Posts Tagged ‘middle grade’

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Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy is the first book in a new sci-fi polypunk series by Richard Due, author of the award-winning Moon Realm series. What’s it about? Here’s Willa (she’s eleven):

Ever wonder why some crazy scientist hasn’t blown up the world? I used to wonder about it all the time. Actually, I was pretty sure my mom would be the one to do it.
But now I know better. It turns out there’s a force working hard to keep the world from going KABLOOEY.
Who are these people? Wait for it:
Idiots. Yep, you heard me right.
How do I know? Well, apparently, I’m an Idiot. At least, according to the Geniuses I am. Confused? I’m not surprised. You’re probably an Idiot too.

It all began on a Thursday at precisely 8 a.m. I was standing in the family room of our lovely two-story house, directly across the street from Squirrel Brand Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The same family room that, in a few minutes, I would never ever, ever see again—ever.

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The first two in a series of short videos on my experiences working with an illustrator.

Transferring the Image in Your Mind to that of Your Illustrator’s

Making Effective Illustrations

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A Perfect Tales-Told-By-the-Fire Book

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By Tricia Rightmire

I’ve been working on how to phrase this review for a while, but I sit down planning to sound all clever and erudite and end up getting all wistful and making lots of hands-over-my-heart gestures at the screen, so I think this time I’m just going to go with that. . . .

The Moon Coin is lovely, folks. It is charming and clever and beautiful and daring; it’s full of adventure and surprises and courage and puzzles and characters with whom I fell immediately and permanently in love. It’s written with a younger audience in mind—think “older elementary school, some middle schoolers”—but it’s the sort of book that just begs for a blanket and some comfy pillows and a crackling fire on the hearth, with everyone piled in together and hearing about far-off lands full of faeries and dragons and cats big enough to ride (they get really crabby about that, though, so I don’t recommend trying it). It doesn’t shy away from big words or complex ideas, but couches them all in a universe that’s so rich and consuming that they’re not “too hard” . . . and it’s just. so. fun.

The downside is that it’s the first of an as-yet uncompleted series, so you can’t just sit down and binge-read through them all; the upside is that every minute in this world is delicious and grand, and makes you want nothing more than to have your own Moon Coin so you can go adventuring. Grab the youngsters who mean the most to you, settle in, and enjoy!

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For me, getting to work with Carolyn Arcabascio was a dream come true. We worked from a master list of scene options, with Carolyn picking out scenes she liked and making sketches. For the prologue, Carolyn drafted three options. All three were great, but two in particular were spectacular. I first went with option 3 (one of my scene suggestions). I think we spent more time on this sketch and subsequent color drawing than on any other piece. But it never seemed right. At the eleventh hour, I asked Carolyn how hard she’d hit me if I suggested scrapping the thing and instead going with the pinky promise scene you see below (one of her scene suggestions).  Carolyn responded: “There would be no hitting involved!” and told me it wouldn’t be a problem. You sure can’t ask for better than that.

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From the Prologue: Bedtime Tales.

Click on image to enlarge.

Richard: Did you make all these sketches in the same location, Carolyn?

Carolyn: Yes, I do all of my work at a drafting table that’s situated in a little nook of my apartment in Acton, Massachusetts. There’s a bookshelf to my right and a wall of “inspiration” to my left, where I hang prints of other artists’ and illustrators’ work. On either side of my drafting table are drawers of supplies, and stacks of sketchbooks and old paintings. The drafting table faces a window overlooking a quiet street and the woods beyond it.

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From Chapter Two: A Coin of the Realm.

Click on image to enlarge.

Richard: Do you use models when you’re sketching?

Carolyn: I use a combination of models and photo references. If I need to work out the nuances of a character’s posture and really understand the perspective of it, I’ll ask whatever friend or family member is handy to pose for a sketch. Often, I’ll get into the position myself or mimic the facial expression I want to portray in order to get the feel of it. And sometimes, if there’s a character being portrayed multiple times across scenes, I’ll make a rough model of their head out of clay so I’ll have it to refer to.

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From Chapter Four: To Barreth.

Click on image to enlarge.

Richard: When drawing fantastical creatures, do you use bits and pieces of real animals for inspiration, or have you actually seen a wirtle and you’re just not telling us? 😉

Carolyn: No wirtles native to Massachusetts, fortunately! When figuring out the look of fantastical creatures, I use photo references of different animals to understand the way the anatomy might work, and then combine features as I see fit and as the story calls for. To understand the wirtle’s legs and paws, for example, I referred to a series of photographs of show dogs leaping over hurdles. The severely arched, scruffy back was influenced by photos of hyenas on the prowl. The bone-structure of the face ended up being something of a cross between a cow and a warthog, and I wanted the snout to be bare—kind of gross and raw-looking. Add it all up and, voila! We have a wirtle.

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When Lily and Jasper’s uncle disappears, Lily must search for him in the most unlikely of places: the fading realms of her childhood bedtime tales.

Gold Medal Winner of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award.

Epic fantasy for ages 9 to 99. Visit the Moon Realm

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Copyright © 2011-14 by Richard Due. All rights reserved.

No portion of this website may be used in any manner without the expressed written consent of the copyright holder.

Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of Ingenious Inventions Run Amok, Ink®

The Moon Realm®

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When Lily and Jasper’s uncle disappears, Lily must search for him in the one place she never imagined possible: the setting of her childhood bedtime tales: the Moon Realm.

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Copyright © 2011-14 by Richard Due. All rights reserved.
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Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of Ingenious Inventions
Run Amok, Ink® The Moon Realm®

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Illustrations and excerpts from the

The Moon Coin.

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From Chapter One

flying seahorse resting on a wall made of living coral

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From Chapter Two

Lily removing moon coin necklace from mannequin as alarmed Jasper looks on.

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From Chapter Three

Mr. Phixit.

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From Chapter Four

Witcoil riding a wifling.

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From Chapter Five

Roan swatting away arrows.

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From Chapter Six

Graydor observing from high atop the ridge gate.

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From Chapter Seven

Lily riding Roan into the Royal Palace of the Rinn.

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From Chapter Eight

Greydor and Nimlinn on reclining on the Royal Dias.

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From Chapter Nine

The stained glass doors of the Tomb of the fallen. A saddle and Nimlinn's paw can be seen within the room.

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From Chapter Ten

Tanglemane snoozing on a stone ledge.

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From Chapter Eleven

Aleron and his flock diving through the clouds.

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From Chapter Twelve

Dragon with arrows sticking out of his snout being rained on.

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From Chapter Thirteen

Curse, the malevolent entity that lives in Tavin's sword, being unsheathed.

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From Chapter Fourteen

Tavin walking knee deep in the fens...

From Chapter Fifteen

Small girl carrying two lanterns in the night.

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From Chapter Sixteen

Lily and Keegan having tea.

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From Chapter Seventeen

Dubb and Lily at the door.

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From Chapter Eighteen

The lunamancer Ember, tending a fireplace with an iron poker.

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From Chapter Nineteen

Dubb's cracked moonsword.

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From Chapter Twenty

Lily, about to reach into a boot.

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❍ ❍ ❍

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Copyright © 2011-13 by Richard Due. All rights reserved.
No portion of this website may be used in any manner without
the expressed written consent of the copyright holder.
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Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of
Ingenious Inventions Run Amok, Ink®
The Moon Realm®

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“Tales, unlike stories, never lie. You see, a tale is an account of

things in their due order, often divulged secretly, or as gossip.

Would you like to hear one?” —Lord Autumn

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It’s the middle of the night, you need to send your brother to the Moon Realm, and he won’t wake up. So you improvise. . . .

When a confused Jasper awakes, he’s convinced he’s dreaming. But by the time he meets Greydor, Jasper understands that this is no dream. In fact, persuading the King of the Rinn to work with the men of Dain to defeat their common enemy is a nightmare. Then there’s the other side of the coin: convincing Tavin and Dubb that saddling a Rinn isn’t certain death. (“It’ll be fun!”) And perhaps even a greater worry: can he make friends with Dubb’s daughter Darce before she punches his lights out?

Lily has problems, too. There’s a little mousie scratching in her closet. Or at least, it sounds like a little mousie. Oh, and her second confrontation with Curse, and trying to form her first peerin. (Don’t you have to be from Dain to do that?) And where’s Ebb?

One thing’s for sure: now that Lily and Jasper have entered the Moon Realm, nothing can ever be the same again.

Illustrated by Carolyn Arcabascio. Book Two in the award winning Moon Realm Series.

For a Two Chapter Preview: click HERE.

Book Two / A Moon Realm Novel

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The tale continues . . .

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Two chapters formatted for ePubMobi, or PDF.

Please share these files with your friends. Enjoy.

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The Dragondain

Book Two / A Moon Realm Novel

Now available in paperback and ebook.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes iBookstore, and Second Looks Books.

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 The Moon Coin

Book One / A Moon Realm Novel

Now available in paperback and eBook...

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes iBookstore, and Second Looks Books.

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Copyright © 2011 by Richard Due. All rights reserved. Gibbering Gnome Press,

A Division of Ingenious Inventions Run Amok, Ink® The Moon Realm®

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