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<<August 2015>>
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1. Image Comics website gets a makeover, offers digital collections

A lot of the major comics publishers have websites that were set-up in the long ago days, and just like a street that slowly gets repaved in sections over a year, they are all getting revamped for the modern mobile and sharing era. Now it’s Image’s turn, as they’ve just put up a streamlined, updated […]

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2. Literary Events This Week: Felicia Day and the Franklin Park Reading Series

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3. Fall Preview: Centrala offers Cooking, Trains and the Klan

Centrala is a Polish indie comics publisher that recently opened a London office, which s helping their books get wider distribution. They have three new books including what sounds like an intriguing tale about two German police officers who join the Klan to make friends and meet girls, an anthology mixing comics and cooking and a book adapting a famous Polish poem about a train into a 60 foot long comic! Eastern European comics are usually thought of as an "emerging" scene, but with publishers like Centrala and the Latvian kuš! collective getting notice, they've emerged quite a bit. Here's the Centrala books, which are all available for order.

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4. Monkey Shines

Good morning folks! Today I have an old image, with a new twist. This enthusiastic monkey(in black and white form) originally graced the back side of my self promotional postcards, along with my contact info.

The new twist is that it is now in color. I was posting to FB, and wanted an image to represent my site for a link within the post. So I colorized the drawing and put my web address on it. Unfortunately in a FB post you can't move elements around like a blog post. Images get lumped together in the bottom of your post. And you can't move an image up in a post to go below a specific paragraph. Since I wanted to post another link (to Vimeo) later in the post I couldn't use the finished color monkey in the FB post.

So you get to enjoy it here on the blog! I've always liked this drawing. Playful, good tone values, and it's got a monkey.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this image, and post. I hope your day goes well, where ever you are. God bless, and thank you for stopping by. --Ryan

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5. New from Stephen Biesty!

Who loves Stephen Biesty's wonderful cross section books?  I do, for sure.  Look what goes on sale this month.  Check your bookstore and library for his other illuminating books,  Visit his website for a slideshow of his illustrations.
Emergency Vehicles

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6. Holly Black Inks Deal for Young Adult Trilogy

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7. For those of you who said my previous image should have had to cat lying ON the writer's papers, not beside :-)

Posting this comic for my friend Joanne Levy and others who just told me that the image at the top of my previous post should have had the cat lying on TOP of the writer's papers, not beside. You cat people! ;-)

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8. Liz’s Summer Reading Pick

Ready or Not, Dawdle Duckling

by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Margaret Spengler

            Four ducklings, Mama, and a perfect summer day playing Hide-And-Seek-what could be more perfect for a summer read! Toni Buzzeo has captured the exuberant spirit of the sheer joy of play for its own sake in this summer read for your youngest where bright blues, oranges and yellows bring beach days winningly alive. Duckling cavort forming sand castles and cementing a series of new friendships that provide perfect “hide behinds” in this duckling game of Hide-And-Seek with Mama. A turtle, frog and fish join in the fun providing camouflage as Mama quacks, “Ready or not, here I come.” The repetitive cadence of the story is sure to appeal to young readers and the pictures of the banana yellow ducks with bands of blue, red, green and orange ribbon surrounding their hats are adorable atop these orange-billed cuties. Dawdle is the duck determined to elude Mama. Will Dawdle be the duck that gets to say with unrestrained glee,

“Ollie, Ollie, in free!”

Dawdle Duckling calls.

“You didn’t find me!

           Ready Or Not, Dawdle Duckling is waiting to be discovered by you and your child as the perfect intro to the game of Hide-And-Seek and the need for friendship and cooperation.

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9. An Ember in the Ashes (2015)

An Ember in the Ashes. Sabaa Tahir. 2015. Penguin. 446 pages. [Source: Library]

I definitely enjoyed reading Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes. This young adult fantasy is a quick, compelling read with two narrators. Laia is a slave from the conquered Scholars tribe. Elias is a Mask, a soldier from the dominant (conquering) Martials tribe. The chapters alternate points of view. Which is good and bad. Good in that both narrators have action-packed stories that sometimes happen to collide. Bad in that the action is interrupted oh-so-often. And when you're all caught up in the moment, the last thing you want to do is switch narrators! Even if you know that in just a page or two you'll be swept right back up again. But at least both stories are fast-paced and action-packed. It could be a lot worse.

So. The world building is interesting. And the world-building is gradual in a way. You keep learning more about the world as the plot unfolds. It is never so unsettling that you're completely confused. But you know that the world is unique from the start.

So what is this one about? Laia turns to the rebel resistance when her brother is arrested and put in prison. She has no spy-skills to speak of, but, she's determined to do whatever it takes, no matter how hard, no matter how risky, to free him. She's placed as a spy within Blackcliff, the soldier-school, and her mistress is cruel. (She's also the Commandant.)

Elias is planning an escape of his own. He may have trained as a soldier--as a mask--but he's never bonded with his mask. He doesn't see himself as a cruel, heartless soldier who rapes and kills and follows orders. But he hesitates at the last minute, and decides to become an Aspirant instead. There were four named. Two will die. One will be the new emperor. One will take an oath to serve the new emperor until death. And the four trials will be more challenging, more risky, than anything he's ever faced before.

Both Elias and Laia are absolutely miserable and are facing huge challenges daily...

I liked it because sometimes you just need an intense, compelling read.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. Blog Tour: Ruthless, Michelle St. James

It’s release day for Ruthless by Michelle St. James. We’re so excited for this sexy mafia romance! Michelle is sharing an excerpt and a fantastic giveaway so be sure to check out all the festivities! 

(My Review will be up soon! So come back! Make sure you read to bottom, awesome giveaway!!!-Laura)

About Ruthless:

front_6ix9i_RGB_300dpiTwo years out of college, Angelica Bondesan spends her time working as a barista, keeping in touch with her prodigal brother, and trying to figure out how to bridge the gap with her father, a wealthy real estate developer.

But all of that changes the night she’s kidnapped. Thrown into a windowless room, Angelica is positive there’s been some kind of mistake —until she meets Nico Vitale.

Gorgeous and frightening, Nico became the boss of New York City’s Vitale crime family after the execution style murder of his parents two years earlier. Since then he’s turned the old-school mob into a sleek, modern army of ruthless men who understand that physical violence —while always an option —isn’t the only way to get what you want.

Now Angel is forced to face the truth;

Her father is not the man she believed him to be.

Nico Vitale is dangerous, possibly lethal.

She is falling in love with Nico Vitale.


"From page one you're hooked and sucked into this corrupt thrilling world. A masterful romance of deep dark suspense, complicated emotions, and exciting action." - New York Times bestseller, M.J. Rose


Barnes and Noble

Exclusive Excerpt

Nico Vitale was kneeling in one of the pews at St. Monica’s, praying for his mother and father. They’d been gone two years, but the pain of losing them still lingered. He had only been twenty-eight when they’d been killed, and he’d expected to have them for many more years, to give them the daughter-in-law and grandchildren they had wanted.

Their future had been stolen. From all of them.

He forced down the fury that had become all too familiar. Anger was good. Productive. It’s what drove him to seek justice, to right the wrong perpetrated against his family, against the honor code that had survived decades under the rule of some of history’s most violent men.

But this wasn’t the place for anger. This was the place for peace. Repentance. He took a deep breath and tired to calm himself.

His mother had always gone to St. Patrick’s, but Nico made a point of moving around the city, sitting in any church with an open door. He liked the anonymity of it. Liked knowing that no one would know him or remember his parents.

His faith was only a shadow of the belief that had sustained them. Nico didn’t believe in the edicts of the Church. It had been organized by man to benefit man. He worshipped his own god, and his god didn’t turn the other cheek. He might forgive, but that forgiveness didn’t preclude a punishment justly earned. Still, he liked to sit in silence and remember, to send love to his parents, wherever they were, and to stand on the side of any god who believed in vengeance.

He was reciting the Lord’s Prayer when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He instinctively shook off the hand. When he turned to see who had interrupted him, he was even less pleased.

“What is it, Dante?”He forced his voice even as he took in the leather jacket and jeans worn by the man in front of him. A dress code was part of Nico’s organizational reboot, but keeping cool was a point of pride, part of his mission to remake his father’s business for the twenty-first century. And having a reputation for being calm only made him more formidable when the situation called for his wrath.

Dante shifted in his seat, his face flushed, eyes feverish with excitement. “We got her,”he said. “We got the girl.”

Nico looked around before tipping his head at the church’s massive double doors. “Not here.”

Dante stood, hurrying down the aisle. Nico followed slowly, letting the peace of the church wash over him as he made his way out the door.

He took his time following Dante down the steps of the church. When they reached the sidewalk, they stepped back to stand near an adjacent building.

“Any trouble?”Nico asked.

Dante shook his head. “She didn’t see it coming.”

Nico didn’t like the note of excitement in Dante’s voice. Nico’s father had ingrained old-fashioned chivalry in his bones, and Nico never sanctioned hurting women. These kinds of things were a necessary part of doing business, not something he enjoyed.

“You didn’t hurt her.”It wasn’t a question.

Dante sighed, and Nico caught a hint of annoyance in the other man’s face before he could hide it. “We did it just like you said. Knocked her out, put her in the van, took her to the basement. She’s fine.”

Nico nodded. “Good. Make sure she’s comfortable.”

“Comfortable?”Dante’s laugh was bitter. “Why do we care if that bitch is comfortable?”

Nico clamped a hand on Dante’s shoulder and squeezed until he flinched. “We don’t call women bitches in this organization. Ever. Understand?”

Dante nodded, his eyes lit with the fire of indignation.

“Good.”Nico released his grip. “Now go make the pick-up.”

“Will do.”Dante rolled his shoulders, like doing so would free him of Nico’s grip when they both knew only death or dishonor would do that. “Want a ride back to the office?”

“No.”He didn’t owe Dante an explanation.

Dante nodded and headed for the car double parked at the curb. Nico watched him get in and drive away. He waited for the car to disappear into traffic before he started walking.

Dante was a problem. Nico understood it, but he was still trying to settle on a strategy for dealing with it. He knew Dante resented him. That Dante believed his father, Gabriel Santoro, should have been Underboss to Nico’s father before his death. If that had been the case, Dante’s father would be Boss now, and Dante himself would be the crown prince of the New York territory.

Instead, a year before his death Nico’s father had inexplicably turned to Nico, pleading with him to step in as Underboss. Only twenty-seven at the time, Nico wasn’t ready to take on the mantel of responsibility held by his father. He didn’t even believe in the mob. Not the way it was then; stealing and killing and raping in the name of money. In the name of power.

But his father had been unsettled. Even Nico, as young and wrapped up in himself as he’d been at the time, could see that. And his father -- his family -- meant everything to him. So he’d gotten his act together and joined the business, learning it from the inside out. He was just beginning to feel like he had a handle on the basic operations when his parents were murdered, execution style, outside the restaurant where they’d met over three decades ago. They had been celebrating their thirty-second anniversary.

Nico had spent the two years since remaking his father’s legacy. Raneiro Donati, head of the Syndicate that acted as governing body to criminal organizations all over the world, had stepped in as a mentor and father figure, guiding Nico through the early stages of grief and the rage that threatened to undo him. Gradually, Nico had found a focus for his fury, and he’d poured every ounce of his energy into targeting that focus and reimagining his father’s legacy.

Some of Nico’s soldiers embraced the change. Others, like Dante, clung to the old ways. Nico understood, but the reorganization wasn’t optional. They would comply or they would be gone.

Nico didn’t like taking the girl. A decade ago, something like that would be off the table, a blatant breaking of rules that had been in place since before the Syndicate formally existed. But nothing could be rebuilt without first dismantling the rotting foundation of what had come before.

And unfortunately, the girl was part of that foundation.

He checked for traffic on 2nd Avenue and crossed just before a taxi barreled through the intersection. He felt liberated by his time at the church. Lighter on his feet. Maybe he would call one of the women who acted as a physical companion when he felt the urge.

After all, he wasn’t a saint.

Michelle St. James Bio:

Michelle Zink
Michelle St. James aka Michelle Zink is the author of seven published books and six novellas. Her first series, Prophecy of the Sisters (YA), was one of Booklist's Top Ten Debut novels. Her work has also been an Indie Next selection and has appeared on prestigious lists such as the Lonestar List, New York Public Library's Stuff for the Teen Age, and Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best. Her character, Alice, won the Teen Read Awards for Best Villain against Harry Potter's Lord Voldemort.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Website

Enter Michelle’s Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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12. Ideas

Hi,I would like to come up with a unique idea for a novel which no other author has used. I want to be the first to write the story and create something

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13. Review of Firefly Hollow

mcghee_firefly hollowFirefly Hollow
by Alison McGhee; illus. by Christopher Denise
Intermediate   Atheneum   292 pp.
8/15   978-1-4424-2336-7   $16.99   g
e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9812-9   $10.99

A kindred spirit “understands the deepest dream of your heart,” Vole says to Firefly and Cricket. This trio of friends has big dreams: Vole dreams of sailing down the river to rejoin family and friends lost in a flood years before; Firefly dreams of flying to the moon; and baseball-loving Cricket yearns to be the best catcher since Yogi Berra. Vole has no community, and Firefly and Cricket feel like outsiders in theirs. The affectionate third-person narration follows each friend’s preparations for his or her quest, and when the time comes, Firefly does indeed shoot for the stars, Cricket makes the big catch, and Vole realizes he has not lost everything after all. McGhee has so ably created a believable world where dreams can come true that the entwined fates of a firefly, a cricket, and a vole (and their “miniature giant” friend Peter, a human boy) will move readers with its rightness. Where once they had sung “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with abandon, Firefly now says, upon returning from her aerial adventure, “It’s not true, you know…That part in the song that says you don’t care if you never get back…I cared.” Fifteen full-color plates (only three seen) will embellish the finished edition.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


The post Review of Firefly Hollow appeared first on The Horn Book.

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14. Query Critique: Cozy Mystery

I agree that the material in this email can be posted and critiqued on the Bookends Literary Agency blog. I give permission for it to be archived for the life of the blog.

Dear Query Queen,

Wildlife carer Madison Starr is in trouble. She’s back in Australia after her father’s death with one goal: to sell the family home and leave forever. But thanks to her big mouth her plan is in tatters. When Jaylee Olsen, the local realtor, offers to buy the perfectly situated property herself.  Madison lets an old grudge speak for her and refuses to sell to her childhood nemesis. Their confrontation is watched by most of the small town. Hours later Madison is horrified to find Jaylee dead on her doorstep.

I did not like the word "carer" this is super picky and a little ridiculous (no query is judged on one word), but I had to read it twice since I thought you misspelled career. Caretaker?
My only suggestion is maybe to tighten this a bit.  

Branded the number one suspect Madison is forced to surrender her passport, killing any chance of heading back to her carefully constructed life in America. She has no option but to hunt down the killer and clear her name. Her best friend from high school, along with her old teen crush, now a forensic expert, reluctantly help her delve into Jaylee’s life.

Collecting a kleptomaniac dog, assorted puppies and an orphaned ring-tailed possum along the way, Madison and her friends discover she’s not the only one who considered Jaylee their nemesis.

DEAD IS FUR-EVER is a 72,000 word, third-person cozy set in Australia. I hope to feature Madison Starr in a continuing series (The Pet Shop Mysteries - featuring a mix of Aussie wildlife and rescued domestic animals, each with their own quirky personality) and am currently working on a sequel.

I’m an environmental scientist and have lectured in wildlife caring as well as being a carer myself. I am a member and active participant of Romance Writers of Australia and Sisters in Crime Australia. This series has interest and a request from an editor of Penguin Australia but is not yet submitted.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Honestly. I think this is a really solid query. My only concern is that your hook, which is vital to cozy mysteries, is buried at the end and doesn't appear in the blurb at all. 

In cozy mysteries, the hook is what initially sells the book. What makes your book stand out from every other book on the market? What will the publisher put on the cover? A gorgeous home with books out front? A lighthouse? A knitting shop? etc. 

For the cozy market I think this would be stronger if the reason she needed to return to Australia had to do more with the hook. Perhaps she's selling her father's shop of some sort. 

I love that it's set in Australia, but it might make it a more difficult sell, especially if your hook is more or less anywhere. What about a hook that's more unique to Australia? 

Lastly, on a beyond-the-query note, I think you should consider a hook that stands out a little more. A pet shop has been done. Is there something that hasn't been done yet? 

This is great overall.


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15. The Raven's Child by Thomas E. Sniegoski, art by Tom Brown

The Raven's Child written by Thomas E. Sniegoski with art by Tom Brown flies into bookstores today!

A mesmerizing dark world filled with monsters, where humanity's only hope lies in the bravery of one woman...

When the Throng came, the human race never stood a chance. The monsters were simply too strong, too numerous. It only took a few months for them to take over and leave the few poor souls who survived cowering in terror for years to come.

But even the monsters fear something: the dark goddess known as the Raven's Child. Legend says that she alone is destined to destroy the Throng and free those under their cruel power.

And whoever wields her name and image could become the bane of the Throng and an inspiration to humankind - even if she were only a young woman, like Carissa Devin, who has vowed to reclaim the world for the human race, no matter what the cost...

Available at Amazon.com
Available at Amazon.co.uk
Published by InkLit
ISBN-10: 0425279073
ISBN-13: 978-0425279076

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16. Looking for nonfiction?

People write to me asking about the merits of this or that nonfiction book or series, which one(s) I recommend, etc. Keeping up with them, and/or writing a comprehensive review is daunting, and something I have not done. A lot of nonfiction has photographs that I like. For example, Marcia Keegan's books (listed below in the not recommended section) are about Pueblo people. I like the photos! The captions... not so much. I'm pretty sure Pueblo kids would like those photos, too, and I'd love to sit with them and write new captions for the photos. Maybe we'd use a Sharpie! And we could re-write problematic text, too! That would be an excellent activity, showing them that books have errors--that, in this case, the kids know more than the author... that books are not perfect. 

Though I've not done any reviews of series, I can offer this:

In A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children edited by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin, you'll find a section titled "Reviews: Photoessays of Indian Children." 

I strongly encourage you to buy A Broken Flute and read the reviews in their entirety. You'll learn a lot from studying those reviews. That study will help you in your collection development (decisions on what to get/what to weed) in the future. Here's my sorting of the reviews into three categories, recommended/recommended, but some parts uneven/not recommended and in two parts. First are books that stand alone, and second are books in a series. 


Ancona, George:
  • Earth Daughter: Alicia of Acoma Pueblo
  • Mayeros: A Yucatan Maya Family
  • Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead
  • Powwow

Jenness, Aylette and Alice Rivers. In Two Worlds: A Yup'ik Eskimo Family

LaDuke, Winona and Waseyabin Kapashesit. The Sugar Bush

McMillan, Bruce. Salmon Summer

Rendon, Marcie. Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life

Rose, LaVera. Grandchildren of the Lakota

Thompson, Sheila (Carrier). Cheryl Bibalhatsl/Cheryl's Potlach

Recommended, but some parts uneven 

Brown, Tricia. Children of the Midnight Sun: Young Native Voices of Alaska. 

Gravelle, Karen. Growing Up: Where the Partridge Drums Its Wings 

Kendall, Ross. Eskimo Boy: Life in an Inupiaq Eskimo Village

Sola, Michele. Angela Weaves a Dream: The Story of a Young Maya Artist

Wolf, Bernard. Beneath the Stone: A Mexican Zapotec Tale

Not recommended

Garcia, Guy. Spirit of the Maya: A Boy Explores His People's Mysterious Past

Hazen-Hammond, Suzan. Thunder Bear and Ko: The Buffalo Nation and Nambe Pueblo

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane.
  • Apache Rodeo
  • Arctic Hunter
  • Buffalo Days
  • Cherokee Summer
  • Day of the Dead: A Mexican-American Celebration
  • Lacrosse: The National Game of the Iroquois
  • Potlatch: A Tsimshian Celebration
  • Pueblo Storyteller
  • Totem Pole

Keegan, Marcia
  • Pueblo Boy: Growing Up in Two Worlds
  • Pueblo Girls: Growing Up in Two Worlds

Mott, Evelyn Clarke. Dancing Rainbows

Reynolds, Jan. Frozen Land: Vanishing Cultures

Wood, Ted, with Wanbli Numpa Afraid of Hawk. A Boy Becomes a Man at Wounded Knee


Recommended, but parts uneven

"My World: Young Native Americans Today"
Published by Beyond Words, in association with the National Museum of the American Indian
  • Belarde-Lewis, Miranda. Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast Alaska
  • Secakuku, Susan. Meet Mindy: A Native Girl from the Southwest
  • Tayac, Gabrielle. Meet Naiche: A Native Boy from the Chesapeake Bay Area

"We Are Still Here"
Published by Lerner
  • Braine, Susan. Drumbeat... Heartbeat: A Celebration of the Powwow
  • Hunter, Sally. Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition
  • King, Sandra and Catherine Whipple. Shannon: An Ojibway Dancer
  • Mercredi, Morningstar and Darren McNally. Fort Chipewyan Homecoming: A Journey to Native Canada
  • Nichols, Richard and D. Bambi Kraus. A Story to Tell: Traditions of a Tlingit Community
  • Peters, Russell M. Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition
  • Regguinti, Gordon. The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering
  • Roessel, Monty. Kinaalda: A Navajo Girl Grows Up
  • Roessel, Monty. Songs from the Loom: A Navajo Girl Learns to Weave
  • Swentzell, Rina and Bill Steen. Children of Clay: A Family of Pueblo Potters
  • Wittstock, Laura Waterman and Dale Kakkak. Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Sugarmaking
  • Wittstock, Laura Waterman and Dale Kakkak. Sugar Bush: Ojibway Maple Sugarmaking
  • Yamane, Linda. Weaving a California Tradition: A Native American Basketweaver

Not recommended

"The Library of Intergenerational Learning: Native Americans"
Published by PowerKids/Rosen

Kavasch, E. Barrie. 
  • Apache Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Blackfoot Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Crow Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Lakota Sioux Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Seminole Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Zuni Children and Elders Talk Together

"The World's Children" (exception is Grandchildren of the Lakota by LaVera Rose)
Published by Carolrhoda/Lerner

Hermes, Jules. Children of Guatemala

Pitkanen, Matti A. The Grandchildren of the Incas

Staub, Frank. 
  • Children of the Sierra Madre
  • Children of the Tlingit
  • Children of Yucatan

One more thing!

Another reason to get a copy of A Broken Flute is its guide to evaluating photo essays! Here's a photo of the top part of it:

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17. We FINALLY Got Deedy's Attention! (It's about time.)

Deedy (that's Dorothea Jensen to you) has been neglecting us Izzy Elves shamefully for the last few months.  She has been so involved with her Other Kind of Writing (A Buss from Lafayette, which is historical fiction for kids, whatever THAT is) that she has pretty much ignored us completely!

We pointed out to her that she has not helped us post anything on our Elfblog for almost TWO MONTHS!!

She apologized for all this and said she would do better.  We'll see.

Anyway, we read through our blog posts and realized that we have not quite posted all of the Izzy Elves in Underbits iPx. (You might recall that these are sketches by Shayne Hood for a new project she and Deedy - and Dee Dee, actually - are doing.)

So here is another Elf in Underbits:  DIZZY!

As some of you know, Dizzy specializes in toys that surprise. Recently, however, he has SUPER-specialized in electronic toys.  (He's become very savvy in this type of thing.)

Those of you who have read his story, Dizzy, the Stowaway Elf, know that because of this skill he solved a big problem for Santa, which probably helped S.C. forgive him for stowing away on his sleigh on Christmas Eve. (Although Dizzy himself admits that a boy named Stuart figured out how to make the Virtual Reins work.)

In any case, we are happy that Deedy has finally seen fit to help us out on our blog.

Thanks for checking in!

Much love,

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18. Draw Tip Tuesday: Watercolour Bugs!

Watercolors can be rather unpredictable and that may scare you, but actually, it’s a lot of fun! You need just a tiny bit of paint and some water to start making art.
I created 4 little colorful bugs and could go on forever, but I won’t - I will leave you to it. You could create a bug pattern like this - you could let the paint dry and add more details or just leave them dry like this.

Whatever you do, enjoy the luscious colors and the magic of the watercolors mixing into each other, and make awesome art!

If you want to learn more, have a look on my website koosjekoene.nl and join one of my classes today!

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19. Penelope Perfect - a bookwrap

Unwrapping some perfect quotes...

Unwrapping today today's book...

Authored by Shannon Anderson and illustrated by Katie Kath

Ages 5-9

Unwrapping some illustrations for you to peek at...

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20. हे राम

cartoon hangama by monica

हे राम !!! जिस तरह से संसद नही चल रही और मानसून सत्र मे धरने आदि का दौर जारी है उसे देख कर स्वर्ग में बैठ कलाम साहब भी यही सोच रहे होंगें …

don’t challenge the law: sumitra mahajan to MPs – Navbharat Times

सुमित्रा महाजनफोटो शेयर करें नई दिल्ली लोकसभा में पोस्टर दिखाने वाले वाईएसआर कांग्रेस सदस्यों को नियमों का पालन करने की हिदायत देते हुए अध्यक्ष सुमित्रा महाजन ने आज कहा कि सांसदों को अपनी बात रखने और मंत्रियों से आश्वासन लेने का हक है लेकिन जानबूझकर नियमों को चुनौती देकर नहीं। लोकसभा में आज कार्यवाही शुरू होने पर वाईएसआर कांग्रेस के सदस्य आंध्र प्रदेश को विशेष दर्जा दिए जाने की मांग करते हुए पोस्टर लेकर आध्यक्ष के आसन के पास आ गए, जबकि टीआरएस सदस्य सत्तापक्ष की ओर प्रधानमंत्री की सीट के बगल में खड़े होकर तेलंगाना के लिए अलग हाई कोर्ट की मांग कर रहे थे। वाईएसआर कांग्रेस और टीआरएस सदस्यों की मांग के बीच सदन में गृह मंत्री राजनाथ सिंह ने कहा कि आंध्र प्रदेश के संबंध में कुछ विषय उठे हैं और निश्चित तौर पर सरकार उस पर ध्यान दे रही है। उन्होंने कहा कि आंध्र प्रदेश के साथ कोई अन्याय नहीं होने देंगे। गृह मंत्री ने कहा, ‘तेलंगाना के बारे में अभी हमारी विधि मंत्री से बात हुई है। विधि मंत्री इस मुद्दे का समाधान निकालने के लिए प्रयत्नशील हैं। सरकार अपनी तरफ से प्रयत्नशील है। जहां तक संभव होगा सरकार इस बारे में बात करके समाधान निकालेगी।’ मिलती-जुलती खबरेंराहुल बोले, लैंड बिल पर हमने सरकार को डराकर भगा दिया’चाहे संसद से बाहर फेंक दें, पीछे नहीं हटेंगे’स्पीकर के ऐक्शन के खिलाफ भारी बवाललोकसभा में कांग्रेस के 25 सांसद सस्पेंड’काम नहीं, तो वेतन नहीं’ पर चिढ़ी कांग्रेस वाईएसआर कांग्रेस के सदस्य इसके बाद भी आसन के पास नारेबाजी करते रहे और टीआरएस सदस्य सदन में सत्तापक्ष की ओर कतार बनाकर खड़े रहे। इस पर अध्यक्ष ने कहा, ‘जब आप सांसद बनकर आते हैं, तब आपको नियम पुस्तिका दी जाती है। यह नियम पुस्तिका एक व्यक्ति ने नहीं बनाई है। संसद की समिति ने इसे बनाया है। सदन सवाल उठाने के लिए है, मंत्री से आश्वासन लेने के लिए है।’ उन्होंने कहा, ‘नियम आपके ही बनाए हुए है। आप जानबूझकर नियमों को चुनौती दे रहे हैं। आप अपनी बात रखें और मैं आपको प्रश्नकाल के बाद मौका दूंगी लेकिन नियमों को चुनौती देते हुए नहीं।’ इससे पहले सुबह सदन की कार्यवाही शुरू होने पर अध्यक्ष सुमित्रा महाजन ने कहा था कि उन्हें दुष्यंत चौटाला और जितेन्द्र रेड्डी के अलग-अलग विषयों पर नोटिस प्राप्त हुए है। उन्होंने दुष्यंत चौटाला से अपने नोटिस को दूसरे रूप में पेश करने को कहा और रेड्डी से उनके मामले को प्रश्नकाल के बाद उठाने का मौका देने की बात कही। इस दौरान सदन में लेफ्ट, आरजेडी और एसपी सदस्यों ने सदन से निलंबित कांग्रेस सदस्यों का निलंबन वापस लेने की मांग करते हुए नारेबाजी की। सदस्य अपनी बात रखना चाहते थे। समाजवादी पार्टी अध्यक्ष मुलायम सिंह यादव ने भी कुछ कहने का प्रयास किया। हालांकि, स्पीकर ने उनसे प्रश्नकाल के बाद बात रखने को कहा। इससे असंतुष्ट लेफ्ट पार्टियों, समाजवादी पार्टी और आरजेडी सदस्य सदन से वॉकआउट कर गए। अध्यक्ष ने वाईएसआर कांग्रेस सदस्यों की नारेबाजी के बीच ही पूरा प्रश्नकाल चलाया। उल्लेखनीय है कि मानसून सत्र शुरू होने के बाद से ही सुषमा स्वराज, वसुंधरा राजे और शिवराज सिंह चौहान के इस्तीफे की मांग पर दबाव बनाने के लिए सदन में पोस्टर दिखाने और आसन के समक्ष आने वाले कांग्रेस के 25 सदस्यों को अध्यक्ष सुमित्रा महाजन ने कल सदन की पांच बैठकों के लिए निलंबित कर दिया था। See more…

The post हे राम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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21. TED-Ed Team Unveils Summer Reading List for Young Readers

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22. Book Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

From Goodreads:
The summer precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still. Maggie Mitchell's Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent. 
I want to start with the positives, so I'm going to put entertainment value first with this book.  I feel like when I start with critiques, it sounds like I didn't enjoy the book, and I want it to be clear that I thoroughly enjoyed my read of this one, despite having some issues with the writing.

Entertainment Value
I love kidnapping stories, and was super intrigued by this one, which had the promise of not just a kidnapping but a mysterious secret the kidnapped girls have been keeping for almost twenty years.  In terms of engagement with the story, this did not disappoint.  I loved the creepiness of Lois and her modern stalker contrasted with the seeming innocence of the actual kidnapper.  I also enjoyed having both Lois and Carly May as narrators and getting to hear each explore their beliefs and opinions about the other.  My one complaint is that the ending didn't live up to the tension that builds during the book.  It happens too  quickly and without as much drama as the reader expects with all of the tension throughout the book.

This is where I had some real issues with the book.  If the book were intended to be a thriller and had a harrowing or twisted ending, I wouldn't have minded that we never really and truly figure out what the kidnapper was thinking or whether or not Lois is in her right mind.  On the other hand, I wouldn't mind the anti-climactic ending if we had really gotten into the psychology of the characters and the kidnapper.  Unfortunately, we get just a touch of both, and neither left me feeling fulfilled.  I never really understood the motivations of any of the characters, including our two narrators.  And I didn't feel like we got a good glimpse at where they were headed or how they had been impacted by the trauma in any way other than the most obvious actions - drinking, writing a book based on the story, losing touch with family.  I felt like the author tried too hard to fill the book with both thrills and psychology, but didn't really manage to pull of either at the end.

I enjoyed my reading experience and devoured the book in two sittings.  In that way, the book was a complete success.  It's a debut novel, and I think it was a fairly strong first novel.  On the other hand, I felt let down by the ending and never really connected with the motivations of any character, which was a disappointment.  I'm not sure that I'd recommend this one to others, but I will keep an eye on Mitchell's future writing and would be willing to read her again.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

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The Goodnight Star
by Amy sparkes

I'm really pleased to be able to share with you my latest book 'The Goodnight Star' beautifully written by Amy Sparkes and published by Random House Children's Books. 'The Goodnight Star' will be available to buy from 27th August.

 'Megan is afraid of the dark.'

 'Holding the star carefully, she climbed up to her treehouse...

 This image was my favourite so I was really pleased that it was chosen for the cover.

'The Goodnight Star' is my 8th book with Random House Children's Books. I'd like to thank the team at Random for all their help. Special thanks to Kerrie and Joe.

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24. My Denver Trip: The Flights are Booked!

Yeh! I'm all set... 

Remember my on-line workshop on children's book illustration? well, I fly off to Denver to start my filming adventure on September 7th and will be away for a whole week. Craftsy have a travel agent who has sorted it all out for me. They have managed to get really good flights times, so no getting up at the crack of dawn, or arriving at midnight. 

It sounds like I will be looked after well when I get there too. I will be chauffeured between the airport, hotel and film studio, which will make things lovely and relaxed. There's nothing like relinquishing all responsibility for that part of things. I still get a thrill from flying and travelling alone is an even bigger adventure, but there's always a slight worry of things going awry, so I'm glad to be looked after.

An added bonus: I will be taken to the studio each morning by the hair and makeup artist, who will hopefully make me look at least 10 years younger. We'll see! 

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Rootz Foundation Inc. in association with the City of Lauderdale Lakes
Present The:
Sunday, August 16, 2015
4.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Lauderdale Lakes Educational & Cultural Center
3850 W. Oakland Park Blvd.,
Lauderdale Lakes, Fl 33311
Matinee Screenings

4.00 p.m. : “First Rasta” – A documentary by Helene Lee

5.15 p.m. : “COINTELPRO 101” – From the Freedom Archives

Feature Presentation
6.30 p.m. : Mumia Abu Jamal Long Distance Revolutionary -
A film by Stephen Vittoria
Marcus Garvey Community Service
Dermot Hussey – Sirius/XM Radio Host
Andrea Williams – “Running African” Host IRIE FM Radio
Willie Stewart – Chairman of Embrace Music Foundation
Norman “Humble Lion” Lawrence – WAVS Radio Personality
Ikus Music Recording Artist
Singing His Brand New Debut Release
“Tears of Color”/”Lagrimas Con Color”

Ras Abuna, Ras Ijah & Phil Watkis
Live In Concert
Go Green Fashionista
ROOTZ Fashion Show
Highlighting fashion of Africa, Brazil, Spain & the Caribbean
MC: Yvette Marshall of WAVS 1170AM Radio
Food * Refreshments * Books * Cultural Items
On Sale
Entry Free
For More Info: (Tel) 754-264-2205 (Web) www.rootzfoundation.org
Facebook: Rootz Foundation Inc

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