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Results 1 - 25 of 2,000
1. NEH Reveals $1.7M in Grants for Nonfiction Books

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2. Circling the Sun

Before she became a pilot, Beryl Markham trained racehorses, married twice, and was nearly eaten by a lion. Circling the Sun brings Markham to life in sparkling color, giving readers a fresh perspective on the beloved author of West with the Night. McLain effortlessly transports us to 1920s Kenya. Books mentioned in this post Circling [...]

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3. Paradise Falls Holds Top Slot on Self-Published Bestsellers List

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4. ‘Worst Day Ever?’ Poem Goes Viral

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5. What Pet Should I Get?

Who better to explore the world of our most beloved friends — pets — than the equally beloved Dr. Seuss? With his signature kooky creatures and whimsical verse, this new, never-before-seen book is a super-fun way to learn about the dilemma of making up your mind. Books mentioned in this post What Pet Should I [...]

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6. An Impartial Witness

An Impartial Witness. Charles Todd. 2010. HarperCollins. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

An Impartial Witness is the second book in the Bess Crawford mystery series by Charles Todd. I love that the series is set during World War I; An Impartial Witness is set in 1917. Bess Crawford is a nurse, and, she's nursing wounded soldiers both abroad and at home. (Bess spends a good amount of time in this novel in France, very close to the front.)

The book opens with Bess arriving in London on leave for thirty-six hours. She's just spent time on a convoy with a wounded soldier--a pilot with severe burns. He keeps holding on because he loves his wife. Her photograph is something he always has close by. She would recognize his wife anywhere she's seen it so often the past few days. But she didn't really expect to see her--this wife--at the train station seeing another soldier off. The scene was VERY emotional, and quite inappropriate if she's the wife of another man. The scene haunts her.

And with good reason, it turns out! For she soon learns that this woman--this wife--is found murdered that evening. She tells what she saw at the train station--several hours before the crime. She describes the man--the soldier--with her. That might have been all...except that she can't stop thinking of the case, of the tragedy of it, and she keeps talking with Scotland Yard about what she learns...

A man is arrested. But is he guilty? She doesn't think so. She really, really doesn't think so. For could she be falling in love with him?! Michael Hart isn't capable of murdering the woman he was supposedly in love with for years, is he?

Can Bess find the real murderer?!

I love, love, love this series. I love the characterization. I love the historical setting. I love the mystery itself. It's just a fabulous read.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Europa Editions to Publish Novella by the Grandson of Che Guevara

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8. Charlotte Day






Charlotte Day specialises in creating botanical inspired illustrations, she combines an historical interest in botany with the decorative arts. Charlottes work has featured on editorials and on products such as tents and teapots! Her clients include Random House, Penguin, Liberty and Anthropologie to name a few. 

To see more fantastic work from Charlotte Day visit her website 

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9. The Long Way Home

Louise Penny continues her wonderful Chief Inspector Gamache series with this psychologically nuanced, elegantly plotted 10th installment. Gamache's neighbor Clara's husband has not come home as promised on the anniversary of their separation. As Gamache and Clara search for answers, The Long Way Home aptly showcases Penny's moral acuity and depth of feeling. Books mentioned [...]

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10. Unusual Jobs of Writers: INFOGRAPHIC

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11. 10 Best Books by Writer-Illustrators

As a child who loved books I was fascinated by the illustrations just as much as the text. The same is true for me today, and I'm happy to be among a group of writers who also illustrate their own works. There's a rich tradition of writer-illustrators spanning time. All 10 of these books are [...]

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12. A Literary Map of Paris’ Left Bank

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13. How should authors be paid?

There was an interesting kerfuffle recently as Amazon began transitioning some royalties over to pages read, as opposed to downloads. Will Oremus is one who thinks it makes sense.

It got me thinking. How should authors be paid?

What about all those used book sales that authors aren't compensated for? Library borrowings? Back to the patronage system?

Anyone got some creative ideas?

Art: Money to Burn by Victor Dubreuil

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14. On Writing

No matter how you feel about the writing of Charles Bukowski, there's no denying he's become a much-emulated and lauded author of mid- to late-century American literature and poetry. This volume of Bukowski's letters to friends and colleagues reveals his thoughts on the process of creation in an intimate and open way. Books mentioned in [...]

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15. Marvel Will Release a New Netflix Show Every 6 Months

Barry Wetcher— Netflix, Inc. Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”

Well, Time http://time.com/3975704/marvel-netflix-6-months/ has published an Associated Press news item that ought to have all the so called Marvel fans in a tizzzy.

Jessica Jones will premiere before the end of 2015

Though the next Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War, won’t premiere until May, more Marvel heroes are coming to your streaming queue—and soon. Netflix announced at the Television Critics Association summer meeting on Tuesday that it will be rolling out a new Marvel superhero series every six months.

Marvel and Netflix teamed up to bring five separate shows to the streaming service, focusing on a group of comic book heroes called The Defenders, a street-level Avengers team. The first in the series, Daredevil, premiered in April. Jessica Jones will be the next superhero to get a Netflix treatment before the end of 2015, followed by Iron Fist and Luke Cage, according to the Associated Press. After each has starred in their own series, all four will join forces for a Defenders show.

The announcement comes as anticipation for Jessica Jones, the first female superhero to headline her own Marvel project, grows. “I’ve been coming to Comic-Con for 12 years, and I think a lot of fans here have been eager to see more women onscreen for a long time,” Dawn Keiser, a 30-year-old Californian told TIME at San Diego Comic-Con in early July. “I was really happy to see the characters Karen and Claire become these heroes on Daredevil, but I really can’t wait for Jessica Jones to be the hero of her own show.”
Netflix Confirms Premiere of Marvel’s JESSICA JONES in Late 2015
Krysten Ritter, star of Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 2 (pictured above) as the titular superhero turned private investigator, Jessica Jones will also feature David Tennant as her archenemy Dr. Zebediah Killgrave (a.k.a. The Purple Man) and Mike Colter as the super-powered Luke Cage, Jones’ boyfriend and the eventual father of her child. (Cage will receive his own Netflix series next year.) Jessica Jones co-stars Rachael Taylor, Carrie-Anne Moss, Eka Darville, Erin Moriarty, and Wil Traval.

If the tone of Daredevil is any indication, Jessica Jones and the other Marvel Netflix shows will be much darker and bloodier than the one audiences know from films like Iron Man and The Avengers.

All of which sounds like Disney want to get as much out of their Marvel properties as they can before comics and all the add-ons come crashing down.

 It means that you can now say with 100% certainty that there is NO such thing as "continuity" at Disney/Marvel.  As characters in comics changed to reflect the movie versions so they are starting to change to reflect the TV versions.

It's just a mess.  You know when you want to get someone to stop something? Say, eating Cadbury's creme eggs which they "love"?  You buy them creme egg after creme egg and it does not take long before there is no longer any love!!  This is what Disney-Marvel is doing.  Super hero after super hero, comic change after comic change -you will not be able to follow them because one day you'll just say: "Another Marvel super hero TV series....god I miss Happy Days!"

Everything I predicted would happen when Disney took over has happened. I really -REALLY- wish I had been wrong!

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16. Palimpsest: A History of the Written Word

If you love the written word, then you'll love its rich history. Palimpsest traces the advancement of writing from Mesopotamia all the way up to the digital age, offering much more than a dry account: we learn as much about the cultural implications as we do about the changes in format and medium. Battles is [...]

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17. Flogometer for Joseph—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Welcome. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Download a free PDF copy here.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins engaging the reader with the character
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • The character desires something.
  • The character does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question.

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

Also, if you think about it, the same checklist should apply to the page where you introduce an antagonist.

Joseph sends the first chapter of a novella, The Meter Reader . The remainder is after the break

Please vote and comment. It helps the writer.

The dashboard radio interceptor crackles in and out, and the voices are barely audible, so Orville adjusts the squelch button, which helps a little.

“Did you get it?” he asks, his knobby fingers twirling the button.

“Don’t sweat on it boss. It sounded like two tags. Got the coordinates, too.” I turn on the flashlight, point it on the mapbook, and flip to the right page.

The coordinates place this next job on the far end of the reservation, a few miles away. I ask, “Do you know where that is?”

“It’s been a while, but we’ll find it. Strap on the seatbelt. Pot’s right.” Orville jams the Chevy in drive and floors the accelerator. Bits of desert gravel shoot out and seconds later, we are rolling down the state highway under the cover of the desert sky. I hope we have enough time to save those two folks.

Two tags on two meters of two souls, soon to be removed by the termination unit, unless we get there in time. Whether or not these two folks on the ground were victims of foul play or mere accident (hand of man vs the hand of God) is a matter for Orville and me – one ornery ancient wildcat meter reader and his comely and humble apprentice, creeping in and out of space-time, changing folks’ fate, saving lives, making miracles. God, I love this job! Until the old fart opens his mouth.

Were you compelled to turn the page?

Good voice, mostly good writing, and a goodly number of story questions worked for me in this opening. The writing could be a little crisper and there’s potential for confusion in one spot, but those things are easily fixed. The opening introduces a different kind of world without belaboring it and blends it into the action. Good work. Notes:

The dashboard radio interceptor crackles in and out, and the voices are barely audible, so Orville adjusts the squelch button, which helps a little. For me, the micro detail of adjusting the squelch button is just not needed. Use the words for story. You could combine this paragraph with the next one for greater clarity.

“Did you get it?” he asks, his knobby fingers twirling the button. I thought he had already adjusted the button in the first paragraph, so why is he still twirling the button? Don’t think you need that.

“Don’t sweat on it, Boss boss. It sounded like two tags. Got the coordinates, too.” I turn on the flashlight, point it on the map book mapbook, and flip to the right page.

The coordinates place this next job on the far end of the reservation, a few miles away. I ask, “Do you know where that is?”

“It’s been a while, but we’ll find it. Strap on the seat belt seatbelt. Pot’s right.” Orville jams the Chevy in drive and floors the accelerator. Bits of desert gravel shoot out and seconds later, we are rolling down the state highway under the cover of the desert sky. I hope we have enough time to save those two folks. They shouldn't be in a moving car without the seat belt fastened. I would just delete this and get on with the story. As a long-time poker player, I recognize the phrase “Pot’s right,” but I wonder, since “pot” also stands for marijuana, of non-players will. I know he uses the phrase later but, unless it’s vital for the story, there’s potential for confusion here. Good story question raised about saving two folks.

Two tags on two meters of two souls, soon to be removed by the termination unit, unless we get there in time. Whether or not these two folks on the ground were victims of foul play or mere accident (hand of man vs the hand of God) is a matter for Orville and me – one ornery ancient wildcat meter reader and his comely and humble apprentice, creeping in and out of space-time, changing folks’ fate, saving lives, making miracles. God, I love this job! Until the old fart opens his mouth. Plenty of story questions raised here.

Comments, please?

For what it’s worth.


Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

Flogging the Quill © 2015 Ray Rhamey, story © 2015 Joseph



“Let’s go over this again,” Orville says. “What’s step one?” With one hand on the wheel and both eyes on the road, he casually reaches to his left side where the .38 special waits in its holster. He’s checking the ordinance again. Orville might be humorless and stiff, but he sure is thorough.

“I know step one and I know step two,” I say. “And three and four and all the rest. This is getting old. Like you. Except you’re already past ‘getting’.”

“Do it, rookie. Step one.”

“All right,” I answer. “Step One is a little number that goes like this; I stand guard and count while you check the tags on the life meters. The end. Sorry that I said you’re getting old. You can’t help it. Better check your firearm again because I think it may have escaped. From too much fondling.”

“Never mind. What’s step two?”

“You play detective, check for clues of foul play, then intervene as needed.”

“Elaborate. What do you mean by ‘intervene’?”

“Intervene, verb, to alter the course of events, to change one’s fate, to perform a minor miracle. For example, the grouchy old man intervened and saved a soul from being ripped out of the poor folk on the ground, hallelujah. All while the handsome apprentice stood guard and counted. In other words, I do all the heavy lifting while you play with dolls.”

Orville barely grins at the wisecrack, which means that I’ll have to try harder. Or maybe that’s my problem – I’m trying too hard. He turns left off the highway to take a dirt road, tires grumbling underneath. “After that?”

“After that, we get the hell out of there, as fast as a married man in a cathouse. You like that one?”

Orville grunts. He’s been doing that a lot lately. He looks like this job has been drilling a hole in his spirit. His yellow moustache seems droopier, his wit replaced with slow shakes of his head. Either that or my jokes are getting bad. Nah.

Silhouettes of cacti and mesquite roll by, suddenly illuminated by a pair of headlights coming our way. Orville slows down a bit and turns off the high beams. The vehicle does not reply in kind. It closes in, practically blinding us until the vehicle is close enough to run us off the road. Orville swerves just in time. “Numbnuts!” he barks and I watch menacing red light zip past us.

“Was it them?” I ask.

“I’m sure it was,” he answers.

Meter readers, I think to myself. The most heartless, mindless drones of all the employees who work for C&F Utilities. Good thing they’re all idiots because if it wasn’t for their incompetence, we would probably be slinging hash somewhere off the grid, working odd jobs here and there, then coming home to our trailers, hitting the bottles, waking up with hangovers, stumbling to new jobs because we just got fired for being late too many times. God save me from that nightmare. This wildcat job is the best thing going for me, and as soon as Orville cuts me loose, I’ll be performing miracles my way.

A few minutes later, we’re parked two hundred yards from the site, hidden from the road. Orville hands me his clipboard and reminds me to not accidentally press the buttons, especially the SLIP button. I sing that old song with him in mock fashion. All three buttons shine like gems, each with their own color – SLIP, COUNT, and RESUME, which sends us back to Earth time.

The engine is left running and we creep up to a spot outside of dirt clearing in front of a small shack of mud and two beat-up cars. We hide behind the desert shrub because it looks like someone is sitting inside one of the cars.

“There’s the instigator,” I say. “See? I can spot him, just like you trained me to. Bet your ass that he’s the one.”

“Maybe,” Orville says. “Get ready to press SLIP, on my mark.”

The dark figure emerges from one of the beat up cars, flicks away a cigarette butt, and heads towards the hut. It looks like he’s carrying a pole or big-ass stick with him. I point to the instigator and almost reveal our hiding spot when I whisper, too loudly, “The murder weapon! What the hell is it? Can you see?”

Orville covers my mouth and breathes hot fire from his old nostrils. His stare burns and I feel like a rookie all over again. He shakes his head and points to the clipboard, which means get ready to press SLIP. I don’t know why he trusts me, but he does. His hand goes again to check the revolver in his holster. He’s caressing the handle. He really needs a girlfriend.

Now at the front door, the figure raises the stick over his head and I see that it’s a hatchet with a long handle, for chopping wood. Not the best murder weapon in an enclosed space, and that’s when I realize that the figure at the door is either an enraged ex-boyfriend or the dumbassiest assassin in the universe. Someone inside is about to be hacked to death in a God-awful way, which is why Orville and I are here in the first place.

Orville points at me and I press the SLIP button.

Everything stops.

The crickets stop fiddling their tune, the stars stop rolling in the sky, not that I could tell, and the coyotes stop yipping. Even the breeze stops blowing. A bat hangs in the air as if suspended from fishing line. The dark figure still stands at the front door, his hands frozen on the handle of the hatchet and the blade waiting to come crashing down.

Orville and I don’t stop. There’s work to be done here and if we’re lucky, two lives to be saved. He hurries to the house and enters while I stand by the truck and look out for the termination unit and their van. Orville calls them the ‘numbuts in coveralls.’ They have their own power to SLIP in and out of time because they, too, have a clipboard just like the one belonging to Orville. Clipboards and huge tongs, which they use to remove the souls from the folks and send them to central cold storage at C&F Headquarters, then on the reprocessing center where they wait for their next assignment.

According to the COUNT, we have about 600 heartbeats to get in and out of here without being caught. It may not seem like a long time, but it’s damn dull watching the COUNT on the clipboard and watching the road while Orville has all the fun. I hate SLIP time. Nothing on Earth seems alive and there’s little to do.

200 heartbeats to do something important.

I grab a handful of rocks and hang them in the air to make a lifelike portrait of eyes and a nose and a mouth. Then I grab a handful of desert sand and a few mesquite branches to make a head of wiry hair and a bushy moustache. Voila. The exact likeness of Orville. Another hurried masterpiece.

Orville calls to me from the inside of the hut. He tells me, “You gotta see this.”

Finally, some action! I destroy the evidence to leave the rocks, sand, and mesquite a mid-air mess, then I hurry to the scene to find him in the bedroom, standing next to a double bed.

“It’s time for your first big test,” Orville says. “What do you see?”

I better ace this. I take a deep breathe, crack my knuckles a few times, shake off the cobwebs. Here goes. “There’s a pregnant woman sleeping on the bed, next to the father of her baby. Or maybe Paul Bunyan outside is the baby-daddy. Baby-mommy has two tags, one for her and one for the baby. Wow. Folks on the ground are a cruel lot.”

The meter of life is shaped like any old analog meter, an arc with a field of green on the left, a narrower field of yellow in the middle and the smallest field of red on the right. You don’t want that needle to ever go in the yellow, let alone red. Once it’s there, you get tagged by a meter reader. Then it’s lights out and your time on the ground is over because the termination unit shows up, reads the red tags, fills out the requisite paperwork, and takes your soul away where it waits in hyper-cold storage. For this reason, I prefer to call it a death meter.

Folks on the ground can’t see that meter, but it’s there -- below the hairline on the back of your neck. And that needle usually stays in the green, but once someone on the ground does something stupid or dangerous, like climb a mountain or fall asleep at the wheel, or even something harmless like take a shower, that needle moves to the right, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.

“That’s obvious rook,” Orville says. “I trained you better than that. Try again.”

I look again, deeper now, observing the faces of the couple and the way their bodies flow across the bed. The pregnant woman faces out and so does the man, but in the other direction. They lie apart from each other about as far on the bed as they can be without falling off. More evidence beyond my grasp.

“What’s her name?” Orville asks.

I read both tags again. “Jackie Begay. Her daughter’s name is Aubrey.”

“Detective time. Tell me what’s gonna happen.”

“Four hundred heartbeats left. Do we have time?”

“Make it fast.”

I hurry through a fairly obvious prediction: Axe man at the front door bursts into the house and hacks Jackie Begay to death. The current boyfriend luckily escapes.

Orville grunts and shakes his head. “Follow me.” He heads out the bedroom and through the hallway. He walks with determination and I hurry to follow him to the door of the one-bedroom shack.

Orville stands on one side of the closed door and I stand on the other. He nods for me to open the door, and I do.

I stand right in front of the killer and if I were to accidentally press the SLIP button, that axe blade would cleave right into my skull. I feel my arms crawling with goosebumps.

“What do you see?” he asks.

The look in his eyes is heavy and red, not wild and frightened. Odd.

 “I see…a killer…a…something ain’t right. This guy doesn’t look pissed, he looks stoned. Too stoned to give a damn. Why is he even here?”

“You’re the one being tested. You tell me.”

I go into my best explanation and I don’t believe a word of it. “Stoner here is desperate for cash, so he breaks into the home to steal something, but all he sees is a used microwave oven and a nearly-empty refrigerator. He stumbles into the bedroom, wakes the couple. Fight breaks out and next thing you know, Jackie Begay and unborn daughter are killed while the guy in the bed survives, maybe there’s a scuffle and he scares the stoner off, which wouldn’t be too hard. None of this makes sense. Oh, and 350 heartbeats to go.”

Orville just shakes his head. He’s too tired to teach me the truth and frankly, I’ve been training too long not to know it. I wish I had his knowledge and experience but not his wrinkles. He can keep them.

At this time, I begins the intervention, which I expect to go something like this; he steps behind the stoned killer, straighten the stiff fingers to release the grip on the handle, and hand me the murder weapon, which I’ve been trained to quickly hide. I’ll probably throw it in the desert for future use.

But I should know that Orville never does the expected. Instead of removing the murder weapon from the killer’s grip, something we’ve done countless times before, he does nothing about it. Now I’m the one who’s shaking his head because I have no idea what the old fart is up to.

“Now,” Orville says, his eyes lighting up a bit and his mouth merging to a smirk. He always enjoyed this part of the job. He stands close to the axe-man and whispers into his ear. “I ain’t no cold-blooded murderer. I don’t kill helpless mothers and unborn babies. No way.” Orville eyes me to see if I get it. I wish I did.

He continues his whispery serenade. “I’m taking over this operation. I’m the one in charge, not him.” Now he’s looking right at me again as he closes in even closer on the axe-man’s ear. “I’m too smart for him. I’m too smart for all of this. The plan is about to be changed.”

Orville tells me to go check the meters of Jackie and the kid. On my way to the bedroom, I hear more whispering but I have no idea what Orville is saying

Back in the bedroom, I check her meter and the baby’s. I tell Orville that both are lower, but still in the red.

Orville returns to the bedroom. He says we need to make more drastic steps and hands me his gun as though I know exactly what to do with it, which I don’t. It rests in my hands like a hungry baby bird. I’m about to place the gun next to the boyfriend when Orville says, “What the hell are you doing?”

“I thought…I thought you said…no clue.”

“Don’t look. See. Who kills Begay? Who kills her unborn baby?”

“Paul Bunyan.”

Orville is about to say something, but I stop him. “The boyfriend slash husband? He hires the thug to kill her? Why?”

“Does it matter? Insurance money…furious that it’s not his baby… do the folks on the ground really need a reason to kill each other?”

I said I guess not. I think I’m getting it.

“What are you gonna do about it?” Orville asks, his bony finger jabbing a hole in my chest.

“I’m gonna change fate. Ow.”

“And how are you gonna do that?!”

“I’m gonna save two lives tonight! Ow.”

Orville nods and says, “Now hand me my clipboard. I’ll count and you

work. You got 250 heartbeats. Pot’s light and ante up. Go.”

After the gun is placed next to the nightstand of the mother, I check her

meter. The needle has dropped a little, but it’s still in the red.

“You need to do more,” Orville says.

I need to do more? What more are you doing?”

“Teaching. Two twenty and counting. Remember that trick about divine

inspiration? Do that and see what happens.”

I lean over and whisper to Jackie, “You have a gun. Someone close to you

gave it to you for a Christmas—”

Orville clears his throat.


Orville shakes his head. His meter officially reads Pain In My Ass.

“—birthday gift. You will use it to shoot the stranger who’s coming into your room.” I check her meter. The needle has dropped to the yellow zone, which means her fate is still in jeopardy. She could die tonight or the next day or the month after that. Who knows. What’s worse is that Baby Begay’s meter still reads red. Then I realize the point of the intruder in the first place and it becomes clear, like a slap across my face, that Orville “inspired” Paul Bunyan to hack apart the real murderer – the fellow in the bed.

I tell the sleeping mother the most important part, the one that saves her life and the life of her unborn child; “Wait until the intruder kills the man in bed. Then point the gun at the intruder and keep firing until he drops.” Orville is giving me the keep-it-going sign, so I say, “Keep firing until the revolver is empty.” Orville gives a thumbs up and I check her meter. The needle has finally dropped to the green zone. Good for her, but bad for me. I feel a bit wheezy.

“Hallelujah, rook,” Orville says as he slaps me on the back. “Your first miracle. Breakfast is on me. Check your work and meet me outside.”

“How much time do we have?”

“Just enough. Hurry it up.”

Jackie is safe. Baby Begay is safe. Momma and baby live happily ever after. I rip off both of their tags, tear them four times, and throw them in the air like confetti, all the time singing my new favorite song and busting out a dance move somewhere between the robot and the mashed potato.

I believe in miracles.

We’re you from?

You sexy thing!

I check the meters of the boyfriend and the invader and they’re both in the red. For a little extra hot sauce, I punch sleeping ugly in his nutsack. He won’t feel a thing now, but once Orville presses RESUME and Earth time starts again, his junk will be roaring in righteous agony right as he gets hacked up. I am a sexy thing!

“What the hell are you doing!?” Orville asks. Has he been watching me the whole time?

“Making a difference?” I say.

“Are you asking me or telling me?”

“Telling you?”

Orville tells me to quit wasting time, which makes me laugh because we have the power to SLIP time, even if it doesn’t last. He doesn’t laugh. He just shakes his head and tells me to fill out two tags. After doing that, I slap a big, bright, red tag on the boyfriend and another on the axe-man to ensure that the termination unit drives out of here with two souls. Rule number two of Orville’s Wildcat Handbook– Balance the Tags. Never give the suits Upstairs a chance to doubt anything. Two folks for two folks. Cosmic balance sheet looks good and scoreboard reads good guys over bad guys by two souls.

“You know somethin’ Orville?”

“What’s that?”

“I’m gonna like this job.”

Orville chuckled and said, “Let’s get the hell outta here before the termination unit gets here.” That was rule Number One – Don’t Get Caught, by the numbnut meter readers, by the TU, the auditors from the suits Upstairs, but most of all, do not get blindsided by the thugs of the Intervention Division. The tales of their splatter guns are horror stories.

Orville hands me the clipboard and we hurry to the truck. He sets the gear in drive and I press the RESUME button. The night desert returns to life as we speed away. The crickets continue their sweet song, the stars continue their sky-wide journey and that lonely bat flaps away into the darkness. Then we hear the finale – no screams, no shouts, just the repeated pop of a pistol followed by silence. Orville grins that old grin, the old, younger grin I used to see so much.

On the road back, we spot a pair of headlights coming our way. Orville turns off the high beams and the headlights get closer and finally pass. We got out of there with heartbeats to spare.

“Ciao,” Orville says to the TU, his moustache creeping up on both sides of his face. When both sides of his lip whiskers wriggle like that, I know it’s a sign that he’s pleased. “Good job, Gil.”

“Thanks,” I respond.

“Did you clean up?”

“Sure did.”

“What did you do with the tags?”

I shook my head and told him that both tags are in my pocket. Later that morning, at breakfast, I told him that I tossed the tags in the trash.

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18. The Last Ever After

In the third and final volume of the School of Good and Evil series, Sophie and Agatha find themselves separated, only to face each other once again when Evil threatens to take over. The thrilling, twisting conclusion to this epic tale is one not to be missed. Books mentioned in this post School for Good [...]

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19. It's live!! Cover Reveal: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae + Giveaway (US Only)

Hello, YABCers!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for BEYOND THE RED by Ava Jae, releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Ava:

Hi YABCers! I’m so psyched to be here sharing the cover for my debut YA Sci-Fi BEYOND THE RED with you guys! 
Waiting to see what your cover will look like is half terrifying and half exciting, but I’m delighted with the result—it’s pretty amazing how close it is to the way I imagined it when we first came up with the title. I’m so grateful to the team over at Sky Pony for giving me such a beautifully colorful cover (seriously—I can’t get over those colors!). It makes me want to dye my hair to match, and I could stare at it all day. Actually I sort of do—it’s on my phone’s background. :D
I hope you guys love it as much as I do!
~ Ava Jae (BEYOND THE RED, Sky Pony Press)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Ava's giveaway. Thank you! ***



by Ava Jae
Release date: March 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
ISBN: 9781634506441
About the Book
Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.
Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.
When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_2768.JPGAbout the Author

Ava is a YA and NA writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her social media sites.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Web | YouTube | Instagram | Pre-order Amazon | Pre-order Barnes & Noble


Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a signed ARC of BEYOND THE RED (when available) + a signed bookmark. 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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20. Monsters In My Pocket -and that is NOT a euphemism it is a request!

Anyone know of -non-rip off- sellers of the Gen2 Monsters In My Pocket playing cards?  Let me know -THANKS!

That's THIS series:

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21. Facebook Friend

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Facebook Friend

एक अच्छी पुस्तक हजार दोस्तों के बराबर होती है और एक अच्छा दोस्त पूरी की पूरी लाईब्रेरी होता है. हम खोजते रहते हैं ऐसे दोस्त को जो हमारे दुख, दर्द समझे  और हमारी बाते सुने और हमारा साथ दे…

फेसबुक मित्र अलग किस्म के होते है पहली बात तो लडकी मे छिपे लडके या लडके मे छिपी लडकी.. वो नही होते जो दिखाई देते हैं यानि असल फोटो से शायद बहुत अलग… वैसे एक बात मैं पहले ही साफ कर दूं कि अपवाद हर क्षेत्र में होते हैं अगर आपके फेसबुक पर अच्छे अनुभव रहे हैं तो जानकर बहुत खुशी हुई …


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हां तो मैं बात कर रही हू फेसबुक मित्र की… एक फेसबुक सहेली ने मुझसे किसी के बारे मे पूछा तो मैने अनभिज्ञता जाहिर की क्योकि शायद वो मेरी मित्र लिस्ट मे नही था. फेसबुक सहेली ने बताया कि वो पिछ्ले एक साल से फेसबुक मित्र सबसे अच्छा था वो इसलिए कि जब भी वो कुछ पोस्ट करती है वो सबसे पहले लाईक करता था और कमेंट तो करता ही करता था. जन्मदिन आने से महीना पहले विश करना शुरु कर देता था. वाल पर कम ही लिखता था जो करता था मैसेज मे ही करता था. अपने बारे मे कभी नही बताया और न ही अपनी कभी फोटू दिखाई ये भी नही पता की वो देश के किस कोने मे रहता था पर था वो सबसे अलग और सबसे अच्छा हमेशा गुड मार्निग और गुड नाईट करके ही जाता था.

मेरी सहेली अभी तक परेशान है क्योकि अब उसका प्रोफाईल भी नही दिख रहा शायद डिएक्टिवेट कर दिया है … पर उसे अभी भी इंतजार है पहली लाईक और पहला कमेंट का … फिलहाल उसका मन रखने के लिए अब ये काम मैं कर रही हूं … क्योकि आखिर वो भी तो मेरी फेसबुक मित्र है :)


The post Facebook Friend appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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22. All This Life

Mohr is a favorite of several Powell's employees, and his fifth novel does not disappoint. All This Life explores how a mass suicide affects the people who witnessed it, and the ripple effects that follow one teenager's posting of the event online. Mohr is a beautiful, dark, and funny writer, and his examination of our [...]

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23. John Krasinski Goes on a Mission in the 13 Hours Trailer

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24. Vanishing Games

The Ghostman returns in this thrilling, page-turning, whip-smart read. Hobbs has nailed it again with a story of jewel theft gone wrong set in the glittering casinos and crumbling slums of the gambling city of Macao. Books mentioned in this post Vanishing Games Roger Hobbs Used Hardcover $17.95

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25. Dynamite bundles massive loincloth collection with “Swords, Sandals, and Sorcery!” from Groupees

    Lord of the Bundle, Dynamite, has a new one at Groupees, this one themed “Swords, Sandals and Sorcery!” and for a pay what you want model as low as $1 you’ll get a vast amount of reading material featuring people who wear loincloths, including but not limited to: Thunda, Athena, Dejah Thoris and […]

0 Comments on Dynamite bundles massive loincloth collection with “Swords, Sandals, and Sorcery!” from Groupees as of 7/29/2015 1:49:00 PM
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