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1. Avengers : Rage of Ultron (Official Trailer)

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2. An Indian headdress in WINNIE AND WALDORF by Kati Hites

I am always glad when people write to me about problems they see in children's books. In recent weeks I've heard from a few people about Winnie and Waldorf.  A picture book written and illustrated by Kati Hites, it was released on March 5th of this year.

School Library Journal's review says that "Families with dogs will see the humor in this mixed-media and digitally illustrated book; cat lovers will be shaking their heads in wonder."

Let's add... "People who find kids donning Indian headdresses will also be shaking their heads as they wonder when this sort of thing will end."

There's no reason for this:

Winnie wears that "formal attire" to her sister's violin concert. The feathers obscure the view, so this happens:

If that was a real headdress, nobody would do that to it. They carry a great deal of significance. They aren't playthings to handle in that way.

That headdress, as Winnie says, is her "most formal attire." In the story, she isn't playing Indian. It wouldn't make it ok if she was, I hasten to say, but there is a backstory for it, right? Hites had a backstory for having that item amongst the items Winnie uses to dress up. What is that backstory?!

Of course, Hites has an editor over at HarperCollins. I wonder who that person is? Did they talk about that headdress? I hope someone reads this post and shares it with Hites and her editor.

0 Comments on An Indian headdress in WINNIE AND WALDORF by Kati Hites as of 4/1/2015 9:05:00 PM
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3. A recipe for a story

recipeforstoryI would never normally encourage underhand or devious behaviour, but today I’m most wholeheartedly advocating cooking the books!

Recipe For a Story by Ella Burfoot is a joyous and playful guide on how to have great fun creating a story good enough to eat. A little girl tells us, in lilting rhyme, how she weighs out her words, mixes in characters, adds flavour with feelings, colours and sounds, sprinkles in some punctuation and glazes her baking with happiness, all to ensure her story is a delicious read.

And Ella Burfoot’s book is indeed a very appetising offering! Both text and illustration are clever and comical, creating an enormously enjoyable story to share, but one which also offers scope for learning about aspects of bookmaking and storytelling; this is a book which could work as well in the classroom as at home on the sofa.

Illustrations full of jokes about both books and food offer lots to ensure repeat reading will be requested, with new details being discovered each time. The images also ooze happiness (there are so many smiles in this book, including a gorgeous one created – presumably – by Burfoot’s own child at the front of the book) and a charming child-like innocence. Burfoot’s use of pencil, crayon and collage in the illustration, at times reminding me of Louise Yates‘s work, will inspire kids not only to try writing their own stories, but also to illustrate them.



Recipe For a Story by Ella Burfoot is delicately and sweetly flavoured feel-good treat perfect for feeding the writing bug! Bon appetit!


Now I’ve got a bit of a thing for edible books so I knew I had try my hand at making book slices inspired by Burfoot’s pie illustration above. After all, a slice of pie or cake has just the right shape to represent an open book. One Victoria sponge and inordinate amounts of icing later I had a teatime treat ready for my girls:



Like Recipe For a Story, these books made from cake and icing were devoured with delight.

M and J then wanted to set up their own “story kitchen” with jars full of special ingredients. Old jars, labels and a few cut-up newspapers later, we had our ingredients all ready to be mixed up in bowls and turned into stories of our own.


The girls cut out words they liked from a variety of newspapers and magazines:


Jam jar labels were filled in with the names of various ingredients:


The girls created jars for “Quality Adverbs”, “Juicy Adjectives”, “Nonsense words”, “Crazy words”, “Hyphens”, “Book words” and my personal favourite, “Kim’s tiny words from concentrate”.


We used shop-bought labels but if you’ve a good printer you could print your own jam jar labels at home – here’s a Pinterest board full of ideas.

Whilst eating cake and filling our story kitchen cupboards with good ingredients we listened to:

  • Sunshine Cake by Mike & Carleen Mccornack – this is a perfect match for the book reviewed today.
  • Bookmobile Submarine by John Hadfield (a surreal but fun song and video)
  • Doodle Book by Ocean Colour Scene
  • Other activities which could be paired nicely with reading Recipe For a Story include:

  • Helping your kids create their own books. This video tutorial shows you how to fold a piece of paper to create a mini book waiting to be filled with stories and illustration.
  • Encouraging a sense of real ownership of the books your kids already have at home, by letting them put customised book plates inside them. My Home Library is a fabulous source of bookplates designed by some of the world’s best illustrators free for you to print off and stick in your books. Many bookplates can be coloured in too.
  • Investigating the options for printing the stories your children create. Here’s my round-up post exploring many of the different publishing options available to kids and families who want to create their own books.
  • What’s your favourite recipe for a good story?

    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of Recipe For a Story by the publisher.

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    4. Hold Me

    Bookman and I were out last night learning how to fix a flat tire on our bikes. The weather was nice enough and it is light late enough that we were able to ride over to the bike shop. We were the only two people there for the class which was kind of nice actually. Since it was such a lovely evening we had the class outside behind the shop. The instructor and I both turned out to be seasonal allergy sufferers so we had a bonding moment over that. If you don’t have seasonal allergies, you have no idea what a mixed blessing spring is especially after the long cold winters we have in Minnesota.

    The class was conducted as if we were roadside, out riding and, oh no! flat tire! The hardest part about the whole thing for me was opening the quick release lever on my back wheel. Quick release my ass. The second hardest thing was getting enough air in my tire. My road bike tire is supposed to be up to 120psi and at 90 I had to start leaning my weight into the pump handle to force the air in. At 100 I was practically doing a handstand on the pump. At 110, the handle would not budge. But apparently close enough is good enough, which is a relief. After the class we got a discount on patch kits and a little pump that attaches to the bike. I feel so prepared for long distance rides now!

    But you don’t care about that, you want to know about books. Well, another book arrived for me at the library because even when I keep my hold request queue at five or less, when it rains it pours. Add to my reading pile When books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win WWII by Molly Guptill Manning. It recounts the campaign (begun by librarians!) to send free books to American troops. Over a million paperback books were sent to troops. Should be an interesting piece of history.

    Also unexpectedly arriving was Missing Person by Patrick Modiano. It’s a slim book, but something tells me it is not going to be a fast read.

    Since this left only one book in my hold queue, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, and that one is on order and not at the library for lending yet, I figured it was okay to add two more books to my hold queue.

    So I added The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits. The library has this one on order too so it might be a little while before I get it. After reading old diaries from when she was younger and realizing she was not how she remembered herself and her diaries were all about worries over grades and boys and being popular, Julavits decides to try again and see if she can write a diary of her current life that is what she wished her old diaries were like.

    The other book I added is Ongoingness: The End of a Diary by Sarah Manguso. Two new books about diaries. Is this going to be the start of a trend? This one has been published and I am 15th in the queue. The odds are good that it and the Julavits will both be mine at the same time because that’s the way these things work. Ongoingness is a book-length essay about the diary Manguso has kept for 25 years and continues to keep. It is about why she started and how it has become a kind of spiritual practice.

    As someone who has been keeping a diary since the age of eleven, I always find books about diaries fascinating. It is such a personal, private thing that having a glimpse into the diary-keeping of other people is a special kind of thrill.

    Lunch time reading spot

    Lunch time reading spot

    Today was a beautiful, warm day in spite of the gusty wind. It is early enough in spring that high winds on an otherwise pleasant day are not enough to keep me indoors so I went outside and sat on a bench in the law school courtyard. There are a couple of these benches in the courtyard and when the weather is fine from now until it is too cold in the fall, I spend my lunch breaks during the week sitting on one of them and reading while I eat. Sometimes I share bits of bread from my sandwich with the birds. One year there were baby rabbits I would share carrot sticks with. It’s a generally quiet place with the hum of downtown Minneapolis serving as white noise in the background. And sometimes there are other people out enjoying the weather and a quiet read too. Today I was the only one. Bliss.

    Filed under: Books

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    5. National Book Awards Reveals Judges, Opens Applications

    The National Book Foundation has revealed that judges for this year’s awards and has also opened up the application process.

    The judging panels for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature brings together a combination of writers and literary experts. We have the full list for you after the jump. Publishers can apply to have their works considers at this link.

    Each panel of judges will select a longlist of ten titles in each of the four categories. These titles will be revealed in mid-September. The shortlisted finalists will be announced on October 14. The winners in each category will be revealed at the 66thNational Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner in New York on November 18, 2015.

    The Judges for the 2015 National Book Awards

    Fiction panel: Daniel Alarcón, Jeffery Renard Allen, Sarah Bagby, Laura Lippman, David L. Ulin (chair)

    Nonfiction panel: Diane Ackerman (chair), Patricia Hill Collins, John D’Agata, Paul Holdengraber, Adrienne Mayor

    Poetry panel: Sherman Alexie, Willie Perdomo, Katha Pollitt, Tim Seibles (chair), Jan Weissmiller


    Young People’s Literature panel: John Joseph Adams, Teri Lesesne, Laura McNeal (chair), G. Neri, Eliot Schrefer

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    6. Ink (and mermaids)


    Current likes and/or loves:

    * Fabric printing.
    * Elderflower cordial
    *This kickstarter project being run by Andy Warhol's family.
    *Above freezing temperatures. High five, Mother Nature.

    0 Comments on Ink (and mermaids) as of 4/1/2015 5:04:00 PM
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    7. Convention Recap and the Start of Ghoulish Bunny Studios


    With so many shows to prep, art to make and projects to work on, it has been a challenge to keep up with blogging. But I wanted to jump back in here and post a recap of all the shenanigans that has been going on with our business and the many things to expect from us in the future. So here goes:

    Following a prosperous if somewhat grueling marathon run of Knott’s Berry Farm Holiday Village that took up all of December, Shawn and I took a much needed hiatus from the business for a couple weeks. We took a road trip to Denver to visit Shawn’s family. After we returned, it was back to prepping for the first show of the year, Salt Lake Comic Expo. This was a much smaller event in relation to Salt Lake City Comic Con in September but our sales were only down by a little. Still, we had fun, ate great food and made some new friends.

    Long Beach Comic Expo, I will have to admit, was a bit disappointing. I always try to be open and honest about my experiences at various cons. Many times I hesitate to publicly talk about the shortcomings of a given Con and will debate with myself as to the best way to describe an unsuccessful show without bashing it. But because I strive to be more transparent about my experiences running an art business, I will go ahead and share my experience. Long Beach has always been a tough area for me to cultivate a following. I am not sure why that is. My first Comic Convention was Long Beach Comic Con. That was 3 years ago. While in most shows my sales and fan base expends every year, in LB it seems to stay at the beginning level of that very first show. Last years LBCE was surprisingly good for us and that gave me a glimmer of hope it would improve for many years to come. However, I think that the show expended too quickly, adding significantly more vendors without bringing the attendance that would justify that expansion.  Again, I can only speak from my own experience. Although I spoke to many friends at the show who also saw a significant drop in sales.

    Sam from Trick or Treat

    Spookshow at the Halloween Club in La Mirada 

    Scary Carrie and MeThis was a fun, free one-day pop-up Halloween themed event that took place in the costume store parking lot. This has definitely become one of my favorites and I hope they continue to bring this show back every year. Despite the warm temperature that day, the turnout was pretty damn good and everyone was having a great time. Our sales were up from last year. It’s free for vendors with a $25 deposit that got returned to us a week later. The crowd was just really great and enthusiastic.

    Emerald City Comic Con and Mosnterpalooza

    Double show weekend for Shawn and I. I fly out to Seattle for ECCC, while Shawn tables at Monsterpalooza in Burbank. Like last year, this was one incredible weekend of sales for both of us. What can I say… Emerald City Comic Con is really great show for both vendors and attendees. The people Pacific Northwest seems to have a healthy appetite for unique and original art. Monsterpalooza is more of an industry show. It feels a lot more like a trade show that has evolved to include a healthy mixture of artists, writers and horror themed artisans.

    Next Up: WonderCon in Anaheim. Dealers Table DSL- 10. Hope to See you there!

    WonderCon floor map

    And now for more great news:

    Gloomy girl print1. You might have already heard, Shawn and I are changing the business name to “Ghoulish Bunny Studios”. This new business will include my artwork, plus Shawn’s writing and videos.

    2. We are working on a picture book. Me illustrating and Shawn writing. We will be setting up a kickstarter for it.

    3. More new art. I am trying really hard to finish work that I have started a while back. And I try to produce at least one new piece for each show.

    4. We are phasing out certain products to make room for more. Many of the mini prints we offer will be retired so that we can make room for…

    5. Sketchbooks. I already put my first one out this year. my next one will have more pages, more drawings and a better quality print.

    6. Spooky stores from Shawn. He as been working on his writing and coming up with some great little short horror stories. We are going to put together a book of his work that will also include illustrations from me.

    7. New website and online store “Ghoulish Bunny Studios” where you can shop directly from us. More products will be added, more artwork available and Shawn’s stories and videos.

    So far this is as much as I can share at this time. We are always expending, changing and evolving. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years. We strive to produce quality work and products for our fiendish friends.Thanks for reading!




    The post Convention Recap and the Start of Ghoulish Bunny Studios appeared first on Diana Levin Art.

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    8. Wingfest

    Wingfest is a poetry and flight contest conducted by the birds of Faradawn Island, which the characters from The Fog Mound visit in Book Two of the trilogy, Faradawn, by Susan Schade and Jon Buller, Simon and Schuster, 2007.

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    9. Internet Animation Guide: ‘World of Tomorrow,’ Studio Ghibli, and Michel Gondry

    Your guide to the best Internet animation available via streaming and video-on-demand.

    0 Comments on Internet Animation Guide: ‘World of Tomorrow,’ Studio Ghibli, and Michel Gondry as of 1/1/1900
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    10. Publishing Jobs: Brown Books, HarperCollins

    This week, Brown Books Publishing Group is hiring a public relations expert, while HarperCollins needs a website marketing manager. Skyhorse Publishing is seeking a senior production editor, and Bloomsbury Publishing is on the hunt for a marketing manager. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

    Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

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    11. OUTSIDE by Lucas Sauviller


    Submitted by Lucas Sauviller for the Illustration Friday topic OUTSIDE.

    0 Comments on OUTSIDE by Lucas Sauviller as of 4/1/2015 3:19:00 PM
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    12. Flogometer for Ted—are you compelled to turn the page?

    Submissions Needed—none for Friday or next week. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

    The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

    Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

    What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

    A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

    Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

    Download a free PDF copy here.

    Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

    A First-page Checklist

    • It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist
    • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
    • What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
    • What happens moves the story forward.
    • What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
    • The protagonist desires something.
    • The protagonist does something.
    • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
    • It happens in the NOW of the story.
    • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
    • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
    • What happens raises a story question—what happens next? or why did that happen?

    Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

    Ted sends the first chapter for Sallying Forth. The rest of the chapter after the break.

    Kate Ingram shivered. She wasn’t cold; she was scared, and hoping no one noticed that Serendipity was getting underway from the Kent Island marina.

    The only people up this early were a boatyard worker preparing to paint a dinghy, an elderly man with snow-white hair on another sailboat, the Wanderer, assisted by a younger woman in preparing to get underway. As Serendipity came abeam, the woman said something to the man. He looked up, and then they both waved. Kate returned the wave, scrutinized the waterfront, and then relaxed a little. No one else was about.

    It was early on a sunny Wednesday morning in June; the sun had peeked over the horizon about fifteen minutes ago. The breeze blew Kate’s long dark brown hair across her face, and she realized she would have to get a ribbon to tie it back. There was a nip in the air. In a couple of hours, it would be hot, but pleasant as long as the wind kept blowing. The forecast was for a high of seventy-five with light winds in the morning, squalls in the afternoon, and a nighttime low of forty. It would be chilly standing watches tonight.

    Retrieving the bow dock line, Kate made sure it was properly stowed, ready to use if needed. Remembering the adage, ‘one hand for yourself, and one for the ship’, she moved aft holding onto a handrail to where her little sister, Kayla, had just coiled a spring line. She leaned over to whisper in Kayla’s ear.

    Were you compelled to turn Ted's first page?

    It’s good that Ted is thinking about and visualizing the scene thoroughly, but the space it takes up to do that robs this first page of story elements that create tension—and a page-turn. We are told that she is scared, but not what of nor how serious it is. And I’d rather be shown that she was scared than told. The shivering is good, but maybe she should hide her face when the man waves instead of waving back, fearing something, and so on. For me, this didn’t compel. And the reason she’s scared still isn’t revealed by chapter’s end, giving the reader little reason to care about this character and read on. I think you need to start later when something happens to force her to do something. What she wants here is to not be noticed. When that’s blocked by the couple, she does nothing to deal with it. I think we need more of what’s at stake here. Notes:

    Kate Ingram shivered. She wasn’t cold; she was scared, and hoping no one noticed that Serendipity was getting underway from the Kent Island marina. Scared of what? Could be anything, including something as non-threatening as being seasick.

    The only people up this early were a boatyard worker preparing to paint a dinghy, an elderly man with snow-white hair on another sailboat, the Wanderer, assisted by a younger woman in preparing to get underway. As Serendipity came abeam, the woman said something to the man. He looked up, and then they both waved. Kate returned the wave, scrutinized the waterfront, and then relaxed a little. No one else was about. Unless it matters to story later that the couple saw them, this whole paragraph isn’t needed.

    It was early on a sunny Wednesday morning in June; the sun had peeked over the horizon about fifteen minutes ago. The breeze blew Kate’s long dark brown hair across her face, and she realized she would have to get a ribbon to tie it back. There was a nip in the air. In a couple of hours, it would be hot, but pleasant as long as the wind kept blowing. The forecast was for a high of seventy-five with light winds in the morning, squalls in the afternoon, and a nighttime low of forty. It would be chilly standing watches tonight. Point of view shift: she wouldn’t think of her hair as “long dark brown,” she would just think of hair in her face. This is the author intruding to dump info. The color and length of her hair doesn’t impact story here, so it’s not needed. Maybe it’s because I’m from Texas, but seventy-five degrees seems far from “hot” to me. The use of “she realized” is using a filter that distances us from the experience. And how does it impact the story for her to be thinking about tying her hair back when she’s supposed to be scared? Not much of this setup stuff seems to me to matter to the story.

    Retrieving the bow dock line, Kate made sure it was properly stowed, ready to use if needed. Remembering the adage, ‘one hand for yourself, and one for the ship’, she moved aft holding onto a handrail to where her little sister, Kayla, had just coiled a spring line. She leaned over to whisper in Kayla’s ear. The sailing adage reference adds to the world and character, but it doesn’t seem to me to be vital for the story opening at this point.

    Comments, please?

    For what it’s worth.


    Submitting to the Flogometer:

    Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

    1. your title
    2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
    3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
    4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
    5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
    6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
    7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
    8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

    Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

    Flogging the Quill © 2015 Ray Rhamey, story © 2015 Ted



    “Here we go, ‘Sallying Forth’; I think we’re okay so far.”

    Kayla had pulled her light brown hair back into a ponytail and tied it with a blue ribbon, making her look even younger. She touched Kate’s arm and looked up at her. “Kate, I’m so scared.”

    Kate didn’t dare let Kayla know how scared she was herself. Running for your life was scary for anyone, but it had to be even worse for Kayla who was only fourteen. Kate needed to try to make this journey an adventure that Kayla would enjoy. She knew that people would notice if one of them was unhappy, drawing attention they didn’t need.

    Kate gave her a quick hug. “I don’t know why, but Dad wanted us to go ‘Sallying Forth’ right away.”

    “I know, Kate, but I’m worried about him, and Mom.”

    Kate gave her a gentle shove towards the stern. “See if Tom needs help with the sails.”

    Kayla moved aft and called out, “Tom, what do you need me to do?”

    “Nothing until we clear the point, Kayla. Checkout the rigging and get ready to set the sails.”

    Several minutes later, as they reached the open waters of the Chesapeake and found more wind, Tom signaled for sails. When they were set, he killed the diesel. Kate and Kayla returned to the cockpit to join him. Tom smiled at Kayla.

    “Kayla, trim her for this heading? We should be able to hold it for an hour.” Kayla didn’t reply but expertly trimmed the sails for maximum wind effect.

    Kate sat on the high side. When Serendipity caught the wind, she heeled over slightly, her bow sloshing through the water. The cries of the gulls circling in her wake were the only other noise. Kate loved the serenity of sailing and the smell of saltwater. It was going to be a wonderful day for a sail. They were lucky Tom had known that Mr. Stone was looking for a crew to help him move Serendipity, his sailing yacht, a Morgan Out Island 41, to Norfolk, Virginia.

    Everyone had been eager to get underway. Mr. Stone wanted to catch the breeze and meet his friends in Norfolk so they could start their trip to Bermuda. Kate, Kayla, and Tom just wanted to disappear quickly and luckily Norfolk fit into their plan. Mr. Stone was below in the galley preparing breakfast which he had promised would be a gourmet meal. A few minutes later, he called up to them.

    “Chow’s ready!”

    Tom said, “Kayla, how about bring breakfast up for us. After breakfast, why don’t you take a nap since you didn’t sleep well last night?”

    “Sounds good,” Kayla said as she hurried below.

    Kate scanned the horizon astern to see if anyone was following and said, “No one seemed to pay any attention to us as we got underway.”

    Tom didn’t reply.

    * * * * *

    A man with a gruff voice spoke hurriedly; “We checked all of the Annapolis marinas. No luck. The chopper flew over all of the local creeks and marinas here and other side of the bay. They spotted a pink sail cover. We checked. It was the girls’ boat. No sign of the girls.”

    “Where was it?”

    “Queenstown, other side of the bay.”

    “Queenstown? I wonder why there.”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Check around for an Aunt Sally over there. Check all of the marinas to see if they are going out with someone else. Check the bus station, the car rentals. Get on it. I want one of them today!”

    “Already in progress.”

    “I’m trying to find Ingram, but he’s sly. We need to get his attention. Once he knows we have one of them, he’ll keep quiet.”

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    13. Maude Continues to Lead Self-Published Bestsellers List

    Maude by Donna Mabry holds strong at No. 1 on the Self-Published Bestsellers List this week.

    To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we compile weekly lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book.

    If you want more resources as an author, try our Free Sites to Promote Your eBook post, How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores post and our How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets post.

    If you are an independent author looking for support, check out our free directory of people looking for writers groups.

    Amazon Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of April 1, 2015

    1. Maude by Donna Mabry: “In 1906, I was barely over fourteen years old, and it was my wedding day. My older sister, Helen, came to my room, took me by the hand, and sat me down on the bed. She opened her mouth to say something, but then her face flushed, and she turned her head to look out the window. After a second, she squeezed my hand and looked back in my eyes.”

    2. My Stepbrother the Dom by Arabella Quinn: “For years, I had the worst crush on my stepbrother, Cole Hunter. We used to ride bikes, skateboard and go fishing together – now I couldn’t even be in the same room as him without my pulse racing. One cocky half-grin from Cole would have my face blushing while my panties melted. It was insane – and completely humiliating.”

    3. Revved by Samantha Towle: “Race car mechanic Andressa \"Andi\" Amaro has one rule—no dating drivers. With a good reason behind the rule, she has no plans on breaking it. Carrick Ryan is the bad boy of Formula One. With a face and body that melts panties on sight, and an Irish lilt that leaves women on their knees, begging for more. He races hard and parties harder.”

    4. Dagger’s Hope: The Alliance Book 3 by S.E. Smith: “Dagger is a Trivator warrior. He is known for his dark and dangerous edge, making him the perfect warrior for impossible missions. He fears nothing, until he meets a young, delicate human female who wakens his heart. Her gentle touch, soft voice, and her shy sense of humor touch him in a way he never thought could happen.”

    5. Shopping for a Billionaire Boxed Set by Julia Kent: “No? So it really is just me. Hmm. When you’re a mystery shopper, you get paid to humiliate yourself, all in the name of improving customer service. Romance isn’t in my job description.”

    6. 10 Years Later: A Second Chance Romance by J. Sterling: “It’s been ten years since I’ve seen him. Ten years. I have no idea what he’s doing, where he’s been, or if he’s even still single. Have I thought about him over the years? Of course. Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean anything, right? Just because you think about the boy you used to be in love with doesn’t mean you’re still in love with him now. Does it?”

    7. Never Kiss a Stranger by Winter Renshaw: “All workaholic real estate broker Addison Andrews wanted was one night of pleasure, and picking the right guy was no different than shopping from a catalog thanks to the dating app on her phone. His name was Wilder, and his profile was blank – just a sexy picture of a man who promised every wicked intention of a one-night stand.”

    8. Slick by Kristi Pelton: “People float in and out of our lives and sometimes, when you least expect it one person changes everything. Tessa Ashby was abandoned in an East Coast boarding school, merely existing, never truly feeling loved. Before fulfilling obligations her father has sentenced her to, she escapes and breathes eight weeks of freedom in southern California.”

    9. Falling For My Best Friend’s Brother by Helen Cooper: “He’s devastatingly handsome, sexy, arrogant and he’s out of reach. He’s my best friend’s brother and the one man I can’t have. However, now that my best friend Liv is getting married, I’m seeing him more than ever.”

    10. Departure by A.G. Riddle: \"Flight 305 took off in 2014…But it crashed in a world very different from our own…With time running out, five strangers must unravel why they were taken…And how to get home.\"

    Smashwords Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of April 1, 2015

    1. Communications for ICT: The Essential Guide By David Tuffley

    2. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills By George J. Siedel

    3. Private Practice Preparedness – The Health Care Professional’s Guide to Closing a Practice Due to Retirement, Death, or Disability By Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, M.Ed., NCC & Anne M. “Nancy” Wheeler

    4. Cognitive Activity Design: Designing Creative Activities and Art-Based Projects That Promote Brain Health and Flourishing By Michael C. Patterson

    5. Strong Brains, Sharp Minds: The Definitive Guide to the MINDRAMP Method For Brain Health & Mental Development By Michael C. Patterson & Roger Anunsen

    6. The Gnome Tome By Adrian Bell

    7. The Caphenon By Fletcher DeLancey

    8. Anela Bay ~ Book Three ~ Evolution By Cheryl L. Hyde

    9. Winter in Tirane: The Stories of Jiri Kajane By Jiri Kajane

    10. Wedding Favors By Josh Lanyon

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    14. Burmese literary festival

           The Irrawaddy Literary Festival was 28 to 30 March, and in The Guardian Margaret Simons reports on Water shortages, factions and free speech at Burma's Irrawaddy literary festival.
           Among her observations:

    Very few Burmese writers are internationally known. The Asia-based literary agent Kelly Falconer, who attended the festival with some of her authors, acknowledges that Burma has yet to produce the book that defines its recent history in the international imagination. It has had no Solzhenitsyn, and no equivalent to Jung Chang's Wild Swans, which carried the Chinese story into popular awareness when that country began to open up.

    Falconer says: "Who is going to write that book for Myanmar ? We are waiting to find out who they are, and we are waiting for Burmese writers to find out who we are." Because Burma has been so closed for so long, that there is hardly any awareness of what international literary recognition means. Writers have been working in a vacuum.
           While no doubt (?) such books need to be written, personally I have ... limited, at best, interest in: 'the book that defines its recent history in the international imagination'. (Indeed, I find the 'international imagination' -- and playing to it/writing for it -- rather suspect.) What I'm really curious about is what they produced or are producing -- especially what they're producing with 'hardly any awareness of what international literary recognition means', in that vacuum she's talking about. That sounds interesting, in this globalized world .....
           (Ever hopeful, there's been an index of Burmese Literature at the site for a while -- but, alas, there are still just two bona fide Burmese works of fiction to be found there. Here's hoping more gets translated soon.)

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    Ladies and Gentlemen, let's get ready for the FINAL FOUR!!!  To my surprise, however,  there are three #1 seeds left in the BIG dance. (Duke, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.) Therefore, the No.7 seed Michigan State is the only team that can be considered a Cinderella. As a result, the only question left to be asked, is whether the "shoe" will fit this "underdog."With that said, Bobbee Bee "The Hater" decided to provide you all a few cartoons as you get your last fix of March Madness.
    1. What really makes you upset?
    I really hate when people, who didn't graduate from a certain school, wear the paraphilia of another  school more than the people, who actually graduated from that school. Especially, students, who graduated from HBCU's.

    2. Are you going Easter egg hunting this Sunday?

    No. I like my eggs scrambled.

    3. Why is Duke's Coach K such a successful coach?
    He sold his soul to the Devil. That's easy....Next, question.

    4. Stephen A. or Skip Bayless?

    Stephen A. Why? Because Skip Bayless foolish said, "He saw every dribble Lebron James has ever took..." LOL!!!
    5. Do you think Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly should hire Tim Tebow as his back-up Quarterback?
    Only God and Skip Bayless knows that answer....

    6. Did you watch the FOX hit show Empire?

    Nope. Because, my grandma said, "It was a work of the Devil..and it would corrupt my mind..."

    7. Do you have your Resume' on Monster.com?

    Yes. But, the Monster ate it.
    8. Do you know who Randy "MACHO MAN" Randy Savage is?
    Yes. Plus, I haven't had a SLIM JIM since he has died.
    9. I heard you are going to be on Ripley's Believe It or Not?
    Yes. I am. Because, I have seen one of the biggest, tallest, light skin dudes ever in my life. 
    10. Who are you cheering for in the FINAL FOUR?
    H-TO-IZZO-Michigan State!!

    11. What advice to you have for all GM's, Head Coaches, and Players?

    If you are going to ride, don't ride the white horse.

      Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at lbiass34@yahoo.com or go to www.bobbeethehater.blogspot.com

    0 Comments on BOBBEE BEE: FINAL FOUR CARTOONS!!! as of 4/1/2015 5:05:00 PM
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    16. Social Media Etiquette

    What not to do when using social media.

    0 Comments on Social Media Etiquette as of 3/17/2015 5:21:00 PM
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    MICCThis article is being re-published due to the recent controversy surrounding LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling's "plantation politics" as well as with the recent The Supreme Court decision to uphold Michigan's decision to end affirmative action at its public universities in a 6-2 ruling.

    NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-Please listen up….and listen up good.
    It’s time for us to step out of their shadows and walk into the light and develop an underground railroad of authentic athletes, who will make a conscious decision not to go to Duke, Carolina, or Kentucky?

    Let’s recruit the best.
    Play the best.
    Educate the best.
    And be the best.

    In other words, let’s convince our children to go to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
    Can you imagine if John Wall attended N0rth Carolina Central, Michael Jordan attended North Carolina A&T, Patrick Ewing attended Howard, or Allen Iverson attended Hampton University?

    Could you imagine the economic impact? The cultural impact? The educational impact? ....on how our children would view the world.

    Please don’t misunderstand, I believe college athletes should be paid but if they aren’t, let’s boycott those bastards.

    2205896In other words, let’s control our own destiny.

    Let’s be the recruiters, the professors, the coaches, the agents, the lawyers, the accountants, the consultants, the stylists, the designers from elementary to AAU, from AAU to college, from college to the NBA…

    Let’s eliminate the middlemen…..

    My point is this, if we are going to make millions of dollars playing the game of basketball, let’s keep the money in our community.

    Let’s fund our own freedom.

    Let’s beautify our own buildings.

    Let’s sign our own scholarships.

    See, it always amazes me, how we cheapen ourselves.

    How “other people” always seem to have our best interest at hand.

    And convince us, how everybody else is not to be trusted.

    We are the oil…the Black Gold…that these college recruiters need to fuel their money making machines.

    But they don’t operate without us……..

    But we haven’t protected and fought for our natural resources (our children), we shamefully have allowed “other people” to steal our children and misuse them, brainwash them and mishandle them…

    Therefore, let’s start a new revolution.

    We can start by creating Ballin’ 4 a HBCU campaign on Face book, Twitter, YouTube and encourage five of the top 100 basketball players in the country to join forces and decide to attend a Historical Black College and University.

    Let’s shake up the world like Muhammad Ali did when he knocked out Sonny Liston by declaring our letters of intent live on ESPN to attend a HBCU on National Signing Day.

    Let’s create another Fab 5 like Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson did at Michigan.
    But let’s do it on one of our prestigious Black colleges and march through March Madness and win a NCAA National Championship.

    I know it sounds crazy.

    But who thought a Black man named Barack Hussein Obama would win the presidency of the United States in 2008.

    With that said, who is man enough to take on this challenge?
    The time is now.

    Why? Because the game of college basketball is getting weaker and weaker, as the most talented athletes are deciding to take their talents to the NBA for million dollar contracts instead of being exploited for four years in college.

    Besides, now ESPN broadcasts everything……

    And let’s not forget, Butler almost beat Duke two years ago in the NCAA Tournament. Plus, Norfolk State defeated Missouri last year in the Tournament.

    As a result, hopefully, somewhere, there is a group of 8th graders reading this, saying, we are the ones, who will change the game.
    We are waiting for your arrival.

    Let the revolution begin.
    Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at lbiass34@yahoo.com or go to www.bobbeethehater.blogspot.com

    0 Comments on BOBBEE BEE: WE NEED A GAME CHANGER(POST UP) as of 4/1/2015 5:05:00 PM
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    18. Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

           They've announced the winners of the 80th (!) Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards -- "the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity".
           None of the five winning titles are under review at the complete review.

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    19. Cover Revealed For New Mitch Albom Novel

    Mitch Albom New Book Cover

    Tuesdays With Morrie author Mitch Albom has unveiled the cover for his forthcoming novel, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?

    According to Albom’s announcement, the story follows the “greatest guitar player who ever lived, and the six lives he changed with his six magical blue strings.” Harper, an imprint at HarperCollins, will release the book on November 10th.

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    20. April issue of Words without Borders

           The April issue of Words without Borders is now up -- 'Changing Landscapes and Identities: An Introduction to Tamil Writing', along with some 'New Armenian Writing by Women'.

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    21. The Story of the Fisherman Final Art Gallery

    A gallery of all the final art work that was used for the book The Story of the Fisherman.

    via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1InDKnY

    0 Comments on The Story of the Fisherman Final Art Gallery as of 4/1/2015 4:16:00 PM
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    22. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip

    There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

    Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

    Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 

    An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

    I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

    Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance

    Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

    Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

    Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

    Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
    Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

    There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

    Some popular authors of the NA category include:
    • Jamie McGuire
    • Jessica Park
    • Tammara Webber
    • Steph Campbell
    • Liz Reinhardt
    • Abbi Glines
    • Colleen Hoover 
    • Sherry Soule

    Would you buy New Adult books? 
    Does the genre appeal to you? 

    Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
    Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

    Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 

    0 Comments on New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip as of 3/18/2015 4:48:00 PM
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    23. A Fairy's Garden

    As a fairy artist you'd think I would already have like, ten fairy gardens. Nope, not even one, although I adore the thought of them and used to have an obsession anything miniature when I was younger (although I didn't really have dollhouses, just Barbies).

    Fairy gardens are all the rage right now, and as always, I try to not follow too close to the trend. There are places throughout my yard where I can envision little fairy spots nested. They fly, so wouldn't all of the 'parts' be scattered about? Like bird houses, feeders, and flowers are for the wildlife that can fly?

     I decided to start with the very front of our yard, near our new mums (praying they made it through the winter). I visited Hobby Lobby today, never a healthy choice, and saw the fairy garden accessories on sale. I have a sweet spot for bird baths, and saw one I just fell for. Also, mushrooms add that little bit of British flare I miss so much.

    This will be called Mushroom Park, where the fairies can come and sit for a rest and enjoy looking out into the rest of the neighborhood. There will also be dahlias planted behind in the flower bed, so it'll be a hot spot for bumblebee friend meet ups.

     Norah and I did it together, she adored the bird bath as much as I did, and didn't want to let it go. Then after all was set she found a mushroom she thought would look better in her room.....or her tummy. Not sure which.

     I can't wait to find more items that can be reimagined into fairyland charm. I also look forward to Norah growing up with magical spots throughout our yard and use her imagination to give the fairies wings.

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    24. Australia’s Blinky Bill Goes CG for Upcoming Film

    An icon of Australian children's entertainment is rebooted in CGI.

    0 Comments on Australia’s Blinky Bill Goes CG for Upcoming Film as of 1/1/1900
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    25. #665 – Catwoman Counting (DC Board Books) by Benjamin Bird & Ethen Beavers



    Catwoman Counting

    Series: DC Board Books
    Written by Benjamin Bird
    Illustrated by Ethen Beavers
    Picture Window Books 8/01/2014
    20 pages Age 1 to 3
    “Catwoman is on the loose in Gotham City! Young readers team up with Batman, tracking down the cat burglar and learning their numbers along the way!” [publisher summary]
    Yesterday, Book-O-Beards was a good choice for boys. Today,  Catwoman Counting, will level field with a book that will immediately appeal to young girls. On the 75th birthday of Batman, young readers have a new and exciting way to learn their numbers one to ten. Catwoman steals 1 bag of precious jewels, but in the night sky is the bat signal. Soon, Batman will be on the case of the missing jewels! Ah, but Catwoman can hear Batman with her 2 pointy ears. Batman throws his 3 batarangs into the night sky as Catwoman transverses 4 rooftops.

    The chase is on. Who will win this clawed caper? Will 6 foot, er, paw-prints lead Batman to Catwoman’s lair? Will Catwoman escape with the 9 stolen jewels or will Batman and his 8 bats capture and cage this criminal-kitty? Stay tuned to Catwoman Counting for the fur-raising conclusion.

    Catwoman Counting

    Young children who like Batman, or super-heroes in general—or adults wanting to introduce their children to this 1960’s icon—will be intrigued with this one-to-ten counting book. Large hero-villain personas chase through the colorful, glossy pages of this counting cat caper. The large 10” by 10” book brings the larger-than-life story to young eyes who will love counting villains, pointy ears, batarangs, rooftops, windows, footprints, trees, bats, jewels, and claws.

    Counting is easy with Catwoman Counting. Each spread is a new, in order, number. The pages are made of thick cardboard made to withstand little hands, multiple readings, and grape jelly (strawberry, if you prefer). I really like the look and feel of Catwoman Counting and believe kids will as well. The cover of Catwoman Counting will appeal more to young girls, yet with the inclusion of Batman, boys will also like this imaginative counting book.

    Catwoman Counting2
    CATWOMAN COUNTING. Text copyright © 2014 by Benjamin Bird. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Ethen Beavers. Reproduced by permission of Picture Window Books, a Capstone imprint, North Manakato, MN.
    Purchase Catwoman Counting at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCapstone.
    Learn more about Catwoman Counting HERE.
    Meet the author, Benjamin Bird, at his website:
    Meet the illustrator, Ethen Beavers, at his website:  http://cretineb.deviantart.com/
    Find more DC Board Books at the Capstone website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

    Picture Book Windows is a Capstone imprint.

    Also available in the DC Board Books series.


    Batman is Brave!

    Batman is Brave!

    Superman to the Rescue!

    Superman to the Rescue!

    Superman Fights for Truth!

    Superman Fights for Truth!






    Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

    Filed under: 5stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Series Tagged: Batman is Brave, Benjamin Bird, Capstone, Catwoman Counting, DC Board Books, Ethen Beavers, Picture Book Windows, Superman Fights for Truth!, Superman to the Rescue!

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