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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thinking about the Holidays

Nothing book related about this post, folks...

Just been doing some thinking lately. It is the holiday season and all, which tends to make some people like me start reflecting more about the path I've taken, the people who have come and gone in my life, what the future will bring...

It's a time to remember to be grateful. I know, Thanksgiving was for that, right? But I try to look past the Black Fridays, the commercialism, the over-indulgences, and remember that there are good people out there giving back to those who need it. It's so nice to hear on the radio during my morning commute about people who normally cannot afford a Christmas to be surprised with gifts and food from friends and charities. I'm not always the best about remembering to go the extra mile and give a little more, but when I do, I can better appreciate all the little simplicities of my life which, to many others, aren't so simple but truly gifts.

It's a time to remember those we keep in our hearts--those we will spend the holidays with, and those we cannot. It's easy to take things like this for granted. Until I moved to Georgia, I had spent nearly every Christmas in Ohio with my mother's side of the family. Lots of cousins, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, and my mom, dad, and brother. It's probably been a good six, seven years since I have been able to do that. Back then, I had always felt a little like the black sheep--everyone else seemed to be doing all these wonderful things with their lives, and there I was, with not much to say. Now I wish for those times back more than ever. I love my husband and his family, don't get me wrong, and I enjoy all the Christmases I have shared with them these recent years. But it reminds you of how fleeting time is, and if you miss something or someone, there's not much time before you can't get it back...

So, happy holidays everyone. And they may be cliches, but...

Time is precious. Life is beautiful. Stay safe, stay happy.




Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blog Interview for "Willow, Weep No More"

Today is the day, folks! "Willow Weep No More" is being released from Tenebris Books today, November 30th. It is already available for e-book purchase on Amazon.com, and soon you can purchase the hardcover of this beautiful book.
To promote the book, Tenebris Books interviewed me about my story as well as my connection to fairy tales and folklore. To read the interview, you can find it here:

http://www.tenebrisbooks.com/2013/11/author-interview-a-r-cook/

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Willow, Weep No More" from Tenebris Books

 More exciting news in the world of fantasy publication!

Tenebris Books has selected my short story, "The Lady in the Moon and her Lantern," to be included in their first publication of dark fairy tales. The anthology is titled "Willow, Weep No More" and will be released on November 30th, just in time for the holidays!

This is going to be a stunning book. There will be stories from a variety of talented authors, and illustrations from a collective of amazing artists. To read the press release and see the gorgeous cover image, visit the link below:

http://www.tenebrisbooks.com/2013/11/willow-weep-no-more-release-news/

So add it to your holiday shopping list! This is the perfect gift for those who love dark fairy tales with strong female protagonists.

And finally, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone! Keep the ones you love near and dear to your heart every day, remember all of your blessings, and share your love wherever you go.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The AASL Experience




I realize I haven't posted much here lately, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on in the literary realm of my life.

This past week, I survived my first AASL (American Association of School Librarians) conference, as it only comes around every two years and I have been with my company, Peachtree Publishers, for a little over a year now. It was in Hartford, CT, which is beautiful this time of year--I hope to go back sometime to visit Mark Twain's house and see a few other attractions

Every time I go to these conferences, I am always surrounded by the best people who share a passion for books and children's literature. Librarians truly understand the value of teaching kids the importance and love of reading--not just to meet school standards or follow some political agenda, but because it opens up new worlds and inspires creativity in young minds.

I also got to sit on my first Storytelling festival, featuring Carol Birch, Valeria Tutson, and Bill Harley (who is absolutely hilarious and is the author of several Peachtree titles). To see the kind of fervor and adoration for literature that these storytellers have is uplifting, so I encourage anyone who knows about Storytelling festivals in their area to go check them out.

Please, please support your libraries and school reading programs. It's easy in our fast-paced, overworked lives to forget how crucial these institutions are, but stories shape our beliefs and our society. They preserve the best values of humanity, and help our children to grow into the smart, creative individuals that will change our world for the better.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Author Visits to Schools

Hi Folks! A few weeks ago, I returned to my hometown in Illinois to do some author visits for my high school, and an elementary school where I had been baptized as a child. The visits went great, and the head librarian of my high school wrote up a wonderful article for the Parent-Teacher newsletter about it. I wanted to share it since it was so nice:

Good to Know

Article contributed by Bridget Wilmot, Library/Media Department Chair

Alison Reeger Cook, a 2001 RB graduate, recently presented to over 100 students about her published novel, The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Shades of Nyx.

Reeger Cook’s fantasy novel is set in Spain in 1852 and follows David Sandoval, a teenage genius, who is abducted while traveling to Paris. He is taken “through the Curtain, the gateway between our world and the world of the unseen, where many creatures of myth and legend reside” (book cover summary). During David’s escape attempts from the Curtain, he learns a powerful secret and must find a way to save the worlds and people he loves.

In addition to discussing her novel, Reeger Cook presented to students about the writing and publishing process. To improve their writing, she encouraged students to read often and practice writing frequently. She also advised students to follow their own interests and passions when creating stories.
 
This presentation provided an authentic learning opportunity for students and gave Reeger Cook the change to give back to her alma mater. “It was so much fun to be back at RB; so much has changed since I graduated twelve years ago! But there were familiar faces I was so happy to see again, and all new faces that I was delighted to meet. To speak to the students, some of whom share the same intense passion for storytelling and writing as I do, is a big part of why I love being an author, and I hope I was able to inspire some of them to keep working hard and improving their skills,” she said.
 
Reeger Cook also had the opportunity to meet with some of her former instructors. Fine Arts teacher Diane Marelli saw Reeger Cook present over the summer at the Riverside Public Library and collaborated with the Library/Media and English Departments to bring Reeger Cook to RB. Additionally, English teacher Tom Fuller surprised Reeger Cook at the end of the presentation by showing her a poem she had written in his sophomore Honors English class, a poem he still uses today as an example of outstanding writing. After seeing the poem, Reeger Cook mentioned that when she first heard Fuller read her poem out loud to her class all these years ago, she realized that she might have the potential and talent to be an author.

Reeger Cook’s program was sponsored by the English and Library/Media Departments, and in an effort to continue to promote reading, the Library/Media Department is celebrating Banned Books Week September 23-28.

The purpose of Banned Books Week is to celebrate the freedom to read. To help promote this important right, the Library is sponsoring a Book Drive where students may win prizes, including a breakfast party for their class, a gift card, or a Bulldog Buck for Citizenship.


Donated materials will be given to Open Books, a Chicago non-profit organization that is dedicated to literacy. Last year, the Library collected over 40 boxes of books for this organization! While the contest ends September 27, the Library will continue to accept donations through October 7 from community members and students. For more information, please contact the Library/Media Department Chair, Bridget Wilmot.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Official Review from Toasted Cheese Literary Journal

The First Official Review of the book has come!

Toasted Cheese Literary Journal is a digital magazine for writers, reviewers, and story lovers. There is a unique blend of all types of writing to be found. Shelley Carpenter reviews "The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Shades of Nyx" with as much tenderness as I could ever ask for:

http://tclj.toasted-cheese.com/2013/13-3/carpenter2.htm

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Unveiling of the Book Trailer!

It is completed, folks! A true labor of love from visual effects artist, David J. Cook, here is the long awaited book trailer for "The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Shades of Nyx"!



 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN2C8g7PANY

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Come to the AJC Decatur Book Festival Labor Day Weekend!

If you are in the Atlanta, GA area, come visit me at the Emerging Writers' Pavilion on Sept. 1st! This is one of the largest literary festivals on the East Coast, and they have books galore!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"The Saintly Stew" in the Georgia Museum of Art's Kress Project Anthology

Last year, I was honored to have one of my short stories (paired with a related recipe) selected as a winner in the Georgia Museum of Art's Kress Project, for which it and 24 other winners were published in a museum anthology that has finally been released this month. It's a wonderful collection of artwork, stories, and media the pay homage to the Italian Renaisaance paintings donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to the GMOA.
So for a little more fantasy reading, you can find the story at the link here:

http://georgiamuseum.org/kressproject/view-entry/the-saintly-stew

Enjoy this, as well as all the other amazing entries in the Kress Project anthology!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Photos from the Suburban Life

Here are some pictures from the Suburban Life newspaper in Riverside, IL, from my book signing back on July 2nd. And now I know why I write and why I don't model or act...being photogenic is apparently not one of my talents. But that adorable little blonde girl in one of the pictures worked with my mother in a stage production of "Sound of Music." She had awesome questions!

http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2013/07/03/local-author-showcases-her-book/dz5bj6o/?view=all

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Big Thanks to Everyone who came out to the Official Book Launch!

The Official Book Launch for "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx" took place at the Riverside Public Library in Illinois last night on July 2nd at 7:00pm.
The whole night was incredible! There were about 65 attendees and not only did we run out of the library's order of books, but exhausted my extra stock as well. After the book signing, there was a short gathering at the Reeger homestead with refreshments, and everyone seemed to have a great time.
Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times to everyone who came out to the event in support of the book. Riverside is full of amazing people and it was such a thrill to be back among childhood friends and neighbors. If you ever visit Riverside, please stop by and support the library as it truly is a magical place.

Note: The lady on the right with the navy blue jacket is my childhood piano teacher, Mrs. Kretz...she was teaching me piano when I was five years old!


A balcony view of the event. Isn't this library beautiful?


The Johnsons (my brother's parents-in-law) drop by for a quick hello and book signing

My brother Adam and his wife Jen

Chicago actor Doug Pawlik and the amazing Maggie Sikora Boorzanes

Childhood friend of over 20 years Christina Kowaleski

Librarian Dorothy Sikora (who arranged the whole event, thank you!), Chicago actress Jamie Gangi, and her husband Carrey

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Scholar and the Sphinx at Books-a-Million


Well, it was a quiet event, but the book signing at the Books-a-Million in Gainesville went well. My parents-in-law, Chuck and Patricia Cook, dropped by and we had a very nice get-together (which we haven't had for a while).
We also had two winners in the book raffle, Ms. Aisha Khan (a very lovely young lady) and Ms. Kathy Mellette (a middle grade teacher from Gainesville who was quite pleasant to talk to).

Next event: The Official Book Launch Event (yes, I know it's weird to have the "official" one after this past book signing)
July 2nd, 2013 at 7:00pm
Riverside Public Library in Riverside, Illinois

Also, if you happen to be going to the American Library Association conference this upcoming June 27th-July 1st at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, stop by the Peachtree Publishers' booth #2527. We'll have lots of great children's picture books, as well as early chapter and middle reader books!
For more information about the conference, check out: http://ala13.ala.org/


Friday, June 7, 2013

Upcoming Events for "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx"

June 22nd 2013

Mini-Book Signing (Pre-Book Launch) Event
Books-a-Million Store at the Lakeshore Mall
150 Pearl Nix Pkwy.
Gainesville, GA 30501
Time: 4:00pm-7:00pm
Call 770-503-7732 for more information

The author will be raffling off a free copy or two of the book, so come on by the store and enter to win!


July 2nd 2013

Official (2nd Time's a Charm) Book Launch Event
Riverside Public Library
1 Burling Rd.
Riverside, IL 60546
Time: 5:00pm-8:00pm
Call (708) 442-6366 for more information

Books will be available through the library for $15. All proceeds go to the Friends of the Library fundraiser. Come out an support a worthy cause while also getting a signed copy of the novel, and stay for a short excerpt reading and question-and-answer time with the author.


Friday, May 24, 2013

The Book is Born! and the Follow Up of the Promotional Launch

You never understand how surreal it all feels until you are holding the actual item in your hands...






So after the slight hiccup of the printer not having the books printed in time for the original release, they played catch-up pretty quickly and are back on track with getting orders shipped out.
Sadly, that meant the book launch scheduled on May 18th wasn't really so much a "book" launch as it was a promotional launch. But it was still a good day--got to see and have dinner with my Aunt Audrey and Uncle Bill, and my cousin's wife Erin and their beautiful daughter Margot (my first time meeting her). My husband's family stopped by to root me on, a few of my fellow Books-a-Million pals dropped in, and even a fellow fantasy writer, Jonathan French (author of "The Exiled Heir," the first book in the Autumn's Fall Saga) and his wife Liza and their handsome little guy paid us a visit. And we passed out quite a few bookmarks and promo guides, so the word was spread.

My hubby David, Me, little Margot, Aunt Audrey and Uncle Bill

Fellow Bibliophiles Heather and Jenn

Jonathan French (here's a link to a review of "The Exiled Heir": http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/archives/80674/)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy Release Day!

Today's the day! Happy Birthday to "The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Shades of Nyx"!

So make that an excuse to go out and celebrate today. Tell your friends while you're eating your slice of cake, drinking your wine and wearing a cone-shaped party hat, "Hey, it's the Scholar and the Sphinx's birthday! Didn't you know?"

Besides, who doesn't love cake? Oh, and give yourself a present and buy the book! Or have a family member or friend buy it for you. It's not a birthday without presents, after all!

As they say at the Renaissance Fair (which I hope to get to to celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary this month): Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Preview Pic from the Upcoming Book Trailer!

After tireless, countless hours of work, my hubby David J. Cook is preparing the animation for the upcoming book trailer for "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx." Here is a preview picture from that trailer:


Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Update on Publication Date

Unfortunately, folks will have to wait one additional week to enjoy this new young adult novel...to make extra time ro promote "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx," the publication date has been shifted to May 15th next month.

Which means you can spend that extra week spreading the word and letting your friends know all about the book!

Stay tuned, as there will soon be a podcast episode from Knox Robinson Publishing all about this upcoming release.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Book Launch!

Mark your calenders, folks...the Book Launch for "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx" has been set!
 
Come join me and be one of the first to get a copy of this new fantasy adventure at:
 
Books-a-Million
Discover Mills Mall
5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy. Suite 321
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
 
May 18th at 3:00PM
 
If you buy more than one copy, I'll buy you a cookie!
 
I'd love to see you there. If you're not normally in the area, make a weekend of it! Come down to Georgia, tour the sights of Atlanta, walk around the Discover Mills Mall, and chat with me a while. Atlanta's got the world's largest aquarium, the Coca-Cola Museum, the High Arts Museum, and lots of fun! It's worth the trip.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Check Out the Featured Authors at KRP this week!

Knox Robinson Publishing is debuting several new novels this May (including the one that this blog is about!!). It's an exciting lineup, and take a look at the featured May authors on the Knox Robinson Publishing website:

http://www.knoxrobinsonpublishing.com/author.php

While you're there, check out the other amazing historical fiction and fantasy titles from KRP. It's a treasure trove of spectacular storytelling!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Writer, the Rewrites, and the Urge to Scream

Excuse me while I let out this looooooooooooooooooooooong siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh....

There was sweat. There were tears. There was a stomach-cramping panic that has been reeking havoc on me for the past month or so, praying that I could get the rewrites done in time for this novel to be ready for the printer and not have to postpone its release date.

But the final round of rewrites are in.

Don't ge me wrong; there is a good kind of stress that helps you focus and makes you give your all to make a story the best it can be. But add on the time crunch (this last round of edits I only received 2 days ago, and then received an e-mail this afternoon that I needed all the corrections made by tonight!!), and the fact I have two literary trade shows to prepare and organize in the next 2 weeks, and how many times this week I messed up in the invoicing department at work because I have been working 14 days straight without a single break, and I am exhausted...

And I apologize for the venting, but in the end it will all be worth it. We are still on schedule for the May release, and hopefully I can start lining up some author events now that we're on track.

But first....

*snooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooore*

Monday, February 4, 2013

Character Image from Upcoming Book Trailer

Currently in production by David J. Cook (my hubby) is the upcoming book trailer for "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx" to be finished by the book's release in May! As the trailer will be CGI animated, here is a preview shot of one of the characters, Yofune Nushi.



Keep your eyes and ears open for future updates on the trailer, as well as book signings and other great news on the way!

For more information or questions about the video animation and editing work that David does, you can leave a comment here or e-mail at scholarandsphinx@gmail.com.