Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Win a children's book prize pack worth over $75!

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade
Did you know that if you leave a comment on any of these posts, you're automatically entered into a random drawing for an AUTOGRAPHED paperback of The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade? That's right! Just leave a comment and you're automatically entered! Winner will be announced on Friday!

Our second HOT GIVEAWAY is for a Children's Picture Book Prize Pack that includes The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, and hardcover copies of I'm Big!, Betsy Red Hoodie, I Didn't Do It, and Jeremy Draws a Monster. This is a total package worth over $75 in children's books!!

For your chance to win this amazing prize pack, all you need to do is:

1) Comment on this blog post

For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment below telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment below telling me
3) Share on Facebook and leave a comment below telling me


And if your e-mail address is not included in your Blogger profile, PLEASE make sure you leave a way for me to get in contact with you when you win! (U.S. entries only)

The contest will run through midnight on Friday, October 22, 2010!

What was one of the original titles?

Want a glimpse into how I write? The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade didn't start out as The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade and it took a little over a year for the manuscript to take shape into what it is now. In fact even the title was different. I was digging through my files the other day and discovered this VERY EARLY version of The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade! Can you see the title?


At one point in time (and I'm sure it changed a bunch!), The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade was originally titled The Pesky Bug! The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade sounds WAY better don't you think? I had even named the bug in the book at one point as Buzzy! What was I thinking?


It just goes to show that a manuscript goes through MANY revisions--did I say MANY revisions--before it even gets to a point that
1) you'll show it to others 
2) you start feeling confident that you have something
3) you get the courage to submit it to publishers


And it's just crazy to think that all of that turned into this...



GO FIGURE!

Where'd I get the idea?

Welcome to Day 2 of The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade Book Launch Party! I hope you guys are having just as much fun as I am and I really appreciate you stopping by!

As an author, one of the biggest questions you often receive is where did you get the idea? That's the cool thing about writing. Ideas come from all over and different authors have different sources of inspiration. You never know when the idea will spark, but an author's mind is usually turning 24/7 for that next great idea.

For me, all of my writing inspiration comes from my two boys. They constantly crack me up and have such a fresh take on the world. In fact, the idea for The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade came to me when one of my sons had that dreaded stomach virus every parent dreads. You know--the one they catch, then it spreads to every other single family member in the house? Ugh!

Anywhoooo... When everyone asked how he was doing, I would say, “He caught the bug.” It's something everybody says when they're sick, but the more I said it, something clicked. So I expanded on the play on words of catching a bug--meaning getting sick and catching an insect.

The book didn't nearly start out the way it ended up and it saw many transformations over the year that it took to write. (I'll show you some pictures of my manuscripts later today!) I also needed to figure out what my bug was going to be. It had to be fun, but it also had to be rare. So I researched bug after bug and knew I had the one when I stumbled upon the Hine's Emerald Dragonfly. 

I had never heard of The Hine's Emerald Dragonfly before writing this book, but it turns out, this dragonfly is quite special. It's an endangered species and the only dragonfly added to the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. It is illegal to harm, harass, collect, or kill the dragonfly without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Historically, the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly was found in Alabama,Indiana, and Ohio and probably has been extirpated in those states. Today the dragonfly can only be found in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. So it's quite a feat for our main character, Matt, who lives in Ohio to discover one of these amazing dragonflies on the grille of his dad's car!

So from a stomach virus, and a little research on the only dragonfly listed on the Federal endangered species list, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade was born!