Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD through November 19th

FLASHFALL through November 26th

JENNY LUNDQUIST GUEST POST AND CRITIQUE AND THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season. And congrats to all of you who participated in NaNo.

Today I'm thrilled to have Jenny Lundquist back on the blog. She was first here as a debut author in 2012 when her first MG SEEING CINDERELLA was released. I loved that book and the voice of her main character. It has been fun watching Jenny's career as a writer grow. I think we all that it doesn't happen for everyone, even with a book publishing contract with a big publisher. So I'm thrilled to have her here today to share about how she has grown her career and the release of her fifth book THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Izzy Malone isn’t your typical middle schooler. She wears camouflage combat boots, the stars are her only friends, and after a month she’s set a new record for the most trips to her principal’s office.

But Izzy’s life isn’t so charming these days. The kids at school think she’s a mouthy misfit, her musical prodigy sister gets all the attention at home, and no one takes Izzy’s determination to compete in her small town’s Great Pumpkin Race seriously.

When Izzy’s antics land her in hot water, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whippie’s Earn Your Charm School. At first Izzy thinks it sounds stupid—her manners are just fine, thanks—but Mrs. Whippie’s first assignment proves intriguing. Tucked inside a letter is a shiny charm bracelet and instructions telling her she will “Earn Her Charm” by performing a series of tasks. For each task Izzy completes, she’ll receive a charm to place on her bracelet. “Complete them all,” the letter says, “and you will have earned a prize unlike any other.”


Soon Izzy’s adding charms to her bracelet. But when a task goes seriously awry and threatens to derail her mother’s budding political career, Izzy has her hands full proving she’s not an emerging juvenile delinquent. Add in some middle school mean girls, a giant pumpkin that could be the answer to all her problems, and discovering she might have a crush on the boy she accidentally punched in the face, and Izzy may just pull it all together and Earn Her Charm. And she’s about to find out the best kind of friends are just like stars: Bright and beautiful, appearing just when you need them, to shine a little bit of light on a dark night.


Doesn't this sound fantastic? Now here's Jenny!

 


Building A Writing Career

I think one of the biggest fears after landing your first book contract and surviving your first round of
professional edits is to wonder: Is this all a fluke? Meaning: Will I ever publish again? That’s certainly what I wondered after I handed in my last round of edits for my first book, Seeing Cinderella. I didn’t want to be a fluke. I wanted to build a career. And after spending several years doing just that, here are a few things I’ve learned:

1. Publishing Doesn’t Get Easier After You’ve Sold Your First Book. I know, I know…I’m bursting a lot of dream bubbles with this one, but it’s true. If anything, the reverse can be true. As a debut author you’re a shiny unknown. Who knows? You could be the next Stephenie Meyer or JK Rowling! But after one book, editors might think they know what “box” you belong in and that can be frustrating. Your book didn’t sell well? That could mean editors are less likely to take a second chance on you. Your book did amazing? That’s awesome—but now editors might have pretty high expectations for your second book, and while that’s a nice problem to have, the pressure can be intense.

2. Content Matters. Even if you’ve published one book, that doesn’t mean your editor is going to accept your second book idea without scrutinizing it thoroughly. Editors are looking for specific types of titles. After I finished revising Seeing Cinderella, I dove into writing a companion novel and promptly delivered to my editor the synopsis and sample chapters required by the “option” clause in my contract. I loved that book so much I kept feverishly working on it the whole six weeks it took my publisher’s editorial board to come back with an answer. And that answer was a big fat NO. I remember taking a walk in the rain that afternoon and wondering if that was it for me; if my publishing career was over before it even really started. I allowed myself a good cry…but then the next morning I got to work and eventually sent my editor another book idea. It was rejected. So I got to work again, and sent them a third book idea. It was rejected. The fourth idea ended up becoming Plastic Polly, my second published novel. The key to getting a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) contract from your editor is figuring out what your imprint wants to publish as well as asking yourself what you want to write at the moment. Where those two circles intersect is the book you work on. (And if there is no intersection, it could be a good time to ask yourself if you’re willing to take a chance on getting picked up with a new publisher.)

3. Grow a Thick Skin. Not everyone is going to like your book. It’s not if you get a bad review, but when. And if you can’t learn how to graciously accept tough criticism—whether it’s from a reviewer, blogger, agent, or editor—the hard truth is that you’re not going to last long in this business.

4. Stay Healthy. This will look a little different for each of us, but it’s so important. I’ve found that while writing is a wonderful, inspiring art; publishing is a business—sometimes heartbreakingly so. If I hadn’t learned how to stay healthy (mentally, emotionally and physically) I doubt I’d still be writing for publication. For me, this has meant limiting my time on social media (too much time on Twitter can reduce me to a sniveling pile of anxiety). Spending time with my writer friends is helpful—making friends within the kidlit community is a must, imho. Getting outdoors and getting exercise is important to me as well—too much time alone at my computer and I start feeling depressed. If I’m not in a good place, I can’t write well, so I do whatever it is I need to do to stay healthy. Even if that means I sometimes feel like I “miss out” by not being as active on social media as other authors.

5. There Are A Million Things Outside Your Control. The faster you accept that, the earlier you can keep yourself from sinking into a deep pit of what I like to call Writer’s Despair. You get a bad review from a respected publication. Your book doesn’t receive very much (or any) marketing support from your publisher. Your book doesn’t sell well. You and your agent part ways. You and your editor part ways. These are all common things that can happen in this business; and you have very little control over any of them. Remember Plastic Polly, that book that took me four tries to finally receive a contract for? The month that it released, Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster got into a huge hissy fit over e-book sales. Because of this, Barnes & Noble decided not to stock a lot of Simon & Schuster’s titles. The result for me was that Plastic Polly landed on far fewer B&N shelves than I’d hoped, and once those sold, B&N refused to restock them. It was so far from the book launch I’d hoped for, and it definitely affected my sales. But it was out of my control, so I did the best I could to market the book in other ways…and then I just had to move on, and keep writing the next book.

Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to, I think. Keep writing the next book. No matter how many things haven’t gone quite the way you would have liked, keep writing the next book. If you really want to build a career as an author, always, always, keep writing the next book.

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone is my fifth published novel, and I know I’m lucky. The process of landing an agent and editor is a strange alchemy of both talent and luck and I never ever, ever, take the blessings and opportunities that have come my way for granted. With that in mind, and given that the holidays are the season of gratitude, I’d like to pay the favor I’ve received forward!

Lit Rambles was probably the single most helpful source for me as I was pursuing publication so many years ago. So for one lucky Lit Rambles reader, I’d like to offer a free 10-page critique! There is no expiration date on this offer, so if you/your manuscript is chosen, you can send it to me at any time and I will do my best to get it back to you in a timely manner. Good luck! (Note: due to my holiday and work schedule, I won’t be able to read your submission before early January.)

Thanks so much for having me, Natalie!

You can find Jenny at:


Jenny has generously offered a 10-page critique and THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through December 12th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want a critique, please let me know in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The book giveaway is for U.S. and Canada and the critique giveaway is International.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

On Tuesday, December 20th, I'll be participating in the Midwinter Eve's Hop. For the rest of the month, I am on holiday break from posting, but will be visiting blogs some of the time.

I'll resume my regular schedule in January with lots of great interviews and posts.

On Wednesday, January 4th, I have a guest post by Shutta Crum and a giveaway of her MG fantasy WILLIAM AND THE WITCH'S RIDDLE FALL.
The following Monday I have an agent spotlight interview with Mark Gottlieb and a query critique giveaway.

The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Jennifer Torres and a giveaway of her MG multicultural STEF SOTO, TACO QUEEN.

For those of you I don't see this month, have a Happy Holiday Season and Happy New Year! I hope to see you all back here with the start of the New Year. Be sure to stop by at the Midwinter Eve's Hop if you get a chance.


GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY HOP


Happy Tuesday Everyone! I’m thrilled to be part of the Gratitude Giveaway Hop sponsored by Book Hounds. This is my chance to say thank you to all my wonderful followers. And there are so many great books being released right now.

Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead. I hope you'll all enter to win a book or gift card for yourself or as a gift for someone.

So here are your choices. You can find descriptions of these books on Goodreads.

 


 


 


  





If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


To enter, all you need to do is be a follower anyway you want and leave a comment through November 30th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here's what's coming up:

I'm starting my holiday slowdown because everything slows down so much with NaNo and the holidays. I'll be visiting you but not posting as much. And I'll be going to Florida to visit my mom for a long weekend.

On Monday, December 5th I'll be back with a guest post by MG Jenny Lundquist and a giveaway of her new MG THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE and a 10 page manuscript critique. Jenny is a fantastic middle grade author who nails her characters' voices, so this is a great opportunity for someone. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you on Monday, December 5th!

Here are all the other blogs participating in this fantastic blog hop:


JENNY MOYER INTERVIEW AND FLASHFALL GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Jenny Moyer here to share about her new YA science fiction/fantasy FLASHFALL. It’s gotten great reviews and sounds like a fantastic creation of a story combining science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.
 

Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for joining us!

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’m a mom to three awesome boys, and live in Des Moines, Iowa with my husband who is a cinematographer. (He and I went to prom together and got married while we were at college in Seattle!) I grew up with a love of story (I never went anywhere without a book in hand,) and began querying literary agents when I was in college.

FLASHFALL is my debut, and anyone who picks it up will be holding in their hands my dream-come-true! It took me about eighteen years to get an agent and first book deal. (With lots of stops and starts in between.) Over the course of that time I wrote and queried seven picture books and three novels. I nearly gave up many times, but I persevered against very tough odds.

By the time I wrote FLASHFALL, I had learned to view rejection as part of the publishing process, and an opportunity to grow. I kept going to writing conferences, and doing what I could to improve as a writer. FLASHFALL took me three months to write and two months to revise. I knew it was my best work. I got agent offers on it very quickly—from absolute dream agents. That was when I knew for sure I’d made something special. I spent several months revising it with my agent before she sent it on submission and sold it in record time!

2. I love your story of perseverance. It's so inspiring! Where did you get the idea for FLASHFALL?

The idea for FLASHFALL began with my main character, Orion. I wanted to write about a girl who
got knocked down again and again, but kept getting back up—kept dreaming there was a better life beyond her circumstances. I had just gotten several rejections from agents on my second novel, and felt overwhelmed with discouragement. My publishing dream seemed beyond reach. I began writing FLASHFALL from that place.

I crafted the setting of tunnels and caverns from my own fears (I’m extremely claustrophobic), and the cordons were inspired by my experiences growing up in the Arizona desert.

3. I love that this is a combination of a number of my favorite genres: science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian. What made you decide to use a combination of these genres in creating your world? Did this create any challenges for you?

I love to escape to new worlds when I read. The same goes for my writing. There is just something so thrilling about creating whole worlds—and creatures, and governments, and bending rules of science. I love that there are no limitations to what my characters can do, and that I can surprise readers with settings they haven’t encountered before.

One of the books that has influenced me most is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I loved how she combined historical fiction with fantasy, romance, and time travel. I didn’t set out to write the genre-mashup that occurs with FLASHFALL, it just sort of evolved. In fact, when I first wrote the Conjurors, (who can manipulate organic matter), it didn’t occur to me to think “oh, this is fantasy—this is a sort of magic.” It wasn’t until I was getting ready to query my manuscript that I started to question whether or not it was okay that I did that. It turned out to be one of the things that drew agents to my book. They felt that those elements made FLASHFALL stand out from other dystopians.

4. I loved Outlander too! World building is so important in these genres, and your world sounds so cool. What was your world building process like and what advice do you have for other writers?

I wrote parts of FLASHFALL with a pickaxe in my hand, so I’d be reminded how the weight of my character’s gear would limit her mobility and her dialogue. I learned to climb and cave so I’d be able to layer true experiences over made-up ones. My goal was to infuse the world of FLASHFALL with as many details as possible so it would feel real to readers. From the customs and creeds of the Subpars, to the patches they wear on their sleeves. All of these details went into the writing of FLASHFALL in order to make the setting as immersive as possible.

I’m very visual, and part of my world-building process involves creating huge boards filled with images that inspire me as I’m writing and revising. To see what these look like, (and get a sneak peek at some of the things going on in Book Two), you can check out my Pinterest boards:

Working to help create the book trailer pushed me to develop the world even further. My husband and I designed the Seal of Alara (that is worn as a patch on the cavers’ sleeves,) and the designers at Macmillan ended up incorporating it into the jacket design. It’s actually imprinted on the cover of the book!

My advice to writers is to consider the details of your world. What makes it unique and sets it apart from other settings? A great tip is to layer your scenes with plenty of sensory details—what does the air feel like? What does your character taste? Hear? Think beyond what they see. Sensory details help readers feel like they are immersed in a scene instead of just reading it.

5. You are certainly dedicated. Share a bit about Orion, your main character. Did she come easily to you or was her character development challenging?

Orion is a 16-year-old girl who is fighting to get herself and the people she loves out of a dangerous mining outpost, and into a city that is shielded from the deadly particles of the flashfall. She and her people are Subpars, able to endure exposure to the particles better than others, and so it falls to them to mine the dangerous tunnels near the flash curtain, in order to find the precious ore used to protect humanity. If they mine 400 grams of cirium ore, they can earn a place in the protected city. But just as Orion and her caving partner, Dram, are about to reach this goal, they discover the Subars have been betrayed, and that the only way to true freedom and safety is a path they’ll have to forge themselves.

As the best miner at Outpost Five, Orion has earned the designation “Lead Ore Scout.” She feels a deep sense of responsibility toward her fellow cavers, and while she’s brave and loyal, she can also be impulsive and reckless—and this leads to dire consequences in FLASHFALL.

Her character came to me easily when I was drafting, before I had any real idea where exactly the story was headed. I loved further developing and layering her character, and I’m so thrilled I get to write the sequel from her POV.

6. Your agent is Sarah Davies. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I queried seven picture books and three novels before finally getting offers of representation from literary agents. I have over three hundred rejection letters! The worst rejections were the ones when I got really close (when an agent would request to see my full manuscript,) and I’d think “this is it!” Those rejections stung the most. It was after one of those experiences that I told my husband I was done writing. I wasn’t good enough. It was too hard. However, he wouldn’t let me give up. He knew that I loved writing too much, and that the publishing dream was such a part of me. He worked extra jobs so that I could take time to write. It was in the midst of that that I wrote Flashfall.

His belief in my talent was strong even when my doubts clouded my vision and the challenges seemed insurmountable. My family also cheered me on, and I knew it was quit—or keep learning, growing, improving and trying . . . Rejection is a natural—inevitable—aspect of the publishing process. Art is subjective, and not everyone is going to love your voice and your story. You have to embrace that, and use the rejections as learning experiences. When I began to view it like that, it took some of the sting out of it. I started to celebrate the fact that I was trying, that I was brave, and going after it. I went through a phase where I bought new shoes when I received rejections on full requests. Now I wear those shoes to book signings.

For me, it came down to my love of writing being stronger than the pain of discouragement. I kept learning, kept hoping, and kept creating.

Sarah is an incredible agent. I can vividly picture the moment I read her email expressing her interest in FLASHFALL, and telling me how much she loved my writing. I just sat there, stunned, then shakily wrote a response with my heart pounding out of my chest. Hers was the third offer of representation. When we had “the call”, one of the first things she told me was that she used to be a caver! For that, and many other reasons, she was the agent I went with. I’m so happy I did. She’s a very editorial agent, and she pushed me in so many ways as a writer. FLASHFALL would not be the book it is without her.

7. I love how you didn't give up. What have you learned about marketing from other debut authors whose books were released before yours? How has this affected your promotion of your book?

That it’s not about COMPETITION or COMPARISON—it’s about CONNECTION. This is my mantra when it comes to marketing. If I get on Twitter or Facebook or IG, it needs to be about connecting with friends, fellow writers, and readers. Connecting. Not about convincing them I’m awesome and that my book is worthy of attention.

It’s SO easy to hop on social media and lose all perspective. I have had to learn how to guard against this because focusing too hard on how someone else’s book is being promoted, or reviewed, or supported is the fastest way for me to lose my creative mojo. And at the end of the day, we are WRITERS. That is truly what matters. I learned some lessons the hard way with this, but honestly, they don’t give debut authors guidebooks. For most of us, we’re given this expectation to self-promote and market our books, and it can be really tough to juggle with writing deadlines and life.

I have a fellow debut author friend who always says, “keep your eyes on your own page.” Best advice ever!

8. I love the idea of focusing on connections when marketing. Share something that has really surprised you about your road from writer to having your first book release.

How extensive the revision process was! I sort of laugh when I think back on my naiive, “past Jenny,” and my delusions that my manuscript wouldn’t need “a lot” of edits when it sold to Macmillan. (hahahaha!) I got to have phone calls with the editors who made offers, and asked them what kinds of things they thought they’d want to revise with it. I didn’t understand then how arduous and lengthy that part of the process could be.

I was also surprised by how slowly the wheels of publishing turn. I waited months for my first editorial letter, and that is normal. There are just so many steps to the process, and they all take time. FLASHFALL will have taken over two years from its sale to its release.

9. Oh, I'm sure my manuscript would be all written up. What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m hard at work on the sequel to FLASHFALL. The design team is putting together cover ideas, and my editor and I have just settled on a title. We are working through revisions, and I’m swept up in the new adventures unfolding for Orion and Dram. Some very exciting things happen in Book Two!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jenny. You can find Jenny at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JennyMoyer
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennymmoyer/
Watch the book trailer: https://youtu.be/OSdmoqRnjfw

Jenny has generously offered a copy of FLASHFALL, a t-shirt, and exclusive swag for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through November 26th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is for U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Tomorrow I'll be participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop. 

Then I'm starting my holiday slowdown because everything slows down so much with NaNo and the holidays. I'll be visiting you but not posting as much.
On Monday, December 5th I'll be back with a guest post by MG Jenny Lundquist and a giveaway of her new MG THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE and a 10 page manuscript critique. Jenny is a fantastic middle grade author who nails her characters' voices, so this is a great opportunity for someone. 

Hope to see you tomorrow!

MONIKA SCHROEDER GUEST POST AND BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Before I get to our post today, I wanted to invite any of you who live near the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area to come see a community theater group play that I've been helping with. It's Noises Off, a British farce. I'm dating the director and have been helping with props, general getting the set up, will be doing front of the house, etc. It's been a lot of fun, and a learning experience because I know so little about that artistic avenue.

It's November 10-19th at the Riverside Art Center in Ypsilanti. Here's a link for details:
http://www.ptdproductions.com/ Be sure to stop by and say hi if you come. I'll be working front of the house every day.

Now onto today's post. I'm thrilled to have author Monika Schroeder here to share about her MG contemporary BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD. It really sounds like something I know many of you will like.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she's ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don't deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigans Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

Now here's Monika!
  
            Thank you for inviting me to "Literary Rambles" and for giving me the opportunity to share a bit about the process of writing Be Light Like a Bird.
            Be Light Like a Bird is the emotional, realistic fiction story of 12-year old Wren who is heart-broken after loosing her father in an airplane crash. Wren's father always told her to be "light like a bird, not like a feather" - - to control her own destiny, to make her own choices. But Wren is adrift after her father dies and her mother acts distant and angry. Over the course of the story Wren needs to heal and grow, and when she finally learns the reason for her mother's behaviour, they both have to learn to forgive.
            In early drafts of the book the focus was on Wren's trouble being the new girl in school and her fight to save the bird sanctuary. Over many revisions I felt that I hadn't reached the core of who she was and what was hurting her. But I didn't know how to fix it and left the manuscript in the drawer for a long time. In fact, this was actually the second book I wrote, but it became the fourth book I published. Leaving it in the drawer helped. One day on my morning walk I suddenly knew who Wren was: her father had died and her mother had dragged her to northern Michigan. From there I rebuilt the emotional arc of the novel, focusing on the grieving and her relationship to her mother.
            It still took me a lot longer to finish Be Light Like a Bird than my previous novels. In
hindsight, I realize that one reason for a slower writing process may have been that for the first time I braided together several subplots in a book: Wren's relationship with her best friend Theo, her desire to fit in with the popular girls at school, her grief, the relationship with her mother and, finally, the school project she and Theo work on together which leads into their campaign to save a bird habitat. I am not a fast writer, and, after I had taken the original manuscript out of the drawer, more than two years went by before I had put all the scenes in the right place so that Wren's emotional arc as well as the different plot components were aligned. Only when that structure were in place, I could begin to polish and edit the text.
            Since it took so long to finish the book I experienced many moments of frustration. Like many writers in those moments I thought I could never shape this manuscript into a decent book. My poor husband had to listen to me whine frequently and repeat the question, "Will I ever finish this book?" I appreciate his patience and constant encouragement. He reminded me that time actually doesn't matter while writing a book. What matters is to get it right -- and not to loose faith.
Monika Schröder writes novels for middle grade readers. Among her books are Saraswati's Way, a story of an Indian street child and The Dog in the Wood, set in eastern Germany at the end of WWII. She grew up in Germany but has lived and worked in American international schools in Egypt, Oman, and Chile. Before moving to the US she was the elementary school librarian at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India. She now lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her husband and her dog. Visit her at: www.monikaschroeder.com

Monika generously offered a signed copy of BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through November 19th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is for U.S. & Canada.


Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Jenny Moyer and a giveaway of her YA science fiction FLASHFALL.

Tuesday that week I'll be participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop.

Then I'm starting my holiday slowdown because everything slows down so much with NaNo and the holidays. I'll be visiting you but not posting as much.

On Monday, December 5th I'll be back with a guest post by MG Jenny Lundquist and a giveaway of her new MG THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE and a 10 page manuscript critique. Jenny is a fantastic middle grade author who nails her characters' voices, so this is a great opportunity for someone. 

Hope to see you on Monday!