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1. The publishing-wait in Iran

       Books in Iran generally aren't officially censored -- publishers are just denied the permission needed to actually publish them. All books need to get official permission, and while permission is sometimes denied outright, usually the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance just makes authors and publishers wait, and wait. and wait.
       How long ? Well, as IBNA reports: Iranian author's 'The Smoke' was released after eight years, as Hossein Sanapour's novel finally got the green light after eight years.
       Mention that: "It was waiting for the issuance of a publication permission in the previous government for some years" suggest perhaps change is in the air -- but things still seem to be moving slowly.

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2. Once upon a time, part 2

There is a quarrel inside me about fairies, and the form of literature their presence helps to define. I have never tried to see a fairy, or at least not since I was five years old. The interest of Casimiro Piccolo reveals how attitudes to folklore belong to their time: he was affected by the scientific inquiry into the paranormal which flourished – in highly intellectual circles – from the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth. But he also presents a test case, I feel, for the questions that hang around fairies and fairy tales in the twenty-first century. What is the point of them? What are the uses of such enchantments today? The absurdity of this form of magical belief (religious miracles are felt to be different, and not only by believers) creates a quarrel inside me, about the worth of this form of literature and entertainment I enjoy so much. In what way am I ‘away with the fairies’, too?

Butterfly fairy
This watercolor is part of the collection owned by the Family Piccolo of Calanovella Foundation, created by Baron Casimiro Piccolo of Calanovell, www.fondazionepiccolo.it. All rights reserved. Used with their permission.

Suspicion now hangs around fairy tales because the kind of supernatural creatures and events they include belong to a belief system nobody subscribes to anymore. Even children, unless very small, are in on the secret that fairyland is a fantasy. In the past, however, allusions to fairies could be dangerous not because belief in them was scorned, but because they were feared: Kirk collected the beliefs of his flock in order to defend them against charges of heterodoxy or witchcraft, and, the same time as Kirk’s ethnographical activities, Charles Perrault published his crucially influential collection (l697), in which he pokes fun, with suave courtly wit, at the dangerousness of witches and witchcraft, ogres and talking animals. Perrault is slippery and ambiguous. His Cinderella is a tale of marvellously efficacious magic, but he ends with a moral: recommending his readers to find themselves well-placed godmothers. Not long before he was writing his fairy tales, France and other places in Europe had seen many people condemned to death on suspicion of using magic. The fairy tale emerges as entertainment in a proto-enlightenment move to show that there is nothing to fear.

The current state of fairy tale – whether metastasized in huge blockbuster films or refreshed and re-invigorated in the fiction of Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme, Margaret Atwood or, most recently, Helen Oyeyemi (Mr Fox, and, this year, Boy Snow Bird) does not invite, let alone compel, belief in its magic elements as from an audience of adepts or faithful. Contemporary readers and audiences, including children over the age of 6, are too savvy about special effects and plot lines and the science/magic overlap to accept supernatural causes behind Angelina Jolie’s soaring in Maleficent or the transmogrifications of the characters. Nor do they, nor do we need to suspend disbelief in the willed way Coleridge described.

Rather the ways of approaching the old material – Blue Beard, The Robber Bridegroom, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White and so on – opens up the stories to new meanings. The familiar narrative becomes the arena for raising questions; the story’s well known features provide a common language for thinking about families and love, childhood and marriage. Fairies and their realm allow thought experiments about alternative arrangements in this world. We are no longer looking for fairies at the bottom of the garden, but seeing through them to glimpse other things. As the little girl realises in The Servant’s Tale by Paula Fox, her grandmother through her stories ‘saw what others couldn’t see, that for her the meaning of one thing could also be the meaning of a greater thing.’ In the past, these other, greater things were most often promises – escape, revenge, recognition, glory – but the trend of fairy tales is turning darker, and many retellings no longer hold out such bright eyed hope.

Featured image credit: Sleeping Beauty, by Viktor M. Vasnetsov. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The post Once upon a time, part 2 appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Banjo Pig on a Wendy's Commercial














Click here to watch the commercial on YouTube.

(Tip of the hat to Andi Butler.)

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4. Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3

Fun Facts and Silly Stories 2 is the second book in this engaging and humorous series.

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5. Short stories from the Danish capital

From the narrow twisting streets of the old town centre to the shady docklands, Copenhagen Tales captures the essence of Copenhagen and its many faces. Through seventeen tales by some of the very best of Denmark’s writers past and present, we travel the length and breadth of the Danish capital examining famous sights from unique perspectives. A guide book usefully informs a new visitor to Copenhagen but these stories allow the reader to experience the city and its history from the inside. Translator Lotte Shankland is a Copenhagener by birth who has lived many years in England. In the videos below she discusses the collection, decribing the richness of Danish literature, as well as the Scandinavian noir genre.

Lotte Shankland on the greater significance of short stories within Denmark:

Lotte Shankland discusses her favourite short story, ‘Nightingale’, by Meir Goldschmidt:

From Hans Christian Andersen to Søren Kierkegaard, Denmark has been home to some of the finest writers in Europe. In the National Museum in Copenhagen you will find stories from as early as 1500 BC, covering myth and magic. A walk through the city will most likely involve an encounter with the emblematic statue of the Little Mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale. The Danes continue to tell great stories, as evidenced by the hugely popular Danish TV series The Killing and the Sweedish co-production The Bridge. Copenhagen Tales offers a way to understand the heart and soul of this diverse city, through the literature and art it has generated.

Featured image credit: Copenhagen, Denmark. Public Domain via Pixabay.

The post Short stories from the Danish capital appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. A Flurry of Worry

There’s a flurry of worry
Just waiting to pounce
And wreak havoc wherever it lands.
You can scurry, but hurry
Or else it will trounce
The composure your body commands.

If it gets you and frets you
You don’t have a choice
But to struggle with staying afloat.
It won’t let you forget you
Relinquished your voice,
Like the mute button on your remote.

So be wary for nary
A day will go by
When some worries won’t show on the scene.
Though they vary, they’re scary.
Please trust me, for I
Am the nerves and anxiety queen!

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7. Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories: The Big One!

A new addition to Ripley’s successful Fun Facts & Silly Stories, The Big One! takes things to the next level.

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8. Karen Akins, author of Loop, on writing during nap time

What is your favorite thing about LOOP?

LOOP is about a twenty-third century time traveler named Bree who meets a boy from the past who is already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets. One of the things I love most about the story is that Finn (the boy) refuses to give up on Bree even when she's almost at the point of giving up on herself. He loves her even when she's unloveable, and that makes it a very hopeful story.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?


I fell asleep while watching my husband play a video game that had all sorts of grappling hooks and explosions. It triggered a vivid, fun, action-filled dream, and right before I woke up, I dreamt the twist that this guy fell in love with a time-traveler's future self. I grabbed a notebook and started scribbling ideas. It was the first time that I'd ever thought, "This could be the one."

How long did you work on the book?

I started writing it in 2010, and approved my first pass pages just a few months ago so...a long time. I wasn't working strictly on LOOP that entire time, though. I was also writing and revising TWIST, its sequel.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Before I had my second child, I would write while my older son was in preschool, usually at a coffee shop or the library. Now that I have two (one of whom is a toddler), I squeeze in writing during naps and after they go to bed. I'm also blessed to have a very supportive husband, so I'm able to get away from the house when I'm on a pressing deadline.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

I know everyone says it, but KEEP WRITING. One of my favorite writing quotes is from C.S. Lewis: 

"What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on."

ABOUT THE BOOK


Loop
by Karen Akins
Hardcover
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 10/21/2014

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


Purchase Loop at Amazon
Purchase Loop at IndieBound
View Loop on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.

Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.

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9. Raluca Cristina Cirti: Dueling Banjo Pigs















Link: Raluca's website.

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10. Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: The Midas Touch

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

THE MIDAS TOUCH

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Keith Cooper @ Creative Commons

Descriptionthe ability to multiply one’s money; having a knack for making money. Most people with this talent have a bent toward the business arena. Many are entrepreneurial by nature and, without any education or formal experience at all, have an inherent knack for understanding the dynamics of finance and are able to apply their knowledge in a way that leads to success.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: being able to quickly and accurately size up an opportunity, seeing opportunity where others see nothing, being good at math

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: disciplined, self-control, shrewd, patient, greedy, risk-taking, ambitious, bold, focused, discerning, persistent, analytical, visionary

Required Resources and Training: Many people with this gift can be found making money at an early age through entrepreneurial enterprises without any resources or training to speak of. As they grow older, they either increase their knowledge through education or experience in the field. They often end up becoming experts in a particular area, be it finance, the stock market, real estate, the fashion industry, etc. They grow and improve (often by making costly mistakes in the beginning) through immersion in their given area.

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: investors, entrepreneurs, business moguls. People with this skill are often portrayed as being greedy and caring first and foremost about money. They’re often perceived as materialistic with a shaky moral code.

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • a situation where the hero is in need of money
  • if someone needs to disappear or start a new life but needs to be able to support himself
  • to support the lifestyle one has become accustomed to living
  • when a large sum of money is needed to back a cause or organization

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.

The post Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: The Midas Touch appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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11. PiBoIdMo 2014 Registration: Sign-up Here!

 

Registration for PiBoIdMo 2014 is open! Let’s go!!!

openreg

But wait!

First, let’s review our guest blogger line-up, shall we?

piboidmo2014calendar

wicked

iknowright

These authors, illustrators and picture book professionals will provide daily doses of inspiration to help you along on your 30-day idea journey this November.

And don’t forget—there’s Pre-PiBo beginning tomorrow, to get you organized and ready. And then in early December, there’s Post-PiBo to help your organize and prioritize your ideas.

Participants who register for PiBoIdMo and complete the 30-idea challenge will be eligible for prizes, including signed picture books, original art, critiques, Skype sessions and feedback from one of ten picture book agents. This year’s agents are:

  • Heather Alexander, Pippin Properties
  • Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
  • Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency
  • Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
  • Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
  • Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency
  • Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
  • Jodell Sadler, Sadler Children’s Literary
  • Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
  • Kathleen Rushall, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Plus I still hope to add a few more!

Need more info about PiBoIdMo before you register? Read this.

So are you ready to register? You need to do THREE THINGS:

1piboidmo

This is so you don’t miss any of the daily PiBoIdMo posts. If you already follow another way, via RSS or a blog reader, no need to do it again via email. And if you already follow via email, obviously skip this step.

2piboidmo

Be sure to comment with your FULL NAME in the TEXT of the comment. This is how you will be identified for prizes.

Please, leave ONE COMMENT ONLY on this post.

DO NOT REPLY to other comments.

DO NOT COMMENT AGAIN if you forget to leave your FULL NAME. (I will fix it and/or contact you.)

If your comment DOESN’T APPEAR IMMEDIATELY, it means I have to moderate it. Check back in 24 hours to see if your comment appears. It probably will.

3piboidmo

Here is the badge! Right click to save to your computer and then upload it anywhere you please–Facebook, Twitter, your blog or website, etc.

piboidmo2014officialparticipant

If you do not have a place to display the badge, you can skip this step.

4piboidmo

4. Purchase PiBoIdMo merchandise, like the official journal. All proceeds ($3 per item) benefit RIF, helping to put books into the hands of underprivileged children.

5. Use the #PiBoIdMo hashtag when tweeting about the event….and follow @TaraLazar on Twitter.

6. Join the PiBoIdMo Facebook discussion group. This is a closed group meaning you must request to join and I will approve you. (Note: the name says “2011″ but it is the current group.)

7. Repeat after me:

I do solemnly swear
that I will faithfully execute
the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,
and will, to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into
picture book manuscripts
throughout the year.

 That’s it. You’re golden!

REGISTRATION REMAINS OPEN THROUGH NOVEMBER 7th. You can still follow along if you’re not registered, but remember, those who register and complete the challenge are eligible for PRIZES.

Visit this blog for daily inspiration from the guest bloggers, then keep a journal or computer file of your ideas. There’s no need to post your ideas online or send them to me. KEEP YOUR IDEAS TO YOURSELF! As Sheena Easton croons, they’re “for your eyes only.”

At the end of the month, I’ll ask you to sign the PiBo-Pledge confirming you did create 30 ideas. You’re on the honor system.

Thanks for joining! I hope you enjoy this year’s PiBoIdMo! As always, if you have any suggestions for this event, please contact me at tarawrites (at) yahoo (dot) com or post a question on the PiBoIdMo Facebook group.

I will leave you with a quote that serves as PiBoIdMo’s motto…from Roald Dahl’s THE MINPINS…

roalddahlquotepibo

*Photo credit Alessandro.


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12. Jonathan Franzen Q & A

       In the Indianpolis Star Will Higgins has a Q & A with Jonathan Franzen.
       J-Franz reveal his favorite TV shows, how many bird species he's seen (2,600 worldwide), and the fact that both he and David Foster Wallace have/had a one-handed backhand (increasingly rare at the pro level).

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13. Cinda Chima, author of THE SORCERER HEIR, on learning how to write a novel

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about THE SORCERER HEIR?

The Sorcerer Heir is the final novel in a series of five contemporary fantasies revolving around five magical guilds: Warriors, Wizards, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers. In this novel I was able to clear up the trouble I made for my characters in The Sorcerer Heir as well as giving two deserving minor characters some major stage time. I also got to change up the magical system a little. An appropriate tagline for these last two installments would be: This is what happens when magic goes mutant.

What was your inspiration for writing THE SORCERER HEIR?
1. The prospect of having to give my advance back. 

2. The opportunity to bring closure to a number of characters that readers had bonded with. There's also a strong musical element in these stories: the characters are all magical misfits who formed a band and that pretty much describes my teen life.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
  
Somebody once said that you never learn how to write a novel until it's finished. And then it starts all over with the next one. There's truth in that--it's not like once you get the hang of this thing it's easy. But what you do have is the memory of succeeding at it before. And that's very encouraging.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
  
Writing well is the very best thing you can do to promote your novel. I see too many writers attending sessions on writing a query letter or pitching agents before they have a project completed. Trying to shop a bad book is like trying to roll a boulder uphill--it's a lot of work with very little return. The Sorcerer Heir is my ninth published novel, and I am still learning how to write. 

What are you working on now?
  
I've signed on to write four more fantasy novels set in the Seven Realms, my high fantasy world. I'm revising the first of those, scheduled for release in spring, 2016.

Other resources: I have tips and FAQs for writers on my website at www.cindachima.com; I'm on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CindaWilliamsChima and on Twitter @cindachima


ABOUT THE BOOK


The Sorcerer Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 10/21/2014

The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely.

Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them.

Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.


Praise for The Heir Chronicles:
The Warrior Heir

*"Chima offers a pitch-perfect blend of high fantasy and small-town reality..." -The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

* "Twists and turns abound in this remarkable, nearly flawless debut novel that mixes a young man's coming-of-age with fantasy and adventure." -VOYA (starred review)


The Wizard Heir

* "Chima uses her pen like a wand and crafts a wonderfully rich web of magic, while thankfully leaving some dangling threads for subsequent tales." -VOYA (starred review)

"Chima is a talented storyteller...a strong choice for teens seeking a rousing read." -The Cleveland Plain-Dealer


The Dragon Heir

* "A superlative accomplishment." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Chima spins a finely structured tale that roars to a satisfying conclusion." -School Library Journal


The Enchanter Heir

* "A smoldering story soaked in tears, sweat and blood, constantly threatening to blaze into an inferno. Spellbinding." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Chima continues to excel at building tension and populating her well-told tales with new and returning characters we want to know better." -Booklist

Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at Amazon
Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at IndieBound
View The Sorcerer Heir on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima comes from a long line of fortune-tellers, musicians and spinners of tales. She began writing romance novels in middle school, which were often confiscated by her teachers.

The Warrior Heir was named to Voya’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2005-2006, is a 2006 Booksense Summer Reading Pick, was named to the 2007-2008 Lone Star Reading List, and was a finalist for the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award. Warrior Heir received a starred review in the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books and a “Perfect Ten” (5Q, 5P) in Voya. The Wizard Heir also received a “Perfect Ten” from Voya and appears on Voya's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2007. The Dragon Heir received a starred review in Kirkus, was named to Kirkus's Best YA 2008 list, was a VOYA Perfect Ten, and is a USA Today, Indie Next, and NYT bestseller.

Chima's Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King in October, 2009.It received a starred review in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, was a Voya Perfect Ten and was named to the 2009 Voya Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List. The Exiled Queen followed in September, 2010. It received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Voya Perfect Ten, and a New York Times bestseller. The Gray Wolf Throne follows in September, 2011.

Chima is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the University of Akron. Chima is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She has been a workshop leader, panelist, and speaker at writing conferences, including the Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference, the Western Reserve Writers’ Conference, and the World Fantasy Convention. She frequently speaks to young writers and readers at schools and libraries nationwide.

Chima lives in Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel.

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14. Illustrator Saturday – Anne Wertheim

annepic

Anne attended College of Art in Hamburg, Germany (Fachhochschule fuer Gestaltung), from which she graduated in 1995 with a degree in illustration. Right after earning her degree she moved to Maui/Hawaii. She has been working as a freelance illustrator, painter and designer, working for advertising agencies, design studios and publishers for nearly 20 years in Maui.

She has worked on a variety of projects including product packaging, advertising, publishing, point of purchase displays and animation backgrounds.

Here is Anne explaining her process:

My work process creating one out of 44 cards for the “Oracle Deck of Flowers”.

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Author: Tess Whitehurst

For this oracle card, I am asked to show a heroic woman blowing a horn standing amidst a field of blossoming foxgloves. The title of the card is “Summon your Courage – Foxglove”

porcess1

I start out with a black and white line sketch. To get the pose right, I often use the help of another application: Poser

process2

I work on two monitors. Monitor One is the smallest of the Cintique tablets, monitor two is a 30 “ Dell. On the Dell I have several documents open showing reference images as well as an additional window of the current illustration I am working on. The Cintique will have only my illustration window open as well as show a window with my brush presets and another one for layers.

process2a

While I work I constantly go back and forth between painting on the Cintique and evaluating my illustration on the Dell. The Dell I have color calibrated. I always work in a CMYK color space when working on print projects.

process3a

I do a very quick color sketch. On this card, I feel confident about how I want the colors to be, so I decide not spend too much time on the color sketch.

process4

I desaturate the color sketch to have it in black and white.

process5

I add a muliply layer over my black and white sketch and use a soft brush to paint over it in orange.

process6

I usually start with the background, in this case the sky. I always use textures in my Photoshop brushes. My main brush has a texture, I made myself by applying acrylic gel to a board, painting it black and and dry brushing white over it.

I have a texture library of splatters, ice , fabric, rocks, marble etc. anything that will make a nice texture. While I work I often choose different textures.

For the sky I chose a splatter texture. I put the sky on one layer and the clouds on another. On layer three I have my Poser

figure on layer 4 my sketch. I want to create a dramatic sky, somehow evoking a feeling of fire or a battle far away.

process7

As soon as I have roughed in the sky, I start working on the figure. At this stage I work fairly rough, as I want to paint in all the elements of the illustration before I get into more detail. It is always so tempting to get detailed too soon, only to realize later, that some of the detail does not work with other parts of the illustration.

process8

Next I rough in the foxgloves and start working on her face. Now that all the elements of the illustration are in place it is time to fine tune. I put several layers of paint over the sky. Sometimes lightening the sky up with heavily textured brushes and then toning everything back down by adding a multiply layer and glazing a shade of blue or magenta over the sky.

process9

I am working similarly when working on her clothes and face. Here I just stick to my main texture brush. I lift her left arm a bit, to make the pose a little bit more dynamic and add all the highlights for her clothing and on the flowers.

Almost all elements of the illustration are on different layers. Flowers on one, leaves on another, her legs, her skirt, belts, west etc. Having everything on different layers makes it easier to work and rework each part.

process10

And that is pretty much it!

How long have you lived in Maui?

I moved here in 1995, right after I finished art school in Germany.

Anne_Wertheim__Garter_Snake

snakein the grassAnne-Wertheim

How long have you been illustrating?

I have been illustrating as a professional and full time since 1995, after I got my degree in illustration from the college of art in Hamburg/Germany. But I have been pretty much done some form of art my whole life.

Dutchmedeadly

Did you study art in college? If so, where?

Yes! I went to the “Fachhochschule for Gestaltung” in Hamburg (college of design).

SVJ080

What were you favorite classes in college?

My favorite class in college was “Educational Illustration,” as well as life drawing and painting.

bocat

Did the School help you get work?

They didn’t really help us get work, but found publishers that wanted to work with us, while we were still students.
Our illustration class did several projects for different publishers.
Together with 5 students I illustrated one of my first books for a German publisher (Frankh Kosmos) with the title “Animals at the Coast and the Beach” (�Tiere an Strand und K�ste).
On another assignment we designed and illustrated an exhibition for a marine biology institute.

Gilt-by-Association_Cover

What was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

Right after High School, I interned  for two years in an illustration and design studio. During my internship I was fortunate enough to illustrate some book covers that my boss otherwise would have done himself.

eskimo

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

While still in college, I worked for a big German publisher, doing layout for several magazines as well as teaching computer graphics on the Mac. After I graduated I started my career as a freelance illustrator.

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Do you think the classes you took in college or living in paradise influenced your style?

Neither one and both to a certain extent. It has helped me to have an education in the arts. No doubt, all my art classes in college have given me a strong foundation to work as an illustrator. Nevertheless, I feel life has influenced me the most. Right after college, I felt I needed to learn soooo much more than what they had taught me in college and even now, almost 20 years after I graduated I am still learning with every single project that I take on. I think Maui’s abundance of natural beauty, lushness and bright colors, are in sync with my need for nature, beauty and color in my life and work.

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Do you do a lot of art shows and exhibits? Is that how you got noticed?

No, I don’t do any art shows and exhibits at the moment. After I had my two children in 2001 and 2003, I wanted more freedom in my creative process. So I did a lot of plein air painting. For about three years, I painted mostly on sight in oil all over Maui. I really enjoyed this time. It taught me so much about painting, landscapes, color, light etc. I exhibited and sold my paintings in my husbands gallery close to where we live.

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When did you do your the first illustration for children?

For my thesis in college we had to pick a larger project to illustrate. I decided to write and illustrate a picture book about a family of barn owls. To complete my thesis, I only needed to create the concept and 5 illustrations. I had a lot of fun writing the story and illustrating it. Instead of just the required 5 illustrations, I did all the illustrations for the book. It turned out so well, that the same publisher I worked for before, picked it up and published it the next year.

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When did you decide you wanted to illustrate books?

I never was set on just illustrating books. Right now, I actually prefer shorter projects.

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How did get the contract for the “Food Chain” book series?

I got the contract for the “Food Chain” series, by doing a lot of cold calls and got lucky to give Capstone/Picture Books at the right time when they were looking for somebody to illustrate “Food Chains”.

Anne+2books

 

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Have you worked with educational publishers?

All my children’s books have been geared towards the educational market. I just recently worked for University Press and did some illustrations for a few school books.

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How many children’s books have you illustrated?

If I counted right a total of 10.

christmas-cottage-heaven-and-earth-designs

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own book?

Not at the moment.

bodie-lighthouse

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

I did some illustrations for Highlights and Cricket Magazine.

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racecarcow

Do you have an artist rep.? If so, who? And how did you connect with them?

I am repped by Steve Munro of Munro Campagna in Chicago. When I felt In needed a rep, I looked up all the reps, who represented illustrators that I either admired or where similar in style to me. I then sent out e-mails with samples of my work and Steve took me on.

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What types of things did you do to market your work?

I always think I should be doing more and I definitely could improve a lot in terms of marketing myself. I market myself by showcasing my work in the Workbook, the ISpot, as well as CreativeSource in Canada. I occasionally send out postcards. I used to do email blasts, but have not found that sending mass e-mails produces great results. I am just in the process of redoing my own webpage and am determined, once done to blog about my process on a more regular basis.

dream-gardening-anne-wertheim

What is your favorite medium to use?

These days it is digital.

fairyland

Has that changed over time?

At the beginning of my career I did all my work in acrylics and used a mix of airbrush and acrylic painting. I switched to digital in 2010 and have not regretted it, even though I miss not having originals anymore

stock-of-gold-anne-wertheim

Do you have a studio in your house?

Yes, my studio is in our house.

still life

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

My Cintique tablet.

6_wertheim_apr

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I usually start my workday  between 6 and 7 am. I am an early morning person, which makes communicating with the East Coast a lot easier. I take in between 30 minutes and an hour each day to do things that are not related to doing my craft. Usually these are my least favorite subjects and the ones I procrastinate the most about: marketing, office tasks, writing bills (which actually should be considered fun), blogging and currently it is working on my new webpage (which I actually really do enjoy)
The rest of the day is devoted to working on my illustrations..

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Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Yes! Depending on the project, I might take photos, ask a friend, my children or even a stranger to model for me and /or do a lot  of research on the internet.

angelcow

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

I couldn’t live without it. For my most recent project of illustrating 44 Tarot cards, I must have collected thousands of reference images.

map

What do you tell was your biggest success?

My first Celestial Seasonings illustration is just now gracing one of their new tea boxes: Apple Caramel Dreams.

carmelapple

dog-heaven-with-wings-anne-wertheim

Do you use Photoshop with your illustrations?

Yes. Photoshop is my main application I use when illustrating.

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Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

I started out on an Intuous and upgraded to a Cintique last year.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 7_42_18 AM
Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Next year I want to learn Maya and start getting into 3D.

wine

What are you working on now?

I currently am working on a deck of 44 Tarot or oracle cards. The deck will be called “The Oracle Deck of Flowers”

butterflies

Eclipse1

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

My favorite tool is my Cintique. Before I got it, I never thought it would make such a difference in my work. I was using the Intuous graphic tablet before,which seemed fine to me at that time. But actually drawing on a monitor is such a big improvement. I love it.

lwsm_swamp_5163

Monte's_Garden

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

A good mix of talent coupled with perseverance, stubbornness, and a burning desire to create will help a lot in becoming a successful writer or illustrator.

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Thank you Anne for sharing your journey and process with us. Please let us know all your future successes. We’d love to hear about them and cheer you on. You can visit Anne at: http://www.annewertheim.com

If you have a moment I am sure Anne would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if I don’t always have time to reply. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, demystify, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, Process Tagged: Anne Wertheim, Freelance artist Maui, Oracle Deck of Flowers

1 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Anne Wertheim, last added: 10/25/2014
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15. Spotlight and Giveaway: Court by Cat Patrick

I have enjoyed everything that I’ve read by Cat Patrick, so I was super excited to see that she has a new book coming out. I wanted to share with all of you because I think her writing is awesome…and well, there’s a giveaway you can enter!  So have at it!  Read about Court and then enter away!

 

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Title: Court

Author: Cat Patrick

Date of Publication: October 23rd 2014

  goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47   About Court: For more than 400 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with external struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?  

Amazon

  Q&A with Cat:

-Where did the idea came from?

After writing The Originals, I wanted to write something from multiple character perspectives. Around that time, I was thinking of my home state of Wyoming. A friend had recently driven through, and I thought about how people who aren’t from there don’t really know that much about Wyoming—it could be its own world, hiding secrets. It could be its own kingdom.

-Out of all the 4 perspectives, which is the hardest to write?

Surprisingly, the boys’ voices came easiest. (And there used to be two more!) As for one POV being more difficult than the others, I think the real challenge was developing each voice individually with only a heaping handful of chapters per character.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Any craft grows with practice, and I hope that I’ve become a more controlled writer as I’ve published more books. I’m definitely more of a risk-taker than I was in the beginning, as well.

What 5 things would you like readers to know about you?

That I’m the greatest mommy in the world. (Say my children.) I love, and am inspired by, wind. I can kill it at Dance Central on Xbox. I share a birthday with one of my siblings. I once met Muhammad Ali.  

Excerpt: HAAKON

Before he was the enemy, James Haakon McHale III was just a seventeen-year-old in what most people knew as the state of Wyoming, wishing he was somewhere other than the predawn forest with a rifle in his grip.

“It’s colder than moonlight on a tombstone,” Haakon muttered, blowing on his fist. His thick-soled boots swish-thumped on the hard earth as he skillfully avoided twigs, rocks, and low branches.

Alexander Oxendine—youngest son of the Duke of Wind, wide receiver, video game button masher, and Haakon’s best friend—laughed into his collar. It could’ve been mistaken for a cough.

“It’s colder than a whore’s heart,” Alexander said, his tone cautiously low. They were the youngest members of the hunting party, and were only allowed to take part because of their rank. Haakon could think of a thousand superior privileges.

He glanced around to make sure none of the other men were paying attention—especially his father. Smirking, he said, “Colder than a polar bear’s balls.”

The pair stifled laughter.

“Than a witch’s—”

“Too easy.”

“Colder than a dead woman’s touch,” Alexander said.

Haakon checked again, dialed down his voice even more, and said, “It’s colder than Gwendolyn Rose’s kiss.”

“Quiet!”

It was Haakon’s father: dictator, fun-spoiler, and—regrettably for his son—the tenth ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, also known as the Realm, the monarchy hiding in plain sight in the depths of the Democracy known as the United States of America.

Every schoolchild knew the story. In 1670, after Joseph Dyer’s wife died in the Great Plague in London, he brought his five daughters to what would become the United States one hundred years later, seeking a better life. But it soon became apparent that his family would never thrive under strict Puritan rule in New England–which banned higher education for girls and taught submissiveness above all else, and which centered around extreme religious beliefs that were counter to Dyer’s own.

A friend, John Seymour, who was—controversially—married to a Native woman, suggested that they set out together in search of a new home deep within America’s treacherous unknown. Seymour’s wife had been attacked; her family persecuted. Seymour believed that rather than fighting the Natives, they should live in harmony with them.

Dyer, Seymour, and several other men and their families snuck away. After a long and dangerous journey, together they created their version of paradise: a kingdom that blended the best of England with Native cultures. Dyer was thought of as the Father of the Realm, and Seymour’s Native wife, who ensured their survival through tribal relations, the Mother.

Rather than cause a revolution, the founders decided to keep the kingdom secret. Inside the borders of what they’d eventually stake claim as Wyoming, they’d follow their own rules. Outsiders wouldn’t know they were different because they wouldn’t understand.

Outsiders weren’t to be trusted.

Dyer’s youngest daughter, captivated by the ancient Greek she wouldn’t have been allowed to learn in Puritan society, named the new kingdom Eurus, meaning <em>east wind</em>. She pronounced it “air-us.”

“But the winds here blow from the west,” Haakon had asked his father once—before Dad was King James. That was when it was okay to ask questions. When curiosity wasn’t an imposition.

“That’s right, Haakon,” his father had replied, straw between his teeth. They’d gone on a walk together. The sun was setting on an easy day. His dad had pointed toward the eastern horizon. “The wind here does primarily blow from the west, but our founders blew in from the east. That day, the wind changed directions.”

Haakon frowned away the memory of days never to return, and refocused on the trees. He walked as soundlessly as he could in his camo fleece jacket and vintage Levi’s, his rifle nestled in the crook of his left arm, a round in the chamber. He was on the left edge of the group, three rows behind his father. Evenly spaced gaps between them, the men were like migrating geese, locked in formation.

Geese hunting deer.

“Were you drinking last night?” Haakon’s father had demanded on the way to the meeting point that morning. “Is that why you’re so tired?”

“I’m tired because it’s so early that the birds aren’t even awake yet.”

“Good. Because you know what the consequences will be if you start drinking again.” They’d shared the backseat of the armored SUV; Haakon had done his best to preoccupy himself with his cell phone.

“Yes, sir, I know.”

“You need to turn that thing off before we arrive. And when’s your next haircut? You look slovenly.”

Will you just get off my back. Haakon had thought at the top of his lungs. What he’d said, though, was simply, “Yes, sir.”

There, in the forest, Haakon toyed with the idea of raising his gun and shooting King James square in the back of the head. Right there under his hat, just above the rise of his custom down hunting vest. He could do it. Even with the others present, he knew there’d be no trial, no trip to Corby. But offing his father wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, it would make life a lot worse. Because with his father gone, Haakon would be in charge.

Haakon would become the King of Eurus.

The thought made him want to puke.

 court_teaser1  

 

  About Cat Patrick:

Cat PatrickCat Patrick is an author of books for teens. Her debut novel, FORGOTTEN (available now), is about a girl who can remember the future instead of the past, and was praised by NYT bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher, as a “mindbending,” one-sitting read. The book is being translated into 21 languages and Paramount bought the movie rights, with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld attached to star as the main character, London Lane.

Patrick’s second (unrelated) novel, REVIVED, is about a girl who’s part of a secret government program to test a drug that brings people back from the dead. REVIVED will be available in the US May 2012, and in the UK and Australia Summer 2012.

Patrick lives near Seattle with her husband and twin 3-year-olds, and is afraid of zombies, planes, and zombies on planes.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway      

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Court by Cat Patrick appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16. Do you know about the MAE Award?

Many ALSC Members are also YALSA members. At the request of the Chair of the 2015 MAE Jury Award for Best Literature for Teens, here is information about an Award in which many of you might be interested.

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YALSA members who have run an exceptional reading or literature program in the 12 months leading up to Dec. 1, 2014 are eligible to apply for the 2015 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, which recognizes an outstanding reading or literature program for young adults.

Do you run a spectacular teen book club that engages underserved audiences? Did your summer reading program or literature festival connect teens with literature in an innovative way? Is your Reader’s Advisory always three steps ahead of a trend? Have you connected teens to literature or helped them gain literacy skills via some other exciting means?  Whether the program was large or small, if it was good, you could win $500 for yourself and an additional $500 for your library by applying for this award!  Individual library branches may apply.

The MAE Award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Applications and additional information about the award are available online.  Applications must be submitted online by Dec. 1, 2014. For questions about the award, please contact the jury chair, Tony Carmack (tcarmac@yahoo.com).  The winner will be announced the week of Feb. 9, 2015.

Not a member of YALSA yet? It’s not too late to join so you can be eligible for this award. You can do so by contacting YALSA’s Membership Marketing Specialist, Letitia Smith, at lsmith@ala.org or (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390. Recognize the great work you are doing to bring teens together with literature and apply today!

 

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17. Press Release Fun: Nominate a Literary Landmark

From our good fellow in the field, Rocco Staino:

Hello,

As chair of the ALA/CBC committee I am working with United for Libraries and the Children’s Book Council on an initiative for Children’s Book Week.  It is our hope that during Children’s Book Week in 2015 that with your help United for Libraries can dedicate throughout the country at least 7 Literary Landmarks that are connected with a children’s book or author.

It would be great if you or your state organization would take the lead in nominating a possible Literary Landmark in your State.  You may also want to work with your state’s Center for the Book.

Here are some helpful links that give you more information on Literary Landmarks.

http://www.ala.org/united/products_services/literarylandmarks

Only 33 States have Literary Landmarks.  Check to see if you state has at least one. If it doesn’t this is a great time to get one.

http://www.ala.org/united/products_services/literarylandmarks/landmarksbystate/landmarksbystate

I have worked in having several sites designated as Literary Landmarks.  Most recently we dedicated The Walt Whitman Birthplace a Literary Landmark.  At the event we had a Congressman, State Senators and members of the NYS Assembly including the chair of the Library Committee.  I am happy to say that the Landmark was cosponsored by Suffolk County Library Association, Suffolk School Library Media Association and the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Attached is a photo of the Librarians in attendance.

Feel free to contact me of Sally Gardner Reed or Jillian Kalonick (cc’d in this email)  if you have any questions.

Best,
Rocco Staino
Chair
ALA/CBC Committee
@roccoa

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18. Developing your writing style

Tips on developing your writing style

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19. Foreign children's classics in the Soviet Union

       At Russia Beyond the Headlines Alena Tveritina reports that: 'In Soviet children's literature, retellings and altered versions of foreign classics captivated society far more than translations -- so much so that some classic characters were completely russified', in How Dr. Dolittle became Dr. Aybolit.
       So, for example, Alexander Tolstoy took on Pinocchio -- but:

At first I just wanted to write Collodi's content in Russian, but then I abandoned that idea because it was too boring and bland
       (For what it's worth, his version was phenomenally successful, even for that captive market.)

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20. Sex: How To Utilize It Effectively and What Is Considered "Too Much"?

Question: It's been a long time since I have asked a question, and I have been getting SUCH GREAT advice in the questions that hit my inbox almost daily.

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21. Diverse? More Multicultural Than I Look

My life is busy and FULL!
My many hats include children’s book author & publisher, reading & play advocate, reading activist who is committed to diversity in children’s books. I am also co-founder of a very important event call Multicultural Children’s Book Day (1/27/2015) which is now approaching it’s second year. Co-founder Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom is raising children in a 1/4 Japanese-American, 1/4 Chinese-American and 1/2 Korean American home. At first glance, my multicultural roots are not obvious, but I can assure you they are there.
val2
On any given day, you may hear as many as six different languages spoken in my home.
My life and household has been diverse and multicultural for as long as I can remember. As the daughter of parents who emigrated from Sweden, I have been immersed in Nordic culture since childhood. As a child I attended German/English schools and as an adult I continued learning even more languages for a grand total of six (English, Swedish, French, Arabic, German, Japanese, plus working knowledge in a few others.)
I am also a wife to a Lebanese/Muslim man and am raising Lebanese-American children post 9/11. I may look like an All-American girl, but my multicultural roots run deep and I have been committed to raising my children as global citizens since the day they were born.  As a family we speak Arabic, French, and English in our home and travel often to give our children exposure to people and various cultures on the globe.
Literacy has played a huge roll in my family. We are a family of avid book readers, however it has been very difficult to find books that have characters who are like my children, global citizens with a diverse and varied background.
Other tidbits of information about my life includes the fact that I am passionate about making kid’s books come alive on my website Jump into a Book where we creating moments for adults and children to share together while bringing the books they’re reading to life. I am the author of The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden, The Ultimate Guide To Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and most recently A Year in The Secret Garden. In fact, the hard cover of this book was just delivered this week and to say I am giddy with glee is an understatement! You can view more details about my latest book here and I’d live if you connected with me!
A Year in the Secret garden

The post Diverse? More Multicultural Than I Look appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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22. Mark MacKay: Fall Dueling Banjo Pig


















Link: Mark MacKay's blog.

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23. 50 States Against Bullying: PENNSYLVANIA

As you can guess, I consider 13 to be a very lucky number. So it was of little surprise when a whole lot of awesomeness surrounded my thirteenth stop on the 50 States Against Bullying campaign in Pennsylvania.

It began with some presentations at Sewickley Academy, just outside of Pittsburgh.


If there's one thing I will visually remember from my stops on the East Coast this autumn, it's the stunningly colorful trees everywhere I turn. And I was told this year was unusually lacking in color.


I gave two presentations to the students, and had two more gatherings that were more like free flowing discussions. First I met with student leaders, in groups like ASB and Peer Counseling. We discussed leadership and mentoring, and I had the chance to get into (based on a beautiful question) another aspect of bullying not often considered, yet crucial: forgiveness. Then I met with faculty leaders at the school, which was an opportunity I don't often get. But it was so inspiring!

Then I took a drive through the area for a very personal reason. My mom spent her childhood in the Pittsburgh region. As I drove, memories of black and white photos I've seen, Eastern European characteristics on so many people walking by, and stories I've heard from my mom and my extended family made the entire drive feel so familiar.


I even found the house in West Mifflin where she lived in from grades one through six.


That evening, my friend (and author) Stephen Chbosky took me on another tour of the city, which is where he also spent many important years. He doesn't live here now, but we were both speaking at the same conference this weekend. Stephen, as you should all know, wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and also wrote and directed the movie based on the book. Some pivotal scenes occur while the characters driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. They have special songs they listen to while sitting or standing in the vehicle, which continues as they exit into a beautiful view of the city at night. Stephen drove me through the tunnel a few times. Once, I listened to my Tunnel Song, Larry, by Buffalo Tom. Another time...just the sounds around us.


That was followed by my virgin experience at a Rocky Horror Picture Show production. My experience happened in the same theater where Stephen lost his RHPS virginity, which is also where he shot some scenes for his movie.


This has made him the Patron Saint of the Hollywood Theater!

(That's Stephen in the middle, pulled from his seat
for the wedding photo.
)

Yes, the number 13, and Pennsylvania, has been very good to me.


Thank you, Stephen.

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24. Writing Class: Writing for the Web, West Side (NYC) YMCA Writer's Voice

We have a wonderful new Writing Class at the West Side YMCA’s Writer’s Voice program.

WRITING FOR THE WEB
These days almost everyone’s first destination for reading is the web, but there is a boundless amount of content competing for eyeballs. Whether you’re trying to entertain, make a point, or just update the world on your life, capturing the attention of readers can be a challenge. With a focus on the short essay form, this class will help you develop skills to create concise, informative and compelling writing to send out into the digital world. Maximum enrollment is 15 students. No pre-registration requirement. Open to writers of all levels.

· Stephanie Lehmann

· Thursdays 6:45 – 8:45 PM

· SESSION 6 | 8 weeks, starts October 30

· Fees: $210 Member $350 Non-Member 


Please visit our website for more information about this course and other courses that we offer.


Amanda Selwyn | Director of Community Arts 

West Side YMCA 
5 West 63rd St., New York, NY 10023 
P 212-912-2635
aselwynATymcanycDOTorg
(Change AT to @ and DOT to .) 

To learn about Communty Arts programs and classes, please visit our website.

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25. Scene-itis by Tamsyn Murray

I'm at London Screenwriters' Festival this weekend. One of the things I like best about studying screenwriting is the way it makes me think about book writing. For example, in a session about non-linear stories yesterday, I realised that the next YA book I write will probably start in an unconventional place for a novel. During a panel event about attracting a killer cast to your screenplay, I was reminded by casting director Lucy Bevan that 'What comes from the heart goes to the heart.' Which is a timely reminder to write what you love and not to worry about chasing the market. And during Charlie Brooker's session, I remembered that my primary objective in writing, whatever I'm writing, is to entertain.

My real light bulb moment of the day was at the end, however, in a session with screenwriter David Reynolds (who has worked on the Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, The Emperor's New Groove amongst many many other things). David was talking about collaboration in comedy writing, and the way that writing funny things with someone else can help gauge how good a joke is: if you both laugh, it's a humour litmus test. And he went on to say that when you see the same jokes over and over, they start to appear flat and unfunny. Almost straight away, my light-bulb flashed, because when looking over my first Cassidy Bond book recently (published March 2015), I had a sudden cold uneasiness that the writing was not funny. Worse than that, it was flat and whiny. So when David explained that it was possible to get over-exposed to your own brand of humour, it was as though someone really had switched on a light. Maybe it wasn't that my book was unfunny...

I went and chatted to him afterwards, to thank him for making me feel a little better. I told him I had a book coming out, a book that had taken longer than normal to reach publication stage and that I had been worried about it. He explained that I had the book version scene-it is, something that happens in scriptwriting when you see a scene over and over again until you can't see the merit in it. I said that I was sure my book had been funny once, that I was fairly sure I was still funny occasionally and I walked away feeling better about Cassidy.

So if you find yourself looking at your work with flat disinterested eyes, it doesn't mean you've lost your touch. Maybe you've just got scene-it is.

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