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1. Who Inspires You? Expressing Teacher-Mentor Gratitude

When you share your gratitude for someone's support, you give them energy and inspiration to keep on going.

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2. Scroobius Pip Crafts Poem in Praise of Libraries

Are you a fan of libraries? Scroobius Pip (pictured, via), a spoken word poet and hip hop artist, crafted a poem to praise these beloved public institutions.

The video embedded above features an animated clip of Pip’s piece commissioned by Chris Hawkins for BBC 6 Music. What do you think?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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3. Oh Yeah. Sure. Watch Out Cosplay Storm Troopers -or any cosplayer!

Boy left traumatised after street performer points a gun at his head in Birmingham

Boy left traumatised after street performer points a gun at his head
Connor burst into tears after the performer pointed a gun at his head (Picture: CATERS)
A young boy was left traumatised recently after an innocent encounter with a street performer.

Eight-year-old Connor May was shopping in Birmingham with his grandmother on Saturday afternoon when he spotted a gold painted ‘human statue’ interacting with the Christmas shoppers.

After the schoolboy gave the man a pound, the performer handcuffed the lad to his belt and pointed a fake gun at his head so his gran could take a picture.

However as soon as Connor was released he burst into tears, and now says he gets ‘flashbacks’ to that moment.


Connors mum Laura, 31, said she was ‘absolutely horrified when I heard what had happened’.

‘I looked at the photo my mum took and I could see that Connor seemed very uncomfortable with what was happening to him,’ she added.
Connor May, 8, with his mum Laura May, from Malvern, Worcestershire. While visiting the Birmingham German Market with his grandmother Helen May, Connor posed with a street performer there, only to have the performer hold a replica gun to his head for the photo. November 26 2014.  See News Team story NTIGUN; A grandma was left furious after a golden cowboy mime artist at Birmingham's German Market handcuffed her young grandson ñ and pressed a pistol to his forehead.  Helen Mayís picture shows uncomfortable eight-year-old Connor May harnessed to the human statueís belt, with the golden gun pointing at his temple. Throughout the Birmingham city centre ìactî grandmother Helen May feared the youngster, who suffers from attention deficit disorder ADHD, would suffer a panic attack. Street wardens who patrol the popular Christmas market later pledged to ìhave a quiet wordî with the wild, Wild West character.
Connor’s mum, Laura, says he has experienced ‘flash backs’ since the incident NTI / SWNS)
Grandmother Helen claims she didn’t realise Connor had been handcuffed, and said the crowd went silent as Connor, who suffers from ADHD, had the gun pointed at his head.

The family now think it is dangerous for street performers to carry toy guns, saying: ‘Who knows who this man could be, he’s just allowed to stand there with an imitation gun and no-one cares because he’s painted gold.’

Birmingham City Council said there is no legislation restricting ‘human statues’, however they said they will be speaking to the performer in question ‘about his conduct’.

____________________________________________________________________________-

Newspapers love this sort of attention seeking because it fills pages. Yeah, make sure to throw in "suffers from ADHD"  because then he's a "vulnerable child" and people will go "ahh. Poor thing. And he's got THAT!" (they have no idea what ADHD is...some probably thought it was a type of plasma screen TV.

 This has ramifications for cosplaying though. 

I could upload 50 photos of con attendees on their knees, hands behind head as Star Wars troopers point guns at them. 

 Traumatised AFTER? Sue. 

This kid is NOT traumatised -look at his face- and also look at the man's gun hand -no finger in trigger guard and holding the handle at the end so it looks totally jokey. 

I'm guessing with Christmas looming Mum needs money to go to Iceland (the food chain in case you have no idea)?

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4. Until Cyber Monday

etsyshopsale

 

And November Classes Start this Weekend! Catalog is HERE to reserve your seats!


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5. IT'S TOMORROW!!! Chang3lings & MyExcess Feature at 2014s Edinburgh Toy & Comic Mart!





Photo: Our poster campaign will start 'VERY' soon, but in the meantime can you please share this digital version as much as possible, and indeed tag anyone who you believe may be interested...










Once more, Hero Conventions are bringing their own brand of FREE COMIC & TOY MART to Edinburgh...

VENDORS INCLUDE: 


Chang3lings http://www.chang31ings.co.uk/

My Excess Comics/Books  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/myexcess
Hero Comic Shop
Comic Convict
Cosmic Art
Rough Cut Comics
Planet Jimbot
City of Lost Souls
Changelings
Forbidden Planet
Adamsons Attic
Keith Crawley Art
Gnometastic
Chris Teasdale Comics
Rubber Pineapple
Lefay Engraving
Phat Cat
Da Judge
Nathan A Lyon Art
Kukuruzovic Comics
Turn Book Time
Skulls & Cross Stitches
Sands Art Glass

During the mart, there will be a performance of the Ghostbusters tribute 'STILL Ready to Believe You' by Des O'Gorman at 1pm. This will be 100% FREE*, but you can feel free to provide a donation at the end of the show as the poor blighter hasn't eaten in weeks. :p

Also, after the show the legendary Marc Farrimond will be hosting 'The Challenge of the Kingpin' geeky pub-quiz. Entry to this will be FREE, and there will be some rather lovely prizes...


YES!! David "The British Manara" Gordon WILL be at the event with his Chang3lings dolls and MyExcess books including Cosmic Oddity which was reviewed here: http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/my-excess-dave-cosmic-oddity.html 

Plus.......

Dave Gordon´s Pin Up Girls Summary

Dave Gordon returns with an epic volume of new pin up material.  100 pages of beautifully detailed linework is behind an exceptionally conceived cover.
One for the collectors for sure as there will be just 100 copies of this book printed and signed by the artist.
Order yours today.

Suggested for Mature readers....and ONLY £10.00?????
 
Of course the Chang3ling dolls are a sight to behold but there are plenty of other figures to buy such as this one

Cyborg from Takara 1998

Cyborg from Takara 1998

If you have to visit and buy from one table this weekend then it HAS to be Chang3lings and MyExcess....otherwise you may need psychological treatment!

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6. Tryptophan Generally Induces Fatigue.


TGIF.

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7. Which Books Must You Read in Your Lifetime?: INFOGRAPHIC

GumtreeHave you ever made a bucket list for books? Gumtree.com has created an infographic called “12 Books You Should Read Before You Die.”

Some of the classic titles being featured include The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump for you to explore further. (via The Mile Long Bookshelf)
(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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8. This is the trailer you’re looking for: Official Star Wars VII teaser is online at last

The teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been officially released on Youtube, Itunes and in theaters. THe film opens in 13 months, so don’t jump over the barricade just yet.

Nice opening shot with John Boyega showing that not all stormtroopers are Django Fett any more. And Shaky-cam tracking shotof the Millenium Falcon showing that this is not a George Lucas movie. Also brief shot os Daisy Ridley riding some kind of uncomfortable transport vehicle and  I think Domhnall Gleeson as a fighter pilot? 

And a t-shaped lightsaber just because.

starwarsviiteaser This is the trailer youre looking for: Official Star Wars VII teaser is online at last

One theater in Texas is showing this teaser on repeat for an hour or so.

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9. Holiday Book Signing this Saturday!

Hey Austinites! Happy Thanksgiving!

If you happen to be out and about in the Austin area this weekend, I have a book signing, and I'd love to see you all there!

Also,

BOOKS MAKE GREAT GIFTS!

WHEN: Saturday, November 29, 2014, 2:00-4:00
WHERE: Arboretum Barnes & Noble, Austin, TX

Thank you!



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10. Flogometer for Margaret—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Wanted. 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.

Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. 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.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
  • What happens moves the story forward.
  • What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
  • The protagonist desires something.
  • The protagonist does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question—what happens next? or why did that happen?

Margaret sends a first chapter of The Lore Keepers.

A handful of dirt-encrusted fingers swatted irritably at the straggle of hair that undermined even a token tribute to tidiness. A tattered sleeve, threadbare along its edges, shifted to the more pressing task of suppressing a sneeze, which would have ended any hope for continued stealth and concealment. It was the disquieting sound of the stable's side door opening that held the boy to the upper rafter as effectively as any mortar could have.

The child balancing precariously on the rough beam was nondescript at best. Of an indeterminate age, and possessing an abundance of hair that overshadowed the features of his face, his small slender build could mislead many into mistaking him for a damsel – only, the stables were not typically the provinces of women.

In many respects his footing was little different from that of the stray dogs wandering in the yard in hopes of finding a forgotten morsel, and as such, he was often the recipient of clouts and kicks from those who considered themselves his superiors. To those who had the power to curb the abuse, his plight went unobserved. If it is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, it was not in this wisp of a boy's character to make a sound, not even a whimper. He was as easily brushed away and forgotten as the motes of dust that had been roused in response to his recent furtive movements in the upper reaches of the timber and stone stable.

He was called Paidyn, a designation assigned to him like the tunic upon his back. It was a (snip)

Were you compelled to turn Margaret's first page?

This elegant writing and distant point of view is consistent with what I think of as an earlier form of epic fantasy, though that’s not to say that fine stories are not still written and published in this vein—it’s just not the more active sort of narrative that many have become accustomed to. For readers who like a leisurely read, I think this story will work well. In considering the test put to first pages here at FtQ, this one doesn’t do much of raising a story question. The chapter that follows also takes its time with generous description of the area and the stables (I’ll confess to beginning to skip large parts of that). A story does seem to be in the offing later on, but the role of Paidyn isn’t clear at all—he serves as a way to overhear a plot against the king. For me, this was an “almost” where the voice was strong enough to interest me in a second page—perhaps.

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 Margaret

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11. NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Keep The Reader’s Perspective in Mind

Some writers feel that they must create the story that they themselves want to read. Does that mean you should disregard your potential audience?

In the video embedded above, The Fault in Our Stars novelist John Green advises that one should remember the reader’s perspective while writing. By putting yourself in the reader’s shoes, you will be able to figure out what are the most interesting parts about your story.

This is our nineteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. PiBoIdMo Day 28: Aaron Reynolds Doesn’t Judge (plus prizes!)

Aaron Headshot 2, croppedby Aaron Reynolds

“Where do you get your ideas?”

This is the question that kids and aspiring writers ask me the most. And the answer is kinda lame: I have absolutely no idea.

I recognize that many people think about ideas as elusive endangered species that love to play hide-and-go-seek with us writers. But I disagree. I think ideas are everywhere! They fill the air around us like hyperactive dragonflies, just waiting to be snatched out of the air, captured, and put to work. Our job is to collect them. The problem is…we don’t always.

Instead…

We JUDGE our ideas. And then we DISMISS them.

How many times have you done it? An idea buzzes your way at the most unexpected time. Maybe during breakfast. You’re happily eating away on your raisin-crunch oatmeal, not thinking about picture books at all, and suddenly you find yourself thinking,

“I wonder what would happen if this spoon….ATTACKED ME???!!!”

It’s just a blip on your imagination, and in the micro-second that it takes you to think “That’s stupid.”, you dismiss it and continue chomping.

HELLO? THAT’S A PICTURE BOOK!

(Not yours though. Hands off…that one’s mine.)

That little dragonfly of a idea buzzed into your head for a reason…it wants to be used. It wants to be put to work, to be brought into being. Your job was to capture that little sucker, but instead, you judged it and dismissed it as inconsequential. And then, horror of horrors, you forgot about it.

And the idea dies. Unused. And unwritten.

When I first got the idea for a story about a bunny being stalked by evil root vegetables, don’t you think my first thought was “Dumb idea”? It totally was. But that didn’t stop me from capturing the idea that later became CREEPY CARROTS.

Creepy Carrots cover

A lion, a wolf, and a shark all feel terrible about their meat-eating ways. Until they get some great advice from a wise old owl…who then meets a grisly death at their hands. What a TERRIBLE IDEA for a picture book! But when that idea showed up in my brain, I was on it like a fat kid on Cinnabon (and being less-than-svelte myself, you’d be surprised how quickly we can move when frosting-drenched cinnimon is around). That idea became my book CARNIVORES.

Carnivores owl shot

I am a collector of ideas. And so are you. Every idea you can get your grubby little mitts on.

How you keep them is up to you. I don’t keep my dragonflies in a cage. Or even a journal. I put them under a rock. Literally. (I know…weird. Maybe it’s a boy thing.)

I have something in my office called an Idea Rock.

idea rock 

And EVERY idea that flits my way gets captured, no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing. You can see in the picture…there are ideas captured on 1000-Island-Dressing-stained-napkins that I got while eating rueben sandwiches. There are post-it-note ideas. There’s even a wedding program with an idea on it under there (man, that wedding was boring). I go through life with the assumption that every idea holds book-worthy potential, that no idea is inconsequential, therefore, they all get captured. They get put under the rock, and from there, they’re going nowhere (that rock is really heavy). And so, even if they do get momentarily judged (as ideas and dragonflies will), they never get dismissed, so they never get forgotten.

I have hundreds of ideas under there…more than I’ll ever be able to write in ten lifetimes. They’re not all gold. They won’t all become books. But they are all CAUGHT.

So put your judgement away and get your net ready. Because that buzzing you hear may just become your next book.

guestbloggerbio2014

Aaron Reynolds is a New York Times Bestselling Author and has written many highly acclaimed books for kids, including Here Comes Destructosaurus!, Carnivores, the Joey Fly – Private Eye graphic novel series, and the Caldecott Honor Winning Creepy Carrots! He has a passion for kids’ books and seeing kids reading them. He regularly makes time to visit schools where his hilarious hands-on presentations keep kids spellbound. Aaron lives in Chicago with his wife, 2 kids, 4 cats, and anywhere between zero and ten goldfish, depending on the day.

You can visit him at www.aaron-reynolds.com.

prizedetails2014

Aaron is giving away one signed copy each of CREEPY CARROTS, CARNIVORES and HERE COMES DESTRUCTOSAURUS!

These prizes will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for these prizes if:

  1. You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  2. You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!


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13. Zazzle Black Friday 2014 Sale!

Zazzle is having a sale today only for Black Friday. Use the code ZAZBLACKDEAL to receive significant discounts on Zazzle products. I have added a new Christmas card to my shop:

 

Thank you for checking it out and happy shopping!

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14. New Traditions

Today we are still celebrating Thanksgiving in my family. My side on Thanksgiving Day, Brian's side on Friday, and Saturday is the day we set up for Christmas. These are our traditions.

I have strong views about consumerism mixed with Thanksgiving, and my heart isn't aligned to shop.

So I had this crazy idea, that on Black Friday, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, because I am so very thankful for all who follow, support, and encourage my work, I'd give something out for free. Instead of a sale promo in your inbox, you get something free as a Thank You!

I hope to create more down the road, but here are some free desktop wallpapers for your computer, tablet, and phone. Below that are three different coloring pages that you can print out to color with friends and family.

Now go have some fun already!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


320 x 480 
1024 x 768 
1680 x 1050 
1920 x 1200 

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15. Poetry Friday: Egyptian Serenade by George William Curtis

Sing again the song you sung
When we were together young-
When there were but you and I
Underneath the summer sky.

Sing the song, and o'er and o'er
Though I know that nevermore
Will it seem the song you sung
When we were together young.

- Egyptian Serenade by George William Curtis

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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16. Harts Pass No. 228

I managed to stay free and clear of the internet yesterday, but Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Harts Pass! #movember

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17. Neil Gaiman Announces Air Dates For ‘Good Omens’ Radio Adaptation

I have borrowed Aziraphale's flaming sword to let you know that Good Omens starts on Dec 22nd on BBC Radio 4. Look! pic.twitter.com/ST81u6tnBv

— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 27, 2014

BBC Radio 4′s Good Omens dramatization will air from December 22nd to 27th.

Neil Gaiman, who co-wrote the book with Terry Pratchett, made an announcement on Twitter. The cast includes Colin Morgan, Charlotte Ritchie, Mark Heap, Peter Serafinowicz, Paterson Joseph, and Louise Brealey.

Here’s more from RadioTimes.com: “Good Omens follows the attempts of an angel and a demon (Heap and Serafinowicz) to save the world from the antichrist, but all is not as it seems thanks to a bureaucratic mix-up. Soon, the fate of humanity is left to a gang of young children, a trainee witchfinder (Morgan) and a collection of garbled flashcards.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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18. How Do You Find Time to Read During Family Events?

It’s not easy being a bibliophile around the holidays. The Epic Reads YouTube channel has posted a video detailing the problems that come with “trying to read at family events.”

Over at the Epic Reads blog, the team offered a few tips for this issue such as: “sports are your friend” and “wait until everyone has eaten.” What do you think?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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19. First Five Pages December Workshop Opens Tomorrow at 12 EST!

Our December workshop will open for entries at noon EST on Saturday November 29, 2014. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have the talented PETER SALOMON, author of HENRY FRANKS and ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS, and agent GINGER CLARK!  

So get those pages ready – First Five Pages December Workshop opens tomorrow, and last month we filled up fast!  Click here to get the rules! 

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20. ‘The Beach Boys’ Singer Mike Love Inks Memoir Deal

Blue-Rider-Logo_200Mike Love, best known as one of the founding members of The Beach Boys, has inked a memoir deal with Blue Rider Press.

James S. Hirsch, a journalist and biographer, will help Love with writing this project. The publisher plans to release the book in the Summer 2016.

Here’s more from The Associated Press: “According to Blue Rider, the 73-year-old Love will discuss his ‘complex’ relationship with Brian Wilson, his cousin and the Beach Boys’ leader during their peak years in the 1960s. Love and Wilson have fought over songwriting credits and creative control of the group.” (via Entertainment Weekly)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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21. Neverhome/Laird Hunt: Reflections


"Also: it's not a Federal crime to put something in someone's mailbox, if you tell them, right? OK bye."

Wrote Kelly Simmons. In a text message. After she told me to be sure to look for the setting sun. While I trained back to Philadelphia from DC.

Not a crime, I thought. Not when it's Kelly Simmons.

It was dark when I outted Kelly's secret: a copy of the Civil War novel, Neverhome, by Laird Hunt. She'd read it not long ago and raved. She has exquisite taste. She knows what I love. She knows we often love the same thing (see Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See). There it was.

First sentence: "I was strong and he was not, so it was me went to war to defend the Republic."

Oh, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, I thought. I'm a-gonna love this book. And so I read. Couldn't stop reading. Had soup to make, cranberry sauce, potatoes. Had gifts to (skim through and then) wrap. Had my gorgeous son home with me, but I just sat there reading. The story of a woman who goes to war as a man. Who emerges as a song and a myth. Who starts out with some tenderness in her heart and who hardens over time, temptation, warship. She's known as Ash Thompson. She can shoot a squirrel at many feet. She can crawl herself out from under the heavy load of a fallen tree. She can confuse most but not some. She can help a one-armed man carry the photographic plates from which a greenhouse will be built. (Oh, that image, one of my favorite ever found in a novel.) And she will never, really, get home again. She will tells us her story in her broken-poem way, even though she isn't trying for poetry, not even close. Poetry is just how her words come even when she's talking about the rut of damage on her arm:

The flesh of my arm crept each day closer and closer together. Like two ragged companies didn't know yet they were fighting for the same side.

Or what happens in a ruined asylum when she's trusted with a razor:

I shaved him, then shaved his friend, and every now and then after I got called on to scrape a face. Mostly it was guards but twice or three times there was a prisoner in the mix. These were big-bearded things attached to some flaps of skin, some ruins of shoulders, some piles of bones. When I shaved them up there was anything left to them. You could of just dug at the dirt and kicked them straight into the hole. They were happy, though. Smiled and winked.
Neverhome is a book magnificently well made, but that doesn't mean the story isn't hard to live with. The ending that you see coming isn't easy to take. But you take it because it's smart and vivid and so real that I started reading again at 3 AM last night and finished this morning so I could tell you, on Black Friday, that if you have to go out buying things, buy this book for a friend.

I'd have bought it for Kelly Simmons. But she's already read it.

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22. Being Professional

What writing mistakes will signal to an agent or editor you're not professional? 

http://fromsarahwithjoy.blogspot.com/2014/09/top-7-mistakes-that-make-your-writing.html

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23. Critter critics rave about Animal Cracker

I invited some very special friends into my home to weigh in on Animal Cracker.  The result: unanimous raves!  To celebrate, I've lowered the price to $.99 for the Kindle.   I'd love it if you spread the word and shared the video with your friends.

Happy holidays to all!

Critics rave: watch the video

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24.


Hello everyone!
I am finally ready to start posting again after a long break working on numerous commissions.
I have a lot of new artwork to share over the coming weeks so be sure to check back frequently.
As always please let me know what you think below!

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25. ZOO DIARY: Entertaining the visitors


 ZOO DIARY

                                                                     
SCENE: CITY ZOO.  DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT

Some of the zoo denizens are gathering together in preparation for the daily opening of the zoo. A whistle breaks the morning silence. The whistle is repeated again and again. A boa constrictor (MR. SQUEEZE) slither's out from the shadows.

MR. SQUEEZE

Hello? Anyone?

 RAT

Oh fer… That wasn`t the signal! It was supposed to be a bird call

MR. SQUEEZE

I think not! As I recall during the last meeting, we took a vote and decided on a whistle.

RAT

You left before the meeting ended. Remember?

MR. SQUEEZE

Perhaps…my memory isn’t what it used to be. Um…Ratty dear – you do have a lovely body…so smooth….so tempting…not a blemish anywhere…  I mean, you keep yourself in such good shape. Your tail is especially attractive as a nice, little snack…  I mean to say, located right there on your back

RAT

(running his hands up and down his tail)

You think so? I have been told that by many… Why are you staring at me like that?

MR. SQUEEZE

How about a nice hug, from one friend-to-another?

RAT

You have had supper, right?

MR. SQUEEZE

If you can call cat food supper. The financial cutbacks here at the zoo leave me hungry and wanting more

RAT

(backing up)

Where is everyone, anyway?

MR. SQUEEZE

Is there any more news about the zoo being on the verge of bankruptcy? What will happen to us? It’s getting to the point that everyone is looking very – um – appealing – in the looks sense of course

RAT

There’s no limit to what  changes they’ll make to save a buck. We’re at the top of the list for sure.

 (A shadow emerges into the zoo light)

(cont'd.)  RAT  

Well it’s about time!

ZEBRA

I was memorizing my lines my dear man. We must emote. We must open our mouths to properly enunciate the words like this: “loooo-loooo-loooo…la-la-la-la…Me-me-me…” That’s the secret in being an adept thespian, like me. I’ll be doing a solo in the show tonight so I have to be ready

RAT

You haven’t heard? The show is cancelled

ZEBRA

Say what?

MR. SQUEEZE

Um…zebra - has anybody told you that you have a striking body structure? Do you mind if I lick you a bit? I mean, to say of course, what makes you tick as an actor?

ZEBRA

Why thank you! Appearance if very important for an actor, y’know! Body appeal and all…audiences expect it, unlike other animals who shall remain unmentioned

RAT

Let's practice in case they want us to perform for the paying customers. Who has the script, anyway?

MR. SQUEEZE

The cheetah was supposed to make copies for everyone

CHEETAH

(bouncing out from behind a tree)

Somebody talking about me? Cheetah’s my name and running is my game

ZEBRA

Where are the scripts or did you use them to line your den, again?

CHEETAH

A cheetah needs to make renovations now and then! You are looking particularly delicious tonight, zebra baby…that is to say, very fat and luscious… Of course I mean to say, so masterful in a leadership kind of way

ZEBRA

You forgot to take your appetite depressants again, didn’t you? Ohmygawd! Run and hide!

CHEETAH

He’s at it again, accusing me that I’m off my meds! Anybody tell you you’re very appealing – in an intellectual sort of way, zebra? Why don’t we go back to my den and discuss it? I’d like to show you my etchings…

ZEBRA

Oh you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Just like the last actor you invited up. All we found of him was a paper fragment with the word HELP! You disgusting beast!

RAT

Enough! Everyone – back to your cages. It’s almost dawn and the visitors will soon be arriving. Does everyone know their parts?

MR. SQUEEZE

I lay around and look hungry. No problem there.

ZEBRA

I’m supposed to run back and forth and chew what is left of the one pathetic patch of grass. The ground is almost bare and my bones are beginning to stick out

CHEETAH

I like to suck bones… I mean, that is so sad!

RAT

And we rats will be…rats. A few fights - a few deaths… Okay – places everyone. The zoo is opening

CHEETAH

Mmmmmmm – that young visitor looks quite delicious…of course I’m referring to that cotton candy he’s eating

RAT

Now Cheetah, let’s not have a repeat of last week’s incident. Okay everyone – look cute! The paying customers are here! Places everyone! The show must go on!

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