Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 5, 2017

Book Giveaway – The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown

Author Crystal Allen has a cute middle grade series and has agreed to giveaway THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS: The Wall of Fame Game that came out earlier this year. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The most fabulous nine-year-old cowgirl in Texas is back in this heartwarming and hilarious sequel to The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown! Perfect for fans of Clementine and Ivy and Bean.

Nine-year-old Mya Tibbs is in a triple heap of trouble. As the Tibbs household prepares for the new baby, Mya is extra excited to spend time with her mom watching their favorite Annie Oakley marathon before her new sister arrives. Until she’s cornered into a bet with her number-one enemy, Naomi Jackson, that she can beat her in the famous fourth-grade Wall of Fame Game—which means Mya is stuck studying every night instead of hanging out with Mom. As if that wasn’t enough, Mya just entered Bluebonnet’s annual chili cook-off, even though she doesn’t know how to cook! Holy moly!

Can Mya find a way to beat Naomi, win the chili cook-off, and get some special mom/daughter time before it’s too late?

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A hilarious and spunky new heroine in the vein of the heroines of such beloved books as Ramona the Pest, Ivy and Bean, and Clementine, from Crystal Allen—the acclaimed author of How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy.
Nine-year-old Mya Tibbs is boot-scootin’ excited for the best week of the whole school year—SPIRIT WEEK! She and her megapopular best friend, Naomi Jackson, even made a pinky promise to be Spirit Week partners so they can win the big prize: special VIP tickets to the Fall Festival!
But when the partner picking goes horribly wrong, Mya gets paired with Mean Connie Tate—the biggest bully in school. And she can’t get out of it.
Good gravy.

Now Naomi is friend-ending mad at Mya for breaking a promise—even though Mya couldn’t help it—and everyone at school is calling Mya names. Can Mya work with Mean Connie to win the VIP tickets and get her best friend back?

SERIES JOURNEY:

THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS

I’d like to introduce you to The Magnificent Mya Tibbs, a spunky, nine-year-old, western boot-wearin’, African American cowgirl who loves making her own jewelry, and calf-roping her stuffed animals. If Mya sounds different to you, it’s because she is. Let me tell you how Mya and I met.

I had previously written two books for my publisher, Balzer and Bray, entitled HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY, and THE LAURA LINE. My editor approached me about creating a character for them. They believed I had the perfect “voice,” based on my first two books, to create an “African American Ramona-type” character for a series.

Even though this sounded amazing, it made me very nervous. See, my characters come to me in my thoughts, in my dreams, and I write their stories based upon what they show me. I know it sounds like I need medication, but that’s the truth. I’ve never been asked to create a character. This was different. This character didn’t belong to me. How was this supposed to happen? I didn’t even know what this character looked like, how she acted, what she wanted, or was it possible that she was a “he!”

I was asked to send in a few plot ideas, which happens to be my weakest link. Even though I’m confident about creating strong characters, plot has always been my weakest link. At that point, I felt like I was standing on a cliff, staring at the sharp-edged rocks and crashing water below me, knowing that if I take on this project, I’m going to either hit the rocks, or swan dive like a boss.

I sent in the plot ideas. Some were loved, and others…not so much. But the ideas they loved got me a two-book deal, and at this point, my character didn’t even have a name. It took months for me to see her, and the first thing she showed me was her pink boots! Such a huge clue of who she was, and I was so thankful to get it! The more I wrote, the more I began to see her, and revise my own work to match her voice. And then, in my mind’s eye, I saw her. It was almost as joyful as seeing my own children for the first time after hours of painful labor! I named my nine-year old newborn, Mya, a beautiful little girl, with braids, and boots, and attitude! I made one of my nieces dress up just like her so I could take pictures and keep that look close to me while I worked on the story.

When I believed I had her story down, I sent it to my agent, and then on to my editor. Weeks later, I got a five-page, single-spaced, editorial letter. I had lots of revision to do.

Lots. Of. Revision. To. Do.

So, I started over, by reading more chapter books, and studying the structure of how the story in those books flowed from beginning to end. I revised those areas pointed out by my editor, and even revised some that I felt could have been stronger. After several rounds of revision with my editor, in my mind, Mya became a real girl. I could hear her breathing over my shoulder as I wrote and re-wrote chapter after chapter. And then, it happened. My editor was happy with the manuscript, and so was I. Mya Tibbs was ready to meet the world, and make new friends in SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN!

In book one, SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN, Mya is boot-scootin’ excited for the best five days of the whole school year – Spirit Week! She and her best friend, Naomi, even make a pinkie promise to be partners and win the big prize, VIP tickets to the Fall Festival! But when the partner picking goes wrong, Mya gets paired with Mean Connie Tate—the biggest bully in school. And she can’t get out of it. Now Naomi is mad, and Mya has to figure out not only how to win the VIP tickets, but also how to win back her friend—and of course she learns that maybe, just maybe, the rumors about Connie are wrong.

Book two, THE WALL OF FAME GAME, had a different journey. I wanted to do something where Mya had a strong classroom presence, and also build on her new friendship with Connie. I wanted this story to be educational, but also funny, and maybe even suspenseful!

One day I was surfing the web, looking for school-based websites to find current activities and ideas to add to my new book. There were so many children with smiling faces involved in hundreds of awesome activities. But one particular website caught my eye. This website was so adorable, and browser-friendly that I couldn’t help but click on the various sites. I contacted the teacher in charge of the website, and the creator of the education-based activity I was interested in learning more about. They were both very excited and helpful. I actually dedicated THE WALL OF FAME GAME to them, and all the teachers and librarians around the world!

While writing THE WALL OF FAME GAME, the bond between my characters become more prominent, and I knew this was a story they wanted me to tell because it flowed so smoothly. Even though Mya had ‘triple-trouble’ in this book, she remained a strong friend, and took responsibility for her own actions.

Many things have changed since I was in elementary school, but one thing has not. Every child needs a friend. So, I invite you to meet a different kind of girl, who will surely make new friends, and remind others of old ones. Grab a copy or two of SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN, and THE WALL OF FAME GAME, and get ready for a yippee-ki-yay good time in Bluebonnet, Texas with the Magnificent Mya Tibbs!

CRYSTAL’S BIO:

I was born in a military hospital in Germany because my dad was in the Army. I’m the youngest of five children.

I spent lots of my young years in New Albany, Indiana where I was corn-shucking and multiplication queen of my third grade class.

I’m ambidextrous, which means I can write with both hands.

I wore a wig to school my entire fifth grade year because I hated my hair.

I had two dates to an eighth grade sweetheart dance in which I was a candidate for Sweetheart Queen. (whoops!) I apologized to both guys because one had asked me very, very early and I’d forgotten. It was awkward for awhile, but then all three of us shrugged, got on the dance floor and shook what our mommas gave us! Ended up being one of the best dances ever!

In high school, I taught everyone in our choir to do the robot and we performed it in a concert.

Like Lamar, I had asthma. I grew out of it, though, when I was 16.

I’m married, have two sons and we live in Texas. My husband’s parents and siblings are from Tennessee and when they come to visit, we have a Texas/Tennessee bowling war where we all talk trash and try to bowl like Lamar.

Thank you Crystal for sharing your book series and it’s journey with us. I read Spirit Week Showdown and it was well written, creative and a lot of fun.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Congrats on these books, Crystal! I hope there are many more in the series!

    Like

  2. What a fun series! I always like to see new chapter books out to lure in those reluctant readers.

    Like

    • Me, too, Judy. Hopefully Mya will resonate with readers, and she will become a character they look for in the library and bookstores.

      Like

  3. That sounds sweet! And totally relatable!

    Like

  4. This series looks adorable! Thank you for sharing such an interesting story about your journey to publication. I can’t wait to read all about Mya!

    Like

    • Thank you, Heather. I hope you and Mya become friends!

      Like


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