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Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books


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Cover reveal for 2 PIRATES + 1 ROBOT

I’m thrilled to reveal the cover of my next picture book, 2 PIRATES + 1 ROBOT, coming from Kane Miller next month! Art by Shiho Pate.

Space pirates Flotsam, Jetsam, and their robot’s rejoicing at their newfound plunder is cut short when they’re attacked by other pirates. They evade by flying into an asteroid field, but their ship is damaged. Despite the robot’s repair efforts, they don’t have enough fuel to reach port. Will Flotsam and Jetsam accept his valiant offer to be jettisoned in order to save them? It’s Firefly meets THE GIVING TREE. An author’s note explains some of the math and physics behind the shenanigans. My engineering degrees finally paid off!


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Good Times at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Had a fantastic time at San Diego Comic-Con. I participated in three panels and got to hang out with some amazing authors. Took a ton of pictures for my friends who couldn’t be there. Enjoy!

My little Predator? One of my favorite pictures from the convention.

My sons and I outside the San Diego Convention Center

In the San Diego Convention Center, no one can hear you scream!

The Dark Crystal, Planet of the Apes, and Lord of the Rings sculptures

A giant Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants!

“Not with 10,000 men could you do this.”

Ah, Dungeons & Dragons humor…

Samurai Batman!

Puppets from the upcoming TV show Crank Yankers

Tiki Yoda and Moana !?

Godzilla doesn’t like waiting in lines either.

Gundam figures

Batman: Family

A sketch of me by the creator of Mr. Toast

The importance of good dental hygiene…

I’ve got my eye on you!

 

He-Man!

 

Domino from X-Men

Stephen King’s IT

Final Fantasy characters

3A figures from Ashley Woods

Magic Wheelchairs ❤

Met the kind and talented author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS, Erin Morgenstern

The wonderful author of SHADOW AND BONE, Leigh Bardugo, wins the Inkpot award

Leigh Bardugo and Erin Morgenstern: talented and funny

Are You There, Gods? It’s Us, the Protagonists panel with authors Rebecca Roanhorse, Scott Westerfeld, Margaret Rogerson, Ann Leckie, and Joan He

Ruby Rod cosplay from The Fifth Element. Supergreen!

Joffrey cosplay from Game of Thrones

The Future as I See It panel with authors Gini Koch, Tim Zahn, Steven Sears, Jonathan Maberry, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and Seanan McGuire

The Fantastic Flavors of Fantasy panel with authors Renee Ahdieh, Lauren Shippen, Katy Pool, Nicole Conway, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Marissa Meyer

Those green army “men” are real people!

Jonathan Maberry gives Nancy Holder the Scribe Award

Star Wars samurai cosplay!

Elfquest cosplay

Wherefore Dystopia and Darkness panel with bestselling authors Jess Rothenberg, Richard Kadrey, S.L. Huang, Ally Condie, Rachel Caine, and Marie Lu

Admiral Ackbar cosplay from Star Wars. “It’s a trap!”

Fembot cosplay from Austin Powers

She-Ra and Kim Possible cosplay

Tank Girl cosplay

The Writers Coffeehouse author panel with (l to r) me, Jonathan Maberry, Delilah Dawson, Peter Clines and Scott Sigler.

I can’t wait to see this urban fantasy series!

Carnival Row stars Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

Cara Delevingne’s fairy character takes flight off the edge of a cliff.

Six-foot tall LEGO Batman minifigure

Monty Python and the Holy Grail cosplay. “There are some who call me… Tim.”

Wakanda (Black Panther) / Spiderman basketball team cosplay. SDCC is known for such creative mashups.

Chun-Li cosplay from Street Fighter video game

Green Arrow cosplay

Peter Pan Lost Boy Rufio cosplay from the movie Hook

Beetlejuice cosplay. Don’t say his name three times

ALF cosplay

Stellar Stories and Awesome Adventures panel with authors Maura Milan, Mark Siegel, Tochi Onyebuchi, Ashley Poston, and Maryelizabeth Yturralde

Disney Hyperion Publishing panel with authors/editors Emily Meehan, Brittany Rubiana, Serena Valentino, and Jocelyn Davies

 

Theseus and the Minotaur cosplay

Three interpretations of Judge Dredd cosplay

Lord Voldemort: He Who Shall Not Be Named. Oops.

Skeleton warrior cosplay

Wonder Woman cosplay

Game of Thrones cosplay: Cersei, The Mountain, The Night King, Arya wondering why SHE isn’t killing the Night King

Rick and Morty cosplay

Global debut of the cover of my upcoming picture book, 2 Pirates + 1 Robot, from Kane Miller Books.

My fantasy/sci-fi author panel with (l to r) Tomi Adeyemi, Lev Grossman, A.G. Howard, Aditi Khorana, and Jonathan Maberry.

They packed the room!

Fans of The Magicians may recall Umber asking for little cakes. I brought Lev Grossman some little cakes.

After the panel, the authors signed their books. Many added graffiti to the tablecloth. Someone drew salmon. Author Chuck Wendig apparently has no respect for sustainable salmon farming. And the feeling is mutual.

Lev Grossman (The Magicians) left his own graffiti.

Mostly, we signed books. Here author Lev Grossman signs a fan’s chest.

My favorite cosplay of the convention: Warhammer 40K Sisters of Battle! Adepta Sororitas

My KidLit literary agent panel with (l to r) Hannah Mann, Thao Le, Kelly Sonnack and Stefanie Von Borstel.

Writing Craft panel with authors Sarah Gailey, Annalee Newitz, Charlie Jane Anders, Seanan McGuire, and Cory Doctorow

Godzilla, Ghidorah, and Rodan resin miniatures

Sci-fi author greats Larry Niven, Greg Bear, and David Brin

Fandom Meets YA panel with authors Livia Blackburne, Mary Pearson, Tricia Levenseller, A.G. Howard, and C.B. Lee

Lord of the Rings cosplay. A Minas Tirith dress! “For Gondor!!”

Reinventing the Modern Girl panel with authors Seanan McGuire, Danielle Paige, Sarah Kuhn, Nila Macgruder, Cecil Castellucci, and Jenn Fujikawa.


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Giant Straw Animals from Japan

When someone says giant animal from Japan, my first thought is Godzilla. However, these giant straw animals, courtesy of the mad geniuses at Bored Panda, are just as cool. And they don’t trample Tokyo.

“Fall is a season of harvesting, and festivals to celebrate it are currently taking place all over the world. In Northern Japan, the Wara Art Festival recently rang in the September-October rice season, and it’s a wildly inventive and fun way to repurpose rice straw left over from the harvest.

Wara Art Festival has been taking place in Niigata City since 2008, where it began as a creative collaboration between the city’s tourism division and the Musashino Art University. Rice straw was once widely used in Japan to produce various goods, such as tatami mats, but has now been replaced by wood and plastic in most instances. The students of Musashino worked together to fill the fields of Niigata with giant animal sculptures made of bound rice straw, and they’ve been doing it every year since then.

Check out the best displays from the 2017 festival below, and definitely put a trip to Japan on your fall to-do list for next year.”

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri

Image credits: Wara Art Matsuri


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Fun at WonderCon 2019

Had a great time at WonderCon, as usual. Here are some photos to prove it!

The grand entrance.

Miscellaneous superheroes, including a McDonalds Thor and a Jack in the Box Dr. Strange!

Something special for anyone who’s ever worked in an office.

The Empire captures little Spiderman and a Mario brother.

Star Wars trio.

Panel: Unicorns, Rabbits, Aliens and Other People, with (l to r) Maryelizabeth Yturalde, Dana Simpson, Leah Thomas, Jim Pascoe, Nicole Conway, and Cecil Castellucci.

Clever way to protect your vendor booth when nature calls.

Star Trek Fred Flintstone: set phasers to stone!

Is it me, or did it suddenly get very judgey in here? Personally, I prefer Karl Urban’s Judge Dredd over Sly Stallone’s.

Six foot tall LEGO minifigure cosplay. Not so mini now!

My KidLit author panel with (l to r) Lee Wardlaw, Molly Idle, Peter S. Beagle, me, Jo Whittemore, Scott Campbell, and (not shown) Barbara Bottner.

They packed the room!

Any time you’re feeling full of yourself, just do a signing next to Peter Beagle. #LineEnvy

General Grievous bids you farewell until next year!


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Speaking at the 2019 Charlotte Huck Children’s Literature Festival

I had a great time attending the 2019 Charlotte Huck Children’s Literature Festival at the University of Redlands. I saw friends Joe Cepeda, Dianne White, and Carmen Oliver, and met new friends:

Joyce Sidman is the Newbery Honor-winning poet/author of Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, and two Caldecott Honor books: Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (also a Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award winner) and Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (which won the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award).

Bethany Hegedus is the award-winning author of Grandfather Gandhi, co-written with Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma.

Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair sold books. Mine had very nice company from Doreen Cronin’s classic.

Richard Michelson is the poet/author of The Language of Angels, which won the National Jewish Book Award, the Junior Library Guild Gold Medal, and the
2018 Sydney Taylor Gold Medal.

Doreen Rappaport is the award-winning author of 48 children’s books, including BEYOND COURAGE: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust.


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Intentionally Bad Designs

I love good design. And it takes a good designer to create intentionally bad designs. Thanks to Katerina Kamprani and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda, you can see what I mean.

“The Uncomfortable” is a collection of deliberately inconvenient everyday objects by Athens-based architect .

While most of product designers are often trying to make objects as useful as possible, Kamprani here does the exact opposite trying to discover the best way to annoy everyone with her creations.

#1 Engagement Mugs

Engagement Mugs

#2 The Uncomfortable Mug

The Uncomfortable Mug

#3 Hourglass Salt & Pepper Shakers

Hourglass Salt & Pepper Shakers

#4 Long Mug

Long Mug

#5 Thick Fork

Thick Fork

#6 The Uncomfortable Teapot

The Uncomfortable Teapot

#7 Concrete Umbrella

Concrete Umbrella

#8 Triple Door

Triple Door

#9 The Uncomfortable Fork

The Uncomfortable Fork

#10 The Uncomfortable Champagne Glasses

The Uncomfortable Champagne Glasses


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Interview with picture book author Heather Macht

Heather Macht is the author of THE ANT FARM ESCAPE! (Pelican, 2019), REX THE…WE-DON’T-KNOW (Pelican, 2019) and YOU MAY JUST BE A DINOSAUR (Pelican, 2015). Macht has a degree in Fine Arts, is an active member of the SCBWI, and is the Assistant Administrator, the Newsletter Coordinator, and a volunteer judge for Rate Your Story. She loves spending her Saturday’s in bookstores or in libraries with friends. Macht’s happily married and currently resides in Florida next door to a quiet beach. When she’s not writing, Macht enjoys painting, reading poetry, and watching scary movies with her husband and children.

For what age audience do you write?

Thanks so much for having me! I mainly write picture books for children, ages 3-8. Two of my picture books, YOU MAY JUST BE A DINOSAUR and THE ANT FARM ESCAPE! are also STEM book with fun science facts woven in. The best part about that is I’ve even had some adults come up to me and tell me how they learned something new from reading my books. Mission accomplished!

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book, THE ANT FARM ESCAPE!, follows a group of worker ants who, unbeknownst to them at first, are trapped inside a young girl’s ant farm. After digging tunnels and setting up a home, these tough ants soon devise a new plan to break free and head outdoors! Also, a lot of people don’t know that worker ants (the ants that do all the tough work, food-finding, and heavy lifting in an ant colony) are ALL female! The Ant Farm Escape! is filled with STEM facts about ants and shines a positive light on that fact, showing young readers just how tough girl power truly is.

Henry: Do the male ants just hang out and eat snacks?

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

I hope readers have a lot of fun reading it – that’s always the most important thing to me, and what I always take to mind first, when writing a new book. The book has a lot of humor and fun scenes throughout, so it should bring giggles and smiles to the faces of its readers! Also, I hope everyone reading learns a lot more about this amazing matriarchal species – I’ve learned a lot myself when researching about ants and writing this book.

Henry: I’m filled with ANTicipation!

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

For my STEM books, it’s most challenging finding a completely original and clever way to “trick” my readers into having fun. I first want to make sure I’m telling an interesting story that would stand alone without STEM facts. Once I have that down, then I start adding the STEM facts that tie in with the story. While it’s definitely challenging making sure everything is original and matches up appropriately, it’s definitely rewarding.

Henry: YES! Fiction is the melted cheese to nonfiction’s broccoli.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?

Not giving up. I’ve had tons of rejections (hundreds) that span across the course of 18 years! It takes a lot to dust yourself off an keep going after being told “NO” that many times. Here’s something to keep in mind: if you get a rejection it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer, it doesn’t mean your idea is lousy, a lot of times it just means you may not have found the right agent, publisher, or market for your story. Keep trying!

Henry: Word.

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

I will never forget this moment: I was at an event, selling books, and a young girl stood in line waiting patiently for me to get done talking with the adult in front of her. When he finished and left, I started talking to the young girl. To my surprise she told me she already had my book, YOU MAY JUST BE A DINOSAUR – it was her favorite, in fact! She said she went to my book launch party, wanted to tell me how much she loves my book, and how she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up.

Feedback like that means the world to me. I may not be on the “bestsellers” list, but that’s just as good in my book!

Henry: Exactly. It’s not like we’re doing it for fame and fortune.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I wish I would have known about critique groups when first starting out. If you’re an aspiring author, and don’t have a critique group, GET ONE! I’m currently a part of two amazing critique groups, and they are so beneficial in helping me get my manuscripts in perfect shape before submitting.

Henry: Absolutely

Do you have any favorite quotes?

Yes, I live in poems! One of my favorite quotes is the ENTIRE poem: Listen to the MUSTN’TS by Shel Silverstein:

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be

And, since I’m an art major, I’ll quote my favorite artist while I’m at it:

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.
-Vincent Van Gogh

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you work?

Does shoosh-ing my kids and husband count? 😉

Henry: The judges rule yes, yes it does.

In all seriousness, before I start a new book I like to spend an hour or so reading books. They could be my favorite picture books or new ones in the bookstore, but I look for inspiration first in the existing…then new inspiration usually flows.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

My superpower would be to NOT be afraid of dangerous sea creatures. Seriously, I love the idea of swimming in the ocean…but I loathe the idea of being surrounded by creatures that could bite me. So, yeah, swimming in the ocean is sadly a NO from me.

Henry: I can’t imagine why.

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?

I would love to have Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, and Shel Silverstein over for dinner. Could you imagine the poetry they’d recite?

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

I’d have to say Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things. How amazing would it be to spend a night causing a ruckus with them?

Henry: Best. Answer. Ever.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I really enjoy cooking super-spicy pad thai, baking rum cakes, watching scary movies with my husband and kids, and looking for seashells on the beach.

Henry: Do you like drinking pina coladas and getting caught in the rain?

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Ha, I’d love it to read: “Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me.” I mean, of course I’d want an Emily Dickinson poem on my tombstone!

Where can readers find your work?

My books are available in brick and mortar stores, libraries, on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com, and on my website at http://www.heathermacht.com. Thanks so much for having me!

Henry: Thanks for visiting with us, Heather.