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I did a promotion for my debut Young Adult novel, Life with Jesse Daniels,
and the response has been overwhelming! Nearly one thousand copies
were downloaded in the first 24 hours!
As I write this, my book is still at the top of the Teen and Young Adult Fiction list, and I am so extremely thrilled!
I will be sending the final draft of my new novel, My Best Friend's Brother,
to my editor next week, so this could not have happened at a better time for me!
Thanks for dropping by today! Enjoy your weekend and happy reading!
Happy Illustration Friday!
We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Alison Kim, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of RUCKUS. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!
You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.
And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:
Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).
Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.
Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).
Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!
Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!
By: Becky Laney
Blog: Becky's Book Reviews
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, books reread in 2015
, books reviewed in 2015
, children's classic
, J Fiction
, j historical
, Laura Ingalls Wilder
, MG Fiction
, mg historical
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These Happy Golden Years. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1943. HarperCollins. 289 pages. [Source: Library]
Why is it that reading These Happy Golden Years makes me giddy? Could it be my actual favorite of the series after all? Perhaps. It has been such a treat for me to reread these Little House books this past month. I've enjoyed visiting with Laura and her family. I've enjoyed watching 'the romance' unfold with Almanzo in Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years.
In These Happy Golden Years Laura has accepted--for better or worse--that she is all grown up. In this book, she teaches several different schools. Each teaching term is short--a few months here, a few months there. Her first teaching position lasts eight weeks, and, it is mostly a nightmare for her. She's rooming with Mr. and Mrs. Brewster. And Mrs. Brewster must be suffering from some mental illness. I feel sorry for Mr. Brewster and their baby, Johnny. There's a helplessness in the situation. Laura realizes how blessed she's been for a happy home life. The opening chapters dwell on her homesickness and gratitude. And she owes much to Almanzo Wilder. For HE comes to "rescue" her from the Brewsters every single weekend no matter how cold the weather. And it all comes as such a surprise to her that she'll get to spend her weekends at home.
When she's not teaching school, she's attending it. Every few months, it seems, she receives an opportunity to teach and earn money, and she'll take a teacher's exam, and get another certificate. But teaching isn't the only way she's able to earn money. She really, truly wants to earn money, not for herself, but to help keep Mary in college.
Most of the book focuses on the courtship of Laura and Almanzo. How he comes to take her sledding or for buggy rides. Laura does love his horses.
I love this book! I do.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
I know, I know. This might seem like an unlikely pick for this blog. It’s not YA, it’s not fiction, HOWEVER I love Patti Stanger and The Millionaire Matchmaker, so I was going to read her book regardless. Might as well hope to stumble across a good food (fact?) tie-in, right?
As expected, Patti has great advice on everything from timing to hair. And while she doesn’t share any rules for eating on dates or a way to psycho-analyze a guy based on what he eats, Patti does suggest taking “resevations” for men who ask you out during the Dating Detox phases she prescribes. Such Patti-isms as The best restaurants are booked weeks in advance, why not you? are her bread and butter, if you will. ;)
But it was the little insights into Patti’s own life make me like her even more:
First, I found her exercise plan to be eerily similar to mine; Patti watches tearjerkers from her elliptical machine, not unlike my own treadmilling during Survivor.
I also discovered that we share a love for food; like Patti, when the food shows up, I show up. ;)
So even if I don’t need her advice to find Mr. Right (I already have him), these commonalities lead me to believe I should take her advice on food. Lucky for me, she names one right in this book! Turns out Patti’s go-to indulgence is Teuscher Champagne Truffles...which means I'm heading out right now to find out if they’re my perfect match, too. ;)
By: Dan Bostrom,
Blog: ALSC Blog
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ALSC Online Courses
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ALSC Online Education (image courtesy of ALSC)
April is coming up and ALSC has a bundle of great learning opportunities. From online courses to webinars, ALSC has a learning choice that fits your budget!
Explore new ideas and great library thinking with ALSC online courses! ALSC is offering four great options including three CEU-certified courses. All courses are offered asynchronously (self-directed) meaning you won’t need to logon at a specific time. Learn new youth library-specific skills at a pace that’s comfortable and convenient. Courses start Monday, April 6, 2015.
- Children with Disabilities in the Library
6 weeks, April 6 – May 15, 2015, CEU Certified Course, 3 CEUs
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
4 weeks, April 6 – May 1, 2015, CEU Certified Course, 1.2 CEUs
- Storytelling with Puppets
4 weeks, April 6 – May 1, 2015, CEU Certified Course, 2.2 CEUs
Because life in a library moves fast, ALSC webinars are the perfect solution for someone who wants and needs educational information but doesn’t have a lot of time or resources. These short (one to two hour) interactive sessions taking place in Adobe Connect give librarians and library support staff the opportunity to learn right at their desks.
Be a Winner: Inspired Youth Grant Writing (Part I)
Thursday, April 2, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central
Be a Winner: Inspired Youth Grant Writing (Part II)
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 12 pm Eastern/11 am Central
Celebrating with Poetry Snapshots
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central
Missed a webinar you wanted to attend? Don’t worry! ALSC presents archived versions of webinars, which are offered at a discounted price. Archived webinars cost only $25. Please note that recorded versions are not available until all of the live sessions of that webinar have taken place.
The post Upcoming ALSC Online Education – April 2015 appeared first on ALSC Blog.
A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between March 27 and April 2 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
Director Kelly Asbury says the story "was not fully in the place we wanted it to be yet."
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, First Second
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, angouleme 2015
, Bastien Vives
, Last Man
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A collaboration of French stars from three different mediums, Last Man brings together the gifted animator Balak, Bastien Vivès, the much heralded comics creator, and Michaël Sanlaville, a rising talent in game design, for a manga influenced, tournament-based martial arts adventure that’s been all the rage in their native country.
The planned 12 volume series, 6 of which have been published, was recently awarded the Prix de la Serie at Angoulême this year, highlighting the popular and critical acclaim of the series overseas. Last Man centers on Adrian Velba, a 12 year old boy enrolled in Battle School whose highest ambition is to participate in the annual tournament sponsored by the King and Queen. After the sudden departure of his required partner, Adrian faces having to wait another year to compete, until a mysterious loner named Richard Aldana, who is also in need of a partner, crosses his path. This unlikely pair, and how they turn the tournament and city on its ear, makes up much of the excellent first volume, entitled “The Stranger”, which sees English-language publication from First Second on March 31st.
I was fortunate enough to chat with these three creators in the lead-up to its release in the U.S.:
L to R: Sanlaville, Balak, Vivès
You began working on Last Man in 2013, what was the origin of the project and how was the creative nucleus of this ensemble formed?
Balak: Bastien and I have known each other for 12 years. We hung out at the same message board, catsuka.com<http://catsuka.com/>, chatting about comics, Japanese animation and well-endowed women, the usual geeky stuff. Then we went to the same animation school in Paris, Gobelins, where we met Michael. Bastien and Mic got along well and quit the school to make comics. Years later, Bastien told me he’d like to make a comic book with eveything we like in it: cool one-liners, great adventure with a manga-ish epic feel, larger than life characters and larger than life natural breasts. In short: The very reason Art exists. The catch is that we wanted to do it the manga-way: to draw 20 pages a week and publish 3 books a year. So we had to be a three-person team, well organized, and say goodbye to any social life for a few years. It seemed like a cool project, so here we are.
While reading the first volume, I was reminded of my time perusing some of my favorite mangas, including that of the shounen variety, was that an influence…or more specifically, was there a particular type of action-based storytelling that informed this series?
Balak: Yes, that was the reason Bastien asked me and Mic to join in the first place. He knows we’re avid manga readers since forever. Basically, we wanted to have this very calibrated shounen feel that we love in the first books, and put our little twist on it: What if John McClane was thrown into a Dragon Ball tournament? We mixed the two things we loved: manga and US action movies we watched as kids. This stuff made us who we are today, for better and worse. Last Man is the result of this.
Last Man looks to have a fairly wide audience appeal, particularly in terms of age, what is it about tournament stories that seem the draw the younger audience?
Balak: Even the worst Hollywood script doctor would tell you that story is about conflict. A tournament is the core of the most basic, comprehensive storytelling. You’ve got a hero you’re rooting for: he wants to win the cup, and everyone wants the same thing as well. The premise is simple, almost visceral. That’s why manga of this type are popular, they manage to convey each characters burning will to win and emotions; each battle is a story in itself. But when we say it’s simple, it doesn’t mean “simplistic.” Keeping things simple is hard, there is an unnoticeable elegance to it that is very difficult to achieve.
Were there any story elements in particular that you implemented or had to adjust in order to attract younger readers?
Balak: Not at all, we just did things as we pleased. The only thing we naturally refrained was sex. It can be sexy, but you don’t have anything too graphic.
Describe a typical day in the creative process for the series, were you all huddled in a room together planning out the beats of the story or was it more segmented?
Balak: “A quiet mayhem” is the best expression that could sum up our typical day and creative process. We don’t write much like a regular script. Bastien puts down his ideas on 10 or 15 pages for the book to come. Mic and I read it, then we discuss it, have several meetings, decide what is changing, what would be better. I take quick notes on a paper towel and I directly draw the 20 first pages of storyboard, come up with dialogues ideas, new situations. Each Monday, we discuss what the next 20 pages will be about, while Bastien and Mic draw the previous pages, 10 each. It’s not very kosher, and it’s quite exhausting, but it’s what keeps our ideas fresh and our motivation going. If we had the classic “here is the script, then we do the whole storyboard, then we can draw the whole thing,” it wouldn’t work for us. With our method, it feels very organic, we are constantly reacting on each others pages, at any time.
There’s a fascinating sense of culture combination in this first volume, with a setting that resembles pre-Revolutionary era France but with Eastern traditions sprinkled throughout. What is it that makes these two very different cultures mesh so well together?
Balak: To be honest, we didn’t put a lot of thoughts into this culture mix. We just drew what seemed right to us, the French medieval thing is a part of our culture, we just put a martial art in it not thinking twice if it would match or not… It seemed obvious to us!
Bastien, you’ve had a few of your comics translated into English into the past, how has the translation process for Last Man compared? Has it been relatively smooth overall or have any pieces of dialogue had to be changed outright?
Bastien: My English is not very good, so I can’t really tell!!! But I think First Seconds did a good job!
Balak: The translation is very good, some cultural, typical French things are well adapted to an English audience. The main difference is that the French version is filled with cursing and very bad language that the English version is toned down a little . . . Aldana is even more rude in French!
For Balak and Michael, was the transition into comics a difficult one from the work you’re used to, or is there a natural handover from gaming and animation into sequential art?
Balak: I always wanted to draw comics. That’s the very first thing I wanted to do as a kid, so it’s not an issue at all. Sometime I’m a little frustrated by the page constraint, the fact that you can’t surprise the reader anytime you want, you have to take care of the double spread, keep your surprises for the first panel of the left page. . . . But it’s fun. I tried to get rid of this by creating something called Turbomedia, a way to make digital comics. You can see how it works by looking up Marvel’s Infinite Comics line, I’ve worked with them on this. Or even better, check the great Mark Waid’s Insufferable, at Thrillbent.com. It’s cool. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.)
Do you see Richard Aldana as a character to be admired or one to be pitied? Is it somewhere in the middle?
Balak: You pinpointed Richard. He’s right in the middle. He’s a badass, he’s looking cool and cracking jokes, but you wouldn’t want his life. But don’t try to show him pity, he would punch you in the face. Or walk away with a burning one-liner that would hurt you even more. Or both at the same time, if you’re not lucky.
Will Richard’s background play a bigger part going forward in the next chapters being released this year?
Balak: Yes, a big, BIG part. We’re even making a whole animated TV show about Richard’s past. It will be out in 2016 in France. It will be dark, violent and funny.
When you’re writing the dialogue of a child Adrian’s age, how difficult is it to find a right tone of voice that sounds natural?
Balak: Adrian’s way of talking is mostly Bastien’s. He’s kept is inner ten year-old child very close. It seems very easy for him. When I’m writing Adrian’s dialogues, it almost always sounds wrong.
Last Man was incredibly well received in your home country, to the point that it won the Prix de la Serie at Angoulême. What was the first thing that went through each of your minds winning such a prestigious honor?
Balak: I should’ve dressed better for this.
Bastien: It’s very good to feel supported in your country.
Balak: (Bastien tries to look tough and all, but he cried on stage. Really.)
Mic: It happened quite fast, I think I haven’t realized yet what it means. . . . To me, this prize goes out to all the great Japanese manga artists that inspired me to draw, and are still unknown to the wide audience for the most part. . . . But things are changing, so that’s good.
At what point was First Second the natural choice to bring Last Man to the states?
Balak: Mark Siegel gets the book totally, it seems that everybody there genuinely loves what they are publishing. We’re proud to be surrounded by all these other great books.
Beyond the translation of Books 2 and 3 this year, what’s next for the series? I understand there are other media plans. How is that process coming along? Is it possible I’ll be playing as Richard Aldana in a video game soon?
Balak: Hopefully, it should happen this very year! We’re producing our own video game, called Last Fight. It’s kind of like Power Stone, you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLFxFKmqYDs If everything goes smoothly, it will be released in September. And as I’ve said previously, the animated TV show about Richard’s past is scheduled to next year. On each project, we have a very close look on the whole creative process.
What can/should your American readers look out for in Books 2 and 3? Any major surprises you can tease?
Balak: I can guarantee you some surprises . . . I can only say that you won’t stay into King’s Valley too long.
You can pick up Last Man Vol 1: The Stranger this coming Tuesday, March 31st from First Second at a book retailer near you.
I am ALL about the mysteries, and it's kind of all over the board - adult fiction, YA fiction, and now MG. I heard about this mystery series by an American woman raised in England last year from The Book Smugglers, and to be honest, I got tired of... Read the rest of this post
In my opinion, there is almost always something to celebrate! Just ask my kids who have enjoyed half-birthdays and even "sister of half-birthday boy" occasions! Any excuse for a special meal, cupcakes, song, or a party! Planned or spontaneous, big or little, let's have more fun together. And if you spend any time at all with young children, you know they revel in discovering and celebrating the fun, odd, interesting things they're learning about every day. So, it's no surprise that I have loved being part of producing the latest installment in our POETRY FRIDAY series of anthologies: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. It was so fun to research the various occasions that are featured in that book, to work with Janet (Wong, my partner in celebration) to curate the perfect poem for each day, week or month, and to think about how to engage kids in experiencing each poem.
But you may not know that each of our books (in the Teacher/Librarian edition) also features some front and back matter that we hope will help the adult reader with tips, lists, and guidelines on selecting and sharing poetry with all kinds of kids. For example, we always include a bibliography of OTHER poetry books that are connected to the topic of the book, so we can get kids reading even MORE poetry!
In the back of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, you'll find a list of other poetry books full of occasional poems and poems for various holidays and celebrations. Here is that list just for you.
POETRY BOOKS ABOUT CELEBRATIONS
Whether it’s Christmas, Halloween, Mother’s Day, President’s Day, or another occasion, sharing a poem can make for a memorable moment. Here is a selection of books with poetry for children about a variety of celebrations.
Ada, Alma Flor and Campoy, Isabel. 2015. Días y Días de Poesía: Developing Literacy through Poetry and Folklore
Andrews, Julie and Hamilton, Emma Walton. Eds. 2012. Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year.
Brown, Calef. 2010. Hallowilloween: Nefarious Silliness.
Carlstrom, Nancy White. 2002. Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Poems for the Very Young.
Farrar, Sid. 2012. The Year Comes Round: Haiku through the Seasons.
Ghigna, Charles and Ghigna, Debra. 2000. Christmas Is Coming!
Ghigna, Charles. 2003. Halloween Night: Twenty-One Spooktacular Poems.
Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Under the Christmas Tree.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2004. Christmas Presents: Holiday Poetry.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2004. Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2005. Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2005. Valentine Hearts: Holiday Poetry.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2014. Manger.
Hopkins, Lee. Bennett. Ed. 2010. Sharing the Seasons.
Janeczko, Paul. Ed. 2014. Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems.
Jules, Jacqueline. 2001. Clap and Count! Action Rhymes for the Jewish Year.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2007. Under the Kissletoe: Christmastime Poems.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of of the School Year.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2013. World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of.
Mak, Kam. 2001. My Chinatown: One Year in Poems.
Mora, Pat. 2001. Ed. Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers.
Mora, Pat. 2008. Join Hands: The Ways We Celebrate Life. Muth, Jon. J. 2014. Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons.
Nesbitt, Kenn & Linda Knaus. 2006. Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney.
Newman, Lesléa. 2014. Here Is the World: A Year of Jewish Holidays.
Orozco, José Luis. 2004. Fiestas: A Year of Latin American Songs and Celebrations.
Prelutsky, Jack. 2007. It’s Thanksgiving!
Prelutsky, Jack. 2008. It’s Christmas! Raczka, Bob. 2010. Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. Raczka, Bob. 2014. Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2008. Shrinking Days, Frosty Nights: Poems about Fall.
Sidman, Joyce. 2009. Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors.Sidman, Joyce. 2013. What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings. Singer, Marilyn, 2012. Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems.
Sklansky, Amy E. 2004. Skeleton Bones & Goblin Groans: Poems for Halloween.
Swaim, Jessica. 2010. Scarum Fair.
Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2011. Gift Tag.
Whitehead, Jenny. 2007. Holiday Stew: A Kid’s Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems.
Yolen, Jane and Peters, Andrew Fusek. Eds. 2007. Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry.
Yolen, Jane and Peters, Andrew Fusek. Eds. 2010. Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems.
Ziefert, Harriet. 2008. Hanukkah Haiku.
For the month of April, I will be featuring short videos of children reading some of the poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. These were produced by my amazing graduate students and shared with their permission. We even have one BLOOPER reel! So stop by next week and throughout April for this fun celebration of National Poetry Month.
In the mean time, if you need more information about the book (and you missed it in the 1000 places I've been tooting that horn), here you go:
It's the FOURTH book in the Poetry Friday Anthology series! It’s The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Teacher/Librarian Edition and Student/Children’s Edition). You’ll find poems for 156 holidays in English and Spanish, including: Random Acts of Kindness Week, Children’s Book Week, World Laughter Day, National Camping Month, International Literacy Day, Global Hand Washing Day, and more!
Poets include: Jack Prelutsky, J. Patrick Lewis, Joyce Sidman, Margarita Engle, Marilyn Singer, Nikki Grimes, Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy, Ibtisam Barakat, Uma Krishnaswami, Francisco X. Alarcón, Linda Sue Park, Jane Yolen, Kenn Nesbitt, Jorge Argueta, Grace Lin, Joseph Bruchac, Douglas Florian, Laura Purdie Salas, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, and 95 others.
Get your copy of the Teacher/Librarian Edition (with mini-lessons) here:AmazonQEP Books
Get your copy of the Student/Children's Edition (poems only) here:Student/Children's EditionAmazonQEP Books
You can find more info at:PomeloBooks.comPoetryCelebrations.com Plus, check out our new boards at Pinterest where we have poem visuals for each of our books. Just look for Pomelobooks (one word) at Pinterest.com.
Speaking of Poetry Friday, head on over to Jone's place for more poetry goodness!
Image credits: pomelobooks.com;churchgoers.com;shorpy.com
By: Brian Bowes,
Blog: Studio Bowes Art
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The beginning of the final sketches for my comic “The Boyler Kat.”
via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1bC2miP
Submissions Needed--none in the queue for next week. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.
The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.
Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.
What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.
A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.
Before you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.
Download a free PDF copy here.
Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.
A First-page Checklist
- It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist
- Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
- What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
- What happens moves the story forward.
- What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
- The protagonist desires something.
- The protagonist does something.
- There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
- It happens in the NOW of the story.
- Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
- Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
- What happens raises a story question—what happens next? or why did that happen?
Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.
Rachel sends the first chapter for an untitled novel. The rest of the chapter after the break.
Some people thrive under pressure. I’m not one of them.
‘What do you mean, you can’t do it? You’re not stupid.’
Mum pushes me out of the way and stands in front of the door.
‘Let me do it.’
She glances at the list of numbers on the panel. A perfectly manicured nail (French manicured, anything else is tarty) flies across the buttons. Five seconds later, the intercom buzzes.
Mum fixes me with a must-try-harder frown.
‘Neurology department. How can I help?’ says a voice.
‘You can start by opening the door,’ replies Mum.
‘Do you have an appointment?’
‘Professor Hopkins to see Doctor Randall at 1.30pm.’
Mum checks her watch. It’s now 1.25pm. Mum is the type of person who gets somewhere ten minutes early and waits on the doorstep for nine minutes and 59 seconds before she rings the bell. A buzzer sounds as the metal door springs open. Mum ushers me in with a don’t-dare-dawdle stare.
Were you compelled to turn Rachel's first page?
Lovely writing and voice in this chapter, and at the end the protagonist, Martha, is faced with a terrifying prospect. But will a reader get there? There’s low-level tension between mother and daughter here but, for me, no story questions are raised. What’s going to happen next? They’re going into a building for an appointment. An appointment for what? We have no idea. It turns out that Mum has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. If there were some sort of hint, perhaps a page turn would be warranted—Here we are, ready to learn if Mum is losing her mind in a most terrible way. That would raise a strong enough story question to get me to the real story question raised at the end of the chapter.
The chapter continues with well-done characterization. I enjoyed Martha—but, for me, the process of getting to the appointment and the description of the waiting room and its occupants, while interesting, do nothing to propel the story forward. Even though Rachel uses the chapter to set up and define the characters, I urge her to get much closer to the inciting events, which are the diagnosis for Mum and the fact that Martha has a fifty-fifty chance of, as she refers to it at chapter end, the time bomb in her brain going off some day. That was a compelling sentence for me, and if the first page could get there I’d be on board. You can characterize Mum and Dad as they deal with this rather than before the big story questions are raised. I’d like to read this novel, I think, but I’m not sure a lot of readers would get to the chapter’s end. See what you think after the rest of the chapter.
For what it’s worth.
Submitting to the Flogometer:
Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):
- your title
- your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
- Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
- Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
- And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
- If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
- If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.
Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.
Flogging the Quill © 2015 Ray Rhamey, story © 2015 Rachel
I step into the hallway and check the board of names on the wall. Mum likes me to figure things out for myself. I shouldn’t rely on other people, not at my age.
She tugs down her jacket and brushes an invisible fleck from her skirt as we wait for Dad to shuffle across the carpark, a carrier bag in each hand. Mum bought him a leather satchel but he says it’s too nice to use. Not that there’s anything important in the bags. He just likes carrying stuff around.
‘Sorry darling, didn’t have the right change for the meter,’ puffs Dad, wiping at his bald head.
He shakes the plastic bags and a splatter of rain drops flies in every direction. Drying his glasses on the edge of his shirt, he gives me a rueful smile. Mum rolls her eyes. We now have three minutes to find the right department.
‘Which floor, Martha?’ demands Mum.
‘Third,’ I say.
Mum checks the board and runs a laser-focused eye down the names.
‘Lead the way, then.’
Reluctantly, I climb the stairs. Mum knows I don’t like going into a room first. She also knows I don’t like speaking to people I don’t know. The more I do it, the easier it will get, she says. It doesn’t.
When I get to the third floor I crouch down and pretend to do up my laces. Today I’m lucky. Mum has more important things on her mind than my social incompetence and her patent-leather shoes click-clack right past me. She presents herself at the reception desk with a flick of her long black hair. Sometimes I swear her heels actually click together.
The receptionist, a plump woman with eyebrows plucked out of existence, waits a few moments before looking up.
‘If you’d like to take a seat, Doctor Randall will be with you shortly.’
Her lips twitch upwards in a gesture not to be confused with a smile. She’s met Mum’s type before. Full of self-importance, these professor types. Never a please or thank you. She looks at me quizzically. I pat down my hair. Perhaps it’s sticking up from the rain. She turns her attention to Dad who flattens his non-existent hair. Then I see the cause of her curiosity: two brown lines have been drawn on her face just above where her eyebrows should be. The result is a face that’s permanently surprised.
Mum answers with a perfunctory nod and sets trajectory for the seating area. Self-doubt isn’t in Mum’s genetic code. Besides which, her hair wouldn’t dare be out of place.
As I pass, the receptionist flashes me a pity smile - the kind she reserves for teenagers with overbearing mothers. Or ones about to be diagnosed with a brain tumour.
I keep my head down and follow Mum into the waiting room. With its beige walls and brown carpet it couldn’t be any more dismal. A fish tank bubbles away in the corner: a single clown fish bobbing near the surface. Presumably it’s soothing for the patients. Poor Nemo’s been soothed to a watery grave.
Thankfully Mum sits a safe distance from the other nine people waiting. (I always count how many people are in a room.) I take a seat next to Mum and pull Dad down next to me. I’ve always been a stranger-magnet. And they nearly always smell weird and want to tell me their life story.
Aside from the hum of the fish tank, the occasional cough and the ticking of the clock, the room is quiet.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
The longer we wait, the louder it gets.
Do they make clocks with extra loud ticks just for waiting rooms? I bet someone did a study and found that hospitals with loudly-ticking clocks have the shortest waiting times. People would rather stick their head in a fish tank than be driven slowly mad.
I glance at Mum. Sitting bolt upright with her eyes wide open, anyone would think she is daydreaming. Anyone who doesn’t know her, that is. Mum never switches off. She’s always analysing, judging, problem solving. Right now, she’s probably working on a cure for cancer. Or about to give the receptionist something to really be surprised about.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Just when the ticking can’t get any more annoying, Dad takes waiting-room torture to Jack Bauer level. It’s called Emotional Freedom Therapy and is meant to help with his nerves. Basically, he taps two fingers of one hand on the wrist of the other. If he’s not tapping, Dad is tuning into the mother ship: twiddling with a tiny needle sticking out of his earlobe. It’s an acupuncture thing. For anxiety. Jumpy Joe Mum calls him, on account of his fidgeting. Right now Jumpy Joe could out-run the Duracell bunny.
I pick up a copy of Celebrity Sizzle and am about to find out what happens When boob jobs go bad when Mum snatches it off me and shoves National Geographic in my hand.
‘Every day you don’t learn something new is an opportunity wasted,’ she whispers.
Mum turns her attention to Dad next. I can almost see the red dot hovering between his eyes. An Aviation magazine almost lands on his lap, until Mum spots: Worst air disasters in history, and sends it flying back to the table.
Bereft of reading material, Dad’s eyes jump from one public information poster to the next. He wraps a hand around his throat and feels for an imaginary lump under his armpit as he reads: ‘Influenza can kill’ and ‘Don’t ignore the lump in your breast, it could be cancer.’ You know it’s bad when he cracks open the Rescue Remedy. It’s a wonder his ears don’t spring a leak.
Luckily, I don’t have to feign interest in the ancient civilizations of Antarctica for long, as just then the receptionist appears. Twelve pairs of desperate eyes swivel in her direction, hoping that she will utter the winning syllables of their name. When she calls Petra Hopkins, it feels as if we’ve won a prize. I’m not sure who looks more surprised – us or her.
Mum pushes open the door to the consultant’s office. Doctor Randall is young with a soft face and dimples. He stands and smiles hopefully. I don’t have to look at Mum to know what she’s thinking. The boy is barely old enough to shave, how can he be: driving a car/getting married/a brain surgeon [insert as appropriate]. Perhaps that’s why he keeps his credentials on the wall.
‘Hello Petra,’ says Doctor Randall, stretching out a hand to my mother.
The way she glares at it, you would think she’d been offered a snake to hold.
‘Professor Hopkins to you.’
A patch of red flushes across the doctor’s face. Apologising, he blusters swiftly on.
‘And you must be Mister Hopkins.’
‘Joe, please,’ replies Dad, shaking the doctor’s hand.
I stare at the floor. Thankfully, the doctor’s hand snakes its way back to his hip.
‘Please, do take a seat.’
The three of us sit in unison, like performers in a well-rehearsed play.
The doctor pauses a moment and clears his throat before launching into the speech. He’s reviewed the scans, read the notes and conferred with a senior specialist, and there is no doubt in his mind. Mum is presenting with early onset dementia. He realises that this must come as quite a shock and we must have questions and he will do his best to answer them.
The three of us stare at him blankly.
Early onset dementia.
He must be talking to the wrong family. Mum is 45. Old, but not old enough for dementia.
The word rolls around my head like a marble – perhaps I am losing mine too?
‘Familial Alzheimer's disease is called that because it’s passed down the family via a faulty gene,’ explains the doctor, as if using small words is going to make the monster he’s just unleashed into the room any easier to wrestle into a corner.
Mum frowns and says: ‘Mutations to the amyloid beta A4 precursor protein located on the long arm of chromosome 21.’
‘Yes,’ says Doctor Randall in surprise.
He scans his notes. Obviously they don’t mention the fact that Mum is a world-leading geneticist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine five years ago. And anyway, surely statements like this prove that Mum can’t be losing her mind?
Finally, the jigsaw piece falls into place on his face.
‘You’re not the Professor Hopkins?’
Dad nods wearily. He’s been the husband of the Professor Hopkins for twenty years but still hasn’t got used to it. Professor Hopkins casts a long shadow, and I should know. Next to her, I’m a pale imitation. Mum is as beautiful as she is smart: tall and slender with olive skin, almond-shaped eyes and long, black hair. As luck would have it, I didn’t inherited her brains or her beauty.
Doctor Randall sits a little straighter in his chair before continuing: ‘It usually strikes between the ages of 30 and 60 years of age but can be earlier. Even as young as 16.’
He looks at me with this last bit.
Dad glances nervously at Mum, who is now standing up and peering at the doctor’s framed certificates on the wall.
‘What can we expect to happen?’ asks Dad.
‘Rates of deterioration are usually slow. In your wife’s case, however, it’s occurring very quickly. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before.’
Mum turns around and looks bizarrely pleased. Even when it comes to losing her mind, she has to do it better than anyone else.
‘It really is quite remarkable,’ says Doctor Randall, shuffling through some MRI scans on his desk and waving one in our direction.
Dad looks like a man who’s just been offered a dirty magazine in church. No, he does not want to see his wife’s remarkably diseased brain, thank you very much. Mum takes the scan and sits back down. Whatever she sees, her face is a blank.
Dad groans and twiddles with the needle in his ear. If he were the one with the rare brain disease, Mum would develop a new drug to slow down its progress. Mum has a brilliant mind – which is why it’s inconceivable to think she might be losing it.
‘What can we expect to happen?’ asks Dad, leaning forward and pinching the bridge of his nose.
He’s way beyond Rescue Remedy. We’re across the border and heading for panic attack city.
‘Breathe slowly, Dad,’ I say, resting a hand on his back.
Before the doctor can explain, Mum cuts in.
‘Patients with Alzheimer’s experience memory loss, have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. They lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may forget where they are or how they got there. They forget words they once knew and –.’
The three of us watch her in amazement. The way she lists things so matter-of-factly, she could be describing things that are going to happen to someone else, not her.
‘Why are you looking at me like that?’ asks Mum. ‘I was just answering the question.’
Mum goes back to staring at the doctor’s certificates. She’s often distracted when she’s focused on her work but there’s something different about the way she looks lately. Vacant almost. A shiver runs down my back. I can’t believe she has dementia but I can’t pretend everything is normal either.
Doctor Randall interrupts the silence: ‘There’s something else. I’m sorry to have to tell you that most people with the disease have a life expectancy that is - .’
‘How long?’ asks Dad.
‘Five, eight years at most.’
The doctor pauses for us to absorb this latest body blow.
‘We have a specialist nurse who can run through what to expect and the support options available. Though, as I say, the speed of deterioration is unusual, so it’s difficult to put a timeline on things.’
‘And what about me?’ I whisper, feeling instantly selfish for asking.
The doctor shoots a worried look at Dad.
‘There is a fifty-fifty chance that you carry the same gene. Genetic counselling can be made available to you once you’re eighteen,’ says the doctor.
I stare at him blankly.
‘Genetic counselling is a chance for you to decide whether or not you want to take the test. It’s a big decision to make.’
Dad and I instinctively look at Mum. Professor Hopkins makes the big decisions in our house - but right now Professor Hopkins is lost in another dimension.
‘And if Martha has the same gene?’ asks Dad.
‘I’m afraid there are no treatment options available.’
‘There must be something?’ asks Dad. ‘A research programme, a new drugs trial, something?’
‘I don’t want to give you false hope,’ says Doctor Randall, glancing at the framed certificates on his wall.
Dad, who doesn’t have any certificates on his wall, looks as if he would happily shake the hand of false hope right now. He’d hug it to him like a drowning man clings to a life buoy.
‘Martha will take the test as soon as she turns eighteen,’ says Mum, snapping back into wakefulness.
I listen in amazement as I’m relegated to the spectator bench of my own life. It’s better to know so that I can prepare. Apparently. How do you prepare for losing your mind? Write Post It notes to remind yourself where you left your keys? Write a memoir while you still can?
It’s my life! I want to shout but I know there’s no point. I am sixteen-and-a-half. Eighteen months is plenty of time for Mum to change her mind. Or for me to write a million Post It notes.
‘That’s something for Martha to think about,’ says Doctor Randall, closing the notes on his desk with an air of that-concludes-business-for-the-day.
The three of us stare at him. This man with a soft, cheerful face, who has turned our world inside out.
‘I am available if you have any further questions.’
I take Dad’s hand, then reach out a hand to Mum. They look as vacant as each other. I stand up slowly, my legs heavy as if they belong to someone else. Slowly, we make our way back into the waiting room.
Tick. Tock. Tick Tock.
The ticking is louder than ever, only this time it’s not the clock. It’s the time bomb in my brain.
What not to do when using social media.
By: James Preller,
Blog: James Preller's Blog
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the writing process
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, Fear is a wonderful thing in small doses.
, Horror books for kids
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, Please Disturb
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“The writer whose words are going to be read by children
has a heavy responsibility. And yet, despite the undeniable fact
that the children’s minds are tender, they are also far more tough
than many people realize, and they have an openness
and an ability to grapple with difficult concepts
which many adults have lost.”
– Madeleine L’Engle
Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of disturbing readers.
Shaking them up.
In fact, I believe that many readers, consciously or unconsciously, crave the experience.
When I think about personal growth — perhaps in viewing my own three children — I imagine that it can be characterized by periods of equilibrium, followed by passages of disequilibrium, followed (hopefully) by a new, higher level of equilibrium.
Comfort, discomfort, growth.
I came to understand some of this through my experience writing my first “horror” series, Scary Tales, for young readers. I placed horror in quotes because, well, it’s not that scary; nobody gets hurt, everything turns out okay in the end. Every time. But, sure, there are some clammy palpitations along the way.
I often visit schools and the response to “scary” in grades 3-5, particularly, is wildly enthusiastic. Kids love this creepy stuff with its twisting plots, and they have long before I ever entered the scene. But I’ve also learned that there is a lot of fear out there — from adults. The redoubtable gatekeepers. A question I’ll hear at Book Festivals: “Will this book give my child nightmares?”
Of course, I don’t know the answer to that. How should I respond?
Okay, I’m a parent. I get it, mostly. We don’t want our kids to wake up screaming, scared out of their minds. And to that end, we don’t want to irresponsibly expose them to content that might be developmentally inappropriate. Well, a caveat there: Most people have no problem, bizarrely, with “inappropriate” content if it’s on TV or a movie. Even something as cherished as the Harry Potter books and movies — where characters are murdered, and the stories get continually darker as agents of pure evil plot death and destruction. Everybody is fine with that! But a story about a kid trapped in a cave with bats? Or unfriendly snowmen guarding a castle? Or a swamp monster?
Those things might prove . . . upsetting.
And here’s the thing: Maybe we like scary stories exactly because of that disturbance. On some deep level, maybe even unconsciously, we want to be disturbed. Because we know that it is necessary to our growth.
What does the reader learn, after losing her balance, when she discovers, Whew, I’m actually okay. I survived this.
Might there be value in that discovery?
I recently got a letter from an 8th-grade reader who was disturbed by a scene in my middle-grade novel, Bystander, where a boy, Eric, gets beaten up. It upset his sense of fairness. In the letter-writer’s mind, “Eric was being very friendly,” and he “didn’t deserve to get beat up.”
The scene bothered this reader. It shook him up a little. A part of him preferred that it didn’t exist at all.
And I think, well, good. It was supposed to do that. It was designed to make you feel something. These are the troubling scenes we remember our entire lives.
Speaking of scary, how about the Teletubbies in black and white?
Now I’m not talking about pure shock, artlessly rendered. The head lopped off and bouncing, boing-boing-boing, down the carpeted staircase. Though, I guess, that might have value too. I’m talking about the fiendish clown in Stephen King’s It. Or the heartbreaking moment of when Travis is forced to shoot his rabid dog in Old Yeller. The moments that give us dis-ease.
I think that’s one of the things that good books can do for us. They disturb our tranquility a little bit. Which is also why, an aside, this entire notion of eliminating “trigger books” in the college curriculum is so misguided. The notion is that some people might be upset if they encounter certain kinds of things, or triggers, in assigned books: a mother with cancer, a rape, social prejudice, world hunger, whatever their personal trigger might be. Some believe that students should be warned about these triggers, in the hope of avoiding them.
We wouldn’t want anyone to be upset.
And I think: Good luck with that.
And also: Isn’t that kind of the point?
Illustration by Iacopo Bruno, from Scary Tales: One-eyed Doll.
When I’m not writing Scary Tales, which is most of the time, I tend to write realistic fiction. My books have included childhood cancer, fistfights, bullying, suicide, lost pets, and car accidents. Scary stuff, life.
A book, of course, is a safe way for a child or adult to address different fears. A book can be mastered. A book can be closed. It can, simply, not be read at all. Or put aside to be read another day when the reader feels prepared. And then, on that day, guess what? The reader miraculously survives. Calm is restored.
“Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses. You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re still here, still safe. That nothing strange has happened, not really. It’s good to be a child again, for a little while, and to fear — not governments, not regulations, not infidelities or accountants or distant wars, but ghosts and such things that don’t exist, and even if they do, can do nothing to hurt us.”
– Neil Gaiman
By: Brian Bowes,
Blog: Studio Bowes Art
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Another dog character pencil sketch. It must time for a drink.
via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1bC2kY9
Sketching on the train
By: Brian Bowes,
Blog: Studio Bowes Art
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4 caramel apple cookies.Cover Love:
I do like this, probably most because of the font and the colors. I think it's eye catching and sparks curiosity.Why I Wanted to Read This:
For some reason I have been interested in cults, must be because I enjoy watching The Following. This one caught my eye because of the idea of the rapture. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:Romance?:
Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed "Rapture," all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn't know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn't looking for a savior. She's looking for the truth.
This was a super fascinating story. I can see how one man was able to rise up and caught hysteria, I could see the right person doing that now. There is a lot of unrest in this nation, and in the world and the right person, saying the right things, giving stability, could rise to power. However, one thing that was weird was that there weren't that many people who went missing. Compared to the amount of people in this nation, the number was barely a blip. I don't see how everything really started falling apart when it was that few people. I guess that because of the weird things that came after I guess people really thought the world was going to end six months later.
And there was the disparity of people who didn't get saved with the first rapture so they go overzealous. And the people who just decide they weren't saved so they didn't care. I do think that something like that would really happen. People trying to do everything they can to be saved and people who decide to live out the remaining time committing all sorts of sins.
Vivian Apple is awesome because she decides not to sit back and take it. She doesn't want to wait out the remaining six months and she knows something isn't right, as many probably do, but she goes after the answers. And convinces others to come with her. Her best friend Harp and Peter are good companions and I loved the little romance between her and Peter.
And what she discovers at the end make up for any slow moving parts in the book. Great twists and a satisfying conclusion. But a cliffhanger ending makes me want the second book ASAP!To Sum Up:
I got this for my library but am wondering if it isn't a little mature. The topic is one that most middle schoolers probably don't even think about, they still accept religion at face value. I enjoyed this story but think it might be better suited in a high school library.
There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element.
Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.
I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.
Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.
Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.
Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...." There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.
Some popular authors of the NA category include:
- Jamie McGuire
- Jessica Park
- Tammara Webber
- Steph Campbell
- Liz Reinhardt
- Abbi Glines
- Colleen Hoover
- Sherry Soule
Would you buy New Adult books?
Does the genre appeal to you?
Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)?
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?
Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen?
Title: Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches Genre: Comedy, High School Publisher: Kodansha (JP), Crunchyroll Manga (US) Kodansha USA (US) Story/Artist: Miki Yoshikawa Serialized in: Weekly Shonen Magazine Translation: David Rhie Ryu Yamada is a delinquent at Suzuka High School and wholly unpopular so while he’s heard about honor student Urara Shirashi he’s never talked to ... Read more
By: Brian Bowes,
Blog: Studio Bowes Art
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By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, Nerdlebrity News
, Top News
, Alan Tudyk
, con man
, kings of con
, natha fillion
, Richard Speight
, rob benedict
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Seems like everyone had the same great idea at the same time: with comic-cons proliferating, and nerdlebrities making a circuit out of it, wouldn’t this be fine fodder for a realityish TV show/webisode of some kind? And wouldn’t actors who had starred in TV shows that had insanely fanatic fanbases but who didn’t get much airtime outside of that be the perfect people to do it?
It seems both Firefly’s Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion and Supernatural’s Rob Benedict and Richard Speight, Jr had the same idea. And both have turned to Indiegogo to bring these ideas to fruition.
The Tudyk/Fillion effort launched first. It’s called Con Man and it’s already a go, with $2,386,241 raised, a bit more than the $425,000 they were going for. This is a scripted adventure about nerdlebrities who go to cons starring…nerdlebrities who go to cons.
Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk-Me!) was a co-star on Spectrum, a sci-fi series which was canceled -Too Soon- yet became a cult classic. Wray’s good friend, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) starred in the series and has gone on to become a major movie star. While Jack enjoys the life of an A-lister, Wray tours the sci-fi circuit as a guest of conventions, comic book stores, and lots of pop culture events. The show will feature all the weird and crazy things that happen to Wray along the way to these events.
Galaxy Quest without the galaxy, then. Okay maybe a little Galaxy.
In an interview with EW, the pair expanded on the idea::
Fillion and Tudyk are hoping to raise $425,000 to finance the show’s first three 10 minute-long episodes. But Tudyk says that he has written 10 scripts in all so far and that at least one later show will indeed see both actors back on a spaceship. “There’s a lost episode of Spectrum that gets released within the show,” he says. “That’s done in a funny way—but there are actual scenes of me flying a spaceship and Nathan captaining.”
Guest stars will include more Firefly alumni, Sean Maher and Gina Torres, and othr nerdlebirty royalty including Amy Acker , Seth Green, Felicia Day, and director James Gunn. Easy to see why this has raised so much money. The initial budget was for three 10-minute shorts, but I guess there will be more than that.
Meanwhile, the Supernatural effort is more of a “reality-based” show set within the world of Supernatural fandom. It too was once called “Con Man” but now it’s called Kings of Con and here’s the pitch:
$100,000 will cover production costs for the first three to five episodes, and Benedict says 10 have already been “roughly written and mapped out,” with a 10-minute teaser/pilot previously filmed. According to Benedict, “Our idea is that every episode will be a new city that we’re in — or rather, the suburb outside of that city where our hotel is! We’ve shot in our actual conventions too, so you’ll get a POV of the view from the stage during karaoke, and a bird’s-eye view of the merchandise room, the lines, the crowds, the energy… in a utopian world, we want to continue to capture all that in each episode.”
This effort has already raised $57,000 of the $100,000 requested..in fact it raised about $7k while I was writing this post, so I think this will hit its target as well. It only launched yesterday and they are aware of the rival show:
While Benedict and Speight acknowledge that the concept sounds similar to another crowdfunded comedy series inspired by two genre actors’ convention experiences (Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion’s “Con Man”), their series has been in development for over a year, and is wholly inspired by their “real life exploits within this ‘Supernatural’ convention world — with our own creative, fictional spin,” Benedict tells Variety. “While it is nowhere near reality TV, it will be shot naturalistic and play on our relationship with each other and others through scripted and semi-scripted dialogue. Rich and I have developed quite a rapport over these few years, and quite a unique, combustable and comical relationship. We’ve been to the front lines, so to speak, and have been in the thick of it, all around the world, together. Really, this show is about Rob and Rich, and the conventions will serve as a unique backdrop for that quirky relationship.”
These are not the first efforts in the “nerdlebrity goes to a con” genre. The trailblazer in this regard is Mark Hamill’s Comic Book: The Movie in which he portrays Donald Swan, a documentary filmmaker who goes to Comic-Con and meets a lot of weird people. Made in 2004, this features the state of the art autograph circuit of the day, such as Stan Lee, Chase Masterson, Bruce Campbell and Kevin Smith in cameos.
Then there was Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con IV: A Fan’s Hope, the 2012 actual documentary about people who go to Comic-Con. Actually, I think Bruce Campbell also made a short film about fans and fandom, but no one has ever seen it.
Huh well whaddaya know.
I have my own idea for a movie set at a comic-con, but it’s so explosive that I can’t even talk about it here. I’ll just give you the elevator pitch: Clue + Comic-Con. Interested parties can contact my agent.
The North Cascades wolverine study is coming to an end... so now the ONLY way to keep track of these critters is to keep reading these highly educational and always entertaining comics :)
Naonori Yago is an art director/ designer who specializes in work for the art and fashion industries. Working with a variety of materials, he creates dense, layered compositions pulsating with color and light. I’m especially fond of his work for Laforet HARAJUKU in which he created a series of transparent sheets that when combined formed a unified graphic.
Also worth viewing:
Hulse & Durrell
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in the cathedral
of your silence
I am reverent
for all the wrong reasons
This is one of many poems imprinted on the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota:
The St. Paul project has inspired a similar Sidewalk Poetry project in Cambridge.
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.