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1. A Few Words On German Comickers


It is a bit weird but every time a post involves Germany and specifically German comics there are a high number of German comickers viewing the item.  But when I post something on Germany's first super heroes, D-Gruppe, the views from Germany increase even more.

Now what I do not understand is why, if German super heroes are such a big draw to these people, they are not buying the D-Gruppe mini series, 2012 Annual or the Complete D-Gruppe which contains all of it??

Not a copy of D-Gruppe has sold.  But I'm not alone here.

When I was active on German comic forums I used to post in German and English.  I got more very rude responses "Your German is bad!" (in, actually, very poor German so the rude ones were not that well educated) or "What business is it of your what's been published in Germany -go back to your 2000 AD!".  I think these were what my aunt in Germany would have called "arschlochs"!

I then me with the "We DO NOT have super hero comics in Germany!" I guess they were referring to home grown super heroes as opposed to all the Marvel, DC, Archie and UK (Robot Archie, The Spider) comics reprinted there?

Dorn Der Morgenstern was the follow on from the RPG (role playing game) inspired comic series Helden.  Randalf Paker was the creator/writer/artist of both series and his work was gorgeous but both titles failed to get sales to keep it going. Unbelievable.

Wind Konig was more a small press effort but vanished -there is a list of these books and sample pages in the second link below.

Background on the group, etc,:http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/germanys-first-super-hero-team-d-gruppe.html

And on German super heroes after  D-Gruppe (and boosting an ego I do not have):http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/return-of-german-super-heroes-and-my.html

So WHY are comickers not buying?  With Dorn they had a high quality, full colour comic and New Arden was full colour -though I know nothing of the background to this comic or the publishers or why it ceased publication.

Is it because they only want to see the characters from Marvel and DC which, let's be honest, has never treated "minority countries" like Germany or the UK with much thought or respect character-wise. Oh, and I was talking to a DC representative at one of the old UK Comic Art Conventions in the 1980s and we talked about characters for Europe and it was he who referred to "minority countries"!!

Oddly, Jerry Ordway was very nice to talk to.  He did say that "a lot of Americans think the UK and Europe are all cobbled streets, gas lamps and castles"!  But added "A lot of Americans couldn't tell you the name of the state next door to theirs -they can be quite insular."

Archie Goodwin, bless him, was THE nicest person I've spoken to who worked in comics and he had the opinion that countries like Germany would start producing their own DC and Marvel style comics "in a few years".

Back to German comic forums -I get distracted easily.

The other big problem I had was with the "arty" crowd who believed that the only comics that should be allowed were art-house based. Social relevance. "Entertainment"? "Super Heroes"?? "Schneiden wir den Scheiß jetzt heraus!" ("let's cut that shit out right now!").  "Superhelden sind für kleine kinder oder Menschen, die in der nähe sind analphabeten!" ("Super heroes are for little kids or people who are near illiterate!") as one nice person put it.  

In fact, my time on German comic forums was negative apart from, I think I've got this right, "Darkjedi" who supplied me with a lot of scans of German comics and I'll be eternally grateful for that!

Yet, despite all the arty crowd say  -in the UK the arty comics people "who knew" were telling me for years that France and Germany, Europe in general, never had super hero comics.  That says far more about their limited knowledge and yet people still regard them as the 'experts' on European comics!--I still see You Tube videos of German and Austrian comic conventions where comickers are there and buying...super hero comics!  And cos-play is kicking in even in France, where French creators told me it was frowned upon (I guess that "comics are a serious art form" attitude). 

So, if a good idea and story and characters based in Germany are not doing the trick....the language?  I point to the number of US ("Americanised English") super hero comics selling there.  "They aint in colour!"  Well, looking at Dorn and New Arden which were great colour comics -especially Dorn- that can't be the answer.

For me, personally, D-Gruppe was never the same after Ben Dilworth quit. "Die Rache der Eis-Königin" (The Revenge of The Ice Queen") the first legitimate D-Gruppe story, is one I still like looking at and if the guy I was dealing with at Bastei Verlag had not had the carpet swept from under him by the new bosses, it would have seen print.

Incidentally, the person I was dealing with in 1991 was Werner Geismar, Editor-in-Chief at Bastei.  I just found the old letters!

To me it is a mystery why there is so much interest in D-Gruppe but no sales.  Ideally, I'd be in Germany at comic events selling books but lords know what tables cost at European comic events!

So until some German publisher decides D-Gruppe is a good idea for the German market I'll just carry on drawing them in The Green Skies (at this very moment....well, not while typing) and wondering whether the ultimate fate of group leader Kopfmannand his team that vanished in Return of the Gods will ever be revealed?

Vielleicht sollte Ich mich auf den kopf mit kopien der D-Gruppe bücher zu schlagen?

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2. It's live!! Cover Reveal: Endure by Sara B. Larson + Giveaway (US Only)

Hello, everyone!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for ENDURE by Sara B. Larson, releasing January 5, 2016 from Scholastic. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Sara:


Hi YABCers!! I am so thrilled to be here today to share with you the cover and title for the third and final book in the DEFY series. I have been so incredibly fortunate with this series to have truly spectacular covers. I had no clue how they were going to top the previous two books, but somehow they did it! When I first saw this cover, I was actually in the backseat of a car being driven through a jungle. How appropriate is that?? My editor had emailed it to me, and it managed to come through on my phone after a day of hiking and exploring in the Puerto Rican jungles, where I was basically pretending I was Alexa. And when I saw this cover, it took my breath away. It's beautiful, it's symbolic, it's powerful. I love it and I'm SO excited to finally get to share it (and the title!) with everyone!
~ Sara B. Larson (ENDURE, Scholastic)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



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



by Sara B. Larson
Release date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-545-64490-7
E-book ISBN: 978-0-545-64492-1
Apple E-book ISBN: 978-0-545-75476-7
About the Book



At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers, and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy, that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page.

To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Sara-B-Larson.jpgAbout the Author

Sara B. Larson is the author of the acclaimed YA fantasy novel DEFY, and its sequel IGNITE. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband and their three children. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day (while mourning the demise of naptime) and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction. Or you can find her online at www.SaraBLarson.com.

Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr | YouTube | Pre-order Amazon


Giveaway Details

Three winners will each receive an ARC of ENDURE (when available).

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

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

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

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3. Illustrator Shadra Strickland Takes Us Behind the Art of Sunday Shopping

shadra stricklandSunday Shopping, our new spring title released this month, is a whimsical and fun-filled story of a young girl and her grandmother who use their big imaginations to go “shopping” through the Sunday paper. We asked illustrator Shadra Strickland to take us behind the scenes for creating the art work used in Sunday Shopping.

Making the Art for Sunday Shopping

Making the art for Sunday Shopping was almost like making two different books. The two art styles were distinctly different. The illustrations of Evie and grandma in bed were painted in watercolor, much like the paintings I made for Bird. The second set of images were made with a combination of line drawings, acrylic paintings, and assembled digitally.

The most challenging part of making the art for Sunday Shopping, was making sure that all of Evie and grandma’s “bought” items were consistent in all of the small paintings. I had to draw the same small bits of paper in every scene as the wall of items grew and grew.

sunday shopping illustrations_1

Once the watercolors were done, I drew all of the Evie, grandma, and cat characters on pieces of Bristol board. They were all painted in the same week to make sure that the clothes and skin tones were consistent. Even then, some colors had to be adjusted after I scanned them into the computer.

sunday shopping illustrations_2


sunday shopping illustrations_3

Once the characters were all done, I made drawings of the imaginary world with a wax pencil (also known as a China Marker). I drew on sheets of smooth plastic like drawing vellum. Those drawings were then scanned into the computer.

sunday shopping illustrations_4

Next, I painted different pieces of newspaper in different colors based on all of the elements I needed in the book. Some colors were adjusted digitally, but not many. Most of the paper was used as it was painted.

sunday shopping illustrations_5After everything was scanned in, I began to “cut” shapes out in photoshop and compose them within the line drawings.

sunday shopping illustrations_6

The last step was digital retouching. I had to go back into a few faces and digitally paint over some faces to make sure that skin tone was consistent throughout.

sunday shopping illustrations_7

My wonderful editor checked all of the art for consistency, and after a few passes back and forth, we made sure all of the elements were lined up throughout.

Once all of the art was assembled, I worked closely with our designer to discuss page color and type design for the book. My favorite thing about making books with Lee and Low is how truly collaborative the process is!

You can learn more about Shadra Strickland and her creative process on her website.

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4. More Lost Art Found -Hong Kong Super Heroes

Well, I've managed to -painfully- draw a good few pages for The Green Skies over the weekend and am just working on the expanded German section.  So I want to get back to that.

However, John Schiltz -I posted some of his D-Gruppe pages a few days ago- has come up with a surprise.

Anyone remember me writing that Ben Dilworth and I had once drawn a couple Hong Kong super hero pages?  I don't think it was actually a full story just messing about one weekend while he was in Bristol. I've not seen those pages for years. Lost.

But no longer lost!

Mr Schiltz has found the two pages and I've given them a quick touch-up (ooh!) so, for Mr Dilworth -here you go!

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5. John Green Delivers Speech at Brandcast 2015

The Fault in Our Stars author John Green delivered a speech at YouTube’s Brandcast conference.

The video embedded above features Green talking about the impact that YouTube has had on his careers as a writer and a video content creator. He encourages advertisers to devote less of their focus on attracting eyeballs.

Green has posted the piece in its entirety on The Huffington Post. Here’s an excerpt: “I can say ‘Our videos have been viewed more than a billion times’ and it sounds impressive, but it’s not actually an important number to me. I don’t care how many people watch or read something I make. I care how many people love what I make.” (via TechCrunch.com)

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6. The Stories for All Project: 60,000 New Books to Increase Diversity, Promote Inclusivity

When children see their lives reflected in the books they read they become more enthusiastic readers. Their educational outcomes improve. They succeed in school and in life.

But few books actSFAP Pie Chart Infographicually reflect the cultures and circumstances of the kids First Book serves, all of whom live in low-income households and many of whom are of minority backgrounds. In fact, a mere 11 percent of 3,500 children’s books reviewed by Cooperative Children’s Book Center this year are about people of color.

This is the reason we created the Stories for All ProjectTM – the only market-driven solution to increase diverse voices and promote inclusivity in children’s literature.

Today, we’re proud to share our latest news with you: With support from Target, KPMG and Jet Blue Airways, First Book is making 60,000 copies of outstanding children’s titles featuring diverse characters and storylines available for the first time ever in affordable trade paperback format, to fuel learning and educational equity.

We chose these titles fromStories for All group photo hundreds submitted by publishers with input from the 175,000 educators and program leaders we serve. By aggregating the demand and purchasing power of this educator community, we have become the first organization to create a viable and vibrant market for books that reflect race, ability, sexual orientation and family structure in our ever-diversifying world.

Each of our selections contributes unique perspectives underrepresented in children’s literature while remaining relatable to all readers. As part of this current effort, First Book is thrilled to make available two titles by new picture book authors:

  • “Niño Wrestles the World” written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  • “And Tango Makes Three” written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole
  • “Tiger in My Soup” written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
  • “Boats for Papa” written and illustrated by new author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley
  • “Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah,” written by first-time children’s author Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls,
  • “Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me,” written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Copies of all six titles will be available through the First Book Marketplace.  The first three titles are also available for the first time in paperback format on Target.com and at Target stores nationwide.

Every day, in communities around the country and around the world, we see the critical need to further our human understanding and embrace the gifts and experience each of us brings. The Stories for All Project and promotes understanding, empathy and inclusivity with stories that can help all children see and celebrate their differences and similarities.

The post The Stories for All Project: 60,000 New Books to Increase Diversity, Promote Inclusivity appeared first on First Book Blog.

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7. Time Management Tuesday: Keeping Your Head In The Game

I am using my May Days to put a lot of time into one project, something I've done the last two May Days. The same project, I'm sorry to say. But, once again during this May Days I am experiencing the value of trying to write every day on the same project. It's incredibly helpful for organic writers like myself. We have trouble isolating plot and planning out what we're going to do for an entire story. We deal with stories as a whole organism. If we have to stay away from that organism too long, it takes us a while to come back up to speed, because while we have a feel for our whole story, we aren't good on the details that are coming up. It's hard for us to pick up where we left off.

The May Days project forces us to write every day. For me, this meant spending some time at my laptop in a motel room between biking excursions this past weekend. Writing every day increases chances of having a breakout experience (at least it increases my chances), and I had one on a bike the next day. This led to taking notes on it while having lunch in a sandwich shop (my work for the day) and that led to a much easier transition back to work on Monday.

Whenever I find myself in a situation where I'm writing every day, even a tiny amount, I think, I've got to keep this up! Not because I accomplish so much (I did mention that I've been working on the same May Days project three years in a row, right?) but because it keeps my head in the game.

That is a huge plus for time management.

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8. Things I Wish I'd Known- Cancer and Kids: a bookwrap

Some books you never want to review, yet these books may be the very ones someone is longing to discover because they are in so much pain, with no answers.  Today's book I am unwrapping has vital information they may need just to get through today.  If someone you love - a spouse, an extended family member, or even your very own precious child, has been diagnosed with cancer where do you go to ask questions or even know what questions to ask?  Today's book may be just what you need for such a time as this.  By reading through it you may be granted those answers you are seeking thus easing the pain, and hopelessness you are now feeling.



This book "Things I Wish I'd Known - Cancer And Kids" by Deborah J. Cornwall is small in stature but big in information.  The book gives you guidance from experts and testimonies from real live people who have survived the trauma and heartbreak of helping a child deal with cancer.  This book includes chapters on: straight up addressing the fact that cancer is present, how the child (and family) moves forward coping with that knowledge on a daily basis, and the impact emotionally it will have on everyone involved.  

The author gives advice about how to deal with issues when the child is the patient and how to minister to a child when his/her parent or sibling succumbs to this dreaded disease. She also bravely confronts the prospect of death and dying and the process of grief that will surely follow.  

The book is written from a standpoint of education and of love.  It is reader-friendly and includes resources for future reference. It is an excellence resource in itself and I know parents, pediatric professionals, family counsellors and social workers will find it very helpful to them.  I highly recommend, "Things I Wish I'd Known - Cancer And Kids." 

Deborah J. Cornwall is a breast cancer survivor and advocate on behalf of cancer patients and their caregivers. She has been associated with the American Cancer Society and its Cancer Action Network as a volunteer leader since 1994, performing a variety of local, regional, and national roles and serving as a media spokesperson before audiences ranging from 16 to 30,000. In May 2013, the New England Division and National American Cancer Society Boards of Directors unanimously awarded her the St. George National Award recognizing her many significant personal and professional contributions to the fight against cancer. In 2014 she received the Lorin Lavidor Caregiver Award from the New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.

Her passion to write her first book (Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out) was ignited by her interaction with cancer patients and caregivers at the Society's AstraZeneca Hope Lodge Center in Boston. Both within her own community and at the Society's AstraZeneca Hope Lodge, she came in contact with people whose cancer survival and caregiving stories were much more trying than her own diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in 2001. 

Generous with their stories, the 95 interviewed caregivers (who came from 19 states and represented 117 patients with over 40 different cancer diagnoses) felt a strong desire to be heard and to share the lessons they had learned (often the hard way). She realized she could use her proven interviewing and writing skills to help them do that. These ingredients hatched a dream that made Things I Wish I'd Known a reality.

Her second book,Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids, draws on that foundation by offering guidance to adults on how to help them understand the impact of cancer on their and their families' lives and how to engage children in the caregiving process in age-appropriate ways. Its writing was inspired by the experiences of personal friends in confronting these most sensitive communications challenges.

Professionally Cornwall consults with boards of directors and CEOs on leadership, CEO succession, governance, and change issues as Managing Director of The Corlund Group LLC.

Another book by the author:

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at :  storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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9. KidLit Author Events May 5-12


The end of the school year is upon us, and I want to wish good luck to all our dedicated high schoolers who are suffering through their OWLs (AP tests) and preparing for their finals.

We’ve got several events happening this week, mostly on Saturday. I hope you’ll be able to get out and enjoy a few. As always, please verify the event information with the sponsoring bookstore or organization.

Now through June 30Houston Writers Guild Press
Houston Writers Guild
Short Story Contest
Entry fee: $25 HWG members / $35 non-members / $20 students or seniors over 65
Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entries for members / $25 for nonmembers / $10 for students and seniors over 65. Authors may submit up to 3 short stories for consideration in the contest.
Please see their website for more information.

DIVE INTO MYSTERY Short Story Mystery Contest:
The Contest is open for submission through June 30 to both members and nonmembers. The Houston Writers’ Guild ise looking for original unpublished mystery short stories; stand-alone adaptations from a longer manuscript are welcome.

May 7, Thursday, 5:00 PMHOW TO SURPRISE A DAD by Jean Reagan; Illustrated by Lee Wildish
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jean Reagan, PB AUTHOR

Jean Reagan will discuss and sign her picture book, HOW TO SURPRISE A DAD. Author of the New York Times bestsellers HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA and HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDMA introduces her charming new how-to book about surprising dear old Dad!

So you want to surprise your dad? You’re in luck! The pages of this book are full of tips on how to become a super dad surpriser, including tips for things you can make, do, or find—just for your dad.

Be sure to read up on:
·      Yummy treats and presents for a dad
·      What to do if he starts getting suspicious
·      How to prepare for the big moment (where to hide everyone, and how to practice whispering “Surprise!”)

Illustrated by NYT bestseller Lee Wildish.

May 9, Saturday, 11:00 AMA NEST IS NOISY By Dianna Hutts Aston; Illustrated by Sylvia Long
Blue Willow Bookshop
Dianna Aston, PB Author

Dianna Aston will discuss and sign her picture book, A NEST IS NOISY. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap. Illustrated by Sylvia Long.

May 9, Saturday, 1:00
Mathew Salses, Novel Workshop
Cost: $30-$45

STARTING YOUR NOVEL: Have a great idea for a novel but don’t know how to start? Stuck in the middle of novel-drafting and don’t know why? Much of writing a novel through to its end is about what is set up by its premise. Bring your novel ideas or incomplete novels to this workshop on novel premises. We will discuss the novel form and do some exercises on character and plot. Plan to leave with ideas of how to go forward with your draft.

May 9, Saturday, 1:00-3:00 PMA TRIP TO THE BARBERSHOP by Shirley Jordan-Bellamy
River Oaks Bookstore
Shirley Jordan-Bellamy, PB Author

Shirley Jordan-Bellamy presents A TRIP TO THE BARBER SHOP. This darkly funny debut picture book celebrates imagination and bravery while addressing the dilemma: taking a trip to the barber shop.

May 9, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tricia Barr, NF Author

ULTIMATE STAR WARS By Ryder Windham, Anthony DanielsAuthor Tricia Barr will celebrate the release of ULTIMATE STAR WARS (Co-authored with Anthony Daniels). There is no other guide that visually explores characters, vehicles, locations, and technology from the entire Star Wars galaxy. An excellent primer to prepare for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ULTIMATE STAR WARS® is the ideal go­to resource for fans who wish to brush ­up on their Star Wars knowledge, and for a new generation of children eager to start their journey into a galaxy far, far away….



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10. New Voice: Danica Davidson on Escape from the Overworld

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Danica Davidson is the first-time author of Escape from the Overworld (Skyhorse, 2015). From the promotional copy:

Eleven-year-old Stevie, who comes from a long line of Steves, doesn't feel as if he fits in the Minecraft world. His father is great at building and fighting off zombies, but Stevie struggles in these areas. 

One day, when Stevie is alone in the field trying to build something new that will impress his dad, he discovers a portal into a new world.

Stevie steps out of a computer screen and into the room of eleven-year-old Maison, a sixth-grade girl who loves to build and create, but who is bullied and made an outcast by her classmates for not indulging in activities deemed "cool." Stevie is shocked by how different this world is, and Maison takes him under her wing and teaches him all about her world. The two become friends, and Maison brings Stevie to school with her.

Stevie is horrified to see there are zombies in the school He realizes that when he opened the portal, this allowed zombies to also enter the new world. More and more creatures are slipping out by the second, wreaking havoc on a world that has no idea how to handle zombies, creepers, giant spiders, and the like. Stevie and Maison must put their heads together and use their combined talents in order to push the zombies back into Minecraft, where they belong. 

As Stevie and Maison's worlds become more combined, their adventure becomes even more frightening than they could have imagined.

When and where do you write? Why does that time and space work for you?

I’ve always loved writing — I still have stories I dictated to my parents when I was three, or little notebooks I wrote in when I was so small I had to follow my mom around and ask her how to spell each word.

This continued on throughout the years, with me starting to write multiple novels in middle school. I like to write in a private area, usually with music playing. The music varies depending on the type of scene or book I’m writing.

For my book Escape from the Overworld, I got the contract before I’d written the book and the publisher wanted a quick turnaround of about six weeks.

There was definitely a moment of, “Six weeks – what have I gotten myself into?” But then I made myself plan.

Working as a journalist has taught me that you sit down and you write your project; if breaking news is happening, your editor is not going to care if the Muse isn’t inspiring you that day.

I’d turned in a synopsis for the book, which is what led to the contract, so I spent the next week figuring out in my head the details of the scenes. The main characters are eleven, so I reread some writings I did at eleven to help me get back in the voice. The week after that, I made myself write at least 2,000 words at day on the manuscript before taking any breaks. I wrote more on the weekend or if the words were flowing extra well that day.

In one week, I had my rough draft of about 20,000 words. I gave it to some friends to help me edit (warning them it was called a rough draft for a reason), and waited till I got their edits back before I returned to the manuscript. Once I got their thoughts, I started my revisions and I made my deadline.

There were a number of things that were important to me while writing. I know some people might be quick to dismiss it as, “Oh, it’s just a Minecraft book,” but I wanted it to be more than that.

Since I notice a lot of Minecraft books (or even just adventure books in general) are male-dominated, I made sure my protagonists are male and female and on equal footing. I take on issues like bullying and the fears of going to a new school. I made the shop class teacher female, because I know many people would unconsciously picture a shop class teacher as being male. Both the main characters are from single-parent households, since I wanted to show that’s normal for many kids and nothing to be ashamed of.

Learn more!

As a result of my bullying and girl-power angles, the book has been included in an anti-bullying, girl-empowerment program called Saving Our Cinderellas that aims to inspire young girls of color in cities around the country. I want the book to be fun — I end almost every chapter with a cliffhanger for a reason — but I also hope it can inspire young readers and touch them emotionally as well. It's my goal to write all different types of books for all different ages.

As someone with a full-time day job, how do you manage to also carve out time to write and build a publishing career? What advice do you have for other writers trying to do the same?

This is kind of a trick question for me, because writing is my full-time day job, but it’s journalism.

Hear me out.

My fantasy was to publish novels and become a professional writer that way, but as many writers know, that’s easier said than done. When I was in high school, I had to start earning my own money because of financial and family issues. Like many a naive young writer, I submitted stories to "The New Yorker" and other such prestigious places. And like many a naive young writer, I have some fabulous rejection letters from the "The New Yorker" and other such prestigious places.

I realized that wasn’t going to work, so I started out smaller, writing for local newspapers. Once you’ve published things professionally, other places will take you more seriously. I would take samples of my published work and send them to bigger and bigger places.

My interest in anime and manga had me writing about the subject for local papers, and then I used that to get me in Anime Insider, which led to Booklist, Publishers Weekly, CNN, The Onion, Los Angeles Times and other places. (I know this sounds really quick, but I can tell you it actually took years, and I got many rejections in the meantime.)

I even found opportunities to write the English adaptation of Japanese graphic novels for the publishing company Digital Manga Publishing.

At first I was working other part-time jobs to supplement my income, but within a few years I became a full-time writer. Every single day I wrote articles and sent out more submissions.

I began to be known as an expert on manga and graphic novels, and this led me to writing for MTV, which at the time had me reporting on superhero comics being made into movies. I love writing for MTV News, and now I cover social justice issues for them, which means I write about things like philanthropy, activism and advocacy with causes that matter to young people. I was part of a small group of MTV writers to receive a Webby Honor for Best Youth Writing.

All of this helped me hone my craft, get my name out there, and pay the bills.

When I got my agent not long ago, he was very impressed to see a twenty-something who’d sold more than a couple thousand articles to big-name places.

Then while he was shopping around a YA series of mine, Skyhorse Publishing approached me, wanting a manga art guide. Of course I was thrilled and grateful! Next they asked me if I could write some sort of Minecraft book, which led me to pitch Escape from the Overworld. The manga book will be out soon, and I just finished my rough draft for my sequel to Escape from the Overworld, which has the planned title Attack on the Overworld.

I still haven’t been in "The New Yorker," but that’s okay.

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"No, seriously, this is the LAST post-apocalyptic dystopian book I'm going to review." I say that frequently, don't I? And yet, I keep finding stories that, for me, at least, add to the sub-genre. Few are the novels which move past the end-of-days... Read the rest of this post

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12. Publishers Weekly Will Digitize Entire Archives

Looking for a book review from 1950? It’ll be pretty easy to find pretty soon. Publishers Weekly, which reviews about 9,000 titles a year, is making its entire archive available to read digitally.

The trade publication has teamed up with NA Publishing who will digitize the magazine’s entire archives, which consists 750,000 pages. The publication has already published about 200,000 reviews digitally, but there are about 100,000 more book reviews in the archives that will be available digitally soon.

“The complete digitization of the Publishers Weekly archives has been a goal since our acquisition of this extraordinary resource; for the sake of posterity and of history it must be saved,” stated George W. Slowik, Jr., president and CEO of PWxyz LLC. “It will provide an historical record of the advancement of the industry, with news, features, sales figures, trends and so much more. As well, the inclusion of PW’s renowned book reviews, which began in the 1940s, serves literary historians and lovers of literature alike.”

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13. Unconfirmed: Nick Park’s Next Feature Is Soccer-Themed ‘Early Man United’

The film could be released in 2018 in time for the FIFA World Cup.

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14. Syfy to Adapt Lev Grossman’s The Magicians

The Magicians CoverSyfy plans to create a dramatic TV series based on Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. No air date has been announced yet.

Here’s more from Deadline.com: “Based upon Grossman’s books— the first of which was published in 2009 — The Magicians stars Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year) as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his twentysomething friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real — and poses a grave danger to humanity.”

Other members of the cast include Stella Maeve, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, and Summer Bishil. The first season will consist of 12 episodes. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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15. My Thoughts: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

 4 yummy soft snickerdoodles!

Cover Love:  Yes.  It looks romantic, but also friendly.  No kissing, just two people hanging out.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I like this author for contemporary teenage romances!
Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Romance?: Of course!

My Thoughts:
My first impression of Gia was not that favorable.  She seemed bossy and shallow right from the start.  She calms down a few pages in, but the way she is with her friends gave me pause.  These are seniors in high school, they have history.  She and Claire have been best friends for 10 years and she and Laney for five.  Does she really think they don't trust her or love her enough that they will believe anything Jules tells them?  Their whole friendship seemed like middle school girls rather than seniors. They were just really immature for high school seniors!

Unfortunately, they didn't improve as a group, but Gia made a lot of progress!  Sometimes the moment where you are ready to change just comes upon you and for Gia that moment was prom.

One thing that bothers me is that we never did find out why Jules was so awful to Gia.  And there was never the Gia/Jules showdown I longer for, but by the end, Gia had grown and matured enough that it wasn't necessary for her, just for me :).

Oddly enough, while Gia and the "Fill-In" have an attraction, the best part of this is Gia's growing friendship with his litter sister Bec.  It's through Bec's eyes that Gia sees how awful she has been and how she needs to change.  And she has won Bec's loyalty, it makes her feel more worthy of maybe a relationship with the "Fill-In" but also stronger to be without her friends.

Gia's family is kind of ugh.  Her brother is a butt head who does something that, while I didn't think it was awful, did warrant an apology that he provides a little too late and insincerely in my opinion.  And her parents are so sugar coating with everything.   There just wasn't a lot real there.

I adored the "Fill-In."  He had his own issues and was willing to give Gia the benefit of the doubt for a lot of things.  They start off having a nice friendship, which I greatly enjoyed.  It wasn't a jump right into a relationship, it was getting to know each other.

To Sum Up:  Very good story.  Would be good to hand to those girls who think that their friend's opnions are all that matters (I see a few of those in my middle school).

ARC requested and received from HarperCollins.  Thanks so much!!

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16. Ten Most Memorable Moms in New Fiction

Although these are not children’s books, what better time of year than Mother’s Day to showcase some of the most memorable fictional mothers in some of the best new novels? From loving, supportive mothers to complex, trailblazing mothers to selfish, vindictive mothers, this list has it all!

1) The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White (Lake Union, July 2015)

Perfect Son

Ella Fitzwilliam, the mom in THE PERFECT SON, quit a successful career in jewelry design to be full-time parent, mental health coach, and advocate for her son, Harry, who has a soup of issues that include Tourette syndrome. She has devoted 17 years of her life to his therapy, to educating teachers, to being Harry’s emotional rock and giving him the confidence he needs to be Harry. Thanks to her, Harry is comfortable in his own skin, even when people stare. After Ella has a major heart attack in the opening chapter, her love for Harry tethers her to life. But as she recovers, she discovers the hardest parenting lesson of all: to let go.

2) Rodin’s Lover by Heather Webb (Plume, January 2015)

Rodin's Lover

In RODIN’S LOVER, Camille’s mother, Louise Claudel, is spiteful, jealous, and disapproving of Camille’s pursuit to become a female sculptor in the 1880s. She also shows signs of mental illness. Because of this relationship, Camille struggles with all of her female relationships the rest of her life, and ultimately, to prove to her mother that she’s truly talented.

3) Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen (Astor + Blue Editions, April 2015)

Imaginary Things

In IMAGINARY THINGS, young single mother Anna Jennings has a unique power that most parents only dream of—the ability to see her four-year-old son’s imagination come to life. But when David’s imaginary friends turn dark and threatening, Anna must learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon, what his friends truly represent, and how best to protect him.

4) The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister (Sourcebooks, January 2015)

The Magician's Lie

In THE MAGICIAN’S LIE, Arden’s mother is remarkable both for what she does and what she doesn’t do. As a young woman, she bears a child out of wedlock and runs away with her music teacher, never fearing the consequences. But later in life, her nerve fails her—just when her daughter needs her most.

5) Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer (Putnam, 2014)

Five Days Left

In FIVE DAYS LEFT, Mara Nichols is, in some ways, a typical mother: she loves her daughter fiercely, thinks about her constantly and goes to great lengths to balance her high-stress legal career with her daughter’s needs. But there are two ways in which Mara isn’t typical at all. First, she adopted her daughter from India, making good on a lifelong promise to rescue a baby from the same orphanage where Mara herself lived decades ago. And second, when Mara is diagnosed with a fatal, incurable illness that will render her unable to walk, talk or even feed herself, she has to make the kind of parenting choice none of us wants to consider—would my child be better off if I were no longer alive?

6) House Broken by Sonja Yoerg (Penguin/NAL, January 2015)


In HOUSE BROKEN, Helen Riley has a habit of leaving her grown children to cope with her vodka-fueled disasters. She has her reasons, but they’re buried deep, and stem from secrets too painful to remember and, perhaps, too terrible to forgive.

7) You Were Meant for Me by Yona Zeldis McDonough (Penguin/NAL, 2014)

You Were Meant for Me

In YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME, having a baby is the furthest thing from Miranda Berenzweig’s mind. She’s newly single after a bad break up, and focused on her promotion at work, her friends and getting her life back on track. Then one frigid March night she finds a newborn infant in a NYC subway and even after taking the baby to the police, can’t get the baby out of her mind. At the suggestion of the family court judge assigned to the case, Miranda begins adoption proceedings. But her plans—as well as her hopes and dreams—are derailed when the baby’s biological father surfaces, wanting to claim his child. The way she handles this unforeseen turn of events is what makes Miranda a truly memorable mother.

8) The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft (Sourcebooks Landmark, May 2015)

The Far End of Happy

In THE FAR END OF HAPPY, Ronnie has hung in there as long as she can during her husband’s decline into depression, spending issues, and alcoholism and he will not accept her attempts to get him professional help. She is not a leaver, but can’t bear for her sons to witness the further deterioration of the marriage. She determines to divorce—and on the day he has promised to move out, he instead arms himself, holes up inside a building on the property, and stands off against police. When late in the day the police ask Ronnie if she’ll appeal to him one last time over the bullhorn, she must decide: with the stakes so high, will she try one last time to save her husband’s life? Or will her need to protect her sons and her own growing sense of self win out?

9) Your Perfect Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (Washington Square Press, 2014)

Your Perfect LIfe

In YOUR PERFECT LIFE, long-time friends, Rachel and Casey wake up the morning after their twenty year high school reunion to discover they’ve switched bodies. Casey is single with no children before becoming an instant mom to Rachel’s two teenagers and baby. Despite her lack of experience as a parent, and her often comedic missteps with the baby in particular (think: diaper blow outs and sudden sleep deprivation) Casey’s fresh perspective on her new role helps her connect with each of the children in a very different way than Rachel. And when the oldest, Audrey, is almost date raped at her prom, it is Casey’s strength that she draws from an experience in her own past that ultimately pulls Audrey through. Although it is hard for Rachel to watch her best friend take care of Audrey when she so desperately wants to, she realizes that Casey can help her daughter in a way she can’t. And Casey discovers she might have what it takes to be a mom to her own children someday.

10) The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman (Bantam, 2013)

The Life List

Elizabeth Bohlinger, the mother in THE LIFE LIST, is actually deceased. But she still has a big presence in her daughter’s life—some may say too big! With heartfelt letters, Elizabeth guides her daughter, Brett, on a journey to complete the life list of wishes Brett made when she was just a teen. Like many mothers, Elizabeth has an uncanny ability to see into her daughter’s heart, exposing buried desires Brett has long forgotten.

Andrea LochenAndrea Lochen is a University of Michigan MFA graduate. Her first novel, The Repeat Year (Berkley, 2013), won a Hopwood Award for the Novel prior to its publication. She has served as fiction editor of The Madison Review and taught writing at the University of Michigan. She currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, where she was recently awarded UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her second novel, Imaginary Things (Astor + Blue Editions, 2015) is recently released and has garnered wonderful praise. With features on Barnes & Noble.com, Huffington Post, and Brit + Co., her work is being introduced to thousands of new readers. Andrea currently lives in Madison with her husband and daughter and is at work on her third novel. For more information visit www.andrealochen.com.

Book Links for Imaginary Things:
Publisher: http://bit.ly/1HJ3VW9
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FOikjL
B&N: http://bit.ly/1DXghMZ

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17. Happy Children's Book Week!

This week we kick off Children’s Book Week, May 4-10. It’s the 96th anniversary of the annual celebration of books for young children, a week to enjoy your favorite books, authors, and illustrators!

Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year,  events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes wherever young readers and books connect!

 Visit the link below to see fun activities or local events in your area!


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18. And To Prove A Point....

Within 30 minutes of posting about D-Gruppe and German comics -over 50 hits from Germany for that post.

Beats the heck out of me.

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19. Kicking off Children’s Book Week with a Celebration!

Kali_187Children’s Book Week is always an exciting time to share our books with kids, our authors travel to events in their community, and we post fun activities and announce book giveaways right here. This year is extra special for us, not only are six new titles hitting shelves this week, but we have another reason to celebrate, Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue is a winner in the Children’s Choice Book Awards.

The announcement came late last night and we are still amazed that the only nonfiction nominee from our little office won the popular vote. Don’t get me wrong the bear as well as the book is adorable; and Jennifer Keats Curtis and John Gomes could not have captured his personality and the journey from a den in Northern Alaska to his friend at the Buffalo Zoo any better. So today we are overjoyed with the win and it is a day of celebration and would like to express our gratitude to all the little readers and voters in this year’s awards!

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Join us in the celebration with polar bear paw cupcakes! https://www.pinterest.com/ArbordaleKids/polar-bears/

If you want to learn more about Kali’s Story visit the book homepage http://www.arbordalepublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=Kali

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20. Tor Books is Giving Away Free eBooks to Print Book Customers

Tor Books has partnered digital app BitLit to allow print book owners to download free eBooks of titles in their library.

To do so, book owners must download the BitLit app and use it to take a “shelfie” of their print books. The app will then search the digital library for the titles in the photo and alert the user as to which titles are available through the program. If the title is available, then the app will prompt the user to take a photo of their name on the copyright page of the book, in order to claim the free eBook.

The book owner can download the free eBook free of charge to their device.

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Today I'm at Teresa Cypher's wonderful blog, Dreamers, Lovers, and Star Voyagers, doing a guest post about persistence in her "Tuesday Two Cents' Worth" column.

Teresa's blog has a variety of features, including her Weekend Writing Warriors hop, where writers share 8 sentences of something they've written, published or unpublished. She also provides a great list of writer resources in the margin.

To hop on over and look around, click HERE.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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23. Book & Me | Comic #2

Book & Me #2 by Charise Mericle Harper

Previous | Next (May 6)


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24. Twitter Fiction Festival Kicks Off Next Week

Author Celeste Nghe will kick off the #TwitterFiction Festival next week as she tells a love story from a note that she found hidden in the Cambridge Public Library.

The online writing marathon will begin on Monday, May 11 at 9 a.m. The festival will feature the works of 24 #TwitterFiction Festival contest winners from seven countries and sixteen states. The five-day event will include participation from authors including: Margaret Atwood, Jackie Collins, and Lemony Snicket.

Stories will range from a thriller starring a CIA agent on the hunt for a terrorist told from multiple Twitter handles to love poetry from one Star Wars character to another in iambic pentameter. The event will also include an in-person event in New York City on May 13 in which writers and artists will live tweet stories in front of a live audience.


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25. Part 2 of the Creative Juice Podcast

Because practice makes perfect, part 2 of the podcast I did with Margot and Jeb on practice!


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