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1. FIFA and the internationalisation of criminal justice

The factual backdrop to this affair is well-known. FIFA, world football’s governing body has, for a number of years, been the subject of allegations of corruption. Then, after a series of dawn raids on 27 May 2015, seven FIFA officials, of various nationalities, the most famous being Jack Warner, the Trinidadian former vice president of FIFA, were arrested in a luxury hotel in Zurich where they were staying prior to the FIFA Congress.

The post FIFA and the internationalisation of criminal justice appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Transitions

It's not enough to just leave an extra blank line or have a chapter break to transition between scenes.

http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2015/04/transitions-between-chapters-not-just.html

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3. Supergirl - First Look

"Why haven't you posted or mentioned Supergirl?"  Well, I assumed everyone had seen this by now -am I wrong?



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4. Sadie Reviews & Interviews


A few new shiny things to share. I did an interview with the wonder that is Mr. Schu for Watch. Connect. Read.   

And Julie Morstad and I rode our tandem bike over to Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast to talk to the fantastic Julie Danielson. 

Julie shared some early sketches from This is Sadie



I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the kind words from bloggers and over on Instagram so if I miss anything, do please let me know. Here are a few responses from the past week.
Author Sara O’Leary takes a remarkably common premise –kids have wild imaginations, and can do wondrous things with nothing more than an empty box– and weaves something incredible. Her text harkens back to a day of unforced simplicity in children’s literature, when easy ideas were delivered with just a pinch of poetry to make them go down even easier. Kinderlit Canada
I don’t know if it was seeing Sadie in a box, on a boat, hammering, wearing a fox mask, sleeping in a blanket fort or looking for her wings that felt most like a connection to my younger self. I do know that reading the lines – “A perfect day is spent with friends. Some of them live on her street, and some of them live in the pages of a book” – made me want to give a copy to every family I know. The Book Jam
‘This is Sadie’ by the formidable picture book pairing of Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad is a celebration of creatively quirky characters and positive affirmation of a wild and wonderful imagination. Pictures Book Blogger
In "This Is Sadie" the little girl with a big imagination sees the ordinary as extraordinary. The Waterloo Record
In this story Sara O'Leary has given readers a character to cherish.  Through Sara's words we see a girl who looks at her world, making it larger with her making, doing and being. Librarian's Quest
Sadie's imagination is so huge she can go anywhere, be anything, without leaving her room. With soft, whimsical illustrations and spare, lyrical text, This Is Sadie takes us on a sweet adventure and reminds us of how far and wide our own imaginations can go.Staff recommendation, Powell's 
Strap on your imaginations and take a trip with Sadie (I think you are going to fall in love with her). This gentle ode to creativity will make a nice addition to storytime. Don’t miss this little Canadian gem, beautifully illustrated by Julie Morstad. Valley Storytime
Earlier reviews and interviews can be found here.

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5. Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

When to Rob a Bank Cover (GalleyCat)We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending May 24, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #3 in Hardcover Fiction) Seveneves by Neal Stephenson: “A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain.” (May 2015)

(Debuted at #12 in Hardcover Nonfiction) When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner: “When Freakonomics was first published, the authors started a blog—and they’ve kept it up. The writing is more casual, more personal, even more outlandish than in their books. In When to Rob a Bank, they ask a host of typically off-center questions: Why don’t flight attendants get tipped? If you were a terrorist, how would you attack? And why does KFC always run out of fried chicken?” (May 2015)

(Debuted at #14 in Hardcover Nonfiction) The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis: “The Quartet is the story of this second American founding and of the men most responsible—George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. These men, with the help of Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris, shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force the calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement.” (May 2015)

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6. Stirring the Plot: Fish Tales and Whoppers

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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7. Cinebook The 9th Art: The Survivors - Episode 2

 
Authors: LEO
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
Paperback

ISBN: 9781849182430
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: March 2015


The small group of marooned humans, minus a few individuals who left after a difference of opinions, survived one group of aliens, received help from a second, and is now travelling towards what appears to be a town. But their adoptive planet is a truly peculiar place with many surprises in store: a wild and unknown nature, inhabitants with unpredictable attitudes and morals ... and other, even stranger phenomena well beyond their comprehension!

This "The Wolds Of Aldebaran" story is almost a "How The West Was Won" but set in space.  Leo has produced some great characters and art -some very imaginative art!- and never ceases to amaze.

In this story we see humans getting involved in "survival" -so you can guess they've taken their knack of using weapons (even if small weapons) to make a point into space.  I think Leo's opinion seems to fall on the side of "There is no reason why aliens are not going to be like us so we need to be careful" -as opposed to "They'll be our space Brothers and Sisters".

If you've not read at a copy of a book in this series then you really should.  Initially I was a little cold but sitting down and reading and looking at the art made me a fan.  Don't ask "why?" because I try never to question it these days!

 


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8. James Patterson Launches Children’s Book Imprint

Bestselling author James Patterson is launching a children’s book imprint at Little, Brown & Company called jimmy patters.

The imprint will publish books by Patterson, as well as by other authors. Profits from the imprint will used for scholarships for teachers as well as to support school libraries and local book stores. The goal of the imprint is to foster a lifetime love of reading among kids. Here is more from the press release:

The defining mission of jimmy patterson will reflect Patterson’s most heartfelt goals: to inspire kids to become willing, self-propelled readers; to help teachers, booksellers, and librarians get the tools, opportunities, and skills they need to accomplish this important duty; and to identify the right books for each child by celebrating a compelling diversity of human voices and experiences.

“James Patterson is a man on a mission: to save lives by making great books available to all kids,” stated Michael Pietsch, Chief Executive Officer of Hachette Book Group. “This new imprint is an exciting way of combining his force as the world’s best-selling author with his inspiring message about getting kids reading.  I can’t think of anyone better equipped with tools and experiences to revolutionize children’s book publishing. With his deep commitment to reading and his let’s-solve-this-problem approach, he is the ideal founder for an imprint that aligns with Hachette Book Group’s tradition of fostering creativity and encouraging risk-taking and innovation.”

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9. 85 Stanford Students Collaborate On a Speech

Stanford Law (GalleyCat)For many, writing is a solitary activity. For the Stanford Law School class of 2015, it has become a group effort.

85 graduates have volunteered to collaborate on a speech. Marta Belcher, the student who initially suggested this crowdsourcing idea, will join together with several other students to share the finished address at a graduation ceremony set to take place on June 13th.

Here’s more from the Standford Law website: “In the first phase, students were given access to the wiki and added their ideas for overarching themes of the speech to a running list. Stage two focused on submitting content ideas, which resulted in the creation of more than 3,000 words of raw content in rough, bullet-point form. The third stage was the editing process, which began with an edit-a-thon on April 30, where students pulled from the content contributed during stage two to create a detailed outline of the speech that they filled in with proposed language.” (via Fusion.net)

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10. Three Questions With Russ Cox: Advice For Young Writers and Illustrators, Tigers and debut author/illustrator picture book FARAWAY FRIENDS

 

I first met Russ Cox through our mutual friend Hazel Mitchell, when we were both members of Pixel Shavings. I've been grateful to Russ for his encouragement and support, especially his tips re: Photoshop and Painter. He's one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. Plus check out the WONDERFUL and uncannily accurate drawing he sent me after I admired it online (and said it looked like me in younger days):

Russ lives in Maine with his wife and 4 furry art directors. When not creating children’s books, he enjoys playing the banjo, moose juggling, and debating Einstein’s theory that the speed of light is constant (only one of those is true). You can find Russ at his website, TwitterFacebook, Flickr, Google+ and Tumblr.

Synopsis of FARAWAY FRIENDS:

Faraway Friends is about Sheldon, a would be astronaut, and his sidekick Jet, who are looking for a lost friend through a space adventure only to find a weird alien creature and its furry friend.

1. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?

I have lots of knicknacks in my studio that I like to look at but this little tiger might be the best thing I have in it. It was made for me by the super talented Jennifer Carson as a surprise gift. She made it from a doodle I posted:

I was stunned when she handed it to me at a NESCBWI conference a few years ago. I smile every time I see it. I think I will call him Otis.

2. What advice do you have for young writers and illustrators?

Being an illustrator for a very long time, I am rather new to the writing end of the book world. The few things I have learned are:

Don’t be afraid to put words to paper. Okay, this is one that I am still working on but I’m getting more comfortable with each attempt I make. I come from an illustration background so writing is outside my comfort zone. It was you, Debbie, who started me on this path after telling me to write a story from a doodle I shared. That nudge and doodle turned into Faraway Friends.

Share your stories with a few people or join a critique group. The fresh eyes and ears can help you find problem areas in your writing, and act as a great support network when the self doubt and fear start creeping in.

Embrace rejection. It is okay to hear “no thank you”. It helps light that creative fire and you learn from it. Faraway Friends received a bunch of rejections before finding a home. Not everyone is going to love your story.

Turn off the modern world and go outside. There are stories outside your house and studio waiting to be heard and told.

3. What are you excited about right now?

I am really excited about doing some promotional events for Faraway Friends. I am in the midst of scheduling signings, festivals, and school visits for the summer and fall.

The projects on my drawing table at the moment are a book series for Penguin Random House called Puppy Pirates (written by Erin Soderbergh Downing) that I am illustrating . This has been a ton of fun to do. The first two books will be released this summer and the other two in the fall. I am also writing some new picture book stories and have begun putting together a graphic novel. That reminds me, time to turn off the computer and head outside.

------
For more interviews, see my Inkygirl Interview Archive.

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11. Silicon Hearts -A Reminder.

Everyone Should Have A Silicon Heart...


I'm sure people here remember Kat Nicholson?  She was interviewed on CBO as one of the artists on Classical Comics A Mid Summer Night's Dream:
http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/classical-comics-nicholson-cardys.html 

No idea where the interview went.  Hmm.

Anyway, I do not promote kick-starter projects.  I can, however, point you in the direction of some nice art and what might be a very good project to support by passing the word around.



The project Face Book page (it's on the blog roll) has some interesting art so why not check it out?

https://www.facebook.com/SiliconHeart/photos/a.253108708198872.1073741828.159826847527059/432192520290489/?type=1&permPage=1

 

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12. Cynsational News, Giveaways & Summer Hiatus

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Thanks so much for being a Cynsational reader! 

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

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

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

See y'all in the fall!

More News  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cynsational Awards

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

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

2015 South Asian Book Awards:

See honor books and more information.

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

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

This Week at Cynsations


More Personally

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

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

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

Thanks again for being Cynsational readers! 

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

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

Personal Links

Now Available!

Cynsational Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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13. No smoking please

 

 

cartoon smoking by monica gupta

No smoking please

एक जानकार बहुत  स्मोक करते हैं वो हर बार अपना टारगेट रख लेते है कि बस होली के बाद कभी लूंगा… फिर राखी पर बात आती है फिर दीपावली पर और फिर नए साल पर … साल दर साल गुजरते जा रहे हैं पर छोड नही पा रहे. मुझे  एक बात याद आई कि एक आदमी ने पेड पकडा हुआ और जोर जोर से चिल्ला रहा कि बचाओ पेड ने मुझे पकड रखा है .. जो देखता हंसता कि भई पेड क्या पकडेगा. तूने ही पेड को पकडा हुआ है. हमारे जानकार भी हालत भी ऐसी ही है. सिग्रेट को पकडा उन्होनें हुआ है और चिल्ला रहे हैं कि बचाओ सिग्रेट ने उन्हें पकडा हुआ है … ह हा हा !!! वैसे हंसना नही चाहिए क्योकि बात बहुत गम्भीर है.

31 मई को वर्ल्ड नो स्मोकिंग डे है सोचा आज इसी पर अपने विचार लिख डालू  smoking  पर सर्वे करने के बाद हैरानी ये पढ कर हुई कि नशे की लत में महिलाएं भी पीछे नहीं हैं और तो और महिला स्मोकर्स की तादाद में तेजी से बढ़ोतरी हो रही है। एम्स के डॉक्टरों का दावा है कि पिछले पांच सालों में महिलाओं में स्मोकिंग 11 पर्सेंट से बढ़कर 20 पर्सेंट तक पहुंच गया है। डॉक्टरों का यह भी कहना है कि महिलाओं में स्मोकिंग की यह लत साल दर साल बढ़ती ही जा रही है.

ग्लोबल एडल्ट टोबैको सर्वे (गैट्स) के अनुसार भारत में कुल जनसंख्या के लगभग 35 पर्सेंट लोग नशा करते हैं। इसमें युवाओं की संख्या सबसे ज्यादा है। मौजूदा समय में 20 पर्सेंट महिलाएं नशे की गिरफ्त में हैं। 31 मई को वर्ल्ड नो स्मोकिंग डे है। स्मोकिंग को लेकर एम्स के डॉक्टरों का कहना है कि आजकल अगर कोई नशा करता है, चाहे वह महिला हो या पुरुष, अब वे स्मोकिंग को अपना स्टेटस मानते हैं और मजबूरी नहीं, बल्कि शौक से पीते हैं। यही शौक उनकी लत बन जाती है और फिर यह लत एक दिन उन्हें बीमार करती है। अब पुरुषों की तरह महिलाएं भी कम उम्र में सिगरेट पीना शुरू कर रही हैं। कहीं-कहीं तो यह भी देखा गया है कि महिलाएं पुरुषों के मुकाबले ज्यादा सिगरेट पीती हैं। उनकी यही आदत स्वास्थ्य को बहुत ही ज्यादा नुकसान पहुंचा रहा है। इसकी वजह से उनमें फेफड़ों के कैंसर का रिस्क और भी ज्यादा बढ़ जाता है।

इस बारे में राष्ट्रीय दवा निर्भरता उपचार केंद्र (एनडीडीटीसी) के हेड डॉक्टर एस. खंडेलवाल का कहना है कि तंबाकू का यूज चाहे किसी रूप में किया जाए, उसका नुकसान तो होना ही है।

एनडीडीटीसी में अडिशनल प्रोफेसर डॉक्टर सोनाली ने कहा कि आजकल बच्चे भी नशे के आदी होते जा रहे हैं। बच्चों में नशे की लत इतनी तेजी से बढ़ रही है कि अगर उसको रोकने के लिए जल्द ही कुछ कड़े कदम नहीं उठाए गए, तो उसके नतीजे काफी खतरनाक हो सकते हैं। क्योंकि अगर बच्चे दस साल की उम्र में कोई नशा करते हैं तो वह लंबे समय तक इसका यूज करेंगे और उसे खतरनाक बीमारी होने की आशंका ज्यादा होती है। डॉक्टर ने कहा कि अब स्मोकिंग छोड़ने के कई उपाय हैं जिनमें मेडिकेशन, काउंसलिंग और जरूरी दवा के जरिए अपनी इस लत से छुटकारा पाया जा सकता है

No smoking please….

6 Ways Quitting Smoking Is Good for Your Heart| Everyday Health

One of the most important things you can do to keep your heart healthy — and to keep it beating for as long as possible — is to avoid or quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, kicking the habit can heal the damage nicotine inflicts on your heart and on your longevity in several striking ways. See more…

सस्मोकिंग की चाह जगे तो पुस्तक पढें, कसरत करें और ध्यान में मन लगाएं। सकारात्मक सोच और दृढ़ इच्छाशक्ति से ही इस बुरी आदत से मुक्त हो सकेंगे। आयुर्वेद विशेषज्ञों के अनुसार शतावरी, ब्राह्मी, अश्वगंधा जैसी जड़ी-बूटियां और त्रिफला व सुदर्शन चूर्ण शरीर से दूषित पदार्थों को बाहर निकालने का काम करते हैं। लिंग और जरूरी दवा के जरिए अपनी इस लत से छुटकारा पाया जा सकता है

best way to quit smoking

See more…

कुल मिला कर यही कहना है कि जो अखबार मे लिखा रहता है कि सिगेट पीना स्वास्थय के लिए हानिकारक है वो ऐसे ही नही लिखा हुआ … वाकई में बहुत भाव छिपा है इसके पीछे … अगर आप वाकई में … गौर कीजिएगा, वाकई में छोडना चाह्तें हैं तो आप इसे छोड सकते हैं क्योकि सिग्रेट  ने आपको नही बल्कि आपने सिग्रेट  यानि मौत को पकड रखा है…  और शुभ काम के लिए हर समय शुभ है और सिग्रेट छोडने से ज्यादा शुभ विचार कोई और हो ही नही सकता

No smoking please….

The post No smoking please appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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14. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Lorna Dounaeva, Author of May Queen Killers

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24899255-may-queen-killers


My new novel, May Queen Killers, reads almost like a cosy mystery, but there is a psychological element and a pinch of humour at the heart of the story.

Mystery writer Jock Skone arrives in Fleckford, a small village on the English/Welsh border, where he instantly falls for tea-shop owner Sapphire Butterworth. Not long after they meet, Sapphire is presiding over the village’s May Day celebrations when she suddenly jumps down from her float and flees through the crowd.  Jock runs after her, but is unable to keep up.  Eventually, he trudges back to her tea-shop and a few minutes later, someone throws a brick through the window.

The mystery of the missing May Queen deepens as it is revealed that Sapphire was not the first May Queen to go missing. Jock and his new friend Dylan set out to solve the mystery over endless cups of Yorkshire tea and slices of Battenberg cake.  If you’re not familiar with Battenberg, it’s a light sponge cake made up of chequered pink and yellow squares, cemented with apricot jam and covered with marzipan. 

Sapphire’s tea-shop is 1950s themed, with tea cosies, fancy china and frilly table cloths.  By contrast, just over the road, is the Dragon pub, where Jock is staying. Its landlord, Neil would rather sit and eat a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, than serve his customers. And the only foods on his menu are microwaved shepherd’s pies and chips. I know where I’d rather eat…

 
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lorna!



You can find Lorna here:

 


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15. Flogometer for Catherine—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Welcome. Only one in the queue for next week. 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.

Download a free PDF copy here.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins connecting the reader with the character
  • 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 character desires something.
  • The character 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?

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

Also, if you think about it, the same checklist should apply to the page where you introduce an antagonist.


Catherine sends a first chapter of Raphael Ascending . The remainder is after the break.

Please vote. It helps the writer.

Hustle bustle very busy, the uniforms, all shiny badges and polished shoes delivering paperwork to the suits at their scattered desks. The day after Thanksgiving. A lot of arrests made. Family affairs, booze, and football. Too much testosterone in turkey?

Their attention shifted from their chores when Detective Sergeant Freddy Wall squealed, "I'm not going on night shift." The plush, pushed- past- fifty, plain-clothes rolled his chair closer to the protection of his iron desk.

The uniforms and the other detectives, like spectators at a tennis game, shifted their sly eyes to the thirty-four year old man towering over Freddy. Chief of Detectives Troy Ames. Six two, blond, in full dress uniform sharp and spiffy, blue eyes blazing. "It's not a request, Sergeant Wall. It's an order. Monday, night shift."

Freddy's face contorted to a fierce pig-face stare, ears pinned back, nostrils arching to expose nose hairs. "You're new here, pal. You ought to know, I got a lot of friends in city hall."

Ice wrapped Troy's baritone. "Night shift or suspension, Sergeant Wall."

The audience exchanged lifted eyebrows and squints. Freddy squared his short, wide shoulders, bubbling his double chin toward his collarbone. "I could tell these guys some things about you."

Were you compelled to turn Catherine's first page?

A colorful, fresh voice and some good bridging tension on this first page. Two story questions: what will happen to Freddy, and what is the dirt he has on Ames. I think this could be crisper, and I would take a serious look at trimming the first and second paragraphs just enough  to get the next two lines on the first page, wherein Ames announces that he’s gay in a strong and fun way. Just a few notes:

Hustle bustle very busy, the uniforms, all shiny badges and polished shoes delivering paperwork to the suits at their scattered desks. The day after Thanksgiving. A lot of arrests made. Family affairs, booze, and football. Too much testosterone in turkey?

Their attention shifted from their chores when Detective Sergeant Freddy Wall squealed, "I'm not going on night shift." The plush, pushed- past- fifty, plain-clothes rolled his chair closer to the protection of his iron desk.

The uniforms and the other detectives, like spectators at a tennis game, shifted their sly eyes to the thirty-four year old man towering over Freddy. Chief of Detectives Troy Ames. Six two, blond, in full dress uniform sharp and spiffy, blue eyes blazing. "It's not a request, Sergeant Wall. It's an order. Monday, night shift."

Freddy's face contorted to a fierce pig-face stare, ears pinned back, nostrils arching to expose nose hairs. "You're new here, pal. You ought to know, I got a lot of friends in city hall."

Ice wrapped Troy's baritone. "Night shift or suspension, Sergeant Wall."

The audience exchanged lifted eyebrows and squints. Freddy squared his short, wide shoulders, bubbling his double chin toward his collarbone. "I could tell these guys some things about you." I’m not sure shoulders can be short. Narrow, yes, but short?

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.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

Flogging the Quill © 2015 Ray Rhamey, story © 2015 Catherine

Continued:

Troy's canines gleam sparked. "Attention, everybody. What Sergeant Wall is hinting at, what he's trying to blackmail me with, to get his own way, I'm gay. Feel free to refer to me in your discussions as queer, queen, homo, fag. I don't mind at all. You have a first amendment right to do so." His arctic eyes signalled an almost evil double dog dare as his gaze swept the room. "Monday. Night shift, Wall. The end."

 

Outside the sky slung low and heavy, yellow-white swatches running camo across the gray rumbles that popped now and then with deeper bass throbs. The air sucked and squeezed in slow motion dark chill. The green and silver metro bus, diesel exhaust puffing curly snakes, swung around the corner at Park onto Bruce, the day-after -holiday traffic dodging hither skither in a bee swarm logic brought from a parallel universe. The driver of the red Caddy coupe in the ShopNSave parking lot hit the gas instead of the brake and t-boned the bus between the behemoth's front and rear doors. And the rain finally came, falling from the fast flash webs. Sharp, cold, thick with punishment. The long screech of metal ragging, the squelch of tires skidding, the squawk of horns, fed into the wind. Black Friday clusters crowded up close, concern they wouldn't get their fair share of the thrill freezing their grins.

 

Freddy focused his full attention on the Daily Globe's sports pages. The newspaper spread over a short stack of case files that needed reading and note-marking. Work that should have been done on Wednesday. But, well, football pool picks were deadlined for four p.m. Who to pick, who to pick. Ten bucks down and a double c-note to pocket if. Big if. Who to pick? Freddy scratched his right eyebrow.

Mack Grift paused at Freddy's desk on the way to his own. "You better get your reports written. Ames catches you..."

"Nancy can kiss my ass. No. Strike that. I might catch something off his luscious lips." Freddy showed his coffee stained teeth. "Some of us'll be seeing our union rep about going to the commissioner. Get Nancy booted out of here on account of." Freddy winked.

Grift dropped into his chair. "Count me out. I will not mess with Ames, period end of sentence. I seen him working out in the exercise room. He could seriously hurt an elephant. Hell, I can see him wrestling down a rhino."

"Bullshit."

"Truth."

"His kind all got empty balls."

 

Warner didn't knock first. The chief of police just bloomed into Troy's tiny office, taking up too much space. Troy's jaw muscle just below his left ear flexed. "You came to talk about Freddy."

Warner shrugged as he planted his ass on the window-side corner of Troy's desk. Again Troy's jaw muscle twitched. The wind smacked water-logged specks of this and that onto the window in company with low-toned moans and tumbling thumps. Warner shifted his weight and flicked a half-second smile. "He called the mayor. They're cousin-in-laws, you know."

Troy selected a long slim cigar from the fine-grained mahogony humidor next to his in-out tray. The in shelf was barren, the out shelf stacked high with completed work. He didn't offer a cigar to Warner. Men who came into his office without knocking didn't get an expensive imported cigar. Troy puffed his slim into life. "I didn't know and I don't care. He's been slacking for a long time. It ends now. Night shift, he'll run his ass off on prelims."

Warner bobbed his bald head left, right, left. Troy fixed his clear blues on the chief. "Pick a side. And if you pick him, my resignation will be on your desk in five minutes."

"You don't mean that."

Troy slid his yellow notepad to the center of his deskpad and wrote in sharp elegant cursive, 'I resign effective immediately Troy Ames'. He eased the sheet from its perforations, folded it neatly into thirds and held it out to Warner. "I can see the newspaper headlines. War hero cop leaves p d , disgusted by corruption."

Warner stiffened. "Listen, Ames."

"Choose a side."  Voice, eyes. Cold. Hard. No latitude. Not now. Not ever. A certainty that he would have his way. Fifteen years giving orders in the army and a man developed Attitude.

Two lights raps sounded on the door. A patrolman stuck in half his head. "Dead man on a bus, sir. Driver says maybe shot."

The lights went out.

 

Locke always sat in the long, aisle-facing seat midbelly in the bus. Cramming his six six into a smaller forward-facing one put an unfortunate squish on his delicate parts. He sat on the door side in easy slump, legs wide. The jolt from the t-bone rocked him forward but quick as get-out, his calf muscles tightened, keeping him firm on the bench. He shifted his denim jacketed body sideways to look out the window behind him. The son of a bitch yahoo in the Caddy flung open his car door and glanced up at Locke's window as he pumped his bulk free of the bucket seat. Locke flipped him the bird then closed his big hand into a big fist. Yahoo stayed sheltered behind the car door. Locke, his almost-an-angel face set to minor menace, green eyes casual, continued to stare at him.

The bus driver replaced his radio mike and rose to check his passengers. Hail joined the perfect rain, rocking the behemoth a wee bit.

 

Troy summoned Grift to accompany him and the two lab boys. Gathered in the garage waiting for the cars to warm up, Grift, having found favor in the eyes of the boss, said, "Uh, sir, can I ask you a question?"

"Shoot."

"We all scrapped our way out of division into plainclothes. You're our boss, so, why do you wear a uniform?"

"Because I look damn good in it."

Grift nodded. Mystery solved. The boss was a peacock. A t-rex peacock.

 

The tow truck eased the Caddy away from the bus, revealing the Texas sized dent in the behemoth's hide. Firemen applied crowbars to the jammed doors.

Locke's stomach gurgled and he had to pee. And the dead bus began to chill. And the damned cops clittered around outside doing a hell of a lot of not much. Unhappy day and home far away. Not that it was much of a home. A rented room over a rundown drycleaners. He counted the forks of lightning claiming the rolling gray- purple bundles climbing up from the horizon. The passenger, presumably a guy, in the seat one up from the butt of the bus, was dead, so the driver said, shot in the head maybe clued from the blood on the headrest. So Locke reckoned it would be a while before he enjoyed what little comfort he could have at home. The four old women in the front seats huddled boohooing to the driver. Unhappy day. Son of a bitch.

He gave up on his intimidation of the yahoo and straightened around to study the storm through the window across the aisle.  Magnificent, the slow impatience. The sluggish surrender  to movement. The push of under black to break out. So many artists had painted stormy skies  and none of them had ever done it right.

 

Troy stood on the top bus step and looked down the length of the behemoth. His right eyebrow scrooched. His nostrils fluttered with a quick snort. The odor of ungentle use. His inner man issued a silent hmmm. Bus. A mobile crime scene that would be towed to impound where the lab boys could take their time. Hmmm. The bus company will squawk if it's kept too long. He might have to flex an official muscle. Good. He liked flexing muscle. He had a mobile crime scene, a contained crime scene. Which should have been a plus, but, likely, the bus hadn't been cleaned all week. Cigarette butts, wads of gum, gobs of hair, candy wrappers, a million fingerprints - most of this evidence of ungentle use would not be evidence connected to the current corpse. Hours and hours of sort and separate and evaluate and in the end he could hope for a crumb to chew on.

So, order of operations. Passengers and driver off in cruisers to the station for processing. Medical examiner declares the dead guy's dead and carts him off to autopsy. Bus to impound. The bells of St. Francis tossed four o'clock into the storm. Troy's right eyebrow scrooched down again. Grift stood on the bottom steps. Troy gave him a circling finger. "And Grift, they're going to miss their supper. Get some nice deli or something."

"Yes, sir."

Troy spare the group a brief survey. The driver, a short, hefty working man who wouldn't stand out in a crowd, four little old ladies in long black wool coats and tight-knotted scarves, support stockings, sensible shoes. And the man in the middle seat. "Grift, be sure you read everybody their rights. Just in case." The sergeant nodded. Troy set his face to no-nonsense. "Ladies and gentlemen, Sergeant Grift will take you to the station. We have to talk to you while your memories are still fresh. Then we'll see you get home safe and sound. Now, if you'll go along, please."

Troy caught his breath when the man in the middle stood up and faced him. Six six to the slim-legged inch, yep. He let his gaze linger for a guilty moment on the big boy's jean zipper and the evidence to the left of the zipper of promising goodness. He added a twinkle of admiration for the broad shoulders and perfect posture. So many tall men bent their backs to lean down to the shorties of the world.

He blew a silent yep. His groin flickered and he had to focus on the job at hand and he told his inner man he might be lusting after a murderer and it would be a damned shame if the guy was and he was probably hetero anyway and focus, dude. Job. But it had been a long time and the guy...focus, Ames, focus, damn it. Then Goorgeous bounced down the steps and folded into the back seat of a cruiser.

Doc Parks flashed a big grin and saluted as he mounted the steps. 'General, I'm all wet."

Leprechaun. The only single-word description for Doc. Perfect, down to the never-lit pipe always in his mouth. Troy gave the medical examiner an eyebrow twitch. "Realized that the first day we met, Doc. Step to the back of the bus, please."

 

Doc shifted his haunches. "Yes, sir, he's dead. Probably within the past couple hours. Appears to be a small caliber gunshot close range through the cervix of the neck." Doc's delicate fingering probed the top few inches of the corpse's front. "No apparent exit wound. Odd, that. We should have a through and through." He straightened. "Curious about that. Autopsy asap. Bag him. You going to be around?"

Troy nodded. "Six witnesses slash suspects to handle, I won't be going home for a while."

They exited the bus into a dark descending thick and quick. Light rain now and ice forming fragile chips on everything.

 

Troy pulled into his assigned parking space. The radio crackled. He clicked the mike. "Go ahead."

A fizzy voice came back. "Chief, Grift. The male passenger, manslaughter conviction on the books."

"Roger that. I'm in the parking lot. Two minutes." He clipped the mike back on the rack. "Shit."

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16. Sophie's Animal Parade - a bookwrap







Unwrapping...








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




Unwrapping the illustrations...





















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

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

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

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

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



About the author...






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








About the illustrator...







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




Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.




Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com


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17.


Relax,relate,release.

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18. David's Drawing Table episode 2




Did you ever want to be a storyteller? You probably already are! Join author/illustrator David Hyde Costello at the Drawing Table and help him figure out what to do about one scary lake monster. Is he friend or is he foe? Your ideas are needed!

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19. Sun Trap? Oh, It WAS Supposed To Be A Comedy? Now Let Me Tell You...


 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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20. School Visit: Messages on the Wall

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When I visit schools — which is often, and always gratefully — if time allows we’ll arrange for me to enjoy lunch with an intimate group of students. It’s always relaxed and informal, just talking, hanging out together, trading desserts. In some groups the conversation turns to literary concerns, but more often we just sort of chat, talk about ourselves, and try to crack each other up. I like it because, finally, it’s not strictly about me, me, me. My power point, my dumb books. These visits become more about them, and the truth is that I’m probably more comfortable that way. I’m surely more entertained.

Anyway, there was a white board in the room earlier in the week. Toward the end, as the principal was trying to pry the students away, a few of them wandered over to the board to write brief messages. I snapped a photo of these two, just to share with you, My Mighty Nation of Readers!

Sweet, huh?

IMG_0228

 

Sophie, you are welcome, the pleasure was all mine.

And Elizabeth, I’m not offended at all. There’s so many great books out there, I’m just glad you picked one of mine.

 

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21. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to Host the Very Eric Carle Exhibit

Very Eric Carle (GalleyCat)The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will host the “Very Eric Carle” exhibit. The curators drew inspiration from five Eric Carle picture books for this program: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, and The Very Busy Spider.

The opening date has been scheduled for June 13th. The exhibition will run at this institution until September 20th.

Carle had this statement in the press release: “I am delighted that the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is creating an interactive, discovery exhibit inspired by my quintet of ‘Very’ books. I hope young visitors will enjoy moving and exploring throughout the exhibition like the small creatures crawl and move in my books and that the exhibition will be enjoyed by visitors of all ages!”

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22. The Amazing Octopus

octopus

One amazingly interesting creature is the octopus; this cephalopod can twist and turn its body into many shapes, suction to all types of surfaces, and use a cloud of ink to distract predators. This week, researchers uncovered the California two-spot octopus’s ability to sense light through its skin.

When the scientist shone a beam of light on the skin of an octopus the chromatophores (pigmented structures in the skin) expanded and the skin changed color. When the light was turned off, the chromatophores contracted again and the octopus was back to its original color. Why does this happen? Scientists determined that the octopus’ skin has proteins called opsins that work with the chromatophores for this reaction to occur.

(Read more about the experiments here)

Changing colors is nothing new in the octopus species; they can become red with anger, or transparent in sunlight. The more tools the creature has to camouflage itself the better chance for survival in the wild depths of the ocean where predators are abundant.

To learn more about the octopus or how other animals use light in the depths of the ocean here is a short underwater reading list!

Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud

Octavia and her Purple Ink Cloud
Octavia Octopus and her sea-animal friends love playing camouflage games to practice how they would hide from a “big, hungry creature.” Octavia, however, just cannot seem to get her colors right when she tries to shoot her purple ink cloud. What happens when the big, hungry shark shows up looking for his dinner? This creative book introduces basic colors along with the camouflage techniques of various sea animals; a great introduction to marine biology!

DayDeep_128A Day in the Deep
Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.

ocean hide and seek_PAPERBACKOcean Hide and Seek
The sea is a place of mystery, where animals big and small play hide and seek! Can you imagine a shark hiding in the light? What about a clownfish in plain sight? Don’t believe it? Then, sink into the deep blue sea with Jennifer Evans Kramer and Ocean Hide and Seek! Surround yourself with the vibrant ocean illustrations of Gary R. Phillips. The ocean is an old, old place, and the exotic animals in the depths have learned to adapt to their surroundings to survive. Can you find the creatures hidden on every page? Or will you, too, be fooled by an ancient, underwater disguise?


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23.

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24. Cinebook the 9th Art: Kenya 3 - Aberrations


 



 Kenya 3 - Aberrations
Authors: LEO & Rodolphe
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182492
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: April 2015


After reporting to London, Kathy Austin returns to Kenya to continue her investigation. In the palace of Count Di Broglie, the young English woman finally meets the last survivors of the Remington expedition, but they lack material proof to support their stories. Kathy is ordered to obtain information on Irmanius, a rather inquisitive individual who’s been snooping around the country. Who is he working for? The Americans, the Russians… or some considerably more foreign power?

This gets really WEIRD.  Aliens of various types, UFOs and Sea serpent along with various odd Government sorts.  Almost like my life from 1977-2007 but no phrases such as "You did sign the Official Secrets Act"  -I'm sure CBOs two viewers in Antarctica will appreciate that.

Anyway, this series is developing well and the "coming of the saucers" sequence is a nice touch.  I don't think this series could be anything but good.  If you are into Forteana, UFOs or the weird give this a try.  Like very good comics -give this a try!
 

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25. GJ Book Club: Speed on Mass Drawing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Study from Life:

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

Middle tone applied overall and lights placed.
Shadows added.

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

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

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

Original blog post Announcing the GJ Book Club

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