Author Spotlight: Darcy Miller Talks About Margot and Mateo Save the World

Margot and Mateo | Author Spotlight | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Darcy Miller and her middle grade novel MARGOT AND MATEO SAVE THE WORLD.

Title:  Margot and Mateo Save the World

Genre:  Middle Grade Science Fiction

Age Range:  8-12

Launch Date:  July 3, 2018


Please tell us a little bit about your book.

In Margot and Mateo two, unlikely middle school friends race to save the world from an alien slug invasion! It contains, among other things: a mysterious beached whale, a bumbling scientist, an ill-fated middle school production of “Romeo and Juliet”, alien goo, and salt. Lots of salt.

 What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

My husband, Ben, and I were on a lunch date at a sushi restaurant early last year, and happened to sit next to a mother and her daughter. The daughter, who was probably about nine years old, had blue-streaked hair, gold flash tattoos, and was ordering eel for lunch. She had more self-confidence in her little finger than I did in my entire body, and I was blown away by her. Right away, I knew I wanted to write a book with a heroine like her: a girl who was strong, and smart, and capable of doing anything she wanted to do, including saving the world.

 Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I have two small children at home, so every minute of writing time is precious! I wrote my first book almost entirely in the middle of the night, typing one-handed while breastfeeding. (I can still type over 70 WPM with one hand!) Our youngest son just started 4K last year, so for the first time, I had two and a half hours to write uninterrupted every day. I still try to steal every minute I can, though; I’ve been known to hide behind our kitchen counter with a notebook . . .

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

The setting for my first novel, ROLL, is actually a thinly-veiled version of my hometown, in southern Minnesota. When I went back to do a library presentation about ROLL for the first time, SEVEN of my elementary/high school teachers came out to support me. Almost every single one of them mentioned how I always had a book with me at school, and how they knew I would go on to be a writer. So while it wasn’t one teacher or librarian in particular, I was incredibly lucky to grow up with people who believed in me, and made me believe in myself.

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

One of my biggest pet peeves about middle grade fiction is when stories get labeled as “boy” or “girl” books! There’s a misconception that action books are just for boys. With that in mind, I had a single goal for MARGOT AND MATEO: to write the most off-the-wall, hilarious, action story that I could, featuring a fearless girl heroine in the lead. My hope is that MARGOT AND MATEO will appeal to everyone, especially reluctant readers!

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

Paws down, my favorite dog in the world has to be our puppy, Snake! (Our four-year-old named her after a dream he had.) She’s pretty much the greatest thing to ever happen to us, and has already tripled in size since we got her! Now if we can just get her to stop chewing the siding off our garage . . .

Darcy Miller and Snake | Author Spotlight | www.patrciabaileyauthor.com

 

Darcy Miller | Author Spotlight | www.patrciabaileyauthor.comDarcy Miller is the author of Margot and Mateo Save the World and Roll. She lives in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, with her two children and librarian husband. You can visit Darcy online at www.darcyamiller.com. She is @DarcyAMiller on Twitter, and @darcyannemiller on Instagram.

You can pick up a copy of MARGOT AND MATEO SAVE THE WORLD at your favorite indie bookstore or online on July 3, 2018.

You might want to check out Darcy’s other book, ROLL, too. (Trust me, you do). You can read my rave review below:

RollRoll by Darcy Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s so much to love about Darcy Miller’s MG debut. Ren is likeable and funny – and his worries and doubts are so easy to relate to. Sutton is smart and self-aware, and has the coolest hobby ever – training roller pigeons. Together, they face a summer of change in heartfelt and interesting ways.
Funny, engaging, and ultimately full of hope – Roll tackles the very real issues of growing up (and maybe growing apart) in an authentic way. A wonderful read.

View all my reviews

Thanks, Darcy!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Middle Grade Book Love: The Frame-Up

One very cool thing about having writer friends is that you get to read their new books before they are released into the world – which is how I got a sneak peek at Wendy McLeod MacKnight’s latest middle grade mystery, THE FRAME-UP.

I was lucky enough to befriend Wendy last year, as we navigated the debut author world together. I interviewed her then about her novel, IT’S A MYSTERY PIG-FACE, and got to interview her again last month over at the From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog about her latest novel, THE FRAME-UP, a book that quickly became one of my favorite middle grade reads.

Middle Grade Book Love | The Frame-Up | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comWhen Sargent Singer discovers that the paintings in his father’s gallery are alive, he is pulled into a captivating world behind the frame that he never knew existed.

Filled with shady characters, devious plots, and a grand art heist, this inventive mystery-adventure celebrates art and artists and is perfect for fans of Night at the Museum and Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer.

There’s one important rule at the Beaverbrook Gallery—don’t let anyone know the paintings are alive. Mona Dunn, forever frozen at thirteen when her portrait was painted by William Orpen, has just broken that rule. Luckily twelve-year-old Sargent Singer, an aspiring artist himself, is more interested in learning about the vast and intriguing world behind the frame than he is in sharing her secret.

And when Mona and Sargent suspect shady dealings are happening behind the scenes at the gallery, they set out to find the culprit. They must find a way to save the gallery—and each other—before they are lost forever.  

With an imaginative setting, lots of intrigue, and a thoroughly engaging cast of characters, The Frame-Up will captivate readers of Jacqueline West’s The Books of Elsewhere.

 

The Frame-UpThe Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite reads this year. Wendy McLeod MacKnight blends humor, mystery, heart, and art in this fun and intriguing middle grade novel. Great characters abound – both inside and outside of the paintings. And MacKnight keeps the mystery tight and the plot moving while mixing in just the right amount of relationship/family problems. Clever. Innovative. Great writing. And a fun read. This one is timeless.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • Humor. It’s funny! Smart characters and great, imaginative situations.
  • Pictures that come to life – and have a life.
  • A great mystery.

For teachers

  • Art. Lots of it. Real life masterpieces, art theory, and art history come to life in this book.
  • A fun boy/girl friendship.
  • A good depiction of the difficulties of staying with your non-custodial parent.

THE FRAME-UP is available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

KIT won an Oregon Book Award!

Winner winner, avocado-toast dinner!! (It was Portland after all).

2018-oba_media-kit_facebook01THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN won an Oregon Book Award! Specifically the ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE. (Want to learn more about Eloise Jarvis McGraw?Just click here).

I’m still stunned, but mostly I’m incredibly grateful.

The day to day of writing is mostly a solitary thing, but the the job of getting a book out into the world requires a lot of support. I’m so grateful for my friends, my family,  my agent, and my editor who all helped me write a book that people enjoy. It really does take a village. I only hope I give as good as I get.

I shared a lot of thanks in my speech that night – a speech I never imagined I’d have to give. I thought I’d share it here on my blog, too, for those of you who didn’t make it to the awards ceremony. *Note:  this may not perfectly match the deer-in-the-headlights, stammering speech I actually delivered in a state of shock that night. 🙂 But it’s pretty close to what I hope I said.

“I really didn’t expect it could get any better than seeing my little book on a list with so many authors whose work I enjoy and admire. To my fellow Children’s Lit. Finalists:  Kurt, Diane, Elizabeth, and Cynthia – your work is everything that is wonderful in kidlit. I’m honored to be in your company tonight.

As my character Kit learns in my book, you may start your journey alone, but it really takes the help of friends – both likely and unlikely – to get you where you need to go. And with that in mind, I have some folks to thank:

First Literary Arts. You championed this book far longer than you might know. First, with your Author Tours that brought workshops led by real life authors to my little town on the other end of the state. Then with a generous fellowship that helped me revise my story into something an incredible agent and later an editor would want. And now this. I can’t even begin to express how truly grateful I am.

Second, I’d like to thank our glorious community of Oregon Authors. I don’t know what writers are like everywhere else, but writers in Oregon are amazing. *Hardworking, talented, kind, and incredibly generous and supportive. I’m forever grateful to you for letting me into your organizations, for answering my emails and posts with grace and kindness, and for being so danged inspiring. It’s an honor to be part of your community and a gift that I get to call so many of you friends.

And finally I’d like to thank my husband John who believed in this book from the beginning –  and who does all the really hard stuff – like cooking dinner and navigating Portland traffic. None of this happens without you.

Thank you all so much. I’m stunned and beyond thrilled.”

*I may have said freaking amazing at the event – because they really are.

It was a pretty spectacular evening spent with pretty spectacular people. You can read about the other Oregon Book Award winners at Oregon Live and check out the other finalists in the Children’s Book category here.

Thanks again to Literary Arts! You made my year.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Author Spotlight: Adrienne Young Talks About Sky in the Deep

Sky in the Deep | Author Spotlight: Adrienne Young Talks About Sky In the Deep | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Adrienne Young and her debut novel SKY IN THE DEEP.

Title:  SKY IN THE DEEP

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Age Range:  14+

Launch Date:  April 24, 2018

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book.

Sky in the Deep is the story of a young warrior named Eelyn who was raised to fight in a generations-old rivalry against an enemy clan. But in the midst of battle, she sees her brother fighting alongside the enemy – the brother she watched die five years ago. The story follows her journey as she confronts what she has always been taught and decides for herself how she wants to live.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I’m a huge lover of history and the Viking-age is always a time that has fascinated me. I was also going through a significant evolution personally when I wrote it and I think that a lot of that worldview shift is reflected in Eelyn’s story.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I am a research junkie and often spend a lot of time on it, even for things that are not writing related. I usually go overboard because I really enjoy it. As far as writing, I feel like every single story has been different for me. Sometimes they need to marinate before they ever get on the page and sometimes they hit my like a train and I can’t write them fast enough. That was the case for Sky in the Deep.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I had a high school literature teacher who had a huge impact on me as a teen. He treated me like an adult and like an intellectual equal, and that was transformative for me. I am so grateful for the influence he had on me. It made me a better, more confident writer.

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think there’s a lot of Viking culture to take away from it, even if its fantasy, but what I think is the real takeaway is the fierce female main character and her willingness to push against what is widely accepted as truth in order to discover a new way of seeing the world. I think we could learn a lot from her.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My brother has a dog named Savvy who was found on the side of the freeway and she is the most human-like dog I’ve ever met. She’s like a little baby and every time I see her I just want to hold her!

 

Adrienne Young | Author Spotllight: Adrienne Young Talks About Sky in the Deep | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAdrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

 

You can find Adrienne at her website or on Instagram and Twitter.

You can pick up a copy of SKY IN THE DEEP at your favorite indie bookstore or online on April 24.

Thanks, Adrienne!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Author Spotlight: Shaila Patel Talks About Fighting Fate

fightingfate_ebook-amazon-mediumToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Shaila Patel and her latest novel Fighting Fate.

Title:  FIGHTING FATE (Book 2 in the Joining of Souls series)

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance

Age Range:  14+

Launch Date:  April 5, 2018

 

FIGHTING FATE, Book 2 in the Joining of Souls series is a YA paranormal romance novel. How did you capture the feeling and mood of falling in love?

Mostly by pulling from my own teenage memories and those of my friends—both good and bad—and dramatizing them to capture the crux of all those “feels.” Who doesn’t remember the awkwardness, the insecurities, and the highs of first love? My teenage years certainly weren’t as melodramatic as scenes in my novel, but it’s not hard to remember how, as teenagers, we’d always felt like it was us against the world. Placing the story in a paranormal setting allowed me to add a bit more tension to the typical teenage angst of ‘first love,’ and I hope I struck the right balance between expressing the authentic teen experience and adding the spice of drama.

What kind of research went into crafting the world for the Joining of Souls series?

The largest bulk of the research went into learning Irish-English—its syntax, grammar, and slang. I went to Ireland twice for background and location-scouting (for Book 3), and I hope to go again someday soon! I tried to make Liam’s voice as authentic as possible, and even with the help of an Irish editor, I suspect it might not be enough for some readers and too much for others. It was a risk I had to take to be true to the story, though.

When creating a character’s personality do you use your friends/family/people around you as a base, or do you go in blind and develop it as you go?

Unlike some authors who develop a deep character profile from the start, I usually begin with a few basics and a general idea about where and how the character arc will go—starting with some emotional wound and determining how that’s affected the protagonist over the years. As for where I get my inspiration, there’s always that little something I take from the real people in my life. It could be a quirk that stands out to me, like how they smile, their speech patterns, or even a nervous habit. It might even be their personality and how it affects me. Does that person being talkative make me uncomfortable or does it put me at ease? Does my friend who over-analyzes everything become the voice in my head or does it irritate me—or both? As the characters develop, they dictate how they’ll react to different scenes, and I trust them enough to follow their lead. In the end, the resemblance to the real person who may have given me the inspiration is nowhere to be found. (Whew!)

 

Shaila Patel | Author Spotlight: Shaila Patel Talks About Fighting Fate | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAs an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever-after, Shaila Patel’s younger self would finish reading her copy of Cinderella and chuck it across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next. Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. SOULMATED, her debut novel and the first book in the Joining of Souls Series, was the winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards for Young Adult. Book 2, FIGHTING FATE releases April 5th, 2018. She loves craft beer, tea, and reading in cozy window seats—but she’ll read anywhere. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or gushing about her favorite books online.

You can find Shaila on her website or on social media at these sites:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub

You can pick up a copy of FIGHTING FATE online at:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

And you can learn more about SOULMATED (Book 1 in the in the Joining of Souls series) right here.

Thanks, Shaila!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

 

 

 

Middle Grade Book Love: The Last Great Adventure of the PB and J Society

I’m celebrating my birthday week by highlighting a great friend and a great book! (Bonus, this friend also shares a birthday month with me. Yay fellow Aries!) I read THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB AND J SOCIETY shortly after meeting Janet, and I knew immediately we were destined to by friends. She’s smart, funny, and thoughtful in all the best ways – and so is her book!

Middle Grade Book Love | the-last-great-adventure-of-the-pb-and-j-society | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comWhen her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, young Annie Jenkins is full of ideas to save the home: selling her appendix on eBay, winning the lottery, facing down the bankers . . . anything to keep Jason from moving. But Jason’s out-of-work dad blows up at the smallest things, and he’s not very happy with Annie’s interventions, which always seem to get them into more trouble. But when Annie tracks a lost treasure to Jason’s backyard, she’s sure the booty will be enough to save Jason’s family. Pirate treasure in the Midwest seems far-fetched, even to Annie, but it could be the answer to all their problems. Now all she has to do is convince Jason. As the two hunt for answers and the pressure gets to Jason and his family, Annie discovers that the best-laid plans aren’t always enough and there are worse things than moving away.

For readers

  • Humor. It’s funny with lots of laugh out loud moments.
  • A great friendship.
  • A main character who makes mistakes you can relate to.

For teachers

  • A smart, funny, and realistic handling of tough topics.
  • A fierce boy/girl friendship.
  • A detailed Discussion Guide.

THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB AND J SOCIETY is available now. You can pick up a copy online or at your nearest independent bookseller.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

A Roundup of My Posts at From the Mixed Up Files

If you hang out with me on social media you know I’ve been busy writing posts for the From The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog the last few weeks. (If you’re not hanging out with me, please, come on over and connect). It’s always fun to see my posts up on other sites, and even more fun to share them again on mine. With that in mind, I thought I’d do a little round up here on the blog in case you missed them.

The first post involved me nerding out to space exploration and Elon Musk’s roadster. It includes a list of space-themed middle grade books you’ll want to add to your want to read list.

starman-a-space-themed-middle-grade-book-list | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

The second post was a simple book list, filled with (nearly) all the new middle grade books coming out in March. (And there’s a lot. My to-read pile is seriously out of control). Here’s the list.

March New Releases | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Thanks for reading. And be sure to visit From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors. There’s a ton of great stuff for teachers, librarians, kids, and writers over there.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

Author Spotlight: Sarah Nicole Smetana Talks About The Midnights

It’s a brand new year in YA and Children’s Literature – which means it’s time to pass the debut author baton to a new group of writers. It’s a pleasure to welcome the Class of 2k18 and their debut novels into the world this year, and I’m extra pleased to get to feature some of them on my blog.

Author Spotlight | Sarah Nicole Smetana Talks About The Midnights | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Sarah Nicole Smetana and her debut novel THE MIDNIGHTS

Title:  THE MIDNIGHTS

Genre:  Contemporary YA

Age Range:  14+

Launch Date:  March 6, 2018


Please tell us a little bit about your book.

Taking place in Southern California, THE MIDNIGHTS is about an aspiring musician struggling to hold onto herself and her music after her father’s unexpected death uproots more than just long-buried family secrets.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

The simple answer is that the book was inspired by my experiences in the music scene as a teenager, as well as California in general. But as a coming-of-age story, I’d also say it was inspired by the process most teenagers go through of trying to figure out who they are, where they belong in the world, and how to best pursue their passions.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

The writing process was… long. I began this book, in earnest, about six months before I started my MFA program, and then it went through two years of writing and scrapping and rewriting and tearing apart the insides just looking for the real story. After figuring that out, it took a few more years to write the darn thing. And, all in all, I probably wrote hundreds of pages that were eventually deleted or reconfigured entirely. Seven years passed between the time I started really working on THE MIDNIGHTS, and now, when it’s hitting shelves.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

Ms. Kim, my AP English Lit teacher in high school. She’s married now and has a different last name but I will forever call her Ms. Kim. I had her class for 0 period my senior year, which was pretty rough because it was so early in the morning, but Ms. Kim was such an incredible teacher, so passionate and so fun. I didn’t actually do any creative writing there, but the class definitely expanded my love of reading. We tore apart these complex novels that I never would have understood or appreciated otherwise, and I think working like that—really isolating and assigning meaning to all the pieces in a work of fiction—helped guide me when I decided to start writing fiction of my own.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

Wow, this is a great question, and one I’ve never thought about! Other than it being a story about growing up and trying to figure out who you are (which I hope teen readers can identify with!), I think it would be a fun exercise to look closely at the setting as a literary device, and explore how it affects the protagonist and the story. The setting (and the weather in particular) was a big factor for me when writing, and it plays a very important role. We are, after all, a product of where we are raised. And sometimes, a place is really quite different from how it appears to an outsider.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I have two favorite dogs, but I’ll just talk about one: Juno, the white German shepherd that my parents got a few years before I was born. When I came into the family, Juno was already part of it—and this, I’ve always thought, was really special. I never knew the world without having a big, loving dog by my side. She was my best friend until I was about twelve, when she passed. I still miss her.

 

Author Spotlight | Sarah Nicole Smetana Talks About The Midnights | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSarah Nicole Smetana grew up in Orange, California, where she wrote songs, played in a few bands, and successfully pilfered all of her parents’ best vinyl records. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and her MFA in Fiction from The New School. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their three-legged cat. The Midnights (HarperTeen/HarperCollins) is her first novel.

You can find Sarah at her website and on:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Goodreads

You can pick up a copy at THE MIDNIGHTS at your favorite local bookstore on March 6, or pre-order online now.

Thanks, Sarah!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

 

 

I’m an Oregon Book Awards Finalist!

or-book-awards
I’m beyond thrilled to see my book on the list of finalists for this year’s Oregon Book Awards!

Five years ago, when I was trying hard to do the things I thought real writers did, I submitted 25 pages of a manuscript I was working on to the Oregon Literary Arts fellowship program on a whim. Miraculously, I was awarded the Edna L. Holmes Fellowship in Young Readers Literature. I used the monetary gift they so generously presented me to attend a retreat that helped me shape that manuscript into THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN. And now, that book is up for an Oregon Book Award! Talk about full circle.

It’s a real honor to be listed among the finalists for the ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE. The books are all incredible, and I wanted to give a shout out to each of them.


SHAKE A LEG, EGG by Kurt Cyrus

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | shake-a-leg-egg | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

From celebrated author-illustrator Kurt Cyrus comes a playful and whimsical picture book that celebrates the excitement and anticipation of a soon-to-be-born baby.

It’s springtime, and the pond is bursting with new life. There are beaver pups, heron hatchlings, and lots and lots of ducklings. Everyone is out and about, swimming, flapping, chirping, and quacking—except for one family of geese. When, oh when, will their last little one break on out and join the waiting world?

BRIDGE OF THE GODS by Diane Rios

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | bridge-of-the-gods | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTwelve-year-old Chloe Ashton is an only child living in the remote wilderness of Oregon. She spends her days happily exploring the forests around her home, and is astonished to find the animals seem to know her, to follow her, and even try to speak to her. When a family tragedy results in Chloe’s abduction and sale to the vagabonds, she is taken deeper into the woods, and finds out just how much the animals know.

Set at a time when technology is first touching the west, there is an evil rising in the land. The country is under attack, and all creatures, man and beast, must hide. The old legends speak of an ancient, natural magic deep within the mountains and rivers, and as Chloe struggles to survive, she finds that it still exists deep within the forests. Friendship can be found even in the darkest of places, and it doesn’t always come in human form.

Bridge of the Gods is a novel for all ages about the magical power of nature, and of finding friendship in the darkest of places.

THE  MUSIC OF LIFE by Elizabeth Rusch

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | the-music-of-life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAward-winning biographer Elizabeth Rusch and two-time Caldecott Honor–recipient Marjorie Priceman team up to tell the inspiring story of the invention of the world’s most popular instrument: the piano.

Bartolomeo Cristofori coaxes just the right sounds from the musical instruments he makes. Some of his keyboards can play piano, light and soft; others make forte notes ring out, strong and loud, but Cristofori longs to create an instrument that can be played both soft and loud.

His talent has caught the attention of Prince Ferdinando de Medici, who wants his court to become the musical center of Italy. The prince brings Cristofori to the noisy city of Florence, where the goldsmiths’ tiny hammers whisper tink, tink and the blacksmiths’ big sledgehammers shout BANG, BANG! Could hammers be the key to the new instrument?

At last Cristofori gets his creation just right. It is called the pianoforte, for what it can do. All around the world, people young and old can play the most intricate music of their lives, thanks to Bartolomeo Cristofori’s marvelous creation: the piano.

LIFE by Cynthia Rylant

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comCynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel explore the beauty and tenacity of life.

Life begins small, then grows…

There are so many wonderful things about life, both in good times and in times of struggle. Through the eyes of the world’s animals—including elephants, monkeys, whales, and more—Cynthia Rylant offers a moving meditation on finding beauty around us every day and finding strength in adversity. Brendan Wenzel’s stunning landscapes and engaging creatures make this an inspiring and intriguing gift for readers of all ages.

And (because I’m so excited I can’t resist):

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN by Patricia Bailey.

The Tragically True Adventure of Kit Dononvan | Patricia Bailey | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comLife in a 1905 Nevada mining town is not easy for any thirteen-year-old. For Kit Donovan, it seems downright impossible. When her mother dies of a fever, Kit is certain she is to blame. Guilt-ridden, she is determined to honor her promises to her mother—namely to be a “proper lady.” Only being a lady is tougher than it looks. When Kit discovers that Papa’s boss at the gold mine (the menacing and self-serving Mr. Granger) is profiting from unsafe working conditions in the mine, she convinces her dad to speak out. But sometimes doing the right thing leads to trouble. Now Kit must find a way to expose Granger’s misdeeds before it’s too late. Aided by an eccentric woman, a Shoshone boy, and a drunken newspaperman, Kit puts her big mouth and all the life skills she’s learned from reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to work. With a man’s hat and a printing press, Kit defies threats of violence and discovers that justice doesn’t always look like she imagined it would.

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 30. I can’t wait to meet everyone and fan girl my heart out.

oregone-book-awards-state-imagetransparent
In the meantime, be sure to cast your vote in the Readers’ Choice Award survey!

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

 

I Wrote a Picture Book!!

i-wrote-a-picture-book | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAbout two months ago I had a flash of an idea. One of those flashes that come unbidden and out of nowhere and demand you pay attention to them. So I paid attention because I learned long ago that these flashes are gifts – from the universe or the muse or just some part of the unconscious that’s particularly tuned in at that moment – I really don’t know. But I do know that they always lead somewhere interesting. This time the flash led me to do something I never thought I’d do:  I wrote a picture book!

I never had any plans to write a picture book. It looked hard. Too hard. I’ve read picture books. They are amazing. And impossible. Tell an entire story in 500 words or less and make it smart and funny, poignant and heartfelt, rich and beautiful. The best ones do all this and more.

Making Picture Book Magic | I wrote a picture book | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

But I had an idea, so when my friend Janet told me about Making Picture Book Magic and offered to retake the course with me, I signed up. Then I dove in with both feet, dedicating time every day to write my picture book. And thanks to Susanna’s awesome lessons, boosts of support from my classmates, and the added gift of Janet’s eagle-eye critiquing skills, I did it! I wrote a picture book. A complete one. And it might even be kind of funny. Maybe. But it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I honored the flash and took a chance and created something brand new. I played with ideas and tinkered with words and had a blast just writing – with no expectations beyond the simple act of creating something.

It was awesome! So awesome, I decided to lean all the way and challenge myself to write a picture book each month as part of the 12×12 Challenge.
I’m pretty sure it will be difficult and frustrating and exciting and loads of fun. All the best adventures are.

12-x-12-picture book challenge | I wrote a picture book | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

I’m excited to be starting 2018 with a completed picture book manuscript, a really fun middle grade work in progress, and a plan. It’s the end of January, what are you excited about?

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

TrishSignatureblue