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1. Synopsis 41



Ratman's Revenge

When eleven-year-old CODY feels left out and alone [abandoned] by his too-busy divorced parents and his off-at-summer-camp friends, he ventures into the woods for the first time. There he meets two kids who claim to live in a city deep below the surface of the earth where everyone has amazing paranormal abilities. Of course, Cody doesn’t believe them. [Of course. But later when no one believes Cody about seeing a man-sized rat, he won't understand how they can be so dense.]

The next day, Cody’s mom bails on him when she starts dating a new guy, and Cody’s dad says he’s moving to across the country with his giggly girlfriend. Cody has had enough and storms off to the woods. This time, he begs the kids to take him to their underground city. Even though [when] they warn him [that] once he goes down, he can never go home again, Cody is all-in. [He can never go home because it's against the rules or because it's physically impossible?]

With strange caves to explore and plenty of new friends with crazy abilities, Cody thinks he’s scored the perfect new home. Except outsiders from the surface are not allowed. [So the kids who brought him down and the plenty of new friends he's made are unaware that surfacians aren't allowed?] But when Cody is discovered by the Council of Elders, instead of executing him, they ask for his help. [If execution is the usual penalty for being there, you'd think that would have been mentioned by the kids who brought him down.] With his knowledge of the surface, he may be able to find out what happened to their missing Detectors, the citizens who protect the underground city by patrolling the surface.

As a way to find the Detectors, the council wants to teach Cody paranormal abilities and create a psychic link between Cody and the Detectors. [Have they tried creating a psychic link between the two kids Cody met in the woods and the Detectors?] Cody is determined to help his new home [friends]. The problem is, he’s failing his simplest paranormal classes, and a man-sized rat, RATMAN, attacks [him] every step of the way by using paranormal abilities to create Cody’s dangerous “accidents.”

Since Cody is the only one who sees the giant rat, no one [else] believes Ratman exists. So while Cody struggle[s] to find the Detectors, he wants to figure out who or what Ratman is and why he’s attacking him.

When Cody finally develops visions in his meditation class, he gets glimpses into the mind of Ratman. He discovers [that Ratman is usually thinking about cheese.] there’s a real man behind the rat illusion, [If you're gonna create the illusion that you're an animal, you oughta be able to come up with something better than a rat.] and that man is a vengeful council member, KIRK, who has been using the missing Detectors to locate a mysterious power source that can create an earthquake. Cody fears Kirk is about to get his revenge for the death of his family by destroying the city with a man-made earthquake. [This is the plot of that Star Trek episode where Kirk destroys the planet Romulus as revenge for some Romulan woman digging Spock more than she digs Kirk.] [Also, how did this Elder's family die? Unless everyone in the city was responsible, destroying the city seems like overkill.]

But when the entire Council of Elders is the next to disappear, it’s up to Cody and his friends to stop Kirk. [I see we've decided to call him Kirk instead of Ratman. If Ratman is an illusion and is actually Captain Kirk in a rat costume, maybe the title should be Kirk's Revenge. You'd see huge sales to Trekkies who think it's fanfic.] Despite their best efforts, one of Cody’s friends is killed [The one in the red uniform shirt.] and the remaining friends are held under Kirk’s hypnotic spell.

As the earth begins to shake, Cody is left to face Kirk’s wrath [The Wrath of Kirk] alone and save his new home. Cody draws on the simple talents he had on the surface—quick thinking and telling a convincing lie—to deceive Kirk and refocus the power source to kill him. [Quick thinking and lying may be useful talents, but do they allow you to refocus a power source that's causing an earthquake so that it kills one wererat?] The council and the Detectors are then freed from Kirk’s control. [


Notes

If these other kids are able to come to the surface, why wouldn't Cody be able to come back and go home?

Are the people who were unable to see Ratman able to see Kirk?

Hard to believe they pin all their hopes on an eleven-year-old stranger who fails even the simplest paranormal classes, just because he has some familiarity with the planet's surface. It would be easier to have Cody teach someone who aced his paranormal classes about the surface.

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2. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events July 29-August 4

Our local bookstores are hosting several events this week to keep us reading and out of the heat, plus there may still be room in Houston’s new writers’ workshop venue, Write Space, for this week’s class. Here’s the details:

July 30, Wednesday, 30, 10:00 a.m.  MY BROTHER BOUGHT A PET SNAKE by Deborah Masterson
Katy Budget Books
Deborah Masterson, PB Author/Illustrator

Deborah Masterson joins Storytime to read MY BROTHER BOBBY BOUGHT A PET SNAKE. Bobby buys a pet snake, and now he has a big problem. Can you help him figure out what to do?

Kirkus says, “This cleverly illustrated picture book will have readers pondering their own endings and possibly inventing further adventures for Bobby and Sue.”

August 1, Friday, 3:00-7:00 p.m. THE DRY by Rebecca Nolen
August 2, Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Kroger #017, 1440 Studmont St.
Rebecca Nolen, MG Author

Multi-age group author Rebecca Nolen will be signing books, including her middle grade fantasy, THE DRY. West Virginia, 1895. A deadly dry spell has left the earth parched and souls desperate. Crops are failing. Cities are starving. A missing newspaper man doesn’t account for much in times so terrible, except to the twelve-year-old son he left behind. When Elliot Sweeney discovers the search for his father has been called off, he boards a train alone to find him.

His quest leads Elliot into the depths of an abandoned mine, with a peculiar pocket watch, a blind burro, and a gutsy girl at his side. He discovers a world he never dreamed of, even in his worst nightmares, and lands smack in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Monstrous insects, smiling villains, and dark riddles are everywhere. Deciding who to trust may prove to be his greatest challenge, while the fate of the world above hangs on Elliot’s choice.

August 2, Saturday, 10:00-5:00 p.m. I'M NOT SAYING, I'M JUST SAYING by Matthew Salesses
Write Space
Workshop: Revision Made Simple
Matthew Salesses, Author
Cost: $95.00

This revision workshop is led by Matthew Salesses, author of I’M NOT SAYING, I’M JUST SAYING (Civil Coping Mechanisms). Revision is often held up as the key to good writing. But rarely does an author or editor walk you through concrete strategies for how to revise. There are, however, some real steps one can learn. In this 6-hour course, we will go over 20 of these steps and will emulate some of them with our own stories in class. Students should bring with them the first two pages of a story they want to work on.

August 2, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. UNHINGED: SPLINTERED BOOK 2 by A.G. Howard
Murder By the Book
A.G. Howard, YA Author

A.G. Howard will sign and discuss her young adult novel, UNHINGED (Amulet). In this second book of the Splintered series, Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school. That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland–where she (partly) belongs. Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what’s right? Readers will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard’s bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll’s classic.

August 4, Monday, 7:00 p.m. LUX: OPPOSITION by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jennifer Armentrout, YA Author

Jennifer Armentrout will kick off her tour for OPPOSITION, the fifth book in the LUX series from Entangled Teen. Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came. She can’t believe Daemon stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred. Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

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3. MIDDLE-GRADE FANTASY (for the beach AND the classroom)

Looking for some recommendations for a middle grader who loves fantasy? Well, we’ve got just the list for you!

Here are some stellar picks for the kid looking for magical powers, mysterious forests, heros, and villains to take to the beach with him.

The Thickety

THE THICKETY, by J. A. White, is the start of a new fantasy series set in a world where magic is forbidden but exists in the dark woods called the Thickety. This book would be a great recommendation for fans of the Septimus Heap series, and here’s a book talk prepared by librarian, author, and Common Core workshop presenter Kathleen Odean:

How would you like to have the power to summon amazing creatures to do your will? When Kara finds a book in the Thickety, a dangerous forest, it awakens her magical powers. Local villagers view magic as evil but for Kara, it’s a connection to her mother, who was executed as a witch. The spells thrill Kara until the magic starts to change her in frightening ways. Is Kara in control of the magic—or is it in control of her? If she doesn’t figure it out soon, she could lose everyone and everything she loves.

There’s even a Common Core-aligned discussion guide with activities written by the author, J. A. White—an elementary school teacher! (You may not want to send this to the beach, though. Maybe save it for September.)

 

The Castle Behind Thorns

THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, by Schneider Award winner Merrie Haskell, is a magical adventure set in an enchanted castle that will appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale.

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. Everything in the castle—from dishes to candles to apples—is torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. To survive, Sand does what he knows best—he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

Thinking ahead to the new school year, Common Core applications include: Comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; and analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

The Dyerville Tales

THE DYERVILLE TALES, by M. P. Kozlowsky, tells the story of a young orphan who searches for his family and the meaning in his grandfather’s book of lost fairy tales.

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

If you’d like to bring this one into your classroom next year, Common Core applications include: Determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text; analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone; describing how a particular story’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes; and describing how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw

THE HERO’S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW, by Christopher Healy, is the hilarious and action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed hit series that began with THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they’re on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar’s murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.

And Common Core applications for this one include: Explaining how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text; comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; and analyzing how differences in the points of view of the characters and the reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

Happy reading!

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4. Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad
Author: Howard Binkow
Illustrator: Susan F. Cornelison
Publisher: Thunderbolt Publishing
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9826165-3-6
Pages: 32
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

It’s Howard B. Wigglebottom’s birthday, and he plans to have everything he wants. But a huge brownie sundae for breakfast makes his tummy hurt, the large bag of bubblegum in his mouth prevents him from talking, and the whole bunch of balloons sends him flying across the sky. Why are all the things that normally make him happy making him so miserable instead? Is it because he’s got too much of a good thing?

Howard is a quick learner, and soon realizes that he needs to keep good things in moderation. A discussion guide at the end of the story also provides insights for kids in knowing when enough is enough. Discipline and moderation are skills kids need to be successful in life, and Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad reminds them in a fun and non-preachy manner.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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5. Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese

WONDERFUL FARM HARPER Chicks n ducks n geeseWe’re off tomorrow to spend a few days with the Sendak Fellows, Nora Krug and Harry Bliss, at a farm Maurice owned in upstate New York. (Why did he need a farm? Did he need a place to get away from it all from his place to get away from it all in the wilds of rural Connecticut?). The management tells me my job there is to “be Maurice,” but someone and his pal Wolfie are up in heaven laughing themselves sick at that suggestion. Instead, I imagine myself poking my head around easels, saying “perhaps a little more green there, Nora” or “Harry, you know, Brownie here would make an excellent companion to Bailey, yes?”

I guess the one thing I can tell them about is what Maurice loved and hated–and it was generally one or the other, whether it came to his taste in pictures, movies, TV, books, music or food. “I love it!” “I hate it!” The tricky thing with him, though, is that even though you coulda sworn he’d said he loved something, catch him ten minutes later and his passion had reversed. What I wish I had was Maurice’s talent for contagious enthusiasm: he could make you love what he loved, even if, years later, you finally–secretly and hoping he doesn’t overhear–admit you really don’t find Christa Wolf all that enjoyable.

I’m sure I’ll think of something to say. And we’re going to Tanglewood to meet Lizzie Borden; we’ll show Brownie the land of his birth (he was found wandering in the Berkshire woods); and I’m to be given the opportunity to milk goats. I hope I can see them run!

 

share save 171 16 Chicks n ducks n geese

The post Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese appeared first on The Horn Book.

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6. Guest post by Tracy E. Banghart: Alloy Entertainment Partners With Amazon To Create A New Digital-First Imprint, and her previously self-published book is included. Enter to win $25 Amazon gift card.

Hello! My name is Tracy and I am so excited to be here today, celebrating with my blogger buddies! WHAT are we celebrating, you ask? Well, today marks the launch of a very exciting, special new program. Alloy Entertainment (of Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fame) has partnered with Amazon to create a new imprint! As a “Powered By Amazon” imprint, it will be exclusively distributed by Amazon. Here’s more info from the official press release:


“Today, Amazon Publishing and Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group, announced a digital-first imprint that will focus on young adult, new adult and commercial fiction. The new imprint, named Alloy Entertainment, will be part of Amazon Publishing’s Powered by Amazon program. Powered by Amazon enables publishers and authors to leverage Amazon’s global distribution and personalized, targeted marketing reach.”


I am super super proud to share that my previously self-published novel, Shattered Veil, is one of the inaugural books in this program! It has been retitled REBEL WING, given a new cover (check out the beauty below!), fully edited, and I am so, SO excited to share it with you today! In addition, two other books are part of the launch, and they are AWESOME. Read on for more info and purchase links for EVERY UGLY WORD by Aimee L. Salter and IMITATION by Heather Hildenbrand.


REBEL WING


YA Scifi Adventure


“I’ve never been actively jealous of a fictional character .  . . until now. Aris’s adventures set my imagination on fire, and made my heart take flight.” ~Kass Morgan, author of New York Times bestseller The 100


Description


The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.
Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.

Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.


About Me

Award-winning author, Army wife, and mom Tracy Banghart has an MA in Publishing and an unhealthy affection for cupcakes. Her quiet childhood led to a reading addiction, writing obsession, and several serious book boyfriends. Rebel Wing is her third novel.  She can be found at www.tracybanghart.com 


EVERY UGLY WORD

By Aimee L. Salter

Description

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school, bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and The List, Every Ugly Word is a gripping and emotional story about the devastating consequences of bullying.

About Aimee

Aimee L. Salter lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and son. She writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you’re really thinking. And she’ll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn’t.

Aimee blogs for both writers and readers at www.aimeelsalter.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Every Ugly Word is her debut novel.


IMITATION

By Heather Hildenbrand

Description

Everyone is exactly like me.
There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

Fans of Cinder, The Selection and Sara
Shepard’s Lying Game series will love Imitation, a thrilling, action-packed novel sure
to keep readers guessing until the very last page.



About Heather

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she’s not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she’s lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays. Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she’d grab is her DVR player. You can find out more about her and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com 

Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released.

Please join me, Aimee, and Heather, along with some other great YA authors for a Facebook party this afternoon to celebrate the big launch! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!  

Thanks so much to my wonderful bloggers friends who are helping me spread the word!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7. Early Theme Adopters: Bloggy

Designed by Anariel Design, Bloggy is a stylish, sophisticated, and versatile premium theme that showcases text and photography equally well.

What’s more, Bloggy sports Special Elite — a distinctive default font — on the site title, post titles, navigation, and text widgets:

specialelitetitles

If Special Elite isn’t your style, the Custom Design Upgrade offers scads of additional fonts to choose from.

Let’s tour a few sites that use Bloggy for some customization inspiration.

R.M. ENGELHARDT

ressurectionwaltz

Prolific poet R.M. Engelhardt uses Bloggy to great effect to promote his most recent volume of poetry, The Resurrection Waltz. The black background and chunky all-caps site title and tagline lend a distinct gravitas, wouldn’t you agree? Engelhardt uses Bloggy‘s custom header feature to load one of four header images at random. The grainy black and white images lend portent and emphasize the sense of a serious poet at work.

OBJECTIF SANTE ~ FORME

objectif

Julie Catherine Gagnon is a kinesiologist and professional figure skating coach. We especially loved the large, inviting custom header image at OBJECTIF SANTE ~ FORME. It combines light-green leaves and slim, elegant type which underscore the healthful focus of the articles on her French-language site.

Food To Glow

foodtoglow

Be prepared to feast your eyes on some recipes! American expat Kellie Anderson, blog proprietress of Food To Glow, uses stunning, large-scale photographs to show off her culinary feats. Kellie’s light background and muted typography allow her food photos to whet your appetite for her tantalizing recipes.

Looking for more Bloggy inspiration? Check out:

While Bloggy is a premium theme, there’s a wealth of free themes you can choose from to create just the look you’re after for your blog.


Filed under: Customization, Themes

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8. Marcus Garvey Centennial Exhibit Scheduled For African-American Research Library



                                                                                                        Marcus Garvey’s UNIA-ACL: The Centennial Exhibit, a month-long, mixed-media exhibition, will be on view to the public during August 2014 in the gallery of the African American Research Library & Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale. The Centennial Exhibit is scheduled to run from Friday, August 1, 2014, through to Friday, August 29,2014, and will focus on the life, times and modern day legacy of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA-ACL.

The unique exhibition is being mounted by the Rootz Foundation Inc. in association with the Broward County Library and Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s international organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association & African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). The Centennial Exhibit will be open to the public during normal library hours.

Dr. Julius Garvey M.D., son of Marcus Garvey, will be the special guest of honor for the Centennial Exhibit’s opening reception, which takes place from 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm on Friday, August 1, 2014 at the Research Library & Cultural Center located at 2650 NW 6th Street in Fort Lauderdale.

Broward County District 9 Commissioner Dale Holness is scheduled to read a proclamation by the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County declaring August 2014 as “The Right Excellent Marcus Garvey Jr. Appreciation Month” in Broward County, Florida. The proclamation is signed by Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief.

The Centennial Exhibit consists of a large collection of public and private Garvey family photographs; vintage photographs of the UNIA membership on the march and attending organization events; posters and handbills promoting the 1920s Black Star Line shipping endeavor; a variety of press clippings, books and magazines related to the Garvey movement; inspiring quotes by Garvey himself and insightful quotes about Garvey by other famous notables; historical data and timelines; plus looped audio-visual displays.

The informative special exhibit is geared specifically for students and others who are interested in learning more about the life and achievements of the Jamaican and Pan-American hero, the global impact of his organization, and about ongoing efforts by many different organizations and individuals to continue his legacy. One of the most unique aspects of this exhibition is the photographic and other materials detailing the existence of the UNIA-ACL today in 21st century America and showcasing the organization’s present day membership and its current activities internationally.

The opening reception will mark both Emancipation Day 2014 - a day of special significance for many Caribbean and African countries - as well as the start of this year’s extended Marcus Garvey Rootz Extravaganza. The Rootz Extravaganza is staged annually by the Rootz Foundation Inc. to observe and celebrate the birth of Marcus Garvey, the Jamaica-born Pan-African patriarch and hero.

Educational psychologist and Garvey scholar, Dr. Umar Johnson will be the guest speaker at this year’s Rootz Extravaganza on Sunday, August 17 at the Lauderdale Lakes Educational & Cultural Center at 3580 W. Oakland Park Boulevard. The event is scheduled from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm and will commemorate the 127th anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s birth as well as the 100th anniversary of the UNIA-ACL.

Marcus Garvey and Amy Ashwood Garvey established the UNIA-ACL in Kingston, Jamaica in July 1914. After Garvey relocated the organization’s headquarters to Harlem, New York in 1917, the UNIA-ACL became the largest organization of Black people in the world. At its height, with UNIA branches proliferating throughout the Caribbean, North, South and Central America, and Africa, membership in the organization soared to over 6-million people.


Dr. Julius Garvey M.D.

Friday, August 1, 2014 
4:00--6:00 p.m.
Research Library & Cultural Center

2650 NW 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale.

For more information call Rootz Foundation at 754-264-2205.

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9. My office featured in Andrea Skyberg's Tuesday Studio Tours today!

Thanks to Andrea Skyberg for featuring my Office Cave in her Tuesday Studio Tours today.

Find out why my office looks NOTHING like the rest of the house, how my hero husband Jeff helped enhance my office, my envy of those who have appealing-sounding creative rituals, music I'm listening to (including Ookla the Mok) and a sampling of my new OfficeCrazyDanceBreak playlist, the most useful tool in my studio, and advice for those who want to make a personal space where they can be creative. Plus LOTS of photos!

Thank you, Andrea!

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10. Free today: Nest. Flight. Sky., my Shebooks memoir (or any Shebook, for that matter)

Today and tomorrow, my friends, you can download one Shebook for free.

Go to the site. 

Use FREEBOOK as the promo code.

Find a shady spot.

Read.

I'd be so honored if you chose my memoir, Nest. Flight. Sky. But any Shebooks book will do

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11. China Dolls (2014)

China Dolls. Lisa See. 2014. Random House. 376 pages. [Source: Library]

China Dolls is historical fiction. The novel follows three women through the latter days of the 1930s through the 1940s. Three very different women I might add. The friendship between these three women is not quite pure or ideal. Grace, one of the heroines, is running away from an abusive father. Her dream is to sing and dance and to go into show business. Ruby, another heroine, is also a dancer and performer. Helen is the third heroine. Before a chance meeting with Ruby and Grace, Helen had no big dreams of show business. In fact, Helen could not even dance! Yet, a chance meeting one day led all three women to audition for an Oriental nightclub. (For the record, Oriental is the term used throughout China Dolls.) Talent is only half of what is required, they learn. Appearance is super important. It is more important to be beautiful and amazing and be somewhat teachable than to be incredibly talented. Helen and Grace are hired to be essentially part of a chorus. (They're called Ponies.) But Ruby remains a part of their lives. For better or worse.

While each woman is given a back story and/or a sob story, I had a hard time liking any of the characters. Helen, Grace, and Ruby may spend time together, but, that doesn't mean they like each other and want each other to succeed. Helen, Ruby, and Grace could be quite mean and awful to each other.

The history is interesting. The story is certainly full of drama. The characters are incredibly flawed and remain consistently selfish.

I liked it fine, but, I definitely did not love it.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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12. Save the date! Baking Day At Grandma's book release party!


Join us for an afternoon of fun and have your book signed by both the author and illustrator!

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13. Bluewater Productions & PETA Create a Poster Protesting Against Killer Whale Cruelty

Bluewater Productions and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have partnered together to create a promotional poster.

The 20-foot cartoon piece is being used to protest against the cruel handling of orcas at SeaWorld theme parks. It is displayed at Terminal 2 inside the San Diego International Airport.

Here’s more from the press release: “Bluewater, known for its edgy spoofs of controversial topics, designed the cartoon in the wake of last year’s hit documentary Blackfish. The film—viewed by 21 million on CNN alone—explored SeaWorld’s cruel capture and devastating confinement of orcas, which led the whale named Tilikum to kill three people.”

SeaWorld has made a public statement against this act. According to the Times of San Diego, the executives at SeaWorld claim that “the truth is that our killer whales are healthy and happy, and thrive in our care. The real animal welfare organization is SeaWorld, not PETA, and our trainers, aviculturists, animal-care staff and veterinarians are the true advocates for animals.”

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14. Inukshuks

 

 

Inukshuks

Rushing! Whizzing!

Cutting thru the rocky spine of Canada.

Speeding south and sun-bound.

Returning to humidity and hot nights.

Pure crystal clear skies live here

When stones align as little people.

They beckon us home.

Asking us to stay and share our spirits for a minute.

We rush south towards the chaos

And the concrete of Toronto.

A meeting place beside the lake.

Where our native friends called sacred.

Now a social magnet for the other world

To live and walkabout.

Under those hideous wires of so called progress.

We speed westward to the coolness of the vineyards,

Stretching away before us.

We pass below the cool, green maples,

Shifting slowly in the summer breeze.

We stop and smell the air, full of warmed ground.

Tasting the fruit of glacial soil.

We sip at the cup of plenty

And allow our senses

To see this beauty in taste and vision.

The French oak floors beneath our feet.

The sculptured gardens all around us.

We look across the widening lake

And see the mighty dynamo of Canada,

Poised ghostly on the rippling horizon.

Walking now under the majestic maples

Of main street.

 With melded voices

Seated at pavement cafes

We sip at the cup of magic

And meet new friends

With the tembre of Quebecois in their voices.

We walk, with soft hands together

Towards O’Neal at night, as his play

Unfolds beneath our feet.

We walk again and return to our home

On wheeled feet, now quiet for the night.

Softly, together we sleep

And pass another night in our Great Lake space.

The stones have shown us where to go.

Denis Hearn 2009

 

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15. long neck


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16. Softy - available on REE soon!!

Hi everyone, 
I want to introduce you to my pal, Softy.  Softy introduced me to the tastiest Food Truck Festivals, when I first moved to San Francisco over 3 years ago. Softy is a Mexican Chocolate favor ice-cream - He is the coolest and the hottest!!  The dude can catch fire ... quite literally!! 

Softy will soon be available on Ree!!  
Please like and support him!!  

Yours truly,
Minty, the ice-cream cone

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17. Things That Make Me Happy







































Publishers Weekly Children's Books Fall 2014

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18. "Firefly July" Wins NEIBA Award

Firefly July, A Year of Very Short Poems, which was our Environmental Book Club selection earlier this month, has won the 2014 New England Independent Booksellers Association New England Book Award in the children's category. These awards are given for books either about New England, set in New England, or by an author living in New England.

Firefly July is an anthology compiled by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

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19. On this morning's walk..

A black bear crossed my path!

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20. Now coming to you from Oregon

AshlandPart of the reason for no post on Monday is that I'm in the midst of a move to Ashland, Oregon, a lovely place we lived 20 years ago and are happy to return to. We're staying with friends while we look for a house (timing was such that we had to put our household into storage--bummer).

But I should be able to continue posting as usual--NOTE: could use some more chapters to flog, the queue is at two (this week's supply).

Go here to see what Ashland and the valley it's in look like. It's in southern Oregon and is a high desert climate, not the rainy climate people associate with Oregon.

See you tomorrow.

Ray

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21. The Open Window

You had that dream again. The one where the beast with the drooping hands and wicked fangs stares you down from your window. Except the windows open this time—and you’re awake! What happens next?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more creative writing prompts? Pick up a copy of
A Year of Writing Prompts: 365 Story Ideas for Honing
Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block. There’s a prompt for
every day of the year and you can start on any day.

writing-prompts

Order now from our shop.

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22. SDCC ’14: Cover Story: The Art of the Cover – panel recap

By Matthew Jent

Oh, gang. What a fun panel.

Moderated by legend-in-his-own-time Mark Evanier, “Cover Story: The Art of the Cover” took five artists, gave them five of their own covers apiece, and had them talk about them. The covers had been chosen ahead of time, without the artists’ knowledge, and Mark hoped at least one of the choices would be a cover the artist didn’t like.

“Even if we take some potshots at your covers — it’s coming from a place of affection. Even Rembrandt had a worst painting.”

The Cover Story panel: Evanier, Conner, Staples, Brooks, Lee, Sakai.

The Cover Story panel: Evanier, Conner, Staples, Brooks, Lee, Sakai.

We’d be here foreverlong if we went cover-by-cover, so let’s just hit some highlights.

Amanda Conner.

“Jack Kirby hated doing covers,” Mark explained. “He never knew when to do them. Before the comic, he didn’t know what the most exciting scene would be. During the comic, he didn’t want to interrupt his flow. When he was done, he wasn’t emotionally invested in that issue anymore.”

“I agree with Jack,” Amanda said. “I prefer sequential storytelling. I like Norman Rockwell — when you can look at a piece of art and tell lots of things are going on in it.”

Barbie42

Barbie #42. Marvel Comics. Art by Amanda Conner.

“Okay — this was before I got into storytelling. Boy, they made me make her way too skinny.”

JSA Classified #4, DC Comics. Art by Amanda Conner.

JSA Classified #4. DC Comics. Art by Amanda Conner.

“Y’know — geez, lookit her boobs! I wanted to pull a moment of time out to focus on the cover, a moment that happens in between panels. So you don’t see this in the book, but it still moves the story along. Paul Mounts colored it — I put the stars in the background, but he did the burst. If I trust him and leave the background blank, he goes in and does a nice design.”

This cover gave Mark the opportunity to tell a Wally Wood/Power Girl anecdote, with Amanda’s encouragement: “Wally said, ‘I’m going to make her boobs larger every issue until somebody stops me. I think they just took him off the book instead.”

Zatanna #12. DC Comics. Art by Amanda Conner.

Zatanna #12. DC Comics. Art by Amanda Conner.

“Okay, I don’t always do big boobs, guys. This is another example of moments in time you don’t see often. Zatanna lives in San Francisco now, and I wondered, what does she do every morning, before she goes to fight things that want to destroy the universe? Probably the same things I do: get a cup of coffee, and a muffin, and read her iPad. Except, on the Golden Gate Bridge. My favorite thing is showing well-known superheroes doing an everyday thing that you and I do.”

Fiona Staples.

“Last night were the Eisner Awards, aka the Fiona Staples Show,” said Mark, by way of introduction. “The best thing about the Eisners is that whoop from the audience when they agree, yeah, that’s the one that deserves it.”

Done to Death #1. IDW. Art by Fiona Staples.

Done to Death #1. Markosia Publishing. Art by Fiona Staples.

“This was my first issue of my first comic. It was an oil painting, before I did everything digitally. They cropped it, but — that would have been my call. It’s an awkward place to cut off the image, at a joint, at the neck.”

Saga #18. Image Comics. Art by Fiona Staples.

Saga #18. Image Comics. Art by Fiona Staples.

“For Saga, the cover is part of the entire package. We don’t give away much story on our Saga covers. I usually do the cover before he scripts it — Brian told me, put Lying Cat on this one and make it dark. I had a feeling something bad was going to happen, so I gave Lying Cat a bloody mouth, like she’d taken a bite out of one of our heroes.”

Mark Brooks.

“For the last few years, I’ve been pretty exclusively a cover artist. It’s not really storytelling — I’m trying to sell the book. The cover has to be done the month before Previews hits — if we’re lucky, we have a short paragraph of what happens on the inside. The beauty of designing a character as a cover artist — I don’t have to worry about the interior artist who has to draw every angle of that character for 22 pages.”

Amazing Fantasy #1. Marvel Comics. Art by Mark Brooks.

Amazing Fantasy #1. Marvel Comics. Art by Mark Brooks.

“My first for Marvel, ten years ago. It was introducing a new Spider-Girl. I really stunk at foreshortening, so her leg looks really weird. Joe Quesada designed the character, but I put in the pouches around her wrist — I still don’t know what purpose they would serve.” (An audience member shouts out — chaptstick!)

Cable/Deadpool #14. Marvel Comics. Art by Mark Brooks.

Cable/Deadpool #14. Marvel Comics. Art by Mark Brooks.

“One of the few times Cable got one up on Deadpool. But to keep them in frame, I had to have him hold the gun by the trigger and almost let it fall down, over Deadpool’s head. To this day, I think it looks very weird.”

Mark Evanier chimed in that, in earlier days, Marvel would have rejected this one because the figures obscured the title.

“That’s different now,” Brooks said. “I can pretty much cover up the entire title, as long as it’s with the main character of the book.”

Deadpool #30. Marvel Comics. Art by Mark Brooks.

Deadpool #30. Marvel Comics. Art by Mark Brooks.

“In the original solicit, Deadpool was dressed like Jimi Hendrix. Marvel found out Hendrix’s estate is very litigious. I had to go in and take out the striped shirt, take off the wig, and flip it so he wasn’t playing left-handed.”

Jae Lee.

“I always think I enjoy covers, but I always regret doing them. I’m not a fan of showing these out of sequence, because I’m afraid the same re-used images are going to crop up. I won’t have a lot to say about these because they were all done in a mad rush to get into the solicitations.”

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #3. DC Comics. Art by Jae Lee.

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #3. DC Comics. Art by Jae Lee.

“This was done for solicitation. It was an Ozymandias book, but the cover features the Comedian. Where this fight was happening, they were surrounded by falling action figures. I hadn’t finished it, so I cropped it and said, is this good enough for now? I said I would come back and finish it later. But I never finished it.”

Batman/Superman #8. DC Comics. Art by Jae Lee.

Batman/Superman #8. DC Comics. Art by Jae Lee.

“This was tough. It’s my second time drawing a car. I’ve been doing this 22 years and managed never to draw a car. I don’t know how to draw cars, so it has to be mangled. I don’t know how artists draw those things. The tires — I don’t know how you guys do it.”

“Also, Power Girl was much bigger than Superman, so we had to reduce her digitally. But then her head looked too big, so we had to reduce he head separately. It became a kind of Frankenstein project. I have a hard time looking at it.”

Amanda chimed in by saying she has no problem with cars, but hates drawing mangled wreckage.

“Oh, we should trade off,” Jae said.

Stan Sakai.

“I hate doing covers. I hate it with a passion. I have been doing covers with the same character for the past 30 years, so it’s difficult to think of a different situation for that character. The covers are done months ahead of time, and my writer, who is me, often has no idea what is going to happen in the interiors.”

Usagi Yojimbo #46. Dark Horse Comics. Art by Stan Sakai.

Usagi Yojimbo #46. Dark Horse Comics. Art by Stan Sakai.

“This was a commission — a guy commissioned me to do a kite festival. So it was four connected pages. We used it for two consecutive covers. The colorist is Tom Bluth, who is my colorist of choice. In Tom’s case, it’s always — do what you want, Tom. I give him very little direction. I’m surprised sometimes by his choices, but it’s always better than I would color things.”

Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamsters #1. Eclipse. Art by Stan Sakai.

Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamsters #1. Eclipse. Art by Stan Sakai.

“Strictly a job for the money.”

“That’s funny,” Evanier added, “I worked for Eclipse  — I don’t remember there being any money.”

Usagi Yojimbo #101. Dark Horse Comics. Art by Stan Sakai.

Usagi Yojimbo #101. Dark Horse Comics. Art by Stan Sakai.

“In Usagi, there’s always a little skull when somebody dies, and a guy always writes in saying how many skulls I had in that issue. So for this cover I drew as many skulls as I could. But then the guy didn’t write in, and I was disappointed. There was no logo, but Usagi is iconic now — when people see Usagi, they know it’s a Usagi cover.”

Donald Duck Adventures #32. Walt Disney Publications. Art by Stan Sakai.

Donald Duck Adventures #32. Walt Disney Publications. Art by Stan Sakai.

“Aw, I hate working for Disney. They kept saying ‘do it on model,’ but they didn’t give me any models! I must have drawn this duck’s head 7 times. The problem was, I was following the European design, which I prefer, and it’s a little different there.”

Evanier closed the panel by thanking everyone for participating, and saying he hoped panels like these remind folks that there’s always a story and a person behind the design choices of covers.

“These panels remind people — someone actually designed that. It gives people an appreciation for the art of the cover.”

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23. Amazon Picks 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime

Looking for books to read to your kids? Amazon editors have put together a children’s book edition of its series of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime lists.

The list includes classics such as Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham and Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon. The list also includes modern favorites such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

We’ve embedded the entire list after the jump for you to explore. (more…)

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24. Haruki Murakami’s New Novel Excerpted on Slate

Haruki Murakami‘s new novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage comes out next month.

Slate has an excerpt of the RandomHouse  book, which is currently available for preorder. Check it out:

“I have a kind of weird story related to death. Something my father told me. He said it was an actual experience he had when he was in his early twenties. Just the age I am now. I’ve heard the story so many times I can remember every detail. It’s a really strange story—it’s hard even now for me to believe it actually happened— but my father isn’t the type to lie about something like that. Or the type who would concoct such a story. I’m sure you know this, but when you make up a story the details change each time you retell it. You tend to embellish things, and forget what you said before. … But my father’s story, from start to finish, was always exactly the same, each time he told it.”

 

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25. Ah, Sweet Messiness of Life

I now have just three Hollins days left before I fly home to real life on Friday.

How happy these six weeks have been. The daily early morning walks, two or three times around the 1.75 mile perimeter of this beautiful, pastoral campus with fellow writers Candice and Elizabeth and whoever else cares to join us. Stimulating classes with my seven creative writing graduate students, each one doing her best to meet my challenge of drafting an entire 15,000-word chapter book in a month: two have turned theirs in to me already. Weekly one-on-one meetings with most of them, sometimes in my office, sometimes curled up on the couch in the third floor lounge in Swanannoa, sometimes over a meal, sometimes while eating ice cream. Evening talks several times a week by the greats of our profession - Candace Fleming, Han Nolan, fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes - as well as emerging new voices. Reconnecting with so many dear friends from my past.

During this six week span, I wrote the entire draft of my spelling bee book, received probing editorial comments on it, leaped into revision mode, and emailed it off to my editor this morning, with a somewhat feeble "Ta-dah!" but a "Ta-dah" nonetheless. I worked through the copy-edited manuscript of my Nora ant farm book. I sent the fifteen copy-edited chapters of my Ethics and Children's Literature collection to the contributors for their final approval. A slacker, I have not been! 

Yet, despite many, many hours spent writing, teaching, and talking to students, it's been an enormously restorative, even restful, six weeks for me. I eat my easy-peasy meals in the Hollins cafeteria or cut up a farmers' market peach topped with Greek yogurt, a handful of blueberries, and a drizzle of honey. I have only the clothes I brought with me in my carry-on luggage. I am far away from so many cares.

Come Friday, I'll have to deal with the leak that ruined the downstairs bathroom ceiling at home while I was away. I'll have to figure out if I can really live on the amount of money I can earn with my pen. There are people there who need me. I may even have to cook a meal or two!

My dear wise friend Billie pointed out to me that if I stayed at Hollins longer, it would become real life, and then it would become messy, too. Real life is messy. There's no getting around that. In real life, real people need us, and real leaks cause real damage leading to real repairs followed by real (and really expensive!) mold mitigation (as I know too well from how I spent the first half of June before departing for Hollins).

But that's okay. Real life also has a grandbaby to hold, who turned five months old while I was away, and who can now laugh and roll over from back to tummy. Real life has my summer women's book group at church, and hikes with my friend Rowan. Real life has lots more writing in it, and I do love to write. Real life is messy, yes, but there is sweetness in the glorious mess of it, too.


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