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1. Content Marketing - Is Your Social Media Marketing Increasing Your Website Traffic? (Tools to help you find out)

I recently read an interesting blog post at Social Media Examiner. Its focus was on how to increase social media shares. If you’re a content marketer, this should be of interest to you. It sure is to me. Today’s marketing is about discoverability and shareability. This means you need to be involved with social media marketing. All the search engines ‘watch’ how you do on the social networks.

0 Comments on Content Marketing - Is Your Social Media Marketing Increasing Your Website Traffic? (Tools to help you find out) as of 10/20/2014 8:00:00 AM
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2. Why I LOVE Cliches and Tropes


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I confess: I love a good cliche or trope.

A cliche is a phrase or expression that has been used so often that it is no longer original or interesting.
A trope is a common or overused theme or device, as in the usual horror movie tropes.

I’m in the middle of plotting a massive 3-book story and I need all the help I can get. Here’s the problem: what happens next?

No, let me rephrase: what could possibly happen next?

Sometimes, I just need to know possibilities, or what a story typically does at a particular stage. What are the possibilities? Is this a place for a murder, a confession, a love scene, or a time to gather information?

Literary folk say that there are only a limited number of stories in the world. Depending on who you talk with, there might be just two stories: a character leaves town, or a stranger comes to town. Others say there are up to 32 plots. I’ve written about 29 plot templates before. And it helps immensely to narrow down the choices.

But that’s on the level of an outline. Now that I’m deep into deciding on scenes, my imagination comes up short.

Enter tropes. A trope is a common theme, something that’s been done before. That doesn’t scare me away, because it’s the same as the variety of themes. Every story is a cliche, trope or template in many ways. It’s all in how you TELL that story. The beauty is in the particulars.

Romantic Subplot

Kiss Romantic Trope


My story needs a romantic subplot. I know the basics.
Act 1: Boy Meets Girl/Girl Meets Boy
Act 2: Boy and Girl Fight or are otherwise kept apart.
Act 3: Boy and Girl get together.

But what else? What is possible at each stage?

I turned to TVTROPES.org for help. Their site is a wiki that list all sorts of tropes. The Romantic Arc Tropes list was helpful because it listed typical things that happen at every stage of a romantic relationship.

For example, a story might start with this trope/subtropes:
Love Before First Sight

  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Childhood Marriage Promise
  • Red String of Fate
  • Girl of My Dreams
  • New Old Flame

Each of the tropes listed has its own wiki page, which explains the trope in detail. Particularly valuable are the examples drawn from traditional literature, manga, comic books, fanfics, films, live-action TV, professional wrestling, table top games, theater, video games, webcomics, western animation, real life and more. It’s a treasure trove of examples of the POSSIBILITIES of a particular stage of a relationship.

In fact, I used this romance arc by choosing one trope from each stage of a relationship and slotting that into my story.

Place Holders

Are you afraid that my story will be trite and boring? I’m not. I know that this is a trope and therefore, I must transform it in the storytelling phase of the project. Right now, though, this trope acts as a place holder, something that indicates approximately what will happen in this spot of the story, but not exactly. The nuances that make it fresh await the actual writing.

Using tropes to hold a place with something reasonable makes the plotting easier. I’m loving this help in plotting.

Here are some Arcs to get you started. Be warned: this is a massive wiki and it’s easy to get lost in it. Know what you are looking for and get it/get out.

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3. Press Release Fun: Hervé Tullet – The Exhibit

My 3-year-old daughter is currently an Hervé Tullet fan, but not in the sense you might think.  It’s not Press Here that strikes her fancy (though she enjoys it well enough) but his board books with Phaidon.  Who knew?  Now there’s an exhibit up over in Brooklyn I need to take her to.

MixItUp Interior 57 Press Release Fun:  Hervé Tullet   The Exhibit

Brooklyn Public Library Hosts sole United States exhibition of  Hervé Tullet’s art running through February 1, 2015 at BPL’s Central Library 

 

WHERE: Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238

WHO: Best-selling children’s author and illustrator Hervé Tullet

BACKGROUND: Hervé Tullet’s playful style and unique use of color have earned his children’s books a spot on the best-seller list for more than 150 weeks, and have garnered him acclaim across the globe.  His work not only engages children with images on the page, but also with the physical feel of books— making him a favorite for young readers.

The release of Mr. Tullet’s new book, “Mix it Up” will accompany the only exhibition of his work in the United States this year— to be shown from October 2, 2014 through February 1, 2015 in Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library.Hervé Tullet’s exhibition is sponsored by Handprint Books and Chronicle Books.

 

About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website: www.bklynlibrary.org.

Madeline Kaye

BerlinRosen Public Affairs

O: (646) 200-5297 C: (646) 369-8226

share save 171 16 Press Release Fun:  Hervé Tullet   The Exhibit

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4. MMGM Links (10/20/14)

Since we are so incredibly close to the release of EVERBLAZE, plan on me (shamelessly) starting these posts with a few updates.

First: the EVERBLAZE pre-order giveaway is in full swing, so if you missed the post--and you want to get your free swaggish goodies--make sure you go HERE.

I've also announced another of my EVERBLAZE tour stops (Salt Lake City--WOOOO!). You can find details about all my upcoming events HERE.

Phew--okay, that wasn't so bad, right? And now, onto the MMGM links:

- Suzanne Warr is highlighting LUG: Dawn of the IceAge. Click HERE to see why.
- Rcubed is gushing about TURTLE IN PARADISE. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Michelle Mason has a special series recommendation on THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE. Click HERE to see why
- Sue Heavenrich is convinced that THERE WILL BE BEARS. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Amara Jabber has chills for THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Dorine White is GIVING AWAY books 1-4 of The Code Buster's Club. Click HERE for details.
- Greg Pattridge thinks SMASHER is simply smashing. Click HERE to read his review.  
- Susan Uhlig has two middle grade recommendations for you, A SNICKER OF MAGIC, and THREE TIMES LUCKY. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Andrea Mack is dishing about WHO WHAT WEAR: The Allegra Biscotti Collection #2.  Click HERE to see her feature.  
- Susan Olson is cheering TUT, TUT. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.   
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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5. YA Author Krysten Hager's Top 10 Facts About TRUE COLORS...

1. The idea for the story came about originally when I was in the sixth grade. I used to read those YA and middle grade novels about those groups of girls who had the perfect close-knit relationships—the whole best friend forever thing personified. I was in grade school and I saw the cover of the Bangles “Everything” cd and they looked like that type of clique and I wondered what they were like at thirteen/fourteen.  As an adult I wrote the story to show how Landry thinks everyone else has these tight groups of friends who never get mad at one another and everything is always perfect and she wants that and hopes to find it with Devon, Peyton and India. However, reality sets it…reality is such a bummer sometimes, isn’t it?

2. The older actor Devon has a crush on that the other girls make fun of her for is based on my crush on Liam Neeson.

3. People ask if I had best friend necklaces/bracelets/earrings/etc. when I was growing up. Yup, with several friends. Some I’m still close with, too. The day I told my writing group about my book contract I noticed I was wearing a silver bracelet with a heart charm and it never occurred to me before how much this was like the bff bracelet in the story—or the bracelet Landry’s dad gives her. I took that as a sign and that’s why you see the broken bff heart on the cover dangling off the, “s,” in “Colors.” BTW, one of my favorite gifts is still a thoughtful bracelet from a friend.

4. Landry’s last name, “Albright,” comes from Madeleine Albright. As a kid I was very aware there weren’t a lot of female role models in my social studies books. I distinctly remember being amazed as a kid seeing Benazir Bhutto in my Weekly Reader at school. So I used the name to pay tribute to a woman who broke through the glass ceiling—the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

5. The designer, Franciszka T, all the girls are obsessed with got the name because my great-grandmother, two of my great-great-grandmothers, and my great-great-aunt, were all named Franciszka. I picked “T,” because the great-great-aunt used to design and make clothes (she made her sister’s wedding dress and her own bridesmaid’s dress). Her last name started with a, “T.” I also look a little bit like her—we have the same big alien eyes.

6. When I first saw the possible cover models, I thought the one who ended up on the cover looked like a couple cousins of mine. I knew she was the perfect choice. Months later, the cover model found out about being on the book and contacted me. Turns out she lives in Poland and is from a town next to the city my great-grandpa was from! Crazy coincidence.

7. I’m not from the city the story is set in (Grand Rapids, MI), but my parents were, so I decided to have Landry and her mom live there. I’m actually from the other side of the state—an hour north of Detroit.

8. Landry’s name was originally, Sydney, but I changed it because the name was getting overused. My mom suggested the name Landry because she had a little girl in her class years ago with that name. I loved it and what’s funny is she had a student named, “Krysten,” too, and she told me that Landry and Krysten were best friends.

9. I named the ice cream parlor everyone hangs out at in the story after my great-grandfather. I picture the ice cream place being  in Grand Rapids, MI (where the story is set)right near where he lived when he first moved to this country. In case you’re from the area and curious, I picture it being on Diamond Avenue.

10. Like Landry and Ashanti, I was a big soap opera fan. My favorite was, One Life to Live. I pictured two of the characters, Colin and Lanie, as being Landry’s parents. If you look at the cover model, she really resembles them both.

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like.
She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Krysten's Links:

Website:
http://www.krystenlindsay.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHager?fref=nf

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay





Author Giveaway Krysten Hager

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6. Christopher Yasick: a son leaves the world too soon, a father reaches out from his distance

Remembering an extraordinary young man, lost too soon, a year ago today.

With deepest love and affection for his family.

Sometimes I'd be sitting in Mike Yasick's office at Shire, a client company, and he'd get to talking about his family.

The phone would ring, and he'd lift one finger, check the number, and discover his son, Chris, on the line.

"Hold on," Mike would say to me.

"Hey," he'd say to his son, his face lighting up two additional degrees of bright, which was really something for a man already so fully illuminated. Maybe Chris had some news. Maybe Chris was hoping Mike would pick up some ingredient on the way home to complete the meal Chris was cooking. Whatever it was, Mike glowed. Whatever it was, afterward, Mike would sit, talking about Chris and the rest of his family. It was a favorite topic for a famous raconteur, because Mike may have been a super star in the pharma world, but more to the point, and through and through, he was a purely devoted family man.

The world lost Mike Yasick eight months ago to a rare genetic condition. He was with us, laughing one day, parading his bright red pants, and then—suddenly—he was gone. Imagine the largest Catholic church you've ever seen. Then imagine it filled, wall to wall, with friends and family—mourners—most of them wearing Mike's trademark red. Imagine a small blog tribute—mine—read by 15,000 people. That's how loved Mike was.

Yesterday, Chris, just twenty-five years old, was taken by the same terrible disease that took his father. Another sudden passing. Another terrible loss in the world, an unimaginable heartbreak for a beautiful family. I got the news in the dark hours of the morning that Chris was in the hospital. I got the news several hours later that he was gone. In between, I prayed—so many of us prayed—for some kind of miracle.

Chris was a civil engineer, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. He was a young man on his way up in a job with Skyline Steel. At his father's funeral he was dignified, one of those people you really hoped you'd get a chance to personally know—his face so much like his dad's, that Yasick sparkle in his eyes. So this is Chris, I kept thinking. This is Chris.

Miracles are so hard to come by. Miracles aren't every day. The disease took Chris. But here are two things that all of us who loved Mike, who mourn with and for his family, will always see as miraculous. On the day that Chris grew so suddenly and terribly ill, Mike's best friends were in town. They had come to town specifically to see Chris, to take him out to dinner, to tell him some stories about his dad. They were there when it happened. They were there for Chris—all night in that hospital, they were there for Chris. They were present.

Just as another friend just so happened to land in Chicago, on his way to somewhere else. He checked his phone. He saw a text from Chris's sister, Katy, he changed his plans, he hurried to the hospital, he was there, too. There.

"I haven't connected on a flight in years," this friend, Matt Pauls, wrote to me. "Why last night? In Chicago? Why were his buddies in town? Because Mike made sure Chris was covered."

Mike made sure his son was covered. As other family rushed to town, as Chris's mom got there as fast as the plane could fly, as the doctors did all they could do, Mike, through his friends, was there for his son. A beautiful thing in a most tragic time, and the thing we will hold onto as we honor Chris.


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7. EYES ON THE WILD SERIES BY SUZI ESZTERHAS

Cheetah ISBN: 9781847803016 Elephant ISBN:9781847805188 Gorilla ISBN: 9781847802996 Tiger ISBN: 9781847805171 Written and photographed by Suzi Eszterhas Frances Lincoln Children's Books. 2014 Preschool to Grade 2 I received these titles from the publisher. After a long night of hunting in the forests of India, a mother tigress carefully returns to her den. She crawls into this secret place

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8. The Crowdfunding Alternative, Part 2: Mid-Campaign

Scott Plumbe checking in again about his Kickstarter campaign to publish his illustrated novel, THE UNCLUKY FOX via digital installments. Really interesting stuff, I’m really enjoying seeing a glimpse from the other side of the crowd-funding curtain! Please check out his campaign if you’re interested. It promises to be a very cool project if the funding is successful.

***

My Kickstarter campaign has been equal doses exhausting and rewarding. So far The Unlucky Fox has nearly 100 backers. I am grateful for this solid base, but the campaign still has a long way to go to make the $30,000 goal. In fact, financially I’m only just over 10% of the way there. I’m now considering ways to tune up my campaign mid-stride.

Going on the assumption that my project isn’t completely undesirable, the first place to look is the rewards. Kickstarter allows you to edit and add new rewards once the campaign is underway. Some people have mentioned that they want the physical book as a reward. I understand that. I’m a bibliophile too. I’d love to be able to offer it, and it is tempting, but I’m not sure realistically how many people would be willing to pay up front and wait almost two years for a hard copy. That was one of the considerations for choosing the incremental release model. So I’ve decided to stick with my original offering, especially as so many people have already pledged on the current reward tier. It seems disrespectful to change that now.

Recently there have been articles surfacing from news sites like Gawker Media about how successful KS campaigns often have a hired ‘guru’ who is responsible for preparing and presenting the campaigns. I did find a few such individuals online during the pre-launch stage but confess I was skeptical. Essentially, they work as a PR company to position your project, devise rewards that will pique a backer’s interest, and spread the word through social media, blogs and various media outlets. Some such consultants even guarantee success! When I reviewed my rewards and calculated the time it would take me to fulfill what I’d promised, I didn’t see any room left for a consultant’s commission.

Some people have suggested I set my financial goal too high. Conversely, I have had people tell me I’m not ambitious enough with my project! They advise that I should aim for more and deliver my story in a variety of formats and through numerous channels. While I appreciate that kind of strategy and input, I don’t feel it squares with who I am. I want to guarantee that I fulfill my promises. I have a realistic understanding of what is achievable and can be delivered with quality and professionalism. I’m a firm believer in the practice of ‘bootstrapping’ for small businesses — and that is exactly how I think of The Unlucky Fox, as an emerging small business. Furthermore, doing it in steps allows it to happen on my terms. That may at first seem narcissistic, but what’s the point of following your passion if you’re not going to be true to yourself as a creator? I could have easily set a much lower goal in hopes it would be easier to reach. I have seen many projects on KS that have done so. But they’re not honoring their backers and are selling themselves and the crowdfunding platform short. Especially if they then struggle to fulfill their rewards in a timely manner — one of the #1 criticisms of crowdfunding.

So where does this leave me? I’m an independent creator who has spent countless hours getting this project underway and is now asking for an injection of support to bring it to fruition. So far, I’ve felt genuinely blessed to have so many backers that believe in my quirky project. The enthusiasm shown by absolute strangers is utterly humbling. More than ever, I feel a deep obligation to ensure The Unlucky Fox happens for those who have entrusted me with their hard-earned money!

Now that the campaign has launched, there is a limit to what I can do, yet I do still have a few avenues. Spread more press releases and woo various bloggers. Continue to engage on art and writing forums like DeviantArt, Wattpad and others. I’ll continue to post updates to my Kickstarter page and provide answers to the questions I receive daily. Social media, you ask. Yes — I can do that too, although not being ‘social’ by nature makes it particularly agonizing! Ironic, yes. As many other creators can understand, being less social is how I’ve found the time to hone my art! Now it’s time to flip the switch in the other direction.
In a few weeks time, I plan to submit my final report on my crowdfunding process. I look forward to reaching this to a conclusion.

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9. Lenny Lee Fest – Happy Birthday, Lenny!

Blogging takes a lot of time, so I’ve always been impressed with the Kid Lit bloggers I’ve found who are also kids. People like Erik at This Kid Reviews Books, or Felicia at Stanley & Katrina. But the first kid blogger I ever followed was Lenny Lee at Lenny’s World. Despite battling leukemia and being […]

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10. Where's Lenny Lee????




 LENNY LEE IS 15!





Happy 15th Birthday, Lenny Lee! I really miss you and all your helpful and sunshiny posts! Here's a sunny picture just for you. It's from Lake Geneva, Switzerland. I always think of you when I see sunshine. And I always smile when I think of you. I hope you will get back to blogging soon.


Wishing you plenty of sunshine and smiles and lots of cards and presents on your 15th birthday.








Readers, if you're not familiar with Lenny's blog, Lenny's World, zip on over there and check it out. He writes about holidays and sunshine and animals and all kinds of good things.

He has lots of helpful stuff on there for writers, too, like how to write a good ending for your novel, and how to get ideas, and what to do about rejections. He writes with great insight and enthusiasm.

Lenny Lee's avatar!


For other Lenny Lee posts today, see Sharon K. Mayhew's blog.



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11. Guest Post and Giveaway: Jenny Colgan, Author of Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe

This morning, Jenny Colgan shares Issy’s must haves for the kitchen.  Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a digital copy of Christmas at the Cupcake Café!

Issy’s Top 5 must haves:

*A good mixer. Kenwood, the British brand is the best: they also come in gorgeous colours!

*a cooling rack. You need to get air under your cakes to finish baking them properly when they’re out the oven!

*a measuring jug. Sometimes you don’t even need to get the scales out if you can approximate from the jug and it’s an easy cake!

* a skewer to poke in and see if your cake is done

* springform cake tins. These are the ones with the bottoms that come out. If you’re clumsy like me, they’re a godsend!

 

Christmas at the Cupcake Café

Cupcake Café # 2

By: Jenny Colgan

Releasing October 14th, 2014

William Morrow

Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn’t be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don’t seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe – with its increased demand for her delectable creations – begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.

This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another. . .

Indulge yourself and your sweet-toothed friends with Jenny Colgan’s new novel, simply bursting with Christmas cupcake recipes and seasonal sugar-fuelled fun.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/christmas-at-cupcake-cafe-cupcake-cafe.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13596423-christmas-at-the-cupcake-caf?ac=1

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-at-Cupcake-Cafe-Novel-ebook/dp/B00K53EH56/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1410452461

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-at-the-cupcake-cafe-jenny-colgan/1113460040?ean=9780062371188

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/christmas-at-the-cupcake-cafe/id524415333?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/christmas-at-the-cupcake-cafe-1/zhaR2ygNd0ie4dITpEBkPA

Author Info

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including Christmas at the Cupcake Café and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, which are also published by Sphere. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and France.

Author Links

Website: http://www.jennycolgan.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennycolganbooks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JennyColgan
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/39272.Jenny_Colgan

Rafflecopter Giveaway (2 e-copies of CHRISTMAS AT THE CUPCAKE CAFE)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Jenny Colgan, Author of Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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12. MEET MY CHARACTER BLOG TOUR ~

Good morning, Good Afternoon and Good evening wherever you happen to be:









A BIG thank you to Patricia Keeler who tagged me for this blog tour. I know Patricia from our association CBIG-NYC or the Children's Book Illustrator Group based in New York City. Although we have never met, I feel an artistic bond with this talented artist.  Her paintings depict the most delightful aspects of all children.  You can see more of her  work on Patricia Keeler's Blog  andher Website, I LIKE BOOKS With PICTURES


This time it is my turn to tell you about a character in a picture book I am creating.   

What is the name of your character?
Lenny is a very lonely, but hungry dragon. It has been given an enchanted cookie by a little man with a rather wicked sense of humor. That little man loves to play tricks on the forest creatures.

When and where is the story set?
The story opens in the  forest but soon moves to a castle kitchen just as Catherine, the  cook, and her helpers, Trevor and Amelia are preparing a huge birthday dinner for the Queen.

What should we know about Lenny?
 Lenny is an especially lonely and hungry dragon, but the favorite food of this particular dragon has unexpectedly become something other than what you would expect.  Even the dragon doesn’t understand why its tastes are so particular.  Fine china, crystal goblets and the Queen's favorite Golden Bowl seem too tempting to resist. (I would suggest that the forest trickster has something to do with this.)

What messes up its life?
 After gobbling up most of the china in the kitchen including the Queen’s favorite Golden Bowl, the dragon is chased throughout the castle by all the staff with swords, daggers and brooms.   It can’t get away unless it makes its way into the deep caves below the castle. Hiding and hungry the dragon is lonely, afraid, and in danger.

 What is the personal goal of your character?
 This poor dragon desperately wants to be free of the caves, return to a normal life of eating what it really wants, and find one or two true friends.

But what about that Golden Bowl?


You can see more of my work on my website and once there you can find my books, and more about how I work.

and now....

I have the pleasure of passing the Meet My Character Blog Tour to  two amazing children's book illustrators: Look for their introduction to their characters next Monday, Oct. 27.

 Christine Mix Blog  and Christine Mix Website

It was just after Christine Mix graduated from the University of South Florida in 1988, with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Mass Communications, that she painted her first children’s illustration in watercolor, titled Spike & Wordo’s Magical Wish. Hence, Spike the Dragon was born and Christine realized she had found her niche in art and her future.

Her children's illustrations can be found in Stories for Children Magazine, Back- to- School- Issue, 2012, in SCBWI’s Bulletin in 2005, 2009, 2010 and so far, one children’s book, Write Out of the Oven! by Josephine M. Waltz & Illustrated by Christine Mix, published by Teacher Ideas Press / Greenwood Publishing, 2005. As a children’s author, Christine has one non-fiction short true story, Standing Up, that was published, in Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul Character-Building Stories to Read with Kids, Ages 5-8, May 2007.
Christine is currently working on her second PB story & dummy, featuring Spike the Dragon and some ghoulish friends.





I have the pleasure of also passing this task to Amy Cullings Moreno.  This will introduce Amy Cullings Moreno's Blog...And you can find her website and portfolio here.


I have been creating children’s illustrations and art since I was a child. I have always enjoyed reading, writing and books, and creating art. The combination of these passions led me to study commercial illustration in Boston at Butera School of Art, where I specialized in children’s illustration.
I enjoy creating images that inspire and uplift, as well as sharing my faith in a Good God, and hopefully allowing that faith to shine through my art. 
My husband and I live in Northern Virginia, and we have three wonderful grown children who have been much of the inspiration for my children’s illustrations.
I am currently studying oil painting again, and finding great joy in it. I hope to add more of this style to my newer illustration work.


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13. Topo’s Piano, by Harvey Stevenson | Dedicated Review

Topo's Piano encourages and inspires young budding musicians to create their own melodies and discover the many joys and gifts of music.

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14. Mockingbird Song



I'm awakened by

a gull, a sparrow, a crow

and a mockingbird


Image and Text© Copyright 2014 by Sannel Larson. All rights reserved

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15. Preparing for the International Law Weekend 2014

The 2014 International Law Weekend Annual Meeting is taking place this month at Fordham Law School, in New York City (24-25 October 2014).

The theme of this year’s meeting is “International Law in a Time of Chaos”, exploring the role of international law in conflict mitigation. Panel discussions will examine various aspects of both public international law and private international law, including trade, investment, arbitration, intellectual property, combatting corruption, labor standards in the global supply chain, and human rights, as well as issues of international organizations and international security.

ILW is sponsored and organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) and the International Law Students Association (ILSA). Every year more than one thousand practitioners, academics, diplomats, members of the governmental and nongovernmental sectors, and students attend this conference.

This year’s conference highlights include:

  • This year’s keynote from Lori Damrosch, Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Columbia Law School, and President of the American Society of International Law. “Democratization of Foreign Policy and International Law, 1914-2014” Friday, 1:30PM (Room 2-02A)
  • Several talks on recent events in Crimea. (Check out our OPIL Debate Map: Ukraine Use of Force, to learn more on the subject in advance.)
    • <“European Union – Challenges or Chaos,” Friday, 9:00AM (Room 2-02A)
    • “Update on the International Criminal Court’s Crime of Aggression: Considering Crimea,” Friday, 10:45AM (Room 2-02B)
    • <“Self-Determination, Secession, and Non Intervention in the Age of Crimea and Kosovo,” Friday, 4:45PM (Room 2-02B)
  • The “International Adjudication in the 21st Century” panel, including OUP author Cesare Romano, will discuss the key findings of the recently published The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication. Friday, 9:00AM (Room 2-01B). (Read up on the topic before the event, with free content from the book.)
  • Top practitioners in the field discuss “International Investment Arbitration and the Rule of Law”, Friday 4:45PM (Room 2-02A). (Sign up for our Free Investment Claims Webinar on October 20th to brush up on VCLT in BIT arbitrations in time for this panel.)
  • Looking for career advice? Attend this roundtable discussion on Saturday afternoon “Careers in International Human Rights, International Development, and International Rule of Law,” Saturday, 3:30PM (Room 2-02B)

This year we are excited to see a number of OUP authors sitting on panels, including: Cesare Romano, editor of The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication (with Karen J. Alter, and Yuval Shany); Ryan Goodman, author of the ASIL award winning book Socializing States: Promoting Human Rights through International Law (with Derek Jinks); August Reinisch, editor of The Privileges and Immunities of International Organizations in Domestic Courts; Jose E. Alvarez, author of The Evolving International Investment Regime (with Karl P. Sauvant); Ruti G. Teitel, author of Globalizing Transitional Justice: Contemporary Essays; Daniel H. Joyner, author of Interpreting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and Philip Alston, author of International Human Rights (with Ryan Goodman), to name a few.

For the full International Law Weekend 2014 schedule of events, visit ILSA and American Branch of the International Law Association websites.

Fordham Law School is located in the wonderful Lincoln Square neighborhood of New York and just around the corner from some great activities after the conference:

Of course, we hope to see you at Oxford University Press booth. We’ll be offering the chance to browse and buy our new and bestselling titles on display at a 20% conference discount, discover what’s new in Oxford Law Online, and pick up sample copies of our latest our latest law journals.

To follow the latest updates about the ILW Conference as it happens, follow us on Twitter at @OUPIntLaw and the hashtag #ILW2014.

See you in there!

Headline image credit: 2011, 62nd St by Cornerstones of New York, CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr.

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16. Race, sex, and colonialism

As an Africanist historian who has long been committed to reaching broader publics, I was thrilled when the research team for the BBC’s popular genealogy program Who Do You Think You Are? contacted me late last February about an episode they were working on that involved mixed race relationships in colonial Ghana. I was even more pleased when I realized that their questions about the practice and perception of intimate relationships between African women and European men in the Gold Coast, as Ghana was then known, were ones I had just explored in a newly published American Historical Review article, which I readily shared with them. This led to a month-long series of lengthy email exchanges, phone conversations, Skype chats, and eventually to an invitation to come to Ghana to shoot the Who Do You Think You Are? episode.

WDYTYA_0

After landing in Ghana in early April, I quickly set off for the coastal town of Sekondi where I met the production team, and the episode’s subject, Reggie Yates, a remarkable young British DJ, actor, and television presenter. Reggie had come to Ghana to find out more about his West African roots, but discovered instead that his great grandfather was a British mining accountant who worked in the Gold Coast for several years. His great grandmother, Dorothy Lloyd, was a mixed-race Fante woman whose father—Reggie’s great-great grandfather—was rumored to be a British district commissioner at the turn of the century in the Gold Coast.

The episode explores the nature of the relationship between Dorothy and George, who were married by customary law around 1915 in the mining town of Broomassi, where George worked as the paymaster at the local mine. George and Dorothy set up house in Broomassi and raised their infant son, Harry, there for two years before George left the Gold Coast in 1917 for good. Although their marriage was relatively short lived, it appears that Dorothy’s family and the wider community that she lived in regarded it as a respectable union and no social stigma was attached to her or Harry after George’s departure from the coast.

WDYTYA_1-3000px

George and Dorothy lived openly as man and wife in Broomassi during a time period in which publicly recognized intermarriages were almost unheard of. As a privately employed European, George was not bound by the colonial government’s directives against cohabitation between British officers and local women, but he certainly would have been aware of the informal codes of conduct that regulated colonial life. While it was an open secret that white men “kept” local women, these relationships were not to be publicly legitimated.

Precisely because George and Dorothy’s union challenged the racial prescripts of colonial life, it did not resemble the increasingly strident characterizations of interracial relationships as immoral and insalubrious in the African-owned Gold Coast press. Although not a perfect union, as George was already married to an English woman who lived in London with their children, the trajectory of their relationship suggests that George and Dorothy had a meaningful relationship while they were together, that they provided their son Harry with a loving home, and that they were recognized as a respectable married couple. No doubt this had much to do with why the wider African community seemingly embraced the couple, and why Dorothy was able to “marry well” after George left. Her marriage to Frank Vardon, a prominent Gold Coaster, would have been unlikely had she been regarded as nothing more than a discarded “whiteman’s toy,” as one Gold Coast writer mockingly called local women who casually liaised with European men. In her own right, Dorothy became an important figure in the Sekondi community where she ultimately settled and raised her son Harry, alongside the children she had with Frank Vardon.

WDYTYA_2-3000px

The “white peril” commentaries that I explored in my AHR article proved to be a rhetorically powerful strategy for challenging the moral legitimacy of British colonial rule because they pointed to the gap between the civilizing mission’s moral rhetoric and the sexual immorality of white men in the colony. But rhetoric often sacrifices nuance for argumentative force and Gold Coasters’ “white peril” commentaries were no exception. Left out of view were men like George Yates, who challenged the conventions of their times, even if imperfectly, and women like Dorothy Lloyd who were not cast out of “respectable” society, but rather took their place in it.

This sense of conflict and connection and of categorical uncertainty is what I hope to have contributed to the research process, storyline development, and filming of the Reggie Yates episode of Who Do You Think You Are? The central question the show raises is how do we think about and define relationships that were so heavily circumscribed by racialized power without denying the “possibility of love?” By “endeavor[ing] to trace its imperfections, its perversions,” was Martinican philosopher and anticolonial revolutionary Frantz Fanon’s answer. While I have yet to see the episode, Fanon’s insight will surely reverberate throughout it.

All images courtesy of Carina Ray.

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17. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 10/20/14: Gary Groth is a Stranger Genius

§ Congrats to Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth for winning the Stranger’s Genius Award for Literature. Many would say Gary is strange, many a genius so it all cosmically came together. The Stranger is Seattle’s resident culture paper, and each year it gives out its Genius Awards. Groth prevailed over Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson and poet Shin Yu Pai.

§ Retailer Brian Hibbs is fretting over the standard attrition that Big Two events are subject to

As this market has shown again and again over the decades, consumer interest in “events” is a fickle thing. Sooner or later every publisher hits a few foul balls, or the public gets tired of oversaturation, or the story just doesn’t work, or whichever of the myriad of reasons… and the retailer is the one left holding the bag. It used to be that when, say, “Secret Wars II” turned out to be a pile of lox, we weren’t that over-extended with orders in the pipeline — 2-3 issues out, sure, but that’s very different from “order forty-six different comics and tie-ins before you’ve had any real amount of time to judge how the first one did.”

People have been saying events are done for as long as there have been events. This also applies to variant covers. Normally I would just say it was ever thus and move on, but this is a changing industry. Where are we going? Damned if I know.

§ Zainab Akhtar and Steve Morris both went to the Lakes Festival this weekend, and they both blogged about it. I understand The Lakes is held in a small picturesque town and the goal is to make it a sort of Angouleme type fest were comics take over the town. I sounds adorable, but read on. Steve had A Quick Nip Round The Lakes Comic Art Festival and noted the many comics themed displays around the town:

Having captured several strongpoints across the city centre, the Festival had not only won a battle of occupation – but one of propaganda. Everywhere you walk (not that there are MANY places to walk in Kendal, which is a teeny tiny nice little place) the shops had transformed themselves

 

Zainab had a more mixed time:

Foremostly, my whole experience was coloured by people’s reaction toward me. Kendal, and the Lake District by large, is a very white, very middle class region. We saw -I think- maybe 6 people of colour in the time we were there (yes, I counted), and the festival, being located in the town center, on a Saturday with bright, dry weather- was busy, as was the surrounding area. I got stared at a LOT, and if you’re visibly ethnic minority, you will instantly understand the hostile, open up-and-down hard stares of which I speak although some people prefer a eye-contact off. We went into a fish and chip shop for lunch at one point, and people turned their chairs around to simply gawp/glower. As far as I could tell, it seemed to be the headscarf and being overtly Muslim, because the few poc I did briefly pass didn’t seem to be under the same scrutiny, but I could easily be wrong about that. It was deeply unpleasant.

The comics part of the visit was welcoming and tolerant, she notes, but she doesn’t plan to go back either.

§ Grant Morrison was interviewed for Interview magazine and said many Grant Morrison like things.

he youzhi 650x573 Kibbles n Bits 10/20/14: Gary Groth is a Stranger Genius

§ R. Orion Martin has a look at another facet of the vast and unknowable world of comcis culture with a history of Lianhuanhua: China’s Pulp Comics. You probably didn’t know that China had a comics culture but of course, they do.

In 1985, there were 8.1 billion pulp comics (lianhuanhua) printed in mainland China. Most lianhuanhua were black and white paperbacks with a single illustration and a few lines of text on each page. They looked similar to the Big Little Books published in the United States from the 1930s to 1950s, but they were published in quantities that make the US comics market look tiny. Brian Hibbs analyzed the 2012 BookScan report and found that there were about 9.5 million comics sold in the US throughout the year. In the mid-80s, some lianhuanhua titles had single printing runs of more than 1 million copies. We usually don’t think of China as having a rich tradition of making comics, and discussions of Chinese comics focus on manhua, the Chinese comics that were inspired by Japanese manga. While it’s true that most of the comics being produced now are manhua, this was not the case for much of the 20th century. From their beginnings in the 1920s until their popularity bottomed out in the 1990s, lianhuanhua were some of the most widely read literature in the country.

§ Speaking of world comics, someone sent me this link, which is in Turkish, but Google Translate tells me it’s about the Turkish comics festival being held in December.

§ Okay cleaning up the last bits of New York Comic-Con here. You can not get a more overview-like overview of ay event than those written by Augie DeBlieck. Here’s a profile of Lance Fensterman. And a survey of expensive things you could have bought at the con. And here are photos from the Multiveristy/Image party. BTW in case yu didn’t figure it out, the parties a this year’s NYCC were as packed, vibrant and friend filled as other years. So much so that it’s taken me week to be able to sit upright again.

Mashable looked at some of the issues surrounding cosplay and harassment:

Partly, the issue is the characters themselves. Many of the revealing costumes are based off characters who were originally designed, at least in part, to be sexually provocative, for example, princesses, superheroes in spandex and sexualized anime school girls. As a result, many onlookers view them as the sexy characters they emulate rather than individuals wearing costumes, who should be treated with respect. But most real-life cosplayers are more concerned with the authenticity of the costume than sexual attention.

Hm. I’m not sure that de-sexualizing cosplay is any better than the reverse. It’s pretty obvious that many cosplayers (of all genders) are sexy and they know it. That doesn’t mean they should be touched, catcalled or made fun of, of course. I’m sure someone else has written way more wisely than myself about this, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

§ Matt D Wilson looks at how Southern Bastards captures its southern setting.

But, you might say, there are lots of crime comics out there. Heck, Jason Aaron, the writer of Southern Bastards, has penned a good many himself. Scalped and his Punisher run, to name a couple. Southern Bastards is something really special, though, because of the way Aaron and artist Jason Latour embrace its setting so deeply and wholeheartedly. Specifically, the book takes place in Craw County, Alabama, but it also serves as a deep dive into the culture of the South as a whole. There are aspects of the story that could only occur in a the setting of a small, Southern town. The creators, both Southerners themselves, do an amazing job of presenting a story that could be compelling to anyone but hit exactly the right notes for people who have lived in or near places like Craw County.

§ This gallery of Comics Journal covers brought back many memories.

TMNT JAMES JEAN 627x630 Kibbles n Bits 10/20/14: Gary Groth is a Stranger Genius

§ Finally, James Jean does the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and you can buy the toys. Nuff said.

 

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18. Creepy short stories: mysteries & thrillers for ages 10-13

I have never liked horror movies. Never. Ever. But I know that scary, frightening stories have a real appeal for many people. So how do I recommend them for my students? It's a challenge -- especially gauging that right balance between spine-tingling-fright and oh-no-way-too-frightening-for-10-year-olds.

Here are four short-story collections I am recommending to students. Please be warned: if they are too scary, stop reading. That's what I've done in many cases.

Cabinet of Curiosities
36 Tales Brief and Sinister
by Stefan Bachmann, Claire Legrand, Katherine Catmull and Emma Trevayne
HarperCollins, 2014
Podcast + Website
Your local library
Amazon
ages 10-13
Four "curators"--Bachmann, Legrand, Catmull and Trevayne--have gathered together ominous tales, organizing them into different themes ranging from tricks to cake, luck to travel. There are ghost stories, monster stories and bizarre stories. Some have direct villains, while others set a creepy tone without letting you exactly see what's menacing the main character.

The curators have a terrific website Enter the Cabinet with many tales, both ones from the cabinet and others freshly added. My current favorite is The Door Downstairs, with a courageous heroine, eerie setting, and psychological themes. For extra creepy fun, check out the podcasts the curators recorded. Katherine Catmull's recording of "Dark Valentine" is enough to haunt my dreams tonight.

Here are some other favorite collections of frightening stories:
Guys Read: Thriller
edited by Jon Scieszka
Walden Pond / Harper Collins, 2011
Your local library
Amazon
ages 9-12
Jon Scieszka's collection has great kid appeal, with contributions from 10 different superb authors. I loved Matt de la Peña's story "Believing in Brooklyn" about a wish-making-machine, with its creepy coincidences and touching ending. What would you wish for if you could have anything you wanted? If you like this, check out all the Guys Reads collections.
On the Day I Died
Stories from the grave
by Candace Fleming
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012
Your local library
Amazon
ages 11-14
Fleming begins this collection with a version of "The Vanishing Hitchhiker." In her version, the young teen who picks up the hitchhiker is told to take her shoes to the graveyard where she's buried--and he discovers a crowd of ghosts, all wanting to tell him how they died. Fleming sets her story in White Cemetery, an actual graveyard outside Chicago, and each story takes place during a different time period. She deftly weaves in many pieces of historical details, but these never overwhelm the stories.

I found these stories more frightening--certainly too frightening for 4th graders, and probably more suitable for 6th graders. All of the stories center on how a teenager died, and that aspect really got to me. I haven't shared this collection with students yet, so I can't gauge kids' reactions.
Haunted Houses:
Are You Scared Yet?
by Robert San Souci
Henry Holt, 2010
Your local library
Amazon
ages 10-13
The spider story in this collection, "Webs," scared me so much that I couldn't finish reading this collection. As soon as I say that, kids start clamoring for this collection. Here's what I wrote when I originally read this collection:
In one story, a boy’s family is vacationing in a house that is taken over by spiders. Now, these aren’t your typical garden spiders. They are spiders who want revenge for the damages done to their forest and homes. Danny starts to get worried when he finds the rabbit cage filled with spider webs, and then realizes that the bundles in the corner are the dead rabbits encased in spider webs. The story proceeds to even creepier, as Danny discovers more ways the spiders have wrecked damage on previous owners of the house. Needless to say, every time I walk into a spider’s web now, I jump even higher.
The stories in these collections are NOT for everyone, but I know that many of my students clamor for frightening stories. Do you have any favorite short story collections that you hand your 4th, 5th and 6th graders? How do you judge what's too scary?

The review copy of The Cabinet of Curiosities was kindly sent by the publishers, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. The review copy of the other collections came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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19. Giveaways from Cinda Williams Chima and Karen Akins plus New YALit Releases 10/20-10/26

We're back again this week with a couple of amazing giveaways. Cinda Williams Chima is giving away signed copies of THE SORCERER HEIR and THE ENCHANTER HEIR plus tattoos and a signed poster, and Karen Akins is giving away a signed copy of LOOP. And of course, we have the rundown of new releases this week.

Have a great week and happy reading!

~ The ladies of AYAP
Martina, Alyssa, Lisa, Erin, Becca, and Jan

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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The Sorcerer Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
Signed Hardcover Giveaway 
plus The Enchanter Heir and swag
Disney-Hyperion
Released 10/21/2014

The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely.

Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them.

Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Sorcerer Heir?

The Sorcerer Heir is the final novel in a series of five contemporary fantasies revolving around five magical guilds: Warriors, Wizards, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers. In this novel I was able to clear up the trouble I made for my characters in The Sorcerer Heir as well as giving two deserving minor characters some major stage time. I also got to change up the magical system a little. An appropriate tagline for these last two installments would be: This is what happens when magic goes mutant.

Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at Amazon
Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at IndieBound
View The Sorcerer Heir on Goodreads


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Loop
by Karen Akins
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 10/21/2014

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Loop?

LOOP is about a twenty-third century time traveler named Bree who meets a boy from the past who is already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets. One of the things I love most about the story is that Finn (the boy) refuses to give up on Bree even when she's almost at the point of giving up on herself. He loves her even when she's unloveable, and that makes it a very hopeful story.

Purchase Loop at Amazon
Purchase Loop at IndieBound
View Loop on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


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Damaged
by Amy Reed
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Jeanette Green

Two teens must come to terms with their friend’s death—and her afterlife—in this gritty and realistic novel from the author of Beautiful, Clean, Crazy, and Over You.

When Kinsey’s best friend Camille dies in a car accident while she was behind the wheel, she shuts down completely, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. She wants to be left alone during the last few weeks of high school, but Camille’s mysterious boyfriend Hunter, who was also in the car that night, has a different idea.

Despite all of Kinsey’s efforts, she can’t shake Camille, who begins haunting her in dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, she agrees to run away with Hunter to San Francisco. As the pair tries to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions how real her perception of her friendship with Camille was, and whether her former friend’s ghost is actually now haunting her. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing.

Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they’ve lost and accept that they can’t outrun pain.

Purchase Damaged at Amazon
Purchase Damaged at IndieBound
View Damaged on Goodreads

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Hero Complex
by Margaux Froley
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Michelle Lee

Less than a month has passed since Devon Mackintosh uncovered the truth about the apparent suicide of Keaton’s golden boy and her unrequited love, Hutch. But that doesn’t mean the danger is over. Her own life has been threatened. Solving Hutch’s case only unearthed more questions: what lies beneath the Keaton land that could be so valuable as to tear the Hutchins family apart?

Hutch’s grandfather, Reed Hutchins, knows the answer. But Reed is dying of cancer, and this dark family secret might die with him. Faced with no other option, Devon swipes Reed’s diary  and plunges into his life as an 18-year-old science prodigy in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Through his adolescent eyes—and his role in biological weapons research, still classified to this day—Devon fights to piece together the final clues to what haunts the Keaton hillsides, the truth Reed’s enemies are still willing to kill for.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hero Complex?

The thing that surprised me about HERO COMPLEX was the historical backstory I got to play with. I knew I wanted to dig into the origins of the Keaton School and the infamous Mr. Keaton, but I ended up getting really immersed in American life during WWII, particularly in California, which led me down a research vortex of the Japanese Internment camps and the forced internment of Japanese American citizens after Pearl Harbor. Our own President ordered the forced internment of any citizen with Japanese roots. People had to give up their houses, their businesses, their pets, their belongings, and some even their lives in a very thuggish attempt at American safety during WWII.

It seems like a very unthinkable act that could never happen today, but this happened in our recent history. I wanted to bring some of that to light and I really enjoyed weaving real history in with my imaginary Keaton School.

Also, on a totally separate note, I loved getting Devon and her friends off the Keaton campus and having them run around and play in Berkeley and San Francisco. Opening up their world a little bit was a fun way to try to keep everyone fresh.


Purchase Hero Complex at Amazon
Purchase Hero Complex at IndieBound
View Hero Complex on Goodreads

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Mortal Gods
by Kendare Blake
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Julia Wellman

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Mortal Gods?

My favorite thing about MORTAL GODS is probably the trip to the underworld. I loved writing the scene where they cross over, and of course the three-headed dog!


Purchase Mortal Gods at Amazon
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View Mortal Gods on Goodreads

* * * *


They All Fall Down
by Roxanne St. Clare
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Joycedale Chapman

Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about They All Fall Down?

I’d never written anything quite like this book, so the story felt wildly fresh and unique to me. Not only had I never written a “thriller” before, I hadn’t read any teen thrillers. I actually had a hard time finding any on the market at the time I started writing. So, this was uncharted territory for me and I hope that translates into a book with plenty of twists and turns that surprise the reader as much as they surprised me.
The other aspect I loved was a chance to incorporate the “dead language” of Latin -- which is not dead at all! Through the assistance of my daughter and her Latin teacher, I was able to weave threads and clues using a language we really don’t know much about -- yet is the basis for so many of our words. What I initially thought would be an interesting character trait for the protagonist turned into a critical plot point for the whole book. I always love when that happens.
I guess there’s one more thing I loved about the book -- it is the first book I’ve written in my whole career where a romance isn’t front and center to the character’s story arc. There is a “love interest” in THEY ALL FALL DOWN but I would never classify this book as a romance. For me, it was liberating and great fun to write without worrying about over-developing that aspect of the story.



Purchase They All Fall Down at Amazon
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View They All Fall Down on Goodreads

* * * *


Very Bad Things
by Susan McBride
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winners - Heather Raglin, Anna Weimer, and Shannon Mizikoski

Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone…she's dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Very Bad Things?

At its core, Very Bad Things is a thriller with a lot of twists and turns, but it’s also a story about friendship, love, and trust. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve believed in someone and thought we knew that person so well only to find out that much of what we felt to be true was a pack of lies. In VBT, as Katie tries to unravel the mystery of Rose’s disappearance, she begins to realize that even the people she thinks she knows best and loves the most might not be who she thinks they are. So it’s the characters in Very Bad Things that I love best. They are complicated. They have lived through experiences—some good and some very bad—that have made them who they are. And they’re not always predictable.

Purchase Very Bad Things at Amazon
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View Very Bad Things on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


Beware the Wild
by Natalie C. Parker
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 10/21/2014

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Purchase Beware the Wild at Amazon
Purchase Beware the Wild at IndieBound
View Beware the Wild on Goodreads

* * * *


Famous in Love
by Rebecca Serle
Hardcover
Poppy
Released 10/21/2014

When seventeen-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is -- and who she wants -- while the whole world watches.

Purchase Famous in Love at Amazon
Purchase Famous in Love at IndieBound
View Famous in Love on Goodreads

* * * *


How It Went Down
by Kekla Magoon
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 10/21/2014

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.

Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.

Purchase How It Went Down at Amazon
Purchase How It Went Down at IndieBound
View How It Went Down on Goodreads

* * * *


Snake Bite
by Andrew Lane
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 10/21/2014

Kidnapped, Sherlock ~16 sails through tropical storm to Shanghai. Cook Wu Chung and father of new pal Cameron Mackenzie both die from same snake bite, first slow sickness, second instant paralysis. Veiled Mr Arrhenius hides small clawed shadow in cage, and coded circle-line web that attracts Chinese junk pirate attack. Only three boys can save an American navy steamer.

Purchase Snake Bite at Amazon
Purchase Snake Bite at IndieBound
View Snake Bite on Goodreads

* * * *


Stone Cold Touch
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Paperback
Harlequin Teen
Released 10/21/2014

Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

Purchase Stone Cold Touch at Amazon
Purchase Stone Cold Touch at IndieBound
View Stone Cold Touch on Goodreads

* * * *


Ticker
by Lisa Mantchev
Hardcover
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass ?Ticker, ? transforming her into ?the first of the Augmented!? But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.

The last day of Warwick's trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

Purchase Ticker at Amazon
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View Ticker on Goodreads

* * * *


Time's Edge
by Rysa Walker
Paperback
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists? hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key?one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy?her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate?s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene. But their growing bond threatens everything Kate is trying to rebuild with Trey, her boyfriend who can?t remember the relationship she can?t forget.

As evidence of Saul?s twisted mind builds, Kate?s missions become more complex, blurring the line between good and evil. Which of the people Saul plans to sacrifice in the past can she and Kiernan save without risking their ultimate goal?or their own lives?

Purchase Time's Edge at Amazon
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View Time's Edge on Goodreads


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20. iVerse to relaunch ComicsPLUS in November with uView, import and more

comics plus logo iVerse to relaunch ComicsPLUS in November with uView, import and more

We all know that Amazon’s acquisition of Comixology changed the digital comics landscape. While the benefits that Amazon can bring for Comixology are evident, and still developing, it wasn’t without some steps backwards. When Comixology stopped making in-app purchases due to Amazon/Apple tensions, many publishers saw a drop in digital comics sales.

As we’ve noted before, other players are stepping in to promote their services.

So it should come as no surprise that ComicsPLUS, the digital comics app from iVerse that has long been the second player in the digital comics world, is getting a big makeover starting in November. iVerse CEO and owner Michael Murphey gave us a peek at the new app at New York Comic Con, and it has several shiny new features, including a new uView enhanced reading experience; enhanced search functions; a streamlined interface that offers comics series not only in chronological order but also a “Storyline” view that offers all the books in a given storyline. And the new app will also offer the ability to import any drm-free PDf, ebook or iTunes file into the service where it can be streamlined via uView and be searchable under its name.

uView is the ComicsPLUS version of “Guided View” and I’m told it does not conflict with the patent that Disney holds on that version of “enhanced viewing experience,” to give the non trademarked name for panels that zoom and flow on a tap. It’s entirely user controlled, and based on the preview Murphey gave me, it’s dead simple to use – you basically pinch and zoom to get panels moving in your preferred way. I’m not sure now many comics readers will want to go through all their comics and “uView them up” – but publishers or creators can also use this system themselves. In other words, yet another job for the intern.

I asked Murphey if this would lead to an iVerse version of Comixology’s “Submit” program and he pointed out that “we don’t turn people away.” Although they occasionally reject material that has problematic content, anyone can sell their comics via ComicsPLUS, and uView will offer a way for creators to take control over the viewing experience.

The “Storyline” feature is perfect for people who follow mainstream comics events. The revamped iVerse interface offers a very streamlines view of issues in a series, with the newest one on top. You can also see all the issues that tie in to a storyline—in reading order. Like I said, this is very useful if you’re catching up on Final Crisis or any Big Two event from the last 15 years. It would also be useful for something like Love and Rockets which has a twisting storylines that even experts have a hard time following. (Note, Fantagraphics books aren’t available on iVerse, I’m just spitballing here.)

The search function is basically a smoother application, and the goal is eventually to have a more “Netflix-like” interface. So if you read Punisher, for instance, you could be offered “more comics featuring amoral hitmen.”

Finally, there’s the import function, which for a digital hoarder such as myself could be useful. Basically any legally purchased book you own in epub or pdf format (possibly others, my notes are a bit hazy here) can be imported into the ComicsPLUS app and indexed along with your purchases in the app.

iVerse is definitely putting some muscle into this update, which will roll out starting in November. Some of the features will go live in early 2015. Of course, there is still the matter of publishers: iVerse offers Dynamite, Valiant, Marvel trades and many other publishers. But not DC at this point. Valiant has the biggest parnership with iVerse thus far, having put their entire library on the platform.

Is there room for another digital comics platform? I’m told that Apple would be thrilled to have their piece of the digital comics pie again: Comixology was frequently the top grossing app for iPad, and it firmly put digital comics on Apple’s radar. It was Amazon’s dislike of giving Apple their 30% cut of in-app purchases that led to them being removed from Comixology’s app. (You can still buy comics directly on the CX website, however.) So yeah, there are some pennies to be made there. If digital comics become some kind of status symbol in a tug of war between Apple and Amazon, it means more money thrown into the pot.

I’m also told several publishers are considering being available on multiple platforms for obvious reasons. Amazon’s feuds, price wars and heavy handed tactics are all well and good when you want to buy cheap pants, but you don’t want to get caught on the wrong side of the equation.

iVerse has developed into a player in the library market so it will be interesting to see where this goes.

 

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21. Teaser and Giveaway: Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler

This morning I have an exclusive teaser from Paige Tyler’s Her Lone Wolf, as well as a giveaway. Please check it out, and make sure to follow the other blogs on the tour!

Her Lone Wolf

Series: X-Ops Book 2

Author: Paige Tyler

Pubdate: November 4th, 2014

ISBN: 9781402292125

Leaving him was Impossible…

It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance…whether they like it or not.

Seeing her again is even worse

The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he’s tried to bury comes roaring back—and there’s no way this wolf shifter is going to let her get away this time.

Paige Tyler is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.

An Excerpt:

“Now I’d like to introduce Danica Beckett, one of the lead agents on the case. She’ll brief us on what we know up to this point in the investigation.”

Clayne stiffened at the name, sure he must have heard wrong. But then he smelled a scent so familiar, so intoxicating that he knew he hadn’t. The air left his lungs and he suddenly couldn’t breathe. He gripped the folder in his hand in an effort to keep his claws from coming out. Danica-freaking-Beckett. He felt as if he’d just been kicked in the balls.

He didn’t dare look at her as she walked to the front of the room and took her place at the podium, afraid if he did he might completely lose it. Not that he needed to look. He knew every inch of her body from her full, luscious lips to the tiny beauty mark on her right hip, and everywhere in between. Her face had haunted him every moment of the day and night for the past two years until he thought he’d go insane.

But one memory seared hotter than all the others. When the woman he’d loved more than life itself had looked at him with cold, hard eyes and told him she never wanted to see him again.

“Thank you, Agent Carhart.”

Her voice might as well have been that of a siren’s call for all the power he had to resist it. Unable to help himself, Clayne lifted his head to look at her. She was dressed in a dark pantsuit with a blue blouse underneath, her silky brunette hair up in that twist thing she always did when she was working.

It had been two years since Danica had dumped his ass, and she looked even more beautiful than she had the last time he’d seen her. That only made it worse. It would have been easier if she’d let herself go to hell. It hurt to gaze at her. Getting away from him had clearly done wonders for her.

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Make sure to follow all the blogs on Paige’s teaser tour so you can read all of the excerpts!

20-Oct

Manga Maniac Café

http://www.mangamaniaccafe.com/

Teaser Excerpt 1

21-Oct

Bitten by Love

http://www.bittenbylovereviews.com/

Teaser Excerpt 2

22-Oct

Long and Short Reviews

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/

Teaser Excerpt 3

23-Oct

Joyfully Reviewed

http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/

Teaser Excerpt 4

24-Oct

Love Romance Passion

http://www.loveromancepassion.com/

Teaser Excerpt 5

Weekend

27-Oct

Reading Between the Wines

http://readingbetweenthewinesblog.com/

Teaser Excerpt 6

28-Oct

Anna’s Book Blog

http://annavivian.blogspot.com/

Teaser Excerpt 7

29-Oct

Literary Escapism

http://www.literaryescapism.com/

Teaser Excerpt 3

30-Oct

The Reading Café

http://www.thereadingcafe.com/

Teaser Excerpt 9

31-Oct

Romancing the Dark Side

http://romancingthedarkside.com/

Teaser Excerpt 10

The post Teaser and Giveaway: Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus: Review Haiku

I don't even want
to think about how bad this
pickle guy must smell.

Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger. Amulet/Abrams, 2014, 224 pages.

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23. Picture Book Monday with a review of Any Questions?

Children are often eager to find out how writers go about creating their stories, so Marie-Louise Gay decided to create a picture book that would help children to appreciate how the writing process works. In the book she answers the kinds of questions she is asked when she visits schools, and she also gives readers some insights that will amuse and entertain them.

Any Questions?Any Questions?
Marie-Louise Gay
Picture Book
For ages 7 and up
Groundwood, 2014, 978-1-55498-382-7
Marie-Louise Gay is a much loved author whose books have delighted children (and adults) for many years. When Marie-Louise goes to talk to children in schools and libraries, they do what all children do. They ask questions. A lot of questions. Often the children want to know about Marie-Louise and her life, and then there are the questions that pertain to her stories and how she creates them. One of those questions that is often asked is, “Where does a story start?”
   A story always starts with a blank page. If you stare at the page long enough, “anything can happen.” You might think that a blank piece of white paper cannot possibly inspire anything, but this is not true. For example, it can give birth to a scene that is full of a snowstorm. If you start with a piece of paper that is old looking and has a yellow tinge to it then you might end up telling a story about a time when dinosaurs walked the earth. Blue paper can lead to an underwater adventure and green paper can be the backdrop for a story about a jungle.
   Sometimes stories don’t start with a color at all. Instead, “words or ideas” come “floating out of nowhere.” Bit by bit pieces of paper with words and thoughts written on them are collected and sorted, and then they are joined by “little scribbles and doodles,” which is when the kernel of a story starts to grow. Of course, sometimes an idea pops up on the page that simply does not work at all. When this happens an author has to search around for something that does work, which can take a little (or even a lot) of time to happen. These things cannot be rushed though, and eventually the right piece of story comes along and the author is off and running.
   In this wonderful picture book, Marie-Louise Gay explores the writing process, answering questions that children have asked her over the years. She shows us how a story is built, how it unfolds, and we see, right there on the pages, how she creates a magical story out of doddles, scraps of ideas, and tidbits of inspiration. The little children and animals characters who appear on the pages interact with the story, questioning, advising, and offering up ideas.
   This is a book that writers of all ages will love. It is funny, cleverly presented, and it gives writers encouragement and support.

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24. Sketchbook skool drawing


Made for one of the demos in sketchbook skool I sat in a nest of red ants, and as I was filmed I did not want to move, do not tell me I do not suffer for my art.

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25. Picture books are art forms.

I spent a weekend in the woods learning about picture book art and design at a workshop led by educators from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and the Highlights Foundation.

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