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1. International literature-prize day

       A big day for international literary prizes in the English-speaking world, as they'll be announcing:

       I'll be at the BTBA announcement -- I'm one of the fiction-judges -- and I'll report on all the winners/finalists tomorrow.

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2. Author Websites

What information should you include on your author website?

http://blog.leeandlow.com/2015/04/08/book-marketing-101-what-to-put-on-your-author-website/

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3. Would You Read It Wednesday #176 - Barnabas The Noisy Ninja (PB)

Avast, me hearties!

We've got a piratically fun pitch up today.  But first, a word from our sponsors...

For anyone who is interested (well, and I guess even if you're not interested... :)), Graduation Weekend was a success.  Everyone from our family who was supposed to graduate did - quite impressively, I might add :)  And some family members were in attendance in all necessary locations.  We took "divide and conquer" to a new level.  After all that planning, agonizing, traveling, etc, I can't believe it's over!

In other news, I'm heartbroken to report I found out yesterday that Punxsutawney Phyllis is going out of print :(  After a ten year run, apparently her time is up :(  I will have to horde as many copies as I can find!

I most definitely feel the need for Something Chocolate after such news, as I'm sure you all do too!   And I have recently heard (much to my delight) that eating chocolate cake for breakfast can help you maintain (or regain) a healthy weight.  I don't know who thought this plan up, but I'm all for it!  I have long suspected this to be the case.  So let's have cake!


I feel slimmer and healthier already, don't you? :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Jason who says, "My inspiration came in part from the many students with Autism I have taught during my 14 years as a special education teacher. I am a member of SCBWI along with a few critique groups out here in Western Massachusetts, where I live with my wife and 5 year old daughter.  When it's not below freezing outside, I love to grill.  (My new favorite is bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, which is as incredible as it sounds.)"   

Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Barnabas The Noisy Ninja
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Barnabas has pirate fever.  He loves to wear buccaneer boots, sing sea shanties, and shout avast at passing strangers.  Unfortunately, he lives in Ninjaville, where silence is golden and pirates are most certainly not welcome.  Exasperated by his piratical nature, his parents enroll him in Ninjagarten, hoping Sensei can tame his ruckus raising ways.  Barnabas, however, has other plans.  After enlisting his fellow ninjalings during recess, Barnabas leads them in a mutiny.  But when the things get out of hand, Barnabas must reign in his ruckus crew.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Jason improve his pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Jason is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing how that chocolate cake eating plan works and figuring out how many copies of Phyllis I can grab before they're gone forever!  For which I will no doubt need chocolate sustenance.  It's the Circle of Chocolate.  A lot like the Circle of Life, but yummier :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)



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4. Q &A: Jenny Erpenbeck

       Also in the Irish Times Martin Doyle has a Q & A with Jenny Erpenbeck, whose The End of Days (see the publicity pages at New Directions and Portobello, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) is also Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-shortlisted.
       A perhaps unexpected but nice choice:

What is the funniest book you've read ?

The Weather Fifteen Years Ago by Wolf Haas.
       (Best Translated Book Award shortlisted a few years ago, in 2010, I still don't understand why no UK publisher hasn't taken a chance on this.)

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5. Q &A: Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel

       In the Irish Times Martin Doyle has a Q & A with Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, whose By Night the Mountain Burns (see the And Other Stories publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) is Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-shortlisted
       I like that he doesn't go for the 'Which writers, living or dead, would you invite to your dream dinner party ?' question -- answering: "Having their books is enough." And nice to see him mention Francisco de Quevedo's El Buscón (twice).

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6. Book of Numbers review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Joshua Cohen's Book of Numbers -- one of the bigger summer books, with Cohen, after publishing with Twisted Spoon, Dalkey Archive Press, and Graywolf (among others) now coming out Random House-mainstream.

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7. Leena Krohn's aesthetics

       Leena Krohn -- author of, for example, Datura (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- discusses her aesthetics at Books from Finland, in When the viewer vanishes.
       She suggests:

The foundations of my possible aesthetics -- like those of all aesthetics -- lie of course somewhere quite different from aesthetics itself. They lie in human consciousnesses and language, with all the associated indefiniteness.

It is my belief that we do not live in reality, but in metareality. The first virtual world, the simulated Pretend-land is inherent in us.
       A helpful introduction to her always interesting work.

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8. Spotlight and Giveaway: When Darkness Ends by Alexandra Ivy

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for When Darkness Ends by Alexandra Ivy

When Darkness Ends
Guardians of Eternity # 12

By: Alexandra Ivy

Releasing May 26, 2015

Zebra

Blurb

The Guardians of Eternity are facing a final battle to save their world—but battles of the heart may be the most difficult to fight…

Cyn, the vampire clan chief of Ireland, is an unabashed hedonist whose beauty is surpassed only by his insatiable appetite for pleasure. It’s no wonder he’s furious when he’s transported from the magical land of the pureblooded feys to his desolate private lair—only to have his very existence thrown into a chaos that even he cannot charm his way out of…

Most women may be all but powerless against Cyn, but Fallon, a sharp-witted fairy princess, is less than beguiled by the silver-tongued vampire. She’s a serious soul with no time for the sort of games he plays—especially when they learn that someone is trying to close the veil that separates the dimensions. But seduction may prove the most powerful force of all, as attraction ignites between the unlikely pair even as worlds are colliding around them…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/when-darkness-ends-guardians-of.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22859817-when-darkness-ends?ac=1
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/40933-guardians-of-eternity

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

Author Info

ALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

 

Excerpt

Laigin (Ireland), 1014 AD

The man woke with a blinding headache, stripped of his clothing as well as his memories.

With a groan, he sat up, shoving his tangled hair out of his face. It was immediately obvious he was in a damp cave. A strange place to wake. But not nearly as strange as the abrupt realization that something was terrifyingly wrong with him.

Despite the darkness he was able to see the limestone walls that had been chiseled by the water dripping from the low ceiling as clear as if it were day. And it was not only his sight that was unbearably acute.

He could smell the distant salt of the sea. And hear the faint scramble of a bug crossing the stone floor. He could even detect the warmth of two creatures that were rapidly approaching the cave.

What madness was this?

No man should have the senses of a god. Not unless he was a monster.

The dark thoughts barely had time to form before they were interrupted by a hunger that thundered through him. He groaned. It was as if he hadn’t eaten in weeks. Months. But it wasn’t the thought of food that made his stomach cramp, he realized with a flare of horror.

It was . . . blood.

His mouth watered, the pain of his fangs ripping through his gums startling him as the image of the red, intoxicatingly rich substance filled his mind.

He had to feed.

Aye. That was what he needed.

Disgusted with the knowledge, he slowly rose to his feet, a virile strength running through his massive body even as his head remained thick with confusion.

His instincts urged him to leave the cave, to hunt down his prey and bury his fangs deep in their throats, but the tantalizing scent of fresh strawberries kept him frozen in place.

It appeared that his prey was willingly coming to him.

And they smelled . . . delectable.

Like an animal, he warily shuffled to the deepest shadows. From his vantage point, he silently watched the two slender creatures enter the cave. His eyes widened at the sheer beauty of the strangers. The male had hair the color of rust with bold green eyes set in a lean face, while the female possessed long tawny hair with eyes the shade of spring grass.

They looked like angels.

His fangs ached, his muscles tensing as he prepared to strike.

Angels or not, they were about to become dinner.

But before he could charge, the male held up a slender hand, the scent of strawberries becoming overpowering.

“Hold, berserker,” he commanded, a tingle of magic in the air.

He frowned. “I am a berserker?”

“You were.”

The confusion only deepened. “Were?”

“Two nights ago you were attacked by a clan of vampires.”

He shook his head, his hand instinctively lifting to touch his neck.

“I survived?”

The pretty female grimaced. “Not as a human. The local villagers left you in this cave to see if you would rise as a vampire. Even now they are on their way to either witness your corpse or slaughter you.” She held out a slender hand. “Come with us in peace and we will harbor you until you are able to care for yourself.”

Vampire . . .

He went to his knees in shock.

Holy shite.

Rafflecopter Giveaway (three copies of WHEN DARKNESS ENDS )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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9. Freedom


Stranded mind is more dangerous,
Than stranded body,
A curse for the humanity,
Living continuously in the mist,
Stupendous attempts,
Are required to free the soul,
From lusty deeds and gutsy demons,
From solemn nights,
From dreadful dreams,
To paint the altruistic waves,
To color the emphatic heaven,
That sweeps the heart,
That instills hope in hope,
Then this world will shine,
With creativity of the mind,
Those who are independent,
Those who are affluent,
With positivity and peace

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10. Cartoon- Sabsidy

cartoon- sabsidy -monica guptaSabsidy in india … जिस तरह से देश में सब्सिडी की लहर चल रही है तो मिठाई वाला भी किसलिए पीछे रहे … इसलिए …

The post Cartoon- Sabsidy appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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11. What Books Should You Read?

Scholastic Summer Reading ChallengeIt’s practically summer, and that means you can read all the books you want! YAY! But how do you decide which books to choose? Well, STACKS Staffer Sandy created this helpful graphic. Take a look and find out which books you should read this summer.

And don’t forget to log your minutes in the Summer Reading Challenge!

What books should you read this summer?

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12. Lost ships, lost planes, lost pilots, lost climbers, lost stories……..

75B
In college I wrote a senior paper on the USS Indianapolis which became famously sunk and lost in WWII resulting in the largest recorded shark attack in history. I exchanged letters and phone calls with over 60 of the ship’s survivors (the 47 letters I received are on file with the Indianapolis Historical Society). There were many elements of the Indianapolis story that intrigued me, not the least of which was that it was relatively unknown at the time I was researching it. I couldn’t believe the US Navy lost a ship only to be found by sheer luck or that our history would so effectively lose such a compelling story. (Really – largest recorded shark attack in HISTORY. How do we forget that?) The survivors were, every single one, rather surprised that I would write about them for a college project. It turned out to be a turning point for me and revealed that more than anything, I love to research and write about what is lost.

My grandmother used to pray to St. Anthony when she (or anyone she knew) lost something. (The joke in our family was that she prayed to him so much she called him “Tony”; as they were on a first name basis.) I think a lot about lost houses and lost beaches; the lost places of my childhood. I can’t even drive past the house I grew up in without seeing myself running to my grandmother’s house around the corner through a vacant lot that is a 7-11 now. Everything I knew when I was 10 is changed so much it is as if it never existed at all.

The past few days I have been going over an article on missing aircraft in Alaska. It’s kind of weird, but even when pieces of an aircraft are found, it can still be listed as missing. A certain percentage of the aircraft must be recovered for it to be listed officially as an accident. So small pieces of debris are just evidence of something gone; but not proof that it ever existed at all.

There’s probably something poetic in there somewhere….I’m still not sure how to say it that way though. (I’ll be writing about these airplanes a lot more than just this article. There’s more to tell than fits in 1,000 words.)

In the past couple of years I have spent my time with newly found family photographs, uncovered unbelievable family stories (and the hits keeping coming in that front), made contact with someone with information on a long lost mountain climber and paged through the NTSB reports on aircraft gone missing from decades ago.

And I tried twice to drive past the house I grew up in. Chickened out both times. (And I’m not sorry about that.)

There is an unexpected pattern to my interests these days and I’m very mindful of that. Patterns should not be taken lightly; even when you aren’t consciously creating them.

[Post pic from 2012 – 75B was, once upon a time, one of the aircraft we flew at the Company.]

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13. Bloomsbury’s Boldly Bookish Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Today we are so fortunate to be a part of the Boldly Bookish Blog Tour! There are so many awesome books coming out from Bloomsbury and we're excited to be hosting one of the authors, Tiffany Schmidt, author of HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH. Make sure you check out all the books and blogs on the tour, and don't miss the giveaway at the end of this post! Becca asked Tiffany: When I first got Hold

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14. Refine and Broaden Your Keywords for Better Content Marketing Results

Keywords are what help search engines categorize and index your content. And, it’s what online searchers use to find what they’re looking for. Yes, search engines go by lots of other things to rank your content, but when it comes to searchers, they use keywords. I know I use them personally and for my writing research all the time. But, how do you come up with words or phrases that are what

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15. Sunday Sermon Series

Last Sunday our sermon was about the story of Ruth. Ruth is a story about how God redeems broken lives, brings light to the darkness.

One of the points Pastor Mike touched on was how Naomi's faith was highly visible to those around her. Naomi's faith made a big impact on her daughters-in-law, both of whom refused to leave her side even though their husbands (her sons) had died. Ruth went so far as to return to Naomi's homeland with her (a land that was a bitter enemy of Ruth's birthplace, Moab), and help provide for Naomi. Picture giving up your life here, moving to Iraq, or Iran for good to help your mother-in-law after your spouse has just died.

Rather than do what was easy or comfortable for herself, Ruth did what was best for Naomi. Ruth had seen something in Naomi that convinced her to do this. She had seen Jesus, she had seen "love one another" worked out day after day in Naomi's words and actions. It led me to think about how hard I try to "love one another", and how much harder I should be trying.

So as I listened to the sermon I drew this sketch. Jesus is seen directing Naomi. She is providing for a man, maybe a homeless man, I don't know, but a person in need. He definitely suffers from cartoony giant feet.

I hope you enjoyed this drawing, and thank you for stopping by.

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16. Digital Reading


Last week, Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 was published by NCTE.  This book is a book I co-authored with Bill Bass.  It has been a long process with a lot of great learning along the way. Our editor Cathy Fleischer really pushed us as learners and writers, so it was a great process. We were able to really dig in and think through our beliefs about reading and how it is changing in this digital age. It is fun to see the book finally be released into the world.   We have lots of voices from classroom teachers in the book--people we learn from and with every day. We listed the contributors in our NCTE blog post -great people to follow if you are thinking about digital reading!

It has been fun chatting with others about the topic since the book's release.  Earlier this month, NCTE asked us to host #nctechat around Reading in the Digital Age. It was a great chat. If you missed it, you can read the archives here.

The book is part of the PIP imprint and there is another book in this particular series that you'll want to check out. Troy Hicks and Kristen Turner just released Connected Reading:  Teaching Adolescent Readers in a Digital World. We had many thought-provoking chats during the writing of our books and we are excited that their book is out in the world now!  You can listen to Troy and Kristen talk about their new book on Education Talk Radio.  They have also created an amazing wiki that goes along with their book.

 Kristin Ziemke posted on the Nerdy Book Club blog about the topic. It was an amazing post and is in line with our thinking about reading in the digital age.

Digital Literacy is a topic we care deeply about and will continue to think about and learn about. 

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17. Halfway Mark: Favorite Books (So Far) for 2015

The calendar doesn’t lie; it’s nearly June, which means that summer reading programs are fast approaching. The looming of June also brings ALA Annual, during which awards committees will meet (many in secret, of course) to discuss their readings and thoughts (so far) for 2015.

Although the awards committee meetings are closed to non-members, you can attend meetings for Children’s Notable Books, Children’s Notable Recordings, and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults committees. If you have time during your packed Annual schedule, I recommend attending at least one meeting. It gives you great insight into how committees choose and discuss titles. If you can’t attend meetings in person, look for the committees to publish their nominations lists sometime after Annual (YALSA’s committees for Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels, Popular Paperbacks, and Quick Picks post their nominations lists here, and ALSC’s Notable Books committee usually publishes its first nominations lists here after Annual). They are great collection development tools, especially when it gets closer to Youth Media Awards time! (I check the sites every several months for updates and right before Midwinter). Check the Scheduler section on the conference site for more details on where/when the open committee meetings are held.

If you’re not a committee member and can freely discuss your favorites for the 2015 publication year, please discuss in the comments below! Here are several titles that I personally hope have a shot at making the committee lists and Youth Media Awards. (Did you know that you can nominate books for the Notable Children’s Books and even many awards committees? Check the individual pages for the committees for further detail.)

detective

(image taken from author’s website)

I’m a fan of historical fiction, but even I can admit that it can be heavy and sobering reading at times. If you’re in need of fun, fast-paced historical fiction with a great deal of heart (and mystery!), The Detective’s Assistant (based on the life of the first American female detective) should be in your collection.

finedessert

(image taken from publisher website)

I try not to attach too much hope on any particular book for the Newbery or Caldecott; at the end of the day, my main wish is that we have the titles in our collection on the day the Youth Media Awards are announced. Occasionally I can’t help it, and I get too invested in one book being the big winner.  If A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat is my #1 hopeful (at this point!) for the Caldecott, and I’m already way too invested in it winning, I’m afraid. This extraordinarily researched, written, and illustrated look at the evolution (social and technical) of food preparation through the creation of one dessert (blueberry fool) is one of a kind.

xanovel

 

(image taken from author’s website)

I believe ALSC ran an online poll (last year?) in which it asked readers to vote for their favorite Youth Media Award. While many chose Newbery or Caldecott, quite a few (including me) chose “all of them!” I look forward to each and every announcement of the awards. While X: A Novel is probably more mature than the audience for the Newbery, I’m quite hopeful for its chances for the Coretta Scott King Medal and the Printz Medal. Co-written by Ilyasah Shabazz (Malcolm X’s third oldest daughter) and Kekla Magoon, this is a moving and eye-opening fictionalized look at the childhood and early adulthood of the civil rights leader.

What have been your favorite reads for 2015 (2015 books only, please)? Tell us about them in the comments!

 

 

The post Halfway Mark: Favorite Books (So Far) for 2015 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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18. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition

The story of William Kamkwamba is so inspiring that three books have been written to tell it. I listened to the audio book version of the 305-page, young reader's edition. 

My review of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition
written for AudioFile Magazine, is linked here. 


I cannot recommend this one enough.  I hope you have time to read at least one version of this inspiring true story of a teenager who created electricity for his impoverished, starving village in Malawi with nothing more than garbage, an elementary education, an old borrowed Physics book (in a language that he did not speak or read!), and a will to make things better!
  1. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (William Morrow, 2009)
  2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (Dial, 2012)
  3. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (Penguin, 2015)

Here are William Kamkwamba's two TED Talks.  They're short and well worth a listen.
[http://www.ted.com/talks/william_kamkwamba_on_building_a_windmill?language=en]


[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QkNxt7MpWM]

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19. ILLUSTRATION - erin blazer

Erin Balzer is an illustrator, printmaker and graphic designer living in Vancouver, B.C. Erin crafts her illustrations by hand using a woodcut technique. Erin has an education background in Graphic Design and Studio Art and recently participated in Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells course. Here are some examples of her work and style and Erin can be found online here.

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20. mad max fury road

Since everyone is busy drawing amazing pictures of Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max - Fury Road, I thought the world needed a very bad drawing of the Doof Warrior:



And here is an article about the actor who play the Doof Warrior. I saw the film last week and it's hilarious, I loved it.



Some Doof soundtrack for you (for ambiance) and here's Philip Reeve's film review.



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21. DESIGNER - jocelyn proust

Jocelyn Proust is a designer who we last saw on P&P in 2009. After seeing her work featured on Print and Pattern Jocelyn was approached by Annabel Trends (a company manufacturing all sorts of products in Australia) who wanted one of her designs for lovely tea-towels and aprons. At the time Jocelyn wasn’t a pattern designer as such, and continued to work as a graphic designer and to hand paint

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22. Trudy Ludwig: True Confessions of a Professional Writer

Trudy Ludwig is an award-winning author who specializes in writing children's books that explore the colorful and sometimes confusing world of children's social interactions. Today, we are honored to share Trudy's thoughts about the writing process.

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23. Writer Wednesday: The Common Thread


A while back, Beth Fred and I were talking about mission statements and the common theme in the books we write. Now, you all know I write across genres and age levels, so you can imagine my reaction when Beth said there must be a common theme in all my books.

Um… Yeah, that was me. I've always said I'm not one to write to trends. I write the stories I feel I need to tell. And that's led me to having a pen name for romance while I write speculative fiction under my own name. But after a while, I realized Beth was right. There IS a common theme in all my books. It's self-discovery.

In my Touch of Death series, Jodi finds out she's a special kind of necromancer descended from the Gorgon Medusa. She struggles with what this means for her and how she'll have to adapt her life now that she's poisonous to humans.

In The Monster Within books, Sam dies of cancer at seventeen and is brought back from the dead as a monster who has to kill to survive. She struggles to figure out where she fits into the world and whether or not she's willing to kill others in order to live.

In Perfect For You (Ashelyn Drake title), Meg is trying to find herself again after having her heart broken in a very public and humiliating way. As much as it's about her finding the right guy, it's about her finding herself.

In A Lion's Song (my most recent picture book), Amara is trying to figure out her place in the pride when she's the only lion who can't roar.

I could keep going with all my books, but I think you can see the common thread. All my MCs are struggling to figure out who they are in this world and what that means for them. So I do have a common theme after all, even if I didn't know I did at the time I wrote these books.

What common theme pops up in your work?

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24. Ruth Chan – Illustrator Interview

I am not wanting to brag here, but when you live in New York you bump into amazing writers and artists all the time (and I am grateful for every day here), so to be honest I am not sure … Continue reading

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25. CARDS - noi publishing

One of my favourite card companies Noi Publishing have launched a new range of  small cards. These little blank cards will be suitable for any occasion with a mixture of quirky, cute and botanical designs. Look out for them in shops soon or if you are a retailer you can go online now to order.

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