Coming Soon!

July 15–an interview with Kathi Appelt, whose new middle grade novel, “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp”  has already received  four starred reviews.

true blue scouts

Kathi will give away a FREE SKYPE visit to one middle grade group. Be sure to read and comment on July 15 for your chance to win!


Speaking of winners, our copy of “Falcon in the Glass”  goes to

Sue Heavenrich.

Congrats, Sue, and many thanks to all who wrote comments.

Which Way Next…?

After spending the last year writing and revising three work-for-hire MG books, the moment I was waiting for finally came — the first book was published in the UK on June 20. Yay! So now, I supposed I could take a deep breath, relax, pop open some champagne and enjoy…


Instead, I began to suffer from the next writerly affliction that develops once something you’ve helped create enters the big, bad world…

Obsessive Amazon checking.

You know, what’s my sales rank? What is a sales rank, anyway? Has anyone reviewed my book? No? They must hate it! Or worse, no one is reading it! Or, maybe it’s because everyone who read it is 9 years-old and they don’t have Amazon account… or no, they hate it!


You get the picture. A person can drive themselves crazy. As if agent querying, being on submission, auditioning for writing jobs and obsessive email checking wasn’t enough. Turns out, that’s just the beginning. (Who knows, probably even JK Rowling sits around on her piles of money and fan mail and monitors ticket sales at Harry Potter World. Or not. Whatever.) All I’m saying is… It. Just. Never. Ends!

So what’s a writer to do?

Ask any industry professional, fellow writer, your mom, and they will wisely say:

Work on your next project! That’s what you should already be doing, after all! (Oh, and fold the laundry while you’re at it… )

But sometimes, diving into the next big thing is easier said than done. It’s not always simple figuring out what that project should be… Do I use my newfound experience writing WFH to improve an old project with great voice that stalled out plotwise? Or do I take one of the gazillion ideas rattling around in my head and start something brand-spanking new? Try to find another WFH? Sleep for two weeks?

(I’m definitely not folding the laundry, that’s for sure. It’s just fine where it belongs. In the dryer until I need something fresh to wear.)

So, MUF readers — How do you decide what direction to take once you’ve finished something and kissed it goodbye? Tell me in the comments below.

As for me, I’ve got to run. It’s been exactly 57 minutes since I’ve checked Amazon. They update sales ranks every hour, you know…

Jan Gangsei is a writer on the Welcome to Weirdsville series by Working Partners Ltd., published in the UK by Little, Brown Young Readers. The first book, Happyland, was released June 20. The second, Ghost School, comes out August 15. The third releases October 17.

A Falcon Hatches

Today’s the pub date for Susan Fletcher’s  “Falcon in the Glass”, a fantasy adventure set in Renaissance Venice, and we’re celebrating by giving away a copy.

falcon in the glass

From Indiebound:

In Venice in 1487, the secrets of glassblowing are guarded jealously. Renzo, a twelve-year-old laborer in a glassworks, has just a few months to prepare for a test of his abilities, and no one to teach him. If he passes, he will qualify as a skilled glassblower. If he fails, he will be expelled from the glassworks. Becoming a glassblower is his murdered father’s dying wish for him, and the means of supporting his mother and sister. But Renzo desperately needs another pair of hands to help him turn the glass as he practices at night.

One night he is disturbed by a bird—a small falcon—that seems to belong to a girl hiding in the glassworks. Soon Renzo learns about her and others like her—the bird people, who can communicate with birds and are condemned as witches. He tries to get her to help him and discovers that she comes with baggage: ten hungry bird-kenning children who desperately need his aid. Caught between devotion to his family and his art and protecting a group of outcast children, Renzo struggles for a solution that will keep everyone safe in this atmospheric adventure.

Susan Fletcher is the author of the very popular “Dragon Chronicles”, as well as other award winning novels. You can visit her at Susan.Fletcher. com

Leave a comment to be eligible.  And congratulations, Susan!