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<<August 2015>>
new posts in all blogs
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1. Max and Bella at Port Solent RuffLife Mascots

Check out some of Max & Bella's, Rufflife Mascots, fun experiences on tour in the South of England.

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2. MATT CHATS: Thomas Boatwright on Puppets, Patreon and a Transition from Comics

Rarely do I get to learn the story of people who have moved away from the comics industry. Artist and creator Thomas Boatwright is an interesting example of someone who did the comics thing for awhile but eventually, initially not entirely by choice, moved on to other ventures. As a fan of his comics I’ve been […]

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3. Deadpool Appears in the Fantastic Four Extended Trailer

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4. Up in the air I go flying again



Screenshot 2015-08-04 16.51.57

Writing so much about my early life recently has brought back a slew of memories, and with them some of the first poems I memorized at school. I taught this one, by Jessica Nelson North, to Autumn when she was a girl, and she loved it.


Three Guests


I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three.
‘Twas very small—
Three guests in all—
Just I, myself and me.


Myself ate all the sandwiches,
While I drank up the tea;
‘Twas also I who ate the pie
And passed the cake to me.

I haven’t thought much about the other that’s been knocking around in my head — Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Swing” — since I learned it way back when. Now I can’t wait to teach them to my niece (three) and nephews (both four) the next time I visit.

Also, to try to describe a swing with a view of “Rivers and trees and cattle and all / Over the countryside” — an exotic thing to imagine even when I was young.


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5. Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar

Imagine there is someone you like so much that just thinking about them leaves you desperate and reckless. You crave them in a way that's not rational, not right, and you're becoming somebody you don't recognise, and certainly don't respect, but you don't even care. 
And this person you like is unattainable. 
Except for one thing . . . 
He lives downstairs.

Abbie has three obsessions. Art. The ocean. And Kane. But since Kane's been back, he's changed. There's a darkness shadowing him that only Abbie can see. And it wants her in its world.

A Gothic story about the very dark things that feed the creative process, from the winner of the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for young adult fiction.

This is a case where you can judge a book by its cover. The novel is atmospheric and spooky and the cover suits it perfectly. This novel is weird, which I love, dark and strange and interesting. Abbie is not always a likeable character, or a good decision-maker (she is obsessive to an incredibly worrying degree), and Kane, with whom she is obsessed, is often downright awful. It's paranormal, I suppose, but not your typical paranormal - there's not clear-cut romance or predictable plotlines. It is both real and unreal (and quite surreal, too, now I think about it).

It's distinctly different from both of Eagar's previous novels - Saltwater Vampires is more paranormal and more humorous, and Raw Blue is much more realistic and written in a more straightforward style. I think there are quite a number of writers from whom you can generally expect something similar with each book - whether that's the writer's doing or the publisher's is hard to tell. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good in that if you discover a book you love, then there's more where that came from in the writer's back catalogue, and it makes it easier to clearly define a writer's style. It's bad in that some writers can become predictable. What I think is obvious from Eagar's novels is that she's a writer who is constantly developing and challenging herself, and as a result each of her novels published so far is unique. So I can't necessarily say if you loved Raw Blue, you'll love Night Beach, too - the writing style is more complex, the plot is supernatural, and the central character is far less sympathetic - but I can say that Night Beach is brilliant.

My greatest disappointment with the novel (look away now if you want to avoid a spoiler, though it's not a major one) is that a dog is killed, which I didn't think was entirely necessary. There are certain things in novels that I can't stomach, and this is one of them. (Though it speaks to how involved I was in the story that I found that event so horrendous; if it were a poorly executed novel and it had felt inauthentic, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.)

This book was published three years ago, so I'm a little disappointed I didn't read it until just recently - I think I have a tendency to favour contemporary in my YA reading. If this sounds like the sort of novel you'd like (weird/dark/intense) then do not skip over it. It is beautifully written, and very compelling, and different and strange and so worth reading.

Night Beach on the publisher's website.

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6. Sweet Champagne! Veuve Clicquot RICH Premieres at Hotel Danieli Terrace

Veuve Clicquot Rich Premieres on Danieli Terrace
(Venice, Italy) The innovative Champagne, Veuve Clicquot, has been around for centuries. The favorite bubbly in royal courts throughout Europe, Veuve Clicquot is at the forefront in introducing new generations to sparkling wine. Sure to shock conservative Champagne fans and delight those open to new experiences, their latest creation, Veuve Clicquot RICH, breaks all the rules.

Veuve Clicquot RICH on Danieli Terrace
Served on ice, with added, selected ingredients -- like pineapple, bell pepper or cucumber -- the sweet Veuve Clicquot Rich Champagne is specifically made for mixing. With this creative mixology, Veuve Clicquot is determined to shatter the notion that Champagne is only for birthdays and New Year's Eve, hoping to transform it into a conventional drink. Last night, Veuve Clicquot Rich made its debut in Venice on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Danieli.

Veuve Clicquot RICH
According to tradition, the term "rich" was applied to sparkling wines because of their sugar content, which is where Dominique Demarvile, Veuve Clicquot Cellar Master, found inspiration for the new effervescent drink. The glamorous bottle was wrapped in elegant silver foil; the serving glasses were big and bold.

Nibbles at the Danieli Terrace
The buffet featured lots of fish, much of it raw, including sushi, which I gorged myself on. I love sushi smothered with wasabi, and was given my own scoop so I could indulge. The food was a perfect complement to the sweet Veuve Clicquot Rich -- in fact, I preferred drinking it to Japanese beer.

Veuve Clicquot Rich Venice debut crowd on Danieli Terrace
The guests all seemed to enjoy the evening, judging by the quantities of Rich and food consumed. I chatted with the under-30 crowd, who agreed they preferred Veuve Clicquot Rich to "regular" Champagne. The nifty little booklet that accompanied the launch encourages you to become your own mixologist, and includes different recipes you can experiment with.

Veuve Clicquot Rich is one of the exclusive new brands unveiled by LVMH that celebrate the summer season. In Venice, Rich is available only at the Hotel Danieli until the end of the year. Go to Veuve Clicquot Rich for more information.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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7. HarperCollins Forms Brazilian Unit

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8. Nerdy Chicks Rule Art Contest

Over at Kidlit Summer School, they are having a little art contest: to draw a new nerdy chick. Here is my entry. Look up #NerdyChicksDraw on Twitter or FB to see all the super cute chickies.

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9. Separated at Birth: The Hiketeia and The Paybacks

The cover to The Paybacks (left), a new Dark Horse series by writers Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal and artist Geoff Shaw bears a striking resemblance to JG Jones' covers for Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, written by Greg Rucka (right). Doncha think?

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10. What's New in YA--August 3, 2015


Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!




On the ruined planet Earth, where 50 billion people are confined to megacities and resources are scarce, Deedra has been handed a bleak and mundane existence by the Magistrate she works so hard for. But one day she comes across a beautiful boy named Rose struggling to cross the river–a boy with a secretive past and special abilities, who is somehow able to find comfort and life from their dying planet.

But just as the two form a bond, it is quickly torn apart after the Magistrate’s son is murdered and Rose becomes the prime suspect. Little do Deedra and Rose know how much their relationship will affect the fate of everyone who lives on the planet.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







It’s his senior year and Will Shea has conned his way into one of the country’s most elite prep schools. But he soon runs into Andrea, a fellow con-artist. With the school not big enough for the both of them, they make a bet that whoever can con Brandt Rush, the richest, most privileged student in the school out of $50K, gets to stay at the school. Will starts setting up his con (an online poker scam) with his uncle who’s one of the best grifters in the business, but also with the unwanted help of his father.. The plot thickens as Will starts falling for fellow student Gatsby, and some of Will’s lies start to catch up with him. In this twisty tale of scams, secrets, lies and deception, it hard to figure out who’s conning who!


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







Bryn must decide: follow her head or her heart.

Thrown into a world of suspense and intrigue, Bryn has to fight to clear her name. But she’s not alone. With help from the Trylle – including Finn Holmes – she’s on a quest to discover the truth.

With her life and her world on the line, will Bryn be able to risk it all?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.

Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge’s Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Sixteen-year-old Kara McKinley is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker. Beautifully designed and piped, her cookies are masterpieces, but also her ticket out of rainy Seattle—if she wins the upcoming national baking competition and its scholarship prize to culinary school in California. Kara can no longer stand the home where her family lived, laughed, and ultimately imploded after her mean-spirited big sister Kellen died in a drowning accident.


Kara’s dad has since fled, and her mom has turned from a high-powered attorney into a nutty holy-rolling Christian fundamentalist peddling “Soul Soup” in the family café. All Kara has left are memories of better times.

But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces a secret terror. Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what’s she’s doing. As they lead her to piece together the events that preceded Kellen’s terrible, life-changing betrayal years before, she starts to catch glimpses of her dead sister: an unwelcome ghost in filthy Ugg boots. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Words are strong. Love is stronger.

When Jordyn Michaelson’s autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she’s determined not to let anyone know they’re related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can’t shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again.

Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to Of Metal and Wishes, inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.


The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.

Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.


Because of her boyfriend Kian’s sacrifice, she’s operating under the mysterious Harbinger’s aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she’s terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers–mercenary monsters committed to her destruction–she’s not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months…unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can’t bear to lose.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






The story of an unlikely friendship between a high school football hero and a wannabe superhero, perfect for fans of Ned Vizzini, Chris Crutcher, and Paul Volponi.

Stick Patterson is the best wide receiver in the history of his high school. A college scholarship is his for the asking, but Stick has fallen out of love with football. He deals with unending pressure, spends hours at grueling practices, and tries to live up to expectations of perfection.


In a fit of frustration, he quits the team. But then he meets Preston, who is small, nerdy, and convinced he’s a superhero. Preston’s father was murdered in front of him, and now he spends his nights trying to stop local crime.

“Stick” is the story of two boys–one who dresses up in a costume to make other people happy and another who dresses up in a costume to make a difference in the world. Stick comes to realize that Preston’s fantasy world is not that far removed from his own, and both will help each other figure out just what they want to do with their lives.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







As sixteen-year-old Leilani and her family learn to live without electronics, farming the land as her ancestors did, she finds strength in her relatives, her friendships, and her strange connection to the Emerald Orchid–the force whose presence caused global devastation–but suffers regret over what she must do to survive.

An exciting and satisfying sequel that continues the thrilling ideas and adventure of THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD.

Native Hawaiian mythology and history is beautifully intertwined in the story.

An eco-thriller by an expert: great choice for dystopian fans who want a new spin. The author has a masters in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii-Hilo.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






The final installment in a thrilling fantastical mystery series.

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough, not to mention the crazy events of the past year. Dusty may have saved the day, but there are many days left in the year, and with an old foe back to seek revenge, she’ll need all her strength to defeat him and save her friends.

Mindee Arnett thrills again in this stunning final installment in the Arkwell Academy series.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






A year ago, Boy, the son of Frankenstein’s monster, had never even met a human. Now he’s living with his human “family,” the descendants of Dr. Frankenstein, in Switzerland. That is, until the maniacal genius Dr. Moreau, long-ago banished to a remote island for his crimes against humanity, asks for Boy’s help.   Moreau wants Boy to join his army of animal/human hybrid creatures and help him overthrow human society. Boy will do anything to save this broken, wondrous world from the war that threatens to split it in two. But how much will he have to give up? And is the world worth saving?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Preparing to survive a typical day of being Digbys friend wasn’t that different from preparing to survive the apocalypse.

Her first day not in school (because she cut) in her new hometown that will soon be her old hometown (because she’s getting out of Dodge as fast as she can) Zoe meets Digby. Or rather, Digby decides he’s going to meet Zoe and get her to help him find missing teenager. Zoe isn’t sure how, but Digby—the odd and brilliant and somehow…attractive?—Digby always gets what he wants, including her help on several illegal ventures.


Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football player dressed like the Hulk, had a throw-down with a possible cult, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown (which might be worth making her permanent hometown after all.)

A mystery where catching the crook isn’t the only hook, a romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a story about friendship where they aren’t even sure they like each other—Trouble is a Friend of Mine is a YA debut you

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11. Kickstarter Spotlight: Supreme Team Takes on the Rise of Hip-Hop and Drug-Culture

Comics Beat contributor Seth Ferranti has had a long and storied past.  A writer well and truly familiar with life on the streets, Ferranti began picking up the craft of writing while serving a 25 year sentence in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for acting as the kingpin of an LSD empire. Ferranti released his first […]

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12. PublicAffairs Acquires Book on Wildlife in Afghanistan

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13. Pop-Up Programming

Programming is a big job for library staff. To come up with program ideas we hold Teen Advisory Board meetings, talk with educators and community members, and find out what our teens are interested in or want to learn about. We nurse a program idea through planning meetings, we order supplies, choose a date, and promote our baby program on every channel at our disposal. Finally the big day arrives, it’s program time and…not one teenager shows up. Now you’re standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by supplies, and alone with your formerly fabulous program idea. But is it really that your idea wasn’t good? Did no one want to come, or is it actually that teen schedules are beyond crazy and it’s impossible for any library staff member to take every possible conflict (including the unpredictable weather) into consideration when planning a program. My money is on the latter.

If your library is like mine then you have some days when it’s so quiet that you expect an honest to goodness tumbleweed to blow through the department, but then the very next day is so over the top busy that you feel like you’ve run a marathon by the time you get home. Granted, most days are somewhere in between, but wouldn’t it be nice if your fabulous programs could coincide with those marathon busy days? This is where pop-up programming can become your new best friend. Instead of picking a date and hoping teens will show up at a predetermined time, do everything except schedule your program. That’s right, plan, order supplies, and then…wait. Wait until the day when there are so many teens in your department that they’re practically climbing the walls. Wait until you hear, “I’m so bored,” over and over in one afternoon. Then, bust out that fabulous program at the most opportune moment.

The easiest programs, in my experience, to do in a pop-up format are crafting and technology. There are craft projects out there that require little set up and almost no instruction, seriously, have you tried perler beads? My teens are obsessed. The same can be said of technology programs, if you have a stash of iPads at your disposal then apps like Quiver, a free 3D coloring app, and Videoshop, an inexpensive and easy to use video editor compatible with most social media platforms for easy sharing, are great for quick, fun programs. It can also be fun to invest in a wireless printer (my library has a Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer). These little printers give teens the option to print their smart phone pictures, which you know they never do, wirelessly with a free app. The images can be edited before printing and they come out looking like tiny polaroids, just begging to be decorated with markers, glitter, washi tape, etc.

Pop Up programming has its challenges, but with a little creativity, flexibility, and enthusiasm you can make sure that your programs are well attended and no teenager is standing around whining about how bored they are. I suggest still having traditional, scheduled programming, but always with a few pop up programs ready to go just in case.  Have you tried pop up programming before? How did it work for you? What kinds of activities have you tried?

For more information and ideas:

YALSA Stem Programming

Teen Programming Guidelines

Determining Teen Needs Through Community Assessment


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14. Face-Lift 1269

Guess the Plot

Antonov's Diamonds

1. Ruthless Russian Colonel Antonov makes off with a fortune in gems from a diamond mine in the Ural Mountains. It's a case too tough for the FBI, so they call in pawnbroker Flynn Christopher to help them devise a plan. Also, a pair of nitwits.

2. Sixteen-year-old Cam has seen a lot as the daughter of an unorthodox archeologist. To keep him out of trouble, she travels with him on his latest quest to find Antonov's Diamonds. Cam is concerned this will turn out like the times when he went searching for those damned yellow moons, pink hearts, orange stars, and green clovers.

3. Joe Singleton is struggling mightily to start his own jewelry shop in St. Louis. His fast-talking brother-in-law points out that every other successful jeweler has an exotic foreign name. Joe googles "Russian boy names" -- and he doesn't even need to search beyond the A's for a new business name. The trouble is, "Antonov's Diamonds" is also the code term for a super-secret remotely-guided nano-weapon that the CIA has been tracking, and Joe is sucked into a world of international intrigue.

4. When four-time World Chess Champion Vladimir Antonov is involved in a fatal car accident, he doesn't think twice about challenging Death to a game with eternal consequences. He couldn't have known that Death would pick bridge instead of chess and partner up with Satan, or that his own partner--a 206-year-old babushka--would promise to make his death a living hell if his incompetence ruins her winning streak.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

For your consideration:

Pawnbroker Flynn Christopher is enlisted by the FBI to help ensnare the cold blooded and ruthless Russian Colonel Alexei Antonov and recover untold millions in stolen diamonds. [On the off chance that the cold blooded and ruthless Russian Colonel Alexei Antonov comes in here to pawn millions in diamonds, we need you to stall him until we get here, okay?]

Flynn's pawnshops are entertaining, you never know what's coming through the door. Stun guns, diamonds, sharks teeth or a pair of nitwits. Hey, it's a job... [Usually it's after describing a crappy job that you make the comment Hey, it's a job. Not after describing a job as wildly entertaining as Flynn's.] 

Flynn meets a mysterious FBI agent while playing golf who asks his help in recovering a diamond once owned by Peter the Great. [Were they playing golf with each other, or was the FBI agent waiting on the 5th tee when Flynn got there?] [Also, you might want to mention why the FBI wants Flynn's help. Was Flynn chosen at random or because he's a pawnbroker or for a reason you're ill-advisedly keeping from us.?] Mayhem ensues at Baltimore's Inner Harbor when Flynn comes face to face with the thief. [And? Does he get the diamond?] Meanwhile the FBI is running a sting on Colonel Antonov in Philadelphia that ends with two dead[.] Antonov returns home to his store, Satchels and Sandals, a mecca for ladies shoes and handbags, [You pretty much have to be cold-blooded and ruthless if you're a ladies shoe salesman.] but their [there] is an evil secret in the backroom. Once again the irreverent Flynn is recruited, [Is there no case the FBI can solve without the aid of Flynn the Pawnbroker?] [Also, when did Flynn become "the irreverent Flynn'?] this time it’s more deadly. [This time he must try to get Mrs. van Pilson's size nine feet into a pair of size eight pumps.] Antonov orchestrates the takeover of a secret diamond mine [Secret from whom?] deep in the Ural mountains of Russia. [He orchestrates this from Philadelphia?] He makes off with incredible wealth and the death toll rises. Back in Baltimore, Flynn and the FBI devise a plan to outwit the maniacal Antonov [The FBI agents need a Pawnbroker to help them devise a plan to outwit a maniac?] and recover the diamonds before the unsuspecting Flynn becomes [one] of Antonovs victims.

I managed jewelry stores in the Baltimore Washington area for twenty years before becoming a pawnbroker, owning and operating my own stores for fifteen years. [So this is autobiographical. How much will you give me for my VHS player?] I am a jewelry expert, a certified diamontologist, gemologist and appraiser. [If Flynn is a diamond expert and the FBI needs his expertise to outwit Antonov, say so. I would expect the FBI, if they don't have their own expert, to seek one at a jewelry store rather than a pawn shop (or golf course).]

ANTONOV'S DIAMONDS is a thriller of 95,000 words.

Evil Editor, thank you for your consideration and time, I can be reached at ____________.

Warmest regards,


Not clear why the FBI is involved in recovering diamonds taken from a mine in the Ural Mountains. Or what Flynn brings to the table. Or why Flynn is approached on a golf course. Actually, this is so all-over-the-place that nothing's clear. Maybe you should focus the query on one case, either recovering Antonov's diamonds or Peter the Great's.

No need to waste space with a one-sentence summary of what we're about to read.

Start with a brief setup of Flynn's situation: You never know what's going to come through the door of Flynn Christopher's pawn shop. Stun guns, shark's teeth, banjos . . . But even Flynn is surprised when a pair of nitwits try to pawn a diamond that once belonged to Peter the Great.

Then tell us what happens: Turns out the diamond is the real thing, and the FBI is using it in a sting operation against Ruthless Russian Colonel Alevei Antonov. They want Flynn to take the stolen diamond in hopes that Antonov will be lured into the pawn shop. Antonov has his sights set on bigger game--a fortune in newly mined diamonds--but he can't resist a diamond that's part of his homeland's history.

Then finish with Flynn's decision, the one that determines whether he wins or loses. I'm not sure what he wins or loses, maybe a job as an FBI consultant or the reward money for recovering the diamond.

Focus on Flynn, what he wants, what's keeping him from getting it, how he plans to overcome this, what happens if he screws up.

 Also, I recommend using the details of my plot summary rather than yours.

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15. All-New By It’s Cover #6 (Covers For June 2015)

The column that judges a book by its cover, focusing on the month’s best-designed comic covers. For the month’s best-illustrated comic covers, see Best Comic Covers Ever (This Month).   The Wicked + The Divine #11 by Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson I’ve gottta honest with you: I got bored pretty quickly of the “head” covers for each […]

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16. Publishing Jobs: Macmillan, University Press, Weldon Owen

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17. Passwords

This remembering my blog's password has got whiskers on it. I could say the same for all passwords for whatever I do online it requires a password. Now my head is full of passwords. There have been at times many things I wanted to write in my blog and many articles I wanted to attach to my blog. oh well, never mind, let's look at the good side of things. Dad's Story has been self published. Brother John and self designed the cover for this self -published photocopied book!


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18. Disney Explains Its Powerful New Hyperion Rendering Engine

Disney Animation made a fun and informative film explaining the new renderer it used on "Big Hero 6" and the upcoming "Zootopia."

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19. When Titans Clash! Jim Henson vs Stan Lee in Epic Rap Battles of History!

That’s right! Two titans from your childhood face off in one of the most popular of YouTube channels! It’s Stan Lee (Lloyd “EpicLLOYD” Ahlquist) vs Jim Henson (Peter “Nice Peter” Shukoff) in another Epic Rap Battle of History! How nasty will it get? Who will win? It’s not who you think…  

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20. How to Foster a Love of Reading

93% of educators and program leaders use books from First Book to develop a lifelong love of reading in their students.

But how can we help kids develop this love of reading? First Book hosted a Twitter chat last week wherein educators around the country convened to discuss their experiences and tips for fostering a love of reading in the kids they serve.

Here are some of the highlights from our chat. To see full answers to all six questions, visit the hashtag #FirstBookEDU on Twitter or read our full recap on Storify.

Why is it important for kids to love reading?

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21. It's live!! Cover Reveal: Kiss Kill Love Him Still by Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller + Giveaway (International)

It's time for a great cover reveal to get rid of that afternoon slump!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL by Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller, releasing November 10, 2015. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Jamie and Dawn:

It’s time to show the pretty - our cover for KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Letitia Hasser of RBA Designs. She took our vague ramblings about girls and coffins, and made it into something cohesive and quite frankly, really freakin’ awesome. 
To celebrate the cover reveal of KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback of our novel to one winner, and ebooks to five more winners. E-book pre-orders are .99 until release day only!
Thanks for stopping by, and we hope you love the cover as much as we do!
~Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller (KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL, Blair and Miller)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Jamie and Dawn's giveaway. Thank you! ***



by Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller
Release date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller
e-book: 978-0-9909353-2-2
paperback: 978-0-9909353-3-9
About the Book
Jackson Landis kept secrets. It's how he got girls into bed, the grades he wanted, and a reputation for being the life of the party.
But now he's dead, and no one knows how or why. Especially not the four girls whose secrets he protected. Secrets so scandalous they could cause each girl to lose something valuable. Secrets so dark, someone may have killed for them.
The four girls - a campus drug dealer, an overweight bookworm, a closeted lesbian, and a spoiled princess have one thing in common – they’re terrified the things Jackson knew may not have died with him. As Reggie, Haddie, Val, and Livie try to piece together her own role in Jackson’s death, each girl realizes Jackson had some not-so-pretty skeletons of his own.
Which makes a girl wonder, who really wanted Jackson Landis dead?

b2ap3_thumbnail_German-headshot2-small.jpgAbout the Authors

Dawn spends too much time on Twitter. And living in her head. And practicing yoga. Basically, she’s a master procrastinator with great time management skills. Dawn is the author of the YA Larkstorm trilogy and the NA duology Crushed and Hitched. She was also a contributor to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Dirty Boys of Summer anthology.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Web | We Heart It


When she’s not busy writing (or when she should be writing), Jamie spends her time dreaming up odd and amazing things--like a steampunk gnome city for her backyard! She’s the author of the YA novels, Leap of Faith and Lost To Me, and a contributor to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Dirty Boys of Summer anthology.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Web


Dawn and Jamie are the duo stirring up a maelstrom of publicity for their Release The Kraken PR authors. KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL is their first novel collaboration.

Pre-order Kobo | Pre-order iBooks | Pre-order Barnes & Noble

Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card + a paperback copy of KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL (when available). 

Five winners will each receive an e-book copy of KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL (when available). 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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22. August Reading

At the beginning of July I was astonished at how fast June went by, now here we are in August and it seems like July flew by even faster. How is that possible? I had better get to work on building that chicken coop or I will be SOL when the temperature plunges and the snow begins to fall and frantic to get it done in the uncertain spring weather. Of course, the chickens have to be about 10-12 weeks old before they can be moved outside, but I’d rather not have to feel rushed. Have I mentioned I borrowed Building Chicken Coops for Dummies from the library? I have always looked down my nose a bit at the “Dummies” books but no more! This is one fantastic book! So much useful advice on every aspect of building a coop. Of course it has a basic plan as well, and while it is not exactly what we are planning, it is still very useful. So yay!

July didn’t afford long hours on lazy hot days for reading. Instead I was sweating in the garden or sweating on my bike or collapsed on the sofa recovering from said activities. August will likely follow the same route. Does that keep me from planning all sorts of reading? Of course it doesn’t!

I am currently in the midst of and almost done with a bunch of books. I am about 90 pages away from finishing Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This is one fantastic book! I am on tenterhooks about the ending. It feels like there is something ominous ahead. If this turns out not to be the case, I won’t be disappointed because the anticipation has been sweet and I really like Isabel Archer.

I am also very close to finishing a review copy of a book called Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor. It is told in alternating chapters from the perspective of an Irish maid-of-all-work to the Dickinson family and Emily herself. Once I finish it, the publisher has kindly offered a second copy for a giveaway. So look for that, probably next week sometime.

A third book I am almost done with is The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. This is one of those slim books you have to read slowly. It is a mixed genre sort of book written in an episodic/collage kind of style. It is thought provoking in all kinds of ways and I am liking it very much even if sometimes I feel like I am not quite getting it.

I am still enjoying The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak. Sadly when a book needs to be set aside, this seems to be the one. I don’t know why but that is how it is. Hopefully I will be turning the last page by the end of the month. It is time to set something else aside instead if I have to.

I am not close to finishing but am in the middle of Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear. I’ve not read Bear before and am greatly enjoying this steampunk tale with sassy women and no good politicians.

I have Kelly Link’s newest collection Get in Trouble from the library and didn’t think I would actually get a chance to read it before having to return it and get in line again. But as luck would have it, the holds queue completely evaporated by the time the book came up for renewal so I renewed it and should be able to finish it. I have read one or two stories and they are typical Kelly Link weird.

One book I have from the library I know I won’t be able to read is Mark Danielewski’s newest, The Familiar. It is a big fat book and like his past books it is not a straight forward text. It looks interesting but I haven’t had the chance to spend much time with it to know whether I actually want to read it. If I do decide to read it I will have to buy my own copy so I am not forced to rush through it.

I have also begun a little study of Elizabeth Bishop. I have her Poems and finished the first volume of her published work, North & South, last week. Already I like her much better than Keats. I also have One Art, a collection of her letters and have begun reading that. What a good letter writer she was! So smart and funny, a completely different voice than in her poetry. And as luck would have it, there seems to be a bit of an Elizabeth Bishop revival in the works. I’ve seen numerous articles and essays about her around the internet in the last several months and the inimitable Colm Tóibín has just published a slim book called On Elizabeth Bishop. I just borrowed it from the library yesterday and am greatly looking forward to reading.

That should keep me going for August and into September too! Any good books on your plate?

Filed under: Books, In Progress Tagged: Whoever said summer was for hours of lazy reading didn't live in a four-season climate with long cold winters

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23. Hayao Miyazaki CG Tribute Made with Open Source Tools

Studio Ghibli's most memorable characters come to life in the digital environments of this tribute short.

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24. Writing Words of Wisdom

Fifteen tips about writing from an author who's been writing fifteen years.


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25. Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto is finally leaving his house—and has two signings for NYCC

Masashi Kishimoto, creator of the 205,000,000 copies in print Naruto comic, will be making an extremely rare appearance at this year's New York Comic Con with two special signings—one at Books Kinokuniya and one at the Tribeca outpost of Barnes and Noble. It's not only Kishimoto-sensei's first appearance in the US, it's also his first con appearance ever. And probably one of the few times he's left his house during the 18-year run of the international smash hit. We're kidding a little about the leaving the house bit, but as we've mentioned here many times in the past, manga creators can lead a pretty monastic lifestyle, even with the help of assistants. Since Naruto ended last year, he's been busy with various manga about Boruto, Naruto's son, and also writing the Naruto movie, but hopefully he's been enjoying some time off.

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