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1. On the Table: Eating Well on $4/Day and More

New cookbook releases come in slow and easy during the summer, giving us all a chance to kick back, dig around in the garden, and maybe even work on our salad skills to eat a little healthier. Or in my case, work on corn-on-the-cob eating skills where I try not to cover my entire face [...]

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2. Lumos Releases a New Video Message from JK Rowling

Lumos has released a new video message from J.K. Rowling about the dangers of institutionalization of children, and the hope that Lumos provides. Just as in the previous video, J.K. Rowling narrates an animated video that tells of 8 million children in orphanages, 80% of which who are not orphans.

This video doesn’t give specific statistics on suicide, prostitution, and crime that institutionalized children are more likely to be prey too, as the last video did, but the video is still amazing. Please watch this wonderful video below, and at the Lumos Website.



Once again, we thank and support J.K. Rowling for bring a voice to the voiceless, and raising awareness for 8 million children who would otherwise go unnoticed. If you would like to make a donation to Lumos, or find out how to be come more involved, please visit wearelumos.org.

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3. Flogometer for Aleena—would you pay to turn the page?

Submissions Welcome. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Download a free PDF copy here.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins engaging the reader with the character
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • The character desires something.
  • The character does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question.

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

Also, if you think about it, the same checklist should apply to the page where you introduce an antagonist.

Aleena sends the first chapter of Graffiti Casanova. The remainder is after the break.

Please vote and comment. It helps the writer.

I’m going back to the old poll approach. The pay-for-it approach makes sense, but the cost was too low. Any suggestions on the nature of the basic poll question to get at how truly motivating the opening page is?

My dad always told me being on stage, blinded by the lights and deafened by the music and screams, was the biggest rush he’d ever get. Doing what he loved in front of thousands of people screaming for more fulfilled him.

My experience was entirely different.

When I closed my eyes and played my music, it didn’t matter where I was or who was in the room with me. The realization that I was part of creating something beautiful, something magical-- that was what gave me the rush. That was why I kept coming back.

But that wasn’t why I was about to step out onto the stage.

The host of Write, Sing, Star! was shouting out the introduction to the show, riling up the audience, who I could hear clapping and whistling back with excitement. But all I could focus on were the words on the small screen in my hand that burned into my mind.

It’s stage two Alzheimer’s, Claire.

Someone took the phone from me and handed me my guitar.

Alzheimer’s. It wasn’t possible. He was too young.

“You ready?” They were smiling at me but I could only stare blankly back. I should have told them I couldn’t come. I should’ve gone with him to his appointment. “You’re up!” I was gently shoved from behind and suddenly I was on the stage.

Were you compelled to turn the page?

For me, this opening illustrates what agent Donald Maass refers to as engaging a reader with a character. While this narrative isn’t guns and threats and tension, it reveals a character dealing with strong feelings about a deep and loving relationship, one in which she is not the one in jeopardy but her father. I wanted to know more about how she would handle this, and what would happen to them. The voice is strong and the writing clean, so no notes (other that I would stick a “that” into the first phrase). Nice work.

Comments, please?

For what it’s worth.


Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

Flogging the Quill © 2015 Ray Rhamey, story © 2015 Aleena



The applause was a dull roar in my ears and I struggled to stretch my lips into a smile that ended up feeling all wrong from my end of things. The tension in my body pulled tighter as I moved to the middle of the stage and tried not to think of how alone I was up there. Or why I was there in the first place. I tried not to think about those words that had just ripped my silly hope in half.

One of the judges was speaking and the applause died down.

“Claire De Cecco, we’re glad to have you on the show!”

“Thank you,” I smiled into the blinding lights, hoping it was in his direction. My voice trembled a little and I gripped my guitar tighter. “I’m excited to be here.” Easily one of the falsest things I’d ever said.

“Well you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have an original song to play for us today, so what’s this one called?” he asked.

“This one is called Voices.” There, that was definitely true.

“Great, let’s hear it!”

And the first notes resounded from my guitar.

Dad always told me whenever I was nervous to imagine I was playing to him. It used to work like a charm, and I imagined him with me at every show my band had played last year. But I was desperately trying not to imagine him now. I couldn’t help it though-- the song was about him.

I knew the magic in music was its ability to make people feel. And it seemed appropriate to choose this song at the time I picked it-- I was doing this for him, after all. But those words on the screen changed everything. I needed to be numb. I needed to be numb or I wouldn’t make it through the audition, and I promised him--

Focus, Claire. Focus on the notes, the fingerings, the stage presence, am I playing too fast, is this intro too long?

No. Don’t go there either. I gritted my teeth and blocked my thoughts, forced myself to breathe evenly. And I closed my eyes and began to sing.

But it felt all wrong. No magic and no rush and I felt like a fake.

I knew it was because I wasn’t letting myself feel the music, but there was no way I’d make it through the song if I did. Only two minutes. Verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus. I only had to hold it back for two more minutes.

I only made it thirty seconds before I started to slip.

My voice caught in the back of my throat but I pressed through, coming back in stronger than before. I can do this for him.

But I really couldn’t.

The tears started then, and my voice caught again. The quality of my voice was gone, and I knew I wouldn’t hit the bridge notes. It was just my song carrying the weight of my audition at this point-- I lied to myself that it was enough but I’d never been a very good liar. My face twisted and my fingers trembled on the strings and I knew everyone had noticed.

Right there, in the middle of the chorus, I couldn’t take it anymore. My voice faded into a silent sob and my hands faltered on the guitar and I stepped back, trying to escape thousands of eyes fixed on me. There was no way to salvage this, and I didn’t care. Screw this promise. It didn’t matter anymore-- nothing there mattered anymore. Only Dad mattered, and I needed to be at the hospital.

So I turned and walked off the stage, giving up on the promise I had made my dad that I would go through with this audition, that I would pursue my dream of music with everything I had.

There was a good chance he wouldn’t even remember it anyway.

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4. Aaron Eiland’s Picture Book Featured On Kickstarter

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5. Hope in the Ashes: Remembering 9/11

by Sally Matheny

Remembering 9-11 (Photo Courtesy of Flickr)

On the morning of September 11, 2001, my six-year-old daughter snuggled next to me on the sofa. My nine-year-old daughter nestled in on my other side. I cherished these moments. Our easing into the mornings with Bible study and prayer were my favorite times. However, even though we were enjoying our second year of homeschooling, I still struggled with doubts. Am I teaching them the right things? How long will I be able to do this? Will we survive being together all day, every day?

I pushed the thoughts aside and focused on the moment. By the time, I finished reading to my girls; President George Bush also ended his reading to a class of second graders in Florida.

Shortly after that, my husband calls from his office and tells me to turn on the television. I stand in shock of the images I’m viewing. Both of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are billowing black smoke. Numerous sirens are blaring in the background. Anxious reporters are dropping words of destruction, “hijacked,” “under attack, “and “acts of terrorism.”
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6. Inspiration Board for This Week’s Topic of OLD


 Hello fellow artists!

As part of our ongoing efforts to make Illustration Friday more of a community focused on the art of idea generation, here’s our Inspiration Board for this week’s topic of OLD.

You can download, save, drag and drop, print, or do whatever you want with it if it helps you to brainstorm ideas for your illustration.

Let us know in the comments if this is something that you think is helpful or inspiring enough for us to keep doing!

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7. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingStephen Savage, Lauren Tobia, & Paul O. Zelinsky

“Anna Hibiscus starts to cry. ‘Wha’ happen?’ Papa asks.
‘Everybody is busy with Double Trouble!’ cries Anna Hibiscus.
‘Nobody has time for me.'”
– From Atinuke’s
Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!, illustrated by Lauren Tobia
(Click to enlarge spread)


“It is the first snowfall of the year.”
– From Emily Jenkins’
Toys Meet Snow, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky


From Stephen Savage’s Where’s Walrus? And Penguin?
(Click to enlarge spread)


This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at Pamela Zagarenski’s The Whisper. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about new picture books that feature the happy return of some beloved picture book protagonists, including Stephen Savage’s Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? (Scholastic, August 2015); Atinuke’s Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!, illustrated by Lauren Tobia and whose cover is pictured here (Kane Miller, September 2015); and Emily Jenkins’ Toys Meet Snow, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (Schwartz & Wade, September 2015).

I’ve got a bit of art from each today. Zelinsky shares some early sketches and cover sketches as well.

Also, since we’re on the subject of Lauren Tobia’s artwork, I’m adding in a couple of spreads from Fran Manushkin’s Happy in Our Skin, published by Candlewick last month.



From Where’s Walrus? And Penguin?:


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)



From Toys Meet Snow:


Final art: “‘What is a sunset?’ asks Lumphy. ‘It’s strawberry syrup pouring over the world to make it sweet before nightfall,’ explains StingRay.
Plastic doesn’t say anything. She is thinking.”

(Click to enlarge)


“Inside, the house is dry and warm. Outside, the tiny ballerinas have made a blanket of peace over the world. The strawberry-syrup sun has gone down.”
– The progression of a spread

(Click each to enlarge)


Final art: “And, yes, the world is sweet.”


Jacket sketches
(Click each to enlarge)


Final jacket


From Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!:


“Anna Hibiscus takes a big ripe banana. She goes to Grandmother’s mat.
Anna Hibiscus always eat breakfast with Grandmother.
But Grandmother is busy sleeping. …”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“Anna Hibiscus is so happy now! She is going to eat ogi with Grandmother,
splash with her aunties, and play with her uncles and cousins.
But first Anna Hibiscus runs to her mother.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


From Fran Manushkin’s Happy in Our Skin,
illustrated by Lauren Tobia:


“It’s delightful to hug and tickle and wrestle,
get a scratch when we itch, and hold hands and nestle.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“What a wonderful world! Such a hullabaloo—
with all of us in it! See the splendid view:
bouquets of people, blooming and boisterous,
brawny and thin, loving each day …”

(Click to enlarge spread)



* * * * * * *

DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR ANNA HIBISCUS! Text copyright © 2015 by Atinuke. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lauren Tobia. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Lauren Tobia and the publisher, Kane Miller, Tulsa, OK.

HAPPY IN OUR SKIN. Text copyright © 2015 by Fran Manushkin. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lauren Tobia. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

TOYS MEET SNOW. Text copyright © 2015 by Emily Jenkins. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Paul O. Zelinsky. Images reproduced by permission of Paul O. Zelinsky and the publisher, Schartz & Wade Books, New York.

WHERE’S WALRUS? AND PENGUIN? copyright © 2015 by Stephen Savage. Images reproduced by permission of Stephen Savage and the publisher, Scholastic Press, New York.

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8. Undertow By Michael Buckley

For three years, Lyric Walker has behaved like a model citizen - in school, at home, everywhere.  The wild thing she used to be cannot come out.  Her home town of Coney Island has become a refugee camp for a strange race of sentient sea creatures.  The hatred and mistrust between humans and these aliens - the Alpha - grows to a fever pitch when the president demands that Alpha children enter New York's public schools.

Lyric's school is first. 

But Lyric and her parents have a secret that may kill them.  When Lyric is forced to befriend the Alpha prince, Fathom, things become confusing all too quickly.  He is untamed - as are all the Alpha - with a sense of honor that demands quick and violent retribution for the smallest of slights.  Lyric only agrees to help Fathom adjust to humans when escape from the area is offered to her for parents as well as herself.

The government, itself, is split between the locals who hate and want to exterminate these interlopers and the federal government that views them as possible allies.

A subplot about Lyric's best friend's abusive step-father, and that best friend's boy friend add pathos to an otherwise action adventure sci-fi novel.

Things start out uncomfortably in this book and quickly become ugly and then uglier.  Hate and what it motivates people to do is never a pretty sight.

Things I liked best about this book:
1.  Cool battle scenes.
2.  Lyric and Bex, her best friend.
3.  Lyric's migraines turn into something significant.
4.  The trial scene - wow, that was so awesome!
5.  Governmental wrangling.  Don't totally trust them!!  Conspiracy theorists, unite!

Possible Spoiler Alert!!
I expected an underlying theme to be the warming of the oceans.  I thought that was the reason these people were forced onto land.  That may crop up in subsequent titles in this series - because Fathom, Lyric, Bex and all the others will return.  But the reason the Alpha left the sea is pretty freaky and scary.

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9. FOODFIC: The Royal Diaries, Elizabeth I - Kathryn Lasky


I loved how this format gave the young heroine a big voice. This novel introduces us to Elizabeth I, daughter of the infamous Henry VIII and his scandalous 2nd wife Anne Boleyn. And through Elizabeth’s diary, we learn that she’s just like any girl in any century, longing for the love and approval of her father. This peeling back of layers to reveal a real person (where used to be only a printed name in a textbook followed by a few carefully chosen facts and dates) reminds me of Philippa Gregory’s work. I say all the time that if her books were in print when I was in high school, I’d have been a much better history student!

So for either – or both – series of books, what is it that so handily captures readers? Is it the writing? The girls’ voices? The female perspective?

Or could it be the food?

Okay, it’s not the food if we’re talking appeal, because, well, historic food is historically disgusting. In Anne’s case, her father’s favorites are goose, swan, rabbit, lamb, quail and lamprey eel. Blech. I have no idea if they sent royal fisherman to catch the eels in the wild or if they just hauled the suckers up out of the moat – not that it matters – but that eel actually lost to the swan in my grossest delicacy ranking when I read that they turned the swan’s neck into pudding. It’s just too much for my 21st century American stomach to handle.

Of course it gives me greater respect for Anne and her half-sister Mary and all the other women for whom such bad food was just the cherry on top of the sundae of crap dumped on them by the ruling men. Women were treated and traded like cattle – exquisitely, prize-winning cattle – with no choices socially, academically, and even gastronomically. Sadly, the meals are just one of many details of court life that leave a bad taste in our mouths, yet the stories of Anne and her peers make us hungrily read on.

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10. Ruffalo Reveals the Hulk Won't Be in "Civil War"

I am sorry, but despite the last couple of days I almost chuckled when I saw Comics Vine News used Google Translate but did not tidy up the translation so it reads weirdly. I ain't tidying it up:http://www.comicvine.com/articles/mark-ruffalo-reveals-the-reason-hulk-wont-be-in-ci/1100-153438/

There will be no "Hulk Smash" in next year's Marvel film.

The back and forth debate to whether or not Mark Ruffalo will be playing Bruce Banner/Hulk in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film may have come to an end. At the Venice Film Festival, badtaste talked to Ruffalo and asked him whether or not Hulk will be in the upcoming Captain America film.
I thought that I would be in the film, but in the end evidently believe that reveal what happened Hulk is something too big, and Marvel wants to use this information later. My character had been inserted in the script, but then it was taken away. Who knows, maybe Hulk will never return. However, they want to keep the revelation of what happened a secret, because it is something really big
Translated by Google
Hulk was in the script, then taken out because something bigger is going on. That leads to a few new questions. Does that mean Bruce Banner is going to be in the film then? Many fans are still hoping for Ruffalo to appear in the movie, and clinging to that like there's no tomorrow. Many people are speculating that this big secret is somehow going to lead to a Planet Hulk movie, based off the comic story line where Hulk crash lands on a planet and fights his way through gladiator battles in order to become king. It's widely considered to be one of the best Hulk story lines.

A Planet Hulk film still feels a little far-fetched, but something else to wonder about is if fans will even get another stand-alone Hulk film. What do you think? Captain America: Civil War opens on May 6, 2016.

Pity if we don't see Ruffalo as Banner because, having seen all the stand alone movies (including that over long awful first one by Ang Lee) I think he has nailed the portrayal of Bruce Banner.  But this is movies and movies....http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/rtk3ngtw71ot9mzjzneb.jpg

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12. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e September 4th, 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Your Elevator Pitch (Rachelle Gardner)

Writing the Cozy Mystery—the Sleuth (Elizabeth Spann Craig)

Get Paid to Write Articles: 10 Magazines That Pay $500 or More (Bamidele Onibalusi)

Is Your Online Presence Ready for Scrutiny? (Mary Keeley)

Getting Over the Hump (Kristan Hoffman)

Your Book-Signing Cheat Sheet (Bonnie Randall)

How Do You know Your Submission is Ready? (Wendy Lawton)

When Your Brainstorming Hits a Drought (James Scott Bell)

6 Ways to Save a Mary Sue (Robbie Blair)

Post "Meh" Debut—Your Options (Natalie Whipple)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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13. Peggy Lee’s War With Disney Over ‘Lady and the Tramp’

The story of how singer and songwriter Peggy Lee took on one of the world's most powerful entertainment companies -- and won.

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14. Sunny Side Up (2015)

Sunny Side Up. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. 2015. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Sunny Side Up is a graphic novel, a coming-of-age story starring Sunny Lewin. It is set in August 1976. It wasn't Sunny's first vacation choice to go visit her grandfather in Florida. The family had planned on a beach vacation, a vacation where Sunny's best friend could come too. But family troubles--troubles concerning Sunny's older brother--changed everything. Now Sunny is on her own for this trip and visiting her grandfather in his retirement community. Flashes reveal much in this one, readers learn about Sunny's life in Pennsylvania: her friends, her family, and what led to this vacation.

I liked this one. I did. I don't read many graphic novels per year--at most three or four. But I am SO GLAD I read Sunny Side Up. I loved the setting. I love stories featuring grandparents and the senior community. I love the main character, Sunny. I loved, loved, loved how by the end of vacation she had found her voice and REALLY opened up. I also loved that she made a new friend and had a few adventures with someone her own age. I loved that she discovered comic books and super heroes. Some of the pages devoted to her discovering super heroes were among my favorites. And I LOVED the ending.

Overall this one is oh-so-easy to recommend. Even to readers who don't typically read graphic novels.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Pilou Asbæk Cast in Game of Thrones Season 6

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16. Giveaway: Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (US & Canada Only)


by Marie Marquardt 

Release Date: September 1, 2015


About the Book

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.  Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much -- except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There's too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she's an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one's family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.

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

b2ap3_thumbnail_Marie-Marquardt-CREDIT-Kenzi-Tainow.jpgAbout the Author

Marie Marquardt is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University's Candler School of Theology and the author of Living Illegal: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration. She is widely published on issues of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. South. Marquardt has also worked as an advocate among immigrants in Atlanta. She is a founder and co-chair of El Refugio, a hospitality house near the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Dream Things True is Marie's first young adult novel.

Learn more Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website | Instagram

Publisher Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive a finished copy of the book. US & Canada.

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 of the cover & synopsis?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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17. Station Eleven is Reddit Book Club’s Latest Pick

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18. Johnson Museum of Art Hosts a Kurt Vonnegut Exhibit

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19. "Red Abstraction"

Red Abstraction, a small (8" x 8") watercolor on paper, part of my "Daily Something" series.

More of my artwork can be seen on my website and my Etsy shop

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20. ‘Hipopotamy’ by Piotr Dumała (NSFW)

A few naked women and children are bathing in a river. They are being secretly observed by a group of men, who, at one point decide to approach them... Read the rest of this post

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21. Lucy and the Magic Loom - a bookwrap

This story is based upon the Rainbow Loom, the 2014 Toy of the Year (as per the American Toy Industry). If you have children or grandchildren chances are you have seen one. They are looms kids use with tiny rubber bands to create bracelets, keychains and more.

Fun facts...

*  The Magic Loom has sold over 8 million units worldwide along with 40 million rubber band packets.  

*  Now there is a delightful children’s book based on the Magic Loom toy – Lucy and the Magic Loom: A Rainbow Loomer’s Adventure Story.


Authored by Alice Downes

Ages:  6-10  (K-5th grade)

About the book...

Lucy Stillwater-Smith is twelve years old and her best friend, Alyssa Jones, has moved away to America leaving her feeling so alone and sad.  Her doctor parents work long hours, totally aborbed in their research, leaving her constantly with her nanny Abigail.  

She longs for adventure and some excitement in her life.  Then one day she notices a package outside her front door and rushes out to claim it.  Unfortunately it is not addressed to her but everything inside of her screams..."It's mine!"

She quickly opens up the gift and low and behold she discovers a loom - not an ordinary loom - but a golden magic one.  Delighted she follows the looms promptings which leads her to an old dusty bookcase and through a secret passageway into a world like non-other she had ever seen before.  

It is a magical, enchanted world with colourful creatures, castles and landscapes.  Lucy finds herself needing the help of the loom as she encounters many challenges.  Together they build a bridge, distract a giant beast, weave wings to fly and even rescue a girl imprisoned in a castle. 

Lucy uses her imagination and her looming skills to get her out of some very precarious situations in that bewitched world she finds herself in.  The story emphasizes kindness and a giving spirit.  It highlights the value of friendships and offering a helping hand to those in need.  

"Perfect for reluctant readers, "Lucy and the Magic Loom" is a necessary addition to any middle grade library, both at home and in the classroom."  I know you will enjoy this series. 

About the author...

Alice Downes is a freelance writer and innovative brand strategist. She has worked for companies such as Random House, Harper Collins, BBC, Nickelodeon, Disney, and many more.  She currently resides in New York City.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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22. Fiction Gets Schooled: INFOGRAPHIC

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23. Old Yeti

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24. Giveaway: The Fix by Natasha Sinel (US & Canada Only)


by Natasha Sinel

Release Date: September 1, 2015



About the Book

One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open.

Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.

On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.

But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.

THE FIX follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.

“A bewitching, beautiful, and brave debut. Readers will marvel at Macy's resilience. Natasha Sinel's writing devastates and uplifts, by turns. An important story of one girl's journey to rewrite the blueprint of her own life by facing the truth inside herself.” —Carrie Mesrobian, award-winning author of Sex & Violence and Perfectly Good White Boy

“First shot out of the gate, Sinel bravely addresses tough topics, demonstrating that the weight of secrets can pull us under––and their release can save us from drowning.” ––Holly Schindler, critically acclaimed author of A Blue So Dark and Feral

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

About the Author

Natasha Sinel received a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. After five years at Showtime Networks, she left to begin her career writing young adult fiction from her home in Northern Westchester, NY. She drives her three boys around all afternoon but in her head, she’s still in high school and hopes no one near her can read minds. THE FIX is her first novel.

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Giveaway Details

5 winners each will receive signed finished copy and some swag. US & Canada only.

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: Name two things that Sebastian drew on his shoes... Find out here.

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

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25. Giveaway: 13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt (US & Canada Only)

13 Days of Midnight

by Leo Hunt  

Release Date: August 25th


About the Book

In a devilishly dark and funny debut, a teen finds himself the unwitting beneficiary of eight enslaved and angry ghosts seeking bloody vengeance. When Luke Manchett’s estranged father dies unexpectedly, he leaves his son a dark inheritance: a collection of eight restless spirits, known as his Host, who want revenge for their long enslavement. Once they figure out that Luke has no clue how to manage them, they become increasingly belligerent, and eventually mutiny. Halloween (the night when ghosts reach the height of their power) is fast approaching, and Luke knows his Host is planning something far more trick than treat. Armed with only his father’s indecipherable notes, a locked copy of The Book of Eight, and help from school outcast Elza Moss, Luke has just thirteen days to uncover the closely guarded secrets of black magic and send his unquiet spirits to their eternal rest—or join their ghostly ranks himself.

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

b2ap3_thumbnail_leo.jpgAbout the Author

Leo Hunt wrote Thirteen Days of Midnight in his first year of college and signed with an agent the following year. When he was younger he thought he wanted to be either an archaeologist or an author; but when he learned that archaeologists didn't unearth piles of perfectly preserved dinosaur bones every time they put a spade in the ground, he decided to write books instead. He lives in northeast England.

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Giveaway Details

10 winners will receive a hardcover copy of the book. US & Canada.

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.

Subscribe to the E-Volt newsletter for Candlewick’s monthly YA e-book deals. Contestants need to enter their e-mail address in the form.

Click this link to enter.

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