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1. Creating a Vision Board


I just learned about vision boards. I'm assuming I'm far behind on this trend, but I'm excited about it nonetheless


A vision board is just that, a board with pictures, phrases and bits of inspiration. Your vision for what you want to achieve in life, in your career or just personally. I have my vision board on the wall behind my desk. It's really just a giant cork board that I've hung some things that inspire me. Of course it also includes other things like pub dates and book lists, but ultimately when I find a bit of inspiration, a picture or something that shows what I'm seeking I clip it out or print it out and hang it on my board.

My vision board is pretty rough. I've seen people create some wonderful collages and artwork for their vision. I'd love to do that, but that seems like it would take a lot of time. However you want to create your board (on your wall, in a notebook, post-its around your computer, on Pinterest....) I think it's a great way to remind you of what your striving for or inspiration when you're feeling down.

A peek of some of what's on my vision board. Thanks Dr. Seuss!

--jhf

0 Comments on Creating a Vision Board as of 10/23/2014 9:36:00 AM
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2. Author Interview: Susan Kuklin on Writing Nonfiction & Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

From the promotional copy of Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, words and photographs by Susan Kuklin (Candlewick, 2014).

A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens. 

Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. 

Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. 

Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

What was your initial inspiration for Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out (Candlewick, 2014)?

First came an email. A librarian/friend wrote to me about the need for more YA nonfiction literature about LGBTQ teens. Although this is a subject I care about deeply, I was in the middle of another book – No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row (Henry Holt, 2008)–and so I tucked it away into the nether region of my brain. Nevertheless, the topic kept popping back up.

What was the timeline from spark to publication and what were the major events along the way?

The timeline from spark to publication was about six or seven years. The spark that helped me focus on transgender youth rather than the entire LGBTQ community was a conversation I had with my cousin, who is pansexual and a generation behind me.

She told me about a transgender friend who said to her, “When looking for love and friendship, it’s the person, not the gender, that counts.” That comment got me thinking. At the time the “T” in LGBTQ had not been talked about much in books or in the media.

The major event was meeting the staff at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Clinic’s Health Outreach to Teens program, [HOTT]. They do incredible work there, and are so thoughtful towards their clients. With their help I knew I had a book.

Then, of course, meeting each participant was a Big Time major event.

What were the literary and artistic challenges in bringing the book to life?

Every day brought a new challenge that had to be explored creatively. 

Susan photographs Christina shopping.
My process is a bit unusual. I write in the first person because I believe that it offers a more direct, intimate relationship with young readers. To do this, I need to capture the individual’s voice and convert it from tape to paper. But it’s also necessary to balance the person’s voice and experiences with a clear literary narrative.

Each chapter must add something new to the subject. The chapters need to have rhythm and arcs, highs and lows.

Recently, I’ve begun adding my voice to the narrative of my books as a way to change the pace, describe someone or something, or impart additional information. Although challenging, that’s part of the creative process. I love working this way.

How have you approached author marketing for this title?

I’m the world’s worst self-promoter. But I’m very happy to talk about my books at conferences, libraries, schools, blogs, and other media.

For Beyond Magenta, my wonderful publicist, Erika Denn at Candlewick Press, created a stunning press release that was to sent to media, libraries, colleges, and other venues. She also sent the release to LGBTQ organizations and publications. The Internet is a great publishing tool. Erika, along with my agent, friends, and I sent announcements, reviews, and articles to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. I blogged. Tweeting and re-tweeting helped the book reach a larger audience.

What advice do you have for authors when it comes to connecting a book that reflects a specific community but speaks to all readers?

At the end of Beyond Magenta, in my Author’s Notes, I wrote why it’s important for everyone to connect with the book. An Author’s Note gives writers the chance to make our themes known.

I believe it was Eldridge Cleaver who said, “If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem.” I hope my readers agree.

You’re a well-published author of children’s-YA nonfiction. For those new to your work, could you share with us a bit of your publishing history, highlighting as you see fit?

This is a big question because I’ve published over thirty nonfiction books with wide-ranging subjects. One of the joys of being a nonfiction author is that I get to learn about so many diverse topics.

I choose an issue and then go beyond the sound bites and “fifteen minutes of fame” to illustrate how real people deal with real events. I do it through interviews, research, and photography.

My photo essay, picture books for children are about simple events that loom large in a young child’s life [When I See My Doctor (NA), When I See My Dentist (NA), How My Family Lives in America (Simon & Schuster, 1992), Families (Hyperion, 2006)].



For slightly older kids there are photo essays with more text about other cultures [Kodomo: Children of Japan (NA)], and some about how objects or events in their lives are created [Fireworks, How a Doll Is Made (NA)].



I love ballet and modern dance so I’ve tried to do as many dance books as possible: Reaching for Dreams: A Ballet from First Rehearsal to Opening Night, with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater (Lothrop Lee & Shephard, 1987), Dance, co-authored with Bill T. Jones (OP), The Harlem Nutcracker, co-authored with Donald Byrd (OP), Going to My Ballet Class with the Robert Joffrey Ballet School (OP), and Beautiful Ballerina, written by Marilyn Nelson, with my photographs of the school of the Dance Theater of Harlem (Scholastic, 2009).

My young adults books are more text driven than photography driven, and are about very serious subjects, such as, teen pregnancy (What Do I Do Now? (Putnam, 1991)), prejudice (Speaking Out: Teenagers Take On Race Sex, and Identity (OP)), and suicide (After a Suicide (OP)).

I’ve authored books about our criminal justice system (Trial (Henry Holt, 2001), No Choirboy (Henry Holt, 2008)) and more about human rights (Iqbal Masih and the Crusaders Against Child Slavery (Henry Holt, 2008), Beyond Magenta (Candlewick, 2014)).

It’s been my good fortune to work with many interesting people from all walks of life. I hope they’ve enlightened my readers because they sure did inspire me.

To name but a few, Bill T. Jones (Dance) motivated me to break aesthetic rules and stretch beyond my potential. Human rights activists (Irrepressible Spirit (OP)), and buddies who helped people living with AIDS (Fighting Back: What Some People Are Doing about AIDS (Putnam, 1989)), and Bryan Stevenson, the lawyer and law professor who represents poor people on death row (No Choirboy (Henry Holt, 2008)), restored my faith in humanity. Getting to know these and other people in my books has helped cynical me understand that there are very good people in this troubled world of ours.

What advice do you have for other nonfiction children’s-YA writers?
  • Be totally passionate about your subject. 
  • Fall hopelessly in love. 
  • Honor that love by being faithful to its truth. Only write truth
  • Tell a good story. Then revise, revise, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite more. 
  • Find new and creative ways to make your subject jump. 
  • Don’t forget truth
  • Listen to criticism but make objective decisions about what to change and what to leave as is. 
  • And, hey, read lots of nonfiction.

On the illustration front, what are the advantages and challenges of photography?

It seems to me that people, especially kids and young adults, like seeing people like themselves in books. So I would say that’s a big advantage. It surprises me that there isn’t more photography in fiction, nonfiction, and picture books.

The biggest challenge is that a photograph is but a moment in time. It’s rare that you can go back and re-shoot. If, after six or seven months, the designer begins work and asks for a photo of the subject doing such-and-such, you’re stuck. An artist can redraw, a photographer usually cannot.

What advice do you have for photographers interested in creating books for and about young people?

Christina reads Susan's first draft.
Write a very strong proposal about a subject that you care about deeply. Check out which publishers seem to lean towards the kind of books you want to do. Put together a portfolio of your work and especially use images that backs up your proposal.

What do you do when you’re not writing and/or shooting pictures?

I like to have fun. I go to lots of concerts, dance, theater, and museums.

I’m also a foodie who loves restaurants and cooking dinners for my husband and friends.

My husband and I try to take one big trip a year. I study Italian but that’s not always fun.

I’m a big reader. I love reading long, thick books that keep me lost in a story for days–and nights.

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3. Banana Demo

Yesterday I painted a half-hour still life demo in gouache for the Painting 1 class at Texas A and M, where I'm here this week as artist in residence. 

James Gurney at Texas A&M, photo courtesy Felice House
The subject is a banana sitting on a red piece of paper. Painting a high chroma object strongly lit against a high intensity background is the same assignment that the students have done earlier. So they get to see me wrestling with the same issues that they have faced. 



Every color that we see is a combination of the color of the light and the actual color of the surface (or "local color"). In this case, the down-facing planes in shadow are receiving reflected light from the red paper, shifting those color planes toward orange. 

As the top planes turn toward shadow near each end of the banana, they catch the blue window light, which mixes with yellow to make green. 


I make an effort to vary the edges around the form from soft to hard to soft. Nearly the whole painting is done with 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch flat brushes. I turn the brushes edge-on for the thin lines, and use the corner of the brush for the dots.

Painting by James Gurney. Photo by Felice House
Gouache colors include: white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, and cobalt blue.

These are the only colors I have on the trip. Traveling with carry-on luggage means cutting back the colors so that they fit in the 3-1-1 TSA bags.

The palette surface is a metal pencil box primed and then painted white with enamel spray paint. The palette is held to my lightweight sketch easel with Neodymium magnets.

The students ask great questions throughout the session. Many of them are using what they're learning from these painting exercises to inform them in their 3D digital lighting projects.

Seated to my right is the professor of the class, Felice House. She says that the assignment "The Banana on Red" is a teaching project that originated with her first painting teacher at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, named Sheila Provazza.  

Whew! After that it's time for lunch and art talk with some of my student pals from the Department of Visualization. This week is going so fast for me and Jeanette and we're having a blast. 

If you can, please come on by College Station tonight for my Dinotopia lecture. I'll be glad to meet you or sign whatever books you bring afterward. 

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4. Tityan Books: Lego Ninjago Vol.2 -Mask Of The Sensei



[Cover Art Image]
    Writer  GREG FARSHTEY 
      Artist  PAULO HENRIQUE 
        Colorist  LAURIE E. SMITH
            Series: Lego Ninjago Graphic Novels
            Full colour
            64pp
            soft cover
            ISBN 9781782761938
            All ages
            £4.99

              Cole, Zane, Jay, and Kai, the Masters of Spinjitzu, have defeated unbelievably powerful foes and all seems well on the world of Ninjago. But all that changes when the inja are attacked by the one foe they can’t possibly hope to defeat, the one who taught them everything they know — Sensei Wu himself?!

              This is a nightmare come true when they must somehow defeat their respected teacher and friend — or must they?!

              I'm sorry but Lego as anything but a building material (VERY expensive at that) leaves me cold.  So I am going to ignore the Lego aspect and just take this as a fun, well drawn and wonderfully coloured story for "all ages", though of course it is supposed to be for children.

              I certainly know that there ARE a lot of adults (including cosplayers) who will go nuts and buy this. At at under a £5.00 why not?

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              5. Blog Tour and Giveaway: Murphy, Gold Rush Dog by Alison Hart (Peachtree Press, 2014)

              Recommended for ages 7-10.

              Author Alison Hart specializes in writing historical fiction for young people, and her skills at this genre are evident in her newest book, Murphy, Gold Rush Dog, the second in a recent series, Dog Chronicles, which features heartwarming stories of heroic dogs from different historical periods.  

              Set in 1900, this early chapter book is told in the first person by our canine hero, Murphy, a sled dog on the Alaskan frontier who's headed to Nome--and the Alaska gold rush--with his cruel master.  He manages to free himself and sets off wandering through the town dreaming of "a home filled with kind words--and maybe even bacon."  Could any dog want more than that?  Murphy has the good fortune to be taken in by a young girl named Sally and her mother, who've come from Seattle to make a new life on the frontier--not as gold miners, but with a typewriter, which Sally's mother plans to use to type letters and documents for the miners.

              When the hardships of Alaska's frontier get too much for Sally's mother, she plans to book passage back to Seattle for the two of them.  But Sally is determined to find gold despite her mother's caution that almost no one winds up rich in the gold fields.  Sally decides--without her mother knowing, of course--to set off on her own to stake a claim and raise enough money that they can buy a cabin and stay over the winter in Nome.  She takes Murphy with her, but can Murphy keep Sally and himself safe, with threats from wolves, grizzly bears, and harsh storms in the Alaska wilderness?  As one would expect given the young audience this book is aimed at, there is a happy ending for all in store.  

              The book is abundantly illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery, whose pencil sketches evoke the hardships of the Alaskan frontier.  Some examples of the artwork follow:





              This book does an effective job portraying the realities of the gold rush in Alaska, particularly how the young reader sees that very few people actually got rich through finding large gold nuggets.  Hart peppers the text with plenty of evocative details of mosquitoes, saloons, dance halls, and n'er-do-wells of the frontier, as well as including some Native American characters who play a minor role in the narrative.  Back matter includes additional historical background about dogs in Alaska, the Nome gold rush, a brief bibliography, and suggestions for further reading.  I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical books such as the American Girl series or the Dear America books or to those who favor books about animals.  

              For more on Murphy, Gold Rush Dog, check out these other blog tour stops:


              If you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment below with your e-mail address!

              0 Comments on Blog Tour and Giveaway: Murphy, Gold Rush Dog by Alison Hart (Peachtree Press, 2014) as of 10/23/2014 10:48:00 AM
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              6. Titan Books: Lego -Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu







              Writer: GREG FARSHTEY 
              Artist PAULO HENRIQUE 
              Colorist LAURIE E. SMITH 
              Series: Lego Ninjago Graphic Novels 
              64pp 
              Softcover 
              ISBN  9781782761921
              all ages
              £4.99

              Sensei Wu has trained Cole, Zane, Jay, and Kai to be Masters of Spinjitzu, and together they defend the world of Ninjago from the dark forces of the Underworld. But when Samukai boasts that he can defeat Sensai Wu and his four young ninja, Garmadon takes him up on his bet!

              Nicely written, nicely drawn and lovely bright colours.  You know this is meant for kids but there is a HUGE adult Lego market out there -cosplayers, adults who don't want to grow up and, naturally, those people who want to buy this sort of thing "for the kids"....yeah. Right.

              Christmas is coming up, you know so....?

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              7. Barnes & Noble to Shut Down its Only Branch in The Bronx

              barnes_and_noble_logoThe Barnes & Noble at Bay Plaza, based in the Bronx, will close at the end of the year.

              According to David Deason, the vice president of real estate, the decision was made to shut down operations because the landlord plans to raise the price of rent. This branch is the first and only bookstore within this particular New York City borough. It opened in 1999.

              Here’s more from The New York Times: “Stephen B. Kaufman, who was a state assemblyman from the Bronx in the 1990s, said he led the three-year community effort to bring Barnes & Noble to the borough after he tired of traveling to Manhattan or Westchester County for his books. Barnes & Noble mostly ignored the entreaties, he recalled, until he and other organizers took their campaign public with petitions that garnered thousands of signatures and contentious news conferences in which they called the chain ‘Barnes & Ignoble.’” (via Bustle)

              New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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              8. The World Series Is Here…and So Is a Great Picture Book!

              Becoming Babe Ruth

              By Matt Tavares

               

              I guess the reason I enjoyed reading this book about the life of the iconic baseball figure, Babe Ruth, was mainly because of its title. It says a great deal to children in a simple phrase and its use of the word “becoming” is very telling in itself. In addition I think the art work is very warm and emotional in that it has a real “feel” for portraying the beginnings of the life of the Babe, the big moments AND the giving back for which he was known.

              No one becomes who they are “alone” – not even world class baseball idols like Babe Ruth. Even his name, “Babe” was given him by teammates, who after his hire by Jack Dunn of the Baltimore Orioles, said, “He’s one of Jack Dunn’s new babes” – shorthand for a newbie.

              Babe’s early life seemed destined for trouble. Stealing, skipping school and roaming the streets filled his days until his parents, at seven years of age, take him to the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys on June 13, 1902. He begs for another chance, but unbeknownst to George Herman Ruth, THIS is his chance!

              School seems an endless routine of church, class, work and rule following. Rule following and classes are his least favorite things. And he is homesick.

              One pursuit at the school sparks his interest – baseball. A Brother Matthias can hit the heck out of the ball, over the school yard fence, not once, but again and again.

              George is mesmerized. He has found his passion and his mentor. He will play in 200 games a year at the school, even in winter.

              Brother Matthias teaches him how to throw a curveball, how to turn a double play, how to get a runner off at first. He learns EVERY position on the field including catcher and shortstop.

              At 16, George is the biggest boy on the team – and the best. Soon he has caught the eye of Jack Dunn, owner of the minor league, Baltimore Orioles and after watching him for a 30 minute pitching demo, Jack offers the 16 year old a contract.

              Two weeks later, suitcase in hand, he leaves St. Mary’s for the outside world. Newspapers start calling him “Babe Ruth” after the nickname given him by his teammates.

              From the Baltimore Orioles to the Boston Red Sox where he becomes the best pitcher in baseball, his team wins the World Series in 1915, 1916 and 1918. Then, it’s to the New York Yankees and signed for an unheard of $125,000 paid for his contract, the largest sum EVER paid at that time for a baseball player.

              Babe is a celebrity living the high life. But he never forgets his early start at St. Mary’s. He breaks the single-season home-run record halfway through his first season with the Yankees. Babe is dubbed “The Batterer”, “The Colossus” and “The Sultan of Swat.”

              Here comes the part of the book I love and I hope kid and parents will too. St. Mary’s is demolished by a raging fire. It has all but been destroyed, but Babe has an idea. Writing a letter to Brother Matthias, Babe invites the 50 piece school band to join him “on the road” and come along with the New York Yankees on a road trip. Could you see kids reading this and imaging the thrill of such an opportunity today?

              The 50 boys go to all the games and before each game, play a concert in the stands. They are called “Babe Ruth’s Boy Band” and the huge crowds attending the game are eager to contribute to the rebuilding of St. Mary’s – and they do!

              And he returns to the Big Yard at the rebuilt school where he saw Brother Matthias smack the ball over the big trees again and again. But this time, The Babe does the same thing for the boys.

              Matt Tavares has written a historically accurate picture of a baseball icon and honed in on one small event in a historic baseball career. BUT, he has managed to achieve more than that in “Becoming Babe Ruth.” In his “Author’s Note”, Matt states that even the seemingly superhuman Babe Ruth needed help along his journey to greatness. He needed role models that cared, along with a ton of support and guidance.

              And even after his fairy tale rise to stardom, he never forgot the shoulders that he had stood on to achieve his goals – or even forming the idea of a goal to be reached.

              Much has been written in eastern papers of late of the Yankee captain, Derek Jeter. His   career that has recently come to a close has served as a role model of dogged determination for excellence, along with a scandal free personal life, topped off by a final game that was magical in which all the stars seemed to align.

              Yet, the character and performance of Babe Ruth still stands out in its greatness, despite the weaknesses that showed themselves in his later adult life. His athletic achievement stood out, but what is remarkable is his eagerness never to forget what formed him. He wanted to provide hope for kids in orphanages, reform schools and hospitals, telling young ones that they too could achieve something in life – that good things are possible even with a rocky start.

              “Becoming Babe Ruth” is a great picture book in this “play off” season to remind kids what is possible in baseball – and life, even when you’re down in the 9th inning AND bases are loaded.

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              9. I asked PANDEMIC author, Yvonne Ventresca, to stop by and share some contagious facts about her book.

              What is the title and genre of your book and a quick tag line?

              Pandemic is a young adult novel published in May 2014 by Sky Pony Press. During a deadly contagious outbreak, one teenage girl must face disease, death, and her personal demons in order to survive.

              Is this your first book? Second? Third. . .? (Feel free to list them all.)

              Pandemic was my debut novel. I’ve also written two nonfiction books for teens: Avril Lavigne(a biography of the singer) and Publishing(about careers in the field).

              (You can find more info on Yvonne's books here.)


              Who is the intended audience for this book and why do you think they should read it?

              Pandemic is for people ages 12+ who like survival stories. With Ebola in the news, Pandemic gives readers a way to think about a contagious disease in a fictional world. School Library Journal said, "This is an engrossing apocalyptic story, told through Lil’s eyes and newsfeeds as her neighborhood, then the East Coast, and finally the entire U.S. buckles to its knees as the pandemic spreads. . . . Themes of friendship and coming together in a crisis carry the novel."

              What is your favorite thing about the main character?

              Lilianna is resilient and good-hearted.

              Where did the idea for this book spring from?

              I find natural disasters and contagious diseases particularly worrisome, so these types of unpredictable situations have always been on my radar. When the Swine Flu pandemic occurred in 2009, it wasn’t particularly lethal, but it did make me wonder. What if a virus was extremely contagious and caused a high death rate? And what if a teen girl had to survive the outbreak on her own?

              Tell us an unknown fact about the book.

              Mr. B (the antagonist) was originally called Mr. D. During Pandemic’s final edits, my son switched to a school with a principal named Dr. D. Since the character is an evil man, I thought it would be wise to change the name. J

              Tell us a little bit about you.

              I grew up on Long Island and now live in New Jersey with my husband, two teens, two dogs, and some random fish. I write from home and am currently working on a psychological thriller set in Hoboken.

              Give us a strange but true fact about you.

              After attending an SCBWI conference and presenting a draft of Pandemic’s first page for critique, I returned home from the weekend with a horrible case of the flu. (The irony!) I took notes afterward and used parts of my delirium in later chapters of Pandemic.

              If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?


              When I’m not writing, I study karate. (You can learn more about my martial arts journey here.) I would love to go back in time and meet Tatsuo Shimabuku, the founder of Isshinryu karate.


              If your main character could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

              Lilianna would want to meet the head of the CDC so she could learn the latest news about contagious diseases.

              Thanks for stopping by Yvonne! 





              To connect with Yvonne:
              Facebook www.facebook.com/yvonneventrescaauthor

              To buy Pandemic:
              Book Depository www.bookdepository.com/Pandemic-Yvonne-Ventresca/9781628736090 

              In person events:
              October 26, 2014, Sunday, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
              NJ Association of School Librarians Fall Conference
              Authors' Alley
              Long Branch, NJ

              October 30, 2014, Thursday, 7:00 pm
              Tour de Noir Author signing with Jennifer Murgia, Lisa Amowitz, Cyn Balog, Molly Cochran, Janice Gable Bashman, Dianne Salerni, Jessica Verday, Yvonne Ventresca and Elizabeth Keim.
              Barnes & Noble, Easton, PA

              November 1st and 2nd, 2014, Saturday and Sunday
              NJ SCBWI Fall Craft Weekend, Faculty
              Workshop: Revision Resources--Tools to Analyze Your Manuscript
              Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
              Saturday Craft Day is *free* to SCBWI members, but registration is required.

              November 15, 2014, Saturday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
              Author Day at the Hillsborough Library
              Hillsborough Public Library, Hillsborough, NJ

              December 13, 2014, Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
              Mary Jacobs Library Foundation Book Fest
              Barnes & Noble, Princeton, NJ


              0 Comments on I asked PANDEMIC author, Yvonne Ventresca, to stop by and share some contagious facts about her book. as of 10/23/2014 12:36:00 PM
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              10. PUMPKIN TIME by Erzsi Deak and Doug Cushman - GIVEAWAY!


              Two amazing talents have teamed up to create THE perfect harvest time book for this coming fall - Erzsi Deak (of Hen & Ink Literary Studio) and Doug Cushman (writer and/or illustrator of over 125 picture books!). The book is called PUMPKIN TIME! . It’s about Evy, who is a consummate gardener and very good pie maker! Erzsi and Doug both stopped by to talk about their book… and France, where they both live. (Paint me green with envy!)

              Q. Erzsi - Congratulations on Pumpkin Time! This isn’t your first book, but it is your first picture book (yes?). How did it come to be?
              A.
              It was three years after PERIOD PIECES: STORIES FOR GIRLS came out when I met the wonderful Markus Zusak, author of THE BOOK THIEF among other titles, and his talk and the discussions with other attendees. Doug Cushman was there along with Ann Jacobus -- whose book, ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT comes out from SMP in 2015 -- and Bridget Strevens-Marzo, whose book, TIZ & OTT’S BIG DRAW comes out from Tate Publishing in 2015! Zusak’s talk was a reboot for me creatively. I started dreaming up a new book on a napkin and hotel stationery (like the best authors in recent bestselling history). This time with words and pictures. It’s actual debut, in a slightly different form, was performed during the very first Dueling Illustrators event at the SCBWI booth at the Bologna Book Fair between Doug, Bridget and Paul O. Zelinsky!

              Q. Erzsi - Were you and Doug friends before PUMPKIN TIME!? Was it a collaboration?
              A.
              Doug and I have been friends ever since Peter Sis introduced us in Paris. He knew Peter who knew me through Barbara McClintock who knew me because of the SCBWI. Doug moved to France over ten years ago, but for the first five we only saw each other at exotic SCBWI venues (Madrid, Munich, Bologna). Since then, he has designed the Bologna logo, critiqued picture book projects at the Bologna stand and created Pencil Boy (an irregular feature on the Here, There & Everywhere page). Doug graciously listened to various versions of the text and then illustrated sample art. Last year in Bologna, over lunch, Steve Geck told me that what he really wanted was a pumpkin book. I said, "Shoot, Steve," (not my exact words, mind you), "I have a pumpkin book." And the rest, as they say is history. (For the ongoing inside scoop on how we work, I invite everyone to check out CHICKEN SCRATCHES, the regular comic Doug creates for http://henandink.com)

              Q. Erzsi - You run the Literary Studio Hen & Ink. Is being located in Paris ever a challenge for you? (Personally, I’d love it!) And does being an agent inform your writing?
              A.
              I actually work out of the South of France in a field (last year it was... pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!). With good internet, phone and postal/delivery service; a nearby airport and a high-speed train that can whip me off to New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Bologna, Frankfurt and even further like Seoul this year, it's pure pleasure. Okay, the lightening storms kind of kill the internet fun, but other than that, we're good! For Hen&ink and Pumpkin Time!, I'm excited to be heading to Portland, OR, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin (for the Texas Book Festival -- yay!) and New York.
                    As far as if being an agent informs my writing, I suppose a bit; I do more editing and letter and email writing than manuscript writing of my own, however. It's probably more correct to say that my writing informs my agenting.

              Q. Erzsi - What was your writing process for Pumpkin Time!? Do you find the picture book format challenging? (CLICK HERE to read more about Erzsi's writing process.)
              A.
              I love (love!) picture books and the interplay of words and pictures. I wrote poetry from the age I could hold a stick in the sand; when I worked in a bookstore in Fairbanks, AK, I spent all my money on starting my children's book collection (I still have those picture books). In art school, I played a lot with text and looked at possibly becoming an art director so I could continue to play with words and pictures. All-this-is-to say, I find the picture book format a fabulous format to work in -- especially if one is visual. The perfect word. The perfect pause. The perfect picture. I like rhythm and repeat (What was Evy doing? for example!); call-and-response; gorgeous writing and funny writing. Succinct writing. I'm wary of one-note joke books and seek out richness in the story as well as the writing and illustrating. So, not challenging -- invigorating and exciting!

              Q. Doug - I love all the energetic animals in PUMPKIN TIME! How do you come up with such fun characters?
              A.
              I love drawing animals (mostly they are more human and real than, well, humans). And of course Erzsi’s energetic text and humor was perfect for creating some wild animal characters. It wasn’t a chore at all, in some ways I had to hold back and not get too crazy for fear of straying too far away from the original intent of the story.

              Q. Doug - What is your illustration method?
              A.
              I try to get the main character nailed down at the get-go, in this case it was Evy and Turkey. I saw Turkey as Evy’s counterpoint, he saw and reacted to everything she missed. Turkey is the flip side of the same coin, her “animal spirit”, if I may. I gave them both the same boots and hat to accentuate that idea. Once I have the main characters in my head I start to sketch each page and lay out the action and design. The ideal is to make each spread flow into the next one so the book works as a complete unit, like a little film.

              Q. Doug - You’re in Paris now too. Does that affect your career or your approach to illustration in any way?
              A.
              Paris and Europe are very liberating. There are literally centuries of art all around—even up the street!— that I can draw from (no pun intended). My approach to books hasn’t changed that much but there is an atmosphere here where I feel I can push my art and ideas a little further to the edge. It doesn’t always work for the American market but it’s easier to pull back if I need to than try and push forward. I’d like to see the American market take a few more chances. Children can handle it. We could make some great books, I think.

              Q. Doug - You’ve created over 125 picture books - wowsa! Do you ever slow down?
              A.
              It’s closer to 130 now. It doesn’t feel like work at all. I get up every morning and draw pictures. That’s all I do. But each book is different and has it’s own problems. In one sense, I’m a beginner with each book. Every project is a blank sheet, literally, where I have to create something logical, seamless and fun. The challenge is to do better than the last book. It doesn’t always work. But I keep trying.

              Q. Doug - Had to add that I am now teaching with Ruth Sanderson at Hollins University in the summers in their MFA in Writing and Illustrating Children's Books program. She says ‘hi’!
              A.
              I knew Ruth way back in art school. She was a star even then. I was thrilled when she came to visit earlier this year. We had a grand time sketching outdoors…and eating snails. Ask her about THAT!

              Q. Erzsi and Doug - Are you doing anything special to celebrate PUMPKIN TIME!?
              A.

              ED-I think we should break out the pumpkin pie, don't you?!
              DC-Sounds good to me!
              ED-In celebration, we are taking the pumpkin patch on-the-road! We've just about nailed down the schedule. Doug starts next week at The Hickory Stick Bookstore in Washington, CT, and will go to Boston and Bank Street in NYC as well. I start at the Book Been Bookstore in Portland, OR, on October 15th and then go to the Yellow Book Road and a school visit on the 21st in San Diego, drop into NCIBA in San Francisco and possibly a school visit and then it's Austin for the Festival and Books of Wonder in NYC. Details will be on pumpkin-time.com. Hope many of you can meet us on this pumpkin-infused journey!

              Q. Erzsi and Doug - Do folks celebrate Halloween and harvest time in France like they do in the US?
              A.

              ED- Everyone loves pumpkins here -- especially pumpkin soup, so Doug may be illustrating a new spread for the rest of the world that doesn't "do" pumpkin pie! :) The merchants in Paris have tried to get Halloween going, but with All Saint's Day observed the day after Halloween, it's a tougher call to get everyone out in ghost and witch costumes for Halloween. But the harvest, definitely the harvest! Around here, in the SE of France, the hay has been baled and the pumpkins are lined up in the fields.
              DC-All true. Halloween is practically unknown in France. But as Erzsi said, the harvest, especially the grape harvest, is big. I just returned from the grape harvest in Burgundy. Obviously France has no Thanksgiving holiday, which is huge in America, and in many ways symbolizes the great Harvest in the States.

              Q. Erzsi and Doug - Do you think you’ll do another book together?
              A.
              ED & DC-Yes!!
              DC- We’ve known each other for a long time and have planned many projects over the years. We hope to do many more books together...and not only pumpkin-related (though food is one of my favorite subjects to write, talk and paint).

              Q. Thanks so much to both of you for stopping by! I wish you much continued success, and with any luck, I’ll be able to say that to you in person, in France, one of these days!!!
              A. ED & DC- Great! The first glass of Burgundy is on us!
              Me: Oh, you have SO got a deal!

              CLICK HERE to download a free PUMPKIN TIME! Activity kit! .

              GIVEAWAY!
              Sourcebooks has agreed to giveaway a free copy of PUMPKIN TIME to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US/Canada to win - enter below:

              0 Comments on PUMPKIN TIME by Erzsi Deak and Doug Cushman - GIVEAWAY! as of 10/23/2014 8:05:00 AM
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              11. The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee by Barry Jonsberg

              Categorical Universe of Candice PheeCandice Phee marches to the beat of her own drummer. Candice might tell you, though, that she doesn’t see any drummers around, and that she’s sitting still at the moment, thank you. Candice is very literal, and very sure of her world. She knows quite well that none of her schoolmates like her, but she likes everyone anyway. I’ve seen several reviews which assert (as does Candice’s friend Douglas Benson’s mother) that she must be autistic, or somewhere ‘on the spectrum.’ Candice’s response? “I’m me.”

              Candice’s outlook may be generally positive, but this doesn’t mean her world is an easy one–her baby sister died of SIDS; her mother has had a double masectomy and is (understandably) suffering from depression; her father had a business blow-up with Rich Uncle Brian before Candice was born, and has been frustrated in his job ever since. More than anything else, Candice wants to fix her family. She knows it won’t be easy, but she has to try. And when Douglas Benson confides that he believes that he is from another dimension and needs to get back to his real family, Candice is skeptical, but can’t quite bring herself to NOT believe him.

              Candice is one of the most endearing, engrossing characters that I’ve read about in a long time. From her hilarious interactions with her teachers (regular and substitute) to her philosophical worries about her pet fish (does the fish think of her as a deity? Is it ethical for her to allow the fish to think so?), to her heartfelt attempts to heal her family’s wounds, every moment in this lovely novel was affecting. The book comes to a satisfying conclusion, so there’s no reason for the author to write a sequel, but I wouldn’t be at all upset to spend more time with Candice.

              Posted by: Sarah


              0 Comments on The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee by Barry Jonsberg as of 10/23/2014 10:41:00 AM
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              12. Guest Post for Networking is the Best Way to Market Your Book


              Networking is the Best Way to Market You and Your Book




              Book Synopsis for The Magic of Friendship:

              BABBAR is a fierce and mean tiger who cannot tolerate anyone, but he is lonely and sad. HASMUKH is a funny donkey but gets scared of everyone. When the Magic of friendship touches them see how it transforms not only their characters but also transforms the whole environment around them.

              The Magic of friendship is a hilarious, action packed entertaining story. There are scary moments, celebration and comical moments. While the core focus of the story is about friendship it has elements of father son bonding and family values as well.

              Book gives plenty of opportunity for parents to entertain kids with their own version of animal noises. And bright and interactive illustrations is sure to leave a mark on eyes.

              This is a story about change -- a transformation that comes with the magic of friendship. Personality may not change, but nature can surely change. This story will show the value of friendship and how that can change a person, particularly, one who is lonely and never really had the gift of laughter.


              Book Information
              Title of Book: The Magic of Friendship
              ISBN:  9-7-80-99031781-4
              Genre: Children's Picture Book
              Publisher: Kommuru Books
              Publication Date: September 2014
              of Pages: 40
              Title is available at Amazon
              Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble


              The Best Way to Market Your Book
              We always hear of people who come from nowhere and go somewhere beyond imaginations. That statement sounds very simple but you will appreciate that someone a lot more once you get your feet into this field. Networking  is an ongoing and an uphill battle.
              I believe networking is the best way to market you. Being an author is unlike any other industry there are no competitors. Everyone is an ally and you just want to make sure that you have more and more of them. Every author I have met has helped a lot. It’s truly amazing you will not find a community like this in any other field.

              Bio:
              Subhash and Sujata hail from India. They migrated to the United States along with their memories of childhood and youth. Now that they are parents, just like every immigrant they crave to introduce their child to the culture and values of their upbringing. Yet it is challenging to teach something while you are in the midst of adjusting to a different culture yourself.

              Subhash and Sujata both work in different disciplines and have different styles and backgrounds, but it is the upbringing of their son that brings them on the same page. That exact place where they meet is captured and reflected in their stories, where Subhash can express in words, and Sujata can illustrate them beautifully. Where he puts it in black and white, she adds color to it. You get the idea!

              These stories are their attempt to share a glimpse of their childhood days with their son. He is their inspiration to write short stories that have meaning to them and provide teaching in some shape or form. 

              0 Comments on Guest Post for Networking is the Best Way to Market Your Book as of 10/23/2014 9:41:00 AM
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              13. ‘Leaving Time’ Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

              Leaving TimeJodi Picoult’s new fiction book, Leaving Time, has joined Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. this week at No. 2.

              Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending October 20, 2014. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks are occupying the first and third spots on the list this week.

              We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump.
              (more…)

              New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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              14. Tip for aspiring writers & illustrators: Make a routine and then stick to it.

              A tip for aspiring children's book writers and illustrators: Try not to let yourself get sucked into too much fussing over preparation and ritual. Make a routine and then stick to it.

              Now to follow my own advice...

              0 Comments on Tip for aspiring writers & illustrators: Make a routine and then stick to it. as of 10/23/2014 10:02:00 AM
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              15. ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Teaser Released

              Marvel has unleashed a teaser for The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

              The video embedded above features “Ultron trying to tear apart Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the rest of the world.” What do you think?

              An internet leak compelled the company to release the trailer earlier than planned. The theatrical release date for The Avengers sequel has been scheduled for May 01, 2015. (via The Verge)

              New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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              16. Synopsis 42


              On her sixteenth-birthday, Junie’s best friend Joe warns her of her gangster-leaning, hip-hop singing, driving habits, but Junie won’t listen. She ends up crashing her birthday car into a ditch, almost killing herself. [Joe was right. The accident was caused by Junie's poor taste in music.] On top of her accident, Junie is attacked by a cello-toting homeless guy named Hagi who leaves her a cryptic note. When Junie gets to school the next day, [She has a car wreck so horrendous she almost dies, yet she's back in school the next day? I'd expect at least a two-week hospital stay.] she narrowly avoids a hair-pulling, nail-scratching catfight with her school’s bully, Rebecca Umpteenth, [Umpteenth? Really?] because Viscount appears in the school office. [Was she about to engage in this "cat fight" in the school office?] [And who is Viscount?] Viscount is one of the 25 immortals, [You're assuming I know who you mean by the 25 immortals, which I do, having read the query, but I think the synopsis should work independently.] and he tells her that she is in danger and she must leave the school now and go with him. [A stranger telling a 16-year-old to leave school is like a stranger telling a 4-year-old to come with him and he'll give her candy. Irresistible.]

              Junie finds out from Viscount that because of her accident and almost-death the other day, the men become aware of her presence. She is the reincarnation of a witch named Riveya, who poisoned 25 men with her love potion in order to gain control of Crown Realm. [Whoa. And she buys this? Does he offer any evidence that this isn't just a wild fantasy story he made up to get her to follow him?] Viscount tells her that some men want to kill Riveya, and since she is her reincarnation, she is in danger. When Viscount leaves to protect Junie’s parents, [From what?] Junie searches through his base and finds evidence that she cannot trust his words. [This is backwards. If someone tells you you're the incarnation of a witch, you don't look for evidence that he's lying; you demand evidence that he isn't lying.] She finds evidence Viscount stalked her far earlier than her past birthday.

              Eventually, Junie decides she can no longer be normal and teams up with Viscount, transporting herself to Crown Realm [Transporting herself? What does that mean?] to discover how to end the curse. Junie has to lie to her best friend Joe, who knows something is wrong and calls her trying to find out. [Apparently Crown Realm has excellent cell phone service. I was thinking it was in another dimension or something. Where is it?] She also has to lie to Rebecca, who has become suspicious and more aggressive following her kidnapping from Tev. [Tev? What's Tev?] Plus, Junie has no idea what to tell her parents about her sudden behavior. [I thought Junie was in Crown Realm. Where are her parents?] The police tail her [The Crown Realm police?] because of her connection with Tev's actions in kidnapping Rebecca. [You said Rebecca was kidnapped from Tev. Now it sounds like she was kidnapped by Tev.] [Why was Rebecca kidnapped?]

              Junie’s efforts to uncover the cure for the love potion are thwarted by another boyfriend, Aren, who has is the reigning King of Crown Realm. Aren does not want to be cured of the love potion, because he likes being immortal. Aren wants to use Junie to kill the other immortals- or rather, immobilize them by decapitation. [The king should have an army at his disposal, which would be more efficient at decapitating 25 guys than one 16-year-old girl would.]

              Finally, Junie comes head-to-head with Tev, saving police officers from his destruction. She wins with no help from anyone else. Her victory is cut short when she finds out her best friend Joe has been transformed into an immortal boyfriend himself by a witch from Riveya’s plan. [A witch from Riveya's plan? What does that mean?]


              Notes

              The synopsis seems highly disorganized. This will convince the reader that the book has the same problem. If you're convinced this book is ready to be published, I recommend going through an agent or publisher that doesn't require a synopsis.

              A better idea might be to set the book aside while you work on another project or two and then read it and decide if it's salvageable. If the synopsis is an accurate summary of Junie's story, the plot may need an overhaul.

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              17. Children's Picture Book Review: The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt



              The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt by Lise Chase

              Wally and Warren explore the world of dinosaurs through rhyme and imagination. Learn about each unique dinosaur and their eating habits and physical details. From the herbivore to the omnivorous to big and small your young muses will learn about the stegosaurus to the tyrannosaurus and everything in between.

              <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->
              Author and illustrator, Lise Chase combines her knack for rhyme storytelling and intriguing illustrations for a perfect blend of an adventure like no other.
              Visit author and illustrator, Lise Chase at https://www.facebook.com/lise.chase.9?fref=ts

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              Best wishes,
              Donna M. McDine
              Multi Award-winning Children's Author

              Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

              Connect with
              A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

              Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

              Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

              The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
              ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

              0 Comments on Children's Picture Book Review: The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt as of 10/23/2014 8:12:00 AM
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              18. apples, stars...and cake

              ©the enchanted easel 2014
              ...because cake is always important! ;)

              {a piece of my painting in progress...to be released on november 1st in honor of a special character who is turning the big 4-0. *hint*-she's a girl dressed in a cat costume. not quite sure i get that, but i love her anyway. ;)}

              0 Comments on apples, stars...and cake as of 10/23/2014 11:15:00 AM
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              19. An Interview with Amazon Best Selling Author Linda Watkins

              BookBuzzr author Linda Watkins recently had an opportunity to celebrate. Her book – Mateguas Island – recently hit the number 1 spot on Amazon in the Horror > Occult category.

              The screenshot below was taken on October 14, 2014.

              linda-watkins-amazon-rank

              We reached out to her to learn more about her journey…

              Hey Linda! Always a pleasure to connect with a fellow Carnegie Mellon alum! Why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself?

              Linda Watkins with her dogs

              Sure. My family is from New England. We moved to Michigan when I was young and that’s where I grew up. After college – at Carnegie – I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I spent most of my adult life, working as a financial analyst at Stanford Unversity School of Medicine. When I took early retirement, I moved to Oregon for a brief time, then on to Chebeague Island, Maine, where I resided for seven wonderful years. Chebeague is an “unconnected” island – there is no bridge or causeway; access is only by ferry or private boat. It was there that I wrote MATEGUAS ISLAND. Last year, for personal reasons, I gave up island life and moved to Western Michigan where I live today.

              I’m single and live with my three aging rescue dogs, Splatter, Spudley and Jasper,

              Why did you start writing?

              I think I’ve always been writing. When we were young, my sister and I used to write satirical sketches based on the era’s most popular tv westerns. Later in life, at work, I wrote “long forms” and business plans while, at home, I wrote songs, poems and bits of whimsy to share with family and friends. A novel, however, was something I never attempted until approximately four years ago when I started MATEGUAS.

              I think there were two things that spurred me to actually sit down and write this book. First was a challenge from my sister who is also a writer. Second was the invention of the iPad! I got one of the first ones and it freed me from being tied to my computer. I could write anywhere – in my car, waiting in the parking lot on the mainland; on the ferry, going to and from Chebeague and in the wee small hours of the morning when my characters refused to let me sleep – they wanted their story told!

              What’s the story behind ‘Mateguas Island’?

              Well, as I mentioned above, I lived on an island not unlike my fictional one. Living on an unconnected island, there are times, most especially when a storm is coming (I experienced 2 hurricanes and an untold number of nor’easters while I lived there), that one can feel an overwhelming sense of isolation and claustrophia. These emotions play well into a story based in the supernatural. Also, you’ll note my main characters moved to the island from northern California – just like I did.

              Since horror is the genre I most enjoy, I decided to write a horror story, using a fictional island as the backdrop. It began, initially, as one of those “house” stories – you know, there’s something evil lurking in the walls, etc. However, my characters had other things in mind and they led me to the story that is now MATEGUAS.

              What’s the best thing about being a writer?

              Gosh – the people you meet in your mind! And, you can do anything to them that you want! Also, your hours are your own – you can write in the early morning, late at night or whenever the spirit moves you. It’s so much fun creating a story – I can’t really describe it – it’s wonderful.

              What’s the worst thing about being a writer?

              As a self-published writer, I have to do all the promoting of my work myself and I can’t say I really enjoy it. I’d rather be writing. But promotion is a necessary evil and I have to do it!

              What does a typical day look like for you?

              I’m a morning person. I’m usually up around 5:30 – 6:00 am. After I let the dogs out and brew that first cup of coffee, I’m at the computer – reading emails, scheduling tweets, answering messages on FB and posting book promos there. After all that is done, I walk my dogs, feed them and then it’s back to the computer again, either doing promo stuff or writing/editing.

              In the early evening, I’m again back at the computer doing promos. After dinner, it’s down time – I stop work and just relax.

              What are some of the things that you did to market your book?

              I’ve tried quite a few different things. I do Facebook promos in the numerous groups that feature books, I tweet and retweet, I’ve been on several different horror blogs as a guest, and joined in promotional events featuring book giveaways. I’ve also placed my novel on a number of websites that feature books. Outside of cyberspace, I’ve done signings and participated in charity events, giving away copies of my book

              It was a BookBub promotion, that I’m now in the middle of, that catapulted me to the #1 Bestseller Ranking.

              How did you learn about your book hitting the number 1 slot on Amazon?

              As I mentioned above, I had a promotion going on, so I was watching the stats very carefully. The first day, the books were flying off the virtual shelves so fast, the Amazon ranking couldn’t keep up with them! I think the lowest number I saw was 123 in all paid, which blew my mind. Getting the #1 ranking in Horror/Occult, ahead of Anne Rice and Stephen King and lots of other amazing writers, was just too awesome!

              Who designed your book cover for you?

              The photos on both the front and the back are ones I took on Chebeague Island. The colorization and lettering, etc., were done by a fellow writer, H. William Ruback, who also has a graphic design studio – www.incolordigitaldesign.com.

              How did you get your book and author websites created?

              Another fellow writer and good friend, Steve LeBel (The Universe Builders), helped me set them up initially. The rest was done by just trial and error. I learn best by doing, not by reading about doing!

              How did you manage to reach out to your first few reviewers and get them to read your book?

              My book is published under Argon Press which is actually a consortium of writers. The aforementioned Steve LeBel set up a website for Argon and, in that website, members of the general public have the ability to download ARCs (advanced reader copies) of our unpublished work. I obtained several reviews from those readings.

              In addition, I reached out to reviewers who have pages on Facebook asking them if they would be so kind as to read and review my work. I also sent MATEGUAS to the Midwest Book Review and Readers’ Favorite organizations in order to obtain editorial reviews. At the same time, I entered the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest and was so thrilled and elated when MATEGUAS won the Gold Medal in Fiction-Supernatural.

              When is your next book coming out? Can you tell us a little about it?

              The next book is the sequel to MATEGUAS, aptly titled: RETURN TO MATEGUAS ISLAND. The novel is in the final editing stages now. My goal is to have the editing done by the end of October, then its on to formatting, etc. I have the front cover done – the back and spine will come later when I prepare the print version. I hope to publish the eBook by mid-December 2014. The print version will come later – probably in January or February of 2015.

              As for the story, it takes place ten years after Karen Andersen and her family leave Mateguas. Karen’s daughters are now eighteen and want to return to the island to find out what really happened that night of the storm when everything changed. Karen, now married to Dex, naturally, does not want to go, but is eventually persuaded. There will be some major surprises in store for them on Mateguas, but I’m not going to give away anything here. Suffice to say, there is plenty of supernatural stuff going on as well as a healthy dose of romance. A brief excerpt of the novel can be found on my website, www.mateguasisland.com.

              RETURN TO MATEGUAS is the second full-length novel in a three book series. I’m writing the final novel in my head right now and, once Return is publshed, hope to get started putting it down on paper! My goal is to publish that book by the end of next summer.

              _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

              Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Vikram is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to starting BookBuzzr, Vikram founded another software company that has been successfully serving clients from all over the world since 2001. When he is not dreaming up ways to help authors accelerate their earnings and book sales, Vikram spends his time playing the guitar, practicing Aikido and spending time with his family._________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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              20. Silvermaigne Is Here...In Book Form At Least!

              Ahh. More books for the BCP Book Fair and Comic Expo in November!


              In case you ask:

              Venue Infomation

              The venue for BCP International Book Fair & Comic Expo 2014 is the Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa in Bristol, UK. The hotel is by the beautiful St Mary's Church and the harbour. With Temple Mead Train Station 10 minutes away and Bristol Airport 20 minutes drive from the hotel.
              There are many lovely facilities on site including a fitness suite, swimming pool, spa (a 5 minutes walk around the side of the hotel), restaurants..
              We have negotiated a discounted room rate for the convention and these are as follows:
              Friday Night (Bed & Breakfast): £99 
              Saturday Night (Bed & Breakfast): £109
              (Hotel bookable at these convention rates, secured by a credit card and you can pay on departure - available only until the 22nd September after which will revert to full room rate)
              You can book your room by using the following code when booking:
              BACKCOVER PROMOTIONS

              Please quote this code when phoning the hotel to book via phone: 0117 3199004 (UK)

              There are free coffee/tea making facilities in each room.

              There is free wifi in each room.

              The website for the Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa can be found HERE

              The Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa's address is as follows:

              Redcliffe Hill
              Bristol
              BS1 6SQ
              United Kingdom

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              21. Query Question: "petite novels"



              Are there agents who are willing to represent 100-ish page women’s fiction manuscripts these days? And if so, what is the market? I see the petite novels in self-publish eBook formats but I am uncertain of the global mainstream market.


              Generally agents are looking for books that publishers want to print. That means 80-100K words, not 25K. (100 pages =25K approximately)

              I'm sure there's a market for shorter novels in ebook format where the writer/publisher can offer it for sale at a low price.  Publishers have overhead that generally preclude offering books at that price unless it's a special, time-limited, discount.

              0 Comments on Query Question: "petite novels" as of 10/23/2014 7:12:00 AM
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              22. "...and the local library matters." - Bill Moyers


              One of the best books I read this year and a truly important reading experience is The Public Library, a photographic essay by Robert Dawson. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, this is a gorgeously designed book of photos and essays on American public libraries, which I could not stop paging through.

              Right now, you are probably thinking you know what the book is and agree with me that it's important and yet you likely have no interest in paging through it. A book like this is a good thing, but you already value libraries, right? You think you don't need this one.

              Allow me to convince you otherwise.

              I know public libraries matter on many levels. My hometown library had a huge influence on my life and I know that sentiment is the same for a lot of other people. So I approached The Public Library expecting an appreciation and I certainly was not disappointed on that score. But there is a lot more going on in this book, in the essays (by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver and more) and the photos.

              Dawson shows libraries in a variety of situations: urban and rural, small communities and large, in remote locations and city centers. The design differences are amazing and the closed facilities are heartbreaking but what really got to me was seeing how really useful the libraries are in unexpected ways. Also, the issue of homeless patrons came up several times and the essayists were pretty blunt on that subject.

              While I was reading The Public Library and pouring over the photos, what struck me time and again was that open, free libraries are not a gift for a community, but a necessity. They are an equalizing force between the rich and poor and as significant as schools and the right to vote. They can make the difference for so much that might be missing in your life and be a game-changer in so many ways.

              The best case scenario would find all of our elected officials sitting down and reading this book. It's the type of title that makes you think and inspires action. (I feel like I'm getting almost silly about libraries right now but I can't help it; just looking at these pictures touched my heart.)

              The Public Library--obvious choice for book lovers but an even more important one for folks who just don't get it yet and need to be persuaded.

              Listen to an interview with Robert Dawson at NPR.

              [Post pics from the book.]

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              24. Mr. Squirrel and the Moon - a book review



              "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."   -Dr. Seuss



              Today's featured book:





              Title:  Mr. Squirrel and the Moon
              Author and Illustrator:  Sebastian Meschenmoser
              Ages:  4-8

              Let's take a peek inside shall we?


























              About the book:

              This book is clever, whimsical and the illustrations really drive the whole story.  A little squirrel wakes up one morning and finds the moon has crashed into his tree.  How in the world could the moon fall out of the sky and land right near his home?  He starts pondering and then gets scared because what if someone thought he stole it?  Oh my.  He may be labelled a thief and end up in jail.  What is he to do?  

              He decides to roll that big, old heavy moon (which is really a runaway wheel of cheese that has gone rogue off a farmer's cart and finally plunks down on Mr. Squirrel's branch) out of sight so he has no chance of incrimination by the other animals around him.  

              Unfortunately the moon drops with a thud and lands right on top of Mrs. Hedgehog and gets quite stuck in her bristles.  Oh my.  How to set her free from such a heavy burden?  Along comes a billy-goat who takes it upon himself to butt the moon with his horns, thus relinquishing Mrs. Hedgehog to freedom.  The cheesy moon hangs on to Billy Goat really tight and won't give him his head back.  Oh my.

              Enter a swarm of mice ready to save the day, and save the day they do!  They eat the goat to freedom, a very tough job but someone has to do it right?  All the animals feel conviction and feel that if they do not return the moon to it's rightful place in the sky they ALL might end up in jail. Together they devise a creative plan to wing it back into the night sky where it belongs. After a hectic, worrisome, successful adventure the animals settle down to look up into the sky and see the fruits of their labor....well really not fruit ..... but the cheese of their labour.  I think this is a book that both adults and kids will throughly enjoy.


              About the author:




              Sebastian Meschenmoser was born in 1980 and both authors and illustrates his books.  He has many children books to choose from and is highly acclaimed for his talent and creativity.  





              Book review rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

              Read on and read always!  



              0 Comments on Mr. Squirrel and the Moon - a book review as of 10/23/2014 10:42:00 AM
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              25. Alvin Stardust Dead


              Can news get even sadder today?


              Alvin Stardust, glam rock singer, dies aged 72

              Alvin Stardust on Top of the Pops in 1973 Stardust had been due to release a new studio album this autumn
              Singer Alvin Stardust has died aged 72 after a short illness.

              He had recently been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and died at home with his wife, Julie, and family around him, his manager said.

              Born Bernard Jewry in the East End of London in 1942, his hits included My Coo Ca Choo, Jealous Mind and I Feel Like Buddy Holly.

              The former glam rock star had been due to release his first studio album in 30 years on 3 November.
              He recently announced the record, titled Alvin, was finished and would represent "a new and exciting departure" of which he was "immensely proud".

              Stardust grew up in Mansfield and started playing guitar as a schoolboy. He met one of his biggest influences, Buddy Holly, at a gig in Doncaster and played backstage with the singer and his band the Crickets.

              He signed his first record deal in 1961 as the frontman of Shane Fenton and the Fentones, though the band struggled to get in the charts.

              In 1973 he signed with Magnet Records and took on the name that would make him famous.

              My Choo Ca Coo, the debut song under his new guise, peaked at number two in the UK singles chart.
              Alvin Stardust at his home in 1983 The singer previously recorded under the name Shane Fenton
               
               
              It led to him being part of a Green Cross Code road safety campaign in 1976 which saw him instructing children to look both ways before they crossed the road.

              His success continued into the 1980s with Pretend, I Feel Like Buddy Holly and I Won't Run Away all making the top 10.

              Once described as "the Godfather of British Rock 'n' Roll" by Rolling Stone Keith Richards, he made sporadic acting appearances in Hollyoaks, The Grimleys and Doctors.

              He also appeared on stage in such musicals as Godspell, The Phantom of the Opera and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, in which he played the fearsome Child Catcher.

              Stardust was married three times. His first wife was Iris Caldwell, with whom he had two sons, Shaun and Adam.

              His second wife was the actress Liza Goddard, with whom he had a daughter named Sophie.
              "RIP Alvin Stardust," Goddard tweeted on Thursday. "Thank you for our beautiful daughter and granddaughter."

              Stardust went on to marry to Julie Paton, an actress and choreographer with whom he had a daughter, Millie.


              Shaun is now a headmaster in Reigate, while his brother is a producer and DJ who records under the name Adam F.

              DJ Tony Blackburn remembered the singer as "a great showman" who would be "sorely missed". "Performing was his life," added the veteran broadcaster.

              "He had this bad boy image, but he was not like that at all," Blackburn continued. "On stage he was brilliant, but off stage he was just an ordinary guy."

              Stardust, a committed Christian, was also remembered as "a great bloke" by his former Hollyoaks co-star Jeremy Edwards.

              "RIP Alvin Stardust, the original landlord of the Dog in the Pond," the actor wrote on Twitter, referring to the Channel 4 series' fictional public house.

              "I may not have known him long, but even in that short time he proved to be one of the most genuine and likeable men I've ever met," said the singer's manager Andy Davies.

              "His passing is a huge and sad loss."


              Tempus fugit


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