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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Cover Reveal: Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

OH MY GOSH! A couple of days ago, I found out that my Ella Fitzgerald/Marilyn Monroe book had a definite launch date: January 14, 2020. So, I started thinking about who I should ask to do a cover reveal…I thought perhaps I should ask the editor if the cover image I had was the final one. And then, this morning, guess what I discovered?

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE is available for preorder on Amazon. With the most glorious cover image I’ve ever seen!!!

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This was a manuscript that was very close to my heart. I’m a long-time admirer of the velvety tones of Ella Fitzgerald…and I always believed Marilyn Monroe was so much more than she was given credit for. But it wasn’t until I came across a picture of them at a nightclub that the idea for this story came to me back in 2014.

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And the more I researched, the more I came to admire both of these women…trailblazers in the fight for equality! Did you know that Marilyn Monroe was the first movie star to own her own production company? Or that in 1956, Ella Fitzgerald won a lawsuit against Pan Am for racial discrimination?

A few years ago, Bonnie Greer wrote a play about the nightclub incident and it was performed in London.

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I’m so grateful to Essie White, my incredible agent, who had faith in me and in this story. And to Little Bee editor, the fabulous Courtney Fahy, who fell in love with the manuscript and believed it should be a book. And to the talented Alleanna Harris whose illustrations have brought the story to life!

I am over the moon excited and just had to share with all of you, my dear friends! And to all my critique buddies whose feedback on dozens and dozens of revisions resulted in this stellar story – I thank you!!!