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1. Chain Reaction Challenge

We’ve all seen Rube Goldberg machines: overly complicated machines that use everything from dominoes, to motors, to squirrels in order to complete a simple task. But have you ever thought about hosting a Rube Goldberg competition at your library?

Back in July, I hosted the Chain Reaction Challenge: an event where families were given supplies and two hours to construct a Rube Goldberg machine. I admit that I had my doubts about the program initially – especially since our target age was grades K– 5. However, I found that this is a great family program that emphasizes teamwork, critical thinking, and STEM!
CRC 1Interested in hosting your own Rube Goldberg program? Here are a few components you might consider:

Theme/Objective:

Our theme was Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’, and the objective was to have a golf ball roll from one side of the machine to the other and trigger the next machine (creating the chain reaction). While having a theme is pretty optional, it’s imperative to have an objective so that the teams know what they’re working toward. I felt that the golf balls were an excellent choice for this age group, but there are other objectives you could do, such as:

  • Machines must have dominoes
  • Machines must incorporate gravity in some way
  • Machines must involve matchbox cars
  • Machines must start and end with catapults
  • Machines must start and end with a string being pulled
  • Machines must involve trained squirrels (okay, I’m joking on that one)

Supplies:

While many Rube Goldberg machines require motors and technical aspects, we wanted this to be a simple, age-appropriate program. We told families that they were welcome to bring supplies from home, but we also provided a lot of simple, everyday items:

  • CRC 3Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
  • Small cardboard boxes (such as tissue boxes, frozen dinner boxes, etc.)
  • Lots of duct tape
  • String, yarn, wire, pipe cleaners
  • Legos, tinker toys, blocks
  • Various other toys
  • Things that make noise (bells, chimes, buzzers)
  • Things that roll (cars, cylinders, balls)
  • Wooden dowels
  • Balloons
  • Rulers, crayons, markers, scissors
  • Just about anything you can find

CRC 2

Maker Know-How

I was lucky enough to partner with a local nonprofit organization http://tekventure.org/ that specializes in the maker movement. Therefore, we had engineers on hand to mentor the teams and give them some ideas and suggestions for how to build their machines.

But you do not need engineers to run this program! You can just as easily start the program with a slideshow to demonstrate some simple machines (such as ramps, pendulums, etc.). Or even have handouts with suggestions on it. As a matter of fact, the teams that participated in this program came up with most of the ideas themselves, and many of them had zero maker experience prior to the program!

Awards

We had awards for ten different categories, such as: tallest machine, most colorful, most musical, etc. This worked well for us because we had five teams that participated, so each team was able to get two awards! However, the biggest reward was watching the finished machines run. There was a great sense of accomplishment for both kids and adults to see that they created a simple, working machine.

(all photos courtesy Guest Blogger)

********************************************

Erin WarzalaErin Warzala is a Children’s Librarian at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She is passionate about early literacy, STEM/STEAM programming, books of all genres, and tea.  She blogs somewhat regularly at http://fallingflannelboards.wordpress.com/ and can be followed on Twitter at @fallingflannel.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

 

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2. Life in the Leaky Cauldron! Alert! Alert!

It’s taken years. It’s taken tears. It’s taken a revolution in technology and a new coding system. BUT THE LEAKY CAULDRON IS FIXED. (Or… about 90% fixed.)

Over the past few years, the reason that we haven’t made a lot of updates to the Leaky Cauldron is that it was made, during the last time it was designed, with a coding system that was probably too advanced for us. When it broke down we needed a programmer who not only knew what they were doing but had enough experience in our site to be able to handle it. And as our coders and volunteers grew up and on… we didn’t have it.

SO FINALLY WE HAVE REDONE THE SITE. This is wholly the work of looonnnngtime Leaky hero John Noe, and a bunch of volunteers who we have dubbed Leaky Cauldron Angels. You’ll find them on the staff page, and they are the reason we have been able to get this going again.

Most things are back and going: MyLeaky’s profiles are working, but points will be restored over the coming months (hopefully in time for Sept. 1). You can still comment on each other’s walls. We have a fancy new design. We are no longer celebrating the release of DH1. (Man, we were REALLY looking forward to that movie.) Progress!

If you’re reading this you are likely one of the people who is still with us after all this time. That is incredibly special to us, and we thank you. This is the first and largest step in bringing the Leaky Cauldron back to its former polish. We are gathering more team members very soon, so please keep an eye out on this page for more!

Enjoy a functioning (but of course still leaking…) cauldron! If you find any problems that you’d like to tell us about, please email john@the-leaky-cauldron.org.

Note from John: Hey Leaky peoples! There will be a few obvious formating and missing feature issues that we’ll be ironing out here for the next few days, but do please feel free to leave us comments with suggestions or questions (or go ahead and email if you can’t comment.)

We hope most of you remember your MyLeaky names (or email addresses) used to login – you should be able to reset your passwords no problem. If not, we will be addressing a way to help you with that later this week.

 

Big Thank You’s to the Leaky Angels - Sarah Wilkes and Andrew Hanson - especially for leading the cleanup efforts on our featured content in the Crafts and Essays sections so far!!

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3. South Korea’s Studio MIR Signs Co-Production Deal With DreamWorks

South Korea's Studio MIR, responsible for the animation in "The Legend of Korra" and the fourth season of "The Boondocks," has signed a major deal with DreamWorks Animation to produce four animated series over four years.

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4. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #395: Featuring Bruce Eric Kaplan

Okay, you all. I just gotta write about another Bruce Eric Kaplan picture book, because whenever he writes and illustrates a new one, I’m reminded how wonderfully weird and refreshing they are. I see a lot of picture books on a regular basis, you see, and some of them start to blur together in my vision, but when one of his shows up, I know I’m likely in for a laugh.

Let me back up first. Kaplan is a cartoonist, whose work regularly appears in the The New Yorker, and since he’s known for his darker humor, his picture books have a touch of that as well (which means, of course, I’m going to be drawn to them). Dark humor in picture books is an easy thing to get wrong, though, yet Kaplan hasn’t made a misstep yet. At least, not in my book anyway. His debut picture book was 2010′s Monsters Eat Whiny Children, featured here at 7-Imp, and this was followed last year by Cousin Irv from Mars, which I wrote about here at Kirkus (and followed up here with art).

The new one, Meaniehead, came out in June (Simon & Schuster) and features more of his dark, hyperbolic humor and wry (and wise) observations on childhood. Henry and Eve are siblings who are experiencing an ugly new phase (as you can see above), involving lots of arguing. One day, an argument over an action figure (“There’s nothing sillier than fighting about what belongs to whom, but no kids and even fewer adults know that”) leads to a broken lamp, a wrecked bedroom, and the destruction of the house, the neighborhood, the local toy store, the library, the pizza place, the beauty parlor, the park, and all the town’s buildings, really. After a snack break, the intensive arguing continues until … well, I can’t give it all away, but some Texas football teams get involved …


… and in the end the world explodes.

That’s a Bruce Eric Kaplan book for you. Though you can never expect a moral with his books (thank goodness), there is some remorse, post-apocalypse. Best of all, he seems to really get those intense childhood fights. (My late brother and I grew up to be the best of friends, but boy howdy did we have some doozies when we were younger. I remember an argument over macaroni that is best not discussed.)

MEANIEHEAD. Copyright © 2014 by Bruce Eric Kaplan. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster, New York.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) I might have to listen to this great conversation with poet Marie Howe multiple times. This is excellent on so many levels.

2) I took my girls this weekend to this Coretta Scott King event at the Nashville Public Library, and they got to take writing and art workshops — and I finally got to meet in person R. Gregory Christie.

3) Reading about this smart idea (putting a social worker on staff at a D.C. library to work with homeless patrons) led me to this podcast. It’s from the Dallas Public Library; it’s about homelessness; and it’s hosted by a young man who is himself homeless. I’m on episode three at this point; so far, it’s interesting stuff.

4) It’s lovely to see Dolly Parton’s book program (which is FABULOUS) get some national love and attention.

5) I got a good stack of new novels at the bookstore today. On that note …

6) Bubble bath. Reading. Bye! (Sorry to kick #7.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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5. Fiction Competition: The Iowa Short Fiction Award and John Simmons Short Fiction Award

The Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award 

Eligibility

Any writer who has not previously published a volume of prose fiction is eligible to enter the competition. Previously entered manuscripts that have been revised may be resubmitted. Writers are still eligible if they have published a volume of poetry or any work in a language other than English or if they have self-published a work in a small print run. Writers are still eligible if they are living abroad or are non-US citizens writing in English. Current University of Iowa students are not eligible.
Manuscript

The manuscript must be a collection of short stories in English of at least 150 word-processed, double-spaced pages. We do not accept e-mail submissions. The manuscript may include a cover page, contents page, etc., but these are not required. The author's name can be on every page but this is not required. Stories previously published in periodicals are eligible for inclusion. There is no reading fee; please do not send cash, checks, or money orders. Reasonable care is taken, but we are not responsible for manuscripts lost in the mail or for the return of those not accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We assume the author retains a copy of the manuscript.


Publication

Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press's standard contract.


Submission

Manuscripts should be mailed to:
Iowa Short Fiction Award
Iowa Writers' Workshop
507 North Clinton Street
102 Dey House
Iowa City IA 52242-1000

No application forms are necessary. Entries for the competition should be postmarked between August 1 and September 30; packages must be postmarked by September 30. Announcement of the winners will be made early in the following year on our Facebook page and Twitter account.


Previous Winners

Potential entrants wishing to read stories by previous winners may order The Iowa Award: The Best Stories from Twenty Years and The Iowa Award: The Best Stories, 1991ñ2000, both selected by Frank Conroy.

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6. ‘Robot King’ by Jake Portman

What would really happen if you gave control of a giant killer robot to a group of teenagers?

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7. AUGUST'S GUEST ILLUSTRATOR: PATRICE AGGS


Today - the 31st August - we are delighted  to have a Guest Illustrator Post from Patrice Aggs..

Patrice Aggs writes and illustrates children's books. Her latest is Yi Er San, My First Chinese Nursery Rhymes (Frances Lincoln). Right now she's obsessed with kids' comics, and is about to begin her 4th adventure series for The Phoenix. 

Welcome, Patrice!

Thank you - and hello to everyone at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure! 

Let's start a bit of action:
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8. Micro-Fiction Competition: River Styx

River Styx 2015 Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction Contest

Enter online.


$1500 First Prize plus one case of micro-brewed Schlafly Beer
Judged by the editors of River Styx
Submissions open August 1, 2014
500 words maximum per story, up to three stories per entry.

 
Entry fee: $10 or $20. $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription (3 issues). $10 entry fee includes a copy of the issue in which the winning stories will appear.
Include name and address on the cover letter only.
All stories will be considered for publication.
Previously published stories, including those that have appeared on websites, blogs, and personal home pages, are not eligible.
Though submissions are anonymous, judges will remove from consideration any entries they recognize as having been written by writers with whom they have worked or studied.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and honorable mentions will be published in the spring issue.
Contest results will be announced in April.

Enter by mail or online via Submittable. To enter by mail, include an S.A.S.E. for notification of contest results and a check payable to River Styx Magazine. Entries must be received by December 31. Mail entries to:


River Styx Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction Contest
3547 Olive Street, Suite 107
St. Louis MO 63103

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9. Saturday Evening's Favorite Movie Moment- 'Charlotte's Web'

Saturday's Favorite Movie Moment embraces the best movie adaptations from books, unless I find a screenplay written as well as a book.-If that's possible, and I many times it is-

The award winning classic, Charlotte's Web, was written by E. B. White, the author of many other beloved classics such as Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Where The Mountain meets The Moon.

E.B. White was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and was the author of many other award winning essays for adults. He is also the author of  The Elements of Style, which is commonly known as "Strunk & White".




I've owned a least five copies of The Elements of Style in my lifetime, and still refer to my present copy often.

E.B White's children's books illustrate his astounding imagination, gift for characterization, dialogue, phrasing, and above all else storytelling. E.B. White died on October the first in 1985, but his books will remain shelved for many lifetimes, teaching children and adults about love, sacrifice, loss, joy, courage, friendship, loyalty, and life.

If you haven't read these children's classics to your children, it is never too late to buy a copy.

Thank you for stopping by A Nice Place In The Sun, and I hope you have an excellent week-end- :)

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10. Books in translation in ... Canada

       Last week I mentioned/discussed Dalya Alberge's report in The Observer on how (supposedly) British readers lost in translations as foreign literature sales boom, and at Quill & Quire they follow up on that article, wondering: Books in translation take off in the U.K.; can they do the same in Canada ?
       The Canadian situation is somewhat different from the UK one, since Canada is, after all, (nominally) bilingual (yes, yes, the UK is nominally multilingual, but let's face it: French in Canada is ,,, non-trivial; Welsh, Scots, etc, in the UK ... sadly, considerably more trivial (though of course not entirely so)). Interestingly, the focus of the Quill & Quire piece is on translation (into English) from the French. It makes sense, in a way -- translations from other languages into English are most likely to reach the relatively small Canadian market via US and UK editions/translations Still, smaller markets can take the occasional lead here -- as I recently noted, Uday Prakash's The Walls of Delhi came to the US only after the University of Western Australia published it ..... And in Canada, they do have admirable publishers such as Biblioasis, which has taken the lead in some unlikely areas/languages.

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11. Poetry Book Competitions: New Issues Press

The 2015 Green Rose Prize

$2,000 and publication for a book of poems by an established poet

Guidelines:

Eligibility: Poets writing in English who have already published one or more full-length collections of poetry. We will consider individual collections and volumes of new and selected poems. Besides the winner, New Issues may publish as many as three additional manuscripts from this competition.
Please include a $25 reading fee. Checks should be made payable to New Issues Press.
Postmark Deadline: September 30, 2014. The winning manuscript will be named in January 2015 and published in the spring of 2016.

The 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize
$2,000 and publication for a first book of poems
Judge: to be determined

Guidelines:
Eligibility: Poets writing in English who have not previously published or self-published a full-length collection (48+ pages) of poems.
Please include a $20 reading fee. Checks should be made payable to New Issues Press.
Postmark Deadline: November 30, 2014. The winning manuscript will be named in May 2015 and published in the spring of 2016.

General Guidelines:
Submit a manuscript at least 48 pages in length, typed on one side, single-spaced preferred. Photocopies are acceptable. Please do not bind manuscript. Include a brief bio, relevant publication information, cover page with name, address, phone number, and title of the manuscript, and a page with only the title.
Enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard for notification that the manuscript has been received. For notification of title and author of the winning manuscript enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Manuscripts will be recycled.

A manuscript may be submitted that is being considered elsewhere but New Issues should be notified upon the manuscript’s acceptance elsewhere.

Send manuscripts and queries to:

The New Issues Poetry Prize
(or) The Green Rose Prize
New Issues Poetry & Prose
Western Michigan University
1903 West Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5463

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12. Short Fiction Competition: Boston Review

Submit online.

Deadline: October 1, 2014
Judge: Ruth Ozeki


Prize: $1,500

 
Complete guidelines:
The winning author will receive $1,500 and have his or her work published in the July/August 2015 issue of Boston Review. Runners up may also be published. Stories should not exceed 5,000 words and must be previously unpublished. Mailed manuscripts should be double-spaced and submitted with a cover note listing the author’s name, address, and phone number. No cover note is necessary for online submission. Names should not appear on the stories themselves. Any author writing in English is eligible, unless he or she is a current student, former student, relative, or close friend of the judge. Simultaneous submissions are not permitted, submissions will not be returned, and submissions may not be modified after entry. 


A non-refundable $20 entry fee, payable to Boston Review in the form of a check or money order or by credit card, must accompany each story entered. All submitters receive a complimentary half-year subscription (3 issues) to Boston Review. 

Submissions must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2014. The winner will be notified in the spring of 2015 and publicly announced by July on the Boston Review Web site.

Please enter online using our contest entry manager. This requires payment using a credit card.


Or mail submissions to:
Short Story Contest, Boston Review
PO Box 425786
Cambridge, MA 02142

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13. All About the Climb

Runners are constantly climbing. It’s in our nature to always have a goal we’re working towards, always wanting to push ourselves to do better. Whether it be chasing new PR’s, challenging yourself to expand your race distance range, or even after we’re past our ‘PR-PR’ years, redefining the times and bests (weekly, yearly, masters, etc.) bests.

Diversity. Fitting as it is now cross country season that we talk about diversifying your running and climbs. Cross country thrives on both. I’ve done posts on just how awesome hills are at improving your strength and power, which translates to speed. What I haven’t talked too much on are prolonged hill climbs.
hill repeats cartoon running movie
The long climb, yup. We’re talking taking your tempo runs to the trail, or inclined treadmill if you don’t have a stretch long enough outside. I’ve previously featured the man-beast that is Michael Wardian and he’s no stranger to treadmill running.

While he’s one of the World’s best ultra and trail runners, a major chunk of his miles are done on the treadmill so he can fit his runs in around his family’s (namely his kids’!) schedules. Wardian loves a good, long climb.

He makes sure to do hill work a few times a week and, “for me that means hours of running up vertical inclines, sometimes fast, sometimes just a long grind, but always pushing to get better.” Wardian is an ultra runner after all.

Another big fan of prolonged uphill runs is Sage Canaday, a staple workout for him is an uphill tempo run. Canaday is another World leading ultra runner [check out my feature on him HERE], residing in Boulder, CO he has no shortage of trails to mountain goat up.

trail runner

Yo, that’s my rockstar dad running 50 miles! :)


Even if you’re not one of the best in the World, taking advantage of prolonged hill climbs will benefit you. Coach Brad Hudson of the Hudson Training Systems, coaching both elites and all levels of runners, regularly incorporates uphill tempo runs for his runners.

Try It:

Take your next scheduled tempo run to a hill, keep the distance the same and adjust based on effort. [Captain Obvious: Your times aren't going to mean much, so go off of effort.] I’d suggest going 4-5 miles.

No hill? No problem…take it to the treadmill. For a moderate climb set the grade to 4% for your tempo run and again, go off of effort. Do your warm-up and cool-down at 1.5%, as that’s the equivalent to running outside on the flats…after you jack that incline up and finish your tempo run, upon lowering you’ll see just how much ‘easier’ the same pace will feel at 1.5%!

If you’re looking for a steeper incline, Captain Obvious tells us you can just elevate the treadmill. ;)

Another twist courtesy of Coach Hudson would be to make your hill climb tempo progressive, begin the workout at a 2% grade and have it up to 6% by the time you finish.

Life’s a climb after all. For runners, we take that both figuratively and literally. ;)

——–
More workout posts HERE

Need some motivation to get ‘er done…look HERE

Sweat hard, recover hard… #SweatsintheCity style, Baby!
——–

1) Are you running cross country season?
2) How do you incorporate hill work into your training?
3) Have you done incline tempo/threshold work?

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14. Gordon

22886898

Title: Gordon (A tale of a baby American bison)

Author/Illustrator: Martha Mans

Publisher/Year: WinterBird Press/2014

 

Children’s picture books are works of art. Gordon, written and illustrated by the incredibly talented Martha Mans, is proof. Hold it in your hands. Look at the front cover. Turn is over and look at the back cover. Open it up and flip through the pages. Let your eyes take in all the majestic beauty of life on a Colorado ranch.

Then start at the beginning and read about Gordon, a young American bison, and his animal friends. Follow along as he is rescued from a creek, meets new friends, and finally discovers what he is and where he belongs. Gordon is an endearing story based on true events and it really brings to life, especially through Martha Mans’ amazing watercolor paintings, a part of America that many people may not be familiar with.

I really like how this story introduces readers, young and old, to the animals and wildlife that can be found in the gorgeous state of Colorado, particularly the bison. Did you know that back in the 1800’s, bison were on the brink of extinction? But thanks to the efforts of many, bison are no longer in danger of disappearing, at least for now. And thanks to Martha Mans and Gordon, the majestic bison will not soon be forgotten.   


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15. David Mitchell profile

       In The Japan Times Andrew Lee looks (sigh ...) Inside author David Mitchell's metaphysical mind, as The Bone Clocks-author talks about his new novel and his Japanese influences.
       I haven't got a copy of The Bone Clocks, yet, but Mitchell's other work is under review at the complete review (e.g. Cloud Atlas) and I should be getting to this as well (I'm in 82nd place in the queue for one of the NYPL's 18 copies ...); meanwhile, see the official site, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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16. Poetry Collection Competition and Artist Residency: The Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize

The Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize (formerly the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize) is a collaboration between Persea Books and The Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project. This annual competition sponsors the publication of a poetry collection by an American woman poet who has yet to publish a full-length book of poems. The winner receives an advance of $1,000.00 and publication of her collection by Persea.

In addition, the winner receives the option of an all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center, a renowned artists retreat housed in a fifteenth-century castle in Umbertide, Italy.

 

Submission and Eligibility Guidelines:
• Entrants must be women with American citizenship.
• Submitted manuscripts should include two title pages: one containing the author's name, the author's contact information, and the title of the collection; and another containing only the title of the collection.
• Submitted manuscripts should be at least 40 pages. They should be paginated, with the title of the collection included on each page as a header or footer, and fastened with a clip. Please do not staple or permanently bind submissions.
• Submissions may include a page of publication credits. However, they should not include other sorts of acknowledgments, thank-yous, or dedications.
• Submissions must be primarily in English to be considered. Translations are not accepted.
For the purposes of this contest, a previously published full-length book is defined as a volume of at least 40 pages in an edition of 500 or more copies that has been made readily available through trade distribution (i.e. local and/or on-line booksellers, including Amazon.com). Any woman who has published a book that meets these criteria is ineligible.
• Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Please contact us immediately if you must withdraw your manuscript(s) from consideration.
Submissions must be postmarked between September 1st and October 31st (or the first weekday thereafter if October 31st falls on a Sunday). They should be sent to: 


The Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize, c/o Persea Books
PO Box 1388
Columbia, MO 65205

and should include a check (in U.S. funds) in the amount of $25.00, made payable to the order of The Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project. Please do not send submissions to Persea’s New York City office.

• Entry fees are nonrefundable.
• Submissions should be sent via USPS First Class, Priority, or Express mail. We reserve the right to disqualify submissions sent by other methods (e.g. USPS Media Mail) should they reach us after the postmark deadline.


The winner is chosen by an anonymous selection committee and announced on Persea's web site in January. Submitted manuscripts will not be returned.

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17. Watercolor in the Wild--New Reviews

"Watercolor in the Wild has been getting some wonderful reviews. Here are some excerpts:

Henry Malt, Art Book Review
"...His approach is very interesting. For a start, he allows himself about an hour for a painting. Each demonstration here – there are six, covering buildings, animals, people and landscapes – is edited down to about fifteen minutes and covers all the important bits without leaving you thinking, “hang on, what did he do just then?”. He begins, conventionally enough, with a pencil drawing, but then spends the next thirty to forty minutes putting in tones, values and shading. With a quarter of an hour or less to go, he gets to the detail. That’s not enough, surely? No, not for fine detail, but the point is he’s working on very solid foundations: the subject has structure and substance and he doesn’t paint the detail at all, just suggests what the viewer should be seeing so that they create the finer stuff for themselves. It’s very subtle and, although not unique in itself, certainly unusual in combination with so much preparatory work."

"The exception to the one hour approach is a painting of a sleeping foal. Young animals are rarely still and only for short periods and this one is no exception. A large chunk of this section is taken up with watching the creature running round, interacting with its mother and eating. Finally, it needs a nap and we get to work. The point of this demonstration is to show how you can capture the essence of a subject if you’ve already understood it before you lift a brush. I like the fact that, once again, James doesn’t tell you this, but shows you."

"This is an exceptional piece of work and amazingly good value."

Charley Parker, Lines and Colors blog
"Gurney has a relaxed, conversational demeanor throughout — almost as though you had chanced upon him painting, asked about his materials and techniques, and found him more than happy to oblige. This is, of course, a superb approach for an instructional art video.

"The video production values are high, particularly in reproducing the sketchbook pages as the paintings progress, with lots of close-up views that show the renderings in detail....

"...One of the great things about these instructional videos by Gurney is the wealth of supplemental material available on his blog. This includes relevant material from previous posts and directly related questions answered afterward, all with lots of links to materials suppliers and other relevant resources.

"I now have several books and videos by Gurney, as well as being an avid follower of his blog, and I find a kind of synergy between his instructional materials, in that there is a basic underlying philosophy and systematic approach that comes from his considerable experience. I, for one, am hoping Gurney will follow up soon with a similar video on his techniques for opaque water media (gouache and casein). In the meanwhile, I’m finding transparent watercolor more pliant than I thought I would."


Review from Jackson Sze

"Watercolor in the Wild affords us a privileged look into the working process of a modern day master. James Gurney will inspire you to go out and paint, to try and capture life the way an artist can.With thorough breakdowns of equipment and materials, any artist will be well informed about what he or she needs to get started. The demos are both exciting and educational. As a Landscape Painting teacher, I would highly recommend any artist to watch and learn from Mr. Gurney. Though painting outdoors can be challenging, having this DVD in your collection should provide a constant source of encouragement and motivation."
Jackson Sze - Senior Concept Illustrator at Marvel Studios
https://www.facebook.com/jacksonszeart


"Gurney is an experienced teacher and you can really see that come through here. He is thoughtful and informative, while being very brief and succinct. It's a great companion to his previous DVD “How I Paint Dinosaurs.”  Read the rest—Dan Dos Santos, Muddy Colors Blog


"I highly recommend the affordably priced download for anyone who wants to learn more about achieving realistic paintings on location." —Read the rest—Marc Taro Holmes, Citizen Sketcher/Urban Sketchers.

“James Gurney’s latest instructional video, 'Watercolor in the Wild,' is an educational and entertaining trip into the mind of one of America’s most respected artist / illustrators." Read the rest—Darren Rousar, author of Cast Drawing Using the Sight-Size Approach
"James Gurney is making watercolor sketching from life accessible to anyone who's serious about taking on the challenge! (I'm in the process of begging and pleading with my digital students to learn to paint from life.)" —Nathan Fowkes, Animation Artist
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18. Jesus art (adventures in going digital)




Yes, I still love my colored pencils. But I've had the itch to work on a digital style, and have done it in fits and starts, but always seem to get sidetracked with something else. (If you are one of the three or so people who read this blog, you might remember me struggling valiantly with trying to do a 'digital colored pencil' style a while back, and how I kind of, well, let's just say, "got frustrated and put it aside".)

I thought I'd do a simpler technique, something that could work for educational and/or religious publishers, so I started sketching out a piece with Jesus and the children. (I did some first 'thinking sketches' for this idea here, which have changed completely.) 

I work in Photoshop, in layers. Here is the first rough drawing of my idea, with a darker, slightly more finished sketch on top of a really super sketchy one. I laid it out with two possible areas for type (thinking like a 'book' or published piece, which would most likely have some words on there someplace) - the sky, top right; or the grass, bottom left.




I made quite a few adjustments and changes to the figures, and ended up with this finished line drawing, which I think is pretty cute. This, all by itself, could work as a black and white piece.



And with the line work darkened up, it could be a coloring book.



So then onto color! This first sample is like other digital work I've done. Its very simple, flat color. This style is really good for high volume work that needs to be done fast. You figure out your palette, then just start painting away, keeping each element, or figure, on a separate layer, so that you can make changes easily (there are always changes!).



And then, because I can't help myself, I started working on one that has more detail. (I showed this to someone who thought it was colored pencil, so I guess maybe I'm onto something here.)


I thought you might enjoy seeing how it looks in separate layers. Those of you who work digitally will yawn at this, but for the rest of you who have no idea how this works, you will be amazed! (or at least mildly entertained).

I start with the drawing layer. (see above)
Then, imagine sheets of clear glass, laid one on top of the other, over that original drawing. That's what working in layers in Photoshop is like. I 'color' on each layer, then at the end, flatten them all down together into one picture. 

Here is the layer where I just painted in all the grass, and the trees in the background. 




Then this was the fun part. I decided to do some texture, and drew little blades of grass. The dirt was originally on its own layer, but somewhere along the way (probably when I was getting too tired) I merged these two layers together. Oh well.



Here's a close up of what the grass blades look like. There are actually two layers - the first one was too light, so I drew them all again, darker.




I love this one. Just the skin! ewwwww.



And the trees. This was done with a few layers, then I mushed them together.


And so on. I may not actually finish this piece because as much as I love Jesus, I'm getting really tired of working on this one illustration of him. I hope he understands. I think I'll change it up and do some Romans, or Lazarus, or Noah.

Meanwhile, hello all you nice publishers who need religious art! I'm all enthused to illustrate your book of Bible stories for you! All 500 illustrations, spots and vignettes and full bleeds, Moses and the Red Sea, the Burning Bush, Jonah, temples, palm trees, the 12 apostles, sandals, beards, robes, Mary, Joseph, Egyptians, . . . Call me! (well, maybe email first.) paula@paulapertile.com

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19. The Jane Lumley Prize – Poems

janelumley

The first annual Jane Lumley Prize For Emerging Writers is open for submissions till November 30th 2014!

The Jane Lumley Prize is awarded annually to a writer who has yet not published a full length book of poetry or prose. The prize alternates each year between prose and poetry, and the inaugural year will seek to recognize the brilliance of an exceptional piece of poetry.

ELIGIBILITY: 

The Jane Lumley Prize will only be awarded to writers who have not published a full length book. However, they may have published a chapbook, and/or found a home for their works in other literary journals. We also invite unpublished writers to submit their poems for consideration.

If you know the editor and/or any staff member of Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, you must not submit your work. If such a relationship is identified, your entry would be disqualified.

GUIDELINES :

You may submit a maximum of six poems for consideration in a single word document. The poems must be original and previously unpublished.We welcome submissions of all forms of poetry, including prose poetry.Each poem should not exceed 2 pages.​Please remove all identifying information from the poems themselves, for all the entries will be read anonymously. However, you may include a brief third person bio in the cover letter.We encourage simultaneous submissions, but we request you to withdraw your work in case it finds an acceptance elsewhere by clicking on the withdraw link on Submittable.

You must create an account https://hermeneuticchaos.submittable.com/submit/34128
Enter your information to create a new account below.

If you already have a Submittable account, please .

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Poems, poetry, publishers Tagged: Emerging Writers, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Jane Lumley Prize, This year's Contest - Poetry, Unpublished writers

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20. Call for Submissions: Lunch Ticket

Submissions for Lunch Ticket’s Summer/Fall 2014 issue are now being accepted!

Lunch Ticket is accepting submissions for its Summer/Fall 214 issue.The following genres are encouraged to apply: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Writing for Young People, & Visual Art. 

The deadline is set for October 31, 2014. Send us your best work! For guidelines and submission manager, visit our website.

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21. Amityville Horror


fly_amityville horror 450

At this time, every year our house becomes housefly central for a day or two and is affectionately referred to by my husband, Tom and myself as “Amityville Horror”. Those who have seen the movie will know what I’m referring to. If you don’t know what I mean, well, Rod Steiger plays this priest, he’s in this haunted house and he gets attacked by flies and, well you really need to check this out, man.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adFRKm9ezw4

But, I digress.

So, while attempting to prepare a meal today, several flies circled my head in this dreadful holding pattern, while many more of their creepy little comrades paced shamelessly across the cutting board with their nasty little bug feet. At least 50 or A MILLION flies crawled, flitted or buzzed over every inch of our kitchen. One poor unfortunate got himself stuck in the butter.

Gross! That does it!

We take up arms. Flyswatters and rolled up newspapers are picked up and waved wildly at the air in hopes of sending the tiny, vile vermin back from whence they came. The wild waving and syncopated swatting, followed by loud intermittent thwaps and kersplats, predictably sends our two kitties vaulting out of kitchen and into farther reaches of the house, each heading for their own piece of furniture to hide under and wait for saner times. Clearly the humans, usually such pacifists, have gone to a deep, dark place.

The carnage can go on for hours, sometimes days. But eventually this slaughter, the stuff of horror films, ends as abruptly as it began. Feeling spent, yet flush with cathartic relief, we turn to each other, blow the fly guts off our swatters and announce…

“This house is clean.”


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22. Essay Contest for Writers 18 and Younger: Creative Minds Writing Contest

Creative Minds Writing Contest

Submit here.

We invite submissions for Imagine’s Creative Minds Essay Contest.
The first-place winner will be published in the January/February issue of Imagine. Second- and third-place winners will be excerpted in print and published in full online. Winners will receive copies of the issue in which their work appears.
Winners will be announced in the Jan/Feb issue of Imagine and on the Imagine website.

Contest Guidelines:
Entrants must be 18 years old or younger.
Entries must be received by 5:00 ET on Friday, November 7, 2014.
There is no theme or topic for this competition. Essays may be any work of creative nonfiction including, but not limited to, memoirs, personal essays, travel writing, and lyric essays. We will not accept book reports, critical works, or research papers.
Essays must not exceed 1,000 words and must be titled.
Entrants may submit up to two essays.

Entries must include text only. Do not include photographs, illustrations, or background graphics or colors.
Essays must be entrant’s original work. Essays that have won other contests or that have appeared in any print or online publications are not eligible.

Save all essays in a single Microsoft Word document with your last name as the file name. Submit your entry online here.

Questions may be directed to:

mhartmanATjhuDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

See the winning essays from previous years in our essay archives.

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23. Food Opera (Part 2)

Chapter 4

Heather opens the fridge.


Heather closes the fridge.


Heather opens the fridge.


Heather closes the fridge.


Heather opens the fridge.


Heather closes the fridge.


Chapter 5


Chapter 6

The Chuggaluggalicious™ Ice Cream is gone.


Heather starts arguing with her "mom".


Chapter 7









Chapter 8

The sofa eats Heather.









THE END.


On a completely unrelated note, does anyone need a Costco-sized bag of chia seeds?

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24. BOBBEE BEE: PARENTS' RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITES

Parent-Teacher-ConferenceAs a parent of children in public schools, you have rights.

For example, you have a right to information about:
  • teachers and principal -their background and experience
  • school policies, rules, regulations, about-health and medical regulations
Which exams and shots are needed?
What happens if your child is sick at school? How many days may a student be absent or late without a penalty?
What should you do if your child is sick and cannot go to school?
Will the school let you know if your child is absent?
school policy on discipline and suspension
steps to take if you disagree with the school
child-with-teacher
  • schedule for the school year-dates of parent/teacher conferences, holidays, parent meetings, and so on.
  • courses you child needs to take, information about how your child's work is graded, information about how the school decides if a student will pass to the next grade, problems your child may have with schoolwork or behavior.
  • what your child is being taught and how students are grouped for teaching
bob_0028You have a right to:
  • review you child's school records
  • question the school if you feel the information about your child is wrong or if it invades privacy
  • visit the school and your child's classroom. You must set up the visit with the school off and teacher first.
  • have teacher conferences several times a year, in private, with a translator if needed.
  • be asked before your child is changed to another grade, is held back in a grade, or is put in a special classroom.
  • get help for a child who is not doing well
  • organize and be part of parent groups
  • attend and speak at school board meetings
You also have responsibilities to:
  • send you child to school rested, clean, and fed
  • make sure your child attends school regularly
  • know about your child's work and problems
  • answer messages from the school
bobbeebz

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25. BOOK a FREE "AUTHOR" SCHOOL VISIT"


THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR IS
JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

Time to plan a surprise
MAGIC CARPET RIDE
for your class.

FUN - ADVENTURE - LEARNING


My BLOG, "Skype Makes it Happen"
is a good place to start.


NOW
Take a trip to my PINTEREST Teacher-Classroom board for help 
and imaginative class suggestions.  Pinterest PINS make teaching more fun.


Then, BOOK my FREE
"Skype Author Visit"
 
*EMAIL ME YOUR CLASS DETAILS

*CHAT WITH ME ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED,

(AND WHAT I CAN OFFER YOUR CLASS)
*CHOOSE a time and a date

Before my visit I will send you the following:

*A FREE "Sneak Peek" inside my current books (pdf download)
*Information about the book I plan to read to your class
*Coloring sheets for younger classes
*Word glossary for Aussie books

PLUS 
WHERE TO PURCHASE
An Order Form  + a brief Introductory Letter for parents -
so they can email me, and reassure themselves
about my books, or ask me questions.


IT'S FREE
SO BOOK EARLY.

Magic Carpet Rides 
are a rare treat! 


*****************

Books for Kids - Skype Author Visits
http://www.margotfinke.com

*****************






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