What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from all 1553 Blogs)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1553 Blogs, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,000
1. It's live!! Cover Reveal: How It Ends by Catherine Lo + Giveaway (International)

We have another great cover reveal for you, YABC!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for HOW IT ENDS by Catherine Lo, releasing June 7, 2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Catherine:

Hi YABC! Welcome to the cover reveal for HOW IT ENDS.
A little something about me – I’m a huge admirer of visual artists, but have absolutely zero skill in that area. Less than zero. So when people asked me what I hoped for in a cover, I just stared at them blankly. I couldn’t imagine how anyone would translate my book into cover art. 
On the day the email arrived with the subject line Cover!, my hands were shaking so badly that it took me three tries to tap the attachment. And then the cover you’ll see below filled the screen. To say that I love it would be the understatement of the century. I’m so grateful to everyone at HMH Kids for all their hard work, including my editor Sarah Landis and the amazing designer who created this stunning cover, Cara Llewellyn. 
I cannot wait to share this book with all of you, and revealing the cover is just the first step.
So scroll down and check it out! And let me know what you think on Twitter with the hashtag #HIEcover.
~ Catherine Lo (HOW IT ENDS, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Catherine's giveaway. Thank you! ***



by Catherine Lo
Release date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0-544-54006-4
About the Book
How it begins…
"You're in my English class, right?"
I almost checked behind me to make sure she wasn't talking to someone else.
How it unravels…
“You can be my best friend without being my only friend."
Her words were knives raked along my skin. I could hear the goodbye in every syllable.
How it Ends.
Why should I keep her secrets when she didn't keep mine? All it would take was one little click and a carefully worded message.
How it Ends is an honest, heart-wrenching tale of a friendship from first meeting to breakup. Told through alternating points of view, it is about two best friends’ tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys and backstabbing and what can happen when friends choose assumptions and fear over each other.

b2ap3_thumbnail_catherinelo2.jpgAbout the Author

Catherine Lo is a high school teacher who has the good fortune to work with some of the most creative and personable kids around. She keeps her classroom bookshelves stocked with the latest YA fiction, and considers it her personal mission to match even the most reluctant readers with books that will speak to them. Catherine lives in Mississauga, Ontario with her husband and two children, who make her laugh every day and are extremely tolerant of her writerly obsessions. HOW IT ENDS is Catherine’s debut novel.

Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook



Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a signed ARC of HOW IT ENDS (when available). 

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 cover and synopsis?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read More

0 Comments on It's live!! Cover Reveal: How It Ends by Catherine Lo + Giveaway (International) as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
2. Mischief and Malice by Berthe Amoss

It's 1941 and in New Orleans, Addie Agnew, 14, is a girl with a vivid imagination and some big growing pains.  Addie had been living with her Aunt Eveline in a house that she loved and that contained all her memories.  But when Aunt Eveline passed away, Addie was forced to move next door and live with her Aunt Toosie, Uncle Henry and her cousin/rival Sandra Lee.  But luckily for Addie, her strong Catholic faith and the communion of saints allows her to keep a running conversation with Aunt Eveline, who was and still is her moral compass.

Addie has always been best friends with Tom, a next door neighbor, but when his father Louis suddenly shows up, she falls head over heels in love with the older man, despite the fact that he had deserted Tom and his mother ten years ago.  And after Louise asks Addie to go to the train to pick up Tom, she is sure he feels the same way about her.  Tom, however, refuses to speak to his father and friction flares between him and Addie over it.

Meanwhile, a family has rented out the house that Addie lived in with Aunt Eveline.  Addie discovers their real home is a plantation called Oakwood, just north of New Orleans, so they are not planning on remaining in the house for long.  And they have a daughter, Norma Jean Valerie, who is rather thin and sickly.  She's Addie's age, and soon the two girls are friends.

Addie's life revolves around her family, her friends, her school, an upcoming dance that she doesn't want to go to and a Christmas play she is helping the nuns at her Catholic school put together, and of course, boys, crushes, and being in love with an older man and with always trying to best Sandra Lee and never succeeding.  It all sounds like pretty normal stuff, until Addie overhears a strange conversation between Louis and Mrs. Valerie.  Realizing they are up to something, their conversation leads her to do some investigating on her own, and pretty soon she has a real mystery on her hands to try and solve.  And, it turns out, the mystery involves her directly and the house she loves so dearly.  How could she possible have any connection to Louis and Mrs. Valerie's connivances?  She never met the Valeries before and Louis has been gone since she was four years old, much too young to get involved with anyone's schemes. Or is it?

And to top all that, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and the US enters World War II.

Mischief and Malice is a sequel to a book called Secret Lives, written 30 years ago.  I hadn't read Secret Lives, so when I first started reading Mischief and Malice I was a little lost among all the names and Addie's relatives and their back story, but it didn't take long to catch on.  I think that is because it is written in the voice of a very chatty, lively 14 year old with lots of thoughts that are really explanations for the benefit of the reader.

Addie Agnew is the first person narrator and her thoughts and observations contain a certain honesty not often found in many coming-of-age characters but very well defined here.  Her confusions, her crushes, and conscience all make up a nice well rounded character.  Addie is a typical teenaged Catholic girl and her religion is a real part of her life.  She reminded me so much of some of my friends at that age who were Catholic.  

I did love the competition between Addie and her cousin Sandra Lee.  That reminded me of my sister and me when we were growing up.  But I also loved how they could pull together when the situation called for a united front.

The mystery isn't really a big deal and comes towards the end of the novel, but Mischief and Malice is a wonderful work of historical fiction giving us a window into life just before the US entered the war.  War was certainly on people's minds, in reality and in this story, but took a backseat to everyday life before Pearl Harbor.

I had a lot of fun reading Mischief and Malice and kudos to Berthe Amoss for taking up Addie's story again.  Will there be a third Addie story?  I hope so.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Ig Publishing

0 Comments on Mischief and Malice by Berthe Amoss as of 7/7/2015 1:46:00 PM
Add a Comment
3. How Google Doodles Help Authors Become More Popular

Not surprisingly having a Google Doodle can help spike an interest in an author.

For example, when Google featured a Google Doodle of Mark Twain in November 2011 to celebrate his 176th birthday, searches for the author reached an all time high. The majority of those searches came from the United States and related searches that trended included: “quotes mark twain,” “mark twain quotes,” “about mark twain,” and “mark twain school.”

You can explore how this feature has influenced the online popularity of other authors using this Google Trends tool.

Add a Comment
4. Motherhood

If it's one thing I've learned in twenty-four years of parenting- it's let them figure it out for themselves. Shoving scripture and unwanted advice down your teenage/adult child's throat is only going to make them want to do exactly the opposite of what you say. Yes, it's good parenting to give them guidance and boundaries. Ultimately, though, what they do with their lives is between them and God.
They learn a tremendous amount more from observing the behaviors and screw ups of others than they do a speech for every question they ask. If we gently show them what the Word says, we have gained a victory because the Word does not return void.
That, and that alone is my hope.
I would rather my children chase righteousness than riches. Blessings from the Lord are much more fulfilling than toys (of any size). This morning was a wonderful reminder of that.
My blessings will come through the generosity of my heart, not from my husband's bank account. My heart has been blessed today. Thank You, Lord.

0 Comments on Motherhood as of 7/7/2015 1:56:00 PM
Add a Comment
5. The Prestige

The Prestige. Christopher Priest. 1995/1997. Tor. 360 pages. [Source: Library]

It began on a train, heading north through England, although I was soon to discover that the story had really begun more than a hundred years earlier. 

I saw the movie first. I think there are some benefits to having seen the movie first. It's impossible not to compare the two--the book and the movie--especially since I finished the movie and rushed to put the book on hold at the library. So this "review" will talk about both the book and the movie. I will try my best to keep it spoiler free, especially the opening paragraphs!

The book is different than the movie. The book has a contemporary framework. Andrew Westley, the narrator, has received a magic book from a stranger, the hint being that it was written by one of his ancestors, an Alfred Borden, a Victorian magician. Andrew was adopted, and he knows nothing at all about his Borden relatives. He's manipulated into meeting a woman, Kate Angier. She has much to tell him, for, she believes him to be Nicholas Borden. The two met when he was three, just before he was adopted. He, of course, remembers nothing. And the idea that there is a historic feud between the Borden and Angier families doesn't really intrigue him all that much. But he stays to hear her out.

The book consists of several stories: Andrew's story, Kate's story, Alfred Borden's autobiography, and Rupert Angier's diary. (Andrew's narration opens and closes the novel.) By the end of the book, a fantastic, strange story has been told.

At its simplest here is the plot: Alfred Borden and Rupert (Robert) Angier are rival magicians ever in competition with one another to be the best, to be recognized as being the best. Both the book and the movie convey this. It is HOW it is conveyed that allows for such big differences between the two.

The movie is more dramatic than the book. It makes the rivalry more intense, more personal, more life-and-death. From start to finish the movie is all about REVENGE and LOSS and doing WHATEVER it takes. The book is quite different. For example, in the movie, Angier blames Borden for the death of his wife who drowned during a performance in a water tank. In the book, however, Angier becomes angry with Borden when Borden disrupts his seance and reveals him to be a fake spiritist. Quite a difference! Especially since the "loss of family" angle is huge in the movie. But in the book, Angier has a family: a wife and three children, I believe. That is the only difference I'll mention in the review since I do want it to remain mostly spoiler free.

The Prestige has plenty of twists and turns in the plot. Especially the movie. But also in some ways the novel. Though if you've seen the movie, then, the book will be essentially spoiled. I think you could say the same if you'd read the book first: the movie would be spoiled.

Which did I prefer? I enjoyed both. I did. I really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was great. I watched it twice in one week. I read the novel in one day. There were sections that were quite compelling. My favorite probably being Alfred Borden's autobiography. And then perhaps Angier's diary. I wasn't as drawn to the contemporary story of Kate and Andrew. Though it does intensify the creepy factor greatly. The Prestige would be PERFECT to read for Carl's R.I.P. challenge in the fall.

Have you seen the movie or read the book? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it. If you've seen the movie and read the book, which would you recommend first to others?

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on The Prestige as of 7/7/2015 11:46:00 AM
Add a Comment
6. हिंसक होते बच्चे

हिंसक होते बच्चे

कई बार लगता है कि बच्चो की गुस्सैल और हिंसक होती प्रवृति के जिम्मेदार और कोई नही हम खुद ही है. कारण भी एकदम ठोस है. असल में, बदलते समय के साथ साथ हमारी करनी और कथनी मे फर्क आता गया जो हम महसूस ही नही कर पाए और बच्चे इस बदलाव को सह नही पाए.


यकीनन हम बच्चो को किताबी पाठ पढाते रहे कि सदा सच बोलो . ईमानदारी का जीवन अपनाओ. बडो का आदर करो. नकल करने से जीवन मे कभी सफल नही होगे.पर हकीकत मे हम उनके आगे कुछ और ही परोसते रहे.

मसलन, अकसर झूठ बोलने पर हम ही उन्हे उकसाते हैं.पाठ ईमानदारी का पढाते हैं और आफिस से रिश्वत या तो ले कर आते हैं या उनके सुखद भविष्य के लिए दे कर आते हैं और तो और परीक्षा हाल मे बच्चो को नकल मारने के लिए सदा उत्साहित करते हैं ताकि कही अच्छी जगह दाखिला होने मे कोई दिक्कत ना आए.

जुगाड संस्कृति से हमेशा बच्चो को जोडे रखना चाहते हैं ताकि कोई दूसरा बच्चा उसको काट करके आगे ना निकल जाए. बडो का आदर करने का पाठ तो पढा देते हैं पर हम घर पर अपने ही बडे बुजुर्गो से ऊची आवाज मे बात करते हैं.

ऐसे मे अगर हम अपनी गलती मान लें तो कोई छोटे नही बन जाएगे.बच्चो का सही मार्गदर्शन हमारा पहला और आखिरी कर्तव्य होना चाहिए….

कैसा लगा आपको ये लेख हिंसक होते बच्चे …. जरुर बताईएगा :)

The post हिंसक होते बच्चे appeared first on Monica Gupta.

Add a Comment
7. Katharine Morling

Stitched up Katharine Morling_2


Butterfly Box KATHARINE MORLING_0017


Katharine Morling is an award wining artist working in ceramics, describing her work as “3 dimensional drawings”. She creates her sculptures from porcelain, using a monochromatic aesthetic. Katherine’s work has been featured in the likes of Elle decoration, Country & Town House and Dpi Magazine.

To see more of this amazing artists work visit her website and Facebook page 

0 Comments on Katharine Morling as of 7/7/2015 12:52:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. 9th Harry Potter POP! Vinyl Figure Unveiled!

It looks like another Harry Potter Funko POP! figure is on the horizon! The 9th figure announced is that of Harry holding the Sword of Gryffindor. This will be the third Harry Potter figure in the collection; there were previously two others announced–Harry in his Hogwarts uniform, holding a wand, and a special Quidditch Harry, which is exclusive to Hot Topic pre-release. It has been clarified that the Quidditch Harry will be available to all after the initial release.

Snitchseeker.com reports:

Accordingly, the Quidditch Harry Potter figure is said to be a pre-release exclusive for Hot Topic, while the set with Gryffindor’s sword is indeed the company’s actual exclusive piece.

You can preorder the Harry Potter Pop! Vinyls here. They will be available for purchase later this month.

Thank-you to our friends at Snitchseeker.com for posting about this!



Add a Comment
9. Somewhere over the Rainbow

It was a wonderful time to be in San Francisco. Libraries, a cultural embodiment of inclusion and acceptance, happily shared in the celebrations honoring equality. In this past year, with our focus on diversity in all its aspects, materials, services and our own ranks, it was particularly fitting that we would be at the center of this latest piece of good news. Rainbows were everywhere.

I am struck again and again by the passion of our members. Library work is more a calling than a profession and in this digital age, our work is more vital and less understood. In my presidential year, I was particularly gratified that children’s librarians are embracing their role in helping families determine how and what media to use to help children learn and thrive. The leadership discussion of the ALSC white paper on media mentors was a highlight of the conference for me. The awards ceremonies are always grand and I am always impressed with our members desire to discover the best of the best of what is published for children each year.

My president’s program, MORE TO THE CORE, focused on the premise that excellent informational books are created, loved and read with the same alacrity of our most loved fiction. Words and images combined to ignite imagination and inspiration continue to move the next generation to greater empathy and understanding of our world. We heard from both a creator, award winning illustrator and author Melissa Sweet and practitioner, RIF’s Judy Cheatham. Both speakers’ passion for great literature for children was evident and affirming.

Great books are at the root of children’s ability to understand and empathize with others. That ability gives us hope and moves us all forward to the better world we imagine. This June in San Francisco we were there as we moved a little closer together. I like to think there is a great children’s book waiting somewhere in the imagination of some child that will describe this time for others to remember, imagine and understand.

The post Somewhere over the Rainbow appeared first on ALSC Blog.

0 Comments on Somewhere over the Rainbow as of 7/7/2015 2:14:00 PM
Add a Comment
10. Free Video Training Series on School Visits

Group of Elementary Pupils In ClassroomFor those of you who write children’s books and are interested in school visits, here’s some great news!

I ran a survey several months ago asking you to tell me your biggest question (or fear) about school visits. So many of you responded and shared your concerns and questions, that I’ve decided to provide a FREE Video Training Series that will answer your most burning questions.

The topics will be:

VIDEO #1: 10 Tips for a Successful School Visit (these ten tips will provide you with a solid foundation for doing school visits)

VIDEO #2: Things That Can (and Do) Go Wrong – and How to Deal With Them (we’re always afraid of the unknown, with this video I’m looking to make you more prepared!)

VIDEO #3: Answers to Your Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions (certain questions came up in your submissions again and again – I will answer these critical questions in order to make you feel more confident going into the classroom.)

Click here to sign up for the free training…. but do it quickly. The videos expire on July 14th! Once you sign up, you will soon receive an email giving you access to the first video!

0 Comments on Free Video Training Series on School Visits as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
11. NYPL’s Rose Reading Room Won’t Reopen Until 2017

The Rose Main Reading Room at The New York Public Library’s main branch will remain closed until 2017, after inspectors discovered asbestos while fixing structural damage.

In May 2014, a plaster rosette fell from the ceiling, and the room along with the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room has been shut since for repairs. The library recently revealed the latest status including that they discovered asbestos “in a closed attic above the Rose Main Reading Room.” Here is more from the library’s website update:

Asbestos is commonly found in many older buildings in New York. While we have since removed that asbestos, an examination of the ceiling of the McGraw Rotunda revealed asbestos above the ceiling in an area not accessible to the public or staff, the removal of which is in progress.

The library plans to reopen the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room by fall 2016 and the Rose Main Reading Room by early 2017.

Add a Comment
12. Margaret Atwood to Create Cartoons For a Comics Anthology

Margaret AtwoodAward-winning author Margaret Atwood has become well-known for writing novels, short stories, and children’s books. Now, she will also add “comics artist” to her résumé.

Atwood has agreed to produce artwork for an anthology called The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. According to the Kickstarter page for this book, she “will be contributing her own drawn cartoons detailing her personal experiences as a young woman, created specifically for this project.”

Publisher Hope Nicholson describes this book as a collection of dating and love stories from both the fans and creatives behind video games, comic books, and science-fiction works. To date, this crowdfunding campaign has received more than $60,000 in donations; the initial fundraising goal was set at around $30,000. (via Entertainment Weekly)

Add a Comment
13. Redwall art

Getting this Redwall painting ready to offer at my ETSY shop. I love drawing otters!

0 Comments on Redwall art as of 7/7/2015 10:28:00 AM
Add a Comment
14. Butterfly and Friends!

Bryan Ballinger - www.bryanballinger.com 

0 Comments on Butterfly and Friends! as of 7/7/2015 3:30:00 PM
Add a Comment
15. Curious George and his... tomahawk

Over 2000 libraries have H. A. Rey's Curious George Learns the Alphabet on their shelves.  The book was first published in 1963 by Houghton Mifflin. Here's the bottom of the 't' page:

With that foot in the air, I think it is fair to say that George is doing what he (Rey, really) thinks is some kind of Indian dance. Regular readers of AICL know that I find this sort of play problematic because it immediately lapses into stereotyping.

As noted above, the book was first published in 1963. But, it has been published again and again... most recently (I think), in 2013, with a set of flashcards. That year (2013) was the 50th anniversary of the book, hence, a special 50th Anniversary edition. The local library doesn't have it. I wonder if the 't' page was revised? Do you have that version on your shelf? If yes, I hope you'll take a look and let me know.

0 Comments on Curious George and his... tomahawk as of 7/7/2015 10:26:00 AM
Add a Comment
16. Cover Revealed for New Johanna Basford Coloring Book

Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford (Galleycat)

Artist Johanna Basford has unveiled the cover for Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure & Coloring Book. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?

According to the press release, some of the images being featured in this adult coloring book include “exotic fish, curious octopi, and delicately penned seahorses.” Penguin Random House has scheduled the publication date for October 27.

Add a Comment
17. KidLit Author Events July 7-13


Shimmer!My son is off visiting colleges this week but I’ve got the puppy and a friend’s shiny new manuscript to keep me busy. Because of the silver sprinkles in her black fur we’ve named her Shimmer, Shimmy for short because she backs up with a cute wigiggle. She’s training well, learning to sit, stay and heel but it will be a loooong time before she stops chewing every single thing she can get her teeth on. I’m not sure if it’s because of the barking or the smell of puppy, but our summer guest corn snake, Roger, has been in hiding ever since Shimmer arrived.

We’re still short of author visits this week but there are several events for writers. Sign up and join the fun! For upcoming workshops in the Houston area, see Houston Writer & Illustrator Events.

West Houston RWA
Memorial Drive Christian Church, 11750 Memorial Drive
Shelley Wall: How to Pitch

Shelley Wall,  author of Text Me and Bring It On will be speaking on Pitching.

JULY 11, SATURDAY, 9:30 AM-12:30 PMWritespace
Cassandra Rose Clarke: Worldbuilding
Level: Beginner, Intermediate; Cap: 12
Cost: $30-$45

In fiction, setting can be as an important a character as the people. And in speculative fiction, that character often needs to be built from the ground—and history, and culture, and physics—up. In this workshop, we’ll be tackling worldbuilding. What issues arise when you set a story in a world that’s not our own? How can we build worlds as complex and lived in as the real one? How can we avoid creating the same fantastical world that’s been done a thousand times before? We’ll attempt to answer these questions and more through discussion and writing exercises, and with any luck, you’ll leave the workshop with the seeds of a brand new world.

JULY 11, SATURDAY,1:30 – 5:30 PMWritespace
Elizabeth White-Olsen: Art and Writing
Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced; Cap: 10
Cost: $30-$45

Ever wondered how visual artists work, or are you a visual artist excited by the relationship between writing and art? In this workshop we will explore the magical kinship between art and writing. We will visit the studios of Writespace’s painter neighbors and ask them questions about their relationship with their ideas, materials, and creative processes, as well as watch them work. We will explore writing exercises based on the works we view in the studios of artists such as painter Justin Garcia and photographer John Bernhard. This workshop will consist of group Q&A sessions with artists and ekphrastic writing prompts (meaning, writing inspired by art), as well as time for writers to explore studios and begin poems, essays, and scenes on their own. Please bring a journal and a favorite writing instrument, as inspiration is meant to strike.



Add a Comment
18. Six Steps to Nail Your Plot, Motivation, Character, and Story Opening plus AN EMBER IN THE ASHES Giveaway

I was reading an interview with NYT Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen over on Novel Rocket, yesterday, and she mentioned that her favorite piece of writing advice is to focus on the character's predicament. I love, love, love that, because it actually addresses four different aspects of your WIP.

In one fell swoop, you can nail the core of your character, the movement of your story, the place you start it, and how you tell it.

Here's how.

  1. Start by putting yourself in your character's head. What's her problem? What no-win predicament does she find herself in? Journal this, just as a rough paragraph or two or three, writing as if she is screaming at someone for putting her in that situation. Let it all loose. Imagine the confrontation, all the emotion, the frustration, the desire to move forward and fix something.
  2. Examine that thing that she has to fix and establish the consequences if she fails. Brainstorm why she wants to fix it and jot it down your on one page in a notebook, note software program, or on a Scrivener entry. Why does she need to fix the problem? Why does she have no choice to act to change that situation? 
  3. What is your character willing or forced to give up to fix her predicament? Add a second page to your notes. Write down what is most important to your character. Explore what defines her view of herself, and how this predicament effects that. What wound from her past or weakness of character is going to make it harder for her to repair the problem? What unexpected strengths can she find along the way that will help her?
  4. Now build your plot like dominos. Once you have a pretty good grasp on the predicament itself, it's relatively easy to make a timeline of how the problem, the person who created that problem (or personifies it) and your character intersect. You can build your plot as if it's inevitable: this happened, your character reacted, because your character reacted, this other thing happened, and so on. One thing leads directly to another.
  5. Next, taking into consideration who your character is, find the place in the timeline, or right before what you've jotted down, where the problem first rears its head. This could be something that your character did that set the problem in motion, or something coming in from outside to shake things up, but there has to be a change. This is where you're going to begin your story, on the day that is different, with the first domino. Write down what that incident is.
  6. Finally, put everything together to set up the story. Your opening has to show the inciting incident, suggest the story problem, and jump start the action, but you also want to foreshadow your character's strength and the weakness that is going to hold her back. You want to give us a hint of the personal lesson she will have to learn in order to get out of the predicament she's facing.
That's it. When you look at it from the standpoint of the character's predicament, every aspect of the story comes together. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, and regardless of whether you're writing a fantasy or sci fi novel, a romance, a contemporary, or virtually anything else, these six simple steps will help you get enough information to structure it in a way that will let it feel like it's writing itself. 

Happy writing!

This Week's Giveaway

An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir
Released 4/28/2015





LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier— and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Purchase An Ember in the Ashes at Amazon
Purchase An Ember in the Ashes at IndieBound
View An Ember in the Ashes on Goodreads

More Giveaways

I have exciting news! Want to know the title for the final book in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy? Head on over to Elizziebooks.com. Liz has my first ever video about Compulsion and the title, plus a great new giveaway. There are two additional places to win a necklace and T-Shirt, and you might even find a Persuasion teaser along the way. : )

There's also a grand prize, and you'll be automatically entered to win it when you enter any of the three T-shirt giveaways. But if you'd like even more chances to win, keep an eye out here, and on my Facebook page. I'll be posting a separate Rafflecopter in a little while!

And finally, don't forget. There's a new Compulsion for Reading bag of books this month!

What About You?

Have you wrestled with this kind of an approach to writing your story? Are you a plotter or a pantser, and is this too much or too little planning for you?

As a reader, do you like stories where the plot feels inevitable? Can you think of an example of a book that read like the characters never had any choice but to do what they did?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 Comments on Six Steps to Nail Your Plot, Motivation, Character, and Story Opening plus AN EMBER IN THE ASHES Giveaway as of 7/7/2015 3:40:00 PM
Add a Comment
19. My Butterfly to Be...

My butterfly isn't a butterfly yet - but it will be some day.

John Nez

0 Comments on My Butterfly to Be... as of 7/7/2015 1:04:00 PM
Add a Comment
20. First Look: ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip’ Trailer

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are going on a road trip…

0 Comments on First Look: ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip’ Trailer as of 7/7/2015 2:32:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. The Best Way to Keep Kids Reading Over the Summer

IMG_1654“Kids will always be more excited about reading, if they can choose what to read,” says Stephanie Phelix, Library Media Specialist at Belle Forest Community School in Memphis, TN.

“If it’s a cookbook or the cheat codes to their video games, it’s still reading. When they’re at the grocery store, they can read the signs around the store. If the boys want to read books about Spiderman or comic books, that’s reading too!”

She believes reading of any kind is valuable for her students. This summer, however, she wanted to give her students the best resource to keep them reading over the summer – books they are excited to read.

IMG_1660Stephanie’s school serves students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and goes out of its way to make sure every child is successful.  But as a brand-new school, one thing they didn’t have were  books to send home for the summer. With support from First Book and partner Conn’s HomePlus®, each child was able to choose one book to take home for the summer.

“I tell them, read what you want to read. The books we sent home with them are a great start,” says Stephanie. “Giving them books and other tools at the end of the school year keeps them motivated.”

The post The Best Way to Keep Kids Reading Over the Summer appeared first on First Book Blog.

0 Comments on The Best Way to Keep Kids Reading Over the Summer as of 7/7/2015 10:50:00 AM
Add a Comment
22. Illustration Friday: Sharp

Well.  That's going to hurt.

I originally doodled this thinking about a sharp dive into something wonderful.  My younger daughter suggested stars, so stars it was.  But then it slowly dawned on me, after I had drawn about 70 stars, that those things are rather pointy.  And sharp.  But then my older daughter suggested that perhaps those are cooked pasta stars, the tiny ones that go into soups.  Yes!  Pasta stars!  Nice save.

Speaking of diving into things, I am going to dive into something of my own.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting and learning more about Heather Von St. James.  The more I read, the more I became inspired.

In 2005, just three months after giving birth to her daughter and at the age of 36, Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer.  Without treatment, she had just 15 months to live.  I can't even pretend to know the level of heartbreak and fear she must have felt then.  As a child, Heather liked to wear her father's jacket, which was crusted with drywall dust, essentially wrapping herself in asbestos.  The effects of high asbestos exposure can take decades to manifest, lying in wait.  And when they appeared in Heather, things looked dire.  She underwent a very risky surgery which, thankfully, was successful.  Now, ten years since her diagnosis, she is a cancer research advocate and blogger, bringing awareness to the need for funding and research and helping those battling cancers of their own.  She is a survivor, she is a warrior, and she is awesome!

Heather introduced me to All or Nothing Day, which is coming up on July 26 and which embodies how she strives to live her life since her diagnosis.  All or Nothing Day is about devoting time to live life to the fullest, to be bold, and to push yourself to do things that you've always wanted to do.  So this year, for All or Nothing Day, I have decided to truly put effort into a project I started about five years ago.  As bucket lists go, mine is pretty short.  All the important things, I have and do everyday.  I'm lucky.  But one thing that has been nagging at me is the desire to create a picture book loosely based on the antics and adventures of my daughters.  I'd like them to have something to look back on when they are older that brings back the memories and giggles of a childhood well spent.  I've been working on it in bits and pieces without any cohesiveness.  A few of the images I've even posted for Illustration Friday.  But I'd really like to dive back into it this year and really try to finish it.  I'm hoping that a public declaration, even if it's to the few who visit this blog, will spur me on.

Wish me luck.

July 26.  All or Nothing.  What will you do this year?

0 Comments on Illustration Friday: Sharp as of 7/7/2015 3:12:00 PM
Add a Comment
23. Literary Events This Week: Rocker Corey Taylor and the Queens Museum Children’s Book Celebration

Summer-ReadingHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Rock star Corey Taylor and radio personality Lou Brutus will sit for a conversation about Taylor’s new book, You’re Making Me Hate You. Meet them on Wednesday, July 8th at Bryant Park from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. (New York, NY)

More than one dozen children’s books creators will appear at the Queens Museum Children’s Book Celebration. Check it out on Saturday, July 11th from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Queens, NY)

The next session of the Franklin Park Reading Series will feature a dual paperback launch for A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor and Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman. Join in on Monday, July 13th at the Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden starting 8 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)

Add a Comment
24. ‘The Story of Ebola’ by Yoni Goodman

A short animation for Global Health Media Project about the dangers of Ebola.

0 Comments on ‘The Story of Ebola’ by Yoni Goodman as of 7/7/2015 2:32:00 PM
Add a Comment
25. Begin a Summertime reading series that delightfully jumps into Autumn, Winter and Spring,

I am working on a de-lightfully amusing new four book series with Debbie Estrem that unfolds wonderful memories of childhood uniquely celebrated in each season. We both were children of the 60's-70's and wanted to share some it's activites and adventures with little ones! 
For ages: infant -preschool

Coming Soon from Halo Publishing.

0 Comments on Begin a Summertime reading series that delightfully jumps into Autumn, Winter and Spring, as of 7/7/2015 11:30:00 AM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts