Make Believe

In the world of make believe anything goes, right?

Except, maybe it doesn’t.

Even in make believe we, or perhaps just I, am only willing to suspend so much reality. Of course you can have magic, but it must have rules. Yes, butterflies can fly in snow, but they better still have six legs because they are still insects. And, as per a recent conversation on the book we are working on now, yes, you can have a snowman ride in a bike basket driven by a bee through the autumn woods without him melting… but that bee better be able to reach the pedals. Otherwise it’s just ridiculous.

Tooks (my illustrator), thinks perhaps I’m crazy (in a laughing, loving way.) She’s probably right – but I still think that there is a line to walk. If you are going to create a world with magic, it should have rules and magical realism needs to preserve a sense of “realism” or it devolves into utter nonsensical silliness. On the flip side you have to have some goofy silliness to make the magic work. Like I said, walking the line, though I’m willing to concede that my “line” is crooked and random as we create another book of “what if’s” and magic and we decide what is fun and what doesn’t make sense!

P.S. Visit booksforthebees.com and sign up for our newsletter for very occasional updates on our progress including tomorrow’s newsletter that will contain our whole ridiculous biking bee with a snowman conversation!

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Tom Wasp and the Seven Deadly Sins by Amy Myers

A Victorian London murder mystery being solved by a chimney sweep?

You have my attention!And once my attention was captured, this book kept it!

The characters were rich enough that I thought in the back of my mind that this must not be the first of the Tom Wasp books (Great news, it isn’t!) but wholly contained enough that I didn’t feel I was missing anything. The chimney sweep lifestyle and idioms were so well done I went out and found another book on chimney sweeps just so I could learn more. And the mystery was different enough to keep me flipping pages past bedtime.

Would I recommend it? A page turner that sent me to the library looking for more on the subject? Oh, and did I mention that it made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion? Really, what’s not to love?

Just in case it was unclear the answer to all those questions is, “Yes, get the book!” (Though perhaps you should start with the first one, it wasn’t necessary but it is definitely now on my “to read” list!)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Harry Potter with Sprinkles on Top

Clara hid under her blanket, then she popped back out, jumped up, walked around and climbed up to lay across back of the couch behind me. We were in the last two chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and she was a nervous wreck. She gasped and she giggled and she stopped me with frantic questions about what was going to happen next that I refused to answer. When we reached the final page she laughed and laughed, then asked if we could start book two tomorrow.

Reading a great book for the first time is magical.

Re-reading a wonderful book is like visiting an old friend.

 

And re-reading a book with a child is like combining the two but with sprinkles and a cherry on top.

When I was about Clara’s age I visited one of my aunts, all by myself, and she read me Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl.

It was the best thing ever.

I was old enough to have read it on my own but she read the whole thing out loud, her own love of the book shining through the reading. Of all the things we did together and of all the books I read as a kid that memory and that book have always remained a favorite.

If you don’t have a kid of the proper age borrow one. Read them one of your favorite books. Take a decadent amount of time to do so and give yourselves an experience with sprinkles and a cherry on top.

A Learned Woman

I have a four year degree, in theory it was awarded for my studies in biology.

It’s actuality I think it’s a degree in procrastination and late night cramming.

It worked then and it’s a skill I haven’t forgotten.

 

The current state of my table. Piling everything in one place counts as organization and preparation right?

This weekend I’m doing my first library program and with just one more night of cramming I should be prepared.

All I need is a beer and a package of ramen and I’ll feel 22 again.

The Dark Side of the Bright Side

I went to a book festival this weekend.

As an author. (Insert wide eyed, panicked emoji of choice here.)

I know, I know, I’ve had a book published for a few months now but I still had a hard time stopping myself from saying I was headed out to “pretend to be a real author.” (Don’t worry, all my friends and family have firmly scolded me for that phrase – you don’t need to too.)

Anyways, I went to a book festival as an author for the first time this weekend. I met some really interesting people. I met some really kind people. I listened to some excellent authors talk about bookish things.

It was in general pretty fabulous.

It was also exhausting.

I am not known for my small talk/meeting new people skills. I can do it but it takes a lot of courage. And book marketing… let’s not even dive in to the uncomfortableness that is hawking your book, your baby, that you worked for years on, to complete strangers who ask you questions like “Oh? Did you write this?” Its hard in a weird emotional way. But for every odd comment, “oh… how… whimsical…” there was a wonderful one. “So this is really an art book!!!” And those that passed by without interest were balanced out by those who took them time to talk.

At the last presentation I attended a man used the phrase “The dark side of the bright side.” It wasn’t used in relation to book marketing. But I’m adopting it for that purpose. There is so much wonderfulness surrounding “What if Butterflies Loved Snow?” right now. It’s in stores- like real life, actual, walk down your street and open the door stores- that’s amazing! People are asking me to do library programs and school visits- that’s terrifying and also super duper awesome. My story is getting into the hands of children just like I one day hoped and that still gives me chills. But the work to get it there- the cold calling on stores, the preparing for library programs, the follow up calls and pushing my product at people who haven’t even asked about it. That’s the dark side of the bright side.

Oh but that bright side is shiny, and the dark isn’t so dark the more I do it.  So if you need a guest post on your blog, want to interview me about my book, have a store I should contact, an idea I should track down, let me know.

I’m working through the dark side and when it gets to be too much, I remember, that even at it’s darkest, I’m still on the bright side.

The Executioner’s Face by Jerry Johnson

If you’ve been a long time reader of my blog you might not be too surprised to see another review of a Jerry Johnson book here. I found him blogging about bird hunting and I have gathered his books as they were released. They are predominantly essays full of dogs and birds, old guns and wild country and I have enjoyed sharing them all with family and friends. His newest work of fiction is out and it is another hunting story… of sorts…

The hunters in this book are professional executioners that prowl the streets looking for felons in a post plague world where there isn’t the energy, manpower, or time to run the Chicago court system as we know it.

Would I recommend it? This is one of those books where it’s hard to shake the characters. When I finished this book I set it down, breathed for the first time in what felt like hours and have spent the last few days feeling as though the characters were riding on my shoulders. They are just hanging with me, waiting to see if and when I would judge them for their actions. They have stuck with me waiting to see, not if I cast their character in black or white, but rather what shade of grey they might be.  I’m finding it hard to shake them. The only cure I can think is that someone else needs to read this book so that we can talk about it together. So, go on! Order it and then tell me when you’ve read it, we will need to talk!

 

The Rose Thief by Claire Buss

Stealing roses might not seem like such a crime but some foolish person (the Emperor, may he live forever and ever) had the real meaning of love linked to a red rose growing in his garden.

I’m with the main character, Thief-Catcher extraordinaire, (or at least quite good) when he says, “What bloody idiot decides to tie love to a bloody flower.”

36386711Perhaps the Emperor (may he live forever and ever), was an idiot to bind love to a flower but the story that follows makes me glad he did!

Would I recommend it? Is irreverent fantasy humor a genre yet? If it is, file this book with it’s thief catching team of a stinky sprite, luscious tree nymph, spying firefly and a pair of spell casters right in the middle of it along with Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony and A. Lee Martinez. Likewise if you are a fan of the aforementioned authors you might want to pick this one up!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!