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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 11/11/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 101
1. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards part.2

more gorgeous christmas cards from paperchase. many of these are exclusive designs published by paperchase themselves. some designs are available online with lots more choice to be found in their stores.

1 Comments on PAPERCHASE - xmas cards part.2, last added: 11/12/2012
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2. Some Amazing Advantages About Online Payday Loans

Get fast $ 500 payday loans online Phoenix, AZ within 1 hour .

Are you presently within a monetary bind? Are you feeling like you require a small dollars to cover all your monthly bills? Well, investigate the items in this article to see what you are able learn then you can certainly take into account getting a pay day loan. There are numerous ideas that stick to to assist you discover if pay day loans are the right decision for you personally, so be sure to read on.

Get fast $ 500 payday loans online Columbus, OH within 1 hour .

If you have a bad credit score, a pay day loan can be a great way to get immediate cash for an unexpected emergency. Payday advance businesses will not likely operate a credit rating check out, however they really do need to know that you are currently utilized or acquire normal compensation from your reputable supply.

When researching pay day loan businesses, tend not to at any time consider a business who conceals their rates of interest, fees, and penalties. Legislation requires that all pay day loan businesses uncover all the relevant information and facts, prior to somebody can be applied for a financial loan. Companies that don’t offer this information may be trying to strategy you, into agreeing to cover large rates of interest.

In case you are contemplating a pay day loan, you should check with others to use dollars very first. A paycheck loan’s attention is so high, that in case you kept the financing out for the season, you would probably find yourself spending 4 times whatever you were loaned to the business, so avoid pay day loans without exceptions.

1 important tip for anybody searching to get a pay day loan is not to just accept the 1st give you get. Pay day loans are not all alike and while they generally have unpleasant rates of interest, there are some that are superior to others. See what types of delivers you will get then select the best one.

Before you apply for the pay day loan have your documentation to be able this will aid the financing business, they are going to will need evidence of your wages, to allow them to determine your skill to cover the financing back again. Take things like your W-2 develop from job, alimony repayments or evidence you might be obtaining Social Protection. Get the best case entirely possible that on your own with correct documents.

Alleviate your concerns about absence of security using a pay day loan. Most loan companies want you to promise some tool which you personal when borrowing dollars, so that they have anything for taking if you fail to pay back the financing. Pay day loans, though only available in small amounts, offer cash without the need of security. This means that, although you may have zero belongings to promise, you can still get a pay day loan when you really need one.

Use pay day loans only for cash urgent matters. One of many great things about a pay day loan is it lets you remain personal-ample and handle your personal funds in personal. Should you have had to use the funds from loved ones or close friends, then you should make known your financial circumstances, which a lot of people prefer to maintain to them selves.

Get in touch with close to and see rates of interest and fees. Most pay day loan businesses have comparable fees and rates of interest, although not all. You might be able to conserve 10 or 20 or so bucks on your personal loan if an individual business offers a reduce monthly interest. Should you frequently get these loans, the cost savings will prove to add up.

Make certain you browse the policies and regards to your pay day loan very carefully, in order to avoid any unsuspected unexpected situations down the road. You must be aware of the complete personal loan commitment before signing it and acquire your loan. This should help you come up with a better option with regards to which personal loan you need to accept.

Generally browse the small print for the pay day loan. Some businesses cost fees or even a penalty when you spend the money for personal loan back again early. Other individuals charge a fee when you have to roll the financing to your next shell out time. These are the most frequent, however they might cost other concealed fees or perhaps boost the monthly interest should you not shell out on time.

If you have a good credit history, make application for a reduced cost pay day loan. This kind of personal loan usually has reduce rates of interest, with no concealed fees. The lending company will need to check out your credit report. This would not consider greater than 24 hours and should be your best choice, if your credit ranking is not way too reduced.

As we discussed, pay day loans are not anything to neglect. Discuss the knowledge you figured out with other individuals. They are able to also, know what is included in getting a pay day loan. Make absolutely certain that as you may make your decisions, you solution anything you are unclear about. Anything this article ought to have really helped you are doing.

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3. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards part.3

i have divided todays paperchase posts on christmas cards into three parts based on design first we had their latest trendy graphic designs, followed by more folky whimsical and nordic styles, and now we have the more grown up sophisticated designs.

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4. PAPERCHASE - xmas cards part.4

and a final post today featuring a few more of paperchase's 2012 christmas card offering...  

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5. SkADaMo Day 12

Cafe Sketches

One of my favorite things to do, sit in a cafe, drinking a cuppa joe and stealth-sketching folks. You’ll notice everyone is in profile, because I was too chicken to draw anyone who was looking in my direction. I used to be pretty savvy at the casual glance and jot, glance and jot. But it’s been a while. Need to get my cafe stealth-sketch mojo back.

Be sure to stop by and check out my fellow SkADaMoers.

10 Comments on SkADaMo Day 12, last added: 11/14/2012
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6. SkADaMo Day 12

Cafe Sketches

One of my favorite things to do, sit in a cafe, drinking a cuppa joe and stealth-sketching folks. You’ll notice everyone is in profile, because I was too chicken to draw anyone who was looking in my direction. I used to be pretty savvy at the casual glance and jot, glance and jot. But it’s been a while. Need to get my cafe stealth-sketch mojo back.

Be sure to stop by and check out my fellow SkADaMoers.

0 Comments on SkADaMo Day 12 as of 11/14/2012 2:02:00 PM
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7. You Know You're a Directioner When . . .

Here are some signs of the One Direction Infection. You know you're a Directioner when . . .

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8. IMPAC longlist

       They're announcing the longlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award today; look for it at the new official site (though neither much of the site nor any of the longlist was available yet, last time I checked).
       As always, a few Irish papers get to jump gun, and so there's already a bit of information about the longlist -- including that it consists of 154 titles, of which 43 are American, 22 British, 12 Canadian, and 8 Irish novels. No word yet on how many books in translation made the cut.
       For these early reports, see, for example, Impac book award longlist revealed in the Irish Herald, and Eileen Battersby reporting that A record eight Irish writers feature on Impac longlist in the Irish Times.
       And, please, commentators and journalists, do not make the mistake the Irish Herald report makes (and dozens of others invariably do, every year) and claim that the IMPAC is: "the world's richest literary prize". It's not. Not even close. (See the Wikipedia List of the world's richest literary prizes for the many other book prizes ahead of it on the list .....)

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9. Chika Unigwe Q & A

       As I mentioned last week, On Black Sisters' Street, by Chika Unigwe, was awarded this year's Nigeria Prize for Literature (get your copy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- and now Vanguard has a Q & A withe her.

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10. Singapore Writers Festival report

       The Singapore Writers Festival just wrapped up, and in The Nation Manote Tripathi reports that Singapore books its place -- and that:

This year's Singapore Writers Festivals was intellectually stimulating and creatively designed, with new issues and ideas that are sure to open up new literary possibilities both in Singapore and overseas.

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11. (American) National Book Awards (p)review

       This Wednesday they're handing out the (American) National Book Awards, and in The New York Times Leslie Kaufman looks ahead to this and future awards, in Book Awards Seek a Bigger Splash, Red Carpet and All [via] -- including awful suggestion such as:

On the table are proposals like expanding the judging pool beyond just writers who judge in their own genre to include well-known cultural figures of all types, and limiting for the first time who may submit award entries. (Now, any publisher can submit as many books as it wants in any category as long as the author is an American citizen.)
       Limiting the number of books that can be submitted ??!?
       I have a suggestion: how about some transparency ? Reveal what books have been submitted and are being considered -- not just the very few finalists.

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12. The Perfect Landscape review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ragna Sigurðardóttir's The Perfect Landscape -- another Icelandic novel from AmazonCrossing.

       Interesting to see, too: full-page ads for AmazonCrossing in the November issues of both The Atlantic and Harper's -- both highlighting three titles (Pull Yourself Together by Thomas Glavinic and The Museum of Abandoned Secrets by Oksana Zabuzhko in both; this title in Harper's and Perihan Magden's Escape in The Atlantic).

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13. Final day of the Greg Manchess workshop -

 I can't believe this weekend is over already. It totally flew by.
I got a satisfying amount of effective thumbnails worked through - but golly, I wish we could have had another couple of days to just keep pushing through it.

Amazing instructor, great group of artists, lots of work, lots of fun.
More details posted on the TLCWorkshop blog here.

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14. Thank You, World by Alice McGinty; Illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin

*Nonfiction picture book, preschool through second graders
*Being thankful is the main topic.
*Rating: Alice McGinty, who is a lovely person that I got to meet when I lived in the Champaign, IL area, has written beautiful text, and Wendy Halperin has provided unbelievable illustrations. This is one beautiful book!

Short, short summary:

Thank you, World is another book you can use around Thanksgiving, as it focuses on things in a child’s everyday life that he or she is thankful for. From trees to swings, from stars to moms, each page of this book builds on each other and also tells the story of “a day in a life of a child” from sun up to sun down. What makes this book really unique are the illustrations. Each page has eight boxes with eight different scenes, depicting the line of text in eight different countries–including the United States, France, and Bolivia. Check out the Amazon link below to have a chance to look inside the book!

So, what do I do with this book?

1. Use it around Thanksgiving time to show children how to be thankful for the everyday blessings in their life. Have them do their own version of Thank You, World. What would they be thankful for?

2. Divide the students into small groups and give each one of them one of the countries to study. Ask them to study the illustrations about France for example and write down some things they notice. Then have students read their lists aloud to compare and contrast life in different places.

3. Create a Thank You, School class book or a Thank You, Home. Each child could start out with a sentence, such as: “Thank you, School for ____________________________________” and then fill in the blank. They would illustrate their sentence and then use a spiral binder to connect the pages.

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15. A Peep in Pennsylvania, The Oldest Farmers Market, and a Room With a View

After being home for a couple of weeks, it was time for my last book-ish trip of the year. Kurt Vonnegut came with me.

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When we got to our room, we were greeted a bag o' goodies, and a lovely (chocolate) Amish quilt! But alas, Peepy was so exhausted, she headed straight to bed . . .

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Where were we? And why were we?

We in Lancaster, PA, the heart of Amish country, for the PCTELA* Conference!

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*Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts

After exploring backstage, we delivered the opening keynote address to a very enthusiastic room filled with smart, attractive and witty English and Language Arts teachers!

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After, everyone wanted to talk to Peepy. Here she is with PCTELA Conference Chairs Jennie Brown and Marci Stover, and PCTELA Executive Director, Bob Dandoy . . .

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Later, we had a chance to visit the Tourist Information Center . . .

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We already had glorious afternoon plans, but first we visited the Lancaster Central Market., the country's oldest farmer's market . .

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That was perfect because we were able to stock up of fresh fruit and chocolate and then spend the afternoon finishing up SEVEN DAYS DOWN, my first Young Adult novel since this one . . .

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After, we capped off the evening with a rousing dinner with PCTELA committee members and speakers, including our pal Siobhan Vivian. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there was cheesecake . . .

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The next day, we needed to hurry out before hurricane Sandy arrived! However, we weren't going to teave without first meeting Lisa Yee! Yes, that's right, it's ANOTHER Lisa Yee. There are actually four of us who are Facebook friends! (The Lisa Yees who are not this Lisa Yee, judged the Lisa Yee Caption Contest.)


And now, back to South Dakota!


Huh? Well, wait, that's because the South Dakota Humanities Council interviewed me about blogging! Read my true confessions HERE!

And one last thing, my website has been updated to include LOTS MORE famous authors and illustrators. How many of the 248 do you know? CLICK HERE to see them! Here are a few . . .



Wheeeee . . . BOBBY THE BRAVE (SOMETIMES) is now out in paperback!

Disclaimer: No proofreaders were harmed (or even used) in the creation of this blog.

Want to check out Lisa's NEW AND IMPROVED website? Simply CLICK HERE.

Interested in having Lisa speak at your school, library or conference? CLICK HERE for more information.

Lisa Yee
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Subscribe to Lisa Yee's Blog and get her fresh baked blogs e-mailed to you!


Or you can click this for a RSS feed...http://www.wikio.com

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16. Spotlight on Blas Falconer and his new poetry collection, “The Foundling Wheel” (Four Way Books)

Blas Falconer is the author of  A Question of Gravity and Light(University of Arizona Press, 2007), and The Perfect Hour (Pleasure Boat Studio: A Literary Press, 2006). He is also a co-editor for The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity (University of Arizona Press, 2011), and Mentor & Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010).

An associate professor at Austin Peay State University, he serves as the coordinator of the Creative Writing Program and the poetry editor of Zone 3 Magazine/Zone 3 Press. In January of 2012, Falconer also began teaching for the low-residency MFA program at Murray State University.

Falconer’s awards include a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, a Tennessee Individual Artist Grant, the New Delta ReviewEyster Prize for Poetry, and the Barthelme Fellowship.

Born and raised in Virginia, Falconer earned an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland (1997), and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston (2002). He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his family.

Falconer’s newest book is the poetry collection, The Foundling Wheel (Four Way Books, 2012). The publisher describes the collection: “Centered on the adoption of Blas Falconer's son, The Foundling Wheel creates an emotional mosaic that explores the decision to become a parent. In ‘The Annunciation,’ Falconer imagines Gabriel’s visitation: ‘Faith, he might have said, / as the cells of disbelief began to multiply: a son/ who'd face great pain? Certain death?’ The book begins as the desire to have a child is first realized, and while it certainly rejoices in the bond between father and son—‘my body, tuned / to hear you cry before you cry, stirs’—it also grapples with fears that accompany parenthood, loss of the former self, and the transformation from manhood into fatherhood.”

Praise for The Foundling Wheel:

“The pastoral is the lyric of a landscape. Blas Falconer's landscapes—and the people he places in them—elevate the pastoral to a level where the music has the force of an idea, in a language at once symbolic and probic. His ‘Field Marks for Birds,’ his ‘Warm Day in Winter,’ his ‘Bluffs of Pico Duarte’ become interiors of association and moral conviction, and the book they appear in, The Foundling Wheel, a force in itself.” —Stanley Plumly

For a complete list of upcoming readings, visit Blas Falconer’s events page.

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17. Questions...

I felt so discombobulated Friday that I forgot to write a blog post. I’ve been in my editing cave for a while and I was too exhausted to post a few days ago. Now I’m popping out of the cave for my Monday post. 

Jolene Perry tagged her followers in a meme. You can visit this post if you’d like to participate. Here are answers to some of her questions.

Do you ever close your eyes when you're writing?
No, unless I’m drowsy.

Do you listen to music while you write? Before you write? Or neither?
I listen to music when I draft and revise, but not when I edit. I need silence for that.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or many projects at a time?
I usually work on 2-3 projects at one time. I’m at my most productive doing this. I get more done than if I were to work on only 1. If I’m stuck or uninspired with one manuscript, I jump to the other instead of sitting idle.  

Do you know when you've started writing something special? Or do they all feel special?
My current manuscripts feel special. It must have something to do with the energy I’m currently putting into them and the belief that with time I’m becoming a stronger writer.

Do titles come easily for you? Or are they more difficult?
The title usually comes to me early, either before I outline or during.

Do you think your first book will be published? (I know this is a REALLY rude question to ask someone who is working on their first book ;-)
I laid my first manuscript to rest many years ago. That’s been shelved, trunked, placed in a drawer…whatever you want to call it, it’s not seeing the light of day.

Have a fantastic week, everyone. 

25 Comments on Questions..., last added: 11/30/2012
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18. Frozen

A couple of days ago it snowed. Snow! Right after the hurricane! There was wind that made my ears stick out like wings,

cold that went right through my pink parka,

and about four inches of the white stuff that made my feet freeze. 

Guess what else is frozen. Mom’s brain. It’s been two days since she wrote an idea in her PiBoIdMo list. The numbers are still there, but there’s nothing next to the newest ones.  

After the snow, I got a surprise. It was a package in the mail from my friend, Rumpy.

He had a contest-giveaway, and I won! I won some Frosty Paws dog ice creams, and the Frosty Paws stuffed animal! I love ice cream! And I LOVE stuffed animals! Thanks, Rumpy! What a wonderful surprise. 

Maybe Mom will get a surprise inside her head – some surprise ideas so she can catch up in her PiBo challenge. She needs 30 ideas by the end of the month. Come on, ideas!

10 Comments on Frozen, last added: 11/12/2012
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19. Touch of Death ARC Giveaway #2

Thursday is exactly 2 months until the release of the paperback edition of Touch of Death, so as promised, here is the second ARC giveaway. Just like last time, it's open internationally.

And this time, in addition to winning an ARC and SWAG for Touch of Death, I'm throwing in SWAG for my young adult contemporary romance novella, Love All (book 1 in the Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak series) releasing through Swoon Romance on the same day as Touch of Death.

Check out these Ash or Noah coins. Warning, they are very addictive. I can't stop flipping them.

The giveaway will run until 12:01am on November 30. You know the drill. Fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20. PiBoIdMo Day 12: Kelly DiPucchio Hunts for Treasures

People who aren’t directly involved in the publishing industry ask me where I get my ideas from all the time. I’m always tempted to respond with something like, “I steal them from first graders” or “I ask my Ouija board.” I think everyone reading this post knows that ideas come from absolutely everywhere and anything. From the mundane to the downright bizarre, everything is fair game. Consequently, writers are perpetual treasure hunters, the black crows of society.

Most writers I talk to can trace their treasure hunting days back to childhood. Once a seeker, always a seeker. When I was a kid, I had a secret drawer in my dresser where I hid my eclectic collection of treasures. It included things like my favorite Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers, sea glass, a cool cat’s eye marble, miniature Hello Kitty colored pencils, and a tiny box of Worry Dolls. There was no rhyme or reason to what I declared a treasure. They were just random objects that evoked feelings in me that really couldn’t be put into words. And for that reason, they were special.

If we’re really being honest with ourselves we know when our stories are rooted in something deeper than just a good idea. There’s an invisible connection to some intangible variable that we can’t always put our finger on. Love? Passion? Truth? Whatever it is, when it’s there, you know it. And for that reason, those stories are special.

While I believe that treasure hunting out in nature or out in the real world is infinitely more inspiring than virtual treasure hunting on the internet, physical expeditions aren’t always possible. So here’s what you do: Head over to Etsy, eBay, YouTube, Pinterest, Zappos—wherever your web weakness might be—and look for things you really love or really hate. You can pretty much find a story seed in anything that makes you ridiculously happy or sad. How do I know this treasure hunting exercise actually works? Meet French Bulldog Puppy Can’t Roll Over.


Holy cute, right?!

When I watched that video clip about two years ago, I wanted to reach into the computer screen and put that little hunk of sugar in my pocket. I was so punch drunk on puppy love I wrote a story about a French bulldog named Gaston. Just so we’re clear, GASTON isn’t a picture book about a dog that can’t roll over. Thirty-two pages featuring a beached dog may not be as endearing or as entertaining in print as it is on film. However, what YouTube puppy did do was inspire a new character and that character was very eager to tell me his story. The manuscript, which took several weeks to complete, sold to the first editor who read it. Christian Robinson is illustrating. The book will be published by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster next year.

So that’s my advice on Day 12, PiBo people. Go treasure hunting and find the shiny things that make you swoon, swear, sigh, or smile.

If you’re still stuck after that, go talk to a first grader.

Kelly DiPucchio is the award-winning author of fourteen children’s books, including New York Times bestsellers, GRACE FOR PRESIDENT, and THE SANDWICH SWAP, a book co-authored for Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. Kelly’s books have appeared on The Oprah Show, Good Morning America, and The View. Kelly’s new picture book, CRAFTY CHLOE, illustrated by Heather Ross, (Atheneum) received a starred review in Kirkus and was featured on The Martha Stewart Show. Visit Kelly at www.kellydipucchio.com, or follow her on Twitter @kellydipucchio.

Hey, crafty writers! Kelly is generously donating a picture book critique to a lucky PiBoIdMo’er who completes the 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge. Leave a comment here…and if you also end the month with 30 ideas and take the PiBo-Pledge (posted for you to sign in early December), you’ll be entered to win. Good luck!

10 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 12: Kelly DiPucchio Hunts for Treasures, last added: 11/12/2012
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Artie’s poem Ceiling to the Stars was published in the November print edition of California Kids! To read the poem online, please click on the illustration below.

Artie’s children’s story The Hummingbird Who Chewed Bubblegum is being published in a book collection by the Oxford University Press in India. More to come.


Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law

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22. Book Review and Giveaway: Disastrous, E.L. Montes

Reading Level:

New Adult
Format:Paperback & EBook
Publisher:Amazon Digital Services 10/23/12

I found this book via Goodreads and the cover is what sold me. Then I read the blurb and I knew this was the type of book that I was into lately. E.L Montes is a brand-new author and don't think she's capitalizing on the initials of E.L. James. E. L is Emmy Luz Montes. So onto the story...

Mia Sullivan is in her first year of Harvard Law School and maintains a 4.0 G.P.A. During the last class of the year, she is surprised by one of her professors who submitted her name for a extern position at one the most prestigious law firms in Boston. These positions are highly coveted and only for incoming 3rd year law students, so Mia is very lucky to have this opportunity to interview.

Her roommate, Jeremy is also selected to apply for an interview and decides that they should go out and celebrate their good fortune. While there Jeremy is on the prowl and leaves Mia sitting and drinking alone at a table. However, Mia has caught the eye of Marcus DeLuca owner of the club and just so happens to be the owner of the law firm that she will be interviewing for.

From there starts a starcrossed love story that will at times have you shouting for joy and pulling the hair out of your head. It's a whirlwind romance with Mia throwing basic dating conventions out the window and hightailing it out of town to Marcus' home in the Bahamas. He's already promised her the job, so the interview process is one that would give the casting couch in Hollywood a blush.

However, Marcus' deep dark secrets start coming through and Mia wonders just who did she get involved with. She sees Marcus with seedy people, she's researched him and found out that his law firm happens to represent the top mafia person in Boston and she's afraid that he might be more involved in that business then he originally lets on.

Montes keeps the reader engaged with a fast-paced story that keeps you guessing where she could be going with this. Mia is vulnerable, no mother, her father and brother killed in action (both were cops), so her psychological relationship with Marcus is tormented. The physical need between the two them is fully explored, but Mia knows that before she gets in deeper, she needs to get out. Soon.

The story manages to weave in Mia's past and her present with Marcus' life and the two are intertwined in a way that Mia may never forgive him ever.

A solid debut and I'm looking forward to the sequel in 2013!

This contest is open internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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23. Nate's Win!

Tonight, Nate played his last game of the season. The boys have been losing all of their recent games by multiple points. Tonight, they all played really well together and Nate scored the winning goal! It was a corner kick and Nate kneed it in. I'm so proud of him. He's become a fine soccer player - always contributing, always making a difference. Goals are rare, and tonight, he made a very important one. The score was 1-0.

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24. Marcus' view of what I do

Marcus' babysitter asked him the other day, "And what does your dad do again?" Without skipping a beat he replied, "He fires people."

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25. This is Not a Book Review - Elen Caldecott

Today I thought I would look at one specific book and see if I can share what I've learned from it. This isn't a review, or a critical reading, this is an author looking at a book I admire to see the nuts and bolts of its construction. WARNING: If you have not read Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce and would like to do so one day without being encumbered with a sackful of spoilers, STOP READING NOW.

Everyone else, here's what I've learned from the book, in visual form:

Each of those post-it notes represents a moment where I said 'ooh, that's clever.' Shows why it wins prizes!
The idea for this post owes a lot to Stroppy Author's Book Vivisection (which I'd love to see more of.) But, it also owes as much to the current MA students in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University who shared their thoughts about the book with me during a recent seminar.

I can't share every single post-it note, so instead, I have decided to share my top five post-it note revelations (TFPINR from here on in).

TFPINR No. 5 - Prologue Pro
Online writing advice would have you believe that prologues are the work of the devil and his literary minion, Beelzebook. Received wisdom has it that they shamelessly trick the reader into swallowing a boring Chapter 1. In Cosmic, Cottrell Boyce has the briefest of prologues. It is a media clip announcing a missing space rocket. It tells you that you're in a world a lot like ours, but with one crucial difference - manned space programmes are active. Immediately following this, there's the traditional Chapter 1, which begins 'i am not exactly in the lake district'. The hook for Chapter 1 is more interesting than the prologue, not less.

TFPINR No. 4 - First-Person Present and Correct.
I have a confession. I don't much like first-person present. As a teen reader I always wondered 'who are you talking to? And why?'. Cottrell Boyce neatly deals with this question, wraps it up and puts it to bed. The MC, Liam, is recording his last words on his mobile phone. He's lost in space, you see. He hopes some friendly alien race will one day send the recording home to his mum and dad, with Liam's love.
The narrative then moves regularly into first-person past by using flashbacks. The transitions into these flashbacks are superbly handled. My favourite goes (to paraphrase): 'I can see Earth. All my stuff is on Earth. Including my house and everything in it. Like my Viking Playmobile. Except I gave it away when I was big enough to grow facial hair. I didn't notice the facial hair. Everyone else did, on my Year 6 leavers' trip. The trip was...cue anecdote about leavers' trip.' Seamless.

TFPINR No. 3 - Themes Legit
There's a masterly orchestration to the way that symbols are handled. They are the wing-men to the major theme, always there to get his back. A distilled statement of the theme might be (with thanks to the MA Group!) 'No matter how far you go, your dad (God?!) will always bring you back.' The symbols are a scaffold to support this theme: circles; gravity; space; playing; Waterloo and Dads. They all pop up at the right moment to explore different facets of the theme.

TFPINR No. 2 - Engage Disbelief Suspension
The idea of the book is ridiculous: a group of children get themselves lost in space and manage to find their way home again. Completely implausible. However, the main action (told in flashback during the second act), is foreshadowed by three separate events. These events rely on the same type of misunderstanding, without being so similar to be repetitious. Another regularly utilised concept is the game imagery that plants the idea of skills 'levelling-up'. Liam collects the skills to be an adult, so of course he has to put them to use.
Also, everytime that something truly ridiculous happens - for example, the point where the children are told they will go to space alone - Cottrell Boyce uses a bait-and-switch, stating the ridiculous then talking about something completely different at length.

TFPINR No. 1 - Make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh
At number one in the TFPINR chart is the humour. In these 300-odd pages, there are examples of all the following types of jokes: puns and wordplay; visual humour; juxtaposition; physical comedy; irony; comic characters; observational comedy; hyperbole and litotes; parody (a difficult one to use in books for young readers, but in this case skillfully foreshadowed); sarcasm; situational comedy and one-liners. Blimes. That's one funny book.

There are loads more post-its. But this is already the most wordy blog post I've ever written.
One often hears writers advise novice writers to read. I would expand on that and say read like a writer. Tear apart books you admire and work out how they do the things they do. Get the post-its out and sticker like it was a skinny stick-insect stuck in glue.

12 Comments on This is Not a Book Review - Elen Caldecott, last added: 12/2/2012
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