Getting Antsy for The Natural Genius of Ants

Welcome to The Natural Genius of Ants Blog Tour!

Five Writing Tips
by Betty Culley

1. Don’t worry about following trends. Instead, write about what interests you, what you are passionate about. I held onto an article about meteorites for years because there was something about it that captured my imagination. It was the spark that turned into my first middle-grade novel DOWN TO EARTH.

2. Find your writer friends. I wrote alone for years and didn’t share my writing with anyone, out of shyness and fear of being judged. It’s hard when your heart is on the page. But when I joined a writing group of kind and sympathetic people, my writing world expanded. Having other eyes read my words made all the difference. For instance, it was one of my critique group writer friends who suggested changing my manuscript THREE THINGS I KNOW ARE TRUE from prose to verse. It ended up being my debut verse novel. There are things in your writing you just won’t see, no matter how many times you look at it. That’s where the magic of other writers comes in! Also, it helps to have people there who understand when you’re struggling with a difficult revision or discouraging publishing news. My writing group met virtually during the pandemic and it helped us all keep going.

3. Read! It doesn’t have to be what you think you should read. Read what interests you and what gets you inspired, whether it’s a beautiful picture book, a poem, or a magazine article. Also, read the latest books coming out in your genre. There are so many wonderful books recently published and more coming out that you can’t read them all, of course, but choose some that speak to you.

4. Don’t get discouraged. Writing can be a beautiful and joyful thing.  I write partly to figure out what I think and feel, and to see those thoughts and emotions expressed on paper is what keeps me going. There can also be discouraging times, when a writer is tempted to give up. If I could go back and give myself advice, I would say Don’t give up. Try to focus on what you love about writing and keep going.

5. Only you can tell your stories. You have stories that only you can tell. Somewhere, there is someone waiting to hear those stories, someone who needs to hear them. So, tell them!


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On Shelves May 10, 2022!

“Culley gives readers characters that are natural, fallible individuals, which add credibility and tenderness to the story. Endearingly executed, this gentle tale will see readers applauding as they reach the end.”
—Booklist (Starred Review)

“Quietly and emotionally intelligent, this tale satisfies.”
—Kirkus

A summer ant farm grows into a learning experience for the entire family in this lyrical coming-of-age story from the award-winning author of Down to Earth.

Harvard is used to his father coming home from the hospital and telling him about all the babies he helped. But since the mistake at work, Dad has been quieter than usual. And now he is taking Harvard and his little brother, Roger, to Kettle Hole, Maine, for the summer. Harvard hopes this trip isn’t another mistake.

In the small town where he grew up, Dad seems more himself. Especially once the family decides to start an ant farm—just like Dad had as a kid! But when the mail-order ants are D.O.A., Harvard doesn’t want Dad to experience any more sadness. Luckily, his new friend Nevaeh has the brilliant idea to use the ants crawling around in the kitchen instead. But these insects don’t come with directions. So the kids have a lot to learn—about the ants, each other, and how to forgive ourselves when things go wrong.

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Betty Culley’s debut novel in verse Three Things I Know Are True, was a Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten Pick, an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee, and the 2021 Maine Literary Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature. Her first middle-grade novel Down to Earth was inspired by her fascination with meteorites, voyagers from another place and time. She’s an RN who worked as an obstetrics nurse and as a pediatric home hospice nurse. She lives in central Maine, where the rivers run through the small towns.


GIVEAWAY

  • One (1) winner will receive a finished copy of The Natural Genius of Ants,as well as a copy of Betty’s first middle grade novel Down to Earth and a bookmark!
  • US/Can only
  • Ends 5/22 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

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“A captivating middle-grade novel.” —Booklist (Starred Review)

“Heartwarming and absorbing, this is a solid choice for middle grade collections. Perfect for readers who want a great small-town story mixed with STEM.” —School Library Journal

 

Counting by 7s meets See You in the Cosmos in this heartwarming coming-of-age story perfect for the budding geologists and those fascinated by the mysteries of the universe.

 

Henry has always been fascinated by rocks. As a homeschooler, he pours through the R volume of the encyclopedia to help him identify the rocks he finds. So, when a meteorite falls in his family’s field, who better to investigate than this rock enthusiast—with his best friend, James, and his little sister, Birdie, in tow, of course.

But soon after the meteorite’s arrival, the water in Henry’s small Maine town starts drying up. It’s not long before news spreads that the space rock and Henry’s family might be to blame. Henry is determined to defend his newest discovery, but his knowledge of geology could not have prepared him for how much this stone from the sky would change his community, his family, and even himself.

Science and wonder abound in this middle-grade debut about an inquisitive boy and the massive rock that came down to Earth to reshape his life.


Blog Tour Schedule:

May 9th — YA Book Nerd
May 10th — Mrs. Book Dragon
May 11th — Pragmatic Mom
May 12th — Feed Your Fiction Addiction
May 13th — From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors

Mimi Powell on Email
Mimi Powell
Mimi Powell decided to run away to a theme park instead of a museum. It was so much fun she decided to live in Orlando, FL... land of theme parks. When she's not riding roller coasters, Mimi writes scary stories and buys books for libraries. She can be found on Twitter and on her website, talking about books and writing.
10 Comments
  1. I love stories where small creatures are featured: insects, invertebrates, rodents, whatever. So many possibilities.

  2. I absolutely loved Down to Earth and am really looking forward to reading The Natural Genius of Ants. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the tips!

  3. n/a

  4. My strangest pets were probably the hermit crabs… though, to be fair, both of the cats we’ve had have been kind of strange in their own endearing ways. 🙂

  5. When I was in elementary school our class had a pet rat that we could bring home for the night. My Mom hated it.

  6. Our strangest pet was an extraterrestrial posing as a dried up root ball 😆

  7. The strangest pet I ever had was a hedgehog

  8. The strangest pet ever in our house was a hissing cockroach.

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