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This is a feed for the Open Road Integrated Media Blog

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    We all know the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But can any of us actually say that we don’t succumb to creative cover designs? So let’s just admit that the covers matter a little bit. Have you noticed a change in cover aesthetics over the years? Let’s look at mysteries and thrillers, for example.

    The Judas Cat by Dorothy Salisbury Davis

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    Take author Dorothy Salisbury Davis. Her books, including The Judas Cat published in 1951, have been covered and recovered to make them appealing to a new generation of readers.Just like the move from the grandfather clock to the digital display, cover artwork has been modernized and simplified. If we look at Davis’s covers we can see that they’ve transformed—the cover designs have become simpler, cleaner, and much more colorful. In the past, mystery and thriller covers featured ominous and unsaturated tones. Now, they are bold and bright, perhaps to compete on the shelf next to their romantic cousins.


    “The brightness of these covers has mostly to do with ebook versus print. Subtle gradations of dark colors work great on a bookshelf, when you can hold a book two inches from your face to see the detail, but on an e-tailer site we only have one inch of real estate to get the reader’s attention, and we are working with a white background, not a bookshelf. To best utilize an e-tailer site, we have to show off the covers using a lot of contrast, limited use of white (so the cover does not blend into the background), and bold type.” —Open Road Media Art Director Andrea Worthington Looking from cover to cover, from generation to generation, it is fascinating to notice the symbols and aesthetics that have lasted—like the black cat, which remains a symbol of dark mystery, and the silhouetted figure, which still serves as a haunting presence.

     

     An older cover of The Judas Cat by Dorothy Salisbury Davis.

     




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    It’s hard to imagine anything more unsexy than income tax. But in chapter three of Business Adventures, “The Federal Income Tax: Its History and Peculiarities,” John Brooks manages to turn this mundane and often stressful part of American life into a page-turning narrative.

    Don’t believe us? Here are three fun tax facts:

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    —When President Lincoln passed the Revenue Act of 1862, requiring an income tax at progressive rates, he also snuck through the bill to banish the practice of polygamy.

    —Mark Twain was among the first Americans to pay income tax. “I am taxed on my income!” he wrote in the Virginia City, Nevada, Territorial Enterprise. “This is perfectly gorgeous! I never felt so important in my life before.”

    —“Considering the omnipresence of the income tax in American life, however, it is odd how rarely one encounters references to it in American fiction,” writes Brooks.

    We wracked our brains and couldn’t think of many novels where income tax is a major plot device. Can you?

    Want more? Pick up Business Adventuresand impress your friends with your newfound knowledge.



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    Open Road Media is excited to announce the release of ten additional titles by acclaimed poet and author May Sarton—works of memoir and fiction that will join the eight volumes of poetry published in April. Although May Sarton may be best known for her enchanting works of poetry, her nonfiction and prose prove her incredible versatility as a writer.


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    Originally published in 1965, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing is one of May Sarton’s most famous novels and details the reflections of a successful novelist in her seventies, a woman strikingly similar to Sarton herself. The New York Times Book Review writes, “The plot of this short novel is deceptively simple, the mood subtle, the feeling intense. And the music of Miss Sarton’s prose leaves compelling echoes in one’s mind.”

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    The memoir Journal of a Solitude provides insight into the experiences of a female artist, exposing Sarton’s intimate world of creativity and emotion. Composed during the year she spent living alone in rural New Hampshire, the book explores the delicate relationship between loneliness and solitude and its effect on the creative process.

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    At Eighty-Two captures the reality of life as an aging artist, the difficulties of relationships, and the acceptance of self. Sarton is able to express the inevitable trials of aging with both candor and grace in this memoir of her final year.

    While Sarton’s poetry may have launched her onto the literary scene, her works of prose and nonfiction are exquisite, beloved books detailing the joys, pitfalls, and even the mundane aspects of the human experience. These titles are three of May Sarton’s most thoughtfully crafted and revealing pieces about the nature of self-reflection.

    May Sarton was born in Wondelgem, Belgium, in 1912 and moved with her family to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a child. When Sarton’s career as an actress didn’t pan out, she turned to writing and released her first poetry collection, Encounter in April, in 1937. Many of her novels and poetry collections have been nominated for the National Book Award. May Sarton died in 1995 in York, Maine.

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    A great teen romance novel can provide the perfect summer escape, which is why we’re offering markdowns on more than 25 titles through the month of July! Whether you are off to the beach, heading out on a family road trip, indulging in a tour of Europe, or going on an adventurous vacation, be sure to include these romance reads, on sale for just $1.99 each, in your travel bag.

    Beach Reads 

    Pack these in your beach bag for a relaxing day of sand, sun, and romance.

    The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal

    Pilot is the lifeguard with extraordinary looks and mystical powers, and unlike any boy Sirena Shane has ever known. So begins an unforgettable summer of obsession and discovery . . .

    Off the Trails by Emily Franklin

    The Chalet Girls have left the icy mountains for hot beaches and sizzling surfer boys. With the lure of the sand, surf, and steamy romances, will the girls ever want to go back to the slopes?

    Someone Like Summer by M. E. Kerr

    A 17-year-old girl falls in love with a Latino immigrant in this powerhouse novel about taboo passion and interracial love. Set against the backdrop of the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina, Someone Like Summer has undertones of a modern-day West Side Story as it confronts issues of class, race, prejudice, and a love that transcends every stereotype.

    Road Trip Reads 

    If you are headed out on the open road with your family, we’ve got you covered. Check out these teen romances, perfect for a long road trip.  

    Nancy and Nick by Caroline B. Cooney

    All Nancy ever wanted was a family—and a boyfriend. A century-old cookbook could bring her both in Caroline B. Cooney’s classic tale of family, friendship, and romance.

    Forbiddenby Caroline B. Cooney

    A secret that could destroy two legendary families threatens to change the course of true love in this mesmerizing novel. Annabel Jayquith and Daniel Ransom meet at a party. They fall instantly in love, unaware that their lives are inextricably bound together by the crime that shocked a nation.

    Night Kitesby M. E. Kerr

    What do you do when your whole world is blown apart? A 17-year-old confronts love, betrayal, and his brother’s illness in this brave, deeply compassionate novel.

    Euro Trip Reads

    Whether you’re taking a trip across the pond or just wish you were, these ebook picks will make you say “ooh lala” and “righty-o.” 

    Piece, Love, and Happiness by Emily Franklin

    For Love Bukowski, summer’s over and school is about to begin. But it seems like Love’s going it alone: Her aunt Mable has been acting weird, her dad (who happens to be principal of the school) is preoccupied, her ex is pouting in Europe, and her former friend Cordelia has bonded with the evil Lindsay Parrish. Enter Arabella Piece, the new exchange student from London, who’s staying with Love and has some secrets of her own. Love’s summer may have called it a wrap, but her fall semester dramas have just begun.

    When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

    The year is 1990, and in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Neil Byrne plays rugby, keeps up with the in-crowd at his school, and is just a regular guy . . . who’s gay. It’s a secret he keeps from the wider world as he explores the city at night and struggles to figure out how to reveal his real self—and to whom. 

    Love from London by Emily Franklin

    Love faces a new set of challenges across the pond: voice lessons, keeping up with Arabella and her new friends, and falling for a Brit who is completely off limits. Will Love turn around and retreat to the world she’s left behind? Or choose to dig deeper into all that London, and love, have to offer?

    Adventure Trip Reads 

    Before your big summer adventure, grab our favorite teen romances that are made for thrill-seekers! 

    Summer Nightsby Caroline B. Cooney

    Is this really goodbye for the recent graduates of Westerly High as they get ready to start their new lives? For these girls of summer, their last night together has to be perfect. 

    The Color of Angel’s Souls by Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian

    At 23, Jeremy is violently murdered. Now, as an Angel, Jeremy realizes that his struggle for survival is far from over. As Jeremy tries to find out why he was killed, he follows Allison, a beautiful 20-year-old who witnessed his murder. Watching her day and night, Jeremy begins to fall in love with her. But his killer is also following Allison and will do anything to eliminate the only witness to his crime.

    The Summer I Found Youby Jolene Perry

    Kate’s dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she’s still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he’s a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?

    Be sure to take a look at our other teen romance titles on sale for just $1.99 through July 31


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  • 07/22/14--12:16: Find Your Perfect Western
  • Giddyup! This Saturday, July 26, is the 10th Annual National Day of the Cowboy and Open Road is celebrating all week! You haven’t heard? Well it’s the one day of the year dedicated to appreciating and preserving the culture, history, and heritage of the American cowboy! Whether you’re a cowboy or cowgirl, Open Road will find the right Western for you. Check out our National Day of the Cowboy flowchart and find your perfect Western.  

    Find Your Perfect Western Flowchart


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  • 07/22/14--15:11: In Memory of Thomas Berger

  • by Betsy Mitchell


    I became aware of Thomas Berger in my very first job in the book world, in the marketing department at Dell Books, when Berger’s Arthur Rex was published back in 1978. Though I knew him only through his writing, to me he was a mythic figure much like King Arthur in his novel: wise, bitingly witty, and afraid of nothing. Many years have passed since that first acquaintance, and now, upon the occasion of Mr. Berger’s death, all I can say, from my current position as an acquiring editor at Open Road, is that I am wonderfully glad to have had the opportunity to bring his work to thousands of new readers in digital form. We developed a small acquaintance as I shepherded his books through the publishing process, and I was happy to tell him I’d been a longtime fan.

    I’d like to quote a passage from his new introduction to the digital edition of Arthur Rex:

    “Some years ago I met a genuine Sioux warrior of the present day, a Lakota-born combat infantry officer in the US army,” Mr. Berger wrote, “and was gratified to hear his kind words about Little Big Man. We spoke about the days when the Plains Indians put into the field what has been authoritatively called the greatest light cavalry that ever rode into battle, and he said, ‘You know what occurs to me when I think of those old guys? The Knights of the Round Table.’”

    Rest in peace, Thomas Berger.



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    science-fiction-banner

    dale-bailey   jack-slay-jr
                      Dale Bailey                                              Jack Slay, Jr.

    Sleeping Policemen seemed, at times, to come too easily. It was a joy to write—much of the seeming effortlessness fueled by the collaboration, that synthesis of friendship and creativity. It began as a notion—“Let’s write a novel quick and mean and gritty”—that took shape, dark and dirty, through a string of emails:  

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    “3 or 4 college students on a drunken joyride. They hit a man, killing him.”

    “They hide the body—and discover he’s carrying a secret.”

    When the notions began to take on a life of their own, outgrowing cyberspace and the distance between Knoxville, TN, (Dale) and LaGrange, GA, (Jack), we met for a long, alcohol-fueled weekend to hammer out a definitive course of action. We talked character and motivation and plot twists. We drank a lot of beer, ate too much grilled meat, and deconstructed hardboiled tropes deep into the night. (One of our longest debates centered on the amputation of fingers. Sue Thompson, our protagonist’s girlfriend, is held captive by the Pachyderm; to urge our “heroes” into quick action, he threatens to take a finger for every hour Nick and his friends are late. How many fingers, we pondered, should Sue lose? How many fingers can a person have lopped off before she loses her mind? A conversation only writers and maniacs would share.

    Four days later we parted ways with a detailed outline and a firm set of rules for collaboration:

    (1) Stick to the outline—which we didn’t. Sometimes the muse blindsided us, luring us down darker paths. Characters took wayward turns. They made decisions worse than the ones we had planned. Once we killed a main character several chapters before the outline offed him. The ending took on a wholly different shape, far bloodier and less hopeful than our original intentions. We rolled with each twist and every turn, reveling in the surprises.

    (2) No pranks or other silly stuff in the manuscript. We limited our attempts at humor to the tiny block of the return address, each of us receiving, for several months, manuscript packages from the likes of Theodore Bundy and Edward Gein, Esquire.

    (3) Focus on quick turnarounds, taking no longer than a couple weeks with each chapter—which we failed miserably at, as the tides of heavy teaching loads pulled us both away for weeks at a time. We began the book by writing alternate chapters, but those chapters soon stretched into long stints, sometimes three or four chapters in a row before the other would take over for a long haul. (In some ways, that was the best part of the collaboration: the fact that the story continuously grew, sprouting words and sentences and entire chapters even as one of us sat idle, rewrote earlier chapters, or worked on another project altogether.)

    Despite the Outline, despite the Rules, what the collaboration most fully drew from each of us was a game of one-upmanship. We wrote to impress, even to outdo the other. We painted each other into corners; we pushed toward extremes. In doing so, we tapped into avenues darker and more visceral and more violent than anything either of us had written by ourselves. 

    We had filled the outline with simple declarative statements: “Pomeroy forces Nick to retrieve his bullets.” But as we sat solo at the keyboard, the collaborator hovering like a watchful shade, the muse would unloose her full fury. Simple stage directions became gruesome ballets, a danse macabre far bloodier than either of us had originally imagined: By the time Nick finished with Pomeroy’s bullets, for example, “his hands were red almost to the elbow, and something had died inside him.” Such surprises abounded. We simply hung on for the ride, heaping blood and carnage upon one another. We force-fed our characters—and each other—big, fiery chunks of Hell—and we loved every minute of it. We hope you will, as well.

    sleeping-policemen-cover


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    With National Day of the Cowboy this Saturday, July 26, Open Road is ready to celebrate American Cowboy heritage by showcasing some of our best Westerns, all for $1.99! We know how hard it can be selecting the right book, so we wanted to highlight some of our favorites. From outlaws to preachers, cowboys to cowgirls, and even a little romance, we have the right Western for you. And don’t forget to check out our National Day of the Cowboy flowchart, designed to help find your perfect story. 

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    Outlaw’s Kiss by Nan Ryan 

    Who doesn’t love a tough woman set on making her way in the world? Meet Mollie, a young girl with her life in shambles. On her 18th birthday, Mollie makes a decision. Ready to change her destiny, she leaps on her horse, straps on a pistol, and begins her life as an outlaw.





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    Morning Star by Kerry Newcomb

    Love the Pocahontas story? Newcomb’s tale is not far off! In this story, Joel Ryan rides west to quiet the rage that fills his heart and places his love for beautiful Morning Dove before his hunger for revenge.






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    Hangtown byPaul Lederer

    Two drifters, Wage and Josh, roll into an abandoned town and decide to make it their own. Thus begins Hangtown: population 2. When a troop of painted ladies ride in, the drifters think all is going well, until they realize soldiers and gunmen are following close behind. Hangtown will be dead again soon, and if Wage and Josh don’t get out of town quickly, they’re going down with it.



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    Cavalry Scoutby Dee Brown

    Two settlers, John Singleterry and his partner Dunreath, are held captive by two American Indian fighters: an old medicine woman and a beautiful mixed-race girl. As the women tell the story of the decimation of their tribe, Singleterry questions everything he knows about the meaning of love and honor. This novel of torn loyalties gives full-blooded reality to its time and to the settlers and natives at the heart of its story.



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    With the RITA Awards being announced this Saturday, July 26, we wanted to honor our authors who have won in the past. Named after Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) first president, Rita Clay Estrada, the RITA awards promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding works across the various subgenres. Check out our award-winning titles and authors!

    Past RITA Award WinnersWinner of Best Regency Romance (1987): 
    Lord Abberley’s Nemesis by Amanda Scott

    Miss Margaret Caldecourt returns to her English country manor to care for her late brother’s six-year-old son, Timothy, who is to be heir. When Miss Margaret learns relatives are threatening his birthright, she turns to the sixth Earl of Abberley, whose reputation for pleasure seeking has ruined him. Can Miss Margaret thaw the cold heart of London’s most notorious rake?

    Winner of Best Romance (1991): 
    The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale

    He’s known as the famed “Prince of Midnight,” but is now just a recluse living with a half-wild wolf and wants nothing to do with his legend. That is, until the beautiful and broken Lady Leigh Strachan arrives looking for a man to aid her in revenge.

    Winner of Best Young Adult Romance (1995): 
    Second to Noneby ArLynn Presser

    Garnet is a 17-year-old girl ready to go to a good college and leave her poor neighborhood behind. It’s all going according to plan, until the father she only sees every few years asks her to come visit and meet his family. Garnet knows there must be a string attached . . . like a half-brother with cancer who needs a bone marrow transplant. Plus, Garnet has to choose between her boyfriend and her cute but geeky tutor. The choices she faces are confusing, surprising, and even a little romantic.

    Winner of Best Long Historical Romance (2005): 
    Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale

    Ruthless assassin Allegreto attempts to reclaim his birthright in Monteverde by capturing its princess, Elena. Will he be able to force her to bend to his will or will she find the hidden power within her own soul?


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    Have you watched every single episode of Downton Abbey but still don’t think you’ll be able to make it until the fifth season premieres in September? To help you satisfy your Downton cravings, why not pick up a novel from the new-to-ebook author R. F. Delderfield? His ability to brilliantly portray slices of English life during World Wars I and II won him great success and is the perfect remedy for those who can’t wait to return to the Crawley household.


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    In Delderfield’s Avenue saga, four families’ lives intersect in the neighborhood of Manor Park Avenue following the First World War. At house Number Twenty, Jim Carver returns home from the front following the death of his wife. Now a single dad to his seven children, he must struggle to forge relationships with the kids he barely knows, in a house he has never lived in. Number Twenty-Two is also coming to terms with the casualties of war, with the widow Eunice Fraser fighting to care for herself and her son. Edith Clegg at Number Four makes ends meet by taking in lodgers, while also caring for her mentally unstable sister whose life has been destroyed by her past. And while the Friths at Number Seventeen are the new residents along the avenue, their secrets will soon spill into the streets.


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    Traveling from the English suburbs to the countryside of Devon, the bestselling A Horseman Riding By saga follows the Craddock family and the challenges they face in keeping their family and farm afloat in the face of two world wars. When Paul Craddock returns home after serving in the Boer War, he uses his inheritance to purchase the neglected Shallowford estate. As he builds his future and his family, his unfaltering devotion to his land supports the family through the toughest moments of war. The saga—filled with love, loss, and life in a new world—celebrates the foundation of life before the great wars but also depicts those people struggling to cling to the past as tragedy forces them toward a new way of life.


    Delderfield’s vivid portrayals of the everyday people who struggled and succeeded in the face of tragedies make his novels great for anyone who is a fan of English society and historical fiction. For more on R. F. Delderfield and his works, visit his author page here.


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  • 07/24/14--06:25: Outlaws of the Wild West
  • It’s National Day of the Cowboy this Saturday and to celebrate our American cowboy heritage, we are remembering a few of the Old West’s most famous rivalries. Don’t forget to check out our National Day of the Cowboy Flowchart and find your perfect Western!

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    Jesse James and Rob Ford:

    You’ve probably heard of Jesse James, but you may or may not recall Robert Ford, the man famous for killing him. James was, and still is, a legendary figure of the Wild West. He was an American outlaw, gang leader, robber, Confederate guerilla, and murderer. He had a reputation as a Robin Hood figure, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, although the evidence suggests that his gang only kept the loot for themselves. On April 3, 1882, a member of his own gang, Robert Ford, killed James, hoping to collect a reward for his head. Ford’s gravestone reads, “The man who shot Jesse James.” 

    Read more about these two in Ron Hansen’s novel The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.


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    John Wesley Hardin and Wild Bill Hickok:
    Every cowboy needs a friend and every cowboy has an enemy. In The Pistoleer by James Carlos Blake, we meet John Hardin. Hardin got in trouble with the law at a young age. As a gunfighter he confessed to having killed 42 men and was pursued by lawmen for the majority of his life, one of them being Wild Bill Hickok. Hickok went west when he was 18 years old and went on to become a lawman and a member of the Union Army during the American Civil War. Hickok had no idea that Hardin was a wanted outlaw at the time, and the two men became friends. Hardin even grew to idolize Hickok. But when Hardin killed Charles Couger, Hickok ended their friendship, forcing Hardin to run out of Kansas. Celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy with us by digging through the stories of the most ruthless men on the ranch! 



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    Little did Stanley “Stan” Berenstain and Janice “Jan” Grant know when they met at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Arts that they would form one of the most beloved teams in children’s literature. After surviving both the Great Depression and the war, the two set out to overcome another great obstacle, parenthood, one delightful children’s book at a time. The birth of their two sons, Leo and Mark, would inspire the couple to write about and illustrate the universal trials and tribulations of raising children.

    Stan and Jan Berenstain

    In honor of what would be Jan Berenstain’s 91st birthday on July 26, 2014, Open Road would like to celebrate the heartwarming series that invites parents and children to read together—perfect for getting young readers ready to go back to school. Join Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear, Sister Bear, and Honey Bear as they learn positive lifelong values, like good sportsmanship, avoiding the grouchies, and keeping the house clean while Mama’s away!

    Here are some of our favorite Berenstain Bears titles:

    The Berenstain Bears’ Nursery Tales

    The Berenstain Bears Get the Scaredies

    The Berenstain Bears and the Eager Beavers

     And if you love the Berenstain Bears, enjoy these similar titles great for back-to-school reading: 

    Great Reads for Back To School!Edward Almost Sleeps Over
    When Edward gets invited to spend the night at his friend Anthony’s house, he couldn’t be more thrilled. That is, until he realizes that he’ll have to leave his parents for the evening.

    Franklin Goes to School
    It’s Franklin’s first day of school! But our favorite turtle friend finds himself overcome with a case of the jitters. Will he be able to start the year on the right foot?

    The Case of the School Ghost
    Buddy’s a lucky dog. He gets to go to the fourth grade sleepover at school with Connor! He’s hoping to find out more about the old legend of Agatha, the school ghost. But the sleepover has plenty of other strange things going on, too: mysterious packages, secret notes, and whispers from a ghostly voice! Who—or what—is haunting Four Lakes Elementary?

    How about you? Did you have a favorite Berenstain Bears tale growing up? Tweet us @openroadmedia and share your favorite #BerenstainBook.


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    Isn’t it great when you discover that a novel you love is one in a series?

    For the mystery genre in particular, a series allows the story and its sleuth to come alive as more suspense and more crimes can unfold over several books. A series invites readers to become submerged in a story and connect more intimately to the author’s imagined world. And isn’t that the point of reading, after all?

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    J. K. Rowling thinks so. According to the Guardian, Rowling announced that there’s a possibility she’ll write more than seven Cormoran Strike novels. Crime thrillers are open-ended, and the Rowling wouldn’t be tied to one time-bound storyline like she was in the Harry Potter books, which is what gives the genre so much possibility. “I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” she said. “One of the things I love about this genre is unlike Harry Potter, where there was a through line, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and end, you are talking about discreet stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

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    It’s important to remember the first book when we consider a series and the author’s decision to move past that by writing another. The series allows us to go deeper, but at the same time brings us further away from that original book.
    In a post called “Keeping a Professional Distance from Our Book” on the blog Mystery Writing Is Murder, Elizabeth S. Craig says that gaining distance from books is “vital to both editing them effectively, gaining a critical perspective of them, and learning from negative feedback.” Writing a series is one way to create that distance.

     

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    It is interesting how social media can influence a book series and contribute to the distance between authors and their stories. Today, authors have the immediate ability to know exactly what their readers think of their books via Facebook and Twitter, for example. This feedback serves as a useful reference for authors when they begin writing again.

    Looking to dive into a great new mystery series? Check out Dorothy L. Sayers’s The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, Lawrence Sanders’s Edward X Delaney series, and Malcolm Shuman’s Alan Graham Mysteries series.

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    Lots of knitters slow down on their projects during the summer, but there are some good reasons to continue working at your craft year-round! While you may be thinking that Christmas seems far away when you’re lounging on the beach under the sweltering sun, summer is actually the perfect time to plan and begin gift knitting before the holiday rush hits in just a few months. Starting earlier can take some of the stress and pressure off during the hectic holiday season. Take a look at these winter project ebooks and celebrate Christmas in July—only 153 days left until winter!

    Holiday Decor

    ‪For the holidays, you can DIY everything from glittery pompom garlands for your Christmas tree to a luxurious menorah pillow to some nutcracker slippers.Don't leave time-consuming projects until the week after Thanksgiving. These Winter Solstice table runners from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick are a beautiful way to “dress” the holiday table.

    table runner 

    Patterned Scarves

    A funky-cool scarf is a great winter fashion statement. The possibilities for sleek and sophisticated projects are endless—including knit multicolored beads, chain link scarves, and a variety of designs like stripes, circles, and zig-zags. You'll be glad to have a stockpile of scarves when others are just beginning to tackle that daunting holiday gift list. Check out this optical illusion striped scarf that creates a layering effect even while flat, fromKnitting New Scarvesby Lynne Barr.

    striped scarf 

    Sophisticated Jackets

    A luxurious knitted jacket is both cozy and structured. Starting a more difficult and lengthy project when there's already a chill in the air can be daunting—but hey, you’ve got plenty of time!Knitting Classic Style by Veronik Avery is a great resource for creating timeless pieces with a modern twist. This bold military jacket incorporates satisfyingly simple cables and shank buttons to update a classic knitting design.

    military jacket 

    Cozy Afghans

    While it’s hard to imagine those cold winter nights while you’re sipping margaritas by the pool this summer, colorful and comfortable afghans will be perfect for cuddling up next to the fire when the seasons change. With  a huge range of knitting techniques and designs, afghans alone can keep you busy creating exquisite pieces for the holiday season and beyond. This bright star afghan from Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghansby Norah Gaughan might look intimidating, but trust us: This book will take you through the process step by step and you’ll complete it in no time!

    star afghan 

    P.S. To celebrate Christmas in July, all of these books are on sale for just $4.99 on July 25th, so get to knitting!

     


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    Thaao Penghlis enjoyed tea for two with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and fitted Robert Redford for a suit before landing career-defining roles on General Hospital and Days of Our Lives. His new memoir Places weaves his deep Greek and Australian heritage with Hollywood escapades and captivating journeys to places few visit.

    What inspired you to write Places?
    With so much knowledge gained along the way by visiting the different cultures of the Middle East and Europe, I felt that I needed to share it with like-minded souls.

    I wanted to put down on record the history of how I lived so that my family's history is not forgotten. When my parents died I realized there were questions I never asked and that record is not available. Heritage is important for future generations.

    What books are particularly important to you as a writer?
    I've always loved spy thrillers and the way the writer keeps you on edge. It's the way I travel because in many ways you always must be aware of what crosses your path. It’s a way of sharpening your tools and surviving.

    I read a lot about archaeology as that is my favorite subject. How others lived before us and what remains. I find that carries for me a lot of intrigue.

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    If readers should take one thing away from the book, what do you think it is?
    How to travel as a scholar, not as a tourist. To study the culture that you're aiming for so that it helps you better understand the values of the foundation that you stand on by seeing life through other lives. And lastly, the excitement of having left that front door and when you return, something about you has changed for the better.

    Where would you like to travel next?
    It would have been Iran but right now it's still not safe. So I leave next week for Cuba to explore a world that has not found God.

    Is the book only for fans of General Hospital and Days of Our Lives?
    I always considered myself a man of the world and there never has been a culture that has not inspired me in the way they see. So for me it is a book for everyone as it has all the elements that life offers through spirituality, danger, misunderstandings and revelations, and the transformation of death and the joy of letting go.

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    How did you come up with the idea for Jack Strong?

    I suppose I was thinking about Frankensteinyou build a body out of the parts, the arms, the legs, the eyes.

    Fantasy and science fiction are populated with characters who commune with the dead or share a body with a spirit. But Jack Strong is more complicated than one person hosting one ghost or spirit. How would you describe this character?

    I would say that Jack Strong is a receptacle of dozens, maybe hundreds of questions that were unanswered in people’s lives. Even though he has his own identity to work through, he also finds that he needs to solve these riddles, questions, last requests of people, who have kind of died but are now still alive in him.

    Do you think he pushes the envelope of science fiction a bit?walter-mosley-author

    Nah, I don’t. I’ve read too much science fiction.

    How does he fit in, then?

    He’s a somewhat unique character, in a pedestrian world where science impacts us but we don’t really understand it.

    He lives in a world where the science that he’s comprised of is very sophisticated, but he’s living in a very pedestrian life, and the elements of his life are very pedestrian.

    Do you think the novella Jack Strong is a bit science fiction, a little fantasy, some noir detective . . . ?

    I wouldn’t call it fantasyyou need at least some magic. There’s science that goes unexplained. Speculative, maybe, but not fantasy.

    What was the most difficult part of conceiving of or writing Jack Strong?

    It was so much fun to write that I don’t remember many blockades. I think possibly his sexual identity . . .

    I think that was kind of challenging, technically, because you have to think of things differently, feel them differently.

    That probably was the most difficult thing.

    What’s next for Jack Strong?

    He’s going to go to LA, sharing his skull with a serial killer.


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    One of our favorite detectives is, of course, Sherlock Holmes. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes and Dr. Watson are the quintessential British sleuths, whose legacy and style still impact the mystery genre today. But what is it about this London-based detective series that we find so captivating? Is it their English articulation that hooks us in? Whatever it is, it’s undeniable that there is something distinct about the British mystery genre that makes it a consistent crowd-pleaser.

    This is particularly noticeable on British television, where the crime and mystery genre has forever been popular, with current shows like Luther, MI-5, and Waking The Dead to name only a few.

    So why do the British write such good crime mysteries and thrillers? Let’s take a look at some trends observed in Henry Morgenstein’s “British and American Crime Fiction” and the Huffington Post’s “The Difference Between British and American Crime Novels” that distinguish the crime theme according to culture:

    In the UK:
    • The crime is often unusual, and disturbs the peaceful regularity of the English village in which the story occurs.
    • The crime happens to bad people.
    • The hero is usually a middle class outsider from out of town.
    • There are usually one or very few deaths.
    • Clues are examined meticulously. There is a step-by-step procedure to crime solving.

    In America:
    • The crime is a part of life and there is always an abundance of crooked characters.
    • The heroes are bold and always have a drink and/or cigarette in their hand . . . because they aren’t afraid to die.
    • There are multiple murders or deaths. It is normal for a character to be introduced and then killed within the next few pages. This desensitizes death and makes each one less significant.

    The dark and mysterious tones of British mystery, characterized by careful clue collecting and detective work, contrasts against the stereotypical trail of dead bodies in America. The American novel invites readers to tap into the psyche of the macho hero protagonist, while the British novel works to unravel the original crime piece by piece, and it’s characters are vital instruments in that process.

     

    From Gillian White’s Copycat to Ruth Rendell’s An Unkindness of Ravens to Jack Higgins’s Comes the Dark Stranger, we have all things British crime covered. See more in our selection here.


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    When you’re wrapped up in the story, it can be easy to forget that true crime books aren’t stories at all, but literary recollections of actual events! This stuff is real and reminds us of the precarious nature of the world we teach ourselves to feel safe in. We read to escape and delight in imagination, and we read to understand and plunge ourselves deeper into kinetic human experience. These sharply journalistic and artistically haunting novels will both enchant and terrify, keeping you reading at the edge of your seat! 

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    Buried Dreams by Tim Cahill

    “[A] spellbinding narrative of [John Wayne] Gacy’s life and crimes. . . . Cahill’s juggernaut of a book will go down as the definitive story.” —Kirkus Reviews

    Called an “absorbing and disturbing story” by Publishers Weekly and “surprisingly graceful” by the New York Times, this is a journey to the heart of human evil that you will never forget. 

     

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    The Hillside Stranglers by Darcy O’Brien

    Like Truman Capote in In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer in The Executioner’s Song, Darcy O’Brien weds the narrative skill of an award-winning novelist with the detailed observations of an experienced investigator. In Hillside Stranglers, she unravels the chilling true-crime story of Kenny Bianchi and his cousin Angelo Buono, who brutally sexually assaulted and murdered young women.

     

     

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    Winter of Frozen Dreams by Karl Harter

    After Jeremy Davies and his fiancée, Barbara Hoffman, find a stranger’s dead body in the snow, the police reveal that this man was an ex-lover of Hoffman’s . . . and that he was killed in her apartment. Does Davies need to fear for his own life?


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    Leon UrisLeon Uris ha tenido una enorme influencia en la comprensión popular de la historia del siglo XX. Su obra se centra en los momentos más dramáticos de la historia contemporánea, incluyendo la Segunda Guerra Mundial, el conflicto entre Israel y Palestina, y la Guerra Fría. Su novela Éxodo ha sido traducida a más de cincuenta idiomas y es hoy en día una de las narrativas más influyentes sobre el nacimiento de Israel.

    Hijo de padres judíos de origen polaco-ruso, Leon Uris nació en Baltimore, Maryland, el 3 de agosto de 1924. Cuando era niño, Uris tuvo una vida transitoria. Asistió a la escuela en Baltimore, Virginia y Filadelfia, mientras que su padre trabajaba como comerciante sin mucho éxito. A pesar de que sus calificaciones estuvieron por debajo del promedio, Uris destacó en historia y sintió fascinación por la literatura, tanto que decidió volverse escritor a temprana edad. 

    El peregrinoDespués del ataque a Peal Harbor en 1941, Uris abandonó la escuela para enlistarse en la Marina. Desde 1942 a 1945 fue operador de radio en el Pacífico Sur y, después de la guerra, se instaló en San Francisco con su primera esposa, Betty. Luego comenzó a trabajar para periódicos locales y a escribir literatura en sus tiempos libres. Su primera novela, Grito de guerra, se publicó en 1953 y se basa en su experiencia en la Marina. Cuando los derechos cinematográficos de su primera novela fueron comprados, Uris se trasladó a Hollywood para ayudar a escribir el guión y luego se quedó a trabajar con otros guiones cinematográficos, incluyendo el de la exitosa película Duelo de titanes. {buybutton id=14279/}

    La segunda novela de Uris, Las colinas de la ira, se centra en Grecia, pero su trama explora la migración judía a territorios que luego harían parte de Israel. La historia de la fundación del estado de Israel es también el tema de la novela con mayor éxito comercial de Uris, Éxodo. No mucho tiempo después de que Israel se consolidara como Estado, Uris comenzó a investigar los hechos. Para ello, viajó más de 12,000 millas dentro del país, entrevistó a más de 1,200 residentes y leyó cientos de libros sobre historia judaica. El libro llegó a vender más copias que Lo que el viento se llevó.

    ÉxodoLa investigación exhaustiva se convirtió en la base de muchos de sus libros posteriores. Mila 18 narra la resistencia judía en los guetos de Varsovia durante la ocupación Nazi de Polonia y Armageddon describe los años del bloqueo de Berlín. Topaz explora las estrategias militares de la Guerra Fría de los Estados Unidos durante la crisis de los misiles de Cuba, mientras que El peregrino profundiza la mirada de Uris en la historia de Medio Oriente. Gran parte de la ficción de Uris también se desprende de sus propios viajes y experiencias personales: QB VII es un drama judicial basado en un juicio por difamación contra Uris debido a la publicación de Éxodo y El paso de Mitla sigue a un autor como Uris en Israel durante la Guerra del Sinaí. {buybutton id=14276/}    

    A lo largo de su carrera, Uris continuó escribiendo para Hollywood, adaptando sus propias novelas al cine y trabajando como consultor de guión en películas como Gigante y Rebelde sin causa. Uris falleció en el 2003 en su casa en Long Island. 


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  • 08/01/14--07:00: Ebooks for $2.99 and Under
  • For $2.99 or less, scoop up a new ebook from participating retailers throughout the month of August. Browse five titles for adults and three titles for kids and teens below for your next summer read. Click on each cover to learn more!

     

     The Hanging JudgeThe Hanging Judge: A Novelby Michael Ponsor

    Based on the experience of the author, a federal judge who in 2000 presided over the first capital case in Massachusetts in more than fifty years, this extraordinary debut thriller offers an unprecedented inside view of a federal death penalty trial. Buy The Hanging Judge from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.com, Google Play, or Kobo.

     

     

    Second Front

    Second Front: The Allied Invasion of France, 1942-43 (An Alternative History)by Alexander M. Grace

    Realistic and fact-based, Second Front posits what would have happened in 1942 had the Allies invaded the coast of southern France instead of North Africa. The fascinating alternative history comes close to informing us exactly what might have happened had D-Day in Europe come as early as some had wished. Buy Second Front from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.com, Google Play, or Kobo.

     

    The Eternal WonderThe Eternal Wonderby Pearl S. Buck

    Lost for forty years, The Eternal Wonder is a recently discovered novel by the author of The Good Earth. Rann Colfax, a genius searching for meaning and purpose, travels from New York to England, Paris, a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea that will change his life forever, and—ultimately—to love. Buy The Eternal Wonder from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

    Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul

    Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul: Stories of Canine Companionship, Comedy and Courage by Chicken Soup for the Soul 

    From exciting and entertaining accounts of courage and humor to heartwarming tales of healing and learning, each touching story in this book will inspire dog lovers to rejoice in the unique bond they share with their canine companions. Buy Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul: Stories of Canine Companionship, Comedy and Courage from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

     The Salinger ContractThe Salinger Contract: A Novelby Adam Langer 

    Fast-paced and witty, The Salinger Contract is an enthralling literary mystery that connects some of the world’s most famous authors—from Norman Mailer and Truman Capote to B. Traven and J. D. Salinger—to a sinister collector in Chicago. Buy The Salinger Contract from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

     


    Kids and Teens

     

     GiftGiftby Andrea J. Buchanan

    High school sophomore Daisy has a secret, unpredictable power. When Daisy tries to help Vivi, a mysterious classmate in a crisis, she soon discovers that her new friend has a secret of her own. Buy Gift from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

     

     This Is How I Find HerThis Is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky 

    But when a suicide attempt lands Sophie’s bipolar mother in the hospital, she moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin—a family she’s been estranged from for the past five years. How can she begin to rebuild her life? Buy This Is How I Find Her from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

     

     The Kids' Cat BookThe Kids' Cat Bookby Tomie dePaola

    Granny Twinkle knows everything there is to know about cats. When Patrick visits to pick out a free kitten, he ends up knowing everything, too. After you read this picture book by Tomie dePaola, you’ll know a lot about cats! Buy The Kids’ Cat Book from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barenesandnoble.com, Google Play, or Kobo.

     

     

     


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