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1. GIVEAWAY, REVIEW: FIRE DOWN BELOW, Debra Anastasia









#‎FireDownBelow‬  

 ▴Amazon US ➜ amzn.to/1HvQywp 

▴Amazon UK ➜ amzn.to/1DgCa4U 

▴Amazon AU ➜ bit.ly/1CkOCDU 

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Dove Glitch is embarrassed about everything above her knees and below her belly button. When she has to fill a delicate, embarrassing prescription the last thing she needs is a sexy-as-hell (and brand spanking new) pharmacist behind the counter.

Johnson Fitzwell’s first day of his dream career also happens to coincide with the exact moment Dove needs her feminine meds filled. His glorious voice is way too loud–as in, he should be counting down the hits with Ryan Seacrest kind of loud. Thanks to Johnson’s handsome face and gorgeous jaw line, Dove dives headlong into her waking nightmare and asks for a vagina-scented cream.

How could she not fall for him? Dove's only active goal now is to get Johnson to kiss her right on the lips. Either set. However, his horrible girlfriend is one of many obstacles preventing her from making that fantasy a reality. When Dove defends Johnson in the most unhygienic, unconventionally gross way in the middle of a crowded restaurant, their tender, slightly tantric relationship is off to a galloping, farting start.

Each print copy of this book will be dipped in holy water by my mom, and glared at by my father as he purses his lips. Neither will help. So, drop your pants and turn to the left and cough. I hope you're not allergic to latex, because it’s time to fill your prescription. Anally.



Oh God. We’re talking about me being naked, in the shower with cooter cream. Please world, end. Kill me.
“I know it’s not soap. I just… if it’s scented… I can’t do scented. Flowers and stuff
like that. Fruit-flavored soaps make… things… burnish.” She could tell from the
peeks at his face Mr. Fitzwell had never stepped foot in bath and lotion store,
wanting to try the array of fun fragrances. Nor had he purchased Peppermint
Candy shower gel, foamed up his nether regions, and felt like he had dipped
them in lava. Dove crossed and uncrossed her legs at the memory.
Mr. Fitzwell seemed concerned. “Okay, just a heads-up. It’s definitely not good to
put any fruits or plant life near your genitals.” He made a V with his hands
and formed his own pretend vagina in front of his pants.
Dove covered her eyes and tried to defend herself because now she could hear the
sickly older woman beating her supporters with a purse.
Dove’s mumbling got louder with her embarrassment. “I don’t put weird things down…
there. Just make sure that the cream’s vagina-scented. Just plain. For vaginas.” She kept her eyes on the counter. 


There are a lot of eyes in Debra Anastasia’s house in Maryland. First, her own creepy peepers are there, staring at her computer screen. She’s made two more sets of eyes with her body, and the kids they belong to are amazing. The poor husband is still looking at her after 17 years of marriage. At least he likes to laugh. Then the freaking dogs are looking at her—six eyeballs altogether though the old dog is blind. And the cat watches her too, mostly while knocking stuff off the counter and doing that internal kitty laugh when Deb can’t catch the items fast enough.
          

Debra has a smattering of books in a few genres. There are two in the Seraphim Series and three in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series with a prequel, Poughkeepsie Begins in the near future. Fire Down Below is the first in the comedic Gynzaule Series. The second, Fire in the Hole, will be published in late 2015. The Revenger, a dark paranormal romance will debut this summer. And last, a novella called Late Night with Andres is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) You can find her at DebraAnastasia.com and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared...

 
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2. Entertainment Round-up: Supergirl pulls a Smallville and casts Dean Cain and Helen Slater, Lucifer is cast, Thor and Aquaman speak out

Thor

Between some casting news and a few choice interviews, it was a busier 24 hours than most in the entertainment news cycle. Here are the headlines of interest for the weekend:

– CBS’ Supergirl added a few Superman franchise vets yesterday as both Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and Helen Slater (Supergirl, the movie) have signed on for the series. It isn’t the first time these two have re-joined the DC Universe, both appeared in Smallville at different times: Cain as a Vandal Savage-like immortal scientist, and Slater as Lara-El. Their roles are being kept under wraps this time around.

– FOX’s Lucifer has found its lead as well, as British thespian Tom Ellis (Rush, Miranda) will be playing the former Lord of Hell who now helps the LAPD punish criminals.

– On the Avengers: Age of Ultron side of things, we have some new character posters promoting the film including The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Nick Fury:

hulk

Thor

BlackWIdow

NickFury

 

Collider also has a great interview with Chris Hemsworth that’s worth a look at if you’re curious where Marvel may be taking Thor specifically. There’s one bit of exchange I found interesting, where Hemsworth slightly hints at why Thor: The Dark World wasn’t as necessarily successful as the first Thor:

What’s something Thor gets to do in this film that he hasn’t done before in the other fims?

HEMSWORTH: He’s loosened up a bit. I think we lost some of the humor and the naïveté, that sort of fish out of water quality of Thor from the first film into the second one. There were things I loved about what we did in the second one too, tonally, but that sense of fun… I would have liked it to be there a bit more, and Joss I think felt the same way.  So there’s more humor in Thor or at least because he’s been on Earth, he’s a little more accessible now.  He’s off Asgard now so he doesn’t have to be as regal and kingly as he is in that world, which is nice. I enjoy that more.  It’s sort of a box, which is tough to step out of on Asgard.  You know, that stuff just looks out of place whereas here, he can have a gag with the guys and he can throw away lines and be a party scene with them in civilian clothes, which is nice.

– Speaking of regal superheroes, Jason Momoa chatted briefly with EW while promoting Sundance TV’s The Red Road, and of course Aquaman came up. At one point he compares his DCU experience with that of Conan The Barbarian:

The whole mythology of Aquaman is pretty amazing. There’s so many things to tell, and there’s a whole backstory that’s just amazing. There’s a lot of surprises coming. I think, yeah, he’s been cast aside. But, um [laughs] times are going to change now, buddy. Conan was really hard, because you have 15 different types of fans and so many things to respect and honor. To do it right it’s got to be bloody-bloody-bloody-bloody-bloody, and not a lot of people go see that anymore. It’s not the ’80s anymore. It’s a really hard format. We busted ass, but there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen on that one. What’s great about this is Zack, man. We don’t want to just reinvent it, but he’s a got a whole idea of what Aquaman should be and I’m really honored to be playing it. I’m excited for the world to see it.

He also more or less confirmed that Aquaman’s role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is fairly small and filming for Justice League has not begun yet.

 

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3. Five Questions for Trent Reedy, author of BURNING NATION

(The first in a new series of brief interviews with authors of forthcoming books)


1. Tell us a little bit about your book.

Burning Nation is the second book in the Divided We Fall trilogy. It continues the story of seventeen-year-old Idaho Army National Guardsman PFC Danny Wright and his friends as they are stuck in the middle of a tense stand-off between the state of Idaho and the federal government of the United States. In the first book, Divided We Fall, Idaho has voted to nullify the Federal Identification Card Act. When Danny’s National Guard unit is sent to quell a protest/riot resulting from this nullification, he accidentally fires his rifle, which causes other people to shoot, leaving twelve dead and nine wounded. The president demands an investigation and prosecution. The governor of Idaho refuses to cooperate, saying that he gave a lawful order to the National Guardsmen under his command.

Burning Nation begins right where the first book left off, with the president sending the military to force Idaho to comply with federal law. Right from the beginning, Danny and his friends are caught up in the fight, but as the country descends into the chaos of the Second American Civil War, losses begin to take their toll. It becomes hard to understand what has been won, but easy to see what’s been lost. As the sacrifices mount and betrayals abound, Danny and his friends begin to think about the wounds they’ve suffered, inside and out.

It’s an action-packed book that continues to explore what happens when America’s current political divide widens into tomorrow’s nightmare, and it’s alarming how many real-life headlines seem to have been predicted by Divided We Fall and Burning Nation.

2. If this book had a theme song, what would it be and why?

Ten years ago, when my fellow soldiers and I were serving in Farah Province in Afghanistan, we were struck by how much the landscape resembled that featured in the movie Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. That movie features a song by Tina Turner called "We Don’t Need Another Hero." My fellow soldiers would joke about this song, with one man saying, “We don’t need another hero” and another replying, “We don’t even know the way home.” The video is a bit dated and cheesy, but if you listen to the words, the song really fits as a commentary on the brutality and waste of war that is very appropriate for Burning Nation.


3. Please name and elaborate upon at least one thing you learned or discovered about writing in the course of creating this book.

When I began work on Burning Nation, I was under the naive assumption that writing the book would be easier because I had already finished Divided We Fall. I knew the characters, the setting, and at least the situation that led to the events in Burning Nation. I should have known that Burning Nation would be as significant if not a greater challenge than the first book. One of the challenges came from the situation the characters face. Throughout most of Burning Nation Danny and his friends must endure a federal military occupation of their small northern Idaho town. With U.S. soldiers hunting for them all the time, their movements, and thus my options for the kinds of scenes I could include, felt rather limited. I began to feel almost as claustrophobic as Danny and his fellow soldiers.

Another challenge with writing Burning Nation was that it was the second part of a story that already had its first part on the market. I was facing a situation that was new to me, that of having public feedback on characters and other aspects of the larger Divided We Fall story, while I was writing that story’s second installment. It felt like having many, sometimes too many, advisors in my office with me while I worked. Cheryl was wise, as she usually is, when she encouraged me to stop looking at reviews and reader comments as I worked on Burning Nation.

4. What is your favorite scene in the book?

I’m really quite happy with a lot of the scenes in Burning Nation, so I’m going to cheat and list two. First, since Burning Nation isn’t merely an action/war book, but is a piece which, I hope, encourages the reader to think about the terrible nature of war and its effects on those who live through it, I’d like to point out a scene that happens after Danny Wright has been through terrible physical and emotional torture. He is out of his mind from sleep deprivation and other torments, and when his one-time rival TJ bursts into his cell to rescue him, Danny isn’t sure if what is happening is even real. He’s confused and kind of cries, “Travis?” Travis Jones realizes that Danny is seriously messed up and it’s going to be harder to rescue him than he and his friends supposed. It’s a small moment, but I hope there’s a lot of emotion in that simple question, that exhausted and near-breaking-point, “Travis?”

And since I love some good action, I’m also quite happy with a hand-to-hand fight scene near the end of the book. It’s a fight between Danny and a U.S. Army major, a desperate fight to the death where Danny has to make an important decision about how deep into the war he’s willing to go, and how much of himself he wants to save. In addition to the moral question the fight raises, I just think it’s a clear scene, a tense and suspenseful fight. And the conclusion of the scene is really quite chilling.

5. What are you working on now?

I am hard at work on the third book in the Divided We Fall trilogy, entitled The Last Full Measure. The story follows America’s further final decline into a terrible civil war, and the difficult consequences this has for Danny Wright and his friends. I’m having lots of fun working on it, and it’s on schedule for a 2016 release.

For more about this book, including an excerpt, reviews, and purchase information, visit the Burning Nation page on the Arthur A. Levine Books website. 

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4. Still Building!

We librarians are still building our Everyday Advocacy muscles, but we need to add one other thing to the mix, diversity. How can we as librarians connect advocacy and diversity? The talk of the day, the happening of our time, the attention grabber of our consciousness is the conversation taking place currently about diversity. The events in Ferguson, Missouri and similar events in other locations, the insensitive remarks spoken at a National Book Award event honoring Jacqueline Woodson and the on-going We Need Diverse Books campaign are stories which have captured our attention.

At breakout sessions during an ALA Midwinter meeting on diversity sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and ALSC, some takeaway ideas included the following:

  • Use parents and caregivers as resources.
  • Create virtual programs to reach untapped communities.
  • Develop partnerships which are crucial.
  • Create more diverse books.
  • Contact Barnes and Nobles to suggest a list of books that are not on its shelves, and then ask why.
  • Go to patrons wherever they are.
  • Be a change and a leader in your community

Issues raised during the meeting included: There should be more diverse staffing at publishing companies, there should be more characters with disabilities in literature for children. Jason Low of Lee and Low Publishing, suggested that a diversity problem is a cultural problem. Librarians asked these questions: How do you create a more diverse library? How do you reach out to diverse communities? ALSC and the CBC asked librarians in attendance,   what are some gaps you think we can fill? There were even more questions. One of the speakers asked the audience, what changes are you willing to make as librarians? When will you make a change, in one week, one month, one year?

There are many unanswered questions. There are even some final questions to ask ourselves: What are some of the challenges that your library is facing concerning diversity? What are the gifts you bring to the conversation? Gifts is a key word here.

We librarians bring our gifts every day to the jobs we do as librarians. It is part of the everyday advocacy that empowers us. Conversation is the thing that is being added to the mix, and the thing that will ultimately bring closure to the unanswered questions.

*************************************************************

Today’s blog post was written by Barbara Spears, a member of the ALSC  Advocacy and Legislation Committee.

The post Still Building! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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5. Query question: former agent/when to reveal

My former agent and I recently parted company on good terms. Without going into details, we inherited each other when his partner left the business. and weren't really a good fit.

I am currently completing a non-fiction proposal, which was not completed at the time when we said "bonne chance and farewell" and which he did not send out. Do I mention previous representation in the query or bring it up later in the process?




You do not need to mention a former agent for a new project UNLESS you've been published before.

If you have been published, you'll need to mention the earlier works, the publisher and that the agent who handled the deal for you left the business.



If you haven't been published, you don't need to mention any previous agent relationships since this project did not go out on submission.


Make sure you update your website if you have the old agent's name on it.  That's one of the easiest ways for me to discover that someone has been represented/published before if they don't mention it in the query. And yes, I DO look. If I'm interested in reading your manuscript (or in this case proposal) I do some sniffing around ahead of time to see if there are any bumps in the road.

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6. Summing Up Our 3 Favorite Manga We Read in February In A Paragraph

So it’s the end of the month, and it’s time to reflect a bit. In other words, reflecting on manga that we read this month and revealing that it was amazing. Let’s just say Justin continues to find absolutely weird manga on his reading list though and call it a day. Basara Justin: Despite all ... Read more

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7. Step Into The Spotlight (2015)

The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Marlo's mom has just joined the circus: joined as a chef. Her and her mom will now be living on a circus train. There are several other children for Marlo to get to know: some are performers themselves, some are children of employees and/or performers. Marlo really wants to become friends with the three Stardust girls: Allie, the acrobat, Bella, the animal trainer, and Carly, the clown. She's been told she can join the Stardust Parade IF she can come up with an amazing act of her own. She has just TWO days until the next performance. She's very determined and quite ambitious. Perhaps she can learn to be an acrobat? or a clown? or work with animals? Or perhaps not. Can Allie, Carly, and Bella help Marlo find her own way of being amazing? And will Marlo become a Stardust girl too?

This is an illustrated chapter book. I liked it. I did. It's a fun book with a playful premise.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. New Kickstarter Reward for all backers!



Acquerello III Kickstarter just cross the 90% mark and getting closer to the goal.  Thank you everyone for your awesome support!!  This campaign has a little over a week to go.  If you can help to meet the goal by Wednesday, March 4.  I will give all my backers an uncut 30 mins watercolor video demo of “Together Forever” as an additional rewards.

Here is the teaser trailer of “Together Forever” painting demo  ^_______^
Join the pledge now at - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/867120167/acquerello-iii-watercolor-and-beyond

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9. Cecil Castellucci, author of STONE IN THE SKY, on interviewing an astronaut

What was your inspiration for writing STONE IN THE SKY?

STONE IN THE SKY is the sequel to TIN STAR which was very loosely inspired by the film Casablanca.  For Stone, I wanted it to have a western kind of True grit / gold rush of 1849 feel.  So look to any western.

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?

A really hard scene for me to write I can't really talk about it, because it's a spoiler.  But it basically really shows you how horrible Brother Blue is.  I think when you are writing about the results of someone's evil, it's hard to write.  That darkness does not sit well with me, but as writers we must push through the darkness to get back to the light.  I also wrote a scene that takes place during a spacewalk.  I actually got to interview astronaut Rick Mastracchio, who is a space walking expert, about what that's like.  That was pretty cool, to get little details from a person who has actually walked in space.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I would say to check out John Christopher's The Tripod Trilogy.  That has always been a touchstone for me.  And the aliens in there are very alien, even if it's an earth based story.  I would also say that Deep Space Nine or Babylon Five are probably good watch alikes.

What do you hope readers will take away from STONE IN THE SKY?

I wanted it to be the story about a girl who sheds her humanity in order to survive and then rediscovers it.  So I hope that a reader thinks about what it means to be human.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I always say that it's about a ten year waiting list to be an artist of any kind.  You have to get in line, do your work, and do more work.  For me, it took about 7 years from the time I got serious about writing before I sold my first book.  That book was BOY PROOF, it's about a girl who is obsessed with a post apocalyptic film and dresses as the main character to go to school every day and how that affects her relationships when a new kid comes to school.  I wrote three full books before I sold that one.  And it came out two years after I sold it.  So, almost 10 years.  I say, just keep writing and putting stuff out there.  It's a marathon.  It's a long road.  And once you do get published, there are more roads to keep walking on.

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

I make a play list for every book that I write.  It's a bunch of songs that jump me straight into the vibe and emotional tone of the novel.  Here is the one I had for TIN STAR http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2014/02/book_notes_ceci_2.html I work at home and at coffee shops depending on where I am at in the process.  Sometimes I need to hole up in my house like a mad woman.  Become a troll, emerge a fairy.

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

Don't be afraid of making your work better by listening to good notes.  Anything that you have to cut you can always put in another project.  Nothing is ever wasted.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a draft of a middle grade novel.  We'll see!  It's my first!  Always experimenting, that's my motto.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Stone in the Sky
by Cecil Castellucci
Hardcover
Roaring Brook Press
Released 2/24/2015

In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.

After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it's discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula's worst enemy.

Purchase Stone in the Sky at Amazon
Purchase Stone in the Sky at IndieBound
View Stone in the Sky on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cecil Castellucci 2014 web_res-9382Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star and Odd Duck. Her picture book, Grandma’s Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, YARN, Tor.com, and various anthologies including, Teeth, After and Interfictions 2. She is the YA editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus and a two time Macdowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles.

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10. Golden Advice: Musings on Aldous Huxley's Essay "Sermons in Cats"

Hi folks, this is my February series on Golden Advice. I like to spend the month of February digging into the wisdom that has come my way, and that guides my art, my craft and my life. I find having some wise stuff in the soul helps me write stories with purpose. This week's thoughts are my musings on Aldous Huxley's essay: "Sermons in Cats."

I've had author crush on Aldous Huxley since my teens. He wrote books like Brave New World. I read it, and we became best friends. He wrote screenplays: Pride and Prejudice (1940)and Jane Eyre (1944). He wrote essays, poems, travel journals, and even (gasp) a children's book. (You are making me look lame, bestie.)

This week I'm musing about his essay "Sermons in Cats." A young author once asked Huxley how to become a novelist. Huxley encouraged the young author to buy lots of paper, a pen, ink, and write. The young author was not satisfied with this answer and begged Huxley for his writing formula. Huxley then urged the young writer to go to a fancy university and study writing. The young author was still unsatisfied and asked Huxley "did he keep a notebook or a journal," did he jot things on napkins or did use cross indexed cards, did he read novels exclusively or be well read across all subjects, and more questions.

Finally Huxley had enough and he offered this: "My young friend," I said, "if you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is to keep a pair of cats."

The young writer left disconsolate. He wanted some magic formula, but Huxley put some heavy truth on the table instead. What makes stories interesting is when we look under the veneer of "manners, conventions, traditions of thought and feeling." Cats are malcontents. Imagine the marriage of two Siamese cats. They are at each other throats and fur flies. It's no fairy tale. Watching the behavior of cats will keep you from banality and untruths that parade as true relationships.

I have two cats and they are true characters. They are friends one minute and sinking in fangs in the next. Those twitching tails indicate perverse plans in the future. They are also affectionate, nuzzling and rubbing, and then out of nowhere, biting. My cats will moan like the world is coming to an end at night outside my door, and then purr like motorboats when I let them in, and then scratch me a few seconds later. Yes, Huxley has something here. Some big sermons for writers are hidden in the lives of cats.
I hope that this series helps you no your journey. I will be back next week with my Lucky March series.

Here is a doodle for you:






A quote for your pocket: 

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm. Aldous Huxley

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11. Clarity about ‘the gay thing’

Sometimes, we say what we don’t really mean. ‘You look really tired’, for example, when we mean to be caring rather than disparaging of appearance. ‘I thought you were older than that!’ when we mean to applaud maturity rather than further disparage appearance. And so it is with the gay thing. The accidental difference between what people are saying or writing, and their intended meaning, is becoming perplexingly polarized.

The post Clarity about ‘the gay thing’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. What If...? (2014)

What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

Joe was going to his first big party. It was at his friend Tom's house, but Joe had lost the invitation and didn't know the house number. "It's OK, Joe," said Mom. "Tom lives somewhere on this street. We'll find it." So they set off.

Premise/Plot: Joe is anxious about attending his friend's party. Not just anxious about finding his friend's house, but about the party itself. He's worried about who will be there, what kind of food there will be, what games he'll be expected to play, etc. He's not sure if he'll want to actually stay at the party. (If his mom wasn't insistent, Joe might even not go to the party to begin with.)  He is walking to the party with his mom, and, together they are looking into the windows of each house trying to find the party.

What If...? got starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly.

My thoughts: I could relate to Joe's anxiety. So I wanted to like the book. But it was just a bit too odd for me to actually like it. What didn't I like? Well, the illustrations. They look into the windows of many houses on the street. These window scenes are illustrated in detail. And the scenes are just weird and slightly disturbing at times. It was hard to take them seriously. And since Joe's anxiety was real, I thought the illustrations were off. (In one scene, there's a man and woman sitting together reading. If you look closely, he's got antennas on his balding head. In another, there's an elephant in the house. In two more scenes, it looks like their are crimes being committed. Since readers are given two glimpses of each house, one from a distance, one up close, one is supposed to conclude that Joe's anxiety is getting the best of him perhaps and his imagination has run away with him. But I'm still not sure. I just don't like the illustrations.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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13. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE. AT THE COFFEE SHOP


SMALL TALK

 
SCENE:  SMALL COFFEE SHOP

AT RISE: A FEMALE (FEMALE 1) BRINGS A TRAY TO A TABLE, PULLS OUT A CHAIR,  SITS DOWN, STARTS TO UNWRAP A SANDWICH AND DRINK HER COFFEE

AN ELDERLY FEMALE (FEMALE 2) AT THE NEXT TABLE EATING A SANDWICH, TURNS AND STUDIES HER.

 
FEMALE 2

Your hair
 

FEMALE 1

Sorry?

 
FEMALE 2

Your hair is nice


FEMALE 1
(touching hair)

Thank you.

 
FEMALE 2

I mean, your hair is reallynice. Who does it?


FEMALE 1

A local hair stylist where I live

 
(Turns her attention to a cell phone)

 
FEMALE 2

My children and my grandchildren have those electronic gadgets


FEMALE 1

My cell?


FEMALE 2

Is that what it’s called?


FEMALE 1

Very handy. Pick up my mail…see what’s happening in the world…
 

FEMALE 2

Hmmm… I still like a good, old fashioned phone that stays in one place

 
FEMALE 1

Hardly use mine


FEMALE 2

Can only use my good, old fashioned, black push-button phone in my apartment, though, but that’s okay. The way I see it, I don’t want the world to hear my conversations. Not that I have anything to hide.  Know what I mean?


FEMALE 1

Got’cha

 
(cell rings as FEMALE 2 watches FEMALE 1 speaking on the cell)


FEMALE 2

See? I heard everything you were saying. Not that I was trying to be nosy or anything. Point I’m making is there’s no privacy these days.

 
FEMALE 1

(staring down at her cell and involved in texting, somewhat ignoring FEMALE 2)

…uh-huh…

 
FEMALE 2

Know what? Before when I was in the bathroom, I heard a woman talking on those things while she was…well you know…peeing. That is like – so disgusting, don’t you think? I mean, couldn’t she live without that thing for the few minutes it would take to use the toilet? And she didn’t even flush! Probably didn’t even wash her hands, either, after!


FEMALE 1

…appointment tomorrow at 10 a.m. with John…

 
FEMALE 2

I’m sorry. You’re busy.
 

 (silence between them for 10 seconds)

 
(cont’d. FEMALE 2) You’re a coffee drinker I would guess?


FEMALE 1

Yup…


FEMALE 2

Don’t you find that coffee loses flavor in a paper cup?


FEMALE 1

...uh-huh...

 
FEMALE 2

People don’t have time to take care of the little things in life, anymore, like taking the time to really talk one-on-one. Human communication is a lost art


(FEMALE 1 loads her tray and starts to get up, preparing to leave, her focus on her cell)


FEMALE 1

Nice talking to you. Have a great day

 
FEMALE 2

Same here.  (calling as she walks away) ‘Love her your hair…’

 
(a female (FEMALE 3) sits down at the table next to FEMALE 2 , drinking coffee and reading a newspaper)
 

FEMALE 2

Always good to keep updated with the latest news. I would give up lots of things before giving up a newspaper that I actually touch and flip the pages. Mind you, I think our kind are dinosaurs

 
FEMALE 3
(inattentive)

Um – I guess…maybe…

 
(FEMALE 2 continues to talk waiting/hoping for a reaction from FEMALE 3)
 

FEMALE 2

Mind you, these days people get all their latest news and speak to each other on those cell phone gadgets but I don’t own one, though…  Don’t even have a computer…my kids wanted to get me one but then I’d have to learn to use it… By the way, your hair is really nice…who does it?

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14. NEW Kickstarter reward for all backers!!



Acquerello III Kickstarter just cross the 90% mark and getting closer to the goal.  Thank you everyone for your awesome support!!  This campaign has a little over a week to go.  If you can help to meet the goal by Wednesday, March 4.  I will give all my backers an uncut 30 mins watercolor video demo of “Together Forever” as an additional rewards.

 
Here is the teaser trailer of “Together Forever” painting demo  ^_______^
Join the pledge now at - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/867120167/acquerello-iii-watercolor-and-beyond

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15. Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of MARK OF THE THIEF, on understanding who your reader wants to be

What was your inspiration for writing MARK OF THE THIEF?

MARK OF THE THIEF started with two facts I stumbled upon. The first was that Emperor Julius Caesar used to claim he was a literal descendent of the Goddess Venus. He did this to make himself seem more powerful and invincible, but I began thinking, What if he was telling the truth? That would have made him a demigod, perhaps with some of their magic. The second fact was that ancient Roman boys used to wear a large golden amulet called a bulla, which was filled with gems in order to provide the boy good luck. So I thought, What if Caesar’s bulla was where he kept his magic? And what if that bulla became lost after Caesar’s death, only to be found nearly three hundred years later by a slave in the mines?

What do you hope readers will take away from MARK OF THE THIEF?

What an interesting question! I would love for readers to understand that there is a price for freedom. Nic wants that more than anything, but it won’t come easily or without a cost. I also think there’s a message for readers that every individual matters. Even those who society might determine are the lowest of the low.

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 most of my writing at home, but only because I’m lazy about going out! I enjoy editing to music, but the plotting and first draft needs to be in silence. That’s the time in which I really need to become absorbed in the story’s world.

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

One thing I’ve learned in publication is to understand who your reader is. Readers who love a story will read themselves into the pages, as if they are going on the adventure in that character’s shoes. So once we understand our reader, then we write, not for who they are, but for who they want to be. Let them go on an adventure with a character they want to be more like.

What are you working on now?

My goodness - it’s a crazy time! As I type this, I am in the middle of edits for MARK OF THE THIEF 2, outlining the third book in the series, doing proofs for A NIGHT DIVIDED, a Cold War era historical coming this August, and plotting for another standalone book for fall of 2016. Needless to say, I’m not sleeping a lot. But I am having a great time!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Mark of the Thief
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Hardcover
Scholastic Press
Released 2/24/2015

Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of the NYT and USA TODAY bestselling Ascendance Trilogy, has woven an electrifying tale of greed and power, magic and destiny, and one boy's courage at the heart of it all.

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

Purchase Mark of the Thief at Amazon
Purchase Mark of the Thief at IndieBound
View Mark of the Thief on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JenNielsen_color_smallNew York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the MARK OF THE THIEF series, and the forthcoming A NIGHT DIVIDED. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.


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16. Winter Walk

Floating in the river, there are
Chunks and bits of ice,
Lazily meandering,
Their journey imprecise.

The water’s gray, the sky is blue;
A smokestack bellows white.
An early morning winter walk
Such eyeings do invite.

The promenade belongs to me;
Manhattan’s yet to stir.
The neighborhood is mine alone;
The pigeons would concur.

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17. Five Biblical remixes from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil Rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a theologian and pastor, who used biblical texts and imagery extensively in his speeches and sermons. Here is a selection of five biblical quotations and allusions that you may not have noticed in his work (in chronological order). 1. “And there is still a […]

The post Five Biblical remixes from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Vermeer-related lecture

steadman

LUNCH HOUR LECTURE: VERMEER’S CAMERA AND TIM’S VERMEER
Philip Steadman
Darwin Lecture Theatre, Darwin Building, London
March 5, 2015, 13:15-13:55
price: free
contact: +44 (0)20 3108 3841 | events@ucl.ac.uk
event page

In 2001 Philip Steadman published Vermeer’s Camera, a book that offered new evidence that the great Dutch painter relied on optical methods. An American video engineer Tim Jenison read the book and, believing he could take the argument further, proposed a simple arrangement of lens and mirrors that Vermeer might have employed. Jenison used this setup to paint a version of Vermeer’s Music Lesson in the Queen’s collection. The process was filmed for the Oscar-shortlisted documentary Tim’s Vermeer, released in 2014. Jenison’s method throws more light, literally, on how Vermeer could have achieved his distinctively “photographic” tonal effects.

The lecture will be streamed live online and recorded for YouTube or downloaded.

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19. Lisa Gail Green, author of SOUL CROSSED, on banning your inner editor

Today we're thrilled to interview one of our own. Lisa Gail Green is the Agent and Contest Coordinator here at Adventures in YA publishing. Proving that she loves to keep busy, she's currently running the Pitch Plus One contest while also releasing her latest novel SOUL CROSSED!

So, Lisa, what scene of SOUL CROSSED 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?

Every scene where Cam does horrible things was difficult. It felt really creepy getting into his head. I just had to remind myself that he is supposed to be the potential Anti-Christ, so, you know, he has to have the makings for being excessively evil. The scene I’m most proud of though is probably the climax. I felt the anticipation and knew what had to happen, but I also knew it had to “bring the feels” as one reviewer said.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Obviously FALLEN or HUSH HUSH, which are two awesome Angel/Demon books. But also I think PERSONAL DEMONS, which I love.

How long did you work on SOUL CROSSED?

The initial draft was only two weeks! I was in the zone. LOL But that doesn’t mean I didn’t revise. Gosh, from inception to publication it was literally years. Of course I worked on it on and off during that time, but still, that ought to give you an idea.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

That challenging yourself is the best thing you can do as a writer! Ban that inner Editor and just write it.

What do you hope readers will take away from SOUL CROSSED?

The idea that good and evil aren’t as cut and dry as one might imagine. A short answer with a big meaning.

What are you working on now?

Oh so many projects. But right now I’m finishing the first revision of the sequel to SOUL CROSSED! It’s called SOUL CORRUPTED and is slated to release July 1st! I’m a busy bee, but I LOVE it!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Soul Crossed
by Lisa Gail Green
eBook
Full Fathom Five Digital
Released 02/25/2015

One Demon.

One Angel.

One Soul.

Josh lived a reckless, selfish life, so upon his death, escaping the eternal torments of Hell by assuming the role of a powerful, soul-corrupting demon is an easy choice. His first soul assignment doesn’t seem too hard: the mortal Camden is already obsessed with weapons, pain, and torture. If only Josh wasn’t distracted by Cam’s beautiful friend, Grace.

Grace never expected to die violently at age sixteen, but now she’s an Angel, responsible for saving a soul. She can already see past Camden’s earthly flaws, so the job should be be easy. If only that handsome, playboy Josh would stop getting in the way.

It’s forbidden for an Angel to be with a Demon, so if Josh and Grace stop resisting each other, the results would be disastrous.

And only one can claim Cam’s soul..

Purchase Soul Crossed at Amazon
View Soul Crossed on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Picture
Lisa Gail Green lives with her husband the rocket scientist and their three junior mad scientists in Southern California. She writes books so she can have an excuse to live in the fantasy world in her head. She likes to share these with readers so she's represented by the lovely Melissa Nasson of Rubin Pfeffer Content. She has a parrot but would most definitely get a werewolf for a pet if she weren't allergic.

Lisa loves YA. She believes with all her heart that teen readers are ready and willing to experience things that some adults have closed their minds to, that books are the safest way to explore, learn, and escape, and that imagination is the key to just about everything.

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20. A test loafer for @dirk_lav The final #Meccariello #Aurum will be the Valerius loafer

A test loafer for @dirk_lav The final #Meccariello #Aurum will be the Valerius loafer by a.meccariello
10986019_655142217942218_266511351_n.jpg

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21. Drawing Portraits

I am lucky that my husband really doesn't mind when I draw him in a not-so-flattering way!


And also happy that, when I take my time, I can make drawings that do make a lot of sense.

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22. REAL TALK: $ix Figure Book Deal$

PS on top: I found some posts by other smart folk like agent Mandy Hubbard and author Jim Chines - if you want to like, double or triple-reinforce the point I'm making. But I'd already started typing by the time I saw those soooo... here you go.

One of the questions I dread most at conferences is, "how much money do books make?" I have a sort of pat answer I usually give, whilst eye-rolling. Something along the lines of "somewhere between $1 and $1,000,000." or "I dunno, how long is a piece of string?"

But let's get real. Many new authors will probably be offered $4-8,000. on a debut picture book text-only to a normal mid-sized traditional publisher. $5-12,000 on a chapter book. $8-20,000 on a middle grade novel. $12-30,000 on a YA.  I'm talking average - yes, some will be higher, some whill be lower.

These numbers will be much lower for small presses (and probably much MUCH lower for digital publishers or startups). The numbers will be higher for extremely commercial books with great crossover potential, or for an author who is well-known, or if there is lots of competition for a title or it is "hot" in some way. (The numbers may also be different depending on what rights you sell.) Still, these would be what I'd consider to be unexceptional starting offers. Nothing to get mad about, just, you know. Normal.

Yet we all know of people who got paid a lot more than that.... so what about THEM? Well, first of all, I'd say they are outliers. Yes, I have certainly had awesome six-figure debut sales. But they consist of maybe -- 10% of deals. Most are Normal. On the high side of what I quoted above, perhaps, when all the negotiating is done, but still, not megabucks.

SHUT UP JENNIFER! SHUT UP! THIS IS DAYDREAM TIME!

 OK fine. Cue the mystical bossa nova music and IMAGINE IF YOU WILL:

You're a new author - maybe you don't even have an agent yet, but you are actively querying, reading all kinds of Publishers Weekly deal announcements, and dreaming of the day your very own manuscript will go on submission and sell, too.

These magic words echo in your daydreams.... six-figure deal. SIX-FIGURE DEAL! With that kind of money, you could quit your day job, pay for your kid's college tuition in cash AND afford to supersize them fries, possibly from the comfort of your Mercedes-Benz. CHA-CHING, AM I RIGHT? Soon you'll be in a beach house, smiling gently whilst typing away on your latest brilliant novel. Everything is clean and inexplicably made of white linen or similar and somebody has brought you a cup of tea and there's a cool ocean breeze that also somehow smells of chocolate chip cookies and all the cares of your old life behind you--

Not so fast, Hoss.  Here comes the dream-shatterer. *music screeches off*

COMMISSION: If you got a six-figure deal, you probably have an agent, too. Your agent will take 15% of your income (possibly 20-25% in the case of foreign income or film deals). This is money worth spending, because without your agent, you would have probably had a lot less dough in the first place, or nothing at all. And your agent is protecting your interests and guiding you in the long-term. OK, fine. But don't forget about --

TAXES:  Even if you have a day-job, when you get paid for writing, you are also self-employed. A freelancer. As a writer, you have to pay both Income Tax AND Self-Employment Tax on everything you make writing. Does that suck? Hell yes it does. Sorry. You can expect to pay about 30% of your writing income in taxes.

Also: I might sound like a broken record on this one, but seriously, if you are going to be a career writer, TREAT YO' SELF to a good accountant who knows a lot about artists and freelancers. They will save you much money and angst in the long run, and, your accountant's fee is tax-deductible.

EXPENSES: As I said, you're self-employed. All the fun stuff like office supplies, a new laptop, travel to some conference or bookstore, HEALTH INSURANCE, etc? Probably coming straight out of your pocket. The good news is, anything related to your writing job, including said office supplies, your office space, travel for research or promo, and other self-promotional stuff, is tax deductible, at least in part, so keep good records. The bad news is, well, you have to pay for it in the first place, "tax deductible" doesn't mean free. (As far as insurance, unless you're lucky enough to have a great day job or a spouse who can provide, well... thanks, Obama. Seriously... thanks, and God bless you, Sir.)

PAYOUTS:  Most book deals in the kids book world are structured so the payments are split into 2 or 3 parts. (Many huge deals and books in the grownup world are divided even more than that!) So you get one part on signing, one part on delivery and acceptance (D+A) of the final manuscript, and sometimes one (often smaller) part on publication.

SO LET'S CRUNCH THE NUMBERS. If you luck out and get a "six figure deal" today, assuming all works according to schedule in a perfect world, and your agent doesn't have to chase down any money for you, and your publisher doesn't go under, and your editor gets notes to you in time, and you have no crises ... your deal might look something like this:

March 2015: Make the deal! Yay!  It's a nice one. 2 books for $100,000 total! Welcome to the six-figure club! :D

April/May 2015: Your agent gets contracts and negotiates!

June 2015: PAYMENT - on-signing, 20k each book, 40k total - minus 15% for agent, and let's be generous and say 25% for taxes because of that great accountant: $24,000 total

November/December 2015: Book 1 Due (for publication Winter 2017)

January 2016: PAYMENT - D+A book 1, 20k - minus 15% for agent, 25% for taxes: $12,000 total

November/December 2016: Book 2 Due (for publication Winter 2018)

January 2017: PAYMENT -  - D+A book 2, 20k - minus 15% for agent, 25% for taxes: $12,000 total

February 2017: Book 1 Publication

March 2017: PAYMENT - On-Pub Book 1, 10k - minus 15% and 25%, $6,000 total

February 2018: Book 2 Publication

March 2018: PAYMENT - On-Pub Book 2, 10k - minus 15% and 25%, $6,000 total

So you didn't make 100k, actually, you made 60k (or less), spread out over the course of four years, and probably at least one of those years you get... not much. In this example, $24k in 2015, $12k in 2016, $18k in 2017, $6k in 2018.

I mean, you know, that's not NOTHING, it's a great deal for most kids books... but it's not exactly "bathe in champagne" time. You'd make as much or more working minimum wage at the Gap for four years.

SO, what to do?

The single best thing you can do for your career is KEEP WRITING GREAT BOOKS.  Seriously. Keep writing. Success builds. Books in print, books that continue selling, may make you money for years to come. A nice fat ADVANCE is great, but ideally you'll earn out your advance and collect royalty checks for the rest of your life.

But earning out and seeing more $ probably won't happen until after the book has been released, and sometimes it doesn't happen till LONG after... and can never be counted on to happen at all. So that means that you probably won't see a non-Advance check on these particular books until late 2017 at the very earliest - probably, in reality, not until sometime in 2018. Meantime, you'll be dead of starvation. So yes. Don't quit your dayjob. Or do, and WRITE MORE BOOKS!


I could go on and on but I think that's enough out of me - maybe "how to quit your day job" can be another blog post for another day. What about you, any thoughts on this or further questions?

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23. Wild - a bookwrap



Unwrapping an amazing book today.  This is Hawaiian artist, Emily Hughes debut book and personally, I hope she never stops creating.  It is one you will absolutely want to have in your collection. Storywraps audience...presenting..."Wild":




Unwrapping further...fasten your seatbelt these illustrations are truly amazing...take a few moments to get appreciate and get lost in the images.

















This wonderfully, innocent, wild feral child knows the meaning of being free.  She was raised by creatures in the forest : taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears, to play by foxes, yes, she is truly unshamedly, irrefutable, and irrespressibly.....WILD! 

Then one day she is captured by some things that look oddly like her and taken out of happy, nurturing environment and brought into civilization.  These creatures don't talk right, don't eat properly, and certainly don't know how to play right.  They live in a no green green zone where animals are non-existent, there are no shady, protective trees and no rivers run through.  It is a concrete habitat called an apartment.  They try to tame her wild free-style hair-do, teach her to read and have proper table manners.  

The wild child will have none of it and she decides to take her fate into her own and with her unorthodox caretakers do and cat she escaped back to happy place, her happy life, the place where she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt she belongs.  The last sentence sums up perfectly: "Because you cannot tame something so happily wild." Period.




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24. Got A Nice Feature In Illustrator's Magazine!

I got a very nice feature/write up in "Illustrators" magazine in issue #9! Thank you Peter Richardson - this is a must have magazine for illustrators - you can pick up a copy here http://www.illustratorsquarterly.com/



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25. Emily Brontë, narrative, and nature

Catherine’s removal from the plot (other than as a haunting presence in the background, much less potent hereafter than the waif-like child ghost whose wrist Lockwood rubs back and forth across the broken window glass till the blood runs freely (p. 21)) has seemed to some readers to weaken the second half of the novel. One modern critic has suggested, indeed, that the whole of the second-generation narrative was an afterthought.

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