The Incredible Chris Barton Blog Tour!

Chris Barton, author of The Day-Glo Brothers and Shark vs. Train is taking his newest book, Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities on a blog tour with some of his fellow EMLA (Erin Murphy Literary Agency) clients.  The first post is already up at Peter Salomon’s blog.  Next, get even more information about Chris and his book at Jean Reidy’s site on May 2nd.  And right here on May 4th.  Then take a look at Ruth McNally Barshaw’s sketches of Chris on May 7th.

Go to all four places and see the whole interview!

Retreat and Review

I just got back from a retreat in Austin with clients and agents from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. It was wonderful, fabulous, and reviving. And then I found this great review for Blood and Flowers from Diary of a Bookworm, aka Rhiannon!

Blood and Flowers, by Penny Blubaugh

“Sent out to me by the lovely folks at HarperTeen, Blood and Flowers was one of those books I’d heard a little about and was excited to see for myself. I love a good surprise read where you don’t know much before you get into it. So I patiently waited for Thurman to read it (I’ve been waiting to read a lot of my books lately! The hubby’s been monopolising The Beyonders, Thurman- Blood and Flowers! yesh!), and then I dug in.

The Outlaws, a mishmash group of outcasts who have become a close knit group of friends through their puppet theater troupe, are in trouble. Their political commentary puppet shows could well get them thrown in jail from accusations of magic and distributing the dangerous pink drinks. So as a last resort they disappear to faerie, only to find that their troubles have followed them. Will they survive the land of Blood and Flowers?

Although a fairly popular area of YA, Penny manages to write a really unusual twist to faeries. She throws them into our world as a known and feared entity, makes them dangerous outcasts instead of mystical creatures. The racist undertones and comments, when it comes to them, are an unusual slant and it gave the story a very different feel from the run of the mill Faerie stories.

The true win of this story for me, is the telling, without question. Blood and Flowers is enchantingly written as well as being a story told in such an unusual way, it was bordering on Shakespeare quality poetry. Penny proved herself a story teller worthy of such an exotic tale.
Nicholas was sitting on the thick, concrete steps when I got back, framed by the porch railings and the front door lintel. Casual as a saturday afternoon, at least at first glance. At second glance he was more like rush hour on a Monday morning.
This story left me breathless long after I read it, and has left me wanting much more of Penny’s work. The good news is her first book Serendipity Market is now out in paperback. The bad news is it’s her only other work right now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’s working on something new. In the meantime, if you haven’t added Blood and Flowers to your To-Be-Read pile, make sure to pick it up next time you’re in the library or local bookstore. You won’t be disappointed.”

If I get reviews this great when I leave town I should go away more often!

Dreaming in Books Review

From John at Dreaming in Books comes this just-posted review of Blood and Flowers. I love the part where he says, “I have certain things that I love to read about, and theater is one of them. I’m a theater geek during the marching band off-season. It’s in my blood. Drama, at least. An off kilter UF/Fae interpretation of theater with puppets just sounded crazy enough for me to love it. I’m always up for a YA paranormal read that is delightfully out of the box. With a little bit of surprise, this book lived up to my expectations.”

With comments like, “Blubaugh’s writing is a savory mix of simplicity and jarring images,” and a thoughtful approach to the book and its characters, this is a nicely nuanced review. Check it out.

Puppets

Last month was National Puppet Month. This Month, the Chicagoland Puppetry Guild celebrates its 50th anniversary. And because there are so many puppets in Blood and Flowers it seems appropriate to mention one of the best things you can find in Chicago — Puppet Bike!

Puppet bike can show up anywhere at any time. I’ve stood on street corners in the middle of the winter, feeding coins to the dancing rabbits and lions. I’ve seen them in the fall at Banned Books events. I hear they were the featured performers at a corporate Christmas Party. It’s like they come out of a secret mist and suddenly appear right in front of you. They’re wonderful!

If you aren’t lucky enough to live in Chicago, click the link and take a tour of Puppet Bike.