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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Heartwood Hotel Blog Tour (guest post & giveaway)

(Book 1)
by Kallie George, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
July 3, 2017
176 pages
Hardcover, paperback, eBook
When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they'll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.
This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout..
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD

Praise for the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series
"This gentle tale of magic and self-reliance will entertain confident new independent readers. Clover's sweet story is a good next step for lovers of the Magic Tree House."
-Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will be envious of the world of magic that Clover becomes ensconced in and eager to read future installments."
-Publishers Weekly
"A charming story, delicately written, with a winning heroine. . . and a conclusion that will satisfy young readers."
-Booklist Online
"Graduates of sparkly chapter-book series will be right at home and looking for the next installment posthaste."
-Kirkus Reviews
"The gentle but intrepid Clover continues to charm."
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Top Five Tips for Writing
I love writing, especially children’s books, like Heartwood Hotel. Here are some writing tips that I’ve used over the years. These are tips that work for me—but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that writing is a really personal, individual process, and the most important thing is to find your own way and tips that make your voice and story shine.
1. Love your idea
Choose a topic, a genre, a character that you really want to write about. If you don’t love your idea, if you’re not connected to it, then your writing won’t shine. Don’t get caught up in trying to write something because you think it might get published or sell. Write something because you want to write it, because you HAVE to write it. That will bring the greatest satisfaction—and the best story. And when you have a strong story, publishing will often follow.
2. Plot out an idea
I like to plot. Some of my friends who are writers are not plotters—and that works for them. But I need to have a plan so that I can abandon the plan (makes sense, right?). There are a few good outcomes from outlining a story including you can more effectively use foreshadowing since you know the ending; you can identify the character’s arc; and you can make sure your pacing flows. I like having a road map, my plot, and I often take months coming up with one and tweaking it—sometimes as long as the writing process itself. I often share these plots with my friends and editors as well, to garner their feedback.
3. Share your stories
Find a friend (or two or three) who you can share your stories with and receive feedback. I have a fantastic writing group, as well as a dear editor friend who reviews all my work before I even send it to my agent. Plus a few other friends who are amazing writers who I share my stories with, too! That’s a lot of editors—and that’s BEFORE I show my stories to my official editor at the publishing house! Each of these friends gives me valuable advice and helps strengthen my stories. It’s often impossible to see the weaknesses in your own work—you’re too close to it.
But be careful when choosing a good critique partner. Sometimes friends are too nice and only say good things—to me, I’d rather have honest hard feedback. I want my story to be the best it can be, and the only way to get there is to edit it. I know my first drafts aren’t the best, after all. Which brings me to…
4. Write rough, then edit
It’s okay if your first drafts aren’t very good. If they are scrawled out in a notebook, or riddled with spelling mistakes. At least, that’s the way mine are. Sometimes I just need to get that draft down on paper, I need to capture the voice and get the flow of it. You can always edit it later. And do edit it. Once you have a structure and story you are pleased with, polish it as much as it takes to make every line sing.
5. Read a lot  
Reading truly is one of the best ways to become a stronger writer. Read anything and everything. I have a great variation of books I read—from picture books to chick lit. I definitely try to keep my eye out for good new chapter books too, since I write in that genre. I find, however, that reading other early chapter books tends to be less escapism for me and more work, since I usually read not only to enjoy the story, but to examine how the author did what she or he did. What writing techniques did she or he use? How did she or she so effectively create the story? This critical eye helps me apply the same critical eye on my work.
I wish you the best in your own writing journey and hope some of these tips are helpful for you. Writing is one of the most wonderful ways to spend your time and use your imagination… have fun!

Happy writing!

About Kallie:
KALLIE GEORGE is the author of the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series. She works as an author and speaker in Vancouver, Canada, and has a master’s in children’s literature from the University of British Columbia. She also leads workshops for aspiring writers. Kallie happened across the Heartwood Hotel on a hike with her husband. Visit her online at

About Stephanie:

STEPHANIE GRAEGIN received her BFA in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She later attended Pratt Institute, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Stephanie now lives in Brooklyn. Visit her online at or on Twitter @Steph_Graegin.

3 winners will receive a finished copy of HEARTWOOD HOTEL
-US Only
-this is a tour wide giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
6/26/2017- YA Book NerdAuthor Post
6/27/2017- Seraphina ReadsReview
6/28/2017- Just CommonlyReview
6/29/2017- BookHounds YAAuthor Post
6/30/2017- Once Upon a Twilight- Review

Week Two:
7/3/2017- Mundie KidsReview
7/4/2017- Word SpelunkingAuthor Post
7/5/2017- Mommy RamblingsReview
7/6/2017- Batch of BooksReview

7/7/2017- Between the Cracks of Here and ThereAuthor Post


Slowsly said...

The story sounds wonderful. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for your writing tips.

Dan Denman said...

I love the beautiful book cover! I can't wait to read this story!