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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Good afternoon, blog readers!

I'm pretty sure everyone loves a freebie, right? I mean, when you go to conferences for work, don't you end up with about sixteen tote bags stuffed with promotional paper clips and all manner of other swag? (I know that's not just me.)

But there's nothing better than a freebie that's actually cool and/or useful. Such as an amazing poster. That's why, if you're one of the first three people* to comment on this post, you win this awesome, hot-off-the-presses, 24" x 36" poster, suitable for use in the home, library, cubicle, etc., and featuring those lovable Field Trip Mysteries kids (and a bunch of other stars of SAB's mystery books). No strings attached. Click and comment away!

* Please be in the US or Canada. Mom, you can't win. ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Only Stone Arch.

Here's a great story that was just passed along to me from one of our sales reps.

Our rep, Jim, was at an appointment with a media specialist. Jim and the media specialist were sitting behind the circ desk, looking through samples, when a fourth-grade boy came in. "Hi," the media specialist said. "Can I help you find a book?"

"I only read Stone Arch," the boy said. He repeated himself a few times.

The specialist laughed and introduced him to Jim. "This is our Stone Arch Books salesman!"

The kid was thrilled. He immediately marched around the circ desk and--without asking--started digging through the samples Jim had brought on the sales call. He told Jim his favorites of our sets were the Vortex books and the Jake Maddox books.

I love it! These stories always make my day.

Ought to be a national holiday

You guys! It's National Punctuation Day!!!
I love punctuation. Love it. I think it's so important, and I use a lot of it.

An old coworker, Carla, and I once got into a battle about whether to show ellipses like this...or like this . . . My vote was the latter, but she insisted on the former. I think I let that one go in the end, but I still think I was right.

Incidentally, a friend of mine almost canceled her first date with a guy because he used the wrong form of "its" in an email (they met online). Luckily, she decided to go anyway, and they were married in January.

Punctuation lovers aren't alone--just check out the baked goods in the contest on this website for proof. What's your favorite punctuation mark? Mine's definitely the semi-colon; I know how to use it, and I'm not afraid to.

More soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The power of the internet

Wow. The readership of this blog has suddenly doubled, ever since I posted on Twitter that we were looking for authors for a fun new middle-grade project. So, hi, new readers--please stick around, add us to your feed-readers, comment away, make suggestions, whatever.

After I twittered that we needed some new authors, the SAB Twitter account suddenly got about 50 new followers. It's been fun discovering these people--writers, mostly. And my email and the Stone Arch Books submissions email have been inundated with messages from writers looking for work. So much so that I haven't even gotten through all of them yet! (So if you sent something and haven't heard from me, don't despair!)

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about submissions to Stone Arch. We have submission info on our website, but based on the amount of snail mail and full manuscripts we receive, I think some people aren't even aware that information is there.

So, here's a quick and dirty guide to submitting to Stone Arch/Picture Window.

* Don't send full manuscripts. Right now (and I'll let you know if this changes) we rarely purchase unsolicited manuscripts unless they are part of a completed 4- or 6-book series. In that case, send only the first few chapters of one manuscript.

* Have a desire to work for hire. That means we'll hire you to create a manuscript based on our specs. You'll need to be flexible, fast, professional, and creative, and in return, we'll be fun to work with; together we'll create great books.

* Send a writing sample. It should be fiction, and you should know what reader it will appeal to -- kindergarten kids? Middle-schoolers? Do your research.

* Email your submission to author.sub@stonearchbooks.com unless otherwise directed. I prefer samples that are pasted into the email, since it's easier for printing. (Please note that if you have already sent a submission, no need to resend.)

* Know that we only guarantee that we'll respond to samples that are right for us, unless they've been specifically requested by an editor or are sent by an agent. We get so many submissions that it's impossible to respond to each one.

I hope that gives insight into what we need. If you have a question, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll respond ASAP!


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Thursday, September 17, 2009

An evening with Chip Kidd

Last night, some of the design and editorial staff were lucky enough to attend a lecture by the infamous design rock star/legend, Chip Kidd. This was my first time seeing him speak and what a presence he has! He is extraordinarily multi-talented, a designer, writer and a wonderful speaker who has the ability to make the audience gasp, as well as fall over with laughter. 

I think the most fascinating aspect of his presentation was the series of book covers he designed that he personally loved, but had been rejected by the publisher or the author. It's always nice to see someone as amazing as him, share work that didn't make the cut. Even Chip Kidd, with years of experience and credibility, still has concepts that people don't fall in love with immediately. 

It was energizing to hear someone speak so passionately about design and the publishing industry. I walked out of the auditorium inspired, and armed with a couple of autographed books-how could I not?!

To see more of Chip Kidd's work, check out his website, here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tiger Moth, Lego ninja?

Check out this awesome rendition of Tiger Moth that Donnie sent me last week.

This 24-inch-tall Lego version, created by John and Dave Xandegar, will be touring elementary school libraries. How cool is that? See more images and read about the Lego creation here.

Any other Stone Arch characters popping up in the world? Let us know!

More soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Poetry Friday: Sweet voices whisper low

Happy Friday!

I have to admit something to you, blog readers: I am totally obsessed with Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I read it as a kid, of course, and had vague memories of sort of liking it, but mostly relegating it to that pile of "old-fashioned" books that I didn't really understand. I picked it up again last week after Michael mentioned it off-handedly during a meeting, and I've been totally immersed in it ever since. I can see why I didn't adore it as a young girl; the references, for one thing, are still above my head, as a college-educated adult! But I'm loving it now--the plot is wonderful, entertaining, and I really care about these characters, but what really gets me are the descriptions of nineteenth-century domestic life--what a far cry from 2009, but some things are still the same! Babies still refuse to go to sleep, the laundry must still be done, and families gather together in the evenings--now with laptops and iPhones instead of mending and pipe-smoking, but still.

Anyway, I of course had to post a poem by Louisa May Alcott for today's Poetry Friday offering.


      The moonlight fades from flower and tree,
      And the stars dim one by one;
      The tale is told, the song is sung,
      And the Fairy feast is done.
      The night-wind rocks the sleeping flowers,
      And sings to them, soft and low.
      The early birds erelong will wake:
      'Tis time for the Elves to go.
      O'er the sleeping earth we silently pass,
      Unseen by mortal eye,
      And send sweet dreams, as we lightly float
      Through the quiet moonlit sky;--
      For the stars' soft eyes alone may see,
      And the flowers alone may know,
      The feasts we hold, the tales we tell:
      So 'tis time for the Elves to go.
      From bird, and blossom, and bee,
      We learn the lessons they teach;
      And seek, by kindly deeds, to win
      A loving friend in each.
      And though unseen on earth we dwell,
      Sweet voices whisper low,
      And gentle hearts most joyously greet
      The Elves where'er they go.
      When next we meet in the Fairy dell,
      May the silver moon's soft light
      Shine then on faces gay as now,
      And Elfin hearts as light.
      Now spread each wing, for the eastern sky
      With sunlight soon will glow.
      The morning star shall light us home:
      Farewell! for the Elves must go.

Poetry Friday is hosted at Wild Rose Reader this week.

Enjoy your weekend!
More soon,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back to school

Summer is over. As if on cue, the leaves in my St. Paul neighborhood have begun changing; the sun is setting sooner, rising later; there's a crispness in the air in the morning. Schoolbuses roam the streets, and as I drive to work each morning, kids wait on corners for their buses. On my way home, football teams practice, and groups of girls, backpacks slung over their shoulders, walk down the sidewalks.

I know I'm not the only person who gets excited when September rolls around. Someone said on Twitter the other day that September is a better time than January to make resolutions. Maybe it's not the beginning of the calendar year, and unlike the transition to spring, it's not full of renewed hope and warmth--no, actually, I take that back. It is. The promise of snuggling under blankets, reading a book; of curling up with hot chocolate; of time spent learning on purpose.

Welcome back to school, kids, parents, teachers, librarians, administrators--from me, and from everyone else here at Stone Arch and Picture Window. This year, let's all make it our new-school-year resolution to learn on purpose.

More soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just call me fab-u-lous!

Last Friday Heather and I went to the MN State Fair to get an autograph from one of our local celebrities Sven Sundgaard. Sven's stylish hair was the inspiration for Spencer de Caneto, one of the characters in our Incredible Rockhead series. In our first book, Spencer thinks he's fab-u-lous with his ultra-cool hair and moves. Sven Sundgaard's fans certainly thought Sven was fabulous as well - they were lined up in the street waiting for a chance to greet him. We snapped a picture of Sven and the Incredible Rockhead.

What a fabulous shot!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Earn FREE Books!

We are really lucky to have such loyal customers and we want to thank you! So, we have created a loyalty program where you get points for every title you purchase from Stone Arch Books and all of Capstone's imprints. You can redeem those points for FREE books. The best thing is - it's easy and free to join. Go to www.capstonerewards.com to sign up - just for enrolling, you will earn 500 bonus points. Watch for other bonus point opportunities throughout the year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Poetry Friday: A Living Thing

Here in Minnesota, Labor Day weekend means one thing—the State Fair. It's a big deal here. I live in St. Paul, just a couple of miles from the fairgrounds, and the traffic alone tells me people are flocking to the Fair. On Facebook, my friends are listing, in gory detail, all of the foods they sample (chocolate-covered bacon and cajun-fried-pickles, anyone?). Here in the office, our resident foodies have regaled us with stories of their culinary expeditions. It's not just food: I've heard about the animals, the Crop Art, the midway...as Leslie Ball writes in her 2006 poem, the Fair is, indeed, a living thing, changing with each person who experiences it.

The Fair is a Living Thing

Just past six a.m.

Light starting to leak into the sky.

They predict rain.

We don't care.

Today is day one of our beloved State Fair.

(Read the rest of the poem here.)

Today's Poetry Friday is hosted at Crossover.

Enjoy your long weekend—the last weekend of summer. See you next week!
More soon--

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library Bound

A few months ago, when we were discussing the content and mission of this blog, we decided to come up with a new title and logo for the blog--something that would reflect what we do and why. Since our core market is and always will be the library, we came up with Library Bound.

Everything we do here at Stone Arch Books, Picture Window Books, Capstone Fiction, and the rest of Capstone Publishers, is done with the library in mind. Our work is always library bound. (And our hardcovers have the bonus of Guaranteed Library Binding--as you can see, this editor can't resist a good pun.)