Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Percy Pack: Celebrating 10 Years of Percy Jackson / New Original E-Book Will Be Out on 7/14/15 #ReadRiordan




We are so excited to be apart of the Percy Pack! We've teamed up with Disney Hyperion to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of PERCY JACKSON! Each month beginning in June, through October, we'll be bringing you exciting news, and special features celebrating the 10th anniversary of Percy Jackson! Each month we'll feature a new post about the latest Percy Jackson news, as well as Rick Riordan's other series. If you're a fan of Percy Jackson, and Greek Mythology, be sure to follow our posts, as well as other Percy Pack members via the #ReadRiordan hashtag.

Get your first look! Today I'm thrilled to share an exclusive first look at the NEW ORIGINAL RICK RIORDAN E-BOOK DEMIGODS OF OLYMPUS: An Interactive Adventurewhich will be released on July 14th, 2015!



ABOUT THE BOOK: 
Your quest begins! Use your demigod skills in this interactive and customizable adventure story written by New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan. Combining four short stories, The Two-Headed Guidance Counselor, The Library of Deadly Weapons, My Demon Satyr Tea Party, and My Personal Zombie Apocalypse, your choices will have consequences in this first interactive demigod adventure. 

There's more exciting news for fans of Percy Jackson! Keep reading to out more about other upcoming releases!


MAGNUS CHASE COVER REVEAL & EXCERPT
The first look at Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (being released on October 6, 2015), was revealed last week on USA Today

ABOUT THE BOOK 
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarök, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .




GREEK HEROES PRE-ORDER
Don’t forget to pre-order Percy Jackson’s GREEK HEROES, the companion to the national best seller Percy Jackson’s GREEK GODS available on Percy Jackson’s birthday, August 18, 2015.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Who cut off Medusa's head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy, ( I've had some bad experiences in my time, but the heroes I'm going to tell you about were the original old school hard luck cases. They boldly screwed up where no one had screwed up before. . .) and enhanced with vibrant artwork by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco, this story collection will become the new must-have classic for Rick Riordan's legions of devoted fans--and for anyone who needs a hero. So get your flaming spear. Put on your lion skin cape. Polish your shield and make sure you've got arrows in your quiver. We're going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we'll die painful tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let's do this.


Pre-order Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Indiebound | Indigo | iBooks


RICK RIORDAN ONLINE
Visit the Official Website
Follow Rick Riordan on FacebookInstagram and Twitter
#ReadRiordan

Monday, June 29, 2015

10 Books for Middle Schoolers to Read Over the Summer



Looking for some books for your middle grade reader? Check out this list of 10 MG books to read over the summer that Random House Kids shared. Originally posted by Common Sense Media, Random House Kids shared the link via their Facebook page. If you're not yet following Random House Kids, I highly recommend that you do! 

Personally I've not read all the books listed here. Since I can't personally talk about each book, I've included the description of the book from the original article that Common Sense Media shared. Check out their list of 10 Books For Middle Schoolers To Read Over Summer below: 
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, ages 10+
What It's About
: Raised in both South Carolina and New York, author Jacqueline Woodson shares tales of her upbringing through Jim Crow and Civil Rights in the '60s and '70s. Told completely in verse, Woodson's book details cherished memories about her grandparents, pop culture, new friends, and living in both the segregated country and diverse city streets.
Why Read It? Woodson's award-winning memoir (National Book Award, Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Author Award) is funny and sad and everything in between. The intimate and engaging poems will teach middle schoolers about a complicated time in American history, but it's also a universal story about coming of age, changing family dynamics, and learning what makes you uniquely talented.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, ages 10+
What It's About
: Before she was the youngest Noble Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai was a young Pashtun girl who loved to learn in her hometown of Pakistan's Swat Valley. Although her mother was illiterate, Malala grew up in a girls' school run by her father. A curious, precocious learner who firmly believed in a girl's God-given right to learn, Malala was considered a blasphemous troublemaker by the Taliban, and in 2012 she was shot by a Taliban gunman. She survived and refused to be silenced.
Why Read It? Educating girls is a global human rights issue, and Malala's story teaches young readers that even the youngest advocate can have a huge impact. As Malala explains, in countries "where women aren't allowed to go out in public without a man, we girls traveled far and wide inside the pages of our books. In a land where many women can't read the prices in the markets, we did multiplication ... we ran as free as the wind."
Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens, ages 10+
What It's About: In 1930s Hong Kong, a Chinese Anglophile sends his 13-year-old daughter Hazel Wong to boarding school in England. When she arrives at the perpetually dark and damp Deepdean School for Girls, Hazel is in awe of the young (and mean) English girls she meets. Still, she connects with plucky and beautiful Daisy Wells, who asks Hazel to be the Watson to her Holmes. There's not much sleuthing for the girls to do until Hazel discovers the dead body of the science mistress -- but by the time Hazel runs back with Daisy, the body has mysteriously disappeared.
Why Read It? This boarding-school mystery in a historical setting is written in the tradition of Nancy Drew with a dash of Veronica Mars humor and Hogwarts excitement. Although the main characters are girls, boys will enjoy the Holmes-and-Watson-style (or should we say Wells-and-Wong) adventures in figuring out what in the world is happening around them.
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip M. Hoose, ages 12+
What It's About
: During WWII, Denmark didn't resist Nazi occupation, and this deeply shamed 15-year-old Knud Pedersen, who along with his brother and some classmates started a small, secret club of political resisters in 1941. Full of brave but naïve teenage boys desperate to undermine the Nazi regime, the Churchill Club committed 25 acts of sabotage -- disabling German vehicles, stealing Nazi arms, and destroying and defacing German property -- before being arrested in 1942.
Why Read It? What middle schooler doesn't want to read about teens who defied authority for the greater good? The Churchill Club's actions sound like something out of a movie, but they really happened, and Hoose interweaves his own historical nonfiction with recollections from Pedersen himself. This is the kind of book students would gladly read for history class, because the characters are such courageous, clever young heroes.
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming, ages 12+
What It's About
: Award-winning children's author Candace Fleming captures the final years of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. Czar Nicholas II isn't prepared to step up and lead his vast empire. An intensely personal man, Nicholas is better suited to family life with his German and English wife Alexandra (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria) and their five children: four girls and one sickly son. As revolutionaries gain ground and WWI approaches, it becomes clear that the Czar and his family are headed toward doom.
Why Read It? History buffs or not, kids interested in "real stories" will love Fleming's straightforward style of explaining complex sociopolitical ideas and historical contexts concerning the Imperial family, World War I, the Russian Revolution, Russian Orthodox ideology, and even European royalty. There's a lot to digest, but it's always fascinating. Fans of nonfiction narratives will dive into Fleming's chronicle of one of history's most fascinating downfalls.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, ages 12+
What It's About
: Fourteen-year-old Audrey struggles with severe anxiety stemming from unspecified school bullying. She is under a doctor's care and making slow but steady progress, but things significantly change when Audrey meets her brother's online gaming friend, Linus. Despite her social anxiety, Audrey finds it easy to talk to Linus, and their friendship eventually turns into a sweet romance.
Why Read It? Best-selling author Kinsella, who's best known for her popular Shopaholic series, delivers her first young adult novel, a realistic contemporary story about social anxiety and gaming addiction that's nevertheless filled with her infectious brand of humor and romance. A book featuring a young teen protagonist, tough issues, humor, and a quirky, close-knit family? Sounds like an ideal mother-daughter read.
I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganada and Caitlin Alifrenka, ages 12+
What It's About
: In 1997, 12-year-old American middle schooler Caitlin and 14-year-old Zimbabwean Martin are paired as pen pals through their schools. At first, Caitlin sends photos and trinkets and asks for the same, not realizing the depths of poverty in which Martin lives. Eventually Caitlin and her family start to send financial support to Martin, and their international friendship forever changes each of their lives.
Why Read It? Caitlin and Martin's letters and perspectives will teach kids to better appreciate their relative good fortune and to understand how a little bit of help and a lot of compassion can make a huge impact on someone else's life. Caitlin and Martin's extraordinary friendship should inspire your kid to be a better global citizen.
Undertow by Michael Buckley. ages 13+
What It's About
: Coney Island native Lyric Walker has a family secret: She's part "Sirena." So when 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race (Sirena being among them) of beautiful but violent humanoid sea warriors, land on her beach, she knows this means trouble. Lyric's New York City beach town turns into a militarized zone with the Alpha on one side and humans on another. Then Lyric is asked to give Fathom, the gorgeous and militant Alpha prince, reading lessons, and sparks fly. Which side will she choose?
Why Read It? Described as a combination of The 5th Wave and Twilight with sea creatures, this romantic dystopian fantasy seems to have enough action, war, and adventure to balance out the fiery romance, making it an equally compelling choice for any kid who wants to start reading a popular new series.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, ages 14+
What It's About
: This dual-narrative fantasy follows two characters in an alternate universe with a strict caste system: Laia is a Scholar (the oppressed class), and Elias is an elite military student for the Empire. After Laia's brother is arrested, she joins a resistance movement that places her as a slave at the military academy where Elias is a rising star. Despite their differences, the slave and the soldier have more in common than they care to admit, and together they could start a revolution.
Why Read It? One of the biggest debuts of the year, Tahir's fantasy novel is already a New York Times bestseller and has secured a sequel as well as a lucrative movie deal.
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, ages 14+
What It's About
: Thirteen-year-old Noah and his twin sister Jude are inseparable until their art-critic mom announces that their dearly departed grandmother's ghost wants them to apply to a local arts high school. The competition for their mom's approval coupled with an unexpected, catastrophic loss leads to three years of drifting apart, finding love, and discovering whom they want to be as artists, siblings, and people.
Why Read It? Nelson's gorgeously written coming-of-age novel won multiple awards in 2014, and it deserved every accolade. Best for seventh- and eighth-graders mature enough to immerse themselves in the story's magical realism, philosophical themes, and relationship issues, I'll Give You the Sun will impress English teachers and make readers want to share the book with friends.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Common Sense Media is looking for more MG recommendations. If you have some recommendations, head over to their post HERE and let them know what other books you'd recommend MG readers pick up this summer. This has inspired me to start working on my own personal list of recommendations, as I feel there are a lot of great books left off this list. 

I'd like to know, what other MG books would you recommend reading this summer? Let's share the MG book recommendation love. Please share your recs in the comments below. As always, we recommend that you read or at least look into each book before you have your child read it. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Read The 1st Chapter of The Copper Gauntlet By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare


Who's anxious to get their hands on Book #2 in the Magisterium Series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare? We are too! While The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare won't be out until September 1st, 2016, fans get read the 1st chapter now! Scholastic Press has treated fans of the series to a sneak peak! Right now fans of the middle grade series can read the entire 1st chapter! Head over to here to read it. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -- and a whole world’s fate.


You can pre-order your copy any of your favorite online retailers. Add it to your TBR lists on Goodreads.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Secret of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards / Cover Reveal & Mini Book Trailer Reveal + Enter To WIN!

Hello and welcome to today's exciting book cover and mini book trailer reveal for SECRETS OF VALHALLA by Jasmine RichardsI'm so thrilled to have Jasmine stop by Mundie Kids today to talk about her upcoming release. Be sure to check out the cover, read Jasmine's letter to Mundie Kids blog readers, watch the exclusive mini trailer and enter to win! 

Check out this fabulous book cover!

A Note from Jasmine

'Hello Mundie Kids readers! I’m SO excited to reveal the cover for my next middle grade fantasy novel, Secrets of Valhalla which publishes in January 2016. The design team at Harper Collins did a great job with my last novel The Book of Wonders and they've done it again here. The cover of Secrets of Valhalla is a real call to adventure. I adore the palette of mysterious dusk-like hues and the sense of magic and wonder. My main characters, Buzz and Mary look just like they do in my head and I love the way the hand lettering of the title has a Norse feeling to it. I can't wait to see this cover printed and wrapped around my book!' 
About the Book 
Meet Buzz…
Fact 1: He hates Friday the 13th.
(But getting trapped in a perpetual Saturday loop is definitely worse.)
Fact 2: He thinks myths are hogwash even though he is the son of a mythology professor.
(He’ll soon see that all those myths about Norse and Roman gods are actually real.)
Fact 3: His life is pretty tough at the moment.
(And it’s only going to get tougher now he’s got to save the world…)
It’s not every day that you find a famous weather woman bound by magic to a tree deep in the woods. Or discover that the weather woman is in fact Sunna, the Norse Goddess of the Sun and one of the seven day guardians who keep time in order. But that’s exactly what happens to Buzz and his new friend Mary.
Soon, they realize that with Sunna captured by the Norse God Loki, the world is doomed to repeat the same Saturday forever. 
Now, Buzz and Mary will have to embark on a quest through many mythologies to find the magical Runes of Valhalla and rescue the day guardians, before Loki plunges the whole world into chaos for good. . .
Read an Excerpt
The figure crept closer, until the heat coming off him singed Buzz’s eyelashes. 
“My dragon has a new pet to play with. Come down with me and watch. It’s quite a show.”
A hand shot out toward him, the skin pale and scarred. Buzz leaped backward. The wind from the rift tore at his shoulders.
He stared at Loki, straight into the candle flame eyes. “We’re going to stop you,” Buzz vowed.
“I look forward to seeing you try.” Loki’s burnished blade of a mouth opened to show sharp teeth, and then he sprang forward. 
Buzz didn’t hesitate. Half falling and half throwing himself backward, he passed through the rip in the air.

Secret of Valhalla will be released on 1.19.16 from Harper Collins. Pre-Order from Amazon. Add it to Goodreads.


Watch the *Mini Trailer

 

ABOUT THE TRAILER
Jasmine told us a little bit about the trailer and the dragon featured in the trailer,
"The trailer stars a dragon trying to incinerate my new book ‘Secrets of Valhalla’. I don't want to say too much about the dragon but just to mention he's not the most friendly creature in this book, he's on Loki's side and is not a fan of squirrels!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Before Jasmine leaves, she's got another exclusive for us! Check out this animation trailer for Jasmine's BOOK OF WONDERS that has never before been shared in publication! 





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jasmine Richards was born in London, grew up in a library, and was the first in her family to go to college. After graduating from Oxford University, she had a brief stint at New Scotland Yard, then chose a career in publishing over being the next Sherlock Holmes. Today Jasmine is a senior editor at a leading British publishing house and lives in the Cotswolds in an old Toll House with her husband and son. She is also the author of Book of Wonders, of whicSchool Library Journal said, “Swiftly paced writing, appealing characters, and action-packed, [this] will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson’ books.”You can visit Jasmine online at www.jasminerichards.com. Do stop by and say hello. All best 
Jasmine

ENTER TO WIN
Thank you to Jasmine, we've got (1) ARC of SECRET OF VALHALLA to giveaway away to one lucky winner! In order to enter, all you have to do is answer the question below and fill out this form. 
QUESTION: (the answer is featured within this post)
What is the name of the Norse Goddess of the sun? 
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

THE VANISHING ISLAND by Barry Wolverton | Blog Tour: Author Guest Post & Enter To WIN!



Hello and welcome to today's stop in THE VANISHING ISLAND, blog tour, hosted by Walden Pond Press. I'm so thrilled to celebrate the upcoming release of Barry Wolverton's newest book, THE VANISHING ISLAND. Middle Grade readers will be familiar with Barry's previous release, Neversink. If you haven't read it, I recommend it! Today I'm happy to welcome Barry Wolverton to Mundie Kids, to talk about his upcoming release.

The Dutch Bicycle &Tulip Company 
By Barry Wolverton
In many ways, the Age of Exploration (Euro version) was also the Age of International Commerce. Its pretty fascinating to read about how the historical British and Dutch East India Companies worked. They had boards of directors and investors and sold shares to the public. The whole system was similar to a stock market (or perhaps a commodities market), and like any good financial market, it had bubbles. In fact, the real-life Tulip Maniaof the 17th century is considered by some the first stock market bubble. You should read about it if you havent. Its way more interesting than the housing bubble.
Dont worry, THE VANISHING ISLAND doesnt take place in boardrooms and delve into stock trading, but all of that certainly factored into how I developed my alternate-history version, the Dutch Bicycle & Tulip Co.
Im sure some people will want to note that the first bicycles werent produced until the 19th century, so this is probably a good time to explain my guiding rule for writing alternate history: Do whatever you want, as long as its a least plausible. The bicycle is such a beautifully simple machine, theres nothing about how it works or the materials needed to suggest it couldnt have been invented earlier. Im frankly surprised that no one has unearthed a millennia-old bicycle prototype in China by now.
Besides, Dutch Bicycle & Tulip Companyis just a much cooler name than East India Company,and also allowed us to create an awesome real logo for the fake company.
Anyway, Return on Investmentwas a powerful force at work in the Age of Sail, whether you were captain of a company ship, an explorer seeking new land, or mere treasure-hunter. Its a key idea as the plot of the book evolves and Bren begins to doubt the sanity of the Dutch admiral hes signed on with, and I hope readers appreciate the books slightly warped take on what words like treasureand treasure mapreally mean.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Does  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

 THE VANISHING ISLAND will be released on September 1st, 2015. You can pre-order it from Amazon | B&N. Add it to Goodreads.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Barry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com. You can also visit Barry on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

THE GIVEAWAY
Thank you to Walden Pond Press, I have a SIGNED arc of THE VANISHING ISLAND to giveaway to one lucky follower. To enter, please fill out the form below. US residents only. 

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Monday, June 22, 2015

THRONES & BONES: NIGHTBORN by Lou Anders | Author Interview | Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Today I'm so thrilled to feature NIGHTBORN, the second book in the THRONES & BONES series by Lou Anders. Described as, "NIGHBORN is a spellbinding tale that will hook fantasy lovers and gaming nerds alike with its detailed world building, humor, and hair-raising adventures." Nightborn is the sequel to Frostborn, and will be out on July 14th. Today I've got an exclusive interview, and a map to share with you. First, here's a little bit about this exciting, upcoming release:


ABOUT NIGHTBORN

Twelve-year-old Desstra is in training to join the Underhand, the elite agents of the dark elves. But her graduation is jeopardized by the betrayal of a teammate. Things go from bad to worse when she is sent on a secret mission, under the supervision of this same rival.

Karn is trading in the city of Bense, when he is snatched into the air by a wyvern who carries him to the home of the dragon Orm. The great dragon tells Karn he believes a second Horn of Osius exists, hidden across the continent in the city of Castlebriar, and that Thianna went searching for the horn and is now missing. With only a dragon's blessing to aid them and a mysterious riddle to guide them, Karn and Thianna must race the dark elves to a prize that could alter the fate of nations.

This book will be out on July 14th, from Crown Books for Young Readers. You can pre-order it from Amazon | B&N. Add it to Goodreads.


Mapping the Fantastic
A Chat with Cartographer Robert Lazzaretti

The wonderful map of my imaginary country of Norrøngard and its port city of Bense were drawn by an amazing map maker named Robert Lazzaretti. Robert, or Lazz as he prefers to be called, is quite famous for the maps he draws for such role playing games as Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. Im lucky enough to have worked with him on seven maps, only two of which have been made public, and were going to work on many more. Ive discovered that if I work on a map with Lazz while I am working on the outline and manuscript of a novel, that just as the story informs the map, the map also informs the story. Its become an important part of my writing process for me and one I hope I can continue for a long time! Lazz is an amazing guy and a talented artist, and so I asked him to let us in on how he does what he does.

Lou: How did you get started as a cartographer? What drew you to mapmaking specifically?

Lazz: I always enjoyed drawing imaginary places from my mind, I would draw huge underground caves and dungeons filled with monsters and adventurers fighting over ancient treasures and gold filled boxes deep underground. I went through school always being focused on the arts, I enjoyed reading and science and other subjects, but creating art gave me the most feeling of satisfaction, so I continued to pursue a career based study in art when I went on to the University. I was hired by a small game company in my home town to work as an intern in their art department. This was the most important thing that happened to me; I learned so much on the job experience, and more importantly I was finally able to get artwork published. This Internship led to me being hired by a larger game company to draw maps for them all the time. I was very happy to be be able to devote all of my time to being a cartographer.  

Lou: Can you talk a little bit about your career to this point? Do you draw your Maps by hand or do you draw them digitally on a computer?

Lazz: Everything is hand drawn technically, the only difference is that currently I use a  digital tablet that is connected to my computer and a drawing/painting program to illustrate the maps. In the earlier part of my map career we used pen and ink, graphite pencils, watercolors, markers, and other media to finish the job. I think it is important to have a good knowledge of traditional art supplies before you delve into digital media.


Lou: To what degree does real world geography place constraints on you when drawing a fantasy map?

Lazz: There are certain rules that should be followed, rivers flow down from glacial mountains to the seas, there are usually foothills at the base of those mountains, sometimes followed by trees which turn into deep forests.  A desert is not usually right next to a swamp.  Sometimes there are places that call for no common sense and things are crazy opposite, but in most cases it is a good idea to have a basic knowledge of geography.

Lou: What is your favorite kind of map to draw?

Lazz: I love making city maps. I was always inspired by medieval city maps and would get lost in the details of all the buildings and street names.  I always imagine myself exploring these imaginary cities and all of their secret alleyways and little shops scattered along winding streets.

Lou: Is there anything you think has been unique to the experience of drawing Thrones and Bones maps?

Lazz: I really have been lucky to be able to enjoy the excitement of watching the maps we worked on together come to life. It is a wonderful process of words becoming visual and the final results are equally appreciated. 

Lou: What draws you to fantasy and what are you some of your favorite fantasy books and movies?

Lazz: I do enjoy fantasy and science fiction worlds equally.
Books:
The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell
Across the Far Mountain March by Neil Hancock
Dominic by William Steig
Children of Morrow by Helen Mary Hoover
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Dune by Frank Herbert
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine LEngle
and many more....
Movies:
Wings of Desire,  Brazil,  Close Encounters of the Third Kind,  The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,  The Princess Bride,  Jason and the Argonauts,  Kiki's Delivery Service,  Angel's Egg,  American Graffiti,  Grease,  North by Northwest.  Too many to list really

Lou: What is the hardest thing you've ever been asked to draw? What is something you'd like a chance to draw that you haven't yet?

Lazz: There was a large poster map that I had to hand draw and paint with real watercolors shading hundreds of mountains and hills and such, but the most difficult was the 5000 plus map tags that had to be placed on this map detailing country names, city names, and other important details from the years of history about this land; very tiring. I always enjoy any new map project that I get to  work on, I don't know if there is anything I feel that I have not drawn yet, I think it would be something no one has thought of yet or drawn yet.

Lou: If you had to build a house and live in one of the Thrones and Bones maps that you have drawn so far, which map which you choose to live in?

Lazz: I would most likely belong in the Town of Castlebriar*, in a small house near the Westwater River, outside the city walls.  The house would be small with some sort of deck or porch to sit on with my easel and paint brushes and paints scattered in various jars and mugs. it would be a bit eccentric looking most likely.  Oh I would have to have a boat to go fishing in, something ramshackle :) (*Lou notes: Readers will discover Castlebriar in book two of the Thrones and Bones series)

Lou: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to make their own maps?

Lazz: Draw every day, carry a sketchbook or notebook small or big with you always. Fill them up with your ideas and keep them so you can look back at where you started and see where you are now. Look at what inspires you, do research on the internet, and go to the library and look at art books and history books. If you find a style of work that you like, then try pull apart the things you like about it and practice more and make your own style of drawing. I used to make a page full of one inch by one inch squares.  Then I would start on the first square and draw a simple mountain inside of it, and write the label mountain, then I would use the next square and draw a castle and label it castle and so on down the line until you have a set of map icons that are yours and your style.  This is a fun easy way to start imagining how your maps will look and you will have the map legend done before you finish the map.

PRAISE For Frostborn


Frostborn is the fantasy adventure book I wish I’d had when I was a kid.” 
Charlie Jane Anders, i09
While I cut my fantasy-reading teeth on the works of Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman’s DragonLance and Darksword, I would have gobbled up this book at that age. Hell, I thoroughly enjoyed it at my current age.”
– Rob H. Bedford, SF Signal
Future fans of Tolkien and George R.R. Martin can happily cut their serial-fantasy teeth on this first book of an eventual series.”
─ Kirkus Reviews
The setting is rich, the characters well-defined, and the danger ever-paramount. It’s a strong and thoroughly enjoyable start to the Thrones and Bones series.”
─ Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“. . . adventure fans will enjoy the action, the Norse background, and the occasional flash of humor.”
─ Booklist Reviews
"Anders sculpts a rich world filled with his deep sense of family and fantasy into this powerful journey of discovery and friendship not seen since Alexander first introduced readers to Prydain."
─ Scott Taylor, Art of the Genre
"Lou Anders's FROSTBORN is sure to appeal to young readers looking for a dose of monsters and magic. Not just a classic fantasy romp, Anders's debut novel explores the experience of feeling young and out of place in a world that refuses to see you for who you are—something readers of all ages can identify with."
James L. Sutter, author of Death's Heretic

BUZZ
Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year
Editor's Choice of Amazon for the month of August
PW Picks “Books of the Week” for the week of August 4th
io9's "Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for August"
2015-16 Beehive Book Awards nominee
Named a Staff Pick by: Politics and Prose, Books Inc., King's English Bookshop, Powell's, & more!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Lou Anders drew on his adventures traveling across Europe in his teens and twenties to write Nightborn, combining those experiences with his love of globe-trotting adventure fiction and games (both tabletop and role- playing) However, he has yet to ride a wyvern With the addition of characters Desstra and Tanthal, Anders hopes that his second book in the Thrones and Bones series will continue to appeal to boys and girls equally Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction He has published over five hundred articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama 

You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBonescom, on Facebook, on Tumblr, on Instagram and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones and @LouAnders, Pinterest and Goodreads.


*Thank you to the publisher for providing all of the content for today's post.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~