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Results 26 - 50 of 116,725
26. For a Socialism of the Skin

Richard Kim at The Nation points to one of the central problems of the big Gay Inc. organizations, especially HRC:
In 2012, the Human Rights Campaign honored Goldman Sachs with an award at its annual dinner, while naming Lloyd Blankfein as its national corporate spokesman for same-sex marriage. In an obscene form of pink-washing in which every banker, sweatshop overlord and oil baron gets a gay star, HRC’s most recent report on “corporate equality” proudly concludes that a record 304 of the nation’s largest businesses—including Chevron, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Comcast, Google, Monsanto, Nike, Raytheon, Boeing, Target and General Electric—have a perfect rating on LGBT issues.
Kim also notes that Tony Kushner predicted this in his 1994 Nation essay, "A Socialism of the Skin", an essay I read when it was first published and that has stuck with me ever since:
[I]t’s entirely conceivable that we will one day live miserably in a thoroughly ravaged world in which lesbians and gay men can marry and serve openly in the Army and that's it. Capitalism, after all, can absorb a lot. Poverty, war, alienation, environmental destruction, colonialism, unequal development, boom/bust cycles, private property, individualism, commodity fetishism, the fetishization of the body, the fetishization of violence, guns, drugs, child abuse, underfunded and bad education (itself a form of child abuse)—these things are key to the successful functioning of the free market. Homophobia is not; the system could certainly accommodate demands for equal rights for homosexuals without danger to itself.
The Nation has made "A Socialism of the Skin" available for free as a PDF. It's 20 years old this year, and more true than ever. Gay Inc. won.

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27. Ask an Editor: Villain POVs

Stacy Whitman photo

Stacy Whitman is Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult readers. This blog post was originally posted at her blog, Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire

I have to admit, I really hate reading villain POVs. There are so few villains that have any redeemable qualities, and especially starting a book out with the villain’s point of view when they’re murdering and/or plundering just makes me go, “Why do I want to read this book, again?”

This is actually one of the things I hated most about the famous adult fantasy series Wheel of Time, though I love the series in general: I hated the amount of time spent on this Forsaken’s love of naked mindless servants, and that Forsaken’s love of skinning people, or whatever. Yeah, yeah, I get it, they’re irredeemably evil. Get back to someone I’m actually ROOTING FOR, which is why I’m reading the book!

Vodnik sketch

Vodnik, the villain from Bryce Moore’s novel Vodnik

Sometimes it’s important to briefly show the villain’s point of view to convey to the reader some information that our hero doesn’t have, but I find more and more that my tolerance for even these kinds of scenes is thinning fast. Too often it’s a substitute for more subtle forms of suspense, laying clues that the reader could pick up if they were astute, the kind of clues that the main character should be putting together one by one to the point where when he or she finally figures it out. Then the reader slaps their own forehead and says, “I should have seen that coming!”

It’s a completely different matter, of course, when the whole point is for the “villain” to simply be someone on another side of an ideological or political divide where there are no true “bad guys.” Usually this happens in a book in which your narrators are unreliable, which can be very interesting. Often the villain is the hero in their own story, which is far more interesting than a “pure evil” villain—in Lord of the Rings, Sauron is much less interesting than Saruman. Sauron is the source of pure evil, but Saruman made a choice—he thinks, well, evil will win anyway, I might as well be on top in the new world order. There are complications to his motivations.

Tu Books author Bryce Moore (Vodnikrecently reviewed the first Captain America movie and had this to say about how a character becomes evil, which I think is apropos to this discussion:

Honestly, if writers spent as much time developing the origin and conflicted ethos of the villains of these movies, I think they’d all be doing us a favor. As it is, it’s like they have a bunch of slips of paper with different elements on them, then they draw them at random from a hat and run with it. Ambitious scientist. Misunderstood childhood. Picked on in school.

That’s not how evil works, folks. You don’t become evil because you get hit in the head and go crazy. You become evil by making decisions that seemed good at the time. Justified. Just like you become a hero by doing the same thing. A hero or a villain aren’t born. They’re made. That’s one of the things I really liked about Captain America. He’s heroic, no matter how buff or weak he is.

This is, perhaps, the best description of why villain POVs bug me so much: because they’re oversimplified, villainized. And for some stories, I think villainization works, but I don’t want to see that point of view, because it’s oversimplified and uninteresting. When it’s actually complicated and interesting, then it becomes less “the villain” and more nuanced—sometimes resulting in real evil (after all, I doubt Hitler was an evil baby; he made choices to become the monster he became) and sometimes resulting in a Democrat instead of a Republican or vice versa—ideological, political differences between (usually) relatively good people.

But there’s a line for me, generally the pillaging/raping/murdering/all manner of human rights abuses line, at which I’m sorry, I just don’t care about this guy’s point of view. The equivalent of this in middle grade books—where pillages/murders/rapes are (hopefully) fewer—or young adult books is the pure evil villain who’s just out to get the main character because the villain is black-hearted, mean, vile, what-have-you. Evil through and through, with no threads of humanity. (Though honestly if he’s killing people “for their own good” to protect a certain more nuanced human viewpoint, I generally still don’t want to see that from his POV.)

What’s the line for you? Do you like villain points of view? Do you feel they add depth to a story? At what point do you think a villain POV goes from adding nuance or advancing the plot to annoying?

Filed under: Publishing 101, Tu Books Tagged: ask an editor, fantasy writing, Notes from the Editors, writing advice, writing resources, writing tips

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28. Very short talks

vsi banner

By Chloe Foster

We have seen an abundance of Very Short Introductions (VSI) authors appearing at UK festivals this year. Appearances so far have included at Words by the Water festival in Keswick, Oxford Literary Festival, and Edinburgh Science festival. The versitility of the series and its subjects means our author talks are popular at a variety of different types of festivals. First up, Words by the Water:

Later this month, we’ll have talks from VSI authors at Chipping Norton Literary Festival on the 26th and 27th April. This is followed by a series of talks at Ways with Words festival in Devon on the 12th July, Kings Place festival in London on the 14th September, and Cheltenham Literature festival from 3rd -12th October.

The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday, subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS., and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook.

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The post Very short talks appeared first on OUPblog.

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29. 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 18

One of the cool things I was asked to do already this year is to be a guest judge at the InterBoard Poetry Community for the first three months of the year. It was fun reading through the submissions each month, and my last round of judging recently went live on the site. Click here to read the winners

–and to check out the various forums/communities.

For today’s prompt, write a weather poem. A weather poem can be a poem about a hurricane or tornado; it can be a poem about the weatherperson; it can be a poem about forgetting an umbrella on a rainy day; it can be big; it can be small; etc.



Get published!

Learn how to get your poetry published with the 2014 Poet’s Market. This essential guide to publishing poetry is filled with articles on the craft of poetry, business of poetry, and promotion of poetry. It includes poetic forms, poet interviews, and new poetry. But most importantly, it includes listings to poetry publishers, including book publishers, magazines, contests, and more!

Click to continue



Here’s my attempt at a Weather Poem:

“my brother, the storm chaser”

my brother is a storm chaser
i am a storm racer my brother
chases after storms i race from them

my brother looks at online data
& knows where tornadoes will drop
i just see a big red & green blob

of potential destruction my
brother is the guy everyone
in my family wants to discuss

i am happy to fly under
the radar & stay out of harm’s way
& pray for my baby brother’s health


Today’s guest judge is…

Nin Andrews

Nin Andrews

Nin Andrews

Nin’s poems and stories have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Best American Poetry (1997, 2001, 2003, 2013), and Great American Prose Poems.

She won an individual artist grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 1997 and again in 2003 and is the author of several books including six chapbooks and five full-length collections.

Her next book, Why God Is a Woman, is due out from BOA Editions in 2015.

Learn more here: http://www.amazon.com/Nin-Andrews/e/B001JOVUG.



Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue



Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems

. He really does have a storm chasing brother named Simon Brewer (click here to learn more about him). Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Weather the day with these poetic posts:

  • Tracy Davidson: Poet Interview
  • .
  • Sijo: Poetic Form
  • .

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    30. Top five hip hop references in poetry

    By David Caplan

    Hip hop has influenced a generation of poets coming to prominence, poets I call “The Inheritors of Hip Hop.” Signaling how the music serves as a shared experience and inspiration, they  mention performers and songs as well as anecdotes from the genre’s development and the artists’ lives, while epigraphs and titles quote songs. The influence of hip hop can be heard in the work of many poets including (but certainly not limited to): Kevin Coval, Erica Dawson, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Matthew Dickman, Major Jackson, Terrance Hayes, Dorothea Lasky, John Murillo, Eugene Ostashevsky, D.A. Powell, Roger Reeves, and Michael Robbins.


    In no particular order, here are my five favorite hip hop references in poetry:

    (1)   Kevin Young, “Expecting”
    To capture the experience of first hearing his child’s heartbeat during a sonogram exam, Young develops a wildly inventive simile followed by metaphors borrowed from hip hop:

    And there
    it is: faint, an echo, faster and further

    away than mother’s, all beat box
    and fuzzy feedback. You are like hearing
    hip-hop for the first time–power

    hijacked from the lamppost–all promise.
    You couldn’t sound better, break-
    dancer, my favorite song bumping

    from a passing car. You’ve snuck
    into the club underage and stayed!

    (2)   Rowan Ricardo Phillips, “Mappa Mundi
    Describing his hometown of the Bronx, Phillips combines Wu Tang Clan’s Raekwon’s verse in “Triumph,” “Aiyyo, that’s amazing gun-in-your-mouth talk,” and Samuel Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” “the redbreast sit and sing”:

    Whether red birds sit and sing from rooftops

    Or rappers cypher deep into the night,
    The gun-in-your-mouth talk of a ransomed
    God, nature is a lapse in city life.

    (3)   Harryette Mullen, “Dim Lady”
    Hip hop is nearly everywhere in Mullen’s earlier collection, Muse and Drudge, but my single favorite reference in her work to hip hop appears in “Dim Lady,” collected in Sleeping with the Dictionary. The prose poem rewrites and updates Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. In the place of Shakespeare’s lines,

    “I love to hear her speak, yet well I know / That music hath a far more pleasing sound,”

    Mullen offers,

    “I love to hear her rap, yet I’m aware that Muzak has a hipper beat.” 

    (The poem’s ending always makes me laugh, “And yet, by gosh, my scrumptious Twinkie has as much sex appeal for me as any lanky model or platinum movie idol who’s hyped beyond belief.”

    (4)   A. Van Jordan, “R&B
    A subgenre of poems about hip hop criticizes the music. A rare exception to the ignorance such work typically show (see, for instance, Tony Hoagland’s “Rap Music”), “R & B” offers a well-informed, thoughtful critique. “Listen long enough to the radio, and you’ll think / maybe C. Dolores Tucker was right,” the poem opens and an endnote reminds readers of Tucker’s significant contributions to the black civil rights movement.

    (5)   Michael Cirelli, “Dead Ass”
    “I am not afraid of dope lyrics,” Michael Cirelli writes in “Dead Ass.” Several poems in Lobster with Ol’ Dirty Bastard retell moments from hip hop history. To describe teens grooving to the music, “Dead Ass” borrows from Oakland slang, “hyphy,” meaning “crazy” in a good sense, “hyphy / music makes their bodies dip up and down / like oil drills.” (My favorite line in the book, though, describes eighties pop, not hip hop, “We danced incestuously to Michael and Janet that night.”)

    Bonus Tracks

    (6)   Adrien Matejka, “Wheels of Steel
    “I got me two songs instead of eyes,” the poem opens then swaggering quotes five songs in twenty-seven lines.

    (7)   Marcus Wicker, “Love Letter to Flavor Flav” tries to make sense of Public Enemy’s most puzzling member:

    How you’ve lived saying nothing
    save the same words each day
    is a kind of freedom or beauty.
    Please, tell me I’m not lying to us.

    David Caplan is Charles M. Weis Chair in English and Associate Director of Creative Writing at Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the author of Rhyme’s Challenge: Hip Hop, Poetry, and Contemporary Rhyming Culture. His previous books include Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form and the poetry collection In the World He Created According to His Will.

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    Image credit: turntable spinning. Photo by Tengilorg, 2005. CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

    The post Top five hip hop references in poetry appeared first on OUPblog.

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    31. "Seal Lullaby," by Rudyard Kipling [Poetry Friday]

    I hope you've been enjoying our sharing of some of our favorite poems. I've really loved hearing my fellow Teaching Authors read!

    I could never choose one favorite poem, but this is definitely one I come back to again and again. It has several elements I adore: rhyme, nature, the ocean, gorgeous language, a melancholy but still comforting tone, and content that acknowledges the dangers in the world but promises safety anyway.

    Seal Lullaby

    Oh! Hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
      And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
    The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us,
      At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

    Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
      Oh weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
    The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
      Asleep in the arms of the slow swinging seas.

    —Rudyard Kipling

    And here I am reading the poem:

    I hope you're having a terrific National Poetry Month! There's so much amazing stuff being shared in our kidlitosphere--it's hard to keep up, isn't it? I do hope you'll take a couple of minutes to go to our Blogiversary Post and enter our giveaway. You could win one of five book bundles from one of the Teaching Authors:>)

    Artist/writer/blogger/poet and all-around lovely person Robyn Hood Black has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Life on the Deckle Edge. Have fun!

    [posted by Laura Purdie Salas]

    0 Comments on "Seal Lullaby," by Rudyard Kipling [Poetry Friday] as of 4/17/2014 11:51:00 PM
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    32. Barry Buggles, Gina Lamm, & Gail Mencini: Coming Attractions

    tuscanyHere are some handpicked titles from our Coming Attractions page. Want to include your book? Just read our Share Your New Book with GalleyCat Readers post for all the details.

    Humphrey the Bug Eyed Alien: Adventures in France by Barry Buggles: ”Humphrey The Bug Eyed Alien, finds himself high above the French Alps mountain range. He goes on to discover many wonderful sights and facts about France in Europe.” (January 2013)


    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    33. Rock the Drop: Recap #1

    We cannot express how grateful we are about the amount YA love that you showed today! Here are just a few screen grabs of tweeted photos. More recap to come! If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at readergirlz AT gmail and we'll post it here. THANK YOU FOR ROCKING THE DROP!

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    34. Genre debates: "literary" fiction versus SF/F.

    I'm really not into having the whole Which One Is Better debate, because I don't have a strong aversion to any genre: if it's a good book, it's a good book, yay books. YAY BOOKS.

    Anyway! Despite the title, ultimately, the essay is more about the differences between the two genres, and more especially about the strengths of SF/F:

    You absolutely cannot obscure underlying weakness with waffle. Otherwise the emails will arrive, picking up on discrepancies. Not just for the sake of point-scoring or nitpicking but because fans become so engaged with imaginary worlds and so passionate about their characters.

    That passion, so easily mocked by laughing at Trekkies and Whovians, is another thing that distinguishes SF and fantasy from literary fiction. Mocking that passion is missing a key aspect of speculative fiction. By drawing readers in large numbers, contemporary fantasy becomes a platform to debate key, current social and political challenges, while science fiction continues to explore the impact of technological developments, for good and ill, before we have to tackle these things in reality.

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    35. Gabriel García Márquez Has Died

    GabrielColumbian author Gabriel García Márquez has passed away. He was 87-years-old.

    In 2012, Márquez’s brother Jaime revealed that the beloved writer was suffering from dementia. Earlier this month, he was hospitalized in Mexico City.

    Throughout his career, Márquez wrote nonfiction, short stories, news articles, and novels including his best known works, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). In 1982, he won the the Nobel Prize in Literature and accepted the award by delivering his now famous speech, “The Solitude of Latin America.” (via Latin Times)

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    36. Science/English Poetry Pairings - Animal Collectives

    I fell in love with words at a young age. Coupled with my love for science, I became enamored of the words to describe groups of animals and spent hours researching and memorizing the names.  When I turned turned twelve and my mother took me shopping for my birthday, I used money I'd saved to buy The Stranger by Billy Joel (vinyl!) and the book An Exaltation of Larks or The Venereal Game by James Lipton (yes, THAT James Lipton). I carried that book around for years, always entertained and intrigued by the contents.
    While this topic may be more about etymology than science, young people are still interested in learning about the names given to animal groups. Today's book pairing can easily enhance and extend any study of the animal kingdom. 

    Poetry Book
    A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry, written by Marjorie Maddox and illustrated by Philip Huber, is a collection of 14 poems that consider animal groups and how, perhaps, they came by those names. Why, for example, is a group of rattlesnakes called a rhumba? Here's Marjorie's poetic answer.
    A Rhumba of Rattlesnakes

    A rhumba of rattlesnakes knows how to shake
    their long, slinky bodies and twist till daybreak.
    They wobble their heads, give their hips a quick quake.
    They jitterbug tails till their skeletons ache.

    The rattle maracas and rat-tat on drums,
    blow in tin trumpets, uncurl their tongues
    to hiss a sweet song that invites you to come
    a little bit closer. But you know to run

    way over here and avoid the mistake
    of dancing the rhumba with ten rattlesnakes.
    While many of the poems in the collection rhyme, readers will also find free verse and poem for two voices. Here's my favorite of the lot. It is accompanied by an illustration of a rather alarmed scarecrow.
    A Murder of Crows
    Oh no, there they go, a murder of crows
    throwing corncobs at the tattered scarecrow.
    Though they never quite hit her, they flap to and fro,
    cawing and jawing out names as they go.
    They eat what's not theirs, then rush back for more,
    ignoring her warnings, her pleas for reform.
    No polite songsters here, well mannered with charm,
    just fast flying hoodlums unfit for a farm.
    Poems © Marjorie Maddox. All rights reserved.

    The book features Philip’s lovely scratchboard illustrations with colored ink, depicting various animal packs. Back matter includes a note from the author explaining collective nouns and offering a list of books providing further information on the subject.

    Nonfiction Picture Book
    A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns, by Woop Studios, is a handsomely designed alphabet book that begins with "An Aurora of Polar Bears" and ends with the title collective, "A Zeal of Zebras." The folks at Woop Studios with responsibility for this project have impressive credentials. Two of the founders, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, spent a decade working as graphic designers on the Harry Potter franchise. In describing themselves they write, "United by a love of graphic design, words and images they founded Woop to bring a unique and exciting angle to the fascinating world of collective nouns." Unique, exciting, fascinating—their words pretty much sum up this book. The text is engaging and Woop's graphic designs are vibrant and fun, resembling in many ways vintage travel posters.

    Each letter of the alphabet receives a double-page spread with a bit of informational text about the animal on the left side, with a gorgeous, full page graphically designed illustration on the right. Here's the text that accompanies one of my favorite entries.
    A Galaxy of Starfish
    Starfish, also known as sea
    stars, are usually seen in
    large numbers only when they
    are washed up on beaches
    after a storm. 
    However, some starfish may
    gather together when they
    are ready to reproduce, using
    environmental or chemical
    signals to coordinate with
    one another.
    Text © Woop Studios. All rights reserved.

    On their web site you can find many examples of the artwork, including more pieces than occur in the book. Stunning illustrations paired with interesting tidbits of information make this an unusual and outstanding entry in the alphabet book genre.

    Perfect Together
    During your next unit on animal study, consider extending it to include animal groups. Using Maddox's poems and Woop Studios illustrations and snippets of information as models, encourage students to create their own books or a class book on animal collectives. For example, while studying reptiles they can design pages for collectives of snakes, turtles, lizards, crocodiles, and more. Students can then create their own illustrations and write about the characteristics that are common to reptiles and unique to each order.

    For additional resources, consider these sites.

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    37. Kindle Daily Deal: Strange Chemistry title.

    Yes, another one!:

    When the World was Flat (and we were in love), by Ingrid Jonach

    And yes, I bought it, description unseen, even!

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    38. A Video Essay on Jim Jarmusch: "Dead Men & Ghosts, Limited"

    As the silence around here indicates, I've been tremendously busy the past few weeks. One project I managed to complete was a new video essay, this one about Jim Jarmusch's films Dead Man, Ghost Dog, and The Limits of Control. It's now available at Press Play, along with a brief introduction.

    0 Comments on A Video Essay on Jim Jarmusch: "Dead Men & Ghosts, Limited" as of 4/17/2014 4:05:00 PM
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    39. Celebrity Earth Day!

    Earth from space photo

    How celebrities observe Earth Day

    Earth Day is on its way! Are you ready? What are YOU doing for Earth Day on April 22? We asked Disney stars like Ross Lynch, Olivia Holt, and a bunch of others what they did last Earth Day (and every day) to stay green. You might be inspired!


    image from kids.scholastic.com— En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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    40. Middle Grade Recreational Reading

    Cover art for Summer of the Gypsy MothsKids don't have to wait for summer to enjoy stories set in the summer and other recreational reading. There are lots of good choices for recreational reading, including a novel about a wilderness adventure, the humorous story of a summer camp for gifted kids, a story of friendship, home and the summer challenges two children face, and a book of fascinating facts. Read the book reviews for details about the books:

    (Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)

    Middle Grade Recreational Reading originally appeared on About.com Children's Books on Friday, April 18th, 2014 at 00:01:19.

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    41. Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre Festival

    SnowQueenMusical 300x300 Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre FestivalYou know when you make a friend who works in a different field than you and then, in time, your mutual interests come together?  Years ago my friend Katie married a talented composer by the name of Haddon Kime.  Haddon was kind enough to create the opening music of my short lived podcast and then that was that.  Now years have passed and the man behind the music and lyrics of the kick arse punk rock version of The Snow Queen (good timing with Frozen and all, eh?) is coming to the New York Musical Theatre Festival.  Woo-hoo!  Couldn’t be happier for everyone involved.

    Additional Productions and Readings Announced for 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival

    By Michael Gioia
    14 Apr 2014
    The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) has announced additional productions and readings for its 2014 Festival, which will run July 7-27.

    “We were fortunate to have a bumper crop of very high quality shows this year,” said NYMF executive director and producer Dan Markley in a statement. “Whether it’s your first time at the Festival or you’ve been joining us for years, you’re in for a great musical theatre experience in July.”

    The 2014 Festival’s productions will be housed at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre and the Ford Foundation Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street) as well as other venues to be announced.

    “NYMF audiences will have a chance to experience a wide range of stories told in fresh and inventive ways for a contemporary audience, from a steam-punk inspired Hans Christian Andersen tale for a family audience, to an R&B infused depiction of the lives of Sally Hemings and Marie Antoinette,” added director of programming Mary Kate Burke.

    Memberships for the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival are on sale, and members can book tickets beginning June 2. Single tickets will go on sale June 16. To purchase a membership, visit NYMF.org/Member.

    Newly announced productions follow:

    The Snow Queen Book by Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo
    Music by Haddon Kime, lyrics by Kirsten Brandt, Haddon Kime and Rick Lombardo
    Additional music by Rick Lombardo

    “Be spirited away by this new musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fantastical coming-of-age adventure. Join Gerda on a dangerous and whimsical quest to save her best friend Kai before he is trapped forever in the Snow Queen’s palace. Dare to enter a world where flowers sing, animals talk, and riddles yearn to be solved. With an original pop rock score, alluring ballads, urban steam punk flair, and the enigmatic Snow Queen, you’ll soon see this is not your average bedtime story.”

    You can follow the production on Twitter at @SnowQueenShow. And here’s a video from the production, in case you’re curious:

    share save 171 16 Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre Festival

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    42. Initiation into America’s original megachurch

    By David Yamane

    The American religious landscape is ever changing. The rise of religious nones, the spiritual not religious, thoughtful spirituality, the emerging church, online religion, megachurches, and on and on.

    As a sociologist of religion who specializes in Roman Catholicism, it is easy to feel old-fashioned in the face of so much novelty. But in its typically deliberate way, the original megachurch in America continues to make its mark on the religious landscape.

    Photo of adult being baptized

    Easter Vigil Baptism, April 11, 2009. Image Credit: Photo by IC MONROVIA RCIA, CC 2.0 via Flickr.

    On Saturday night, April 19th, at Easter Vigil Masses in most of the 17,000+ parishes in the United States, tens of thousands of individuals will join the Catholic Church. On average over the past ten years, 67,000 adults annually have been baptized Catholic and 83,000 baptized Christians annually have been “Received into Full Communion” with the Roman Catholic church in the United States.

    To put these numbers in perspective, these 1.5 million people becoming Catholic over the past decade in themselves would comprise one of the 20 largest religious bodies in America. Catholic converts collectively are about 11% of all Catholics in the United States today. These 5.85 million individuals would be the fifth largest religious body in America, just ahead of the Church of God in Christ and behind the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church).

    These numbers are impressive, but even more notable is that most adults who become Catholic in America today do so through an elaborate initiation process that is both ancient and modern: the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

    Fresco of Baptism of St Augustine

    Baptism of St Augustine, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    In the ancient church, adult baptism was preceded by a structured period of instruction (“catechesis”), which could last as long as three years. Individuals undergoing instruction were called “catechumens” (“hearers of the word”) and the period of instruction was called the “catechumenate.” The process also called for a number of pre-baptismal rites associated with purification and exorcism in preparation for initiation.

    As the church’s attention shifted to infant baptism, these rich traditions of adult initiation fell by the wayside. By the mid-20th century in the United States, the process of adult initiation was brief, private, and focused on doctrinal instruction. But the church would soon “modernize” the process of adult initiation, not by looking to the future, but by looking to the past.

    French theologians call this ressourcement – looking to the ancient church for models of liturgy and practice to be implemented in the contemporary church. In this way, the church uses tradition to renew tradition. This is exemplified by the call to restore the ancient catechumenate for adults in the Second Vatican Council’s 1963 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 64-66).

    That call led to the publication in 1972 of a new book of rites for adult initiation, in Latin of course, called Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum (the Latin editio typica or “typical edition”). A provisional English translation of this new “order of initiation” was introduced into the Catholic Church in the United States in 1974 and the final official American English translation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (the “vernacular typical edition”) was published in 1988. At that time, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops also issued guidelines for and mandated the use of the new process.

    Like the ancient model, the modern RCIA takes individuals through distinct periods of formation with public ritual transitions that move individuals from one period to the next. The process can take anywhere from months to years to complete. (Tomorrow, I will discuss in greater detail the nuts and bolts of the process.)

    Since it was mandated in 1988, at least two million adults have been initiated into the Catholic Church through the RCIA process. But the Catholic Church does not only make its mark on the American religious landscape numerically. The RCIA has also become an influential model of initiation for other Christian traditions. Among the denominations that have implemented a catechumenal process of initiation are the Episcopal Church USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Mennonite Church USA. In 1995, the North American Association for the Catechumenate was founded as an ecumenical group to support and promote the catechumenal process of initiation outside the Catholic Church. Denominational partners include the Anglican Church of Canada, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, and the United Methodist Church.

    The influence of the RCIA both inside and outside the Catholic Church suggests that it is one of the most fruitful — if one of the least recognized — legacies of the Second Vatican Council.

    David Yamane teaches sociology at Wake Forest University and is author of Becoming Catholic: Finding Rome in the American Religious Landscape. He is currently exploring the phenomenon of armed citizenship in America as part of what has been called “Gun Culture 2.0″ — a new group of individuals (including an increasing number of women) who have entered American gun culture through concealed carry and the shooting sports. He blogs about this at Gun Culture 2.0. Follow him on Twitter @gunculture2pt0.

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    43. Children’s Books Illustrators Contribute Pieces to ‘Imaginary Friends’ Art Show

    BeekleSeveral children’s books illustrators will contribute pieces for the “Imaginary Friends” art show hosted at Gallery Nucleus.

    The participating artists include Chu’s Day illustrator Adam RexThe Shabbat Puppy illustrator Jaime ZollarsAstronaut Academy graphic novelist Dave Roman, and more. The show will open on April 19th and run until May 11th.

    The theme of this exhibition celebrates the main character of Dan Santat’s latest picture book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. Santat announced on Facebook that he will share limited prints, unpublished art, and design sketches from the book for the display.

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    44. What Magazine Editors Want (& Don’t Want)

    What are editors pet peeves? What can you do to get more and more assignments tossed your way by editors? Do editors expect you to know SEO? (Do you know what SEO means?)

    I was honored to be interviewed by Laura Pepper Wu, editor of The Write Life magazine, where we discussed many important topics that relate to freelance writers. It’s a lot of great info packed into a relatively short conversation, so it’s worth checking out (not to mention I look incredibly dashing in my bright blue headphones). Here’s the clip.

    Thanks for visiting The Writer’s Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here



    Brian A. Klems is the online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters


    Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlemsWD Newsletter

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    45. Poetry Friday - By Messenger

    I've shared poems by Amy Lowell before. This poem was first published in 1919 in a volume entitled Pictures of the Floating World. It is one of my favorite poems of all time.

    By Messenger
    by Amy Lowell 
    One night
    When there was a clear moon,
    I sat down
    To write a poem
    About maple-trees.
    But the dazzle of moonlight
    In the ink
    Blinded me,
    And I could only write
    What I remembered.
    Therefore, on the wrapping of my poem
    I have inscribed your name.
    This poem and the book it was published in are in the public domain and have been digitized and made available by Google. You can read the entire volume simply by downloading a copy.

    Do check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge. Happy poetry Friday friends.

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    46. Craft of Writing: Why I Read Reviews... Even the Soul-Crushing Ones by Gwendolyn Heasley

    There are two genres of young adult fiction that I absolutely devour, and contemporary is one of them. Gwendolyn Heasley has written one of my absolute favourite books in that genre, WHERE I BELONG, and with the upcoming release of DON'T CALL ME BABY, i'm sure i'm going to have another favourite! Her new book arrives on shelves April 22nd and is supposed to be an amazing look at the relationship between mothers and daughters. I can't wait!

    Why I Read Reviews…Even the Soul-Crushing Ones by Gwendolyn Heasley

    Recently, someone wrote a review for my upcoming novel. Actually, the word review doesn’t describe it quite adequately as all it said was, “I’ve never wanted to punch a book in the face so much.” And that was it. Part of me wanted to laugh and the other part of me wanted to sob. Like many other authors, my books are my babies and no one wants someone to punch their baby. (And if someone punched my real-life baby, they would have another thing coming.) Even more puzzling, the reviewer then gave book two stars. If you want to punch a book, does it even deserve one star?

    But here’s the thing…I love reading reviews, even the ones that don’t heart my books. In fact, I would have LOVED to know why that reviewer wanted to punch my book and I would’ve taken his or her reasoning very seriously. While I know many authors avoid review sites like GoodReads, I flock to them…and not in that I –want-to-rubber neck-and-see-my-own-car crash sensation. Rather, I read reviews because my readers are my customers and reviews can contain very valuable information.

    (Of course, I’ll admit the reviews and fan letters that say my books changed their life are my favorites. I even save those in a secret file for when I’m feeling down and need an emotional writing boost.)

    But the reviews that I learn the most from are the ones that specifically state what they didn’t like about my books in terms of craft. For instance, in my first novel, Where I Belong, the characters don’t use contractions when they speak. It was a simple choice I made that apparently drove readers bonkers. I respectfully read their opinions and contemplated my choice not to use them…and I realized I was in the wrong. It does make it harder to read when contractions are not used…and in my future books, I do use contractions. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference.

    As an author, I spend a lot of time alone writing and being in my own head. It can be lonely. Reviews are a wonderful way to connect with readers because I don’t write just for myself. I write for teens (and those who are teens at heart), and it’s important for me to read and absorb what they think…even if it doesn’t change how I write or what I think. As in all aspects of life, I find it to be important to engage with people who’s opinions differ from your own and I think that applies to writing too.

    But while I think it’s important to read general reviews, I think it’s even more important to find a group of beta readers. I recently graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts where I earned my MFA. The entire experience was incredible but the best part is the community I gained during my time there. I know now that I have over dozen people whose opinions I trust completely. I respect and admire their writing and I know that they’ll give me honest and helpful feedback on mine. Since the line that “everyone is a critic” is definitely true (especially in the day and age of social media), it’s important to establish and foster relationships with other writers, ones whose opinions you value. While I read everyone’s reviews, the notes I get from my beta readers is what’s most important to me.

    If you are an inspiring writer, try to open yourself up to feedback and critique. It can be hard, but it’s something that you’ll have to deal with throughout your writing life so it’s good to star early. And truthfully, you can learn so much from what others see in your writing. (And it’s also great to find out what people love about your writing too.) Also, once you get a book deal and have a editor, you’ll be getting a lot of feedback from him/her. If you are already open to critique and suggestions, you’ll be a step ahead. Of course, it’s always your story, so stick your ground on the parts that matter most to you… but also remember to listen to what others have to say too :)

    So to all the writers out there, don’t be afraid of critiques and reviews. They can be crushing but they can also be inspiring and illuminating. Personally, I find readers’ ability to contact and connect with authors to be one of the most magical aspects of being an author in the 21st century.

    So if you have opinions on my work, please share...And to whoever it is who wants to punch my book in the face, please let me know why. Also, if you want to hug my book, I’d love to hear about that too.

    About The Author

    Gwendolyn Heasley is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Missouri-Columbia where she earned her master’s degree in journalism. When she was a little girl, she desperately wanted to be the next Ann M. Martin- the author of the beloved The Baby-Sitter’s Club series. She’s incredibly grateful that the recession rendered her unemployed and made her chase her nearly forgotten dream. She lives in New York City, teaches college and eats entirely too much mac and cheese for an adult.

    Website | Twitter | Goodreads

    About The Book

    All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.

    Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

    When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

    Don't Call Me Baby is a sharply observed and irrepressibly charming story about mothers and daughters, best friends and first crushes, and the surface-level identities we show the world online and the truth you can see only in real life.

    Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

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    47. Mark your calendars: Unstoppable - June 3rd!

    The release date for Unstoppable is June 3rd!

    At that time it will only be available in print and at Amazon. 

    To catch up on the series - Untraceable is currently free and Uncontrollable is $3.99.

    You can add Unstoppable to your Goodreads 

    If you would like to be a part of the summer blog tour - sign up here.

    After everything that has happened, Grace goes to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee. Even though she is now home-schooled by her bird-obsessed grandmother, the move gives Grace time to relax. She learns to scuba dive and starts boating with old man Rex, Birdee's casual friend/boyfriend. 

    One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace rescues an abused Florida panther, currently on the endangered list. The more she dives into the animal’s horrific condition, the more she ventures into the underground world of the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for the law. Eventually, she stumbles upon one large roadside zoo filled with a variety of endangered and illegal animals. 

    Before she can gather evidence and report her findings to the authorities, she is kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

    During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace is offered one chance at survival. With a one-hour head start and very little supplies, time and skill are now all that stands between the hunter and the hunted.

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    48. Lit Links

    Morgan Library

    What books are you planning on diving into this weekend? Any exciting plans? I am hopefully finishing up the Pulitzer Prize winning THE GOLDFINCH and then jumping into ASTONISH ME by Maggie Shipstead. We are also gearing up for the Boston Marathon that will be broadcast on Monday. Here are a few interesting literary links from around the web…

    Books that grab from page one according to Kirkus.

    Great interview with Judy Blume for American Libraries Magazine.

    Donna Tartt “surprised” by Pulitzer for The Goldfinch.

    Editor with string of hits is joining Little, Brown.

    7 Brilliant Ways Authors Build Buzz.

    World Read Aloud Day.

    A literary couple at home.

    Flatiron Books to publish Oprah in September.

    ROOM by Emma Donoghue headed to the big screen.

    21 female authors you should be reading. Will ReadWomen2014 change our collective reading habits?

    Image via.

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    49. Great News from the NCBLA!

    NCBLA Planning 
    In Search of Wonder:
    Common Core and More
    Professional Development Day
    October 17th, 2014 in Perry, Ohio

    The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance is launching a new education initiative—In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More—in  Northern Ohio this fall! This inspiring professional development day is designed for teachers, librarians, and caretakers—any and all adults who live with and work for young people!

    In Search of Wonder: Common Core and More” will take place on NEOEA Day, October 17th, at the Goodwin Theatre in Perry, Ohio and will feature authors Katherine Paterson, Nikki Grimes, Tanya Lee Stone, Steven Kellogg, and a soon-to-be named YA author! 

    For more information and registration details, click here

    We are working with Perry, Ohio School’s chief media specialist Jodi Rzeszotarski and the Cleveland Public Library’s Director of Children’s Services Annisha Jeffries to plan the day’s schedule so we ensure In Search of Wonder addresses the Common Core needs of all teachers and librarians.

    Recently, I spent time with Jodi at the Perry Schools touring their beautiful facilities and had an inspiring afternoon working with Annisha and her talented and energetic staff at the Cleveland Public Library (CPL). 

    As a teen working in downtown Cleveland, I spent most of my lunch hours at the CPL, so it was with special joy that I saw all the remarkable changes Annisha and her staff have created—a new teen room, the only safe harbor for teens downtown, a beautiful arts center for creative activities, and the huge reading rooms overflowing with books, looking out onto the city and the lake. Annisha and her staff have accomplished so much in two short years! 

    Mary Brigid Barrett
    President and Executive Director
    The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

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    50. Identifying unexpected strengths in adolescents

    By Johanna Slivinske

    Think for a moment, back to when you were a teenager. What were you like? What did you enjoy doing? In what did you excel? The positive activities in which we partake in adolescence shape our adult lives. In my case, playing the clarinet in band and competing in extemporaneous speaking on the speech team molded me the most, and became my personal strengths.

    360px-Chambre_adolescentMusic and the creative arts continue to influence my writing and speaking, and many of these facets of my professional life can be traced back to strengths developed and built upon in my youth. Another strength was the fact that I had a loving, kind, and caring family. This provided me with a solid foundation for life, and in a sense, these protective factors in my life made me resilient. However, strengths can also be found in unexpected venues, perhaps peering through the cracks of hardship.

    1.   Adolescents might find strengths through their failures in discovering that they are able to get back up after falling. When teens fail, and continue to try despite the failure, they show a level of resilience, diligence, and perseverance.
    2.   The communities of adolescents, even if less than perfect, can be a source of strength. Creating dialogues about community leaders may benefit teens that need role models in their lives. It can help them figure out whom they aspire to be similar to in character and in positive personal qualities. A community leader can be anyone who functions as a responsible person in the community, or anyone else who cares about the well-being of the community as a whole.
    3.   Acting out behaviors may be viewed through a strengths lens if those behaviors are a response to traumatic experiences such as community violence or sexual assault. The nonproductive response of acting out behaviors during adolescence may be reframed therapeutically as a survival mechanism or a stepping-stone leading toward a more productive path of healing and growth.
    4.   Instead of viewing quirks, eccentricities, or diagnoses as negative qualities, these may sometimes be perceived as qualities that foster the creation of unique perspectives and promote divergent ways of understanding the world.
    5.   When everyday necessities are lacking from adolescents’ lives, they may learn to be resourceful. Resourcefulness may entail surviving under extremely stressful circumstances or learning how to “make due” with limited resources. Teens may have learned how to cook for themselves, or they may have asked friends to share clothing with them. These are examples of using the strength of resourcefulness under difficult circumstances.

    When working with adolescents and their families, it is essential to focus not only on their problems, but also on their strengths. This may sometimes present as a challenge, but if you search intensely, with an open mind, strengths may be identified and built upon as a solid foundation for life. This contributes to the fostering of resilience in adolescents and their families.

    Hidden or obscured strengths, when perceived in a positive manner, may serve as methods of coping or means of survival during times of stress. Even when strengths are obvious to professionals, adolescent clients may not be aware of their own strengths, and may benefit from therapists’ ability to identify, recognize, and name them. Through working with adolescents, it’s possible to identify strengths and help them learn more about themselves and what makes them unique, so that they can grow to become productive members of their communities.

    Johanna Slivinske is co-author of Therapeutic Storytelling for Adolescents and Young Adults (2014). She currently works at PsyCare and also teaches in the Department of Social Work at Youngstown State University, where she is also affiliated faculty for the Department of Women’s Studies.

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    Image credit: Chambre de jeune français. Photo by NdeFrayssinet. CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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