Monday, December 4, 2017

EMIC RIZZLE, TINKERER (Middle Grade Novel from Mary Ann Domanska + Special Guest Article)

Title: Emic Rizzle, Tinkerer
Grade Level: Middle Grade Fiction 
Author: Mary Ann Domanska 
Release: Available NOW!


Emic Rizzle is a tenacious girl interested in taking objects apart and making them better. Unfortunately her life is unraveling at a faster pace than she can repair: her beloved grandfather passes away; her parents need to move to a different state; she may lose old friends and the kids at the new school think she's weird. But nothing is more strange than discovering her grandfather was an actual WWII spy and that the antique camera found among his belongings might hold a vital secret that mysterious men in black suits will chase her for. Emic needs new ideas and friends if she is going to save the day.

Writing a Middle Grade Novel? Talk to an Expert. Talk to a ‘Tween!

By Mary Ann Domanska

I’ve been an elementary school teacher for fifteen years. I was also a Girl Scout Leader for 6 years. I obviously must love to be around kids. I especially cherish helping children learn important life lessons as they struggle to figure out who they are and what they believe about themselves. I feel passionate about guiding my students to be their best selves, accept that no one is perfect, and that being out of our comforts zones is where we do the most learning and growing. For me, making that leap into the world of publishing was definitely outside of my comfort zone.

I was always happy, even as a child, to spend hours channeling my imagination. I wrote thousands of poems, stories, essays, speeches, stories, plays, and even a couple of movie-scripts. I also prolifically kept more than forty detailed journals of my life experiences growing up in a small southern town in the foothills of North Carolina where my parents took in foster kids. But this writing was all for me; a personal endeavor of healing, reflection, and hope.

It was in my practice of teaching and the advice I was constantly giving to my students that I realized that to grow as a writer I needed to share my work with the world. My first step was, after completing the manuscript for my first novel, was to form a small focus group of middle school girls, all of whom I’d known to be avid readers with strong opinions. I knew that if I asked, this group would have no difficulty throwing unfiltered, sometimes brutal, critiques my way. After communicating with their families and giving them an early draft of my first middle grade manuscript, Emic Rizzle, Tinkerer, these ‘tweens got right to work. They quickly devoured the chapters and when we met as a group I quickly learned to be more careful about what I ask for. They were certainly outspoken and they tore my first attempt to shreds! Well, not really, but their careful observations and honest feedback helped to reshape my novel in dramatic and unexpected ways. I am still so grateful to these girls who are now all thinking about which colleges to apply.

Now that I’ve begun this journey again with a sequel, with the working title Emic Rizzle Commits Random Acts of Art, I’ve again decided I should work directly with my target audience to help ensure my words ring true and sound authentic to the ears of a 10, 11, or 12 year old. This past summer I was able to attend and speak at the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools 2017 conference in Washington D.C. called Education Innovation – Building Cultures of Creativity. There I connected with another educator who works with the Saint Peter’s Girls Prep School in Johannesburg, South Africa. We’ve already begun a collaboration in which all of her 4th and 5th grade students are reading my first book. Next they will critique draft chapters from book two. I am so excited about this partnership and plan on Skyping with them later on in the school year. I will be a virtual visiting author! And I can’t wait to get my hands on their unfiltered, straight to the heart responses. It is constructive criticism in its most pure form and to this writer, it is worth more than gold.

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Amazon Author Page:
Kirkus Review:

About the Author 

Mary Ann Domanska is a 2nd grade teacher at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pa., where she has taught for the past fifteen years. Mary Ann earned a B.F.A. in Performing Arts with a minor in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.  There, she studied with the notable Latino poet, Martín Espada, and with Kristin Linklater, author of Freeing the Natural Voice. She spent her early career in Los Angeles where she held various positions in the entertainment industry including as a script reader for MGM Studios and as an assistant at the International Documentary Association (IDA) in Hollywood. She earned a masters degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College in 2001.  She attended The Creative Writing Institute (graduate level) at Arcadia University where she completed her middle grade novel, Emic Rizzle, Tinkerer, which had a release date in December,2016, through Mnemosyne Books. She published an article in the SCBWI Bulletin (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) entitled, Writing a Middle Grade Novel? Talk to an Expert. Talk to a ‘Tween! She has published several poems in the Philly Poetry Anthology with WRAGS Ink, Publishing (2012) and a collection entitled Unraveled through Moonstone Arts Center (Philadelphia).

She performs locally at the Stagecrafters Theatre in Chestnut Hill. She is on the board of MAAG (Mt. Airy Art Garage) and founded/hosted The Swerve, a monthly open mic poetry event (2014-2015).

Connect with Mary here

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