Published

The Maggie Project is published the first of each month.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mary Tudor, "Bloody Mary"



Gretchen Mauer shares the backstory of her book:

Mary Tudor, “Bloody Mary” is one of six biographies written for 9 to 13-year-olds in the series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames. Out of the six women in the series, I was most interested in writing about Mary Tudor, the first reigning queen of England, because to me she had the most brutal-sounding nickname. I wanted to learn more about why and how she earned it, and whether or not she deserved it. I also wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what her childhood was like, and what if any good she did for the people of England.

Mary Tudor, a devout Catholic, was the first woman to be in charge of all major decisions in England. She ruled from 1553-1558, during a brutal time in history when all European rulers had blood on their hands, including her father, King Henry VIII, and her sister, who ruled after her, Queen Elizabeth.
As soon as Mary became queen, she acted on her mission to bring all people in England back to the Catholic Church. She believed, like many other Catholics at the time, that Protestants would go directly to hell after they died and remain there forever. Moreover, she felt that if she did not bring all people in England back to the Catholic Church, society would fall apart. Friends would turn on friends, neighbors on neighbors. She encouraged Protestants to recant, but if they refused, she ordered their executions. Throughout her five-year reign, she burned 284 Protestants at the stake.
Mary Tudor, ‘"Bloody Mary" tells about how Mary Tudor came to power (her childhood was not short on jaw-dropping drama), how she used her power, and why. It’s definitely a book that makes you think. It puts the information out there, the good and the bad, and leaves the reader to decide whether or not Mary Tudor deserved her nickname, "Bloody Mary." Was she was a product of her time, a wicked woman at heart, or a little bit of both?
You can contact Gretchen at gretmau@yahoo.com.  More information about her book can be found on her publisher’s website at http://goosebottombooks.com/site/BookDetail_s2b3.php, or my Mary Tudor Facebook book page at http://www.facebook.com/MaryTudorBloodyMary.]



Monday, November 21, 2011

Meet Author Jewel Kats

Stories for Children Publishing is touring author Jewel Kats and her two children’s books, Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair and What Do Use to Help Your Body?
Jewel Kats is an award-winning writer. She’s also one tough cookie. At the age of nine, Jewel endured a car accident. Her physical abilities altered forever. She spent weeks in the Hospital for Sick Children recovering, has survived eight leg surgeries, and currently walks with a cane. (Note: It’s fashionably handpainted!) Nothing stops Jewel. For six years, she penned a syndicated teen advice column for Scripps-Howard News Service and TorStar Syndication Services. Jewel has earned $20,000 in scholarships from Global Television Network and Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. She’s penned three children’s books, including: Reena’s Bollywood Dream, What Do You Use to Help Your Body? and her latest book Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair.
Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair
In a Kingdom far, far away lives Cinderella. As expected, she slaves away for her cranky sisters and step-mother. She would dearly love to attend the Royal costume ball and meet the Prince, but her family is totally dead set against it. In fact, they have gone so far as to trash her wheelchair! An unexpected magical endowment to her wheelchair begins a truly enchanted evening and a dance with the Prince. Can true love be far behind?

What Do You Use to Help Your Body?
Maggie and Momma love going for walks. During every outing, Maggie learns about something new. Today is no different! Momma has arranged for Maggie to meet lots of people in her neighborhood. They all have different jobs. They all come from different cultures. They all use different things to help thier bodies. Maggie doesn't just stop to chit-chat. Rather, she gets to the bottom of things. By asking the right question, she discovers how many people with disabilites use aids to help them out.


You can find out more about Jewel Kats’ World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule athttp://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/JewelKats.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Kats and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Jewel Kats about her books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Kats will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 7, 2011 at 2pm EST.



Monday, November 14, 2011

The Back Story of Cixi



Natasha Yim chose to write about Cixi, The Dragon Empress because she wanted to know more about this period in Chinese history.  Moreover, she had been more and more interested in getting back to her cultural roots and heritage—and her writing reflects just that. Yim was intrigued with this fascinating, complex woman.  Cixi was handcuffed as a ruler in many ways by the cultural traditions and biases of her time. There was such upheaval during her reign that her responses or lack thereof changed the political landscape of China forever.

Yim hopes that kids can read this book and know that women can have power, but with great power comes great responsibility.  Whether we’re men or women, the decisions we make can have lasting consequences.

Here's a description of the book:
Cixi, The Dragon Empress is about the last empress of China whose alleged greed and lust for power brought down the Ching Dynasty that had ruled China for 260 years, and ended a 5,000 year-old imperial system. Cixi ruled China for about 50 years, at a time when women had very little say at all. In fact, as a woman, she couldn't be seen as governing.  So she had to give orders from behind the emperor's throne, shielded by a yellow silk screen.  She then had to make it look like the emperor's male advisors were really the ones in charge by saying, "I leave it to you".

Cixi was bad tempered and flew into terrible rages, sometimes gouging servants with her six-inch long fingernails (a fashion statement for noble women.) She spent lavishly on clothes and jewelry while the people of China suffered floods, famine, and starvation. She was also accused of poisoning rivals. Her dastardly deeds earned her the nickname, The Dragon Empress.

The book, as in all the books in the series, questions whether the women really deserve their wicked nicknames. Were they unjustly vilified because they were women in power? The books also ask kids to consider the long-term consequences of name-calling. In Cixi's case, some of the dastardly rumors whispered about her were not true, or at least there was no evidence to support them, but they have stuck with her for over 100 years.


You can find out more about Natasha Yim and Gretchen Maurer’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/YimandMaurer.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Yim and Maurer, along with the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.


In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Natasha Yim and Gretchen Maurer about their books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Yim and Maurer will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 14, 2011 at 2pm EST.











Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing in Rhyme

Karen Cioffi's bedtime picture book, Day’s End Lullaby, is based entirely on a rhyming poem/song that she wrote when her first born was about a year old.  Her baby had trouble sleeping, so Karen made up lyrics which were soothing and flowing—and rhyming so that it would hold her baby's attention and help lull her to sleep. It’s begins:
“Now it’s time to close your eyes my dear.
Beside you lies your favorie bear.
The sun has set; it’s out of view.
The moon’s now shining bright for you.”

While she admits she's not a rhyming expert, the poem/lullaby does the trick. It really does sooth little ones and helps them settle down for sleep.

Karen's advice on writing rhyming books:
Rhyming, when done right, is a wonderful way to engage children. Children, as soon as they’re able, love to rhyme words. This can begin as early as two-years old: cat-hat, mouse-house, poopie-boobie  (you get the idea.) But, to write a rhyming story—a well written rhyming story—is difficult.  You need a good story, rhyme, rhythm/beat, meter, stresses, and more—all this in addition to the already unique rules and tricks in writing for children. And, some writers just don’t have that innate ability to do rhyme well. But, it can be learned.

According to Delia Marshall Turner, Ph.D., the elements of poetry are:

Voice (the speaker)
Stanza (the formatting of grouped lines)
Sound (rhyme/patterns)
Rhythm (the beat and meter – pattern of stressed/unstressed syllables)
Figures of Speech (types of figurative language)
Form (type of poem, its design)

Along with this there is perfect rhyme, and approximate rhyme:
Perfect rhyme: tie/lie; stay/day
Approximate rhyme: top/cope; comb/tomb

There are also many other bits and pieces related to writing poetry/ rhyme. But, the foundation that holds it all together is the story itself—you need a good story, especially when writing for children.

According to the article, “To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme” by Dori Chaconas, in the Writer Magazine, October 2001: “You may write in perfect rhyme, with perfect rhythm, but if your piece lacks the elements of a good story, your efforts will be all fluff without substance. I like to think of story as the key element, and if the story is solid, and conducive to rhyme, the rhyme will then enhance the story.”

Karen Cioffi is a published author, ghostwriter, and editor. 
You can find out more about Karen and her books at:
http://karencioffi.com (author site)
http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com (writing and marketing information and services)
http://daysendlullaby.blogspot.com (Day’s End Lullaby information and reviews)
http://walkingthroughwalls-kcioffi.blogspot.com (middle-grade fantasy adventure, Walking Through Walls)

Karen’s newsletter, A Writer’s World, offers useful writing and book marketing information and strategies. Subscribe today and get two e-books on writing and/or marketing.

You can find out more about Karen Cioffi’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/KarenCioffi.aspx.
There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Karen and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.

 In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Karen Cioffi about her books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Karen will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 21, 2011 at 2pm EST.