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coloring page tuesdays, news and events, blog book tours, reviews, illustration and promotion, and general weirdness from a children's book author/illustrator.
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1. Friday Links List - 18 November 2016

From PW: PRH Starts Student Loan Repayment Program

From BBC News: Top authors call for school libraries to be protected

From The Brown Bookshelf: A Declaration in Support of Children

From SLJ, Betsy Bird's Fuse #8: The Slush Pile Myth

From James Gurney: 72 Tips for Sharing Art on Social Media

From NPR: Colson Whitehead, Representative John Lewis Among National Book Award Winners

From The Guardian: Hundreds of US children's authors sign pledge to tackle racism and xenophobia

From Custom-Writing.org: 200 Powerful Words to Use Instead of "Good" (Infographic)

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2. Fiona Robinson's ADA'S IDEAS

Guest Post by Fiona Robinson

      When writing I try to gather as many facts about about a situation or person, then I let my imagination go! For Ada’s Ideas, my first non fiction storybook, I had to do a lot of research. I read a lot, but then also took trips to places: the Silk Museums at Macclesfield, the Science Museum in London, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. It was fun but hard work!

For Ada’s Ideas my art process was as follows:
      With the art I wanted to try something new - 3 dimensional images, which I hoped would capture a little of the Victorian era, and the drama and theatricality of Ada’s life. This involved drawing out the images, then painting them with my favorite Japanese watercolors.
     I then cut out the images very carefully with a sharp blade. I used over 500 blades to produce all the cut images for the book!
     Once cut, I layered all the images for each spread to different heights using my son’s Lego bricks and glued them in place.

Heart art:
     I think what makes an illustration magical is imagination. Sometimes illustrations look good because they’re technically proficient. What I like to see and feel with my illustration is that I have poured my heart into it, that I’ve tried my best, and that I’ve created something that will draw readers in - that will connect with them somehow, make them think and feel wonder for the story.
     I first got into writing and illustrating children’s picture books about 10 years ago, though it’s something I wanted to do since I was about 6 years old!
     When I was young it made me so happy to listen to adults reading picture books. You had their undivided attention, and the picture books were made specifically for children, something primarily for us. Picture books can be many things to a child, but I think what drew me in most was how they seem to make sense of a complicated world. A picture book can not only tell a story, it can spark imagination, and be a friend.
     My favorite part of being a creator is that I spend a lot of time in my own world! Whilst it is a demanding job and not at all easy, it means I get to spend my hours being a child again, inhabiting a place where imagination roams free! I hope that with Ada’s Ideas, children and adults will get a sense that while hard study is good and a foundation for life, the most important thing is to have ideas, an imagination. With that you will soar!
Check out the book trailer on YouTube:

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3. Happy Birthday to Connie and Marta!

It's hard to believe we've been in Edinburgh long enough to be a part of annual traditions, but that's exactly what's happened! Our friends Connie and Marta celebrate their birthdays on the same day and Stan and I were lucky enough to be part of the festivities again this year. First we caught up with Connie at The Dome for her annual Birthday Bellini (after she had a lovely spa day).

The Dome is already beautifully decorated for Christmas so it was a festive kick-off to the evening. We then went to a Kurdish restaurant just off the Royal Mile for dinner. There we met up with Marta, Ash and Pedro.
On the way back down the mound, we were treated to an amazing fireworks display just under that caste. We joked it was for our friends' birthdays, but it turned out to be a celebration for Diwali. Crowds were stopped in clumps along the sidewalks to get a good view.

It was a beautiful evening, so we slowly meandered back to Stockbridge where a gorgeous cake awaited.
Connie and Marta made a wish and...
Magic things happen in Marta's dining room and it was so nice to be back there again. Time seems to stop when you're with good friends.
Happy birthday my lovelies and I hope we can help you celebrate many more!

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4. Coloring Page Tuesday - Hope Dove

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)
By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages.
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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5. Shaping the View

This past week, the University of Edinburgh hosted the symposium Shaping the View: Understanding Landscape through Illustration. For two days we were treated to lectures by expert illustrators and illustration academics talking about this year's theme. The CD project we did was part of the exhibit in honor of the symposium.

     Opening night was a blast - we MAs and MFAs 1 and 2 (I'm an MFA2, meaning 2nd-year) were the gang!
     The symposium had 42 speakers discussing topics from "Mythical Speech in Reportage Illustration" to "The Time Travelling Antiquarian: illustrated guide books to North Wales."
     That last topic was Desdemona McCannon's, which I sadly missed as I had other uni obligations (dissertation meeting). She is the symposium's organizer and an illustrator and illustration scholar from the Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. I met Desdemona when she came to speak to us last year and I kidnapped her for tea. She was extremely helpful in the early stages of putting together my PhD proposal so it was lovely to connect with her once again. Here she is introducing a speaker alongside my tutor (teacher), Jonathan Gibbs...
     who I also had to miss. However, I finally got to hear him play guitar at the Wee Red Bar on closing night. (Yes, my uni has a bar in the building.) He's extremely good - maybe I can get him to teach me guitar as well as art?
     I did get to enjoy several other wonderful speakers, such as children's book creators Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom.
     Printer Angie Lewin shared her linocut/screen printing process with us, which I was especially keen to see considering my recent linocut experiments.

     I was also able to meet the incredibly kind and talented Patrick Benson. He is the illustrator of such greats as Owl Babies and The Minpins.
     I put his work on the same level with the creators who made me want to become a children's book illustrator in the first place, such as Chris Van Allsburgh, Garth Williams and Paul O. Zelinsky. I mean, look at this!
     He shared his storyboard for The Minpins.
     I loved seeing all these work-in-progress slides!
     Here I am with my mentor and friend Vivian French and Patrick Benson - lucky me!
     I also ended up meeting several of the speakers, such as Catrin Morgan of Falmouth University (one of the schools I considered for my MFA). And since Stan and I were going out to dinner Friday evening after the symposium finished up anyway, we invited along some of the speakers who didn't have plans: Doug B. Dowd of Washington University in St. Louis, Robyn Phillips-Pendleton of the University of Delaware, and Sylvia ___ who I hope will email me so that I can give her proper credit.
     All said, it was one of those events wherein I'm reminded that I am a student at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. What a wonderful event to attend!

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6. Delia at Comic Con

My friends Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman are coming to visit this week - I can't wait to see them! And I can't wait to help share Delia's awesome new novel, The Evil Wizard Smallbone. She talked to Rocco Staino about it when she was at Comic Con in New York recently. Click on the image to watch on Youtube.

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7. A bike for Stan

If you've followed me for a while, you know that my husband is a wheels kind of guy. Bicycles, motorcycles, cars - it doesn't matter. The man is better on wheels than on his own feet. Which is why it's pretty exciting that we've finally gotten him some wheels to explore Edinburgh. Here's his new bicycle.

Edinburgh is riddled with former train tracks that have been turned into pathways for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. The best maps of bike-safe trails is from Spokes. The purple lines are the trails.
So, Stan headed out this morning to begin his adventuring. And he's sending me incredible photos.
It's good for the soul. I'm so happy for him!

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8. Friday Links List - 11 November 2016

From BoingBoing: Noir and horror for your kindergartner (Chronicle's Melissa Manlove on Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat.)

From The Toast: Children's Stories Made Horrific (a carryover from Halloween)

From 99U: Essential Steps to Making a Killer Portfolio

From Brightly: 10 of the Best Dragon Books for Kids :)

From The New York Times: The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2016

At a loss - Make Good Art (Zenpencils.com)

From The Federation of Children's Book Groups: Michael Morpurgo receives the prestigious Action For Children’s Arts J M Barrie Award

From SLJ's 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker brings us The Children’s Literature Community Responds to the 2016 Presidential Election

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The Treasure of Barracuda is the latest mid-grade novel published by Little Pickle Press (their new imprint, Big Dill Stories) - the publisher of my own A Bird on Water Street - and it is marvelous! It was written by Llanos Campos, illustrated by Júlia Sardà and translated into English by Lawrence Schimel. It's a tribute to books and reading, cleverly disguised in a fantastically entertaining pirate story.
     Librarians and teachers - you need to check this one out - it will fill a need for you, PROMISE!!!!
     Happily, I sent some questions to Llanos and Lawrence translated them for us below, along with answering some questions himself about translating books - Groovy! Read on...

e: Llanos, I so enjoyed this story! It’s a tribute to reading, while keeping a rapid pace for readers. I couldn’t put it down!

      My life oscillates between theater and literature. This novel was born as a children's theater piece called SoloLeo that I put on with my company years ago, which is about reading, imagination and surprise. In this piece, a boy named Leo (who doesn't like to read--a joke since "leo" in Spanish means "I read") is so bored that one of the books in his room comes to life and starts to tell him a story about knights, dragons and battles. Another tells him a horror story, and another... one about pirates. I wrote the first chapter of THE TREASURE OF BARRACUDA for this theatrical piece, when the crew arrives on Kopra and finds the legendary treasure of Phineas Krane. Since the show was about literature, I thought it would be funny if the treasure they finally found were... a book. And that's where the story remained for almost a year. But I knew there was something more there. If the pirates were illiterate, what would they do with a book? If someone took so much effort to hide something as Phineas did with his "treasure", what would this book contained? The rest, I must admit, emerged with astonishing fluidity.
e: How did the story idea come to you? Did you begin with a pirate story in mind first, or a story about learning to read?

      It began as a story about pirates. This is a world that's fascinated me since I was a little girl. Living on board a ship, with no other law but the sea, no other ruler but your captain, traveling from port to port, from adventure to adventure... it seemed to me (and it still seems so now) the height of happiness. And it began there because I think that a story (novel, theater piece, film) whether for children or adults, must in my opinion be fun first of all (in many different ways). Especially if it's for children. What a child must learn first about reading is that it's FUN. And later everything else will follow without effort.
e: So many action stories can feel like they jump from scene to scene - all your scenes wove together perfectly. Was that difficult to achieve? Was it an issue at all?

      More than difficult, it was a challenge. And I like challenges. I must also say that perhaps because of my theater background I write thinking about the story almost as if it were a film, I see it clearly in my head, with clear images, being very aware of the rhythm of the action.
e: What has been your path to publication and your first novel in English?

      I can't complain. My path has been meteoric. I have devoted my whole life to writing theater. This is my first published novel. I never tried to write one before because it seemed to me to be tremendously difficult. When I finished it, aided by my lack of knowledge in this area, I dared to send it to the very prestigious "El barco de vapor prize" in Spain. In truth, I just wanted someone to read it, and I thought submitting it for the prize would guarantee that. And then I went and won it! No one was more surprised than I was! Not even the pirates in Kopra!
      From that moment, everything has been one joy after another. If someone would have told me two years ago that a novel by me (my first novel) would journey to South America, to Italy, to the Arab Emirates, that it would be translated into Persian, into English! I wouldn't have believed it. I still pinch myself every morning.
e: Will this be the first of a series, I hope? I want to know what happens next!

      It is already the first of a series. Another proof that I never really thought I'd win the problem was that I didn't even know if one could present a book that didn't end. This story is a series of three books. After THE TREASURE OF BARRACUDA comes BARRACUDA AT THE END OF THE WORLD (already in Spanish bookstores) and at the beginning of next year the third part will be published, BARRACUDA, THE DEAD KING OF TORTUGA, both full of adventures and enormous surprises.
      And I must admit that it's been very sad for me to say goodbye to my pirates.

### Now for Lawrence!

e: Lawrence, what was your initial reaction to the story?

      I knew this story was going to be great fun to work on from the very start. I was asked by the original publisher to do a sample of the first few chapters, for them to use to show to foreign publishers who don't read in Spanish. And I really hoped that an English-language publisher would pick up this project because I really wanted to continue translating the adventures of Sparks and the crew of the Barracuda! I'm so glad that Little Pickle Stories did just that, and then asked me to continue translating the rest of the book.

e: Do you have to love a story to translate it?

      I think that as a literary translator, having an affinity for the work you're translating is really important. Literary translation isn't just a matter of substituting a word in one language for the definition of that word in another. I think that not loving a story you're working on makes it so much harder to do the work, and the end result might feel flat–it isn't fair to the original author, the story, or yourself as a translator (working on the "wrong" story for you can feel like having your teeth pulled).

e: Did the humor translate easily between languages, or was it a struggle?

      Pirates and reading are both subjects that kids (and I) love, so there were a lot of similarities between the original and the English, or ways to re-create the jokes in English. I think the trickiest bit was the word play when the pirates are still just learning to read and make mistakes with words that look almost identical but have one letter different–and of course, they mean very different things. In those cases, the wordplay was more important than trying to reproduce the literal sentence in the original, so the trick was to convey the liveliness and the fun of the original.

e: Thanks you Llanos and Lawrence! I hope we get to read lots more about Sparks and the crew of the Barracuda!

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10. Coloring Page Tuesday - VOTE!

     I'm all the way over in Scotland and I already voted! I'm betting your voting booth is a little closer than mine was, so no excuses. Get out and vote!CLICK HERE for more VOTING-THEMED coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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11. See Noise Project at ECA

Remember I told you about the CD cover I made for an illustration brief at the University of Edinburgh College of Art? Well, the project has really come together. All of the 25 students in the MA and MFA program came up with a CD case -

And then our tutor, Mike Windle, created a compilation of 30-second snippets of the music we had gathered from literally all over the world. I don't know if the video will stay live as there may be some copyright issues. But while you can, I think it's worth your time to have a look at all the various creations and sounds. Happily, the video begins with my piece created for Playing on the Planet's Muddy Road to Ducktown. Click the image below to watch on Youtube.

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12. The Littles Market with Vivian

The Fruitmarket Gallery has an annual gathering of book publishers and book creators to share the love of reading and stories with the little ones here in Edinburgh. It is appropriately called the LITTLES MARKET.

My friend and mentor, Vivian French made sure we all knew about it. Even better, she invited me to draw along with her story, Oliver's Vegetables. Lots of wee ones were in attendance and it was very fun.
Several publishing houses were also represented in the show area including Walker Books (Candlewick), Flying Eye, and a publishing house that is specializing in featuring creators from the middle east, Tiny Owl Publishing. I connected with them all and hope to share some of their lovely creations with you soon. What a lovely day!

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13. Friday Links List - 4 November 2016

From The Hollywood Reporter: 'Tuck Everlasting' Author Natalie Babbitt Dies at 84

From the Chronicle Books Blog: The Surprisingly Complex Principles of a Successful Picture Book

From Chris Riddell: How Do You Close a Library?

From Nathan Bransford: 4 tips for extroverted writers

From Muddy Colors: Subconscious Inspiration - THIS is why I wanted to get my MFA in Europe!

From Read Brightly: Rad Women Your Girls (and Boys!) Should Read About

Also from Read Brightly: Don't Forget to Vote! 7 Picture Books About Elections and Voting

From Tracy Marchini (via Nathan Bransford): How can you tell if you're using picture book language?

From Treehugger.com: The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve: Book lovers will want to adopt this lovely holiday tradition, which melds literary and holiday pleasures into a single event.

An interesting Kickstarter: The Artist Within Vol 2, Artists Portraits in Their Studios

From Bright Group: Children's Book Awards and Why They Matter...

From Great!storybook: Frankfurt Book Fair 2016: why people come

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14. Lola & Adam Schaefer's BECAUSE OF AN ACORN

I'm thrilled to have my friend Lola Schaefer visit once more. This time she's celebrating a book she co-wrote with her son, Adam. Read more about it below!

written by Lola Schaefer and Adam Schaefer
illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

      Every book idea begins differently. Some are lightning bolts that demand to be written right then and there. Others trickle out, one drop at a time. And sometimes, as in the case of Because Of An Acorn, it is a team effort of many strong voices.
     The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) partnered with Chronicle Books as a way to highlight the importance of their work through the publication of children’s books. If you want to create citizens who conserve, preserve, improve, and safeguard the world’s natural resources, a good first step is to inspire young people. That was the goal – write entertaining, informative books that would ignite interest in the natural world.
      So instead of this book starting as a totally original idea, I accepted the challenge to identify one of the NRDC’s areas of interest and make it mine. This organization has so many worthy projects, it was a difficult choice. Did I want to write about the glacier capped mountains of southern Chile? How about Devils Tower? Oh, the Arctic Refuge sounded intriguing, but so did the Cumberland Plateau, as well as the California Baja gray whale nursery.
      I should add that our older son Adam and I had been wanting to work on a book together and this seemed like the right project. He would be excellent at research and fact-checking and I could concentrate on the structure and writing. But which topic did we want to tackle?
      Due to practical considerations, Adam and I decided to select an ecosystem that was physically near us. In this way one or both of us could visit the white oak forest and be immersed in the flora and fauna. And since we both have always been amazed by the intricate balance of life in the forest, this seemed like a great fit.
      I called one of the state parks on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee and was put in touch with Randy Hedgepath, a knowledgeable ranger who knew the plateau and its resources better than anyone else in the area. He agreed to be my guide for two days while I hiked and asked question after question. When writing literary nonfiction, finding a curator, scientist, guide, or expert in the field is essential. Serious authors are dedicated to offering readers the most factual information available and one way to do that is to connect with people who know the topic better than anyone else. Randy was such a person.
      Adam and I knew from the start that we wanted this to be a book for young readers, therefore we needed the topic to be presented in a simple, relatable format. But what was that to be? Like most projects, we had a few false starts, but once we arrived on this structure, we were quite satisfied.

      It’s never easy coming up with an original take on an established topic or concept. But that is one reason that I really enjoy writing literary nonfiction. When content and form come together organically, it’s thrilling. However, when Frann Preston-Gannon added her brilliant illustrations, this book became an art form. The trim size, die-cuts, and vibrancy all come together to create a wonderful read.
      So far, teachers, librarians, and parents have enthusiastically received this book. With their support, Because of An Acorn will reach the hands and hearts of many young readers. Adam and I could not ask for anything more.

About Lola...
      Lola M. Schaefer is the author of more than 270 books for children including picture books, easy readers, school/library texts, and classrooms books. Many of her titles have been published in other languages such as French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tawainese, and Turkish. Lola has won An Orbis Pictus Recommended Book Award, The Correll Book Award for Excellence, Outstanding Science Trade Book, and The Children’s Choice Book Award among many others. When she is not writing, Lola visits schools as an author-in-residence offering writing workshops and reader/writer presentations to students. If you would like to learn more about Lola’s books and her work in schools, visit www.lolaschaefer.com.
      A few of the other science titles Lola has authored are: Hidden Dangers (Chronicle Books, 2017), Lifetime (Chronicle Books, 2013), and Just One Bite (Chronicle Books, 2010).

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15. Coloring Page Tuesday - Moby Dick

     If you were a fish, would Moby Dick be your hero? Something to think about... CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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16. November is Picture Book Month!

Picture Book Month is an international initiative encouraging grown-ups to read picture books with children. Founder, Dianne de Las Casas (author/storyteller), and Co-Founders, Wendy Martin, Katie Davis (author/illustrator), Elizabeth O. Dulemba (Me! author/illustrator), Joyce Wan (illustrator and logo creator), and Tara Lazar (author) are putting together their worldwide connections to make this happen. Why? Because...
"Picture books celebrate childhood. They speak universal truths and help children better understand the world around them. They are often a child’s first exposure to fine art and poetic language. Some picture books are so magical, they define childhood. They become a marker or a milestone in a child’s life." - Dianne de las Casas
     They should be celebrated!! Hence, the creation of Picture Book Month. Here's how we're celebrating. There will be...
     • A Picture Book Hero featured every day
     • A themed calendar (Created by Yours Truly using Coloring Page Tuesday images!) great for teachers, parents, and librarians
     • Picture Book Links and Resources
     • Links to picture book publishers
     • Links to picture book authors/illustrators
     • Links to picture book blogs/review sites
     • and Picture Book Activities
     I love being a part of Picture Book Month, because picture books help children fall in love with reading. Child readers become adult readers. Adults who read are better educated, more informed citizens. A love for reading can change our world!
     CLICK HERE (or the image below) to download this year's calendar! I hope all you librarians and teachers out there will use my COLORING PAGE TUESDAYS images with your students!

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Have fun with the ghosts and ghoulies trick-or-treating this evening! If you're not a business (I charge businesses for usage), and you're not into handing out sweeties, perhaps you could hand out my coloring pages to your visitors tonight. They are free for parents, teachers, librarians and booksellers to share with the little ones in their lives. Find all my Halloween-themed coloring pages HERE!

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18. A side project at ECA

Throughout my studies here at the University of Edinburgh College of Art, we have been given briefs to do various projects. They're good for students who don't quite know what they want to work on, and they're excellent for trying out new ways of working.
     You may recall the 15 prints project I did last year - The Wild Hunt via woodcut. This year we've been assigned a CD cover, tying together the ideas of Landscape (for an upcoming conference on the theme), music from our homes, and created images. I decided to go with an Appalachian bluegrass tune from our mountain home in Epworth - "Muddy Road to Ducktown." I loved that it was so distinctly American and also honored a friend...
     The tune was written by a copper hauler trying to calm his beasts as they trudged along the Ocoee River Road, hauling copper ore to Cleveland, Tennessee via mule or oxen. If you've read my novel, A Bird on Water Street, you'll know that the area was completely deforested as miners cut down trees to feed the smelting pits that spewed sulfuric dioxide into the atmosphere and came down as acid rain, which killed any remaining plant life. In other words, the road in and out of the area was nothing but MUD.
     I've written stories (not yet published) about how the song has been handed down from fiddle player to fiddle player, a cultural treasure, but I'd yet to illustrate it. Now, Lisa Jacobi, my friend and one of the latest treasure-keepers of the song (it was handed down to her by 99 year old Bob Douglas, who played it live one year later on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in celebration of his 100th birthday), she will get on me about the oxen - they used mules more often than oxen. But they did use oxen too, and that's what I've had in my head for ages. So, in the very short amount of time I had to do this project, I went with the oxen. Here's my process.
     It began with a quick sketch.

I refined it a little bit.
I then scanned the drawing to make sure it would fit my CD template and refined it even further. I added a third man in the wagon, and made sure I'd have room for the title. Notice this is all backwards!
Then I transferred the drawing to a piece of linocut board that I'd dyed blue (simply because I had some blue ink around). It helps me see the darks and lights better when I carve. I use carbon paper for the transfer.
Here's what it looks like, ready to carve.
Here are the tools I use - an inexpensive, student-grade set of carving tools.
I'm still not very good at linocut, but I have learned to carve in the direction things would exist in in real life. For instance, carve hair in the direction the hair would flow. It looks like this as I work.
And here is the finished carving. At this point I was covered in lino shavings and my desk was a complete disaster! :)
I wasn't kidding about the tight deadline on this. (Gads, they keep us busy here!) My carving was finished on Friday - after the print studio had closed for the weekend. No worries. I took a monoprinting workshop not too long ago. You don't need a big fancy workspace to do this. So, I bought a piece of plexiglass, a tube of screen printing ink, and borrowed a roller. I put down some newspaper and rolled the ink on. I laid the paper on top and pressed it down with a wooden spoon.
It took several attempts to get the ink dark enough and make sure the motion of my spoon wasn't obvious.
But y'know what? It did work! And I ended up with a lovely texture in the dark areas that I never could have predicted. In fact, that's what I love about linocuts - the happy accidents - of which, there are many. And I just love the energy you get with linocuts. Here's my final print.
The reason I couldn't wait for Monday to get into the print lab is it takes a good day for the ink to dry, which I wouldn't have. So, Sunday I scanned the dry print and laid it into my template, where I designed the rest of the CD. Don't forget - this is a school project and may not be completely or legally accurate with copyrights and such. But credit is given to the musicians in Lisa's band, PLAYING ON THE PLANET, and it serves the point of the brief. I turned the image to sepia to be reflective of the MUD. And here is the cover.
And here's the interior with the credits and the summary Lisa sent me (thank you, Lisa!). Oh - and I added an actual photo of one of the mule trains hauling copper. Ha!
All said, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. But I'm especially thrilled by the breakthrough that relief printing is something I can do anywhere. THAT is exciting!!!

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19. Coloring Page Tuesday - Halloween Story Time

     Halloween is Monday - are you ready? If you don't want to hand out candy, and you aren't a business, feel free to hand out my coloring pages instead! CLICK HERE for more Halloween-themed coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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The Problem With Telling, Not Showing Telling
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

      Writing styles evolve and change, and reader taste changes with them. One of the more obvious ways is how we handle show, don't tell. A hundred years ago, books were filled with told prose and heavy passages of description. Books written as recently as a few decades ago can feel dated and stale to today’s readers. The more visual we’ve become as a society, the more shown we expect our books to be.
      This is why it’s so important to understand what telling is, what it sounds like, and how it affects your writing, so you can best judge how to handle it. The thriller writer who uses omniscient point of view with multiple characters has different needs than the first-person point of view young adult writer. The same sentence can feel told in one passage and shown in another.
      Because of this, there are two sides to the show, don’t tell problem:
     • Problems writers face
     • Problems readers face

Problems Readers Face
      Readers might say, “Tell me a story,” but a great story is more than relaying facts and details in a logical order. Readers want an immersive experience with enough descriptive details to bring a story to life in their heads.
      Telling robs them of that chance. It explains all the reasons why things are as they are, it telegraphs what’s going to happen, and it leaves little to the imagination. It’s the difference between seeing a movie, and having someone tell you all about the movie, describing it scene by scene.
      Half the fun of reading is anticipating what’s going to happen next and how the story will unfold. Readers love to wonder about the characters and try to figure out the plot twists and story secrets ahead of time. If it’s too easy, or all the answers are told to them, there’s really no point in reading.
      What a reader considers good writing also varies. Readers of literary fiction might want as many adjectives and word pictures as they can get, enjoying the wordplay and use of language. Readers of thrillers might prefer a little explanation (telling) to keep the pace moving quickly, while romance readers want the focus on the emotions and how everyone feels more than dramatizing the action.

For example:
     • Monique dashed along the riverbank, sending flowers dancing into the air, only to land softly on the gentle waves before sinking below the surface.
     • Monique raced along the river bank, seconds ahead of the killer.
     • Monique ran along the riverbank, Philippe’s warm hand in hers, soft as the flowers beneath their feet.

Problems Writers Face
      The number-one problem writers face is finding and identifying told prose in their work. It’s hard to be objective, and reading your own words as you “tell” your story feels perfectly normal. Writing, “John was angry about getting fired” is exactly what’s going on in the story. John is angry about getting fired and you’re writing all about his anger and what he does about it. You imagine all the emotions, thoughts, and actions that support John’s anger, but often, those details never make it onto the page.
      Let’s take this sentence and expand it into a typical paragraph that might start a chapter or scene:
     John was angry about getting fired. He yelled at his wife, his kids, even the neighbors. None of his friends wanted to talk to him, and it had gotten so bad they pretended not to see him when they ran into him at the grocery store. Naturally, this pissed him off even more, and it was the poor dog that suffered his wrath.
     Is this paragraph shown or told?
      Some people will say this paragraph is shown, but others will say it’s told—and they’re both right. What the writer intends this paragraph to do will determine whether or not it feels told.
      • If this paragraph was intended as a quick summary and the point of the scene built off John being angry, this paragraph could smoothly set the scene and readers would read right past it.
      • If this paragraph was meant to show how badly John is treating his family and friends, and this is all the reader gets to understand that, then it probably feels told and explanatory.
      • If this is from a omniscient narrator, it probably feels shown, but if this is John’s point of view, it likely feels like a summary of a scene, not an actual scene. Look at what happens when I dramatize this sentence instead:
      John slammed the door behind him. Who did that stuffed shirt think he was anyway? Fire him? That cesspool of an office would wither and die without him.
      “You’re home early,” Maria said, coming in from the kitchen.
      “Am I interrupting your bon-bon eating or something?”
      Her smile faded. “What’s wrong?”
      “I don’t get any damn respect, that’s what’s wrong.”
     When you compare the two pieces now, how do you feel about them? Odds are the first feels much more told and summarized, while this feels shown and in the moment. It’s obvious John is angry and lashing out, it’s clear why, and you’re probably much more curious about what will happen next than you were in the first paragraph—maybe even dreading what John might do.
      This is why it’s hard to spot told prose. Often, told prose stands out when compared to how the rest of the novel is written. A tiny bit of detached, explanatory prose here and there blends in and bothers no one, but use a lot of it, and the entire novel feels flat.
      The second major problem writers face is that both readers and others writers have different opinions on:
• How much telling is acceptable
• What telling sounds like
• What to do about told prose in a manuscript
      The person who prefers distant third-person narrators will have a higher acceptance for told prose than the first-person fan. The point of view styles are handled differently, and readers react differently as well. It’s very subjective.
      Don’t let this discourage you, however. Understanding this annoying fact is what will allow you to really understand what show, don’t tell means. You won’t be following inflexible rules, but looking at your work and determining where it feels weak and how it could be made stronger.
      Do you struggle with show, don't tell?
      Check out my new book, Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting it), and learn what show, don't tell means, how to spot told prose in your writing, and why common advice on how to fix it doesn't always work.

      Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of The Healing Wars trilogy and the Foundations of Fiction series, including Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a self-guided workshop for planning or revising a novel, the companion Planning Your Novel Workbook, and Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft. She's also the founder of the writing site, Fiction University. For more advice and helpful writing tips, visit her at www.fiction-university.com or @Janice_Hardy.
Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Indie Bound

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21. Why so quiet? Formative Reviews Time!

Have you wondered why I've not shared a big outing, meal or adventure of late? It's because it's time for formative reviews. We're already half way through our fall semester (can you believe it!?) and this is a marker for how we students are doing.
     Monday I turned in what I have so far of my dissertation. Must admit, I geeked out and overwrote my topic. But this will be the only opportunity I have for my tutor to actually see and comment on my work specifically before the actual deadline. Academic writing is new to me, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can at this stage.
     The other formative review is for my studio course. Here's what my desk looks like as I type.

     We aren't allowed in the studio as our tutors go over our projects to see what we've been up to. Here, I'm showing five projects along with some outside projects. (I have two volunteer positions going on - one for Authors for Refugees and I'm also the class rep this year.)
     None of my projects are complete at this stage, but they're all coming along quite well. I'm pleased.
     But I'm also antsy. I have so much to do! I need back in my studio with all my stuff so that I can keep working!

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22. Friday Links List - 28 October 2016

From Bored Panda: 15+ of the Most Creative Halloween Costumes - I like Peter and his shadow best!

Via Nathan Bransford: A fantastic diagram that breaks down The Big Five US Trade Book Publishers and their imprints. WOW!

From Nine Kinds of Pie: How to Read Harold (and the Purple Crayon)

From The Federation of Children's Book Groups - and idea to celebrate NATIONAL NON-FICTION NOVEMBER 2016

Nathan Bransford is blogging again and shared some awesome links:
From shouldiworkforfree.com - a handy dandy hilarious diagram mapping whether you should work for free or not
From bookends (a literary agency): Never Will You Just Write

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23. Class Rep

One of the many things that the University of Edinburgh does very well is check in with the students regularly to make sure everything is going okay. They do this through an incredible support system of tutors, advisors, and student representation. I've recently become part of the support structure in this last capacity. Along with Ann-Kathrin Müller, who is the class rep for all our MA & MFA1 Illustration students, I am the MFA2 Illustration class rep.
     At my level as a post-graduate student, that is not a tremendous job - there are only four of us including myself (26 total between the MAs and MFAs 1 and 2). But for the undergrads, that can sometimes mean representing over 200 students - being their voice – and that is no small task. Training teaches us how to listen, then objectively and anonymously share topics with advisors.
     Being a class representative is also a nice responsibility to share on one's resume. For an undergrad, that can be a big deal. Granted, at my stage in life I don't need the resume help so much (I’m an older student). But it is nice to be a person students feel comfortable coming to as needed. Click the logo to learn more.

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24. VIDEO: Sir Ken Robinson

Did you know that Sir Ken Robinson did another TED Talk about education? (The first one went viral to millions.) It's worth your time. Click the image to watch on Youtube.

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25. Susie Wilson - Book Exhibit

Something I have embraced here at the University of Edinburgh is the art of the handmade book. There is an entire community of people who love, collect and make handmade books. And their ideas of what a book is are all over the place.
     Take this recent exhibit by Artist-in-Residence Susie Wilson. If you look at the presentation in the College of Art library, it explains a bit about the project.

She talks about the marriage of the book and the human body - on the cellular level. Indeed, her latest project resembles what you might see under a microscope while studying human tissues. But what was truly stunning about this project was the book itself. While it could be folded up to fit in the box in the display case, it is meant to be viewed like this:
It goes all the way up...
and all the way down five stories of the College of Art lobby.
     Our ECA librarian Jane Furness and I have become friends (you know I love librarians!) and so I had the chance to meet Susie during the recent official opening of her project.
     It was a treat to hear the vision behind this book from the artist herself. And although I've said it before, it's still such a joy to experience art taken so seriously in this art-embracing city. Because truly, who says what a book must be? It's the creative mind that literally thinks outside the box.
     Check out more of Susie's work at her website.

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