGUTANGLED page)

Meet @AaronZenz on @MatthewWinner’s great Busy Librarian podcast http://goo.gl/35eQTw @SudiptaBQ

(This links to the Busy Librarian’s podcast with Aaron)

ORANGUTANGLED is here! http://goo.gl/ctLX6h @SudiptaBQ @AaronZenz

(This takes you to the publisher’s ORANGUTANGLED page)

3) Every post or tweet will count as one entry (make sure you make your Facebook posts are public so we can give you credit! Even better, tag Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Children’s Book Author on the Facebook posts!). Keep spreading the word, increase your odds of winning.

The contest will close on February 17, 2014 at 11:59pm. At that time, we will gather up all the entries and choose a WINNER!

GOOD LUCK!

REMINDER:

Do you like winning? Want to win more? Check out Corrine Jackson’s giveaway, too!

Winner! Winner! Winner!

graphics-fireworks-655059We have reached the end of our week-long Moose Day Celebration.

Did you enter the MOOSE DAY Giveaway?

If you didn’t, I bet you regret it.

And if you did, you’re probably waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the winner.

I’m here to un-bate you. Because I’m just that kind of girl.

Just as a reminder, here is the lovely TRIPLE Prize:

wpid-20140107_094935.jpg

So, are you ready?

Really ready?

graphics-fireworks-399589graphics-fireworks-399589graphics-fireworks-399589graphics-fireworks-399589

OK, I won’t keep you waiting any longer….

The winner of the triple giveaway is:

@Loveofxena

CONGRATULATIONS!

Thanks to everyone for entering, celebrating, tweeting, posting, ducking and moosing…Mostly, thank you for helping me to welcome DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE into the world with all the love that I was hoping for. You’re the best!

DDM cover

(and if you’re REALLY disappointed, get a copy of your own at IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local independent bookseller!)

PiBoIdMo Wrap Up: Let it Be

Duck Duck Moose by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

My upcoming picture book!

Now that Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month is over, I thought it would be nice to reflect a little bit on what we’ve accomplished in the past few weeks. If you participated in PiBoIdMo, first off, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve made great progress on your writing journey. Publishing is an art where creativity and magic come together to make great books. But publishing is also a numbers game – the more manuscripts you create, the more likely it is that some of them will get published. And how do you create manuscripts? Well, it starts with ideas. And now you have lots of ideas – at least 30 if you got through the month! (More if you followed my PiBoIdMo advice.) So you’re all set!

Except…

I’ve got some bad news. Well, potentially bad news. More like bad reality, actually. Except that reality is never bad.

Here’s the reality of the situation: not all of the ideas you have so carefully thought up during PiBoIdMo are picture book ideas.

I know you want them to be. I know that’s what you intended and planned for. I know you have great dreams for these ideas, dreams that are so good that you want to will them into existence.

But for some of your ideas, those dreams will never come true.

I’m not saying these things to upset you, or to de-motivate you. You shouldn’t lose your momentum. I just want you to focus your energy on the best paths to maximize your ability to succeed and get published.

Here’s the thing: your story ideas are like your children. You give birth to them, you nurture them, you guide them toward the goals you have carefully set for them. You know what’s best and you will make that happen.

For those of you who have children, you’re probably already guessing where this is going to go.

With our children, no matter what we have dreamed for them when they were helpless babes in our arms, those kids who once needed us for their very survival somehow end up being the people they choose to be. Not necessarily the people we intended them to be.

This is the kid who was supposed to grow up to be a doctor…

My parents wanted me to be a doctor. They even bought me a $100K science education from Caltech. And in the end, I write books about talking pigs.

With our characters, our story ideas, they will also be who they are, regardless of what we want them to be.

Early on, I said that not all of the ideas you have so carefully thought up during PiBoIdMo are picture book ideas. That is reality. Some of those ideas will turn out to be chapter books, or middle grades, no matter how hard we push them to be something else. (Just like some of our children will become kidlit authors, no matter how hard we push them to be doctors.) That’s ok.

Some of those ideas will turn out to flounder and struggle, will find it difficult to ever realize their full potential. That’s ok, too.

Because the reality is that some of the ideas you have are picture book ideas. They need you to cultivate and develop them, but with your help, they will grow to be wonderful picture books.

The key here is to let your characters be who they are. Let your stories be what they are. If they grow into something different than you thought, follow them on their path instead of forcing them onto your own. The end result will be truer, will have more heart, and will be better written.

Good luck to everyone and see you next PiBoIdMo!

(In case you missed it, here is some more PiBoIdMo advice from Kami and from me from earlier this month.)

More Gratitude

Yesterday, we posted some books that librarians are thankful for. The response was so positive that we thought we’d share a few more:

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

“It’s a book that celebrates differences, quirkiness, and real life.  It’s a bit messy, but life is that way.  The story is funny, yet moving.  I love sharing this book with students and teachers.  It’s “my” book of 2013 and I am so thankful Holly Goldberg Sloan wrote it.  Definitely a book to share!” Sherry from Indiana

No Fits, Nilson by Zack Ohora

“A great book about friendship and fits, and the fits that friendship sometimes send us into.” Allison from California

but not the hippoBut not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

“Fun for all ages.” Johanna from Ohio

orangutangled coverOrangutangled by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

“When I asked the kids which one is their favorite book among the ones you read to them.” Noel from Maryland

wild things areWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

“The book let you know that if you did something wrong you were still loved no matter what and that your imagination can take you anywhere!” Linda from New Jersey

Inspiration Permission

In the last two weeks, I practically made myself at home over at Tara Lazar’s blog. I revealed two new covers for two new picture books and held a caption contest, and then I gave a math lesson for PiBoIdMo. I don’t want all my Nerdy Chicks (and Nerdy-Chicks-Supporters) to think I’ve forgotten about them, though. So I’ve been trying to think of something to share here in honor of PiBoIdMo.

Sometimes, inspirations come from from seemingly disparate places. That’s what happened here. I’ve managed to mash up the caption contest with a PiBoIdMo lesson.

There were a lot of great caption ideas for both ORANGUTANGLED and SNORING BEAUTY. I had to pick one winner, though, and that was Dawn Young with her very versatile entry, “Is this as awkward for you as it is for me?” (Works so well for both covers, no?)

BeFunky_snor beauty cover winner BeFunky_orangutangled winner.jpg

But like I said, there were so many wonderful ideas. Here are some more that stood out to me:

BeFunky_orangutangled cover collage

 

What was very cool was how so many different people looked the same pictures but came up with such different ideas for what the characters were saying, thinking, or feeling — and often, their ideas did not resemble my books AT ALL. And I realized that here was something that could help all the PiBoIdMo participants and writers in general.

I give you my permission to take inspiration from other books.

All the people who participated in the caption contest looked at a picture and, without any other information, allowed themselves to imagine who the characters were. But what each of them came up with was his or her own idea, not mine. And many of them are ideas that can be built on.

To be very clear, I’m not advocating stealing other authors’ ideas! (Please don’t go write a book about three orangutans tangled up instead of two!) But I can see the beginning of new, original ideas in the captions that I read. For example, “Is this as awkward for you as it is for me?” — could that be a starting point to brainstorm other awkward situations? Could one of those situations be the basis of a new book? I think so.

I’ve actually used a version of this exercise in schools when I’ve conducted writing workshops. When you look at a spread of a picture book, there is only so much dialogue in the actual text that accompanies a picture. But if you ask a classroom of kids to fill in what that extended conversation might sound like…it’s actually amazing how far they can take it. They can start with one image and a few lines of text and they can write an entire scene around it. (Teachers, what do you think? Have you ever tried something similar with your students?)

So, writers, PiBoIdMo participants, Nerdy Chicks: when you get stuck on your next idea, I hope you’ll think of this suggestion, and I hope it will get some of you un-stuck. But even if it doesn’t, I guarantee you’ll have fun — and sometimes that’s all we need to get us going again.