Blog Tour, Guest and Giveaway: Barbara Dee Author of Trauma Queen

Today I am welcoming Barbara Dee author of Trauma Queen (stay tuned for my review later today!)  She also has a fun giveaway! 
Barbara has a great guest post on writing and middle school.  Welcome Barbara!
Writing About Yourself In Middle School
Sometimes kids ask me where I get my ideas. They wonder if I’m writing about my own middle school experience. My answer is: No. And also Yes.
Here’s the complete list of everything I’ve used from my own tween years:
My writing journal. Like Cassie in Just Another Day In My Insanely Real Life, I wrote in a notebook every day. But I didn’t turn my family life into a fantasy novel, and I never wrote an anti-journal as a protest. However, once I was convinced that my teacher wasn’t reading my homework, so I wrote “scrambled eggs” in the middle of a paragraph, just as a test. And I guess he’d been reading my work after all, because he wrote “SCRAMBLED EGGS? WHAT???” in red ink.
Weird sandwiches. My friend Debbie used to eat pastrami-and-Fritos-on rye bread. In Solving Zoe, the main character eats tuna-and-potato-chip sandwiches every day—until one day she decides, Eww.
A wild friend. When I was in middle school, I had a free-spirited BFF. She was nothing like Francesca in This Is Me From Now On, but she jolted me out of my comfort zone. Mostly in a good way.
That’s about it. What I do use from my own life are strong memories of how I FELT as a middle schooler—all the pain and embarrassment and giddiness of those years are still very real to me. Of course, to create characters and stories I also use my imagination. (Writing would be no fun if you didn’t!)  And I get plenty of ideas just from observing people—Starbucks and trains are my favorite places for eavesdropping.
Let me tell you how I got the idea for my new book, Trauma Queen. One winter morning, I was driving my daughter to her middle school. It was during the annual Spirit Week, when you were supposed to dress in costume. That happened to be Pajama Day, and as we pulled up to the school’s parking lot, a girl got out of the car in front of us. She was wearing pink jammies—oversized, flannel, probably, with some sort of retro pattern.
Cute, I thought.
Then I realized she wasn’t moving. She was just standing there, in the parking lot, hunched over, her arms crossed over her chest.
And you could tell exactly what she was thinking: Wait a minute. It IS Pajama Day, right? I didn’t get the calendar wrong, did I? I won’t be the only kid dressed like this? Omigod, please tell me it’s Pajama Day!
Just then a school bus pulled up, and kids poured out, most of them wearing their pj’s. And as soon as she realized she was dressed like everyone else, her body unfroze, and she ran up to the entrance.
But by then my mind was spinning. What if she’d gotten the calendar wrong, after all? And what if the reason she showed up in pj’s was her mom’s fault? And what if her mom did stuff like this all the time? Okay, but why?  How could it be that her mom was always mortifying her? Wait! How about if….
I drove straight home and started typing.
Memories of middle school mortification + imagination + observation = story.
Now for the giveaway!!!!!!
Trauma Queen fab giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy of TRAUMA QUEEN by Barbara Dee along with a limited edition t-shirt! To enter, send an e-mail to TQgiveaway@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you’re under 13, have a parent enter for you). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 5/13/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/14/11 and notified via email.
Barbara is a featured author on a new website called VYou. Readers can submit questions and chat with her! Just go to:  http://vyou.com/barbaradee
Barbara Dee’s next stop on the tour is YA Books Central at http://yabookscentral.blogspot.com/.
AND I will have my review up later today! 🙂

Want a New Blog for Your Blog – For FREE???

I’ve been toying with getting a new blog design, so when I saw this giveaway I jumped at it. 
Lori at Use You Imagination Designs does great work. 
She made a new blog design for The Owl Bookmark (yes another owl!).  Well she liked the design so much she decided to host a giveaway so another blog could get a new look! I love the design (it has an owl so why wouldn’t I?) It’s super cute.
Check out the giveaway and her new design.  Then enter!!!

Two Winners

I have two quick winners to announce!
Blogfest Winner (I had 339 entries!!!!!!!!)
Inspired Kathy from I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Spaceheadz and MG Book Pack
Beverly from The Wormhole
Congrats to both of you! I’ll be emailing you tonight but feel free to email me at foltzsfantasticbooks at gmail.com if you see this first.
Didn’t win? Enter my giveaway for a SIGNED copy of the Magnificent Twelve by Michael Grant. 
Go HERE HERE HERE to enter!

SIGNED The Magnificent Twelve: The Call Giveaway

I have been given the opportunity from Harper Collins to share with you, my fantastic followers and fellow middle grade book lovers, a giveaway for a signed, yes SIGNED, copy of The Magnificent Twelve: The Call by Michael Grant!!!

I’m super excited for this one.  I just shared the book trailer with my 7th graders, and they went nuts over it!!! Several wanted to know where they could get a copy. I see it as a great book to move Percy Jackson fans to.
If you don’t know about this book, here is the information on it.
Summary
Twelve-year-old Mack MacAvoy suffers from a serious case of mediumness. Medium looks. Medium grades. Medium parents who barely notice him. With a list of phobias that could make anyone crazy, Mack never would have guessed that he is destined for a more-than-medium life.

And then, one day, something incredibly strange happens to Mack. A three-thousand-year-old man named Grimluk appears in the boys’ bathroom to deliver some startling news: Mack is one of the Magnificent Twelve, called the Magnifica in ancient times, whatever that means. An evil force is on its way, and it’s up to Mack to track down eleven other twelve-year-olds in order to stop it. He must travel across the world to battle the wicked Pale Queen’s dangerous daughter, Ereskigal—also known as Risky. But Risky sounds a little scary, and Mack doesn’t want to be a hero. Will he answer the call?
And check out the trailer! LOVE IT!!

This book is written by Michael Grant – the author of the Gone series.  Here is a bit about him:
MICHAEL GRANT is nothing like Mack MacAvoy. He travels all over the globe, he has a bit of a sarcastic streak, and he secretly suffers from belonephobia, a fear of needles. Seriously: Do not invite him to a sewing bee. Or a tattoo parlor. Okay, fine, maybe he’s a little like Mack MacAvoy.
Michael is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series and has written a total of 150 books (yes, you read that right: one hundred and fifty). He wrote most of his books with his wife, Katherine Applegate (K.A.), but the action-packed thrillers in the Gone series are all his. As is his newest series, the Magnificent Twelve, in which he delves into his inner (or, some might say, not so inner) child to create Mack, the unlikeliest of heroes. When Michael isn’t busy writing, he likes to travel, stare blankly at the TV, waste hours clicking aimlessly around the internet, listen to rock music and sing along in a nasal voice, complain, and go out to eat.
Be sure to also check out the website for The Magnificent Twelve where you can learn tons more about the book, play some games and chat with other readers
The HarperCollins Kids Twitter Page and Facebook page are also a great place to learn about other fantastic books.
And now or the giveaway details
CONTEST DETAILS: (1) Official SIGNED HARDCOVER BOOK of THE MAGNIFICENT 12
-Winner must be in the US and have a non PO box shipping address
-Winner must claim the prize within 14 days of contest end date
ENDS SEPTEMBER 29TH 11:59 CST
MUST FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW
 

Blogfest 2010!! My Giveaway

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Welcome to Blogfest 2010!!! I hope you’ve been making the rounds and signing up for some amazing giveaways!
The next stop on your Blogfest tour should be at Leksi Designs. From there you’ll link to the next blog.
Be sure to also go to A Journey of Books for the complete list and help tracking your progress through all the giveaways AND a way to enter the “Big Giveaway”.
I’ve got a choic for you today.  Lately I’ve been really into reading zombie books, so much so that I’ve been dreaming about them!!! Today up for grabs is your choice between three different zombie books.  Two are YA and one is MG.
First Choice
Second Choice
Third Choice
Must be US resident
Ends midnight EST Sept 12
FILL OUT THE FORM TO ENTER.  ENTRIES LEFT IN REPLIES WON’T COUNT!

Review and Giveaway! Dork Diaries


Title: Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Popular Part Girl
Author: Rachel Renee Russell

From Barnes and Noble
Recipe for disaster:

4 parties.
Add 2 friends and 1 crush.
Divide by 1 mean girl out to RUIN Nikki.
Mix well, put fingers over eyes, and CRINGE!


Settled in at her new school and flanked by awesome friends Chloe and Zoey, life is looking up for Nikki Maxwell, especially since her crush, Brandon, asked her to be his lab partner—a seriously awesome development. However, when Nikki overhears mean girl Mackenzie bragging that Brandon’s taking her to the Halloween dance, a bummed Nikki signs on to spend Halloween at a kids’ party with her little sister, Brianna, instead. After she finds out Mackenzie was lying and her dream of going to the party with Brandon could be a reality, Nikki has two events to juggle . . . plus plenty of other entertaining trials and tribulations along the way!

My Review
Last school year I had a bunch of girls read the first book in this series, Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life, and they LOVED it.  At the end of the year they had to pick a book and make some sort of promotion for that book.  Several chose the Dork Diaries.  Now I see why they liked them! These are perfect and fun for the tween set. Written in diary form with fun pictures – they are fun and funny BUT they are also full of so much of what a tween can relate too.  Nikki faces everything in the lives of tweens.  She has a crush, but she think he likes someone else.  She’s over committed and doesn’t know how to deal with it.  She has a fellow student that loves to “ruin her life” as Nikki sees it.  She just wants to have fun, figure out if Brandon really likes her and not make her friends mad.  But life won’t let her do that!  Her emotions are on a roller coaster – actually that part would make me laugh because one entry would be all sad and the next super happy!

What I really liked was the dilemma Nikki feels between her friends and Brandon.  She’s excited by things he does, but doesn’t want to upset her friends when their crushes are working out.  She wants to be at the dance with Brandon, but she doesn’t want to make her friends mad by not doing what they originally planned.  This all comes to a head in a hilarious scene involving Nikki rapidly changing in and out of three costumes! I was chuckling and shaking my head at her.  Of course as an adult I thought – JUST ASK FOR HELP! – but of course Nikki doesn’t see that as an option.  You know this is something tween girls do all the time! It’s clear what’s going to happen, but what’s not clear is how will Nikki be at the end.

As for that ending – I liked it.  It gave closure to everything without completely wrapping it all up – leaving room for the sequel.  I really liked where Nikki and Brandon’s relationshop ends up in this book.  It may not be where all readers would want it to be, but I think it makes the most sense. To top it off, Nikki learns a nice lesson that isn’t preachy or over down, just clear and simple. 

Final thought: CUTE! Yes a lot like Diary of a Wimpy Kid BUT unique and fun.
Best for a reader who: is a girl, likes fun kinda goofy books.
Best stick with you image: Nikki in the rat costume
Best for ages: 9-12

NOW FOR THE CONTEST!!!!
Rachel Renee Russell has offered to give one lucky winner a copy of BOTH Dork Diaries books!! Yes both!
But that’s not all. 
The winner will also recieve a DIY Lip Balm Making Kit from Kiss Naturals.  Isn’t that super cool?
To learn more about Dork Diaires check out the Dork Diary website.  While there you can even make your own comic strip staring you!
To enter fill out the form below. 
Open to U.S. and Canada Residents
Ends Aug. 18th

CymLowell

Book Extravaganza Giveaway

Today I am participating in The Book Extravaganza. This awesome event has tons of blogs giving away tons of stuff all within one weekend.  Contests start today and end Sunday. Be sure to go to Bookworming in the 21st Century to see a list of giveaways.  Then get your fingers ready and enter, enter, enter!
Now on with my giveaway.  Since I’m here to promote middle grade books and authors I wanted to make sure to stay true to that.  But what book??? I finally decided that I wanted to give away one that seemed sweet and exciting and perfect for middle school fantasty lovers. 
The book I picked is:
The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones
From Goodreads
Maxwell Unger has always loved the night. He used to do brave things like go tramping through the forest with his gran after dark. He loved the stories she told him about the world before the Destruction—about nature, and books, and the silver owls. His favorite story, though, was about the Owl Keeper.

According to Max’s gran, in times of darkness the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Gran is gone now, and so are her stories of how the world used to be. Max is no longer brave. The forest is dangerous, the books Gran had saved have been destroyed, and the silver owls are extinct. At least that’s what the High Echelon says. But Max knows better.
Maxwell Unger has a secret. And when a mysterious girl comes to town, he might just have to start being brave again.
The time of the Owl Keeper, Gran would say, is coming soon.
Check out book trailer and The Owl Keeper website!
To enter you must:
be at least 13
Live in the US
Fill out the form!
Starts today and end Sunday July 18th

WINNER OF VLAD TOD CONTEST!

Hey everyone I want to announce the winner of the contest for any book in the Vlad Tod series.  I had 37 people enter with 112 entries!  At first the most popular book was Eighth Grade Bites but at the end Elevnth Grade Burns challenged it! 

Ok the winner is:
She picked Eighth Grade Bites
I’ve emailed her, and she has the next 72 hours to get back to me.
Thanks for playing everyone, and I promise my 175 follower contest will be up this weekend!

CONTEST REMINDER!

I just want to remind you all that my contest for ANY BOOK in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series ends on Saturday night.  Fill out the form here to enter!

Also just wanted to give you a heads up on a great V-Day Contest over at Reverie Book Reviews.  Go here to check it out!  She has four more books to give out, but enter fast or it drops to three!