Giving away signed author copies of books

When your book is published, the publisher sends you a box of author copies. Opening that box is wonderful. Catching a first glimpse of your literary baby incarnated in glorious paper, feeling the cover on your fingertips, hefting that weight on your palm. There it is. Imagination made manifest.

What do you do with your author copies? If you are organized and a good promoter, you post an unboxing video, you run giveaways on your blog (which you pay attention to, unlike the owner of this blog who comes flying in here randomly when inspiration strikes her and forgets all about it for weeks at a time), you send some to the great uncle who always encouraged you to be a writer.

Or you put the box in a safe place on your book shelf, certain you will get back to it in a minute when your life calms down.

But it does not calm down.

This morning, I decided the time had come to send the author copies of my various books out into the world. Books are made to be read. They need to be liberated from my office and begin their happy life on your nightstand.

Therefore, welcome to my Author Copy Book Giveaway. Below I have listed the books I’m giving away, including the number of copies available. I’m happy to sign your book, and I will mail it to you if you live in the contiguous USA. If you live somewhere else, you need to pay shipping.

EXTRA CREDIT if you’ve got a Sunday school, a co-op, or some other special plan for the books!

INCLUDE THE TITLE OF THE BOOK IN YOUR REQUEST!

4 copies

Sam wants to know if animals (especially Saucer!) can speak at midnight on Christmas Eve. Grace and Macrina are competing to write a story, and Elias is losing his patience. Meanwhile, Sister Anna hopes God will rescue her from teaching Sunday school. Christmas is coming, but hearts are full of secrets and frustrations. The Barn and the Book is a story about the traps we build when we try to see in the dark. We tumble into trouble and confusion on our own, but God can steer us clear of our traps and shine His kindly light into our darkness. A chapter book for ages 7-12. Book 2 of the Sam and Saucer series.

6 copies

What happens when you can’t get away from the person who drives you craziest? Sam and Macrina are about to find out. Stuck working together to help the nuns, Sam and Macrina come up with a thousand reasons to disagree. Sam is too rude. Macrina is too bossy. Summer at the monastery will be miserable if they can’t find some common ground. With the help of three friendly nuns, a runaway bunny, and Saucer the trusty corgi, Macrina and Sam discover a big secret that helps put them on the road toward peace. A chapter book for ages 7-12. Book 3 of the Sam and Saucer series.

0 copies – all taken

Written by a group of friends, ​Seven Holy Women​ is a one-of-a-kind journey into the lives of seven women saints. Each section of the book includes a story from one saint’s life, told vividly and imaginatively in the second person; additional information about the saint to give her context; a reflection on ways the writer, reader, and saint intersect on their journeys; personal surveys for the reader and a friend to complete; and a journal prompt that encourages the reader to explore and document her encounter with themes from the saint’s life. Created as both a deeply personal and enriching communal experience, ​Seven Holy Women​ speaks directly to the reader, drawing her into the lives of seven saints as it invites her to look more closely and lovingly at her own spiritual journey and her friendship with the cloud of witnesses.

0 copies – ALL TAKEN

Saint Ia Rides a Leaf is a charming story from the life of Saint Ia, an Irish missionary to England in the fifth or sixth century. The town and parish of St Ives in Cornwall, England, are named for her, and she is commemorated on February 3 in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Join Saint Ia and her animal friends on an adventure to spread the Gospel! Board book for littles.

0 copies – ALL TAKEN

How can one little peg doll have the power to heal two broken-hearted girls?

What happens when you do the wrong thing for the right reason? In this relatable story of the restorative power of friendship, two girls – Nina, who has everything, and Tabitha, who has almost nothing – find the strength they need to heal from a very sad day with the help of nuns both little and life-sized. Chapter book for ages 8-12.

0 copies – ALL TAKEN

Abigail is happy on the island of Inisheer, but God has other plans for her! An angel asks Abigail to search for nine white deer in the woods across the sea. When she finds them, Abigail will also find the place where God wants her to be. Journey with Abigail as she listens to ONE angel, sails with TWO fishermen, finds THREE deer, then SIX, then more! Count with Abigail all the way to her true home. Board book for littles, about Saint Abigail.

BOOKS FROM OTHER AUTHORS

0 copies – TAKEN

The Song of the Sirin is an epic fantasy retelling of the Russian fairy tale “Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf.” It is written in the tradition of the classic Christian fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and George MacDonald.

An evil omen clouds the sky. A song of lore returns. Can one man’s quest save the world?

Voran can’t help but believe the rumors. As blight ravages he countryside and darkness covers the sun, the young warrior of Vasylia hears of an ancient spirit that devours souls. He feels powerless to fight the oncoming devastation until an angelic creature entrusts him with a long-forgotten song. Legend has it that such a song can heal the masses, overthrow kingdoms, and raise humans to the divine. . . .

Armed with the memory of the song, Voran must hunt down the dark spirit before it achieves its goal of immortality. His quest takes him through doorways to other worlds and subjects him to ordeals against seductive nymphs and riddling giants. Voran’t journey is a trial—of faith in a world of doubt, love in a world of selfishness, beauty in a world of ugliness.

With each step of the journey, the strength of the villainous spirit grows, as does Voran’s fear that the only way to save his world is to let it be destroyed.

0 copies – TAKEN

Are you looking for a way to keep your family engaged in the true spiritual nourishment Lent has to offer? Tending the Garden of Our Hearts offers family devotions based on the scriptures for each day of Great Lent, including questions to discuss and ponder and an appendix full of hands-on activities to bring the lessons of the season to life. Whether you use it every day or dip into it occasionally as time permits, this book will help the whole family get more out of this crucial season of the Orthodox year.

#SummeroftheLittleLostNun – Sister Mary and Nun Anna

With great joy, let me introduce you to two little nuns and the little girls who made them. The nuns began life on a summer day, on the carpet with markers, colored pencils, and two fascinating copies of the Periodic Table of Elements.

This is Big Sister and Nun Anna.

And here is Little Sister holding the nun she made, Sister Mary.

Big Sister built a church for the nuns, so they would feel at home, and Little Sister found icons of the Holy Apostles and Saints Cosmas and Damian to put inside it. Here are Sister Mary and Nun Anna on their way to pray.

Outside the little church…
Inside the little church

Sister Mary and Nun Anna spent a wonderful day with Big and Little Sister. They ate spaghetti, and it is very likely they also ate their vegetables. Nuns do eat vegetables.

Sister Mary and Nun Anna took the girls on a walk by the corn fields. The sunset was beautiful, and the dandelions were fluffy.

Before bedtime, they visited the bee garden. Nuns like bees and gardens, and you will often find both at a monastery.

Nun Anna visits the garden…
…and probably blesses the flowers.

There was just time for a quick ride down the slide and a good-night pat for the cat.

Wheee!
Good night, Cat!

Thank you, Big and Little Sister, for making and sharing Sister Mary and Nun Anna! This will remain one of my favorite things that happened during my time on this planet.

If you would like to make your own little nun and share her adventures, you can find the directions HERE.

#summerofthelittlelostnun #littlelostnun

Make your own #littlelostnun and share pictures!

Today, I joyfully announce the #SummeroftheLittleLostNun! Together with Park End Books, I’m inviting children (and grown ups) to draw their own little nun and share pictures of where she goes. Does she go to church with you? On vacation? Is she playing near the creek (don’t fall in, little nun!)? Maybe yours will enjoy the garden. Mine does!

#littlelostnun in the flower garden!

Making Your #littlelostnun

You are very welcome to draw your own nun, paint one on a clothespin, or sew one out of felt or other fabric. Variety is one of the great beauties of creation, and I hope to see variety in these little friends. If you need an outline to get you started, Jack Naasko (an artistic friend) kindly created this downloadable template. Color it in, cut it out, and let the adventure begin!

#littlelostnun goes traveling

Some friends of mine were traveling recently, and they created little nuns on the road! Here they are, the first people (and nuns!) to participate in #summerofthelittlelostnun !

Just looking at these pictures makes me happy!

How to participate

Everyone is welcome to join in! Here’s how you do it.

1 – Make your little nun. Draw your own or use the template.

2 – Take her on adventures. Take pictures of her wherever she goes!

3 – Share your pictures, and use the hashtag #summerofthelittlelostnun so that everyone participating can enjoy them. You are also welcome to send them to me. I will be publishing as many as I can on this blog! Use the contact form to get in touch or find me on Facebook.

4 – Another reason to send in your pictures? Park End Books will be offering a 10% OFF coupon for everyone who participates.

I can’t wait to see your pictures! May the #littlelostnun find herself in many good places, with good friends!

#littlelostnun #summerofthelittlelostnun #littlenuntravels

Flying!

REMINDER: Little Lost Nun is available for pre-order from Park End Books, separately or together with the limited edition Little Lost Nun Peg Doll! This book releases in August 2021!

Herd the Bird: A Poem for Ferdinand the Corgi

This is a poem I wrote on behalf of our corgi, Ferdinand. Ferdinand’s views on birds suggest that a corgi does not always learn from experience.

Herd the Bird: A Poem by Ferdinand the Corgi

Herd the bird.
Herd the bird.
I will herd the little bird.

Herd the bird!
Herd the bird!
See me herd the little bird!

Stop it, bird!
Stop it, bird!
You have left my little herd!

Herd the bird.
Herd the bird.
I cannot ever herd the bird.

[To be repeated however many times it takes to get around the block on your stumpy legs, with no wings.]

Ferdinand with a bird he WAS able to herd…

Funny memory: A cow on the Oregon Trail

What a coincidence! I wrote this down four years ago and ran across it again this morning. Pretty sure many of us are feeling like this cow on the Oregon Trail!

Here’s my 9-year-old, discussing the perils of the Oregon Trail journey at dinner.
“Say this is a covered wagon.” (Picks up piece of biscuit and sets it on top of second piece of biscuit) “And this is the raft it’s floating on, on the river.”
Aligns a broccoli floweret with one end of the biscuit wagon-raft.
“This is the cow pulling it.”
Begins pulling the broccoli. “Mooooooooooooooooo.” (In a deep, cow voice.)
Pulls broccoli cow to edge of plate. Knocks it over the edge. “Good-bye cow.” (Grimace)
[Pause, in which the broccoli cow plops onto the “States of the US” placemat under the plate-river.]
“Hey” (Speaking once more in the deep cow voice) “I’m in Montana.”

My wish for you today is that if you do fall off the plate, you land somewhere lovely, like Montana!

Funny reviews by kids: Meet the Festy Bros

I’m going to borrow from A. A. Milne and name this, “In Which 2 Young Gentlemen Who Dislike Mushrooms Review A Dried Mushroom Product.”

It is a perfect thing of its kind.

If you are drinking coffee, please put it down before you watch, to avoid choking or spewing beverage all over your surroundings.

I wonder what they’ll do next!!

What is your earliest memory of writing?

Once upon a time, when I was little, I went outdoors on a summer afternoon. I walked down the long driveway, from the backdoor of our yellow house, past the garden and the swingset, toward the garage. As I walked, I heard my own voice inside my head, telling the story of what I was doing. I knew the story stretched back to my beginning, and that I was just noticing it, not beginning it. I knew the story was happening still, and that it would keep on happening, as long as I kept on telling it.

That is my first memory of writing. At the time, I was only 4 or 5 years old. I wouldn’t have called it “writing” then, but when I follow the ribbon of my words all the way back, that moment is their anchor

Next, I recall a day in 4th or 5th grade when I decided to write a detective story. I wrote the title, The Mystery of the Golden Bell, across the top of the page and began on my story, scrawling along in pencil until I reached the end of the paper. I started on the next sheet, wondering what would happen next. And then it happened – the revelatory moment when I realized that if I was going to write the story, I had to know what was going to happen in the story! Alas, I had no idea what happened in the story, so The Mystery of the Golden Bell remains unsolved.

I’m interested in the beginnings of things, so I asked some friends to share their earliest memory of writing. I find the responses fascinating (also cute, funny, and characteristic).

My friend Katherine’s first memory is oddly appropriate to her later life. She’s a published author of a series called Crime with the Classics. I love that her earliest writing memory involves a “trial” with her mother playing counsel for the defense.

In sixth grade we were assigned to write a short story (possibly from a prompt, I don’t remember). The teacher accused me of having copied my story from a women’s magazine. My mother successfully defended me from this charge. I remember nothing about my story except that the main character was named Betty.

Katherine

I was struck by how many writing memories are connected to teachers. It’s a good reminder that writing is social: the activity itself may be solitary, but what is written is a communication, and sometimes we need help from mentors and friends to launch it into the world.

I remember in the 3rd grade my teacher trying to encourage me to enter a story that I wrote for a class assignment to a state writing contest. I was so nervous and scared that I told her I couldn’t send it in. After much encouragement, I agreed to let her mail it in.

About 3 months later, my teacher called me up to her desk before going outside for recess. All the kids had gone outside. She handed me a large manila envelope. As I opened it, a 1st place ribbon fell into my lap. I pulled out a spiral bound book. It was the stories of all the top 5 winners.

I remember just sitting there shocked. My teacher had a huge smile on her face, and she showed me a box of books that I had won for our school.

I couldn’t believe that I went from being this kindergartener who struggled with English and who saw a special teacher to help with reading writing, to a 3rd grader who won a state writing competition. It still makes me smile and warms my heart thinking about it.

Nancy

My third grade teacher taught us how to write poetry and arranged to have several of us read our poems on a local radio station. That was a thrilling experience for me and inspired a lot of poetry writing in my school years. Some of my poems were published in obscure little anthologies of children’s poetry. Funny, I’m not sure I even remember how to write poetry now.

Elizabeth

In first grade, our teacher had us do little writing assignments. But I don’t remember what I wrote. What I remember is that she wrote a poem about me being an author. Definitely changed my life.

Laura

The 5th grade teacher would give us lists of spelling words to use in sentences. I made the sentences into a story.

The 6th grade teacher asked, “Have you ever heard the term ‘stream of consciousness’? That’s what you’re writing.”

Frederica

In addition to helping build good writers, good teachers make good teachers! Check out this memory!

[My first memory is of] Learning to write in Kindergarten. We had these 10×10 (?) Letter books with tactile glitter letters on the front (one book per letter). I also remember Phonics workbooks and spelling tests. 😂 Creative writing memories are mostly from 6th grade because I think we actually had creative writing time with my teacher. I teamed up with a classmate and we wrote a “scary” story that was shared at the end of the year writing celebration. This is one reason why I loved doing writers notebooks with my 6th graders when I taught ELA. Drop everything and write days. It was the first chance in school they were ever told to write whatever they wanted to write! For some it was a challenge and they needed prompts. For others, they thrived in being able to express their thoughts and ideas. Otherwise quiet or class clown kids let their creativity shine!

Irene

This next made me chuckle. It’s from one of our #Blogtown friends, Elzabeta at God Has Promised.

I wrote a series of interviews with Garfield the Cat. A lot of lasagna was spilled. I also wrote my own sequel to The Empire Strikes Back because George Lucas was taking too long.

Elzabeta

George Lucas was taking too long! 😀

Here’s another early writer with her eyes on Hollywood.

In second grade I wrote Charlie’s Angels FAN-FICTION on construction paper in crayon. I think. Now I’m starting to doubt my memory. I definitely wrote SOMETHING in crayon and folded the construction paper into a ‘book’.

Cynthia

There were so many stories shared that there isn’t room for all of them in this post, so I’ll close with this one, which I love because it resonates with my own, deep, early memories of STORY – the core of all meaning and beauty in my world.

Well, I remember in kindergarten, we were all writing stories about sea creatures–but I was incredibly frustrated, because my teacher wouldn’t let me write it down myself, instead insisting on taking my dictation. Certain other classmates with neater handwriting were allowed to write their own, and I felt it was a great injustice. (The story itself was about a sea urchin, which I liked because they were purple, and was quite inane.)

My first memory of storytelling, however, was before that, a collaboration between myself and a truly remarkable babysitter (also Orthodox). My backyard was transformed into a magical realm, with each landmark being given Anne of Green Gables-style names, and C. S. Lewis-like cosmological significance. My dolls were central characters, of course, and were joined by several more who were portrayed by her and by myself at various points in the story. Together, with the aid of my trusty slingshot, we worked our way through rising tension, the apocalypse, and even into the Age to Come. If I ever write a story that feels as beautiful and exciting as that one did to me then, and does still despite my forgetfulness of the particulars, I will be well-pleased.

Elizabeth

7 Things Our Corgi Doesn’t Believe In

You might think a dog who likes to eat socks would have no sense of propriety, but you would be wrong. Ferdinand the Corgi combines a photographic memory of how the planet looked yesterday with a joyful confidence that you should have left it that way. Generations of sheep-herding ancestors egg him on, and his soulful gaze and soft, stumpy paws make him a formidable opponent.

What surprised me, as he first began expressing his opinions, was how often his objections stemmed from his love of routine. Like the Navy, Ferdinand adheres strenuously to the precept that there is a place for everything and everything should BE in its place. No dog likes a thunderstorm, and neither does Ferdinand. But he is more likely to protest from outraged sensibility than fear. And even you, oh lovely reader, would struggle to predict what will outrage him.

  1. Trash bags. Wouldn’t you think a dog would be fascinated with a lumpy sack of kitchen smells? Not this corgi! The minute we heave it up from the trash bin to haul it to the garage, Ferdinand loses his fuzzy little mind. He braces his front paws, winds his ears up to full alert, and barks hysterically. Plainly, this kitchen necessity is far more dangerous than the vacuum cleaner.
  2. Helicopters. Also airplanes of every description. He races across the yard, barking the buzzy thing off the property. Does he think it hears him? One must admit that every time he chases a helicopter, it leaves and doesn’t come back.
  3. Lawn reindeer. They weren’t there yesterday. They do not respond to friendly greetings. Sometimes, they fall over. As a species, they have sunk themselves below reproach.
  4. Dishwasher detergent dispensers. You know the square opening on the door of your dishwasher? The one into which you pour the detergent and then shut the cover with a click? To be fair, this should be filed under Things We No Long Object To. Upon discovering that the dishwasher contains eggy plates and spoons decorated with peanut butter vestiges, Ferdinand found that he no longer objected to the detergent caddy.
  5. Heating vents. This objection can be filed with number 4. In the early days of his puppyhood, Ferdinand refused to pass any vent in the floor unaccompanied. He peered nervously into each one, sniffing with the veriest tip of his nose. But winter came, heat began to emanate from these gloomy abysses, and he decided that covering them with his furry belly and snoring was the best defense.
  6. Loaded laundry baskets. Is he wrong? Do you not also wish to flee headlong from the room at sight of one?
  7. You, leaving the house for any reason without him. You can have no possible reason for doing so. There is nothing more to be said.

Laughing at an adorable corgi is an irresistible temptation. His personality is so much larger than his stumpy small self, and his barking, squeaking, pleading little voice is almost human. How can outrage be taken seriously when it bounces?

But I suspect we are more like Ferdinand than we realize. Don’t we all object to the unexpected? How often do we race to control forces that, like helicopters passing overhead, are not truly under our control? And who can object to love that mourns every parting and rejoices with such sincerity over each reunion?

Articles that should never be written

While reading the Dr. Seuss Sleep Book (impossible without yawning), I encountered a sentence that stuck with me. It’s about “five foot-weary salesmen” who have been racing around all day trying to sell zizzer zoof seeds, “which nobody wants because nobody needs.”

Today, I decided to make a list of articles that will never be written. Like the zizzer zoof seeds, they contain information that nobody wants because nobody needs.

Here goes.

Five Ways to Keep Your Baby Up All Night

“How stupid do you think I am?”: An Accurate Assessment

Pouff: Maximize Humidity Retention for Better Hair

Sweet Memories: How to Bronze Dog Mudprints from Your Carpet

10 Things I Wish Everyone Didn’t Know About Me

DIY Pocket Banners: Flag the Spot Where You’re Carrying Your Wallet

Slicker: Increasing Speed and Decreasing Traction on Your Rainboots

How to Ensure No One Will Forget What You Said at the Office Christmas Party. Ever.

Picnic Fun: Attract Angry Geese to Your Group in 3 Easy Steps

Be the Solution: A Frantic Woman’s Guide to Training Everyone to Depend on You for Everything

This is quite fun. Who wants to try? Name me some more articles that should never be written!!