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<<May 2015>>
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1. Jen Brooks, author of IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT, on trimming a scene to the essentials

We're pleased to have Jen Brooks join us to share more about her debut novel IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT.

Jen, what scene of IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT 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?

One scene I spent significant time on was the scene where Jonathan and Kylie go to the art museum. In the scene’s early drafts my readers, including my editor, felt it was long and draggy. I felt like they were questioning the importance of the scene. This was a problem because this scene was super important to me as far as the major themes in the book—responsibility for creation, the definition of “true” love, and the longing for what’s “real.” In this scene, Jonathan has serious doubts and questions about what he’s done by creating a girlfriend for himself. I must have rewritten it a dozen times to trim the excess museum stuff and focus on the essentials of the relationship in a way that didn’t seem too symbolic or metaphorical. I’m not sure how successful I was, as only one reviewer has noted the scene, but aside from the ending, it’s my favorite scene.

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

My road was fairly long, but I wouldn’t say it was hard. Hard is a relative term. When I set out on the journey, I was still teaching, and I couldn’t at that time imagine doing anything other than teach, so the beginning years didn’t feel “hard” at all. Basically, I wrote two manuscripts as thesis projects for graduate degrees. The first I sent to ten agents and let something like two years pass waiting to hear back from two of them who requested the manuscript. The second I only sent to about a dozen agents, and something like half of them requested the manuscript. While I was waiting to hear back (and, alas, accumulating rejections), I decided to keep writing. I had learned in grad school that if you write a page a day you can have a book done in a year. Since it took 5-6 years to write each of my previous manuscripts, I thought this was a pretty good challenge. In the end, I finished IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT in four months. A few months later I had an agent, and when it went on submission, it caught my editor’s attention fairly quickly. I didn’t have a whirlwind journey, as some do. It took years in total, but it was all good.

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

The only place I can write is at my desk on my big office computer. I’ve learned to do a lot of things in various places on my laptop, but writing is not one of them. In general, I need complete silence and a long stretch of time to get anything done. I wish I were the kind of writer who could squeeze in ten minutes of writing here, twenty minutes there, and because I’m not that kind of writer, it’s taken until this year, when my son is old enough to go to school full time, for me to feel like I have a real writer’s life.


In a World Just Right
by Jen Brooks
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 4/28/2015

Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.

Purchase In a World Just Right at Amazon
Purchase In a World Just Right at IndieBound
View In a World Just Right on Goodreads


Jen has a habit of being deeply moved by profound ideas, and her writing reflects her interest in exploring human goodness, relationships, and the feeling of being a part of something greater than oneself. She loves the science fiction and fantasy genres because of their dazzling possibilities for portraying characters and ideas. She credits her undergraduate experience at Dartmouth College, her MFA at Seton Hill University, and her fourteen years of English teaching with shaping her writing. She is grateful to her family, friends, and students for inspiring her to write.

What did you think of our interview with Jen Brooks, author of IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

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

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2. New Batman: Arkham Knight DLC Details Including Batgirl!

Fights and free comics weren’t the only things dropped Saturday night. WB Games, who are set to release the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight game responded to fan and media criticism about their recently announced season pass option by giving away a few more details on their forums.

We now know a few more things about what your $40 will get you:

Batgirl: A Matter of Family
An all new prequel story expansion in an entirely new location where you play as Batgirl for the very first time in the Arkham series – check out the first render of Batgirl.

The Season of Infamy
Play as Batman in all new story missions featuring legendary super-villains invading Gotham City, with new story arcs, missions and gameplay features.

Gotham City Stories
Play as Batman’s key allies in narrative missions extending their storylines, from both before and after the events in Batman: Arkham Knight.

Legendary Batmobiles with Themed Tracks
Drive the most iconic Batmobiles from Batman’s 75-year history, on custom-built race tracks, each themed to that Batmobile’s specific era. Every Batmobile will be drivable across every race track.

Crimefighter Challenge Maps
Engage in a series of new challenge maps utilizing the unique play styles of Batman and his allies.

Character Skins
A variety of skins from across the eras for Batman, Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman.

No word on how the content will be spread out over the 6 month period they previously announced. The game’s developer, Rocksteady, did mention that they’re still working on developing even more add-on for the game which will be announced as soon as the studio “ramp on” development of the content.

Batman: Arkham Knight is set to release June 23, 2105 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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via ILLUSTRATION ART http://ift.tt/1zn41Dm

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4. Watch: Trailer for ‘Lion King’ Director Roger Allers’s New Film ‘The Prophet’

GKIDS will release the film in the U.S. in August.

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5. Portfolio Tips from Sanne Dufft, Europolitan Showcase Winner

via illonational http://ift.tt/1KDIqYH

I’d met Sanne Dufft before at the Bologna Book Fair and was surprised when I saw her show up at the Europolitan Conference with her foot in a brace and limping on a crutch. She said that she almost canceled her trip because of her injury, but convinced herself that she had to attend. How […]

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6. Take action with #VLLD 15, and let your voice be heard!

As most of us can’t physically travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in National Library Legislative Day (NLLD)ALSC’s Advocacy and Legislation Committee has developed resources so you can contact Congressional leaders from home!

Check out these easy-to-use resources for taking action from your library community during the week of May 4-8, 2015.

Creating a Better Future Button

Image courtesy of ALSC

Contact Your U.S. Senators and Representatives 

Talking Points to Use with Legislators 

Letter to Congress Template 

Sample VLLD 15 Tweets

The post Take action with #VLLD 15, and let your voice be heard! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #430: Featuring Frank Viva (sorta)

Dear kickers, I’m battling an ugly stomach bug this weekend, and since it’s best to be horizontal, I’ve got a short post today. I was going to feature the work of another illustrator, but I’ll have to do that later this week, since it was a much longer post.

I reviewed Frank Viva’s Outstanding in the Rain (Little, Brown, April 2015) over at BookPage (that is here), and I had planned on securing some of the beautiful spreads from the book to show you all. But again … you know, dastardly bug.

Instead, to keep things short so that I can lie back down, I’ll point you to these recent and quite wonderful posts at other places, posts all about the book — and with lots of art.

* Post at 32 Pages
* Post at Brain Pickings
* Write-up at the New York Times

Please do tell me: What are YOUR kicks this week?

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8. Trisha Leaver, author of THE SECRETS WE KEEP, on tossing emotions into revisions

THE SECRETS WE KEEP is the latest novel by Trisha Leaver, and we're thrilled to have her stop by to share more about it.

Trisha, how long did you work on THE SECRETS WE KEEP?

The book itself took me about 6-8 weeks to write. I was in a good writing space and my muse seemed to be cooperating. But drafting has always been the easy part for me; it is revising that takes the most time.  It took me about three months to revise THE SECRETS WE KEEP and that is editing full-time each day. And then I held onto it, didn’t share it with my CP’s or my agent for months. I wasn’t ready to part with. It was the book of my heart and, in a way, I wanted to keep it all to myself for a little bit longer. Eventually, I let three people read THE SECRETS WE KEEP from start to finish, and it was only after a not-so-gentle shove from them, that I finally passed it on to my agent.

What did this book teach you about writing and yourself?

Looking back on it, writing the first draft of this book was the easy part; revising it was HARD.  I had the foundations laid down, the scenes and the characters clearly drawn out in my head. But in order to make my MC’s guilt palatable and truly feel her pain, I had to dig deeper and revise harder than I ever thought I was capable of. We have all, at some point, experienced pain, and loss, and guilt…perhaps even desperation and hopelessness. I had to recall those feelings from my own past and pull them forward, toss all those emotions into my revision. It was difficult and uncomfortable at times. But what I learned was that more often than not, the scenes that are the hardest to write are often the most powerful ones.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE SECRETS WE KEEP?

Hmm…that is a hard one. I guess, I want them to understand that it is okay to be true to yourself. That who you are is exactly who you are meant to be.  Sometimes it’s hard to see past people’s expectations of yourself, and frequently our own dreams and who we think we should be are dictated by the people around us.  That is sad, and wrong, and causes more pain then necessary.  Embrace your creativity, trust in your own self-worth, and simply take joy in being who you are.


The Secrets We Keepby Trisha LeaverHardcoverFarrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 4/28/2015

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world. 

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

Purchase The Secrets We Keep at Amazon
Purchase The Secrets We Keep at IndieBound
View The Secrets We Keep on Goodreads



Trisha Leaver resides on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather excitable black lab. Her YA Horror novel CREED is coming in Fall of 2014 from Flux. Her YA Contemporary THE SECRETS WE KEEP coming in the Winter of 2015 from FSG/Macmillan.

What did you think of our interview with Trisha Leaver, author of THE SECRETS WE KEEP? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

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

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9. #687 – The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman & Deborah Zemke

Quick note: Not surprisingly, the motherboard died one last time, just days after arriving home from its last death. I am at the library and running out of time. Please excuse the unfinished post. I will get all images and links up as son as I can. I hope you enjoy the review, such as it is. ~Sue


The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake
Written by Robin Newman
Illustrated by Deborah Zemke
Creston Books          2015
40 pages            Age 7—9
“When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?” [publisher]

Oh, my, a carrot cake has gone missing and Miss Rabbit, besides being crumbed by cake from head to toe (she did bake the now missing carrot cake), is hopping mad. Good thing the MFI’s are on the case, with Captain Griswold and Detective Wilcox as lead investigators. These two small Missing Food Investigator mice may have experience, but the layered Case of the Missing Carrot Cake just might be unsolvable.

I know detectives do not want to be viewed as cute, but cute is an apt word. From their gruff-looking MFI badge pictures, to their droll 1950’s cop-speech—think Friday of Dragnet—Griswold and Wilcox are all business, but adorable. The two made me laugh each time they spoke. Kids may not know who Sargent Friday was, but if a parent were to channel Sargent Friday while reading Detective Wilcox’s story, their children will at least get part of the joke.

“It was 10:00 Monday morning. The captain and I were working the day shift when we got our first call . . . Every day food goes missing from the farm. Sometimes it’s lost. Sometimes it’s stolen. Sometimes it just runs away.”

The first four chapters introduce the usual suspects: Fowler, the Owl (Alibi. He was picking up his dinner in the field); Porcini, the Pig (a convicted corn robber, he was with Miss Rabbit—she refused a refreshing hot cup of slop); Hot Dog, a dog (evidence is found! Hot Dog is, according to Wilcox, “in as pickle”); and . . . uh, oh. Where did suspect number four hide? I know there is a fourth, but, unlike Detective Wilcox, I am no missing food investigator.

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake will delight readers. Kids will love the goofy characters, the illustrations, and the oft-used humor. Adults will also laugh, and sometimes groan, but always appreciate the humor and Wilcox’s Dragnet performance.

“Just give us the facts and nothing but the facts . . . “

The illustrations enhance the story on every page. The short chapters, just right for readers learning to read on their own, and illustrations that make each page come alive, kids will begin viewing reading as entertainment, rather than something one only does in school. Each of the seven characters is well-developed with distinctive personalities. I love Hot Dog, who towers over the detectives, yet gives them all due respect. Twists do occur, so do not get cozy with your solution to this case.

Will the MFI solve The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake? Will the residents of Ed’s Farm ever be safe from bakery thieves? To find out, check out Newman’s debut chapter book. I hope there are more cases to solve. The MFI detectives can delight readers again and again . . . they just need missing food to find.

THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE. Text copyright © 2015 by Robin Newman. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Deborah Zemke. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Creston Books,

Purchase The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake at Amazon—Book Depository—iTunes—Creston Books.

Learn more about The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake HERE.
Meet the author, Robin Newman, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Deborah Zemke, at her website:
Find more chapter books at publisher, Creston Books, website: http://www.crestonbooks.com

Review Section: word count = 473

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Chapter Book, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Reluctant Readers Tagged: beginning to read on your own, book for boys, Creston Books, Deborah Zemke, Dragnet, mystery, Robin Newman, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, whimsical, witty

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10. The Greatest Gatsby

Literary editors of both The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers commented about words and grammar in their columns this weekend. The Greatest Gatsby: A Visual Book of Grammar (Viking, Penguin) is a very clever way to help everyone understand words and grammar. Tobhy Riddle is one of Australia’s notable picture book illustrators, with works […]

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11. Cartoon Rape Graph

rape - Copy

जिस तरह से रेप का ग्राफ दिनोदिन बढता जा रहा है महिला में असुरक्षा की भावना और कानून के प्रति नाराजगी बढती जा रही है … इसका अंत कब होगा … ये एक यक्ष प्रशन है .. अफसोस बेहद निराशाजनक …

The post Cartoon Rape Graph appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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12. Week in Review: April 26 - May 2

From May:

Lady Thief. A.C. Gaughen. 2014. Walker Books. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Seuss. 1960. Random House. 62 pages. [Source: Library]
Ice Cream Summer. Peter Sis. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Completely Clementine. Sara Pennypacker. 2015. Disney-Hyperion. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
From April:
Scarlet. A.C. Gaughen. 2012. Walker. 292 pages. [Source: Library]
Charlotte's Web. E.B. White. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1952. HarperCollins. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Gone Away Lake. Elizabeth Enright. 1957. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
The Devil's Arithmetic. Jane Yolen. 1988. Penguin. 170 pages. [Source: Bought]
17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History. Andrew Morton. 2015. 384 pages. [Source: Library]
Dragon Spear. Jessica Day George. 2009. Bloomsbury USA. 248 pages. [Source: Library]A Travelogue of the Interior: Finding Your Voice and God's Heart in the Psalms. Karen Dabaghian. 2015. David C. Cook. 274 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 2015. Crossway. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Prince Caspian. C.S. Lewis. 1951. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]

This week's recommendation(s):

I loved rereading Scarlet and Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen. My review of the third book will be coming soon!

I loved rereading Charlotte's Web.

Devil's Arithmetic is a compelling read; I loved it more than Number the Stars. A lot more. So I definitely recommend it.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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13. Library Loot: First Trip in May

New Loot:
  • Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller 
Leftover Loot:
  • The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
  • The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
  • Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, translated by Richard Pevear
  • Murder at Mullings by Dorothy Cannell
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
  • The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, translated by Christine Donougher
  • Cursed in the Act by Raymond Buckland
  • Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
  • The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen
  • Indigo King by James A. Owen
  • The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
  • Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • The Far Side of Evil by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan
  • The Infernal Device & Others by Michael Kurland 
  • The Empress of India by Michael Kurland
  • Who Thinks Evil by Michael Kurland
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • One Summer by David Baldacci
  • Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Dr. Seuss's ABC
  • Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
  • King's Cross by Timothy Keller
  • Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss
  • The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
  • Onion John by Joseph Krumgold  

      Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.  

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | May 2015

It's true TCBR readers are fans of Greek myths! That's why, this month, the National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology is The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book.

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15. Artist of the Day: Zac Gorman

Discover the work of Zac Gorman, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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16. Robin Constantine, author of THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION, on protecting your joy of writing

THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION is a companion novel to THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, and we're delighted to have Robin Constantine here to tell us more about it.

Robin, what was your inspiration for writing THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION?

I remember telling members of my critique group that I’d love to write a series of books surrounding the same cast but fleshing out their individual stories – at the time I didn’t realize companion novels existed, so when my editor approached me about writing a book from Madison’s perspective I jumped at the chance. Madison is BFFs with the MC from my first book and she’s such a different character. She’s confident from the start and speaks her mind - it was fun to knock her off center and watch what happened.

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 point to write every day.  Some days that can mean 2,000 words, other days it can mean 200.  It’s also different at different stages. I loathe first drafts, so that is always the toughest for me – I have to reward myself for words. I’m so grumpy at that stage. I’m happiest revising – I love that moment when everything is in place and you can play around with your characters.  My best work happens at home.  I’ve written in other places but I’m most comfortable in my own space, with my creature comforts nearby. I need coffee, something crunchy when I’m working through a plot point (I’m addicted to Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop!) and I’ve recently started listening to classical music for concentration too.  It helps!

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

Protect your joy of writing. Fiercely.  There are so many things you can’t control – trends, reviews, if someone is accepting unsolicited work or not - but you do have control over your words, your craft, the time you spend learning and playing.  Having your work published is a dream, but it’s also a job – so on those days when you can’t count on the muse to show up and you have to soldier through, it helps to find something you love in the process.


The Secrets of Attractionby Robin ConstantineHardcoverBalzer + Bray
Released 4/28/2015

Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and (of course) romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine’s debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love. 

Madison Parker is on fast-forward. Working toward a scholarship for a summer art program, she already has her future figured out. But when a visit from a family friend turns her life upside down, everything she thought she knew becomes blurred. All she wants is to stand still for a moment.

 Jesse McMann is stuck on repeat. Reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band, Jesse divides his time between working as a barista and trying to find the inspiration to write music again. All he wants to do is move forward.

The night Maddie strolls into Jesse’s coffee shop after yoga class, the last thing on his mind is hooking up, but her smile and witty comebacks are hard to ignore. The spark between them is undeniable, but once-a-week flirting is hardly the stuff of epic romance.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett. When Jesse discovers that Gray’s girlfriend is also Maddie’s best friend, he invites Gray to join his band as their new drummer, hoping this connection will give him more time around Maddie. Slowly but surely, Jesse and Maddie forge a friendship, but do they have what it takes to make their relationship truly sync?

Purchase The Secrets of Attraction at AmazonPurchase 
The Secrets of Attraction at IndieBound
View The Secrets of Attraction on Goodreads



Robin Constantine is the author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction. A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Robin likes to spend her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, eventually, but not without a lot of peril, angst, and the occasional kissing scene. She loves swoony books, flip-flops, dark chocolate and the full moon.

What did you think of our interview with Robin Constantine, author of THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION? Let us know in the comments!

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

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17. Promotion Tip

A free, easy to implement, promotion tip is to call your book by its name where talking about it.


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18. Ruth Rendell (1930-2015)

       Crime writer Ruth Rendell (who also wrote as Barbara Vine) has passed away; see the overview at Literature Matters or, for example, obituaries in The Guardian and The Telegraph, or Val McDermid on No one can equal Ruth Rendell's range or accomplishment in The Guardian.

        While none of her books are under review at the complete review I've read about twenty or so; I have another half dozen in reserve -- I'll generally pick up any mass-market-paperback copy I haven't read that I stumble across at any used bookstore She is one of those reliable authors one can turn to if nothing else seems to fit the bill at a certain point, and it's always good to have a few spare still unread ones at hand should the need arise.

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19. Richard Van Camp's THE BLUE RAVEN

New this year (2015) is Richard Van Camp's graphic novel, The Blue Raven. Illustrated by Steven Keewatin Sanderson, the story is about a stolen bicycle, and, healing. Here's the cover:

The bike, named Blue Raven, belongs to a kid named Benji. He comes out of the library (how cool is that?) and his bike is gone (not cool!). Trevor, the older brother of a kid in his class, sees Benji and offers to help him find the bike.

This isn't just any bike (no bike is, really), but this one? Benji's dad gave it to him when he moved out of their house.

When Benji was born, his dad called him Tatso because his eyes were the same blue color as a baby raven's eyes. Tatso is a Tlicho word. It means Blue Raven.  And--it is the name his dad called the bike, too.

As you might imagine, it is very special to Benji.

We learn all that--and more--as Benji and Trevor drive around on Trevor's four-wheeler, looking for the bike. Trevor is Metis, but wasn't raised with Native traditions in the same way that Benji was. Indeed, there is a moment when Trevor mocks Benji. Confident in what he knows and bolstered by memories of time with members of the community, Benji counters Trevor, who is taken aback and a bit snarky. By the end of this short graphic novel, though, Trevor is with Benji at a gathering where Trevor is invited to dance and the two have agreed to keep looking for the Blue Raven.

Steven Keewatin Sanderson's illustrations are terrific! From anger over his bike being stolen, to the tears Benji sheds in the flashback parts of the story, to the community scenes at the drum dance, they are a perfect match for Van Camp's story. Keep an eye out for his work!

The Blue Raven, published in 2015 by Pearson, is part of its Well Aware series and sold as a package. However, it can be purchased directly from Richard Van Camp at his site. I highly recommend it.

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20. Tehran International Book Fair

       The Tehran International Book Fair opens Tuesday, with President to open 28th Intl. Book Fair, as Hassan Rouhani will be doing the honors. I look forward to hearing reports from the fair -- and wonder whether there has been an appreciable change in the local literary (atmo)sphere.
       And I am kind of curious about the guest of honor -- Oman. One doesn't hear much about, or see much Omani literature ..... (M.Lynx Qualey has a good introductory look at her Arabic Literature (in English) weblog, Where Are Oman's Authors ?)

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21. Read all of Top Cow’s Tales of Honor: Bred to Kill #1 right here FREE


It’s Free Comic Book Day worldwide, and even if you can’t get to a shop, here’s one free comic you can read right now, Top Cow’s Free Comic Book Day book Tales of Honor: Bred to Kill #1 by Matt Hawkins and Linda Sejic. This issue is a zero issue for a new arc in the series, inspired by David Weber’s novels of the same name and done with his blessing.

The first issue of this second arc ships in June.

Hawkins is signing twice today:


Oak Grove Plaza Shopping Center
2980 Treat Blvd
Concord, CA 94518


5018 Mowry Ave.
Fremont, CA 94538

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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23. Tomorrow, at Ryerss Museum and Library

I'll be talking about that river of ours—the great She, the Schuylkill—and selling copies of Flow. The facts are here, should you be in the neighborhood. I would love to see you.


May 3, 2015
1 PM
Schuylkill River/FLOW presentation
Ryerss Museum
7370 Central Avenue
Philadelphia, PA
(free and open to the public)

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24. Ngũgĩ's early writing life

       At The Standard Ngũgĩ recalls his literary walk as Weep Not, Child turns 50.
       This is apparently: "an adaptation from Ngũgĩ's upcoming third memoir titled: The Making of a Dream Weaver: A Makerere Memoir".
       I can't find any record of it elsewhere (yet), but that's certainly something I am looking forward to. Meanwhile, I'm most excited to be able to hear the great author in person at the PEN World Voices opening night event tomorrow !

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25. Diva Delight: In the Time of Dragon Moon

Be ready to soar with dragons as you fly a final time over and into the luscious world of Wilde Island and Dragon's Keep. Janet Lee Cary's word choice glimmers as beautifully as her will-o'-the-wisps, and her mystery deliciously taunts the reader through her pages. A gorgeous conclusion to the trilogy, ringing with sensitivity, compassion, and deep truth.

"You are too anxious for what you want, Uma. Begin by wanting what you have."
"Joy and sorrow are songs women have long known. For women are healers."


In the Time of Dragon Moon
Dragon's Keep
by Janet Lee Carey
Kathy Dawson Books, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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