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Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books


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Interview with children’s author Kelly DiPucchio

Kelly DiPucchio insists she grew up on a farm in Michigan but her husband has serious doubts about her claim. As a child, Kelly had a pet goat and jumped in manure piles so you be the judge. Kelly is the author of over twenty award-winning books for kids including two New York Times bestsellers. Some of her titles include: GRACE FOR PRESIDENT, ZOMBIE IN LOVE, and GASTON. Kelly lives in a suburb of Detroit with one husband, two dogs, and three children.

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For what age audience do you write?

I write what I like to call everybody books which are picture books for all ages.

Henry: As all picture books should be. Well played.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is called ONE LITTLE, TWO LITTLE, THREE LITTLE CHILDREN, illustrated by Mary Lundquist and published by Balzer + Bray. It’s very different from my more recent titles because it’s a short, rhyming book inspired by an old nursery song.

Henry: As the author of MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES, I like what you did there!

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

I hope the book conveys that children, mothers, and fathers all over the world are more alike than they are different, and that families, no matter how they’re structured, or how they look, want the same things: love, peace, and happiness.

Henry: Nice. This is true of monsters, too.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

For me, the writing itself is a joy. What I find most challenging is struggling with feelings of inadequacy when it comes to networking and publicity. After being in this industry for nearly 20 years, you’d think I would have gotten over my insecurities, but at my core I’m still a shy, awkward introvert who often compares herself to her more gregarious peers.

Henry: It is something of a paradox that the solitary activity of writing, must be supplemented by promotion, which is done in front of audiences.

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

I’ve learned that we are the authors of our own life stories and it’s never too late to revise.

Henry: Just don’t “murder your darlings” in real life!

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

I never would have had an opportunity to co-author a book with the Queen of Jordan and go to The Oprah Winfrey Show! (THE SANDWICH SWAP, illustrated by Tricia Tusa, published by Disney-Hyperion. 2010)

Henry: Umm, YEAH!! Did you know the current King of Jordan had a cameo guest role on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I always suggest that new writers join SCBWI, read and study picture books, find a really good critique group and have fun. I know it sounds ridiculously corny and cliché, but having a book published is more of a journey than a destination.

Henry: Good advice. Studying other picture books is doubly helpful. It hones your craft, and it can help you avoid duplicating an existing book. For example, I had a zombie book idea. Did some research, and, whadya’ know? You had done something similar already! Also, critique groups are invaluable.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

I keep a journal of favorite quotes but two that seem relevant with everything that is happening in the world today are both by the Sufi mystic, Rumi. “Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” And “Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

Henry: Nice. I also like, “What you’re doing speaks so loudly, that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

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

I don’t know if I would call it strange, but I meditate before I begin writing any new manuscript. I also do some visualization exercises and I imagine the book is already completed. These two rituals really open a channel for me and allow the story to flow. Strong coffee and Pop-Tarts help too.

Henry: There is nothing strange about eating Pop-Tarts!

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

It would be to eat whatever I wanted and never gain a pound!

Henry: That tailors nicely with the Pop-Tarts response. That reminds me of a scene from the movie Defending Your Life.

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

I absolutely adore Dan Santat’s Beekle. I love the character, the concept and the inspiration behind Dan’s unimaginary friend. Beekle is one of those brilliant ideas I wish I had thought of first!

Henry: Wait. Beekle’s not real!?

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What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

ATTENTION VISITORS: Kelly DiPucchio has been relocated to a different department. Check your internal directory for a listing of her new assignment and location.

Where can readers find your work?

Readers can find me at http://www.kellydipucchio.com and on Twitter @kellydipucchio, Thanks for sharing your space with me, Henry!

Henry: Thanks for spending time with us, Kelly. I’m a big fan of your work!

 

 


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Zombie Head Coffee Mugs

It did not occur to me that I needed a zombie head coffee mug. But after seeing these, now I do. From Kevin Merck and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Zombies want to eat your brains, but the only way to kill a zombie is by removing its brains; meanwhile, you just want to have a cup of coffee in the morning. Now, thanks to Kevin “Turkey” Merck, you can avoid zombie attacks and have your morning brew, all for the low price of 220 USD. Merck’s terrifying mugs are hand-made from clay and epoxy resin, so you can be sure your zombie skull has no unpleasant flavor.

“My best friend’s dad, Wayne Hewell, is a 5th generation Master Potter and I began studying under him starting in 2001,” Merck recounted to the Examiner. “When I say studying, I mean that I went and hung out in his old shop and he taught me how to turn and work with clay, nothing formal. The area where I grew up is covered up in very skilled craftsmen that work with clay and I was fortunate enough to learn from multiple potters, each one offering help in specific areas such as glazing and firing. As far as doing it for a living, I am a high school teacher and, right now, I only work on my sculptures in the evenings and Saturdays.”


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Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse

You hate to admit it, but there’s always the chance of a zombie apocalypse. Be prepared by considering these ten weapons that shouldn’t be legal, but are. From http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Media/Slideshow/2013/03/28/10-Weapons-You-Wont-Believe-Are-Legal

01flamethrower

Flame Thrower
If you feel the need to throw some fire around, you are legally allowed to purchase a flamethrower under federal law, and 40 states have no laws against owning the weapon. Though it’s restricted in some states, such as California, unlicensed possession is only considered a misdemeanor. Also good for getting rid of unwanted foliage.

02minigun

Minigun
There’s nothing “mini” about this gun, which can fire 2,000 to 6,000 rounds per minute or 166 bullets per second. The only reason these bad boys are legal is if the weapon was manufactured and registered before May 19th, 1986, when the machine gun ban went into effect. Miniguns are pretty rare, but when they do go up for sale, they cost around $400,000. At 6,000 rounds per minute, I’d think the ammo quickly costs more than the weapon.

03katana

Katana
Katanas are Japanese style swords with blades around 2 feet in length, and are legal in the U.S. A hand -crafted blade can put you back around $500. No reloading necessary. Uma Thurman comes separately.

04cannon

Cannon
Black powder cannons are legal and do not even need to be registered with the government. To purchase black powder, you need to buy it directly from a licensed explosive dealer. Black powder federal purchase is limited to 50 pounds, but varies by state. Cannons can be purchased online for around $3,000. Ya gotta like a weapon you can fire without actually seeing the target.

05crossbow

Crossbow
Legality of the crossbow varies by state, with some states requiring a license. It’s easy to purchase a crossbow online, however, and they typically cost around $500.

06grenade_launcher

Grenade Launchers
While a grenade launcher is perfectly legal, good luck finding any grenades to launch since grenades remain illegal in the U.S. A launcher will set you back around $3,000, and you’ll need to register the weapon with the Federal government. Launchers are legal, but grenades are not!? Sounds like a bait and switch scheme…

07nunchucks

Nunchucks
Nunchucks, also called nunchaku in Japanese, are federally legal but banned in certain states such as New York, Arizona, California, and Massachusetts — though California has made exceptions for professional martial arts schools and practitioners. Nunchucks can be purchased online for around $50.

08umbrellasword

Umbrella Sword
Umbrella swords are legal in all states except California, Massachusetts, and New York. Blades are around 15 inches in length, and the umbrella costs about $30 to purchase online. Lethal, practical, AND stylish!

09speargun

Speargun
These underwater weapons are typically used to hunt fish. They remain legal in the U.S., and cost around $200 to purchase online. Effective against underwater zombies, but not British secret agents.

10chainwhip

Chain Whip
A chain whip is a weapon used in some Chinese martial arts styles to disarm their opponent by wrapping the chain around them or their weapon. They are legal to own in the U.S. and can be purchased online. Seriously? What’s wrong with you?