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Viewing: Blog Posts from the Reviews category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 134,350
26. Poetry Friday with a review of Count me a Rhyme: Animal Poems by the numbers

Jane Yolen, who is a master author and poet, finds wonderful ways to teach young children about their world. For example she uses young dinosaur characters to explore how to have good manners and how to interact with others in a kind and compassionate way. In today's poetry book she uses verse, photos, and prose to look at numbers in an interesting and engaging way.

Count me a Rhyme: Animal Poems by the numbersCount me a Rhyme: Animal Poems by the numbers
Jane Yolen
Photographs by Jason Stemple
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 8 and up
Boyds Mills Press, 2006, 978-1590783450
We often see numbers in nature without realizing that we are doing so. In this book we will count from one to ten – and beyond a little – in the animal world, and we will learn a little about the animals we see as well. From “One Lone Elk” to “Five Geese, Five” we get to explore beautiful natural environments through photographs and poetry. The author has also chosen to add words and symbols on every page which children might find interesting. For example on the page for the number eight we see eight bighorn sheep going up a hill and we read a poem about them climbing “in a long long line." We also encounter the number eight, the words “octave,” “eighth,” and “octagon,” and we can look at the roman numerals “VIII.”
   Each poem is unique and the author cleverly ties her words to the photograph in the background and to the characteristics of the animal in question. Children will discover that poetry can come in all shapes and sizes and that there are many ways in which words can be used to have special effects. Who would have thought that the shape of a poem on the page can tell a story, and yet in this book readers will discover that this is indeed what can be done and to great effect as well.

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27. Kindle Daily Deal: Strange Chemistry title.

Yes, another one!:

When the World was Flat (and we were in love), by Ingrid Jonach

And yes, I bought it, description unseen, even!

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28. The Cat with Seven Names - an audiobook review


(My review of The Cat with Seven Names, as it appeared in the April, 2014, edition of School Library Journal.)



Johnson, Tony. The Cat with Seven Names. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded
Books. 2014. $15.75. ISBN 9781490602479. digital
download.

PreS-Gr 2— A plump, seemingly stray cat wanders occasionally into the home of an older librarian. She names her visitor Stuart Little. At an elderly neighbor's home, he receives the moniker Kitty-boy, while a lonely Mexican man names him Placido for his "singing" voice. A homeless vet calls him Dove, for the peace he brings. Only the cat is lacking his own voice in this heartwarming story of a busy neighborhood, full of unconnected adults. Each character has his or her own first-person narrator, each distinctly different. The Hispanic man peppers his speech with Spanish words, as he first meets "Placido" on a day when it rains gatos y perros. Humorous wordplay abounds throughout, in which the cat is the common fixture in the lives of seven adults and a young girl. When the cat has a near accident, the full cast calls out seven different names, as each rushes to save the feline that has befriended them all; and through the cat, they befriend each other. The Cat with Seven Names will be sold with and without its corresponding picture book. Consider purchasing the set. Absent illustrations, the steady stream of elderly and adult voices may not be enough to hold a child's attention.


Copyright © 2014 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
##

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29. The Imaginary Veterinary: Review Haiku

Coolest internship
ever. But watch out for those
Welcome Wagon-eers!

The Imaginary Veterinary #1: The Sasquatch Escape and The Imaginary Veterinary #2: The Lonely Lake Monster by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Dan Santat. Little Brown, 2013, 240 pages.

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30. Genre debates: "literary" fiction versus SF/F.

I'm really not into having the whole Which One Is Better debate, because I don't have a strong aversion to any genre: if it's a good book, it's a good book, yay books. YAY BOOKS.

Anyway! Despite the title, ultimately, the essay is more about the differences between the two genres, and more especially about the strengths of SF/F:

You absolutely cannot obscure underlying weakness with waffle. Otherwise the emails will arrive, picking up on discrepancies. Not just for the sake of point-scoring or nitpicking but because fans become so engaged with imaginary worlds and so passionate about their characters.

That passion, so easily mocked by laughing at Trekkies and Whovians, is another thing that distinguishes SF and fantasy from literary fiction. Mocking that passion is missing a key aspect of speculative fiction. By drawing readers in large numbers, contemporary fantasy becomes a platform to debate key, current social and political challenges, while science fiction continues to explore the impact of technological developments, for good and ill, before we have to tackle these things in reality.

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31. The View from my Desk - Easter 2014

Beverley Birch is friend and mentor to many slushpilers and published authors alike. She was a senior commissioning editor for Hodder Children's Books and three times shortlisted for the Brandford Boase Award in recognition of the editor’s role in nurturing new talent. She is a writer of more than 40 books including novels, picture books, biographies and retellings of classic works and folk

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32. The Tony Garcia Interview

Anthony J. "Tony" Garcia
Today we hear from Anthony "Tony" Garcia, long-time Artistic Director at the world-famous El Centro Su Teatro. Tony is the driving force behind many of Denver's cultural highlights, recognized and honored by the local, national, and international cultural elite, as well as respected and loved by the community he so ably represents with his hard-work and intense commitment. Tony recently managed to squeeze in a few minutes for La Bloga -  and we are grateful;  he's a busy guy. Tony offers his opinion about a wide range of subjects including the current state of Chicano theater, Su Teatro's plans for the immediate future, what Su Teatro offers in the way of opportunities for writers, and key lessons taught to all of us by César Chávez.

[from Su Teatro's website]
Tony Garcia, Executive Artistic Director: Tony has been the Executive Artistic Director of El Centro Su Teatro since 1989 and has been a member of Su Teatro since 1972. He received his BA in Theater from the University of Colorado at Denver. Tony has received numerous awards and accolades for his artistic vision, including the 1989 University of California, Irvine Chicano Literary Award, a 2006 United States Artists Fellowship, an artist residency at the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and was named the Denver Post 2010 Theater Person of the Year. Most recently, he received the prestigious Livingston Fellowship from the Bonfils Stanton Foundation. Tony is a past faculty member for the National Association of Latino Art and Culture (NALAC) Leadership Institute as well as a past board member, he is a peer trainer for the Colorado Creative Industries’ Peer Assistance Network, and a member of the Western State Arts Federation’s (WESTAF) Board of Trustees. Tony also is an adjunct professor at Metro State University in Denver.

La Carpa de los Rasquachis, written by Luis Valdez, directed by Anthony J. Garcia

And a little bit about Su Teatro, also from Su Teatro's website:
Su Teatro began in 1971 as a student-organized theater group at the University of Colorado at Denver. In 1989, Su Teatro purchased the old Elyria School in Northeast Denver and became El Centro Su Teatro, a multidisciplinary cultural arts center. 


Twenty-one years later in September, 2010 Su Teatro purchased The Denver Civic Theater at 721 Santa Fe Dr.

Over 40 years, Su Teatro has established a national reputation for homegrown productions that speak to the history and experience of Chicanos. Su Teatro has created more than 15 original full length productions that have toured widely to venues such as New York’s Public Theater, The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, TX and Plaza de la Raza, Los Angeles, CA. 


The artistic excellence of our programs and our relevance to the field has been recognized nationally through funding from The Shubert Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, the National Performance Network, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Kresge Foundation, and the American Composers Forum.


_____________________________________________________________________________

Manuel Ramos:     At one time there were Chicano teatros all over the place. What's the state of this type of theater today?  How big is this club?

Tony Garcia:  In the mid-70s there were as many as ten teatros in Colorado alone. In 1976 we brought them together in a festival. There were probably 50-70 and many would participate in national and international festivals, often hosted by a group called TENAZ ( Teatros Nacionales de Aztlan. ) Just recently there was a call for entries for a national gathering of Latino theater ensembles and more than 70 groups responded. This does not include the individual artists and spoken word performers. The Latino Commons was a gathering of individual Latino theater artists in Boston and an invited list of 67 showed up. The variety is great, we created a circle of our experience as teatristas, and we ran from Luis Valdez of El Teatro Campesino, whose company was formed in 1965, to college performers with less than two years in the field. I would say we are as healthy as we can be for artists. The work is less politically and socially driven then it was when we began. It is, though, no less important. We are still working our way through identity issues as our identities evolve. We are no longer just telling stories about Chicanos, because we are no longer just Mexican-Americans. We are Mexican-African-Americans, Mexican-Japanese-Pilipino-Americans. We are Puerto Rican-Cuban-Irish-Americans, so all of those elements are getting mixed into the stew. What we have in common is a real claim to the Americas. We see ourselves as in our native country, although we preserve the memory of another country. Of course the twist is that we are connected to a subculture of hybridity, which is second nature to us. Because that is what being a Chicano was all about.

MR:  Why has Su Teatro survived?  How would you describe the evolution of Su Teatro?

TG:  Su Teatro has survived because we know what we are, and there is a need for what we are. If our community did not need us then we would be gone very shortly. Very few artists and artistic organizations have been embraced as firmly as has Su Teatro and yours truly. Our community has watched us grow and our growth and successes are successes of our community. We are the conveyors of our community’s history, but not just in a sense that we regurgitate what the community wants to hear, we are fortunate to be in a position to challenge and inspire. So people don’t always hear what they want, but we work hard to engage them, to provoke them and to reflect well on them. We have been at this for a long time, and we have gotten better at telling stories. We have more tools than we had in the past. Our new space rivals many facilities in larger cities. People can come here and see a show that has solid acting, good production values and yet has an environment that feels like you are visiting family. The facility is very welcoming, we serve among other things tamales that people can take into the theater with them. It adds to the comfort level. We really want to challenge the idea that art is something that is out of the reach of most people. We call ourselves community theater, and some people in the arts community look down upon this, as somehow that means a diminished quality. But what we mean is that it is a community space, it is a space that is about giving access to our community. It is not easy to get on our main stage, only one or two new actors make it in those shows each year. That speaks to the quality of the actors in our shows. We do, though, offer a number of other opportunities in smaller and touring shows to help get you to the level of our main stage.

 As for our own evolution, we have really grown with our community. We have also been fortunate enough to have interacted on an international and national level with other groups; we have been exposed to models that work and models that may not work as well. This has helped a lot. We have also been exposed to the work on these levels and been able to gauge ourselves, get inspired by the others and be challenged as well. This has helped us to grow as artists, which is really important in being able to carry out your work. I get inspired from above, artists I feel are doing great work, and I also get inspired from below, people who are just starting out and growing. Bobby LeFebre and Jose Guerrero inspire me, two young spoken word artists in the company. Rudy Anaya inspires me as does Luis Valdez.  And Debra Gallegos and Yolanda Ortega ( two veteranas from our company) caused me to rewrite their characters based on the great elements they brought to the parts. 

MR:  How many plays have you written or co-written?  Where can our audience find these plays to read them? Anyone more special than the others?

Daniel Valdez
TG:  I have probably written around 20-25, I have tried to count them a number of times but I always end up getting distracted and don’t finish. The problem is that I am in a highly productive period, a lot because of my collaboration with Daniel Valdez (composer/musician director/actor) and it seems like every conversation becomes a new play that we begin building.  Danny has pushed me to write more music as well. I always wrote songs but I never really felt I had the skills or talent to polish them. So I left them to others to do that. But I know now that if it is good Danny will use it in the play. If it isn’t, meaning if I haven’t polished it, he won’t. If he uses the music, it usually sounds very good. That is motivation. So that output has grown. I am used to walking around with characters and dialogue occupying my brain; now I have melodies, harmonies, bridges and segues that run together and sound like every song I have ever heard. It is really torturous to have that much activity going on in your brain. I have to be careful when I drive.

I have published a first Anthology, it has four plays and a short film script. One of the projects I was supposed to do when I received the United States Artist Felllowship was to publish the completed collections. But I ended up writing much since that time.  We have talked about making them available on line. But in the meantime I have a full length script due by May 1st, a four part telenovela by the end of June, and the second story in a children’s trilogy called El Espiritu Natural. The first story, El Rio: Las Lagrimas de la Llorona, we ran in February and will tour in the fall. The second story is La Tierra. Artists, like parents, love all their children equally. There is something that we find endearing in all of them. I like Ludlow: El Grito de las Minas, because I like the story and the lead character reminds me of my mother. I like When Pigs Fly and Men Have Babies because it is so obnoxious. I like El Sol Que Tu Eres because it really was a beautiful production.  And of course we are always in love with the next one. And if people have an interest I will be glad to send someone a script

MR:  I heard you speak at the recent César Chávez celebration here in Denver. You made some excellent points about what Chávez should mean to us. And I know that working with youth is one focus of the work that Su Teatro undertakes. Is Chávez someone that today's Chicano or Mexicano youth cares about, or even knows? I worry about our lost history and am curious about what you see happening today with Latino youth in terms of cultural and political history, as well as changing the future.

 TG:  I wrote Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez because I was concerned that young people knew the latest reality show stars more than they knew César. I wanted people to understand the story. Being asked to speak put me in a position to think about the values and lessons that I learned from César Chávez. For the first time in my life I placed them in categories. Sacrifice:  César taught that we should be willing to sacrifice everything to achieve our goals. It is pretty hard to hear this when you have nothing. But the idea of sacrifice forces you to think about what has value. And we learn it is not the monetary things that make or change us. Discipline:  The discipline that was necessary to resist violence. As strange as it sounds, it is much more difficult to refrain from harming someone who harmed you. We learned that discipline is the value that will make the change needed in our lives. Discipline is what makes us better artists. If it was so easy everyone would do it. Memory:  César taught us to preserve memory. History is memory preserved. Memory is what connects us to our ancestors and our descendants. That connection is what allows us to outlive our lifetimes. Teach: César taught us to teach. The moment we learn something, we are responsible to teach it. This is how we move the next generation forward. I had an actor tell me,  "I don’t want to be a mentor." My response was that perhaps this was not the place for him. Someone who can not teach is probably someone who will never know. The last is to Honor: Although I really have built my career on sarcasm, we need to always remember to honor the gifts that we have been given. Whether it is an art, a skill, or an emotion, some people have a tremendous capacity to care, to be empathetic. Some people can love deeply or are eternally hopeful. Those are gifts that we may have received genetically, but they were given to us. We also must honor the sacrifices, the lessons, the discipline, and the history that brought us to this place. In our work with young people in addition to telling them about César Chávez, we teach them that the sacrifice was for them to have opportunity, and that their payback was to take advantage of those opportunities. Telling our stories is one of the greatest ways of preserving memory. I was fortunate that my mother was such a great story teller. But now more than ever we have so many great storytellers out there. We also need to teach our children to tell their stories, because in the end their stories will connect with ours.

MR:  What does Su Teatro have planned for this year?

TG:  Actually our season is winding down, but we will finish strong and then start off with a lot of momentum. In June we will stage Cuarenta y Ocho, a fictional telling of the 48 hours between the two explosions in Boulder in 1974 that left six people dead. It begins with an explosion and ends with an explosion that we all know is coming. We will remount Enrique’s Journey, my adaptation of the Sonia Nazario Pulitzer Prize winning story of a young boy who rides the top of the trains from Honduras to the United States to reunite with his mother. We are anticipating that the show will run in Denver for three weeks and then move on to Los Angeles for another three weeks, with a possibility of continuing into Seattle and then returning through Albuquerque. We will remount The Westside Oratorio, the musical retelling of the seven generations that inhabited Denver’s Westside neighborhood, before they were forced to move in order to build the Auraria Campus. We have a great opportunity to stage Real Women Have Curves by Josefina López, and then we will finish off the season with a gift to our audiences and we will once again present Chicanos Sing the Blues. It is a season of revivals, but every one of the shows will have a very different look than previously presented.

MR:  Many writers, hundreds actually, established and upcoming, read La Bloga. Are there opportunities for writers with your company? Any advice for aspiring playwrights?

TG:   We accept submissions all the time, but frankly many are not ready for production. And we don’t always have the resources to invest in the development. We receive a lot of plays that have significantly large casts ( six to eight is a good size. ) We are interested in plays about Latinos; we often get plays by non-Latinos that are really about how non-Latinos see us. I am not big on Latino adaptations of a Shakespeare, Chekov or that sort. We have done adaptations of the Greeks which we like, going back to the root. We have done bilingual versions of Spanish and Latin American writers.  Mostly though we are a company that develops its own work, that is primarily what we do. But we are into relationships as it is through relationships that we find out if there is a fit. These interactions take time. So I would say send me a script, keep in contact, keep me up to date on your activities. Come to a show if you are in town. See what it is we do. And most of all don’t take it personally. I also would suggest that you get your script read aloud, do this before you send it in. Get some friends - they don’t have to be actors. Plays are meant to be heard (not just in your head),  it will really affect the dynamic of what you write.

Tony Garcia Brings Theater to the People


MR:  Thank you, Tony. It's been a pleasure and all of us here at La Bloga appreciate your willingness to speak to our readers. People in Denver know that a night at Su Teatro is guaranteed to be an evening well-spent. Your work is always enlightening, entertaining, and passionate. And often belly-shaking funny. I encourage anyone who has a chance to watch a Su Teatro production to seize the opportunity. You won't regret it.

__________________________________________________________________________

Later.

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33. Lit Links

Morgan Library

What books are you planning on diving into this weekend? Any exciting plans? I am hopefully finishing up the Pulitzer Prize winning THE GOLDFINCH and then jumping into ASTONISH ME by Maggie Shipstead. We are also gearing up for the Boston Marathon that will be broadcast on Monday. Here are a few interesting literary links from around the web…

Books that grab from page one according to Kirkus.

Great interview with Judy Blume for American Libraries Magazine.

Donna Tartt “surprised” by Pulitzer for The Goldfinch.

Editor with string of hits is joining Little, Brown.

7 Brilliant Ways Authors Build Buzz.

World Read Aloud Day.

A literary couple at home.

Flatiron Books to publish Oprah in September.

ROOM by Emma Donoghue headed to the big screen.

21 female authors you should be reading. Will ReadWomen2014 change our collective reading habits?

Image via.

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34. Whatever Happened To The Fastest Boy In The World?

To more than one child the name Billy The Whizz was a joy and inspiration. Memories of the character in that unique colour scheme live on.  But what the hell did Thomson do to him???

In case you know nothing about him (!) there is a Wikipedia entry and I paraphrase  in part here:


Billy Whizz is a character featured in the Beano where he first appeared in issue 1139, dated 16th May 1964.  Created by Malcolm Judge to replace The Country Cuzzins strip. Billy, is able to run at incredible speed -and his speed often causes chaos. Interestingly, he also has a younger brother called Alfie Whizz who was of similar appearance. Alfie is usually shown as a normal boy but occasionally he is shown to be just as fast as his brother.

In the strips up until the 1980s, Billy lives in Whizztown rather than Beanotown like most of the other regular characters, however this later changed and more recent strips place him in Beanotown.

There is more detail at the Wiki where the creator history (and who is to blame for what) is also cited:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Whizz#Changes_in_the_1990s
 
 Above: Billy The Whizz as most of us knew him and (below) AFTER his father made him wear long trousers in an attempt to slow him down (Okay, "Dad" wasn't a one for Physics).





Then Billy opted for a tracksuit with a red lightning streak...or yellow -I guess he must have had several suits because tracksuits get dirty quickly! In this suit Billy was once whisked off to take part in an interplanetary Olympic games!

Yes, in 2003 Billy was still recognisable as Billy.
Billy with his Lightening Tracksuit




 Even after a slight change Billy was still recognisable (below). No problem here.

And......W..T..F????????????????  After passing through a heavy trans-dimensional warp and cutting through interstitial time, Billy is the victim of.....okay. I'm sorry but this is not Billy The Whizz. It's some D. C. Thomson aborted attempt to turn their comics into a very poor Cartoon Network style mockery to increase sales and no doubt "make the character more relevant to modern readers" (or, as we call it, an editor with no ideas left in the head).
 
How did that work out, fellas?

It is very sad to think that, after Nigel Dobbyn revitalised Billy The Cat and even the old General Jumbo character (THAT ended rather badly thanks to Thomson's) that this is the best they could do for Whizz! I think a lot of us oldies were hoping that one day Billy The Cat would answer an emergency call from Jumbo and a certain speedster would gate-crash.

Let's not undermine the character. His influence on readers who went on to work in comics is great. Remember 2000 ADs strip ZENITH? Well it had a Billy The Whizz inspired character.

 Jimmy Quick was a young superhuman from Alternate 666 with the ability to run at super-speed. He was killed by the Lloigor infected Mr Why on February 14, 1988 taking a message to the Alternate 303.

You can find out about other such characters in Zenith here Seizing The Fire:
http://www.2000ad.org/zenith/robert.html 

And there is a certain Black Tower character named "Jack Flash" whose inspiration lo, those many years ago was Billy.



So, whatever Thomson was thinking and what they did to the character I'll allways have fond memories of the real Billy The Whizz!!

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35. Cynsational News & Giveaway

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Christian Slater, Annie Hall, Rejection, and Me (Not Necessarily in That Order) by Shawn K. Stout from the Writing Barn. Peek: "That feeling, right there. Do you know the one? That crushing ache? The one right there in the middle of my chest that tells me in that moment I’m unloved by the universe? That’s what rejection feels like to me. Every. Single. Time."

A Logic Model for Author Success by Sharon Bially from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Called the 'Logic Model'...its goal is to help writers make the best decisions about where to focus their creative energies and efforts when it’s time to launch their books."

Do I Capitalize "God" in Dialogue and Internal Thoughts? by Deborah Halverson from Dear Editor. Peek: "The only rigid rule for capitalizing 'God' in dialogue and thoughts is that you do so when using it as a pronoun: 'Joe, God won’t like that.' Beyond that..."

Think Before You Write by Ash Krafton from QueryTracker Blog. Peek: "Even if I were to sit down as soon as I can and start banging out the scene, it never feels quite the same as it did during its inception. I feel like I lose little parts of myself every time that happens."

Carol Lynch Williams on The Haven by Adi Rule from wcya The Launch Pad at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Peek: "Treat writing like a job. It's not behind the dishes or taking out the garbage. It's your profession. You write first."

Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale by Choctaw author Greg Rodgers: a recommendation from Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek: "...the illustrations by Leslie Stall Widener are terrific. They provide the visual clues that this is a Choctaw story. The clothes the characters wear accurately depict the sorts of items Choctaw's wear, from tops like the one Chukfi wears to the baseball cap that Kinta wears."

The Emotional Journey of a Novel by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "...what we’re looking at above is the standard three-act structure but instead of tracking how the plot rises and then falls, we are tracking how the character feels during each step of the process."

Editing for Agents by agent Tina Wexler and author Skila Brown from Literary Rambles. Peek: "Maybe the agent’s comments are prescriptive in a way that you don’t really like, but listen hard to what problem s/he is identifying and see if you’ve got another idea on how to fix it."

What "Frozen" Teaches Us About Storytelling & Publishing by Stina Lindenblatt from QueryTracker Blog. Peek: "There are quite a few plot spoilers in this post, so if you’re planning to watch the movie, do so first."

Cynsational Author Tip: You may own the copyright to your book, but not everything written about it.  Keep review quotes short, and as a courtesy, provide a link to the source.

A character on the autism spectrum.
Characters on the Autism Spectrum by Yvonne Ventresca from YA Highway. Peek: "At a time when one in every 68 children in the U.S. is affected by autism, it’s interesting to see how children’s literature portrays autistic characters. ...odds are high that teens will have an autistic family member, or a classmate with Asperger syndrome, or a neighbor on the spectrum."

Keeping Up with the Racing Rules by Emma D. Dryden from Our Stories, Ourselves. Peek: "We can't wish away the fact kids are growing up fast, doing everything fast, wanting everything fast, and getting everything fast."

Shattering the Multicultural Myth of the Market. Let's Go! from Mitali Perkins. Peek: "We are tweeting, texting, status-ing, and insta-ing that book until our friends are convinced they must buy it right now or their quality of life will diminish."

"Ariel" by Katherine Catmull: a new story from The Cabinet of Curiosities. Note: "about a mistreated bird and its shadow."

This Week at Cynsations

Enter to win a signed copy!

More Personally

My Week: Travel, Events, Revision! Thank you to TLA, LATFOB, librarians, YA readers, and Candlewick Press for a blurry flurry of bookish fun.

I sent my editor my Feral Pride revision on Wednesday, and she sent notes back on the first half on Thursday. Notes on the second half will come Tuesday. I've been focusing on chapter one, the target of her most substantive suggestions. My goals are to orient the reader, kick off the action, and maintain in the narrative continuity--all of which are more challenging with book 3 in a trilogy and book 9 in a universe. We're almost, but not quite there.

With authors Laurie Halse Anderson & Cecil Castellucci at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
Texas Teens for Libraries at the TLA Annual Conference in San Antonio (that's my back in white).

See also Nikki Loftin and Lupe Ruiz-Flores on the Texas Library Association annual conference.

The post on my mind this week? The Best Bums in Children's Fiction -- Or Why Are So Many Children's Books About Bottoms? by Emma Barnes from An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Peek: "...for the average five year old, toilet training and bed wetting are still very immediate issues, and getting oneself to the toilet on time can be a source of pride (or sometimes an embarrassing failure)."

Greg models Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn at the Macmillan booth at TLA.
Congratulations to Greg Leitich Smith on a rave review from Publishers Weekly for Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook, 2014). Peek: "...an engaging, humorous look at humans learning that they’re not alone in the universe."

Author blurbs also are in:

"Aliens, government coverups, bionic limbs, kooky scientists, luau pigs, conspiracy theories, and mysterious patio furniture—I don't know about you, but these are the things I look for in a great story. Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn has all of them, plus a huge dose of humor. Read it and enjoy, but be warned: You may never want to eat roast pork ever again." —Matthew Holm, co-creator of Babymouse and Squish

“Here is a story for everyone who has ever wondered if that brilliant green light was a UFO. It's for everyone who has ever imagined living on Mars. In short, it's for everyone who has ever asked the question, 'who am I, really?’ Read it, then make your reservations at the Mercury Inn. Just don’t be alarmed if you find an alien in the refrigerator."Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor author of The Underneath

Don't miss my Q&A interview this week at The Horn Book. Peek: "...of late, I’ve become intrigued by wereorcas and Dolphins. I’ve lived a largely mid- to southwestern, landlocked life, so even though most of our world is covered by water, to me it’s as alien and fantastical as anything we’d find in fiction."

Reminder: E-volt is having a sale on Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) for $1.99 and Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith, $2.99--discount prices will hold through April! Listen to an audio sample of Feral Nights and read a sample of Eternal.

Cheers to Dr. Sylvia Vardell on receiving the 2014 ALA-Scholastic Library Publishing Award!

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Join Varian Johnson, Greg Leitich Smith and Jennifer Ziegler in celebrating their new middle grade novels at 2 p.m. June 14 at BookPeople in Austin.

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers will be held June 16 to June 21 at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. Keynote speaker: James Dashner; faculty includes Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith. Learn about the WIFYR Fellowship Award. See also Alison L. Randall on Choosing a Writing Conference

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith in discussing Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) with the YA Reading Club at 11 a.m. June 28 at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.

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36. Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre Festival

SnowQueenMusical 300x300 Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre FestivalYou know when you make a friend who works in a different field than you and then, in time, your mutual interests come together?  Years ago my friend Katie married a talented composer by the name of Haddon Kime.  Haddon was kind enough to create the opening music of my short lived podcast and then that was that.  Now years have passed and the man behind the music and lyrics of the kick arse punk rock version of The Snow Queen (good timing with Frozen and all, eh?) is coming to the New York Musical Theatre Festival.  Woo-hoo!  Couldn’t be happier for everyone involved.

Additional Productions and Readings Announced for 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival

By Michael Gioia
14 Apr 2014
The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) has announced additional productions and readings for its 2014 Festival, which will run July 7-27.

“We were fortunate to have a bumper crop of very high quality shows this year,” said NYMF executive director and producer Dan Markley in a statement. “Whether it’s your first time at the Festival or you’ve been joining us for years, you’re in for a great musical theatre experience in July.”

The 2014 Festival’s productions will be housed at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre and the Ford Foundation Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street) as well as other venues to be announced.

“NYMF audiences will have a chance to experience a wide range of stories told in fresh and inventive ways for a contemporary audience, from a steam-punk inspired Hans Christian Andersen tale for a family audience, to an R&B infused depiction of the lives of Sally Hemings and Marie Antoinette,” added director of programming Mary Kate Burke.

Memberships for the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival are on sale, and members can book tickets beginning June 2. Single tickets will go on sale June 16. To purchase a membership, visit NYMF.org/Member.

Newly announced productions follow:

The Snow Queen Book by Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo
Music by Haddon Kime, lyrics by Kirsten Brandt, Haddon Kime and Rick Lombardo
Additional music by Rick Lombardo

“Be spirited away by this new musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fantastical coming-of-age adventure. Join Gerda on a dangerous and whimsical quest to save her best friend Kai before he is trapped forever in the Snow Queen’s palace. Dare to enter a world where flowers sing, animals talk, and riddles yearn to be solved. With an original pop rock score, alluring ballads, urban steam punk flair, and the enigmatic Snow Queen, you’ll soon see this is not your average bedtime story.”

You can follow the production on Twitter at @SnowQueenShow. And here’s a video from the production, in case you’re curious:

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37. The Color of LIght by Helen Maryles Shankman

It is 1992 and postmodernism is the dominent art movement of the moment.  Rafe Sinclair, founder of The American Academy of Classical Art in New York City, is a classicist through and through, but now he is facing grumblings from some of his board member who think other art forms should be introduced, a board that wouldn't mind removing Rafe as head of the Academy.

But his Board isn't the only problem Rafe has.  First, Rafe is a vampire and is trying desperatgely to hold on to his sense of humanity even as he is forced to kill in order to live.  Second, Rafe was an art student in the 1930.  He had met and fallen in love with a young Jewish woman, a fellow artist, just before World War II began, and he is still in love with her, although he believes she had perished in the Holocaust.

Tessa Moss is a young art student at the Academy, talented but naive and involved in an unhealthy relationship with another artist, the very narcissistic Lucian Swain.  Rafe never really noticed Tessa's work until one day when he notices a sketch she has done of a woman with a child by a suitcase that has the name Witzotsky written on it.  The woman is covering the eyes of the child with her hand.  Rafe begins to take a special interest in Tessa and her work.

Witzotsky is a familiar name to Rafe and it turns out that Tessa has sketched a picture depicting a relative of hers named Sofia Witzotsky.  And, in fact, Sofia is the very same woman that Rafe was involved with, the same woman he thought he had lost in the Holocaust.  Or had he?  After all, he never really knew what Sofia's fate had actually been?  Before long, Tessa and Rafe are involved with each other, which is against school rules and just the kind of infraction the board could use to remove Rafe from his position as head of the Academy.  But if Tessa can help Rafe discover what really happened to Sofia, maybe it was worth the risk.

Helen Mayles Shankman has written a long, complicated book encompassing two time periods, and a fair amount of different characters.  It is very well written, engaging, compelling and I actually enjoyed the intricacies of the plot twists and turns.  Rafe and Tessa are believable (well, except for the vampire part), well defined, likable characters, each carrying a lot of baggage that goes back to the Holocaust: Rafe may have lost the love of his life, and Tessa has lost one whole family line on her father's side.

The Color of Light is a novel that will definitely please your romantic sensibilities, and your penchant for historical fiction and has all the elements of a good mystery novel all in one long (574 pages) story.   Shankman has a MFA in painting, so her art/artistic descriptions are pretty spot on and you will have no trouble picturing works of art that don't really exist.

My vampire fan days are long behind me and vampires are certainly not something I expected to read about when I started this blog.  And yet, I have certainly read my share of fantasy and science fiction here, so why not vampires?  But the fact that  Rafe Sinclair is a vampire is only a plot device allowing the narrative its dual time frame with him in both time periods as a man his age and it worked.

And generally the YA/Adult books I review here are of the cozy type, but variety is the spice of life and The Color of Life is a spicy novel that could be classified as New Adult/Adult.  What I mean is that it has more sexual content than most of the YA/Adult I review.

My friend Zohar over at Man of La Book recommended The Color of Light to me and I am so glad he did.  And I am paying it forward.

This book is recommended for mature readers age 15+
This book was sent to me by the author

A Reading Group Guide for The Color of Light is available HERE

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38. Alaska's Dog Heroes by Shelley Gill

Alaska's Dog Heroes: true stories of remarkable canines by Shelley Gill; Illustrated by Robin James Sasquatch Books. 2014 ISBN: 9781570619472 Grades 2-5 I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library. <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

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39. What I’m Up to at Kirkus This Week

This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler’s Girls Standing on Lawns, to be published by the Museum of Modern Art in early May. It made me want to find my own family photos of girls or women standing on lawns, which are in that piece over at Kirkus. Pictured above is my maternal grandmother.

That Q&A will be here today.

* * *

Pictured above is Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. I chatted with him at Kirkus yesterday about his picture book, A Boy and a Jaguar (Houghton Mifflin), illustrated by Catia Chen and also set to be released in early May. “This story,” Rabinowitz tells me, “is not just about a stuttering boy who studied jaguars, but about all children who feel sad, abused, or misunderstood by the world at large ….” It’s a remarkable story. That Q&A is here.

Until Sunday …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Alan Raboniwitz by Steve Winter and used with permission.

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40. Interview with Zoey Derrick, Author of The Reason Series and Giveaway!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Zoey!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Zoey Derrick] Mother, lover, fighter, crazy, romantic, bibliophile

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your Reason series?

[Zoey Derrick] The Reason Series is an Omnibus of 4 novellas – Give Me Reason, Give Me Hope, Give Me Desire and Give Me Love and is an Angel Paranormal Romance.

Vivienne Callahan – my heroine is a feisty tiger, who is strong willed and determined, to a fault. Her determination hinders her from seeing some of the dangers in front of her.

Mikah Blake – an angelic hero (literally and figuratively) meets Vivienne and sees a beautiful, strong, and amazing woman who needs help. When they finally come together, the way they should have in the beginning, things are set in motion that one never saw coming.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Zoey Derrick] From Give Me Desire – Book 3

I walk quietly toward him. I can’t tell if he’s awake or sleeping. He’s not looking at me, but down toward the floor. As I get closer I see his wings flare and twitch slightly.

When I’m about five steps away from him, I shed my shirt so that I’m down to my bra and lacy boy shorts. I don’t want to destroy his shirt.

I concentrate extra hard and, after a beat, I feel them pushing out, spreading outward. The sensation is strange, almost like arms emerging from my body. I smile at the fact that I was able to bring them out on my own.

Once I feel as though they are fully extended, I open my eyes and peer over my shoulder. They are as brilliant as they were this morning, but bigger, and I gasp as I watch them shimmer in the faint light of the kitchen.

I test the muscles in my back, flexing them. My wings move slightly and a thrill of excitement washes over me.

I turn back toward Mikah. He hasn’t moved, but his breathing has grown strained, ragged like in the dream.

I take the five small steps I need to reach him and stop.

I reach down and gently stroke the stubble along his jaw. He leans into my touch. I lower myself to my knees; they slide along his as they come to rest on the floor.

“Keep your eyes closed,” I whisper.

He nuzzles into my touch a shade more, and with my other hand, eager to see if the sensation is the same, I reach for his wing. When I make contact, his mouth goes slack, his breathing stops momentarily, and the feathers of his wings flare. He moans: a warm, sensual sound.

I pull my hand back and cup the other side of his face. He does the same with my face.

“Kiss me,” I breathe, and he rises up, bringing me with him.

I’m looking up at him, and slowly, even more slowly than in the dream, he lowers his kiss to mine. I stretch, hoping to meet his mouth faster, and he smiles.

The next thing I know, his lips are on mine, soft and warm, hot and needy. The moment we make contact, satisfaction and desire sweep through me. I can feel his need in the touch of his lips, in the trembling of his fingers against my face, a need that matches my own.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the series?

[Zoey Derrick] Mixing Fantasy and Reality. The Reason Series is a human love story with a paranormal twist and while I adore paranormals, especially of the romance kind, I found it harder than I would of thought to incorporate the two together in a way that was believable yet a fantasy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Zoey Derrick] That would bed more like a playlist verses one song.. Thought the two that come to mind right away are P!nk’s Bad Influence and Scott Stapp’s The Great Divide.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Zoey Derrick] Besides clothes…my cell phone – it is my gateway to all things, reading, writing, and surfing the internet, not while driving of course.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Zoey Derrick] Monster (energy drink), Mini Babybel Cheese’s x2 (serious addiction) and ibuprofen – a must have on any writers desk…okay maybe just mine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Zoey Derrick] Eva Tramell from Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series.. **swoon** Gideon!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Zoey Derrick] Interview With A Master by Jason Luke, The Beauty Series by Georgia Cates (Beauty from Pain/Surrender/Love) are from my recently read list.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Zoey Derrick] I’m everywhere…

Facebook – www.facebook.com/zoey.derrick

Twitter – www.twitter.com/zoeyderrick

Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/zoeyderrick/

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/ZoeyDerrick

Website – www.zoeyderrick.net

Email – Zoey@Zoeyderrick.net

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

The Complete Collection

All four books in Zoey Derrick’s Best-Selling Paranormal Romance

Give Me Reason

Give Me Hope

Give Me Desire

Give Me Love

Vivienne Callahan has known only hardship. As if growing up with an alcoholic, drug addicted mother wasn’t traumatic enough, she’s escaped from her physically and verbally abusive boyfriend only to struggle every day to make ends meet as a waitress in a Minneapolis diner.

Along comes Mikah Blake…

—-
Find out more about Zoey Derrick and The Reason Series here:
Amazon  – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IKZUE5S
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20877403-the-reason-series-complete-collection
Author Web – http://zoeyderrick.net
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/zoeyderrick

 

About Zoey:

It is from Glendale, Arizona that Zoey Derrick, a mortgage underwriter by day and romance and erotica novelist by night, writes stories as hot as the desert sun itself. It is this passion that drips off of her work, bringing excitement to anyone who enjoys a good and sensual love story.

Not only does she aim to take her readers on an erotic dance that lasts the night, it allows her to empty her mind of stories we all wish were true.

Her stories are hopeful yet true to life, skillfully avoiding melodrama and the unrealistic, bringing her gripping Erotica only closer to the heart of those that dare dipping into it.

The intimacy of her fantasies that she shares with her readers is thrilling and encouraging, climactic yet full of suspense. She is a loving mistress, up for anything, of which any reader is doomed to return to again and again.

About Zoey | Goodreads | Amazon | Zoey on Twitter | Zoey on FB

Follow the Tour:

4/7 – Parajunkee.com

4/8 – shaynareneesspicyreads.com

4/9 – bookbriefs.blogspot.com
parayournormal.wordpress.com

4/10 – cbybookclub.blogspot.co.uk

4/11 – ljsecretaddiction.blogspot.ca

4/13 – www.cocktailsandbooks.com

4/14 – www.aliisbookjungle.com
lynnareynolds.wordpress.com
www.stephaniekeyes.com

4/15 – breatheinbooks.blogspot.com
ambersupernaturalandya.blogspot.com

4/16 – saaratis.wordpress.com
www.librarymistress.com

4/17 – www.paranormal-bookclub.com

4/18 – shaynavaradeauxbooks.blogspot.com
www.mangamaniaccafe.com

Giveaway

Comment to win The Reason Series Complete Collection!

Giveaway Information:
10 eBook Copies of the Complete Collection for each tour host
2 Swag Packs that include:
The Reason Series Posters
The Reason Series Notebooks
Swag Fun!
Full Collection, Signed Print Copies
2 Full Collections, Signed Print Copies

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Zoey Derrick, Author of The Reason Series and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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41. School Presentations

Tips to get you invited back to schools. 

http://writerunboxed.com/2014/04/03/presenting-to-school-students-top-tips/

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42. Our Wonderful World.18

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.





HOW?

No wheel for rolling,
or draft horse for pulling,
and hills too steep,
with trees thick and deep.

So how to move countless
stone blocks up a mountain?
A hundred-man force
up an inclined plane course.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014


After a week that featured wonders of the modern world chosen by The American Society of Civil Engineers -- the Empire State Building (my favorite of my poems this week), the Golden Gate Bridge, the Itaipu Dam, the Delta Works, and the Panama Canal (I cheated and wrote a non-wonder poem that day) -- it's been nice to return to some ancient wonders: Petra yesterday and Machu Picchu today.

What fun it's been to learn about unknown or little-known places around the world, and to marvel, day after day, at the ingenuity of the human race!

Robyn has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Life on the Deckle Edge, and the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem comes home to Irene at Live Your Poem.

Carol Varselona at BeyondLiteracyLink wrote a poem for the Panama Canal.




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43. Happy Easter from the Snuggery!

0689 Easter-bunnies074_SummertownSun Free vintage image download-easter chicks

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44. My Writing and Reading Life: Soman Chainani

Soman Chainani’s debut novel, The School for Good and Evil, debuted on The New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into languages across six continents, and will soon be a major motion film from Universal Pictures.

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45. Three Quick Tips for Better Blogging

Learn how to edit your tagline, customize comment prompts, and schedule posts -- three great tips to have in your blogging back pocket.

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46. 5 Things Not to do During a Zombie Apocalypse by John L Campbell

John L Campbell’s zombie apocalypse novel, Omega Days, will be released in paperback May 6.  I’ll have a review in early May, so please check back for it.  In the meanwhile, John dropped by to share some tips in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

FIVE THINGS NOT TO DO DURING A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

-John L. Campbell

It’s the end of the world, and our communities are crawling with the walking dead. Finally! No more nine-to-five, no more bills, and you can at last have that Corvette you’ve always wanted; just drive it off the lot. For years we’ve been bombarded with information about how to survive, through film and books, television shows, commercials and what-if discussions over beers. We’re ready. It’s go time.

There are some unexpected dangers lurking, however, that will bring your visions of EOTW glory to an abrupt halt. In the interest of public service, I’ve outlined the pitfalls that should be avoided in order to have a safe and happy zombie apocalypse.

Do not attempt to rescue your relatives.

First of all, they’re zombies by now. And you don’t like most of them anyway, remember? Think back to that last family holiday. Now imagine your bunker filled with those same relatives, now zombies, sitting down for the big dinner. Zombies have awful table manners, and they’re just as ungrateful for all the hard work you put into it as they were at Thanksgiving. And just because they’re the undead doesn’t mean they’ve changed; they still hold grudges, bring up embarrassing memories, try to borrow money, complain about medical conditions you’d rather not hear about, and empty your liquor cabinet. You’ve been looking for a way out of these family gatherings for years. The zombie apocalypse is the perfect excuse.

Do not go out in search of food and supplies.

Remember the way you complained about the crowds during your last holiday shopping trip? Think of Black Friday times ten. By the time you get to the stores, they’ll have sold out of all the good stuff, and, of course, most of the clerks will already have turned. Zombie retail clerks. Ew. The lines will be endless, your awesome apocalypse vehicle will get dented by shopping carts in the parking lot, and when you get home, survivors will be squatting in your house. Better to stay in and eat those things you’ve been neglecting at the back of the pantry for years; the pumpkin pie filling, the granola you bought during your last Get Healthy kick, the prehistoric croutons. You wanted to lose weight anyway, right?

Don’t forget to wear clean underwear.

Your mother warned you for years. Now the probability of “getting in an accident” has just multiplied.

Do not hang around New York City.

Yes, Will Smith made it look cool. And yes, carriage rides in Central Park are very romantic. But the city is swarming with the walking dead, and if you thought it was difficult to get a cab before? New York zombies are pushy and rude, and will become unbearable once the power grid goes down and they can’t get a cell phone signal. NYPD will be busy ticketing all the abandoned cars in the street, so they won’t have time to give you directions to Radio City, or save you when you’re being pursued by an undead bike messenger. Zombie bike messengers. Ew. In addition, Wicked and Phantom just won’t be the same as zombie actors lurch across the stage, croaking their lines and devouring the people who paid five hundred dollars for orchestra seating.

Do not isolate yourself on a Caribbean island.

But an island is perfect, you say, and you love the tropics. Sure, the idea is logical on the surface; wait out the plague on the beach, getting hammered on fruity umbrella drinks. But Caribbean islands have snakes. Ew, snakes. And island zombies hate tourists, especially if it’s a French island. French zombies. Ew. They do, however, find tourists delicious, and this will negatively impact the level of service you receive at hotels and resorts. And let’s think it through. The pool bar will be mobbed, the pool itself will have questionable objects floating in it, and the locals will triple the price for para-sailing and native crafts. No, better not to travel, and avoid that undead TSA agent challenging you on the size of your travel mouthwash.

Survive the zombie apocalypse by staying home. Don’t leave the garage door open, remember that you can drink toilet water if necessary (from the tank, not the blue stuff in the bowl,) and pass the time with a good book. I could recommend several. In the meantime, just sit around and wait for the government to save you. They have a plan for this, right?

 

 

About the book:

When the end came, it came quickly. No one knew where or exactly when the Omega Virus started, but soon it was everywhere. And when the ones spreading it can’t die, no one stands a chance of surviving.

San Francisco, California. Father Xavier Church has spent his life ministering to unfortunate souls, but he has never witnessed horror like this. After he forsakes his vows in the most heartrending of ways, he watches helplessly as a zombie nun takes a bite out of a fellow priest’s face…
University of California, Berkeley. Skye Dennison is moving into her college dorm for the first time, simultaneously excited to be leaving the nest and terrified to be on her own. When her mother and father are eaten alive in front of her, she realizes the terror has just begun…
Alameda, California. Angie West made millions off her family’s reality gun show on the History Channel. But after she is cornered by the swarming undead, her knowledge of heavy artillery is called into play like never before…
Within weeks, the world is overrun by the walking dead. Only the quick and the smart, the strong and the determined, will survive—for now.

About the author:

John L. Campbell is the author of the zombie apocalypse series, OMEGA DAYS from Penguin Random House. Book One, “Omega Days,” was an overnight Amazon Horror bestseller, and remained on the list for 17 weeks. In addition, he is the author of two collections of short horror stories, RED CIRCUS and IN THE FALLING LIGHT, and a novella based upon actual events, THE MANGROVES, which chronicles the most horrific crocodile massacre in recorded history. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, literary magazines and ezines.
John has lived all over the U.S., and has worked as everything from a limo driver to professional investigator and executive. He currently resides with his family in New York, where he is hard at work on the next novel in his Omega Days series.
Campbell is an Active Member of the HWA; Horror Writer’s Association, and is represented by the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in New York.
Coming soon, SHIP OF THE DEAD. Prepare to be boarded…

The post 5 Things Not to do During a Zombie Apocalypse by John L Campbell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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47. What’s your major?

by

Alex Bracken

Alexandra Bracken

During my brief stint as an editorial assistant, I received a ton of really random calls. My theory is that the company’s operators just went to the first editorial assistant listed alphabetically in the staff directory with general editorial queries. My absolute favorite call I ever received came from a girl, maybe twelve or thirteen at the most, who flat-out asked, “Do you need to know French to work at your job?”

“No. Why do you ask?” was the obvious response.

“My parents said that if I want to be an editor I have to learn French.” And then she asked me to repeat the answer, this time on speaker so her parents could hear me.

First of all, I love that she called an actual publishing house to prove her folks wrong. That is a girl after my own heart! It’s a nice way to launch into something that seems to be a lot of soon-to-be grads’s minds: What do you need to major in to work in publishing? 

I double majored in English and History in college, but the truth is… I could have majored in just about anything and still found a job in publishing. English is the most popular major/minor for publishing employees, but short survey of coworkers and friends turned up majors in marketing, communications, biology, psychology, history, education, and, yes, even French!

The one thing I can’t stress enough is that there’s no one route into publishing–no major is the key to finding a job. I’ve mentioned this here before, but the industry is what you’d call an apprenticeship industry. While having a degree in communications might help in trying to snag a publicity gig, the hiring manager is likely to be far more focused on what work experience you’re bringing with you–that is, what skill set you have to offer your potential team and the company as a whole. This can be anything from general office/administrative experience (let’s be honest, this comprises 75% of most assistant jobs in the industry) to working in your college’s public relations department to spending a summer interning at a major corporation. While it certainly helps to have some background knowledge of the industry, no one will expect that you, fresh out of school, will know what “point of sales” means or what GLB stands for–these things will, in time, be taught to you as part of your training.

More than anything, hiring managers want to see that you can read critically and write well (hence why you often have to submit a sample press release or editorial letter after interviewing), that you have some experience working in a corporate environment or as part of a team, and that you’re enthusiastic about publishing and the books the company publishes. And who knows? An “oddball” major like Folklore and Mythology, or even Neuroscience could make you stand out and provide fodder for an interesting interview conversation!

Alex lives in New York City, where she works in children’s publishing, writes like a fiend, and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. You can visit her online at her website or Twitter.

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48. Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - TAP TAP BOOM BOOM -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} In Tap Tap BOOM BOOM, Elizabeth Bluemle's jazzy, jangly text is matched perfectly with  G. Brian Karas's exuberant illustrations. A combination of gouache and pencil drawings and

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49. Reread #16: A Year Down Yonder

A Year Down Yonder. Richard Peck. 2000. Penguin. 144 pages. [Source: Library]

I loved A Year Down Yonder so much more than Richard Peck's A Long Way From Chicago. And I definitely enjoyed A Long Way From Chicago! While A Long Way From Chicago was told from Joey's point of view, A Year Down Yonder is told from Mary Alice's point of view. Because of the Depression, Mary Alice has been sent by her parents to live with Grandma Dowdel. Mary Alice has spent more than a few summers with her Grandma, alongside her brother, but this time she'll be there all year long, and without her brother.

While A Long Way From Chicago is fun, in many ways, it is a bit disjointed as well. Each chapter tells the story of a summer vacation. In A Year Down Yonder, the plot is more traditional. The book follows the course of an entire year. Readers get a better chance to KNOW the characters, to appreciate the characters and the small town setting. And Mary Alice is a great narrator!!! I loved her story. My favorite chapters were "Rich Chicago Girl," "Vittles and Vengeance," "Heart and Flour," and "A Dangerous Man." I loved the slight traces of romance. 


I would definitely recommend both A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. Both books do stand alone, but, they do go together well.

I first reviewed A Year Down Yonder in May 2008.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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50. Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

I wish that I could have found more images to share with you from Have You Seen My Dragon, the superb new picture book from Steve Light, but you should really buy it and see for yourself anyway! As you can tell by what I do have to share of Light's artwork, he has a style that is reminiscent of another time, specifically the late 1960s and early 1970s. Read my review of Light's last picture

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