Posts Tagged Jonathan Rosen

Our 2021 Reading and Writing Resolutions

The year 2020 has finally come to a close and, like everyone else, MUF Members are looking forward to a new year and new resolutions. After reading some of these, I’m thinking about revising my own list. Maybe you will, too. Feel free to leave us your reading/writing resolutions in the comments section. Happy Reading and Writing in 2021!

 

 

Click on the authors’ names to learn more about them and their work. Click on the titles to support independent bookstores by purchasing a book.

 


Andrea Pyros 
is the author of Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas and My Year of Epic Rock.

Writing Resolution: “A gentle reminder to myself and anyone else who needs to hear this: Don’t stress over the messiness of a first draft! They’re not supposed to be perfect, but a framework to build upon during multiple revises.”

Reading Resolution: “To leave reviews for books I’ve enjoyed reading. Authors really benefit from positive online reviews, so this is a simple way to boost other writers.”

 

 


Beth McMullen
 is the author of the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series and the Lola Benko, Treasure Hunter series–next up, Lola Benko and the Midnight Market, summer 2021.

Resolution: “2020 was the year of ‘no’ so I’m determined to make 2021 the year of ‘yes’! First up on the list, I’m giving myself permission to write what I want, not what I think I should be writing or what others would like for me to write. We will see how that goes!”

 

 

 

S.A. Larsen is the award-winning author of Motley Education and other middle grade and young adult books, who loves to chase her characters around a graveyard or antagonize them with the wonders of young love.

Resolution: “I intend to loosen the reins of my creativity by committing to two sessions of free-writing every month. Feel free to join me!”

 

 

 

Melissa Roske is the author of Kat Green Comes Clean and other contemporary middle-grade fiction.

Resolution: “Before the pandemic, I had a (relatively) consistent writing schedule. I’d write in the mornings, take a break for lunch, do more writing, and then head to the gym. Now that the world has changed, I lack the focus and discipline to stick to my previous schedule. Therefore, my resolution for 2021 is to create a new, less restrictive schedule that accommodates my ‘new normal.’ For instance, I can’t go to the gym anymore, but I can take an online fitness class before or after a writing session. And I can be kinder to myself when I have a less-than-productive day. Sometimes, getting out of bed in the morning is enough.”

 

 

Rosanne Parry, the author of A Whale of the Wild  and more, writes books in her treehouse, sells books at Annie Blooms Bookstore, and reads books everywhere.

Writing Resolution: “I have a year of intensive research coming up. I hope to read another 50 books, websites, archive materials and maps, view documentaries and meet with at least a dozen experts in the field. ”

Reading Resolution: “I hope to take greater advantage of audio books this year. I also want to find and nominate at least 2 new titles for the Indie Next list. ”

 

 

Jennifer Swanson is an award-winning author of Beastly Bionics, Rad Robots, Brilliant Biomimicry, and Incredible Inventions Inspired by Nature as well as 40+ STEM books for kids. Science ROCKS!

Resolution: “Be Healthy. Be Happy. Stay Curious.”

 

 

 

 

Donna Galanti writes middle grade where heart and hope meet adventure! She is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series and the upcoming Unicorn Island, which begins a new series.

Resolution: “I had 2 new books to write on deadline this year, but that meant I neglected my numerous own projects! In 2021, I intend to finish drafting and revising 3 books in various stages and outline a new idea. My day will continue to include mediation, walks in the woods, and working on one project at a time each day—but also adding yoga to get flexible! Until recently, my critique partner and I met each month for a writing day but have changed that up this month to Zoom “accountable” days. I aim to do a few of these each month with her if I can in 2021. We set goals, a day, and a time, like between 9am and 5pm, and then Zoom every 2 hours to check in and hold each other accountable. It’s a great way to boost productivity when you have to check in with someone!

 

Natalie Rompella is the author of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners as well as more than sixty materials for kids, including books on topics such as insects and sled dog racing.

Resolution: “To write something that requires little or no research.”

 

 

 

Aixa Perez-Prado is a writer and illustrator of quirky, own voices stories with heart and humor.

Resolution: “I will approach my writing and drawing with the same confidence and spirit as I did as a child, full of joy, wonder and hope.”

 

 

 

 

Sean McCollum, the author of 1 For All, is a nomad from the Midwest who’s been fortunate enough to build a career writing nonfiction books, stories, and articles for kids, tweens, and teens.

Resolution: “Read more, write more, and give more young people more reasons to read.” 🙂

 

 

 

 

Meira Drazin, who loves to read widely, voraciously and across genres, is the author of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award-winning middle grade novel Honey and Me, forthcoming from Scholastic.

Resolution: “I’m always so jealous when I see people post on social media roundups of what they’ve read in the last calendar year. This year I resolve to be one of those people! I’ll admit that this isn’t the first time I’ve had this resolution: in the past I have tried jotting down in the back of my journal each book as I finish it, only to get as far as January. Or to decide to do it in April and unsuccessfully try to backtrack by scanning the pile of books next to my bed, bath, couch, office, etc. I think this year the key will be to do it in Notes on my phone so that it’s in a central location and generally something I have at hand. How wonderful to be able to see the breadth of what you’ve read over twelve months, and remember what moved you, what irritated you, what made you laugh or cry, what was interesting or even what was boring, what did not deserve the hype and what deserved all its hype and then some.”

 


Samantha M Clark
 is the award-winning author of The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast.

Resolution: “I’m really excited to have two new books coming out: Arrow  published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster on June 22 and American Horse Tales: Hollywood, coming from Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House on June 29. While I’ll be busy with those as well as other upcoming projects, my 2021 resolution is to find peace wherever I can and make lots of time to read all the wonderful middle-grade books that have come out since COVID-19 started.”

 

 

Heather Murphy Capps is an #ownvoices middle grade author who writes contemporary, science, and magical themes.

Resolution: “To tackle two projects: 1) draft a new book I’m noodling on but haven’t yet outlined; 2) revise a book I trunked a while ago but have a real itch to resurrect. Peace out, 2020, bring it on, 2021!”

 


Michelle Houts
, the author of Winterfrost, writes fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages from a restored one-room schoolhouse.
Resolution: “This year, I want to write for practice: morning pages, a poem a day, free-writing … anything that exercises my writer’s brain.”

 

 

 

 


Jonathan Rosen
is the beloved and highly controversial author of Spooky MG books such as Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies and From Sunset to Sunrise.

Resolution: “Total Global Conquest and also to write more.”

 

 

 

 

Mimi Powell is a writer, librarian, and avid video-gamer.

Resolution: “From Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, where she talks about writing as a meditative practice: write for twenty minutes a day, doesn’t matter if it is good or not. Just write.”

 

Greg R. Fishbone is the founding member of the Mythoversal Project and the author of speculative fiction and mythology in verse.

Resolution: “To release at least one installment of mythology stories per week through 2021.”

 

 

 

 

Dorian Cirrone is the author of the middle-grade novel, The First Last Day, and other books for kids and teens.

Writing resolution: “To write with abandon, using the Pomodoro Technique of setting a timer for twenty-five minutes at a time and knocking that inner editor off my shoulder while I write. Also, to finish the novel I started a couple of years ago that I’ve been thinking about for more years than I can count.”

Reading resolution: “To read widely and to try new genres.”

 

Scary Stories Via Podcast – Halloween Isn’t Just for Books

creeping hour logo

It’s the most wonderful time of the year ….. for scary stories and books about things that go bump in the night! Halloween lovers rejoice as visions of zombies, witches, ghosts, werewolves, even cuddle bunnies (thanks to MUF contributor Jonathan Rosen) dance eerily through our heads.

Jonathan Rosen, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies

Slime and blood, clacking bones and freakishly long teeth, and of course a soul-rending howl or two — they’re all the stuff of a good MG scare. Plus, they might also pack an added benefit by showing children ways to navigate some of the darker emotions they’ll face — fear, anxiety, anger — in a safe space. (As long as they do, in fact, live in a safe space they can return to when their book is finished.)

But the printed page is not the only place we can expose our children to scary Halloween-esque fiction.  In today’s on-demand world,  scary stories via podcast is also an increasingly popular way to get your fix of a good scary yarn.

The Podcast

The online world of pre-recorded storytelling is growing by leaps and bounds, and we’re about to meet a new and quite talented contributor to the genre of fiction podcast in just a minute. But before we get to that, let’s just be clear. Listening to stories isn’t new. Audiobooks have been around for decades — formerly quaintly known as “books on tape.” (Like, you know, cassettes. Smile.)

The Golden Age of Radio

Before that … some of us (like me) are old enough that our parents actually listened to books on LIVE RADIO. “Let’s Pretend,” “The Lone Ranger,” “The Amazing Adventures of Superman,” and more were serialized fiction nearly a hundred years ago, in the 1930’s. Of course, the offering wasn’t nearly as culturally or thematically diverse as today’s fare, but then neither were the printed books.

The War of the Worlds

Some of those stories were QUITE scary.

Orson Wells narrates the War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds was a fictionalized news broadcast aired on CBS radio in 1938. The radio play narrated an alien invasion in progress–and panicked a whole generation of listeners. Its effects were enormous–so many people believed it was actually happening, they jumped in their cars, trying to escape. For author Elie Lichtschein, creator of the podcast The Creeping Hour, (produced by WGBH radio in Boston, MA) that thrill of fear inspires his writing today.

The Creeping Hour

The Creeping Hour podcast is a five-episode anthology — plenty of opportunity for scary stories via podcast. It’s hosted by “The Creeps” — teenage friends and monsters themselves. WGBH bills the broadcast as “family-friendly horror… for kids ages 8 – 12 but parents shouldn’t be afraid to listen along as well.”

creeping hour logo

Each “chapter” or episode of The Creeping Hour is hosted by “the Creeps,” three teenage friends who became monsters after hearing too many scary stories.  

Interview with Elie Lichtschein, creator of The Creeping Hour:

We had a chance to interview Elie about his podcast and how he created the vibe of an old-time horror show for today’s listeners.

MUF: What’s the origin story for “The Creeping Hour?”

EL: Great question! The short answer is that last autumn I approached Nina Porzucki (who’s the Managing Producer of Podcasts at WGBH) about co-producing a horror anthology series podcast for kids and was thrilled to find that she was as excited by the idea as I was. Nina brought in Hillary Wells, the executive producer on the series and director of youth media at WGBH, and Kate Ida, a fantastic producer there, and The Creeping Hour was born!

The longer story is that several years before then I was working as a journalist for NewsCorp, covering the news by day and writing dark and weird kids horror stories at night. My team launched an in-house news podcast, which inspired me to try to do the same for the stories I was writing. My first iteration was called Middle Grade Horror was much more low-fi and DIY-feel and published on the Jewish Coffee House podcast network. But it was instrumental in teaching me the ropes of writing kids audio and also helped me meet people who were and remain strong champions of kids audio programming, and helped pave a path to The Creeping Hour.)

Podcast or Print?

MUF: Why did you choose to go with scary stories via podcast for your distribution rather than print an anthology and turn it into an audiobook?

EL: I was thinking mainly of speed – I wrote these episodes with my co-writer, Annie Kronenberg, in April/May of this year and they’re out in polished final form now, in October! That speed from ideas to script to production to final product is just incredible and not something I’d have found as easily if I tried to publish an anthology and then convert it / sell it as an audiobook.

MUF: Why did you choose to team with WGBH instead of an independent production?

EL: I was looking for a production partner who could nicely complement the skills and experience I’d be bringing to the project. WGBH, with its resources, reach, and bevy of fantastic projects, seemed like a great co-partner. And they absolutely have been, at every part of the pre, production, and post stage of creating these five episodes. It’s been beyond a pleasure to work with them, especially Kate, Hillary, and Nina, and this project would look and sound vastly different without their contributions.

Writing the Shows

MUF: Who writes the stories/episodes, and are they also available in book form – or is there a plan to publish the anthology?

EL: I wrote the scripts with Annie Kronenberg, a fantastic writer I met through a friend who oversees the Writers House editorial internship program, which we both went through. Annie took the lead on writing the second episode, “Out of the Wind,” and I took the lead on the others. There’s no current plan in place to publish the stories in other formats, although the idea is tempting!

MUF: If they don’t write the stories, are the three hosts authors? Actors?

EL: All three of them are screen and VO actors, but Kizzmett Pringle (who voices Axe) and Alexis Collins (who voices Weta) do more screen and stage work, and Matthew Gumley (who voices Toro) is also a rock musician and performs a bunch.

The Creeps:

The Creeping Hour Hosts

Behind the Stories

MUF: What are the inspirations for the episodes?

EL: Hmm, I mean I’d say the overall inspiration is to scare kids ;-). But we tried coming up with stories that could be aurally frightening in new ways. These include building scares by focusing on repetitive words (like the “Dirt spy! Dirt spy!”) in “Meet the Creeps”) or through pairing creepy monster sounds with creepy natural world noises ( like the monster / weather-based scares in “Out of the Wind”), or using a creepy piece of music as almost a character that uses sound to latch onto its victims (as in the season finale, “The Beat,” which comes out on Halloween).

MUF: What’s your favorite episode – the one you’d point new listeners to?

EL: I really love what we did with the final episode of the series – “The Beat” – and can see it being a great starting point to get listeners listening. (It’s not up yet, though, so I don’t have the link unfortunately)

MUF NOTE: “The Beat” will drop ON HALLOWEEN ….. 

I also think the second episode, “Out of the Wind” (Click on link to listen to a snippet of this episode.)

MUF: What’s next for “The Creeping Hour?”

EL: Good question! Well, there are still two more episodes yet to drop in this first season, but hopefully we’ll keep telling creepy stories that continue to scare kids in ways that make creative use of the audio medium.

Elie’s Halloween Book List and Podcast List

MUF: What are your favorite middle-grade fiction podcasts that AREN’T yours?

EL: I loved Mars Patel and just came across Adam Gidwitz’s Grimm podcast with Pinna, which looks incredible, can’t wait to dive in.

MUF: What are some of your favorite printed spooky Halloween books for middle grade readers?

I just read Apocalypse Taco, which is a graphic novel by Nathan Hale, and LOVED it. An old classic is the Tintin story, Flight 714, which brings the intrepid boy reporter face to face with aliens and mind control and villains’ lairs hidden deep inside active volcanoes. Also, I can’t get past Eric Kimmel’s picture book, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, which has some of the most horrifying monster illustrations (done by Trina Schart Hyman) in any kid book I’ve ever come across (and also riffs lightly on the “Shaydm” that appear in episode three of The Creeping Hour). Also, you can’t go wrong with Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and I loved Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener. Cf course then there’s Goosebumps – some of my favorites are The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, Deep Trouble, and A Night in Terror Tower.

The Creeping Hour Artwork

EL:  The artwork for the series was done by the incredible Parker S. Jackson. Just want to give him a shout out because he’s so great!

And WGBH made these incredible Snapchat filters that can turn you into a Creep! You can find them here: https://thecreepinghour.org/articles/transform-yourself-into-a-creep-s1!e3f16

How to Find The Creeping Hour:

Listen here.

Thanks so much, Elie; it’s been a pleasure.

And … HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all our MUF creeps!

 

Elie Lichtschein

Podcast Author E.ie Lichtschein

Elie Lichtschein is a writer and producer based in Manhattan. He’s the writer and co-creator of The Creeping Hour podcast (WGBH/PRX, October 2019). His fiction has appeared in It’s A Whole Spiel (Knopf, September 2019). He’s currently working on a middle grade adventure novel with PJ Library. Visit him online at elielicht.com or on social media @elielicht