Category Archives: Updates on our Books!

Emus love dogs, especially literary ones!

It’s easy to see that we Emus love books, and you may have figured out by now that many of us love dogs, too, so what could possibly be better than combining the two? To continue this week’s celebration of Maria Gianferrari’s Penny & Jelly: The School Show, which released yesterday, here is a collection of our favorite dogs from literature. Woof!

Penny & Jelly cover

First, we have some classics…

Susan Vaught:

I’m a sucker for Lassie, not the television one (okay, that one, too), but the dog in Lassie Come Home written in 1940 by Eric Knight. I read it when I was about 10, nice and hefty, around 270-300 pages? Something like that. I absolutely lived in that book.

Penny Parker Klostermann:

Toto from The Wizard of Oz. “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” I worried about him through the whole movie even though was feisty and brave and revealed that the Wizard of Oz was not a wizard at all.

Carole Gerber:

Snoopy, of course! He is beloved by people all over the planet and still appears in cartoons and books sixteen years after the death of Charles Schultz, creator of “Peanuts.”

Donna Janell Bowman:

Hands down, my fave literary dogs were Old Yeller, and Old Dan and Little Ann from Where The Red Fern Grows. As a kid, I read each book a billion times. More than the actual plots (which would be questionable by today’s standards,) I was so enamored by the dogs’ personalities and with the bond between boy and dog(s).

 

And then there are some more modern middle-grade canines…

Megan Morrison:

As an avid Harry Potter fan, I’ve got to go with Hagrid’s dog Fang. I love that he’s huge, and his name is fierce, but he’s really just a lovable, slobbering coward who runs from the fight – unless he’s protecting Hagrid, in which case, he’ll take a Stunning Spell to defend his big best friend.

Mylisa Larsen:

I’m always amused by Hagrid’s dogs–Fang and Fluffy (aka Cerebus). I also love Winn-Dixie because you’ve gotta love a dog who can smile.

Elaine Braithwaite Vickers:

Ranger, the kind old bloodhound from Kathi Appelt’s THE UNDERNEATH. So inherently good and true, as literary dogs should be.

Rebecca Van Slyke:

Winn Dixie. He helps India Opal negotiate the tricky business of moving to a new town and making friends in unlikely places. Plus he can smile so hard it makes him sneeze.

Tamara Smith:

Both my daughters and I are madly in love with Bigfoot, from Alison McGhee’s JULIA GILLIAN series. According to Julia, they can telepathically communicate! Too awesome! Bigfoot is the quintessential big-hearted canine best friend.

 

And, of course, we wouldn’t forget the picture books!

Janet Fox:

My favorite literary dog is Martha from MARTHA SPEAKS by Susan Meddaugh. I remember how much I loved reading that book to my son!

Christine Olson Hayes:

I love the adorable dog named Hondo from Peter McCarty’s picture book, HONDO AND FABIAN. The story is simple and sweet, but it’s the art I adore–it gives off a warm, cozy glow that makes me want to curl up in front of a fire with a favorite book!

Kevan Atteberry:

I was moved by a graphic novel I read recently about Laika, the first dog in space. It was terribly sad though. I read the Plague Dogs years ago and enjoyed it but don’t remember the two dogs’ names. Brian from Family Guy probably wouldn’t count, so I’ll go with Olive from Olive the Other Reindeer.

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman:

I’m partial to “Dog” from Dog in Charge by K.L. Going and illustrated by Dan Santat. It’s a sweet and funny story about a dog left in charge of five cats with this refrain to describe him: “He’s a good dog, a smart dog, a very good dog.”

Adam Shaughnessy:

I always loved Clifford the Big Red Dog when I was little. I remember being especially fond of the illustrations and drawing (or trying to draw) Clifford again and again. I went through a lot of red crayons.

Laurie Ann Thompson:

Harry the Dirty Dog was one of my favorite books as a child, and it still is. I just love his transformation from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots! And, of course, I love the happy ending.

 

Penny & Jelly author and fellow Emu Maria Gianferrari shared some of her favorites, too, as well as those of Penny and Jelly themselves!

Some of my favorite literary dogs are Bob (from the One & Only Ivan), Rontu (from Island of the Blue Dolphins),
Dismay (from Each Little Bird That Sings), and Rain (from Reign Rain).

Penny’s favorites are Winn Dixie, Hound (from the Penderwicks), and HMS Beagle (from Susan Patron’s Lucky books).

Jelly’s favorites are Gaston, Daisy (from A Ball for Daisy), and Hachiko.

(Of course, they’re all really my favorites too!) 😉

 

As you know, this week we’re all celebrating the launch of our newest favorite literary dog in Penny & Jelly: The School Show, and I’m sure the delightful Jelly will soon be one of your favorites, too! Don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of this heartwarming book or some Penny & Jelly swag. You can visit Penny & Jelly at pennyandjelly.com, and be sure to purchase a copy for yourself and your favorite dog lovers by visiting one of the sites below:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers Amazon.com Books-a-Million Barnes & Noble IndieBound Politics and Prose Powell's The Toadstool Bookshop
Also available as an eBook in several of these locations, and at iBooks and Kobo.

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Filed under Book Giveaway, Book Launch, Celebrations, Picture books, Updates on our Books!

A Fan Letter to Readers

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Dear Readers Everywhere,

I know you probably hear this a lot, but I’m seriously your biggest fan! I’ve wanted to meet you for over a decade, and now that it’s finally happened, I’m totally FREAKING OUT!

You know that one day when you said how much you loved my book? Oh . . . my . . . gosh. My heart was beating a million times a minute. I keep wondering if you’re all secretly related to me, or if maybe my mother has made a hundred or so sock-puppet Goodreads accounts just so she can encourage me to keep writing.

But then you tell me you’re from the Philippines, or Texas, or Canada, or London, or Slovenia, or that gorgeous African island of Mauritius, and I just can’t wrap my head around it! And never in a million years did I think that even one of the 1.2 billion people in India would even know I existed, let alone be excited to read a novel I wrote! Like . . . what?!

You do realize that I grew up in a small town of about 5,000 people, right? That the most outrageous thing I ever dreamed of was going to Hawaii one day? And when that happened at sixteen (my first plane ride), I thought, “Wow. That’s about as good as life can get.”

But then I decided to be a writer. And I hoped people would actually like what I wrote, enough to even pay money for it. But I soon learned that this dream was, as some teenagers today might have told me, totes cray cray.

I had no clue whatsoever how much work would be involved, or how many times I would get my heart broken, or feel like a complete and utter idiot for even thinking I could become a published author.

But you, super-awesome readers, have changed everything. You’ve made me believe that all of the hard work and heartache was not only worth it, but have given me so much HAPPINESS that I’m jumping up and down with jazz hands in the air, wanting to do it all over again!

So sign me up for even more writer’s block, and self-doubt, and pulling my hair out! Go ahead and toss in some of that heartache and rejection! That’s right!

I’m ready.

This time I’m well prepared for the crazy/awful/awesome pathway to publication, because I now know who’s waiting for me at the end of it.

You.

 

All of my fan-girling love and deepest gratitude,

Amy Finnegan, Published author of NOT IN THE SCRIPT, Bloomsbury 2014 (OMG!!!)

Book for Chris

Just one of many amazing people I signed a book for in the past month! #Star-Lord

Gabrielle

Gabrielle from New Hampshire. The first reader I know of to spy it & buy it in the wild!

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Amy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT, came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. She’s also been lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood. You can follow Amy on Twitter @ajfinnegan, Instagram: StrangerThanFictionWriter, or Facebook (Amy Finnegan, Author).

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Filed under Dreams Come True, Farewell, Happiness, reading, rejection and success, Thankfulness, Updates on our Books!, Writing and Life

TALKER 25 Launch Party Kickoff with Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette AND a Giveaway (or more)!

We Emus are thrilled to be kicking off the week-long launch party for Talker 25 by Joshua McCune. Talker 25 is an intense, action-packed YA fantasy set in a not-too-distant future where dragon wars have shaped society.

It’s a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population.

To celebrate the launch of Talker 25, we have all sorts of goodies and interviews and dragon fun planned for the week. Not to mention giveaways! Comment on any post this week, Monday thru Thursday, to be entered to win a signed hardback copy. The winner will be announced on Friday. And there will be more giveaway goodness to come this week, so make sure to check back for additional opportunities to score your own copy.

 Talker 25 is available everywhere tomorrow, April 22, but to hold you over until then we asked Josh’s agent, Ammi-Joan Paqutte, a few questions about working with him and Talker 25.

Ammi-Joan Paquette

How did you come to represent Josh?

AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE: I first discovered Josh’s work when I was browsing online and discovered the first line of his novel, which was then called Kissing Dragons: “When Trish called and invited me to go dragon hunting, I should have trusted my instincts.” Wow! Between the title and the first line, I was more than intrigued. I visited Josh’s website and knew I had to read on further. I sent him an email, and eventually received his manuscript to consider.

What was it about Talker 25 that grabbed your attention?

AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE: What captivated me about the manuscript right from the start was the fresh approach to dragon mythology, and the way an alternate history (dragons vs. humanity) was seamlessly woven into the narrative. In addition, Melissa was a dynamic character that I believed in immediately and wanted to get to know better. I’ve always been a sucker for stories about good people who overcome terrible odds and go on to do great things, and this story hit all the right notes for me.

If you were a dragon, what would type of dragon would you be?

AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE: Oh, that’s a hard one! I think I would be a quietly undiscovered, wise and peaceful dragon, who spends my days in my treehouse lair reading books and eating chocolate. Is that cheating? 🙂

Is there anything else you want to add?

AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE: Only that if you haven’t yet stopped by Josh’s website, you should head over there right now: http://www.joshua-mccune.com/#!news-and-events/c1pz and check out the incredible book trailer! Talker 25 is an incredibly immersive and moving book, and one that you won’t regret reading.

*  *  *

Thanks, Joan, for taking the time to help us celebrate Talker 25! We Emu’s agree that Josh’s book trailer is incredible. So incredible, in fact, we can’t resist sharing it here:

 

You can find Talker 25 online at IndieboundAmazon, BN.com, or at your local bookstore.

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Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations, Interviews, Launch, Updates on our Books!

Letting Go: A Cautionary Tale for Control Freaks

Pat’s post hit a chord with me. I’m in the prepare-to-prepare stage leading up to my 2015 debut. Trying to forecast promotional efforts in the months leading up to the launch. And, hoping my book is cherished as much as Sophie and Bernice. First, I’m reflecting on the surprising angst that followed my book contract. The angst of letting go.

See, I love the inventive stage of writing. Don’t get me wrong, writing is damn hard. But, I love that evolving sense of possibility when worlds and characters spin out of thin air and land as words on the page. Imagination is magic. Even in nonfiction. From the moment I began writing my debut, STEP RIGHT UP: THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY, I occupied the story. All writers do this. Before we can add depth and motion to our words, writers visualize until our stories unfold movie-like on the big screen of our mind. We are all eager to control the script and staging. We like telling our characters what to do, what to wear, how to stand. If we can’t visualize it, we can’t write it. In the case of nonfiction, it’s about telling the truth and filling in gaps. Sometimes, that means converting 125-year-old images from two-dimensional, dingy black and white to Technicolor. In panorama. And in 3D.

While writing, the world on the page is mine, mine, mine!

I am in control. Mwahahaha!

 Until I am not.

My editor had suggestions on STEP RIGHT UP. Lots of them. Some of her suggestions were that I undo some of her suggestions. Add, cut, expand, simplify, redirect, rinse, repeat… In a way, my story became a collaboration. But, as the word weaver, I still felt a sense of control. Sort of.

Until I wasn’t.

Enter, the illustrator.

I am in awe of artists who can press “copy” on their mental printers and, voila! They sketch, sculp, paint, and pixelate their visual imaginings for all the world to see. More magic!  So, I was surprised to be so full of angst as I awaited the illustrator reveal. Seriously, y’all. Angst! And worry. And maybe a tiny speck of panic. An illustrator will have his/her own visual interpretation. Their own image of the world Doc and Jim lived in. Their own tinted lens through which the mental movie plays for them. Aaaaack! I found myself playing the “What-if” game. What if the illustrator can’t capture Doc and Jim as I see them? What if his/her art is too silly, too serious, too dark, too light, too cartoony, too portraity, too realistic, too unrealistic?

And, besides, horses are hard to draw. Just ask the people I forced, I mean asked, to draw for me. (Some of these people may be related to me. Except for the tile guy.)

photo copy 5photo

 Arin's horse 8

photo copy 6

Donna horse 1

photo 2

Thankfully, I can be confident that an illustrator will do better. But letting go is hard. As I peruse the books on my shelf, I’m reminded that it takes many creative perspectives to create visually stunning and memorable stories. Magic multiplied. Now, I find that my illustrator angst has given way to excitement. The kind of excitement I felt, not knowing what kind of wonderfulness was wrapped under the Christmas tree. There is a childlike wonder in this anticipation.

I’m ecstatic to announce that Coretta Scott King Honor recipient, Daniel Minter will bring Doc and Jim to life through his spectacular art. Better still, Daniel and I have been communicating. He would like my input. I think I’m in heaven. Check out his work, y’all. My little book baby is in very good hands.

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Filed under Anxiety, Illustrators, Thankfulness, Updates on our Books!

Tara Lazar Says Farewell and Shares All the Things She Learned: The Good, The Bad and The Sparkly

Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

hurdlesThings I Learned During my Debut Process:

  1. Landing an agent and selling your debut book isn’t THE hurdle. It’s THE FIRST hurdle.
  2. Not being in Barnes & Noble does make a difference in your book’s success, no matter how many well-meaning people try to assure you otherwise.
  3. Being in Barnes & Noble does not guarantee your book’s success.
  4. You will read reviews of your book that will leave you scratching your head, wondering if it’s really YOUR book the reviewer read.
  5. Just because you have thousands of social media followers doesn’t mean they’ll actually buy your book.
  6. Just because you publish a book with Simon & Schuster doesn’t mean people who schedule author appearances will want you. You’re still just small potatoes. Think fingerling instead of Idaho.
  7. You’ll check your Amazon ranking more often than you care to admit and you’ll cringe every time it goes over 100,000.

OK, maybe all that is a little too depressing. But c’mon guys, this stuff is HARD. This is not an easy business. I knew this when I was trying to break in, but somehow I thought once I did break in, everything afterwards would be a breeze—a warm, tropical breeze with notes of pineapple and coconut. WRONG. There’s no pool-boy fluttering a giant leaf fan. Subsequent books have taken MONTHS to sell…and one took AN ENTIRE YEAR! And I have more in the works that are likewise taking months. And there were even more books that didn’t sell at all. Phhht. Dead in the water. And no pool-boy to fish them out!

But let’s look on the bright side. I’m an AUTHOR now! Woo!

Yes, that was a sincere “woo!” Let’s try it again: WOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo……………! (Those periods are really tiny o’s.)

Things I Loved During my Debut Process:

  1. monstoresmallcoverAll the terribly exciting moments along the journey—seeing my characters for the first time, witnessing the progress of the dummies, revealing the cover, hearing the satisfying KA-THUNK of the author copies box hit the front porch, signing my very first book for a complete stranger.
  2. Holding MY BOOK in MY HANDS.
  3. Making incredible friends—my editor and art director, my illustrator, the imprint staff, fellow debut authors, booksellers, librarians and fans.
  4. Gaining a lot of publishing business wisdom.
  5. People sending me photos of the book spotted in the wild, face-out at bookstores.
  6. Receiving my first pieces of fan mail.

But the most important one is:

  • Seeing kids interact with my book and the joy it brings them.
littlejosbooks

Kids drawing MONSTORE monsters at Little Jo’s Books in Katonah, NY

princetonbookfestivalAnd there’s things I’m going to love that haven’t even happened yet! This weekend I’ll be at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival and the weekend after, The Baltimore Book Festival. I’ve been going to the Princeton festival for years and can’t believe I will be there signing books! Me!

And Baltimore! I’ll be on a stage! On a panel! And people will want to hear what I have to say! BUT WHY?!

After all, I’m still just Tara, wife of Alan for the past 14 years (today’s my anniversary! OMG! I almost forgot!), mother of two girls who find me terribly embarrassing, and neighbor who you’ll find scootering her kids to school while wearing ninja jammies. (That explains the embarrassment.) I’m still the same person I was before the book contract. I haven’t transformed into a sophisticated, radiant being. I lose socks in the laundry, forget to RSVP to birthday parties, and schlep to the grocery store with yesterday’s makeup smeared under my eyes. There are holes in my couches, too much junk piled in my garage and questionable looks when I drop off my kids wearing ninja jammies for the third day in a row.

But how cool that I can be my same dorky self and share my dorkiness with children through my books! Hopefully I’ll gain fans who will want every one of my releases and will never know me as un-radiant. To them, I sparkle.

And so I leave you with this: it’s a wild journey, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. The dream was to sell one book, and that dream came true, so a new dream has replaced it. That dream is bigger, brighter and more daring. Will it come true? I dunno. Stay tuned.

And remember, be sparkly!

Fare-thee-well and have fun stormin’ the castle,
Tara

Princess Bride-Tara Lazar

P.S. It’s not farewell forever, just at Emu’s. You can still follow me and my jammies at taralazar.com.

P.P.S. Photoshopping by the talented illustrator Kayla Skogh. Thanks, Kayla!

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Filed under Farewell, Updates on our Books!

And now… introducing… RADIO GIRL!

confetti

Photo from ADoseOfShipBoy on Flickr

Guess what, folks — that’s right — we have another book launch to celebrate here on Emu’s Debuts. So, put on your party hats, throw some confetti into the air, and join the fun all week long as we welcome Carol Brendler’s RADIO GIRL into the world!

Carol isn’t technically a debut author. She already has a delightful picture book (WINNIE FINN, WORM FARMER), but RADIO GIRL is her first novel. Since that’s an entirely different experience, we’re thrilled she agreed to join us for her second debut journey!

WINNIE FINN, WORM FARMER by Carol Brendler

To get you in the mood for the upcoming RADIO GIRL extravaganza we’ve got planned for you this week, though, you should take the time to go back and read Carol’s post about the story behind the RADIO GIRL story, here.

Then, read this great interview to find out more about Carol, including her advice for aspiring authors.

Plus, Carol and fellow EMLA author Trent Reedy did a fun video interview here.

And, watch for Carol on DEAR TEEN ME on Wednesday!

You can also find Carol at her website, which has lots of fun facts about old-time radio and the 1930s, and on Twitter. And, you can buy your own copy of RADIO GIRL here:

  • Indiebound
  • Powell’s
  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble

    Finally, one lucky reader will win a signed copy of RADIO GIRL! Just comment on any of this week’s launch party posts (including this one). The winner will be announced next Monday. Good luck!

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    Filed under Celebrations, Happiness, Updates on our Books!

    “Norm!” (Whoops, I mean “Tara!”)

    Well, 6 weeks post book-launch and it would normally be time to wipe down the counters, flip over the barstools and tell the person knocking outside, “Sorry, we’re closed.” Tara has left the building.

    cheersclosed

    Instead of that final episode of Cheers, imagine Norm walking back in and everyone yelling “Norm!” Except, um, shouting some other name. “Tara!”

    normcheers

    Yep, I’m sticking around. Keep the stool on the corner warm for me.

    I realized some of the most interesting debut experiences have happened to me post-launch. So why depart now? This is stuff that’s rarely discussed.

    • Like a corporate dispute between your publisher and America’s sole remaining national book chain which keeps your book out of the brick-and-mortar shops.
    • Like a gut-punching review.
    • Like your own child’s school declining your offer of a free school visit.
    • Like your daughter’s name being misspelled in the dedication.
    • Like most bookstores wanting you to appear in October because your book has Halloween appeal, yet very few wanting you NOW, when early sales are crucial to momentum.

    BUT, there’s also the really cool stuff.

    • Like bookstores tweeting pictures of children drawing the monsters they’d like to buy at THE MONSTORE.
    • Like receiving fan mail from 22 kids at a summer writing camp, after using the first page of your book as their favorite writing prompt.
      monstorepage1
    • Like Skyping with classrooms across the country…in your jammies.
    • Like complete strangers showing up to your very first book signing. Even the town mayor.
    • Like being on a radio show!
    • Like people reviewing your book on blogs, Amazon and GoodReads, saying they love your book.

    Yes, these things make you feel all warm and fuzzy, like an evening at a place where everybody knows your name.

    .

    So I’ll be here for a while longer. And let’s make this blog post interactive, shall we? Ask me anything about my post-book-launch experiences and I’ll be happy to oblige.

    Cheers!

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    Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Updates on our Books!

    THE MONSTORE launch party continues with agent Ammi-Joan Paquette!

    Today we’re welcoming Ammi-Joan Paquette, the agent who sold THE MONSTORE, to do a guest post on what originally got her excited about the manuscript, and what makes it a successful debut picture book. Welcome, Joan!Ammi-Joan Paquette

    LAT: THE MONSTORE is Tara’s debut book. Was it also the first manuscript you saw from Tara?

    AJP: Yes! Tara queried me with this picture book, also mentioning that she had several other projects in the works. I read and loved THE MONSTORE, and asked Tara if any of her other works were complete and available to send me. She did! The more I read, the more I loved Tara’s effusive writing, dynamic characters, and wildly inventive imagination. I was hooked.

    LAT: What was it about THE MONSTORE that really made you sit up and take notice?

    AJP: I think THE MONSTORE is the definition of high-concept. Right from the title you know that you are in for something really special—and then the story itself delivers on every level. Tara takes an out-of-this-world premise and pairs it up with a story that is both fun and wacky, yet also very warm and relatable to kid readers. You are reading about Zack and his parade of defective monsters, but you are also reading a story about a boy who is fed up with his pesky little sister—and a kid sister who turns out to be a lot more than she seems. And all of this is wrapped in a delightful read-aloud package full of rollicking rhythm and wacky wordplay. How could I not sit up and take notice?
    monstoresmallcover
    LAT: Now that you’ve seen the final version, is it much different from the original that you first fell in love with?

    AJP: Yes and no. The story’s gone through some polishing revisions, of course, but the text is very similar to the one I originally read. What is wildly different now, of course, is that it comes with some stunning artwork! James Burks has done an amazing job bringing THE MONSTORE to life, and his characters take the story to an entirely different dimension. Being able to pick this book up off the shelf and leaf through its pages, then send my mind back to that day, three years ago, when I opened yet another email query, this one from a debut author named Tara Lazar… well, that’s really something, isn’t it?

    LAT: Quick! Use three words to describe THE MONSTORE:

    AJP: Hilarious! Inventive! Winner!

    LAT: Is there anything else you want to add?

    AJP: You should also know that Tara Lazar has several other books on the horizon—the next one of which is forthcoming from Aladdin next year: I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK is another wacky tale about an alien who falls out of his library book and into a different story altogether. And her next book, LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD, is forthcoming from Random House Books for Young Readers as well. If I were you, I’d keep a particular eye out for Tara’s books, because I think we’re going to see some increasingly amazing and memorable stories coming out over the next few years. So mark your calendars and clear space on your bookshelves—because this picture book author is here to stay!

    LAT: Thanks, Joan! I have to agree that THE MONSTORE is a winner. I’m also looking forward to your own picture book, GHOST IN THE HOUSE, along with not one, but two, new novels, PARADOX and RULES FOR GHOSTING, all of which come out in just a few weeks! Congratulations on all of your success as an agent AND as an author, and thanks again for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to celebrate THE MONSTORE launch party with us!

    Ghost in the House cover Paradox cover Rules for Ghosting cover

    Don’t forget: this is your last chance to leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of THE MONSTORE!And you can find your own copy of THE MONSTORE (or buy one to give as a gift!) at places like Indiebound, Amazon, and BN.com, or at your local bookstore.

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    Filed under Agents, Celebrations, Interviews, Updates on our Books!

    THE MONSTORE!!!

    We are SO EXCITED to welcome THE MONSTORE by Tara Lazar, illustrated by James Burks, into the world!

    The Monstore - Tara Lazar

    Monsters are the best!

    It’s Monstore Week here at EMUs debuts! Can you hear the roaring where you are?

    emuroar

    It’s true — our usual MEEPs have been replaced with all sorts of monster-y noises in celebration of Tara’s debut.

    About THE MONSTORE:

    The Monstore is a one-stop shop for all your monsterly needs in this enormously funny story that’s full of friendly, kooky creatures.

    At the back of Frankensweet’s Candy Shoppe, under the last box of sour gumballs, there’s a trapdoor.

    Knock five times fast, hand over a bag of squirmy worms, and you can crawl inside The Monstore.

    The Monstore is the place to go for all of your monsterly needs. Which is perfect, since Zack definitely has a monsterly need. The problem? His pesky little sister, Gracie, who never pays attention to that “Keep Out” sign on Zack’s door—the one he has made especially for her.

    But when Zack’s monsters don’t exactly work as planned, he soon finds out that the Monstore has a few rules: No Refunds. No exchanges. No exceptions.

    We’re going to be celebrating here at EMUs debuts all week, so come back often! And leave a comment between now and Thursday for a chance to win a signed copy of THE MONSTORE — that’s a MONSTER BIG win!

    You can find THE MONSTORE online at places like Indiebound, Amazon, and BN.com, or at your local bookstore.

    MEEP ROAR!

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    Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations, Happiness, Promotion, Updates on our Books!

    When a Debut Isn’t a Debut

    FireworksWhen I started writing for children, I was surprised when the first magazine article I sold ended up not being the first article published. I still haven’t quite figured out how to handle it. Which one do I call my first? Getting someone to pay you for your writing is a huge threshold, a grand new beginning where the road unfurls before you. But seeing your name–and your words–in print for the first time is every bit as much of a thrill! Splitting the two experiences somehow seems to take something away from both of them, diminishing them somehow. After all, we expect all of our big first in life to come with earth-shaking fireworks, not a lingering sense of “So was this it? Or was it that other time?”

    The first (now second) book sold in June 2012, with a scheduled release date of spring 2015. It was a finished picture-book manuscript, but I’m not an illustrator, so having great art is well worth the wait!Well, it looks like I’m going to be in the same predicament with my books: the second one to sell will be released before the first!

    Then, the second (now first) book sold earlier this month, with a scheduled release date of fall 2014. It’s a young-adult nonfiction, which sold on proposal… and isn’t even written yet (eek)! I had considered putting this one away for a while (or for good), since I’d sold the picture book. I figured I should probably be focusing on those. Like Carol mentioned last week, I had my “brand” to consider, right? Well, I guess the universe spoke, because suddenly the perfect publisher wanted to take this proposal in its perfect direction, and I was overjoyed to be accepting this offer, even with the tight deadlines.

    So, which one is my debut book? In some ways, neither of them is. In other ways, they both are. Please forgive me if I get confused!

    In any case, both are milestones to be celebrated, and I like to be a glass-is-half-full kind of person, so I’m going to go with the theory that it’s just double the fun. How many of us get to say our first time is as exciting as the second, and vice versa?

    I think this is really the only attitude you can have if you hope to survive in the traditional publishing world. You can (and should) plan your career, of course. But accept and expect that you will most likely never keep it on course. It won’t work out the way you planned, in the order you conceived, or (almost certainly) at the pace you envisioned. Be ready to roll with the punches and get back up your feet, seize the next opportunity that presents itself, and keep pushing forward in the general direction you wish to go, even though there are bound to be a multitude of detours–and fireworks–along the way.

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    Filed under Celebrations, Happiness, Thankfulness, Updates on our Books!, Writing and Life