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<<May 2015>>
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1. Every Day Hero

I used to do this thing called Every Day Heroes. I kind of miss it. So, I'm going to bring one out of the archive. When I wrote this, Hannaford's actually noticed and commended Angela, which is super nice of them to do. They were/are lucky to have her.

Angela at the Grocery Store

Angela, the cashier at Hannafords has a soft voice. You can barely hear it above the beeping of the scanner as she registers our bananas, our milk. But she pauses for a second and checks out Em who is laughing, mouth open.

“Oh!” the cashier squees. “I love your braces.”

Em’s mouth slams shut.

But the cashier? She notices the change. She notices the effect her comment had on Em’s 13-year-old self esteem.

She journeys on. “I love them, really. They are so cute. The brackets are all different colors.”

“Yeah,” Em manages. She pales. She hates her braces.

“And your teeth are going to be so nice when you get them off.” The cashier rings in some Annie’s macaroni and cheese. “Really.”

Em nods. She bags the box. “I know.”

She half smiles, but she still doesn’t open her mouth wide enough to see her teeth.

The cashier lady finishes up, helps up bag while the credit card processes. Then she looks up at Em. It’s a long, look. It’s a sweet look. Then she says, “You know something?”

She doesn’t wait for Em to answer. She continues on. “You know, you are a beautiful girl. You’re just really lovely. It’s stunning.”

Em smiles and her winter pale cheeks red up a little. “Oh… thanks.”

Angela presses her lips together, pulls a receipt out of some machine. The transaction is completed. We haul our canvas bags full of groceries over our shoulders. We’re ready to go. But the cashier pauses for a second. Em pauses too.

“I mean it,” she says. Her eyes are beautiful. They look right into Em. “You are.”

When we’re walking out of the store, Em bops a little bit even though the sky is gray, the parking lot is full of slush. She bops and says to me, “That lady is really nice.”

She is.

That lady made my daughter feel special. They don’t know each other. They don’t know each other’s names, although they can probably recognize each other in the cereal aisle. Still, Angela took her time to make sure that Em left the grocery store feeling good about herself.

That woman is my hero.

I can tell you one thing, if you go into Hannaford’s you’ll be able to find her. She has short, thick brown hair, plucked eyebrows and pretty eyes. But the way you’ll really be able to find her is the way she’ll look at you. She won’t look at you like you’re a customer. She’ll look at you like you’re a person.

And that’s a rare enough trait now-a-days that it makes her one of my favorite heroes.

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2. Tilda Swinton To Be "The Ancient One" In Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’??

Hahahahahahahahahaha--oh.  You're being serious?

Talk about sticking it to the fans. Great actress but just WTF????????????????

According to Variety: http://variety.com/2015/film/news/tilda-swinton-doctor-strange-cast-benedict-cumberbatch-1201506594/
Tilda Swinton Doctor Strange
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Tilda Swinton is in talks to co-star with Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange"
Scott Derrickson is directing the comicbook movie.

Cumberbatch will play Stephen Vincent Strange, a former neurosurgeon who becomes the next Sorcerer Supreme and primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. Marvel Comics vets Stan Lee and Steve Ditko co-created the character in 1963. Strange’s mentor is a Tibetan mystic known as the Ancient One, who is training pupils to be the next Sorcerer Supreme. In the comics, the character has been a male, and Marvel Studios was initially searching for a male actor. Given Swinton’s interest in the film, however, the studio has now rethought the role.

“Doctor Strange” will debut on Nov. 4, 2016.

The news was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
Above: Dr Stephen Strange and The Ancient One when he still had a willy.  A todger. A John Thomas. A...get it right?

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3. Current Scratch: Join Us, Good News, Book News, Contests, & Just For Fun

Hi there, folks! Sorry for the delay, but I was without phone & Internet Monday and Tuesday due to the storms. You never realize how plugged in you are, until you're without! Here's one positive about all the rainy weather... At least we have time to work on all of our creative projects. Let's get busy!

Need a little inspiration? JOIN US at our next event!

At Washington-on-the-Brazos StatePark on June 13 for a Writing Day and Sketch Crawl. We'll meet at the large pavilion in the park at 9:30 a.m. and after brief introductions you'll be on your own to write, sketch, research and relax. Bring a picnic lunch, and we'll reconvene from 12 to 1 p.m. to eat together. Work on your own again, then 3-4 p.m. will be an optional time to meet and critique.

Admission to the park is FREE. There is a small fee for the museum ($5) and for the living history farm ($5 for each side or $9 for all 3 sides). NO LAWN CHAIRS are allowed. In addition to the pavilion, there is seating in the historical buildings and there are benches and picnic tables around the grounds, including the river overlook. We will have access to a few electrical outlets and running water in the pavilion. Bring a picnic blanket or cushions if you plan to sit on the ground.

We will arrange carpools early in June. Please email Liz Mertz or Candi Fite for any questions or if you'd like to carpool. lizbmertz@gmail.com and candice.fite@gmail.com . If severe weather is predicted ahead of time, we may cancel, but the plan is to go rain or shine.

Next month's schmooze will be on June 24th with illustrator Garrett Hines from Waco. Stay tuned for details.


Congrats to member Kelly Bennett! Her picture book, Not Norman, a Goldfish Story, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones (published by Candlewick Press, 2005) has been selected as Jumpstart’s Read for the Record book for 2015. On October 22nd folks all over the world will read the book. Support Jumpstarts goal of helping every child become Kindergarten ready by signing up to #ReadfortheRecord and buy your Jumpstart edition here http://bit.ly/jumpstore

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4. Kobo Wants ABA Members to Promote Digital Reading in Stores

Kobo, a Rakuten company, has partnered with the American Booksellers Association (ABA) to introduce a new program that encourages digital reading on a local level.

The program is called eRead Local and is designed to get ABA members to sell eBooks via Kobo and compensates booksellers for doing so. Participating ABA members will receive $5 USD for every reader they sign up for a Kobo account. In addition, these customers that create Kobo accounts through an affiliate ABA member will receive a $5 USD credit toward their first purchase of a Kobo eBook. Here is more from the press release:

ABA members who acquire 100 new customers will be entered for a chance to win an in-store event with a bestselling author, and those who acquire 50 new customers will be eligible for a chance to win Kobo eReaders for in-store customer contests to help generate further in-store foot traffic.

The program will run for 100 days beginning this summer, with the exact timing still to be decided.

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5. Book Review: Dark Sparkler by Ambery Tamblyn

From Goodreads:
The lives of more than twenty-five actresses lost before their time—from Marilyn Monroe to Brittany Murphy—explored in haunting, provocative new work by an acclaimed poet and actress.

Amber Tamblyn is both an award-winning film and television actress and an acclaimed poet. As such she is deeply fascinated-and intimately familiar—with the toll exacted from young women whose lives are offered in sacrifice as starlets. The stories of these actresses, both famous and obscure-tragic stories of suicide, murder, obscurity, and other forms of death—inspired this empathic and emotionally charged collection of new poetic work. 

Featuring subjects from Marilyn Monroe and Frances Farmer to Dana Plato and Brittany Murphy—and paired with original artwork commissioned for the book by luminaries including David Lynch, Adrian Tome, Marilyn Manson, and Marcel Dzama—Dark Sparkler is a surprising and provocative collection from a young artist of wide-ranging talent, culminating in an extended, confessional epilogue of astonishing candor and poetic command. 
I mean, it's poetry.  It's really hard for me to judge the artistic merits of modern poetry because I don't get most of it.  And I have a lot of insecurity relating to the fact that my brother is a complete professional at poetry (no seriously, he's published and teaches it on a college level) and I am terrified of the entire genre, particularly modern blank verse.  I feel like I have no idea what makes something good versus what makes something random strings of words.

In this case, my gut leads me towards mediocre.  I say that as a total and complete non-expert and I'd happily change my opinion if someone explained things to me differently.  But from what I could tell, these are decent but not exceptional poems.  The idea behind them, however, is original and interesting, especially given that the author is a celebrity herself and that the poems deal with fame and its tragic ends.

I do think she did a fine job of conveying her theme - that celebrity doesn't frequently bring happiness, that aging is a death sentence for the careers of women in show business, and that fame can turn on you in a second.  While the theme came across, I didn't find anything particularly memorable about the language she used or the style of her writing.  It wasn't bad, but I also wasn't impressed enough to keep any of these around for future reference.

Entertainment Value
I think the main entertainment value in these was in looking up each actress and reading about her life and tragic end.  There were only a few I had heard of - Brittany Murphy, Marilyn Monroe - and many who I had the joy of reading about for the first time.  While the book could easily be read in under an hour, I spent quite a few hours with it looking up each actress and reading about her life and what became of her in the end.  Many of the poems only make sense if you read them with a knowledge of the subject's life, so it is important to have that background information.

I have to say that, while I think this is interesting and original, it's not a must-read.  If you're not really into poetry and the idea of fame and celebrity and its fickleness doesn't particularly interest you, this is probably one you can pass on.  That said, it does make for an interesting concept, particularly with the art included.  I read it right before listening to Almost Famous Women, which I'll be reviewing soon and it made for some very interesting comparison.  I think the two pair pretty well together, if you're looking for something similar in theme.

Thanks to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy to review.

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6. D.C. Public Library Hosts Brian Selznick Exhibit

Brian Selznick (GalleyCat)One branch of the D.C. Public Library is hosting an exhibit called “Building Wonder, Designing Dreams: The Bookmaking of Brian Selznick.”

This display showcases the works of the Caldecott Medal winner behind The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It can be found inside the Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

According to the organization’s website, visitors will be able to “enter Selznick’s books; the pages are 8’ tall and 18’ wide,” “open the drawers in the ‘Cabinet of Wonder,” and “play with a wooden automaton.” A closing date been scheduled for June 21st.

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7. BEA 2015: More French comics on the way to the US


The gorgeous Albertine bookstore at the French Embassy.

I’m in the middle of Book Expo/Book Con hubbub but I wanted to draw beat readers attention to the conference on French-language comics held this past Tuesday as a kickoff for BEA. The invite-only event was organized by BIEF, a French books organization, but agent/translator Ivanka Hahnenberger , and included representatives of 35 US publishers and many French ones as well. There were lots and lots and lots of stats thrown out, and maybe the decks will be made public at some time, but I summed up some of them for the piece:

The event is part of a renewed effort by BIEF to attract more attention to French comics in a growing U.S. market that is changing to be more accepting of content beyond the superhero genre that has dominated it for decades. More such efforts are planned. Castille announced that in the fall of 2015, a coalition of 13 comics publishers from eight countries is launching Europecomics.com, an EU-cofunded online venture aimed at the North American market that will provide information and highlight events around European graphic novels.

Comics—or “bande desinée” as they are known in France—make up a much larger portion of the French publishing market than they do the U.S., about 12.5% of all the books published, compared to about 3% in the U.S. According to statistics from Livres Hebdo (the PW of France) 349 French comic publishers put out 5000 graphic novels in 2014, compared to 1500 graphic novels distributed in the U.S. through Diamond. Sales in France were led by the latest volume of the long-running humor comics series Asterix with 1.634 million copies sold.

Other numbersL currently digital comics make up only 1% of the French market, a fact that Izdeo and Comixology are trying to change…give them time, I’m sure it will happen.

The day was part of an effort to bring more Francophone comics to the US. Given the success of things like Beautiful Darkness, Lulu Anew, Exquisite Corpse, Sardine in Space, Robert Moses and Blue is the Warmest Color — all books from a spectrum of US publishers—it seems this is starting to happen. We may never get the total range of French GNs but we’re getting more of them and the variety is definitely adding to the general golden age of comics we’re now experiencing.

IMG_3541.JPGSchmoozing over wine and cheese.


This fall europecomics.com will launch, a portal for all things Euro.

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8. We’ve got the first six pages of Paul Cornell’s Doctor Who four-Doctor crossover comic and they look pretty bad ass

Is it August yet? Today Titan released the first six pages of Paul Cornell’s four Doctor crossover and we’ve got War Doctor, a callback to a 6-part serial from Season one of Doctor Who (that’s CLASSIC Who season one), and Clara being shady with the 12th Doctor and knowing his history (that he himself seems to have forgotten, or is lying about having forgotten: always a toss up with any Doctor incarnation). Seeing John Hurt’s War Doctor traipsing around the wreck of a Dalek ship and interacting with the Voord warriors is a treat and I want more!









Hugo nominated Doctor Who series writer Paul Cornell and artist Neil Edward’s five-part four-Doctor crossover hits shelves August 12th, just before Titan’s Doctor Who Comics Day on August 15th.

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9. That yucky voice again?????

The other day I came across a picture that my daughter drew ten years ago. She was just beginning to fall in love with the theater. I was so enchanted with her depiction of herself taking over the stage.

Until I looked closer. In the middle of the cheering crowd, there was one critic, shall we say, who chose to point a finger at the performer.

My heart sank. Here was proof that, despite how many opportunities and awards Sofia had received, despite how happy she was to be performing, she still heard a yucky voice. In fact, she heard it so clearly that she made it part of her picture.

In my first novel, NATURE GIRL, the main character has a continuing struggle with her yucky voice. As Megan hikes the Appalachian Trail, her confidence grows. The voice gradually fades, until Megan realizes with delight that the voice is gone.

I have to confess that that isn't really accurate. Those who have yucky voices, and I am one of them, know that permanently silencing that voice is very very difficult. The past few months, I've been struggling with an impossible novel. My yucky voice has been positively gleeful to have so many opportunities to make me feel bad. But I haven't let it completely take over my life.  I haven't quit. Instead I keep reminding myself of the positive comments I've received. It feels a little vain to reread kind emails and notes. That goes against my Midwestern upbringing. But why should we dwell on the negative? Why let that one voice be louder than the positive?

And so, in that spirit, I made a few alterations to my daughter's drawing. I decided to include what I know the rest of the audience was thinking. I hope she understands.

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10. My Thoughts: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

5 wonderful, warm chocolate chip cookies dunked in milk.

Cover Love:
Yes!  The cover is what drew my eyes to the book and that is without even seeing it in person.  I have seen pictures online of the actual book and the cover and I believe it is more gorgeous in person!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The cover caught my attention, the title piqued my interest and the synopsis put me over the edge.  Here is it from GoodReads:

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Romance?: Yes, yes, yes!!

My Thoughts:
First of all, this was so gorgeously written, so descriptive, so transportative (I am sure that is not a word).  You absolutely felt like you were in the palace. You could smell the smells, taste the food, see the beautiful clothes and FEEL THE HEAT between Shahrzad and Khalid.  It is intense.

I did have a little hard time at the start keeping people and their plot lines straight, but by the end it had all snapped into focus.  By halfway into the book I was not able to put it down and have two late nights of reading to attest to that fact.

I loved Shahrzad, she didn't let her hatred totally cloud who she was.  Yes, she went there with a purpose and for most of the book really wanted to follow through with that, but she did let herself discover and question things.

I am SO glad the author wrote chapters from Khalid's point of view.  He was so aloof and uncaring (as he really needed to be) it was hard to get a grasp on who he was until later in the book.  The chapters from his point of view were awesome but also how as we learned more about him, so did Shahrzad so that eventually each of their chapters were very similar. 

The reasons behind why Khalid needs to kill his brides and what he does to try and relieve a tiny little bit of his guilt are both heartbreaking reveals. 

One other thing I liked was how trusting of each other Shahrzad and Khalid (and Jalal) became.  Every action was not looked at with suspicion.  There was a lot of love there and the author did a wonderful job showing them falling in love, fighting it, and then being in love.  I was so glad there was none of the old misunderstanding leads to hurt and break ups, leads to etc... that YA novels tend to do.  This was a more mature relationship once they got into being in a relationship.

UGH!! If I knew there was going to be a book 2 I might not have started this one because I want to read it NOW!!

To Sum Up:  I don't think you will be disappointed in this book, it's just gorgeous and intriguing and romantic.

eGalley requested and received from Penguin via Edleweiss.

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11. #701 – The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey

rodkey_tappertwins_pob The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other)

written by Claudia Tapper with Geoff Rodkey
Little, Brown and Company     4/07/2015
236 pages     Age 8—12

“This brand-new series by a popular screenwriter is a pitch-perfect, contemporary comedy featuring twelve-year-old fraternal twins, Claudia and Reese, who couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war! But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price.

“Told as a colorful “oral history” by the twins and their friends, and including photos, screenshots, chat logs, online gaming digital art, and text messages between their clueless parents, The Tapper Twins is a hilariously authentic showcase of what it’s like to be in middle school in our digitally-saturated world.” [publisher]

Claudia and Reese, age 12, twins, are at war, with each other. Who started the war depends on whom you ask, Claudia or Reese. They cannot agree on anything. Claudia decides, after the war is over, to document what happened. She writes using all at her disposal, including photos, interviews, online screenshots, and her mostly-absent parents’ phone text messages. I love her description of her and Reese,

“We are, unfortunately, twins. I am twelve years old. Reese is six.”

Reese interjects whenever he can. Like any war, it starts when one side (Reese), accuses the other side (Claudia), of doing something wrong (farting in the sixth-grade cafeteria), which harms others (a few sixth-grade princess sensibilities, many noses, and Jens—Claudia’s secret crush). Embarrassed and angry at such a terrible accusation—she claims innocence—Claudia is out for revenge. The War has begun. 


Claudia tries several ways of embarrassing her brother, but Reese does not embarrass easily. Claudia begins by placing a large, dead, stinky fish in Reese’s backpack, but even after several days, and others complaining of the awful smell, Reese doesn’t notice. When he learns of the fish, he fires back. Then Claudia returns his fire, and back-and-forth, until someone is tragically hurt. The fighting is both online and off for some digital-age humor. Claudia also allows others to comment in her “Officially True History of the War between the Trapper Twins (Claudia and Reese).” These interjections into Claudia’s history of war help the story gel into a humorous middle school tale. Readers meet Claudia’s secret Norwegian crush (Jens), the twins’ Upper East Side private school friends, the snobby Princesses, and the twin’s parents.


Rodkey, who wrote the excellent Chronicles of Egg series (reviewed here: bk1, bk2, bk3), knows his readers well and understands how siblings fight. I loved the first book of this new series, which delves into cyberbullying as part of the twins’ fighting. Even though Claudia writes the history, she comes off as the antagonist, rather than the victim she sees herself to be, making it easy to favor Reese. Still, the sibling fighting feels natural, not forced. That the twins are more alike than they believe and never really lose their sibling-love is also true to form. If you have siblings, you just might recognize yourself in either Claudia or Reese.

The Trapper Twins will have readers laughing, happily rolling their eyes, and smiling throughout its witty story. Those who like the Dork series, or the Aldo Zelnick Alphabet Novels (example here), will love The Trapper Twins even more. The Trapper Twins series continues this September with book 2: The Trapper Twins Tear Up New York. The prologue and first chapter are at the back of this book to give you a taste of the next. I cannot wait to continue this series. I love Rodkey’s writing and his wit.

THE TRAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (WITH EACH OTHER). Text copyright © 2015 by Geoff Rodkey. Illustrations and photographs (except where noted) copyright © 2015 by Geoff Rodkey. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.

Purchase The Trapper Twins Go to War at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesHachette Book Group.

The Trapper Twins made the New York Times Bestseller List at #14!
Learn more about The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other) HERE.
Read an Excerpt HERE.

Meet the author, Geoff Rodkey, at his website:  http://geoffrodkey.com/
Meet the illustrator, The Trapper Twins book website:  http://www.tappertwins.com/
Find more middle grade books at the Little, Brown and Company website:  http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/kids/

Little, Brown and Company is part of the Hachette Book Group

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 413

trapper twins go to war 2015 bk 1 little brown company


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Brown and Company, Chronicle of Egg, family relationships, Geoff Rodkey, Hachette Book Grou, humor, Little, New York City, private schools, sibling fighting, The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other), The Trapper Twins Tear Up New York, twins

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12. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Even more covers of dueling I want to hold your hand

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13. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Paul Pope

















Paul Pope is one of the indy comics/small press stars to emerge from the 1990’s. Premiering in 1994, his self-published comic THB is the futuristic story of a girl living on Mars with her super-powered, inflatable bodyguard. It’s hard to categorize Paul Pope’s work. I see that THB often gets lumped in with other genre indy comics of that era, like Jeff Smith’s Bone and James A. Owen’s Starchild. I see his work fitting better in the alternative/small press sphere, at least stylistically speaking. Maybe that’s just a testament to the uniqueness of Pope’s work; his fluid line work and stark sense of design.

Paul Pope has been living and working in New York City for most of his career. He’s created comics for many of the major comics publishers, including the multi-Eisner winner Batman 100 for DC Comics.

Recently, Paul Pope created the graphic novel Battling Boy for First Second, with the follow-up titled The Rise of Aurora West.

You can keep up with all things Paul Pope on his website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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14. Giveaway!

To celebrate the start of the Sketchbook Skool kourse called "Storytelling" next week (Starts June 5th!) Sketchbook Skool is doing a Krazy Giveaway!

The brilliant artists in Sketchbook Skool's Fakulty have donated an amazing collection of their original art and signed copies of their books to the Skool, and you can win a gift basket stuffed with it! How? Simply by helping to spread the word about Sketchbook Skool in this raffle, hosted by Rafflekopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here is an explanation on how to enter:
For each action you take in the raffle you’ll receive an entry to win a gift basket. You can do one action, or all six. The more you do, the greater your chance to win! Here’s how:

    • 1 Entry: Follow Sketchbook Skool on Instagram.
    • 1 Entry: Pin our image on Pinterest.
    • 1 Entry: Follow us on Google+
    • 2 Entries: Tweet about this giveaway.
    • 2 Entries: Follow Sketchbook Skool on Pinterest.
    • 5 Entries: Share on your blog, website or on Facebook
To view the Raffle widget and participate, join the raffle in the widget above!

You can sign up for Storytelling right now (and bring a friend, it'll be fun!) by clicking here

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15. The Mushroom Gatherers

Something from earlier in the spring, back when green, growing things seemed as farfetched as mushroom gathering maidens.

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16. Rook (2015)

Rook. Sharon Cameron. 2015. Scholastic. 464 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The heavy blade hung high above the prisoners, glinting against the stars, and then the Razor came down, a wedge of falling darkness cutting through the torchlight. One solid thump, and four more heads had been shaved from their bodies. The mob around the scaffold roared, a sudden deluge of cheers and mockery that broke like a wave against the viewing box, where the officials of the Sunken City watched from velvet chairs. The noise gushed on, over the coffins, around bare and booted feet crowding thick across the flagstones, pouring down the drains and into the deep tunnels beneath the prison yard like filth overflowing the street gutters. The city was bloodthirsty tonight.

If you love The Scarlet Pimpernel, Rook may appeal to you. Though I can't promise you'll love of it, of course. Rook is a loose retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. It's not set in France and England, but in the "Sunken City" and the "Commonwealth." Also, it's not historical fiction set during the days of the French Revolution, but, is set at least eight hundred years in the future. Perhaps a love of dystopia would add to the book's appeal. But for those readers who happen to love both, well, this one has a great premise.

Did I LOVE everything about Rook? I'll be honest, I didn't LOVE, LOVE, LOVE every little thing about it. I thought, however, that it worked more often than not. That overall, it was an enjoyable, mostly compelling romantic adventure.

Sophia Bellamy is the heroine of Rook. She keeps herself very busy, mainly by saving as many as she can from the Razor, all undercover, of course. Her father has arranged a marriage for her, not that he's concerned with her happiness or her future. But a good marriage will bring in enough money to pay off his debts and keep the property out of the hands of the Commonwealth. I don't often want to boo, hiss characters, but I must say that I was oh-so-tempted here. For he not only hurts his daughter, but, his son, as well by his words and actions. Rene Hasard has his own reasons for wanting the marriage.... Both Rene and Sophia have a few secrets they'd like to keep secret until they know the other person much, much better.

One thing, however, is obvious. Rene's cousin, Albert LeBlanc, is TROUBLE for Sophia. For it is his main goal in life to find the Red Rook...and bring "him" to justice.

Action, adventure, intrigue, betrayal, drama, and ROMANCE. I wouldn't mind a good adaptation of this one!

Here's how Scarlet Pimpernel begins so that you can compare:
A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate. The hour, some little time before sunset, and the place, the West Barricade, at the very spot where, a decade later, a proud tyrant raised an undying monument to the nation's glory and his own vanity.
During the greater part of the day the guillotine had been kept busy at its ghastly work: all that France had boasted of in the past centuries, of ancient names, and blue blood, had paid toll to her desire for liberty and for fraternity. The carnage had only ceased at this late hour of the day because there were other more interesting sights for the people to witness, a little while before the final closing of the barricades for the night.
And so the crowd rushed away from the Place de la Greve and made for the various barricades in order to watch this interesting and amusing sight.
It was to be seen every day, for those aristos were such fools! They were traitors to the people of course, all of them, men, women, and children, who happened to be descendants of the great men who since the Crusades had made the glory of France: her old NOBLESSE. Their ancestors had oppressed the people, had crushed them under the scarlet heels of their dainty buckled shoes, and now the people had become the rulers of France and crushed their former masters—not beneath their heel, for they went shoeless mostly in these days—but a more effectual weight, the knife of the guillotine.
And daily, hourly, the hideous instrument of torture claimed its many victims—old men, young women, tiny children until the day when it would finally demand the head of a King and of a beautiful young Queen.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. BookGrabbr Encourages Readers to Promote Books Online

Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Worthy, Regnery, Beaufort and Dunham Books are among publishers test driving a new social media marketing tool for publishers called BookGrabbr.

The online marketing tool allows publishers to give away eBooks or sections of eBooks in exchange for a social share from consumers. The idea is that by giving consumers book excerpts and requiring them to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, that they will spread the word about the book with their networks and the book’s will take off virally.

BookGrabbr relaunched its platform at BEA this week in New York with more than 2,000 titles in its library. The tool allows publishers and authors to analyze who is downloading and previewing books to help understand their readership and use this data to inform marketing efforts. The tool also has an automated push function, so that authors posting on their own social media sites can automatically promote the book “grabb” to their networks.

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18. Productivity tip for writers: see how long you can stay offline

Know the difference between actually being productive and the illusion of productivity, especially when you're online.

0 Comments on Productivity tip for writers: see how long you can stay offline as of 5/28/2015 1:27:00 PM
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19. HarperCollins & Shazam Team on Content Distribution

HarperCollins Publishers has teamed up with Shazam as the exclusive book partner of its new visual recognition tool.

Shazam’s new feature allows users to wave their mobile device over any HarperCollins book or piece of promotional content with the Shazam camera logo on it in order to access exclusive content. Doing so will lead the user to a site with features including: author interviews, videos and playlists. Once on the site, users can buy books and share content to their social networks.

The device must have a camera and access to the Internet for it to work.


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20. Don Hertzfeldt: “Artists shouldn’t be making art on the side, it should be their job”

The award-winning independent filmmaker drops some truth in this "Vanity Fair" interview.

0 Comments on Don Hertzfeldt: “Artists shouldn’t be making art on the side, it should be their job” as of 5/28/2015 3:21:00 PM
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21. Spotlight and Giveaway: Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt. Enjoy!

DEAREST ROGUE by Elizabeth Hoyt (May 26, 2015; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market)

Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King’s dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she’s targeted by kidnappers.


Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they’re confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier’s hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

Buy Links:







About the author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weeklyhas called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.
The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN  55419 or email her at:Elizabeth@ElizabethHoyt.com.

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He cleared his throat. “Malcolm MacLeish is young and handsome—”

“A fat lot of good that does me, since I can’t see him.”

“— a gentleman of high spirits and quick wit and seemingly smitten with you as well.”

There was a silence.

“Smitten,” Phoebe said at last. “Smit-ten. The word sounds like a skin disease if you think about it too much.”

“He smiles every time he sees you,” he murmured quietly. Was he jealous?

“I smile every time I smell cherry pie.”

“You’re being ridiculous,” Trevillion said disapprovingly. “I don’t see why you’ve rejected him out of hand.”

“You sound like a querulous old aunt, scolding children for running through the house.”

“I am older than you,” he replied stiffly, “as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions.”

A terrible thought struck her. “Are you shoving me at Mr. MacLeish because I kissed you?”


“It was my very first kiss, you ought to know,” she said very rapidly, because sometimes it was just better to say the embarrassing thing and get it over with. “I’m sure I’ll improve with practice. In fact, I’m sure of it. Almost everything improves with practice, don’t you think? And

really, if I had a just a bit of help from your end next time—”

“I am not kissing you,” he said with the awful finality of a judge pronouncing a death sentence.

“Why not?”

“You know very well why not.”

“Nooo,” she said slowly, thinking it over. “No, I can’t say that I do, really. I mean I know why you think we oughtn’t kiss again: you’re as old as the Thames, you’re below me in rank, I’m too young and frivolous, and you much too serious, et cetera, et cetera, and et cetera, but frankly I don’t have any reasons not to kiss you.” She stopped for breath and to think and amended her statement. “Unless, of course, you’re either (a) a murderer running from the law or (b) hiding a secret wife. Are you?”

“I . . . what?”

“Are you,” she repeated patiently, “either a murderer running from the law or hiding a secret wife?”

“You know I’m not,” he said with impatience. It was a good thing she was so stubborn, because that tone might have put off many another young girl. “Phoebe—”

“So then there’s no reason at all not to kiss me again.” She folded her hands in her lap and smiled.

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22. Writing a Poem

This is what I need to write –
A pencil and a pad
And someplace where the background noise
Won’t drive me friggin’ mad.

Of course I need a topic
Which will get my brain in gear
Or else from my surroundings,
Inspiration may appear.

The first line leaps like lightning
From the pencil to the page.
The rest proceeds more slowly
As the thoughts and rhymes engage.

But the ending, ah the ending
Is the toughest nut to crack,
The point where many chuck it all
And let the words go slack.

So oftentimes I’ll read my poem
Again and yet again
Until I find a way to end
And then I’ll say – amen!

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23. Katy O’Donnell Moves to Nation Books

Nation Books LogoKaty O’Donnell has been brought on to the Nation Books team.

O’Donnell will serve as an associate editor. She will work with editorial director Alessandra Bastagli.

Throughout her career, O’Donnell has held editorial positions at Overlook Press and Basic Books. Some of the books she has edited include Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, John Merriman’s Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune, and Eugene Rogan’s The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East.

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24. Lee & Low's Diversity in Publishing Petition

Diversity is one of the issues we really care about at Finding Wonderland, and our eclectic reading list reflects that, we hope. That's why it's thrilling to see publishers Lee & Low really pushing the issue--not only promoting diversity in a... Read the rest of this post

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25. Mark Ford Wins Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

Mark Ford has been awarded the 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, which honors the best book-length works of criticism, including biographies, essay collections and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.

The honor, given by The Poetry Foundation, was for Ford’s work “This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray” from Eyewear Publishing. The award includes $7,500 in prize money. The prize will be presented at a ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on Monday June 8. The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize will also be presented at the ceremony.

\"If more literary criticism were like this, more people would read it,\" British journalist John Lanchester has said of Ford’s work.

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