Monday, February 02, 2009

Hannah and Brandon Get Some Attention

Ames Public Library blogs about A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat and calls the book's humor "perfect for 2nd and 3rd graders."

Remember, I did not say that. The wise and discerning people at Ames Public Library did.

Yeah, that's right. I've been ego-surfing.


Friday, July 04, 2008

The Three Robbers Celebration--The Hannah and Brandon School Presentation

I've discussed in a couple of my Three Robbers blog tour interviews that I became interested in writing a book for younger readers after talking with teachers at elementary schools where I was doing presentations for middle grade students. Then at The Miss Rumphius Effect I talk a little more about my school visits. So I thought that today I'd say a few words about the presentation I developed for first through third graders around A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat, the first in The Hannah and Brandon Stories.

Teachers suggested that I speak to the littlies about things like characters, plot, setting--what sounded like the elements of fiction to me. So I thought I could try introducing kids to those terms, or, in the case of students who already knew them, reinforce their meaning/significance. But how? I use storytelling in my talk for older kids, which is about writers using their experience in their work. I hardly wanted to stand up in front of younger children and do a literature lecture.

Preparing a presentation was a struggle for me, until I came up with a couple of metaphors. Oh, how I love metaphors--the meaningful kind that explain life. Surely you all have some of those? Mine for this presentation are:

1. Writers are scientists who make changes in their characters, plot, and setting every time they create a new experiment/draft.

2. A story is a jigsaw puzzle, and the characters, plot, and setting are the pieces that a scientist/writer moves around while experimenting, until all the pieces come together into a story.

After that, things fell into place for me. Sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, in fact. My computer guy loved the metaphors and made me a set of terrific slides.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Looking For A Blogging Classroom Teacher

This post is going to be pretty much a repeat of the last one, but if you're a classroom teacher for grades one through three, or have been a classroom teacher for grades one through three, you may not have read the last post because it was for booksellers. This one is for you.

I'm going to be doing a blog tour the week A Girl, a Boy, and Three Robbers officially hits its on-sale date. The hosting bloggers will be interviewing me about Three Robbers in relation to early chapter books in general. So we'll be promoting both my book and age group? field?

I have librarians, a professor of teacher education, and a literacy advocate lined up for July 1 through 5. (The book will be published July 3.) I'd like to find a classroom teacher familiar with kids in the early grades, their reading preferences, etc. to interview/host me on June 29th or 30th. My idea (and hope) is that all these different people will come at the subject from a different angle and ask different kinds of questions. It's an experiment. We'll see what happens.

I've found a number of blogging classroom teachers who teach 5th and 6th grade, but I haven't stumbled upon any who work with the younger kids. I can't believe you're not out there.

So if you are a blogging classroom and are interested in being part of this tour on either June 29th or 30th, e-mail me at

If you're interested but those dates aren't good for you, e-mail me, anyway. We'll double up on one of the other dates.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Here's An Award I'm Very Happy To Hear About

I just learned this afternoon that A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat has been nominated for the Kansas Reading Circle Award. And look what the folks in Kansas say about it in their catalogue: "riotous, imaginative"..."Funny and fast-paced."

That's the second time in just over a week that one of my books has been nominated for a state award. I am feeling rather special right now.

UPDATE: This isn't actually an award nomination. The Reading Circle Catalogue is a reading list circulated throughout the state of Kansas. I was so delighted to hear that I was on it that I felt as if I'd been nominated for an award. It's fine to congratulate me on having made the list, though.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kidlit And Still All About Me

This just in from the home office: The Junior Library Guild will be offering A Girl, a Boy, and Three Robbers to its members next year. Perhaps you recall that it's already offering A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat.

What's that you're hearing? Me sighing with satisfaction.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Loonies And Toonies And Monster Cats

A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat made a list of Top Picks in the St. Albert Gazette. That's St. Albert, Alberta and not St. Albert, Ontario, famous for its cheese factory, and which I think I drove through once around ten years ago. Alberta is way west for me.

Of course, I particularly love this list because it includes my book. I'm not going to try to kid you. But it has some other titles I find attractive. Loonies and Toonies: A Canadian Number Book and Canadian Boys Who Rocked the World are too titles I wouldn't expect to stumble upon below the border. I don't know a lot of people who even know what loonies and toonies are. The book that really caught my eye, though, was Is My Dog a Wolf?. That's a question I've never heard down here in southern New England. When I was a kid, though, I would have loved wondering about that kind of thing.

I like seeing book lists that reflect interests beyond the books you might describe as belonging to an international publishing pool. Especially when the list includes one of my books.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some New Press

A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat was reviewed in the October issue of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. I say October because that's four months after publication. It was one of those mixed reviews that I keep saying writers should be grateful for, so I'm putting my money where my mouth is and mentioning it here. Plus a review in a professional journal four months after publication is fantastic.

The reviewer said Monster Cat is "conceptually inspiring." When my computer guy heard that, he said, "What does that mean?" I said, "I don't know, but I love it." No, really, I do know what it means, and I still love it. Actually the whole sentence was quite good. "More than anything, Gauthier's novel is conceptually inspiring, and it may motivate more than one reader to click off that remote and head into the endless possibilities of imaginative play."

Another good line is "Be prepared to laugh." That's what a writer for The International Falls Daily Journal had to say about Monster Cat. If you follow the link and go all the way down to the fourth from the last paragraph, you'll see it. I only got two sentences in that particular piece, but when one of them is "Be prepared to laugh," you don't need any more.

I was particularly pleased to get a mention in The International Falls Daily Journal because it's published in International Falls, Minnesota, the inspiration for Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, the home of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Rocky and Bullwinkle were cool.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

One Of Those Good News And Bad News Things

A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat made MotherReader's Best Books of 2007 (So Far) MEGALIST. That's the good news.

The bad news is that even though I've read nearly 80 books so far this year, I've read only three from the 2007 MEGALIST. (I got a fourth one from the library this morning.) This business about 150,000+ books being published every year is just too much for me. I can't keep up.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Another One For My Collection

A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat was recently reviewed at Big A, little a. I was very pleased with how that one turned out.


Monday, September 03, 2007

What Happened With Butch And Spike?

Remember last week's drawing for A Year With Butch And Spike? A copy has been inscribed for three brothers from Indiana and is going into the mail tomorrow.

If I don't forget, I'll do another giveaway at Halloween because Butch and Spike has a Halloween chapter. Club Earth has a Thanksgiving chapter, so I'll give away copy of that at the end of November. Then in December I'll be giving away a copy of My Life Among the Aliens because--you guessed it--that has a Christmas chapter.

So you can get freebies here for the next quarter year.

Tomorrow I'm also going to be sending out an arc for A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat. I have two more left. Contact me through my web page if you'd like one.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Promo Time

This past weekend I was so involved with my thoughts regarding Gregor and Ripred that I forgot all about putting in a good word for A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat. I have some new reviews to share.

The July/August issue of The Horn Book gave Monster Cat a very satisfying review. "Take one boy stuck at a neighbor's house, mix in one girl with an overactive imagination, add one vicious Chihuahua, and you have a perfect recipe for havoc...Cepeda's familiar black-and-white sketches add just the right energy to an already lively chapter book." The Horn Book also lists Monster Cat on its web page collection of pet stories. (It also has a page called Web Watch that includes my classroom materials under "Reading Guides.")

School Library Journal posted its review of the book at its website. "The outrageous situations, quirky characters, and black-and-white cartoon illustrations are certain to appeal to children who are looking for an easy chapter book that is pure fun." That was satisfying, too.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Monster Cat Giveaway

Thanks to all who sent e-mails yesterday for the A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat giveaway. My computer guy will take care of the random drawing this evening, and I'll be getting in touch with the winners this weekend.

I'll be doing another drawing in August during the Perseid Showers. That one will be for My Life Among the Aliens.

Sorry, Computer Guy, but this means it's time to update the homepage, too.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Take Your Best Shot

It's still early in the day here on the east coast. Go ahead and take your shot at winning your own copy of A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat.

What will I be doing on this exciting publication day? Well, in less than an hour and a half I will being tested on anything my sambumnim wants to test me on. Say, the seven different ways I'm supposed to know to disarm an assailant with a gun or the...ah...ah...maybe nine or ten ways I'm supposed to know to protect myself from an attack with a joon bong. And then you have the twenty-seven step-sparring techniques. And...ah...some other stuff.

And when I get home, I need to knock off a thousand words on The Durand Cousins. The last three or four days I've worked on that manuscript, I've managed to write a thousand words or better a day. Now, I know many writers won't get out of bed for a mere thousand words. But it's good for me.

My point is, by the time a book is actually published, a writer ought to have moved on to something else. This one ought to, anyway.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tomorrow's The Big Day

Yes, people, this is the last time you'll have to endure me reminding you that A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat will be published on June 21st. Remember that tomorrow you have a chance to win a copy for yourself. Yes, you, too, have a chance at experiencing the happiness of a brand new copy of Monster Cat.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Two More Days.

A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat. Comes out this Thursday. Go here to see how you can win a free copy.


Monday, June 18, 2007

And Now It's Three More Days, Three More Days...

Three more days until A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat is officially published. Those of you planning to try your hand at winning your own copy of the book will be relieved to hear that the books arrived today.

I didn't really have a back-up plan if they didn't come for a while.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Four More Days, Four More Days, Four More Days...

...until A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat bursts out into the world and you can take a shot at winning your own copy.

What will I be doing to celebrate, you may wonder? Well, Thursday morning is my taekwondo class, and this is testing week. Even though I'm not testing for promotion, I will be expected to know more than I did three months ago. Testing week is always...testing. So, I won't be thinking about Monster Cat until well after ten in the morning.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Five More Days...

...until you can take your shot at winning a copy of A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Only Six More Days...

...until A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat is let loose upon the world, and you can take a shot at winning a copy.

Today I was preparing a copy of Monster Cat to send to Miss Rumphius who won it for her participation in the 48 Hour Book Challenge. When I sign books, I like to have a little something to say in them besides, "Gail Gauthier," which just doesn't seem like enough. For The Hero of Ticonderoga, for instance, I say, "Speak for those who can't speak for themselves," and for Saving the Planet & Stuff, I say, "Turn out the lights!" Both these little inscriptions are deep--very, very profound--if you've read the book involved.

So today I said to a family member who had just read A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat, "What do you think I should use for an inscription in this book?"

And he said, "Can we watch TV now?"

Given what the book is about and who was making the suggestion, this was hysterically funny. But not really appropriate because we're not supposed to be encouraging the young to watch TV, are we? So I had to come up with something else.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Week From Today

A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat will be published a week from today. And that day is your big chance to win a copy of the book.

Don't worry about forgetting. I'll be doing a daily countdown from this point.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Not Long Now

In just two weeks, A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat will be launched out into the world. Learn how you can have a chance to get a free copy.

If you do go to my homepage, check out the photo of me at the top. I just had it taken last summer and was quite pleased at the time. But now I'm thinking I look as if I sell real estate.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

While I'm Thinking Of It

Today is Thursday, people, and that means that publication day for A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat is only three weeks away. That also means the Monster Cat Giveaway is only three weeks away, too. Mark your calendars.

Of course, my copies of the books haven't arrived yet. But I'm not worried.


Friday, May 25, 2007

I Did It Again

Or, rather, I didn't do it again. The publication date (and book giveaway) for A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat is four weeks from yesterday, and I meant to remind everyone yesterday. You know, do a little countdown. For the second week in a row, I forgot the Thursday reminder.

Well, so, now you're reminded in a really awkward way.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Another Example Of My Marketing Ineptitude

As if you need one.

Liz B. mentioned Meg Cabot's Pants on Fire Tour this morning. This reminds me that Cabot will be at R. J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut tomorrow at two o'clock, by the way.

What am I doing to support my new book, A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat? I'm giving away books on publication day, June 21st. My plan was to mention the giveaway every Thursday to build up to the big day.

That was all I had to do.

Needless to say, yesterday I forgot. I was all excited about someone else's book and forgot about mine.

So, anyway, the giveaway is five weeks from yesterday.

I swear, last night I was reading the list of upcoming author events in the local newspaper and thought I felt what might have been the beginning of a panic attack coming on. It passed very rapidly, though.

I don't actually panic much. If I did, maybe I'd do more.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

And What Was I Doing?

My editor was at the International Reading Association convention today, where she talked up A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat.

I went biking.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Free Books

A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat will be published six weeks from today. To celebrate that event, we're going to be giving away five copies of the book on publication day. You can learn how to take a chance at winning one of the books at my homepage.

I'm going to be doing some giveaways throughout the year. On August 13th, I'll be giving away a copy of My Life Among the Aliens to celebrate the Perseids. I might do a giveaway around Labor Day with A Year with Butch and Spike to celebrate the beginning of the school year.

If only I had thought of this a few weeks ago instead of a few hours ago. Today is the anniversary of the taking of Fort Ticonderoga by the Green Mountain Boys. It would have been the perfect time to give away copies of The Hero of Ticonderoga. Oh, well. Instead I'll have to give away a copy in January on Ethan Allen's birthday.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More On That Monster Cat

Jen Robinson has also reviewed A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat. My favorite line? "Hannah is almost entirely ruled by her imagination, seeing villains around every corner, and converting tree limbs into helicopters."

Bloggers are on the cutting edge as far as Monster Cat is concerned, getting in with reviews before the traditional journals.

By the way, thank you to Liz B. for shortening the title to Monster Cat. I hadn't thought of that, and now I can't think of anything else.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Monster Cat Review

Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy has come in with what appears to be the first review for A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat.

Liz said, "Part of the humor is from Hannah herself; she is blunt, confident, and has no idea she may rub someone the wrong way. Upon meeting the new neighbor, Hannah asks "is your house haunted?" Brandon recognizes that the new neighbor does the equivalent of back away slowly from Hannah; Hannah herself has no idea that she's scared the neighbor."

I've talked here about the significance of reviews, any kind of review, not just good ones. But here's an aspect of reviews I haven't mentioned--It's nice to feel that someone gets you. After one of my books was published, my then editor and I were talking on the phone about the reviews, and she said of one of them, "She gets it."

I'm always going on here about reading being a way of seeking connections. Perhaps writing is, too. It's very satisfying to have a reader get you, get a character, get what you're talking about.

Liz got Hannah.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Me Me Me Meeeeee

I was out for a while today and came home to find a FedEx envelope tucked into the garage door. What fresh hell is this? I wondered.

It wasn't fresh hell at all but a copy of the final jacket for A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat. I'm very happy with it, especially since it has a couple of extra cats sprinkled here and there.

It arrived the day this cover made the news!

We also finally have a page up at the website relating to this new book.