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Results 1 - 25 of 228,051
1. Harts Pass No. 268

It's that time of year again -- hopefully-- and the turn of seasons is finally under way. From all of us fine and furry critters here at Harts Pass comics, bring on the snow (and nighty night to the Ursus americanus and others of their ilk)!

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2. Reading Journal: ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson

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3. It's live!! Cover Reveal: What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle + Giveaway (US/Canada)

Hello, YABCers!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for WHAT HAPPENS NOW by Jennifer Castle, releasing June 7, 2016 from HarperTeen. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Jennifer:

Hello YABC! I can't think of a better way for my upcoming novel WHAT HAPPENS NOW to take its first step into the world. This is the book of my heart...and this cover makes my heart do Zumba. I want to crawl inside it and live there for a while, which I guess is the whole point of a great cover! I’m always fascinated by how a book cover takes shape, so I asked the people who did all the work here if they would share their process...
From Heather Daugherty, Senior Designer at HarperCollins Publishers:
“When I read this book by Jennifer Castle, I was consumed by wanting to freeze life-moments in time. That perfect summer day. That moment your crush knows who you are or actually notices you, or your eyes finally lock for what seems like too long and not long enough at the same time. Those poignant adolescent moments you agonize through, but later wish you had savored every second after they are long gone. The concept of using miniature sculpture, or the diorama art form, to create this book cover seemed daunting and an absolute must at the same time. The perfect challenge! What better way to capture these moments than having an artist sculpt each character by hand, and get it so right?! Thomas Doyle is an extraordinary artist and it was a pleasure brainstorming this amazing cover idea with him!”
From Thomas Doyle, New York-based artist (thomasdoyle.net):
“I create miniature worlds that function much like dioramas that I then show in museums and galleries in the US and abroad. The materials are typically those used by model railroaders, along with an array of art and hardware supplies--all brought together to simulate reality in 1:87 scale. I was excited to take part in creating the cover for WHAT HAPPENS NOW because the book itself distills the intense emotions that come with being young in the summertime. In a similar vein, my artwork often seeks to crystallize memories of things past into frozen moments. Having spent many an afternoon along the lakes in Michigan, where I grew up, I wanted the cover to communicate both the expansiveness of the “perfect” summer day, along with the push and pull that accompany a teenage crush. Capturing the two lead characters on the raft, apart yet together, seemed like a great way to tell that story.”
Jennifer here again! Um, yeah. I’d say this is a fantastically unique way to tell the story; I hope you all agree. Enjoy this exclusive cover reveal!
~ Jennifer Castle (WHAT HAPPENS NOW, HarperTeen)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Jennifer's giveaway. Thank you! ***



by Jennifer Castle
Release date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062250477
About the Book
I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it. 
I also know what it’s like to get that something.
And honestly, I’m still not sure which is worse. 

Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy: her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible... 

That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake.  
At first, Ari quietly longs for Camden from afar, seeing in him everything she wants to be. When the two discover a true connection the following summer, Ari lets herself fall not just for the quirky and self-assured Camden but also his friends, tumbling into their world of independence, adventure, and shared sci-fi fandom. As Ari’s romantic dreams come true, she must unlock the mysteries of the very real and troubled boy behind her infatuation, while also struggling with her own demons, obligations, and loyalties. 
WHAT HAPPENS NOW is a powerful, insightful story about learning to heal, learning to love, and what happens when fantasy becomes reality.

b2ap3_thumbnail_jencastle_cropped.jpgAbout the Author

Jennifer Castle is the author of two previous YA novels from HarperTeen, THE BEGINNING OF AFTER and YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE, as well as the digital novella PLAYING KEIRA. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, two daughters, and two terribly spoiled cats.

Twitter | Web | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pre-order Amazon


Giveaway Details

Two winners will each receive a signed ARC of WHAT HAPPENS NOW (when available) + signed bookmarks. 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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4. सोच को बदलो

सोच को बदलो

कई बार गूगल सर्च में बहुत अच्छी बाते पढने को मिल जाती हैं और हमारी नकारात्मक  बदलनी शुरु हो जाती है ..

यह भी सच है

ये राहें ले ही जायेंगी मंजिल तक, हौसला रख….
कभी सुना है कि अँधेरे ने सवेरा होने ना दिया..!!!

अपनी रोटी जो दूसरो के साथ बांट कर खाता है उसे भूख की बीमारी कभी नही सताती

हमारे जीवन में अगर कुछ निश्चित है तो वह है – अनिश्चितता… !!!

एक सच ये भी है … छोटी सोच वालों की जीभ अक्सर बड़ी होती है …..

सपने और लक्ष्य में एक ही फर्क है सपने के लिए बिना मेहनत की नींद चाहिए और लक्ष्य के लिए बिना नींद की मेहनत !!!!

आंधियों में भी जो दीया जलता हुआ मिल जाएगा
उस दीए से पूछना मेरा पता मिल जाएगा

मंजिल न सही नजरों में अभी

कदमों में अभी रफ्तार तो है !!!


जब टूटने लगें हौंसलें तो याद रखना
बिना मेहनत के हासिल कुछ नही होता
ढूंढ लेना अंधेरों में अपनी मंजिल
क्योकि जूगनू कभी रोशनी का मोहताज नही होता

अपने अंदर के अहम को निकाल कर स्वयं को हल्का कीजिए क्योकि ऊंचा वही उठता है जो हल्का होता है !!!



The post सोच को बदलो appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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5. A Glorious List of YA Apocalypse Books

I have a deep love for all books about the end of the world and the apocalypse. It’s exciting! I love the speculation of what could happen. Because zombies could totally happen. Or angels. Or destruction by walking trees. WHO KNOWS. Today I have a list of Young Adult books about the apocalypse and the end of the world. […]

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6. Question about Lights and Darks

Picture by John VanHouten
Blog reader John VanHouten asks:

"Hey James,
I know you say on your website that you don't give personal art advice but this question is about light. Specifically, the phrase about the lightest darks being darker than the darkest lights. I'm working on a painting and I'm not sure if darkening the shadow area of the skeleton will make it lose its local color of yellowish off-white, because it would be darker than the lightest part of the dark cloak. Is the phrase about darkest lights and lightest darks just applied to only one object at a time or is it applied to a whole image like the skeleton AND the robe? What do you think?
Thanks, John"

Hi, John,
There are kind of two different principles at work here, and those principles sound similar, so they can be a little confusing.

1. One is that the darkest values on the lit side of a given object are almost always lighter than the lightest values of the same object in shadow. This is assuming that the object is of a fairly constant local color and a fairly matte surface, such as a skull, fabric, or skin. It would not apply to something patterned, glossy, or highly reflective. It's also assuming we're talking about sunlight or any strong light source with normal surfaces bouncing the light back into the shadow. Given those constraints, this one is nearly always true. You seem to be adhering to the principle in your picture.

2. The other principle is that in a black object lit by direct sunlight can often be lighter than a white object in shadow. You have also got that working in your picture, as the light side of the black cloak (left swatch) is a little lighter than the shadow side of the skull (right swatch). In my observation, this one only holds true under ideal conditions. Outdoors, you need to have a cloudless sky and not too much reflected light coming into the shadow side.

So as you guessed, the first rule applies to one object at a time and the second rule applies to the whole picture. These principles come up because students tend to underestimate the depth of shadows. They also tend to introduce too much tonal variation within the lights and too much tonal variation in the shadows. This happens because our visual brains use context cues to override the luminance information that our retinas actually receive.

You also mentioned a concern about maintaining the appearance of the local color of the skull as it moves from light into shadow. A white object can move through a wild range of colors as it absorbs different influences around it. I'm guessing that reflected light from the yellow tassel would spread a vertical glowing band of warm light—thought too light in value—to the area of the shadowed skull just to the left of the tassel.

One more thing: Can you get that student on a better meal plan?
Previously: Black is Light, White is Dark
More in my book: Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

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7. Broken Photo Contest


Deaf Heroine Shines in Romance, Broken by Tanille Romance Feature Photo Contest

New York, New York – October 8, 2015 (www.brokenthenovel.com) Broken by New York Author Tanille Edwards is a young adult novel that stars Milan, the girl everyone wants to be but no one really knows. Milan finds herself in a burgeoning supermodel career right at the start of her senior year in high school. Nothing like expected, Milan is struggling to identify with her friends and family. Milan, like every teenage girl, is fighting insecurities. Milan goes to great lengths not to be known as hearing impaired. To top it all, Milan finds herself longing for a lost love.



Snap & Win.....Enter the Broken by Tanille Contest Today!
3 WAYS to WIN!! Post, SHARE, WIN. Go to:http://www.undercoverstarlet.com/

Broken is a novel conceived in the new media era where books and music can be consumed on a single platform. Every copy of Broken includes a link to download the Broken Soundtrack that includes
free music from author & singer/songwriter Tanille. Tanille makes the heart­throbbing longing for a lost love come alive in her single "Baby Comeback to Me" as part of the Broken Soundtrack. Broken invites readers to enjoy a new spin on Young Adult Romance.



Broken is available everywhere books are sold including iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and more. Look for Broken by Tanille Edwards.

Follow @MilanParkAve and instagram.com/MilanParkAve 


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8. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guido Henkel, Author of HUNTED

Food plays such an elemental part of our lives that I am often surprised how little of it is shown in fiction, and even in movies or TV shows. I mean, after all, didn’t we just have breakfast, and then lunch, and now we’re eating again? There are days when it feels that our entire being revolves around nothing but food. And the worst part is that after a few hours it is depleted, and the cycle starts all over again. For cooks it must be a devastating feeling to have labored over a good meal for hours, only to have it gobbled down in a few minutes without any further pay-off, knowing that it was a rather vain attempt to stop the hunger, because before long, we’ll be have to have at it again. In the real world, food is king, not money!

A while back my editor returned one of my manuscripts to me with the general comment “I love that Jason Dark and Siu Lin always have these conversations over food.” It was only then that I realized, yes, my characters do sit down to eat and talk about things. As a writer, for me, it’s always a nice set piece that gives me a backdrop that I can make as rich and detailed as I want to, or relegate it to the background if I desire.

While I have sit-downs in my stories where the characters eat sumptuous dinners—it seems to make Jason Dark’s deductive juices flow—I also use food as coloration. Like a throw-away line. He may just walk past a stall in a market place and grab an apple and share it with his companion Siu Lin, or he purchases fish and chips from a street vendor while being on the run to solve his current supernatural mystery. Naturally, rice dishes are also ever-present, as my character Siu Lin prefers her diet more Asian.

Drink is equally important, I believe. Not necessarily booze, but the general consumption of liquids. My Jason Dark mysteries play in Victorian England, so the generally accepted notion is that everyone drinks tea, but in a twist of fate—or was it just my imagination?—I decided to make Jason Dark a coffee drinker—a preference handed down to him by his father, like many other things. At the same time, as one would expect, Siu Lin is a tea drinker, though not of the British Earl Grey variation necessarily, she prefers the Lapsang and Jasmine teas of her homeland of China.

While I find that I never pick food scenes consciously, they seem to be part of my writing fabric. This is, perhaps, most noticeable in the series’ first book, Demon’s Night. When readers meet Jason Dark for the very first time, his introduction takes place at a breakfast table where he eats with his live-in sister in-law, as she points out a particular newspaper article to him, which ultimately leads to him investigating the case in question. As I said, I did not write this scene with the conscious desire of wanting to write a “food scene.” To me it simply felt natural. A beautiful morning, sunlight falls in through the window, fresh rolls on the table and a cup of steaming coffee, the aroma filling the air. It is homey, and the perfect counterpoint to what just happened on the previous page—yes, as you may have guessed, the previous chapter involved a few people getting killed by some strange creature.

Feel free to check out any book in my Jason Dark series, or give the latest release, Hunted, a try, and see how many food moments you can spot in the book.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Guido!

You can find Guido here:

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9. Platypus Police Squad Movie!

Variety just broke the news on the Platypus Police Squad movie!
That's right, MOVIE! I'm pinching myself!
I am BEYOND thrilled to be working with Walden Media, the studio behind the Narnia films and the upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl's The B.F.G., to bring these monotreme detectives to the silver screen. And with the talented Jon Saunders and Ross Evans penning the script and Saunders directing, Zengo and O'Malley are in very capable hands! 

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10. Negotiation

If you don't have an agent, you'll be responsible for negotiating your contracts.


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11. Friday Feature: Ghost For Sale by Sandra Cox

Warning: Contains ghosts and shopaholics

Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.

As we reached the car, my breath went out in a whoosh. Arms and legs crossed, Liam leaned against the shiny Corvette. The street lamp limned his high sharp cheekbones and sparked the blue highlights in his hair. Plain black cotton trousers framed long legs. My heart tightened and my bones loosened. He was just so darn pretty, in a manly-man sort of way.

His stormy eyes shifted to me. He stared, unsmiling.

The ghost was still in a snit. Well fine, I was in a bit of a snit myself.

We drove home in silence. I glanced in the rearview mirror. Liam stared straight ahead, his arms crossed, pensive. At least he wasn’t white knuckling the side of the car. How strange this must seem to him.

I surfed the satellite radio till I found a channel that played old Irish ballads.

A beatific expression came over his face, making my breath catch. How could a man be so good-looking? Maybe it was a ghost thing. His expression changed to one of abject terror. “Watch out,” he shouted at the top of his lungs.

I turned the wheel sharply to the right, just missing a little old lady driving a bright red sports car. She laid on her horn and stuck her third digit out the window.

Liam stared, his gorgeous mouth open. I think a senior citizen giving me the finger shocked him worse than my driving.

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.



Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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12. America's 4th July 2011

A bit of trivia regarding America's 4th July celebrations and the nation's revered flag. I love the flag for what it stands for, and for being the flag under which our Church was founded, through Moroni as requested by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

AMERICAN FORK — There were 2.5 million people living in the American colonies when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
There are a few more Americans today — 311.7 million. And just like many who are anxious to light a few fireworks on the Fourth of July, the Census Bureau's penchant to tell Americans about themselves gets its fuse lit at a chance to celebrate the most American of national holidays — by the numbers.

Tom Smart, Deseret News
The crew steps inside the Dee Balloon III before launching during the America's Freedom Festival's annual Balloon Festival in Provo on Friday.
From the archive
•Tallying America for the Fourth of July – June 27, 2011
•Bills by Bishop, Hatch would change census counting, include Utah missionaries overseas – March 31, 2011
•2010 Census details Utah growth; West Jordan now 4th largest city – Feb. 24, 2011
The information quantifies the obvious, adds a few surprises and begs a question or two.
It may be a surprise that $3.2 million worth of American flags sold in 2010 were manufactured overseas, for example. But with that in mind, it is likely less of a surprise that $2.8 million of those imports came from China. Mexico is the biggest purchaser of American-made American flags, buying $486,000 worth last year.
The Census Bureau did not quantify how many American flags end up in places hostile to the United States, destined to become a prop in some nefarious media-attention-seeking down-with-America protest.
Much more subjective might be the question about how many "famous" American flags there are. Candidates certainly include the "Star Spangled Banner" Francis Scott Key spoke of when witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry; Betsy Ross' flag; the flag hoisted on Iwo Jima, memorialized at the Marine Corps War Memorial near Arlington Cemetery; the banner almost destroyed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, now known as the National 9/11 flag; or perhaps the banner farthest from earth that the Apollo 11 crew planted on the moon in 1969.
It is likely no surprise at all that China is the source of the bulk of the imported fireworks — $190.7 million worth in 2010. Uncounted is the number of the people who unroll their spent fireworks to look at the Chinese newsprint inside.
What may be a surprise is that the United States also exported $37 million worth of fireworks in 2010, with Japan being its single largest customer.
Across the country, 31 places have "liberty" in their names, the most populous being Liberty, Mo., with 29,149 residents. Another 35 have "eagle" in their names, including Utah's own Eagle Mountain. The most populous is Eagle Pass, Texas, population 26,248.
"Independence" is in the name of 11 places, the largest being Independence, Mo., population 116,830. Nine places have "freedom" in their name, led by Freedom, Pa., population 4,464.
The Census Bureau says there is only one "patriot" — Patriot, Ind., with a burgeoning population of 209.
Places with some form of "America in their names" total five, led in size by — stand and salute — American Fork, Utah, population 26,263.

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13. It's live!! Cover Reveal: Everland by Wendy Spinale + Giveaway (International)

Welcome to the second cover reveal of the day, YABC!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for EVERLAND by Wendy Spinale, releasing April 26, 2016 from Scholastic. 


Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Wendy's giveaway. Thank you! ***



by Wendy Spinale
Release date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
About the Book
London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer. 
Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_wendybookprofile.jpgAbout the Author

Wendy Spinale is a former Disneyland actress and is familiar with the world of make-believe. She resides in California with her husbands and three sons.

Twitter | Web | Facebook | Goodreads | Pre-order Amazon | YABC Profile


Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a signed ARC of EVERLAND (when available). 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Read More

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14. The Simple Days

I miss the simple days of yore
When all the rules were known,
The type of life we had before
It shrank into a phone.

When patience was required
For the effort that it took
To get answers we desired
From the right library book.

When our choices weren’t many
On the AM or TV
And a candy for a penny
Was quite good enough for me.

No technology to stump me
And convince me I’m a fool,
Just the smarts I had to pump me
That I learned at home and school.

From a different generation
I’ve been thrust out from the past.
Since I stink at adaptation,
I’ve been totally surpassed.

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15. Fall Is Off To A Bang!

I'm finally back to blogging after a long visit with my family and other busy things going on in this writer's life.

I must say, this fall is starting out with a bang! While visiting my family in Virginia, my mom, sis and I had two very successful book signings. To be honest, I wasn't expecting either function to be much, however the event that I was sure I'd be lucky to sell one book at, ended up being one of my most successful. It sure is fun talking to people about our books but when someone comes up to you and wants to buy one of each, well I must admit, it's a terrific feeling and big boost to the ego!

This happened not once but two or three times during these book signings. Amazing! At least to me it was.

I also just attended another successful book signing here in Louisiana at the Denham Springs Fall Festival. It was chilly, windy and I was suffering from a rotten cold, but who cares when people are buying your creations! I paid for it the next day but it was still well worth it.

Last night I had another book signing at La Divina Italian Cafe. Why there, you ask? Because the owner of that very unique and lovely cafe is doing her part in supporting the community and our local authors. Each Wednesday night she has kids night and features a different author. We read our stories to the kids, sometimes play games and have all kinds of fun. It really is a great thing this cafe is doing and we just wish more local businesses would follow suit!

The picture below is of two little cutie pies and friends, Elliot & Julia at La Divina last night. We sure had fun!

Up next on October 24 & 25 is the Poche Plantation Arts and Crafts festival which I'm really excited about.

How about you other authors out there. What's your fall looking like?

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16. Just Finished Reading... The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I bought this from iBooks only Wednesday and had it finished yesterday. I'd read a review on Tsana's Reads blog and it sounded like fun, and so it was. 

Imagine if you lived in Sunnydale, or its equivalent, but weren't a part of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Scooby Gang. All that stuff would still be happening but not to you, although you might still notice things going on, especially if you went to the same school.

In this novel, we see the goings-on from the viewpoints of a bunch of (mostly) ordinary kids, who have enough problems without worrying about whether evil beings from another dimension are trying to take over the world. The Chosen Ones are known as indie kids. Their adventures are happening off the main page, though we do get a paragraph or two about it at the start of each chapter. 

Actually, I have always loved Buffy because, in the middle of all those vampire and demon invasions, characters would be shrieking,"You stole my boyfriend!" 

In this case, in an unnamed small town, which does have semi-regular paranormal events(soul-sucking ghosts, vampire romances, a plague of gods and goddesses), we see what's happening elsewhere in the town, although the paranormal events do impact on the lives of those who are just trying to finish their exams, get a date to the prom and overcome truly serious anorexia and OCD problems. Mikey, the hero, is the one with OCD, his sister is a recovering anorexic, their father an alcoholic and their mother a politician who does care about them, but is mostly worried about her current campaign. These problems do have to be overcome, even as they pray for their school not to be burned down by the struggle between indie kids and  paranormal creatures...again. (It's only been eight years since the last time!) This is definitely a gentle poke at Buffy.

Despite all that, there is a should-be indie kid among them, Mikey's best friend Jared, a demigod, whose grandmother was the goddess of cats - part of the plague of gods, who had settled down with a mortal before returning to the divine realms. Jared is such a nice boy! And cats adore him, including mountain lions. But he is trying to live a normal life, apart from healing cats and the occasional human.

It isn't as funny as it sounds; there is gentle humour as the author pokes fun at the current passion for YA paranormal books, but there are enough serious problems to make you think.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. It's my first Patrick Ness book, though I do have  another on my iPad, to be read later.

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17. Congratulations Lisa Yee!

I'm so excited for my pal Lisa Yee! She is a superhero herself, but she has been given the keys to all of the female superheroes of the DC universe! Check out her news!

The Super Hero Girls are in high school, as if that's not stress and confusion unto itself! Here's more info on what else is going on with this . . . http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/…/dc-mattel-unveil-super-h…

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18. Podcast/Videocast at the Free Library, with LOVE and Marciarose

Marciarose Shestack, didn't we have ourselves a time last evening, at the Free Library of Philadelphia?

With greatest thanks to Siobhan, Andy, and Jason, to Gary, to Kevin, to my husband and father, to my friends, to all those who joined us there on a starry night, to everyone who asked a question, to all of you who stood in line.

A podcast can be found here.

A video stream of the reading and conversation can be found here.

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19. We Need Diverse Books

Gina organizes the book fair at our daughters' school. Moved by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, she curated a list of books & we'll plaster town with this art!

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20. ATMOSPHERIC Giveaway

Carole Wilkinson is an Australian author best known for her DragonKeeper series of children’s books. But she is also a well-respected author of non-fiction books, including Fromelles: Australia’s Bloodiest Day at War, Black Snake: The Daring of Ned Kelly, The Games: The Extraordinary History of the Modern Olympics and Hatshepsut: The Lost Pharaoh of Egypt. […]

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21. Platypus Police Squad

In 1997 I gave this fourteen-year-old kid advice about RISD and art school, and now he's set to direct and cowrite a movie based on my book series for a major Hollywood studio. 
As many of you may know, I spent many years working at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp starting in my late teens. One of my nearest and dearest friends that I worked with there was Ali Baghai. When camp wasn't in session, I often found myself at his house, just outside of Boston. The Baghai house was just one of those households where everyone collected. Ali's mother, Jane, just reveled in having her sons and all of their friends under one roof at the same time. She was a remarkable woman who always made you feel so loved—Wendy to our Lost Boys. It was at one of these get-togethers that I met this red-headed kid named Jon Saunders. Jon was Ali's younger-brother Jeff's friend. Jon and Jeff were (and are) both artists, and in-between games of Goldeneye on N64, I'd share my experiences at Rhode Island School of Design. I was a sophomore at the time.
(Another friend that I made at the Baghai house in those days was Chris Zengo, who grew up to be a Massachusetts State Trooper, and the namesake for a certain platypus detective.)
Jon would later attend RISD, along with Jeff, and during their time there, I was a frequent guest lecturer for my former professors. We'd catch up whenever I was in Providence. I even won an alumni award the year that Jon graduated in 2005. So I got to see him grab his diploma from the stage. 
Jon moved to L.A. after graduation, and I found myself there often. Punk Farm had just been picked up for development and I was hitting the streets, meeting with just about every development executive in town that would make time for me. I crashed on Jon's couch in those days and shared folders filled with samples of this Lunch Lady project I had brewing. 
Jon moved forward with some amazing animation projects over the ensuing years, and I kept plugging along with my books. We kept in touch, but as it goes when you start having kids—I got insanely busy. I named the corrupt mayor in Platypus Police Squad after Jon to thank him for those weeks of couch surfing. 
Jon called me up last winter. His career was picking up steam, and was I doing anything with Platypus Police Squad? I was, in fact, readying something. We put our heads together, along with his brilliant writing partner, Ross Evans. Walden Media was quickly on board, and we now have a movie in development! Jon and Ross really get what I have been doing in the Platypus Police Squad books, and I could not have found a better pair to shepherd this project along from page to screen. 
Jane Baghai is no longer with us, but I can only begin to imagine how tickled she'd be by all of this. If she was here, I know she'd instantly produce a photograph of a gang of kids sitting on her couch playing Nintendo in 1997. I miss Jane terribly, she was a very special woman—and I will forever be grateful to her for opening her doors to me. 
The photo on the left is of Jane and Ali Baghai and I at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in 1997. On the right, that's Jon Saunders, Ross Evans and I on our first creative meeting for the film adaptation of Platypus Police Squad back in February.

Check out the animation that Jon Saunders directed for Nike. It currently has more than 88 million views!! 

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22. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Leah's Pony

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

There's nothing like Friday, is there?  Especially before a long weekend :)

And Perfect Picture Books just make Fridays even better - tons of great new reading material for your weekend, be it regular or long :)

This was one of those odd weeks when my pile of picture books failed to wow me.  I read book after book thinking, "meh" - not what you want in a perfect picture book!  I'm always a little depressed when this happens.  I wonder if I'm missing something, since clearly a whole team of people thought these books were great enough to publish.  But whatever the reason, there was no perfect picture book in this week's collection, so instead of one of the newer titles from my pile of meh, I went with an older title from my bookshelf (signed to my daughter by Michael Garland :)) a book I have loved for years.  I hope you'll enjoy it!

Title: Leah's Pony
Written By: Elizabeth Friedrich
Illustrated By: Michael Garland
Boyds Mills Press, February 1996, Fiction (historical)

Suitable For Ages: 6-9

Themes/Topics: historical fiction (1930s Dust Bowl), family, love, sacrifice

Opening:  "The year the corn grew tall and straight, Leah's papa bought her a pony.  The pony was strong and swift and sturdy, with just a snip of white at the end of his soft black nose.  Papa taught Leah to place her new saddle right in the middle of his back and tighten the girth around his belly, just so."

Brief Synopsis: Leah's pony was swift and strong.  She loved him dearly, and together they raced across the fields under summer skies.  But then came a year when the corn didn't grow, locusts blackened the sky, and the earth turned to dust, the beginning of the great drought (the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.)  Leah's family is faced with losing their farm and their livelihood.  It takes Leah's strength and courage to save them.

Links To Resources: Facts about the Dust Bowl with links to further resources; Lesson Plan for the Dust Bowl (aimed at 5th grade but can be altered); Dust Bowl info and lesson plans for grades 2-5; Photo Gallery - The Dust Bowl; Dust Bowl Facts & Summary

Why I Like This Book:  This is historical fiction at its best, bringing a slice of history to life in a way that is not only accessible but irresistible for young readers.  The story is simply told with all the right details, and so emotionally compelling I dare anyone not to get choked up at the end!  Michael Garland's art is absolutely stunning and a perfect fit for the story.  With slightly longer text as well as the historical context, this is a wonderful choice for older picture book readers.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone, and Happy Columbus Day!  I'm hoping to post the guidelines for the Halloweensie Contest...soon-ish...so stay tuned!!!

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23. Book Trailer: Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Patrice Barton

From the team behind Mine! (Knopf, 2011)
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Check out the book trailer for Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Patrice Barton (Knopf, 2015). From the promotional copy:

A charming summer story that's just right for toddlers, from the team behind the critically acclaimed picture book "Mine."

What does a toddler say when she drops her sunglasses in the sand? "Uh-Oh."

What does she say when a seagull lands on her sandcastle? "Uh-Oh."

What does she say when she finds a crab in her pail? "Uh-Oh."

And what does she say when a BIG wave is coming? That's the biggest "Uh-Oh" of all.

This nearly wordless story of toddler adventure perfectly captures the dynamics between the youngest friends and the sheer pleasure of that favorite toddler word: Uh-Oh.

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24. An Update on Writing Smart and Not Scared


You might remember earlier this year I committed to  learning how to write smart and not scared.  At the time I was working on a picture book manuscript as I awaited first-round edits on my next novel.

That picture book is now on submission. The first-round edits are back with my editor. I’d love to say everything has been as easy as pie, but that’s not the way the writing life works — or any part of life, really. Here are the things I continue to learn as I think about writing in light of this mindset:


Discomfort will always be part of my process. I find the writing life wonderful and challenging and joyous and hard, but I often let the more difficult parts that come with writing play a starring role. I’m trying to remember those hard parts don’t get the final word. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, fear can ride in the car, but it has to stay in the back seat.


My deepest satisfaction comes from the work itself. I know this. But somehow along the way, sales and reviews and all the ridiculous externals out of my control can hijack what’s really important. A huge thank you to Marion Dane Bauer for her recent blog post I’ve read a couple dozen times about satisfaction and gratitude and letting go of the rest.


“No” is often a gift. All of September and October, I’ve been running on Wednesday evenings with my seventh grader’s soccer team. One particular Wednesday held the perfect combination of the out-of-my-hands highs and lows that make up the writing life. A novel was nominated for an award. A manuscript, after ten months with a particular editor and extensive re-writes, was rejected.

I left for the run pretty heartbroken and in need of distraction. As I settled into the soothing familiarity of a steady run, the clouds opened in a desert storm above us, and I was able to move beyond the disappointment, I was able to celebrate the beauty of my surroundings, the gift of movement, the privilege to share in this piece of my son’s life. And when our hour in the Sandia foothills drew to a close, I was ready to reflect on that rejection more objectively. The editor who said no to my work really gave me a gift. Her request for a re-write helped me find a stronger book in the process.


Choosing a challenge is ultimately satisfying. Writing the book I don’t know how to master can keep me up at nights, but that’s the direction my heart is often drawn. These words will keep me moving and believing.


Breaks feed my creativity. In the last four months I’ve re-written a novel for the second time, finishing with a mad twenty-five hour weekend dash to the end. Something that kept me focused during that last month of hard work was the promise I’d take a whole month off of writing afterward. Fear would not be allowed to drive me to spin my wheels in meaningless productivity. Outside of blogging, my focus would be reading.

I’m in week three of my writing vacation, and let me tell you, it’s everything I needed and more.

When I first mentioned this concept of writing smart and not scared, a number of you contacted me to say you were all in. I’d love to hear how you’re doing in the comments below.

The post An Update on Writing Smart and Not Scared appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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25. The Hole in the Wall Gang and The Sister's Wish

Earlier this week, I had the chance to reconnect with my old friend Amy, who I know from The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Amy is incredible, and not just because she got her entire family to dress as my characters and planned the school visit as head of the PTO. I know Amy because her younger brother, Craig, was one of my campers back in the day. Craig was just an incredible kid. When Paul Newman founded the camp, he stated that he wanted to create a space to "let kids kick back, relax and raise a little hell." Craig personified that mantra in the most beautiful way possible. He had a quick wit and a warrior's heart. Craig began his battle with cancer at age four and lived with it until he passed in his early twenties. 
Grief can weigh us down, and then there are people like Amy who use grief for a greater good. She, along with her sister, Beth, founded The Sister's Wish. The mission of this non-profit is so admirable—grant wishes for young adults aged 18-30 who are living with terminal and chronic illnesses. They do this on their own and throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. 
I know Craig would be so proud of his sisters. It was magical to see his mischievous spirit living on in his nephew and nieces.

Learn more about The Sister's Wish via their Facebook page or on their website here: http://www.thesisterswish.org/

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