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901. Review: The Trouble With Harry

The Trouble With Harryby Katie MacAlister. Sourcebooks Casablanca. 2014. Library copy.


The Plot: Regency England. Lord Harry Rosse thought he'd faced danger as a spy. But that he could handle... what he can't handle is life, now, raising five children alone. What he needs, what he wants, is a wife: someone to love his children, with all their antics and high spirits. Such high spirits he sometimes hides from them...

A wife for company and companionship. Not one of those pretty young things only interested in his title and status, eager for children of her own.

So he places an ad for a wife, leaving out a few details. Like the children. And the title. Or his past as a spy.

Plum sees the advertisement for a wife and thinks its the answer. All she wants is a decent man; the chance to have a child of her own; someone who will be kind to her the niece she's raised; and someone she can respect. She doesn't deliberately leave out details -- like her disastrous elopement twenty years ago, to a man who already had a wife. (She didn't know!! He lied!) Or that book she wrote under an assumed name, the book that helped support her when her family and friends and society shunned her for her involvement with a married man.

The Good: The Trouble with Harry was a lot of fun: it's like a sexytimes Nanny McPhee. The children are terrible, and cause so much problems. I kept giggling as I read it.

This is one of the titles recommended back when I asked about books featuring those 40 and over: Plum is 40, Harry is 45. Each are hiding secrets, and those secrets come create problems for them. But what I liked is that despite those secrets they are keeping from each other, they are honest with each other in what matters: their emotions and their feelings. Both are also frank about their attraction and physical needs and desire for each other. Perhaps more than frank -- let's just say that the book Plum wrote isn't some Jane Austen or Bronte inspired work of art.

Because both are older, Harry and Plum are for the most part secure in who they are. They don't have unrealistic expectations of each other; Harry particularly doesn't want some young wife full of romantic dreams. But that earned dose of reality is what makes their relationship and growing love so romantic and meaningful.

So, thank you very much for the recommendation, and I look forward to reading the others in this series!




Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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902. India’s unique identification number: is that a hot number?

Perhaps you are on your way to an enrollment center to be photographed, your irises to be screened, and your fingerprints to be recorded. Perhaps, you are already cursing the guys in the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for making you sweat it out in a long line.

The post India’s unique identification number: is that a hot number? appeared first on OUPblog.

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903. Roller Coaster Name Generator

roller coasterWhat’s Your Roller Coaster Name?

I’m a sucker for a great roller coaster ride. Did it leave me winded? Did I almost puke? Did my soul leave my body at least once? Did I scream, “WHY DID I AGREE TO GET ON THIS RIDE?!” If yes to all the above, that was the BEST RIDE EVER! I’m always the one saying, “That was terrifying! Can we do that again? Pretty please?”

The major bummer about roller coaster rides, though, is that there are always waiting lines for the good ones that go on forEVER. If you’re looking for a way to pass the time, we would like to unveil our extremely awesome Roller Coaster Name Generator!!! Extra extreme! Extra wild!

If you’re new to our name generators, have no fear. Here’s how this works: Find the first initial of your first name in the list below. That word is your roller coaster first name. Then look at the list of the months below and find the month of your birthday. That word is your roller coaster last name. For example, my name begins with an E and my birthday is in March, so my new roller coaster name would be Sky Fury!

  • A – Monster
  • B – Crazy
  • C – Battle
  • D – Air
  • E – Sky 
  • F – Haunted
  • G – Iron
  • H – Mystic
  • I – Parachute
  • J – Magic
  • K – Pirate
  • L – Power
  • M – Rocket
  • N – Storm
  • O – Whitewater
  • P – River
  • Q – Nitro
  • R – Lightning
  • S – Dragon
  • T – Cannonball
  • U – Extreme
  • V – Slingshot
  • W – Space
  • X – Wipeout
  • Y – Cosmic
  • Z – Avalanche
  • JANUARY – Adventure
  • FEBRUARY – Loops
  • MARCH – Fury
  • APRIL – Drop
  • MAY – Whip
  • JUNE – Escape
  • JULY – Flyer
  • AUGUST – Runner
  • SEPTEMBER – Express
  • OCTOBER – Boomerang
  • NOVEMBER – Racer
  • DECEMBER – Chariot

Don’t forget to share your new Roller Coaster name in the Comments section below!

See ya later,

En-Szu (a.k.a. Sky Fury)

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904. Freelancers Work Harder

building

Some people balk at the word “freelance”, as if it implies low quality work by lazy people in pajamas. In most cases, they couldn’t be more wrong.

After spending many years building and running my own business, there’s one thing I know for sure:

Freelancers work harder.

As many of my fellow Illustrators can probably attest to, running your own business takes everything you have. The person is the business, and the business is the person. There is no separation between the two.

Every aspect of running a creative business, from accounting to promotion to production to client relations, is the sole responsibility of the lone freelancer, which means that it’s up to the individual to succeed or fail.

This is why many freelance Illustrators either spend long hours toiling away in their studio or throw in the towel and go back to punching time clocks. If you’re the type to stick it out, you probably work harder for more hours than your peers who work for someone else. What’s more, you probably sacrifice more of your personal life and leisure, which is something many people who don’t work for themselves fail to understand.

In fact, I’ll go even further by saying that most freelancers I know work harder than any boss I’ve ever had anywhere. Period.

Pride of Ownership

The benefit of this is that the freelancer owns every success, every milestone, and every moment of pride that comes with running a successful business. On the flip side, of course, they also own every failure, every weakness, and every loss.

This can make for a more stressful life, to be sure, but it also yields the satisfaction of a path less traveled, and a sense of identity that can never be achieved by working for someone else.

Here’s to all the freelancers out there who work their butts off every day.

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905. A New Beginning for The End of Teachers Write :)

Hello Teachers and Welcome to our Final Teachers Write Monday Morning Warm-Up! I've had such a great time reading your work and being inspired by your enthusiasm and energy! I hope you've had fun, too.

For our last exercise, I thought I'd focus on strong beginnings and having the confidence to dive in to your story, trusting yourself and the reader to fall into an engaging, active scene. Now that you've been working on pieces all summer, you know you characters, you know your story, now it's time to try working on a beginning that pulls the reader in, and gives you a strong foundation from which to write from every day.

Four authors who I think are masterful first page writesr are Laurie Halse Anderson, K.L. Going, and Jack Gantos. If you want to study strong first pages, go read and reread their openings. That's how you do it.

Last year, I was a judge for several writing contests and read many beginnings and I can tell you after a while, you begin to see patterns and common mistakes. I outlined these in detail in this entry:

http://jbknowles.livejournal.com/484416.html

Then, a wonderful reader put all that information into a rubric, for writers to use when looking at and evaluating their work:

http://www.shannonrigney.com/2015/01/28/fun-with-rubrics/

Pretty cool, huh?

So today's Monday Morning Warm-Up is to let yourself go and start on a CLEAN piece of paper. Think of it as a White Page Day Do-Over, and try a new beginning, after reading some good examples and all my notes from the link above. Don't think about writing a strong beginning, which I fear is what hung up so many of these writers. Instead, envision where your story starts, what your character is doing, thinking, feeling. Let all of that emotion and longing and setting fill you up. Breathe it in and really place yourself in the moment. Then, let yourself drop into the scene and say what's going on. You'll see that's exactly what Anderson, Gantos and Going do. They trust their reader to drop in with them and take off. Now it's your turn!

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906. Writing in ... India

       In the Hindustan Times Aneesha Bedi looks at the phenomenon of 'young Indian authors whose writing is vibrant, personal and clicks instantly', in Literature in a hurry.
       A nice touch at the end is having two established, older authors comment on the phenomenon -- the section introduced: 'What Seniors Say' .... Read the rest of this post

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907. 20 Pieces of Advice from 20 Art Directors

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 2.20.26 PM

In preparation for their upcoming online workshop Building a Freelance Illustration Business, Illustrators Salli Swindell and Nate Padavick followed up their article 20 Pieces of Advice from 20 Illustrators by asking art directors for a brief, top-of-mind response to the following question:

“Why would you hire a freelance illustrator a second time?”

Art Directors are a very busy bunch and we thank them all for their time and thoughtfulness.Read on for their insightful responses. Also be sure to check out Salli and Nate’s educational and inspiring online workshop: Building a Freelance Illustration Business here.

 

HANNAH RAHILL

VP Associate Publisher, Ten Speed Press

“I would hire a freelance illustrator for a second time if they over delivered! Skill, flexibility, patience, and collaboration are what I value most.”

 

KATHY MCCONAUGHY

VP Creative Development , American Greetings

“I would hire someone again based on the quality of work and how hard I had to work to get it.”

 

JULIE GOH

Art Director, Going Places, Malaysian Airlines In-Flight Magazine

“I would hire a freelance illustrator for a second time if he/she was someone who is conscientious and delivered his/her work on time. It’s very likely that he/she would have already been producing the kind of work I like as otherwise I would not have hired him/her in the first place.”

 

CECI BUTLER

Art Director, Design House Greetings

“Well I am assuming that I like their style and art or I would of not have hired them the first time. I will hire them again and again if – I find the artist easy to work with – fun, pleasant, open to feedback. They have to be willing to tweak their designs to fit our needs and art direction. I know that many artists are concerned about their look and their brand but we need to ensure that our product will sell and if that means we need to alter the image we need to have artists who are willing to work with us.

If they provided the above and get their work in on time and in a professional format I would hire them again.”

 

LYNNE SHLONSKY

Senior Art Director New Product Concepts, American Greetings

“Awesome delivery of the goal ON TIME.”

 

CAITLIN WILSON

Associate Product Manager, Mary & Martha

“There are 4 things I look for in every freelance illustrator we work with:

~The illustrator’s raw talent
~Their ability to take a design concept and creatively flush it out
~Effective collaboration and communication with director ~Timeliness.”

 

JEREMY BLACK

Managing Partner, Jasper + Black

“We work with design talent globally and two attributes set apart those we work with again: project management and communication:

Project Management: It’s critical that our collaborators understand the importance of managing against deadlines. There is nothing more frustrating or disappointing than receiving questions about the project a day before it is due. We need our collaborators to set aside time to think, develop, revise, and finalize. Decline a project if you don’t have the time, I’ll respect you more for it.

Communication: From confirming the receipt of a creative brief, providing a timeline and budget, to discussing the creative brief in further detail, communication is critical. Know when the phone is better than email to communicate, and vice versa. If you have specific questions or want to provide an update, use bulleted emails … it helps even the poorest of writers to organize their thoughts.”

 

FOREST EVASHEVSKI

Art Director, Wall Street Journal

“I usually hire an illustrator a second time if they are easy to work with and timely.”

 

TOM VITUJ

Senior Director of Creative, Design Design, Inc.

“I would hire an illustrator a second time if:
~Their designs were current and on trend with what I was looking for.
~They were flexible and easy to work with.
~Their art files were very well organized and complete. ~If I needed additional art to complete a product…such as art for a gusset on a paper gift bag or a border on paper tableware, and they were happy to oblige.
~They used our contract and made few or no revisions to it.

 

COLLETTE KULAK

Senior Creative Planner, Hallmark

“My answer would be that they meet or exceed my main goal of the project (assuming it’s a visual one). They deliver what I’m looking for and hopefully more…over and above would guarantee a second time with them.

Note – deadline also plays into it of course, a fast worker is a dream but the end goal is to get the visual I need. ”

 

MARY ANN HALL

Editorial Director, Quarry Books and Rockport Publishers

“When you get the work, and you just say YES. This nails it. This is finished, perfect, thought-out, ready to sail. Or, if you want a little tweaking, they are flexible and happy to accommodate, explore different options, and just keep trying things until everyone feels it’s right. Either scenario leaves me wanting to work with someone again.”

 

PATTY FLAUTO

Color & Design Consultant

“Low maintenance – they need to prove themselves before asking for this, that and the other.”

 

KRISTEN HEWITT

Design Director, Chronicle Books

“The main thing I would consider before hiring a freelancer for a second time, apart from the quality of their work, would be the experience that I had working with them the first time. Was it a good work experience? Were they pleasant to work with? Were they good communicators (i.e., did they ever go M.I.A. for a period of time and/or never email me back—more people than you would think do this!)? Were they (relatively) on time with their deliveries? These are all questions I would ask myself and the answers would factor into my decision to work with a freelance illustrator again.”

 

LORI PEDRICK

Art Director, Yankee Magazine

“My answer would really be related to collaboration. Of course skill and ingenuity is key but one of the most important things for me when working with freelancers is the ability to collaborate and offer resourceful solutions to problem solving and a collaborative spirit knowing that with editorial there is a team-like atmosphere and remembering that they are working for a client and while they are being hired for their aesthetic and style, there needs to be some level of flexibility.
As a side note, I always tell any creative who asks about how to pitch to a client, you really need to know their brand and their following or their brand identity and who their core readership is. I wouldn’t propose your work unless you really know that brand and feel that your work is suitable. That is the best way to get noticed, show the client how your vision fits into their brand.”

 

MADGE BAIRD

Managing Editor, Gibbs Smith

“I would hire an illustrator for the second time because the first time they were able to creatively respond and adapt to art direction for the first project.”

 

ROGER FRANK

Partner/Creative Director, Little Jacket

“If the working partnership was as remarkable as the work product, then I’d gladly hire a freelance illustrator a second time.”

 

ELIZABETH STUMBO

Art Director, Meredith Corporation

“I would gladly hire an illustrator a second time who has proven that they can be flexible and are not only willing, but happy to make changes to their artwork to better align with editorial content and opinion.”

 

DAWN EIDEN

Studio Director, CSS Industries

“I would hire a freelance illustrator the second time around if they met the deadline, provided organized, user friendly files, understood the product and end user and checked in before the assignment was due for feedback.”

 

SALLY FARR

Art Director, Telegraph Media Group

“If I had had a good experience working with an illustrator before, I will use them again. It’s a given that I like their work for the appropriate job. Keeping to deadlines is key, and where clients are involved, it’s even more important, as with those jobs, we have to take into account various other people and deadlines too.”

 

SALLI S. SWINDELL

Co-founder of They Draw & Cook, Studio SSS

“I would hire an illustrator again and again if I could sense a bit of their personality and joy in the art. Otherwise it feels like assembly line imagery. I like to think the artist enjoyed the project.”

Thanks to Salli Swindell and all the Art Directors who shared their thoughts. Be sure to check out Salli and Nate’s upcoming 3-Day online workshop: Building a Freelance Illustration Business.

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908. Easy Access: Making eBooks a Breeze

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mikael Wiman

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mikael Wiman

Have you noticed a spike in eBook circulation this summer? At our library we have hopes and dreams of seeing an increase in our eCirculation, not solely during an intense reading period, but throughout the school year. There is no question that an increase wouldn’t just be dependent on patrons having knowledge of the library’s eCollection, but also their access and ease of use, both for parents and kids.

In the spring the teen department and children’s library decided to debut an e-Reading Room through Overdrive. The purpose of the offering is to provide youth with a safe and kid-friendly environment in which to browse the library’s eCollection. Bringing increased exposure to our digital collection is one of our continued goals in the department, both for kids and teens, but making it a lot easier to search and download may be a lot more difficult than simply creating a virtual kids’ space.

Has this ever occurred at your library? All 5 copies of a certain book are checked out and you happen to find the one copy available and it’s an eBook. The patron is ecstatic and you proceed to shown them the process for searching, downloading, and reading the eBook. At some point in the transaction you notice the glazed look in their eyes and hope that when they go home they actually succeed in getting the title. I’m speaking mostly about parents and caregivers, but this can be amplified even more if we are speaking of a child.

Thankfully a few libraries around the country are on mission to make this process a bit easier for everyone!

Library Simplified is a collection of organizations with the goal of making the eBorrowing process less complex, especially as the importance of digital materials continues to increase within libraries. Another plan is to give libraries the ability to offer collections from all their eBook vendors through one application. The promise is 3 Clicks or Less, which would be a dream come true.

American Libraries, in their eContent Digital Supplement put out an article about the Library Simplified project entitled, Click, Click, Read: Building a library-owned delivery channel for eBooks. Personally, I’m looking forward to the progress that Library Simplified has made and continues to make in the eBook world. Hopefully that progress is a bit quicker than the time it’ll take you to download your next eBook from the library’s collection!

What steps has your library taken recently to make accessing eBooks a bit more seamless for your young patrons?

*****************************************************

Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is the Head of Teen and Children’s Services at Darien Library in Darien, CT.  For further questions, please contact at cmoore@darienlibrary.org. For more information check out the Digital Media Resources page on the ALSC website.

The post Easy Access: Making eBooks a Breeze appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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909. Cartoon – Mission Target

Cartoon – Mission Target

cartoon target by monica gupta

Cartoon – Mission Target   बहुत बार खबरे आती हैं कि आई कैंम्प लगा और बहुत लोगो की आखें चली गई या फिर नसबंदी कैम्प लगा और बहुत महिलाए मारी गई. इन सभी के पीछे औजारों की कमी, जल्दबाजी और टारगेट पूरा करना होता है अपना नाम कमाने के लिए  डाक्टर टारगेट पूरा करते हैं और मरीजों की जान खतरें मे डाल देते हैं …

The post Cartoon – Mission Target appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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910. Pat Walsh - Keep Writing, Keep Reading and Never Give Up

Pat Walsh is one of my tip-top favourite writers. I relish her beautiful prose, I admire her sparkling story-telling and her characterisation is warm and real. I wanted to know about Pat, her life, her work, her address ...no, the restraining order is an effective deterrent. So read on, for all about Pat and her TOP TEN TIPS for writers. Pat Walsh was born in Kent, and spent her early years in

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911. Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

I’m thrilled to be part of The Girl Who Could Fly blog tour!  In celebration of the upcoming release of The Boy Who Knew Everything, I have a copy of The Girl Who Could Fly up for grabs, and the publisher asked bloggers to answer this question:

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

With all of the health issues in my family right now, I would want the the ability to heal.  First, I’d fix my hip, so I would be ready to hit the road and get my mom squared away, too.  I’d stop by the barn and give some pain relief to all of the older horses, because they, unfortunately, develop arthritis and life-altering illnesses, too.  Then off I’d go, healing anyone or anything in pain or suffering from an illness.

Which superpower would you choose?

About the books:


You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.

Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie.

Sure, she hasn’t mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she’s real good at loop-the-loops.

Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.

School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences.

Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.

At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester’s debut novel has been praised by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga, as “the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men…Prepare to have your heart warmed.” The Girl Who Could Fly is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.

There is a prophecy.

It speaks of a girl who can fly and a boy who knows everything. The prophecy says that they have the power to bring about great change . . . .

The boy is Conrad Harrington III. The girl is Piper McCloud. They need their talents now, more than ever, if they are to save the world-and themselves.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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912. E-books at independent bookstores

       In the Denver Post Jessica Iannetta reports that E-books for sale, but not selling, at independent booksellers, as:

Eight years after Amazon released the first Kindle, surviving independent bookstores are now selling e-books -- and finding that no one really wants the ones they're offering.
       Of course, part of the convenience of buying e-books is that you don't actually have to go to a bookstore to do it. But, as someone who will only suffer an e-book in extremis, I'm probably not the right person to speculate about e-book purchasing patterns.

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913. The Art of Giving Books

There’s something about books that makes them the ideal gift for children.

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914. The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A handbook for girl geeks by Sam Maggs, 2015
Read by Holly Conrad, Jessica Almasy
5 hrs.


Although it is essentially a book about fandoms of all types (Trekkers, Potterheads, cosplayers, and the like), The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy it is also a motivational book that entreats young women to embrace their fangirl passions without apology.

Here's a link to the audiobook review that I wrote recently for AudioFile Magazine. http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/101132/





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915. We Dig Worms! by Kevin McCloskey, RL 1.5

There are SO MANY super cool things about this new TOON Book We Dig Worms! by Kevin McCloskey I don't know where to start. How about the beginning? We Dig Worms! came about when McCloskey, who teaches illustration at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, was asked for a "fun worm book" by his wife, a librarian. What McCloskey created is a fantastic non-fiction book that, while filled with great

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916. THREE Giveaways plus New YALIT Releases Week of 7/27 with Author Interviews

There aren't too many new books releasing this week, but we have plenty of excitement coming up this week to tide you over. Have you voted in the Red Light Green Light contest? Vote now! Voting closes tonight, and the next round begins on Wednesday, so be sure to check back!

Happy reading,

Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Elizabeth, Kristin, Jen, Sandra and Anisaa

Read more »

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917. Reading in ... Bangladesh

       At Scroll.in Ulka Anjaria finds: 'Choosing what to read is playing a crucial role in the uneasy conflict between the mother-tongue and English', in Reading Chetan Bhagat in Dhaka: the anxiety of English literature.
       (Chetan Bhagat is of course the immensely popular (writing-in-English-)Indian author -- whose success hasn't quite ... translated to the US/UK (several of his titles are under review at the complete review; see, for example, One night @ the call center, which was actually published in US/UK editions as well).)
       An interesting (beginning of a) discussion -- as is also the notion, re. Bhagat, that:

Without explicitly saying so, his works shift attention from the traumas of South Asia's past to the shared anxieties of its future.
       The shift in attention may be welcome, but I'm not sure his works are best suited for leading the way ..... Read the rest of this post

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918. MMGM Links (7/27/15)

Here's this week's MMGM links!

- Molly at My Cozy Book Nook is back again with a feature on UNDER THE EGG. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Cindy at Cindy Reads is spreading some love for BEEZUS AND RAMONA. Click HERE to see why
- Greg Pattridge is catching A HANDFUL OF STARS. Click HERE to read his feature.   
- Katie at Story Time Secrets is caught up in A TANGLE OF KNOTS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Andrea Mack is feeling KINDA LIKE BROTHERS. Click HERE for her review. 
- Natalie Aguirre has a guest post from by David Fulk and a GIVEAWAY of RAISING RUFUS. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Laurisa White Reyes sees lots of promise in PROMISE. Click HERE to see why.  
- Jess at the Reading Nook is swept away by ANOTHER KIND OF HURRICANE. Click HERE for her feature. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.  



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (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 for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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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919. Ruff Life Mascots, Max & Bella play Snap Uno






CHECK OUT MAX & BELLA from It's A Ruff Life by B R Tracey

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920. S'Mores Please! Maple-Planked Stuffed S’Mores…Mmmm

Sticky, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth heaven. I’m talking about S’Mores – one of the mainstays of camping and a first choice with kids around the campfire. Here’s an easy-peasy treat that takes five minutes to prep, fifteen minutes to make, and serves eight. And guess what? No campfire is required. You can create this treat in the comfort of your own back yard with your barbecue.

What You Need:
8 jumbo marshmallows
16 milk chocolate squares
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
½ cup of crumbled honey graham wafers (about 3) spread on a plate, plus 16 whole wafers for serving
Maple grilling plank, soaked in water for 2 hours

What You Do:Preheat barbecue to medium.

MAKE a slit in the middle of each marshmallow end. Stuff each marshmallow with 2 squares of chocolate (one in each end), hiding chocolate inside. Lightly brush stuffed marshmallows with butter and roll in graham crumb to coat evenly.

GRILL soaked plank for 2 to 3 minutes on each side (to help intensify smoky flavor and prevent warping). Once plank begins to smoke and crackle, place prepared marshmallows on top and close barbecue lid. Bake for 3 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly toasted and slightly gooey. 

REMOVE plank from barbecue and set on metal pan. Serve marshmallows directly on plank with whole wafers for scooping and sandwiching.

ADDED BONUS – if you feel adventurous you can spread smooth peanut butter over the milk chocolate squares before stuffing it into the marshmallow. Trust me—it will make a peanut butter cup blush. Oh, and make sure you have plenty of napkins or wipes on hand. Enjoy!

While you're waiting for your S'Mores to cook, think about taking a trip to Atlantis this August via the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series?

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

To read an excerpt from Legend of the Timekeepers please click HERE.

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921. Author Website: Getting Started

One of the more popular series I’ve written is 30 Days to a Stronger Author Website. It breaks the process of creating an author website and blog into a series of daily tasks. Theory covers the WHY, WHEN, and HOW. Technical aspects are covered in depth. More important, it gives solid reasons for WHAT, or the content of your site. Learn what readers want on each of these pages: Home, About, Books, News, Contact, Privacy. Get ideas on how to write your first 15 blog posts.

But first you need a site.

Start Your Author Website in 15 minutes flat. Here's how | Fiction Notes by Darcy Pattison

This post will lay out a clear, simple, 15-minute process for starting your website, with lots of visuals. For other details, read the 30 Days to a Stronger Author Website series.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. Thank you for your support in this way.

1) Hosting

First, you’ll need to decide where to host your website/blog, or where your computer files will actually live on a server. While some opt for free services, I’ve had a self-hosted WordPress site/blog for over seven years and love the freedom of doing whatever I want on my own site. I don’t have to worry about the terms of service, because I create my own policies.

While there are multiple options for hosting, one of the most popular is Blue Host, which I recommend because of its simplicity and reliability.

Click here to go to BlueHost. This opens a new window so you can go back and forth on the instructions here.
Click the green GET STARTED NOW button.
Your Author Website On BlueHost: Get Started

Next, you’ll need to choose a plan. All of BlueHost’s plans come with one free domain, so there’s not an extra step for registering that–it’s a one-stop service.

Choose Hosting Plan: Author Website

2) Choose a Domain

Authors, you should use your name or pen name for your domain. And get a .com if at all possible. This website is DarcyPattison.com. Sometimes, you may want to create a website for a book, so you can use a book title, if desired. But the gold standard is your name.

If you already have a domain, BlueHost makes it simple to switch over; just use the Transfer Domain box.

Choose a Domain: Author Website



You’re almost there. Fill in the form with contact info. Make sure the email is working because that’s where you’ll receive information about how to login.

Fill in Contact Info: Author Website

3) Hosting Package

You have a choice now of hosting packages. I’m always amazed at the affordability of a self-hosted package.

Choose Hosting Plan: Author Website


I rarely add on any of the extras. Some people like the privacy option, but I’ve never found it necessary.

Of course, it’s time to fill in your billing information. Read the Terms of Service and policies and confirm. Then click NEXT.
Author Website: Fill in Billing Info


You’ll be asked if you want upgrade; I usually skip all these. You can always add things later, if you need something. Instead, skip over to your email and find the welcome email from BlueHost. It’s time to look at your dashboard or the backend of your site. Most hosting companies use a CPanel. You’ll want to read more later on CPanel basics, but for now, we’ll cover how to install your WordPress site.

4) Install WordPress

Go back to BlueHost and Click LOGIN at the top.

bluehost-login

Use the info you received in your welcome email to login.
At first the CPanel can look overwhelming (read more on CPanels here), but we just need to install the WordPress that’s listed under Website Builders.
Install WordPress: Author Website

Click on the green START button.
Wordpress Installation Details: Author Website

Click on the website where you want to install the WordPress blog. Usually, you leave the directory blank.

Wordpress Installation Details: Author Website

Your WordPress user information is important. Do NOT use ADMIN. This will be your login information for the site, so create this with care. Click on the Advanced Options and fill in your site information. Don’t worry: you can always change this later. The admin email is also important because this is where you’ll get emails about the site. When you’re sure everything is correct, click Install Now.

Advanced Options for WordPress: Author Websites

You should see a “SUCCESS” status. Wahoo!

5) Log in to Your Author Website!

You should receive an email with login instructions. Basically, you’ll go to www.YourWebsite.com/wp-admin/login (Replace YourWebsite with the name of your site).

Now, the fun really begins. It’s time to create some content and get your site/blog going.

Author Websites: How to Build Your Online Platform


First, you’ll want to customize your WordPress installation, develop the functionality of the site with plugins, and choose a theme that governs how it looks.

No worries! The 30 Days to an Author Website series will walk you through the next few days!

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922. AW15 PREVIEW - paperchase : owl crowd

Each day this week I will be revealing a sneak preview of a forthcoming Paperchase Autumn Winter 2015 collection. I was lucky enough to attend their press show a couple of weeks ago and the first range that leapt out at me was 'Owl Crowd'. It is a beautifully detailed range with strong graphic shapes making up the colourful owls. A complimentary print picks up on the motifs used for the owls

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923. On Scaring Children

Hello from Julie! I am so excited to share a guest post today from Kali Wallace, a fellow 2016 debut author, whose YA horror novel, SHALLOW GRAVES, will be published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in January 2016. I was so fascinated by everything Kali had to say about writing YA horror, I asked her to share her insights with all of us here at PubCrawl. I’m so happy she said yes! So here’s Kali, with everything you want to know about writing horror!

DSC01472The funny thing about writing a horror novel is that approximately 87% of the people you meet will tell you to your face they don’t want to read it.

Oh, there’s rarely anything malicious in this declaration. Sure, there are always a few “I only read serious books about serious topics” types with tiny minds who can’t fathom how a book about horror things can also be about other things, but nobody cares what they think. I ignore them.

For the most part the reaction from future non-readers is more along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t know if I could read that. It sounds–” And this added in an apologetic, almost conspiratorial tone, as though imparting a terrible secret from which I could have been protected, had circumstances differed: “–too upsetting.”

*

I fell into writing horror backwards, much the same way the unwary first-act hanger-on in a horror movie falls Shallow Graves by Kali Wallacebackwards into a vat of mysterious glugging liquid the remaining cast will assure themselves is simply oddly chunky water until the third act. I don’t really think of myself as a horror writer, because I write all kinds of other things too, some (a few) of which are not (very) horrifying at all (mostly). But I did write a horror novel.

It happened like this. One time I went to a garage sale and found ninety-nine Stephen King paperbacks on sale for a penny each, so I borrowed a crinkled dollar bill from my mom, took the books home, and retreated to a dark corner of my bedroom where I spent three weeks constructing a paper nest using only the shredded pages of Misery and my own spittle, and I lived there for five years, eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and anxiety. When I emerged I could never write anything again without ominous symbolic settings and existential dread and rotting corpses.

Or maybe it happened like this. When I wrote my first novel, I didn’t sit down at my computer and think, “I want to scare somebody’s pants off today!” I sat down and I thought:

  1. wouldn’t it be funny if monsters were teenagers
  2. i mean like really angsty teenagers the kind who feel bad a lot
  3. and they’re gross monsters not sexy monsters nobody likes them
  4. SPOOKY STUFF
  5. everybody has feelings
  6. feelings
  7. feeeeeeeeeeeeeelings
  8. dead things
  9. feelings

One of those anecdotes is the 100% true story of how I accidentally wrote a YA horror novel.

*

There are a thousand different kinds of horror stories, but the kind I wrote is a contemporary teen fantasy story covered with blood. It’s all monsters and dark magic and dark evil monster magic and teenagers encountering and/or using dark evil monster magic. It’s full of death and pain and terrible things happening. Claws, too. There are claws. Did I mention the blood? It is a bit scary in places–at least, I hope it is. It would be disappointing if I deployed that many carefully chosen adjectives and it didn’t give people at least a bit of a spine-tingle.

It isn’t too upsetting as an accidental by-product, the unintended consequence of a writer meddling with forces she cannot control. Being upsetting is, in fact, the entire point. I wrote it that way on purpose. I have my reasons, and it’s not entirely because I am a ravenous creature of shadow and darkness who survives by consuming the nightmares of my young readers. Not entirely.

There’s an oft-misquoted-but-rarely-quoted-correctly passage about fairy tales from English writer G.K. Chesterton (from Tremendous Trifles, 1909):

“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”

We know this to be true, no matter how many misguided parents and school boards try to deny it: Children and teenagers don’t need books to tell them that there is evil in the world. They know that before they crack open any book. Children and teenagers don’t need books to tell them the world is scary and unfair and that bad things happen all the time. They already know all of this. There are adults in their lives who wish them harm. Kids know this. There are monsters who wear friendly faces and are enabled by the people and institutions who ought to be protecting the helpless instead. They know.

Children and teenagers aren’t separate from the world. They are part of the world, right in the middle of it, right in the middle of all the violence and unfairness and cruelty it has to offer. For young readers, just like adult readers, stories can be both an escape from the world and a way of connecting to and understanding the world, both a shield and a lens, often at the same time.

That’s no small thing. It is the exact opposite of a small thing. It is the entire reason literature exists, and it isn’t less true or less important because the intended audience is under eighteen. I would even argue–if anybody ever wanted to argue with me about this, which nobody does–that it is even more true and more important for children’s and young adult literature. You never know who is going to pick up your stories and find something that resonates, and you never know what it will mean to them, and you never know if that reader on that particular day will need the escape or the understanding or both.

Okay, let’s be honest: It’s usually both.

*

I can’t write stories so steeped in the grit and struggle of realism they are indistinguishable from real life. I also can’t write stories that imagine life to be fantasies of summer kisses and bosom friendships. Those are all perfectly wonderful types of stories, and I love to read them and am thankful they exist in the world, but they are stories for other people to write.

Me, well, I can do ominous thunderstorms and branches scraping on dark windows. I can do the metallic taste of fear at the back of the throat. I can do people who aren’t really people and monsters who aren’t really monsters. I’m really good at describing spooky graveyards. In fact that’s my #1 life skill, ranked even higher than my formidable talent at making up silly nicknames for cats: describing spooky graveyards.

Blood and guts, monsters and magic, murderers under the floorboards and ghosts in the walls, shocking scares and sleepless nights–the trappings of horror are what makes it vivid, visceral, and oh so very fun, but it is, after all, spectacle. It’s stage-setting strung up around what really matters: a story about life and death. A story that offers a spark of life in a world where life is unwelcome and makes you think, “Oh. Oh. Everything is terrible. There is no hope. What now? What the hell do we even do now?”

Horror stories, when done well, aren’t powerful because life is cheap, but because life is precious. And because life is precious, we get carried right along when characters faced with monsters and mayhem have to fight for it, for themselves and their families and maybe people they’ve never met, against horrors and nightmares and impossible odds, as they feel fear and despair and hope and anger and grief and every human emotion in between. The fantasy is in the details, but the realism is in the emotion, and it’s the emotional realism that leaves a mark long after the story is over.

Stories are how we make sense of the world, and the world is terrible and wonderful, frightening and hopeful, beautiful and ugly, and it is, alas, full of monsters. Lucky for us, it’s also full of people who know, or want to believe, even if they aren’t quite convinced, that monsters can be faced and fought and sometimes, maybe, maybe, they can also be defeated.

Kali, thank you so much for being our guest here today on PubCrawl! Readers, now it’s your turn–do you like to read horror? Do you like to write scary stories? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

For most of her life Kali Wallace was going to be a scientist when she grew up. She studied geology in college, partly because she could get course credit for hiking and camping, and eventually earned a PhD in geophysics. Only after she had her shiny new doctorate in hand did she admit that she loved inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked exploring the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov’s, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. She was born in Colorado and spent most of her life there, but now lives in southern California. Shallow Graves, her first novel, will be published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in January 2016.

You can visit Kali on her website, follow her on Twitter, and add SHALLOW GRAVES on GoodReads!

 

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924. How much money does the International Criminal Court need?

In the current geopolitical context, the International Criminal Court has managed to stand its ground as a well-accepted international organization. Since its creation in 1998, the ICC has seen four countries refer situations on their own territory and adopted the Rome Statute which solidified the Court's role in international criminal law. Is the ICC sufficiently funded, how is the money spent, and what does this look like when compared to other international organisations?

The post How much money does the International Criminal Court need? appeared first on OUPblog.

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925. #cyberpd


Tomorrow, at 8 PM EST,  there will be a final #cyberpd chat with participants talking about Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8.  I coauthored this book with Bill Bass and we were honored when  the  #cyberpd team --Cathy Mere (@cathymere), Laura Komos (@laurakomos) and Michelle Nero ) @litlearningzone-- told us that they had chosen the book for this year's #cyberpd talk.

If you have followed #cyberpd over the years, you know what an amazing and powerful conversation it is. If you haven't heard of it, it is definitely something you'll want to look forward to next summer. This year was the 5th annual #cyberpd event and the group continues to grow! If you want to know more about this year's event as well as about past years, you can read all about it on Cathy Mere's blog.

As the authors of the book that the #cyberpd community was discussing, I must admit, we were VERY nervous. It is one thing to have your book out there in the world. It is another thing to have a group of people who you learn from daily and respect incredibly, read it together and discuss it on a public forum.

As the weeks went on and I followed the conversation on Twitter and on the Google Community,  I found my list of notes and thoughts growing. I jumped onto the Google Community every few days, thinking I'd just pop in for a few minutes-- and then I'd realize I'd spent 2 hours reading posts, jotting ideas, exploring things mentioned, etc. I learned so much and have so much to think about around digital reading as we go into this next school year.  I was amazed at how people took the thinking we had in Digital Reading and expanded it, connected it to their own classrooms and schools and connected with others to make the ideas bigger.  There were visuals created by members of the community that clearly synthesized ideas about digital reading. And the community Pinterest Board continues to grow.  People collaborated to solve problems around the ideas throughout the month. (I love that primary teacher Deb Frazier is asking the community to help her bring resources together for young readers.)

Bringing so many readers together to discuss a book and an idea over a few summer weeks is a hugely powerful PD, that's for sure!  It was a bit surreal to have written a book on digital reading and then to see the power these digital tools were having on the readers responding to the book. (Cathy wrote about the power of the Google Community in a recent blog post.) I've been thinking a great deal about authenticity lately and the whole idea of #cyberpd and the ways the tools help us read more deeply than we ever could before was visible every day in this community.  We know that our thinking grows when we put our heads together and the power of digital tools to expand the possibilities of thinking together and growing ideas was evident every day in the #cyberpd community.

Digital Reading is a hard topic. We are all learning about it as we go, so we know our book has no "right" answers on the topic. Instead, it is our best thinking about it...for now.  Our goal, when we wrote Digital Reading, was to expand the conversation about how these new tools might change our work with children in classrooms. We wanted lots of smart people who were grounded in good literacy practice to find the conversation about the role of technology to be a worthwhile one.  We wanted to think with others about the ways digital tools could expand the ideas about literacy in our classrooms.

We can't thank the #cyberpd community enough for choosing our book and for inviting us into the conversation. I know that we've both learned so much over the past few weeks and have connected with so many people who have pushed our thinking. We look forward to the final chat on Tuesday. We hope to see you there!

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