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<<August 2014>>
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1. Purpose Of Interludes

Hi, First i want to start off by saying how much i admire your blogs and tips on writing so much that it EXTREMELY helped me with starting my novel. It

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2. News Corp. Completes Harlequin Acquisition

News Corp has completed its acquisition of Harlequin Enterprises from Torstar Corporation.

The romance imprint is now a part of HarperCollins Publishers, but will keep its headquarters in Toronto.

“We are pleased to formally welcome Harlequin and its employees to the new News,” stated Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “The addition of such an iconic brand with a loyal audience, robust global expertise and digital depth is a proud and purposeful moment for our company. Onward to the next chapter.”


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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3. Experimentation (Fibonacci poetry)

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-IN X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]--> 
Oh my Lord,
It’s just amazing,
Erasing and creating new,
Stretching forms, dissolving tones in pursuit of pure fun,
Like an engineer, reconstructing styles in shadow of incessant lively passion.

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4. Pick of the Week for GOLDEN and This Week’s Topic


Happy Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by JW Pang, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘REPEAT’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:


Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!


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5. Writing Competition: 2015 Mississippi Review Contest

The 2015 Mississippi Review Contest is now open for submissions. Our annual contest awards prizes of $1,000 in fiction and in poetry. Winners and finalists will make up the 2015 print issue of Mississippi Review.

For more details and to submit, visit our website.
Key dates:
Contest opens: August 1, 2014
Postmark deadline: January 1st, 2015

Winners and finalists announced: March 2015
Issue publication: June 2015
Entry: $16 submission fee, each entrant will receive a copy of the prize issue.

If you have questions, please e-mail:

msreviewATusmDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to . ),

call 601-266-4321, or check our Facebook page.

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6. Justin Chanda: The World's Biggest Rod Stewart Fan and How He Edits Picture Books

One of the best, if not the best, picturebook dummy critiques I ever received was from editor Justin Chanda. And BECAUSE it was so fantastic, I felt compelled to attend this session and blog about it for all of you who are not able to be here. Here in this cold, dark Hyatt basement instead of working on my tan/having a Blue Hawaiian poolside.

So here is How Chanda Revises.

A picture book is an Experience. Long before e-books, picture books were the first interactive book, a well done spread of image and text physically compels you to turn the page. "The page turn is key."

Though a picture book IS marriage of word and picture, at the end of the day, it's a picture book, the pictures are very, very important, the best picture books are the ones where the words are making the pictures better and vice versa.

He looks for:

Short, young, funny text. The market trends for picture books are for five- to six-year-olds.

Economy of text. "If you think you can cut a word, you can cut two. If you think you can cut a sentence, you can cut two. If you think you can cut a paragraph—trick question! You should not have paragraphs in a picturebook manuscript."

A good sign after reading a manuscript is saying, wow, that was satisfying to read. Now I want to reread it. If you want to reread it 100,000 times, that's the stuff classic picture books are made of.

"Rhyming. Your picture book can rhyme. Good. But for every one book that uses rhyme successfully, I can show you fifteen that don't."

The MOST important thing you can do while working on your picture book is to READ IT OUT LOUD.

The first thing Justin does when working on an acquired picturebook manuscript is paginate it. Pagination shows you unequal distribution of text, lets you set up awesome punchlines, and helps you start envisioning things as picture book spreads (which is how you should be looking at it.)

These are not the spreads he's talking about.

But this is.

And by paginating, you can see if there's way too much action on a page making it impossible to illustrate (too much action is different than too much text but often correlates).

WRITERS, make sure you leave something for your illustrators to illustrate. We don't need you to write in the color of the sky.

ILLUSTRATORS, make sure you are not simply illustrating what the author wrote.

What to do with art notes? It's great you are thinking visually! Obviously include them if they're setting up a joke that's the opposite of what the text is saying, but don't be sad when your editor doesn't send them on to the artist.

And now I will let the rest of Justin's tips stay with the conference-goers, but I will tell you he's showing the editorial process behind ROBOT ZOT!



and more!!!!

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7. Poetry Friday - A review of On the Wing

Douglas Florian is a poet and artist who has created poetry picture books that explore a wide variety of subjects. Over the years I have greatly enjoyed reading these books, and it is interesting to see how he applies his considerable talent to take on a new topic that interests him.

Douglas Florian
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Harcourt, 1996, 978-0152023669
Birds truly are remarkable animals. They come in a dazzling array of colors, live on every continent, and make their homes in all kinds of places. In this wonderful picture book Douglas Florian pairs short poems with his artwork to give readers a true celebration of birds.
   Over the millennia birds have evolved to suit many kinds of environments. Some birds, like the egret, sail on water and then rest on the beach making it seem as if there is a “feathered hat” lying on the sand. Dippers love to dip and dive in waterfalls. They are so aquatic that one wonders if they would be happy to “trade / Their oily wings for flippers.” They are such good swimmers that it is possible that the little birds might “think that they are fish.”
   Birds come in all shapes and sizes. The spoonbill is tall and thin with a beak that does indeed look like a long-handled spoon. In his poem about this rather odd looking species, Douglas Florian wonders if the spoonbill uses its bill “for stirring tea” or does it “use it as a scoop / For eating peas and drinking soup.”
   The stork has a bill that is perfectly suited for the environment it lives in. Wading through shallow water, the bird uses it rapier like bill to stab frogs and other creatures. Woodpeckers also have beaks that are perfectly adapted so that they can get to their chosen food - insects that live in wood and sap that runs through wood. Not only are these beaks perfect for creating holes, but woodpeckers also use them to communicate.
   With clever touches of humor and insightful descriptions, this collection of poems will give young readers a colorful picture of twenty-one bird speci

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8. Honestly, You Lose A Computer Cable....

....tear a box apart looking for it but can't find it.  However, you do -or, rather, I do- find more old art. When I was drawing one day my five year old niece came into the room. She looked at my artwork, put her hand on my shoulder and leaned in while shaking her head:

"If you want to sell comics you've got to draw bigger boobies!"

I said I wouldn't.  She turned to walk away: "Alright. I told you so!"

******.  Five years old and she had the industry sussed did little Inge.  Anyway, I did a 24 pager of single illoes for a publisher who then AWP'd (Absconded Without Paying).  Devilina it was called. Big boobs.  I think I've already posted one of her holding Mr Komica over a bath of custard?  So here is one other page I kept which is pre-lettering:

Devilina(c)2014 T. Hooper-Scharf

The other piece was from a long forgotten 1995 catalogue of zines and comics I was selling:

(c) 2014 T. Hooper-Scharf

The other item is the basic sketch of the Owl Man about to attack The Panther.  No, not Marvel Comics Panther but the original created years before by Australian Paul Wheelahan and new stories were published in the late 1990s by Kevin...Kevin Patrick.  I should remember as I published his interview with Paul in volume 1 no. 4 of Comic Bits!

I think I've shown the full colour illo but here is that "basic".

Art (c)2014 T. Hooper-Scharf.  The Panther (c) 2014 Paul Wheelahan.

Funny what you find in old boxes.  Never ever money, though!

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9. Blind main character

Question: I am writing a fantasy story and one of the three main characters is blind. She is the main narrator in the story. I only have the other two

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10. Call for Previously Rejected Poetry Submissions: Redheaded Stepchild

Redheaded Stepchild is open for submissions for the month of August. We do not accept previously published work. We do, however, accept simultaneous submissions, but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted somewhere else. For more information, visit our website.

Submit 3-5 poems that have been rejected elsewhere with the names of the magazines that rejected the poems.

We do not accept email attachments; therefore, in the body of your email, please include the following:

· a brief bio

· 3-5 poems

· the publication(s) that rejected the poems

Send your submission to:

redheadedstepchildmagATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

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11. Erin Murphy: Navigating Your Publishing Debut

Erin Murphy is the founder of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She's a cracker-jack agent, whose award-winning and best-selling author clients include Joanne Rocklin, Cynthia Levinson, Chris Barton, Liz Garton Scanlon, Deborah Underwood and Robin LaFevers. …And how did Robin LaFevers become one of Erin's clients in the first place? Well, back in 2001, Erin critiqued Robin's manuscript at this very conference!

Erin Murphy in her session

She's represented, over the past 15 years, 272 books that have been published. She's had so many debut authors, some of them started blogging at EMU's Debuts.

The whole process, from making the deal to being published and having the book out in the world, with all the steps in-between, can take anywhere from a whirlwind year to three years, or in the case of some picture books, maybe as long as six years!

Highlights of Erin's wisdom:

"For every success in publishing, there is a waiting period that feels like a failure." 

She shares that it's very easy for us (after all, we make up stories for a living) to make up reasons for the silence - bad reasons - but really it's usually that everyone in publishing is just so overworked.

She suggests to not focus on what you can't control (things like reviews and how many copies a bookstore orders of your book, or your Amazon ranking) and instead focus on what you CAN control:

Like how much you know about how the publishing industry works. (Communicate and get your questions answered.)

Find your community (Like EMU's Debuts and The Class of 2K14 - for learning, marketing and support!)

You control your own marking plan. Your first book, think locally - not just geographically, but the communities you're part of and comfortable in already. (Consider introducing yourself to the local children's librarians in your area…)

And the most important thing you control… write the NEXT book!

It's a remarkable session, with lots more suggestions and advice. Like how success comes in lots of different forms, what to say when friends ask if they can get a free copy of your book, and how to respond when people tell you that they didn't see your book at the bookstore.

She also shares resources from blogs and around the web, and answers attendees' questions. It's great information!

Final thought...

You only publish your first book once, so when it happens, enjoy the hell out of it. But remember the big picture - no one's goal is to only publish one book.

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12. Absolutely Almost: Review Haiku

Oh, Albie - let me
rescue you and Calista.
You can live with me.

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff. Philomel, 2014, 304 pages.

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13. SDCC ’14: Jeff Lemire on creating a new universe in ‘The Black Hammer’

BlackHammer_Promo_LowRes_Final2By Kyle Pinion

In part two of our weekend long discussion with Jeff Lemire, we sat down with him to discuss his newly announced Dark Horse creator-owned title The Black Hammer to find out more about the influences of the title, its potential metaphorical under-pinnings and why he chose to go with Dark Horse for this series specifically.

When you’re getting into a creator owned title like The Black Hammer, I’m sure there’s a sense of freedom due to your direct ownership of the book, but is there a sense of added pressure of finding its audience as well?

I don’t feel a lot of pressure, not really. I just get excited about the idea and want to work on it. I stopped worrying about those kinds of things a long time ago. You just make the books you want to make and people will like it or they won’t. As long as you’re happy with it, who cares?

Why Dark Horse for this particular title? I know you have a new book (Descender) with Image, and all your upcoming work with Valiant. Why was Dark Horse the right publisher for The Black Hammer?

There’s a couple of reasons. I was at DC exclusively for four or five years, coming out of being for only one company for that long, there was certainly a sense of wanting to try new things and wanting to work with different people. Not being locked in with one person or one company again right away. With Dark Horse, one of my best friends is Matt Kindt, and they had done so well with Mind MGMT and Matt was very happy with how that book has been handled so I thought it would be cool to come over and do a book with Matt.

The actual premise of The Black Hammer has been talked about at length elsewhere at a number other sites, so what were some of the influences that led to getting to that point?

Well, the concept itself kinda reveals the influences, its about a group of superheroes who come from every era of comics. And they’ve been wiped out of continuity, and one day they wake up in this small farm and they have no idea why they’re there or how to get back. The influences are all there, you have a different character from each era of comic history that I love. You have a character named “Madame Dragonfly” who is sort of the embodiment of all those great 70’s House of Mystery/House of Secrets horror comics. You can see everything I love growing up is in there, which is kind of mashed with the stuff I normally do in my independent work like in Essex County with a focus on family and small town life. More quiet, character based storytelling. It’s mixing those two things together into something hopefully unique.

Is this the kind of story where the majority of the “super-hero action” takes place in flashback?

I guess you’d call them flashbacks. The bulk of the book is very much their life now, taking place in the small town, ten years after they arrived. They’re trying to live as normal people, a normal family, despite how strange they are and how strange their background is. That’s the bulk of the book, the in-continuity adventures and stuff from their past is just that, they’re vignettes or flashbacks that reveal more about their history and their relationships with one another and things like that.

Is there an ending already in place or planned?

Yeah, I know the ending just like how I knew Sweet Tooth was going to end. I knew the last page of that and I know the last page of this as well. But between the beginning and the end, it’s very fluid. There’s a lot of room to explore different things along the way. So, I know the end-point, but how long the whole series will be, it’s hard to say.

Is it a great amount of fun to write in different character voices from different eras?

Yeah, it’s definitely fun, but there’s also a balance…I had to experiment a bit. When I’m writing something from the 30’s, do I go full-on and try to emulate the writing style completely and go pastiche or do you adapt the sensibilities of that with a more modern voice? I just tried to find a balance there.

Is there any metaphorical material that you’re looking to mine into, ala Kingdom Come?

There is that, but I don’t really want to talk about it…it’s not a spoiler thing, but my thoughts and feelings on superhero comics will probably become pretty clear by the end of this, so we’ll just leave it at that. There’s stuff I love and stuff I don’t, I have opinions. There’s certainly a commentary about the state of the industry. It’s pretty blatant. But also, I have a love that stuff, for all of comics history, and I think this is a pretty sincere love letter to comics as well. It’s not just satire or commentary, it’s me kind of trying to show all the stuff I used to love to read.

You’ve had this idea for quite some time right?

It’s funny, this project has been gestating longer than anything I’ve ever done. I finished Essex County and I started working on this. You’ll be able to see the influence of Essex County in it right away, it very much is Essex County but with super-heroes. I’m not ashamed to say, that’s pretty fun to write. So that was about 2007-2008 when I started working on it, and I was going to draw it as a graphic novel. Then I started to work with Vertigo and DC and my career kind of took off doing other things like Sweet Tooth, and now I’m working on new things that I’m drawing myself. So, it just became obvious that this was something that I really wanted to do, but that I wouldn’t have time to draw the whole thing myself and that was part of the decision to come to Dark Horse and find an artist like Dean.

What does Dean bring to the book that is different from what you would have done had you drawn it yourself?

It’s very different, I met Dean at Thought Bubble, a festival in the UK, about two, maybe three years ago. But I had known his work before that, I followed his work at Vertigo and was a fan. I really admired his stuff, I felt it was very graphic, very bold style. He also has a sense of strangeness, like he can draw monsters, but with a strange humanity to them. I thought it would be interesting to filter superheroes through that strange dark voice that he has, I knew it would be unique and that it wouldn’t look like a normal super-hero comic. It would look like a strange super-hero comic. It can’t just be a thing I’m emulating, it needs its own voice for sure.

When we see the flashbacks, will different styles emerge?

We’re still very much in the process of deciding how far we go with that. How do we use color? Does he completely alter his drawing style for each era? So those are the creative things we’re sort of in the process of working out. I’m not sure what the answer is yet, as I’ve written two scripts and he’s still in the design stage. We’ll see how it plays out.

Having spent so much time at DC under your exclusive, you’re now spread amongst several different universes per se, is that an overwhelming feeling at all?

It’s fun, I love DC. I grew up reading DC and I have nothing bad to say about my time there. They treated me really great. There’s stuff I’m proud of and stuff I’m not so proud of. That just comes with doing a lot of stuff. It’s cool to play in new playgrounds like the Valiant stuff with new characters and a much smaller universe that I wasn’t familiar with. It’s brand new to me, so that’s fun. And, with this book, I’m creating my own comic book universe that is a combination of my own sensibilities and pulling things from history. It’s not so much overwhelming as it is fun. It’s fun to have fresh starts, new people to work with and new things to play with.

And The Black Hammer is coming in February 2015?

I believe March.

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14. Call for Submissions: GAMBA Zine

GAMBA Zine is a provocative new literary magazine created to inspire passion and thoughtfulness outside the politics of mainstream publication. We are looking for writers to submit work that pushes the limits of their craft and adds to an exhibition of progressive ideas from all over the world.

The theme for our next Issue is:

Reverse Programming

In a society infused with oppression and organized manipulation of right vs. wrong, successful vs. unsuccessful, fact vs. perspective what must we do to change the program inside and out?

Submission Requirements:

~ Send by August 15, 2014
~ No more than two single spaced, typed pages (1500 words)

~ Include a 3-5 sentence Artists Bio (website, blog address, email, etc....)
~ Email to:

huntergraham18ATyahooDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

with the subject "GAMBA Submission"

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15. Impact character and other questions.

Hello there! I'm here for another question (or questions), if you don't mind. In the middle of my story, the protagonist (the one in pursue of the story

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16. Call for Speculative Poetry Submissions: Eye to the Telescope

Eye to the Telescope call for poetry submissions

Eye to the Telescope (ETTT) is a guest-edited online publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. ETTT 14 will be edited by John C. Mannone, who is looking for ekphrastic submissions for the October 2014 issue. Deadline September 15, 2014.

There is no particular theme for this issue, but the speculative poems (sci-fi, fantasy, surrealism, etc.) must be exactly 100 words (excluding titles and epigraphs/postscripts that cite other sources) and be connected to the visual art linked below (see website). They may contain tones of humor or horror, but most importantly, I am looking for literary quality writing with literary depth. All forms/styles are accepted. Either write a poem directly inspired by one of the images posted on our site or pair up a poem influenced by a current science event (include an online reference) that also complements one of the pictures. Identify which image elicited each poem.

See our website for the links to the pictures and for more submission details.

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17. Our free e-book for August: For the Love of It


Wayne C. Booth (1921–2005) was the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, one of the most renowned literary critics of his generation, and an amateur cellist who came to music later in life.  For the Love of It is a story not only of one intimate struggle between a man and his cello, but also of the larger conflict between a society obsessed with success and individuals who choose challenging hobbies that yield no payoff except the love of it. 

“Will be read with delight by every well-meaning amateur who has ever struggled.… Even general readers will come away with a valuable lesson for living: Never mind the outcome of a possibly vain pursuit; in the passion that is expended lies the glory.”—John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

“If, in truth, Booth is an amateur player now in his fifth decade of amateuring, he is certainly not an amateur thinker about music and culture. . . . Would that all of us who think and teach and care about music could be so practical and profound at the same time.”—Peter Kountz, New York Times Book Review

“Wayne Booth, the prominent American literary critic, has written the only sustained study of the interior experience of musical amateurism in recent years, For the Love of It. [It] succeeds as a meditation on the tension between the centrality of music in Booth’s life, both inner and social, and its marginality. . . . It causes the reader to acknowledge the heterogeneity of the pleasures involved in making music; the satisfaction in playing well, the pride one takes in learning a difficult piece or passage or technique, the buzz in one’s fingertips and the sense of completeness with the bow when the turn is done just right, the pleasure of playing with others, the comfort of a shared society, the joy of not just hearing, but making, the music, the wonder at the notes lingering in the air.”—Times Literary Supplement
Download your copy here.

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18. Study Claims That Reading Harry Potter Makes Kids More Gay Friendly

Reading Harry Potter books can make kids more gay friendly argues a new paper by Italian researchers, published online recently in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

New York has the scoop: “In one study, researchers gave high school kids in Northern Italy two questionnaires: one asked about the books they’d read (both Potter and non-Potter) and the other was meant to gauge their attitudes toward gay people. As it turns out, the kids who were bigger Potterphiles — and who identified with the eponymous character — were also more likely to have positive feelings toward gay individuals.”

New York points out that outside factors could also be at play. For instance, Harry Potter readers could come from more liberal families since some religious groups have criticized the series.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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19. Judy Schachner: Thinking in Pictures: My Storytelling Process

Judy Schachner is the #1 New York Times best-selling author/illustrator of over twenty-three books for children including Bits & Pieces, the modern classic Skippyjon Jones series, Yo Vikings, The Grannyman and Willy and May. She has won many awards including the first E.B. White Read Aloud Award.

"When I create a character, I commit to that character."

The charming and funny, Judy Schachner, has the room cracking up, especially since she's being a bit of a rule breaker and doing everything Lin Oliver asked her not to. And we're loving it!

Judy will talk about thinking in pictures.

Judy got her start in illustration. Her first book was by Donna Jo Napoli and she illustrated a story about frogs. It was followed by What Shall I Dream? written by Laura McGee Kvasnosky. Then her publisher asked, "Judy, do you write?" After saying yes, she worried she'd be exposed as a liar.

Willy May was the first book she wrote and illustrated. After receiving some starred reviews, she started to believe she could write too.

If you asked her Judy what her favorite book was, she would say, Yo Vikings. It brought back childhood. One of the Judy's daughters wanted a viking ship, and believe it or not, her family ended up buying one.

Judy creates character bibles, getting to know her characters through images, ones she both finds and draws. Collaging and collecting, she has these books going all the time. It's all done intuitively, with no rhyme or reason. Judy shares with us a slide show of many of the pages that come from her character bibles. So very cool.

Character and dialogue comes first for Judy. Plot is more challenging. But doing the bibles helps her to solve all the problems with plot and place.

It's really amazing to see how Judy allows images and ideas to come to her, how she so freely allows herself to put them all together in interesting way. She gets them down on paper (in her character bible), and doesn't sensor herself, then let's it all go to work for her. It helps to inform her stories and clearly creates strong characters that feel original and charming.

Her process is fascinating and is even one writers could take to inform their stories and characters. Judy even suggests this process for those writing novels. "It can work for everybody."

What a treat to see pages from the character bible of her latest story about an OCD raccoon. Just wonderful.

The pages she creates become placeholders. If they don't end up in the book she's working on now, they might end up in another book.

"Become a collector of not just things but of experiences too."

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20. Lorde to Curate the Soundtrack For ‘Mockingjay’ Part 1

Lionsgate has hired Grammy Award winner Lorde to curate the soundtrack for Mockingjay Part 1. An announcement on Facebook has drawn more than 30,000 “likes.”

Lorde has been tasked with selecting the artists who will be featured on the album. The New Zealand pop singer will also record the first single.

Lorde had this statement in the press release: “The cast and story are an inspiration for all musicians participating and, as someone with cinematic leanings, being privy to a different creative process has been a unique experience. I think the soundtrack is definitely going to surprise people.”


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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21. Call for Submissions: Sequestrum

September 1st marks the deadline for Sequestrum: Summer '14 and the beginning of our Fall'14 issue! To browse our archives, subscribe (for free), and find our complete guidelines, visit our website.

For our summer issue, we're interested in poetry (under 35 lines) and fiction and nonfiction (under 5,000 words). Topic and theme are open, our only requirement is to send your best work - and to read a past publication or two to get an idea of what we like.

About Sequestrum:
We average 1,000+ readers a month, keep our archives free and open to the public, are a paying market, and pair all our publications with stunning visual arts created by outside artists or our staff. Our contributors range from award-winning novelists and poets (with other works featured in publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Scholar, The Kenyon Review, many other university periodicals, and Best American Anthologies) to emerging voices and first-time writers.

We're proud of our little plot on the literary landscape and the writers and artists we share it with. Come see why.

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22. Jay Asher & Stephen Chbosky: Mystery and Grit: Writing Realistic Page Turners

Jay Asher's debut teen novel, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, spent over two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list (and began as a SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant Winner!). His second book, THE FUTURE OF US, was coauthored with Carolyn Mackler.

Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the feature film adaptation of his novel, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

The mutual respect and admiration each has for the other already makes this session a great one.

When Jay thought up the idea for THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, he was afraid. It was not the type of book he thought he would want to read. That's when he decided to focus on making it a page turner.

Stephen has learned more about the page turn by watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer because it's all about what happened or what happens next.

Jay notes that his books are more plot driven suspense and Stephen's more character driven suspense.

Jay was thinking about the reader the whole time he wrote THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, thinking about what he wanted to say and what he wanted the reader to be thinking about. He wanted the reader to always be guessing what's going to happen next. If they're right, they'll be happy that they were, or if they weren't, hopefully they will be surprised by what happened in a good way.

Jay needs an ending in mind to shoot for, not that it means the ending might not change. He still needs to leave some room for the story to surprise even him as he writes it. He loves those moments. Let your characters sometimes surprise you.

Stephen echoes the same thoughts: If I know everything in the beginning then there's no room to make it better.

Jay wanted THIRTEEN REASONS WHY to read clean so that it would read quickly, building suspense and not allowing the reader to come out of the story.

Stephen on confusion: It's confusion if the reader is lost and doesn't know what's going on but
it's great suspense if the reader is guessing what the confusion is.

Jay Asher: Your book has one main thing that has to be solved that the reader knows will be solved at the end, so along the way the reader is going to need some micro-mysteries along the way to keep them reading forward to the end.

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23. Stephen Chbosky's Keynote: How to Write Your Timeless Classic (Or Die Trying)

Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the feature film adaptation of his novel, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. He's written novels, screenplays and edited a collection of short stories, Pieces.

Stephen Chbosky giving his keynote to over 1,200 rapt attendees

Stephen starts his talk by saying

"The next generation of classics are literally in this room."

He's sharing the rejections he got for "The Perks of Being A Walllflower, " and then tells us that:

"If you're going to write your timeless classic, it starts with you."

Step one: find the great idea - your great idea

It sounds facile, but Stephen actually shares an exercise to help us - help you -  find that idea. It's something he's done twelve times.

It's about finding out the thing about you that's most beautiful and sharing it with the world. But we're not always the best judge of our own beauty…

Here it is: Write down every story idea you have. (He suggests to register them.) Then you take that list and you share it with the people closest to you, the ones who genuinely want you to succeed. Or ask kids you're trying to reach.

Everyone who reads it will gravitate towards one or two ideas.

Taste and talent are completely different things, and often we, as authors, don't always recognize what's unique and which is the great idea we already have inside us, and this is a way to find it!

Next, Stephen walks us through the other steps - the room is riveted!

Two more amazing quotes from the keynote:

"Books change lives. Books save lives." 

and that
"If you're really doing it for you, you're doing it for the world."

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24. Sarah Davies: Writing and Selling for a Global Marketplace

Sarah Davies is a literary agent at The Greenhouse Literary Agency.

She has deep experience in this business, both as an editor and an agent. For more than 25 years, she was a publisher in London, working with the likes of Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, and Karen Cushman. Her agency, launched in 2008, is based in both the U.S. and London. She considers both the U.S. and U.K. her domestic market, and represents writers in both places, although most clients live in the United States.

Greenhouse's affiliate Rights People is the top seller of international rights in the business. Being international is part of the agency's DNA.  

She gave us a detailed talk about the international aspects of publishing, which she finds "quite exciting." She also walked us through the anatomy of a complicated deal simultaneously struck on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some excerpts from her remarks: 

Why care about foreign sales? 

These sales mean more income for writers. The biggest contenders are Brazil, France, and Germany. Your advance can equal or exceed a U.S. advance. They can also lend prestige and profile.

"Success breeds more success," she said.

Territory is where all negotiations begin, she said. Publishers want as much exclusive territory as they can get for as little money as possible. Her agenda as an agent is different, but there are three types of territorial contracts she can make:
  • One for North American rights (usually U.S. and Canada)  - the publisher can publish in English in those two places, their dependents, and the Philippines.
  • World English language - the publisher can sell your book anywhere in the world in the English language.
  • World rights in all languages. Subsidiary rights are potentially very valuable. There are good reasons for your agent to sell them to your publisher, e.g. if your publisher has a good track record of selling your rights. These count to erode your American advance, which is good for the writer. There are also good reasons to retain those rights, and Greenhouse tries to do just this.
When a sale happens, percentages are divided. If Greenhouse sells for you, as opposed to your publisher, you will end up with a bigger percentage.
In terms of book publishing, all sales play into making your brand and your book bigger, she said. Buzz goes on internationally and nationally. And the book business is a small, interconnected world. 

A book called HALF BAD by Sally Green holds the record for foreign sales: 40 countries before it was even published.

On how books get buzz (a few of her observations):

She told us about some "shadowy figures" known as book scouts who live in NYC and London network with agents to find the hottest upcoming properties. They usually represent foreign publishers and film clients. "They are desperate for early information and hot tips," she said.

Book fairs also spread buzz—Bologna and Frankfurt (which is all books, not just children's books).

Publishers Weekly lists deals. There's a free newsletter you can subscribe. Publishers Marketplace also has a subscription service.
Follow Sarah on Twitter.

Learn more about The Greenhouse Literary Agency

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25. Agent Updates to the 2014 WD Conference

As promised, here are the last minute agent updates (both additions and cancellations) to the 2014 WD Conference, Aug. 1-3, 2014, in NYC.


1. Jordy Albert (Albert Booker Literary) has cancelled.

2. Alex Slater (Trident Media) has cancelled.

3. Kathleen Zakhar (Harold Ober Associates) has cancelled.


Stephanie Delman
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc.
Stephanie is building her client list with a focus on literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, voice-driven memoirs, upmarket women’s fiction, and historical fiction (particularly WWII stories). She is open to quirky voices and dark comedy, and she loves expansive, interwoven narratives that traverse time and place. She is excited to develop long-term relationships with new writers.

Jessica Negron
Talcott Notch Literary
Jessica seeks the following adult fiction genres: science fiction, fantasy, psychological thrillers (fewer Navy SEALS and more Gillian Flynn), cozy mysteries, romance, and erotic romance. She also takes all genres of YA. Lastly, she would love to see books whose authors and characters are diverse in all or any respects, including but not limited to gender, sexual orientation, race, weight, ethnicity, religion, disability, and national origin.

Stacy Testa
Writers House
Stacy is looking for upmarket commercial women’s fiction and literary fiction, particularly character-driven stories with an international setting, historical bent, or focus on a unique subculture. She also represents realistic young adult (no dystopian or paranormal, please!). For non-fiction, she is particularly interested in young “millennial” voices with a great sense of humor and a strong platform and voice-driven narratives about little-known moments or people in history.


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