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1. How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent — Agent One-on-One Boot Camp (With Critiques) Starts Oct. 1

How do you hook an agent right away, keep them hooked, and make the most of your new publishing relationship? In this Boot Camp starting Oct. 1, 2014, “How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent,” you’ll learn how to get a literary agent’s attention through a great submission, and also how to navigate the process of working successfully with an agent. You’ll also work with an agent online to review and refine your all-important query letter and the first five pages of your novel. As always, seats in the boot camp are limited, and many WD camps sell out — so consider signing up sooner rather than later.

 

bc

This Boot Camp will cover a range of important questions:

– What keeps an agent reading? What makes writing jump off the page?
– What are the most common Chapter 1 mistakes that make them stop reviewing your submission?
– What are the steps you need to give your query and manuscript the best possible shot?
– What are the turn-ons and turn-offs when it comes to queries?
– How do agents make judgment calls?
– And much more.

With real-life examples of queries that do and don’t work, you will learn how you can refine your own query letter and get an agent to request your novel.The world of literary agencies can be an intimidating place. You’ll be lead through the inner-workings of finding the perfect literary agent, working with an agent and how to get the most out of your relationship. See what a day in the life of an agent looks like, and get tips about how to find your perfect author-agent match that will result in a successful partnership.

The best part is that you’ll be working directly with a knowledgeable and experienced agent, who will provide feedback specific to your work.

Here’s how it works:

On October 1, you will gain access to a special 60-minute online tutorial presented by agents at the Dijkstra Literary Agency. It will explain the submission process of submitting to an agent, what they find appealing in a query letter and what an author-agent relationship looks like from the inside. You will also be notified by email which agent you’ll be working with Monday afternoon.

From 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (PT) on October 2, instructors will be available to answer questions and provide additional feedback via the Writer’s Digest University message boards. Only registered students can access these boards. You’ll also be able to ask question of your fellow students. Feel free to share your work and gain support from your peers.

After listening to the presentation and participating in the discussion sessions, you’ll be able to revise your query & first 5 double-spaced pages as necessary. Then, you’ll email those pages directly to Jill Marr, Elise Capron, Thao Le, Jessica Watterson, or Roz Foster, by the end of the day on Thursday. They will spend 10 days reviewing their assigned critiques and providing feedback as to what works and what doesn’t.

Please note that any one of the instructing agents may ask for additional pages if the initial submission shows serious promise.

In addition to feedback from instructing agents, attendees will also receive:

– Download of “An Agent’s Tips on Story Structures that Sell,” an on-demand webinar by Andrea Hurst
1-year subscription to the WritersMarket.com literary agent database

PLEASE NOTE: No Additional discounts are available. All sales are final. If you have a preferred agent you would like to work with, please notify WDU after registering.

RECAP ON DATES:

Wednesday, October 1 – Access to Tutorial
Thursday, October 2 – Blackboard Discussion 10 am to 1 pm (PT)
Friday, October 3 – Materials due to agents
Monday, October 13 – All critiqued materials due back to attendees

About the Instructors:

ELISE CAPRON is an acquiring agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She also manages the SDLA office and works closely with Sandra Dijkstra on author development and management. She is most interested in serious, character-driven literary fiction and well-written narrative non-fiction (particularly serious history with a good story).A graduate of Emerson College, Elise holds a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing, and served on the editorial staff of the Emerson Review for several years. She interned at Harcourt and the Dijkstra Agency before joining the agency full-time in late 2003.Elise is interested in fiction that has unforgettable writing, a terrific narrative voice/tone, and memorable characters. She loves novels with an unusual or eccentric edge and is drawn to stories she has never heard before. She aims to work with writers who are getting their work published regularly in magazines and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Some of Elise’s recent and soon-to-be-published fiction titles include Tiphanie Yanique’s Land of Love and Drowning (Riverhead) and How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf); Rachel Toor’s On The Road to Find Out (FSG); Jonathon Keats’ The Book of the Unknown (Random House); Rikki Ducornet’s Netsuke (Coffee House Press); Maureen McHugh’s After the Apocalypse (Small Beer Press), which was picked as a “Top 10 Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly; Ali Liebegott’s The IHOP Papers (Carroll & Graf); Peter Plate’s Soon the Rest Will Fall (Seven Stories Press); and more.

On the non-fiction front, Elise is looking for fascinating true stories told in a compelling way. Currently, Elise is especially interested in working with up-and-coming scholars (particularly historians) who are looking to transition from the academic market to a trade readership. Some of Elise’s recent and soon-to-be-published non-fiction titles include Jack Shuler’s The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose (Public Affairs) and Blood and Bone: Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town (University of South Carolina Press); Leo Braudy’s Haunted; Jane Vandenburgh’s The Wrong Dog Dream: A True Romance (Counterpoint); Jonathon Keats’ Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age (Oxford University Press); Cynthia Barnett’s Blue Is the New Green: An American Water Ethic (Beacon); Billy Smith’s Ship of Death: The Voyage That Changed the Atlantic World (Yale); and more.

Please note that Elise is specifically not interested in: fantasy, young-adult/middle-grade, picture books, romance, sci-fi, business books, cookbooks, poetry, religious/spiritual books, screenplays, or self-help. And while she is interested in narrative non-fiction, please note that she takes on very little memoir.

JILL MARR is an acquiring agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.She graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and a minor in History. She has a strong Internet and media background and nearly 15 years of publishing experience. She wrote features and ads for Pages, the literary magazine for people who love books, and continues to write book ads for publishing houses, magazine pieces, and promotional features for television.After writing ad copy and features for published books for years, she knows how to find the “hook” and sell it.

Jill is interested in commercial fiction, with an emphasis on mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense and horror, women’s commercial fiction and historical fiction. She is also looking for non-fiction by authors who are getting their work published regularly and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Jill is looking for non-fiction projects in the areas of history, sports, politics, current events, self-help, cookbooks, memoir, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor and music.

Some of Jill’s recent and soon-to-be-published non-fiction includes the Travel Channel’s Nick Groff’s Chasing Spirits (NAL); Maybe We’ll Have You Back (Skyhorse) by actor Fred Stoller; Get Over It (Seal Press) by Christina Pesoli; Doulas A. Wissing’s Funding Our Enemy (Prometheus Books); Why We Love Serial Killers (Skyhorse) by Scott Bonn; America’s Greatest “Failing” School (Nation Books) by journalist Kristina Rizga; Don’t Lick the Minivan (Skyhorse) by Leanne Shirtliffe; William Jones’ More Than the Dream: The Untold Story of the March on Washington (Norton); Rocking the Pink (Seal Press) by singer-songwriter Laura Roppé; Stop Reading Baby Books (Skyhorse) by JJ Keith; Drunks: America’s Search for Sobriety by Christopher Finan; and Argyle Armada: Life with America’s Top Pro Cycling Team (VeloPress) by Mark Johnson.

Some of Jill’s new and upcoming fiction includes Bloodman andAmerican Woman (Thomas & Mercer) by Robert Pobi; Reckless Disregard (Seven Stories Press) by Robert Rotstein; Three Souls(HarperCollins) by Janie Chang; Madam (Plume) by Cari Lynne and Kellie Martin; The Cordell Logan thriller series (The Permanent Press) by David Freed; Benefit of the Doubt (Tor/Forge) by Neal Griffin;Garbo’s Last Stand (Entranced) by Jon Miller; The Crossroads thriller series (Thomas & Mercer) by Eyre Price; The Dog Year (Berkley) by Ann Garvin; The Change Your Name Store (Sky Pony Press) by Leanne Shirliffe; and the Jaden Terrell series that includes the Shamus Award nominee Racing the Devil and A Cup Full of Midnight (The Permanent Press).

Please note that Jill is specifically not interested in: YA, children’s books, sci-fi, romance or anything involving unicorns.

ROZ FOSTER is an acquiring agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She works from New York. She has a B.A. in English Literature from UC San Diego, studied philosophy for a year at the University of Sheffield, U.K., and earned her M.A. in English, with an emphasis in composition & rhetoric and creative writing, from Portland State University. At PSU, she taught writing in exchange for tuition. She’s been learning French since 2009.Roz spent over five years as a qualitative researcher in high-tech consumer products marketing. In 2008, she co-founded a web design company for which she provided non-profit organizations with audience-focused market research, project planning, and digital design. She joined SDLA in 2013.

Roz is interested in non-fiction in the areas of cultural studies, sociology, business, history, politics, current affairs, science and design. She looks for driven, narrative storytelling and sharp concepts that have the potential to transcend their primary audience. She’s also interested in literary and commercial fiction, literary YA with crossover potential for the adult market, and literary sci-fi. In fiction, she looks for a resonant, lively voice; rich, irresistible language; characters with compelling development arcs; and a mastery of dramatic structure. Across the board, she’s looking for books that make her feel like the author is tuned into a rising revolution — cultural, political, literary, or whatnot — that’s about to burst on the scene.

Please note that Roz is specifically not interested in: sports, cookbooks, screenplays, poetry, romance, fantasy, or children’s books.

THAO LE handles finances and selected contracts at the Dijkstra Agency. She is also an agent. Thao is looking to acquire adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror, New Adult, YA and Middle Grade. She enjoys both gritty, dark narratives and fantastically quirky stories. She is also looking for light-hearted, funny, and moving contemporary YAs with a raw, authentic teen voice. She’s particularly drawn to memorable characters, smart-mouthed dialogue, strong plots, and tight writing. Her favorite books are ones that reimagine familiar tales and tropes in a completely fresh new way and she has a soft spot for multicultural stories and lush settings. Recent sales include: Katherine Harbour’s fantasy, THORN JACK (Harper Voyager), Lisa Freeman’s surf YA, HONEY GIRL (Sky Pony Press), IPPY Award Winning S.K. Falls’ NA (Forever Yours), and James Kendley’s paranormal thriller, THE DROWNING GOD (Harper Voyager Impulse). Thao is NOT looking for: Biographies, business books, cook books, memoirs, picture books, poetry, religious/spiritual books, screenplays, self-help, short stories, travel books.

JESSICA WATTERSON graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a degree in Sociocultural Anthropology and English. Jessica has made books a serious part of her life for many years. Jessica is most interested in all subgenres of adult and new adult romance, and women’s fiction. She is looking for heartfelt and unique romance that will instantly draw a reader in and keep them hooked.

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2. Home Again and New Books

sun and sea

We drove up the coast this weekend to move Jane back into school. My parents held down the fort here at home. Scott and I stayed in Pismo Beach and I was swooning every minute. California’s Central Coast is as lovely as it gets.

Now home, and the house seems so quiet with only five kids. Only, heh. Tomorrow we’ll be back to our regular routine. I have a stack of books awaiting me at the library, which is closed on Mondays. I was itchy all day for it to open. :)

Speaking of new books: two launches today made my heart go pittypat. One is Sarah Elwell’s latest, this one delivered in an innovative serialized-ebook fashion. Each week for three months you get a new installment. Sarah’s work is haunting and lovely, and I can’t wait to read this. A novel in weekly installments might just suit my jam-packed Cybils season schedule.

deepinthefaraway

Deep in the Far Away by Sarah Elwell

And the other is Scott’s latest! A YA novel available on Kindle. For readers of his UNCIVIL WAR series, this is NOT the next volume of that (but it too is coming out as soon as possible).

Game Over by Scott PetersonGame Over by Scott Peterson

What are you reading right now?

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3. 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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4. The Art Director Chooses...


I have a hard time understanding sometimes why art directors choose the art they do. And sometimes I submit several versions just because I like a different look, and then offer them the choice. 
I almost always know what will be chosen, but I keep on sending different things just because. I have my own ideas of what looks best, but then, it' isn't up to me, at least for now. 
Which of these would you choose? 



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5. Review – Once Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

I am a huge Oliver Jeffers fan but have to admit his last few picture books haven’t hit the mark. That of course excludes the absolutely brilliant The Day The Crayons Quit he did with Drew Daywalt last year which was simply outstanding. Oliver Jeffers illustrations have always been outstanding but it was his stories that seemed […]

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6. Afterworlds Spoiler Thread

It’s that time again: A TIME OF SPOILAGE.

Use the comment thread of this post to discuss all that happens in Afterworlds. If you haven’t read the book, however, it might be wise to NOT LOOK AT THE COMMENTS.

Don’t forget what happened to this person back in May of 2006. I quote from the famous Specials spoiler thread:

oh god, i read the spoiler section before i read the book. i would have read the book by now but the bookstore doesn’t have it in yet! i got the first two before the sale date. why can’t i do that now!? crap i can’t believe i read the spoiler section . . . crap

The lamentations of one who has been spoiled!

If you haven’t got the book yet, go watch the Afterworlds videos instead. Or if you’re in NYC, come see my launch event tonight.

Or of you live anywhere else, go check out my tour schedule and come get a book signed by me!

JUST DON’T READ THE SPOILERS.

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7. 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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8. DOES IT MATTER WHAT WE DO?



The question is pretty simple. Does it matter what we do?

Some say no. The climate isn't changing. (Hey-–it wasn't that hot today.) Or they say, the climate is always changing. (Remember the ice age?) Or they say, other countries pollute more than we do. Why should our country be the only ones to take action? 

Some people say no, even though they believe that climate change is happening. They say, it's too late to stop the inevitable. They say, corporations are inherently evil. They say, I'm just one person out of seven billion. What can I do? I tried already. It didn't help.

The ice caps are melting. The sea level is rising. The change in the climate has already displaced species and destroyed the habitats of butterflies, bees, birds, bears––and yes, humans.

But luckily there are lots of people who don't say NO.

Who ride a bike to work. Who recycle. Who plant trees. Who live with a little less. Who turn off a light. Who conserve water. Who bring a canvas bag to the grocery store.

Who marched in New York City on September 21, 2014.






I'm proud to have marched with them.

It's always better to take a positive step. To do whatever you can. To believe that you can make a difference. To keep trying.

Because YES, it does matter what we do.
 

http://www.50waystohelp.com/

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9. 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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10. A book launch and a blog launch: Sue Purkiss

As I was thinking about what I might write about today, I remembered that it’s Somerset Art Week (or fortnight). You probably have something similar in your neck of the woods: artists open up their houses and studios to show their work. And that led to thinking vaguely about buying pictures for presents, and that led to thinking about my friend Sara Parsons.

Sara is an artist and a potter and a dog walker. In the days when we had a dog too, she and I often used to walk up the hill together, generously putting the world to rights and congratulating ourselves on how lucky we are to live in such a lovely part of the country, where you tumble out of your back door and ten minutes later you're gazing across a mist-ribbonned valley towards Glastonbury or admiring the year's first cowslip or orchid or wild daffodil.

One day, some years ago, I was telling her about a bit of a quandary I had. My first longer novel for children – The Willow Man – was about to be published. It’s about three children, two of whom have a disability – one of which is very obvious, and the other of which is not. Anyway, It was something of a labour of love, this book (well, they all are, but this one particularly so), and I thought I would like to mark publication by having some sort of launch. But I’m the world’s worst person as far as organising parties goes, and I couldn’t think where to have it or how to do it.

On a scale of 1-20 when it comes to spontaneity, I would be about 2 and Sara would come in somewhere around 18. “Easy,” she said breezily. “You can have it in the studio.”

The cake
Sara lives on a farm, and she and her family had recently converted an old stone barn into a lovely space for her to use for her painting and pottery classes. It would be perfect. So, I talked to our local
Ottakars (now Waterstones), who agreed to come and sell books, I talked to Walker Books, who agreed to contribute generously towards wine, and whose sales rep, Tim Howard, came along to help, and I talked to my sister, who made a beautiful cake and generally advised about food.

As the event drew nearer, the butterflies began to do a samba in my stomach. Would there be enough to eat? Could I cope with being the centre of attention? Wasn’t this all a bit big-headed and show-offy? Would anyone actually come? When should we start to get the studio ready? “Bit busy this week,” said Sara vaguely. “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.”

Sara,s drawing - well, most of it.
On the morning of the launch, we stood looking at the vast space. “Hm,” said Sara. “Think I’ll do a picture. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?”

It was more than nice. She did a magnificent charcoal sketch depicting the Willow Man (the one who stands beside the M5 near Bridgwater. He used to be magnificently obvious, but now he’s surrounded by supermarket depots and housing estates, so he's less easy to see.) Beside him she wrote, in her beautiful calligraphic script, the line from the cover: In his great form, power lay coiled. By the time evening came, Sara’s panache had transformed the place with fairy lights, textiles, pictures and pots. Lots of people came and it was lovely, and I’m not sure if I ever thanked Sara enough – so here’s a great big belated thank you right now!
Sara on the left, me in the middle and Tim Howard at the bottom of the stairs.

That's a while ago now. But in a couple of weeks, I’ve got another launch coming up. It’s not a book launch this time; it’s a blog launch. I’ve contributed to ABBA off and on, to its sister site, ABBA Reviews, and to the History Girls group blog for quite some time, but now I’m going to have a blog of my own. It’s called A Fool On A Hill – because I do a lot of thinking while walking up on the hill. (At least I used to, when we had our much-missed dog Jessie, and I hope before long I’ll be up there again with another, as yet unchosen dog.)

It’s going to be mostly reviews. I hope eventually people will send me new children’s books to review, but I will also write about some of my other reading. But my first post – on 7th October – will be about the wonderful Linda Newbery’s first book for adults, Quarter Past Two On A Wednesday Afternoon.


I hope very much to see you there – but in the meantime, I have a review today on ABBA Reviews. It’s about a very good and very funny book by John Dougherty, and I hope you’ll take a look at that too!

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11. Write, Share, Give: It’s SOL time

"You are an expert at your own life. Nobody else is." --Jen Bryant

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12. Light the Way for the Underserved

Do you have an innovative new program or service that requires funding? Are you looking to serve an underserved part of your community more fully?  The ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant is a great opportunity for your library!

The Light the Way Grant was formed in honor of Newbery Medalist and Geisel Honoree author Kate DiCamillo. The spirit of the award honors the themes represented in her books.  The award itself consists of a $3,000 grant to assist a library in conducting exemplary outreach to underserved populations through a new program or an expansion of work already being done. So, whether yours is a new idea or one that has already been put into place, your library would be eligible.

The  ALSC Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee has the honor of selecting the winner. Special population children may include those who have learning or physical differences, those who speak English as a second language, those who are in a non-traditional school environment, those who live in foster care settings, those who are in the juvenile justice system, those who live in gay and lesbian families, those who have teen parents, and those who need accommodation service to meet their needs.

Be inspired by the impact and the work of the 2014 ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way” current grant winner. Don’t forget to check back on the ALSC website for the most current grant application to be available soon!

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13. SURVIVAL COLONY 9 {Excerpt & Giveaway}

From Simon & Schuster Written by Joshua David Bellin Fourteen-year-old Querry Genn's world is a desert where small groups of survivors struggle against heat, starvation, and the creatures known as the Skaldi, monsters that appeared on the planet after war swept away the old world. Suffering from amnesia brought on by an accident, Querry struggles to recover the lost memories that might save

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14. 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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15. EIGA Design

EIGA Design on grainedit.com

Beautiful work from EIGA, a multidisciplinary design studio based in Hamburg, Germany.

 

EIGA Design on grainedit.com

EIGA Design on grainedit.com

EIGA Design on grainedit.com

EIGA Design on grainedit.com

EIGA Design on grainedit.com

 

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NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual
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16. 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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17. Forward

If I receive a forward
That’s political or, worse,
Pertaining to religion
My response is rather terse:

By sending me such messages
(In case you couldn’t tell),
You’re reaffirming that you do not
Know me very well.

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18. Picture Books: Character Development in Every Word!

erikaphoto-45Jersey Farm Scribe here on

Picture Books: Character Development in Every Word!

We all know that our characters need to resonate with the audience. They need to relate to them, yearn to grow with them, feel their pain and celebrate their accomplishments.

It’s asking a lot. But it’s what keeps little fingers reaching for the same stories again and again.

It’s not as easy task when I’m working on an MG project, and I’m sure it’s a struggle for any authors no matter what the genre. But when I’m working on a picture book, I have an even smaller window to describe my characters, and far less opportunities to tell SHOW others what makes them so special.

The intimate relationship we have with our manuscripts sometimes makes it necessary to take a step or two back. WE may know Little Lucy or Bumbling Bradley just as well as we know living, breathing children in our life. But we are tasked with putting entire personalities into as few as 500 words and still having room for a story!

  1. I just re-read that last sentence. Putting it that way on paper makes it sound even more daunting.

But (deep breath) fear not! There is something truly beautiful hidden here as well.

One of my favorite things about writing picture books is that it is genuinely the epitome of the POWER of words. An entire story told in fewer words than this blog post will have. A full story arc with beginning, a middle and an end. And not just ANY story arc, one that will attract an agent, dazzle a publisher and make both parents and children reach to pull the story from the shelf time and time again.

Each word has a fingerprint.

Every word chosen MUST fit not only in the sentence, but in the essence of the story itself. Verbs are not only describing the action of the story, but setting the intangible style, the VIBE of the characters and of the story itself.   Adjectives do more than describe the subject they’re linked to, but represent the attitude and individuality of the characters they are entangled with.

Snort and giggle may have the same definition. But the aura of the characters they describe, are distinctly different.

Bounding, lurching and hopping may all describe the same actions, but one word may bring up stronger images of chaos, versus innocence or playfulness. And to make things more… let’s say exciting… there are no hard and fast rules. The same word used in one sentence may have different implications when used in a different way.

Well, that’s just not helpful at all, is it?

While a daunting task for sure, these word description choices also open almost limitless doors. The power is in our hands.   The slight change of a few words can alter an entire story, or give that extra shimmer of life that our characters so desire to have.

So okay, how do I DO that?

For me, something that helps me is when I assess every individual sentence in my picture books in two ways:

Auditory and Meaning

Auditory:

We have the benefit of knowing that 99 percent of the time picture books are read, out loud, TO our ultimate target audience. That’s powerful knowledge! And it’s important to capitalize on it. Of course, most picture book authors know the importance of reading your manuscript out loud from cover to cover. But you can go a step beyond that as well.

I take every individual sentence and read it out loud, numerous times in a row. Think about how the words sound together, how they physically feel coming off the tongue. Try different adjectives, new verbs, try to add or remove a comma, just to see if anything has a more pleasing flow, a more playful sound or something that fits better with the mood I want my readers to be experiencing.

And I ask myself, what would my character think of these sounds?

If I don’t feel that my character would have a natural and deep connection with the sounds and intonations throughout the story, than I’m probably not giving my readers a chance to connect with my character.

Meaning:

Again I take each and every word from each sentence individually and dissect it for meaning. As the great Ame Dyckman would say (author of Boy + Bot, Tea Party Rules and more), it’s the Picture Book Word Count SMACKDOWN! If a word does not make you tingle, if you don’t read it and say to yourself, THAT’S IT, that’s EXACTLY IT… find a better word or take it out!! Trust that your illustrators will know what they’re doing and that they will express the details and description so that you can focus on action.

Again, play with new verbs or adjectives and be sure that each word matches not only the scene that you’re painting in their minds, but the tone of the moment, the spirit of the main character and the emotion that the memory of reading the book will create.

The best picture books and characters are often burned into our memories for our entire lives. The words from these stories carried much more significance than their mere definitions. They were the medium for living, breathing characters that tiptoed off the pages and into our world. Your manuscripts have the opportunity to exercise the profound power of each individual word.

Your manuscripts… and the characters they will bring to life… are worth it!

Erika

Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for another great post.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, Author, inspiration, picture books, Process Tagged: Develop every word, Erika Wassell, Jersey Farm Scribe, Picture Book Characters

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19. READERGIRLZ ROAR FOR BANNED BOOKS WEEK

Adult/Teen Librarian Danielle Dreger-Babbitt from Mill Creek Library WA is here to Roar with readergirlz for Banned Books Week
Welcome Danielle.


Tell us about Banned Books Week
Banned Book Week was started 32 years ago to celebrate the freedom to read after more and more books were being challenged in libraries and schools. According to the American Librarian Association, over 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982. Over 200 of them happened in 2013! You can learn more about Banned Book Week on the ALA website.


What do you do to spread the word about Banned Books Week and Intellectual Freedom Issues?
I do a banned book display each year.  My favorite displays are the ones I did in 2011 when library patrons wrote about their favorite banned books and the 2012 display that took up a whole shelving unit. I love being able to showcase these banned and challenged books.

 
Along with each year’s display, I include Banned Book lists and pamphlets as well as bookmarks and buttons for library customers to take home. We’ve had essay contests where readers write about their favorite challenged or banned books and win copies of banned books. When I visit the middle schools to talk about books in the fall I often bring along books that have been challenged from other parts of the country and have the students guess why they might be banned or challenged.


Readers Roar: (Let’s hear what teens have to say about banned books)
“If people read the books before they banned them, they might have a better understanding of why the book is important. If you ban a book, it only makes me want to read it more.”- Jessica, Grade 11

 
Any Banned Books you would like to highlight?
Some of my favorite banned and challenged books include Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Shine and TTYL by Lauren Myracle, and 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  And my absolute favorite banned/ challenged book is Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Most teens are amazed to hear that it has been taken out of some schools and libraries!
What can readergirlz do to celebrate Banned Books Week?
Check out the activities on the BannedBooksSite . Readergirlz can celebrate their freedom to read by reading one or two banned or challenged books during Banned Book Week. Bonus points for reading these all year long, not just in September and for sharing these titles with their friends and family.
 
More ideas from readergirlz diva Janet Lee Carey: Grab your favorite Banned Book and RIP = Read in Public. Do a selfie while reading your favorite banned book and post it on your favorite social networks. Use twitter hashtag #BannedBooksWeek and @readergirlz when you post on twitter.
Use the site Support Banned Books Week  to add a temporary banner below your profile photo. Divas Janet Lee Carey and Justina Chen's photos:  

 

ONE LAST BIG ROAR from guest poster, Danielle
The best way to support libraries is to use them! Check out books and DVDs and CDs, use the databases to find information, and attend as many library programs and events as your schedule allows. By doing these, you are showing us that you think libraries are important. There are many ways to give back to your library. Consider becoming a volunteer or join the library board or Friend’s Group.  Teens can join the library’s Teen Advisory Board and help make decisions about future library programs and purchases. You can also donate books to the library for the Friends of Library Book Sale. The money from these sales supports library programs and special events!
About Danielle Dreger-Babbitt
I’ve been a teen librarian for over 10 years and have worked in libraries in Massachusetts and Washington. I’ve been an Adult/ Teen Librarian at the Mill Creek Library for over 5 ½ years. I’ve been active in ALA’s YALSA  (Young Adult Library Services Association) for the last decade and have served on committees including Outreach to Teens With Special Needs, The Schneider Family Book Award, and most recently The Alex Awards, for which I was the 2014 committee chair.

In my spare time I write for children and teens. I love to read YA and MG fiction and cooking memoirs/ cookbooks. I own two cats and two badly behaved (but adorable) dogs. I also love to travel and recently visited Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina.

Let’s Link:
Sno-Isle Teen Blog 

Thanks again for the terrific Banned Books post for readergirlz, Danielle!

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20. 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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21. HAPPY AUTUMNAL EQUINOX!

(DEEP BREATH)

Ahhhhh. 

Fall has officially arrived. 

Summer seems like (literally) only yesterday, and yet here we are, on the brink of my favorite time of the year. 

The summer was lovely and part of me is sad to see it go. But I am comforted in knowing that I spent a good deal of time reading outside and soaking up the sun from the comfort of my favorite reading chair. I think I made the most of the warm days---I've certainly read a lot. And thought a lot. (And watched a lot of CrashCourse). While I haven't made much direct progress on the story development front, I have made a constant effort to absorb everything I'm reading (or watching), be it comics, novels, non-fiction ,television, movies, or even YouTubeVideos. 

After all, it's all funneling toward my creativity. 
It's what I call the percolating phase...I never know when or how inspiration will bubble back up and out and into the writing.  I'm just hopeful that it does.

In other news:

I will be participating in the Fall RISD Alumni Sale taking place on Benefit Street in Providence on October 11th. In anticipation of the day, I've gone back to the doodle board to finish up some new pieces. It's been nice to return to my beloved circles, cells, and stones after a few months away. 

Here are my two newest pieces. 

Ascension



Daydream


That's all for now. There's more work to be done and the night is young!

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22. 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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24. 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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25. Kunjungi Cagar Alam, Patel Tewas Diterkan Beruang

Seorang pelintas alam bernama Darsh Patel (22) tewas diterkam beruang hitam ketika sedang berjalan-jalan di Cagar Alam Apshawa, West Milford, New Jersey, Senin (22/9/2014). Patel pergi ke cagar alam tersebut bersama empat temannya.

patel tewas diterkam beruang
Beruang Hitam : google images


Di tengah perjalanan, kelima sekawan tersebut bertemu seekor beruang hitam, yang langsung mengejar mereka. Dalam ketakutan, mereka berlima sudah berupaya menyelamatkan diri dan mencari jalan secepatnya keluar dari hutan.


"Dalam keadaan kacau itulah, mereka terpisah. Mereka lari ke arah yang berbeda-beda," kata polisi setempat. Saat situasi dianggap sudah cukup aman, rombongan itu bisa berkumpul lagi tetapi Patel tak kunjung datang.

Empat kawan Patel lalu menghubungi kepolisian setelah tak bisa menemukan Patel. Mereka melaporkan kejadian yang baru saja mereka alami. Pencarian oleh kepolisian mendapati jasad Patel, dua jam kemudian.

"Bukti di lokasi menunjukkan korban diserang oleh seekor beruang. Beruang itu ada di sekitar lokasi kejadian," kata polisi, sebagaimana dikutip Tribunnews dari AFP.

Pernyataan dari juru bicara Departemen Perlindungan Lingkungan mengatakan, kejadian yang menimpa Patel tersebut merupakan serangan fatal beruang yang pertama di New Jersey sejak 1852.

Cagar alam seluas 576 acre, setara sekitar 233 hektare, tersebut memang populer di kalangan pelancong, pesepeda, penunggang kuda, dan penikmat burung. Beruang hitam sudah umum dijumpai di New Jersey, di 21 kabupaten di wilayah itu.

Namun para pakar menyebut serangan semacam itu merupakan peristiwa yang sangat jarang terjadi. "Benar-benar langka," kata Lawrence Hajna, juru bicara Departemen Pelindungan Hutan seperti dikutip Reuters.

Reuters mengutip pula data bahwa pada 2010 ada sekitar 3.000 beruang di New Jersey, menempatkan negara bagian di Amerika Serikat itu sebagai pemilik populasi beruang terbesar di Amerika.

Negara bagian ini rutin menggelar kegiatan berburu beruang setiap Desember untuk program pengendalian populasi.

Meski demikian, seekor beruang diketahui telah membunuh bocah perempuan berumur 5 tahun pada 2002. Bocah itu diambil dari kereta dorongnya dan sempat diseret ke dalam hutan di kedalaman Catskills Mountains.

Empat tahun yang lalu, beruang di barat laut New Jersey menyerang seorang pria dan mengambil sandwich-nya, meninggalkan lelaki itu terluka memar dan sendi yang lepas. Saat itu, polisi menyebut kejadian itu sebagai insiden pertama di Vernon.

Pada umumnya beruang hitam tak bersikap agresif dan cenderung lari menghindari manusia bila tak sengaja berjumpa, berdasarkan data dari laman New Jersey DEP.

Situs itu menjelaskan bahwa beruang cenderung aktif mencari makan setiap musim gugur untuk mengumpulkan bekal hidup pada musim dingin. Cagar alam ini berisi tanaman ek dan maple yang populer bagi para penjelajah dan pengamat burung.

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