Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday's Riddle: Spinning Tales...

Hello, Riddlers! Can you guess our theme this week? A tricky character! ~ F

A child is my desire, hands to clean and stoke the fire. I peer into shadow light and hear a woman's woeful plight. Skip a jig on little legs! I've found a basket with some eggs! She can't do what's she's told, but the king insists he wants his gold. Should she fail, end is near. For a trade, I'll spare her tear.  I'll dance right in and spin the stuff, then take what's mine soon enough. 

Can you guess my name? Stop by Wednesday for the answer.

I gave you two clues!

Friday, March 16, 2018

What Happens When You Drink the Moon?

“Just because you don't see something doesn't mean it isn't there. Some of the most wonderful things in the world are invisible. Trusting in invisible things makes them more powerful and wondrous.”  ~Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Every year the Elders of the Protectorate bring a baby to be sacrificed to the witch in the woods. They leave the baby to die in a clearing and the Protectorate is safe for another year. Little do they know that the witch, Xan, is actually kind and doesn’t require or want any sacrifices. She is actually confused when she finds the first baby, but she takes care of it and brings it to a village through the woods. 

There Xan makes sure to find a happy family for the baby. This is repeated year after year, until Xan picked up one of the babies and accidentally lets it drink moonlight. That kind of magic could be tricky for a regular family to deal with and the baby is just so sweet. Xan decides to bring her home to raise her, and names the little one Luna. It is soon clear that Luna has magic that can’t be controlled because she doesn’t understand the way life works yet. Xan does what she has to in order to protect Luna from herself and together they live a happy life at their home in the bog, with their swamp monster, and a very tiny dragon. But in the Protectorate there is someone who has always been haunted by the sacrifices and vows to put an end to the witch. Is there really an evil force preying on the village?  Will Luna ever learn to control her magic? What really happened to all those babies? You’ll have to soak in the pages of this story to find out!

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill is the first book I’ve read by the author, and it won’t be the last! I was curious about it since I first saw it and I’m so glad I didn’t wait any longer. I adored the characters and they each added so much to the story. I was very intrigued by the world that was described- half bog and half woods. The book has a lot of messages for readers, about the things we don’t say, love, acceptance, and doing what is right. This seemed like a modern day fairy tale to me and it is a story that will appeal to readers in fourth grade and up who enjoy magic and books that take place in other worlds. The writing is beautiful. A book filled with all kinds of emotions- it is one that will make you think.

Has anyone else read The Girl Who Drank the Moon? Or have you read another book by Kelly Barnhill? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Reading!
~ L

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Answer to Monday's Riddle: Stuck In Muck...

Excellent guessing, Riddlers! This week we're mucking around in a bog. Friday, we'll get lost in Lizzy's Middle Grade Book Review, so stay tuned! See you all around the book block. ; ) ~ F

While walking in the woods, I see a clearing pass. 
Eating flies from waters skim jumps a large mouth bass. 
Turn the bend, 'round the pond, muck seeps from the ground. 
Looking out, mossy green creeps up all around. 
And, further on, peepers sing and dragonflies take flight. 
No person here, no words to speak, as day turns into night. 
Dreamy smells, squishing peat— a place where matters meet. 
Sit and watch buzzing things or exercise your feet.

What am I referring to? Answer: Bog/ Wetlands

Make time to riddle and rhyme!

62 original riddles and illustrations
Available in all e-book formats

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday's Riddle: Peat Under Feet...

Hello, Riddlers! It's good to be back. Can you guess our theme this week? One of my favorite places in nature to explore. ; ) ~ F

While walking in the woods, I see a clearing pass. 
Eating flies from waters skim jumps a large mouth bass. 
Turn the bend, 'round the pond, muck seeps from the ground. 
Looking out, mossy green creeps up all around. 
And, further on, peepers sing and dragonflies take flight. 
No person here, no words to speak, as day turns into night. 
Dreamy smells, squishing peat— a place where matters meet. 
Sit and watch buzzing things or exercise your feet.

What am I referring to? Stop by Wednesday for the answer.

I gave you two clues!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Birthing A Book: Raising Your Book Right

We're taking a break to recharge! Fairday's Riddles and Lizzy's Book Review will be back next week. Here's advice for writers interested in publishing a book...

Seeking A Story Home
By Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson

— You’ve cultivated your story seed and delivered a book. The next phase in a writer's journey is the metamorphosis from manuscript to published work, and there are many paths to take as you step further into the literary forest.

If your decision is to turn toward traditional publishing, be sure you understand which side of the mushroom you’re eating.

Will you shrink or grow?

 Brick & Mortar Binding 

Tips to help find the right publisher for your work:

1. To really understand the publishing world, it’s essential to attend writers’ conferences, book fairs, and events. By networking with professionals in the industry, you’ll learn about the book buisiness and be inspired by people who have the same goals. The hardest part is going, but once you’re there, the scene is motivating. You’ll connect with agents and editors who will give you key tips on how to have your manuscript received and read by publishers.

Book events we found beneficial:
2. Your words are going to be sliced and diced by editors once a publisher acquires your manuscript, BUT that does not mean you should wait to edit and revise. When you’re ready to seek a home for your book, your manuscript should be clean and concise. Hiring an editor to review your work or joining a critique group prior to submission is recommended. Once you’re satisfied with your words, it’s time to develop an AMAZING query letter and find a literary agent. In traditional publishing, this step can’t be missed. It’s rare a publisher will pick up an author who isn’t represented by a reputable literary agency. Developing a good query letter is not an easy task, but it's a challenge that will help you grow as a writer. The most important thing to remember about writing a query letter is this  you’re trying to peak someone’s interest enough so that they want to read more of your words. 👀

Now, pretend you’re an agent receiving thousands of letters from writers who'd like you to represent their work. 😧

Exactly. Whew! Just thinking about all those inquiries is dizzying. You’d learn to skim the pile until one sparked your interest. The query letter is a great tool for both writer and agent because it precedes the relationship, establishing a level of professionalism. An agent will be able to tell right away if they’re a good fit to sell your book. If you didn’t follow the agency’s submission guidelines (typically listed on their websites) or you’ve reached out to an agent that doesn’t represent your genre, it will be obvious and your letter will be tossed aside, unread.

Resources we found useful:
Freelance Editor Referrals: Betsy ThorpeNicole Ayers
Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson with their agent Gina Panettieri from Talcott Notch Literary at B&N in Milford
3. Once you’ve found an agent who LOVES your book, (and this is the highest priority- they must be over the top, thrilled, excited, can’t wait to dive in and sell your words, in love), they will take on the next step of querying editors at publishing houses. This is a good time to develop your reader platform and keep up with your writing craft. No matter what anyone tells you, growing an online presence takes time and diligence. It does not happen overnight, and there’s a lot to learn. If you taylor your platform to inspire your writing, it's good practice and the work will be fulfilling

*For example, on this book blog, we write as our main characters, Fairday and Lizzy. Fairday writes riddles on Monday to clue readers in on the theme for the week, which is decided by Lizzy's book review on Friday. Jess loves writing rhyming poems, Stephanie is a media specialist, and has read pretty much every book out there, so the overall flow of the blog helps keep our writing skills sharp. We also interview authors, which is a great way to network, plus it's cool to find out the story behind the books we love to share with our readers. 

Traditional publishers may help sell your book, but don’t count on it. Be prepared to generate your own marketing strategies, schedule book events, and spread the book buzz with friends, family, and authors you network with. Set up a budget. Marketing materials, like bookmarks, posters, mailings, and fliers, are expensive.

If you've signed on with a good agent, they will walk you through the details and negotiate with the publisher. We would advise having your own attorney look over the information before you proceed with the deal. It seems glamourous to be listed with a notable publisher, but it's not all roses in that book garden. Publishing contract terms and conditions vary, so it's important to understand what's involved. 

Things to consider if this is the route you want take:

1) No worries about cost or production of book
2) Book distribution is handled
3) Your book will receive trade reviews 

1) You lose creative control of your project
2) Waiting to hear from agents, editors
3) Managing deadlines set by the publisher

*You'll receive a monetary advance, which is paid back by a percentage of your book sales. If your title doesn't satisfy the advance, you don't have to pay off the remaining balance, but you won't receive any payments for your book. If your book does pay out the advance, you keep a small percentage of the sales, called royalties- this can be a PRO, but it's also a CON. Our advice is to carefully consider the deal. Make sure you're committed to your characters and be prepared to carry on if this relationship doesn't work out for the long run.

TIP: It’s best to keep hold on the reins of your story, even when someone else sits in the saddle. They can jump off any time. If you let go, it’s going to be much harder to hop back on that pony and get it under control. 
If you’d rather stay in the saddle and gallop off on your own, then the Indie path is for you. Print on demand has created a changing wave in the publishing industry, and the floodgates are open. If you can ride like the elves in Rivendell, the river poses no threat. This part of the literary forest is untamed, and anything’s possible! 

Stay tuned for PART 2 of Raising A Book RightIndie Writers on the Storm

DMS CASE FILE #1: The Begonia House

The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow
Publish date: 12/1/15
Publisher: Delacorte/ Random House
Illustrator: Roman Muradov
Ages: 8 and up
Grade Level: 3-6
Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book, Library Bound

Read the reviews
Preview a chapter


The Begonia House keeps its secrets. Everyone knows that. Everyone, that is, except for clever eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow, whose family has just moved in. Being the Senior Investigator in the Detective Mystery Squad, more commonly known as the DMS, she’s ready to uncover the mysteries hidden within the strange manor. As the investigation gears up and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place, the DMS enters into a world where anything is possible, and the danger is most definitely real. Can they piece together the puzzle before it's too late? Or will whatever's causing trouble find Fairday and her friends first?

Catch our feature articles on...


Cultivating story ideas

Plotting the scenes of your story



Critique, Editing your MS

Working with editors, Collaborating using Google Docs

Skeleton's poetic interpretation on formatting a book


Stephanie & Jess sit down at the Plumb Memorial Library and discuss tools they use to craft stories. 

"There's no better place to get a clue than the library!"