Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Middle-Grade Month Giveaway: The Ballad Of Jessie Pearl

Ballad of Jesse PearlI am pleased to start this middle-grade giveaway month with The Ballad of Jessie Pearl by Shannon Hitchcock, a Namelos author.

Shannon and I have met around ten years ago at an SCBWI retreat on the Jersey Shore, both of us newbies in the world of children’s literature (well, I know I was!) Rooming together in a small country club, Shannon and I shared our manuscripts, our anxieties, our dreams. Now, Shannon and I are pub. house mates!

I am proud to celebrate Shannon’s debut, which really does read like a ballad. Richard Peck, who had read Shannon’s manuscript back in its beginning stages, and then again, last year, puts it beautifully: “With the poetry of plain speaking, Shannon Hitchcock recreates the daily drama of a vanished world.”

There is plenty of drama in the Ballad of Jessie Pearl: death and birth, love and rivalry, dreams of a better future. Jessie manages to be both spunky and a dreamer, true to her time (finely and authentically rendered early 1920s) and in many ways a flighty, stubborn teenager. Most of all, Jessie is a smart, inspiring heroine facing some difficult choices.

Her son’s eighth-grade school assignment and her own family’s history inspired Shannon to write about Jessie. Shannon Hitchcock

Even though the main character is a young woman coming of age, the story is equally suited for younger, middle-grade audiences interested in history (and of course, their teachers).

If you’ve heard the buzz and have been curious, now is your chance to win your own paperback copy! To enter the giveaway, leave a question for Shannon right here in the comments. Whatever you’re curious about: the writing process, the book’s birth, the challenges Shannon faced, or the history she wrote about, ask away — Shannon graciously promised to try and answer.

The giveaway ends at 5 a.m. next Monday, April 15, and I plan to announce the winner by noon that day. Let’s make it good, fellow readers and writers! Let the questions roll in!

Shannon, I’ll go first: what were the biggest surprises about the publication process and beyond? What’s it been like for you, to see it all come together at last? Thanks again so much for doing this!


April 8, 2013 Posted by | Book Impressions | , , , | 16 Comments

“Blue” and “Comfort” by Joyce Moyer Hostetter Reissued in Paperback: Another Double Giveaway!

Ah, I just can’t resist! My friend Joyce Moyer Hostetter, in celebration of the issuing of her TWO books in paperback, “Blue” and its sequel, “Comfort,” is circulating these two awesome book trailers.

“Blue” is a middle-grade story about a girl who in 1944 “put on her overalls and became a man of the house,” “became best friends with a colored girl” and learned that “all of life is fragile as a mimosa blossom.”

“Comfort,” a sequel to “Blue” takes the reader into the post-war America, where the protagonist of “Blue,” now a fourteen year-old, battles with the after-effects of polio and war.

Joyce is graciously donating the two books to me, just as a thanks for participating in the contest on her own blog (or maybe just because she’s nice, or maybe both). I would love love love to just keep them, re-read “Blue,” read “Comfort,” and celebrate Joyce. But I can’t resist an awesome giveaway. I know I am totally spoiling you, but what can I do? I am addicted, people!!

Have any of you read those two fine historical novels? I haven’t actually read “Comfort” yet, and I will, but the reviews say it’s even better than “Blue,” so wow, I can only imagine!  I have read “Blue” even before Joyce and I became friends, and I heartily recommend this poignant, original page-turner.

But whether or not you read the books, would you help me spread the word about them by posting a link to her book trailers for both “Blue” and for “Comfort?” Leave a comment telling me where and how you did this, so I can enter you into this marvelous giveaway. Tell your friends — tell everyone! Let’s make this big, eh?

You’ve got one week — ready, set, go!

In other news, did you know that yesterday was National Writing Day? A day, to celebrate the linking of words into stories is an actual national holiday as of 2009. Started by a group og high school teachers, National Writing Day celebrates and promotes everything writing: from research papers and poetry, to texts to your friends and Facebook status updates… 🙂 Anyway, here is a column I wrote about some Jersey Shore authors sharing some pretty intimate thoughts about their writing processes in honor of Writing Day.

Happy writing — and happy reading, too (for how can we have one without the other? 😉

October 21, 2011 Posted by | Writing Mirror | , | 10 Comments

A Drifiting Friendship And A Giveaway

Nothing is constant in the Universe,  except change, great philosophers say. (Change — and love, I would add — sorry Heraclitus!)

Have you ever experienced these changes when it comes to friendships? What was the longest friendship you have ever had — and have you managed to keep it going strong through the years?

What if a friendship between two nations affected your own personal relationship?

Read my guest post for my friend Joyce Moyer Hostetter http://joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com/2011/05/on-two-different-sides-of-growing.html , leave a comment and spread the word, for a chance to win another signed copy of Joyce’s beautiful first book, “Best Friends Forever” (Friendship Press, 1995).  Original, sweet, touching, funny and heartbreaking, this little treasure of a book is perfect for middle-graders (age 9 to 12, especially girls). It would make for a great gift for kids, teachers or parents.

Thanks in advance for spreading the word!!

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Book Impressions, Personal Mirror, Politics and Religion, The U.S.S.R. | , , , , | 10 Comments