Thursday, September 23, 2010


The talented, fabulous, and one-of-a-kind-wonderful Shutta Crum has a new book out!  Thomas and the Dragon Queen has been receiving well-deserved glowing reviews.

Stop by Shutta's blog for a chance to win a free, autographed copy!  But before you do, stick around here for a moment, as she was kind enough to stop by for a Jumping The Candlestick blog interview:

Debbie:  Shutta, what's the first thing you remember writing?

Shutta:  The first bit of “creative writing” that I remember well was a scary poem I wrote in the 6th grade. I don’t remember any of the lines. But I do remember that it was about coming down some dark stairs where something was waiting at the bottom for me. And I remember how impressed my parents were by the poem. I had to read/recite it to many a bored relative! One good thing I must say about my upbringing; Mom and Dad were always so proud of us and gave us praise—when we deserved it! That stuck with me, and I remember trying to do well so I could hear that pride in their voices. On the other hand, if they thought we weren’t giving any endeavor our all, they let us know that, too. Overall, not a bad way to be raised, I think!

Debbie:  Indeed!  Shutta, where do you do most of your writing?

Shutta:  A boring answer to this one, I’m afraid. Mostly I write in my office on the second floor of my house. It’s a small bedroom that has been converted. I do have a playhouse (see photo) but I seldom do much writing there. The problem is, I go in there to write but get ensnared by the hammock and end up snoozing instead! It’s a dangerous place for me to be when I am on a deadline.

Debbie:  I love your playhouse!  I'd love to move in to it with a year's supply of books to read.  Speaking of reading...  What book is next up in your reading stack?

Shutta:  Not sure. I like surprises and sometimes I just pick up something and get sucked in. I did just finish Mockingjay and then passed it on to my hubby. I don’t think this third installment is as well written, or thought out, as the other two, however. But sometimes it is difficult for an author to tie up all the loose ends, and still keep a sense of suspense and freshness—especially when the first volume in a trilogy is so startlingly fresh. I also felt this way about Pullman’s Dark Materials series. The Golden Compass was so new, so different, that the second volume only barely managed to continue to be fresh. By the third volume we’re in a war and all the loose ends have to get wound up. Collins seems to have had the same problem with her final volume in the Hunger Games series.

As to the next thing to read . . . hmmm . . . let’s see. I’ve got a history of King Arthur here, a book on Celtic history, a book on dying with natural materials, and two new teen novels. One by Scott Westerfield, and one by Nancy Werlin. Which should it be?

Debbie:  That's a tough choice!  I think you might just have to close your eyes and grab one.

One last question:  September is fading away, and nothing says autumn in Michigan like a cider mill. At the cider mill, what do you head for first: a fresh-baked doughnut; a glass of cider; or a caramel apple?

Shutta:  Definitely the cider! Donuts and caramel apples are too sweet. I like a good crisp, slightly acidic cider, served VERY cold. Yum!

Debbie:  Shutta, thanks for stopping by!  I hope all my blog readers will head on over to your blog and sign up to win!

For more information about Shutta, read her previous Jumping the Candlestick interview (part of my sorta-weekly Michigander Monday series) and then head on over to her web site.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We have a winner!

A big thank you to everyone who participated in my book giveaway contest!  Thanks to you, our President now has some fun suggestions to round out his rather serious To Be Read pile.

Last week, I promised to announce the winner on Friday.  Since I'm four days late, I'm announcing four winners!  Judging was hard (I honestly couldn't decide), so instead I tossed all the names in a hat and drew at random.

Our four winners are....

Pragmatic Mom

Please email me at deborah [at] deborahdiesen [dot] com to let me know how you'd like your book made out, plus provide me with your mailing address, and I'll get that off in the mail to you.

Thanks again, and keep reading!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Final call!

Thursday note:  It was relatively late in the day when I posted this yesterday, and a few folks are just now reading this; so I'll give things till the end of Thursday as my deadline.  But I'm setting my alarm for midnight sharp to choose a winner!  (Er, OK, not really.  But in the morning...  :)
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Today's the last day to enter to win a free copy of The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark.  Click here for the details.

Also, if you're a nanny, or know a nanny, tomorrow's the last day to enter the "Regarding Nannies" giveaway being done in conjunction with my interview on the Regarding Nannies blog.  Head over here for more information (at the bottom of the post).

Good luck!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kerrytown BookFest Tomorrow!

The Kerrytown BookFest is tomorrow in Ann Arbor.  Tons of great writers and speakers -- click here for the line-up and here for the schedule.

I'll be doing a storytime in the children's tent at 3:00, and most of the rest of the day you can find me in Booth 65.

Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jeffery Schatzer's Michigan Reads Tour

Last year I had the great privilege of The Pout-Pout Fish being chosen as the 2009 Michigan Reads title.  I visited libraries and schools in a dozen cities last fall during the Michigan Reads tour.  Every visit was exciting and wonderful:  I met great kids, great librarians, great teachers, and more.  What a terrific and memorable experience!

This year's Michigan Reads book is The Runaway Garden, and author Jeffery Schatzer will be traveling around the state this month and next month.  Stops on Jeffery Schatzer's Michigan Reads tour include:  Petoskey Public Library, Peter White Public Library, Rudyard School Public Library, Hart Area District Library, Public Libraries of Saginaw, Detroit Public Library, Livonia Public Library, Howell Carnegie District Library, Marshall District Library, Kent District Library, Antwerp Sunshine Library and the Alpena County Library.  For more details, click here.

Congratulations to author Jeffery Schatzer and illustrator Jeffrey Ebbeler on the selection of The Runaway Garden as this year's Michigan Reads book!

Win a copy of "The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark"! Contest still going on.

With back-to-school and whatnot, it's been a bit busy around here.  So I haven't yet announced a cut-off date on the contest for a free copy of The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark.

Which means you can still enter!

Just go to the original blog post (click here) and make a suggestion for a picture book that you think President Obama should read, and to whom he should read it.

Have fun - remember, this a chance to suggest an enjoyable, quick read that will lighten up the President's very-serious-reading list a little.*

Cut-off date for entries is September 15.

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*Of course, it will only theoretically lighten his reading list.  Seeing as my only connection to the Oval Office is a thirty-five-year-old "Presidential Medal of Fitness" certificate that I, and fourteen trillion other kids received in the mid-1970s, it's highly unlikely that our current Chief Executive will be taking any reading recommendations from moi.  Still, it's fun to think about picture books at the White House.  "Picture books: they make every house a home."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grouchy, Protesting Babies Now On FaceBook

Though Mr. Fish and his pals aren't (yet) on FaceBook, The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade book now has its own FaceBook page.

So I'm linking the "like" button here, as well as over in the sidebar.  Like away!

Thursday, September 2, 2010