Critique Winners, Book News, and a VERY SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

I don’t have a regularly scheduled blog post until the weekend of the 19th, but I missed you!

Plus, I have several critique giveaways thanks to several generous authors. And I also wanted to share some great book prices as well as some photos from the Tough Mudder competition last month AND news of a special giveaway that I am doing for my upcoming Ella Fitzgerald/Marilyn Monroe book.

The lovely Lydia Lukidis, author of NO BEARS ALLOWED, is giving away a PB manuscript critique.

no bears allowed cover

And the winner is: MARY NOON

The delightful Pj McIlvaine, author of LITTLE LENA AND THE BIG TABLE, is giving away two PB manuscript critiques.

51W6JFHWgVL

And the winners are: DIANE TULLOCH and CORINE TIMMER

The wonderful Gayle Krause, author of ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE, is giving away either a copy of her awesome book OR a pb manuscript critique.

book cover

And the winner is: DAVID MCMULLIN

Congratulations to all of the winners…and a huge thank you to the generous authors!

Please remember that the best gift we can give our favorite authors is to: buy their books, review their books, tell our friends about their books, and ask our local library to purchase copies for their collection.

Many of you may enjoy purchasing your picture books at local indie stores…I know I do. But sometimes, Amazon has a really great deal and it makes it hard to resist. Or sometimes, my local store doesn’t have a book in stock and I really want it quickly…that happened this weekend when I wanted to grab a copy of Anna Redding’s ELON MUSK: A MISSION TO SAVE THE WORLD because I wanted to read it with my grandson who was staying over for a couple of nights. And sure enough, it arrived Saturday morning…and we have already started reading it. The introduction talks about how actor Robert Downey, Jr. was going to be portraying Iron Man and wanted to get into the character of a real live billionaire entrepreneur so he met with Elon Musk. And my grandson, a fan of the Marvel Comic movie adventures, was able to rattle off the words from the movie that describe Tony Stark, the alter-ego of Iron Man – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist – before I even read them!

While noodling around Amazon, I also noticed that PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE is only $8.02…oh my gosh. And SWEET DREAMS, SARAH is only $12.77. Plus FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK is reduced to $14.74. Honestly, I know it doesn’t seem possible, but even though we are in the dog days of summer here in New England – today was in the 90’s – it will be gift-giving time before you know it.

I’m also so excited about starting the new year with another picture book, MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, January 14, 2020) illustrated by Alleanna Harris. I did a cover reveal the other day – but here’s an inside spread, just to whet your appetite to see more!

inside spread 1

I’m going to be asking the incredibly talented Alleanna Harris if she’d like to stop by to chat here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar.  If you have any questions you’d specifically like to ask her, please put them in the comments and I will include them in the interview. PLUS, one lucky person will win a copy of this brand new book…as soon as I get my author copies, which might not be until close to the end of the year.

Last weekend, I accompanied my son and son-in-law and grandson to cheer them on for their Tough Mudder competition which took place in Chelton, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful day…until it wasn’t. What a torrential downpour! They had to stop the event for about an hour to wait out the thunder and lightning storm. But we all had a great time.

The rest of my summer will be kind of quiet, I think. Except for a trip to Colorado in late August, that is. I’m hoping to connect with some of you who live in and around the Denver area. And I’m also working on an R&R for an editor…fingers crossed that I revise in a way that makes her unable to resist.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Traveling? Or perhaps you are working and trying to squeeze in time to read or write.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the giveaway of a copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE. And if you have a question for illustrator Alleanna, please include that in your comment.

I hope you all have a beautiful week ahead of you!

56 thoughts on “Critique Winners, Book News, and a VERY SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

    • The rest of you summer sounds very nice. My summer is ending with a trip almost as epic as your recent round the world adventure. I’m in week 7 of a 10 week adventure from South Africa to Germany with everything in between. I’ll get to meet a long time internet kidlit pal in Germany before returning to the States. I’m very excited about that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my gosh…David…that is awesome!!! I am so thrilled for you. Are you with family or on your own? And have you been posting about it?
        As I mentioned, I’m just reading the Elon Musk book…he was born in South Africa…and I’m wondering if I will get an inside peek at life there as I get into the book.
        All good wishes for a fabulous last few weeks, David!

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        • I’ve actually been very quiet about this trip. My husband has been posting all the pictures. South Africa is a wonderful country. I was only in Capetown and Kruger National Park (safari!!!!) but it has such a complicated history.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. What a great update! Congratulations to the winners, and I think we are all winners in getting to know more about these books and authors. Can a Mudder get too muddy? I’m Happy for all of your good times, including the release of your latest book. It looks as gorgeous as the two women you’ve written about. I’m working, but we have a couple of jaunts to Minnesota coming up. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jane…I love finding out about new books also! And I think some of those Mudders must love the mud. 🙂
      Minnesota sounds like fun…my agent lives there – I’ve been to Minnesota (when we went cross-country many years ago)…but I think I wouldn’t want to be there in the winter unless I could stay indoors and didn’t have to go anywhere. But I don’t remember how the summers are.

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  2. Thanks for the update, Vivian. The rest of my summer is kind of quiet except for a trip to Nashville in August. Looking forward to a weekend babysitting my grandson in a few weeks.
    Can’t wait for your new book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Susanna…many people didn’t know that…or that Marilyn was such a strong advocate for Civil Rights…or that Ella, like many music greats of the 50’s and earlier, had to deal with so much discrimination. The research was fascinating!

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  3. I can’t wait to read your new book which shares a publication date with my daughter’s birthday. I never knew these two ladies were friends and must know more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s exciting, Danielle…I’ll try to remember to wish your daughter a happy birthday when January 14th rolls around! And I had a lot of fun uncovering this gem of a story…and there is more about them both in the back matter.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Amy! And hello from New Hampshire. Were you at the NESCBWI this past May? Maybe we will meet at a conference or book event one day, if we haven’t already. I hope so! Last year, the Tough Mudder was in New Hampshire, near Lake Winnipesaukee…and the year before it was in Vermont…of course, they have many Mudder events all over the country, but we’ve stuck to the more local ones…although my son lives in Chicago, so he flies in for it.

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  4. Q: So given it’s a NF PB, and by nature requires research to ensure accuracy, what was the hardest part of researching for these images? The part that was the hardest to find or verify?

    What about Vivian’s manuscript appealed to you and made you want to illustrate this book?

    Have a great time in Colorado. And thanks for the info on Robert Downey, Jr being in the Elon Musk book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are awesome questions, Maria! I will add them to the list.
      And thanks for the good wishes…I think we will have such a good time…it will be me and Peter and Caroline and Adam…and we will fly fish and even get to go to Cripple Creek, which is not too far from the rivers where Stuart and I fished.

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  5. Congrats to all the lucky book winners! I’d love to have a copy of your new book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Making Their Voices Heard. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful! Thanks for the opportunity, Vivian. I went to Croatia for the first time this summer (It’s beautiful) and next week I’ll be attending my niece’s graduation in London. Apart from that I am working on my second haiku anthology in celebration of the Year of the Pig. The submission period has now ended so it’s time to puzzle and create. I am also working on a couple of picture book manuscripts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hugs to you, Patricia…moving is a huge hassle…I’m staying put here even though I’ve got more room than I need…but I’m still unpacking boxes from the move 6 years ago. 😦
      I’m so grateful for your loyal support of my blog posts, Patricia…even with all your catching up, you always stop by to read and comment. 🙂

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  7. Thanks for the fun post Vivian and congratulations on your newest book. It does sound fascinating with such a new take on iconic figures! We’ll be in RI at the beaches and southern NH in August when we bring our daughter back to college. It goes too fast!

    Liked by 1 person

    • RI beaches sound delightful, Mary! I’m actually in southern NH…I wonder if you will pass anywhere near me? It would be fun to connect in person…I’ll be in Colorado from 8/19 to 8/23…otherwise, I should be home.

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      • Thanks for the great suggestion, unfortunately we will be at St. A’s on the 21st. It will be a one day, fast drop off and back to Rochester. Maybe next time!! I hope your time in Colorado is fun and productive!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations, winners! Hope you have a fun summer, Vivian. I’m excited to visit Victoria BC with my cousin on a girls trip. The following week I have a writing residency and I am really looking forward to that week!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Angie…Victoria BC…that is so cool. My hubby and I drove cross country in 1968 – from NYC all the way to Victoria BC…and then down the west coast…all the way to Ensenada Mexico.
    And the writing residency sounds devine…happy writing, my friend!

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  10. Wow! Thank you so much. I’ve just got in the door from our trip to Australia and am pooped! What with a really fun 60th wedding anniversary that went on into the wee hours and the drive back down the coast, then catching our flight home to find our car battery is flat. It’s too late and, hubby and I are too tried to care and so going to bed. But I couldn’t resist checking your blog dear friend and so delighted that I did.
    Your new book coming out next year looks amazing. I hope I’m not too late to ask – how much research and or materials did Alleanna do or used, to perfect details, such as facial features, in the illustrations.
    Oh for some warm summer weather!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, Vivian! Congrats on all the critique winners – how nice of you to sponsor that. Your new PB sounds amazing! Love history told in PBs!
    I live in MN and love the seasons! As my husband is fond of saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather–just bad clothing choices!”
    By the way, what is a Tough Mudder Competition. I guess I lead a sheltered life.
    Enjoy your grandma time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Mary! I’m so glad my new PB sounds like something you’d like to read. I love history told in PBs also and I love bringing gems of history alive for young readers.
      You are right about clothing choices…it gets pretty cold here in NH and I often go out to shovel snow (yes…I really do like to do it), and as long as I have my snow suit on and hat and scarf and gloves, I am totally fine.
      The Tough Mudder is a 10 mile ‘race’ with 20 obstacles…like walls to climb and ice water to swing over and mud to slough through…it’s all about teamwork because you are supposed to help others…if you are on Facebook, you can scroll down on my page to where I posted some pictures and video clips of that day…my son and son-in-law and grandson were wearing orange T shirts (and my daughter and I had matching T shirts also, but we were the cheering committee). It’s a bit of a crazy competition, but it isn’t about finishing first…it’s about challenging yourself and helping others. I know my son competed in one in Wisconsin a few years ago….so they have them all over the country.

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  12. Congratulations to all of the critique winners! And congratulations on the upcoming Ella & Marilyn biography, Vivian – I love how you honed in on this unique story of these fascinating women. Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew I had to write the story as soon as I saw the photo on the internet one day back in 2014. And it took a lot of revising…and almost acquireds…but the manuscript found the perfect home with Little Bee Books…and Alleanna Harris is the perfect illustrator. I am so lucky and feel blessed to be able to showcase these icons in a somewhat different role…as friends who helped each other shine.

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  13. Vivian,
    Thank you for running this blog and giving PB writers and illustrators so many chances to interact and learn! I am ecstatic to have been selected as the winner of a PB critique by Lydia Lukidis!

    Here are my questions for Alleanna:
    What are the characteristics of a PB manuscript that make you excited to illustrate it?
    Do you prefer for a PB manuscript to come with illustator notes or not?
    What are the characteristics of a good illustrator note?
    What are your favorite Photoshop brushes?

    Thank you!
    Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Mary…I’m so happy you are enjoying the blog…it’s a joy for me to write it and to connect with all of you! Congratulations on winning the critique with Lydia…I am such a fan of critique.
      And thank you a million for your insightful questions. It’s going to be a wonderful post with Alleanna.

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    • YAY for 12×12! It was the first writer group I joined and I can’t thank Julie enough for providing all of us with such a vibrant platform. I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by and hope you come back to visit often, Katherine.

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  14. My dear Vivian, your exuberance is wonderful to see. 🙂 Congratulations on another new book! I’m looking forward to reading it and have pre-ordered two copies – one for myself and one for my local library, as I did with your other books. My own writing is still at a standstill because I’m enjoying oil painting so much; it’s a year this week! Have a fabulous summer my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, dear Lynn! I’m grateful for your support…and I’m so happy about your painting! One year? Wow! It doesn’t seem that long…but how wonderful that it is giving you such pleasure. Hope your summer is equally fabulous!

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  15. I love this site! Glad to hear your books are selling well. Granddaughter Delenne will be here for 3 weeks starting tomorrow and we’ll be reading your 4 otters toboggan story. Another older granddaughter loves otters also and I’m thinking of getting the paperback “The Otters Tale” by Simon Cooper. I’ve read them as many books as I know of, yours included about Otters.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a great post and congratulations to all of the winners. Such generosity in the kidlit community. Yaaay and congratulations on your 2020 release Lady Vivian. You’re such a hardworker and the fruits of your labor is truly paying off. Proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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