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1. PAPERCHASE - mugs

Here are some of the other mug designs currently available at Paperchase along with the previously menttioned Sleep Owls design. There are colourful ponies, a parrot and peacock, The Owl & the Pussycat and a gold winged horse from the Cosmic collection.

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2. SkADaMo 2014 Day 21

catfishes

A pretty obvious one, but hey…

Wondering what SkADaMo is, check this out.


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3. Writing non-human characters - by Cavan Scott

Last month I attended the world's friendliest convention, AKA Bristolcon. It's one of my favourite events of the year, full of good-natured, liked-minded people all coming together because they like stories. What could be better?

This year I took part in a fascinating panel entitled 'Writing Non-Human Characters', which is always an interesting subject and linked to most things I write. 

To prepare I jotted down my top five hints and tips, which I thought I'd share with you in case you ever have the need to write a believable and hopefully relatable monster / alien / cybernetic dolphin. 

1. Think about their values.
The first point is a simple one - get world-building.

Think about your non-humans' life and existence. What are their intrinsic values? How do they view the big things in life? And yes, I am talking stuff as basic as sex and death. 

For example, if you have a mayfly race that only lives a day at a time, how will that affect their relationships or the way their society works? How would they approach tasks? In fact, how developed would they even be as a race? Could a race of mayfly aliens develop space-flight for instance? How would they do it? Would they be more concerned with reproducing than developing a faster-than-light drive? Or have they developed a science that handles reproduction for them so they can focus on other things for the good of their race? And what about knowledge? Would it be passed from one 'generation' to another?

Other values would surely be different as well. If an individual lives only for one day, then funerals would probably not be a big thing. And how would the characters relate to those whose lifespan stretches into years rather than hours?

A little world-building will bring all manner of story ideas, as well as giving you interesting non-human characters.  

2. Make them individuals.
I've just written for the Daleks. This makes me happy. But, of course, you know what you're going to get with Daleks. Most of the time they are completely identical to each other; each infernal pepper pot a scheming ball of hate. There are, of course, exceptions, but usually its because they've been affected by some exterior influence. (see the recent Inside the Dalek for an example). That's nothing against the Daleks. Being nasty is literally in their DNA. And that's why we love them. Well, it's why I love them anyway. 

However, it's not the norm. Let's face it, not all humans are the same. There are kind humans, there are cruel humans; there are funny humans, there are humourless humans. There are humans who mention cybernetic dolphins far too much. 

Non-human characters should be the same (except for maybe the dolphin thing). A race of non-humans should never have the same characteristics, unless perhaps if they are a true hive mind. Similar traits maybe, but there should be individuality there. Look at the Klingons, to mix my science fiction franchises. They became far more interesting when we started to see bump-heads of all moral types and motivations. 

3. Give the reader a Han Solo.
Good old Chewbacca. He's a giant walking rug who makes great noises. And most Star Wars fans love him. Why? Largely because Han loves him. Han is our window to Chewie. The old rogue understands everyone's favourite wookie and literally translates him for us. Without Han is it doubtful that Chewie, wonderful though he is, would have been such a sympathetic character.

And the same can go the other way. Want to make your non-human characters completely and utterly uncanny? Then, give us a viewpoint character who can vocalise the differences and react to their absolute alienness. 

4. Remember human doesn't always mean better.
Poor old Spock. He spends most of the time being berated by Bones for being a green-blooded, cold hearted son of a... 

Well, you get the idea. 

However, it's all to easy to play all non-human characters as inferior in some or all ways to humans. They are somehow limited or stilted and don't quite understand the way the universe, just because they're not human, the poor things. 

What about a non-human character who is a more rounded-person than your humans, who is wiser or shows more compassion? 

Basically, don't be a Bones. Human doesn't always mean better.

5. Cheat.
No-one wants to read a truly non-human character. That's a bold statement, but it's true. Why would you? A reader needs something to relate to, so they can invest in the character. So make sure, no-matter how alien your non-human there are some recognisable traits in there, something that chimes with us all, whether they're fae, alien or cybernetic dolphin.

Have any tips of your own? Then share them below, especially if you are a cybernetic dolphin. 

(Can you tell I've been writing about cybernetic dolphins recently?)


_________________

Cavan Scott is the author of over 70 books and audio dramas including the Sunday Times Bestseller, Who-ology: The Official Doctor Who Miscellany, co-written with Mark Wright.

He's written for Doctor WhoSkylandersJudge Dredd, Angry Birds, Adventure Time and Warhammer 40,000 among others. He also writes Roger the Dodger and Bananaman for The Beano as well as books for reluctant readers of all ages.

Cavan's website
Cavan's facebook fanpage
Cavan's twitterings

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4. Ten Wonderful Years As A Published author

From the Macondo Newsletter

Reyna Grande

Macondista Rene Colato Lainez is celebrating his 10th year anniversary as a published author. Congratulations to Rene, and here's to many more years and many more books!

Ten Wonderful Years
By Rene Colato Lainez



At the end of 1999 many people were setting goals to accomplish in the new millennium. I was one of them. At the time, I was already an elementary teacher and had written several books to share with my students. I still remember those "classic books" that my students enjoyed reading such as, "Fabiola, Fabiola", "El número uno", "Un cuento de colores." 

My students enjoyed my books so much that I began to wonder what I had to do in order to publish my work. I wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. I met children's book authors Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy at the teacher's writing workshop "Teachers in the Classroom." They read some of my books and told me that yes, my work was publishable! Then I met the wonderful macondista, Amada Irma Pérez. She shared the submission guidelines of her publisher, Children's Book Press, and told me to give it a try. She told me that some day in the near future we could be signing books together. 

At that time, this was a sueño. After meeting Alma Flor, Isabel, and Amada, I set my own goal, to submit my manuscripts for publication. I started to submit my stories in March 2001. Soon, I received my first rejection letter. It was painful to read it but on the bottom of the letter someone had printed, "Your story has a big heart. We wish you luck." 

I did not give up and 2001 was a year of rejection letters. I joined SCBWI, took some creative writing classes and wrote new stories. In the summer of 2002, I received an email from Arte Público Press, asking me for revise my manuscript with the promise that they might publish it if they liked the revision. I made the changes and by October 2002, I had a contract for Waiting for Papá

I remembered the day, I had a flu and fell sleep holding the contract. When I woke up, I looked at 
my chest wondering if the contract was just a dream. But it was still there. I read it again and shouted "I will have a book! I am an author!". 

The book was published on October 31, 2004. Now 10 years later, I have written 9 children's books, a story in an anthology, 6 books for elementary reading programs and many poems and short stories for a children's magazine, Revista Iguana. I love writing children books and I have more coming out soon. 


I organized a celebration party for my anniversary. It was a costume party and many friends came wearing costumes from characters of my books. Of course, I was René, the boy!



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5. Would You Read It Wednesday #154 - Got Your Nose (PB)

Well, dearies, you're about to get the most unembellished Would You Read It post ever!

That is because yesterday I had to drive to Boston... normally a 7 hour round trip, but what with Thanksgiving traffic and the fact that lots of people were traveling early due to the storm we're getting today, it took closer to 12.

By the time I got home, it was 11:20 PM, and I still had to write today's post...

But the important stuff is here :)

The winner of the October Pitch Pick was Michelle, with her PB pitch for Zoo Rules!  Congratulations, Michelle, well done!  Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta, and I'm sure you'll hear from her soon.

And congratulations to our other brave pitchers as well!  Everyone did such a great job, and you are all winners just for writing and polishing your pitches and putting them out there for people to comment on!

Even in my zombie I've-been-driving-a-car-non-stop-for-nearly-12-hours stupor, I would not forget your Something Chocolate!  I think it should be something Thanksgiving-y, don't you?  In the spirit of giving, I offer you a choice of

milk...

or dark... :)

But anyway you gobble it, a chocolate turkey is delicious :)

Now then, today's pitch comes to us from Jean, who says, "I am a critical care nurse by day, and aspiring writer on my days off.  I write a nursing blog at nightingalechronicles.com, and have been published at inthepowderroom.com,  but I have always had a love of children’s stories.  I am a mother of three children ages 11, 9, and 7.  I look forward to submitting my pitch; this will be my first time putting my children’s work out there."

I'd like to add a quick note that Jean's schedule caused her to be on duty for her Would You Read It day, so please know that she will be reading your comments as soon as she can, and responding when she can, but it will probably take her a couple days.  She is very grateful for your help!

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Got Your Nose
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Who doesn’t love the game 'Got Your Nose’?  Jack doesn’t, that’s for sure; well, not anymore.  You see, Jack loved playing 'Got Your Nose' with his mom, but when bedtime came Jack wasn’t ready to quit.  Instead, Jack decided to see if he could play with his sleeping brother’s nose by stealing it right off of his face.  But when Jack heard the sounds of approaching footsteps he nervously tossed his brother’s nose sending it flying on a harrowing adventure thatll be bound to make you hold your breath, and your nose a little tighter.


So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Jean improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in January so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Jean is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to spending tomorrow with family!  AND I can say with truthfulness that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... since our trusty local weather predictors are forecasting 8-12 inches of snow for us today!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone, and I hope you all have safe travels (if you're traveling), and wonderful, happy, healthy, brimming with fun and family Thanksgivings (if you're celebrating)!!!  :)




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6. AMS/SMT 2014: Highlights from the OUP booth

We had a great time at this year’s AMS/SMT meeting! Milwaukee was a bit chilly, but we drank lots of coffee, cozied up with thrilling new books, and listened to some fantastic presentations!

Weren’t able to make it, or just feeling nostalgic? Take a tour through the eyes of OUP music, and check out some memorable highlights from this year’s joint meeting:

You can find out more information about the AMS/SMT 2014 conference by visiting their website. We already can’t wait for next year!

The post AMS/SMT 2014: Highlights from the OUP booth appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. I Accidentally Read a Gayle Forman Book

by andye I Was HereBy Gayle FormanHardcover: 288 pagesPublisher: Viking Juvenile (January 27, 2015)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Cody and Meg were inseparable. Two peas in a pod. Until . . . they weren’t anymore. When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—

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8. PAPERCHASE - 2015 diaries

The colourful ponies design see on a mug in the last post also feature on a 2015 diary at Paperchase. Scroll down for a selection of next years diary designs which include designs in all tastes and sizes.

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9. PAPERCHASE - sleepy owls

We are having a week of celebrating Paperchase here on Print & Pattern and today begins with their new 'Sleepy Owls' collection. Rows of graphic owls, all asleep with their eyes closed feature on notebooks stationery, cards, wrap, and mugs. The colour palette is reminiscent of mid-century modern with turquoise, orange and yellow most often used on a neutral stone ground. Available in stores and

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10. I hadn't understood review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Diego De Silva's I hadn't understood.
       The second in De Silva's series is about to come out -- My Mother-in-Law Drinks; see the Europa editions publicity page, or pre-order your cppy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- but I figured I should get to this one first.

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11. When bad things happen to good characters



Last week I got to visit a school in my neighborhood to talk about my book, The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya. The kids had excellent questions about parrots and muffins and writing. One boy wisely chose to email me. He knew that his question would spoil part of the story for others. And so, if you haven't read the book ...... please be advised.

SPOILER ALERT!    (I've always wanted to say that.)

With his permission, I'm going to share his emails to me and my answer.

Hello, 

My name is Johnny and I'm nine years old. 

I loved your book! I really loved the adventure Zeno was on and how he had to fly over the Atlantic Ocean. I also liked when Alya climbed the six steps. There was so much tension and excitement.

I was hoping Zeno and Bunny would stay friends. I know sometimes characters die in books, so I was just wondering why you chose him to die?

Thank you, 
Johnny C.
Hi Johnny,

I'm glad that you loved my book. But I'm really grateful that you asked me such an important question. I had to think a lot about why I chose to let Bunny die.

First, I wondered did any of the characters really have to die? I think the answer to that is yes. If a book is realistic, then the events that the author describes should have real consequences. I think that Zeno's dangerous journey over the ocean is more exciting because you knew that bad things really might happen. Without real risks and real dangers,  his accomplishment wouldn't mean as much.

Hawks do kill pigeons. They don't do it to be cruel. They do it because they need food. I think you can accept that the hawk would attack a bird. But you want to know why did that bird have to be Bunny?

I could have let the hawk attack a different pigeon. But Zeno is so selfish, he wouldn't have helped anyone except Bunny. All of Zeno's adventures teach him important lessons. First he learns that a friend needs to fight for a friend. But he won't really learn how important that friendship is until he loses Bunny. Zeno has to learn the hard way.

If Zeno hadn't learn those lessons, he wouldn't have been there to help Alya when she needed it. That would have been sad too.

Like you, I hoped that Zeno and Bunny would stay friends. I do know that Zeno remembers everything that Bunny taught him. And, in that way, Bunny lives on.

Thank you again for asking me such a great question.

Sincerely,
Jane Kelley



Hello,

Thank you for writing back to me. What you said made a lot of sense because Bunny was such a good friend and Zeno cared for Bunny and when Bunny died, it changed Zeno and made the story better. It was sad, but I realize why it had to happen.

I can't wait to read your other books.

Sincerely,
Johnny C.





I am grateful to Johnny for letting me share his thoughts on my blog. I'm lucky to have a reader who is willing to journey with my characters, over the Atlantic Ocean or up the six steps to a Brooklyn brownstone. And willing to think about why those journeys are important.

I'm humbled to be reminded that my characters matter to my readers. Writing novels for kids is a privilege––and a responsibility. Sometimes bad things have to happen to good characters––but there better be a very, very, very good reason.

(Thank you, Eliza Wheeler, for your amazing drawing of Zeno and Alya.) 

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12. Cast Away on the Letter A : A Philemon Adventure by Fred, translated by Richard Kutner, RL: 3

Cast Away on the Letter A by Fred, the pseudonym of Frédéric Aristidès, creator of one of the most famous graphic novel series in France (did you know that the French have long been huge graphic novel fans?) was originally published in 1972. This is the first time it has been translated in English, thanks to the amazing François Mouly and the fantastic people at TOON Books who are

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13. The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing for Children's Book Authors




 
It's difficult for any writer to get published by a traditional publisher, whether you write for adults or for children. That's why more writers than ever are turning to self-publishing. But before you jump on the bandwagon, especially if you write for children, it's helpful to find out more about self-publishing.
Check out the recent post by guest blogger Sangeeta Mehta on publishing expert Jane Friedman's blog. Mehta, a former acquiring editor of children's books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster who runs her own editorial services company, interviewed agents Kate McKean and Kevan Lyon for answers to key questions on self-publishing children's books.
Here are some highlights:
Kate McKean: “The anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, however, is that the more titles a self-published author has up, the more visibility they can possibly garner.”
Kevan Lyon: “I do believe that YA writers probably have an edge over middle grade writers in the indie publishing world.”
Kate McKean: “For picture book writers, the cost of producing the book is one hurdle, and distributing it is another bigger hurdle.”
Kevan Lyon: “Self-publishing a full-color print picture book can be very expensive with little room for a profit margin, especially without distribution.”
Click here to visit Jane Friedman's blog for the complete post.
What do you think about the pros and cons of self-publishing? Please share your experiences.
Hope you enjoyed this post! To be notified of future updates, use the subscription options on the right side bar.


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14. Nigerian Writers Series

       Hoping to emulate the success of the African Writers Series -- see, for example, my review of James Currey's history of The African Writers Series and the Launch of African Literature, Africa Writes Back -- the Association of Nigerian Authors.has launched a Nigerian Writers Series, now announcing the first ten titles (from fifty total and thirty-eight 'valid' submissions) that will be published by a variety of Nigerian publishers.
       See also Henry Akubuiro in The Sun on the New dawn for Nigerian writers this might facilitate.
       Sounds like a good idea, in any case, and I hope to eventually see some of these titles.

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15. Writer Wednesday: I'm a Very Thankful Author

Every book has a dedication page and an acknowledgments page so authors can thank all those people who helped make the book. Well, to be honest, I hate writing these. I'm always afraid of leaving someone out (by accident of course), and to be honest, I could gush for pages upon pages thanking people I'm happy to have with me on my writing journey. Still, I try to keep these short, knowing most people don't read them anyway. ;)

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I want to say a general thank you to everyone reading this post. I don't care if you've ever read one of my books. I'm thankful that you found me here and that you allow me to share a little of me and my writing with you each week. I hope everyone has a great holiday filled with good food, family, friends, and a whole lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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16. Bookselling in ... the US

       In The Los Angeles Times Frank Shyong describes how To Survive in the U.S., Chinese Bookstores Evolve Way Beyond Books.
       Yes:

Internet competition has forced bookstores across the nation to close, but in the San Gabriel Valley, they've evolved. Chinese bookstores ship packages, repair laptops, supply lottery tickets. One bookstore became a classroom, another a convenience store.
       Sadly:
As for books, they mostly gather dust.

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17. I'm On Tour! Enter To Win A Copy Of My Book!




Book Tour

Hi everyone:

Good News! The day is finally here. My book tour begins today. Please complete a raffle through BK book tour and win a chance to get a free e-book of Ignition: AN Educator's Journey. Good luck everyone!





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18. 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For today’s prompt, write a same poem. I guess it could be the same old poem, but it could be a completely different poem that looks at a person or thing or system that is still the same. Or maybe a poem about how all people are the same. Or take the “same” concept and show how things are not the same. And that opens up a universe of possibilities.

*****

2015 Poet's Market

2015 Poet’s Market

Get your poetry published!

Learn how to get your poetry published with the premiere book on publishing your poetry: the 2015 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer.

This essential resource includes hundreds of listings for book publishers, magazines, journals, contests, grants, and so much more. Plus, there are articles on the craft of poetry, business of poetry, and promotion of poetry. Beyond that, there’s an hour-long webinar, a subscription to the poetry slice of WritersMarket.com, original poems, poet interviews, resources galore, and more-more-more!!!

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Same poem:

“popsicle”

a popsicle does not stay the same

if you remove it from the freezer

especially on a hot summer day

when it immediately starts to melt

either on your fingers or within

its packaging that will eventually

contain sugary water and a stick

*****

roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He is a fan of popsicles, especially orange.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

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19. Artist of the Day: Alexandre Diboine

Today we look at the work of Alexandre Diboine, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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20. Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

BookBuzz 300x271 Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)Recently I had the pleasure of attending the AAP Tri-State Book Buzz for Children’s and Teen Librarians here in NYC.  This is an event where a whole heaping helpful of publishers gather together to do a kind of massive librarian preview for folks like myself.  It’s a mix of big folks (Macmillan, Random House, etc.) and smaller houses you might not hear from otherwise.  With that in mind, I’ve either already attended or am about to attend some of the big guys, so I’ll leave them off of this particular preview.  Additionally, I had a meeting in the morning of the Book Buzz day so those publishers who just happened to present anything prior to 1 p.m. pretty much fell off of my radar.  Sorry, guys!

Even though I only spent a small portion of my time at the Book Buzz I’m just going to highlight the books that caught my particular attention.  Because honestly there were some truly interesting titles on display.  Here’s just a small sampling of what I happened to see. First up:

Sourcebooks 

 Changes: A Child’s First Poetry Collection by Charlotte Zolotow, ill. Tiphanie Beeke (9781492601685)

Changes Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

This year (2014) I had a great deal of difficulty finding good poetry books.  Honestly, at times it felt like I was pulling teeth to find anything halfway decent.  This shouldn’t be so hard!  So I was keeping a very sharp eye out for anything verse-like.  I was quickly rewarded by this, the first collection of ALL of Zolotow’s seasonal poetry.  You remember Ms. Zolotow, yes?  Worked under Ursula Nordstrom?  Mother of Crescent Dragonwagon?  Yep, well I’ve always been a fan of her book Seasons as illustrated by Erik Blegvad so this is just a natural follow-up.  It’s coming out in the same year when she would have celebrated her 100th birthday. If the illustrator (Tiphanie Beeke) looks somewhat familiar that may be because she was behind that rather lovely little book Fletcher and the Falling Leaves which came out a couple years ago.

Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita (9781492601562)

Flunked Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

On the middle grade side of things we have Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita.  Written by the author of  the YA novel Secrets of my Hollywood Life the premise behind this one is that when a villain is vanquished in a tale it’s time for them to go to reform school.  Our heroine is a normal girl who lives in a shoe with her siblings and is so poor that she’s forced to steal.  One thing leads to another and the next thing she knows she’s in a reform school where all the teachers are former villains.  Kinda writes itself, right?

This Book is Gay by James Dawson (9781492617822)

ThisBookIsGay Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

I don’t cover YA usually but for this book I shall make an exception. It was a little bit difficult to parse but insofar as I could tell this appears to be a handbook for dealing with sexual identity.  It’s a YA nonfiction title with a forward is by David Levithan and it’s full of sketches, illustrations, and jokes.  As they say, it’s for anyone exploring their own identity.

 

National Geographic Kids

Why’d They Wear That? by Sarah Albee (forward by Tim Gunn) (9781426319204)

WhydTheyWearThat Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Now see, the reason I like National Geographic Kids is that they’re reliable.  Take Why’d They Wear That?, for example.  You know what you’re getting here, even if you don’t know the details.  Mind you, the details are where all the good stuff is.  Chronicling the history of the world through the lens of fashion, the book covers everything from the Syrian warriors who rode into battle in fishnets to an Archbishop of Canterbury who wore a hair shirt so full of bugs that they left his body and flew into the cold when he was assassinated.  From togas to mini skirts, this book talks about clothing and explains why folks wore one thing or another with plenty of historical context.

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey (9781426315190)

Untamed Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

I think I heard about this book a little while ago and got very excited . . . until I realized that it wasn’t coming out until 2015.  Fortunately that year is breathing down our neck and so tis nigh! Nigh, I say, nigh!  From her childhood in WWII England to the jungles of Gombe this book covers everything Jane related.  Riveting and full of images (including the photography of Michael Neugebauer) this has lots of great content from the field.  It’s the most up-to-date title out there for kids.  At least for an older readership.

Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty: Planet Earth by Steve Tomecek (9781426319037)

DirtMeister Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Steve Tomecek, the Executive Director and founder of Science Plus, Inc., and Digger his prairie dog sidekick talk all about dirt.  Or, put another cuter way, dish the dirt on dirt.  Tomecek had a New York Kids show on WNYC radio in New York City for eight years so he’s old school.  In his book, Fred Harper from Marvel illustrates multiple peppy comic book sections that start off each chapter.  Inside you’ll find DIY experiments, facts, and science bios along with lots of STEM connections.  Happy science stuff.

How to Speak Cat by Aline Alexander Newman and NPR’s Dr. Gary Weitzman (President of the San Diego Animal Humane Society) (9781426318634)

HowToSpeakCat Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

This would be a companion to the previously published How to Speak Dog.  The dog vs. cat voice in my head wonders which of the two books will sell better.  In any case in this tome you get, amongst other things, an explanation of what the 30 different cat poses mean.  Lots of expert cat training advice is in this one as well.

1000 Facts About the Bible (9781426318665)

1000FactsBible Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

You don’t have to be a library in a religious community to appreciate what National Geographic is going for here.  Big and small pieces of information give some great background.  Little facts include the tidbit that David was crowned with a 75-pound crown and, elsewhere, that the blue of the robes mentioned in the text came from sea snails.  Easy to understand words are helped in no small part by the Biblical scholars who were consulted.  Naturally this makes me wonder how long it took them to write the darn thing.  My suspicion: quite a while.

Maddeningly they also teased us with Fall 2015 titles as well.  With that in mind look for . . .

Book of Nature Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis

NaturePoetry Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Treasury of Norse Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli

NorseMyths Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Welcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin

MissionMars Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

At this point in the proceedings, mention was made of a magazine I’d not heard of before.  It’s not like I’ve been following the periodical trends for teens and pre-teens since I was one myself.  So to hear that there’s a publication out there called Justine that contains “more teen book reviews than any other magazine” . . . well that’s just downright cool it is. Voila:

Justine 381x500 Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Quirk Books

Based out of Philly. A quarter of this little publisher’s output consists of books for kids.  I often say that small publishers just need one book to sustain them for life.  Well Quirk produced Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children so I’d say they’re pretty much good to go.  For, like, ever.  Most of their children’s books coming out in 2015 are just sequels, but there was one adult title that actually caught my eye.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix (9781322126760)

Horrorstor Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

A classic horror novel set in a Swedish furniture store, written like an IKEA catalog.

Sterling

Next up, Chris Vaccari, a man clever enough to name drop his local library branch (Kips Bay).  Chris thrives in a BookBuzz atmosphere.  He is calm.  He is at ease.  And yet, all at the same time, he is capable of packing in loads of information about the books Sterling is producing soon.  Case in point:

Good Question: History Series: Did Christopher Columbus Really Discover America? by Emma Carlson Berne (9781454912590)

ChristopherColumbus Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

This is a series that dare to question history.  Particularly useful when we’re talking about that ever so controversial Italian Columbus.

Little Traveler series – How Tiger Says Thank You (9781454914976), How Penguin Says Please (9781454914969) by Abigail Samoun, illustrated by Sarah Watts

HowTigerSays Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

HowPenguinSays Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

These are the latest two books in this series to come out.  I should note though that my librarians are BIG fans of these books.  They’re finding them easy to hand sell and really filling a need for those parents that wish to get their small children interested in other languages.

ABC Universe – done in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History (9781454914099)

ABCUniverse Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Just consider it an oversized board book for the budding little astronomers in your life.

I’m Not Reading by Jonathan Allen(978-1910126240)

ImNotReading Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Man. Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, around 2006 I reviewed the Jonathan Allen baby owl book I’m Not Cute.  It’s nice to see the series not only still kicking around but upgrading to a whole new board book form.

Ally-Saurus by Richard Torrey (9781454911791)

AllySaurus Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Who says only boys get to love dinosaurs?  Yet when Ally starts school she finds she’s the only girl there who’s into dinosaurs.  She is subsequently snubbed by princess lovers (and on this, the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls).  I know I’ll be looking forward to this.

A Dozen Cousins by Lori Houran, ill. Sam Usher (9781454910626)

DozenCousins Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

The plot is simple: one girl has a dozen boy cousins.  She loves them but they sure do bug the heck out of her.  Nice and multicultural, this is utterly pleasant (and more interesting than a lot of the other “big family” tales out there).

North/South

The Birthday Cake: The Adventures of Pettson and Findus by Sven Nordquist (978-0735842038)

BirthdayCake Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

I believe this is a reprint of an older title.  In it, Pettson is a forgetful farmer and his neighbor gives him a kitten named Findus.  So he reads the kitten so much that the cat starts to talk.  In this book it’s Findus’s birthday (which somehow happens more than once in a year).  The dilemma?  Our intrepid heroes need flour for a cake.  To get the flour they need a bike, to fix a tower they need to get into the shed, to get into the shed they need a ladder to get to the sunroof, and so on and such.  Phil Pullman did the blurb for the books and said that it has a folktale feel.  Noted.

Mr. Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser (978-0735841567)

MrSquirrelMoon Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

If you buy nothing else I mention to you today, buy this.  Show some of the art.  On the endpages you see a boy with his father and one of the man’s wheels of cheese is rolling down the hill and flies into the sky.  Later, a squirrel wonders how the moon got into his tree.  Worried that someone will think he’s the thief he tries to roll it off the tree.  The cheese next gets stuck on a hedgehog and a goat gets stuck in it.  The art is the real lure here.  A-maze-ing.

The Bernadette Watts Collection: Stories and Fairy Tales by Bernadette Watts (978-0735842120)

BernadetteWatts Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

Turns out, Ms. Watts is beloved in Europe.  They just call her Bernadette there.  In this book you will find thirty-eight timeless tales with an Eric Carle forward.  The result is a book containing pitch perfect, sumptuous backgrounds.

 

Perseus Books Groups (Running Press Kids)

Go, Pea, Go! by Joe Moshier and Chris Sonnenburg (978-0762456789)

GoPeaGo Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

I’ll give ‘em this.  I have never seen a potty book that used peas in some manner.  This book features one such rhyming pea.  He is told by his family to go.  See the world.  A potty chart and stickers are part of the ensemble.

Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay (978-0762453399)

ButterflyPark Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

A paper cut artist takes it to the next level.  In this story a girl moves next to a butterfly park and then goes and sees that there aren’t any there.  She then gets the community together to plant the plants that attract butterflies.

My Life in Dioramas by Tara Altebrando (978-0762456819)

MyLifeDioramas Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

In this tale a 12-year-old girl’s family is selling their red barn home.  She’s against this move so she creates dioramas of each room to best preserve her memories.  She also tries to throw a wrench in the works to prevent the sales.  One color illustrated dioramas for each chapter.  Essentially, it’s all about moving forward.

And that was that.  Phew!  I can’t imagine how tricky it would be to organize such a thing.  Many thanks to the folks who presented.  I’ve high hopes for these books.

share save 171 16 Librarian Preview: Sourcebooks, National Geographic Kids, Quirk Books, Sterling, NorthSouth, and Running Press Kids (Spring 2015)

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21. Convention Weekend - CTNx

 I spent this past weekend down in Burbank, attending the Creative Talent Network Expo (my first for this convention). It focuses primarily on animation and related art forms.

 It's a relatively small event, but VERY well attended (crowded crowds...)

 A number of the top companies were in attendance. Lots of portfolio reviews....




 (Big Hero 6 was very visible at the Disney booth. Lots of fun swag :-) 

 Of course, Stuart Ng was there with his delicious, hugely tempting selection of yummy art books.
There were lots of live demos, life drawing, lots of panels and workshops.....

And meeting new and/or hanging out with old friends (I got to have dinner with the lovely Terryl Whitlach all three nights there).

 Ran into a nice handful of illustrators I know (here is Zelda Devon). 
A number of people I talked to at their various booths are posted on my facebook page.

My roommate and I also made a side-trip to Universal Studios 
(since I've never been to the California version of this park).

 The weather was *perfect*, bright, blue, sunny and warm - which made all the Christmas decor appearing feel rather odd.

It was mostly one big treat of a weekend. :-)



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22. Athens Prize for Literature

       As Theodoros Grigoriadis reports at his weblog, they've announced this year's winners of the Greek Athens Prize for Literature, with Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena winning the best translated category (dominated by translations from the English; see the shortlist, which included titles by Coetzee, McEwan, Banville, and Hollinghurst) and Tηλέμαχος Κώτσιας' Kώδικας Τιμής taking the Greek novel prize (see also the Ψυχογιός publicity page).

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23. Impending

The highway signs flashed “High Alert!
Tomorrow, don’t be driving.”
The day before Thanksgiving,
There’s a winter storm arriving.

So traffic crawled and inched along
Much slower than just slow
‘Cause everyone was on the road
To beat the coming snow.

You’d think that Martians had attacked
Or that the world was ending
When all that fuss is for some weather –
Lousy, but impending…

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24. Crustacean sub

Crustacean submarine concept art illustration
Day 26
Topic - Crustacean sub

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25. Annual Black Swagday Giveaway

Wow, I can't believe we're already to Black Friday weekend--seriously where has the year gone??????

But deadline panicking aside (MEEP!), it's also time for my annual Black Swagday Giveaway!!!  

Since this is the time of year where everyone has gifts on their minds--and I personally feel that signed books are THE BEST gifts anyone can give--I have a nice handy way for you guys to make your gifts even more special.

If you buy any of my books (Keeper of the Lost Cities, Exile, Everblaze, Let the Sky Fall, and/or Let the Storm Break) this weekend--which just so happens to be the biggest shopping weekend of the year, between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday--and fill out the form at the end of this post, I will send you the corresponding swag pack below.

If you buy any of the KEEPER books, I'll send you this (for each book purchased):


















And in case you can't tell, that's:
- a signed (and personalized) bookplate 
- 4 Team Stickers
- 1 5x7 character art print (featuring the awesome illustrations by Courtney Godbey)
(*whispers* if you buy more than one KEEPER book, I *might* throw in some other goodies as well... #justsayin')



And if you buy either of the SKY FALL books, I'll send you the corresponding swag you see in this pic (for each book purchased):
So if you buy Let the Sky Fall you'll get: 
- a LTSF signed (and personalized) bookplate
- a LTSF bookmark
- a LTSF sticker

And if you buy Let the Storm Break you'll get:
- a LTSB signed (and personalized) bookplate
- a LTSB bookmark
- a LTSB sticker 


All of this swag is exclusive--only available here--and hand signed by me!

And there's no limit on how many I'll give away. Everyone who fills out the form between now and 11:59 pm pacific time on Monday, December 1, 2014 WILL get the swag. I'm also not requiring proof of purchase. If you say you bought it, I believe you. But remember, every time you lie, an alicorn's poop stops sparking AND WHAT WOULD THE WORLD BE WITHOUT SPARKLY POOP??????

It also doesn't matter where you buy the book (though supporting your Local Indie Bookstore guarantees you a life of sunshine and happiness) or if you buy the paperback or the hardcover (ebooks and audiobooks count too!). And you're welcome to buy as many books as you want! (Just make sure you fill out the form separately for each book, so I know to send you more prizes).

Giveaway is also open internationally!!!


**Please note** This giveaway ONLY applies to books purchased between 11/26/14-12/1/14, and does NOT include books previously purchased. Of course I super-appreciate if you've bought my books before now, but I've also done previous giveaways for many of those purchases that you would've had a chance to take part of (sorry if you missed them). So this is only for new purchases, and if you are desperate for the swag you could always buy a book to give as a gift (what better gift could there be, really? Plus then you can get your friends/family/teachers hooked on the books so you have someone to talk about them with) and keep the swag for yourself--I won't tell! :)

Um... I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, of course feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments. 

Here's the form you'll need to fill out (and if it doesn't load for some reason, go HERE)

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