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1. Call for Submissions and Contest: Consequence Magazine

CONSEQUENCE magazine, the literary magazine addressing the culture and consequences of war, is currently accepting submissions of fiction and poetry for its Spring 2015 issue. All submissions must be received by October 1st. 

Guidelines for submitting can be found on our website

CONSEQUENCE magazine, the literary magazine addressing the culture and consequences of war, announces the 2014 Consequence Prize in Fiction. The winning story will be published in the Spring 2015 issue and the author will received a cash prize of $250. 

Submissions for the contest must be received by October 1st. Please visit our website for submission guidelines.

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2. Call for Submissions: Iron Horse Literary Review Bedroom Issue

Submissions Call: Iron Horse Literary Review's Bedroom Issue

Deadline Sept. 19, 2014 

This February, the movie adaptation of 50 Shades hits theaters, and in response to it and our strong belief that sex can be written so much better, we're putting together the Iron Horse Literary Review Bedroom Issue. We're asking serious writers to take an artistic look at love, intimacy, and the complications of sex. Send stories, poems, and essays that capture private moments and use them to narrate the power of human experience. 

Submit here.

Send work between August 18th and September 19th. 

We pay $100 per prose piece, $40 per poem/short-short. Learn more about the journal here.

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3. Just finished reading RULES by Cynthia Lord

Thanks to my sister for recommending this book to me. SUCH a good story. What made the book for me: the main character, Catherine. She is entirely believable, funny and flawed, and I fell in love with her right away. HIGHLY recommended.

Here's a great interview with Cynthia Lord about Rules on Cynsations, where she talks about having a son with autism and how she wanted to explore the unique dynamics that exist in a family that has a child with severe special needs. Rules was her first published book!

You can find out more about Cynthia at her website:  http://cynthialord.com/rules.html

I recently bought her newest book, HALF A CHANCE, and can't wait to read it!

More about the book on the Scholastic website: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/bookwizard/books-by/cynthia-lord

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

My #BookADay and "Books I've Read" archives at http://inkygirl.com/bookaday/

 

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4. Interview: Julie Danielson and Betsy Bird

If you appreciate children's literature and want to know the stories behind your favorite stories, pick up WILD THINGS! written by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and the late Peter D. Sieruta. Packed from cover-to-cover with funny stories and little known facts about famous authors, secret feuds, inspired illustrations, and classic characters, this is a great resource for readers and writers alike. The authors - all three proud bibliophiles and bloggers - clearly had fun putting this book together.

Little Willow: This book is filled with anecdotes. Is anyone in your family a master of tall tales?

Betsy: In my family we've all had a predilection towards storytelling, but then I went and married a clear cut storyteller as well. Now I'm so steeped in them that it's only natural that a book like this would be the result. Here in New York City a children's literature gathering often involves members of the old guard (people who've been working in the field for decades) so you get all kinds of fascinating stories. Seems only natural that they should have ended up in a book at some point. As for me, I actually prefer to hear anecdotes to telling them, but some of them are just too good NOT to tell.

Jules: My family isn't necessarily filled with storytellers, but I'm fascinated by storytelling. In fact, I once took a grad course on the very subject, and I loved every second of it. For my final course project, I memorized every word of Rudyard Kipling's "The Elephant's Child." That is a wonderful story to tell. I no longer have it memorized word-for-word, but it'd probably not be that challenging to re-learn, since it's probably still hiding in the cobwebbed corners of my brain. "In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk...." (I love that singular beginning.)

Little Willow: That's impressive. Did any of the real-life stories change how you viewed a particular author or book?

Betsy: Well, I don't think I'll ever look at The Cricket in Times Square the same way again. That's all I'll say.

Jules: There's a very tender story about James Marshall and his mother, a story that didn't make it into our book. We did, however, share it at the site, where we are sharing stories cut from our manuscript. I'm a big Marshall fan, but this made me want to learn even more about him.

Little Willow: How did the three of you come together to write this book? Who had the first inkling that you should and would write a book together?

Betsy: That was me. I had this notion that there were some pretty amazing bloggers out there and that their sites would naturally adapt into a book format pretty well. Ironically, of the three blogs that came together here (A Fuse #8 Production, Collecting Children's Books, and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast) mine is probably the least book-worthy. But I've an eye for talent and these guys were talented. So I reached out to them and asked if they'd be keen to work together on something. As luck would have it, they were!

Little Willow: Describe the writing process. How did you divvy up tasks between the three of you?

Betsy: First we decided which chapters should be in the book. Then we pooled all the stories we wanted to tell. Once each story was slotted into the right chapter we assigned chapters. There was a lot of swapping of stories between chapters and a lot of rewriting and editing of one another. That may account for the single "voice" found in the book.

Jules: Yep, we each worked on assigned chapters and then passed them around. We made suggestions for editing, adding, deleting, you-name-it. At one point, Peter and I were working on the same chapter and didn't even realize it. So, we eventually merged what we'd written. Whew. That worked out well!

Little Willow: What's your favorite part about collaborations? What does working with others bring out of you?

Betsy: For me, it makes me more confident about the final product. When I write something entirely on my own I may love it but there will always be this little voice in the back of my head that says I could have done more. When I work with other people who are as smart as Peter and Jules, that little voice disappears. I can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that no matter how much I screw up, they'll be there to point me in the right direction. It's an enormous relief, I can tell you.

Jules: I learned so much more about writing, I think, just by watching Betsy and Peter do their thing. And when someone edits your work, you learn TONS. I feel like if I'm a better writer at the close of this project, it's thanks to them. I love collaborating. I mean, no one likes, say, those grad school projects where you're stuck with people who don't pull their own weight OR you're assigned to a topic you hate, but if I dig my partners-in-crime and I love the subject, I'd much rather work in a group.

Little Willow: As a kid, did you have any teachers, librarians, or booksellers that you went to regularly to get (and give) book recommendations?

Betsy: Nope. And what's more, I couldn't tell you single one of their names. That said, my mom worked in an independent bookstore in Kalamazoo, Michigan and she was always suggesting books or handing books to me. My Aunt Judy was the same, so that's where I found the bulk of my recommended literature.

Jules: I didn't read a TON when I was a kid, which is why I'm trying to get caught up now! I did have a high school English lit and drama teacher who really got me fired up about reading, and I'm still friends with her. She's one of those amazing teachers you'd like to clone.

Little Willow: What aspects of blogging do you find the most enjoyable?

Betsy: I think it's a combination of the pleasure of the regularity (I am required to blog four times a week on my site), the fact that I can highlight books, people, or events that may not be getting a lot of publicity (I always alternate big publishers with little publishers in my reviews), and the different ways in which I can make my opinions known.

Jules: Hands down, I love the community. I love getting to know those folks who are as passionate about children's lit as I am. It's even better when you get to meet them in person.

Little Willow: How has blogging has changed how you read and recommend books, and how you interact with readers and authors?

Betsy: Since I work for New York Public Library and blog for School Library Journal I see a LOT of books in a given year, but there's always this sense that I'm not seeing ALL the books. And boy howdy do I want to see absolutely everything. So blogging, for me, is a way of filling in the gaps. It also allows me to recommend sites to friends who are looking to specialize in certain areas.

Jules: Well, before blogging I rarely interacted with authors and illustrators, but since I do a lot of interviews, I talk to many of them now on a pretty regular basis. As for how blogging has changed my reading habits, I tend to have less time for novels (though I still read them as much as I can), since I'm blogging about picture books and illustration. But it's worth it. I love writing about picture books and art.

Little Willow: What books did you love as a child that you still love just as much today?

Betsy: I was recently weeding my bookshelves, so this question was already in my mind. On my part, I think I'll always love Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep, various Steven Kellogg titles, The Secret Garden, The Girl With the Silver Eyes, and any number of Apple paperbacks found via the Scholastic Book Fairs.

Jules: Shel Silverstein, the Grimm Brothers, Trina Schart Hyman, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Cleary.

Little Willow: Would you rather travel with Max to meet the Wild Things, or go with Harry Potter and attend Hogwarts?

Betsy: Hogwarts. Is there any question? I wonder about folks who would say Wild Things. You'd have to be a very particular kind of person, I suspect. For me, there's no contest.

Jules: The Wild Things, without any doubt. Because maybe perhaps possibly if Sendak is there, too, we can chat.

Little Willow: Would you rather visit Narnia or Never Never Land?

Betsy: That is a very hard question. I go back and forth. Narnia, I guess. Though they both dwell in very distinct metaphors. But I should like to see a faun, so Narnia wins.

Jules: You're going to think I'm just saying the opposite of Betsy now, just to mix things up, but honestly I'd go to Never Never Land. I want to meet Mrs. Darling first, though.

Little Willow: Would you rather have a sip at the tea party in Wonderland or snag a treat from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory?

Betsy: Wonka. Admittedly, you'd never be entirely certain what the Wonka treat would do to you, but I also suspect that the food at that tea party can't be entirely hygienic (there's a dormouse in one of the teapots, for crying out loud!). Plus there's always a chance that Wonka will look like Gene Wilder and I've always had a hardcore crush on that guy.

Jules: Well, given the theme of my blog, I gotta attend the Mad Tea-Party, yes?

Little Willow: Would you rather have the job of The Giver or be the head gamemaker for the Hunger Games?

Betsy: I don't think I'm skilled enough to pass muster as a gamemaker. I suspect I'd construct some little landscape and forget to do something essential like install the video cameras. And I'm always telling and retelling stories of the past ad nauseum anyway, so maybe I'm halfway to Giver-ship already!

Jules: Oh, The Giver! Definitely that. I recently read that book again---this time I read it aloud to my daughters---and it blows my mind how good it is.

WILD THINGS! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta is now available at a bookstore near you.

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5. Artist Residencies: Artsmith


Artsmith Artist Residency

Each year Artsmith grants up to five Artist Residency Fellowships for artists, scholars, and writers to have one week of focused time to create new works. The 2015 residency takes place January 4-11 on Orcas Island in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. Fellows stay in individual rooms with private baths as guests of Artsmith and Kangaroo House Bed and Breakfast, and have access to the inn's amenities, including wireless Internet and garden hot tub. Five dinners are provided during the residency. Fellows are responsible for all other meals. Being within walking distance of the beach, library, coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, and Darvill's Bookstore, and only a few miles from Moran State Park and Turtleback Preserve, residents have no shortage of inspirational sustenance.

Visual artists, please note that Artsmith does not have artist studios, much as we wish we did. As a result, the residency is best suited for artists who do not require use of a studio. If in doubt, please email us at info @ orcasartsmith.org to inquire.

The Selection Process
The Artsmith Peer Review Panel, comprised of artists, writers, and scholars, selects Fellows based primarily on two main criteria:

1. How well the proposed work will benefit from the residency setting
2. Do the statement of intent and work sample reflect originality and evidence of pushing the boundaries of craft

The makeup of the Peer Review Panel changes each year, but is always selected to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the residency.

To Apply
For the January 4 to 11, 2015 Artsmith Artist Residency, applications will be accepted until September 30, 2014.

Please submit the following online via Submittable 
1. Cover letter, including residency statement of intent, contact info for two recommenders, and commitment that you can spend the entire week in residency (maximum 250 words to be pasted in online form).
2. Artists: Up to three digital work samples; Writers: Up to 10 pages writing sample in one file
3. $35 application fee

Previous Fellows, please wait two years after your last residency to reapply. 2013 Fellows may apply for the 2015 residency.

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6. Mad Max: Fury Road Official Comic-Con Trailer (2015) - Tom Hardy Post-Ap...

This trailer just left me cold. You impressed or excited?  meh.

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7. Pitch Equals Concept

In your pitch, you need to give the concept of your book. 

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/pitch-is-concept/

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8. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is Z for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

But you better do it quickly, because we’ve gotten to Z and so we’re wrapping things up today. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by Z? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for the final letter:

Z is for ... ?

Z is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

But remember: Get those guesses submitted in the next couple of days. Good luck, and thanks for playing!

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9. Illustration Friday: Skull


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10. No Words Required - More Beautiful Book Covers


These are just some of the beautiful books I've catalogued in the last couple of weeks. I love my work! The oldest – Wee Bits O’ Things by Ernest Aris was published in 1914 and the newest – The Church Mice and the Ring by Grahame Oakley in 1992.  The Chalet School & the island, Adventurous Four, My first and second story books and the Tiny Tots annual were all published in the 1950s. Doodles the performing pup is a cardboard puppet ready to cut out and build. Beautiful books - vintage or new they need no words!  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed cataloguing them.

These and many others are available to view or purchase (unless sold) at March House Books

Doodles, The Church Mice and the Ring and The Chalet School and the Island are now sold, thank you for your interest.

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11. me, myself and the Gents

Me, drawing, by Paul Gent
I'm very lucky to have met some really wonderful artists over the last few years. Artists from around the world. I've met them online, then met them in person. In many lovely parts of the world. Plus, as well as that, I regularly meet up with some brilliant artists closer to home.
Me, drawing, by Miriam Gent
These drawings, of me, were made by a couple of extremely talented friends, Miriam and Paul Gent. They were created, just a couple of weeks ago, on a local Sketchcrawl/Pubcrawl that we three planned (in the pub). It was so local it went through the streets we live on.
Me, drawing, by Paul Gent
It's amazing, when you look, what and who you'll find on your doorstep.
I couldn't love them more; the drawings and the Gents.
 

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12. Evil Editor Classics



Guess the Plot

Soul Birds

1. Dulled by midlife failures, Homer and Bernice Byrd change their name and become a singing duo. They achieve unexpected fame and fortune, but in the end realize that they were happier when they were nobodies.

2. Each of us is accompanied, from birth to death, by a soul bird that sits on our shoulder, makes sarcastic cracks about us to all the other soul birds, and occasionally takes a crap on our Sunday best. That's about it, really.

3. Often seen as a bad racist joke, the crows from Dumbo have decided to make a comeback, and this time they're out for revenge. Known as the dreaded Soul Birds, this band of buddies will live up to the name murder of crows, as they regain their honor.

4. Okay, they aren't really birds, they're more like butterflies. People use them to send prayers to the gods. It's a pretty cool idea, but lately the system isn't working like it's supposed to, so as usual it's up to one unqualified female to step in and prevent an apocalyptic war.

5. When the dismembered body of former Laker Jeremiah Smitts is discovered in the speakers of his jazz club Soul Birds, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, cutting up a body that big had to leave a mess somewhere, and two, he'd better wear his Dwight Howard jersey if he wants them to beat the Trailblazers tomorrow night.

6. When people die, their souls enter the bodies of birds, where they can soar to the heavens. Except for people who've been bad; their souls enter flightless birds, like ostriches and penguins. That's the belief system that has evolved on Earth by the twenty-fourth century. The plot is basically the war between flightless birds and the humans who want to eradicate them.



Original Version

Dear EE,

When Adwen attempts to permeate the home of a waiting girl she is forced away and lands on the sidewalk, momentarily powerless. [For starters, it's not clear whether "she" is Adwen or the waiting girl. By which I mean it's clear you mean Adwen (unless Adwen in a man's name), but "she" should refer to the most recently mentioned female singular entity.] [Also, "waiting girl"? Is that a waitress? Or a lady-in-waiting? Or just a girl who's waiting for something? If the latter, is she waiting for Adwen? If not, what is she waiting for, and if that's irrelevant, why call her a waiting girl?]

Adwen is the Corpreal of physical love and fertility. [The what? I, like Google, assume you misspelled "corporeal." If you made up the word, I recommend not using it in the query. Even if it's inaccurate, use "embodiment" or "goddess" or capitalize a known word like Minister, Custodian, Big Enchilada.] It is her duty to enter the rooms and fantasies of Thea's youth to awaken their sexual desires. [Ah, to have lived in a land where, as a teenage boy, I could look forward to the night Adwen permeated my house and awakened my sexual desires. One question: is she more like Betty or Veronica?] [Also, What is Thea? A planet? A woman? Heaven? A place on Earth?] These humans buying the powerful force: [Who said anything about humans buying a force?] are they from Earth?The God of All Things made it so when first man looked at first woman with lust in his eyes and first woman responded with a blush and a smile [and a can of mace].

Confused and scared she rushes to the home of her keeper, Brula, a woman whose magical knowledge is centuries old. [Her keeper? Wait, is Thea a zoo?]

Brula discovered a force that can compete with the God of All Things and someone is selling it to the humans. Brula thinks this new power is coming from The Fringe and Adwen should investigate. [Since when do Corpreals investigate anything? That's like if a powerful force were disrupting life as we know it on Earth, and we assigned the investigation to Kim Kardashian. Why doesn't the God of All Things send in a diplomat or a SEAL team or just make The Fringe evaporate?

The Fringe is a desolate place, devoid of magic. [Think Manitoba.] The people live there to escape the rule of the God of All Things and they don't welcome intruders, especially divine ones. Adwen's magic won't work and she won't be able to protect herself from their wrath. [So she has magical powers besides that of awakening sexual desires in youth?]
  
If Adwen chooses to go, she will be stripped of her powers but if she chooses not to, a war between humans and gods could erupt. [Are you declaring that if she chooses to go, the war won't erupt? Why is war any less likely to erupt if a powerless, unwelcome Corpreal enters The Fringe?] The God of All Things won't turn a blind eye to other forms of magic for long. 

SOUL BIRDS is 80,000 words and is my first novel to see more then just the hard drive on my old laptop. [This one has seen the hard drive on my new laptop.] Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


[Note from author to EE: The title comes from butterfly like creatures the gods and goddesses of Thea use to send messages to one another. When they land on someone the person is filled with a vision of the messenger. The soul birds are also used by humans to send prayers to the gods.]


Notes

Is this Fringe the same place as on the TV show, The Fringe?

Why would anyone suspect that the power great enough to compete with the God of All Things is coming from Manitoba?

You spend so much time explaining what stuff like Corpreals and The Fringe are, there's not enough room to tell the story.

Your setup seems to be: When humans acquire power that can compete with the God of All Things, war seems inevitable. It's up to Adwen, the goddess of fertility, to find out how the humans are getting their power, and to prevent the war. But to do so, she'll have to enter the bleakest place on the planet, Manitoba, where no fertility goddess has ever been welcome.  That leaves plenty of room to tell us what she discovers in Manitoba and what she plans to do about it, and who wants to stop her.


Selected Comments

Blogger BuffySquirrel said...So both girls and boys have their sexual desires awoken by a female embodiment of desire? And that seems reasonable to you?


Evil Editor said...Quite reasonable. No one wants their sexual desires awakened by a guy. Unless Brad Pitt is available.


TwiggyBUMPkins said...It almost seems to me like you are trying to write an excerpt (or several) from your book and cram as much information about the world as you can into it in the process. A query is not an excerpt, it is a description of the basics of the plot. The world itself is not necessarily important, though it does need to be clear whether this takes place in a fantasy land, on earth, or in the past/future. What a query needs to have is the plot laid out simply and in a way that makes the reader want to read more.


AlaskaRavenclaw said...In the penultimate sentence you want "than", not "then", but really you don't want that detail at all. Leave out anything not to your advantage.

The first sentence seems detached from the rest of the story and just adds to the confusion. And I'm feeling quite a bit of confusion. It wasn't till the third read-through that I realized Thea was a place, not a person. And is the God of All Things just plain God?

You're spending most of your time in this query trying to explain the rules of your world to us. I'd give that a sentence at most --if it can't be explained in a sentence leave it out-- and focus instead on your protagonist, what she wants to accomplish, and what obstacle prevents her from accomplishing it.


Kelsey said...As someone from Manitoba, touche! Just remember, we claim Neil Young.


khazar-khum said...Your author's note to EE sounds fascinating, a story I'd like to read. The confusing series of actions presented as a query are nowhere near as intriguing as that little blurb.


Jo Antareau said...The embodiment of desire sounds like she would have a pretty full diary, and possibly grateful for stumbling across one person whom she could not permeate. And I'm not quite sure what permeate means..

Start over. Read the query aloud. A few times.

BTW, all the GTPs featuring Zack Martinez make me smile. Does anybody have plans to give this guy his own book or series?


Evil Editor said...Some of the better Zack Martinez GTPs were collected in a post here: http://evileditor.blogspot.com/2009/08/zack-martinez-chronicles.html.

For longer Zack Martinez material, find your way in the archives to August 23, 2009 for 11 ZM stories, the result of a writing exercise.

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13. Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Kelly shares the book Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems, by Patrick J. Lewis:


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14. Your lips (Fibonacci)


<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-IN X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]--> 
So,
Sweet,
Tempting,
Two swift curves,
Of pure smile and love,
Passionately touched with fervor,
                                                    Converting tickling seconds into magical gold.

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15. A joyous little critter living in the moment...


Here is a joyous little critter living in the moment. Happiness spinning like a top.

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16. Mobile

Among the crafty things I own
A mobile's one I love,
Suspended from the ceiling,
Gently twirling from above.

A moon and stag are up on top,
Three pine trees hang below,
With stars, a heart, plus creatures
Of a type I do not know.

Their movement's imperceptible
At times, but with a breeze, 
They rotate in a manner which
Has never failed to please.

For mobiles shouldn't be confined
To galleries or cribs.
When this one caught my eye, I knew
That I would have first dibs.

And every time I catch it shift
I smile at its design,
Delighted that I made my move
To make that mobile mine.

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17. Poetry Competition: Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award

BENJAMIN SALTMAN Poetry Award.

$3000 Award. 

Deadline: August 31, 2014. 

Final Judge: Douglas Kearney.

The winner of the 2014 Benjamin Saltman Award will be announced in 2015. Established in 1998, in honor of the poet Benjamin Saltman (1927-1999), this award is for a previously unpublished original collection of poetry. Awarded collection is selected through an annual competition which is open to all poets. This year’s final judge will be Douglas Kearney. Award is $3000 and publication of the awarded collection by Red Hen Press. 

Entry fee is $25.00. Name on cover sheet only, 48 page minimum. Send SASE for notification. Entries must be postmarked by August 31.

Go here for more information.

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18. Should My Work Be Branded?

Hi. folks, this week is a response blog to Janet Lee Carey's post "I am not a brand."  For more on this topic, check out a manifesto statement from Maureen Johnson. 

This is another meandering post.  I felt fire and pain while writing this one. I will wander here some. I hope that something strikes a chord.

Branding is a human activity. We are inherently drawn to symbols. We slap them on everything from our faith to our hamburgers. A good brand offers a clear message. It also offers assurance you will receive a similar experience with branded products. A good brand will also stir up a targeted audience emotionally, will motivate a customer to place money on the counter, and will bring back customers again and again.

Here's a question I circle around. Should my work be branded?

On the surface, it seems to make sense. A book is a commodity. It's sold at the store with a publishing brand stamped on the book's spine. Beyond this, authors who offer readers similar fare time and time again usually find the most success. If the author writes one thriller, then writes ten more, that usually attracts a greater readership. The writer will have to tend that stream of content for a lifetime. Hey, this is a business, folks.

Branding helps writers stand out in the marketplace. So, authors, get in line. Learn the formulas. Refine your message and sell it! Be all bossy and pushy about that message. Hog every stage. What you have to say is the most important thing. To Market!

Sigh. Do you ever think you were born into the wrong world? The problem with "comodifiying" the story journey and branding imagination is this for me: We are all quicksilver. You can't really pin us down.  We shift and change on you. We are fickle. We are not who we were yesterday. We will not be the same tomorrow. If I go all branding on myself, instead of being who I am, I ditch who I am. Not okay.

For me storytelling is an ancient human art. This art circles around two questions: Who are we? What do we want?  These are the two things you own in this life. No degradation can put out the spark of you. Your hunger for what you want will cause you to risk everything. You may have to join a team who dared to have a dream and ended up martyred. But take to heart, they shaped the future.

Storytelling is too precious to mankind to force it into the branding mold. I'm with a little band of others that hop and holler, "Your heart, that's the holy ground! It sure is! Here is a lodestone for you." That said, we have no intention of sparing your feelings. We understand suffering has a purpose.We are immersed in the life-saving art of creating lodestones for the human heart, story maps that will help readers navigate through the rough seas of their lives.

A great book sets you on a journey toward your true north. It will turn you away from stupidity. It will rattle your cage. It will break your bonds. It will help you understand your days. It will help you find your best possible self. No question!

I hope you create something priceless. If you get some money for that, well, people need to eat. If you don't get money for it, well, people don't live on bread alone.

Peace.

Here is a doodle for you.


and a quote for your pocket from the great poet Bob Dylan:

Come writers and critics who prophesy with your pen
And keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
For the loser now will be later to win.

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19. Call for Submissions: When Women Waken

When Women Waken is currently accepting submissions of poetry, short fiction, short non-fiction, visual art and photography.

Submissions open through September 1, 2014.

See submission guidelines here.


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20. SKETCHBOOK SATURDAY


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21. Music Books

Here is a recent job I completed illustrating a series of music books for upper grades.



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22. Photo









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23. Writers Residency for African American Women over 40: Africa House

Creative Odyssey Enterprises and Africa House Announces Its Debut Heart of a Woman African-American Emerging Women Writers 40 and Over Writers Residency Program in Gallatin, TN for October 2014.
application instructions are here. 

Several lucky women will be selected to receive a two-week writing fellowship, which includes free room, board and meals, and various other perks, as they spend 14 lovely days of uninterrupted time to create, while relaxing in an historic, elegant, harmonious mansion; nestled in the gloriously plush landscaped beauty of nature and copious verdant meadows; to stimulate the muse and allow the recipients time and space to engage in creative revelry as they write, stretch their imagination, begin a new project, or to continue and complete an ongoing project.

Africa House is an elegant, expansive, historic mansion in Gallatin, TN, built on more than 30 acres of gorgeous landscape, and boasts 16,330 square ft., of luscious living. This is an elite setting where dignitaries, ambassadors, corporate leaders and other luminaries have stayed as guests of Dr. Arikana Chihombori and her husband, Dr. Nil-Saban Quao.

Africa House with its spirit of Ujamma (collective work together), also welcomes and promotes the spirit of Ubuntu (humanity working toward a common goal). Thus, we are very pleased to add the creative fervor of a variety of writing energies from several very talented emerging women writers 40 and over; to build yet another portal which supports the creative spirit in the literary arts.

Heart of a Woman's annual commitment is to develop an excellent venue, in which talented African-American Emerging Women Writers 40 and Over, can thrive, create and ultimately complete projects; once they've been granted an opportunity to devote a significant amount of uninterrupted time and concentration toward working on a particular literary project. This necessary respite affords a writer the luxury of solitude, to ruminate with their muse, conjure up new works or continue with works-in-progress; which may not be as easily accomplished while maintaining a full life of marriage with children, or single parenting, grand parenting, or full-time employment.

Our ultimate goal is to provide a dream-come-true atmosphere, conducive to creating the kind of solitude that evokes inspiration, and allows each writer the freedom to connect with the passion of her muse, in a fuller, deeper experience; which encourages exploration of one's truest voice.

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24. Trends in Painting Media

I was just curious, so I checked on Google Trends to compare relative search volumes for different painting media. 

People search least often for the word "gouache,"(in blue) along the bottom. "Oil paint" (in yellow) and "acrylic paint" (in green) are two or three times more popular than gouache. Acrylic passed up oil in popularity about three years ago. 

Interest in "Plein air" (in blue) appears to be very seasonal, spiking in the warm months.

"Watercolor" far surpasses the others. It sagged a few years ago, but it's rising steadily. The search volume may not translate directly to the popularity of the art medium. The spike at the red letter "K" is tied to a popular article about digital printing watercolors on fabric. The letter "B" aligns with a story about a photo-to-watercolor app.

Casein painting didn't register at all—which is one of the reasons I love it.

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25. Dispatches from the Front: German Feldpostkarten in World War I

In the first autumn of World War I, a German infantryman from the 25th Reserve Division sent this pithy greeting to his children in Schwarzenberg, Saxony.

11 November 1914
My dear little children!
How are you doing? Listen to your mother and grandmother and mind your manners.
Heartfelt greetings to all of you!
Your loving Papa

He scrawled the message in looping script on the back of a Feldpostkarte, or field postcard, one that had been designed for the Bahlsen cookie company by the German artist and illustrator Änne Koken. On the front side of the postcard, four smiling German soldiers share a box of Leibniz butter cookies as they stand on a grassy, sun-stippled outpost. The warm yellow pigment of the rectangular sweets seems to emanate from the opened care package, flushing the cheeks of the assembled soldiers with a rosy tint.

Änne Koken, color lithographic postcard (Feldpostkarte) designed for the H. Bahlsen Keksfabrik, Hannover, ca. November 1914. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Änne Koken, color lithographic postcard (Feldpostkarte) designed for the H. Bahlsen Keksfabrik, Hannover, ca. November 1914. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

German citizens posted an average of nearly 10 million pieces of mail to the front during each day of World War I, and German service members sent over 6 million pieces in return; postcards comprised well over half of these items of correspondence. For active duty soldiers, postage was free of charge. Postcards thus formed a central and a portable component of wartime visual culture, a network of images in which patriotic, sentimental, and nationalistic postcards formed the dominant narrative — with key moments of resistance dispatched from artists and amateurs serving at the front.

The first postcards were permitted by the Austrian postal service in 1869 and in Germany one year later. (The Post Office Act of 1870 allowed for the first postcards to be sold in Great Britain; the United States followed suit in 1873.) Over the next four decades, Germany emerged as a leader in the design and printing of colorful picture postcards, which ranged from picturesque landscapes to tinted photographs of famous monuments and landmarks. Many of the earliest propaganda postcards, at the turn of the twentieth century, reproduced cartoons and caricatures from popular German humor magazines such as Simplicissimus, a politically progressive journal that moved toward an increasingly reactionary position during and after World War I. Indeed, the majority of postcards produced and exchanged between 1914 and 1918 adopted a sentimental style that matched the so-called “hurrah kitsch” of German official propaganda.

Walter Georgi, Engineers Building a Bridge, 1915. Color lithographic postcard (Feldpostkarte) designed for the H. Bahlsen Keksfabrik, Hannover. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Walter Georgi, Engineers Building a Bridge, 1915. Color lithographic postcard (Feldpostkarte) designed for the H. Bahlsen Keksfabrik, Hannover. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Beginning in 1914, the German artist and Karlsruhe Academy professor Walter Georgi produced 24 patriotic Feldpostkarten for the Bahlsen cookie company in Hannover. In a postcard titled Engineers Building a Bridge (1915), a pair of strong-armed sappers set to work on a wooden trestle while a packet of Leibniz butter cookies dangle conspicuously alongside their work boots.

These engineering troops prepared the German military for the more static form of combat that followed the “Race to the Sea” in the fall of 1914; they dug and fortified trenches and bunkers, built bridges, and developed and tested new weapons — from mines and hand grenades to flamethrowers and, eventually, poison gas.

Georgi’s postcard designs for the Bahlsen company deploy the elegant color lithography he had practiced as a frequent contributor to the Munich Art Nouveau journal Jugend (see Die Scholle).In another Bahlsen postcard titled “Hold Out in the Roaring Storm” (1914), Georgi depicted a group of soldiers wearing the distinctive spiked helmets of the Prussian Army. Their leader calls out to his comrades with an open mouth, a rifle slung over his shoulder, and a square package of Leibniz Keks looped through his pinkie finger. In a curious touch that is typical of First World War German patriotic postcards, both the long-barreled rifles and the soldier’s helmets are festooned with puffy pink and carmine flowers.

These lavishly illustrated field postcards, designed by artists and produced for private industry, could be purchased throughout Germany and mailed, traded, or collected in albums to express solidarity with loved ones in active duty. The German government also issued non-pictorial Feldpostkarten to its soldiers as an alternate and officially sanctioned means of communication. For artists serving at the front, these 4” x 6” blank cards provided a cheap and ready testing ground at a time when sketchbooks and other materials were in short supply. The German painter Otto Schubert dispatched scores of elegant watercolor sketches from sites along the Western Front; Otto Dix, likewise, sent hundreds of illustrated field postcards to Helene Jakob, the Dresden telephone operator he referred to as his “like-minded companion,” between June 1915 and September 1918. These sketches (see Rüdiger, Ulrike, ed. Grüsse aus dem Krieg: die Feldpostkarten der Otto-Dix-Sammlung in der Kunstgalerie Gera, Kunstgalerie Gera 1991) convey details both minute and panoramic, from the crowded trenches to the ruined fields and landmarks of France and Belgium. Often, their flip sides contain short greetings or cryptic lines of poetry written in both German and Esperanto.

Dix enlisted for service in 1914 and saw front line action during the Battle of the Somme, in August 1916, one of the largest and costliest offensives of World War I that spanned nearly five months and resulted in casualties numbering more than one million. By September of 1918, the artist had been promoted to staff sergeant and was recovering from injuries at a field hospital near the Western Front. He sent one of his final postcard greetings to Helene Jakob on the reverse side of a self-portrait photograph, in which he stands with visibly bandaged legs and one hand resting on his hip. Dix begins the greeting in Esperanto, but quickly shifts to German to report on his condition: “I’ve been released from the hospital but remain here until the 28th on a course of duty. I’m sending you a photograph, though not an especially good one. Heartfelt greetings, your Dix.” Just two months later, the First World War ended in German defeat.

The post Dispatches from the Front: German Feldpostkarten in World War I appeared first on OUPblog.

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