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1. YA Book Blast: Boy Red by Shanta Everington

Blurb:

Boy Red is a story about identity, about where you come from and where you belong.
The day after his sixteenth birthday, Red discovers that the man he calls Dadis not his biological father. Will Red be able to track down the anonymous sperm donor who gave him life? What will he learn about himself along the way? And just what else are his parents hiding?

Excerpt:

It was Saturday night, and Mum was up on the makeshift stage doing a classy numberthat is to say Tina Turner complete with big h air and five-inch red heels. The booths were taken by the karaoke regulars clutching their song sheets and medallions. A throng of studded students drank cheap German beer at the bar, disappearing outside every few minutes for a smoke. Tourists dripping with backpacks chatted in a zillion different languages.
A few weeks ago, I told Mum I wanted low key, meaning a night out down the Lock with Sino wigs, microphones, or other parental contributions in sight. But she would have none of it.
Red, baby, you only turn sixteen once,shed said. Youve got to mark it in style. Youve got to have a party.
My names actually Jed, but everyone calls me Red. I share two things with Mick Hucknall: mad orange hair and a slightly odd face. Sadly, I dont have his musical talents. Not like Mum. She wins a lot of prizes. Its embarrassing to see her in her Cher wig and polka dot dress, but it could be worse. She could be something really boring like an accountant. Dads an academic. Hes a professor of science. They make for a strange combo, but Camden caters for all sorts. The posh and the rough rub shoulders every day. Not that Im saying Mums rough or anything, but her Madonna impersonations can make for scary viewing.
So there I was down at the local pub, staring at the purple swirly carpet, starting to feel nauseous. My sixteenth birthday party. It may as well have been musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey. It was that bad. My six-year-old brother, Freddie, sat smirking in the corner while Mum warbled out her rendition of City Limits. Dave, the karaoke organiser, all burly biceps in a frilly pink shirt, tapped his right foot in time to the music. Dad smiled amiably at the bar as he downed an orange juice. That man lacked the capacity for embarrassment. He must have a gene missing or something.
Your mums reading the lines off a television. Wheres the harm in it?he reasoned. He could be so rational, it was maddening.
Si was chatting up a pair of Asian twins whod just finished their version of The Cheeky Girls Touch My Bum. He winked at me to join him, while Mum carried on gyrating in red polyester as she reached the climax.
Dad. Dad! Freddie tugged at Dads jeans.
Dad checked his watch, stood up, and cleared his throat. Uh-oh.
Oh, yes. Thank you, Freddie. Gaye!
Uh-oh. Uh-oh.
Mum smiled at Dave as she gripped the microphone. Thank you, everybody. I have a little announcement to make, she said. The shrieks and applause died down, leaving a low hum of conversation. The Cheeky Girls stopped drinking their Barcardi Breezers and looked expectantly at Mum. They wore white PVC hot pants and matching kneehigh boots. They were hot all right. Not the type of girls I wanted around to witness this kind of embarrassment. I looked on in horror and considered my options. This would have been a good time to escape to the bog, but Dad had already covered that one by asking Daves brother, Stu, to keep guard. Dads best mate, Phil, stood to my right, smiling inanely at me. There was nowhere to run. So I downed half of Stus pint instead. He didnt seem to mind. Just winked.
Okay, guys and girls, continued Mum, running her hands through her wig. I hope youll all join me in wishing our Red a very happy sixteenth birthday.
Id never get served alcohol in here after that. It was all right for girls, they always got served. The Cheeky Girls couldnt have been much older than I was, and they were knocking them back.
Stu waved manically over my head for the benefit of anyone who might not know who the lucky boy was. The Cheeky Girls whispered to each other and raised their collective eyebrows as I fixed a boomerang smile on my face.
Ha-a-a-a-ppy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you…”Mum had gone into Marilyn Monroe mode, all silly girly voice, while Dave brought out a blue football cake fit for a five year old, complete with sixteen flaming candles. It was excruciating.
When the humiliation was over, Mum came over and kissed me on the forehead and ruffled my already wild hair, just to add insult to injury.
I think that needs a cut, mister, she said.
I looked at Freddies smooth pudding basin cut performed by Mum the day before and shuddered. I didnt think so.
Id always been the odd one out with my orange mane. Jokes about the milkman were rife.
I blew out my candles and cut the cake as a million digital cameras flashed in my face. Another one for the family album.
It was all so normal. Well, normal as far as my family went anyway.
There were even napkins. 

Want to know more about S. D. Everingtion? You can find her at http://www.shantaeverington.co.uk/or on Twitter @ShantaEverAfter. 

0 Comments on YA Book Blast: Boy Red by Shanta Everington as of 10/23/2014 6:51:00 AM
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2. Discovering Deborah Levy

Have you ever found an author that you just want to recommend to everyone you meet? The type of author that you just want to read over and over again. I found this author in 2012 and I am slowly working through her backlist. The first book I read of hers I loved so much […]

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3. Banana Demo

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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4. Interview with Chrys Fey, Author of 30 Seconds

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Chrys! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Chrys Fey] Rock obsessed auntie who writes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about 30 Seconds?

[Chrys Fey] 30 Seconds is a romantic-suspense novella about a woman who finds herself in the middle of a war between a police force and the Mob.

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he’s made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He’s determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob’s death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart’s life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she’s dodging bullets, she’s falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Chrys Fey] Oh there are so many! My favorite action scene is when Dani Hart runs from the Mob. They chase her out of the hospital where she works, down a packed street in the heart of Cleveland, and into an alley. They openly shoot at her, too, not caring that civilians are everywhere. It’s an intense, heart-pounding scene. I also love the scene when Dani and Blake have a snowball fight. It’s light and funny, a moment they desperately needed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Chrys Fey] Getting to know Blake and Dani. They were interesting characters from the first time they popped into my head. Blake arrived thanks to a dream and Dani showed up shortly after I had a layover in the Cleveland, Ohio airport on my way to Michigan. Dani is a tough doctor who loves rock music and horror movies. Blake is a sexy cop who struggles with his commitment to protect Dani due to his growing desires.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Chrys Fey] Chap Stick.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Chrys Fey] A witch’s cauldron that I turned into a writer’s cauldron with pens, pencils and scrap paper, “Queen of the Damned” by Anne Rice, and my Skull Candy headphones.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Chrys Fey] Sandwiches are my go to meal if I work through lunch, but when it gets to be around two or three in the afternoon anything sweet will do.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Chrys Fey] I would trade places with my character Dani to spend some time with Blake, a sexy police officer. Do you blame me? *wink*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Chrys Fey] I would want the power to blink my body from one place to another, so I could go to all the places I’ve dreamed about visiting, like Ireland, Venice, and London.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Chrys Fey] Moonless by Crystal Collier, Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc by PK Hrezo, and Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

Chrys Fey] I am very active on Facebook and my blog. I love to read and reply back to comments from readers; it’s the highlight of my day.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrysfey

Blog: www.writewithfey.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChrysFey

Amazon: www.authorcentral.amazon.com/chrysfey

Title: 30 Seconds

Author: Chrys Fey

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: Novella (105 pages)

Format: eBook

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Published: September 10th, 2014

Bio:

Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she’s writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

The post Interview with Chrys Fey, Author of 30 Seconds appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. I Shouldn't Be Blogging


I shouldn't be blogging.

I should be grading papers.
I should be reading students' blog posts.
I should be sending post-conference follow-up emails to parents.
I should be watching training videos for my new school laptop.
I should be deconstructing standards and digging into resources.
I should be reading so I have something to blog about.
I should be doing amazing things in my classroom so I have something to blog about.
I should be reading the blogs of our faithful blog readers.
I should be cleaning the house.


Okay. That helped. It always does. Best One Little Word ever.

Remember at the end of last summer, when we went to Vermont on a fly fishing trip...and didn't catch any fish? And how I vowed to "catch" a "trout" every day of the school year so that no matter what kind of picture the high stakes testing paints of my students, I will be able to look back on a year full of great moments of learning and joy?

I've got a "creel" full of fish.

We're 40+ days into the school year, and in my special little purple Moleskine I have 40+ "trout." Some days when I look back, they make me laugh, or swell up with pride. Some days I get a little teary.

At the exhaustion end of Parent Conference Night, a dad told about organizing his 30th high school class reunion, and how much it meant to him and the others who attended that some of their elementary school teachers attended. Even their first grade teacher was there. "You are making a difference in these students' lives, you know," he said. "You have no idea right now how the seeds you plant will turn out, but you are planting seeds for the future."

The next day, I got an email from a student who was in one of my looping classes 10 years ago. I helped to get her on an IEP back then. She's a junior in college now and she wanted to come interview me for one of her classes. She just switched her major. To education.

All the "I shoulds" will have to wait. I have some seeds to plant. I have some fish to catch.

0 Comments on I Shouldn't Be Blogging as of 10/23/2014 7:41:00 AM
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6. Children's Picture Book Review: The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt



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

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

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

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

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

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

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

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

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

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

0 Comments on Children's Picture Book Review: The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: Dinosaur Hunt as of 10/23/2014 8:12:00 AM
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7. Jay Asher Discusses Thirteen Reasons Why | 50 States Against Bullying

A conversation between Jay Asher and Trudy Ludwig the 50 States Against Bullying tour, bullying, teen suicide and how to create kinder and more caring communities.

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8. PUMPKIN TIME by Erzsi Deak and Doug Cushman - GIVEAWAY!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9. Forbidden Pre-order Giveaway

Look, I know it seems like all giveaways all the time on the blog, but I've been really slammed at work and haven't had time to read or review. Anyway... who can resist this crazy giveaway?! Thanks to Kimberley Griffiths Little and HarperCollins for sponsoring this great pre-order contest.


On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.


Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:
  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES: (1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt) 2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White 4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt 5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf 6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured) (1) SECOND PLACE WINNER: 1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured) (13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS: 1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured) Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart. Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying. With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley: Website | BlogTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com. Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!





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10. Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" - Teaser Trailer (OFFICIAL)

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11. Newsletter Hamelin 23 ottobre 2014

 



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12. Fifteen years.


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13. Oral Mentor Texts + a Giveaway!

Assuming that children understand the elements of a story is assuming too much. These elements must be taught if they are meant to be used in the writing process.

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

Becoming Babe Ruth

By Matt Tavares

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15. Review: Gracefully Grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky. Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.

The Plot: Grayson Sender is twelve years old.

Grayson is lonely, even surrounded by classmates, even at home, living with cousins, an aunt and uncle.

Grayson is lonely in part because of Grayson's parents death years ago, leading to Grayson being the odd child out at home.

Grayson is lonely because Grayson cannot connect with others because Grayson is hiding the most important part of who Grayson is.

In Gracefully Grayson, Grayson gradually gains trust and friends until Grayson can reveal the truth: that Grayson is a girl inside. Grayson is a transgender girl.

The Good: I'll be honest Grayson broke my heart, because of how lonely she is. Of how unable to connect with those around her.

At school, Grayson tries out for the play and takes her first step towards her true self by asking to play the part of a girl. One of the happy-tear moments I had was -- spoilers -- when the cast welcomed Grayson, became her friend, treated her like they'd treat anyone else.

Then there were the sad-tears of those who bullied Grayson, and of Grayson's aunt who believes that Grayson is in part causing the problems by not continuing to hide her truth.

And I cried at all the things Grayson did, in hiding. Doodling pictures of girls, but doing it in such a way that people wouldn't know. "If you draw a a triangle with a circle resting on the top point, nobody will be able to tell that it's a girl in a dress. To add hair, draw kind of a semicircle on top. If you do this, you'll be safe, because it looks like you're just doodling shapes."

Loving glitter pens and being prepared with lies to explain why she has the purple and pink ones.

Wearing a sweatband to pretend it's a hairband.

Pretending basketball pants and a t-shirt are somehow a gown, with the wide pants a full skirt.

And how important it is to Grayson, to anyone, to have their own truth by the truth others see. That it's harmful, the years and the lies of pretending to be something other than who she is.

At the end of Gracefully Grayson, someone tells Grayson that "I know it may feel like there are people who are against you, but I want you to remember that most people in the world are good. Look for the people who extend a hand to you. And when they do take it." This, in a nutshell, sums up the book. There are people against Grayson, for various reasons. But there are just as many good people in Grayson's world.

And the question left to the reader is this: is the reader one of the good ones? Does the reader extend a hand to those around them?

I'm making this one of my Favorite Books of 2014, because it is such a beautiful book and Grayson is such an endearing twelve year old.

Links: author interview at Diversity in YA; Bookfabulous Review; Robert Bittner Review at Gay YA;



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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16. Guest Post for Networking is the Best Way to Market Your Book


Networking is the Best Way to Market You and Your Book




Book Synopsis for The Magic of Friendship:

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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17. I'm Brave! by Kate & Jim McMullan

I'm Brave is Kate & Jim McMullan's fifth book about things that go. When I was a book seller, these were my "go to" books for toddlers into all things that go. The McMullan's happen to be among the rare creators of picture books featuring garbage trucks. Considering the fervor with which many toddlers adore garbage trucks, I am always surprised by how few picture books about them are on

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18. Creating a Vision Board


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


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

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

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

--jhf

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19. Walking and Talking with . . . Jenni Holm!

This is our second “Walking and Talking” installment by the clearly multi-talented Steve Sheinkin.  This week?  Jenni Holm discusses how she works and gives some background on the blood, sweat and tears that went into The Fourteenth Goldfish.WalkingJenniHolm1 Walking and Talking with . . . Jenni Holm!

WalkingJenniHolm2 Walking and Talking with . . . Jenni Holm!

Be also sure to check out the first Walking and Talking with . . . John Corey Whaley.  Big thanks to Steven too for letting me post these!

share save 171 16 Walking and Talking with . . . Jenni Holm!

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20. Agent Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Lit on Wanting Diversity, Comp Titles, and Book Love!

Welcome, Saba!

Saba Sulaiman is the newest member of Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She joined the team after working as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she worked primarily on their romance line. She's looking for up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir, both in adult and YA. She's also actively looking for MG. Follow her on Twitter @agentsaba




1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 

A strong, gripping, mature voice, well-rounded characters, and an instant emotional connection. I want to be invested in the story as soon as possible, and I love stories where there is a clear and relatable conflict. 

2. What is on your wish list? 

I'd love to see any story that incorporates diverse characters and backgrounds, and does it well. Throw in a unique twist to a classic story. Invert a tried and tested formula or trope, and make it compelling enough for me to get on board with it. I hesitate to be too specific because I'm open to almost anything within the genres I represent, but I'll definitely pay more attention to manuscripts with these qualities.

3. What are some things you love to see in a query?

Other than what's standard, I like to see comp titles -- but please don't compare your book to a huge bestselling book that everyone's heard of! You don't have to include comp titles in your query, but if you do, show me that you really know what's happening in your genre by making them specific.

4. Are you an editorial agent?

Yes I'm very hands-on! I'm happy to work with authors to polish their work, and I don't believe in presenting manuscripts that aren't quite ready to be looked at yet. That having been said, please don't query me with first drafts! I have to be convinced that you've already been through multiple revisions and that you know your craft inside out before I'll consider working with you.

5. Character, world, or plot? 

Character all the way!

6. What do you like to do for fun?

Well, other than reading (surprise!) and my other hobbies (see my webpage!) I mostly bother my friends and think a lot about my next meal (I take food very seriously.)

7. What genres are you drawn to most?

In YA, I'm generally drawn to contemporary realistic stories, but I'm also open to magical realism and historical YA with spunky, edgy heroines. 

8. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 

Emotional connection. Market trends come and go, but I need to connect with the manuscript in order to be able to back it 100% and make editors fall in love with it.


9. Why did you become an agent?
I read and talk about books for a living -- I think that says it all :)

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21. Neustadt Festival

       The Neustadt Festival -- culminating in The Tuner of Silences-author Mia Couto picking up the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature -- started yesterday; see the full program.

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22. "...and the local library matters." - Bill Moyers


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

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

Allow me to convince you otherwise.

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to an interview with Robert Dawson at NPR.

[Post pics from the book.]

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23. Organization Part 2: The Reading Binder

In July, I wrote a post about how I keep organized, both in reading/reviewing and then all that other stuff I do during the day.

After a conversation on twitter this week, I realized I left off something important: The Reading Binder. It's a source of awe and good-natured ribbing in some circles, and it's the only way I can handle award and booklist committee work. (I wasn't on committee in July, so I forgot about it.)

What you need:
1. A 3-ring binder
2. Tabbed separators
3. Loose leaf paper
4. 3-hole punch
5. Highlighters

The first section is for administrative stuff. I print out committee policies and procedures, schedules, rosters, and contracts/agreements I had to sign, etc. This is so I can always go back and look, and be reminded of what we're doing. When I chaired Outstanding Books for the College Bound, I also had another section of chair stuff, which was more of the same, but chair-specific. Also, because Outstanding Books was such an overwhelming charge, I had another section with articles about the history of the list, and another one with previous lists.

The next section is for the actual books. The first page is my at-a-glance sheet, which I'll explain more about later. In the book section, each nominated book gets its own page (or more.) For YALSA committees, there's an actual nomination form that gets sent out for each book, with citation info, annotation, and why it was nominated. I would copy this form into Word and add a picture of the book cover and print it out. For my reading notes, I make them on the back of this sheet, or tape them on, or make them on a sheet of loose leaf that I then put in the binder with the nomination form. For committees that don't have a nice nomination form (like Cybils), each book gets a sheet of looseleaf with my notes. The form my notes tend to take are things I jot down while reading and then after I finish, a paragraph or more of my thoughts about a book, including strengths and weaknesses as a contender for whatever I'm evaluating it for.

There are some various levels of organization within this section. When I was on Nonfiction, there were 2 sections--one for books I hadn't read yet with just the nomination forms, and one for the books I had read. On Outstanding Books, I had to keep an eye on all sections, and had a different section for each sublist (this was helpful when I had to run meetings, too.) Within the "have read" section, I find it's most useful to put the notes and forms in the order they'll be discussed at meetings. (Usually in the order they were nominated.)

The organization in this area will vary depending on the committee. It will also vary during committee time. Nonfiction had a short list, which was announced in December, but the actual winner wasn't decided until midwinter, when it was announced. After we made the short list, I pulled those nominations to the front, away from the ones that we were no longer considering. On Outstanding Books, we narrowed the list down a bit before midwinter, so I pulled out the books that were no longer under consideration.

Now the first page of this section is the at-a-glance page. The at-a-glance is a spreadsheet print-out. There's a column for the name of the book, a box where I can check if I've read it, and a box for brief notes (maybe a sentence or two). This is also color-coded (time to break out your highlighters.) I use a basic green/yellow/red coding system (it's a traffic light) green are for the books I love and I'll cry if they don't make it to the finals. Red is the books I loathe and I'll cry if they do make it to the finals. Yellow is for everything else. YES, there is also a spring green and orange level. The at-a-glance is for when I need a quick snapshot of where my thinking is on the list as a whole. This is something that needs to be redone (and reprinted out) on a regular basis--at least once a month--as more titles are added and my thinking about the books shifts.

This is different from my status page, which is usually in my date book. This is a list of all the books I haven't read yet, and whether or not they're checked out/on hold/at a different library/need to buy/have an ARC/review copy is coming/etc. (Also, due dates and how many renewals I have left). I then just cross the book off the list when it's read and hand-write in more titles as they're nominated. This is something I have to redo weekly.

Also, let's talk meeting notes. Grab your looseleaf! When you have a face-to-face meeting or a group call or chat and take notes... notes on general committee stuff get files int he admin front section. Notes on titles are appended on the end of my notes on a title. (as are re-read notes.) For committees where things are just discussed on email (and committees that use email in addition to face-to-face), I usually just save the email in a separate folder, but I will jot down some things that other people mentioned if I'm thinking about them and am working on a response.

Now, obviously, the make-up of the binder and how things work changes a bit with each committee, as they require different things, but this is the overall idea of how I work.

Is there a Cybils binder? I'm in the process. I'm on second-round, so I have just over a month to look at 5 books, so I don't really need a binder. But, I'm reading a lot of the nominations now, partly as a personal armchair, but also just to be ready to go when January 1st rolls around. I'm putting together a binder so I can remember my thoughts and feelings on any titles that make it to the second round.

What's your system for tracking committee or other assigned reading? Do you have any questions about my crazy binders full of books?


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24. Query Question: "petite novels"



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


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

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

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25. Polizzotti on translating Modiano

       Mark Polizzotti -- translator of the forthcoming Yale University Press three-in-one collection by newly crowned Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- writes on Quiet Resonance: Translating Patrick Modiano at the YUP weblog, Yale Books Unbound.

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