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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: reading, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,204
26. Reading on Screens

Things have been quiet in the print versus digital debate lately for which I am glad, what’s the saying about beating a dead horse? I do understand that there is still much we don’t know about our brains and how reading online and reading in print affects how we read, what we read and how well we read it and I am grateful that the debate is heading down that river and away from the techno-evangelist’s books are dead digital utopia. But because it has been awhile since there has been anything “out there” about it, someone had to write an update about where we stand just in case we forget. And like a moth to the flame I had to fly right for it.

Everythig Science Knows about Reading on Screens is pretty much a summary to-date. You won’t find anything new or revelatory in the article unless you are one of the few readers in the world who have somehow managed to be disconnected from it all (and if you are that sort of reader, you have my admiration!).

What is most striking about this article is how it proves a number of things about reading on screens that it discusses. Like skimming. The presentation of the article invites it with blurry moving things on the header and cutting up the text of the article. I almost didn’t finish reading the article because all of the moving blurs were giving me a headache! The article quotes Ziming Liu, a researcher at San Jose State University:

Liu noted in his study that sustained attention seems to decline when people read onscreen rather than on paper, and that people also spend less time on in-depth reading. ‘In digital, we can link in different media, images, sound, and other text, and people can get overwhelmed,” explains Andrew Dillon, a professor at the School of Information at the University of Texas, Austin, “These are disruptive activities that can carry a cost in terms of attention.’

Ironically, this falls immediately below one of the big, moving blurry blocks! Distracting, check! Overwhelming, check!

We’ve been trained by internet articles like this one. It isn’t necessarily that I want to skim or that I purposely interrupt my reading with distractions, it’s the way words have been presented on the internet since websites were invented that has made me read this way on a screen. So is it any surprise then when given an article or story to read on a screen even without all of the attendant internet bling that I might read it just as though all that bling were there?

The article concludes:

Despite the apparent benefits of paper, Mangen and other reading researchers caution the screen-reading vs. traditional reading question has nuances that scientists have yet to fully understand. Which method works better may depend on the individual (for example, there’s evidence that for some people with dyslexia, e-readers improve reading speed and comprehension). Ultimately, it may be that both print and screen have unique advantages, and we’ll need to be able to read equally well on both—which means keeping our distracted habits onscreen from bleeding into what we read on an e-book or paperback. And reading researchers have some advice for how to prevent this: forget your smartphone and computer, sit down, and read a book.

Common sense. But I have to stop myself decrying the painfully obvious conclusion because common sense isn’t always a strong point for a good many people I have found, especially those getting grants to study the things that avid readers already know and could have told them without any trouble. Should it ever happen that researchers ask us one of these days about print and digital reading, someone is going to have to pick me up off the floor because I will have fainted.

Filed under: Books, ebooks, Reading, Technology Tagged: print v digital

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27. Friday Feature: Travelers by Meradeth Houston Cover Reveal

Today, I'm excited to share the cover of Travelers by Meradeth Houston! It's gorgeous!

Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive.

Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die.

Release Date: August 4th, 2015

About Meradeth:

I’ve never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:

I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot. Since I now live in Montana, sometimes this is a problem.

I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.

I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work!

My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology! This is probably a good thing, since my day job requires me to teach at the local university.

If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Find Meradeth Houston online at: www.MeradethHouston.com

FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblrAmazonGoodreads, and of course her blog!

That's not all. There's a giveaway too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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28. Friday Feature: My Tethered Soul

It’s been months since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, months during which she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning seventeen, that protection is about to run out.

When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.


Swinging the door open, I held my breath. A few wire hangers hung on a rod, but otherwise it was empty.
Gavin stood and tapped his foot on the floor. “This floorboard is loose. Maybe there’s something under here. You know, like in The Tell-Tale Heart?”
I glanced at him over my shoulder. “Great, Gavin. That’s just what I need: a little scare to get me motivated.”
He let out a small laugh as he bent down to inspect the floorboard. While he prodded at it, I turned my attention back to the closet. It was deeper than mine was. More square than rectangular. Big enough to fit a large desk in. Stepping into the closet, I found a door to the right. Inside the closet.
That’s a strange place for a door.
This door didn’t have a knob, but a rotating handle. I ran my hand over the smooth metal of the handle, working up the courage to press down on it. The closet lit up as lighting flashed in the sky. I needed to find out what was behind the door, but I couldn’t seem to move my hand.
Just open it, Zadie. Swallowing my fear, I pressed the handle down and pulled on the door.
When my eyes adjusted to the lack of light, a set of stairs stood before me. Up to an attic, I presumed. Dull drywall flanked it, and a window at the top of the stairs let in a small amount of light.
I was about to turn around and get Gavin when another flash of lightning lit up the stairwell. Something glinted in the short blaze of light. A small, thin item halfway up the stairs.
My bracelet.
Was I here? I must have been. Why else would the bracelet be on the floor? What did I do here? Up here in the attic?
“Zadie?” Gavin called.
For a moment, I couldn’t speak. Swallowing hard, I forced sound to break free from my throat. “Just a second.”
“Where are you?”
Instead of answering him, I climbed the first step, focused on the bracelet. Was that what it really was? Or was my mind playing tricks on me again? The second my foot grazed the next step, the door slammed shut behind me.
“Zadie!” Gavin’s voice was muffled, and the handle jiggled. But the door remained closed.
I flew to the door, fighting with the handle and trying not to hyperventilate. Lightning flashed through the window above me. I banged on the door as Gavin called my name. And then, all at once, the temperature dropped.
My breath came out in a frosty mist. I spun and backed up against the door, my eyes searching. But the storm outside played with my senses. My thumb moved over my phone, and I held it up to light the stairwell. But as the next crash of thunder vibrated through the house, I started and dropped my phone.
The light from the window disappeared. Plunged into darkness, I crouched down and searched for my phone. Something moved at the top of the stairs.
It’s here.


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29. Martha Brockenbrough Summer Bulletin

As writers and illustrators of children’s books, we have the cutest fantasies. Who else dreams that their work will someday be decorated by a sticker?

And then there’s the conference fantasy, where the agent or editor of your dreams holds your manuscript overhead and says, “This is brilliant!” and she just happens to have a contract in her pocket, which you sign on the spot. It’s almost better than the sticker.

But here’s the thing. People are sometimes asked to send off stories or art, and there are similarly wonderful career-transforming moments. Usually, though, nothing quite so dramatic happens.

And yet… conferences are magic. Truly. Every picture book I’ve ever sold has come directly from my time at an SCBWI conference, specifically the one in Los Angeles. I’ve sold four picture books and have interest in a fifth; each one sprang from an idea or conversation I had at that summer conference, starting with my first one in 2008.

My future editor, Arthur A. Levine, had been in Seattle that spring for a conference, and through a happy accident of seating, we’d chatted through the evening, and he invited me to submit something to him someday. At the time, I was writing an epic novel about a pirate in part because I’d given up on picture books, and in part because, well, I can’t really remember why, which was ultimately the problem with that novel.

At our local spring conference, Arthur had offered sage advice from his then four-year-old son. “When in doubt, write about dinosaurs.” At the time, this didn’t strike me as anything other than adorable. (Who was I to write about dinosaurs, anyway? At the time, I was merely thirty-seven.)

When registration opened for the summer conference in Los Angeles, I really wanted to go. But I couldn’t. We had a family reunion that weekend. And what kind of jerk puts anything in front of family? As it turns out, I am that kind of jerk.

In Los Angeles, Arthur reassured us about the picture book market, which at the time was feeling kind of battered. On the flight home, I resolved to send him a thank-you note for being so encouraging. I looked out the window, and I thought about dinosaurs, and specifically their teeth, and even more fantastically, about who might love their teeth most of all.

Arthur ended up publishing the answer to that question—The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy—five years later. A year or two after I sold The DTF, I mentioned to Arthur at another Los Angeles conference a letter I’d written to my daughter when she asked for the truth about Santa. He said he thought it sounded like a picture book as well. A dear friend I’d met at the Los Angeles conference, Samantha Berger, gave me an idea for how it might be done. I wrote it. Arthur bought it.

Last summer, Samantha and I came up with an idea at the conference while we were eating pizza poolside. So far that has turned into a two picture book deal with Arthur.

These aren’t the sort of things you can predict when you’re thinking about going to a conference. The standard fantasy—that someone might love your work and buy it on the spot—pales in comparison to what really can happen. You go to these conferences and meet people who inspire you. You make friends. You hear words you didn’t know you needed to hear, things that make you laugh and cry, things that feed your mind in ways your everyday routine might not. All of this becomes the fuel of story.

I’d never thought to dream about what comes from inspiration and connection and friendship. And yet this combination is so much better than any contract, and why I’ll go to every SCBWI conference I can.

Fantasies are great and all. But real life? It’s better.


Martha Brockenbrough is the author of the YA novels The Game of Love and Death and Devine Intervention, and The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, a picture book. Both are with Arthur A. Levine at Scholastic, as is her forthcoming picture book, Love, Santa, as well as two Bigfoot picture books written jointly with Samantha Berger. Martha also wrote the nonfiction middle grade Finding Bigfoot for Feiwel & Friends. In addition to her work on SCBWI's Team Blog, she is the founder of National Grammar Day and author of Things That Make Us [Sic]. Visit www.marthabrockenbrough.squarespace.com and on Twitter @mbrockenbrough.

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30. A Virtual Publishing Celebration

It's hard to have a publishing celebration for people who live miles apart from you. Therefore, a virtual publishing party is the best I can do for Anna and Beth today. Please stop by to leave a congratulatory comment for them since their books have been published.

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31. Friday Feature: Nobody's Goddess

In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.

Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her.

Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither is willing to lose.

Buy it on: 

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32. The Noble Reading Project, and Other Failures

Remind me never to take on another project that isn’t writing a novel or raising a child or teaching a class — e.g., nothing that commits me well into the future when there is no compensation and no obligation. I ventured into my goal of reading exclusively women of color in 2015 with the best of intentions, and launched into it early but still did not make it a year, let alone all of 2015.

I have to admit some of the piss was taken out of me by a spate of articles about men who’d done what I was doing. I read a few books I didn’t care for, and felt ashamed for not liking them. My motivation started to flag. My mind started to wander. I’ve always been a mercurial reader.

So this spring I read some of the much buzzed YA books of the year — Bone Gap, The Walls Around Us, and Read Between the Lines are all terrific, by women at the top of their game. I meant to blog about them all but failed there, too (and have nothing to add to the chorus of acclaim for them all). In a way, that was a refreshing vacation from my own taste. I don’t actually like YA, or claim not to, but these books refute the facile claims that YA is especially “dark” or “morally certain.” I think the only thing YA really claims to be is about the teen experience.

More recently, I became hooked on the novels of Mat Johnson, who is, well, a dude. While everybody talks about race and talks about how we need to talk about race, I find Johnson does so more deftly and with more wit and verve than anyone else, at least that I’ve read.

I made excuses to myself because at least all of the books I were reading were either by women or a person of color, but I also recently read some essays by Edward O. Wilson, who is a white dude scientist who studies ants. As I noted back when I began my journey, the worst representation of women of color is in nonfiction, particularly when you move into the sciences (memoir, social justice, and history have better selections). If you want to read about science, and are limited to women authors from non-European backgrounds, the pickings are very slim. I did come to this book through an interest in Wilson specifically, anyway, but holy cow, are all the science books by white people, and most of them men.

I expect somebody will comment that it doesn’t matter because an ant is an ant, regardless of writing about it, but I think about young people — whipping smart ones, with an interest in the natural world — walking into that section and feeling that they’re in the “wrong” section. It makes me wonder, with the call for children’s books by diverse authors, where is the call for quality nonfiction across the curriculum that tells all children, this entire world is yours to study?

Anyway, back to my reading… it is time to concede that I have wandered off the path and will continue to do so. I have to read The Empathy Exams for a class I’m teaching, and have a towering to-be-read pile with all kinds of books by all kinds of people. Many of them are people of color, many are women, and many are both, but I am hereby removing all rules and strictures from myself.

However, I think it was a good practice while it lasted. I’ve come to be less likely to go straight to the white/male books, but actively seek out other points of view. I’m sure my reading habits have been permanently changed from it.

I have become more aware of ways that representation is still a problem — it is one thing to scan a bookshelf for proof that books by women or people of color exist, quite another to have only those options. And there other things I now know. Books by African American authors have long wait lists at the library, apparently in high demand by readers who can’t afford to go buy the book, but also suggesting the library isn’t meeting demand because they underpurchase those books in the first place. The audiobook section is particularly thin and picked over when you’re looking for books by women of color; I think aside from Toni Morrison and a few other luminaries, few get the honor of an audiobook production. Even acclaimed books with glowing reviews in all the major publications might be picked up by only a few bookstores; books that I’m sure would be in end-cap displays if they had the same buzz and white authors on the back. And, as previously mentioned, nonfiction is an utter desert.

I would not be aware of any of this if I hadn’t forced myself to look only for books that meet those two criteria. I would have probably gestured at a few bestsellers and award winners by women of color as counter-proof that everything is hunky dory. “Look, Roxane Gay is here, and Claudia Rankine is there, so there must not be a problem!”

I have also come to regard books by privileged people with more healthy skepticism. I can still enjoy a literary tour de force, but have less patience with the art-for-arts-sake self-indulgence that used to be my primary pleasure. It’s not that there are two genres of literature, exclusively staffed by white men on the one count and women of color on the other, but I kinda think that maybe white male writers suffer from a pathological self-regard that leads to stylistic navel-gazing and expertise-on-all-things. And that in Danticat and Adichie, especially, I found a vital currency and immediacy, books about experience of living instead of the experience of reading a book, that made me feel their books were important, not just as books, but as historical artifacts. I don’t feel that way reading David Mitchell, however dazzling his artistry.

Anyway, I’m letting myself off the hook, but feel generally less stupid for having tried.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: Reading

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33. The Man Who Was Thursday

I'm in the middle of The Man Who Was Thursday at the moment and couldn't resist a quick sketch of Lucian Gregory and Professor de Worms (shudder).

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34. OUP staff discuss their favourite independent bookstores to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week

In support of Independent Bookshop Week, a campaign run by the Booksellers Association that supports independent bookstores, we asked the Oxford University Press UK office what their favorite independent bookstores were.

The post OUP staff discuss their favourite independent bookstores to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on OUP staff discuss their favourite independent bookstores to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week as of 6/21/2015 6:16:00 AM
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35. How Long It Takes Kids to Read Popular Books: INFOGRAPHIC

Ever wonder how long it takes a child to read The Velveteen Rabbit or The Little Prince?

Personal Creations has created an infographic called, “How Long It Takes Kids to Read Popular Books,” which explores the average length of time it takes for kids to read common children’s literature. Check it out:

Wondering where your child falls in this list? Follow the fluency standards for elementary grades 1 – 6 below and you can quickly calculate how long it’ll take your eager reader. This doesn’t account for reading comprehension, only speed, so remember to ask questions and encourage your child to enjoy what they’re reading.

We’ve got the entire graphic for you after the jump.


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36. Friday Feature: I Heart Robot

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won't belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka 'Quinn' lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn's worlds collide when they're accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn's love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

Praise for I Heart Robot:

"The tension between the groups, the obvious attraction between the main characters, the ticking time bomb of Quinn’s real identity and the secrets surrounding Tyri’s birth makes for compelling reading. The world building was exceptional and the characters well developed."~ The Australia Times Books

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Find Suzanne Online:

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37. It's Almost Here

Are you ready???

What do you plan to learn?

Perhaps some words in a new language:
         Spanish for Beginners by Helen Davies
         This book not only has plenty of words and pictures but an online website to help you with pronunciation. ¡hurra! (Hooray!)

Or maybe off-the-wall baseball trivia:
            Odd Ball by Timothy Tocher
         This comic book provides funny, surprising, and truly unbelievable facts on America’s favorite summer sport.

 Or how to draw monsters:
         Master monster drawing and amaze your family and friends with your spooky artwork! 
Or how to make healthy snacks:
         Holy Guacamole! by Nick Fauchild
         Pass up the sugary snacks for yummy treats you can whip up          yourself.

Or how to write a poem:
         How to Write Poetry by Paul B. Janeczko
         Find lots of tips and techniques that will inspire you to put pen to          paper (and learn about alliteration like in this sentence.)

Or how to write a story:
         Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
         From beginning to end, this book will help you shape a super story—perhaps even a monster story that you can illustrate!

Whatever you’d like to learn tomorrow—or throughout the summer, remember a good starting place is your local library or bookstore or online sites like For Kids here on my website or at the American Library Associations Great Websites for Kids.  

I’d love to hear about some of the cool stuff you’re learning!

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38. Friday Feature: Pieces of Revenge by Valia Lind

A weapon. A broken life. A humanity lost.

That is all Anastasia knows, that is all that she is. As an eleven-year-old, she witnessed her family's brutal murder and she's been on the run ever since. She's spent her life training and planning for the day when she can take her revenge.

Kallos Enterprises is a well respected corporation, set on improving the genetic structure of an individual. Or so they say. Anastasia knows, first hand, what kind of monsters lurk behind the pretty walls of those skyscrapers. Armed with combat skills and a beyond perfect memory, she heads to Chicago to uncover the answers to questions that plagued her for years.

After arriving in the city, she meets Logan, a boy from her past who changes all the rules. She doesn't remember him, but he remembers her. His position at Kallos Enterprises is useful, his presence is unnerving, and he makes her question everything she knows about herself to be true. If her perfect memory can't remember Logan, what else about her past is wrong?

Time is running out. Anastasia has nowhere to turn, but to trust the one person who's a memory she should have, but doesn't. With a madman threatening their every step, Anastasia and Logan must uncover the truths behind Kallos experiments and hope that the answers they find won't destroy the world forever.

Buy links:

Teaser - Chapter 1

Blood splatters against my cheek, dripping down my neck.
       I don't bother to wipe at it, swinging my arm as my elbow connects with the other side of his face. My mind is always calculating, like a computer, spitting out information as I duck another punch. The man in front of me is large, almost twice as wide as me, and just as deadly.
       Height: 6’3.
       Weight: 215 pounds.
       Arms like steel.   
      He grabs my hair, yanking my head back as his other arm connects with my left side. I grunt in pain, swallowing the scream that’s about to burst free. I slam my elbow into his stomach, twisting under his arm in the same motion. My knee connects with his manhood, before my fist connects with his jaw once more.
       My moves are precise.
      "Son of a—" I round kick him in the face before he can finish. He drops to the ground with a thud, and before he could stumble to his knees, my foot slams into his face, dropping him for good.
      "That's no language to use around a lady." I say, looking down at him, making sure he stays down. When I'm satisfied he's out, I grab my bag and run.
      I should've been more careful sneaking in, but I memorized the schedule and there shouldn't have been anyone here. The warehouse sits against the backdrop of an abandoned neighborhood, so when my feet hit the payment, there is no one to see me escape. I almost stop and go back to finish the job, but I don't. He's not worth the guilt I would carry if I kill him. He's not the one I'm saving the guilt for.
      I got what I came for, even though it took me a few more minutes than I planned on. He didn't see my face, but he sure will have himself a headache tomorrow. Strangely, I feel rejuvenated after the fight, and I grin as I run down the side alley.
      Finally. It’s finally time to make them pay.

About the Author:

Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. Falling by Design is her debut young adult novel. You can visit her online at www.valialind.wordpress.comor follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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39. Do you read more in winter or in summer?

Winter is a popular time for book lovers, the season where many of us enjoy staying in, rugging up and delving into a good book. But do we read more in the winter months or in summer? Summer brings to mind images of sunny days, cool drinks and reading a book on the deck or under the […]

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40. Around The World With YA Books

One of my favourite things about reading is that you can literally see the world…and yet not move from your comfy reading nook. Well, okay, it doesn’t replace the “real thing”, but if one doesn’t have the ability to jet over the world trying Hungarian Goulash and Sushi, then reading books is a good replacement.   […]

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41. Friday Feature: Decree of Hope

When insecure eighteen-year-old Kailee Hill gets caught tagging Iraq war refugee, Abrahem Yohanna’s garage, she’s not expecting him to act as her designated driver, hold her hair back when she pukes, or offer to be a shoulder to cry on. But she’s failing chemistry and her life is falling apart, so she uses the number Abe leaves her and finds herself with a new tutor.

The two quickly find themselves falling hard for each other. Kailee attacks a local grunt when he calls Abe a “sand nigger” and fights with her veteran brother to be with him. When she learns Abe hasn’t told his family about her, she’s heartbroken and the couple risks losing everything they’ve worked to build. To make matters worse, Kailee’s previous acts make her the prime suspect in a serious crime. With Kailee behind bars and doubting his feelings for her, Abe must find a way to rescue the girl he loves and win back her affection. And to do that he’ll have to catch a crook… 

Add it on Goodreads.
Buy it on Amazon.

About the Author
I’m a full time ELF keeper and part time writer/blogger/writing instructor. I like my tea hot, my romance sweet, and my guys chivalrous. Real men hold open doors, refer to you as ma’am, make promises they keep, and aren’t afraid to profess their undying love. It’s not breakfast if there aren’t carbs (at least, not in the South). Fajitas, carnitas, and churros are just few of my favorite things. Bet you can’t guess where I’m from ;)
Author Links:
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42. The Darkness Within is HERE!

It's here!!!! Honestly, I can't believe it's June 2nd already. Where is 2015 going? But I am really excited for this release. I love Sam and Ethan. Actually, I love all the characters in this duology so much. It was tough saying good-bye to them, but I'm happy with how things wrapped up.

To celebrate my release week, Spencer Hill Press has lowered the price of The Monster Within to only $0.99! That's right! From June 1 to June 7, you can grab book one for less than a dollar. The price will go back up after June 7, so don't wait to grab your copy if you haven't already. You can get it here.

For anyone unfamiliar with The Monster Within, here's the blurb:

The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side--a completely unfair shot at life.

But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.

She's now a monster that drains others' lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.

But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

My blog tour for The Darkness Within is underway, and here are some things you might be interested in:

After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she's finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she's part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives--the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life--things couldn't be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong? 


Ethan's magic came from a witch who'd turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he'd be fine, the more he uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. One minute he's Sam's sweet, perfect Ethan and the next, he's a complete stranger. Even with all her witchy power, Sam is helpless against the magic corrupting Ethan. Can Sam find out what's wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?

Book Links:


In this exciting continuation of THE MONSTER WITHIN, a teenage coven deals with the highs and lows of their magic. Within the pages of this suspenseful page-turner is a sweet romance, friendship, and witchy intrigue. Hashway is a master of paranormal tales. ~ Medeia Sharif, author of 52 Likes

The Darkness Within SWAG pack, including bookmarks, a triquetra charm, and a mask.

Signed copy of any ONE of my books (winner’s choice).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, thank you so much to everyone participating in the blog tour, release day blitz, and social media takeover going on this week. And thank you all for letting me share my release with you. 

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43. Monday Mishmash 6/1/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. The Darkness Within  Tomorrow is release day! Yay! I have a release day launch, a blog tour, and a social media takeover going on this week. Wow, I'm going to be busy. I'm excited!
  2. Editing  I have four client edits booked so I'll be busy for a while with those. I'm most likely going to get edits back on one of my own books too. Eek!
  3. PTO Luncheon  Since I help out with the PTO at my daughter's school I'm invited to the luncheon on Wednesday. Should be fun.
  4. Campus Crush  My NA romance, Campus Crush (written as Ashelyn Drake) had another great day last Friday. This happened:
  5. Free Monthly Newsletter  My free monthly newsletter goes out tomorrow. Why tomorrow instead of today when I always send it out on the first Monday of the month? Because tomorrow is release day and I can cover that and my monthly newsletter in one instead of doing two. :) If you aren't signed up but would like to receive a newsletter, click here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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44. Help Your Students & Families Find the Best Summer Learning Opportunities

You’ve been their teacher for nearly ten months. It seems like only September that a new gaggle  of hungry learners entered your classroom. What a journey it has been!

Summer is fast approaching, which means:

  • Prevent Summer SlideYou will not have explicit control over your students’ daily schedules and learning much longer
  • Summer slide is a serious risk
  • Summer school, camps, and programs are quickly filling up (some by February!)
  • Summer learning can make a difference

So in your final guidance to your students and families—help connect them with the right summer learning opportunities!

Summer slide can happen to any student, but is particularly detrimental for low-income children. If you work in a Title I school, for example, families may lack time to research and to apply early, supplemental income to put towards summer programming, or even the language (English) to navigate and negotiate with programs.

Engaging parents in the summer program process is critical. Ten months together with a student and family is significant, but the summer break is a sobering reminder that our time with students is so short (too short) on their grand education journeys.

Reality: We have about 900 hours a year with students, compared to the 7,800 hours students spend out of school. And so, finding a summer learning opportunity for our students is one last opportunity to engage parents as partners and recognize them as the ultimate teachers and advocates of their children.

Why should educators and school staff support with summer planning? Helping families navigate the convoluted summer programs race, you’ll ensure:

  • your students retain the growth they achieved with you
  • your students find a safe, healthy place to continue learning for the next two months—many of these programs provide not only academic support, but also necessary meal services that families have depended on during the school year
  • your students get exposed to new experiences in art, science, music, or sports which will help them build their background schema—a critical reading strategy
  • the next grade’s teacher will love you forever (no wants to spend the first month(s) of school re-teaching or reminding students what they already learned, thereby losing precious learning time for new material—full steam ahead!)

FIRST, start your own research now.

  • Does your school offer summer school or host a summer day camp?
  • Ask around: What programs did your students from last year go to that they would recommend for your current students? What academic programs do your colleagues and administrators recommend? Does the school’s PTA know of local quality opportunities?
  • Head straight to the local library in the neighborhood of your school—no one does better research on community resources than here, and I have found incredible, meticulously curated binders on health resources, summer camps, preschools, and more in the Children’s Rooms of many public library branches.

Program finders:

Questions to consider when looking into programs:

  • How is reading incorporated? Sports clinics are great for addressing the opportunity gap, but the major goal is about preserving (and hopefully increasing) reading and math literacy
  • Is transportation available?
  • Are breakfast and lunch provided?
  • Are scholarships available? Groups like Wishbone and The Fresh Air Fund can help cover the cost to otherwise out-of-reach high quality programs
  • Can siblings of different ages participate?
  • Are materials available in other languages or staff members able to communicate with non-English speaking families?

SECOND, begin talking to your students and their families NOW (inquire at after-school pickup and in your final parent-teacher conference). Ask:

  • What are your plans for the summer?
  • How will your child continue reading practice and discover books?
  • Have you ever considered a day camp or summer school program?
  • What has been a challenge in finding a program before? (Likely challenges in the past: language, cost, ability to take siblings or multiple age groups, transportation, general convenience, or compatibility with work schedules)
  • Discuss summer slide and if/how their child may be at risk. Talk about some ways to prevent summer slide at home and the benefits of local programs.

THIRD, present families with 3-4 programs you have found that are convenient. You do not need to offer families the whole menu of options (thanks, internet) and, frankly, many may not be realistic due to waiting lists, distance, or cost. You know your families and what is doable.

Having said that, you may also discover scholarships to summer programs that your families wouldn’t have even considered—if you can connect them, do it! These are memories your students will have forever.

FINALLY, hold parents accountable. Consider having an after school or morning session with a couple of laptops in your classroom for parents to register and learn more. (In my first year of teaching, my grade level colleague physically connected parents to the registration forms by printing a couple of forms to attach in the summer learning packets and discussed options in the final parent-teacher conference). In this way, you can:

  • help families learn about programs near their neighborhood
  • answer questions
  • provide translation of a website or help make a phone call to specific programs on behalf of families whose first or preferred language to speak in isn’t English
  • create a visible support system among families who are also registering, which will increase chances of success for when you are working and studying elsewhere during the summer (as well as help with carpooling!)

Be Pragmatic. Don’t feel like you need to coordinate 30+ students’ summer learning plans and help students decide between sports clinics. Zero in on students whose learning achievements seem the most precarious and you know that if you don’t help point out a summer learning opportunity, they face two months of staying at home with the T.V.

Even if you only get a couple of families (with siblings) registered this time around, next year they will be back championing the experiences and opportunities, and can be partnered with to encourage other families—nothing like seeing someone like you participate to make you rethink what is possible for your family.

Recommended Reading:

Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

7 Comments on Help Your Students & Families Find the Best Summer Learning Opportunities, last added: 5/5/2015
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45. Friday Feature: Interview With a Ghost

Chrys Fey here taking over Kelly Hashway’s blog for this Friday Feature and I’m not alone. I have with me the MC of my short story, Ghost of Death. Did I forget to mention she’s a ghost? Yup, she is. Let’s get started, shall we?

Hey, Jolie.

*eyes widen* You can see me?

Of course, I can see you. I’m the one who wrote your story, remember?

Oh, that’s right. I’m sorry. I have ghost-brain. You know, like pregnancy-brain?

I get it. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions? Our readers haven’t met a ghost before and they’re dying (no pun intended) to know more about you.

Sure, fire away!

1. How did you realize you were dead?

I saw my corpse. That’s a pretty big sign, wouldn’t you say? *sighs* I’m sorry. I’m a little testy, right now.

2. I’d be testy, too. What was your first thought upon seeing your body?

I thought it was a dream or hallucination. Or maybe I was having a mental breakdown. I didn’t want to believe it. Who would? After the shock wore off, I was pissed because there’s so much I still want to do. Who wants to be dead when your life is just supposed to be starting?

3. What was your life like before you were a ghost?

I was a college student going for my journalist degree. I had just won an internship to Globe Magazine and had the dream of being the best journalist ever. On Wednesdays, I’d go to a small pizzeria with my friends, and on Fridays, we’d go to Galaxy Bar where I’d drink a few Wormholes and would get sweaty with my boyfriend, Cody, on the dance floor.

4. Do you recall anything about your murder?

Nothing. Yada, Yent. Zilch. I wish I did, though. I hate knowing my killer is out there roaming free. Maybe even planning to kill another college student.

5. I hope not! Can you tell us about the detective on your case?

Detective Avrianna Heavenborn is a real bad ass. No one dares to cross her. Not only is she fierce, but people also fear her because they think she’s a freak. That’s a story for another time, though.

6. What it like to be a ghost?

It sucks! I can’t touch Cody or hug my mom. I can‘t see my reflection in the mirror or talk to my best friend. But there are a few perks. For example, I can stare at people, right in front of their faces, and I don’t have to worry about being rude. I can even walk through doors, which is a neat trick.

7. What do you miss the most?

So much. I think it’s the littlest things that I took for granted that I miss the most, though. Like the smell of Cody’s cologne, my mom’s homemade cookies, and fresh cut grass.

I think I’d miss smells, too. Like the smell of flowers and baking bread.

Mm. And taste. Like the taste of pizza. That’s a big one!

Oh yes, pizza. Our readers are going to have to read Ghost of Death to understand your obsession with pizza.

Definitely! Well, I gotta fly. I need to see if Avrianna has any leads. Chow!

Title: Ghost of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 41 (short story)
Release Date: April 22nd, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Book Links:

Available for PRE-ORDER:


Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

Book Links:


Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 

Author Links: 
Facebook / Blog / Website / Goodreads 

Thank you all for visiting and hopefully commenting. ;) 

Thanks, Chrys! It was great getting to know Jolie!

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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46. Friday Feature: Extraordinary Sam and the Adventurers' Guild

“This box may seem empty,

But there’s more than meets the eye…”

Sam Miller seems like an ordinary twelve year-old boy, but the discovery of a mysterious box from his missing grandfather changes his life forever. He soon finds himself in a strange world full of adventure and magic where he must battle pirates, giant spiders, and an evil tyrant. To survive, Sam must overcome his fears, solve the riddles, and most of all, be Extraordinary. 

Find it on Amazon.

Kevin A. Springer grew up on a farm in Maryland where his imagination knew no limits. As a husband and father, he reconnected with his creativity while telling bedtime stories to his two young boys. One such story evolved into his debut book, Extraordinary Sam & the Adventurers’ Guild (Bookfish Books LLC.), which tells the tale of an ordinary boy who finds a hatbox and discovers a world of adventure and self-discovery.
Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs. He is also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia blog.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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47. Memorial Day Romance Giveaway: FREEFALL audio for free!

Freefall Audio Sml

Romance! Who doesn’t want that streaming into your ears? Now here’s your chance to win a free audio book edition of my romance novel FREEFALL.

But hurry! The giveaway ends Thursday at midnight so the 20 lucky winners will have their audio books ready for download at the start of the holiday.

Go here for all the details!

0 Comments on Memorial Day Romance Giveaway: FREEFALL audio for free! as of 5/17/2015 2:09:00 PM
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48. Monday Mishmash 5/18/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  I'm finishing up a client edit this week. I've already gone through the book once. Now I'm reading it backward.
  2. Secret Project  Last week I got the idea for a new secret project. I've started on this already, but this week I'm hoping to really jump into it. I'm kind of working on it around other things though, so it might take me a little while.
  3. FB Takeover Party  I'm participating in KJ Farham's FB launch party for her new book, and I'll be taking over at 7:00-7:30 CST (8:00-8:30 EST) on Thursday night. I'll be giving away an ARC of The Darkness Within and an ebook of Touch of Death. If you want to join in the fun on Thursday, you can do so here.
  4. Reading  I admit my reading has suffered lately. Sure, I'm constantly reading books when I edit, but I haven't been able to sit down and just read for enjoyment in a while. I'm hoping to fix that this week.
  5. Good News  I just found out that Into the Fire (published as Ashelyn Drake) was picked up nationally by Barnes and Noble. That's pretty darn cool, and means my odds of being on shelves is much greater, so yay!
  6. Beth Fred's Cover Reveal  My friend Beth Fred is having a cover reveal on May 22 for her YA novel Decree of Hope. If you can host her reveal, sign up here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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49. Friday Feature: This Is Sarah

When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin’s world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to bring her back?

I get up early to run, because it’s easier in the morning. There's no one up yet at five am, and the streets belong to me. I don’t even bring music anymore. I only want to hear the steady thwack of my sneakers on the pavement, the rustle of leaves in the breeze and the huff of air coming out of my lungs. It sets up a rhythm that allows my brain to shut off for a while so my mind stays empty.
Not thinking feels good. It’s one of the few things that still feels good.
            I crest the hill at the top of Cedarhurst and pick up speed going down. My lungs feel clean and clear, and I think about sprinting the last five or six blocks back to my driveway. My energy seems a little low, but I figured I can probably push it.
The sound of my feet hitting the pavement intensifies and I pump my arms hard, small tears forming in my eyes from the wind. I clear my mind. I am no longer Colin. I’m just muscle, tissue and bone; a complex and delicate machine pushing its way against gravity and inertia, covering distance on this rock floating in the darkness of an ever-expanding space.
            When Claire pulls her bike alongside me I nearly jump out of my skin. Where the hell did she come from? She pedals hard, riding off the seat, her blonde hair whipping back. She passes me and looks back and smiles. As the distance between us grows, I’m overcome with loss, and a sort of panic, like I need to catch up to her. I’m not sure what it is, but I watch her move away from me, her blonde hair streaming, her legs working the pedals and every muscle in my body screams to catch her.
Suddenly Claire is everything in the world, everything beautiful, alive, peaceful, and good, and it’s all getting away from me.
The farther she gets from me, the closer she gets to the monsters and all I want in the world is for Claire to always be safe.
Jesus Christ, I just want to be able to save one of them.
She looks back at me once and smiles before pumping the pedals again. In that moment, that small bright moment, her hair and her smile reflecting the early morning sun, she looks just like Sarah. Just like Claire looked that day in the hallway.
Suddenly I feel so hollow and empty, carved out like the husk of some dead cicada. I watch her get away from me and feel more lost than ever before. She rounds the bend and disappears from my line of sight, something inside of me snaps and I stumble forward. My feet now clumsy, my balance thrown off, until I stop, bent, heaving, coughing, spitting foam, my heart wild inside me. In my head, an image forms of Sarah when I made her laugh so hard she nearly choked on her sandwich at the diner.
That was Sarah.
Sarah and me, in a moment we won’t have again. A moment that was once real but now feels like it belonged to another life. Neither of us foresaw it ending this way.
The year before or the week before or the day before. We never saw it coming.
If I knew when she stood on that driveway, staring up at me, with me hanging out of the window looking down at her, if I knew, I would have told her everything.

Find This Is Sarah on Amazon.

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50. Friday Feature: Don't Call Me Kit Kat

Junior high is where things really start to happen. Cliques form and break apart. Couples are made and destroyed. And a reputation is solidified that you won’t ever be able to escape. Everything you do and say, and everyone you spend your time with, matters. 

Katie Mills knows that. She gets it. That’s why she tried so hard to get in with the cool girls at school. And why she was so devastated when those efforts found her detained for shoplifting and laughed out of cheer squad tryouts. 

But Katie has more to worry about than just fitting in. Her parents are divorced and always fighting. Her sister never has time for her. And her friends all seem to be drifting apart. Even worse? The boy she has a crush on is dating the mean girl at school. 

Everything is a mess, and Katie doesn’t feel like she has control over any of it. Certainly not over her weight, which has always topped out at slightly pudgier than normal—at least, according to her mother. 

So when she happens to catch one of the popular girls throwing up in the bathroom one day, it sparks an idea. A match that quickly engulfs her life in flames. 

Is there any going back once she gets started down this path? 

And would she even want to if she could?

Find it on Amazon.

Check out this trailer:

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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