Monday, January 30, 2017

Children's Book Quotes That We Need NOW

Dear Kim,


A collection of quotes from children’s books to fan the flames of our next good fight. 
















And a last one, just for you from My Special Word. Illustrations and design from the wonderfully talented (and kind) Beth Bogert.



Much love always,
Alison

P.S. Quotes pulled from texts, and, other than Beth's, images from pixabay.com.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Compartments: Sneak Peek into Kim's Drawers

Dear Alison,

I cannot tell a lie. The idea of compartments and compartmentalizing has preoccupied my brain since our last meeting. You told me about a friend from your carnival days that didn't have compartments. She lived life as an open book. I admire those people who live a compartment-less life, but I am not one of them. I will NEVER be one of them. Truth be told, I have compartments for my compartments. I am a private person (believe it or not), who is completely happy keeping my compartments sealed off from one another. In fact, I am the only one who knows the contents of all my compartments, but something changed for me last week. Ever since our conversation, I haven't stopped wondering why some people have compartments and other people don't. I think compartments are a Darwin Response. Survival of the fittest: keep caches of food in case of emergency.
I have one of these. Might need it if the ice storm hits.


I thought about ways I could combine my compartments. I don't know if I'll be able to but today, I'm cleaning out my compartments (or at least allowing you to peak into the them.)





A SNEAK PEAK INTO MY DRAWERS...


WRITER COMPARTMENT CONTENTS

Writer, And Then He, Starr Fall, Avalanche, Author


      WHAT MOST PEOPLE IN THE WRITING WORLD KNOW:

  • Writer of Young Adult Fiction
  • Blogger with InkSister Alison Green Myers at InkSistersWrite
  • Author of five books 
  • Co-RA of Eastern PA SCBWI
  • Active Social Media Presence


      WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW:

  • Writing Coach/Manuscript Review Servies: I started coaching other writers about a year ago. Right now, my numbers are small, but I find great satisfaction in helping them. This year, I've decided to take the next step and shout out to social media that I am a Writing Coach and I'm open for business. I want to help you, and You, and YOU find success in the writing world. Check out my website: KimBriggsWrite
  • Presenter, Workshop Leader, Public Speaker, Writing Teacher: I love to present and run workshops. It's like my favorite...
  • Dabbler in picture books and nonfiction picture books
  • Insecure, self-doubter of my writing. YEP, I'm just like every other writer who worries their work isn't good enough.
  • Love to write at home by myself without anyone around except my dogs
  • The actual # of hours I spend writing, reading, and working on my writing craft, social media, and writer outreach.  (No one in any of my compartments really knows how much time I spend.)


WORKING LIFE COMPARTMENT CONTENTS: 
People from my Working Life don't know about my Writing Life and vice versa. 

  • Past Teacher: I was a high school English teacher before I stayed home to raise my 3 kids.
  • Current Substitute Teacher: I sub nearly every day to help support my family and their hobbies in addition to writing, social media, reading, parenting, working out, playing with my dogs, occasionally cooking, barely cleaning. 
  • Depending on the next few months of book sales and writer presentations, I may reactivate my teaching certificate.       **This is my Art vs. Making a Living Struggle.
  • Volunteer/Campaign Coordinator/Surveyor/Zoning Officer/Track Coach/Ski Instructor along with all sorts of other odd jobs

PRIVATE LIFE COMPARTMENT CONTENTS: 
Most people from my Working Life and Writing Life don't know anything about my private life. You'll see I'm pretty tight lipped about this compartment even when I'm sharing.



YA Fiction, Starr Fall, Writing
  • 3 Kids (I keep my kids most private. I am an overprotective momma bear who will eat you for breakfast if you mess with my babies.)
  • Married my high school sweetheart
  • 2 dogs (For social media presence, I talk more about them then my kids.)
  • Horse lover and owner 
  • Love the outdoors. Hike, bike, run, swim, ski, snowshoe. Yep, I love it all!
  • Prefer to live as a hermit out in the woods with my family, pets, and a large supply of dark chocolate and soy chai lattes. Survive living in the real world by taking month long camping trips and short ones each year. 
  • Love gardening, canning, and making food from scratch. I've composited since high school. I buy green. I recycle, reuse, but most actively, reduce my family's footprint when I can.
Most of the time I mange to keep my compartments separate. Occasionally, the contents look like this...

aka Dropping the Laundry Ball

But there have been a handful of times my Private Life collides with my Writing and Working Life. Starr Fall's Book Launch Party was one of those times.

Writing, Starr Fall Book Launch, Kim Briggs


The Starr Fall Book Launch Party was so much fun, and I loved that my compartments collided.

This sharing is taking it's toll on me. That's Kim Briggs the Introvert talking... 

Kim Briggs the Extrovert wants to share one last piece of news. My short story, Avalanche (that ski instructor compartment came in handy for this one), is part of the Valentine Kisses Anthology and is only $.99 for a limited time. Preorder Valentine Kisses today to get your copy.


TIME TO DISH! I'd love to peek into your drawers or hear about your compartments (or lack of compartments.) Send me a picture or comment below. 


Sharing the writer love one letter at a time,
Kim

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Friday, January 20, 2017

#ALAMW17 Caldecott and Printz Predictions

Dear Kim,

Focus on books.
Focus on books.
Look to ALA and focus on books.

That's my mantra today. Does it work for you too?

ALA Midwinter is a hive of book buzz right now with just a few days until the announcements of the annual ALA Youth Media awards.
From http://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/presskits/ymapk

It is an exciting time for the children's book world as we await to see if our favorites will wear foil seals. Award committees may miss one or two of our favorites, but overwhelmingly do a nice job of highlighting the very best in children's literature each year. 

What a task serving on such a committee must be, equal parts heavy responsibility and utter joy. I'm always pleased when the committees help me find new books to love, like Dan Santat's BEEKLE or THIS ONE SUMMER by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. Both were so far from my radar. So I say, THANK YOU, COMMITTEES for bringing them to me!

I don't read enough middle grade to predict the Newbery (though, as last year pointed out, middle grade isn't a shoe-in for the Newbery.) I read both MAYBE A FOX and PAX this year and think they could both be real contenders. 

I'd love to sit and chat predictions all day...

Stonewall. 💜
Alex. ❤
Geisel. 💝

But for now I made predictions in just two groups: Caldecott and the Printz.

Let's start with the Michael L. Printz Award. 

See what I did there?
The Printz Committee's Charge:
Select from the previous year's publications the best young adult book ("best" being defined solely in terms of literary merit) and, if the Committee so decides, as many as four Honor Books. 


So many incredible YA books this year. (The same could be said for last year, right? And the committee did the crazy task of narrowing the field to two honors: OUT OF DARKNESS and THE GHOSTS OF HEAVEN, and the winner: BONE GAP.) I know the new committee will bring forward the best from 2016. Maybe a few from my list will make the cut...



BURN BABY BURN by Meg Medina
WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore
ANOTHER BROOKLYN by Jacqueline Woodson
MARCH: BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (more on this one later!)

There were many excellent books this year but based on the committee's criteria for selection ("best") and the NEED for these specific books to be on every reading list for teen readers across the country, these are my four with a strong push for BURN BABY BURN as the medal winner.


And now...


The Caldecott Medal

The criteria for this award is exhaustive, yet somehow committees do an astonishing job of weighing illustrations in mounds of picture books each year. I've embedded a link to the terms for the Caldecott here. The first point being:

Identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider:
  1. Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;
  2. Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept;
  3. Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept;
  4. Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;
  5. Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.
I would love to see a few of the following titles honored this year:



THEY ALL SAW A CAT by Brendan Wenzel
GIANT SQUID by Candy Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
SNOW WHITE by Matt Phelan
RADIANT CHILD by Javaka Steptoe
MARCH: BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
SOME WRITER by Melissa Sweet
SCHOOL'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
THUNDER BOY JR. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales 
BE A FRIEND by Salina Yoon
ARE WE THERE YET? by Dan Santat

I can't wait to celebrate alongside all of my fellow book lovers when the announcements are made on Monday (watch here). And know this, I only aspire to be on one of these prestigious committees. The predictions I've made above are really just books that I adore and they happen to fit the criteria of said committees. 

But it's fun to dream, isn't it?

Much love,
Alison


Sunday, January 15, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Valentine Kisses, Six Sweet and Sizzling Romance Novellas

Dear Alison,

I loved spending time with you today. Our meetings ground me back into the world of writing and books and everything wonderfully creative. I owe you a letter, a real letter, filled with emotions and daydreams. I'll give you a hint about the post I'm working on for tomorrow: Compartments. (hmmm, I wonder where I got that idea from.)

You'll have to wait 24 hours for the letter. Until then, I want to share my cover for Avalanche, a short story I wrote, that's part of the Valentine Kisses Anthology with Inkspell Publishing coming out, you guessed it on February 14, aka Valentine's Day.


There's snow and skiing and love! Life doesn't get much better. (At least for me.) 
More about Avalanche below, but first the official reveal...


Six authors bring to you six sweet and sizzling romance novellas that will make you swoon. The cover reveal of the box set...

Valentine Kisses
And there's special pricing too! Starting from today, you get the box set at just $0.99! Wait...WHAT?!?!?!??!?!??!?! 



Lola Flannigan by Abigail Drake - A Sci-fi Romance Comedy
Sparks will fly and hair will dye as Lola goes from stylist in stilettos to savior of her species.

Hairdresser Lola Flannigan has a little electrical problem. After getting struck by lightning seven times, her hands now shock everyone she touches, except for one person; the very sexy, very wealthy Morgan Slade. But is Morgan really looking out for her, or is he just planning to use her to get what he wants?

Hearts Must Be Broken by Birdie Hall – A mystery romance book
Can love forgive murder?

When a ghost from her past wants to take revenge on twenty-year-old Anais, the only one she can turn to for help is Damon. But things quickly become complicated because he has feelings for her and she doesn’t want a relationship. Can she learn to trust him and can he forgive her past?

Lost and Found by Shilpa Mudiganti – A second chance New York romance
Aisha lost the love of her life to fate. And then Liam happened.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and Aisha, who is still grieving for her ex-boyfriend John is in for a surprise. Liam, John's best friend, who has had feelings for her but had to keep his feelings in check is ready to prove his love for her. But is she ready to risk her heart again?

What's Better Than a Book Boyfriend? By Sarah Vance-Tompkins - Small Town Contemporary Romance
How can a real man compete with a book boyfriend?

Shy librarian Charlie Bishop has spent every Valentine's Day in the company of one of her beloved book boyfriends. Despite his many attempts to gain her attention, Charlie is absolutely certain she has nothing common with hunky construction worker Hank Carter. So how far will Hank have to go to prove to Charlie he's better than any of her book boyfriends?

Avalanche by Kim Briggs – Sweet romance with a side of steamy (OH WAIT?!?! THAT'S ME;)
Lexi finds herself in the middle of a longtime feud, and her heart might not be the only thing at stake.

Lexi returns to her first love, Wolf Creek Ski Resort, with ambitions of becoming a ski instructor. She soon finds herself in the middle of a longtime feud between Gabe, a snow groomer who gives off the broken vibe Lexi finds irresistible, and Harrison the fourth, playboy son of Wolf Creek’s owner who always wants what Gabe has. Tensions boil at Wolf Creek, and Lexi’s heart might not be the only thing at stake.

Not Today by Lisa Hahn – Contemporary Romance
A chance meeting in the park sends Emily and Ezra on an emotional journey neither had been expecting.

Emily Scott is mourning the loss of a parent. Ezra Cavanuagh is ready to give up on his dreams of literary success. Will their new connection be enough to help them pull through these trying times?


SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!!!

We are giving away 5 FREE ecopies of Valentine Kisses and one lucky winner from the draw gets to win $10 AMAZON GIFT card! If you would like to enter the draw, sign up below! The winner will be announced on 25th January.







Pre-order link: VALENTINE KISSES


Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,
Kim