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1. Haha! I guess they felt like Jane Bare Knuckles It would be too...

Haha! I guess they felt like Jane Bare Knuckles It would be too much of a stretch.

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2. When Jane was working on this story on the history of Seventeen, we did a lot of emailing back and...

When Jane was working on this story on the history of Seventeen, we did a lot of emailing back and forth about Back to School magazine issues and how much we loved them. In junior high I read the hell out of every September issue of Seventeen, and the memory is all caught up with the anticipation of seeing people again after the summer and the belief that Everything Was Going To Be Different This Year.

One year, one of the pieces of editorial advice was to soak cotton balls with perfume and lay them on your next day’s outfit so that the outfit would become pleasantly layered with scent. I did this DILIGENTLY for at least a month. Four or five cotton balls each night. So that’s what September always feels like to me, like the time of year that you believe that you can soak some cotton balls in Jean Nate, tuck them in your clothes overnight, and become magically alluring the next day.

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3. First Day of School

So, Emily the cutie (that is her official name), started her junior year at college today on the same day that people around here are posting their adorable first-day-of-school-kid pictures.

IMG_4934And I miss her and worry about her CONSTANTLY because that's how I am.

But, anyway, I found this old Livejournal post from December 2005, from my first month blogging, from when people actually commented on my blog and I actually knew everyone who did. All very weird.

My daughter wants to quit sixth grade.

Yesterday, as a result of a student rep meeting, the school stopped serving cookies.

Em, my daughter, said at the student rep meeting that it seemed strange to her that the school sells cookies for a quarter and salad for a dollar, when there’s this big “Healthy Eating Campaign.” She said it made it easier for rich kids to eat healthy. She said buying a cookie is more convenient than no more salads.

The principal wrote in the minutes, “Kids question cost of healthy food vs cookies.”

The cook read it, thought, “They want no snack food. I’ll get rid of the cookies.”

She did.

Now. there are no more cookies. Now, there is no more ice cream. Not Em’s intention. Nor did she know it was happening. She likes cookies. She loves ice cream. She just doesn’t eat them all the time.

So, yesterday, a mean eighth grader named Sebastian spent all of recess running around demanding to know whose fault it was. Someone said Em mentioned something about cookies at a rep meeting. Sebastian with an ever-growing gang of followers found some of Em’s friends and surrounded them.

“Do you know Emily?” they demanded. “Where is she?”

“She’s in Mr. Stackpole’s room, working on an essay.”

The bell rang. Three eighth grade boys sprinted for Mr. Stackpole’s room, where ring leader, Sebastian yelled in Emily’s face, “There are no cookies! There are no cookies! Bitch!”

Em had no idea what he was talking about. She tried to ignore them. They didn’t stop. Her classmates filtered in.

“You took our cookies!” Sebastian screamed.

Em gave in, looked up at the face of a big eighth grade boy, who easily outweighs her by a hundred pounds and said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Yes, Em does say sentences like that. I hear them all the time, especially when I ask her if she’s ready for school.

So, the boys leave when the teacher comes. Em is filled in about the cookie thing. All the 7th and 8th graders are angry at her. The principal talks about it at the honors banquets. Emily, really, really, really does not want to go to school again.

“I’m afraid of eighth grade boys,” she tells me this morning. “I’m really afraid of them.”

“That’s okay,” I tell her.

“Is that what men are like?” she says. “I think I’m afraid of men.”

I nod. “Not all men. Not all boys. Not all people are like that. Girls are mean too, right?”

“Yeah,” she says and stares out the window, “But boys are so big.”

And as I'm reading this post, I'm sort of wondering how this event helped shape Emily into the awesome person she is today. How awesome?

1. She could be my body guard.
2. She goes to Harvard and has a super-high GPA but she is still nice and not pretentious.
3. She still thinks healthy choices should be as inexpensive as not-so-healthy choices

I am proud of her, so super proud of her. Not because she is strong or smart, but because she has so much integrity and so much will, because she battles it out in crappy situations and doesn't publicly lose her cool. I am proud of her because she is such a warrior. And I really can't wait until she doesn't have any more first-days of school. I think she can't wait either.

Two more years, Em. Unless you go to graduate school. Maybe take a gap year, okay?


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4. Davy Jones

More from P is for Pirate as we count down to Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th! I’ll be presenting a pirate program at Adams Memorial Library in Latrobe, PA, Friday & Saturday September 19th & 20th.

Here is D is for Davy Jones from sketch to final painting. Sorry about the color in my progress shots—must’ve been at night and I forgot to switch the flash on. You can see I based my version of Davy Jones on an 1892 ink drawing by John Tenniel from the British humor magazine, Punch. Tenniel is the guy who drew the famous illustrations for Alice In Wonderland.

Tight pencil sketch Ink drawing of Davy Jones from the British magazine Punch color sketch painting in progress… IMGP1680 IMGP1681 IMGP1682 Finished painting

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5. Art Students Rewrite American Psycho Using Google Ads

Art students Mimi Cabell and Jason Huff, wanted to explore how Google’s ad scanning technology would react to a series of email exchanges depicting violence and racism.

So they emailed each other the original text of Brett Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho, page by page, to see what kinds of products would be marketed to them. They have turned the project into a book that includes Ellis’ original chapter titles along with the ads that ran next to each email and their own footnotes. The text essentially retells American Psycho via relational Google Ads.

What kinds of ads would run next to graphic depictions of rape and murder sent through a Gmail conversation? Cabell explains on her website: “In one scene, where first a dog and then a man are brutally murdered with a knife, Google supplied ample ads regarding knives and knife sharpeners. In another scene the ads disappeared altogether when the narrator makes a racial slur. Google’s choice and use of standard ads unrelated to the content next to which they appeared offered an alternate window into how Google ads function — the ad for Crest Whitestrips Coupons appeared the highest number of times, next to both the most graphic and the most mundane sections of the book, leaving no clear logic as to how it was selected to appear. This “misreading” ultimately echoes the hollowness at the center of advertising and consumer culture, a theme explored in excess in American Psycho.”  (Via Electric Literature).

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6. Terror and Wonder: our free ebook for September


For nearly twenty years now, Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune has explored how architecture captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and writer of the widely read Cityscapes blog, Kamin treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Terror and Wonder gathers the best of Kamin’s writings from the past decade along with new reflections on an era framed by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the opening of the world’s tallest skyscraper.

Assessing ordinary commercial structures as well as head-turning designs by some of the world’s leading architects, Kamin paints a sweeping but finely textured portrait of a tumultuous age torn between the conflicting mandates of architectural spectacle and sustainability. For Kamin, the story of our built environment over the past ten years is, in tangible ways, the story of the decade itself. Terror and Wonder considers how architecture has been central to the main events and crosscurrents in American life since 2001: the devastating and debilitating consequences of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina; the real estate boom and bust; the use of over-the-top cultural designs as engines of civic renewal; new challenges in saving old buildings; the unlikely rise of energy-saving, green architecture; and growing concern over our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

A prominent cast of players—including Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry, Helmut Jahn, Daniel Libeskind, Barack Obama, Renzo Piano, and Donald Trump—fills the pages of this eye-opening look at the astounding and extraordinary ways that architecture mirrors our values—and shapes our everyday lives.


“Blair Kamin, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, thoughtfully and provocatively defines the emotional and cultural dimensions of architecture. He is one of the nation’s leading voices for design that uplifts and enhances life as well as the environment. His new book, Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age, assembles some of his best writing from the past ten years.”—Huffington Post
Download your free copy of Terror and Wonder here.

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7. From the Heartland: Kekla Magoon

Indiana has proven to be such a rich state for authors who address ethnically diverse characters that I cannot image what I’d find if I looked for authors in Florida, Ohio, Texas or Rhode Island. These authors are among our hometown heroes because they document our local lives. When brought into classrooms and libraries, they prove that someone right here, right in this town can be a successful writer.

I actually first met Kekla Magoon in Philadelphia. I was excited that she had lived in Cameroon for a while and I’d visited there several years ago but could not believe that she has also lived right here in Indiana. What a small world!

Kekla is the author of the award-winning The Rock and the River; Camo Girl, Fire in the Streets, 37 Things I Love middle(in no particular order) and the nonfiction book, Today the World is Watching You: The Little Rock Nine and the Fight for School Integration 1957. Her forthcoming How It Went Down has received a starred review from Kirkus. “This sobering yet satisfying novel leaves readers to ponder the complex questions it raises.”

In January look forward to X:A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon.

I’m glad this busy lady had time for an interview!


Do you have any pets?

I have a pet turtle, named Tiffany.

What were some of the first books you found as a child that turned you into a reader?

I don’t know if it was the very first books that turned me into a reader. My parents read to me as a child, and there were many picture books that I loved. Some of the ones that jump to mind are Where the Wild Things Are, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, and The Snowy Day. I loved the wordplay in Amelia Bedelia. My mom took us to the library every week, and I could get as many books as I could carry. I think it was the repetition of experience that turned me into a reader, along with the escapism and adventure I always found in stories. As a mid-grader, I mostly read series books like The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley. I liked the episodic nature of those stories, and returning to familiar characters. The first stand-alone book I remember feeling really “Whoa!” about was Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

Meat or vegetables?

Meat, with a side of vegetables. I want it all. If I can’t have it all: MEAT!

Which writers have most influence you?

Ooh, I feel most influenced at this point in life by my close writer friends. Not only are they talented authors whose work I enjoy diving into, but they also provide a lot of support and inspiration to me in the real world. I constantly recommend books by Laurie Calkhoven, Josanne La Valley, Bethany Hegedus, Wiley Blevins, Rita Williams-Garcia, Coe Booth, Tami Lewis Brown, Pablo Cartaya, Sharon Darrow, Helen Frost….and many other amazing writers and books out there who inspire me both on and off the page. As far as influences from books I read, though, I learned a lot from Stephen King’s memoir of his writing life: On Writing. When I read Jennifer Egan or Benjamin Alire Saenz I am torn between being sucked into the vivid worlds they create, and wanting to rush to the computer to write something myself!

What three things would you like to add to a list of national treasures?

1: All the libraries!!!!

2: All the independent bookstores!

3: The voices of our young people, thereby empowering them to begin sharing their own stories with the world in whatever medium feels right to them.

Why would you be up at 3am?

I am usually up at 3am. I write, or I watch TV, or I read. I might also be eating potato chips or ice cream.


What book(s) are you currently in the middle of reading?

In fiction, I am reading Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King. Next up is If You’re Reading This by Trent Reedy. In non-fiction, I am reading Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone and essays from Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

What obstacles did you face when you began your writing career?

Interestingly enough, being a relatively young writer was a bit of an obstacle, even in the children’s literature market. It is happening a little bit less now that I am in my thirties, but when my first book was published, I was mid-twenties, and I heard a lot of “Oh, what a special achievement for someone so young.” Which it was, in a way, but it tended to be said in a patronizing tone. People might as well have been patting me on the head, which is somewhere short of a backhanded compliment, but it is not exactly uplifting either. The sentiment often seemed less than genuine, as if the person was pointing out that I was actually TOO young to make a meaningful contribution. The fact of the matter is, publishing a book is a special achievement at any age, and I never thought it should be considered more or less significant because of my age.

Why write for young people?

I write about young characters. Probably partly because that is what I knew best at the time I started writing. My first book was published when I was 25, and so the natural things for me to write about were teenage things because that was my experience. I do intend to keep writing for teens, and I hope to retain the connection that I feel to that time period in my own life. I don’t think it will be hard to retain, especially since even in my thirties I have yet to reach an age where there isn’t someone older than me looking down on my relative youth. That feeling of being underappreciated helps drive my work. Young people have a lot to learn, sure, but we also have a lot to contribute. There is always plenty of talk about “when you’re older…” and “what do you want to be when you grow up?” but who is asking kids and teens, “what do you want to be right now, today?” As a writer for teens I get to ask those questions, of my characters and of my readers.

Where is your favorite place to write?

On my laptop. (Haha!) Honestly, I can write pretty much anywhere. I prefer coffee shops, where there is a low-grade hustle and bustle in the background, and maybe some soft jazz or indie rock playing. Some place with just enough sound that my mind has to do a little bit of work to tune it out, but not enough to actually distract me from working. The result is a special kind of focus that works well for my writing.

Your books have required a lot of research! Are you an Internet researcher or hands on?

I do both internet research and “hands on” hunting for more information. I typically use the internet to get an overview of what material is out there, and I look for articles in reputable magazines, newspapers, and journals published online. There are plenty of library databases online, too, and I use those to find resources in other cities that I might not be able to access otherwise. But for my type of historical research, the best resource is books! I use the library or I special order and purchase the things I need. I have also spent a fair amount of time traveling to visit museums and library archives around the country. Many institutions preserve archival materials from the time periods I study, and you can make an appointment to go in and view the objects. I have looked at old newspapers in hard copy, flyers and posters, hand-written journals and letters, photographs, personal items that belonged to historical people, and much more.

HowItWentDown5-206x300What can you tell us about How It Went Down?

How It Went Down is my newest novel, which centers around the controversial shooting of a young black teen by a white man passing through his neighborhood. The novel comprises multiple viewpoints, through which members of the community react and respond in the days after Tariq Johnson is gunned down. Amid the media firestorm that descends, a family has lost a son and brother, friends grieve, and an entire community reels from the personal loss of one of their number. These characters share their struggles to cope with the loss and the decisions they each face over how to move forward.

I began working on this book in the spring of 2012, when the Trayvon Martin shooting was big in the news. I was interested in pushing beyond the headlines and soundbites dominating the national media in order to confront the experiences of people closest to this type of tragedy. Now, two years later, the conversation remains relevant and high-profile after the shooting of Michael Brown and the resulting riots and violence in Ferguson, Missouri. It is my hope that this novel and other YA literature can be used to start conversations between teens and adults about the prevalence of these incidents, and how we as a nation can begin to respond and heal from these tragedies, and hopefully minimize or wholly prevent similar things from occurring in the future. How It Went Down hits bookstores on October 21, and my website has links to pre-order from IndieBound or Barnes & Noble: http://www.keklamagoon.com/books/how-it-went-down/

I really enjoy the historical and fact based fiction that you write. What limits do you feel in writing these stories?

ROCK-w-CSK-hi-res1One of the great things about fiction is that it has no limits! I do impose some limitations on myself as a writer of historical fiction, but these are individual choices about which many writers would (and do) choose differently. It’s important to me that readers come away from my books feeling like they really *could* have happened. For example, I carefully research the events surrounding my books and try to stick as closely as possible to the real facts and timelines. I don’t move around real historical events, or make up facts about real historical figures. Generally I choose not to even include real historical figures as actors in my novels. For example, in The Rock and the River, I mention people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, but neither of them appear in the book with action scenes or actual dialogue. I made my first really big exception to this last rule this past year, though. I’ve been working with Ilyasah Shabazz on a YA novel about her father, Malcolm X. The book is about Malcolm living through his difficult teen 9780763669676years, before he became the powerful speaker, faith leader, and international human rights activist he is remembered for being. It was exciting and challenging to work on that project with her, and I’m so thrilled that X: A Novel is about to debut in January 2015.



Filed under: Authors, Interview Tagged: Indiana YA author, Kekla Magoon

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8. Flash Fiction Competition: The Golden Key

The Golden Key is delighted to announce our first-ever flash fiction contest, judged by Karin Tidbeck. The winner will receive $200 and publication in our 6th issue (Spring/Summer 2015). As each of our issues are themed to be inspired by an “object” that might come out of the little iron chest, the subject of the winning story will also determine the theme for Issue 6.

The deadline is September 15, and the limit is 500 words. The fee for entry is $5 for one piece, or $7 for two. Entry fee donations go directly into the fund we are raising to pay writers. The winner will be announced November 1!

Judge: Karin Tidbeck is the author of the collection Jagganath, recipient of the 2013 Crawford Memorial Award. She is a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, and her work has been published in both Swedish and English, in journals such as Unstuck, Weird Tales, Tor.com, and Lightspeed.
Prize: $200 and publication in Issue 6
Deadline: September 15, 2014

Contest Details.



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9. What I Read in August

A lot has gone on in my life since late July and through the month of August.  The biggest thing was a trip to Chicago with my sister-in-law and the kids to help them while they moved.  I flew to Little Rock and drove the eleven hours to the Chicago area with Elisabeth, George, and Gemma, and then stayed for a few days to help move.  It worked out perfectly with my two week break between semesters.  The other big thing that's happened personally has been my new obsession with yoga.  My friend Andrea at We Still Read inspired me and I've been practicing every day since the end of July.  I've got a lot to say about it and the way it's impacted my body image, but I'm going to save it all for a big post another day.

Just this last weekend we made a day trip to the Atlanta area for Decatur Book Festival.  It was, as always, ridiculously hot and humid.  LJ and my friend Stephanie from book club joined me this year.

Beginning of the day.  Note the relatively non-red faces and my excitement at seeing Stephanie Perkins.

LJ, being my book sherpa.

This was after the two hour line for Stephanie Perkins.  In the direct sun.  In the middle of the day.  Needless to say, we were completely through after waiting in that line.  We made a lunch stop, ran by Little Shop of Stories, and Pinkberry and then went home.  Good times, but I'm way too old to spend that long standing in the sun.

What I Read:

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
That Night by Chevy Stevens
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Three by Sarah Lotz
The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne
Y: The Last Man, Volumes 7-10
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Romeo and Juliet
Ghosting by Edith Pattou
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
The Bird Box by Josh Malerman
The Principles of Uncertainty by Maria Kalman
What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund
Rocket Girl, Volume 1 by Brandon Montclare
Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Flings by Justin Taylor
The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

So, yes, it was an amazing reading month for me.  Having two weeks off for the break between semesters really helped.  I've decided to go for 175 books this year instead of 135 as I had planned.

 What did you read in August?

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10. Love letter

small drawing from my wife enlightens my day..

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11. The Brave New World of Publishing

Technology(This is a re-post from one year ago.)

Here’s the deal: I don’t like the fact that you have to “build a platform” these days, any more than you do. But I get weary of writers complaining about it. I get frustrated by hearing that publishers are “abandoning writers” and “bringing nothing to the table.” I know it’s hard to market your books — I feel your pain — and yet I dislike it that people saying that publishers are shirking their duties by “leaving it all up to the author.”


Publishers did not create this brave new techno-world we live in.

It is not the publishing industry that has created this society of ubiquitous electronics, Internet noise, YouTube, X-Box, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, and the decline of reading. It is not the publishing industry who put a computer in more than half of all American households, allowing millions of folks just like yourself to write books they want to sell.

It is not the publishers who brought our society to a place where it’s no longer possible to “market” books the old-fashioned way. It’s not the publishers’ fault that average human beings everywhere are being bombarded with literally thousands of pieces of information every day, making it more challenging than ever to draw a person’s attention to one little book.

The fact is, publishers are doing everything they can dream up, and everything they can afford, when it comes to marketing books. They have the same limitations you do: Time and Money. But they’re coming up with new ideas and innovations all the time.

Publishing is an “old world” industry, figuring out, day by day, how to thrive in this “new world.” We all face these challenges together. We all have to figure out how to get people to want to read our words… to want to PAY to read our words. We all have to figure out how to get our books to rise above the “clutter” and get the attention of readers who are willing to pay for them.

Those of you who find yourself bemoaning that “writers are expected to do everything” and concluding “we might as well self-publish” — perhaps the self-publishing route will work out better for you. For certain kinds of books and certain authors, it’s working out great. Give it a try!

But I want to point out that publishers are still in business because of the value they bring to the table — not just in marketing but in every aspect of the editing, production, and selling of books. It is harder these days to sell books than ever before, yes, but publishers are more than just a business selling widgets, they’re entities who take seriously the responsibility of preserving and disseminating the written word. And so publishing persists, despite the challenges, despite our changing world.

Part of the value publishers bring is a sense of history, a sense of tradition and permanence. Many authors still want to be a part of that. It’s about great stories and important thoughts. It’s about legacy. It’s about a dream. People in publishing still see this dream as worth it. They’re willing to swim against the tide because publishing isn’t just a business, it’s a life, it’s a calling, it’s a passion.

To all writers who believe in the dream, who have the passion, who feel called to the legacy — I’m right there with you, and so is everyone else who has staked their livelihood on this crazy, unpredictable, totally unrealistic business called publishing. Thanks for being here, and hanging on for the ride. To those who are frustrated by the ways it seems publishing can’t meet your expectations, I commiserate with you and I apologize that things aren’t the way we wish they could be.

To each and every author, I sincerely wish the very best for you as you seek your own way of getting your book to its intended audience. I am doing my best to be a positive and helpful part of this process.

Are you in it for the legacy? Or something else?

Comment below or by clicking: HERE.



Publishing is an old world industry, figuring out how to thrive in this new world. Click to Tweet.

Publishing isn’t just a business, it’s a life, it’s a calling, it’s a passion. Click to Tweet.

To all writers who believe in the dream, the passion, the legacy – I’m with you.  Click to Tweet.




The post The Brave New World of Publishing appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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12. Comics Squad: Recess!

It's September and the kiddies are back at school, getting reacquainted with math, trading lunches, and praying for recess. Recess! That hallowed period carved out of the school day when no one is telling you what to do--or not much. In celebration of this cherished intermission, the brother-and-sister team of Jennifer L. Holm and Mathhew Holm (creators of Babymouse and Squish) and Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Lunchlady) have put together a collection of graphic shorts that feature every student's favorite subject.

The eight comic selections veer from the silly to the sillier. The anthology starts with the brilliant Gene Luen Yang's "The Super-Secret Ninja Club," a savvy story about a dweeby kid who aspires to be a member of said club. Dav Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame signs in with a subversive homework assignment from our friends George B. and Harold H. Their assignment is prefaced with a note home from their teacher, who informs the parents: "I have told both boys on numerous occasions that the classroom is no place for creativity." Other contributors include Ursula Vernon, Eric Wight, Dan Santat, Raina Telgemeier, and Dave Roman. All supply hilarious riffs on the ups and downs of recess.

Comics Squad: Recess!
Edited by Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm, Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Random House, 144 pages
Published: July 2014  

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13. The Guardian Publishes Unreleased Chapter of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and the occasion has brought about a controversial new book cover, a golden ticket sweepstakes and now the unearthing of a previously unreleased chapter of the book.

“The Vanilla Fudge Room” is a chapter that was edited out of the book from an early draft. The Guardian has published the chapter. Check it out:

They went into another cavernous room, and here again a really splendid sight met their eyes.

In the centre of the room there was an actual mountain, a colossal jagged mountain as high as a five-storey building, and the whole thing was made of pale-brown, creamy, vanilla fudge. All the way up the sides of the mountain, hundreds of men were working away with picks and drills, hacking great hunks of fudge out of the mountainside; and some of them, those that were high up in dangerous places, were roped together for safety.

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14. Face-Lift 1219

Guess the Plot


1. Jacob is a Drifter, a man who is not anchored in time but instead slides, or drifts, from year to year, often centuries apart. And then one day it's 1939, and Adolph Hitler just handed him a gun.

2. Drifting scross Texas in the 1800's, Dustin spots windmills and heads toward them. He reaches the Cartwright's Ranch, where he spots a naked woman bathing, and Hoss and Little Joe nowhere to be seen. Maybe it's time to finally settle down.

3. Dewey's the big cat curator at Wildcat Safari. He loves the big cats and they love him. When the park is forced into receivership, the bankruptcy administrator sells what he can and plans to euthanize the rest. At 3 A.M. Dewey takes his favorites—two lions, a tiger, and two snow leopards—into his RV and hits the road. Hilarity ensues.

4. When hang-gliding stoner Airey Weedpipe catches the ultimate drift in the Himalayas his seemingly endless ride becomes a metaphor for the world's hopes and dreams. Will he be joined by millions of would-be gliderphobes . . . or shot down by the Russkies?

5. Selene's mother keeps telling her she needs to find a nice man, settle down, and have a family--but it's not like Selene's some irresponsible wild child. It's just that when you're literally light as a feather, settling down is easier said than done.

6. The broken hull of the boat lies at the bottom of the ocean. The leg of the water-skiing frat boy sits partially digested in the shark's stomach. Annie sits in the tiny life raft cursing the day her dead boyfriend challenged fate and named the damn boat DRIFTER. Asshole.

Original Version

Dear E.E.,

Dustin Leahry is good at three things: drifting, helping people, and using his gun. [His metaphorical gun?]

Craving the adventure of his childhood heroes, Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok, Leahry set out for the untamed land west of the Mississippi;[,] taking with him his gun and his best friend – his horse Baker.

Years later the thrill is tempered by the reality of trudging through the dusty cactus[-] and yucca[-]filled plains of Texas after Baker loses a shoe. The Drifter would rather have a cool drink and a black smith’s [blacksmith's] forge than excitement as he plods toward distant windmills that hint at relief. [Blacksmith, shmacksmith. What self-respecting drifter would ride through the old west without spare horseshoes and nails in his saddlebag?]

Trouble finds Leahry when he arrives at the Cartwright Ranch [It's called the Ponderosa.] and catches sight of Shelly Cartwright taking an outdoor bath. He knows he’s in deep trouble when Shelly uses his distraction to center a rifle’s sights on his chest. Something about a woman wrapped in a towel holding a gun on him convinces Leahry to stay instead of continuing to drift. [Wait, what about the trouble he was in one sentence ago? What happened?]

His trouble escalates when he goes to work for Shelly. [What is this trouble that escalates? He can get a new shoe for Baker at the ranch; Shelly didn't shoot him; he finally has a job... He's got less trouble than ever, far as I can tell.] His penchant for helping people soon puts him in the middle of her struggle to keep the ranch from being taken over by August Benson. Benson is determined to own the city of San Angelo and the surrounding countryside. Naturally the Cartwright Ranch is the last obstacle.

Leahry finds himself in confrontations with Benson’s men, on a horse drive to earn ranch-saving money, and in a war between the ranches. After the deaths of several of Shelly’s men, he resorts to the thing [what] he’s best at as he heads to San Angelo and a showdown with Benson.

Drifter: San Angelo Showdown is set in 1898 Texas and is approximately 119,000 words. Drifter pays homage to classic TV Westerns while adding new characters to the fold. [Shouldn't you pay homage to classic western novels and let TV pay homage to TV westerns?]

Thank you very much for your time.



This horse drive to earn ranch-saving money suggests that the ranch will be saved if Shelly can pay her bills. The confrontations/war/showdown suggest that ownership of the ranch is more than a financial/legal matter. How has Benson come to own everything except this ranch? By taking it at gunpoint or buying it? Was this San Angelo area totally lawless as late as 1898? My guess is 1885 would be better, but I've been wrong before, or so I'm told.

The word count is kinda high for a western novel.

Instead of spending three paragraphs on Dustin's arrival at the ranch, try compressing that into one paragraph and devoting more space to what happens after he gets there.

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15. Call for Submissions: The Four Quarters Magazine

The Four Quarters Magazine 
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS : December, 2014.
Deadline: 20th October, 2014
Guest Editor for the Issue : Dave Besseling

More than an excellent, absurdist 2001 film set during the Bosnian War, “No Man’s Land” is an idiom overused to in utility. It was a cliché long before I was born and learned what it meant or what a cliché was.
It’s one thing to dress-up a cliché, it’s another to reclaim it. So wax your mind clean, Mr. Miyagi-clean, and what does “No Man’s Land” come to reflect?

Is it that piece of geography where two gubernatorial borders don’t quite meet, or where they overlap?
The Age of Discovery was 400 years ago. You can barely outrun googlemaps lens these days. Is No Man’s Land somewhere unfound? A tribe brandishing spears on the beach as the motorboat approaches?

How rare and valuable are then these last pockets of “undiscovery”? And what does “discovery” mean in this digital age anyway?
Is it a “No Man’s Land”, that which lies outside the current boundaries of science?
Are we talking about a lesbian commune living off the grid somewhere in the mountains?
Is this void a philosophical concept to be appropriated by some kind of post-scientology or gone cult?
Something else entirely?
You tell us. In writing. And if we like your pitch we can all have fun with all the mindgames that result.
Eat a peach,

- Dave.

The deadline for submissions is 20th October, 2014. For submission guidelines, please refer to our submissions page.

contact email:
Only queries :

fourquartersmagazineATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Only submissions:

submissionsFQMATgmailDOTcom  (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )


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16. Rabbits...

Hello there!  I drew some rabbits.

And here are a few links to help get your week started...

A really wonderful blog post, as well as a great podcast interview, from Author/Illustrator, Mike Curato.  Mike's debut picture book, Little Elliot Big City, was recently released and I'm so very excited about this beautiful book!  If you haven't seen Little Elliot yet, please go find a copy as soon as you can. 

I've really been enjoying Carter Higgin's blog, Design of the Picture Book.  If you haven't visited Carter's blog lately, I hope you'll take a few minutes to have a look.

A helpful blog post from Illustrator, Clio Chiang, about watercolor skin tones, which I believe I came across in a facebook post from Illustrator, Diandra Mae.  (Thanks, Diandra!)

Marla Frazee's new book, The Farmer and The Clown, is incredibly lovely.  Have you seen it yet? 

Throughout September I'll be interviewing the recipients of the 2014 SCBWI mentorship awards over on KidLitArtists.com.  

Stay tuned for some book giveaways in the coming weeks!  Now I'm off to draw and paint.  I hope you are, too! :)

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17. Art Drop Day - Clues To My Painting! - FOUND!

I hid the original acrylic painting of the snowmen somewhere...if you know where the clue photo's lead you can go get it for free! This is Jake Parker's new idea for World Art Drop Day! If you get my painting please send me a photo of you holding the painting and I'll update my blog with it and share it on facebook and twitter! Hope you get there first!

Found!!! In a little over an hour! By one of my former student's kids...So much fun - hope you guys like it!

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18. Open House Week at Fairy & Empath School

Get your crayons, and sharpen your pencils. It’s Open House week. Each day I will be showcasing a different class.


Follow me down the fairy trail.


To adventure, magic and healing.


Let’s learn about plants and how they can heal us.


Let’s play and make cool stuff while we learn, bringing the forest to us.


Let’s make some new friends and talk to Fairies.


It’s time to enroll! Next Fairy Online School Classes start September 26th.

(Special Subscriber Early Bird Rates!) Head to the CATALOG to reserve your space.

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19. Call for Writers and Poets from Connecticut: Praying Mantis Salon


Wonderful opportunity for writers to read their work (10 minutes total each writer) at the second annual Praying Mantis Salon. (The Praying Mantis is the State Insect of Connecticut)  
We are looking for original narrative poetry and short-shorts on any subject in a variety of styles.   
When: November 2, 2014, 5:00 pm. Unitarian Society, mid-state 
Possible small honoraria. 
Contact with samples of work.  Email: 
PrayingmantissalonATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

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20. Lensmen by E. E. "Doc" Smith -the original Green Lanterns?

 The Lensman series is a serial science fiction space opera by Edward Elmer "Doc" Smith. Created in 1948 with the Triplanetary story.  It was a runner-up for the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series (the winner was the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov)

In the DC Comics universe, the Green Lantern Corps bears many parallels to the Lensmen, although its principal creators deny any connection (later creators, however, would introduce Green Lanterns named Arisia and Eddore as an homage).

What do you think movie buffs?

Lensman: Power of The Lens (1987)
 SF Shinseiki Lensman and The Secret Of The Lens

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21. Call for Book Reviews: The Angle Magazine

The Angle Magazine is seeking book reviews for an upcoming monthly online feature. Please keep reviews between 500 and 1500 words. We are open to everything from current bestsellers to obscure collections to classics.  

Include the review in the body of the email (attachments won't be opened), and send submissions to:

brennaATtheangleagencyDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . ) 

Thank you!

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22. Susan Elizabeth Phillips Recap

Our 2014 Fall Evenings with Authors kicked off last Wednesday with bestselling author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips. As a former resident of Columbus, the event was extra special as Phillips was able to return and reunite with old friends that came out to celebrate her success. Phillips discussed that she prides herself on being able to create feel-good worlds where readers can immerse themselves in the story and end each novDSCN5044el feeling happy. Her newest novel, Heroes Are My Weakness, is no exception to this idea. Having only been released a few days before the event, readers were eager to hear what she had to say about her newest romantic comedy. Phillips said this novel was particularly fun for her, because rather than the typical warm location as a setting of many like novels, she had to find other ways to add heat as she set this one in the middle of winter. Phillips also talked about the importance of her covers, and unlike many authors, she has the opportunity to be very involved in the process. If you have read her books, you may have noticed that very few of the figures have heads. Phillips revealed that this is because she believes in the imaginations of her readers and hates the idea of placing a restriction on them by providing facial association to a character. Thank you to everyone who attended our first event of the season! We hope to see you again.

Kathy Reichs webOn Monday, September 29, Kathy Reichs will be joining us to discuss her newest novel, Bones Never Lie. Reichs is one of fewer than 100 certified forensic anthropologists and has used her experience to create seventeen novels in a series that thrills both on paper and screen. The bestselling series is also the source for the hit television show, Bones, which Reichs produces.

We do expect that the Kathy Reichs event will sell out soon, so get your tickets today! For more information or to purchase tickets, click here!

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23. Call for Submissions: Sou'wester

Sou'wester is now accepting poetry, fiction, and nonfiction submissions for its upcoming Fall and Spring issues. Writers who have not yet published a book are eligible for our annual Emerging Writer Awards and receive a prize of $100. 

For details and to submit, please visit our webpage.

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24. NOVEDADES 2014

Muestra Itinerante 

“Trazar un futuro - Dibujantes Trabajando"

en Bahía Blanca

Exposición en apoyo a la aprobación del proyecto de ley de Régimen de Reconocimiento a Ilustradores, Historietistas y Humoristas Gráficos

Inauguración y charla explicativa sobre la creación del I.N.A.G.

29 de septiembre 2014 - 19 hs
 hasta el 3 de Octubre

Centro Histórico Cultural de la U.N.S. / Rondeau 29- Bahía Blanca.

auspicia el Instituto Cultural de la Municipalidad de Bahía Blanca

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25. Nick Cannon is Writing Book of Children’s Poems

Actor/rapper Nick Cannon is working on a book of children’s poems which is due out from Scholastic in March 2015.

The illustrated poetry book is called Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems. The title was written for kids age 7 with poems about silly, disgusting and even serious matters. It will feature black-and-white illustrations by a number of street artists including: Art Mobb, Califawnia, Captain Kris, Morf,Queen Andrea, MAST and Mike P. 

“Writing is at the center of everything I do as an artist. Doing creative writing—especially writing poetry—is when I felt the calmest and freest. As a kid, it was my escape from the inner-city pitfalls,” explains Cannon in a statement. “The first important writer in my life was Shel Silverstein—he made me fall in love with writing and seeing his whimsical sketches got me interested in art. When I was eight years old, I got a spiral notebook and wrote my first poem/rap. I filled that notebook with poems, rhymes, jokes, and witty stories. I still keep one to this day. I hope that poems in Neon Aliens will help inspire kids to want to get out a pen and paper to write or draw their own thoughts, rhymes, and stories.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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