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The post-Guardians partnership between Marvel and Jim Starlin continues with the second original graphic novel in a proposed trilogy about Thanos the purple skinned Mad Titan created by Starlin. THANOS: THE INFINITY RELATIVITY OGN comes out in June. While standalone graphic novels were once rare at Marvel they’ve gotten into the pool with the Starlin books, and some introductory books aimed at beginning (as in not experts in Marvel continuity) readers. The first book in the trilogy, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, made the NY Times bestseller list, so it probably did all right.
Starlin created Thanos, who is expected to be the big villain in a number of Avengers movies, and his daughter Gamora, and has had a major hand in developing the mythology of the Infinity Gems which have been a running theme throughout the Marvel MCU for a while. And as the blurb shows, the book includes more of the whole Thanos/Guardians/Warlock mythology that Starlin developed:
Annihilus, lord of the Negative Zone has re-ascended to power, more dangerous and more deadly than ever before. When he and his Negative Zone armies make another, renewed assault on our universe in search of a source of infinite power, a fragile alliance of the universe’s most unlikely protectors will form to stop him.
Now the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator the Majestor of the Shi’ar Empire, and Adam Warlock and more must unite like never before! Only Adam Warlock’s complex cycle of death and rebirth has left him more confused than ever before. What is his purpose in the universe? Why is he here? With his Infinity Watch reunited alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy, between them they may hold the key to ending the threat of Annihilus once and for all – but to do so they’ll need to enlist the help of another.
Could it be that the fate of everything lies in the hands…of Thanos?
As with most Marvel books, this will include a bonus code for a digital edition with added augmented reality content.
Just about three weeks of participating in National Novel Writing Month can leave even the best, consistently faithful writer sleep-deprived, ornery, and a little nonsensical. But if you’ve made it this far, that’s something worth celebrating.
The question becomes, are you writing now just to hit your goal of 50,000 words? Are you simply trying to meet a word count to say you did it? Or are you trying to construct something meaningful and worthwhile, even if it’s something that you won’t let see the light of day for quite some time?
In short, how do you feel about your writing right now? Are you satisfied with how NaNoWriMo forces you to work? Do you enjoy the quickened pace and constricted guidelines, forcing your inner-critic and inner-editor to take a backseat (until December)? Or do you wish you could plot along more, fine-tuning and tweaking?
What’s your plan for the final stretch? Share it with us in the comments!
Have you missed any of the other posts in our NaNoWriMo blogging series? Be sure to check the others out:
Question: Have you been disappointed or pleased with your NaNo efforts thus far? What has made it so? How do you plan on improving or keeping it up over the final 2+ weeks?
Natania Barron: I’ve honestly been really pleased. I don’t want to say it’s the easiest NaNo, but it’s a different kind of NaNo. Part of it is having a responsibility to another writer. Part of it is being in a different place, writing for a different reason. I had enough of a slow gain leading up to the weekend that I didn’t have to write much at all—it was my 10th anniversary—but I still wanted to, and I was still thinking about the story a great deal. It’s compressed creativity, but this time around it doesn’t feel like so much work.
Rachel Herron: Oh, boy, I’m always disappointed by my NaNo words. I think it’s healthy and normal to be that way. We’re sprinting here, folks. Remember: the only goal is TO MAKE WORDS. Awful, terrible, furiously bad words are par for the course. Everything can be fixed, but we don’t do that in November. We write the worst things we’ve ever written in November, and then we brag about how badly we’re writing. Here’s an excellent example, straight out of my manuscript: “Fern was even paler now, if that was possible, but her eyes were twin blackened marks of heat WEARS A LOT OF EYELINER.” (I make myself notes in all caps, wherever the idea occurs to me. This keeps me from going backward.) And no, I’m not going to try to write better words. I’m just aiming for that 50,000 mark. Better words are what we make out of crappy words, later. I aim for quantity, not quality. And man, am I good at it.
Nikki Hyson: Until a couple days ago I was very disappointed. I didn’t feel like I’d taken care of my time management very well during the first week and my word count suffered in major ways (okay, so I was exhausted and sleeping through alarms, but still!) Then, this weekend, I hit my 2nd (or maybe my 3rd) wind and powered through 9,600 words in about 33 hours. I just crested the 20k on the evening of the 15th which is (kinda) close to the middle. To maintain momentum I think it’s time to take my novel on the road: to work, to doctor appointments, to the coffee shop, anywhere and everywhere. Just jotting words in whatever chunks of time I can find will keep me from needing a full-on marathon at the end. Although those are seriously a lot of fun.
With resources, tips, and advice from a bevy of experts the
November/December 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest is a surefire
way to help you finish your goal of 50,000 words during November.
Regina Kammer: I’m befuddled, really. Two of my characters are darker than I had originally intended. Another is surprisingly heroic for a minor character. So maybe this means I’m pleased because the magic of NaNoWriMo is happening.
On the other hand, I have a target publisher , so I’m spending way too much time ignoring my own advice of just writing and suppressing the inner-editor. I’m worried that the work might not be what they’re looking for. I need to stop that.
All I can do for the final two weeks is keep writing. I still have the pivotal scene and the climax to write, so those are like proverbial carrots on a stick. I need to take my own advice and just write the parts of the story I’m sure about!
Kathy Kitts: Here is a great anecdote that helps me get through the tough slog that is the 30 thousands. Ray Bradbury had just given a lecture and was taking questions. An undergraduate asked him how he could be so prolific. How he could write when he wasn’t in the mood? He replied that writing took care of those moods.
Kristen Rudd: My novel took a turn that I was completely unprepared for, and I’ve spent the better part of several days trying to get it back on track. So, on the one hand, I’m pleased that it seems to be its own living, breathing beast. On the other hand, I’m bummed because it seems to be its own living, breathing beast. It all happened from what I thought was an innocuous line of dialogue. I followed it where it led, and I’m worried I may have written myself into a corner. When I vented, a friend asked me, “But is the corner defensible? Does it have a nice view?”
I am determined to let the story lead me and hope that it knows what it’s doing. So, yes. We are in a committed relationship, my novel and I. I have plenty of originally planned scenes I can always switch over to if I need. I am all of the prepareds. I will just keep writing, trusting that writing will solve all of my problems.
EJ Runyon: What’s pleased me is that I’m using excerpts from past NaNo’er for this book. That’s a great feeling, seeing work from a few years ago. And what’s disappointing is that it looks like 30K+ words will leave me with a finished How-to-Guide, and that leaves 20K +/- still to write on one of my WIP novels. Good thing this is a Rebel year. Maybe I’ll turn that disappointment into a stab at more than one WIP, and touch three of them. Make the time count in a big way, instead of trying to ‘just fill the time & word count’.
Jessica Schley: I’m behind schedule, but I’m actually very pleased with how this NaNo is going. This has been one of the first where more days than not, I’m hitting the word count and pushing my story forward. It also is shaking out pretty close to my outline—one thing I’ve discovered in revising my NaNo novels is that the pacing is usually WAY off in my finished draft, because while the fun of NaNo is that secondary characters and plot twists tend to show up ad hoc, that often means that a lot of explaining goes into them and they come in at the wrong point, making my novels out of whack. So I was hoping that this time, I could write something that was more evenly paced if I outlined a slightly more rigid 3-act structure. The Act I turn happened right where I wanted it to, and the midpoint of the novel is on track to hit when I hit that word count. I’m very pleased with that.
How do I plan on improving? Just keeping on keeping on. I went to a great write-in this week with my NaNo community (we have a wonderful group here in the nation’s capital) and I’m going to hit up more of those to keep me going. Plus, I’ve won two NaNos with 10,000+ word counts on the final day (one was 20), and with half the month left to go, I still have a very reasonable daily word count to hit. So, I’ll just hit that. Easier said than done, I suppose, but as I said in the last post … it’s really hard not to finish once you cross 35K. Even if you cross 35K in the morning of the 30th of November!
Brian Schwarz: I have been happy with my efforts. I had lofty goals prior to NaNo that included finishing the first book in my series prior to November (I had 3 months) and then the second book during Nano, but instead I ended up with 10k words on the first one in 3 months. Given that I’m at 18k more in 16 days, I have to be pretty satisfied with that. If NaNo ended tomorrow, I could accept my progress as is. But, being that I’m a driven over-achiever, I do not plan on relenting. I am going to increase my word count, trying to furiously catch up (one day last week i actually wrote 8k words in a day) and I’m going to be happy when I make it. I have a rhythm now, which isn’t exactly one I was hoping for. I spend my weekends pretty much forgetting about writing while I spend my work-week going into work an hour early and writing furiously to make up for the two days lost as well as the previous days missed. I won’t question my flow, and I’ll just try to be more productive in it. For some reason writing before bed or in the morning hasn’t been as productive or effective this time round (whereas last year I did a vast majority of my book at night before sleeping), but I don’t mind how it happens. I just know I will find a way to make it happen.
* * * * *
Question: What is one weird word to describe your novel so far?
Natania Barron: Spiderpunk.
Rachael Herron: Erratic.
“The Writer’s Market book is an incredible resource on its own, just as the WritersMarket.com website is a wonderful resource. Combine the two, and a 60-mintue webinar on freelancing, and you get the power-packed combo of the Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition. It’s the same Writer’s Market print book, but it comes with an activation code good for a one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com, which houses more listings and more updates throughout the year.”
-Robert Lee Brewer, Writer’s Market Content Editor
Nikki Hyson: Unpredictable. At least while writing it. I don’t know. I may reread it in a month and realize you can see every plot twist a mile off. Right now my characters are toying with me.
Regina Kammer: Compost.
(Layers of rich well-developed material with a bunch of rough and green bits thrown in.)
Kathy Kitts: Sidestepping.
Kristen Rudd: Alive. My novel is like Frankenstein’s monster. It’s no longer under my control and is going wherever it damn well pleases, apparently. I’m just chasing after it at this point, trying to keep up.
EJ Runyon: “Simple”—that’s it. I’m rebelling this month, and revising a How-to-Write book on Revisions. Like my Tell Me (How To Write) A Story, (NaNo 2008, published 2014) this one also shows simple ways of looking at your work. Novembers come to a close, and in the time that follows, something simple is needed to keep a writer going. Hopefully this “simple” guide will be one of those things.
Jessica Schley: Convoluted. I don’t know if that’s a very weird word. But every scene I write introduces a new twist. So it is turning out very twisty. I hope I can bring all these threads together in Act III!
Brian Schwarz: I’d go with “Barmicide”. Look it up! God knows I did.
* * * * *
Find the focus, energy, and drive you need to start—and finish—your book in a month. Write-A-Thon gives you the tools, advice, and inspiration you need to succeed before, during, and after your writing race. With solid instruction, positive psychology, and inspiration from marathon runners, you’ll get the momentum to take each step from here to the finish line. You’ll learn how to: train your attitude, writing, and life—and plan your novel or nonfiction book; maintain your pace; and find the best ways to recover and move forward once the writing marathon is finished and you have a completed manuscript in hand!
Cris Freese is the associate editor of Writer’s Digest Books.
My choice for Caldecott 2015 consideration is Scott Campbell’s delightful, infectious, and secretly sophisticated Hug Machine. This is the kind of book that is easy to miss because it is disguised as a romp. It doesn’t pretend to be serious, and so doesn’t signal our serious attention. It’s up to us to apply that attention. So apply it we shall.
Ready? Here is a list of my award-worthiness enthusiasms:
1) The faces. Campbell does some good faces. His style is particularly loose and sketchy, but boy howdy, can he capture emotion and attitude in a few watercolor gestures. From the resolute purpose of the hugger, expressed in his firm mouth and closed eyes, to the variety of surprise among those being hugged (catch the look on his dad’s face, and that turtle!), the priceless range of emotion adds meaning and depth to what might have been one-note mawkish.
2) The composition. Some spreads are open, and some are crowded. But whether it’s the ominous space between the hug machine and his intended porcupine, or the busy, serial hugging along the dotted line (a la “Family Circus”), the composition is never accidental and always effective.
3) The font. Everything is hand painted, with the same easy watercolors as the pictures, reinforcing the child-perspective and adding to the insouciance. I think the committee would need to wrestle with the degree to which typeface is an element of illustration, but with hand lettering like this, with such an arguably big role to play in the experience, I’d be advocating for its consideration.
4) The arc. It’s not uncommon to happen upon a picture book whose words and images match its listeners. But I can’t remember the last time I encountered a book whose story arc was so well calibrated to its audience. The pagination, the pacing, the implicit pauses and inflections. Here is a book that will blossom when read aloud, over and over (and over). Pacing is another element not directly invoked by the Caldecott terms and criteria, but it is a critical element in picture book success. And with the imagery here playing such a big role in the pacing (see #2, above) I’d put it on the table.
5) The details. They got everything right here. The heavy buff stock feels delicious under your fingertips. The endpapers, with their empty and completed checklists, even the author flap of the dust jacket (with our hero hugging a fire hydrant while a curious dog looks on) — all of it contributes to a cohesive, thorough, and endlessly appealing experience.
6) The edge. I’m not exactly allergic to sincerity, but I do like my earnest cut with a healthy dose of dry. This is an undeniably sweet outing, but between the bodacious humor and the appreciable astringency, it is anything but cloying. And the irreverence and irony embodied in the illustrations (is that a snake?!) are the heart of the edge.
7) The gender expression. This is a book all about warmth, doused in pink and glowing with ardor, and the bearer of all of that fervent affection is a little boy. Boom. Here’s a place where we’d need to work pretty hard to tie this appreciation to the award. The last time I checked, “Thom is so happy this book exists” is not articulated among the Caldecott terms and criteria. Yet. But let’s think about it. I’d argue that the success here is the artist’s use of color and composition (among other things) to explore being a sensitive boy, in a particularly subtle and sophisticated way. Even if the function itself doesn’t count, we’re allowed — even called — to consider its artistic achievement.
That’s what I think about Hug Machine. What do you think?
The post The Hug Machine: a guest post by Thom Barthelmess appeared first on The Horn Book.
NaNoWriMo participants have 10 more days to complete their projects. To give writers that extra edge, we suggest paring down distractions.
According to lifehack.org, some methods that can help with reducing distractions include: cleaning up one’s workspace, arranging some alone time, and setting a timer for both writing and breaks. Do you have any further suggestions to add?
This is our fourteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
By: Leslie Ann Clark,
Blog: Leslie Ann Clark's Skye Blue Blog
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Being an illustrator is great fun. Why? Because you can use your imagination to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. For instance, I have always wanted a log cabin up in the mountains. As a teen, I used to imagine having a studio up a flight of wooden steps to a big room. It would have rafter ceilings and a window seat for me to look out of. It would be warm and cozy and I could sit and do my art all day long near a roaring fire in the wood stove.
When I began thinking of places for my character Burl the bear to live in, I made it just like “I” wanted it! Warm and inviting! When you walk through the doorway of my story, you will find a home that lives in my imagination. It will be a place that I love and I will revisit it many times as the story progresses. I must be passionate about what I draw or it becomes listless and boring. This process is what makes a story believable.
My experience tells me that children notice the tiniest of details. I did a school visit after Peepsqueak was published by Harper Collins Publisher. I read the book to the children and then we talked. Through out the story there was another story going on in the book. It was a little tiny mouse who appeared on many of the pages. The children did not miss it. They even commented on the mouse as I read to them. I let them in on a little secret. I named the mouse Elliot. When I told them his name they all squealed with delight and pointed to the cutest little boy in their classroom who was named Elliot! He was beaming. Suddenly he became part of the story. He was so happy!
These are the things that make a story magical in the eyes of children and adults alike. Its also why I continue creating images. I love seeing characters develop. I love finding their voices. .. what they are like… what they like to do. It does not stop when I leave the studio. I think about them all the time, until I finally know how they would react in any given situation. That way they become very believable creations and loved by all.
Stay posted, Burl and Briley are growing on my heart daily. I can hardly wait to illustrate the books that are in my mind!
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By: Evil Editor,
Blog: Evil Editor
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At last. One book that collects the funniest Face-Lifts from this blog. You get the werewolf popes, the pay phone occlusions, the ruthless vigilante sorcerers... 50 in all. The book is 100 pages long, and while most of the included query critiques were not illustrated when they originally appeared on the blog, all 50 now have at least one illustration.
It's expensive because it's 8 by 10 instead of 5.5 by 8.5, because it's color instead of black & white, because it's printed on thick glossy photo paper instead of cheap bond paper and because only a few copies are being printed instead of hundreds.
Whether you've been here for the whole 8+ years and want the book as a memento, or you got here recently and don't have time to slog through 1200+ query letters on your computer screen, you want this book. You gotta have it.
I'm charging the same amount the printer charges me: $39.99 for soft cover, and $51.99 for hard cover (image wrap). I'm eating the shipping costs (to US) and the 2.75% that Square charges to sell in their market. I expect to recoup those costs when enough of you order a copy that I get a volume discount. To sweeten the deal, if you order now you also get the pdf version of Evil Editor's History of the World in Tweets
, readable on your Kindle, tablet, or computer monitor. It'll give you something to read while you wait for the book to be printed. Click the link below the cover image to order. If you live outside the US email me, we'll arrange a Paypal money transfer.
Bluewater Productions has created a biographical comic book profiling U2 frontman Bono.
According to the press release, Michael L. Frizell wrote the story, Jayfri Hashim created the interior artwork, and David Frizell produced the cover art.
For Frizell, “Bono is a fascinating artist. Equal parts rock star, goodwill ambassador, and humanitarian, his work has stood the test of time…In writing the comic, I wanted to convey the legendary performer as the ultimate Everyman.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
The Five Stages of Fan-Girling
So if you're anything like me, I freak out pretty hard when I finish a great book and hear that the next installment in the series is coming out soon. Now, this isn't your every day, run of the mill freak out. Oh no. We're talking a full on fictional fan-girl episode, complete with little girl screams when cover reveals are announced So, in order to highlight the greatness that is YA fiction, here are the Five Stages of YA Fan-girling:
1. Finish the Book, Cry a Little
It never fails. I finish that last line, and immediately turn to my pillow for comfort. Why did it have to end with a cliffhanger? Can the next book come out faster? Is my life going to be the same after this? All good questions, no good answers. And because of this, I cry. Sooner rather than later someone finds me with an open cup of Jell-O pudding and a frown, and they know I've finished the book I've been reading for the last fourteen hours straight.
2. Googled it- Comes out Next Month
Okay. So I've consulted my friendly Google search engine, and Amazon tells me my favorite author is relieving me of my troubles and releasing the sequel in exactly one month. One. Month. I bite my nails for a full thirty-one days, each day a deliberate step toward that fateful day when the months change and my book love is home in my arms. Or, I just click the pre-order button. Let's go with that.
3. Cover Reveal
Oh. My. Gosh. That's the most beautiful thing I've ever laid my eyes on. Sure enough, it's staring up at me from the front page of my favorite YA blog, and I can't look away. Love at first sight. I'll spend countless hours thinking I see that cover on a local bookshelf, only to realize that it hasn't been released yet. Yet.
4. Check my Mailbox Religiously
My mailbox becomes my best friend. Seriously. None of my actual friends exist for the 3-4 day shipping period, and they are all very used to this. They bring me food while I wait and I eat like I'm fueling for a half marathon. Because I totally am. Sort of.
5. It's Here
I scream, bee-line for my bed, and rip the packaging off. There it is. The perfect thing. I flip to a random page and smell the freshly printed pages for just a moment, before diving in.
Then, fourteen hours later, I'm finished.
And book three doesn't come out for a year.
Repeat from step one.
Best wishes and happy fan-girling,
By: Ronni A. Hall
Blog: Designing Fairy
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P is for Fairy Path.
This card can have many meanings for you when you see it, so always trust your guidance. There is one lesson associated with this card I’d like to share that demonstrates the negative and positive aspects of this card.
Everyone has a path unique to themselves. If something isn’t on your path, or you try to walk in the footsteps of someone else’s path, it won’t work. I saw this lesson recently in my own life.
I’m thick. Sometimes I need a cosmic two-by-four to bop me in the head to pay attention to what I need to know. I often experience the lesson over and over until I “get it.”
When I lost my part time gig marketing because of the economy, I really muddled around. I went the logical route and followed family advice to go after what was most lucrative. I learned quickly what doesn’t work for me. I had one nightmare situation after another as I desperately chased after the money I needed vs. where my heart wanted to go. On hindsight, I was probably using or offering skills that aren’t my best. I can honestly say that I even went into a fog where I forgot completely what my path was. I had to ask my friends what was it I loved to do, as if a giant cloud took over my focus and my memories.
I had one job offer that was such a bad fit that I felt ill even thinking about it. But here I was, in a time period when my school wasn’t running yet (it was late summer), my deck wasn’t released, and I had lost my pt job. I was desperate. I had to make a decision and fast, but every time I thought about this job, I either had a back ache, stomach ache or rashes. Many friends around me insisted this was my one choice, but then several looked at me, and knew, this was not a job that was on my path. It didn’t fit my sensitive personality, even a little bit. I’d probably last through a few days of training before messing up or needing to be on migraine medicine.
Things did improve but it was one dark period trusting myself to get back on path. I knew I loved teaching, writing and creating products that teach. It was my heart path. I joined an online Facebook group with the fabulous Fabeku, who teaches you to find your Superpower. I knew mine, I just had to believe in it again, and believe I had a right to pursue it.
I had another interview that makes me chuckle right now. It was for a retail clothing store job. The interviewer barely looked at my resume and forgot my name (never a good sign). She didn’t care about my special skills or superpowers, she wanted to know if I could run a cash register and climb a ladder. There’s this inventory closet that is loaded with clothes and boxes and each day you would climb this ladder and check the boxes on a far shelf. Now I hate climbing ladders and heights, but I told her not a problem. But the issue was my height. Even with the ladder, I probably couldn’t reach those boxes, and she managed to point that out. I am pretty sure I didn’t get that job because of that one fact. I walked out feeling ashamed and not happy who I was, which is a sure sign you are not on your path.
On my next interview, I listened to the job described and felt tingles all through my body. I felt emotional, in a very good way–the kind of spontaneous cry that bursts through that you know you are hitting pay dirt to your soul. After we discussed the details, the interviewer told me I was an Ideal Candidate and she wanted to offer me the job. This was the complete opposite of being shamed for a ladder. The whole process was effortless and flowed. I felt like I was with a kindred spirit. I walked out feeling expansive and hopeful again wondering what other dreams I could pursue and add to that new job that followed this unique path that was made just for me.
You are supposed to feel good. You are supposed to feel honored for your special gifts. You are supposed to be appreciated. And when you don’t feel any of that, you are probably just off your unique path.
To buy your deck and be part of the fun, go HERE.
If you already bought your deck, there’s a Info Class with lessons like this in December HERE.
With 56 super franchise movies coming at ya in the next six years, The Beat has been keeping an eye on whether any of those zillions of non Marvel/DC comics options might be getting closer to the screen. And the answer is sort of yes. For instance Cowboy, Ninja Viking, written by AJ Lieberman and drawn (in spectacular fashion) by Riley Rossmo came out from Image in 2009, five years ago. It was published in the briefly-trendy Golden Age size and was one of the first books to introduce the now ubiquitous limited-palette/expressionist art style that you find in so many comics.
With a catchy title and high concept—intelligence operative is a multiple personality with Cowboy, Ninja and Viking and personas—an option was inevitable. But that’s as much as you usually hear about these projects.
But now it’s roared back to life with the rumor that it-boy Chris Pratt, fresh off his dreamy, funny, Modern-Han-Solo role as Starlord, may be in talks to star in a Cowboy, Ninja, Viking movie:
A Cowboy Ninja Viking movie has been kicking around for a few years now. Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese initially penned the adaptation for Disney, which deemed the resulting script “too edgy”. Universal subsequently picked it up out of turnaround and a few years ago attached Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) to direct, though he’s no longer involved with the project.
[snip] Though a director is not yet set for the film, attaching Pratt as the lead will no doubt attract interest from a number of filmmakers. Film 360 is producing the project, as is Mark Gordon, who is also producing the Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs biopic at Sony.
So there you go, a catchy title and a decent concept and this project won’t fade away.
I expect to see a lot of these floating around comic projects get their tires kicked over the next few months.
I've always been the type of person who obsesses over being on time. I think in 15 minute increments which means even if I know it will only take me 20 minutes to get somewhere I leave 30 minutes before. I'd always rather, in fact prefer, to be 10 minutes early. If I arrive and the other person is waiting I always feel like I'm late, even if we're both early.
Now I'm not perfect and I think its gotten harder for me to be regularly on time as my life has gotten busier, but I'm still pretty determined to do my best. It's why this article, You're Not Running Late, You're Rude and Selfish really rang true for me.
The one thing I've always thought about people who are perpetually late is that it's just rude and inconsiderate. Like you, I could have used an extra 20 minutes in the office, or 10 minutes getting ready, but I was on a schedule, a schedule to meet you and I had to get out of there.
Which is why the issue of agent response times has always been a stickler to me. As we say on our website, we work really hard to respond in a timely manner, but our clients have to be our first priority and that sometimes (often) means that submissions and queries get placed on the back burner. Our clients are the people we promise arrival times to and those are the times we need to make (and let's face it, even that doesn't always happen).
Being on time, with submissions, reading for clients, phone calls, and appointments is something I'm always working harder on and beating myself up over. But I'm curious, what do you think about submission response times? Our website reads this:
BookEnds agents do reply to all submissions and queries and hope to do so in a timely manner. Our response time goals are 6 weeks for queries and 12 weeks on requested partials and fulls. Unfortunately, at times circumstances mean we fall behind in our responses. We do try to post status updates through Twitter and Facebook. For updates on where we are with queries and submissions, as well as what we're most actively looking for, please check out our Facebook page:
As you can see we used a lot of disclaimers, but if we're far later than 6 or 12 weeks do you see this as an agent missing an appointment? or do you hope it means that the agent is making all other appointments, especially those you hope to have at some point?
My manager and I toss around What Ifs all the time. What if we tried this? Wouldnâ€™t it be amazing if we could do that? What if itâ€™s finally time to try that crazy idea out? The Fizz Boom Read summer reading theme seemed like the perfect time to try one of our most beloved What Ifs: circulating science kits.
Backyard Science Kit
This was a challenge firmly outside our wheelhouse. We’ve done some science programming in the past, generally for preschoolers, but itâ€™s no one’s passion. I browsed Lakeshore Learning and Amazon for ideas and divided my favorites by age, preschool, elementary and tween (4th to 6th grade), while keeping some practical guidelines in mind: we wanted to include a related, high-quality nonfiction book in each kit, everything had to fit the backpacks I had already selected, and we needed to avoid consumable items. I split most of my orders between Lakeshore Learning and Amazon. My favorite exception was owl pellets, which came from a school supply store complete with forceps and identification booklets. That kit has received a lot of responses – mostly amazed and thrilled, only a few horrified.
We ended up with 17 themes, 3 copies each at the main library and about a dozen total at each of our two branches. Prepping the backpacks was probably the most onerous part of the project; it took me several days and plenty of assistance to organize, de-package, and pack. We photographed each kitâ€™s contents to assist patrons, but ran out of time to laminate and include them. We included small notebooks for comments, but these are not often used and most of the feedback has been verbal. We allowed three exceptions to the â€œnot consumableâ€ rule: owl pellets, rainbow scratch sheets and sunpaper. For these, I put ten into a baggie labeled with a request to only use 1 to 2 per child, and everyone has respected that. Our library associate Jenny doubles as our Kit Mistress, doing random checks of the kits every month and any necessary restocking or repair. For labeling, we bought badge holders and luggage loops. The badge holders contain color coded cards with the zbar on one side and the title/recommended age on the other. These are the one thing that often seem to go missing! We had to re-barcode several before we swapped the loops out for zipties. I chose to use coatracks and hangers for display, which didnâ€™t take up much room and made browsing simple. Due to space issues, we chose not to make the kits available for holds. Brief catalog records were suppressed so patrons couldn’t search for them but we could access them from the staff side. On day one, 25 out of 51 were checked out. Day two, they were all out! We never had more than 10 checked in at a time all summer long. Even at our branches, which always see much lower circulation stats, there were only 1-2 available on any given day. We checked the numbers after three months – in 13 weeks, with one-week checkouts, every kit had circulated between 8-10 times, a few as high as 13. A month later, after school started, each kit had gone out another 1-3 times. Even the Bedtime Math kits, offered only because we already had the logs, went out consistently. Now that we have about 20 checked in on any given day, we store them in a divided cart, which offers more room. The kits were a runaway success, and weâ€™ve heard so many positive comments from kids and caregivers alike. When I was given more money this fall, though, I knew what changes I wanted to make.
Discovery Kits Logo
We tend to call them our science kits, but weâ€™ve never wanted them to just be science. Officially, they are Discovery Kits, and our next round will include writing, music, art, foreign language and more technology.
- Age groupings are too limiting. Anyone can do just about anything if they have the interest and adult support. Geometry (Spirograph, Playsticks, Growing Spirals) was color-coded elementary, but preschoolers and tweens like it, too. We’re still finalizing our new categories, either mostly All Ages, with a handful of Beginner and Advanced, or by topic: Physical Science, Life Science, Math and Engineering, Technology, Arts and Music, Language Arts.
- We bought an extra of every activity for what we thought were inevitable replacements, but no more! It takes too much storage space, and people have been handling everything so carefully that weâ€™ve only had to replace two things. We’ll repurchase on an as-needed basis.
Discovery Kits Cubby
The divided cart holds all the backpacks, but gets messy quickly. We purchased cubbies from Lakeshore Learning – one backpack per cubby. This will make the kits easier to browse and easier to keep neat. This is important as we add another 30 backpacks into the mix.
- Patrons want to know what’s inside. On our next set, the attached cards will list out brief descriptions of content. They’ll also include our brand new kit logo, from our in-house graphic designer.
Our full list, including new themes, is here: http://bit.ly/OPPLKitList This has been an exceptionally fun and rewarding collection to launch. The planning and organizing were a bit time-consuming, largely because I started out so ambitiously, but the returns have been incredible. I love seeing the kids marching out of the library wearing their new Discovery Kit – although itâ€™s even better when they bring it back and beg to get another one right away! I canâ€™t wait to see the response to the expanded selection of themes.
(All pictures courtesy of guest blogger)
Shelley Harris is a Childrenâ€™s Librarian and Family Learning Coordinator at the Oak Park Public Library in Oak Park, IL. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC. If youâ€™d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I can only apologise, profusely, for what I'm about to do. I hate myself for doing it, but I am about to mention the C-word.
Yes, as soon as you know, Christmas will be upon us. Well, for once, I've been thinking ahead and I've put this bumper pack of AJ goodies together just in time. This includes my book, 3 zines, bag, badges, postcards, greetings cards & stickers.
You can get your little mits on it HERE
Oni publicity guy John Schork has left, as announced in a model of grown-upness via social media
Schork who has also worked at Dark Horse and IDW, joined Oni about a year ago as Director of Publicity. He was a pal on the convention circuit and it was always a pleasure working with him, so hopefully we’ll see him at the next stop.
Perhaps this will kick off a new round of publicity musical chairs? Also, DC is hiring.
I was thrilled to learn that Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award in the category of Literature for Young People for her memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming, which I reviewed here.
Also, since she won a lifetime achievement award and won the night with her speech, here’s my review of Ursula K. LeGuin’s Catwings series, a family favorite.
I am not linking to my review of A Series of Unfortunate Events, because though I did write one once, many years ago, that guy didn’t win anything and isn’t the story and isn’t important. What matters (to me) is that two people I really admire got some recognition. We don’t need to concern ourselves with unfortunate events.
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--The younger three kids were in a musical and I never even mentioned it here, even though B15 was cast in the leading role of Peter Pan! Chicklet played a lovely, green-haired mermaid and B9 was appropriately cast as a dirty-faced, tousle-haired Lost Boy.
--Papa Rooster got roped in (pun intended) to "flying" Peter Pan backstage, which turned out to be one of the most strenuous things he's ever done! B15 is a solid 150 pounds, and even with the magic of physics cutting that number in half, 75 pounds is a lot of weight to lift with a single rope. He destroyed a pair of good weight-lifting gloves on the first night, letting Peter Pan descend quickly a couple of times, and he had to order the kind that special forces use to slide down ropes out of helicopters. He still isn't wearing his rings yet. His fingers and forearms were so swollen that week, even though he was constantly icing them.
--He said though it was way harder than he thought it would be, he also had a lot more fun than he thought he'd have! The only sad thing was that he never could watch the show or take any photos at a dress rehearsal. I need to try and get some images from the professional photographer to do a picture post, eventually...
--On All Saints' at Light of Christ, we received 8 new members and baptized 4 children from one of the new families. It was such a wonderful morning!
--A new session of theater began this week. I'm happy to be teaching Drama 1 to a large class of 16 kids, many of them new to our program, and I'm super-excited about the script I've been working on for our final project, based on one of my favorite children's books, The Phantom Tollbooth. B15 is taking Improv, Chicklet12 was thrilled to make it into an audition-only dance class called Project Dance, Jr., and B9 is excited that in his Musical Theater class, they are doing songs from the same Hercules that I helped direct a year ago, and they are going to wear the same costumes!
--Auditions for the winter show, Beauty and the Beast, are this Friday!
--Our Classical Conversations-based co-op is going well--such a nice group of families. However, it was starting to feel like more time than it was worth for Chicklet and me, and I was considering quitting. But there is no one else who can teach the grammar and writing classes that I teach. It was a huge learning curve for me last year--the grammar, especially, is a huge amount of material to present in 45 minutes for a multi-level class, and the curriculum leaves it up to the teacher to decide how to do that. I've had to find or create my own examples, worksheets, games and more.
--They will have to figure something else out for next year, but for this year, they proposed that instead of coming for the whole day, I just come for the classes I teach in the afternoon. (And for lunch, right before that, so we can still socialize!) A friend brings Chicklet in the morning, and another mom stepped in to teach the Fine Arts class I had been teaching in the morning session. We're tried it for two weeks, and that extra morning in my week made a bigger difference than I thought it would! I am so grateful.
--This weekend I am hosting a Golden Birthday Party for Blondechick, who will be 22 on the 22nd, and a baby shower for a friend from church. My goal this week is to deal with remaining boxes and piles of stuff I've unpacked but don't know what to do with. I may end up shoving them all in the attic until next summer.
--One silver lining to not finishing the attic yet is that we can use it as an attic! A couple weekends ago, our strong young men plus a couple of their friends helped us move many boxes and some furniture out of the basement and into the attic. The basement is still a huge unorganized mess, but we're getting there.
--Finally, our decrepit garage was showing signs of not making it through the winter. A few weeks ago, the garage door stopped going all the way up, and we realized it was because one corner of the garage had sunk alarmingly and the garage door track was now at an angle. We knew from the housing inspection that the garage was in trouble--all the sills, which were laid directly on the ground instead of on cement--are rotten, and they can't just be replaced because it's impossible to get jacks underneath the garage walls because...oh, it's too involved. Everyone thought we could wait till next spring to figure it out--but apparently not! A friend who's a builder came yesterday and started work on a temporary fix to save it till next summer. It won't be as simple as just building a new garage, though, because we would not be allowed to build a new garage on the same spot--it's too close to the lot line. I'm just glad we can kick the problem a little further down the road, for now!
--Off to defer more difficulties till next summer...I've got to go select stuff to shove into an attic. ;)
Ghosts of Tupelo Landing. Sheila Turnage. 2014. Penguin. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
I enjoyed reading The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing. I am not sure I loved, loved, loved it as much as the first book, Three Times Lucky. But I'm not sure that matters. What I loved most about the first book is still present in the second.
Primarily what I love about both books is the narration by Miss Moses LoBeau (Mo). I love, love, love her voice, her narration. She's a wonderful character. I love seeing things through her eyes. I love getting to spend time in her community, getting to spend time with her own, unique family, getting to spend time with her friends. This is a book that is just oh-so-easy to enjoy. The writing just has an oh-so-right feel to it.
Mo and her best friend, Dale, have a challenge or two to face in this mystery. Miss Lana has just bought--impulsively bought--an old inn that is haunted. When she bid at the auction, she had no idea that it was haunted. (Not that Miss Lana believes in ghosts.) But Mo and Dale in their exploring before and after, know that it is in fact haunted. And, I believe, it is Dale that impulsively signs him and Mo up to interview the ghost for a history assignment. Regardless if it was Mo or Dale following an impulsive, this quick and hasty decision proves challenging from start to finish. How can they prove the ghost is real? Especially since they don't see it or feel it every time they visit the inn? And even if they happen to capture the ghost in a photo, how are they going to ask interview questions and record the answers?!
Ghosts of Tupelo Landing is a mystery novel. There is a mystery--from the past--to be solved from the community's past.
What I liked best about this one is the characterization, the setting, the writing itself. I also really liked meeting the new kid in town, Harm Crenshaw. I wasn't thrilled with the actual mystery in this one. The ghost story itself.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Seven tools to help your dialogue be realistic, but still interesting.
I've talked before about how reviews aren't for writers but for readers, and I mostly don't read them, but when a new book comes out, I allow myself to break my own rules and read some reviews. A book has been cooking for years often and hearing what people think is just too tempting! This morning I tiptoed to amazon and read this review by SallyBWT. When I read it to my husband, I started crying and then just sobbing. It does mean so much when your book finds a home.
We borrowed this from the library for my Kindergartner. She loved it so much we read it straight through, then read it again, and then that night when I went in to check on her one last time I found her holding it close in her sleep. I should also note that we are just now entering the super-hero stage in our family with my 3 year old son, so my little girl has gone from watching Disney movies over and over (Rapunzel is the favorite) to Spider-Man and Captain America. "Why are there no girl Super-Heroes?" she asked. I introduced her to Wonder Woman, White Tiger, Batgirl, Supergirl, etc., and she shrugged. She can't really connect to those super-sexy, all-grown-up, major-attitude types.
I recalled reading about Shannon Hale's new book for younger readers. I liked what she'd done with Princess Academy, so I thought I would give it a go for my girl. I did not anticipate the amount of love this book would receive - she cried when she had to give it back to the library (the request list is still long here). She decorated her pumpkin for a school contest to look just like the Princess in Black.
I surprised my daughter with her own copy this last week, and her eyes just lit up. The book currently lives under her pink pillow. My girl LOVES pink, and princesses, and superheroes. This book is NOT about rejecting princesses, or even rejecting the pinkness of girls. This book is about being a hero and saving the day.
This is Zorro for little girls. Princess Magnolia - pink clad perfection in her castle - The Princess in Black when danger lurks in the kingdom!
Give it a chance. My three year old boy loves this book and we look forward to another, especially if it features the Goat Avenger. :-) And more monsters to fight! My two year old daughter has been running around saying the Princess in Black's signature move: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little* SMASH! It's a book our whole family loves.
*I (Shannon) added the "little." The reviewer forgot it. It's my favorite line in the book (Dean wrote it) and I just had to have it right.
The Oxford Dictionaries have chosen “vape” as the Word of the Year for the United States.
According to the OxfordWords blog, this word “originated as an abbreviation of vapour or vaporize. The OxfordDictionaries.com definition was added in August 2014: the verb means ‘to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device,’ while both the device and the action can also be known as a vape. The associated noun vaping is also listed.”
As electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) rise in popularity, linguists predict that usage of word will only continue to increase. Some of the words that made it to the short list include “budtender,” “normcore,” and “slacktivism.” In past years, the organization picked “selfie,” “gif,” and “refudiate” to receive this honor.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
On November 11, 2014, the We Need Diverse Books campaign hosted a twitter chat about LGBTQ literature. During that chat, Emily Campbell (@Ms_Librarian) tweeted that Francesca Lia Block's book, Baby Bebop, was important to her. She included Block in the tweet. I replied, saying "The Native content in her bks is stereotyping 101." Here's a screencap:
Campbell asked for more information, and I sent her a link to my analysis of Weetzie Bat.
The next day, November 12, Block replied to me and Campbell, saying "No offense meant. My apologies. All respect for all." Here's that screencap:
I thanked her, saying "Most ppl mean well but lack awareness, esp of Native ppl & how culture is used/misused." Here's the screencap of that; I don't know why its font is larger than the others:
She replied again, saying "I would like to learn and grow, until I am no longer alive." And I thanked her again, saying "Your voice as ally pushing back on broad/deep misrepresentations of Native ppl is important." Here's the screencap of that exchange:
I don't know what, if anything, Francesca Lia Block has said or done about this since then. Most authors who respond to my critiques of their work are defensive. Her response was different, and I appreciate that, but I wonder if she's said anything more about my critique, elsewhere, to friends, perhaps?
Block's apology came up this morning in a tweet exchange I had with a colleague about Daniel Handler, the author of Lemony Snicket books who made several racist remarks last night
(November 19) at the National Book Awards. He called them "ill conceived humor" in an apology he tweeted today (November 20). His remarks weren't "ill conceived." They were racist.
Block and Handler are key figures in children's and young adult literature. They are authors of best selling books. They could change a lot of hearts and minds if they'd say more than either has said so far.
Yesterday I received a fabulous package from Bloomsbury - lovely prizes from the Netherlands.
ALL THROUGH MY TOWN won the Dutch Silver Pencil Award - otherwise known as the Zilveren Griffel! Doesn't that have a wonderful ring to it?
And yes - over to the left - that's a gorgeous silver pencil with my book title in Dutch and the name and date of the award engraved in. Amazing!
I'm completely honored. Congratulations, as well, to my fabulous illustrator Leo Timmers and awesome translator Bart Moeyaert.
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Overcoming a painful past usually involves sharing one’s story and the associated feelings. Developing insight into past hurts, and connecting the dots between then and now enables one to make better choices moving forward. Journal writing is a powerful tool that opens the path to greater insight and self-knowledge.
This guest post is by Randy Kamen, ED.D., author of Behind the Therapy Door: Simple Strategies to Transform Your Life. She is a psychologist and educator who helped pioneer new territory in mind-body medicine at Boston University’s School of Medicine and Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. She has long been on the leading edge of her profession, integrating insight oriented and cognitive behavioral therapy with holistic methods in her research and clinical work. She helps women build on their strengths and implement new strategies to deepen their experience of insight, healing, and happiness. Dr. Kamen has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs. She writes for the Huffington Post and other media outlets. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @DrRandyKamen to learn about her speaking engagements and women’s retreats on Martha’s Vineyard and around the country or visit her website DrRandyKamen.com.
The pioneer work of James Pennebaker in his book Writing to Heal and subsequent research on the topic of journal writing, confirms what many of us already know intuitively: Journal writing is a highly effective way to manage stress and alter a wide range of problematic behaviors. Strongly encouraged in the field of psychology and medicine journaling fosters deeper insight, self-awareness, and behavioral change. Behavioral psychologists often say, “If you can track it, you can change it.”
Journaling opens the door for the writer to express personal impressions, daily experiences, and evolving insights as well as reflections about the self, relationships, experiences, dreams, fantasies, and creative musings. This can be done without judgment or restriction. Reviewing earlier entries cultivates the writer’s ability to learn from past events and circumstances that might otherwise go unnoticed. A repetitive, self-destructive behavior becomes more apparent when seen through the lens of these journal entries.
A Vehicle for Mindfulness
Journal writing can be a vehicle for deepening mindfulness as it helps to clarify and refine thoughts and emotions and brings the writer into the present. Like meditation, journal writing helps to clear the mind by transcribing emotional clutter onto the written page. The writer becomes a witness to his or her past behaviors which then paves the way for fresh thought and perspective. Journaling provides a forum that can be both cathartic and revelatory.
A journal creates a great companion wherever you go. It is a resource for observing shifts in your inner world and outer behavior.
Begin the journaling practice by buying a notebook that you can slip into a pocketbook or even a pocket. Consider keeping a separate notebook by the bed to record dreams. Keeping a journal as a private file on the computer is another option. Choose any method that enables you to write consistently for at least ten minutes a day. Some people find that lingering over the writing takes them into a state of reflection about the past, present, or future. Others prefer to track their thoughts about particular subjects, such as dreams, and certain behaviors like smoking, eating, or mood variations. Journaling helps to identify and clarify goals, wishes, and emotional reality without inhibition. Consider a brief meditation as a prelude to journal writing. At a minimum take a few deep breaths for grounding purposes before beginning each new entry. In this way, you will create the condition for even greater focus and lucidity in capturing thoughts and writing.
There are many ways to keep a journal. You may wish to consider the type of journal you would like to keep. There are four kinds of journal that I am proposing here: free associating, gratitude, sentence prompts, and dreams.
Free Associating Journal
In a free associating journal the writer records what- ever comes to mind. This type of journal helps with processing events and clarifying thoughts. It is a venue for noticing feelings, insights, and matters of the heart. This kind of journaling also creates an opportunity for recording life lessons and reflecting on important questions.
In a gratitude journal the writer makes daily recordings about several events for which she is grateful. The idea behind the gratitude journal is to strengthen the part of the brain that focuses on positive thoughts and deepens the capacity to appreciate. This type of journaling is strongly associated with diminished depression and the heightened experience of inner peace and well-being.
Sentence Prompts Journal
In a sentence prompts journal the writer uses open- ended questions or incomplete sentences to evoke (unique) thoughts, feelings, and associations. For example: My relationships will improve when…A risk I am willing to take today is…My life feels most harmonious when I…My goal today is…I believe that…I have always wanted to…I have decided to…My greatest strengths are…I am grateful for…I love…I am happiest when…
In a dream journal the writer records her dreams upon awaking. Dreams can be a powerful source of insight. Once you begin keeping this kind of journal, you are likely to improve your dream recall. Your dreams are a window into your subconscious mind, which is a powerful way to understand your inner world. Sometimes, in the time it takes say “Good morning” to your partner, your dream can slip away. At first, you may only remember fragments or images from your dreams, but in time you will find that you have access to more vivid recollections.
Healing Childhood Trauma through Connection
Getting in touch with one’s early childhood memories, particularly memories from a challenging history, can cause old emotional pain to resurface, sometimes with a vengeance. Journaling can be a powerful tool to rethink your past, your current behaviors, and explore opportunities for change going forward.
Enjoy the process
Journal writing can become your guide and confidant. Most importantly you can tap into your authentic self without inhibition or judgment. The precious time spent journaling will deepen insight, and wisdom. You may find that your journaling ushers you into a healthier and happier place within yourself and with others.
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