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1. Flogometer for Sarah—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Needed—none in the queue for tomorrow! If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.


The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Storytelling Checklist

Before you rip into today’s submission, consider this list of 6 vital storytelling ingredients from my book, Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Evaluate the submission—and your own first page—in terms of whether or not it includes each of these ingredients, and how well it executes them. The one vital ingredient not listed is professional-caliber writing because that is a must for every page, a given.

  • Story questions
  • Tension (in the reader, not just the characters)
  • Voice
  • Clarity
  • Scene-setting
  • Character

Sarah sends the prologue and first chapter of Guardian . The full prologue and chapter follow the break.

Prologue

I sat on the edge of the gravel road, my knees bent in front of me as I stared at my boots. It seemed the most terrible moments in my life were spent looking at my shoes. Other people might have a beautiful slide-show tribute documenting their memories of joy. My life felt like a collage of the shoes I wore as I stared down at them trying to make sense of the next horrible change in my life.

For as long as I could remember, when my adults gossiped or talked about things they didn’t want me to know, they used phrases like “not in front of the children.” Once, in the hospital waiting room, a great aunt who was speaking with my grandmother, looked over at me and said, “Bless her heart, do you think she knows?”

The thing is, children do know. Grownups don’t always whisper and secrets don’t keep in small houses and small towns. If I did cry, or show emotion, adults always tried to swoop in and fix it. Their soothing words weren’t to make me feel better; they were to make everyone else more comfortable. I learned that looking down and trying to disappear was my role in times of trouble. I had become an expert at melting into the background.

In third grade, I was wearing brown leather Mary Janes when I learned that my father's parents had been in a terrible accident. I remembered those shoes distinctly and the sound they made on the linoleum as an adult led me through the halls of the hospital.

Were you compelled to turn Sarah's first page?

The writing is smooth and seductive, the voice clear and attractive. But there was little in the way of story questions or tension for me here. As you’ll see if you read on, the shoes meme continues to bring up past events until we get to the present with, finally, a significant detail:

Now, chocolate suede snow boots as I sat atop the hill across from the fresh dirt on my father's frozen grave.

In the end, all we’ve learned from this prologue is that her father has died. Doesn’t seem to me that it was necessary despite the writing.

Chapter 1

The cold from the single pane windows interrupted my dreams. I rolled over in my bed and groaned, trying to wake up. Last night we completed the final stage of our move back to my parents' hometown. My mom said it was like coming full circle, whatever that's supposed to mean. We were officially living with my grandparents.

I stretched and became instantly alert from the cold sheet's frosty assault against my toes. Reflexively, I drew my legs to my chest, trying to regain my warm spot. My bedroom back home had always been my hideaway, my safe place. I opened my eye a crack, to see if all the sadness and change from the last few months had been a dream. Reality hit as I looked around the room.

Usually when I woke up at my grandparent's house, it was fun and exciting. It meant summer vacation or the holidays. Today, I didn't know what it meant. My surroundings were foreign and familiar at the same time. My down comforter from home sprawled across my bed, and intermingled with Grandma’s patchwork quilt. The scent from my mother's fabric softener collided with the smells of a wood-burning stove and the aroma of pancakes wafting up the stairs. It was everything great combined, but in a new and uncertain way.

Not yet able to take on the day, I sucked in a deep breath and blew it out heavily, letting my head drop to the pillow. I closed my eyes and tried to convince myself change would be good.

It had been painful to drive away from our home--my normal. Leaving my school and (snip)

Would you turn the page with this opening?

Once again, voice and writing are just fine. It’s the kind of writing and voice that might draw you in . . . but the lack of story could easily leave the page unturned, which it did for me. This chapter is pretty much introduction and set-up: it’s the character in her new home, living with grandparents after her father’s death. Once again, very nicely written, but you end the chapter still not knowing what the story is about as it affects this character. No story questions have been raised, and there’s no particular jeopardy in the future for this girl.

I think Sarah has started too soon. This reminds me of the time I took chapter 3 of one of my novels in to my critique group and one member said, “The story starts here.” I didn’t accept that for a few months, then I realized that he was right. I rewrote and started there with a much stronger opening. I encourage Sarah to take a tough look at her narrative and start it where the story starts. That I’d like to read.

Comments, please?

For what it’s worth.

Ray

Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Flogging the Quill © 2014 Ray Rhamey, story © 2014 Sarah

 

 Full Prologue and Chapter:

Prologue

I sat on the edge of the gravel road, my knees bent in front of me as I stared at my boots. It seemed the most terrible moments in my life were spent looking at my shoes. Other people might have a beautiful slide-show tribute documenting their memories of joy. My life felt like a collage of the shoes I wore as I stared down at them trying to make sense of the next horrible change in my life.

For as long as I could remember, when my adults gossiped or talked about things they didn’t want me to know, they used phrases like “not in front of the children.” Once, in the hospital waiting room, a great aunt who was speaking with my grandmother, looked over at me and said, “Bless her heart, do you think she knows?”

The thing is, children do know. Grownups don’t always whisper and secrets don’t keep in small houses and small towns. If I did cry, or show emotion, adults always tried to swoop in and fix it. Their soothing words weren’t to make me feel better; they were to make everyone else more comfortable. I learned that looking down and trying to disappear was my role in times of trouble. I had become an expert at melting into the background.

In third grade, I was wearing brown leather Mary Janes when I learned that my father's parents had been in a terrible accident. I remembered those shoes distinctly and the sound they made on the linoleum as an adult led me through the halls of the hospital.

Black ballet flats when I attended their funeral.

Blue Keds with white laces the day my mother and father gathered me and my sister to talk about cancer.

Wool-lined slippers the night my father collapsed and was taken to the hospital.

Sketchers the day he passed.

Now, chocolate suede snow boots as I sat atop the hill across from the fresh dirt on my father's frozen grave.

I barely heard the sound of footsteps crunching on the gravel road as they came behind me. He coughed a little as he got closer, hoping I guess, to give me some warning without having to break my reverie. He draped a folded quilt across my shoulders, and I reached to pull the corners into me.

"Your Grandpa sent me," he said simply, his voice a deep soothing baritone.

Instinctively, I reached to wipe the tears, and likely mascara, from my swollen eyes. Before I looked up to see who this mystery Samaritan was, habit drew my eyes to his shoes. He was wearing the biggest boots I have ever seen. When he offered his hand to help me from my crouched position, I saw his eyes. They were a startling shade of blue that held me -- his gaze so intense, it felt as though he could see right into my soul. Today it was too much. Without thought, I averted my gaze and we walked away from the headstone towards my Grandpa's ancient Dodge.

As he opened the door, he said, "Your Grandpa asked me to warm up the truck for him. I saw you up here in the cold. It should help to thaw you out."

"Um, thanks," I said, hoarsely. The last few days were full of little sleep and a lot of crying. My throat was sore. All this unexpected kindness from a stranger somehow made me feel even more vulnerable and self-conscious.

In silence, we drove down the hill from the cemetery to the church in town. As he got out of the truck, he looked back at me and in that same deep voice said, "I'm sorry."

 

 

Chapter One

The cold from the single pane windows interrupted my dreams. I rolled over in my bed and groaned, trying to wake up. Last night we completed the final stage of our move back to my parents' hometown. My mom said it was like coming full circle, whatever that's supposed to mean. We were officially living with my grandparents.

I stretched and became instantly alert from the cold sheet's frosty assault against my toes. Reflexively, I drew my legs to my chest, trying to regain my warm spot. My bedroom back home had always been my hideaway, my safe place. I opened my eye a crack, to see if all the sadness and change from the last few months had been a dream. Reality hit as I looked around the room.

Usually when I woke up at my grandparent's house, it was fun and exciting. It meant summer vacation or the holidays. Today, I didn't know what it meant. My surroundings were foreign and familiar at the same time. My down comforter from home sprawled across my bed, and intermingled with Grandma’s patchwork quilt. The scent from my mother's fabric softener collided with the smells of a wood-burning stove and the aroma of pancakes wafting up the stairs. It was everything great combined, but in a new and uncertain way.

Not yet able to take on the day, I sucked in a deep breath and blew it out heavily, letting my head drop to the pillow. I closed my eyes and tried to convince myself change would be good.

It had been painful to drive away from our home--my normal. Leaving my school and friends behind had been hard, but, closing and locking the garage door made it final. My life would never be the same.

I tried to look at the bright side. Starting over did have its advantages. At home, everyone gave me sympathetic stares and silence. No one knew what to say to the girl who lost her dad to cancer. It seems that just when it's the most important to say something, everyone stays quiet. There are no words to fix a broken heart and the emptiness it leaves. When people did speak, it was almost worse. Each time I saw someone I knew, we would have awkward conversation until they brought up my dad. I hated sharing my personal feelings, but social rules meant I had to be nice. So, for the sake of manners and to avoid my mother’s wrath, I found myself comforting and reassuring them I was fine after losing my dad. There was no safe place.

My mom didn’t talk about it, but maybe it was like that for her too. In her typical clinical nursing style, she had laid out the brochures from her hometown, and listed all the pros and cons of the move to me and my sister. The information she provided wasn't anything we didn't already know. It was just Mom's way. She operated in facts, because it made it easier to subtract the feeling. Long before she met with us, it was a foregone conclusion we would be moving to Phillipsburg. A hundred years ago, it had been one of the first booming mining towns in Montana. Now, Phillipsburg was all that remained of a time passed. It was literally encircled by ghost towns. In some ways, it seemed like the perfect place for us. We were the haunted left-overs of a complete family.

Tired of the depressing direction my mind wandered, I launched myself out of bed. The balls of my feet slapped against the frigid, wooden floor boards and instantly changed my mind. I flew back onto the mattress and landed directly on my little sister, Eugenie.

"Ouch! Stop it, Maggie!" she whined, trying to wriggle out of the blankets.

"Scoot over." I pushed her closer to the wall, and crawled back under the covers. "It's cold!" When did you get in my bed anyway?"

"You’re kind of a baby," she said. "You cry in your sleep."

"Whatever, Nene, you came in here because you were cold. It's time to get up!"

"Why?" She whined in her little girl voice. She couldn’t pronounce her name right when she was little, earning her the nickname, Nene.

"Can't you smell the pancakes? Those aren't mom's pancakes down there. Grandma's cooking. GET UP!" I ordered, laughing as I threw a pillow at her.

She jumped out of bed, dragging her blanket, and yelled, "You’re a jerk!"

I shouldn’t tease her. Secretly, I liked it when she snuggled with me at night. In this drafty old house, there were definite advantages to sharing a bed with someone who wears fuzzy pjs.  Plus, everything was better when she was with me. Even if she got up and left before I woke, I could always tell when she'd slept in my bed--and not just because of the stuffed animals trailing behind.

Grandpa interrupted the momentary silence, his voice thundering up from the base of the stairs. "Daylight's a wastin'. Nothin' better for the soul than a little bit of work."

Grandpa had warned he would be taking me with him to work today. I thought he was kidding. What I really needed was alone time. I ached for a long run. I wanted my muscles to hurt more than my heart and for the wind to burn my lungs and race through my hair. But that dream would have to wait. It was January in Montana; Snow and ice made running an impossibility.

Grandpa was a semi-retired veterinarian. I had fun going to work with him as a little girl. Now, I worried that helping Gramps at the clinic would mean I got to be in charge of "poop patrol". It was still a good compromise though. If I didn't go to work with Grandpa, I would be expected to go to church with Grandma, and I wasn't ready to take on the sympathy brigade just yet. All those religious women in dress suits and pearls would want to hug me and give me sad looks. Grandma's friends were emotional kryptonite, and I still wasn't strong enough to keep it together.

I looked momentarily at the girl staring back from the mirror before putting in my contacts. As I blinked, waiting for them to come into focus, I peered into my almond-shaped eyes. They are a blend of my mother's green and my father's blue--a true marriage of the bits and pieces that made me. I smiled knowing part of Dad was always with me.

With no need to glam-up for the animals, I pulled on some old jeans, a generous sweatshirt and thick socks. Then I threw my long brown hair in a ponytail, did a quick swipe of mascara, and stuffed the iPod on my dresser into my pocket. Hard work required mood music. Out of habit, I fastened the chain of my necklace and tucked it into my shirt before going downstairs.

In the kitchen, I was greeted by the smell of bacon, maple syrup and the sound of Grandma's voice. "Good morning, Baby."

"Morning, Grams," I smiled and loaded pancakes and eggs onto my plate.

"It's so nice to have you here." Everything about Grandma soothed, including her voice. "I was hoping to spend a little more time with you, but your grandpa called dibs. She smiled at me, a glimmer of mischief dancing in her eyes.

In a conspiratorial tone, I whispered back, "You know I'd rather be with you, but I don't want to hurt Grandpa's feelings." I grinned and gave her a half-hug.

I found Grandpa in the foyer waiting, dressed in his usual flannel shirt, work gloves and rubber-toed boots. Laughter colored his voice. "That was real nice, you lying to your Grandma to make her feel good, when everybody knows I'm the one you want to be with."

"Yeah, you're the one Gramps. The company is good and the fashion is amazing."

"Don't get much better than this, Girl." Grandpa handed me a fuzzy wool hat complete with ear flaps, and a pair of fingerless gloves with pull-over mitten tops. Before I put them on, I strung the laces on a pair of my own fleece-lined boots and tied a neat bow at the top. He grinned at the girly flourish and said. "Fashion don't mean nothin' round here. It's function that counts."

Grandpa opened the door against the morning wind. The sting of it bit my cheeks, and I pulled my hat down tighter. Steam from the exhaust curled in the arctic breeze as I rushed to get inside the warm truck. We made the short drive down the private lane and Grandpa turned right onto the high-way leading to town. I loved the Flint Creek Valley. From the south end where we were, it looked like a bowl carved out in the middle of the mountains. On the right, the Pintlar Mountain Range guarded the valley, while the Sapphire Peaks closed in from the other side. The view framed in the windshield looked like heaven. I stared out at the fog lowering down from the mountain where it almost merged with the mist rising from the creek. The sun broke over the rugged horizon and a tingle of hope grew in my chest.

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2. Giveaway: Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance!


When I first saw the cover of Frances Dean Who Loves to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif, I knew it was a picture book I wanted to get my hands on. And when I finally did, I wasn't disappointed. The cover, which I loved from the start, doesn't even do justice to the illustrations inside. Created in muted tones with pencil and digital coloring, they are truly gorgeous! 

Dedicated "to all those who live with all their heart," Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance is a child's journey of overcoming inhibitions to be herself and do what she loves, no matter whom might be watching. 

Frances Dean loves to dance. In fact, she loves to dance AND dance (as the title of the book implies.) She especially loves to dance outside, where she can feel the wind and hear the birds around her, as long as no one is watching. But with the help of her animal friends and another little girl with a big talent, Frances slowly but surely overcomes her self-consciousness. In fact, by the end of the book, she loves to dance and dance AND dance!


Overcoming inhibitions to pursue your passion is an important life lesson, and one that often takes years and years to learn. I still remember when I was in college, covering up my computer screen any time someone came in the room, for fear that he or she might read what I was writing. Now, many years later, I'm willing to show my writing to just about anyone, eager for feedback and comfortable with criticism. But boy did it take a long time. 

Little Frances Dean, having already overcome similar fears, is well on her way to a happy and healthy life. Although Frances Dean's passion is dance, her story is universal and could be applied to other passions such as music, art, and sports. I hope she can inspire lots of other little girls and boys to follow in her footsteps!

I'm giving away a copy of Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance! Simply leave a comment on this post to enter. Feel free to share your passion, or share a story about overcoming your inhibitions, in your comment. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. 

You can learn more about author/illustrator Birgitta Sif at http://www.birgittasif.com or in a recent interview with her at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. And finally, thanks to Random House for sending me a review copy of this book. I ended up buying my own copy as well, so receiving the review copy allowed me to host this giveaway. 

0 Comments on Giveaway: Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance! as of 9/17/2014 1:34:00 PM
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3. Jon Pertwee being hilarious

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4. HarperCollins to Help Indie Bookstores With Express Shipping During Holidays

harpercollins-304HarperCollins Publishers has revealed plans for a new Holiday Express Shipping program to help support independent bookstores across the country during the holidays.

As part of the program, the publisher will ship all qualifying orders from participating stores that have been placed by 1:00pm (EST) out the next business day. If the titles are in stock, the books will be delivered within two business days. Reorders for HarperCollins and HarperCollins Christian Publishing titles are all eligible for this program.

Here is more from the press release: “New title laydowns will continue to ship by the established on-sale date for each title. November 3, 2014 and running through January 16, 2015.”

 

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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5. Talkin Dub - Michael ‘Mikey’ Smith 60th Birthday Tribute


Talkin Dub - Michael ‘Mikey’ Smith 60th Birthday Tribute

Crafted in protest, powered by revolution, infused with reggae and blessed by Rastafari - Michael ‘Mikey’ Smith 60th Birthday Tribute.  Poets & Passion - A Caribbean Literary Lime 9th Season opener in celebration of the man, the artist; the activist.  

A program of film, music and performance poetry with guest poets AJA, jaBEZ, Queen Majeeda and Ras Osagyefo.  Presented by the Caribbean Cultural Theatre in association with Nicholas Brooklyn, Inc. and Big Sister Entertainment as a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event.  

Nicholas Brooklyn, 
570 Fulton Street (corner Flatbush Avenue), Brooklyn, NY
Thursday, September 18, 2014.  7:00pm.

Caribbean Cultural Theatre: 718.783.8345 
Nicholas Brooklyn: 718.858.4400


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6. A New Orleans Pop Up Travel Book is Featured On Kickstarter

Artist Jamie Hayes hopes to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter for New Orleans Pops Up. The funds will be used to cover the cost of printing this travel guide book.

With this book, Hayes will share history, personal stories, restaurant recommendations, and secrets about New Orleans. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“There will be lots of new illustrations designed specifically to ‘pop up.’ It’s going to be fantastic. It is not only a labor of love but quite different from printing a ‘regular’ book.”

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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7. Hug a Book

In celebration of Scott Campbell's adorable new
 picture book, Hug Machine, publisher Simon & Schuster declared last week "Hug a Book" week.  Your children's librarians got in on the fun and we all hugged our favorite books.  Take a look:

http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search?/thow+do+dinosaurs/thow+do+dinosaurs/1%2C14%2C17%2CB/frameset&FF=thow+do+dinosaurs+say+i+love+you&1%2C1%2C

http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search/?searchtype=t&searcharg=llama+llama+red&sortdropdown=-&SORT=D&extended=0&SUBMIT=Search&searchlimits=&searchorigarg=tharry+potter+and+the+deathly

http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search?/twonder/twonder/1%2C166%2C226%2CB/frameset&FF=twonder&3%2C%2C7/indexsort=-

http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search?/tharry+potter+and+the+deathly/tharry+potter+and+the+deathly/1%2C5%2C18%2CB/frameset&FF=tharry+potter+and+the+deathly+hallows&2%2C%2C10/indexsort=-


http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search?/tharry+the+dirty+dog/tharry+the+dirty+dog/1%2C1%2C2%2CB/frameset&FF=tharry+the+dirty+dog&1%2C%2C2/indexsort=-

http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search?/tcity+of+ember/tcity+of+ember/1%2C2%2C7%2CB/frameset&FF=tcity+of+ember&1%2C%2C6/indexsort=-


Be sure to check out "Hug Machine" during your next visit!

http://catalog.syossetlibrary.org/search/?searchtype=t&SORT=D&searcharg=hug+machine


Posted by Amy

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8. Free Samples of NBA’s Nonfiction Longlist

nbaThe National Book Foundation has revealed its Longlist for the 2014 National Book Award for Nonfiction for the National Book Award (NBA).

Below, we’ve collected free samples of all the books on the longlist for your reading pleasure. The finalists will be announced on October 15. Here’s more from the release:

The Nonfiction Longlist includes the first cartoonist to be honored by the National Book Awards in the adult categories (three graphic novels have been Finalists in the Young People’s Literature category), a Pulitzer Prize Winner, and several distinguished historians. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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9. If My Dream is all about Me, Can I Help Someone Else in a Dream?

We can dream for ourselves and we can dream for others.

Dreaming for Another

It is often said by dream experts that the dream is all about the dreamer so when we work with a dream we use methods that help the dreamer see each part of the dream as being a part of herself or himself. When this is done and the dream is worked through, the dreamer receives gifts of insight, solution and healing. If I can help myself through my dreams, can I use them to help other people—even though they are about me?

The answer is a definite “Yes!” In fact, studies done by Henry Reed, Ph.D. of the Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies have shown that dreams are very effective when they are intended to help another person. Dr. Reed has even demonstrated in The Dream Helper Ceremony that a group of dreamers can intend to have a dream that will help a member of their group—and can even do so without that member even conveying the nature of his or her issue! The group of dreamers report dreams that can give more helpful information, often diagnose the issue, or possibly provide a solution for the member seeking help. These dreams also, at the same time, offer an important message solely for the person who dreamed the dream. On doing this exercise in my dream classes I found the same results among the class participants.

Why? It seems that empathy is at work here on the part of the dreamer. The intuitive dreaming mind is naturally, and all along, creating problem-solving solutions for the dreamer. This is its nature. In order to keep helping the dreamer and to answer the request to help another, the dreaming mind apparently creatively comes up with a dream scenario that will match the needs of both the dreamer and person being dreamed for. The dreaming mind thus intuits both the needs of the dreamer and the person being dreamed for! So, don’t be shy. Ask for a dream (Dream Incubation) that will not only help you with an issue but will help someone you know who has a problem.


1 Comments on If My Dream is all about Me, Can I Help Someone Else in a Dream?, last added: 9/17/2014
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10. Life As A Manga Fan In The United Arab Emirates

So I ended up writing an article about why it’s worth it to buy manga. While attempting to do research into it, I admit I was looking into resources that did buy manga that didn’t live in the US. You can make the case I did a poor job! I only ended up getting in ... Read more

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11. Three Free Tools for Your Writer’s Toolbox: CreateSpace, Inkscape, and Teachers Pay Teachers

toolsOctober 21, Tuesday at 2:00 PST: Three Free Tools for Your Writer’s Toolbox: CreateSpace, Inkscape, and Teachers Pay Teachers

*Introduction to the benefits of using each of these tools. Whether your book is for kids or adults, you can publish your own book for free on CreateSpace. You can create marketing products for free on Inkscape such as printable bookmarks or teacher’s guides, whether your book is for kids or adults and whether you self-published it or have it published with a traditional publisher. Then you can upload and post your marketing products on Teachers Pay Teachers so that teachers (whether for kids or adult learners) can use your books in their classrooms. This is geared for advanced writers, but beginning writers can learn a lot, too.

IMPORTANT: The week before the class, be sure to sign up a free account for each of these programs and download the free Inkscape program. You can certainly listen to the teleclass without doing so, but if you want to click links and try out buttons along with the rest of us, it will be best (and more fun!) to sign up ahead of time. Here are the links:

CreateSpace at www.CreateSpace.com

Teachers Pay Teachers at www.TeachersPayTeachers.com

Inkscape at www.inkscape.org

0 Comments on Three Free Tools for Your Writer’s Toolbox: CreateSpace, Inkscape, and Teachers Pay Teachers as of 1/1/1900
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12. GO FOR IT!!!!

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13. How do I maintain my originality?

Question: I am trying to write a young-adult, fantasy, romance type of novel. It's first person POV. The girl is the main character who is a vampire. And

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14. Dr. Seuss, Henry Kissinger, & Philippa Gregory Debut On the Indie Bestseller List

9780385382984We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending September 14, 2014–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #5 in Children’s Interest) Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories by Dr.Seuss: “Seuss fans will learn more about Horton’s integrity, Marco’s amazing imagination, a narrowly avoided disaster on Mullbery Street, and a devious Grinch. With a color palette enhanced beyond that of the magazines in which the stories originally appeared, this new volume of ‘lost’ tales is a perfect gift for young readers and a must-have for Seuss collectors of all ages!” (September 2014)

(more…)

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15. THIS SAT 9/20 BOOK FAIR!

Just learned of the HUGE Book Fair in Princeton this Sat.  So if you can get there, and like book fairs, (who doesn’t) this one is a must!….lots of BIG names…including our very own Melissa Iwai and Anne Rockwell with their TRUCK STOP (from Viking).  stop and say hello!

http://bookfestival.princetonlibrary.org/

 


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16. Sometimes things don’t work out…

As a result of my work with ALSC committee, Liaisons with National Orgs Serving Youth, I’d had high hopes that this year’s Dia Day celebrations would be well attended by Big Brothers Big Sisters “Bigs” and “Littles” across the country. I’d worked with my liaison at the org in the months and weeks leading up to Dia, our anticipation building, getting more and more excited as April wound slowly towards the end of the month.  I’d even anticipated writing a blog post for ALSC featuring happy photos of Bigs and Littles participating in joyful parties celebrating multicultural books.

Please note the absence of aforementioned photos in this blog post.

While it’s possible that some Bigs might have taken their Littles to a Dia Day event, it definitely didn’t happen on the scale I’d imagined possible.

Bummer.

So, why did I choose to write about the experience of working towards a partnership initiative that essentially flopped? Because I think it’s important for us to reflect when programs fail, when kids don’t show up, or when the perfect book you picked for storytime turns out to be a dud with the audience. Go ahead and be bummed out, but don’t dwell on it, and don’t let it discourage you from trying again. More importantly, try to figure out what went wrong, and what you might do differently in the future.

In trying to identify why this flopped, here’s what I came up with:

  • I’d counted on most public libraries holding Dia Day events, and registering them with the Dia Day Event finder.  They didn’t.
  • Dia Day events were scheduled for a variety of dates over a two-three week period, making it challenging to message (nationally) where/when events were scheduled (locally).

I definitely want to try again to get Bigs to take their Littles to Dia events in future years, and I think with some effort it’s possible that it can happen.

We spend a lot of time celebrating our successes – Let’s remember that we can celebrate our failures, too, as long as we learn from them!

What have you learned from programs or initiatives that didn’t go off quite as planned or expected? Did you revamp and try again? Please share in the comments!

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Sylvie Shaffer is the Middle and Upper School Librarian at Maret School in Washington DC. In addition to her work with ALSC’s Liaisons with National Organizations Serving Youth, she is also a member of DC area notable book selection committee Capitol Choices and has enjoyed serving in its 10-14 reading group since 2009.

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17. preheat

It was too hot a night for it, but I did it anyway: turning the knob on the oven, lighting the stove, oil slicked on the bottom of a pan. Set the table for two. Sweated. Sat down: double ice waters, a quick kiss, then dinner.

I am so tired, and I don't want to move. A dog named Charlie barks from behind a closed bedroom door. I lick peanut butter off a knife. I read articles about sad women who write, who want to understand writing, who want to be heard, who want to die.

Things that are close in my mind: my great-aunt Dorothy, my great-aunt Norm, here is a photograph:

"I don't know much, but I know I love you" is apparently a line from a song, but I didn't know that when I said it.

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18. The Little Melba Playlist: A Jazz Music Primer from Frank Morrison

Summer is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops! With cooler weather comes fun indoor activities, like catching a great jazz show. We asked Frank Morrison, illustrator of our new picture book biography, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, to share some of his favorite jazz numbers with us. Many of the artists below played or arranged with Melba Doretta Liston; others inspired Frank while he created his illustrations. So sit back with your cup of apple cider and let the rhythm carry you away!

  • John Coltrane: “Out of This World,” plus Coltrane’s albums The Inch Worm, Big Nick, and Giant Steps
  • Thelonious Monk: “Well, You Needn’t,” “Ruby, My Dear,” “Off Minor,” and “Bemsha Swing”
  • Dizzy Gillespie: “52nd Street Theme” and “A Night in Tunisia”
  • Miles Davis: “Freddie Freeloader,” “Round Midnight,” “Airegin,” and “Blue in Green,” plus Davis’s album Kind of Blue 

little melba and her big trombone

  • Chet Baker: “My Funny Valentine”
  • Art Blakey: “Dat Dere,” “Moanin’,” “Blues March,” “The Chess Players,” and “Señor Blues” (performed with Horace Silver)
  • Abbey Lincoln: “Afro Blue”
  • Clifford Brown: “Daahoud,” “The Blues Walk,” “Jordu,” and “Parisian Thoroughfare”

little melba and her big trombone

  • Duke Ellington: “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Take the ‘A’ Train”
  • Stan Getz: “Corcovado” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
  • Louis Armstrong: “Summer Song,” “West End Blues,” and “I Got Rhythm”

Still can’t get enough jazz music? Here’s Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.”

Have your own favorite jazz tunes? Leave ‘em in the comments!


Filed under: Art and Book Design, Lee & Low Likes, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: dizzy gillespie, Duke Ellington, Frank Morrison, jazz music, jazz videos, louis armstrong, melba liston, miles davis, Music, musical instruments, trombones

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19. The Problem of Mike Peterson: Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD and Race

[Note: This post is the result of thoughts that I've been having since the end of Agents of SHIELD's first season in the spring, and which I haven't seen addressed elsewhere.  I held off on writing and publishing it because I wasn't certain that I had the proper grounding to do justice to the issues it discusses, and because I wasn't sure that it was my place to discuss them at all.  Nevertheless

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20. Publishing Jobs: Random House, Schiffer Publishing, Applewood Books

This week, Random House is hiring an editor for Clarkson Potter, as well as an eBook specialist for its digital publishing group. Meanwhile, Schiffer Publishing needs a copy editor, and Applewood Books is seeking a content and production assistant. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

randomhouse

Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

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21. Marla Frazee, wipe that smile off your face!

The story below is one reason we love Marla Frazee. Find out many more by reading her Talks with Roger interview.

I was once a clown, in high school. A bunch of us were nominated to be on the homecoming court — twenty-five or thirty people — and I did not want to be one of those. Not interested in that at all. There was this assembly — we were supposed to appear before the entire student body — so I wore this head-to-toe clown costume. Full-on, with the ruffle and the big shoes and the red nose. I worked on the makeup for a really long time. I drove to school in my ’67 Mustang, smoking a cigarette, and then I had to hide before the assembly because we weren’t allowed to wear costumes to school. So the curtains opened and we were all there, introduced to the students, and then as I was walking off the stage in the dark, I felt this hand grip my upper arm. It was the girls’ vice principal, who hauled me outside, walking me to her office. I’m slapping in my clown shoes, you know. She’s saying to me, as we’re walking side by side, “How dare you disrespect the school this way? How dare you disrespect” the whole homecoming-whatever-it-was. And then she wheels me around and stares at me and goes, “Wipe that smile off your face.” I’m laughing behind this smile. It took me about forty years — I don’t know if there’s something in this book [The Farmer and the Clown] about that, the “Wipe that smile off your face” line, but it definitely has stayed with me my whole life.

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here.

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22. Selling Your Picture Book

Here are some things to think about as you try to find a publisher for your picture book.

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-sell-your-picture-book

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23. TMNT cover

  Comp Copies for my Cover Work Arrived! I'm very excited about the season two finale. Can't wait to see what happens to Leo. And  LEATHERHEAD is BACK!! ♡

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24. Has My Husband Read It?

My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in different magazines and anthologies as short stories. Those three chapters are highly representative of the book — meaning there's a lot of sex, drugs, and unhappiness. Marie, the book's [...]

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25. What is the biggest obstacle you've overcome to be a writer?


Writing can be tough. And that's even without those external obstacles that can get in the way of achieving writerly dreams.

What's the biggest obstacle you've overcome to be a writer?

Mine was failure to believe that I could actually be a creative person who could actually write a novel. I don't know what I thought a "creative person" was per se, but I did think it wasn't me. That is, until I got over that and decided instead to just go for it.

What about you?

Art: The Bullfight by Auguste-Francois Bonheur

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