Sunday, March 24, 2013

Win "Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom" in paperback

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Young Knights of the Round Table by Cheryl Carpinello

Young Knights of the Round Table

by Cheryl Carpinello

Giveaway ends April 22, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meet Children's Author Hazel Nutt

A warm welcome Hazel Nutt the author of the picture book trilogy What Squirrels Do. I invite you to see what this delightful character has to say about herself and her books.

A bit about Hazel:

Hazel Nutt is a baby who is nutty about nature, especially squirrels, whom she often has a good natter with. They tell her their secrets and her parents help her write them down to share with the world, as picture books.

Loving nature is really important to her, and Hazel Nutt hopes to make sure that lots of other kids get nutty about nature as well.

She also likes to blog about her observations on life and teach other toddlers how to train their parents.

Why did you decide become a children’s picture book writer?

I wanted to share my love of nature with other children in a fun way that they could relate to and to encourage them to see nature in a new and exciting light.  I  also wanted to create books that parents could appreciate and enjoy as well.  It can be pretty off putting when your Mom or Dad shows signs of boredom after reading the same book more than 5 times!

Why did you choose Hazel Nutt as your pen name?

There is a real toddler actually called Hazel, and she has just recently turned two.  She is a constant muse and source that the pen name Hazel Nutt is based on.  Nutt is not her real surname, but we choose that surname as my books are about squirrels; Nuts and squirrels go together like cheese on toast.

How did you come up with the idea for the What Squirrels Do Picture Book Trilogy?

Ever since, I was little (or littler as I'm only two) I have loved looking up into the trees lying or sitting in my buggy.  My parents wondered what I might be looking at.  I was looking at the leaves initially, but then I started seeing these cute little furry creatures doing all sorts of funny things, when my parents were not looking.  I later told my parents about what I had seen and the idea for these picture books were born.

Are any of the characters based on real people?  

The little girl in the books is Hazel Nutt and that is me! I am the baby who talks to squirrels, although the squirrels depicted may have had their identities changed to protect their privacy. Some of the other squirrels might not appreciate some of the secrets that have been shared with me! Just call me Hazel Nutt, the Squirrel Whisperer.

How did you get the squirrels to tell you their secrets?

I am very persuasive.  When I talk to squirrels I have to encourage them gently to tell me about their secrets.  A lot of smiling, showing a lot of interest and being ever so complimentary does wonders.  It also helps that I keep a supply of nuts and treats in my pocket! These curious creatures certainly can chatter; once they start, they don't stop.

What are you working on right now? 

I am busy painting pictures.  In some of these pictures my parents can see different animals and mythical creatures.  My Mom hopes to write short poems and stories to accompany these pictures, so we can have a real Mom and daughter picture book, where we have both done equal amounts of work!

There are also more What Squirrels Do books in the pipeline and a Nutty About Nature series is in the offing as well.

Are there any words of wisdom would you like to share today?
Don't take anything at face value! If squirrels can get up to all these shenanigans behind our backs, just think what the foxes, rabbits, or even our pets might do when we are not looking! Keep your eyes, ears and imaginations open and who knows what craziness might come to light.

Where to find Hazel and her books:

Author Website 
Book Website

Meet Author Nancy Bo Flood

Today I humbly welcome prolific writer Nancy Bo Flood to Carpinello's Writing Pages. I say prolific because Nancy is a writer who creates her stories from her life. Her knowledge of different cultures combined with her story telling opens up the world for her readers. Nancy's stories have earned numerous awards including Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction Title, Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, Junior Library Guild selection, and a host of other awards.

First a bit about Nancy:

Throughout her life Bo Flood has enjoyed reading, writing, and the sharing of stories. Her work has focused primarily on children and young adults, as counselor, teacher, or parent. She has conducted workshops of child abuse, learning disabilities, play therapy, as well as creative writing. Through either work or research, Bo has lived in Malawi, Africa, Hawaii, Japan, the western Pacific, and, most recently, the Navajo Nation Reservation. Legends and folklore are of particular interest to Bo, for they hold the magic and mystery of other people’s–or generation’s–beliefs. When we read, we learn–about ourselves and about someone, somewhere–or sometime–else.

Why did you pick to write books for Children and Young Adults?

I think children's books are the best - imaginative, creative, and with depth of thought, feelings and information.  I enjoy reading them and enjoy trying to write them.

"Story is a powerful way to build compassion and bridge understanding between cultures. Story has the power to heal as well as teach."

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

When I am not writing I enjoy exploring. Sometimes this means biking, hiking, or walking.  I live in the high desert in the Four Corners area with mesas and canyons.  But I also love being near, on, or under the ocean, snorkeling, kayaking or diving.

Tell us about No-Name Baby and how the story came to be. 

No-Name Baby evolved first from the story of the premature birth of my uncle.  He was born two months early early in the 1900's on a farm in rural Illinois.  My grandmother's Italian mother-in-law massaged the tiny baby with olive oil (the oil of life), wrapped him in soft cotton and put in in a cigar box and into the warming oven!  He survived.  The other experience that contributed to this story was my work at the State Hospital in Minnesota.  I was a newly-graduated psychologist.  Many women on the ward had been "committed" when they were young teenagers. They spent the rest of their lives at the State Hospital.  Their "crime" was not that they were crazy, but they were pregnant, unwed women, often victims of rape.  At that time women had few rights.  Being "with child" and "without husband" was not acceptable.  Also, I grew up loving the farm life, being with my grandmother to round up the milking cows, playing in the hay barn with cousins, catching wild cats, running in the fields pretending to be wild horses.  All those experiences informed No-Name Baby.  My love of horses started my interest in Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo.

Here's a peak at No-Name Baby:

The Great War, like all wars, left wounds that rippled through communities and families, sometimes in unexpected ways. To survive World War I, Sophie’s family did the best they knew, the best they could, even if it meant burying family secrets. And then, life changed.

Sophie remembered last night’s dream and the gray stones-a whole row of them like the ones under the trees. Each stone was etched with letters that she couldn’t quite read.

No-Name Baby is an intimate portrait of a young girl as she discovers the truth about herself and her family. 

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them. 

My books reflect my adventures and my work -- The Pacific Island Legends from my time spent teaching on the Pacific island of Saipan are the basis for my YA novel Warriors in the Crossfire. This tells the story of family's struggle to survive hiding in caves when Saipan was caught in the WWII crossfire between US and Japan.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

BLUE is my new novel - set on the Navajo Reservation during the time of the beginning of the invasion of Iraq.  Two sisters, half-Navajo and half-White, react very differently when the first Native American woman soldier, Lori Piestewa, is killed in battle.  I am working with Colorado publisher Fulcrum to create an anthology of biographies of contemporary Native Americans - the best and the latest!

What advice do you have for other authors? 

My advice to writers - and to myself - be patient, be STUBBORN, listen to responses to your writing, revise, re-see, re-write.  Enjoy the journey.  Writing is re-writing. 

Other Books by Nancy:

For the Navajo people, the new year begins in October, when summer meets winter. The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons follows the Navajo calendar, and provides poetic descriptions of the many sights, sounds, and activities associated with each month.

In this riveting collection, narrative poems give voice to the individual competitors, lively prose explains rodeo events, and evocative photographs show off the riders and ropers, the horses, bulls, and broncs. It all adds up to an unforgettable close-up view of
Navajo rodeo over the course of one action-packed day. 

Where you can find Nancy and her books on the web: 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Meet YA Author Annika James

Today we welcome former middle school teacher and coach Annika James and her book Wanted, a YA paranormal story.

First, a bit about Annika:

Annika James lives in small-town Wisconsin with her husband and two beautiful kiddos. She spends her days working to pay the bills and her nights dreaming of more fun ways to do so. Her passions include writing, reading, music, and traveling with her family. She dreams of a world where vampires and powerful witches really exist because life would be so much more interesting.

Why did you pick to write books for YA?

I taught middle school and coached high schoolers for over 10 years. I felt like I was immersed in teenage culture. I love reading YA books. When I started writing Wanted, high school just felt natural.

What types of books do you like to read?

I love paranormal - anything. I read a lot of YA, but I also read adult paranormal. Every now and then, I love a good Elizabethan history, but mostly the last few years, everything has been either paranormal or YA.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I try to read as much as I can. Play with my kids, watch baseball or whatever sport is on. Travel if we can, go to rock concerts and baseball games, and hang out with my best friend.

Tell us about Wanted, and how the story came to be.

Wanted is the story of Ashlinn, a witch, who has all vamp friends. Her crush Conor discovers she’s pretty powerful. The Vampire Council decides she must be claimed as someone’s familiar. Conor volunteers, but Ash isn’t sure she can trust him. Her best friend Matt also volunteers, but she’s not sure she returns the more-than-friend feelings he’s having. She’s deathly afraid of being bitten and really doesn’t want to be owned by anyone. She has one week to decide her future.

One day I sat down to write and decided to write about a witch and some vampires. :) It sat unfinished for a long time until I finally got motivated to get it done.

Here's a peak at Wanted:

Attacked as a young witch and left for dead, Ashlinn is deathly afraid of being bitten again. Having survived until she’s almost eighteen without donating blood to any of her vamp friends, Ashlinn figures she’ll continue to live bite-free. After her crush reveals how powerful she is, however, the Vampire Council declares she be claimed as a familiar, which requires biting. Ashlinn doesn’t want to be owned, even by hot vamp Conor. Luckily, her best friend Matt volunteers for the job. She is given one week to choose her protector, and the list of willing biters keeps growing. Will she go with best friend Matt, hot vamp Conor, or someone else to protect her? Will she be able to get her power under control by then? Will she overcome her phobia of being bitten? And who says she needs to be protected, anyhow?

 Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

I have a lot started, nothing finished and published.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I am working on a sequel to Wanted. I’m told I left everyone hanging. :) Hopefully, when I finish that one, it will get published also.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write. write, write, write. And never, ever give up on a dream. If you want it badly enough - you can make it happen.

Anything else you want readers to know?

If you loved Wanted, or didn’t, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a review, visit my blog, or Facebook, and let me know what you thought.

Where readers find Annika and her book:

Annika's Annex






MuseItUp Publishing