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1. Draw Tip Tuesday - Background Pattern

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

What do you do when you think your drawing is missing something? Give it a little extra attention and perk it up with a colorful background!

I hope this video inspires you to make awesome art. If you want more inspiration, go to my website, koosjekoene.nl and sign up for one of my classes today!

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2. Beastly Verse

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

by JooHee Yoon (Enchanted Lion, 2015)

Beastly Verse by JooHee YoonBeastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge)

This book is something. A mashup of poetry and pictures, washes of color and words.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge; this is an example of a spread that folds out to reveal an entirely new and more expansive illustration.)

Some thoughts from JooHee on the art and creation of Beastly Verse:

I wanted to create a book that not only tells wonderful stories, but one that is beautiful to behold. For me, the design of the book is just as important as its content; they are inseparably linked. I believe all elements of a book–its paper, binding, size and weight–create an atmosphere that plays an important role in the experience of reading.

The printing process fascinates me. Not only traditional printmaking, but also industrial processes as well, since these are just a further development of the old printmaking techniques. I have always been drawn to printmaking, and rather than mixing colors on a palette and putting them on paper, I enjoy working with flat color layers overlapping one another to create the secondary colors. My experience with printmaking informs almost all of my artwork today. I wanted to take advantage of the industrial printing process so the printer is not just reproducing the image I make, but in a sense creating the image itself.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

This book has been printed using just three colors. The areas where the main colors overlap create secondary colors, resulting in a book that seems very colorful even though only a limited palette was used. Seen alone, each layer is a meaningless collection of shapes, but when overlapped, these sets of shapes are magically transformed into the intended image. To me the process of creating these images is like doing a puzzle, figuring out what color goes where to make a readable image.

I am very inspired by books from the early 1900s – 1950, when artists were forced to work with spot colors since reproduction methods weren’t as developed as they are today. It is amazing what some artists could do with just two or three colors, and this is exactly the same process I am using, but one from choice rather than necessity. There is a luminous brilliant quality to the colors when images are reproduced this way that I love.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge; this is an example of a spread that folds out to reveal an entirely new and more expansive illustration.)

It’s fascinating to pull the curtains back on an illustrator’s process, and I’m thankful to JooHee for her words here. Her explanation of something so simple, so exquisite, and so complex is as brilliant as those colors she creates.

And the book itself is definitely a work of art. Uncoated, thick pages. Slightly oversized. There’s a non-uniform feeling to the ends that isn’t quite a deckled edge, but a bit more raw and tactile. Hand-crafted almost.

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

(click to enlarge)

Beastly Verse’s dedication reads simply, For the Reader.

Here, the reader is also the design enthusiast, the art collector, and the wordsmith. A book for book lovers.

ch

 

Huge thanks to Claudia Bedrick at Enchanted Lion for the images in this post. 

 

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3. Edwards Award: Criteria

And a little more about the Edwards Award, from the YALSA website.

Last time, the definitions pretty much set what authors are books are eligible. But what is the criteria to make a selection?



Criteria

The committee making its selection of nominees must be aware of the entire range of books for young adults and will take into account the following:

Does the book(s) help adolescents to become aware of themselves and to answer their questions about their role and importance in relationships, society and in the world?

Is the book(s) of acceptable literary quality?

Does the book(s) satisfy the curiosity of young adults and yet help them thoughtfully to build a philosophy of life?

Is the book(s) currently popular with a wide range of young adults in many different parts of the country?

Do the book(s) serve as a "window to the world" for young adults?


Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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4. Critiques 4 U, April Edition

tulips-52125_1280

Spring!

Can you believe that it’s April already? Seems like we were just setting resolutions, breaking resolutions, and racing out for last-minute Valentine’s Day presents. Time surely does fly, because here we are at the tail end of April, giving away 3 more first page critiques.

If you’re working on a first page and would like some objective feedback, leave a comment that includes: 

1) your email address

2) your story’s genre (no erotica, please)

3) the intended audience

ONLY ENTRIES THAT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED. 

Psssst! Last month, one of the winners didn’t leave an email address and I had to pick an alternative. Please don’t forget all the important info :).

3 commenters’ names will be drawn and posted tomorrow. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll offer my feedback. Best of luck!

photo credit: Pixabay

The post Critiques 4 U, April Edition appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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5. Interview and Giveaway: Sugar on Top by Marina Adair

Please give a warm welcome to Marina Adair this morning!  She stopped by the virtual offices to answer a few quick questions, and she brought a giveaway for you to enter!

What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

A book.

Name three things on your desk right now.

Since I write in bed, it is my cat Suki, my other cat Awesome Bob, and a bag of powdered sugar mini-doughnuts.

What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

The previously mentioned powdered sugar mini-doughnuts. Yum!

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

A zoo keeper. I would want full access to go and visit all of the animals.

You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

Zoolingualism. I would spend the entire week trying to figure out why my cat Suki likes to sleep in my dirty clothes and what Awesome Bob is thinking when he eats the fern, even though he knows the fern makes him sick. I imagine the conversation would go a lot like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsXUoOIhkfQ

SUGAR ON TOP by Marina Adair (April 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia Book #2)

She’s sassy and sweet

The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn’t commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she’s alive.
He’s ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can’t take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can’t deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .

Buy Links:

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

GooglePlay

Kobo

BAM

About the author:

Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series, she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her atwww.MarinaAdair.com.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Excerpt:
Glory walked to the door and peeked out the peephole, doing some panting of her own when she recognized Cal’s sexy blue eyes peeking back.

She knew the minute he realized she was on the other side of the door because he smiled and took a step back, as though waiting for her to just open up her door and welcome him inside.

“I know that you know it’s me, Boots, so open up.”

Oh, she knew it was him all right. Her nipples told her that the second he’d knocked. Plus she could smell the testosterone through the door, and his soap, which from the looks of it he’d showered, too. Although, she thought bitterly, he’d put on a fresh pair of jeans and an untucked gray button-up, not a pair of shorts with dancing pigs on them and a tank that said RESIDENT BED HOG across the chest.

“Or I can go get my tools from the truck—your call.”

And since the thought of Cal with tools made her hot, she opened the door—wide enough to see his face.

“What do you want?” she asked, more than aware that she hadn’t put her bra back on after her shower.

“Our date wasn’t over.”

Time to be firm. “I had a fun time, I’d love to do it again, but like I already told you, panties are a strict date five topic.”

“You said date four if they’re special.”

She had said that, damn it.

He pushed the door open a tad and his eyes dropped to her pajamas. He grinned. “And, Boots, those shorts don’t leave much room for imagination.” He pushed the door open wider and leaned in. “Or panties.”

He was right. She was commando under there. Not that she’d confirm his suspicions or even had time to. Before she knew what was happening, Cal took her hand in his and led her down the stairs toward his truck—and the already opened passenger door.

She stopped at the bottom step. “I’m not wearing shoes and I’m in my pajamas.”

“Which answers the question of what you sleep in. Although, I have to admit, I took you for more of an in-the-buff girl.” She felt her cheeks heat but played it cool. “Ah, good to know.”

Okay, maybe not so cool.

Cal slipped his jacket over her shoulders, then turned around to offer her his back. “Pajama issue solved. Now climb on.”

Knowing that he wasn’t going to let her be until she did as he asked, at least that was the lie she told herself, she wrapped her arms around his neck and legs around his middle—which only managed to smash her front deliciously against his broad, muscular back.

He walked her over to his truck, sat her on the seat, and shut her door, not saying a word until he was in the driver’s seat with his door shut.

He didn’t start the engine, didn’t explain what he was doing, just turned to her and smiled. “I had a great time tonight, which after my day seemed impossible. But you made it fun, made it easy to talk about Payton, and just . . . easy. With you, tonight, it all seemed so easy, so thank you.”

And wasn’t that the most romantic thing anyone had ever said to her. “I had a great time, too.”

“Good.” His smile was back and he got out of the truck, walked around, and opened her door.

Glory rolled her eyes, but inside she was melting. “What are you doing?”

“Walking my date to her doorstep.” He looked at her bare feet and waggled a brow. “Or carrying.”

“That’s okay, I can walk.” But one hand was already around her back, the other firmly planted on her butt, and he was scooping her out of the truck, not putting her down until he was up the stairs and at her door.

Hands shoved in his pockets, he leaned against the rail. She opened her mouth to speak when he said, “Hang on.” He reached out and closed her front door. “There. Now, you were saying.”

“Just, thank you,” she whispered and neither of them moved, neither of them spoke. It was as though time hung, and in that one moment nothing else mattered. Only the two of them and this insane connection.

His eyes dropped and he cleared his throat. That’s when she realized he was waiting for his jacket.

“Oh, right. Sorry.” She started to take it off when he gripped the collar and tugged her to him.

“I don’t care about the jacket, I’ll get it next time.”

Her knees wobbled at the idea that he wanted a next time.

Oh my God, Charlotte was right, she had it bad. Glory was a certified McGraw addict; she had every last symptom, even down to wanting their next time to be now.

Cal must have been suffering from the same affliction, because he tilted his head and delivered a gentle kiss that seemed to last for hours. Languid and soft and with deliberate control, the man kissed her as if there was nowhere else he’d rather be. This wasn’t a race or a sprint to the bed; to him, kissing was his way of connecting, sharing.

By the time they came up for air, Glory’s bones had turned to mush and her entire world had shifted because Cal wasn’t just special, he was perfect.

Then he did the one thing that could have made her fall, had her opening herself up to all the what-ifs and going all in. Cal gave her one last kiss on the cheek and made his way down the stairs, giving her what she wanted, time to prove he was serious, that she was worth waiting for, worth fighting for.

Only every step he took caused her chest to coil tighter and tighter until it hurt to breathe.

One date. A hundred. It didn’t matter. This was Cal. He was one of the good ones. He’d come all this way, in the middle of the night, to escort her to the door, and there she was, watching him walk away, wondering if she’d get another chance.

The least she could do was invite him inside and offer him a cold beverage.

He was rounding the truck when her feet finally got the message from her brain, and she took off down the steps, not stopping until she was standing in front of him. “Don’t go.”

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6. PO-EMotion -- Optimism




PLANTING BULBS IN THE FALL

It will matter
that I gave them
time 
and 
choice.

It will matter
that they read
widely,
deeply,
voraciously.

It will matter 
that we were family --
accepting
and
respectful.

It will matter
in a someday spring
when they
truly
bloom.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015







Carol, at Carol's Corner, will join me again this year as often as possible.


Kimberly, at iWrite in Maine, is joining me this month. 
Kay, at A Journey Through the Pages, is joining, too!


Steve, at inside the dog, is sharing his poems 
in the comments at Poetrepository.


Heidi, at my juicy little universe, will join us when she can.

Linda, at TeacherDance, will join as often as she can.
Check the comments at A Year of Reading or Poetrepository for her poems.

Kevin (Kevin's Meandering Mind) is back this year,
leaving poetry trax in the comments.

Carol, at Beyond Literacy Link, is writing alongside us when she can.
"Optimism"

Jone, at DeoWriter, is doing a "double L" challenge. 
She and I are cross-poLLinating our challenges whenever possible.


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7. X is for Xenophilia ~ A to Z 2015 Challenge







X is for Xenophilia

Definition...

noun

1.an attraction to foreign peoples, cultures, or customs.

In researching what I would blog about for the letter "X" for the A to Z Challenge I discovered this wonderful website with inspiring words from A to Z. Talk about synchronicity! How cool is that! Check it out...

http://positivewordsresearch.com/list-of-positive-words/

That's when I discovered the word, Xenophilia.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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8. Peter Stamm Q & A

       At the PEN Atlas Tasja Dorkofikis has a Q & A with All Days are Night-author Peter Stamm
       Among the points of interest: with Michael Hofmann (not 'Michael Hoffman', as the post has it ...) having translated all his available-in-English titles, Stamm notes: "Michael asks very few questions. (...) Other translators ask me more questions."

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9. BEA for aspiring writers


I'm an aspiring novelist and an assistant editor for a travel book company. I'm going to BEA for the first time this year and I'm a little overwhelmed by the schedule. Do you have any recommendations of the best ways to spend my first BEA, given that I am trying to get published/get an agent within the next few years (knock on wood)? 

Yes. Don't go.

Unless your job for the travel book company requires you to attend, you're better off not going. If your job
does require you to attend, focus on what you need to do for your job. At your first BEA that will be more than enough to keep you busy.

BEA is NOT a place for writers to meet agents or try to get info on getting published.  Yes, I'll be there. So will everyone from my office. I'm not there to meet you. I'm there to see what publishers are doing. I'm there to meet with my co-agents from far flung lands.  I'm there to get a sense of the sea changes in the industry.  


The people who staff the booths of the publishers are most often NOT the editors who acquire manuscripts either. They're the sales people, the marketing folks, the publicity team.  They're there to talk to book buyers from bookstores, librarians, wholesalers and overseas publishers.  


Every single person working a booth at BEA has a horror story of some deluded author trying to press a manuscript on them, or asking who to send the manuscript to. Don't be that author, please.


And just in case you're absolutely sure you're the exception to this rule, here's a little known fact that should seal the deal: often times the people in the booth wear the wrong name on their badge because they share badges.  You think you're talking to a marketing person, it's really an intern brought in to help pack up boxes or hand out ARCs.


I know many authors who've gone to BEA and the most common response has been "I had no idea there were this many books." In other words, it's a daunting place to be particularly when you don't have an agent, let alone a book deal.


You want to go to WRITER'S CONFERENCES, not trade shows.  Go where agents ARE actively looking to talk to you.



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10. Book of the Day-The Autobiography of an Infant by Jeffrey Von Glahn



The Autobiography Of An Infant by Jeffrey Von Glahn 
Author's Note:
My experience as Jessica’s therapist (Jessica: The autobiography of an infanthttp://www.amazon.com/Jessica-autobiography-Jeffrey-Von-Glahn/dp/0595364292 ) was, overall, a totally mesmerizing experience, and one that I would without a second’s hesitation do again even though it occupied untold hours, as well as many years of my life if one includes writing the book, which took about 20 years. What I was most struck by, and what made the most lasting impression on me, was how Jessica’s infant mind compared to my adult mind, and with all the other so-called developed minds I had come to know. As Jessica described more and more of her very early experiences, and in such minute detail, I became more and more envious at how her mind operated during those earliest days of her life. She was so curious, so interested, so fascinated, so eager, and so sensitive to what was happening around her. She was so eager to be a part of that “big, working thing.”

Summary:
Jessica had always been haunted by the fear that the unthinkable had happened when she had been “made-up.” For as far back as she could remember, she had no sense of a Self. Her mother thought of her as the “perfect infant” because “she never wanted anything and she never needed anything.” As a child, just thinking of saying “I need” or “I want” left her feeling like an empty shell and that her mind was about to spin out of control. Terrified of who––or what––she was, she lived in constant dread over being found guilty of impersonating a human being.

Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D., an experienced therapist with an unshakable belief in the healing powers of the human spirit, and Jessica blaze a trail into this unexplored territory. As if she has, in fact, become an infant again, Jessica remembers in extraordinary detail events from the earliest days of her life––events that threatened to twist her embryonic humanness from its natural course of development. Her recollections are like listening to an infant who could talk describe every psychologically dramatic moment of its life as it was happening.
When Dr. Von Glahn met Jessica, she was 23. Everyone regarded her as a responsible, caring person – except that she never drove and she stayed at her mother’s when her husband worked nights. 

For many months, Jessica’s therapy was stuck in an impasse. Dr. Von Glahn had absolutely no idea that she was so terrified over simply talking about herself. In hopes of breakthrough, she boldly asked for four hours of therapy a day, for three days a week, for six weeks. The mystery that was Jessica cracked open in dramatic fashion, and in a way that Dr. Von Glahn could never have imagined. Then she asked for four days a week – and for however long it took. In the following months, her electrifying journey into her mystifying past brought her ever closer to a final confrontation with the events that had threatened to forever strip her of her basic humanness.

Jeffrey Von Glahn
*Twitter:  @JeffreyVonGlahn

A Short Excerpt:

Until I watched Jessica (Jessica: The autobiography of an infant) remember her birth, I was as much of a non-believer as everyone else. It just didn’t seem humanly possible. To be convinced that it is, you either have to experience it yourself or watch someone you know do so.
Jessica’s remembrance of her birth began just like the others, with her talking about an upsetting feeling she found herself experiencing at the moment and not, at least at first, related to any memory.
Her immediate feeling on this day was “Something feels real dead and unimportant in me.” Her confident expression intimated that more would quickly follow. However, for the next 30 or so seconds she just stared over my shoulder at the window behind me.
Since Jessica had already remembered a few infant experiences in the past month or two, I thought that a direct “When did you first feel dead?’ was worth a try.
She had an immediate reply, and in the same confident tone: “I’ve always felt dead.” This was followed a few moments later by, “I was thinking about that earlier.”
“I remember ‘thinking’ before I was born about everything that was going to happen. I was going to be born so that somebody could love and touch me, so I could be enough, so I could be a part of a big, working thing, and I could have an effect on the world.”
I was mesmerized. I stayed in that state for the next 45 minutes, without saying a word the whole time.
Jessica went on to explain that the first few minutes of her actually being in the world had been so hectic that a part of her must have gotten “screwed up within minutes.”
When the top of her head appeared, she was pushed back in, turned over, and hurriedly pulled out – and with everyone totally unaware that she was trying to do her part in getting herself born.
While all this was going on, her mother was screaming over her body tearing and blood squirting about. The doctor barked urgent commands and all on the medical team scurried about.
The nurses handled her body like a rag doll and they joked with each other while they absentmindedly cleaned her up. And most importantly, no one looked directly into her eyes and welcomed her into the world.
Throughout all this, Jessica’s voice was vibrant and her words electrifying. Her face, her posture, her tone of voice radiated whatever emotion she was experiencing – excitement, hope, indignation, disappointment, joy, and even at one point, laughter.
At the end, she reflected on all she had remembered: “If visitors came to this planet, they’d leave and wonder how we got to be human beings. That’s exactly what I ‘thought’ when I first got here. How did anyone survive? I didn’t know how I’d survive. They were all screwy! That’s why you look so good. Because you’re not as screwy!”

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11. Producing music


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12. Leg over Leg as/is a novel ?

       At her Arabic Literature (in English) weblog M. Lynx Qualey reports on a recent Library of Arabic Literature workshop in Oxford where they discussed What Does it Matter if Leg Over Leg is the 'First Arabic Novel' ?
       That would be Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq's Leg Over Leg, in the wonderful Library of Arabic Literature edition of Humphrey Davies' translation -- now available in paperback ! -- the first two volumes of which are under review at the complete review, here and here.
       An interesting discussion -- but I too don't know that it's particularly important to consider/hail any particular book as 'first' in its category -- though, of course, literary scholars enjoy that sort of thing.
       Whatever you want to consider it, it's a hell of a book -- and a hell of an historically important one, too.

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13. SURTEX 2015 - jillian phillips

These beautiful flyers are by fab UK designer Jillian Phillips. Jillian is well known to P&P readers for her work at Paperchase and for the last few years Jillian has been represented at Surtex on the Lilla Rogers stand - but for 2015 she will be showcasing her latest designs through her friends at The Lemon Ribbon Studio in booth 717.

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14. Article- Terror Earth quake

भूकम्प… तबाही … और अब अफवाहे… हे भगवान !!! मणि तो बता रही थी कि उसे अब भूकम्प के ही सपने आते हैं और जब आखं खुलती है तो बहुत राहत मिलती है कि शुक्र है सपना था.. वही एक जानकार जो दिल्ली में हैं वो बहुत धबराए हुए रहते हैं . हर समय खुद को तैयार रखते हैं कि कोई अनहोनी हो तो बाहर भागे … वही मैनें भी कुछ मैसेज वटस अप किए जिसमें कहा गया कि “नासा”की तरफ से है कि भूकम्प फलां टाईम आ सकता है. जबकि बाद मे पता चला कि भूकम्प का पूर्वानुमान नही लगाया जा सकता. वही कल अफवाहों का बाजार गर्म था कि …. !!! खैर आज फिर एक खबर ने चौका दिया कि वो ये आतंकी हमला हो सकता है वो भी ड्रोन के जरिए … हे भगवान !!! प्राकृतिक आपदा से बचा नही जा सकता पर ये आतंकी हमला करने वालो को तो सोचना चाहिए … ईश्वर से डरना चाहिए …

फिलहाल तो आदमी भूकम्प से ही बहुत डरा सहमा सा है

cartoon-Earth quake

The post Article- Terror Earth quake appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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15. BLUEPRINT/SURTEX - pomelo & pomelo

Design studio Pomelo & Pomelo will be attending two shows in New York next month. Their first appearance will be at Blueprint, a fantastic new show where they will be one of only twelve studios in a super intimate setting. The second part of their double feature will be a return to Surtex, where you can find them in booth 447. At both shows Pomelo will be showcasing vibrant, expressive art

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16. Tracey Baptiste and The Story Behind “The Jumbies”

Headshot 1 crop

 

I interviewed Tracey for the Brown Bookshelf in 2012. As she shared Angel’s Grace with me, I quickly became a member of the Tracey admiration club. She writes. She edits. She encourages and she shares her knowledge with young people. Today, Tracey is giving the Brown Bookshelf and its readers the inside scoop on her latest book, The Jumbies. Welcome back, Tracey!

 

As a kid I could not get enough of fairytales. Princes, princesses, helpful fairies, vindictive witches, magical mishaps, and cleverly-hatched plans that led to happy endings were all I dreamt of all day long as I flipped through the pages of my beautifully illustrated Grimm’s fairytales, a book almost too large and heavy for my three year-old hands. But fairytales were something that happened in places far away from my native Trinidad, in lands where children could leave footprints in the snow, and you needed a large red cloak to keep the cold off your back. Besides, none of the characters looked anything like me with their golden hair and pale skin. So I had no hope of being chosen to marry a prince, or encountering a witch with architectural baking skills, or meeting an opinionated fairy (this being the greatest disappointment of all). But on warm island nights when the books were closed, and the ships at port bellowed out mournful horns, the stories were different. They came with warnings from the adults in my life such as “Never answer if you hear your name called at night. That is how the douens will get you,” they said.

The Jumbies

The Jumbies

Then I would listen to stories about how douens roamed naked through the forests of Trinidad with their feet on backwards to fool anyone who might follow them. They were small like children, but with the strength of grown men, and wore cone-shaped hats and not one stitch of other clothes. The douens would learn the names of children so that they could lure them into the forest, where the children would never be heard from again. “Just ask ‘did you call me?’ and wait for us to answer,” the grownups said. If they hadn’t called, I could be sure it was a douen trying to get me, and I would pull the covers more tightly under my chin. But the douens were not the only creatures to be feared at night in Trinidad.

There were also soucouyant, who were old ladies who shed their skin at night, burst into flame and came flying through your window to suck your blood. And there were La Diablesse, who had one regular foot and one cow hoof that they covered under long skirts. The lagahoo was a wolf-man who might help you as often as he might eat you. Papa Bois protected the animals in the forest, and sometimes punished the hunters who were after them. The water was a worry too, with Mama D’Lo, a half-woman, half snake who was as beautiful as she was vindictive. All of these creatures were called jumbies, a group of malevolent creatures who were hell bent on harming or at least tricking any human who dared to cross their path.

Jumbies were fascinating, but they didn’t come in beautifully illustrated books like my Grimm’s. Jumbie stories were very much alive. My uncles might meet a La Diablesse on their walk home at night. The red itchy bites that showed up on my legs in the morning might not be from mosquitoes, they might be from a soucouyant. And always, there was the threat of voices calling at night. I was living my own dangerous fairytale. Every person who encountered a jumbie and lived to tell the tale was brown-skinned like me, some even wore their hair in plaits like mine. But they were never in books. Why didn’t the children who looked like me have their own fairytales? We were just as clever. We had to be just as brave. Our foes were just as treacherous. Didn’t our stories deserve to be written down?

A young Tracey in the days before books had her name emblazoned on them.

A young Tracey in the days before books had her name emblazoned on them.

At the very mature age of three, I declared that I would grow up and be a writer. I would have my own stories with beautiful pictures that I could hold and flip through and read over and over again. I had just learned how to write my name. So the next step, of course, was a book.
Years later, I was in New York, between classes at NYU, and browsing through the shelves at Barnes and Noble when I came across a book of fairytales from around the world. I scanned the table of contents looking for Trinidad. Were there douens in here? Papa Bois? A soucouyant? No. But there was a story called “The Magic Orange Tree” from Haiti. “Close enough,” I thought and I flipped to the page. It was a Cinderella-type story about a clever girl, a magical tree, and an evil stepmother. I knew instantly that I could somehow take this story and make it my own. I would give my three-year-old self the fairytale she had been waiting for. I reread The Magic Orange Tree for years but it was only after my first novel had been published that I started working on the story that would become The Jumbies. Early titles were: The Green Woman, The White Witch, and the Magic Orange Tree; The Orange Tree Girl; and Growing Magic. And jumbies being the tricky, malevolent creatures that they are, didn’t make it easy for me to get them down on the page.

Tracey discussing her writing process with students.

Tracey discussing her writing process with students.

I worked on the story off and on for almost nine years. Over the course of that time, several people in the industry told me to just give up on the story and move on. “Some stories belong in the desk drawer,” one editor said. But there was something about this story that compelled me to keep pulling it out of the drawer even if it had been sitting there for years at a time. It wasn’t working. It was always missing something. But I kept slogging. My three-year-old self, it turns out, is quite the taskmaster. I lost an agent along the way, but found another with the manuscript for this story. Marie Lamba and I worked on it a little longer before she approached just the right editor—Elise Howard—who had also worked on another creepy tale, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. The Jumbies was just her kind of story, and even then there were a few rounds of changes before it was final.

In just a few weeks, the three-year-old me will get the book she has been waiting for. Maybe not beautifully illustrated as she would have liked (though the jacket art is amazing), but this time the book will fit easily in her hands, and the hero will look like her, with plaits falling down her back. There is even a nod to the fairytale stories she used to love, with a little frog providing comic relief. But this story is all Caribbean. All Trini. All sun-kissed brown-skinned, and still, all fairytale.

Tracey and her fans.

Tracey and her fans.

Pronunciation guide:
Douen = dwen
Soucouyant = SOO coo yah
La diablesse = LAH jah bless
Lagahoo = LAH gah hoo
Papa Bois = Papa BWAH
Mama D’lo = Mama Juhlo
Jumbie = JUHM bee

Early reviews for The Jumbies:

“Her fantastic cast of characters and lush, vibrant setting make you feel immersed in her Caribbean island.”
–Valerie R. Lawson’s Blog, Barbies on Fire

“Endlessly addictive and hypnotic.”
–Essence Magazine

“A well-written tale full of action.”
–School Library Journal

“Tracey Baptiste knows just how to seize kids’ attention.”
–Foreword

“It’s refreshing to see a fantasy with its roots outside Europe.”
–Kirkus

About The Jumbies
Caribbean island lore melds with adventure and touches of horror in The Jumbies, a tale about Corinne La Mer, a girl who on All Hallow’s Eve accidentally draws a monstrous jumbie out of the forest, sparking a very personal war that only she can stop – a war made even more difficult once she discovers her own dark truth.

Jumbies (pronounced JUM bees) are trickster creatures from Caribbean stories, like the pint-sized douen with its backward feet, the soucouyant who turns into a ball of flame, or the man/wolf lagahoo.

Can Corinne save herself, her father, her friends, and her entire island from the jumbies? Preorder now to find out!

Indiebound
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Join me for the launch of The Jumbies at
Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ on April 28, 4-6pm
La Casa Azul Bookstore, Harlem, NY on April 30, 6-8pm
Enjoy the trailer!

Tracey is also the author of the young adult novel “Angel’s Grace” which was named one of the 100 best books for reading and sharing by New York City librarians. Tracey is also an editor at Rosen Publishing.

You can find out more about Tracey on her website Tracey Baptiste or by following her on Twitter @TraceyBaptiste, or on Facebook and Instagram at TraceyBaptisteWrites.

The Jumbies will be in stores on April 28th.

Join her for the launch of “The Jumbies” at
Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ on April 28, 4-6pm
La Casa Azul Bookstore, Harlem, NY on April 30, 6-8pm

If you can’t attend the launch, it is available at

AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Indie Bound.

 

 


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17. PEN World Voices Festival countdown

       The PEN World Voices Festival runs 4 to 10 May in New York.
       Lots of worthwhile events -- and note that reservations are advised for even the free ones, so you might want to get on that .....
       Hard to pick and choose from the offerings -- but consider:

       But there's a lot more, too -- check out the full schedule ..... Read the rest of this post

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18. Review of the Day: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

The Jumbies
By Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Young Readers
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616204143
Ages 9-12
On shelves now

“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” So sayeth Leo Tolstoy (at least in theory). Regardless of whether or not it’s actually true, it is fun to slot books into the different categories. And if I were to take Tracey Baptiste’s middle grade novel The Jumbies with the intention of designating it one type of story or another, I think I’d have to go with the latter definition. A stranger comes to town. Not quite true though, is it? For you see, in this particular book the stranger isn’t coming to town so much as infesting it. And does she still count as a stranger when she, technically was there first? It sounds a bit weird to say, “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a creature comes to a village where it is the people who are the strangers” but you could make a case for that being the tale The Jumbies brings to light. Far more than just your average spooky supernatural story, Baptiste uses the underpinnings of a classic folktale to take a closer look at colonization, rebellion, and what it truly takes to share the burden of tolerating the “other”. Plus there are monsters. Gotta love the monsters.

Corinne La Mer isn’t what you might call a superstitious sort. Even when she chases an agouti into a forbidden forest she’s able to justify to herself why it looked as though a pair of yellow eyes followed her out. If she told other people about those eyes they’d say she ran across a jumbie, one of the original spooky denizens of her Caribbean island. Corinne’s a realist, though, so surely there’s another answer. And she probably would have put the whole incident out of her mind anyway, had Severine not appeared in her hut one day. Severine is beautiful and cunning. She’s been alone for a long long time and she’s in the market for a loving family. Trouble is, what Severine wants she usually gets, and Corinne may find that she and her father are getting ensnared in a dangerous creature’s loving control – whether they want to be or not. A tale based loosely on the Haitian folktale “The Magic Orange Tree.”

A bit of LOST, a bit of Beloved, and a bit of The Tempest. That’s the unusual recipe I’d concoct if I were trying to describe this book to adults. If I were trying to describe it to kids, however, I’d have some difficulty. Our nation’s library and bookstore shelves aren’t exactly overflowing with children’s novels set in the Caribbean. Actually, year or so ago I was asked to help co-create a booklist of Caribbean children’s literature with my librarian colleagues. We did pretty well in the picture book department. It was the novels that suffered in comparison. Generally speaking, if you want Caribbean middle grade novels you’d better be a fan of suffering. Whether it’s earthquakes (Serafina’s Promise), escape (Tonight By Sea), or the slave trade (My Name Is Not Angelica) Caribbean children’s literature is rarely a happy affair. And fantasy? I’m not going to say there aren’t any middle grade novels out there that make full and proper use of folklore, but none come immediately to mind. Now Ms. Baptiste debuted a decade ago with Angel’s Grace (called by Horn Book, “a promising first novel” with “An evocative setting and a focused narrative”). In the intervening ten years we hadn’t heard much from her. Fortunately The Jumbies proves she’s most certainly back in the game and with a book that has few comparable peers.

My knowledge of the Caribbean would fit in a teacup best enjoyed by a flea. What I know pretty much comes from the children’s books I read. So I am not qualified to judge The Jumbies on its accuracy to its setting or folkloric roots. When Ms. Baptiste includes what appears to be a family with roots in India in the narrative, I go along with it. Then, when the book isn’t looking, I sneak off to Wikipedia (yes, even librarians use Wikipedia from time to time) and read that “Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonian are nationals of Trinidad and Tobago of India ancestry.” We Americans often walk around with this perception that ours is the only ethnically diverse nation. We have the gall to be surprised when we discover that other nations have multicultural (for lack of a better word) histories of their own. So it is that Corinne befriends Dru, an Indio-Trinidadian with a too large family.

The writing itself makes for a fun read. I wouldn’t label it overly descriptive or lyrical, necessarily, but it gets the job done. Besides, there are little moments in the text that I thought were rather nice. Lines like “Corinne remembered when they had buried her mama in the ground like a seed.” Or, on a creepier note, “A muddy tear spilled onto her cheek, then sprouted legs and crawled down her body.” What I really took to, more than anything else, was the central theme of “us” and “them”. Which is to say, there is no “us” and “them”, really. It’s a relationship. As a local witch says later in the story, “Our kind? What do you know about our kind and their kind, little one? You can’t even tell the difference.” Later she says it once again. “Their kind, your kind, is there a difference?” This is an island where the humans arrives and pushed out the otherworldly natives. When the natives fight back the humans are appalled. And as we read the story, we see that we are the oppressors here, to a very real extent. These jumbies might fight and hit and hurt and steal children, but they have their reasons. Even if we’ve chosen to forget what those might be.

I have a problem. I can’t read books for kids like I used to. Time was, when I first started in this business, that I could read a book like The Jumbies precisely as the author intended. I approached the material with all the wide-eyed wonder of a 10-year-old girl. Then I had to go and give birth and what happens? Suddenly I find that everything’s different and that I’m now reading the books as a parent. Scenes in The Jumbies that wouldn’t have so much as pierced my armor when I was younger now stab me directly through the heart. For example, there is a moment in this book when Dru recounts seeing her friend Allan stolen by the douens. As his mother called his name he turned to her, but his feet faced the other way, walking him into the forest. That just killed me. Kids? They’ll find it nicely creepy, but I don’t know that they’ll not entirely understand the true horror the parents encounter so that later in the book when a peace is to be reached, they have a real and active reason for continuing to pursue war. In this way the book’s final resolution almost feel too easy. You understand that the humans will agree on a peace if only because the jumbies have them outnumbered and outmanned. However, the hate and fear is going to be lingering for a long long time to come. This would be an excellent text to use to teach conflict resolution, come to think of it.

In her Author’s Note at the back of the book, Tracey Baptiste writes, “I grew up reading European fairy tales that were nothing like the Caribbean jumbie stories I listened to on my island of Trinidad. There were no jumbie fairy-tale books, though I wished there were. This story is my attempt at filling that gap in fairy-tale lore.” And fill it she does. Entrancing and engaging, frightening but never slacking, Baptiste enters an all-new folktale adaptation into our regular fantasy lore. Best suited for the kids seeking lore where creatures hide in the shadows of trees, but where they’re unlike any creatures the kids have seen before. Original. Haunting.

On shelves now.

Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Misc: Read several excerpts here.

Video:

And here’s the book trailer for you:

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19. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip



There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 


An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
 

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule
http://www.wattpad.com/story/29486760-irresistible-mistake-new-adult-romantic-suspense


Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 
 

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20. The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one

A peppy beat and bassline. Cowbell. An ecstatic whoop in the background. Make a note, because all these elements now belong to family of Marvin Gaye. Or do they? The recent verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the 'Blurred Lines' case has perplexed followers of the music industry. One might think the ruling was a vindication of the rights of artists, but composers like Bonnie McKee see it differently.

The post The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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22. Five Family Favorites with Margarita Engle, Author of The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist

Margarita Engle, author of The Sky Painter, selected these five family favorite children's books.

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23. The life of Colonel William Eddy

Missionaries and US Marines? It did not seem a natural combination. But while working on a book about American Protestant missionaries and their children I came across a missionary son who became a prominent officer in the USMC and one of the most effective agents of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Col. William Eddy was in charge of the OSS operations in North Africa [...]

The post The life of Colonel William Eddy appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. SURTEX/BLUEPRINT - lucky day

Another exhibitor attending two shows in NYC is the Lucky Day Studio who will be starting their "lucky streak" at at the new BluePrint show on May 14-16 (at the Studio Arte, 256 W37th St), and returning to Surtex in booth 636 in the Atelier side of the show. They will be presenting fresh new collections and one of their fresh faces, new addition Rachel Place, will be in the Lucky Day booth on

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25. The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist, by Margarita Engle | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Sky Painter, by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Aliona Bereghici. Giveaway begins April 28, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 27, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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