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1. Feedback Requests

Below are revised versions of the query and opening of Ratman's Revenge. The author would like any feedback you can provide.


Twelve-year-old Cody is sick of his too-busy-to-care divorced parents. When he meets two kids in the woods who can read minds and claim to live in a secret underground city, Cody decides he’s ready for a change. The kids take him underground where he discovers crystal caves, slugs-and-bugs soup, and new friends with awesome paranormal abilities.

Best. Home. Ever.

Then the people who warn the city of natural disasters and invading beasts start disappearing. Cody sees his chance at fitting in and tries to find them. Instead, he finds Ratman—a deadly man-sized rat with creepy mind control abilities and an annoying habit of turning invisible. And since Cody is the only one who sees the freaky fur-face, his friends don’t believe it even exists. What’s worse, Ratman seems determined to exterminate Cody. Dang it.

But Cody can’t quit. His friends warned him that once he comes [came] down to the underground world, he could never go to the surface again. [How come his friends were able to come to the surface?] So, Cody decides to hunt down Ratman in time to save his new home from whatever disaster that whiskered weirdo is plotting—or at least before Ratman’s next attack actually kills him. [I don't see much connection between the two sentences in that paragraph. Is he hunting down Ratman because he can never return to the surface? Maybe it would be better to drop this paragraph and change the end of the previous paragraph to: 

And since Cody is the only one who sees the freaky fur-face, he decides it's up to him to hunt down Ratman and save his new home from whatever disaster that whiskered weirdo is plotting.

That would give you room to add a paragraph in which you tell us how Cody plans to defeat Ratman, what goes wrong, what will happen if he fails.]

RATMAN’S REVENGE is my upper middle grade magical realism novel complete at 69,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


I dropped to my knees in the middle of the dog park, panting hard. Sandy, my golden retriever, ran up with a tennis ball clamped in her mouth. I grabbed the slimy ball and threw it. “Go get it.” She raced off with her tongue flapping.

Sweat dripped down my face and I wiped it with my t-shirt. Oh man, this sticky heat sucks. I glanced at the shady woods along the back of the park. The trees huddled together like giant green aliens—watching me. The leaves flickered in the breeze as if a million green fingers were reaching out, begging me to come inside.

Mom’s warning blared in my head. I mean it, Cody, she’d said a bazillion times. It’s too dangerous. Gangs and drug addicts hang out in those woods. You’re never to go in there. Understand? Never. Promise me, Cody.

Okay, yeah, I’d promised, but that was ages ago. I’m almost a teenager now. That’s different. Besides, my friends would be stinking jealous if I went in the woods without them. Sure, they were probably swimming in that freeze-your-toes-off lake at camp right now—lucky turds. The only water I’d get to swim in this summer was in the bathtub. But maybe this time, I’d have the best story to tell when they got back.

I shaded my eyes with my hands and stared at the creepy-cool woods. A green and brown blur darted between the trees then disappeared.


It's an improvement. I wonder if this would be even more engaging if it were told in present tense?

I drop to my knees in the middle of the dog park, panting hard. Sandy, my golden retriever, runs up with a tennis ball clamped in her mouth. I grab the slimy ball and throw it. “Go get it.” She races off with her tongue flapping.

Sweat drips down my face and I wipe it with my t-shirt. Oh man, this sticky heat sucks. I glance at the shady woods along the back of the park. The trees huddle together like giant green aliens—watching me. The leaves flicker in the breeze as if a million green fingers are reaching out, begging me to come inside.

Mom’s warning blares in my head. I mean it, Cody, she’s said a bazillion times. It’s too dangerous. Gangs and drug addicts hang out in those woods. You’re never to go in there. Understand? Never. Promise me, Cody.

Okay, yeah, I’d promised, but that was ages ago. I’m almost a teenager now. That’s different. Besides, my friends will be stinking jealous if I go in the woods without them. They're probably swimming in that freeze-your-toes-off lake at camp right now—lucky turds — and the only water I’ll swim in this summer is in the bathtub, but maybe this time I’ll have the best story to tell when they get back.

I shade my eyes with my hands and stare at the creepy-cool woods. A green and brown blur darts between the trees, then disappears.


You could convert the first chapter and see if you think it's worth the trouble to continue.

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2. Holidays/ hobby classes

छुट्टियो का नाम लेते ही दिल मे बस एक ही बात आती है मौज,मस्ती और शरारत !!! पर आजकल छुट्टियो की भी समझो छुट्टी हो गई है. माता पिता बच्चो को हाबी क्लास ज्वाईन करवा देते है. फिर हर रोज वह आना जाना. कुछ देर पहले दीपा मिली.वो अपने बच्चो को डांस क्लास मे लेकर जा रही थी. जबकि उसके बेटे की ना तो डांस और ना गाने मे रुचि है. उसे बिजली का समान खोल कर उसे जाचना ,देखना बहुत पसंद है. घर मे अगर कोई बिजली ठीक करने वाला आ जाता है तो वो बहुत ध्यान से देखकर समझता है.

वही नेहा बहुत दुखी है उसने बताया कि दो साल पहले उसकी बेटी ने स्केटिंग क्लास ज्वाईन की थी. पिछ्ले साल शौक बदल गया और संगीत सीखा इसलिए उसे महंगे वाला कैसियो खरीद कर दिया. पर इस साल वो कहती है कि तैराकी सीखनी है. दो साल के शौक बेकार गए.

दसवी मे पढने वाले दीपक को लग ही नही रहा कि छुट्टियां है क्योकि दिन मे तीन तीन ट्यूशन मे जाता है वो भी अलग अलग जगह. बारह साल की दिव्या कही नही जाती सरा दिन घर मे रहती है पर मम्मी से सारा दिन डांट ही खाती है क्योकि ना नाश्ता समय पर न लंच समय पर और कोई भी सहेली किसी भी समय टपक पडती है और जब वो चुपचाप बैठ कर दोस्तो को मैसेज करती है या फेसबुक खोल कर बैठती है तो भी डांट

तो हो गई ना छुट्टियो की छुट्टी !!!

The post Holidays/ hobby classes appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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3. Ghosts

आजकल बहुत सारी भूतों के सीरियल आ रहे हैं पर सच पूछिए तो डर जैसी कोई बात नही लगती . अलबत्ता कुछ बातों पर हंसी जरुर आती है जैसाकि दिखाया जाएगा एक बेहद बडा और शानदार बंगला है .. जहां हर तरह की सुख सुविधा है पर जब कमरे का दरवाजा खुलता है तो चू ssssssssssss की आवाज जरुर आती है … अरे भई इतना बडा घर करोडो रुपए  खर्च करके बनाया तो थोडा सा तो उसका लिहाज रख लो हारर ही डालना है तो कुछ और चीज  क्रिएट  करो … बेचारे दरवाजे पर क्यों …

और एक मजेदार बात … मेरी सहेली सारे horror सीरियल देखती है पर पता है कब ??? दिन में .असल में,  रात को वो  record  करके रख लेती है और सुबह ठाठ से सीरियल देखती है और अगर फिर भी डर लगे तो आवाज बंद कर देती है और अगर और भी ज्यादा डर लगे तो आखें बंद कर लेती है

ह हा हा … ओह अचानक दरवाजे पर खटका हुआ …. कौन आया होगा ???

The post Ghosts appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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4. Lists .... to do or not to do? .... that is the question.

Lists.  Everyone compiles them and most people follow through with what is on them.  The older I get the more lists I make.  I meticulously check things off as I complete them. ( I am sure that is a sign of old age).   I am giving you some top 10 lists today that are related to books.  Check them out, then check those things you want to go deeper with off your list once you do them.  Enjoy.

Top 10 children's books of all time...

1.Charlotte's Web, E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams (1974) 
2.The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton (1968) 
3.Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Judy Blume (1976) 
4.Love You Forever, Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw (1986) 
5.Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls (1973) 
6.Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell (1971) 
7.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling (1999) 
8.Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume (1972) 
9.Shane, Jack Schaeffer (1972) 
10.The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks (1982) 
Source: Compiled by Publishers Weekly

Read more:  The Top Ten: Best-Selling Children's Books of All Time http://www.infoplease.com/toptens/childrensbooks.html#ixzz3ay4YW0ww

The top ten authors for children's books are... source: flavorwire.com

Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry, whose novels consistently blow us away, is one of only five authors who have been awarded the Newbery Medal twice — once for Number the Stars in 1990, and again for The Giver in 1993 (two more of her doubly awarded peers are also on our list!). Lowry does not shy away from disturbing or difficult topics — the Holocaust, dystopian futures, terminal illness — but instead addresses them head on with grace and captivating ability. Two decades later, we’re still arguing with our friends over whether Jonas dies or finds salvation at the end of The Giver. The question, like the book, still feels urgent, which is how we know she’s one of the best.

E.L. Konigsburg
Another two-time Newbery Medal winner, E.L. Konigsburg is also the only person to have won both a Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor (which is basically the award’s honorable mention) in the same year — for the first two books she ever wrote, no less: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, both submitted at once to her no-doubt thrilled publisher. A full 29 years later, in 1997, she won the medal again for The View from Saturday, another classic. Her work effortlessly describes the interior lives of children trying to discover their own personalities, perhaps because she has based many of her characters on her own children and students, who were, she says, “softly comfortable on the outside and solidly uncomfortable on the inside.” Perhaps one of the reasons that her work is so enduring is that that quality never quite completely goes away.

C.S. Lewis
Probably the most popular classic fantasy series in children’s literature, C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia has sold over 100 million copies and been published in 47 languages. The magical world of Narnia captivated children so intensely that one reader we know tells of crying uncontrollably at the end of the last book, desperate to be able to get to the fictional realm, certain that she believed enough. The now-obvious Christian allegory aside, these books are wonders of imagination that cement Lewis’s place among the best children’s lit authors of all time.

Philip Pullman
Speaking of C.S. Lewis — Philip Pullman is considered by some to be the “Anti-Lewis,” and His Dark Materials to be a direct rebuttal to The Chronicles of Narnia. We have found it in our hearts to love both (though we admit, we love Pullman best), and we think his books — captivating works of imagination filled with intelligent, passionate characters — are destined to go down in history as classics.

J.K. Rowling
Sure, it may be derivative, and it may not, as her detractors cry, be the most elevated of literature, but there’s no denying that J.K. Rowling has inspired millions of kids and adults alike with her Harry Potter series. Plus, we’re sorry, the stories, rife with wordplay and creative worldmaking, are just undeniably good — and they were especially wonderful for kids who got to grow up alongside Harry as his adventures got darker, weirder, and more dangerous, just like their own imaginations.

Lewis Carroll
Of course we couldn’t forget the author of what might be the most well-known work of children’s literature across the globe, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Obsessed with wordplay and weird to the bone, Carroll was an odd egg, but we wouldn’t have it any other way — his innovative brand of literary nonsense became a phenomenon that has inspired countless reinterpretations, and his 1865 novel (1865!) is still a modern-sounding, popular work today. Can’t beat that.

Madeleine L’Engle
We won’t list the many awards and lifetime achievement recognitions of the much-lauded Madeleine L’Engle here, and if you’re reading this list, you’ve probably read something by her and don’t need any extra encouragement from us, but suffice it to say that A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels are some of the best things to happen to children’s literature in the history of time. 50 years later, they’re still essential, inspiring, and completely strange. We love it.

Katherine Paterson
Paterson, author of classics like The Great Gilly Hopkins (which won the National Book Award), Bridge to Terabithia (which won the Newbery Medal), can also boast of winning the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, sometimes called the “Nobel Prize for children’s literature.” The eighth most frequently challenged book of the nineties, Bridge to Terabithia is a difficult but essential part of the modern canon of children’s literature, and should not be missed.

Lloyd Alexander
The author of more than forty books (and one of the founders of kids magazine Cricket), Alexander is best known for his spectacular five book series The Chronicles of Prydain, whose final installment, The High King, won the Newbery Medal in 1969. Drawing on Welsh mythology, overflowing with wit and charm, these books were some of our favorites, and inspired countless other children as well. After all, what Assistant Pig-Keeper (or nerdy 10 year old, which is basically the equivalent) doesn’t wish to grow up to be a hero?

Judy Blume
Judy Blume, it seems, got us through just about everything. From Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (which is probably technically a YA novel — Blume excels at both), she always manages to capture the trauma and joy and utter ridiculousness of being a kid like no one else.

Top ten quotes (ok there are 12...they were all so good) from kid's books that all adults should know.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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5. Review: Valhalla Mad #1 Offers Incentive to Raise a Glass


Joe Casey


Paul Maybury


Rus Wooton


Sonia Harris


Ricky Valenzuela


Image Comics

Their names are legend: the Glorious Knox! Greg Horn the Battlebjörn! Jhago the Irritator! Three warrior gods vacationing on Earth, just looking to get their drink on and have a good time! Join the drunken festivities with toastmasters JOE CASEY (SEX) and PAUL MAYBURY (SOVEREIGN). The new mythology begins now!

Joe Casey’s Valhalla Mad has been a long time coming. The author’s satirical look at Thor and the Warriors Three from Marvel certainly had a lot of potential when it was initially announced. Joining Casey for pencils in his exploration of myth is Paul Maybury. Knox, Greg, and Jhago return for a visit to Earth home to find things out of place and the innocence of the previous decades that they were used to almost completely eradicated.

The first thing really striking about this comic is how it is presented to the reader with production design that can be likened to that of an old book. The first page for readers to see after the opening the title adds more to the texture of the series looking like a frayed old manuscript — where thereafter the series reveals a credits page with beautifully aged font. Graphic designer Sonia Harris’ influence can really enjoyed by the reader. Maybury’s pencils are subtle and designed to seem ancient, the artist perfectly colors his own work — allowing his pencils to accentuated in just the right manner. Also, the Jack Kirby designs on the leads are wonderfully retro — and make me wish that the Odinson retained more of his classic look as well. Readers can tell that Maybury has a deep love of the King’s artwork, as this series doesn’t seem to be talking down to those older 60’s comics.

Casey’s flowery prose given to the three leads are presented in a poignant, but in an interesting manner that illustrates the author’s strong command on language. As the series goes on it will be interesting to take a look at how far the scribe has developed the mythology of Viken, the homeworld of the gods. One such example of fine mythology is how Knox and his people are returning to Earth, and happy to see the older members of the force that they had previously spent time with before. The different attitudes towards the three characters allows for a comparison of the different world of the 60’s comics that the trio likely originated from. Surprisingly, it takes the the trio of this comic quite a while before they are able to taste the mead of our world. However, the scene in which they do is justly audacious.

This first issue barely has a plot — being that there are a couple of people coming back to Earth to spend some time partying. With comics now being so driven by events and violence, spending a few moments getting to know who these characters are is pleasant. Also, seeing the people of Earth’s different reactions to these characters is quite profound. Not every bystander in this comic has the same thing to say about these people. Some remember Knox and company — and some do not. Next installment offers some teases of the plot kicking into gear and becoming more grand. For the time being, this comic should offer Thor fans some old-fashioned mead-induced fun. Maybury’s detailed and triumphant artwork paired with Casey’s love of wordplay transforms this first installment into a joyous celebration of the different kinds of places comics can take us.

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6. Have Patience

एक जानकार हैं दिव्या. बहुत समय से समाचार पत्र मे लेख भेज रही हैं पर छ्पते नही थे और धन्यवाद सहित वापिस आ जाते. सहन शक्ति कम होने के कारण उसने उस अखबार की बुराई करनी शुरु कर दी कि बेकार है,सिफारिश चलती है ना ही इसमे ढंग के लेख आते हैं. सम्पादक बिका हुआ है. तभी अचानक उसकी कहानी प्रकाशित हो गई और उसकी बोलती बंद.आज वही उस समाचार पत्र की तारीफ करते नही थक रही.

वही दिल्ली के एक नौजवान हैं उन्होने डांस शो मे हिस्सा लिया और काफी आगे आ गए तो न्यूज चैनल वालो की लाईन लग गई उनके घर के आगे. पडोसी भी अपना हक समझ कर अपना इंटरव्यू देने के लिए आगे आने लगे  कि उन्हें तो  पहले ही विश्वास था कि जरुर आगे तक जाएगा. बचपने से देख रहे है पूत के लक्षण पालने में ही नजर आ जाते हैं … बहुत मेहनती है. पर वो जैसे ही आऊट हो गया तभी पडोसियो का नजरिया ही बदल गया. कहने लगे … इतना आसान थोडे ना होता है डांस. बहुत मेहनत करनी पडती है. पहले ही पता था कि वो इतनी आगे तक जा ही नही सकता.ऐसे ना जाने कितने उदाहरण भरे पडे है.” वैसे इसमे सरकार को दोष नही दे सकते. दोष हमारा ही है”.

यकीनन आप तो ऐसे नही होंगे है ना !!! अगर हैं तो जरा नही बहुत सोचने की दरकार है !!!!

The post Have Patience appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7. let the Ego go

कुछ लोगो मे इतना “इगो” भरा होता है कि बस ..!!! अरे!! क्या हो गया अगर बच्चे से या अपने से छोटे से कुछ सीखना पड रहा है! मेरी सहेली मणि को अपने नए मोबाईल के काफी फीचर इस्तेमाल करने नही आते थे तो उसने अपने बेटे से सीखने शुरु कर दिए हालाकि बहुत डांट भी पडी अपने बच्चे से कि क्या आपको एक बार मे समझ नही आता पर वो मैदान मे डटी रही और आज उसे बार बार किसी से पूछ्ने नही जाना पडता.ठाठ से इसे इस्तेमाल करती है अब.

वही एक महाशय है उन्होने बैंक की नौकरी इसलिए छोड दी कि बैंक मे कम्प्यूटर का इस्तेमाल करना जरुरी हो गया था. बहुत सीनियर पोस्ट पर थे इसलिए एक इगो थी कि कैसे सीख ले अपने से छोटो से कि क्या समझेगे वो कि उन्हे ये भी नही आता !!! बस छोड दी नौकरी. मेरे विचार से नए जमाने से कदम ताल मिलाना है तो अपने “अहम” को छोडना ही होगा… इन बातो मे कुछ नही रखा…


वैसे आप तो ऐसे बिल्कुल नही होंगें … अगर हैं तो …   !!!!

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8. Thank You God

हे प्रभु
इतना अपनापन दिया आपने
हमने आपको
आप नही “तू” का दिया सम्बोधन
धन्यवाद हे प्रभु
तुमने जो स्रष्टि रची
फल,फूल, पौधो का दिया
नायाब उपहार
धन्यवाद हे प्रभु
तेरे उस प्रतिबिम्ब के लिए
जो तूने धरा को दिया
“नारी” के रुप मे तूने
अपनी कमी को पूरा कर दिया
धन्यवाद हे नारी !!!
कभी मां कभी बहन
कभी सच्ची दोस्त बन कर
तो कभी विदा होती बेटी बन नम कर जाती नयन
साहसी है पर भावुक क्षणो मे कमजोर भी है
पर तू ताकत है इंसा की
प्रतिबिम्ब है तू उस अनंत अपार का
धन्यवाद,हे प्रभु तेरी इस अमूल्य सरंचना का
अमूल्य उपहार का …!!!


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9. Free First 5 Pages Workshop Opens June 6!

The First Five Pages May Workshop has come to an end.  The participants worked so hard, and did a great job with their revisions. A big thanks to our guest mentor, Diana Renn, and our guest editor, Georgia McBride, both of whom provided terrific comments and suggestions, and of course to all of our fabulous permanent mentors!  

Our June workshop will open for entries at noon, EST, on Saturday June 6, 2015. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements.  Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing  and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages.

In addition to our talented permanent mentors, we have Shaun Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letterfml, and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley.  And we have Tina Schwartz as our guest agent, founder of The Purcell Agency. So get those pages ready!

June Guest Mentor – Shaun Hutchinson

Shaun is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letterfml, and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who.

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.

Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.

June Guest Agent – Tina Schwartz

Agent Tina P. Schwartz, founder of The Purcell Agency , admits to being a reluctant reader as a child. In fact, she says she is still very picky when it comes to choosing a book. When not reading manuscripts, marketing website, social media, or industry blogs, you can find Schwartz on her laptop enjoying her own writing time. Tina is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), and is the Co-Rep for her local chapter.

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10. Home Sweet Home

कामना न्यूयार्क एयरपोर्ट पहुची. आज वो अपने होम स्वीट होम यानि भारत आ रही थी. कुछ खाली समय था तो टहलने लगी. जेब मे हाथ डाला तो दो चार फालतू के कागज थे. फेकने लगी तो को कोई कूडादान नही दिखाई दिया.उसने उसे वापिस जेब मे डाल लिया.समय बीता. कुछ ही देर मे उसका जहाज नई दिल्ली पहुच गया था. अपने सामान का इंतजार करते करते उसका हाथ फिर अपनी जेब मे गया. वही बेकार कागज पडे थे. उसने तुरंत उसे जमीन पर फेक दिया. इतना ही नही पर्स मे भी कुछ फालतू का छोटा मोटा सामान पडा था. वो भी उसने ऐसे ही जमीन पर फेक दिया. अब वो अपने “होम स्वीट होम” मे जो आ चुकी थी

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11. Amy Butler Greenfield, author of CHANTRESS FURY, on the importance of a logbook in her writer’s toolkit

CHANTRESS FURY is the final novel in the Chantress trilogy by Amy Butler Greenfield, and we're excited to have her stop by to chat about writing.

Amy, how long did you work on CHANTRESS FURY?

I had to write CHANTRESS FURY in less than a year – a real challenge for a slow writer like me! I’m a big believer in doing multiple drafts, so I gave myself three months to get a first draft down. It was a very stressful time, but I’m glad I did it that way. It gave me plenty of opportunity to revise, and that meant I wasn’t afraid of making big changes. With each draft the story got stronger.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It taught me that I really can write fast! It helped that I first did an outline and scene notecards in Scrivener. Sometimes as I wrote I’d come up with a new plot twist, and I’d need to change my outline, but when I sat down every day I had a pretty good idea of where I was going. The outline also served as an early warning system: I could see pretty quickly whether new plot twists would work, or whether they were going to lead to a big mess later on. I kept track of my daily word count and set weekly word quotas, and I tried not to get bogged down in line-edits. “Write now. Fix it later” became my mantra.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I usually start by writing in my logbook. It’s where I jot down ideas and worries about my WIP, where I let myself grumble or celebrate, and where I settle on that day’s writing goal: to flesh out a scene, sharpen a conflict, or fast-draft a chapter.  I make a new log for each book, and it’s probably the most indispensable part of my writer’s toolkit. A timer is another essential, and tea and chocolate make the process easier.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Thanks to the internet, we’re awash in information about publishing trends – who’s buying, what’s hot, what’s not. That’s really useful when it comes to selling a book, but try not to pay too much attention to buzz when you’re writing! If your WIP is bang on trend, that’s great, but the best books often break the mold. Write what you love. Write the book that’s truly yours, the one no one else in the world could write. That’s the book we need most.


Chantress Furyby Amy Butler GreenfieldHardcover
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 5/19/2015

The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

With a song, Lucy can control the wind and the water; she can bring castles and kingdoms to their feet. Since Lucy mastered her powers, King Henry has kept her close as he’s rebuilt England. She’s his best ally—and his workhorse. And now he’s called her to investigate attempted murder: His men claim they were almost killed on the Thames…by a mermaid. All Lucy can glean from the creature they’ve captured is a warning: The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

And then the floods begin. Swaths of London are submerged as the people scramble to defend themselves against the water—and the monsters—that are flooding their streets. As mistrust of Lucy's magic grows, the king relies on Nat, Lucy's great love, to guide them through the storm. But Nat is cold and distant to Lucy. He swore his love only a year before, and now he calls her “stranger.”

Lucy is determined to defeat this powerful new magic alone if she must. But then she hears an eerie song within the water…can it mean that she’s not the last Chantress after all?

Sweepingly romantic and crackling with magic, Chantress Fury triumphantly concludes the powerful Chantress trilogy.

Purchase Chantress Fury at Amazon
Purchase Chantress Fury at IndieBound
View Chantress Fury on Goodreads


Amy GreenfieldAmy Butler Greenfield was a grad student in history when she gave into temptation and became a writer. Since then, she has become an award-winning author.

Amy grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and later studied history at Williams College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Oxford. She now lives with her family in England, where she writes, bakes double-dark-chocolate cake, and plots mischief.

What did you think of our interview with Amy Butler Greenfield, author of CHANTRESS FURY? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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12. Parenting

माता पिता की भूमिका हर मायने मे महत्वपूर्ण है. अगर बच्चा पढाई या किसी अन्य क्षेत्र मे जुडा हुआ है तो इसलिए कि उसका ख्याल रखना, देखभाल करना ताकि उसे अपने क्षेत्र मे सफलता मिले और अगर नतीजा अच्छा ना आए तो वो भूमिका और भी ज्यादा महत्वपूर्ण हो जाती है.

कारण यह है कि आज बच्चे बहुत भावुक हो गए है. सफल ना होने पर उसे दिल से लगा लेते हैं और मायूस होकर बैठ जाते है जैसा कि इंडियन आयडल मे सिलेक्ट ना होने पर हमारी जानकार अमीषा के साथ हो रहा है. उसने कसम खा ली है कि वो कभी नही गाएगी और एक अन्य उदाहरण मे अनिकेत का आईआईटी मे नही हुआ तो उसने खुद को नालायक की पदवी दे दी कि वो आज की दुनिया के हिसाब से वो फेल है उसके जीने का कोई फायदा नही.ऐसे मे अविभावको को बहुत समझदारी से काम लेना चाहिए ताकि बच्चे के मन से ऐसे नकारात्मक विचार निकल जाए… !!! उफ!!!!

ऐसे मे पेरेंटस को भी पेशेंस चाहिए !!! तो हुई ना उनकी महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका !!!

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13. Sarvenaz Tash, author of THREE DAY SUMMER, on writing to explore

THREE DAY SUMMER is the latest novel by Sarvenaz Tash, and we're delighted she stopped by to share more about it.

Sarvenaz, what was your inspiration for writing THREE DAY SUMMER?

I’ve always been very enamored of the ‘60s as a decade. The 25th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival happened over the summer that I was 12 and I remember both MTV and VH1 were showing lots of documentaries on the subject (as well as putting together an anniversary concert with contemporary artists). I had very little interest in the contemporary music of the time, to be honest, but I loved all of the old footage and Behind the Musics that had anything to do with the original festival. That always stuck with me and, years later, I also happened to stop by the Woodstock museum at the Bethel Center for the Arts (the site of the original festival) on what was the 40th anniversary. I realized then that my enthusiasm for what I had always perceived to be the optimistic vibe of the festival hadn’t waned at all.

At some point, it occurred to me that barring getting my hands on a TARDIS or a Time Turner, there was only one way I could attend this festival that had so captured my imagination: and that was to write a story that took place at it!

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I find that I often write to explore: whether it’s a character or a situation or, in this case, a historical event that I have thought a lot about. This book encompassed a lot of firsts for me. It was my first historical novel. It was my first time writing YA. It was my first time writing dual POVs and it was my first time writing from the POV of a boy as well as a girl. And all those firsts really helped me to learn and grow as a writer, which is always an important part of the process for me.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I’m an outliner for sure. When I’m working on a project, I tend to try to write every day if I can, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. I have a full-time job, so my writing time is usually when I get home from work, and I tend to schedule myself out on a scene-by-scene basis. So I try to outline or write one scene a day (depending on where I am in the process). I do write linearly and I do my best to not get too hung up on how the first draft is sounding. For me, it’s much more important to just get the first draft out (because I find it the most difficult) and then work on fine-tuning it in subsequent edits.

I usually don’t listen to music while I work, but Three Day Summer was definitely the one exception to this rule!  I put on a lot of the sets from the Woodstock festival, especially as I outlined, and a lot of what I heard ended up making its way into sensory details within the manuscript.

What are you working on now?

My next book is called The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. It’s a contemporary YA based on my love of John Hughes movies and my general geekiness. I call it my comic con rom-com and it was pitched as Pretty in Pink goes to comic con.

It’s basically about a lovelorn nerd who decides to profess his love to his best friend at the biggest event of their social calendar. Only, of course, nothing goes exactly to plan. It’s been a lot of fun to write and it actually ended up, once again, being from a male POV so I think I used some of my newfound skills from Three Day Summer on it! It’s slated for Summer 2016 from Simon & Schuster BFYR.


Three Day Summerby Sarvenaz Tash
HardcoverSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

 Boy meets girl...at the most amazing concert the world has ever seen.

 Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She's volunteering in the medical tent. She's like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them...
Purchase Three Day Summer at AmazonPurchase Three Day Summer at IndieBound
View Three Day Summer on Goodreads


Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. She currently lives in her favorite borough of her favorite city.

What did you think of our interview with Sarvenaz Tash, author of THREE DAY SUMMER? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,
Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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14. Extra Facts in Picture Books

Remember, in picture books, you can always show those fascinating facts in the illustrations or mention them in the back matter.


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15. Rakhi

बात राखी की …

कुछ् समय पहले राखी की दुकान पर एक महिला कार से उतरी और दुकान दार से बोली सबसे मंहगी राखी दिखाओ. राखी देखते हुए बोली पिछ्ली बार भी नग वाली राखी लेकर गई थी. भईया ने दस मिनट भी नही पहनी क्योकि उसके नग निकल गए थे कोई और अच्छी और महंगी राखी दिखाओ जिसके नग न निकले.  बहुत देर माथा पच्ची के बाद और ठंडा कोल्ड ड्रिक पी कर दुकान दार ने सबसे महंगी राखी देकर विदा किया.

.वही एक अन्य महिला आई और उसने खूबसूरत डोरी खरीदी. दुकानदार के पूछ्ने पर वो बोली कि पिछ्ले साल भी जो डोरी लेकर गई थी भईया ने बहुत महीने तक पहने रखी इसलिए डोरी ही ले कर जाऊगी ताकि भईया की कलाई पर ज्यादा से ज्यादा समय तक वो सजी रहे  .

सच, बात मंहगी सस्ती की नही ,प्यार की होती है. ऐसे में दिखावा न हो तो त्योहार मनाने का मजा आए

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16. Cover Reveal & Interview: Author Ashley Hope Pérez & Editor Andrew Karre on Out of Darkness

By Ashley Pérez and Andrew Karre
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

From the promotional copy of Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner, Sept. 2015):

New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them.

“No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.”

They know the people who enforce them.

“They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit.”

But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.

“More than grief, more than anger, there is a need. Someone to blame. Someone to make pay.”

Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history— as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

The starred Kirkus review of Out of Darkness called it “a powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism,” and Elizabeth Wein, best-selling author of Code Name Verity, had this to say: “The beauty of Pérez’s prose and her surefooted navigation through the dangerous landscape of the East Texas oil field in the late 1930s redeem the fact that anyone who dares read this agonizing, star-crossed love story will end up in about six billion numb and tiny pieces. Absolutely stunning.”

Read on for a conversation between Ashley and her editor, Andrew Karre, who is now executive editor of Dutton Books for Young Readers. 

Ashley and Andrew talk about book covers, challenging boundaries in YA, what happens in the woods of East Texas, and the author-editor collaboration that made Out of Darkness possible.

Ashley Hope Pérez: Since this is also the cover reveal for Out of Darkness, can we start there? I love that we arrived at this design. What do you think it signals to readers?

Andrew Karre: I think it does the jobs of a book cover very well: it is visually arresting from the shelf, and it rewards deeper looks after you’ve read on in the book.

The image of the braid is lovely and intriguing, but once you’ve read the book, the layers begin to emerge.

I also love the uncomfortable separation in “Darkness.” It is not a comfortable cover—and it shouldn’t be.

AHP: I love that you mention the absence of comfort—right now I’m writing an article about the role of discomfort in YA reading experiences. So let’s linger for a moment on the topic of narrative elements that don’t sit easily with readers’ expectations.

Your particular vision of YA—which I’ve always taken as being focused on engaging or deconstructing various ideas of adolescence—gave me license to write the book without worrying about fitting it to a particular YA mold. You’ve never been interested any kind of filter for writing “at” teen readers and instead have gained this incredible reputation as an editor for choosing unusual, boundary-pushing works.

Did Out of Darkness give you a chance to scratch anything off of your boundary-pushing bucket list?

AK: I definitely got to put a check in the box labeled “historical YA that portrays teenagers acting on recognizable sexual appetites.”

AHP: Glad to have helped on that front. I think I was at least a little bit influenced by the workshop on sex in writing that you and Carrie Mesrobian did with teens last year and the insights that came from that.

I took a few items your compelling piece and the list Carrie compiled, and I thought about how they intersected with the private worlds and identities of my characters.

Portraying teen sexuality as a real part of the past was one of the contributions I wanted to make in Out of Darkness.

This is in addition to my general adamancy about the fact that teens are sexual people regardless of how they act on that fact. I find it maddening when people assume that the relative silence around sex in times past somehow amounted to a magical chastity or innocence among teens. That’s an assumption that especially gets applied to women in depictions of the past, I think. I enjoyed researching sexual matters of the period from the book.

AK: I distinctly remember my own delight at discovering some vintage condom packaging.

The kind of tins that held condoms in the 1930s. Image from www.collectorsweekly.com.

AHP: As do I… I think you gleefully tweeted a link to this article full of handy details about prophylactics of the past. For me, beyond the period particulars, there was also the pleasure of thinking about logistics for my characters. The woods in East Texas are notorious for being where you go to do things you don’t want others to know about, but I loved the chance to also show it as a space where a particular kind of possibility unfolds: an interracial love with a definite sexual intensity.

Although I didn’t want to idealize the physical aspect of Wash and Naomi’s relationship, which has an intensity that can be parasitic on their emotional connection at times, there’s also a sweetness to what they give each other.

So, we did some important work around the idea of teen sexuality in days gone by. What other boundaries do you see Out of Darkness testing?

AK: Well, the book pushed a bit at my personal definition of YA, which is novels about people experiencing the various social constructs of teenageness. For example, I don’t think Wash and Naomi are teenagers in the sense of your typical YA character. Because of their races, they’re not afforded the leisure we associate with teenagers. They are adults in many significant ways, but they do overlap with modern teenage-ness (in the form of all the white high school kids) and I found this deeply fascinating and illuminating. Your execution of these characters casts a bright light on the white privilege at the heart of that teenage-ness.

I also saw that you had set yourself an enormous challenge with the character of Naomi’s stepfather Henry. The book would fail if you let him simply be a racist monster. You had to make him a deeply flawed human who behaves monstrously—a considerably taller order and one that makes the book harder for some readers, though I think ultimately more satisfying.

AHP: I remember several important conversations with you that helped me to find and capture the humanity, however distorted, in Henry. I went through a similar process to uncover the complex character of the pastor who initially encourages him to bring the kids to East Texas and then has to buoy him up repeatedly in the role of father. The evolution of characters is more memorable, maybe, but the editorial back and forth was just as critical to the development of the narrative and stylistic choices that make this book what it is.

You’ve managed to be my ideal reader three times now. Each time we’ve worked on a book, the questions or challenges you presented me with opened the right doors for me in revision so that I could help the story grow into what it was supposed to be. Dark magic aside, how do you do that?

AK: I have no idea, but it’s my only useful skill, so I’m glad it works. Good editing is about building a little space where an author’s best work can happen. (And it has to be a little space, because books don’t happen by committee.) The minimum qualifications are understanding, nurturing, and—when necessary—reminding the author of the original vision.

AHP: That little space is a gift to writers. I think you must also have a kind of special sight that allows you to see submerged possibilities, both in a manuscript and in the writer herself. I feel like this was especially true in how you responded to Out of Darkness. I mean, it was such a different case from What Can’t Wait (2011) and The Knife and the Butterfly (2012)(both Carolrhoda Lab), both of which are contemporary realistic fiction and arrived to you somewhat resembling their final form. And then there was Out of Darkness…

AK: Out of Darkness is the best of what can happen when an author and an editor have a good working relationship. Honestly, if at any point after our first two books you’d told me about the school explosion and your eagerness to use it as an entry point for a story about race and class and love and family, I would have been in. I knew we could work well together, and I wanted to do so again.

At least 294 people were killed in the New London, Texas, school explosion. Chaos after the explosion and the destruction of all school documents made an exact count impossible. Image from the London Museum archives.

AHP: It’s true that you didn’t even flinch when my agent sent you a manuscript that filled a ream of paper. Or at least you didn’t let on that you flinched. I think the first complete draft weighed in at 200,000 words.

AK: I’m glad that you sent those 200,000 words. Even though I knew we were years away from a book, the scale of that draft gave me a sense of how committed you were to a project somewhat more ambitious than our first two. And I knew you would match my effort, so I didn’t worry about how much work it would be or whether you were prepared to explore some difficult places.

AHP: There was some serious cutting, reshaping, and expanding that happened over those years… and a ton of collaboration to develop the vision for what the novel would become. Did your expectations evolve over those years we went back and forth?

AK: I don’t think my expectations evolved much, given how high they were to begin with. This is a book that could obviously only exist on a fairly significant scale and scope.

As you know, I dearly love short, circumscribed stories of unusual individuals. This was never going to be such a book—or maybe better said it was several such books tightly braided together and making a still greater whole. My job was to see that from the beginning and work like hell to make sure we never compromised. (We didn’t.)

AHP: I’m grateful for that. I felt all along the way that I had just enough space to grow to be the writer who could handle whatever challenge we’d set for a round of revision.

Looking back, I realize that you probably read this manuscript at least five times as we were working through that process. Am I some kind of crazy outlier, or do you find yourself going through comparable iterations with other authors?

Ashley’s writing process. Crucial tools: writer’s notebook, Scrivener, paper, pen, scissors, and tape.

AK: You’re not a crazy outlier, except perhaps in terms of length of first draft.

With some authors, I’ve gone through more drafts, others fewer. Ideally, they all get a similar level of attention, but sometimes that attention takes different forms.

AHP: You also do this thing where you don’t force a change but you plant a seed that makes it possible for me, on my own, to wholly embrace that change. That probably happens dozens of times in a book, but I distinctly remember at one point discussing the author’s note for Out of Darkness.

There was this line in it that more or less sounded to you like an apology for the intensity and tragedy of the novel, and you gave me the courage to cut it. I think you said something like, “you shouldn't apologize for making your readers feel deeply.”

AK: The longer I do this, the more I’m convinced that the only reliable indicator of a book’s durability and quality is whether it elicits strong feelings in the reader. Whatever those feelings may be, if they are present, then the book is doing something right.

I get more upset by indifferent reviews than I do by strongly negative ones. A.S. King and I were talking just a couple weeks ago about a Goodreads review for her first novel, where the reviewer thinks she’s angry at the book—thinks she’s writing a bad review—but by the end of the review both of us agreed that the reviewer got exactly what we’d hoped from the book: very strong feelings. We didn’t take issue with a single point from the review.

Polite people generally apologize for causing emotional distress in others, so I’m never surprised to see a line like the one you cut. But I always try to remind the author that emotional distress is what the reader is paying for.

AHP: There’s an intensity and darkness to Out of Darkness that connects it to The Knife and the Butterfly, but I also feel like both novels leave room for hope, too. Does that resonate with you? Or do you see the works differently?

AK: I do absolutely find a hopeful quality in all your books. It’s hard earned and never more so than in this book. Brokenness and injustice are things I find in your work, but you also have a faith in human resilience that balances the brutality. That’s hope.

AHP: Hope is a thing with me. It’s literally my middle name, so how could it not be?

There are some books, like Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simon & Schuster, 2014), that are so full of promise and hope that you can’t miss it. I mean, that’s a novel set in the 1980s where two gay, Mexican-American boys discover and embrace their love for each other in part because of the support they receive from their parents. Ben finds ways to tell stories that get to the heart of growth and healing without being sentimental.

In Out of Darkness, I’d say that the possibility for hope depends on a certain kind of commitment from the reader. Or maybe what the novel does is create an appetite for hope—an authentic desire for life possibilities that go beyond what the characters achieve. My characters improvise wholeness, cobble together a family, but it can’t hold.

AK: There is something so, so gorgeous in the magical little family Wash, Naomi, Cari, and Beto make for themselves. Yes, it cannot possibly survive, but the short spring of that incredible family is unbearably and eternally beautiful.

Sabine River and the East Texas woods where Wash, Naomi, and the twins improvise a family. Image by Michael Gras.

AHP: That does sound like grounds for hope. Readers might only wish for things to be different for Wash, Naomi, and the twins as they’re reading, but maybe that wish can turn into something like a broader awareness that an unconventional family can have a rightness to it that is just as fundamental as any biological family. That’s one possibility I see in the novel when I think about it as a reader or lit professor rather than a writer. I try not to do that too much because it’s not the lit professor in me who runs the show when I’m writing.

My academic work has a place in my heart and my brain, but the novels I’ve written take up a lot more space. They’re like houses I once lived in but have had to leave behind. Each one is unique, and I have a distinct sense of what it felt like to be inside them, what the building and repairs and maintenance cost me.

I have favorite spaces, too, passages that, at least in my imagination, are where I felt most at home as a writer, most myself.

Is there anything comparable for you when you think about the books you’ve edited? What’s their afterlife like?

AK: I find myself remembering the process more than the book itself. I mean, I can recall the books as needed, but the pleasant memories that come unbidden are more about the experience of working on the book—the editing on my own, the phone conversations, the emails, the lunches. It’s as close as I get to old army buddies.

AHP: I look forward to reenlisting for another tour of duty. I’ll take the pen over the sword any day.

Cynsational Notes 

Find Ashley online at www.ashleyperez.com, where her blog is full of writerly and readerly insights, or at www.latinosinkidlit.com, where she’s part of a team of bloggers working to get the word out about awesome kid lit by Latina/o authors or about Latina/o experiences.

Follow her on Twitter (@ashleyhopeperez) and on Facebook.

Also follow Carolrhoda Lab on Twitter (@CarolrhodaLab) and Facebook for news and reviews of Out of Darkness and other fantastic Carolrhoda Lab titles.

Andrew Karre keeps us all entertained and informed from Twitter via @andrewkarre.

Librarians, bloggers, booksellers, reviewers, and teacher types: don’t forget to go to netgalley.com by the end of July to request an advance read of Out of Darkness.

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17. S.E. Green, author of KILLER WITHIN, on finding your voice

KILLER WITHIN is the sequel to KILLER INSTINCT, and we're thrilled to have author S.E. Green join us chat about writing.

S.E., what did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

Writing both KILLER INSTINCT and KILLER WITHIN taught me how to be me. How to take
chances and write how I truly want to write--raw and gritty and dark.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

I tried writing adult novels and my critique partners kept telling me I had a young voice and I should write YA. One day I finally listened and tried and you know what? They were right! I knew within two pages that I had found my voice!

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I'm a morning writer. I type at a stand up desk in my kitchen--close to the coffee.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Don't be afraid to take chances. Write every day, even if you end up deleting it. And join a writer's group--it's great for networking and learning the craft.

What are you working on now?

A YA suspense involving a satanic cult.


Killer Withinby S.E. Green
Simon PulseReleased 

In the heart-pounding sequel to the “zippy, gripping psychological drama” (Kirkus Reviews) Killer Instinct, teen vigilante Lane must face the secrets and unexpected consequences that arise in the wake of her first kill.

It’s been three months since Lane made her first kill—the sadistic Decapitator—and now she feels both closer and more alienated than ever from her united, grieving family. Haunted by conflicting memories of her mother, Lane resumes her role as the vigilante Masked Savior out of a feeling of obligation—but her heart just isn’t in it anymore. Now that Lane has felt the rush of deeper, darker thrills, a growing part of her wants to revisit its seductive power, and she’s not sure how long she can resist.

Meanwhile, the Masked Savior has inspired its own fan site, where groupies gather online to praise, document, and debate each delivered act of justice. But one of Lane’s secret admirers is becoming a cunning copycat, exacting “justice” on defenseless innocents, increasing the violence with each attack.

Someone is watching Lane, edging closer to making contact. Someone who knows her darkest secrets. Will Lane be able to stop the copycat and keep her identity protected? Or will she give in to the thrills that tempt her?

Purchase Killer Within at Amazon
Purchase Killer Within at IndieBound
View Killer Within on Goodreads


Shannon Greenland, or S. E. Green, is the award winning author of the teen thriller, Killer Instinct, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers; the teen spy series, The Specialists, an ALA Popular Paperback and a National Reader’s Choice recipient; and the YA romance, The Summer My Life Began, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award. Her books have been translated into several languages and are currently on numerous state reading lists.

 Shannon is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Mystery Writers of America. She has participated in and served as a guest speaker at festivals and conferences around the country to include but not limited to the LA Times Book Festival, American Library Association, Book Expo of America, Bouchercon, Romance Writers of America, RT Book Convention, Young Adult Keller Book Festival, Southern Festival of Books, and many more.

Shannon grew up in Tennessee where she dreaded all things reading and writing. She didn’t even read her first book for enjoyment until she was twenty-five. After that she was hooked! When she’s not writing, she works as an adjunct math professor and lives on the coast in Florida with her very grouchy dog. Find her online everywhere @segreenauthor.

What did you think of our interview with S.E. Green, author of KILLER WITHIN? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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18. Kishaz Reading Corner: The Sheikh's Proposal by Barbara McMahon

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

Marriage by royal command!

Sara Kinsale is stunned to be thrown together with a prince of the desert, and even more so to find herself unbelievably attracted to the elusive Sheikh Kahrun bak Samin... Especially as she's indebted to the sheikh and it's only a matter of time before he demands to be repaid!

Kahrun soon names his price -- marriage! He needs a trophy wife, and Sara is already living under his roof. But will she be the sheikh's bride in name only -- or will her marriage duties be a little more intimate....?

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Sara is a woman trying to prove herself and Kahrun is a king with a problem. When two very determined individuals have a run-in, an explosion of feelings was inevitable.

Kahrun really was a man in command while Sara was still trying to figure herself out and suffers from some major insecurity issues when it comes to herself and her family.

Watching the two of them learn about the other and about love was a sweet and sometimes funny journey.

Would I recommend this book? Yes.

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19. Illustration Challenge #2

Take two ideas that don't go together and put them together. For instance, flying pigs. Cows in space. Giraffes on wheels. Get the idea? Have fun!

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20. #BookADay | THE YETI FILES: MEET THE BIGFEET by Kevin Sherry (Scholastic)

Yetis! In Canada! What's not to love?

More info about Kevin Sherry.

More info about the book.

More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

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21. Be Positive

कई बार हम किसी को उत्साहित तो करते नही  उल्टे कुछ ऐसा बोल देते है कि वो बेचारे निरुत्सहित ही होकर बैठ जाते हैं.एक मेरी सहेली ने कार सीखने की इच्छा जताई तो पति और बच्चो ने साफ साफ बोल दिया कि हम तो उस समय कार मे बैठेगे नही जब आप चला रही होंगी … अभी मरने का शौक नही है. वो बेचारी अपना सा मुहं लेकर बैठ गई.

वही एक बच्चे के बोर्ड मे 90% अंक आए तो पिता बोले अब ट्यूशन पर इतना खर्चा किया, इतना आराम दिया तो इतने नम्बर तो आने ही थे वैसे भी इतने नम्बर तो किसी के बिना पढे भी आ जाए. कौन सा तीर मार लिया.

वही एक देवेन हैं 7 क्लास मे पढता है. उसकी आदत है कि सुबह नाश्ते से पहले ब्रुश जरुर करता है चाहे छुट्टी हो या ना हो. घर वाले उसे चिढाते रहते हैं पता नही कहां से पंडित पैदा हो गया हमारे घर.वो बेचारा कुछ नही कहता

रंजीता को अंग्रेजी पढने का बहुत शौक है वो जब भी बाहर जाती है तो कपडे या अन्य समान खरीदने की बजाय अंग्रेजी की किताब खरीदती है. इस पर उसी के परिवार वाले बहुत मजाक बनाते हैं कि बडी आई अंग्रेजी पढने वाली … ऐसे गिट पिट बोलती है जैसे विदेश जाएगी … स्वाभाविक है कि उसका मनोबल टूट गया .वैसे आप तो ऐसे नही है ना !!!अगर हैं तो जरा नही बहुत सोचने की दरकार है ….

The post Be Positive appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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22. Touch Screen

आज का जमाना टच स्क्रीन का जमाना है बस ट्च करो और …!!! मै अपनी सहेली मणि  से बात कर रही थी कि वो बोली टच वाला …  ये सिस्टम तो उनके पास बहुत पहले से है. उनका फ्रिज टच वाला है बस फर्क इतना है आज वाला टच एक उंगली से चलता है और उनके वाला पांचो उगलियो से याने एक जोरदार हाथ से चलता है. असल में, फ्रिज बहुत पुराना हो गया तो अक्सर चलते चलते चुप सा हो जाता है इसालिए जोरदार टच की दरकार रहती है फिर एक हफ्ते तक आराम से चलता है.

तभी सामने से एक कार जा रही थी उसे भी लोग टच से यानि धक्के से धकेल रहे थे.बाजार फोटो कापी करवाने गई तो उस मशीन को जब तक चार पाच टच ना जड दिए जाए तो चलती ही नही थी वही मेरा यूपीएस इतनी आवाज करता है जब तक जोरदार टच ना करो आवाज आनी बंद ही नही होती !!! रिमोट का भी यही हाल देखने मे आता है अक्सर …

वो बात अलग है कि हम आज के बच्चो को जरा सा भी टच नही कर सकते बाकि तो सारा वातावरण टचमय ही है … है ना

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23. Hilary T. Smith, author of A SENSE OF THE INFINITE, on leaving readers feeling hopeful and less alone

We're happy to have Hilary T. Smith join us to share more about her latest novel A SENSE OF THE INFINITE.

Hilary, what was your inspiration for writing A SENSE OF THE INFINITE?

Every draft of this manuscript came out completely differently—different plot, different characters, different tense. It would have been impossible to convince anyone that they were even drafts of the same novel—you would have thought I was crazy! If I can point to a single inspiration, it would be my hometown of Niagara Falls, Ontario. I’d never written about the place where I grew up, and it was interesting to sift through all the sensory memories of train whistles, sumac, and waterfall mist, all those things I haven’t thought about much since I left.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I have so many favorite scenes in this book! One of them is the moment when Annabeth’s cousin Ava, to whom she’s barely spoken in years, meets her at the Greyhound station. When Annabeth was younger, Ava told her a terrible secret that left Annabeth deeply traumatized. Now, Ava becomes the older sister Annabeth never had—she really redeems herself, and that makes me so happy.

Another favorite scene is when Annabeth goes to the Curiosity Museum to look at the lithopedion on the day she finds out she’s pregnant. There’s a wistfulness about it—wishing for this magical solution, and simultaneously knowing that the museum is about to close, and she has to go back out into the snow.

As to the first question—every scene in this book was hard to write. Every single one! That’s why I basically fell down in exhaustion when the manuscript was finished.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Anything by Sarah McCarry; anything by Loren Eiseley; anything by Rumi or Hafiz; anything by Janet Frame.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

Writing this book forced me to confront a lot of anger—anger about gender, anger about the destruction of the natural world, anger about our culture in general. It was scary for me to feel so much anger. And scary to write about it. Even though the YA shelves are filled with dystopias, there aren’t a lot of YA novels that address the rage and sorrow of the industrialized society we live in right now. It’s no accident that Annabeth’s highschool in A SENSE OF THE INFINITE is located at an intersection across from a Burger King, an EasyCuts hair salon, and a funeral parlor. These are the things we’ve decided are important; these are the things for which we bulldoze forests, fight oil wars, and destroy native cultures. Are they worth it? Hmmmmm.

So yes, I figured out I was angry. And the challenge was to hammer that anger until it shone.

What do you hope readers will take away from A SENSE OF THE INFINITE?

I have the same goal for all my books—to leave readers feeling hopeful and less alone. Often we have feelings or instincts we can hardly name, and the right book can help us clarify those instincts and gain confidence in them. I know there are readers out there who are having the same struggles and questions as the characters in A SENSE OF THE INFINITE, and this is my way of saying, “You’re OK.”

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Rumi says it best: “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.”


A Sense of the Infiniteby Hilary T. Smith
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/19/2015

By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

Purchase A Sense of the Infinite at Amazon
Purchase A Sense of the Infinite at IndieBound
View A Sense of the Infinite on Goodreads


Hilary T. Smith lives in Portland, Oregon, where she studies North Indian classical music and works on native plant restoration. She is the author of Wild Awake.

What did you think of our interview with Hilary T. Smith, author of A SENSE OF INFINITE? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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24. Irises

Van Gogh painted irises
That everyone admires.
In gardens, very often,
They’re the flower that inspires.

I, however, am not swayed
By any iris charms.
To me, they look quite evil,
Setting off my brain’s alarms.

Though irises have many fans,
I’m sure I’m not alone,
Which proves that famous saying’s truth –
That is, to each his own.

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25. Two Happy Birthdays To Two Wonderful Writers

Today, May 23, is the birthday of Sean Williams, Aussie speculative fiction writer:

Publicity pic, seanwilliams.com

and the wonderful British children's/YA novelist Susan Cooper:

Profile pic from Goodreads

Both of them are massive bestsellers and both deserve it!

I must admit, I discovered Susan Cooper a long time before I had heard of Sean Williams. I stumbled on the first couple of novels in a series that became known as The Dark Is Rising, based on the title of the second book in the series, in which the young hero, Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son, finds out on his eleventh birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, destined to fight for the Light against the Dark, at the side of a Professor Merriman Lyon (yeah, he's Merlin). The sheer power and beauty of this novel has made it a classic. The author was already living in the US when she wrote it, but it's very British, based on the Buckinghamshire she remembered. Unfortunately, someone decided to make a dreadful movie out of it and I wasted a whole morning and $17 on seeing it. When it came out on DVD I refused to buy it even discounted.  But the book and the series were amazing and you wouldn't think she could continue to write wonderful books, but she has - The Boggart(a Canadian family bring home a desk from a Scottish castle and there's a boggart asleep in a drawer, poor thing!), King Of Shadows(American boy actor finds himself in Shakespeare's London), most recently Ghost Hawk, set in the part of the US where the author now lives, historical fiction and fantasy combined in a gorgeous story.

I remember writing her a fan letter, back in the days when you could do that by looking through a book of modern children's writers, which had postal addresses, and getting a reply. But when she came out here for a library conference in Hobart, I found myself tongue-tied, like the other teacher-librarians there - a bunch of fan-girls we all were!

I have  read and loved some of Sean Williams' short speculative fiction over the years, but more recently, I've had a chance to read his Trouble-Twisters series for children, written with Garth Nix, and great fun they are too, with children who have special powers that aren't always convenient. It's interesting to see how many SF writers have become very good children's and YA novelists in recent years. Sean Williams is an international bestseller who, like many other Australian writers, doesn't mind writing for local small press, which has published entire books of his short fiction over the years, and he had a story in an early issue of ASIM. 

Anyway, happy birthday, Sean and Susan! May your pens never dry up!

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