Announcing: A PIXIE’S PROMISE, sequel to A Witch’s Kitchen

pixies-promise-nora-sketch

Sketch of the cover for A Pixie’s Promise, by my daughter, Nora

I’ve been discussing the cover of my next novel with Dreaming Robot Press, and it occurred to me that I’ve never shared with you the fact that I’m working on the sequel to A Witch’s Kitchen. So for all of you who have been nagging me to write one, rest assured. It’s in progress. A Pixie’s Promise features Petunia as the viewpoint character, with her own unique strengths and problems to overcome. I’m under deadline to turn in the manuscript by the end of the year, and if all goes well, A Pixie’s Promise will come out in August 2018!

Drumroll Please! The Lineup for the 2018 Young Explorers’ Adventure Guide Is…

I know, it seems like the 2017 Young Explorers’ Adventure Guide just came out, and here we are touting the 2018 YEAG. Dreaming Robot Press has put together a fabulous collection of stories from amazingly talented authors, as usual. They are:

The Great Broccolli Wi-Fi Theft, by Nancy Kress
The Sting of the Irukandji, by Kristy Evangelista
Polaris in the Dark, by Jameyanne Fuller
Dance Like You’re Alone in Your Environmental Pod, by Eric Del Carlo
Fluffy Pets are Best, by Holly Schofield
Moth Girl, by Abigail Putnam
Station Run, by Sherry D. Ramsey
On the Lam on Luna, by Morgan Bliss
Nocturnal Noise by L.G. Keltner
Juliet Silver and the Forge of Dreams, by Wendy Nikel
My Mother the Ocean, by Dianna Sanchez!!!!!! SQUEEEEE!!!!
The Altitude Adjustment, by Wendy Lambert
After the End, by Bruce Golden
Abduction Assumption, by Stephen Blake
The Smell of Home, by Anne M. Gibson
Blaise of Luna, by Blake Jessop
No Place Like, by William B. Wolfe
Until We Have Faces, by J.P. Linnartz
Anjali, by Rati Mehrotra
Eyes Wide Open, by Deborah Walker
Clockwork Carabao, by Marilag Angway
Safe in the Dome, by Anne E. Johnson
Far from Home, by Dawn Vogel
The Shepherd’s Way, by Barbara Webb Sinopoli

And when can you read these awesome stories? Well, the Kickstarter is scheduled for mid-June this year, and the anthology will be out in January 2018. Stay tuned for more info on the Kickstarter!

The Book is OUT!!!

I’m getting emails and tweets from all the folks who contributed to the Kickstarter saying that they’re receiving their copies in the mail today. Thanks again to everyone who helped make the campaign a smashing success!

Now, as they post photos of their new acquisitions, their friends are asking, “How can I get one?” There are oh, so many ways!

  1. If you live in the Boston area, you can walk into Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge and pick one up.
  2. If you live anywhere else, you can go to your local independent bookstore. As long as they use Ingram, you can order a copy from them. Even chains like Barnes and Noble can do this.
  3. You can order directly from Dreaming Robot Press.
  4. You can always order from Amazon.com.

Wherever you buy the book, please share your experience by posting a review on Amazon.com!

Thanks, everyone!

 

Buy A Witch’s Kitchen eBook for ONLY 99 Cents!!!!

Sorry to interrupt my Harry Potter posts. Book launch week has arrived and is mostly eating all my time. To celebrate, Dreaming Robot Press has made the eBook of A Witch’s Kitchen available a few days early on Amazon.com, and they’ve set the price to a mind-boggling 99 cents! But this price won’t last. On September 25th, the official launch date, the price will go up, so grab it while you can! All we ask is that, once you’ve read it, you take a moment to leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!

Beyond Hogwarts: Part 1 – for beginning readers

I recently found myself having yet another conversation with parents about what their children can read beyond Harry Potter. I get asked this question or variants of it All. The. Time. There are several ways to answer this, depending on what your specific problem is. I’m going to address those problems over several blog posts, so stay tuned. For today, I’m looking at the very youngest Potter fans.

My child loves the Harry Potter movies but is too young to be reading the books. Are there books for her age range with similar appeal?

I’m going to assume that you’re looking for books that your child can read herself, not books that you read to her or read together. The following are early readers and chapter books my daughters loved when they were about 6-8 years old.

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne was designed with early readers in mind. The protagonists, Jack and Annie, travel around the world and throughout history from a magic tree house they find in the woods near their home. The books are well researched, and Osborne often provides non-fiction companion books, such as the much-read Titanic guide my elder daughter loved. Magictreehouse.com also provides additional materials and activities for that REALLY curious kid in your life.

The Unicorn School series by Linda Chapman was my younger daughter’s favorite chapter book series when she was six. Focusing on social development and growth, the series provides engaging characters and promotes problem-solving skills.

The Rainbow Fairies series by Daisy Meadows was another favorite. The simple, formulaic plots made the stories easy and quick to read, which is good because there are DOZENS of them! My younger daughter would devour them like popcorn.

The Moomintroll series by Tove Jansson is one of my own favorites from childhood. Originally written in Finnish, the series is populated entirely by fantastic characters you won’t find in American literature: trolls, hemulins, snuffkins, snarks, and a wide variety of woodland creatures. The cozy Moomin family provides a safe, nurturing home base from which Moomintroll and his friends can go off on rollicking adventures.

Though these may be more challenging and require parental assistance, ANYTHING by Roald Dahl, but for young readers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach are good choices.

Have further suggestions? Please share them in the comments!

In Praise of Librarians

I had a tremendous amount of fun last weekend at Bubonicon in my home town, Albuquerque, NM. I met a lot of great people and learned much more about the publishing process. I sat on a panel with two Hugo Award winners – no pressure – and read a chapter of A Witch’s Kitchen before an audience for the first time. People came up to me after that to tell me they’d preordered my book, which completely amazed me.

And one panel reminded me of my origins. Melinda Snodgrass, an extraordinary writer responsible for several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, described her early childhood and how she discovered science fiction through her local library, the Ernie Pyle branch in Albuquerque.

A shiver went down my back. That was my branch! I know the converted home of war journalist Ernie Pyle like the back of my hand, and thinking of it brings back the musty smell of the card catalog. I was nine years old, and I’d pretty much read everything in the children’s section of the library when I came across a new book: Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight.

Yes, that’s an adult book. Someone had mistaken it for one of her juveniles and shelved it in the wrong place. But all I saw was a tantalizingly thick book with a dragon on the cover, so I checked it out and devoured it. When I returned it to the library, the librarian gave me a strange look.

“You read this?” she asked. I nodded. “Did you understand it?” I nodded again. She paused. “Could I speak with your mother?”

I brought my mother over, and they chatted for a moment. Then the librarian turned to me and said, “Come with me.”

She led me into the adult section of the library, reached up to a high shelf, took down a paperback, and handed it to me: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Sitting in the panel, listening to Melinda Snodgrass, I wondered whether she’d read the same book. I wondered whether the same librarian had placed it in her hands, though there’s at least ten years’ difference in our ages. I wondered again who that librarian had been. I don’t recall her name. I don’t even recall what she looked like. But I owe that librarian an incredible debt of gratitude for guiding me to a lifelong love of fantasy and science fiction and endless possibility.

The next time I visit my local library, I’m going to make a point of thanking the librarian. And I’m going to donate books, not just my book. LOTS of books. Maybe one of them will be someone else’s gateway to the future.