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1. Spotlight: By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens

by winters light

Title: By Winter’s Light

Author: Stephanie Laurens

Date of Publication: October 28, 2014

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THE PERFECT HOLIDAY ROMANCE TO CURL UP BY THE FIRE

BY WINTER’S LIGHT

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Stephanie Laurens

Returns to Scotland and the Cynster Clan!

Combine romantic Scotland, the boisterous Cynster family, and a wintry storm, and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful Christmas love story.

When all the members of the Cynster family gather together at Casphairn Manor for merriment and holiday tidings, they bring with them their faithful minders and teachers; including Daniel Crosbie, and Claire Meadows. Having met before, Daniel is determined this visit will allow him to show hesitant Claire that just because she is a widow, does not mean that love doesn’t strike twice.

Assisted by the younger generation of Cynsters, all aspiring matchmakers, together with the help of a wintry storm and unforeseen circumstances, BY WINTER’S LIGHT Claire begins to see Daniel for the worthy partner he would be.

Stephanie Laurens returns to her beloved Cynster clan with BY WINTER’S LIGHT. With all six families together for the holidays, she ushers in a new generation of Cynsters.

Combining love, holiday spirit, and a little bit of magic, Laurens once again weaves a tale that shows that true love can withstand anything life—or mother nature—throws at you.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // iBooks

You state that BY WINTER’S LIGHT is an essential volume for the Cynster novels going forward. Why is that?

One of the critical features of a long-running series is readers’ feelings of returning to places and people they know – of seeing heros and heroines they have come to know as individuals go through the challenge of finding love and marrying the right man or woman for them. Knowing at least one of these characters beforehand – understanding what has made them as they are, what their strengths are, and even more importantly what weaknesses they hide – allows greater interest, empathy, and absorption for the reader. 

In the case of the Cynster Next Generation, the children of the Bar Cynster couples, readers know who they are, but have seen very little of them. And as we all know, actions speak much louder than words about the caliber of people, of who they really are beneath the outer glamor. In BY WINTER’S LIGHT, readers see Lucilla, Marcus, Sebastian, Michael, Prudence, and Christopher in action, responding to external pressures and threats, and also to each other, and separately readers also learn more about Louisa and her emerging character.

Readers have more recently seen Lucilla and Marcus act in VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE, but now they are a decade older, and we – both the readers and me as author – need to see more of the adults they are shaping up to be, which are insights BY WINTER’S LIGHT affords us. Unsurprisingly, the first pair of Cynster Next Generation romances are those of Lucilla and Marcus, and as they are twins, the stories are tightly linked.

Subsequently, working off the base of their characters revealed in this book, we’ll follow Sebastian, Michael, and Louisa through their romances, and later learn about Prudence and Christopher’s romances, too.


So there’s lots more Cynster novels in the pipeline?

Indeed! Lucilla’s book, THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK, is already written, and will be released at the end of February, 2015. It will be followed by Marcus’s story, A MATCH FOR MARCUS CYNSTER, in late May, 2015. Further Cynster novels are scheduled for release in 2017.

There’s an obvious tradition that isn’t included – that of a Christmas tree. Why is that missing?

Christmas trees – the erecting and decorating of them – while echoing the decorating of a house with fir and holly, was a German custom. In the early 1800s, the only major house in England that sported a Christmas Tree was the Duchess of Rutland’s household at Belvoir Castle, because the Duchess was German. Only much later, after the marriage of Victoria to Albert, who introduced the custom of Christmas trees to the royal household, did the custom of Christmas trees become more widely adopted in England.

Victoria married Albert in 1840, so in 1837 in Scotland, the custom of a Christmas had not yet arrived.


If there was one thing you could say to readers when they pick up BY WINTER’S LIGHT, what would it be?

Put your feet up, kick back and relax, and enjoy the holidays Cynsters-style!

Excerpt: CHAPTER 1

December 23, 1837 Casphairn Manor, the Vale of Casphairn, Scotland

Daniel Crosbie felt as if all his Christmases had come at once. Letting his gaze travel the Great Hall of Casphairn Manor, filled to overflowing with six Cynster families and various associated household members, he allowed himself a moment to savor both his unexpected good fortune and his consequent hope.

About him, the combined households were enjoying the hearty dinner provided to welcome them to the celebration planned for the next ten days—as Daniel understood it, a combination of Christmas, the more ancient Yuletide, and Hogmanay. Seated about the long refectory-like tables on benches rather than chairs, with eyes alight and smiles on their faces, the assembled throng was in ebullient mood. Conversation and laughter abounded; delight and expectation shone in most faces, illuminated by the warm glow of the candlelight cast from massive circular chandeliers depending from thick chains from the high-domed ceiling. The central room about which the manor was built, the Great Hall lived up to its name; the space within its thick walls of pale gray stone was large enough to accommodate the Cynster contingent, all told about sixty strong, as well as the families of the various retainers who worked in and around the manor, which functioned like a small village.

With no family of his own still alive, Daniel had spent his last ten Christmases with the Cynster family for whom he acted as tutor—the family of Mr. Alasdair Cynster and his wife, Phyllida—but this was the first time in that decade that the Cynsters had come north for Christmas. The six Cynster families present—the six families closest to the dukedom of St. Ives, those of Devil, Duke of St. Ives, his brother Richard, and his cousins Vane, Harry, Rupert, and Alasdair—invariably came together at Christmastime. They were often joined by other connected families not present on this occasion; the long journey to the Vale, in the western Lowlands of Scotland, to the home of Richard Cynster and his wife Catriona in a season that had turned icy and cold with snow on the ground much earlier than expected had discouraged all but the most determined.

Out of long-established habit, Daniel glanced at his charges—soon to be erstwhile charges—seated at the next table with their cousins and second cousins. Aidan, now sixteen years old, and Evan, fifteen, had passed out of Daniel’s immediate care when they’d gone up to Eton, yet Daniel still kept an eye on the pair when they were home—an action their parents appreciated and which the boys, at ease with him after all the years, bore with good grace. At that moment, both were talking animatedly with their male cousins in a fashion that instantly, at least in Daniel’s mind, raised the question of what the group was planning. He made a mental note to inquire later. Jason, the youngest son of the family and the last of Daniel’s true charges, was similarly occupied with the group of Cynster offspring nearer his age. Now eleven, later in the coming year, Jason, too, would start his formal schooling—a circumstance which had, for Daniel, raised the uncomfortable question of what he would do then.

Once Jason left for Eton and there were no more boys in Alasdair Cynster’s household in Colyton, in Devon, for Daniel to tutor, what would he do for a living?

The question had plagued him for several months, not least because if he was ever to have a chance at the sort of life he now knew he wanted, and, if at all possible, was determined to claim, he needed to have secure employment—a place, a position, with a steady salary or stipend.

He’d been wracking his brains, trying to think of his options, of what might be possible, when Mr. Cynster—Alasdair—had called him into the library and laid before him a proposal that, in a nutshell, was the answer to all his prayers.

On several occasions over the years, Daniel had assisted Alasdair with his interests in ancient and antique jewelry, with documenting finds and establishing provenances, and also with cataloguing and adding to the collection of rare books Alasdair had inherited from the previous owner of the manor. Alasdair, supported by Phyllida, had suggested that, once Jason had departed with his brothers for Eton, if Daniel was happy to remain in Colyton as a member of their household, they would be delighted to engage him as Alasdair’s personal secretary, an amanuensis to assist with Alasdair’s ever-expanding interests.

The suggested stipend was generous, the conditions all Daniel could have hoped for. Not only would the new position suit him, it would solve all his difficulties.

Most importantly, it cleared the way for him to offer for Claire Meadows’s hand.

He glanced along the board to his right. Clad in a soft woolen gown in a muted shade of blue, Claire—Mrs. Meadows—was sitting on the opposite side of the table, two places down. She was the governess in Rupert Cynster’s household; as Rupert and Alasdair were brothers, Claire and Daniel were often thrown together when the families gathered. It was customary in such circumstances that the attending tutors and governesses banded together, sharing responsibilities and each other’s company, as they were at present. The manor’s governess, Miss Melinda Spotswood, a comfortable matronly sort with a backbone of forged iron, was chatting to Claire. On Melinda’s other side, opposite Daniel, sat Oswald Raven, tutor at the manor; a few years older than Daniel, Raven projected a debonair façade, but he was hardworking and devoted to his charges. Raven was chatting to Mr. Samuel Morris, who was seated alongside Daniel and hailed from Vane Cynster’s household in Kent; the oldest of the group, Morris was slightly rotund and had an unfailingly genial air, yet he was a sound scholar and very capable of exerting a firm hand on his charges’ reins.

All five had met and shared duties on several occasions before; the rapport between them was comfortable and relaxed. Over the coming days, they would, between them, keep an eye on the combined flock of Cynster children—the younger ones, at least. The oldest group, the seventeen-year-olds led by eighteen-year-old Sebastian Cynster, Marquess of Earith and future head of the house, could be relied on to take care of themselves, along with the large group of sixteen- and fifteen-year-old males. But there were six boys thirteen years and under, and seven girls ranging from eight to fourteen years old, and over them the tutors and governesses would need to exert control sufficient to ensure they remained suitably occupied.

There was no telling what the engaging devils would get up to if left unsupervised.

Being governess or tutor to Cynster children was never dull or boring.

Daniel had managed to keep his gaze from Claire for all of ten minutes. Despite the color and vibrancy, the noise and distraction—despite the many handsome and outright stunningly beautiful faces around about—hers was the shining star in his firmament; regardless of where they were, regardless of competing sights and sounds, she effortlessly drew his gaze and transfixed his attention.

She’d done so from the moment he’d first seen her at one of the family’s Summer Celebrations in Cambridgeshire several years ago. They’d subsequently met on and off at various family functions, at weddings in London, at major family birthdays, and at seasonal celebrations like the current one.

With each exposure, his attraction to Claire, his focus on her, had only grown more definite, more acute, until the obvious conclusion had stared him in the face, impossible to resist, much less deny.

Utterly impossible to ignore.

“If the weather holds,” Raven said, commanding Daniel’s attention with his gaze, “and the older crew go riding as they’re planning, then we’ll need to invent some suitable pastimes to keep our charges amused.”

Seated with his back to the table at which the Cynster children were gathered, Raven had turned and asked what the animated talk had been about. Riding out to assess the position and state of the deer herds had been the answer.

Daniel nodded. “If at all possible, let’s get those left to our care out of doors.”

“Indeed,” Melinda said, turning from Claire to join the conversation. “We need to take advantage of any clear days. If it is fine enough tomorrow, I was saying to Claire that the fourteen-year-olds—the girls—might like to gather greenery to decorate the hall.” Melinda gestured to the stone walls hosting various fireplaces and archways, all presently devoid of any seasonal touches. “It’s customary to decorate them on the twenty-fourth, which is tomorrow.”

“I’d heard,” Morris said, “that there’s some tradition about the Yule log that’s followed hereabouts.” He looked to Raven for confirmation.

Raven, his hair as dark as his name would suggest, nodded. “Yes, that’s an inspired idea. Not only is it necessary to collect the right-sized logs, but the logs have to be carved. That should keep the boys amused for hours. I’ll speak to the staff about organizing whatever’s needed.”

Daniel nodded again, and his gaze drifted once more to Claire; she’d been following the conversation, her calm expression indicating her agreement with the suggestions. With her glossy mid-brown hair burnished by the candlelight, with her delicate features and milky-white skin, her lips of pale rose, lush and full, and her large hazel eyes set under finely arched brown brows, she was, to his eyes, the epitome of womanhood.

That she was a widow—had been widowed at a young age—was neither here nor there, yet the experience had, it seemed, imbued her with a certain gravitas, leaving her more reserved, more cautious, and with a more sober and serious demeanor than might be expected of a well-bred lady of twenty-seven summers.

Her station—gentry-born but fallen on hard times—was similar to, or perhaps a touch higher than, Daniel’s; he didn’t really know. Nor did he truly care. They were both as they were here and now, and what happened next … that was up to them.

He’d come to Scotland, to the Vale, determined to put his luck to the test—to seize the opportunity to speak with Claire and plead his case, to learn if she shared his hopes and if she could come to share his dreams.

A gust of laughter and conversation drew his gaze to the high table.

The six Cynster couples were seated about the table on the raised dais along one side of the room, a traditional positioning most likely dating from medieval times. In addition to those twelve—middle-aged, perhaps, yet still vibrantly handsome, articulate, active, and engaged—there were three of the older generation at one end of the board. Helena, Dowager Duchess of St. Ives, mother of Devil and Richard and elder matriarch of the clan, was seated at the end of the table closest to the hearth, and had chosen to summon Algaria, Catriona’s aging mentor, and McArdle, the ancient butler of the manor, now retired, to join her there. The three were much of an age and, judging by their glances and gestures, were busy sharing pithy observations on all others in the hall. Having met the dowager and been the object of her scrutiny on several occasions, Daniel didn’t like to think of how much she, let alone black-eyed Algaria, was seeing.

A comment in a deep voice, followed by laughter, drew Daniel’s gaze back to the twelve Cynsters of the generation that currently ruled. Their children might have been growing apace, might already have been showing signs of the forceful, powerful individuals they had the potential to become, yet the twelve seated about the high table still dominated their world.

Daniel had observed them—those six couples in particular—for the past ten years. All the males had been born to wealth, but what they’d made of it—the lives each had successfully wrought—hadn’t been based solely on inherited advantage. Each of the six possessed a certain strength—a nuanced blend of power, ability, and insight—that Daniel appreciated, admired, and aspired to. It had taken him some time to realize from where that particular strength derived—namely, from the ladies. From their marriages. From the connection—the link that was so deep, so strong, so anchoring—that each of the six males shared with his wife.

Once he’d seen and understood, Daniel had wanted the same for himself.

His gaze shifted again to Claire. Once he’d met her, he’d known whom he wanted to share just such a link with.

Now he stood on the cusp of reaching for it—of chancing his hand and hoping he could persuade her to form such a connection with him.

Whatever gaining her assent required, he would do.

Now Fate in the form of Alasdair Cynster had cleared his path, it was time to screw his courage to the sticking point and act.

Hope, anticipation, and trepidation churned in his gut.

But he was there and so was she, and he was determined to move forward. He knew how he felt about her, and he thought she felt similarly toward him. His first step, plainly, was to determine whether he was correct in believing that—and whether with encouragement, “like” could grow into something more.

About Stephanie Laurens:

stephanie laurens#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career when her first novel was accepted for publication, and with entirely becoming alacrity, she gave up writing about facts in favor of writing fiction.

Laurens’s novels are set in the time period of the British Regency, and her settings range from Scotland to India. Laurens has published fifty works of historical romance, including 29 New York Times bestsellers. All her works are continuously available in print and digital formats in English worldwide, and have been translated into many other languages. An international bestseller, among other accolades Laurens has received the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award for Best Romance Novella 2008, for The Fall of Rogue Gerrard.

Her continuing novels featuring the Cynster family are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Other series include the Bastion Club Novels and the Black Cobra Quartet. For information on upcoming releases and updates on novels yet to come, visit Stephanie’s website.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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The post Spotlight: By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. 31 Days of Halloween: Humble Bundle launches Horror Bundle

 

alwarchie4 31 Days of Halloween: Humble Bundle launches Horror BundleTiming is everything, and Humble Bundle has just launched a horror themed bundle with many comics including Shadowman, afterlife with Archie, Buffy and prose works by Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Joss Whedon, Joe Hill, Max Brooks and many more.

Customers can name their price for Shadowman Vol. 4: Fear, Blood, and Shadows, Song of Kali, The Mocking Dead #1, Houses of the Holy, The Last Zombie, Zombies: The Recent Dead, plus two songs by band-on-the-rise, A Sound of Thunder. Those who pay more than the average price will also receive Buffy Omnibus Vol. 1, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser: The Dark Watch Vol. 1 & 2, Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, Swan Song and Knights of Sidonia, Humble Bundle’s first ever manga title. Customers who pay $15 or more will receive all of the above, plus Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror, the Eisner award-winning Locke & Key Vol 1: Welcome To Lovecraft and the first two issues of the acclaimed series Afterlife with Archie.

“Humble Bundle is proud to include so many quality horror titles in one place,” said Humble Bundle’s Director of Books Kelley Allen. “From vampires to witches plus a horde of zombies, this bundle has everything a horror reader could want by some of the genre’s biggest names.”

This time the Bundle charity  is  the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization AND  Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Two great causes.

PS: did anyone catch how much the Star Wars bundle made?

1 Comments on 31 Days of Halloween: Humble Bundle launches Horror Bundle, last added: 10/29/2014
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3. Not SCARY Scary

Halloween is this week. Isn’t that nuts?  I’ve had kids in my department for weeks, asking for Halloween books, for ghost stories, for scary stories.

And then there are the kids that want something maybe creepy, maybe suspenseful but “not SCARY scary.” I love these kids.  These kids are my kindred spirits because I hate being scared. I can’t watch a horror movie and I never read a Goosebumps book when i was younger. But I do enjoy suspense and a little gloom.  Take a look at these books for your kids who want to have some Halloween reading but want to be able to sleep at night:

Source: Goodreads

The Theodosia Throckmorton series by R.L. LaFevers: Theodosia can see curses and get rid of them. This comes in handy as her parents work in a museum and there are artifacts with curses everywhere.  This is a fantasy adventure and though there are some creepy parts, it’s mainly pure fun as Theo tries to save Britain from ancient Egyptian curses.  There are four of these.

Source: Goodreads

Constable and Toop by Gareth P. Jones.  This British import has some scary and violent parts, but for the most part it’s a…funny ghost story. A funny ghost story! I love it! Something weird is happening with London’s ghost and a paper-pusher from the Ghost Bureau is sent to investigate.

Source: Goodreads

Ah, the original hilariously macabre story.  This one is a bit gruesome (I mean, it’s Roald Dahl, right?), and features a whole lot of nasty witches, transforming into mice, and a conclusion that will make some grownups uncomfortable.  But it’s not terrifying; it’s actually pretty satisfying. I reread this one recently and it holds up splendidly. No nightmares, just cringes of disgust and laughter.

BONUS: Funnies!!

Source: Goodreads

Ok, maybe this one skews a little young, but even my older teens love these.  There’s a nostalgia aspect, plus, the ridiculous nature of all the horrible happenings to the Baudelaires is hard to resist.

Happy Halloween to you and all of your patrons of varying reading interests!

*
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

0 Comments on Not SCARY Scary as of 10/29/2014 1:53:00 AM
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4. 31 Days of Halloween Preview: UR by Eric Haven

ad.ur .preview 00001 31 Days of Halloween Preview: UR by Eric Haven

 

I’m pretty sure we’ve posted some of Eric Haven’s creepy cool Mancat comics before. But not it’s all being collected by AdHouse, in UR. The publisher describes these comics as “Dark, absurdist, and deadpan, these stories reflect the apocalyptic undercurrent of the modern era. Also included is Haven’s long-running comic strip “Race Murdock” which appeared in The Believer magazine.”

Haven is among those cartoonist’s whose work is just inherently spooky. In the past his work has appeared in various anthologies, but when he isn’t cartooning he’s producing the TV Show Mythbusters. A real hyphenate for the season.

This book was accidentally left out out Previews a few times but THIS IS THE PROPER INFORMATION to order and make your customers happy:

48 FC pages
6 ” x 9 ” SC w/ DJ
$14.95 US funds
ISBN 978-1-935233-30-5
Shipping January 2015
Diamond Order Code: NOV14 0925

 

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5. 31 Day of Halloween: I.N.J. Culbard adapting The King in Yellow

comics the king in yellow cover 31 Day of Halloween: I.N.J. Culbard adapting  The King in Yellow

English artist INJ Culbard has become the resident HP Lovecraft expert at SelfMadeHero with several of his adaptations of Lovecraft (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Shadow Out of Time and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath) turning into bestsellers for the Brit Literary Comics house. Well, it seems his next book is one that greatly influenced Lovecraft—and Stephen King, and Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Raymond Chandler and True Detective—namely The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers.  The 1895 short story collection centers around a sinister play called “The King in Yellow” and this title character, as well as Carcosa were used in Season 1 of True Detective, and gave the cult book a new life.

Now Culbard, an expert in the unsettling, will adapt the original into a 144-page GN, also called The King in Yellow 31 Day of Halloween: I.N.J. Culbard adapting  The King in Yellow and also to be published by SelfMadeHero.

Culbard revealed the book and cover in a tweet

Via Robot 6

1 Comments on 31 Day of Halloween: I.N.J. Culbard adapting The King in Yellow, last added: 10/29/2014
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6. Guest Post and Giveaway: Lori Wilde, Author of Christmas at Twilight

Lori Wilde stopped by the virtual offices to share to Top 5, as well as an awesome giveaway!

Five things you would never find in Brian “Hutch” Hutchison’s dresser drawer.

  1. A pink “princess” tiara unless it was a present for his niece, Kimmie.

  2. Toe rings

  3. A hand fan

  4. A Speedo

  5. An ascot

Christmas at Twilight

Twilight, Texas # 5

By: Lori Wilde

Releasing October 28th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

It’s Christmas in Twilight, Texas. The Cookie Club is baking, the town is decorated, and Delta Force Operator “Hutch” Hutchinson has finally, reluctantly, returned home . . .

. . . only to get pepper sprayed by the delicious- looking stranger who’s taken over his house. She says her name is Jane, and she immediately sets down ground rules. Top priority: no touching. For Hutch that isn’t easy—he was wounded in action, but one part is still working very well.

Then Hutch learns the truth. Jane harbors a frightening secret—she’s really Meredith Sommers, on the run from a dangerous ex-husband and desperately in need of the safety Hutch can provide. In that moment, he vows he’d do anything in his power to protect her. And as Christmas approaches, they discover that their love can conquer the past and overcome any obstacle—but what price will they pay?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/christmas-at-twilight-twilight-texas-5.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20705716-christmas-at-twilight?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Twilight-Texas-Novel-ebook/dp/B00I7V3X2Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408461643&sr=1-1&keywords=Christmas+at+Twilight%3A+A+Twilight%2C+Texas+Novel

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-at-twilight-lori-wilde/1118477575?ean=9780062310248

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/christmas-at-twilight

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/christmas-at-twilight/id814134806?mt=11

Author Info

Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 70 works of romantic fiction. She is a two-time RITA award nominee, a four time Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice nominee and has won numerous other awards. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and holds a certificate in nursing forensics. An animal lover, Lori is owned by several pets, and lives in Texas with her husband, Bill.

Author Links

Website: http://loriwilde.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lori-Wilde/126384860719020

Twitter: https://twitter.com/loriwilde

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38217.Lori_Wilde

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Lori Wilde, Author of Christmas at Twilight appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. The Monsterator, by Keith Graves -- and other fiendish delights (ages 5-9)

Do your children want to be something goulishly great on Halloween? Do monsters delight them? There's no doubt that The Monsterator, with its bold promise of 625 monsters inside, will captivate many young readers who dream of something "screamingly scary."
The Monsteratorby Keith GravesRoaring Brook, 2014
Your local libraryAmazonages 5-9
*best new book*
Young Master Edgar Dreadbury finds your standard Halloween costumes a terrible bore. "I wish I could be something screamingly scary. / Something fanged and foul and horribly hairy!" Graves draws readers in with rhyming text that is a delight to read aloud, but he really grabs readers when Edgar steps into The Monsterator. All of a sudden, Edgar is completely transformed "from his teeth to his toes."
The Monsterator, by Keith Graves
"When the machine finally quit,
Edgar crashed through the door.
He banged on his chests with his fists
and roared."
The Monsterator, by Keith Graves
I love how Graves strikes just the right balance between frightening and fun for first and second graders. But what they will love most of all is the surprise at the end, when they can "monsterate" young Edgar, by turning a series of flaps to create hundreds of different creatures.

If you like this, you might like some of these other monsterish favorite picture books:
The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Macmillan Books. Illustrations of The Monsterator are copyright ©2014 Keith Graves, used with permission of the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on The Monsterator, by Keith Graves -- and other fiendish delights (ages 5-9) as of 10/27/2014 3:15:00 AM
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8. 31 Days of Halloween: Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s wraparound cover by Steve Morris

B0pmkUsIUAAjk2V.jpg large 31 Days of Halloween: Buffy The Vampire Slayers wraparound cover by Steve Morris
Okay can you say instant classic? HALLOWEEN JUST GOT REAL, people.

This wraparound cover by Steve Morris is for Buffy The Vampire Slayer  Season 10 #8 and I’m told it’s a great jumping on point.

No, that is not OUR Steve Morris.

The issue is on sale this week.

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9. 31 Days of Halloween: Diamond’s Comicfest and Boom! Studos Halloween Frightfest

stk650211 31 Days of Halloween: Diamonds Comicfest and Boom! Studos Halloween Frightfest

Comics biggest distributor Diamond has slowly been working to make Halloween a huge promotional day for comics shops, with special comics, contests and more. Let’s face it, it doesn’t take too much to get in the Halloween mood, and the promotion has been a big success. You can see a list of special Halloween comcis on the Halloween Comicfest website, such as this one spotlighting Boom! Studios spooky anthology with seasonal stories from Adventure Time, Fraggle Rock and more. This particular story features writing by Bryce Carlson and art by Frazer IRving in a VERY DIFFERENT Adventure Time story.

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10. Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Special Price for October!

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I’ve arranged a special hardcover book price for October. You can order an autographed book for $12.99 + shipping.

Stock up for the perfect holiday gift for that little loved one in your life.

Cheers!

Tonia Allen Gould


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11. 31 Days of Halloween: Chris Schweizer’s Monster Month

swamp ape 31 Days of Halloween: Chris Schweizers Monster Month

As you can imagine, we’re not the only website counting down Halloween month. Chris Schweizer, comics educator and the man behind the delightful Crogan’s Adventures series from Oni, is posting a mostly daily monster picture  and here’s today’s the Florida Swamp Ape. You can see the rest in the link like this Ghost Rider in the Sky:

ghost rider 31 Days of Halloween: Chris Schweizers Monster Month

 

 

 

 

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12. 31 Days of Halloween: Junji Ito does Pokemon

pokemon junji ito full.0 31 Days of Halloween: Junji Ito does Pokemon

I know we’ve been slacking a bit with 31 Days due to the horrors of New York Comic-Con, but it’s full sped ahead to the pumpkins now. And here is the best thing you will hear today, tomorrow or possibly in a lifetime: Japanese Horror master Junji Ito Is doing a Pokemon collaboration.

Yeah that’s right. The creator of Uzumaki, Museum of Terror, the Long Hair in the Attic and much more, is doing POKEMON.

The news was announced in Japan as a “Collaboration,” you know, like Tokidoki doing Marvel, except terrifying and unspeakable. It’s called “Kowapoke,” which means “Scarypoke” and a single phone wallpaper image has been released thus far. That’s Banette, cute little Banette, admittedly not the nicest Pokemon, now all Kowapoke’d up. T-shirts are being given away in Japan now because life is unknowable and terrifying.

Ito is one of the greatest, most unsettling cartoonists alive. We’ve spotlighted him several times before. This is only the creepy icing on the scary cake!

If you’d like to read some Ito, or just get into his weird world, we strongly recommend Uzumaki, published in one volume late last year, the story of a town obsessed with spirals and the terror they bring. Connie C has a good round-up of his work here.

Source, via Tiny Cartridge

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13. Counting the days 'till Halloween: two books to share (ages 3-8)

Young kids love Halloween, but some find scary costumes and stories too frightening. So I'm always on the lookout for books that are a little bit creepy, but are still playful and fun. Two new favorites have lots of kid appeal and throw in practice with counting that's just right for preschoolers and kindergartners.

Ten Orange Pumpkins
A Counting Book
by Stephen Savage
Dial / Penguin, 2013
Your local library
Amazon
ages 3-6
Ten pumpkins start the night neatly stacked outside a farmer's house, but they disappear one by one as they night progresses. Savage combines bold illustrations with rhythmic rhyming text, giving young readers just enough clues so they can figure out what happens to each pumpkin. I especially love his striking use of silhouettes--they are creepy and dramatic, yet also simple and straightforward.

Look how effectively Savage uses the page turn to hook young readers (see the first two pages below). Children will love counting the pumpkins and figuring out where the missing one went. Here's a great example of a book that has so many details in the illustrations that kids can add many layers to the story beyond the text--use this to talk with kids as you read, with prompts like "So what do you notice?" and "Oh, so what happened here?"
"Ten orange pumpkins,
fresh off the vine.
Tonight will be a spooky night."
"Yikes! There are 9."
from Ten Orange Pumpkins, by Stephen Savage
Another new favorite with our kindergarten teachers is Not Very Scary. They love this cumulative story not only for its counting practice, but also for its message. While we all might get a little bit scared at Halloween, it's really just all our friends having fun.
Not Very Scary
by Carol Brendler
illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Farrar Straus Giroux / Macmillan, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-8
Melly, a cute litte monster, is excited to walk over to her cousin Malberta's house for a Halloween party. Sure it's a gloomy night, but Melly isn't scared--even when she sees "a coal-black cat with an itchy-twitchy tail." She tells herself how brave she is, but readers can tell that she's actually getting scared. Turn the page, and Melly sees "two skittish skeletons" dancing along after the cat.
from Not Very Scary, by Carol Brendler & Greg Pizzoli
Young children know just how Melly feels, getting more and more frightened as each ghoulish creature turns up. This makes the final resolution all the more enjoyable, as Melly realizes that they are all just Malberta's friends coming along to the Halloween party.

Brendler uses wonderfully descriptive language, full of alliteration (grimy goblins, spindly spiders) that makes reading it aloud a joy. Pizzoli's illustrations strike just the right balance, emphasizing the silly fun each creature brings, but never making them too scary. I had a great time reading about his illustration process on his blog and over at his interview at Seven Impossible Things.

The review copy of Not Very Scary was kindly sent by the publishers, Macmillan Books. The review copy of Ten Orange Pumpkins came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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14. Scary stories for beginning readers (ages 5-8)

Kids get so excited about Halloween -- and I love tapping into that excitement in the library, especially if I can hook more kids into reading. Writing for beginning readers must be one of the most difficult tasks. Here are two books that are goofy-scary, funny but with enough creepiness to keep young kids reading.

illustrated by Michael Emberly
Little, Brown, 2007
ages 5-8
These stories, part of a favorite series with 1st and 2nd graders, are ideal for reading aloud. Each poem is meant to be read by two voices, alternating back and forth. Hoberman uses the spooky settings creating delightful fun and celebrating joy in reading.

Here's the beginning of "The Mummy" as two kids go exploring and discover a mummy. "Let's explore inside this tomb, / I'm afraid we'll meet our doom." I love the rhythm and rhyme of Hoberman's text, and Emberly's pictures reach just the right balance between goofy and creepy.
sample from Mary Ann Hoberman's website
Hoberman's poems focus on thirteen different Halloween mainstays, ranging from "The Skeleton" to "The Witch and the Broomstick." Seek out all the titles in this terrific series.
Monster School
The Spooky Sleepover
I Can Read! #2
by Dave Keane
Harper Collins, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 5-8
Norm is a nervous about his first sleepover--it's going to be at school, and it's his first time sleeping away from home. "I miss my bed already," worried Norm. Kids will relate to Norm's worries, but they'll laugh at all the word play in this story.

Norm's friends at school are all monsters, from Gary the ghost to Harry the werewolf who turns hairy. Keane does a great job creating funny interplay between the words and pictures. Below, you can see that Isaac, the purple monster in the blue PJs, is literally crying his eyes out -- and they're bouncing all around him. 2nd graders love this play on words, plus the silly gross-out factor.
sample from iTunes preview
Keane's Monster School series works well for kids who can read longer sentences on their own, but still want short, high-interest stories to keep them engaged.

Are there other monster or ghost stories that work well for your developing readers? Our superhero beginning readers are also in high demand right now, especially with kindergartners and first graders.

The review copy of Monster School was kindly sent by the publishers, HarperCollins Publishers. The review copy of You Read to Me, I'll Read to You came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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15. This is Halloween

mummy_poem-robertabaird

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16. 31 Days of Halloween: Bobby Timony’s Monster Pin Up Girl Playing Cards

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Kickstarter alert! Bobby Timony (The Night Owls, The Horror Lovers, Detectobot and Goblin Hood) is Kickstarting a deck of playing cards adorned with cute monster girl pin-ups.
That says it all right?
Timony’s cartoon-esque art is just right to present monsters girls who are sexy without being over the top, and just the right sense of humor as well. If the Kickstarter succeeds (only $8000, so let’s do it!) it’ll also be presented as a hardcover with a foreword by Molly Crabapple. Timony’s doing 54 different illustrations for the set, which is perfect for playing all your scary Halloween card games like Go Monster Fish and 21 Devils on Horseback.
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17. 31 Days of Halloween: Mike Mignola’s Witchfinder: The Mysteries Of Unland

WFUL CVR  31 Days of Halloween: Mike Mignolas Witchfinder: The Mysteries Of Unland

It seems we’re not the only ones obsessed with Halloween—Mike Mignola and Dark Hose have been running a 13 Days of Hellboy festival, celebrating all kinds of artwork and story reveals in the Hellboy.

And we’re officially crossing over with this exclusive reveal of Mignola’s cover for the trade paperback Witchfinder: The Mysteries Of Unland. This is the latest book in a Hellboy spin-off series that centers on Sir Edward Grey, a Victorian detective of the occult who figures in the past of the Hellboy timeline.

This mini-series features art by Tyler Crook and colorist Dave Stewart and a script by acclaimed horror writer Kim Newman, best known for ANNO DRACULA, a take on the historic bloodsucker much admired by authors including Neil Gaiman; and British Fantasy Award nominee Maura McHugh (Jennifer Wilde). 

The story involves Grey investigating a swamp called the Unlands which happens to be full of  giant eels—and let’s face it, nothing says Halloween like a swamp full of giant eels.

 

Here’s all the 13 days of Hellboy announcements thus far:

Wednesday, October 1 – New Frankenstein Underground mini series

Thursday October 2 – Baltimore: The Wolf and the Apostle #1 preview

Friday October 3 – HELLBOY & THE BPRD  preview

Saturday October 4 – BPRD 1946-1948 new cover by Laurence Campbell

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18. Happy 24-Hour Comic Day!

by Pamela Auditore

By the time some of you read this, weary artists across the country will be putting down their pencil’s as time is called  on 24-Hour Comic Day.

Could you make a Comic in 24 hours?

That’s the challenge artists took up at local Comic Shops like Galaxy of Comics in Van Nuys,CA, Saturday through Sunday morning.

image1 1000x750 Happy 24 Hour Comic Day!

Beginning at 8am artists were busily drawing, inking, writing, painting, and eating boxes of pizza in an effort to complete a 24 page story in 24 hours.  Forcing themselves to stretch the limit of their stamina, hoping to string comic panels into a coherent narrative without the benefit of preparation, pre-planning or a script.

If the artists complete their projects, they’ll earn the satisfaction of achieving something neither Neil Gaiman or  Kevin Eastman (Teen-Age Mutant Ninja Turtles) could in the 24 hour continuous time frame.  Additionally, if they finish, they are given cover letters and invited to send a copy of their comic to the national 24-Hour Comic Book Day archive, which is hosted by the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

The 24-Hour Comic Day event began simply as an exercise in 1990 by Understanding Comics cartoonist, Scott McCloud, to challenge himself and his friend Stephen R. Bissette.  With comic industry big names taking part and spreading the word, metamorphosising into an annual  event in 2004.  (You can read the history here).  Meant to help artists shake off cob-webs, push through blocks, limber up their story telling abilities and push creativity.  Examples Scott McCloud and friend’s  own attempts at a 24-Hour Comics (including Eastman’s and Gaiman’sare archived here.

But what’s in it for the Comic Shop Retailer who hosts the event? I asked Warren Jaycox, owner of Galaxy of Comics.

“We’ve been doing it for a few years now. Its a great event to do, getting very artistic people in to do a 24 page comic is really cool. It’s an event and I can run a sale, make a big t0-doo of it and eat pizza!”

Why put yourself through a sleepless 24-Hours when you don’t have to? (Participants are allowed naps.)

I asked one artist, Andrew, while applying red marker to his sketchpad,”To see if I can make a comic in 24 hours. Normally, I do collage and other artwork. This is my first attempt at doing a comic.”

Another artist, Daphne, told me while taking a break and bite of dessert, “I work in a creative field. sI always need to be doing something creative. Normally, its being creative for other people and I enjoy that. But sometimes its nice to be pushed to be creative entirely for you.”

You can check out more participant’s work here.

In addition, to Galaxy of Comics, two other Comic Shops hosted 24-hour Comic Events in Southern California: The Comic Bug in Torrance https://www.facebook.com/thecomicbug and Four Color Fantasy in Rancho Cucamonga https://www.facebook.com/4cfrancho

Also, if you go to Twitter and look at #24CD, you will see more examples of artwork.

For those interested in participating next year, it will be on the First Saturday in October, regardless of date. For more information and resources http://www.24hourcomicsday.com.

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19. Happy Fourth of July!

We can now say we’ve been at the Outer Banks during a hurricane. Hurricane Arthur blew through here last night. It was windy, rainy, and loud. Didn’t lose power; just the front porch screen. Actually, I hear the weather at home has been wicked too. Hope you’re enjoying some sunshine and warmth.

Here’s wishing our readers a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!


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20. Book and Activity Suggestions to Match Your Summer Adventure: Beaches!

Each week this summer, we are pairing Lee & Low titles to your favorite summer destinations with fun activities!

Our motto this summer: Love Books + Keep Cool + Learn Something New

Your summer outing: the BEACH

Book recommendations:

Surfer of the Century cover

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku

Questions during reading:

  • What is this person’s relationship to the ocean? How does this person’s relationship to the ocean change from the beginning to the end of the story?
  • How does this person show appreciation for the ocean?
  • How is the ocean/beach a part of this person’s identity?
  • Look at a map of the world and locate the island this person is from. What is the capital? What ocean surrounds it? Infer what the climate is like based on the island’s location. What makes this island unique?
  • How does this person demonstrate pride in his/her culture?
  • How does this person remember home even when far away from home?

Seaside DreamActivity:

Create a beach ball collage!

Materials: poster paper, pencil, markers, colored pencils or crayons, assortment of magazines

  1. Using a pencil, draw a large circle on the poster paper.
  2. Inside the circle, draw a small circle about the size of a quarter somewhere off center.
  3. Draw a curved line from the small circle to the large circle. Repeat drawing lines until you have six lines and six spaces. Each curved line should face the same direction in a pinwheel formation. The lines will be different lengths and can be varying widths apart from each other (this will give it a 3-D effect).
  4. With a black marker, trace over the pencil so the beach ball stands out on the poster paper.
  5. Optional: lightly fill in each segment a different color using colored pencils or crayons.
  6. Select and cut out pictures and words from the assortment of magazines to answer the question: What makes the beach special to you?
  7. In each of the six beach ball segments, draw or glue pictures. In one section, think about what foods you eat while at the beach. What animals have you seen at the beach? What do you always make sure to pack before you head out? What activities do you like to do at the beach? Who do you play with while there?

For further reading:Seaside Dream

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident 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 column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 


Filed under: Educator Resources, Holidays and Celebrations, Summer Tagged: children's books, close reading, diversity, Educators, holidays, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension, summer, summer reading

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21. Summertime Stories

           
I started this post hoping to be able to report on any kind of literary celebration that was to take place/has already taken place at some point throughout the month of July. Having missed both Read Across America Day (though respects should be paid to the late, great Dr. Seuss every day of every month of every year), as well as National Poetry Month (April, for those who are so inclined), I was disappointed to find that there wasn’t any nationally ordained celebration of books during the month of July. Sadly, the only celebrations that I could find for July were ones of national independence (fun fact: Canada Day is July 1st, and Bastille Day (France) is the 14th), food (Blueberries and Ice Cream, the foods of summer) and good manners (National Cell Phone Courtesy Month: take note, dinner-table occupants). To some of these I say, frankly but fondly, bah humbug.

In opposition, I propose that we use this month to appreciate all of the books that make us feel warm and welcome, like nice weather or a day at the beach. I propose that we use some of our down-time to experience the books, whether newly purchased or plucked from a dusty shelf, that stick out in our minds and make us feel inspired, moved, or fulfilled. For the parents of young children, these are the days that count; fill them with memories and love and beautiful words and stories. Pick up a book and hunker down with your little one, whether inside or outside, under the sun or by a fire, and help them as they embark on adventures that, while imaginary, are everlastingly valuable.


Here are some summer stories, courtesy of Star Bright, that would make a great start!


Harriet Can Carry It
                by Kirk Jay Mueller
               Art by Sarah Vonthron-Laver
  
Follow Harriet the Kangaroo as she goes on an adventure to the beach with her little Joey. Looking for some time off after a long week at work, Harriet packs her little boy in her humongous pouch and sets off looking for some rest and relaxation. But appearances by her many marsupial neighbors make Harriet's journey both difficult and troubling, as Harriet tries to accommodate all of their requests to carry their things until finally....

Beach Socks
by Michael J. Daley
Art by Estelle Corke

No more shoes! No more socks! shouts the young boy in Beach Socks, a book by Michael J. Daley and Estelle Corke that mixes beautiful illustrations and charming descriptions in a delightful story of one child's day at the beach.


Visit our website (starbrightbooks.org) for these titles and more!





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22. Bookish Ways (for the Young-ish Set) to Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast, me hearties! International Talk Like a Pirate Day be soon upon us. Aye, very soon. Tomorrow, in fact.

If this oh-so-fun little-known holiday, celebrated annually on September 19th, has taken ye by surprise this year, never fear. We scalawags here at Bugs and Bunnies have some fun and bookish ways for teachers an' kids ta celebrate the day.




Since pirates are some of our favorite people, we've reviewed a fair number of fantastic piratical books. Below are summaries of all of 'em to date. If we've done a full review, clicking the titles will take ye to the full review posts for each one:



The Mousehunter 
Written and illustrated by Alex Milway
Ages 10 - 12

Twelve-year-old Emiline Orelia is mousekeeper for Isiah Lovelock, Old Town's most famous mouse collector and one of its wealthiest citizens. Emiline cares for her own Grey Mouse, named Portly, as well as all of the mice in Lovelock's vast collection. It's not a glamorous job, but Emiline is very good at it, and hopes one day to become a mousehunter, so she can go out and discover new and interesting mice.

In Emiline's world, collecting and trading mice is valued above all else - but these are no ordinary field mice. There is the Sharpclaw Mouse: a sneaky, mischievous mouse with huge, dagger-like claws on its front paws that can slice through even wood and metal with ease. Or the Magnetical Mouse: prized by sailors for their bulletlike nose that always points due north. Or the Howling Moon Mouse: best known of all the howler mice, it howls only on nights with a full moon. And this is only to name a few.

When Mousebeard, the most feared pirate on the Seventeen Seas, sinks Lovelock's merchant ship, Lovelock hires Captain Devlin Drewshank to hunt him down and capture him. Emiline overhears the deal and, seeing this as the chance of a lifetime, runs away and boards Drewshank's ship, excited to be on the adventure. The journey is a dangerous one, filled with pirates, and battles, and even sea monsters. And Emiline soon comes to realize that all is not exactly as she thought it was, and that no one she's met is exactly who she thought they were.




Fish
By Gregory Mone

Ages 8 and up

Maurice "Fish" Reidy is eleven years old when Shamrock dies. Without their horse, the family can't afford to feed itself, let alone farm their land. Someone has to go into the city to work and send money home. Since Fish is the worst at farming, it's agreed he should be the one to go.

His father arranges for Fish to work for his uncle as a courier. When Fish is entrusted with a mysterious package of coins, he's robbed before he can make the delivery. He tracks down the thief amongst a bunch of pirates, aboard their ship, the Scurvy Mistress. Determined to get that package back and to its rightful recipient, Fish sneaks aboard and joins the pirate crew. He soon learns the coins are more than what they seem, and some of the crew are not as loyal as they'd have their captain believe.

As the Scurvy Mistress sets sail, Fish finds himself on an adventure he never saw coming, with friends he never imagined making. It's a journey that promises to change his life - and that of his family - forever.




How I Became a Pirate
Written by Melinda Long
Illustrated by David Shannon

Ages 4 - 8

Jeremy Jacob was just a boy building a sandcastle on the beach - until the day the pirates came. The pirates were in need of a digger to help bury their treasure. And the captain couldn't help but notice that "He's a digger, he is, and a good one to boot!" The crew heartily agreed, "A good one to boot!" And that is how Jeremy Jacob became a pirate.



Here Be Monsters! The Ratbridge Chronicles, Volume 1
Written and illustrated by Alan Snow

Ages 9 - 12

Young Arthur is a resident of Ratbridge. Or, rather, a resident under Ratbridge. He's not sure why he lives below ground, except that his inventor grandfather says that they must. They share this underground world with curious creatures: boxtrolls, cabbageheads, rabbit women, and the rather fearsome trotting badgers.

One day, Arthur gets caught above-ground on one of his nightly forays to the surface world to gather food. The rather nasty Snatcher, his grandfather's old nemesis, has stolen the machine Arthur's grandfather built for him to be able to fly about, and he doesn't know how to get back home.

But Arthur is not without friends. He is helped by the kindly retired lawyer Willbury Nibble, and the underlings who live with him: the boxtrolls Fish, Egg, and Shoe, and the shy cabbagehead Titus. Then there's the pirates-turned-laundry-workers, talking rats and crows, and oh! we can't forget The Man in the Iron Socks. They are all determined to get Arthur back home safely.

Arthur and his friends soon discover that something stinks in Ratbridge, and it isn't just the cheese: Someone has begun hunting Wild English Cheeses again - an outlawed sport. And mysterious goings-on are afoot at the old Cheese Hall. And all the entrances to the underground world have been sealed up. And the boxtrolls and cabbageheads are all disappearing. And the underlings' tunnels are starting to flood. Grandfather is worried, and they all know Snatcher is the root of this mystery. Somehow. Whatever will they do?




Another Whole Nother Story
As told by (The Incomparable) Dr. Cuthbert Soup
Ages 8 and up 


Mr. Ethan Cheeseman and his three smart, polite, and relatively odor-free children are back in another adventure - with all-new names, of course. Now that they've got the LVR working (the supposedly secret, yet relentlessly sought-after time machine introduced in A Whole Nother Story), the family is all set to travel back in time to just before their beloved wife and mother Olivia Cheeseman meets her unfortunate end at the hands of those seeking to "acquire" the LVR.

But all does not go according to plan. First, they wind up not in the relatively recent past, as they'd planned, but way back in 1668. Worse, their crash landing has damaged the LVR, and unless they can find the proper parts to repair it, the family has no way to return to their own time in the 21st century. As if that weren't trouble enough, the family finds themselves facing suspicion of witchcraft, battling pirates, and navigating a haunted castle. Add to that their tangle with a dangerous nemesis from their present whom they believed they'd seen the last of, and things don't look good.

Despite these odds, the likeable Cheesemans are not without friends, meeting several helpful souls along the way. But is it enough to help them get out of the distant past, and into the nearer past, so they can save their beloved Olivia Cheeseman, and get back to their own time?



* * *


Well, land lubbers, that's all we got, and we ain't got no more. But keep a weather eye on the Bugs and Bunnies horizon – we've got our eyes on more'n a few other fantastic pirate-y books we'd love ta be postin' about in future.

But for now, mateys, we hope you enjoy what we've presented here today, and have a most fabulous International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th.

 

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23. Holiday Heat Week Release Blitz and Giveaway!

Wow! I can’t believe that the holidays are just around the corner!  I love the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas because everyone is just so happy!  And there’s a slew of Christmas themed books releasing between now and the end of December, just to make sure you are in the right frame of mind for Santa’s visit.  To get a jump on the season, I have a bundle of holiday themed books up for grabs, thanks to Hachette Books, so settle down with a cup of coffee, read the excerpts, and make sure to enter the giveaway (US/CAN addresses only)!

 

RING IN THE HOLIDAYS by Katie Lane

Psychologist Ellie Simpson is about to get a healthy dose of sex therapy. Leaving her cheating boyfriend behind, she has everything she needs for a quick rebound: Vegas, plenty of champagne, and a proposition from the sexiest man she’s ever seen. As her handsome stranger helps her ring in the New Year-over and over again-Ellie finds herself blissfully losing all of her inhibitions. Attorney Matthew McPherson is good at making women lose things, like their minds and underwear. With his athletic build and soulful eyes, he doesn’t need to use his powers of persuasion or famous last name to get a woman into bed.  But when morning comes, Matthew finds Ellie is the only woman he can’t bear to leave-ever.  It’s enough to make him wonder if what happens in Vegas really has to stay there.

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

Goodreads

About Katie Lane

Katie Lane is the USA Today bestselling author of the Deep in the Heart of Texas and Hunk for the Holiday series.  Katie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and when she isn’t writing, enjoys reading, going to the gym, golfing, traveling, or just snuggling next to her high school sweetheart and cairn terrier Roo.
Learn more about Katie Lane at:
www.katielanebooks.com
Facebook.com/katielaneauthor
Twitter, @ktlane3

Excerpt:

Ellie looked like she struggled with a strong desire to beat him over the head with the gigantic purse she held in a stranglehold on her lap. “Then why did you show up at my office saying you needed help for sex addiction?”

He shrugged. “Because I was trying to get in your pants.” Her mouth fell open, and she stared at him in speechless shock. “What?” he said. “Did I shock the Virgin Queen? I guess honesty isn’t necessarily the best policy.”

It only took her a few seconds to regain her composure. “The only time I’ve ever heard anything remotely honest come out of your mouth was in Vegas. And even then, you weren’t completely honest.”

He leaned up until he was inches from her face. “Oh, I was honest that night. Completely. And did you like that, Dr. Simpson? Because there’s a lot more where that came from.” He pulled her onto his lap, knocking her purse to the floor as he pressed her back into the seat. “Here’s some honesty for you. I don’t like you, Dr. Simpson. I don’t like your height or your hair or the prudish clothes you wear.

And I especially don’t like your screwed up, narrow mind.” He slipped his hand up her rib cage, encasing her breast with his thumb and forefinger. “In fact, the only thing I do like is the way you fill out a sweater.” He knew he was being obnoxious and crass, but he didn’t care. He needed his own revenge, and he lowered his mouth to hers and took it out on her sweet flesh.

Even with anger still simmering beneath the surface, the kiss consumed him. Each sip and slide of lips and tongues was like a perfectly synchronized dance. And it was more than just physical perfection. It was an emotional connection. Like two souls who were reunited after being away from each other for too long.

Reunited souls? Good Lord, he had lost his mind. Matthew pulled back, wishing he could somehow start the entire evening over again. Or skip it entirely and go back to the day he’d seen her picture on the cover of that damned book. Or maybe before he met her in Vegas. No, he wasn’t ready to give up the night they had in Vegas. He just couldn’t survive a repeat.

 

A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER ANTHOLOGY: 

by Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, ’tis the season for giving love a chance . . . 

by Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don’t come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . . 

by Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger. 

by Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who’s set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . . 

by Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn’t mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

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Excerpt:

“Which one of these ornaments is yours?” she asked.

He took a funny- looking Santa Claus from the tree. “I made this in my third grade art class.”

Santa was made out of paper plates and construction paper. His hat was folded and bent, his beard was shaped from the rippled edge of the plate, and his button nose was falling off. Linc studied it critically, thinking it was pretty good for third grade. “I do my best work in construction paper and glue.”

“It deserves a place of honor, for sure,” she said solemnly. She reached out to take it from him and her fingers brushed his. He stopped short. It was impossible to ignore the electrical charge that zipped between them. If she’d been any other woman he wouldn’t have hesitated. He would have pulled her into his arms, crushing the silly ornament between their bodies, and kissing her right then and there.

She smiled invitingly and her lips parted a bit, enough so he could feel her soft breath on his cheek. Her eyes softened to a leaf green, and he felt his caution crumble and transform into a maddening urgency. He let the ornament fall to the ground.

Then he was kissing her. She tasted like peppermint tea and smelled like cinnamon and pine needles. Her body melded against his, her breasts pressing against his chest. He wrapped both arms around her like he was claiming something rare and long lost. His fingers tangled in her hair, pulling it from that infernal ponytail. Her mouth opened under his and while their tongues dueled, her hands roamed across his back. It wasn’t enough. Without another thought, he picked her up and headed down

the hall.

From Molly Cannon’s A MESSY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

About the authors

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
You can learn more at:
JillShalvis.com
Twitter @jillshalvis
Facebook.com/jillshalvis

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
You can learn more at:
KristenAshley.net
Twitter @KristenAshley68
Facebook.com/kristenashleybooks 

Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.
You can learn more at:
HopeRamsay.com
Facebook, www.facebook.com/Hope.Ramsay
Twitter, @HopeRamsay.

Molly lives a charmed life in Texas with hernearly perfect husband and extremely large cat Nelson. When she’s not writing, she spends her days reading, taking dance classes with the hubby and watching all kinds of sports.
You can learn more at:
MollyCannon.com
Twitter, @cannonmolly

Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband’s Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.
You can learn more at:
MarilynPappano.com
Twitter, @MarilynPappano
Facebook.com/MarilynPappanoFanPage

IT HAPPENED AT CHRISTMAS by Debbie Mason

Free-spirited activist Skylar Davis is out of money and out of options. After using up her trust fund trying to save the world, she hides out in Christmas, hoping the kindness of friends will help her forget the reckless actions of her past. All goes well . . . until she comes face-to-face with one of her mistakes: the town’s gorgeous young mayor. Ethan O’Connor likes his life drama-free and predictable now that he’s about to make the move from small-town politics to the Colorado State Senate. Then Skye blows back into town, as impulsive and passionate as he remembers. If word ever got out about their night together-the night he’s never been able to forget-the scandal could cripple his career. Yet as he starts his campaign, Ethan finds that, like the town of Christmas itself, he can’t get Skye out of his head . . . or his heart.

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Excerpt:

Later that evening, Ethan sat at a table in the local sports bar, the Penalty Box, with Gage and their mutual friend Jack Flaherty. Brandi, wearing her waitress uniform—a black-and-white-striped jersey and a short black skirt—approached with a tray of drinks. “Compliments of the house. Sawyer named the drink after you, Mr. Senator-to-be. It’s a Prince Charming. Bourbon, cinnamon schnapps, Goldschläger, and root beer rimmed with coarse salt,” she explained as she set the drinks on the table. “Sawyer suggested you have a couple of them before you speak to your baby mama again.”

Gage and Jack laughed. “Har har,” Ethan muttered, slanting a look to where the owner, Sawyer Anderson, stood behind the bar taking orders. The tall, broad-shouldered ex-captain of the Colorado Flurries, a professional hockey team, gave Ethan a two-fingered salute and grinned. “Your friend’s a real comedian,” Ethan said to Jack.

“Yeah, he likes to think so,” Jack said, “but maybe this time he’s right. From what Grace said, you could use all the help you can get.”

“At least your wife’s talking to you. Thanks to him”—Gage jerked a thumb at Ethan—“mine isn’t.”

“She was until I defended him. Now I’m in the same boat as you,” Jack said, taking a long pull on his beer.

“Would someone like to explain how I’m the bad guy in this? She had no intention of telling me about the baby. As far as she’s concerned, I’m a sperm donor and have no rights.” And once his initial shock had passed, he started to get excited about the baby. He’d always hoped to be a father one day, and he was not about to let Skylar Davis take that away from him. “I asked her to marry me.”

He didn’t realize Brandi had hung around until she said, “No, you didn’t ask her. You told her you were getting married. At the courthouse. On Friday.”

“Yeah, and you also told her she was irresponsible and flighty and threw losing her trust fund in her face,” Gage said.

Brandi gasped. “You didn’t?”

“Come on, I didn’t say anything that any of you haven’t said or thought. Besides, I was pissed off. And I had good reason to be.” He might’ve had good reason to be angry, but he shouldn’t have let his temper get the best of him. The temper he didn’t have until he met Skylar Davis. “I sent her flowers and an apology, okay?”

Gage grimaced.

“What? You don’t think she’ll like them? The florist told me any woman would love them. I sent her three dozen roses.” Who knew flowers could be that expensive? But even Ethan realized he had to make some kind of gesture after what he’d said to Skye.

“Most women would, just not the one you sent them to,” Gage said.

Nell McBride, Evelyn Tate, and Stella Wright ambled over, dragging chairs to the table.

Evelyn beamed at him. “Don’t you worry, Ethan. We’re the love experts. And, dear, those roses you sent me were beautiful.” She fluttered her lashes.

“Yes, Ethan, that was very sweet of you to send them to us. But a little extravagant, don’t you think? I hope you didn’t send them to all your female supporters. Their husband’s might not be as understanding as mine,” Stella said.

Ethan rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, ignoring Gage’s I-told-you-so look. “Did all three of you get a dozen roses?” he asked in hopes he misunderstood them and that Skye hadn’t sent his peace offering to the three older women.

“Yep, me, Stella, and Evelyn. But you didn’t have to bribe us. We’d vote for you anyhow. We want one of our own in the state senate, don’t we, girls?” Nell said as she pulled out a pad and pen. “And just as an FYI, when you put from a secret admirer, you’re not supposed to sign your name.”

IT HAPPENED AT CHRISTMAS excerpt #3

“Hey.” He gently tugged on her hair. “Thanks for doing this,” he said when she looked up at him. “We can take another picture of us when we get to the ranch.”

“No, this one’s good. I look like a Republican.”

He shook his head. “You’ve got a warped perception of Republicans, cupcake. We’re going to have to work on that.”

“Don’t waste your energy. My dad’s been trying to convert me since I was ten.”

“I’ve been told I can be pretty persuasive.”

“Republican women are easy,” she said, ignoring the effect his swoon-inducing voice had on her.

“Yeah? I seem to remember a certain Democrat who was pretty easy.” He waggled his eyebrows at her.

Jerk. But who was she trying to kid? She had been easy. “What was her name?” She ignored his laughter. “Stop talking so I can get this done.”

He grinned as he fiddled with the sound system. The Rolling Stones’ “Midnight Rambler” came through the speakers. His fingers tapping on the steering wheel, Ethan moved to the beat. Her lips twitched, and she struggled to focus on typing up the release. When he started singing, she started laughing.

“Hey, I’ve been told I have a good voice.”

“No, it’s not that. I like the Stones, too. We finally found something we agree on.”

“There’s hope for us yet, cupcake.”

The smile she gave him was forced. Once Jimmy was behind bars and Ethan won the election, their marriage would be over. A fluttery sensation in her stomach distracted her, and she gasped. It was stronger than before.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s the baby. She’s moving. Here.” Skye took his hand and placed it on her stomach. When there wasn’t any movement a few minutes later, she said. “Sorry, looks like she got her exercise for the day.”

“Never know, he might do it again.” Her husband’s hand felt heavy and warm and far too good where it was. He glanced at her, his thumb moving in a slow up-and-down caress.

“Maybe,” she agreed, her voice breathy, but then she realized what he said. “Peanut’s a she.”

“Peanut?” His lips twitched. “I thought it was Willow.”

“It was, but I like Peanut better. And don’t try to distract me. Our baby’s a girl.”

“A boy. But Peanut works.” He returned his hand to the steering wheel. “I’ve got to stop for gas. You need anything?”

“You should buy a hybrid.”

He gave her a look and turned up the radio, singing as he pulled into the station. Skye was about to roll her eyes when she felt the now-familiar movement. “She kicked again. I think you like your daddy’s voice, don’t you, Peanut?”

Pulling up beside the tanks, Ethan took off his seat belt. But instead of getting out, he placed a hand on her upper thigh and leaned over, bringing his mouth to her stomach. He started to sing one of Skye’s favorite songs, “Wild Horses.” She pressed her lips together to hold back a moan. She really needed to think before she spoke.

“Do you feel anything?” he asked, turning his head to look up at her. Skye swallowed and croaked, “No.”

His eyes darkened, and he brushed his lips over her stomach, the muscles clenching in response. “You sure?” he asked, his voice a seductive rasp.

About Debbie Mason

Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, an adorable grandbaby, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.
You can learn more at:
AuthorDebbieMason.com
Twitter @AuthorDebMason

MISTLETOE ON MAIN STREET by Olivia Miles

Briar Creek’s quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of–for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father’s death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter’s night. Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life? Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it’s time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.

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Excerpt:

When he glanced over at her, she was staring into the fireplace, the dancing flames painting a warm glow on her porcelain complexion. Her eyes looked flat and far away.

“Everything okay?” Doubt ate at him, leaving him with the twisting feeling of dread. Had she changed her mind about staying in town?

“I was just thinking of how things played out between us, the effects they had on everything else. I—I wish I had handled it differently. I wish that I had been able to come back here.”

He swallowed the knot in his throat, refusing to feel any more guilt. She was a big girl, she had made her choice. Besides, she had been the one to leave him first. She had set all this in motion.

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past few days, it’s that regret is the worst type of emotion.” He met her eyes. “You can’t change the past, Grace, and you have to tell yourself that everything that happened led us to this moment.”

“This moment?” she repeated.

He held her gaze, managing a nod.

“You’re right, I know.” She gave a sad smile. “I miss my father sometimes. I wish I could have seen him more often than his visits to New York. I wish…I’d never left.”

Luke leaned over and tucked a strand of her hair back from her face, his fingertips tracing the smooth silk of her neck. Arousal burned deep inside him, and his pulse quickened. He reached over and took her wineglass from her hands, setting it on the coffee table. She stared into his eyes, expectation parting her mouth. He met her lips with his, their contact so light it was almost imperceptible, save the shiver that zipped down his spine at the sensation.

He grazed her mouth, slowly bringing her full lips to his. His hand came around her slim waist, his fingers warming at the softness of her sweater, itching to slide the material away and experience the even softer skin beneath.

She sighed into him and he parted her lips with his tongue, slowly lacing his tongue with hers and then pulling away to gaze into her eyes. The green of her irises shone in the firelight, the flames reflecting in the flecks of gold around her pupils. She lowered her eyes, smiling shyly, and her long, black lashes dusted the apples of her cheeks. He leaned in again as arousal burned deep and pressed her into his chest. He could feel every curve of her body as her ripe, firm breasts rose and fell with heavy breaths. He lowered his hand, caressing her waist, her hips, and then higher, to trace the contours of her breast and the swanlike arch of her neck. He kissed her lips, her neck, her ear, breathing deep into her skin, memorizing every taste of her skin, every touch.

The buzzing from the timer on the oven stirred his attention from her, and he groaned. He pulled away, throwing her a bashful grin. “We’re being chaperoned,” he said.

About Olivia Miles

Olivia Miles is a Chicago-based romance writer. Having grown up in New England, Olivia attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before settling in Chicago where she lives with her husband, their daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.
When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.
For more information on Olivia Miles, you can find her at:
http://oliviamilesbooks.com/
Twitter: @MsOliviaMiles
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorOliviaMiles

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24. 31 Days of Halloween: Menton3 and 44Flood

monocyte cover1b 31 Days of Halloween: Menton3 and 44Flood

Fall is in the air, bringing a crisp step and the crunch of leaves under foot, and the inevitable—perhaps inescapable—presence of Pumpkin Spice everything all around us! Yes, it’s time for 31 Days of Halloween, The Beat’s annual tribute to our MOST FAVORITEST TIME OF YEAR. And let’s get things going with probably the most obvious link possible…but I have ever written about painter/cartoonist/musician Menton3 on The Beat before so here goes!

Based in Chicago, Menton3—aka Menton J Matthews III—is a painter of atmospheric and disturbing images. While you can find a lot of his work at his website, he’s probably best known these days as a partner in 44Flood, a publishing company that has teamed with IDW to put out art books and comics. Along with fellow artists Kasra Ghanbari, Ben Templesmith and Nick Idell, 44Flood has put out Tome, an artbook which was mostly Kickstarted, Templesmith’s The Squidder, the comic Monocyte, which you see on this page, and Libretto, an anthology of eerieness centering on vampirism. A new volume of Tome is on its way or already here (I couldn’t find a lot of solid news about the bunch.)

Collectively they also do a thing called Monster Mondays, available on the 44Flood webstore, but I’m warning once you start poking around there you’re gonna want to buy something from Menton, Templesmith, Jonathan Wayshack or any number of talented spooky colleagues.

Yep, Halloween is on its way.

Rebis Blur pic 31 Days of Halloween: Menton3 and 44Flood page6 31 Days of Halloween: Menton3 and 44Flood

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25. 31 Days of Halloween: Under the Apple Tree by Sarah Winifred Searle

utat 31 Days of Halloween: Under the Apple Tree by Sarah Winifred Searle

Want to read a 96 graphic novel about a young woman and a time travelling ghost for FREE? You can read about the making of the book at the  Under the Apple Tree webpage and download it here.  Cartoonist Sarah Winifred Searle created it as part of a Children’s Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library. here’s the logline:

When sixteen year old Rosie and her mother leave the Boston suburbs and move to a little tourist town in Maine, she is understandably upset. Unfortunately for her, rural life turns out to be more exciting than expected. A bit too exciting, actually.

Rosie must deal with a fate forced upon her by events nearly a century past: she needs to solve the mystery behind the Civil War era soldier who haunts her new home. “Discover the truth,” he pleads, “so I may rest.” Plagued by strange dreams, she digs into the past and discovers secrets about the town. Her mission hits obstacles, however, as she struggles to make friends, find independence, and make it to graduation.

A little mystery, a little magic, a little New England…yep, Halloween is on its way.

 

1 Comments on 31 Days of Halloween: Under the Apple Tree by Sarah Winifred Searle, last added: 10/2/2014
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