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1. Surtex Flyers

Surtex flyers for the upcoming show.....

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2. Ritual in our lives [quiz]

Whether we know it or not, ritual pervades our lives, silently guiding our daily behavior. Like language, tool use, and music, ritual is a constituent element of what it means to be human, joining together culture, archaeology, and biology. The study of ritual, therefore, is a reflection on human nature and the society we inhabit.

The post Ritual in our lives [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Coloring Page Tuesday - Earth Day 2015

     Earth Day is April 22nd and Arbor Day is April 24th. I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to plant a tree. They need soil, sun, and water to grow strong.
     CLICK HERE for more Earth Day coloring pages!
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of nine literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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4. The CBO Spotlight.....Paul Ashley Brown

 With Intermittent Squelching By The UKs King Of Comics

(That's me...)

Having ignored all my best Simon Cowell "Go on, boy -I'll make you famous! (but poor)" lines, "Old Slow Hand"/"Panting Pazzer"/"Wonder Maid" (?! -I have the photo somewhere).  From his humble beginnings as a scribbler working on 1980s legendary comic, Vigilante Vulture, a few strips -including one in Coffin Blood- and some he might wish to forget like his Phantom Detective strip.  Oh, I keep it all.

But he will probably not be remembered for....


The Series That Never Was!

Now, I have shown low res scans of the Sad Lads Pad idea sent to TV companies and then I found the set colour scheme but I have a hefty correspondence file with the artist.

Yes, Paul Ashley Brown may be better known these days for Browner Knowle but back in the day...well a few years actually back in the 1980s...he was the artist struggling with over-written scripts for a comic that attracted the attention of many top UK comic creators (no, it was not porn)...Vigilante Vulture!

There were a few forays after that but the comics industry is full of crooks as Mr Brown discovered -though he did take legal action and get his money (but not work) back off one UK publisher.

Now, unless you know him (not in the "Biblical sense") you will know that he can produce some great humour work -drawing Peter Lallys Donald Hamilton for instance.  There is, if I can ever scan it, a comic strip telling of the Southbank TV show special on my career, presented by Melvyn Bragg. And much more.

You see, when he doesn't put a lot of thought into comics designed to drive people to despair, Mr Brown has a quick cartoon style that he can turn to some very funny strips.  In that sense he has never explored the idea of turning these into a comic which is a great pity.

Mr Brown was also inspired by my classic 1983-84 mini series Outlaws Of The Urban Forest and in..2008(??) he set to work on a follow-up which, sadly, never got completed and I really did like the art/story and as everyone knows I never ever allow people to work on things I started unless I like what I see.

I have some of those pages but here is a cover mock-up -the black and white version and the vibrantly coloured version.

Great stuff and I'd like to see more of this type of thing from him.  He has the ability and style and CAN do it.

In case he reads this, he never does, I'd like to point out I've been ill so I probably never ever said anything kind about him. 

Mr Brown's work has appeared in Stripburger and he's usually at all the hip, beat-cat zine events building up his ever growing....do my notes read "erection"?? Oh -reputation. And having already been to Japan in 2014 he had to, of course, visit Finland where he was hailed as a taxi innovative comicker.

Remember this CBO item?

Bristol Artist Paul Ashley Brown In Finland Exhibit

Yes, those Europeans know a good thing.  And in this case it is Bristol artist Paul Ashley Brown whose work is being exhibited in Finland.

Here is a photo of the man himself at the exhibit followed by an article from Helmet.fi

Helmet -http://www.helmet.fi/fi-FI/Kirjastot_ja_palvelut/Rikhardinkadun_kirjasto/Tapahtumat/Paul_Ashley_Brownin_sarjakuvia%2852116%29

Paul Ashley Brownin sarjakuvia

Paul Ashley Brown
Paul Ashley Brown valmistui kuvittajaksi vuonna 2001 The University of West of Englandista. Sen jälkeen hän on julkaissut omakustanteena seitsemän osaa Browner-Knowle-zinestä, joka on kokoelma lyhyitä, melankolisia sarjakuvia ja narratiivisia piirustuksia, sekä muita yksittäisiä julkaisuja. Hänen töitään on ollut myös Illustrated Ape-, The Comix rRader- ja Stripburger-lehdissä. Hän asuu ja työskentelee Bristolissa Englannissa.

Paul Ashley Brown graduated from The University of the West of England in 2001 with a First Class Honours Degree in Illustration, Since 2008 he has self-published seven issues of Browner-Knowle, his zine collection of short, poetic melancholy narrative drawings and comics, as well as other small one-off titles. His work has also been published in the pages of The Illustrated Ape, The Comix Reader, and Stripburger. He lives and works in Bristol, England.
Rikhardinkadun kirjasto, Hyllygalleria hyvinpieni 2. krs.
1.12.2014 - 31.12.2014

 But, Mr Brown's Small Press offerings are much sought after, including, with some memorable full page illoes, Anon....

So It Is Writ. So It Must Be. Anon. The Return Of Paul Ashley Brown

Paul Ashley Brown
Browner Knowle Publications
8 or 16 pages
A4 or A3
£3.00 + £1.00 p&p
Ordering: contact Paul through his website at: http://www.paulashleybrown.co.uk/#home

The Bristol art leg end that is Paul Alouitiuos Makepiece Kitchener Lady Chaterley Brown -aka Ashley Simpson aka Paul Ashley Brown was bound to return. After the Browner Knowle issue cited in Parliament as being responsible for mass suicides -and which I am legally obliged not to mention here- we have another offering from the living Erzatz.

You know he hates me, right? Rival more like.

There may be a few who wonder why I've written "A4/A3" and "8 or 16 pages"?  Simple.  This is an un-stapled, loose-leaf offering offering double spreads so they are A3 folded to A4. There is the usual collection of eccentrics and sketches from life and do not panic -still the faint hint of depression here but all enjoyable.

However, there is ONE reason why you ought top get a copy of this latest offering. If only the story behind it were included but it is a case of "protecting the innocent".  Here is that reason:

Anon 2
Paul Ashley Brown
Browner Knowle
I have no price here...?

Firstly, this is printed on a slightly tinted paper which looks nice but fecks things up on scanning. So I had to turn 'em into black and white art pages.  Does look better with the tint, though.

Now, I do not usually look at other reviews but this one caught my eye:

"Reading this will make you a goddam sexual tyrranosaur!"
Dr Jessie Ventura
Karachi Medical Gazette
That is some recommendation. 
Well, if there was one positive side to last weekends BCZF it was that Mr Paul Ashley Brown sold a fair doings of zines. He stood there, drinking an espresso with his t-Shirt emblazoned with "Je ne suis pas prétentieux, je ne suis que l'artiste!"*

 I have written "16 pages" but that is not quite accurate.  This book is not stapled and that is for a very good reason: the pages open up to make four A3 posters.  My favourite of these is this one:

 You do get the one page treats such as "Humpty On The Edge Forever" that Mr Brown calls "Mon déchirant chef-d'œuvre de la vie!"** And who could argue with that? I cried. I truly cried.*** I do like the use of solid black and white here which balances out the page.

 And Mr Brown did say that far more would be revealede about what he calls his "mes penchants sexuels torrides" and I'm guessing this page covers that. Believe me, that illo is physically spot on accurate, boy. This is half of one of the A3 posters I was referring to and if you want to see the women in the other half you will have to buy. Gave me the right horn. Although, this illustration of its own accord has a slight, what the French call "taquineries sexuelle".  Hmm?

Yes, no cover logo...and yet we knew it was Anon 2 because Mr Brown told us so.

Here is a comparison with Storm which I just reviewed.  This is an art style I've not seen anyone other than Mr Brown employ and it works for style of story telling -whether simply illustrative or text accompanied. I don't have any problem recommending this -simply contact Mr Brown and ask the cost!

 Reviewers notes.
*"I am not pretentious. I am merely THE artist!" 
**"My heart wrenching masterpiece about life!"
***And did I cry -I whacked my big toe against the table leg.
I may have been lying about some things in this review but not the book.  Buy a copy and get in on why he's so popular!

But THE legendary work that saw his rise to fame is Browner Knowle -an explanation to our foreign comickers: "Browner" is the way some people refer to Mr Brown.  A Mr Smith might be called "Smithy" or "Smithers".  "Knowle is a rather upmarket, low guttering drain hole where Mr Brown grew up.  So the series should be titled Brown from Knowle -but this is Bristol!

BK Books: Browner Knowle 7 -I Read It Yet I Live

Browner Knowle 7
Paul Ashley Brown
BK Books
Black & white

Now before I start, that web address I have just spent an hour trying to find. Paul Ashley Brown everywhere (mostly from old CBO postings) but no web page so I'll have to look into this.

You know there are two absolute metaphysical certainties in this world. One: We'll be dead one day. Two: Suicide rates climb whenever a new Browner Knowle is published. Within the constraints of of the confined internal logic of the psycho-metaphysical rules of existentialism that engage our every day  lives Browner Knowle is the Messenger of death.


I love mixing medication it's like an existentialist lottery. But then....why not?

It is at times like these that I think Mr Brown might even be able to draw a comic.  Let's face it, that is how this aging poster child for the lost Thatcher generation started out -Vigilante Vulture and so on. However, having worked with the writer of said VV it was bound to affect the aging hipster's mind  -he is free and single, ladies so if interested here's his photo (and in the background LMFAOs "I'm Sexy And I Know It" blasts away):

Ahhh. Nothing like a bit of character assassination to start off a day of pain.  So now to the subject of this posting which was temporarily lost somewhere in the Himalaya's until it was found to be a polar bear-brown bear hybrid.

The cover...well, this is just another Bristol street scene and walk through Bedminster any day of the week and you can spot these...tatters.  In fact, another good example is "The Walking Man" -as seen below:

But this is not an issue full of Mr Brown's "Bristol Grotesques".  No, there are two strips in this edition -he would probably call them "contes graphiques".  Anyway, the first is "3 A. M. With The Lights Off", though since you can see that on the page below I do wonder why I wrote that.  We've all been there: the guy talking at you in the car but not really talking to you and the promise of what might be but never really is. Men can be bastards. I'm looking at this through a woman's eyes of course. 


Nice, nice solid blacks.  Mr Brown really could become an artist you know. You know, I feel sorry for the poor utterly depressed man who stood on Perot's Bridge in the City Harbour. Looking into the murky, beckoning waters but terrified of jumping in just in case someone pulls him out and he contracts Weil's Disease.  All the time some git with a sketch pad is saying: "Yes. Like that. Keep that look of total and utter despair until I've finished!"
All he wanted to do was kill himself but he ended up in Browner Knowle. Quite depressing. And then we have "Charles Aznevour" and while reading this we should all be singing along. Come on now -you KNOW the lyrics as well as I do. A one...a two...a three and.....

Dance in the Old Fashioned Way.
Won't you stay in my arms?
Just melt against my skin
And let me feel your heart,
Don't let the music win
By dancing far apart.
Come close where you belong.
Let's hear our secret song.
Dance in the Old Fashioned Way.
Won't you stay in my arms?
And we'll discover highs
We never knew before,
If we just close our eyes
And dance around the floor.
That gay old fashioned way
That makes me love you more.
Dance in the Old Fashioned Way.
Won't you stay in my arms?
And we'll discover highs
We never knew before,
If we just close our eyes
And dance around the floor.
That gay old fashioned way
That makes me love you more

ahh, Charles, you may be 89 years old now but should such a singer-song-writer, actor, public activist, diplomat such as you be in an issue of Browner Knowle?  Yes. We've all been there though some of us find it harder each year to embrace ourselves. Poignant, ain't it me old luvver?

Let's cheer things up and take a peek at Mr Brown after he's met up with a certain Mr Northall (a rival if the truth be told!) for five minutes.

Yes, it is quite terrible when all your favourite 1970s British TV greats have been arrested under Operation Yewtree.  Especially when you scream at the news media for not hyphenating "Yewtree"!

"A Sound From Downstairs" for me can usually mean my irritable bowel syndrome is about to explode into a volcano of....no. No, you don't really want to know that. Besides, in this case, it is the title of the second strip in this book.  Seven pages showing that Mr Brown CAN indeed draw sequential works or comic strips. Compliment with a slap. See what I did there?
I'm guessing this is Mr Brown in ten years time?  It is a nicely drawn strip -solid negatives and even a little cross-hatching and some nice detailed garden in a panel.  I'd say this was "enjoyable" but I don't quite think that is the point here. Nor is it the point in "Face Down In A Face-Shaped Hole" -actually a third strip. Yeah, I miss-counted but I read this so I've been punished enough.

Over-all it's a nice little book with probably "A Sound From Downstairs" being the longest piece of strip-work from the aging hipster in a long time and I'm not including his preliminary work on the graphic novel "Stuart Hall Touched Me Inappropriately But Not In A Physical Way" due out on the 13/13/13.

But will this tour de force (I really must stop reading these French BD) be the last Browner Knowle -will all those Small/Alternative Press events attended by Mr Brown now be so much poorer for the lack of work from the Dean of Depression?

I put this to Mr Brown who responded cryptically, as usual, over a serving of Cream Crunchy biscuits: "Fans often approach me and ask these questions and I allways respond with 'Dear hero imprisoned with all the new crimes that you are perfecting. Oh, I can't help quoting you because everything that you said rings true' for am I now not in my cell, well, I followed you.." a glazed look takes over his eyes as he angrily presses his face closer to mine and gutterally demanded: "Reggie kray - do you know my name ?"

Now, when I referred to making investments for the future by buying Small Press books Browner Knowle is a perfect example.  Very low print runs, around 50 copies and no reprints, a popular creator with a following who is a "name".  So if you grab copies of his zines then in ten years (rather than 40-50+ years with mainstream comics) you ought to see a reasonable return if you sold them.

If you want really -really- rare then go for Ben Dilworth 1980s zines.

But in the meantime, as the Boy from Knowle would say, "I'm off to soak up the misery"!

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5. Between You & Me/Mary Norris: Loving the Copy Editors

It's possible (very possible?) that this blog post will be imperfect. I will either upmake a word; or use an unnecessary semi-colon. I will insist that those whom read this review go buy this book. I will misapply the heesh. I will call the author an authoress. I will be insufficiently restrictive.

I'm about as imperfect as a person gets, but I still love me my grammar books. I've got a stack of them. I find them foon to read. And these confessions of Mary Norris, who has comma asserted for three decades at the New Yorker, make a wonderful addition to my grammar/memoir/humor shelf. Because honestly, some of the funniest stuff I read is found in grammar books. These checkers have a ripe sense of humor, oh but they do:

Norris is a lovable guide to commas and pencils. She (like Daniel Menaker, the New Yorker editor who visited my class at Penn this last semester) sort of kind of just landed at the estimable magazine. She endured furrowed brows, compensated for her own bad handwriting, studied the-art-of-the-hyphen, heard marriage proposal possibilities in author praise, and made a few good finds (more than a few good finds) on proof pages. She talks about it all (or 200 pages of the all) in Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. I found this book a happy place to be, a bar of sunshine on the couch, a melding of gentle instruction in life and words.

Here is Norris on commas and clauses:

If the clause is integral to the meaning of the sentence, it should not be set off by commas. It is restrictive, that intimidating word wielded by grammarians in the attempt to fend off commas. (People think we live to put commas in, but it isn't so.) A phrase is restrictive if it tightens the meaning, if it draws an invisible belt around which fact, out of all the facts in the universe, pertains.

Here she is on who and whom:

The choice of "who" or "whom" is governed not by its role as the object of the sentence or the object of a preposition but by its role in the group of words that has been plugged into that position. Break it down: You can tell he (or she) is top dog. You would never say, "You can tell him (or her) is top dog." That's the point: "who" and "whom" are standing in for a pronoun: "who" stands in for "he, she, they, I, we"; "whom" stands in for "him, her, them, me, us."

(As I type these words I ponder the punctuation of that last sentence.)

Can we talk about how many times I have been saved by a copy editor? Here I was years ago on a vlog, no less, thanking HarperTeen's Renee Cafiero and Jill Santopolo for their help on an early YA novel, showing off the pages of corrections. And you have, perhaps, noticed my affection for a certain Debbie Deford Minerva  in the acknowledgments of One Thing Stolen and (upcoming) This Is the Story of You, who has saved me time and again, both by her enthusiasm and her fact checking, not to mention her ability to gently ask whether I really did mean to have one character in two different places at one time.

Just the other night, I was at Rosemont College, giving my annual "Love Your Copy Editors" talk for Hobart Rowland, the editorial director of Delaware Today and Main Line Today magazines. I had my slew of books. I told my copy editing stories. I goaded. Learn the rules, I said. Learn how to break the rules. Help us authors be our best and brightest selves.

Help me.

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6. The Rise of the Review

My short story, The Drop of Light and the Rise of Dark, appeared in Black Static #45 last month. I'm still pinching myself and resisting getting this beauty framed. Here be links to reviews from some fine folk:

"This one takes a very simple seeming scenario and weaves a dark, brooding story full of menace and terror, which ushers in some real, heartfelt emotion." Paul M Feeney, Ginger Nuts of Horror.

"So that redoubled the terror of this second little girl story (here physically disabled) who imagines the eclipse never-ending as she tries to struggle downstairs to find her parents or her best friend." DF Lewis

"...Gardner keeps an extra cruel sting in her tail – a reminder that in horror, and in life, you can’t get away so easily." Gareth Jones, Dread Central.

There is also a lovely review by Jess Landry over at HELLNOTES that favourites SP Miskowski, Stephen Hargadon and Steve Rasnic Tem's stories.

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7. Adam Zyglis wins Pulitzer Prize for Cartooning


The Pulitzers, awarded for excellence in journalism, were announced yesterday, and the winner for cartooning was Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News. Finalists were Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher of the Baltimore Sun and Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins), of Daily Kos. (On her FB page Columbia U librarian Karen Green revealed she was one of the judges for the category.) You can see some more of Zyglis’s work here.

As usual, WaPo’s Michael Cavna was on the scene for the first interview:

“Hearing I’d won was surreal,” Zyglis tells The Post’s Comic Riffs this afternoon, shortly after receiving the news. “I was working in a corner of the newsroom, and suddenly, people started shouting and coming up and hugging me.”

Perhaps Zyglis, who’s in his 30s, pretty youthful for a Pulitzer winner, should not have been so surprised. In recent years he won the Berryman Award, was a finalist for a Reuben, was named the 2015 recipient of the Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning With a Conscience and was a runner–up for the National Headliner Award. Given all that it would be more surreal if he HADN’T won.


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8. Celebrating Saint John Muir’s birthday

John Muir practically glowed with divine light in the early 1870s. “We almost thought he was Jesus Christ,” the landscape painter William Keith exclaimed to an interviewer. “We fairly worshipped him!”

The post Celebrating Saint John Muir’s birthday appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.

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10. Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center {Review}


A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It’s supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother’s even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can’t imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen’s well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.

Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen’s own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found.


I loved this book! I picked it up for two reasons: one, it reminded me of WILD by Cheryl Strayed (but fiction), and two, I have loved Katherine Center’s previous novels. This woman can write! She pulls you deep into the heart of her characters and has you not only routing for them every step of the way, but also learning things about yourself, as well. Her books and her writing always seems to have a hopeful, positive spin on life. Even when her characters are facing tough situations and their lives seem to be turned upside down, she brings that silver lining into every moment. Helen Carpenter was a relatable, likeable heroine and the love story wasn’t predictable, saccharine, or aggressive. This is the story of a woman discovering herself, discovering what she’s capable of and learning to love her life, even the ugly and difficult moments, because it all makes up a rich and interesting life. Brene Brown has written a quote for the cover of the book, “This wise, delicious, page-turning novel won’t let you go. Katherine Center writes about falling down, grwoing up, and finding love like nobody else.” I couldn’t agree more with her sentiments. Happiness for Beginners is thoughtful, sweet, and inspiring.




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11. Polly Spy Dog Resistance Fighter

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12. Query Question: On Second Thought

I have a full request out with one of my top-five favorite agents.  After my heart soared from the full request, I read everything left on the internet that I hadn't read prior about TFFA, over analyzing the garbage out of whether or not TFFA would like my manuscript, but I was disappointed to find (buried in a very recent interview on a little-read blog) my book contains something that I am almost certain she will reject. And it's not subjective. It's a bloody book, and she seems pretty clear on her inability to handle gore. TFFA even gave comp titles on level of acceptable and unacceptable gore.

To complicate matters, my current WIP (which is drafted, through edit 7, critiqued, and on its way to a final draft in the next 2-5 months) is literally RIGHT up her alley. It's in a different age range and genre that she represents FAR more often (still scratching my head as to why she requested my bloody full) and despite there being no guarantees, it just seems like a far better fit.

Now, I know the  answer to this question (or at least I think I do) but I'd rather look stupid asking a question than look stupid doing something silly.

1) Based on what I know, should it be on my radar at all to retract my full for fear of TFFA getting the wrong first impression and not wanting to touch my second (very non-violent) book with a 10 foot pole?

2) Or should I just wait it out and let her reject or (by some miracle of gastric fortitude) accept my blood soaked pages?

3) Has a first impression in terms of genre/style/common trope/pet peeve in writing ever set you off badly enough that you had a lurking impression on future submissions?

4) (and you can feel free to answer this one quietly) Am I... perhaps... just a tiny neurotic bit... over thinking this?

Let's take the questions in reverse order.

(4) No you are not over-thinking this.  This is a serious question of strategy.

(3) Sure, but that's not what this is. First impressions when someone says "please get back to me soon" are the ones you want to avoid.

(2) NO

(1) YES

Here's what you do. VERY SUCCINCTLY (and I think we can agree that this question to me was NOT THAT) you say "I believe, upon further research, that this novel will be too violent for your stated taste. Rather than have you invest time in reading this, I have another novel that I believe is more suited to both what you sell, and your preference on levels of gore. Thus, I'd like to withdraw this novel, and query you for TITLE."

Here's WHY you're going to do this: I'd rather read the novel that most suits my taste FIRST.  There's time enough later on to get the novel I don't like as much but since you're already a client, will have to just suck it up and sell.

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13. Guest Post: Joy Preble on Being a Mid-Career, Mid-List Author

By Joy Preble
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

I took pause for a moment when my lovely friend and mentor, Cyn Leitich Smith, asked me to write about what it’s like to be at this stage in my career.

“You know,” she said. “You’ve got a foothold but you’re not a new voice or (yet) a grand dame.”

The truth is that she nailed it exactly. Like so many authors—most of us in fact—I’m somewhere in the middle.

Finding Paris (Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins, 2015) will be my sixth book, following on the heels of two paranormal series. It will be my first darker contemporary YA, which is very exciting.

Next spring, I’ll follow it with It Wasn't Always Like This, a wildly romantic novel coming from Soho Press, about an immortal girl in search of her long lost immortal true love. Tuck Everlasting meets "Veronica Mars."

To many of my writing colleagues, this means I’ve made it. And in some ways, I have.

Seven published books on shelves is wonderful. It’s more than I ever dreamed of when I was first starting out. I began this career later than some, which makes me even more grateful for how it’s turning out.

I have been toured around the country and presented on panels at various book festivals in various places. I have a new world of author and publishing friends and colleagues. I teach writing as a working writer now, and schools and libraries ask me to visit and often pay me nicely. I’ve been invited to give keynotes and workshops and have had panels accepted at conferences of all sorts.

My first novel, Dreaming Anastasia (Sourcebooks, 2009), is in its fifth or sixth printing. Fairy tale fans continue to find and embrace the series, which is awesome.

I get fan letters. Well, emails, but still!

My family and ‘civilian’ friends and former English teacher colleagues think I’m a rock star. I have stopped trying to tell them otherwise. It’s me in dirty yoga pants typing, I say.

The trade reviews have been lovely for Finding Paris. Really lovely. It’s a genre shift for me, a foray into darker contemporary after five paranormal books, and so this is good to hear. My editor sends me happy notes. The risk reward of trying something new has been worth it.


My career is still not a sure thing. I have written for three different publishers—which is common, but also means that the power of my backlist is sometimes lessened. But not always. I have to work a little smarter to wrangle invites to events. I’m not generally the first name my publicists think of when they’re pitching for panels. Sometimes I am.

The top tier events are still a club that sits just out of reach, at least most days.

I don’t have the luxury of saying, as we’d all like to say: My only job is to write better and better books. (Well, actually most authors except for the elite few worry about publicity and promotion. It’s part of the job.) I really do love reaching out and making my own opportunities.

But mid-listers have to hustle a little harder. Yes, hustle. I know it’s word all fraught with connotation, but I don’t know a better one right now.

In an article on “Top Ten Spring Books You Should Look For,” I might appear in the scroll down as “other titles we’re excited about.” My buzz is a little softer.

Another truth: It’s just less thrilling to promote the breakout of the seventh book. Or the tenth. The splash of the debut is generally the more exciting story. So much so, that I recently saw a very brilliant YA author break out after a number of titles and still be mistakenly referred to as a debut.

It is often easier to trumpet the miracle than it is to promote the norm, which is that after writing a body of work of increasing substance and value, we write the one.

Do you know the actor J.K. Simmons? He just won an Oscar for his role in "Whiplash." He has been a working actor for a very long time, the guy whose face and voice you know but whose name probably escaped you until this year.

He was the police psychiatrist on "Law and Order SVU," Peter Parkers’s boss in the Spider-Man movies. He does tons of commercial voice over work and all those Farmer’s Insurance commercials and cable series like "Oz."

But Whiplash—for whatever reason—that was the breakout. The role that got people talking. A full and varied body of work over many years until it was his turn.

Anyway. I am thrilled about Finding Paris. It’s a more serious platform for me, about blind spots and secrets and how hard it is to find our way, and the imperfect people who love us, even if they don’t know how to help us. I am so excited to talk about this book!

I am fortunate beyond measure to get to make a living (at least part of one!) doing something I love. I am lucky to work with amazing people who love books as much as I do and grateful to everyone who has been so kind on this journey, particularly my wonderful and clever editors and my readers who keep coming back for more. All of these people have allowed me to stay in the game.

And when the breakout moment comes, I will look up J.K. Simmons’s Oscar speech.

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14. कार्टून – शुभ यात्रा

cartoon -gud days-monicaजी … अभी आए नही है … अच्छे दिन आने वाले हैं … बस चलते रहिए … चलते रहिए और चलते रहिए … कभी न कभी आ ही जाएगे… आपकी यात्रा शुभ हो :)

The post कार्टून – शुभ यात्रा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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15. R is for Recruiting Officer

Recruiting Officer           from my poetry book, Kaleidoscope  

You old devil, performing conjuring tricks
in the bleak December classroom.
You ham act the nativity, roll up your sleeves.
The ginger hairs on your arms glisten
under the naked bulb.

Your fists scoop out manure, cleansing the stable floor,
warm dung drips between your coarse fingers,
as your sour breath touches open faces.
You revel in their reaction, forming young minds,
creating an hypnotic state.

Your stoat to their frozen rabbit,
you teach them original sin,
tell them they shut the inn door, and weave
a glowing lantern slide before their astonished gaze,
with towering Magi bearing bitter gifts.

Lord of your chalk domain, exhausted by your
matinee performance now replete,
you close moist fleshy mouth, replace the lens cap
over thrusting tongue, and Pied Piper them
into a leafless playground.

Years later, standing in that empty classroom,
the stage of your many triumphs, you look at the rows of
iron-runner desks, breathing the fumes from the 
pot-bellied stove, and rummage in your bag of tricks.
Your hopes for your future, your religious faith, now gone, 
have you forgotten the Christian army you sent into battle?

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16. Die Spitze der Treppe preise für holztreppen aus Polen Sie nicht wollen, um den Druck zu verwenden.

Wenn Sie leiden an gut eu Ort brysch treppen Polen und wollen Nacharbeit, hier Aktionen Bereiche zu berücksichtigen Anfang advance: Reparatur und Umbau? Aktuellre-establishing das Haus , so dass Sie ihre first Wunder und Renovierung mit a der Link massivholztreppen Beobachtung nach Modernisierung Eigentum obwohl halten an her Individualität? Studium: Es gibt unzählige Informationen die kann damit Sie wissen, Weg das Haus sollte aussehen und der Weg zu Wiederaufbau die Artikel. Jeder einzelne behaupten hat ein Arbeitsplatz geschichtlichen Verfügbarkeit. Sie könnten erleichtern auch wenn das Haus Grunde registriert die Anfang Wohn. Zugleich finden Sanierung soziale Netzwerke, Effizienz Interaktion, oder möglicherweise andere Arten von Kategorien gleichgesinnte Erneuerer. Layout Idee: Wenn Sie haben Bedeutung Veränderungen in Gehirn, Sie haben sollte eine Art Architekten und zusätzlich Bauunternehmer wer sind komfortabel mit Bedeutung Wohnungen. Sie können helfen Ihnen, kommen mit a Ansatz was zu bewahren und genau auf. Dieses Vorgehen oft macht die anschließende Möglichkeiten treppen firmen in Polen leichter. Speichern Frühe Aspekte: über Ihre Bewertung alle der Kriterien Bereitstellung Ihre Immobilie Anfang persona, , das die Boden Zeitplan, Haupt Apparat, Lichteffekte, und zusätzlich Konfiguration in der Suiten. Betrachte das Beste erwerben Ihr persönliches Reparatur Ziele aber Spar typischerweise den Heim Anfang Charakter.
Suche Handwerker: Verwendung in sehr versiert die Entwicklung Möglichkeiten und zusätzlich einzigartig Teile Unternehmen Wohnzimmer Bekleidung Zeitpunkt. Sie haben zu lokalisieren einiger Zeit Einzelpersonen bieten die Fachabilities müssen Sie. SuchenSellers: Sie können findencompanies "wie alte" Ressourcen, die in der Regel sind Aktuelles gleichwohl Form zu die jeweilige kunstexpectations der eigenen Heim Ära. Komponenten|Wenn Sie Produkte während der Verwendung facciata alt, zu Suche for von Nische Kategorien, Reparatur Hinterhöfen, mit Bruttoumsatz. Informieren Sie sich Ihre Zahlungsfähigkeit : Aber wenn die Dollar neigen dazu, nicht endlosen, herauszufinden vorher die oft Elemente zu Hause Sie Aufmerksamkeit zu geben wählen. Vielleicht möchten Sie start small mit Hilfe ein paar Dinge, wiereinstating die Treppe oder einfach Schalten Regel die Form. Schützen die Außen: Sie möchten Ihr Haus Auswahl das Business Auf die Oberfläche, noch halten die berühmten Aussehen kompliziert Wettbewerb an der Zeit, die Sie modernisieren. Mit a moderne kostengünstige Windows 7, sondern zusätzlich aussehen wegen erhalten unter Weg auf ein älterer Home. Trotzdem einige Trades-Personen in der Lage, installieren brandneue dreifach verglaste Windschutzscheibe während obwohlrejuvenating allerersten Gehäuse.
Für alle, die es fasziniert Hinzufügen Regel die Sie unten sein das Ende mit einem zugehörigen Vergleich das bemerkenswerteste, Sicherheit möglicherweise erforderlich diverse Tore . In der Unterseite, können Jetzt mit Hilfe von einfach nur Einbau Nachfrage platziert Durchfahrten. Diese sind im Allgemeinen unkompliziert zu installieren Verwendung wie sie erfordern jede spezifische steigenden. Howevere wenn wahrscheinlich die Installation im oberen Bereich präsentiert sich Ihre persönlichen Treppenhaus, Sie können absolut wählen eine bestimmte Sache besser mehr als Schwierigkeitsgrad Befestigung Tor, wie Gerät platziert Checkpoints. Ein weiteres wichtiges Anliegen bei Treppemeasurements. Wenn Ihre primäre kann regelmäßig sein Größe, viele kleine Sie werden wird Ergänzung unkomplizierten. Wer sind konnten ein furchtbar diverse Schritt Ort, überprüfen versuchen, einen zu finden Anzahl Ersatz big das Baby Tore. Achten Sie darauf, Berechnung schau es Dir massivholztreppen schließlich die Fülle Ihrer jeweiligen Treppenhaus zu beginnen, , so können Sie Angebot Wägungen mit der Kauf anschließend . Bailey ist wirklich ein mum der wirklich weiß, die wesentliche kinder Safe Praktiken. Für weitere Informationen lesen Tipps Reduzierung Katastrophen Umgebung der Wohn, schauen Sie sich Neu geboren Baby Eintrittskarten für bestimmt in Bezug auf Treppen.

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17. Dinotopia World Beneath, Episode 12

It's Tuesday, time for Episode 11 of the serialized audio dramatization of Dinotopia: The World Beneath. You can listen to the track by clicking on the play button below, or by following the direct link to SoundCloud.

A scene of the pod village of Bonabba, where Will is learning more about piloting skybaxes. Arthur tries to sell the locals on the mechanical strutters that he found in The World Beneath.

But they have a way of getting out of control, as these robot dinosaurs have a mind of their own. When I did these paintings in 1993, I had no idea we would see semi-sentient autonomous walkers within two decades. 

This audio re-creation was produced by ZBS Productions.  Audio wizard Tom Lopez and composer Tim Clark created many layers of sound to make Dinotopia come alive to the ears.

The Christian Science Monitor called this production "A dazzling soundscape that does full justice to Gurney’s wondrous lost world… perfect family listening.”

Episode 13 arrives in a week. Each short episode will only be live online for one week, and then it will disappear.

If you'd like to purchase the full two-hour World Beneath podcast right now and hear all fifteen episodes back to back in a feature-length production, check out The World Beneath at ZBS Foundation website for the MP3 download. It's also available as a CD.

The Book
You can also order the original printed book from my web store and I'll sign it for you. (It ships via Media Mail within 24 hours of your order. US orders only for the book, please). The book is also available from Amazon in a 20th Anniversary Edition with lots of extras.

The Museum Exhibition
Many of these paintings are now on view at the Dinotopia exhibition at the Stamford Art Museum and Nature Center through May 25.

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18. Dynamite announces monthly Bob’s Burgers comic

With C2E2 coming up it looks like another week of Dynamite news. Starting out…a monthly Bob’s Burger comic with creators from the animated series involved, including creator Loren Bouchard. The first Bob’s Burgers mini series was a surprise hit for Dynamite with multiple printings, a best selling collection and one of the top ordered FCBD comics. The series launches in July. The PR didn’t mention the artists on these variant covers, but as with most variants, they look nice.





Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the upcoming July release of Bob’s Burgers #1, the first issue in an ongoing series that presents all-new adventures and antics of the Belcher Family, the beloved cast of the popular FOX animated comedy series. Building upon the success of their five-issue 2014 miniseries, Dynamite and partner Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products welcome a creative team assembled from the actual television show producers and animators to deliver the engaging Belcher Family fun that millions of fans adore.

“Bringing Bob’s Burgers to the comic book medium is a lot of fun, because it allows us to tell stories that we wouldn’t normally do on the TV show and it allows our artists to illustrate them in equally unique styles,” says Mike Olsen, one of the contributing writers for theBob’s Burgers comic book series.

Loren Bouchard, the creator of Bob’s Burgers, says, “We want the comic to appeal to fans of the show, and to that end, we strive to protect the tone, the heart, and most importantly, the characters, just as fiercely as we do when we’re working on the TV show. If you enjoy the show and you don’t enjoy the comic book, then we owe you a comic book, or at least an apology.”

“We’re very fortunate that Loren (Bouchard) and his creative team of writers and artists are able to take the time to create some of the best comics in the industry today.  We wanted to wait to launch the ongoing series till Loren and his team were able to create enough material to do so, instead of continuing series of mini-series.   Bob’s Burgers has been successful thanks to the execution of Loren and his creative team.  When you think about it, Bob’s Burgers is the only comic in the industry that has the entire team of writers and artists work on the comic.  It truly is canon and no other comic in the industry has the entire creative team working on the series.” States Dynamite CEO/Publisher Nick Barrucci. 

The second-ever series of the Bob’s Burgers comic book gives each member of the Belcher Family a chance to shine. Each monthly issue will include new installments of Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction, Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities, Gene’s Rhymey Rhymes That Could Someday Be Songs, Linda’s Attempts to Take a Nice Family Picture in Front of the Restaurant (And How It Always Goes Wrong), and Bob’s Fantasy Food Trucks (If Money Were No Object).

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19. Reading – Understanding the Process

by Carol Fraser Hagen, Reading Specialist

The thought process children (or anyone) go through to understand what they are reading involves a specific sequence of steps. These steps are:

Predicting – Requires the student to scan a book or text, then make viable predictions about what he thinks he is going to read.

Reading – Student reads a short portion of the story/text.

Verifying –After reading several passages, or a chapter the student then verifies whether his predictions were correct. At this point, the student also summarizes what he has just learned.

Reading – Student continues reading the story/text.

Clarifying – Student stops reading, thinks about what he has read, retrieves previous knowledge, attaches new knowledge (the information he has just read) to this previous knowledge, then assimilates this new knowledge into his mind. Again, the student is also summarizing what he has just learned from what he read.


Basically, while reading a book or a story or other text, readers keep repeating all the steps in this thought process.

Making students aware of this thought process allows them to learn to monitor their own thinking. Accomplished readers instantly know whether they understand (comprehend) what they are reading, and conversely when they are not. When the latter is the case, good readers automatically re-read for clarification and understanding.

NOTE: Today’s post is for the letter “R” for the Blogging A to Z Challenge.

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20. Celebrating Water

California is experiencing severe drought conditions and rationing water. It's a good reminder of what a precious and essential resource water is. Poet George Ella Lyon feels passionately about this topic and has authored a poem about it, “World Water Day," as well as a beautiful picture book, All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon (Atheneum, 2011). Here, Sharon T. has recruited a teenager to read George Ella's beautiful poem. 

March 22 is officially World Water Day and you can learn more about this United Nations celebration HERE

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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21. 30 Days of Teen Programming: Low-Stress Making through Crafternoons

Are you a maker? With all the emphasis on high tech gadgetry, it can make you feel a little left behind if you can't swing a 3D printer on your budget or lack the skills to wield some soldering equipment.

But, like the science-technology-engineering- math portmanteau STEM which added an "A" added to encompass art and become STEAM, the expansion of the "maker" trend to incorporate arts and crafts as a creative and productive use of time and space is a step towards recognizing the wide variety of material production that libraries have long been supporting. And it's an easy way to get in on the making trend with supplies you likely have laying around.

We've had success with this sort of low-stress, drop-in crafting at our library.


Fairhope, a top-notch public library in south Alabama, coined the term "crafterfnoon" for this sort of activity, which I am appropriating.

crafternoon at Fairhope


Don't have a dedicated makerspace? Crafternooning can take place from a cart, as Shannon Miller RTed:


Last month at the Library Technology Conference, I heard middle school librarian Jen Legatt talking about starting her makerspace with jigsaw puzzles and origami paper...so expand your thinking about making. Any space that gets people interacting and collaborating around a constructive activity works!

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22. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/21/15: Introducing Deerdevil

§ I got a note from Incachild Creative stating that in remembrance of Spectacular Spider-Ham, they made a tribute video called Deerdevil. You can watch it above. I guess it’s funnier if you remember Mark Armstrong’s Spider-Ham, which was part of the kid-oriented Star line, but it might be funny without that. I love it.


§ Another email directed me to this TEST PRESS MoCCA 2015 Review by – Jefe aka Johnny Chiba y la mocca loca. This is a fantastic line-up of comics by about 75% I never even heard of so go rootle around and have fun!

§ Legendary Last Gsap publisher Ron Turner is doing a Reddit AMA today from 12-1 pm (PDT? or EDT? unknown.). Turner is a legend of the Bay Area and he knows a LOT of things that you can ask him about.

§ Hazel Cills interviews Jillian Tamaki about Super Mutant Magic Academy:

You describe on the comic’s Tumblr that the series is kind of like a diary of sorts, too?

It is for sure the most personal work of mine. As an illustrator I’m used to interpreting other people’s content although with Mariko’s books I don’t consider myself just an illustrator, they’re definitely collaboration. But this, just because it was installments and I made them unprompted, did feel like a diary. In 2007 I started a sketch blog when that was sort of a more novel idea than it is now. That was great for just putting things online and building a relationship with people that was more than just finished pieces. You’re sort of showing a peek behind your personality, but eventually I got sick of putting up just sketchbook work. So I feel like the comic kind of replaced that.


§ Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and DC Entertainment (DCE) got together thousnads of people worldwide to participate in a 24 hour “dress like a DC superhero” event. Can this be a new comics holiday?

The DC Comics Super Hero World Record Event kicked off on April 18, 2015 in Queensland, Australia, and came to a commemorative close in Los Angeles, CA, USA. Within the same 24-hour period, additional events took place around the world in: Manila, Philippines; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Madrid, Spain; Rome, Italy; London, Birmingham, Warrington and Cardiff in the UK; São Paulo, Brazil; Paris, France;  “Smallville,” USA (Plano, IL) and Mexico City, Mexico.
Fans are highlighting their participation in the heroic event using #DCWorldRecord on Facebook and Twitter. The official Guinness World Recordcount will be available in the coming days.

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23. R is for Royal Navy Press Gangs - A to Z 2015 Challenge

A story of the Royal Navy Press Gangs

In the continued celebration of the A to Z 2015 Challenge I'd like to share with you the story behind the book, a tale of the Royal Navy Press Gangs ~ Powder Monkey...

Thanks for dropping by and viewing my video on the Story Behind the Book!


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

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule

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

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

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

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25. #act4teens: Connecting Teens to their Passions for Workforce Development

Thanks to technology and a wealth of resources available via the internet, youth have more ways to discover their interests and passions. Spaces across the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network, based on the principles of Connected Learning and HOMAGO (hanging out, messing around, and geeking out) provide spaces for youth to gather, collaborate, and learn by doing. With the guidance of caring, near-peer artist-mentors, teens explore animation, recording music, and writing poetry and music. YOUmedia successfully provides a way for youth to learn 21st century skills, which in turn can lead to more workplace opportunities. There is a need for developing a 21st century skillset, which includes “life and career skills, innovation, critical thinking, and information, media, and technology skills.” In essence, workers need to be able to adapt and think critically and differently about situations. YOUmedia has had success with this, encouraging youth to experiment with new technology and activities.

Given the success of YOUmedia, how does one transform the “geeking out” stage of creation and production into a viable career path? For example, Salvador Avila, the Manager of the Enterprise Branch of the Las Vegas Clark County Library District and mentor at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, saw how youth were constantly plugged into their music players, so he began teaching DJ classes. Organizations tapping into the successes of the YOUmedia Network are the Cities of Learning Network and twelve new user-centered spaces funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the MacArthur Foundation. The Los Angeles Summer of Learning encourages youth to explore and develop their passions in coding, community action, media, sports, and other interests, and learn how it relates to their career or academic future. Youth aged 16-24 can participate in the Workforce Readiness Challenge, where they learn job skills, interview skills and financial literacy.

A project that our office is involved in is the GRIT Lab – a teen community center in the South Bronx that will be a place to connect youth to out of school learning and workforce opportunities. Across New York City, there are 172,000 out-of school and out-of-work 18-24 year olds. Some of the challenges that out-of-school and out-of-work youth face result from a lack of interest-driven opportunities, workforce development programs, and a supportive learning environment. Working with key organizations in the South Bronx like DreamYard and New Visions for Public Schools, we observed how an advisor figure positively affects the student’s academic and personal growth and chances for success. Advisors are a crucial aspect of the youth development process because they are instrumental in advocating for and making sure students are on a path to success in their education. An advisor who works with and supports the student’s customized pathway from the interest-driven to career-driven stages would be ideal, and they could be a resource to connect different resources.

The GRIT Lab faces challenges of connecting areas of youth interest to workforce opportunities. One area of interest is technology – coincidentally, New York City is a rapidly growing technology center. Tech is now the second largest jobs sector in the city and will be a source of opportunity for many young New Yorkers. By identifying these industries and the requisite job skills now, today’s youth can be prepared to succeed in these sectors. For example, training a young person today how to code or write a computer program will give them exposure and some basic skills in the technology field. Some of these needs are being addressed by YOUmedia Cohorts and workforce development programs like the Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn, which provides job and leadership training for young adults and has a Digital Stewardship program for young adults where they work to maintain and provide Wi-Fi for the neighborhood. Per Scholas, a non-profit based in New York with other locations across the country, trains adults in the information technology sector. Per Scholas connects their graduates with career opportunities at Doran Jones (a partner company) and other corporations. Workforce development is a necessary and important layer to add to youth centers.

These skills and opportunities are vital to workforce development, but not always connected to long-term jobs. Even though the emphasis is on developing workforce skills, the holistic needs of the teen remain important. Third places like the DreamYard Art Center with its YOUmedia space, the Children’s Aid Society Next Generation Center (NGC), and the FEGS Bronx Youth Center serve the youth population of the South Bronx. The NGC offers hangout space and structured programs, as well as resources and advisors for youth to learn more about educational and career pathways. One program, the Next Generation Caterers, is a youth-led catering business. Not only does this program produce students with job and culinary skills, they have also been introduced to a work environment through their interests in that field.

The developing trend is that children and youth need more than traditional, in-school learning. User-centered out-of-school learning environments like YOUmedia and the GRIT Lab see the whole child, and the long-term value of interspace learning, advisors and support systems, and the need to pair learning with opportunity. The movement for out-of-school learning opportunities paired with workforce development impacts teen services. The Connected Learning “hanging out, messing around, geeking out” model which YOUmedia uses and its impact on teens has been critical for this move to create an environment that supports youth, and connects their interests to academics, and workforce development.


Margaret Sullivan, Principal of Margaret Sullivan Studio, is a leader in programming, visioning and designing libraries of our future! With a specialty in designing teen spaces to support Connected Learning principles, the Studio was responsible for designing the DreamYard Arts Center in the South Bronx, a YOUMedia prototype, and Cloud901, the new Teen Learning Lab at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis, TN.

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