What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from the Reviews category)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Reviews Category Blogs

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from the Reviews category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 141,371
26. They All Fall Down, by Roxanne St. Claire | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of They All Fall Down, by Roxanne St. Claire. Giveaway begins October 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 24, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
27. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week (the Halloween Edition), Featuring Gerald Kelley, Harriet Muncaster,Greg Pizzoli, and Laura Vaccaro Seeger


– From Carol Brendler’s Not Very Scary,
illustrated by Greg Pizzoli


 


“I don’t know where my mom goes. She’s always my mom, but I think that sometimes she just needs a break from being a witch.”
– From Harriet Muncaster’s
I Am a Witch’s Cat

(Click to see spread in its entirety)

 


– From Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s
Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats


 


– From J. Patrick Lewis’
M is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet,
illustrated by Gerald Kelley


 

We’re celebrating Halloween today, 7-Imp style, with lots of artwork.

Last week here at Kirkus, I did a round-up of some good, new Halloween titles. Today, I’ve got some art from each one. All the art, all the info, and all the covers are below. Greg Pizzoli even sent some early dummy images for his illustrations for Carol Brendler’s Not Very Scary.

Today over at Kirkus, I write about two of my very favorite brand-new early chapter books for children (and both are illustrated). That link will be here soon.

Enjoy the art …



 

Dummy images and art from Carol Brendler’s
Not Very Scary, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August 2014)




Title page spread
(Click each to enlarge)


 



“Melly loved surprises and Malberta’s were the best.
So on the scariest night of all, Melly set out for a visit.”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



“…three wheezy withces following two skittish skeletons and one coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail! ‘Not particularly scary,’ said Melly, but she bit her claws,
one by one. Then she saw …”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



“…five grimy goblins following four mournful ghosts, three wheezy witches, two skittish skeletons, and one coal-black with an itchy-twithcy tail! ‘Not remarkably scary,’
said Melly, but she backed away, right into a briar patch. Then she saw …”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



“…seven frenzied fruit bats following six sullen mummies, five grimy goblins, four mournful ghosts, three wheezy witches, two skittish skeletons, and one coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail! ‘Not especially scary!’ Melly yelled,but her little monster heart skipped a beat-beat-beat. Then she saw …”
(Click each to enlarge)


 



“…nine rambunctious rats join eight spindly spiders, seven frenzied fruit bats, six sullen mummies, five grimy goblins, four mournful ghosts, three wheezy witches, two skittish skeletons, and one coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail! ‘Not tremendously scary!’ Melly yelled, but she shivered as she raised the rusty latch on the gate. Then she saw …”
(Click each to enlarge)


 



“…ten vexing vultures join nine rambunctious rats, eight spindly spiders, seven frenzied fruit bats, six sullen mummies, five grimy goblins, four mournful ghosts, three wheezy witches, two skittish skeletons, and one coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail!
‘NOT VERY SCARY!’ Melly yelled, but her fangs ch-ch-chattered
as she rang Malberta’s b-b-bell.”

(Click each to enlarge)


 



“‘Surprise!’ cried Malberta. A party! There was poison ivy punch and lizard tongue trail mix. There was bobbing for crawdads and a Pin the Drool on the Ghoul game. But there was no one to play with. Where were the other party guests?”
(Click each to enlarge)


 



“‘Here we are!’ shouted ten vultures, nine rats, eight spiders, seven fruit bats, six mummies, five goblins, four ghosts, three witches, two skeletons, and one coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail. Malberta’s friends! They were invited, too.”
(Click each to enlarge)


 



Cover dummy and final cover
(Click dummy image to enlarge)


 

Art from Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s
Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats
(Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, August 2014)
















 

Art from J. Patrick Lewis’
M is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet,
illustrated by Gerald Kelley
(Sleeping Bear Press, August 2014)


 




 



 

Art from Harriet Muncaster’s
I Am a Witch’s Cat
(Harper, July 2014)


 


“I know my mom is a witch because she keeps lots of strange potion bottles
in the bathroom that I am NOT allowed to touch.”

(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“And when we go shopping, she buys jars of EYEBALLS and GREEN FINGERS.”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“I know my mom is a witch because she grows magical herbs in the garden …”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“I know my mom is a witch because once a week she gets out her broomstick and whirls it around my room. Sometimes she lets me have a ride.
That is the BEST thing about being a witch’s cat.”

(Click to enlarge)


“On Friday nights my mom goes out and the babysitter comes. I don’t mind,
because the babysitter is nice.”

(Click to enlarge)


“She lets me watch TV and eat popcorn until it is time to go to bed.”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)



 

* * * * * * *

DOG AND BEAR: TRICKS AND TREATS. Copyright © 2014 by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Published by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, New York. Artwork reproduced by permission of Laura Vaccaro Seeger.

I AM A WITCH’S CAT. Copyright © 2014 by Harriet Muncaster. Published by Harper, New York. Artwork reproduced by permission of Harriet Muncaster.

M IS FOR MONSTER: A FANTASTIC CREATURES ALPHABET. Copyright © 2014 by J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Gerald Kelley. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

NOT VERY SCARY. Copyright © 2014 by Carol Brendler. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Greg Pizzoli. Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, New York. Dummy images and art reproduced by permission of Greg Pizzoli.

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week (the Halloween Edition), Featuring Gerald Kelley, Harriet Muncaster,Greg Pizzoli, and Laura Vaccaro Seeger, last added: 10/24/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
28. Letters from your Characters

by Julie Eshbaugh

~~~

Julie(This post originally appeared in a slightly different form on my personal blog in October, 2010. I revisited it recently and decided to share it here.)

Wouldn’t it be great if, when you went to your mailbox today, you found a letter inside from the main character of your work-in-progress, telling you just how she feels about the central conflict of your story? Or maybe she wrote a love letter to another one of your characters, and somehow it was misdirected to you? Imagine what a resource a letter like that would be…

When I do my outlining for a new WIP, I write up a lot of backstory. I also do character sketches, to help me form a clear idea of each of my characters – not just hair color, eye color, and favorite movie, but what they would do on a perfect spring day, where they would go on vacation if money were no object, even how they feel about money, in general. I try to think of the most revealing questions possible. These sketches help me with the essentials of my characters, but they only get me so far.

That’s why I’ve taken to writing first-person narratives – letters to me, if you will – in the voice of each character. These narratives generally address the main conflict faced by that character in the story, and how she or he feels about it. Does she believe that the problem is insurmountable? Does she still have hope? Who is she counting on most to help her? Who does she expect to cause her the most trouble?

I also write first-person narratives by all the individuals involved in romantic relationships in my story. For each one, I ask the character to tell me:

What do you love most about this other person?

What would you miss the most if he or she were taken away?

When did you first feel an attraction and what triggered it?

And, well, I’m sure you can come up with a lot more questions along this line.

These letters are great tools to return to while drafting. They help me to maintain consistency within a character, but they also helped me see that, despite consistency, all well-rounded characters have internal conflicts they are dealing with. People are filled with contradictions. Your characters need to be, too, if they’re going to leap off the page as real people with real complexity.

When you ask your character to tell you how he feels about the central conflict, chances are his answer will be complicated. It won’t just be as simple as, “I hate my father and wish he were dead,” because where’s the true conflict in that? Nothing is ever that straightforward. If it were, in chapter one your character could pull out a shotgun and shoot his father and the story would be done. Instead, your character’s answer to how he feels about the central conflict will be layered, complex, and in some ways, contradictory.

For you, as the writer, the secret to your character’s arc lies hidden in these contradictions. Early in the story your character may respond most to the tug of one attitude toward the central conflict. But as the story moves along, he may feel the influence of another attitude toward that conflict, and he will begin to change. By the time he’s completed his character arc, he may find himself in a place of compromise between these two contradictory attitudes.

Do you think this method might work for you? Do you have any of your own unique methods of learning about your characters? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

  ~~~

Julie Eshbaugh writes fiction for young adults. She is the author of the upcoming Ivory & Bone (HarperCollins, 2016.) You can add Julie on Goodreads and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Add a Comment
29. Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt Book Review and Activity

Many of you may be aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. I was blessed to receive this wonderful book, Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt, and I thought this would be the perfect time to shine the spotlight on this well-written tale of bullying and learning from our mistakes.

Rhyme schemer

Kevin Jamison rules the school as a big, mean bully. The beginning of his poetry journal talks about all the kids he picks on—Giant John, Freckle-Faced Kelly, Harry (his teacher’s mole). His parents are doctors, and even though they make a lot of money, Kevin does not consider himself rich. No one notices that he exists, and when they do, it’s only to acknowledge his mistakes. He has four brother’s, and he is the “mistake baby.” So this complicated middle-schooler takes his frustration out through poetry. He has a talent for picking out words in pages of books and turning them into unique poems.

However, when his older brother Petey throws his poetry journal out of the car window on the way to school, Kevin’s position as king of the school takes a downward spiral. One of the boys that he bullies, Robin, finds the notebook and begins to copy pages of poems and secrets for the whole school to see. Kevin switches from bully to bullied. The school begins to torture him; Robin wants to become the poet bandit—ripping pages out of books and creating poems to post around the school—but he wants Kevin to create them. Blackmailed by his poetry journal of secrets, Kevin has no choice but to submit to Robin, which eventually leads to him getting caught. Once Kevin sinks into his darkest place, a few faithful friends who can see past his rock hard outer shell pull him back into the light by recognizing his unique poetry talent. His librarian forces his family to see his talent, which in turn allows him to find faith in himself. Once he finds faith in himself, life only shoots up from there.

Rhyme schemer
I have never read any story of this sort—a story written in verse. I love the fact that Kevin’s poetry inches slowly from words in short lines to actual, rhyming poetry I did not think I’d like it, since I’m not a huge poetry fan, but this story was wonderful. K.A. Holt tells a wonderful story of a bully turning into the bullied. We see the outside forces that go into bullying and how hard it is for middle-grade children to deal with this sort of pain.

Bullying is a much larger problem than people make it out to be nowadays. Whether it is mean comments, physical abuse, blackmail….bullying is problem that needs to be addressed. Encourage children to speak up for themselves and their friends if they are being victimized. If they don’t feel like they can speak, show them different ways to share what is happening to them—like Kevin’s journal.

While Holt’s simplistic plot resolves a bit too neatly, this transformative tale offers important lessons for all persuasions of middle graders, whether bullies or targets, complicit or horrified bystanders.-Kirkus Reviews

Grab your copy of Rhyme Schemer HERE.

Something To Do

This is basically the type of poetry that Kevin composed, except with this, we are not going to deface books—because that is just wrong. With chance poetry. You have a pile of random, set words, and you are allowed to put the words in any order they want. Watch amazing poetry appear before your eyes!
2. Convert Old Books into Personal Journals: Run to Radiance

Making-books-into-journals

3. Host a Poetry Reading

  • Invite your friends and have them bring some of their favorite prose with
  • Make Coffee (Decaf for our young, aspiring poets)
  • Have muffins, scones, and other goodies
  • Have fun!

4. How Bullying Feels: This is a very compelling video from Pacer.org that I highly recommend families watch together.

What bullying resources would you like to share?

**some of these links are affiliate links

 

Now Available! The newest children’s book from Audrey Press. Click the image below for more details.

A Year in the Secret Garden.

A Year in the Secret garden

*JIAB received this book to review. These opinions and reviews are our own.

The post Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt Book Review and Activity appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

Add a Comment
30. Don’t stop the readin’…hold on to that read aloud feeling

Don’t stop the readin’…hold on to that read aloud feeling | Storytime Standouts

Don't Stop the Readin'  Hold on to that Feeling A Guest Post by @1PrncsSome days I’m more “quirky” than others. This is one of those days. Instead of just telling you that your middle grade children (grades 4, 5, 6, 7) are not too old for you to keep up that nightly ritual of reading, I’ve made some alterations to a classic Journey song. You can laugh or roll your eyes, but the message will be the same. They’re getting older, but it doesn’t lessen their enthusiasm for books. Nor does it mean they don’t need us there to help them navigate some of the issues that their favourite characters are facing. Bottom line? Take fifteen minutes at the end of the night, curl up on someone’s bed, and keep reading.









Don’t Stop the Readin’ (adapted from Journey’s Don’t stop believin’– hardcore Journey fans…I’m sorry :) (ps: it helps if you listen to the song in the background softly so you can read with the beat)

Just a grade five  girl
Readin’ bout’ a wizard  world
She read the whole series
Loved the characters
Just a grade six boy
Thinks he doesn’t like to read
He found The Outsiders
Thinks he’s Ponyboy






His father comes into the room
The moon is out the day is done
For a while they can read tonight
It goes on and on and on and on


Parents reading
Learnin’ bout the Hunger Games,
Heroes like Percy
Annabeth
Quests and danger
Find out what your kids are lovin’
Read with them every night





Workin’ hard to pay the bills
One on one time is such a thrill
Read a story, talk about your day
It’s worth the time
Picture Book
Non-Fiction
Doesn’t matter what you read
Graphic novels, Patterson
The list can go on and on and on







They aren’t too old
Even in the middle grades
Let them read to you
Read to them
Make it matter
A great way to stay connected
Just fifteen minutes a night





Don’t stop the readin’
Hold on to that feelin’
With your children
Don’t stop the readin’
Nielsen,
Sachar, Judy Blume
They keep you readin’
Keep on reading!






Don’t Stop Believin’ at Amazon.com

Don’t Stop Believin’: the Best of Journey at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

Storytime Standouts shares ten great reasons to read aloud to...
  • A Wonderful Read Aloud Chapter Book: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Tale of Despereaux written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated...
  • A Quirky, Pleasant Read Aloud for 9-12 year olds – The Funeral Director’s Son
  • The Funeral Director’s Son by Coleen Murtagh Paratore Chapter Book...

    Add a Comment
    31. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, 272 pp, RL: YA

    Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer is just flat out brilliant, both for the subject matter and how the author chooses to tell the story.  And in this, Belzhar is ideally pitched to its audience, in tone and content. Even the cover image is perfect! Wolitzer is an award winning writer of books for adults, most recently The Interestings, as well as The Ten Year Nap, which I read and enjoyed immensely.

    0 Comments on Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, 272 pp, RL: YA as of 10/24/2014 5:35:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    32. Construction by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

    Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock are the creators of fantastic books about all the things that gigantic, hardworking vehicles specialize in. The illustrations provide all the details little listeners love and the texts are packed with onomatopoetic words that make these books fun to read and especially entertaining. Their newest book, CONSTRUCTION, begins, Dig the ground. Dig the ground.

    0 Comments on Construction by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock as of 10/24/2014 5:34:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    33. Poetry Friday with review of Digger Dozer Dumper


    Many years ago I visited a friend who was living in Nairobi with her husband and two little sons. One of the boys kept on calling out "Digga!" when we drove around town, pointing at the vehicles that were hard at work on road construction projects. As far as he was concerned the diggers, dumper trucks, and other machines he saw were the bees knees. He would have loved today's poetry title.

    Digger Dozer Dumper
    Digger Dozer DumperHope Vestergaard
    Illustrated by David Slonim
    Picture Book
    For ages 5 to 7
    Candlewick Press, 2013, 978-0-7636-5078-0
    There is something about trucks, diggers, cement mixers, and other big vehicles that young children find irresistible. They love the loud engine noises these machines make and will watch them at work for hours on end. In this book children will meet eighteen of these wonderful machines and they can figure out which of the machines is most like them. Are they “slow and steady” or “really strong?”
       The first machine that sweeps across the page is…you guessed it, the street sweeper. Though this machine is perhaps not very glamorous, it is vital to getting rid of all the things that make the streets in a busy town or city dirty or messy. The street sweeper’s “steely whiskers whisper / as they gather dust and dirt,” and the sweeper is “quiet and determined” not to “miss a spot.”
       After getting to know a garbage truck who “adores his work,” we meet a dump truck and a backhoe. These hard working machines are vital to the success of a project that requires the removal and placement of earth, rock and other materials. The dump truck is “precise” and does not dump his load “just anywhere.” The backhoe is amazing because it is two machines in one. Its “front end pushes dirt and rocks; / his back end digs out muck.”
       Unlike the dump truck and backhoe, the skid-steer loader does not have a steering wheel. Instead, it has two levers and being small it can zip and turn almost on the spot. It can drill, push, lift, and dump.
       As they read the delightful poems in this book, children are going to enjoy looking at the artwork. The vehicles described in the poems all have large eyes and very definite personalities, and the people and dog that we meet on the first introductory spread appear in all pictures thereafter. Children will enjoy seeing where the dog will turn up next. Will the girl with the black curly hair be driving the next vehicle or will the boy with the glasses? The clever ending perfectly wraps up the narrative, giving children something to think about.

    0 Comments on Poetry Friday with review of Digger Dozer Dumper as of 10/24/2014 8:10:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    34. Come Write In: a Family Creative Writing Program

    November is nearly upon us. That means fall leaves, wooly sweaters, gluttonous behavior on the fourth Thursday of the month, and, of course, National Novel Writing Month.

    Inaugurated in 1999 by the intrepid Chris Baty and a group of friends, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has become an international movement to inspire average joes like you and me to get off our duffs and write that novel we’ve always dreamed of penning. One month. One novel. It’s as simple as that.

    According to NaNoWriMo, 310,000 adults participated in the writing frenzy in 2013, and 89,500 youth participated in NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program. Personally, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past two years, and the experience has been so deeply fulfilling I decided that I, as a children’s librarian, needed to get on this Young Writers thing.

    What’s really grand about NaNoWriMo is that this non-profit organization provides you everything you need to make hosting a Young Writers program easy as pie. Just take a gander at these lesson plans and activities. If you’re a teacher, everything aligns to the Common Core. If you’re a public librarian, you can pick and choose a variety of activities to do with your young peeps.

    I have some ridiculously talented people on board, too. I’m working with poet Hannah Jane Chambers, YA author Bethany Hagen, and YA writer Jennifer Mendez to make the magic happen.

    At our library, Hannah Jane, Bethany, and I had an idea of creating a series of Come Write In events for the entire family which we hope we’ll be able to implement next year. Parents and kids could come to the library on Saturdays throughout the month of October to start planning their NaNoWriMo projects. On November 1, we could celebrate our hard work with a party / write-in where participants can get cracking on their novels. Jennifer Mendez will be hosting Intergenerational Come Write In events at her branch throughout the month of November replete with paper, pens, and plenty of outlets for the BYO-Laptop types.

    What better way to get kids and teens engaged in literature than to have them write it themselves? And, hey, why not model that behavior? November is just a few days away. It’s not too late to sign up and write a novel of your very own.

    ****************************************************

    Our guest blogger today is Megan Bannen. Megan is an Assistant Branch Manager for Johnson County Library in Kansas (although the children’s librarian in her will never die).

    Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

    If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

    0 Comments on Come Write In: a Family Creative Writing Program as of 10/24/2014 1:42:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    35. Cynsational News & Giveaways

    By Cynthia Leitich Smith
    for Cynsations

    2014 Arab American Book Award Winner:

    A Kid's Guide to Arab American History by Yvonne Wakim Dennis and Maha Addasi (Chicago Review Press, 2013). Peek: "...dispels stereotypes and provides a look at the people and experiences that have shaped Arab American culture in a format enjoyable for elementary students. Each chapter focuses on a different group of Arab Americans including those of Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi, and Yemeni descent."

    Honorable Mention: The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations and Amazing Facts by Saima S. Hussain (Annick Press, 2013). Peek: "Saima Hussain, who was raised in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, presents the contributions of the Arab people in such fields as astronomy, medicine, architecture, food, education, and art."

    Source: Arab American National Museum; scroll for more information.

    More News & Giveaways

    I Want What She's Got: The Disastrous Comparison Game by Emma Dryden from Our Stories, Ourselves. Peek: "There's a thief among us in the writing community: this thief is insidious, harmful, and causing an enormous amount of heartache, pain, and angst. And worst of all, this thief is stealing writers' ability to write. What is this thief?"

    Inspiring the Next Architects: Children's Books About Design, Building and Architecture by Jill Eisenberg from Lee & Low. Peek: "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."

    Here I Am by Brian Pinkney from CBC Diversity. Peek: "As a renderer of images that affect children, it’s essential that I stick to my commitment of showing black kids in all their glory. By doing this, I hope to be able to bring power, change, healing, self-expression, and heart to children of every color."

    Five Lessons I Learned About Novel Writing from Watching "Orange Is The New Black" from Shelli Cornelison. Peek: "Torture has its place."

    Microtension by Jan O'Hara from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Few assumptions are safe. We must constantly revisit the past in light of new information. We’re kept engaged by this sense of shifting reality." See also The Secrets of Subtext by Stina Lindenblatt from QueryTracker.

    How to Write Balanced and Compelling Backstory by Jeni Chappelle from Elizabeth Spann Craig. Peek: "...there’s a fine line between clarifying a character’s past and writing too much backstory. Readers don’t usually need to know much of the characters’ history in order to engage..."

    How Image Systems Can Supercharge Your Novel by C.S. Lakin from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "Great novelists know the power of motif and symbolism, often using something like a repeated word or phrase, or an object of importance to the character, to bring a richness to the story and to enhance the theme of their novel. In effect, they are creating something similar to an image system."

    Mini Trend: Grrrl Power Graphic Novels by Elissa Gershowitz from The Horn Book. Peek: "...excellent graphic novel memoirs (or fiction that feels an awful lot like) written by women about their adolescence."

    How Can I Make Readers Cry by Deborah Halverson from Dear Editor. Peek: "Examine your entire story to be sure every plot point amps up emotional tension. Since plot serves character arcs in romances, events should pierce the characters’ deepest fears and most passionate hopes repeatedly."

    We Need Diverse Books and School Library Journal Announce Collaboration from School Library Journal. Peek: "Content sharing and support for the We Need Diverse Books Diversity Festival to be held in summer 2016 in the Washington, DC, area."

    The Landscape of YA Lit: A State of the Union by Kristin Halbrook from YA Highway. Peek: "Honest and fearless. Innovative and different. Crossing all genres, and crossing over into different age groups."

    Writers on Writing: Dear Professor H. by Lesléa Newman from Passages North. Peek: "If you meant to intimidate us, Professor H., you certainly succeeded. You distributed the syllabus and launched into the course requirements without once explaining the phrase 'serious pleasure' which stared down at us like an angry gargoyle."

    Kidlit Con

    A series of posts covering the event from Finding Wonderland.


    Cynsational Giveaways
    The winners of Uncovered (An Autumn Covarrubias Mystery) by S.X. Bradley were Abby in Rhode Island and Elizabeth in Georgia.

    The winners of ARCs of Backwards Moon by Mary Losure were Crystal in Wisconsin, Heidi in Utah, and Kelly in Pennsylvania.

    This Week at Cynsations

    More Personally

    Today Cynsations is posting from Washington, D.C. I've been here with R. Gregory Christie and Reading Is Fundamental, visiting with students at Andrews Air Force Base. Pics to come soon!

    My link of the week is Everything I Know About Plot, I Learned from Buffy by Dave King from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Whedon keeps this working because his morality, while always clear, is never simplistic. Good and evil are the sides, but characters sometimes switch sides or aren’t sure what side they’re on."

    Reminder: my e-edition of Blessed (Candlewick) is on sale this month for only $1.99. A perfect Halloween read--check it out! See also Blessed: A Conversation with Cynthia Leitich Smith.

    Personal Links

    Catch up with the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels!

    Cynsational Events

    Cynthia Leitich Smith will speak on a panel "Where Are the Heroes of Color in Fantasy & Sci Fi Lit?" from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at YALSA's YA Literature Symposium in Austin.

    Add a Comment
    36. Neighborhood Sharks

    Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands  by Katherine Roy David Macaulay Studio (Roaring Brook Press), 2014 Grades 2-5 The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her school library.  The shark section gets a lot of traffic in my elementary school library. Many young readers are fascinated by the creatures, so I was excited when I heard about

    0 Comments on Neighborhood Sharks as of 10/24/2014 3:02:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    37. Disaster Strikes in Threes

    Melinda Palacio
    The calm after the storm

    So the saying goes, disasters strike in threes. After I fell down the stairs and broke my leg, I wanted to count those two events as disasters two and three. Number one was earlier this year when our house was broken into. The good news on that was I had nothing to take. The burglars made a mess of the house, overturning drawers, taking out every box, stuffed into my closet. The rascals tore open a pretty envelope that I was saving to use when the mood struck me to surprise someone with old fashioned postal mail. I was even offended when the thieves didn't take any of my jewelry, opting instead to throw earrings and bracelets to the floor. However, what they did take was a jar of quarters. Somewhere, dirty thieves needed to do laundry. I hope they feel good about themselves in their clean clothes.

    The work of messy thieves.

    So the break-in and my broken leg counted as numbers one and two. Fate would not allow me to count the surgery as number three. The proverbial third shoe finally dropped three weeks ago when a broken washing machine caused the house to flood. A fifty-cent plumbing part nearly destroyed the house. Luckily, we have flood insurance which will cover the cost of the demolition (now finished) and restoration. As with my million dollar leg, a fall that resulted in a giant medical bill, I am very fortunate to have health insurance and flood insurance.
    What used to be the kitchen. Walls, floors and ceiling flooded.


    The good news is that the house will be even better than it was before and we will be able to get rid of the carpet on the stairs that caused me to slip and break my leg. Perspective is key here. After having been rushed to the emergency room with a dislocated ankle, my foot facing the wrong way, and a broken fibula, most other disasters like the house flooding, the ceiling caving in the kitchen, complete with sink, cabinets, and appliance, walls and floors needing to be demolished and rebuilt, doesn't seem that horrible. I'm able to continue writing. There are two rooms in the house that were unaffected. And luckily, I had my laptop with me and was not in the house when the disaster happened.
    My million dollar leg
    I spent the entire summer in the bed office due to my broken leg and I get to spend the next couple of months there again due to a near total house flood and forced remodel.

    My leg is healing well, although it will be another couple of months until I am up and running, or dancing. In writing news, I took Rudy's challenge and entered the William Faulkner WisdomCompetition, I made it to the final round in Poetry. Congratulations to winner Claire Dixon. Entering poetry competitions is sobering and challenging, but it's nice to be recognized for work that has already been published. Last week, Nicole Thompson featured me in Latin Post.

    Blas Falconer, Melinda Palacio, Michelle Detorie after the Mission Poetry Series reading.


    A highlight of this summer was reading in the Mission Poetry Series with Blas Falconer and Michelle Detorie. The September day was gorgeous. With perfect weather on one of the last days for tourism in Santa Barbara, along with a street closed by the Sol Food Festival, the audience could have been sparse, but instead we had a crowd eager for poetry. As my friend reminds me, It could've been worse. 

    0 Comments on Disaster Strikes in Threes as of 10/24/2014 2:59:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    38. Book Review- Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy

    Title: Tanith Low in The Maleficent Seven
     Author:  Derek Landy
    Series:  Skullduggery Pleasant 7.5
    Published:  8 May 2014 by Harper
    Length: 283 pages
    Source: publisher
    Other info: Landy has also written a lot of Skullduggery Pleasant novels, the world of which this book is set.
    Summary : This time, the bad guys take the stage. Tanith Low, now possessed by a remnant, recruits a gang of villains – many of whom will be familiar from previous Skulduggery adventures – in order to track down and steal the four God-Killer level weapons that could hurt Darquesse when she eventually emerges. Also on the trail of the weapons is a secret group of Sanctuary sorcerers, and doing his best to keep up and keep Tanith alive is one Mister Ghastly Bespoke. When the villains around her are lying and scheming and plotting, Tanith needs to stay two steps ahead of her teammates and her enemies. After all, she's got her own double-crosses to plan – and she’s a villain herself.

    Review: Tanith Low has a remnant inside of her, which made her stronger and more powerful and more suited to . Two teams of seven want a set of God Killers, and
    I was very excited to read this. I've been recommended Skullduggery Pleasant for years, (and apologies, I still haven't read it) and one of the key things I’ve noticed people like is the world. This being sent to me for review, and this being set in the same world, I was looking forwards to this.
    The world building lives up to its hype, incorporating a mix of the folk tales, and more traditional fantasy staples.
    I liked Tanith's backstory and the meaning for her name. I l liked all the major characters, especially Tanith, Sabine and Jack, and they were well fleshed out,  and I'm looking forwards to seeing more of them when I (eventually) get round to reading the Skullduggery Pleasant books.
    The book is short (well, nearly 300 pages, but it feels short) and pacy, and I feel the overall story was quite simple, but I liked fact that the characters and their views on what they were doing add conflict and interest. I thought the  dialogue felt quite samey, sassy, and funny, in some places, especially  when comparing the two teams' interactions, but I liked the characters too much to mind. 

    Overall:  Strength 4 tea to an action led novel in a world I’d love to return to one day.

    0 Comments on Book Review- Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy as of 10/24/2014 8:32:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    39. "...and the local library matters." - Bill Moyers


    One of the best books I read this year and a truly important reading experience is The Public Library, a photographic essay by Robert Dawson. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, this is a gorgeously designed book of photos and essays on American public libraries, which I could not stop paging through.

    Right now, you are probably thinking you know what the book is and agree with me that it's important and yet you likely have no interest in paging through it. A book like this is a good thing, but you already value libraries, right? You think you don't need this one.

    Allow me to convince you otherwise.

    I know public libraries matter on many levels. My hometown library had a huge influence on my life and I know that sentiment is the same for a lot of other people. So I approached The Public Library expecting an appreciation and I certainly was not disappointed on that score. But there is a lot more going on in this book, in the essays (by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver and more) and the photos.

    Dawson shows libraries in a variety of situations: urban and rural, small communities and large, in remote locations and city centers. The design differences are amazing and the closed facilities are heartbreaking but what really got to me was seeing how really useful the libraries are in unexpected ways. Also, the issue of homeless patrons came up several times and the essayists were pretty blunt on that subject.

    While I was reading The Public Library and pouring over the photos, what struck me time and again was that open, free libraries are not a gift for a community, but a necessity. They are an equalizing force between the rich and poor and as significant as schools and the right to vote. They can make the difference for so much that might be missing in your life and be a game-changer in so many ways.

    The best case scenario would find all of our elected officials sitting down and reading this book. It's the type of title that makes you think and inspires action. (I feel like I'm getting almost silly about libraries right now but I can't help it; just looking at these pictures touched my heart.)

    The Public Library--obvious choice for book lovers but an even more important one for folks who just don't get it yet and need to be persuaded.

    Listen to an interview with Robert Dawson at NPR.

    [Post pics from the book.]

    Add a Comment
    40. 3 Leading Ways to Target Your Writing for Children--NOT!....and Poetry Friday!

    .
    Howdy, Campers!  Happy Poetry Friday!  Poem and link to Poetry Friday are below ~

    Our topic this round is Do you try to appeal to reluctant readers, or any particular type of reader, when you write? 

    Carmela's post addresses the topic of writing to reading levels thoroughly. She writes:"If you want your writing to appeal to boys and other reluctant readers, don't try to target this particular audience. That's right, DON'T target them. Instead, write what moves, excites, or interests YOU."

    Mary Ann's post, agrees: "I write what I am passionate about. I write for my inner eleven-year-old. It's the best that I can do. It's all any of us can do."

    As for me?

    I titled this 3 Leading Ways to Target Your Writing for Children--NOT!  because I agree with Carmela and Mary Ann's conclusions.  Essentially, write with passion and you'll hit a bullseye.

    from morguefile.com
    Here are three thoughts hopefully slightly related to this topic:

    1) I am a reluctant reader.  Always have been. Once I dive into a book, I'm swimming, but getting to the edge of the pool, dipping my toe in? Terrifying.  Every book.  Every time.

    2) Many years ago, former bookseller, and book reviewer Janet Zarem was hired by my son's elementary school to talk to parents about reading.  She began by passing out a paragraph in and asking us what it said.  Okay, so let's try it.  I'd like you to read this paragraph and tell me what it says.  You have two minutes:

    *see bottom of this post for attribution*

    When we saw the paragraph, we were scared'r than a long-tail cat in a room full of rockin' chairs.**

    Isn't that a powerful way to show someone the world from a new or challenged or reluctant reader's point of view?

    3) That's how scared many of us feel about learning anything new.

    For example, UCLA Extension's Writers' Program is in the process of changing how its instructors post course materials for our students.  We are moving from a platform called Blackboard to one called Canvas.

    When I saw the first email about this, I rolled into a little ball.  I felt as outdated and useless as a screen door on a submarine.***

    I see now that I went through the five stages of loss and grief, finally arriving at acceptance: Wow--it's done, it didn't take long, and I am truly invincible.
    Tah-dah--I did it!
    RELUCTANT
    by April Halprin Wayland


    New? New?

    Who are you talking to?

    You’ll have to leave a message—
    I think I have the flu.

    It’s too bad that you saw me
    I stick with tried and true.

    If you want revolution,
    I’ll leave it up to you.

    Who? Me?
    You found me up this tree?

    Just cut that sheet in two?
    And paste it here with glue?
    That’s all we have to do?

    I’m standing on my head, now:
    I see your point of view.

    poem & drawing (c) April Halprin Wayland 2014
    =====================

    Don't forget to enter our latest book giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (in which our very own Carmela Martino has an article!). See Carmela's post for all the details.

    The giveaway ends Oct 31.

    Poetry Friday is at Merely Day By Day ~ Thanks, Cathy!



    poem & drawing (c) April Halprin Wayland 2014

    posted by April Halprin Wayland, who thanks you in Greek for reading all the way to here.

    *from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey
    **from: http://charlottenewcomers.blogspot.com/2008/01/southern-expressions-uglier-than.html
    ***from: http://www.examiner.com/article/southern-isms-50-of-the-funniest-southern-expressions-and-colloquialisms











    0 Comments on 3 Leading Ways to Target Your Writing for Children--NOT!....and Poetry Friday! as of 10/24/2014 4:36:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    41. Sky Jumpers: Forbidden Flats (2014)

    The Forbidden Flats (Sky Jumpers #2) Peggy Eddleman. 2014. Random House. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    In the first book, Sky Jumpers, readers are introduced to Hope, Aaren, and Brock. Three kids who risked their lives to save their community of White Rock. Bandits had come, threatened everyone, threatened to steal the drugs that keep them safe from a deadly plague. Against all odds, these three manage it all. They take risks. They take chances. They face the elements. They cling to hope. They think of the people they love whom they are trying to save. It's an intriguing, dramatic read.

    In the second, Hope, Brock, and Aaren will have to do it all over again. The world-saving. Not from bandits, mind you. An earthquake has occurred. This quake changes their community. It opens up a crevice, I believe, that releases gases into the air which interact with the Bomb's Breath. Life as they knew it is over. The Bomb's Breath is dropping lower and lower and lower day by day. Within a month, their community will lose its healthy pocket of air. But there is a tiny bit of hope. One of the adults knows of a mineral (or metal?) that can counteract and reverse everything. Their town can be saved if a) they send a team to a far-away community in the Rocky mountains b) if the team is able to travel to the town and back within the time period c) if the trade goes well in the first place. They send adults. They send kids. It's a good thing they send kids. Their guide is Luke. And for better or worse, Luke seems to dominate most of this book. Luke and Hope. The book is their journey to and from. Will they be able to save White Rock?

    Did I love The Forbbiden Flats as much as I loved the first novel in the series? No. Not really. I wanted to. I did. But I was a bit disappointed in the sequel.

    As the title suggests, this one takes place almost exclusively out of the community of White Rock. As this group travels together new communities and settings are introduced. We get a glimpse here. We get a glimpse there. Nothing deep or substantive. Mainly what the book is about is Hope's newfound interest in rocks. Do you enjoy reading about a person who becomes passionately interested in rocks? I wasn't. The main relationship focus of this book is between Hope, the heroine, and Luke, the guide they hire. Hope's relationships with Brock and Aaren are less important, I'd say. Hope has struggled with belonging in her own community, and, I suppose this book is suggesting that maybe Hope will one day choose differently, that she may find where she belongs someplace out there.

    So I said I was disappointed. That doesn't mean I hated it. That doesn't mean I disliked it. It means I didn't love, love, love it the same way as the first book.
    © 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

    0 Comments on Sky Jumpers: Forbidden Flats (2014) as of 10/23/2014 2:10:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    42. Interview Alert: Harriet Muncaster

    16667646

    I recently interviewed author/illustrator Harriet Muncaster to learn more about her debut picture book I Am A Witch’s Cat, which was published this summer, but is perfect for Halloween. Her book contains fascinating scenes filled with incredibly detailed miniatures. I was an instant fan from page one. And the story is clever and sweet. It’s about a child who claims her mother is a witch (a good witch) and she is a witch’s cat, and she goes on to show the reader all the reasons why she knows her mother is a witch. But more than that, the story is about a special relationship between a child and a parent. Please read the interview and get to know rising star Harriet Muncaster.

    Q. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in children’s books.

    HM. Hi Lauri, I am so glad you like my book and thank you for having me on your blog! I have always loved making, drawing, reading and writing so I always knew I wanted to do something visually creative. However it wasn’t until we went on a school trip to an exhibition of James Mayhew’s work that I realized I could channel my creativity into children’s books. The thought had never actually occurred to me before and I had never been told that it was possible to do an illustration course at university as opposed to just a general art course. I think I was about 16 or 17 at the time. I absolutely loved James Mayhew’s work at the exhibition and it opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming a children’s book illustrator myself. I did a foundation course in art and design after school and that made me more certain that illustration was the right path for me to take. After that I did a degree in illustration and then an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge. We were given some good exposure on my MA course – our work got taken out to Bologna Book Fair and that is where my Witch’s Cat book was spotted! In fact, it was a project I did on that course.

    Q. You have a unique artistic style, which is evident in your picture book I Am A Witch’s Cat (which is gorgeous, by the way). How would you describe your style?

    HM. Thank you! I am not really sure how I would describe my style to be honest. I kind of feel like I fell into it without meaning to. I was on my MA course and thought I would try out a book by making work in 3D out of paper and photographing it. I had done something similar before on my degree course where I made a paper model of a Snow Queen’s room. It was just the room though, I hadn’t taken it as far as putting characters in at that point. I guess that was my first ever foray into 3D illustration! So I thought I would try a similar technique to illustrate a book on my MA course. It went down quite well, I actually got highly commended for it in the Macmillan prize so my tutor suggested I do my next project in the same way. That project turned out to be Witch’s Cat, and it went from there. I enjoyed doing it because I absolutely LOVE making tiny things and I enjoy playing with lighting to get different atmospheres. (I actually think I prefer making physical things to drawing, it feels more natural to me.) I wanted it to be a warm book with an autumnal feel but also a bit magical. I watched a lot of the old Bewitched episodes while I was creating it.
    So overall, to answer the question, if I were to describe my style in Witch’s Cat it would be: paper and fabric room sets with cut out characters, photographed with (hopefully!) warm lighting to give an autumnal feel. 

    Q. Can you tell us a bit about your process from beginning to end when you created I Am A Witch’s Cat?

    HM. Well, I think I went about it in a pretty ordered fashion. Even though I am a messy person in real life, when it comes to work I find I have to be very ordered and focused. Firstly I thought of the story. Then I thumbnailed the whole book, did a dummy book and then started making the final art! To make the final art I made miniature scenes- about dollhouse sort of size, out of paper and card and bits of fabric and then photographed them. 

    These are some of the very first sketches of Witch’s Cat from my sketchbook. 

    harriet muncaster 5 (2)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And here are some work in progress shots when I was making the 3D scenes. 

     

     

     

     


     

     

     

    These are all the food boxes and tins for the supermarket scene.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The first finished version of Witch’s Cat (the one I created on my MA course) had more of a scrapbook feel to it but that got changed for publication.

    Q. Photography plays a large part in your artwork.Would you consider yourself a photographer too?

    HM. I’m not sure actually… I suppose I am in a way! I don’t feel as though I am worthy of the title ‘professional photographer’ though as I don’t feel I know enough of the technical stuff. Also I don’t own all the equipment!

    Q. Do you personally create all of the miniatures you use in your artwork? (I especially love the tiny books I saw on your website!)

    HM. I try to make as many of the miniatures as I can out of card, but I think sometimes it adds interest to put an actual miniature in there like a real dollhouse lamp or something. Sometimes, if I want to make something look properly 3D I will make it out of Fimo. Or sew it! Like these little soft toy cats in Witch’s Cat.

    Q. I Am A Witch’s Cat is a perfect pick for Halloween. Was that your intention when you created it? 

    HM. No, I didn’t specifically think of Halloween funnily enough! But I was intending it to have an autumnal feel. I can see now though that it works well as a Halloween book!

    Q. And how popular is Halloween in your part of the world?

    HM. Halloween was never a big thing at all for me growing up. We weren’t even allowed to go trick or treating in my family! Halloween was a bit of a non-event in my house. It wasn’t until I went to university that I discovered that some people do like to celebrate Halloween. I’ve been to a few Halloween parties since. It’s definitely not as big a deal in the UK as it is in America though – Nowhere near!

    Q. What projects are you working on right now?

    HM. I have been working on a range of books about a princess called ‘Glitterbelle’ with Parragon publishing. I think they are coming out in January – or sometime round then anyway! I have just illustrated them, not written them and some of them are activity books. They are all done in my 3D style. I have also been working on a second Witch’s cat book called Happy Halloween Witch’s Cat which will come out next July. And then there are some other picture books I have been working on too but I can’t say much about those yet!

    Q. Why do you believe picture books are important?

    HM. I cannot imagine a world without picture books! Well, I can, but it would be a very boring world. I absolutely adore them because they are like little worlds you can just escape into. My absolutely favourite picture books are the Dorrie books by Patricia Coombs. I love the atmospheres they evoke. Of course there are other reasons why picture books are so important – like the use of them for teaching to read, introducing children to ideas, addressing important issues in a way children can relate to, provoking exploration and questions, bonding over bedtime reading etc… but that is my reason for loving them, the escapism and inspiration they provide. Also, writing and illustrating picture books is like being the director of a mini play/film. You have complete control to create a whole new world.

    Q. Where can fans go to learn more about you and your work or to simply connect with you?

    HM. I have a blog: www.victoriastitch.blogspot.com

    Q. Any closing thoughts or words of wisdom?

    HM. I don’t think I actually have any words of wisdom! I have just always done what I love and luckily it has led me to being able to do it as my full-time job. Maybe I would say: listen to criticism, use it to help you become a better illustrator/writer/artist/(insert word here) but ultimately do what inspires you and what you believe in. Don’t let anyone change that. 

    Oh my goodness, I love the tiny orange and yellow quilt on the bed, and the tiny food boxes, and the tiny plush kitties! Thanks for sharing, Harriet, and much success with all of your books!


    2 Comments on Interview Alert: Harriet Muncaster, last added: 10/24/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    43. Guest Post and Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins

    Please give a warm welcome to Karen Akins this morning! She’s here to chat about her new release, LOOP.

    Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to celebrate the release of LOOP!

    One of the things about writing any story is that as the creator, you know so much more about your characters than ends up on the page. It’s fun to be able to share some of these “extras” with readers. Smile

    Without further ado, I give you…

    The Top 5 Things Bree Never Leaves Home Without:

    1. Her QuantCom. This handy little device is kind of like a temporal GPS, telling her where and when she is while she’s time traveling. At one point, Finn refers to it as “her security blanket,” and it kind of is. When I was thinking through what it would be like to be a time traveler, the Com was one of the first devices I thought up because it would help you feel a little more in control of your surroundings.

    2. Comfy, non-descript clothing. Another detail that I thought through. I’m not sure that time travelers would really worry all that much about perfectly matching the styles of any era as long as they don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

    3. Her heart-shaped locket. Bree’s mother is in a coma (which may be a bit more than it seems…dunh dunh dunhhhhhh), and one object that helps Bree feel closer to her mom is the photo locket that her mom gave her when she was younger. One thing I love about the cover of LOOP is that the space between them forms a heart, sort of an homage to the locket.

    4. Hair clip. Bree’s pretty non-fussy, so it would be pretty utilitarian with maybe a little bit of sparkle that her best friend Mimi insisted on attaching to it.

    5. Lip gloss. Navigating the space-time continuum can be pretty chapping on the lips, y’all. One detail about Bree’s lip gloss that I had to cut out was that it changes shades to perfectly complement the wearer’s skin tone.

    Bonus: One thing she would be SO tempted to sneak back with her? Girl Scout Thin Mints.

    Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone enjoys LOOP. <3

    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.

    US addresses only, please

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    44. Famous Modern Ghost Stories

    When I first began reading Famous Modern Ghost Stories I mentioned how much fun Dorothy Scarborough’s introduction was. Turns out, the stories themselves are fun too.

    There are fifteen stories in this collection. Some of them, like Poe’s “Ligeia,” I have read before. Some it really felt like I had read before but I couldn’t recall when or where, like “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood (I just love the name Algernon, it’s so, I’m not sure what, but it tickles my fancy so it is probably good I don’t have kids because I’d be tempted to call a boy Algernon and then you know he’d go by “Algie” for short and all the kids at school would make fun of him). Others were plain silly like “At the Gate” by Myla Jo Closser in which a recently deceased dog takes up his vigil outside the gates of Heaven with the other dogs waiting for their owners to arrive.

    My favorite story in the collection was “Lazarus” by Leonid Andreyev. It is the story of Lazarus after he was raised from the dead. Did you ever see the Buffy the Vampire Slayer show where they bring Buffy back from the dead? She kind of wasn’t the same afterwards, or at least for a while. Well, Lazarus wasn’t the same either and while everyone was really glad to have him back, the haunting look in his eyes kind of freaked people out so no one wanted to be around him. Maybe if Lazarus had had a Scooby gang he would have eventually recovered.

    Coming in second as my favorite story based only on the complete absurdity of it all, was “The Beast with Five Fingers” by W.F. Harvey. Bachelor uncle is ill and Eustace, while visiting, notices that uncle is unconsciously doing automatic writing. Eustace goofs around with this a bit until uncle dies. And then, in spite of uncle’s wishes to be cremated, he is not. Last minute instructions turn up and Eustace is bequeathed uncle’s well-preserved hand, the hand with which he did the automatic writing! The hand, of course, is alive but it isn’t uncle inhabiting it. At one point Eustace locks the hand in a desk drawer and the hand writes a note and slips it out through a crack in the desk. A servant finds a note bidding him to open the desk drawer and when the servant does so, the hand escapes! It is never clear why Eustace is being haunted by this hand or what the hand’s intent is, but the story comes very close to being a farce, right up to and including the hand eventually strangling Eustace and then the two of them ultimately perishing in a fire.

    After reading so many ghost stories together it seems there is almost a requirement that at least one person experiencing the ghost or other phenomena has to be utterly and completely unbelieving. He, because it is usually a he in these stories, is then required to make up all sorts of logical explanations for what is happening. These explanations often approach the ridiculous. In the end, however, the unbeliever is convinced by the haunting and is either just in time to save himself or too late and dies. A few do believe right away and these have two responses. The smart ones figure out what the ghost wants. The not so smart ones go into battle. The smart ones generally come through unscathed and even satisfied about having helped a spirit move on. The not smart ones usually end up dead or psychologically traumatized for the rest of their lives.

    These stories, even the bad ones, are all amusing in their own way. Of course I’m not supposed to be amused, I am supposed to get chills. But it seems that much of what haunts us is related to the times in which we live. Not that we can’t still feel a tingle down the spine when reading Poe, but it isn’t going to keep us up at night. Which makes me wonder whether in 100 years readers will think Stephen King is scary or will readers of the distant future read him and giggle and wonder why the twin girls in The Shining scare us so badly and make their way into other places like this IKEA commercial:

    As a RIP Challenge read, Famous Modern Ghost Stories was quite fun. If you are looking for some older stories that don’t tend to show up in the anthologies, this would be a good choice.


    Filed under: Books, Challenges, Gothic/Horror/Thriller, Reviews, Short Stories

    Add a Comment
    45. In the Early Morning Dark, In the Fall

    Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Graham and Sheila


    In the Early Morning Dark, In the Fall

    I step out onto the front porch
    thinking it must still be raining,
    but the steady patter I hear
    is the oak being deconstructed
    by a light breeze.

    © Mary Lee Hahn, 2014



    Cathy has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Merely Day by Day.


    0 Comments on In the Early Morning Dark, In the Fall as of 10/24/2014 5:11:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    46. Scene Breaks

    Here are some things you need to think about when you transition to another scene. 

    http://nelsonagency.com/the-pesky-scene-break/

    0 Comments on Scene Breaks as of 10/23/2014 5:50:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    47. The “Share” Time

    Long ago, most teachers I knew had a ritual that they held near and dear to their hearts. At the end of every writing workshop, a child sat in the Author’s Chair and… Continue reading

    Add a Comment
    48. The Flat Rabbit

    Let me say it right away: This is one strange book. After a first read, I was pretty sure I would not be reviewing it. Then a few weeks passed and I picked it up again and reread it. It's still a strange book, but this time I saw its appeal.

    The Flat Rabbit has a simple plot. A dog and a rat come across a rabbit on the side of the road. The rabbit is obviously deceased, run over no doubt by a car. Yet this fact is never mentioned. The crux of the book is the dog and rat deciding what to do with the rabbit. They knew her vaguely but weren't close. Yet something must be done; they both feel they can't leave her carcass lying there. After pondering the problem, the dog comes up with a solution. He and the rat peel her body from the road and attach it to a kite. Then they fly the kite until is high above them and release it to continue its journey skyward.

    What I found compelling the second time around was the questioning attitude of the dog and rat. Much like children, neither one had answers--or even were sure of the questions. Yet they didn't flinch from the subject of death and how best to honor a life.

    Marita Thomsen translated Oskarsson's text from Faroese, and to my ears has done a good job. The minimalistic text is understated and at times droll.

    "They could leave her outside number 34, but what would the people there think if they saw a dog and a rat bringing back their rabbit, totally flattened? No good would come of that."

    Oskarsson's illustrations, done in pastel watercolors, are equally spare. Everything isn't spelled out for young readers; they'll have to make connections by closely looking at the pictures. Is the gray car on the facing page that shows the flattened rabbit responsible for its condition? The author/illustrator isn't saying.

    Honest, secular books for children about death are rare indeed. Margaret Wise Brown and Remy Charlip's The Dead Bird springs to mind. My favorite, though, is Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch. (Read my review.The Flat Rabbit has joined this short list. I'm glad I gave it another chance.

    The Flat Rabbit
    by Bardur Oskarsson
    Owl Kids, 40 pages
    Published: september 2014

      

    0 Comments on The Flat Rabbit as of 10/23/2014 3:27:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    49. Series Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Texas Series by Candis Terry

     
    Enter to Win
    Signed Copy of SOMETHING SWEETER,
    Halloween Socks and Halloween Candy!

     
     
    HE’S STUBBORN AND THOROUGHLY MALE . . .

    If Charlotte Brooks thinks she and her TV makeover show can turn Reno Wilder’s hometown upside down, he’ll be happy to prove her wrong. The x-Marine has seen too much turmoil and he likes Sweet, Texas, just the way it is. Traditional. Familiar. A little dull. Everything Charli isn’t. But instead of backing off from his scowls like everyone else, Charli digs in her skyscraper heels.

    SHE’S TENACIOUS AND WICKEDLY TEMPTING . . .

    Reno Wilder is a one-man unwelcoming committee, but Charli isn’t budging. It’s clear the gorgeous cowboy needs an overhaul just as much as Sweet. Someone needs to break him out of that gruff shell and show him how fun and rewarding a little change can be.

    THEY’RE ABOUT TO FIND THAT LOVE IS ANYTHING BUT PREDICTABLE.




     
     
     
    WHEN FRIENDS BECOME LOVERS . . .

    Firefighter and former Marine Jackson Wilder has tough guy down to an art, but he’s learned the hard way that promises were made to be broken. Abigail Morgan was once his best friend, his first kiss, his first love, his first everything. He’d just forgotten to mention all that to her and she blew out of his life. Five years later, she’s back and he’s battling a load of mistrust for her disappearing act. But for some reason he just can’t keep his lips—or his hands—to himself.

    IT CAN LEAD TO DISASTER OR . . .

    When her stint as a trophy wife abruptly ends, Abby returns home to Sweet, Texas, and comes face-to-face with Jackson—her biggest and sexiest mistake. Time and distance did nothing to squash her love for the act-first-think-later stubborn hunk of a man, and when he suggests they renew their old just-friends vow, Abby realizes she wants more. She’d cut and run once. Could she do it again? Or could she tempt him enough to break his promise?

    THE SWEETEST MISTAKE.





     
     
    The men in Texas are hard to resist . . .

    Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding—even if she might not exactly believe in the whole “’til death do us part” thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn’t expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her “true love doesn’t exist” theory all to hell.

    And they always promise . . .

    Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet’s favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she’s a handful of trouble he can’t deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?
     



    a Rafflecopter giveaway



    Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.

     
     

    The post Series Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Texas Series by Candis Terry appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    50. Leyla Aker’s Battle of The Planets (At Viz Media)

    My final NYCC interview (Yes, this is it, I swear!) ended up with me talking to someone very important right next to people turning a contest wheel. I guess you’ll find out what I mean when you listen to the audio. (That’s me imploring you to listen to the audio version.) Anyways, I was able ... Read more

    1 Comments on Leyla Aker’s Battle of The Planets (At Viz Media), last added: 10/25/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment

    View Next 25 Posts