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16801. War of The Wives by Tamar Cohen


My deepest sympathies, ​M​rs. Busfield.  What?  I am Mrs Busfield.  ​Everyone was confused, but the cat was out of the bag.
Mr. ​Simon Busfield ​had two lives and two wives, and he was the only one who knew. Well only he and his accountant and his financial advisor, but definitely not the two women he claimed to be in love with and married to...one for 28 years and one for 17 years.

Despite the serious situations in the book, THE WAR OF THE WIVES is entertaining and humorous. Once you think the surprises are over, another one pops up.

WAR OF THE WIVES moves back and forth between Selina and Lottie's life telling how Simon managed to lie and cheat and remain married to both women at the same time without their knowing it.  He must have been some major organizer to pull that off.

​I enjoyed WAR OF THE WIVES even though some parts were a bit hard to believe.  I actually didn't like ​the two wives, Selina and Lottie. They both were self-centered and if you ask me a bit naive.  How could they not know? Their children were a bit odd as well.

If you need a light, entertaining read, I suggest reading WAR OF THE WIVES.  The ending was heartwarming and one that had yet another surprise. 4/5 

0 Comments on War of The Wives by Tamar Cohen as of 2/12/2015 6:05:00 AM
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16802. Spotlight and Giveaway: Fire Me Up by Kimberly Kincaid

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Fire Me Up by Kimberly Kincaid.  Enjoy!

Fire Me Up
Pine Mountain # 4

By: Kimberly Kincaid

Releasing January 27, 2015

Zebra/ Kensington



Teagan O’Malley can handle a crisis. She’s a paramedic, it’s her job. But she never expected to land in the kitchen of her father’s pub, with no notice, no cash, and no room for error. The kitchen is not her favorite place. Lucky for her, she just scraped a bad-boy chef off the pavement after a motorcycle accident—and something about him says he can turn up the heat in more ways than one.

Adrian Holt has had a rough few years, and he’s not eager to get tangled up in anything more complicated than a good risotto. But with a broken arm and a head full of bad memories, he needs a challenge to keep him sane. Teagan’s dare-me attitude and smoldering mess of a bar are just what the doctor ordered. And the two of them together might cook up some even better medicine…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/fire-me-up-pine-mountain-4-by-kimberly.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22043083-fire-me-up?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/112826-pine-mountain

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo


Author Info

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book.

Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Her digital Line series is all about the hot cops and sexy chefs of Brentsville, New York. She is also the author of the Pine Mountain series, which follows small town singles as they find big-time love. Kimberly resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



The astringent bite of rubbing alcohol reached Teagan’s nose as she tore into the packet in her hand, and she measured the intricate black tattoo on Adrian’s right forearm with a casual glance. Placing a line was more about feel than anything else, but it didn’t make this a cozy jaunt down Main Street, either. Still, procedure was procedure, and she wasn’t about to tell the docs in the emergency department that she didn’t start an IV en route when she knew damn well they were expecting her to do it. Explaining the shoulder thing was going to be bad enough.

Taking her eyes off a guy like Adrian in the first place had been the highest order of stupid. She wasn’t screwing up his care again.

“So how come you’re sticking me, exactly?”

His much-softened tone snagged her attention, and she adjusted hers to match. “Because you need painkillers on board before we get to Riverside. The doctors there are going to give you a pretty good workup. It’s not going to be fun.”

“I’m okay with the pain,” he said, although the thin sheen of sweat on his brow coupled with his skin’s growing pallor said otherwise.

Teagan shrugged. “You need the IV regardless. Might as well let the meds take the edge off.” She sat on the bench seat at Adrian’s side and flipped his right arm palm-side up, running her fingers down the corded length from elbow to wrist in search of a good spot.

“So what language is this, anyway?” she asked, folding his hand into a fist before tracing the thickly scrolled letters spanning his skin from wrist to elbow. Maybe if she distracted him, he’d let her do her job without complaint.

“Italian.” He didn’t elaborate, but he also didn’t balk as she ripped open the IV kit she’d pulled from the med box.

“Oh. What does it mean?” Teagan tapped the pad of one gloved finger against the vein now standing in relief against his skin right above the words vivere senza rimpianti.

“You ask a lot of questions, don’t you?”

The edgy little smile that had caught her so off guard in the middle of the road was back in full force, and it hadn’t lost an ounce of steam in its absence.

Teagan’s cheeks prickled with the unfamiliar sensation of a blush. “Sorry. Little pinch here. Ready?”

He nodded, keeping his smile locked in place. “Whenever you are, Red.”

Right. Because that nickname hadn’t haunted her enough in the third grade. “Just hold still.”

She guided the IV into place with a few deft movements despite the fact her pulse had just taken on all the properties of a freight train. “I’m going to put some Fentanyl in here to ease some of your pain. It works pretty quickly, so you should be able to relax soon.”

“Whatever will get this over with faster.” Adrian looked away, the smile slipping from his face as he shifted his weight against the semi-reclined surface of the cot. It figured he’d go and get all agreeable when they were halfway to the hospital, but truly, Teagan knew better than to complain.

She drew two hundred micrograms of Fentanyl into a syringe and worked it into the IV, doing a visual sweep to make sure all systems were go. “I’m just going to recheck your vitals here and see if we can manage some focus assessment before those pain meds get in the way.”

“Focus assessment sounds like something my high school guidance counselor tried once. Hate to break it to you, but it didn’t work out so well then. Doubt you’ll have much luck with it now.”

Teagan’s laugh popped out before she could swallow it, and she palmed the penlight from her bag. “Don’t worry, it’s not that tough. Look up for me.”

Adrian fastened her with a dead-on stare, and whoa, there was a lot roiling around in those hazel eyes of his. No matter how big and bad, most car accident victims experienced some form of shock or another in the aftermath. Her social skills might not be impeccable—or hell, even good—but it was time to keep this guy as calm as possible.

“So, tell me,” she said, slipping the pulse ox clip over his finger. “What do you do, Adrian?”

His forehead creased, making his surprise a dead giveaway.

“I’m a chef.”

Looked like surprise was catching. “And how long have you been a chef?”

“Since the day I was born.”

The laughter pushing past her lips caught her off guard for the second time in as many minutes. “You’ve been busy, then. You must work at the place in the resort.” That tiny tickle of recognition fanned over her again, but as soon as she flicked her attention toward it, it was gone, like smoke in a stiff breeze.

“What makes you say that?” He canted his head to the side, his shoulders seeming to loosen slightly.

Teagan noted his current vitals before continuing with the exam. “Because unless you count the bakery on Main Street, there are only two other full-service places to eat in Pine Mountain, and there isn’t a chef in either one.”

The thought of Lou, the lanky guy who worked his magic at her father’s bar and grill, working up a hoity-toity dish like on those reality shows was downright laughable. Not that Adrian really fit that mold either, but still. He’d been the one to use the c-word, not her.

As if he’d just climbed into her head for an easy looksee, Adrian teased, “Careful making assumptions over there. I ditched the tall white hat as soon as I graduated from culinary school.”

She held up her hands, busted. “Okay. But for the most part, we townies tend to just sling hash and be done with it.” Teagan examined him carefully, and this time the vague recognition darting around in her brain snagged and held. “The restaurant at the resort! You were there last year, when we responded to that call for the other chef. A woman.”

The tumblers and gears of her memory locked into place over the image. They’d been first on scene, and Evan had gone to secure the patient—a nasty facial trauma, if she remembered right. Teagan had been too busy securing the rest of the scene, namely trying to peel Adrian off of Jackson Carter, a local guy she’d known since middle school.

The fight had been short-lived. And Adrian had been boiling-point furious.

“She’s my boss,” Adrian said, dispelling only a touch of the mystery running through her head. “You remember that?”

“Small town. And you have a memorable right hook.”

His eyes flared, in way more panic than irritation. “It wasn’t like that, exactly.” A pause, and it looked like hers weren’t the only gears sliding into place. “Wait, that was you who jumped in the middle of things.”

Teagan nodded, sliding down the bench toward his feet and laying the flat of her hand against the bottom of one monstrous boot. “Securing the scene to administer care is part of the job. Press forward as far as you can.”

He did, and when she prompted, he gave a quick repeat on the other side. “You could get hurt like that, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Said the guy on the gurney,” she said, unable to bite back a wry smile. “How’s your arm feeling?” Now that she’d had more time for a more focused exam, it was clear the broken arm was likely the only injury he’d sustained, and even that looked pretty straightforward. Lucky bastard.

“Pretty good.” He closed his eyes for a fraction too long to be a blink, and that, coupled with his answer, signaled the Fentanyl was starting to kick in nice and hard.

“Good. We should be at the hospital in another seven minutes, give or take. You can close your eyes if you want.”

Another blink, this one shuttering his eyes just enough to be sexy as hell. “That might not . . . be the best idea.”

Concern splashed through Teagan’s chest, and she leaned forward from her perch on the bench seat at his side. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

“Relax.” A lazy smile joined his bedroom eyes, sending an entirely different sensation through her chest. “I’m not going to code on you or anything. It’s just, ah, easier to forget about the pain if I’m distracted, that’s all.”

Oh, buddy. If you only knew. “Okay, but consider yourself forewarned. I’m not sure I’m the best person for the job.” Teagan bit her lip over a pause. “Polite conversation isn’t exactly my forte.”

“Polite conversation is for amateurs,” he said. “Tell me something important.”

A streak of shock popped through her veins. “You want me to tell you something personal?” That Fentanyl must be knocking him sideways if he thought she was going to spill her soul.

“Yeah,” Adrian said on nothing more than a rumble. “Personal. What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?”

More laughter escaped in an unexpected burst, but at least it was a painless question. Poor guy probably was a little loopy from the meds. “Umm, wow. Coffee, I guess.”

“I could see that.” His voice was slow, and it dashed all the way down her spine, lingering only when it reached the lowest point between her hips. Desperate for something clinical to keep her busy, Teagan snatched a few packets of alcohol wipes. She tore one open and leaned in, dabbing methodically at a scrape above Adrian’s eye.

“Ah.” She shook her head, giving the cut a closer look.

“You’ve got a pretty nasty lac here. It’s small, but looks kind of deep. I hate to tell you, but you’re probably going to have to lose this piercing to have it stitched up.”

“Great,” he said, although the sarcasm didn’t quite stick. “You can go ahead and take it out, I guess.”

Teagan made quick work of removing the stainless steel barbell, sliding it into a plastic bag before giving voice to the question in her head. “So how about you?”

“How about me what?” He angled the side of his face so it fit tight into the curve of her hand, and she scooped in a shallow breath at the increased contact.

“What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?” she murmured, surprised to find herself actually wanting to know. His eyes went from warm hazel to smoky quartz in the time it took her to exhale, and he dipped his gaze to her mouth.


“And what’s so great about strawberries?” Oh hell. Was that her voice, all breathy and ridiculous?

“They’re perfect.” He curled the fingers of his uninjured hand around hers, pulling her in and reducing the space between them to a mere sliver. With his stare resting right on her lips, he said, “And red.”

Before the word even sank in, Adrian lifted his mouth to hers in a slow stroke. His lips were the exact opposite of the rest of him, soft and accommodating, and Teagan gasped against them. He tasted like cinnamon, spicy and dangerous, and he tightened beneath her like he had every intention of parting her mouth with his own and discovering all of her. Her brain screamed that she should pull back, give him what-for, do something other than just sit there and let him kiss her, but all her good intentions fell prey to one simple fact.

She didn’t want him to stop.

But then, just as quickly as he’d closed the space between them, Adrian pulled away, and the resulting rush of cool air brought Teagan back to earth with a hasty snap.

“Sorry. I . . .” Adrian trailed off, eyes at half-mast. “I’m so tired.”

“Close your eyes.” Thank God she’d at least faked her way back to her normal speaking voice. The sound of it steadied her ever further. “We’ll be at Riverside in a couple of minutes.”

As if on cue, Evan leaned back and aimed his voice into the narrow pass-through, one eye still on the road as he hollered an ETA of ninety seconds. Teagan shucked her gloves and swept up the debris in the rig, double-checking Adrian’s vitals even though her own probably looked like a skyline shot of Mount Everest. His eyes were closed, his chest rising and falling in smooth rhythm. She’d given him enough Fentanyl to knock out a basketball team, so it really wasn’t a shock that he’d gotten a little goofy. He probably wouldn’t even remember kissing her when his eyes opened up again.

The smartest thing she could do was forget it, too.

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Fire Me Up by Kimberly Kincaid appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16803. A Successful Feeling

This past weekend, I had another book signing.  This is my second one.  I felt more successful with this one than the first.  Besides having more purchases, my manager marketed my book more effectively.  I had it at a wonderful bagel store in New York.  The owner is very kind to allow me to do a book signing in her shop.  Also, during my first signing I did not schedule it for the best time.  It was scheduled late in the day the week before Christmas.  Teachers in my town were already on vacation.  However, this time I scheduled it on a early Sunday morning when the bagel store was at its busiest.  I felt a certain sense of accomplishment that I did not feel before.  It was a good feeling  and I look forward to doing more book signings.

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16804. Interview with MGLit Author – M.J. Evans

Thanks for joining me on another edition of Author Interview Thursday.M.J. Evans Today’s special guest resides in the beautiful state of Colorado. Despite the fact she has a big family, she still makes out time to write great Middle Grade fantasy books.She is well respected amongst her peers and has worked in the education sector for many years. It truly is a delight to meet someone whose passionate about improving literacy levels in young people and loves telling a story. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming M.J. Evans.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife, a mother of five fabulous young adults, and a grandmother of nine beautiful kids. I love being outside (which is not good for an author!) I love riding my horses both on the trails in the Colorado Mountains and competitively in Dressage shows. I also love to ski, hike, camp, ride bikes…pretty much anything outside! I also love people and make friends easily. Dancing and musical theatre are also interests of mine. Now, add to that my love of reading and writing, I’m never just sitting around!


Tell us about the first time someone complemented you on something you had written? 

It wasn’t until I was a college student at Oregon State University that I was complimented on my writing and realized that I did have a talent for writing. It was many, many years later that I found the time to do the creative writing that I so yearned to do. Before that, I used my skills to write school curriculum and help Odyssey of the Mind teams write their one-act plays. Yet, I still didn’t really believe that I was a good writer until my books started winning national awards. When The Mist Trilogy won a gold medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards last December and North Mystic won first place in the Purple Dragonfly Awards for fantasy last spring, I started to gain a little more confidence.


What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

My favourite books were all horse stories! I loved all of Marguerite Henry’s books and I collect first edition copies of them. I loved Black Beauty and the Black Stallion, My Friend Flicka, and National Velvet. Do you see the common theme?


You have currently published three books in The Mist Trilogy. Was it a conscious decision to write a series and what led you to do it? Behind the Mist

As you know, publishers want a middle-grade, YA novel to be 50,000 to 70,000 words in length. I had the over-arching story in my head from the beginning and found that there were natural breaks in the story at about 65,000 words. So, it turned out to be a trilogy. I started writing The Mist Trilogy to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could actually get it done. I had the story in my head and once my youngest child started high school, I actually had the time to commit to writing.


What tips do you have for writing good dialogue?

I love writing dialogue and I have found that I am quite good at it. The hardest part is to stay in character as you write what they are saying. Always ask yourself if that is something that your character would really say. Some other tricks I have learned: 1. Don’t try to fill in a lot of the story line or information through dialogue. Dialogue should enhance the story and add colour, not be the vehicle for telling the story. 2. Read it out loud, after all, dialogue is the spoken word. One example is to use conjunctions the way people actually speak. For example write: “She’s really angry with us.” Rather than “She is really angry with us.” 3. Let your characters have their own unique speech patterns and favourite phrases without over-doing it. For example, in The Mist Trilogy, one of the unicorns named Shema likes to repeat herself. One example: “Oh my poor boy, my poor, poor boy.” Hasbadana, the evil unicorn likes to try to impress others by using big words. In North Mystic, an award winning allegory of the Revolutionary war, the oldest child Evelynd is always the one to bring up the problem in any situation. She is the serious one, the pragmatic one.


Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why?M.J. Evans and fan

My passion is writing fantasy and I get my inspiration from J.K Rowling and C.S. Lewis. One reviewer wrote that I was this generation’s C.S. Lewis and a young reader told me in a letter that she liked my books better than Harry Potter! I don’t believe that either of those are true but it sure was nice to get those compliments. C.S. Lewis uses allegory which is a tool I love to use and have used in The Mist Trilogy and North Mystic. J.K Rowling uses beautiful description which has inspired me as I write. I have a piece of paper by my computer that has five words on it: “Smell, Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste.” J.K Rowling is a master at using all the senses in her writing.


Toy Story or Shrek?

No contest! Toy Story!


With a background in education, what qualities have you seen in books that tend to capture children’s imagination?

I write so that pre-teens and teens will love to read. I believe that fantasy is one Genre that is best suited to encouraging the use of a child’s imagination. First, you are creating a fantasy world with fantasy characters. As the author paints a picture with words, the reader must use their imagination to follow the story. I have also learned that children should be allowed and encouraged to read books about topics that interest them. For me, it was horses. So, I have combined my love of horses and fantasy in The Mist Trilogy. I also enjoy history so I incorporated that passion in North Mystic.


What three things should a first time visitor to Colorado do?

Take a trail ride into Rocky Mountain National Park. Ride a bike from the top of Vale Pass to Frisco. Drive to the top of Pikes Peak. Actually, it’s really hard to pick just three things!


As you own three horses, I wanted to know if you could tell us three things most people don’t know about horses.Margi Evan on Kit

Everyone thinks horses are beautiful but some people are afraid of them because they are so big. Fear of horses is something I have never known. I guess that is why I get along with them so well. People need to know that horses are herd animals. As a result, they want and need a leader. If you are going to be the leader, that is just fine with them. But if you aren’t, then they will take that role because, in their minds, someone has to be the leader. This is why horses will behave so differently depending upon who is working with them. Second, horses have both a reacting side of the brain and a thinking side. An untrained horse has an over-developed reacting side and an underdeveloped thinking side. As a trainer and rider, it is my job to reverse that. I help them develop the thinking side of the brain. You never can completely eliminate the reacting side, however! Finally, horses have a great ability to sense what a handicapped child needs from them. If you have ever watched a therapeutic horse work with a disabled child (or adult for that matter) you will be amazed. Therapy horses have helped autistic children find their voice, CP and MS children find control of their bodies and at-risk kids find a purpose in life. Horses are truly amazing and a gift from God.



What can we expect from M.J. Evans in the next 12 months?

I have just completed a new manuscript titled In the Heart of a Mustang. It is a young adult novel about a troubled teen and a mustang mare that meet at an Arizona ranch. The bond that forms between the two saves both their lives. I am now starting to submit it for publication. It is not a fantasy and for a little older audience than The Mist Trilogy and North Mystic so that is new for me.


Where can readers and fans connect with you?

I love getting letters from my readers. They make my day…week…month! Readers can connect with me by going to my website: www.mjevansbooks.com They can also follow me on Facebook: Behind the Mist or North Mystic or on my blog: www.themisttrilogy.blogspot.com.


Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

I understand how frustrating the publishing industry is. Not only is it hard to break in and actually get someone to publish your work but the industry is going through a lot of changes that are hard to keep up with. Some of the changes are helpful for new authors. They now have the option of self-publishing, either in print or on eBook. I actually know several authors who are bypassing or abandoning the traditional publishers all together and just publishing on eBook format. I would recommend that new authors find several beta readers that are not family members or best friends to read their manuscript before submitting it to a publisher. Take their suggestions if you want, discard if you want, but at least you would get some objective feedback. The best thing that happened to me was when I submitted North Mystic to a publisher. After reviewing my query and sample chapters, she asked to see the full manuscript. A couple of months later, she turned down the book but wrote up a full page, single spaced, critique. I took every one of her comments and made the changes. As a result of her helpful suggestions and criticisms, North Mystic was not only published but went on to become an award winner.


Thanks for spending time with us today Margi. I loved your insight on horses and I’m really impressed with how you’ve weaved in a theme around horses – something you love – into your stories. Do check out Margi’s website where you can purchase one of her books. Do share our interview using one of the share buttons and leave a comment/question. We’d be delighted to respond and know that you stopped by.

3 Comments on Interview with MGLit Author – M.J. Evans, last added: 2/15/2015
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16805. Review and Giveaway: Worth the Risk by Claudia Connor


I actually wanted to read Worth the Risk before Claudia Connor’s other book, Worth the Fall, was even on my radar.  I saw that the heroine was a hippotherapist, and that’s all I needed to see.  I didn’t even read the blurb beyond “one therapeutic horseback ride at a time.”  Yup, throw a random horse reference in there, and I’m on board.  But then Worth the Fall was highly recced to me, and despite my aversion to all of those kids, I read it.  And loved it.  And I loved Worth the Risk more!  So the author is now on my auto read list.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, so I will be purposefully vague about some key plot points.  I figured a lot of them out, but I don’t want to rob the experience of these discoveries from you, so I’ll just give a general background about the story and why I liked it so much.

Hannah works as a therapist, helping disabled and emotionally battered kids with her horses.  She has a fierce passion for her profession; she suffered through unspeakable brutality when she was a teenager, and horses helped rouse her from of the shell she crawled into.  She lives for her horses and her young clients, so she’s stressing about a letter that she received from the city, questioning the ownership of her property and barn. 

After a very bad day, when she had to unexpectedly put her beloved dog to sleep, she meets gorgeous Stephen.  Having been drilled by her brothers to never trust anyone, she refuses to give him her number, but, taking a step outside of her comfort zone, agrees to meet him later for a drink.  Hannah just wants to forget that she’d be going home to an empty house, and she doesn’t want to deal with her suffocating brothers’ sympathy. 

Five years ago, Stephen also suffered from a heinous act of evil, and he’s been running from it ever since.  He’s cut ties with his family, severed ties with his own emotions, and has poured all of his energy into his company.  When he sees Hannah crying in the grocery store, he feels a twinge of curiosity, as well as attraction.  When she refuses to give him her phone number, he’s even more determined to get to know her.  Their drinks turn into a dinner date, but Hannah still refuses to divulge personal information about herself.  He thinks that she’s just being cautious, and sets his sights on getting what he wants – Hannah.

I enjoyed Worth the Risk for many of the same reasons I liked Worth the Fall.  Both Hannah and Stephen needed each other; they are sadly incomplete alone.  They both feel stifled by their caring, and in Hannah’s case, overprotective, families.  They both had a piece of themselves ripped brutally away, and they were and can never be the same as before.  They have trust issues, don’t want to get involved with anyone, and are reluctant to commit. 

To complicate matters, Hannah’s land is in jeopardy, and Stephen’s partner is scheming to purchase it, with or without Stephen’s approval.  Hannah brings some grief on herself here because she wants to take care of her problem by herself, so she can start to feel self-sufficient.  That comes back to bite her in the behind.

Both characters are easy to relate to, and Stephen, despite his own self-loathing, is kind, caring, and considerate.  He senses that Hannah is skittish, and he woos her with care, even if he doesn’t know why he’s doing it.  He’s made a vow to never fall in love again, and it’s a promise he has every intention of keeping.  Reading along as they gently batter down their reservations kept me completely engrossed in the book, and I read it in just a few hours.  It’s a little angsty, moving, and hard to put down.  Best yet,   I like all of the McKinneys and all of Hannah’s brothers, and keep thinking, Yeah!  Who will be the star of the next book in the series??

Highly recommended

Worth the Risk
The McKinney Brothers # 2

By: Claudia Connor

Releasing Feb 3rd, 2015



When a McKinney brother falls in love, powerful emotion and overwhelming desire are never far behind.

Two hearts locked away . . . Hannah Walker spends her days coaching children through injury and trauma, one therapeutic horseback ride at a time. She knows all too well how violence can change a child and leave scars that never heal. It’s easy for her to relate to the kids; what isn’t easy is the thought of facing her own harrowing past.

Millionaire playboy Stephen McKinney could use a little coaching himself. Five years ago he encountered his most horrible nightmare—and the nightmare won. No matter what he achieves, nothing can make up for that awful night . . . or so he believes.

Both desperate for a second chance . . . Stephen is used to getting what he wants. And he wants Hannah. So when she turns him down, he’s intrigued. What he doesn’t know is that her secrets will lead him to a place he never wanted to go again . . . to a side of himself he’s tried to forget . . . a side that would scare Hannah away from ever loving him. Now his only chance to win her trust is to bare his soul, risking everything he tried so hard to protect.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/worth-risk-mckinney-brothers-2-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22747252-worth-the-risk?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo


Author Info

Claudia Connor is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of heartfelt contemporary romance. Claudia attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and masters degrees in early childhood education, and completed her studies in Sawbridgeworth, England. Always a lover of happy endings, she enjoys movies, reading, and travel, but spends most of her time typing out the love stories of the almost real people that live in her head. Claudia lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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The post Review and Giveaway: Worth the Risk by Claudia Connor appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16806. How To Be The Best Book Club Member

I thought this was pretty funny and wanted to share with everyone.  It is from Huffington Post.

Go here to see if you are THE BEST BOOK CLUB MEMBER!!

**Images courtesy of:




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16807. My tweets

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16808. reeve & mcintyre book 3: pugs of the frozen north!

And here we have it, the big cover reveal! Reeve & McIntyre book 3 will be.... big drum roll....

And here's a look at the back cover, before it's even had the logo and a barcode whacked onto that yeti's tummy:

Philip Reeve and I are SOOO excited about this one! Stay posted for further updates, but here's a look at a few of the inside pages:

These pugs are brave and fierce!

Here's a little look at the town of Snowdovia, based on visits to Seldovia in Alaska and Skudeneshavn in Norway:

Pugs of the Frozen North doesn't launch until September! (Here's the Oxford University Press web page.)

...But in the meantime, catch up on these two FINE books if you haven't read them already! All three books feature different characters, but all are about kids going on weird and wonderful adventures into the unknown. (And check out the activity sheets for each of them - Oliver and the Seawigs and Cakes in Space.) I'd guess that they're for readers ages 7 to adult. But I know a lot younger kids have enjoyed having adults read the stories to them, and adults report happily read them with no kids in sight.

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16809. The Sleeping Dogs of Cecil Aldin

Cecil Aldin (1870-1935) was a British illustrator who loved to draw dogs.

He illustrated a book called Sleeping Partners featuring his dogs "Cracker," a white bull terrier, and "Micky," a dark Irish wolfhound. 

Micky was the tolerant type who would let his buddy walk all over him.

One of Aldin's teachers was Frank Calderon, who wrote one of the best books on animal anatomy. 

Aldin drew for the Illustrated London News, where he developed a following that later translated into print sales.

He used his own dogs and those of his friends for models. 

He called his own dogs "The Professionals" and visiting dogs "The Amateurs."

He would let them run loose in his big studio and wait patiently for them to settle into a sleeping position. He often did a quick outline from life and then elaborated it from memory later.

Aldin's dogs became so famous from his drawings that they received their own fan mail. When at last the bull terrier died, The Times wrote an obituary:
Cracker, the bull terrier, for many years the beloved companion and favourite model of the late Cecil Aldin, died July 31st, Mallorca. Deeply mourned.
On the Web


Sleeping Dogs on GurneyJourney

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16810. Being an Easy Author

How can you show agents and editors you would be an easy author to work with?


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16811. THE JAGUAR STONES by Jon and Pamela Craik Voelkel - Guest Post

Jon Voelkel explains how an obsession with Maya glyphs inspired him to illustrate the Jaguar Stones books

      Growing up, all the books I loved had illustrations in them. I can remember poring over the maps in The Hobbit, tracing Bilbo's journey. I can still picture, clear as day, the illustration from Robinson Crusoe where the castaway spies the footprint in the sand; that one bare footprint, so loaded with mystery and possibility. And I sure would have struggled to imagine marshwiggles, fauns and other fantastic creatures without the illustrations in my Narnia books.
      Fast forward thirty years, and I was writing my own book. Or at least I was attempting to write down my kids' favorite bedtime story (an action-packed yarn based on my childhood in Latin America) and my wife, Pamela, an advertising copywriter, was attempting to turn it into a book. The setting for my story was some cool pyramids in the jungle. We began to research the people who'd built those pyramids - and that was when our obsession with the Maya began.
      There's so much misinformation on the internet that I signed up for a course at Harvard to learn how to read and write Maya glyphs. That opened a window into the Maya mind. One of the first things I learned was that the Maya used the same glyph for "scribe" and "artist", because Maya writing is art and Maya art is embedded with words. The artists like to tell you what things are made of, what they feel like and smell like, if they’re good or evil. There are swirly scrolls to indicate speech, breath and other, ahem, gaseous emissions. You can't help but smile. Everything bubbles with life and personality; not just plants and animals, but places, buildings, rocks - even time.
      As our first Jaguar Stones book, MIDDLEWORLD, took shape, we talked a lot about how to convey this amazing, vibrant, and essentially alien world.
      Even Maya architecture is a challenge. If pushed, some kids can visualize Chichen Itza. But most imagine an Egyptian pyramid. They're amazed to hear that every Maya pyramid is different: temples, palaces, observatories, offices - all wildly painted and ornamented. More thrilling still, these pyramids were alive to the Maya and crackling with ancestral mojo.
      So you can see why the Jaguar Stones books had to be illustrated. You can't describe this stuff succinctly in words. Kids needed to see on the page what we were seeing in our heads, so they wouldn't get hung up on trying to imagine the weirdness of it all. And since we couldn't find an illustrator who could capture this vibe, I stepped up to the plate.
      Of course, so much Maya art was destroyed in the conquest that we don't have a record of everything. So for THE LOST CITY, I've even gone a step further and created a spread of Maya monsters based on folktales.
      And before you ask, no I did not go to art school. I've been an inveterate doodler all my life, but I actually went to business school. So I had to invent my own techniques, based on trial and error. Pamela helps and is never short of ideas for illustrations: "A howler monkey riding a tapir!", "A Death Lord wearing a necklace of human eyeballs that's exploding because he's so angry!") I'm proud to say that we have never NOT included a picture because we couldn't find a way to make it happen.
      When I'm trying to mimic a Maya artist, I use modern versions of the tools they would have used. First I draw in pen and ink, then I scan the drawing, and add texture and shading with watercolor-like washes in Photoshop.
      For the full-page illustrations, I use a photo-realistic style. I start by taking dozens of photographs and collage them together on the computer. I then draw and paint on top of them to meld them into one seamless whole.
      It's been part of our mission to share our research with our readers, and draw them into the Maya universe. Our hope is that they not only enjoy a thrilling adventure, but also experience a glimpse into an ancient world that is more incredible, more advanced and more extraordinary than anything any of us could ever invent.

Jon Voelkel grew up in Peru, Costa Rica, and Colombia, all the while dreaming of a boring life in suburbia. Eventually, having survived monkey stew, an attack by giant rats, and a plane crash in the jungle, he rolled up his hammock and decamped to Europe. Meanwhile, growing up in a sedate seaside town in northern England, Pamela Craik Voelkel was dreaming of travel and adventure. The pair met in London, where they both worked in advertising. They went on to help found an award-winning agency, for which Jon was named one of the fifty most creative minds in Britain by the Financial Times. The authors' first book in the Jaguar Stones series, Middleworld, was an Al Roker Book Club pick. The Voelkels now live in Vermont with their three children. You can visit them online at www.jaguarstones.com.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Sharon Pinky Pollack - Q&A and Giveaway
Tricia Springstub - Guest Post and Giveaway
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Erin Prefontaine - Guest Post and Giveaway
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Elizabeth O. Dulemba - Guest Post
Friday, February 13, 2015
Heidi Grange - Review, Guest Post and Giveaway
Katie Barlow - Guest Post and Giveaway
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Pamela Thompson
Monday, February 16, 2015
Holly Schindler - Guest post and giveaway
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Charlotte Taylor

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16812. Poetry book for the very young

The Letterbox Cat & Other Poems by Paula Green, illus. Myles Lawford, Scholastic NZ

Printed in striking black and red on white, this book of poems should appeal greatly to primary teachers planning a class called “Fun With Poetry”. Paula runs NZ Poetry Box, a useful blog for children and schools at www.nzpoetrybox.wordpress.com. The poems in this anthology are an intriguing mix of words, design and illustration, using shape to enhance meaning. For example, the poem about a kite is laid out in the shape of a kite with a long winding tail, while the words in Nice Ice are arranged in the shape of an icecream cone. The book offers perfect examples for children to follow with their own poetry and design. Myles Lawford’s illustrations are minimalist and quirky, befitting the light tone of the poems.
Could this book be used at home? Yes. If a parent was determined to introduce a pre-schooler or young primary-aged child to poetry, this would be an interesting place to start because of the extra visual elements. BTW, the poem about the Letterbox Cat is on page 24. I wonder why it wasn’t printed on the first page…
ISBN 978 1 77543 223 4 RRP $12 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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16813. Why do we write about talking animals?

I'm feeling a littleemotional, to be frank. I've spent the past eight years writing three books about a group of talking animals (The Last Wild trilogy), whom I've grown very fond of. Last week I sent the final book off to the printers. I won't be making the animals in it, or any others for that matter, talk again for the foreseeable future.

And, pausing before I blunder off into a whole new imaginative realm, I've been reflecting. Why do we do it? Why do we take these dignified, self respecting other species we share the planet with, and imbue them with often wildly mismatched human characteristics, psychology and dialogue? Why are those characters so perennially popular with younger children? Equally, why are they such a literary turn off for some, and many older readers?

 There are many answers to those questions, and they've changed as continuously as human behaviour. One argument is that in making animals talk and walk like us,  we seek to play out the mysteries of our deeper and more unknowable feelings. For children, growing slowly cognizant of more complex and challenging human emotions on the adult horizon, animal characters in books can be like a literary version of play therapy, safe proxies through which to navigate those feelings. (Perhaps that equally repels older or adult readers who have no desire for proxies, hungry for the authenticity of real human interaction.)

But that’s the young reader. What’s the appeal to the adult writer, seeking to put words in the mouths of mice? For me, I keep coming back to the haunting story of another writer and his far better-known talking animals.

In 1906, he was nine years old, known to all as ‘Jack’, and living in East Belfast, enjoying a quintessential turn of the century middle-class childhood. 

The Lewis family, 1906

His father Richard was a successful solicitor, and his mother Flora was the daughter of an Anglican priest. His elder brother Warren was away at boarding school in England, but when he was home for the holidays, the boys enjoyed long walks and cycle rides in the leafy suburbs. The spacious house might sound boring for children  - with what Jack later described as its “long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude” - but he and Warren happily filled it with imaginary worlds and games of their own, inspired by their father’s substantial library.

But 1906 was the year everything changed for Jack. Quite suddenly, his beloved mother passed away at an early age, from cancer.  The world he knew and loved, the idyll of his early childhood - had been changed forever.  And Jack’s response was to lose himself in one of the fictional worlds he and Warren - or Warnie - had created together.  A world he called ‘Animal Land’ - full of delightful characters such as this natty frog.

 In 1907, he wrote to Warnie at his school in England, describing in detail the story of one of Animal Land’s many kingdoms.

My dear Warnie

 …I am thinking of writeing a History of Mouse-land and I have even gon so far as to make up some of it, this is what I have made up.

Mouse-land had a very long stone-age during which time no great things tooke place it lasted from 55 BC to1212 and then king Bublich I began to reign, he was not a good king but he fought against yellow land. Bub II his son fought indai about the lantern act, died 1377 king Bunny came next.

Your loving
brother Jacks

Animal Land, which soon evolved into a universe known as “Boxen”, was a complex imagined world created by the two brothers, which blended animal fantasy with mediaeval romances popular at the time and contemporary colonial politics.  Crucially, it was conceived as a complete world - with its own rules, boundaries and belief systems.  In one story, Jack wrote :

"The ancheint [sic] Mice believed that at sun-set the sun cut a hole in the earth for itself."

Much later in his life, Jack, in his better known identity as C. S. Lewis - wrote in his partial autobiography, Surprised By Joy:

“With my mother’s death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy, but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.”

To a pair of young children dealing with their grief, and shortly, further displacement as Jack was sent to join his brother away at school in England - the history, lives and laws of some imaginary mice or frogs offered the one thing their upturned lives suddenly lacked - security.

It's too simplistic for me to dismiss Narnia, as some do, as a mythical paradise completely driven by Christian allegory. Lewis himself always denied this, famously insisting
“I couldn’t write in that way at all. Everything began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion.”

Whether he protests too much or not, the promise of innocence, happiness and peace in a fictional land populated by talking animals would be one Lewis returned to again and again in his Narnia books. Perhaps not just to proselytise.  Perhaps also to journey back in the imagination to the secure childhood happiness he could never recover in reality. 

I didn’t grow up in Belfast in 1906, and nor did I suffer the tragedy ‘Jack’ did at a young age.  I like to think that I had a happy childhood. But I also believe that when you write children’s books, especially those with created worlds, you inevitably write out – directly or indirectly – layers of your own feelings as a child. When you finish those books, and leave that world, in some small way, you finish a part of your childhood too.

And perhaps that’s why I’m feeling emotional.

Piers Torday

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16814. Giveaway: Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles (US/Canada)



by Jo Knowles

Release Date: March 10, 2015

Candlewick Press



Does anyone ever see us for who we really are? Jo Knowles’s revelatory novel of interlocking stories peers behind the scrim as it follows nine teens and one teacher through a seemingly ordinary day.
Nate suffers a broken finger—the middle one, splinted to flip off the world. It won’t be the last time a middle finger is raised on this day. Dreamer Claire envisions herself sitting in an artsy café, filling a journal, but fate has other plans. One cheerleader dates a closeted basketball star; another questions just how, as a "big girl," she fits in. A group of boys scam drivers for beer money without remorse—or so it seems. Over the course of a single day, these voices and others speak loud and clear about the complex dance that is life in a small town. They resonate in a gritty and unflinching portrayal of a day like any other, with ordinary traumas, heartbreak, and revenge. But on any given day, the line where presentation and perception meet is a tenuous one, so hard to discern. Unless, of course, one looks a little closer—and reads between the lines. 
b2ap3_thumbnail_Jo_Knowles.JPGABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jo Knowles is the author of Jumping Off Swings and its sequel, Living with Jackie Chan, as well as See You at Harry’s. She lives in Vermont with her family. You can find her on Twitter at @JoKnowles.




TEN winners will each win a hardcover of Jo Knowle's READ BETWEEN THE LINES. 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 they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: 
How does Nate break his middle finger? Read chapter sampler to find out https://www.scribd.com/doc/250251128/Read-Between-the-Lines-by-Jo-Knowles-Chapter-Sampler







Read More

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16815. lifeaquatic: kateoplis:“Deah BarakatDeah Barakat was a...



Deah Barakat

Deah Barakat was a 23-year-old dental student from Chapel Hill who wanted to use his education to help the less fortunate.

Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha

Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha was a 21-year-old North Carolina State University graduate with a biological sciences degree who planned to enter UNC in the fall. She and Barakat were married in December.

Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, was a first year architecture and environmental design at North Carolina State University and the sister of Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha.”

Remembering the young students killed in the Chapel Hill shooting

My heart is so broken over this, and especially broken over how it’s being silenced in mainstream media. 

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16816. Editor Deborah Halverson on Fresh Spins, the Value of an Agent, and Chocolate

I am thrilled to announce that in addition to bringing you agents of note, we are now including  editors as well! 

You met my editor, Samantha already, now I'd like to introduce, Deborah Halverson.

Deborah Halverson spent a decade editing books for Harcourt Children's Books before becoming the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For DummiesWriting New Adult Fiction, the teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth, the picture book Letters to Santa, and three books in the Remix series for struggling readers. She is now a freelance editor, author, writing instructor, and the founder of the popular writers’ advice site DearEditor.com. Deborah also serves on the advisory board for UC San Diego Extension “Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating” certificate program. She speaks extensively at workshops and conferences for writers and edits adult fiction and nonfiction while specializing in teen fiction, New Adult fiction, and picture books. For more about Deborah, visitwww.DeborahHalverson.com.

1. How did you decide to become an editor?

I secretly wanted to be a writer all my life, but having a practical streak even as a child, I figured I should get a “real job” in the publishing industry. Editor sounded good to me. Fortunately Harcourt Brace (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) had offices in San Diego at the time. I wouldn’t have to move to New York to pursue an editorial career! I added a copyediting certificate from UCSD to my English degree then applied at Harcourt until the managing editor of the Children’s Books Division took a chance on me. Boy, had I found my people! That was 1995. I learned how to make books in the managing editorial department, then moved over to acquisition, where I worked with veteran and debut authors as they revised and perfected their manuscripts. But that desire to write was still niggling at me. It took seven or eight years, but I finally worked up the courage to see if my dream was worth holding on to. Sure I could write, but could I finish a whole book? And then write another, and another? On the sly, I began what became my debut YA novel, Honk If You Hate Me. In 2005, as my second novel for children was publishing, I had to give up corporate editorial life to be home with my infant triplets. I hung out my freelance editor shingle, and ten years later I couldn’t be happier. I bring my in-house editorial experience to bear as I work with writers to get their manuscripts ready for submission to editors and agents or for independent publishing.

2. What are some of your favorite YA/children’s books?

I’m a sucker for writers who can give the obvious a fresh spin that startles me in the most moving ways. Salina Yoon melts my heart with the unexpected Penguin and Pinecone. A friendship between an animal and a pinecone? Inspired! The Day the Crayons Quit and If You Find a Rock both celebrate items so common in childhood that we barely notice them anymore. Kids notice them though… and so did these authors, who found brilliant ways to make us grown-ups take notice once again.

3. What is the biggest difference between an agent and an editor?

It’s crucial to understand the scope of each one’s involvement in your career. An editor is focused on single projects and your potential body of work with that publishing house. Your agent cares about each project, too, but she also has your full career in her sightline. I am very experienced in this business—I could negotiate my own contracts and I’ve got plenty of editorial contacts. Yet I value expert consultation and support for my career so much that I have an agent for my children’s books and an agent for my adult craft books.

4. What have you seen too much of? Not enough of?

With the current enthusiasm for contemporary realistic stories, I see too many manuscripts that showcase above-average writing but fail to deliver a fresh angle on the contemporary teen experience. What makes your story about a regular kid in high school stand out from all those other well written stories about regular kids in high schools? I want to see more great writers find their distinct angles so that they can find publishers and places on bookstore shelves.

5. What title are you most proud of and how did you find the author?

I love every novel I worked on with Jean Ferris. I remember my very first week as an editorial assistant—Jean’s Love Among the Walnuts was in design stages at Harcourt. Jean’s editor, Diane D’Andrade—my boss—asked me to give the jacket copy a whirl. Eager to impress, I worked on it that night at home, trying to capture the tone and convey the special cleverness of that story. Then I felt it: a click. It was the first time I experienced that soul-deep connection that strikes an editor when she finds a writer she truly “gets.” Jean is so clever with the words and the stories, and her quirkiness jives with my own. I worked on several other books with Jean as an assistant editor before I started acquiring her manuscripts myself, including Much Ado About Grubstake and Eight Seconds.

6. How important are trends when considering work?

Most of the time, books on the market at the height of a trend were written and even acquired before that trend existed. The boring every-day reality of acquisition is editors looking for manuscripts in the genres or styles they enjoy, then singling out those that are exceptionally written and that have noteworthy angles they can play up in cover and promotional copy. They want to love the book and see ways to bring readers’ attention to it.

7. What is more important: character, plot, or world?

I need well developed characters in even the most plot-driven books to feel like I’ve had a satisfying reading experience. As for world, I see that element as more than just the place and time in which we embed our characters. Too many writers stop at those two aspects of world-building and then aim the rest of their story-building efforts at their characters and plot. Having your character act upon and react to the time, culture, environment, and props can greatly enrich his characterization and the story as a whole. I see setting get shortchanged too often in manuscripts—to the detriment of the story—so I dedicate a full chapter in each of my craft books to using setting to enhance all other aspects of your story.

8. Literary or commercial?

Oh boy, can I revel in a rich story with layered themes and complex stylings! But I’ve always been a pop culture girl, so toss me a well crafted commercial book any day.

9. What book do you wish you’d edited?

I’m crushing hard on The Day the Crayons Quit, let me tell you. To have been a part of it’s creation in any way would have been a treat.

10. What’s your favorite part of being an editor?

Learning that a writer I’ve worked with has landed a publishing contract sure rocks my boat, but my greatest pleasure is in the editing itself. I will cheer out loud when I work out that elusive something that can crack open a writer’s revision strategy, and I love it when I’m so excited by a revised manuscript that I fill the margins with happy faces and exclamation points. Helping a writer move her project to the next level is immensely rewarding.

11. Coffee, tea, chocolate — what’s your vice?

I’m sorry, could you repeat that? The word chocolate hijacked my brain….

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16817. "Everything is made out of magic"

As a writer, I'm more of a plotter than a "pantser." Before I write the first line of chapter one, I usually have a good sense of how the story is going to be structured, how its central dramatic question will be answered, its central conflict resolved, its central theme illuminated. But there is still magic that assists in the writing of the story itself.

Right now I'm working on the fifth book in the Franklin School Friends series, this time starring struggling student Cody Harmon and featuring a plot involving a school-wide pet show. The previous books established Cody as a farm kid with an affinity for animals; e.g, he brings his pet pig, Mr. Piggins, to school to be kissed by the exuberant principal, Mr. Boone, as the culmination of the reading contest in Kelsey Green, Reading Queen. In this book-in-progress I planned to have Mr. Boone appear on the day of the pet show riding into school on an elephant. I knew the story would culminate in allowing Cody to have his turn to shine at the show. But would be the obstacles along the way to his day of glory?

When I sold the book idea to my publisher, I planned for Cody's problem to be that he has too many pets and so can't afford to enter them all in the pet show, with its ten dollar entrance fee for each one (to benefit the local Humane Society). There is no way Cody can afford ten dollars for each of nine pets! I knew the solution would involve a plan where Cody would let his classmates borrow some of his pets. And one of his classmates, Izzy, star of Izzy Barr, Running Star, would fall in love with Cody's badly behaved dog, Angus, and want to keep him.

So far, so good.

But as I started to write, another problem began to appear. Cody needed to have a best friend, although no best friend had been mentioned in the previous books. Okay: it would be Tobit, another kid who struggles with school as Cody does. But what would be Tobit's role in the story?

What if. . . . what if . .. what if Tobit engages in some behavior that is unkind to some animal? So that Cody doesn't want to lend a pet to Tobit - especially his most beloved dog, Rufus? How can Cody tell Tobit this? How do we ever call others on their bad behavior without feeling intolerably self-righteous? How can Cody balance his loyalty to his friend with his loyalty to his pets - and to himself?

Here is where the magic enters. Throughout the story, Mr. Boone keeps promising the kids that he'll bring an elephant to school on the day of the pet show. The kids scoff - but hope he means it. So I Googled how to find elephants to rent out for such events. What I found was not what I expected. What I found were pleas NOT to rent elephants, not to ride them for fun at kids' birthday parties, not so support an industry that treats such magnificent beasts with indifference to their animal needs and desires.


So much for Mr. Boone arriving at school astride an elephant.

But: what if . . . what if . . . Mr. Boone himself finds out what I just found out? And changes his pet show plans? And shares this with Cody and Tobit after their hallway shoving match? Yes! That's just what I needed to deal with how to resolve the Cody/Tobit standoff!

The book is still a long way from being published. I have no idea if these scenes - if any of this - will survive the revision and editing process and make its way into the final book. But right now, I'm feeling the magic of having one plot problem solved precisely by having another plot problem arise.

In The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett says this: : "Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden - in all the places.”

To this I add: "and on the page." And to this I say: "Amen."

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16818. A Special Valentine for Teachers!! <3

Recently Lynda Mallaly Hunt reached out to authors with books coming out in the next month or so and asked if we'd like to take part in a giveaway for teachers! I love teachers. So I said YES. There are two giveaways going on, one for teachers looking to build their middle-grade libraries and one for teachers looking to build their YA libraries. So, if you are a teacher and would like to win a set of the books shown below, keep reading! :)

If you submit your name to this rafflecopter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

...you could win 6 books to add to your collection. That's right. All SIX BOOKS just for your classroom! And they are brand new!

I've included links to the authors' Web sites and Twitter handles. You should check them out! Follow! Make friends! And we'd love it if you could help spread the word! If you're on Twitter, use the hashtag: #authorsloveteachers THANK YOU!!!! :-)

Sarah Darer Littman
Twitter: @sarahdarerlitt
Author site: Sarahdarerlittman.com

Lee Kelly - City of Savages cover -2
Lee Kelly
Twitter: @leeykelly
Author site: www.newwritecity.com/books

Alexis Bass
Twitter: @alexisbasswrite
Author site: www.alexisbassbooks.com

Nova Ren Suma
Twitter: @novaren
Author site: novaren.com

WhenReasonBreaks_Comp (2)-2
Cindy L. Rodriguez
Twitter: @RodriguezCindyL
Author site: cindylrodriguez.com

FingerFinalCover copy 2
Jo Knowles
Twitter: @JoKnowles
Author site: www.joknowles.com

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16819. Dinotopia museum exhibition opens this weekend

"Birthday Pageant" from Dinotopia: The World Beneath, Oil on canvas mounted to panel
A Connecticut newspaper has released a feature article about the upcoming Dinotopia exhibition at the Stamford Art Museum and Nature Center. I'll be attending for subscription events on Feb 28 (farm to table dinner) and March 1 (drawing workshop), and a public book signing event on Sunday afternoon at 3:30. 

The show consists of over 50 major paintings, plus sketches, maquettes, and fossil material. It runs from February 14 through May 25.

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16820. Ready? Set? Go! Pitch Plus One is Now Open for Submissions!

PLEASE double check the rules before submitting. Remember this round is pitches only! Questions? Support? Check out our hashtag #PitchPlus1 on Twitter.

Only send submissions to AYAPContest at gmail dot com NOT the other AYAP account or your entries will be deleted without being read and that will make us SAD :(.

Don't forget to check for updates on our official contest website.

Not sure what Pitch Plus One is?? Check out this post that includes both rules and AMAZING judges!!

Good luck, everyone!!!

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16821. Missing My Keys

With jacket zipped and scarf just-so,
I reached to get my keys
But nothing dangled from their hook,
Which brought me to my knees.

I mentally went back in time –
Remembered coming in
And had to thus unlock the door,
So where do I begin?

While searching high and low, I thought,
Is this the way it starts?
My keys go first, my marbles next
And soon I’m off the charts.

The text I sent my husband
Let him know my sorry state.
At first I got no answer
And could barely concentrate.

Then suddenly, my phone a’buzz,
I did a double-take –
“I have your keys along with mine –
I grabbed them by mistake.”

As sweet relief surged through my bones,
Annoyance slipped away.
Senility may visit soon
But gladly, not today! 

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16822. Is it okay to have an immoral character as the protagonist?

Hi! First of all I'd like to thank you for creating this awesome website and answering questions from beginners like me. Currently, I'm working on a story

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16823. Embassy in Yemen Closes

Sad to see that the USA removed its ambassadors from Sanaa, Yemen today. It was just a few years ago that they had one of my paintings there as part of the Art in Embassies Program.

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16824. what our readers teach us, with thanks to Serena Agusto-Cox, an early reader of One Thing Stolen

Writing, we tunnel in. We go to dark places. Walk contorted paths. Stumble. It takes a long time before we re-emerge, our eyes blinking into the sun.

Hard to know, in all that desperate making, if we have created something whole. We wait to hear from those who have read.

This morning I am so very grateful to find these words from Serena Agusto-Cox.

Her review begins like this:
One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart, which will be published in April, has crafted a testament to artistry and the adaptability of the human mind.  Set in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance, Kephart transports readers across the ocean from Philadelphia, Pa., to the cobbled streets of Italy.  Nadia Cara is a young teen who builds nests by weaving seemingly incongruous materials together, making things of beauty.  She’s an artist on overdrive as other parts of her life disappear and flounder amidst the detritus of memory.  She knows that she’s struggling, she knows that she is becoming someone she does not want to be, but she also knows that she is powerless to stop it.

And can be read in its entirety here.

Thank you, Serena.

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16825. Children's Bookstore

It's a real thrill (but rare) to see my books in an actual, physical bookstore, so I take my kicks where I can get them. I saw an ad for the Children's Bookstore and their online book fairs in SLJ, and clicked on the link. I scrolled down the list of authors, which was short, and I wasn't there. Maybe this was a small operation working with select authors, I thought. I typed in Farmer George, and it popped up along with four of my other titles. Yippee!

If you're books are in their catalog, they welcome a short (250 word) author's note that they will add to the book listing.  In their instructions they ask that the note be original, "not the usual marketing blurb or cut and pasted information from your website." They'll check!  They recommend a short description about why you wrote the book, or how the book can be used in the classroom, or what expertise you bring to the subject.  I asked about being added to the author's roster, but haven't heard back yet. I will also add their link on my website to give them a bit of traffic.

So, for all of you who are always looking for ways to help promote your books, check out the Children's Bookstore.  You might be there.  

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