Native Ink Press

Michele McAvoy & The Gorilla Picked Me!

Native Ink Press: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?

Michele McAvoy: 
Anywhere where I can hide from my family. Seriously, I have two small children and a husband who all want attention, so I sneak away to write. I will write early in the morning (for an hour or less) before I sign onto my law job and the same at night when all are asleep (and I should probably be sleeping, too). During those times not only do I write, but I also market my published books and keep myself in the loop of the industry (ie: get caught up on Twitter, a virtual playground for children’s book authors).

 

Native Ink Press: How did you come up with the idea of this book? How long did it take you to write?

Michele McAvoy: The Gorilla Picked Me! is based on a true story from when I was a little girl. As a Girl Scout Brownie, I attended a daddy-daughter dance. When I was little, I was chubby and felt like I didn’t stand out in a positive way like my friends who were tall and skinny. During the dance, my daddy stepped away and a dancing gorilla appeared. The gorilla picked me up and danced with me. It wasn’t until my 30’s, years after my father had passed away, did I think that it was possibly him in that gorilla suit. Simple moments can define a person and I love that my father’s love gave me this special moment. He is no longer here for me to ask if it was, in fact, him in that gorilla suit. It’s his forever secret, and I love that too.

The Gorilla Picked Me! has gone through many (many!) revisions. The first draft came pretty easily and closely resembles the final story. But there were many revisions in between as I tried to navigate the opinions of publishers who don’t prefer rhyme, and as I perfected the rhyme and meter to stand out on a professional level.

 

Native Ink Press: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?

Michele McAvoy: I love Andrea Beatty and her children’s picture book, Rosie Revere Engineer. Ms. Beatty is an inspiration for writing in rhyme and I love the message of Rosie Revere, that little girls can do anything they put their minds to and to never let others steer you away from your passion. Be yourself!

I also love picture books illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. A personal favorite of mine (and my 5-year-old daughter’s) is I’m Bored written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. This funny picture book pegs how little kids think and get frustrated and Ms. Ohi’s illustrations are fun and full of positivity.

Finally, I love Dav Pilkey, the genius behind The Adventures of Captain Underpants. Mr. Pilkey came to my rescue in my struggle to encourage my son (now 8 years old) to read. His fabulously flawed mischievous characters, George and Harold, kept my son’s interest and got me through First and Second Grade reading logs. Mr. Pilkey’s unhindered imagination and attention to what kids like (not grown-ups) is an inspiration for all those writing for children.

On a more mature level, I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (at this point it’s become so mainstream I’m afraid it’s a cliché.) But, I’m a romantic and complicated like Elizabeth Bennet, so Mr. Darcy gets me every time!

 

  

About the Author

Michele McAvoy is a children’s book author, an attorney and a mother of two young children.  Michele’s love of books began as a young girl excited to order Troll books at school (that Troll traveling bookstore was the best!)  As a child, she loved taking trips to the Barnes & Noble in the Village of NYC to buy Judy Blume when visiting with her grandmother.  Michele always enjoyed the quiet creativity that came along with reading and writing.  She now finds peace in her often-hectic days when she’s writing.  Michele’s debut picture book “My Superhero Grandpa” is the recipient of a 2016 Children’s Moonbeam Book Award.  She is excited about the release of her newest picture book “The Gorilla Picked Me!” coming in 2018.  Michele graduated cum laude from both New York University and Brooklyn Law School and considers herself a “cool nerd.”  She currently lives in the suburbs of New Jersey and embraces her “joisey” accent (it’s a losing battle otherwise).

Michele’s book The Gorilla Picked Me! is available for pre-order on our website, Native Ink Press and Ink Smith Publishing. The pre-order sale includes a hardcover, author signed edition! You can pre-order your copy here.

Connect with  Michele on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

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Meet Michele McAvoy!

Michele McAvoy Headshot

Michele McAvoy is a children’s book author from New Jersey. As a child, she read Judy Blume and drew Garfield comics. For her 10th birthday, she asked for a pink typewriter. Michele always loved the smell of new books. Now all grown-up (typewriters near obsolete) she loves bringing joy to children through her own books. The Gorilla Picked Me! is based on a true story from her childhood. Michele’s debut children’s book My Superhero Grandpa is the recipient of a Children’s Moonbeam Book Award.

The Gorilla Picked Me! is currently on sale for pre-orders on the Native Ink Press website. Pre-order copies will be autographed by the author and mailed on release! Get your copy today!

Connect with Michele on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

 

BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:

The Gorilla Picked Me!

The Gorilla Picked Me!

In honor of National Gorilla Suit Day, we are happy to announce Michele McAvoy‘s newest children’s book, The Gorilla Picked Me! coming March 2018! Beautifully illustrated by the talented Valentina Carboni The Gorilla Picked Me! is a fun and sentimental story about little Olive’s single defining moment when she realizes, no little girl is plain! Pre-orders open today exclusively on Native Ink Press! What’s better than a pre-order sale? A pre-order sale that gets you an autographed hardcover edition!

Gorilla Cover_Front_COLOR final_ hi_res copy

Welcome, Angela Johnson!

Angela Johnson, Children’s Editor Intern – Native Ink Press

Angela is an educator, editor, writer, and poet. She received her Masters of Fine Arts and Masters of Science in Education in New York City where she worked as an elementary school teacher. Her classroom was always filled with literature and she learned earlier on in her tenure that she wanted to edit/write children’s books. Angela has been an editor for two years, and currently works as a freelance writer and poet.

Submissions Now Open for 2017!

It’s that time of year again! Ink Smith Publishing has opened submissions for 2017! Genres accepted can be found on our website: www.ink-smith.com/submissions. We love fantasy, so if you do not see your specific fictional genre listed, we encourage you to submit to us anyway. There are so many fiction genres (particularly hyper-specific genres) that we cannot list them all.

But, please note, we do not accept non-fiction or children’s (12 years and under) titles at Ink Smith. For non-fiction/children’s titles please submit to Native Ink Press. Guidelines and requirements apply to Native Ink Press as well.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions will be accepted January 1 – July 30 each year, with a closed reading period beginning August 1. 

  • Novellas must be 30,000 to 50,000 words and novels must be at least 50,000+ words.
  • No fan fiction.
  • No short stories.
  • Manuscripts must be polished. No first drafts or incomplete manuscripts.
  • Manuscripts that you submit cannot be previously self-published.
  • No attachments in the email.
  • No manuscripts on first query. *We will request your manuscript if we are interested in moving forward.*
  • No non-fiction titles.
  • No children’s books aimed at ages 12 and under.
  • No submissions from outside the U.S./Canada at this time.

Submit Your Book Query

Please follow ALL guidelines below. Submissions not meeting submission guidelines are automatically rejected regardless of the quality of the work submitted.

  1. Title Your email: Query, Your Last Name, Title of Your Book
  2. Cover letter: Tell us about yourself. Please include current address, as we use this to verify that you are currently residing in the U.S. or Canada.
  3. Story information: Genre, Word Count, etc.
  4. Synopsis: no longer than 1 page, please.
  5. Your marketing plan! In the event we move forward with your manuscript for publication, please note that we expect our authors to be active in the marketing of their titles alongside our efforts. Your ideas, opinions and comfort level with marketing tools are essential for us to develop a marketing plan that works for you and your book.
  6. The first three chapters of your story copied and pasted into the body of the email. (NO ATTACHMENTS)
  7. Send your query to submissions@ink-smith.com!

As a final reminder: NOT FOLLOWING GUIDELINES WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC REJECTION.

What You Know vs. Branching Out

When I was first starting out as a writer, people constantly told me to “write what you know.” That makes a lot of sense. Writing what you know gives your story a solid basis in reality, accurate reality.

What do I mean by accurate reality? You can create any reality you want as a writer. A world where dogs live on the moon, where people are born with hands as their ears–any world you want. But it has to make sense, it has to be believable. Connection to the reader matters.

One of the reasons people love books, is the idea that it represents someone or something they can connect with in addition to reading for enjoyment. Even though your manuscript falls into the fiction category, it doesn’t mean the entire book is made up. Relationships, people, emotions: they are based in reality.

I came across this conundrum during a class in my master’s program at Lindenwood University. We read the book, Rose Metal Press Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers and Writers in the field. It talked about truths and making sure that when you are writing about certain types of people that you get them accurate. (A great source for writers – in addition to the Writing Flash Non-Fiction edition as well!)

If you aren’t someone who is intimate with the particular group of people you are writing about, than you need to be careful about writing about them. You don’t want to misrepresent their culture just because you felt like writing about them one morning. This goes for any group or culture–misrepresentation does two things: offends the group you are misrepresenting and provides inaccurate information to people who are not familiar with said group/culture.

The basis of belief for Quakers, is that God exists in every person, and therefore should be treated in accordance with that belief. LGBTQ have their own slang, different parts of the U.S. have different accents, it is impolite in some countries to wear your shoes into the house–these facts may seem inconsequential to someone who is on the outside of these groups, but is essential in the representation of the culture.

So, if you are looking to write about the Aboriginals – do your research, make sure you understand their way of life. If you can, submerge yourself in the culture, talk to some of the people. Experience is the strongest learning tool.

Make sure you understand them and their way of life before you write. In essence,  the notion of “write what you know” is 100 percent accurate. You may want to write something new, but make sure you do the research and write the truth!

Happy writing, and happier researching!

 

Connect with me @AndersonCorinne on Twitter!

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing, with an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. She is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing, and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

When You Submit: Follow the Guidelines

Whether you are submitting a poem to a literary magazine, a memoir to an independent publisher or a fantasy manuscript to one of the big five – you MUST make sure you follow all of the submission requirements. This also includes submitting your piece during the time the company is accepting submissions. Some companies, Ink Smith Publishing included, occasionally close submissions for a certain time frame each year to catch up on reading through submissions. Others, like our sister company, Native Ink Press, have rolling submissions, meaning they accept submissions year round.

But remember: Follow the guidelines.

As we sift through the submissions we receive the first thing we note is who followed directions. We do this for multiple reasons; the most obvious is: did this author take the time to read, research and decide upon our publishing company? Not following the submission guidelines, which are normally pretty simple, and for the most part universal amongst publishing companies, is indicative that the author may be either blindly submitting to every available publishing company, or that they do not pay attention to details. Two things that suggest the author is less serious about their handwork than they should be.

The second reason, is because we want to know how an author responds to direction. Each author/publisher/editor relationship is different. You will see authors working with different editors on different kinds of books, different publishers on different genres, etc. When in the editing process, editors will provide feedback, critiques and suggestions on things that may work better for the piece in question. The purpose of the editing process is to make a great idea even better – a project that both the editor and the author are invested in. Without an author who is receptive to change, suggestions and edits, that task is not one that will be possible to complete, at least not easily!

Finally, there are a lot of submissions. There are a lot of authors with great books, and a limited amount of books we can publish per year. If it comes down to two books, one where the author followed the directions perfectly and one who did not; the decision is easy.

Keep in mind, Ink Smith Publishing discards any submissions that do not follow the guidelines – no matter how good the book is, and no matter who the author is. We firmly believe that an author who is serious about their book, about their careers, and about publishing with us specifically – will make sure to follow the guidelines. If you are interested in submitting to Ink Smith Publishing, or Native Ink Press, please make sure to do the following:
1. Review the kind of content we publish
2. Make sure your content fits in
3. Make sure submissions are OPEN
4. Review and follow the guidelines
5. Give us your best!

For more information about Ink Smith Publishing and our submission guidelines visit www.ink-smith.com/submissions. You can also visit www.nativeinkpress.com  to learn more about Native Ink Press’ submission guidelines.

 

 

Connect with me @AndersonCorinne on Twitter!

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing, with an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. She is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing, and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Ridgewell’s, Available for Purchase Today!

ImageNative Ink Press, an imprint of Ink Smith Publishing of Monrovia, California has just published a fascinating memoir about the storied high-end power caterer, Ridgewell’s, and the three generations of the family that founded and nurtured it through the Depression years, the Second World War, the era of Watergate and Vietnam and into the modern era of ‘inside the beltway’ Washington of today. The story, as told to the author by Bruce Ellis the grandson of the founders, begins with his granddad “Charlie” Ridgewell’s departure from the Isle of Wight, the tiny island athwart the English Channel in the very early years of the twentieth century who, nearly penniless, found a job with the British ambassador’s staff at their embassy in Washington as a ‘valet’. It was through this connection that he met his future bride, Marguerite Cuvillier

(who was later nicknamed “Little Meemaw”)​, herself a recent immigrant from Paris working as a ‘plain cook’ at the French embassy. Mr. Ellis describes the couples early life in the first decade of the last century and how, through wise reasoning and their careful handling of the little money they were able to save from truly paltry earnings (around a ‘pound’ a week or a little more than a dollar a day)​ they started the small business of catering to the well-to-do hosts and hostesses of the greater metropolitan area that have always flirted with the politically powerful and well connected since the time of John and Abigale Adams.

 

 From the birth of the company and its struggles to keep up with the shifting power scene in and around the nation’s capital to where the company is today some 86 years later Mr. Ellis lays out the labor of love that he, his identical twin Jeff, and his father and grandfather before them experienced. This book is a tribute to the concept that service, properly understood, is perhaps THE way to manage any business. In other words they took what they knew about the life of a servant and brought that lesson to a business that actually sold service. The company was to serve every White House from Harding to Obama and, astoundingly, made money every year it was under the guidance of the founder and then his son-in-law and then his grandsons. He tells how his grandfather, Charlie, made it his business to become close to the most powerful and influential people who, in turn, lived among and entertained the most powerful and influential people. He goes on to relate how his father, a Depression era boy from the hills and farmland of Boone, North Carolina became a close friend of President Harry Truman and Marjorie Meriwether Post, at that time the world’s richest woman. Names like Mrs. Post. Evelyn Walsh McLean (the owner of the Hope Diamond), Perle Mesta (The Hostess with the Mostess), Gwen Cafritz, Elizabeth Taylor, Nelson Rockefeller, George Herbert Walker Bush and on and on the power people of politics, entertainment and business all came to rely on Ridgewell’s.
Bruce notes that as the family expanded so too did the business. From it’s simple beginnings on a downtown street in the basement of a townhouse with two employees in just three generations the compay grew to over 150 full time staff and more than a thousand ‘outside’ service personnel from maitre d’s to bartenders, wait staff, etc., You’ll follow that growth with stories such as how the company took control over its own destiney when, during his father’s management, the company had to rely on an outside kitchen to provide the food component. Recognizing this situation could not continue because of the inherent lack of control Bruce and twin Jeffery in the very early 1970’s had the company relocated to suburban Bethesda Chevy Chase where a complete catering operation was set up with kitchens, warehouse, sales and administration could overseen by the family.
Ridgewell’s is a great story filled with vignettes that will delight the reader and surprise some with the concept that managing a business has much the same dynamics as raising a family. True humility, absolute honesty, commitment to principle and guided by a generosity of spirit is the formula, according to Mr. Ellis that worked at home and at work.

Project Keepsake is released today!

Native Ink Press is celebrating the release of their first book!

Project Keepsake is now out for sale in both paperback and ebook format!

If you are interested in writing your story for the next book in the Project Keepsake series check out :http://www.projectkeepsake.com/write/

You can purchase Project Keepsake at:

http://www.nativeinkpress.com

Amazon

barnes and Noble and other major retailers.

 

Synopsis:

Amber Lanier Nagle has always been interested in keepsakes-a glass bluebird, a pocket knife, a dime-store locket, a faded fishing lure, a dented cake pan, a model train car, and so many others.

“Why do you keep this?” she asks. “Where did it come from?”

And then she listens as the stores and memories pour out. Project Keepsake is Nagle’s crusade to collect and publish the stories that transform simple, everyday objects into priceless keepsakes. Told in first-person by both seasoned and aspiring writers, each story in the anthology is unique, yet each reveals common threads that connect us all and celebrate the glorious human experience.

“I hope the book inspires you to write your own keepsake story.” –Amber Lanier Nagle

February’s Giveaway Winners Are…

February’s book release giveaway is over and it is time to announce the winners!
Drum roll please!!!!!

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Winner of the paperback version: Heather MacNaughton

Winner of the Book Lovers Tote: Melissa Stoltz

Winners of the bookmarks:   Ben,  Hesper Fry, Julie Kitzmiller 

Winners of the eBook version:  Tobi Helton, Tina A Myers,  Tony L Smoaks,  Bill Hewitt,  Sara Morrison, Gary Vanicek

All the winners have been contacted! If you see your name here and you haven’t received an email from me please send me an email at ashley.howie@ink-smith.com.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway! We hope to see you at our imprint Native Ink Press’ February book release giveaway along with our next March giveaway. Follow The Inkwell and Quill to stay up to date, or sign up for our newsletter at ink-smith.com