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1. 24 Hours of Halloween: The Return of Split Lip

not sleeping well cover art shane oakley 24 Hours of Halloween: The Return of Split Lip

Split Lip is a long running—and critically acclaimed— horror comics anthology (ANOTHER)began online in 2006 and ventured into print in 2009. It’s the creation of writer Sam Costello, who enlisted artists including Kyle Strahm (Spread), John Bivens (Dark Engine), Sami Makkonen (Deadworld: Slaughterhouse), T.J. Kirsch (Amy Devlin Mysteries), Christine Larsen (Valentine), David Hitchcock (Springheel Jack), and Felipe Sobreiro (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode) to do the drawing. A new series of stories just relaunched on Wednesday, after having been retired  in 2012 by Costello. But “even though I tried to move on to other things,” he writes. “I kept having ideas for new short horror stories. As I wrote them, I realized that these stories—in their tone, style, and approach—were Split Lip stories and that I had to relaunch the series.”

The relaunch includes five months worth of comics already completed and an additional four stories underway.

The new stories begin with “Victims,” a story of missing memories, twisted families, and emotional trauma written by Costello and drawn by Steven Perkins. 

Upcoming stories include “Lone and Level,” a meditation of materialism and mortality, with art by Max Temescu, and “8 Days Alone,” drawn by Matthew Goik, in which a man believes that his girlfriend has come back from vacation a different person.

To celebrate the relaunch of Split Lip, all 5 Split Lip trade paperbacks are 30% off through Halloween at http://store.splitlipcomic.com.

The relaunch of the series will be followed in November by a new design for the Split Lip website. The improved design will offer a better reading experience, less clutter, and a tablet-friendly size. The new stories are also optimized for display on high-resolution screens like Apple’s Retina Display, delivering the art and lettering in super-crisp detail.

“As every horror and comics fan knows, nothing really stays dead. I’m thrilled that Split Lip, whether undead, zombified, or simply relaunched, has risen from the grave and is back among the living,” said Costello.

victims page 004 art steven perkins 24 Hours of Halloween: The Return of Split Lip victims page 021 art steven perkins 24 Hours of Halloween: The Return of Split Lip lone and level page 01 art max temescu 24 Hours of Halloween: The Return of Split Lip last caress cover art shane oakley 24 Hours of Halloween: The Return of Split Lip

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2. I'm Gonna Be Rich! Honest....

Got an email this morning that means Black Tower Comics & Books WILL have the money to continue!  Seriously!!   Don't believe me? Okay, here it is -weep suckers!

Dear Friend,

I am Prince Fayad Bolkiah, the eldest son of Prince Jefri
Bolkiah, former Finance Minister of Brunei , the tiny
oil-rich sultanate on the Gulf Island . I will save your
time by not amplifying my extended royal family history, as
you may know from the international media; the Sultan had
accused my father of financial mismanagement and
impropriety. This was as a result of the Asian financial
crisis that made my father's company Amedeo Development
Company and government owned Brunei Investment Company to be
declared bankrupt during his tenure in office. Visit

In addition, before my incarceration, I went ahead to
dispatch some cash under special arrangement into the
custody of different private security and Trustee Companies
for safe keeping abroad. The money was splited and kept in
the following countries in different proportions in UK,
Canada and the balance in United States of America .

Hence I seek your good assistance to invest these funds into
profitable investment in your country to facilitate future
survival for my family abroad. Please I count on your
absolute confidentiality, transparency and trust, while
looking forward to your prompt reply towards a swift
conclusion of this transaction.

Prince Fayad Bolkiah
Bwahahahaha -I'm gonna be rich!!!! 

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3. A Prayer of Holy Fire

Father, in this darkened hour

I pray for the hurting and lost.
Lord, remove the enemy's hold in their lives.
Purify their thoughts.
Remove the stone 
from their hardened hearts
Pour out
Your mercy, oh God.
For the warriors have spent too many hours
counting up the cost.
Many have walked away from their posts.
The watchmen are not on the walls.
I pray You send angels;
call the trumpet blast, 
throughout the Mighty halls.
The people sleep
in the hour of war-
they walk as the living dead.
How can the body remain on fire
when the enemy
has weakened the head?
Remove all plots of the wicked one, Lord
Come through for your people once again.
Send warring angels to smite the foe.
Wash their eyes, that they might see
he is not their friend.
He comes in smoothly
with flattering words,
he seduces them into sin.
But this is not the end oh people.
The war is about to begin.
The Lord shall come
in all His valor
and rightly correct the wrong.
The people will again return to their posts
and sing a praise-filled song.
They know they are wrong,
Oh Lord of mine.
They are merely afraid to return.
So blow Your winds of Holiness
and cause their hearts to burn.
Their spirits to yearn.
Their minds to learn.
You are Sovereign.
Let them turn unto the day
and walk away from the night.
It's time for a new beginning, Lord.
A renewing over the land.
Those enemies who thought they'd won the battle,
are sinking in the sand.
Your people shall awaken, oh Lord.
And walk away from their sins.
I see it now as I type these words.
True revival is about to begin.
Not tambourines and money plates
but a changing of the hearts.
Where there was prosperity teaching-
repentance shall shake them apart.
Where there once was complacency and compromise,
there now shall be holiness and fire.
No more bondage tormenting them.
No more rolling in the mire.
They will turn from their gods of Mammon.
They will turn from their sin and shame.
You are faithful, 
I know this, oh God,
to take away their blame.
You are a forgiving God
because of your only Son.
Through You Father, and You alone
all battles shall be won.
The fire of Your Spirit
shall rise up in their bones,
it shall purge the unholiness,
and they will never be alone.
They will know you are with them
always leading, 
always good.
The ones who have walked away from their posts
shall return to the station of priesthood.
Jesus at the head of church and homes.
And not man's agenda oh Lord.
I cannot wait to see it God, 
I ask that as my earthly reward.
Let my eyes see you come in a blaze
to cleanse with Holy fire.
The devil will run with his tail between his legs
for he is King of Liars. 
In the name of Jesus Christ my Savior
I ask and I believe.
Amen to my heavenly Father,
Your fullness I receive.
Thank You, Jesus, for setting me free.
J. Susanna Watt
© 2014

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4. Poetry Friday with a review of If it rains pancakes: Haiku and Lantern poems

What I like about today's book, which is one title in a series of books about poems, is that in addition to giving us a splendid collection of poems to read, the author also tells us how haiku and lantern poems are constructed. Children can use this book to learn how to write their own short and sweet Japanese-style poems.

If it rains pancakes: Haiku and Lantern poemsIf it rains pancakes: Haiku and Lantern poems
Brian P. Cleary
Illustrated by Andy Rowland
For ages 6 to 8
Millbrook, 2014, 978-1-4677-4412-6
Haiku poems have been around for more than four hundred years. For many of those years westerners had no idea that these gem-like short poems existed. Haiku were not really appreciated and created by westerners until the early 1900’s. These days haiku are popular with children and adults alike. Every haiku has three lines, with the first line having five syllables. The second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five. Traditionally haiku poems focus on something that exists in nature, but in this book the author also give young readers poems about animals, food, school days and much more.
   After reading twenty haiku poems, readers get to learn about lantern poems, which is another short poetry form that originated in Japan. The first line in these poems has just one word, which is always a noun and must have one syllable. The next four lines describe that noun with 2 syllables on the second line, three on the third, four on the fourth, and one syllable on the last line. After reading a description of what a lantern poem is, children can go on to read fifteen of these spare poems which look at bees, a cat, a hug, stars, a bed, dawn, and much more. Some of the poems are lyrical in nature, while others are amusing.
   What is wonderful about this collection is that the author describes in detail what haiku and lantern poems are and then he gives us many examples of each poetry form. We are able to see how such poems are written, and some young readers may even be inspired to write some haiku and lantern poems of their own. As the author says, “Poetry’s not just a spectator sport.” Anyone can write poems that explore or describe things that they care about.

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5. The Strange History Of The Ouija Board


It started with a pair of spiritualists in post-Civil-War New York; became a ubiquitous family pastime that was considered good, clean fun (and great for a date); and had its reputation ruined by The Exorcist. (It also told its first manufacturers what it wanted to be called.) (includes podcast)

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6. Guest Post from Paper Lantern Lit Co-Founder Lexa Hillyer: Character WANTS and NEEDS


From Debbie: Thanks to Paper Lantern Lit for letting Inkygirl premiere their new series of GET LIT videos. In this video, former Harpercollins and Razorbill editor Lexa Hillyer talks about how to establish the right WANTS and NEEDS for your characters:

Hello from Paper Lantern Lit, the "story architects!" We're so excited to premiere our new video series, Get Lit, on InkyGirl. Each Get Lit video will explore the blueprints to each of PLL's secrets of the storytelling trade.


In this video, watch PLL Co-Founder (and author of PROOF OF FOREVER, out June 2015!) Lexa Hillyer talk about the Wants and Needs of characters, and how they form the essential basis on which to build your story. We hope these videos will be helpful to aspiring writers– especially all of you prepping for NaNoWriMo tomorrow!

If you missed the introduction to Get Lit featuring PLL Co-Founder and New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver (The Delirium Trilogy, Panic, The Spindlers) click here.

You can subscribe to the Get Lit videos here, and never miss an update.

If you want more content like Get Lit, check out PLL's Blog! We post lots of info for writers in our Toolbox series, which breaks down different parts of the storytelling craft.

On Monday November 3rd, check out Fic Fare for the next Get Lit video, and become the architect of your BEST story!

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7. My tweets

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8. Those Most Adaptable to Change Succeed – Marketing in the Digital Age

"It's not the strongest nor most intelligent that survives; the most adaptable to change wins." While Charles Darwin wasn't thinking of marketing in the digital age when he said these words, they couldn't be more appropriate to the quick and ever-changing climate of online marketing. I'm a writer as well as an online marketer and writing is an evergreen topic. There are steadfast rules that

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9. Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!  

Today I'll be Medusa, hosting the annual preschool Halloween storytime and parade at the library, but on the way to work, I'll be enjoying Neil Gaiman's Halloween gift to the world, Click-Clack the Rattlebag.

Today is your last chance to get a free download of Neil Gaiman's scary short story, Click-Clack the Rattlebag. It's available only through Audible.com.  Get yours before your time runs out! 

Have a great day.

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10. A page from FLOW whisks across the face of the Water Works

FLOW Festival 2014 / Architectural Projection Model from Greenhouse Media on Vimeo.

When the good people of the Fairmount Water Works asked if they might borrow the first prose page from Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River for a festival finale, I said yes, of course. This movie (rendered here) was projected onto the entrance house facades of the Water Works building as night fell a few weeks ago. The words come from the prose poem, "Rising."

Habithèque Inc.— Creative Direction
Greenhouse Media— Video and Editing
refreshtech and LUCE Group— Lighting
Blair Brothers Music— Original Soundscape
Beth Kephart—The poem "Rising" from her book Flow

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11. November First Five Pages Workshop opens on November 1!

The First Five Pages Workshop for October has ended. Thanks so much to all of our participants for their hard work!  And a big thank you to our wonderful guest mentor Paula Stokes, author of THE ART OF LAINEY, to our first guest agent, Jordy Albert, of The Booker Albert Literary Agency, and of course to all of our fabulous permanent mentors! You can check out the final revisions here:  First Five Pages October Workshop

Our November workshop will open for entries at noon, EST on November 1, 2014. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult fiction entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Remember, participants must be available to comment on each other’s pages each week.  In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have the talented J. R. Johansson’s, author of INSOMNIA, PARANOIA, and the forthcoming novels MANIA and CUT ME FREE, as our guest mentor, and free lance editor Pam Glauber will be our guest editor!

So get those pages ready – First Five Pages November Workshop 
opens tomorrow! Click here to get the rules! 

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12. Celebrate our COMPULSION for Halloween!

If there is one thing the staff here at Adventures in Young Adult Publishing loves as much as Halloween, it is our fearless leader and head spooker, Martina Boone. We couldn't think of anything better to celebrate this boo-tastic day than by sharing our love of Martina's new release COMPULSION. Her luscious and atmospheric Southern Gothic YA will most definitely put you in a spooky frame of mind.

So join us as we each share our love of Martina and our fascination with her Compulsion.

From Lisa Gail Green:

Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s a pretty big deal at my house. I love anything and *almost* everything spooky. It’s also no secret that I absolutely LOVE Martina’s book, COMPULSION. I mean it when I say it’s one of my favorite books ever. Heck, if I could dress like Barrie for Halloween I would! I can’t because I’d never survive the heels. But I digress.

I love the gothic feel of the book, the characters, the paranormal powers and so on, but before I read it I hadn’t realized it also had GHOSTS. If ghosts are done right, I adore them. I wish I could pull them right out of COMPULSION and make them part of my house. You know, basically turn my whole house into Watson Island. That way I’d also get the Fire Carrier at midnight and so on. Maybe even have some little people to blame my messy house on…

Magic is something I believe in and so I did figure out a way to bring the book to life on Halloween. Should I share my secret? *shifty eyes* Okay. I’m going to take my brand new copy of COMPULSION, which I’ve preordered (since my signed ARC is a treasure that must be preserved for eternity, can you say, “Fan Girl”?) and I’m going to curl up and re-read it on All Hallows Eve! I. Am. So. Excited.

From Erin Cashman:

Halloween is such a magical time, it seems as if anything is possible. What better time to read COMPULSION? Magic is woven into everything at Watson Landon’s, from the ghosts, to the Fire Carrier, to the yunwi, to the characters themselves. (And let’s not forget that magical setting!) I adore the yunwi. I love how they seem like pests at first, but as the story evolves we learn that they, like magic, are there for a reason. Everything changes when our feisty young heroine, Barrie, steps onto her ancestor’s stronghold, the yunwi included. Barrie becomes the center of the magic in ways that no one expects, least of all her. I have had the honor of reading PERSUASION (I know you are so jealous! You should be!) and without giving anything away (well, maybe just a little away) I can tell you that the yunwi become more important to the story, in a way that I LOVE! So, until the Watson Landing theme park is built, in order to have this world come to life you better start reading COMPULSION!

From Alyssa Hamilton:

So for me, one of my absolute favourite things about Halloween are the haunted houses and one of the spookiest things about Compulsion was the house itself. Watson's Landing became a living, breathing character to me, and it was brilliant. The atmosphere the Martina created was magical but so so eerie. I imagined myself walking down those creaky hallways and feeling something that just wasn't quite right and being so creeped out you start getting jumpy. Some of my favourite books have included houses that absolutely come alive, and Compulsion and Watson's Landing has easily topped that list for me.

The unknown factor that comes with a large home and the stories that can evolve out of past generations living and dying in them create layers upon layers of unknown bits and pieces. Watson's Landing is like a subtle haunted house that creeps up on you throughout the entire book. Compulsion's release date being so near to Halloween was one of the best things Simon & Schuster could have done, because Martina gave me a haunted house like no other.

From Jan Lewis:

I absolutely love the little people or yunwi in COMPULSION. They are little tricksters who steal random things from Watson's Landing. I've always imagined them as adorable little shadow children who are a bit naughty but mean well. Since I have two little people of my own, I thought this would be the perfect time to share them.

Meet yunwi Grayson, who has stolen Mommy's copy of COMPULSION, and yunwi Ellery, who has stolen Daddy's screwdriver and Mommy's cell phone. What naughty little people! Luckily, if I give them a bowl of nuts and berries and a glass of milk, they will happily return our possessions.

From Susan Sipal:

One of the many aspects of Martina's Compulsion that fascinated me the most was her use of mythological spirits. The Fire Carrier is awesome and so mysterious, but I think it was the yunwi who stole my heart and caught my attention the most as I'd also used a different version of this legend in one of my own stories. Based on the little people of Cherokee legend, Martia's little spirits are quite mischievous and entertaining but also critical to the story.

Since Martina's yunwi fascinated me so much, I decided to do what I love to do and research them some more. Turns out, there are "little people" in cultures all around the world from the dwarfs, fairies, and leprechauns of Western Europe to the Ebu Gogo of Indonesia and the Menehune of Hawaii to the Domovoi of Russian heritage. All these little people wandering about in our myths makes me wonder...could they be based on experience? One thing is for sure, as part of our shared human experience, they appeal strongly. And Martina's yunwi are sure to enchant the reader.

I wonder -- if we were to visit Watson Island this Halloween, would the Fire Carrier and yunwi come magically to life at midnight? Or is that what reading is for?

And a Happy Halloween to all!

Lisa, Erin, Alyssa
Jan, and Susan

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13. Wild Things: Review Haiku

Worth it for the
James Marshall shoe story alone.
Read it and weep, folks.

Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta. Candlewick, 2014, 288 pages.

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14. Cicero's peeps throw a book party (or, authorial self-promotion is hardly new)

In Cicero's day authors ready to launch their newest work would gather their friends at home or in a public hall for a spirited recitatio, or reading. Audiences would cry out when they liked a particular passage. Nervous authors enlisted their friends to lend support, and sometimes even filled seats with hired "clappers." They were keenly aware of the importance of networking to get influential acquaintances to recommend their works to others. The creation of books started off as something both personal and social; the connection embodied in that dual nature is at the heart of what makes books so good at refining and advancing thought. It was just that the practicalities of publishing in the printing-press age made the personal connections a bit harder to see.

"From papyrus to pixels: The digital transformation of the way books are written, published, and sold had only just begun" — The Economist, October 11, 2014 

(This fascinating in-depth reporting on self-publishing, book formats, and sales figures can be read here.)

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15. TBTTAUA writing contest!

In honor of the paperback edition of THE BEAUTIFUL THING THAT AWAITS US ALL by Fabulous Laird Barron, let's have a writing contest!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word: so backboard is ok, but black is not.

4. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over)  erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first and then post.

5. International entries are allowed.

6. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

Contest opens: Saturday 11/1/14 at noon

Contest closes: Sunday 11/2/14 at noon

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?


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16. 24 Hours of Halloween: Another Kickstarter horror anthology: Canaan Cult Revival

c09d7caf02d9145520436438f6ed9ff9 large 24 Hours of Halloween: Another Kickstarter horror anthology: Canaan Cult Revival

And yet another crowdfunded Horror anthology, this time led by Christian Sager who explains it thusly:

CANAAN CULT REVIVAL is an explicit and graphic compilation of horror, designed to distress its readers. In fact, some creators who originally participated in the magazine had to withdraw when they were exposed to its subject matter. This isn’t yet another retelling of the same witchcrafted demon possession you’ve come to know. 

Story Synopses

“The Flagellant:” (Art by Drew Rausch.) Kushiel the Wayfarer has punished Purgatory’s residents for eternity. When a coven of wealthy socialites tries to bind him, it becomes Kushiel’s turn to punish himself.

“Trial By Cauldron:” (Story & Art by EC Steiner.) Dissension in a coven of witches leads to one young woman to seek the terrible embrace of the demon Andras.

“Beestings:” (Art by Anthony Hightower.) Two young men are seduced and punished after they beat up a witch’s son. 

“By Proxy:” (Art by Eraklis Petmezas.) Frank Delaney decides to scare his son away from the occult by turning their home into a “hell house.” 

“The Never Event:” (Art by Henry Eudy.) As part of her initiation as a demon hunter, Luanne’s father forces her to exorcise another teenage girl… or kill her trying.

“The Bully Pulpit:” (Art by Rich Barrett.) The deacon of a small religious school warns his students that one of their peers is possessed by a demon. To further his cause, he turns to diabolism and domestic abuse.

“Snow Blind:” (Art by Rafer Roberts.) Young Alia Siskin temporarily loses her vision. But the demon Beleth has plans for her… and her new puppy.

“The Resident:” (Art by Kelly Williams.) Joe checks out the same rare books from the local library everyday. When the head archivist confronts him, she learns a dark, demonic secret.


And some art:

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“Trial By Cauldron.” Written and drawn by EC Steiner.

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“The Flagellant.” Art by Drew Rausch.

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Kelly Williams – “The Resident”

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“Beestings.” Art by Anthony Hightower.

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Rafer Roberts – “Snow Blind”

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“The Bully Pulpit.” Art by Rich Barrett.

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“By Proxy.” Art by Eraklis Petmezas.

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Henry Eudy – “The Never Event”

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17. Pre-PiBo Day 6: Dianne de Las Casas and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Title

Kid Chef Eliana and Mom Dianne de Las Casas July 2014by Dianne de Las Casas

I am the founder of Picture Book Month and it starts tomorrow, November 1. The website, PictureBookMonth.com, features essays from thought leaders in the children’s literature community. Each day in November, a new essay is posted. This year’s Picture Book Month Champions are: Chris Barton, Aaron Becker, Kelly Bingham , Sophie Blackall, Arree Chung, Anna Dewdney, Johnette Downing, Ame Dyckman, Jill Esbaum, Carolyn Flores, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Robin Preiss Glasser, Deborah Heiligman, Marla Frazee, Stefan Jolet, Kathleen Krull, Rene Colato Lainez, Loreen Leedy, Betsy Lewin, Ted Lewin, Brian Lies, Kelly J. Light, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Alexis O’Neill, Sandra Markle, Ann Whitford Paul, Aaron Reynolds, Judy Schachner, Linda Joy Singleton, and David Schwartz. Please join the celebration!


As you prepare for PiBoIdMo, think about the titles of your picture books. In a recent interview for California Kids! magazine, Patricia Newman asked me, “How do you come up with titles for your books?” This started me thinking in depth about picture book titles. What’s in a title? How important is a title to a book? Can a book be centered around its title?

As it turns out, titles are vital to a book’s success. Author Scott Westerfield says, “Titles name a book, and names are important. A good name can make or break you.”

Brandi Reissenweber of Gotham Writers “Ask the Writer” column says, “A title is a story’s first impression. People make a first impression with appearance, wardrobe, and body language. Stories do it with a title.”

Eric Ode says, “Dan, the Taxi Man began as nothing more than a title. And one of the books I have coming out next year began as a title.”

PiBoIdMo founder and picture book author Tara Lazar says, “Most of my books begin as titles. It’s just the way my mind works. I want a BAM! concept, something that really hits you, and I find that people get HIT best with a succinct, powerful title.”

Corey Rosen Schwartz says, “I have written several books around titles! Like Tara [Lazar], most of my books begin that way. Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears, for example, was just a title on my PiBoIdMo 2009 list.”


Character-Based Titles

Many picture books have character-driven titles. The character of the book IS the title. Do you have a book character that is so compelling that the character’s name should be the book’s title? Here are some examples:

  • Olivia by Ian Falconer
  • Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
  • Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

Robin Preiss Glasser book cover


Clever, Punny Titles

I am a big fan of clever, punny titles. In fact, several of my books have punny titles. Here are some examples that are just too clever for words… almost.

  • Crankenstein by Samantha Berger
  • The Monstore by Tara Lazar
  • Little Red Hot by Eric Kimmel
  • Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
  • Epossumondas by Colleen Salley



Verbose Titles

I am generally a fan of the “less is more” title for a book but sometimes, a garrulous title is EXACTLY what the book calls for. Can you imagine these books with a short title?

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
  • How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback (a folktale retelling)
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore by William Joyce



Plot-Based Titles

Some titles beckon you to open the book. These titles are based around the book’s plot. Yes, as short as a picture book is, it can still have a plot. In fact, these picture book plots were so inspiring that they were turned into Hollywood blockbuster movies!

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
  • A Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story by Hudson Talbott
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs


Single-Word Titles

A picture book title can also be short and succinct, even one-word. These acclaimed picture books prove that a word is worth a thousand pictures.

  • Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • Blackout by John Rocco
  • Ninja! by Arree Chung
  • Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds
  • Hug by Jez Alborough

Arree Chung cover

Aaron Zenz says, “Hiccupotamus started with the title. I really wouldn’t have had any desire to write a book about a bunch of jungle animals chasing around a disruptive hippo if not for the title. In my mind, the pun ‘Hiccupotamus’ is the most important thing about that particular book.”

As you create and engage your imagination this month, think about your picture book’s title. In what way can an engaging title enhance your picture book? How can you use the title to attract readers? Perhaps you can be the Author with the Terrific, Tremendous, Oh-So-Grand, Very Remarkable Title.

As you celebrate PiBoIdMo and Picture Book Month, read LOTS of picture books. Comment below and share with us your favorite picture book titles and why you think they are so splendiferous. Here’s to Picture Books! Read * Share * Celebrate!


Dianne de Las Casas is an award-winning author, storyteller, and founder of Picture Book Month. Her performances, dubbed “revved-up storytelling” are full of energetic audience participation. The author of 24 books, Dianne is the International Reading Association LEADER 2014 Poet Laureate, and the 2014 recipient of the Ann Martin Book Mark award. Her children’s titles include The Cajun Cornbread Boy, There’s a Dragon in the Library, The Little “Read” Hen, The House That Santa Built, and Cinderellaphant. Visit her website at diannedelascasas.com. Visit Picture Book Month at PictureBookMonth.com. Twitter & Instagram: @AuthorDianneDLC Picture Book Month Twitter: @PictureBkMonth Facebook: fanofdianne and PictureBookMonth. Dianne is the proud mom of 14-year-old culinary celebrity, Kid Chef Eliana.

10 Comments on Pre-PiBo Day 6: Dianne de Las Casas and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Title, last added: 10/31/2014
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18. Ten Years On, Theo Van Gogh’s Murder Still Haunts The Netherlands


A decade ago Sunday, the filmmaker, media figure and right-wing provocateur was shot and had his throat slit by a young Moroccan Dutchman who claimed he was defending the name of Allah. “In this tidy country of 17 million, which prides itself on tolerance, the murder opened a raw and polarizing debate … which is still raging.”

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19. Oxytocin and emotion recognition

Imagine you are in class and your friend has just made a fool of the teacher. How do you feel? Although this will depend on the personalities of those involved, you might well find yourself laughing along with your classmates at the teacher’s expense. The experience of sharing an emotion with your friends (in this case the fun of getting one over on the teacher) will probably strengthen your friendship further. But in a class of one hundred students, there are likely to be one or two who have trouble understanding the joke.

The ability to infer and understand other peoples’ emotions and beliefs plays an important role in human social relationships. However, for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — a developmental disorder that affects approximately 1% of the population and for which there is no established treatment — this can be challenging. While high-functioning individuals with ASD may be able to compensate for difficulties in inferring others’ beliefs, they often continue to have trouble understanding others’ emotions, and this leads to impaired social functioning.

Increasing evidence suggests that oxytocin — a neuropeptide that promotes social behavior and bonding in humans and in animals — can improve emotion recognition in ‘typically developing’ individuals, i.e. those without ASD. Notably, oxytocin improves the ability to infer others’ emotions more than the ability to identify their beliefs. Oxytocin has also been shown to improve social behavior in individuals with autism and to partially reverse patterns of brain dysfunction thought to be responsible for the deficits. This has led to the suggestion that oxytocin could be used to develop medications for currently untreatable psychiatric conditions characterized by social impairments.

However, studies to date have only investigated the ability of oxytocin to improve recognition of basic emotions such as fear or happiness. These differ from “social” emotions such as embarrassment and shame, which require us to represent the mental state of another. Moreover, most existing studies have provided participants with so-called “direct cues” as to others’ emotions, such as their facial expressions or tone of voice. However, these cues are not always available in real life and the ability to identify others’ emotions using only indirect cues is itself important for social functioning. We therefore decided to investigate whether oxytocin would also improve the ability of individuals with ASD to recognise social emotions, even in the absence of direct cues.

MRI of brain by bykst. Public Domain via Pixabay.
MRI of brain by bykst. Public Domain via Pixabay.

To do so, we modified a cartoon-based task called the “Sally-Anne task,” which is commonly used to test for understanding of other peoples’ false beliefs, and used MRI scans to measure brain activity in subjects with and without ASD as they performed the task. In the standard version, participants are shown a cartoon in which one protagonist (Sally) places a ball in a box and then leaves the room. In her absence, another protagonist (Anne) moves the ball to a second box to the right of the first, and Sally then returns. At the end of the story, participants are asked the following questions: “Is the ball in the left-hand box?” to test comprehension of the story, and “Does Sally look for her ball in the left-hand box?” to test for understanding of Sally’s false belief about the location of the ball. To examine participants’ ability to infer others’ emotions, we introduced a third question: “How does Anne feel when Sally opens the left-hand box?”. Given that Ann’s gain effectively depends on Sally’s loss, the emotions involved will be complex social emotions: Ann, for example, might gloat upon realizing that she has fooled Sally by moving the ball.

We discovered that individuals with ASD are less accurate than IQ-matched controls in inferring social emotions in the absence of direct cues such as facial expressions. Moreover, individuals with ASD showed lower activity than controls in two brain regions that contribute to this ability, namely the right anterior insula and superior temporal sulcus. Individuals with ASD who had a normal IQ were not significantly impaired in inferring others’ beliefs; however, they did show lower brain activity than controls in a region implicated in this process, the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.

In order to determine whether oxytocin could improve the ability of individuals with ASD to identify others’ social emotions, we conducted a double-blind trial. We administered a single dose of either oxytocin or placebo in the form of an intranasal spray to subjects with ASD and to matched controls. As predicted, oxytocin increased the accuracy with which individuals with ASD were able to identify others’ social emotions in the absence of direct cues, and also enhanced their originally-diminished brain activity in the right anterior insula. This increase in activity was not observed in other brain regions or during attempts to understand others’ beliefs, suggesting that oxytocin acts specifically on the ability to infer social emotions.

Ultimately therefore, the results of our behavioral experiments and brain activity studies lend support to the idea that intranasal oxytocin could potentially form the basis of a treatment for at least some of the social impairments in ASD.

Heading image: Oxytocin-neurophysin by Edgar181. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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20. PW names the 100 best books of 2014

PW_11_3_1Publishers Weekly today released its list of the 100 Best Books of 2014, for the first time including three translations among its top 10 books, which were written by Hassam Blasim, Elena Ferrante, Marlon James, Lorrie Moore, Joseph O’Neill, Héctor Tobar, Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, Lawrence Wright, and Emmanuel Carrère.

The three translations include two works of fiction: The Corpse Exhibition by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Penguin), and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Europa). Limonov: The Outrageous Adventures of the Radical Soviet Poet Who Became a Bum in New York, a Sensation in France, and a Political Antihero in Russia by Emmanuel Carrère, is nonfiction translated from the French by John Lambert (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

“Every year when we put together our best books list, we understand why we’re in this business,” Publishers Weekly review editor Louisa Ermelino said. “It’s not just about the best books, but the fact that there are so many good books being published that we have to struggle to choose. We consider the game-changers, the brilliantly written pure entertainment, the clever, the well researched.”

Publishers Weekly’s selects for the best Young Adults books include: Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin, and Half Bad by Sally Green, among other titles.

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi and Redefining Girly by Melissa Atkins Wardy are two of its best Lifestyle books of 2014.

Marlon James, featured on PW’s cover, is author of A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead), a sweeping saga with the attempted assassination of Bob Marley at its center.

Descriptions of Publishers Weekly’s “100 Best Books of 2014” are available here.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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21. A Quick Guide to Workshop Lingo

Call it jargon, call it terminology, call it what you will. We have our own made-up words for things sometimes.

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22. My Monster Mama Loves Me So - a book review

Quotes to make you smile:

Today's featured book:

Title:   My Monster Mama Loves Me So
Author:  Laura Leuck
Illustrator:  Mark Buehner
Ages:  4-7

Short peek inside today:

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23. Interview and Giveaway: Erin Lindsey, Author of The Bloodbound

I enjoyed The Bloodbound, so I was thrilled when Erin Lindsey dropped by the virtual offices to answer a few questions.  Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of her book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Erin!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Erin Lindsey] Constantly daydreaming lover of words.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Bloodbound?

[Erin Lindsey] I wanted to write a classic fantasy adventure that was genuinely fun to read. A lot of the stuff out there in SF/F right now is pretty grim. That’s not a criticism – I’m including my own work in that category. The Nicolas Lenoir novels, which I write as EL Tettensor, are about as dark as it gets. But sometimes you’re looking for something lighter, something you can take to the beach on your summer vacation and enjoy every page. A cast of flawed, likable characters caught up in a heroic struggle, with enough romance and humour to keep the mood balanced. That’s what I was going for in this book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Erin Lindsey] This is tough, because I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a scene about halfway through the book where the heroine, Alix, has just been reunited with someone important in her life, and she ends up really pouring her heart out. Up to that point, she’s been struggling with a lot – her new role as the king’s bodyguard, her first taste of real battle, some pretty tough personal decisions – and to have this person back in her life to share that with comes as a tremendous relief. The scene feels a little like sitting on the foot of your best friend’s bed, chewing over the things that are most important to you. It’s comfortable and intimate and peppered with laughter, and it leaves the reader feeling almost as relieved as Alix. It really came out well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Erin Lindsey] Everything! Okay, I know that’s not an answer, but really – it was a joy to write. I’ve never written anything so fast, so flowing, in my entire life. I think I had the whole thing done in about three and a half months, which for a novel of 120K+ is pretty crazy. Part of that, I think, is that I was finally getting to tap into some themes that I’ve wanted to play with for a long time. Some of my favourite moments in literature, films, and even comic books inspired certain scenes in The Bloodbound. A relationship, say, or a particular type of dilemma, trying to capture the feel of that moment in a different way. There’s a lot of real-life history in there too. It felt like finally getting to play with a bunch of toys you’ve coveted for a long time.

I think, I hope, that the fun I had writing it comes through on the page, and will infect the reader as well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Erin Lindsey] Chapstick. I know, I know! I’m trying to cut down, but it’s just so addictive!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Erin Lindsey] A stuffed gorilla, a chunk of black crystal from the Congo, and an extremely smug feline called Charlie Richard Parker.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Erin Lindsey] Biltong. It’s a South African type of beef jerky. If you haven’t tried it, DON’T; it’s even more addictive than Chapstick.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Erin Lindsey] Sherlock Holmes. Oh, wait – does this have to be a real person? In that case, Benedict Cumberbatch. Or his coat.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Erin Lindsey] I already have a superpower. I am Logic Woman, able to jump to a conclusion in a single bound. One day, I would like to do an appearance on Fox News. We’ll see if they’re as impervious to logic as they appear to be.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Erin Lindsey] My editor at Ace/Roc, the lovely Danielle Stockley, recently turned me on to Guy Gavriel Kay. I’ve read several of his books now, and enjoyed them all, but I particularly recommend A Song For Arbonne.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Erin Lindsey] Through my website, www.erin-lindsey.com, where you’ll find ways to reach me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and email. Stop by and say hi!

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…


Erin Lindsey likes her stories the way she likes her chocolate: dark, exotic, and with a hint of bitterness. She has visited fifty countries on four continents, and brought a little something back from each of them to press inside the pages of her books. Erin Lindsey is also the pseudonym for E.L. Tettensor, whose Darkwalker series is published by Roc.

US addresses only please

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24. My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck - Murray Library Story Time

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25. Very Much

This morning, as hubby went to leave this house- he woke me to kiss me good-bye. He looked into my eyes and he said, "I love you very much."

"I love you honey. We have to do what it takes to get to this thing."

"I know."

And he left.

I laid there for half an hour thinking about those two words.


As much as this house is a disaster because of all the things I have to do right now. As much as I nag him to do what is right. As much as I push him. As much as the pruning process we have been going through has pushed us to the wall. The absolute pressure of facing a room full of people I don't know to convince them they have to help us get this thing moving...


I fell back asleep and I had a dream about the one thing that is holding me back. Hubby and I have been working together to rid my life of that "one thing". It comes back to haunt me every time good is about to come. I woke feeling torn and I am now more determined than ever that it is the one thing the devil uses against me most (in the form of a broken heart). I woke insisting that the one thing be removed from me forever.
When I called my friend to tell her some good news, she shared a word with me. She said she knew it was for me and she had to read it. I listened carefully. She didn't send it to me in an email. SHE READ IT OVER ME. It was a word of encouragement from the Lord. And as soon as she began to read it, I felt God's love and anointing pour over me. I began to cry cleansing tears. I felt His words sink deep into my being, and in doing so, it ripped a large part of that ONE THING out of me. A clean and holy wind blew into me.
I know we still have work to do. We are never a completely finished product until we meet face to face with Jesus Christ.

But I know the Lord loves me VERY MUCH

Later I read that Word for myself. I sent it to a writer friend to share what God had done for me today. She immediately wrote me back and said it was a word for her as well. Praise be to the Lord our God!

Then I settled down for a bit of Psychology. Seven minutes later I had a pretty little girl on my lap wanting something to do. I found a tablet of drawing paper. I thought about it. She gets bored after a while with each project. But I couldn't find the glue stick. Within minutes she produced the basket that has the glue stick inside. I smiled. She got all excited. She's never used a glue stick before. I know this may sound ridiculously mundane to some who read this, but hear me. Please.

I went to the drawer with the hole punches inside. I pulled out the one with a flower punch on one side and a heart (her shrashorite shape). I got some pretty paper and I showed her how to use the hole punch and the glue stick. She could barely contain herself.
I looked at her and said, "This is glue."
I then pointed to the hearts and I said,

"LOVE is the GLUE that binds a family together."


Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.- 1 Peter 4:8

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