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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: giveaway, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,166
1. Atlantia by Ally Condie Giveaway

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About the Book: Rio lives Below in Atlantia. Since the Divide, Below in Atlantia is the safest place to be. The intricate water system of tunnels and habitats makes a safe environment for the surviving humans. But Rio longs to go Above.

After the death of their mother, Rio promises her twin sister Bay she will stay Below and they can be together. But when Bay unexpectedly chooses to leave for Above, Rio is left to figure out just why Bay left. With a dangerous mentor in her aunt, Rio tries to uncover what happened to her mother and tries to formulate a plan to escape through the complex system of Atlantia to Above.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: It's hard to describe Atlantia. It's a little bit dystopian,  an underwater world setting, a story about sirens, and a little bit of mystery. It's a book that has a lot going on!

The main part of the story focuses on Rio, who is trying to find a way out of Atlantia and escape to Above where she longs to be. Things are unveiled slowly throughout about Rio's gift as a siren and as to how and why the Divide occurred and how Atlantia was formed. If you're a reader who wants all the information up front, you're going to have to be patient because things are uncovered bit by bit. Hints are dropped throughout and things mentioned and then layers are added to the story to slowly answer the questions Rio and the reader have.

Rio is a siren, as is her aunt and sirens are one of the miracles of Atlantia. I really liked the siren lore and aspects of the novel and it was unique without feeling like a paranormal. I think even readers who typically shy away from novels with magical creatures would find these sirens to be engaging and very human.

The plot is interesting and the story is engaging, but it does have a bit of a slower pace, which might surprise some readers, especially fans of Matched. The writing is rich and detailed though and Atlantia is an interesting world to uncover.

The great thing about Atlantia is that it's a stand alone novel-yay! Don't worry about having to commit to a series-it's all right here in one book.

Would you like to win a copy of Atlantia? One lucky reader will receive a signed copy thanks to Penguin Books for Young Readers! Leave a comment below to enter.

-One entry per person
-Contest ends 10/28
-US Address only Please
-Age 13+

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2. Weekly Boomerang Books LIKE, SHARE AND ANSWER TO WIN Competition: Win a SIGNED copy of Through The Seaons by Annabel Langbein

Win a SIGNED copy of Through The Seasons by Annabel Langbein To Win: 1) Like this Post on Facebook, Favourite on Twitter or +1 on Google+ 2) Share this Post on Facebook, Retweet or share on Google+ 3) Be an active member of Boomerang Books (sign up here and get a $5 credit) 4) Tell […]

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3. super interview & super book giveaway

It’s my treat to welcome children’s book author and illustrator Deb Pilutti. Deb and I recently traveled to and from the SCBWI fall conference on Mackinac Island. The many miles spent on Michigan highways gave me a chance to get to know Deb better. She’s a peach. (Well, not literally. But that would make her literary abilities all the more extraordinary, now wouldn’t it?) I know you’re going to enjoy getting to know her as much as I did. And so, my Frog on a Dime friends, meet my friend Deb Pilutti . . .

Deb Pilutti

Deb Pilutti

So, Deb, when did you know you wanted to become a children’s writer?

Let’s just say I was a little dense, so it took me awhile. The signs were there. When I was younger, I loved reading more than anything. A blank book was my most prized possession. I once had Leo Lionni as a design instructor in a college workshop and I was giddy to meet him because Little Blue and Little Yellow was one of my favorite books as a child. But still, I never saw writing and illustrating for children as an option. It wasn’t until I realized I was hoarding my own children’s books, and not sharing that it was something I wanted to do.

What is it about writing for children that appeals to you versus writing for adults?

Being silly.

What’s the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said to you related to your work?

Early on, I submitted a manuscript to an editor. She said it wasn’t right for her, but that she liked the illustrations and thought that I was a good writer and invited me to submit to her again. I was not very confident about my writing at that point, so it was exactly what needed to hear.

What advise would you give to someone who has been pursuing publication for a long time, with close calls, but no contracts?

Of course, I would say to keep trying. The fact that the person has come close means that they are on the right track. But I would also recommend doing something a little different to push yourself even more. It could be devoting more time to writing, or attend a conference or workshop or online class. A few years ago, this was the case for me. I decided to spend more time writing, which meant turning down some freelance opportunities. I also spent a couple of weekends at a writing retreat with some friends.

By Deb Pilutti Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt

By Deb Pilutti
Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt

What would you like to share about your NEW book–details! details!

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero is published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt is a story  about the day in the life of a Lava Boy and his superhero toy, Captain Magma.

Lava Boy is making up the rules as he and Captain Magma go along – always in the spirit of superhero play. The rules are about being super from a child’s perspective, as in “Rule No. 2: Saving the Day is messy. But everyone understands,” or “Rule No. 5: Sometimes, Superheroes make a lot of noise.” At times, the action on the page is at odds with the rule.

I had so much fun making this book! And plenty of practice too, as I have spent an incredible amount of hours (A LOT) discussing the merits of various superhero powers with my children over the years. I particularly liked painting the spreads with Lava Boy’s toys in various states of distress. I am drawn to awkward, retro toys.

And for the super-super serious portion of our interview—let’s say your moral compass went missing. What make/model of car would you steal and why?

An old Ford pick up truck from the early 60s. And while my moral compass is missing, I’d nab a really great pair of vintage cowboy boots to go with it.

Good answer! Let’s try another one–on the assumption we could find a phone booth somewhere (a museum perhaps), who is the children’s author or illustrator you’d most like to be trapped inside with?

Maira Kalman. First of all, she seems like an incredibly interesting person and I would love to chat with her. She finds beauty and poignancy in the absurd, and I think she would find it in the phone booth. Plus, I would hope we would laugh a lot.

Feeling brave? How about naming three things we’d be surprised to learn about you.

I can only think of odd things – oh well. I talk to myself a lot. I have a collection of Star Trek figurines on my desk and I have an irrational aversion to using a salad fork.

Hey, I didn’t know you were a Trekkie. Thank you so much for stopping by, Deb. Best wishes to you on your super new book!

_____________________________________________

Want to WIN YOUR VERY OWN COPY of Ten Rules of Being of Superhero?

Between now and Noon on Friday, October 24, leave a comment and answer this question–Who is your superhero?

_____________________________________________
//

Deb Pilutti feels lucky to have a job where reading, playing with toys and
watching cartoons is considered “research”. She lives in Ann Arbor,
Michigan with her husband,two kids and one nervous border collie. Deb has
worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, creating toys and products
for children and is the author and illustrator of TEN RULES OF BEING A
SUPERHERO (Ottaviano/Holt) and BEAR AND SQUIRREL ARE FRIENDS (Simon &
Schuster), which will be published in 2015. Additionally, she illustrated
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN MICHIGAN and wrote THE CITY KID AND THE
SUBURB KID (both with Sterling).

 

And now, in honor of our special guest,  and in keeping with my quote-closing tradition, we’ll close with one of Deb’s favorite quotes . . .

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. ~ Pablo Picasso

 

 


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4. Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden

Here’s an awesome giveaway that I wanted to share. You can win a Kindle Fire, as well as a ton of other goodies!  Kimberley Griffiths Little is celebrating the release of her historical novel FORBIDDEN with a giveaway!  Check it out!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

 

 

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES:

(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB — choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)

2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson

3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White

4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt

5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf

6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)

7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings

8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)

9. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)

10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards

11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

The post Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Make art, celebrate video games, win a book!

Joey Spiotto contest

Joey Spiotto, the illustrator of Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, has got a kid-friendly, art-loving, videogame-celebrating book giveaway going on.

He’s taking contest entries via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I understand that I’m disqualified, but you may know someone eligible — maybe even a classroom or library full of eligible someones…

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6. Guest Post & Giveaway: Kimberley Griffiths Little on The Power of Story & Our Brains

By Kimberley Griffiths Little
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

When I was young I read a book a day.

I always had a book with me, whether it was inside my desk when I was done with the class assignment, or in the car as the family drove somewhere (and especially long trips), the waiting room of the dentist office, or while sitting in church when I didn’t understand the sermon. A book was literally the best friend I carried in my pocket.

I lived inside those stories. I became the main character. I laughed, I wept, and sometimes I sobbed into my pillow.

The writing bug bit me early and I started scribbling very bad stories when I was 9-10 years old—hoping that someday I might create some of the magic of books myself, just as my favorite authors did.

Now, when I go into schools I like to spend a few minutes talking about that book magic. I tell them;

“When we open up a book there are all these little black marks on a white page. Just a bunch of black marks. And yet, as we decipher those funny black marks they become words and sentences. They turn into a story. And that story comes alive in your head, in your imagination.

"Those black marks let us slip inside the skin of the main character and suddenly we are in their mind, thinking their thoughts, feeling their feelings, going places, having adventures, solving mysteries, or getting into trouble. And often those bunches of black marks make our heart pound, our throat ache, and our emotions run the gamut from one end of the spectrum to the other. I call that magic!"

Now we’re finding out that scientific researchers are studying people’s brain activity while reading. They are discovering that novels go beyond simulating reality to giving readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings.

Exactly!

A favorite of Kimberley at age 14.
In a 2006 study published in the journal NeuroImage, researchers in Spain asked participants to read words with strong odor associations, along with neutral words, while their brains were being scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

When subjects looked at the Spanish words for “perfume” and “coffee,” their primary olfactory cortex (sense of smell to us common folk) lit up; when they saw the words that mean “chair” and “key,” this region remained dark.

The way the brain handles metaphors has also received extensive study; some scientists have contended that figures of speech like “a rough day” are so familiar that they are treated simply as words and no more. But when people read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active.

Metaphors like “The singer had a velvet voice” and “He had leathery hands” roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like “The singer had a pleasing voice” and “He had strong hands,” did not.

Researchers have discovered that words describing motion also stimulate regions of the brain distinct from language-processing areas.

In a study in France, the brains of participants were scanned as they read sentences like “John grasped the object” and “Pablo kicked the ball.” The scans revealed activity in the motor cortex, which coordinates the body’s movements.

What’s more, this activity was concentrated in one part of the motor cortex when the movement described was arm-related and in another part when the movement concerned the leg.

Visit Kimberley at Spellbinders!
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.

I find that simply fascinating!

The novel is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.

Reading is an exercise that hones our real-life social skills, another body of research suggests. Dr. Oatley and Dr. Mar, in collaboration with several other scientists, reported in two studies, published in 2006 and 2009, that individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective.

This relationship persisted even after the researchers accounted for the possibility that more empathetic individuals might prefer reading novels. A 2010 study by Dr. Mar found a similar result in preschool-age children: the more stories they had read to them, the keener their theory of mind.

So now I call reading a “Virtual Reality Experience”.

A story about the amazing Richard Peck:

At one of the very first writer’s conferences I attended (about 20 years ago!) in Santa Fe, New Mexico; we were privileged to hear the Newbery-winning writer Richard Peck.

At the time he had not yet won the Newbery, but had published a body of young adult novels that had been on piles of award-winning book lists. He was mesmerizing and full of wisdom, speaking of his childhood and learning how to read at his mother’s knee.

I will never forget something Richard Peck said that day: He said, “Books are better than real life.”

Obviously my fifth grade teacher did not understand this when he wrote a letter home to my parents and told them that he was concerned about me because “Kimberley reads so constantly she’s not playing during recess, and I fear she might be losing touch with reality.”

Not to worry, Mr. Thiessen (a teacher I actually really liked and who read to us every day after lunch). I knew the difference, but I also knew that books were better than real life!

What is also significant is that my parents never breathed a word about that letter way back then. My mother didn’t mention it until many years later when I was married with children of my own.

As I wrote in the dedication of my book, The Last Snake Runner (Knopf, 2004):

This book is for my parents, who never turned out the light on reading: just took me to the library again.

I’m grateful for books and stories and parents who encouraged reading, which helped their extremely shy and awkward daughter with very few friends to create a meaningful life through books as she grew up and grew less shy and less awkward – although it took most of my life!

Now I get letters from adult and kids alike telling me about the power of my stories in their lives and how the stories helped them through family crises and sadness—or kept them up half the night turning the pages while chills ran down their arms.

I hope my brand new Scholastic novel, The Time of the Fireflies, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and gives you a good case of chills at midnight.

Cynsational Notes

Your Brain on Fiction by Annie Murphy Paul by The New York Times.

How Reading a Novel Can Improve the Brain by Lee Dye from ABC News.

 

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed hardcover copy of The Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Scholastic, 2014). Author sponsored. Eligibility: U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7. Kidlit Book Bundle Giveaway: Great Books for Girls!

Welcome to Jump Into a Book’s Three Months of Book Giveaways!

3 months of book giveaways

With the winter months upon us, I feel this is a great time for readers of all ages to snuggle in with a good book. I have been blessed with tons of amazing books titles for kids over these last few months and I want to get these books into the hands of young readers. SO, for the next three months Jump Into a Book will be hosting a book giveaway every Wednesday! Some giveaways will be a single title, some will be a “Book Bundle,” but all will be books that your readers will love and cherish. I think these books will also make great gifts as well!

This Book Bundle Giveaway includes three excellent chapter books that would appeal to girls (boys will love these books too!) and I’ve listed these books below. A few of them I’ve already done reviews on (I’ve included the links if that is the case) and the we’ve the requirements to enter-to-win short-n-sweet! Good luck!

ENTER TO WIN:
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Breadcrumbs

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it’s up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale of modern-day America, a dazzling ode to the power of fantasy, and a heartbreaking meditation on how growing up is as much a choice as it is something that happens to us.

In Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu tells, in her one-of-a-kind voice, a story that brings together fifty years of children’s literature in a tale as modern as it is timeless. Hazel’s journey to come to terms with her evolving friendship with Jack will deeply resonate with young readers. To read about JIAB’s review of Breadcrumbs with accompanying activities, go here.

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

maggie

As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it’s been! During this period she’s Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool-dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. To read about JIAB’s review of The Meaning of Maggie with accompanying activities, go here.
Father Daughter Tales from Barefoot Books

Father & Daughter Tales

A companion volume to “The Barefoot Book of Mother and Daughter Tales”, this anthology features ten thought-provoking stories, all of them showing the importance of the father-daughter bond, not only in traditional societies but also in the modern world.

Rules and Guidelines for the Giveaway!

*One lucky winner will win their own copy each of the three books listed above (ONE winner each receive a copy of Breadcrumbs,
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern and Father Daughter Tales from Barefoot Books).
*Giveaway begins October 15th and ends October 22th

• Prizing & samples courtesy of Audrey Press
• Giveaway open to US addresses only
• Residents of USA only please.
• Must be 18 years or older to enter
• One entry per household.
• Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
• Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
• Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 23rd

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Need gift ideas for the holidays? NOW AVAILABLE! The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook by Donna Ashton. Click the image below for more details and ordering information.

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

 

The post Kidlit Book Bundle Giveaway: Great Books for Girls! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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8. 5th Annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (Oct 15-31)



I don't do as many blog hops as I used to but I love doing this one. Don't forget to check out the other participants. This giveaway is international. Autographed copy is US & Canada only.




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Please visit the other participating blogs




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9. My Zombie Hamster - interview and giveaway

With Halloween just around the corner, it's a good time for a zombie book - even better yet - a free zombie book for a lucky winner.  Even if you don't win the book, you can enjoy my interview with Havelock McCreely, author of  the very funny, My Zombie Hamster

Havelock McCreely was kind enough to answer three questions for me.  Here goes ...


Three questions for Havelock McCreely, author of My Zombie Hamster:

1. I’m shocked that MS Word will highlight McCreely as a misspelled word, but not Havelock. Do you need three syllables, or can you get it done in two?
HM:    The name is Irish in origin, so the correct amount of syllables for authentic pronunciation is eight. (Or nine. It depends if you have all your own teeth or not.) But for our purposes, three will suffice.
2. I can find little about you on your “official” bio, other than “Teller of Tall Tales. Adventurer. Swordsman. Discoverer of the Fountain of Youth. Author of many great works, the latest of which is My Zombie Hamster.” Did your discovery of the Fountain of Youth pique your interest in longevity, thus inspiring your interest in zombies, or did another path bring you to zombies? I’ve drunk from your Fountain of Youth, by the way.  It tastes terrible. One does wonder though, what would be the effect of the Fountain of Youth on a zombie?
HM:    Many good questions there. My discovery of the fountain of youth is a story that would put Indiana Jones to shame. And perhaps it will one day be told. Many are the times I’ve thought about writing down my own adventures in a series of easy-to-read volumes aimed at the younger audience. Thrilling is not the word. Well, it’s one word. But there are many others. Exciting. Dangerous. Death-defying. Amazing. (For instance, there’s the time I took up with the traveling circus as they crossed the planes of Africa. This is where I saved one of my young protégés from a life of mind-numbing boredom cleaning up after hippogriffs. Then there’s the time I saved an entire city from the Witch King of Mallidar. And this is where I saved my second protégé. They booth accompanied me on my many adventures and were with me when I discovered the fabled city of Shangri-La (which lead directly to my discovery of the fountain of youth.) Perhaps someday these tales will be told. 
As to the taste, yes, I agree.  Like rusted metal filtered through an old sock in which cabbage has been boiled. It’s not pleasant. 
Finally, as to my discovery of the fountain possibly inspiring my interest in zombies, yes. You are indeed correct. The fountain was guarded by a village of zombies who had all drunk from the fountain. It brought back their minds and consciousness (but did not repair their bodies.) That was where I got the idea of my little twist on zombies.
3. And of course, the most important question, what will Anti-Snuffles do next?
HM:    Never fear, he will be back. I have recently put down my fountain pen and completed the second book in the series, Attack of the Zombie Clones. It features everything from the first book, but bigger, better, and undead-er. 

Thanks for being a good sport, and best wishes to you for continued success with My Zombie Hamster.



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10. Author & Illustrator Chat & Giveaway: Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen on Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Jon & Mac
By Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Mac: Hi, Jon!

Jon: Oh! Hi Mac!

Mac: And hello, Cynsations readers. We have taken over the blog today.

Jon: Yes.

Mac: We are using our power to just post this gchat we are having into the blog.

Jon: Great responsibility, etc.

Mac: On a lot of days, because writing and illustrating books is lonely, Jon and I have gchat conversations, either in text or with the audio link thing. I don’t really know what to call it, or even how to use it. Jon is the one who always has to call me.

Jon: There’s a country song in there somewhere.

Mac: Anyway, while we were making Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Candlewick, 2014), we were talking a lot.

Jon: Not so much anymore.

jk jk we still talk a lot.

Mac: Anyway, those conversations had a big impact on the book we were making, especially this spread right here:

See copyright information below.

Jon: Right. So here we have Sam and Dave, and their dog. This part of the book is about them missing these things in the ground that they are digging for, and they’ve just made an unfortunate turn, and are about to make another.

Mac: The joke is funnier in the book.

Jon: A little.

Mac: The Hard Sell.

Mac and John and their new release
Jon: In Stores Now.

Mac: Anyway, when Jon was doing sketches, we would already be on gchat talking about snacks and stuff, and then he would send the art over to me and we would talk about it.

Jon: Yes. This page and the next few pages started out as a visual joke that I liked, but wasn’t in the story that Mac had written.

Mac: Yeah, Jon sent me a picture where Sam and Dave split up and dig a circle around a big gem.

We can’t show you this picture—if you want to see it, you’ll have to stop reading Cynsations right now and head out to your independent bookstore, cash in hand. Hard sell.

Jon: Right. And I wasn’t even completely sold on it. I liked the joke, but I worried that Mac’s guys wouldn’t split up like this. They are good pals on a journey, and it seems like kind of a risky thing for them to choose to do.

Mac's dog, Henry
Mac: And when I saw the image, I laughed. It was beautiful and funny, but I didn’t think Sam and Dave would want to split up.

I think then Jon and I sat and stared at that image for a while. The only sound was the chewing of our snacks.

Jon: and the occasional slurp because i had a drink, also

Mac: And we talked about this question a lot—would Sam and Dave split up? We talked about it for the next couple of days.

Jon: with a few breaks for more snacks

Mac: and talking about snacks

Jon: comparing snacks

Mac: And then finally we realized that, yes, they would split up, but it would be a big deal for them—that our worry about the split was also their worry about the split, and so I wrote some new text to set up that image. And that’s the text you see here.

Dave, who tends to take the lead on this adventure, proposes the idea. Sam expresses trepidation. And Dave tries to reassure him. (But Dave is afraid too.)

Jon: Right. It was neat, because it shows them getting a little more committed to this thing, and willing to do things that make them uncomfortable, so the story kind of moved forward.

Jon's cat, Pigeon
Mac: I think you learn a lot about both boys in this spread. They’re vulnerable, especially Dave.

I love Jon’s art here. He’s so good at facial expressions, of course, but he’s also a master of posing. I love Dave’s hand on Sam's shoulder, that look in his eyes.

The art is telling you a lot about how the text should be read, as it should in a picture book.

Mac: (Cynsations readers might like to know that now Jon is just sitting, not writing anything, because he doesn’t know how to deal with compliments.)

Jon: i just broke out into a rash

Jon: It’s a fortunate end to have, illustrating a story like this, because the text gives all the emotion you could hope to have, and then if you put a guy very simply putting his arm on the other boy’s shoulder, you’re good to go.

I enjoy Mac’s praise, and will never discourage it, but these things are made much easier because the emotions are there and only need a really gentle implication in the picture.

Mac: Ultimately this ended up being one of my favorite spreads in the book—absolutely one of the most important—and it didn’t exist in the original manuscript.

We created the moment to support a drawing Jon just made up, which is on the next page, and which we’re not allowed to show you, so run don’t walk to your favorite bookstore and grab a copy of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole!

How was that for a big finish?

Jon: Thanks everybody! Come see us on tour! Bring snacks!



Cynsational Notes

SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE. Text copyright © 2014 by Mac Barnett. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Jon Klassen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Candlewick, 2014). Eligibility: North America. Publisher sponsored. From the promotional copy:

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. 

Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. 

Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

With perfect pacing, the multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humor.

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11. 10 Topic Choice Mentor Texts + 10 Book Giveaways

Do you have students who claim they don't know what to write about in their writer's notebooks? Here are 10 new picture books to inspire them to write.

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12. Giveaway: Uncovered (An Autumn Covarrubias Mystery) by S.X. Bradley

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Enter to win one of three signed paperback copies of Uncovered (An Autumn Covarrubias Mystery) by S.X. Bradley (Evernight, 2014). Author sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. only.

From the promotional copy:

Last year sixteen-year-old Autumn solved her sister’s murder. This year, she is part of a high school forensic dream team that assists the police when teens are kidnapped. 

When it’s discovered the kidnappings are part of a secret online survivor game, the police and team focus on the game maker-the man behind the game. 

The focus of the investigation shifts when Autumn is singled out and becomes the target of the Game Maker’s sick game. 

 Through encrypted messages hidden in steganographs, Autumn must discover who the last kidnapping victim is if she hopes to save him in time.

S.X. writes: "As a Mexican-American writer, I've very proud to continue Autumn's story. She's a smart, driven Hispanic teen that wants to make her own path in life. My hope is that young Latinas will draw inspiration from Autumn."


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13. The Girl from Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

{Guest post from Hannah Rials}
The Girl from Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson
Abbie Force has a mission: solve the mystery of her father’s accident and alleged theft. Since he has been in a coma for nine months and cannot defend himself, it is Abbie’s job to put the pieces together. Her life has been uprooted—her father’s unavailable; her home has been sold to a new family; she has to leave her beloved school; and now she has to live with her mean aunt and uncle that don’t give one lick about her. Her summer is starting off horribly. That is until she meets the new family that has moved into her old house with the same last name and a daughter near her age—Bee. These two adventurous girls become fast friends and on their many adventures through the plantation, discover a plot afoot right under their very noses.
The Girl from Felony Bay
After Abbie’s father’s accident, he was accused of stealing one of his client’s fortunes that only he and the client had access to. But Abbie knows that her father is innocent. When Abbie and Bee discover that Felony Bay, a bay that used to belong to Abbie’s family has been sold separately from the rest of the plantation. The town’s rude sheriff won’t let the girls anywhere near the bay. They come to the conclusion that somehow, the mystery of Felony Bay and Mr. Force’s accident are somehow related. But here’s the problem: how do two twelve-year-old girls solve a mystery of this magnitude? They don’t drive; they live outside of town. Plus, who is going to tell them anything about anything? Help Abbie and Bee discover the mystery of Felony Bay and clear Mr. Force’s good name…and maybe you’ll find the Felony Bay treasure.
The Girl from Felony Bay is an exciting young reader’s novel filled with friendship, action, and mystery. Abbie discovers the power of a good friend, the ability to forgive and see past people’s differences, and her own power of solving huge mysteries. The characters are funny and relatable, and Grandma Em’s food is so mouth watering, I just want to jump right into Felony Bay myself.
SOMETHING TO DO:
Treasure Hunt
map
What you’ll need for a treasure hunt:
-Treasure, obviously (maybe a snack, some old jewelry, a toy your child’s been eyeing)
-Several copies of your treasure map
What to do:
  • Bury your treasure somewhere on your property
  • Invite a group of friends over and distribute your treasure maps
  • The first to the treasure wins!
Homemade horse treats for Abbie’s horse Timmy
Well naturally, you can always give a horse a good apple, carrot, sugar cube, and even sometimes a peppermint. But if you want to get a little artsy with your horse treats, try this recipe:
Oat Cookies:
Mix 1 cup uncooked oats, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons oil, and ¼ cup molasses.
—Make small balls on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
More Horse Treat info HERE.
Grandma Em’s Tomato and Mozzarella Salad 
What You’ll Need:
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • Slice Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Basil
Directions:
1. With a large serving dish, alternate tomato slices and mozzarella slices
2. Mix olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over tomato and mozzarella
3. Top with chopped basil
If you enjoyed this mystery, you might also enjoy….

GIVEWAY!

One lucky winner will win their own copy of The Girl from Felony Bay!
Giveaway
ONE winner each receive a copy of The Girl From Felony Bay. Giveaway begins October 8th and ends October 14th
• Prizing & samples courtesy of Audrey Press
• Giveaway open to US addresses only
• Residents of USA only please.
• Must be 18 years or older to enter
• One entry per household.
• Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
• Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
• Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 15th

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The post The Girl from Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson Book Review and GIVEAWAY! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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14. Guest Post & Giveaway: Mary Losure on Aloft on a Broomstick: Making the Leap from Nonfiction to Fiction

By Mary Losure
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Years ago, when I was wheeling my groceries out to the car at sunset, I looked up and imagined witches silhouetted against the pink and gold sky.

The moment grew into my first novel, the story of two young witches on a journey to the human world.

Please don’t ask me how many drafts it took.

I was a journalist when I began, and I knew I could write nonfiction. I wasn’t so sure about fiction. Years and more years went by until at last my witches found a wonderful editor, Julie Amper of Holiday House. With her guidance, Backwards Moon (Holiday House, 2014) took flight.

I’m thrilled! Fiction is fun, like flying your very own broomstick, and I loved imagining a world where the fate of all of Witchkind hung in the balance. And besides, an author’s novels get to live together, in a cozy, easily findable group in the library or bookstore. They aren’t banished to literary gulags like Folklore or Juvenile Biography and arranged by subject the way my nonfiction books (The Fairy Ring (Candlewick, 2012) and Wild Boy (Candlewick, 2013)) are.

Still, I love writing nonfiction. And I wish more children’s book authors would give it a try.

I think it’s a kind of mental food (call it vegetables, if you like. Fruit. Whole wheat bread…) that’s good for the writer’s brain. And it can teach you things about the craft of both kinds of writing.

Just as fiction does, a work of nonfiction can have suspense, rising action, a climax, and an ending inherent in the beginning: a narrative arc just like a novel’s. But you have to recognize that arc in the material you have—you can’t make it up. And I think that teaches you to think more deeply about what a plot is, and about the many possibilities that are open to you as a writer.

Often, a nonfiction plot doesn’t tie itself up nicely. The real boy who is the hero of Wild Boy never learns to talk, never escapes back into the wild to live happily ever after.

In fiction, you could make that happen. But would that necessarily be the best possible plot?

They say the first requirement for being a writer is to read—and the detective work of digging a story from historical records requires you to read very widely, following clues from one book to the next.

Often, you’ll find yourself reading books (not to mention letters, papers, and diaries) you never would otherwise, finding astonishing bits of life that you could never have made up. All this is food for the writer’s brain.

One more thing about nonfiction–it’s in great demand right now. Agents are hungry for innovative, creative-but-still-true narrative nonfiction.

I know my agent was looking for new kinds of nonfiction; that’s how he came to represent my work, and how my entire writing life turned around.

Now I’m thrilled to be published in both genres, and plan to keep writing in both.

I just need to finish reading this stack of books, grab my broomstick, and go.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win one of three ARCs of Backwards Moon by Mary Losure (Holiday House). Peek:

Two young witches, Bracken and Nettle, venture outside their mountain valley and find a world that’s always been hidden from them–our world.
An unabashed fantasy for magic-loving children ages 7-10. 



Publisher sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. only.

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15. Rooms by Lauren Oliver: interview + giveaway

I was sold on this book by two things: the words “Lauren Oliver” and the idea of ghost POVs. Rooms by Lauren Oliver is a slow, secretive book that intertwines the lives of the dead and the living, and yet its tone is, in turns, contemplative, chilling, and in the end, nearly unbearably sad. If you’ve read the author’s previous young adult or middle grade novels, you probably know that a supernatural book by this author is not going to be your typical ghost story, and it’s a pleasure to find that the author’s first adult novel is sure-footed and clear-eyed. Not all transitions from YA to adult (and vice versa) feel as natural as this, but the author handles adult themes and language and structure with ease. It also has surprising moments of lightness and humor–although Rooms is certainly about death and its aftermath, it is also about life... Read more »

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16. In the Limelight with Fantasy Author: Carol Browne...

I want to thank and welcome fantastic fantasy author, Carol Browne for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Carol’s book The Exile of Elidel is the first book of a trilogy and can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores. Bonus: Stay tuned for a chance to win an ecopy of The Exile of Elidel at the end of this post. So let’s get this interview started…

How long have you been writing, Carol?

I started scribbling when I was about seven years old. From that point on I always wanted to be a ‘proper’ writer. It was a very long time before I achieved that goal – we’re talking nearly five decades!

I feel you, Carol. It sounds like we’ve been on the same path. Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Exile of Elindel?

In 1976, I was listening to a jukebox in an English pub when Mike Oldfield’s In Dulci Jubilo came on. The music conjured up an image in my mind of two fantasy characters who seemed to be nearing the end of some kind of quest. I felt compelled to write their story and find out who they were and what was going to happen to them. I set them in Dark Age Britainbecause Anglo-Saxon had been part of the English degree I had just completed at University and the era appealed to me. I felt I was going with these characters on their adventure, watching as they collected back stories and companions along the way.

What sets The Exile of Elindel apart from other books/series in the same genre?

I have to confess to not being a great reader of the sword-and-sorcery type of fantasy genre, so there’s little I can compare mine with. I like to think my elves are a bit different, though. They’re vegetarians and they talk to animals and have tremendous reverence for nature. They would definitely join the Green party if they were around today!

I also like to add humour to lighten the mood. Too much angst and jeopardy can get very tedious. I mixed up the genres a little too. In Book II there is an element of sci-fi as well as fantasy, while in Book III there’s a good dollop of horror. I’ve added some light romance as well; so something for everyone!

You’ve certainly thought of everyone, Carol! As a fantasy author, what is your writing process?

I write my first draft in longhand and have all my notes and research Blu-tacked to the walls of the room where I work. Once I commit myself to writing something, it is with me all the time so I take a pen and paper out with me in case I get any fresh ideas. I have a housekeeping job and frequently have to stop to jot something down. I hate it when characters start talking to each other in my head. I have to say ‘Shut up! I can’t write all that down now.” It’s infuriating that I can’t set aside regular time slots for writing. I guess I’ll have to hang on till I retire.

Seems like you’re always prepared when your characters come a-calling! How long did it take for you to start and finish The Exile of Elindel?

That’s a difficult question! I can’t remember that far back. (Those files have been deleted!) I do remember the first draft being ENORMOUS. It rambled on forever; more padding than a king-size duvet. I wrote it in the summer of 1977 and spent the next thirty-odd years lugging it around in suitcases, storing it in attics, taking it out to rewrite it and submit to publishers, putting it back in the attic.

Thirty years? Now that’s dedication! Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, Carol?

Use your own original voice and ideas. Don’t try to be the next Tolkein.

Brilliant advice! Everyone is unique in their own way. So, what’s next for Carol Browne the author?

The rest of the trilogy will be out next year: Book II, Gateway to Elvendom, in March and Book III, Wyrd’s End, in December – as long as everything goes smoothly with the editing process. Meanwhile, I’m nearing the end of my work in progress, a paranormal thriller. I recently wrote myself into a corner with this one and so lost a few days while I worked things out. I have discovered over the years that if you are stuck with a plot or character, there’s always a solution, but it might have to simmer away in the old brain pan for a while before it bobs to the surface.

It sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

If I could go back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and somehow make sure the Saxons won instead of the Normans, I would. But let’s be realistic! I have always admired Horatio, Lord Nelson, and I love those old ships of the line. (I stood on board HMS Victory myself during a visit to the Naval Dockyards in Portsmouth a few years ago, and it is a day I will never forget). If I could, I’d like to go back to the time of the Napoleonic Wars and meet Nelson. I’d love to know if he was as charismatic as everyone said he was.

Thank you very much for having me on your blog, Sharon. I did enjoy the experience!

BLURB:
 
Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.
Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.
A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.
When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.
There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?

BIO:

Carol Browne first appeared on the planet in 1954. She regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky, when she’s not writing fiction, Carol spends her time as a housekeeper, proofreader, and ghost writer in order to pay the bills. Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

BUY LINKS:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolBrowne
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@CarolABrowne


ENTER TO WIN: Carol has her magical elfin hat cleaned out and rearing to go. All you have to do is leave a comment along with your contact information, and Carol with add your name into the hat for a chance to win an ecopy of The Exile of Elindel. You have until midnight EST Monday, October 6th2014 to submit your comment, and then POOF— the magical elfin hat picks the winner! Good luck, everyone!

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17. Halloween Thrills & Chills: box of horror giveaway + Jonathan Stroud interview

Fall is in the air, and we’re celebrating by hosting a Halloween Thrills and Chills event! Some of our favorite blog friends will present fantastic guest posts and interviews by three Disney Hyperion authors with books releasing this year, including Mary: The Summoning‘s Hillary Monahan, Welcome to the Dark House‘s Laurie Faria Stolarz, and The Whispering Skull‘s Jonathan Stroud. Check out the full tour schedule below, and be sure to enter the giveaway at the very end for a box of horror books that will be delivered to you in time for Halloween reading! We’re kicking off the event tour with Jonathan Stroud, author of the The Bartimaeus Sequence and many other novels. His second book in his Lockwood and Co. series just came out, and if you like the idea of coolly competent young British ghosthunters with a Sherlock-type vibe, you’ll certainly enjoy this series. I love how the... Read more »

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18. 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.

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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

Giveaway

Win a  set of all the books included in the blitz!   US/CAN addresses only, please.

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19. Giveaway: Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance!


When I first saw the cover of Frances Dean Who Loves to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif, I knew it was a picture book I wanted to get my hands on. And when I finally did, I wasn't disappointed. The cover, which I loved from the start, doesn't even do justice to the illustrations inside. Created in muted tones with pencil and digital coloring, they are truly gorgeous! 

Dedicated "to all those who live with all their heart," Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance is a child's journey of overcoming inhibitions to be herself and do what she loves, no matter whom might be watching. 

Frances Dean loves to dance. In fact, she loves to dance AND dance (as the title of the book implies.) She especially loves to dance outside, where she can feel the wind and hear the birds around her, as long as no one is watching. But with the help of her animal friends and another little girl with a big talent, Frances slowly but surely overcomes her self-consciousness. In fact, by the end of the book, she loves to dance and dance AND dance!


Overcoming inhibitions to pursue your passion is an important life lesson, and one that often takes years and years to learn. I still remember when I was in college, covering up my computer screen any time someone came in the room, for fear that he or she might read what I was writing. Now, many years later, I'm willing to show my writing to just about anyone, eager for feedback and comfortable with criticism. But boy did it take a long time. 

Little Frances Dean, having already overcome similar fears, is well on her way to a happy and healthy life. Although Frances Dean's passion is dance, her story is universal and could be applied to other passions such as music, art, and sports. I hope she can inspire lots of other little girls and boys to follow in her footsteps!

I'm giving away a copy of Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance! Simply leave a comment on this post to enter. Feel free to share your passion, or share a story about overcoming your inhibitions, in your comment. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. 

You can learn more about author/illustrator Birgitta Sif at http://www.birgittasif.com or in a recent interview with her at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. And finally, thanks to Random House for sending me a review copy of this book. I ended up buying my own copy as well, so receiving the review copy allowed me to host this giveaway. 

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20. The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson - and a Giveaway

First, I have a winner to announce from the LUG giveaway. Drum roll please............ 

The winner is.......


SUZANNE WARR



Congratulations, Suzanne! Look for a message from me asking for your mailing address. 


*   *   *   *   *


Today's MMGM features another debut novel. And it's the debut of our own Jessica Lawson! 

For other MMGM posts, look for the links on Shannon Messenger's blog.






Jessica Lawson from her website







The Actual &Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno  (for ages  8 to 12, Simon & Schuster, July 2014)

Source: purchased from B&N

Synopsis (from the book jacket): Becky Thatcher is sick and tired of that tattletale Tom Sawyer following her around! Becky is determined to have her own adventures, just like she promised her brother, Jon, before he died. When she joins the boys at school in a bet to steal from the Widow Douglas, the rumored town witch, Becky recruits her best friend Amy Lawrence to join her in a night of mischief. And that's when the real adventure begins.

Why I recommend it: What a fun read! This is one of those delightful stories you could easily read over and over again, especially if you're eleven or twelve. You don't have to be familiar with Tom Sawyer or Sam Clemens, but it helps. This is a smart, funny book, and best of all, it features one of the strongest female protagonists I've encountered this year. Or in a lot of years. The sassy and tomboyish Becky is a joy to get to know. You'll have a great time tagging along as she searches for adventure, escaped convicts, and maybe even treasure.



What MG novel could you read over and over again? Tell me in the comments.



Now for the GIVEAWAY details:


My very own hardcover copy (*hugs book*) is staying right here in my house, but the author herself has generously offered a FREE hardcover copy for one lucky winner, who will be chosen by randomizer. This giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only. To enter, you must be a follower and you must leave a comment on this post. If you tweet about the giveaway or mention on facebook or your own blog, I'll give you extra entries, but please include the links. Thanks! This giveaway ends at 10 pm EDT on Friday Oct 3, 2014 and the winner will be announced on Monday Oct 6.


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21. Guest Post & Giveaway: Mari Mancusi on When the Problem Is The Market, Not the Manuscript

By Mari Mancusi
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Ten years ago, when I began my publishing journey, I was under the assumption that if you wrote it (and it was good) it would sell.

Sell to a New York publisher.

Be stocked at Barnes and Noble and (sniff!) Borders.

Be discovered by readers.

Happily ever after, the end.

And it certainly seemed that way when my tween YA time travel novel, The Camelot Code, sold to Dutton/Penguin at auction in 2007. It was a sweet two-book deal and the editor was very excited about the project.

The gist was this: a teen King Arthur ends up in our world, Googles himself and finds out his true destiny, then decides he’d rather play football than pull the sword from the stone. And it’s up to our intrepid 21st century heroine, Sophie, to get him back in time before history is changed forever.

All was going well, until through a series of events, a change was made. The editor asked if I would do the second book in the contract first—as it seemed more “timely” – (and, of course, a time travel novel is supposedly timeless).

So I did—writing Gamer Girl instead. And when that was finished I went back to my precious Camelot Code, excited to finally finish it and get it out there at last.

But at that point, a year and a half after the original deal was made, the YA market had changed. Publishers had realized there were profits to be made on the so-called crossover audience (i.e. the adult readers) and YA started growing up—growing edgier and darker and deeper. And when my editor read my version of The Camelot Code, she realized she could not publish this book as it was and asked for a major revision.

To make matters worse, as I was revising, my editor moved houses. Then Dutton was reorganized into a boutique imprint that put out only a few titles a year. Many of the current authors were sent to Dial to finish out their contracts.

Me and my ill-fitting book, however, were dumped.

“No problem!” I said at the time. “I’ll just sell it to someone else!” Certainly a novel that sold at auction the first time would have some takers the second time around.

But I was wrong. No one wanted it. Everyone said, “It’s not middle grade, it’s not young adult. We don’t have a place for this book in our line.”

With Cory Putnam Oakes & Christina Soontornvat at Lindsey Lane's launch.
I refused to give up at first—scouring the Internet for YA publishers I might not have heard of and forwarding their names to my agent. To her credit, she was intrepid, sending out manuscript after manuscript, long after I’m sure she gave up on the book.

But the rejections still came in. Each one a knife, twisting in my gut. The worst part, I think, was that I knew it was a good book.

The problem was the market. No one was buying light, funny, tween. They wanted the next Hunger Games. And I was not going to sell this book by sheer force of will.

I felt like a failure. I felt like I’d wasted years of my life. I lost faith in the publishing world and I felt adrift in my career. If a book I felt so strongly about couldn’t sell, what made me think I could ever master this publishing thing? Yes, in the meantime, I was selling other books to other publishers, but The Camelot Code remained a big Excalibur in my side.

Then one day my husband took me aside. He brushed away my tears and reminded me of all the good The Camelot Code had brought me. The original advance money had allowed me to move to New York City, a lifelong dream, and the place I met him.

When the manuscript was rejected by my editor and I realized I wasn’t getting paid, I ended up moving in with him to save money, bringing us closer than ever.

And eventually, out of this cursed book, came the most precious blessing of all. My three-year-old daughter Avalon. Imagine—an entire human being—on this planet—all because of a publishing deal gone south. Of course I had to give her an Arthurian-inspired name, right?

Publishing can be a brutal industry. But roses can still grow in the cracks in the pavement. And it’s important for authors to look at the big picture. To remember that sometimes it’s just timing or trends or an editor having a bad day—not a reflection of the quality of your book.

Sometimes good books just don’t fit the mold.

And we can’t let that break us or cause us to lose faith in our work and ourselves.

Now, seven years after the original sale, I’ve decided to self publish The Camelot Code. To make it available to readers for the very first time. And who knows, maybe New York is right—maybe there’s no market for this tween book and I won’t sell a single copy.

But maybe they’re wrong. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to find out. That, in and of itself, feels like a bit of a happy ending.

Deanna Roy, Mari & Sam Bond chat Alternative Publishing Options with Austin SCBWI.

About The Camelot Code

The Camelot Code is available in print or digital formats on all major platforms, including Overdrive for libraries and Ingram. It is age-appropriate for 10+.

To purchase, see paperback at Amazon, paperback at Barnes and Noble, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, and Overdrive

All fourteen-year-old gamer girl Sophie Sawyer wants to do is defeat Morgan Le Fay in her favorite Arthurian videogame. She has no idea the secret code sent via text message is actually a magical spell that will send her back in time to meet up with a real life King Arthur instead.

Of course Arthur's not king yet--he hasn't pulled the sword from the stone--and he has no idea of his illustrious destiny.

And when a twist of fate sends him forward in time--to modern day high school--history is suddenly in jeopardy.

Even more so when Arthur Googles himself and realizes what lies in store for him if he returns to his own time--and decides he'd rather try out for the football team instead.

Now Sophie and her best friend Stuart find themselves in a race against time--forced to use their 21st century wits to keep history on track, battle a real-life version of their favorite videogame villain, and get the once and future king back where he belongs. Or the world, as they know it, may no longer exist.

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22. Teaser and Giveaway: Ruining Mr. Perfect by Marie Harte

This morning I have a special treat! I have an excerpt from Marie Harte’s Ruining Mr Perfect, as well as an awesome giveaway! 

IT’S NOT EASY BEING RIGHT

Vanessa Campbell is a CPA by day and a perfectionist by night. She’s fit, successful…and decidedly lonely. She can’t stop thinking about the youngest McCauley brother, Cameron. He’s just like her: smart, attractive, and usually right—except when dealing with her.

BUT SOMEONE’S GOT TO DO IT

Cameron McCauley likes Vanessa a little too much. She’s a blond goddess with a razor-sharp tongue. She hates to be wrong, just like him. But she can hold a grudge and is stubborn to a fault—also like him.

A past disagreement has them rubbing each other the wrong way. Cam is dying to shake Vanessa up—get her to let loose. But if he succeeds, can his heart handle it?

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit www.marieharte.com and fall in love.

An Excerpt

How she’d ever called him average with a straight face, she didn’t know. The man was her every fantasy made flesh. A great body, handsome face, and amazing mind. And God, he could kiss. As much as she wished she didn’t continually replay their embrace, she hadn’t forgotten that kiss at Christmas.

“Oh?” Damn, she sounded out of breath.

Cameron stalked her until she realized he’d backed her into a corner of the kitchen, away from the view from the hallway.

“Cameron?”

He planted his hands on either side of her on the counter. What the hell?

“The guys are on break while we order pizza. The crap kind from a chain.” He sighed. “What can you do?” He glanced at her popcorn and grinned. “Oh, that’s my favorite. Just a bit of oil and it pops up a storm.” He looked back at her mouth. “Great taste.” Pause. “I just came over to say what a good job you did being firm with Colin.”

“Ah, okay.”

He moved in closer.

“Cameron?” she squeaked on a whisper, for some odd reason not wanting the others to know he was here with her.

“Your lips are so red. So pretty. Do you wear lipstick?” He leaned in and kissed her before she could answer or even think to refuse.

Vanessa stood still, letting him control the kiss, his lips soft yet firm, his tongue sipping then penetrating slowly. No rush, but a leisurely exploration that turned her knees to jelly.

He moaned low in his throat and deepened the kiss. Not enough to overpower her, but enough that she felt a raging lust to wrap her legs around him and hold on until the storm passed.

Instead she remained frozen, her hands gravitating to his waist, her mouth under his.

He eased back. His blue eyes looked cloudy, his lips slick from their kiss. He smiled, and the curl of that grin shook her foundation, made her want with a passion that shocked her.

“No lipstick.” He wiped a thumb across her lower lip. “See?”

“Yeah.” She unconsciously gripped his hips, and he shifted, putting his hard body flush against hers.

“I need to get back,” he said to her mouth.

“Yeah.”

“They’ll be waiting on me.”

She heard Colin’s laughter and Maddie’s creature-roar from the living room, and once again answered, “Yeah.”

Cameron kissed her again, and when he let go, she felt lightheaded.

Pre-Order Now:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/YuEjvW

BAM: http://bit.ly/XNlwet

B&N: http://bit.ly/YuEqrh

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1vmjvFg

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1skZooG

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1pMMCbH

Kobo: http://bit.ly/WOUP8r

About the author:

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.

Check out all of the teasers by visiting the following blogs! 

Visit From the TBR Pile http://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/ for tomorrow’s excerpt

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23. Win The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey!

I just read The Bloodbound by Ern Lindsey, and it’s a run, exciting read!  Here’s my review.  Want to win a copy? Just enter the giveaway below!

About the book:

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

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24. Spotlight and Giveaway: He’s So Fine by Jill Shalvis

Book Summary:

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It’s the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she’s rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she’s ever laid hands on.

 

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to “save” him. In fact, he’d like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He’s just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole’s heart, or will it be the end of Olivia’s days in little Lucky Harbor? 

Jill’s Bio:

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 about Jill at:
JillShalvis.com
Twitter @jillshalvis

Facebook.com/jillshalvis 

 

HE’S SO FINE is available in mass market paperback, ebook and audio book formats wherever books are sold

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1B0Lc5P

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25. Author Interview & Giveaway: T.A. Barron on Writing & the Atlantis Saga

By Greg Leitich Smith
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

T.A. Barron grew up in Colorado ranch country and traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the winner of the 2011 de Grummond Medallion for “lifetime contribution to the field of children’s and young adult literature” and many other awards.

T. A. Barron is the author of more than 25 highly acclaimed books, many of which are international bestsellers.

They include The Lost Years of Merlin (now being developed into a feature film), The Great Tree of Avalon (a New York Times bestselling series), The Ancient One (the tale of a brave girl and a magical tree), and The Hero’s Trail (nonfiction stories of courageous kids).

Though he’d dreamed as a young man of becoming a writer, he couldn’t find anyone to publish his first novel. He joined a business, eventually became president, then decided to try again.

So in 1990, he surprised his business partners by moving back to Colorado to become a writer and conservationist.

His novel Atlantis Rising (Philomel, 2014) was released in paperback last week.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline or just dive in?

Essentially, I write all the time, even when I’m traveling, going for a hike with my kids, baking, etc.

The creative process isn’t limited to the hours I spend in my writing chair in the attic of our house in Colorado. It happens on many levels when I’m immersed in a project.

I always write the first draft with a blue felt pen and a pad of paper, because that is a good creative chemistry for me. And I do lots of rewrites - as many as it takes to get it right!

Like a good stew, novels get better when you boil them down and integrate all the ingredients. Most of my novels take six or seven full rewrites and two years to finish.

What inspired the Atlantis series?

Learn more.
The legend of Atlantis has always intrigued me. No word evokes more of a feeling of tragedy than the word "Atlantis."

The tale of Atlantis is such a beautiful story, and for the 2000 years since Plato first wrote about it, people have wondered and dreamed about it.

But one thing that has never changed is that the island of Atlantis was utterly destroyed.

I started to wonder, though, about something else—how Atlantis began.

How did a place that rose to such a level of near perfection get destroyed by the flaws and weaknesses of its people?

Ultimately, how did that happen?

This big unknown question is what got me to write Atlantis Rising. I wanted to add a new thread to the tapestry of myth about Atlantis—how it all began, the secrets of its origins.

How did research for Atlantis compare with research for Merlin?

Good fantasy must be true.

I know that sounds contradictory, but I’m talking about truth on the deeper emotional and spiritual levels, not just on the factual level. Part of that authenticity is doing research.
Learn more.

For my Merlin Saga, I spent a whole year reading everything I could possibly find about the wizard Merlin – just to get a hint of his true character and voice.

Then came the fun of imagining that character as a young man – and even more basic, as a half-drowned boy who washed ashore with no memory at all.

For Atlantis, I did the same thing to understand the various interpretations of the Atlantean myth (and there are lots of them).

Then I began to re-imagine that myth, especially how it all began – what was at stake, who were the heroes and sources of evil, and what sacrifices and struggles happened to give birth to Atlantis.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Here are the essentials: Notice the world around you. Live your life and follow your dreams. Practice writing as often as you can. And importantly, don’t take rejection letters to heart!

Everyone gets them, even established writers. (My first novel got a great reception – 32 rejection letters and no interest whatsoever from any publishers.)

Rejections hurt, but they are just part of life.

The most important thing to remember is this: If you have something to say, and refuse to give up, you absolutely will find a way to say it and share it with others.

T.A. Barron's Writing Room -- Inside & Outside




Cynsational Notes & Screening Room

In 2000, T.A. Barron founded a national award to honor outstanding young people who help their communities or the environment: the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors 25 highly diverse, public-spirited kids each year. He recently produced a documentary film, "Dream Big," profiling seven winners of the Barron Prize.

When not writing or speaking, T. A. Barron serves on many boards including Princeton University, where he helped to create the Princeton Environmental Institute, and The Wilderness Society, which recently honored him with its highest award for conservation work. His favorite pastime is hiking, camping, or skiing in Colorado with his family.

A native of Chicago, interviewer Greg Leitich Smith now lives in Austin, Texas. His middle grade/tween novels include: the Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winning and Junior Library Guild Selection, Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo (Little Brown/IntoPrint); its companion Tofu and T.rex (Little Brown/IntoPrint); the Junior Library Guild Selection Chronal Engine (Clarion); and Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook). He holds degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and the University of Texas, and a degree in law from the University of Michigan. Find him @GLeitichSmith and  GregLSBlog.






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