Cover: Murder, Magic, and What We Wore!

I’m so pleased to share the gorgeous cover of MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE with you!

The artwork is by the amazing Sarah Watts, who really brought the spirit of this story to life.

MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE will be published September 19, 2017 from Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Cover of Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones (cover by Sarah Watts)

 

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Murder, Magic, and What We Wore

mmawww_smUnnamed sources have informed me that my second book, now titled MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE, is currently making its way to the very first reviewers. (My spies are everywhere!)

So, a little more about the book, and how it came to be…

MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE began more than ten years ago as a book I called GLAMOUR, and it came from my great love of novels set in Regency England, and my inability to write anything without magic. It wasn’t the first novel I ever wrote — it was the second. I spent years and years working on it, and held my breath, and submitted it… And it didn’t work for anyone. It didn’t go anywhere.

So, I set it aside. I flailed around, wondering if I was really a writer at all. While I flailed, I wrote a bunch more books. (Lesson learned: keep writing, even if you’re not sure why.) I taught myself how to tell a story. And I wrote a very odd book that I loved, and I sent it out into the world… and it became my first published novel, UNUSUAL CHICKENS FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL POULTRY FARMER.

And then my awesome editor asked me what else I was thinking about, and I confessed I still had a story I couldn’t get out of my mind…

Trouble was, I knew those early versions really were a disaster. So, I took a deep breath, left the originals in the drawer, and rewrote the story from scratch, without looking at them. (Note to writers: in my experience, this is not easier or quicker than writing a new book.)

This time, I really thought about what happened during the years when King George III was deemed unfit to rule (due to mental illness) and England was instead ruled by his son, the Prince Regent. Technology was changing daily life, countries were at war, and class divisions ran deep. I looked at what was happening in other parts of the world, and at some of the astonishing real people who lived then. And my story grew, and changed.

Sixteen-year-old Annis Whitworth is a very different fish out of water than Sophie Brown, and the world of historic fashion and spies is vastly different than modern farming. But I hope you may see some similarities in the ways both girls step forward to do what they know is right, however much it scares them — hopefully giving you a laugh or two along the way.

MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE, for readers age 12+, will be coming out from Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 19, 2017!

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Coming June 2017!

How to Sew a Glamour -- or -- Murder, Magic, and What We WoreI’m ecstatically pleased to announce that my second book will be coming out in June of 2017 from Knopf Books for Young Readers!

The new title is: How to Sew a Glamour — or — Murder, Magic, and What We Wore

It’s about sixteen-year old Miss Annis Whitworth, who has a talent for sewing glamours: magical garments that can disguise anyone who wears them completely. When her father dies under suspicious circumstances, she decides she’d much rather become a spy like he was than a governess. Unfortunately, the other spies don’t quite see things her way — at least, not yet.

It’s set in 1818 in England, during the Regency period, and may best suit readers age ten and up. And no, there isn’t a single chicken in it — but there is some fun magic, some parts that I think are awfully funny, and a few letters here and there (including messages in code!)

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Unusual Chickens in Paperback!

HenriettaPaperbackUnusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, written by me and illustrated by Katie Kath, will be coming out in paperback from Yearling Books on Tuesday, March 8, 2016!

 

Not that Henrietta is impressed or anything. (Hilarious Henrietta commentary by the awesome Katie Kath, as always!)

 

You can order it through Third Place Books near me, so I can sign it for you (just add a note requesting it be signed by author Kelly Jones when you place your order), or find it at your local independent bookstore!

Spring 2016 events!

IFPlease come say hello at these upcoming public events!

 

Bellevue, Washington:

King County Library System Foundation Literary Lions Gala

Saturday, March 5th, 6-9 pm

Hyatt Regency Bellevue

(with other amazing authors like Ken Jennings, Martha Brockenbrough, Ruth Reichl, Samantha Vamos, & Molly Wizenberg!)

 

Houston, Texas:

Texas Library Association Annual Conference

Tuesday, April 19th, 3 pm: Texas Bluebonnet Speed Dating Preconference event

Wednesday, April 20th, 11:00 am – 12:00 noon: signing at the Random House Children’s booth, #1518

 

Note: I’m teaching lots this spring, but mostly at school events which are not open to the public. If you’d like me to come speak or teach your group, talk to your library, bookstore, or school about putting something together, or contact me!

Chicken Books

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer coverDid you know that the books that Sophie reads in Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer are real books? Here’s the list!

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater (one of my favorite books when I was a kid!)

Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood (author Ellen Airgood also has a diner, which sells Prairie Evers, sequel The Education of Ivy Blake, and even Unusual Chickens!)

The Great Chicken Debacle by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

 

Want more books for kids about chickens? Try this Mackin Books in Bloom Urban Farming for the Intermediate Grades list!

 

Liked Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer? Try some of the other books on these lists!

50 Best Books for Summer by Instructor Magazine

Celebrating Food Literacy: Seattle authors’ books for kids and teens by the Seattle Public Library

“If You Liked…” Summer Reading Series by We Need Diverse Books

Best Books for 10-Year-Olds (5th Grade) by Melissa Taylor for Imagination Soup

Junior Edition: New Books for Younger Readers by Celia McGee for the Center for Fiction

Hispanic/Latino Speculative Fiction for Kids by Stephanie Whelan for Views from the Tesseract

Books for Empowered Girls from Stephanie Appell at Parnassus Books for Girls to the Moon

Female Protagonists in 2015 Fantasy by Stephanie Whelan for Views from the Tesseract

 

And, here are five middle grade books I chose for The Children’s Book Review!

Happy reading, everyone!!

Happy Food Literacy Month!

IF

Because Unusual Chickens is about a girl learning to take care of chickens and has practical, real-world advice as well as magic, even though it’s a novel, I’ve been asked to take part in some Seattle Food Literacy Month events!

So, please come say hello and talk chickens with me at these upcoming public events!

 

Seattle, Washington:

Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair Signing

Meridian Park, Readers to Eaters book signing tent

Saturday, September 12th, 2015, 1:00 pm

(I took Seattle Tilth’s beginning chickens class before getting my own first chickens!)

 

Seattle, Washington:

Cultivating Readers: Planting Seeds of Reading & Eating During Food Literacy Month

Seattle Central Library

Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6:00 -8:30 p.m.

 

Bellevue, Washington:

Reading & Signing

University Bookstore, Bellevue

Saturday, September 19, 2015, 12 noon

More Great Chickens News!

WNDBSummerReadsChickensUNUSUAL CHICKENS FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL POULTRY FARMER is a We Need Diverse Books summer reading pick!

UnusualChickensIll

“Seems to have all sorts of applications in real life.”

The incredible Betsy Bird of New York Public Library chose UNUSUAL CHICKENS for her Fuse #8 Review of the Day!

InstructorSRInstructor magazine chose UNUSUAL CHICKENS as one of “50 Best Books for Summer,” Humor section!

(You can also see this list at the Washington Post – wow!)

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer coverThe Kansas City City Star included UNUSUAL CHICKENS in its “Hey, kids, warm up to summer reading with these 10 titles” list, and newspapers around the country have picked it up!

 

Books, Inc. Burlingame staff recommended UNUSUAL CHICKENS in the San Francisco Chronicle!

And school librarian Susan Faust included UNUSUAL CHICKENS in her list of “Which books to get yours kids this summer,” also for the San Francisco Chronicle!

 

Thank you so much to all the readers and book people who are sharing your love of UNUSUAL CHICKENS with kids! Happy summer reading, everyone!

School Visits: What You Didn’t Know You’d Be Asked

schoolvisitNotes for Writers Visiting Elementary Schools:

Introductions:

If anyone under the age of seven introduces you, be prepared for the school to learn surprising things about you.

Niece: “This is Kelly. She’s a vegetarian. She lives in Seattle.”

Teacher-Librarian (stage whisper): “She wrote a book!”

school_visitPertinent information:

Student: “How many pages is your book?”

Me: “Uh…” *grabs book and checks*

On revision:

Me: “How many drafts do you think this book took?”
Student: “A million!”
Me: “Lower number”
Student: “A hundred!”
Me: “No” (thinking to self: thank goodness!!)
Student: “Ten!”
Me: “Yes!”

On how long it takes:

Student: “How old are you?”
Me: “39”
Student: “Whoa. This is your first book??”

On whether your book is available:

Student: “Do they only have popular books in libraries?”
Me: “Uh, I think my book is popular enough. Ask your librarian!”

Things kids know:

Me: “Does anyone know what telekinesis is?”
Students: *all hands shoot up”

Appearance:

Student, *looking at the photo of me in my slideshow*: “Did you get a haircut since then?”

On how to make a book:

Student: “How did you make a book?”
Me: *explanation of writing*
Student: “No, how do the pages stick together?”
Me: “Ah. Bookbinding. Ask your librarian for more information.”

Rural School Questions:

Student: “I have a pregnant cow. Do you?”
Me: “No, but my agent used to.”
*explanation of agents.*

Still not really sure:

Student: “Do you like bacon?”
Me: “I’m a vegetarian.”
Student: “Oh.”

Note: I love school visits! I am fascinated by students’ questions, and delighted to talk about writing with them. Thanks, Liberty Bay Books, for arranging the visits that prompted this post! 

Interested in a presentation for your school or library? See here!

Who is this Kelly Jones anyway?

author_photoWhen you have a common name, you get used to meeting others with the same name. It’s even kind of fun! But it can be a little confusing to databases, I’ve learned…

So, if you’re looking for art history novelist Kelly Jones of Twin Falls, Idaho (author of Lost and Found in Prague and other novels) — that’s a different Kelly Jones, author! Click here for her website.

As for me, I grew up in California’s Bay Area and currently live near Seattle. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer is my first and only book, and I don’t have any grandchildren — but I do have chickens!

Thanks for understanding while we sort out the confusion!

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