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1. Cultural Clashes in the Classroom

Are Cultural Misinterpretations A Root Cause For Disproportionate Discipline Of African-American Students?

Numerous studies have revealed that African-American students are more likely than their white peers to face referrals to the office, suspension, expulsion or other forms of discipline at school.
virtuoso logo
But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Renae Azziz, founder and director of Virtuoso Education Consulting (www.virtuosoed.com), which provides professional development training to teachers and school district leaders.

Azziz, a school psychologist who helps districts across the nation resolve disproportionality in discipline, says in many cases it’s a clash of cultures, and not necessarily racism, that leads to disproportionate punishment for minority students.

“Teachers need to understand that sometimes what they see as misbehavior is not viewed the same way by African-American students,” Azziz says. “It’s just that in these cases the educators come from different cultures than their students. The teachers need to increase their knowledge about those differences and improve their skills for handling the situations.”

Azziz says there are a number of promising strategies schools can and are using to reduce disproportionality in discipline.

• Develop supportive relationships among and within school staff and students through the implementation of restorative-justice frameworks, which use conflict resolution and open dialogue. Restorative justice focuses students on the ramifications of their actions so that they take ownership of those actions and learn from their poor decisions.

• Engage in culturally relevant and responsive instructions and interactions to make the curriculum engaging for all learners.

• Change disciplinary codes of conduct to align with positive school climates through the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) that are culturally responsive.

• Commit to ongoing professional development for teachers focused on developing their awareness, knowledge and skills related to culture.

African-American students often have more negative views of their schools than white students because they perceive them as being less fair and consistent with discipline. That this perception exists, Azziz says, reinforces the idea that educators need to be culturally responsive so that the school environment meets the needs of students from all cultural backgrounds.

It’s not that schools have failed to make an effort to address problems with discipline. For two decades, the method known as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has been implemented across the nation as a way to decrease suspensions and expulsions, Azziz says.

That worked – sort of, she says.

Data indicates PBIS does indeed reduce the overall rates for those disciplinary actions, but there’s a caveat. Minority students, especially African Americans, still receive the majority of the punishments.

“That tells me that PBIS is not as effective for African-American students as it is for other ethnic groups,” Azziz says. “So why is that?”

The answer may lie in those cultural differences, she says.

Here’s an example: Teachers who expect students to raise their hands before responding in class often send African-American students to the office for repeatedly talking out.

But many of those students see classroom discussions as more informal, Azziz says.

“Some students, particularly African-American students, show that they are listening and engaged by blurting out their thoughts instead of raising their hands,” Azziz says. “This is a communication-response style called back-channeling and it’s often seen in the African-American culture.”

Teachers who understand that back-channeling is a cultural pattern of behavior can better teach the students when that behavior is appropriate in the classroom and when they need to raise their hands, she says.

“When teachers don’t know about this communications style,” Azziz says, “all they see is a student who disrupted their class and it becomes a top reason for discipline referrals.”

Renae Azziz

About Renae Azziz

Renae Azziz is the Founder and Director of Virtuoso Education Consulting (www.virtuosoed.com). She and her team of consultants support educators nationally in the areas of Response-to-Intervention, Data-Based Decision Making, Assessment, Positive Behavior Support, and Culturally Responsive Practices. Before starting Virtuoso Education Consulting, Renae practiced as a school psychologist in Indiana. Renae also worked on grants funded by the Indiana Department of Education supporting Indiana’s Initiatives on Response to Intervention, Culturally Responsive PBIS, and Minority Disproportionality in Special Education. She was also appointed by former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to the Commission on Disproportionality in Youth Services, which resulted in several legislative outcomes. Further, Renae and her team of consultants have served as project evaluators for statewide initiatives and Corrective Action Plans in Indiana and Louisiana.

Renae received her educational training at Indiana University earning an Ed.S. in School Psychology, an M.S. in Educational Psychology, and a B.A. with honors in Psychology and is working towards completion of her Doctorate in Education at The Johns Hopkins University specializing in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education.

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2. C2E2 2015: Exhibitor Listings! Maps! Panels! Look!See!NOW!

C2E2-Logo-Square-Low-ResWell, we’ve recovered from the East Coast Comic Con and MoCCA Fest. Did our taxes. Watched the trailers. And this weekend, instead of relaxing and ruminating…I’m getting my act together to fly to Chicago on Thursday, for ReedPOP’s C2E2 show! (And if you think my schedule is crazy, the ReedPOP crew is in Anaheim right now, running Star Wars Celebration!)

Here’s the show planner. (PDF available!) Panels are accessible here. Exhibitors, along with show specials and exclusives, can be found here!

So… how does this show differ from last year’s?

Not much, really. Panels are upstairs, just like last year. (Make use of the water stations. Seriously…it’s a long walk to the Main Stage.) Family and fans are once again in the ballroom on the First Floor. The sales floor… is still in Halls A1 and A2 (McCormick South).

C2E2 2015 map 3Like last year, they use 3/4 of the hall.  Last year, the last third (or the front half of A2) was the food court area.  What’s changed?  Autographing and Food have switched places.  Artist Alley has been pushed back a little.  With no stage and a better layout, hopefully it doesn’t feel as slapdashed as last year.  350 tables are planned this year, down from 353 last year, but still ahead of the 207 from the first show).  Looking at the map, they can expand that area as well.  (Personally, the first C2E2 in Lakeside set the bar.  Lots of natural light, wide aisles, lots of space behind the tables, far from the rest of the show yet still accessible.)

The Block seems to be a new addition this year, or maybe the memory’s tumbled in with all of the other stuff from last year.  The Tattoo Pavilion is in the same space as last year.

Only three booths remain unsold:  two small booths right next to Marvel, and a quad near the Food Court.  (Some of the Artist Alley tables are on hold, but all are sold.)

mccormick south-level-3As I said here, C2E2 already is larger than New York Comic Con in regards to exhibition floor space. In this hall, there is 20% not utilized. (It’s the bottom quarter in the map to the right, with the stair-step edge.)  840,000 sq.ft. of space exists in Hall A, 670,000 is currently used. That back quadrant is 170,000 sq.ft. in area. If you’re familiar with Javitz’ North Pavilion, site of Artist Alley at NYCC, this back space is TWICE the area (80K).  Just think of the twenty studio booths you could place back there!

As for panels, there’s a FIFTH floor above the fourth, with five rooms, which can be divided into fourteen spaces (just like the rooms on the fourth).  Not to mention the six meeting rooms on the first floor, south of the ballroom, which can subdivide into 15 spaces.  Plus ReedPOP uses the North Hall (B1/B2) for registration, and the meeting rooms beneath for back of house purposes.

So, what’s the estimated attendance this year?c2e2 attendance

2010 27,500
2011 34,000 6500
2012 41,000 7000
2013 53,000 12000
2014 63,000 10000

The average (slope) is 7,100 a year.  If we take the recent increases into account, the math suggests 70 – 75,000 attendees. NYCC in its sixth year did 105,000.  C2E2 is growing at half the rate of NYCC, which is not a bad thing.  Of course, McCormick has a lot of space available, so with my estimated 1.235 MILLION capacity, with a growth of 10K/year, it would take C2E2 120 years to fill the entire convention center!  Me, I’m thinking 2030.  Once shows hit a certain threshold, they reach critical mass quickly.  (I’ll share my mad dreams later.  In the meantime, read this!)

But until then, other parts of McCormick Place will be used by other shows.  What else is happening that weekend?  Automechanika Chicago.  400 exhibitors, 8500 attendees, and it’s all about the auto aftermarket. (Oh man… a month later is the Sweets & Snacks Expo!) Last year, some company held their sales meeting in Lakeside, meaning most attendees trekked by the show floor on Thursday.  I even spotted one professional lady stop to take a selfie with a Batman75 standee!  There was also a national high school chorus competition… yeah…theatre geeks! Another year, there was standardized testing for educators.  And the first C2E2 had a bath show where the current con is located…

I’ll have more later, but I do recommend the show.  It’s a large regional show, with myriad guests of all sorts, great programming, not as crazy as CCI or NYCC, and I think most of the snow will have melted by now.  Until then, peruse our posts from previous years.  It’s a good sample of what the show offers.


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3. Crazy Horse and Custer

Fifteen years ago, not long after publishing Anthology of Modern American Poetry with Oxford, I began to receive the typical mix of complimentary and complaining letters. In the latter category, faculty members wanted to know why a favorite poem or poet was left out and some poets who were not included wrote pointed letters to let me know they weren’t happy with the fact. But one poet, William Heyen, took a different approach.

The post Crazy Horse and Custer appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Some Great Reads In Various Genres

"Know yourself.  Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
~Ann Landers

Congrats to our MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Rebecca Reilly, author of HAUNTING MEGAN and DIARY OF A CHRISTIAN WOMAN!!
Rebecca Reilly

 Please check out our website to learn more about this talented RRBC Member!

Congrats to this week's MEMBER OF THE WEEK: Renee Hand, author of some awesome Children's books, like THE MYSTERY OF THE CIRCUS FOR HIRERenee is a very supportive member of other authors and she is appreciated for that support! 
Renee Hand
As Member Of The Week, Renee will get to choose a free book from the Kathryn C. Treat Book Giveaway Treasure Chest!!

Congrats to this week's #PUSHTUESDAY Winner: John Fioravanti!!
John Fioravanti
A huge THANK YOU to all those that supported him on his special day!!

Congrats to our BOOKS OF THE MONTH!!


Please show your support to these deserving members. You can do so by helping us promote them on social media, and also by purchasing/reviewing their books. Remember, those that give support will receive support!!

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5. James Ransome's Watercolor Method

I recently stumbled across this video by James Ransome creating the cover illustration for his book LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS. I shared it with a student, but I think the world should see!

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6. Circumzenithal Arc

A few days ago I photographed this circumzenithal arc in the sky above the Hudson Valley. These halo phenomena are sometimes called "smiles in the sky" or "upside down rainbows."

Unlike a normal rainbow, which describes a circle centered around the antisolar point (directly opposite the sun), this light effect curves around the zenith. The colors appear on the section of the circle closest to the setting sun.

Whereas the regular rainbow is the result of sunlight bouncing back to the eye in suspended raindrops, this effect occurs when sunlight refracts through plate-shaped hexagonal ice prisms floating in a horizontal position in cirrus clouds. Therefore, it often appears interrupted as it intersects the parallel tendrils of the clouds.
Wikipedia on circumzenithal arc
More at Atmospheric Optics
Classic book on light/atmosphere phenomena: The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air

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7. Stuck Rubber Baby at 20

Before 1995, Howard Cruse was best known as an underground comix artist, first coming to prominence with Barefootz in the 1970s, with his editorship of Gay Comix in the early 1980s, and then hitting a real stride with the Wendel comics in The Advocate throughout the '80s. Wendel ended in 1989, though, and Cruse began a major new project, his first graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, released by the DC Comics imprint Paradox Press. It gained notice and won awards, but never had the breakout success of something like Maus, Persepolis, or Fun Home, though I would argue that it is at least close to equal in merit.

Stuck Rubber Baby is a true graphic novel — unlike many other books that get that label, it was not conceived in pieces or published serially; it was always intended to be a long, unified narrative. It tells the story of a man named Toland Polk, mostly through his memories of growing up in Alabama during the early 1960s as a white guy who doesn't really know what he wants from the world or his life, coming to grips both with the civil rights movement and his own homosexuality. Partly in an attempt to try to cure his gay desires, he ends up in a relationship with a fiery college student, activist, and singer named Ginger, and she becomes pregnant. Meanwhile, protests against segregation and racism are growing more and more ferocious, and the white establishment fights back, with tragic, horrifying results. Throughout it all, Toland meets queer characters of various races and ages, and finally decides both that political action is necessary and that he can't pretend to be heterosexual any longer. This primary story is framed as the memories of Toland thirty years later, apparently in a stable relationship with a man, living a solidly bourgeois urban gay life, but still haunted by the past. Other characters' stories and fates are woven through Toland's memories, creating a complex view of this past and his remembering of it.

I've had a weird relationship with Stuck Rubber Baby over the course of its lifetime: I looked through it when it was first published and decided it wasn't for me; I read the whole book sometimes in the early 2000's and liked it but didn't really engage with it; I recently read it very carefully and closely, which led to something like awe. (The last time I had as powerful a reading experience was when I read J.M. Ledgard's Submergence over a year ago.)

Many people I know — otherwise intelligent people of impeccably refined taste — don't like Stuck Rubber Baby. Some claim to appreciate it, but to be put off by its artwork, which they invariably describe as ugly or "just plain bad." The art is one thing that caused me to bounce off the book when I first tried to read it sometime in 1996 or 1997, when I saw it at the old Shakespeare & Co. bookstore on lower Broadway in Manhattan and spent some time reading through it. (I used to go there when I was bored, or wanted to get away from people, or just felt like hanging out in a bookstore. They were open till midnight and didn't seem to mind if I sat there and read without buying anything.) The images seemed to me then unappealing, cramped, dark. I was also put off by the story's historical setting — I didn't want to read about Alabama in the 1960s, I wanted to read about contemporary New York queers.

I returned to the book in the early 2000's when I found a used copy somewhere and was thinking about doing an essay on various literary representations of AIDS activism. Though not at all directly about AIDS activism, I suspected (rightly) that it was relevant to that topic. I never got far with what I was writing, though, as life and other projects intervened.

My most recent experience of reading Stuck Rubber Baby was for a course on graphic narratives that I'm taking for my Ph.D. (this is my final term of coursework). It may have been that context that helped open up the book for me, since it required me to read it carefully and deliberately, but I think the more significant factor is simply age. Much of what concerned Cruse when he wrote Stuck Rubber Baby is now of more concern to me than it was when I encountered the book earlier: questions of memory and experience, of looking back on youthful political awakening, of trying to save something of a younger self for the present age, of making sense of an upbringing in a place very different from New York City, of queer identity.

Queer, indeed. Something that struck me especially forcefully as I read the book this time is how well it captures the feeling of queerness in every sense of the word, even among friends and supportive family members, a feeling that is not only a matter of desire, but is also inflected by the pitfalls and obstacles of making sense of an individual identity within a group — knowing always that there will be something strange about you to anyone, no matter how similar they may seem in experiences or yearnings.

Perhaps that's why the art didn't bother me this time; indeed, for once the art seemed absolutely right for the material. The human figures look like mannequins or weird, plump wax sculptures. The pages are mostly cramped, the panels claustrophobic. (That effect is enhanced by the decision to print the book in a small format so that it would be displayed on bookstores' fiction shelves rather than in the humor section. I think the art suffers for this, and it would be nice to have a larger format edition, but the cramped feeling is certainly heightened.) The shading often makes it difficult to distinguish skin tones, a powerful effect in a book about the civil rights era, where race seems so obvious and incontrovertible to the characters. Cruse draws an off-kilter world, a sometimes disturbing world, a world where cartoonish figures must find some way to reconcile themselves to very uncartoonish violence and horror.

It's an extremely talky book. The few panels without text stand out, and their presence inevitably feels either like a relief or a shock. The characters are constantly trying to talk their way through things, to find the right words, and more often than not they fail. At the same time, other characters wield words as weapons, with deadly consequences. Again and again, the book returns to ideas of representation and performance, of how identity, performance, and memory can merge or split. Sometimes words help, but often they do not — they accumulate, obfuscate, crowd out action and sight. It's significant that the book becomes more quiet at the end, as Toland finds ways to reconcile himself to the past, to move forward while preserving memory, to admit his own failures and horrors and not simply reduce them to stories he tells over and over again. Music weaves through his memories, and it is music that accompanies him in the end — "There's something I wanna show ya," he says, and the panels open up, the music weaves through the images, and we are left with the silent peace of a city snow storm.

I was struck during this reading at how easily Stuck Rubber Baby moves through its characters' timelines, how well, for the most part, it prevents us from getting confused as stories are told within stories, memories within memories. The structure overall is basically linear for the major events, but within sequences (and sometimes even individual pages) the movement is more fluid and associational. We're set up for this structure right from the first page, which introduces many of the visual motifs that will reappear throughout the book: the Kennedys, protests, dead bodies... In the first three pages, we move from Toland as an adult in the mid-1990s to Toland as a child and young teenager to Toland and his sister shortly after their parents died in a car accident. The fourth and fifth pages then circle back to develop some of what was glimpsed earlier, then use this new information to bring in Ginger standing with Toland at the March on Washington, where she asks him, "Who're you lookin' at?" to which Toland replies, "Just someone I used to know." (Despite all their talking, what matters most often is what and how these characters look at the world. Also, what is shown and not shown: Cruse is very careful to depict some events and not depict others.) It's an exquisite moment, encapsulating so much of what the book wrestles with, giving poignance to a scene early in the story, and also beginning to develop the characters who will be central to the primary story.

One of the things that makes the Wendel comics so delightful is Cruse's almost infallible sense of short story form. He produced those comics very quickly, often right up against deadline, and yet more often than not they have a balance of elements that produces far more resonance than many longer works. Reading Stuck Rubber Baby, you would hardly know that Cruse had never before written any comic much longer than 10 pages, and he melds his short story skills to the longer form by allowing the flow of memory to guide the overall narrative, and so the various short sequences can all work separately on their own toward the larger goal, allowing the book as a whole to leave and return to sequences much as the Wendel comic did, though now when he wrote it, Cruse could edit both backwards and forwards in a way he could not do when publishing a new installment every couple weeks. Thus, Stuck Rubber Baby has a far more intentional, unified form than the Wendel collections. (That said, the Wendel collections are more fun — their improvisatory energy is, for me at least, pure delight.)

Cruse began the Wendel comics just as people began to recognize the full horror of the AIDS crisis, and reading Wendel in chronological order is a particularly powerful experience because what begins as a light, slice-of-life comedy can't help but reckon with life in an ever more terrifying world, a world of yuppies and Reagan and plague. There's a remarkable Wendel comic from the fall of 1987 in which Wendel and friends go to a big AIDS demonstration in Washington. The majority of the story is given over to a song by a character named Glenn, who has taken on the responsibility of entertaining everybody on the bus from NYC to DC, and who is, he says, wearing the same gown he wore during the night of the Stonewall riots. The comic ends thus:

Cruse doesn't typically use photographic images in his comics, but here reality invades in the form of the Reagan administration and its cronies. The place and date are specific, and the sense of historical continuity is strong — by having Glenn wear the clothes he wore during the Stonewall riots, Cruse insists on the importance of the current moment for gay history and gay liberation.

AIDS is not explicitly mentioned in Stuck Rubber Baby, but it's an integral context for the story. The book was published before the advent of the drug "cocktail" that helped make HIV, for some people, a chronic, manageable disease rather than a death sentence. Gay people of all backgrounds and beliefs had to come together for political action because their lives were on the line. Silence equals death. Cynicism equals death. Complaisance equals death. In Stuck Rubber Baby, Toland learns a similar lesson. The connection between Toland's world in the 1960s and his world 30 years later did not need to be spelled out to readers in 1995, and the only reference making the connection is a single, tiny, unobtrusive image in a small panel on page 207:

Behind the picture of Ginger holding the baby before it is given up for adoption hangs the iconic "Silence = Death" ACT UP poster.

Stuck Rubber Baby is, then, a story of political awakening, but it was written as a call to consciousness, not a comforting nostalgia trip. In the mid-'90s, it was hard to maintain hope. Bill Clinton did not seem to be a significant improvement over George Bush on AIDS policy or gay rights, the Catholic Church was still vehemently anti-gay and anti-safe-sex (I participated with ACT UP in a small protest against the Pope's visit to New York in, I think, 1996), and progress still seemed far off.

Coming of age queer for my generation meant assuming that you had a high risk of dying young. I think one of the reasons I found Stuck Rubber Baby so powerful when I read it this time was that Toland's struggle against his homosexual desires, his fear that they were not just aberrant but deadly, and his experience of people being killed because of those desires, connected with my own memories of coming to awareness of desires that in all likelihood would lead to a terminal disease. Because of the AIDS crisis and because of how that crisis was represented in the news media and spoken of by the people I knew, queer identity felt to me like a doomed fate. Though I still carry traces of that feeling, and will probably never shed it, given that that was how I first learned to see myself, it doesn't stand in the foreground the way it used to, it doesn't create as much of a sense of being inevitably besieged, of needing to live fatalistically, of forgetting about any future. There is a chasm between that mid-'90s world and now, even though so much of the mid-'90s feels to me like it was just a couple years ago. Toland seems to feel that way about the '60s: he carries its traces and hauntings inside himself, and it isn't until the end that he learns what to do with it all. I'm still learning, myself, what to do with a sense of lived history, when what feels like yesterday also feels like multiple lifetimes ago, and when the terrors of youth still sometimes scream out in the quiet night of adulthood.

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8. Courtney Summers, author of ALL THE RAGE, on a book belonging to the readers

We're honored to have Courtney Summers here to tell us more about her powerful new novel ALL THE RAGE.

Courtney, what is your favorite thing about ALL THE RAGE?

I’ve been working on this book in some form or other since around 2009 or 2010, and after it sold, it took a little over two years and somewhere around six drafts to complete. So just seeing it finished, to know that it’s finally ready for readers, is my favorite thing about All the Rage. I’m very proud of it.

What was your inspiration for writing ALL THE RAGE?

All the Rage is a response to rape culture and an examination of its consequences. The way we fail victims and survivors of sexual violence, the constant victim-blaming, is heartbreaking and infuriating. It’s important that we talk about these things so that we can do better, and that was something I wanted to explore in my work.

What do you hope readers will take away from ALL THE RAGE?

Once a book is out, it doesn’t belong to me anymore—it belongs to the readers. But I do hope that it gets people angry about rape culture. I hope they channel that anger into keeping the conversation about rape culture going.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I do all my best writing at night, with music playing in the background. And I always have to have a cup of coffee and a bottle of water nearby!


All the Rage
by Courtney Summers
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 4/14/2015

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Purchase All the Rage at Amazon
Purchase All the Rage at IndieBound
View All the Rage on Goodreads


COURTNEY SUMMERS was born in Belleville, Ontario in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. At age 14, she dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently and spent those years figuring out what she wanted to do with her life. At 18, she knew she was meant to write.

To date, she has authored five novels. Her first novel, Cracked Up to Be, was published when she was 22 and went on to win the 2009 CYBIL award in YA fiction. Since then, she’s published four more books–2011 YALSA Top 10 Quick Pick and White Pine Honour book, Some Girls Are, 2012 YALSA Quick Pick, Fall for Anything, and 2013 YALSA Top 10 Quick Pick and White Pine Honour book This is Not a Test and All the Rage as well as an e-novella, Please Remain Calm (a sequel to This is Not a Test).

When she is not writing, Courtney loves playing video games, watching horror movies and obsessing over the zombie apocalypse. Her favourite colour is green and she’s a total feminist.

Note from the formatter: ALL THE RAGE is seriously one of my favourite books of 2015. It's an important and powerful book, please make sure to check it out!

What did you think of our interview with Courtney Summers, author of ALL THE RAGE? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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9. Dick Whittington and His Cat (1950)

Dick Whittington and His Cat. Told and cut in linoleum by Marcia Brown. 1950. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Long ago in England there lived a little boy named Dick Whittington. Dick's father and mother died when he was very young, and as he was too small to work, he had a hard time of it.

Premise/plot: Dick Whittington, an orphan, goes to London to seek his fortune--or at least a somewhat better life. It won't be easily come by that's for sure! He eventually finds work in the home of a merchant as a cook's assistant. With his one penny, he happens to buy a cat who is an excellent mouser. The cat will be the key to it all: his eventual success.
Not long after this, Mr. Fitzwarren had a ship ready to sail. He called all his servants into the parlor and asked them what they chose to send to trade. All the servants brought something but poor Dick. Since he had neither money nor goods, he couldn't think of sending anything. "I'll put some money down for him," offered Miss Alice, and she called Dick into the parlor. But the merchant said, "That will not do. It must be something of his own." "I have nothing but a cat," said Dick. "Fetch your cat, boy," said the merchant, "and let her go!" 
My thoughts: Loved the story. Dick Whittington and His Cat received a Caldecott Honor in 1951. I can't say that I particularly "liked" the illustrations. (But I didn't dislike them either.) I enjoyed the story more though.

Have you read Dick Whittington and His Cat? What did you think? Do you have a favorite Caldecott or Caldecott Honor book? 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. growing into happiness: the Guardian, Little Flower, the Penn community, Hodgman

The annual Little Flower Teen Writers Festival is a school-wide celebration of writing and reading—a marvel of an invention in which a school, on a sunny Saturday, opens its doors to story weavers and student hearts. The dynamic, unstoppable Sister Kimberly Miller leads the way. Her girls wouldn't be anywhere else. And yesterday all of us who were in attendance were given keynote words from A.S. King that leapt us to our feet (yes, that's a deliberate inversion of language logic, but that's so what happened). King is one of those writers who has earned her status as a star. Her stories are essential. Her sentences are prime. And when she gets up there behind a microphone she has something actual to say—words that belong to her, ideas unborrowed.

I left Little Flower, rushed home, put on a skirt, swapped out my graffiti boots for a pair of four-inch heels, picked up the cake I'd made the day before, and headed out again to celebrate the career of Greg Djanikian, the exquisite Armenian poet whose life and work I profiled in the Pennsylvania Gazette last year. Greg is stepping down from full-time administrative duties at Penn so that he might write more and live less bounded-ly. Saddened as we are by the thought of seeing him less, last night was anything but a sad event. It brought together (in true Greg fashion) the teachers, writers, and student advocates who give Penn's creative writing program and Kelly Writers House their aura. Oysters, sherbet-colored shirts, an undaunted cat. Talk about food carts, the meaning of words, 1960, serial memoirists (the third Fuller), astonishing turns in storied careers, the art of the frittata, and the costs and high rewards of loving students. Sun when we arrived and stars when we left.

In between the two events, Kit Hain Grindstaff sent word of something wholly unforeseen—a Guardian review of Going Over. It begins like this below and can be read in full here.
Lyrical prose, beautiful and sensual imagery, a dark setting; yet, hope: there is always hope – because for the stars to shine, there needs to be darkness. Going Over just shot to my 'favourites' of 2015 list and I regret nothing. This book is graffiti, and colour and play dough and bikes. It is love, it is death, it is life; it is astronomy, maps, escapes and archery. It is a wall, splitting the earth with dark and hateful ideologies, and it is a spring in your step on one side: pink hair and coloured moles with a quiet and thoughtful being on the other; scope in hand, love clenched in heart and freedom circling though mind. Going Over is Ada and Stefan, Savas and Meryem, Turks and Germans and kids and adults. It is a story of humans and their plight in this world, and it is a story of love.

As is perhaps clear in this recent Huffington interview, I've been thinking a lot of late about what happiness is. I wrote toward that in today's Philadelphia Inquirer story, which has Frenchtown, NJ, as its backdrop. (Thank you Kevin Ferris and your team for another beautiful presentation of my photographs and words.) I've been also thinking a lot about kindness (never simple, often rare), thanks in part to George Hodgman's glorious memoir Bettyville, which I reviewed for the Chicago Tribune, here.

Today there is sun out there, flowering trees, wet-headed daffodils. I'm going to celebrate by finishing the fabulous Between You and Me (Mary Norris) and later checking into Chanticleer garden for the first time this year. I'm way overdue for a visit.

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11. प्लीज!! राहुल जी


अगर मुझे राहुल गांधी जी से एक बार मिलने का मौका मिले तो मैं यही रिक्वेस्ट करुगी कि प्लीज आप भाषण उसी तरह दीजिए जैसा कि आप अपने मेक ओवर से पहले दिया करते थे.. ज्यादा तेज बोलना’ चिल्लाना आपकी पर्सनेलिटी पर सूट नही करता .जिस परिवार से आप है और जो आपकी सोच है निश्चय तौर पर वही ठहराव, गम्भीरता, मुस्कान और प्यार से बोलना ही आप पर सूट करता है. हर एक के बोलने का अपना अपना स्टाईल होता है और आपका वही स्टाईल बहुत अच्छा था . आप ज्यादा तीखे और आक्रमक होकर लोगो से मजाक उडवाने का कारण न बने प्लीज !!

The post प्लीज!! राहुल जी appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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12. Baby Blue Chick

Baby-Chicken-side-view-01I forgot to post this baby blue chick. I have been busy with many projects (that's good, yes). He is the brother to the pink chick. He can be purchased as stock illustration at iStock, go to: Baby Blue Chick

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13. Lance Rubin, author of DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE, on making writing a regular habit

DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE is the debut novel from Lance Rubin, and we're excited to have him with us to share more about it.

Lance, what is your favorite thing about DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE?

This may be a strange answer, but honestly, my favorite thing about DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE is that it exists. Over the years, I've had so many ideas for creative projects that never went beyond the four walls of my brain or the notes section of my iPhone. In fact, before I wrote a single page of this book, it sat in my mind as an idea for around two to three years. Back then, I thought it was going to be a screenplay starring characters in their twenties, and it was only when my acting career totally stalled out at the same time as I read and loved The Hunger Games that I thought "Maybe I should take that idea I had, make the characters teenagers, and try writing it as a young adult novel."

So now, to sit here almost exactly four years later and answer this question, the book not only finished but about to be published, is surreal and magical. I can't believe people I don't know are reading this story.

What do you hope readers will take away from DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE?

For starters, I hope they laugh a lot while reading it. I hope they recognize themselves or people they know in the characters. I hope that the book surprises them, that it takes them on an enjoyable, unpredictable journey.

But I would also love for this book to make readers think about their life in new ways. Their death, too. In my ideal scenario, a reader would put this down and feel newly inspired to--at the risk of sounding painfully cliched--live life to the fullest, to make bold choices, to honestly connect to the people around them, to be fully present and appreciative for each day of being alive.

And, if that doesn't happen, I just hope they've laughed a lot.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Don't wait for someone to ask you to write something. Start TODAY. Right now. And then make sitting down to write a regular habit, whenever you can squeeze it into your life, even on the days when inspiration doesn't strike. It will be challenging and painful and not always fun, but you will learn so much about yourself--from the failures especially--and be fulfilled in many ways you never could have predicted.

What are you working on now?

There is a second DENTON book that I'm in the final stages of rewriting, and I'm in the super-early stages of a new book that has nothing to do with DENTON. I'm not really sure what it is yet, but I do know it has a female protagonist.


Denton Little's Deathdate
by Lance Rubin
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 4/14/2015

Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.

Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that's tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend's hostile sister. Though he's not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton's long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton's life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager's life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

Purchase Denton Little's Deathdate at Amazon
Purchase Denton Little's Deathdate at IndieBound
View Denton Little's Deathdate on Goodreads


Lance Rubin
Lance Rubin spent his twenties working as an actor and writing sketch comedy, with several successful runs of The Lance and Ray Show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City. He has now turned his comedic talents to fiction, and Denton Little’s Deathdate is his first novel. You can find him on the Web at LanceRubin.tumblr.com and on Twitter at @LanceRubinParty.

What did you think of our interview with Lance Rubin, author of DEONTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,
Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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14. Time To Sell Myself....In The Nicest Possible Way!

 Okay, folks, it is that time of the year when I need to promo myself so if you start dozing off remember: Avengers 2 -The Age Of Ultron is released this week!

Black Tower Comics & Books is THE UKs LARGEST INDEPENDENT COMICS PUBLISHER (possibly largest European Independents publisher, too!).  It is run by myself as Publishing Editor.

Between 1984-1994 I worked freelance as a writer/artist/editor/agent in comics as well as comics journalism for MU Press,Blue Comet Press, Fantagraphic Books, Eros Comics, Dorne, Fleetway, IPC and others in the United States, UK and Europe.  During this period I also produced large numbers of single panel gag cartoons for agencies in Germany such as Boiselle-Lohmann and Baaske Agency –these going to magazines and publications around Europe.

I have also worked as a freelance editor in comics and publications ranging from wildlife, astronomy and science fiction magazines.

From 1984 to present I've been self publishing comics as well as publications on a wide variety of subjects under the Black Tower banner.

During this time I have also produced packages of work for companies in India, Hong Kong and China. I have also been working as an industry advisor for smaller companies in countries such as India, Canada, Singapore, China, Europe and the US.

I can be contacted for a much more indepth Cv  at hoopercomicsuk@yahoo.com

To see the number of books and variety of genres -including prose- you can check out the Black Tower Online store:


I do not  work for free or "on spec" and having worked in comics since the 1970s I know all the cons so do not even try them.

I work by payment and deadline.  An A4 design for an event (that will be reduced to A5 as in the example below) will normally cost £25.00 (black and white).
I do not translate comics into other languages but items produced under licence are provided fully lettered in English.

I prefer working with smaller publishers who are attempting to establish themselves and a company "universe" or simply producing specially designed comics for new publishers.

You can all wake up now.

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15. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.

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16. Selecting the best places to draw

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17. Katie Sise, author of THE PRETTY APP, on throwing challenges at your characters

We're excited to have Katie Sise here to tell us more about THE PRETTY APP, her companion novel to THE BOYFRIEND APP.

Katie, what was your inspiration for writing THE PRETTY APP?

When writing THE BOYFRIEND APP, I always felt like there was more to Blake's story. I wanted to know more about why she acted the way she did. And I was intrigued by the idea of writing about a teenager who thinks the only thing of value about her is being beautiful.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

My favorite scene in the book is between Blake and her sister, Nic. It occurs at Notre Dame, (my alma mater), and the college where Nic is enrolled and where Blake and Audrey will attend in the fall. As I was writing THE PRETTY APP, the way the relationship between the two sisters develops was as (or more!) important as the romantic relationship between Blake and Leo.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?
Elizabeth Eulberg's books! 

She's also a friend of mine, so I'm partial, but I always hear readers say that there's a similar tone and style.

How long did you work on THE PRETTY APP?

Much longer than THE BOYFRIEND APP! THE BOYFRIEND APP took about four months to write. THE PRETTY APP took much longer-- maybe about eight months--because there were so many stops and starts. It was just a harder book for me to figure out. Sometimes that happens! But I'm happy with how it turned out, so all of those rewrites were worth it :)

What do you hope readers will take away from THE PRETTY APP?

That everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and that you don't know someone's reasons for being the way that they are until you walk in their shoes. (Not that it excuses Blake's behavior in The Boyfriend App, but remembering that helped me to understand her as a character.)

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

Someone once told me to continually make things hard on your characters, no matter how much you love them. That helped! Throwing challenges at my characters in every chapter helps move the book along and creates suspense.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I always write in quiet. I get too distracted with music. I do love writing in a coffee shop, but for now, I write at home while my son naps, and on weekends, too. So that means I write a little less than twenty hours a week. When my children are in school, I'll go back to a full-time writing schedule. But for now, this works!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Just keep writing. Every day. I think the only reason I got published was because I'd written for so many years and had practice at it, so when the more salable idea came along, I was ready!

What are you working on now?

I'm so excited to be working on another romantic comedy for Balzer + Bray! This one has an entire new casts of characters, and it's been so much fun to write so far!


The Pretty App
by Katie Sise
Balzer + Bray
Released 4/14/2015

Poor Blake Dawkins! She's rich, she's gorgeous, and she's the queen bee of Harrison High. The girls want to be her; the boys want to—okay, enough said. But it turns out Blake’s life is not so perfect—just talk to her dad, who constantly reminds her that she's not up to par, or to her ex-bff, Audrey, who doesn't even look her in the eye.

Then Harrison—and every other high school in America—becomes obsessed with posting selfies on the ubiquitous Pretty App. Next: Leo, an adorable transfer student, arrives at Harrison and begins to show Blake that maybe being a queen bee doesn't mean being a queen bitch. And though Audrey suspects somebody’s playing foul, Blake finds herself catapulted to internet fame after being voted one of the prettiest girls in the country. She's whisked away to star in a reality show—in Hollywood, on live TV. But she doesn’t know who to trust. Because everybody on the show wants to win.

And nobody is there to make friends.

The Boyfriend App author Katie Sise spins another irresistible tale of technology, secrets, and big-time romance in this story of what it takes to be #trulybeautiful.

Purchase The Pretty App at Amazon
Purchase The Pretty App at IndieBound
View The Pretty App on Goodreads


Katharine “Katie” Sise is a New York City based author, jewelry designer and television host. Years ago, at age twenty-four— after dropping a rare and very expensive bottle of champagne on her way to deliver it to Robert De Niro’s table—she realized she needed a way to fund her acting and writing career that didn’t involve balancing a tray full of cocktails. That fall, she taught herself to make jewelry and launched Katharine Sise Jewelry. Within a few months, Lucky Magazine called her a “Designer to Watch” and her company appeared in every major fashion magazine—including Vogue, W, Elle, Self, Lucky, InStyle, Bazaar, Allure, Us Weekly, People, In Touch, Page Six Magazine, Real Simple, FN, Life and Style, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Women’s Wear Daily, Marie Claire and Glamour. Before she knew it, her celebrity clientele included Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Kelly Ripa, Ellen Pompeo, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Beyonce Knowles, Anne Hathaway and Drew Barrymore.

Katharine has been profiled on dozens of online fashion and lifestyle outlets including Forbes.com, Elle.com, InStyle.com, People.com, Sweet, The Huffington Post and The New York Post. Her jewelry has appeared on television shows such as The View, Live with Regis and Kelly, E! News, Good Day New York, Full Frontal Fashion, Movie and a Makeover, The O.C., Brothers and Sisters and Gossip Girl. While Katharine was chatting with the ladies from The View, one of her necklaces broke on air and fell from her neck to her lap because she didn’t spend enough time getting the clasp right. That moment is preserved, forever, on a DVD at her parents’ house.

Katharine has designed jewelry for national campaigns like Vera Wang, Gap and Keds. In 2009, Target launched Katharine Sise for Target.

Katharine has worked as a fashion and lifestyle consultant, appearing on-air for networks like HSN, Oxygen, Discovery Channel, CNBC and ABC’s Good Morning America. For eighteen months, Katharine co-hosted a live monthly television show for The Home Shopping Network. She also appeared as The Daily Special’s resident style expert.

Katharine’s first book, Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career (Perseus/Running Press) hit shelves in September of 2010. Creative Girl is written for every woman who wants to make her living in the creative world, whether in an office job or at the helm of her own business. The book is an encouraging and practical take on how to make a living doing what you love.

Katharine’s first novel, The Boyfriend App, was published by HarperCollins Balzer + Bray on April 30, 2013. The Boyfriend App tells the story of a girl who, in order to win a scholarship offered by a secretly-evil global computing corporation, invents an app that makes any boy fall madly in love with her, with chaotic results. The Boyfriend App has received rave reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, and VOYA.

Katharine has a BA in Film, Television and Theater from The University of Notre Dame. She lives in New York City with her family.

What did you think of our interview with Katie Sise, author of THE PRETTY APP? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin

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18. Weekend Links Earth Day, Garden and Other Assorted Book Fun

Welcome to Weekend Links!

weekend links

So far this month has been jam-packed with insightful education, booklists, outdoor activities and cool nature resources for kids and parents interested in raising global citizens.  I would like to share them this weekend as my Weekend Links Round-up. Enjoy!

Check out my guest post at Kid Lit Celebrates Women’s History Month; The Mother of Trees Wangari Maathai -so honored to be included!

Mama Miti

This was shared by one of our dedicated readers Donna Marie and the it’s from the author of the Secret Garden’s house. Bookish Illuminations; Entering The Secret Garden at Great Maytham Hall. It’s fantastic!!

The Secret Garden1 Great_Maytham_Hall_-_geograph.org.uk_-_228926

How to Find Children’s Books in Spanish in One Easy Step from Spanish Playground


5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog  via PragmaticMom

multicultural novels

10 Simple Ways Kids Can Celebrate Earth Day-via Multicultural Kids Blogs

Earth Day books

We Need Diverse Books Tells AWP 2015: Write Diverse Books That Sell  via Publishers Weekly

Reading: It’s good for their health.  Harper Collins Children’s Books

Grab it before it’s GONE! My Free Curious George Gets a Medal Rocketship Craft and Activity!

Family Book Festival

Get Out in to the Garden! Have you missed the last few Secret Garden Wednesdays? These are too much fun not to read!

If you are in the mood for another and inactive story, check out the enhanced digital eBook for kids, The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory!

The Ultimate Guide To Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is a step by step roadmap to this magical world.   Just some of the fun includes:

  • A story filled with beautiful graphic illustrations including tantalizing Treasure Maps and vibrant tutorials.


  • Over 20 Crafts and activities that not only entertain, but educate.
  • You get to jump inside the book and enjoy creating the adventures yourself (Templates, maps, and more are included.)
  • Ever wonder where chocolate comes from? Or how gum is made?  Wonder no more. Now you get to make your own.
  • Conduct activities in the areas of crafting, cooking, and game-playing as well as exploring many facets of candy production.
  • The option to take Charlie’s journey over the course of several days or take shorter journeys if you wish.
  • The creation of a new ritual of reading time with your family and the opportunity to experience the reading of this imaginative tale as a group activity, not a solitary event.

Go HERE to learn more and grab your copy from iBooks!

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie


The post Weekend Links Earth Day, Garden and Other Assorted Book Fun appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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19. Erin Bowman, author of FORGED, on writing to music without lyrics

FORGED is the final novel in the Taken trilogy, and we're delighted to have Erin Bowman here to tell us more about it.

Erin, what scene of FORGED was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

There is a scene about halfway through the novel that made me sob uncontrollably as I wrote it. It was a very difficult scene to get on paper, but a necessary one. I'm hoping readers aren't too mad at me for it! ;)

I also very much love the final scene of the book. I think it leaves readers with a very hopeful image after a book of dark twists and untimely character deaths. (Again, sorry readers! I swear I don't enjoy torturing you!)

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I don't have too much of a ritual--I write when I have time, but it does always include coffee and music. I tend to avoid songs with lyrics, though. I find that distracting. Instead I focus on film scores and instrumental music. You can listen to some examples of the stuff I gravitate towards while writing here.

What are you working on now?

I just finished up my work on Vengeance Road, a YA western standalone that comes out from HMH on 9/1/15. I'm now back to staring at the blank page and dreaming up new stories. Here's hoping my muse cooperates soon!


by Erin Bowman
Released 4/14/2015

Gray Weathersby and his group of rebels must make their final stand in the epic conclusion to the Taken trilogy, which New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu called "an action-packed thrill ride from beginning to end."

The Order is building an unstoppable army, with every generation of Forgeries harder to detect and deadlier than the one before. It’s time for Gray and his fellow rebels to end the Order's world of lies. But when the most familiar faces—and even the girl he loves—can’t be trusted, Gray will have to tread carefully if he wants to succeed. Or survive.

Purchase Forged at Amazon
Purchase Forged at IndieBound
View Forged on Goodreads


Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her family and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger. She is the author of TAKEN, FROZEN, and FORGED (4/14/15) from HarperTeen. VENGEANCE ROAD is forthcoming from HMH (9/1/15).

What did you think of our interview with Erin Bowman, author of FORGED? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin

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20. Countdown to STRANGE SKIES

I can’t believe it’s almost April 28th which means this:

strange skies

is almost here! I’m doing a countdown over on my Facebook author page, where I’m sharing a fun tidbit each day leading up to the release. Today, I mention a similarity I have with my main character, Tora. I’ll also be giving away prizes so check it out!

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21. Shadow Moths

<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Butterfly_Green-underside_Blue_-_Glaucopsyche_alexis_01.jpg#/media/File:Butterfly_Green-underside_Blue_-_Glaucopsyche_alexis_01.jpg">Butterfly Green-underside Blue - Glaucopsyche alexis 01</a>" by <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Zcebeci" title="User:Zcebeci">Zeynel Cebeci</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>. Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0" title="Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0">CC BY-SA 4.0</a> via <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/">Wikimedia Commons</a>.

I'm delighted to announce that Caroline Callaghan of Frightful Horrors has excepted two of my short stories - Blood Moth Kiss and We make our own Monsters here.  They will be published as a mini-bite on Kindle in June/July this year. The title of the mini-collection is Shadow Moths. Both stories are previously unpublished.

In almost as exciting news, I've finally rearranged my study. This means, SKY allowing, that I will have proper internet access again and will be able to blog (hello, world) and keep up with submitting stories. If I actually have any to send out that is. I have one out in the Land of Please, one in my inbox in the Doom of No, and three in scrap form that need to be typed up, edited etc etc etc.

Image courtesy of wikicommons.

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22. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip

There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 

An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule

Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 

0 Comments on New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip as of 3/18/2015 4:48:00 PM
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23. April 19-25, 2015 Celebrating National Coin Week

When I was a little girl, I loved collecting pennies and putting them in those hard blue folders with the circles for holding each penny. (I still have that collection more than 50 years later!) And I love keeping a coin from each country I visit too. So I was tickled to discover there is a bona fide holiday celebrating COINS! And that holiday starts TODAY! Yes, it is National Coin Week this week, April 19-25, 2015. 

To celebrate, let's pause for a poem about coins. Cynthia H. has gathered a group of four young readers with each girl taking one stanza of the poem, reading with a lot of enthusiasm and in both English and Spanish. Plus, Cynthia has added visuals, music, and sound effects (clinking coins!). Enjoy their reading of "Pocket Change" by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman.

And do you want to know more about such numismatic events? For more information about National Coin Week, click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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24. Must a subplot affect the main plot?

Hello. I have a question. I'm writing on an epic fantasy novel. This novel has four main characters, who also double as both POV characters and protagonists

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25. A woman’s journey in Kashmiri politics

Nyla Ali Khan’s recent book The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation, though primarily a biography of her grandmother Akbar Jehan, promises to be much more than that. It is also a narration of the story of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the charismatic political leader who is still recognized as the greatest political leader that Kashmir ever produced.

The post A woman’s journey in Kashmiri politics appeared first on OUPblog.

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