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<<May 2015>>
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So, when Sir Terry Pratchett died in March, and we descended into the fifty year mourning period, there was the tiniest, infinitesimal twinkle of light in a dark place. All was not lost. There were other authors. One of them was even well versed in... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on TURNING PAGES: CASTLE HANGNAIL by URSULA VERNON as of 5/29/2015 9:05:00 AM
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2. Orion and the Dark – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Orion and the Dark Written and illustrated by: Emma Yarlett Published by: Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, 2014 Themes/Topics: fear of the dark, fears, the dark Suitable for ages: 4-7 Hardcover, 40 pages Opening: My name is Orion,     … Continue reading

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3. Classic Readalong Discussion: Hatchet

In the first chapter of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, 13-year-old Brian is the only passenger in a single engine plane when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. 7000 feet above the wilderness and wildly off course, he eventually crashes into a lake..and must find a way to survive. On his own. Without food or shelter. Believe it or not, the stakes only get higher from there. Let’s begin! (Beware spoilers, as usual.) Wendy: I’m a big fan of survival and naturalistic stories, having loved Sign of the Beaver and The Yearling and Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid. But somehow this one passed me by, so I’m glad Kim suggested it for our classics series. Kim: This was one of the few offerings in my 5th grade classroom’s “library” that actually interested me, and holy hell did little Kim devour it. I like survival fiction because of... Read more »

The post Classic Readalong Discussion: Hatchet appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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4. Twitter

cartoon bird

Twitter … Twitter … हर कोई सोशल नेट वर्किंग साईट पर लगा टवीट किए जा रहे है पर रियल लाईफ में  tweet सुनना ही भूल गए. अब अगर आपको भी ये टवीट सुनना है तो घर की छत पर या आंगन में पानी से भरा बर्तन रखना पडेगा … सच मानिए भरी झुलसती गरमी मे जब पक्षी टवीट टवीट  करते आएगें तो दिल को सुकून मिलेगा … भई मुझे तो उस टवीट से अच्छा ये टवीट लगता है :)


PM Narendra Modis one year Twitter record: 8.5 million followers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has garnered close to 8.5 million followers on Twitter in the span of one year, statistics from the popular micro-blogging network showed. The figures are an indicator of the Prime Minister’s efficacy on social media websites where he is very active. PM Modi remains the third-most followed world leader on Twitter after US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. See more…

Twitter हो या सोशल मीडिया की कोई भी साईट … अच्छा है जुडे रहना चाहिए पर पक्षियों को भी पानी और दाना देते रहेंग़ें तो बहुत बेहतर होगा…

The post Twitter appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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5. I Think We ALL Know Which One I Am.....

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6. Summer Reading Self-Care

Summer reading is upon us. For many librarians, registration has already begun.

Summer reading is hard, y'all. It's fun, but it's stressful and it tests us. So I think the thing to do is to decide beforehand that we're going to take care of ourselves. Once we're in it, it's too easy to get carried away. Here's a few quick tips:

1) Keep an eye on your overtime. At my last branch, all of my family programs were in the evening. It was just too easy to come in at the regular time and work all the way to close. I don't care how young you are, your body cannot handle multiple 12-hour workdays. You will burn out early on and your summer will be miserable.

2) Ask for help. Do you have a staff? Delegate. If you don't, that gets trickier. You might have to ask your manager or other non-YS library staff for help. In a perfect world, they would be thrilled to help, but we all know that's not the case. But summer reading is NOT a one-man operation. Don't try to do it on your own.

3) Set aside you time. Make sure you block off a specific time each week for something for you to do. Seriously. Put it in your phone, planner, or desk calendar. Do you love to read? Grab a book and hit your favorite shady spot. Are you a gamer? Grab that controller because you deserve it. Your brain needs these outlets.

4) Consider taking vacation time in the fall. When I ran a department that was in charge of running summer reading for preschool, K-6, and teens, by the end of the summer, I was totally useless. I used to save up my vacation all year and take two weeks off in August. I know this isn't feasible for everyone, but think about taking at least a long weekend after your programs are over. You deserve it.

5) Find some support. Maybe you have an excellent support system, like coworkers at a large library system or other librarians in your area to help you get through, but if not, consider your online sources. Twitter has an active library community. Check out the hashtags #librarylife or the humorous #librarianproblems. Storytime Underground and Teen Services Underground both have active Facebook communities that encourage discussion. These resources are so valuable, both for everyday use and to remember that you're not alone.

Happy Summer Reading, Librarians! You can do it.


Our guest blogger from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.


For more information on summer reading check out the Summer Reading wiki entry and the Summer Reading ning.

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7. Friday Linky List - May 29, 2015

From School Library Journal's Fuse #8 - Betsy Bird shares: What Are the Great Children's Literature Writing Retreats?

From The Picture Book Den: The Fifties - Didn't we have them once already? by Jonathan Allen

From ThriveWire: First, Call Yourself An Artist: Career Advice From Artist Lisa Congdon

At Bookshelf: Follow the link to listen to Julian Barnes talk about the new book IMPROBABLE LIBRARIES

I want one of these - a book bed:

Click here to see more strange beds, although this was the only book-related one.

From The New York Times: Works in Progress: A very small sampling of the female artists now in their 80s and 90s we should have known about decades ago.

From tesconnect: 'Adults read books. Children devour them'

At the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum, UK): Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

0 Comments on Friday Linky List - May 29, 2015 as of 5/29/2015 9:13:00 AM
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8. IDW to Publish Print Edition of Strange Nation

Strange Nation CoverWriter Paul Allor and artist Juan Romera have landed a deal with IDW Publishing.

IDW will release the print edition of Strange Nation in August 2015. The first issue was digitally published by Monkeybrain Comics back in October 2013. Altogether, Allor and Romera created eight installments for this comics series.

According to the press release, the story follows a character named Norma Park who “uncovered the terrifying truth about a dangerous conspiracy involving aliens, Sasquatch and doomsday cults! Now Norma finds herself fired from her prestigious newspaper and working at the supermarket tabloid Strange Nation. But nothing will keep Norma from sharing her terrible knowledge with the world!”

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9. The 12 sweets you need to know about (and try)

Have you ever tried vinarterta? How about gugelhupf? Whether these are familiar or completely foreign to you, this list of sweets are a must for everyone with a sweet tooth. All the sweets, cakes, desserts, and treats on this list come from The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, so give them a go and try one, some, or all!

The post The 12 sweets you need to know about (and try) appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on The 12 sweets you need to know about (and try) as of 5/29/2015 7:23:00 AM
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10. Sun Trap? Oh, It WAS Supposed To Be A Comedy? Now Let Me Tell You...


Back in the late 1980s-1990s, I wrote scripts and series proposals for TV.  Back then you had BBC, ITV (before de-regulation did everything all the top boys were saying it would not), Channel 4 and later Chennal 5 (the station hardly anyone used to be able to watch thanks to total screw up technical issues).

My most famous failure, that actually got a mention by a BBC TV producer whose name I cannot recall in some Guardian article, was A Cabinet Of Curiosities which was written at the same time as the horror-sci-fi The Diaries Of Fred Purvey -the BBC man told me "We'll go with your idea for the two main characters!" which would have been Roy Hudd as Fred Purvey and June Whitfield as "Mystic Marge".

I wrote all the scripts for each series (seven for each), put together creature and production illustrations and handed them in -the offer of the BBC footing the huge photocopying bill seemed a good one (all the scripts were typed, kids -no computers.....who is that keeps fainting at the back??).

Nothing.  Then more nothing.  So a couple of calls and eventually I hear "Oh. Didn't anyone contact you? There's this new TV series from the US -it's already made so no production costs."  And my kill fee? Ever tried to get money out of the BBC?  Bureaucracy and "we have no idea what you are talking about" followed by "Who was the producer?  Oh, he's left. We can't enter into discussion on this."

So I cursed this stupid, no name, crap US TV show and prayed for it to be a massive flop.

It was called "The X-Files" -no, I never heard of it either.

Anyway, I continued with my quiz/challenge show projects, documentaries and even comedy.  Yes. I wrote comedy.  Sad Lad's Pad was described by someone at the BBC as "a very surrealistic version of Bottom but with three characters rather than two."  I guess he must have read the script!  

I think the first episode was titled "Barbara Windsor" and if memory serves me right the second involved the Sad Lads ending up in a Moroccan style British prison.  Hookahs, fez's the works.

The guy in charge loved it. "I'm glad you came to us rather than radio first!"  I never even thought of radio. Anyhow, the six scripts (I think I only have the rough first two episode scripts now) were read and the producer loved them.  And then came the inevitable silence.  Then a letter from a new producer stating "sadly these scripts are not as funny as you seem to think they are" -which was feckin' weird.  I never laid any claims and I had never said in writing or over the phone that my scripts were great because I never would. Also, WTF was this new man?

A quick call and I found out that the old producer had left for a higher paid job at an independent company.  The assistant, who I had talked to a great deal before then told me that it was "traditional" for a new producer to throw out any ideas approved by a predecessor -if it bombed HE got the blame.  If it was a success then the previous man got the credit for commissioning the series.  So in the bin it went.

I asked about what for the BBC was a very -very- rude letter?  "Oh, he's straight out of university and never worked in TV before so he's rather rude to the point of insulting even established scripters."  I wish I remembered his name (it's in a file) because one day.....

Let me tell you, this approving, going through discussing, sorting out cast or presenters and producers then leaving and everything being dumped covers all BBC departments including Wildlife -three times I was asked by the BBC Wildlife unit in Bristol (over the phone once and twice in person) "Do you know where that piece of footage is?"  To which I responded: "It's BBC footage.  Wildlife footage.  Surely you know?"  but it seems "the BBC is a big place as is the wildlife unit and those pieces of footage could be anywhere here!"

Now, the BBC seems to have lost its reputation for TV comedy.   "Mr Khan" appears to be a 1970s, not very good ITV comedy...for children.  Bottom and  The Mighty Boosh seem to have been the final stabs at comedy before obscenity filled 25 minute crap took over.  Not funny but unless there is an obscenity every other word it cannot be funny, right?  Oddly, I did actually enjoy Uncle for some reason.

But the other night I watched the latest late night comedy, Sun Trap.  Bradley Walsh has proven himself a good actor and funny so I thought "why not?"  I sat there, my sister also watching the TV, not a single laugh.

WHY was this on at 22:45hrs?  Kayvan Novak from this performance, should never work again. Bradley Walsh was only really a cameo but this really dented his reputation.  Novak had a Scottish (??) accent that covered being a gay Frenchman(?), a.....no.  Basically it covered every accent you need. If ever a show needed canned laughter it was this.  It had no life.  No humour and it, again, seemed to be a failed CITV (Childrens ITV) programme from the 1980s.

I may be a little hard on Novak because he had a senseless -and I DO mean senseless- script that had no gags or humour.  The characters were sheets of blank paper.  

I got quite angry.  I thought my age.  Then I got angrier as I thought through it that night.  My scripts back in the early 1990s were  "sadly these scripts are not as funny as you seem to think they are" but in 2015 the scripts for Sun Trap were funny? 

Kids, look for independent companies or produce your own shows or films or audio podcasts -anything but go through what many, many others have over the years. Learn.  You will always get ripped off, messed about, insulted and hardly ever paid!

Below: Bradley Walsh: "We took the money. Sorry."

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11. buckle up

simulated daughter on closed course
If the Motor Vehicle Administration had been open on January 1, my little April Fool would have been there at 8am sharp to get her learner's permit.  As it was, she had to wait until she was 15 years 9 months and 1 day old.  Driving practice has been going well since January 2nd--short jaunts on neighborhood roads two or three times a week with one or the other parent.

But Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally one for family outings.  Ours took us around the DC metro area beltway--famous for requiring nerves of steel when it's flowing smoothly and the patience of Job the other 495% of the time.


While 16 drives
12 tells me he has
he can see the holes
in spinning hub caps
at 60 MPH
and what does SPF stand for?
16 holds steady,
only a few wobbles within her lane.
Nearly 50 is coaching her
and I--51--I'm wobbling
a little too in the backseat,
letting go, holding nothing
but a slippery pink glitter gel pen
she doesn't use anymore.

HM 2015
all rights reserved

The Poetry Friday round-up today is at Reflections on the Teche with Margaret, who must be celebrating the end of another satisfying year of teaching.  Cruise on over and enjoy the poetry scenery!

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12. Cynsational News, Giveaways & Summer Hiatus

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Thanks so much for being a Cynsational reader! 

I appreciate your enthusiasm for and interest in the world of books for kids and teens.

Breaking news: Effective immediately, Cynsations is going on summer hiatus until September. 

In the meantime, you can keep up with children's-YA books news on my author facebook page and @CynLeitichSmith on Twitter.

See y'all in the fall!

More News  

Recommended on the We are the People List
We're the People Summer Reading List of 2015 from Facebook. Peek: "Are you looking for books to add to your summer reading list? Ones written or illustrated by Native Americans or people of color? Ones that include characters that are Native? People of color? Disabilities? LGBTQ? Take a look at these!" Note: Download a PDF (list of titles; annotated list) to take with you to the store of library.  See more information about the list from Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature.

Romanticizing Mental Illness by L. Lee Butler, S. Jae-Jones and Alex Townsend from Disability in Kidlit. Peek: "Ideally there would be plenty of stories within and outside of the perspectives of mental illness. Because lots of outsiders don’t really relate until they hear a story from the outside perspective."

Mary E. Cronin's Workshop on Gay (LGBT) & Questioning Characters in Middle Grade from Lee Wind at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? Peek: "There may be GLBT people in the character’s family, or they may have no role models or reference points at all. These factors will have a huge impact on a character’s trajectory."

The Mystery of the Hardy Boys and the Invisible Authors by Daniel A. Gross from The Atlantic. Peek: "If writing seems like a lonely profession, try ghostwriting children's books."

How to Secure a Traditional Book Deal by Self-Publishing by Jane Friedman from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "By far, the No. 1 consulting request I receive is the author who has self-published and wants to switch to traditional publishing. Usually it’s because they’re disappointed with their sales or exposure; other times, that was their plan all along."

What Makes a Picture Book a Mega Hit? by Elizabeth Bird from School Library Journal. Peek: "With that in mind, today I’m going to talk about some of the top picture book blockbusters to come out in the last ten years. Please note that I’m avoiding picture books with TV or other media tie-ins. These are the folks who got where they are on their own merits."

Interview: Jackie Morse Kessler on the Riders of the Apocalypse Series by Katherine Locke and Alex Townsend from Disability in Kid Lit. Peek: "I’m a former bulimic, and I still have self-image issues. The protagonist Lisabeth is inspired by someone I knew when I was younger; she’d been a very close friend, and she was the one who introduced me to bulimia." Note: This series is highly recommended.

The Connection Between Emotional Wounds and Basic Needs by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "...she still feels the pain associated with the loss of her esteem and will subconsciously take steps to meet that need or make sure that it isn’t threatened again. Maybe she’ll throw herself into education, sports, or the arts as a means of gaining recognition for herself, since she feels unable to compete physically."

Emotional Wounds Thesaurus: A Parent's Abandonment by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "This negative experience from the past is so intense that a character will go to great lengths to avoid experiencing that kind of pain and negative emotion again. As a result, certain behaviors, beliefs, and character traits will emerge."

One Tweet Reminds Us Why Judy Blume Was the Sexual Revolutionary We Needed by Kate Hakala from Connections.Mic. Peek: "The children and teens of Blume's books didn't only normalize sexuality for so many young kids, they illuminated the more embarrassing, secret parts of sex — the blood, the touching — that many readers were too afraid to bring up in school or to their parents."

Industry Q&A with Charlesbridge Editor Alyssa Mito Pusey from CBC Diversity. Peek: "When I was recently looking up Asian and Asian American biographies, I was shocked all over again at how little there is out there—Lee & Low seems to be the only publisher consistently putting out these books."

Children's Book Council to Receive BookExpo America's Industry Ambassador Award by Yolanda Scott from CBC Diversity. Peek: "While this is the first year that the award is being bestowed on an organization in place of an individual, BEA show organizers note that the Children’s Book Council’s work is both personal and special for its dedication to fostering literacy, diversity and education, making it eminently qualified to receive the award."

Case Cracked: The Process of Editing Mystery Novels by Stacy Whitman from Lee & Low. Peek: "...we discussed how the inciting incident—the moment that gets Claire to veer her course to investigating whether her father and her stepdad ever knew each other—might be complicated and how those complications would have a ripple effect that would improve multiple other plot points, and increase the pacing." See also: Wouldn’t You Like to Know . . . Valynne E. Maetani by Stacey Hayman from VOYA.

The Godzilla Effect: How Climaxes, Twists, and Turning Points Work (and How They Don’t) by Harrison Demchick from Project Mayhem. Peek: "The climax, then, is the inevitable result—eventually, the effect—of that incident two hundred or three hundred or however many pages ago. It needs to be an organic development of the story."

Six Tips from Six Years of School Visits by Chris Barton from Bartography. Peek: "If you’ve got multiple books, don’t assume that your host wants you to focus on your newest one. Your host might not know much about it, and in fact may have led their students to expect something else."

Breaking Barriers: Alvina Ling, Editor-in-Chief of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers from TaiwaneseAmerican.org. Peek: "...ideally we have a nice balance between books that may have award potential, and books that are more commercial and have bestseller potential (although books that are both are even more ideal!). We also don’t want to have all fantasy books or all historical fiction, for example, so I help guide our acquisitions process and identify needs and gaps to our editors to keep in mind as they are reading submissions and acquiring."

Cynsational Awards

2015 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winners from School Library Journal. Peek:

"The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee (Simon & Schuster) has won the 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for best picture book, while Katherine Rundell’s Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (Simon & Schuster) took best fiction title and Candace Fleming’s The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Russia (Schwartz & Wade) was named best nonfiction book." See honor books and more information.

2015 South Asian Book Awards:

See honor books and more information.

Cynsational Giveaways
The winner of a set of signed books by Claire Legrand was Christina in Kentucky.

See also a giveaway of an author- and illustrator-signed copy of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton, illustrated by Don Tate (Eerdmans, 2015) from Fat Girl Reading.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

My Memorial Day view of Highway One; hang in there, Texas & Oklahoma!
At "Pretty in Pink" with authors Cory Putnam Oakes, P.J. Hoover & Mari Mancusi at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.
Happy Summer! Congratulations to spring 2015 graduates!

As all y'all can tell from my events listed below, I'm going to be coming and going for the next few months. I hope to see many of you on the road or here in Austin, and online you can catch up with me at my author facebook page and @CynLeitichSmith on Twitter.

So embrace the summer. Read, write, illustrate, champion books for young readers, and with each new day, remember to be the heroes of your own life stories.

Thanks again for being Cynsational readers! 

Link of the Week: How Insane Amount of Rain in Texas Could Turn Rhode Island Into a Lake by Christopher Ingraham from The Washington Post.

Central Texans! Summer Road Trip Release Party: Join Margo Rabb (Kissing in America) and Liz Garton Scanlon (Great Good Summer) at 2 p.m. May 30 at BookPeople in Austin.

Personal Links

Now Available!

Cynsational Events

Join Cynthia at 11 a.m. May 30 in conjunction with the YA Book Club at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.

Cynthia will serve as the master class faculty member from June 19 to June 21 at the VCFA Alumni Mini-Residency in Montpelier, Vermont.

Cynthia will speak from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 28 on an Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) program--"We Need Diverse Books: How to Move from Talk to Action Panel"--at the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco.
Learn more!
Cynthia will teach on the faculty of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts from July 8 to July 19.

Join Cynthia from July 30 to Aug. 2 at GeekyCon in Orlando, Florida. See more information.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will lead a YA Writing Retreat for A Room of Her Own Foundation from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Cynthia will lead a breakout session on "Diversity in Children's and YA Literature" Aug. 22 at East Texas Book Fest at the Harvey Hall Convention Center in Tyler, Texas.

Cynthia will speak Sept. 19 at the Mansfield, Texas Book Festival.

Cynthia will speak Sept. 29 at Richardson Public Library in Richardson, Texas.

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13. Cinebook The 9th Art: Thorgal 15- Arachnea


Thorgal 15- Arachnea
Authors: Rosinski & Van Hamme
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182478
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: April 2015

Thorgal, his family and their friends Darek and Lehla have left their island to sail south and look for a safer place to live. After a storm scatters them, Thorgal and WolfCub’s boat flounders on reefs at the foot of a strange, mist-covered cliff. One perilous climb later, the little girl is trapped by a mysterious, invisible force, and her father, after going for help, discovers a very curious city cut off from the world...

I usually like to spend some time when it comes to Thorgal to discuss things -we've moved from the sci fi origins to Meso America...it has been a very exciting read.  Now we have more fantasy, with a tinge of horror? Yes, my favourites (but not it seems 99% of humanity's) -spiders.  Bless 'em.

Great art, great colour work by Graza and a nice twisting tale with a little "ahhhhh" toward the end. And at album number 15 this has turned around completely the impression I had of Thorgal from what I had read in German.  I made the assumption it was "just another barbarian" series. It certainly is not. Writer and artist both deliver some of their best work. 

No wonder Thorgal is a popular series!


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14. GJ Book Club: Speed on Mass Drawing

On the GJ Book Club, we're studying Chapter 9: Mass Drawing: Practical," from Harold Speed's 1917 classic The Practice and Science of Drawing.

The following numbered paragraphs cite key points in italics, followed by a brief remark of my own. If you would like to respond to a specific point, please precede your comment by the corresponding number. There's a lot of content here, so let's dive in!

1. Painting is drawing.
In this chapter, Harold Speed demonstrates his conception of monochrome painting as a form of drawing. He calls it "mass drawing," and unlike line drawing, there's a greater attention to shape, value, and edges.

2. Most objects can be reduced broadly into three tone masses, the lights (including the high lights, the half tones, and the shadows.
Speed's demonstration follows a process where he maps out the shapes in charcoal (sealed with shellac), then scrubs a thin layer of tone overall equal to the halftone.
a. Blocking out shapes, b. middle tone 'scrumbled' over the whole
Then the lights are painted into the wet halftone later. "Gradations are got by thinner paint, which is mixed with the wet middle tone of the ground."

c. Addition of the darks, d. finished work
Note the swatches of paint used at lower left. He's using raw umber and white. "Don't use much medium," he advises. This method is also discussed by Norman Rockwell in "Norman Rockwell Illustrator," where he calls it "painting into the soup."

3. The use of charcoal to the neglect of line drawing often gets the student into a sloppy manner of work, and is not so good a training to the eye and hand in a clear, definite statement.
I found this statement interesting. He seems to be suggesting that the monochrome painting leads to better results in students than the classic tonal charcoal study. But he admits that this particular method of painting into the halftone value isn't always useful for full-color painting because it can pollute the shadows. He'll get into color painting in later chapters (and in his next book), but basically he advises mixing up separate middle tone values for lights and shadows.

4. Try always to do as much as possible with one stroke of the brush.
This important statement leads off a discussion of the variable strokes and edges provided by various kinds of brushes. The brush adds the ability to place a definite shape, but also to feather the edges on the sides of the stroke. In addition, because of the amount of paint on the brush, it can leave a lighter (or darker) stroke relative to the value of the wet halftone layer.

5. Brush shapes.
Speed's chart shows rounds, flats, and filberts at the bottom, but the one in the third row he calls "Class C" seems to be a flat with rounded corners. Does anyone know whether that type of brush is still being made these days? From left to right are definite thick-paint strokes to feathery thin strokes.

6. How to fix errors, how to check accuracy.
He advises something like sight-size, namely setting the work next to the subject and comparing. He also suggests a "black glass," which is a "Lorraine mirror" mentioned in an earlier post of GurneyJourney. He discusses why the setting-out drawing must be accurately measured, but also urges students to be willing to "lose the drawing" under the paint. "It is often necessary when a painting is nearly right to destroy the whole thing in order to accomplish the apparently little that still divides it from what you conceive it to be."

7. Nothing is so characteristic of bad modelling as "gross roundness." 
"The surface of a sphere is the surface with the least character," he says. This is an extension of the earlier discussion about the aesthetic importance of retaining some straight lines and planes, the sense of the partially carved block.

8. Study from Life:

Blocking out the spaces occupied by masses.
Note: This is not a 'line drawing' but rather a map of masses.

Middle tone applied overall and lights placed.
Shadows added.

Completed head.
9. Importance of anatomy and cautions about overstating it.
Speed ends with a discussion of the importance of anatomical knowledge, but cautions against "overstepping the modesty of nature." He says, "Never let anatomical knowledge tempt you into exaggerated statements of internal structure, unless such exaggeration helps the particular thing you wish to express." When I worked with Frank Frazetta on Fire and Ice, he was always making this point, complaining about figure work that was overly musclebound.

10. Painting across vs. along the form.
Here he continues the point made in the previous chapter, but specifically talking about the brush.

11. Keep the lights separate from the shadows, let the half tone paper always come as a buffer state between them.
This is an essential point, extremely important in outdoor work under the full sun. In figure work indoors, mass drawing can also be done with red and white chalk on a tone paper where the paper equals the halftone value of the form.
The Practice and Science of Drawing is available in various formats:
1. Inexpensive softcover edition from Dover, (by far the majority of you are reading it in this format)
3. Free online Archive.org edition.
and The Windsor Magazine, Volume 25, "The Art of Mr. Harold Speed" by Austin Chester, page 335. (thanks, अर्जुन)
GJ Book Club on Pinterest (Thanks, Carolyn Kasper)

Original blog post Announcing the GJ Book Club

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15. What Do Artists Do All Day - Frank Quitely

A mix here. I like some of Quitely's work but it often leaves me cold -too clean and antisceptic. But he is very popular and I still likr reading his Earth 3.

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16. Sophie's Animal Parade - a bookwrap


Written by Amy Dixon and Illustrated by Katia Wish.   Ages 3-7

Unwrapping the illustrations...

"Everything Sophie drew came to life.  Mama called it Sophie's imagination. Sophie called it magic."  

     Thus begins the charming tale of Sophie, the little girl with the magic pencils who creates scrumptious foods, cozy places to rest and snuggly apparel to don when she feels cold.  

     Then she takes her wizardly ways to a whole new level and starts creating animal friends to keep her company when she is feeling lonely.  She thinks it would be fun to host a tea party and of course all her animals are invited.  

     First she conjures up a cute baby polar bear who is way too hot in her room,  then a duck who isn't interested in playing hide-and-seek but just wants to swim, a giraffe who gets a pain in his neck because the room is way too short for his tallness.... and on and on and on.....  

     So much chaos ensues that Sophie's only alternative is to take her brood outdoors where she encounters a strange boy and they hit it off immediately.  Together they bring order out of the bedlam and became fast friends to boot.  Now Sophie imagines in two's.  How sweet!

About the author...

Growing up as one of seven siblings, the only peace and quiet I ever got was inside a book. Once I had my own kids, I rediscovered my love for picture books at the public library. It was the one place I knew all four of my kids would be happy . . . and quiet. I write from my home, where I live with my four little inspirations and my marathon-running husband, Rob.

About the illustrator...

Katia Wish is a children’s book writer and illustrator based in Boston, MA. She is currently working on illustrating two children’s books from Sky Pony Press and Boys Town Press, both to be released in Spring 2015. She is the winner of the 2011 Tomie DePaola Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
In addition to working on children’s books and magazines, Katia teaches illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. Katia’s work has been exhibited in galleries throughout New England.
Katia is originally from Belarus, where she grew up. The influences and sensibilities of both her home country and her experiences in the United States contribute to Katia's work.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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17. Profile - Boo Cook - Comic Artist


Oh my gods. Pencil roughs for a writer would be never heard of in old weekly comics -you drew it and that was that. If you are doing a graphic novel or a series you REALLY want to be your best work then this amount of effort could be useful.

I just say "Why spend time on thumb-nails and roughs -just draw the feckin' book!"  But that might just be me. Boo Cook does seem to be enjoying himself though....WHAT???

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18. Stirring the Plot: Fish Tales and Whoppers

Fish tales are stories a character relates that have a basis in reality but have been embellished to make the tale more entertaining, to make the teller sound better, or to make the object of the tale sound worse, than they really were.

Everyone tells a fish tale at some point, consciously or subconsciously: not to deliberately mislead or harm, but because it is human nature to flesh out stories. A story told often enough becomes a memory, even if it never happened or didn’t happen in quite the way it is related.

Dick might relate a conversation that didn’t actually take place the way he says it did. Characters tend to think of the funny or wounding line they should have said after the conversation is over, or the threat they should have made, or the punch they should have thrown in a heated situation. If a fish tale is told and embellished often enough, the embellishments replace the truth.

A fish tale starts out simply enough. Dick relates the tale of going fishing and turns his three-inch carp catch into a seven-foot catfish. The other diners will laugh. Jane might point out that seven-foot catfish don’t actually live in the pond in question. Sally might point out that a seven-foot catfish is too big for Dick to pull out alone. Ted might just call him on his crap and say he never caught a fish in his life. 

Dick might laughingly admit that he was exaggerating, but it was a catfish and it was big. The gentle ribbing may wick Dick into fury and the evening could turn ugly. If Dick is trying to warn them that giant radioactive catfish are living in the local lake, his friends will regret that they didn’t listen to him. If he is a serial killer, he will choose his next victim from amongst the dinner guests making fun of him. The ribbing can turn into fish tales of their own. Fish tales can make your character uncomfortable at a dinner party or create massive problems for all involved.

Let’s send Dick and Jane to a dinner with friends or family. Dick relates an innocent tale of something rather mundane that happened at home that morning. It can be something Jane did by accident (maybe she dropped a skillet full of food) or something she said about a situation or a person. If Dick embellishes the tale, he can unintentionally (or intentionally) humiliate Jane by exaggerating the outcome of the event or the content of the conversation. If he puts words in Jane’s mouth that come across as insults or puts a negative spin on her actions, he could get her in trouble or place her in danger. Dick was just trying to be funny but in Jane’s mind he made her look bad. The ride home will not be pleasant. Jane may sit and stew and plot a payback. Jane may start a tirade about all the stupid, hurtful things Dick has done. If Dick counter-attacks, the argument can escalate and lead to the demise of their marriage or to a really frosty winter of discontent.

If Dick embellishes a story about his skills or experience, he may be asked to do a harder task at work than he is prepared for. He may be asked to utilize his talents to solve a mystery or stop a crime. Dick’s fish tale can land him in waters way over his head.

The embellishments of Dick’s fish tale could be lethal if they mirror something that actually occurred. His comments may make someone at the dinner party squirm and change the subject. His exaggerations could turn lethal if they get too close to a crime that has been committed or imply that he has seen or heard something he didn’t and should not have.

Siblings sitting around a dinner table listening to a family member relate a story from their past might not remember the situation in quite the same way. This can spark friendly, or not so friendly, arguments. It could spark a mystery that needs to be solved. The same is true at a business lunch or a social get together among friends. When the false story is perceived as truth, you have unlimited potential for conflict.

As a tale gets repeated, and the embellishments become “facts”, the story takes on a life of its own. It becomes an “urban legend.” The time Dick went into the woods and got lost for five seconds becomes the time Dick went into the woods, was missing for a week and found his way home after seeing Big Foot. Family urban legends can reveal a lot about your characters. They can reveal what others think Dick is capable of, guilty of, or ashamed of. The arguments about what did and didn’t happen can be funny or extremely tense and very revealing. If the family urban legends hint at a darker truth (they’re all vampires) in front of a guest, the evening can end abruptly. If Dick takes his new girlfriend to dinner with friends or family and they use the urban legends to embarrass him in front of her, there will be plenty of conflict.

Conversely, fish tales could be used to make Dick look like a true hero. He saved a baby from a burning building when all he really did was put out a small blaze caused by a candle falling over. If Dick is a superhero and really did save a baby from a burning building, that’s an entirely different tale. He may squirm and worry about his family blowing his cover.

You can use the concept of fish tales and urban legends in any genre to develop plot, to reveal character, or to complicate the scene.

For more on how to motivate your characters based on personality type, check out:

Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict in paperback and E-book.

Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook in paperback and E-book.

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20. Talking About Unlikely Mentors with Lisa Eickholdt + a Book Giveaway

Using students’ writing as mentor texts builds kids’ self-esteem and lifts the level of writing of every other student in the room.

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21. Guest Author, Sally Yolanda... Talks about writers' block

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Welcome to guest author, Sally Yolanda as she takes over Write What Inspires You and chats about writers' block

How to Overcome Your Writer's Block with this New Perspective

by Sally Yolanda

What is the biggest fear among writers? It is not the fear of losing their job or the fear of losing money? It is the fear that they will run short of creative ideas and thus, experience a block. The dreaded writers’ block. The name of this terror can bring jitters to even the most experienced writer out there.

Reasons behind writers’ block

It can really sap the motivation of even the best writers out there. Why does it happen? There are a couple of views on this. It can happen owing to exhaustion; can happen because you are trying to force yourself to come up with neat ideas and that process is creating resistance to you, within you; it may happen owing to an intense, internal fear that the work you produce may never be good enough for people, that it may invite mockery and laughter and as a self defence, you subconsciously throttle your thinking process.

And within the factors, which give rise to this “block”, lie the answers to the question of how to solve the problem of writer’s block. The most important thing in this would be to change our perspective towards this issue as well as to methods we use to solve it.

Change our perspective, unblock the block!

One of the most important things we should realise is that we should stop fearing failure. Fear of failure is what makes a person even hesitate from starting on something new. So one great way of approaching writing challenges is to take them as stimuli to create something new. If something does not work out, use it as a starting point to explore other ideas, to stretch across different fields to find something that help the endeavour to go forward. Success need not come in one shot. Sometimes you have to try many different approaches that may take variable time to show their results. When a writer stops fearing failure, he may tend to develop patience. The ability to wait. For that creative spark, that idea. This would also help him or her to be open and receptive to all ideas that float across.

Stop taking things personally. Let Go.

Another way is to stop taking it as a personal threat to your ability to write. Maybe it is the way of telling the body to take it lightly or the mind to recharge itself. Use the opportunity to do other things, which had got pushed back to the back of your mind; go for outings, vacations. Take your problem off your mind. You can also engage in discussions with yourself or with a silent listener such as your pillow. Such kind of “pillow talk” may help you to reach within yourself to find out things or thoughts or attitudes that may be actually being a hindrance to your creative process.

Do creative relaxation.

Instead of forcing your creative mind to work under circumstances that it may deem unpleasant or unsatisfying, let it relax. Let ideas float in. Try out even the weirdest sounding ones. Sometimes, all it takes is a change in approach to the situation and bring it on from there.

Get rid of distractions!

It is all possible that your creative soul is not getting that space and silence it needs to chew on ideas in peace. Maybe all the noise from the electronic media, the Internet and the mobiles are distracting and leaving the mind in a state of overstimulation. In such a case, it would be useful to go on sabbaticals where you can stay away from all distractions in the world and work on your writing.

Reduce self-criticism

Another way of improving your writing is by decreasing unnecessary criticism of one’s own work. Changes can be made at any point of time. A great way of motivating the brain to work is through exercise and sleep. Getting lots of sleep, doing couple of runs in a day is sure to let those nerve cell gets recharged. Getting an outline of what you want to see in your writing and embarking upon it is a great idea to get the ideas coming and noting it down.

Experiment with new!

Changes in writing between routine, boring but necessary writing tasks may help you in recharging and refreshing your mind at regular intervals. This will reduce the kind of thoughts that lead to the occurrence of writers’ block.

Develop the habit of writing from consciousness first. Allow the thoughts, whatever they are, to pour out, to run out in whatever form they take. Do not try to force them in a particular direction. Edit them later. So, there are multiple ways of looking at the phenomenon of “Writers’ Block”. Changing your attitude towards it is a great way of overcoming it! So, go for it.

Bio: Sally Yolanda is an academic counselor at Assignmentwritinghelp.com. She has been teaching online courses for bachelor, masters, and doctoral level education programs. Her interests include online teaching and learning with focus on active students engagement.
Visit Sally at: 

Thanks for taking over the guest author spot. It's been a pleasure hosting you! 

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

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

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

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

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

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

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22. Mentoring the next generation of oral historians

Ask anyone who has been to an Oral History Association annual meeting and they’ll tell you that one of the best parts of the conference is the people. The conference offers the chance to meet and learn from oral history veterans, as well as those just getting started in the field. This week on the blog, we’re highlighting the OHA mentorship program, which aims to help newcomers at the meeting to get the most out of the experience by partnering them with mentors. The program paired 47 mentors and newcomers at the 2014 conference, and hopes to connect even more people going forward.

The post Mentoring the next generation of oral historians appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. Spotlight and Giveaway: A Kiss for Lady Mary by Ella Quinn

This morning I have a spotlight and giveaway for A Kiss for Lady Mary by Ella Quinn

A Kiss for Lady Mary
The Marriage Game # 6

By: Ella Quinn

Releasing May 26th, 2015

Kensington Books

Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/a-kiss-for-lady-mary-marriage-game-6-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24980059-a-kiss-for-lady-mary?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/106521-the-marriage-game

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Author Info
Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a loveable Great Dane.



Lady Mary Tolliver heaved a sigh of relief. She’d been at her brother, the Earl of Barham’s, dower house with her grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Bridgewater, and her widowed aunt, Lady Eunice Phipson, for two weeks now. Thankfully there was still no sign of her cousin, Gawain Tolliver. Perhaps he’d finally given up attempting to compromise her. She’d been taking her regular walks after breakfast for the past week. But this morning she had remembered advice given to her by a friend to vary her schedule as long as Gawain was after her and had decided to go earlier.

She was about a half mile from the house when a familiar male voice asked, “How much longer?”

Mary stopped and scanned the woods. Suddenly, the dark green she’d taken for leaves ruffling in the slight breeze moved revealing a jacket.

Blast it all! It was Gawain, and she’d almost stepped into his trap. She’d known her luck wouldn’t hold. She slipped behind a tree, and listened.

“About another half hour,” a man with a rougher voice answered.

“Have the coach ready,” Gawain ordered. “I want to get away as soon as we grab her.”

She backed up carefully, keeping the dense foliage between herself and her cousin, until she could no longer see Gawain clearly.

“Did you hear something?”

Mary stifled a groan. How far was it to the house, and could she outmaneuver them? She glanced around. It was eight, maybe nine, feet to the old oak tree where, as a child, she’d won many a game of hide and seek. Gathering her skirts, she dashed to it and hid in the hollow part of the trunk. Gawain would have to know exactly where to look to see her. Still, she could not remain in the tree all day. She would have to hope they gave up waiting for her and left, planning to return another day.

“Nah, sir, just a deer or something.”

Several minutes later, Mary shifted and dirt fell around her. This space had been far more commodious when she’d been younger. Something landed on her arm and began to crawl. Stifling a scream, she swatted at it, dislodging more debris. Her heart thudded, making it hard for her to breathe. It was certain her cousin wouldn’t leave until at least the time when she normally passed by. She would just have to run. As they began to converse again, she picked up her skirts and dashed out of the home wood. Once she reached the outer part of the curtilage she raced through the rose garden, staying off the flagstone and gravel paths to the nearest door and darted in.

“My lady,” Cook exclaimed. “You look like the devil hisself is after you.” The old woman narrowed her eyes. “What have you got into? Shake out your skirts before you come in any farther. Is that a dead spider on your arm?”

Mary leaned back against the door, sucking in great gulps of air as she caught her breath. “That might be an apt description.” She briefly considered asking Cook not to tell Grandmamma, but that would only insure her grandmother heard about it sooner. “I’ll be down for breakfast as soon as I wash my hands.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three iBOOK copies of A KISS FOR LADY MARY)

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24. The Criterion: When a Theater Reopens

It is a space for stories.
            At its grand reopening Thursday night, the 1932 Criterion Theatre hosted a slew of Bar Harbor locals as well as visitors who drifted through the art deco halls, ducked into the 88-seat balcony, stood on the stage, descended into the basement and made this grand theater their home.

           Since 1932, the Criterion has been a part of this seaside community; its stage hosted bands, dancers, and shows. Its theater screen became a pilgrimage for local people who all had stories to share during the reopening.
            “The last movie I saw here was the First Harry Potter.”
            “Mine was Jurassic Park.”
            “Do you remember…?”
            “Do you remember…?”
            “Do you remember…?”
            People talked about the restoration, gobbled down the appetizers, spoke about the beauty of the place, but it was the stories that they kept coming back to.
            “It used to be that if you couldn’t see in the ticket booth, the woman who owned the theater would call your mom and make sure you were really the age you said you were,” said one local taxi driver.
            That woman was BH (Betty) Morison and she also would hold out her hand and make you spit your gum into your palm before she’d let you into the theater.  Maybe that’s part of why the restoration of it has been such a success. This place tucked amid the retail shops of Cottage Street where cruise ship passengers buy t-shirts and stuffed animal lobsters, has always been loved.  People have gathered here for decades. Kids saw their first movies here. People kissed their first kiss. Sang their first sing-a-long. Made memories.
A few days earlier while speaking to the Rotary Club of Bar Harbor Maine, Abbe Museum Director Cinnamon Legutko said, “I am a passionate advocate for community, intrigued by what makes community.”
            What makes community is a place like the Criterion. It is a gathering spot, a memory-making spot, a place where kids and adults can be exposed and re-exposed to the arts, all of the arts. It is a place to tell stories.
           “The one time I got pulled over my the police was after I was here,” a woman says, “it was in 2001 or 2002, I think. I’d gone to a concert, had a hard apple cider at six before it started and got stopped at a road block when I was driving back home to Ellsworth. It was after midnight. I was cold. They sheriff deputy asked me if I had drank anything tonight and I told him. I shouldn’t have told him. I was obviously fine to drive. It had been six hours.”
            Her story is especially fitting since the Criterion began in 1932 because of  George McKay, a bootlegger who decided to go ‘straight.’ He built the theatre as part of that venture, creating a 1,000-seat venue full of art deco details and glamour.  After extensive restoration thanks to a two million dollar anonymous gift as well as Board Chairman Michael Boland’s passionate advocacy and vision, the theater is open again, already hosting a Saturday children’s program and blockbuster movies. It continues to live. And it continues to inspire more stories like any good theater should.

*All these photos are from the Criterion's website.

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25. Facing the challenges of palliative care: continuity

The last two decades have witnessed truly remarkable growth in the field of palliative care. Such growth is challenging, and brings both uncertainties and optimism about the future. In this three-part blog, we’ll take a look at some of the complex issues of continuity, development and evolution in palliative medicine.

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