Winner Announcement 11/22/21

Congratulations to Abbi Lee, winner of the giveaway from Shaunda Wenger! This is a winner’s choice giveaway. Abbi, please email me (ljrwritenow at g mail) to let me know if you want the picture book critique or a signed copy of CHICKEN FRANK, DINOSAUR! illustrated by Jojo Ensslin and some book swag.

Don’t miss the interviews with middle grade and picture book author, Jenny Goebel featuring a giveaway of her adorable MG book, PIGTURE PERFECT, and Diana Murray author of many picture books and early readers with a double giveaway of HELP MOM WORK FROM HOME, illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld and UNICORN NIGHT, illustrated by Luke Flowers. Tomorrow I have a special interview with the owners of our new local indie bookstore, The Wandering Jellyfish in Niwot, Colorado.

Welcome Author Diana Murray – Giveaway Alert

Today, I welcome author Diana Murray who brings us a double giveaway with her two most recent picture books, UNICORN NIGHT, illustrated by Luke Flowers and HELP MOM WORK FROM HOME, illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld. After the last year and a half of working from home, I’m guessing everyone will relate to this book. Diana has so many wonderful books already out, and as you’ll see in her “what’s next” portion of the interview, she has been busy! Readers, all you need to do to enter the giveaway is comment on this post! I also recommend ordering these books from your favorite indie bookstore or your library!

What were you like at the target age of your audience?

I was extremely shy when I was little. We lived in an urban area but I loved nature and animals. When we went on fishing trips, I loved “helping” the squirrels by gathering acorns. I also loved digging for earthworms, picking onion grass, and observing ants carrying crumbs.

What inspires you?

When I was young, we moved around a lot, but I always lived in an apartment. I used to dream of having a backyard someday. Now I finally have one! So my favorite way to write is while sitting on the patio with my laptop, listening to birds, rustling leaves, and raindrops. I also like listening to instrumental jazz when I write (Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis). And of course, my kids are a constant source of inspiration, especially memories I have of them when they were little, as they are both teenagers now.

What’s something you hope readers will take away from your books?

For HELP MOM WORK FROM HOME, I hope moms and their kids can share the story together with nods of recognition, some laughs, and a warm hug.

For UNICORN NIGHT, I hope kids enjoy singing the unicorn bedtime song and get lulled to bed with sweet dreams.

What’s next for you?

My first daughter is the one who really inspired me to become a children’s book writer. We are now looking at colleges together! So that is a big life event.

In terms of other forthcoming books, there are lots that I’m excited about. SOMEDAY, MAYBE (Holt/Macmillan) illustrated by Jessica Gibson, is an optimistic look at the future and various jobs, SLEEP LITTLE DOZER (Random House) is a truck-themed book which got delayed and for which we are currently searching for a new illustrator, FIREHOUSE RAINBOW (Little Golden Books) illustrated by Rob McClurkan, is a color concept book about the diverse heroes at a firehouse, and GROGGLE’S MONSTER HALLOWEEN (Sky Pony) is a sequel to GROGGLE’S MONSTER VALENTINE with some wonderful new characters illustrated by Bats Langley. There will also be a third book in the UNICORN DAY series illustrated by Luke Flowers coming in 2022. I’ve seen some glimpses of the sketches and they are awesome! I also have a humorous Valentine themed early reader coming out with Step-into-Reading/Random House, and a few other things down the pipeline that I can’t announce quite yet.

To learn more about Diana and her books:

Twitter: @DianaMWrites Instagram: @dianamurrayauthor website: DianaMurray.com

Winner Announcement 11/15/21

Congratulations to Denise Seidman, winner of the “Ask Me Anything” 30 minute Zoom with Julie Hedlund! Julie’s latest picture book, OVER, BEAR! UNDER, WHERE? illustrated by Michael Slack, released last week and is already receiving rave reviews and lots of laughs which are also rave reviews.

Speaking of reviews, I’d like to take a moment to ask my readers to write glowing reviews of the books I feature on this blog (Amazon and Goodreads) and if you can’t buy them all, please borrow them from your library and tell your friends about them. All of these things help authors spread the word.

Don’t miss other giveaways from Shaunda Wenger, Jenny Goebel, and tomorrow you’ll want to read my interview with Diana Murray.

Welcome Author Jenny Goebel – Giveaway Alert

I’m so happy to share my interview with author Jenny Goebel, the author of several picture books and middle grade books. Today we are celebrating her upcoming middle grade novel, PIGTURE PERFECT, which is being released by Scholastic Books December 7th. I enjoyed meeting Jenny at my first in-person event since Covid in June and just last week, we were able to enjoy a tea date outside in the beautiful Colorado fall weather.

Jenny is graciously offering a SIGNED copy of PIGTURE PERFECT as soon as it is available. In the meantime, I suggest you look for some of her other books.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

When my nose wasn’t in a book, I was outdoors. I was every bit as comfortable climbing a tree, swimming in a lake or hunting for crawdads as I was wearing a frilly dress and playing with dolls. And I was always on the lookout for strays to take in. Not just cats and dogs—bunnies, box turtles, snakes, injured birds—any critter I could catch. In fact, when I was in second grade (the age I am in this photo), I caught a tarantula while on a road trip, brought it home with me, and then to school the following week. My teacher took one look and sent me and the spider to the principal’s office. Luckily the principal seemed more flummoxed than she was angry or aghast, as my teacher had been. Bringing a tarantula to school was disruptive, but I hadn’t broken any specific rules, and I was far from being a troublemaker. So, she secured the container with extra tape and sent us back to class. Looking back, I know I brought the spider to school because I found it fascinating and I wanted to share it with everyone, but I also wanted to cause just a little mischief. I wanted my friends to know that I could wear bows in my hair and think spiders were cool. I liked defying people’s expectations, and I still do.

What inspires you?

Nature, my family, people, new experiences—I try to get out get out from behind my computer screen as often as possible. Not that inspiration can’t be found online, but even something as simple as a walk around the neighborhood can refill my creative well. 

What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

The one thing I’m hoping readers will take away from Pigture Perfect is that things rarely turn out exactly how we want them to, but that’s okay. Things that are unexpected and real can be even better than our lofty dreams, and there is so much beauty to be found in imperfection.

What’s next for you?

I have a picture book called Chocolate Chirp Cookies coming fall 2022. It’s about insects as a sustainable food source and a tarantula is featured but (spoiler alert) not eaten. However, I can’t say the same is true for all the bugs in the book. As there will likely be a shortage of meat products in the not-too-distant future, I’m hoping it’ll warm up young minds to the idea of eating something that might make them feel a bit squeamish. And, honestly, I’m still warming up to the idea myself.  

To find out more about Jenny and her books:

Twitter: @jennygoebel Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjennygoebel

Instagram: jennygo3 Website: www.jennygoebel.com

Winner Announcement 11/8/21

Congratulations to Carin Stemer, winner of the your choice giveaway from Jenna Waldman. Please email me at ljrwritenow at Gmail and let me know if you want LARRY’S LATKES, SHARKBOT SHALOM, or a critique from Jenna.

Don’t miss other interviews with giveaways still available from Julie Hedlund, and Shaunda Wenger. Tomorrow’s interview with Jenny Goebel celebrating her next book middle grade book, PIGTURE PERFECT!

Folk Art Museum Santa Fe, New Mexico

We recently spent some time visiting New Mexico, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I moved to Colorado. The impact of Covid has taken a toll on many of the smaller towns, but there was still plenty to see. Even Santa Fe had limited days and hours for many attractions, but we still had plenty to see and do. The Folk Art Museum was especially wonderful, and here I’m sharing their new exhibit inspired by the pandemic. I love the detail put into these pieces.

I ’m a big fan of art of all kinds, so this museum had a lot to admire. I’ll probably share another post or two from there in the future.

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