Helping Nepal

I have been doing a lot of soul searching about helping Nepali people, particularly the children, who are most vulnerable. Many of you know that years ago my family worked in Nepal as medical volunteers, and that I wrote a children's novel out of those experiences. I want to urge everyone to donate to the charity of your choice (The New York Times has a good list). I want to do more, and I am figuring it out. Perhaps all profits from school visits in the next year will be dedicated to this cause? That sounds about right. Stay tuned.


Remembering victims

Two years ago, in Newtown, Connecticut, innocent lives were taken by gun violence. In Tucson, we witnessed our own tragedy nearly four years ago.

We can recite these places where gun violence occurs like a litany.

Shockingly, when the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings takes place next Sunday, 60,000 more Americans will have died from gunshot wounds.

St John on the Desert Presbyterian Church in Tucson is partnering with the Newtown Foundation, Washington National Cathedral, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. Across the nation, from December 11-14, there will be special events and services in remembrance of the victims.

St John is my church, and I will be there for the worship service, followed by a candlelight vigil, for the victims of gun violence.

Gun violence affects all of us.

I hope you will join me.

Friday, December 12th, 6-7 pm
St John on the Desert Presbyterian Church
2695 N. Houghton Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85749

Give it a listen: If That Breathes Fire, We’re Toast!


If That Breathes Fire, We’re Toast! by Jennifer J. Stewart (that's me) is now available as an audiobook, from Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. If you get the book as a new Audible listener, it’s free!

I also have FREE Audible download codes. Please email me (jennifer at jenniferjstewart dot com). I will send them out while they last, along with easy instructions for using them.

Miranda Stewart narrated the audiobook. It’s good to have a family member in “the business.” Miranda also narrated another of my middle grade children’s novels, The Girl Who Has Everything, as well as Wendy K. Williamson's bestselling memoir, I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar. I am sure Miranda will narrate many more books! Have a listen
to a sample.

When If That Breathes Fire, We’re Toast! first came out, VOYA put it on its Best Fantasies of the Year list. It was also a finalist for Oklahoma’s Sequoyah Book Award.

Trade review snippets:
This enjoyable, slapstick story has tongue-in-cheek humor and interesting characters that suspend reality and will captivate its audience. VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES
...the sharp, funny phrasing and the likable, believable characters give the book freshness and zip, and the eye-catching cover will help it circulate in libraries. BOOKLIST
The story beautifully blends fantasy and reality. This book is tough to put down! CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
Relaxed, readable debut... tongue-in-cheek humor will keep readers turning pages. KIRKUS
The dialogue is fresh, and the characters are likeable, including the adults... A quick, fun read. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

I hope you enjoy the audiobook, and if you do, please consider leaving a review if you have time. They matter. Thank you.

Link love

In no particular order, these are websites that are helpful for writing people, unorganized people (imagine a Venn diagram here showing how these two intersect), and people who just want to have a little fun, which includes everyone.

TeuxDeux—This virtual ‘to do’ list keeps me organized and on track. Now it comes in colors and with a flying unicat!

Number Five Bus—Interesting conversations between interesting people, all of whom happen to be picture book creators—authors, illustrators, or author-illustrators. You will learn a lot.

Drew Weing's webcomic, The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo—Make sure you start from the beginning. Perfect for Halloween!

We Need Diverse Books—If you haven’t heard of this group, you need to, whether you are a part of the children’s and teen literature community or not. It matters. Their indiegogo campaign is here. I donated. Please join me.

The Minimalists—They’ve helped me clear the clutter and think about all my stuff in a new light. Perhaps they will help you. Plus, playing the #minsgame on twitter is fun.

Which websites are your favorites? Also, as the possessor of a new smartphone, are there apps that I shouldn't miss?

So how’s that #minsgame going?

Back in August, I wrote about my beginning experiences playing the #minsgame, an idea dreamed up by The Minimalists. On the first of the month, you rid yourself of one item, two items on the second, three on the third, and so on. It’s a way to pare down your possessions, and clear the clutter from your home, in order to make room for what really matters—which usually isn’t a material thing.

I have never been successful at clearing the clutter before because I looked at it as a chore, one that I never seemed to get around to, even by bribing myself. It just wasn’t fun.

It’s different now. It’s is fun, because (1) it’s a game, and (2) you tweet about what you’ve recycled, given away, or dumped, and (3) through twitter, I’ve met some like-minded people all around the world doing the same thing. Some of the #minsgame players post photos; one man arranged his collection of gift boxes on his bed so that they looked like a Mondrian painting. We inspire each other and look forward to hearing about each day’s haul. It gets tough towards the end of the month, and that’s when having a social network really helps.

So I guess what I’m saying is I needed my uncluttering process to be social, competitive, and accountable, and most of all, FUN, which is why #minsgame fits the bill.

So, two months in—I played #minsgame for August and September, my home is less cluttered, and my mindset about hanging onto things just in case has changed. There are a few shelves in my house with nothing on them. Even my husband finds me things to give away.

One thing surprised me. I didn’t resort to culling my massive book collection yet, which will be the hardest for me, along with all my late mother’s things.

I’ve slacked off this month because while on vacation, I caught a dreadful cold, but now that I’m feeling better, I am planning on jumping right back in come November.

If you want to join me on twitter, I’m at @JenniferJStweet.


Maybe the editor’s on vacation—after all, it was Labor Day last week—and that’s why my agent hasn’t heard anything on my submission which has been out for three whole months.

Maybe she’s off riding an elephant in Thailand, and maybe a baby elephant sat on her laptop.

Maybe she’s actually in the office, but her assistant accidentally spilled his iced almond funky monkey all over the keyboard. The whipped cream is proving particularly difficult to remove.

Maybe the keys for Y-E-S mysteriously went missing.

Maybe she was riding in a hot air balloon and it suddenly popped over the Bermuda Triangle.

Maybe she sprained both wrists, plus she was already on crutches from bunion surgery.

Maybe she’s taking an e-break from email, and as you know, telephones are the devil’s invention.

Maybe she hasn’t read the manuscript yet. Maybe she had a stack of 293 books to be read on her nightstand, and this morning they toppled over onto her head and caused a severe concussion, which means she can’t read anything for the next three weeks.

Maybe the manuscript needs to be discussed in an editorial meeting, but the intern whose job it is to give a report on the manuscript is on vacation. In Antarctica.

Maybe the editor secretly writes sexy romances on the side, and they’ve become so popular, she’s going to leave children’s publishing and move to a tropical island, or a Greek one; she can’t decide. Maybe she’ll buy one of each. Island paradises never go out of style.

Maybe she became addicted to Farmville, Words with Friends, and Sudoku all at the same time.

Maybe she is taking a personal day so she can sacrifice a goat on the steps of the New York Public Library, the one where the lions guard the entrance. No, don't ask me why she needs to sacrifice a goat. She just does.

Maybe she was a close, personal friend of Joan Rivers and is set to give JR’s eulogy.

Maybe she opened her wardrobe yesterday morning, and found that it was the wardrobe that leads directly into Narnia. So she went there, and may never come back, although if she’s wearing lipstick, Aslan might have a problem with that.

Maybe I’m going to go crazy waiting.

For your listening pleasure: The Girl Who Has Everything

Last Friday, the audiobook of my middle grade novel, The Girl Who Has Everything
was released. It is now available for purchase from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. You can listen to a free sample at any of these sites.

The audiobook is narrated by Miranda Stewart, and no, it’s not a coincidence that she and I share the same last name. She’s my daughter. Miranda is a director/model/actor/website designer living in downtown Los Angeles, and now she’s making use of her voice talent, too. She uses professional level equipment for recording and editing.

It is so much fun to hear my characters come to life!

It couldn't have been an easier set-up on my end, as I signed up to have the audiobook produced through, and then chose Miranda to narrate the audiobook. I approved samples along the way and modified my book cover to fit the square format display (think: CD case). Every time I am forced to use photoshop I practically get hives, but with technical assistance (my husband), I was able to get the cover uploaded, and it really wasn't all that hard.

This is Miranda's first audiobook production, but it won’t be her last, as she has already gotten another gig, based on the work she did for me.

Thanks, Miranda!