Contest Time!

His tribe calls him Silent One. He hasn’t spoken since his uncle died fighting the Iroquois. But in the winter of 1609, a new language echoes through the north woods. Samuel de Champlain and his Frenchmen speak of friendship and promise to help the Innu people fight their enemies. This time, Silent One must join the war party, journey far from home, and find his voice to save his brother and his own spirit.

"Kate Messner’s sense of American history and human nature is as strong as her clear, evocative prose. Her multicultural cast of characters truly comes alive in this wonderful little novel that gives one of the best pictures I’ve yet seen of that period of early contact."
                                          –Joseph Bruchac, Storyteller and Writer

My main character, Silent One, is silent for a reason; he had a vision and gave a warning that was ignored, resulting in his uncle’s death.  He felt like his voice didn’t matter.  Why use it?

But it does matter.  For all of us.

So here’s how to enter the contest.

Election Day provides us with an opportunity to to speak in a way that matters profoundly.  Promise you’ll speak by voting on November 4th. Leave a comment here, saying so, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of Champlain and the Silent One. If you mention this contest on your blog or website and link back here, I’ll enter you twice. Just send me an email (kmessner at katemessner dot com) with the link and let me know.

If you’re not old enough to vote, you can still enter.   Talk with a parent or friend who is planning to vote, and make arrangements to go with someone on Election Day to see what it’s like.  Leave a comment that tells me you’ll be someone’s voting buddy, and promise to vote when you turn eighteen.  And then do it.  (I’ll do everything in my power to track you down and reclaim your prize if you don’t.)

Now the small print stuff…

Due to shipping costs, you must live in the Continental United States to win.   If you’re not registered on Live Journal, please remember to leave your name (if you’re under 18, please leave a first name only to protect your privacy) so that you can be entered in the drawing. It’s hard to mail books to Anonymous.

The deadline to enter the contest is this Friday, September 26th at midnight EST — right after the Presidential candidates’ first debate.  I’ll announce the winner on my blog on Monday, September 29th.

And the winner is…

Happy Valentine’s Book Giveaway Day!  In the spirit of sharing the book love, I held a contest on my blog to give away a signed ARC of Linda Sue Park’s incredible MG novel Keeping Score

And in the spirit of entertaining my children, we devised a fun, Valentine-loving way to pick a winner.

First, I wrote the names of everyone who entered on little foam heart stickers.  If you entered, you’re on one of these.  I promise.

Then we stuck all the hearts to the dartboard in the basement. 

Then the kids closed their eyes and took turns shooting darts at you. 

You can be assured that it was done fair and square, even at great risk to our personal property.  E almost threw a dart through the door window you see next to the dartboard.  When I suggested that she open her eyes and just try to hit the board, she vehemently refused.  She would NOT compromise the integrity of the random selection process.

This took longer than I thought it would.  Bedtime was late. There were many near misses.  Many darts that just grazed the edges of some of your names.  But we were looking for a true piercing of the heart, Cupid style.  Finally, J was successful.

Can you read this?

How about now?


!  Please email me your address, and I’ll mail out your signed ARC of Keeping Score.  Happy  Valentine’s Day, everyone, and thanks for entering!

Edited to add a special LJ “Sharing the Love” note… 

has requested that her prize be sent along to

to help her recover from a knee injury (and I know it will help!).  So, whiskersink, please send me your address, and newport2newport….thanks.  Your kindness this morning made me smile a huge smile. I love this community. 


And don’t forget… Valentine’s Day also means the announcement of the Cybils winners!  Congratulations to the winners and all of the nominees for this year.

Blog Soup

Sometimes I try to make soup out of all the leftovers in the refrigerator.  Today’s post is blog soup — all the little notes I’ve been meaning to mention but haven’t had time. 

One of my favorite indies, Flying Pig Books in Shelburne, VT,  was nominated for the Lucille Micheels Pannell Award honoring bookstores that “excel at inspiring the interest of young people in books and reading.”  If you’ve ever been to see Josie & Elizabeth at Flying Pig, you know  their children’s section is fabulous, and they have a steady stream of guest authors (I’ll be there on April 5th!). The nomination is a well-earned honor!  (Congrats are also in order for winning stores, Books & Books of Coral Gables, FL and Wonderland Books of Rockford, IL. The descriptions of these stores make me want to visit them all.)
Laurie Halse Anderson (

) and her husband are training tirelessly for the Lake Placid Half Marathon.  They’re running with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training to raise money for cancer research.  Even if you only run when being chased, you can click here to contribute to their efforts.

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting…and this Thursday, the Cybils Award Winners will be announced.  I served as a panelist for MG fiction, and I can’t wait to see what one of our eight finalists the judges choose.

Kerry Madden (

) is having a cool school picture contest on her blog, and she’s giving away signed copies of Jessie’s Mountain.  Here’s your opportunity to profit from that 3rd grade school photo where your collar was tucked in and your hair looked like devil horns.

Speaking of contests, don’t forget that I’m giving away a signed ARC of Linda Sue Park’s Keeping Score.  Check out this post for the details. You have  until 6pm EST on Wednesday to enter.  The winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day.

And finally, have you checked out Nonfiction Mondays?  I love the idea of a blogging day devoted to nonfiction.  I missed today’s roundup, but I’ll be participating next Monday.  I hope you’ll stop by to check out my interview with Jim Murphy, award-winning author of fantastic non-fiction titles like The Great Fire, Blizzard,  An American Plague, and most recently, The Real Benedict Arnold.

September is SPITFIRE Month!

I just got the final word from my editor that SPITFIRE will be available by the end of September!  To celebrate the release and the work of all of us who write for young people, I’m hosting a contest and spitfire-of-the-day feature on my blog…

spitfire: (n)  A fiery-tempered, passionate person

My middle grade historical novel is called SPITFIRE for two reasons.

1) On the bottom of Lake Champlain today rests the last remaining gunboat of Benedict Arnold’s Revolutionary War fleet.  It sank while American vessels were fleeing from the British during the Battle of Valcour Island in October of 1776.  Spitfire is the name of that boat and the setting for much of my novel.

2) My main character, Abigail Smith, is a 12-year-old girl who steals a leaky rowboat and runs away to join the American fleet on Lake Champlain.  She is brave, passionate, and more than a little impulsive – a spitfire if ever there was one.

On to the contest…

Are you a SPITFIRE?

The more writers I meet, the more convinced I am that you have to be a real spitfire to survive this career choice.  With that in mind, write a very short  (300 words or less) essay on what makes you a spitfire in your writing life or in some other way that’s entertaining to read about.  

OR… (I’m adding this at the request of modest writers who can’t possibly write about themselves that way)  write about your favorite spitfire character in a book — yours or someone else’s. 

 I’ll feature some of the essays on my blog in the days leading up to SPITFIRE’s release, along with an author photo and/or a picture of your latest book if you’re published.

Send entries with the subject line “SPITFIRE CONTEST” to kmessner at katemessner dot com (no spaces).  Please include:

-Your name
-A link to your website or blog if you have one
-Your essay pasted into the email, with permission to post on my blog
-A jpeg photo of you and/or your latest book attached if you’d like me to post it on my blog with your Spitfire Writer essay to promote your book

The deadline is September 25. Everyone who sends an essay will be entered in a drawing…and if you let people know about the contest on your website or blog and post a link to this page, I’ll enter you in the drawing twice.  Just drop me a comment letting me know you’ve done so.
A winner will be drawn at random from all entries, and that person will receive a signed copy of SPITFIRE, along with a box of Lake Champlain Chocolates.  Because everyone needs chocolate.  Being a spitfire is hard work.