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1. The Good Provider

I clean the cream from my whiskers with my paw. I sit watching the delicious little birds hop from seed to seed on the dying thistles in the garden outside the window. This window seat is made for these lazy autumn afternoons. Red’ll be home soon. I love to watch his change of expression when he approaches the house to greet his latest wife. She’s Lola this year. It was Linda back in those days, Bennie’s sister. It’s getting harder to remember that I used to live with Bennie. The boys came up with the idea, in a poker game, at Bennie’s. There was Mutt, Jeff, Bennie and Slocum. I watched from the back of the couch, cleaning my paws with my tongue. There were clouds of smoke and interesting smells emanating from the table that night. The boys were flying high. Bennie figured his ship had finally come in. The next morning, as we drove to work, Bennie talked about the score. He talked to me, but he was really talking to himself. He was a good provider though, so I went along with it. Bennie was my owner, a cat worshipper, who also owned Brutus, a watchdog. Bennie took me to work with him most days. I was an excuse for Bennie to talk to himself, a warm body to have around. Bennie was the only employee left in Red Smith’s auto parts warehouse. Red didn’t make much wholesaling used auto parts, but he had a famous safe which made him a tidy profit. He held payrolls for a lot of companies which didn’t have the facilities to handle large amounts of cash. They couldn’t fit into bank schedules. The safe also held such items as receipts, estates and some money from questionable sources which Red labelled, ‘Other’. On the way to work the next morning, Bennnie dreamed along with the sports show on the radio. “With my cut, I could buy an island, like Brando. Down in Tahiti. So what if he’s fat? Women still love him. I’d have a party for the boys, but not for a couple of years. This is Slocum’s chance too. He can escape from his old lady, finally. The guy’s not well. She’s a bad influence. Don’t you think he’s shrunk and turned grey since he’s been with her?” I sat in the back seat watching some dogs on the sidewalk. Gross. Brutus ran out when Bennie opened the front door of the warehouse. There are dogs and there are dirty dogs. Brutus was dirty and aggressive with everyone except Bennie and me. Bennie had trained him, I had shown him my claws when we first met. He almost lost an eye that time, always respected me since. I wouldn’t turn my back on him, though. Brutus is big. He’s a big, dirty watchdog who would tear anything apart just for fun. Unless someone killed Brutus or otherwise incapacitated him, they’d never be able to steal from this warehouse. Unless they had an in and knew how the safe worked, that is. Bennie was counting on this as part of his plan. He could control Brutus and retirement was approaching. If he ripped the place off, he could sit tight for a few years and let things cool down. If everyone kept their mouths shut and they paid a lawyer Mutt knew, they would all end up rich. Even Red had some kind of insurance for a robbery, Bennie figured, but it wasn’t an urgent consideration. Red could afford it, no doubt. There would be questions. There would be all kinds of cops. They would insist on a lie detector test, but he didn’t have to take it, they couldn’t use it in court. Brando never backed down from a role. This was one for which Bennie had been preparing all of his life. That was the way Bennie saw it, anyway. I always thought he was a little crazy, but who could have known? The safe only opened once a day. If robbers did get past Brutus and the other alarms, unless they came at exactly the right time, they would have to blow the door off of it. It would take a big explosion to blow the door, neighbouring alarms would go off all over the place. There wasn’t much paper around, but there might be a fire. The other thing, which only Red knew about the safe, but no one else knew, was that it expelled all of the oxygen, slowly, after the door closed. Red got it from an art museum when the government closed it down. One of the perks of having a foolproof safe was that big companies were advised, by word of mouth, to use Red’s, in emergencies. Red made a pretty penny helping out big companies. When the boys thought up the plan at the poker game, it was after Bennie had told them all about the “special job” Red was doing that weekend. A big company was moving millions of dollars from city to city. They were leaving it in Red’s safe overnight on the weekend. Bennie and the boys planned to rip it off. I stretched and tasted the fresh cat food Bennie had left in my dish by the office door. I settled in the comfortable window, watched Bennie strike poses in front of the mirror. Every time I cleaned the outside of my ears, I remembered the ticks. Getting rid of them was a painful process. Bennie thought he looked like Brando when he practised a sneer. I thought he looked like an overweight Elvis impersonator. There was an inventory to keep, some paperwork to do, but Bennie mostly listened to a redneck on the radio and talked to me during his work day. When we were at the warehouse, Bennie kept Brutus in his run outside in the back. Red dropped in on Friday afternoon for a few minutes. He ruffled my fur, scratched my ears. Red was just getting to like me in those days. He went over the delivery of the money on Saturday morning, told Bennie that he had Sunday off, that he, Red, would be there to make sure of the pick up on Sunday morning. Red sat in Bennie’s chair, feet up, smoking a cigar, called Linda. He put Bennie on with his sister, enjoyed their fraternal banter. Red glowed with love for Linda. His face changed when he talked to her on the phone. When he spoke about her with Bennie, the latter thought he was kidding. Bennie looked at Red, quizzically, behind his back, after these conversations about his older sister. The boys planned to pull into the warehouse as soon as the delivery was made on Saturday morning. They would load the money and take it away. They would leave Bennie in the safe to be released by Red the next day. The story would be that the robbers showed up right after the security company delivered the cash, pushed Bennie into the safe, left with the loot and the security film. The key to getting away with it was for everyone to behave normally. These guys thought they could pull it off. It sounded good, that night, when the boys met for poker at our place. Mutt had all the papers and powers of attorney for them to sign. It would give their lawyer, who wasn’t above a bit of graft himself, the right to move their money around. No one could quit their jobs or do anything out of the ordinary for at least two years. They were all thinking about retirement. The boys were closer to old than young. The delivery Saturday morning went smoothly, the security company guards moved the cash into the safe. They had just pulled out of the parking lot when Mutt, Jeff and Slocum pulled up, at the front door, in Slocum’s black van. Bennie had already taken the film out of all the security cameras when they walked into the office. They wore gloves, but no masks or disguises. Bennie showed them the millions of dollars they were stealing by opening a package. They got lost in a delirious minute of congratulations while they admired the bills. After a short debate, they figured that I should keep Bennie company in the safe. There was nothing soft and warm inside the safe. I never did like it. They threw me in with Bennie after they put my dish and some water inside the door. I circled the safe quickly, ran out, just as they slammed the door shut. They left him some chocolate bars and water, but they couldn’t do anything about the light. There was no light, but Bennie planned to sleep and rehearse his shock and anger until Red arrived. They didn’t even notice me until it was too late. No one had time to worry about me, so they left. The three of them giggled as they got into Slocum’s van. In a few years, they would be on easy street. Margaritas all around at Bennie’s place in Tahiti, one island over from Brando’s. All they had to do now was to drop off the money at the lawyer’s. At the time, I didn’t know, nobody did, except Red, about the slow leak of oxygen from the safe. Bennie must have realized that something was wrong because he made a lot of noise in the safe around the same time that Red arrived, the next morning. Red’s Cadillac pulled up beside Bennie’s Celebrity in the empty parking lot. I watched from the front window as Red got out of his car and walked toward the building. He looked back once at Bennie’s car. He was about half way between his parking space and the warehouse when his cell phone went off. He dug it out of his jacket pocket and answered it. I could tell that he was talking to a woman he loved by the change of expression on his face. It lit up. He stopped, looked at the sky as he talked. He had a big smile on his face when he turned back to the car. He listened to the phone, smiled at his shoes. Red got back into his Caddy, talking on the phone, his eyes on Bennie’s Celebrity. He was talking to Lola that day. He thought Bennie had his days off mixed up, so that he was taking care of the pick up. He was partially right, Bennie was there, but he was in the safe. The noises from the safe got fewer and further between, quieter, then stopped all together. Brutus started howling and whining from the back of the warehouse. Brando’s death scene in The Godfather always was one of Bennie’s favourites, but I think he would rather have played it in a tomato patch. When the security guys from the pick up company arrived, there was no one around. They called Red and told him that they could see the cat in the office window and that Bennie’s car was there, but no Bennie. By this time I was hungry, the litter box was filling up. I knew, from Brutus’s mournful howl, that Bennie had somehow died in the safe. Red drove over from Lola’s the next morning. He took a long time calling long distance, pushing digital codes to open the safe before its special time. Red’s reputation was on the line. The reputation of his service to the big companies. The security company had to have the money. Red breathed through his nose a lot, walked around the office with a serious expression followed by the security guards talking into their cell phones. If they had arrived earlier, if Red hadn’t taken so long to open the safe, they could have seen Bennie gasping for his last breath. The police were called as soon as Red opened the door and found Bennie dead in the safe, the money gone. Red seemed surprised and a little hurt by the discovery of Bennie’s body. When he saw the cat dishes of water and food inside the safe door he adopted me on the spot. He took me home to his very comfortable estate. It was as if he was protecting me. He switched from Linda to Lola just after Bennie’s funeral. Linda accused him of holding out on her, but Red paid her off. It wasn’t the payment she wanted but she had to settle for it. The police questioned all of Bennie’s friends. Nobody talked and no one was caught for the theft. Lola’s a real cat lover so I’m pampered and lazy here. There are no poker games with smoke and interesting smells, but the food is great. Yesterday she got some cat treats and served them to me on a pillow. It gets harder and harder to remember life at Bennie’s. Red suffered his loss manfully, in public. Bennie’s death was so shocking that Red’s compensation from the insurance company went unnoticed. Red doesn’t know Mutt or Jeff or Slocum. They don’t move in the same circles. They were all there at Bennie’s funeral which was also attended by a large number of undercover cops. I watched from the passenger seat of Red’s Caddy. When it was over they filed past the Cadillac on their way to the cars. Red argued with Linda over Bennie’s grave. Slocum looked me right in the eye and winked as he passed the windshield. He knew that I had seen it all and that Red was a good provider. Tontopress.com

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2. Prologues

Not all prologues are created equal. 

http://ingridsnotes.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/4-types-of-prologues/

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3. Why I Do Author Visits at Schools

In the mail this week came a fat envelope full of letters from second graders at Sampson Elementary, which I visited during my week of school visits in Houston. I've read them over and over again. Here are some of my favorite lines, with the original spelling reproduced as best I can.

Adam, liking my titles Kelsey Green, Reading Queen, Annika Riz, Math Whiz, and Izzy Barr, Running Star, suggested I write Jackson Baxter, Writing Master. Thomas, hearing that I was stuck on a rhyming title for my work-in-progress about know-it-all Simon Ellis, suggested Simon Ellis, King of Jealous. Great titles, you two!

The kids always like best the ape dance I perform at the end of my assemblies (don't ask!). One of them wrote, "I was laughing so hard I couldn't see or breathe." Another wrote, "I almost did my scream laugh."

Blake told me, "You are one of the best athers I know. I have not read one of your book's but I just know they are reily good. I hope a lot more of your books get publisht. Try to get 20 book's or more publisht in a row that would be awsom." Blake, I couldn't agree more! I'll pass this on to my editor.

Jillian asked, "How many scools have you been to? I think you have bean to a lot! I mean, watt athor rites great books and do's not go to a lot of scools?"

Maria: "I think you are vary prity and nice." Aw, shucks, Maria!

Ava: "War do you git your story idews? I git min from my dog."

Sophie: "What year were you born in. You look like your thert five." I'll take it!

A different Sophie already has a main character for her new story: "Billy the Bad. He is vary bad."

Emily, a "shy arther" herself, sympathized with my report of all the criticism I get on my drafts from my writing group: "I feel like you in your book club my older sister reads my books and she herst my feelings a lot of times."

A third Sophie told me her reading goals: "I want to read more chapter books to impress my teacher Mrs. Hopper."

And finally, Madison told me: "When I get home I'm  going to write a book." Yes, yes, yes!

And this is why I love to do author visits at schools.

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4. I Declare I am not at War or War Between Authors and Readers? Seriously?

So, I am just a random author in Maine. That's about it. I'm the daughter of a truck mechanic and Welcome Wagon hostess (They did switch jobs a lot, but that's pretty much what I think of them as). I'm not a super-connected author who gets to hang out anywhere super cool and be hip. And I am pretty much a bystander about the big things that happen in the world of writing for children and young adults.

Other authors don't speak for me. I don't speak for other authors. I can't even imagine it.

Mostly when I witness negative interactions, I feel badly for everyone involved. I feel for reviewers who are attacked by authors. I feel for authors who are attacked by reviewers. I feel for any profession, any group of people that are lumped together, stereotyped and attacked because of what they do, their ancestry, their gender identification, their religous identification, ethnic history, employment history, or political party or sexual orientation or income level. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.

What really bothers me is when opinion pieces or news stories do that. This headline in Salon? It does that.Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 3.11.36 PM


No offense to the headline writers, but I am not engaged in any war. I'm not in a war with bloggers or readers. I'm not in a war with fellow authors. Kathleen Hale is not revealing anything about me.

There is no war waging. There are no flank formations going on. There are no weapons. Even if you count words and news stories as weapons. It is still not a war.

Do you know what war is?

War is death. Homes blown apart. Children broken. Lives ripped apart. Limbs separated from bodies. War is two or more sides trying to destroy each other in an attempt to grab some kind of power. It's an organized effort.

Holding people accountable for their actions is not war. Calling people out on their behaviour is not war.

Even if you go by a more mellow definition of war, what happens between the reading community and the writing community still doesn't fit. I'm not involved in a state of conflict. I'm not antagonizing readers or bloggers or reviewers and I sure don't feel like they are antagonizing me.

I pretty much love readers and bloggers and reviewers. It's not an oppositional relationship. It's a symbiotic one.

And incidents like the one involving author Kathleen Hale, her Guardian story, and reviewer Blythe Harris are not representative of an entire community. Two people are never representative of an entire community and it is simplistic to believe so. Even 100 people aren't. And a community like this? Even 1,000 people don't cut it. Writers and bloggers and reviewers come in all ages, all genders, all races and religions. And some (Gasp!) don't live in the U.S. And some (Gasp!) don't even use the internet.

While some writers or bloggers occasionally band together to call out for what they believe is justice via a boycott or twitter hashtag, that still doesn't equal war.  It doesn't usually even count as a representative group. It counts as advocating for themselves or calling out what they perceive as an injustice. And you know what? That's pretty cool.

But the thing is...

I know people who have been in wars. I know people who have seen terror.

This is not it.

Individuals behaving badly does not indict an entire profession. Other people calling them out on it does not make a war between two groups even if those groups have different viewpoints and feelings. To think so? That's a generalization that creates bigotry. I used to be a newspaper editor. I understand headlines. I understand that hyperbole sells. But that doesn't mean we should feed into it.

I am not at war with anyone. I hope you aren't either. I happen to love the writing community and the blogging community and reviewers who take the time to read and comment about books (even when they hate them). How cool is that? It's super cool. Actually, it's pretty amazing. It's called engagement. Not war. And engagement is something our world needs more of, not less.

So, I am declaring an un-War. I hope you'll join me.

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5. Reflections on Which Dreams May Manifest in Waking Life

Dreams can help keep us healthy.

Hippocrates of Kos taught about dreams indicating illnesses.


If you faithfully keep a dream journal you will notice, over time, many things and events that you dream about come true in waking life. It may be the sequence of events that particularly manifest or it may be that you see a person in dreamtime you never met before–but several months after the dream you meet that person in waking life. Then there are some dreams that don’t appear to have any relationship to current reality or seem so bizarre and surrealistic that it doesn’t seem they could ever be making a true statement about anything.

This raises the question of how do you know if a dream might manifest in waking life? From nearly forty years of dreamwork, I have made these observations about my own dreams. You might see if they apply to your own.

  1. Very realistic dreams tend to manifest in waking life. If I have a dream that is realistic and probable, i.e., I am driving my own car and not some fantasy car, then it probably has something to do with manifesting something in waking life. For example, any physical ailment which I knew about ahead of time in dreamtime presented quite literally and showed up later on a medical test as when years ago I had a dream in which a voice said I had blood in my stool. A medical test actually concurred with that even though a later colonoscopy proved it was nothing to worry about. This rule applies also in cases where the symbolism is present but there is a clear resemblance such as dreaming of having overflowing pipes and end up having diarrhea. This is possible because there is a close proximity to the symbol and waking reality. In fact, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said much medical and diagnostic information of this sort could be gained from similar dreams.
  2. Somewhat surrealistic or unrealistic events may be relating events in the far off future. Years ago I had a series of dreams in which I was traveling around Hawaii with my brother. At the time I was living in Massachusetts, and so the possibility of this happening seemed a little far-fetched. The island’s scenery was stylized in my dream, not being typical of a specific place on any of the islands. Yet, as I read my dream journal years later, I found that after I moved to Hawaii, we did travel around the island of Oahu as we did in the dream, and we shared certain concerns that showed up in those early dreams.
  3. Very surrealistic dreams tend to be making a statement about the interior world of the dreamer. Really bizarre, odd or unusual objects in places they don’t usually belong, such as a rare or extinct species of owl in a refrigerator, are most often aspects of the dreamer and need to be looked at as such by asking, “What about me is like this owl?” or “What about me is like the refrigerator?” In this type of dream, I personally have not seen a close or frequent connection to events or objects manifesting in waking life such as opening the refrigerator and finding a rare spotted owl perched next to the orange juice.

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6. What? There's A Percy Jackson Problem?

In The Percy Jackson Problem in The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead discusses the old "so-long-as-the-kiddies-are-reading-they-will-move-on-and-up" strategy vs. the old "you-can't-start-'em-on-Shakespeare-too-young" theory. According to Mead, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books fall into the first category. Ouch.

Mead finishes her essay speculating about what will happen if reading books like Percy Jackson doesn't lead to young minds moving onward and upward to eagerly sucking up the Assigned Book List. "What if instead of urging them on to more challenging adventures on other, potentially perilous literary shores, it makes young readers hungry only for more of the palatable same?"

I have no problem with palatable. We live in a free country, kids! Go rogue with your reading!

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7. Is it Middle Grade or Chapter Book?

You've finished that first draft of your middle grade novel. But now taking a long look, maybe not. Maybe it is a Chapter book. Or is it? 
How can you tell? Now it's not as clear as you first thought in your rapid fire, getting it all out on paper and spouting out to everyone, "I'm working on a middle grade story."
Going back to read or reread all the books that seem the slightest bit similar sometimes helps. And sometimes doesn't -
I found a blog by Emma Walton Hamilton with a clear way to compare.
She uses clues about: 
Audience
Age of Protagonist
Length
Illustration
Content
Yes, there are always exceptions!
I'm still researching every chapter and middle grade book I can get my hands on, but each morsel of information helps me on my journey.


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8. COMPETITION! ASK a question to WIN!

A chance to WIN a copy of Ursula Dubosarsky’s ‘The Terrible Plop‘, AND YOU can ask her a question in an exclusive interview, to be featured on the Boomerang Books Blog! To win: 1. Head to My Little Story Corner and LIKE the page. 2. Find the Competition post, pinned at the top of the […]

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9. Call for Submissions from California Community College English Instructors: Inside English


Inside English is accepting submissions from writers teaching at a California community college for its spring 2015 issue. Deadline is January 15 and theme is teaching.

Inside English is the pedagogical publication of the English Council of California Two-Year Colleges and reserves First North American Serial Rights.

We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Paste your submission in the body of the email to:
 
 couringATsbccDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
 
Also include a fifty-word biography including the California community college(s) where you teach.

In the subject line include the genre of the submission, title(s) and your name (Flash Fiction, “Restless Nights,” Marilyn Morgan)

We accept the following genres:

Flash Fiction: 1-2 pieces, a total of 1000 words.

Poetry: 1-2 poems, no more then 50 lines each.

Flash Creative Nonfiction: 1-2 pieces, a total of 1000 words.


Dr. Chella Courington, Creative Editor
Santa Barbara City College

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10. Hazel Edwards discusses collaboration and controversy

On the day that prolific Australian author, Hazel Edwards was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for services to literature, her latest young adult novel was receiving a very different distinction at the other end of the country. Hazel Edwards has written more than 200 books, including the hugely popular Hippopotamus picture book series, […]

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11. Call for Submissions: The Lindenwood Review

The Lindenwood Review is currently accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, and personal essay for issue 5 through December 15, 2014. We are also accepting submissions for our free flash fiction contest through November 15.  

While current LU MFA students are not eligible, alumni are welcome to submit. 

Please visit our website for full submission guidelines and to read excerpts from previous issues.

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12. The Epic Reads Timeline of Young Adult Historical Fiction (yay for GOING OVER!)

Can I say how happy this makes me? I know that the graphic reads little small on my blog. But if you go over to the fabulous Epic Reads you'll find rocking good stuff, at the right size, for readers, teachers, and librarians.

I am grateful—to Epic Reads and to Ilene Wong, who Twittered me the news.

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13. Writing Competition: Sequestrum's Editor's Reprint Award

Sequestrum is accepting submissions for our first annual Editor's Reprint Award! For complete guidelines, visit our website.
 

Contest Guidelines:

Open to reprints of fiction and nonfiction in any original format (electronic or print).

One $200 prize plus publication.
One runner-up prize including publication and payment (just above our usual rates). Finalists listed on the site.


$15 entry fee.
Tentative close date of April 30th
. (See site for details)

Include the name and email address of the original publisher in your cover letter.
Length and subject are open.
Submit via our online submission system.
Manuscripts reviewed on a rolling-basis.
Multiple submissions allowed.

No identifying information should be on your manuscript.

Not previously published? No worries! We're always accepting general submissions. Send them here.


About Sequestrum:
We average 1,000+ readers a month, keep our archives free and open to the public, are a paying market, and pair all our publications with stunning visual arts created by outside artists or our staff. Our contributors range from award-winning novelists and poets (with other works featured in publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Scholar, The Kenyon Review, many other university periodicals, and Best American Anthologies) to emerging voices and first-time writers.


We're proud of our little plot on the literary landscape and the writers and artists we share it with. Come see why.

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14. 50 States Against Bullying: WASHINGTON, D.C.

The eleventh stop on my 50 States Against Bullying campaign took me to...a district. Not a state, a district! I guess the organizers of the campaign thought 50 States Plus 1 District Against Bullying was a bit wordy.

This was my third time speaking in or around Washington, D.C., and one day I need to visit when I have time to really explore. This time, though rainy, I made my way a few blocks from my hotel to see the White House. The rain made it even more beautiful than the last time I saw it!


The next day, I spoke at the Washington International School. Being in Washington, D.C., I wasn't surprised to find lots of secret doors, such as this one, which guarded my carry-on bag while I spoke to the students.


The historic buildings that made up the campus were beautiful, and the librarian told me a little about the history of the place as we walked to where I'd be speaking. She also lent me a polka-dot umbrella, which was very kind.

On our way to the library, if you look over the soccer field, you can see the Washington National Cathedral. The top of the cathedral is still being renovated after the 2011 earthquake.



If the soccer field at my high school had a view like this, I might have been more inclined to learn the rules and play. (Apparently, according to my plAYSOccer coach, it involves more than simply running after a ball and kicking it hard. But, seriously, that's the most fun part!)


As the students began to arrive, they noticed piles of cookies set out for after my presentation. But you can't leave cookies out and tell people they have to wait. Especially not if you want them to focus on the presenter and not think about cookies! So they "released" the goodies early and a swarm of students quickly descended.


High on sugar, they were a very responsive audience!



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15. There's Still Time To Enter the Free it's A Ruff Life Competition!

It's not worth beating around the bush.  It's A Ruff Life's Free Book competition with Goodreads will be closing in 2 Days. - If you hurry you still have time to enter to win the signed copy of It's A Ruff Life.  Below is the Link.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

It's a Ruff Life by B.R. Tracey

It's a Ruff Life

by B.R. Tracey

Giveaway ends October 25, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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16. October Adventures with the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

How is it late October?!

The fall is flying by, and just to make it fly even faster, we have some amazing events (and book launches and big news) we want to share with you...

Don Tate
Last week in Springfield, Illinois, Don gave the keynote address at the Illinois Library Association Youth Services Author Breakfast, followed by an enthusiastic book signing. As the 2015 artist for iRead Summer Reading Program, Don's artwork, Read to the Rhythm, will be used by librarians and students nationwide.  http://www.ireadprogram.org/

The next day, Don addressed students at the Chicago Public Library, where all of 800 students received a package of books, thanks to Bernie's Book Bank.

If you will be visiting the Texas Book Festival this weekend, Don invites you to join him and an esteemed group of authors in a discussion of diversity. The  #WeNeedDiverse Books panel will take place on Saturday at noon, in the sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church (1201 Lavaca St.), with authors Pat Mora, Andrea Pinkney, Jacqueline Woodson, Tim Tingle, and Diane Gonzales Bertrand.
 
(Don Tate signs Read to the Rhythm posters at the Illinois Library Association conference)

In July, Don finished illustrations for his next book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill(Peachtree, 2015). This will be Don's first authored andillustrated book! In addition, he won a BOOK LAUNCH award-$2,000.00!-from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The money will allow him to take the book on a national book tour next year.

For Don, school visits and literary presentations will take off first thing this September, when he presents at schools in Round Rock, Texas; Delray Beach, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Springfield, Illinois! Please contact him early to inquire about his lively and interactive school visits.



Emma Virjan
Emma Virján is pleased to announce May 12, 2015 is the release date for What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig.
Stay tuned for more Pig News.
You can learn more about Pig and see more of Emma's artworkon her site here.



Jeanette Larson
Jeanette Larson will participate in the ESC Region 2 Technology Conference on November 4 in Corpus Christi. If you are in the area, stop by to say hello. On November 8 Jeanette will be at the Overlooked Books booth at the McAllen Book Festival, McAllen, TX.

As part of the YALSA YA Literature Symposium, Jeanette will participate in the Book Blitz on Saturday, November 15 in Austin. Registered participants receive tickets to get free books from participating authors.
Jessica Lee Anderson
Jessica Lee Anderson enjoyed speaking on a panel with PJ Hoover at the ESC-20 Library Resource Roundup!  Jessica loves spending time with friends and making new ones, even the most unlikely of friends. (Hello, Snake!)  She's looking forward to visiting with students at several upcoming school visits.  Don't hesitate to contact Jessica if you're interested in a school visit or a writing workshop!  Not only does she still have some availability for the fall and the spring, she's also offering discounts.  Please contact her at Jessica Lee Anderson for more information. 

 

Jo Whittemore
Jo Whittemore is honored to be moderating a panel at Texas Book Festival entitled "Do You Believe in Magic?" from 1:15pm-2:15pm on Saturday, October 25th in Capitol Extension Room E2.026.

Jo will also be doing a joint book release tour in March 2015 with author Cory Putman Oakes. 
She'll be offering a "two authors for the price of one" deal on school visits! Contact her for more info.  
 
Kari Anne Holt
Kari's October is barreling by at warp speed. She is so excited to announce the launch of her new book, RHYME SCHEMER, a middle grade novel-in-verse. 

 
RHYME SCHEMER has received some lovely reviews, which is always very exciting. 

 
"A strong anti-bullying message. Ideal for classroom use."
School Library Journal

"This transformative tale offers important lessons for all persuasions of middle graders, whether bullies or targets, complicit or horrified bystanders."
Kirkus Reviews

"Poetry-writing seventh-grade bully both is believable and sympathetic, and his voice rings totally authentic."
Booklist

 

Kari is having a joint book launch with author Chris Barton, to celebrate the release of her book, RHYME SCHEMER, and his book, ATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE! If you'll be in the Austin area on Saturday, November 1st at 2pm, stop by Book People for a fun party.



Kari is also busy at work on her next two releases, HOUSE ARREST (Chronicle, 2015) and RED MOON RISING (McElderry, S&S, 2016).

 

If you're planning to stop by the Texas Book Festival (October 25-26), Kari will be on the Poetry For You panel with authors Jacqueline Woodson and Isabel Quintero at the Family Life Center (1300 Lavaca) on Saturday the 25th from 2:30-3:30. They will all be signing books directly after the panel.

 
P.J. Hoover

P. J. Hoover is thrilled to share two new wonderful reviews for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE! Other reviews and more information about the book can be found on her website.

"Cleverly funny, rich in Egyptian history, and intriguingly fast-paced, Tut brilliantly blends fantasy with thoughtfully constructed characterization to create a story that will beguile fans of modern-day mythology."
-VOYA 

"Hoover's fun interpretations of Egyptian gods and goddesses, frenetic pace, and appropriately modern snark propel this highly entertaining adventure."
-Booklist 

Huge thank you to Texas librarians for nominating TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE for the Lone Star list!
  
September was a wonderful whirlwind month for P. J. Hoover. Following the release of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE, P. J. spent much of the time on the road, traveling to schools and presenting at conferences.
 
P. J. spent a week presenting to students at Curtis Middle School and Ford Middle School in Allen, TX. Thank you to librarians Kay Hawkins and Morgan LeFevre for inviting P. J. back for the third year in a row!

P. J. next flew to Tampa, FL where she delivered the keynote address for the annual TBAWP (Tampa Bay Area Writing Project) Fall Conference. P. J. spoke to a group of about 200 educators about the importance of enjoying the journey rather than focusing on the destination.

Fall is the time for those wonderful regional librarian conferences, and P. J. enjoyed presenting at Region 13, Region 3, and Region 20 (along with Texas Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson). P. J. presented on cross-curriculum, combining reading with things like book trailer creation, video game creation, and Minecraft. Her hopes are to promote out-of-the-box ideas to get and keep kids excited about reading.

 

Thank you to Laurel Mountain Elementary School and librarian David Jurecka for supporting TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE with a wonderful pre-order campaign! I appreciate you guys!
  
Along with cooler weather, October brought Austin Comic Con! P. J. Hoover (along with Texas authors Joy Preble, Cory Putman Oakes, Madeline Smoot, and Texas Sweetheart Jo Whittemore) dressed up in costume and sold books at the Writing Ninjas of Texas booth. P. J. was delighted when San Antonio librarians Dana Hutchins and Lorrie Roussin stopped by the booth to say hi! P. J. also participated in a panel on using martial arts in writing fight scenes.

 

Look for P. J. Hoover at the Texas Book Festival! She will be on the Adventure is Out There panel with authors Michael Fry and S. S. Taylor on Saturday, October 25th at 2:30 in Capital Extension Room E.2.026. Book signing will follow immediately in the author signing tent.

P. J. brushed off her computer programming skills again, this time releasing CASTLE OF DOOM! (a video game she originally wrote back in college) on Scratch. Please consider sharing Scratch and P. J.'s games with your students. Scratch is used widely in schools to get kids excited about learning computer programming skills. You can find more information about Scratch and P. J.'s games on her website.


This month P. J. looks forward to school visits in both Houston and Austin! Please contact P. J. if you are interested in having her visit your school or speak to your group!

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17. Call for Submissions: Prime Number Magazine

Prime Number Magazine is open for submissions! We're especially looking for excellent creative nonfiction (under 5000 words) and short essays (under 1000 words) in addition to short stories (under 5000 words), flash fiction (under 750 words), and poetry. (Book reviews and interviews, too, but query the Books editor first.) In all categories, we're looking for distinctive work. 

Full Submission Guidelines here

And check out our latest issue, #61.

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18. Time again for LULA'S BREW!

Teachers, are you looking for a good Halloween book to share with your young gargoyles? Might I suggest my picture book, LULA'S BREW to get in the spirit?
     Lula's Aunties want her to be a witch like them. But Lula prefers to study cookbooks rather than spellbooks (and hates to fly on a broom). Lula wants to be a famous chef. In desperation, the Aunties insist she try to make one last potion. Lula secretly adds her cooking flair and in true witchy fashion creates a brew that bewitches the entire town, and her Aunties too!
     LULA'S BREW is available in hardcover from your local bookseller (they might have to order it, so don't wait!), and also on the iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Nook Color, Kindle, and as a .pdf. Visit the activity page for all options, to download free activities (and a recipe for the BREW), and to see some cool videos. Bwahahaha!

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19. Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7

Here it is! A new collection of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.

As always, you can find our past collections here. You can follow Longreads on WordPress.com for more daily reading recommendations, or subscribe to our free weekly email.

Publishers, writers, you can share links to your favorite essays and interviews (over 1,500 words) on Twitter (#longreads) and on WordPress.com by tagging your posts longreads.


1. What Happens When a Veteran High School Teacher Becomes a Student for the Day

Grant Wiggins

“I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day.” A high school teacher learns some sobering lessons about how kids experience a typical day — and the amount of sitting required.

2. No Apology

Mehreen Kasana

The truth about being Muslim in America:

In the eyes of those perpetually seeking an apology from Muslims, I am a Bad Muslim. I don’t put hashtag-suffixed apologies online for what someone else of my faith does. When 9/11 happened, I was as shocked and terrified as anyone else was. We scary-looking Muslims experience human emotions, too. … We Muslims react to unexpected loss of life like any non-Muslim would. We cry, we mourn.

3. The Rise and Fall of Public Housing in NYC

Richard Price, Guernica

A “subjective overview” of the history of public housing in New York City from the novelist Richard Price, framed through the lens of his own upbringing in the North Bronx’s Parkside Houses.

4. Ways Men In Tech Are Unintentionally Sexist

Kat Hagan, This Is Not a Pattern

How our behavior and language can have a harmful impact — and how we can fix it. “Small, simple changes will build the foundation for a better tech culture.”

5. Gone Girls: Human Trafficking on the Home Front

Mike Kessler, Los Angeles Magazine

Kessler talks to survivors of child prostitution, as well as law enforcement officers, judges, politicians, and advocates working to prevent the sex trafficking of minors.

6. The Evans Family Is Living in This World

Linda Vaccariello, Cincinnati Magazine

A community comes together to help a family after a tragedy:

“The reality hit me like nothing I’d ever experienced,” McDonald says. “She had no one. I couldn’t imagine what that was like.” McDonald went to Ao, threw her arm around the sobbing woman’s shoulders, and said, “We’ll help you.”

7. The Plunge

Carl Schreck, Grantland

The story of Shavarsh Karapetyan, a Soviet swimming champion who dove into Armenia’s Lake Yerevan and saved dozens of lives from a sinking trolleybus.

8. How Pixar’s Gurus Brought the Magic Back to Disney Animation

Caitlin Roper, Wired

A profile of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, whose intense focus on storytelling helped revive Disney’s animation studio with hits like Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph.

9. ‘I Am Darren Wilson’: St. Louis and the Geography of Fear

Sarah Kendzior & Umar Lee, Quartz

St. Louis is a city long on the run from itself. White flight has spread from suburbia to exurbia, while decades of black demands — for better jobs, better schools, better treatment—go unheeded. This is a region deprived of resources, forcing residents to scrounge for more fertile terrain.

10. Stephen Powers Puts the Writing on the Wall

Neima Jahromi, Bklynr

From the magazine Bklynr, a profile of the street artist behind some of Brooklyn’s most recognizable murals.

Photo: dystopos, Flickr


Filed under: Community, Reading, WordPress, WordPress.com

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20. TIGER BOY Final Cover

I'm delighted to share the final cover art for my forthcoming novel for upper elementary readers, TIGER BOY, coming 4/14/15 from Charlesbridge, illustrated by the amazing Jamie Hogan.


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21. Call for Historical Crime and Mystery Fiction Submissions for Anthology: Darkhouse Books

Darkhouse Books seeks stories for an anthology of historical crime and mystery fiction. For the purpose of this anthology we are defining historical fiction as, those works set more than a few decades prior to the present and written by someone without direct experience in the setting and events of the story. But should a truly superb story happen to stray from the above strictures and cross our threshold, we would happily consider it.

The submission period is now open and will remain open through 11:59pm (PST), December 31st, 2014.


We are seeking stories in the 2500 to 7500 word range, though if it’s knockout material, we’ll consider any length.

 
The anthology will contain between twelve and twenty stories, depending on the overall length. Authors will share equally fifty percent of royalties received.

 
We accept MS Word .doc and .docx files. Submissions must be in standard manuscript format. Previously published work will be considered, provided the author has the power to grant us the right to publish in ebook, audio, and print versions, and that it has not been available elsewhere more recently than January 1st, 2014.


Submissions may be sent to:

submissionsATdarkhousebooksDOTcom Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Please leave “Submission-“ in the subject line and add the name of your story.


Now available "The Anthology of Cozy-Noir"!

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22. Honored

to have been included in Kortney’s “Women Who Inspire” series at One Deep Drawer. So kind!

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23. Call for Submissions of Experimental Writing: Best American Experimental Writing 2015

Best American Experimental Writing 2015, to be published by Wesleyan University Press next fall, is now accepting unsolicited submissions. Fully 20% of the 2015 anthology will comprise unsolicited works selected blind by the series co-editors, Jesse Damiani and Seth Abramson, and this year's guest editor, Douglas Kearney. 

Interested poets and writers can read the guidelines and access Wesleyan's Submittable page here

The deadline for submissions is November 1st. We look forward to reading your work!

Jesse Damiani
Seth Abramson
Series Co-Editors, Best American Experimental Writing


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24. The Soccer Players

With Henry in my arms, we watched
The soccer players kick.
He laughed at every move they made -
Deliberate or quick.

He couldn't understand, of course,
(He's thirteen months  of age)
So what got to his funny bone
Is really hard to gauge.

What seems to me quite ordinary,
Filtered through his eyes,
Becomes a new adventure
Filled with magic and surprise.

So as we watched, his all-out giggles
Filled me with delight.
The time I spend with Henry
Makes the world seem fresh and bright.

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25. Poetry Competition: ARTlines2, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Writers are invited to submit original poems inspired by five works of art linked to this website and on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH).

Entry guidelines.


This competition accepts poems in two separate age categories: adult (age 20+) and teens (age 13-19). The deadline for entries is midnight November 30, 2014.

 
Five independent judges – Robert Pinsky, David M. Parsons, Patricia Smith, Mary Szybist, and Roberto Tejada – will each select a winner and 7 seven finalists for one of the artworks, totaling five adult winners and thirty-five adult finalists. Writers In The Schools/WITS will judge our free teen competition and select five teen winners.


Please read the Guidelines and other information on this site before submitting your poems. All teens should read the Teen page for separate guidelines.

On April 23, 2015, in celebration of National Poetry Month, a free public program at the Museum will feature ARTlines2 winners in both age categories, as well as comments about each work of art by an art historian.


Poems by all Winners and Finalist will be published with the accompanying artworks in an ekphrastic poetry anthology for ARTlines2 


EKPHRASTIC POETRY may include literal descriptions of a work of art, the poet´s mood in response to a work of art, metaphorical associations inspired by a work of art, or personal memories about a work of art.
ARTlines2 is a national competition organized by Public Poetry in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH).


Eligibility: Adults (20+) and teens (13-19).
Deadline: November 30, 2014

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