Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Launching Nina Seven's First Book!

Happy Launch Day to illustrator Nina Seven (wearing crown) and author Maribeth Stephens (wearing red) for their new book, Theodore the Tree, published by Think Big Media. This is Nina’s first book, and Maribeth’s first book for children. I'm starting a new tradition here at SVP. For ::first book:: launches, everyone jump up on your desk and do the Rocky Balboa! Ready? Set? Hit it! Nina, we are all thrilled for you.

From the time Theodore was a sapling, all he wanted was to be the perfect Christmas tree. But he knew he was too short and his lopsided limbs would never do. He spent every spare moment learning to hide his most distressing features. One Christmas Eve he spied a family trudging through the forest looking for a Christmas tree. Theodore employed all of his tricks. They worked! But once home and decorated, the children shun him. Dejected and droopy, Theodore learns a heartwarming lesson about what it means to be part of a family. A tender story for all ages. (Excerpt from their website)

Theodore already has his own website! Upcoming events like the two below are listed, along with coloring pages to download, and more info about Nina and Maribeth.

If you are in the Seattle neighborhood on Saturday, December 5th, grab an umbrella and drop by.

Phinney Neighborhood Association Winter Festival

Book reading and signing 11:30 to 12:15, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle WA 98103

Santoro's Books

Holiday Party & Book Signing 5pm to 8pm, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103

Like those objects in your side mirrors, the holidays are CLOSER than they appear. Practice some good self-care, and get a headstart on your shopping! Books are the finest gift you can possibly give (especially when paired with dark chocolate). Theodore is available for purchase at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For a chance to win an autographed copy of your own, answer the following question correctly in the comment section or send to my mailbox.

Scout and Zoey are the names of Nina's:

a. grandparents

b. kitty cats

c. live-in chauffeur and chef

d. children

e. imaginary friends

I am fairly certain that Nina and I could be the very best of friends, because in addition to her to illustrating for children, she has a greeting card and fine art company celebrating the art of coffee! Check out n7 Designs.

Lastly, congratulations to Pat Evans who has won a personalized copy of Robin's Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, hot off the press. Janet guessed correctly that Robin did not grow up with a pet dodo in her home. Janet, please email me with your mailing information, and we'll get it right off to you!

And hold on to your hats, everyone-- October is here!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Launching to R.L. LaFevers!

Congratulations to our own R.L. LaFevers today on the official launching of her new series with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Nathaniel Fludd: BeastolologistThe Flight of the Phoenix.  And happy kudos to the series' phenomenal illustrator, Kelly Murphy

Nathaniel Fludd never dreamed that mythical beasts were real. Or that he would be the one who was supposed to take care of them.  

 “The story is packed with adventure and mythological creatures. Children who love fantasy, myth, exotic settings, and even a little dose of history will relate to Nate as he discovers his inner hero and carries on the Fludd family tradition.”

                                               School Library Journal

“. . . an exciting tale.”


A Junior Library Guild Selection

This is Robin's eighth book out since she first hit the scene in 2003.  I couldn't be any prouder of her if I had given birth to her myself. Her wildly festive plans for Launch Day thus far include researching the Egyptian Nationalist Movement of 1907  for her next Theodosia title, finishing up galleys for Nathaniel II, and hustling herself down to UPS. Ah, the glamourous life of an author!  (I do get to take her to lunch on Tuesday and vow to celebrate her up one side and down the other.)  To celebrate Robin's Launch Day, I am ordering a copy of Nathaniel Fludd to be sent to my local public library. As we celebrate each other's launches in the months to come, I hope that you'll consider doing the same. It's a strong way to support one another, and our libraries who are struggling during therecession.  You can click here to order Nathaniel Fludd. 

And, I'm betting dollars to doughnuts that we can get Robin to donate a signed copy of her new book to one of your favorite kids, teachers, or libraries. All you have to do is answer the following question: Name one beast that was not in Robin's home when she was growing up. :-]  Good luck!


Contest Follow-Up!  If your  name is JESSE MARIE KLAUSMEIER , you are the  *winner*  in our most recent random drawing of followers and commenters. You have won a copy of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength, by  Laurie Helgoe, PhD  Jesse, if you will email me, I will get that off to you right away.    I am also very delighted to announce that Dr. Helgoe has agreed to do an interview with us here at SVP.  Coming soon! She was recently was interviewed by Psychology Today magazine, and her book is at the top of the Movers & Shakers List at Amazon Kindle. And she's an introvert to boot. If you have any question(s) that you'd like me to ask her, please let me know!    


Question of the Day:  Is our new President an introvert?  What do you think?  Could an introvert survive that kind of rigorous public life?

Lastly, we will be having a bonus edition of Shrinking Violets this week on Thursday, October 1st, so we can announce and celebrate the launching of another Violet and her very first book.  Come on back by! Bring confetti. =-]

Wishing you each a seriously swell week! Make sure you've allowed yourself time in your schedule to refuel.  Solitude is oxygen for our souls.


Mary Hershey

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Katy Challenge

As in Katy, Texas, that is.

During the last two weeks of October, I have a two week stint in Katy, Texas where I will be speaking at two schools per day, giving two talks per school. Yep. That’s four presentations a day for two weeks, plus going out to lunch or dinners with the teachers and librarians. And in spite of being an introvert, I am very much looking forward to this trip. Here's why.

1. Speaking to kids is one of my most comfortable places as a public speaker. I genuinely love being around them and their energy and their wonder.

2. I equally adore teachers and librarians, the unsung heroes of our modern society.

3. Because I am giving myself the Katy Challenge--which goes something like this:

Over the last five years I have gotten comfortable with public speaking, to a certain degree, with some venues being more comfortable than others. But now, now I want to embrace public speaking, wallow in it, and come out the other side having learned to Love It. A lot. The truth is, I am now eager and ready to get ALL the way past this issue and get it far, far behind me. I am tired of it slowing me down. And while I’ve made tons of progress, I now want to close the remaining gap. Permanently. This two weeks of visits strikes me as a wonderful opportunity to do just that. Sort of like full immersion in a foreign language.

Part of motivation comes from the realization that having someone speak effectively and movingly is as much of a gift as a great piece of writing is. It can shape and expand worlds in just the same way.

The other thing that struck me is that it is just another form of delivering story and structure and theme. And I’m all over those; those I know inside and out. I just need to get comfortable with the FORM of delivery, much like publishing is currently struggling to come to terms with e-books.

I think one important step in accomplishing the above is incorporating other passions besides writing into my presentations, so I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately--What passions define me as a writer? And of course, as usual, the clues are in the writing itself. What themes do I come back to again and again? What core issues move me, compel me?

I have a few. Stepping into one’s personal power is one (and one of the things that makes me so firmly a kids writer, I think). Another is the idea that our weaknesses are often our strengths, we just don’t recognize it yet. And while these themes are especially helpful for kids, they also apply to adults. While most adults have claimed a fair amount of their personal power, they might not have done so in some important areas of their lives, say their creative lives. Or perhaps they’ve forgotten and need to be reminded.

So I’m going to take on this challenge of claiming my personal public speaking power, and find a way to turn what used to be a major weakness into one of my strengths. Anyone else want to join me? I’ll report back here and let you know how it goes!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shrinking Spaces

Photo credit: the aether eater
This posting serves as a public warning of a growing hazard to introverts everywhere— the explosion of audible greeting cards. The card industry, once both domain and sanctuary of introverts has been seized by a band of rowdy marketing extroverts that take great delight in getting in your space when you least expect it. Opening a musical greeting card is the equivalent of coming upon a surprise party in your home with guests jumping out screaming from behind your couch. Musical greeting cards are loud, intrusive and possess the sound quality of a garage sale boom box.

Even more hair-raising than being the unsuspecting recipient of such a card is the encroachment of noise in the greeting card store or aisle. No longer a quiet, reflective time to find just the right sentiment for your intended, it has become a circus-like event while toddlers, teens and befuddled Gen B (boomers) set loose an audio mayhem of disco, pop and hip hop. During a recent shopping trip with my dear mum, who is still looking for "the nice $1.75 cards” managed to inadvertently crack open nearly every loaded card in stock. I couldn’t decide which of us should have to take a time-out.

Five years ago I wouldn't have publicly admitted this, attributing it all a rather freakish and abnormal Sensitivity to Life. Now I understand what this is about-- it’s me being an introvert. It’s me needing to control the volume and parameters of my space. Not because I’m a cranky old beast. I’m actually what Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D calls Socially Accessible Introvert in her book, Introvert Power. I like people! I’m madly curious about them and their lives. And, I’ll happily stay that way as long as I get the acreage alone I need to fuel up.

I was raised in a big herd, and I didn’t have a space of my own until I was a teen. I became a expert tent builder as a kid. In the absence of supplies, or if pressed for time, I would climb into the tiny crawl space in the garage behind the chimney. I thought I’d come upon Paradise Lost when I found some abandoned cars behind an old warehouse. It was a great place to read and daydream. (And consume massive quantities of candy—extreme bliss.)

It’s critical we recognize that introverts are territorial. We need space. Protected space. Inviolate space. Some of us are able to maintain that simply as interior space. I’m quite visual and I want to see mine-- my desk, my chair, my cup of favorite pens, highlighters and Sharpies. I was reminded of this once again as I recently reread David Keirsey’s groundbreaking book Please Understand Me. Space is such an important issue about which to educate your family. It’s not you being selfish. It’s simply doing what you need to survive in cohabitivity.

The more deeply you *get* your unique style and nuances, the more successful you'll be in the world promoting your work. You'll recognize your simple truth that people tire you, and you'll need to plan and pace your promotional efforts. You'll find the places of intersection in the world that excite you, and jump in with both feet. You'll approach with caution those activities that lead to de-energizing. If you know that you're going to be in an overwhelming promotional situation for an extended period of time, you'll have your SVP First Aid Kit and defibrillator standing by. The good news is that while people/noise/space infringements may knock us flat, after a period of regathering, violets always rise.

Raffle! Raffle! We've got a raffle! If you'd like to win a copy of one of the fabulous books mentioned in this post, all you need to do is be one of our SVP followers. If you haven't signed on yet, you can do so in the right sidebar. Our followers are always automatically entered! If you'd like to be in the raffle but your system won't allow you to join, leave a comment with this post, or send me an email by clicking I'd like a chance to win!

May all your spaces be sacred, deep and wide--

Mary Hershey

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Monday Marketing Extravaganza!

We read about Darcy Pattison’s terrific idea about designating this as Random Acts of Publicity Week and thought this was such a FABULOUS idea we wanted to jump on the bandwagon and invite SVP readers to play along!

Wanna guess what we like best about it? Yep, you can promote someone else’s books rather than your own.

Her suggested activities for the week:

* Tuesday: Word of Mouth
* Wednesday: Reviews
* Thursday: Links
* Friday: Social Media

And, because karma can be a wonderful thing, now that you’ve committed to promote all those books you love, one of our blog readers is offering you a promotional opportunity. (Don’t you just love how that works??)

SVP reader, Jim Whiting (a prolific childrens’ nonfiction author who has just complete his 100th book! Congratulations, Jim!) invites you to become part of Kids’ Book Author of the Week, his regular feature for Grand (as in grandparents) e-zine. Each week he’ll highlight an author’s recent book, and everything will be archived.

To participate, send a blurb about the book, your bio, a cover image, author photo and list of other books to Jim. For the book itself, include the name, publisher and pub date, genre, number of pages, recommended ages and price. You can also provide links to a sample chapter, reviews and/or your website. Perhaps the most important element is the hook: Why would grandparents want to buy your book for their grandkids? To whom would the book especially appeal?

Check out the feature at For questions or to submit (in general, submissions will be posted in the order in which they are received and I am currently booked through early December), contact Jim.

Thank you, Jim, for being so generous with your offer! We hope you find tons of fabulous books that are perfect for grandparents to enjoy with their grandkids!

And lastly, in a pop quiz, Have you put up your Amazon Author Page yet? Now I know we are all about the Indies here, but Amazon is also a fact of life these days and really, we can’t afford to leave any promotional stone unturned—especially when they are such turn-key, no brainers for us in terms of effort. In fact, when I was putting up my page, I stumbled upon a discussion by readers who were concerned that my new series, Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, meant I was no longer writing Theodosia books. SO not true! And I was able to discover their concerns and put them to rest, planting two potential book sales for when Theo 3 comes out.

So get on over there and set up your author page. You can even count it as one of your Random Acts of Publicity for the week!

(And yes, for those of you who thought to check my author page, I have submitted it but it hasn’t been confirmed with the publisher yet—which is why it doesn’t show up yet.)


We have a winner for last week's drawing for a copy of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z to be donated to their library. The winner is . . . JUSTINE MUSK!!

Justine, email Mary and she will get that out to you!