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1. Original Gallery Art Give Away!

Acquerello III Kickstarter up-date:

I can't thank all of you enough to help me reach my campaign goal.  This is the last original art give away.  I will randomly select two luck winners and announce the result on the last day of the campaign, on Friday, March 13, at 9am.  The cityscape painting is a special edition original painting created for Acquerello III.  It's painted in Hong Kong during my travel.  The abstract piece on the left, is a gallery painting, which is first exhibited at Asterisk Gallery, San Francisco at the "Party Mix Tape" show with Beehive Society.  
Please continue to support this campaign.  We are getting very close to the first stretch goal!!  


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2. Hilary Knight Stars in HBO Documentary

Eloise series illustrator Hilary Knight will star in an HBO documentary called It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise.

Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, two filmmakers who are best known for their work on the Girls TV show, served as executive producers for this project. Dunham also makes appearances in the actual film.

The Huffington Post reports that this movie is “a portrait of Knight and his role in forming the origin story of a revered female protagonist.” The video embedded above features the full teaser trailer. A premiere date has been set for March 23rd.

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3. Christian Grey Costume Deemed Inappropriate For School Kid

Christian Grey, the main character in the salacious book 50 Shades of Grey, has been deemed an inappropriate favorite book character by school officials in the UK.

An 11 year-old boy was forced to change after wearing the costume to school yesterday for World Book Day, a day in which kids in the UK and Ireland are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character. The Guardian has more:

His mother, Nicola Scholes, a primary school teacher, accused the school of double standards. Talking to the Manchester Evening News, she pointed out that a teacher was dressed as the blood-splattered forensics-expert-turned-serial-killer Dexter from the book and US TV show.

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4. Warren Adler Discusses the Future of Publishing

Warren Adler, author of the bestselling novel and film The War of the Roses, has been self-publishing through his imprint Stonehouse Productions for years and has found it quite successful.

He is currently developing the Hollywood sequel to The War of the RosesThe War of the Roses: The Children, along with other projects including: Capitol Crimes, a television series based on Adler’s Fiona Fitzgerald mystery novels, as well as a feature film based on Adler and James Humes’ WWII thriller, Target Churchill, in association with Myles Nestel and Lisa Wilson of The Solution Entertainment Group.

GalleyCat caught up with Adler to discuss how publishing has been evolving and where it is going.

GC: How has self-publishing evolved?
WA: The Internet has opened up an arena in which people’s latent desire to be noticed, and to communicate their thoughts, opinions and alleged talents to others, has spawned an explosion of creative expression of epic proportions.

Publishing technology led by Amazon has blasted open those gates, and any writer who can put words on a screen can, with little effort and expense, offer a book for publication, joining an endless cyber shelf along with every popular and classical author on the planet.

Some few in various categories have found a market for their efforts. The overwhelming majority has not, except for sales to devoted friends and relatives. For some, this is satisfaction enough. For those who have fantasized of achieving instant fame and fortune, it has been an exercise in disappointment and frustration. Nevertheless, like the impossible odds of winning the lottery, a very few have exceeded beyond their wildest dreams, and have encouraged more and more to enter the fray.

GC: Is the market-oversaturated?

WA: As long as there are no limits on the offerings, and there is infinite cyberspace to accommodate anyone who chooses to create a book, the market will expand exponentially. Indeed, no eBook will ever go out of print and the numbers will continue upward.

Amazon is clearly able to profitably absorb the flow, and as others like Apple, Kobo, and perhaps Nook expand their capacity, the market will proliferate endlessly. Screening attempts, meaning subjectively picking the wheat from the chaff, which was once exclusively the work of selected print publications and reviewers is now in the hands of a vast array of self-appointed recommenders and critics who have collectively become \"the screeners.\" They offer milliseconds of opinion plucked from the infinite swamp of review offerings.

GC: What do you think of Amazon reviews?
WA: There is the phenomenon of the starred review, which has become, despite being dubious, largely an unreliable and non-transparent source, a kind of pop standard critique of a book’s worth. I often wonder how the Bible might score on this standard. \"A bit wordy, too many names and undefined characters and plot lines.\" One star.

The opposite of infinite is finite. Need I discuss the fact that the readers of books are finite and, by most accounts, shrinking.

GC: How can authors get noticed in this landscape?

WA: A cottage industry has grown up around the premise of authors getting noticed, all of which advocate the same basic ideas. Engage with potential readers, blog frequently, create a fan base, stay in touch, seek speaking engagements, attempt to get into readers clubs, send press releases, engage professionals for PR and advertising, try for television and radio interviews, send postcards, do videos and podcasts, find creative ways to keep your name out there. These ideas work for notoriety, although sales are never guaranteed.

Of course, for many the grand prize is to get your book adapted for television and film, the longest shot of all. If the adaptation is an enduring hit, then it will be very helpful to book sales. If it is a flop, it won’t be much help. Besides, if you’re lucky enough to get a production, the chances are that it will happen long after your book is launched – this has certainly been my own experience.
The secret to all this advice is consistency and repetition, requiring a serious commitment of time, effort, and money.

GC: What do you expect in the future of book publishing?

WA: With shelf space diminishing in brick and mortar stores, and infinite cyber book \"shelves\" proliferating with endless books in all categories, a number of scenarios suggest themselves:

1. Random House or a competing company, in self-defense, could buy up Barnes and Noble’s stores and other chains still existent around the world and set up their own combination of brick and mortar and cyber stores.

2. Amazon could buy Barnes and Noble to complement its already formidable hold on the market.

3. Amazon could set up its own bricks-and-mortar chains and create some creative ways to use its POD operation in some shelving mechanism yet to be developed.

4. Authors with some recognition and respectable output in the past and with some subjective compatibility will form their own publishing companies as individuals or collectives and pool their resources in an effort to market their work, not only in books, but in all media worldwide.

Authors are particularly at risk in this new environment and, as one of that tough and irascible breed, I wish I could offer a comforting look into the future. Writing is our calling. No matter how conditions change in the marketplace we will soldier on no matter what.

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5. Edinburgh - Pictures 3

More photos of our adventure! So when you walk to Queens Street - you look down and there is the Firth of Forth. It's sort of on the other side of the town from where we're looking at apartments. Lovely, but a little far to walk from the College of Art every day.

Random lion:

Bulbs are coming up everywhere - purple crocus' mostly. So lovely!

Here they are blooming in the Princes Street Garden:

Right next to the monument for Sir Walter Scott:

(And yes, there is a bag-pipe player in full regalia playing nearby.)
That's it for now. We're off to "Burger" for their first anniversary party this evening. We've totally hooked in with the foodie scene here and have already made friends. Fun!

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6. Edinburgh - Pictures 2

Random shots while wandering about town...
There are bookstores EVERYWHERE!!!

And this is the square where the annual book festival is held:

The pubs really are stunning...

Stan had a meeting here:

And here he is at the Bon Vivante (a French restaurant on Thistle Street):

This is across from an apartment we're looking at - it's being refurbished:

Random clock tower:

On the higher street of Victoria Street:

And Stan looking over, facing the other way, up Victoria Street:

We really haven't been doing the touristy stuff. We've mostly been walking - trying to get to know the neighborhoods and get our bearings. Truly, everything is within walking distance in Edinburgh, but there can be some tremendous hills from point A to B. Everywhere, we're surrounded by ancient and old architecture butting up against the new. And everywhere, people smile. This has got to be the friendliest town I've ever been to - hands down.
More coming soon!

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7. De la couleur, en voici en voilà !...

Encore quelques coups de pinceau et je vous présenterai le final. ^_^

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8. Submarine Stories and Military Writers


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9. "Whao! What's this? It does look like a problem!"

John's been trying to work out a shooting match between GoDaddy and Comcast. I hate it when I have to kick the can to confront corporate giants. 

My tiny little website has been misbehaving. Pages won't load - the site hangs - a small jpeg takes 4 minutes to load. That's not good.  

The expert GoDaddy web-hosting engineer ran a traceroute, saw nothing wrong and told me it was definitely a Comcast problem. I went to find any help at Comcast, but there isn't any. I could only find a user forum, where the poor abandoned souls in distress gather on the wrack & ruin of their technical problems, with the giant edifice of Comcast giving them the cold shoulder.

The lone Comcast castaways had a different result on the traceroute they kindly ran on my site.  

On the forum I had 5 different people look at my site, who all live in different cities - one even in europe.  They had the same results as I had. It seemed illogical that the problem would be with Comcast when the problems I have are experienced by the different people who live all around the world.  

To say I felt like I was up the creek without a paddle is putting it mildly.

So armed with this new knowledge, I went back to GoDaddy.  I spent 40 minutes while a patient GoDaddy admin poked around and finally found some test pages that were not working, just like I told him. Finally after 10 more minutes I was delighted to hear him say, "Whao! What's this? That's interesting... so it DOES look like it's on our end after all!"    

And it turns out it's a newly discovered issue that they're working on. Hopefully it'll get fixed soon! My website is my portfolio.

So I'm not crazy and it's not just me! It might be affecting many, many websites out there. It's all too complicated for me to figure out.

Oh, and the web-hosting admin was very complimentary about my illustration... he said it reminded him of Dr. Seuss.  

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10. Poetry Friday: A Good Boy by Robert Louis Stevenson

I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.

But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

- A Good Boy by Robert Louis Stevenson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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11. 83% of Kids Love Being Read Aloud To: Scholastic

Most parents of small children know the benefits of reading to kids, but older kids can also benefit from the activity.

In fact, 83 percent of kids ages 6 to 17  say they love being read aloud to, according to Scholastic’s \"Kids & Family Reading Report: 5th edition.\"

The report found that parents often stop reading to their kids as they get older and can read independently, yet 40 percent of kids ages 6 to 11, said they wish their parents kept reading aloud to them, mainly because of the special time together. Ninety-one percent of kids said they prefer books \"I picked out myself\" and 70 percent like books \"that make me laugh.\"

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12. Georgia Children's Book Award Finalists Poster!

Oh my!! A friend shared this with me on Facebook!

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13. Original Gallery Art Give Away!

Acquerello III Kickstarter up-date:

I can't thank all of you enough to help me reach my campaign goal.  This is the last original art give away.  I will randomly select two luck winners and announce the result on the last day of the campaign, on Friday, March 13, at 9am.  The cityscape painting is a special edition original painting created for Acquerello III.  It's painted in Hong Kong during my travel.  The abstract piece on the left, is a gallery painting, which is first exhibited at Asterisk Gallery, San Francisco at the "Party Mix Tape" show with Beehive Society.  
Please continue to support this campaign.  We are getting very close to the first stretch goal!!  


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14. Blood Runs Green: Your nineteenth-century Chicago true crime novel


Below follows a well-contextualized teaser, or a clue (depending on your penchant for genre), from Sharon Wheeler’s full-length review of Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago at Inside Higher Ed.

Blood Runs Green is that rarer beast—academic research in the guise of a true crime account. But it leaps off the page like the best fictional murder mystery. Mind you, any author presenting these characters to a publisher under the banner of a novel would probably be sent away to rein in their over-fertile imagination. As Gillian O’Brien says: “The story had everything an editor could want: conspiracy, theft, dynamite, betrayal, and murder.”

So this is far more than just a racy account of a murder in 1880s Chicago, a city built by the Irish, so the boast goes (by the late 1880s, 17 per cent of its population was Irish or Irish-American). At the book’s core is the story of Irish immigrants in the US, and the fight for Irish independence through the secret republican society Clan na Gael. In England, and running parallel to events in America, is the saga of Charles Stewart Parnell, a British MP and leading figure in the Home Rule movement.

Who got bumped off is an easy one to answer: Patrick Cronin, a Chicago doctor, Clan na Gael supporter, and a chap renowned for belting out God Save Ireland at fundraising events. Whodunnit? Ah, well, now you’re asking.

To read more about Blood Runs Green, click here.

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15. Revising Characters

This revision layer does not require you to cut all descriptions of clothes, hair, and accoutrements. Rather, it asks you to take a fresh look at your descriptions and decide if they are meaningful and powerful rather than bland and boring.

The best way to do that is to look at each character individually and each instance in which you have described them.

1. Save a copy of your draft as “Character Description (insert character Name)” and delete everything but the sections that deal with that character (keeping chapter references). It is critical that you revise at this level for your protagonist, antagonist, love interest. If you want to be thorough, do it for your secondary characters as well. Walk-ons deserve a brief look, but not necessarily a file.

If you prefer, you can peruse a printed version of your manuscript and highlight or circle the descriptions of each character separately. You could mark them with different colored ink or stick-on tabs. 

The important part is that you start at the becinning of the story and read through that character looking for continuity mistakes, character definition, and consistency.

2. Have you described the character as he enters the story?

3. Have other characters described this character?

4. Are your descriptions meaningful and original or full of clichés and weak adjectives? Have you repeated the same descriptive information over and over?

5. Are there instances of dissonance or change?

6. Do words and actions illustrate the character? Do they play against type? Are you promoting stereotypes?

7. Is your point of view character’s description of someone accurate or inaccurate due to his personality, past history, or  current situation? Does his opinion change?

8. Have you used clichés or purple prose?

9. Have you made changes in one area and forgotten to change them in the rest (hair and eye color, history, clothing choices).

10. Have you changed their name? Make certain it is changed everywhere! Make certain it is spelled the same everywhere.

11. Have you given them so many nicknames, terms of endearment, or shortened names that it becomes confusing?

It helps to have a character profile nearby when revising for each character listing their visual appearance, quirks, speech style, personal style etc.

You can create your own profiles or utilize the ones provided in Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook (which also include personality traits).

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16. I’ll show you WINTER.


by Watie White, http://watiewhite.com

Seasonally enough, last night I attended Blizzard of Voices, an oratorio by Paul Moravec (husband to your friend and mine Wendy Lamb). While you might have thought the warm and woody Jordan Hall would have been an oasis in Boston’s horrible weather, Moravec’s commemoration of the 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard was terrible–in the exactest sense–in its evocation of the wind and cold and terror and death that swept over the Great Plains and killed more than two hundred people.

Taken from Ted Kooser‘s book of the same name, the work’s texts were beautifully shared shared among a chorus and six soloists:

We finally had to dig
Down into a drift, wrapping
the blanket around us. Billy
died in the night. I thought he
was only asleep. At dawn,
I dug out, finding that we
Were in the sight of the homeplace.

And with the orchestra thundering–and more ominously, insinuating–away, it really felt like voices from a storm, meteorological and otherwise.

Am I the only person who thought this was, historically, the same storm the Ingalls family endured in The Long Winter? Nope–Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book covers events of eight years earlier. Debbie Reese and I got into it a bit  a couple of weeks ago about that book, and while I take her point about the objectionable stereotyping of American Indians therein, I’m not ready to give The Long Winter up. The way it turns winter-wonderland fantasy into nightmare is unparalleled and as keenly evoked as what I heard last night.

After the concert was over, I discovered that my bus, which is supposed to show up every ten minutes, wasn’t due to arrive for at least half an hour. I started to think that the Boston winter of 2015 was Just Like Back Then, but then I slapped myself hard.



The post I’ll show you WINTER. appeared first on The Horn Book.

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17. The Green Skies -Progress!

Eight pages of Green Skies art work in two days.  Good lords of Light & Darkness -the book really could be ready by June!

Teasers.....who knows?

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18. Illustration Friday: Path

Hmmm, I guess he doesn't like other dogs, especially poodles!
This is my entry for Illustration Friday this week, for the word path.

Thanks for stopping by!

colored pencil and ink on a grocery bag

See other entries on www.illustrationfriday.com

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19. Peter H. Reynolds Lands 3-Book Deal With Scholastic

scholasticlogo082310Peter H. Reynolds has signed a three-book deal with Scholastic.

Liza Baker, the executive editorial director at Cartwheel and Orchard Books, negotiated the terms of the agreement with Holly McGhee, the founder of Pippin Properties. The first book, entitled Happy Dreamer, will be published in 2016.

Reynolds had this statement in the press release: “Happy Dreamer is inspired by my own creative journey. I want readers to say ‘Hey, that’s me!’ and realize that their daydreaming, their wild energy—and even their challenges—are all good. I want to encourage kids—and grownup kids—to be happy with who they are, and to be confident about what lies ahead.”

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20. Viewpoint Selection

Here's a simple explanation of the pros and cons of each point of view.


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21. Beyond the Headlines: How to Visit Cuba

Ever since President Obama's December announcement that the United States is resuming full diplomatic ties with Cuba, the Powell's buyers' office has been suffering from an epidemic of reverse island fever. It turns out that almost all of us harbor a secret desire to visit Cuba. Some of us want to eat lobster, swim in [...]

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22. Just B: Baby’s First Book of Objects | Dedicated Review

Just B: Baby’s First Book of Objects is an ideal board book to share with babies and toddlers who are learning to identify colors, sounds, and words.

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23. Andrew Solomon Named PEN American Center President

Andrew SolomonAward-winning writer Andrew Solomon has been named the president of the PEN American Center.

Here’s more from the press release: “This is an urgent time for issues of free expression, and a critical time for PEN. In the wake of Charlie Hebdo, revelations about surveillance in the United States, international assaults on open dialogue for gay people, and restrictions on press and Internet in many countries worldwide, our mission could not be more clear: free speech is under siege and its defenders cannot rest.”

Solomon will be succeeding journalist Peter Godwin who has taken on this role for the past three years. Follow these links to watch Solomon’s TED talks on hardship, love, and depression.

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24. Michael Arnold


Bold and playful work from Michael Arnold, a 22 year old illustrator from the UK.




Michael Arnold





Michael Arnold



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25. ‘Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH’ To Be Turned Into Live-Action/CGI Franchise by ‘Ice Age”s Michael Berg

MGM is developing a live-action/CGI hybrid of the children's novel "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH."

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