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1. The Importance of Mastering a Second Skill -- A WOW-Wednesday Post by Jeanne Ryan

Writing is hard. It's a lesson many of us learn early on in our writing careers. And so it is easy to let the rest of our lives slip as we focus our entirety on mastering this craft and business. But author Jeanne Ryan is here to remind us that what we write about comes from the lives we lead. Even if it means jumping (or shimmying) through hoops! (And congrats to Jeanne on having her first book, Nerve, being adapted for a film by Lionsgate!)

The Importance of Mastering a Second Skill by Jeanne Ryan

Whenever I’m asked to share advice with other writers, a theme I often return to is the importance of having a life while you’re struggling to make a life of writing. For one thing, nothing you do goes to waste since it can be incorporated into your writing. So the Type A part of your brain can rest assured it’s all in the name of research. However, there’s a broader issue at stake. Publishing is a business for folks with the long-term view, measured in years and decades. During those eons spent in limbo between celebratory “news”, we’re advised to keep writing, keep learning, and keep trying--which is great advice. The writers I’ve seen make it have put in tons of work toward mastering their craft. But all this single-minded toiling, striving, and angsting can have a downside, when the focus turns to obsession, and too much of our perceived self-worth hinges upon meeting an overarching publishing goal.

That certainly happened in my case, so much so that those around me could easily see how my quest was progressing (or, more often, not) by how morose I was on any given day. One afternoon, back in 2007, after three years of “serious” writing and a year of rejected queries, I was (morosely) ambling around town and stumbled upon a professional hula-hooper. It was an unusual enough sight to get my attention, and, instantly, I perked up. When I tried out one of his hoops myself, I was transported back to my childhood and the fun I had shoop-shooping. But I’d given it up when I got older (i.e., bigger) and the hoops no longer worked. The secret, it turned out, was that grown-up hoopers need grown-up sized hoops. (Um, duh?) Once I learned that, my sweetheart constructed one for me out of PVC tubing. (Yes, homemade hoops are a thing; thanks, YouTube!)

I spent that summer teaching myself tricks from online videos (YouTube once again to the rescue). Knee hooping, chest hooping, halos and helicopters, with a galaxy of bruises to mark my attempts. I enrolled in a class at a local circus school to learn tricks, and then another at a yoga studio to focus upon flow. Yes, I kept writing, but what a marvelous thing it was to try something out of my comfort zone, and then practice until I saw progress, actual progress, which had become difficult to witness in the middle of my writing journey, especially when rejections were telling me otherwise. (Hooping also turned out to be a great stress reducer when those icky emails arrived in bulk.)

I believe a second path, one where you can witness tangible results, is an empowering antidote to the rejection-filled, hair-pulling angst we so often feel in the publishing biz, where the milestones are so few and achingly far between. If I could produce video commentaries like John Green, sing like Gretchen McNeil, or draw/play bagpipes/excel in a gazillion forms of artistic expression like Maggie Stiefvater, I would. But, for me, the “other” skill was found by shimmying a hoop of PVC tubing up, down, and off my body. And, who knows, there may be a hooper in one of my books someday, because it’s all research, baby, research.

About the Book:

A chance at the ultimate makeover means deadly consequences in this Sarah Dessen-meets-Robin Cook thriller

Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness—that is, until she’s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. The effects are instant. She’s charming, vivacious, and popular. But strangely, so are some other kids she knows. The media goes into a frenzy when the disease turns contagious, and then deadly, and the doctor who gave it to them disappears. Aislyn must find a way to stop it, before it's too late.

Part medical thriller, part social justice commentary, Charisma will have readers on the edge of their seats.

Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

About the Author:

I’ve lived all over the world, raised in a family with eleven brothers and sisters. I spent my early childhood in Hawaii and the rest of my growing-up years trying to figure out a way to get back there, with stops in South Korea, Michigan and Germany along the way. Before writing fiction, I tried my hand at many things, including war game simulation and youth development research. But I decided it was much more fun to work on stories than statistics.

These days, I still love Hawaii, but have found my home under the moody skies of the Pacific Northwest.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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2. rational bird housings

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3. The Diary of a Chambermaid review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Octave Mirbeau's The Diary of a Chambermaid -- another in my preparation for Dalkey Archive Press' forthcoming 21 Days of a Neurasthenic (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), after Torture Garden.
       This is probably his best-known work -- in no small part due to the two film-versions of it: few books have gotten such prominent double treatment (Lem's Solaris, filmed by Tarkovsky and Soderbergh is one of the few others), as this was filmed by Jean Renoir in 1946 (starring the husband-and-wife team of Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith !), and by Luis Buñuel in 1964 (starring Jeanne Moreau and Michel Piccoli).
       (Bonus Hollywood trivia reminder: Goddard's husbands before and after Meredith were Charlie Chaplin and Erich Maria Remarque, respectively.)

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4. Would You Read It Wednesday #168 -

Does everybody know what day it is???

Woo hoo!

It's April Fools' Day!

And Mother Nature is certainly April Fooling with us, as she continues to send snow!  Which I am ignoring.  Pointedly.

I hope you will all indulge me a moment of shameless self-promotion (due to the fact that I never seem to remember ahead of time to do anything about this!)

Enjoy April Fools' Day high jinx and shenanigans with Phyllis and the gang!
Grab a copy for yourself, one of the littles in your life, your local library, etc... :)
Helpful purchasing links for your convenience:
AMAZON, B&N, INDIEBOUND, Merritt Bookstore
If you feel the urge to share April Fool, Phyllis! on FB, twitter, etc, Phyllis and I will be extremely grateful and will sing a song in your honor :)  It will go like this:

FOOORRR you're a jolly good fellow
For you're a jolly good fellow
Oh you're a jolly good fell-ooowwwwwww
And Phyllis and I love you!

As you can see, we worked hard on the music and lyrics, and we practiced our singing all night... which is why we might sound a little hoarse.


And now for your Something Chocolate!
Meatloaf with gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas!!!
Recipe HERE at Party Pinching

Tee-hee-hee!  April Fool! :)

The "meatloaf" is a chocolate rice krispie treat with chocolate sauce for "gravy", the "mashed potatoes" are half a cupcake with vanilla frosting, a yellow starburst, and a little yellow gel icing, and the "peas" are from the peas and carrots Jelly Belly pack!  Pretty clever, don't you think?  :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Lidia.  In an April Fool move of her own, Lidia had not sent her pitch to me by my bedtime... I am hoping it will be here when I get up at 5:15 and I'll add it in then...  If not, this whole post will be an April Fool!

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:
The Pitch:

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Lidia improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lidia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing if she sends it :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  Happy April Fools' Day!  Happy April!  Happy Spring! :)

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5. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor by Paula Quinn

This morning I have a guest post and giveaway for Paula Quinn’s latest, The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor.

Top 5 distractions while working on a deadline by Paula Quinn

Everything is a distraction when I’m working on a deadline. The worst are:

1. Shopping

2. Arrow (The T.V. show. Have you seen it? Have you seen Stephen Amell?)

3. My dogs. The seem to know when I’m on a deadline and want all my attention.

4. Journaling—I love to write!

5. Reading



Known for her beauty and boldness, Abigail MacGregor must preserve her clan’s dangerous secret: that her mother is the true heir to the English Crown. If the wrong people find out, it will mean war for her beloved Scotland. To keep peace, she embarks for London, unprepared for the treachery that awaits-especially from her wickedly handsome escort. He is the enemy, but his slow, sensuous kisses entice her beyond reason . . . 


General Daniel Marlow, loyal knight and the kingdom’s most desirable hero, would rather be on the battlefield than transporting a spoiled Highland lass. But Abby MacGregor is unlike any woman he’s ever met, in a ballroom or in his bedroom. Captivated by her daring spirit and seduced by her lovely innocence, Daniel must choose between betraying his queen or giving up the woman who would steal his country-and his traitorous heart.

About Paula Quinn:

New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

Paula’s SM:






Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1IrFQEb

BAM – http://bit.ly/1FTJxCB

B&N – http://bit.ly/1u6Wkgl

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1sFMkb3

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1CnmAXk

iTunes – http://apple.co/1AHmJGd

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1FBNoWy


“Aye, ye did say that,” she murmured. “Well, since we’re both awake, we might as well spend the night together again.”

The innocence in her voice struck him in the guts. She wanted nothing more from him than someone to be with outside in the night.

He, on the other hand, was not innocent at all. Her choice of words sent a little spark of heat to his groin. The way she turned on the pads of her feet and ended up pressed against his side and tucked neatly under his shoulder tilted him on his axis a little.

“I’m cold,” she whispered, her teeth chattering.

He put up no fight when she lifted his arm around her shoulder, then covered them both with her plaid. The desire to protect her overwhelmed him and sent tremors through his muscles. He knew little of her. Was she an innocent daughter of a Jacobite chief, or part of some secret scheme Anne was devising.

Hell. Anne didn’t devise schemes.

“I wasn’t certain if you were ever going to speak to me again,” he said, when what he should have said was, You should go sleep somewhere, lady, and not on me.

“I was verra’ angry with ye. But I’ve forgiven ye.” He heard the smile in her voice and made a mental note of how well it pleased him that she was no longer angry. He would decide what to do about his unwanted concerns for her tomorrow. Right now, he only wanted to sit with her just like this, with her beneath his arm and pressed snuggly into his side. Warmth swept over him like fine wine until he felt drunk on it.

How was it that she fit so neatly into him, now and earlier when she slept in his lap, like she belonged there, close to him?

Close to his heart.

Hell, it scared him, and after fighting for over a decade, not much scared him anymore.

“D’ye have a wife, General Marlow?” Came her sweet voice against his chest.

“No, lady.”

“Are ye betrothed?”

“I am not.”

“Is there a lass somewhere who has yer heart?”


“Well,” she laughed softly, “are all the ladies in England fools?”

“They’re the opposite,” he told her. “They’re wise to set their interests in another direction.”

She shook her head then tilted her face up to his. In the filtered light of the moon, he could make her out enough to fall victim to the alluring curves of her mouth, her soft, sweet breath against his chin. “Nae, they are fools not to try to win yer affections.”

He knew every reason there was to stop what he was thinking, what he was feeling, and what he was about to do. But reason was a puny opponent compared to desire.

Slipping one hand behind her nape and the other to her throat, he tilted her chin another half-inch then covered her mouth with his. The instant after he did it, he regretted it, but then she coiled her arms around his neck and drew him closer, and he couldn’t stop. He never wanted to. She didn’t resist him, in fact, she melted in his arms. She groaned softly when he drew his tongue across the seam of her mouth. She bit his lip and ignited his blood to liquid fire. He swept his tongue in and out of her, holding her close to him while they kissed, wanting nothing more from her than what she gave him now. Making love to her could be dangerous if Charlotte found out. He’d have to make sure she didn’t find out, at least until he had proof of other crimes and could arrest her. If she hurt Abigail before that he’d hang her himself.

He wondered, as he held her in his arms and kissed her long into the night, how he could be so content with one he was supposed to hate.

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6. Review: Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker

Title: Becoming Rain
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria
Publication date: March 3, 2015

Summary: Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it—the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of a gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington, DC, major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the West coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year-old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to. 

Review: I absolutely loved this book! It is the first book in a really long time I've been able to just jump into. At first I will admit I wasn't quite sure I would be able to read it. For me it started out kind of dull and slow. But soon enough I was hooked and hoping to not have to go to work so I could just keep reading. I fell in love with Rain and Luke quickly and always hoped for the best. Books like this always renew my belief in Love. The best part about this is that the whole focus is not romance. Yet it feels like that's all that matters. I absolutely will be looking for more books by this author. As always I wish the story would never end! 4 stars

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7. April :)

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8. April Fools' Day Trivia Quiz Answers

question marksHappy April Fools’ Day!

Yesterday, we posted an April Fools’ Day Trivia Quiz. Were you fooled, or did you guess the answers?

  1. What date is April Fools’ Day?
    ANSWER: April 1st.
  2. According to one belief, April Fools’ Day is said to have started in which country? (Hint: Eiffel Tower)
    ANSWER: France. According to one story, in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII changed New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. People weren’t happy with this, and kept celebrating on April 1. The January people made fun of the April people, and tricked them into running “fools’ errands” and playing tricks on them. Hmm . . . sounds complicated. I’ll just stick to putting rubber bugs in my family’s beds!
  3. In 1998, which restaurant published a fake advertisement for a hamburger for left-handed people? (McDonald’s or Burger King)
    ANSWER: Burger King! They put an ad in the newspaper announcing a new menu item: the Left-Handed Whopper. It had the same ingredients as the original Whopper, but rotated the condiments 180 degrees. Thousands of customers went into BK requesting the new sandwich which was not real!
  4. Back in 2011, which celebrity teen heartthrob singer pretended to let talk show host Jimmy Kimmel shave off his hair?
    ANSWER: Justin Bieber! Luckily, it was all a joke.
  5. TRUE or APRIL FOOL: In 2005, NASA posted on their website that water had been found on Mars. Was water really found on Mars?
    ANSWER: APRIL FOOL! Well . . . actually yes and no. When readers scrolled down, they saw a picture of a glass of water placed on a Mars candy bar. (Good one!)
  6. What would YOU rather do: put Vaseline on your parents’ toilet seat OR a mustache tattoo on your sister while she’s sleeping?
    ANSWER: No wrong answer, you sneaky trickster, you!
  7. TRUE or APRIL FOOL: In 1957, Swiss farmers enjoyed a surprise “spaghetti crop” when spaghetti grew on trees.
    ANSWER: APRIL FOOL! It was a BBC prank.

Did you pull any good pranks for April Fools’ Day? I’m looking for some good ideas for next year, so let me know in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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9. My Personal Sketching Kit: What I Carry and Why

I have been writing a section from the beginning of my book, discussing different art materials and looking in detail at the kit which I carry and why. Getting your personal kit-bag sorted is important, because you don't want to be fussing about what to take or leave behind, each time you go out. It's difficult, because we all know what it's like to want the very thing you left at home.

Nevertheless, you need to make decisions and pare things down. It's good to travel light, otherwise you aren't able to carry your kit with you 'just in case'. I have 3 versions of my kit. The slim-line version is just my trusty Sailor pen and an A5 - A6 book, which you don't even notice you're carrying. I tend to have these in a pocket most of the time, because you never know. 

The next step up is to add my watercolour pencils, a waterbrush, a sweat-wristband (for cleaning the brush) and a knife. That's my medium kit and a good on-the-train kind of size: enough to see me though the odd hour here and there.

My full kit, for sketching day's out, is still pretty compact as I hate being loaded down. All the art equipment packs up into a zipper bag, the size of the average toiletries bag, which slips easily into a large handbag, along with a sketchbook or two. 

If it's an urban day, I usually pop my mini-stool in my bag too, so I don't have to look for benches or doorsteps. It weighs nothing and fits in a large handbag:

If I'm going rural, this foldaway sitting-mat from a camping shop is way better, because of uneven ground:

I have had to unpack my full kit this week and photograph every individual element for the book. This is because I want to dedicate a spread to peering inside my kit-bag, with pictures of everything and annotations, telling people exactly what each item is and why I have chosen it. I photographed 28 different items like this:

My snaps are not the photos we will end up using, but the designers need to know what everything looks like, so they can design suitable graphics for the page. Once that's done, the publisher will commission a proper photographer to take the pictures they need. In the meantime, I have been writing all the text.

If you are interested in getting some of the specific items like the Sailor or the stool, I have put together some links to where I got them. It's on Facebook here, as part of the Usk Yorkshire website.

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10. New group of Equihominids discovered

Scientists who exhumed the original skeleton of Equihominid aprilis near Volos, Greece in 1980 report that they have uncovered more than a dozen new individuals in the exposed shoreline sediments near Samsun in northern Turkey.

"The preservation of these fossils is extraordinary," said Project Director Manolis Ipponikos, who led a team from the Istanbul University of Turkey. "Having a larger sample size of these rare specimens allows us to better understand the variability of this species."

According to Professor Ipponikos, fish bones were found in the stomach contents of the centaurines, along with spearpoints nearby, which points to a pescetarian diet. "Some of the male skeletons exhibited healed postcranial injuries," he said, "suggesting that they had previously engaged in some form of violent conflict."

However, the creatures appear to have perished from a mass drowning event, most likely when the Black Sea was inundated from the Bosphorus, as suggested by Walter Pitman's Black Sea deluge hypothesis. Radiocarbon evidence from the skeletons confirms the  6500BC date for the flooding event.

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11. Walking The Game Beat: Mighty Marvel Heroes, Arkham Knight, Halo, Star Wars: Battlefront, Mortal Kombat X

Over the last few days even more Batman: Arkham Knight tidbits have dropped, Mortal Kombat builds towards its launch, Halo 5 announced a release date, and Marvel delivers a new mobile game.


Playstation Blog delivered the announcement of a limited edition PS4 console that comes with a limited edition Steel Grey PS4 system chassis with a custom Batman: Arkham Knight faceplate, a matching DualShock 4 wireless controller in Steel Grey and the disc based version of the game. This special bundle will be available for $449.99.

In addition, Sony is also doing a regular PS4 console that comes with the standard black system, controller, and Batman: Arkham Knight game for $399.99.


The bundles will be available when the game launches on June 23, 2015; currently the consoles are available for preorder at most major retailers.


It was obvious Electronic Arts, Star Wars: Battlefront would have a presence at the upcoming Celebration in Anaheim. Today it was revealed when exactly that will take place. DICE, developer of the Battlefield game series, will debut the Star Wars: Battlefront official reveal trailer during its Star Wars Celebration panel on April 17th, starting at 10:30 am PT. Those who can’t make it out to the show can catch the reveal trailer on EA’s website and official Star Wars channels during the convention, which itself runs from April 16-19 in Anaheim California.

Though a sliver of the game was shown at E3, this will be the first time actual gameplay will be on display for the public to enjoy. Star Wars: Battlefront is expected to arrive in stores later this year and what better place for a release date announcement than Star Wars Celebration.



IGN has the first 25 minutes of Mortal Kombat X gameplay. There’s a lot of information in this extended video for fans to digest, including an opening cinematic that sets the story going forward. Outside of the exciting helicopter fight between Scorpion, Sub Zero, Kenshi, and Johnny Cage, players will get a good look at the undead army of Quan Chi and Shinnok as they take on the Earthrealm Special Forces.

So far the digital comic series from DC has almost caught up to the events of the opening. As in the book Sub-Zero and Scorpion are set to be possessed and do battle with Earth’s champions while Kenshi has yet to join Cage and Sonya Blade. The footage looks impressive as the game seamlessly transitions from interactive moments to cut scenes and then to the actual fights themselves.

The Story looks as amibtious and cohesive as their previous entry Injustice: Gods Among Us was. Netherrealm, the game’s developer, has up’ed the ante for this one. Mortal Kombat X releases on PS4, PC and Xbox One this coming April 14 while the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will follow in the Summer.


Today, DeNA and Marvel Entertainment today launched Marvel Mighty Heroes, a real-time co-op brawler written by Fred Van Lente. For the first time on mobile devices players must defend the world by assembling a dream team of Marvel Super Heroes including Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Captain America, Star-Lord, Hulk, Hawkeye as well as dozens of Super Villains yet to be announced. In game events will be available to download such as today’s “Infinity” series were players will team up to battle Thanos.

The game feels like a compact version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, we’ll give you some more thoughts on it as we spend a little more time with it. Mighty Marvel Heroes is currently available as a free download on the Apple App Store for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and on Google Play for Android phones and tablets. Plus if you download the game this week you get a free special in-game Hulk as a reward.



During Sunday’s season finale of The Walking Dead on AMC, two new TV spots revealed the worldwide release date for the highly anticipated Halo 5: Guardians. The commercial showed the same events from both of the game’s main characters: Master Chief and Agent Locke. You can see it for yourself, there’s a lot of tension and drama that was missing from Halo 4.

Although with the game being an October release, it leaves Microsoft with no big exclusive for November. It could be that this spot will go to Rise of The Tomb Raider, a game that was announced during E3 but has not been talked about much since.

So what games are you excited for? Have the problems of the Mortal Kombat X digital series wavered your excitement for the game? Are you getting the Arkham Knight edition PS4?

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12. And All Our April Fool’s of Yesterday

It sort of defeats the purpose to write a post that reminds folks that it’s April Fool’s Day in the post’s very title, doesn’t it?  I guess I can’t go about claiming wild and wacky things, like Peter Sieruta used to.  Remember his 2012 post on “Selznick syndrome” or 2011′s Charlie Sheen Lands Children’s Book Deal or 2009′s Graveyard Book to Be Stripped of Newbery, or (my personal favorite) his 2008 Ramona piece de resistance?  No?  Then go read them.  The man knew from pranks.

This year pranking is doing very well in the middle grade category.  Mac Barnett and Jory John put out that great The Terrible Two (reviewed best by Travis Jonker).  I’d count The Tapper Twins Go to War by Geoff Rodkey as a great prank book as well.  And if we want to look at books that have come out in the past, I was always fond of Kim Baker’s Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School and M3: Sir John Hargrave’s Mischief Maker’s Manual by John Hargrave.

Today, I bring to you a specific picture book prank so light and airy and sweet that it can hardly be called “prank”.  It’s the kind of thing you might expect from the film Amelie or Color Me Katie.  It’s from last year and called More Bookish Prank Fun.  And to give you a hint of which picture book it references I shall leave you with just a single photograph.

Happy April Fool’s!


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13. Romance-writing in India

       Snigdha Poonam's look at how: 'India's male and female romance writers follow opposing codes', Terms Of Endearment, is now freely accessible at The Caravan -- maybe not many authors familiar to non-Indian readers, but still of some interest.

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14. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.

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15. EASTER 2015 - paperchase

One of my key destinations whenever I need a greeting card is Paperchase. This Easter they have some fab painterly designs from Sooshichacha (above & below) as well as their own exclusive designs. Their main theme features 'Easter Tweets' with a selection of colourful birds, some wearing glasses, A complimentary print of multicoloured diagonal gingham is used for packaging, gift wrap etc.

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16. Mobile-Friendliness and Google Search Rank Signals (more reasons to have a ready website)

Effective April 21, Google is expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. What’s this mean for you? Well, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly yet, you’ll be making a mad-dash to do so before the 21st. If you don’t, you will lose your search ranking. Does it really matter? You bet. As an example, suppose Website “A” has done its homework. It’s mobile-friendly. Suppose

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17. Editorial Submission :: Marcel George

Post by Natalie




Marcel George is a freelance illustrator living in London. He studied Illustration at Brighton University and graduated in 2010 with first class honours. He specializes in creating hand painted, contemporary watercolour illustrations.

See more of his work on his website.

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18. Chinese fiction in ... Japan

       Okay, I'm a bit late with this .. but then most of you probably already knew and had celebrated that Yan Lianke receives Twitter Literary Prize.
       No ? Still ... an intriguing headline, right ? I kept my fingers crossed that at least it was an award for 'tweeted' fiction. Alas, not even that, apparently -- it seems to be this (and this), and Yan Lianke's Lenin's Kisses was the top vote-getter in the international category of this Japanese prize. Of a very limited number of votes -- thirty-four was enough to win: see the full run-down here. (It is an interesting list -- with Brian Evenson's Fugue State seventh (with sixteen votes) -- but not too many folks seem to have played along.)
       Okay, so this is not an award that can/should be taken too seriously. The China Daily article doesn't even bother trying to find the title the novel was published under in English, referring to it as The Joy of Living (but it is, indeed, Lenin's Kisses). But the article does provide some additional interesting information, claiming the Japanese edition of the winning title was:

published at the end of last year with a first run of 8,000 copies, which immediately sold out. As of right now, the book has been reprinted three times, with each run consisting of 3,000 copies.
       That's not bad -- probably more than it's sold in English. But the article claims that those numbers mean the novel: "has broken all records of sales of Chinese writers' works". So the bestselling Chinese work in nearby Japan has sold ... less than 20,000 copies ?
       We're still waiting for the big Chinese breakthrough in the English-speaking world, but I'm surprised that closer to home success seems also to have been limited, so far.

       Meanwhile, Yan's novel The Four Books has just come out in English; see the publicity pages from Grove Press and Chatto & Windus, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. I haven't seen it yet, but I'll probably have a look; I wonder whether it will sell more than 20,000 copies in the US/UK. Or Japan.

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19. Best New Kids Stories | April 2015

We have selected three picture books, a middle grade novel and two young adult books to highlight for this month's new release kids books. Enjoy perusing our picks for kids and teen books that we feel represent some of the best new kids stories ... Read the rest of this post

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20. 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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21. EATER 2015 - primark

Not long now until the Easter holidays and one of the key design motifs of the season is the cute rabbit. These Easter bunnies in lovely sugary colours were spotted on lounge/nightwear in Primark last week.

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22. Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes collected by Elizabeth Hammill and illustrated by more than 70 celebrated artists

As Elizabeth Hammill says in her introduction to Over the Hills and Far Away, nursery rhymes are "borderless - migrating with ease, begetting intriguing cultural variants along the way." With Over the Hills and Far Away, Hammill has collected 150 nursery rhymes from all over the world and invited 77 contemporary, award-winning illustrators like Eric Carle, Jerry Pinkney, Jon Klassen, Mo

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23. EASTER 2015 - tesco

We end today with a few designs spotted in supermarket Tesco who had a mixture of exclusive designs and Hallmark cards.

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24. PO-EMotion -- Anticipation

Flickr Creative Commons photo by eric lynch


The end of the very last day of school,
standing poised on the edge of the pool,

smell of curry as I'm opening the door,
excitement of Christmas on the night before,

next in line for the roller coaster,
when will the toast come out of the toaster?

jitters, dread, a lack of patience,
waiting and waiting...anticipation.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015

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25. 30 Days of Teen Programming!

prog guideAs the chair of YALSA's Programming Guidelines taskforce, I'm excited to announce that the Teen Programming Guidelines are now available! The guidelines cover all aspects of programming, from idea to evaluation. They were developed in alignment with The Future of Library Services For and With Teens: A Call to Action, and with input from YALSA members. Our hope is that these guidelines will be a valuable tool for you in your library work with teens, both as how-to guide and as an advocacy tool.

To celebrate, YALSAblog is hosting 30 Days of Teen Programming, a month-long series of posts to help get us all started thinking about the guidelines in concrete terms. Each post will tie into one of the ten guidelines with examples, ideas, best practices, or problem-solving.

We'd love to hear from you as well. How do the guidelines reflect the work you're already doing? How do you hope to use the guidelines in your library?

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