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Results 1 - 25 of 221,536
1. Giveaway: Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes (Intl)

Where the Staircase Ends    

by Stacy Stokes
Release Date:  April 14, 2015

 

About the Book

After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

The journey plunges her into the past, and as she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable .

Unless the staircase breaks her first.
 

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo



b2ap3_thumbnail_stacy_above.jpgAbout the Author

Stacy grew up in Dallas, TX, but has lived all over. After spending time in Austin, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, she is happy to call San Francisco her home, where she lives with her husband and puppy, Elvis Presley.

When she’s not bringing the voices in her head to life, she’s working as a brand and marketing professional in the consumer products industry. She has a slight obsession with puns (they are, in her opinion, the highest form of humor), which might be linked to the three years she spent studying improv comedy at Chicago’s Second City and IO theaters. She holds a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business. WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her debut novel.


Learn more Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest
 


Giveaway Details

2 winners will each receive a signed paperback copy of Where the Staircase Ends. International.

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 was carved into the tan paint on Sunny’s locker? (Read the excerpt via the "look inside" option on Amazon)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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2. stories tucked in shadows

elderflush2


Filed under: journeys, poetry

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3. Newsletter Design

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.24.15 AMHere is the cover for the eight  page newsletter I just finished designing for Unity Fort Lauderdale. You can download the whole newsletter here:

Download Unity Newsletter 4.5.15 web version

      

Related Stories

 

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4. Win a copy of Giants Beware on Goodreads

just in time for the sequel ‪#‎DRAGONSBEWARE‬, you can win a copy of our first book ‪#‎GIANTSBEWARE‬ over at Goodreads! Go HERE.

 


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5. Watercolor Ban Announced in California


California has just announced sweeping new restrictions on water use that will affect working artists. The ban applies not only to watercolor, but also to acrylic, casein, gouache, and other water media. Pencils and pastels and other dry media are not affected.

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6. 30 Days, 30 Stories - Writers Beware

The first of our annual 30 Days, 30 Stories comes from Marion Steiger. It is a humorous account of a different kind of writer’s block.

WRITERS BEWARE
Get your head in the right place before you have surgery on your hand. Prepare for your dermatologist to tell you not to use your computer after he removes a Squamous cell carcinoma planted on top of your right hand. Yes. Right hand. Of course I’m right handed. Four to seven days minimum without writing is killing me. It hurts worse than the incision site.
Another warning. Don’t wear jeans with a zipper and metal button. I unbuttoned and unzipped after a short struggle and made it to the toilet in time. (You get to figure out the bathroom stuff on your own.) What I couldn’t do was re-zip and button up. Sloppy pull-on sweat pants worked after I balanced on the edge of the tub and inched them up one leg at a time. Warm socks came after the pants, big toe first, then more pulling and pushing, all wrong handed. 
 Don’t wear a tight pull-over T-shirt for surgery. You’ll be begging for help when your head gets stuck in the neck hole and you’re tired and a touch weak in the knees. My only suggestion for bras—wear one and have someone waiting to unhook it. Same for putting it back on. Either forget it or plan to be hooked and unhooked. 
TV, even previously recorded shows, and reading and free time are huge disappointments when they’re all you’re allowed to do. Left-handed writing is unreadable. Texting worked a touch better after I remembered my stylus, but still slower than a snail. I gave up. 
Ever opened a can of Diet Coke or bottle of water with one hand? Even with the right hand? Forget it. About eating—forget that, too, after the numbing goes away. It hurts to lift a fork or spoon. Knife? Ha. No glass of wine before and after surgery. It makes for more blood. 
If I have a third surgery, I may show up totally sleep deprived. Oh, arrange your pillows before bedtime to keep your hand elevated. And avoid rolling over if you want to keep the covers from capturing your arms and legs. Untangling wakes you and anyone sleeping beside you. Maybe sleep alone and keep the peace.
Expect to wear out your left index finger when you sneak out the laptop, which writers must do, and type with your wrong hand. Also, don’t expect your computer to read your needs. It’s smart, but refuses to text. Plan to put in your own apostrophes and capital letters and clicking the space-bar twice won’t automatically add a period. 
Here are my serious suggestions. Well, mostly serious. Don’t grow up in Florida. Don’t move to Utah to ski in the snow and on the water. Don’t hike the mountains; the altitude puts you closer to the sun. Never forget the sunblock, which we never had when I sunbathed on Jacksonville Beach.
And if you ignore these warnings, never forget to visit your favorite dermatologist regularly. Thank you Dr. Hinckley for taking great care freezing, cutting, and stitching my skin problems without scolding me once for ruining my skin.
Also, thank you to my understanding husband for never fussing about my whining and complaints and helping me with all but one problem. You figure that out.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the thin, flat squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin.

We still have plenty of days open. Email me at bruceluck@ymail.com if you would like to contribute a story.

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7. BOBBEE BEE: WE NEED A GAME CHANGER(POST UP)

MICCThis article is being re-published due to the recent controversy surrounding LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling's "plantation politics" as well as with the recent The Supreme Court decision to uphold Michigan's decision to end affirmative action at its public universities in a 6-2 ruling.

NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-Please listen up….and listen up good.
It’s time for us to step out of their shadows and walk into the light and develop an underground railroad of authentic athletes, who will make a conscious decision not to go to Duke, Carolina, or Kentucky?

Let’s recruit the best.
Play the best.
Educate the best.
And be the best.

In other words, let’s convince our children to go to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Can you imagine if John Wall attended N0rth Carolina Central, Michael Jordan attended North Carolina A&T, Patrick Ewing attended Howard, or Allen Iverson attended Hampton University?

Could you imagine the economic impact? The cultural impact? The educational impact? ....on how our children would view the world.


Please don’t misunderstand, I believe college athletes should be paid but if they aren’t, let’s boycott those bastards.


2205896In other words, let’s control our own destiny.

Let’s be the recruiters, the professors, the coaches, the agents, the lawyers, the accountants, the consultants, the stylists, the designers from elementary to AAU, from AAU to college, from college to the NBA…

Let’s eliminate the middlemen…..

My point is this, if we are going to make millions of dollars playing the game of basketball, let’s keep the money in our community.

Let’s fund our own freedom.

Let’s beautify our own buildings.

Let’s sign our own scholarships.

See, it always amazes me, how we cheapen ourselves.

How “other people” always seem to have our best interest at hand.

And convince us, how everybody else is not to be trusted.

We are the oil…the Black Gold…that these college recruiters need to fuel their money making machines.

But they don’t operate without us……..

But we haven’t protected and fought for our natural resources (our children), we shamefully have allowed “other people” to steal our children and misuse them, brainwash them and mishandle them…

Therefore, let’s start a new revolution.

We can start by creating Ballin’ 4 a HBCU campaign on Face book, Twitter, YouTube and encourage five of the top 100 basketball players in the country to join forces and decide to attend a Historical Black College and University.

Let’s shake up the world like Muhammad Ali did when he knocked out Sonny Liston by declaring our letters of intent live on ESPN to attend a HBCU on National Signing Day.

Let’s create another Fab 5 like Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson did at Michigan.
dd
But let’s do it on one of our prestigious Black colleges and march through March Madness and win a NCAA National Championship.
 

I know it sounds crazy.

But who thought a Black man named Barack Hussein Obama would win the presidency of the United States in 2008.

With that said, who is man enough to take on this challenge?
The time is now.

mich
Why? Because the game of college basketball is getting weaker and weaker, as the most talented athletes are deciding to take their talents to the NBA for million dollar contracts instead of being exploited for four years in college.

Besides, now ESPN broadcasts everything……

And let’s not forget, Butler almost beat Duke two years ago in the NCAA Tournament. Plus, Norfolk State defeated Missouri last year in the Tournament.

As a result, hopefully, somewhere, there is a group of 8th graders reading this, saying, we are the ones, who will change the game.
bz
We are waiting for your arrival.
229

Let the revolution begin.
 
Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at lbiass34@yahoo.com or go to www.bobbeethehater.blogspot.com

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8. Don, Tom, and me

Don Tate, Tom Lichtenheld, Chris Barton

I had the great pleasure of serving on a panel at last month’s Austin SCBWI conference with illustrators Don Tate (shown on the left) and Tom Lichtenheld (the guy in the middle). If those names sound familiar, it’s because I’ve created a book with each of them.

In fact…

Today (no fooling) is the publication date not only of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, which Don illustrated, but also of the board book version of the Tom-illustrated Shark Vs. Train. Both books give readers something to chew on — one figuratively, one literally — so if you know someone with a big appetite for something new to read, won’t you please keep these in mind?

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9. Tim Gunn

If you’ve watched Project Runway
Then you know its starring role
Isn’t model or designer
But Tim Gunn, its heart and soul.

His is mentor and advisor
And the one who keeps the peace.
He’s the shoulder folks can cry on
When some tears need a release.

With his pocket squares and pin stripes,
In each jazzy suit and shirt,
He’s both classy and flamboyant,
Like some elegant dessert.

On the stage to answer questions
He was witty, wise and charming
And his penchant for the truth
Struck me as utterly disarming.

All the audience delighted
In this star of Project Runway.
I felt privileged to listen
To the stories told Tim Gunn way!

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10. A to Z Challenge - A is for Alice

Alice

No, not Alice in Wonderland, although I am using the challenge this year to mention characters, themes, in my children's books, rather than use other authors'  books as I've done previously.

So A is for Alice in my children's fantasy Thin Time, the first in a series of children's books that will be followed by the second in the Task Bearer series called Fymm. 

Here you will meet a snake-dragon, a squirrel who can't be trusted, three witches who knit frog skins into garments, a dangerous quest that must succeed if the world is to survive, and a five hundred year old dog with a very bad temper.

Why Alice, because many girls at my book signings ask, 'Why do you always have a boy for hero? Why not a girl?' So here she is, armed only with a gargoyles shield and a stone to fight the evil Snake-Dragon.

ps. I included her brother for boy readers! 

pps. My Easter Newsletter includes a very cheap offer - my eBook version of Thin Time. If you would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please let me know, it would be great to see you join in. You can contact me as always at http://caroleannecarr.co.uk

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11. Seb Lester's Lettering Tools

The video begins: "My name is Seb Lester. I'm a designer and artist based in the U.K. The focus of all of my work is letterforms." (Link to video)

 

Seb Lester's calligraphy is best known from a series of videos showing a wide range of calligraphy styles.


A freehand demo of some familiar corporate logos recently went viral. (Link to Video)
On his Facebook page, Mr. Lester has generously shared a detailed description of his lettering tools:

"In terms of broad edge tools, necessary for Gothic and Italic styles of calligraphy, Pilot Parallel Pens are good tools for beginners. These are the pens I have been using for the clips that have recently gone viral on social media and websites like Design Taxi and Buzzfeed. ‘Manuscript’ brand calligraphy fountain pens are widely available and practical beginners tools. As you advance you will probably want to start using traditional metal calligraphy nibs made by established manufacturers like Brause and Mitchell and also Automatic Pens. They can be a bit more difficult to handle but can help achieve finer, crisper results."
'How To Get Started in Calligraphy   Many hundreds of people have been asking me questions about what pens I use and how to get started in Calligraphy over the last few days. This seems like the perfect time and place to help promote the practice and appreciation of this beautiful, ancient art form. Calligraphy has been created with a wide variety of tools over the past 2,000 years or so in the West. This article describes some of them.  In terms of broad edge tools, necessary for Gothic and Italic styles of calligraphy, Pilot Parallel Pens are good tools for beginners. These are the pens I have been using for the clips that have recently gone viral on social media and websites like Design Taxi and Buzzfeed. ‘Manuscript’ brand calligraphy fountain pens are widely available and practical beginners tools. As you advance you will probably want to start using traditional metal calligraphy nibs made by established manufacturers like Brause and Mitchell and also Automatic Pens. They can be a bit more difficult to handle but can help achieve finer, crisper results.  For pointed pen calligraphy, characterised by graceful curves and strong contrasts in line width, I would recommend trying Nikko G nibs. You can use these in either a traditional or an oblique pen holder, it is a matter of personal preference. Iron Gall ink is best for this type of calligraphy. Walker’s Copperplate Ink and McCaffrey’s Ink get good results for me.  Paper is always an important consideration. The paper I often use with Pilot Parallel Pens is Daler Rowney Smooth Cartridge Paper, but any smooth cartridge paper should be fine. When I’m working on roughs for any type of calligraphy I often use layout paper and marker pads. In terms of sketch pads a lot of calligraphers like the Rhodia and Claire Fontaine brands as the paper doesn’t bleed very easily. As with everything the key is to experiment, paper with more texture can produce interesting results too.  In terms of books for inspiration I can recommend ‘Scribe: Artist of the Written Word’ by John Stevens, a true modern master. For instruction I would also suggest ‘Foundations of Calligraphy’ by the brilliant Sheila Waters. ‘Calligraphy’ by Gaye Godfrey-Nicholls was published last year, a good book for beginners. Any of ‘The Speedball Textbook’ series are also inexpensive sources of instruction and inspiration.  The key to producing beautiful calligraphy is perseverance. Progress comes through focused and sustained study and practice. You will only persevere if you enjoy what you’re doing. For this reason I’d personally suggest starting with a calligraphy style you particularly like the look of. When you have a reasonable grasp of that style you will notice many of the skills are transferable to other styles.  I feel so lucky to have found what Hermann Zapf described as “this peaceful and noble art”. My working process as a designer and artist has evolved into a hybrid style blending my knowledge of both traditional and digital tools. There are some things that computers can't do and vice versa, so I think this is a great way to work. I have a broader palette of tools at my disposal than ever before and I find this very beneficial. I feel I am becoming a better artist and designer every day, which makes me very happy. So if you want to try calligraphy just have fun. Don’t be discouraged by early failures, there will be many of those. However, I can say with lots of personal experience that success is built on failure.  Some recommended tools from the attached image. These tools reflect my personal taste and are not a definitive list. Other calligraphers would most likely recommend other tools. From top to bottom: Pilot Parallel Pen, Pentel Colour Brush, Kuretake No. 13 Fountain Brush Pen, Manuscript Italic Fountain Pen, Nikko G Nib with oblique pen holder, Automatic Pen, Copic Wide Marker, Ruling Pen.'
Top to bottom: Pilot Parallel PenPentel Colour BrushKuretake Fountain Brush PenManuscript Italic Fountain PenNikko G-Pen with oblique pen holder, Automatic PensCopic Wide MarkerRuling Pen.
"For pointed pen calligraphy, characterised by graceful curves and strong contrasts in line width, I would recommend trying Nikko G-Pen nibs. You can use these in either a traditional or an oblique pen holder, it is a matter of personal preference. Iron Gall ink is best for this type of calligraphy. Walker’s Copperplate Ink and McCaffrey’s Ink get good results for me."

"Paper is always an important consideration. The paper I often use with Pilot Parallel Pens is Daler Rowney Smooth Cartridge Paper, but any smooth cartridge paper should be fine. When I’m working on roughs for any type of calligraphy I often use layout paper and marker pads. In terms of sketch pads a lot of calligraphers like the Rhodia and Clairefontaine brands as the paper doesn’t bleed very easily. As with everything the key is to experiment, paper with more texture can produce interesting results too."

"In terms of books for inspiration I can recommend ‘Scribe: Artist of the Written Word’ by John Stevens, a true modern master. For instruction I would also suggest ‘Foundations of Calligraphy’ by the brilliant Sheila Waters. ‘Calligraphy’ by Gaye Godfrey-Nicholls was published last year, a good book for beginners. Any of ‘Speedball Textbook’ series are also inexpensive sources of instruction and inspiration."

"The key to producing beautiful calligraphy is perseverance. Progress comes through focused and sustained study and practice. You will only persevere if you enjoy what you’re doing. For this reason I’d personally suggest starting with a calligraphy style you particularly like the look of. When you have a reasonable grasp of that style you will notice many of the skills are transferable to other styles."
-----

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12. Meet Children’s Author Melissa Abramovitz

melissaMelissa Abramovitz has been a freelance writer for nearly 30 years and specializes in writing nonfiction magazine articles and books for all age groups. She is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, more than 40 educational books for children and teenagers, numerous poems and short stories, several children’s picture books, and a book for writers titled, A Treasure Trove of Opportunity: How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines.

Melissa also does freelance manuscript editing. She is a graduate of the University of California San Diego and the Institute of Children’s Literature and is a member of SCBWI, Children’s Book Insider, and The Working Writer’s Club.

Visit her website at www.melissaabramovitz.com

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13. National. Poetry. Month!

Ahhh, April! You come in with Foolishness and sustain us with poetry all month long.

This year here at Gottabook... well... there is no master plan for celebrating the month. I have put a pin in 30 Poets/30 Days for now, though it may very well be back in 2016. And this year, unlike when I began here in 2006, I'm not posting an original poem a day, either. There will be poetry love here during the month, no doubt, but there's not an ongoing thang.

Luckily, throughout the kidlitosphere, many others are celebrating in big, clear ways, so I'm going to send you to this great list of fun goings-on compiled by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

I look forward to seeing you here, there, and everywhere during April (and beyond)!

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14. Playlist for Compulsion by Martina Boone + iTunes Gift Card Giveaway! (US & CAN)

Compulsion        

by Martina Boone
Release Date: 10/28/14

 

About the Book

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Martina-Final--6-sm.jpgAbout the Author

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. She’s the author of SIBA Book Award nominated Compulsion, book one in the romantic Southern Gothic trilogy, the Heirs of Watson Island, which was a Fall ’14 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Bookstores Alliance, a Goodreads Best Book of the Month and YA Best Book of the Month, and an RT Magazine Best of 2014 Editor’s Pick. The second book in the trilogy, Persuasion, will be published in October 2015.


She’s also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to the discovery and celebration of young adult literature and encouraging literacy through YA series.


From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, a lopsided cat, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Learn More: Website | YA Series Insiders | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest
 

 

COMPULSION PLAYLIST

Writers seem to fall into two categories when it comes to music and writing. Some can listen to songs that inspire them as they write, but for me, hearing someone else's words interferes with getting my own words on the page. I do listen to music before I write to help set a mood or help me process an idea.


I've put all the 24 songs that remind me of different aspects of  COMPULSION into a YouTube playlist, which is embedded at the bottom of this post, but you can also listen to a few of the important ones below.


The first song, “Truly Brave,” is the mashup between Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and Sara Bareilles' “Brave” was released to raise awareness (and donations) for pediatric cancer long after I finished COMPULSION, but for me, it has become an anthem for Barrie and for every girl or person who needs to find her voice, her confidence, her strength--her brave. Even today, girls are too often dismissed or marginalized.

Having been sheltered all her life, Barrie starts off the book both determined to have a voice and scared that if she follows her heart and instincts, other people will love her less. It takes courage to believe your opinion and your voice counts. You’re not always going to be right, but you always deserve to be heard.

Sam Smith’s cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” is perfect for Barrie’s relationship with Eight Beaufort (Charles Beaufort, VIII). Since her mother’s death, Barrie’s gift is starting to expand a bit beyond her usual compulsion to find lost things. The gift draws Barrie to Eight, but she doesn’t understand why. At the same time, Eight’s gift for knowing what people want makes it easy for him to connect with her. She can't help wondering how much of that is a true connection and how much is a manipulation?

There are references to Carolina “beach music” throughout COMPULSION. It’s music that Barrie knows because her mother ran off with the bad boy across the river and spent her whole life regretting that choice and listening to the songs that reminded her of what she'd left behind.

Since at the turn of the 18th century, thirty to fifty percent of the slaves forced to work the lowcountry rice plantations of the Carolinas were Native American, the folk magic, healing knowledge, and mystical traditional practiced by the descendants of the plantation slaves is a blend of African, West Indian, Native American, and European beliefs. This is touched on lightly in COMPULSION and explored more deeply in the next two books, and I've been lucky to have an archeologist and professor of anthropology work with me on the research involved.

One of the songs I listened to most often as I was writing COMPULSION was the rastafarian version of “By the Rivers of Babylon,” sung by The Melodians, which is a beautiful song about exile and despair based on Psalm 137.

The Fire Carrier and the yunwi, the little people, are both from Cherokee mythology, so one of the songs I listened to as I tried to construct Barrie’s mystical connection to the land and to Watson’s Landing was the beautiful Cherokee “Morning Song.”

Songs like “You Raise Me Up,” and Bruno Mars' “Just the Way You Are” remind me of the way Barrie and Eight make each other “more,” which explains the friendship and growing potential between them.

And the gorgeous Cherokee version of “Amazing Grace” is for Mark. Because.

Finally, Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" reminds me of the Fire Carrier, who has his own journey in the series, but the song that speaks to me most for the Fire Carrier is an old Irish one, "Mo Ghile Mear," sung by Sting and the Chieftains. That's a bit of a spoiler for the series, but I couldn't resist including it.

You can listen to all 24 songs in the playlist here:

 

Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a $25 iTunes Gift Card and a “I have a compulsion for reading” tote bag. US & Canada only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30-60 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question tyou'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What is the Watson gift? (Find the answer here)
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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15. Review and Giveaway of DON'T TRY TO FIND ME by Holly Brown

To celebrate the release of the paperback copy of

DON'T TRY TO FIND ME  

Onalee Smith of Harper Collins has a copy for one lucky reader


REVIEW:

Meeting someone online and falling in love is wonderful.  Yes, it is wonderful but not when you are fourteen and he is twenty-nine and has lied to you about a lot of things including his name.

Marley met Brandon on a social media site, and he talked her into leaving her family and joining him for a life together.  But...she couldn't take her computer, her phone, or even go out of the house once she arrived.

As Marley traveled by bus to meet Brandon, on the other side of the country, her parents were frantically looking for her with no clues at all.  Marley wiped out everything on all devices so no trace of where she was could be discovered.

This nightmare was real for Marley’s parents, Rachel and Paul.  They used social media to start a site named FindMarley.com

This book discussed a lot of social issues and showed the dangers of social media’s influence on youth as well as its ability to aid in getting cross-country exposure about a runaway.

The characters were difficult to like. I wanted to shake Marley. I definitely disliked Brandon.  I wasn't even fond of Rachel or Paul.

But, despite the unlikeable characters, DON’T TRY TO FIND ME had me glued to the pages and had my heart racing.  The suspense was quite high.  My fear for Marley had me tense while I was reading the book as well as when I was waiting to return to see what was going to happen.  I still am anxious as I am writing this...definitely the sign of a GOOD book.

If you like to be kept on the edge of your seat, don’t miss reading DON’T TRY TO FIND ME.  It was a quick read, but very intense.  It could even be called a thriller.

My rating is going to be a 4/5 because parts of the book were a bit too descriptive, but the anxiety and apprehension as each scene took place made it a terrific read.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


GIVEAWAY:

April 2 - April 9

USA entries ONLY

Click here to enter the contest. 

**The Celebrate image courtesy of:

http://www.experiencetheride.com/nyc/news/celebrate-1500-ride/ 

 

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16. Helping Herbie Hedgehog

hhh1Melissa Abramovitz has a charming new picture book from Guardian Angel Publishing. It’s called Helping Herbie Hedgehog.

About the Book
Herbie has places to go and things to do. But he needs some help ’cause he hasn’t a clue! If you’ll help Herbie decide what’s right and wrong He’ll be busy and happy the whole day long! Herbie the clueless hedgehog needs help figuring out how to get places and go about his day. Amusing delightful rhymes invite kids to give helpful advice while learning about everyday things.
 Suggested age range for readers: 2-7

Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (February 15, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1616336129
ISBN-13: 978-1616336127

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17. The Gift of Reading: An Open Letter

brianjordan

Brian O. Jordan

On March 21, 2015, I had the pleasure to share the gift of reading with the “Birdy Book Club.”   What a wonderful group of young men. I am proud of their parents and grandparents for beginning to instill the love of reading at such a young age. My parents did the same with me.

I read them my book titled, I Told You I Can Play (illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, published by Just Us Books). This was the first time I ever did a children’s reading leveraging FaceTime on my computer and it turned out to be a good experience for the young men.  This book captures a story about my own youth and speaks to being a small child who was always told I was too young to play. The book goes on and shows how I proved to my family and others that I could play, but it took focus, determination, and dedication for me to do this. These are characteristics I like to instill in young children. I invite others to reach out and read my book I Told You I Can Play. I also have two other books that youth may enjoy and others I am working on:

Birdy Book Club members show Brian via FaceTime one of their favorite pictures from his book.

Birdy Book Club members show Brian via FaceTime one of their favorite pictures from his book.

  • Overcoming the Fear of the Baseball details a childhood experience when I was hit in the face with a fastball.  Instead of calling it quits, I was forced to face my fear and return to the baseball field where I went on to play 15 years of Major League Baseball.
  • Time-Out For Bullies discusses how my mother taught me first-hand what bullying was and how it negatively impacts children.  I then reveal how I used my athletic ability to help those dealing with bullies in my school.

Some ask why I decided to write children’s books. It came from my wanting to find ways to educate youth, get them to read, and have others learn from my experiences.   I thought I-told-You-I-Can-Play__22529_1405364701_1280_500if I could engage youth at a young age then maybe I could capture their minds to read and to learn to believe in themselves to reach their future goals. Mr. Wade Hudson from Just Us Books, Inc. in New Jersey published my first book. He heard my story and wanted to help me get started. He taught me the process of publishing a book and leveraged his best creative people to illustrate my book. I was blessed to have met Mr. Wade Hudson and what he is trying to do through Just Us Books, Inc. to get youth to read.

I went on to write and self-publish other books and at the end of the day I just really want youth to read and believe in themselves to reach their dreams. The hardest part for me about being a children’s book author is my transition. Most of the world sees me as an athlete, and yes I did play Major League Baseball and in the NFL, but I also received my education while I was in college. With that education, I knew that after sports I could transition and do multiple items. So many athletes just see themselves as that, but I knew that at some point my body would not be able to compete at those professional levels and my education from University of Richmond would take me further. Getting others to take a retired professional athlete seriously as an author has been challenging. But as people see my love for writing and reading about children and my publishing new books, this makes people realize I am serious and they are respecting me as an author.

Thank you to Kelly Starling Lyons for reaching out to me to do this children’s reading virtually. I welcome others to leverage my books to help youth develop the love of reading and to find that confidence in themselves to reach their goals.

Brian

Brian O. Jordan

Former MLB Player and NFL Player

www.brianjordanfoundation.com

www.gamefacesportscamps.com

 


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18. Giveaway: Compulsion by Martina Boone (US & CAN)

Book’s Title:  Compulsion        

Author’s Name: Martina Boone
Release Date: 10/28/14

 

About the Book

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Martina-Final--6-sm.jpgAbout the Author

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. She’s the author of SIBA Book Award nominated Compulsion, book one in the romantic Southern Gothic trilogy, the Heirs of Watson Island, which was a Fall ’14 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Bookstores Alliance, a Goodreads Best Book of the Month and YA Best Book of the Month, and an RT Magazine Best of 2014 Editor’s Pick. The second book in the trilogy, Persuasion, will be published in October 2015.


She’s also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to the discovery and celebration of young adult literature and encouraging literacy through YA series.


From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, a lopsided cat, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Learn More: Website | YA Series Insiders | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest
 

 

COMPULSION PLAYLIST

Writers seem to fall into two categories when it comes to music and writing. Some can listen to songs that inspire them as they write, but for me, hearing someone else's words interferes with getting my own words on the page. I do listen to music before I write to help set a mood or help me process an idea.


I've put all the 24 songs that remind me of different aspects of  COMPULSION into a YouTube playlist, which is embedded at the bottom of this post, but you can also listen to a few of the important ones below.


The first song, “Truly Brave,” is the mashup between Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and Sara Bareilles' “Brave” was released to raise awareness (and donations) for pediatric cancer long after I finished COMPULSION, but for me, it has become an anthem for Barrie and for every girl or person who needs to find her voice, her confidence, her strength--her brave. Even today, girls are too often dismissed or marginalized.

Having been sheltered all her life, Barrie starts off the book both determined to have a voice and scared that if she follows her heart and instincts, other people will love her less. It takes courage to believe your opinion and your voice counts. You’re not always going to be right, but you always deserve to be heard.

Sam Smith’s cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” is perfect for Barrie’s relationship with Eight Beaufort (Charles Beaufort, VIII). Since her mother’s death, Barrie’s gift is starting to expand a bit beyond her usual compulsion to find lost things. The gift draws Barrie to Eight, but she doesn’t understand why. At the same time, Eight’s gift for knowing what people want makes it easy for him to connect with her. She can't help wondering how much of that is a true connection and how much is a manipulation?

There are references to Carolina “beach music” throughout COMPULSION. It’s music that Barrie knows because her mother ran off with the bad boy across the river and spent her whole life regretting that choice and listening to the songs that reminded her of what she'd left behind.

Since at the turn of the 18th century, thirty to fifty percent of the slaves forced to work the lowcountry rice plantations of the Carolinas were Native American, the folk magic, healing knowledge, and mystical traditional practiced by the descendants of the plantation slaves is a blend of African, West Indian, Native American, and European beliefs. This is touched on lightly in COMPULSION and explored more deeply in the next two books, and I've been lucky to have an archeologist and professor of anthropology work with me on the research involved.

One of the songs I listened to most often as I was writing COMPULSION was the rastafarian version of “By the Rivers of Babylon,” sung by The Melodians, which is a beautiful song about exile and despair based on Psalm 137.

The Fire Carrier and the yunwi, the little people, are both from Cherokee mythology, so one of the songs I listened to as I tried to construct Barrie’s mystical connection to the land and to Watson’s Landing was the beautiful Cherokee “Morning Song.”

Songs like “You Raise Me Up,” and Bruno Mars' “Just the Way You Are” remind me of the way Barrie and Eight make each other “more,” which explains the friendship and growing potential between them.

And the gorgeous Cherokee version of “Amazing Grace” is for Mark. Because.

Finally, Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" reminds me of the Fire Carrier, who has his own journey in the series, but the song that speaks to me most for the Fire Carrier is an old Irish one, "Mo Ghile Mear," sung by Sting and the Chieftains. That's a bit of a spoiler for the series, but I couldn't resist including it.

You can listen to all 24 songs in the playlist here:

 

Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a $25 iTunes Gift Card and a “I have a compulsion for reading” tote bag. US & Canada only.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30-60 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question tyou'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What is the Watson gift? (Find the answer here)
 

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19. Happy Book Birthday!

 

bookbirthday

Illustration by Don Tate

We didn’t want to let the day end without wishing our brother Don Tate congratulations on his new picture book with Chris Barton, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans). What makes this collaboration even more special? Chris and Don are friends.

Chris suggested Don, his critique partner, as the illustrator of his story that had been years in the making. “I don’t know that I could articulate then why he would be a great artistic choice,” Chris said in this interview, ” but his style turned out to be just right both for making John Roy Lynch accessible as a person and for conveying acts of violence and terrorism in a vivid but not overwhelming way.”

The collaboration is paying off. Their book earned starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly. We’re proud of Don and Chris and look forward to seeing many more accolades. Learn more about The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch on their sites: http://www.dontate.com and http://www.chrisbarton.info.

Check out the buzz here:

“The fascinating story of John Roy Lynch’s life from slavery to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives at age 25, gets a stirring treatment here . . . Tate’s often expansive illustrations emphasize important incidents in the text. A reference to harsh laws passed by whites is coupled with a dramatic two-page spread of a whipping, a potential lynching and lots of angry white faces in the foreground, fists clenched. A small African American boy covers his eyes at the scene. The horrors of a school burning shows praying figures overshadowed by masked attackers with burning torches. The emphasis in other illustrations is on faces, full of emotion add to the power of the telling and the rich soft tones of Tate’s palette welcome the eye to linger.”

- Booklist, starred review

“Barton offers an immersive, engaging, and unflinching portrait of the difficulties of the Reconstruction era, while Tate’s cartoonlike artwork softens moments of cruelty and prejudice without diminishing them.”

- Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.”

- Kirkus


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20. The Annotated "Saving the Planet & Stuff" Part One

It's the first day of April, people. April means...Earth Day! I will celebrate it all month with excerpts from Saving the Planet & Stuff and other STP&S-related material. The excerpts will include additional information, links, and sometimes pictures. Think of it as being like those DVD commentaries.

Don't like DVD commentaries? Original Content will be carrying other material this month, too.

We're getting started today with a piece from Chapter One. Our hero, Michael Peter Racine III, has just arrived in Vermont with two much older environmentalists he's known for less than twenty-four hours. They're not people he met on the street but friends from his grandmother and grandfather's (Poppy) youth. One of Michael's first acts upon arriving in Walt and Nora's 1970s-era solar house is to call home and voice his second thoughts to his mother.

     "Somehow I got the impression that Walt was going to be a fun guy," he complained. "But believe me, it was not fun having to listen to him drone on and on about this solid-waste crisis that I'd never even heard of and the number of pollutants emitted by gas-powered lawn mowers. It was like being with Poppy, if Poppy cared about solid waste, which he doesn't. What is it with old men? Walt did flip off a bunch of truck drivers who were working for companies he doesn't approve of, though. That
would have been fun if I hadn't had to concentrate so hard on staying on the road. And then Nora got going on fluoride for some reason. She says the Chinese believe it lowers IQ, and then there's been some kind of study with rats' brains …"
     "Your grandmother says they live their values," Ms. Racine said. "Some people like to talk about saving the planet. This Walt and Nora supposedly live their lives in such a way as to actually do it. You did bring your own toothpaste, didn't you? You know your father believes fluoride was one of God's greatest gifts to mankind, and if they don't use it—"
Nora Blake and Walt Marcello, the two environmentalists Michael takes off with because they offer him a summer job, come out of 1970's Vermont counterculture. The Vermont Historical Society is presently doing a series of forums on the decade and its impact on Vermont. According to an article in a recent Seven Days (my favorite newspaper when visiting northern Vermont), VHS curator Jackie Calder "says the changes initiated in the '60s received institutional expression in the following decade." Meaning that the changes of the '60s actually were changes because they became part of the norm during the '70s. From things I've read elsewhere, that is probably generally true, not just in bobo Vermont. The '70s aren't remembered for great fashion or music, but they had an impact historically.

Saving the Planet & Stuff was written as YA. But the very nonYA characters, Walt and Nora, were crucial to the book. For many years all I had was an idea for a situation--a young person thrown in with much older strangers. As I am sure I have said before, it wasn't until Walt and Nora came into the picture that an actual story began to evolve.



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21. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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22. Melissa Abramovitz Talks About Her New Book

book bites for kidsMelissa Abramovitz will be the guest on Book Bites for Kids on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at 2:30 Central time.

She will talk about her new book, Helping Herbie Hedgehog.

To listen to the live show, on Tuesday April 7th at 2:30 central time, just go online to www.bookbitesforkids.com.

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23. Giveaway: The Originals - The Loss by Julie Plec (US & CAN)

The Originals: The Loss

by Julie Plec
Release Date: Friday, March 31

 

About the Book

After a hurricane destroyed their city, Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson have rebuilt New Orleans to even greater glory. The year is 1766. The witches live on the fringes in the bayou. The werewolves have fled. But still, Klaus isn't satisfied. He wants more. He wants power. But when Klaus finally finds a witch who will perform a spell to give him what he desires most, she secretly uses Klaus to unleash a curse—one that brings back hundreds of her ancestors—and begins a war to reclaim New Orleans. As the siblings fight off the attack, only one thing's for certain—the result will be a bloodbath.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_JuliePlec_AuthorPhoto_20150325-191244_1.jpg

About the Author

JULIE PLEC skillfully juggles work in film and television as both a producer and a writer.  She is the co-creator and executive producer of “The Vampire Diaries” and the creator of “The Vampire Diaries” spin-off, “The Originals,” which tells the story of history’s first vampire family.

 Plec got her start as a television writer on the ABC Family series “Kyle XY,” which she also produced for its three-year run.  She also collaborated with Greg Berlanti and Phil Klemmer on the CW drama, “The Tomorrow People,” the story of a small group of people gifted with extraordinary paranormal abilities.

 Her screenplay adaptation “The Tiger’s Curse” is in development at Paramount, and she will produce the feature “@emma” with Darko Entertainment.  Past feature production credits include “Scream 2” and “Scream 3,” Greg Berlanti’s “Broken Hearts Club,” Wes Craven’s “Cursed” and “The Breed.”

Add the book on Goodreads

Follow Julie on Twitter

Follow The Originals on Twitter | Facebook

 

 

Giveaway Details

2 winners will each receive 1 finished copy of The Originals: The Rise signed by author Julie Plec and actor Charles Michael Davis. US & Canada only.
 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30-60 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question tyou'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: Do you currently watch The Originals TV show?

 

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24. BOBBEE BEE: FINAL FOUR CARTOONS!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's get ready for the FINAL FOUR!!!  To my surprise, however,  there are three #1 seeds left in the BIG dance. (Duke, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.) Therefore, the No.7 seed Michigan State is the only team that can be considered a Cinderella. As a result, the only question left to be asked, is whether the "shoe" will fit this "underdog."With that said, Bobbee Bee "The Hater" decided to provide you all a few cartoons as you get your last fix of March Madness.
1. What really makes you upset?
 
I really hate when people, who didn't graduate from a certain school, wear the paraphilia of another  school more than the people, who actually graduated from that school. Especially, students, who graduated from HBCU's.


2. Are you going Easter egg hunting this Sunday?

No. I like my eggs scrambled.


3. Why is Duke's Coach K such a successful coach?
 
He sold his soul to the Devil. That's easy....Next, question.


4. Stephen A. or Skip Bayless?

Stephen A. Why? Because Skip Bayless foolish said, "He saw every dribble Lebron James has ever took..." LOL!!!
 
5. Do you think Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly should hire Tim Tebow as his back-up Quarterback?
 
Only God and Skip Bayless knows that answer....
 

6. Did you watch the FOX hit show Empire?

Nope. Because, my grandma said, "It was a work of the Devil..and it would corrupt my mind..."


7. Do you have your Resume' on Monster.com?

Yes. But, the Monster ate it.
8. Do you know who Randy "MACHO MAN" Randy Savage is?
 
Yes. Plus, I haven't had a SLIM JIM since he has died.
 
 
 
9. I heard you are going to be on Ripley's Believe It or Not?
 
Yes. I am. Because, I have seen one of the biggest, tallest, light skin dudes ever in my life. 
 
 
10. Who are you cheering for in the FINAL FOUR?
 
H-TO-IZZO-Michigan State!!
 

11. What advice to you have for all GM's, Head Coaches, and Players?

If you are going to ride, don't ride the white horse.

  Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at lbiass34@yahoo.com or go to www.bobbeethehater.blogspot.com

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25. Job change!

Big change!

Today is my last day at Freelancers Union, on Monday I'm entering the world of finance and will be working for the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. Having worked now in publishing, tech, the nonprofit sector, and soon in finance, I'm leaving no stone in the economy unturned.

It's been a great year and a half at Freelancers Union, and looking forward to exciting things ahead.

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