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You all are in for a real treat today! Not only do we have an incredibly original upcoming book to highlight -- 5 To 1, a half-verse dystopian set in futuristic India -- but I dare you to read this post by the author Holly Bodger without laughing like crazy. I sure did.
Holly is also one of our newest mentors for First Five Pages Workshop, so you'll be seeing her a lot around here. Please make her welcome!
The Rules of Author Club: a WOW-Wednesday Post by Holly Bodger
The first rule in being an author is YOU DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS
The second rule of being an author is YOU DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS
Did you get that? Perhaps I should say it again. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, READ ANY REVIEWS OF YOUR BOOK NO MATTER HOW TEMPTED YOU ARE
! No, it is not okay if you only read part of the review. No, it is not okay if you get your mom or your dog to read it. Seriously, the moment you get published, you need to forget that Goodreads and Amazon and Twitter and YouTube and pretty much the whole internet exists. Got it?
Okay, now that we have that clear, I’m going to answer the following question from the audience:
Do I read my reviews?
Of course I read my reviews! I just wrote a half-verse, near futuristic dystopian book set in a former part of India. Do I look like the kind of person who follows rules???
Seriously, I really really really
try not to read my reviews. In fact, every morning, I follow these precise steps in order to ensure I don’t:
- Get out of bed. Have shower. Turn on laptop. Open Twitter. Check notifications. If there is a review link, click on it.
- Scan review. Close browser and promise self not to read any more reviews.
- Turn on kettle. Remove tea bags from pantry. Return to Twitter. Search for name mentions without @. Click on link to review.
- Scan to bottom to see if rating is scary. If not, read review. If so, read anyway.
- Close browser. Close Twitter. Pour water in mug.
- Open Goodreads. Check overall rating. Attempt to ascertain how number could have gone down by .01. DO NOT LOOK AT LATEST REVIEWS IN ORDER TO FIND OUT. READING REVIEWS ON GOODREADS IS ABOUT AS SMART AS CLOSING YOUR HAND IN A CAR DOOR. EVEN I KNOW THAT!
- Add honey to tea. Go to Google. Search for book name. Scan for new reviews. Click on link.
- Scan page for nice words in bold. If found, read review. Spend 5-7 minutes Googling name of reviewer. Considering nominating said reviewer for Nobel Peace Prize. Remember that Nobel committee blocked you after first 12 nominations. Close browser again.
- Remove tea bag from tea. Add milk. Text writing partner quotes from bad reviews. Be sure to add at least 4 exclamation marks.
- Eat cookie while waiting for response.
- Read return text from writing partner. Count number of exclamation marks after “YOU PROMISED NOT TO READ YOUR REVIEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (17, in case you’re wondering.)
- Promise writing partner that you will never ever ever read reviews again. Well, not today, at least.
- Eat another cookie. Or three.
In all seriousness, the reason you are not supposed to read reviews is because they might hurt and hurt will not help you move forward as a writer. For some people, hurt is debilitating. Hurt makes them think they are a bad writer and should not bother to ever write again. Hurt makes them want to lock themselves in their closet with a soup spoon and a container of Cherry Garcia.
The thing that people often forget about reviews is that they are a) personal, and b) personal. Just because one person does not like your book does not mean that another won’t love it. It does not mean you should stop writing. It does not mean that you are bound to never sell another book again. It simply means that you cannot please everyone. Also? You shouldn’t even try to.
So why do I find myself reading some of my reviews even though I know I should not? Well, in addition to the problem I have with rules, there’s also the fact that some of them say really nice things like BRILLIANT
and BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN
and WHY ISN’T THIS A MOVIE STARRING SOMEONE REALLY FAMOUS YET?
And this is exactly what I need to hear when I’m feeling like this:
(Not an exact replica of my head. Or my laptop.)
Of course, searching for my good reviews means I am going to come across the bad ones, too. These ones may put mean words in bold like NO ROMANCE
and MAKES NO SENSE
and WHAT A WASTE OF PAPER! I ACTUALLY THREW IT AGAINST A WALL!!!!!
(5 exclamation marks.)
But the real reason I read some of my reviews is because of the ones that offer constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is good. Constructive criticism helps writers improve their writing and I know I need to do that as much as anyone else. None of us are perfect and none of us are ever going to even approach perfection if we don’t continue to work harder and harder every single day.
And so, unless something changes, I am going to continue to pretend I don’t read my reviews. But only after I do this:
About the Book:
In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, Koyanagar–a country severed from India–now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, and women are an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of wedding their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife. But after fighting so hard for freedom against the old ways of gender selection, these women have become just as deluded as their male predecessors.
Sudasa Singh doesn’t want to be a wife and Kiran, a boy competing to be her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, each thwarts the other until they slowly realize that they might want the same thing.Amazon
About the Author:
A long-time resident of Ottawa, Canada, Holly has been working in publishing since she graduated with an English degree from the University of Ottawa. 5 TO 1
is Holly’s debut novel.Website
-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers
Platform: iOS and Android
When stories about Kong, a social media app devoted to selfie GIFs, started popping up in my news feed, I had some questions. Mostly of the "why?" and "really?" variety. I couldn't see how a network of moving selfies could possibly be interesting or worthwhile. But I'm here to tell you I was wrong. This thing is super fun.
Set up an account and you're introduced to the app through your home page, which starts as a grid of brightly colored boxes that are empty except for the top left square -- a live feed from your front-facing camera (the only camera Kong allows you to use at this time.) The other boxes will eventually fill up with the feeds of friends you add through your phone's contact lists or by following other users.
When you click the search box at the top of the screen, you're taken to the channels page, where you can search by hashtag for channels of interest or click on the featured channels listed below, such as #coffee, #highfive, #doubletake, or whichever channel is feeling the love at the moment.
Once you find a channel that you like, swipe left or right on your live feed (still at the top left of the screen) to access filters and special effects, or double tap your feed to add words, then shoot a short video of yourself by pressing and holding the shutter button at the bottom of the screen. Tapping the arrow button adds your GIF to the channel and opens a box of saving and sharing options, of which there are plenty. The result is a collection of GIFs on a single topic, with a fun, Brady-Bunch-Opening-Credits sort of feel.
Kong's appeal is due in large part to some smart choices made by the developers, including the decision to allow only one GIF per person, per channel -- if you post another GIF to the same channel, your original post disappears. This keeps the channels fresh and free of spammers. They also made it easy to create your own channels, both public and private, by simply creating a hashtag no one else is using.
It may seem like a selfie social media app wouldn't necessarily lend itself to Library programs or services, but 15 minutes after introducing it to my Teen Advisory Board they were already devising ways to incorporate it into our After-Hours Party scavenger hunt and brainstorming ways we could use it with our book club. Thus definitively answering my initial, knee-jerk questions of "why?" (Because it's quick, original, fun, and surprisingly useful) and "really?" (YES!)
May Contain Spoilers
I borrowed Her Knight in the Outback because I have enjoyed several Nikki Logan titles in the past. I enjoyed this one, too, but I wasn’t convinced that the protagonists will have a HEA. Eve is just so damaged and heart broken that it was difficult for me to believe that she would be able to successfully put all of her emotional distress in the past and give Marshall all of the attention he deserves.
Eve’s younger brother disappeared almost a year ago. After waiting unsuccessfully for the police to actually do something, like find him, she quits her job, sells her house, and purchases a converted bus so she can go look for him. She feels guilty for not seeing the warning signs before he took off, and she can’t believe that he would just leave her and her father. Armed with missing person posters, she intends to search every single town and city for Travis, and she has no intention of quitting until she finds him.
She comes across an injured motorcyclist on a deserted road, and even though she wants to keep on trucking by, she stops to see if she can assist him. What if Travis needed help, and no one stopped for him? When motorcycle dude approaches the bus, Eve is momentarily taken aback. His bushy beard and tattoo alarm her. What if he’s part of a motorcycle club? What if he tries to hurt her in the middle of nowhere, where not even a cell signal is available?
It turns out that Marshall is the one who saves Eve. After a not so memorable introduction, they cross paths again, and after clearing the air, they agree to travel together for a few days, until Marshall’s route diverges from Eve’s. Marshall sees how hurt and emotionally vulnerable Eve is, and all he wants to do is help her forget about Travis for a little while and remember the joy of living her own life. The only problem is that Eve’s guilt keeps getting in the way, and after being on the road for eight months, she has forgotten how to enjoy another’s company.
While the conflict was interesting, I’m not sure I bought the resolution. Eve learns that Marshall pulled a disappearing act of his own, and she keeps throwing it in his face. Every time they make some progress in their relationship, Eve is overcome with guilt for enjoying herself while Travis might be dead or worse. Travis is the sum total of her existence, and she resents Marshall for getting in the way of her self-appointed mission of finding her brother. Her inability to consider that Travis left of his own free will became tiring, and maybe that’s why the story was such a mixed bag for me. I had a hard time connecting with Eve, which made it difficult to sympathize with her.
Grade: C+ / B-
Review copy provided by publisher
She didn’t know she needed rescuing!
Eve Read doesn’t need help from anyone. She’s searching for her missing brother and doesn’t want any distractions. Yet sharing her burden with mysterious leather-clad biker Marshall Sullivan is a relief, and soon Eve can’t resist the sparks igniting between them!
Meteorologist Marshall spends his life on the road, but there’s something about Eve that makes him want to stay put…
Has Eve finally found what she’s been searching for all along?
I've been checking where agents have gotten their clients published. Should I be concerned if I don't see any larger publishers or publishers on my wish list? I wonder if maybe the books the agents were shopping weren't of interest to the larger ones or maybe the agents didn't have the right contacts with them. Is it advisable to still query them, then if I get 'the call' inquire about such things and make a decisions from there?You're operating from an incomplete data base, no matter how carefully you research agents.Not all deals are reported. Not all books have acknowledgements. Not all agents list all deals on their website or blog. (I myself am WOEFULLY behind on posting deals for example.)You're also operating from a limited knowledge base about publishers. There is a lot of information about publishers you'll never see in public forum, and I wouldn't tell you unless you were a client and we were reviewing the submission data base.In other words, you don't know enough to start culling agents at this point.Query widely.When you get an offer of representation, be forthright with your agent about what you want and then LISTEN to her/him when she gives you some info that might change your mind.
Here's some more of my regular monthly cut illustrations for Wingspan, ANA's inflight magazine on their international flights.
|A story about a wild boar in Australia that went on a rampage after swigging 18 cans of beer. |
|Nepal's Bird man Gautam Sapkota, world record holder for his ability to mimic 151 species of bird|
More to come!
I've been shamefully behind with my blog this year, chiefly because I've been pretty well overwhelmed by some very involved book deadlines, things have been extremely hectic! It's not over yet, things are still very busy, but I'll post again when things get easier.
Martin Freeman has joined the cast for Captain America: Civil War.
Freeman (pictured, via) has become well-known for his work in two book based adaptations: The Hobbit film trilogy and the Sherlock TV series. Marvel Entertainment has not revealed the role that Freeman will be taking on for this movie.
Anthony and Joe Russo, two brothers and the directors behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier, will return to helm this project. Captain America: Civil War is set to hit theaters on May 06, 2016. (via Deadline.com)
This morning I have a guest post and a giveaway for Emma Cane’s Ever After at Sweetheart Ranch. Enjoy!
Must Haves for a Romantic SWEETHEART RANCH Picnic
By Emma Cane, author of EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH
By now you’ve seen the lovely cover of EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH: those beautiful mountains of the Colorado Rockies, a ranch in the distance, and Lyndsay and Will sharing a picnic lunch. Lyndsay is a math teacher with a secret: she’s written a romance novel and accidentally based the hero on Will, a hard-working cowboy with a tragedy in his past. They deserve the lovely and serene moment depicted on the cover—dare I say it’s romantic? Well…looks can be deceiving. Let me tell you about the must-haves for a picnic on Will’s ranch.
1) Hip boots. You read that right. The first time Will brings Lyndsay to the ranch, he puts her to work on the irrigation system. Hip boots are necessary in the muddy business of moving temporary dams in the irrigation ditches to flood different hay fields. Romantic, huh? Good thing he tells her she looks adorable with mud on her cheek. And of course, he has a picnic basket all ready.
2) A pocket knife. You could think I meant to cut sandwiches or fruit, but nope, a knife is necessary to cut the stem of a morel mushroom, tasty, rare and expensive. Will has found a cache of them on his ranch, and believe me, you seldom tell people where you found your morels or they’ll all be gone. But Will trusts Lyndsay and brings her on a horseback ride to pick morels. She feels suitably flattered.
3) Cookies that say “Sweets from Mrs. Sweet.”: Will’s Grandma Sweet is running for president of the Valentine Valley historical society, and she’s courting voters with cookies. Her opponent happens to be Mrs. Thalberg, who’s dating Lyndsay’s father, so Lyndsay and Will are on opposite sides. Good thing there are delicious cookies to share!
4) A blanket: because yes, Lyndsay brings a picnic basket to Will’s softball game, and afterward they drink wine and nibble on cut fruit and shrimp, while lying on the blanket. And if you want to know what happens next, I hope you’ll read EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH for more than just the good picnic scenes!
So what do you think is necessary for a romantic picnic?
Ever After at Sweetheart Ranch
Valentine Valley # 6
By: Emma Cane
Releasing April 28th, 2015
The only thing hotter than a cowboy…
Math teacher Lyndsay De Luca never surprised anyone-least of all herself-until this summer. First, she secretly published her debut romance novel. Then she started dating Will Sweet, the cowboy of her dreams. And now Lyndsay’s scrambling to hide the juiciest tidbit of all: that the hazel-eyed hero of her steamy fiction is the same guy whose kisses have become her mind-blowing reality.
Is a cowboy in love.
Ever since Will’s high school sweetheart died in a tragic accident, he hasn’t been able to commit to a long-term relationship. Lyndsay is the first woman in years who’s been able to catch-and keep-his attention. She’s fascinated by his work at Sweetheart Ranch, and a glance from her gorgeous brown eyes sends Will’s thoughts wandering. Will she be the one to finally break down the walls around his guarded heart?
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/ever-after-at-sweetheart-ranch.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22864471-ever-after-at-sweetheart-ranch?ac=1
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/89051-valentine-valley
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
Emma Cane grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of “passionate stories” has never gone away, although today she concentrates on the heartwarming characters of Valentine, her fictional small town in the Colorado Rockies.
Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Copies of the Valentine Valley Series including A TOWN CALLED VALENTINE, TRUE LOVE AT SILVERCREEK RANCH, A WEDDING IN VALENTINE, THE COWBOY OF VALENTINE VALLEY, A PROMISE AT BLUEBELL HILL, and SLEIGH BELLS IN VALENTINE VALLEY )
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Below is my review of Jon Agee's Terrific as it appeared in the April 1, 2015 issue of School Library Journal. The review was slightly edited from my original. I didn't refer to Eugene as "the boy." Eugene is definitely not a boy, as you can see by the cover illustration. ;)
AGEE, JON. Terrific. 1 CD. 7 min. Dreamscape. 2014. $14.99. ISBN
PreK-Gr 2--Eugene's life follows Murphy's Law--if something can go wrong, it will. And when inevitable misfortune falls, Eugene's favorite expression is a sarcastic, "Terrific." So, it's no surprise that when
Eugene's cruise ship sinks, all the passengers (except Eugene) are rescued, and he finds himself on a deserted island with a talking parrot. "Terrific," says Eugene. Narrator Kirby Heyborne plays the resigned, older, and long-suffering Eugene perfectly with a mix of sarcasm and fatigue, and creates a suitably squawking voice for the take-charge parrot who will change his attitude. Sound effects including boat horns, construction din, and ocean waves complement the story. Though listeners will miss Agee's humorous illustrations, the CD includes a fun musical version of "Terrific," sung by Heyborne with music by the Promise Makers. The lyrics are slightly modified from the text to fit the upbeat rhythm and rhyme scheme of the song, but stay true to the original story. VERDICT Purchase this one for sharing with school or storytime groups, one with a copy of the print book.--
Copyright © 2015 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Reprinted with permission.Listen to an excerpt from Terrific here.
Happy Children’s Book Week! Since 1919, this national literacy initiative, the longest-running in our history and co-anchored by the Children’s Book Counciland Every Child A Reader, has celebrated books for young people and the joy of reading. Visit the website to learn the bounty of events and activities that commemorate this once-a-year week and to read more about this year’s poster creator, Grace Lee. Book Week’s goal? To make sure every child is a reader! But today is Wednesday, yes? – which means it’s time for a TeachingAuthors Wednesday Writing Workout, one that will give every child, both current and former, the opportunity to write.
Don’t forget to enter our Book Giveaway to win a copy of Stefanie Lyons’ YA novel in verse DATING DOWN (Flux). The deadline to enter is midnight May 15.
. . . . . . . .
Let’s tweak the Children’s Book Week goal a tad to read…. make sure every child – current and former (!) – is a reader who writes!
Click HERE to download these children’s book week story starters and create your own ending! What I Did begun by National Ambassador Katherine Paterson (New!) BLAM! begun by Mo Willems (2009 Children's Choice Book Award winner) (New!) The Night Visitor begun by Dinah Williams (2009 Children's Choice Book Award winner) (New!) And Then... begun by National Ambassador Emeritus Jon Scieszka
Enter to Win an Ebook Diamonds and Dugouts Series Bundle
including, STEALING HOME, PLAYING THE FIELD
and THROWING HEAT
Fortune, Colorado #1
Releasing April 21st, 2015
Welcome to Fortune, Colorado—where the air is clean, the men are rugged, and the all the good ones… are bachelors.
Born into the infamous Charlemagne equestrian empire, Shannon has been raised to do whatever it takes for the family business. Even if it means going undercover and digging up dirt on a competitor. It’s easy enough when she believes he’s a bad guy whose success seems too good to be true. In fact, Shannon’s excited to put the aggravatingly sexy Irishman in his place and get back in her father’s good graces. All she needs is to stay focused on the goal … and out of Sean Muldoon’s arms.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
From stealing a thoroughbred racehorse from the Irish mob to striking gold in the mountains of Colorado, there’s little Sean hasn’t experienced. But when it comes to resisting his hot new stable manager, he’s out of luck. With the mob hot on his heels, keeping Shannon off their radar is all but impossible, and he’s not about to put her in danger too. Sean wants Shannon, but how can he offer her a future … when he can’t even guarantee tomorrow?
Jennifer Seasons has been a lifelong writer and reader. She lives with her husband and four children in the mountains of rural New England. An enormous yet lovable dog and the world’s coolest cat keep them company. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family outdoors exploring her beautiful new home state, learning the joys of organic gardening, and—if she’s lucky—relaxing in her hammock under the trees with a really good book.
Humor shimmered in her sister’s hazel eyes as she tipped her head toward the huge Pine Creek Ranch sign that hung suspended from wooden beams arching over the entrance. Her blond hair brushed across her freckled cheeks as she said, “I wouldn’t be so hasty in keeping those girls on the shelf if I were you . . . I saw Sean Muldoon in person.”
“During the races in Kentucky this past May with his Triple Crown winner, Something Unexpected. This guy that Dad is sending you to spy on is full-on Irish—with the accent to prove it—and downright sexy. He’s like an Irish Dove bar—you know just by looking at him that he’s dark, smooth, and addictive. He moves with this loose, long-limbed gate and has an easy smile, but there’s something almost dangerous about him just bubbling under the surface. It’s seriously potent.” Colleen fanned herself and grinned. “It’s too bad I’m such a blabbermouth, because I’d dig up the goods on him, all right.”
Shannon remained silent and waited for it. It had to be coming.
“Of course, I’d see if Muldoon was as fast to the finish line as his racehorses are while I was at it, if you know what I mean.” Her sister finished with an overly dramatic eyebrow wiggle and wink.
And there it was. Right on schedule. That’s one of the things she loved most about her only sibling—she was reliable. If there was ever an opening for a crude comment to be slipped in, you could bet she was all over it.
That’s what she said, Shannon thought.
Crap! Damn it, now Colleen had her doing it too. Figured.
“Let’s go through this one last time,” Shannon said briskly. “I’m supposed to find this Sean Muldoon and tell him I’m responding to his ad for the stable manager position and convince him to hire me.” She stared down the long gravel lane beyond the ranch’s entrance as it lazily rounded a bend and disappeared into a sea of aspen, spruce, and pine in the distance.
Into Sean Muldoon’s ranch.
She’d learned from her father that Pine Creek sat on about one hundred acres, though it was hard to tell at the moment from the thick grove of trees that flanked each side of the single-lane road. It looked more like the entrance to a state forest, not a sprawling horse ranch.
But, as Shannon knew better than most, looks were most often deceiving. Nervously swiping her hands down the thighs of her worn denim jeans, she continued reviewing the plan that their father had designed, hoping that repeating everything would help her focus.
Colleen opened her mouth and started to say, “That’s why you should—”
Shannon held her hand up like a crossing guard. “I know, use the ladies. I get it.” She probably could if she wanted to, honestly. They weren’t bad. A quick glance downward confirmed that claim. Not bad at all. A little on the small side, but so what? What she lacked up top she made up for on the bottom with an ample and curvy derriere.
Depending on the day, that was either a blessing or a curse.
However, given that she was a professional equestrian and spent half her life bouncing around on a horse (with skill and grace, of course), having the extra padding was more often a bonus than not. Her butt was like a car’s suspension system—it absorbed the shock and made the impact of jumping her horse feel like the smooth ride of a Rolls Royce. Not that she was going to upstage big-butted celebrities or anything, but it wouldn’t be a runaway victory if they did compare backsides. Only she had earned hers the cheap and easy way: genetic inheritance.
Colleen cleared her throat. “Dad’s gut is saying that either Muldoon or one of his trainers is doping the Thoroughbreds with steroids before the races.” Her sister’s eyes flickered and unfocused briefly, like she was recalling a memory. “I’ve seen them run. They’ve got rockets for hooves, Shan.”
No wonder all of the company’s clients had bailed on their breeding program over the past few years. Shannon knew they were down to a teeny-tiny trickle, and if she didn’t find a way to reverse that fast, then they were going to go bankrupt and lose the farm. And it was the only thing of material value they had left. Over the years her father had sold off everything else. All the jewels, cars—everything. It hadn’t escaped her notice that the walls of her childhood home were now mostly bare, when priceless Monet originals and the like had once hung there.
Not for the first time, she wondered what had happened to all the family’s money. Where were all their millions disappearing to? It didn’t make sense. Not in the least. But pondering that made Shannon’s stomach go tight and queasy, so she stopped. With effort she grappled with her thoughts and redirected them to the immediate problem at hand.
I didn’t think London would be a particularly (hip hop) happening place for comics, alas I was wrong. In many instances I was pleasantly surprised at what was going on in the comics world overseas. During a leisurely excursion into the land of royalty and great pub food and drink, I was treated to a variety of specialty shops complete with a wonderful sense of style and tone all their own. These places had Free Comic Book Day events, special bundles and sales, exclusive art prints and more. One of the only downsides period; was the exchange rate on each sale. There is no sales tax on books in the United Kingdom (I’m pretty sure,) which lessened the blow of getting hit with the currency dilemma. Without further ado, here’s an assessment of my trip so far:
1) Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet is a well documented dose of nerd surprises. What struck me is the sheer amount of toys waiting on the first floor. The comics were hidden in the basement below, allowing me to believe that the retailer makes most their income based on the amount of toys they sell in front. The comic book selection was still completely overwhelming. With the high prices, I was searching for something that would be out of print, or on the small press side of the industry. With a limited knowledge of small press and knowing what was in print at the moment, I chickened out of buying anything. The Death of Captain Marvel was the only thing tempting me but it was in a weird hardcover format that would have probably been heavy in a suitcase. This is a side note, but I still would like to say that DC has done an extraordinary job with their newest set of packaging for their figures. All of the packages contain a simple and clean white background with some comics panels lurking in the background now it’s time for Marvel to catch up.
Picture via Wikipedia
Harrods (think black tie Costco) was mostly devoid of comics content. Even their bookstore contained no comics. Still, I was determined to find something and I did…eventually. I found a painting by Roy Lichtenstein for over £30,000. Not exactly comics, but something that the comics community feels strongly about.
You know…comics can be found in some funny places even the Stonehenge museum? Inside the museum lie a couple of comics inside bearing the representation of the signature landmark. Recently London has spent a considerable amount of capital updating the landmark with an expanded lobby area. As seen in the image below, representations of the figure in comics work can be seen in Thor, Rip Hunter, Action Comics and more.
2) American Dreams Comics
Bath, close to Stonehenge is a truly lovely City and one place that also contained some hidden comic book treasures. Hidden may not be the correct word, because Batwoman and Captain America cosplay teams were handing out DC and Marvel issues for Free Comic Book Day and leading foreigners towards their shop known as American Dreams Comics. I was ecstatic because I was able to get everything I wanted from FCBD without having to wait in the lines of Forbidden Planet on the way back home. The cashier had instructed me to look out for long lines, but told me that they did have a lot of product in store at Forbidden Planet. This was a perfect solution and convenient for the people that I was traveling with. A healthy amount of youth were enjoying themselves in the store scouting out some of the posters that the retailer probably had leftover. It’s really cool that Secret Wars #0 took a spotlight on the Future Foundation for the duration of the comic. This makes the tale much more accessible for the youth that may have populated this shop.
Picture via americandreamcomicsbath.wordpress.com
2.1) Doctor Who Experience
I Really quick just wanted to mention that the Doctor Who Experience had a few of the loose Doctor Who issues in the store. Unfortunately, they were all way ahead of what I’ve read as the first trade of Al Ewing’s Matt Smith Who title has been really good so far. That’s it! No more Doctor Who. Promise!
3) Blackwell’s Art & Poster Shop
Oxford was home to a lovely art store entitled Blackwell’s Art & Poster Shop. The store had everything from posters, books, and fine art as well. Everything in the store had a mostly independent vibe (making it a very Beat friendly store.) Speaking of friendly, the staff was more than willing to help out customers. I saw one of the employees actively evangelizing Maus (which I still haven’t read) and burst into an immediate smile. My haul was once again fruitless, but the temptation for me here was the Boxers & Saints slipcase edition that I haven’t seen before. Lately I have seen the comics split in two (not sure what that is about?)
4) Mega City Comics
Last but not least in my time in London was Mega City Comics. This store (which had a logo from Shaky Kane) had some incredible bundles. Even my jaded comic book heart couldn’t deny the fine assortment of deals here. My traveling companions had to talk me off the cliff off buying issues #6-68 of X-O Manowar (the first series from the original Valiant.) they talked me off of that cliff…eventually. I did end up sealing my fate (and suitcase space) with the full #38 issues of Marc Andreyko’s Manhunter. I made out of the store like bandit paying less than a dollar an issue.
Here’s a tiny picture of a tiny dog;
Next week: Scotland!
I found two new books at Cover to Cover last week. Both will be great for writing workshop and discussions and words.There's No Such Thing as Little
by LeUyen Pham is one that I picked up because I LOVE this author/illustrator. I thought it would be too youngish for my classroom but when I picked it up, it looked perfect for writing workshop. The book begins with two children who don't like being called "little" They want us to know there is so much more to them than being little! The book goes on to look at lots of little things. A little light, a little snowflake, a little hand. But with the turn of the page, we see that those little things are so much more than little. For example, a little tree becomes a generous tree when we look more closely. The pages have little cut-outs which make the book even more fun. We see the "little" through a hole peeking into the next page --a feature I think kids will love and one that helps us connect the words in the book. I think this will be a perfect book for writing workshop when we talk about word choice and the ways we can use words that truly give meaning to what we are saying.
The other book is Outstanding in the Rain: A Whole Story With Holes
by Frank Viva. This one is
another book that has holes as part of the illustrations. In this book though, each hole reveals a word on the page. For example on the first page, the text reads "Ice Cream," I say. My birthday surprise. The word Cream is shown through the cut-out. On turning the page, we see that "cream" becomes part of a new word scream in a new sentence that continues the story. This word play happens several times throughout the book as we see words change into different words. Another book that will be fun as part of our word play conversations. The illustrations in this one are unique and I think kids will like the color choices and the humor.
Sue Morris @ KidLitReviews
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Written by Sarah Frances Hardy
Illustrated by Sarah Frances Hardy
Sky Pony Press 5/05/2015
20 pages Age 3—7
“This little girl can be a lawyer, doctor, superhero, or plumber. She can be graceful, creative, brave, caring, silly, and even scary. She can wear braids or glasses, a crown or a beret. There are infinite, limitless possibilities, and this little girl gets to choose who and what she wants to be. And there’s always the option for her to be ‘just me.’ From the author/illustrator of Paint Me! comes a delightful, imaginative story about a little girl with some incredible aspirations.” [book jacket]
The nameless young girl, along with her loyal puppy, take readers through part of their day as they move from room-to-room, outfit-to-outfit, and activity-to-activity. They start their day deciding what to wear. Deciding to start with some exercise, the girl pulls down her pink tutu, matching top, a violet sash, and . . . wait, what about her feet? No worries, pup has fetched the girl’s pink ballet slippers, dutifully waiting for his friend to slip them on her feet. With a high twirl and a long leap the pair dance, never out of step. The young girl and her dog take on a gamut of outfits (tutu, smock, scrubs, dresses, and masks), and identities (artist, teacher, lawyer, diva, builder, or plumber), as they dance, paint, fly through the air, and take lunch orders.
Older children have books such as WIGU Publishing’s When I Grow Up I Want to be a . . . series to help them decide what they might like to become. Dress Me does the same for younger children, in terms they y understand. More than that, Dress Me is about being yourself while enjoying who you are, right now. The illustrations tell the majority of the story. I like that Dress Me leaves much of the narration to the reader—or he young listener. While the young girl teaches a couch full of attentive stuffed animals (and one real puppy), the text reads,
I like that kids can decide why the girl is teaching, what she is teaching, and to whom she, dong a great job of blending in to the scene. Pup does the same in this scene. Dress Me will appeal to young girls more than boys, even though Hardy includes male-oriented careers and activities boys enjoy. The illustrations are delightful. Each spread is loaded with detail, adding continuity by carrying items from one spread to the next. For example, the puppy pulls a blue-striped tie from the laundry basket. In the next image he wears the tie while pretending to be in court, on the wrong side of the young girl’s law. She has pushed a pair of glasses atop her head while waitressing and worn correctly as a teacher.
Dress Me is the perfect book for preschoolers beginning to self-explore their world and their place in it. Parents will appreciate the creativity Dress Me can inspire in young girls, who will begin to think out of their prescribed female roles. More importantly, Dress Me encourages young girls to enthusiastically be themselves.
A final note: the illustrations are the best yet from Hardy who improves with each book. Dress Me! is Hardy’s third book. Her others are Paint Me! and Puzzled by Pink (reviewed HERE).
DRESS ME! Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Sarah Frances Hardy. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sky Pony Press, New York, NY.
Purchase Dress Me! at Amazon—Book Depository—Sky Pony Press.
Learn more about Dress Me! HERE.
Meet the author/illustrator, Sarah Frances Hardy:
Find more picture books at the Sky Pony Press website: http://www.skyponypress.com/
Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing
Also by Sarah Frances Hardy
Puzzled by Pink
Review word count = 455
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews.
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I’m not sure if there is an “art” to writing about villains, but I do find that to write convincing and three-dimensional villains, one must be sympathetic to their plight.
In December of 2014, I made a list of books that I'd recommended in 2014. It was a list of books that were published in that year.
This year I'm starting the Best Books of 2015 list today (May 6) and will update it as the year progresses. If you're looking over the list and want me to consider a book, do let me know!
BOOKS BY NATIVE WRITERS
Comics and Graphic Novels:
- The Blue Raven written by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Steven Keewatin Sanderson, published by Pearson.
For Middle Grades:
For High School:
- Feral Pride written by Cynthia Leitich Smith, published by HarperCollins.
Comics and Graphic Novels:
For Middle Grades:
For High School:
- Shadowshaper written by Daniel Jose Older, published in 2015 by Arthur A. Levine (imprint of Scholastic).
Marilyn's Monster by Michelle Knudsen is a superb story perfectly illustrated by Matt Phelan. Phelan's soft watercolor and pencil illustrations tame the monsters that might have been frightening in this story about patience and perseverance.
Marilyn's Monster begins, "Some of the kids in Marilyn's class had mosnters. It was the latest thing. Marilyn didn't have a mosnter. Not yet.
Secret Wars #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Letters: Chris Eliopoulous
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The time for talking and teasing is over, Marvel’s “mega game changing” event Secret Wars is upon us. Now, it’s time to see if the real thing can possibly live up to the hype. Free Comic Book Day gave readers a zero issue that served as a primer for anyone not caught up on current events in Avengers titles. Issue one of Secret Wars marks the real kickoff of the collision between the Marvel universe we’ve known for more than 75 years and the Ultimate universe launched back in 2000. With a lot of ground to cover we’ll keep it short and major spoiler free.
The opening chapter isn’t so much about the Battleworld or fighting Beyonders as it is a reckoning of the cataclysmic incursion between Earth-616 (regular universe) and Earth-1610 (ultimate universe). Before Secret Wars, writer Jonathan Hickman had set a chain of events in motion during his Avengers run where alternate universes could only survive annihilation by destroying other universes. It all gets extremely lightly touched upon in the opening through the dialogue of the evil Reed Richards from the Ultimate universe, but doesn’t explain all the events leading up to the end of the worlds. Hickman instead made this first issue a massive Marvel fight between Ultimate Nick Fury’s forces and the Avengers of the regular Marvel U. In the midst of battle, the good Reed Richards (616) attempts a last ditch effort to gather essential people on Earth to his life raft (that’s literally what they called it) in order to continue the human race once doomsday obliterates everything. The end of issue one is where the meat of Secret Wars battle for reality begins, but we’ll have to wait till issue two to see how things really take shape.
An action packed story relies heavily on an artist who can cinematically capture it all. Esad Ribic’s work in the book is solid. The scale of the lens readers witness events through is massive and his panel layout choices move everything along at a break-neck pace. He does sacrifice fine detail in the drawings, but fortunately doesn’t skimp on the small details in the panels particularly the impact moments. Where the visual really pops is in the color work of Ive Svorcina. It brings out such a distinction in the contrast of the 616 and Ultimate universe that adds the much-needed definition between the sides in battle. Marvel’s AR app also gets a really great workout from the art in the book, if you haven’t used it, make sure you download it for this series.
Overall, enjoyment of Secret Wars #1 is fragmented and where you find yourself depends on how closely you follow Marvel books. If you’ve been following Hickman’s Avengers titles then this series is a can’t miss payoff for your loyal reading. However, Marvel’s ambitions for Secret Wars went far beyond that audience. The publisher didn’t spend a year bombarding us with –teaser after teaser– and –press announcement after announcement– just to solely reward Hickman’s core audience. A highly touted PR campaigned combined with the timing of releasing right after the Avengers: Age of Ultron film hit theaters meant Marvel wanted to bring in everyone who’s ever read or even thought about picking up a comic book to buy this book. In this regard they didn’t make issue one as new-reader friendly as it should have been. If you haven’t been reading Avengers routinely then your level of indulgence from reading Secret Wars will depend on if you can accept the premise of this book without knowing the intricate moves that initiated it.
Having not finished the most recent issues of Avengers, I found myself scratching my head at some of the exposition all the different factions represented here are having in their conversations. However it didn’t dramatically hinder my enjoyment of the action and tension Secret Wars #1 was filled with. When you compare Secret Wars to DC’s Under the Dome; Marvel is making up serious ground. Though DC’s Convergence had more emotion in their opening; the current slow pace isn’t doing it any favors. While Secret Wars doesn’t quite live up to the hype, Marvel opened it with action movie like entertainment, and sometimes that’s all you really need to get hooked.
Note: Though we can’t talk about the tie-in series just yet. It’s important to note that after reading some of those #1s, Marvel is so far keeping to their promise of keeping Secret Wars main series as the only one you need to read. Check back later today and we’ll post a code for a digital copy of Secret Wars #1
Saying there is one true path to writing a polished work is folly. There are lots of paths and we create them as we walk. – Linda Urban
So grateful to have finally met Valerie Geary, a friend who has helped me find so many paths and walked with me along the way.
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And a little more about the Edwards Award, from the YALSA website.SponsorSchool Library Journal is the award's donor and funds the award and administrative cost. The recipient receives a cash prize of $2,000 plus an appropriate citation.PresentationThe award (cash prize and citation) will be presented to the winning author at the YALSA luncheon or other gala affair at the ALA Annual Conference. The author is required to attend the event to accept the award and to make a short acceptance speech.
Currently, the presentation is made at a brunch during ALA. I've attended the event both as a lunch event and as the brunch, and both ways it's a great event.
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The other day I received an email from an author checking on a manuscript that was submitted two weeks prior. Two weeks. I'm lucky if I get to the pressing things on my to-do list in two weeks, but submissions? Doubtful.
Anyone submitting to me can clearly see on our website that it takes me 12 weeks to respond to partial and full requests. I know that's a long time, but we discussed it in detail at BookEnds and decided we'd rather list the longer end of our response times to eliminate disgruntled authors after 8 weeks. That being said, as of this writing, I'm backed up on requested material to the beginning of the year. I have one or two from last year, but that's because they are going through some second reads.
I'm slow. I'm not going to lie about that. I also have an incredibly full client list, one that keeps me very busy, so when I do sit down to read and offer representation it's because I'm really, really, really excited about the book.
When submitting I can't stress enough how important it is to pay attention to reading times posted on an agent's website. Most agents will tell you, via their websites, that it takes a certain amount of time to read queries and an even longer amount of time to read requested material. Unless you have an offer of any sort there's no reason to contact the agent before that read time is up and, even then, I would suggested buffering it by a week or two.
If an agent doesn't have reading times posted I would assume 8-12 weeks for everything you send. While I suspect some agents are faster, and most are faster than me, 8-12 weeks is probably the standard rule.
बात उन दिनों की है जब गांव के लोग खुले में शौच के लिए जाते थे पर जब से जनता में जागरुकता आई और वो सफाई का महत्व समझने लगे तभी से जबरदस्त बदलाव देखने को मिला … उसी का जीता जागता उदाहरण है हरियाणा के सिरसा के कंगनपुर गांव जिन्होनें स्वच्छता में एक मिसाल कायम की … लोग इस सफाई से बेहद उत्साहित है और खुशी का इजहार नाच गा कर रहे हैं
Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin – Kanganpur – Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan – TSC – DOST
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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?
Hit n run case
सलमान खान की खबर चल रही थी. घर पर कुछ मेहमान आए हुए थे और वो बात कर रहे थे कि इतनी बडी हस्ती है सलमान खान उसने ले दे कर केस रफा दफा क्यू नही किया. वही साथ ही साथ पल पल की खबरे चल रही थी कि सलमान किससे गले मिले किसे टाटा किया. कितने बज कर कितने मिनट पर कोर्ट पंहुचे.
5 साल सजा की बात सुनते ही बेल पर वार्तालाप चालू हो गया.बेशक बहुत लोगों को दुखी भी हुए. भले ही वो दो चार दिन मे छूट भी जाएगें(जैसाकि सुनने मे आया है) पर आम आदमी का न्याय पर विश्वास बना रहा एक बात अच्छी यह हुई चाहे कोई कितना बडा और रसूखदार क्यों न हो उसे कटघरे में आना ही पडता है. बडी हस्तियां जो आम आदमी को कीडे मकौडा समझती हैं इस धटना से सबक जरुर लेगी और भले ही थोडे समय के लिए पर एक डर तो सभी के मन मे बैठ ही गया होगा…सत्यमेव जयते… कानून जिंदा है
पलडा कानून का भारी रहा …
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On this New Comic Book Day, here are some of the non-Joss Whedon related headlines that are making waves today:
– Not long ago, after the Marvel-Sony deal was struck over the usage of Spider-Man, it seemed a surety that Sony would hang onto Drew Goddard to helm the newest entry. Not so, reports Deadline, as they’ve uncovered what is reportedly Sony’s director shortlist for the film:
Jonathan Levine – Warm Bodies, 50/50
Ted Melfi – St. Vincent
Jason Moore – Pitch Perfect
John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein – Vacation
Jared Hess – Napoleon Dynamite
From this list, it seems like Sony is still aiming for the comedic-slanted mindset that brought us the Marc Webb entries. We all saw how that turned out. Hopefully this is an incomplete list and Goddard is still in contention. With a 2017 release date, a decision will have to be made by January at the very least, if not much sooner.
– Following in the footsteps of Peter Serafinowicz and Chris O’Dowd, British actor Martin Freeman (The Hobbit Trilogy) is stepping into the Marvel Universe, as he’s joined the cast of Captain America: Civil War in an undisclosed role. Considering the cast is already fit to burst at this point, I have a hard time imagining he’s playing anything beyond a utility player (like the above two actors). Your guess is as good as mine.
– Machinima, the online network that is already producing the animated DC series Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, set to debut next month, announced this week two more DC related programs that will go into production in the near future along with a second season of Gods and Monsters Chronicles. The two new series include #4Hero, a modern adaptation of Dial H For Hero (this time it’s based out of a smart-phone app) and The DC Hero Project, a contest show where eight competitors must battle it out in elimination challenges to develop a short video based on their own interpretation of characters from the 90’s Starman series.
– For those thirsting for more X-Men: Days of Future Past, you’re in luck! The “Rogue Cut” that restores all of Anna Paquin‘s cut scenes from the feature, and adds 17 minutes to the film, will hit stores on July 14th. That date is also the 15th anniversary of the release of the first X-Men film. Now, don’t we all feel terribly old?