Category Archives: Imaginary Worlds

Middle Grade Monday: The Ruins of Noe!

Yes, I’m blogging about my own book today, darnit! 🙂

I figured it was appropriate since today is the first day of my Imaginary Worlds Fall Tour in conjunction with the release of The Ruins of Noe. The book was actually published in May, but I had to postpone the tour for scheduling reasons.

In The Ruins of Noe, Brigitta’s adventures continue when she and her High Priestess travel to the old faerie ruins in the Valley of Noe, expecting to find them deserted. The Ancients had brought all the faeries north after the Great World Cry and placed them in the protected realm, after all. But when Brigitta and Ondelle arrive, they discover two warring factions of oppressed faeries they had never been told about. After Ondelle is captured, Brigitta must figure out who she can trust, so she can figure out a way to save her high priestess and get back home.

There are some reviews on GoodReads if you want to check them out.

My tour (yay) revolves around several school visits, a writer’s conference, and a book festival. I only have one public reading, though, and it’s at Kepler’s in Menlo Park, CA. So, if you live in the Bay Area, holy cow, that would be awesome to meet you.

Friday, October 26
7 pm
Book Party (reading, drinks/snacks, activities and door prizes!)

Kepler’s Books and Magazines
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA

Facebook Event Listing

I am so, so, so in love with this store and its staff. And I haven’t even met them yet. This store was SAVED by its community when it was about to go out of business. The community raised the money to save it and made commitments to shop there regularly.

Have a great week!

Danika

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Filed under Book Tour, Imaginary Worlds, Middle Grade Mondays, Ruins of Noe

Middle Grade Slipstream: When You Reach Me

Now that the Middle Grade Monday bloggers have inspired me, plus the fact that I just finished the lovely middle grade book When You Reach Me, I decided to do another middle grade post.

I’m sure you know of this award-winning, best-selling children’s book by Rebecca Stead. I would recommend it for kids ages 10-12. It had some challenging elements for younger readers, but captures so well how the world looks to a 12-year old.

When You Reach Me takes place in New York during the late 70’s. It’s about a young girl, Miranda Sinclair, who begins to receive mysterious notes from someone who appears to have knowledge of future events. In addition, her best friend Sal has suddenly stopped being friends with her and she doesn’t know why. In the background of all of this, her mother is about to appear on The 20,000 Pyramid show. (remember that show?)

My focus as a writer/teacher is MG/YA speculative fiction, which as we all know has exploded in popularity in the past decade. I think we owe a great deal to J.K. Rowling for this. No longer are there simply the three main speculative fiction categories (Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Horror). There are dozens of subgenres and more being invented through a fusion of elements and due to our strange modern times. (See a fabulous subgenre list by Marg Gilks HERE).

The “slipstream” subgenre isn’t as well known as some and I think When You Reach Me is a fabulous example of it.

Slipstream is defined as a cross between light science fiction or fantasy and mainstream (non-genre) fiction. It deals with real world issues, so can be categorized as mainstream, but it’s life a bit fantastic, a bit surreal.

When You Reach Me deals with such things as poverty, racism, single parenthood, and injustice as well as 12-year-old world things like first crushes and fights with your best friend. At the same time it’s a mystery with a time travel element.

It’s one of the lovely things about this book to me, that it deals effectively with the real concerns of a real world 12 year old growing up in New York City in the 70’s. And all the sci fi / physics / time travel parts are only understood from a 12-year-old’s perspective. Time travel can be mind bending for adults. But since the protagonist is trying to wrap her own young mind about it, it seems more believable.

This book made me cry and then laugh 2 sentences later.

For an adult example of slipstream, I always cite The Time Traveler’s Wife because the book is less about time travel and more a tragic love story about how to be in a relationship when your partner is unstuck in time. The relationship is real and gritty and challenging like every other relationship out there – you try to see if you could stay in a long-term relationship with a time traveler who had no control of when he left!

(I know there are people out there who dislike time travel stories and I’d say don’t let that scare you away from either book)

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Filed under Imaginary Worlds, Middle Grade Mondays, on my bookshelf

I’m Baaaaaaaack! Highlights from Book Tour

Wow, it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged! I shall do the blogger walk of shame (it’s a kind of meandering skulk)…

My intention was to “live blog” my book tour as it went along. Guess what? I discovered that I suck at live-blogging. Plus, who knew that a book tour could be so crazy-hectic? (Okay, the last week of the tour wasn’t crazy or hectic, but that California sunshine was awfully distracting)

For those of you not following along on Brigitta’s FaceBook page (because really, what else do you have to do?), I’ve included a few highlights below.

I participated in 26 events over the course of 27 days. The book tour was really about the release of the accidental novel (Brigitta of the White Forest) but I included a few poetry gigs along the way. Couldn’t help myself. Poetry, she just keeps sneaking back into my life.

On my tour I visited seven elementary schools (putting on 5 assemblies, 2 workshops, and 2 classroom visits). My first assembly was at Pierpont Elementary in Ventura, CA.

Pierpont Thunderbugs

Here I am getting the kids all amped up doing a Thunderbug Symphony. (thunderbugs are large bright flying bugs with drum-beat producing bums. no wonder kids love ’em)


I love teaching my Imaginary Worlds workshops, which are all about how to create imaginary worlds from scratch as a jumping off point for endless story telling. I teach them to both adults and children

Here I am at San Rafael Elementary school in Pasadena working with a select group of inspired students.

Alyson Beecher, the principal, took the photos and blogged about the workshop.

Another wonderful workshop (for adults and kids) was the Faerie Felting workshop that I co-facilitated with Borbala Arvai – a brilliant felting artist. (see her BoriDolls site).  I read from Brigitta and introduced the class to the different kinds of elemental faeries and then Borbala wove (er, felted) her magic and taught us all how to make our own felted faeries. Ta Da! My very first felted faerie. Thanks, Borbala!

It’s difficult to say which was my favourite event, they were all so unique. But I have to say that poet, Art Predator, and wine-blogger Gwendolyn Alley and I had a great time creating a workshop that started out on the beach and ended with wine-tasting activities at the gorgeous Old Creek Ranch Winery. What’s not to like!

Danika, Joan, and Beverly (the chicken) write poetry at the Channel Islands Visitor Center (photo by Gwendoly Alley)

It was also Take Your Chicken to Work Week, so we complied by bringing one along wherever we went.

There were so many other fabulous stops on the tour I can’t possibly include them all.

There were book store readings, workshops at the Ojai Word Fest, the book fair at OWF, book launch parties, a poetry slam (I took 2nd place – Gwendolyn Alley came in 1st), and numerous visits with family and friends. I even snuck in a trip to Disneyland.

Kids (and adults hiding behind them!) colour in Destiny Markings on their faerie wings at Time Tested Books in Sacramento

Thank you to everyone who loaned me a couch or bed to surf on or bought me a fish taco or margarita!

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Filed under behind the scenes, Book Tour, Brigitta of the White Forest, Imaginary Worlds, novel adventures, random poop