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<<July 2016>>
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Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 235,834
7951. Fly 777

The delightfully wonderful Priya Sharma tagged me in the 777 challenge.

Priya's story Lebkuchen is out next year in Paula Guran's anthology Beyond the Woods amongst writers such as Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Gardner Dozois, Peter Straub, Jeff Vandermeer, Angela Slatter...

Here be the rules:

“Take a current WIP and go to the 7th page, and then go down 7 lines, and then post the next 7 lines."

This snippet is from my novel, These Eyes are Blind, of which I am currently working on the second draft:

Marjorie watched Keira as if she expected something more of her. Keira dropped the locket into her pocket and picked up the grabber. 
“What was that, dear?”
“What was what?” 
Marjorie meant the necklace, of course. She’d had her nose pressed to the window throughout but didn’t want to admit to it. The steam from her breath would still fog the window.

I am going to cheat and tag my Bestwick (who interviewed Priya last month).

0 Comments on Fly 777 as of 10/1/2015 2:08:00 PM
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7952. The Sides

They wave or say good morning
Or they greet you with a smile,
The ones you pass each day or else
See just once in a while.

The doormen, mailmen, crossing guards,
The grocers and the clerks;
Construction crews with hard hats
Where a building’s in the works.

The nameless neighbors you might see
When out to exercise;
The waiters who know just the way
You like your well-done fries.

A friendly nod, a “Hey – nice day!’
To elevate your mood
Is just the boost you need to help
Improve your attitude.

If life’s a banquet, friends and kin
With entrees fill our plates.
They satisfy the hunger
That reality creates.

But what’s a meal without the tastes
Each other dish provides?
I thank all those who cross my path
And represent the sides.

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7953. Patalosh Pumpkin Pie

Looking for an amazing pumpkin pie? Try the following Patalosh Pumpkin Pie recipe: Ingredients 1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, if desired A pinch of ground cinnamon A pinch of ground nutmeg 6 egg whites Directions  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

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7954. Dead Ringers Contest

deadringers       DEAD RINGERS cover 2

Christopher Golden just unveiled a cool, creepy new contest to accompany his cool, creepy new book DEAD RINGERS - Here's an intro to the contest and to the book in Golden's own words:Time to get your evil on! (And your PhotoShop skills!)

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson said "in each of us, two natures are at war - the good and the evil." For the DEAD RINGERS Photo Contest, I want to see both of your natures on display. As the novel opens, Frank Lindbergh is assaulted in his home by a man who wears his face and Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband on a Boston street...which is impossible, because her ex is out of state, on vacation with his new girlfriend. You can read more about the book here, but what you really want to know about is THE CONTEST!

WHAT YOU DO: Create a photo of yourself or a friend being menaced by your (or his or her) evil twin! Subtle or very unsubtle, quiet or bloody, however you want to compose it. If you're a real life twin, all the better for you (no PhotoShop required). Post the photo at the contest announcement at Christopher Golden's blog, and then the judges get to choose the best and creepiest of the lot!

WHO GETS TO JUDGE: In addition to Christopher Golden, the judges deciding the winner will be author and actress AMBER BENSON (The Witches of Echo Park/Buffy the Vampire Slayer), authors JONATHAN MABERRY (Joe Ledger series/Rot & Ruin series), SARAH PINBOROUGH (The Death House/Mayhem), BRIAN KEENE (The Rising/King of the Bastards), and ANGELA BETTIS (actress, star of May, The Woman, and Drones)!

An All-New Kindle Paperwhite (valued at $119-$139)!
TWO Hardcover, Signed, Personalized copies of DEAD RINGERS (one for you and one for the evil twin of your choice, natch)!
A character named after you in Christopher Golden's next novel!
And, of course, eternal glory!

DEADLINE: All photos must be posted by midnight (Eastern time) on Tuesday, November 10th.

What are you waiting for? Take that picture and enter it in the contest!

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7955. The Three Pillars

Salt Sugar Fat How the Food Giants Hooked Us By Michael Moss Toronto, Ont Canada Mclelland and Stewart 2013 450pp $32.99 ISBN 978-0-77-57003 It’s bad enough what the oil and pharmaceutical companies have done to us. Not to mention the banks. But to find, reading this book, that Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, the cigarette manufacturers, are now running a large part of the food business, it’s almost too much to believe. I guess it shouldn’t be. The same people who defended tobacco till the end are still selling their products in the same calculated, deceptive ways to maximize profits and the same Wall Street managers are telling them to do it. Their products are processed foods and they use every bit of sugar, salt and fat they need to find the public’s “bliss point”, hold it and keep it. The bliss point is combined with the convenience of instant food and snacks and is just too tempting to hurried parents. In a shocking exposure of the American and the worldwide food system, Michael Moss, a winner of the Pulitzer prize and a tenacious and serious writer, and even more important, a concerned father, exposes overwhelming evidence that most of the medical emergencies which America and the world have experienced in the past thirty years, (eg) the high blood pressure alarm, the obesity epidemic and the diabetes scare, are attributable to the nutrition of the population and its dependence upon processed food. There is a long list of types of cancer associated with processed food. ‘As food manufacturers knew very well and as I would find out by moving the reporting of this book from Madison to Washington, when it comes to nutrition, the role the government plays is less a matter of regulation than it is promotion of some of the industry practices deemed most threatening to the health of consumers.’ Michael Moss pp. 211 Salt, Sugar, Fat The government regulators who we think are taking care of us, aren’t. The processed food lobbyists financially outgun any of the pathetically funded regulatory agencies. Every time there is an attempt to legally cut back on the salt, sugar and fat in our diets, there is a serious pushback by the industries affected. The mayor of New York city was recently laughed at as a nanny for trying to regulate the sugar industry. Anyone who wants to limit or cut back seriously on the salt, sugar and fat in our diets is accused of being against capitalism. But this isn’t some wild eyed lefty conspiracy theorist spouting propaganda. It’s a well respected investigative reporter who can back up his claims with evidence. From many hours of interviews, court documents and documents obtained both with and without access to information requests, Michael Moss has carefully gone through the histories of the industries of salt, sugar and fat and told their stories. Many of the people in the industries were open about their participation. Several ex CEOs and presidents have recanted and very few use their own products. We’re talking about brands and products which are familiar to all of us, the most well known in the world. They do billions of dollars worth of business yearly. Brands and products like Kraft, General Foods, Nabisco, Tang, Kool-Aid, Coke, Pepsi, Twinkie, Jell-o, Dr Pepper, Campbell Soup, Snapple, 7-Up, Doritos, Maxwell House, Folger’s, Hamburger Helper, Pringles, Prego, Ragu, Pepperidge Farm, Oreo, Cadbury, Kellogg, Postum, Cocoa Puffs, Frosted Flakes, Unilever, Nestle. There are many more. You get the idea. You’d have to be living under a rock for the past 30 years not to have used their products. Salt, Sugar, Fat cites the evidence and testimony of expert after expert who blame the health crisis and associated costs (billions of dollars) on the processed food industry. Lack of education and exercise are associated with poor nutrition but it is generally agreed that processed food is the big culprit. Big tobacco was eventually defeated in court when states got together and insisted that “You caused the medical crisis, you pay for it”. The book is divided into 14 chapters. 1 to 6 make up Part One: Sugar, 7 to 11, Part 2, Fat, and Chapters 12 to 14 make up Part 3, Salt. There is an epilogue, a section for acknowledgements, a note on sources, other notes chapter by chapter, a selected bibliography and an index. One of the best anecdotes was about the gentleman who invented Cheez Whiz and bought some as he and his wife enjoyed their retirement in Florida. He didn’t like the taste of it, in fact, called it “axle grease”. After a long and serious investigation the company had to admit that he was right, there was actually no cheese or cheese products in the Cheez Whiz. It almost seemed normal, after reading how the companies targeted diabetics and bombarded young children with irresistible advertising, to read how Nestle, a giant headquartered in Switzerland and visited by Moss, fattens up the population so that hundreds of thousands need stomach surgery each year and only Nestle can provide the special drink they need while recovering. When the big processed food manufacturers need to, they fall back on the media strategies they know best, the ones which were so successful selling cigarettes for so long. The famous “mechanical tenderizers” which are suspected in the recent Alberta outbreak of salmonella poisoning are mentioned in the part of the book dealing with Oscar Mayer processed meats. The cereal business, baked goods, the cattle and dairy industries, they’re all present. All are complicit, if not guilty outright, in one of the biggest scandals the world has ever seen. Thank you, Michael Moss If you don’t like getting conned, deceived, fooled or manipulated, read this book. Hackwriters.com – Reviews section

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7956. Archaeology in fantasy fiction (link)

"There are a couple of things that archaeology can do, though. One of the pleasures of reading fantasy is seeing people in situations that are greatly different from our own, and seeing how people did things in pre-modern times is a short-cut to differences of that sort."

From Tor.com: Getting the Archaeology Right in Fantasy Fiction

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7957. October- What Is Real? ...kids, books, movies, and dogs

Illustration for the Grimm's Golden Bird by Harry Jurgens
Mysteries,  unexplainable events, magic and wonder, have been woven into the fabric of life for most of the time we've been on this planet. One man's fox was also a prince; one princess' frog was also a prince; and a beast may be transformed into a handsome prince when a tear of love falls on his cheek. Fairy tales are the echoes of days gone by, when reality had many meanings.
Fairy Tale is a Country of the Mind

SONG-OF-THE-SEA_McLir"Impossible – absurd – enchantments define fairy tale as a form of storytelling, but the magic also gives expression to thought-experiments: the wicked fairy turning out to be capable of love, the Frozen princess thawed into humanity by her heroic sister’s staunchness and love. Fairy tale is a country of the mind made by imagery, by riddles and charms, spells and nonsense; it uses language to create imaginary structures in which language itself is supremely powerful: Rumpelstiltskin is undone when the heroine discovers his name..."

An excerpt from How Fairy Tales Grew Up, by author Marina Warner,  in the Guardian.  

The illustration from Song of the Sea is by Tomm Moore. 
DaughtersOfTheNorthernLightGerhard MuntheNorway6

Real and Unreal... 

White-BearKingValemonbyTheodorKittelsen(1912)Myths, legends and folktales from the past influenced writers and
artists in emerging cultures throughout most of Europe. Often inspired by the work of the brothers Grimm, Romantic Nationalism enabled cultures to define themselves through their heritage from the past. New identities were emerging from traditions and folktales from their often troubled past.  

This was certainly true in the Nordic countries -- Denmark, Finland,
Norway, and Sweden. I recently attended an exhibition in Helsinki at the Theodor Kittelsen dragon awakens
Ateneum, the national gallery, entitled The Magic North. Much of the art depicted folk tales, fairy tales, and legends. Here is an excerpt from their program: 

"The Magic North exhibition presents Norwegian and Finnish art from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this era, artists embraced themes such as their own countries imagined past, experiences of nature, and fables and legends arising out of human weaknesses and strengths..."


ImagesThe Finnish Kalevala, an epic collection of folk tales, memorized and sung by rune singers, were preserved in the vast reaches of the forest lands of Finnish Karelia. They were collected by Elias Lonrott, who traveled for years, until he organized and published the Kalevala in 1835. A second edition, an extended version of 22,900 verses appeared in 1849. Dating back centuries, the Kalevala was a prime factor in igniting a cultural renaissance -- a search for national identity --  in all the arts in Finland. 

Immersing  myself in the The Magic North exhibition, experiencing the influence of the Brothers' Grimm and the power of the past expressed by passionate artists, was a wondrous experience.The artists included Edvard Munch, Hugo Simberg, Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Gerhard Munthe.

The illustration of the Daughters of the Northern Lights (top) is by Gerhard Munthe

The illustrations of the White Bear King, Valemon, and The Dragon Returns, are by Theodor Kittelsen.

The illustration from the Kalevala (bottom) is by Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

The story of the White (Polar) Bear King was from a long folk tale collected and published by the Norwegian collector/writer, Peter Christen Asbjorrnsen (1882-1885). He published, with his partner Moe, over 100 Norwegian folk tales. They modeled their work on, and were inspired by, the Grimms.

Here is a trailer for an obscure film, the Polar Bear King, Valemon.


Witches Were Real 

Hieronymus_Bosch_-_Last_Judgment_(fragment_of_Hell)For centuries, witches were real in the minds of people in Europe and the USA.
If someone believes in witches, it becomes their reality.  
Witches could be casting spells, causing illness and strange behavior.
They must be avoided or punished... burned at the stake or hung by the neck.
It follows that witches, spells, and unexplainable events are an integral part of stories told as folk tales, fairy tales, and wonder tales.
Gretel, when pushing the witch into the oven, was not only saving her brother's life -- and her own -- she was doing what civilized society was doing...destroying the devil's emissary. 
 The illustration, a fragment of the Last Judgement, is by Hieronymus Bosch.

Puritan Reality

1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two Devil_dancesdogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September; a stark, stunned silence followed. Although we will never know the exact number of those formally charged with having “wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously” engaged in sorcery, somewhere between a hundred and forty-four and a hundred and eighty-five witches and wizards were named in twenty-five villages and towns. The youngest was five; the eldest nearly eighty..." 

This is an excerpt from an article on The Witches Of Salem by Stacey Schiffin in the New Yorker
Secret Worlds Are Real
CoralineCarefulWhatYouWishForEverybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” 
 Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You 
Here is a link to the turning point scene in Neil Gaiman's Coraline where she is confronted with making a choice between two worlds, two realities: Coraline  
A World of Fairy Tale Knowledge
The new edition of the Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, is quite wonderful.
Comprehensive, easy to navigate, with information on all aspects of the world of fairy tales, from innovative creators like Jim Henson and Hayao Miyazake to authoritative entries on the classics from the Arabian Nights to Charles Perrault. 

OxfordCompanionFTalesZipesI was quite taken with extended overview articles of cutures with a strong fairy tale tradition. The list of countries is quite comprehensive, ranging from Britain and Ireland to the Slavic and Baltic Countries.
The articles throughout the Companion are well written and informative. The list of contributors and their credentials is inclusive and rather awesome. 
Jack Zipes, who edited this essential reference work, also provides an insightful and comprehensive Introduction which ranges through the centuries to modern times. In his introduction, Zipes writes that although the Companion includes contributions from many cultures, however, "The focus of this Companion is essentially on the literary formation of the Western fairy-tale genre and its expansion into opera, theater, painting, photography, and film, and other related cultural forms."
This is an essential book for all those with a serious interest in the world of Fairy Tales and their origins. It will be available in bookstores and on the internet on the first of November.
 Here's a link to read sample articles or to purchase: Oxford Companion
AmericanVetsTrainingProgramlong leash

 This is a photo of veterans participating in a 5 day in-residence training program at America's VetDogs Smithtown, NY, campus. America's VetDogs has received a Planet Dog Foundation Grant to help support a 3 year pilot program to study the differences that PTSD service dogs make in the lives of veterans.

Here is an excerpt from their website: "SERVICE DOG TRAINING PILOT PROGRAM

VeteranandhisService Dog"The Study: As part of this pilot program, America’s VetDogs has partnered with Western Kentucky  University to complete a professional three year study on the effects that PTSD service dogs will have on a veteran’s life. The study will help America’s VetDogs make changes to its curriculum and tasks to ensure that we are providing the best quality service dogs possible. America’s VetDogs also wants to be able to provide government agencies and the public with impartial evidence of the difference these dogs make for veterans, and foster understanding within their local communities of the issues faced by veterans with PTSD and how service dogs can help."
This is one of several wonderful programs that America's VetDogs provide at no cost to veterans and first responders by "placing specially trained assistance dogs to help them once again lead active, independent lives."
Here is a link to the America's VetDogs PTSD Service Dog Pilot Program


TomThumbWarwickGoble John's Reality

“I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?” 
― John Lennon

The illustration from Tom Thumb is by Warwick Goble


  Temp 2

Book Review of Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale,
by Don Blankenship, www.booksforkids-reviews.com 
Santa-397KBWhat would happen if someone kidnapped a couple of Santa's reindeer so that he could not deliver his presents on Christmas Eve? The dogs from The Planet of the Dogs have returned. After they had helped to save the hard working farmers of Green Valley from an invasion by the Stone City Warriors in Planet of the Dogs and then rescued two kidnapped children to prevent a war between the Stone City Warriors and the Black Hawk Tribes in Castle in the Mist, the dogs have another job. The evil King of the North, who was banished by the Tribe of the North and now lives in the forbidding Ice Castle, takes his vengeance by sending some of his Royal Guards to steal two reindeer from Santa Claus and thus stop Christmas. 

Daisy and Bean from Green Valley head north to help the dogs rescue Dasher and Dancer, and they meet a host of new friends in the process. But will they make it in time to save Christmas? All of the "Planet of the Dogs" books are well written. Not only are they fun to read but also they exhibit good attitudes and beneficial attributes on the part of the main characters so that good overcomes evil, sometimes in surprising ways. The short chapters are perfect to keep the attention of the target audience. Dog lovers will especially like these tales, but everyone else can enjoy them too. Snow Valley Heroes has the potential of becoming a favorite holiday story for both children and adults.
To read sample chapters, visit Planet Of The Dogs.
The illustration from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Story, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty

Logofull bp Logo2_flatPreferredWe have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more.

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribd, and Tolino.

SVH--cut-72 res-8x6cm-3 by 2.5 inchesLibrarians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

The illustration, from the cover of Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.

To read sample chapters of the series, visit Planet Of The Dogs.
Plural Realities
MyNeighborToToro“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others?.." -- Phillip K. Dick
The illustration, from My Neighbor Totoro, is by Hiyamo Miyazake.
An Insightful Review from BookPleasures.com

"If you [also] love animals, I can guarantee you will adore this gem. The love Cayr and her
Bwtcoversamp_sm (2)friend, Dalene, have for these animals is clearly portrayed in this moving yet uplifting book. They are animal lovers with big hearts for not only domestic animals but for the waifs and strays too. I couldn't put this one down.

I thought it was an absolutely brilliant book, especially as I myself share the same passions as the author and her "life mate" have for animals.

This is a tale that will appeal to animal lovers and perhaps children too." --

 Here's a link to Amazon for more reviews: Born Without A Tail


We are having a new lotto... we are giving away 3 paperback copies of the second edition of Born Without a Tail.
To enter, please send an email to Books4DogLovers@gmail.com and place the word "entry" on the subject line.  


CatGreenHamCan A Classic Book Jacket Move?
Bending reality...Art director Javier Jensen puts movement (GIFS) into classic book jackets including Green Eggs and Ham, The Hobbit, and The Little Prince... I wonder what young readers think of this phenomenon...is it real?


A Hard Reality about Reading

LitWorld works in 14 countries around the world, and three sates in the USA, to bring literacy to children. Here, from the LitWorld website, is the Problem in the USA. 

WRADZa'atariSyrianRefugeeCampinJordanIn the 14 countries
 served by LitWorld outside the USA, the Problem is compunded.

Visit their website and read about the wonderful work they do: Link to LitWorld:

THE PROBLEM: "The millions of readers who complete elementary school reading below grade level are unable to read about the characters and plots written for their age group. The stories they can read are meant for a less mature audience. At best, they hide this by reading only in private. At worst (and most often) they simply give up reading altogether. Given the daily importance of reading in all aspects of life, lacking this crucial skill negatively impacts everything from academic performance to everyday communication.

BY THE NUMBERS: As many as 90 million teens and adults in America lack crucial literacy skills..."

This is a very hard reality. The photo was taken on LitWorld's World Read Aloud day in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan


Canine Therapy is Real HandsRose.4jpg

, an Australian Cattle Dog, has been an active therapy dog for 13 years at Tidewell Pallitive Care and Hospice.

I recently received a message with photos from Rose's owner, Susan Purser. We have been in touch for several years. I was moved by her message and the photos she sent wanted to share the following... 

"I was asked once what it was like to see so many hands reaching out for my dog, Rose. HandsRoseI hadn't really thought much about it, as she is such a giving Australian Cattle Dog and is continually searching for hands wanting to touch her.  I thought perhaps you might enjoy seeing some of these hands...aged hands, searching for memories and then sharing them with whispers in Rose's ear or while hugging her neck.  Soft spoken or without words, it doesn't get any better than watching this type of unconditional love."

HandsRose.5jpgRose doesn't understand future nor how long or short time is.  She does devote her total attention to these lovely people in their time of need.  She gives comfort that I can only observe and opens those ever so special memory doors that only she can enter...I am a facilitator and I do believe, if she could drive, she would not need me!  Pet therapy is such a special part of the people's lives and I am truly blessed to have entered this treasured space for just a little while and then I think, where have thirteen years gone?" 



Helsinki sep-oct-2013 027KidLitosphere has helped many readers find their way to these pages. Here is an excerpt from their home page...   

"Some of the best books being published today are children’s and young adult titles, well-written and engaging books that capture the imagination. Many of us can enjoy them as adults, but more importantly, can pass along our appreciation for books to the next generation by helping parents, teachers, librarians and others to find wonderful books, promote lifelong reading, and present literacy ideas."  
Here is a link to Kidlitosphere. 


 Movies -- PAN 

PAN is opening on Oct 9 in the USA; Oct 16 in the UK; it has already opened in Australia.

Advance reviews are mixed, some of them angry...I've read several and it sounds like the driving force was commercial success...Here are excerpts from Andrew Barker in Variety...

PAN Poster2015"Of all the recent big-budget studio films to re-imagine beloved children’s tales as garish, CGI-choked sensory overloads stripped of all whimsy or childlike wonderJoe Wright’s “Pan is certainly the most technically sophisticated...

There is perhaps no clearer illustration of “Pan’s” guiding principles than its treatment of pixie dust. In Walt Disney’s 1953 “Peter Pan,” the story’s best-known incarnation, pixie dust is a glowing substance that allows lucky children to fly high above the clouds. In “Pan,” pixie dust is the street name for Pixum, a rare, crystalline substance mined by slave labor from deep in the earth that, when smoked on an elaborate opium den-style apparatus, restores youthfulness to the user. (The film neglects to tell us its radioactive half-life or the side effects of recreational use, but perhaps those scenes are being saved for the director’s cut.).."

The story is a prequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. It borrows characters and much of it takes place in Neverland; the Darling Family never appear. 

The trailer looks exciting. Here is a link: PAN


The Reality of Five Senses


Famed animated film director Hayao Miyazaki is sponsoring a new children’s facility in a virgin forest on a small island 56 miles west of Okinawa Prefecture to encourage kids to enjoy nature through their five senses. Miyazaki's films include Howl's Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away.

About two and a half acres of forest are being provided by the town ofKumejima; Miyazake will cover the anticipated 2.5 million in construction costs.

The information for this post came from Kevin Melrose and the  Japan Times.


NewYork Public Library Childern's Literary Salon

Christopher Lassen <christopherlassen@bookops.org> of New York Public Library sent us a notice of a fascinating Children's Literary Salon (the Salons are ongoing and free) 

WinnieDisney3Movie2011On Saturday October 17th, our program will be "The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh". Join Kathryn Aalto (The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest That Inspired the Hundred Acre Woods) for a journey into one of the most iconic settings in children's literature: the Hundred Acre Wood, inspired by Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England. It is here where A. A. Milne lived and set the tender adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and his merry band of friends... 

The program will take place in the Celeste Auditorium (formerly South Court Auditorium) in the Stephen A Schwartzman Building of NYPL (5th Avenue & 42nd Street) at 2:00pm.


Sunbearsquad-logoSunbear Squad is a primary source of information for dog lovers...filled with information and guidelines, ranging from helping an abandoned dog to building a proper doghouse. Here is an excerpt from an article on Traveling By Car Or Truck With Pets by Edward Green, TruckersReport.com...

Taking the family pet along for the ride is a part of the vacation plans of families across the nation. These trips can be quite memorable and enjoyable—but only if you take the proper safety precautions for your animals. This guide will help you travel safely and comfortably with your favorite pet.

 Before You Travel

When you and your family are traveling, planning is essential to make sure you get everything packed and are fully prepared for your journey. Such planning is also a must when it comes to traveling with pets: Read the rest of this entry »


“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. “I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you. There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.” 
― Caroline Knapp





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7958. YA Scavenger Hunt with a Bonus Charm Bracelet and Compulsion For Reading Tote Bag Giveaway

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for the HUGE team prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of team orange.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up. 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify!

Rules: The Scavenger Hunt is open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by DATE, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am hosting Meradeth Houston!

Meradeth has never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

>She's a California girl now braving the cold winters in Montana.

>She's am a molecular anthropologist. Translation: She sequences dead people's DNA.

>She's been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she's so happy to get to share her work!

>Her other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun for her than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology! This is probably a good thing, since her day job requires her to teach at the local university.

>If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she's terrified of heights.
Find out more information by checking out Meradeth's website or find more about the author's book here!

by Meradeth Houston

Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive.

Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die...

Find it on Goodreads and Buying Sites

Exclusive Content from Travelers

I wasn’t sure if I felt more like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I sure wasn’t in Kansas anymore, but it felt like I’d fallen down a rabbit hole.
Another girl outside the stall brushed her hair in the mirror. It took me a second to realize she wore a very prim and proper school uniform, complete with an ugly plaid skirt and pressed shirt. She looked me up and down but said nothing. Though from her head-to-toe inspection of me, she clearly disapproved.
I scanned the room, trying to figure out what else was different. The mirrors were clean—no random lipstick marks or haze from cosmetic spray.
A deeper flare of panic kicked my heart into high gear as I realized Joan had ditched me. I checked the other stalls, each as spotless as the one I materialized into, but other than the other chick at the mirror, I remained alone.
My hands shook as I pushed my hair away from my face.
A sob hitched in my throat, but I forced it down. I had to keep control of myself until I got my butt back where I belonged. Then I could freak out, preferably in the comfort of my room, under my blankets. I’d make a little fort and bring ice cream. My room—I just had to think about my room. Wait, did I even have a room here, wherever I was?
The other girl threw me one last carefully bland look and left the room. Something told me she would go report me to the school authorities. For a second, I thought about trying to catch up to her, but my voice caught in my throat. I took a deep breath and realized if I wanted to get back to my school I needed to figure out where I was. Pronto.
I could Travel from here—I didn’t have to know my starting point—but I’d already managed to get myself in the wrong spot once today. The smartest thing to do would be to stay put until I figured out where I’d landed.  
Taking a deep breath and clutching my textbook to my chest, I pushed the outside door open.
As I glanced around, goose-bumps rose across my back. The layout of this school looked identical to my own. Lockers lined the hallway across from the bathroom door, and the low murmur of voices resonated from the classrooms surrounding me. Of course, there was one big difference. This place was most certainly not a public high school—and not the one I’d left a minute ago.
“There you are. What took you so long?”
I jumped and stifled a scream as someone addressed me.
“Um, I think you have the wrong person.” I turned and met the boy’s eyes. A rush of blood swirled under my skin. He had the best green eyes. They were also unmistakable.
My heart froze in my chest.
Joan’s brother, my boyfriend. Dead boyfriend. Alive and kicking—well, currently he laughed and stood a little too close to me. I struggled to breathe.
“Henry.” I pressed back against the door to the bathroom. The word “ghost” dangled from the tip of my tongue, but I managed not to say it to his face. It would have been rude, and he didn’t look like a ghost. I couldn’t see through him, and he smelled good—ghosts didn’t have a smell, did they?

Play the Hunt

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Meradeth Houston, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 2214. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the orange team and you'll have the whole secret code to enter for the grand prize!

Continue the Hunt

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!

Bonus Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7959. Have You Ever Felt Like This?

Give a Shout Out to those who inspire you to be your best.
Leave your comments below. Thanks.

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7960. Interview with Holland Haiis for Consciously Connected

Come and join me as I talk with author Holland Haiis about her book Consciously Connecting on Stories From Unknown Authors http://blogtalkradio.com/storiesfromunknownauthors at 1pm EST today.


In the age of technology we have become disconnected at a cellular level. The time to reconnect to ourselves and each other is now Consciously Connecting is a step-by-step guide that will enlighten and give you the ability to further connect to your inner self. Learn to enrich your relationships with others, take action, and connect within the world around you-and most importantly, with yourself. Develop healthy emotional habits, and decrease stress and anxiety with your connectivity, which will give you the inspiration to lead a more productive and creative life. This adventure will be fun, and the exercises are easy. Engage in a weekly plan of action as you commit to be cognizant and walk away from life's disconnect and distractions. Unlock the secrets to Consciously Connecting as you choose to achieve your goals, embrace your strengths, and define your journey. Give yourself the gift of joy and happiness through connection and watch the possibilities happen.

About the Author:

Holland Haiis is a successful business consultant that mentors and facilitates clients to reach their goals. She coaches on the art of leadership, the value of communication, marketing strategies, and how to reach personal and financial goals. Holland lives with her husband, in Manhattan, and they continue to enthusiastically explore the world together.

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: 1st Books (November 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452597855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452597850

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7961. Season's Readings--Fall Edition


What better way to spend your fall days than with a new book? Here at YABC we are committed to finding the best reads of the season. Lucky for us, we didn't have to look too far. Our fantastic staff of reviewers have helped us compile a list of what we think are the best autumn reads to fall into! 

Below you will find everything from fantasy to thrillers to contemporary realistic reads and even a few spooky books that are sure to fill you with the feeling of fall! 


Blood and Salt: This is the PERFECT read for this fall season. Bittersweet forbidden love meets Children of the Corn with an ohmygod reveal that will have readers gasping. Bloody, powerful, and stunning, this novel had me wanting more!--Kim, Staff Reviewer 



Sanctuary: A haunting ghost tale of loss and love set in a centuries old Gothic mansion off the coast of Maine. Also a story of being true to not only yourself but coming to terms with a painful past.--Kim, Staff Reviewer





It's a Wonderful DeathMean Girls meets It's a Wonderful Life with snark, humor, and a fun twist on the whole meaning of life.--Kim, Staff Reviewer




The Leveller: This was a fast-paced, fun read. If you like the idea of combining gaming and virtual reality with a sassy, competent heroine, you should treat yourself to this story.--Angela, Staff Reviewer 




Mirrored: This is a modern fairy tale, told from the perspectives of both the good guy and the bad guy. The story gives us interesting background information about why Snow White happened the way it did, in a modern context of course. The story is funny, mesmerizing and told very well. If you love fairy tales with a little twist, you hould definitely read this book!--Nanouk, Staff Reviewer



Hello, Goodbye and Everything in BetweenA funny, bubbly yet heartbreaking story about a boy and a girl who are both going to colleges at opposite sides of the country. In this book you will read about their last night together, and how that doesn't really turns out as they planned it to be. This book really surprised me and I think a lot of young aduls will be able to relate to the characters. I adored the book!--Nanouk, Staff Reviewer



Dumplin'Sassy. Sweet. Inspiring. This book is all about being true to yourself, even if that means going against popular expectations. This books is beautifully humorous and vulnerable, letting readers sink into its pages and emerge with renewed courage.--Hannah, Staff Reviewer



Thirteen Chairs: This is the perfect book for Halloween, if you're looking to be spooked. A mix of ghost stories told within a story, there's rarely a dull moment. If you like Goosebumps, if you remember that show that played late at night on Nickelodeon called Are You Afraid of the Dark?, then pick Thirteen Chairs up and take a seat. You’re in for a thrill.--Emily, Staff Reviewer



Drowning is InevitableThis is the perfect deep read for a quiet Autumn day. The heartfelt realism, edge-of-your-seat adventure, and the incredibly complex relationships are a recipe for a book hangover that hot chocolate can help sooth.--Samantha, Staff Reviewer



The Dead HouseWith its spine-chilling mystery, psychological intrigue, and mixed media format, this story refuses to let you go and is sure to haunt both your dreams and your favorites shelf for a long time.--Samantha, Staff Reviewer



Nightmares! The Sleepwalker TonicI liked that we get a good mix of all three worlds – the real word, the Netherworld, and the Dream world. All three exist in a delicate balance and I liked how Segel instilled a bit of truth and thought into an otherwise comical, yet spooky book.--Vi, Staff Reviewer



The SufferingThis is set in Aokigahara - Japan's "Suicide Forest" - one of the most fascinating, and creepy, places on Earth.  Tark and the revengeful spirit, Okiku, set out to rescue a friend and instead find themselves in a lost village fighting ghosts who have suffered at the hands of those who claimed to love them and now seek to destroy anyone who disturbs them.  It is the perfect read for a scary Halloween evening.--Zabet, Staff Reviewer

13 Days of MidnightThere is something particularly awesome about a great ghost story when fall comes along and Halloween is just around the corner.  Leo Hunt delivers a Stephen King-esque spook story that rides the line between classic horror and downright gross in a gripping page-turner with a healthy dose of the blackest magic imaginable.--Deena, Staff Reviewer



Guys Read: Terrifying Tales: This is a collection of the greatest scares I've seen in some time. From classic horror, subtle paranormal, a tad bit of spooky humor, to perfectly creepy, this volume of Guys Read Shorts will have you on the edge of your seat. And that's before you unwillingly hand it over to your eager tween.--Deena, Staff Reviewer



Archivist Wasp: This is a story unlike any other. It blends ghosts, science fiction, and dystopia. Chilling and unique.--Zoraida, Staff Reviewer



The Dogs: This book bends genres in the most gratifying way! Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers, true crime tv, and a good ghost story. Allan Stratton's novel will leave readers guessing to the very end!--Kayla, Blog Manager and Staff Reviewer



This Monstrous Thing: This is the perfect blend of steampunk and Frankenstein! Mackenzi Lee proves that in death there is life, that not all monsters are inhuman, and that even humans can be monstrous. This novel tackles many of the classic themes from Mary Shelley's world and reimagines them in a way that plays with history and constructs a new world to tell this timeless tale!--Kayla, Blog Manager and Staff Reviewer



We hope this season finds you well and that you fall into some amazing reads! From all of us here at Young Adult Books Central: Happy Season's Readings!




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7962. Rejection to Revision

Use the comments you gather from your rejections to make your manuscript better.


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7963. See No Color (Review)

See No ColorThe title of Shannon Gibney’s debut YA novel, See No Color, has a resonance for people (like me) who were around in the 1980s — “Love See No Color,” was a popular motto, often emblazoned on T shirts, and generally seen (by white people, at least) as an idealistic goal: Color didn’t matter! We could all be color blind together and put the terrible past behind us!

Gibney’s book is a critique of that trope. The protagonist, Alexandra “Little” Kirtridge, is in a perfect position to examine it, as the African American adopted daughter of a wealthy white family. Her father is a former professional baseball player and still obsesses on the game as a father and as a coach. Alex is perhaps his favorite project, a high-school girl who plays on teams of boys and excels. The shared love for baseball anchors a wonderfully described father-daughter relationship, but that relationship begins to fray at the seams when Alex discovers her biological father has been trying to contact her for years and her adopted parents have kept his letters a secret. That plus a black boyfriend have Alex doing a little soul searching.

The Kirtridges say repeatedly that race doesn’t matter, and that they (the reader winces) never “saw” Alex “as black.” But of course, Alex is black, and begins to wonder what’s wrong with that, or why her parents would refuse to see it. She begins to realize that she’s been kept from her family and cultural history.

Gibney builds sympathy for the Kirtridges while showing readers how deeply flawed their reasoning is. They are kind, generous, loving parents; they are also wrong. Young adult fiction has been called “morally simple,” but here is one of many books that challenges that pert assumption (as does any book from Carolrhoda Lab). Real parents can be both lovable and frustrating, and Gibney illustrates that beautifully. Alex is complicated herself — her resentment of her parents’ biological children is conveyed with moving honesty. As a child from a well-off family, she also struggles with judging the more working-class family of her boyfriend.

Gibney is at her best describing family relationships, and I look forward to reading more from her. I happen to know that her second book is set in Liberia — an interesting direction to take after a debut novel about baseball and adoption. ;-)




Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: book reviews, see no color, shannon gibney

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7964. I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This

I have some big news today and I believe that this is something I most likely will never do again. Pull your chair in a little bit closer and listen very carefully because I shall say this only once…on this blog…but many other times on social media.

You can download the entire Billy and Monster series today.Billy Combo Cover Red brick

Yes, I really mean that. All 5 books in the series.

Is there a catch? Yes but it’ll definitely not stop you downloading the Billy and Monster collection.

All I ask is that when you’ve finished reading the series and IF and ONLY IF you and your loved ones enjoyed Billy and Monster’s adventures, THEN please consider downloading the audiobook (which actually costs less than the eBook version) and leave a favourable comment on Amazon or your blog.

You can grab a copy at the link below

The Billy & Monster Collection

This offer will end at 11.59p.m. on October 2nd.

Grab yours now and do let your loved ones, friends and colleagues know about this special offer.

Thanks for all your support and you can also share this offer on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

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7965. I Can’t Believe I Banned A Book: Banned Books Week Booklist

Banned Books Week

Yes it’s true, there was once a book series that I banned from my then 12 year old. What’s that you say? The Magic Book Lady banning books from her literate prone household? Happy Banned Books Week everyone.

Banned Books Week

I’ve never been one who agrees with banning books. I believe in providing age appropriate reading materials for my children but not banning books. That worked until a little book called Hunger Games was discovered by my 12-year old. At this point the Hunger Games had been out a long time and had read it and it completely chilled me to the bone. The idea of putting up 12 children who all must die except 1 to save humanity just hit a little too close to home for some reason. The Hunger Game series is a well written and well conceived book series which still chills me to the bone whether in book or movie form.

I didn’t think another thing about it until we were at the library many months later and wonder son comes up with a stack of books in his arms, the top one being The Hunger Games. “Oh no, not that book,” I thought. And then I heard that very phrase coming out of my mouth. I said something very parental like, “It’s not age-appropriate for you and it deals with very difficult ideas that I don’t think you’re ready for.”  End of story I thought.

Hunger Games


It had developed a cult following since I had read it plus two more books had come out in the series and well there you have it , a must read book.

One day I walked into the attic room known as the cubby at our house and there was Wonder Son sitting on the bed reading a book hidden by a folder and that’s when I discovered he was secretly reading The Hunger Games.

So what to do? I could punish him, but really. Punish him for reading a book? I don’t think so. The road I took was that of opportunity. Instead of trying to protect him I decided to use The Hunger Games as a dialog tool. I told him he could read the book but that I wanted to have a conversation about it when he was finished. He came out of the cubby, could read freely and we had the greatest conversations over the entire book series. My opinion remains the same, but I also learned why he was attracted to the book and why it didn’t seem as scary to him as it did to me.

We read the other two books in the series at the same time talking all the way through them.  It allowed my voice and concerns to be heard. It allowed his points of views and concerns to be heard and at times we even agreed to disagree. I think that skill in itself is a very powerful and capable tool for both of us to have in our tool belts.

Since the Hunger Games, controversial and intense book discussions have continued with my wonder son as he is now a junior in high school. Just this year we had a very deep and meaningful conversation over The Scarlet Letter.

OK, so where do I stand with the Hunger Games? Go read it. Suzanne Collins is a brilliant writer to be able to elicit such strong responses. For us, her book series was a game changer and has opened the door to many incredible conversations.

Though Hunger Games is the only book I’ve ever banned, there have been many in the past. This week is Banned Books Week and this year’s theme is having to do specifically with YA (Young Adult) Titles. Here is a list of the most commonly banned YA books in the US. Have you read any of these ? What do you think?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Banned Books
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday)

Banned Books
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)

banned books
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury Publishing)

banned books
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster)

banned books
Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)

banned books
Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)

banned books
The Giver by Lois Lowry (HMH Books for Young Readers)

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday)

banned books
Looking for Alaska by John Green (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)

banned books

For more information about Banned Books Week have a look here and be sure and join the Virtual Read-Out.

***Some of these links are affiliate links.

The post I Can’t Believe I Banned A Book: Banned Books Week Booklist appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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7966. Life (Rhyme + Acrostic + Enclosed Rhyme + Haiku + Etheree + Nonet +English Quintet)

I don’t know, exactly,
What is this called ‘Life’?
Some painted emotions,
Or the tainted strife,

I don’t know exactly,
What is this called ’Life’
Walking through, bed of roses,
Or at the edge of knife,

Lament over the stars,
Intriguing and innate,
Frisking and fatal,
Energetic and enchanting,

I don’t know, the point,
How should I rate,
Or am I just late?,
I don’t know, the joint,

Life might become a rainbow,
Piercing drops of heart,
Alas, eradication of dirt,
Is but Oh God, so slow,

Winter of heaven,
The crux of life is unknown,
A walking zombie,
Is just,
Like the cards,
Packed in the box,
Waiting to show us,
Their true worth in the game,
But are we really smart,
Picking the right card, the right time,
Or Alas, we are just trying, and,
Are trying to pretend that winning smile

All those soaring clouds defines the life,
Emotive droplets, hidden sighs,
Felicitating nature,
Those blind and deaf creatures,
Are the synonyms,
For, so called Life,
We are still,

No matter what we say,
Life is still unknown,
No matter how we stay,
We make our canvas alone,
Carving on the mud or stone.

Poet - Diwakar Pokhriyal

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7967. Multicultural Diversity in Children’s Books

Multicultural Diversity in Children’s Books

Multicultural Diversity in Children’s Books Spurs Sales in 2015

Excellent news for the children’s book industry and multicultural diversity in kids’ books was revealed at a Nielsen Summit held in September 2015 in New York. Jonathan Nowell, president of Nielsen Book, shared the following encouraging statistics:

  • Children’s book sales are up 12.6% in the US for the period between January 2014 and September 2015.
  • 11 of the 20 best-selling books in the US are children’s titles.
  • Print sales in the juvenile market have grown 40% in the last decade, with 5% of that market share growth in the last three years.

Continue reading Multicultural Diversity in Children’s Books at Story Quest.

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7968. Bonus Read: Digesting Picture Books


We all know that studying picture books is important, but are you fortifying yourself with each read? Here are ideas to consider: 



Check the title. Say it aloud. What clues does it give the reader about the book? Who does it target? Is it a name or a line from the book? How long is it? Is it memorable? How does it illuminate what’s inside?

Check copyright information. Publication date? Publisher? Make a guess before you peek!

Read aloud. Garner your first impressions. What made you laugh? cry? think? slow down? keep reading? Which words were fun to say? Why?  

Read silently and carefully. Chew on words and ideas. How does each page move to the next? How does it build to a climax? Has the second reading held your interest or deepened your understanding? How? Would you read it again?

Consider mood. How is it created? Through pacing? character development? word choice? sentence length? repetition?

What elevates the book from mediocre to first-rate? Word choice? Plot? Hook? Rhyme? Rhythm? Humor? Pathos/ethos/logos? Mystery? Pacing? Repetition? Character development? Structure? Innovative strategies?

Deconstruct the first and last sentences. How does the first sentence set up the story? What information does it divulge? How does it intrigue you to keep reading? How does the last sentence wrap things up? Is there a hook or a surprise? Does it come full circle? Make you laugh? Cry? How? Why?

Read the book flap blurb. How many sentences are used? How does it hook you without revealing everything?



Study the cover. What elements make it stand out? What clues does it give about the story? Who is it targeting? How does it illuminate what’s inside?

Check copyright. Publication date? Publisher? Mediums used?

Study the illustrative narrative. How do they add to the text?

Pinpoint style. What aspects make the illustrations unique? Look at line work (stylized or traditional), lighting, mediums used, contemporary/ traditional techniques (or a combination), dimension choices, brush strokes, use of perspective, composition, expressions, movement, and patterns. How do the illustrations compare to other illustration styles?

Study color choices. Are the illustrations created with a limited, monochromatic, analogous, triadic, or complementary palate – or has the illustrator opted for something completely different? Is the same color palate used throughout, or does it change from page to page?

Observe pacing. Count the number of full-bleeds vs. vignettes. How does the illustrator use negative space? How do the illustrations work with the text to create a climax and lead to the conclusion?

Pick your favorites. Which illustrations would you add to a portfolio? How do they stand out from the rest?

 Although not every book packs the same levels of illumination, a thorough study can help you digest informative morsels to improve your own creative efforts.


Angela Hawkins has written for Gryphon House, as well as Spider, Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr., Listen, and BYU Today magazines. She has also illustrated for Brown Books, Wee Ones, Fandangle, and Stories for Children magazines. She is a member of SCBWI.


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7969. On the Spotlight: 'The Secret Lives of Animals,' by Stacy Tornio

The Secret Lives of Animals


The Secret Lives of Animals is the perfect mix of field guide know-how and armchair entertainment. In addition to the standard field guide notes and range maps, the meat of the book will offer up “spark moments” in nature—something fascinating or memorable that catches your attention and sets you on a path of lifelong learning. The Secret Lives of Animals will feature more than 100 North American animals and over 1,000 tidbits in a fun, colorful, illustrated format.





Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Pinterest  /  YouTube

Stacy Tornio is an Oklahoma girl at heart, though she’s lived in Wisconsin for the last 10 years. As editor of Birds & Blooms Magazine, Stacy is able to share her love of backyard nature. Her first book, Cathy’s Animal Garden, takes readers on a picture journey into the neighbor’s scary backyard in search of a homerun baseball. Project Garden, her recent book, is a monthly guide filled with activities to keep the whole family gardening all year long. Along with her husband, Steve, Stacy enjoys watching her two children explore nature in their Milwaukee backyard and on trips up north.

Ken Keffer was born and raised in Wyoming.  A vagabond naturalist, he’s done a little bit of everything, from monitoring mice and vole populations and picking up carnivore scat in Grand Teton National Park to researching flying squirrels in the Tongass National Forest of southeast Alaska, and monitoring Bactrian camels in Mongolia’s Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area. He’s also worked as an environmental educator in Wyoming, northern New Mexico, coastal Maryland, and along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio. Ken enjoys birding, floating on lazy rivers, and fly fishing in the mountains out west.

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7970. 4 Questions for…Heather Alexander, Pippin Properties


Heather Alexander joined Pippin Properties as an agent after six years in editorial at Penguin. She loves books about those moments that change a person forever, and she is always looking for thoughtfully drawn characters. She tends to prefer literary projects over commercial, and wants to make books that will live on forever. Some of her favorite projects have been Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee and The Thing About Yetis by author/illustrator Vin Vogel, whom she met through SCBWI.


Do you represent both artists and authors?  How is the process different?

Yes, I represent both authors and artists. It’s wonderful to be able to share in all aspects of children’s book publishing that way. The process of working to sell an illustrator’s work can be quite different. For instance, we keep portfolios of all our illustrators’ work in the office, and have editors and art directors in to browse them. The publisher may have projects in mind that they need an artist for, or they may take samples to remind them of the work they liked so they can approach that artist for something down the road. With illustrators, the work almost always comes from outside. But with authors and author/illustrators, we work on manuscripts and dummies and send them out to editors the traditional way.


Pippin Properties is known for working to increase the “footprint” of a work by licensing ancillary rights and maximizing the audience.  Can you tell us how this process works?  Does it apply to everyone?

We are very proud of this, so I’m glad you brought it up! We consider the book contract as the first step in a project’s life. We team with co-agents to sell our foreign, TV, and film licenses, and we have great relationships with audio publishers and stage production companies. We meet with new people regularly to keep abreast of who’s looking for what, and to become familiar with companies or people who are looking for content. This is something we do for all of our titles, not just the latest and greatest. In fact, some of our older titles have recently been picked up for tv!


Are you interested in expanding your client list?  If so, what kind of client or project would intrigue you most?

I would love to find some future superstars to add to my list. I’m looking for very literary writers, people whose stories burst forth from them because they can’t keep them in. Lately I’m really intrigued by graphic novelists. The way they think and lay out narratives is fascinating, and I’d love to add a few to my list. My favorite books are smart and funny and make me cry. I am considering work from illustrators as well, and always look for a style I’ve never seen that grabs me fast and doesn’t let go. I want projects that make my heart flutter, that make me feel like I’ve found something truly special. Basically, I want to fall in love.


How would you characterize the current sales climate in the children’s book field?

Well, from my side of things, the industry is looking quite healthy. There seems to be a renaissance in picture books, which is wonderful to see. Of course, publishers always need to be choosy, and so we strive to send out only the books we think will stand the test of time. But it seems to me to be a time when publishers are a bit more willing to take a risk on something really unique.




Back to October Insight, 2015


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7971. Debbie Dadey, Children's Author

Debbie Dadey is the author, with co-author Marcia Thornton Jones, of such best-selling reluctant readers children's series as The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, The Swamp Monster in Third Grade, Slime Wars, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books, the Keyholders series and the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.

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7972. Twitter


cartoon twitter by monica  gupta

cartoon twitter by monica


आज शाम घर के सामने  से एक छोटा सा  बच्चा अपनी मम्मी के साथ जा रहा था और अचानक आसममान ने उडती चिडिया देखकर उत्साहित होता हुआ बोला देखो मम्मी…. टवीटर !!! और टवीट टवीट कह कर बोलने लगा.. मैं सब देख रही थी और देखकर सोचने लगी …आजकल बच्चों बडो मे नेट का क्रेज बढता जा रहा है घंटो घंटो हम नेट पर बैठे रहते हैं. असली चिडिया की चहचाहट उनका कलरव  भूल गए हैं… चिडिया को टवीटर के नाम से जानने लगे  हैं… नेट का क्रेज होना चाहिए बहुत अच्छी बात है पर हमे प्रकृति से भी दूर नही जाना चाहिए !!


The post Twitter appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7973. Ideas In the Shower: Brian Eno, Don Music, and the Creative Process


(RE-POST: This piece was originally posted on June 7, 2011.)

I’ve admitted it more than once: I know my work is going well when I have ideas in the shower. That is, those times when I’m thinking that I’m not thinking.

By the way, whenever I think about the creative process, and the difficulty of forcing ideas, I think of this classic Sesame Street sketch featuring Don Music: “I’ll never get it, never, argh!

I’m posting today to direct your attention to this piece from the fascinating 99% blog by Scott McDowell, “Developing Your Creative Practice: Tips from Brian Eno.”

It does not hurt that I have been a big Eno fan since the 70’s.

Read the opening quote from McDowell’s piece and you’ll see why it grabbed my attention . . .

Current neuroscience research confirms what creatives intuitively know about being innovative: that it usually happens in the shower. After focusing intently on a project or problem, the brain needs to fully disengage and relax in order for a “Eureka!” moment to arise. It’s often the mundane activities like taking a shower, driving, or taking a walk that lure great ideas to the surface. Composer Steve Reich, for instance, would ride the subway around New York when he was stuck.

Comments Eno:

The difficulty of always feeling that you ought to be doing something is that you tend to undervalue the times when you’re apparently doing nothing, and those are very important times. It’s the equivalent of the dream time, in your daily life, times when things get sorted out and reshuffled. If you’re constantly awake work-wise you don’t allow that to happen. One of the reasons I have to take distinct breaks when I work is to allow the momentum of a particular direction to run down, so that another one can establish itself.

The 99% piece references a July, 2008 article that I recall reading in The New Yorker, written by Jonah Lehrer, in which he investigates the nature of ideas, “The Eureeka Hunt.” Lehrer brought joy to procrastinators everywhere when he opined:

The relaxation phase is crucial. That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers. … One of the surprising lessons of this research is that trying to force an insight can actually prevent the insight.

Always an intellectual with a lively mind, Brian Eno, along with Peter Schmidt, developed a deck of cards in the 1970’s called Oblique Strategies, a series of prompts intended to help push people through periods of creative block. Now the Strategies are available for FREE on your iPhone or iTouch — just click here.

To close, here’s a cool fan video of Eno’s beautiful “By This River,” taken from the disk, Before and After Science. The album, by the way, has very distinct sides to it — something that’s lost in today’s CD era. For Side 1, Eno delivers traditional pop structures. But Side 2 plays like a series of dream songs, lullabies, hinting at the ambient sounds he’ll explore more fully on later disks.

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7974. Trailer Reveal: Link by Summer Wier + Giveaway (US/Canada)

Happy October, YABCers! Who's ready for Halloween?!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the trailer reveal for LINK by Summer Wier, released September 29, 2015 from REUTS Publications. Before we get to the trailer, here's a note from Summer:


Hi YABC! Welcome to the trailer reveal for LINK!
I'm thrilled to share my official book trailer with you today! This was such a fun project to work on, and it turned out exactly how I envisioned my story when writing the book. I have to give a shout out to the guys at Cinema Book Trailers. They were amazing and really knocked it out of the park with the special effects! I hope you enjoy the clip!
~ Summer Wier (LINK, Reuts Publications)



Ready to watch?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!






LINK (The Shadow of Light #1)

by Summer Wier
Release date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Reuts Publications
ISBN: 978-1-942111-01-6
About the Book


For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars. 

Or at least, it used to. 

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father. 

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying. 

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves. 

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Summer-Wier.jpgAbout the Author

Summer Wier grew up spending Saturdays with a maxed out library card and her nose in a book. But as much as she loved reading, and even writing, both took the back seat when it came to career choices. With her sights set on law school, corporate greatness, and even a hankering to become the first female president, she set off to conquer the world. As life would have it, though, she didn't attend law school, nor did she become president (although, one day, your vote may be appreciated), finding her strengths, instead, in accounting and business management. After finishing her MBA, she revived her love for reading and began writing with dreams of finishing a book of her own. When Summer isn't working, reading, or writing, she's trying to keep up with two energetic girls and her husband, and dreaming of the mountains of Montana.

Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Tumblr | YABC Profile | Pre-order Amazon


Giveaway Details

Three winners will each receive a signed paperback copy of LINK, a handmade necklace, and a star-themed metal bookmark. 

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 trailer?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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7975. Cybils Nominations, and Are Banned Books Passé?

Are yooouuuuuu ready to NOMINATE? ...for the Cybils Awards? Nominations are officially open to the public (that means YOU, readers) for ten categories of children's and young adult books. You have between Oct. 1-15 to nominate your favorite book in... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Cybils Nominations, and Are Banned Books Passé? as of 10/1/2015 4:17:00 PM
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