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Results 1 - 25 of 229,781
1. Press Tv

Press Tv एक जानकार मार्किट मे मिले कार के आगे पीछे  PRESS का स्टीकर लगा रखा था. मुझे बडी खुशी हुई अरे वाह !!! प्रैस ??? कौन सा चैनल ??? इस पर वो मुस्कुरा कर बोले अरे कोई नही !!! वो तो Press  लगा कर थोडा सहारा मिल जाता है पुलिस ज्यादा छानबीन नही करती… और […]

The post Press Tv appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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2. A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree

caterpillarA Caterpillar, a Bee and a VERY Big Tree is the story of a little green caterpillar named Gus. While out on a stroll, Gus meets Shoo Bee, a bee who suffers from pollen allergies! Gus and Shoo Bee become fast friends, and when a storm threatens to send all the other caterpillars tumbling from the great tree, they team up to save the day. With help from wise Councilor Cricket, an Army of Ants and several fire flies – the friends are able to not only work together, but also teach a great lesson on what it means to be different and the way that we are all unique.

When they got the idea for Gus, they decided that this was their chance to teach share with readers how to:
• Develop courage to overcome obstacles;
• See the value in true friendship;
• Understand that everyone is different and differently abled;
• Value teamwork;
• Be aware of the value of communication;
• and Cherish diversity.

A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree is available at amazon.com.

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3. How to put it down on paper

Question: I've been wanting to write a book for a while now and have multiple ideas for books. My problem is I can't figure out how to get my ideas from

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4. भ्रष्टाचार

भ्रष्टाचार ईमानदारी गई तेल लेने … अभी कुछ देर पहले एक परिचित मिले. तनाव में लग रहे थे पूछ्ने पर बताया कि बुरा हाल है इन सरकारी विभागों का. मैनॆ भी हां मे हां मिलाई और कारण पूछा तो उन्होने बताया कुछ काम था विभाग में चाहता था कि तुरंत हो जाए इसलिए आफिसर को […]

The post भ्रष्टाचार appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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5. BLP OPENS Banner

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6. December- Hope and Celebration, kids, books, movies, and dogs

  Thomas Nast Santa


Hope and Celebration - Light in the darkness, time out for happiness, wonder and magic.

Enter the world of tales told by people, of stories that live on. of tales of wonder, fairy tales.

Santa Claus, the man in the red suit stepping out of the chimney, comes to us from the talented Thomas Nast; his popular 19th century illustrations helped to popularize Santa Claus as we know him today.                                                                



Charles Dicken'sA Christmas Carol, and the power of story.

This book influenced the thinking of generations of readers, and transformed the spirit of the Christmas holiday. The transformation was guided by Dicken's passionate belief that the true Christmas spirit embodied caring and generosity -- especially for those less fortunate.

TinyTimchristmascarolJohnLeechA Christmas Carol was written with the passion born of his painful childhood as an impoverished 12 year old boy from a broken family.With his father in debtor's prison, Dickens was forced to leave school and work ten-hour days for six shillings a week under harsh conditions (the factory was home to multitudes of rats) in England's new industrial economy. 

Much has changed with the passing of time and the commercialism of the marketplace has brought an endless stream of marketing -- more games, toys and advertising -- to Christmas.

But the Spirit Of Christmas does live on.


ScroogeJohnLeech“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” ...Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Scrooge Lives On...

Viking has recently published (October 2015) a well reviewed book by Charles Lovett, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge. For more information, visit his website: Charles Lovett

The above illustrations are by John Leech from the original A Christmas Carol.


The Legend of Santa Claus

SantaThomas NastIN the USA, the legend of Santa Claus was greatly enhanced in the early nineteenth century by the poem, A Visit From St.Nicholas. 

The popularity of this story-poem, first published in 1823, continued to grow with the passing years. It was originally written for his children by Clement Clarke Moore.

Later in the century, popular illustrations by Thomas Nast, including Moore's poem, A Visit From St Nicholas, firmly established Santa Claus as a jolly, rotund figure in a red suit with a white beard. Nast's images of Santa and his red suit became accepted and remain the norm today.


The illustration is by Thomas Nast.


The Fairy Tale Moves On Its Own Time 

"It all adds up to this: the fairy tale narrates a wish-fulfillment which is not bound by its
SecretoftheKellsTomm_Mooreown time and the apparel of its contents. In contrast to the folk tale, which is always tied to a particular locale, the fairy tale remains unbound. Not only does the fairy tale remain as fresh as longing and love, 
but the evil demons that abound in fairy tales are still at work here in the present, and the happiness of "once upon a time", which is even more abundant in the fairy tale, still affects our vision of the future..." 

The above insights into the role of fairy tales are from an essay written in 1930 by the German GerardDubois3scholar and philosopher, Ernst Bloch. I believe that the context in which they were written adds to their import. Germany in 1930 was in the grip of the Great Depression. Poverty and uncertainty had swept the land. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party were feeding on people's fear and rising in power. Bloch later escaped to the USA where he wrote his renowned three-part treatise, The Principle of Hope (1938-1947). 

The illustration from the Secret Of The Kells is by Tomm Moore. The painting is by Gerard Dubois.




The Elves and the Shoemaker

ElvesShoemakerLucy-Crane1886Here is an excerpt from a fairy tale by the Grimm's that came to be a Christmas story. It tells of the elves who helped a hard working, but impoverished shoemaker and his wife ...they, in gratitude, surprised the elves at Christmas time.

"About midnight in they came, dancing and skipping, hopped round the room, and then went to sit down to their work as usual; but when they saw the clothes lying for them, they laughed and chuckled, and seemed mightily delighted.

Then they dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced and capered and sprang about, as merry as could be; till at last they danced out at the door, and away over the green..."

Here is link to read it all: The Elves and the Shoemaker  The illustration is by Lucy Crane.


The Saga Of Santa Claus 

SagaOfChristmasCoverWho is Santa? Where did he come from? How did the toy workshops get started? Where did all the elves come from and why did they agree to move to the wintry north and make toys for Santa? And how about the flying reindeer...where did they come from? These are among the many heretofore unanswered questions about the orgins of Christmas and Santa Claus.   

Now, at last, author Mark Couturier has written The Saga Of Santa Claus, a fascinating book telling the complete story of the ancient origins of Christmas and Santa Claus. For a comprehensive picture of this original book, check out the enthusiastic Amazon  reviews.



"The year 2015 will see the 49th annual Kwanzaa, the African American holiday celebrated from December 26 to January 1. It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans take part in Kwanzaa.

KwanzaFamilyCelebrationKwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. It was created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, in 1966. At that time of great social change for African Americans, Karenga sought to design a celebration that would honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who were working for progress. 

Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years."...Kwanzaa ends with gift giving and a celebratory feast.

This post is based on a comprehensive article by Holly Hartman.


Every Year...

XmasLightsonSheepChristmas Lights Moving Through the Hills...
A Holiday treat, and a wonder to behold, the moving lights are on hundreds of sheep, running in the darkness, guided by sheepdogs...this is a classic video...Here is the link: Moving Lights 



  Penn Vet

Pdf-logo-whitePenn Vet Working Dog Center 
Philadelphia, PA is a recent recipient of a 
Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) grant. The goals of the Penn Vet working Dog Center are "national security, fields of detection work, canine health and performance, and to enhance that unique bond between humans and man’s best friend". The Planet Dog Foundation has awarded grants exceeding one million dollars to fund "the training, placement and support of dogs helping people in need." 


"The Penn Vet Working Dog Center is part of the University of Pennsylvania's School of PennVetVeterinary Medicine, and serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs. They work to train elite detection dogs to assist in medical research, national security, and finding victims of disasters. PDF has awarded a $10,000 grant in support of Punches, a female Labrador Retriever named in honor of Jack Punches, a victim of the attacks of 9/11. Punches is training to detect explosives, explosives residue, and post-blast evidence. Trained explosives detection dogs can also detect firearms and ammunition hidden in vehicles and containers, on persons, or buried underground." 

Learn more about Penn Vet Working Dog Center here. 


 The Ghost Dog of Christmas Past

Here is an an excerpt from the dog lovers book, Circling the Waggins,  by CA Wulff. The dogs CtWrevisedCoverKindleseen in the ebook cover are the current residents of the cabin in the woods wherein this saga of a life with rescued dogs takes place. The book is a journey into the heart and mind of a dedicated pet lover who shares her experiences, concerns, and deep emotions with the reader.The setting is a cabin-home in a national park forest. The characters are several adopted dogs, cats, and, for a while, domestic mice -- and two compassionate women.

"I feel like we are haunted by the ghost dog of Christmas past. The Troll2season brings a million reminders of our Troll, a dog who had loved Christmas more than any other time of year. He would get excited at the first signs of holiday decorations, and his eyes would shine with a child’s wonder. On Christmas morning, he would race to be the first dog under the tree, to tear at the packages full of biscuits and rawhides. Each of the dogs would tear at a package, but Troll unwrapped with such gusto and fervor, that they would all abandon their presents to stand back and watch him, and then make off with whatever treats he had revealed." 

CA Wullf also created the cover for her book.



Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale

Review... Loved it… This delightful conclusion to the Planet of the Dogs series just caps off a wonderful tradition. The story is well suited to be read aloud to younger children and as chapter book for the older ones. All of your favorite dogs help rescue two of Santa's reindeer from the Evil King of the North. The story also imparts important lessons of cooperation and responsibility."   Mary Jacobs, Editor/reviewer Bookhounds  

Daisy&Nor-397KBWe have free reader copies of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more. They are also available in digital format at Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribd, Powells, Tolino, 

Librians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

To read sample chapters of the series, visit Planet Of The Dogs. -

 The illustration, above, from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.

"What a truly wonderful and unique Christmas story for the whole family..." Don Blankenship,
Teacher, Reviewer for Great Books For Kids.


 Singing One Of The Old-Time Carols

..."'I think it must be the field-mice,' replied the Mole, with a touch of pride in his manner. 'They go round carol-singing regularly at this time of the year. They're quite an institution in these parts. And they never pass me over—they come to Mole End last of all; and I used to give them hot drinks, and supper too sometimes, when I could afford it. It will be like old times to hear them again.'

'Let's have a look at them!' cried the Rat, jumping up and running to the door.

XmasMiceWInWIngamooreIt was a pretty sight, and a seasonable one, that met their eyes when they flung the door open. In the fore-court, lit by the dim rays of a horn lantern, some eight or ten little fieldmice stood in a semicircle, red worsted comforters round their throats, their fore-paws thrust deep into their pockets, their feet jigging for warmth. With bright beady eyes they glanced shyly at each other, sniggering a little, sniffing and applying coat-sleeves a good deal. As the door opened, one of the elder ones that carried the lantern was just saying, 'Now then, one, two, three!' and forthwith their shrill little voices uprose on the air, singing one of the old-time carols that their forefathers composed in fields that were fallow and held by frost, or when snow-bound in chimney corners, and handed down to be sung in the miry street to lamp-lit windows at Yule-time..."

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Illustration by Ernst Shepard 


Interview With Santa

This interview was conducted as part of a program to determine the truth behind the incredible story of Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale....

Santa-397KB Interviewer: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and clarifying things. 

Santa: I’m happy that the story is finally coming out. 

Interviewer: Is it a true story? 

Santa:  Absolutely. 

Interviewer: Why haven’t we known about it before? 

Santa:  I think it was lost in the mists of time…It took place hundreds and hundreds of years ago. 

Interviewer: Is it true that there was to be no more Christmas? 

Santa: I’m sorry to say that it’s true. Until the dogs arrived. 

Interviewer: The dogs? 

Santa: It was a surprise to all of us in Santa Claus village. None of us, and that includes all the elves, had even heard of dogs. 

Reindeer&Dog&Night-397KBInterviewer: Is that because you were so far North and rather isolated? 

Santa: Well, that and the fact that dogs has just started arriving on planet earth. Prior to that time, there had been no dogs on Earth. 

Interviewer: Really! Where did they come from? And how did they find you? 

Santa: They had started coming down to Earth from their own planet – the Planet of the Dogs. They came down to help people. Somehow, they heard we were in trouble, and one day, there they were, just like that...

 To read all of the Interview with Santa, click this link:  Interview with Santa 



 Boyhood Memories

"One Christmas was so much like the other, in those years around the sea-town corner now, ChildsChhristmasWalesCoverBookout of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down towards the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen..."
Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales



 Light In The Darkness 

"The Global Partnership for Education (GPE)  supports developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, most vulnerable and those living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Established in 2002, the Global Partnership for Education is comprised of 60 developing countries, more than 20 donor governments, and international organizations, the private sector and foundations, teachers, and civil society/NGOs."

GPESince its inception, the Global Partnership has supported developing country partners to achieve remarkable and measurable results. For example, the number of out-of-school primary school children has been reduced from 56 million to 41 million in 2012. They have also achieved substantial improvements in gender parity and major increases in the number of girls completing primary school in countries where GPE has supplied support and resources.

Here is a link for more ot the remarkable RESULTS, from around the world (updates and photos), of  the Global Partnership for Education.



Hope in Dystopia in  Mockingjay: Part 2

Mockingjay2SymbolThis film is being seen by multitudes of people worldwide. Based on that fact alone, Mockingjay 2 is an important YA crossover film. It is a rather long, dark, viewing experience, executed with excellent acting and all the traditional elements of a very well done action movie. Mockingjay 2 also deals with issues of morality amidst the painful chaos of war.

Richard Lawson, in his thoughtful Vanity Fair review, considered the film's significance in these troubled times as well as the "entertainment" value of the film. Here are excerpts:

Mockingjay2"Mockingjay: Part 2 shows us, in rich and bracing fashion, the Hunger Games movies have been saying something all along—about the tragedy of youth (or anyone) in war, about post-traumatic stress disorder, about the ways we cede our autonomy to notions of comfort, to spectacle, to the easy lies of othering. The film makes these points in a far more clear-headed, more resonant manner than its source material. It’s a rare film adaptation that improves upon the original text, highlighting its crucial themes while streamlining and shaping the action into something legible and gripping...

The Hunger Games films...show us how good blockbuster movies can be. And they beseech us, in their earnest way, to be better, conscientious stewards of our own fraught and fragile world. That’s a useful message for anyone these days, young adult or not."

Here is a link to the article: Richard Lawson

Here is a link to the trailer: Mockingjay 2


Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- in time for the Holidays

The Dark Side Returns Worldwide on December 18-19 in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D...just in time
Star-wars-the-force-awakensReyDaisyRidleyfor the Holidays. Disney executives expect a very happy holiday, anticipating box office records with this $200,000,000 million dollar film. Fans will find that Harrison Ford, Chewbacca, Jedi Knights and light sabers have all returned along with the Dark Side. In keeping with changing times, the good side also has an important female warrior woman, Rey. Played by newcomer Daisy Ridley, she is also a red hot pilot.

 Here is a link to Trailer #1: The Force Awakens


Review: In ‘The Good Dinosaur,’ a Reptile Tends to His Human Pet

Manohla Dargis, the excellent NY Times reviewer, wrote a warm review for this latest Pixar production. Here is an excerpt... 

GoodDinosaur"Blink and you may miss the sly joke that sets 'The Good Dinosaur' on its enchantingly eccentric way. It begins with a near apocalypse 65 million years ago and an asteroid racing toward Earth. And while that’s around the time, more or less, that science hypothesizes the dinosaurs bit the dust, the wizards at Pixar have forged another creation story. Instead of crashing, the space rock zips past the big blue marble... "

Here is a link to read all of MS Dargis' review:  The Good Dinosaur

Here is a link to the trailer: Dinosaur


What a wonderful worldHope and Celebration are here with music... 3 minutes and 40 seconds of joy from singing kids in many places...What A Wonderful World (Playing for Change) 



WCDogsheader9All About Dog Love

Nancy Houser, on her Way Cool Dogs Blog, provides a wide variety of information on dog issues ranging from health care and nutrition to canine science and dog love. On a recent post, How To Love Your Dog, she wrote about many facets of dog love. Here's an excerpt...

PGI MontyyFourthGrade"How to love your dog by being a dog is something every dog owner should know about, as long as they do not continuously wag their tail!

And, whether your dog is a mischievous young puppy and full of bounding love, or an older dog that has been abandoned with very little  love— it won’t be too hard to play the part.

Loving your dog makes it easy to build positive and loving feelings for this furry friend,  choosing what is best to develop a better life.  Dogs who are loved not only feel safe, but secure and cherished.  But, recognizing if you love your dog does not mean a thing if your dog does not love you back."..The article continues, including a point by point section entitled"How to tell if your dog loves you back".

Nancy also includes information on fascinating MRI studies regarding a dog's love by neuroscientist Dr Gregory Berns. Dr Berns wrote a book titled "How Dogs Love Us". To learn more about Dr, Berns and his MRI dog studies, here is a link to his Ted Talk.

The photo is courtesy of the wonderful Paws Giving Independence therapy dog organization, Peoria,Illonois. Please click on the photo to enlarge and to see why it was chosen.


5Kids in CampDuhok-Domiz 161
Children, War, and Hope

Thirty million children have been driven from their homes by war. In a touching and informed article on refugee children, Jake Silverstein --  in the New York Times Magazine -- writes of this devastating situation by telling the stories of three young girls. Each is from a different part of the world: the Ukraine, South Sudan, and Lebanon. Here are excerpts from this excellent article:
GirlBrotherRefugeesSyriaJeffJMitchellGetty..."Young as these girls are, they have already been asked to bear a profound loss. You can see it in their faces. They appear to be only half children, the other half having been matured ahead of schedule by trauma and displacement. They know what they should not. And yet, there is still that other half. They are still kids. Unlike the adults in the frame, who must be constantly aware of their dangerous ordeal, the girls, from time to time, might forget. If the moment was right, they might play a game...
That children, even under the worst of circumstances, are able to remain children supplies the world around them with the sense of a future, which is the equivalent of hope..." 
The photo of the five Syrian children was taken in the Domaz refugee camp in Iraq.The photo of the  young girl and her brother was taken in a Syrian refugee camp by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty

Long Line at the Library? It’s Story Time Again

by Winnie Hu NY Times

BeatricePotterSnow"Story time is drawing capacity crowds at public libraries across New York and across the country
at a time when, more than ever, educators are emphasizing the importance of early literacy in preparing children for school and for developing critical thinking skills. The demand crosses economic lines, with parents at all income levels vying to get in.

Many libraries have refashioned the traditional readings to include enrichment activities such as counting numbers and naming colors, as well as music and dance. And many parents have made story time a fixture in their family routines alongside school pickups and playground outings — and, for those who employ nannies, a nonnegotiable requirement of the job...

Moomin-christmasLibraries around the country have expanded story time and other children’s programs in recent years, attracting a new generation of patrons in an age when online offerings sometimes make trips to the book stacks unnecessary. Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association, said such early-literacy efforts are part of a larger transformation libraries are undergoing to become active learning centers for their communities by offering services like classes in English as a second language, computer skills and career counseling."

The illustration of the rabbits is by Beatrix Potter.The illustration of the Moomins is by Tove Jansson. 


SunbearSqBigLogo Anna Nirva is the guiding light at Sunbear Squad,
a leading source for information and guidance in dog rescue and care. Here is an excerpt from their site about fostering dogs 

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7. Interview with Dicksy Wilson and D.B. Sanders

book bites for kidsListen to Book Bites for Kids on Tuesday, December 8th at 2:30 central time when authors Dicksy Wilson and D. B. Sanders will talk about their new book, A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree.

To listen to the live show on December 8th, at 2:30 central, just go to www.bookbitesforkids.com.

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8. Petrol

Petrol Petrol सस्ता हुआ है शापिंग तो बनती है ना

The post Petrol appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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9. KidLit Author Events Dec.1-7

A BEAR'S YEAR: Kathy Duval; Illustrated by Gerry Turley

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, and now it’s time to get ready for more holiday parties. The party I am looking forward to the most this season is our SCBWI Houston holiday pot luck dinner on Monday, December 7 at 7:00 at the Tracy Gee Community Center. Along with book and art sales and great food, we’re doing something special this year; we’re celebrating the launch of Kathy Duval’s newest picture book, A BEAR’S YEAR. Everyone who pre-ordered it from Blue Willow bookshop will get a little gift from Kathy. Please join us!

In addition to our SCBWI party, a lot of other events are keeping Kathy quite busy. The next morning, Wednesday, December 2, she’s doing storytime at Katy Budget Books from 10:00 to 11:00. Next week she’s visiting two schools:
December 8 at James Randolph School in Katy, and another on December 11 at Patterson Literature Magnet School. In between, she’ll be Skyping with St. John Vianney School in Brookfield Wisconsin on December 7. Go Kathy!

In this morning’s Publisher’s Lunch I read some good news for Mary Lindsey, the local author of SHATTERED SOULS. Mary’s first three books in the HAVEN series, following a community of shifters and spell weavers whose ancestors fled persecution during the Wurzburg and Bamberg witch trials of the 1600s, sold to Liz Pelletier at Entangled Teen.

In other news for local authors, Russell Sanders has a new YA novel, COLORS, releasing this winter. Mark your calendars for his launch at River Oaks Bookstore on February 6.

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10. Meet Dicksy Wilson and D.B. Sanders

Dicksy Wilson and D. B. Sanders

Meet the Authors of a Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree

Dicksy Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up in the 70’s and 80’s with some really great parents and a pretty cool little brother. She always enjoyed writing as a child and would sometimes write puppet skits for her and her brother to perform for their parents. After she had children of her own, she thought it would be fun to write a children’s book. One day while she and her brother were watching the kids swim, she came up with the line, “In a quiet backyard quite a bit like your own… a little green caterpillar crawled all alone.” This line later became the opening line of their book, A Caterpillar, A Bee and a VERY Big Tree. Soon after, she and her brother began collaborating on their book, which would take several years to complete. Dicksy lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with her daughter Hannah, who is a senior in high school, her husband Scott, and her dog, Nash. Her son, Hayden, is grown and married, and has a child of his own.

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 70s and 80s, D.B. Sanders had an early interest in art. Beginning with a love of cartoons, he started designing his own comic book characters at the age of 10. By his early teens, he became increasingly aware of his ability to draw in his own unique style. After obtaining his degree in art, he has utilized his passion for multiple artistic endeavors. This is his first children’s book to co-author and illustrate. Sanders lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with his wife, Ashley and their children: Zach, Zoe and Leaf. More art can be found on Facebook at “The Art of D Sanders”.

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11. Believe in the Magic of Christmas -Send someone a magical Christmas card and matching Postage Stamp

Add a little bit of magic to Christmas by sending someone one of these sweet Christmas cards, and matching Christmas postage stamps. 

0 Comments on Believe in the Magic of Christmas -Send someone a magical Christmas card and matching Postage Stamp as of 1/1/1900
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12. Critiques 4 U


Courtesy: Pixabay

Happy December, everyone! November is such a crazy month for me, and this one was no different: my son’s 6th birthday (and party), my father-in-law’s birthday, Thanksgiving celebrations both at home and at school, decorating the house for Christmas. So many happy and exciting things, but I always breathe a sign of relief when November winds down and I can relax for a bit. And then December starts…

So before things get crazy again, I’m giving myself an early Christmas present and firing up our monthly critique contest. If you’re working on a first page and would like some objective feedback, please leave a comment that includes: 

1) your email address. Some of you have expressed concern about making your email address public; if you’re sure that the email address associated with your WordPress account is correct, you don’t have to include it here. But if you do win and I’m unable to contact you through that email address, I’ll have to choose an alternate winner.

2) your story’s genre (no erotica, please)


Three commenters’ names will be randomly drawn and posted tomorrow. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll offer my feedback. Best of luck!

The post Critiques 4 U appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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13. Patalosh and Exploring the Great Pyramid

Orion explores the Great Pyramid in Africa.

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14. What's New in YA--December 1, 2015



Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases! 



For fans of Simone Elkeles and Courtney Summers, this haunting debut novel is about two teenagers battling their inner demons as they fall in love for the first time.

When Marion Taylor, the shy bookworm, meets sexy soccer captain Kurt Medford at a party, what seems like a sure thing quickly turns into a total mess. One moment they’re alone in the middle of a lake, igniting sparks of electricity. The next, they’re on dry land, pretending they’ve never met. But rather than the end, that night is the beginning of something real, terrifying, and completely unforgettable for them both.

As Marion and Kurt struggle to build a relationship from the fractured pieces of their pasts, every kiss they share uncovers memories both would rather keep buried. Marion desperately wants to trust Kurt and share the one secret she’s never told anyone—but some truths aren’t meant to be spoken out loud. Kurt is also still haunted by his mother’s death, by the people he hurt, and by the mistakes he can never take back.

Explosive together and hollow apart, Marion and Kurt seem totally wrong for each other—but could they turn out to be more right than they ever thought possible?






When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t – her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.






In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She’s told that Eli, the young man she’s attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village’s secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author’s note gives the historical inspiration for this story.






Years before, a gateway opened between their world and ours. Sending one young woman through may be the key to survival for the kingdom of Fourline.

Strapped for cash, college student Natalie Barns agrees to take a job at a costume shop. Sure, Estos—her classmate who works in the shop—is a little odd, but Nat needs the money for her tuition.

Then she stumbles through the mysterious door behind the shop—and her entire universe transforms.

Discovering there’s far more to Estos than she ever imagined, Nat gets swept up in an adventure to save his homeland, an incredible world filled with decaying magic, deadly creatures, and a noble resistance of exiled warriors battling dark forces. As she struggles with her role in an epic conflict and wrestles with her growing affection for a young rebel, Soris, Nat quickly learns that nothing may go as planned…and her biggest challenge may be surviving long enough to make it home.






A world on the brink of war.

All Avaline Hall wants is to enjoy her senior year at Blythewood Academy, the boarding school where she’s been trained to defend humankind from forces of dark magic. But when Ava is shown a glimpse into the future in the enchanted Blythe Wood, she discovers that the evil Judicus van Drood is rallying nations into a war that seems destined to destroy both the human and faerie worlds. Only Ava and her allies have a chance at stopping van Drood, but how many must die in the process? And how can Ava and the boy she loves be together when everything around them is falling apart?






From the author of the Escape from Furnace series, an explosive new horror trilogy about an ordinary American kid caught up in an invisible war against the very worst enemy imaginable.

There is a machine from the darkest parts of history, concealed in an impossible location, that can make any wish come true, and the only price you have to pay is your soul. Known as the Devil’s Engine, this device powers a brutal war between good and evil that will decide the fate of every living thing on Earth. When a 16-year-old asthmatic kid named Marlow Green unwittingly rescues an ass-kicking secret soldier from a demonic attack in the middle of his Staten Island neighborhood, he finds himself following her into a centuries-old conflict between a group of mysterious protectors and the legions of the Devil himself. Faced with superpowers, monsters, machine guns, and a lot worse, Marlow knows it’s going to be a breathless ride—and not just because he’s lost his inhaler along the way.






In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.

Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.

But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.

And it’s been waiting for Ella.






The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.







Freedom comes at a cost…

Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful, demure…and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one’s safe, least

of all the other pets. But she’s trapped, unable to get back

to Penn—the boy she loves—or help the girls who need her.

Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she’s lucky, she’ll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives

of everyone she’s tried to save…









Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?
This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all to well.






A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.






First crush, first love, first kiss—Chloe must choose between her virtual almost-boyfriend and her best guy friend in this addition to the sweet and clean Flirt series.

Chloe has the best almost-boyfriend ever. Trevor is smart, talented, witty, and good-looking. Basically, he’s the perfect guy for her—except for one tiny detail. He lives hundreds of miles away. Chloe met Trevor at music camp when they were kids and was so excited when they reconnected in an online music forum a few months ago. And they’ve been flirting non-stop ever since.

Chloe’s boy-crazy best friend Vanessa thinks it’s the most romantic thing she’s ever heard, though her other best friend, Kazuo, isn’t so sure. Turns out Kaz actually has a crush on her! Chloe can’t imagine her life without him, but she’s never thought of him that way. Still, Kaz talks Chloe into giving him a chance and going to the big school dance together. Chloe is almost ready to agree when she gets the most amazing news—Trevor is coming for a visit!

But when Trevor shows up, things don’t go quite as well as Chloe was expecting, and by the time she realizes her old camp buddy has changed—and that he might not be Mr. Perfect (for her) after all—Kaz has already asked Vanessa to the dance. Did Chloe just miss her chance at true love?






If there are any new YA books we missed, let us know in the comments below, and we'll add them to the list! 



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15. Guest Post and Giveaway: I’ll Be There by Samantha Chase

Hey, Everyone! It’s Samantha Chase and I am super excited to be here today with all of you at the Manga Maniac Café and talking about the newest book in the Montgomery Brothers series, “I’ll Be There”. This is book six in the series and we are looking at the crankiest member of the family – Zach Montgomery. He has a good reason to be that way, but he’s making life crazy for everyone around him. You see…well, I’ll let him tell you about it.

Hey, ladies! Zach Montgomery here. I don’t know about you, but I am a total adrenaline junkie. Or…at least I used to be. I’m not jumping out of planes any time in the near future but man oh man did I have some great trips doing that sort of thing and more! I have some amazing memories from each and every one of my trips but I’ll give you some highlights – you know, just in case you’re looking for your own adrenaline rush!

1. Great Barrier Reef dive – I’m normally more of a land – or sky – adventurer, but when I’m in Australia, the water calls! There is so much to see beside the reef itself – scorpion fish, parrot fish, fusiliers, sea snakes, crabs, shrimp, starfish and octopus…just amazing!

2. Whitewater Rafting in Zambia – No two white water rafting trips are the same and I’ll try it wherever I travel to. A great day excursion while visiting Victoria Falls is an amazing way to view the scenery and also have a thrilling adventure.

3. CN Tower EdgeWalk – I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure about this one but I’m glad I did it. The world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk lets you stroll the top edge of the Lookout Level pod, more than 1,150 feet above the streets, held by nothing but a safety harness. Just don’t look down!

4. Bungee Jump Stockhorn: Bernese Oberland Mountains Plunge – There is never too many bungee jumping options! And bungee jumping in the Alps is an incredible experience. Dive more than 400 feet from a gondola in the Swiss Alps on one of the world’s most amazing bungee jumps. Plummet towards a lake during the free fall with the Bernese Oberland Mountains as your backdrop before you’re lowered into a waiting boat.

5. Zapcat powerboating – When I heard inflatable, I didn’t think they’d be exciting. Boy was I wrong! These inflatable catamaran hulls decked out with powerful racing engines are built purely for speed, and therefore thrills. The Gs can be brutal, and the jumps will make you wonder whether you’re sailing or flying, but there are few things on water that beat these bad boys for bragging rights!

Book #6 in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Samantha Chase’s popular Montgomery series

This Montgomery Has a Head for Business
Working for Zach Montgomery is challenging on many levels-coming from a wealthy and powerful family, he lives by his own rules and doesn’t answer to anyone. But Gabriella Martine has no intention of backing down. She’s used to handling stubborn men, and it doesn’t hurt that Zach is smart, charismatic…and gorgeous.
And a Heart for Adventure
Zach’s perfect world is turned upside down when a climbing accident leaves him broken, angry, and maddeningly dependent. In his slow quest for recovery, Gabriella is always there to help…but as Zach comes to see his beautiful assistant in a new light, he is forced to re-evaluate what it really means to be a man worthy of Gabriella’s love.

Montgomery Brothers Series:
Wait for Me (Book 1)
Trust in Me (Book 2)
Stay with Me (Book 3)
Return to You (Book 4)
Meant for You (Book 5)
I’ll Be There (Book 6)

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16. दिल की बात

दिल की बात पिछ्ले सप्ताह मेरी सहेली मणि के अंकल की अचानक तबियत खराब हो गई शायद हार्ट अटैक था. उन्हें तुरंत दिल्ली लेकर जाना पडा. मैं, जब मणि के घर मिलने गई तो वो बेहद उदास थी. मैनें समझाया चिंता मत कर. इस पर वो मुझे बोली कि तू हमेशा कहती है कि जो […]

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17. On the Spotlight: 'Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters' by Donna McDine

Donna McDine's latest children's picture book is a charming, fun tale about first day jitters. Be sure to check it out for the kids in your family who will be going to school soon!

Title: Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters
Genre: children’s
Author: Donna McDine
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Purchase linkwww.donnamcdine.com and Guardian Angel Publishing and Amazon 

About the Book: The anxiety of finding one’s own place and friends in kindergarten without the comfort of having her fraternal twin sister nearby at first overwhelms Dee until she realizes even without her fraternal twin sister, Dee and her classmates for the most part are in the same boat.

About the Author: Multi award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. Her latest release Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters joins the four early reader children’s picture books, A Sandy Grave(January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) all with Guardian Angel Publishing. Join McDine as her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI.

Connect with Donna on the Web!

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18. Featured Trailer: The Tiara On The Terrace by Kristen Kittscher + Giveaway (US Only)

Happy December, YABCers!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the trailer for THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE by Kristen Kittscher, releasing January 5, 2016 from HarperCollins. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Kristen:

When this hilarious secret footage for a marketing meeting for The Tiara on the Terrace leaked, Vroman’s bookseller Josh Crute helped me gather the lemons and make lemonade! Or should I say cake? (You’ll see…)
But in all seriousness: I am so excited to share this little digital short with you – and even more excited to sharing Young & Yang’s spy hijinks in The Tiara on the Terrace on January 5. I’m so proud of this book! 

~ Kristen Kittscher (THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE, HarperCollins)


Ready to watch?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!











by Kristen Kittscher
Release date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062228000
About the Book


In this funny, clever novel, perfect for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch and Gordon Korman and a companion to The Wig in the Window, tween sleuths Sophie Young and Grace Yang go undercover at Luna Vista's Winter Sun Festival to catch a murderer before he—or she—strikes again.

Sophie Young and Grace Yang have been taking it easy ever since they solved the biggest crime Luna Vista had ever seen. But things might get interesting again now that everyone is gearing up for the 125th annual Winter Sun Festival—a town tradition that involves floats, a parade, and a Royal Court made up of local high school girls.

When Festival president Jim Steptoe turns up dead on the first day of parade preparations, the police blame a malfunctioning giant s'more feature on the campfire-themed float. But the two sleuths are convinced the mysterious death wasn't an accident.

Young and Yang must trade their high tops for high heels and infiltrate the Royal Court to solve the case. But if they fail, they might just be the next victims.
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_KristenKittscherJacketPhoto-1.jpgAbout the Author

KRISTEN KITTSCHER is the author of bestselling tween mystery The Wig in the Window (Harper Children’s, 2013) which garnered a starred review from School Library Journal and was on ten Best of the Year lists. A graduate of Brown University and a former middle school Enligh teacher, Kristen was named the James Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence in 2014. She presents frequently at schools, libraries, and festivals and is active in promoting community literacy initiatives in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, Kai. When Kristen is not reading, writing, or teaching, you’ll find her spending time with friends or hiking in the foothills near Pasadena with her dog, Mabel. Visit kristenkittscher.comto investigate more about her and Young & Yang's next adventure, The Tiara on the Terrace or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@kkittscher).


Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram


Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a copy of THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE. 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the trailer?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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19. #NaNoWriMo2015 - Week #4 Final Update

My NaNoWriMo 2015 has drawn to a close.

This year was definitely different from last year where I felt out of sorts and scatterbrained the whole month I tried to write. I feel that this year was better; much better.

I had to bust a move this last week and trust me, it wasn't easy. That's alright, I chose to prevail and prevail I did. Tenacity is such a great thing to have in reserve when you need it.

I've said it every week but I will say it again. My greatest thanks goes to my best friend, Angela Markham. I think we motivated and pushed each other and benefited from it.

Thanks to Lyn Ehley, my favorite editor, and also Allan Baker (another of my editors) who were game enough to work on editing Jewels 2 in "real time" as I wrote it.

Jewels #2 will be released in January 2016 so stay tuned for news on that front.

NaNoWrimo 2015 Final Stats Wrap-up

Words written week #4: 25,399

NaNo final grand total: 50,416

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20. Soldier, Gaunt Soldier: Peter Watkins' The War Game

Today, we have a guest blog from Simon Bestwick to celebrate the launch of his novel Hell's Ditch, which is available either from Amazon or direct from the publisher Snowbooks. For the next seven days you can get the hardback or the ebook at a discounted price over at the Snowbooks website.

Anyway, here be the Bestwick's post:

Soldier, Gaunt Soldier: Peter Watkins' The War Game

As a writer your work’s the sum of your experiences: all you’ve seen and done, and the stories that have reached you. One that reached me, and shaped my novel Hell’s Ditch, was Peter Watkins’ The War Game, a film made for the BBC in 1965.
The War Gamewas Watkins’ second British film, and his last. Its original broadcast was cancelled by the BBC under pressure from the Ministry of Defence. Watkins, disgusted, left the UK, first for America – where he made the equally unsparingPunishment Park – before settling in Sweden. Despite winning the 1966 Best Documentary Oscar, the film wasn’t shown on British TV until 1985, when it was finally screened as part of a season commemorating the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

So what was so shocking?
Like Watkins’ first film, Culloden, (1964) The War Game is shot in a documentary style, narrated mostly by Michael Aspel, a TV presenter who became notable hosting game shows and This Is Your Life but was, at that time, best known as a newsreader. Its topic was nuclear war.
The film depicts the possible consequences of a nuclear attack on Britain. There are vox pops from men and women in the street, statements from churchmen, philosophers, politicians, doctors and nuclear strategists on the morality, nature and effects of nuclear war, all of this intercut with the film’s ‘live’ action: dramatisations of the events that precipitate the attack, followed by an unflinching portrayal of the attack itself and its effects.
The narration is cool and clinical, never emotive. At this distance, Aspel’s voice calmly tells us, the heat wave is sufficient to cause melting of the upturned eyeball, third degree burning of the skin and ignition of furniture.
In contrast, Watkins depicts the holocaust that follows in graphic detail: firestorms sweep the bombed cities, rendering firefighters’ attempts to combat the devastation futile. The attack’s victims suffer horrendous body burns. With doctors unable to treat more than a fraction of cases, the worst-injured patients are placed in a ‘holding section’ to die untreated; later, armed police officers end their suffering with a gunshot. A glassy-eyed civil servant explains how they’re keeping the wedding rings of the dead to identify them, showing the camera a bucket half-full of jewellery. A doctor calmly describes the symptoms of radiation sickness, and then those of scurvy (since most survivors, he points out, will be unable to obtain Vitamin C.)
And it doesn’t end there. The narration cites the aftermath of the bombings not only of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo. Many survivors are listless, apathetic zombies. Thousands more will suffer PTSD (as we’d call it now) from what they’ve gone through; vastly exceeding any resources available to treat them, most will be permanently traumatised.
But the child survivors, staring emptily into the camera to say “I don’t want to be nothing,” in dead, lifeless monotones, are the most chilling prospect of all: subject to such trauma in their formative years, many may go on to develop terrible character disorders. These are the inheritors of the world the nuclear bomb has left.
If the conclusion of The War Game reminds us that what we have seen has not been real, it’s scant reassurance: It is now possible that what you have seen happen in this film may already have taken place before the year 1980. Even knowing, as we do now, that it didn’t, is limited comfort when you remember that those weapons – and the possibility of their use – still exists.
Watkins set out to show that Britain was both hopelessly ill-informed on nuclear war’s nature, and hopelessly unprepared to cope with its effects – indeed, that its effects would be so devastating that no preparation would prevent the slaughter, devastation and eventual social collapse that the film shows. The official reaction to the film showed he’d touched a real nerve.
The War Game is up there with the similar-themed Threads as one of the most terrifying, dread-making films I’ve seen. It probably helps if you were born before 1980 and can remember the grim Mexican stand-off of the Cold War, but I defy anyone to watch it without a chill seeping into their bones.
The fear of nuclear war haunted my childhood; it fed into Hell’s Ditch and the world it’s set in. In particular, with The War Game, Watkins’ vision of the psychological trauma wrought by the conflict helped shape the book. The world of Regional Command Zone 7, Attack Plus Twenty Years, is a haunted one. All those who remember the time before are surrounded with its ruins, unable to forget, dogged by the ghosts of those they’ve lost; those who’ve grown up in the devastation have been made cruel and pitiless by it. And there’s no way back.
Forget Sawor Hostel, Insidious or Sinister: if you really want to be terrified, watch The War Game.
Simon Bestwick is the author of Tide Of Souls, The Faceless and Black Mountain. His short fiction has appeared in Black Static and Best Horror Of The Year, and been collected in A Hazy Shade Of Winter, Pictures Of The Dark, Let’s Drink To The Dead and The Condemned. His new novel, Hell’s Ditch, is out on 1st December.

       You Tube clip from The War Game

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Children love Christmas and Santa. And together the combination can’t be beat. Put Santa in a unique setting (a concert stage), give him Mick Jagger’s sunglasses, Steven Tyler’s scarf, and a rockin’ reindeer band and you’ve got the makings of a fun Christmas story that puts a whole new spin on what happens Christmas Eve.

It’s Christmas Eve. The tree is lit and children await Santa’s arrival, only they’re not tucked snuggly in their beds dreaming of sugarplums. They’re stomping and clapping at a Christmas rock concert, where Santa is the “star.” Santa’s snow-white hair is in a ponytail and he’s ready to rock. The rowdy reindeer band includes Donner on electric bass, eerily resembling Keith Richard. Blitzen has a Paul Stanley-like star painted on his eye as he plays the drums, and you can’t help but notice the resemblance of Comet to Slash, as he shoots across the stage. It’s an original, modern day retelling of a Christmas classic, but what happens on this night before Christmas is rockin’.

ROCK STAR SANTA is proud to take his place among real ROCK STARS. The powerful sound of electric guitars, pounding bass, and crashing drums inspired Rock Star Santa’s birth.
Author with Rock Star Santa Fans and Santa Doll

Shortly after attending a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas concert, I penned the verses for Rock Star Santa—my interpretation of a rock concert of kids. Written in lyrical rhyme, it’s a rollicking night before Christmas with a surprise twist.

Rock Star Santa has fans around the world. He performed over 157,000 concerts in the United States, Canada, England, and the Caribbean.

He was even portrayed by a “real-life” rock star at his performance in Montserrat, British West Indies. Peter Fileul, keyboard player for the Climax Blues Band, so graciously agreed to be the “real-life” ROCK STAR SANTA. And this year he’s the star of the Kindergarten holiday performance in Melbourne, Australia. QUOTES & REVIEWS HERE:

Rock Star Santa by Gayle C. Krause (Author), Will Terry (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 3-7
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Holiday themes to expect: Santa
TCBR analysis: Kids will really enjoy the energy from this wildly fun take on Santa Claus.
Publisher’s synopsis: Santa Claus Live In Concert, One Night Only!

Gayle’s short stories and poems can be found in Hopscotch for Girls, Boy’s Quest, Highlights and various anthologies. She’s the author of Scheherazade’s Secret, a retelling of the Arabian Night’s Tale, and RATGIRL: SONG OF THE VIPER.

RATGIRL: Song of the Viper – a retelling of The Pied Piper set in a dystopian future with global warming. Available from THE Amazon Link below:

The book trailer can be viewed at:

Are you ready to rock? Santa and his rowdy reindeer band bring down the house on Christmas Eve! If you'd like to purchase ROCK STAR SANTA as a Christmas present, you can order it through Scholastics Book Club. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/rock-star-santa#cart/cleanup

So what do you love most about Christmas? If you like the exact same thing Rock Star Santa does, he’ll be sending you a signed copy of his book. Just leave your comment below for a chance to win and have a “Rocking Christmas Eve!” The Winner will be announced on Saturday, December 5th. Thanks for stopping by!!!

You can contact Gayle at the links below:
Author Gayle C. Krause

Website – www.gaylckrause.com
Twitter @GeeCeeK
Blog – http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com

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22. 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 1

Welcome to YABC's first annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza! We're featuring some of the hottest titles of the year--perfect for the book lover on your holiday list!--with exciting prize packs every day for the first twelve days of December. Each giveaway will run for seven days. Giveaways are US only due to publishers' rights restrictions in other territories. 

Are you ready to see the FABULOUS prize pack of books for today's giveaway? 

This prize pack of best selling YA titles is brought to you by the wonderful people at Random House Children's Books. Click on each cover to learn more about that title and then enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page.

Good luck, and be sure to come back tomorrow for another 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!


PRIZE PACK from Random House Children's Books





Enter by clicking the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!


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23. Foliage is Lightest at Its Outer Edges

In indirect light, foliage tends to be lightest at its outer and upper edges, and darkest at its base or its core.
Micronesia foliage from U.C. Berkeley
This is true at the level of individual leaves or fronds, such as these leaves in a rain forest. Note the gradations within each leaf, with the lightest values at the tips of the leaves and the darkest values at their bases where they attach.

With transmitted light, this darkening at the proximal end is a consequence of both the greater material thickness at the base, and the lesser amount of light arriving at the top surface due to occlusion from nearby forms.

In this painting from Dinotopia: First Flight, I was conscious of varying the color and value of the leaves and making them lighter at the tips, especially when we see them illuminated by the yellow-green transmitted light. 

The principle is also true on a larger scale, not just at the level of a leaf, but also at the level of entire trees when you look at them in indirect light. 

James Perry Wilson, Summery Showers
In this 12x16 inch oil study by James Perry Wilson (1889-1976), note how each tree silhouette gradates from darkest at the base of each tree or bush to lightest at the outer and upper edges.
Blog posts about James Perry Wilson

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24. Author Guest Post with Cornelia Funke


When I wrote my first book about MirrorWorld I thought it would be one journey. I should have known better! I thought the same about Inkworld – to find myself still writing that story six years later. To realize that these two worlds are indeed the same, just 500 years apart, bound by a book with silver covers, took me a few years too.


Which teaches one thing: stories don’t reveal their secrets easily. They are labyrinths that lure us in with a whisper to then distract and fool us, to lie and trap the writer who tries to find their heart. And the better we get in our craft the bigger the labyrinth grows!


I was in Moscow when I realized how big a labyrinth I had stumbled into through a mirror. I stood on the Red Square looking at St. Basil and its otherworldly towers when I suddenly got a glimpse at the Mirrors’ maker – and his involvement with this world. I rushed back to my hotel to write it all down. And then I lay in the dark, with Moscow’s golden roofs outside of my hotel window and thought: ‘Heavens! This will be a fairy tale journey around the world!’


When I wrote Book 1 – Reckless, as it is called in the US (I’ll soon re‐publish it under the original title Reckless: The Petrified Flesh) I was still on familiar ground. I wrote about a world inspired by the tales of my German childhood. Most of us associate the Grimms’ tales when we hear ‘Fairy Tale’. I decided to play with their motives in a world closely resembling ours around 1860, a time, when the modern times were born, with no chance of going back. But how would it change the world if there is old and new magic (as they call science behind the Mirrors)? What if all Fairy Tales were historical truth, preserving a long forgotten past?


The next step was to take the local origins of the tales seriously. No trolls outside Scandinavia, except emigrants. What are Heinzelmen called in France? Follets. And Hobs in Albion.

You see? I was lost behind the Mirrors as soon as I stepped through them!


The second book – Fearless in the US, Reckless: Living Shadows in most other countries – brought me to France. Where I met Bluebeards and learned a few things about giants, mal de mer and puss in boots. Those tales are still quite familiar to us, but the Golden Yarn‐ my third journey behind the Mirrors – led to lesser known tales. My heroes head East, to find creatures and treasures from Russian and Ukrainian tales, from Siberia and Kazakhstan. The tales I discovered for this book were mostly not familiar. They tasted of far away landscapes, of a Shaman tradition almost forgotten, they had powerful women characters in them, who probably once were goddesses….


The Golden Yarn is my most exciting adventure behind the Mirrors so far. But the next one is taking shape already in equally exciting ways. I am currently reading fairy tales from Japan and India, which make me feel as if I know nothing about this world!


I plan to travel to the Americas in Book 5 and to Africa in Book 6, but let’s see. Only the story knows where this will go. It enchants me with every step I take and every tale I read. It feels like exactly the right journey in a time when we realize every day how little we know about each other and how dangerous this ignorance and lack of understanding is.







The Golden Yarn
  1. By: Cornelia Funke

  2. About: Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?

    This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all too well.
  4. Release Date: December 1, 2015




One winner will receive a copy of The Golden Yarn, US only.


Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, Cornelia Funke has a question for you to answer in the comments below for more chances to win his book! What folklore inspired the writing of this latest book in the MirrorWorld series?


*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Cornelia Funke is a multiple award-winning German author, best known for writing the Inkworld trilogy as well as The Thief Lord. The Inkworld books, which have won the 2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award as well as the 2004 and 2006 BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature Awards, have gained incredible attention and Funke has been dubbed the "German J.K. Rowling” This November, she will launch her own publishing company, Breathing Books. She lives in Los Angeles, California.  

Learn more Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pre-order


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