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Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, dated 10/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,642
1. New from Book Island

Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich by Lorraine Francis & Pieter Gaudesaboos

Sammy was very hungry.
"I'm so hungry I could eat the biggest sandwich in the world," he said.
So he went to the cupboard and he got some crusty bread with poppy seeds on top,
a big tub of chocolate spread and a little pot of mustard,
a box of sprinkles
and a bag of raisins,
three jars of jam
some crunchy peanut butter
and a comb of runny honey.
"But I'm not finished yet," he said.

Sammy then gathers more food to make a humungous sandwich that goes out the attic window and is as tall as a skyscraper.  Will it wobble? Is Sammy still hungry afterwards? Read to find out what happens.

The book is very tall too and made with heavy card.  It will be useful for reading in the classroom and kindergarten.  Children can learn new words, as pictures show the food alongside. It can also be used to show numbers, big/bigger/biggest concept, and could be used in a classroom discussion about what would happen if you built a sandwich that big.  Some boys will probably want to test it out. (They'll run out of food and it'll topple long before it gets to their arm length let alone being taller than a house.)  Recommended for the classroom and kindy.  Nice and hardy too.

Lorraine Francis is an Irish writer of picture books. She works as a children’s librarian. Lorraine has written numerous books for Irish publishing houses. Her career took a turn when she met the young Belgian illustrator, designer and author Pieter Gaudesaboos. His great love of the formalism of 1950s illustrations, his digital drawing technique and his childlike imagination fit together perfectly, and they are an ideal match for this simple but charming story.

Published by Book Island, ISBN:  978-0-9876696-0-5,  RRP  $24.99

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2. PiBoIdMo Day 1: Amy Dixon Goes the Distance

I have always been competitive. Maybe it’s because I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers, which meant we did things like thumb-wrestle to see who would get the last bowl of Sunday Cereal…or battle it out in Easter Day relay races that required rolling eggs across the carpet with our noses. Or maybe it’s because my parents fell in love on the basketball court, where everyone said that if Patty really liked Harold, she would let him win. Well, she really did like him. Forty-years-together-and-counting-kind-of-liked-him. But she didn’t let him win. So I guess you could say it’s in my blood.

Is it any wonder then that I jumped at the chance to be a part of PiBoIdMo when I first heard about it in 2010? A challenge, you say? 30 ideas in 30 days, you say? Sounds hard. I’m in!

Know what else sounds hard? Marathons. Lucky for me, November is a month chock-full of ‘em, and I’ve got a husband who likes to run ‘em. (I’ve run a half-marathon, and that was hard enough for me, thank you very much!) So when November 5, 2010 rolled around, this is the idea I wrote down:

Marathon Mouse. Story of a mouse who lives in NYC right under the start line and decides that it is his life’s dream to participate in the NYC marathon.

What I quickly figured out about PiBoIdMo was that it wasn’t necessarily coming up with the ideas that was the hard part. But the sifting and sorting of ideas to figure out which were studs and which were duds??? That was the tough part. Once the challenge was over, I tried writing a couple of other stories first…ones that I deemed more commercial, more worthy of an agent’s or editor’s attention. But I soon realized that the story I really wanted to write was the one about the marathon. In the 2 years since my husband had taken up distance running, I had been in search of a picture book about the sport that I could share with my children. I was looking for something that reflected the early mornings, the intense training, and the roadside cheering that was now a part of our family culture. And I couldn’t find one, because one didn’t exist.

So I wrote it.

And I liked it.

It travelled with me to my critique group, as well as to our regional SCBWI conference. And it was there that I first heard the objection that followed this manuscript around for quite some time: “…but kids don’t run marathons!” Okay, fair point. Kids don’t run marathons.

BUT.

Anyone who has ever been to a marathon knows that you will find yourself absolutely, without exception, knee-deep in kids…walking the course, holding cherished homemade signs, and searching the crowds of runners, hoping to catch a glimpse of their mom or dad, aunt or grandpa, teacher or friend. Kids may not run marathons, but they are an ever-present part of the running community. And that was the reason that I persevered through 26.2 miles of discouragement, and believed in my story.

Mercifully, there was an editor out there from Sky Pony Press who believed in my story too. And now I have had the wonderful privilege of experiencing my children’s delight as they turn the pages of Marathon Mouse…because, although they have never actually run a marathon, it is in those pages that they see their experiences reflected. And they love it.

Write the stories that you want to write. As the ideas fly off your fingertips and onto that spreadsheet this November, make note of the ones that spark something in your heart. They may not always be the obvious choices. They may not always scream commercial appeal. But one of them just might be the story you were meant to write.

And now if you’ll excuse me, it’s day one of PiBoIdMo, and I’ve got an idea for a story about a girl named Patty…and a boy named Harold…and the jump shot that launched an unending love…

Amy Dixon grew up as one of seven siblings, so the only peace and quiet she ever got was inside a book. Once she had her own kids, she rediscovered her love for picture books at the public library. It was the one place she knew all four of her kids would be happy . . . and quiet. She writes from her home, where she lives with her four little inspirations and her marathon-running husband, Rob. Check her out at amydixonbooks.com.


10 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 1: Amy Dixon Goes the Distance, last added: 11/1/2012
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3. NaNo Starts Today!

I'm doing NaNo this year. I know. Crazy idea. I will be sleep deprived. I will be haunting Starbucks. But I'm determined to get most, if not nearly all, of this writing project I'm working on finished.

Any of you doing NaNo? If you are, sending luck your way!

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4. Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Like Dark Striker ((Nidhogg), the dragon who was an enormous force of evil in Norse mythology, Hurricane Sandy has left a broad swath of destruction and darkness in her path. Large areas of New York and New Jersey are swamped and disconnected to an extent never seen before. The fires that reduced acres of homes [...]

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5.

LATEST NEWS

Artie’s poem Ceiling to the Stars was published by Families Online Magazine on October 3rd. To read the poem, please click on the illustration below. This poem was illustrated by the talented young artist Chung Oh. To learn more about Chung, visit her online at www.chungoh-illustration.com.

Artie’s children’s story The Hummingbird Who Chewed Bubblegum is being published in a book collection by the Oxford University Press in India. More to come.

Artie’s new story The Race for Space was published in the September issue of the Teachers.net Gazette. To read the story please click on the image below. (This story is dedicated to the memory of Neil Armstrong, whose courage and heroism will live on forever)

Artie’s children’s book Living Green: A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet is now available as a free video for kids through StoryCub. A shortlist finalist for the national 2012 Green Earth Book Award, Thurman the turtle is tired of seeing the land he loves cluttered with trash and decides to take action.

To watch the Living Green video on Youtube, please click on the cover below. StoryCub videos are one of the most watched programs on Apple’s iTunes Kids & Family section.

COPYRIGHT © 2012 ARTIE KNAPP

Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law


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6. Picture Book Peek Week #16 is Part of KidLit Cares!

Hi All -

I was just getting ready to post a November Picture Book Peek Week on my blog when Sandy struck. So instead, my critique this time around will be part of an auction to help the victims of Sandy.

KidLit Cares is organized by the awesome kidlit author Kate Messner. There you'll find my picture book critique as well as loads of other kidlit treasures.

Here's the link: http://www.katemessner.com/kidlitcares-picture-book-critique-with-author-jean-reidy/

So please stop by. Bid high. Bid often. And help those whose lives were devastated by this storm.

While my Peek Week  for November was to have a gratitude theme, I am forever grateful for all of you and for this caring and generous kidllit community that always steps up in times of trouble.
 :grouphug2
and
 :thankyou
Jean

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7. Best Books of October 2012

October 2012: 31 books and scripts read

This month was a mix of new titles, re-reads of favorite stories, and continuing series.

Recommended For Adults and Teens
In the House of the Wicked by Thomas E. Sniegoski, the newest Remy Chandler novel
The Nimble Man by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski, the first book in The Menagerie series
Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling - non-fiction alert!

For Ages 14 and up
Intentions by Deborah Heiligman
Death of a Kleptomaniac by Kristen Tracy

For Ages 8 and up
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff (coming out in February)

Classics (and Classics Retold)
Arsenic & Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring (I've read this play and seen the film multiple times!)
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman

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8.

Sunny and hot-but occasional cool breezes.


This cartoon attempts to highlight the misdirected priorities of our current administration.  Unseating a successful and popular (and honest) delegate in the US House of Representatives seems to be far more important than the task of governing or addressing the serious problems of crime, crumbling economy, and ruined infrastructure. While daily reports confirm that government spending is out of control, budgeting is based on magical thinking, crimes go unsolved and the people suffer, huge ads supporting Acha Demapan in Republican red and letters to the editor in her support take precedence.

The little guys comment that casinos still seem to be a priority-and they are as yet another attempt to ramrod casinos down the throats of Saipan voters has been recently raised. We'll see a lot more of that after the election (unless the people vote more intelligently than they have in the past--and there's little reason to think they will).

The people are not the priority of the administration.  Nor are they the priority of the voters--who vote their individual fortunes and pockets, not for hte public good.

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9. Interview with Sarah Billington

I met Sarah Billington in 2010 at a Mad Men themed Christmas party thrown by my speakers' agency. (How glamorous does that sound? I am obviously super sophisticated.) Sarah is very lovely and is a freelance editor as well as being a writer. She writes contemporary YA fiction and some spookier stuff under the pen name Edwina Ray. (I haven't read her novel The Kiss Off but Shirley Marr has a quote on the cover, so obviously it is good. There's currently a giveaway for it on Goodreads, too.)

Did you know that there's a professor at Stanford University with the same name as you? Do you actually have a double life, flying between Australia and the US, secretly being a professor of engineering in your free time? 
I did know that! There is also a fifteen year old British singer called Sarah Billington who is constantly having her performances uploaded to Youtube. I haven't seen any yet but I'm getting the impression she is very good. I feel a bit inadequate next to a Stanford professor and singing sensation. If I was in fact ALSO the Stanford professor as well as the young adult fiction writer, clearly I have discovered a time machine or some way to make a daily cross-the-world commute. I write on the trip, obviously.

Where do you get your ideas' is a ridiculous question. But I still want to ask it! What are your inspirations? (If I word it differently, is it excusable?) When you get stuck in a story, or are trying to generate new ideas, are there any specific things you turn to? Other books, newspaper articles, films, music, blogs?
I get inspiration from everything. A thing a person said, a street sign, an interesting relationship dynamic in a TV show, a song lyric, just the way a person behaves, a place I go or see...
When I get stuck in a story, I try and think out possibilities of what could happen, because there is never ONE way a situation could play out. Who will the protagonist choose? The best friend or the bad boy? Making that choice is not the only way the scene could play out. If a girl ran into the room and announced the best friend is her baby daddy, that's a bit different. Or if a stranger appeared in the middle of the scene to mug them and murdered the bad boy, that's...well it's a different direction you could go as well.
Sometimes I get stuck in a genre. I mostly write comedy and that's actually really hard to do when you're not in a good mood or not even remotely feeling funny. Sometimes I need to write something a bit more serious, work on another project and it helps me get it out of my system and find my funny bone again. I've just had that experience today, as a matter of fact.  

Do you have any specific writing tools or special set up? i.e. playlists, computer programs, special writing hat?
Nah. I write on my netbook in bed or on the couch, or on my desktop computer in my office. In Microsoft Word. I tried Scrivener (writing software), and it's really good for plotting out scenes but I'm not such a fan of actually writing the whole book in it as it felt very disjointed and I wasn't writing complete chapters in it. Other writers may know a more effective way of using it, but I haven't figured it out as yet.

I find it hard to write with music playing, as I start concentrating on the story behind the lyrics. That said, it doesn't mean I can't do it. I have a weekly writing date with a friend, lunch at a pub in which we eat and talk books and writing and then we get down to writing for a couple of hours. They have a 90-00s mix that plays constantly. Our lunch date is not complete if they haven't played some John Mayer. Seriously. They always play John.

Do you think you'll ever grow out of writing YA? What in particular draws you to the genre/age group?
I honestly don't think I'll grow out of writing YA. Because I honestly don't think I'll grow up. I'm 28 now and I don't feel like a grown up. I have grown up-type problems, sure, but I can totally relate to the heightened angst of being a teenager. I think all adults still can. Have you ever seen your grandma go out with the girls? Yeah. You heard me. The GIRLS. Not the women or ladies, she's out with her girlfriends. Just like your dad or your grandpa goes out with his boys. They may have grown older in years but inside they're no older than you are. 

Ebooks vs. physical books: can they peacefully coexist?
I hope they can peacefully coexist. It's funny that there are two camps when it comes to digital books and physical books, don't you think? Like we've romanticised paper. This didn't happen with tape vs CD, or CD vs digital music, did it? Or VHS tape vs DVD, and DVD vs Bluray. Are there people out there who are all "you can go stick your digital music where the sun don't shine! I'm keeping my CDs and you can't make me change!"

Personally, my CD collection was just as big as my book collection (okay, that's a TOTAL lie, but it was big) and I gotta love the SPACE I save with digital music. I love that about ebooks, too. And they're super-light when traveling.

All that said, I do prefer the reading experience of a physical book. But I move house a lot. And paper books are heavy.

What advice would you give to authors (particularly YA writers) when promoting themselves online?
It's great to be active and approachable online, but don't be TOO active. You can look like a spammer, or like you NEVER work. There is something to be said for the mysterious, enigmatic writer only really known for their books.

The most important advice I have is: Stop, take a second, and think before replying to something online. Tone doesn't come across the internet very well (which is why the neurotics amongst us can be a bit obsessive with smiley faces  [guilty]) so you have to be aware that what you're saying in a light-hearted way can come across as defensive, hostile or combative. Or even if your comments ARE defensive - you need to stop before you say that defensive thing. Think about it. Maybe the person who made you defensive has a point. Or maybe they have every right to say what they did because they're in THEIR space, on their blog etc. Or maybe they are just a troll TRYING to make you mad. Don't play with trolls.
Just stop, take a second, and think. 

Why did you decide to pursue indie publishing? Do you think traditional publishing is being made redundant?
I had written a book I was really proud of, but my agent didn't think it would sell. I was disheartened by that, and at the same time, I was hearing more and more success stories in the self-publishing field, AND my major assignment for a class at University was to focus on an area of digital publishing. I decided to see what this ebook fuss was about and I've found I'm quite successful at it (I also got a High Distinction for my assignment. Woohoo!). It all happened at the same time and was kind of fate-like.

I certainly don't think traditional publishing will be redundant, more often than not you can trust that the book you buy will have some redeeming qualities, when it really is a gamble with purchasing self published work.
But like indie music, there is now another way to go than with a big backer. Some indie bands aren't very good, just like some indie books aren't very good. Some big label bands also aren't very good, and ditto for some traditionally published books. Being indie or trad doesn't automatically mean really good or really bad.

The thing I like about indie publishing is that books that wouldn't have found a publisher, because they cater to a niche market, are able to find their readers. Short stories and poetry have found a place again, as very little of either get published traditionally. Interestingly, for a couple of years I was consistently hearing that New Adult fiction (18-25ish. College age) doesn't sell. Publishers weren't publishing it because when they did, readers didn't buy it.
New Adult contemporary fiction is currently becoming a really popular genre due to self publishing authors (e.g. Abbi Glines, Tammara Webber and stacks more) finding massive success. New Adult DOES sell, it turns out, but BEFORE self publishing (both have gone on to sell the rights to their books to be published by traditional publishing houses), regardless of how good their books, they may not have been published and readers may not have found these excellent books because "new adult doesn't sell". I find it really interesting and love the diversity and breadth of fiction that self publishing allows for.
 
Imagining you could travel back in time and meet yourself without tearing the fabric of the universe, what advice would you give your younger self (say, as a teenager) about writing and life? 
Just be you. Don't think that just because you're an adult you need to write serious work of literary merit. You're not a serious person, Sarah, you tend to see the funny side of pretty much everything, so just. Be. You.
Also, one I'm still working on is that what other people think of me is NONE of my business. It just matters what I think of me. I'm a big people pleaser, and unfortunately, I just can't please everyone. Learn it and live it, Sarah! 


-- 
For more about Sarah and her novels, check out her website and blog.

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10. Storytime!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:  the results of the progressive Halloween story game!   . . . . . . . . Voldemort, Sauron, and Frankenstein’s Monster walk into a bar.  The bartender glances up and without even so much as a blink or double-take turns to the glassware shelves.  The [...]

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11. The Story that Wrote Itself

Some stories just write themselves.

 It's rainy...almost snowy...here in Ohio.  A crummy night for trick-or-treat indeed.  I really didn't expect many trick-or-treaters, but to my surprise they showed up in droves.  I live in a closed neighborhood so traffic is really slow here.  Parents can walk on the sidewalk while the kids stroll from door-to-door.

At any rate, it's Halloween night and I'm home alone except for my 150-pound Newfoundland, Sam and my little half-dachshund-half terrier, Annabelle.

I have a front door with no screen...just the door.  Every time the doorbell rang the dogs bounded to the door with me.  They were enjoying every minute of the holiday spirit. You would have thought it was Christmas!

Since Sam is so big, I was holding him with my left hand (so he wouldn't accidentally kiss anyone to death) and passing out candy with my right.  All was going well...really well.

Then it happened.

 Annabelle spied a cute little Spiderman holding a pumpkin that was filled to the brim.  She saw her moment and took it.  Annabelle zipped out the front door.  She knocked Spiederman's pumpkin onto the porch and used her hunting instinct to its maximum.  She sniffed out the biggest peanut butter cup known to mankind and bolted back into the house.

While Spiderman was deciding whether or not to cry Sam and Annabelle got into a wrestling match right there in front of all the little ghosts and goblins.  I'm not sure if it was Spiderman or not, but one of the kids said, "OH SH --!" 

If I could have I would have slammed the front door.  There were too many tails, legs, hands, feet, and pumpkins in the mix.  What did I do? 

I can wrestle with the best of them.  I GOT THAT PEANUT BUTTER CUP.  That magnificent piece of candy was mine!  I took it from my little thugs without killing myself during my slip and slide maneuvers on the floor. 

Then I stood up slowly and carefully and tried to look dignified.

 All the onlookers finally decided the entertainment was over and moved on to the next house.  Instead of passing out candy I should have charged admission.

You just never know when a story is going to write itself. 





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12. The Story that Wrote Itself

Some stories just write themselves.

 It's rainy...almost snowy...here in Ohio.  A crummy night for trick-or-treat indeed.  I really didn't expect many trick-or-treaters, but to my surprise they showed up in droves.  I live in a closed neighborhood so traffic is really slow here.  Parents can walk on the sidewalk while the kids stroll from door-to-door.

At any rate, it's Halloween night and I'm home alone except for my 150-pound Newfoundland, Sam and my little half-dachshund-half terrier, Annabelle.

I have a front door with no screen...just the door.  Every time the doorbell rang the dogs bounded to the door with me.  They were enjoying every minute of the holiday spirit. You would have thought it was Christmas!

Since Sam is so big, I was holding him with my left hand (so he wouldn't accidentally kiss anyone to death) and passing out candy with my right.  All was going well...really well.

Then it happened.

 Annabelle spied a cute little Spiderman holding a pumpkin that was filled to the brim.  She saw her moment and took it.  Annabelle zipped out the front door.  She knocked Spiederman's pumpkin onto the porch and used her hunting instinct to its maximum.  She sniffed out the biggest peanut butter cup known to mankind and bolted back into the house.

While Spiderman was deciding whether or not to cry Sam and Annabelle got into a wrestling match right there in front of all the little ghosts and goblins.  I'm not sure if it was Spiderman or not, but one of the kids said, "OH SH --!" 

If I could have I would have slammed the front door.  There were too many tails, legs, hands, feet, and pumpkins in the mix.  What did I do? 

I can wrestle with the best of them.  I GOT THAT PEANUT BUTTER CUP.  That magnificent piece of candy was mine!  I took it from my little thugs without killing myself during my slip and slide maneuvers on the floor. 

Then I stood up slowly and carefully and tried to look dignified.

 All the onlookers finally decided the entertainment was over and moved on to the next house.  Instead of passing out candy I should have charged admission.

You just never know when a story is going to write itself. 





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13. If You're Going To Read A Book With Multiple Points Of View, Read This One

Minutes before I started reading Ungifted by Gordon Korman, I gave up reading a book that was told from alternating points of view. Several of them. None of the characters were particularly interesting, some of them were terribly cliched, and the point of view switches meant having to keep readjusting myself to a different person telling a story I didn't like very much, anyway.

Imagine my surprise when I found that Ungifted was told the same way. The basic story is more interesting in Ungifted, though, and the characters are all more likable and more accessible.

Ungifted is the story of a run-of-the-mill kid who has a history of stumbling into disruptive rather than criminal trouble. After accidentally causing expensive damage to the middle school gym, he takes advantage of a paperwork error so he can hide out in the district's school for the academically gifted.

I found the basic premise for the book believable. Donovan had legitimate reasons for being concerned about the financial trouble he was going to make for his family if he was fingered for the gym job. I found the slip-up that got him into the gifted program believable. I found his family's response to his sudden identification as gifted believable. For the past thirty years, at least, it has been a rare parent who hasn't spent their children's entire school careers waiting for someone besides themselves to recognize their offsprings' splendor.

I did feel the point of view switches weakened the story, though. The basic idea is that Donovan's presence at the school makes life better for the gifted students. I buy that idea, too. But I would have enjoyed getting deeper into one point of view in order to see what's so great about Donovan.

This is a contemporary, realistic school story with a lot of humor. I see so much fantasy, paranormal, teen girl group stuff that a realistic story seems unique by comparison. A lot of kids would be happy to find this book.

Ungifted is a Cybils nominee in the middle grade fiction category.


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14. Just too much fun



There's a premise for a kid's book if I ever saw one. A serendipitous spill for scientists, who have been following the progress of the duckies around the globe for years now. Doesn't it just make you smile? Read the whole story at the Mail.uk


Update: I might have known-- the picture book has already been done by Eric Carle of The Very Hungry Caterpillar fame. Further, there is another book about the true story, delightfully titled Moby Duck. Read more in this article. 

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15. Bacon Peanut Brittle

I reviewed a Knoshbox for GeekMom. It contained bacon peanut brittle. Words can’t even.

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16. GPS WITH BENEFITS ~ a funny short film script about a GPS with a mind of 'her' own ~ by Vanessa Morgan


GPS WITH BENEFITS, on Kindle November 1st, a funny short film script about a GPS with a mind of 'her' own. The film based on the script will be shot in 2013.


Thank you for having me on your blog today. I'm truly honored to be here with all of you!

How many people do you know that make jokes about their GPS device or even talk to it?
Nearly everyone, right?

GPS devices know where you are and how fast you are driving. Who says that, in the near future, they won't be able to know you look at and what you say.
These thoughts form the basis of my new release, GPS WITH BENEFITS, in which a womanizer purchases a new GPS device, not knowing that it has a mind of 'her' own.
"The inspiration for GPS WITH BENEFITS came to me when I was in the car with a friend," Vanessa says. "We made jokes about the GPS device and imagined what it would be like if the GPS was actually aware of what the driver was thinking. I immediately knew that these ideas could be turned into a hilarious story."
I won't reveal more, but GPS WITH BENEFITS has some twists and turns that you won't see coming and that will have you laughing out loud.

Your turn... What's the weirdest or funniest thing a GPS has ever done to you?

By the way, if you leave a comment on this post, you'll automatically be entered to win an Amazon Gift Card of $25.

About the author:
Vanessa Morgan is known as the 'female version of Stephen King'. Her screenplays, A GOOD MAN and GPS WITH BENEFITS, are currently being turned into movies. She is also the author of the books Drowned Sorrow, A Good Man and THE STRANGERS OUTSIDE. If she's not working on her latest supernatural thriller, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, blogging, digging through flea markets or indulging in her unhealthy obsession to her cat. She writes in English, Dutch and French.



About her latest release, GPS WITH BENEFITS


In GPS WITH BENEFITS, a womanizer purchases a new GPS device, not knowing it's one with a mind of 'her' own.


GPS WITH BENEFITS is available NOW at Amazon.com:AMAZON.COM
http://www.amazon.com/GPS-With-Benefits-ebook/dp/B009YIZXHY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1351582404&sr=1-1&keywords=vanessa+morgan+gps+with+benefits

And Amazon.uk:
AMAZON.CO.UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/GPS-With-Benefits-ebook/dp/B009YIZXHY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1351582678&sr=1-1

Places you can cyberstalk Vanessa Morgan
Official blog: http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/vanessamorgan

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17. Pumpkin Soup with Lime and Chipotle

Happy Halloween! It’s officially soup and pumpkin season—so, pumpkin soup.

I don’t know about you, but on the whole, I’m way more into savory pumpkin dishes than sweet. The natural sweetness of the pumpkin is just begging for a little sour/ hot/ salty complement.

Here’s a little riff on a Williams-Sonoma recipe (theirs is Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Puree from the Soup book):

Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle

1 Hokkaido pumpkin (also called Red Kuri or Baby Red Hubbard squash)—you could probably use any similar winter squash, but I’m partial to these

5 or 6 garlic cloves

a few tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup water

2 onions, chopped

5 cups broth (chicken or veggie)

Salt and pepper

Chipotle with adobo sauce (canned, located with Mexican grocery items)

Lime

First, preheat your oven to 350. Peel the pumpkin and cut into quarters or sixths. Scoop out the squishy middle and the seeds.

On a cookie sheet or roasting pan, brush the pumpkin and garlic cloves with oil, then pour in the water. Roast until soft and golden, 35 plus minutes, until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, saute onions until softened. If you have a stick blender (a soupmaker’s very best friend), combine the onions, pumpkin, and garlic all in your soup pot with the broth. Blend. If you don’t have a stick blender, get one. You’ll love it. In the meantime, use part of the broth to blend up the veggies in your blender, a batch at a time. Then combine with all the broth in the soup pot.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. In individual bowls, garnish with a little teaspoon or so chipotle/ adobo sauce, according to your taste. I never use a full can at once, so I usually freeze the rest of the can to have on hand in the freezer. Love me some chipotle. Squeeze a little lime on top. Yum.

If you have non-spice-loving eaters at your table, just leave the chipotle out. Not that you needed me to tell you that.

Last year at our school’s pumpkin fest, someone made some fantabulous curry pumpkin soup (sounds weird, tastes great) but I never figured out who made it or what recipe they used. ISHR friends, anyone know the whereabouts of said chef or recipe? Or do you have a curried pumpkin recipe? I’d love to try it.

What are you dressing up as? I had hoped to be Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games but realized I just didn’t have the time to devote to making a costume. After all, my little witch and my little green ninja have to come first in the Halloween department. Maybe I’ll have a moment to paint my face, though.

Here’s hoping you have power and water. My prayers go out to those of you who don’t, and I hope all will soon be restored.

Also, in other news, if you live in the Charlotte area, our local chapter of the WNBA (no, it’s not basketball, it’s Women’s National Book Association) is a great place to meet people who love books. We’ve got writers, booksellers, editors, agents, and booklovers of all kinds. Our next meeting is a cookbook event called “A Toast to Cookbooks” at Total Wine on Monday November 12. Details about the event and our organization here. Our last event, a multi-author dinner called Bibliofeast, was way, way fun.

Good night, and enjoy your treats, everyone!


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18. Title, Title, Who Gets to Keep Their Titles

You might think that because you wrote the book, you get to name it. And I kept my titles for my first five books, which lulled me into a state of complacency.

Since then, I've pretty much had a losing streak (and my 13th book came out this year).

Here are some examples:

Was: Point and Shoot. Publisher said: sounds like school violence. Became: Shock Point.

Was: Fire, Kiss, Electric Chair. Publisher said: sounds too violent. Became: Torched.

Was: Shadows Walking Backward. Publisher said: sounds too literary. Became: Girl, Stolen.

Was: The Girl in the Mini Cooper. Publisher said: doesn't sound scary. Became: The Night She Disappeared.

Was: Finish Her Off. Publisher said: Sounds too mafia-like. Will be published as: The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.

Agent Chip MacGregor look at who gets to choose the title - and why.



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19. Why Keep Your Wedding Dress?

Growing up Air Force (and BTW, I've learned you're not supposed to cap AF in certain contexts, but for me, Air Force will always be capped), I grew up not holding on to things, space-taking memorabilia that ends up needing to be dusted every now--the only attention you'll only give it later.

This is part of the pragmaticism that flows in my Air Force dress blue blood.

My daughter has more remnants of her short life than I do of a life lived in three countries, including seven different US states before I was fourteen. My sister marvels at the stories I tell of our childhood. She doesn't remember this stuff, and she's older than I am. But my head was the only container I could keep my mementos in: the bear, chain around his neck, who walked down the main road--a dirt road, traveled by as many donkey and carts as by autos--he walked down the dirt road with his owner on Sundays and if you threw money in their general vicinity, the bear would dance for you. That was in Turkey. I remember the bear and the dust and the dirt road.

I remember England, too, and to this day I don't know why I had to share a room with my brother when it made more sense for me to share a room with my sister. We rode the train from Ipswitch to London to see Buckingham Palace and I waited for the queen to lean out of a window and wave to me, but she never did. The changing of the guard was boring to my five-year-old self. Better was my dad's shrill whistle, two fingers in his mouth--he stopped traffic with that whistle. The double-decker bus stopped for us and we ran, happily climbing to the top. This was even better than that boring old castle with a queen who never came out.

I'm all grown up now, with children of my own. I can't stand clutter. My wedding gown, dry cleaned at a fee almost the cost of the gown itself (though not to worry, I had no train and my mother taught me to be frugal), lies unseen, shrouded in blue plastic, boxed in cardboard, tucked away, forgotten in our closet. There is no one in the house who has any sense of curiosity about it. I weigh the same as I did then (not bragging, it's just the way it is); I feel no need to try it on, admire it, or gaze at it with feelings of any sort.

But in my head, oh, in my head: my mom had pleurisy when she flew down early to help me the week before my wedding. She spray painted and beribboned a hundred and fifty tiny candy baskets. She took birch tree branches and laced them with white Christmas lights and placed them around the reception hall. Even though they were divorced, my dad flew down about the same time. I remember how that felt, the wishing that they had never divorced because I knew, we all knew, my dad still loved my mom. He had a bad back, so he got the guest room and my mom got the couch. This was when I rented a house with my brothers and sister. One night, my dad talked about grandkids. It wasn't embarrassing. I wanted him to have grandkids--he was going to be a great grandpa. To this day I remember THAT conversation and I remember him crying over the phone two years later when I called late one night to tell him his first grandchild had just been born and I remember him sending me an airplane ticket when she was five months old just because he heard her laughing on his answering machine, and I remember he died three weeks after our visit.

I still have the shells from his twenty-one gun salute.

I never look at them.

I rarely visit my brother's grave. He is not there.

Photos are painful.

My daughter isn't going to wear my dress. Why am I keeping it? I threw out the portion of cake we kept because by our first anniversary, it was freezer burned and tasted awful. The dress is a dress; it isn't the fabric of my life--just a couple hours of my life, a costume, almost.

I got married. I am married. I plan to stay married.

But I need room in my closet for other things.

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20. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I just wanted to wish everyone a fun and safe Halloween!

Have a SPOOKTACULAR time!



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21. Ethics for Kids Support Cranbrook’s Indigenous Scholarship Fund

Adolf HitlerWould you save baby Hitler if you could?

He killed 6 million Jews,millions of disabled people and started World War 11.

The world has ended and there is one tin of soup left. Would you share it with your brother?

It’s the future where babies can be genetically designed. Should all babies be perfect?

Michael Parker author of 'ethics 101 conversations to have with your kids' Jane Curry Publishing AustraliaMichael Parker, author of YA novel ‘Doppelganger’ (Penguin); author of philosophy textbooks,  Deputy Headmaster of Senior School Cranbrook in Sydney poses challenging questions in:-

‘ethics 101 conversations to have with your kids’

Published by Jane Curry Publishing Australia

Cranbrook School is a old boys’ school overlooking stunning Sydney Harbour in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

Committed to social justice, its Indigenous Scholarship Fund offers tuition to indigenous boys.  All royalties and profit for the sale of this book go to the Indigenous Scholarship Fund.

It was a wonderful launch at Oscar & friends Booksellers Double Bay.

CONGRATULATIONS Michael

Proud to support this event as an ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012

National year of Reading 2012, www.love2read.org

 

 

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22. Pumpkin Coloring Sheet


"I've got my eyes on you!"

Print them out, color them in, send me a photo, and I'll post them on my blog! 


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23. Birthday thoughts

So I think birthdays are overrated. If the day you are born is the one you need to celebrate OVER others, then it is a sad life; and maybe one you should not celebrate anyway.
Every day that one is blessed with is a special day, and if most days go by without some acknowledgement by you then making a huge deal on the anniversary of taking a first breath is meaningless.
So why celebrate? Life' s days are the same, right? Wrong. Life holds meaning every time a sunset takes your breath away, every time a friend makes you smile. Your birthday should be important to people in your life, and if that is so, then celebrate every day!!

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24. CONTEST

Hey, does anyone want to win a sketch by me? Head over to twitter and tweet a 140 character Halloween poem to @stevenmalk before midnight tonight!

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25. If You're a Monster and You Know It...

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
Maria from Maria's Movers lives in New York City, so I'm very glad she is safe and has power after the storm -- two things that made it possible for her to still participate in our monthly post. Each month I recommend a book for Maria to use in her creative movement classes, and then we both share out experiences with the book. This month we explore If You're a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley and Caldecott Medalist Ed Emberley. It's a fun book for Halloween!


Written and designed by Rebecca Emberley and illustrated by Ed Emberley, If You're a Monster and You Know It is one of many picture books created by this prolific father-daughter duo. Like many of the books they have collaborated on, this one is full of energy and bright colors. It's also full of monsters (the not-so-scary kind) who love to move and groove...

If you're a monster and you know it, wiggle your warts 
If you're a monster and you know it, wiggle your warts 
If you're a monster and you know it, 
and you really want to show it, 
If you're a monster and you know it -- wiggle your warts
WIGGLE WIGGLE

Do you recognize that tune? If You're Happy and You Know It is a favorite song of many young children, so I'm sure lots of children will have a great time singing the song in this book, too. In fact, the book comes with a free download of the song sung by Adrian Emberley -- the daughter of Rebecca Emberley and the granddaughter of Ed Emberley! 

In addition to wiggling their warts, the monsters in this book stomp their paws and twitch their tails. They also like to make a lot of noise, so you can find them smacking their claws, snorting and growling, and roaring. The end of the book even has a pull-out spread showing the animals doing all the movements and making all the sounds at the same time...

If you're a monster and you know it, do it all!
SNORT GROWL     
SMACK SMACK
STOMP STOMP     
TWITCH TWITCH
WIGGLE WIGGLE     
ROAR ROAR

In classic Ed Emberley style, the illustrations are extremely colorful and a little abstract. The monsters on the cover are a good representation of what you will find inside, with the boldly colored monsters popping out against a black background on every page. 

Each stanza of the song is actually given four full pages (two two-page spreads), with the second two-page spread devoted solely to the movement or sound emphasized on the previous spread. If you look closely, you'll see that the illustrations on the second two-page spread are really close-ups of some of the body parts of the monsters on the previous pages. I think it will make flipping through the book fun for little ones, especially those who can't yet read and will really notice all the little details.

I picked this book for Maria to try with her classes for a few reasons. First of all, it's October, and monsters seems to fit in really well! I also thought the illustrations and song would be very popular with her young students and provide lots of ideas for movement. The fact that the book comes with downloadable music is an extra bonus that would make using it in class even easier! 

Let's see what Maria thinks about this book here. And, if you're in the mood for some other monster books with creative input from the Emberley clan, you can check out these...


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