Fans of the popular story-driven adventure game Adera know that its rich, complex world lends itself well to the amaszing adventures of heroine Jane Sinclaire. Now Jane has jumped from screen to page, in the new book, Adera: The Soul Stone. Here's why author R.H. Stavis thinks you'll love the book, whether or not you're a diehard fan of the game:
The Soul Stone follows antiquities expert Jane Sinclaire as she's thrust into a world of murder, adventure, and romance. Like many heroines of novels, she must face enemies, learn to trust, and potentially uncover new
Each world Jane is a part of is its own, meaning that the book follows Jane on one journey, and the game follows her on another. So, those readers who do not play games will still enjoy the intrigue, mystery, and romance of Jane and Hawk's adventure in the novel.
The Soul Stone is the first of many of Jane and Hawk's explorations across the globe. It's where they discover each other, and through that, a bit of themselves. There's so much in store in the future, but it all begins here, in Thailand. Join them as they meet, fight for their lives, and fall in love...
In the Soul Stone.
“Fly-fishing is a lifelong pursuit where one never actually perfects the skill but hopefully improves through time.”
To herald the publication of his suspenseful new Pickett novel, Breaking Point, I asked Box to tell us what he likes to do when he’s NOT writing the next Joe Pickett adventure.
When I’m not writing (or doing writing-like things) I’m fishing. Fly-fishing, to be more specific.
Sure, I do all the standard household stuff and engage in plenty of other outdoor pursuits – hunting, skiing, hiking, camping – but the older I get, the more my passion grows for fly-fishing. Thing is, I’m not sure I’m all that good at it and I don’t know if I ever will be. Like golf -- from what I understand – fly-fishing is a lifelong pursuit where one never actually perfects the skill but hopefully improves through time.
Fly-fishing, unlike the bait-fishing or spin-casting I used to do, is an active sport. There’s no sitting on a bank watching a bobber or trolling behind a boat. One must be completely in the game to read the water, select the right fly, and make a proper cast. You are of the water and the fish and the conditions, not just putting up with them. It is harder than fishing with spinning rods and I likely catch far fewer fish. But when I do, when I’m able to entice a big trout to take my fly and put up a fight, well, there is nothing quite like it.
Over the years, I’ve amassed a ridiculous – but not unusual among fly-fishers – amount of gear. Rods are like crack cocaine to a fly-fisherman, and I have dozens of them from willowy three-weights for small trout to fourteen-weight bruisers that can and have landed thirty-pound tuna and mahi-mahi in the ocean. I also have a drift boat and a raft for Rocky Mountain rivers. Best of all, my wife and I own a cabin on the bank of a river (and my own fishing pond) where I’ve been able to attain my life’s dream: never having to break down the rod and put it back in its case.Read more...
"You wouldn’t think that someone so much given to decapitation, evisceration, immolation and more casual forms of mayhem would harbor the soul of a romantic."
Today, legendary Outlander author Diana Gabaldon is here to sing the praises of George R.R. Martin and his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. If you haven’t heard of the books, you’re likely familiar with the blockbuster HBO series it inspired, Game of Thrones (watch now on NOOK). With the third season set to premiere on March 31, Gabaldon is here to tell all the non-epic fantasy readers why she loves George and his work so much, and hopefully inspire some of you to take a chance on this marvelous author.
1. What I like most about George is that he kisses his wife’s hand in public—and has been with the same woman for more than thirty years. You wouldn’t think that someone so much given to decapitation, evisceration, immolation and more casual forms of mayhem would harbor the soul of a romantic (nor would you expect the tender passion to flower in a man who wears a tugboat captain’s hat and suspenders with orange skulls on them)—but strong feeling is strong feeling, and you can’t evoke passion in readers without understanding what it is. And only a true romantic would be able to get readers to invest themselves emotionally in characters they know are going to die messily in the near future.
2. What I like next best about George is that he has a Tower of Books. An actual, multi-storeyed (with stairways and ladders) Tower of Books, attached to his house. Who dares say the printed word is dead, in George’s hearing?
3. The next thing I like about George is the completeness of his imagination. As one fan put it: “There's never a moment when you see through the writing, if you know what I mean. The closest analogy I can come up with is; a really good actor is one who when you see their work you see the character and not the actor.” As another eloquently said: “His is a world where you never see the wires, the fake facades, or a strange lack of numbers in the crowd shots.”
4. I like George’s generosity of spirit in encouraging new writers, both personally and by exposing their work to a wider audience by giving them a place in some of the anthologies he edits (with Gardner Dozois).
5. Good writing. The man’s an honest-to-goodness Good Writer, who does great dialogue, vivid description, and smooth, muscular prose. There are a lot of bestselling books that are horribly written, but have an interesting story, and there are a lot of beautifully written books that have very little story (these don’t tend to be best-sellers), but if you have someone who can bring to life the War of the Roses with dragons, while describing the movement of a character’s lips as being “like two worms f***ing,” (I did say “vivid description,” didn’t I?) you know you’ve encountered a unique literary voice.
"Raven came alive for me, and I will be very sad to see her go."
Lauren Oliver’s dystopian Delirium trilogy has won over teen readers—and many adults—with its blend of non-stop action and triumphant love. With the publication of the final book, Requiem, fans will tearfully say goodbye to their favorite richly-drawn and heroic characters..
We asked Lauren which character she’ll miss most, and why:
But as I began writing, I became increasingly drawn to Raven and her stark, black-and-white vision of the world; to the ways that she uses her political beliefs to justify deception and even cruelty; to the lies she tells not just to others, but to herself. She conceals uncertainty with displays of confidence and even arrogance; she rigorously represses her past and her history in an attempt to rewrite it. Maybe that’s why she appealed to me so strongly. I can very much relate to someone who tries to maintain order in a world that resists control. I can sympathize with someone who teeters on the edge of disaster, but refuses to fall.
I think I’ll miss her because I felt there was so much more to her story and her history that even I, as the writer, was only just touching. The best stories—and the best characters—are the ones that surprise even the writer, that begin to live and function on their own. Raven came alive for me, and I will be very sad to see her go.Read more...
The interactive 39 Clues series has been a huge hit with bright young readers, combining adventure, history, and danger all in one page-turning series. With today’s publication of Day of Doom, we asked author David Baldacci—known for his adult bestsellers—what attracted him to this fantastic kids' series.
I am thrilled to have written Day of Doom, the final book in The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers series for kids. Jumping on board the “39 Clues” Express was an easy decision. Millions of kids around the world have read and loved the books, and this was a terrific opportunity to stretch my creative wings and write for that audience. Kids today are very sophisticated; I enjoyed the challenge of writing to keep them engaged and spellbound. And working with Scholastic, which has showered the young reading world with terrific books, was definitely a plus.
The story also allowed me to showcase my interest in history. Setting part of the novel in history-filled Washington, D.C., and building into the plot one of America’s most prestigious museums, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where one can explore the country’s past, was an added bonus.
As the great writer William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In those few words, Faulkner made a startling, and in my mind correct, claim: that we are all connected somehow, no matter the time period. Our present day foreshadows to a great degree what will come next. So studying history is like getting the answer to an exam before you even take it, except that you aren’t cheating!
I’m looking forward to today’s publication of Day of Doom and especially to the webcast, Decoding History: A Virtual Field Trip to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, that will take place today, too. In the webcast, viewers will be escorted on a fun and fast trip through the museum by yours truly. I can promise that whatever your age, you will learn things you didn’t know and laugh at some of the things you will see. And our behind-the-scenes tour will make you want to take your own trip to the Museum.
Kids who’ve read one book or 100 will enjoy Day of Doom. Just remember: It’s not for the faint-hearted (he says, winking).Read more...
Today, he stops by the NOOK Blog to share three fascinating ways electric light changed life forever.
Tracing the spread of electric light in the decades after it left Edison’s laboratory, I found no aspect of American life that was not changed by a steady supply of strong, clean light. Surgeons and photographers, hunters and theater artists—all played a part in “inventing” the world of artificial light we now take for granted. In three ways, electric light changed life forever.
No heat, no smell: For all of human history, the hunger for light led people to accept some nasty side effects. Candles, oil lamps, and gaslight flickered, sucked oxygen from the air, overheated rooms and filled them with noxious gases. Gas lamps gave the best light with the worst consequences, spewing acids that corroded paint and fabric, and left many reeling with headaches. Edison’s bulb offered “pure light” at the turn of a switch, in lamps that did not need to be cleaned each day. Of course, as we now know, electric light keeps rooms clean but throws plenty of carbon soot into the atmosphere, another unintended consequence of our love for light.
The Endless Workday: When New England’s textile mill owners first tried to extend the workday by introducing oil lamps, workers demanded “no lighting up.” At a time when unions pressed for a shorter workday, capitalists recognized that strong light would allow them to keep their factories running longer. The late shift was born. This took a terrible toll on children toiling in mines and mills, but many workers found the strong light made work safer, more cheerful, and less toxic. Electric light made night travel safer as well, an essential foundation of modern America’s 24/7 economy.
A Machine to Create Fun: Entertainment moguls like P.T. Barnum immediately recognized the electric light as a tool for creating a vibrant and irresistible urban nightlife. At first the light WAS the entertainment: huge crowds gathered to see fountains glowing under a rainbow of spotlights, and pulsing towers of multi-colored bulbs. Soon cities across America followed Coney Island’s lead in creating amusement parks saturated in electric light, little islands of electric euphoria. At a time when shopping was fast becoming one of Americans’ favorite pastimes, grand department stores used some of the same techniques to blur the line between buying and playing. Urban Americans have not gotten a good night’s sleep ever since.Read more...
1. In 1750 George Washington was mugged. Really! He stripped down for a swim in the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg and while he was indisposed, two local serving women rifled through his clothes to see what they could get. The only thing we know they got for their efforts was a public whipping.
2. Washington had a really good arm and liked to throw stones. The stories abound. He supposedly cleared Virginia’s Natural Bridge with one toss and might even have reached the top of New Jersey’s Palisades with another stone. Revolution veterans recalled him besting them in skipping stones as well. It might just be that the old tale of the dollar over the Rappahannock was true after all.
3. As late as the 1970s visitors to Ferry Farm, Washington’s childhood home could buy splinters of the old Cherry Tree itself. You could have them cut as big or as small as you liked—no problem—locals kept a spare cherry tree trunk is a shed just in case demand outpaced supply.
Tell Me: Who’s your favorite president to read about?Read more...
“[M]any top competitors do their best when they're angry or upset: being calm is a sign that they don't care about the competition. So find a way to make the competition fun or exciting.”
In their fascinating new book, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman dive deep into the research to find out what helps winners win. Today, they stop by the NOOK Blog to offer their thoughts on 5 Misconceptions About What It Takes to Win. I definitely learned something—hope you do, too.
There's a misunderstanding about being competitive – that it requires a sort of negative, cutthroat sensibility that inherently leads to cheating and other malfeasance. That's not true. Great competitors want to win, but they have great respect for their opponents. Because they understand the effort everyone has invested in the game. They don't find opponents threatening; instead, they use the opponents' performance as inspiration to work harder.
Myth #2: "You Just Need To Practice"
There's an idea that's been going around that to be successful at something, you need to get about ten years' practice. But you don't win because you practiced more. And the experience of being judged, watched, and rated is something you won't get in a practice room. If anything, you need to "practice" how to compete – but the only way to do that is to compete.
Myth #3: "You Just Need to Calm Down"
Leftover from the positive thinking movement is the idea that you should be calm during a competition (or any other pressure-filled situation): don't get upset, don't let something get to you, think positively. But many top competitors do their best when they're angry or upset: being calm is a sign that they don't care about the competition. So find a way to make the competition fun or exciting. Maybe even get angry. We're not saying to just be aggressive (i.e., use brute force). To be angry – that's saying something. It means that you believe something wrong is happening, but you also believe you have what it takes to fix the outcome.
Myth #4: "You Just Need to Forget About Those Other Guys"
A common suggestion is you need to forget about your competition and focus on your own work. Wrong. Instead, the better course is to find one or two rivals – those who do similar work, have similar track records – and ideally, they're geographically close to you as well (easier to keep tabs on someone who's nearby). Then use these rivals as benchmarks that help you identify your strengths, as well as areas where you need to improve.
Myth #5: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It
People naturally reflect on mistakes: they want to figure out what went wrong, so they can avoid the mistake in the future. But we are much less likely to critically examine our successes. Instead, we simply repeat what was done before, anticipating the same result. The problem is, sometimes, your success was just because you were lucky: something went wrong, but it wasn't bad enough to take down the entire enterprise. That could mean that relying on good luck inadvertently becomes your standard operating procedure. Don't be afraid to take apart a success: it's all right to look a gift horse in the mouth. It doesn't mean you're turning down the gift; it just means you want to protect his continued well-being.
Tell Me: Are you a competitive person? In what way?
“I think the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World is the mystery of why there are only seven.”
Bestselling author Peter Lerangis (39 Clues) is back with another sweeping adventure series for young readers: Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises. A young boy is facing certain death unless he can discover the cure for his rare disease. Clues are scattered among the 7 Wonder of the Ancient World, setting him on a breathtaking journey to save his own life.
We asked Peter what he thinks the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World should be, and he offered a fascinating and thoughtful answer:
Tell Me: Have you ever seen any of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World in person?
Last year, Marissa Meyer had a hit with her cyborg Cinderella novel, Cinder. Now she’s back with book two of her Lunar Chronicles series: Scarlet. This time Meyer delves into the Little Red Riding Hood mythos, as a young girl searches for her mysteriously missing grandmother in a dangerous world.
Since Meyer is a fairy tale mash-up wizard, we asked her to name her Top 3 Pop Culture Mash-ups:
Here are my choices for best pop culture mash-ups:
The Wild West meets Outer Space
I'm not sure if space westerns have been around long enough to constitute their own genre by now, but I still tend to think of shows like Joss Whedon’s Firefly as pop culture mash-ups combining the beloved tropes of science-fiction with the gritty storytelling and heroism of traditional westerns. From gunslinger duels to spaceship chases, train heists to advanced medical technology, jaded heroes to plenty of "thrilling heroics," this show about a spaceship crew of honorable smugglers encapsulates everything one could want from this popular mash-up.
2. Stormdancer: The Lotus War Book One by Jay Kristoff
Steampunk meets High Fantasy meets Japanese Mythology
Kristoff's debut novel and the first of a trilogy tells the story of Yukiko, the teenage daughter of a famed hunter who is given the impossible task of hunting down a mythical beast. Stormdancer combines three of my favorite things—complicated steampunk technology, an epic fantasy quest, and a vibrant alternate world that harks back to feudal Japan. The complex characters and lush descriptions paint such a vivid picture that I felt I was watching an anime rather than reading a book. A really good anime, like those by Hayao Miyazaki (Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke). In fact, has anyone contacted Mr. Miyazaki about film rights?
Pride and Prejudice meets the 21st-Century
Produced by vlog-superstar Hank Green, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a clever modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The majority of the story is told via video diaries on YouTube, but the producers have outdone themselves in their attempts to give the show an authentic vibe. All major characters have their own Twitter feeds or Tumblr pages, and there are even real web sites dedicated to the fictional companies discussed in the vlogs. Pemberley Digital, in particular, sounds like a lovely place to work
Tell Me: What’s your favorite pop culture mash-up?