Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Autumn!
Long time, no post.

Why? Busy with life and a new book, too. You can see more about what I'm doing at my new-and-much-improved website http://alisonashleyformento.com/

Welcome to the world, TWIGS!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Splashing about new picture books: Two by Nancy Viau and a book giveaway just for you!

Let's celebrate springtime with a book giveaway and personalized signed copy of STORM SONG by Nancy Viau.  
(see adorable book cover in the following blog post)

What do you have to do for a chance to win Nancy's new picture book? It's simple—respond to this blog post by Friday, May 3rd with one word or one sentence describing something you love about spring.  


Example: I love blossoming cherry trees!

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It's been a thrill to share my nature picture books at schools as an Author for Earth Day where I met lots of enthusiastic students eager to raise funds to help care for our environment.



I finally have a little reading time and I'm excited to splash about two wonderful new picture books by friend and fellow KidLit Author, Nancy Viau.





Nancy is the author of three nature-inspired books: LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!, STORM SONG, and SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD. She considers the ocean to be one of her best friends.




Here's the splash with author Nancy Viau...



Can you share a favorite beach memory?
I started going to the beach when I was a week old, and so I've saved up decades worth of great memories. I remember one carefree day with a summer friend when she and I rented a canvas raft and decided we would ride every wave together, holding hands. We were tossed about quite a bit, but never once let go until both our feet hit hard sand. Other unforgettable memories involve a favorite beach in Jersey where I not only introduced my babies to the waves, but scattered the ashes of my parents who did the same for me.

If you were an ocean creature, what would you be and why?
I'd be an octopus because octopi are super intelligent and can logically figure out different ways to solve problems. Check out this link from Orion Magazine.

Are seas or oceans part of your new books in any way?
Sadly, no. In LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! there are streams and those streams run into rivers that run into oceans (none of which you see in the book, so ok, that's a stretch). Ladybug published a sweet poem of mine titled "Sea Story," and I'd like to turn that into a picture book at some point. Ask me this question again in ten years?

Would your main characters be adventurous enough to do a deep sea dive?
Nope, but I might.

Taking care of our seas is important to me and the students in my new picture book, THESE SEAS COUNT! What causes are important to you besides writing for children and or young adults?
I am a strong supporter of our national parks. I believe that kids are becoming increasingly unaware of the beauty that surrounds them, and should get out there to hike up a quiet mountain, view a crystal blue lake, or taste the kind of clean snow only available from the highest peaks. The National Park Foundation works to protect these gifts for future generations.

If you could create a spectacular sand sculpture on a beach, what would you build?
I'd build a really elaborate ship by the water's edge. I'd sit on it, wait for the incoming tide, then pretend to "sail" away on the ebb tide.

Share your favorite ocean character from books, film or T.V.
I grew up on Flipper and he made me want to become a marine biologist. But now I'd have to say my favorite is Mr. Krabs from Sponge Bob. He's crusty and driven, but there's a big heart under that old shell.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Splashing about books...Fairy tales, scuba diving, and swimming rats! Oh, my!

The new book splash today is all about a new young adult novel: RATGIRL: SONG OF THE VIPER (Noble Romance) by Gayle C. Krause



Gayle writes across genres from poetry to short stories and picture books to young adult novels, too. Her best-selling picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, is available from Scholastic Book Clubs, and has sold over 139,000 copies.




Here's the book splash on Gayle C. Krause and her new novel, Ratgirl: Song of the Viper

Can you share a favorite beach memory?
When I was a child, my family visited cousins at Cape Cod. They lived close to the beach and when the parents gathered to reminisce, or do whatever adults do when kids get into something they shouldn’t, I led my sister and my cousins out to sea. Not in a boat or on a boogie board. Oh, no, we walked for what seemed like forever. The blue horizon was ocean and sky, and we kept walking.
Little did we know the tide was out, which made walking the sandbars easy. But, it would eventually come back in. Need I say more? My cousin’s grandmother came searching for us, with her dress hiked above her knees, yelling for us to get back to shore. We weren’t allowed to go to the beach unsupervised after that, but it was a great experience, exploring the fish, shells and life in the tide pools. Almost sounds like it should be a picture book, doesn’t it? J

If you were an ocean creature, what would you be and why?
I’d like to be a bioluminescent creature because they look like diamond dust on a human’s skin at night, and because they live only in tropical waters, so I’d be warm all the time. Some of them are pretty unique and I’d like to think I am, too.

Are seas or oceans part of your new book in any way?
Actually, no. The only body of water mentioned in RATGIRL: Song of the Viper is a toxic river, where Jax, my main character, leads the rats of Metro City to their death, with her hypnotic singing voice. The only problem is rats are good swimmers, and she must risk her life in a boat to lead them across the deadly waters. Halfway across the river, the boat springs a leak. Jax and her companion must think quick, or die like the rats she was commissioned to kill.

Does your main character enjoy, live near, or visit the ocean? 
No, Jax lives in Metro City, a once beautiful, bustling city. Now, with advanced global warming and a tyrant Mayor, who has hoarded all the electricity for himself, it’s a dying city. Jax and the other homeless are forced to live underground, surfacing only at night to barter their goods and services for food.

Would Jax be adventurous enough to do a deep-sea dive?
Jax is a streetwise warrior. She’d do anything to save her friends or her little brother, Andy. This is clearly demonstrated in her story. So, if her brother was held captive under the sea somewhere, I’m sure she’d gather the courage to do a deep-sea dive to rescue him, even if she didn’t know how to swim.
What, you say? Sounds impossible. I told you I was unique. I went scuba diving in the Virgin Islands many years ago, but I didn’t know how to swim. J

Taking care of our seas is important to me and the students in my book, THESE SEAS COUNT! What causes are important to you besides writing for children and young adults?
Insuring that today’s children are aware of good nutrition and healthy lifestyles. When I was a teacher I was the first to introduce my high school students to BMI and healthy food choices. I even carried my “healthy choices” mantra to my preschoolers, when I checked their snacks from home. They told their parents I said, “No sugar water and no chips.” Believe it or not, snacks changed after that, to fruit slices, cheese sticks and natural juice or water.

If you could create a spectacular sand sculpture on a beach, what would you build?
A life-sized sandcastle, complete with Rapunzel in one turret and Aurora in the other, bramble covered one. Can you tell I’m a fairy tale enthusiast?



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Splashing about books: Vampires and Light


It's easy to find photos of new books to share. It's easy to find photos of authors, too. But it's not often that you find a photo of an author, their new book, reading fans, and VAMPIRE TEETH!

 VAMPIRES and LIGHT (Capstone Stone) is written by one of my lovely and talented critique partners, Jody Jensen Shaffer. Jody has written about a lot of fun subjects, including books about bread and jeans, not to mention books on several celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Lea Michele, Dwayne Johnson, and Hunger Games actors Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (Lerner). Take a look at her fun blog Just Kidding. You'll enjoy Jody's books. No kidding.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Splashing about new books...The Ballad of Jessie Pearl


Happy March! Spring is on the way...at least, we all hope so.
I've been splashing about my new picture book THESE SEAS COUNT! I'll be at a school Read Across America party tonight and at the Picture Book Palooza at WORDS Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ tomorrow.

A lot of new books to splash about in March and I'm starting today with The Ballad of Jessie Pearl by Shannon Hitchcock.

The Ballad of Jessie Pearl

It’s 1922 and Jessie has big plans for her future, but that’s before tuberculosis strikes. Though she has no talent for cooking, cleaning, or nursing, she puts her dreams on hold to help her family. She falls in love for the first time ever, and suddenly what she wants is not so simple anymore.

Here's the splash on Shannon and her new book...

Share a favorite beach memory. 
My big extended family vacationed at Carolina Beach every year when I was growing up. I played in the water all day with my cousins, ate lots of fried seafood, and hit the amusement park every night. It was magical!

If you were an ocean creature what would you be and why? 
A dolphin because they’re social creatures, and have been known to protect human beings from sharks. Sharks creep me out!

Are seas or oceans a part of your new book in any way? 
Yes, my character has never seen the ocean, but she longs to. In one scene, she traces a map of North Carolina with her finger, and wonders about the ocean.

Would Jessie be adventurous enough to do a deep sea dive? Yes, Jessie is an adventurer, but I’m not sure deep sea dives were an option in 1922. I’ll have to look that up!

What causes are important to you besides writing for children and young adults? 
Literacy. I’ve volunteered as a reading tutor for underprivileged children for the past five years.

If you could create a spectacular sand sculpture on a beach what would you build? 
I’m going to cheat on this one. I wouldn’t build anything spectacular. Instead I’d hit the rewind button and spend the day digging a moat and making a regular old castle with my son. He’s nineteen now, and I didn’t appreciate those simple times nearly enough.

Share your favorite ocean character from books, film, or T.V. – Madison, Darryl Hannah’s character from the movie, “Splash.” The young man who took me to see that movie later became my husband. I have fond memories of that night.