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1. IN by Nikki McClure

Nikki McClure is a stunning artist and a magical picture book author.  In both her story and art, she captures the rare, quiet spaces of childhood that often overlap with nature. Both her illustrations and text bring a refreshing, revitalizing pause to the page, warmly inviting readers to slow down and enjoy the moment. Perhaps this is, in part, because McClure's process of creating

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2. Cover Reveal – Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat to the Stars

It is my infinite pleasure to present to you today a middle grade novel’s cover that amuses me in a way that really speaks to my particular proclivities.  Humor is so subjective.  Still, it is beyond me how anyone could look at this and not be immediately charmed.  And so, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you MR. PUFFBALL: STUNT CAT TO THE STARS by Constance Lombardo.

And for the full jacket . . .

On shelves September 29th.

Thanks to the folks at Harper Collins for the reveal!

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3. Does philosophy matter?

Philosophers love to complain about bad reasoning. How can those other people commit such silly fallacies? Don’t they see how arbitrary and inconsistent their positions are? Aren’t the counter examples obvious? After complaining, philosophers often turn to humor. Can you believe what they said! Ha, ha, ha. Let’s make fun of those stupid people. I also enjoy complaining and joking, but I worry that this widespread tendency among philosophers puts us out of touch with the rest of society.

The post Does philosophy matter? appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. TURNING PAGES: SHADOW SCALE, by RACHEL HARTMAN

When I read SERAPHINA in 2012, I was just about out of words to describe it. It was, I decided a medieval mystery, based on its woodcut American cover, only it's not really set in medieval times, and there are dragons, half-dragons and... Read the rest of this post

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5. Vulnerability: The Key to Compelling Romantic Relationships

loveThe connection between two characters is one of the most magnetic forces in storytelling, especially in romance novels.

Whether they welcome the relationship, fight it, or fall somewhere in between, emotional friction creates an energy that leaves readers anxious to see what will happen next.

Building a compelling romance is not easy, and to make the pairing realistic, a writer must know each character down to their bones, including any past hurts experienced at the hands of others. Pain is a necessary component of any fictional romance. Pain? I know, it sounds crazy. Here’s why.

1) Romance isn’t simple.

You can’t throw two people together and expect pheromones and sex drive do all the work. Readers have expectations that a rocky road lies ahead, because obstacles, suffering and hardship are what makes a romance so satisfying. Characters willing to walk through fire to be together convinces readers they belong with one another. Love is powerful, and there is great beauty in the struggle to obtain what the heart wants most.

2) Healthy relationships (especially romantic ones) require vulnerability.

To really dig into this, we need to first look at vulnerability in real life. It’s usually cast in a negative light, used in the context that if we don’t avoid it, bad things will happen. If we don’t lock our doors, we’re vulnerable to thieves. If we don’t protect our personal information, people may steal it. Negative experiences teach us to be wary of appearing vulnerable, so we take care in who we trust and what we share. We dress a certain way, act a certain way, hide our hurts and pretend we are strong.  Characters, to be realistic, should think and act the same way.

But there is another powerful side of vulnerability: acceptance.

When a person accepts themselves, faults and all, they are able to show their true self to others rather than hide it. This openness, this sharing of one’s innermost feelings and beliefs, is the foundation of all meaningful relationships. Being genuine and honest allows a person to connect with another on a deep level. In romances, characters who are willing to be vulnerable and put their true feelings out there open the gateway to love and intimacy. Without vulnerability, a romantic relationship reads false.

So where does the pain come in?

Being vulnerable is not easy, especially for characters who have been hurt by those they once loved. A character’s past is often a quagmire of painful events making it difficult to let down one’s guard and trust.

For example, if our protagonist was manipulated by an abusive ex-husband, her painful experience with him becomes a wound she can’t forget. She will harden herself, maybe push people away, using emotional armor to keep from being hurt. But this also blocks any new trusting relationships from forming, something she may deeply want. Even when she finds a man to love, it is a difficult process to strip oneself of that armor and be vulnerable enough to forge a strong relationship, risking hurt once more. The character’s desire for the relationship must outweigh her fear of being hurt.

As writers, the need for vulnerability creates a giant obstacle. Why? Because it is our business to create characters who are broken, jaded or struggling in some way. Yet somehow we must show them it’s okay to trust. We must find a way to give them the strength they need to let go of their fears of being hurt and open themselves up to another. The question is, how do we do that?

1) Hone in on the desire for “something more.”

A common need we all have as people (and therefore all characters should have it as well) is the desire for growth and fulfillment. Fears hold a character back and leave them feeling unfulfilled, affecting their happiness. They must realize this, and yearn for something to change. This is the first step.

For example, if your character is having a hard time with trust and openness, have her look within and see the dissatisfaction she feels at not having close relationships, or people to hang out with, trade gossip or confide in. This realization will lead her to probe for what she truly wants (genuine friendship and connection) and create the desire within her to obtain it.

2) Create positive experiences for vulnerability.

There are many times when opening up and being genuine pays off. It feels good to tell someone a secret fear only to find out they understand because they fear it too. Or asking for help and then getting it. Even when we share a problem, we feel the weight of it lift because it’s no longer ours alone. Experiencing love, intimacy, trust, and friendship are all positive experiences that can build a person up, encouraging them to be more open and vulnerable with others.

3) Showing how the past has affected your character but having them see how negativity is holding them back so they can take an important step forward.

In the example above of the woman seeking friendship and connection, it will take time to learn how to trust and feel comfortable sharing details about herself, but if the desire for change is strong enough, it can be achieved.

The path to vulnerability is often the meat of a romance, so it’s important to get a good grasp on it as it plays into the obstacles, hardship and struggles that must be overcome to end with a deep, loving connection.

Image: PublicDomainPictures @ Pixabay

 

The post Vulnerability: The Key to Compelling Romantic Relationships appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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6. Writing in ... Burma

       In the Myanmar Times Chit Su reports on the recent ninth annual Tun Foundation Literary Awards, in Literary awards seek to keep Myanmar writing.
       Alas, no detailed list of the winning titles -- the winning authors are listed, but that's not very helpful -- but at least mention of some of them -- and good to see a literary prize that includes an 'environment category' (which a title like Hygiene and Sanitation Manual for Food Safety can win). And U Myint Kywel took the 'lifetime award'.

       Meanwhile, in The Irrawaddy, Kyaw Hsu Mon recently had a Q & A with Seikku Cho Cho publishing house owner U San Oo, finding Books 'Have a Future'.
       Interesting that:

Then there is Myanmar literature, for example the author Juu. Her book sales are still strong. But for those kinds of books, most of them are self-published.
       But it's depressing to hear:
Q: Who are the best sellers in the classics category ?

A: The top classic books are by Mya Than Tint, Mg Tun Thu, Dagon Shwe Myar, Shwe Ou Daung, then Mg Moe Thu, Tin New Maung and Soe Thein. Their masterpieces are still performing strongly.
       Depressing because ... well, try to find any of these masterpieces in English.

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7. Cat Says Meow (and a giveaway!)

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndtby Michael Arndt (Chronicle Books, 2014)

This book won me over when I saw it last year, and it’s one that is fun to peek into again and again. And how is that the case with something so simple, but so sophisticated? So spare, but so complex? That’s the best truth of design.

Here’s what’s happening. Each spread shows an animal and its sound. And each animal is mostly made up of the letters of that sound.

It’s a fun puzzle to unlock. The portraits are bold and saturated in color, often different than we’d see them in the wild.

But here they are, wild anyway.

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

I do love an animal book that goes beyond the usual suspects, don’t you? A mosquito! Not my favorite friend by any means, but he looks good and menacing here.

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

This small volume is a perfect primer on both typography and onomatopoeia.

And it’s got killer endpapers.

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

A portion of  proceeds from Cat Says Meow goes to support animal rescue organizations, including the ones from where Michael’s dog (Clooney!) and cat (Aiden!) were rescued.

And for more type fun, play this kerning game and see how your eye stacks up to a designer’s. Or this one on letter forms, which is a bezier curve bonanza.

Would you like a signed copy? And these one of a kind bookmarks and vinyl stickers! You do, yes. Leave a comment here or share this post on Twitter before midnight on March 8st, PST. Good luck!

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. ArndtCat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

 

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All images are © 2014 Michael Arndt. Thanks to the artist for sharing them (and an awesome giveaway!) here. And be sure to check out his Instagram if you love all things type, animal, and lovely. It’s a great one!

 

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8. “Why Study Reconstruction?”

It’s still a month away from the publication date of my book with Don Tate​, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, the true story of a young man who rose from slavery to the U.S. Congress during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

About that latter, terribly overlooked period, I could not ask for a better summation of why it’s such an important era in U.S. history than this three-minute video published today by Facing History and Ourselves​. I hope you’ll watch it and be inspired to learn more.

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9. Guest Post and Giveaway: T J Kline, Author of Runaway Cowboy

This morning TJ Kline dropped by the virtual offices!

Ten Things In My Bag

  1. Wallet complete with credit cards, pictures, money and coupons

  2. Notebook (a mid-size spiral bound to take notes or jot down ideas)

  3. Pens (several in various colors because I ALWAYS write with colored pens)

  4. THREE pair of sunglasses (Why three? I have no clue!)

  5. Halloween face paint – green (How did this even get in there?)

  6. Pink Himalayan salt (for my various water bottles either carried, refilled or purchased daily – seriously, try it!)

  7. Water bottle (right now, it’s a 1 liter bottle, half full)

  8. Two Victoria Secret lip gloss (because one never fails to disappear so I keep a spare)

  9. Keys (with my book key chains)

  10. Orbit sweet mint flavored gum (because this is the only mint gum I like)

Runaway Cowboy

Rodeo #3.5

By: T.J. Kline

Releasing February 3rd, 2015

Avon Impulse

Blurb

You had your chance, and you threw it away…“

Five years ago, Jen woke up with a ring on her finger and her fiancé nowhere to be found. She swore she’d gotten over the betrayal, but when Clay unexpectedly hires on with the rodeo for a week, she finds herself torn between passion and regret.

Clay left intending never to see Jen again. He’s been running from his troubled past for far too long, and it’s not a life he wants for her. But it’s hard to run from the past when the past is your own family, and Clay finds himself thrown back into the chaos he thought he’d finally left behind.

Will the truth drive Jen away, or is there a second chance at happily ever after for this runaway cowboy?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/runaway-cowboy-by-tj-kline.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23587127-runaway-cowboy?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

 

Author Info
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and rodeo queen competitions since the age of 14, She has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has had several articles about rodeo published in the past in small periodicals as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Excerpt

Clay grabbed her arm, and she spun on him, wildly swinging her purse at his head and jerking her arm from his grasp. “Don’t touch me.”

He easily caught the purse in his hand and dropped it at his feet as he pulled her into his arms. “What do you have in that thing? Bricks?”

“Let go of me, Clay,” she said through gritted teeth, twisting, trying to release herself from his grasp.

“Only if you let me explain.”

Every inch of her that was in contact with him burned with icy flames. The heat of his hands on her arms sent warmth running down her spine to melt her limbs and ignite the desire pooling in her belly. She wanted to push him away, to run to her trailer and stay there until he went back to wherever he’d been hiding, but when her eyes met his, pleading with her to listen to him, she couldn’t deny herself just one more moment with him. How was she supposed to keep hating him when her body wouldn’t follow her commands?

“You have five minutes.” One for each year she hadn’t heard from him. He released her cautiously. She walked back to the truck, knowing he would follow, and flipped the tailgate down. She hopped up on it, letting her legs dangle. When he sighed and scrubbed a hand over his jaw, she quirked a brow. “Time’s ticking Clay. Start talking.”

“You know, for someone who seems to think she has everything figured out better than the rest of us, you sure can be irresponsible. What were you thinking going into that bar?”

Jen almost let her mouth fall open at the audacity of his accusation. She bit the inside of her cheek until the metallic taste of blood forced her to stop.

She jumped from the back of the truck. “That was some explanation. I can’t believe I waited this long for it.”

Clay’s fingers circled her wrist as she started to walk away. “I have at least three minutes left.”

He pulled her back toward him, drawing her against his chest as one arm circled around her waist. His other hand buried into her long hair, and she gasped in surprise as his mouth found hers. Her body betrayed her again, melting against him as her bones seemed to turn to molten lava. Her fingers dug into the muscles of his shoulders, but she wasn’t sure if it was to keep her balance or because she couldn’t resist touching him. His mouth was gentle, in spite of their argument, as if he wanted to savor this kiss, to taste her, to force the memories of the tenderness they’d once shared to the surface. Clay nipped at her lower lip, testing her resolve, and when she didn’t protest, he plunged ahead. His tongue swept against hers as she slid her hands over his shoulders before curling her fingers around the nape of his neck, twining into his hair.

Clay’s lips trailed over her cheek and jaw. “I’ve missed you, Jen. You have no idea how much.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Bundle Including: RODEO QUEEN, THE COWBOY & THE ANGEL and LEARNING THE ROPES)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: T J Kline, Author of Runaway Cowboy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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10. Padlet with Resources for NCTE's Charlotte Huck Award Winning Books

I attended OCTELA on Saturday and presented with Barbara Kiefer and Fran Wilson on NCTE's Charlotte Huck award winning books from this year.  It is an honor to serve on this committee and I soooo love the premise of the award -- this award recognizes fiction that has the potential to transform children’s lives by inviting compassion, imagination, and wonder. I love the list of award books.  It was great fun to share them at OCTELA.

This week, in preparation for OCTELA, I started pulling together resources that connected to most of the award winning books. I thought it would be helpful for teachers who wanted to know more about the books and many of the links would be great to share with students.  I collected them on a Padlet and am happy to share that Padlet here. Enjoy!



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11. EASYART - relaunches as King & McGaw

The Art publishers 'EasyArt' are relaunching today under the new name King & McGaw. I was very kindly asked to look over their catalogue and pick out my top five favourite designs for their relaunch features. I chose prints by Inaluxe, Simon C Page, Ana Zaja Petrak, Ellen Giggenbach and very vainly made the 5th choice of design one of my own. You can see my 5 faves at the King & McGraw blog

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12. Draw Tip Tuesday - golden oldies never really get old

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
And ... it's Throw Back Tuesday here today.
Why? Because golden oldies never really get old. So here's a fun video for you that will hopefully ignite you into some experimenting yourself.




If you'd like to learn more, have a look on my website: koosjekoene.nl, and sign up for one of my classes today!

The workshop 'Draw It Like It's Hot', on drawing food and illustrating recipes has started just yesterday, so you can dive right in. Click here to enroll and start right away.

Or you could start a daily drawing habit during my online workshop 'Awesome Art Journaling'. Click here for more info and to enroll.

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13. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 3 of 31

It's Day 3 of the classroom challenge!

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14. Music Monday - Shadowland

I've done a heck of a lot of driving over the last busy busy month. I've listened to the Broadway version of The Lion King soundtrack a number of times in the car. My favorite piece from it is Shadowland:

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15. WALL ART - jo chambers

I had a wonderful chance recently to work with artist Jo Chambers of Studio Legohead. Jo created portraits of my two cats for me - which you can see in these snaps hanging on my wall. Oxford based Jo has an Etsy shop where she offers custom pet portraits as well as cards and prints. Her latest card range is called Dolled Up Dogs featuring canines with pink cheeks, occasional eyeshadow and

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16. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | March 2015

This month, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, by Dave Shelton, is still The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book. And we're very happy to add the very popular Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome and The Terrible Two to our selection from the nationwide best selling middle grade books, as they appear on The New York Times.

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17. An A – Z guide to Nicolas Nabokov

Who was Nicolas Nabokov? The Russian-born American composer had a huge impact on music and culture globally, but his name remains relatively unknown. He had friends and acquaintances in a variety of circles, whether his cousin the writer Vladimir, the poet Auden, or the choreographer Balanchine.

The post An A – Z guide to Nicolas Nabokov appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Day 3 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

I’m glad you’re here for the third day of the 8th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! Or, perhaps you aren’t taking the month-long challenge but have arrived for our weekly Tuesday challenge. Either way, you’re in the right place.

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19. Little Bird Takes a Bath by Marisabina Russo

little bird takes a bath is the newest picture book from Marisabina Russo, author and illustrator of one of a picture book I loved reading at story time when I was a bookseller, the bunnies are not in their beds. Little Bird likes to start each day with a song, and after a rainy night with honking horns, bobbing umbrellas and wing-rattling thunder, he is looking forward to his bath when

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20. Antigone, Forty Years Later

In my senior year at North Plainfield High School, our "accelerated" English class was taught by the formidable Miss O'Brien. She gave us a "Great Books" curriculum: it was there that I first read John Stuart Mill's On Liberty and knew I wanted to major in philosophy in college. She taught us how to write the five-paragraph essay with the thesis statement in the last sentence of the first paragraph. She drilled us in rules of grammar. The one I still chant to myself is "One, of phrase, relative pronoun, plural agreement."

In one class, I don't remember the particular topic, I made an impassioned speech against compromise (these were the politically turbulent early 70s): I would never compromise on anything I believed in, ever, ever, EVER! As a result, Miss O'Brien gave me Sophocles' tragedy Antigone to read, in the adaptation by Jean Anouilh. In the play, Antigone, the daughter of deposed King Oedipus, defies her royal uncle Creon's edict to leave her dead brother Polynices unburied. Antigone refuses to compromise. Creon refuses to compromise. By the end of the play many characters, including Antigone herself, are dead.

I loved the play, though it did not make me any more inclined to compromise. Instead, at age seventeen, it made me yearn to be a tragic heroine. Even more than loving the play itself, I loved that Miss O'Brien gave it to me, that a teacher would think an ancient tragedy could be relevant to a 20th-century schoolgirl's life and way of being in the world.

At DePauw this spring, I'm in a reading group on Antigone. The Prindle Institute for Ethics sponsors a number of reading groups each semester. Some faculty member proposes a book on which he or she would like to lead a discussion. The Prindle purchases the books and the lovely snacks. Then the group members meet together for a period or weeks or months to discuss the book, over wine and cheese, by the Prindle fireplace. I just finished leading my own group on philosopher Susan Wolf's book Meaning in Life and Why It Matters. Now I'm in the group on Antigone, led by Keith Nightenhelser, who also happens to be my dearest friend from graduate school.

This group is erudite and intellectual beyond anything my youthful self every could have imagined. We've read Judith Butler's book Antigone's Claim: Kinship between Life and Death. Now we're on to Bonnie Honig's fabulous book Antigone, Interrupted. Both authors continue what I now know is a long tradition of thinking that the play is relevant to our way of being in the world. Hegel's famous reading of the play is as a dialogue between the opposing claims of sovereignty (Creon) and kinship (Antigone), the state and the family, the public and the private. Butler complicates this view considerably: Antigone, as the child of an incestuous union (her father, after all, was Oedipus, who unwittingly killed his own father and married his own mother), is hardly positioned to defend traditional family values. Honig focuses on "interruptions" in the play: which characters interrupt other characters, and why, and what does this say about the balance of power among them? She interprets Antigone not as crazed with lamentation for her dead brother, but as a political actor, committed as strongly to life as to death.

At my second meeting with the group last night, I loved thinking how happy Miss O'Brien would have been to have eavesdropped on our discussion. Oh, and how happy she would be that I could spot the error in the first sentence of Honig's first chapter: "I am one of those people who finishes other people's sentences." NO! One, of phrase, relative pronoun, plural agreement: "I am one of those people who finish other people's sentences." And how happy she would be that now I compromise all the time, probably too much, a result of all that has happened to me over the intervening forty-three years: wonderful things, terrible things, transformative things, things that make me much less willing to stake my life on any absolute.

The reading of Antigone has been a beautiful gift to me, then and now.

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21. Ontario Teen Book Fest - Author Spotlight - Catherine Linka

What: Ontario Teen Book Fest

When: Saturday March 21st , 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School, 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a FREE AND UNTICKETED EVENT! Meet 20 YA authors, hear them speak about their books and writing, and meet other book lovers like you. Books will be available for purchase on-site from Once Upon a Time. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase.

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West -- Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred -- Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza -- Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn -- Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray -- A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger -- People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller -- The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross -- Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey -- The Reader's Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer -- What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury -- The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo -- The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci -- Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody -- The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil -- Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler -- Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy -- The Consummate Reader

Spotlight on Catherine Linka

Today's stop on the tour is a spotlight on Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless.

About A Girl Called Fearless

Avie knows her life is over when her dad “Contracts” her in marriage to millionaire Jessop Hawkins. Hawkins has bought Avie to be his first lady as he runs for governor of California on the Paternalist ticket. But Avie’s lifelong friend, Yates, believes she  has the strength to flee to freedom in Canada. As Yates draws her into the secret world of Exodus, their friendship turns to passion, and freedom means leaving Yates and hoping they can reunite over the border.

This romantic spec fiction/political thriller is set in a contemporary America upended by the deaths of millions of women from a hormone in meat. Teenage girls are a valuable and restricted commodity “protected” by guards, gates and Paternal Controls on phones, internet and media. After Avie leaves the mansions of LA and Malibu, she learns dangerous truths about who controls the US government. Pursued by federal agents as she heads for the border, Avie must find the courage Yates always believed she possessed.

About Catherine Linka

Catherine Linka was almost thrown out of boarding school for being “too verbal.” Fortunately, she learned to channel her outspokenness and creative energy into writing. She is the author of the romantic spec fiction thriller, A Girl Called Fearless. Catherine has traveled to such out of the way places as the Arctic circle, Iceland, and the Amazon and her personal goals include seeing penguins and orcas in the wild.  She doesn’t believe in fate, but she did fall in love with her husband on their first date when he laced up her boots after she broke her hand. 

Q&A with Catherine Linka

RNSL: When you started writing A Girl Called Fearless, did you think your book was going to be a YA novel, or did that develop later on the road to publication?

Catherine Linka: Avie is sixteen, almost seventeen, and she tells her story as she’s experiencing it. She’s dreaming of going to college and falling in love, and bam!--universities shut out women and her dad signs a contract for her to marry a guy twice her age. Avie has to choose whether to be fearless and run for freedom, or submit to a marriage she doesn’t want. I knew when I heard her voice in my head that this was YA, but I didn’t know that older readers would love her story, too. What’s been great is that some readers get swept away by the action and romance, while others dig deeper for the political undercurrent. 

RNSL: What project are you actively working on at the moment?

CL: We’re finishing the final copy on A Girl Undone which is the sequel and conclusion to A Girl Called Fearless, and that comes out in June. Plus, I am super excited to be working with St. Martin’s Press and Wattpad.com to feature my novella, A Girl Called Defiant: Sparrow’s Story. Everybody loved Sparrow in A Girl Called Fearless, and so I wanted to share her story. It’s sexy and tragic, and you don’t have to read A Girl Called Fearless to enjoy it, but you might want to later. 

RNSL: You have worked in the book industry apart from being an author. How has that influenced your writing life (or not)?

CL: Buying YA books for an indie bookstore is an amazing education if you want to be a writer. You’re reading all the time, seeing what books sell, and learning about different publishers. And I was really lucky I ran a teen board for 7 years because it was like watching a focus group every month about what teen readers love and hate.  The one thing I had to learn was to not let what I know about the business keep me from writing what I need to write. I have to say, “Shut up!” to my evil inner voice that tortures me by saying, “Oh, that will never sell.”

RNSL: Are you able to read other books while writing your own? Why or why not?

CL: I read every night even when I’m writing. I had to read constantly for my job at the bookstore, and it was easy, because I had tons of advance copies. When I was writing A Girl Called Fearless, I avoided reading dystopian, because I didn’t want to accidentally steal from someone else. It’s funny, but readers tell me that the characters in A Girl Called Fearless express much more emotion than they do in most spec fiction and I think that might be because I read a lot of contemporary fiction. 

RNSL: Your series is rather frightening to me in that Margaret Atwood sort of, something-like-this-could-possibly-happen-within-our-lifetimes kind of way. What makes you the most afraid? (Or are you fearless?)

CL: I wanted to write a story that when a reader put it down, they would say, “Oh my God, I could totally see that happening.” As I wrote A Girl Called Fearless, I kept thinking about how people act when a country has been through a horrible loss, and how fear or anger can be manipulated for political gain. We saw the Tea Party soar to power, and I don’t care what your political beliefs are--that was an amazing display of how emotion can be turned into political might.  One teen reviewer talked about how the rise Paternalists reminded her of the rise of Hitler--which shocked me, because that had been in the back of my mind, too.

RNSL: Cake or pie (or both)?

CL: Pie, absolutely. And when it comes to ranking pie: berry (any kind!!), lemon meringue, pecan--oh wait, did I forget chocolate pecan pie!!!


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22. कार्टून … मौका विवादित बयान

The post कार्टून … मौका विवादित बयान appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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23. The Helios Disaster review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Linda Boström Knausgård's The Helios Disaster.
       This will presumably get a reasonable amount of attention because of who Boström Knausgård is married to -- that Karl Ove guy (My Struggle 1-6, etc.). It's also noteworthy as one of the first publications from Dutch publisher World Editions, De Geus' English-language publishing venture, with an ambitious list (and a confounding website).

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24. Oh, I Am Still Here

Been a rough few days but I am still alive.

Interesting that after posting "A Request" to all my blogs and Yahoo groups and where ever else I could find that I received....zero responses.

I think 'comic fans' ought to hang their heads in shame.  Grab and download art from CBO or use one of its postings but a simple request...nothing.  Even "I'll forward it to groups I'm on" would have been something.

There is no comic 'community' or fan base anymore.  The internet has bred a generation of "grab-it-it's-free"

Very annoying is the fact that I KNOW people with old UK comic collections and references read CBO.

I just turn my back.

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25. Do Drop In?

ALSC Stock #12

Photo from ALSC Stock Photos

Baby, it’s cold outside (at least it is in Indiana), but we’ve got summer on our minds.

If you, too, are thinking about your Summer Reading Club, make sure that you hop on over to Marge Loch-Waters’s blog Tiny Tips for Library Fun and check out her series on shaking up your Summer Library Program.

The question that’s been on my mind as we’ve started planning our summer programs is whether we need to have registration for programs. I’ve been back and forth and back and forth.

When I first started at this library six years ago, I found that asking folks to register in advance really helped our attendance. We were able to do reminder calls and I think that really helped bring people in.

For the past two summers, our program registration has been a disaster. I’m not sure what switch has flipped, but what we’ve found for the past two summers is that our programs filled up really quickly. We were turning folks away for days or weeks before our programs and then on the day of the program (even with reminder calls AND emails), less than half of the registered attendees would show up. This left us with small groups, leftover supplies, and sometimes dozens of people we had turned away, believing the program would be full.

So this year, I challenged my staff to come up with programs that could be done as drop-in programs. Not only will this be easier on my staff (no program registration!), I’m hoping it will improve attendance and our relationship with our patrons (no having to turn people away!).

What does that mean for our programming?

  • We’re moving more towards “unprogramming” and focusing on creative and experiential programs instead of crafts with lots of prepared pieces. Please read Amy Koester’s and Marge Loch-Waters’s series on Unprogramming for a complete guide.
  • Instead of crafts, we might play a game or do an activity or do an open-ended art project.
  • We’re going easy on theme this summer. We always do. I’d rather have excellent, fun programs that staff are REALLY EXCITED about than “meh” programs that fit a certain theme.
  • We’re actually going easy on programming this summer, too. We’ll have all our regular weekly programs and we’ll have several large performers, but we’ve been so very active in our outreach to schools this year that I don’t want to overdo it over the summer. (Guess what? It’s going to be fine!)

I’m hoping that this is going to make a big difference this summer, for both our patrons and our staff.

What are you revamping or rethinking about your summer programs?

— Abby Johnson, Children’s Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
http://www.abbythelibrarian.com

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