Our newest OCAI member is Sonia Gensler who lives in Norman, OK. She is the author of two young adult novels, The Revenant, and her upcoming, The Dark Between, which will be released August, 2013. Welcome Sonia!
OCAI: First off, congratulations on your new book coming out this year! What a great accomplishment! Now that this new book is done and soon to be released, are you taking a break or have you already started on a new book? If so, how did you get your idea for this book and can you give us a sneak-peak into the story line?
Sonia: Thank you! I have a few projects in the works right now. One would be a sequel to The Dark Between--I've written a few chapters of that. Another is a mystery about twin girls set in 1930s Oxfordshire, England. But my primary focus at the moment is a middle grade contemporary mystery set in Tennessee (where I grew up). There may or may not be a haunted house involved in that one! I also have a short story coming out in a new anthology from Harlequin Teen called Grim, which is a collection of modern adaptations of Grimm's fairy tales.
OCAI: Can you share with our viewers what a typical day is like for you as an author? And a typical questions most authors get is: Do you write every day?
Sonia: I write every day. Sometimes I'm writing new words on a story. Other times I'm revising a story. Or maybe I'm outlining or jotting down notes on a brand new story idea. But then there are those days when I'm feeling a little stuck and the only writing I do involves emails or blog posts or Facebook updates. (Or interview questions!) I consider it a good day if I get 1000 words written on a new story. A super fabulous day would be 2000 words.
OCAI: We know that you do school author visits for middle schools and high schools, but can you tell us what type of presentations you offer?
Sonia: I love visiting schools and libraries! I used to be a high school English teacher, so it's always fun to get back in the classroom. Please see my personal website as I’ll soon be adding more details on the sort of presentations I offer--some are great for any audience, while others are geared toward motivated writers who already have a project underway.
OCAI: We love your idea of the bulletin board and laying out your book plot in three acts, like a 3-Act play. Do you have any other tips you can share with 'wanna be' writers, whether they be students or adults?
Sonia: My main tip for 'wanna be' writers is to read, read, read. I cannot stress this enough! Study your favorite books, take notes on character traits or bits of language that really appeal to you. Study how the plot is structured. When you decide what sort of book you want to write--let's say, a contemporary mystery for teens--read all the books out there in that genre. You need to know your "market" so that you can put together a story that fits the characteristics of contemporary mystery (or whatever your chosen genre) and yet also is fresh and new--something only you could write.
OCAI: Sonia, thanks for taking time to answer our questions. We know our OCAI viewers will enjoy seeing more of you and your books on our site--Oklahoma Children's Authors & Illustrators! To read Sonia's biography--click here.
Tammi Sauer's "Nugget and Fang"
Check out this Nugget Fang Page. Click this illustration!
Synopsis: In the deep ocean, tiny Nugget and big, toothy Fang get along swimmingly—until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! How can they possibly be friends? Desperate to regain Nugget’s trust, Fang goes to wild (and hilarious) extremes. But it’s not until his big sharp teeth save the entire school that minnows learn this shark is no foe. Fantastically stylized artwork adds even more humor to this undersea story of unlikely friendship. Read more at http://www.tammisauer.com/My_Books.php
Please join us in welcoming two new authors to our website!
Who are the two latest authors to join OCAI? Name a book each has written.
If you know the answer to this question, send us the answer and we'll draw a winner from all the correct answers. Each winner receives a FREE AUTOGRAPHED BOOK mailed directly to you--plus a handful of great information on all our OCAI authors & illustrators such as brochures, postcards, & bookmarks !
Just send us your answer, along with your school mailing address, and be sure to tell us what age group of students you work with so we can send you an age-appropriate book. If you have a specific book request, we will do our best to fulfill it.
We homosapiens are the storytelling animal. Stories are, and always have been, the central device by which we understand ourselves and find meaning in the disparate set of experiences that we call life.
Winning a FREE AUTOGRAPHED BOOK is easy . . . if you want to win the Question of the Month, be sure to read our "In the News" Section!
David Titus--is our newest member at OCAI. He is an author and professional soryteller who has been entertaining students and adults since 1968! David is known as the "String Man" because he travels all around the world, gathering stories and string figures which he then shares with others. He has traveled across six continents and with a piece of string and a thread of a story, he captures his audience, young and old. He has several books which share these stories and which show step-by-step instructions on how to create the string figure that goes with each story, inlcuding Native American String Figures, African String Figures, and Native Alaskan String Figures. We'll have more news to post of David in the near future. In the meantime, his website is: Storyteller-Wordsmith.com. But we'll have his pages up and running here, at OCAI, soon!
Check out the Fun photos here of Una Belle Townsend visiting the elephant in her latest book "The Great Elephant Escape" now out by Pelican! This book, based on a true story in Hugo, OK, in 1975, tells the fun story of two elephants, Isa & Lilly, who escaped from the circus. Great way to teach local history!
Tammi Sauer-- Tammi's latest picture books that are out and ready to read are: Me Want Pet!, Oh Nuts!, and The Twelve Days of Christmas in Oklahoma. Her picture book, Nugget and Fang, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, will be out in April so be sure to keep your eye out for it! Click hereto go to her biography page.
Anna Myers--just sold her very first picture book, Tumbleweed Baby. It's a tall tale about a baby who arrives on a farm in a tumbleweed. Anna said that growing up, her family always told her that that's how she showed up--in a tumbleweed--so she used that idea for her book! It's not out, yet, but we hope that by next spring it'll be here and getting rave reviews! Anna is trying her hand at new genres because she has also finished writing her first novel for adults, called Trashy Women. Now before you get the wrong idea, it's about several teachers who start their own trash service! Sounds hilarious and we hope she sells it soon! Cross your fingers for her! To learn more about Anna, click here.
Sonia Gensler--is one of our latest members on OCAI and her pages are now up and running! Be sure to check them out. She is the author of the Young Adult (YA) gothic novel, The Revenant, set in Oklahoma. Her newest YA novel, The Dark Between, is set in England and will be out soon. To read more about Sonia and her latest book, The Dark Between,click here.
Darleen Bailey Beard-- just finished her newest chapter book, Muley of the Mountain, based on not one but TWO true stories and set in Oklahoma in 1931. She mailed it off to an agent and is crossing her fingers that a publisher will pick it up soon! This book is set in southeast Oklahoma, in a lumber camp, and tells the story of a girl who befriends a starving mule at the same time pilot Wiley Post is trying to break a world record by flying around the entire world in 10 days or less. To find out more about Darleen's other books, based on true stories,click here.
The winners of our 2nd annual "Every School's a Winner" Bulletin Board Grant are . . .
$250.00 Grant for visit with:
Stephanie also won
Freshwater Feeders by
Jessica McHenry Samaroo
Dual Language Immersion Program
$250 Grant for author visit with:
Jessica also won D-Day by Chris Nick & Steve Lessman
A new survey by children's book publisher Scholasticshows major increases in e-book reading among youths, though fully half have yet to try it. And lovers of paperbacks will be glad to hear that print books are still putting up a fight, even among younger children.
Would you like to receive $500.00 off on a school visit with illustrator Mike Wimmer? OCAI had five and now we are down to only ONE $500.00 off postcard. Just email OCAI & we'll mail it to you! Good for this school year only--so don't miss out!!
Welcome to Oklahoma Children's Book Authors & Illustrators (OCAI).
Here you'll find information about some of the most talented people in Oklahoma. Every other month we feature a new author or illustrator in a video with an exclusive interview so you'll get to meet our OCAI authors & illustrators up-close and personal. Each video and interview is archived for easy reference on the author's/illustrator's biography page. We also provide links to contact information, "fun facts", brochures, lesson plans, & much more.
Need a grant? Check out the grant we provide on our grant page as well as both local and national grants. Be sure to send us grants that you know about because if we post a grant you suggest, we'll send you a free autographed book. We also have a "Bimonthly Question" which gives you more chances to win free books. We'd love to hear from you & we hope you'll invite an Oklahoma author or illustrator to your next book-related event!
Be our guest -- OCAI is a brand new resource for anyone wishing to find information about Oklahoma children's authors and illustrators. Because we are so new, we'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and suggestions -- so please sign our guestbook!
Please provide us FEEDBACK with the form provided here
What's Inside the OCAI Pages . . . "About the Website" explains the Goals, Vision, and Objectives for our website.
"Raving Reviews" is your responses and viewpoints of the OCAI website.
"Meet the Authors/Illustrators" provides a photo montage, a one-page bio, and photos of each author's and illustrator's book covers (all photos can be enlarged for easy viewing). You'll also find a link to each author's and illustrator's personal website, as well as a printable brochure.
"Young Adult Authors" is basically the same as Meet the Authors/Illustrators page but its exclusively designed for those authors that specialize in books aimed toward the Young Adult readers.
"Upcoming Books" provides a quick reference of who has a new book coming out, the title (if known) and the release date.
"Available for Speaking" lists the authors and illustrators who would be happy to visit your school or special event.
"Tips for Planning a Visit" shares easy tips to help you plan, prepare, and promote an author/illustrator visit or event.
"Need Grants or Funding?" is a great place to find the funds you need for your next speaker visit.
"Post a Question" is a bulletin board for you to ask our authors and illustrators questions. We'll send them your questions and then post their answers.
"In the News" has the latest book news. "Book Technology News" is for the high-tech savy viewers.
"Website Links of Interest" provides a listing of publishers, bookstores, schools, and more.
"Teacher Zone" is a great resource for teachers and a fun area for interaction between teachers. "School Listing" is a list of schools in Oklahoma.
"Kid Zone" provides a starting point for kids and young adults who are writing reports on Oklahoma authors and illustrators. They can also find scavenger hunts, puzzles, and links to other places of interest. "Games" is a fun page for kids to learn more about reading, writing, Oklahoma authors and illustrators through fun games.
"Put Yourself on this Site" is a great way for you, your organization, or company to be represented here at Oklahoma Children's Authors and Illustrators. You must meet the simple requirement of being a published author with a mainstream publisher--not a vanity press or a self-publisher AND/OR have several years of experience in visiting schools throughout the U.S. as a speaker and author with books that are recommended by teachers.Simply follow the easy directions on this page.
"Contact Us" is where you can provide OCAI feedback on anything from how much you love our site to how much you'd love to improve our site. We really do appreciate all of your comments and suggestions!