On My Mind: February 4, 2015

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I have started bullet journaling. It hasn’t been long enough for me to really evaluate its effectiveness, but so far, I like it. Making lists is my jam.

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Hook’s Daughter, the UK version of Hook’s Revenge, will be out in just over a month! That means I have just over a month to decide on my celebration dinner: Fish and Chips or Bangers and Mash?

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Want to win a copy?

HOOK’S DAUGHTER, the UK edition of HOOK’S REVENGE, releases from @chickenhousebooks on March 5. Want to win a copy? Make an Instagram video telling why you would like to win—while speaking in a fake accent. (If you live outside the U.S., I’d love to hear your fake American accent!) Be sure to tag me on Instagram, @heidischulzbooks, so I see your video. The winner will receive a pre-order of HOOK’S DAUGHTER from the Book Depository, to be delivered after the book’s release, to any country to which the Book Depository will ship. (Check their website if you are unsure.) I will also send a signed bookplate and some HOOK’S REVENGE swag. I’ll choose a winner next Monday, February 9. Good luck! #vlogstagram #giveaway #books #mg #mglit

A video posted by Heidi Schulz (@heidischulzbooks) on


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Pepper has learned the word “blanket” and comes running whenever anyone says it. If I don’t have a blanket on my lap, she attempts to climb up my pant leg. I thought you should know that.

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I think this old McDonald’s toy (Lucy from Narnia) looks like me. It’s a bit unnerving, but in a delightful way. Would it be weird if I bought a bunch of them on eBay and put them all over my house? (Even if you say yes, I’ll probably still do it.)

Mystery figure. Anyone recognize? Lever in back makes her raise/lower arm that has small package. A photo posted by Tom Angleberger (@tomangleberger) on

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The above image is from the Instagram account of Tom Angleberger, author of the the Origami Yoda series. It’s delightful.

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What exactly is a banger? Some kind of sausage, right?

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Hey Kid! with MarcyKate Connelly (MONSTROUS)

hey kidHey Twelve-Year-Old MarcyKate,

Right now school is a miserable place for you. I know how you dread the bus every morning. How you get made fun of when you have to take a day off from school for allergy tests and come back looking like you were bitten by a geometrically-inclined mosquito. How even recess has lost its fun now that that group of girls taunts you every day, telling you you’re fat and ugly (by the way, you’re not. And you’ll grow out of this awkward phase—mostly—I promise.)

TweenMK-2You may not realize it now, but you’re lucky because you have friends who are awesome and will be your friends for many years (even if you fight more often than you like). You share a love of books, and act out your own stories in the Redwall world at recess as way to escape the bullies. Maybe those bullies mock you for it, but some day, you’ll write your own novels. You won’t know what they’re doing, and you won’t care either.

The bad news: Before it gets better, it’s going to get worse. As hard as 5th and 6th grade have been, junior high is going to be harder. Then there will be high school. That’s where you learn to embrace your weird…unfortunately, not everyone else does. I know you worry that no one cares about you, but trust me—they do. The bright side of high school is that you collect a few more longtime friends along the way.

Now the good news: Someday you’ll go to a college where you’re not the weirdest or geekiest person in the room. And they won’t give you grades. Sounds like heaven, right? It is, and it’s how you got the courage to tackle a novel in the first place. You’ll meet people who challenge you in all the best ways, and inspire your creative side. It is glorious. It is life changing. I promise it is worth getting through what must seem like an infinite stretch of public school before you.

So, keep reading late into the night even after mom and dad yell at you to go to sleep. It’s okay to need an escape. Books are a healthy way to do that! And when you do go to bed, keep telling yourself stories as you fall asleep (though, you might want to whisper more quietly – your sister in the next room can hear you!). Keep creating, and most importantly keep dreaming. One day when you get to hold your own fantasy novel in your hands, you’ll know it’s all worth it.

~MarcyKate


Monstrous
will release on February 10th. Find it on IndieBound, B&N, Amazon, or order a signed copy from Porter Square Books by typing “signed” in the order comments.

Monstrous HC CThe city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.
Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.
Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Reminiscent of Frankenstein and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, this debut novel by MarcyKate Connolly stands out as a compelling, original story that has the feel of a classic.

Find more Hey Kid! letters here.

MarcyKate Connolly is a writer and arts administrator living in New England with her husband and pugs. She’s a coffee addict and voracious reader. Monstrous is her debut middle grade novel.
Connect with MarcyKate on MarcyKate.com, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Cover Reveal for HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE

I love giving presentations and teaching writing to kids and adults! If you are interested in having me come speak to your group, click here for more information.

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It seems like Hook’s Revenge was just released, but around here it’s time to get excited about the sequel. I’m revealing the cover for Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code on Mr. Schu Reads today. Here’s a sneak peek:

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Pop on over to Mr. Schu’s to see the full cover, front and back, and hear a bit about the book from me and illustrator John Hendrix.

Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code will be available September 15. You can preorder now on B&N, Amazon, or my favorite option, ask for it in your local independent bookstore.

I can’t wait to share Jocelyn’s further adventures with you!

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Hey Kid! with Gail Nall (BREAKING THE ICE)

hey kid

Dear Eleven-Year-Old Gail,

So, the huge plastic glasses, the bangs you’ll cut yourself later this year, and the whole puberty thing…yeah, this is not the best year of your life. Here’s the good news: you get contacts when you’re thirteen (not to mention that glasses get a whole lot cuter in the future), the bangs will grow out, and you’ll be very thankful for the puberty thing in high school. Also, please don’t ever cut your own hair again. Please.

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To answer your questions:

1) No, you will not grow up to be a journalist a la Murphy Brown, be starring on Broadway, or be an Olympic figure skating champion. Instead, you will go to law school and spend a few years at work pondering some very exciting acronyms, like PD and UIM and TTD and IMEs.
2) Yes, you will finally get a boyfriend (but no, he won’t look anything like Kirk Cameron or Donnie Wahlberg).
3) Yes, all those scribblings in Lisa Frank three-subject notebooks will come to something! Also, your sister is probably reading them all, so find a better hiding place, okay?
4) Yes, being the class nerd is a good thing. Just trust me on this one.
5) No, you won’t wear that fluffy Scarlett O’Hara dress in Teen magazine to prom. Fluffy will be out, and slinky will be in. Sorry.
6) No, please don’t buy those short shorts (although I know you will anyway).
7) No, you won’t name your daughter Destiny Samantha Alexandra.
8) No, the Oujia board is not real. It’s just your sister and your cousins moving the pointer around.
9) No, pimples never really go away. It is one of the sad truths of the universe that people of any age can get zits, no matter what the lady at the Almay counter told you.
10) Yes, your little sister is annoying, but she’s also a pretty amazing person. And she’s smarter than you, so be nice.
11) Yes, you will finally get to have more than one cat. Beware of this fact.
12) No, you’ll never figure out how to successfully tight roll a pair of jeans. But in a year or so, no one will really care.

Yeah, eleven is the pits. Twelve isn’t much better. I can say this having lived almost three times that now. Yes, I’m old. What’s that? No, sorry, I can’t switch places with you. Not only do I need you to live through this time so I can put it all in a book later (sorry), there’s no way you want to miss what’s coming next. High school and college are both crazy fun, and you’ll meet some amazing people who will still be your friends when you’re old and in your thirties like me.

I know being eleven is weird and confusing and that every little thing is annoying, but it will all get better, I promise. So hug your sister, rock that blue plaid school uniform, crank up that Boyz II Men cassette tape, grab the newest Fear Street book (BTW, you’ll totally walk by R.L. Stine at a convention in 2014 and fangirl for moment), and know that life will hold so much awesomeness in the future.

Love,
Future Gail

BTIFind Breaking the Ice on Indiebound, Carmichael’s, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or ask for it at your local bookstore or library.

Kaitlin has always dreamed of being a champion figure skater, and she’s given up a lot to pursue her passion. But after having a totally uncharacteristic and decidedly NOT figure-skating-approved tantrum after getting her scores at a major competition she’s dropped by her coach and prestigious skating club.

When no other club in town will have her, she’s forced to join the ridiculed and rundown Fallton Club, jokingly referred to as the Fall Down Club. At first Kaitlin thinks this is a complete disaster, but after meeting some of the other skaters, including a boy (who happens to have the most perfect hair she’s ever seen) Kaitlin thinks it might actually not be so bad.

But when she’s tasked with learning a whole new program right before Regionals and figures out that almost all the other skaters target Fallton, she thinks joining the Fall Down Club may just be the second biggest mistake she’s ever made.

In this figure skating themed debut, Kaitlin learns that when you fall down, you have to pick yourself up – even if it’s in front of judges and a crowd.

Find more Hey Kid! letters here.

Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. She is also the co-author of the upcoming YOU’RE INVITED (Aladdin/S&S, May 2015).
Connect with Gail on GailNall.com, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Introducing: Hey Kid!

I’m super excited about a new blog feature I’ll be unveiling later this week. As you may know, last year I had a wonderful time introducing you to debut authors of tween—or middle grade—books in my In the Middle series. I wanted to continue doing so with 2015 debuts, as well as a few more established authors, but with a twist.

My favorite part of last year’s interviews was the question, “If you had a time machine and could visit middle-grade you, what would you tell him/her?” In that spirit, I decided to invite authors to write a letter to themselves as a tween and share it, along with a photo of themselves at that age.

Say hello to Hey Kid!

hey kid

I drew this with Mac Paintbrush. Can you tell???

This concept is not exactly new. Dear Teen Me has been doing something similar for quite some time, and doing it very well. However, with Hey Kid! authors will be going back a bit further, to those tender tween years. I’ve received a few letters already and they are fantastic. I can’t wait to share them with you. The first one will post this Thursday, with a new letter following nearly every week most of the year. Don’t miss them!

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Book news:

Hook’s Revenge will be out in paperback on September 1. Two weeks later, on September 15, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code will be released. I have seen the cover art and it is wonderful (and not created in Mac Paintbrush)! Looking forward to showing you soon!

See my books page for more information.

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