Saturday, June 11, 2016

Writing From the Inside Out. . . ANNOUNCING THE LUCKY WINNER of EXPLORE FORCES and MOTION

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for the great turn out this past week! Random.org picked a LUCKY WINNER of EXPLORE FORCES AND MOTION. 

                                          *****CONGRATULATIONS*****

                                                      SHEILA RENFRO

Sheila, Please e-mail me (claragillowclark(@)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and to whom you'd like your book personalized. Your book will be shipped asap. Thank you!


Forces and Motion (Nomad Press, June 14, 2016
Everything moves! Kids run around the
playground, cars drive on the road, and balls fly through the air. What causes all this motion? Physics! Forces and motion rule the way everything moves through space.

Using a theme familiar to everyone—motion—this book captures the imagination and encourages young readers to push, pull, twist turn, and spin their way to learning about forces and motion. 25 GREAT PROJECTS for Kids!!!





MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Jennifer Swanson and Miranda Paul will team up again in 2017 to present their workshop The Nuts and Bolts of Science Writing. March 30-April 03 for the HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION www.highlightsfoundation.org  (Scholarships available!)




Learn more about Jennifer and her fabulous books by checking out these links:
Author Jennifer Swanson
Website: http://jenniferswansonbooks.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Swanson-Books-254158324961/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenSwanBooks

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing about your writing journey and for donating your new book for the comment contest!



It's a busy summer with lots of book events for me, so I won't be back until August. You won't want to miss the Back-to-School AuthorFest with Book giveaways!

Enjoy your summer! ~Clara 



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Writing From the Inside Out. . . BOOK BIRTHDAY with JENNIFER SWANSON + GIVEAWAY

Dear Friends,

Please welcome the prolific, award winning author and my very dear friend, Jennifer Swanson! (Details for the book giveaway are at the end of the post!)

AUTHOR JENNIFER SWANSON
Author Bio: Science Rocks! And so do Jennifer Swanson’s books. She is the award winning author of over 25 nonfiction books for children. Her books in the "How Things Work” series by The Child’s World were named to the 2012 Booklist’s Top 10 Books for Youth. Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarians Workshop, Library Media Connection, the NSTA and a book in a series that was a JLG Selection. Jennifer's passion for science resonates in in all her books but especially, BRAIN GAMES (NGKids) and SUPER GEAR: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge).
You can visit Jennifer at her website: www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com.

Writing from the Inside Out. . .  Jennifer Swanson shares

When Clara asked me to write this blog post, I was SO thrilled. I have known her for many years and look upon Clara as a dear friend and mentor. She has read pretty much every manuscript I have ever written!

As I thought about my post and how to incorporate her theme, Writing from the Inside Out, with my writing journey, the first words that came to me were “Follow Your Path”. These words are very important to me, because I don’t feel as if I’ve had a “normal” path to publication. Or, perhaps, I should say it’s just not been a straight and smooth one.

I started my career thinking that I wanted to write a fiction picture book. It was an interesting choice for me, since I rarely read picture books, except to my children when they were small. You see, the “voice in my head”, (the writerly kind) is about 9 years old. That made writing picture books difficult for me. After a many unsuccessful attempts at writing fiction picture books, I kind of gave up. I had no idea where to turn.

Thankfully, I met Clara and she encouraged me to write older books. I began with an early chapter book series about two dogs who were pet detectives. It was called Penny and Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting. My book was published by a small, cooperative press, and won several awards, including a Mom’s Choice Award and The Dove Foundation Seal. I did two more books in the series, and yet, I wanted more.

It was at my second SCBWI conference where my writing life took a fateful turn. I met the late, great Elaine Landau. During the critique for my current WIP (a fiction picture book) she asked me, “Do you do anything else?” That is not exactly something you want to hear from your critique. . . and yet my response changed my life. I told her that I had just earned my master’s degree in K-8 science education and gotten a job as a middle school science instructor. Her response, “Why don’t you write science books for kids?” It made sense. After all, I was that kid who had started a science club in her garage at the age of 7.

And yet, I was shocked. I’d never before considered writing science books for kids. Well, why not? Elaine spent some of her valuable time teaching me how to create a work-for-hire package and send it out. So I did. Two months later, out of the blue, I got a call from an editor at Capstone Press offering me a two-book deal to write books about bugs. The next month I received a 5-book deal from a book packager. I was off! That was in 2010.

Since then, I have written over 25+ nonfiction books for kids. Many of them are about science, but I have also written a few history books, fiction picture e-books, fairytale e-books, standardized test questions and magazine articles.

What happened to my fiction? I still write it. I have finally decided to write “my age” and have completed three middle grade novels. None are published. Yet. But I am working hard on them. In between, there have been LOTS of rejections. There have been LOTS of joys. There have been some setbacks and frustrations. But my motto is NEVER GIVE UP.

So how do you find your path?
Allow yourself to think outside the box. Consider writing about things you loved as a kid.
Re-imagine yourself. Listen to that “voice inside your head.” Write all you can, wherever you can. Lose yourself in words.

If you hit a roadblock,
go through it
around it
over it
under it
but whatever you do, DON’T let it stop you.

Follow your path, wherever it leads. You just may surprise yourself.

                                               ***********************

BOOK BIRTHDAY for SUPER GEAR

REVIEW -- School Library Journal
Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up. Charlesbridge. June 7, 2016. Gr 6-9–This title provides a fascinating insight into the developing world of nanotechnology applications in sports. The opening chapter outlines concepts of molecular bonding, including an illustration of the crystalline structure of ice. The text then segues into a lucid explanation of the very different forces at work in extremely small carbon nanoparticles. Subsequent chapters examine changes wrought by nanotechnology in particular sports: football helmets that absorb more energy and could protect against concussion, shoes and track surfaces meant to improve running speed and reduce injury, golf clubs and tennis racquets that are stronger and lighter, and swimsuits designed in conjunction with NASA intended to reduce drag. The sports connections are tied to standout athletes, including swimmers Alia Atkinson and Michael Phelps, golfers Michelle Wie and Phil Mickelson, speed skater Shani Davis, and tennis champion Serena Williams. Sidebars and simple drawings illustrate important concepts in physical science, especially lift, turbulence, and drag. One “Super Fact” sidebar shows how a single-walled carbon nanotube is narrower than a human hair in the same proportion as the hair is to a typical house. A hitch is that the science is so new that some of the technology is unproven. A sidebar on Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt concludes that the effect of his nanotech shoes on his speed is unknown. VERDICT A highly engaging introduction to an exciting aspect of cutting-edge, real-world science for STEM collections.–Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA

SUPER GEAR chosen as 1 of 12 books recommended in the International Literacy Assn's Jump-Start That Summer Reading List
Review by ILA: SUPER GEAR is reader-friendly introduction to nanotechnology breaks down the science and describes the processes of nanomanufacturing in a clear and understandable way. Packed with photographs, diagrams, and text boxes, this book will appeal to athletes and sports enthusiasts—and the curious. 

Forces and Motion (Nomad Press, June 14, 2016) 


Everything moves! Kids run around the
playground, cars drive on the road, and balls fly through the air. What causes all this motion? Physics! Forces and motion rule the way everything moves through space.

Using a theme familiar to everyone—motion—this book captures the imagination and encourages young readers to push, pull, twist turn, and spin their way to learning about forces and motion. 




 
BRAIN GAMES is a 2016 International Literacy Association (ILA) Children's Choice selection!

For those of you that don't know about this, here is what it means:
"Each year 12,500 school children ages 5–12 from different regions of the United States read newly published children’s and young adults’ trade books and vote for the ones they like best. These Children’s Choices, selected from more than 900 titles, can be counted on as books children really enjoy reading."




QUICK: Name the most powerful and complex supercomputer ever built. Give up? Here’s a hint: It’s housed in your head and it’s the one thing that makes you YOU. Your brain is mission control for the rest of your body and steers you through life. Not bad for something the size of a softball that looks like a wrinkled grey sponge!

In this fascinating, interactive book -- a companion to the National Geographic Channel hit show – kids explore the parts of the brain and how it all works, brainy news nuggets from a neuroscientist, plus fun facts and crazy challenges. Purchase a copy here: http://amzn.to/1U4SkcR

SUPER GEAR chosen at 1 of 12 books recommended in the International Literacy Assn's Jump-Start That Summer Reading List
Review by ILA "SUPER GEAR is reader-friendly introduction to nanotechnology breaks down the science and describes the processes of nanomanufacturing in a clear and understandable way. Packed with photographs, diagrams, and text boxes, this book will appeal to athletes and sports enthusiasts—and the curious."

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Jennifer Swanson and Miranda Paul will team up again in 2017 to present their workshop The Nuts and Bolts of Science Writing. March 30-April 03 for the HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION www.highlightsfoundation.org  (Scholarships available!)

Learn more about Jennifer and her fabulous books by checking out these links:

Website: http://jenniferswansonbooks.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Swanson-Books-254158324961/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenSwanBooks

Jennifer is generously giving away a copy of her newest title, Explore Forces and Motion, released on June 14th. It's a perfect pick for summer fun and includes 25 science projects for kids! All you have to do for a chance to win an autographed copy is leave a comment for Jennifer about science or her inspiring post. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

Thanks for stopping by! Good luck. . .



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Celebrating my 200th Post with a Gift for YOU



Dear Writers,

 In celebration of my 200th post, I'm offering a discount on my editing fees for YA and MG manuscripts.

From today until July 4th, my rate of $4 per page is slashed to $2.50 per page. All you have to do to lock in that rate until the end of the year is to send at least a 25 page installment of your book with payment before 7/4/16.

The price of $2.50 includes a full edit and an editorial letter outlining what’s working and what may need a closer look--plot, story arc, character development, conflict, sub-plots, and more. If you have questions or concerns, you're welcome to send those along as well.    

In most cases, an edit will take from a week to ten days for a completed draft, but you can also submit in installments and pay as you go. You're welcome to send by regular mail or submit electronically. I accept payment through PayPal or by personal check. 

Want to learn more? Simply e-mail with your questions or to find out how and where to submit: claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com 

Special BONUS: The first two to sign up will get an additional discount of .25 per page on a completed manuscript

Thursday, May 5, 2016

ANNOUNCING THE LUCKY WINNERS OF GAZPACHO FOR NACHO!

Dear Readers,

Who are the lucky winners of GAZPACHO for NACHO? Is it you? It could be. 

                                          ***CONGRATULATIONS TO***  

WINNER #1:  Lynne Marie

WINNER #2:  Martin Segal

            Please e-mail me: claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and how you'd like your book personalized by Tracey. Please respond by 5/12/16 or a new winner will be chosen.  


THANK YOU, SENORA TRACEY KYLE for sharing insights and inspiration for GAZPACHO for NACHO and for generously donating TWO copies of your charming book! As Nacho would say……Olé! 

 Visit Tracey's website:  http://www.gazpachofornacho.com

 Order her book here: http://amzn.to/1VL6EsE
 
School Library Journal Review: K-Gr 3: This is the charming story of a picky eater who only wants one thing to eat - gazpacho. While most parents would be delighted if their children ate this Spanish vegetable-based soup, Nacho's mother desperately tries to offer him other dishes, including typical Spanish desserts, to no avail. In an attempt to get him to expand his culinary repertoire, his mother takes Nacho to the market; these illustrations will delight readers with large renditions of beautifully whimsical vegetables, such as vibrant green chiles and large plump tomates that will surely make an enticing and delicious soup. The text is integrated nicely on the spreads and easy to read. Though Latin inspired, this tale of a picky eater will resonate with many. It will make a fun read-aloud because of the rhyming text in addition to lending itself to interesting discussions about food, food avoidances, and trying new things. A recipe for gazpacho and a glossary of Spanish words with the language articles in parentheses are appended.—Maricela Leon-Barrera, San Francisco Public Library

Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by to join the gazpacho party. We really enjoyed your fun and thoughtful comments. 

I'll be back next week with something totally different! Author posts and giveaways will continue through the year! Author Jennifer Swanson is up next in June. Take it from me, she's fabulous! 
                                             Happy CINCO DE MAYO!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Writing from the Inside Out. . . Inspiration from Author Tracey Kyle + Picture Book Giveaway

Dear Friends,

How delighted I am to introduce my friend, Tracey Kyle! Tracey and I met last year at Highlights Foundation Summer Camp 2015 and we've stayed in touch ever since. Tracey shared her book, Gazpacho for Nacho, with me, and I fell in love with the warm colors and the zesty, rhyming text. As you can tell from her photo, Tracey has a warm heart and zesty personality. Her smile lights up everything around her! Thank you so much, Tracey, for being a guest on my blog, and thanks for being my friend.

Tracey has generously donated 2 copies of Gazpacho for Nacho for the comment contest! Please read to the bottom and leave a comment about Tracey's post for a chance to win.
Author Tracey Kyle

 Tracey Kyle grew up in New Jersey and spent much of her childhood reading and writing poems. She spends most of her time as "Señora Kyle," teaching Spanish to a lively group of 8th graders. Currently she lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, and when she's not writing lesson plans or working on a new story, she loves to read, cook and practice yoga.





Writing from the Inside Out. . .   Senora Tracey Kyle shares about her writing journey.

I was living in Madrid in 2004 with a group of Spanish teachers, studying art at the Prado and reading Spanish plays in cafés at the beautiful plazas around the city. It was hot. The sun in Spain is strong and while the heat is dry, it’s still 100 degree heat—or higher. And unlike Americans, the Spanish aren’t obsessed with air conditioning. Businesses prop open their puertas and everyone sits outside people-watching. I craved a cool breeze.

I had lived in Madrid as a college student many years earlier and had fond memories of my dear Spanish madre making a cold, tomato-based soup for me called gazpacho. Gazpacho varies in the different regions of Spain but the basic recipe is a mix of tomates and fresh vegetables. It’s delicious. It’s cool. It was the perfect sopa to eat that summer in Madrid.

At the local supermercado, they sell gazpacho in cartons like orange juice, so I bought a container and ate a cup for breakfast each day. At lunch, I ate another bowl, and at dinner yet again I ordered more gazpacho. “You should just take a bath in gazpacho,” a fellow teacher told me. By the end of the summer, I was back home blasting the aire acondicionado, frequenting our air-conditioned restaurants and driving my air-conditioned car.  But I still wanted gazpacho.

The idea for Gazpacho for Nacho didn’t come to me right away. I enjoyed writing, and had published a few books for Spanish teachers. I knew it was a long and frustrating process, but I had spent my childhood writing poemas and stories. While the idea of creating a children’s book was always there, it took a back-seat to my teaching responsibilities and my family. I realize now that I wasn’t ready.

“Gazpacho for breakfast, gazpacho for lunch,
gazpacho for dinner, for snacks and for brunch.”

These lines came to me in the middle of the night. I wrote them down in the notebook I’d been using to keep track of ideas as they occurred to me. That weekend I wrote the first of many drafts of Gazpacho for Nacho. It combined my love of Spain, the Spanish language and food. I spent the summer writing and rewriting. I joined the SCBWI, devoured books on “writing for children” and researched publishing companies. After six months, I submitted the story for publication to ten editors. By spring, I had received two rejections and hadn’t heard from the others. I told myself that I obviously wasn’t meant to be a writer and went back to planning lessons for my students, who at this point were the recipients of every creative idea I had. I was happy teaching, but the profesora in me was determined to teach kids about this yummy, cold sopa!

It was my husband who pushed me to dig out the story. A heavy snow fell that winter and we were out of school for a week. “You need to take out that manuscript,” he ordered, “and start writing again.” For eight hours a day, I worked on the story and researched editors who were interested in food, travel or multicultural picture books. Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish was one of those editors. Her letter arrived that spring, saying that she thought it would make a “cute story.” Have you sold it yet? she asked. It took two years of revisions and the process was slow, but Gazpacho for Nacho was finally published with Amazon Children’s Publishing (who eventually bought Marshall Cavendish) in 2014.

For a very long time, when people asked me what I did for a living, I said I was a middle-school teacher. “And I write when I have time,” I would add, as if the hours spent thinking about my story didn’t count, or the months spent writing and revising didn’t take up too much of my time. As I started going to conferences and attending writing workshops, I realized that I was a writer long before I was published. 

As Nacho would say……Olé! 
School Library Journal Review: K-Gr 3: This is the charming story of a picky eater who only wants one thing to eat - gazpacho. While most parents would be delighted if their children ate this Spanish vegetable-based soup, Nacho's mother desperately tries to offer him other dishes, including typical Spanish desserts, to no avail. In an attempt to get him to expand his culinary repertoire, his mother takes Nacho to the market; these illustrations will delight readers with large renditions of beautifully whimsical vegetables, such as vibrant green chiles and large plump tomates that will surely make an enticing and delicious soup. The text is integrated nicely on the spreads and easy to read. Though Latin inspired, this tale of a picky eater will resonate with many. It will make a fun read-aloud because of the rhyming text in addition to lending itself to interesting discussions about food, food avoidances, and trying new things. A recipe for gazpacho and a glossary of Spanish words with the language articles in parentheses are appended.Maricela Leon-Barrera, San Francisco Public Library
 
Interior spread of artwork
 
Don't you agree that Gazpacho for Nacho is a feast for the senses? What a treat for youngsters of all ages! And all you have to do for a chance to win an autographed copy of Tracey's book, Gazpacho for Nacho, is leave a comment about her post. Want to increase your odds? Tweet the post for an additional chance to win. Join my blog. Share on FB. Easy, right? The winner will be announced a week from today on cinco de mayo!
 
Author Tracey Kyle

Learn more about Tracey here:
    http://www.gazpachofornacho.com



Thanks, dear readers, from Tracey and me, for stopping by! As Nacho would say……Olé


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Writing from the Inside Out. . . Announcing the WINNER of EMPTY PLACES

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for stopping by to celebrate the Book Birthday for Kathy Cannon Wiechman and her new book, EMPTY PLACES! I'm thrilled to announce that I won a copy of EMPTY PLACES from Carol Balwdin's Blog: www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com  Carol features author interviews, book reviews, and holds giveaways, so it's a great blog for readers and writers to follow. Thanks, Kathy Cannon Wiechman, for sharing insights into the craft of writing historical fiction and for your wonderful books!

AND NOW. . . The Book Birthday WINNER, chosen by random.org, is: Marileta Robinson

         CONGRATULATIONS, MARILETA!!!! 
(Please send your mailing address, your choice of either EMPTY PLACES or LIKE A RIVER--read below for reviews of the two books)


Gr 4-8-This is another fine work of historical fiction by the author of Like a River: A Civil War Novel (Calkins Creek, 2015). Set in Kentucky during the Great Depression, this book is written from the viewpoint of 13-year-old Adabel. With their mother gone, Adabel and her siblings must deal with an alcoholic father who works in the coal mines. She struggles to remember her younger days with her mother and yearns to fill in the empty places in her memory. In this emotional read, Adabel searches to uncover her past and what happened to her mother, discovering some deep secrets along the way. Adabel worries about her brother Pick, who leaves the family after a physical altercation with their father. Adabel also has concerns about her older sister Raynelle's plans to marry. Dramatic moments, such as when Adabel's younger sister Blissie reaches into a fire to retrieve a treasured doll, will have readers on the edge of their seats. Written in dialect appropriate to the time period and geographical region, the story is told through short chapters with believable dialogue and unforgettable characters. Closing sections with author notes accompanied by historical photos and a bibliography provide interesting background information. VERDICT Wiechman offers a moving look at life during the Depression, family relationships, and coal mining. School Library Journal March 2016


LIKE A RIVER: A Civil War Novel
Author: Kathy Cannon Wiechman
Publisher:Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills
Kirkus *Starred* Review: The stories of three teens intersect in the later years of the Civil War in this debut novel. Fifteen-year-old Leander Jordan runs off to war from Ohio to prove he's a man. "Working in the foundry wasn't something to admire, not like being a soldier in uniform, a soldier who'd risk his life facing enemy guns. Pa had to see he was doing a manly thing." But he lands in a Southern hospital, where he befriends Paul Settles, another young Union soldier, who tends to his wounds. When they're separated, Paul ends up in hellish Andersonville Prison, where smallpox, scurvy and hunger plague the prisoners. There, Paul's friendship with Given McGlade, a fellow prisoner and Leander's neighbor from back home, helps keep them both alive. Though the prose is a bit florid early on, the stories are effectively related in twinned third-person narrative, and Wiechman's abundant research is unobtrusively folded into the tale. An excellent author's note provides further information about the times. Though the horrors of Andersonville and various Civil War-era events such as the Battle of Atlanta, Lincoln's assassination and the explosion of the steamboat Sultana provide wartime context, it's the secrets woven into the well-paced tale that will pull readers eagerly to the tearful conclusion. A superb Civil War tale of friendship, loyalty and what it means to be a man. (bibliography) (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Thank you, Kathy Cannon Wiechman, for sharing your writing wisdom with all of us. 
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman

Learn more about Kathy and her books by visiting her website: http://kathycannonwiechman.com

Next up is a picture book author with a real tasty treat you're sure to love! Thanks again, dear readers, for joining the celebration of books!!!


Monday, April 18, 2016

Writing from the Inside Out. . . A BOOK BIRTHDAY & GIVEAWAY

Dear Readers,

One of the great things about blogging is getting to introduce good friends and good books to all of you. In this post my friend, Kathy Cannon Wiechman, shares about some of the different ways she researches books.

Author, Kathy Cannon Wiechman is a former teacher of beginner French and Creative Writing and a Language Arts tutor. She is also a lifelong writer. Her 2015 novel, LIKE A RIVER, won the Grateful American Book Prize and was nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award. It is on Bank Street College Best Book list, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and earned a starred review in Kirkus. Her second novel, EMPTY PLACES, launched in April, 2016 with good reviews. (Kathy is generously donating an autographed copy of one of her books. For a chance to win, please leave a comment below. More details at the end of the post.)

Writing from the Inside Out. . .     Kathy Cannon Wiechman shares

Clara’s theme of Writing from the Inside Out is a perfect description of the way I go about creating a story. I always write from inside my main character. The whole story is seen through that character’s eyes, even if I tell it in third person.
   
Since I write mostly historical fiction, I travel to a lot of historical sites to get the proper perspective of the places my character sees. Those places have changed over the years, so I also look at old photos and read descriptions from folks from the past.
   
If my character lives in a home that is totally made up, I draw a floor plan, so I can picture it clearly in my mind. For a character who lives on a farm, I draw a map of that farm. I know where the pig pen is, the cornfield, and the tallest oak tree on the place. If I want a story to feel real to a reader, it must first feel real for me.
   
I also try to replicate sounds from the time period: the jangle of a mule’s harness, the crack of a rifle shot, the blast of a steamboat whistle. I want to be able to see what the character sees, hear what he hears, smell what he smells, and feel what he feels. When I wrote Like a River, my search for the smell of black powder led me to a lesson on how to load and fire a muzzleloader.

When I worked on Empty Places, I was introduced to a 1928 Model A Ford. I eventually had a chance to drive the vehicle. What fun! Here’s the excerpt from the book, Empty Places:
http://amzn.to/1SmLxZJ
"I don't know about this, Corky." The gas pedal was small and round. And near out'a reach of my foot.
     

"Just try. I'll tell ya when."
 

He disappeared behind the car, and I readied my foot on the clutch.
 

He yelled, “Now!"
 
I pressed the button on the parking brake, and moved the gear shift like Corky done showed me. I stretched out my leg to push on the gas. The engine made almost as much noise as Corky, who swore like the devil.

  
The writing begins when I can feel the character breathing inside me, when I can look down at that person’s hands and feet, feel what’s in the person’s pocket, and know that person’s fears, angers, and heartbreaks.
   
In Like a River, my character, Leander, has his arm amputated, so I talked to amputees. I learned about phantom pain from them. But I needed to know for myself how well Leander could swim when he had only one arm. My husband tied one of my arms behind my back and timed me while I swam that way. Surprisingly, I could swim almost as well with one arm as with two.
   
The biggest compliment I receive from readers of Like a River is, “I felt I was there with Leander and Polly.” That makes it worth going the extra steps to get inside those characters’ heads. And here’s hoping readers will feel the same way about Adabel Cutler in Empty Places.

http://amzn.to/1TeBqGH
LIKE A RIVER: A Civil War Novel
Author: Kathy Cannon Wiechman
Publisher:Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills
Kirkus *Starred* Review: The stories of three teens intersect in the later years of the Civil War in this debut novel. Fifteen-year-old Leander Jordan runs off to war from Ohio to prove he's a man. "Working in the foundry wasn't something to admire, not like being a soldier in uniform, a soldier who'd risk his life facing enemy guns. Pa had to see he was doing a manly thing." But he lands in a Southern hospital, where he befriends Paul Settles, another young Union soldier, who tends to his wounds. When they're separated, Paul ends up in hellish Andersonville Prison, where smallpox, scurvy and hunger plague the prisoners. There, Paul's friendship with Given McGlade, a fellow prisoner and Leander's neighbor from back home, helps keep them both alive. Though the prose is a bit florid early on, the stories are effectively related in twinned third-person narrative, and Wiechman's abundant research is unobtrusively folded into the tale. An excellent author's note provides further information about the times. Though the horrors of Andersonville and various Civil War-era events such as the Battle of Atlanta, Lincoln's assassination and the explosion of the steamboat Sultana provide wartime context, it's the secrets woven into the well-paced tale that will pull readers eagerly to the tearful conclusion. A superb Civil War tale of friendship, loyalty and what it means to be a man. (bibliography) (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Learn more about Kathy and her books by visiting her website: http://kathycannonwiechman.com

Leave a comment for us about the post for a chance to win a copy of Kathy's new book, Empty Places; or her first book, Like a River. That's all you have to do! Easy, right?

Want to increase your chances to win a book? Hop over to: www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com and leave a comment there. 

Thanks for dropping by for the BOOK BIRTHDAY for EMPTY PLACES!!! And thank you so much, dear friends, for sharing a few words of your own.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 23rd.