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Results 26 - 50 of 576,280
26. Story similarities

What if your story plot is not original?

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27. 30 Days: "O'Malley's Flower" by Jeff Hargett

O'Malley's Flower
by Jeff Hargett

With his heart all black and his soul bankrupt
He raged and howled with a will corrupt
Never had men seen not even in dream
The evil unmatched about to erupt

The day then came, with snowfall dark
For ash and lava rendered countryside stark
Beneath his disdain did nothing remain
Not swallow nor eagle not sparrow nor lark

His sights he set on the people's queen
Thirsting for power and aims unclean
He came and set siege against serf and liege
Laid waste to woods and homes and all between

The king arose, valiant and strong
His heart intent on righting the wrong
Both regal and proud, he rallied the crowd
And led his men with trumpets and song

For days they marched through blinding snow
With ice and frost did the north wind blow
Bearing omens ill and the glint of steel
Under clouds of gray no mercy did it show

For the queen, his love, he journeyed there
Daring the evil's perilous snare
Over peak and valley came King O'Malley
Till he chanced upon the enormous lair

Of power and magic and wrath and hate
Came spell and curse to doom their fate
O'Malley so brave, but naught could he save
For the beast rained fury in a fatal spate

One by one the king's men fell
Where they'd stood no man could tell
Swordsman and spear, with no time to fear
Became the echo in death's sad knell

The man, the beast were one in the same
Mage was his title and Jerrok his name
It was none other, the king's own brother
Who smote them down their flesh aflame

Out from the lair where kin's blood flowed
Into the city along the king's road
King O'Malley's head, all battered and red
Hung on a pike for all to behold

Jerrok announced his vile demand
To wed the queen in fashion grand
He yelled and he swore, refusal meant war
And havoc he'd wreak throughout the land

But the queen was armed and didn't cower
For in her womb grew O'Malley's flower
Jerrok couldn't know the strength they would show
But what love births is life's greatest power

And in that moment when Jerrok started
The princess countered and his heart she parted
Love potent and pure, life's ultimate cure
Rended his soul with the mercy imparted

Though King O'Malley would never be there
His flower would grow, a beauty so fair
His memory dear, sung to calm men's fear
By queen and princess with love so rare

- Jeff

When this world doesn’t suit you, write a world that does.

Connect with me at:

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28. The finalists for the 2014 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards...

Sorrow's knot...have been announced.

The middle grade/YA list is:

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, by Teresa Toten

Ultra, by David Carroll

Little Red Lies, by Julie Johnston

Jane, the Fox and Me, by Fanny Britt of Montreal

Sorrow's Knot, by Erin Bow

Click on through for the picture book nominees, and also be sure to take a look at who decides on the winners: pretty cool, huh?

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29. Get Book Recommendations Using Yasiv’s Amazon Products Visualization Tool

yasivtoolYasiv, a visual recommendation service, has created a tool that lets you find recommendations for books, movies and video games, based on what you already like. Users can enter a book they like, say The Hunger Games, and the tool will reveal every version of the book or movie that is available on Amazon, as well as other related items such as The Hobbit, Divergent and Fundamentals of English Grammar.
The tool bases its connections on past purchases on Amazon. Check it out: “We often decide what to buy based on what others are buying, and that’s no bad thing, after all. If something is bought by many of our friends there has to be a reason. Maybe it’s a good product and worth the money? This is where Yasiv steps in; it shows you what people are buying along with other products. A link between the two products means that they are often bought together. By simply observing the network of products one can guess at what is popular and what isn’t.”
Follow this link to explore the tool.


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30. International Poet Christine Craig to Mentor Inaugural Writers’ Retreat in Highgate, St Mary

May is the season for the Literary Arts  and Highgate, St Mary is bearing new fruit with the Drawing Room (DRP) Association’s hosting of a three day Writers’ Retreat (Genre: poetry), from May 23rd to 25th 2014.

Aimed at new to early and mid-career writers and featuring the internationally acclaimed Christine Craig, the retreat will be held at “Country Thyme” agro cottages in Highgate, in the heart of St. Mary.

With writers such as the Honourable Louise Bennett- Coverley, aka Miss Lou, Erna Brodber  and Velma Pollard hailing from Highgate, and with English writers  like Ian Flemming and Noel Coward, who spent years writing in St Mary, the location has become almost synonymous with literature and prestigious writers.  The DRP intends to extend this tradition and become part of the location’s unique identity. 

Craig, a multifaceted writer who focuses on poetry and fiction (both adults and children) leads this inaugural residency, where 12 participants will be guided in their craft towards publication.

“Christine was a natural pick” says Sonja Harris one of three trustees  of the Drawing Room Project Association as “her poetry, collected in the anthology, Quadrille for Tigers, Mina Press, Berkeley CA, is praised for its flair for language, evocative descriptions of the Jamaican landscape, and dramatic imagery of the poignancy and pain of life for many Jamaican women.” (www.amazon.com).,.

The retreat stands to gain from Highgate’s rich culture and history, stimulating the creative process with landscape, architecture, community living and the documenting of indigenous practices that have sustained the area for generations.  But there are also benefits to the community as two low-residency fellowships – The DRP Writers Fellowship and the Bookophilia Young Poets Award – are being offered to students in Highgate. 

Additionally,  on Saturday, May 24 at the venue, from 7pm to 10pm. The public is invited to enjoy readings by the participants, to share their own work and see displays by the Jamaica Hardanga Heritage Trust, Highgate Agricultural Producers Enterprise (H.A.P.E.) and local craftsmen.

It is this unique twist on the literary residency that has enticed corporate visionaries such as the JN Foundation, Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Producers and Bookophila.  As proud sponsors of the event, they are giving gravitas to the idea that rural development and community living are at the heart of corporate responsibility and their organisations’ ethos.  Other sponsors include Poetry Society of Jamaica and Peepal Tree Publishers whose dedication to Caribbean writers needs no proclamation.

Founded by writers Millicent Graham and Joni Jackson, with trustees— Sonja Harris, Hyacinth Hall and George Davis—the Drawing Room Project Association has brought persons together and engaged them in a series of creative conversations through workshops, productions and exhibits. Their goal is to build a better society through introspective art and collaboration.  For the association, this is another stem on Highgate’s literary tradition, following in the footsteps of Brodber’s Black Space and the achievements of past luminaries.


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31. Starters (2012)

Starters. Lissa Price. 2012. Random House. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I enjoyed this dystopian novel. Callie is our heroine. Early in the novel, Callie has to make a tough choice: should she rent out her body for profit and secure a life for herself and her younger brother, Tyler? Or should she continue the day-to-day struggle to survive when every single day brings danger and risk. Callie is older and stronger than her brother. If she goes to Prime Destination, it will be FOR him, not for greed. As you might have guessed, Callie DOES go to Prime Destination, she does sign the contract which allows Prime Destination to rent out her body to others (via neurochip). IN this society, "Enders" find enjoyment and thrills by renting the bodies of teenagers. The two are linked via the neurochip, but it is the Ender, the renter, who is in control of the young (newly made beautiful) body. Callie has signed on for three rentals, it will be the third that will change her life forever...

I enjoyed this one. I did. I enjoyed getting to know Callie AND the "voice in her head," Helena. I am looking forward to reading the second book!

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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32. Dennis Nolan and the Hartford Art School

Yesterday I visited the Hartford Art School in Connecticut, part of the University of Hartford, to give a lecture about picture making and world building.

After the talk, a group of about 50 students invited me to do a watercolor demo. I had a great model, someone I've painted many times before: my good friend Dennis Nolan, professor of illustration and noted children's book illustrator

Since I only had a half hour, I used the most direct method I know for portraits, starting with big shapes of watercolor laid on wet with a big brush, and then finishing with a few details and textures with water-soluble colored pencils, drybrush watercolor, and a few touches of gouache.

Here's Dennis afterward with his daughter Evie, a student at Hartford. The painting is in a Moleskine water media notebook, using a Schmincke watercolor set.

If you're a high school student interested in studying illustration, I recommend the program at Hartford. It's led by not only Dennis Nolan, but also Bill Thomson, and Doug Anderson. Their program is strong in observational drawing and painting, and the seniors create their own children's picture book from start to finish, and they also have the opportunity to study animation. The illustration program is very popular; this year they have the largest sophomore enrollment ever.
Dennis Nolan's faculty page at Hartford Art School
Previous post on the Hartford Art School

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33. A Single Red Sock

There was a young husband who took a young wife to live in a shoebox beside a busy thoroughfare. The young man attempted to treat his wife with utmost sincerity and kindness, but often found that his tongue got in his way. Dull and ill-advised words suitable only for bachelorhood unfortunately found their way from his mouth to his young bride’s ear.

While the ever-patient bride overlooked most of the offenses, the stupid young husband constantly felt it necessary to pay penance for his outbursts by aiding his wife in her chores. After one particular peccadillo, the husband took it upon himself to do the laundry.

Knowing at least that colors and whites must go separately, he sorted the clothes into piles and decided to begin with the whites. In went the slightly dingy load while the hopeful husband added soap and waited nearby. When the buzzer rang, he jumped to his feet expecting to pull out gleaming white clothes. What to his wondering eyes did appear, but a washer full of pink. Pink, the color of panic. Nothing was the same as it had gone in.


With his bride due home soon, he frantically searched the load to find an offending single red sock. Casting it aside, he loaded the machine with bleach and ran the whites through once more. Bing – cycle over, no change. Pink panic.

A key at the door

A smiling bride

A kiss before the confession

Disappointment, accusation, regret

“My favorite shirt!” she exclaimed as she held up a blushing blouse. “Ruined!”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” pled the husband. “I’ll buy you another. What else can I do, my darling?”

“I will tell you what you can do,” she fumed. “You can promise you will never, ever, ever do the laundry again!”

“I swear it, my love,” promised the young man on bended knee. “I will never touch dirty clothes for as long as you’ll have me.”

One score and two years later, the older husband is still bound by his oath and forbidden to use the washing machine with the following exception: his rag towels.

With a family so large, the machine seems to run day and night, but can he help? Not besides folding.

I ask you the following, was the young naïve husband really so foolish decades ago, or did he craft a cunning plan sure to guarantee a life of marital slackness? Could you place that much credit for forethought on the brash youth who couldn’t keep his pie-hole closed? Would the wife’s version tell a different tale?

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34. Cheap read(s): Daniel Pinkwater.

Young adults Young adultsFYI: A whole bunch of Daniel Pinkwater ebooks are currently available for the low, low price of $2.99, and they're free to borrow if you're a Prime member.


I swoon.

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35. Leonard Riggio Has Sold 3.7 Million Barnes & Noble Shares

barnesandnobleBarnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio has sold 3.7 million shares of common stock, a portion of his holdings of Barnes & Noble stock. After the sell off, Riggio’s holdings are expected to represent approximately 20 percent of Barnes & Noble’s Common Stock outstanding.

“After this sale I remain the Company’s largest shareholder, a position I feel very good about,” explained Leonard Riggio, Chairman of Barnes & Noble, in a statement.  ”I love this company and I believe in its future as I do in all of the wonderful people who work here.” Riggio revealed that his sale is part of his long-term financial and estate planning. He has no plans to sell more stock this calendar year.

Earlier this month, the Liberty Media Corporation sold of its majority stake in Barnes & Noble “to qualified institutional buyers in reliance on Rule 144A under the Securities Act.” The company kept about 10 percent of its investment in the company.

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Not only have Sarah Dillard and I been roomies at the Kindling Words Conference in Vermont several times, I'm also a huge fan of her work. She read a portion of her latest creation at the last conference, EXTRAORDINARY WARREN and there wasn't a dry eye in the room from laughing so hard!
     A chicken who wants to be special is convinced by a hungry rat that he is no ordinary chicken, but Chicken Supreme!!!! The humor is off the charts hilarious for all readers, even though the intended audience is the youngest chapter book reader. This one hits ALL the buttons. I'm thrilled to have Sarah here today to talk about EXTRAORDINARY WARREN.

Q. Sarah, this is one 'out there' idea! How did it come to you?
Thanks so much. This was such a fun book to do. It started when I did a doodle of a chicken looking at an egg and wondered what that chicken was thinking about. It seemed that he had some pretty big life questions about who he was and where he came from and where he was going. Warren evolved from that. He really is kind of a philosopher I think. I knew I needed a villain and a rat seemed like the obvious choice. I've always loved Templeton from Charlotte's Web. I loved the idea that Warren befriends an egg but I also knew that at some point that egg was going to have to hatch. Somehow it all came together.

Q. Was it tricky to pull off the subtlety all the way through the story?
I think sometimes I am too subtle! But I will say that I wrote and rewrote this story many many times. I was lucky to have had wonderful input along the way from my fabulous agent Lori Nowicki at Painted Words and also my incredible critique group. And I was lucky to have an extraordinary editor in Karen Nagel.

Q. I know you as a more quiet soul - where did this comic genius streak come from!?
I am a quiet person but quiet doesn't necessarily mean serious. I have always had a pretty strong funny side as well.

Q. I love the simple shapes and limited color palette in EXTRAORDINARY WARREN - different from some of your other works. What was your approach?
Before I started writing, I think that my art was more lovely and rich. I thought I would probably write like that too, but everything seems to come out funny. I had to make adjustments to my work. At first that was kind of scary, but then it felt very liberating. Instead of approaching the book thinking I will give this book my look, I turned it around and thought what look does this book need me to give it.
      Warren definitely dictated the art for this book. I tried a lot of approaches but a nice simple line with flat color was what worked best. The limited palette was at the suggestion of my art director. At first it seemed horrifying and impossible. But I started looking at a lot of illustrations are from the 1920's and '30s, which I have always loved, especially the work of L. Leslie Brooke, Maud and Miska Petersham, Maginel Wright Enright and her wonderful illustrations in the My Bookhouse series, and Winsor Mcay's Little Nemo's Adventures in Slumberland. One thing that really strikes me about all of those illustrations is the beautiful line and flat colors. Due to printing processes then, many of those illustrations were just one or two colors and black. I realized that black could be used not just as line but also as a color, which led to a nice bold graphic look that really works for Warren.
      I started the book thinking that I would work in my usual water color and gouache, but it became clear that the best way to achieve the look that I wanted would be to work digitally, which was a big change for me. It does seem sort of ironic that looking at old illustrations led me to work this way!

Click the image above to see it larger in a new window.

Q. I'd love to hear about your path into the publishing biz, and especially about the path for EXTRAORDINARY WARREN to publication. Have you publishers been over the top about it since day one? (I should think so!)
Amazingly, not everyone fell in love with Warren immediately. He was rejected many times, but with each rejection there were useful comments that helped me to make Warren stronger. If I were to give any advice to people trying to get published, it would be don't give up and learn to accept criticism and use it to your advantage. And again, don't give up. Really, persistence is the most important piece of the puzzle.

Q. What will you do to celebrate the release of EXTRAORDINARY WARREN?
I've been visiting blogs and have some book signings coming up but mostly I've been hard at work on Extraordinary Warren Saves the Day, which will be out in October. I don't want to give too much away about that one, but I will tell you that Warren and Egg are going to cross the road.

Q. Thanks so much for stopping by Sarah! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!
Thank You!

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37. Move Over Fiction! Non-fiction and Fiction Book Pairs for Tweens and Teens, TXLA 2014

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38. Reading together, a classic activity!

reading quote 6

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39. A Handful of Illustrations Before Breakfast:Featuring Renato Alarcão, K.G. Campbell,Emily Gravett, and Steve Jenkins


Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about a handful of new picture books I like. All the talk talk talk is over here in that column, if you missed it last week.

Today, I want to share some art from each book. And, in the case of Emily Gravett, I’ve got a couple of early sketches, too. Above is a thumbnail from one of her sketchbooks. The rest is below.

Enjoy the art.

(Note: The illustrations from Mama Built a Little Nest are sans text. The colors in those also appear here on the screen a bit brighter than they do in the book.)

Emily Gravett’s Matilda’s Cat
(Simon & Schuster, March 2014):


Early thumbnails
(Click to enlarge)

Emily: “A page of rejected cats.”
(Click to enlarge)

A final spread from the book
(Click to enlarge)


Mina Javaherbin’s Soccer Star
(Candlewick, April 2014),
illustrated by Renato Alarcão:


“… Maria sees that I’m impressed. ‘So now can I be on your team?’ She asks me this day after day. But my answer is always the same: ‘Our team’s rule is no girls.’”
(Click to enlarge)

“We’re off to the ocean, and when it’s time, I cast my net in the deep.
Wild storm clouds appear fast in the sky above. …”

(Click to enlarge)


K.G. Campbell’s The Mermaid and the Shoe
(Kids Can Press, April 2014):


(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)

“There, one day, something new drifted into Minnow’s life. She couldn’t imagine
what it was for, but it was the loveliest thing she’d ever seen.”

(Click to enlarge)

“In the forest, she passed an octopus. ‘What is this?’ she asked it.
But the octopus just shrugged.”

(Click to enlarge)

“In the shallows, she happened upon a whale. ‘What is this?’ she asked it.
‘I swallowed one of those once,’ said the whale. ‘Yuck!’”

(Click to enlarge)


Jennifer Ward’s Mama Built a Little Nest
(Beach Lane Books, March 2014),
illustrated by Steve Jenkins:


Part of the male cactus wren spread: “Daddy built a little nest. / And then he built another. / And another. And another—/hoping to impress my mother.”
(Click to enlarge)

Part of the weaverbird spread: “Mama built a little nest. / She used her beak to sew /
a woven nest of silky grass, / the perfect place to grow.”

(Click to enlarge)

The grebe spread: “Mama built a little nest. / She gathered twigs that float /
and placed them on the water / to create a cozy boat.”

(Click to enlarge)

The hornbill spread: “Mama built a sealed nest / within an old tree’s hollow./
My daddy left a little hole / to pass her food to swallow.”

(Click to enlarge)


Steve Jenkins’ Eye to Eye:
How Animals See the World

(Houghton Mifflin, April 2014):


The halibut and panther chameleon spread
(Click either image to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)

The ghost crab and gharial spread
(Click to enlarge and read text)

The leopard gecko and tarsier spread
(Click to enlarge and read text)


Steve Jenkins’ and Robin Page’s
Creature Features:
25 Animals Explain
Why They Look the Way They Do

(Houghton Mifflin, October 2014):


“Dear harpy eagle: And why are your feathers sticking out?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)

“Dear horned frog: Your mouth is ginormous. Why so big?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)

“Dear sun bear: Why is your tongue so long?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)

“Dear shoebill stork: Why do you need such a burly beak?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


* * * * * * *

MATILDA’S CAT. Copyright © 2014 by Emily Gravett. Published by Simon & Schuster, New York. Images reproduced by permission of Ms. Gravett.

SOCCER STAR. Text copyright © 2014 by Mina Javaherbin. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Renato Alarcao. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

THE MERMAID AND THE SHOE. Copyright © 2014 by K.G. Campbell. Published by Kids Can Press, Toronto. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST. Text copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Ward. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Steve Jenkins. Published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, New York. Images reproduced by permission of Steve Jenkins.

EYE TO EYE: HOW ANIMALS SEE THE WORLD. Copyright © 2014 by Steve Jenkins. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. Images reproduced by permission of Steve Jenkins.

CREATURE FEATURES: 25 ANIMALS EXPLAIN WHY THEY LOOK THE WAY THEY DO. Text copyright © 2014 by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Steve Jenkins. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. Images reproduced by permission of Steve Jenkins.

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40. Practice Query #3

Dear Agent,
I am writing you for representation of my murder mystery novel, The Burning of Issobell Key. I am writing you, because in my search for an agent I discovered that you really like spicy food.
When Amelia Pettipants's sweet elderly neighbor Issobell dies in an exploding gas cooker accident, Amelia starts to investigate the odd circumstances around her death. Firstly, the police said that a cigarette ignited the gas fire, but Issobell never smoked, and secondly, Amelia has read enough murder mystery novels to know that nothing ever happens accidentally. Although she is convinced that Issobell was murdered, she struggles to find a motive. Issobell was the kindest old lady in the village of Boring-On-End and had never upset anyone in her life. Except she did make the hottest curries that Amelia had ever eaten. Amelia’s only lead to find the culprit is that one of Issobell’s recent dinner guests must have gotten chronic stomach problems from the intense spice. To track down the killer, Amelia throws a curry-making competition in Issobell's honor. It fails miserably when only three people enter the competition and none of them use chilies in their curry. Amelia finally comes to the depressing realization that everyone in the village is a suspect.
Frustrated and worried about her inability to uncover Issobell's killer, Amelia comes up with her most nefarious plan yet. She will host the entire village for a giant feast of her signature dish, Buffalo wings. To find out who would kill over a case of chronic indigestion she adds a secret ingredient to the wings sauce, a bucket full of the world’s hottest peppers. When she doubles over 75% of the villagers with her aggressively hot Buffalo wings, she realizes that infuriating the killer might be a mistake. But that worry is short lived, because now she won't be able to work out who the killer was as the whole town is out for her blood. Can she fend them off by throwing insanely hot Buffalo wings, or will they cook her up and turn her into the bland meal they all desire?
The Burning of Issobell Key is complete at 70,000 words. I have attached the first five pages of my manuscript, and the Buffalo wings recipe that I modelled Amelia's wings off. Please write back if you would like to request the rest of the manuscript or Issobell's Yorkshire pudding recipe.


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41. Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and “Falls the Shadow”

This series is called “Successful Queries”

and I’m posting actual query letter examples that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting these query letter samples, we will also get to hear thoughts from the writer’s literary agent as to why the letter worked.

The 66th installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) for Stefanie Gaither’s young adult novel, FALLS THE SHADOW

(Sept 2014, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Kristi Helvig, author of BURN OUT, said of the book: “[It's] a smart, futuristic thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very last page. This is a fantastic debut.”

(Agents share their query letter pet peeves.)


Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.09.36 AM



Dear Ms. Megibow,

I’m currently seeking representation for my YA novel, FALLS THE SHADOW. Given your interest in science fiction, I thought it might be a good fit for your list.

When Cate Benson was twelve, her sister died. Two hours after the funeral, they picked up Violet’s replacement, and the family made it home in time for dinner and a game of cards.

It’s the year 2055, and Cate’s parents are among the wealthy elite who can afford to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth. So this new Violet has the same smile. The same laugh. That same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

Or at least, that’s what the paparazzi and the crazy anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that, though. She’s used to standing up for her sister too, and she’s determined to do it now—even if proving Violet’s innocence means taking on those protestors and anyone else attacking her family. But when her own life is threatened—not by protestors, but by the very scientists who created her sister’s clone—Cate starts questioning everything she thought she knew about the cloning movement. About herself. About her sister.

And the answers she finds reveal a more sinister purpose for her sister’s copy—and her own replacement—than she ever could have imagined.

FALLS THE SHADOW is complete at 80,000 words, and is the first in a planned series. The manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. Thanks for your time and consideration!


Stefanie Gaither




(Query letter FAQs answered.)


Need help crafting an awesome plot for your
story? Check out the new acclaimed resource
by Ronald Tobias, 20 Master Plots.


Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:How NOT to Pitch Your Book.

  • Examining an Excellent Pitch.
  • Genre Author Taylor Stevens Explains “How I Got My Agent.”
  • How I Got My Agent: Oksana Marafioti, Author of AMERICAN GYPSY
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    42. Nina Cosford

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    43. Malki Sushestva

    0 Comments on Malki Sushestva as of 4/17/2014 11:33:00 AM
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    44. My tweets

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    45. Where the North Sea Touches Alabama

    Where the North Sea Touches Alabama is a strange book—I’ve been describing it to strangers (note the relationship between adjective and noun) as an ethnography of mourning, but really it’s a peculiar hybrid of sociological exegesis, lyric essay, and phantasmagorical travelogue. I believe author Allen C. Shelton might consider it a novel, just as Walter Benjamin certainly must have plucked a term from the atmosphere to describe the Arcades Project as he carried its pages in a suitcase like fake currency.

    The book considers the tragic life and death of the artist Patrik Keim, a friend of the author’s, and a theoretical muse or Betelgeuse ostensibly traveling between this world and another. That’s the stuff of Western philosophy in the wake of Hegel, or a battered Platonic ideal we repeat to ourselves—the absolute idealism that marks being as an all-inclusive whole: not subject without object, and vice-versa. Shelton takes on this canon—Marx, Foucault, Weber, and especially, Benjamin—and arrives at someplace not entirely recognizable. Maybe that’s because the rest of the landscape he renders—via an epistolary immersion in northeastern Alabama—is so unavoidably specific. Anyhow: not to give too much away. The above trailer should be enough to get you started—like the book, it’s a well-made and unconventional narrative.

    And to conclude, from an equally strange—lyrical, inculcating even—review of the book by Daryl White from Paste magazine:

    My inner Walter Mitty belongs to a small collective of social science writers.

    We call ourselves the Professors Higgin. We commiserate, critique and urge each other to confess our literary sins, our endless little murders of the English tongue. We comprise a teacher, a pragmatist, a printmaker, a contrarian, a recovering atheist, an agnostic, a believer with no object of belief, a jaded millenarian, a Luddite, a backsliding Marxist and, depending on academic circumstances, either an anthropologist or a sociologist—an erstwhile Whitman’s Sampler.

    We help each other, endlessly contradict, chide, commiserate and condemn colleagues’ writing. We laugh at our phobias, strain for 12-step clarity and all too rarely acknowledge the debt we owe our students. With ease, we blame them for our petty insanities, resent their ability to absorb our time and in the end know our better selves in their reflections.

    We read Where the North Sea Touches Alabama in sustained awe. Inspired. Heartened. Daunted.

    To read more about Where the North Sea Touches Alabama, click here.


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    46. A conversation with Craig Panner, Associate Editorial Director of Medicine Books

    Few fields develop as rapidly as medicine, with new breakthroughs in research, tools, and techniques happening everyday. This presents an interesting challenge for many medical publishers — trying to get the latest information to students, practitioners, and researchers as quickly and accurately as possible. So we are delighted to present a Q&A with Associate Editorial Director of Medicine Books, Craig Panner. Craig began his career at Oxford University Press eight years ago, and currently works across Oxford University Press’s medicine titles. In the interview below, Craig talks not only about his role, but also the medical publishing landscape in general, both past and future.

    Could you tell us about your position as Associate Editorial Director?

    My role is something of an interdepartmental liaison between the Medicine UK office and the psychology and social work group here at Oxford University Press. Collectively, we all work very closely together and when you have departments on both sides of the Atlantic, I think it is imperative to maintain and promote open lines of communication which is what I strive to do on a daily basis. Additionally, as Associate Editorial Director, I am also the commissioning editor for neurology and neuroscience, a role which I not only love, but I think helps keep me connected to, and informed about, what the other commissioning editors encounter on a daily basis.

    In your experience, what are some of the challenges of transitioning medical books to an online environment?

    Work in the computer lab by MCPearson CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    Work in the computer lab by MCPearson. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    I think one of the biggest challenges is that everyone has ideas of what they want, what functionality they expect, and how to be able to use that material. But like many things, we can’t please everyone so it becomes a matter of identifying the greatest common need and how to meet those requirements. Another large challenge is that the online environment is a constantly moving target, if you will: new functionalities are introduced, the “it” product is rolled out, and other similar bells and whistles are discovered and customers often want that too. But when we’re talking about a platform product like Oxford Medicine Online and the huge amount of data that is available, it’s often too difficult to demonstrate why instant changes can’t be incorporated.

    What was the state of medical publishing when you began your career vs. how it is done now?

    When I started in the publishing world (as a proofreader) back in 1992, everything was print. I remember when the company received its first apple computer: it was kept in an open office and you had to sign up to book time to use it. And, oddly, it was never in use: everyone was more comfortable using the mimeograph machine and the typewriters by their desk. But, in about the next five or six years, the online explosion happened and journals suddenly became available electronically, first via consortia only, then as individual subscriptions, and then individual articles.

    Could you discuss Oxford’s relationship with the Mayo Clinic, and how it has grown or changed over the years?

    Mayo Clinic is the largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world, with nearly 4000 physicians and scientists at their three primary sites in Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona. And given that Oxford University Press is the largest and oldest university press in the world, it seemed like a natural fit for the two organizations to work together. For almost five years now, Mayo Clinic and Oxford University Press have continued to work together to create, prepare, and disseminate medical reference works that any practicing clinician, anywhere in the world, would find useful for their continued professional development. When we first began working together, the Mayo Clinic Scientific Press series of books was predominantly print. But with the launch of Oxford Medicine Online, and the subsequent development of the Oxford eLearning Platform, the Mayo titles now have the added functionality of utilizing the questions and answers that accompany many of the Mayo Clinic Board Review books for a truly interactive experience that more fully prepares doctors preparing to take their board exam, as well as doctors maintaining their certification, in a real time environment.

    What are some of the greatest challenges of medical publishing?

    Everyone is busy and everyone works more than a 40-hour week. Finding the time to develop and undertake, much less publish, a medical text is a real juggling act. Thankfully, with the history of Oxford University Press and the quality publications that we produce, we are a trusted publishing house where authors and editors can go with confidence. Another challenge in medical publishing is the time that it takes to produce a work. Not only does it take a fair amount of time to develop, to write or collate chapters, and to deliver the work, but in the old days, it would take a year to publish a book. Medical research and techniques move far more quickly than that time-frame would permit which is why the Medicine group now publishes works between 3.5 months to 5.5 months from receipt. All to better meet the needs of our readers.

    Where do you think medical publishing is headed in the future?

    I wish I knew! The electronic environment will obviously play a huge role for the rest of my career but given that it, literally, changes daily and the needs and expectations of our readers changes with it, it is impossible to guess where things are going. And that’s what makes publishing so much fun. I can say that I think that immediate access to point of care information, along with suggested secondary and tertiary information will become second nature. The online environment won’t do the thinking for the clinician, but it will certainly supplement their decision making and knowledge base far more completely than anything that we’ve had previously.

    How has the process of actually doing medical research changed over the years? In other words, how are people accessing the content then vs. now?

    Medical research has definitely changed over the years. When I first started out, clinicians and researchers had offices lined with books and journals, filing cabinets filled with journal reprints, and personal databases (for the electronically savvy) of key articles. Much of that is gone now and when you speak with a junior doc they will often say that everything they need is available to them electronically. Searching the web is obviously faster but the ability to utilize the web to link journals, books, databases, and the like has expanded the available knowledge base of today’s clinician, no matter where in the world they are located. And because of how we do research and how we follow up with patients, a doctor can now check up on, and advise upon, a patient from anywhere that they are traveling to. Geographic boundaries really no longer exist.

    How have extra online features, like multimedia, changed the way medical research is done?

    The various additional features that the online environment facilitates are amazingly useful in this busy world we live in. Not only do these extra features teach the reader on their own schedule, but these features can help facilitate the decision making process. If we are talking about videos that show two different, but somewhat similar, symptoms the multimedia material can help show, literally, how the two disorders are different. Likewise, being able to quickly reference additional material via a third party database–let’s say genotypes, for instance–you negate the need to stop what you’re doing, go to a book, a journal, or even the library but, instead, go directly to the source, find what you need, make the judgment and continue with your work. Medical research really is nothing like it was five years ago and will not be the same five years from now.

    Craig Panner is the Associate Editorial Director of Medicine Books, and works in Oxford’s New York office.

    Oxford Medicine Online is an interconnected collection of over 500 online medical resources which cover every stage in a medical career. Our aim is to ensure that the site delivers the highest quality Oxford content whilst meeting the requirements of the busy student, doctor, or health professional working in a digital world.

    Subscribe to the OUPblog via email or RSS.
    Subscribe to only health and medicine articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.

    The post A conversation with Craig Panner, Associate Editorial Director of Medicine Books appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on A conversation with Craig Panner, Associate Editorial Director of Medicine Books as of 4/17/2014 10:59:00 AM
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    47. A gentle reminder about a fabulous author.

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    48. Little Passports Passover Stories and Facebook Giveaway

    Send to Kindle

    **The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

    Passover has begun! I have a fun post to share with your friends about Passover traditions that many of our friends are celebrating this week as well as a big giveaway that Little Passports is running on their Facebook page. Share your family traditions and get creative!

    Little Passports Passover Stories and Facebook Giveaway
    Did you know the Jewish holiday of Passover began last night, April 14th, at sunset and continues until the night of April 22nd? This important holiday commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people in Ancient Egypt. If you have a minute, check out the post on the Little Passports Blog where a Little Passports employee details one of her favorite childhood memories of the Seder during the first night of Passover. Do you have any fun family traditions you’d like to share with us?

    Little Passports is also hosting their own Facebook giveaway this week! Use this link below to sign up to win a 1 year Little Passports subscription and a 1 year NatureBox subscription. (That is almost $400 worth of goodies!) The deadline to sign up to win this prize is April 18th. If you miss out on this weeks opportunity, don’t fret…There are 2 more weeks of giveaways to enter.


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    The post Little Passports Passover Stories and Facebook Giveaway appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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    49. readergirlz: Support Teen Literature Day & "Rock the Drop"

    By Melissa Walker of readergirlz
    for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

    In conjunction with Support Teen Literature Day, top young adult authors, editors, teen lit advocates, and readers will “Rock the Drop” by leaving their books in public places for new readers to discover and enjoy.

    In recognition of the readergirlz’s seventh birthday of promoting literacy and a love of reading among young women, our fans and followers are also encouraged to donate YA books (or time, or even monetary contributions) to seven very worthy literacy philanthropies.

    Cyn supports Reading is Fundamental!
    The groups include: First Book, The Lisa Libraries, Girls Write Now, 826 National, Room to Read, Reading is Fundamental, and World Literacy Foundation.

    For this year’s Drop, we are also teaming up with Justine Magazine and I Heart Daily to help spread the world and build enthusiasm for this always-enjoyable kick off to spring reading season!

    A nationwide effort of authors, publishers, librarians, educators, and readers

    In its sixth year, Rock the Drop is part of a massive effort by librarians, young adult authors, educators, publishers, and avid readers to spur reading on a nationwide scale. The day aims to encourage teens to read for the fun of it.

    Cyn is dropping...!
    • In past years, more than 100 young adult authors—including David Levithan, Sara Zarr, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen, and Cynthia Leitich Smith—have “rocked the drop,” leaving copies of their books in public places for teens to find.
    • Publishing houses both “Big Six” and indie alike have donated tens of thousands of books to dedicated literacy philanthropies, in addition to rocking the drop, too.
    • Teens, librarians, teachers, and other fans of YA literature are also invited to rock the drop, on their own or as a group.
    • Participants are encouraged to donate to any of our seven suggested philanthropies – or one of their own! Post on the Readergirlz Facebook page to update us on some of your favorite worthy causes.

    Operation Teen Book Drop aims to reach a large number of teen groups,” rgz diva Melissa Walker said. “We’re thrilled to be celebrating our website’s seventh birthday with this fun, festive day!”

    How to support Rock the Drop:

    Learn more!

    About Support Teen Literature Day

    In its sixth year, Support Teen Literature Day is April 17, 2014, and will be celebrated in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week. Librarians across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day by hosting events in their libraries. The celebration raises awareness that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase award-winning authors and books in the genre, as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.

    About readergirlz

    Lorie's new release!
    readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Award for Innovations in Reading. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy.

    Launched in March 2007, in celebration of Women's National History Month, readergirlz was cofounded by acclaimed YA authors - Dia Calhoun, Lorie Ann Grover, Justina Chen, and Janet Lee Carey. Readergirlz is currently maintained by awarded YA authors - Micol Ostow, Melissa Walker, and co-founder Lorie Ann Grover.

    rgz Operation Teen Book Drop has donated over 30,000 new YA books to under-served teens.

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    50. Salt Lake CIty Con expects 100,000 this weekend


    Last fall’s very first Salt Lake City Con drew what is claimed to be 80,000 people, although when I first reported on it it was 50,000 tickets sold,—and the fire marshals came outin force. With that kind of smash, they are holding another one already, nicknamed FanX. And this time they are expecting an even huger crowd. :

    Organizer Dan Farr is confident that Utah can support two comic book conventions a year. He predicts this week’s convention will draw 100,000 visitors, at least 20,000 more than last fall’s event, easily breaking the record for the biggest convention in Utah.

    “I’m not worried about what happens this year. But as we move into next year, that is a question we need to ask and talk to a lot of fans about,” Farr said about whether his grand experiment of two comic cons in Salt Lake City per year will work. “One thing that fights against that is we do bring in a new cast of guests, and we do change it up. If you go to one event, the next one will be new again. We’ll keep it fresh.”

    I share Farr’s lack of fear where two shows are concerned — it sounds like a big market. This edition includes tons and tons of nerdlebrities including various people you would know from the bridge of the Enterprise, being eaten by zombies or patrolling Mega City. Also, comic book people.

    When I see attendance numbers going up, up, up I always get a little suspicious, so if there are any Beatniks on the ground, please send in reports. They have already sold 40,000 tickets however, so expect a BIG time.

    The show runs three days, but opens today. No Sunday for this con because…well it is Utah.

    In case you are wondering, there is a harassment policy on the website.

    [Above photo via Josh Wartena.]

    3 Comments on Salt Lake CIty Con expects 100,000 this weekend, last added: 4/17/2014
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