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1. Tools to Help You Monitor Your Social Media Network Efforts

If you’re including social media marketing in your business plan, and you absolutely should be, you need to take some time to find out what type of results (ROI) you’re getting. Bufferapp.com has a post with 19 FREE social media analytical tools that will help you keep an eye on things. I’ll admit I don’t go waist-deep into analytics, but I do monitor my websites and social media efforts. I’d

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2. Fusenews: In which I find the barest hint of an excuse to post a Rex Stout cover

  • I’ve been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt recently.  So far the resident husband and I have only made it through two episodes, but I was pleased as punch when I learned that the plot twist in storyline #2 hinged on a Baby-Sitter’s Club novel.  Specifically Babysitter’s Club Mystery No. 12: Dawn and the Surfer Ghost.  Peter Lerangis, was this one of yours?  Here’s a breakdown of the book’s plot with a healthy dose of snark, in case you’re interested.
  • And now a subject that is near and dear to my heart: funny writers. Author Cheryl Blackford wrote a very good blog post on a comedic line-up of authors recently presented at The Tucson Festival of Books. Mac Barnett, Adam Rex, Jory John, Obert Skye, and Drew Daywalt were all there.  A good crew, no?  One small problem – we may be entering a new era where all-white male panels cannot exist without being called into question.  Indeed, I remember years ago when I attended an ALA Conference and went to see a “funny authors” panel.  As I recall, I was quite pleased to see the inclusion of Lisa Yee.  Here, Tucson didn’t quite get the memo.  The fault lies with the organizers and Cheryl has some incisive things to say about what message the attendees were getting.
  • Speaking of Adam Rex, he’s got this little old major feature film in theaters right now (Home).  Meanwhile in California, the Gallery Nucleus is doing an exhibition of Rex’s work.  Running from March 28th to April 19th, the art will be from the books The True Meaning of Smekday and Chu’s Day.  Get it while it’s hot!
  • Boy, Brain Pickings just knows its stuff.  There are plenty of aggregator sites out there that regurgitate the same old children’s stuff over and over again.  Brain Pickings actually writes their pieces and puts some thought into what they do.  Case in point, a recent piece on the best children’s books on death, grief, and mourning.  The choices are unusual, recent, and interesting.

Chomping at the bit to read the latest Lockwood & Company book by Jonathan Stroud?  It’s a mediocre salve but you may as well enjoy his homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Mind you, I was an Hercule Poirot fan born and bred growing up, but I acknowledge that that Doyle has his place.  And don’t tell Stroud, but his books are FAR closer to the Nero Wolfe stories in terms of tone anyway.

Over at The Battle of the Books the fighting rages on.  We’ve lost so many good soldiers in this fight.  If you read only one decision, however, read Nathan Hale’s.  Future judges would do well to emulate his style.  Indeed, is there any other way to do it?

You may be one of the three individuals in the continental U.S. who has not seen Travis Jonker’s blog post on The Art of the Picture Book Barcode.  If you’re only just learning about it now, boy are you in for a treat.

“Really? Rosé?”

That one took some thought.

  • Daily Image:

And now, the last and greatest flashdrive you will ever own:

Could just be a librarian thing, but I think I’m right in saying it reeks of greatness.  Many thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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3. Poetry Friday -- PO-EMotions



PO-EMotions

This year, I will write a poem a day that either evokes an emotion, or uses an emotion word in the title or body of the poem. I will be cross-posting at Poetrepository. You are invited to play along whenever you have the time or inspiration! Leave your poems or links in the comments (on either site).


The Emotions

W    4/1  anticipation
Th   4/2  fear
F     4/3  surprise
Sa   4/4  anger
Su   4/5  disgust

M    4/6   sadness
T     4/7   acceptance
W    4/8   joy
Th   4/9   courage
F     4/10  dejection
Sa   4/11  despair
Su   4/12  aversion

M    4/13  hate
T     4/14  desire
W    4/15  hope
Th   4/16  love
F     4/17  sorrow
Sa   4/18  happiness
Su   4/19  interest

M    4/20  wonder
T     4/21  guilt
W    4/22  shame
Th   4/23  contempt
F     4/24  distress
Sa   4/25  cheerfulness
Su   4/26  zest

M   4/27  contentment
T    4/28  optimism
W  4/29   pride
Th 4/30   relief

The emotions came from this list.

The first 8 (April 1-8) are from the theorist Plutchik. I rearranged the order to describe how I'm likely to feel about this project early on.

The second 8 (April 9-16) are from the theorist Arnold. (His list overlaps Plutchik's with anger, fear, and sadness.) Hopefully, by bracketing dejection, despair, aversion and hate with courage on one end, and hope and love on the other, I'll make it through this eight days. (And, yes, I intentionally positioned hope on Tax Day.)

The next 4 (April 17-20) are from the theorist Frijda. (His list overlaps Plutchik's and Arnold's with desire and surprise.) We'll need his mostly hopeful list to make it through the next one.

Another 4 (April 21-24) are from the theorist Izard. (His list is overwhelmingly negative, overlapping the others with anger, disgust, fear, interest, joy, surprise, and shame.)

The last 6 (April 25-30) were chosen from Shaver, et al. (2001)'s list of secondary emotions for the primary emotion joy. After three weeks of emotional ups and downs, I decided to end on high notes. These words, like the first 8, likely describe how I'll be feeling at the end of this month and this project. Especially #30.



Jone has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Check it Out.




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4. Heroes of Social Work

Few professions aspire to improve the quality of life for people and communities around the globe in the same way as social work. Social workers strive to bring about positive changes in society and for individuals, often against great odds. And so it follows that the theme for this year's National Social Work Month in the United States is "Social Work Paves the Way for Change."

The post Heroes of Social Work appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. SHOWCASE - art & business of surface design

Today we have a really interesting showcase of patterns from the students on the Art & Business of Surface Design online E-Course run by designer Rachael Taylor. The ABSPD attracts a global audience with students taking part from all over the world and you can find emerging artists who all show great potential and have a passion for colour and pattern. Print & Pattern offers an annual

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6. A Way with Words

I adored my editor Frances Foster for many reasons. Her humor, her smarts, her genteel manner. She also had a lovely way with words...always eloquent, tactful, and respectful.

In my ongoing quest to purge my office of STUFF, I came across some correspondence that showcased her way with words perfectly.

Back in 2000 (FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!!! How can that be?),

Frances received a letter from an elementary school media specialist about the use of the word "hell" in my book Me and Rupert Goody.

It reads, in part:

I am faced with a real problem. Several times in the book, the character of Uncle Beau uses language that parents of elementary age children would find offensive. More and more, I am finding that this is an issue with well-written books for children this age. If the inclusion of such language were an integral part of the story, that would be at least justifiable. In this book, it is gratuitous and could easily have been deleted.

What will I do with the book? I cannot recommend it to students at my schools. The language is unacceptable - and it occurs only a few times! I am passing the book on to the middle school where students - and their parents - might not be offended. I regret having to do this as the story is appropriate for fourth and fifth graders.

What can you do? I would suggest that, when you edit books in the future, you become aware of such gratuitous language and suggest to authors that they, too, become sensitive to the inclusion of such language. No one is opposed to freedom of expression but let us be more sensitive to what language is necessary and what is not.



Frances responded in the most perfect way. Her letter reads, in part:

I can certainly appreciate the sensitivity of your position as a media specialist. We may, however, disagree on whether or not certain language is integral to a story. I don't think it's so easy to separate language from characterization, and in my opinion, there is nothing gratuitous in O'Connor's depiction of Uncle Beau. His every word and gesture make him totally believable. I suppose the occasional "hell" could have been edited out, but it seemed so utterly true to Uncle Beau's voice and character.

Are you aware that School Library Journal gave Me and Rupert Goody a starred review and a Best Book of the Year ranking? It was also named an ALA Notable Children's Book. Those recommendations, of course may not carry any weight with parents, but they do suggest that not everyone has found the language unacceptable to fourth and fifth grade audiences. 


I couldn't have said it better myself.

P.S. If it had been an e-book, the librarian could have used this Clean Reader App (eye-yi-yi) .

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7. Book Review: Green Gooey Goop, by Anna C. Morrison


Title: Green Gooey Goop
Author: Anna C. Morrison
Publisher: Green Gooey Goop
Pages:16
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Find out more on Amazon





Book Description:

A little girl is presented with a different sort of a meal when her mom serves her green gooey goop. Interesting and icky ingredients appear one by one as the little girl decides what's in this noxious-smelling concoction. The little girl creates a flood, and her dog's fur turns green. Suggested age range for readers: 0-8

My thoughts...

I know from experience that young children laugh at icky, smelly, disgusting things...and for this reason they'll enjoy Green Gooey Goop, especially if the parent or other adult reads it to them in a funny voice and with the right beat. The verses have a nice rhythm and the pictures are humorous and quite green, of course! In general, I think this is a cute picture book. The only thing I found disappointing is that it finishes quite abruptly. From an adult's perspective, I was expecting the story to continue and reach some sort of conclusion, but it just ended. From a kid's perspective, I suspect they'll enjoy what happens to the girl's dog. Recommended for a fun read aloud time with kids.

About the Author

Anna C. Morrison is an author of children’s books, including Silly Moments and Green Gooey Goop, with many more to follow.  She is also an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities, both face-to-face and online.  While she instructs various levels of English composition, she also teaches classes on literature, film, feature writing, and technical writing, among others.  In addition, she has worked with Adapt Courseware as a writing consultant on three video course projects, including college skills and composition.  Anna received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her BA in English, Creative Writing, from California State University, San Bernardino.  Anna is an active member of SCBWI and is available for book signings.  She lives in Southern California with her family and pets. 

For More Information


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8. Book Blogger Hop - 3/27 - 4/2

 Question of the Week:

Which books have you read in the past month that still have you thinking back to the storyline and the characters? 

My Answer:
A few of these books were read in February.

Night, Night Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron was a book that was non-stop suspense.

The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford was a good read too.  It was a psychological thriller. 

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor is wonderful.

The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman is very heartwarming and homey.

Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander was a great historical fiction with strong female characters.

Reviews are in the titles.

What about your books?




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9. after being in the company of the rock stars of YA, I have a dream

Above? That's Libba Bray reading from her forthcoming novel (Lair of Dreams, due out in August) at Children's Book World in Haverford, PA—a scary little ditty that has Amy Sarig King and Gayle Forman shaking in their respective (albeit from opposing sides of the fashion world) boots.

Before them sit many of my neighborhood's finest writers. Also Sister Kim and her Little Flower students. Also bloggers and readers and enthusiasts and at least one bookseller from down the road and shall we go no further before we mention Heather Hebert, who makes it all happen, and with enthusiasm, and while I am at this, because heck, why not, can we locals all just pause for a minute and welcome Margo Rabb to our neighborhood, because she's here now, newly arrived from Austin, with her second YA novel (Kissing in America) due out in May.

(Seems like I might be reading with Margo and two other fabs from Round Here soon, but more on that to come.)

What a performance these three gave—Amy and Libba gamely (respectively) playing the parts of a stoner and a slick boy in a choral reading from Gayle's new bestselling book, I Was Here. Amy giving a thrilling preview of I Crawl Through It. Libba forcing everyone else into scare mode, then zapping the conversation with four parts hysterical ad lib and one part Barbara Waters. And then plenty of talk about the F word, by which I mean (of course) Feminism.

The doors were open at Children's Book World, to dispel all that animal heat. The skies were ripped apart with rain. I headed home among storm-imperiled drivers and then I fell asleep. At which point I dreamed I was still with the gang, only we had moved onto a Friendly's Restaurant (note: Friendly's, I lie not) and we were having high-calorie ice cream and nobody would speak to me. My offense, in my dream, was that I been me—asking too much, pressing too hard.

I woke just after I'd leaned over somebody's shoulder and read the texts that were circulating about me.

"Beth Kephart," it said, "is so annoying."

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10. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No

My Perfect Picture Book is below - I promise! :) - I just have a little explanation for it first.

As some of you may know, I teach an online picture book writing class.

This week, we got into a discussion about subjectivity.

As a writer, how do you know if your story will appeal to agents, editors, and readers (both the adults who will read your picture book aloud and the children who will listen)?

There are some basic rules of thumb: your story should have a beginning, middle and end (i.e. actually BE a story), it should have an engaging character and/or plot, it should strike an emotional note of some kind, and it's best not to write about inappropriate subjects, use foul language, glorify violence etc... - pretty much common sense :)

But beyond a certain point, there's really no way to tell for sure who is going to like what.  If it appeals to you, if it touches a chord in your heart, if it highlights a truth in your life, chances are it will do that for other people too.  But there will always be at least one person out there who can find something to criticize.  And I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean it in a comforting way.  You can't please everyone, so write the best story you can and likely you'll please someone.  Probably lots of someones :)

My Perfect Picture Book choice for today is a case in point - an older book, beloved by many (me and my children included!) - that received the following review:

"Line drawings that look like doodles of cute kittens in gray, orange, white, and blue cannot save this lame tale of a contrary kitten... This is a story of manipulation at its worst. The language is flat, especially when read aloud. This reviewer says ``NO!''" Marianne Pilla, formerly at Allard K. Lowenstein Library of Long Beach, N.Y. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Ouch!

But I don't find it manipulative.  I find it an endearing and true-to-life example of the way toddlers behave - naughty one moment, full of remorse the next, right back to their own agenda the minute after that, but not mean-spirited or malicious in their intent.

Subjectivity :)

I hope you like this book as much as the people in my house do! :)

Title: The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No
Written & Illustrated By: Ainslie Pryor
Re-issue March 1988, Viking Juvenile, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: behavior (contrariness), humor

Opening: "Have you heard the story of the Baby Blue Cat who said No?
Once there was a Mama Cat and her four baby cats.
Baby Orange Cat,
Baby White Cat,
Baby Striped Cat, and
Baby Blue Cat.
Mama Cat loved all of her baby cats very much."

Brief Synopsis: Baby Orange Cat, Baby White Cat and Baby Striped Cat all behave the way little kittens should, but Baby Blue Cat is feeling ornery.  No matter what his Mama asks, he says, "No!"  But when he pushes his Mama too far, he apologizes and behaves... until his contrariness gets the better of him again :)

Links To Resources: Teaching Children A VocabularyFor Emotions; make cards with different emotions pictured and/or written  - e.g. a smiley face and/or HAPPY - and play emotion charades by letting kids pick a card and act out the emotions for the rest of the class or family and see if the observers can guess; talk about behavior - have you ever refused to do something just to be difficult? Do you sometimes do bad things and then feel sorry? Talk about how to say you're sorry - resource HERE.

Why I Like This Book:  The "flat language" :) is fun to read aloud.  (Years later, we still use the phrase "and here's your delicious cupcake, YUM YUM" :) )  The "line drawings that look like doodles" :) are cute and engaging (right down to the smile on the fish sandwich :))  But mostly, anyone who has ever spent 3 minutes around a toddler will recognize and appreciate Baby Blue Cat's desire to have some control, and some opportunity to be independent of his mother and siblings.  As I mentioned above, he's naughty, but when he goes too far he's genuinely remorseful.  Mama Cat loves her baby cats very much, and it is clear that Baby Blue Cat loves his Mama Cat too :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see your fabulous picks for this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!


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11. Poetry Friday with a review of Favorite Poems Old and New

Some children's poetry collections only really appeal, long term, to children. Some however, contain collections that adults also enjoy; they are books that can be shared and passed down from generation to generation. Today's poetry book is just such a title, and it would make a wonderful gift to a family.

Favorite Poems Old and NewFavorite Poems Old and New
Selected by Helen Ferris 
Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard 
Poetry Book
For ages 5 and up
Random House, 1957, 978-0-385-07696-8
Many years ago, when Helen Ferris and her brother Fred were little, their parents made poetry “as much a part of their children’s every day as getting up in the morning.” Helen and Fred absorbed poetry, learning many of the poems they heard by heart. Their poetry journey began with Mother Goose rhymes, and went on to include the poems of Alfred Tennyson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Shakespeare. Helen’s mother felt very strongly that even if her children “could not understand all the words,” they could still “enjoy the beautiful sound of them.” Helen and Fred and their parents moved several times, and their lives changed in many ways, but they never stopped enjoying poetry and sharing it with others.
   Out of her love of poetry grew Helen’s wish to create a book that celebrated this form of writing, that brought together the writings of many, and the favorite poems of many more. In all there are over seven hundred poems in this collection, both classic and modern. The poems are divided up into eighteen categories, making it easy for young readers to find poems that suit their interests. The topics include “My Family and I,” “It’s fun to play,” “Animals, Pets and Otherwise,” and “Almost any time is laughing time.”
   Many children will naturally gravitate to this latter section, for here they will find old favorites like The Walrus and the Carpenter and The Owl and the Pussycat. Here too is The Song of Mr. Toad, which is the song that Mr. Toad sings in The Wind in the Willows when he is feeling rather pleased with himself. Edward Lear and Ogden Nash’s nonsense poems are also here.
   Poems with a patriotic feel appear in the “Sign of my nation, great and strong,” section. Here children will find Paul Revere’s Ride,and The Gettysburg Address, along with The Star-Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.
   This is the kind of collection that has something for everyone, no matter what the age of the reader. It is a book to grow old with, and a book to pass on to the next generation so that they too might grow up with a love of poetry, just as Helen Ferris did.


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12. Translating from ... Chinese

       At The Millions Barclay Bram Shoemaker writes on Literary Prowess Lost: On Mo Yan's 'Frog' and the Trouble with Translation -- well worth a look.
       Get your copy of Frog at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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13. Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Two years ago I fell in love with Flora, her flippers and her fantastic dance with a flamingo. I was thrilled to learn when author and illustrator Molly Idle had a second dance - I mean book - in the works. Idle follows up the fabulous, Caldecott Honor winning Flora and the Flamingo with Flora and the Penguin.  For this outing, it's wintertime and Flora has some skates to put on. Idle

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14. Dog Butts and Love: Review Haiku

Happy Bunny guy
is a worthy successor
to John Callahan.

Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. by Jim Benton. NBM Publishing, 2014, 96 pages.

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15. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sibylle Delacroix


“Jenny is feeling out of sorts, but she doesn’t want to talk about it.
She just wants to be loved.”

(Click image to see spread in its entirety)


 

This morning at Kirkus, I weight in on the anniversary edition of Heather Has Two Mommies, as well as a couple of Heather’s descendants. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week I wrote here about an import originally published in Quebec in 2013, Sibylle Delacroix’s Prickly Jenny (Owlkids Books, March 2015), so today I’m following up with some art from the book.

Enjoy.


“There’s nothing but ice cream for dessert,
and Jenny says she wants nothing to do with it.”

(Click image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“Wait … Is that a smile, Jenny?”
(Click image to see spread in its entirety)


 


“Jenny doesn’t know what she wants today.
But tomorrow, when she’s bigger, it will get better.”

(Click image to see spread in its entirety)


 



 

* * * * * * *

PRICKLY JENNY. Copyright © 2013 Bayard éditions. Published in North America in 2015 by Owlkids Books Inc. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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16. Review: What a Bachelor Needs by Kelly Hunter

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was kind of avoiding the Bachelor Auction books because, at first, they didn’t interest me.  I just read a book where the hero was auctioned off, so the premise wasn’t even catchy.  But then.  But THEN!  I saw that Kelly Hunter wrote What a Bachelor Needs and I was so on board I forgot my life vest.

I have read and enjoyed many of Kelly Hunter’s works.  I love her dialog and how the protagonists interact, and the secondary characters are always fun to meet, too.   All of that is true here. There is so much humor in WaBN that I actually laughed out a loud a few times, startling the puppers.  It’s okay, though, they have already realized that mom is kinda weird, but her love is genuine, so they didn’t scurry off to locate a hiding place.

Single mom Mardie is struggling to provide a safe, secure home for her young daughter Claire.  The victim of domestic abuse, she was in one horrific marriage and she’s not going to make that mistake again.  On the lowest night of her life, Jett Casey, the guy she’d been crushing on since high school, saves her after she’s taken a beating in an alley.  Mardie is mortified that Jett is her rescuer, and despite her objections, she allows him to call emergency services so she receive the medical attention is obviously needs. 

This meeting changed both of the their lives.  It made Mardie realize that she deserved better and that she was worth something.  It overwhelmed Jett with guilt because he didn’t think he did enough for Mardie.  He just let her go, back into whatever hellish situation he’s momentarily saved her from.  When he has a chance to do something about it a few years later, he takes the opportunity to assuage his guilt very seriously.

Mardie doesn’t have two nickels to rub together, and she’s too proud to ask for help from anyone.  When her friend buys Jett for her, she’s not happy.  But Jett, a competitive skier, is sidelined with an injury, so he’s offered to be the winner’s handyman.  Mardie’s house needs a lot of TLC, so she’s finally convinced that letting Jett fix a few things will make it a safer environment for Claire.  She also learns that occasionally asking for help isn’t a bad thing, a hard lesson for her to learn.

I loved Jett.  He is such a kind, giving guy, and he only wants to help Mardie.  He’s a ski god, enjoys having a good time, and has women throwing themselves at him.  But once he starts tinkering around Mardie’s house, he only has eyes for her.  She fights the attraction she feels for him, but their chemistry shines on every page.  Mardie’s reservations are completely believable, too.  Once the week is over, he’s just going to go off on his merry way, traveling the world and winning more titles.  Mardie doesn’t think she has anything to offer him, despite his protestations to the contrary.  She’s still fighting the demons from her past, and she doesn’t think she can ever trust again.

What a Bachelor Needs is a fast, fun read with snappy dialog and a kind, compassionate hero who is very heroic, and, hey, he does home improvements!  If that doesn’t make Jett Mr. Perfect, I don’t know what would.  If you have a couple hours to fill this weekend, I highly recommend getting cozy with this book.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Your date with ski champ Jett Casey is an either/or deal. He’ll take you off-piste for the ultimate Montana ski adventure or he’ll put his handyman skills at your disposal for a week. Which one would you choose?

Single mom Mardie Griffin has a run-down old house in need of fixing and a memory of Jett Casey as her savior in a time of great need. So when her friends acquire Jett’s services at a bachelor auction and send him to fix up her house, she sets aside her mistrust of men and lets him in.

Elite athlete Jett Casey has the world at his feet and no desire for stability. But there’s one woman he’s never forgotten and if he can help make her safe this time, maybe she’ll stop haunting him.

No strings, no sex, no commitment. Just fix things. Surely it can’t be that difficult…

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17. Hohenemser Literaturpreis

       They've announced this year's winner of the biennial Hohenemser Literaturpreis, a prize for German-writing authors whose mother tongue is not German, and this year the €10,000 prize will go to Que Du Luu; she will pick up her prize on 27 June.
       Her (still unpublished) text 'Das Fest des ersten Morgens' was selected from 75 entries -- neat to see so many writers with other mother tongues writing in German.

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18. Book Beginnings - 3/27/15


*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page. 

***************
Same book as last week...didn't get too much reading done this week.

Also...a review and giveaway of Whisper Hollow at this link.

***************
This week's book beginnings comes from ONE MILE UNDER by Andrew Gross.

"Dani Whalen noticed the first slivers of whitewater ahead on the Roaring Fork River, the current picking up.  "Okay," she called out to the eight people in helmets and life vests aboard her raft, "it's been pretty much of a nature hike so far."

I have read a few books by this author and have enjoyed them.

I am only on Page 100...not a bad read especially if you are interested in white water rafting.
**********

Two books I finished and wanted to share this week are below.  Reviews are in the book's title. 

THE RELUCTANT MIDWIFE by Patricia Harman.

I loved this book.  

It is the second book in the series.  I didn't read the first book, but I had no trouble following the storyline.

**********
THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford.

A psychological thriller that kept me guessing until the end.
 ***************
What are you reading?









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19. 8 Great Ways to Promote Your Fiction Novel - Part 6 - #authorpromotion

PART SIX ON BOOK PROMOTION 

Some authors might disagree with this, but I think it’s crucial if you’re a self-published or indie author that you have an online media presence. If you’re trying to publicize your novel and you don’t have a website and you’re not active on sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads, etc., you’re actually sabotaging your own success.

Step One:
I think all authors should do is create an “Amazon Author Profile” through Author Central to help promote your books.
Keep your Bio short and professional and include a link to your blog or website. The reason, I say keep it short and simple is because you want readers to visit your site to learn more about you and your books. Especially, if you have more than one book published, and so that you can drive traffic to your site and other social media links. 

I have included my own Amazon profile as an example and I encourage you to visit my page to get an idea of how it should look. 

***
EXAMPLE OF PROFESSIONAL AUTHOR BIO:

Sherry Soule is an Amazon bestselling author and lives with her family and one very spoiled black cat in the San Francisco Bay Area. She's always wanted to live in a world where sweatpants are sexy, cupcakes don't make you fat, and she could adopt every homeless animal.

Many of her books have spent time on the 100 Kindle bestseller lists and have been nominated as Top Picks in the "Best Paranormal Romance" categories.

When she's not writing thrilling tales of romance and suspense, often mingled with a dash of the mystical and a splash of trendy fashion, you can find her watching Netflix, reading (often crushing on fictional characters), or hanging with her family.

***
My author Bio is simple yet informative. And it gives potential readers some insight into my writing style and what type of books I write.
Step Two:

Use ONLY head shots as your author photo. Yes, I’ve uploaded some questionable photos of myself and even used “fake” images because at one time I wanted to remain anonymous. Or another option is to use your latest book cover as your profile picture. 
Step Three:
I would put up a website or start a blog. Blogs are usually free if you’re on a budget and can look very professional if you hire a designer or use a premade template. If you’re not sure what to add to your site just browse around at other author’s sites to give you some ideas. 
Make sure it easy to navigate and that you have links to purchase your novel(s). Basically, you’ll need these page posts:
Author Bio
Contact
Purchase Books
Excerpts

Step Four:
Get a Twitter account and start following other booklovers, but please don’t spam every hour asking people to buy your books. It is tacky and rude. I post funny sayings and converse with other booklovers, and then occasionally, I’ll include a book promo with a link to buy my novel. 
A great way to reach readers is to create a Twitter hashtag (searchable word phrase with a # before it) just for your books, your event, or any promos. For example, I use #StarlightSaga for my new YA PNR series. 

Step Five:
Connect with bloggers who are not related to writing or book reviews, but blogs that feature a topic close to your novel’s theme or subject matter. Contact them to see if they’ll host a guest post. 
For my YA novel, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN, I contacted several true ghost story websites and horror lover forums and asked to post something pertaining to my series. And I contacted other writers and offered guest posts on writing and/or editing.

 
Step Six:
Discover new book bloggers in your genre, and then follow their site, and start commenting on the posts and reviews. Make friends with these people. They are often the keys to a book’s success.

Step Seven:
Join Goodreads and offer a giveaway (print only). Connect with other booklovers on Goodreads through groups or discussions.

Step Eight:
Visit the libraries in your area, but don’t try to sell librarians your book. Just make friends with them and offer to do a book signing or reading. (Most library systems have acquisitions managers you can contact about stocking your books.)

Well, there you have it. Quite a few ideas for marketing your novel!





Also, my handbook "Get Book Reviews the WRITE Way" has TONS of suggestions on great ways to market your novel!

Hope this info helps. Best of luck!




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20. 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
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


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? 
 

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21. What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) all about? Companies appear to be adopting new attitudes and activities in the way they identify, evaluate and respond to social expectations. Society is no longer treated as a ‘given’, but as critical to business success. In some cases this is simply for the license to operate that social acceptability grants. In others, companies believe that favorable evaluations by consumers, employees and investors (who are, after all, members of society) will improve business performance.

The post What is Corporate Social Responsibility? appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. Author Andrea Hannah Answers Questions on Ask a Pub Pro

Welcome to our monthly Ask a Pub Pro feature where a publishing professional answers readers and writers' questions regarding the stories they love or their work in progress. This month, Andrea Hannah, the critically acclaimed author of Of Scars and Stardust joins us to answer questions on insta-love, incorporating unusual elements, and writing high action.

We'd love to have you send in your questions for next month's column. Please send questions to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put "Ask a Pub Pro Question" in the subject line. If your question is chosen, you'll get to include a link to your social media and a one to two sentence (think Tweet size) blurb of your WIP.

Come on! Get those questions in!

Author Andrea Hannah Answers Questions on "Ask a Pub Pro"


1) I've known a couple of writer friends who have designed unusual elements into their stories, elements they thought helped make the story fresh and unique. But then reviewers would complain that these elements were weird or poorly researched because they didn't understand it. Is it better to avoid any element that's not commonly known so that you don't throw the reader off? Or is this just a problem with some reviewers and not the general reading public? (asked by Sara from TX)

Andrea responds: You can’t write to avoid criticism. Trying to dodge critique will drive you bonkers and cause you to lose an important piece of yourself within your story. Also, where would we be without Harry Potter’s Polyjuice potion, or the Hunger Games’ tracker jackers? Fresh, unique elements are both fun and necessary in story-telling, and world-building would be a lot less fun without them.





That being said, everything in your story needs to have a purpose, one that can’t possibly be replaced by another element. Example: We need that Polyjuice potion in HP, because without it we lose the scene where Harry and Ron sneak into the Slytherin common room, which is critical to the overall narrative. We need those lethal tracker jackers in HG, because they are the catalyst that allow Katniss to get some leverage by grabbing the bow and arrow, and demonstrates Rue’s loyalty to her.


When you’re developing your unique elements, make sure to clearly establish the function and rules of those elements (Ex: we knew right off the bat that the Polyjuice potion had an expiration time) and that it’s clear within the narrative why those elements were essential to those characters, and that their choice to use or destroy them is in line with their character. And above all else, stay true to who your character is, the world they inhabit, and who you are as a writer.

2) I've heard writers say that in high intensity/high action scenes that you decrease the level of detail. I've also heard the opposite, that you should show more detail as if things are happening in slow motion. What do you think? (asked by Anonymous)
image credit

Andrea responds: I think it’s a combination of both. Firstly, if you’re writing from a first person POV, that means you’re writing every scene as if we’re experiencing in real time, with your character. If your character is in the midst of kicking some butt, they probably aren’t stopping to notice the color of the sky or the flecks in their attacker’s eyes. It’s called mimic writing, and it’s where you mimic the actions of the writing through the length of your prose. High action usually means short, clipped sentences. Think of how you’d talk if you were out of breath.

But what really brings an action scene to life is the specific details you do choose to incorporate, not the amount. Choose your details carefully to convey as much about the scene as you can in a powerful way. The spots of blood dotting his chin. The crumpled patch of grass where his sword fell. Really be there, and observe the details in your scene. Then bring us with you!


3) I've heard a lot of people complaining about the insta-love in a lot of young adult books. Yet readers seems to really want the romance to heat up quickly. How do you incorporate the romance without making it insta-love? (asked by Renee in NC)

Andrea responds: I don’t think insta-love is the problem, especially since we’re writing about and for teens, and sometimes, this is how they fall in love (and adults, too)! I think readers are generally sick of feeling that insta-love is used as a plot device instead of an actual experience the character is going through. Look, people fall in love in all sorts of ways in all sorts of timeframes, and all are plausible. When you’re writing your characters, just make sure you know who they are, if it would make sense for them to have that kind of reaction to another human being, and stay true to that. Your readers will be able to feel the genuineness of your characters, and they’ll appreciate your writing for it.


About the Author:


Andrea Hannah lives in the Midwest, where there are plenty of dark nights and creepy cornfields as fodder for her next thriller. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, Of Scars and Stardust, was published by Flux in October 2014. She graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in special education. When she’s not teaching or writing, she spends her time chasing her sweet children and ornery pug, running, and dreaming up her next adventure. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @andeehannah, and at www.andreahannah.com

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:


www.amazon.com/Of-Scars-Stardust-Andrea-Hannah/dp/0738740829/
After the attack that leaves her little sister, Ella, close to death in a snowy cornfield, Claire Graham is sent to live with her aunt in Manhattan to cope. But the guilt of letting Ella walk home alone that night still torments Claire, and she senses the violence that preyed on her sister hiding around every corner. Her shrink calls it a phobia. Claire calls it the truth.

When Ella vanishes two years later, Claire has no choice but to return to Amble, Ohio, and face her shattered family. Her one comfort is Ella’s diary, left in a place where only Claire could find it. Drawing on a series of cryptic entries, Claire tries to uncover the truth behind Ella’s attack and disappearance. But she soon realizes that not all lost things are meant to be found.


Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads



-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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23. Uday Prakash Q & A

       At Music & Literature translator Jason Grunebaum has A Conversation with Uday Prakash.

       The two Grunebaum-translated works available in English are under review at the complete review: The Girl with the Golden Parasol and The Walls of Delhi.

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24. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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25. Telephone by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jen Corace

Telephone, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jen Corace (two of my absolute favorites) is one of those books that makes you wonder why no one has jumped on this idea before. It's also one of those deceptively simple picture books that has so much more going on. Taking the old game that kids still love to play as inspiration, Barnett sets the story in motion when a mother pigeon

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