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1. Halloween Book Challenge Bonus

Happy HalloweenHave you been participating in the Halloween Book Challenge? Every week, we read a different book. Today is Halloween so we have a BONUS challenge for you! It’s a Halloween Party Spell-It-Out Challenge.

Here’s how the bonus challenge works. Think of all the books you read this month for the Halloween Book Challenge. Then think of the perfect Halloween party item (drinks, candy, decorations, etc.) and spell it out using the first letter of words in your book titles.

Example:
G - 
The Graveyard Book

U - Captain Underpants

M - Midnight Howl

Leave yours in the Comments. Have a super-fun and safe Halloween!

 

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2. U.S. Fails In Roman Polanski Extradition Attempt

samanthageimer

“He has been wanted by US police since 1977 after fleeing the country before he could be sentenced for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.”

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3. Movie Theatres Ban Google Glass

GoogleGlass_15

“If it can record, the new guidelines say, shut it off and put it away.”

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4. Cats, Wives and Videotape: Survey Reveals What Really Distracts NaNoWriMo Participants

Gray tabby Lucy" by Andrei P on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreipapaz/)BY WILL LITTLE

The starting gun is set to go off for the race to 50,000 words. At an average of 1,667 words a day, NaNoWriMo participants don’t have time to waste if they’re to reach the finish line. Yet many writers do just that—waste time, and plenty of it. Distraction derails so many NaNoWriMo writers that blogging about their failure has turned into an act of mass distraction—just another activity that writers would rather do than actually write their novels.

Of course, distraction has always been the curse of the writer. The fear of filling the empty space with words that matter is enough to put even the most talented off their food. Even disciplinarian Ernest Hemingway defrosted the freezer to delay the inevitable pain of putting pen to paper. But we should especially pity contemporary writers because the 21st century has put distraction everywhere they lay their keyboards.

Our study of 1,500 writers across the U.S.—conducted anonymously to keep people honest—backs this up. Just about anything can get in the way of writing, from the Internet to pets to DVD box sets and even ice cream in November! While the need to distract may be caused by putting off the pain of creating quality work, there comes a point when the excuses have to end and the writing must begin. To begin with the best odds of writing 50,000 of your own words by November 30th, consider these survey results and tips:

Step away from the browser.
Our survey found that 52% of writers claimed to have not finished their masterpieces because they spent too much time browsing the Internet. Watching videos of parkour gone wrong or reading the daily headlines is preferable to creating beautiful prose … at least in the short term. Consider buying or renting an old-fashioned typewriter for a month and nailing shut the office door with the computer and Internet router on the other side. Alternatively, disconnect the internet with software, such as Stop Procrastinating, to write just like Hemingway. But make sure you defrost the freezer first.


 

wd1114_160

The November/December Writer’s Digest magazine 
is filled with advice for keeping the words coming. 
If you’re looking to increase your productivity or planning for NaNoWriMo, 
check out a preview in the Writer’s Digest Shop, or download it instantly.


Don’t feed the animals!
Or they’ll distract you. 7% of respondents claimed pets posed a risk to undermining their writing, with cats jumping on laps being the chief culprits. Consider hiring a petsitter for part of the month if your cat is especially fond of sitting on your keyboard.

Food, glorious food.
17% of writers surveyed said they’d eaten their word-count reward before they’d reached their day’s writing goal “at least once” during the month. That’s fine a time or two, but the habit of rewarding yourself for a goal you haven’t yet met can quickly spiral into marathon snacking sessions and very little writing. If you’re going to reward yourself with treats, here are some best practices for ensuring you stick to the goal: Put your treat into a container locked with a timer so you can’t access until you’ve worked your time. Enlist a friend or family member to withhold your goodies until you’ve completed the day’s work. Or consider that the real reward is reaching your daily writing goal—nothing more, nothing less will really satisfy you.

Honey, I’m home!
Partners, wives and husbands distracted 14% of respondents from laying down the lines. Netflix binges and leisurely cups of coffee were suggested as “creativity breaks”—a fancier term for “distractions.” If this sounds like something your significant other would do, there are solutions: Lock the door. Be clear about your goals. Set boundaries. And if those things fail, put a guard dog outside your writing room or have your partner sign a contract stating that he won’t disturb you while you’re writing—with a hefty fine to be paid if the contract is broken. Be creative about the fine; it doesn’t have to be financial. A massage every day for life would do nicely.

Work, party, work, party, work party …
22% of writers said they couldn’t summon up the creative muse because they were too tired from work or socializing. Try abstaining from partying for the month of November when possible (yes, we know it’s Thanksgiving) and look forward to celebrating with the mother of all parties on December 1st. If you’re tired from work, trying doing a half hour of exercise: it clears the mind and gives you energy to push through. Remember, it’s only for 30 days and it might just be worth it. You’re worth it!


Will Little is a writer and the creator of Stop Procrastinating, the app made by writers for writers to help beat procrastination. He also manages to write when his cat Moy isn’t sitting on his keyboard. Follow Will on Twitter at @stopprocras.

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5. ‘Gray Mountain’ Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

Gray MountainJohn Grisham’s new fiction book, Gray Mountain, has joined Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. this week at No. 2.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending October 20, 2014. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult are occupying the first and third spots on the list this week.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6. Activism-Themed Picture Book is Featured On Kickstarter

Jason and Danica Russell hope to raise $35,000 on Kickstarter for their alphabet-themed picture book, A is For Activism.

They hope to use this book to inspire their children and other readers to give back to the world. The funds will be used to cover the cost of self-publishing. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“This book is not just for the earthy, the urban, the hipster, the hippy, the traveler, the militant extremist, the organic, the already active activists, but… for the cool kids all over the world, looking for a way to matter in that world. This book is for anyone who wants to get involved, and give back, but feels overwhelmed about where to start. We believe, it is never too soon for kids to start thinking about kindness, and pro-active problem solving in big and small ways.”

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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7. HarperCollins Publishes a Bilingual Edition of ‘Goodnight Moon’

Goodnight Moon - First Book bilingual edition - front jacket coverHarperCollins has released the first-ever bilingual version of Goodnight Moon.

Goodnight Moon/Buenas Noches, Luna, an English-Spanish board book, has been made available on the First Book digital marketplace at a discounted price for educators and programs serving children in need. The executives at the publishing house were inspired by First Book’s Stories for All Project to create this special edition of Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd’s beloved picture book. The mission behind this project is to address the lack of diversity in children’s books.

Rhian Evans Allvin, the executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, had this statement in the press release: ”Having a treasured book like Goodnight Moon available as a bilingual edition means so much more than just making a classic bedtime story more accessible. This creates opportunities for very young English language learners to enjoy a cozy story time in their native and learned languages and to create a culture of reading in classrooms and homes. It is also a sign of respect: that we value ALL of our children and families.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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8. D.C. Isn’t That Exciting A Town, But The Hirshhorn Museum’s New Director Has Big Plans

hirshhorn-master495

“I hope this means we are able to come up with another kind of new bold vision that has the potential to be a real game-changer in terms of contemporary art and the way technology impacts contemporary art.”

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9. Italy Hid This Leonardo Self-Portrait From The Nazis So It Wouldn’t Give Hitler Magical Powers

leonardo

“It is said that just before taking an exam, students would do their last-minute revision in the Royal Library above the vault. Legend has it that studying near Leonardo’s genius can somehow rub off.”

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10. Sketchbook Spread

Before we had all these beautiful coloured inks and watercolors, the old masters used Bister, or Bistre. It was made out of ground shells of walnuts.
'Bistre' is French for brown, hazelnut color, or chocolate brown. 
I had never heard of this until my mother-in-law talked about it. She uses it in the art group she attends weekly. I got curious and bought a few bottles, that looked like medicine bottles from long, long ago. Then Of course, I tried it.  By taking some of the grains out, and dilluting them with water, you can paint with it. Just like with watercolor you can use it wit a lot of water, or just a little. Pretty cool! So that's the drawing on the right hand side of this journal spread.

On the left, with my ususal watercolours, I made a selfie the day before. Just because.


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11. Are Some People Hard-Wired For Bravery And Others For Cowardice?

cowardice

“Which trait increases my chances of survival or my chances to reproduce? What would be most adaptive is switching from one response to the other, depending the situation, but our underlying biology cannot switch back and forth that quickly”

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12. Current Scratch: Join Us, Local, NaNo, Book Business, Awards, & School Visits

Howdy, folks! Have your projects been spooktacular this month? Are you getting geared up for NaNo? Whatever your WIP is, may the bookish force be with you!


JOIN US


Only 9 days left before Pick up the Pace!—A Workshop with Agent Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children’s Literary, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 at A& M United MethodistChurch, College Station, TX


Story pacing can make the difference between a “nice try” rejection and a publishable manuscript. Whether you’re working on page turns in a 500-word picture book or end-of-chapter cliff-hangers in a 50,000-word novel, Jodell Sadler has tips and tools to help pick up the pace. Join SCBWI Brazos Valleyfor a day-long workshop focused on pacing and strong writing skills.* Registration fees are $125 for SCBWI members and $150 for non-members. Whether paying by check or credit card, please register through the event website.

SCBWI Regional Webinar

Date - 11/11/2014
TIME: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Cost: SCBWI members/ $10; non-members/ $35. Members, make sure you're logged in with your SCBWI id and password to get the member price.

Abrams Creative Director Chad W. Beckerman will teach "The Evolution of a Book Cover" for the last joint Texas SCBWI webinar of 2014.

LOCAL

Teen & Middle Grade Authors event. Larry J. Ringer Library in College Station: On Saturday, November 8, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., and Sunday, November 9, 2-4 p.m., Teen & Middle Grade Authors: Teen and tween aspiring authors and adult authors who write for teen and middle grade audiences, talk about your books and about other teen and middle grade fiction, book signings allowed. Contact Kendra at kperkins@bryantx.gov or (979) 764-3416. More info about this event here. *If you would like to be a featured author and have books signed at this event, please contact Kendra Perkins at the email address above.

NANOWRIMO

Have you had a story idea brewing in the back of your mind? Well, now is the perfect time to set that project on fire! The offical NaNoWriMo website can assist you. Meet other NaNo'ers, get support, keep track of progress, & write a novel in 30 days!

BOOK BUSINESS

Diversity in books... Here's the latest news from Publisher's Weekly on the subject. The We Need Diverse Books organization is doing great things!

AWARDS

Here's a list of the CILIP Carnegie Nominations for 2015.

TIPS ON SCHOOL VISITS

These tips come from a school librarian. Although written in a humorous tone, I found them most helpful when preparing for my school visit. 

*I'm working on a list of author visit tips. If you have any advice or suggestions, please email me at candice.fite@gmail.com.

 
The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.




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13. Theaters Are (Finally?) Recovering From The Recession, Says Report

Family_Album_final

“Earned income was up an impressive 40.8 percent (adjusted for inflation), although total attendance was up only 0.4 percent.”

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14. Dan Brown to Deliver the Penguin Annual Lecture

Dan BrownThe Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown will present this year’s Penguin Annual Lecture. His talk will focus on “codes, science, and religion.”

Brown (pictured, via) will give his speech for both the Penguin Random House and Penguin Random House India teams. The Times of India reports that “this is the first time that the lecture is being organised in two cities.”

Brown will visit New York City on November 10th and Mumbai on November 12th. According to The Hindu: “The seven previous lectures have been delivered by journalist and writer Thomas Friedman in 2007, diplomat and writer Chris Patten in 2008, Nobel Prize—winning economist Amartya Sen in 2009, historian Ramachandra Guha in 2010, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in 2011, former President A P J Abdul Kalam in 2012 and megastar Amitabh Bachchan last year.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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15. New York’s Latest Graffiti Crackdown May Be Backfiring

5-pointz-graffiti-nyc

“Busting graffiti artists distracts the local cops from fighting serious crime, like robberies or homicides, which have increased in Long Island City’s 114th Precinct, where 5Pointz is located, over the past year.”

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16. How’s Modern Dance Doing In Vietnam?

arabesque

“We have a history of war, but we are not trying to promote that, but rather bring the feeling of what we have through contemporary dance, through the eyes of a young generation.”

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17. How to Schedule Your NaNoWriMo Writing Time for Success

The idea of thousands and thousands of writers writing together as one beginning in just a couple of days is sublime.

Many of you will use the support of other writers to keep you writing. Others will take daily walks. Some will plot as you write. Others have detailed Plot Planners at the ready as you write, every word a joy. I give thanks for journey we travel together.

NaNoWriMo Schedule:

11/1 - 11/7 -- Write the Beginning 1/4 of your story
11/7 -- Write the End of the Beginning scene
11/8 -- 11/14 Write the 1st 1/2 of the Middle
11/14 -- Write the Recommitment scene
11/15 -- 11/21 Write the 2nd 1/2 of the Middle
11/21 -- Write the Crisis
11/22 -- 11/28 Write the End 1/4
11/27 -- Write the Climax
11/28 -- Write the Resolution
11/29 -- 11/30 Catch-up

(NOTE: For now, don't worry about your plot or if you're starting in the right place or any of the details. We'll get to that in December. For now, give yourself permission to completely give yourself to writing your story.)

For plot help before, during and after writing a novel in a month, take my Plot Whisperer books along: 

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
  •  
  • PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises

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18. Does Going On A World Tour Make A Symphony World Class?

chi-141020-cso-european-tour-pictures-012

“In Chicago Symphony lore, it was the orchestra’s first-ever overseas tour — a massive six-week, nine-country, 15-venue, 25-concert trip led by music director Georg Solti in 1971 — that vaulted it to world-class status while changing cultural perceptions of Chicago, with the orchestra greeted by a ticker-tape parade upon its return home.”

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19. From exploring gardens to exploring outer space (Pinterest links)

I found some more beautiful photos for my Pinterest garden board: http://www.pinterest.com/joyvsmith/exploring-gardens/

And I found more beautiful and cool photos for my Exploring Outer Space board: http://www.pinterest.com/joyvsmith/exploring-outer-space/

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20. Bookstore MFA

new-directions-poetry-pamphlets

“At some point, it’s just you and the poems. You haven’t been told to read a poem, you haven’t been assigned a poem to critique, you haven’t been told a book’s really great, so you’re just picking up books that either speak to you or don’t. You’re just looking through book after book after book trying to find something engaging.”

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21. A ‘Nasty, Glorious, Freewheeling’ Alternative Art History For The U.S.

freewheelingart

“It’s possible to create a neat and tidy map tracing the progress of American art over the last 50 years. Yes, you can draw some sort of shape connecting Pop Art to Minimalism to Conceptual Art, highlighting the famed (often white and male) artists associated with each. … But it’s a stagnant, small portrait.”

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22. Fandango, The Movie Ticket Seller, Joins The Content Producer Race

fandango-logo

“The deal is part of Fandango’s ongoing effort to expand its offerings as a one-stop-shop for moviegoers. The site now offers reviews, commentary, celebrity interviews, trailers, guidance for families, and of course, their well-known ticket purchasing service.”

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23. How to Know Which Writing Opportunity is the BEST Path for You

Editor’s Note: The following content is provided to Writer’s Digest by a writing community partner. This content is sponsored by American Writers & Artists Inc. www.awaionline.com.

By Rebecca Matter

3d human scratching head with a question marks. 3d illustration.I want to cover something very important this week, so I need you to do me a favor …

Spend a few minutes today visualizing what a profitable writing career means to you.

To me, and to most of the writers I know, it means having a writing business that meets your financial goals while working reasonable hours … having solid skills that clients value … and having plenty of clients who are willing to pay you very well for those skills. Or instead of writing for clients, it means selling your own written products to readers happy to pay you large sums of money.

It doesn’t matter which writing opportunity you choose, whether it’s copywriting, web writing, resume writing, travel writing, grant writing, or any of the other opportunities I shared last month when I gave you the 7 best-paying projects for writers in 2015 … whatever. They all hold tremendous value for freelance writers.

But to become a freelance writer in the first place, you have to know what you want your writing life to look like.

Once you have that down, you can move on to the second step: Choosing a path.

The goal here is to get clear on why you want the writer’s life so you can pick the perfect writing opportunity for you. So today, I’m going to share my simple but effective formula for helping you choose the best path for your writing career, based on your goals, so you can get launched as quickly as possible.

How will a Writing Career Change Your Life?

To get started, think about what attracts you most to the idea of making money as a freelance writer. After all, people come to this profession from a variety of backgrounds and for a ton of different reasons. And no single reason is better than any others.

Now, most people are attracted to the idea of being a well-paid freelance writer for the freedom of it all. Because yes, you get to be your own boss, you can work when and where you please, you set your own hours, and you pick your own projects.

But let’s take it one step farther. I want you to focus on the specifics of your individual situation. Think about what a successful writing career could do for you. Would it allow you to …

  • Quit your day job?
  • Supplement your current income?
  • Add to your retirement income?
  • Travel the world?
  • Greatly impact a charity near and dear to your heart?

You also need to think about your timeline. For example, do you want to reach this goal as soon as possible, or are you flexible about it? Do you have a drop-dead deadline, maybe because you’ve already announced when you’re quitting your job? Or do you have a specific income goal to meet by a certain date?

It’s important to clarify what you want your writing career to do for you. Once you have your why figured out, it’s a lot easier to choose the path that’s most appropriate for your needs.

6 Proven Writing Paths for Writers

The next step is to consider all the different writing opportunities. Factor in your timeline and personal needs to determine which one is ideal for you.

  • For example, let’s say you’re looking to quit your day job as soon as possible …

Start by calculating how much money you’ll need in order to make that happen. If your number is high – such as six-figures – then you need to choose a writing opportunity that’s known to bring about higher-than-average incomes. You’ll also want something you can get into quickly.

In this case, I’d recommend copywriting or writing for the web. Grant writing is also a great option, and so is writing copy for the business-to-business market – especially if you want to get your writing career up-and-running as soon as possible.

  • Or, let’s say you just want to supplement your current salary or add to your retirement income …

A passive income stream might be the best way to go. If that’s the case, look into writing your own e-books or developing a Money Making Website.

If you’re not familiar, a Money Making Website is simply an information website that covers a topic you enjoy and is designed to attract web visitors. Once those visitors come to your site, you use a variety of methods to pull in passive revenue that doesn’t require you to sell anything and doesn’t demand regular monitoring … meaning once it’s set up, you’re free to spend your days as you please while doing very little website maintenance.

  • Maybe your goal for becoming a paid writer is just to have a little extra income on the side whenever needed, but with no regular commitment …

This could also be because your schedule is unpredictable, so you’d prefer shorter, quicker projects.

That’s where I’d recommend an easy business you can launch without having to spend too much time developing your skills, like resume writing or internet research. Both options are also things you can work on when you have the time or take an indefinite break from when needed.

  • Perhaps you enjoy the idea of the writer’s life, but you’re not interested in writing long-form copy …

If this sounds like you, social media marketing or video sales letters might be perfect for you. Both are writing opportunities that allow you to be creative, but you can do it with short posts and presentations – all of which pay quite well.

  • Another possibility is that you’d like to travel the world but need the means to do it …

In this case, travel writing is perfect for you. It’s not necessarily a writing opportunity that’ll make you rich, but it’s a proven way to score free travel deals. Often times, those free travel perks are at high-class resorts in dream-worthy destinations.

  • Or, it’s possible you just love writing and think it’d be great to make a little money on the side doing something you enjoy.

Consider getting into information-publishing. That way, you can write what you want when you want, whether its fiction, non-fiction, or informational publications, and you’ll be able to publish and market your work online.

All of these paths are proven writing opportunities that give you full freedom over your schedule and allow you to live life on your own terms.

rebecca_matter-150If you’d like to explore more ways to make a living as a writer, as well as get a little more information on some of the opportunities I shared today, check out my free report “It’s True! You Can Make a Good Living as a Writer!” where I cover nine of the best opportunities in more detail.

And then before next week, give it some thought, choose your first path, and then join me next week to tackle the big question, “now what?”

I’ll give you some practical advice to help you start moving forward.

Until then,
Rebecca

P.S. If you have any questions for me, or have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future issue, I invite you to contact me on Facebook, through AWAI or via my website, rebeccamatter.com.

 

 

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24. Galway Kinnell, Poet Of Nature, Religion And Human Rights, Dead At 87

galway kinnell

“He also wrote frequently about death. ‘The Book of Nightmares’ was inspired by the horrors of the Vietnam War. But as angry as he could be, he sometimes considered mortality more gently and wistfully.”

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25. Ahmindagoreth -A Work In Progress

It was a sunny, cloudless day in Magpie Wood. Suzy and Bobby were walking through the fallen leaves whilst glancing occasionally at the variegated canopy that Autumn assumed.

Suzy had just put a Smartie in her mouth and looked up.  A big black spot the size of a bumble bee began appearing before them. "Look, Bobby!" cried Suzy.

Bit-by-bit the black spot grew until it filled the woodland path.  Then there came a colour.  Then another. The siblings looked on in wonderment at what became of this oddity.

"Golly. What on earth can it be, Bobby?" asked Suzy.

"I am the cold blackness come to wrap you in my arms" replied Ahmindagoreth.

Below: Ahmindagoreth a work in progress. Stage 1 and a variant but much, much more work to do!


Ahmindagoreth, Suzy and Bobby (whoever they are) (c) Terry Hooper-Scharf

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