Category Archives: Promotion

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… A Book

“Your book is getting published! You must be SO excited!” a friend gushes over lunch.

And I am excited. Really excited. And nervous. And apprehensive. And bored. I remember feeling a lot like this about twenty years ago. Right after I found out that I was pregnant.

"It's REALLY happening!"

“It’s REALLY happening!”

I think this whole book publishing event is a lot like being pregnant. At first, you’re over-the-moon elated, but you can’t tell anyone. What if something happens? What if it’s all a dream?

Then when you finally tell people, there’s a lot of celebrating.
“Congratulations!”
“When is it coming out?”
“I can’t wait to see it!”
And the ones you know who are whispering behind your back: “It’s about time! I thought for a while she… couldn’t…”

"It's FINALLY happening for her!"

“It’s FINALLY happening for her!”



You wonder. What will the cover look like? Will kids like it? I hope the reviewers don’t pan it. Or ignore it. Will they see just how special—how precious— it is? Oh, I hope it’s one of the popular ones.

You plan, knowing you can never plan enough. The publication date seems SO far away! Is it too early to start planning the coming-out party? The checklists are endless, but instead of painting the nursery, finding a crib, and buying tiny socks and onesies, your checklists say:
 Call bookstores
 Order bookmarks
 Write press release
 Design temporary tattoos to give out at launch parties.

And you wait. As I recall, there was an awful lot of waiting when I was pregnant. Waiting to feel that first fluttery kick, waiting until that “baby bump” started showing. Waiting in doctors’ offices, for test results, for The Day to finally arrive. And even when The Day arrives, there is still a lot of waiting to be done. I got The Call a year and a half ago, and I still have a trimest…errr… three months to go before delivery. Of my books, I mean.

Not that there hasn’t been the occasional flurry of activity. Like those bursts of energy in pregnancy, the periods of quiet waiting have been suddenly interrupted by an out-of-the-blue email from my editor. Please fill out this survey. Here are some revision notes for you to go through. We need a high-resolution photo for your flap. These emails, like the occasional baby kick, remind me that things are progressing, even though I can’t see them.

Things are happening behind the scenes!

Things are happening behind the scenes!


Soon, I know, The Day will arrive, and I will cradle… HOLD! I mean hold a brand new book in my arms, knowing that the whole experience has been worth the wondering, the effort, and the wait.

It’s truly a labor of love.

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Filed under Advice, Anxiety, Celebrations, Dreams Come True, Happiness, Patience, Promotion, Time Management, Uncategorized, waiting, Writing and Life

NOT IN THE SCRIPT: From Books Into Movies

Not in the Script coverIn honor of the beautiful and talented Amy Finnegan’s debut novel NOT IN THE SCRIPT, a delightful story about a tender teen romance that blossoms on the set of a TV series, we Emus are sharing our feelings on book-to-movie and book-to-TV adaptations. Which adaptations have succeeded? Which have failed? And which ones that haven’t been made yet do we wish we could stream on Netflix? (Aside from NOT IN THE SCRIPT, of course!)

Rebecca VanSlyke
I know that they already made a movie out of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, but I think it could have been SO much better! Although I loved the choice of Anne Hathaway for Ella, they took too many liberties with subplots that weren’t in the book, like Mandy’s boyfriend, Benny (who was turned into a talking book?), the whole character of Char’s cruel Uncle Edgar, and a whole lot of silliness with the battle at the ending. The book was so strong on its own, I thought, that all the additions of the movie just whittled it down to a shadow of what it couTBWBld have been.

Lindsey Lane

Rick Riordan’s Lightning Thief was a great book. Full of voice, humor, imagination. And it’s kid-centric. What does Hollywood do? They start with Zeus and Poseidon chatting. Wrong. So wrong. Apollo and all of the Muses should have smote a whole studio for that travesty.

Tara Dairman

A book that needs to be turned into a movie or TV show? Our very own Joshua McCune’s TALKER 25! I mean, it’s got a page-turning plot. It’s got awesome characters, both human and dragon, ready for actors and CGI artists to take them on. And it’s even got its own Ttalker25V-show-within-a-show–Kissing Dragons–built in. I know I’m not the only reader who feels this way. Hollywood, please take note!

Laurie Thompson
Most recently, Joshua McCune’s TALKER 25 struck me as a book that needs to be made into a movie. I think the visuals would be stunning, and it’s a powerful, impactful story. Of course, I might have to close my eyes during a few of the scenes. You know the ones. WOW.

Before that, the book that I closed and immediately gushed, “This HAS to be a movie!” is Jeanne Ryan’s NERVE. Lucky for us, a movie is in the works (there’s some news here). Squee!

Lastly, I would love to see Laini Taylor’s early novels, the Dreamdark series, made into movies. Laini created such a lush, detailed world and filled it with a cast of unique, fascinating characters on an epic quest of good versus evil. BLACKBRINGER and SILKSINGER are still on my favorite-books-of-all-time list. I can never get enough of them!

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
I recently finished GREENGLASS HOUSE by Kate Milford and I think it would make a wonderful, wonderful movie. The story is very Clue-esque, for any other fans of that movie out there, and revolves around 5 mysterious people showing up at an inn on a snowy winter night and the mysteries that get unraveled from there. I can imagine fabulous potential for the cinematography between the snowy cliffside setting and the mysterious mood of the story.

Christine Hayes

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander would make a fantastic movie series, if someone had the money and the vision to do it right. The books had humor, adventure, tragedy, and romance. I wish the sad Disney version of The Black Cauldron had never happened! Taran’s journey from Assistant Pig-Keeper to (spoiler alert) High King was epic, and his romance with Eilonwy is one of my favorites in all of literature, children’s or otherwise.

Megan Morrison
Two of my favorite book-to-screen ventures are Jane Austen adaptations. I love Emma Thompson’s and Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility – a story that may actually shine brighter in their retelling than it does in the book (don’t hurt me, Austen people! I’m one of you). I wish only for one thing: that they’d kept the scene where Willoughby returns and tries to explain his behavior to Elinor. But even without that, this film is a masterpiece. I also have a massive crush on Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy amount of respect for the BBC’s 1995 TV miniseries of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s faithful, well acted, and completely worth the 5+ hours it takes to watch. It’s also worth investing in the new blu-ray release, because the costumes and sets are detailed and spectacular, but their beauty can only be fully appreciated in blu-ray. However, near perfect as this miniseries is, I’d still rather read my battered copy of the book.

Penny Parker Klostermann
When I think about a book that should be made into a movie, I would pick a book that has stayed with me in some way. So I would choose Unwind by Neal Shusterman. The reason this book has stayed with me is because the whole idea a being unwound creeps me out. It haunts me. It’s one of those things that you think would never come to be…but what if it did? Shivers! And I love movies that give me the shivers!  I searched the Internet and it seems Unwind will be made into a movie but details are sketchy. When it is a movie…I’ll be there. Creeped out, haunted, and with a major case of the shivers! 

Tamara Ellis Smith
One of my favorite books in the universe is Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath.  I think it would make a fantastic and fantastical movie and I think, specifically, Hayao Miyazaki should come out of retirement to make it!  Can’t you just see it? Ranger, Puck, Grandmother Moccasin and Miyazaki together?  The landscape begs for Miyazaki’s magical perspective and the story is just up his alley.  It would be gorgeous and riveting.  C’mon, just one more movie, Miyazaki, please?!

Remember, comment on any post this week to win a fantastic book+swag package put together by Amy Finnegan! 

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Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations, Launch, Promotion

NOT IN THE SCRIPT and the Great TV Debate

Not in the Script coverAmy Finnegan’s debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT, takes readers behind the scenes of the fictional TV series, Coyote Hills.  It got us thinking about the television shows we’ve loved over the years, the ones that kept us coming back week after week. When we asked the EMUs to weigh in with their absolute favorite TV shows of all time, it was all very civilized–no punches were thrown, no cross words exchanged. Although the final picks vary widely across several decades and multiple genres, we hope you’ll agree that our list makes for some dang fine television viewing.

Christine Hayes

I watched a lot of TV in the 80s. I mean, like, a lot. To this day, any time I stumble upon an episode of The Love Boat, Charlie’s Angels, CHiPs, or The Dukes of Hazzard, I will sit down and watch. I can’t help it. My gleeful nostalgia meter spikes up into the stratosphere. But my very favorite show of all time was Simon and Simon. Two cute brothers, solving crimes, cracking jokes and watching each other’s backs? I was hooked! Ever since, my taste in TV has followed a similar pattern. Case in point: Psych is probably my second very favorite show, because: Humor! Action! Buddies getting into trouble! I could cite many other examples, but since we were supposed to pick just our favorites, I will merely say that I am predictable but consistent.

Lindsey Lane

Favorite TV Show of all time?!? I never missed an episode of Gilligan’s Island when I was a kid. Never. I think I played island castaway for years in my backyard. My best friend and I would switch off being MaryAnne or Ginger. But really, I think we both wanted to be the goofy, goodhearted Gilligan. I don’t think it had any influence on my writing except maybe, well, the show did play around with multiple perspectives.

Gilligans_Island_title_cardTamara Ellis Smith

So my favorite TV show as a twenty-something was, hands-down, ThirtySomething.  I was obsessed.  Maybe because I felt like it was showing me what my own life could be like in ten years.  Maybe because it was showing me what I WANTED my life to be like in ten years.  I loved following the multiple storylines, I loved thinking about what I might do in the characters’ situations, I loved the dialogue. In fact, at the time, I was both writing and acting, and a friend and I used to memorize monologues from the show because we thought they were excellent audition monologues.

Rebecca Van Slyke

From childhood: Anything with a family who had unusual animals, like Gentle Ben, Lassie, Flipper, and Daktari. I used to long for a family who was cool enough to have a pet bear, dolphin or lion. Heck, I’d even settle for a dog who could understand people, like Lassie. Sadly, the Army frowned on having a pet lion living in base housing, or so my father told me.

From high school: Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. These shows could make everyone in the family laugh.

All-time favorite: The Bugs Bunny Show taught me most of what I know about the classics: music, literature, great films, and classic movie stars. It was funny as a child, and got funnier as I grew up and got more of the “adult” humor. As a writer, I aim for this kind of humor–something to make kids laugh, and a little something to make the adults reading to them laugh, too.

MuppetShowJennifer Bertman

Oh man, this is a harder question to answer than I thought it would be. I didn’t realize how many TV shows had been an influential part of my life until I tried to narrow them down to “favorite of all time.” But two are without a doubt at the top: The Muppet Show and Gilmore Girls.

I have so much fond nostalgia for watching The Muppet Show every Sunday night with my parents and older brother. It sparked my lifelong admiration for Jim Henson. The Muppets gave the show the pretense of being for kids, but the humor and celebrity guests spanned all ages, and as a kid I loved that my parents and brother genuinely enjoyed the show as much as I did.

I discovered Gilmore Girls on my honeymoon, oddly enough. I came to the show late–I’d heard people gush over it but never took the time to watch it. But as soon as I caught part of an episode and heard the witty banter, saw the wonderful chemistry between the actors, and realized how smart and full of heart the show was, I was hooked. It’s become my #1 comfort show. Forget chicken soup–if I’m sick or feeling blue, you’ll find me on the couch visiting my old friends Lorelai and Rory.

Donna Janell Bowman (Bratton)

I didn’t think I watched much television until this question came up. I mentioned previously that Bionic Woman was my go-to TV choice as a child. So was Gilligan’s Island. These days I’m a big fan of BBC shows. I adore period dramas like Downtown Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, and The Paradise. I suppose it’s not surprising since I love to read and write historical fiction and nonfiction. I love the visual details and historic portrayals. As for laughs, I’m a fan of Big Bang Theory. And, in the reality-show department, I prefer to geek out on ancestry shows like Who Do You Think You Are and Finding Your Roots. Once a research junkie, always a research junkie.

Megan Morrison

Man, this is a big question. I really, really like good TV, so I’m just going to go with the first things that come into my head. Childhood – The Price Is Right. I think Bob Barker should probably get retroactively paid for babysitting me for like four summers in a row. First big TV obsession: The X-Files. Mulder and Scully. I was hooked on the unresolved tension between them, and I would go to great lengths to justify any and all plot holes to myself in order to keep on enjoying it. Finally, recently, I’ve loved Arrested Development.  I can’t think of any other show with more jokes per square inch. Amazing writing. Pure concentrated irreverence. I stand in awe.

xfilesLaurie Ann Thompson

My all-time favorite TV show is Firefly, because what could be better than a western… in space? Oh, yeah, Nathan Fillion as a space cowboy. Everything about the show itself was perfect, from the opening theme music to the characters and their relationships to the futuristic interpretations to the moral quandaries. The only disappointment was that it was cancelled way too soon.

Mylisa Larsen

I’ve had a kind of odd relationship with TV since I was born during the period of time where my parents had decided to throw the TV out of the house. My grandmother lived next door and she would sometimes invite my sisters and I over to watch The Lawrence Welk Show with her. I remember sitting there thinking, “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.” But my grandma was so sweet and enthusiastic and my grandpa was so generous with his Brach’s Pick-a-mix during the show that we’d settle right into that big flowered couch between them and happily watch the weirdness.

Some years, my parents would import a television during the Olympics and we would lie on the floor of the family room for two weeks, wide-eyed, watching. I still have a strange, binge-watching relationship with the Olympics.

But if you ask me about my favorite shows, I’d have to admit that they were shows that I didn’t really watch but, rather, listened to. When my kids were young, they would watch cartoons while I was in the next room getting dinner ready. So I’d only hear the voice track. My favorite TV show to “watch” in that way was probably Recess. My kids can still walk by and say something in a Spinelli voice and I’m right back there.

Tara Dairman

My favorite TV show when I was a kid was I Love Lucy. No, I’m not quite old enough to have seen the show when it first aired, but there were marathon showings of it every year, and my parents would tape them (I am old enough to have grown up on VHS). Lucy showcased farce and slapstick comedy at its finest, and I like to think that a little bit of the comic timing rubbed off on me as I became a writer. I still love to write funny scenes that are slightly over the top–though thankfully, Gladys Gatsby’s kitchen disasters have not yet reached the epic level of Lucy’s!

Penny Parker Klostermann

I really like TV and there are so many shows I have followed over the years. But my favorite TV show of all time is one from my childhood, The Carol Burnett Show. Carol Burnett is a genius when it comes to comedy and the entire cast was hilarious. My favorite ever skit was Tim Conway as a new dentist and Harvey Korman as a patient needing a tooth pulled. Tim Conway accidentally sticks himself with the Novocain syringe and it goes downhill from there. One of the things that cracks me up about this skit is that Harvey Korman can’t keep a straight face. You should take a few minutes and enjoy this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSJw96SAeM

 

So…what’s your favorite TV show of all time? Tell us in the comments for a chance to win a signed copy of NOT IN THE SCRIPT, plus bonus swag!

You can also order a copy of your very own from:

And don’t forget to add it to Goodreads here!

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Where Is Tommy Smythe? (An EMU News Special Report)

Local teenager Tommy Smythe has disappeared, and the local sheriff is tirelessly hunting for clues.  Where is Tommy now? EMU News takes us live to the small Texas town where the young man was last seen alive.

And that’s the news.  Thank you, and good night.

On a more serious note, Lindsey Lane’s YA debut is truly extraordinary. EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN tells truths both beautiful and terrible; it is funny and tragic, uncomfortable and uplifting.  Tommy Smythe and the subtly interlacing stories of the deeply human people in his town will linger in your mind long after you turn the last page.

Congratulations on your debut novel, Lindsey Lane!  It’s been an honor to participate in the launch of such a special book.

Please comment here–or on any post this week–to be entered to win a T-shirt and a signed ARC of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN by Lindsey Lane!

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Filed under ARCs, Book Promotion, Celebrations, Interviews, Launch, Promotion

Roadside Encounters

Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey LaneIn Lindsey Lane’s haunting EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, her character, Tommy Smythe, disappears from a Texas pullout. Never heard of a pullout? Think dusty, side-of-the-road spot, a place to set up a farm stand, change a flat, or maybe even catch an hour of sleep.

For today’s post, the EMUs put their heads together to come up with their most memorable pullout and/or roadside-related stories, ranging from humorous to hopeful, eerie to unforgettable.

 

Donna Bowman Bratton
Everything’s bigger in Texas, or so the saying goes. Turnout areas, or pullouts, are fairly common in the expansive rural areas that abut Texas cities. Depending on the season, it’s not unusual to see fruit, shrimp, rugs, puppies, firewood, all kinds of things being quietly hawked at turnouts from trunks, truck beds, and umbrella-topped card tables. It’s all forgettable stuff, really. Until it’s not. When I was a little girl, my father, a successful corporate business owner, embarked on his annual hunting weekend. After a few days, he left the deer lease without a “trophy,” but he was determined not to come home empty-handed. On his return drive, he came across a turnout where something irresistible, something bizarre, something HUGE tickled his funny bone. I can only imagine the looks on the faces of other drivers as he chauffeured his prize home. Dad walked through the front door of our home with a GINORMOUS, HAIRY, G-G-GORILLA! My mother looked at it in stunned silence. I vaguely remember diving gleefully into the mountain of fluffy cuteness. A few days later, my mother picked me up from school and took me to the office. There was a new desk at the front door and on it was a brass desk plate that read Hairy G. Orilla, Credit Manager. Hairy sat behind his desk, glasses on his face, and tie around his neck, greeting all who entered. For a long time, he made people smile. Folks probably thought twice about asking for credit. And now, all these years later, a new story is swirling in my mind about this particular Texas-sized gorilla, who came to life at a roadside turnout.

Pulloutsketch

Lindsey’s sketch of a pullout for EVIDENCE

Penny Klostermann
My family was traveling from Colorado to Texas. We all needed a potty stop. We were in the middle of nowhere and the next town was miles and miles away. It was dark. My dad spotted a dirt pullout which turned out to have old gas tanks and the skeleton-wall of an old gas station. My dad, being the only guy in a family of six, left the area closer to the car for us and walked around by the skeleton-wall. The next thing we heard was, “Naomi, I need your help. I’ve stepped in something!” We, of course, were all wondering what he had stepped in and wanted to giggle. But we could tell by his tone that this wasn’t a giggling-allowed moment. No. He didn’t step in the previous potty stoppers potty stuff. But it was still pretty gross. His shoe, sock, and pants leg were dripping. He had stepped up to his knee in a hole of slimy, grimy, dirty, old oil. (Those were the days before there were regulations about properly disposing of old oil.) After some rummaging through the trunk for a fresh set of clothes and a way to dispose of ruined ones, Mom and Dad got it worked out and we were on our way.

Eventually we giggled. And giggled some more. Yep! That oily, “pull out” fiasco has been a family favorite that has kept us giggling for about fifty years.

 

Pullout2

Mylisa Larsen
One winter, while driving to northern Minnesota, my husband, my two teenaged sons, and I stopped at a deserted rest stop. We’d just come out of the building and were heading back to our car when two large, brown rabbits came out from under some bushes and started lolloping in our direction. They seemed weirdly untwitchy and determined for rabbits. We backed toward our car. They followed. One of the boys stomped his feet at them. They followed.

We looked at each other and, in that moment, had a four-way, group flashback to the killer rabbit scene in Grail. We turned and made a Pythonesque dash for the car. Maybe they were just someone’s abandoned pets looking for a handout, but it wasn’t gonna be our blood in the snow if they weren’t.

Laurie Ann Thompson
We were on a family road trip many years ago when my son was just old enough to be potty trained, but still young enough to not be giving us very much notice. My husband was taking a nap in the passenger seat and I was driving when my son suddenly screamed that he had to go, “Right now!” There were no exits on the highway. There was no place to stop safely. Meanwhile, things were clearly growing more and more urgent in the backseat. Finally, I spied a pullout. I raced into it, slammed the van into park, and pushed the button to open the side door. My son unbuckled his car seat, ran to the edge of the pullout, and did his business in the grass. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, leaned back in my seat, and looked up to see a large sign directly in front of our van: “WARNING: THIS AREA UNDER 24-HOUR VIDEO SURVEILLANCE. ANYONE URINATING HERE WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE FINED $1,000.” Relief turned to despair as I imagined one quick decision turning into the most expensive road trip ever. Fortunately, they were either faking it or took pity on a small boy in distress and his panicked mother, because we never did receive a ticket. Thanks, WSDOT!

Tara Dairman
My husband and I were on an “overnight” bus in Mali, West Africa. We had taken lots of overnight buses in other countries that drove throughout the night to get us to our destination, so we assumed that it was the same deal here. Not so! Around 3 am, the driver pulled over to the side of a desolate road, and everybody clambered down off the bus. Thinking it was just a bathroom break, Andy and I followed–only to witness everyone else rolling out blankets in the dirt and bedding down on them. Everyone, including the driver (and even, eventually, the two of us) slept at the side of the road for the next three hours before loading back into the bus to continue the journey when the sun came up.

Pullout1

Amy Finnegan
I was raised in Northern Utah, near Logan, and my grandparents lived forty-five minutes south in Brigham City. Their home is the site of some of my favorite childhood memories, but in order to get there, we had to go through the ten mile or so stretch of road that locals call Sardine Canyon. In the days of my youth, the canyon was twisty, narrow, and downright scary (especially in winter). Every year there were multiple automobile fatalities, and to add to its ominous reputation, there was a single opportunity to pull to the side of the road. But no one ever, ever, no matter how badly we needed to stretch or use a restroom, suggested we stop there. You see, there was a bar at that pullout—blood red with just a single electric beer sign hung in one of the dark windows. Once in a while we would see a lone battered pick-up truck parked out front, or even more frightening, a line of large black motorcycles—Hell’s Angels, no doubt, because who else would dare to stop at that horrifying place? But that was all. Every time we passed this bar, my family would fall silent as if we were all afraid someone might hear the hum of our engine and chase after us with an ax. And I always stared with both wonder and fear, certain at that very moment there was a murder taking place right before my eyes . . . if I could only see through those blacked-out windows. So there is the stuff of my childhood nightmares (and still, I’ll admit). Creeeepy.

Jennifer Bertman
Jenn PulloutThis is a photo from June 2004, taken at a pullout somewhere in the middle of Utah. My then boyfriend/now husband and I were about halfway on our road trip moving me from California to my future home in Colorado. I’d never lived anywhere other than California, other than a brief summer in Manhattan, and my decision to move to Colorado is probably one of the most daring things I’ve ever done. I walked away from a great job and the perfect studio in San Francisco, and put hundreds and hundreds of miles between my family and closest friends. But I knew it was the right decision, and that’s what I see more than anything when I look at this picture of myself at a pullout in the middle of Utah: my excitement about the future that lies ahead of me.

Dana Walrath
There is nothing quite like a pullout Armenian style.  Ancient Armenia spanned from the Black Sea down to the Mediterranean, over to the Caspian and included high peaks in the Caucasus mountain range. Silk Road caravans traversed these lands, so pullouts always include delicious mountain spring water flowing into a stone or tiled basin. Fertile river valleys of the Euphrates, Tigris, Arax, and so many more, let people populate these pullouts with tasty edibles and things of beauty: small bundles of the earliest mountains flowers in February; wild asparagus and godek, a green worthy of “super-food” status in March and April; tart green unripe apricots, promising sweet glory as they ripen; the luscious tomatoes, melons, grapes, and figs as summer turns into fall; dried herbs, jars of pickled vegetables, teas, homemade wine and flavored vodkas.  My first experience with these pullouts was the summer of 1984, as I travelled in today’s Eastern Turkey—the Western Armenia of my ancestors. At a pullout along the road from Trabzon to Artvin, I tasted my very first Asia Minor Apricot, just picked fresh from the tree. Its flavor stayed like a ghost on my tongue haunting me for nearly 30 years. In June of 2013, I found it again, at last, at a pullout along the Ararat Valley on the other side of the closed border between Turkey and the tiny land-locked independent Republic of Armenia. Mounds of apricots cast a sweet, golden aura on the pullout. Each bite in that familiar pullout setting, made me sure of the continuity and the need for connection on both sides of this closed border.

Have an interesting pullout story of your own? Share in the comments for your chance to win a signed ARC of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, plus a killer T-shirt!

To purchase a copy of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN from your local independent bookstore, find one here or order it from your favorite national or online retailer such as FSG, BookPeoplePowell’sB&N,or Amazon.

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Music to Be A Changemaker By

Mozart to Eminem, Krudas Cubensi to Mazz Swift, or John Coltrane to Beyonce. Music feeds the soul and no doubt invigorates my passion to rock the word.

changemaker_jacket_r3.inddChildren’s author e.E. Trujillo shared this on Monday – that one source of inspiration for her is music. This is true for so many people; there’s so arguing that a great beat can feed your body with energy or that clear, powerful lyrics can make your brain buzz with ideas. And then there’s that hard-to-articulate quality that music can bring – almost like a magnifying glass or a drop of concentrated flavor – it makes what’s already there just so much…more. What a great source of inspiration for making change!

On this final day of welcoming Laurie Ann Thompson‘s debut BE A CHANGEMAKER into the world, we wanted to explore this idea. BE A CHANGEMAKER is a guide for young people who want to make positive change within their communities and beyond. This is good, hard work. Music helps harness the determination needed to do such work, it fills the room with creativity, and, as Trujillo said so well, it invigorates the passion you need to rock the word – or world.

And so, here are some of the songs that invigorate the EMU mob. Read about why we chose these particular songs and then click on our Spotify playlist to hear them for yourself!

 

allwillbewell

Megan Morrison

Being a changemaker means having the courage and motivation to get things done.  My Get-It-Done music falls into three categories:

  1. Philosophical. Sometimes, the ability to make change comes from a place of deep faith and serenity, a place of openness and optimism.  All Will Be Well by the Gabe Dixon Band is a song I listen to when I want to tap into my better self and achieve that sense of serenity.
  2. Revolutionary.  Sometimes, change comes from outrage in the face of injustice, and the desire to rebel against that injustice. I love a lot of songs with that message, but Muse’s Uprising is the boss.
  3. Triumphant. Making real change in the world is a slow, frustrating process, so it’s important to celebrate and appreciate every small success along the way.  I can’t think of a better song for that purpose than Queen’s cathartic power ballad We Are the Champions. 

 

Hallelujah for Mr. JimLindsey Lane

So I am not a religious person but I am a spiritual person and music, for me, is a spiritual experience. In fact I would say that the soundtrack that has played throughout my life has deepened me, inspired me, and generally made me a happier person.

Here are some of my faves:

  1.  Van Morrison – On the Bright Side of the Road – This song always makes me happy and makes me believe in a brand new day.
  2. Joan Osborne – One of Us – Her question: “what if God was one of us…just a stranger on the bus…trying to make his way home?” Well, that’s just sheer brilliance.
  3. Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah – Enough said.
  4. Rodney Crowell – Earthbound – The beauty of being alive and the irony of being earthbound.
  5. Bob Dylan – Just Like A Woman – It’s cruel to pick only one Dylan song but it would be even crueler to leave him out.
  6. Grateful Dead – Sugar Magnolia – This was my seminal song.
  7. Olu Dara – Okra – African rhythms, simple lyrics, deceptive in their depth; it will get you dancing in the kitchen.

 

Christine Hayes

 I listen to music pretty much all the time! Movie soundtracks are my favorite. They’re just so spectacular, and they make anything seem possible. I love anything by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. I love Lindsey Stirling and Jake Shimabukuro. Two albums in particular that I love are Audiomachine’s Chronicles and Kerry Muzzey’s Trailer Music 2. I could go on and on!

 

images Mylisa Larsen

 Samuel Barber’s Adagio (the Kronos Quartet version from the album Winter Was Hard because it’s a nice, minimalist version.) It’s great clear my head music for when it gets too busy up there. And the King’s Singers version of New Day because, not to get too soppy, but it always makes me think of my kids.

 

 

Dana Walrath

 The music of Salif Keita always soothes and inspires.  Keita has spent his life leading change. Outcast on account of his albinism, he also broke the rules by becoming a musician. This was something he wasn’t supposed to do on account of his birth into a noble family, a descendant of the emperor of Mali. I saw him live once and he opened on a huge stage just his soulful voice and guitar carrying the entire audience as he sang Folon.  I love how his lyrics go back and forth between many different languages and show how we are connected.

 

Penny Parker Klostermann

I don’t listen to music while I work. I like total silence. But when I’m blocked or stuck, I listen to mood lifting music that makes me happy or evokes a creative mood. It helps me get past the frustration.

  1. I’m Yours/Over the Rainbow by Straight No Chaser (Reminds me of my inspiring EMLA family)
  2. Happy by Pharrell Williams (snappy and happy)
  3. Let It Go by​ Idina Menzel (inspires me​ to let my​ creativity go)
  4. Amazing Grace by​ Chris Tomlin (I love hymns. I have sung them all my life and I think singing them  ​helps me recognize rhythm in language.​)​

imagesAmy Finnegan

My song is I Will Survive!

Best disco song ever, and very appropriate for a writer trying to break into publishing. Also appropriate for teens trying to get through their school years – bad breakups, difficult friends, too many bullies, impossible classes – as well as finding their place in the world and making a difference! We will all survive!

 

Donna Bowman Bratton

 When I’m not working in total silence, I generally listen to a six-hour playlist of quiet instrumentals while I write.  I’ve found a lot of soundtracks do the trick for me: Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Dances with Wolves, Shakespeare in Love, and some albums of reading/studying music that contain that even tone I need.

As for inspiration music, here’s what comes to mind – maybe in this particular order:

  1.  The Climb, by Miley Cyrus (before she went off the deep end)
  2. What Doesn’t Kill You by Kelly Clarkson
  3. These Are the Days by Keith Urban
  4. 100 Years by Five for Fighting
  5. It’s My Life by Bon Jovi

 

Jennifer Bertman

  1.  The Middle by Jimmy Eat World.  Publishing is a long journey filled with ups and downs. Patience is your ally. The lyrics to this song have always been a good pep talk during the “downs” of publishing (and other life moments): Hey, don’t write yourself off yet/It’s only in your head/you feel left out or looked down on/Just do your best, try everything you can/And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re awake/It just takes some time/Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride/Everything, everything will be just fine/Everything, everything will be alright, alright
  2.  Right Now by Van Halen. Life is precious, time is fleeting. This song reminds me to act now for the things that matter to me. The best line in the song is “Right now it’s your tomorrow.” That reminds me to keep looking forward, and that what I do today – large or small – makes a difference in determining who the future me will be.

images

Rebecca VanSlyke

 My songs are two versions of What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. They’re just my “feel good” songs. That no matter what terrible things might be occurring, this world has some wonderful things happening in it, too, and it’s worth saving.

 

Listen to all of these songs here. Really!  On a personal note, I didn’t know half of these songs when I made this playlist and after I compiled it I played it through from beginning to end as I worked. I. Was. Inspired. (And I sang out loud and even—don’t tell my kids or you will embarrass them—danced!)

 

 

BE A CHANGEMAKER is coming on September 16! Don’t wait! Run out and buy it, and then put on your favorite tunes and get ready to make a difference! You can get your own copy from your local independent bookstore (find one here), or order it from your favorite national or online retailer such as Simon & SchusterPowell’sB&Nor Amazon.

And please comment here–or on any post this week–to be entered to win a signed ARC of BE A CHANGEMAKER by Laurie Ann Thompson!

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Filed under Advice, Book Promotion, Celebrations, Creativity, Launch, Promotion, Uncategorized

The Journey

I love the subtitle on this blog: From Deal to Debut: The Path to Publication. When I think of the Path to Publication, I picture a whole throng of writer-ly/illustrator-y people, all traveling together, a Pilgrimage to the City of Being Published.
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We all arrived on the Path in different ways. Some of us joined it early in life, some came to it later. Some of us have made the pilgrimage many times, others are toiling on, and on… and on, with nothing to show for it but blisters on our feet. Some are weighed down by the journey, while others seem to skip merrily along, book deals raining down on them like confetti at a parade.
But here’s the thing. Unlike many professions, especially creative ones, the Path to Publication for children’s books is populated by some of the greatest people you will meet. In my experience, my fellow travelers are all rooting for my success. Here are some of them:
• My teachers- Elementary school, Jr. high, high school… all the way up to the extremely talented faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts. All along the way I’ve been fortunate to have great teachers (including librarians!) who have encouraged me to write. Thank you!
• My critique partners- Whether I’ve been a member of a critique group or just an informal manuscript exchange, I’ve gotten great feedback, both the “I love this!” kind as well as the, “I’m kind of confused about why the principal would ride a pony to school” kind. You know who you are. Thank you!
• People in SCBWI- I joined SCBWI about ten years ago because I heard it was a great way to learn more about the craft of writing and illustrating. What no one told me was how very, very supportive everyone has been. Oh, I’m sure SOME member SOMEwhere must be a jerk, but by far the norm is to have people who are encouraging, excited about my progress, and willing to share their experience. You know who you are. Thank you!
• Fellow students- When I began this journey, I wanted to approach it like the teacher I am. I wanted to go to school. I found a college that offered a master’s degree in writing for children. Unfortunately, I had a small baby and I had taken time off from teaching, so both time and money were at a premium. But ten years later, it worked out, and I found my home-away-from-home in Vermont College. It also came with a whole bunch of brother and sister writers who are my mentors and cheer squad. I love you guys! Thank you!
• People in my agency group- Not only was I blessed with a fabulous agent (Are your ears burning, Ammi-Joan Paquette?), signing with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency came with an instant cohort of talented writers and illustrators. Thank you!
• Friends and family- Okay, they’re not all officially writers, but when it comes to people cheering me on from the sidelines, these folks can’t be beat. You know who you are. Thank you!
So with all these wonderful people who are rooting for my success, what’s my response? It has to be to come alongside others on the journey and be part of their support group. For people just beginning their journey, to point them to the books and groups that helped me. I was once there. For people who are close to publication, to encourage them. I’m right there with them. For people who have reached the destination, to be their promoter and cheer for them. Hopefully someday I’ll be there, too, but for now, I’m enjoying the journey because of my other travelers. You make the path worth it!
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12 Comments

by | September 4, 2014 · 6:41 am

Longing for Balance, Post-launch

On Monday, our newest Emu Tamara Ellis Smith wrote a beautiful post about the longing that accompanies the journey toward publication. It’s a feeling that many, many writers aspiring to become published know, and one that I knew well for many years.

Born on July 10, 2014!

Born on July 10, 2014!

But now, I’m on the other side of the fence. All Four Stars has been out in the world for a month and a half, and I’ll be hanging up my Emu feathers before long. Has the longing evaporated?

No, of course not—but it has changed. For weeks around when my book came out, when my life felt swallowed up by launch-party planning and online promotion efforts, I longed to get back to my quiet, boring, normal routine and write. Finally, the chaos of launch has passed, and I’ve been able to do that, and now I have even more appreciation for it than I did before.

But now that I am writing again, I long to do it better—to dig deeper into my new characters, to send them on better-plotted journeys and describe their actions with more beautiful sentences. I’m thrilled that my first novel has been published, but I long to up my game in future ones.

But most of all, I long to find balance. I want to focus enough energy on promoting my published book that readers will continue to discover it even after the push of launch-time is over. But I also want to write new books. And I want to continue to travel and have the adventures and experiences that inspire my stories in the first place. Basically, I long for my old, prepublished lifestyle to continue while I also integrate my new obligations as a published author into it. A tall order, perhaps, but each day I’m finding my way.

All that said, finally being published after years of working toward it is undeniably sweet. There is nothing quite like a stranger—someone who has no reason to coddle or lie to you—telling you that they loved reading your book. And if that stranger is a kid, even better. And if they come to your latest book event and tell you in person, EVEN BETTER.

This actually happened last weekend.

This actually happened last weekend.

Yeah…life after launch isn’t so bad.

__________________________________________

Tara DairmanTara Dairman is a novelist, playwright, and recovering world traveler. All Four Starsher debut middle-grade novel about an 11-year-old who secretly becomes a New York restaurant critic, was published on July 10, 2014 by Putnam/Penguin.

Find her online at taradairman.com, and on Twitter at @TaraDairman.

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Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Happiness, Launch, Promotion, Satisfaction

Following the Bird in Flight when it Comes to the Debut Author To-Do List

Like Lindsey (see her excellent post from a couple of weeks ago, Debut Author To-Do List), I’m a list maker. Unlike Lindsey, however, I am rather *cough* obsessive about it. My debut author to-do list is a spreadsheet. Okay, that might not sound so bad, but my spreadsheet has an embarrassing 135 rows, sorted chronologically, spanning from more than a year before the book’s release to more than two years after… and that’s just for one book. Yes, it’s totally ridiculous overkill, to be sure. I knew when I built it that I wasn’t going to be able to even come close to doing everything on the list. I put in every possible thing I could think of, anything I might want to remember to even think about doing when the time came. I knew I was going to have to pick and choose, prioritize, and, yes, let go of some (okay, a whole bunch) of the things on the list.

debut author spreadsheet

I got off to a fairly good start, at least.

On Monday, Megan wrote about “following the bird in flight” when drafting (see her excellent post, Writing in One Layer). I’ve been thinking about similar ideas lately, but more as they apply to the debut experience as a whole. I built that spreadsheet because I thought I’d be able follow the neatly organized chronological to-do list. I thought I’d be in control, evaluating and deciding what was really a to-do and crossing out the rest. Then I would just march down the remaining to-do list and the whole process would roll smoothly and efficiently along. Ha! What I’ve learned is that practically everything about the debut author experience is a surprise. Some of the biggest pieces are outside of my control. Being flexible enough to deal with shifting realities—bouncing back from unforeseen setbacks or pouncing on unexpected opportunities—is key.

Every teardrop is a waterfall

I am not this flexible.

  • What happens when you learn that the curriculum guide you’ve been eagerly anticipating—and promising to teachers—is not only not finished yet, but hasn’t even been started… and isn’t going to be? In my case, you come up with a plan B: figuring out how to add Common Core State Standard assignments to the library event kit that is already in progress.
  • What do you do when you randomly notice that, hey, there’s a Goodreads giveaway of your ARCs, and it’s been running for three days already? In my case, you make some room in a few of your days to get the word out and help promote the giveaway.
  • What do you do when you happen to see that the publisher of your upcoming picture book has put the cover—which you have never seen before—on their website? In my case, you SQUEE for joy, dance around the room for a while, hyperventilate, eat some chocolate, and then quietly sneak the image up on the Emu’s Debuts sidebar and your own webpage and hope someone notices.
Emmanuel's Dream cover

I can’t wait to show you what’s inside!

  • What do you do when a local private school director invites you to coffee to talk about possible collaborations, or a well-known blog invites you to do a guest post, or your publisher invites you to do a live video webinar on your book’s topic, or a thriving local startup invites you to their annual company open house as a featured guest, or a trusted youth organization approaches you about giving changemaker workshops? In my case, you say, “YES!” to all of them and start preparing (even though “live” and “video” are two words that should never be put together, in my opinion!).

None of those things were even on my spreadsheet, and I’m not coming at all close to keeping up with my to-do list. (It’s rather fitting that I missed my Thursday morning deadline for this very post, isn’t it?) I expected to be able to just draft a plan and then carry it out, but instead my debut experience seems to be all about following the bird in flight. And I’m okay with that: it’s taking me to some amazing places.

Off you go

Photo from liquidnight on Flickr.

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Filed under Advice, Advice - Helpful or Otherwise, Helpful or Otherwise, Launch, Promotion, Time Management, Writing and Life

Getting the word out.

bunniesGOpublic

BUNNIES!!! is being printed (I imagine) overseas at this very moment. It’s release date is January 27. That means I have roughly five months to generate some pre-release buzz about it. I find myself staring blankly at the FnGs and wonder what to do next. A website? Facebook page? Postcards? (Done). Trailer? Press release? Standing on a corner saying, “Look at this!” to anyone who happens by? I am not a stranger to marketing and promotion—I’ve worked on many programs and projects over the years as the graphics guy—but I am daunted by what to do for my own book. I suppose the promotion and marketing has never seemed as important as it does when you are promoting and marketing  your own stuff. I don’t know what all I’ll do. I don’t know what kind of participation I can expect from the publisher. I don’t know if I need to hire a professional PR or marketing person. I don’t know a lot. Declan (above) screams the title of the book with unfettered joy and excitement. That’s what I want the promotion to feel like. So….

bunniesCover250wide

January 27, 2015 • From Katherine Tegan Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublisher

-kevan atteberry

kevanatteberry.com

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Filed under Book Promotion, cover art, Illustrators, Picture books, Promotion, Thankfulness, Uncategorized