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Results 16,801 - 16,825 of 238,074
16801. Lanzarote, Canary Islands by Margot Justes

Lanzarote is a volcanic island that dates back about 15 million years ago. Located on the African Coast it is uniquely part of Spain as are the other 6 Canary Islands, and yet border the African Continent. I only visited three.

You can tell immediately that it is a volcanic island, the terrain is pure black, and there is a crunch beneath your feet because you’re walking on tiny volcanic pebbles. This island has more than 300 volcanoes, and perfect weather year round, it is eco friendly and as a result it is a great tourist destination, it’s perfect for tourists looking for serenity and an unimaginable landscape.

The history is rich and goes back to Greek writers like Homer, Plato and Plutarch. The first known inhabitants were the cave dwellers Guanches who arrived somewhere in the 1st or 2nd century BC.  The first European visitor was Lanzarotto Marcello, who settled in the early 14th century. My guess is that is why the island is called Lanzarote. By the end of the 15thcentury, Spain had conquered all seven islands, and to this day they remain uniquely Spanish.

The first thing you notice is the black soil, the second is that all the houses are painted white, the doors and window trim must be either painted brown or green, or if you live by the sea blue. No other colors are allowed on the island.

There is only one high rise, or what is considered a high rise by locals-maybe 12 stories-rising like a lone needle from afar-they are no longer allowed to be build anything tall because of the possibility of volcanic eruptions. 

There is a magnificent cactus garden designed by a local resident and much beloved artist, Cesar Manrique. According to our guide, he is said to be the man who gave Lanzarote a future filled with potential and hope. The garden is designed in a quarry, it has the feel of a Roman theatre, surrounded by volcanic rock, iron gates, steps leading down, up, and long narrow passages, it is modern and totally captivating. It houses over 1000 species of cactus, along with a few of Manrique’s mobiles. The garden is truly breathtaking, modern, functional, so peaceful that you never want to leave.

There is a café on top with amazing views to the gardens below, and alongside the café a few steps down is a small gift shop. The coffee was delicious,
and the view from the cafe sublime. At the time that we were there the phone lines were down, and people couldn’t charge their purchases, they had some lovely books on the design and history of the garden. I have never seen a design like this before, it’s one of the most unique places I have visited-I took picture so I can share them with you.

The tour also included a visit to Cesar Manrique’s house, designed by him on 5 volcanic bubbles, basically big holes in the volcanic land. He used each bubble to create wonderful open spaces, sitting options, each one unique and vibrant. All were connected by narrow passages, painted a bright white.  He included a pool, small dance floor, sitting rooms, all were open to the environment, with plants, creative lamps, a magical place, he even had what would for us pass as a barbeque grill.

His own art collection is now part of the museum as well. He is much beloved in the area, and our tour guide pointed out several times that he was killed in a car accident, she even pointed to the exact spot on the roundabout, as we were heading to visit his home.

As an indirect result Lanzarote has a brand new highway system that is efficient and much safer. According to her there were many deaths on the old roads. There are no traffic lights but roundabouts are everywhere. It is a small community, deeply rooted to the volcanic earth, and Cesar Manrique helped bring that closeness about. Cesar Manrique was instrumental in making the people of Lanzarote aware of their unique and wondrous heritage.

We also visited an agricultural museum, El Patio. To call it a journey to the past would be perfect. The museum houses farming equipment that dates back to the 1840’s. We were treated to local goat cheese, green olives, homegrown tomatoes, along with crackers and the local wine. After which we fed the chickens, rooster and one peacock the leftovers, they patiently waited for us to finish.

A charming place, although I found the scarecrows dressed as the local old farmers, sitting in a dilapidated, run down old house that was dimly lit downright eerie.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks

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16802. ♦ ACL 2015 ♦ KidLit Community ♦ Our Peeps

ALL DUE RESPECT. A Dialogue about Diversity, Equity, and Creating Safe Spaces for All Youth. Friday, April 10, 2015. The keynote for the Association of Children's Librarians Institute is prolific children's book writer Jacqueline Woodson, and the... Read the rest of this post

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16803. Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop


May Contain Spoilers


This isn’t so much a review as a compilation of what I love about The Others series.  There are already a ton of reviews, so instead I’ll try my best to compel you to read Vision in Silver if you haven’t already.

The series just gets better and better.  I have enjoyed seeing how Meg’s introduction to the Lakeside Courtyard has changed the Others, and how they have changed her.  Meg is struggling to understand simple human interactions, since she was isolated by the Controller in her cell at the Compound and she wasn’t allowed to have normal socializations.  A prized belonging, she was valued for her skin, which when cut, causes her to prophesize.  Her man who controlled her made a fortune on her, paid for by Meg with her blood.  Once she was able to run away to the Courtyard, she finally found a measure of independence working as the Others’ Human Liaison.  Now she has to figure out how to survive outside of the Compound, where she finally has a choice over her own life.

Because Meg is addicted to the euphoria that overcomes her when she cuts, she constantly battles the urge to pull out her razor when she thinks there’s a danger to her new friends.  Meg is having a hard time tamping down the need to cut, but under the watchful gazes of the Others who inhabit the Courtyard, she is having some success with her addiction. Until she gives in to the urge and damages some of the relationships she’s worked so hard to develop.  When Meg first arrived at the Courtyard, the Others were indifferent to their new employee.  Sure, they found her amusing, but as her cheerful and caring personality slowly won them over, one by one, they all developed a need to protect her.  Witnessing her losing control of herself shakes the tough Nathan to the core, and I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to get past her lapse in judgment.  Nathan is a protector, so being forced to hurt Meg wounded him deeply.

When Meg first came to the Courtyard, Simon only thought of humans as meat.  Humans working in the Courtyard were off-limits, because I guess even the Others consider eating your employees bad manners, but otherwise, the annoying humans were prey.  By Vision in Silver, there are  two kinds of humans – cleaver meat and the members of Meg’s pack.  Simon, and many of the rest of the Others, realize that there will be advantages to having a pack of humans willing to work for the good of everyone.  With the growth of the Humans First and Last movement, it’s become even more important to have humans they can trust for business dealings with the humans.  As the violence against the Others escalates, Simon begins to wonder if a new type of Others will transform into Humans.  What a scary thought.  The Others are so powerful that the humans have no hope to win a war against them, but they are so arrogant that they don’t even know the many forms of their enemies.  There are older, frightening, and terribly powerful beings in the wild that think of the humans as fleas, and the only thing keeping them from wiping them out is Simon’s experiment in the Courtyard, where humans and Others live together.  I’m curious to see how long this tolerance will last, as the HFL movement continue to strike out at them, as well as betray other humans, all in the name of victory.

As Meg tries to find ways to cope with new situations, she is also given the task of helping the other cassandra sangue who were rescued in Murder of Crows cope with their new surroundings.  Some of the girls are unable to handle the sudden changes that have overwhelmed them, but one girl desperately grasps ahold of the idea of living.  She’s moved to a small settlement, where some Wolves are given guardianship of her.  She refuses to name herself, despite the Wolves urging.   She doesn’t need a name.   She’s uncertain of new surroundings, and thinks that she’s given up one form of captivity for another.  When Jackson gives her colored pencils at her timid request, she’s finally allowed to answer another call instead of cutting herself.  Through her art, her ability to see the future flourishes.  I love, love, loved her chapters, as she slowly, tentatively reached out and explored her new world.  Jackson is just as confused as she is, but he strives to help her settle in and feel more comfortable in her new home.  I got a little teary eyed when she finally gave herself a name.  I hope she has a larger role in the next book.

The emotional pull between Simon and Meg is the slowest burning romance.  Like – ever.  Neither one of them knows how to show their feelings, so they stumble along, trying to figure out just exactly what it is that they are feeling for each other.   Simon gets jealous when others give Meg the attention he wants to, and at the end of a long, hard day, all he wants to do is curl up with her, a movie, and a bowl of popcorn and decompress.  He’s fiercely protective of her, and she is just as protective of him.  There’s a lot of tap dancing here, because nothing between them makes sense to either of them.  You know that Simon is doomed, though, when he thinks of Meg and also thinks “Mine.”  How long before he connects the dots?  Because almost everyone in the Courtyard have already figured it out.

I usually don’t like reading books in a series one right after another.  No matter how talented the author, their writing style begins to grate after too many back to back books, and repeated phrases become distracting.  That did not happen with The Others.  Right after I finished one, I wanted to jump right into the next, and that’s the only bad part about reading a series that is incomplete.  It’s going to be a long, long wait until Marked in Flesh releases next year!

Grade:  A (or I want MOAR NOW!)

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Black Jewels Trilogy transports readers to a world of magic and political unrest—where the only chance at peace requires a deadly price…

The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

The post Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16804. Moira Swiatkowski – Illustrator Interview

While I haven’t managed to attend the SCBWI winter conference the past few years I have schmoozed and managed to be invited to several gatherings/parties. It was at one of these I first had the pleasure of meeting Moira. Aside … Continue reading

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16805. Award-winning children's author, visits #IWSG

I invite you to cruise on over to #IWSG and visit with me today as I chat about... "Book Festivals: A Must Have for Your Book Marketing Toolbox" at...


Thanks for your interest, I look forward to chatting with you, once I return from work!


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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16806. forward...botCH!

Welcome to Day 13 of our poetry challenge, a day likely to be full of mistakes, missteps, fails and disasters.  It's "botCH" day at the Forward...MarCH Poetry CHallenge, and I welcome all comers to write the most messed-up poem you can!

Here's what I've come up with:

Big and Little in the Woods

I am the boss!
Do it my way.
To get it right
you have to watch:

Stick with a crotch.
It has to be gray.
Not too light, and
it needs a notch.

Bend it. Now stop!
Turn it this way.
You pulled too tight!
The string is popped.

Now you’ve botched it!
You should have watched it.

But it’s okay.
Maybe I might
let you try mine.

What do you say?

HM 2015
all rights reserved

What projects are you botCHing today?  Can't wait to see!

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16807. Spotlight and Giveaway: Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford

Today we are pleased to sit down with John and Mary Bexley, the protagonists from Jane Ashford’s Married to a Perfect Stranger (March 2015). From February 23rd through March 20th the Bexleys will be answering questions about their relationship at each stop in their tour!

Who is your spouse’s most intimidating family member, of those you’ve met?

Mary: You’d think it would be his eldest brother, because he’s very opinionated. But actually it’s his mother.

John: Really? I choose Mary’s nephew Daniel. He appears to believe he is a wild animal.

Mary: It was just the one bone. And he’s not even two years old.

John: Precisely.

Title: Married to a Perfect Stranger

Author: Jane Ashford

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015

ISBN: 9781492601906

Time and distance have changed them both…

Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley marry to please their families and John immediately leaves on a two-year diplomatic mission. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other was wrong…

It’s disconcerting, irritating—and somehow all very exciting…

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. Her romances have been published all over the world. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.


John Bexley reined in his hired horse on a slight rise and gazed down at the red brick manor, somnolent under the August sun. Eager as he was to get to London, he’d felt he must detour west into Somerset to fetch Mary. Her family’s decision to put her under the care of a great-aunt while he was away just showed he was right to fear that such a shy, quiet girl couldn’t arrange a journey on her own. And now that he was here, the sight of this place soothed him; it looked the very essence of English country comfort and peace.

John’s knock was answered by an aged butler. He gave his name, stepped in, and inhaled the familiar scents of beeswax polish and potpourri. The place reminded him of his own home farther north. Golden light pooled on the wooden floor and gleamed on the stair rail. In the rooms on either side of the entry, the furnishings were classic and inviting. Mary had certainly had a beautiful and serene spot in which to wait for him. “Mary’s husband,” he added when it seemed as if the old man didn’t know what to do with him. “I believe I am expected.”

“Yes, si…”

A filthy, hysterical chicken shot through the rear door of the dining parlor on his left, skidded in a turn around the table, and raced past him, neck extended, screeching, flapping its mottled wings. A little boy slathered with mud came racing after it, careened off the doorjamb, and staggered across the entryway, leaving streaks and globs of dirt in his wake. The old butler stiffened in horror.

The bird hopped across a flowered sofa in the front parlor, stitching it with muddy tracks, circled the delicate carpet, and looped back toward John. The boy in pursuit slipped, fell, jumped up, and turned to follow. He flapped muddy hands at the fowl in an inept attempt to trap it.

What seemed like a herd of adults jostled into the dining parlor, then surged forward. “Arthur!” snapped a young woman, her voice crackling with authority.

“It isn’t my fault,” the boy shouted over the wild squawking. “I pulled her from the mire. Fox was after her. I never shot her or nothing.”

As the crazed chicken surged past him, John bent, reached, and snatched hold of its legs. When he straightened, he held the muddy bird upside down, at arm’s length, well away from his clothing. It flapped and protested; flakes of dirt dropped to the floor.

“Good!” said the managing female, striding from the dining room into the hall. “Take it from him, Alice, and put it outside at once.”

The middle-aged maid jumped to obey like a subaltern responding to a commanding general. The butler relaxed. The boy stood to attention. “It wasn’t me, I swear,” he repeated. “I rescued ’er. I killed three rats as well. Would have been four, but I…”

“Very well, Arthur,” the woman replied. “Go now and get cleaned up.”

The boy finally noticed the mud sliding from his clothes to the polished floor. His face shifted from defensive to horrified, and he slunk out. In the same moment, John realized that the woman with a voice like a sergeant major was his meek little sparrow of a wife.

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16808. cuckoo song


And the book that has been making me SO RESENTFUL at the rest of the world this week has been Frances Hardinge's Cuckoo Song. I've been working like the clappers on Pugs of the Frozen North and haven't had anytime to do anything practical, much less read or watch telly. But I stole very late hours of the night to read Cuckoo Song and was completely hooked.

The story's very dark; at the beginning the young narrator is trying to convince her family and the sister who hates her that she's perfectly sane, while she can see herself falling apart. What looks like a descent into hysteria comes with an intriguing twist to the tale, that turns it from an Edwardian story about a fragile girl into something much wilder and folkloric.

One of the things that struck me about Cuckoo Song was that it's a perfect gift for inspiring art student drawings. A girl with cobwebs leaking from her eyes, whose hair keeps turning into leaves, and who has bits of ribbon and Edwardian keepsakes peeking out of her unraveling seams. A tough but glamourous fast-living jazz woman named Violet with a hard bobbed haircut and a motorcycle, who's chased by frost and snow; wild tram rides over rooftops... it all begs to be drawn. I hope someone animates the book, it'd make a cracking good film. So A+ to Frances for conjuring up all these amazing images in words. She's a wonderful wordsmith. And I'm sure everyone at some point can relate to what the younger sister says, when she accuses her big sister: 'You're getting everything just a bit wrong. Everything. All the time. And sooner or later they'll notice.' Or with Violet, who just keeps moving, to avoid disaster.

Also, congrats to Frances for Cuckoo Song for being shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal yesterday. Yay! You can read a short Telegraph review or a longer Guardian review, but the longer one does slightly come with spoilers.

I partly wanted to read this book because I keep hearing amazing things about Frances's writing, but also because I keep running into her at book festivals and saying, 'I really must read your book'. And it was just getting silly, because I hadn't, but I'm so glad I DID! Now I must go and read all her other books. Oh, and also because she wears very fine hats, and I like a good hat.

Speaking of hats, I got this tweet from Shea Wong with a photo of a lovely thing her 4-year-old son had made. They'd used my guide for turning a pound-shop felt Easter bucket into a pillbox hat, and it looks ace!

So don't say you can't afford a good Easter hat, if there's a Poundland anywhere near you, heh heh. (I should have added that you can make it stay on if you attach a bit of thin elastic to go around the back of your head.)

And, see you soon, Ireland! I'm off to the Mountains to Sea book festival in Dun Laoghaire tomorrow (just outside Dublin) and I'm doing one Cakes in Space school event, and three public ones, including Cakes in Space with Reeve, a panel discussion on becoming a children's book writer or illustrator, and a family drawing and storytime for There's a Shark in the Bath. You can see all the events listed on my Events Page.

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16809. The Apple Watch and Content Marketing

Apple ‘officially’ launched its new product, the Apple Watch. While Apple isn’t the first to create and market a wearable computer, it is the company that is expected to take the market to a new level. The first to create and market a ‘computer’ watch was Google with its Android Wear technology. The site explains that the ‘watch’ “organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows

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16810. Would You Read It Wednesday # 166 - Freedom's Eve (PB) And The Continued Saga Of The Three-Way Tie

Long ago...

...in a galaxy far, far away...



A little overly dramatic?

You think?

Okay, well, how about:

Two weeks ago...

... er, right here in the exact same place where we are right now...

(but don't think that just because we're all still here in the same place we are couch potatoes, or joined at the hip to our computers, or that we haven't gotten up for two weeks because we are taking the writer's commandment of butt-in-chair far too seriously and no those are NOT potato chip crumbs in the cushions)


I think the second version inspires the same goods bumps of anticipation as the first, don't you?  And I feel sure it's only a matter of time before George Lucas/Lucasfilms/Disney produces the blockbuster hit Pitch Pick Wars :)

Anyway, there we were, voting out little hearts out, and lo and behold a three way tie resulted.  Quel horreur!  What to do?

Many of you suggested random.org... which I almost did... but it seemed so, well... random... and the pitch pick is supposed to be based on merit.

Others suggested voting between the three that were tied... but I felt bad for the 4th one who was the only one not in the tie, and I didn't want anyone to feel bad.

So here's the plan:

We shall have a new vote on all 4.

If by chance we get another tie, I'm giving the pitchers fair warning that it will go to random.org.

I'm hoping this is fair, and that you guys don't mind voting again too much.  I have a special treat to reward you with right after!  So ready, set, VOTE!

#1 Kirsten - Finley VS. The Fly PB ages 4-8

When a pesky fly fixes his eye on Finley’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the game is on. Armed with a magazine, vacuum cleaner, and sink sprayer, Finley is determined to deliver a final blow to the buzz. But when Finley serves up the final swat and the fly lands — splat — on the sandwich, Finley wonders whether he’s really won after all.

#2 Kathy - King Of The Boards PB ages 4-8 (formerly Son of Boogie)

Dean dreams of matching his father's expertise on the boards–skateboards, surf boards, snowboards - but his flip flops at Half Pipe Park, and he wipes out at the beach. Monstrous moguls and an ice storm stop him cold on the slopes. While chillin’ at the ski lodge, Dean discovers a different board he rocks- a game board. KING OF THE BOARDS is a 332 word picture book that champions perseverance and finding your own groove.

#3 Robyn - Barebones The Skeleton PB ages 4-8

When BAREBONES loses his click-clack, he has to find it before the sun goes down, or he'll lose his Halloween job. With a little help from his pumpkin friend, he searches through water and wind trying to uncover where he lost it. Where he finds it is truly a musical surprise. 

#4 Joanne - The Animal Crackers PB ages 3-6

Meet the newest member of The Animal CrackersElephant wants to join his animal friends' jazz band, but every time he tries his trunk at an instrument, it ends tragically. After destroyed drums, harmonica havoc, and a tuba torpedo, Elephant discovers he's had music in him all along: it's as plain as the trunk on his face. 

Please vote below for the one you feel most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta by Friday March 20 at 9 PM EDT (when we will all be enjoying the first day of spring!!!)
February 2015 Pitch Pick Redux
Today's pitcher requested "a supremely rich chocolatey dessert... With peanut butter... Ooh, and caramel bits" for her Something Chocolate.  I know she's feeling a little anxious, so I did my best!  Plus, I promised you all a reward for voting a second time!

So here is an assortment - a smorgasbord of chocolatey peanut buttery caramelly deliciousness!  I feel sure there's something here for every taste (except maybe those of you who have the misguided sense to eat fruit, yogurt, and/or granola for breakfast... but don't worry, we love you in spite of your weird taste in breakfast :))

For the cake lovers: Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
From Lemon Sugar - recipe HERE
From Lemon Sugar - recipe HERE

For the bar lovers: Peanut Butter Caramel Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bard
From Mom On Timeout - recipe HERE

For the bonbon lovers:  5 Ingredient Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Truffles
From Minimalist Baker - recipe HERE
(and these, believe it or not, are vegan and gluten-free, so really, health food :))
Thank you all for voting again - I hope you enjoy the treats! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Pamela who says, "I have a  love for reading and using music to increase descriptive language, which prompted me to create a music and literacy program called MyLMNOP (Language & Literature-Music-Naming-Oral language-Phonemic Awareness). Children love learning new vocabulary from books with beautiful, visual language. But I couldn’t find exactly what I needed. “I’ll write my own picture books, get them published this year (2005), and use them in my program.” Cut to 2012..writing courses (Making Picture Book Magic) webinars, retreats, and revisions of (fiction & nonfiction), poetry, and even Middle Grade drafts and I discovered it would take more than a year for me to meet my goal as writer extraordinaire. Thank you for helping me become a better writer."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Freedom's Eve
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Ten year old Eve-Lynn grumbles about her name and spending her last day of the year observing Watch Night, “In an old barn with a bunch of old relatives.” She comes face to face with her namesake, Lil’ Eve. Through the eyes of her 102 year old aunt, Eve-Lynn learns to appreciate the history of her name and the significance of Watch Night. A nighttime vigil honoring her people, who watched and waited for the dawn of freedom. The first Watch Night of December 31, 1862, known as Freedom’s Eve.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Pamela improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Pamela is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the phone conversation with the head of Lucasfilms/Disney which I feel sure will occur at any moment.

Oh!  Hey!  Is that the phone???  :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)

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16811. Writer Wednesday: What Revision Really Looks Like

I've come to the conclusion that I like to embarrass myself. Today I'm sharing a video of what revision really looks like…if you're me. Just an FYI, my daughter watched this and said, "You're putting that on YouTube?" while giving me a "Mom, you're so embarrassing" look. Then she must have had a change of heart because she laughed and said, "Let me know when it's up. I want to watch it again and again so I can laugh at you." She's such a confidence booster!

So, without further ado, here is what revision really looks like when you're me. While the video is short, just envision this repeating on an endless loop until I finish revising a book. ;)

Did this seem familiar to you? What does your revision process look like?

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16812. Bengal nun prayes …

Why … Why … Why … पश्चिम बंगाल की 72 वर्षीय नन के साथ जो जधन्य धटना धटी वो हतप्रभ कर गई उससे भी ज्यादा इस बात ने चौंका दिया कि नन उन आरोपियों के लिए माफी की प्रार्थना कर रही हैं. माना की यही भाव शायद उनके कोमल मृदु स्वभाव को दर्शाता है पर […]

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16813. Bagpipes

They’re mournful at a wake or when
A person’s laid to rest,
Yet there are those who say their sound
Is something to detest.

But line them up and hear them played
By marchers wearing kilts
And suddenly you see the green
And hear those Irish lilts.

Oh, it’s a joy to witness
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade
And watch the bands from every police
And fireman brigade.

The pipers always lead the way,
Their plaintive notes on high;
The green-clad crowd applauds
As all the marchers pass them by.

I wouldn’t want to listen
To a bagpipe every day,
But on the 17th of March, I’m glad
I get to hear them play.

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16814. Time Management Tuesday: Talk Less About Procrastination, Do More

Procrastinating on a Writing Project? Use the 300-Words Trick by Charlie Gilkey is short and sweet. He suggests a reason writers may procrastinate and gives three methods for dealing with it, so they can get right to work.

Reason for Procrastinating

Gilkey thinks many writers put off getting started with work because they don't think they'll be able to finish. I think procrastinating for writers comes about when they don't know what they're going to write next. (Maybe that's just me.) But we may be talking about the same thing. If you don't know what you're going to write next, you're sure going to have some questions about whether or not you're going to be able to finish.

The Gilkey Method of Dealing with Procrastination

  1. Make yourself write 300 words. This sounds similar to the old Swiss Cheese Method of time management. It's a way to get started, and no law says you have to stop.
  2. If you can't write 300 words of straight narrative, you can write something about your narrative. I would add that you can also make lists of things that could happen somewhere in your narrative. A list of dialogue, actions, and reactions, for instance. Why, I did that just this afternoon.
  3. And if you can't write 300 words of narrative or lists, you can write some commentary on the structure of what you're working on. Hmm. I think that would have to be 300 words on how I've put things together wrong and how I can fix it.
The reason techniques like this help? Procrastination is about not being able to start. Three hundred words is starting.

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16815. Adam Wallace Is ‘Accidentally Awesome!’

You may remember my ‘Awesome Author Interview with Adam Wallace’ from last year (if not, click the link!). Adam Wallace has had heaps of books published over the last 10 years, including the totally gross chapter book series ‘Better Out Than In’ and ‘Better Out Than In Number Twos’, the frightening ‘Pete McGee’ trilogy, the […]

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16816. Futuristic Cities

The other day my son had some of those blocks out — you know the ones that have cylinders and triangles and little bridges? He wanted to build a city, and as we stacked them I thought, “that looks like a city from the future,” and then I felt sad, because I used to believe in cities of the future, and now I’m pretty sure we’re all doomed. We’re running of fresh water, running out of breathable air, running out of sea creatures, and running out of rain forest. Our “cities of the future” are small tribes of people trying to eke food and water out of a planet than can no longer sustain human life.

Maybe it won’t be THAT bad, but one thing we’ll never recover is the zeal of the early 20th Century, when we thought we would just keep innovating and progressing and create this uberworld of modernity.

All of this went through my head in a split second.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

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16817. 50 States Against Bullying: ARKANSAS

The forty-sixth stop on my 50 States Against Bullying campaign was Arkansas. Their motto is Regnat Populus ("the people rule"), But a more accurate motto would be Regnat Razorback, because those piggies are everywhere, decorated in all sorts of designs.

There, I gave an NPR interview in the morning, then met up with local YA authors Kate Hart and Karen Akins for coffee, followed by a trip to the Clinton House Museum. I love getting few extra hours in a town to check out its history and culture. Every place has something! This museum is the house where Bill and Hillary Clinton first lived. In fact, they got married in the living room.

As a previous resident of this house, Mr. Swanson invented the chicken pot pie as we know and love it in this very kitchen! That American achievement is commemorated on the refrigerator, and that's why I think we should change the saying to "...as American as chicken pot pie."

From there, I drove to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I'm always amazed when I get to see an art piece I've seen in books or studied in school in real life. It almost feels unreal, like it must be a forgery. This museum's current exhibit is filled with such treasures, such as this one by Mark Rothko, which is called Orange and Yellow. (Someone should tell the gallery they hung it upside down.)

This sculpture by Emma Marie Cadwalader-Guild, Free, became even more powerful the more I walked around it.

A family favorite has always been Mary Cassatt.

Since my son loves When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden, I had to take pics of works by its two artistic inspirations, though they didn't have any of Picasso's cubist works on display.

That evening, I spoke at the Fayetteville Barnes and Noble.

The event was a fundraiser for the Arkansas Crisis Center. As I say in every speech, these organizations are one of the most beautiful things our society offers. Make you sure you know the ones in your area.

There were faculty members from Fayettevelle High School, where I would visit the next day, in attendance. But introducing me was Mayor Lioneld Jordan. I had never been introduced my a mayor before! I was quite excited (especially since, from what I read online, he seems like a cool dude), but when he presented me with a Key to the City? That. Was. AMAZING!!!

The next morning, I arrived at the high school for a meet-n-greet with faculty, as well as a chance to dip into some Dunkin' Donuts. Why were these donuts green? Because it's St. Patrick's Day, of course! (But on any other day, do not eat the green donuts. Let's just say, lesson learned.)

I spoke to the entire sophomore class, and these students provided me with some of the most touching moments of my entire career. The abundance of hugs after my presentation was beautiful, but some of the things they opened up about can do nothing but humble a guy and make him feel honored to have earned that trust simply by writing honestly. It's an honor I never take for granted and I will feel grateful for forever.

One of the most beautiful yet simple expressions of caring that I've seen involved two students who stuck around to share their experiences with me. While I was speaking with one, the other stood a few feet back but could hear what was being said. The second student finally spoke up. "I know we haven't been friends in a while, but you can always talk to me."

And that's what this has all been about.

Plus, a couple students went out the night before and bought rings for all three of us.

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It's been 7 years since Bobbee Bee started his journalistic journey in the animated world. He, however is not a cartoon character. He is more like a HOOD FIGURE.

Because during his artistic adventure, Bobbee Bee has landed in Archway Magazine, an magazine highlighting the achievement of Winston-Salem State Alumni as well as been interviewed by Afrika Perry of (102.1 JAMZ)in Greensboro, North Carolina,. plus by Cheryl Robinson host of Just About Books on Harabee Radio.

Bobbee Bee has even appeared on television on http://www.brandnewz.com/ with Christopher Martion, formerly known as PLAY from the Hip-hop group Kid-n-Play and now is the featured cartoon on the BLACK ATHLETE SPORTS NETWORK which appears every week on http://www.blackathlete.com/.

Along with these accomplishments, Bobbee Bee has even rubbed elbows with the "so-called intelletuals" in the academic world when he was invited to attend the 3rd Annual Black Counseling and Psycholist Conference at Howard University in Washington, DC along with an invitation to the 37th Annual Congressional Black Caucus as a Future Emerging Leader in Black American as well as the Annual Black Social Workers Conference in Houston, Texas and the Annual Juevnile Justice Institute Conference in Durham, North Carolina.

And, just recently, he appeared in his first full-length feature film, entitled, simply, "Bobbee Bee "The Hater" featuring William Isiah Shakur as Bobbee Bee, which also starred an all-star cast of friends and enemies, that premiered at James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville, North Carolina on September 21, 2013.

Due to his charismatic personality and LOVE for children, Bobbee Bee has also made several guest appearance at several local schools like Torchlight Academy (Raleigh, NC)Kenansville Elementary School (Career Day Celebration), Warsaw Elementary (Parent and Teacher Night), Greenevers Pre-school, Thelma-Gibbs Library (Wallace,NC)James Sprunt Community College, Warsaw Junior High School as well as James Kenan High School and with many more.

As a result, anybody who has seen Bobbee Bee LIVE must admit regardless of race, color or creed that his message is powerful and life-changing.

Matter of fact, here are some of the comments from several students who have seen Bobbee Bee's presentation and have read his books or cartoon.

"I think it was great. Trust me, that's a lot coming from me. Albert Carlten.

Well, I don't like it; I love it!! I had a good time and I enjoyed the book.

I was just like that boy in the story who loved to fight, didn't want to study and didn't like school.

I didn't like my mom and my dad but now I love them. Thank You. -John-
His presentation was educational and funny at the same time. I think he should give out copies of Bobbee Bee "The Hater" so students can read it. -Gloria M.Borja
Mr. Graham's presentation was good. It helped me to know that I need to make plans for the future and go to college. It also made me proud of who I am ... -Senita King-

Bobbee Bee is somewhat like me. But I guess that's life. It would be nice if you could come again. -Stacy Puckett-

You made us have fun with the program by dressing us up in different kinds of silly outfits. You also helped me personally see another side that I've never seen before. -Tavian Johnson- 

I learned alot from Mr. Graham. He is a good speaker. He made me realize I can be something in life. At first I was going to college just for sports but now I want to learn something in college and be something after college. -Sean Wilson-

We can't be ignorant for the rest of our lives . Your presentation seemed to stress that. -Ashua Quinn

I thought Mr.Graham's had a very good presentation. The way he presented his information was very professional and positive. He told us how to reflect positive images of ourselves. I learned alot and I appreciate the visit. -Rudy Ramirez-

Mr.Graham's sense of humor played a great role in his presentation. It seemed as if he brought the characters to life. -Iesha M. Frederick-

Mr. Graham's presentation was AWESOME. I loved the book and the way he let us play the roles. I loved the characters and the way he related their names to their problems. -Eric Sugg.

Your performance was so good that you should go national with the things you told us. It made a difference to hear what you said because I'm changing my lifestyle. You should get your own TV SHOW!! to spread the words you told us. -Jonathan Cherry aka "The Coach's Son"

Eric Graham is going to have a successful life if he continues to help children. Maribel Garcia-

If you want to learn more about Bobbee Bee and would like for him to appear at your school contact Eric D.Graham at lbiass34@yahoo.com or graham_34_99_2000@yahoo.com.

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101_2043In this crazy world, where on the nightly news, we, as parents, hear so many sad stories about school shootings, and school violence due to bullying, it's refreshing to know that some one, somewhere, is attempting to offer some solutions to these disturbing issues that children are encountering on a daily basis.

His techniques may not be "bulletproof."

And, his methods may be unorthodox.

However, no one, can deny his love for wanting to help children.


The creative mind behind Magnolia's favorite cartoon character Bobbee Bee "The Hater," which is a clever acronym that stands for H.is A.nger T.eaches E.verybody R.eality, is back to offer his serves to all schools, religious institutions and civic organizations with his "BACK TO SCHOOL WITH A NEW ATTITUTE" literacy program, which attempts to address certain issues our children maybe facing at home and at school.


Graham, who has performed, to near perfection, his educational and somewhat inspirational comedy "skit,"which is a big part of his literacy campaign, at least a hundred times over several years, which highlights his cartoon characters Bobbee Bee "The Hater," Fannie Four Eyes, The Gossip Girls, and Larry Long Legs, in front of many smiling children of all ages, which always seems to amaze teachers and staff, who usually watch nervously as he cautiously maneuvers through his hilarious routine, that covers issues like anger management, personal hygiene, self-esteem, character development, bullying and academic achievement

"I am not bragging, but I believe I have one of the best children's programs in the state, if not the country." said the independent filmmaker, who debuted his first feature film last year.

"I cover a lot of issues within a 30-minute time period, which many teachers can't address, because most of them have their "hands tied behind their backs" with trying to prepare their students for the EOG's (end of the grade) test."
With over 60 children's books written and illustrated, ready to be published, along with an Anti-Gang Anti-Bullying Curriculum (designed by his brother Terrence Graham), which comes with Tee-shirts and colorful posters, informative workshops,  a full-length feature film, which he wrote and directed, and a potential classic Hip-Hop album entitled Pocket Full of Ghetto, which is scheduled to be released this summer, the world "sits back" and waits for his next project.

So stay tune.

It should be a long Hot Summer.

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1. This is the 10th consecutive year Charlotte has hosted the annual Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament.

The city almost lost the event, which brings in tons of revenue, last year, but managed to negotiate a new contract to keep it here at least until 2020.

2. In the past, visitors in town for CIAA often complained of price-gouging at hotels. This year, the conference took care of that. "We contracted 90 percent of the rooms downtown and some on the outskirts so we could build our own housing program," says CIAA commissioner Jacqie McWilliams, "to get the best rates possible for the fans of this event, so it's consistent across the board."

3. Tournament game ticket prices have dropped from the last couple of years. "The CRVA is actually covering the expenses for the building costs, so we now don't have the [usual] operational costs" and are able to do some new things, McWilliams says.

Last year, upper level tickets for students were priced at $50. This year, anyone can get all-session upper level seats for $50. If center court is more your speed, those all-session ickets are $250.

4. From the conference's perspective, one of the biggest struggles has always been getting people to come to the actual games. When we spoke to McWilliams last week, she reported that they'd already sold more than $1.9 million in ticket revenue from the conference office alone, "which is significant." That's not counting what will be sold in the building this week.

5. Free alert! Formerly known as the Fan Experience, the Fan Fest now runs Thursday through Saturday instead of Friday through Sunday. "We reset that event to bring more energy for all those fans who are coming to town to go to the convention center," McWilliams says.

Ricky Smiley and Tom Joyner will host their morning shows on Thursday and Friday, respectively, and John P. Kee, Elle Varner and Jeremih are all scheduled to perform.

Doug E. Fresh - JEFF HAHNE                                                                                            
6. Fun Fact: In addition to performing at the CIAA Legends of Hip Hop Concert on Thursday night, Doug E. Fresh is slated to appear at at least 10 other parties this week.

7. The CIAA hosts an official day party for the second year in a row, thanks to a partnership with Coors Light. "There are a lot of day parties that have nothing to do with CIAA," McWilliams says. This one, hosted at Rooftop 210 at EpiCentre from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, isn't one of them.

8. Six hundred. That's how many pairs of shoes the CIAA, partnered with Coke Zero, plan to distribute to kids at Billingsville Elementary School in the first ever Shoes of Hope charity event.

9. When asked what's changed in the 10 years Charlotte has hosted the CIAA, McWilliams pointed to organizational structure. "The collaboration between the conference office and the city ... we have really joined hands in managing the direction of this event." She also talked of the important lesson she taught party promoters a few years ago of protecting one's trademark. Nowadays, event fliers don't say "CI," "CIAA" or "official" anymore. That's because the conference cracked down on that, hiring an attorney and sending out cease-and-desist letters to anyone who used their trademark without permission. "This tournament belongs to the CIAA and nobody else," McWilliams says.

10. Next year, locals, McWilliams could be living next door to you. The city of Charlotte contracted with the CIAA to move its headquarters here from Hampton, Virginia. McWilliams says they're currently looking at housing and office space and plan to be fully moved in by August 2016.

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16821. SF/F Categories

The genre of science fiction and fantasy has many subcategories.


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16822. Can You Smell What DC is Cooking?

Before I let you know what’s cooking, I’d like to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve done something I’ve always wanted to do and some of my fans have asked me to and that is to publish a boxset of the Billy and Monster books.The Billy and Monster Collection Included in this boxset are the first five books in the Billy and Monster series. They are:

Billy and the Monster who Loved to Fart

Billy and Monster: The Superhero with Fart Powers

Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

Billy and Monster’s New Neighbor Has a Secret

Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas

Over the weekend, I posted the cover you see to the right on my Facebook page and asked family, friends, authors and fans to let me know what they think. One recurring theme was that the grey color was a bit dull so I’ve asked my designer to change it to a brick red and I know that is really going to stand out. If you have any thoughts, I’d be interested to hear them.

I have to admit that the driving force behind me doing this boxset was because I wanted to covert it to an audiobook. I use a company called acx.com (an affiliate of Amazon) to do my audiobooks and will be working with a professional voice-over artist over the next month to give Billy and Monster a voice. Can’t wait to share that with you.

#BREAKINGNEWS You can actually get a copy of this boxset at the link below!

The Billy and Monster Collection

Thanks for all your support. It’s much appreciated.

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It's officially!! March Madness has begun, so get your brackets done, because it should be an exciting tournament, especially if the No.16 seed, Hampton Pirates, beat Manhattan, in the qualifying round, and  then, go on to defeat the No.1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats,  which would destroy their quest for a perfect season. 

With that said, Bobbee Bee "The Hater," your cartoons, favorite cartoon,  has prepared some cartoons for all of you Basketball lovers, especially after watching the recent ESPN 30-for-30 documentary-"I HATE CHRISTIAN LAETTNER!!" So, GET READY TO LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!

 1. Did you see the ESPN 30-30 documentary "I Hate Christian Laettner"?
YES. And, Brian Davis was angry like a woman scorned.  

2. After watching the documentary about Christian Laettner, do you think he is gay?
No. But, think former Duke basketball star Danny Ferry is....

3. Do you like Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari?
No. I think he is a dirty rat, who knows how to recruit.

4.Who do you hate more Bill Laimbeer, Dan Ferry, or Christian Laettner?
Bill Laimbeer!!! He was the original Bad Boy!! The Original Rude Boy!!

5. What's your opinion on freshman sensation Jahill Okafor?
He's so overrated. It's pathetic. I am not impressed at all.
6. Are you cheering for Duke or Carolina in the NCAA Tournament?
I am pulling for the Hampton Pirates. Besides, I don't like Carolina. Plus, I don't like the smell of DOO-KEY!!
7. Did you go to the 2015 CIAA Tournament?
Nope. I was in the bathroom, with the door locked, sitting on the toilet, reading some of my uncle's old Jet magazine. 

 8. Did you attend the annual Saviour's Day Convention this year?

Nope. But, I will always remember what T.H.E.M. said, which is: "Do For Self."

9. Are you going to watch the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight?
Man, I really don't want to see Mayweather fight Pacquiao. To be honest, I rather see DeMarcus Cousins box Charles Barkley for 3 rounds. (LOL) Now, that's some good television!!
10. Is Lebron James your favorite basketball player?
No. I hate Lebron James. But, I love James Harden. I know, it sounds weird. But, I dig the beard. BOSS!!!
Eric D.Graham is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies,  currently, is the Managing Editor  of  Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles  appear daily along with his controversial  cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at lbiass34@yahoo.com 

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16824. Giving Thanks for THE WHISPER

Today is the release day for The Whisper. I wrote the darn book, but you better believe I didn’t write it alone. It exists because of the many people who inspired it, helped create it, and supported it and The Riverman. Since the acknowledgements are buried at the end of the book, I thought I’d post them here. That way, even if you don’t read the thing, you’ll know who was essential to its very existence.

Second volumes in trilogies are notoriously tricky things. They often feel like they’re, for lack of a better term, all middle. When I wrote The Whisper, however, I focused on the new. My daughter Hannah arrived in the world as I was trying to figure out how to make a crazy, unwieldy sequel come together, and her beautiful, babbling presence inspired me to treat it as an origin story–not just of the Riverman and Aquavania, but also of Alistair and Charlie’s relationship and of Fiona’s reluctant journey into adulthood. I wanted to show why the first volume was told the way it was told, and I wanted readers to anticipate the third volume with a fresh perspective on events. If I achieved that goal, I certainly didn’t do it alone. The following people guided and encouraged me along the way:

Joy Peskin was the first person who read The Whisper and she infused it with her brilliance and a healthy dose of confidence and clarity, which is what all books need. Therefore, in my humble opinion, she should edit all books. I’m not sure she has the time, though. Maybe with Angie Chen’s help she can do it. Actually, together, they definitely can.

Michael Bourret, the man I’m honored to call my agent, continued to trust me, advise me, and keep me sane through the entire publishing process. Why? It’s because he’s a sorcerer. Everyone at Dystel & Goderich, including Lauren Abramo, dabbles in sorcery, actually. How else would they understand these byzantine contracts and represent such an awe-inspiring group of authors?

Beth Clark had an even trickier job designing this book than she did with the first volume, considering all the multiple narratives and their unique appearances. Did she pull it off? Come on! Of course she did.

Yelena Bryksenkova created yet another stunning cover that I’m sure people will tell me is stunning, when they really should be telling her. Now they have no excuse. Tell her: yelenabryksenkova.com

Mary Van Akin has been an advocate like no other. She’s tireless and talented and you better watch out, because she will make you read this book. Perhaps she already did, by handing you the copy you’re holding right now. If so, thank her and the rest of the gang at Macmillan Kids for me.

Kate Hurley and Karla Reganold have taught me a lot about writing with their essential copy edits. I would look like a fool without them. I really wood (sic).

Some other authors read The Riverman and said some amazingly kind things about it. Jack Gantos was the first, and I’m still flabbergasted that his words graced the cover of volume one. Following in his sizable wake were Kurtis Scaletta, Laurel Snyder, Nova Ren Suma, Bryan Bliss, Steve Brezenoff, Kelly Barnhill, Kim Baker, Stephanie Kuehn, Kate Milford, Robin Wasserman, Jeff Kay, Laura Marx Fitzgerald, Stephanie Bodeen, Dan Poblocki, and many others I’m sure I’m forgetting. I hope they read this book too. And I hope you read their books, because they are better books than this one.

All the bloggers, librarians, teachers, journalists, booksellers, festival organizers and fans who have reached out to me and helped me share my stories, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Probably pursue a career in break dancing, which would be unwise.

Finally, thank you to my family. To Jim, Gwenn, Pete and the extended Wells and Evans clans. To all the Amundsens and Starmers out there. To Tim, Toril, Dave, Jacob and Will, because this is a story of siblings and kids. And to Mom and Dad, the finest and most caring creators I know.

Finally, Cate and Hannah, you inspire me every day, and I love you dearly. Now put down this book and let’s go get into some more adventures together!

This is what is printed in the book, but there are so many people who I forgot, as well as people who came on the scene after this was written, like Claudia Howard at Recorded Books, who produced the audio version, and Graham Halstead, who provided the voice for Alistair. Not to mention all the other loud mouths and online advocates for The Riverman and The Whisper, including Angie Manfredi, Alex Dawson, Betsy Bird, Caitlin Luce Baker, Matthew Winner, Beth Panageotou, Brooks Sherman, Alex London, Mary G. Thompson, Michael Northrop, J.A. White, Nikki Loftin, Andrew Karre, Sarah LaPolla, Sean Ferrell, Jordan Brown, Laura Ruby, Josh Berk, Ted Sanders, Claire Legrand, Clay McLeod Chapman, Justina Ireland, Barry Goldblatt, John Zeleznik, Jonathan Wlodarski, Mark Bobrosky, Sylvie Shaffer, John Farrier, James Riley, Sarah Hawkins Miduski, Julie Faltko, Colten Hibbs, Jean Giardina, Dana Langer, Joshua Whiting, Marcy Beller Paul, Susannah Richards, Travis Jonker, Lindsay Currie, Victoria Coe, Rebecca Zarazan Dunn, Tara Dairman, Shelley Moore Thomas, Edith Cohn, Stephanie McKinley, Donalyn Miller, John Schu, Colby Sharp, Katherine Sokolowski, Kellie DuBay Gillis, Carrie Gelson, Colleen Graves, Jenna Krambeck, Judi Evans, Stacy Dillon, Michael Specks, Chris Dexter, Chrystal Ocean, Jenn Estepp, Julie Jurgens, Beth Sanderson, Tracey Petrillo, Anthony Paull, Maria Selke, Ilse O’Brien, Marianne Knowles, Emily Toombs, Melanie Conklin, Niki Ohs Barnes, Dan Dooher, Mike Lewis, Jason Lewis, Kayla King, Joy Piedmont, and I’m forgetting others and of course I am sorry for that. But a nonillion thanks to everyone who has read and shared these books. You. Are. So. Cool.

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16825. 7th Annual Blog Bracket Challenge!!

It's mid-March, and you know what that means. Our 7th blog bracket challenge!!

Who is the greatest literary bracket prognosticator of them all?

We'll see. I didn't watch a single game of basketball this year, so you'd better watch out for my picks.

As always, the winner of the Blog Bracket challenge will win a query critique or other agreed-upon prize.

Will it be you?

Here's how to enter:

1. Go to the front page of the ESPN tournament challenge: http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/frontpage

2. Make your picks.

3. If you have an ESPN username and password from last year you can log in when you submit your picks, and you can also just click to rejoin the Bransford Blog Challenge. Otherwise you may need to create a new user ID and password. But don't worry, it's not onerous and you can decline to receive updates in case you're spam conscious.

4. Hover over the link that says "My Groups" and then click "Create or Join a Group"

5. Search for "Bransford Blog Challenge." Enter the password, which is "rhetorical" and then click Join Group.

Then you're all set! You can make changes to your bracket by clicking on it until it locks on Thursday (and yes, there are play-in games before then, but the bracket still doesn't lock until Thursday).

Good luck!!

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