Thursday, May 25, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! 2017 Wrap Up Post


The 2nd annual Yay For Middle Grade Books! is now done! I had so much fun working on this event, and got such a great response from people about it again. Thank you so much to all the authors who participated in the event! And thank you to everyone who tweeted and posted about it, commented on posts, and in any way supported it! You all are awesome! :)

Now here's the wrap up!

The first day of the event was a guest post from Jess Keating, about her favorite books for fans of animals!

The next day was an interview with Nancy J. Cavanaugh!

Then a guest post from Carter Higgins about what books her main character would read!

The next day, a interview with Gail Nall!

A guest post from Patricia Bailey about what books inspired her while writing her debut book was the next day!

Then an interview with S.A. Larsen!

The following day, a guest post from Anna Staniszewski about five funny MG books everyone should read!

The next day an interview and giveaway (This giveaway is still happening, go enter!) from Susan Maupin Schmid!

Then an interview with Stephanie Burgis!

The following day, a guest post from Janet Sumner Johnson, about MG books that have made her laugh out loud!

Then an interview with Mike Maihack!

The next day, an interview with Jen Malone!

Then a guest post from Mary E. Lambert, about how reading makes us become better people!

The following day, a guest post from Stephanie Faris about understanding MG books!

Then a guest post from Wendy McLeod MacKnight about how a good MG novel carries you through life!

The following day, an interview with Allison Gutknecht!

The final day of the event was an interview with Beth Fantaskey!

There were so many amazing guest posts and awesome answers to questions! Thank you again so much to everyone who participated in this event! You all are great! :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Beth Fantaskey



Today I'm pleased to present an interview with Beth Fantaskey! Ms. Fantaskey is the author of the MG book Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter. She is also the author of multiple YA books.

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her responses, and the bold italic writing are my comments about her answers.


1. Would you please describe your book, Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter, in seven words? 
Spunky newsgirl fights to save friend’s life.

2. The book takes place in 1920s Chicago. Are there any other times in history that you would like to set a MG book in? 
I’d like to go back slightly farther in time and write a book set at the turn of the century. I can’t reveal the location, though, because I don’t think there’s a middle-grade book that takes place in this setting. I want first crack at writing the story!  

3. Random question! If you could go back in time for one day, what place in time would you like to visit? 
Okay, I’m going to set some parameters, because, like everyone, I’ve lost people I’d give anything to see one more time, even just going back a few months. So I’m going to self-impose a rule that says I’d have to go back at least 100 years. And I’m going to pick Egypt, during the time of the great dynasties and the construction of the pyramids. Just plop me down there on any given day. I can’t imagine anything that would be more different from my existence right now. I’m sure I’d see things that even archaeologists have never dreamed up. Maybe I’d come back and say, “Sorry, you’ve got it all wrong!”

That would be neat! :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now? 
I’m writing a series of “cozy” mysteries for adults. The first book, Death by Chocolate Lab, just came out a few weeks ago. And there are at least two more in the series. But I haven’t given up on YA and middle grade books. I definitely have middle grade projects in mind. And I’m toying with the idea of writing a third book about my royal vampire couple, Jess and Lucius, from Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. I’ve been floating ideas on Facebook, and readers seem really receptive.  

5. What are some of your favorite Middle Grade Books? 
At the risk of seeming unoriginal, I have to say that my two favorite series are the immensely popular Lemony Snicket and Wimpy Kid books. Not only do I just love the stories, but I have great memories of sharing them with my girls when they were younger.

I actually have the first Wimpy Kid book on my TBR pile right now! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Fantaskey for participating in this event! :)




Here are few links:


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Allison Gutknecht



Today on the blog I'm pleased to present an interview with Allison Gutknecht! Ms. Gutknecht is the author of multiple MG books, including Spring Break Mistake, and the upcoming Sing Like Nobody's Listening.

Here we go!

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her responses, and the bold italic writing are my comments about her answers.


1. Would you please describe your book, Spring Break Mistake, in seven words?
Snapshot of Friendship in an NYC Frame

2. The book takes place in NYC. If someone were to visit NYC for the first time, where are three places you think they should definitely make time to go to?
I've lived in New York for almost a dozen years, yet I've still never been to many of the major tourist hubs, including the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty! It's for this reason that I wanted many of the landmarks featured in Spring Break Mistake to be a bit off the beaten path, though the girls do still venture to plenty of places found in NYC guidebooks. Of their destinations, my favorites are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hudson River Walk, and the Central Park carousel. And though Times Square drives me batty, it's worth plowing through the chaos if it means getting to a Broadway show!

I would love to visit those places! :)

3. Random question! If you could travel to anyplace in the world, where would you most want to visit at the moment?

Like Avalon in Spring Break Mistake, I'm not a huge fan of leaving home for long stretches of time, so I much prefer weekend getaways. I still haven't been to Savannah, New Orleans, or anywhere in Texas, so those are currently three priority destinations for a long weekend.

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?
My next MG novel, Sing Like Nobody's Listening (Because Nobody Is) comes out in December. It revolves around the creation of a middle school a cappella group, where voices blend together and fracture apart as the characters' loyalties are formed and then broken.

This sounds so good! :)

5. What are some of your favorite Middle Grade Books?
For me, nothing will ever replace The Baby-Sitters Club. They were my favorite stories throughout my middle grade years, and they remain so to this day. Plus, I adopted my cat, Folly, from Ann M. Martin, who was fostering her litter, and I swear Folly knows how to read based on where she spent the first nine weeks of her life!

The love The Baby-Sitters Club books! :)

And thank you to Ms. Gutknecht for participating in this event! :)


Author bio: Allison Gutknecht is the author of six books for young readers. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she earned her master’s degree in Children’s Media and Literature from NYU. Allison grew up in Voorhees, NJ, and now lives in New York City.

Here are a few links:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Wendy McLeod MacKnight



Today on the blog I'm happy to present a guest post from Wendy McLeod MacKnight! Ms. MacKnight is the author of It's a Mystery, Pig Face!, and another MG novel to release in 2018.

Here we go!

A Friend Along the Way:
How a Good Middle Grade Novel Carries You Through Your Whole Life


My to-be-read pile is teetering, threatening to topple at any second. I have deadlines looming, books to revise, a website to update, tax bills to pay.


When life gets overwhelming, I know it is time to turn to my friends, those books that never fail to raise me up and inspire me to keep going.


And those books are almost exclusively middle grade novels.


Do not mistake this for pure sentimentality, though I confess I am prone to nostalgia!


No. What I have learned, from walking around this planet for a long time, is that a well written book discovered in childhood reveals new and nuanced aspects of itself as its reader ages.


For example, when I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time at age nine, I was really only interested in Anne’s shenanigans. In my teens, I became (ahem) a little obsessed with Gilbert. In my twenties, I began to think about Anne’s early childhood and the forces that shaped her. At my last reading, I was most touched by the idea of the aging spinster Marilla, who learns to love later in life, opening her heart to someone who needs her.




Rereading A Wrinkle in Time, I am struck now by the loneliness of Mrs. Murry, who struggles to keep the home (and scientific) fires burning while her husband is somewhere unknowable. Her role is small in the book, but her belief in the unbelievable plants seeds that help Meg along the way.




Likewise, I reread Maud Hart Lovlace’s Heavens to Betsy this week. This time I was struck by the affection the author has for her frivolous teen-aged self, and what wonderful role models Mr. and Mrs. Ray are for their children. I see the strong feminist undertones that I completely missed as a child.




There is a comfort in these books; they are old friends that may remind you of happier times. Just as often, they remind of unhappy times, when the only salve was to escape into a book for a few hours.


There is a joy in reading them to my children, and hopefully, someday, to grandchildren.


They are my companions when I am forced to spend long hours at someone’s side in the hospital; when I am waiting for test results, when I need to feel loving and loved.


I wonder what it will be like to reread them again as an old lady, these books. As I read the current crop of wonderful middle grade novels, I can imagine how many children will return again and again to Brown Girl Dreaming or The Penderwicks or Raymie Nightingale. How many books will be placed in boxes and taken from one house to another, decade after decade, the dowry of a childhood filled with wonderful books?




These books are crown jewels, more precious than diamonds, for in every rereading, you run into the multiple versions of yourself that read it before.


They are time machines and wherever you are, however old you get, they are guaranteed to take you home.


Now as a middle grade author, I am struck by the reality that someday, one of my books might become “that” kind of book for a reader. Really, is there any finer kind of tribute a writer could have?


Love this so much! And thank you so much to Ms. MacKnight for participating in this event! :)



Author bio: Wendy grew up in St. Stephen and wrote her first novel at age nine, Pam’s Summer, about a girl who lived above a laundromat in New York City. She’d never been to New York City or stepped inside a laundromat. Still, she continued to write all through her teens, mostly bad poetry about boys who broke her heart. For the next twenty-five years, she worked for the Government of New Brunswick, ending her career as the Deputy Minister of Education when the siren call of writing became impossible to ignore. Wendy is represented by Lauren Galit of the LKG Agency in New York City. Her debut middle grade novel, It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! was published by Sky Pony Press on February 7th, 2017. Her second book, a fantasy set at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, was sold at auction to Greenwillow Books in a two-book deal and will be published in 2018. 

Here are a few links:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Stephanie Faris



Today I'm pleased to present a guest post from Stephanie Faris! Ms. Faris is the author of the MG books 30 Days of No Gossip, 25 Roses, and the upcoming Best. Night. Ever. (Written with six other authors!), which releases August 25th.

Here we go!

Understanding Middle Grade
by Stephanie Faris


The first two books I ever sold were in the middle grade genre. Prior to that, I’d only written fiction about adults, but the tween age group was the perfect fit for my voice, I felt. Even when I wrote adult fiction, I preferred lighthearted comedies over dark thrillers or mysteries.

In 2015, I attempted my first chapter book after reading a stack of Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House novels. As I immersed myself in the world of a seven-year-old, I gained an all new perspective on the 13-year-old characters I create in my middle grade books. Here are a few essential differences I’ve noticed.

Tweens Are in Limbo


There’s something frustrating about being a preteen. You’re not quite at the “dating” stage, but you’re not satisfied with lollipops and Santa Claus, either. I’ve found in middle grade, it’s mostly about friends. Characters may have crushes, but the biggest conflicts in their lives relate to the various dramas they experience among their same-sex peers. In chapter books, friendship dramas are less sophisticated. A girl’s best friend may get mad at her over a silly thing, but it won’t seem as earth-shattering as it feels in a middle grade book.

Parents Are Secondary Characters

Parents also play a limbo-style role in MG. They’re often very present in chapter books and not present at all in YA. In MG, they come and go, usually taking a backburner to the characters’ peers. In more literary or darker MG, they may play a much bigger role, though, sometimes even serving as the source of the main character’s conflict.

Worlds Are Bigger

Compared to YA and adult fiction, MG characters lead fairly sheltered lives. They can’t drive yet, so their world is limited to their home, school, and friends’ houses. If they want to hang out with friends, a parent probably has to drive them unless they’re in a small enough town to ride a bike. For chapter book characters, that world shrinks even farther.

There are many different age groups in children’s fiction, each very unique. Sometimes reading books for other age groups can give us an appreciation for what we’re writing. In the end, though, we’re all very lucky to be able to writing books that connect with kids, whatever age they are!


Awesome post! And thank you so much to Ms. Faris for participating in this event! :)


Author bio: Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. Her work is regularly featured on a wide variety of blogs and websites, both under her own name and as a ghostwriter. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Neil.

Here are a few links:

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Mary E. Lambert



Today I'm happy to present a guest post from Mary E. Lambert! Ms. Lambert is the author of the MG book, Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes.

Here we go!

Imagining Others
Have you ever thought about how selfish babies are?
They only think about themselves.
They cry if they’re hungry.
Or if they have a dirty diaper.
And if they want to be held—or set down.
Babies do not care if you are tired or doing the dishes or trying to relax after a long, hard day. They have no respect for the fact that it's 3:30 in the morning and you have to get up for work in just two hours. They really do have a profound lack of empathy.
We are not born with the ability to see the world through another’s eyes. For much of our lives, we are confined by our own perceptions and consciousness. It is not inherently bred in us to consider the feelings of others. This is why parents must teach young children that it is rude to bite or hit or point or say things like “That man has a big nose.” To learn empathy takes time, effort… and imagination.
It is only through imagination that we can inhabit a world outside of ourselves. Even with the newest virtual reality games, players are still locked into their own consciousness. But in dreams and in stories, we can sometimes leave ourselves behind to inhabit another place, another time, or perhaps most relevantly, another perspective.
All kinds of stories—movies, plays, television shows, tales told around a campfire—can reveal other worlds and viewpoints to the listener, but something magical happens when a reader, particularly a young one, finds himself or herself immersed in a good book. In a way that is truly unique to the novel, these stories allow us to think another’s thoughts. In On Writing, Stephen King goes so far as to call it a kind of telepathy. The character’s reasoning, emotions, and adventures become our own. We encounter the world through someone else's eyes. It is the closest we can come to comprehending another’s consciousness, and when those experiences translate into our experiences, we begin to understand others better than ever before. This is especially powerful for young readers.
As school-age children, we first explore the world independent of sheltering parents and caretakers. After six, seven, or eight years on the planet, we are more aware of peers and less interested in moms and dads and siblings. This is the age when our character is being formed, when we start to find our place in society, and when we are exposed to some of life’s harsher realities. This is why I have always found middle grade books to be so compelling. The novels from our childhood shape us in innumerable ways, giving us our first glimpse of another’s story.
I will always remember devouring the Ramona books as I thought to myself, “Now, here is someone who understands me—who knows what it’s like to be young and overlooked. I remember the brush with poverty I experienced when I read Where the Red Fern Grows. While Number the Stars showed me the dire situation of Jewish families during the Second World War, and I suddenly cared more deeply about history. I experienced a similar reaction when I read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and the injustice of segregation became more real than any explanation from a textbook or teacher.  
Books, at their best, make us better and more compassionate people by showing us the world through the eyes of others. We feel both joy and sorrow along with the characters from our most beloved stories, and as a result, our hearts grow. In The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente rather poignantly observes: “One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.)”        


Love this guest post! Thank you so much to Ms. Lambert for participating in this event! :)



Author bio: Mary E. Lambert lives in Arizona where she teaches middle school English. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes is her debut novel. Mary spends a vast deal of time grading essays, deleting words from whatever story she is in the process of writing, and reading about all the places in the world she plans to visit someday. Mary is extremely proud of the last game night she had with her family when she beat all of her siblings at Settlers of Catan. You can learn more about her new novel at maryelambert.com or follow her on Twitter at @MaryUncontrary.

Here are a few links:


Friday, May 19, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Jen Malone



Today on the blog I'm happy to present an interview with Jen Malone! Ms. Malone is the author of multiple MG books, including the upcoming books Best. Night. Ever. (Written with six other authors!), which releases August 15th, and The Art of the Swap (Written with Kristine Carlson Asselin!), which releases in February 2018. She is also the author of multiple YA books, including the upcoming Changes in Latitudes, which releases July 25th.

Here we go!

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her responses, and the bold italic writing are my comments about her answers.

1. Would you please describe The Art of the Swap (Written with Kristine Carlson Asselin!) in seven words? 
Freaky Friday meets Downton Abbey-ish art heist.

2. Best. Night. Ever. (Written with six other authors!) releases in August! It looks so good, and seems like a unique way to write a MG book! Can you tell us all a little about it?

It was definitely unique—and also tons of fun. It’s probably closer to the way TV shows get written, with a group of writers in one room (even though our “room” was a Google Hangout, since we all live in different states from one another). Okay, a little about it: Best. Night. Ever. tells the story of one crazy night, from the perspectives of seven different kids. They each have their own storylines, but their characters interact and the storylines overlap a bunch since they’re all centered around the same middle school dance.

This sounds so fun! :)

3. Random question! What is your favorite movie? 
Ooh. This changes on a daily basis, but I think today I’d have to say Bridget Jones Diary. Mark Darcy is so… perfect.

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now? 
I can’t talk about it too much, because it hasn’t been announced yet, so I’ll have to be annoyingly vague. But it’s a YA novel and it’s actually kind of a departure for me- it’s a much more serious subject matter than I normally write about. I’m loving the challenge that presents!

5. What have been some of your recent favorite MG books? 
I love Alison Cherry’s Willows and Wolverines and Ronni Arno’s Dear Poppy and I was lucky enough to get an early read of Dee Romito’s There’s No Place Like Home. Can’t miss with any of these!

Those all look really good! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Malone for participating in this event! :)




Author bio: Jen Malone writes flirty young adult travel romances with HarperCollins and fun and humorous "girl power” middle grade adventures with Simon & Schuster. Her latest novel, Follow Your Art, is a collaboration with Dreamworks Animation and Penguin Random House on a companion story to the animated film Trolls, starring Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick. Jen’s other published titles include The Sleepover, the You’re Invited series (with Gail Nall), At Your Service, Map to the Stars, and Wanderlost. She once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star's tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. You can learn more about Jen and her books at www.jenmalonewrites.com. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @jenmalonewrites.


Here are a few links:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Mike Maihack



Today on the blog I'm pleased to present an interview with Mike Maihack! Mr. Maihack is the author of the Cleopatra in Space graphic novels, including the upcoming The Golden Lion, which releases June 27th.

Here we go!

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is his responses, and the bold italic writing are my comments about his answers.

1. Would you please describe the Cleopatra in Space series in seven words?
Teenaged Cleopatra battles aliens in distant galaxy.

Awesome! :)

2. There are currently three books about Cleo, with a fourth releasing in June. Do you know how many books will be in the series?
Six. And that’ll be it. There’s a definitive ending I’ve been working on since Book 1. I actually wrote it down before I started the series so it’s kind of exciting (and scary) to be so close to it now.

3. Random question! Do you listen to music while you write/illustrate?

That’s ALL I listen too! Only time I listen to podcasts is when I go for a run and I can’t concentrate on writing or drawing when the TV is on. So I’ve grown to appreciate pretty much every genre of music from almost every decade since I take in about 8-10 hours of it a day.

That's a lot of music to get to listen to! :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?
Book 5 of Cleopatra in Space. It’s a beast. Lot of the overarching story threads finally come to a head in it.

5. What are some of your favorite Middle Books?
I’m frightfully behind on almost everything but I recently (finally) read the Harry Potter series and have become a big fan of that. I’ve been kind of gobbling up all the supplementary material that’s come out since. There’s a lot of ongoing comics I’m enjoying quite a bit right now too, like Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl.

Thank you so much to Mr. Maihack for participating int this event! :)


Author bio: MIKE MAIHACK is the author of the award-winning Cleopatra in Space series for Scholastic/Graphix as well as the creator of the popular webcomic Cow & Buffalo. He has contributed to books like Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman; Parable; Jim Henson's The Storyteller; Cow Boy; Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities; and Comic Book Tattoo. Mike is currently working on the fifth Cleopatra in Space book while helping his wife and Siamese cat keep up with two super kinetically powered boys in the humid tropics of Lutz, Florida.

Here are a few links:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Janet Sumner Johnson



Today on the blog I'm happy to present a guest post from Janet Sumner Johnson! Ms. Johnson is the author of the MG book, The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society.

Here's the guest post!


Humor is a staple in my life, which is quite possibly why I love Middle Grade books so much. Humor abounds! Even the most serious of MG books have laugh-out-loud moments.

Humor helps me get through the tough things life throws at us all. It helps me relax so I can get more done. It helps me be more forgiving, kinder, and frankly, a better person.

If you, like me, love to laugh, and could use a little humor in your life right now, I give you my list of Top Ten Books that Made Me Laugh Out Loud.


Top Ten Books that Made Me Laugh Out Loud


10. Joshua Dread by Lee Bacon

Supervillains and questionable super heroes? A kid who lives with zombies in the basement? Yes, please!


9. Bounders by Monica Tesler

Chute tubes and tofu string. That's all I'm going to say. You'll need to read it to appreciate just how funny this is.



8. The Last Boy at St. Edith by Lee Gjertsen Malone

The quest for honorable expulsion. Garden gnome heists and drive-by sticky noting. Yep. So many laughs!



7. Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz

Pirates grateful to be maimed or have a hand eaten off? This book had me grinning the whole way through.



6. Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall

Bathrobe for a trench coat and a Juicy Smash gum addiction. This book is comic genius!



5. The BFF Bucket List by Dee Romito

Facing down the fear of cows. Oh yeah. That is totally a thing.



4. Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

A booby-trapped salt shaker and a Polaroid camera conviction. Lisa Yee is a master of humor.



3. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Ten kids spending the night in a tricked out library? Yes, there is as much humor in this book as the premise promises.



2. Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Pmail (still cracks me up!) and the legal battle over who can act as tooth fairy. This one makes my heart happy.



1. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy


The feared Bandit King who is maybe 10 years old. The debunking of the Prince Charming myth. The lousy bards who control everything. The Stumpy Boarhound and their awesomely vicious gangs. Pretty much every stinkin' word in this whole book with have you cracking up. So. Much. FUN.

Of course, this is just a small sampling of the humorous books you can find among middle grade novel. What are your humorous book recommendations? I'd love to add them to my TBR.

I love funny books and I love this guest post! And thank you so much to Ms. Johnson for participating in this event! :)


Author bioJanet Sumner Johnson is the author of the middle grade novel, THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY. She bakes a mean cinnamon twist and eats way more cookies than are good for her, which explains her running habit. Though her full-time occupation as evil tyrant/benevolent dictator (aka mom) takes most of her time, she sneaks in writing at night when her inner funny bone is fully unleashed. She is represented by Lauren Galit at LKG agency.

Here are a few links:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Stephanie Burgis



Today on the blog I'm pleased to present an interview with Stephanie Burgis! Ms. Burgis is the author of the MG book series Kat, Incorrigible, and the upcoming The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart, which releases May 30th. She is also the author of two adult books.


The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her responses, and the bold italic writing are my comments about her answers.

1. Would you please describe your book, The Dragon With the Chocolate Heart, in seven words?
Dragons, chocolate, transformation, fierce girls and friendship!

2. Because of the title of this book, I feel like I must ask this question. What's your favorite kind of chocolate?
70% dark chocolate. Mmmmmm!

Mmmmm! :)

3. Random question! Favorite quote from a MG book?

“As Agatha Swanburne once said, 'To be kept waiting is unfortunate, but to be kept waiting with nothing interesting to read is a tragedy of Greek proportions.”
― Maryrose Wood, The Hidden Gallery

I like this quote! :)

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?
I'm about to dive into revisions for the sequel to The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart. It doesn't have a title yet, but I've been calling it my MG spies-and-fairies book! :) It should be coming out from Bloomsbury next spring.

5. What are some of your favorite Middle Grade Books?
Sheela Chari's Vanished, Patrick Samphire's Secrets of the Dragon Tomb, Caitlen Rubino-Bradway's Ordinary Magic, Grace Lin's Year of the Dog, Hilary McKay's Casson Family series and Binny in Secret, Jenn Reese's Above World trilogy, Veera Hiranandani's The Whole Story of Half a Girl, Ronald Smith's Hoodoo, and Ursula Vernon's Castle Hangnail! (And I am having to exercise SO MUCH restraint not to name another ten! ;) I love MG books.)

I really need to read some of these! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Burgis for participating in this event! :)


Author bio: Stephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband and two sons, surrounded by mountains, castles and coffee shops. She is the author of four MG fantasy adventures, including The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (Bloomsbury 2017) and the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy (Atheneum Books). She has also published two historical fantasy novels for adults, Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets (Pyr Books 2016) and nearly forty short stories for adults and teens in various magazines and anthologies. Her first book, Kat, Incorrigible, won the 2011 Waverton Good Read Children’s Award (under its UK title, A Most Improper Magick) for the Best D├ębut Children’s Novel by a British Author. 

Here are a few links:


Monday, May 15, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview & Giveaway With Susan Maupin Schmid



Today on the blog I'm pleased to present an interview with Susan Maupin Schmid! Ms. Schmid is the author of the MG books If the Magic Fits, and the upcoming sequel, Ghost of a Chance, which releases July 25th. And be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the post, because Ms. Schmid is giving away a copy of If the Magic Fits! :)

The bold writing is the questions I asked, the regular writing is her responses, and the bold italic writing are my comments about her answers.

1, Would you please describe your book, If the Magic Fits, in seven words?

Magic, Dresses, Adventure, Intrigue, Humor, Fun, & Dragons

2. The sequel, Ghost of a Chance, releases in July! Can you tell us all a little about it?
Ghost of a Chance digs deeper into Darling’s burning questions: What is the magic? Where did it come from? And most importantly: What is it doing in the castle? When things go missing around the castle, everyone is on edge. Then Darling and Roger think they spot a ghost. Could it be the thief? It’s time to grab a dress and go looking for ghosts and answers!

3. Random question! What's your favorite color? 
Blue! Most of the time, but some days…I catch myself leaning towardsPurple.

Blue is my favorite, too!

4. If you're able to talk about it, what are you working on now?

Copy-edits for book three, The Starlight Slippers, so excited about this book! Creating 18-inch versions of the 100 dresses for my website (check out the Candace’s closet page!). And shopping for that perfect dress. I know it’s out there! I just have to find it.

I love the title of the third book! :)

5. What are some of your favorite Middle Grade Books?

Three Times Lucky series by Sheila Turnage (I love Mo LoBeau)
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
I like adventure, magic, and a little spying in my books. Throw in a fancy dress or two, and well, I just can’t resist.

A Snicker of Magic I love! :)


Author bio: Susan Maupin Schmid is the author of If the Magic Fits, the first in the 100 Dresses series from Random House. If the Magic Fits is a Junior Library Guild selection. The second book in the series, Ghost f a Chance, will be available on Jul 25th. The Starlight Slippers follows in July of 2018. Susan has a particular weakness for good books, good coffee, and beautiful dresses. You can connect with Susan on SusanMaupinSchmid.com or on Twitter at @maupinschmid.


Here are a few links:



Now for the giveaway! :)

Information and Rules:
Giveaway runs between May 15th through May 28th.
Enter using the rafflecopter below.
There will be one winner! 
Afterward I will contact the winner to get the information for the author, the winner will have 48 hours to reply.
If the winner does not reply within 48 hours, I will draw a new winner.
The author is the one responisible to get the prize to the winner.
US only

No cheating! 

And good luck! :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway