Friday, March 30, 2012

Publishing Mythbusting

Don't go into shock, but I'm writing an actual, useful blog post today, instead of one where I whine about deadlines. (HEY--I SAID DON'T GO INTO SHOCK I CAN'T REACH ALL OF YOU WITH SMELLING SALTS!!!)

Still with me? Good!

The reason for my sudden sense of blogging clarity is that I've had a lot of people ask me the same questions recently, so I thought I'd take a few minutes today to do a little publishing mythbusting and de-bunk three of the myths I keep hearing.

(it has nothing to do with procrastinating on a difficult scene. Nope. I would NEVER. *adjusts halo*)

(ahem)

Okay, here goes:


Myth #1: I need someone to refer me to their agent/editor in order to get an offer of representation/book deal.
No, you don't.  I PROMISE.
Are there stories out there of authors whose friend recommended them to so-and-so and it ended in a book deal? Of course. BUT, 99.999999% of the time those drafts were good enough that, had the person queried/submitted the old-fashioned way, it would've ended in the same result. (also: there are many, many stories of writers who got the golden recommendation to an agent/editor and still had it yield a rejection). 
If your book is good--and right for that person and the market--it will get offers, whether you are a famous author's BFF or Jane Nobody from the slush pile. All a recommendation will really get you is a slightly faster read, which is nice--of course--but NOT worth the amount of stress and worry some writers put into the quest for networking. It still always comes down to the writing and marketability of your book. Nail that, and nothing can stop you.

Myth #2: Authors only blurb their friend's books.
Obviously, I can't speak for every single author out there, but I do know quite a lot of them and I can say in all honesty that the answer is No. And yes, I realize that a decent percentage of the time it seems like authors know/are friends with the authors who blurb them. BUT, that is not because the author is doing a favor for their friend by blurbing their book. It's because if you have enough in common with a person to be friends with them, there is a REALLY good chance you will like their book. The things that make people similar enough to be friends often translates to similar writing sensibilities.  
Am I saying connections don't help? Of course not. But what I am saying is: if you don't have them, your book/career is not doomed. There are many, many blurbs that happen where the author is not friends with the other author. So don't waste precious time stressing about it--and definitely don't try and befriend authors simply to get something from them. That's just a bad idea all around.

Myth #3: Published authors don't like to talk to unpublished/un-agented authors.
Again, I can't speak for every author here, but in my experience, published authors really aren't paying attention to this. Believe me, I understand. I remember being un-agented and unpublished and nervous around authors who were. However, I learned very quickly that if I relaxed and talked to them like real people, they were just as open and friendly to me as they were to others who were published. In fact, pretty much all of the authors I'm close friends with now I met before my book deals.  
And speaking personally for a second... honestly, if someone comes up to me and tells me they're a writer, it doesn't cross my mind to ask if they have an agent or a book deal. Sometimes I might ask the name of their book, but only because I'm bad with names and it would be really embarrassing if I was talking to someone whose book I've read and never realized it was them. And if I find out they don't have an agent or a book deal it doesn't make even the slightest difference in my opinion of them--and I know many authors who feel the same way.

Notice a theme here? Lots of people wondering about networking, and yes, networking IS important. But it's not the key to publishing success either.

And I'd like to wrap this up with a quick Shannon-Networking P.S.A: The best way to network is to NOT "network." Don't have an agenda when you reach out to people. Don't expect anything from them--and don't do it thinking it will advance your career. Reach out to someone because you admire their writing or enjoy them as a person. It is always always ALWAYS better to make a FRIEND than a CONNECTION. And don't let any of this take away from what really matters: improving your craft as a writer.

Phew--that was a lot of thinking! My brain is tired now! :)

Anyway, I hope you guys found this helpful and that it answered some of those questions that are sitting in my still-to-be-replied-to email label.

Also, if you have other pressing questions feel free to leave them in the comments. I'll do my best to answer them as soon as I can.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another blurb--and another contest to celebrate!

Some of you may have seen this already--since apparently it's  up on amazon (I've been scooped--that's what I get for waiting to share!) But in case you haven't, I thought I'd still go ahead and share it here:

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES GOT ANOTHER BLURB!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Keeper of the Lost Cities is a little bit Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a little bit Lord of the Rings, and a little bit Harry Potter. And it's all fun!"  
--New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Every time I read that I have to remind myself that he's talking about MY book--and not just because of the incredible and humbling comparisons he makes. 

Mainly it's because I might be Michael's #1 Fan (AND I WILL TAKE ON ANYONE WHO TRIES TO CLAIM OTHERWISE).

(ahem)

All of his books are amazing. (Seriously, AMAZING!). But his Sisters Grimm books are not only some of my all time favorite middle grade books--they're also a big part of the reason I decided to write middle grade in the first place.  

When I'd first had the idea for KEEPER and was trying to decide if I wanted to try writing it, I went to the bookstore for research. And I walked out with three books: ELLA ENCHANTED, by Gail Carson Levine, THE LIGHTNING THIEF, by Rick Riordan, and THE FAIRY TALE DETECTIVES, by Michael Buckley. And after reading those three I knew I had to give middle grade writing a try. 

I loved each of those books for different reasons. But what I loved about Michael's books (oh yes, I went straight back to B&N and bought all the rest of the Sisters Grimm series and devoured every word) was the way he melded humor and heart. He also has two strong, kick-butt girls as his main characters and yet tells the story in such a way that it will appeal to ALL kids. And his creativity and imagination absolutely blew me away. (Puck is also one of my favorite characters EVER!)

So years later, to have him read and blurb MY book is just the most incredible thing... 

Yes, it totally made me tear up. And yes, I wished I could reach through the screen and hug him (alas, I couldn't--but he's coming to Cali for an event soon and HE'D BETTER WATCH OUT. AN AWKWARD SHANNON HUG WILL BE HAPPENING!)

In the meantime, I just want to say, Michael, if you happen to see this, THANK YOU. Not just for your blurb, but for your fabulous books that have inspired me in more ways than you know. I can't wait for book 9, even if it also breaks my heart a little to see the series end. 

And to celebrate my blurb--and give you guys a chance to experience some of Michael's incredible work--I'm giving some of his books away! That's right--one lucky commenter on this post will win three--yes THREE--amazing Michael Buckley books.

To enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific on Saturday, March 31. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, April 1st (so I also recommend you follow my blog in some form, so you'll know you won. I don't email winners.)  International entries are welcome.

BUT, there's also one more step. 

Michel has QUITE a few books to choose from--and odds are many of you already own some of them. So I'm going to let the winner choose which three books they want. Just let me know in your comment which ones you would choose if you're the winner (and yes, pre-ordering book 9 IS an available prize). And if you're not familiar with his work, here's a list of all of Michael's books (and they're all handy goodreads links so you can click for more info--mark them "to read" if you want, etc)



Amazing list, right?
So let me know your three picks and here's hoping you'll be the lucky winner!

Ready... GO!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Bad Apple (Merits of Mischief #1)--and an ARC GIVEAWAY!!!

Believe it or not, I actually have an MMGM for you!!!!! (I know, I'm shocked too!) Sometimes I need a break from writing, so I treated myself to a few hours of reading this weekend. And the book I chose was THE BAD APPLE (Merits of Mischief #1) by T.R. Burns.


Here's how the publisher describes it:

The start of a mischievous new middle-grade series has trouble written all over it.


Twelve-year-old Seamus Hinkle is a good kid with a perfect school record—until the day he accidently kills his substitute teacher with an apple.

Seamus is immediately shipped off to a detention facility—only to discover that Kilter Academy is actually a school to mold future Troublemakers, where demerits are awarded as a prize for bad behavior and each student is tasked to pull various pranks on their teachers in order to excel. Initially determined to avoid any more mishaps, Seamus nonetheless inadvertently emerges as a uniquely skilled troublemaker. Together with new friends Lemon and Elinor, he rises to the top of his class while beginning to discover that Kilter Academy has some major secrets and surprises in store...

It's hard to tell from the cover shot, but this book actually has a very unique trim size. It's cut into a square, and I'll admit, when I first saw it I couldn't help thinking, um... why? It definitely made it stand out from the other ARCs in my pile, but it still seemed like a strange choice to me. But now that I've read the book--and seen how the story is every bit as unique as the packaging--it makes perfect sense. (hey, maybe that's even what the publisher is going for!) 

The world is sort of a topsy turvy world where bad is good and demerits are the prize (and gold stars the punishment). And in the midst of all that crazy is Seamus Hinkle, a good kid who accidentally did a very bad thing and is now struggling to do what's right in a school that's training him to do wrong. 

With a backwards concept like that you might expect the story to feel a bit gimmicky, and lacking in heart. But Seamus is actually an incredibly likable little boy, who managed to make me laugh and ache for him as he struggled to adjust to life at Kilter Academy. Even Lemon--Seamus' pyromaniac roommate--is impossibly endearing. 

The fast paced plot is both funny and exciting, and the whirlwind ending leaves you desperate for book 2. It's a quick, fun read full of twists and turns and hilarious debacles, and a great pick for boys or reluctant readers--though I have a feeling many readers will love it. 

But don't just take my word for it--see for yourself. THE BAD APPLE isn't scheduled for release until April 24th (mark those calendars!), but one of you will get to read it early because I'm giving away my ARC!!!

To enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific on Saturday, March 31st. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, April 1st. I also *recommend* you follow my blog in some form--though it's not required. I just don't have time to email winners, so if you aren't following me how will you know you won? But it's up to you! And International entries are welcome.

If you want more amazing middle grade recommendations, check out these other awesome MMGMs floating around the blogosphere:
- The Mundie Moms are now part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, better get over THERE and check out all the awesome!  
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!    
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy--two actual middle grade bloggers (so awesome, right???) spread their love for RENEGADE MAGIC. Click HERE for Meyrick's review. 
 Karen Yingling is cheering for THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF AMY FINAWITZ. Click HERE to see why  
- Barbara Watson is trumpeting SEEING CINDERELLA--and giving away here ARC. Click HERE for all the details. 
- Laurisa Reyes--has a fabulous interview with Anne Nesbit--and a GIVEAWAY of THE CABINET OF EARTHS. Click HERE for all the fun.  
- Natalie Aguirre is ALSO interviewing Anne Nesbit and GIVING AWAY a copy of THE CABINET OF EARTHS!  Click HERE for another chance to win.   
- Gina Carey has fallen in love with THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE. Click HERE to see why.    
- Deb Marshall has an awesome middle grade round-up of all the books she read over the weekend. Click HERE to see what they are.
-Coreena McBurnie is discussing the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Click HERE to see which books are doing well. 
- Andrea Mack is raving about THE MCGILLICUDDY BOOK OF PERSONAL RECORDS. Click HERE to learn more about it   
 - Gabrielle Prendergast is spreading some love for NATALIE BABBIT.  Click HERE to see her review.  
- Kim Aippersbach takes her turn to gush about the much beloved BREADCRUMBS. Click HERE for more reasons why you need to read it too. 
- Akossiwa Ketoglo is championing THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOSE . Click HERE to see why she thinks you'll love it too! 
- Joanne Fritz is talking about KASPAR THE TITANIC CAT. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Julie from "That's Swell" is back with another feature, this time on GODDESS GIRLS: ATHENA THE BRAIN. Click HERE to see what she thought!  
-Jemi Fraser is spotlighting SHUG. Click HERE to see what it's all about.  
- Myrna Foster is recommending BOBBY THE BRAVE. Click HERE to see why she loved it.  

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

**NOTE**
I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. I'll TRY, but it might not happen. BUT--you are welcome to leave a link to your post in the comments, that way hopefully people will still be able to find it!

**Note: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The ARCs-Shannon-Doesn't-Have-Time-To-Read Giveaway!

Thanks to deadlines, KEEPER book 2 kicking my butt, and the fact that I have a hard time reading YA when I'm trying to write in a middle grade voice (it hurts my brain--BADLY), I've accumulated *quite* a TBR pile of ARCs.

And it's pretty clear to me at this point that there's no way I'm going to have time to read all of them before they release, which... as a fellow author, I don't feel right about. I know how precious each ARC is, and it's not fair to leave them stacked up next to my desk accumulating dust when I could share them with someone else who will have the time to read--and hopefully review--them.

So, much as it pains me to let go of the shiny, I'm giving a few of them away.

Behold:


In case you can't tell from the picture, here's what I'm giving away (and the titles are handy goodreads links in case you want more info, or want to mark them as "To Read")


AND THEY CAN ALL BE YOURS, IF YOU'RE THE LUCKY WINNER.

That's right, one lucky winner gets ALL FOUR ARCS! And while I can't require it for entry (since I would have no way of holding them accountable) I'm hoping the winner will review/tweet/post/FB/blog/ tumble/pin/whatever about the books once they read them. (since that is, after all, the point of an ARC in the first place.)

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific time on Saturday, March 31st. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, April 1st (no fooling). International entries welcome. (I also *recommend* you follow my blog in some way/shape/form. I don't require it for entry, but I don't email the winner either, so if you aren't following me, how will you know you won?)

Ready?

Set...

GO!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Challenges of Self Promotion

I've had this post percolating for a long time, trying to figure out how to say what I want to say. And I'm still not sure I've figured it out, but I'm giving it a try.*

This publishing thing is ... a crazy business. Awesome and amazing and many other incredible things. But it's crazy too. For so many reasons. Deadlines. Pressure. The fact that you are putting something deeply personal to you out in the world for all to see and judge, knowing some of them won't like it. (and that many of them will express that dislike in very public places, flogging you for all the world to see. YAY REVIEWS!)

But I guess the weirdest part--for me at least--is that you're also putting YOU out there. Especially if you're active online. Then you are putting yourself on blogs, facebook, twitter, tumblr, pinterest, insert-other-social-networking-trend here and saying, "Here I am world, judge me!" And THAT is a crazy, crazy thing. Especially because so many of the people I'm interacting with online are my peers.

See... here's the thing about peers. Whether we've yet to sell a book or we've sold twenty, we're all writers. And we're all watching each other, seeing what we're doing, and we can't help seeing things from the standpoint of ... would I do that? Would I say that? Would I blog about that? Would I want my book deal announced that way? Would I RT that? Would I tell that story? 

And naturally, a lot of times, the answer is, "No."

We're all different people. We all have different things we are and aren't comfortable with. So... we're all going to have different ways of handling things. ESPECIALLY when it comes to self promotion.

Oh, self promotion.

The words alone make me want to move to a wi-fi free cabin and curl up in a little ball for the next year while my books launch into the world. It is a big, mucky, icky gray area where EVERYONE has their own opinion on what is and isn't acceptable. There. are. no. rules. Except that it's pretty much a guarantee that SOMEONE will be bothered by SOMETHING you do. In fact, I'm sure it's already happened to me. I'm sure I've done or said something or not said or not done something or just... I don't know, the way I'm smiling in my author photo has rubbed someone the wrong way. Probably more than a few someones.

And that's okay. Personalities clash. Misunderstandings occur. Whatever. It happens. And it will keep happening.

But I guess what I'm trying to say--after all of this rambling--is mostly... I KNOW I'm going to make mistakes as I muddle through this crazy year. I'm SURE I've already made some. But... I still need to do it. I still have to talk about my books sometimes. And me. And share good news. I'm going to try and balance it the best way I can. But I'm sure some of you will probably think...  I wouldn't have done that--and you may even be right.

But... maybe some of you will enjoy sitting back and watching the last threads of my sanity unravel. Hey--maybe even a few of you will find it fun.

Whichever category you fall into, I hope you'll try to remember that I really am doing my best. I don't know what I'm doing and I'm not perfect so yeah... there will probably be faux pas. But I really hope that you'll bear with me anyway. Hey--if nothing else, there will most likely be a whole lotta Shannon Shame going on too. And prizes.  I AM NOT ABOVE BRIBING YOU TO LIKE ME!**

And hey, if you have any tips or pointers or DO NOT DO THIS pieces of advice, feel free to share in the comments. I can definitely use all the help I can get.




*please note: this post was not inspired by any particular or specific INCIDENT. Just something that's been on my mind pretty much from the moment I accepted S&S's offer and I realized I would have to self promote.


**See? Faux pas!  :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: A Winner, News, and all the awesome links!

I ... have no MMGM for you this week. 
(as I'm sure you can tell)

I TOTALLY forgot to announce the winner of last week's MMGM giveaway 
(I will so so in a second--I promise)

My email got a tad cray cray on me this week, so it's possible I've messed up the links below
(I TRIED to straighten it out, but...)

And, the reason for all of that is...

 I FINISHED KEEPER'S FIRST PASS PAGES!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not sure how many of you know what those are, but basically, 1st pass is the reason all ARCs say "uncorrected proof" on them. Your publisher sends you a print-out of the pages exactly as they are in the ARC, and it's your (very tedious) job to read them very carefully and mark any last changes. And when I say last, I mean last. This is pretty much it before text lock. Which means KEEPER is now officially DONE!!!!!! (And the OCD side of me is now wishing I could track down every last ARC and mark all my changes in the margins *sigh*)

Gotta admit, Fed-Exing the pages off to my editor was kind of a "moment." I mean... I've spent four years of my life working on that book. And now, it's done. Very exciting/scary/surreal/I-don't-know-how-to-wrap-my-head-around-that.

So... it made me a tad forgetful. And way behind on everything. Especially since I also spent the weekend reading until my eyes went blurry. BUT, it also means one. more. deadline has been crossed off my "To Do" list! Still a couple of big ones to go--but I am slowly making progress! And then hopefully things will get back to normal around here. Thank you SO much for bearing with me in the meantime!

Oh, and to commemorate KEEPER being DONE, I went ahead and made it official by making it a shiny new Facebook page. So if you haven't already--and you feel like making me incredibly giddy--feel free to go HERE and click "like." (We all know that every time someone clicks "like" a unicorn sneezes cupcakes and all the woodland creatures sing about sparkly boogers!) (Um... it's a good thing I don't write fairy tales, isn't it?)

And... that's enough about that. 

Before I get to the links, I owe you a winner! So the winner of SILVERWING, by Kenneth Oppel is: 


Yay!

*confetti toss*

If that's you, please email me at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com with your mailing address, so I can send you your prize.

Phew--I think that covers everything. So now for the awesome MMGM links. Look at these amazing features going on today:
- The Mundie Moms are now part of the MMGM fun (eee!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week! 
- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing Jenny Lundquist and GIVING AWAY an ARC of SEEING CINDERELLA!  Click HERE for all the details. 
- Andrea Mack gets historical with CROSSING TO FREEDOM. Click HERE to see why 
- Gabrielle Prendergast discusses reading vs re-reading. Click HERE to what that's all about.  
- Michael Gettel Gilmarten is raving about PROJECT JACKALOPE. Click HERE for more details. 
- Sheila Calderon Blankemeier is wondering over WONDER. Click HERE to see why she thinks you should be too.   
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy--two actual middle grade bloggers (how awesome is that???) are featuring THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON: THE SEA WOLVES. Click HERE to see why they love it so much.  
- Deb Marshall is spreading her love for THE EMERALD CASKET (sequel to THE BILLIONAIRE'S CURSE). Click HERE to see why you need to continue with the series. 
- Akossiwa Ketoglo is championing INKHEART Click HERE to see why she thinks you'll be swept away by it!   
- Karen Yingling is featuring VIKRAM AND THE ENCHANTED SEALS--with kindle version GIVEAWAYS! Click HERE for all the details
- Joanne Fritz is telling you WHAT THE DOG SAID. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Susan Olson has two recommendations for you this week: THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD, and DINOSAUR HABITAT.  Click HERE to see more. 
- Julie from "That's Swell" joins the MMGM fun with her first feature on THE STORM MAKERS. Click HERE to welcome her to the group!  
- Laurisa Reyes is back with another MMGM, this time on ABOVE WORLD, along with an author interview! Click HERE for all the fun.  
- Clarike Bowman-Jahn joins the MMGM fun with a feature on TACONI AND CLAUDE (DOUBLE TROUBLE). Click HERE to learn more about it. 

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

**NOTE**
I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. I'll TRY, but it might not happen. I know that  makes it less convenient for everyone, but the constant updating of the post is a big time suck and I just can't keep up with it right now. SORRY!

**Also: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**

Friday, March 16, 2012

The truth about Shannon Messenger is out there

Oh, but it isn't here. It's over here:


Yep--I'm up this week, and I'm tackling a Truth this time. In fact, I'm discussing some of my... challenges writing YA for the first time. (I may blush and use the words "tongue" and "sizzle.") So... if you want to see what that's all about--or just laugh at me--go HERE!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shannon's mind blow of the week

What I realized today:

One year ago I was terrified that my book on submission would never sell and that my secret-book-in-progress would never be finished by when my agent had asked to see it.

One year from now both of those books will be on store shelves.

(CRAZY, right?)

So... clearly I worry about things unnecessarily
(shocking, I know)

Also--holy crap, what a difference a year makes!

So as I survive this month of crazy deadlines and crazy stressful things that are making me feel more than a little crazy, I'm going to try and remember that clearly if I just put my head down, dig deep and keep going I WILL get through--and that amazing things can happen from all that hard work.

(wow, was that all one sentence?)

(*shrugs*)

Onward!

*hums 'just keep swimming' as she gets back to work*

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Silverwing--and a Giveaway!

Still too slammed trying to crank through 1st pass pages on KEEPER and the rough draft of book 2 to get any reading done. But the always amazing Deb Marshall (THANK YOU DEB!!!) has once again volunteered to cover my MMGM this week, with a feature on one of her favorites: SILVERWING, by Kenneth Oppel.


(Hee--I'm guessing my Batman loving editor would so love this cover!)


Here's how the publisher describes it:

Shade is a young silverwing bat, the runt of his colony. But he's determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a fierce storm, he loses the others and soon faces the most incredible journey of his young life. Desperately searching for a way to rejoin his flock, Shade meets a remarkable cast of characters: Marina, a Brightwing bat with a strange metal band on her leg; Zephyr, a mystical albino bat with an unusual gift; and Goth, a gigantic carnivorous vampire bat. But which ones are friends and which ones are enemies? In this epic story of adventure and suspense, Shade is going to need all the help he can find -- if he hopes to ever see his family again.

When a newborn bat named Shade but sometimes called "Runt" becomes separated from his colony during migration, he grows in ways that prepare him for even greater journeys.

And just like in previous times, here's Deb explain for herself why all of us need to read this one. Take it away Deb!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
I loved this book because I loved Shade, the main character.

He’s a small bat (okay, the runt) with a whole lot of questions and he’s not afraid to ask them (although sometimes it’s dangerous). He’s not afraid to fly out and get the answers if no one will tell him (even if it is really dangerous). Shade is determined to find out more about himself, the world he lives in and the rules that bind it. That leaves him in some mighty dangerous situations, but when he finds himself lost and trying to survive while separated from his entire colony his determination to prove himself is just what he needs to survive.

I know many a middle grade reader, teen and adult who has also fallen in love with Shade because he’s a tiny hero filled with a whole lotta brave. And the best part? This is book one in a series of four.

Kenneth Oppel is one of my favorite Canadian authors and Silverwing is no small part of that.

You can find out more about Silverwing and the entire series on Kenneth Oppel’s website. While there I’d recommend checking out his other books, too!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Ooo, this one sounds REALLY cool. I will definitely have to pick up a copy for when I have time to read again.

And I want one of you to have the chance to discover it too. So I'm giving away a copy of WINTERLING to one lucky winner. To enter, make sure you leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, March 17th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, March18th. International entries welcome.

And for more amazing middle grade recommendations, check out there other awesome MMGMs floating around the blogosphere:
- The Mundie Moms are now part of the MMGM fun (eee!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, better get over THERE and check out all the awesome!  
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week! 
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy--two actual middle grade bloggers (so awesome, right???) discuss their love for the HARRY POTTER series. Click HERE for Meyrick's review.     
 Karen Yingling is cheering for MUDSHARK and MUD RUN. Click HERE to learn more about them.
- Gina Carey is spotlighting LIESL AND PO. Click HERE to see why she loves it.
- Barbara Watson is championing one of my favorites, SELLING HOPE. Click HERE to learn more about it.  
- Andrea Mack is showcasing GHOSTS OF THE TITANIC. Click HERE to see why   
- Michelle Isenhoff is howling for HOWLIDAY INN. Click HERE to see why she thinks you should be too. 
- Gabrielle Prendergast is celebrating LUCY UNSTRUNG. Click HERE to see why. 
- Charlotte Taylor joins the MMGM fun with a round-up of awesome middle grade related links she's found. Click HERE to check them all out. 
- Deb Marshall is sharing her love of  THE RANGER'S APPRENTICE: THE RUINS OF GORLAN. Click HERE to read why she thinks this series is a must read.
- Kim Aippersbach is back with another MMGM. This time on THE RUNAWAY PRINCESS. Click HERE to see what she thinks.  
- Michael Gettel Gilmarten is interviewing author Roseanne Parry--with giveaways of her book SECOND FIDDLE.  Click HERE to enter 
- C.S. Einfeld also joins the MMGM fun with a feature on WONDER. Click HERE to see why she was wowed by it.    
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

**NOTE**
I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. I'll TRY, but it might not happen. I know that  makes it less convenient for everyone, but the constant updating of the post is a big time suck and I just can't keep up with it right now. SORRY!

**Note: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**

Happy Monday!