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.

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Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

Kathy Ellen (who knows all the good books!) told me I would like this book if I liked walruses that waxed philosophical.

So…

Of course I had to read it.

Admittedly I didn’t actually know that my life was missing philosophical walruses before I read about Penguin Problems

And no, there is no title on the front, just penguins. Which confused me because sometimes I’m, apparently, overly conventional.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes! I laughed out loud the first time I read it and the girls keep returning to it for a bedtime book. The only drawback is when they went to bed tonight they tried to tell me they had “penguin problems” and they couldn’t possibly go to sleep!

You Don’t Want a Unicorn by Ame Dyckman and Liz Climo

Maybe you, like the mistaken boy in this story, think you want a unicorn  – but you don’t. 

We read all about those rotten unicorns, and trust us, you really don’t.

Would I recommend it? Well, if you are unconvinced and still want a unicorn you better read it so you can save yourself from the housebreaking woes, the shedding and the jumping…. oh the jumping…

 

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

I admit, I feel a kinship for this grumpy bear.

I am not so grumpy that I dislike sunny days and cute little animals (well at least not always), but like Bruce the bear I am rather fond of looking up recipes on the internet, I harvest local honey and I never eat my eggs raw.

And, like Bruce, I once thought that I didn’t want goslings.

And I, like Bruce, have also been followed around by ridiculously, stinking cute goslings until I loved them… even when they became grown up geese.

Bruce might be a grump, but I like him too.

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Would I recommend it? Yes! One of those pictures books that kids and adults will enjoy reading. (And the goslings really are ridiculously, stinking cute!)

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Once again there is a picture book in the house that has me pulling books out of unsuspecting visiting grandmother’s hands in order to replace it with this one. Because if you are visiting this week and you are only going to read one book to the girls, this is the one you want to read.

Of course this is a retelling of the classic Goldilocks story.  I’m sure you remember her, she’s that blond girl that never “listened to anyone or anything.” And while I can practically guarantee adults and children alike will enjoy this book, if you can work on your evil Norwegian Dinosaur laugh you’ll really bring extra life to the story.

Would I recommend it? Yes! Mo Willems has many good books but I think this is one of his best.

Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes by Margie Palatini and Barry Moser

“Here’s the plan.”…

Sort of like the sly, clever, smart fox (his words, not mine) in this book, I always have a plan. I’m a planner. I change my plans. I amend my plans. I make new plans. But there is always a plan.

The fox is plotting a way  to get some grapes and it’s trickier than expected. Undaunted, the fox keeps making new plans. I like this about him. But he also causes himself all sorts of extra difficulties because he doesn’t listen to the other animals who try to help him out. Never a good thing.

I like to think I make better plans and listen to other people better than the fox does. But John has taken to adding, “voila!… Grapes!” to the ends of my more complex ideas and “No grapes.” when things don’t pan out.

It seems I have a little work to do there, but don’t worry, I have a plan…

 

Would I recommend it? It’s my current favorite book to read out loud. It’s got phrases that have worked their way into our daily vocabulary. But, I have to tell you, it has a porcupine that claims to be able to shoot it’s quills.

It hurts me to read that to my children. I have to stop and remind them, porcupines don’t shoot their quills.

Ever.

But, I love the rest of this book so much I’m willing to overlook a quill shooting porcupine, it’s that good.

 

C.R. Mudgeon by Leslie Muir and Julian Hector

Would I recommend it?  

C. R. Mudgeon is a hedgehog!

(That meant yes.)

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(Did you need more?)

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C.R. Mudgeon gets a new peppy squirrel neighbor named – Paprika!

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(That was also code for yes.)

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(You still want more?)

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Mariachi band!!!

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(That’s all you get.)

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(For real.)

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( C. R. Mudgeon is waiting for you down at the library, go get him!)