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Archive for the 'No Castles Here' Category

I’ll be at the July 6th Book Fest at the Guilford Free Library!

Friday, June 24th, 2016

July 6th Author Fest 2016

Click on the image to register!…

A call for submissions: New Voices in Children’s Literature

Monday, October 17th, 2011

When I first started out as a writer, I steeled myself for rejection. I knew it could take a while before anything I wrote was published. But as months rolled into years, and the rejections piled up, my confidence began to flag.

Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children's LiteratureIn 2001, word got around of a new children's book contest: the Tassy Walden Awards, New Voices in Children's Literature. It was juried by reputable agents and editors from large publishing houses, and winners were given a small cash prize. Why not, I thought.

My manuscript for a young adult novel came in as a finalist. I submitted a middle grade novel the following year, and that also came in as a finalist. Two years later I submitted a third novel, and that one didn't even place.

Now you'd think that would have soured me—three novels, three rejections. But it didn’t.

See, coming in as a finalist meant that the agents and editors who read my manuscripts thought they had promise. The criteria they were using was whether the submissions were of a professional quality. Winners were the best of the bunch—and some years they decided not to chose any winners because no one reached a high enough standard for the category. That I had placed two years in a row meant that I should keep going. That I didn’t place two years later meant I needed to put more work into what I was doing.

And more work is what I did. The result: one of the manuscripts that came in as a finalist became No Castles Here. The one that didn’t place at all became Come Fall. Both have received starred reviews, and I have a third novel ready for release in February, 2012.

The Tassy contest does something many contests don’t: it makes you step up to a publishable level. Winning doesn’t guarantee that what you write will be published, but submitting forces you to reach a professional standard. That is no small thing.

The 12th annual Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children's Literature is now open for submissions. The competition is open to unpublished Connecticut writers and illustrators. This year has five submission categories: picture book (text only), illustrated picture book, children's book illustrator's portfolio, middle grade novel, and young adult/teen novel. The deadline for submissions is February 3, 2012.

For more information, an entry form, and the …

Kidlit4Japan benefit auction this week

Sunday, March 20th, 2011


If you like children’s literature and you’re looking for a way to help folks in Japan, you can make a donation that will benefit children affected by the earthquake and tsunami while also purchasing  some neat children’s literature swag.

Beginning at 9AM EDT on Monday March 21st, the Kidlit4Japan site  will feature a children’s and YA auction to benefit the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Dozens of authors and illustrators have contributed thousands of dollars worth of signed books, virtual author visits, critiquing services, artwork, and even a few opportunities to name a character in an upcoming book!

Through the auction process over the next couple weeks, they hope to turn these donated items into much-needed funds for the UNICEF U.S. Fund. They are targeting relief efforts specifically to the needs of children in the affected area of Japan, using methods refined during decades of disaster response campaigns around the world. (Bidders outside the United States may choose to donate to an alternate aid organization based in their own country instead.)

Bidding will be open on each item for 3 to 5 days. If you’re interested in A.C.E. Bauer related stuff, I’ve donate signed first edition copies of No Castles Here and Come Fall, and the audio production of No Castles Here in a 5-CD set. They’ll be up on the rotation from Friday March 25 @ 2:00PM EDT to Tuesday March 29 @ 2:00PM EDT.

The link again for the auction: http://kidlit4japan.wordpress.com/. Thanks for your help!

UPDATE: The items put up for auction on Friday March 25, including No Castles Here, Come Fall, and the No Castles Here audiobook, will be up for bid till Wednesday March 30 (and not Tuesday, as I originally posted). …

Another book party!

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Amy_alone.JPG I am very fortunate to be friends with Amy Eppler-Epstein. She and her family have provided me with encouragement and support throughout my writing career. Years ago, she promised me, “When you’re published, I’ll throw you a book party.”

answering_questions.JPG And she did, when No Castles Here was published. We had so much fun, she told me, “Let’s do this again!”

Far be it from me to let her down.

Last week she and her family hosted another party, this time to honor Come Fall. I saw many old friends, read a few chapters, answered a bunch of questions, and signed books. Profits from the sales went to Read to Grow, a literacy program for children in Connecticut. R.J. Julia Booksellers supplied the books and made the donations possible.

cake_and_book.JPGOf course, no birthday party is complete without cake. Take a look at what Amy baked for us.


Thank you Amy, all the Eppler-Epsteins, and all those who contributed to Read to Grow. You guys are the best.

Photo credits go to Steve Eppler-Epstein.…

Some nice nods

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I’m happy to report that the Waterloo Public Library in Waterloo, Ontario chose Come Fall for its August 5th Sizzling Staff Selections among new children’s books. Thank you Waterloo Public Library!

Meanwhile, blogger Debbie Winkler gave No Castles Here a wonderful review in her July 29th posting. Thank you Debbie!…

Tassy reception

Monday, May 17th, 2010

This Wednesday May 19, 2010, at 7:00 p.m., the Shoreline Arts Alliance will host this year’s award ceremonies for the Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children’s Literature at the Blackstone Library in Branford Connecticut. It’s the 10th anniversary of the awards, and I have been asked to speak for a few minutes about how the awards affected me. (No Castles Here came in as a Tassy finalist in 2002, under the title The Last of the Fairy Godmothers and another manuscript was finalist the year before.)

My congratulations to this year’s winners, Karen Jordan (picture book, text only), Diane Warner (illustrated picture book), Pamela Farley (middle grade novel), and Lynda Mullaly Hunt (young adult/teen novel).


A heartwarming review

Monday, August 17th, 2009

School Library Journal had some nice things to say about the audio book for No Castles Here. They liked the novel, calling it a “heartwarming, wonderfully written story,” and enjoyed John Mayer’s narration. You can read the whole review here.…


Saturday, April 11th, 2009

April is a busy month.

On Saturday April 18 at 1:00 p.m., at the Barnes & Noble in North Haven Connecticut, I will run a workshop for teachers on sparking ideas for their middle grade and young adult students. Then from 1:30 to 3:00 I’ll read from and sign paperback editions of No Castles Here.

On Saturday April 25, from 3:00 to 4:00 at the NESCBWI “Many Voices” conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, I will present a workshop entitled “Dealing with White Default.” The conference promises to be very interesting.

Then on Wednesday April 29, from 9 a.m. to 12:15, I will be at the Korn School in Durham, Connecticut for their Writers’ Jubilee. I will teach two workshops for third and fourth graders on “Sparking Ideas for a Story.” That should be a whole lot of fun!

If you are at any of these events, come on over and say hello! I’d love to meet you.…

Available in CD format too

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009


Well, what do you know. No Castles Here is also available in a five CD set from Books on Tape.

I am tickled.…

And while we’re talking about reviews. . .

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

It’s funny how I find out about some reviews quickly (like when Kirkus gave No Castles Here a star — yay!), and some get buried.

BookList isn’t exactly a small potatoes reviewer. And yet I only found out today that they reviewed NCH back in December 2007. Yup. Over a year ago. And it’s really very nice, saying, among other things, that it’s a “heartwarming novel.”

The full text on the BookList site is only available by subscription, but this website reprinted the review here, with permission. (Many, many thank yous!)…


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