Catching up on a bit of everything

So life is funny and weird and upside down right now, and honestly I feel a bit like I’ve been running a marathon (nine months pregnant) for too many days to count.  For a while I was keeping track of how many day’s we’d actually been quarantined, and then I had a baby and now I’m not even sure what day it is!

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I had to write down a doctor’s appointment for our new little guy in my planner this morning, and I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d even pulled it out.  Which, if you realized how often that happened during normal life, you’d be shocked. Life is essentially paused, or at least it feels that way for everything happening outside the walls of our house, but I thought that I was LONG overdue for an update on here.  (Thank goodness my computer automatically remembers passwords or I’m not sure I’d even be able to access my own website anymore!  #AuthorFail.)

I’m not sure I even properly documented the launch of Hoax for Hire.  (Takes a moment to look at her own website…nope definitely didn’t.). I think the problem is that I have such a SMALL slice of time in my life these days to accomplish something, and that something always ends up being my next book or the author visit I have coming up, and chatting on here feels like a luxury I don’t have time for.  I’d love to say I found lots of time when quarantine started, but in fact what little time I had (when my kids were in pre-school for a couple hours a week) vanished as quickly as the toilet paper off the shelves.  SO!  Consider this a comprehensive update on ALL THE THINGS, as well as a few things I’m currently doing that have made quarantining with three small children survivable.   Oh, and it should be noted, that with the exception of our newest addition, all the other kids are spending some time with grandparents, which is why this post is even remotely possible.

Diving in, in no particular order.

Launching Hoax for Hire.  This happened last year when life was normal and we didn’t give strangers the side eye and cross the street when we saw them coming. (Remember how nice that was? Sigh.).

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My local library has done a launch for all of my books thus far, and they have all been wonderful.  This one was slightly less well attended because unlike my other books that launched in May, Hoax for Hire launched in August right as everyone was heading back to school.

I feel a little bad for this book for that reason.  I feel like it was the baby bird that got shoved from its nest and then fell smack dab on its face.  The poor book can’t even scrape together a decent amount of reviews on amazon! (If you want to make my day and remedy that…here is link for you.  Hint hint. Nudge nudge. Pretty Please! Unless, of course, you hated it…then don’t worry about writing a review! 😉 )

Suffice it to say, August launch dates are not my favorite, and I am VERY grateful that GLITCH will be launching in June.) More on that to come! )

The launch for Hoax for Hire was super cute with Bigfoot trail mix and I even had my oldest attend the launch for the first time.  My mom was supposed to come to help wrangle her, but then thanks to a massive wreck on the interstate got stuck and wasn’t able to make it.  My daughter was furious because the “only reason I came was to see Oma!”   Thanks for the support kid.  * sighs. Rolls eyes.

After the launch, we adjusted to our new normal of having a kid in Kindergarten, and on the day we dropped her off for her very first day we also found out that baby #4 was on the way!

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Funny how life works that way. Unlike our favorite surprise ever, our third child, we sat on the fence about a fourth baby for a LONG time. Well, we finally decided that a life of no regrets was the way to go, and we just welcomed our fourth baby (third boy) this past week.   We made the right decision. J

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What’s funny is that I was super worried that I was going to miss out on all these school visits at the end of the year because of the new baby. Well, that turned out to be a very unfounded worry! (Although I did have to turn down a chance to be part of a YOUNG AUTHOR’s event since it was three hours away two days before my due date…that one still stings a bit.)

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I actually did my last visits VERY pregnant. One was at 33 weeks pregnant to Florida, which was SO MUCH FUN, and the second was to a middle school in Carmel at 34 weeks pregnant the week before everything turned upside down.  I LOVE school visits, and I really hope life is back to normal next year so I can do some for GLITCH!  (If you want to schedule me for a virtual school visit in the meantime, just let me know!  I also have two different pre-recorded videos featuring FLOAT and Hoax for Hire that I can email you for free to use for e-learning!  Just shoot me an email at LauraMartinBooks@gmail.com.)

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I had a LONG list of things I wanted to accomplish before our newest blessing arrived, and I’m super thankful that literally all of them got checked off the list.

First Up- Sending out some advanced reading copies of GLITCH. I struggled with the goodies (or in book world terminology “swag”) that I should package up with the books.  Edge of Extinction was easy, dinosaurs are EVERYWHERE. FLOAT was harder, but I went with a camping/ SMORES theme, and Hoax for Hire had Bigfoot stickers and Loch Ness Monster bookmarks.  Glitch, well, how do you send something for time travel? There were a lot of cool options involving funky looking clocks, but I also couldn’t break the bank since I had quite a few of these to send out.  I finally settled on the history angle of things, since Glitch has my main characters jumping in and out of significant historical events.

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I bought this game, and broke up the cards into small “training packs” so my readers could train themselves in America’s history like a Glitcher.

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These gummies from my FAVORITE CANDY STORE IN THE WHOLE WORLD. (Long story short, but I grew up a bit with the Albanese kids because my aunt was an Albanese…took me a few years to realize we weren’t actually related.) They have the best candy around, and I’ll stand by that till the day I die.  (They also ship…which I’ve taken advantage of a lot since moving from my home town.)

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And then I bought this printable on Etsy to send as well.

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I got them to the post office and sent out about two weeks before Covid 19 descended on the U.S. like a tidal wave.  I am VERY grateful I got those out the door when I did.

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Meanwhile, reviews for GLITCH have started rolling in, and I’m so excited to see this one launch into the world.

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My favorite review line was this one.

“Martin expertly weaves the story through both Regan’s and Elliot’s perspectives, capturing their innermost emotions, especially their motivations and fears. Their history-based missions and inevitable friendship will appeal to fans of action-packed dystopian stories like the Hunger Games trilogy or Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. This is the “grown-up” version of the beloved Magic Tree House chapter books, and it doesn’t disappoint in honoring that legacy.” (Booklist)

I also thought it might be fun to show you the two cover options my AMAZING illustrator Eric Deschamps sent my way. He is the illustrator who did BOTH Edge of Extinction books, and I was so excited to work with him again.

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This was the first time I’d seen two cover options for one of my books, and after a lot of debate and asking my family and friends, I had a fifty – fifty split of what everyone liked with no definitive answer.  So, I went with my gut, and chose the one on the right.

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What’s funny is that I’ve shown these two options at school visits since then, and the kids overwhelmingly choose the one on the right.  Lesson learned, next time I’ll send the options to a few teachers to pole their class.

Glitch was my first real foray into time travel, and while I LOVE it now, it was a headache and a half to write. Time travel and all the rules involved can give you (and your saint of an editor) one massive headache, let me tell you. It also involved some historical research, a first for me since my writing thus far has been more of a “I made up this world, so I can also make up the rules and it’s history and there is zero research involved” sort of thing.  Well, maybe not zero research.  I did my fair share of dinosaur research and cryptid research…but that somehow doesn’t feel the same as researching the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire.

Right now Glitch is set to launch on June ________, and while we were planning a launch party at my local library and surrounding bookstores…I have no idea if we will be able to do them.

That being said, you can pre-order it HERE!   (Thank you to ALL of you who already pre-ordered.  You’re my favorite. 😉 )  You could also reach out to your local bookstore to pre-order. Supporting our independent bookstores right now is SO SO important and many of them are even offering free delivery and curb-side pick up. Because they are saints and we don’t deserve them!

The other thing that I am VERY excited about, is that GLITCH will be coming out on audio as well.  I haven’t had a book on audio since The Edge of Extinction books, so this is making me giddy. I ADORE audiobooks and about 99.9% of the books I “read” are actually listened to.  I have a lot of kids…someday I’ll be able to sit peacefully and read a book again, but that day is not today.)

I got to help pick out the narrators (there are TWO since Glitch is told from TWO points of view.  Another first for me!), and I’m really happy with our selections.

While you are waiting for Glitch to hit your doorstep (so you can open your box like it’s holding a bomb and not a book and then Clorox wipe it down), I had a few other fun things to share!

The first is that FLOAT made it onto a state book award list!  Now, if you’ve read previous posts, you know that making it onto Indiana’s YHBA list is on my author bucket list.  Well, it’s just going to have to stay on that list because the YHBA list just came out and my books were not on it. Womp Womp.

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That’s okay though!  FLOAT did make Minnesota’s list, and I could not be more excited!  My fingers are crossed that FLOAT or HOAX FOR HIRE make one or two more lists for the 2020-2021 school year.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?  Having Edge of Extinction on Flordia’s SSYRA list a few years ago is STILL one of the highlights of my career. (I got to have dinner sitting next to Peter Brown, where I tried to convince him to adopt a Bulldog from a rescue organization and name it Chowder.  He didn’t go for it, but it would have been amazing!)

The second exciting thing is that I’m going to get to flex my teaching muscles as part of a really fun new program that the Read Aloud Revival is launching next month!

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Remember when I was on the Read Aloud Revival Podcast with my very first book?

 

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If you’ve never listened here is the episode. 

It was a dream come true, so I’m so excited to be one of six authors who will be teaching writing workshops as part of their Read Aloud Revival Premium program.

Interested? You can sign up HERE.  I am signing up for the month so I can snoop on what all the other authors do!  (I like to snoop on other authors…it’s like going to author school. Which isn’t really a thing, but totally should be!)

The amazing Sarah Mackenzie also talks about it on her latest podcast HERE.

I think that is a pretty solid catch up on all things AUTHOR.  So, if you want to sign off here, that’s fine, no hard feelings. But I thought I’d add in a few tidbits of things that we’ve been doing around here to keep our sanity.

The first thing I did when we got quarantined was start a set snack time.  10 and 3.  My kids would constantly be asking for things otherwise. It’s a domino effect fueled my FOMO. If one kid has a snack, all kids want a snack.

Another fun element we added to snack time was having a “tea party.”  I bought a new tea set (our old one was metal and rusted), and it elevates snack time into an activity that takes a bit longer. If you’re quarantined with small children then you know that “takes a bit longer” is a big selling point these days.

I also set a loose schedule into place with a set art time (thank goodness for Pinterest) and reading time.  We all sit together on the couch and spend a good 30-45 minutes reading book after book after book after book.  It’s honestly my favorite time of day.

One of the ways I’ve facilitated this was implementing a rotating book basket in our living room.  Often reading time gets relegated to naptime or bedtime, but I cycled “new” books into a basket in our living room every few days, and it keeps our reading times fresh and fun. ( Bad picture of our busted bin…this is why we can’t have nice things.)

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Sometimes, if I’m feeling extra nice, reading time also involves suckers. (And then large handfuls of baby wipes because sticky kids are not my favorite!)

We have done a few other fun things during quarantine as well like getting a jump start on our garden.

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My oldest (age six) and second oldest (age four) have loved listening to a Story Podcast or a Story Pirates podcast while doing a sticker book.  My oldest loves theseAnd my four year old has really loved this one! 

We’ve also been juggling the e-learning thing, which, thankfully isn’t too exhausting at the kindergarten and pre-K level. The hardest part is juggling the two-year-old during it all.  It will be very, let’s say interesting, adding a newborn to the mix.  I’m going to go from “I have this under control” to “send help” very quickly I’m afraid. (Also, anyone else been staring at their yard trying to figure the logistics of fitting a pool? No? Just me?  Okay moving on.)

We also added a few fun picture books to our library. These two have been by far the fan favorites.

 

Although my mom just bought them this book, and it’s all I’ve heard about when we’ve called them to check in on life.  (My parents and in-laws took our big kids so we could go to the hospital and then quarantine for a bit after the hospital just to be safe.)

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We’ve also loved Hey-Clay, and I have a window sill full of the cutest little clay monsters you ever did see.

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I think that’s it for now friends. The baby is waking up, and I have a long list of things to try to accomplish before my big kids come home in a day or two.  Here’s hoping it’s not so long before I check in here again. Let’s also hope that the next time I pop on here I don’t use the words “Clorox wipe” or “quarantine” to describe life!

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Until next time,

 

Laura

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