Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Good News from the Online Author Visits Team!

Gator_jktDRAFwebErik Brooks happily welcomed his newest picture book, Later, Gator! (Sterling) into the world on July 19th. He was also excited to participate in the recent International Literacy Association Conference in Boston, MA, both as an exhibitor for the Alaska Wilderness League (continuing to share his Polar Bear Post Card Project with teachers and librarians around the country!) and as a presenter for the Children’s Book Council’s “Humor in Children’s Literature” discussion. Erik and fellow Children’s Choices selection recipient Paul Czajak, both talked about the role of humor in their work in advance of the Council’s official presentation of the 2016 Children’s Choices list. More specifically, Erik’s artwork in The Runaway Tortilla (Graphic Arts), by Eric Kimmel was the subject of his talk.


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Haunted Library 8

The Hide & Seek Ghost, which is book 8 in Dori Hillestad Butler‘s Haunted Library series,  releases on August 16. Book 8 was originally supposed to be the end of the series, but Dori is happy to report there will be a book 9 (The Ghost at the Movie Theater, which will be out February, 2017) and a Haunted Library Super Special (The Underground Ghosts, which will be out July 2017)

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Laurie Ann Thompson traveled to Orlando last month for the ALA Annual Conference, where she was presented with the Schneider Family Book Award for Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.

She was also the keynote speaker, via Skype, at f893c-be2ba2bchangemakerthe Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies, a one-week summer camp program held in West Seneca, NY, dedicated to providing in-depth human rights education for local high school students and teachers. This summer’s theme was “What You Do Matters—Be a Changemaker.”

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Ta da! It’s a cover reveal for Trudi Trueit‘s new tween novel, MY TOP SECRET DARES & DON’Ts (Aladdin MIX). It’s the story of 12-year-old Kestrel Adams, an American, who heads north of the border to help save her grandmother’s ski lodge from developers. To succeed, she’ll have to battle a pair of evil twins, save a rock star dangling from a ski lift, and hope a little luck hops her way. DARES & DON’TS is set for publication in the spring of 2017 and is Trudi’s third title for Aladdin MIX. To read more about the book or see Trudi’s other MIX and middle grade titles, visit


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Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub have two new books out in August in their co-written Goddess Girls and Grimmtastic Girls series: Goddess Girls #20: Calliope the Muse and Grimmtastic Girls #8: Gretel Pushes Back.

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And if you happen to be at the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) Writer’s Conference this weekend, come hear Dori Hillestad ButlerDia Calhoun, Clare Hodgson Meeker, and Lisa L. Owens at noon on Saturday. We’ll be sharing our own personal tales of struggle and triumph on a panel entitled “Warrior Stories: True Tales of Survival in the Writing Biz.”



Summer Explorations

Summer is the time to explore. Time for kids to play outside and to dive into the books on their summer reading lists.

reading poster

Summer is also time to explore hidden talents and try out dreams. Many teens cherish secret dreams of writing their own stories and novels someday. That someday can be now if they are lucky enough to live near a gifted, generous author like Molly Blaisdell.


In Molly’s words, “Where is a teen going to learn the truth about being published in a university town deep in the heart of Texas? TEENSPublish is a program to help teens do just that. They join for eight weeks over the summer to write and produce an anthology. We want world-class programming but have a budget for Skittles not visiting authors.  What a great moment when Janet Lee Carey agreed to meet with our group and share some of her insight into writing!  A large screen TV was purloined for a few hours, and it was a paired with a laptop the size of a giant cereal box.  With our technology in place, Janet magically Skyped in on the screen (larger than even life).”

Molly B class 4

It was great to see all the faces. Questions flew. We got right down to the work of taking apart the writing process, talked about using a journal to plan stories and solve story problems. We touched on the necessity of daydreaming. Something writers simply have to do. It’s part of the job!

Molly B class 2

We explored the nitty-gritty of revising. Yes, published authors revise. A lot. Most of us donate to forestry projects in abject apology to the trees.

Janet and tree branches 2016

Plant a Billion Trees Giving Back page

We all laughed about how hard it is to start page one. Most authors fear the blank page. I shared the fact that I edit my page hundreds of times. It is always the last thing I’m desperately trying to perfect. I work on it up to the last possible moment when the book is in galley form and authors are supposed to keep their hands off! Publishers have to snatch it out of my hands. I don’t let go easily. My advice to those who were stuck on the “right wording” for their openings? “Just go ahead start writing. You will, no doubt, go back and change the opening anyway.”

Chapter One
Falcon Moon – April 1210

         Knife in hand, I crouched under the willow. Father’s dragon skimmed over the river; her crimson scales blazed blood red across the surface. Her searing cry rang through the valley. Dragons live more than a thousand years; their turning eye sockets allow them to look forward and back, seeing past and future, patterns in time we humans can never see. My eyes were fixed on smaller things.
        Today he will tell me. Today I will know.

dragon moon in garden fan pic

After sharing some of my book covers, we discussed the challenges of fantasy. The young writers fired off questions about world building. I could see how aware they were of the exciting and arduous process, and how much they already knew about the complexity of creating new places, societies, cultures, and languages. We discussed the important role research plays in world creation. Fantasy worlds must feel real to the reader. I have shelves of books on life in medieval times for my Wilde Island trilogy. Currently, I’m researching marine life for the undersea scenes in my new work-in-progress. I shared how using songs and symbols can help create a sense of a particular culture or tradition. Another writer said drawing characters helps her begin to imagine the story and the world. During their eight-week course, the class will be creating maps of their fantastical worlds—another helpful way to get into world building.

world building free photo

It was such a pleasure to visit this group of young writers in College TX. I couldn’t fly down to meet with them in person, but Online Author Visits made it all possible. The hour passed far too quickly. I caught the students’ contagious enthusiasm for all parts of the writing process. These teens are smart, inquisitive, and committed to learning the craft. We all clapped when the time was up.

Molly B class 1

Molly Blaisdell “Our group of young writers with burning questions listened and learned. This interactive interview had an informal vibe that suited teens perfectly. Janet shared her books, her humor, and her best advice. The teens had glowing eyes, nodding heads, and more mojo than ever to produce masterworks.”

Special thanks to Online Author Visits for making this magic hour happen, to author and writing teacher Molly Blaisdell for the Skype invitation to TEENPublish, and to Kendra Perkins, Librarian, Larry J. Ringer Public Library, College Station, TX, for helping the setup and for joining in on the Skype visit.

So, OAV readers, here’s a deal!
I’m offering a free Summer Skype to the first OAV reader who pipes up here in “comments.” The secret word is snag as in “I’m going to snag this!” Comment with that word and you’ll snag it. Once snagged, head to my website, click “contact” and email me to set up the Skye visit. Voila!

Summer and Beyond
I’d also love to visit your library, classroom, book group, or writing group to talk about books, the power of story, and the joys and challenges of writing. Hope to see you on my small screen soon!

Portrait photos of Janet Lee Carey in Redmond, WA. Grasslawn Park.
Janet Lee Carey grew up in the bay area under towering redwoods that whispered secrets whenever the wind blew. She is the award-winning author of nine novels for children and young adults including her newest release, In the Time of Dragon Moon book three of the Wilde Island Chronicles. Her books highlight the courage of children and teens and explore the challenges of staying true to your values while following your dreams. School Library Journal starred review calls her work, “fantasy at its best–original, beautiful, amazing, and deeply moving.”