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1. Strong Female Characters in Dystopian Worlds

I want to talk about strong female characters in dystopian worlds, but right off the bat, I’m going to be difficult and say, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. What do we mean by strong exactly?”

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2. Explaining Piketty's success

       Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century continues to be one of this year's unlikely publishing success-stories -- a university press-publication, a work in translation (indeed, I wonder how many have sold more copies this year), and, well, on some level, a pretty scholarly-dry tome (though it is, in fact, a pretty good read). In The Guardian they ask now four "star economists and finance experts" (and no literary experts, oddly enough) Why is Thomas Piketty's 700-page book a bestseller ?
       (I've been impressed by the book, but the surfeit of reactions and reviews has kept me from posting review-coverage for now; meanwhile, see the Harvard University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)

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3. Tabula Rasa, by Kristen Lippert-Martin | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Tabula Rasa, written by Kristen Lippert-Martin. Giveaway begins September 23, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 22, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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4. Prix littéraire de la Mamounia

       The Prix littéraire de la Mamounia, awarded for francophone Moroccan writing, has announced its fifth winner, and, as reported at, for example, Aujourd'hui, Prix Littéraire de la Mamounia: Le Job de Réda Dalil consacré -- apparently the big favorite. See also, for example, the Le Fennec publicity page

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5. Meet Elizabeth Fensham, author of My Dog Doesn’t Like Me

Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Elizabeth Fensham.  My Dog Doesn’t Like Me (University of Qld Press) resonated with me because I also have a puppy, Floyd (whose middle name is Pink)– a spoodle who is easier to train than Eric’s dog, Ugly, but I have used one of the dog-training tips described in the novel. […]

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6. Confessions review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Minato Kanae's Japanese bestseller (and basis for a popular film), Confessions, now out in English.
       This was translated by Stephen Snyder; disappointingly, however: "Translation copyright © 2014 by Little, Brown and Company". (Not okay, guys.)

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7. FABRICS - greta songe

Flower House is the brand new collection by Greta Songe. This is Greta's first collection for Andover fabrics and is on sale now for retailers and will be in stores for consumers early next year, The prints were inspired by life in the Midwest. Greta is based in Iowa where there are many months of winter surrounded by a bare landscape devoid of colour. Making the spring and summer colours a

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8. A few Favorites from September

focal length 300mm, f/5.6, exposure 1/200 sec



 focal length 300mm, f /5.6, exposure 1/400 sec

Where we live, September brings several unique changes that I look forward to seeing again:

* Golden light on the rolled hay bails in both the front and back yard

*Cheerful sunflowers that pop up all over the surrounding areas as one last "hurrah" before the cold season hits

*Plants that look like wheat (not sure what they are actually called??) that seem to glow in the light

*Cicada insects that are super noisy (I won't miss these actually but they signal the end of summer)

*My neighbor's tree that's already changing red for fall! Yeah!

........Coming soon will be the black fuzzy caterpillars that cross the road in the early morning. They always signal the start of cool mornings. I've never gotten a photo of one. Maybe this year!

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9. 5 Tips for Writing Suspense

I am a traditionally published thriller author. My latest book No Time to Die just hit shelves this week. When I first started writing suspense fiction, though, I had very little idea what I was doing. It took a humble amount of trial and error to get in a groove and overcome basic rookie errors. Now, seven years later, I like to think I’ve figured out some tricks of the trade. I’ve also been extremely lucky to receive the support and mentorship of some of the top names in the biz, like Jack Reacher’s creator Lee Child and the late Michael Palmer. So without further ado, here are some tips for budding thriller writers that I wish I’d known from day one…

GIVEAWAY: Kira is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).

 

no-time-to-die-novel-cover     kira-peikoff-writer-author

Column by Kira Peikoff, a journalist and novelist in New York who has written
for the New York Times, Psychology Today, Slate, Salon, and Cosmopolitan.com,
among many others. She is the author of LIVING PROOF (Tor, 2012) and
NO TIME TO DIE (Kensington, 2014), which was praised by best-selling
author Lee Child. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 
1) Structure Scenes like Mini-Novels: Each one should contain its own narrative arc, with rising action and a climactic moment that signals the end of the chapter. It’s good form to finish most chapters on a cliffhanger—especially the first one. A major dramatic question should be raised in the opening scene, and then resolved in an unexpected or unfavorable way to hurl the main character further into the conflict (and thus drag your readers into the story). Get your protagonist in trouble as soon as possible and never let her get too comfortable or too safe. As far as chapter length, I’ve found that an average of five pages (double-spaced, size 12) works well for keeping up the pace.

2) Plot Strategically to Avoid the Sagging Middle: This rookie error is one I had the misfortune of making early on: I wrote the beginning of a book and then abruptly ran out of steam about sixty pages in. When you’re staring down 240 blank pages without a plan, it’s easy to freeze up. Now I have a method. Once I have the main cast of characters and their conflicts, I conceive a new book in four sections. At the end of each section, I devise a major twist to launch into the next section and keep up the narrative momentum. Once I’ve figured out my four big plot points, I go deeper into plotting the concretes of each individual section, dropping red herrings and hints about the twists to come so that they will be logical without being predictable. This is the most challenging part of the process for me and is apt to change when I actually get to writing. I think of the outline like a highway: you can go off-roading from time to time but you get back on the highway to get to your final destination.

(How many markets should you send your novel out to?)

3) Alternate Character POVs: I love writing in third-person multiple vision, alternating between protagonist, antagonist, and usually another main character who has a stake in the central conflict. Getting into each character’s head increases suspense for the reader, who knows to anticipate the moves of competing characters and either roots for or against them to succeed. It’s the easiest POV choice to use in writing a thriller. When you follow Tip 1 and end each chapter on a cliffhanger, then switch to a new character whose scene also ends on a cliffhanger, the reader will be tearing through the pages to learn what happens. A word to the wise: the hardest POV choice is writing in first person—and keeping with only one character—for the entire story, because then you can’t create dramatic irony. (i.e. when the reader knows more about the stakeholders in the conflict than each character alone knows.)

4) Obscure POV when useful: Say you’re writing a murder scene but you want the killer’s identity to remain a secret. I wanted to pull this off in my new book, since the killer was someone surprising in the story, but I didn’t want readers to know who until way later. The trick is to write the scene from the victim’s perspective. Don’t allow the victim to know or recognize the killer—so you can have a dramatic, intense scene without spoiling the mystery. This is the first chapter of No Time to Die.

(Book Payments and Royalties — Your Questions Answered.)

5) Raise questions and delay the answers: This technique is the absolute key to suspense. Pique people’s curiosity and then make them wait for a resolution. While they’re waiting, introduce a new tantalizing question, and then delay that answer too. Once you can layer these successfully, you’ve got a page-turner. The famous author Pete Hamill told me once that writing suspense is about planting diving boards and then jumping off them later. Best advice I ever got.

Go forth and good luck!

GIVEAWAY: Kira is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).

 

Hook agents, editors and readers immediately.
Check out Les Edgerton’s guide, HOOKED, to
learn about how your fiction can pull readers in.

 

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

 

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

 

 

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10. Draw Tip Tuesday - Drawing a bicycle

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

People often say to me: you draw bicycles? That is so difficult! But is it really? After all, like drawing anything else; it's just shapes and lines.

If you want more help, drawing bicycles, learning to see negative shapes, and broaden your drawing skills, you might like to join my 5-week online course 'Just Draw It'. You can read everything about it, and join me here

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11. Libraries champion our freedom! Helping our students understand their freedom to read (ages 8-12)

Freedom is an essential element of democracy, and the freedom to read is a cornerstone of American democracy. And yet how do we help our children understand the importance of this fundamental right? Abstract declarations are pretty hard for kids to grasp, but they will get immediately involved if they start considering a concrete example that relates to them.

When I explained today that many schools ban Captain Underpants because it uses offensive language, our 5th graders were outraged! They told me that was just awful, and that kids should definitely be able to read Captain Underpants. They were incredulous that Harry Potter had been banned in schools and libraries. Pretty quickly, they could see why it is so important to stand up for our freedom to read what we want.

Libraries across the US champion our freedom each and every day. This week, we band together to defend that freedom and celebrate Banned Books Week. If you want more information, I'd highly recommend looking at these resources:
Our overall right is important to me, but I care most about how books impact individual kids. We need a wide range of books in our libraries because we need to connect so many different kids with books that make a difference to each and every one of them.

Tim Federle talks about how librarians are fierce champions of the First Amendment. Better Nate than Ever, one of my favorite novels of the last few years, tells the story of a kid who loves, loves, loves Broadway shows and takes a daring overnight trip to New York to audition for a Broadway musical. Tim won both a Stonewall Honor Award (portraying GLBT experience) and the Odyssey Honor Award (audiobook) for Nate. Tonight, Tim posted on Twitter this letter he's received from a fan:
Here's a section from the letter:
"It was so amazing to read books where the main character was like me when I was that age. His borderline-obsession with musical theater and his difficulty accepting his feelings was so relatable and to see such a character be front and center in a book easily available to kids is something I'm just so grateful for. It was the first time I'd ever seen myself in book pages, and I just wanted to say thank you very much."
As we celebrate Banned Books Week, I just want to pause for a moment to think about what this young man said. Not only was he able to relate to this story, but it was readily available for kids. That's the thing -- we need to provide these opportunities for our students to discover themselves in our shelves, with books that are available and easy to find.

Take a moment to share with your kids why this is important to you. Make the idea of our freedom to read palpable and concrete for your kids. And next time you see your librarian, tell them that she or he is your favorite superhero: CHAMPION OF FREEDOM.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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12. Gregory Maguire on Writing and Inspiration (especially for Egg & Spoon)

If I can collect a little assemblage of items that put me in a mood of the book, then I find some place in my study where I can put them out. For “Egg and Spoon,” I had some wonderful things. I had a 1940’s era paper mache Baba Yaga’s cottage. It’s only standing on one chicken’s foot; it got broken somewhere along the way. I have a number of matryoshkas I’ve collected over the years. I have a number of painted eggs I’ve painted myself starting 40 years ago; I used to paint one every Easter. Some of them have Russian themes. I have little British foot soldiers. I’ll arrange them on a little altar to the muse. I don’t play with them — I don’t march them around the room and sing little songs — but the fact that they’re there is a clue to myself that the studio is open.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2014/09/20/new-england-writers-work-gregory-maguire/rqPRM7pgCIvI9ZeE8hRnMP/story.html?event=event25

 

via Karen Kosko


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13. STARRED review (number two!!) for STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos this one from Kirkus!

Continued floating :)

STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos has earned a second starred review! This one from Kirkus. Here is an excerpt: 


"Young Carl Sagan looks endearingly like his grown-up self, with expressive dark eyebrows and a cheerful look of inquiry, in this warm account of the life of the notable scientist.

Sisson captures an important moment in young Sagan’s life. In a library, where he has been handed a book on stars, “Carl’s heart beat faster with every page he turned.” The next double-page spread offers a vertical orientation and a gatefold opening skyward, as if Carl himself were soaring into space... Sisson’s economical narrative and lighthearted illustrations convey Sagan’s regard for the power of imagination and his generous approach to knowledge..."

And here is a link to the full review. 




And here is a picture of me with an early story board a couple of years ago for the book attending a meeting got my wonderful critique group back in California. 

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14. Building Read Aloud Routine in 3rd Grade



The first eight weeks of school is critical.  Building routines and setting the stage for learning across the year happens in those first few weeks. Read Aloud is one of the most important routines in our classroom.  It is the time when we come together around a book and enjoy it together. But it is far more than enjoying a book. Our conversations help us build and grow our thinking and give us strategies for understanding longer, more complex books.  I know if the conversation is to grow over the course of the year, I need to choose books carefully for read aloud.

During the first three weeks of school, I thought it was important to read short read alouds that matched the kinds of books kids would be reading at this age. I think it was Joanne Hindley who taught me the importance of not always reading books above a child's independent reading level because what we read aloud is often what kids think we value. So if I want kids to read books that are right for them independently, I want to share those books often and throughout the year.  The books I read early were books that set up the routine of daily read aloud from a book we had to carry in our heads over days. It also introduced kids to various authors and series as a starting point to our talk about series and authors.  And, we so loved seeing Mercy Watson appear in Leroy Ninker! These were the books we shared during the first few weeks of school:

Lulu and the Brontosaurus
The  Meanest Birthday Girl
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up
Bink and Gollie
Chicken Squad

Currently we are reading aloud The Quirks. My students last year love the Quirks and I blogged about it  here and here  because I loved it so much.  It is a little bit of a stretch for some kids as they are many characters to keep track of and some little things that readers miss unless we stop to talk. So we are stopping to talk often and learning how to hold onto a story over several days.  Getting your head back into a book every day is critical and an important skill for this age.  During this read, we've also changed read aloud a bit. We moved to sitting in a circle facing each other on the floor. We've worked at building on a conversation rather than just sharing what you are thinking and moving on to the next person. And we've added a reader's notebook component where kids can stop and jot their thinking. At the beginning of third grade, I find students want to say everything they are thinking and learning to capture thinking in writing helps them learn to analyze and prioritize their thinking--figuring out the thinking that helps them dig deeper into their reading.



Next week, I plan to begin Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George. Jessica Day George will be visiting our school in October and we are very excited!  The kids are very familiar with fairy tales but this will most likely be the first novel-length fairy tale they've read.  For this read aloud, I am going to share the audiobook. I decided on this for a few reasons.  I want to talk about audiobooks as a way to read. So many kids build fluency with audiobooks and the text in front of them. I also think audiobooks are important for all readers-I am a reader who gets carsick so the only way I can read in the car is with audiobooks. I figure some of my students may want to add audiobooks to their reading lives. The audiobook will also give me a chance to keep a readers's notebook as we read.  I will use an iPad app such as Notability and track my own thinking as I listen to the audiobook. I have found that this is a great way to model a variety of ways to track thinking without interfering much with kids' own thinking/process.


Following Tuesdays at the Castle, we'll jump into Global Read Aloud a few days late. We'll be reading Edward Tulane with classrooms around the world. I am anxious for my students to see the power of this event and the way our thinking can be impacted by others.  

By the time we get to the end of October, we'll have a great deal in place when it comes to the read aloud routine.  And these strategies and behaviors will begin to show up in students' independent reading.  Whether these are the perfect choices or not, I know that each book will change us as a community of readers in a different way.


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15. The kid-friendly, kid-maintainable classroom library

If you’re a teacher reading this blog, you likely devote significant attention to carefully selecting literature to add to your classroom library. And, if you’re like me, you want your students to have access to these books, but also to not spend hours after school reorganizing and looking for titles that have mysteriously disappeared. Last year, I found a solution to keeping my classroom library well-stocked and maintainable, but before I share it, let me explain the rationale behind it.

When I was in elementary school, there were always books out on display in my classrooms, but there were also many, many titles hidden away in cupboards and closets that my teachers would search through after exclaiming, “Have I got just the book for you!” This practice always struck me as odd and restrictive — I loved going to the library precisely because the number of titles was overwhelming and it seemed that there were treasures to discover as I explored the shelves.

In my own classroom, I am committed to making sure that my students have constant access to as many titles as possible. However, it is essential to me that the books can remain organized without much effort from me — which is something of a challenge when you work with second graders.

The solution that I’ve come up with for my own classroom library is pretty simple. I started by drawing up a list of categories into which I could sort all of the books in my classroom library. Current categories include biographies, world cultures, biology and chemistry, and, my favorite, “Books Miss Hewes loves.” Next, I assigned each category a specific color-code, using dot and star stickers. For example, biographies have a yellow dot with a green star, while easy readers have just a silver star. Then, I bought bins and clearly labeled them with the proper codes and category names.

photo 1 e1409716191871 500x375 The kid friendly, kid maintainable classroom library

photo 2 e1409716078349 375x500 The kid friendly, kid maintainable classroom library

The next step was the most labor-intensive — putting the proper labels on each and every book in my library. While I was doing this, I also used the free tools available at Book Source to create a digital catalog of my library, which came in handy during the year as I wondered whether or not I actually had a certain book. (You can check out the organizer at  http://classroom.booksource.com/). Finally, after labeling the books, I put them into the appropriate bins and then put all of the bins on display in my classroom.

photo 3 e1409715975770 375x500 The kid friendly, kid maintainable classroom library

photo 4 e1409716039837 375x500 The kid friendly, kid maintainable classroom library

This system proved to be an overwhelming success last year. It allowed me to saturate my students in books without needing to go find a perfect book that I have tucked away somewhere in my room. Additionally, when I looked through the bins over the summer to check on them — something I faced with trepidation after having seen my students’ cubby area — I only found four books out of place. Most importantly, I am confident that my students found books to treasure as they independently navigated the bins — something I hope helped steer them towards becoming lifelong readers.

photo5 500x375 The kid friendly, kid maintainable classroom library

share save 171 16 The kid friendly, kid maintainable classroom library

The post The kid-friendly, kid-maintainable classroom library appeared first on The Horn Book.

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16. FABRICS - andover

And here are some more designs that caught my eye at Andover Fabrics. The first of the prints are from the Flo's Garden, Little Monsters, Aurelia and Modern Folkloric collections all designed by The Henley Studio at Makower UK. Below : Two designs from Catnap by Lizzy House Below : An arrowhead style design by Alison Glass from Andover's Sun Print

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17. Emotional Description: 3 Common Problems with Show & Tell

Writing compelling emotional moments is the lifeblood of any story and the key to building a relationship between characters and readers. Yet steering clear of the show-don’t-tell pitfalls requires practice and skill. I’m reposting this from where it originally appeared at Romance University to shed light on three scenarios that challenge writers as they search for the right balance of emotional description.

Telling

Telling is a big issue, especially when writers are still getting to know their characters. Often they do not yet have enough insight into the hero’s personality and their motivation to really be able to describe how they feel in a unique way. Instead of using a vivid and authentic mix of body language, thoughts, dialogue and visceral sensations, writers convey emotion  in broad, telling strokes:

EXAMPLE:

Bill had to steel himself emotionally before entering the church. He’d managed to avoid his family for seven years, but his father’s funeral wasn’t something he could blow off. Anger and jealousy welled inside him as he thought of his two older brothers, the ones who always impressed Dad by being just like him: athletic, manly, hard. Now he would have to face them, and hear once again how he was a failure, a disappointment, an abomination that should have done the world a favor and hung himself from the Jackson family tree.

What’s wrong with this passage?

While the above alludes to an unhealthy relationship between brothers and conveys that Bill is the family misfit, the emotions are TOLD to the reader.

Bill had to steel himself emotionally… What does that look like? Does he sneak a slug of whiskey in his car before going in? Shuffle around on the church step, tugging at his starched cuffs?  Something else? With emotion, the reader should always get a clear image of how the character is expressing their feelings.

Anger and jealousy welled inside him… This again is telling, simply by naming the emotions. What does that anger and jealousy feel like? Is his pulse throbbing so loud he can barely think? Are his thoughts boiling with brotherly slurs that show his jealousy: dad’s golden children, his perfect prodigy, etc. Does his chest feel stuffed full of broken glass, and with each thrum of the church organ, the pain drives itself deeper?

Showing and Telling

Another common snag is showing the character’s feelings (thoughts, actions, body language, visceral sensations, etc.) but then adding some telling just to make sure the reader ‘got it.’ This often happens when a writer doesn’t have confidence in their own abilities to get emotion across to the reader, or they question whether they’ve shown the character’s feelings strongly enough for the situation.

 EXAMPLE:

Dean Harlow finally called Tammy’s name and Lacy’s breath hitched. Her daughter crossed the stage in her rich purple robe, smiling and thrusting her arm out for the customary handshake. Warmth blurred Lacy’s vision and she swiped at the tears, unwilling to miss a second of the graduation ceremony. Her calloused fingers scraped beneath her eyelids, a reminder of long hours at the laundry, all to ensure Tammy would have opportunities she herself never did. 

When her daughter accepted her diploma, Lacy shot out of her seat, clapping and cheering. She had never been so happy and proud in all her life. 

What’s wrong with this passage?

Emotion is shown clearly through Lacy’s hitching breath, the warm rush signaling tears, her rapt attention and then finally jumping up to cheer her daughter on. But that last line: She had never been so happy and proud in all her life. This unnecessary explanation of Lacy’s happiness and pride is like hammering a nail long after it’s flush with the board.  In the book, Description by Monica Wood, there’s a great rule of writing called RUE: Resist the Urge to Explain. So when it comes to emotion, remember RUE.

Over Showing

Over showing is when a writer gets caught up in the moment and goes too far by showing everything. Too much emotional description can slow the pace of the scene, create purple prose or clichés, and come across as melodramatic.

EXAMPLE:

Finn huddled behind the rusted oil drum, dripping with cold sweat as she tried to control her loud, rasping breath. The sound of Alex scraping the crowbar along the warehouse’s cement floor turned her heart into a jackhammer. A scream built up in her throat and she clamped her teeth tight, converting it into a nearly soundless whimper. Her body trembled and shuddered in the dark, and a cascade of thoughts piled up like shoreline debris– the odd things he said, the strange gifts and creepy poems, his interest in seeing blood—why didn’t these things didn’t send off air raid sirens in her head before tonight? 

What’s wrong with this passage?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00058]In some ways, this is a great moment showing fear. Body language, thoughts and visceral sensations all work to bring about intensity, but because there is so much of it, it feels overblown. Emotion doesn’t just build here…it roars. As a result, clichés form (the jackhammer heartbeat) and purple prose emerges from too many fanciful ideas (cascading thoughts, shoreline debris, air raid sirens, etc.) The combination of too much description creates the flavor of melodrama, which can cause the reader to disengage. Showing is great, but in moderation. Sometimes an author can say more with less.

Getting the right balance of emotion on the page isn’t easy, so I hope this helps! And if you would like to read about these common problems in more detail (or the other issues with writing emotion), you can find in depth information in the “Look Inside” sample of The Emotion Thesaurus at Amazon. Feel free to take a peek!

~~~~~~~

Also, Becca’s at Rebecca Lyndon’s blog today talking about characterization techniques writers can steal borrow from the stellar cast of Finding Nemo. If you’ve got time, please stop by and say hello!

The post Emotional Description: 3 Common Problems with Show & Tell appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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18. The utter delight found in "Where My Wellies Take Me..."


Where My Wellies Take Me...
by Clare & Michael Murpurgo is one of those books that is so pretty and smart that I hesitate to do much of any kind of review because it's too hard not to lump the superlatives and make it sound impossible. I want to tell you it functions remarkably well as a poetry anthology, that Pippa's story of gentle outdoor adventure will appeal to kids and parents who enjoy a good jaunt and that Olivia Lomenech Gill's scrapbook style design and artwork is classic in all the best ways.

Oh heck. I love this book and I'm not afraid to just say tell you so.

The basic story is simple: Pippa sets off from her kind Aunt Peggy's on a trek through the countryside (hence the need to wear her wellies). She visits a local farmer, takes a ride on his horse, has a lunch, considers some birds, pigs and dandelions, plays Pooh sticks, spies a fisherman (and dwells on the end of life for a fish) and makes it back to the village in time to be crowned the unexpected victor of a race.

What elevates the book is the accompaniment of so many impressive poems from the likes of Ted Hughes, Rudyard Kipling, Yeats, Rossetti and more. The poems are often short, easy to understand and directly applicable to the text. The combination, with the great scrapbook pages and Pippa's story, makes this a lovely read and also a book to pore over for hours while studying the art.

Some books are treasures and Where My Wellies Take Me... certainly fits that standard. The very young will like Pippa a lot but I think it actually might reach best for the 6 & up crowd - 8 -10 year olds could be the best age of all. Really, though, it depends on the child. You'll know when you look at it if it fits for the explorer in your life. I hope it does.

Here are a couple of spreads from the Olivia Lomenech Gill's website:


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19. A Sad Farewell, a Happy Introduction, and a Giveaway of AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld

Saying Goodbye to Clara Kensie

Today is a sad day for me. I have to announce that Clara Kensie is leaving the blog, at least temporarily, for personal reasons. As many of you know, Clara has been doing the Question of the Week for us for the past year and a half or so. You may also remember that even before that, she used to help out with the This Week for Writers Round-up segments. All in all, she's been involved with the blog off and on since almost the beginning.

I first met Clara on the blog. She was working on the query letter for a book that sounded so good, I eventually asked to read it. We became critique partners, both inside the fantastic online group she introduced me to, and on our own. I was thrilled when her book landed her an agent, the awesome Laura Bradford, and then again when the book sold to the brand new digital imprint of Harlequin Teen. I knew she and the book both deserved every bit of success.

Harlequin decided to make RUN TO YOU their flagship serial release, which meant they split it into three pieces and released each piece separately. Clara's book is perfect for that, because each of the three parts has the kind of surprise twists we should all have at major turing points. And the girl knows how to write suspense, great romance, and dreamy guys.

Haven't read it yet? WHAT are you waiting for?

RUN TO YOU
Part 1: First Sight
RUN TO YOU PART ONE: FIRST SIGHT (available February 1, 2014)
Part One in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from. As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can’t even tell him her real name. But Tristan won’t be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…




RUN TO YOU
Part 2: Second Glance
RUN TO YOU PART TWO: SECOND GLANCE (available February 8, 2014)
Part Two in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

Tessa Carson has unlocked her heart and her secrets to Tristan Walker—but Tristan has secrets of his own, and his might just mean the end of Tessa’s family. Unaware, Tessa embraces falling in love and being herself for the first time since she was attacked when she was only eight years old. But secrets can’t be run from forever, and sometimes love is too good to be true…




RUN TO YOU
Part 3: Third Charm
RUN TO YOU PART THREE: THIRD CHARM (available February 15, 2014)Part Three in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

Betrayed, heartbroken, and determined to save her family, Tessa Carson refuses to give in to Tristan Walker’s pleas for forgiveness. But her own awakening psychic gift won’t let her rest until she uncovers the truth about her family and her past. And Tristan is the only one who can help her sift through the secrets to find the truth hidden in all the lies…




Add RUN TO YOU to your Goodreads Want To Read shelf,

and order from your favorite e-tailer:
Amazon   B&N    Google Play    BAM    Harlequin

A second volume in the series is also available, so feel free to start a fabulous binge!

I want to thank Clara for all her contributions to the blog, but mostly for the friendship and all her support and kindness over the years. It's an honor to follow in her path and to get the chance to share experiences together. We've got one last Question of the Week from Clara that will be posting soon, but in the meantime, please say your good-byes and thank her for her contribution!

And now for some happier news.

A Warm Welcome to Becca Fowler

We've been wanting to do something fun for readers for some time now--but still with a slant toward things that writers want to know. And whether writers realize it or not, what we need is to have some idea of what readers are thinking and talking about.

So.

We've been super lucky to snag the awesome Becca Fowler from Pivot Book Reviews to come in and help us out with some book blogger round-ups every month. She'll be asking some questions that bloggers can answer, and she'll also be doing a blogger check in so you can scan it and quickly catch up with the most interesting stuff going on around the blogosphere. Look for some fantastic bloggers to be joining us on a regular basis, but we'll also be opening it up to new bloggers as guests so that we can help create some exposure for up and coming bloggers.

Now, a little bit about our newest indomitable AYAPer:


My name is Rebecca, but I think that sounds like an old lady name, so I go by Becca :)

I am 22 going on 23
(that doesn't have quite the ring to it as it does on The Sound of Music)

I live in the great state of Oklahoma
(where the wind REALLY does come sweeping down the plain)

I live with who I've dubbed The Parentals
(who are, not-so-secretly, the BEST)

I have one older sister who is married, and has two girls
(which means I get to play the Coolest Aunt Ever)

I am convinced I will be the old cat lady
(minus the cats, because I heart dogs)

Speaking of dogs, I have two!
An Aussie named Dixie, and a Sheltie named Gentry!

I work for my family's business. We rent out inflatables, aka Bouncy Houses, and MORE!

I aspire to be a Young Adult author! It is my dream!!

My favorite hobbies include:
Reading (duh)
Writing
Skating
Drawing

Rebecca blogs at Pivot Book Reviews and appears regularly on the Reading Teen blog. Please give her a lovely welcome.

This Week's Giveaway


Afterworlds
by Scott Westerfield
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 9/23/2014

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.



Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Afterworlds?

Afterworlds is two interleaved books, really. The odd-numbered chapters tell the story of Darcy Patel, a young writer moving away from home; the even chapters are the entirety of Darcy's first novel, which she's rewriting throughout that same year. The most exciting part of writing a dual novel was linking the two narratives, having things spill over from Darcy's day-today reality into her fiction. All writers steal from reality, so what Darcy experiences in her life always bubbles up in her novel, whether it's a setting, a realization about true love, or just a new word.

Collectively, the two books are my really long answer to the question that all writers dread, "Where do you get your ideas?"

Purchase Afterworlds at Amazon
Purchase Afterworlds at IndieBound
View Afterworlds on Goodreads


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20. Music Monday - The Miracle of Life

Totally gorgeous rendering of conception/gestation/birth - complete with a Hans Zimmer soundtrack.

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21. Review of the Day: Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam

FoxsGarden1 300x177 Review of the Day: Foxs Garden by Princesse CamcamFox’s Garden
By Princesse Camcam
Enchanted Lion Books
ISBN: 978-1-59270-167-4
$14.95
Ages 3-6
On shelves now.

Have you ever read a picture book multiple times, enjoying it with each and every read, and then find later that it was wordless . . . and you didn’t even notice? Now THAT is the mark of an effective title. The publisher Enchanted Lion Books prides itself on its “Stories Without Words” series, and deservedly so. They import wordless picture books from abroad, format them into these long, slender books, and subsequently prove to the world that good storytelling is universal. It goes beyond language. The latest in this long line of beauties is, to my mind, the most impressive offering to date. Fox’s Garden by author Princesse Camcam (who edges out Sara Pennypacker, Mary Quattlebaum, and Robert Quackenbush in the Best Children’s Author’s Name contest) is ostensibly a very simple story about kindness and unexpected rewards. Combined with remarkable cut paper scenes that are lit and photographed in an eerie, wonderful way, this is a book that manages to simultaneously convey the joy that comes after a simple act of kindness as well as the feel and look of winter, night and day.

On a cold and windy night, when the snow blows in high drifts, a single fox plunges onward. When a warm, inviting village appears in a valley she makes her way there. However, once there she is summarily rejected by the hostile townspeople, at last taking refuge in a small greenhouse. A small boy spots the fox’s presence and goes to offer her some food. When he finds her, he sees that she is not alone. Newborn kits suckle, so he leaves the edibles at a safe distance and goes inside to bed. In the early morn the fox and her brood prepare to leave but before doing so they leap through the boy’s window, planting flowers in his floor so that he wakes up to a wonder of blossoms of his very own.

FoxsGarden2 300x175 Review of the Day: Foxs Garden by Princesse CamcamThe fact of the matter is that I’ve seen cut paper work in picture books before, whether it’s the scale models in books like Cynthia von Buhler’s But Who Will Bell the Cats? or the distinctive Lauren Child style of The Princess and the Pea. But books of that sort are part cut paper and part dollhouse, to a certain extent, since they utilize models. Titles that consist of cut paper and lighting alone are rarities. Even as I write this it sounds like such a technique would be some fancy designer’s dream and not something appealing to kids. Yet what makes Camcam’s style so appealing is that it combines not just technical prowess but also good old-fashioned storytelling. The glow that emanates from behind some of the homes in the snowy winter village looks infinitely appealing. You can practically feel the heat that would strike you as you entered through one of those doorways. Even more impressive to me, however, was the artist’s ability to capture winter daytime cloudy light. You know that light I’m talking about. When snow has blanketed the earth and the white/gray clouds above give off this particular winter gleam. I’m used to complimenting illustrators on how well they portray winter light in paint. I’m less accustomed to praising that same technique in sliced up paper.

The shape of the book itself is an interesting choice as well. The publisher Enchanted Lion specializes in these long thin books, so I wasn’t quite sure if the book originally published (under the name “Une rencontre”) in the same format. To my mind it feels as though it was always intended to look this way. Just watching where the gutter between the two pages falls is an interesting exercise in and of itself. The first two-page spread shows the fox struggling, belly low, through snowdrifts. She’s on the right-hand page, the desolate woods behind her. When she spots the village she is on the left page and the town looks warm and inviting on the opposite side. Distant, because of the nature of the layout, but comforting. Interestingly the only time the two pages show two different scenes is when you see people kicking and yelling at the fox. In contrast to the rest of the book the two different images make everything feel tense and angry. Landscapes are calming. From there on in everything is a two-page spread, sometimes presenting a close-up shot (there is an amazing image of the happy fox in the foreground on the left page, while the boy is in the distant doorway of the greenhouse on the right) and sometimes an image of distance, as with the final shot.

FoxsGarden3 300x87 Review of the Day: Foxs Garden by Princesse CamcamIt isn’t just the art that had me fail to recognize that the book was wordless. Camcam’s vixen seems to tell whole stories with just a glance here and there. She’s a proud animal. You understand that even as she’s kicked and cursed she’s retaining her dignity. The boy’s act of kindness may be given because he sees a creature in need, but it seems as though it’s just as likely that he’s helping her because she is worth worshipping anear. And though she and her brood do something particularly un-foxlike near the end she is, for the most part, not anthropomorphized. The storytelling sounds so oddly trite when I summarize the book, but it doesn’t feel trite in the least. You could easily see this book adapted into a ballet or similar wordless format. It’s a naturally beautiful tale.

Let’s examine that word for a second. Beautiful. I don’t use it enough when I’m describing picture books. It’s not the kind of word you should bandy about for no reason. If I called every other book “beautiful” it would diminish the importance of the word and I couldn’t use it when something as truly stunning as this. It’s the kind of book that doesn’t feel like anything else you’ve seen or read. True and lovely and entirely unique. A book to borrow and a book to own.

On shelves now.

Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Professional Reviews: A star from Kirkus

Misc: You can see a whole mess of spreads from the book over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

share save 171 16 Review of the Day: Foxs Garden by Princesse Camcam

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22. Slamina Terrain Scouting – Drawing A Day

They are exploring the terrain. Tried to get more detailed with background and motion. Drawn on Corel Painter X3 with custom brush with Wacom Intuos. Day 26 of 30 day Trial.

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23. Two Things Designed To Put Me In A Coma Of Disinterest.....

Ryan Reynolds (accolades include worst actor of his generation -I watched 40 minutes of Green Lantern) and Deadpool

Deadpool Creator 'Thrilled' About 2016 Movie

Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld has said he is ’Beyond Thrilled’ about the movie confirmed for 2016. 
Variety broke the news, confirming that Ryan Reynolds would return to the role he played in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine with director Tim Miller helming the movie from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script. 

Deadpool Creator 'Thrilled' About 2016 Movie
[Photo credit: 20th Century Fox]


Liefeld, who created the fan-favourite character in 1991, said: ”I am absolutely beyond thrilled that Deadpool has been officially announced!


"I’m thrilled for Tim Miller, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds as well as all the guys at Blur Studio! This is a tremendous achievement for them! Rhett and Paul wrote a brilliant, and I don’t throw that word around loosely, a brilliant script!"


The filmmaking team is the same that has been pushing for the film to made for years, and who put together the Deadpool test footage that leaked online earlier this year. 

[Photo credit: 20th Century Fox]


"Audiences are going to go on the ride of their collective lives with this film as they envisioned it," continued Liefeld. "Tim Miller is a genius, he is brilliant as everyone who witnessed the leaked footage witnessed! There is so much more to come. Deadpool fans will freak out when they see all that Tim and the boys have in store for them.


"This is a huge triumph for all the fans that supported my work on New Mutants, X-Force over the years. The fans deserve this amazing gift from film makers who have proven they have what the fans desire. Very exciting!"


Deadpool will be released on 12 February 2016.

MY question has to be what remuneration Liefeld will get from Marvel over this? After all Tom Brevoort and others at the company have started more than one name-calling war with Liefeld but I guess Brevoort will sit there smiling and drone on about this great Marvel property because he likes it up the **** from his bosses. The man has no dignity.

Liefeld, on the other hand, has tended to come off with far more dignity. I even praised his standing up and revealing the dirty goings on at Marvel (which incurred Marvel AND DC bosses wrath -"hired help don't talk back!").

But a Deadpool movie?  No. No.  Just no.

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24. Rahasia Orang Terkaya Di Dunia, Bill Gates

Siapa tak kenal dengan Bill Gates, miliarder terkaya dunia yang juga populer sebagai pendiri Microsoft. Tapi tahukah Anda siapa orang yang paling berjasa membantu Bill Gates hingga menjadi super kaya seperti sekarang?.


orang terkaya di dunia
Gates Dan Larson

Mengutip Liputan6 dari laman Business Insider, Selasa (23/9/2014), Anda pasti belum pernah mendengar nama Michael Larson, pria yang selama puluhan tahun menjadi orang paling berjasa bagi Gates dalam mengumpulkan seluruh hartanya.


Gates merekrut Larson 20 tahun lalu saat jumlah kekayaannya masih berjumlah US$ 5 miliar saja. Kini, Bill Gates memiliki total harta yang melimpah luar biasa hingga mencapai US$ 81,6 miliar dan terus meningkat setiap tahunnya.

Larson menjalankan perusahaan investasi swasta milik Gates bernama Cascade Investment LLC yang seutuhnya didirikan pendiri Microsoft tersebut.

Pada saat mendirikan Cascade, sumber kekayaan Gates hanya berasal dari Microsoft. Tapi beberapa tahun kemudian, dia menjual sebagian besar sahamnya di Microsoft.

Meskipun Gates membuat investasinya sendiri di bidang teknologi, tapi Larson melalui Cascade merupakan pria yang mengelola seluruh harta Gates dan mendiversifikasikannya.

Gates kini memiliki sejumlah investasi yang tersebar di bidang properti hingga beberapa perusahaan non-teknologi seperti Canadian National Railway Co., AutoNation Inc., dan Republic Services Inc.

Seluruh investasi tersebut yang kemudian membantu Gates menemukan dana untuk aksi amalnya. Berkat Larson, Gates kini berhasil menjadi lebih kaya dalam waktu yang leih cepat bahkan dengan berbagai donasi yang digelontorkan sebesar US$ 38 miliar.

Hartanya meningkat hampir US$ 6 miliar hanya dalam waktu enam bulan sejak Maret 2014. Pada Februari tahun ini, Gates bahkan merayakan hubungan kerjasamanya dengan Larson yang telah berusia 20 tahun.

Dalam pesta tersebut, Gates memberitahu para tamu bahwa dirinya sangat mempercayai Larson. Artinya, pria tersebut menginvestasikan uang Gates, membeli dan menjual saham dengan kuasa penuh.

Saking besarnya jasa Larson pada Gates soal investasi, dia diberi gelar sebagai `Gateskeeper`. Larson dikenal memiliki sejumlah trik hebat untuk menjaga nama Bill Gates dan Cascade dalam sejumlah investasinya.

Dia juga memiliki trik bisnis hebat hingga banyak orang tak mengetahui bahwa Gates, melalui Cascade, memiliki saham di hotel mewah Four Seasons. Meski memiliki otoritas besar atas keuangan Gates, tapi dia tidak pernah boros dalam mengeluarkan harta bosnya.

Para pegawai Cascade yang diketahui sekitar 100 orang tidak diizinkan untuk menginap di Four Seasons dalam perjalanan bisnis. Bahkan jika bisnisnya mengenai Four Seasons, hal tersebut tetap tidak diperbolehkan.

Para pegawai tetap harus memilih penginapan yang harganya lebih murah. Begitulah, berkat bantuan Larson, Bill Gates akhirnya dapat menjadi miliarder terkaya dunia.

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25. Autumn Mailbox News & Notes

Michael Sedano

Looking forward…
Los Angeles Sep 24 • Call for Readers / Writers • Quixote's 400th Anniversary

Planning reaches a critical stage for the University of Southern California Doheny Memorial Library’s “Day of Readings” commemorating the 400th anniversary of the completion of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha in 1615.

Tempus Fugit, an old Latina Latino would advise, noting the tight deadline to express interest to be a reader or writer at the 2015 event.

This is a nationwide call from USC’s Boeckmann Center for Iberian & Latin American Studies. The Center’s Librarian, Barbara Robinson, who sponsored the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow, tells La Bloga that the Quixote event will have two parts.

The morning begins with the novel reading on a stage at the heart of the USC campus. Here’s Tom Miller’s memories of participating in a reading in Toledo. Visiting readers, USC students, faculty, staff, alumni will select and read passages in their language of choice from the novel.

That evening poets, novelists, short story writers, journalists, artists, actors, and scholars may elect to read passages from the novel, or present original work illuminating divergent views on the novel and its legacies for people in the Americas.

Organizers will call upon USC’s formidable multimedia resources to project illustrations of Don Quixote's characters and adventures onto the facade of Doheny Memorial Library.

• Open to reading a few pages from Don Quixote in the all-day reading?
• Open to writing something related to Quixote, Cervantes for the spotlight session, or perform a reading?

Writers and readers open to participating will express interest via email by Sept. 24 to Bill Dotson or to Barbara Robinson.


Looking forward…
Nationwide Dec 1 • Speculative Fiction

Latino/a Rising: An Anthology of U.S. Latino/a Speculative Fiction will be the first anthology
to bring together U.S. Latinos/as who are working in science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative genres.

Submission guidelines at this link.

Houston Sep 27 • Librofest


Arte Público Press authors will play a prominent role in the 3rd annual Houston LibroFEST, a festival celebrating Latino literature and culture on Saturday, September 27, 2014, from noon – 8pm at two Houston Public Library (HPL) locations.

This entertaining all-day event, part of Houston Public Library’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, is a book and arts festival for the entire family that highlights Hispanic writers and the vibrant culture, music and art of the city’s Latino community. Visit the fest site here.


Santa Barbara Sep 27 • Mission Poetry Series


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