Guest Post: From The Heart

Amie here first: Today’s is a very special post, and we here at Pub Crawl want to encourage you to read it all the way through, and pass this news along to the readers in your life.

As you may be aware, Egmont USA recently closed its doors, leaving some wonderful authors without a home. Many people would have screamed in frustration at the unfairness of it all—all that work, then this! —but instead, Egmont’s Last List has handled the situation with grace and humour, and we all admire them so much. In the next few months, Pub(lishing) Crawl will be featuring Egmont authors as their books release, and we hope you’ll all join us in supporting them and celebrating their wonderful books.

You can find them in their new online home here, and if you’re a blogger and want to help show the Last Listers how ready the publishing community is to support them, we hope you’ll head over to the blog hop that Cuddlebuggery is hosting, and sign up. Let’s show Egmont’s Last List some love—you can do so in the comments below to enter today’s giveaway, and whether you enter or not, we hope you’ll let the Egmont authors know you’re right behind them!

Now, here’s Pamela.

JaguarToday is a huge day for my co-author (and husband!) Jon and me because it marks the end of a ten year obsession. That’s how long we’ve been researching, writing and illustrating the Jaguar Stones books, a series of Maya-themed adventures for middle-schoolers.

So much has happened. So many family trips to Central America, so many interviews with archaeologists, so many nights at home in Vermont arguing about plot points or trying to coax a crashed computer back to life. And then there’s the journey to publication, the book tours (thank you, Egmont!) and school visits, the amazing emails from readers, and the way people just generally seem to like you better when they find out you write books for children.

So today, as the fourth and final Jaguar Stones book, The Lost City, is released, I’d like to share my top ten moments from the last ten amazing years:

  1. The first time we visited Egmont USA and the wonderful Alison Weiss had made a huge poster of a Maya stela to welcome us.
  2. Discussing the perils of trying to make a living as a writer with another Egmont author, the great Walter Dean Myers. His advice? “Write fast!”
  3. The sheer terror and excitement of being interviewed live by Al Roker for his book club segment on the Today Show.
  4. The look of horror on Meredith Viera’s face when we took a wrong turn after our spot and nearly stumbled onto the news set in our pith helmets, like explorers looking for the source of the Nile.
  5. The day I forgot to pack food for a dawn walk in the jungle and fed my kids termites for breakfast. (A woody, carrotty taste, since you ask.)
  6. The day Jon was peed on by a howler monkey.
  7. The school visit where a boy who’d never spoken in class before raised his hand and said: “I am Maya.” We handed him the mic and he took it from there.
  8. Being after-dinner speakers for an End Of The World party near Chichen Itza on December 22, 2012.

Something that can’t be told in bullet points, but so many faces, so many places, so many Maya people who told us their stories.

Being part of this incredible community of authors, bloggers, booksellers, editors, teachers and librarians who have rushed to support the last ever list from Egmont USA. Since our age range of readers aren’t online so much, we don’t do much blogging beyond our own website—and then shamefully sporadically. So it’s been astonishing to be swept up in this wave of love. I will never again say that writing is a lonely profession.

In that moment when we received the shock news from Egmont, it felt like everything was over just like that, and we were alone and forgotten in a publishing world that had its own problems to worry about. But then the emails began to pour in.

When Amie suggested this piece, she said: “It’s the least I can do.” No, Amie. No, it really really isn’t. I never expected to associate the closure of my publisher with happy feelings. But thanks to Amie and to all you guys, and whatever happens next, it will be impossible not to look back and smile a little.

Amie says: Leave a comment below showing Egmont’s Last List some love, and enter to win a copy of all FOUR Jaguar Stones books, signed by the authors! (USA only, sorry internationals!)

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Back CameraPAMELA AND JON VOELKEL are the author and illustrator of the Jaguar Stones series. You can find them at their series website, or on twitter! To research the Jaguar Stones, they and their three adventure-loving children have explored over forty Maya sites in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico; canoed down underground rivers; tracked howler monkeys in the jungle; and learned to make tortillas on an open fire. Jon’s most frightening experience was being lost in a pitch-black labyrinth under a Maya pyramid. Pamela’s most frightening experience was being interviewed by Al Roker on Today.


9 Responses to Guest Post: From The Heart

  1. Pat Feb 10 2015 at 7:50 am #

    I feel so bad for all those authors. I know exactly how they feel, as something “similar” has happened to me. I am also on the hunt for a new publishers and and came across Egmont USA through the RWA list (I think) and also from Karen Fox’s website (she has complied a fantastic listing of romance publishers.) However, what I found disturbing is that nowhere on the Egmont site does it state it is closing its doors. It DOES say they will only accept agented submissions. A Google search showed Publishers Weekly had a post about them closing (dated Jan 21) Thank goodness I hadn’t reached them on my list yet. My heart goes out to the authors. I wish you all the best of luck and please, don’t let this setback kill your creativity. Remember, the best part of writing is doing something you love and it gives you joy.

  2. Stephanie Quinn Feb 10 2015 at 8:55 am #

    I know this is a trying time for all of the author’s who made Edmont USA home. On a personal note, J &P Voelkel sent my library a copy of the first Jaguar Stones book. It has circulated often and has had great response for my hard to fit, reluctant Junior High boy readers. I have always appreciated the authors’ kindness to supply the book without cost to a small school library with an even smaller budget. I just wanted you and them to know that small gestures like these make a big impact and are truly appreciated!

  3. Michelle I. Mason Feb 10 2015 at 10:36 am #

    I wasn’t familiar with this series before reading the post, but it sounds fantastic. I volunteer in my son’s school library and will make sure they carry it. The librarian has gotten used to my suggestions :). Best of luck in your future endeavors!

  4. Ping Wan Feb 10 2015 at 11:17 am #

    The family adventure is fascinating and amazing. What a heart felt work! Congratulations J&P.

  5. Kristen Picone Feb 10 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    My 5th graders study the Maya every year and are completely fascinated by the culture. My classroom is also a reading community, but the Jaguar Stones books are not yet part of my classroom library! My students would LOVE for me to add this series to our library. Last year, I had students checking the books out of the public library, but would love to have them readily available! I’m eager for them to hear about your ten years of research and writing and will also look into a possible author visit! Congratulations on your 4th book!

  6. Tracy Feb 10 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    My 10 year old son is lying next to me right now reading the last few pages of Book 3. He is completely enthralled with the series and cannot wait for Book 4. Thank you for creating such entertaining and fine work.

  7. Peggy Eddleman Feb 11 2015 at 11:03 am #

    I love that all of you at Pub Crawl are doing this. Congrats on your release and finishing a series, Jon and Pamela! It sounds like such a fascinating series!

  8. Emma B Feb 11 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    My mom bought the first Jaguar Stones book when it was first released, years ago, and we read it as a family. We all loved it, but I never realized there were other books (I was pretty young). Now, I think my little brother and sister would especially love to finish the series. It’s just the kind of book they love.

  9. Allison Barton Feb 12 2015 at 12:15 am #

    I was intrigued by this post. So, I checked out the Voelkel’s website. I loved the ideas for teachers, and I now want to read the Jaguar Stones with my 14 year old, 8th grade son. Plus, I asked for a copy of their free CD to use with the students at the junior high where I work. I hope the Voelkel’s keep researching and writing and find a new publisher they love.

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