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Results 26 - 50 of 121,347
26. Ben Tripp, author of THE ACCIDENTAL HIGHWAYMAN, traces the origins of "swashbuckling," and describes a childhood pickled in magic.


What is your favorite thing about The Accidental Highwayman?

That's a tough question, because I crammed the book with my favorite things. I love magic, history, true love, animals, and swashbucking in general. How often do you get a chance to throw a baboon into a Baroque setting? Or fly a horse off the roof of Hampton Court Palace? But I must say my favorite thing in The Accidental Highwayman is the language. Old forgotten words, 18th century phrasing, dialects, made-up terms, ridiculous insults. We think in words; the world is made of them, in a sense. So there is no greater delight for me than an opportunity to take our language up in the air and see how beautifully it flies.

I know this is precious book-pitching space, but can I just point out that 'swashbuckling' probably comes to us from the 1500s? It combines the onomatopoetic word 'swash' (to swish or strike) with 'buckler', which is a small shield. The original meaning was to bluster and act warlike, as by thumping your shield. I don't think it's actually in the book, come to think of it. But 'tatterdemalion' is. You'll have to read the book to find out what that one means.
What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. The easy answer is that I was exposed all my childhood to fairy tales, myths, legends, and the classic stories intended for all readers, young and old. This came from growing up in a household devoted to the arts and literature, especially as my father was a children's book illustrator and author. There was magic in the air; I was pickled in it from an early age.
The tough answer is that it's also an homage to what I lost as a teenager. I got cynical and angry in a hurry. I couldn't succeed at anything, was confused and miserable. All of those glittering palaces of my childhood came tumbling down. The Accidental HIghwayman is a story about a sixteen-year-old whose life is the opposite of mine: he had a grim, magic-free childhood, and now enchantment comes into his life. I was inspired by this idea because that sense of wonder can always come back to us, no matter what age we are, if we are open to it. It happened to me 

How long did you work on the book?

Somewhere between one month and forty years, depending how you count it. The first draft took me a month to complete, writing sixteen or more hours per day. If you include subsequent drafts, it took six months. Add in the collaboration with my editor, and it goes up to a year.
But if you add in the gestation period, the time it took for these ideas to grow in the back of my mind from their first inklings, then the thing took me years. Everything's like that. Whatever we do, we do with the skills and experience of our lifetimes.

What's your writing ritual like?

How we write evolves over time. It's a rare writer who uses the same methods for her entire career. I used to write in my spare time, which required a great deal of mental discipline. There were a million distractions and I had to be able to write in five-minute bursts, or work in the wee hours when everything was quiet.

These days I write full-time, so I needn't be as disciplined, but I retain some of my old habits. I work at home, and typically start writing within a few minutes of waking up, often at four in the morning. Once the rest of the household (my wife and dogs) is awake, I often put on music -- mostly film scores, including a lot of Bollywood soundtracks. They're sung in Hindi, so the lyrics don't get in the way of the words in my head. I'll generally work for several three-hour heats, take the evening off, and late at night I'll write notes and fragments to prep myself for the next day. If I'm between projects I may only write for an hour or two, but I do write every day. If you're not in the chair, inspiration may decide to visit somebody else.

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Accidental Highwayman
by Ben Tripp
Hardcover
Tor Teen; First Edition edition
Released 10/14/2014

The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp. This thrilling tale of dark magic and true love is the perfect story for fans of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, goblin attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

“Delightful and charming. A swashbuckling adventure in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson

Purchase The Accidental Highwayman at Amazon
Purchase The Accidental Highwayman at IndieBound
View The Accidental Highwayman on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


BEN TRIPP is the author of Rise Again and Rise Again: Below Zero, a two-part apocalyptic zombie saga for Gallery.

He has an upcoming trilogy of rollicking young adult novels in the historical fantasy genre for Tor, the first of which is The Accidental Highwayman. In addition, Gallery has secured rights to his first foray into the vampire genre, The Fifth House of the Heart.

Tripp is an artist, writer, and designer who has worked with major entertainment companies and motion picture studios for more than two decades. He was for many years one of the world's leading conceptualists of public experiences, with a global portfolio of projects ranging from urban masterplanning to theme parks. Now he writes novels full-time.

He lives with his wife (Academy Award-winning writer/ producer Corinne Marrinan) in Los Angeles and London.


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27. 2014 AES Convention: shrinking opportunities in music audio

Checking the website for the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in Los Angeles, I took note of the swipes promoting the event. Each heading was framed as follows: If it’s about ____________, it’s at AES. The slide show contained nine headings that are to be a part of the upcoming convention (in no particular order because you start at whatever point in the slide show you happened to log-in to the site).

  • Archiving & Restoration
  • Networked Audio
  • Broadcast & Streaming
  • Product Design
  • Recording
  • Project Studios
  • Sound for Picture
  • Live Sound
  • Game Sound

The list was interesting to me on many levels, but one significant one that struck me immediately was the absence of mixing and mastering (my main areas of work in audio). A relatively short time ago almost half of these categories did not exist. There was no streaming, no project studios, no networked audio and no game sound. So what is the state of affairs for the young audio engineering student or practitioner?

Yamaha M7CL digital live sound mixing console left half angled
Yamaha M7CL digital live sound mixing console left half angled. CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Interestingly, of the four new fields mentioned, three of them represent diminished opportunities in the field of music recording, with one a singular beacon of hope.

Streaming audio represents the brave new world of audio delivery systems. As these services continue to capture more of the consumer market share they continue to diminish artists ability to earn a decent living (or pay an accomplished audio engineer). A friend of mine with 3 CD releases recently got his Spotify statement and saw that he had more that 60,000 streams of his music. His check was for $17. CDs don’t pay as well as vinyl records used to, downloads don’t pay as well as CDs, and streaming doesn’t pay as well as downloads (not to mention “file-sharing” which doesn’t pay anything). Sure, there may be jobs at Pandora and Spotify for a few engineers helping with the infrastructure of audio streaming, but generally streaming is another brick in the wall that is restricting audio jobs by shrinking the earning capacity of recording artists.

Project studios now dominate most recording projects outside the reasonably well-funded major label records and even most of that work is done in project studios (though they might be quite elaborate facilities). Project studios rarely have spots for interns or assistant engineers so they provide no entree positions for those trying to come up in the engineering ranks. Not only does that limit the available sources of income, but it also prevents the kind of mentoring that actually trains young engineers in the fine points of running sessions. Of course, almost no project studios provide regular, dependable work or with any kind of benefits.

Networked audio systems provide new, faster, and more elaborate connectivity of audio using digital technology. While there may be opportunities in the tech realm for engineers designing and building digital audio networks there is, once again, a shrinking of opportunities for those aspiring to making commercial music recordings. In many instances, these networking systems allow fewer people to do more—a boon only to a small number of audio engineers working with music recordings who can now do remote recordings without having to be present and without having to employ local recording engineers and studios to complete projects with musicians in other locations.

The one bright spot here is Game Sound. The explosive world of video games is providing many good jobs for audio engineers who want to record music. These recordings have become more interesting, higher quality, and featuring more prominent and talented composers and musicians than virtually any other area of music production. The only reservation here is that the music is intended as secondary to the game play (of course) and there is a preponderance of violent video games and therefore musical styles that tend to fit well into a violent atmosphere. However, this is changing with a much broader array of game types achieving new levels of popularity (Mindcraft!).

I do not fault AES for pointing to these areas of interest for audio engineers (other than the apparent absence of mixing and mastering). These are the places where significant activity, development, and change are occurring. They’re just not very encouraging for those of us who became audio engineers because of our deep love of music and our desire to be engaged in its production.

 Headline Image: Sound Mixing via CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay

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28. Political Analysis Letters: a new way to publish innovative research

There’s a lot of interesting social science research these days. Conference programs are packed, journals are flooded with submissions, and authors are looking for innovative new ways to publish their work.

This is why we have started up a new type of research publication at Political Analysis, Letters.

Research journals have a limited number of pages, and many authors struggle to fit their research into the “usual formula” for a social science submission — 25 to 30 double-spaced pages, a small handful of tables and figures, and a page or two of references. Many, and some say most, papers published in social science could be much shorter than that “usual formula.”

We have begun to accept Letters submissions, and we anticipate publishing our first Letters in Volume 24 of Political Analysis. We will continue to accept submissions for research articles, though in some cases the editors will suggest that an author edit their manuscript and resubmit it as a Letter. Soon we will have detailed instructions on how to submit a Letter, the expectations for Letters, and other information, on the journal’s website.

We have named Justin Grimmer and Jens Hainmueller, both at Stanford University, to serve as Associate Editors of Political Analysis — with their primary responsibility being Letters. Justin and Jens are accomplished political scientists and methodologists, and we are quite happy that they have agreed to join the Political Analysis team. Justin and Jens have already put in a great deal of work helping us develop the concept, and working out the logistics for how we integrate the Letters submissions into the existing workflow of the journal.

I recently asked Justin and Jens a few quick questions about Letters, to give them an opportunity to get the word out about this new and innovative way of publishing research in Political Analysis.

Political Analysis is now accepting the submission of Letters as well as Research Articles. What are the general requirements for a Letter?

Letters are short reports of original research that move the field forward. This includes, but is not limited to, new empirical findings, methodological advances, theoretical arguments, as well as comments on or extensions of previous work. Letters are peer reviewed and subjected to the same standards as Political Analysis research articles. Accepted Letters are published in the electronic and print versions of Political Analysis and are searchable and citable just like other articles in the journal. Letters should focus on a single idea and are brief—only 2-4 pages and no longer than 1500-3000 words.

Why is Political Analysis taking this new direction, looking for shorter submissions?

Political Analysis is taking this new direction to publish important results that do not traditionally fit in the longer format of journal articles that are currently the standard in the social sciences, but fit well with the shorter format that is often used in the sciences to convey important new findings. In this regard the role model for the Political Analysis Letters are the similar formats used in top general interest science journals like Science, Nature, or PNAS where significant findings are often reported in short reports and articles. Our hope is that these shorter papers also facilitate an ongoing and faster paced dialogue about research findings in the social sciences.

What is the main difference between a Letter and a Research Paper?

The most obvious difference is the length and focus. Letters are intended to only be 2-4 pages, while a standard research article might be 30 pages. The difference in length means that Letters are going to be much more focused on one important result. A letter won’t have the long literature review that is standard in political science articles and will have much more brief introduction, conclusion, and motivation. This does not mean that the motivation is unimportant; it just means that the motivation has to briefly and clearly convey the general relevance of the work and how it moves the field forward. A Letter will typically have 1-3 small display items (figures, tables, or equations) that convey the main results and these have to be well crafted to clearly communicate the main takeaways from the research.

If you had to give advice to an author considering whether to submit their work to Political Analysis as a Letter or a Research Article, what would you say?

Our first piece of advice would be to submit your work! We’re open to working with authors to help them craft their existing research into a format appropriate for letters. As scholars are thinking about their work, they should know that Letters have a very high standard. We are looking for important findings that are well substantiated and motivated. We also encourage authors to think hard about how they design their display items to clearly convey the key message of the Letter. Lastly, authors should be aware that a significant fraction of submissions might be desk rejected to minimize the burden on reviewers.

You both are Associate Editors of Political Analysis, and you are editing the Letters. Why did you decide to take on this professional responsibility?

Letters provides us an opportunity to create an outlet for important work in Political Methodology. It also gives us the opportunity to develop a new format that we hope will enhance the quality and speed of the academic debates in the social sciences.

Headline image credit: Letters, CC0 via Pixabay.

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29. Chelsey Philpot, author of EVEN IN PARADISE, on the benefits of early morning ocean breezes and jumping out of airplanes.

What is your favorite thing about EVEN IN PARADISE?

That it’s a real book…kidding…but kind of not.
Truthfully, I am so grateful that I had a story to tell and that that story is now a beautifully designed book that readers can read—that readers want to read.
It has been so rewarding and fascinating to learn what individuals take away from Even in Paradise—what motifs and themes one person might latch onto versus another. For example, YA author Leila Sales found the story to be about “tragedy and destructiveness of wealth,” while author Elizabeth LaBan latched on to “that startling concept that one mistake can change the course of your life forever.”

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

When my three siblings and I were growing up, our father used to say, “the day is half over by ten o’clock.” We grew up on a farm and even as adults, we all still cling to the habit of waking up wicked early. I wrote Even in Paradise in the dark hours of the morning at an old wooden desk in my shoebox-size Brooklyn apartment. I drank cups and cups of coffee so strong it seemed like I should be able to chew it. In warmer months, I wore faded T-shirts and too large shorts. In colder months, I pulled on a ratty cashmere sweater or one of the many well-worn flannel shirts I’ve stolen from my father.
For my second book, I’ve kept to this ritual, save for the facts that my desk is now in New England instead of Brooklyn and the morning breezes that come through my window smell of the nearby ocean instead of the donuts baking in the bodega on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Union Street.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

This question has been answered eloquently and thoughtfully by many talented writers, and I second their advice. It is so true that in order to be a writer you have to read, work at it every day, and accept setbacks as challenges.
To this wisdom, I would only add this in: To be a writer, you have to choose a brave life. Not just because writing is difficult and requires tenacity, but also because I’ve found that the larger you live, the more you have to write about.
Jump out of airplanes. Travel. Say “yes” instead of no. Live out of a suitcase. Start conversations with strangers. To poorly paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: you cannot sit down to write if you have not stood up to live.

What are you working on now?

I am working on my second young adult novel. I’m not ready to say much about it, but I will share that part of my research involved skydiving.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Even in Paradise
by Chelsey Philpot
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 10/14/2014

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

Purchase Even in Paradise at Amazon
Purchase Even in Paradise at IndieBound
View Even in Paradise on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Chelsey Philpot is a  bibliophile, museum haunter, and library devotee.

She writes about books, culture, travel, and the arts for the Boston Globe, New York TimesBuzzFeed, and many other publications. When she's not actuallywriting, she teaches writing at Boston University. Before moving to New England, she was a book reviews editor at School Library Journal in New York City.

HarperCollins will publish her first young adult novel, Even in Paradise, in October 2014.

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30. Inspiring the Next Architects: Children’s Books About Design, Building, and Architecture

Celebrate architecture and design for Archtober with students!

October, or “Archtober” as it is called, marks the 4th annual month-long festival of all things architecture and design in New York City.

Architecture Children's BooksRecommended reading to teach about architecture for students:

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building

Sky Dancers

The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan

 Shapes Where We Play

STEM + Literacy Activities:

1. Encourage students to examine the differences between architecture and engineering. How do these two fields depend on each other? What is unique about each field? What do architects contribute to building a structure? What do engineers contribute? For a simplified breakdown of the duties of an architect and an engineer, the New School of Architecture + Design has a clear infographic.

2. Have students in small teams research a well-known structure in their community, city, or state (such as a museum, performing arts center, or place of worship). Who built it and when? For what is the structured used? Where is it located? What is it made of? Why were those materials used? What is special about the design? What challenges did the architect have in creating this structure? In addition to online and print resources, students can interview someone who works at the structure, if possible. After research is complete, students can create a model of the structure, design a poster advertising it to tourists, or write and present a report on the structure to the class.

3. Ask students to imagine that they are architects assigned to design a new school. Describe the materials you will need and what the building will look like. As you think about the design and materials needed, consider the types of spaces children in the school will need to learn, read, eat, study; what you will need to make the building safe and sturdy; and what will make it an attractive place in which to learn.

4. Set up a hands on, or sensory, station with materials from home or a local hardware store that are used to build structures. Examples could be a wood spoon for wood, a cooking pot for steel, etc. Have students touch and record the characteristics of each sample material. Why might an architect use steel instead of wood, or bamboo instead of concrete? Students can make a chart of popular building materials to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. Have students study the physical characteristics (based on sight, touch, sound, and even smell) of brick, wood, bamboo, clay, concrete, steel, glass, iron, rock, straw, recycled materials, and more. For advanced or older students, topics to compare include cost of the material, availability, resiliency in natural disasters, typical lifetime, flexibility and ability to shape the material, environmental friendliness, and beauty/appeal.

5. Have students study the roles that appeal/beauty, safety, and function/purpose play in the design of a structure. Is one preferable over the other? Why? Do these factors all work together or can they be in conflict with one another? Students can look at one specific structure to see how the architect addressed each of these issues. If possible, ask a local architect or professor from an area college to discuss these factors.

6. Watch PBS’s “Building Big,” a five-part miniseries on bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels. Each one-hour program explores the different type of structures and what it takes to build them. An educator’s guide of activities from PBS is available online.

7. Lead students in a step-by-step activity to create their own geodesic dome, sandcastle, toothpick structure, or floor plan. Instructions can be found online at the archKIDecture website.

Jill Eisenberg

Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Specialist, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.


Filed under: Educator Resources, Holidays and Celebrations Tagged: architecture, book activities, children's books, Educators, STEM

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31. When to Abandon a Book

Now I'm not talking about abandoning a book that you're writing. There's a time for that, sometimes, and that's for another post. I'm talking about when to abandon a book that you're reading. When you're in school, you're required to read books that you wouldn't normally choose on your own. And that's what school is for. To challenge you, to get you to think critically about things you

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32. Roxanne St. Claire, author of THEY ALL FALL DOWN reveals the strategies of her amazingly productive writing group.


What is your favorite thing about THEY ALL FALL DOWN?

I’d never written anything quite like this book, so the story felt wildly fresh and unique to me.  Not only had I never written a “thriller” before, I hadn’t read any teen thrillers.  I actually had a hard time finding any on the market at the time I started writing.  So, this was uncharted territory for me and I hope that translates into a book with plenty of twists and turns that surprise the reader as much as they surprised me. 
The other aspect I loved was a chance to incorporate the “dead language” of Latin -- which is not dead at all! Through the assistance of my daughter and her Latin teacher, I was able to weave threads and clues using a language we really don’t know much about -- yet is the basis for so many of our words.  What I initially thought would be an interesting character trait for the protagonist turned into a critical plot point for the whole book.  I always love when that happens.
I guess there’s one more thing I loved about the book -- it is the first book I’ve written in my whole career where a romance isn’t front and center to the character’s story arc.  There is a “love interest” in THEY ALL FALL DOWN but I would never classify this book as a romance.  For me, it was liberating and great fun to write without worrying about over-developing that aspect of the story.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I have to be honest -- I don’t know any other way to be! -- I never woke up and had a “OMG I have to write a teen thriller!!” moment.  I had written one young adult for Delacorte/Random House, DON’T YOU WISH, a book I would classify as very light paranormal adventure/romance.  I had signed a contract to write another and the publisher had agreed,  through an outline, to an emotional contemporary where one of the protagonist dies at the end.  After finishing DON’T YOU WISH, I met with the publisher and they asked me to write a thriller instead, based on my many years experience of writing romantic suspense.  They felt -- and I believe they were right -- that the thriller market was underserved in young adult and would be blossoming soon.  I wrote out three story ideas, and was delighted when they chose this one -- about a girl who is fifth on a “hottie list” at her high school.  The “honor” (which she doesn’t really want and doesn’t think she deserves) turns into a horror when the girls on the list start dying...in chronological order, all in freak accidents that can’t possibly be murder. Or are they?

How long did you work on the book?

I had a lot of time to let this idea brew and it was about a year between the publisher giving the green light to the story until I turned in a finished manuscript.  I generally take three to four months to write a novel draft, and at least another month to revise and rewrite the book.  

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I think this is my 40th book -- somewhere around that number.  I started writing in 2001, sold my first book in 2002, and have not stopped since then.  I’ve written for multiple publishers in a few different genres, but have made my name in contemporary romance and suspense.  My road to publication sounds “easy” when I look back at it, but there were many, many rejections and lots of valleys and frustrations.  You just can’t quit!

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I have to have complete silence! No music, not talking, no dog snoring.  Well, the last one is okay.  I usually write at home, although I also meet with a group of three other writers at least once or twice a week, and we write all day together.  We call it “Writers’ Camp” and believe me when I say we write, and that’s IT.  No one gets lunch until everyone has done 1,000 words and we generally will write 2,500 in the afternoon.  We sit around a dining room table, four writers, four laptops, four different stories being pounded out.  (We’re all published authors in different genres.)  We often stop for two minute brainstorm sessions (“What’s another word for brown?” “Any interesting ways an ex-wife might have died?” “I need a name for a baseball team! ”) and over lunch, we plot and commiserate on the writing life.  These days are invigorating and productive! One year, we wrote 1 million words and published 14 books between the four of us!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Nothing a serious writer hasn’t heard before -- read what you want to write, write every single day, and don’t quit even when you want to.  The job is NOT for the faint of heart and it is most certainly not for someone who doesn’t wallow in hard work.  Success in this business takes determination and discipline as much as talent, and some thick skin won’t hurt, either.  Make good friends, limit your social media time, and learn how to revise because writing really IS rewriting.

What are you working on now?

I just started the third novel in a popular contemporary romance series called the Barefoot Bay Brides.  It’s a spin-off trilogy that’s part of my “Barefoot Bay” series -- emotional and engaging love stories set on a fictional island off the Gulf Coast of Florida.


Giveaway ends 10/19/2014 at midnight EST.




ABOUT THE BOOK


They All Fall Down
by Roxanne St. Claire
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

Purchase They All Fall Down at Amazon
Purchase They All Fall Down at IndieBound
View They All Fall Down on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Roxanne St. Claire is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author of more than thirty novels of suspense and romance, including three popular series (The Bullet Catchers, The Guardian Angelinos, and Barefoot Bay) and multiple stand alone books.

In addition to being a six-time nominee and one-time winner of the RITA Award, Roxanne’s novels have won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense three times, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, the Award of Excellence, and many others. Her books have been translated into dozens of languages and are routinely included as a Doubleday/Rhapsody Book Club Selection of the Month.

Roxanne lives in Florida with her family, and can be reached via her website,www.roxannestclaire.com or on her Facebook Reader page,www.facebook.com/roxannestclaire and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/roxannestclaire.

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33. Michael Grant, author of BZRK APOCALYPSE, on excessive homework in high school, and why you may not want to see close up pictures of the human tongue.

What is your favorite thing about BZRK APOCALYPSE?

The whole denouement pivots on an aspect of nanotechnology that I had not thought of until I reached the third book.  It was a very cool insight to me, realizing that nanobots could be used to inflict astounding destruction in a whole new way.  Obviously I’m trying to avoid spoilers here.  The best thing for me in terms of the whole series is that I can say with some confidence that no one has read anything quite like BZRK before, certainly not in Young Adult.  BZRK is not another. . . fill in the blanks.  BZRK is BZRK.  BZRK: Apocalypse is me carrying the series’  premise to its extreme.  

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

Bed bugs and obsessive compulsive disorder.  I only have a touch of OCD, but it runs strong in my family.  The research on this series was far and away the most disturbing preparation I’ve ever done.  I spent hours looking at scanning electron microscope pictures of everything from mites to neurons to blood cells, fungi, bacteria, viruses, pollen, every kind of human tissue.  And for me at least it’s kind of nightmarish stuff.  After you’ve spent some time with high magnifications or SEM’s of a human tongue with helpfully colorized bacteria, you hesitate just a bit before kissing your wife.
  
How long did you work on the book?

About six months.
  
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I sort of snuck in the back door of publishing.  My wife and I wrote a Harlequin romance.  It was. . . well, it got published, which was the point.  Probably not going to be squeezed onto the shelf between Faulkner and Fitzgerald.  From there we started ghostwriting, then moved onto our own series, most notably Animorphs.  But for the early period I was writing with my wife.  Now I write alone.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

As of this writing I live in Tiburon, California, and am renting a house with a stunning view of San Francisco harbor.  So I go out on my deck where I have a rocking chair, I have a black coffee with me, and a cigar, and then I screw around on the internet for an hour until I finally force myself to actually get to work.  I’m a bit more self-disciplined than I was doing homework back in school, but not much more.  I do sometimes listen to music on my iPhone: Rancid, Offspring, Stones, Against Me, Shot Baker, Methadones.  Mostly punk, some reggae, some blues.
  
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Aspiring writers or fellow published writers? For the latter group I’d say: get a publishing lawyer, even if you have an agent.  For aspiring writers, I guess I’d say, look, the whole world is conspiring to destroy the one thing you absolutely need to become a writer:  your imagination.  Don’t let that happen. Also, have a life.  I really dislike the way high schools and even middle schools are relentlessly piling pressure on kids.  I think it’s obscene to have a kid put in 7 hours at school, plus 3 hours of homework, plus you need extracurriculars and charity to impress some elite college.  Just absurd and destructive, all in service to some credential.  Education is treated as an endurance event and a sprint all at once.  Kids need to have lives.  They need some slack in there somewhere.

What are you working on now?

I have the final pass on THE TATTOOED HEART, A MESSENGER OF FEAR BOOK in my in-box, and I’m about 2/3 done with SOLDIER GIRL, a new series.


ABOUT THE BOOK


BZRK Apocalypse
by Michael Grant
Hardcover
EgmontUSA
Released 10/14/2014

The Matrix meets Inner Space in this third book in the BZRK trilogy from New York Times best-selling author Michael Grant.

The staggering conclusion to the BZRK trilogy, from the author of GONE. The members of BZRK are preparing for their final stand, in the world's capitals and in the nano. Expect the unexpected in this novel packed with the author's trademark jaw-dropping action, violence, and pace.

Purchase BZRK Apocalypse at Amazon
Purchase BZRK Apocalypse at IndieBound
View BZRK Apocalypse on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Grant has always been fast-paced. He’s lived in almost 50 different homes in 14 US states, and moved in with his wife, Katherine Applegate, after knowing her for less than 24 hours. His long list of previous occupations includes: law librarian, cartoonist, bowling alley mechanic, restaurant reviewer, waiter, documentary film producer and political media consultant.

Grant and Applegate have co-authored more than 100 books, including the massive hit series Animorphs. Grant went on to write The New York Times and international bestselling series, GONE. His BZRK series takes participants on a roller-coaster ride across print and digital venues.

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34. New Literary Agent Alert: Alec Shane of Writers House

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Alec Shane of Writers House) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

 

alec-shane-literary-agent

 

About Alec: Alec majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he worked under Jodi Reamer and Amy Berkower on a large number of YA and Adult titles. Twitter handle: @alecdshane.

(Writing a synopsis for your novel? Here are 5 tips.)

He is seeking: Alec is now aggressively building his own list. On the nonfiction side, Alec would love to see humor, biography, history (particularly military history), true crime, “guy” reads, and all things sports. “What I’m looking for in fiction: mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and books geared toward young male readers (both YA and MG). What I’m not looking for: Romance (paranormal or otherwise), straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, travel memoir.”

Submission guidelines:  I accept e-mail and snail-mail queries (although email is preferable), and will usually respond within 4-5 weeks. Please send the first 10 pages of your manuscript, along with your query letter, to ashane [at] writershouse.com with “Query for Alec Shane: TITLE” as your subject heading – no attachments please! If sending via regular mail, please include a SASE with proper postage.

(When building your writer platform and online media, how much growth is enough?)

 

2015-GLA-smallThe biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

 

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

 

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

 

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35. Illuminating the drama of DNA: creating a stage for inquiry

Many bioethical challenges surround the promise of genomic technology and the power of genomic information — providing a rich context for critically exploring underlying bioethical traditions and foundations, as well as the practice of multidisciplinary advisory committees and collaborations. Controversial issues abound that call into question the core values and assumptions inherent in bioethics analysis and thus necessitates interprofessional inquiry. Consequently, the teaching of genomics and contemporary bioethics provides an opportunity to re-examine our disciplines’ underpinnings by casting light on the implications of genomics with novel approaches to address thorny issues — such as determining whether, what, to whom, when, and how genomic information, including “incidental” findings, should be discovered and disclosed to individuals and their families, and whose voice matters in making these determinations particularly when children are involved.

One creative approach we developed is narrative genomics using drama with provocative characters and dialogue as an interdisciplinary pedagogical approach to bring to life the diverse voices, varied contexts, and complex processes that encompass the nascent field of genomics as it evolves from research to clinical practice. This creative educational technique focuses on inherent challenges currently posed by the comprehensive interrogation and analysis of DNA through sequencing the human genome with next generation technologies and illuminates bioethical issues, providing a stage to reflect on the controversies together, and temper the sometimes contentious debates that ensue.

As a bioethics teaching method, narrative genomics highlights the breadth of individuals affected by next-gen technologies — the conversations among professionals and families — bringing to life the spectrum of emotions and challenges that envelope genomics. Recent controversies over genomic sequencing in children and consent issues have brought fundamental ethical theses to the stage to be re-examined, further fueling our belief in drama as an interdisciplinary pedagogical approach to explore how society evaluates, processes, and shares genomic information that may implicate future generations. With a mutual interest in enhancing dialogue and understanding about the multi-faceted implications raised by generating and sharing vast amounts of genomic information, and with diverse backgrounds in bioethics, policy, psychology, genetics, law, health humanities, and neuroscience, we have been collaboratively weaving dramatic narratives to enhance the bioethics educational experience within varied professional contexts and a wide range of academic levels to foster interprofessionalism.

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From left to right, the structures of A-, B-, and Z-DNA by Zephyris (Richard Wheeler). CC-BY-SA-3.0 from Wikimedia Commons.

Dramatizations of fictionalized individual, familial, and professional relationships that surround the ethical landscape of genomics create the potential to stimulate bioethical reflection and new perceptions amongst “actors” and the audience, sparking the moral imagination through the lens of others. By casting light on all “the storytellers” and the complexity of implications inherent with this powerful technology, dramatic narratives create vivid scenarios through which to imagine the challenges faced on the genomic path ahead, critique the application of bioethical traditions in context, and re-imagine alternative paradigms.

Building upon the legacy of using case vignettes as a clinical teaching modality, and inspired by “readers’ theater”, “narrative medicine,” and “narrative ethics” as approaches that helped us expand the analyses to implications of genomic technologies, our experience suggests similar value for bioethics education within the translational research and public policy domain. While drama has often been utilized in academic and medical settings to facilitate empathy and spotlight ethical and legal controversies such as end-of-life issues and health law, to date there appears to be few dramatizations focusing on next-generation sequencing (NGS) in genomic research and medicine.

We initially collaborated on the creation of a short vignette play in the context of genomic research and the informed consent process that was performed at the NHGRI-ELSI Congress by a geneticist, genetic counselor, bioethicists, and other conference attendees. The response by “actors” and audience fueled us to write many more plays of varying lengths on different ethical and genomic issues, as well as to explore the dialogues of existing theater with genetic and genomic themes — all to be presented and reflected upon by interdisciplinary professionals in the bioethics and genomics community at professional society meetings and academic medical institutions nationally and internationally.

Because narrative genomics is a pedagogical approach intended to facilitate discourse, as well as provide reflection on the interrelatedness of the cross-disciplinary issues posed, we ground our genomic plays in current scholarship and ensure that it is accurate scientifically as well as provide extensive references and pose focused bioethics questions which can complement and enhance the classroom experience.

In a similar vein, bioethical controversies can also be brought to life with this approach where bioethics reaching incorporates dramatizations and excerpts from existing theatrical narratives, whether to highlight bioethics issues thematically, or to illuminate the historical path to the genomics revolution and other medical innovations from an ethical perspective.

Varying iterations of these dramatic narratives have been experienced (read, enacted, witnessed) by bioethicists, policy makers, geneticists, genetic counselors, other healthcare professionals, basic scientists, bioethicists, lawyers, patient advocates, and students to enhance insight and facilitate interdisciplinary and interprofessional dialogue.

Dramatizations embedded in genomic narratives illuminate the human dimensions and complexity of interactions among family members, medical professionals, and others in the scientific community. By facilitating discourse and raising more questions than answers on difficult issues, narrative genomics links the promise and concerns of next-gen technologies with a creative bioethics pedagogical approach for learning from one another.

Heading image: Andrzej Joachimiak and colleagues at Argonne’s Midwest Center for Structural Genomics deposited the consortium’s 1,000th protein structure into the Protein Data Bank. CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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36. Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon

How rapidly does medical knowledge advance? Very quickly if you read modern newspapers, but rather slowly if you study history. Nowhere is this more true than in the fields of neurology and psychiatry.

It was believed that studies of common disorders of the nervous system began with Greco-Roman Medicine, for example, epilepsy, “The sacred disease” (Hippocrates) or “melancholia”, now called depression. Our studies have now revealed remarkable Babylonian descriptions of common neuropsychiatric disorders a millennium earlier.

There were several Babylonian Dynasties with their capital at Babylon on the River Euphrates. Best known is the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty (626-539 BC) associated with King Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) and the capture of Jerusalem (586 BC). But the neuropsychiatric sources we have studied nearly all derive from the Old Babylonian Dynasty of the first half of the second millennium BC, united under King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC).

The Babylonians made important contributions to mathematics, astronomy, law and medicine conveyed in the cuneiform script, impressed into clay tablets with reeds, the earliest form of writing which began in Mesopotamia in the late 4th millennium BC. When Babylon was absorbed into the Persian Empire cuneiform writing was replaced by Aramaic and simpler alphabetic scripts and was only revived (translated) by European scholars in the 19th century AD.

The Babylonians were remarkably acute and objective observers of medical disorders and human behaviour. In texts located in museums in London, Paris, Berlin and Istanbul we have studied surprisingly detailed accounts of what we recognise today as epilepsy, stroke, psychoses, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), psychopathic behaviour, depression and anxiety. For example they described most of the common seizure types we know today e.g. tonic clonic, absence, focal motor, etc, as well as auras, post-ictal phenomena, provocative factors (such as sleep or emotion) and even a comprehensive account of schizophrenia-like psychoses of epilepsy.

babylon large
Epilepsy Tablet and the Dying Lioness, reproduced with kind permission of The British Museum.

Early attempts at prognosis included a recognition that numerous seizures in one day (i.e. status epilepticus) could lead to death. They recognised the unilateral nature of stroke involving limbs, face, speech and consciousness, and distinguished the facial weakness of stroke from the isolated facial paralysis we call Bell’s palsy. The modern psychiatrist will recognise an accurate description of an agitated depression, with biological features including insomnia, anorexia, weakness, impaired concentration and memory. The obsessive behaviour described by the Babylonians included such modern categories as contamination, orderliness of objects, aggression, sex, and religion. Accounts of psychopathic behaviour include the liar, the thief, the troublemaker, the sexual offender, the immature delinquent and social misfit, the violent, and the murderer.

The Babylonians had only a superficial knowledge of anatomy and no knowledge of brain, spinal cord or psychological function. They had no systematic classifications of their own and would not have understood our modern diagnostic categories. Some neuropsychiatric disorders e.g. stroke or facial palsy had a physical basis requiring the attention of the physician or asû, using a plant and mineral based pharmacology. Most disorders, such as epilepsy, psychoses and depression were regarded as supernatural due to evil demons and spirits, or the anger of personal gods, and thus required the intervention of the priest or ašipu. Other disorders, such as OCD, phobias and psychopathic behaviour were viewed as a mystery, yet to be resolved, revealing a surprisingly open-minded approach.

From the perspective of a modern neurologist or psychiatrist these ancient descriptions of neuropsychiatric phenomenology suggest that the Babylonians were observing many of the common neurological and psychiatric disorders that we recognise today. There is nothing comparable in the ancient Egyptian medical writings and the Babylonians therefore were the first to describe the clinical foundations of modern neurology and psychiatry.

A major and intriguing omission from these entirely objective Babylonian descriptions of neuropsychiatric disorders is the absence of any account of subjective thoughts or feelings, such as obsessional thoughts or ruminations in OCD, or suicidal thoughts or sadness in depression. The latter subjective phenomena only became a relatively modern field of description and enquiry in the 17th and 18th centuries AD. This raises interesting questions about the possibly slow evolution of human self awareness, which is central to the concept of “mental illness”, which only became the province of a professional medical discipline, i.e. psychiatry, in the last 200 years.

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37. Video Sunday: Meet Jbrary for All Your Hand Rhyme Needs

So here’s the deal.  In libraries nationwide there are systems where trained children’s librarians are a scarcity.  There are any number of reasons for this.  It could be that the city or system is low on funds and isn’t hiring.  It could be that there isn’t a reliable library school in the state.  Whatever the case, just because a branch or a library doesn’t have a children’s librarian that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for storytimes.  It’s not like people stop having kids just because there isn’t any programming for them after all.  In a great many rural libraries there’s no statewide ALA accredited library science program in place.  As for urban libraries where clerks and sometimes even pages are roped into doing the children’s programs that may be because there’s a hiring freeze or the library system stopped doing “specialties”.

What then is the solution?  I’ve seen some states like Vermont create certification programs for people working with children in the libraries, giving them the basic training they need for storytimes and knowledge about the books out there.  Yet even if you have a certification program in place, what people working in children’s programming really need are examples of what other librarians are doing out there.  Many already know that if you want to get examples of great library displays you should go to Pinterest and sites like that but what about hand rhymes?  They’re so hard to do without seeing them done somewhere else first.

Enter Jbrary.  It’s not an original idea to film hand rhymes for your library system.  For example, the King County Library System (which, if I may be allowed to trash talk for a moment, is due to be royally thumped by my system’s sorting machine in this week’s big sort off) has a marvelous collection of hand rhyme videos for the viewing here.  I’ve mentioned them in the past and now I’ve another crew to salute.  Acting on their own, two librarians by the name of Dana and Lindsey have systematically been posting hand rhyme after hand rhyme on YouTube under the moniker of Jbrary.  But that is not all, oh no, that is not all.  They also do songs, rhymes, book reviews, app reviews, craft ideas, and felt board ideas.  Everything, in short, that a budding new children’s professional might need to feel a little less out to sea.

So today, I’ll just show a couple of these.  If you’ve someone in your system in need of some guidance in this area, this isn’t a bad place to turn.

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38. Illustrator & Printmaker Daniel Danger

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I first stumbled across Daniel Danger’s work quite a while ago and it stuck with me ever since. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to meet him, but if/when I do, I have a feeling it’ll be like seeing an old friend.

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Daniel is a Boston-based illustrator, mediamaker and printmaker with a penchant for urban scenery, natural landscapes, vintage guitar effect pedals and creepy memories. His style is marked by confident black strokes and eerie uses of color, often looking to one solid shade to create haunting contrast. You might have seen instances of his work through gig posters for bands such as The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, The Decemberists and Flight of the Conchords. He’s also worked with clients like Universal Pictures, Dreamworks, Penguin Books, Polyvinyl Records and ABC Television.

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His aesthetic strongly reminds me of Tugboat Printshop–the obsessive linework and powerful contrast work beautifully in a screenprinted format. I think art is especially successful when it looks good across a variety of formats (screen, print, phone, etc). He reflects the best and worst of reality, and most interestingly, his works reflect what’s neither here nor there–ghosts of forgotten cities, empty theaters, silent roads. Daniel demonstrates a sincere concern for the elements of life that continue to exist without inhabitation–an awareness that is rarely paralleled.

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I feel an extreme bond to Daniel not only over our shared love of creepy abandoned houses, but also because he’s yet another illustrator-musician hybrid (currently on tour in Europe right now, as a matter of fact). In a lot of ways, I couldn’t imagine him not being a musician–if that makes any sense. These pieces would all go entirely too well with some Neko Case or Laura Veirs songs.

The detail of his works is nearly overwhelming to the point of obscurity–as, sometimes, the most realistic aspects of life are the ones that are the most difficult to understand.

Follow along with Daniel and his breathtaking work:

Twitter

Website

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39. Is American higher education in crisis?

American higher education is at a crossroads. The cost of a college education has made people question the benefits of receiving one. To better understand the issues surrounding the supposed crisis, we asked Goldie Blumenstyk, author of American Higher Education in Crisis: What Everyone Needs to Know, to comment on some of the most hot button topics today.

A discussion on the rising cost of higher education.

What does the future of higher education look like?

Are the salaries of university presidents and coaches too high?

A look into the accountability movement in higher education today.

Featured image credit: Grads with diplomas by Saint Louis University Plus Memorial Library. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

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40. Giveaways from Cinda Williams Chima and Karen Akins plus New YALit Releases 10/20-10/26

We're back again this week with a couple of amazing giveaways. Cinda Williams Chima is giving away signed copies of THE SORCERER HEIR and THE ENCHANTER HEIR plus tattoos and a signed poster, and Karen Akins is giving away a signed copy of LOOP. And of course, we have the rundown of new releases this week.

Have a great week and happy reading!

~ The ladies of AYAP
Martina, Alyssa, Lisa, Erin, Becca, and Jan

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


The Sorcerer Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
Signed Hardcover Giveaway 
plus The Enchanter Heir and swag
Disney-Hyperion
Released 10/21/2014

The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely.

Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them.

Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Sorcerer Heir?

The Sorcerer Heir is the final novel in a series of five contemporary fantasies revolving around five magical guilds: Warriors, Wizards, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers. In this novel I was able to clear up the trouble I made for my characters in The Sorcerer Heir as well as giving two deserving minor characters some major stage time. I also got to change up the magical system a little. An appropriate tagline for these last two installments would be: This is what happens when magic goes mutant.

Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at Amazon
Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at IndieBound
View The Sorcerer Heir on Goodreads


* * * *


Loop
by Karen Akins
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 10/21/2014

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Loop?

LOOP is about a twenty-third century time traveler named Bree who meets a boy from the past who is already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets. One of the things I love most about the story is that Finn (the boy) refuses to give up on Bree even when she's almost at the point of giving up on herself. He loves her even when she's unloveable, and that makes it a very hopeful story.

Purchase Loop at Amazon
Purchase Loop at IndieBound
View Loop on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


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Damaged
by Amy Reed
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Jeanette Green

Two teens must come to terms with their friend’s death—and her afterlife—in this gritty and realistic novel from the author of Beautiful, Clean, Crazy, and Over You.

When Kinsey’s best friend Camille dies in a car accident while she was behind the wheel, she shuts down completely, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. She wants to be left alone during the last few weeks of high school, but Camille’s mysterious boyfriend Hunter, who was also in the car that night, has a different idea.

Despite all of Kinsey’s efforts, she can’t shake Camille, who begins haunting her in dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, she agrees to run away with Hunter to San Francisco. As the pair tries to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions how real her perception of her friendship with Camille was, and whether her former friend’s ghost is actually now haunting her. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing.

Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they’ve lost and accept that they can’t outrun pain.

Purchase Damaged at Amazon
Purchase Damaged at IndieBound
View Damaged on Goodreads

* * * *


Hero Complex
by Margaux Froley
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Michelle Lee

Less than a month has passed since Devon Mackintosh uncovered the truth about the apparent suicide of Keaton’s golden boy and her unrequited love, Hutch. But that doesn’t mean the danger is over. Her own life has been threatened. Solving Hutch’s case only unearthed more questions: what lies beneath the Keaton land that could be so valuable as to tear the Hutchins family apart?

Hutch’s grandfather, Reed Hutchins, knows the answer. But Reed is dying of cancer, and this dark family secret might die with him. Faced with no other option, Devon swipes Reed’s diary  and plunges into his life as an 18-year-old science prodigy in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Through his adolescent eyes—and his role in biological weapons research, still classified to this day—Devon fights to piece together the final clues to what haunts the Keaton hillsides, the truth Reed’s enemies are still willing to kill for.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hero Complex?

The thing that surprised me about HERO COMPLEX was the historical backstory I got to play with. I knew I wanted to dig into the origins of the Keaton School and the infamous Mr. Keaton, but I ended up getting really immersed in American life during WWII, particularly in California, which led me down a research vortex of the Japanese Internment camps and the forced internment of Japanese American citizens after Pearl Harbor. Our own President ordered the forced internment of any citizen with Japanese roots. People had to give up their houses, their businesses, their pets, their belongings, and some even their lives in a very thuggish attempt at American safety during WWII.

It seems like a very unthinkable act that could never happen today, but this happened in our recent history. I wanted to bring some of that to light and I really enjoyed weaving real history in with my imaginary Keaton School.

Also, on a totally separate note, I loved getting Devon and her friends off the Keaton campus and having them run around and play in Berkeley and San Francisco. Opening up their world a little bit was a fun way to try to keep everyone fresh.


Purchase Hero Complex at Amazon
Purchase Hero Complex at IndieBound
View Hero Complex on Goodreads

* * * *


Mortal Gods
by Kendare Blake
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Julia Wellman

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Mortal Gods?

My favorite thing about MORTAL GODS is probably the trip to the underworld. I loved writing the scene where they cross over, and of course the three-headed dog!


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* * * *


They All Fall Down
by Roxanne St. Clare
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Joycedale Chapman

Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about They All Fall Down?

I’d never written anything quite like this book, so the story felt wildly fresh and unique to me. Not only had I never written a “thriller” before, I hadn’t read any teen thrillers. I actually had a hard time finding any on the market at the time I started writing. So, this was uncharted territory for me and I hope that translates into a book with plenty of twists and turns that surprise the reader as much as they surprised me.
The other aspect I loved was a chance to incorporate the “dead language” of Latin -- which is not dead at all! Through the assistance of my daughter and her Latin teacher, I was able to weave threads and clues using a language we really don’t know much about -- yet is the basis for so many of our words. What I initially thought would be an interesting character trait for the protagonist turned into a critical plot point for the whole book. I always love when that happens.
I guess there’s one more thing I loved about the book -- it is the first book I’ve written in my whole career where a romance isn’t front and center to the character’s story arc. There is a “love interest” in THEY ALL FALL DOWN but I would never classify this book as a romance. For me, it was liberating and great fun to write without worrying about over-developing that aspect of the story.



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* * * *


Very Bad Things
by Susan McBride
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winners - Heather Raglin, Anna Weimer, and Shannon Mizikoski

Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone…she's dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Very Bad Things?

At its core, Very Bad Things is a thriller with a lot of twists and turns, but it’s also a story about friendship, love, and trust. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve believed in someone and thought we knew that person so well only to find out that much of what we felt to be true was a pack of lies. In VBT, as Katie tries to unravel the mystery of Rose’s disappearance, she begins to realize that even the people she thinks she knows best and loves the most might not be who she thinks they are. So it’s the characters in Very Bad Things that I love best. They are complicated. They have lived through experiences—some good and some very bad—that have made them who they are. And they’re not always predictable.

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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


Beware the Wild
by Natalie C. Parker
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 10/21/2014

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

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* * * *


Famous in Love
by Rebecca Serle
Hardcover
Poppy
Released 10/21/2014

When seventeen-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is -- and who she wants -- while the whole world watches.

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* * * *


How It Went Down
by Kekla Magoon
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 10/21/2014

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.

Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.

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* * * *


Snake Bite
by Andrew Lane
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 10/21/2014

Kidnapped, Sherlock ~16 sails through tropical storm to Shanghai. Cook Wu Chung and father of new pal Cameron Mackenzie both die from same snake bite, first slow sickness, second instant paralysis. Veiled Mr Arrhenius hides small clawed shadow in cage, and coded circle-line web that attracts Chinese junk pirate attack. Only three boys can save an American navy steamer.

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* * * *


Stone Cold Touch
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Paperback
Harlequin Teen
Released 10/21/2014

Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

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* * * *


Ticker
by Lisa Mantchev
Hardcover
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass ?Ticker, ? transforming her into ?the first of the Augmented!? But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.

The last day of Warwick's trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

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* * * *


Time's Edge
by Rysa Walker
Paperback
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists? hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key?one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy?her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate?s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene. But their growing bond threatens everything Kate is trying to rebuild with Trey, her boyfriend who can?t remember the relationship she can?t forget.

As evidence of Saul?s twisted mind builds, Kate?s missions become more complex, blurring the line between good and evil. Which of the people Saul plans to sacrifice in the past can she and Kiernan save without risking their ultimate goal?or their own lives?

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41. Tucker Shaw, author of OH YEAH, AUDREY!, believes there are little moments within big moments, and secrets to be found in NYC.

What is your favorite thing about OH YEAH, AUDREY!?

I had to think about this question for a bit before settling on an answer. At first I thought, well, obviously my favorite thing is Gemma Beasley, my main character and, during the process of writing her story, my alter ego. She’s outgoing, stylish, thoughtful, energetic, kind – all qualities I admire and would like to have more of.

Then I thought well, hmm. Maybe my favorite thing about this story is Audrey Hepburn. Of course, she’s not in the book, not really, but her sense of style, of acting, of living, of being, permeates every corner and idea in the book. What kind of person remains such a huge and lasting presence even so many years after “Breakfast at Tiffanys” and her other films? Who attains and retains her status as a powerful international role model even twenty-one years after her death? Who do millions of people want to grow up to emulate? It has to be Audrey Hepburn.

But the truth is, after thoroughly excavating my brain, I know that my favorite thing about “Oh Yeah, Audrey!” is New York City, where I spent the most important fifteen years of my life and which remains, even though I don’t live there now, my center of gravity. I love it because there are thousands – millions – of Gemma Beasleys (or Tucker Shaws or insert-your-name-heres) in New York on any given day, searching the city and its landmarks, accepting its dares, falling into its traps, discovering its hidden passageways, looking for a better understanding of who they are. They know, like Gemma knew, like so many know: There’s no other city in the world that holds the secret.

Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn’s character in “Breakfast at Tiffanys,” delivers a line near the end of the film that, more than any other moment in the movie, sounds as if it’s coming straight from the actress, not the character: “Oh, I love New York.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K1AssnvQFY) It’s an acknowledgement that Holly’s story couldn’t have happened anywhere else. And neither could Gemma’s. 

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I often think about small moments within big moments, and how things that seem relatively unimportant at the time later reveal themselves to be crucial. For all the thought and endurance that goes into planning big events, it’s the small decisions, the ones that others don’t always see or weigh in on, that really define who we are. Gemma, the main character in “Oh Yeah, Audrey!,” spends a lot of time and energy planning what should the biggest event of her life, but it’s the small, unseen decisions she makes that change who she is. My other inspiration? Hello, Audrey Hepburn. What a muse!

How long did you work on the book?

I spent about a year and a half on this book. It’s a good thing all my drafts were electronic and not actually on paper, or the northern forests would be a lot smaller right now.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I’ve lost track of the number of books I’ve written, or at least started, that didn’t get published. But I’ve been fortunate to have five novels published before this one (“Flavor of the Week,” “Confessions of a Backup Dancer,” “The Hookup Artist,” “The Girls,” and “Anxious Hearts”). I’ve also written a couple of cookbooks – my day job is as a food writer and editor for America’s Test Kitchen.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I’m not sure I have a ritual. I decided fairly early on in my writing life that, while I love the idea of holing up in a cabin in the woods and shutting out the world to concentrate, it’s just not realistic. And so, I have to be comfortable writing in any circumstance. Distractions exist even when you think you’ve banished them (because really, they’re in your brain). As I write this now, I have the US Open tennis tournament on the television and I have three unanswered texts on my phone. And I have four characters for my (hoped-for) next book causing mischief in my head.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

They’re just words. Don’t be afraid of them.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Oh Yeah, Audrey!
by Tucker Shaw
Hardcover
Amulet Books
Released 10/14/2014

It’s 5:00 a.m. on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand—just like Holly Golightly. As the cofounder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself.Filled with hip and sparkling prose, Oh Yeah, Audrey! is as much a story of friendship as it is a love letter to New York, Audrey Hepburn, and the character she made famous: Holly Golightly.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Tucker Shaw was born in Maine, went to high school in Denver, and lived in New York City for 16 years before returning to the Mile High City to review restaurants for the Denver Post in 2005. He's now an editor in the Features department, where he covers arts, entertainment, style, culture, books, food and more. OH YEAH, AUDREY! is his sixth book for young adults. Most of his time is spent thinking about lunch. The rest of his time is spent thinking about dinner.

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42. Goosebumps Monster Personality Quiz

Goosebumps SlappyWhich Goosebumps Monster Are YOU?

Villainy. Terror. Mischief.  All words to describe the monsters that wreak havoc in the Goosebumps book series by R.L. Stine. The menacing ghouls that fill the pages of the books each have their quirks that make their “monster-nalities” absolutely wretched! Take the Goosebumps Monster Quiz to see which ghoul is your rightful alter-ego.

Are you the trash-talking Slappy with a heart of pure cold, the vengeful Mummy, the devilish Scarecrow, the dastardly Lawn Gnomes, or the beastly Abominable Snowman? Discover your innermost wicked trait and see which Goosebumps monster you truly are.

Take the quiz. Which monster are you? Post it in the Comments.

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43. Some of the language is a little old fashioned, but I still want to read them all!

I'm beginning to wonder if my perfect job isn't the job for me. Don’t get me wrong I love every minute of it, but it hardly pays the bills. It’s my own fault. I spend more time reading than cataloguing but how can I resist when so many beautiful books pass through my hands.  I somehow have to limit the number I read, after all I am supposed to be listing them for sale, not keeping them for my own pleasure.



In How to Read a Novel (Profile Books, 2006), John Sutherland, suggests one trick for intelligent book browsing: turn to page 69 and read it. If you like what you read there, read the whole book. Sutherland in fact credits Marshall McLuhan, guru-author of Guttenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographical Man (University of Toronto Press, 1962) as the originator of this test.


With that in mind, I've picked eight random paragraphs from page 69 of eight books recently catalogued. I've no idea what to expect, but here goes; 

Compton Mackenzie The stairs that kept going down; Have you ever had a nightmare when you were being chased through a dark passage by something or somebody, and when your knees kept getting more and more jellified? If you have you will know what William and Winifred were feeling like when they made their way back along the dark bricked passage, trying to run on tip toes and trying not even to breathe too loudly. And this was not a nightmare from which they would wake up, frightened of course, but still in the safety of their own beds. This was real, horribly, hopelessly, hauntingly real.


Capt. W. E. Johns  Biggles in the cruise of the Condor; They strolled a few yards farther on, and suddenly Biggles paused in his stride and nudged Smyth in the ribs. Just beyond the jail was an open yard filled with wooden cases and several piles of dried palm fronds, which were evidently used as packing for the stacks of adobe bricks that stood at the far end of the yard. Biggles eyed it reflectively, and then, followed by Smythe, crossed over to it. A flimsy fence with a gate, which they quickly ascertained was locked, separated the yard from the road. He turned as a car pulled up a short distance away and a man alighted, lit a cigarette, and then disappeared into a private house. Biggles strolled idly towards the car, his eyes running over it swiftly. It was a Ford, and he noted the spare tin of petrol fastened to the running-board. 

They stared up into the trees, amazed to see green leaves waving above them. Then they turned their heads and saw one another. In a flash they remembered everything. “Couldn’t think where I was,” said Jack, and sat up. “Oh, Kiki, it’s you on my middle, is it? Do get off. Here, have some sunflower seeds and keep quiet, or you’ll wake the girls.” He put his hand in his pocket and took out some of the flat seeds that Kiki loved. She flew up to the bough above, cracking two in her beak. The boys began to talk quietly, so as not to disturb the girls, who were still sleeping peacefully.








Patricia Leitch Highland Pony Trek; “To be quite frank with you,” the Colonel said, “I’d rather see my land barred to everyone. It’s high time this maniac was caught and brought to justice. Been going on for a year now. A sheep here and a sheep there. All the time suspicion growing, innocent men being accused and ill feeling all round.”













Pat Smythe The Three Jays on holiday: From Avignon to the University town of Aix en Provence, the children gamely fought a losing battle against going to sleep. Darcy covered the last lap of the journey in record time, as he wanted to see a flying friend of his who lived in Aix and perhaps get him to have dinner with them. Jane, was encouraging his use of a few French words, in fact the four of them had a competition as to who could make the most French sounding sentence. 










Angela Brazil Three terms at Uplands: Time wore away, and at last came the eventful day when the two male members of the family started for the north. Claire, having waved a farewell to their taxi from the gate, returned to the house feeling decidedly flat. There seemed nothing particular to do. Her own packing was finished. She wandered about during the morning, and after dinner she decided to go and say good-bye to Honor Marshall, a girl who lived in a road near. She found her friend seated in a summer-house in the garden, and began to expatiate upon her own prospects at Uplands. 

Susan Price Ghost dance; The wind had dropped and it was a silent land she skimmed over, but with her shaman’s training she heard every sound there was: the hiss of her skies on the snow, the whining of the wind in the trees and the sharp knock of one branch against another, the sudden scream of a fox. She moved always towards the south, which she knew from the stars. Once, when the stars were covered, she asked the way of a blue fox, calling out, “Elder sister – which way to the city, the Czar’s city in the South?”

Frances Cowen The secret of Grange Farm; Now for the quarry. She stood in the road taking her bearings. It lay, she remembered, due east from the farm but only about ten minutes’ walk through the fields. In fact the quarry was on their land, and, in the old forgotten days, when Napoleon had threatened our shores, the owners of the farm had made quite an income out of it. Nicky had taken her there and helped her down to the old workings, chipped off part of the chalk, and shown her the fossils embedded in it.  She decided to by-pass the farm, and to cross the fields, and so down to the cup-like valley which formed the quarry. Presently she found it so dark that she had to use her torch to find the little track she only just remembered, but, even as she did so, a faint flow showed in the sky as the moon rose slowly beyond scudding clouds.

So there you have it, some of the language is a little old fashioned, but I still want to read them all! How about you, if you’re not convinced, why not try a similar experiment, I would love to hear how you get on…


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

Just before I go – do you remember the Lottie Holiday Adventure StoryWriting Competition as featured on my blog in August?  Four-year-old  Evie from Perth, Western Australia wrote a quirky and adventurous tale about the discovery of a T-Rex dinosaur bone. The story was selected ahead of other entrants from countries including the USA, UK, Australia and UAE, and wins Evie a selection of ten books from the Lottie Pinterest folder ‘Great Books for Girls’ (that boys can read too!), in addition to exclusive new Lottie products before they hit the shelves.  Well done Evie!




One last thing, while I was looking around the Internet for clues about how others decide on their next read I came across this little pearl of wisdom written by Nancy Pearl (sorry I couldn’t resist the pun!) – “One of my strongest beliefs is that no one should ever finish a book they’re not enjoying. Reading should be a joy. So, you can all apply my Rule of Fifty to your reading list. Give a book fifty pages if you’re under fifty years old. If you don’t like it, give it away, return it, whatever and then read something else. If you’re over fifty, subtract your age from 100 and that’s how many pages you should read …"
You know what that means, right? When you turn one hundred, you can judge a book by its cover.


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44. Five key moments in the Open Access movement in the last ten years

In 2014 Oxford University Press celebrates ten years of open access (OA) publishing. In that time open access has grown massively as a movement and an industry. Here we look back at five key moments which have marked that growth.

2004/05 – Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) converts to OA

At first glance it might seem parochial to include this here, but as Rich Roberts noted on this blog in 2012, Nucleic Acids Research’s move to open access was truly ‘momentous’. To put it in context, in 2004 NAR was OUP’s biggest owned journal and it was not at all clear that many of the elements were in place to drive the growth of OA. But in 2004/2005 NAR moved from being free to publish to free to read – with authors now supporting the journal financially by paying APCs (Article Processing Charges). No wonder Roberts adds that it was ‘with great trepidation’ that OUP and the editors made the change. Roberts needn’t have worried — NAR’s switch has been a huge success — its impact factor has increased, and submissions, which could have fallen off a cliff, have continued to climb. As with anything, there are elements of the NAR model which couldn’t be replicated now, but NAR helped show the publishing world in particular that OA could work. It’s saying something that it’s only ten years on, with the transition of Nature Communications to OA, that any journal near NAR’s size has made the switch.

NAR Revenue Streams  2004
NAR Revenue Streams 2004
NAR Revenue Streams 2013
NAR Revenue Streams 2013

2008 – National Institutes of Health (NIH) Mandate Introduced

Open access presents huge opportunities for research funders; the removal of barriers to access chimes perfectly with most funders’ aim to disseminate the fruits of their research as widely as possible. But as both the NIH and Wellcome, amongst others, have found out, author interests don’t always chime exactly with theirs. Authors have other pressures to consider – primarily career development – and that means publishing in the best journal, the journal with the highest impact factor, etc. and not necessarily the one with the best open access options. So it was that in 2008 the NIH found it was getting a very low rate of compliance with its recommended OA requirements for authors. What happened next was hugely significant for the progress of open access. As part of an Act which passed through the US legislature, it was made mandatory for all NIH-funded authors to make their works available 12 months after publication. This was transformative in two ways: it meant thousands of articles published from NIH research became available through PubMed Central (PMC), and perhaps just as importantly it legitimised government intervention in OA policy, setting a precedent for future developments in Europe and the United Kingdom.

2008 – Springer buys BioMed Central (BMC)

BioMed Central was the first for-profit open access publisher – and since its inception in 2000 it was closely watched in the industry to see if it could make OA ‘work’. When it was purchased by one of the world’s largest publishers, and when that company’s CEO declared that OA was now a ‘sustainable part of STM publishing’, it was a pretty clear sign to the rest of the industry, and all OA-watchers, that the upstart business model was now proving to be more than just an interesting side line. It also reflected the big players in the industry starting to take OA very seriously, and has been followed by other acquisitions – for example Nature purchasing Frontiers in early 2013. The integration of BMC into Springer has happened gradually over the past five years, and has also been marked by a huge expansion of OA at the parent company. Springer was one of the first subscription publishers to embrace hybrid OA, in 2004, but since acquiring BMC they have also massively increased their fully OA publishing. It seems bizarre to think that back in 2008 there were even some who feared the purchase was aimed at moving all BMC’s journals back to subscription access.

2007 on – Growth of PLOS ONE

The head and shoulders of Janet Finch, pictured on the platform as a guest speaker at the 11 November 2003 General Meeting of the Keele University Students' Union. KUSU Ballroom, Keele, Staffordshire, UK. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
The head and shoulders of Janet Finch, pictured on the platform as a guest speaker at the 11 November 2003 General Meeting of the Keele University Students’ Union. KUSU Ballroom, Keele, Staffordshire, UK. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) started publishing open access journals back in 2003, but while its journals quickly developed a reputation for high-quality publishing, the not-for-profit struggled to succeed financially. The advent of PLOS ONE changed all that. PLOS ONE has been transformative for several reasons, most notably its method of peer review. Typically top journals have tended to have their niche, and be selective. A journal on carcinogens would be unlikely to accept a paper about molecular biology, and it would only accept a paper on carcinogens if it was seen to be sufficiently novel and interesting. PLOS ONE changed that. It covers every scientific field, and its peer review is methodological (i.e. is the basic science sound) rather than looking for anything else. This enabled PLOS ONE to rapidly turn into the biggest journal in the world, publishing a staggering 31,500 papers in 2013 alone. PLOS ONE’s success cannot be solely attributed to its OA nature, but it was being OA which enabled PLOS ONE to become the ‘megajournal’ we know today. It would simply not be possible to bring such scale to a subscription journal. The price would balloon beyond the reach of even the biggest library budget. PLOS ONE has spawned a rash of similar journals and more than any one title it has energised the development of OA, dispelling previously-held notions of what could and couldn’t be done in journals publishing.

2012 – The ‘Finch’ Report

It’s difficult to sum up the vast impact of the Finch Report on journals publishing in the UK. The product of a group chaired by the eponymous Dame Janet Finch, the report, by way of two government investigations, catalysed a massive investment in gold open access (funded by APCs) from the UK government, crystallised by Research Councils UK’s OA policy. In setting the direction clearly towards gold OA, ‘Finch’ led to a huge number of journals changing their policies to accommodate UK researchers, and the establishment of OA policies, departments, and infrastructure at academic institutions and publishers across the UK and beyond. The wide-ranging policy implications of ‘Finch’ continue to be felt as time progresses, through 2014’s Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) for England policy, through research into the feasibility of OA monographs, and through deliberations in other jurisdictions over whether to follow the UK route to open access. HEFCE’s OA mandate in particular will prove incredibly influential for UK researchers – as it directly ties the assessment of a university’s funding to their success in ensuring their authors publish OA. The mainstream media attention paid to ‘Finch’ also brought OA publishing into the public eye in a way never seen before (or since).

Headline image credit: Storm of Stars in the Trifid Nebula. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

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45. Efficient causation: Our debt to Aristotle and Hume

Causation is now commonly supposed to involve a succession that instantiates some lawlike regularity. This understanding of causality has a history that includes various interrelated conceptions of efficient causation that date from ancient Greek philosophy and that extend to discussions of causation in contemporary metaphysics and philosophy of science. Yet the fact that we now often speak only of causation, as opposed to efficient causation, serves to highlight the distance of our thought on this issue from its ancient origins. In particular, Aristotle (384-322 BCE) introduced four different kinds of “cause” (aitia): material, formal, efficient, and final. We can illustrate this distinction in terms of the generation of living organisms, which for Aristotle was a particularly important case of natural causation. In terms of Aristotle’s (outdated) account of the generation of higher animals, for instance, the matter of the menstrual flow of the mother serves as the material cause, the specially disposed matter from which the organism is formed, whereas the father (working through his semen) is the efficient cause that actually produces the effect. In contrast, the formal cause is the internal principle that drives the growth of the fetus, and the final cause is the healthy adult animal, the end point toward which the natural process of growth is directed.

Aristotle_by_Raphael
Aristotle, by Raphael Sanzio. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

From a contemporary perspective, it would seem that in this case only the contribution of the father (or perhaps his act of procreation) is a “true” cause. Somewhere along the road that leads from Aristotle to our own time, material, formal and final aitiai were lost, leaving behind only something like efficient aitiai to serve as the central element in our causal explanations. One reason for this transformation is that the historical journey from Aristotle to us passes by way of David Hume (1711-1776). For it is Hume who wrote: “[A]ll causes are of the same kind, and that in particular there is no foundation for that distinction, which we sometimes make betwixt efficient causes, and formal, and material … and final causes” (Treatise of Human Nature, I.iii.14). The one type of cause that remains in Hume serves to explain the producing of the effect, and thus is most similar to Aristotle’s efficient cause. And so, for the most part, it is today.

However, there is a further feature of Hume’s account of causation that has profoundly shaped our current conversation regarding causation. I have in mind his claim that the interrelated notions of cause, force and power are reducible to more basic non-causal notions. In Hume’s case, the causal notions (or our beliefs concerning such notions) are to be understood in terms of the constant conjunction of objects or events, on the one hand, and the mental expectation that an effect will follow from its cause, on the other. This specific account differs from more recent attempts to reduce causality to, for instance, regularity or counterfactual/probabilistic dependence. Hume himself arguably focused more on our beliefs concerning causation (thus the parenthetical above) than, as is more common today, directly on the metaphysical nature of causal relations. Nonetheless, these attempts remain “Humean” insofar as they are guided by the assumption that an analysis of causation must reduce it to non-causal terms. This is reflected, for instance, in the version of “Humean supervenience” in the work of the late David Lewis. According to Lewis’s own guarded statement of this view: “The world has its laws of nature, its chances and causal relationships; and yet — perhaps! — all there is to the world is its point-by-point distribution of local qualitative character” (On the Plurality of Worlds, 14).

David_Hume
Portrait of David Hume, by Allan Ramsey (1766). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Admittedly, Lewis’s particular version of Humean supervenience has some distinctively non-Humean elements. Specifically — and notoriously — Lewis has offered a counterfactural analysis of causation that invokes “modal realism,” that is, the thesis that the actual world is just one of a plurality of concrete possible worlds that are spatio-temporally discontinuous. One can imagine that Hume would have said of this thesis what he said of Malebranche’s occasionalist conclusion that God is the only true cause, namely: “We are got into fairy land, long ere we have reached the last steps of our theory; and there we have no reason to trust our common methods of argument, or to think that our usual analogies and probabilities have any authority” (Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, §VII.1). Yet the basic Humean thesis in Lewis remains, namely, that causal relations must be understood in terms of something more basic.

And it is at this point that Aristotle re-enters the contemporary conversation. For there has been a broadly Aristotelian move recently to re-introduce powers, along with capacities, dispositions, tendencies and propensities, at the ground level, as metaphysically basic features of the world. The new slogan is: “Out with Hume, in with Aristotle.” (I borrow the slogan from Troy Cross’s online review of Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism.) Whereas for contemporary Humeans causal powers are to be understood in terms of regularities or non-causal dependencies, proponents of the new Aristotelian metaphysics of powers insist that regularities and dependencies must be understood rather in terms of causal powers.

Should we be Humean or Aristotelian with respect to the question of whether causal powers are basic or reducible features of the world? Obviously I cannot offer any decisive answer to this question here. But the very fact that the question remains relevant indicates the extent of our historical and philosophical debt to Aristotle and Hume.

Headline image: Face to face. Photo by Eugenio. CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Flickr

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46. Preparing for the International Law Weekend 2014

The 2014 International Law Weekend Annual Meeting is taking place this month at Fordham Law School, in New York City (24-25 October 2014).

The theme of this year’s meeting is “International Law in a Time of Chaos”, exploring the role of international law in conflict mitigation. Panel discussions will examine various aspects of both public international law and private international law, including trade, investment, arbitration, intellectual property, combatting corruption, labor standards in the global supply chain, and human rights, as well as issues of international organizations and international security.

ILW is sponsored and organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) and the International Law Students Association (ILSA). Every year more than one thousand practitioners, academics, diplomats, members of the governmental and nongovernmental sectors, and students attend this conference.

This year’s conference highlights include:

  • This year’s keynote from Lori Damrosch, Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Columbia Law School, and President of the American Society of International Law. “Democratization of Foreign Policy and International Law, 1914-2014” Friday, 1:30PM (Room 2-02A)
  • Several talks on recent events in Crimea. (Check out our OPIL Debate Map: Ukraine Use of Force, to learn more on the subject in advance.)
    • <“European Union – Challenges or Chaos,” Friday, 9:00AM (Room 2-02A)
    • “Update on the International Criminal Court’s Crime of Aggression: Considering Crimea,” Friday, 10:45AM (Room 2-02B)
    • <“Self-Determination, Secession, and Non Intervention in the Age of Crimea and Kosovo,” Friday, 4:45PM (Room 2-02B)
  • The “International Adjudication in the 21st Century” panel, including OUP author Cesare Romano, will discuss the key findings of the recently published The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication. Friday, 9:00AM (Room 2-01B). (Read up on the topic before the event, with free content from the book.)
  • Top practitioners in the field discuss “International Investment Arbitration and the Rule of Law”, Friday 4:45PM (Room 2-02A). (Sign up for our Free Investment Claims Webinar on October 20th to brush up on VCLT in BIT arbitrations in time for this panel.)
  • Looking for career advice? Attend this roundtable discussion on Saturday afternoon “Careers in International Human Rights, International Development, and International Rule of Law,” Saturday, 3:30PM (Room 2-02B)

This year we are excited to see a number of OUP authors sitting on panels, including: Cesare Romano, editor of The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication (with Karen J. Alter, and Yuval Shany); Ryan Goodman, author of the ASIL award winning book Socializing States: Promoting Human Rights through International Law (with Derek Jinks); August Reinisch, editor of The Privileges and Immunities of International Organizations in Domestic Courts; Jose E. Alvarez, author of The Evolving International Investment Regime (with Karl P. Sauvant); Ruti G. Teitel, author of Globalizing Transitional Justice: Contemporary Essays; Daniel H. Joyner, author of Interpreting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and Philip Alston, author of International Human Rights (with Ryan Goodman), to name a few.

For the full International Law Weekend 2014 schedule of events, visit ILSA and American Branch of the International Law Association websites.

Fordham Law School is located in the wonderful Lincoln Square neighborhood of New York and just around the corner from some great activities after the conference:

Of course, we hope to see you at Oxford University Press booth. We’ll be offering the chance to browse and buy our new and bestselling titles on display at a 20% conference discount, discover what’s new in Oxford Law Online, and pick up sample copies of our latest our latest law journals.

To follow the latest updates about the ILW Conference as it happens, follow us on Twitter at @OUPIntLaw and the hashtag #ILW2014.

See you in there!

Headline image credit: 2011, 62nd St by Cornerstones of New York, CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr.

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47. Linguistic necromancy: a guide for the uninitiated

It’s fairly common knowledge that languages, like people, have families. English, for instance, is a member of the Germanic family, with sister languages including Dutch, German, and the Scandinavian languages. Germanic, in turn, is a branch of a larger family, Indo-European, whose other members include the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, and more), Russian, Greek, and Persian.

Being part of a family of course means that you share a common ancestor. For the Romance languages, that mother language is Latin; with the spread and then fall of the Roman empire, Latin split into a number of distinct daughter languages. But what did the Germanic mother language look like? Here there’s a problem, because, although we know that language must have existed, we don’t have any direct record of it.

The earliest Old English written texts date from the 7th century AD, and the earliest Germanic text of any length is a 4th-century translation of the Bible into Gothic, a now-extinct Germanic language. Though impressively old, this text still dates from long after the breakup of the Germanic mother language into its daughters.

How does one go about recovering the features of a language that is dead and gone, and which has left no records of itself in spoken or written form? This is the subject matter of linguistic necromancy – or linguistic reconstruction, as it is more conventionally known.

The enterprise, dubbed “darkest of the dark arts” and “the only means to conjure up the ghosts of vanished centuries” in the epigraph to a chapter of Campbell’s historical linguistics textbook, really got off the ground in the 1900s due to a development of a toolkit of techniques known as the comparative method.

Crucial to the comparative method was a revolutionary empirical finding: the regularity of sound change. Though it has wide-reaching implications, the basic finding is simple to grasp. In a nutshell: it’s sounds that change, not words, and when they change, all words which include those sounds are affected.

Detail of a page from the Codex Argenteus. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Detail of a page from the Codex Argenteus. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Let’s take an example. Lots of English words beginning with a p sound have a German counterpart that begins with pf. Here are some of them:

  • English path: German Pfad
  • English pepper: German Pfeffer
  • English pipe: German Pfeife
  • English pan: German Pfanne
  • English post: German Pfoste

If the forms of words simply changed at random, these systematic correspondences would be a miraculous coincidence. However, in the light of the regularity of sound change they make perfect sense. Specifically, at some point in the early history of German, the language sounded a lot more like (Old) English. But then the sound p underwent a change to pf at the beginning of words, and all words starting with p were affected.

There’s much more to be said about the regularity of sound change, since it underlies pretty much everything we know about language family groupings. (If you’re interested in finding out more, Guy Deutscher’s book The Unfolding of Language provides an accessible summary.) But for now let’s concentrate on its implications for necromantic purposes, which are immense.

If we want to invoke the words and sounds of a long-dead language like the mother language Proto-Germanic (the ‘proto-’ indicates that the language is reconstructed, rather than directly evidenced in texts), we just need to figure out what changes have happened to the sounds of the daughter languages, and to peel them back one by one like the layers of an onion. Eventually we’ll reach a point where all the daughter languages sound the same; and voilà, we’ve conjured up a proto-language.

There’s more to living languages than just sounds and words though. Living languages have syntax: a structure, a skeleton. By contrast, reconstructed protolanguages tend to look more like ghosts: hauntingly amorphous clouds of words and sounds. There are practical reasons why the reconstruction of proto-syntax has lagged behind. One is simply that our understanding of syntax, in general, has come a long way since the work of the reconstruction pioneers in the 19th century.

Another is that there is nothing quite like the regularity of syntactic change in syntax: how can we tell which syntactic structures correspond to each other across languages? These problems have led some to be sceptical about the possibility of syntactic reconstruction, or at any rate about its fruitfulness. Nevertheless, progress is being made. To take one example, English is a language that doesn’t like to leave out the subject of a sentence. We say “He speaks Swahili” or “It is raining”, not “Speaks Swahili” or “Is raining”. Though most of the modern Germanic languages behave the same, many other languages, like Italian and Japanese, have no such requirement; speakers can include or omit the subject of the sentence as the fancy takes them. Was Proto-Germanic like English, or like Italian or Japanese, in this respect? Doing a bit of necromancy based on the earliest Germanic written records suggests that Proto-Germanic was, like the latter, quite happy to omit the subject, at least under certain circumstances.Of course the issue is more complex than that – Italian and Japanese themselves differ with regard to the circumstances under which subjects can be omitted.

Slowly but surely, though, historical linguists are starting to add skeletons to the reanimated spectres of proto-languages.

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48. Adventures in YA Publishing Is Looking for an Interview Coordinator and an Interview Formatter

Hi all,

Due to illness, we are losing our Interview Coordinator effective immediately. We're heartbroken, because Katharyn Sinelli has very big shoes to fill. So big that we're effectively going to split the position in two to make it more manageable for a non-superhuman to accomplish.

Here's what's involved:

Interview Coordinator

1) Check the list of upcoming YA books and enter the title, ISBN-10, author's name and release date into our database.
2) Check contact information for authors, enter to database, and click the send button to generate automated interview requests.
3) Respond to response emails from authors and enter interview answers into the database and into a scheduled post as they come in.
4) Pass interest for WOW Wednesday posts and Craft Posts to appropriate editors

Interview Formatter

1) Check the scheduled Saturday interview posts, bold questions, pull book data from the database and cut and paste into interview post.

What do you get in return?  Be part of the team behind a two-time 101 Best Websites for Writers site. Learn from and interact with great authors. Help set new policy and directions for the site. Plenty of room to make things your own.

Interested? Contact us at ayaplit at gmail dot com! Please include a resume or synopsis of your experience and why you're interested. Please also include a couple of references. : ) Thanks!

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49. Susan McBride,author of VERY BAD THINGS, talks about managing multiple POV's, and writing with a two year old.

What is your favorite thing about VERY BAD THINGS?

At its core, Very Bad Things is a thriller with a lot of twists and turns, but it’s also a story about friendship, love, and trust. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve believed in someone and thought we knew that person so well only to find out that much of what we felt to be true was a pack of lies. In VBT, as Katie tries to unravel the mystery of Rose’s disappearance, she begins to realize that even the people she thinks she knows best and loves the most might not be who she thinks they are. So it’s the characters in Very Bad Things that I love best. They are complicated. They have lived through experiences—some good and some very bad—that have made them who they are. And they’re not always predictable.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I have written lots of mysteries for the general fiction market, and the idea behind Very Bad Things was originally intended to be for adults. But after going through several other mystery ideas with my editor at Delacorte, I brought this idea up and she loved it!  I think the story actually works better as a YA mystery. The prep school setting just worked out so beautifully, and the complicated relationships between Katie, Mark, and Tessa probably wouldn’t have been as effective if the characters were, say, in their 30s. Everything just clicked.

How long did you work on the book?

I worked on Very Bad Things on and off for about two years. It went through three revisions before I knew I got it right. Initially, I had a character’s point of view that was eliminated entirely, and I had to start fresh using another character’s point of view. It was very tricky and totally absorbing trying to approach what happens in the story—the disappearance of Rose and the aftermath—from three separate perspectives. I didn’t want to give away too much with any one character, yet I had to keep revealing more and more secrets as the plot progressed. It was honestly one of the hardest books I’ve written and the most gratifying.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?


It took me over a decade to get published initially once I was out of college, and I still have about seven or eight unpublished manuscripts in a box in my basement. Luckily, I never tossed any of them, as three were recently dusted off and published by HarperCollins in a new mystery series (the River Road Mysteries, which came out this summer). So, aspiring authors, never throw anything away!  ;-) I’ve actually been writing professionally for 15 years. I have several women’s fiction books with HarperCollins, like Little Black Dress and The Truth About Love & Lightning. There are two books in a non-mystery young adult series with Delacorte, The Debs and Love, Lies & Texas Dips (the third in that series, Gloves Off, was never released so I got the rights back and will publish myself in 2015). And I’ve written the humorous Debutante Dropout Mystery series for HarperCollins that’s been on the USA Today Bestsellers List. Coincidentally, HC/Avon is releasing a five-book collection of the Deb Dropout series on October 14, the same day Very Bad Things drops!). I believe that Very Bad Things is my 18th novel written under contract for either Random House or HarperCollins since 1999. It’s been a very interesting ride, I must say!

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I can’t write with music because I end up listening to it and singing along!  I don’t think I could work in a coffee shop as I’d be too distracted. So I work at home. I have a “writing room”—it feels weird to call it an office because I pretty much just write in it. Before I had a baby two years ago, I would just write all day long, taking breaks for laundry, emails, whatever. Now that I have a toddler running around the house, I have to write when she’s asleep, so that means naptime, early mornings, and late at night. I need relative quiet so I can think, and I kind of like the lights dim so I focus solely on the computer screen.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
 Read a lot and read all different kinds of books. The more you understand what makes a story work, the more you’ll know what your book needs to succeed. Hang out with other people who love books and writing. It’s great to have that support system because we writers are just a different breed. We see things differently, we think differently, and we’re very sensitive and take things personally. If you’re with friends who understand that, it helps a lot. Keep a journal and write down observations, poetry, anything that motivates you. And keep at it. Like I said, I had quite a few manuscripts go unsold. If you believe in yourself, you will make it. It might not happen as fast as you’d like, but it will happen.

What are you working on now? 

I just turned in (and I mean just!) the sixth Debutante Dropout Mystery to my editor at HarperCollins. It’s called Say Yes to the Death, and it’ll be out in September of 2015. And I have an idea for another YA mystery floating around in my head so I hope to get to that one of these days!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Very Bad Things
by Susan McBride
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone…she's dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.

Purchase Very Bad Things at Amazon
Purchase Very Bad Things at IndieBound
View Very Bad Things on Goodreads

Giveaway ends 10/19/2014 at midnight EST.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Susan McBride is the USA Today Bestselling author of Blue Blood and four other award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries from HarperCollins/Avon, including The Good Girl's Guide To Murder, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, Night Of The Living Deb, and Too Pretty To Die. A sixth title, Say Yes to the Death, will be out in early 2015. Susan has another series with Avon debuting in May 2014, the River Road Mysteries, starting with To Helen Back. Mad as Helen will follow in July 2014 and Not a Chance in Helen in September 2014. Susan's young adult thriller, Very Bad Things, will be published in hardcover by Delacorte Press on October 14, 2014.

In addition to her mysteries, Susan has penned three well-received women's fiction titles. The Truth About Love & Lightning (02/13) was selected by Target stores for their Emerging Authors program, was a Midwest Connections Pick, and was dubbed "a poignant page-turner" by Publishers Weekly. Little Black Dress spent five weeks on the St. Louis bestsellers list and was a Target Recommended Read. The Cougar Club was selected by Target Stores as a Bookmarked Breakout Title and named a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association. Foreign editions of Susan's books have been published in France, Turkey, Croatia, and Bulgaria.

Susan has one nonfiction title available: In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40, which tells her tale of becoming an "accidental Cougar" and marrying a younger man, her cancer diagnosis at age 42, and finding herself pregnant at 47.

She has authored several YA non-mystery novels for Delacorte about debutantes in Houston: The Debs (2008) and Love, Lies, And Texas Dips (2009). Gloves Off, the third book, has not yet been released.

In January of 2012, Susan was named one of St. Louis's "Most Dynamic People of the Year" by the Ladue News. In April of 2012, she was given the "Survivor of the Year" Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. As Susan likes to say, "Life is never boring."

Readers can visit her any time at http://susanmcbride.com or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/susanmcbridebooks 

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50. Creatively managing your time

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We’re all guilty at some point of not managing our time as effectively as we could have done. Whether you’re running late for a university submission, deadline for a client is looming or just finding it hard to keep on top of your to do’s maybe creatively managing your time better is something you could improve. Now you don’t need to make major changes to your routine to manage your time better, simply by bringing just some of the tips I have here into your creative day you’ll be surprised just how well you can meet those deadlines on time stress free.

1 . Seperate your tasks into time chunks whether 30-45 minute chunks followed by a break to refresh your mind ready for the next task.

2. Set an alarm to ring when your time is up this will prompt you to move onto the next task and if unfinished come back to your current one later.

3.Use app’s or timers to track how much time you’ve already spent on your project.

4. Pop on a tv series or film is another way of managing your time if you don’t mind abit of background noise, once the show is over you’re prompted to finish what your doing ( just don’t get to distracted watching it if you’re a adventure time fan it might be best to stick to the gardening channel instead).

5. Use a calendar whether paper based or digital to track how much time you have from the start date to finish for your project. This way you can allocate set days and time to progress with your project.

Image by illustrator Kritsten Vasgaard you can find out more about their work here .

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