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1. Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz: ‘As my mother always taught me, perfect is the enemy of good.’

CristinHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

We sat down with writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (pictured, via) to discuss her new biography, Dr Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine. This book explores the life of Thomas Dent Mütter who is arguably one of the most eccentric medical innovators in history; his namesake museum in Philadelphia has long been considered a hot spot for horror fans. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: I had put together a proposal for my book, Dr Mütter’s Marvels, and friend of mine — who had very successfully sold his debut novel to Random House — asked if he could show it to his agent. I thanked him but explained how it likely wasn’t a good idea. That my weird and fairly grotesque book was very different than his pop culture-infused sci-fi novel, and therefore his agent likely wouldn’t be interested in my proposal. My friend said, “Cristin, if your friend who just sold his novel to Random House asks if he can show your proposal to his agent, that answer is Yes! Thank You! and that’s it.”

(more…)

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2. R.L. Stine Writes a Scary Short Story On Twitter

1257831Goosebumps series author R.L. Stine wrote a scary story called “What’s In My Sandwich?” on Twitter.

Below, we’ve collected all the tweets that make up the short story in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think?

Tomorrow, Stine will unveil another short fiction piece entitled “Let’s Make a Trade” on Wattpad for the “The R.L. Stine Fill In The Fear Contest.” (via BuzzFeed)

(more…)

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3. ‘Gray Mountain’ Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

Gray MountainJohn Grisham’s new fiction book, Gray Mountain, has joined Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. this week at No. 2.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending October 20, 2014. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult are occupying the first and third spots on the list this week.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)

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4. HarperCollins Publishes a Bilingual Edition of ‘Goodnight Moon’

Goodnight Moon - First Book bilingual edition - front jacket coverHarperCollins has released the first-ever bilingual version of Goodnight Moon.

Goodnight Moon/Buenas Noches, Luna, an English-Spanish board book, has been made available on the First Book digital marketplace at a discounted price for educators and programs serving children in need. The executives at the publishing house were inspired by First Book’s Stories for All Project to create this special edition of Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd’s beloved picture book. The mission behind this project is to address the lack of diversity in children’s books.

Rhian Evans Allvin, the executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, had this statement in the press release: ”Having a treasured book like Goodnight Moon available as a bilingual edition means so much more than just making a classic bedtime story more accessible. This creates opportunities for very young English language learners to enjoy a cozy story time in their native and learned languages and to create a culture of reading in classrooms and homes. It is also a sign of respect: that we value ALL of our children and families.”

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5. Activism-Themed Picture Book is Featured On Kickstarter

Jason and Danica Russell hope to raise $35,000 on Kickstarter for their alphabet-themed picture book, A is For Activism.

They hope to use this book to inspire their children and other readers to give back to the world. The funds will be used to cover the cost of self-publishing. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“This book is not just for the earthy, the urban, the hipster, the hippy, the traveler, the militant extremist, the organic, the already active activists, but… for the cool kids all over the world, looking for a way to matter in that world. This book is for anyone who wants to get involved, and give back, but feels overwhelmed about where to start. We believe, it is never too soon for kids to start thinking about kindness, and pro-active problem solving in big and small ways.”

(more…)

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6. Dan Brown to Deliver the Penguin Annual Lecture

Dan BrownThe Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown will present this year’s Penguin Annual Lecture. His talk will focus on “codes, science, and religion.”

Brown (pictured, via) will give his speech for both the Penguin Random House and Penguin Random House India teams. The Times of India reports that “this is the first time that the lecture is being organised in two cities.”

Brown will visit New York City on November 10th and Mumbai on November 12th. According to The Hindu: “The seven previous lectures have been delivered by journalist and writer Thomas Friedman in 2007, diplomat and writer Chris Patten in 2008, Nobel Prize—winning economist Amartya Sen in 2009, historian Ramachandra Guha in 2010, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in 2011, former President A P J Abdul Kalam in 2012 and megastar Amitabh Bachchan last year.”

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7. John Green Talks About ‘Why We Need Diverse Books’

The Fault in Our Stars author John Green has become an advocate for the “We Need Diverse Books” organization. In the video embedded above, John Green talks about why he feels that diversity children’s and young adult stories are necessary.

Green credits two books written by African-American authors, Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, for influencing him to appreciate literature. What do you think?

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8. GalleyCat Exclusive: NY Times Unveils 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year List

unnamedThe New York Times Book Review has unveiled its annual list of the “10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books” of the year.

Shelf Awareness children’s editor Jennifer M. Brown, Caldecott Medal-winning artist Brian Floca, and Caldecott Medal recipient Jerry Pinkney sat on this year’s judging panel. See the complete list below.

Here’s more from the press release: “Since 1952, the Book Review has convened an independent panel of three judges from the world of children’s literature to select picture books on the basis of artistic merit. Each year, judges choose from among thousands of picture books for what is the only annual award of its kind. Lists of past winners of the Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award can be found on NYTimes.com/Books, along with a slide show of this year’s winners.”

(more…)

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9. Your Name in Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, or Ken Follett’s Book

LiteraryAuctionAuthorsImageJust like Will Ferrell’s character in “Stranger Than Fiction,” you might find “yourself”—or your namesake, your avatar—spinning through a tale told by Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Ken Follett, Hanif Kureishi, Will Self, Alan Hollinghurst, Zadie Smith, Tracy Chevalier, Joanna Trollope, or another of the 17 authors participating in a fundraising event for the UK medical charity Freedom From Torture.

In this Literary Immortality Auction, participating authors have donated a character in a forthcoming work that will be named after auction winners.

Tracy Chevalier, author of the international bestseller The Girl with the Pearl Earring, said:

“I am holding open a place in my new novel for Mrs. (ideally a Mrs.) [your surname], a tough-talking landlady of a boarding house in 1850s Gold Rush-era San Francisco. The first thing she says to the hero is ‘No sick on my stairs. You vomit on my floors, you’re out.’ Is your name up to that?”

According the New York Times, Margaret Atwood is “offering the possibility of appearing either in the novel she is currently writing or in her retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest,’ to be published as a Vintage Books series in 2016.”

Bestselling author Ian McEwan (Atonement) said:

“Forget the promises of the world’s religions. This auction offers the genuine opportunity of an afterlife. More importantly, bidding in the Freedom from Torture auction will help support a crucial and noble cause. The rehabilitation of torture survivors cannot be accomplished without expertise, compassion, time—and your money.”

Freedom from Torture notes on its site: “Seekers of a literary afterlife can place their bids online from 6pm this evening,” so get going.

Click here for your bid for immortality.

The real-time episode of the auction will take place at The Royal Institute of Great Britain in London on November 20th.

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10. Andi Watson: ‘Working hard and having fun hopefully go hand in hand…’

Andi WatsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Throughout his career, cartoonist Andi Watson has written and illustrated dozens of comics and graphic novels. Right now, Watson is working on a spooky children’s story called Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: Because I’m a cartoonist, my first opportunity of being published came through physically mailing my mini-comics to publishers. Six months after sending them out a company called Slave Labor Graphics agreed to publish me. This was a good two decades ago when publishers would look at unsolicited submissions without needing to sign legal disclaimers. Having said that, after experiencing something of the book publishing world, it’s still an awful lot easier to make contact with graphic novel publishers than it is in the traditional prose world. Putting work online and attending cons is a good way to make contacts. As in all areas of work, it helps to know people.

(more…)

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11. Marvel Reveals a Special Look at ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’

A special look at The Avengers: Age of Ultron aired during last night’s episode of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.

The video embedded above features a scene with all the members of The Avengers and several allies. Follow this link to watch the first teaser trailer.

Marvel Studios recently revealed that 11 adaptation projects will come out starting in 2015 up until 2019. See the complete list of movies and the theatrical release dates below.

(more…)

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12. Final Trailer Unveiled For ‘Mockingjay Part 1′

Lionsgate has unveiled the final trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One. The video embedded above features a “burning” message from rebel Katniss Everdeen to the villainous President Snow—what do you think?

Thus far, the trailer has drawn more than 26,000 “like” on Facebook. Throughout the past few months, several promotional videos have surfaced for this movie including two “Panem Addresses,” a clip, and a teaser trailer.

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13. Hachette Publishes a Cookbook Inspired by ‘Breaking Bad’

Who is the one who bakesThe Telegraph reports that “Walter Wheat” has been credited as the writer behind a Breaking Bad-inspired parody cookbook.

BuzzFeed has posted seven recipes from Baking Bad: Great Recipes. No Meth-in Around. The book trailer (embedded above) features the cook preparing a batch of “Meth Crunchies.”

Hachette Books released the American edition of this book on October 28th. The Orion Publishing Group will follow with the United Kingdom edition on November 6th.

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14. Celebrities Serve as Readers on Amy Poehler’s Audiobook

Yes Please AudioSaturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler has enlisted several celebrity friends to serve as narrators for the audiobook edition of her memoir, Yes Please.

The participating readers include Sir Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Kathleen Turner, and Poehler’s parents. It also includes a recording of Poehler’s one night only live performance at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.

The Wall Street Journal has posted a SoundCloud clip with Stewart reading Poehler’s haiku about plastic surgery. Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, released the audiobook, the eBook, and the hardcover book yesterday.

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15. Two NYC Bookstores Will Close

posman booksTwo New York City-based bookshops will cease operations

Barnes & Noble will close the branch located in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood on January 31, 2015. The Queens Courier reports that ”a lease agreement between the owner and the store was scrapped.” Many members of the community have expressed great sadness over this situation.

Posman Books will close the branch located inside Grand Central Terminal on December 31, 2014. According to The Gothamist, this decision was made because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) refuses to renew the store’s lease. The owners have posted a “heartful thank you and farewell” letter on the Posman Books website; follow this link to read it.

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16. John Grisham & Jim Gaffigan Debut On the Indie Bestseller List

let it snowWe’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending October 19, 2014–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #1 in Hardcover Fiction) Gray Mountain by John Grisham: “Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.” (October 2014)

(more…)

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17. We Need Diverse Books Team Launches Indiegogo Campaign

The We Need Diverse Books team have launched a crowdfunding venture on Indiegogo.

This group hope to raise $100,000.00 that will be used towards several different projects. Future plans include bringing diverse books and authors into disadvantaged schools, initiating the Walter Dean Myers Award & Grant program, and launching the inaugural Kidlit Diversity Festival in Washington, D.C.

We’ve embedded a video about the campaign above; it features appearances from Matt de la Peña, John Green, Marie Lu, Cindy Pon, Grace Lin, Lamar Giles, Tim Federle, Jacqueline Woodson, and Arthur LevineFollow this link to read a transcript. What do you think?

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18. John Green Shoots a Behind-The-Scenes Video On the ‘Paper Towns’ Movie Set

John Green has shared a behind-the-scenes video for the Paper Towns film adaptation on the vlogbrothers YouTube channel. The young adult novelist is serving as one of the executive producers for this project.

In the video embedded above, Green introduces executive producer Isaac Klausner, director Jake Schreier, and actors Halston Sage, Jaz Sinclair, and Justice Smith. Thus far, it has drawn more than 2,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Green has also posted several photos from the movie set on his Tumblr page. Paper Towns will hit theaters on June 19, 2015.

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19. ‘HarperCollins Presents’ Podcast Series Launched

harpercollins1HarperCollins Publishers has launched a new global podcast network called “HarperCollins Presents.”

Here’s more from the press release: “Each week the HarperCollins Presents podcast series will feature an exchange of ideas from leading authors and creatives – from home-grown heroes to global stars. It will take listeners behind the scenes, explaining the mysteries of the creative process and inspiring fans to think differently.”

The podcasts can be downloaded from iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher. Currently, fans can listen to episodes featuring Coraline author Neil Gaiman, Divergent author Veronica Roth, and Rooms author Lauren Oliver. The executives behind this series plans to create new content with filmmaker David Cronenberg, the Kay Scarpetta series author Patricia Cornwell, and the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series author Alexander McCall Smith.

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20. Richard L. Simon’s Unpublished Manuscript is For Sale at James Cummins Bookseller

simonschusterlogoRichard L. Simon, the co-founder of Simon & Schuster, wrote a memoir entitled Fools Give You Reasons.

This 84-page unpublished book focuses on the history and practice of the American publishing industry. Simon discusses topics such as “who reads fiction and why?” and “the effect of television on book buying in America.”

The James Cummins Bookseller currently has a typed up copy on sale for $5,000. Our sister blog, FishbowlNY, predicts that despite the steep price tag “someone is bound (pun intended) to snap up the manuscript.” Follow this link to see a scan of the foreword page.

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21. Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Doctor Strange

SherlockBenedict Cumberbatch (pictured, via) has been cast to take on the title role for Marvel’s Doctor Strange film adaptation. According to The Hollywood Reporter, other Hollywood stars who were being considered for this part include three-time Oscar nominee Joaquin PhoenixThe Notebook actor Ryan Gosling, and Academy Award winner Jared Leto.

Filmmaker Scott Derrickson will serve as the director for this project. Screenwriter Jon Spaihts will oversee the script; the first draft was a collaborative effort between writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.

Here’s more from Deadline: “Doctor Strange was hatched by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko during that Marvel Comics heyday of the early 1960′s. He’s a neurosurgeon who becomes Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts.” (via The Verge)

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22. Kobo Adds 250+ Marvel Comics to its Digital Library

marvel logoMavel has formed an agreement with Kobo to add more than 250 comics to its digital library. Kobo users can now access several series including The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Kobo merchandiser Santiago Melo had this statement in the press release: “For more than 75 years, Marvel has been transporting comic fans to exciting new galaxies. Tackling big issues with larger than life characters, these stories continue to be a constant source of enrichment in our popular culture and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the Kobo family.”

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23. The Brooklyn Public Library Hosts the ‘Mixing It Up with Hervé Tullet’ Exhibit

We Need a TitleThe Brooklyn Public Library is hosting the “Mixing It Up with Hervé Tullet” exhibit. It explores all of the different sources of inspiration for Tullet’s books.

This art show opened in conjunction with the release of Tullet’s latest title, Help! We Need a Title!. Follow this link to watch a video of him reading from the book.

Visitors will find this exhibition in the grand lobby of the Central Library branch. A closing date has been scheduled for February 01, 2015.

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24. Delilah S. Dawson: ‘Let it get gross, let it get weird, and figure out later how far to take it depending on the final genre.’

Delilah S. DawsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Recently, we spoke with Delilah S. Dawson, an author and associate editor at the Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech websites. We discussed her new novel, Servants of the Storm. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: The old-fashioned way: after a psychotic break.

(more…)

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25. Blurb Establishes the Coffee & Quill Society For NaNoWriMo Participants

NaNoWriMo CoverPrepping to take the NaNoWriMo challenge this November? Blurb, an independent book and magazine publishing platform, has established a partnership with National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo writers are invited to join Blurb’s newly launched Coffee & Quill Society to receive support as they work on their projects. During the 30-day marathon, participants will receive tips through webinars and emails to help with outlining the story of the novel and meeting daily writing goals. Follow this link to watch a webinar featuring Blurb senior content manager Forrest Bryant, NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, and NaNoWriMo executive director Grant Faulkner.

Here’s more from the press release: “Blurb is such a believer in new and emerging writers that all Coffee & Quill Society members who complete the NaNoWriMo challenge will receive one copy of their novel in print and ebook form for free. Blurb is the only platform supporting the challenge that enables writers to upload their manuscript and create an ebook and print book from one file. Once writers have uploaded their book, they can utilize the Blurb Global Retail Network that, through a partnership with Ingram Content Group, will enable them to distribute their work to online retailers and bookstores around the world, helping global sales.”

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