C.H. Garbutt Brings Black Pool to the Illinois Reading Council Conference

On March 14, 2014 C.H. Garbutt will present “The Wonder of Bringing Literature & Digital Technology Together” at the Illinois Reading Council Conference. She will discuss engaging the middle-grade reader through the use of digital technology and imagination, allowing the reader to interact with authorial decision making within the context of the Common Core Curriculum Standards. Sponsored by SCBWI. 

If you are attending the conference we’d love to see you there. The talk takes place from 3:00-4:00 PM on Friday, March 14 in the Lincoln Room of the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel, in Springfield, IL. 

Debbie Gonzales talks about Black Pool and Core Curriculum State Standards

Author and educator Debbie Gonzales talks about creating the teaching guide for WeJIT-enhanced Black Pool that meets Core Curriculum State Standards for literature:

Being that Black Pool is digitally contrived, I thought it would be suiting to create a CCSS Annotated Book Trailer Construction Guide – one in which the reader can delve deeply into characterization, theme, setting, mood, and sensory detail. There are tons of graphic organizers in the guide, each designed to explore specific aspects of literature. Upon completion, students will have all that they need to craft a story board and create a book trailer script!

You can read the rest on Debbie’s blog. Thanks, Debbie!

You can download a copy of the guide by right-clicking this link and saving the PDF.



They were one of the most feared of all the deep-sea predators. Clenched in their jaws were black boxes wrapped in chains.

The line of viperfish ignored us entirely and swam toward the lighted stairway.

I saw the tail end of the strange procession pass by. For a second, the last viperfish carrying a ship’s bell turned to see me trapped in the mouth of the eel. I felt sure that I saw a flash of pity in its eye.

Illustration by Steven Novak.

Excerpt from Vook guest blog

I grew up in libraries. Every spare free second I had, I lived there. Surrounded by books of all sizes and adventures, there was nowhere I could not go. All I had to do was turn the page for time, and the world, to disappear. It was magic.

Enter WeJIT technology. I decided to take advantage of this new technology for the simple reason that I wanted my action adventure fantasy to be fun and immediately interactive, allowing the middle grade reader to join a global community of other young readers. Going through my ePublisher, Vook, I was intrigued by a system that allowed readers to communicate directly with the author and their fellow readers—like a worldwide book club or a virtual global library. Topic-based discussions are made possible with embedded WeJIT links in the eBook that direct readers to an online discussion forum. Conversations and story images, along with story arc debates and pivotal character decisions, can be shared beyond the confines of the eBook via social media and other sharing methods built into WeJITs. In essence it allows the reader to step into the imagination of the author as the story develops. A new kind of magic. My hope is that it will encourage young readers’ imaginations and help them become authors of fantasy themselves.

To read more, view C.H. Garbutt’s guest-blog for the Vook web site here.

Black Pool is available for $2.99 on Amazon, iBookstore, Vook’s store, and Barnes & Noble.

The Sea Dragon



The Sea Dragon was huge and black-blue, covered with flecks of gold and green. It had bat-like wings the size of a Dublin bus folded shut, a disgusting row of yellowed teeth with charred incisors, and a long row of spiky scales down its back and tail. It was scary looking, until I saw that it was crying large black tears, which must have been what filled all the black pools scattered around the floor. 


Check back soon for more images from Black Pool: A Jack Flynn Adventure.

Illustrations by Steven Novak.

Interview on Vook website

Allison Horton from Vook recently interviewed C.H. Garbutt about Black Pool:

“Black Pool: Mermaid Legend Meets Modern-Day Dublin”

A couple weeks ago, one of our VookMakers stopped me in the office. “I just read an entire manuscript, start-to-finish, while building the ebook,” he said. So I promptly downloaded the ebook and was delighted to discover the combination of mermaid legend, modern-day Dublin, and a young boy who finds himself with a powerful trident and mysterious connection to the Mer people. 

This is your debut novel. What inspired the story?
I have always been intrigued by the myth of mermaids, since I was in middle school. The idea and mystery of living in the sea alongside all kinds of unimaginable (and scary) creatures stayed with me. When I ran across the Irish legend of the red cap in a children’s bookstore one day several years ago, it sparked my imagination and the adventure began.

To read the rest of the interview, click here!