RATSOS Pre-Order FUN!

9780763676377Hello, friends. So, the next book in the INFAMOUS RATSOS series, The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid, is due to publish in September 12th. Hurrah!

In honor of this occasion, I’m going to run a little contest over the next month (from today, 8/11, until pub day on 9/12). Here’s how it works:

  1. If you pre-order The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid from your local indie or Amazon or Barnes & Noble, email me (at karalareau@me.com) a photo of your receipt along with your mailing address. I’ll send you a personalized, signed bookplate and a bookmark for each copy purchased!
  2. If you promote the book on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, email me (at karalareau@me.com) a screenshot and I’ll also send you a signed bookplate and bookmark!
  3. If you do any of the aforementioned things, you’ll be entered to win an INFAMOUS FUNTIME PRIZE PACK, including 1. a copy of The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid AND a copy of The Infamous Ratsos, both signed by me AND Matt Myers, 2. a pack of (new INFAMOUS RATSOS character!) Stinky Stanko’s favorite purple pens, and 3. a Skype visit from me with the library or classroom of your choice, where I’ll read from the book, answer questions, and send along some swag for the audience!

Think you can handle all this Infamous fun? As Louie and Ralphie might say, GAME ON!

 

Fear not! More Ratsos On the Way!

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Friends, I have a new book coming out in September! The second book (of four!) in the Infamous Ratsos series, The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid, will pub on September 12. As Louie and Ralphie might say, Game ON!

Just as the first book was all about what it means to be “tough” (and how much easier it is to be kind), the second book is about different types of fear, and what it means to be brave. So far, Kirkus Reviews says, “Readers will be following right alongside these two likable rats as Ralphie confronts his past misdeeds and Louie screws his courage to the sticking post” and calls it “Charming.”

If you’re looking for ways to support the book (and me as an author!)…

  1. Please spread the word about this book and series, especially to any parent, teacher, and librarian friends you might know!
  2. If you want to buy the book, don’t wait until September 12! Preorder the book (either through your local indie or via Barnes & Noble or Amazon), as substantial preorders really help the book’s standing.
  3. If you can’t swing buying the book, please consider telling your local library (and/or school library!) to add it to their shelf.
  4. Once you DO read the book (and hopefully like it!), please consider posting a review on Amazon; once a book receives 50 reviews, Amazon really starts showcasing it.

FYI, I’ll be doing a series of local author appearances at bookstores this fall, AND I’m so thrilled I’ll be attending the Book Fair By the Sea in Camden, Maine this month, the Rhode Island Book Festival in Providence in October, and nErDCampLI in Huntington, NY in November. Check out my Events and Appearances page for all the details!

Also, I’m booking school visits and Skype visits for the fall. I LOVE visiting with kids and talking about my books and writing in general (and running writing workshops, too!), so please drop me a line and let me know if you’d like to set something up.

More fun news to come — stay tuned!!

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Whoa.

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So. I had a bit of a day yesterday. Actually, it all started two nights ago, when I got a certain phone call…from the Geisel Committee.

That’s right. If you haven’t already heard, THE INFAMOUS RATSOS was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. (More about the award here.)

Of course, it was my fondest hope/dream/wish that this would happen, but I never, ever really thought it would. I’m actually waiting to wake up right now and realize this has all been a dream. The past couple of weeks have been such a roller coaster, with very high highs (seeing my first novel, The Jolly Regina, finally published; joining millions this past Saturday in the Women’s March) and very low lows (a certain inauguration). But this high is stratospheric.

It’s not just the award itself, which is literally and figuratively an Honor to receive. It’s the outpouring of love and support I’ve received since the big announcement yesterday. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who voiced their congratulations. It means everything. It keeps me going. It keeps me writing.

Big thanks to the brilliant Matt Myers for bringing the Ratsos to life with such humor and flair; to my wonderful editor, Sarah Ketchersid, and publisher (and alma mater!), Candlewick Press; and to my amazing agent, Barry Goldblatt. And a big CONGRATULATIONS to the other winners announced yesterday — and to the amazing authors and artists and books that weren’t announced yesterday. I bow to you all. Thank you for putting your hearts into your work, and putting your work out into the world.

The world can seem like a cruel and uncertain place these days. I’m just thrilled that my little story about kindness might bring some light and hope to young (and not-so-young) readers.

A few things:

  • Speaking of kindness, it just happens to be Kindness Week! (Though, really, shouldn’t it be Kindness Week 52 weeks a year?) In any case, if you’d like to spread some around, feel free to download and print some of these Kindness Cards. They’re fun to color and decorate, and they’re a great way to show someone you care.
  • If you’re sharing the book with your kiddos, you might find this discussion guide helpful.
  • If you’d like to read some behind-the-scenes stories about THE INFAMOUS RATSOS, here are a few from my archives (NOTE: The contest/giveaway mentioned has already ended)…

The story behind two of the Ratsos’ neighbors, Mrs. Porcupini and Mr. O’Hare.

The story behind one of the Ratsos’ teachers, Miss Beavers.

The story behind the Ratsos’ friends: Tiny, Chad, and Fluffy.

The story behind the Ratsos’ dad, Big Lou.

The story behind The Infamous Ratsos, Louie and Ralphie.

Happy reading!

A Mid-Week Peek

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Hello, friends, and Happy Wednesday! The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for me, with the long-awaited (at least, to me!) publication of The Jolly Regina, the first in my middle-grade trilogy, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. Many thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement.

Also, I’ve been working on the second Bland Sisters story AND the second book in THE INFAMOUS RATSOS series, I have a few new projects out on submission (fingers crossed!) and I’m now drafting the third and final (?) Bland Sisters adventure.

And then there was this amazing news:

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In short: Life is very, very good right now, but also a bit exhausting (in the best possible way).

A few more fun things to point out:

Enjoy the rest of your week…

The BOOTY-ful Winners!!

Hello, friends! Thanks so much to all those who participated in my Jolly Regina contest. I was so thrilled to hear from each and every one of you, and delighted (and a little intimidated!) by your pirate names (I hope you were, too). I think we’ve got a right good crew here!

Without further ado, the five grand prize winners of the giveaway are…

Janet Welz-Kavanagh, aka Jolly Wendy

Catherine Petter, aka Cutthroat Polly

Jennifer Kraar, aka Jolly Mad Dog Kate

Jennifer Gervais, aka Jolly Gertie

Tim Hebda, aka Toothless Hazel

Congrats to these winners, who will receive a signed copy of the book, a pack of Jolly Regina postcards, and an official Jolly Regina eyepatch! Huzzah!

BUT WAIT — THERE’S MORE!

Everyone else who entered will get some special loot, too. Specifically, a pack of Jolly Regina postcards and a Jolly Regina/Infamous Ratsos bookmark! The runners-up are:

Claire Bobrow, aka Cutthroat Bonnie

runthistowndotnet, aka Mad Dog Hazel

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, aka Deadeye Gertie Mad Dog

mona861, aka Mad Dog Polly

Nancy Volkers, aka Nasty Ever-Lovin’ Vera

Lynn Alpert, aka Low Tide Annie

Cathy Bonnell, aka Cutthroat Bonnie

Laura D, aka Low Tide Doris

Emily Wayne, aka Ever-Lovin’ Wendy

brightcrested, aka Ever-Lovin’ Gertie

jpetroroy, aka Jolly Polly

Linda Mitchell, aka Low Tide Marge

connieonnie, aka Cutthroat Hazel

Amy Keyes, aka Abalone Kate

Rebecca Wright, aka Rusty Wendy

Pam Basler, aka Peg Leg Bonnie

Please email me ASAP with your full name and mailing address, so I can get these goodies out to you.

ARRRRGH, me hearties! Big congratulations to ye all, and many thanks fer playin’ — and fer supportin’ me and me book!

A BOOTY-ful Giveaway!

Happy Monday, friends!

Believe it or not, my very first (!!!) novel, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina pubs TOMORROW, January 10th. In honor of this very special occasion, I’m holding a very special giveaway. Five lucky winners will receive:

  1. A signed copy of the book
  2. A package of eight Jolly Regina postcards (designed by moi)
  3. An official Jolly Regina eyepatch

So…are you ready to grab some booty? Wait. That came out wrong.

Are you…ready to land some loot? Great! Let’s do this!

All you need to do is change your name.

 

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Use the above chart to determine what your Jolly Regina name will be. Post your new name in the comments here today through the end of the day tomorrow, January 10th. I’ll choose five entries at random, and I’ll announce the winners on January 11th. Got it?

Good luck — and be sure to spread the word to any and all interested mateys!

Yours in all things piratical,

Krabby Lois

 

Five Things About the Jolly Regina: The Jokes

Aye, mateys! I’ve taken the past few days to give you a little behind-the-scenes of the process of writing my upcoming (and very first!) novel, The Jolly Regina, the first in a middle-grade trilogy called The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. Today’s (final!) entry concerns some of the jokes and references in the story.

I love a good joke (obviously), but I also love using literary and cultural references to enhance my humor. Sometimes, my references are meant for kids, and other times, they can be a bit more sophisticated and adult. This is because I hope that kids of all ages will enjoy The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, so I’ve included all kinds of humor, for maximum entertainment. Also, I think the best stories are the ones you can come back to again and again, and discover something new and different each time. I especially love going back to stories I loved as a kid and discovering whole new meanings with my (semi-)adult sensibility. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.

FUN FACTS:

  1. I read a lot of Herman Melville in school, so there are quite a few Melville references in the story. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Princess Kwee-Kweg is based on Queequeg from Moby Dick. Also, Millie Mudd is based on Billy Budd, Sailor (I even gave Millie a slight stutter as an homage). And the Bland Sisters’ beleaguered mail carrier, Mr. Bartleby, is based on the infamous “Bartleby the Scrivener.” You might even say that Delilah’s obsessive hunt for The Booty Myth has parallels to Captain Ahab’s search for a certain white whale.
  2. As research for The Jolly Regina, I also read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (highly recommended if pirates are your jam). Jaundice and Kale hide in a dinghy during the big swashbuckling scene at the end much like Jim hides in an apple barrel aboard the Hispaniola.
  3. Gilly Guns Island is a reference to “Gilligan’s Island”, which was one of my favorite television shows when I was Jaundice and Kale’s age. (Back then, I aspired to be Mary Ann, but I think I’ve turned out more like the Professor.)
  4. Confession: I pirated two funny moments from two of my favorite movies. When Jaundice and Kale puzzle over the ladder in Chapter Eleven, their exchange (“Of course we know where it goes….It goes up”) mirrors one from Ghostbusters, which I saw in the theater when I was eleven (and promptly fell in love with Bill Murray and his deadpan humor). And when Jaundice and Kale discover the conch at the end of the story, the line “But this shell had no earthly business being among a pile of clams” is based on a similar line from another of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these little behind-the-scenes stories — and, ideally, that they’ve made you want to read The Jolly Regina! Happy reading, me hearties!

TOMORROW’S POST: A contest!