Welcome

This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Monday, December 26, 2016

#IMWAYR December 26, 2016 Vacation Post


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR Vacation Week!


My vacation started on Friday. Even with some holiday celebrations, I've had lots of time to read.


I picked this up because current events were brining back memories of this book, which I haven't read since high school. It's a pretty scary read and (spoiler alert) I completely forgot that things did not end well for the main character.


When Hermione and her cheer captain decide to share the school curse with the other teams at cheer camp, they already knew that part one, losing a member of the team to a drunk driving accident, had been fulfilled. They could not have imagined that part two of the curse, a cheerleader getting pregnant, would happen at camp because of a spiked drink. This book handles the tough topic of rape. I liked that Hermione has an excellent support system that stays with her throughout the whole book as she has to face what happened to her.

 

I read the first two book in Abbi Glines Field Party series one after the other, starting the second one at 2am because I couldn't get enough of these characters. Told from multiple points of view, each character has to face the challenges of family and past mistakes in order to move towards a brighter and better future filled with love and forgiveness. I'm looking forward to the next one, which comes out this summer. 

Here's the rest of my vacation TBR list: 







I'm sure I will be adding more as the week continues. It's hard to believe that the next time I post it will be 2017. What's on your TBR list as you enjoy some time away from your classroom? 



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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads.

Monday, December 12, 2016

#IMWAYR December 12, 2016


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

Here's what I read last week:


Middle Grade


This book came in the mail last week but I couldn't bring it to school until I read it first. I'm so glad I did. When the students in Ms. Hill's Fifth Grade Class learn that their school is closing at the end of the year, they each have a different reaction. Told in rhyme in eighteen diverse voices, this book is about so much more than the closing of a school It's about friendship, adjusting to change, the encouragement of an amazing teacher, and most of all, it's about finding your own voice. I can't wait to share it with my students.


Young Adult


This science fiction novel is also told in two voices. The e-reader can choose to read one story at a time or to go back and forth between the main characters. Lyra and Gemma have to change their outlook on life when they discover everything they thought they knew about themselves is a lie. I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel to find out what their futures hold.

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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Perfect Trip Cover Reveal Interview with Designer Lois Bradley

I'm so excited to reveal the cover of my new book, THE PERFECT TRIP. Here to celebrate is my cover artist Lois Bradley.

Lois was hired by Spellbound River Press to fix my self-published cover for THE SWEET SPOT last year. She ended up coming up with a brand new design for the first book, which I adore. When it was time to create the cover for the second book, there was no question that Lois would be the one to bring my characters’ to life. 

Lois Bradley has worked in a variety of roles on more than 14 traditionally and independently published book projects. You can view her artwork and illustrations at loisbradley.com. 

Hi Lois. Thanks for joining me today. When did you decide to be an illustrator?

I was one of those kids who was always doodling in the margins. When I was in 3rd grade, I drew a diagram of a factory and was so pleased with the results that I glued it to the wall in my parents' living room.
Fortunately, my parents were able to gently redirect my efforts into a more aesthetically appropriate venue for my creative endeavors. About this time, I decided that anything that involved drawing and painting was going to be a focus in my life. I have been a gallery-represented artist since high school and joined SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) about 10 years ago. It was after joining the group that I focused on writing and illustrating children's literature.


What do you like best about creating book covers?

The layers of complexity that coalesce into a book cover hold immense appeal for me. Each separate element the colors, the font choice, proportions, and even the subtle placement of each element conveys meaning.  The challenge is to create something that draws a reader in at a glance. The reward is when the cover accomplishes this. The creation of a book cover is never a solo endeavor since it involves the input of other creatives (the author, the art director, the editor). This collaborative process, while at times a little frustrating, usually results in a stronger cover. I enjoy the evolution of the project.


What was your process like when you were working on the covers for The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip?

The first step in the process of creating a book cover is gathering data. I try to ask a lot of questions about the manuscript, the main character, and the major crisis points in the manuscript to begin to identify possible images for the book. In addition to physical characteristics of the main character(s), it is critical to know what he or she wants, who else is involved, and where the action takes place. Usually this is accomplished through email with the editor or author.

Once I have a handle on the details, I gather reference materials, which are usually photographs. For The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip, this involved photos of baseball players, boats, baseball fields, and old baseball promotional posters and advertising images. Even when the final illustrations are not photo-realistic, accurate details matter! I tape copies of related images and relevant materials around my work area, then begin to sketch. There is numerous back and forth emails with scanned sketches when small (and sometimes large) details are hammered out. Once the final sketch had been approved, I begin to paint.


What mediums did you use?

In The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip, the artwork is a combination of watercolor painting and digital painting in Adobe Photoshop. The primary images featured in the medallions on the cover of each book were done in traditional watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, then scanned into a digital image and color corrected in Photoshop. The painting and the digital background layers were merged into a single piece of artwork in Photoshop.


Is there any advice you would give an artist just starting out?

The best advice I ever received regarding illustration was to join SCBWI.
It allowed me the chance to interact with published illustrators as well
as providing a wealth of information on how to pursue a career in the field. I would also say that as soon as you have a solid body of work/portfolio, make sure you have a web presence so editors and art directors can find you on the internet. It is possible to get website up on a budget, but it is a necessary evil in today's publishing market. Once the website is live, make sure to update it at least once a month to show your current projects and work. Patience, persistence, and a good sense of the absurd is essential to working in the illustration field. Competence with Photoshop is a bonus!

Now that you know about the cover’s creator, here it is - the cover for THE PERFECT TRIP!


About the Book:
Sam Barrette’s life is finally going in the right direction. She’s made the boys' travel baseball team, her friendship with Mike is turning into something more, and she’s even connected with her stepmother. But a cross-country family camping trip filled with secrets and surprises challenges everything she thought she knew about what the future will hold. To save her dreams, Sam must find a way to fix her perfect trip.

Want to win an ARC of The Perfect Trip? Sign up here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d also love to see you tonight at the Spellbound River StockingStuffer Party online on Facebook. During the event there will be another opportunity to win an ARC of The Perfect Trip along with other incredible prizes, including a $50 Amazon gift card.

And don’t forget to say you want to read The Perfect Trip on Goodreads to help get the word out about the book.

Do you have questions about the cover or the book? Ask them!

Monday, December 5, 2016

#IMWAYR December 5, 2016


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

This is a big week for me because I'll be reveling the cover of my new novel, The Perfect Trip (Spellbound River Press, March 24, 2017). On Thursday I will post an interview with the cover artist, Lois Bradley. Thursday night my publisher, Spellbound River Press, is holding an online Stocking Stuffer Event with author talks, games, trivia, and prizes. One lucky winner will win a copy of a Perfect Trip ARC. Today I am adding a special opportunity with this #IMWAYR post. If you would like an ARC, leave a message in the comments. I'd love to share my new novel with teachers, librarians, and bloggers who love middle grade as much as I do.

Here's what I read last week:


Middle Grade


Teo's people are outsiders. They live in Mexico on the Hill of Dust, their language and customs scorned by others. Esma, Queen of Lightning, is part of the Romani people, traveling gypsies distrusted and hated by all they meet. When Esma's grandmother gives a prediction that the two will be life long friends it changes their lives, the lives of their people, and even their grandchildren's lives forever. 


What do a smuggler's hotel, a lost map, and two twelve-year-olds have in common? They are all part of a winter mystery. This story is a fun read and I'd love to visit this hotel after spending the night at the hotel in the Whippet Hotel from Floors by Patrick Carmen.

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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?

Monday, November 28, 2016

#IMWAYR November 28, 2016


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

Here's what I read last week:


Middle Grade


A beautiful story about family and friendship set against a background of segregation and integration. 


Young Adult


An unexpected twist on the backstory of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. 


 When K narrowly escapes a bombing attempt by a group known as the Brotherhood she is recruited to infiltrate their organization to find the terrorist cell. But the teens she meets are the opposite of her expectations and instead of finding danger, she finds acceptance for the first time in her life. Could these people really be the terrorists she has been taught to fear or is fearing them for no reason the underlying problem? 


Sam's life fell apart when he and his sister Livy walked in on their mom having an affair. Hadley's life fell apart when her house was plastered with notes saying her father cheated on her mother. When these two broken teens end up living in the same town months later, they are immediately drawn together. Now they will suffer love. A heartbreaking story of family relationships and finding a way to move forward. Told from two points of view.

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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?

Monday, November 21, 2016

#IMWAYR November 21, 2016


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

Here's what I read during the last three weeks:


Picture Books



I loved this rhyming picture book about a young dinosaur pirate working to prove himself among his older peers. My class wanted me to play the trailer over and over just to sing with the song.

Middle Grade


A well told story about a fight for freedom during the time of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately it has many parallels to modern times.



When a girl name Max and a robot named Fuzzy find themselves in a school run by tests and rules, their fuzzy logic will have to save the day to let free thinking triumph. 

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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Release Party and Giveaway for Starr Fall by Kim Briggs

Starr Fall by Kim Briggs releases today! 

About the Book: 
On the run from the Organization, Starr never planned on falling in love.

Starr Bishop’s the complete package. A perfect smile, brains to match, and a winning attitude. Boys want to date her and girls want to be her. She’s the type of girl you want to hate, if only she wasn’t so damn likable. But don’t worry, she’s not interested in your boyfriend. Boys are one complication she can live without.

When the Organization decides she’s not only the model student but the ideal assassin, Starr’ll need a lot more than high test scores and extracurricular involvement to get herself out of that commitment.

Dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood is the last person she’d expect—or even want— to come to her rescue. From opposite ends of Webster Highs social hierarchy, their lives collide in one electrifying moment. Christian isnt the Goth loner he pretends to be, hes a part Cherokee, All-American boy who wants to be a hero, Starrs hero. Christian makes Starr forget that the Organization is after her, but nothing will stop the Organization from collecting their top recruit.

By the way, the spot for junior class president just became available.

About the Author


Kim once smashed into a tree while skiing. The accident led to a concussion, a cracked sternum, temporary notoriety as a sixth grader returned from the dead, and the realization that fictionalized accounts are way more interesting than just slipping on the ice. 

An unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories combined with a love of travel and happily ever afters led Kim to write her YA novel, Starr Fall, where a secret organization decides Starr Bishop would make the ideal assassin. While in hiding, Starr meets dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood. Cue the swoon worthy music. But it’s not all happily ever afters for Kim, her NA novel, And Then He, explores the dark and scary corners of the human psyche. Following a night of innocent flirting with a handsome stranger, Tiffani finds herself in the midst of a nightmare she can’t escape. And Then He is available now through Amazon and other major book retailers. Starr Fall will debut November 2016 with Inkspell Publishing. Starr Lost will release in January 2017, followed by Starr Gone in June 2017.

When she’s not doing something writerly, Kim can be found jumping into snow drifts with her three kids, husband, and dog. She’s careful to avoid trees. 



Buy Links:


What early readers are saying…
GERM  MAGAZINE:

Kim Briggs’ novel truly is a wonderful debut. From start to finish I was hooked, and all I could think about was what could possibly happen next. From believable characters to a brilliant new aspect of YA narrative, if you love action-packed thrillers, then this is the book for you! Now, to begin the wait until book 2 is out!

YA INSIDER
Review
Abandon whatever you are doing and read this book! Imagine being an exemplary student there ever was. You have your life planned out to the minute. You take a placement test for what you assume is a summer internship, only to find out it's a secret organization and they want you to be an assassin. If you can imagine this, you've just met Starr! Starr shows you how much your life can change if just let go a bit! She would make a kick ass assassin... if only she wanted to be one! To help her escape from this is Christian. I need more Christian in my life! Tall, dark, handsome and mysterious! While he seems like he's uptight in the beginning, when he comes to the rescue of Starr you really get to see him. He's sweet, sensitive, understanding, and above all an absolute gentleman.  

It's such a quick paced book. you could easily read five or six chapters without realizing how much time has passed! The ending left me wanting more! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! Book 2 of this series needs to come to come out tomorrow!


As a bonus, Kim’s supplied the playlist for Starr Fall.    Dive in and give a listen.          

Giveaway Details
To celebrate Starr Fall’s Release, Kim wants to give away some swag. 

One lucky winner will receive a bag of Starr Fall swag including bookmarks, all the fixings for s’mores (once you read the book, you’ll know why), and a $15 Amazon Gift Card.
So dive in, and enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway here: 




a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, October 24, 2016

#IMWAYR October 24, 2016


Each week I try to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.

Here's what I read during the last two weeks:


Middle Grade


George has always been sneaky but when he is kidnapped and taken to a secret school for crooks he realizes the life of an evil doer may not be for him. 



Imagine a world where every myth and legend we know is part of our world. How would that change the way we live? My Diary from the Edge of the World is a high stakes story that takes place in this kind of alternate universe.


Young Adult





The newest Throne of Glass story brings together most of the previous characters in a nail biting continuation to their journey. I will be anxiously waiting for book six.



I don't often enjoy political mystery thrillers, but this series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is definitely worth reading. It's Scandal for Tweens.



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If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what have you been reading?