Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:
A Better Way to Open Your Novel (Larry Brooks)
The Art of Microfiction (Gayle Towell)
Prologue and Epilogue (Diana Hurwitz)
Warning: Green Shore Publishing (Victoria Strauss)
Why I Left My Mighty Agency and New York Publishers (for now) (Claire Cook)
11 Grammar Mistakes That Label You “Amateur” (Janet Kobobel Grant)
One Way to Connect DIRECTLY To Your Fans? *Yawn* Email. Boring Old Email. (Dan Blank)
Watch out for writing ruts (Rachel Kent)
Resources for Writers—Industry News (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.
If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
Originally posted on Joan Aiken:
Joan Aiken writing at her very best was the perfect companion. She was well travelled, cultured, with a wealth of personal experience, and the ability not just to tell a gripping story, but to draw the reader in to the very process of writing. What she loved…
Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Jen Robinson (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. This week's topics include book lists, diverse books, ebooks, growing bookworms, events, KidLitCon, literacy programs, literacy research, schools, libraries, and summer reading.
Book Lists and Awards
eBooks and Apps
Events, Programs, and Research
On Reading, Writing, and Publishing
Schools and Libraries
Why Do Americans Stink at Math?: NYT article recommended by Jeff Barger http://ow.ly/zyFTZ
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is not satisfied with the settlement that requires Apple to pay $450 million to put an end to the eBook price fixing case.
Reuters has the scoop: “…she found ‘most troubling’ a clause requiring Apple to pay only $70 million if an appeals court reversed her finding that the company is liable for antitrust violations and sent it back to her for further proceedings.”
Apple was found guilty of eBook price fixing in July 2013. The company agreed to the settlement to avoid a trial after losing a number of appeals.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
When ruminating over this past year as ALSC President, the above title of a book by Anne Lamott comes to mind.
Help! Luckily, there was always plenty of it!
- The stellar staff in the ALSC offices was always available for support. From guiding me through the appointments process, organizing Community Forums and other events with members, editing (so many) communications, cultivating collaborations to expand and enhance our work, to finding a way to make some cockamamie ideas concrete, they never lost their patience or good humor.
- My fabulous fellow Board members engaged in lofty thinking and diligent deliberation to move the work of the Association forward and always stepped forward to volunteer for each new task and accept every assignment.
- The truly remarkable membership continues to humble and astound me with their vision, passion and commitment to raising issues and producing results.
Thanks! So, from the above, you can already see that I have an abundance for which to be indebted. But, in addition, I had the opportunity to steep myself even more than usual in this wonderful, dynamic profession for an entire year. It was my honor to be the voice of the association, to represent libraries at the White House and children’s services in national media. It was my pleasure to be the ears as well and to get to know my amazing colleagues from across the country as I listened to their concerns and their aspirations for the association and the profession at large. I thank you all from my heart.
I was recently reminded of the multitude of hats we wear when I had the good fortune to see Pepito’s pom-pommed velvet topper at the New York Historical Society’s Bemelmans exhibit. (Not a bad hat at all!) I am grateful to have had the chance to don the hat of ALSC President this past year. I encourage you all to throw your hat in the ring (or in the air) to create a better future for children through libraries by working together in ALSC. Please, do yourself, the association and the profession a favor–volunteer for a committee or task force, write a blog post, participate in a Community Forum, or consider running for the ALSC Board. The possibilities are endless and the rewards are infinite.
Wow! That’s just about all I can say. Wow!
A few months ago, while sitting in a weekly meeting with the Sales team to go over numbers and publicity and marketing plans for books, a question came up about why two of our backlist titles suddenly jumped up in sales. A few people chalked it up to summer reading starting in a few months, but I wondered–did it have anything to do with the fact both of these books’ film adaptations were added to Netflix a few weeks before?
Obviously not all book-to-film adaptations are good… in fact, as we all know, some make you want to die a little inside upon seeing how your favorite characters are being handled. But, thankfully, there are plenty of fantastic adaptations out there–and Netflix has recently added a whole bunch of them. Even if you don’t have a subscription to the service, most of these films and TV shows should be available to rent via iTunes of stream through another service.
Have you watched any great book-to-film adaptations recently? Here are some of my recent favorites.
Orange is the New Black (based on the book by Piper Kerman)
This might be an obvious choice, but for good reason! It is a master class in character study and strikes the right balance between laugh out loud funny and heartbreaking. I’m in the middle of reading the real Piper’s memoir and I’m amazed at how well the TV writers have captured the spirit of her experience while letting their own characters and ideas take flight.
How I Live Now (based on the book by Meg Rosoff)
Teens surviving the outbreak of WWIII together in England–otherwise known as Alex Puts Her Head Down on her Desk for a Good Cry. Speaking of beautifully shot films, this one fits the bill and does a really fantastic job of elevating the book’s story. It’s harrowing, heartbreaking, and beautiful in turns with one sliiiightly scandalous romance.
The Witches of East End (based on the books by Melissa de la Cruz)
I love me some Buffy, Teen Wolf, and Charmed, and this series fits right in with them–with some awesome (spoiler) Norse mythology thrown in as an added, surprise bonus to the great, heavily female cast. This is a really fun marathon if you’re looking for something a little more light-hearted, than, say, Sophie’s Choice or Legends of the Fall (both of which are also available to instantly stream if you need a good, epic cry).
Tiger Eyes (based on the book by Judy Blume)
It took me a while to work up the courage to watch this film, having lost my own dad two years ago. But ultimately I found this to be a faithful, loving adaptation of the original work. Fun fact: it was adapted by Judy’s son Lawrence.
Now is Good (based on the book Before I Die by Jenny Downham)
This book absolutely destroyed me when I first read it–it’s The Fault in Our Stars before The Fault in Our Stars, the story of Tessa, a seventeen year old who is losing her fight to leukemia and creates a list of things she wants to do before she dies.
Bitten (based on the books by Kelley Armstrong)
Also in the supernatural camp, Bitten follows the trials and tribulations of Elena, the only known female werewolf, as she returns to her pack. While certain elements of the book series were changed–especially on the character front–I found this as equally as fun as the books. (And, let’s be honest, the cast is pretty easy on the eyes.)
Jane Eyre (based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte)
This 2011 adaptation of Bronte’s classic work isn’t new to the world, but it is new to me. I waited way too long to watch it! This is is the perfect vehicle to transport you away from the sticky summer heat to the windswept moors. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no Bronte fangirl, but the performances in this adaptation really breathed new life into the story for me and made me reconsider the characters in ways I hadn’t before.
Alex lives in New York City, writes like a fiend, and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. You can visit her online at her website or Twitter.
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro) (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Morality in Media, a anti-porn watchdog, has launched a campaign against the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. The film’s trailer was released yesterday and the criticism comes in response to the release.
The organization claims that the film “deceives the public with a visually appealing melodramatic love story that romanticizes and normalizes sexual violence.”
Here is more from the organization’s statement: “A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture. Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
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But there’s good news – many schools and organizations throughout the country are working hard to stop summer slide.
Take Kansas City, Missouri, for example. Over the last two summers, a coalition of KC-based organizations have been working with First Book to help reverse summer learning loss for kids in their community.
“More needs to be done to address the summer reading loss,” says Brent Schondelmeyer, communications director for LINC. “With First Book, the Kansas City Public Library, the Mid-County Public Library, Turn the Page KC and other local partners, we are taking an intentional approach to summer reading. And we will use our summer experience to expand how we support reading all year long.”
Last summer, First Book provided 10,000 high-quality books to elementary school children in Kansas City Public Schools. The books were distributed as part of a comprehensive reading program led by the Local Investment Corporation (LINC), the Kansas City Public Library and the mayor’s office.
The great work being done in Kansas City confirms: access to books is key to reversing summer learning loss.
This summer, LINC’s game-changing program expanded. More than 30,000 books from the First Book Marketplace have been distributed to 72 schools, all in an effort to keep kids reading and learning while school’s out. The hope is that the gains made last year will continue and that more kids in the Kansas City area will be ready to start the school year off right.
Check out this video to learn more about what’s happening in Kansas City.
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Leapin’ lizards! (oh, wait) Here are some nonfiction books and picture books about our “phavorite” amphibians.
Arnosky, Jim All About Frogs
32 pp. Scholastic 2002. ISBN 0-590-48164-9
(Gr. K-3) This book informs with a definition of amphibians, the differences between frogs and toads, identifying markings on various species, anatomical features, habits, and how frog spawn develop into frogs. The well-organized expository prose lends itself to reading aloud, with each double-page spread covering a topic. The detailed captions may be lost on groups, but the diagrammatic illustrations offer much to contemplate.
Bishop, Nic Frogs
48 pp. Scholastic 2008. ISBN 978-0-439-87755-8
(Gr. K-3) This informative book covers anatomical, behavioral, and reproductive facts. On each spread, one of the sentences is in larger type, serving as a highlight of main ideas and a pointer to the accompanying captioned photograph–the real star of the show. The pictures are stunningly crisp and beautifully reproduced. At book’s end, Bishop explains the extensive work involved in his nature photography. Glos., ind.
Cowley, Joy Red-Eyed Tree Frog
32 pp. Scholastic 1999. ISBN 0-590-87175-7
(Preschool) Photographs by Nic Bishop. Startlingly close-up photographs of rainforest fauna depict the nocturnal adventures of a red-eyed tree frog. The simple, aptly paced text relates the hungry frog’s search for a meal and his close encounters with dangerous predators, and an accessible afterword provides a good overview of facts on the subject. The engaging narrative and captivating pictures are perfectly attuned to the preschool audience–a rare and noteworthy find in nonfiction.
Pfeffer, Wendy and Keller, Holly From Tadpole to Frog
32 pp. HarperCollins 1994. ISBN 0-06-023044-4 LE ISBN 0-06-445123-2 PE ISBN 0-06-023117-3
(Gr. K-3) Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. This lovely introduction sketches the most basic aspects of frog life–the laying and hatching of eggs, the stages of growth, eating and the danger of being eaten, and hibernation. Pleasing views of plants and animals sharing the pond environment are rendered in bold economy. The text’s clarity and shape make the book an inviting read-aloud science lesson.
Turner, Pamela S. The Frog Scientist
58 pp. Houghton 2009. ISBN 978-0-618-71716-3
(Gr. 4-6) Photographs by Andy Comins. Scientists in the Field series. Readers are introduced to Dr. Tyrone Hayes, who studies the effects of pesticides on frog development. Hayes travels to a pond research site and back to his laboratory, explaining step by step the careful procedures his team follows. Sharp, vivid photographs alternate between portrayals of the scientists–at work and relaxing–and abundant images of the frogs they study. Websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Cooper, Susan Frog
32 pp. McElderry (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) 2002. ISBN 0-689-84302-X
(Preschool) Illustrated by Jane Browne. “Little Joe couldn’t swim….[He] just didn’t get it.” The boy finds the inspiration and gentle encouragement he needs when he rescues a frog trapped in his family’s swimming pool. Little Joe’s involvement in Frog’s small drama shifts the boy’s focus off of himself and his imagined limitations. Both text and art are stripped down to the essentials, with short, simple sentences and uncomplicated, expressive paintings telling the story.
French, Vivian Growing Frogs
32 pp. Candlewick 2000. ISBN 0-7636-0317-1
(Gr. K-3) Illustrated by Alison Bartlett. A mother and daughter gather frog spawn from a pond to observe the metamorphosis from egg to tadpole to frog. While French provides step-by-step guidance for gathering and observing frog spawn, there’s enough detail for a vicarious scientific experience. Bartlett’s use of multiple frames showing frog development paces the action while allowing enough detail for small, but important, changes. Ind.
Hassett, Ann and Hassett, John Too Many Frogs!
32 pp. Houghton 2011. ISBN 978-0-547-36299-1
(Gr. K-3) Illustrated by John Hassett. No sooner has the plumber de-flooded Nana Quimby’s cellar than frogs emerge…first ten, then twenty, thirty (count ‘em), and more. For each escalation, children playing outside have a solution (e.g., put them in a goldfish bowl). The ultimate answer? Re-flood the cellar. Delicious to look at–with its explosion of acrobatic frogs, primitivist-detail décor, and confectionery colors–and a treat to listen to.
Heo, Yumi The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale
32 pp. Houghton (Houghton Mifflin Trade and Reference Division) ISBN 0-395-68378-5
(Gr. K-3) Two frogs enjoy always doing the opposite of what their mother asks. Years later she finally catches on and asks to be buried by the stream instead of in the sun. Remorseful, they obey her last request, only to fear that her grave will wash away–which is why frogs cry by the side of streams whenever it rains. Too mischievous to be morbid, this quirky ‘pourquoi’ tale features quaint, comic illustrations.
Kimura, Ken 999 Frogs Wake Up
48 pp. North-South 2013. ISBN 978-0-7358-4108-6
(Preschool) Illustrated by Yasunari Murakami. Time to check in with the tadpoles-turned-frogs that we left in a pond in 999 Tadpoles. It’s the following spring and the baby frogs are popping up out of the mud while Mother Frog tries to take inventory. Neon green endpapers springboard us into clean white pages that provide an inviting stage for waves of energetic lumpy froglets cunningly arranged and rearranged.
Kimura, Ken 999 Tadpoles
48 pp. North-South 2011. ISBN 978-0-7358-4013-3
(Preschool) Illustrated by Yasunari Murakami. When 999 tadpoles transform into 999 frogs, things get crowded. Relocation across the field proves hazardous when a hungry hawk nabs Father. Mother’s quick thinking saves the day as she grabs onto Father, and all the young frogs link up in turn. There’s not a word misplaced in the spare and funny text, and the illustrations are full of lively movement and personality.
Mayer, Mercer Frog Goes to Dinner
32 pp. Dial 2003. ISBN 0-8037-2884-0 (Reissue, 1974)
Mayer, Mercer Frog on His Own
32 pp. Dial 2003. ISBN 0-8037-2883-2 (Reissue, 1973)
Mayer, Mercer and Mayer, Marianna One Frog Too Many
32 pp. Dial 2003. ISBN 0-8037-2885-9 (Reissue, 1975)
(Preschool) Each of these wordless books about the adventures of a boy and a rambunctious frog is a tiny masterpiece of storytelling, with expressive characters and easy-to-follow action. Thankfully, no attempt was made to change the cozy trim size, colorize the art, or–heaven forbid–add words to these reissues.
Wiesner, David Tuesday
32 pp. Clarion 1991. ISBN 0-395-55113-7
(Gr. K-3) A surreal, almost wordless picture book shows the mysterious levitation of lily pads and frogs from a pond one Tuesday at dusk. The frogs soar around town until they fall to the ground at sunrise. Large, detailed watercolors use dramatic points of view and lighting effects and often show a humorous range of expressions. There is a forecast of further surprises to come on following Tuesdays.
Willems, Mo City Dog, Country Frog
64 pp. Hyperion 2010. ISBN 978-1-4231-0300-4
(Gr. K-3) Illustrated by Jon J Muth. The dog and frog of the title become friends over the course of three seasons, but when the dog returns in winter, the frog is not to be found. This story of a friendship cut short by mortality is economically told and bittersweet; its atmosphere is matched by Muth’s paintings of the two at play in a glorious country landscape.
Don't Date a Bro
1. In the grim darkness of the future, an attempt to carbon-date the last member of the Sigma Epsilon Chi fraternity goes horribly awry, loosing a horde of dread demons upon the world.
2. Number seven in Leon "Ladies' Man" Phelps's advice series: Dating Rules for Straight Bros.
3. Gayree Gayun goes gargantuan when looking for love by way of the newly developed Random Reality Transcendentalizer. That's when he learns, the hard way, that bro isn't a condensed form of the word brother ... in Brontosaurus Land.
4. When Leila realized after three months of dating Jackson that he was an alcoholic, sexist, belligerant, narcissistic asshole (aka a bro), she decided to dump him. But is her new boyfriend a step up or a step down?
5. This rhyming picture book explains the hazards of incest with cheerful, upbeat color illustrations.
6. When the body of Z-list actor/singer/dancer/model Chad Hunkley (real name:Ralph Snodgrass) turns up in the dumpster outside a gay bar in Northridge, detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, this kid is a looong way from Oskaloosa, and two, the frat boys at CSUN are getting a little too randy.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my work. Don't Date a Bro; is a 47,000 word young adult novel that follows the sarcastic and slightly awkward Leila Jayne, an acclaimed soccer player and GPA whiz, who realizes after dating her popular baseball player boyfriend for three months that she is dating a Bro. [To aid those unfamiliar with the term "bro," I've spent a few hours on Urban Dictionary and Google compiling traits of a bro: An alpha male idiot. White, 16-25, inarticulate, belligerent, talks about nothing but chicks and beer, drives a jacked up truck that’s plastered with stickers, lives off his rich parents, constantly uses the word "chill" (as a noun, verb or adjective), wears wife beaters or no shirt, constantly smokes weed and drinks and parties with his fellow bros, so sexist you'd think he's exaggerating normal sexist guys to be satirical except he's not being satirical, he's that sexist, thinks women are good for nothing except making sandwiches for bros and providing bros with "dome," which is oral sex; for instance, a bro might brag, "Today I was getting road dome from a chick and her parents gave me a dirty look from the back seat but I told them it was chill."] [Also, dating a guy for three months and then realizing he's a bro is like taking three months to realize you're dating a warthog.] The problem is that she's not exactly the Bro type - she hates parties, likes to read, and enjoys "me" time - but has been faking it to fit in. To add insult to injury, her best friend has abandoned her for spending too much time with her boyfriend Jackson.
When Jackson's not be as interested in her as when they first started dating, [Suddenly you're talking like a bro.] Leila thinks it's because of her Catholic guilt and her desire to not want to have sex with him anymore. [That would do it. Also, I'm guessing she's refusing to make him sandwiches. Or to chill.] It isn't until [a] new senior boy arrives at her Catholic prep school who actually interests her – an atheist, an intellectual, [If this atheist is so intellectual, why can't he find a school that's not affiliated with a religion?] and a self-proclaimed loner – [A self-proclaimed loner is several steps up from a bro, but can't she find a boy who actually wants her around?] that Leila embraces what makes her unique and accepts that she must break up with her boyfriend. And when they kiss one night, even though she's still dating her Jackson, [Actually, she's dating his Johnson. That's the way it works with bros.] she has to make things right, come clean, [chill,] and ditch the Bro for the guy nobody seems to notice.
Thanks again for considering my novel, and please feel free to contact me if you would like to see more from me.
The whole plot is: girl realizes she's dating a bro, and decides she'd be better off with the new kid in town? Where's the conflict? Dumping a bro is an obvious choice if you have any self-respect. Most women would dump a bro faster than they'd dump a serial killer. In fact, consider making the new kid a known serial killer, so that when Jackson gets dumped for him, it's a bigger blow.
This is all setup. We know Leila Jayne's situation. Now we want to know what she does about it and what goes wrong, and what she does about that. Does Jackson do anything when Leila breaks it off? Besides chill? Give us a reason to care about Leila. If you have an interesting story, show us.
BuffySquirrel said...It's a cute moment in Truth About Cats and Dogs when the Uma Thurman character realises her boyfriend is a loser. But it's not a moment that's expected to carry the whole film.
Usually tension in these situations comes from the woman being madly in love with the wrong guy and unable to see the attractions of the right guy. Here you have someone who's reached that point when the book starts. So...where's the tension going to come from? How can people root for Leila to spot boyfriend is a bro and choose the bright boy instead if she's already pretty much done that?
Also, if her Catholic guilt didn't stop her having sex with him initially, why should she believe it's turned her off it later? The bro's supposed to be the stupid one.
AlaskaRavenclaw said...Yeah, I agree. Choosing between a guy who's not right for you and a guy who is? It's like choosing between an ice cream cone and a broken arm. I'll take the ice cream, thanks; next question?
But I'm actually more concerned about the grammatical and punctuation errors. Don't know why EE didn't mention them. Triage?
Evil Editor said...I rarely mention every little error I spot, especially if I feel the query will be rewritten to the extent that the sentences they're in will be gone. In this case I noted one problem by saying "Suddenly you're talking like a bro," and another by adding the word "a."
Delete the semicolon after Bro. Put a hyphen after 47,000. Rewrite and resubmit.
Rachel6 said...I kinda feel like you summed up your entire story with the title. That's a bad thing.
And hey, does anything happen with the best friend? Maybe the friend introduces her to the new guy, maybe the friend helps her see why she should dump Jackson? You mention her briefly at the end of the first paragraph, and then never again, so I'm a little curious. :)
khazar-khum said...If there's one thing I'm tired of seeing, it's the "Atheist=Intellectual" meme.
Richard Dawkins, biggest proponent of that, is a mysogynistic jackass; Hawkings is right there with him. That's not a good thing.
Unless, of course, Leila intends to challenge him on it. That would add an interesting dimension to their story, possibly making it deeper.
Golfball said...The Bro needs amping up, he needs to become a crazy psycho-stalker after protag dumps him, big fangs and sucking protag's (or protag's new squeeze) life energy are strictly optional.
And then you'll have conflict, you have something going wrong.
Chelsea Pitcher said...I didn't get atheist=intellectual here, but I think the problem is we're not told why the atheism is relevant. Do Jackson's religious beliefs contribute to his bro-ness? If we understand that, I think we'll better understand why New Boy's atheism is appealing.
Is there a story besides Leila ditching the wrong guy for the right guy? If there is, I'd love to see it come through in the query. There's some interesting stuff here, but I'm definitely getting the vibe that Leila defines herself in terms of who she's dating, which doesn't work for me personally.
AA said...If this was adult literary fiction, I wouldn't consider the premise too thin. I'd assume a lot of soul-searching, flashbacks, and possible experimentation with sexual orientation.
But in a YA fiction, stuff's basically gotta happen. Stuff's not really happening here. I'm assuming stuff does and you've just left it out.
I'm concerned about the quality of writing, even sans typos. For instance: "It isn't until [a] new senior boy arrives at her Catholic prep school who actually interests her – an atheist, an intellectual, and a self-proclaimed loner - that Leila embraces what makes her unique and accepts that she must break up with her boyfriend."
Besides sounding like the start of a joke (An atheist, an intellectual and a self-proclaimed loner walk into a bar...) it's just one blamed awkward sentence.
If you remove the interruption you've now got two phrases that could come out completely: "It isn't until a new senior boy arrives (at her Catholic prep school) (who actually interests her) that Leila embraces what makes her unique and accepts that she must break up with her boyfriend."
...and on top of that you've got that list clause. When you're cobbling together sentences from phrases and clauses you need to sit back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself,"What am I trying to say?" and "What is the most straightforward way of saying that?"
Consider: "The problem is that she's not exactly the Bro type - she hates parties, likes to read, and enjoys 'me' time -" Well, you've lied. The problem isn't "she's not EXACTLY" the bro type. The problem is she's NOT AT ALL the bro type. She is the opposite.
And this: "her desire to not want to have sex with him anymore" is confusing. At first I read it as "her desire not to have sex with him" but that didn't seem right. It doesn't seem right this way, either. It's the "to not want to have" that ruins it. If what you're trying to saying is "She wishes she didn't want to have sex with him anymore," then just say that.
I think you need to clear your mind and stop trying to be writerly. Then rewrite this as if you were describing the plot to a friend. Polish that up a little bit and you'll probably have it.
Dave Fragments said...I might be closer to kids than others because there are three kids I "listen" to -- boy 17, girl 15, and girl 10 -- and DATING and all that ANGST is not a small thing in their lives.
There is no way this is too thin because each of these kids has dating in their mind. Teens reading about teen angst is a big deal.
Girls getting involved with boys who are not their types or not good for them is definitely the problem. I saw that with these three kids parents and I see it again with the children.
Fix the words of the query because dating and sex is like, about the most important thing, yanno, like, in their life. Except when adults ask, then it's whatever.
AA said...I have no doubt you're right about teens, Dave. The problem is that this is a story, not real life, and in order for a story to carry an entire book there must be some type of central conflict or important decision.
This is the story I get out of this: Teen is dating wrong guy. Teen realizes this. Luckily, there's a new guy who's perfect for teen. There is no really important obstacle to them getting together, so they do. The end.
I'm assuming there's more to it than that.
Blog: YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between July 25 and July 31 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
Thinking of this today.
Blog: Darcy Pattison's Revision Notes (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: writing life, audience, creative risk, format, genre, market, Add a tag
I’ve been writing for years. (Let’s not discuss how many exactly!) It’s easy to fall into habits and to think about stories in certain ways. The best creative people, though, insist that they are constantly learning and to do that, they try something different. They take risks.
Let me suggest some risks you might want to take:
Try a different genre. If you’ve only written nonfiction, try a novel. Love writing picturebooks? Try a webpost. Good writing is good writing is good writing. But platforms DO make a difference in length, diction (your choice of vocabulary to include/exclude), voice and more. Why not try writing a sonnet?
Try for a different audience. Stretch your genre tastes and try a different one. Write a romance for YAs. Or a mystery for first graders. Are all of your protagonists female? Then try writing from a male’s POV and try to capture a male audience.
Try a different process or word processing program. I took a class on Scrivener this spring and am continuing to explore what this amazing program can and can’t do. I’m also learning Dragon Dictate to lessen the ergonomic strain on my hands. I know that these programs have potential to change not just my writing process, but also the output. I’m just not sure HOW they will affect it. It’s a risk.
Market to different places. While we often separate the writing from the marketing–especially when we think about the creative process–I think you can still take creative risks with marketing. For example, identify a market FIRST, and write specifically for that market. In this case, you are letting the market sculpt your creative output. If you write a short story for Highlights Magazine for Kids, it’s got to be 600 words or less. If you write an op-ed piece for the Huffington Post, everything is different in your creative output. If you decide to self-publish, you may find yourself suddenly taking the question of commercial viability much more seriously.
Blog: Game On! Creating Character Conflict (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Colloquialisms are words or phrases that we use in conversation or informal situations.
An example would be the different ways people refer to carbonated beverages: cola, soda, soda pop, and pop.
Another example is cooked batter: pancake, griddle cake, flap jack, Johnny cake, and short stack.
They can be words (gonna), phrases (hang on), or aphorisms (when the going gets tough, the tough get going).
A few examples of colloquialisms include:
- bat out of hell
- beating a dead horse
- bigger than a barn
- bump on a log
- couldn't care less
- crazy as a loon
- deader than a doornail
- dumb as stump
- drunk as a monkey
- happy as a pig in shit
- hell for leather
- hotter than hell
- knocked into next week
- like flies on shit
- like white on rice
- meaner than a snake
- neat as a pin
- not the brightest crayon
- older than dirt
- one fry short of a happy meal
- piece of cake
- shut your pie hole
- slow as molasses
- tighter than a banjo string
Both colloquialisms and slang can be used as a dialogue plant and payoff: a phrase repeated two or three times at critical points in the story between two characters.
Creating unique colloquialisms and slang for your fantasy world can add a dash of spice. Don't over do it.
Getting the historical slang wrong will earn you e-mails pointing out that the phrase was not used until _____. Nitpickers love this stuff.
It's beautifully sunny here in Normandy - just like summer ought to be!
Blog: The Open Book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Stacy Whitman is Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult readers. In this blog post, she discusses what she is—and is not—looking for from New Visions Award contest submissions.
This year is the second year we’ve held our New Visions Award, a writing contest seeking new writers of color for middle grade and young adult science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Tu Books is a relatively new imprint, and so is our award, which is modeled after the New Voices Award, now in its 15th year of seeking submissions.
Much like the editors who are in charge of the New Voices Award for picture books, for the New Visions Award, I love seeing submissions that follow the submissions guidelines and stories that stand out from a crowd. I look for science fiction, fantasy, and mystery stories that understand the age group they’re targeted at, with strong characters, strong worldbuilding, and if there is a romance, I hope that it avoids cliches.
During the first New Visions Award, our readers made notes on the manuscripts explaining what they enjoyed and what made them stop reading, particularly the things that made them not want to read further than the sample chapters in the initial phase of the contest. For the next few weeks, I’ll delve a little further into those things that made readers stop reading, and then we’ll talk about making your writing have the zing that makes an editor want to read more.
Today, let’s cover the most obvious reasons a New Visions Award reader might stop reading immediately.
- Main character isn’t a person of color
- Unclear if main character is a person of color (& not made clear in any supporting materials)
- Basic formatting rules ignored: single-spaced, no tabs, no paragraph breaks, rules of punctuation ignored to the point it was impossible to read the text
- Chapters at times seemed to be combined to ensure more text would be read, which made them super long and terribly paced
- Duplicate submission from the author (stopped reading the duplicate—of course we read the original!)
- Already read as a regular submission and didn’t see any significant changes
- Author not eligible (published previously in YA or MG, not a person of color, not based in the US)
- Book was a picture book (this would be a New Voices submission, not a New Visions submission) or a short story (not long enough to be a novel)
The obvious solution to making sure your submission is right for this contest is to make sure to read the contest submission guidelines before sending your submission. If you are not a writer of color, or if you live in a country outside the US, we do want to read your manuscript, but not for this contest. Watch our regular submission guidelines for when we’ll open again to unsolicited submissions.
Make sure you format your manuscript in a way that it can be read. If you’re new to writing, be sure to have someone check it over for typos, correct grammar and spelling, correct punctuation, etc. We won’t reject your manuscript for a typo or two, but there is a point at which the story is no longer being communicated because the reader gets tripped up by the errors. Make sure your manuscript is as clean as you can make it.
Next time, we’ll talk about hooking the reader with your story. Happy writing!
Filed under: New Voices/New Visions Award, Publishing 101, Tu Books, Writer Resources Tagged: formatting manuscripts, weneeddiversebooks, writing award, writing contest, writing tips
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Back in 2013, The Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington delivered a commencement address at Smith College. This act inspired her to write a book on looking beyond the acquisition of money and power to Thrive. Check out the highlights from our interview below…
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
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Anders Zorn (1860-1920) painted this portrait of an executioner in Siebenbürgen (Transylvania) while he was on his honeymoon in 1885.
The quote comes from Zorn's autobiographical notes, included in the recent book Anders Zorn: Sweden's Master Painter
Amazon’s net sales reached $19.34 billion in the second quarter of 2014, up 23 percent from $15.70 billion which the company reported in the second quarter of 2013.
The company also repaired that its operating loss was $15 million during Q2, as compared to an operating income of $79 million in Q2 2013. In addition, Amazon’s net loss was $126 million in the second quarter as compared with a net loss of $7 million in Q2 2013.
Here is more from the financial release: “Operating cash flow increased 18% to $5.33 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $4.53 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2013. Free cash flow increased to $1.04 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $265 million for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2013. Free cash flow for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2013, includes cash outflows for purchases of corporate office space and property in Seattle, Washington, of $1.4 billion.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Blog: Biblio File (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel Robin Sloan
When Clay is downsized out of his web design job, he gets a job as the night clerk at a 24-hour bookstore that has a weird backlist--books written entirely in code. The only main customers are ones who come in with a secret code, return one of the backlist titles and ask for another. Only those with the code can access the backlist and Clay has to write an extensive journal entry about it. In order to impress a cute girl from Google (and to stay entertained) Clay decides to do a 3D data map of the journals and he discovers that there’s a pattern to what books are being asked for, and the pattern makes a face. He and his tech friends then try to get computers to decode the books, which sets off an adventure and a discovery of a secret ancient society that they’re about to seriously disrupt.
On one level it’s a good exploration of old v new, print v tech, in the book world, with no real answers. On the other, it’s a fun read with romance, adventure, and a side-kick. I like how Clay actively recruits a side-kick and a wizard from his friends as they go on their quest (he reserves the role of rogue for himself.) And a good dose of poking fun of the early Millenials/late Gen-Xers of San Fransisco. There’s a lot of food for thought, but in a way that’s not heavy.
I loved it.
Oh, also, an Outstanding Book for the College Bound. And the cover glows in the dark.
Book Provided by... my local library
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Submissions Needed. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.
The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.
Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.
What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below--new: I've added a request to post the rest of the chapter.
A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.
Before you rip into today’s submission, consider this list of 6 vital storytelling ingredients from my book, Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.
Evaluate the submission—and your own first page—in terms of whether or not it includes each of these ingredients, and how well it executes them. The one vital ingredient not listed is professional-caliber writing because that is a must for every page, a given.
- Story questions
- Tension (in the reader, not just the characters)
Tara sends the prologue and first chapter for Omphalos.
Image: Walking closed fists with ghosts in my hands, I slowly extinguish their fires. Fabrics of all colors become dull in my grasp.
If the story would begin, it would be from all points on the star, all intercepts of the tetrahedron or rather, every existent and non-existent point on the sphere; in every node and every level of the quantum jump, and in all the breathless white noise of the in-between.
Imagine the infinity of the circle, the colors of the sun, the dragon's breath, the fabrics of the world: an emotion lies in each.
Imagine a yellow.
The frequency of this yellow titillates the bone marrow, whispers to the butterflies between the ribcage, in that darkness, to come out.
Blinding sun careening off the windowpane, pouring onto the floor.
Feel the pulse.
Thwump. Thwap. Thwump. Thwap. The pulse grows with each beat of the wings. The abdomen feels the pressure. The shell could crack, schism right down the center, pushing out dark, drawing in light. The beings themselves do not even understand. They simply pulse to the(snip)Were you compelled to turn Tara's first page?
Chapter one: GAIA
When Apollo killed the python, I was not surprised. He had come flying out of the sun on his winged chariot with heavy jowls, a wrinkled brow, and scorched eyelashes.
I felt the winds change.
In the navel of the mountain so long—I, Gaia, the very first Oracle at Delphi, answering always the same questions—understood the time had come to leave Mount Parnassus.
His breasts, I laughed, will not be as much a comfort as my own. Let his loincloth speak for his worth!
I had my own chariot to find.
For all the time I had spent upon Mt. Parnassus, it was the newly ‘civilized’ men who exhausted me the most.
“I WILL VISIT THE ORACLE. STOP. I WILL ASK OF THE ORACLE THE MEANING OF LIFE. STOP. I WILL HAVE MY ANSWER. STOP. I WILL EMERGE FROM THE CAVE. STOP. I WILL LIVE IN KNOWLEDGE. STOP. I WILL NOT FEAR DEATH. STOP. DEATH IS NOT INEVITABLE. STOP. I WILL NOT FEAR DEATH. STOP. SEND MY MESSAGE BY CARRIER PIGEON.”
Claiming hardship and toil
claiming a battle (snip)Would you turn the page with this opening?
Well, gods and goddesses are always interesting and promise a good story. This is one for me that the voice did the job of getting me to turn the page. But I think the prologue could be shorter and stronger. There were only 6 more lines in the prologue, and I think it would behoove Tara to trim the page to get them on as they make much more clear the opening of the chapter. The missing lines are:
dark, drawing in light. The beings themselves do not even understand. They simply pulse to the rhythm of the light.
The snake who ate the butterflies splits though her center, and sheds her skin. From the wet gel of her new pores, the creatures slip out, one by one, infinite colors and patterns drawn by the sun. All beings are released.
Herein lies the yellow.
As for the chapter, same thing—the voice and the gods. I’m interested in a story involving Apollo and Gaia, and the writing has style and quality. The second chapter appears to get us involved with an actual human, which is good. One thought: put the Gaia part in as part of the prologue so that the story starts with a person. And definitely keep working on this story.
For what it’s worth.
Submitting to the Flogometer:
Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):
- your title
- your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
- Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
- Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
- And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
- If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
- If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.
Flogging the Quill © 2014 Ray Rhamey, story © 2014 Tara
Blog: Becky's Book Reviews (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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'Edith!' said Margaret, gently, 'Edith!'
But, as Margaret half suspected, Edith had fallen asleep.
I can't believe it's been two years since I last read North and South! As many of you know, I love, love, love, LOVE North and South! And I have gushed about it plenty since discovering it in May 2010. There was my initial review, my first impressions of the audio book and movie, my quote-heavy review from 2011, and my review from 2012. The good news? I still LOVE and ADORE it. The not-so-good news? What haven't I said before?! I've given several summaries! I've gushed about the movie and how it's an ABSOLUTE MUST. I've shared lots of quotes!
Journaling of North and South:
Victorian definition of friendship?!
They were the familiar acquaintances of the house; neighbours whom Mrs. Shaw called friends, because she happened to dine with them more frequently than with any other people, and because if she or Edith wanted anything from them, or they from her, they did not scruple to make a call at each other's houses before luncheon. (6)Margaret on weddings:
'No. I think after this evening we shall feel at rest, which I am sure I have not done for many weeks; at least, that kind of rest when the hands have nothing more to do, and all the arrangements are complete for an event which must occupy one's head and heart. I shall be glad to have time to think, and I am sure Edith will.'From the start, I knew Margaret was my kind of heroine!
'I am not so sure about her; but I can fancy that you will. Whenever I have seen you lately, you have been carried away by a whirlwind of some other person's making.'
'Yes,' said Margaret, rather sadly, remembering the never-ending commotion about trifles that had been going on for more than a month past: 'I wonder if a marriage must always be preceded by what you call a whirlwind, or whether in some cases there might not rather be a calm and peaceful time just before it.'
<'Cinderella's godmother ordering the trousseau, the wedding-breakfast, writing the notes of invitation, for instance,' said Mr. Lennox, laughing.
'But are all these quite necessary troubles?' asked Margaret, looking up straight at him for an answer. A sense of indescribable weariness of all the arrangements for a pretty effect, in which Edith had been busied as supreme authority for the last six weeks, oppressed her just now; and she really wanted some one to help her to a few pleasant, quiet ideas connected with a marriage.
'Oh, of course,' he replied with a change to gravity in his tone. 'There are forms and ceremonies to be gone through, not so much to satisfy oneself, as to stop the world's mouth, without which stoppage there would be very little satisfaction in life. But how would you have a wedding arranged?'
'Oh, I have never thought much about it; only I should like it to be a very fine summer morning; and I should like to walk to church through the shade of trees; and not to have so many bridesmaids, and to have no wedding-breakfast. I dare say I am resolving against the very things that have given me the most trouble just now.'
'No, I don't think you are. The idea of stately simplicity accords well with your character.' (11)
And I thought this was quite a true observation about worrying:
But the cloud never comes in that quarter of the horizon from which we watch for it. (18)And have you noticed how often heroines in classics are absolutely shocked by marriage proposals? Margaret is no different.
'Margaret, I wish you did not like Helstone so much—did not seem so perfectly calm and happy here. I have been hoping for these three months past to find you regretting London—and London friends, a little—enough to make you listen more kindly' (for she was quietly, but firmly, striving to extricate her hand from his grasp) 'to one who has not much to offer, it is true—nothing but prospects in the future—but who does love you, Margaret, almost in spite of himself. Margaret, have I startled you too much? Speak!' For he saw her lips quivering almost as if she were going to cry. She made a strong effort to be calm; she would not speak till she had succeeded in mastering her voice, and then she said:Margaret has to be practical and no-nonsense. It definitely was not fair that she had to be the one to break the BIG BIG news to her mother because her father was too weak to do something so unpleasant. It won't be the last time Margaret has to step up to an unpleasant duty.
'I was startled. I did not know that you cared for me in that way. I have always thought of you as a friend; and, please, I would rather go on thinking of you so. I don't like to be spoken to as you have been doing. I cannot answer you as you want me to do, and yet I should feel so sorry if I vexed you.'
'Margaret,' said he, looking into her eyes, which met his with their open, straight look, expressive of the utmost good faith and reluctance to give pain.
'Do you'—he was going to say—'love any one else?' But it seemed as if this question would be an insult to the pure serenity of those eyes. 'Forgive me I have been too abrupt. I am punished. Only let me hope. Give me the poor comfort of telling me you have never seen any one whom you could—— ' Again a pause. He could not end his sentence. Margaret reproached herself acutely as the cause of his distress.
'Ah! if you had but never got this fancy into your head! It was such a pleasure to think of you as a friend.'
'But I may hope, may I not, Margaret, that some time you will think of me as a lover? Not yet, I see—there is no hurry—but some time—— ' She was silent for a minute or two, trying to discover the truth as it was in her own heart, before replying; then she said:
'I have never thought of—you, but as a friend. I like to think of you so; but I am sure I could never think of you as anything else. Pray, let us both forget that all this' ('disagreeable,' she was going to say, but stopped short) 'conversation has taken place.' (29)
'I shall not be at home till evening. I am going to Bracy Common, and will ask Farmer Dobson to give me something for dinner. I shall be back to tea at seven.' He did not look at either of them, but Margaret knew what he meant. By seven the announcement must be made to her mother. Mr. Hale would have delayed making it till half-past six, but Margaret was of different stuff. She could not bear the impending weight on her mind all the day long: better get the worst over; the day would be too short to comfort her mother. But while she stood by the window, thinking how to begin, and waiting for the servant to have left the room, her mother had gone up-stairs to put on her things to go to the school. She came down ready equipped, in a brisker mood than usual. (43)I wonder if I'm the only one who imagines fictional characters on House Hunters (or House Hunters International)?! I certainly pay more attention these days.
They set out on their house-hunting. Thirty pounds a-year was all they could afford to give, but in Hampshire they could have met with a roomy house and pleasant garden for the money. Here, even the necessary accommodation of two sitting-rooms and four bed-rooms seemed unattainable. They went through their list, rejecting each as they visited it. Then they looked at each other in dismay.And this just makes me giddy: reading of Mr. Thornton changing the horrid wallpaper. Of course, I didn't even think about it the first time I read the book. But now my eyes search for Mr. Thornton's goodness everywhere.
'We must go back to the second, I think. That one,—in Crampton, don't they call the suburb? There were three sitting-rooms; don't you remember how we laughed at the number compared with the three bed-rooms? But I have planned it all. The front room down-stairs is to be your study and our dining-room (poor papa!), for, you know, we settled mamma is to have as cheerful a sitting-room as we can get; and that front room up-stairs, with the atrocious blue and pink paper and heavy cornice, had really a pretty view over the plain, with a great bend of river, or canal, or whatever it is, down below. Then I could have the little bed-room behind, in that projection at the head of the first flight of stairs—over the kitchen, you know—and you and mamma the room behind the drawing-room, and that closet in the roof will make you a splendid dressing-room.'
'But Dixon, and the girl we are to have to help?'
'Oh, wait a minute. I am overpowered by the discovery of my own genius for management. Dixon is to have—let me see, I had it once—the back sitting-room. I think she will like that. She grumbles so much about the stairs at Heston; and the girl is to have that sloping attic over your room and mamma's. Won't that do?'
'I dare say it will. But the papers. What taste! And the overloading such a house with colour and such heavy cornices!'
'Never mind, papa! Surely, you can charm the landlord into re-papering one or two of the rooms—the drawing-room and your bed-room—for mamma will come most in contact with them; and your book-shelves will hide a great deal of that gaudy pattern in the dining-room.'
'Then you think it the best? If so, I had better go at once and call on this Mr. Donkin, to whom the advertisement refers me. I will take you back to the hotel, where you can order lunch, and rest, and by the time it is ready, I shall be with you. I hope I shall be able to get new papers.'
Margaret hoped so too, though she said nothing. She had never come fairly in contact with the taste that loves ornament, however bad, more than the plainness and simplicity which are of themselves the framework of elegance. Her father took her through the entrance of the hotel, and leaving her at the foot of the staircase, went to the address of the landlord of the house they had fixed upon. (60-1)
But, oh mamma! speaking of vulgarity and commonness, you must prepare yourself for our drawing-room paper. Pink and blue roses, with yellow leaves! And such a heavy cornice round the room!'The Higgins. I am so very, very glad to see Margaret making friends. I really do love, love, love Bess and Nicholas.
But when they removed to their new house in Milton, the obnoxious papers were gone. The landlord received their thanks very composedly; and let them think, if they liked, that he had relented from his expressed determination not to repaper. There was no particular need to tell them, that what he did not care to do for a Reverend Mr. Hale, unknown in Milton, he was only too glad to do at the one short sharp remonstrance of Mr. Thornton, the wealthy manufacturer. (65)
'Where do you live? I think we must be neighbours, we meet so often on this road.'Margaret's early thoughts on Mr. Thornton:
'We put up at nine Frances Street, second turn to th' left at after yo've past th' Goulden Dragon.'
'And your name? I must not forget that.'
'I'm none ashamed o' my name. It's Nicholas Higgins. Hoo's called Bessy Higgins. Whatten yo' asking for?'
Margaret was surprised at this last question, for at Helstone it would have been an understood thing, after the inquiries she had made, that she intended to come and call upon any poor neighbour whose name and habitation she had asked for.
'I thought—I meant to come and see you.' She suddenly felt rather shy of offering the visit, without having any reason to give for her wish to make it, beyond a kindly interest in a stranger. It seemed all at once to take the shape of an impertinence on her part; she read this meaning too in the man's eyes.
'I'm none so fond of having strange folk in my house.' But then relenting, as he saw her heightened colour, he added, 'Yo're a foreigner, as one may say, and maybe don't know many folk here, and yo've given my wench here flowers out of yo'r own hand;—yo may come if yo like.'
Margaret was half-amused, half-nettled at this answer. She was not sure if she would go where permission was given so like a favour conferred. But when they came to the town into Frances Street, the girl stopped a minute, and said,
'Yo'll not forget yo're to come and see us.' (73)
'But, east or west wind, I suppose this man comes.'And I believe this is the first but definitely not last mention of Mrs. Thornton--John's mother. She's certainly not easy to forget!!!
'Oh, mamma, that shows you never saw Mr. Thornton. He looks like a person who would enjoy battling with every adverse thing he could meet with—enemies, winds, or circumstances. The more it rains and blows, the more certain we are to have him. But I'll go and help Dixon. I'm getting to be a famous clear-starcher. And he won't want any amusement beyond talking to papa. Papa, I am really longing to see the Pythias to your Damon. You know I never saw him but once, and then we were so puzzled to know what to say to each other that we did not get on particularly well.'
'I don't know that you would ever like him, or think him agreeable, Margaret. He is not a lady's man.'
Margaret wreathed her throat in a scornful curve.
'I don't particularly admire ladies' men, papa. But Mr. Thornton comes here as your friend—as one who has appreciated you'—
'The only person in Milton,' said Mrs. Hale.
'So we will give him a welcome, and some cocoa-nut cakes. Dixon will be flattered if we ask her to make some; and I will undertake to iron your caps, mamma.'
Many a time that morning did Margaret wish Mr. Thornton far enough away. (75)
'John! Is that you?'John noticing Margaret...
Her son opened the door and showed himself.
'What has brought you home so early? I thought you were going to tea with that friend of Mr. Bell's; that Mr. Hale.'
'So I am, mother; I am come home to dress!'
'Dress! humph! When I was a girl, young men were satisfied with dressing once in a day. Why should you dress to go and take a cup of tea with an old parson?'
'Mr. Hale is a gentleman, and his wife and daughter are ladies.'
'Wife and daughter! Do they teach too? What do they do? You have never mentioned them.'
'No! mother, because I have never seen Mrs. Hale; I have only seen Miss Hale for half an hour.'
'Take care you don't get caught by a penniless girl, John.'
'I am not easily caught, mother, as I think you know. But I must not have Miss Hale spoken of in that way, which, you know, is offensive to me. I never was aware of any young lady trying to catch me yet, nor do I believe that any one has ever given themselves that useless trouble.'
Mrs. Thornton did not choose to yield the point to her son; or else she had, in general, pride enough for her sex.
'Well! I only say, take care. Perhaps our Milton girls have too much spirit and good feeling to go angling after husbands; but this Miss Hale comes out of the aristocratic counties, where, if all tales be true, rich husbands are reckoned prizes.'
Mr. Thornton's brow contracted, and he came a step forward into the room.
'Mother' (with a short scornful laugh), 'you will make me confess. The only time I saw Miss Hale, she treated me with a haughty civility which had a strong flavour of contempt in it. She held herself aloof from me as if she had been a queen, and I her humble, unwashed vassal. Be easy, mother.'
'No! I am not easy, nor content either. What business had she, a renegade clergyman's daughter, to turn up her nose at you! I would dress for none of them—a saucy set! if I were you.' As he was leaving the room, he said:—
'Mr. Hale is good, and gentle, and learned. He is not saucy. As for Mrs. Hale, I will tell you what she is like to-night, if you care to hear.' He shut the door and was gone.
'Despise my son! treat him as her vassal, indeed! Humph! I should like to know where she could find such another! Boy and man, he's the noblest, stoutest heart I ever knew. I don't care if I am his mother; I can see what's what, and not be blind. I know what Fanny is; and I know what John is. Despise him! I hate her!' (77)
She looked as if she was not attending to the conversation, but solely busy with the tea-cups, among which her round ivory hands moved with pretty, noiseless, daintiness. She had a bracelet on one taper arm, which would fall down over her round wrist. Mr. Thornton watched the replacing of this troublesome ornament with far more attention than he listened to her father. It seemed as if it fascinated him to see her push it up impatiently, until it tightened her soft flesh; and then to mark the loosening—the fall. He could almost have exclaimed—'There it goes, again!' There was so little left to be done after he arrived at the preparation for tea, that he was almost sorry the obligation of eating and drinking came so soon to prevent his watching Margaret. She handed him his cup of tea with the proud air of an unwilling slave; but her eye caught the moment when he was ready for another cup; and he almost longed to ask her to do for him what he saw her compelled to do for her father, who took her little finger and thumb in his masculine hand, and made them serve as sugar-tongs. Mr. Thornton saw her beautiful eyes lifted to her father, full of light, half-laughter and half-love, as this bit of pantomime went on between the two, unobserved, as they fancied, by any. (79)A missed opportunity...it won't be the only missed opportunity either.
When Mr. Thornton rose up to go away, after shaking hands with Mr. and Mrs. Hale, he made an advance to Margaret to wish her good-bye in a similar manner. It was the frank familiar custom of the place; but Margaret was not prepared for it. She simply bowed her farewell; although the instant she saw the hand, half put out, quickly drawn back, she was sorry she had not been aware of the intention. Mr. Thornton, however, knew nothing of her sorrow, and, drawing himself up to his full height, walked off, muttering as he left the house—Margaret speaks out on Mr. Thornton (again):
'A more proud, disagreeable girl I never saw. Even her great beauty is blotted out of one's memory by her scornful ways.' (86)
'Papa, I do think Mr. Thornton a very remarkable man; but personally I don't like him at all.'And here we have the first of many references to Revelation!
'And I do!' said her father laughing. 'Personally, as you call it, and all. I don't set him up for a hero, or anything of that kind. But good night, child. (88)
'Do you think such life as this is worth caring for?' gasped Bessy, at last. Margaret did not speak, but held the water to her lips. Bessy took a long and feverish draught, and then fell back and shut her eyes. Margaret heard her murmur to herself: 'They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.'Not that they only talk about death and dying. They also talk about factory life.
Margaret bent over and said, 'Bessy, don't be impatient with your life, whatever it is—or may have been. Remember who gave it you, and made it what it is!' She was startled by hearing Nicholas speak behind her; he had come in without her noticing him. (90)
Margaret meeting John's mother...she does love to boast!
'To hold and maintain a high, honourable place among the merchants of his country—the men of his town. Such a place my son has earned for himself. Go where you will—I don't say in England only, but in Europe—the name of John Thornton of Milton is known and respected amongst all men of business. Of course, it is unknown in the fashionable circles,' she continued, scornfully.Margaret and John definitely know how to have a tense conversation:
'Idle gentlemen and ladies are not likely to know much of a Milton manufacturer, unless he gets into parliament, or marries a lord's daughter.' Both Mr. Hale and Margaret had an uneasy, ludicrous consciousness that they had never heard of this great name, until Mr. Bell had written them word that Mr. Thornton would be a good friend to have in Milton. The proud mother's world was not their world of Harley Street gentilities on the one hand, or country clergymen and Hampshire squires on the other. Margaret's face, in spite of all her endeavours to keep it simply listening in its expression told the sensitive Mrs. Thornton this feeling of hers.
'You think you never heard of this wonderful son of mine, Miss Hale. You think I'm an old woman whose ideas are bounded by Milton, and whose own crow is the whitest ever seen.'
'No,' said Margaret, with some spirit. 'It may be true, that I was thinking I had hardly heard Mr. Thornton's name before I came to Milton. But since I have come here, I have heard enough to make me respect and admire him, and to feel how much justice and truth there is in what you have said of him.'
'Who spoke to you of him?' asked Mrs. Thornton, a little mollified, yet jealous lest any one else's words should not have done him full justice. Margaret hesitated before she replied. She did not like this authoritative questioning. Mr. Hale came in, as he thought, to the rescue.
'It was what Mr. Thornton said himself, that made us know the kind of man he was. Was it not, Margaret?'
Mrs. Thornton drew herself up, and said—
'My son is not the one to tell of his own doings. May I again ask you, Miss Hale, from whose account you formed your favourable opinion of him? A mother is curious and greedy of commendation of her children, you know.'
Margaret replied, 'It was as much from what Mr. Thornton withheld of that which we had been told of his previous life by Mr. Bell,—it was more that than what he said, that made us all feel what reason you have to be proud of him.'
'Mr. Bell! What can he know of John? He, living a lazy life in a drowsy college. But I'm obliged to you, Miss Hale. Many a missy young lady would have shrunk from giving an old woman the pleasure of hearing that her son was well spoken of.' (114)
'I shall only be too glad to explain to you all that may seem anomalous or mysterious to a stranger; especially at a time like this, when our doings are sure to be canvassed by every scribbler who can hold a pen.'One of Margaret's many burdens... Gaskell certainly did a good job on making Margaret so very strong and resilient. Yet she's not hard and unfeeling.
'Thank you,' she answered, coldly. 'Of course, I shall apply to my father in the first instance for any information he can give me, if I get puzzled with living here amongst this strange society.'
'You think it strange. Why?'
'I don't know—I suppose because, on the very face of it, I see two classes dependent on each other in every possible way, yet each evidently regarding the interests of the other as opposed to their own; I never lived in a place before where there were two sets of people always running each other down.'
'Who have you heard running the masters down? I don't ask who you have heard abusing the men; for I see you persist in misunderstanding what I said the other day. But who have you heard abusing the masters?'
Margaret reddened; then smiled as she said,
'I am not fond of being catechised. I refuse to answer your question. Besides, it has nothing to do with the fact. You must take my word for it, that I have heard some people, or, it may be, only someone of the workpeople, speak as though it were the interest of the employers to keep them from acquiring money—that it would make them too independent if they had a sum in the savings' bank.' (118)
'What is the matter with mamma? You will oblige me by telling the simple truth.' Then, seeing a slight hesitation on the doctor's part, she added—I share Bessy's love of Revelation. I do. It is one of my favorite, favorite books as well.
'I am the only child she has—here, I mean. My father is not sufficiently alarmed, I fear; and, therefore, if there is any serious apprehension, it must be broken to him gently. I can do this. I can nurse my mother. Pray, speak, sir; to see your face, and not be able to read it, gives me a worse dread than I trust any words of yours will justify.'
'My dear young lady, your mother seems to have a most attentive and efficient servant, who is more like her friend—'
'I am her daughter, sir.'
'But when I tell you she expressly desired that you might not be told—'
'I am not good or patient enough to submit to the prohibition. Besides, I am sure you are too wise—too experienced to have promised to keep the secret.'
'Well,' said he, half-smiling, though sadly enough, 'there you are right. I did not promise. In fact, I fear, the secret will be known soon enough without my revealing it.'
He paused. Margaret went very white, and compressed her lips a little more. Otherwise not a feature moved. With the quick insight into character, without which no medical man can rise to the eminence of Dr. Donaldson, he saw that she would exact the full truth; that she would know if one iota was withheld; and that the withholding would be torture more acute than the knowledge of it. He spoke two short sentences in a low voice, watching her all the time; for the pupils of her eyes dilated into a black horror and the whiteness of her complexion became livid. He ceased speaking. He waited for that look to go off,—for her gasping breath to come. Then she said:—
'I thank you most truly, sir, for your confidence. That dread has haunted me for many weeks. It is a true, real agony. My poor, poor mother!' her lips began to quiver, and he let her have the relief of tears, sure of her power of self-control to check them.
A few tears—those were all she shed, before she recollected the many questions she longed to ask. (126)
'I ask your pardon,' replied Bessy, humbly. 'Sometimes, when I've thought o' my life, and the little pleasure I've had in it, I've believed that, maybe, I was one of those doomed to die by the falling of a star from heaven; "And the name of the star is called Wormwood;" and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and men died of the waters, because they were made bitter." One can bear pain and sorrow better if one thinks it has been prophesied long before for one: somehow, then it seems as if my pain was needed for the fulfilment; otherways it seems all sent for nothing.'Mr. Thornton tries to be kind to Margaret, but, she's not quite ready!
'Nay, Bessy—think!' said Margaret. 'God does not willingly afflict. Don't dwell so much on the prophecies, but read the clearer parts of the Bible.'
'I dare say it would be wiser; but where would I hear such grand words of promise—hear tell o' anything so far different fro' this dreary world, and this town above a', as in Revelations? Many's the time I've repeated the verses in the seventh chapter to myself, just for the sound. It's as good as an organ, and as different from every day, too. No, I cannot give up Revelations. It gives me more comfort than any other book i' the Bible.' (137)
What business had he to be the only person, except Dr. Donaldson and Dixon, admitted to the awful secret, which she held shut up in the most dark and sacred recess of her heart—not daring to look at it, unless she invoked heavenly strength to bear the sight—that, some day soon, she should cry aloud for her mother, and no answer would come out of the blank, dumb darkness? Yet he knew all. She saw it in his pitying eyes. She heard it in his grave and tremulous voice. How reconcile those eyes, that voice, with the hard-reasoning, dry, merciless way in which he laid down axioms of trade, and serenely followed them out to their full consequences? The discord jarred upon her inexpressibly. (153)Margaret has another conversation with her Dad about that man!
'Oh, papa!'Tender yet uncomfortable witness:
'Well! I only want you to do justice to Mr. Thornton, who is, I suspect, of an exactly opposite nature,—a man who is far too proud to show his feelings. Just the character I should have thought beforehand, you would have admired, Margaret.'
'So I do,—so I should; but I don't feel quite so sure as you do of the existence of those feelings. He is a man of great strength of character,—of unusual intellect, considering the few advantages he has had.'
'Not so few. He has led a practical life from a very early age; has been called upon to exercise judgment and self-control. All that develops one part of the intellect. To be sure, he needs some of the knowledge of the past, which gives the truest basis for conjecture as to the future; but he knows this need,—he perceives it, and that is something. You are quite prejudiced against Mr. Thornton, Margaret.' (166)
'Not the disease. We cannot touch the disease, with all our poor vaunted skill. We can only delay its progress—alleviate the pain it causes. Be a man, sir—a Christian. Have faith in the immortality of the soul, which no pain, no mortal disease, can assail or touch!'The strike or riot gets intense, very intense!
But all the reply he got, was in the choked words, 'You have never been married, Dr. Donaldson; you do not know what it is,' and in the deep, manly sobs, which went through the stillness of the night like heavy pulses of agony. Margaret knelt by him, caressing him with tearful caresses. No one, not even Dr. Donaldson, knew how the time went by. Mr. Hale was the first to dare to speak of the necessities of the present moment.
'What must we do?' asked he. 'Tell us both. Margaret is my staff—my right hand.' (169)
'Mr. Thornton,' said Margaret, shaking all over with her passion, 'go down this instant, if you are not a coward. Go down and face them like a man. Save these poor strangers, whom you have decoyed here. Speak to your workmen as if they were human beings. Speak to them kindly. Don't let the soldiers come in and cut down poor creatures who are driven mad. I see one there who is. If you have any courage or noble quality in you, go out and speak to them, man to man.'and
He turned and looked at her while she spoke. A dark cloud came over his face while he listened. He set his teeth as he heard her words.
'I will go. Perhaps I may ask you to accompany me downstairs, and bar the door behind me; my mother and sister will need that protection.'
'Oh! Mr. Thornton! I do not know—I may be wrong—only—' But he was gone; he was downstairs in the hall; he had unbarred the front door; all she could do, was to follow him quickly, and fasten it behind him, and clamber up the stairs again with a sick heart and a dizzy head. Again she took her place by the farthest window. He was on the steps below; she saw that by the direction of a thousand angry eyes; but she could neither see nor hear anything save the savage satisfaction of the rolling angry murmur. She threw the window wide open. Many in the crowd were mere boys; cruel and thoughtless,—cruel because they were thoughtless; some were men, gaunt as wolves, and mad for prey. (177)
She only thought how she could save him. She threw her arms around him; she made her body into a shield from the fierce people beyond. Still, with his arms folded, he shook her off.This moment changes everything...but not as much as Mr. Thornton would like!!!
'Go away,' said he, in his deep voice. 'This is no place for you.'
'It is!' said she. 'You did not see what I saw.' If she thought her sex would be a protection,—if, with shrinking eyes she had turned away from the terrible anger of these men, in any hope that ere she looked again they would have paused and reflected, and slunk away, and vanished,—she was wrong. Their reckless passion had carried them too far to stop—at least had carried some of them too far; for it is always the savage lads, with their love of cruel excitement, who head the riot—reckless to what bloodshed it may lead. A clog whizzed through the air. Margaret's fascinated eyes watched its progress; it missed its aim, and she turned sick with affright, but changed not her position, only hid her face on Mr. Thornton s arm. Then she turned and spoke again:'
'For God's sake! do not damage your cause by this violence. You do not know what you are doing.' She strove to make her words distinct.
A sharp pebble flew by her, grazing forehead and cheek, and drawing a blinding sheet of light before her eyes. She lay like one dead on Mr. Thornton's shoulder. Then he unfolded his arms, and held her encircled in one for an instant:
'You do well!' said he. 'You come to oust the innocent stranger. You fall—you hundreds—on one man; and when a woman comes before you, to ask you for your own sakes to be reasonable creatures, your cowardly wrath falls upon her! You do well!' They were silent while he spoke. They were watching, open-eyed and open-mouthed, the thread of dark-red blood which wakened them up from their trance of passion. Those nearest the gate stole out ashamed; there was a movement through all the crowd—a retreating movement. Only one voice cried out:
'Th' stone were meant for thee; but thou wert sheltered behind a woman!'
Mr. Thornton quivered with rage. The blood-flowing had made Margaret conscious—dimly, vaguely conscious. He placed her gently on the door-step, her head leaning against the frame.
'Can you rest there?' he asked. But without waiting for her answer, he went slowly down the steps right into the middle of the crowd. 'Now kill me, if it is your brutal will. There is no woman to shield me here. You may beat me to death—you will never move me from what I have determined upon—not you!' He stood amongst them, with his arms folded, in precisely the same attitude as he had been in on the steps. (179)
'Miss Hale, I was very ungrateful yesterday—'I do love, love, love Mr. Thornton.
'You had nothing to be grateful for,' said she, raising her eyes, and looking full and straight at him. 'You mean, I suppose, that you believe you ought to thank me for what I did.' In spite of herself—in defiance of her anger—the thick blushes came all over her face, and burnt into her very eyes; which fell not nevertheless from their grave and steady look. 'It was only a natural instinct; any woman would have done just the same. We all feel the sanctity of our sex as a high privilege when we see danger. I ought rather,' said she, hastily, 'to apologise to you, for having said thoughtless words which sent you down into the danger.'
'It was not your words; it was the truth they conveyed, pungently as it was expressed. But you shall not drive me off upon that, and so escape the expression of my deep gratitude, my—' he was on the verge now; he would not speak in the haste of his hot passion; he would weigh each word. He would; and his will was triumphant. He stopped in mid career.
'I do not try to escape from anything,' said she. 'I simply say, that you owe me no gratitude; and I may add, that any expression of it will be painful to me, because I do not feel that I deserve it. Still, if it will relieve you from even a fancied obligation, speak on.'
'I do not want to be relieved from any obligation,' said he, goaded by her calm manner. 'Fancied, or not fancied—I question not myself to know which—I choose to believe that I owe my very life to you—ay—smile, and think it an exaggeration if you will. I believe it, because it adds a value to that life to think—oh, Miss Hale!' continued he, lowering his voice to such a tender intensity of passion that she shivered and trembled before him, 'to think circumstance so wrought, that whenever I exult in existence henceforward, I may say to myself, "All this gladness in life, all honest pride in doing my work in the world, all this keen sense of being, I owe to her!" And it doubles the gladness, it makes the pride glow, it sharpens the sense of existence till I hardly know if it is pain or pleasure, to think that I owe it to one—nay, you must, you shall hear'—said he, stepping forwards with stern determination—'to one whom I love, as I do not believe man ever loved woman before.' He held her hand tight in his. He panted as he listened for what should come. He threw the hand away with indignation, as he heard her icy tone; for icy it was, though the words came faltering out, as if she knew not where to find them.
'Your way of speaking shocks me. It is blasphemous. I cannot help it, if that is my first feeling. It might not be so, I dare say, if I understood the kind of feeling you describe. I do not want to vex you; and besides, we must speak gently, for mamma is asleep; but your whole manner offends me—'
'How!' exclaimed he. 'Offends you! I am indeed most unfortunate.'
'Yes!' said she, with recovered dignity. 'I do feel offended; and, I think, justly. You seem to fancy that my conduct of yesterday'—again the deep carnation blush, but this time with eyes kindling with indignation rather than shame—'was a personal act between you and me; and that you may come and thank me for it, instead of perceiving, as a gentleman would—yes! a gentleman,' she repeated, in allusion to their former conversation about that word, 'that any woman, worthy of the name of woman, would come forward to shield, with her reverenced helplessness, a man in danger from the violence of numbers.'
'And the gentleman thus rescued is forbidden the relief of thanks!' he broke in contemptuously. 'I am a man. I claim the right of expressing my feelings.'
'And I yielded to the right; simply saying that you gave me pain by insisting upon it,' she replied, proudly. 'But you seem to have imagined, that I was not merely guided by womanly instinct, but'—and here the passionate tears (kept down for long—struggled with vehemently) came up into her eyes, and choked her voice—'but that I was prompted by some particular feeling for you—you! Why, there was not a man—not a poor desperate man in all that crowd—for whom I had not more sympathy—for whom I should not have done what little I could more heartily.'
'You may speak on, Miss Hale. I am aware of all these misplaced sympathies of yours. I now believe that it was only your innate sense of oppression—(yes; I, though a master, may be oppressed)—that made you act so nobly as you did. I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you do not understand me.'
'I do not care to understand,' she replied, taking hold of the table to steady herself; for she thought him cruel—as, indeed, he was—and she was weak with her indignation.
'No, I see you do not. You are unfair and unjust.'
Margaret compressed her lips. She would not speak in answer to such accusations. But, for all that—for all his savage words, he could have thrown himself at her feet, and kissed the hem of her garment. She did not speak; she did not move. The tears of wounded pride fell hot and fast. He waited awhile, longing for her to say something, even a taunt, to which he might reply. But she was silent. He took up his hat.
'One word more. You look as if you thought it tainted you to be loved by me. You cannot avoid it. Nay, I, if I would, cannot cleanse you from it. But I would not, if I could. I have never loved any woman before: my life has been too busy, my thoughts too much absorbed with other things. Now I love, and will love. But do not be afraid of too much expression on my part.'
'I am not afraid,' she replied, lifting herself straight up. 'No one yet has ever dared to be impertinent to me, and no one ever shall. But, Mr. Thornton, you have been very kind to my father,' said she, changing her whole tone and bearing to a most womanly softness. 'Don't let us go on making each other angry. Pray don't!' He took no notice of her words: he occupied himself in smoothing the nap of his hat with his coat-sleeve, for half a minute or so; and then, rejecting her offered hand, and making as if he did not see her grave look of regret, he turned abruptly away, and left the room. Margaret caught one glance at his face before he went.
When he was gone, she thought she had seen the gleam of unshed tears in his eyes; and that turned her proud dislike into something different and kinder, if nearly as painful—self-reproach for having caused such mortification to any one.
'But how could I help it?' asked she of herself. 'I never liked him. I was civil; but I took no trouble to conceal my indifference. Indeed, I never thought about myself or him, so my manners must have shown the truth. All that yesterday, he might mistake. But that is his fault, not mine. I would do it again, if need were, though it does lead me into all this shame and trouble.' (194-6)
Margaret can't forget the proposal as easily as she'd like:
For, although at first it had struck her, that his offer was forced and goaded out of him by sharp compassion for the exposure she had made of herself,—which he, like others, might misunderstand—yet, even before he left the room,—and certainly, not five minutes after, the clear conviction dawned upon her, shined bright upon her, that he did love her; that he had loved her; that he would love her. And she shrank and shuddered as under the fascination of some great power, repugnant to her whole previous life. She crept away, and hid from his idea. (197)Awkward and emotional scene between two mothers...
'Margaret—you have a daughter—my sister is in Italy. My child will be without a mother;—in a strange place,—if I die—will you'——Oh, Margaret! And it's just getting started!
And her filmy wandering eyes fixed themselves with an intensity of wistfulness on Mrs. Thornton's face. For a minute, there was no change in its rigidness; it was stern and unmoved;—nay, but that the eyes of the sick woman were growing dim with the slow-gathering tears, she might have seen a dark cloud cross the cold features. And it was no thought of her son, or of her living daughter Fanny, that stirred her heart at last; but a sudden remembrance, suggested by something in the arrangement of the room,—of a little daughter—dead in infancy—long years ago—that, like a sudden sunbeam, melted the icy crust, behind which there was a real tender woman.
'You wish me to be a friend to Miss Hale,' said Mrs. Thornton, in her measured voice, that would not soften with her heart, but came out distinct and clear.
Mrs. Hale, her eyes still fixed on Mrs. Thornton's face, pressed the hand that lay below hers on the coverlet. She could not speak. Mrs. Thornton sighed, 'I will be a true friend, if circumstances require it. Not a tender friend. That I cannot be,'—('to her,' she was on the point of adding, but she relented at the sight of that poor, anxious face.)—'It is not my nature to show affection even where I feel it, nor do I volunteer advice in general. Still, at your request,—if it will be any comfort to you, I will promise you.' Then came a pause. Mrs. Thornton was too conscientious to promise what she did not mean to perform; and to perform any-thing in the way of kindness on behalf of Margaret, more disliked at this moment than ever, was difficult; almost impossible.
'I promise,' said she, with grave severity; which, after all, inspired the dying woman with faith as in something more stable than life itself,—flickering, flitting, wavering life! 'I promise that in any difficulty in which Miss Hale'——
'Call her Margaret!' gasped Mrs. Hale.
'In which she comes to me for help, I will help her with every power I have, as if she were my own daughter. I also promise that if ever I see her doing what I think is wrong'——
'But Margaret never does wrong—not wilfully wrong,' pleaded Mrs. Hale. Mrs. Thornton went on as before; as if she had not heard:
'If ever I see her doing what I believe to be wrong—such wrong not touching me or mine, in which case I might be supposed to have an interested motive—I will tell her of it, faithfully and plainly, as I should wish my own daughter to be told.'
There was a long pause. Mrs. Hale felt that this promise did not include all; and yet it was much. It had reservations in it which she did not understand; but then she was weak, dizzy, and tired. Mrs. Thornton was reviewing all the probable cases in which she had pledged herself to act. She had a fierce pleasure in the idea of telling Margaret unwelcome truths, in the shape of performance of duty. Mrs. Hale began to speak:
'I thank you. I pray God to bless you. I shall never see you again in this world. But my last words are, I thank you for your promise of kindness to my child.'
'Not kindness!' testified Mrs. Thornton, ungraciously truthful to the last. But having eased her conscience by saying these words, she was not sorry that they were not heard. She pressed Mrs. Hale's soft languid hand; and rose up and went her way out of the house without seeing a creature. (241)
'There have been such strange unexpected changes in my life during these last two years, that I feel more than ever that it is not worth while to calculate too closely what I should do if any future event took place. I try to think only upon the present.' (263)Mr. Thornton and Mr. Hale bond...
Whatever was the reason, he could unburden himself better to Mr. Thornton than to her of all the thoughts and fancies and fears that had been frost-bound in his brain till now. Mr. Thornton said very little; but every sentence he uttered added to Mr. Hale's reliance and regard for him. Was it that he paused in the expression of some remembered agony, Mr. Thornton's two or three words would complete the sentence, and show how deeply its meaning was entered into. Was it a doubt—a fear—a wandering uncertainty seeking rest, but finding none—so tear-blinded were its eyes—Mr. Thornton, instead of being shocked, seemed to have passed through that very stage of thought himself, and could suggest where the exact ray of light was to be found, which should make the dark places plain. Man of action as he was, busy in the world's great battle, there was a deeper religion binding him to God in his heart, in spite of his strong wilfulness, through all his mistakes, than Mr. Hale had ever dreamed. They never spoke of such things again, as it happened; but this one conversation made them peculiar people to each other; knit them together, in a way which no loose indiscriminate talking about sacred things can ever accomplish. (276)And his love endures as he saves Margaret from scandal or at the very least embarrassment:
'There will be no inquest. Medical evidence not sufficient to justify it. Take no further steps. I have not seen the coroner; but I will take the responsibility.' (280)Is it this that acts as a catalyst for Margaret's heart? Not his saving her. No, she's embarrassed that he had to save her. She's anxious that she'll never get a chance to explain her side. She fears that he will never look at her the same way again. That she'll always be tainted...
Margaret is not the only one tortured...
It was this that made the misery—that he passionately loved her, and thought her, even with all her faults, more lovely and more excellent than any other woman; yet he deemed her so attached to some other man, so led away by her affection for him as to violate her truthful nature. The very falsehood that stained her, was a proof how blindly she loved another—this dark, slight, elegant, handsome man—while he himself was rough, and stern, and strongly made. He lashed himself into an agony of fierce jealousy. He thought of that look, that attitude!—how he would have laid his life at her feet for such tender glances, such fond detention! He mocked at himself, for having valued the mechanical way in which she had protected him from the fury of the mob; now he had seen how soft and bewitching she looked when with a man she really loved. He remembered, point by point, the sharpness of her words—'There was not a man in all that crowd for whom she would not have done as much, far more readily than for him.' He shared with the mob, in her desire of averting bloodshed from them; but this man, this hidden lover, shared with nobody; he had looks, words, hand-cleavings, lies, concealment, all to himself. Mr. Thornton was conscious that he had never been so irritable as he was now, in all his life long; he felt inclined to give a short abrupt answer, more like a bark than a speech, to every one that asked him a question; and this consciousness hurt his pride: he had always piqued himself on his self-control, and control himself he would. (310)I love the fact that Mr. Thornton and Nicholas Higgins are brought together, in a way, by Margaret.
He came to tell Higgins he would give him work; and he was more annoyed to find Margaret there than by hearing her last words, for then he understood that she was the woman who had urged Higgins to come to him; and he dreaded the admission of any thought of her, as a motive to what he was doing solely because it was right.A scene with potential...
'So that was the lady you spoke of as a woman?' said he indignantly to Higgins. 'You might have told me who she was.
'And then, maybe, yo'd ha' spoken of her more civil than yo' did; yo'd getten a mother who might ha' kept yo'r tongue in check when yo' were talking o' women being at the root o' all the plagues.'
'Of course you told that to Miss Hale?'
'In coorse I did. Leastways, I reckon I did. I telled her she weren't to meddle again in aught that concerned yo'.'
'Whose children are those—yours?' Mr. Thornton had a pretty good notion whose they were, from what he had heard; but he felt awkward in turning the conversation round from this unpromising beginning.
'They're not mine, and they are mine.'
'They are the children you spoke of to me this morning?'
'When yo' said,' replied Higgins, turning round, with ill-smothered fierceness, 'that my story might be true or might not, bur it were a very unlikely one. Measter, I've not forgetten.'
Mr. Thornton was silent for a moment; then he said: 'No more have I. I remember what I said. I spoke to you about those children in a way I had no business to do. I did not believe you. I could not have taken care of another man's children myself, if he had acted towards me as I hear Boucher did towards you. But I know now that you spoke truth. I beg your pardon.'
Higgins did not turn round, or immediately respond to this. But when he did speak, it was in a softened tone, although the words were gruff enough.
'Yo've no business to go prying into what happened between Boucher and me. He's dead, and I'm sorry. That's enough.'
'So it is. Will you take work with me? That's what I came to ask.'
Higgins's obstinacy wavered, recovered strength, and stood firm. He would not speak. Mr. Thornton would not ask again. Higgins's eye fell on the children.
'Yo've called me impudent, and a liar, and a mischief-maker, and yo' might ha' said wi' some truth, as I were now and then given to drink. An' I ha' called you a tyrant, an' an oud bull-dog, and a hard, cruel master; that's where it stands. But for th' childer. Measter, do yo' think we can e'er get on together?'
'Well!' said Mr. Thornton, half-laughing, 'it was not my proposal that we should go together. But there's one comfort, on your own showing. We neither of us can think much worse of the other than we do now.'
'That's true,' said Higgins, reflectively. 'I've been thinking, ever sin' I saw you, what a marcy it were yo' did na take me on, for that I ne'er saw a man whom I could less abide. But that's maybe been a hasty judgment; and work's work to such as me. So, measter, I'll come; and what's more, I thank yo'; and that's a deal fro' me,' said he, more frankly, suddenly turning round and facing Mr. Thornton fully for the first time.
'And this is a deal from me,' said Mr. Thornton, giving Higgins's hand a good grip. 'Now mind you come sharp to your time,' continued he, resuming the master. 'I'll have no laggards at my mill. What fines we have, we keep pretty sharply. And the first time I catch you making mischief, off you go. So now you know where you are.' (325-6)
'Higgins did not quite tell you the exact truth.' The word 'truth,' reminded her of her own untruth, and she stopped short, feeling exceedingly uncomfortable.And Mr. Bell speaks GREAT TRUTH...
Mr. Thornton at first was puzzled to account for her silence; and then he remembered the lie she had told, and all that was foregone. 'The exact truth!' said he. 'Very few people do speak the exact truth. I have given up hoping for it. Miss Hale, have you no explanation to give me? You must perceive what I cannot but think.'
Margaret was silent. She was wondering whether an explanation of any kind would be consistent with her loyalty to Frederick.
'Nay,' said he, 'I will ask no farther. I may be putting temptation in your way. At present, believe me, your secret is safe with me. But you run great risks, allow me to say, in being so indiscreet. I am now only speaking as a friend of your father's: if I had any other thought or hope, of course that is at an end. I am quite disinterested.'
'I am aware of that,' said Margaret, forcing herself to speak in an indifferent, careless way. 'I am aware of what I must appear to you, but the secret is another person's, and I cannot explain it without doing him harm.'
'I have not the slightest wish to pry into the gentleman's secrets,' he said, with growing anger. 'My own interest in you is—simply that of a friend. You may not believe me, Miss Hale, but it is—in spite of the persecution I'm afraid I threatened you with at one time—but that is all given up; all passed away. You believe me, Miss Hale?'
'Yes,' said Margaret, quietly and sadly. (327-8)
'Hale! did it ever strike you that Thornton and your daughter have what the French call a tendresse for each other?'Of course, it takes Margaret and John a bit more time--the novel is 436 pages--to be honest with each other about their feelings! The closing scenes of the book and movie are quite different from one another!
'Never!' said Mr. Hale, first startled and then flurried by the new idea. 'No, I am sure you are wrong. I am almost certain you are mistaken. If there is anything, it is all on Mr. Thornton's side. Poor fellow! I hope and trust he is not thinking of her, for I am sure she would not have him.'
'Well! I'm a bachelor, and have steered clear of love affairs all my life; so perhaps my opinion is not worth having. Or else I should say there were very pretty symptoms about her!'
'Then I am sure you are wrong,' said Mr. Hale. 'He may care for her, though she really has been almost rude to him at times. But she!—why, Margaret would never think of him, I'm sure! Such a thing has never entered her head.'
'Entering her heart would do. But I merely threw out a suggestion of what might be. I dare say I was wrong. And whether I was wrong or right, I'm very sleepy; so, having disturbed your night's rest (as I can see) with my untimely fancies, I'll betake myself with an easy mind to my own.'
But Mr. Hale resolved that he would not be disturbed by any such nonsensical idea; so he lay awake, determining not to think about it.
Mr. Bell took his leave the next day, bidding Margaret look to him as one who had a right to help and protect her in all her troubles, of whatever nature they might be. To Mr. Hale he said,—
'That Margaret of yours has gone deep into my heart. Take care of her, for she is a very precious creature,—a great deal too good for Milton,—only fit for Oxford, in fact. The town, I mean; not the men. I can't match her yet. When I can, I shall bring my young man to stand side by side with your young woman, just as the genie in the Arabian Nights brought Prince Caralmazan to match with the fairy's Princess Badoura.'
'I beg you'll do no such thing. Remember the misfortunes that ensued; and besides, I can't spare Margaret.' (337)
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Blog: Little Willow - Bildungsroman (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
- Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
If you can't see the video player above, click here to hear Ozymandias as read by Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad.
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We are re-running this blog post, which was originally published in August 2010. Every summer we are treated to the Perseid Meteor Shower in the Northern Hemisphere. This year the peak viewing nights are late July and early August, since the full moon on August 10 will make it very hard to see the meteors. If the skies are clear where you live, you will be able to see dozens of meteors per hour——and you’ll see more after midnight than before. It’s about the most satisfying amateur astronomy experience you can have. One August when my daughter was in elementary school, we planned a middle of the night Perseid party for her friends and their families. Everyone was invited to come at 3:30 am, with pajamas being acceptable attire! We asked them to bring a pillow for everyone and quilts that they didn’t mind laying in the dewey grass. I guided everyone via flashlight to the pitch dark meadow behind our house, and we laid together in the dark, ooh-ing and ah-ing as if it were a fireworks show. Then at 5am, as the rosy-fingered dawn started to illuminate the horizon, we brought everyone up to the house for a middle-of-the-night brunch. It was a memorable evening. Of course, the trick to serving brunch in the middle of the night is to prepare everything in advance, so that you can sleep until the very last minute before guests arrive. I have a favorite quiche recipe which can be made in advance and quickly heated up in the oven or microwave. Cut up a fruit salad, set up the coffeemaker before you go to bed and you’re ready to go. For anyone who would like to try it this week, here’s my recipe. Enjoy it under the meteor shower! PERSEID BREAKFAST QUICHE Ingredients: 1 box pie crust mix 1 cup (1/2 pt.) Light Cream 8oz. Gruyere or Swiss Cheese (.5 lb) Nutmeg 3 eggs, beaten Salt & pepper to taste ½ c. bacon, mushrooms or other fillings as you wish 1 TBL butter ½ c. nonfat Milk Preheat oven to 450º. Cut the cheese into small cubes. Pre-cook any meat that you plan to put in the quiche and crumble into small pieces. If you are using vegetables (scallions, mushrooms, etc), cut them up and sauté in butter until they are nice and soft. Remove from heat and set aside. Make a single piecrust, put it into a pie dish and prick all over with a fork (so it doesn’t blow up into a big balloon!). I usually put some tin foil over the top edges to hold it up against the sides. Cook the piecrust alone for 5 minutes at 450 degrees. After the piecrust is pre-cooked, sprinkle your fillings (bacon, scallions, etc) on the bottom and cover them with the cubed cheese. In a bowl, beat three eggs. Add cream, milk, dash of nutmeg, sprinkle of salt and pepper. Pour over the cheese. Bake 15 minutes at 450º. Then, turn oven down to 350º and bake 10-15 minutes more, til knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let it cool completely before you put it into the refrigerator to save and serve later. Stefan Seip took the above picture over Riedseltz, France. The image shows 6 Perseids and one Non-Perseid meteor.
Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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As a student at Penn, I left the campus alone, prowled the streets of West Philadelphia, wrote poems upon my return. As a new graduate I took a job as a marketing coordinator for an architecture firm, where I, in part, researched and wrote history-rich installation placards for projects at Penn's Landing and elsewhere.
But it wasn't until I was selected, in the mid-1980s, by the team at Center City District to write a series of "permanent" installations about Philadelphia's history that I felt fully fledged and entrenched as a Philly girl. Those permanent installations, created with the graphic designer Lynda Cloud Weber, hung block by block, east by west on Walnut Street until they were not visible any longer.
The permanent installations had disappeared permanently.
Yesterday, however, while researching a series of new stories for the Philadelphia Inquirer, I discovered one of the long-lost panels—came upon it quite unexpectedly. It was as if a story I'd written had been lost and then returned to me. I waited to be alone with the panel. Read it while no one was watching. Shook my head.
I haven't changed much, all these years later. Not in what I write about, nor in how I write it.
For good and for bad, I am still me.
Have you ever confused two dystopian stories with one another?
The team behind the ScreenJunkies YouTube channel created a hilarious “Honest Trailer” for the first installment of the Divergent film franchise.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
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July 1914 was the month that changed the world. On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, and just five weeks later the Great Powers of Europe were at war. But how did it all happen? Historian Gordon Martel, author of The Month That Changed The World: July 1914, is blogging regularly for us over the next few weeks, giving us a week-by-week and day-by-day account of the events that led up to the First World War.
By Gordon Martel
Would there be war by the end of the day? It certainly seemed possible: the Serbs had only until 6 p.m. to accept the Austrian demands. Berchtold had instructed the Austrian representative in Belgrade that nothing less than full acceptance of all ten points contained in the ultimatum would be regarded as satisfactory. And no one expected the Serbs to comply with the demands in their entirety – least of all the Austrians.
When the Serbian cabinet met that morning they had received advice from Russia, France, and Britain urging them to be as accommodating as possible. No one indicated that any military assistance might be forthcoming. They began drafting a ‘most conciliatory’ reply to Austria while preparing for war: the royal family prepared to leave Belgrade; the military garrison left the city for a fortified town 60 miles south; the order for general mobilization was signed and drums were beaten outside of cafés, calling up conscripts.
How would Russia respond? That morning the tsar presided over a meeting of the Russian Grand Council where it was agreed to mobilize the thirteen army corps designated to act against Austria. By afternoon ‘the period preparatory to war’ was initiated and preparations for mobilization began in the military districts of Kiev, Odessa, Moscow, and Kazan.
Simultaneously, Sazonov tried to enlist German support in persuading Austria to extend the deadline beyond 6 p.m., arguing that it was a ‘European matter’ not limited to Austria and Serbia. The Germans refused, arguing that to summon Austria to a European ‘tribunal’ would be humiliating and mean the end of Austria as a Great Power. Sazonov insisted that the Austrians were aiming to establish hegemony in the Balkans: after they devoured Serbia and Bulgaria Russia would face them ‘on the Black Sea’. He tried to persuade Sir Edward Grey that if Britain were to join Russia and France, Germany would then pressure Austria into moderation.
How would Britain respond? Sir Edward Grey gave no indication that Britain would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Russians in a conflict over Serbia. His only concern seemed to be to contain the crisis, to keep it a dispute between Austria and Serbia. ‘I do not consider that public opinion here would or ought to sanction our going to war over a Servian quarrel’. But if a war between Austria and Serbia were to occur ‘other issues’ might draw Britain in. In the meantime, there was still an opportunity to avert war if the four disinterested powers ‘held the hand’ of their partners while mediating the dispute. But the report he received from St Petersburg was not encouraging: the British ambassador warned that Russia and France seemed determined to make ‘a strong stand’ even if Britain declined to join them.
When the Austrian minister received the Serb reply at 5:58 on Saturday afternoon, he could see instantly that their submission was not complete. He announced that Austria was breaking off diplomatic relations with Serbia and immediately ordered the staff of the delegation to leave for the railway station. By 6:30 the Austrians were on a train bound for the border.
That evening, in the Kaiservilla at Bad Ischl, Franz Joseph signed the orders for mobilization of thirteen army corps. When the news reached Vienna the people greeted it with the ‘wildest enthusiasm’. Huge crowds began to form, gathering at the Ringstrasse and bursting into patriotic songs. The crowds marched around the city shouting ‘Down with Serbia! Down with Russia’. In front of the German embassy they sang ‘Wacht am Rhein’; police had to protect the Russian embassy against the demonstrators. Surely, it would not be long before the guns began firing.
Gordon Martel is a leading authority on war, empire, and diplomacy in the modern age. His numerous publications include studies of the origins of the first and second world wars, modern imperialism, and the nature of diplomacy. A founding editor of The International History Review, he has taught at a number of Canadian universities, and has been a visiting professor or fellow in England, Ireland and Australia. Editor-in-chief of the five-volume Encyclopedia of War, he is also joint editor of the longstanding Seminar Studies in History series. His new book is The Month That Changed The World: July 1914.
The post The month that changed the world: Saturday, 25 July 1914 appeared first on OUPblog.
Blog: The Crypto-Capers Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Mystery Question #9
"Aegilops is the genus. Bears a striking similarity to winter wheat. Or if Aegilops isn't to your fancy then how about billowy or ghosty? For that matter let us not forget spoonfeed."
"Is this one of your word plays?" asked Mia slyly as she gazed up at her brother.
"English is a marvelously eccentric language," Max said, by way of agreement.
What is curious about the words he mentioned?
The words in question have all their letters arranged in alphabetical order-or, in the case of spoonfeed, reverse alphabetical order. As a point of interest, Aegilops is the longest such English word in the usual direction, and spoonfeed the longest going backwards. If you choose to exclude words with consecutive repeated letters from the prize , then sponged and wronged must unseat poor spoonfeed.
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- Thu, 15:56: I am not sure if I should comment on Gabby's facial resemblance to some members of British royalty or… http://t.co/UgMlPwKzJk
Blog: Liz's Book Snuggery (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Ladybug Girl at the Beach
by David Soman and Jacky Davis
If you’re looking for summer reads, look no further than the creative husband and wife team of David Soman and Jacky Davis, the couple who brought Lulu, aka Ladybug Girl, to the forefront of the New York Times Children’s Bestseller List.
Why not introduce your child to Lulu, the stalwart heroine of these recognizable “every child” reads in which both parent and child may happily find a piece of their own childhood experiences in the process. I did.
As Memorial Day passes, the kick off of a summer season stretches as far as a young child can see and there will be plenty of free time for adventure and new experiences. Some may include favorite places like the beach, offering sun, sand and rolling waves to wiggle toes in or body surf on a boogie board. Enter Lulu.
Lulu’s predicament at the beach, accompanied by her faithful basset Bingo, conjured up memories of my initial childhood experiences with the ocean. “Getting To Know You” might be the tune most reminiscent of my own tentative introduction to the beach and the contiguous BIG ocean.
It is very HOT on the beach as Lulu soon discovers. But, there are also many interesting shells and marine life to explore, not to mention the building and digging of anything involving sand.
BUT, inevitably the water beckons tantalizingly. It can be noisy at times, rough and unpredictable. Hence, for some children, as with Lulu, the fear factor arises. Dare I? It looks like fun. But, can I face my fear and, once faced, overcome it? Lulu’s alter ego, Ladybug Girl, is fully up to the task; just not all at once.
How, on her own terms, Lulu confronts her fear and learns that most difficult of childhood lessons; learning to love the very thing one dreads and to trust bit by bit, a toe at a time, is a great summer read parents and children can share and enjoy. Both of you will find yourselves rooting for Lulu and, perhaps recalling fondly your own family trips to the beach. PLEASE make mine a DOUBLEDIP cone at the ice cream concession stand! Hint: eat fast; it melts fast.
If you enjoy this adventure, you may also enjoy the following: “Ladybug Girl,” “Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy” and “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad.” Whether it’s a story about saying you’re sorry or the compromises needed in friendship, pack the Ladybug Girl series in a tote for good summer reading. Lulu and Bingo are a loveable dynamic duo!
Blog: The Nonfiction Detectives (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Bugged: how insects changed history by Sarah Albee; Illustrations by Robert Leighton Walker Books. 2014 ISBN: 9780802734235 I reviewed a copy sent from the publisher. Perfect for grades 6 and up Sarah Albee (Poop Happened: a history of the world from the bottom up) is back with another romp through history. This time, Albee explains how insects have changed history. Insects have been
Blog: Elizabeth O. Dulemba (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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At Wild Things! - "You're Dead Meat, Mr. Lewis" - authors talk about school visits gone awry
At BuzzFeed via Nathan Bransford - 21 '90s Book Titles That Should Actually Exist... like this one:
Also from Nathan at FastCoDesign: 4 Tips on Creativity from the Creator of Calvin & Hobbes
From Nathan Bransford: Advice for Young Writers - good!
Considering I'm teaching at Hollins University, home of Margaret Wise Brown, I'm interested in this article from Opinionator: "What Writers Can Learn From 'Goodnight Moon'."
From Flavorwire via PW: Should It Matter Whether 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Is Young Adult Fiction?
Oh gads! Did y'all see this!? HMH Strikes Deal with Cricket. Achievable only because they demanded owning their creators' copyrights? *blech*
At Travis Jonker's 100 Scope Notes: The Wildest Children's Books of 2014 - I want them all!
From Conde Nast Traveler via Shelf Awareness: 12 Beautiful Bookstores That Are Worth Traveling For
The 2nd Annual Chapaqua Children's Book Festival will take place September 27th with 80 children's book authors speaking - WOW!
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By Jason SteinhauerWhat is the role of a regional oral history organization?
The Board of Officers of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) recently wrestled with this question over the course of a year-long strategic planning process. Our organization had reached an inflection point. New technologies, shifting member expectations and changing demographics compelled us to re-think our direction. What could we offer new and existing members that local or national organizations did not —and how would we offer it?
Our strategic planning committee set out to answer these questions, and to chart a course for 2014 and beyond. Four board members served on the committee: Kate Scott of the Senate Historical Office; LuAnn Jones of the National Park Service; Anne Rush of the University of Maryland; and myself, of the Library of Congress, acting as director. OHMAR dates back to 1976 and has been a vibrant organization for nearly 40 years. Therefore, our goal was not to re-invent but rather to re-focus. To start, we identified OHMAR’s core values. We determined them to be:
Whatever our new direction, we would stay true to these ideals.
For months, the committee discussed how OHMAR could better serve members with these values in mind. We also polled membership and consulted with past organization presidents about what they valued in OHMAR and what they wanted in the future. What emerged was a plan with several key considerations for how any regional organization can serve its membership:
- Build community. Through digital technology, formal and informal events, and low-cost membership, regional organizations can foster meaningful professional networks, offer support, and create opportunities for intimate interaction on an ongoing basis.
- Provide targeted resources. Local knowledge can allow regional organizations like OHMAR to provide targeted educational, professional, and monetary resources. For example, oral historians working for the federal government in and around Washington, D.C., have unique challenges to which OHMAR can provide specific tools, tips, and advice.
- Leverage expertise. Our region boasts tremendous expertise courtesy of oral historians such as Don Ritchie, Linda Shopes, Roger Horowitz, and more. These experts can help educate new members, especially those from fields such as journalism, the arts, public history, and advocacy on best practices.
- Offer meaningful opportunities. By forming new committees, we can offer members meaningful ways to get involved and gain leadership experience.
We presented our findings in the form of a new Strategic Plan at our April 2014 annual meeting. The intimate two-day event was attended by more than 60 oral historians and reaffirmed the value of regional conferences. In fact, feedback stated that for some, ours was the best conference they had ever attended. On the afternoon of the second day, our members ratified OHMAR’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2020. Accordingly, next year, we will focus on improving our internal operations, updating our bylaws, and overhauling our website, member management system, and e-newsletter. In the following years, we will also introduce several new initiatives, including a Martha Ross Memorial Prize for students, named for our beloved founder.
We will be discussing our strategic plan and the role of regional oral history organizations in a panel at the Oral History Association’s upcoming 2014 annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. We hope you’ll join us and share your ideas.
Jason Steinhauer serves on the Board of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR). He directed the organization’s strategic planning process from 2013-2014. You can follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonSteinhauer and OHMAR at @OHMidAtlantic.
The Oral History Review, published by the Oral History Association, is the U.S. journal of record for the theory and practice of oral history. Its primary mission is to explore the nature and significance of oral history and advance understanding of the field among scholars, educators, practitioners, and the general public. Follow them on Twitter at @oralhistreview, like them on Facebook, add them to your circles on Google Plus, follow them on Tumblr, listen to them on Soundcloud, or follow their latest OUPblog posts via email or RSS to preview, learn, connect, discover, and study oral history.
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Blog: Adventures in Children's Publishing (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Hey gang! Welcome back to the Adventures in YA Publishing series on... serials! Last week, I told you about the surprising pleasures of reading serialized novels. I hope I convinced at least some of you to give serials a try! This week, we’re continuing our discussion by talking about how to write a serialized novel.
|Source: Adam Franco https://flic.kr/p/7BKqTL|
How, exactly, does one go about writing a serial? While revising my RUN TO YOU manuscripts after my publisher's decision to release them as serials, I learned that it takes more than simply chopping a full-length novel into equal parts. Whether you’re an indie author who decides to serialize your books, or you’re a traditionally-pubbed author whose publisher wants to try it, there are certain things you must keep in mind when writing a serial:
PACING: You must have a strong sense of pacing as you develop the highs and lows that bring the characters and plot to a new level with each installment, but still leave them more to do and learn, giving the reader a breathing point, yet leaving them wanting to know what happens next.
INSTALLMENT BREAKS: One piece of advice writers always hear is, “Never give your readers a reason to put your book down.” But a serial forces your readers to put your book down after every installment! Therefore, it is imperative to end each episode in such a way that your readers must read the next one to find out what happens next. End your installment in the middle of the action. RUN TO YOU is a thriller with lots of plot twists and life-or-death situations. Many chapters end on a cliffhanger. But a serial’s episodes don’t have to end on a life-or-death cliffhanger, leaving the reader wondering if a character is going to live or die. Emotional cliffhangers can be equally as compelling. You want to end each episode in a way that your readers must know the secret the hero is about to reveal, or which suitor the heroine will choose to bring to the ball, or if the hero and heroine’s relationship will survive the latest turn of events. In fact, though many RUN TO YOU chapters end on a life-or-death cliffhanger, all of its installments end on an emotional cliffhanger.
BEGINNING THE NEXT INSTALLMENT: To begin episodes two, three, four, etc, you will want to remind your readers what happened at the end of the previous installment. I recommend keeping this very brief; just a few phrases in the opening paragraphs to help them recall what happened last time and to re-establish the mood and tone. But don’t simply give them a bunch of flashbacks. You want to weave in what happened last time in a natural way. The shorter your release schedule—weekly, bi-weekly, monthly—the less reminders you’ll have to give them. (We’ll talk more about release schedules next week, when we discuss marketing your serial.)
STRUCTURE: Each episode of your serial does not have to be self-contained, but there should be an over-arching plot for the book as a whole: each installment must build toward a satisfying conclusion at the end of the book. While your complete serial should be structured as a typical book, with setup, turning points, climax, and conclusion, you may have to add extra turning points within your overall plot to allow for cliffhanger endings of each episode, or you may have to arrange your chapters so the cliffhangers fall at the installment breaks. I found this to be the most challenging aspect of writing my serials: following the standard structure of a whole novel while putting major turning points or cliffhangers at the installment breaks.
NUMBER AND LENGTH OF INSTALLMENTS: This point is both a writing issue and a marketing issue. It’s important to understand your market before you determine the number and length of your installments. There is no industry standard: the number of installments varies per serial. In my case, Harlequin Teen determined RUN TO YOU would have three parts per book. Each part has between 99 and 120 pages. Other serials have six, eight, or ten installments per book. There may be serials with even more installments, especially on Wattpad or in fanfic. Generally, the more installments in a book, the less pages per installment. You should keep your audience and your price point in mind as you decide the number and length of your episodes. You want to give your readers an installment that’s short enough to consume in a single sitting, but long enough that leaves them feeling satisfied with both the story and the price they paid.
DISCUSSIONSo, my friends, now that you are armed with this information, would you ever try to write a serial? If your publisher decided to serialize your manuscript, how would you react: would you run away in tears, or would you be up to the challenge?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Today Clara is the author of dark fiction young adults. Her debut series, the romantic thriller RUN TO YOU, is Harlequin TEEN’s first serial. Book One is First Sight, Second Glance, and Third Charm. Book Two is Fourth Shadow, Fifth Touch, and Sixth Sense.
Her favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.
Find Clara online: Website Twitter Facebook Tumblr Instagram Goodreads Newsletter
About the books
For more about each installment of the RUN TO YOU series, click here.
Blog: Through the Looking Glass Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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In trying to figure out which of my book elements are appropriate for a query, I'm stumbling on how to say "it takes place in the 1970s." Much easier to say "contemporary" or "historical" romance, but online research is showing different definitions for these (i.e., different time periods as cut-offs). Someone even coined a new word: "retro." Point is, I'm finding few periods for either era that include the 1960s through 1980s. How do you recommend handling this?
oh boy, this is a really tough question. Since agents come in all ages, you want to be VERY careful about calling something set in the 70's (when they were in high school, or college, or working their first job in publishing!) historical!
I've often heard agents of a certain age grouse that nothing after their birth year better be "historical."
But there's no way to know just exactly how old Barbara Poelle IS (sharks live for years and years) or how young Brooks Sherman isn't.
There was a recent quiz on Buzzfeed to guess one's age, and my result was off by so much it was ludicrous.
So, no "historical."
Retro isn't a word you want to use either since it refers to style, not time frame.
I think you want to be very very plain: my novel is set in the 70's. And you might want to mention why it is as well, given that's always one of the things I wonder about.
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Books, Earth & Life Sciences, Health & Medicine, Science & Medicine, amoeba, antibiotics, biology, bugs, cancer, Dalhousie University, ecosystem, germaphobe, germs, John Archibald, microbes, Microbial Biodiversity, microorganisms, molecular, One plus one equals one, plants, science, symbiosis, mitochondria, microbial, chloroplasts, cyanobacteria, microbiome, bacteria, Add a tag
By John Archibald
We humans have a love-hate relationship with bugs. I’m not talking about insects — although many of us cringe at the thought of them too — but rather the bugs we can’t see, the ones that make us sick.
Sure, microorganisms give us beer, wine, cheese, and yoghurt; hardly a day goes by without most people consuming food or drink produced by microbial fermentation. And we put microbes to good use in the laboratory, as vehicles for the production of insulin and other life-saving drugs, for example.
But microbes are also responsible for much of what ails us, from annoying stomach ‘bugs’ to deadly infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and plague. Bacteria and viruses are even linked to certain cancers. Bugs are bad; antibiotics and antivirals are good. We spend billions annually trying to rid ourselves of microorganisms, and if they were to all disappear, well, all the better, right?
This is, of course, nonsense. Even the most ardent germaphobe would take a deep breath and accept the fact that we could no more survive without microbes than we could without oxygen. No matter how clean we strive to be, there are 100 trillion bacterial cells living on and within our bodies, 10 times the number of human cells that comprise ‘us’. Hundreds of different bacterial species live within our intestines, hundreds more thrive in our mouths and on our skin. Add in the resident viruses, fungi, and small animals such as worms and mites, and the human body becomes a full-blown ecosystem, a microcosm of the world around us. And like any ecosystem, if thrown off-balance bad things can happen. For example, many of our ‘good’ bacteria help us metabolize food and fight off illness. But after a prolonged course of antibiotics such bacteria can be knocked flat, and normally benign species such as ‘Clostridium difficile’ can grow out of control and cause disease.
Given the complexity of our body jungle, some researchers go as far as to propose that there is no such thing as a ‘human being’. Each of us should instead be thought of as a human-microbe symbiosis, a complex biological relationship in which neither partner can survive without the other. As disturbing a notion as this may be, one thing is indisputable: we depend on our microbiome and it depends on us.
And there is an even more fundamental way in which the survival of Homo sapiens is intimately tied to the hidden microbial majority of life. Each and every one of our 10 trillion cells betrays its microbial ancestry in harboring mitochondria, tiny subcellular factories that use oxygen to convert our food into ATP, the energy currency of all living cells. Our mitochondria are, in essence, domesticated bacteria — oxygen-consuming bacteria that took up residence inside another bacterium more than a billion years ago and never left. We know this because mitochondria possess tiny remnants of bacterium-like DNA inside them, distinct from the DNA housed in the cell nucleus. Modern genetic investigations have revealed that mitochondria are a throwback to a time before complex animals, plants, or fungi had arisen, a time when life was exclusively microbial.
As we ponder the bacterial nature of our mitochondria, it is also instructive to consider where the oxygen they so depend on actually comes from. The answer is photosynthesis. Within the cells of plants and algae are the all-important chloroplasts, green-tinged, DNA-containing factories that absorb sunlight, fix carbon dioxide, and pump oxygen into the atmosphere by the truckload. Most of the oxygen we breathe comes from the photosynthetic activities of these plants and algae—and like mitochondria, chloroplasts are derived from bacteria by symbiosis. The genetic signature written within chloroplast DNA links them to the myriad of free-living cyanobacteria drifting in the world’s oceans. Photosynthesis and respiration are the biochemical yin and yang of life on Earth. The energy that flows through chloroplasts and mitochondria connects life in the furthest corners of the biosphere.
For all our biological sophistication and intelligence, one could argue that we humans are little more than the sum of the individual cells from which we are built. And as is the case for all other complex multicellular organisms, our existence is inexorably linked to the sea of microbes that share our physical space. It is a reality we come by honestly. As we struggle to tame and exploit the microbial world, we would do well to remember that symbiosis—the living together of distinct organisms—explains both what we are and how we got here.
John Archibald is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Dalhousie University and a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity. He is an Associate Editor for Genome Biology & Evolution and an Editorial Board Member of various scientific journals, including Current Biology, Eukaryotic Cell, and BMC Biology. He is the author of One Plus One Equals One: Symbiosis and the Evolution of Complex Life.
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Image credit: Virus Microbiology. Public domain via Pixabay
Blog: Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: action, believe, content marketing, dream, marketing success, quote, Add a tag
There are so many amazing quotes out there that focus in on what needs to be done and does it in a sentence or two. The quote above from Anatole France, does just that. It reminds me of the Bible quote: "Faith without works is dead." No matter how much planning you do, if you don't take actionable steps, you won't get anywhere. And, if you can't dream it or believe you can accomplish it,
Anyway, I got three -THREE- irate emails from people demanding to know WHY I was not answering messages on Face Book.
Here, just for those dumb-asses, because I've stated this on FB itself weeks ago....
I NO LONGER USE FACE BOOK AND ONLY CBO AUTO FEED GOES TO MY OLD FB BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO STOP IT.
Got that? Good.
Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Interviews, Romance, Suspense, Interview, Add a tag
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Kay! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Kay Thomas] Wife, Mother, Writer, Friend, Believer
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Personal Target?
[Kay Thomas] Here’s the scoop straight from the back cover copy:
A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him, or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend…a woman from Nick’s past.
One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she is abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now as they race for their lives, passion reignites as old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?
At its core, the book is about a case of mistaken identity and a very personal vendetta. Personal Target takes the reader from Dallas to Mexico, across the African Savanna, to the shores of the Mediterranean in a race against time for Nick to save the woman he loves but lost ten years ago.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?
[Kay Thomas] One of my favorite scenes to write was when Nick and Jennifer met on the page for the first time. They have a history together, but their summer affair was over long ago. In this scene, Jennifer has been kidnapped, and Nick has come to take her away from the people holding her captive.
Here’s the link to that excerpt. http://www.kaythomas.net/books/personal-target/exclusive-excerpt-reveal.html
The woman at the vanity turned, and Nick’s breath caught in his throat. He had known it would be Jenny, and despite what he’d thought about downstairs when he’d seen her on the tablet screen, he hadn’t prepared himself for seeing her like this. Seated at the table with candles all around, she was wearing a sheer robe over a gray thong and a bustier kind of thing, or that’s what he thought the full-length bra was called.
He spotted the small unicorn tat peeping out from the edge of whatever the lingerie piece was and his brain quit processing details as all the blood in his head rushed south. He’d been primed to come in and tell Jenny exactly how they were getting out of the house and away from these people and now . . . this. His mouth went dry at the sight of her. She looked like every fantasy he’d ever had about her rolled into one.
He continued to stare as recognition flared in her eyes.
“Oh my God,” she said. “It’s . . .”
She clapped her mouth closed, and her eyes widened. That struck him as odd. The relief on her face was obvious, but instead of looking at him, she took an audible breath and studied the walls of the room. When she finally did glance at him again, her eyes had changed.
“So you’re who they’ve sent me for my first time?” Her voice sounded bored, not the tone he remembered. “What do you want me to do?”
What a question. He raised an eyebrow, but she shook her head. In warning?
Nothing here was as he’d anticipated. He continued staring at her, hoping the lust would quit fogging his brain long enough for him to figure out what was going on.
“I’ve been told to show you a good time.” Her voice was cold, downright chilly. Without another word she stood and crossed the floor, slipping into his arms with her breasts pressing into his chest. “It’s you.” She murmured the words in the barest of whispers.
Nick’s mind froze, but his body didn’t. On autopilot his hands automatically went to her waist as she kissed his neck, working her way up to his ear. This was not at all what he’d planned.
“I can’t believe you’re here.” She breathed the words into his ear.
Me either, he thought, but kept the news to himself as he pulled her closer. His senses flooded with all that smooth skin pressing against him. His body tightened, and his right hand moved to cup her ass. Her cheek’s bare skin was silky soft, like he remembered. God, he’d missed her. She melted into him as his body switched into overdrive.
“What do you want?” She spoke louder. The artic tone was back. He was confused and knew he was just too stupid with wanting her to figure out what the hell was going on. There was no way the woman could mistake the effect she was having.
She moved her lips closer to his ear and nipped his earlobe before she spoke in a hushed tone. “Cameras are everywhere. I’m not sure about microphones.”
And just like that, cold reality slapped him in the face. He should have been expecting it, but he’d been so focused on getting her out and making sure she was all right. She might be glad to see him because he was there to save her, but throwing her body at him was an act.
Jesus. He had to get them both out of here without tipping his hand to the cameras and those watching what he was doing. He was crazy not to have considered it once he saw those tablets downstairs, but it had never occurred to him that he would have to play this encounter through as if he was really a client.
He slipped her arms from around his neck and moved to the table to pour himself some wine, willing his hands not to shake. “I want you,” he said, clearly and loudly enough for any microphone in the room to pick up.
She smiled, but her expression wasn’t warm. “Do you now?” Her frigid tone was so at odds with the woman he’d known years ago.
He knew what he had to do. Monique and company were expecting them to have wild sex. If they’d been truly alone, it wouldn’t have been a hardship. And regardless of the circumstances, that’s exactly what he was going to have to pretend to do. He had to make love to Jenny knowing others were watching, at least until that distraction of Bryan’s came through.
There wouldn’t be any sneaking out of the room or the house before then. Guards were most likely gathered around security monitors at this very moment, drinking beer and taking bets as to how long Nick would last before he came. They were expecting to see some action.
“What do you think I want?” His voice was pitched low but loud enough for the mics as he took a sip of the wine. “Didn’t they tell you what to expect?”
Copyright © 2014 by Kay Thomas. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
[Kay Thomas] I adored the research. Much of the story takes place in Africa. I loved “travelling online” and learning about the continent and the different countries. I liked researching so much that it was sometimes a challenge to pull myself away from the research and do the actual writing itself.
Talking with people who’ve lived in the places I wrote about was fascinating. With some of the exotic locales in this series, I’ve found it helpful to read blogs written by those who have just moved to an area and are sharing their day-to-day experiences. Through the marvels of the internet, I was able to get an authentic feel for what those extreme locations were like when I virtually visited the jungles of Mexico or the edge of the Sahara, without leaving my office chair.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Kay Thomas] A book to read, if I have downtime where I’m going. Nowadays that can be a Kindle or even my phone with the Kindle App.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Kay Thomas] Only three? I’m glad you can’t actually see my desk. : )
There’s an empty plate from breakfast (I had toast). A box of Kleenex. (I have allergies). Two tape measures. (I have no idea why they are here.)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?
[Kay Thomas] When I’m working on deadline is the only time I don’t really care what I eat. (It’s sort of my optimum time for a diet because I don’t notice if what I’m eating tastes like cardboard or ambrosia.) But my favorite snack is a cinnamon toast rice cake with almond butter. I could live off of that.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Kay Thomas] I honestly can’t think of anyone I’d like to trade places with, even for a day. I like being me. : )
[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?
[Kay Thomas] Ohhh, great question. I think I’d like to be able to “teleport” so I could snap my fingers and be anywhere in the world. There are so many places I’d like to see and people I’d like to visit that just live too far away.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Kay Thomas] I’ve been LOVING Laura Griffin’s work. I’ve glommed on to her entire backlist and, sadly, I just finished the last book. (sniff, sniff)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Kay Thomas] I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and sometimes, Pinterest.
My website: www.KayThomas.net
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you for stopping by!
AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men working under the radar of most governments. If you have a problem no one else can handle, they can help.
A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him—or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend … a woman from Nick’s past.
One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she’s abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now, as they race for their lives, passion for each other reignites and old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?
The post Interview with Kay Thomas, Author of Personal Target appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.
Blog: Bob Ostrom Studio (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Blue Sky, Childrens Books, For Kids, Illustration, art, artist, Bob Ostrom, Cartoon, cartooning, children's book illustration, illustrator, summer vacation, Add a tag
Hope everyone is having a great summer! Last week I headed down to the beach here in North Carolina for a short little summer vacation. Unfortunately it rained harder than I’ve ever seen it rain. It was one of those rains where you think it can’t possibly rain any harder but then it does….all day. Just as we checked into the hotel it started let up. The sun popped out for about an hour and half so the kids and I grabbed our boogie boards and headed down to the ocean. Right about the time we decided to to get out of the water the rain came back. And so it went the following day. Two hours of sun at the beach in the morning (with the darkest storm cloud I’ve ever seen on the horizon) followed by a torrential down pour. Since we don’t live too far we decided enough was enough, jumped in the car and headed back home. All in all everyone had a pretty great time. I think maybe we’ll head down another time before the summer is done and see if we can’t get a little better weather.
The post Summer Vacation – lllustration by Bob Ostrom Studio appeared first on Illustration.
Blog: Utah Children's Writers (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: query letters, Add a tag
I'm not writing today to share advice. I'm asking you to share it with me (well, us). I have to admit that as a teacher of journalism, published journalist, playwright, and personal historian, I am pretty comfortable with my writing skills. Hey, there is always more to learn, but I feel like I have solid footing there.
What I am truly, desperately, profoundly lacking in is even the desire to query when it comes to some of my children's stories. I am so fond of them that I'm almost terrified to let them out into the world—the cliche overly protective mother. And thus, without having had to practice, I am still not happy with or comfortable with writing query letters.
Yes, I have the books. I know the structure. I know the rules and recommendations. But I would love to hear what you, Utah children's writers, my fellows in the trenches, have learned from your own experiences with query letters.
What was the best advice you received on writing queries? How do you decide whom to query first? Do you dare "menage a queri" (you know, in multiples)? What little tricks have helped you write or even want to write these nasty little oversimplified descriptions of your precious darlings? (Ahem.) That is to say, when staring down the Writer's Market, where do you focus your efforts?
When it comes to queries, what has worked, or conversely, what would would you never ever do again? Give us your best, worst, funniest query stories.
Blog: A Year of Reading (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: breathe, Poetry Friday, Add a tag
You Are There
by Erica Jong
You are there.
You have always been
Even when you thought
you were climbing
you had already arrived.
Even when you were
you were at rest.
Even then it was clear
you were there.
Not in our nature
to know what
is journey and what
Even if we knew
we would not admit.
Even if we lived
we would think
we were just
To live is to be
at the end.
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