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Things are going to go crazy at Ruff Life. There are so many fantastic things happening. It means more work for me. But I don't mind doing anything to make me more famous.
I mean a girl has to do anything she can to get what she wants. And I'm a great achiever in getting what I want.
I want fame, fashion, limelight and a peaceful life without a nosy, smelly brother that's always interfering. So far I've only managed the first 3.goals, I'm still working on the 4th, but Max doesn't get any of the subtle hits I leave for him. He's just one stubborn mongrel.
I’m the squeak upon the stair... Yet when you look, there’s no one there. I’m howling winds, groaning floors, Extinguished lights, slamming doors. I’m flitting shadows, darkening skies, Piercing screams, distant cries. I’m all your fears – heard, felt, or seen. I’m in your head. I’m Halloween.
Halloween is on Poetry Friday again (with the roundup hosted by Linda over at TeacherDance)! This makes me happier than peanut butter cups, I gotta say. May those of you who trick-or-treat have a happy, safe evening (same for those of you who don't, by the way). And... boo!
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Lots happening with children's/YA lit in Connecticut this month, particularly because of the Connecticut Children's Book Fair. Plus Jeff Kinney is going to be here for a weekend. And there's a Fancy Nancy author appearance. Keep reading.
Sat., Nov. 8, Jeff Kinney, R. J. Julia Bookseller event at the Madison Congregational Church, Madison Ticketed event. Times between 5:30 and 7:00 PM will be assigned to ticket holders.
If there is one thing the staff here at Adventures in Young Adult Publishing loves as much as Halloween, it is our fearless leader and head spooker, Martina Boone. We couldn't think of anything better to celebrate this boo-tastic day than by sharing our love of Martina's new release COMPULSION. Her luscious and atmospheric Southern Gothic YA will most definitely put you in a spooky frame of mind.
So join us as we each share our love of Martina and our fascination with her Compulsion.
From Lisa Gail Green:
Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s a pretty big deal at my house. I love anything and *almost* everything spooky. It’s also no secret that I absolutely LOVE Martina’s book, COMPULSION. I mean it when I say it’s one of my favorite books ever. Heck, if I could dress like Barrie for Halloween I would! I can’t because I’d never survive the heels. But I digress.
I love the gothic feel of the book, the characters, the paranormal powers and so on, but before I read it I hadn’t realized it also had GHOSTS. If ghosts are done right, I adore them. I wish I could pull them right out of COMPULSION and make them part of my house. You know, basically turn my whole house into Watson Island. That way I’d also get the Fire Carrier at midnight and so on. Maybe even have some little people to blame my messy house on…
Magic is something I believe in and so I did figure out a way to bring the book to life on Halloween. Should I share my secret? *shifty eyes* Okay. I’m going to take my brand new copy of COMPULSION, which I’ve preordered (since my signed ARC is a treasure that must be preserved for eternity, can you say, “Fan Girl”?) and I’m going to curl up and re-read it on All Hallows Eve! I. Am. So. Excited.
From Erin Cashman:
Halloween is such a magical time, it seems as if anything is possible. What better time to read COMPULSION? Magic is woven into everything at Watson Landon’s, from the ghosts, to the Fire Carrier, to the yunwi, to the characters themselves. (And let’s not forget that magical setting!) I adore the yunwi. I love how they seem like pests at first, but as the story evolves we learn that they, like magic, are there for a reason. Everything changes when our feisty young heroine, Barrie, steps onto her ancestor’s stronghold, the yunwi included. Barrie becomes the center of the magic in ways that no one expects, least of all her. I have had the honor of reading PERSUASION (I know you are so jealous! You should be!) and without giving anything away (well, maybe just a little away) I can tell you that the yunwi become more important to the story, in a way that I LOVE! So, until the Watson Landing theme park is built, in order to have this world come to life you better start reading COMPULSION!
From Alyssa Hamilton:
So for me, one of my absolute favourite things about Halloween are the haunted houses and one of the spookiest things about Compulsion was the house itself. Watson's Landing became a living, breathing character to me, and it was brilliant. The atmosphere the Martina created was magical but so so eerie. I imagined myself walking down those creaky hallways and feeling something that just wasn't quite right and being so creeped out you start getting jumpy. Some of my favourite books have included houses that absolutely come alive, and Compulsion and Watson's Landing has easily topped that list for me.
The unknown factor that comes with a large home and the stories that can evolve out of past generations living and dying in them create layers upon layers of unknown bits and pieces. Watson's Landing is like a subtle haunted house that creeps up on you throughout the entire book. Compulsion's release date being so near to Halloween was one of the best things Simon & Schuster could have done, because Martina gave me a haunted house like no other.
From Jan Lewis:
I absolutely love the little people or yunwi in COMPULSION. They are little tricksters who steal random things from Watson's Landing. I've always imagined them as adorable little shadow children who are a bit naughty but mean well. Since I have two little people of my own, I thought this would be the perfect time to share them.
Meet yunwi Grayson, who has stolen Mommy's copy of COMPULSION, and yunwi Ellery, who has stolen Daddy's screwdriver and Mommy's cell phone. What naughty little people! Luckily, if I give them a bowl of nuts and berries and a glass of milk, they will happily return our possessions.
From Susan Sipal:
One of the many aspects of Martina's Compulsion that fascinated me the most was her use of mythological spirits. The Fire Carrier is awesome and so mysterious, but I think it was the yunwi who stole my heart and caught my attention the most as I'd also used a different version of this legend in one of my own stories. Based on the little people of Cherokee legend, Martia's little spirits are quite mischievous and entertaining but also critical to the story.
Since Martina's yunwi fascinated me so much, I decided to do what I love to do and research them some more. Turns out, there are "little people" in cultures all around the world from the dwarfs, fairies, and leprechauns of Western Europe to the Ebu Gogo of Indonesia and the Menehune of Hawaii to the Domovoi of Russian heritage. All these little people wandering about in our myths makes me wonder...could they be based on experience? One thing is for sure, as part of our shared human experience, they appeal strongly. And Martina's yunwi are sure to enchant the reader.
I wonder -- if we were to visit Watson Island this Halloween, would the Fire Carrier and yunwi come magically to life at midnight? Or is that what reading is for?
Cooper Street, an online publication sponsored by the Rutgers University Camden MFA program’s student organization, is still looking for more fiction and poetry for our second issue, slated for a January release. Priority deadline for full consideration for the issue is Nov. 15.
All interested writers are welcome. Please send work as word documents (.doc or .docx) via email to:
ru.cooperstreetATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
using the following format for the Subject: “Last name – Genre.” We’re interested in stories and poems about cities, particularly those set in the Northeast. But we’ll consider all subjects if the work is interesting and strong. If you have creative non-fiction, we ask that you please save it for an upcoming issue.
Fiction: Send either one story of no more than 5,000 words (although stories of 3,000 words or less are especially welcome) or send up to three flash fiction pieces of no more than 600 words each.
Poetry: Send three to five poems as a single attachment, one poem per page.
This illustration was sent in by Patricia Pinsk. She works primarily with water colour, ink, digital photography, coloured pencil and collage. Patricia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now called Emily Carr University of Art and Design), as well as a Certificate in New Media from Vancouver Film School. Web:www.patriciapinsk.com/Facebook: www.facebook.com/patriciapinskillustration?ref=hlTwitter: @patriciapinsk
Here are the first page critiques brought to you this month by Liza Fleissig from the Liza Royce Agency.
The Tattletail’s Claw: A CreatureNet Chronicle by Jody Staton – Middle Grade Novel
“Be Careful What You Wish For”
“. . .and that, Clawdia,” says Hershey’s voice in my head, “is why you must never let two-leggers know what we are.”
I lick a paw, and swipe it across my whiskers. Curled up on his wide brown rump, warmed by his body heat, I’m lulled half to sleep.
Zzzzt! A huge horsefly dive-bombs us. Wide awake now, I swat with a paw, and miss. Hershey flicks his long black tail. Whipping horsehairs send the fly tumbling. It buzzes around his legs, he stomps a hoof. His rump becomes an earthquake. I leap to my feet, teetering because I dare not dig into his hide the few claws I have left. We are next to a water trough, and I jump over it to a split-rail fence.
“Sorry about that,” he says. He ducks his head—in apology, I think. No, he’s just rubbing his head against the edge of the trough, scratching the lump that mars his forehead. Then, stern, like the police horse he used to be, Hershey demands that I repeat what he just told me.
I blink. “About the interstellar ark?”
“Wrong. About how two-leggers wouldn’t understand. How can you teach these stories to other Listeners if you don’t know them well yourself?”
I twitch my question-mark tail. “Why? Yesterday you said how few of us—”
“Lunchtime, Clawdia.” A human voice cuts me off. From the back porch of the Schwartz Veterinary Clinic, across a gravel drive from Hershey’s farm, it’s a young voice. And familiar!
“Dookie! I knew she’d come again this summer.” Forget Hershey’s lectures—my favorite person is here! I leap from the fence, streak across the drive. Dookie jumps from the porch, falls over a small bush, picks herself up, and races toward me. We meet in a mess of legs and arms, fur and tight curls, purrings and kisses.
Here is what Liza had to say:
Staton, The Tattletail’s Claw
The writing itself is nice, with many nice details (like “I lick a paw and swipe it over my whiskers” and “his rump becomes an earthquake”). But my first impression is one of confusion—there are a lot of elements that are unexplained, and it’s rather difficult to paint a picture or figure out what’s going on.
The very first sentence is a difficult and awkward way to begin a story—with dialogue in the midst of being spoken. Perhaps the writer is trying to created intrigue, but younger readers will be confused. For one, we do not yet know they are animals and two, “two-leggers” will be an unfamiliar term.
It takes quite a while to figure out what kind of animals these are, which also causes confusion—you don’t want readers to be wondering about this so much that it detracts from what’s happening in the story.
Other questions: The cat says, “I dare not dig into his hide the few claws I have left”—why is this? Is this a detail we need to know right now, on the first page? Then, the horse says, “How can you teach these stories to other Listeners if you don’t know them well yourself?” First of all, what stories? Secondly, who are the Listeners? Third, why does the cat not seem to care about the stories (and why does the horse)? Again, you want to create intrigue, but you don’t want to leave the reader with so little to work with, and here there are just too many unanswered questions.
If this is a story about talking animals, then it’s a story for young readers. The sentence structure is a bit too complex, and combined with the above questions, I think younger readers are going to feel lost (what is an “interstellar” ark, for example?) We need to have a simpler, cleaner and more appealing introduction to the story. The set-up needs to be such that young readers want to keep on reading. The detail with Dookie is very sweet—perhaps concentrate on this as an introduction—and maybe the fact that these animals can talk is enough of a mystery that the reader will be excited to find out more.
Daddy, What’s a Redneck? by Erika Wassall Picture Book
Little Lainey squatted, tugged on the pant legs sticking out between the two tires and asked, “Daddy, what’s a Redneck?” (illus: Daddy is underneath a vehicle working on it.)
Daddy laughed. He opened his mouth to answer, but stopped short.
“Hand me that yellow screwdriver and I’ll tell you,” he said. “Your great-granddaddy was a Redneck. He worked out in the cotton fields all day, with the sun beating on the back of his NECK.” Daddy slid out from underneath the engine and smiled. “What happens to your nose and shoulders when you’re out in the sun all day?”
Little Lainey’s eyes lit up, “They get all RED!” she cried.
Daddy nodded. “Exactly! Back then, working in the fields meant you couldn’t go to school. Calling someone a Redneck could have been hurtful, meaning they weren’t very smart. People started to think that folks who worked with their hands all day were fools.”
Little Lainey stared at Daddy’s grease covered hands and sternly shook her head. “But Daddy! Your hands can fix everything! They’re the smartest hands I know.”
“Darn right!” said Daddy. “Folks often try to find ways to put others down. That doesn’t make them right. People all across the country are proud to be Rednecks.” (illus: Daddy’s leaning over so we can see his red neck)
“Why?” asked Little Lainey, as she watched the rainbows dance on the top of the oil pan.
Here is what Liza had to say:
Wassall, Daddy, What’s a Redneck?
Opening paragraph is sweet. I just don’t know how much this topic is going to interest readers. Does this make a story? What is the story here? Dad is answering a question, but what is the story? Why does the little girl ask this question in the first place?
My concern is that the title feels like a joke and it’s hard to take the story seriously upon first hearing what the title is. In fact, there may be a lot of people who take offense before they even have a chance to read the story.
Dad’s answers to the little girl’s question are nice, but there’s a lot that feels a bit too adult here and which young readers might have a hard time understanding: “Folks often try to find ways to put others down” etc.
General kid appeal: a little low. It’s hard to imagine a kid wanting to read this based on the first page (and keep going back to it). Feels a bit too earnest and “issue” driven. Combined with the title, I don’t think this would be something an editor would request over other things currently being shopped.
Jeremy pulled his new sled out of the car. He squeaked his boots on the fresh snow. “Sugarhouse Hill, here I come!”
“We still need noisemakers for our New Year’s party,” said Dad. “Stick to the small hill until I get back from the store.”
“Okay,” said Jeremy. He waved to Dad and then plodded up the hard-packed path. But instead of stopping where he should have, his feet took him up, up, up to the top of the highest hill in the whole park.
“Just one run,” Jeremy whispered. He climbed into his sled. It teetered, it tottered, it wibbled and wobbled, then –
WHOOSH! Off he flew down, down, down to the line of straw bales that stopped runaway sleds. Jeremy slipped through a gap…
…. and tangled the leash between a woman and her dog.
“Sorry!” Jeremy yelled as the dog flew into the air and landed in the sled. The sled sped across the slick road, down a slope and onto the pond.
“Sliding through!” Jeremy shouted. The sled knocked a puck into the net and flipped a hockey player into the sled.
“Hang on!” The sled slid through a flock of ducks, hit a bump and flew
through the air…
… scared a squirrel out of a tree, knocked a hat off a snowman,
and barely cleared the back fence of the zoo.
Here is what Liza had to say:
Heavenrich, Jeremy’s Sled
I like the fun of the sled ride gone out of control—readers will think this is super fun and entertaining. The beginning is slow, though. Why do we need the earnest, adult details of dad telling Jeremy that he’s going to the store and stick to the small hill? Why not just have Jeremy at the big hill pondering it “mom and dad always tell me to stick to the small hills, but just once I’d like to try the big one” or something like this.
The wild sled ride itself seems to need to be slowed down a bit, too much happens too quickly. The writer could have a lot of fun here by making each thing that winds up in the sled a more fun acquisition.
The title needs to be more interesting and compelling, something that reflects the fun that both Jeremy and the reader are in for. The language as well, while nice, is not really reflective in rhythm and language of a wild sled ride. Writer should look at some comparable picture books for examples.
Detective Derk’s Spy Manual for the Disgruntled made surveillance sound a lot easier than it was. Knelling on a bent knee, peering around a corner with a mirror, Aaron Adams switched the mirror from one hand to the other. This was just long enough for him to shake out his arm, which had started to go numb. He resumed his position, but his back and knee still ached. For the whole lunch period he’d been looking down the long hall that leads to the school’s cafeteria. He’d been on surveillance since Monday and now that it was Friday, he was losing hope that this would work. An internal debate started to brew in his mind, was it worth skipping lunch again, after the lack of success all week. Then, his target, his jerk older brother Roger Adams, turned the corner.
Roger strolled down the hall in his ‘I’m too important to walk any faster’ mode and pulled what appeared to be a coin from his pocket. Roger never has change, this doesn’t make sense, thought Aaron. Roger walked toward a row of old-fashioned vending machines. These ancient relics had been in the school forever, since a time when their Principle attended here as a kid. They were always full of candy bars, but no one carries change anymore except old people, like Aaron’s rusty teachers.
Aaron’s arm was starting to shake by the time Roger stopped in front of the vending machines. He took slow steady breaths; this was described in Detective Derk’s manual as something you should do if you ever need to steady yourself. He kept the mirror focused on his target.
Roger slid a quarter into a slot, pressed a button and the sound of the candy hitting the tray echoed down the hall. I KNOW he doesn’t carry money.
Aaron leaned so far forward the mirror started to fog from his breath. Before the image…
Here is what Liza had to say:
Larson & Mowat, Rule Breaker
Writing is a bit awkward and clunky—the very first paragraph is actually quite a mouthful to read aloud, and I worry that readers’ introduction to this story will not be as compelling as it needs to be in order to hook readers and get them interesting in reading further. Words like “disgruntled” and “knelling” (is this an error?? didn’t make sense) further confusing the narration.
Kids will find spying fun, but why is one brother spying on another? I think we need a better sense of this. And why is one brother spying on another brother at school (when he can spy on him at home)? In other words, I worry that this may come across as a plot that’s not so exciting (as opposed to having Aaron spy on someone more interesting, like a school enemy, for example).
Words are misspelled throughout (knelling rather than kneeling, Principle rather than Principal) and grammar is shaky. As an agent, this isn’t something I request to see further.
*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name. *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page.
This week's book beginnings comes from THE PARIS WINTER by Imogen Robertson.
"The news of the suicide of Rose Champion reached her fellow students at the Academie Lafond on a pale wintery morning a little before ten o'clock." Love the cover - gorgeous. The beginning is a bit slow, but the main characters are devious, cunning, and oh so evil. There are also characters who are comical and innocent. They all make the book good. :)
It's Halloween, and the perfect time to choose some spooky stories.Witches, wizards and ghosties...read on for some mainly funny, occasionally frightening, books featuring witches, wizards and other Halloween happenings. I've organized them roughly by age of reader and slipped in a book of my own.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schlieffer
Julia Donaldson is the queen of the rhyming picture book, and this one is features a wonderfully traditional (if benevolent) warty-nosed witch, complete with cat and a very over-crowded broomstick...
Winnie the Witch by Valerie Bierman and Korky Paul
It's Wilbur the cat and the wonderful illustrations - veering from all dark, to a world of colour - that absolutely make this book for me.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
The classic adventures of the accident-prone Mildred Hubble at Miss Cackle's Academy are ever-fresh and delightful.
The Best Halloween Ever - by Barbara Robinson
I have to admit I haven't actually read this yet - in fact I only just discovered it existed. But it's by one of the funniest childrens' writers ever, Barbara Robinson, about one of the funniest families ever, the Herdmans. They produced a hilarious Christmas Pageant so I'm looking forward to what they'll do with Halloween...
Bella Donna by Ruth Symes
An ordinary girl, who just happens to be a witch...or rather a witchling. A contemporary take on witches.
Witch Baby by Debi Gliori
I think this would be a book my own Wild Thing character would enjoy - because, like her story, it concerns a little sister whose behaviour is driving her older sister crazy. Only this little sister is a witch. Sibling rivalry with a big dose of magic thrown in.
Jessica Haggerthwaite: Witch Dispatcher by Emma Barnes
Yes, this one's by me! Jessica Haggerthwaite wants to be a famous scientist and is determined to foil her mother, Mrs Haggerthwaite's, witchcraft business. Her plans come to a head at a disastrous Halloween Party for her mother's magical pals and their familiars.
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
DWJ is my favourite fantasy author and I could have chosen several of her books: Witch Week or The Time of the Ghost or Howl's Moving Castle. Charmed Life is one of the Chrestmanci series, and is perfect for Halloween as it is during a grand dinner party at Chrestomanci Castle ("because they always do lots of entertaining around Halloween") that the magic really goes awry, with the help of a pinch of dragon's blood. A truly wonderful book.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
The most famous boy wizard of all, and Azkaban is my favourite of his adventures, because that time changing plot is just so fiendishly clever.
The Midnight Folk by John Masefield
Older and darker in tone, this classic novel is one of my all-time favourites. The witches, including the terrifying Mrs Pouncer and her friends, are genuinely scary, as is Abner Brown. There is a wildness to time and setting. And Nibbins the cat is probably my favourite Witch's cat of all.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
A bit of a change of subject matter here, as most of my list is funny rather than terrifying, but if you want something truly spinechilling then Coraline fits the bill. Just why is that mother with the button eyes so disturbing? But don't blame me if you (or they) get nightmares.
What have I forgotten? Please nominate your favourite Halloween reads.
It’s here! The first official book from international pop-punk sensation 5 Seconds of Summer, Hey, Let’s Make a Band!, chronicling the group’s amazing journey to super-stardom. These four Australian boys — Luke, Michael, Calum and Ashton — are a global sensation. From posting videos of themselves performing cover versions of hit songs to YouTube, they […]
Who wouldn't want to spend the winter in Paris? Maud was in Paris starving and freezing as an art student when Tanya, a wealthy woman, befriended her and helped Maud obtain a position in a home to take care of a young lady.
Maud found out the accommodations brought about more than a warm place to stay and good meals. Sylvie, the young lady she was taking care of, smoked opium and stole things, her "brother" wasn't very honest, and nothing was what it seemed. What else was going to happen, and what did she get herself into?
What was supposed to be a life-changing winter turned out to be a winter of lies, danger, deceit, and murder.
The beginning of THE PARIS WINTER was a bit slow, but as the tale unraveled, there was nothing slow, nothing short of deviousness, and nothing short of intrigue. Don't give up too soon.
You will feel sorry for Maud, you will love Tanya and Yvette - they are actually comical and so loyal to Maude, you will hate Sylvie and her "brother," and you will question all that goes on with them and question their motives.
I thoroughly enjoyed THE PARIS WINTER because of the well-developed, unlikeable, devious, corrupt characters and the unpredictable, twisted plot with a marvelous, thrilling ending. This thrilling ending was set during the Paris flood of 1910 and was a perfect connection to Maud's intentions.
Don't miss reading THE PARIS WINTER. You will be pulled in just like the flood waters of Paris pulled in its citizens. THE PARIS WINTER is an alluring, captivating historical read. 4/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
The Robert Reeves $1,000 Prize in Comic Fiction, judged by distinguished author and editor, Daniel Menaker Submit your short comedic fiction (no more than 5,000 words) to The Southampton Review’s first annual Robert Reeves Comic Fiction Contest! We won’t even try to tell you what we’re looking for. The comic impulse is so widely and variously expressed in fiction that it resists definition. But if your comic muse has led you to a story that you consider a match, throw caution to the wind and send it to us. Entry fee is $15 per submission. Winners will be notified on or before January 15, 2015, and will be honored at the Manhattan launch of TSR: The Southampton Review’s Spring 2015 issue. Submission Period: September 1st through October 31st. Submit here. 1st Place: $1000 and publication in the Spring 2015 issue of TSR: The Southampton Review. Finalist stories will be considered for publication in TSR Online.
Notably irreverent contest judge Daniel Menaker has been the fiction editor at The New Yorker, and Executive Editor in Chief of Random House. He is the author, most recently, of the memoir My Mistake.
There are not many stories written in second-person point of view, at least not many that are well-known. In books on writing, a handful of examples are given that are often repeated among the discussions, but from time to time a new use of the mode will be undertaken by a fresh, contemporary fiction writer. A very good example of second-person writing (and an excellent work of fiction) is given in a recent short story, "The Rhett Butlers," by Katherine Heiny (The Atlantic, Oct. 2014). Second-person writing is sometimes described as simply substituting 'you' for ' I ' in what would otherwise be first-person writing. That's largely true, but just that exchange can have a major effect on how the reader responds to a story. Moreover, there are many other nuances that also can be called into play with the second-person technique. Let's just shorten the terminology to POV-2, and for first-person writing, POV-1, etc., for our following discussion. Heiny's story is about a seventeen-year old girl student who becomes involved with her 40-yr. old history teacher. It's a story that would probably most often be attempted in POV-1, but how reliable might the girl character be in revealing her motivations and emotional state when she herself might be expected to prevaricate about such things. By using POV-2 we might be able to challenge her views, and allow her some sidestepping or irony in revealing her motivations. The POV-2 can also be useful in having the second-person narrator reveal some backstory or exposition that might seem unnatural or forced if left to the girl to furnish to the reader. It will be useful to examine a few excerpts from the story to show the style and nuances that Heiny employs. Here is one of the early paragraphs that will help set up the story as well as show the POV-2 style she so deftly uses:
YOU AND MR. EAGLETON are becoming regulars at the Starlite Motel. The first time you stayed in the car while Mr. Eagleton checked in, but now you go in with him to see what name he uses when he signs the register. He always chooses characters from your favorite novels: Mr. and Mrs. Gatsby, Mr. and Mrs. Caulfield, Mr. and Mrs. Finch, Mr. and Mrs. Twist. This idea seems very romantic to you, even though you would never change your name, and certainly not to Eagleton.
The woman behind the counter seems to like Mr. and Mrs. Butler best. "Ah, the Rhett Butlers," she says every time. "Welcome back." She is a large, motherly woman, who looks a lot like Mrs. Harrison, the womanwho drives the Children's Bookmobile. She always has the TV on, and always on a channel showing Wheel of Fortune. She's unbelievably good--you once saw her guess "Apocalypse Now" just from the letter C.
This woman makes you feel a lot better. Nothing bad can happen to you here.
Notice how the narrator can fill in the reader on the prior frequency of visits, and show an equanimity of the girl, as well as her naivete, and other background things that would have been a lot more awkward in first-person exposition. Here is a slightly later paragraph that also illustrates the nuanced values of POV-2:
MARCY TELLS HER PARENTS that she's sleeping at your home. This way she can stay out past her curfew or even all night. She's going over to Jeff Lipencott's house; his parents are out of town.
You agree. Of course you do--think of all the times Marcy has covered for you. You sit in the TV room, wearing sweats and your glasses and eating cold Pop-Tarts. You wish only the very best for Marcy, but you feel forlorn picturing her at Jeff Lippencott's, maybe lying in his parent's bed, leading a real life.
Marcy knocks on the window a little after 11. You open it and she steps over the window ledge, shaking little diamonds of cold rain from her hair, and says, "Oh my God, he's such an asshole! He spent the whole time doing hand stands with his friends, and I didn't know anyone and wound up helping his little sister weave pot holders."
This story should make you feel lots better. It should make you happy to be you again. But it doesn't.
The choice of POV-2 for this story seemed so right. Check out the full story in The Atlantic. You owe it to your career. Another interesting story in POV-2, a novel actually, Chris Lynch's, "Freewill," a Printz Honor Award book. Lynch has a long list of good YA titles, and is such a fine writer that it was inevitable he'd take up the challenge to write an intriguing POV-2 classic. Read this one, too.
The summer is almost upon us, which means the season for blockbuster movies is here. With the successful adaptation of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn I thought I would talk about some other movies that come from books. Like me, I am sure a lot of people out there would prefer to read the book […]
Really System, the journal of poetry and extensible poetics, will publish its fifth issue in February 2015. We are looking for vibrant poems inflected by our shared technocultural moment and the ways it envelops us, fascinates us, dances with us, ignores us, and fails us. Submissions for issue five are open until January 1, 2015.
Tammy is reading for its fifth print issue for only four more weeks. Aimed at the esteemed fringes and unguarded egresses of American letters, Tammy seeks writing in all genres and forms of visual art that lend themselves to the printed page.
Submit September 1 - December 1 for the spring 2015 issue and March 1 - May 1 for the fall issue.
In the spirit of Halloween, I bring you ten truly frightening writing-related thoughts . . . (brace yourself)
What if your last great idea really was your last great idea?
What if you were forced to write a trilogy on a manual typewriter—by the light of a jack o’ lantern?
What if Spellcheck had to be obeyed?
What if the publishing industry adopts a Hunger Games style system for awarding contracts?
What if there is, dare I say it, a comma shortage?
What if the silent g and the silent p refuse to remain so?
What if the act of writing causes cellulite?
What if all books were based on 70s TV shows?
What if editors demand all novels include calculus?
What if your big-mouthed muse starts her own blog?
Bonus scary thought–What if Donald Trump writes a bestselling picture book and his hairstyle starts trending? (How hairifying!)
Happy Halloween from Frog on a Dime!
Once we are aware of our fears, we are almost always capable of being more courageous than we think. Someone once told me that fear and courage are like lightning and thunder; they both start out at the same time, but the fear travels faster and arrives sooner. If we just wait a moment, the requisite courage will be along shortly. ~ Lawrence Block
Rain Drop Press, is reading for its first anthology, Life is a Journey. . . not a destination: Topic: My Brush with Death. Rain Drop Press strives to share stories of those who survived a harrowing experience and are willing to leave their story as a legacy of their emotional journey.
My Brush with Death stories are inspirational, true stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary experiences; stories that will open the heart and rekindle the spirit. They are personal and filled with emotion and drama. For some who have had a personal brush with death, reading this anthology will be a moment of reflection and realization of their own mortality. For others, it will be a realization of how fragile life can be.
Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls! Welcome to the Monster Madness Blog Hop hosted by Vicki Leigh and me. Since Vicki and I both released monster books this year (The Monster Within and Catch Me When I Fall), we thought it would be fun to have a blog hop dedicated to the monsters we love so much. So have some candy corn and enjoy this post as Vicki and I interview each other.
Okay, Vicki, time to fess up. What monster scares you the most?
I’m pretty hard to scare, to be honest. But there is one monster who gives me the creeps: Freddy Krueger. In a way, he was kind of the inspiration behind the Nightmares in my series, because the thought of someone being able to kill you in your dreams terrifies me. I’ve never actually seen the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but, man, that dude creeps me out.
I love Freddy! My sister loved the Nightmare on Elm Street movies so I saw them much younger than I should have. ;)
How about you, Kelly? You have to be afraid of someone or something, too!
Growing up, I was terrified of the monster under the bed. I even wrote a short story about it called “The Monster of All Monsters.” Anyway, if I had to get up in the middle of the night for water or to use the bathroom, I’d stand on my bed and try to jump to the doorway. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that fear. Now the thing that freaks me out is ghosts. I tried to write a book about a haunting once, and the research totally scared me away from the idea.
Oh, man. I love ghosts. Like, I legitimately want to spend the night in a true haunted house. I think it’d be awesome. (Yet, a fictional guy creeps me out. I’m weird; I know. J)
All right, Vicki, you have to create a NEW monster. What does it look like, and what kind of terrifying things can it do?
Hmm…I think a monster who takes the shape of whatever form you find most attractive would be pretty terrifying—especially when he/she sucks out your soul during a smexy scene and leaves you a comatose patient for the rest of your life. That may have been done before. I don’t know. But I’ve heard freaky stories about what it feels like to be in a coma. I never want that experience. Or being found comatose on my bed in my birthday suit.
All right. So, my monster sucked. You create one, Kelly. I’m positive you can do better!
I’m feeling the pressure now. I’m sort of stealing from Harry Potter here, but I think a monster that can transform into whatever it is a person fears the most would be just awful because no one would be safe from it. No wait! Better yet, the monster becomes ALL of your fears rolled into one! So if you are afraid of snakes, ghosts, and realistic looking dolls with eyelids that open and close (not that I’m being that specific because those are my top three fears or anything), the monster would turn into a doll possessed by a ghost who can charm poisonous snakes to attack on command. *shivers*
Back to you, Vicki. We’ve all been inside haunted houses or mazes at Halloween time, right? What monster got the best of you inside one of those?
I actually have a good story for this, because I really am super hard to scare. I’ve been in haunted houses and mazes, and usually when things jump out at me, I giggle. So, last year, I went to a haunted cornfield with a few friends. We walked through a LOT of really tall corn, and a trailer that was pitch black. None of the actors really got me, even when I had to feel the walls because it was so dark I couldn’t see. And then we exited the cornfield, and I was like, “well, that was fun,” thinking it was over.
Then, out of nowhere, came a dude with a chainsaw. Good lord; I jumped out of my skin! I screamed and then tipped my head back and guffawed. That dude got me. It was the chainsaw noise that did it, and his perfect position: I thought the maze was over.
How about you, Kelly? Do you have a good haunted house story?
Ooh, sneaky little chainsaw-wielding devil! ;)
Okay, well I have to say I startle easily, not scare easily. I went through a haunted dormin college. I give the people who ran it credit because it was pretty good. There was a funeral in one room, and we all thought the dead body was going to get up. It was really a distraction for something that snuck up on us. Still, I wasn’t scared. Nor was I scared when they turned out all the lights and we had to find out way out in complete darkness. Then at the end, there was a guy in a gorilla suit. That made me laugh, but it also distracted me from the hands reaching out from under the stairs I was climbing. I admit I jumped when I looked down and saw what I’m assuming was a zombie gripping my leg.
Time to change gears. What monster is your all-time favorite, Vicki?
Am I okay to say Cookie Monster? J For real, though, my favorite is probably Dracula.
How about you? You have to have a favorite!
I think I’m going to have to go with a zombie. Something about a reanimated corpse is both disgusting and terrifying, considering it wants to eat your brains. Got to love that! ;) Now it's your turn! Choose 3 questions below to answer either in the comments or on your own blog.
1. What monster terrifies you the most? 2. Do you have a good haunted house story? 3. What's your favorite monster? 4. Is there a monster book that terrified you as a child? 5. Have any book recommendations for stories that include monsters? 6. Finally, create your own monster! What does it look like, and what scary things can it do?
Then tag FIVE of your friends to share in the Monster Madness!
Julie and I have poured everything we know about writing query letters and the process of submitting picture books into this course. We are proud to say it is a one-stop-shopping source for EVERYTHING a picture book author needs to know about submitting picture books successfully to agents and publishers.
In fact, we guarantee that every possible question about the picture book submissions process is answered in this course. How can we make that promise? Because if anyone purchases the course and finds, after going through all the material, that a question they have is NOT answered, we’ll both answer the question AND add it to the official FAQs.
And for this weekend only, we are offering an early-bird special of $50 off the retail price of the course, bringing it down from $197 to $147. (That’s actually $3 less than my professional Query Critique service… and in true “teach-a-man-to-fish” fashion, empowers picture book authors to polish their own queries with confidence forever more.) In addition, those who purchase the course before the early-bird deadline expires will receive a BONUS gift – our comprehensive list of publishers that accept un-agented picture book submissions.
This is NOT a mere ebook, but a complete soup-to-nuts resource for crafting flawless submissions to land an agent or a book contract. Those interested can take a short video tour of everything that’s in the course HERE.
(But remember – the early-bird offer expires at midnight on Monday, November 3.)
Duende welcomes submissions of prose, poetry, hybrid writing, and visual art. We are especially interested in collaborations between two or more writers, or between writers and visual artists. We accept submissions from writers working in English, or translating into English, from anywhere in the world.
Duende tastes good on the tongue and caresses the ear. Duende seeks authenticity & soulfulness, earthiness & expressiveness, a chill up the spine. It encompasses darkness and intensity; elicits sorrow and joy; wrests a response from the body.
If your poetry is rough-cut diamonds, slightly off-kilter; if your fiction will make us feel more human and less alone; if you enjoy exploration of new forms at the edges of the literary universe; if you can bring us elegant translations of literature from far corners of the globe; if your nonfiction is wild and honest; if your visual art is raw and earnest…show us. We want to see it.
Duende aspires to represent the true beauty and diversity of the U.S. literary ecosystem. A majority of the work we publish will be from writers and artists who are queer, of color, differently abled, immigrant, working class, youth, elder, and / or otherwise from communities underrepresented in U.S. literary magazines and journals. Please send us your work!