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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1540 Blogs, dated 11/15/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 108
1. There is No Tampa State

Earlier this week, I gave four presentations at Tampa Preparatory School. All of the freshmen had read The Future of Us, and I did a writing workshop with them in the morning.

 

During the Q&A, one student reminded me that Tampa State is mentioned in The Future of Us. A fairly big plot point revolves around that school, but until she brought it up, I'd forgotten that our character Emma originally ends up going there for college. Awesome!

And then the student asked, "Did you know there isn't a Tampa State? There is a Tampa University, though."

I stammered. "Um...uh...yes, of course. I mean, I think we knew that. And we must've had a reason."

During lunch, I called my co-author, Carolyn Mackler. "Yes, that was intentional," she said. "If we ended up writing a sequel, we knew there'd be several scenes set there, and we might need our school to have a different set-up than Tampa University." "Oh, right," I said, "just like Josh and Emma live in Lake Forest, Pennsylvania, which isn't a real town." "Exactly," Carolyn said.

See? I knew we had a reason!

And then I gave a writing workshop to the seniors, who had all read Thirteen Reasons Why.

 

(Thankfully, in that book, I don't name a city or state where any part of the story takes place!)

During the last period of the day, I gave a presentation to the entire school. While they filed in, I took a photo. Scenes like this make me laugh. I still get stagefright before I speak, but I know my pre-published self would faint if he knew I'd one day be speaking in front of groups like this. And he wouldn't believe it if I told him I actually enjoy it!


Friend and local author, Greg Neri, then took me to the University of South Florida (not a fictional school!) to visit their library's Ted Hipple Special Collection. That collection of thousands of YA novels includes "[s]igned first editions, manuscripts, authors' working notes, and page proofs" that "provide a window to explore the genre's creation."

Here I am with Greg and the Special Collectors (my name for their rock band), including Dr. Joan Kaywell. Ms. Kaywell later interviewed me for a video anthology they're putting together.

 
The collection already has a first edition of Thirteen Reasons Why and several of Carolyn's books, and now they have The Future of Us.

Before I left, I got to hold a stone tablet with cuneiform writing that's over 3,000 years old!

Back at Tampa Prep, I gave an evening presentation. In the audience was Alicia Thompson, author of Psych Major Syndrome, who reminded me that I included her book in this list.

 
Also in the audience was the English Department Chair, Stephanie Cardillo, who was responsible for putting this visit together, and bestselling author Michael Connelly. (Their noggins are circled in green.)


Thanks for a wonderful visit, Tampa!

2 Comments on There is No Tampa State, last added: 12/8/2012
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2. Events, Exhibits, Awards, Music

I'm busy, busy with pre-publication work on my new book, Desperado: A Mile High Noir, plus we're getting ready for a quick trip to the Big Easy. So, here's all I have this week - a few events of note for the culturally aware, be it music, art, or literature.

 
MI FRONTERA ES SU FRONTERA EXHIBIT BY REGIS UNIVERSITY’S TONY ORTEGA ON DISPLAY THROUGH NOVEMBER AT DAYTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY HARTMAN ART GALLERY

by D. Veasey
 
Western Union from the collection of Florence Hernández-Ramos

[from the Regis University website]

Mi Frontera Es Su Frontera, an exhibit by artist Tony Ortega, will be on display from Nov. 1-29 at the Regis University Dayton Memorial Library Hartman Art Gallery. 


Ortega, an associate professor in the University’s Fine and Performing Arts department, has long been renowned for creating paintings chronicling the Latino experience. Using a signature style of bold coloration, simplified forms, anonymous figures, and cultural icons, he explores community, family, street life, labor, entertainment, youth culture, popular culture, and cultural politics.

While in the past his work has been more focused on the sociological interactions of community than on identity politics, the influences of social movements, historical precedents, and a long tradition of visual representation are profound. To Ortega, the border is porous, with layered implications.

In Mi Frontera Es Su Frontera, through the use of monotype/silkscreens, charcoal drawings, hand-colored etchings, and a mural installation, Ortega offers a timely glimpse of the melding of histories, traditions, culture, and politics of the ever-expanding and diversified population.

The Hartman Art Gallery - Dayton Memorial Library gallery hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 12:30-9 p.m.

The event, which is one of many Regis University Diversity Month activities, is sponsored by the Regis University Ignatian Collaborative for Service and Justice.


Hartman Art Gallery:  Regis University 3333 Regis Boulevard Denver, CO 80221-1099
1-800-568-8932 OR 303-458-4126


Tony Ortega's work can also currently be seen in the exhibit Sequences of Six, works by six local artists including Hunter Lawrence, Daniel Lowenstein, Clara Martinez, Sylvia Montero, Tony Ortega and Rebecca Rozales, through November 17 at CHAC (Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, 772 Santa Fe Drive, 303-571-0440, chacweb.org).

Also - Tony Ortega has a mural on the third floor of the historic McNichols Building for the Fuera de la Frontera/Outside the Border exhibition. Read more here.




Performance Date: 1/10/2013, 8:00 pm


This is the rescheduled performance for the canceled October 23 date. All tickets purchased for the 10/23 performance will be honored at the door. Will Call orders will be available for pick up day of show.

Thursday, January 10 at 8 pm
L2 Arts & Culture Center

71 East Yale Avenue
Denver, Colorado
80210


David Hidalgo is the driving vocal and guitar force of East LA’s Los Lobos and Latin Playboys, the former of which took border-hopping cultural collisions onto the world stage with a series of chart-topping songs and albums.

Marc Ribot (ex Tom Waits ex Lounge Lizards and just plain excellent guitarist) is the ex leader of downtown NY’s "The Prosthetic Cubans" (Los Cubanos Postizos).

Their musical excursions across the borders between cultures, styles and genres were the perfect preparation for this ambitious new project. West Coast meet East Coast, Real meets Prosthetic, and guitar meets guitar in a rocking post roots pan Latin rave up/descarga. Together they have forged a unique partnership where immigrant neighborhoods meet intellectual nuance – creating truly new music to stir your heart, challenge your head and move your body. They’re accompanied by original Cubanos Postizos cohorts Brad Jones (bass), Anthony “The Professor” Coleman (keyboards), EJ Rodriguez (percussion), and drummer Cougar Estrada of Los Lobos.

"At times Ribot played with the wasp-like sting of the young, Bluesbreakers-era Eric Clapton, Hidalgo replying with legato lines rich in lyricism. At other times they reversed these roles or mixed them up. The result: a profoundly memorable evening.”"
- The Australian review at Sydney Opera House

marcribot.com

$30 Advance; $32 Day of Show. $2 discount for Swallow Hill Music members
 





HECTOR TOBAR RECEIVES LUIS LEAL AWARD

Novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times journalist Hector Tobar is the recipient of UC Santa Barbara's 2012 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. The award was presented at a ceremony on October 31.

Tobar, a reporter, columnist, and book reviewer for the L.A. Times, is the author of two highly acclaimed novels –– The Barbarian Nurseries (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011) and The Tattooed Soldier (Penguin Books, 2000). The Barbarian Nurseries,which is set in contemporary Southern California, was listed among the best fiction of 2011 by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Boston Globe.

Tobar is also the author of "\Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States. This work of non-fiction examines Latino immigrants as "latter-day pioneers" who maintain their Latin American identities while embracing the opportunities made available to them in the United States.

"Hector Tobar is one of the most important social and political novelists of his generation," said Mario T. García, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and of history at UCSB, and the organizer of the annual Leal Award. "His writings, including his novels, deal with the hidden lives of Latinos in Los Angeles and the United States. These are the people who live in the shadows due to their immigration status, and yet are very much a part of our contemporary American society. Tobar's characters reveal themselves as human beings who need to be accepted and integrated by the rest of us. Tobar is their voice." 

Read more at this link.






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Rolling Stone Announces First-Ever Latin Music Special Section
Pitbull appears on back cover; Section includes Latin Hot List and 10 Greatest Latin Rock Albums of All Time

New York, NY (November 9, 2012) – Rolling Stone announced today its first-ever Latin music special section, featuring a magazine back cover and a bilingual editorial package celebrating Latin artists and culture. The issue will be available on newsstands November 9, and received advertising support from marketing communications agency Lápiz.

Pitbull appears on the back cover of the magazine and is part of the Latin Hot List, along with other influential artists and performers such as Calle 13, Maluca and Junot Díaz. In true Rolling Stone style, the section also includes the definitive list of the “10 Greatest Latin Rock Albums of All Time,” topped by Café Tacuba’s Re. The special section and back cover are in both English and Spanish.

“This section was an incredible opportunity for us to dive deep into Latin music and culture, from Pitbull to Café Tacuba,” says Nathan Brackett, Rolling Stone Deputy Managing Editor. "We are thrilled with the results."

“Lápiz offered invaluable support to help bring this concept to life, and we are excited to partner with them on this special section,” says Matt Mastrangelo, Rolling Stone Publisher.

“As an agency, Lápiz takes pride in not only serving as experts in understanding the Latino consumer, but also enabling the intersection of cultures,” says Gustavo Razzetti, EVP, Managing Director of Lápiz. “This partnership with Rolling Stone is a great example of a platform that amplifies Latino influence on mainstream.”



Later. Feed the need to read.

 



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3. Gift idea - Gola USA Shoes + a Redford Bag Giveaway

Every year I try to find a gift for my husband that is unexpected and fun.  I look for something that he would never buy for himself, but something that I know he would love if he actually had it.  This year I found

Gift Idea - Gola Shoes


Whenever I go shopping with my husband, he always looks at fun and current products.  I can get him to try almost anything on, but when it comes to making a purchase ... I'm not that successful.  He could love something, but if it won't work for more than one category (home, work, or church) he won't buy it.  I've always believed that if I could break through that barrier - just once - it would make hm more willing to branch out in the long run.

When I saw the bright colors and retro shoe styles on the Gola USA Website, I knew this was my chance.  So we got some Burgundy/Orange/Ecru Spirit shoes.



The Gola Spirit is based on an original 70s jogger design. Features include a nylon and suede upper on a soft EVA sole.

My husband loves them too.   And the barrier is finally broken.  He likes the bright color, and he likes having non work shoes to wear around.



To Buy - The Gola Spirit Shoes retail for $80, and can be purchased online at golausa.com.  Besides mens shoes, they have a great selection of womens shoes, kids shoes, and even bags. And oh the colors.




To Win - Gola USA is giving away this Redford Sparkle Bag to one of my readers.



To enter complete any of the entries on the Rafflecopter Form Below.  - Open to US No PO Boxes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a product to review from the above company or their PR Agency. Opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own - I was not influenced in any way. I received no monetary compensation for this post. By entering this giveaway you agree to my giveaway/disclosure guidelines



12 Comments on Gift idea - Gola USA Shoes + a Redford Bag Giveaway, last added: 11/30/2012
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4. Poetry Books for Thanksgiving

Looking for poetry to share for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? Here is my list of poetry books for Thanksgiving from my recent resource book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists. Enjoy!


Poetry Books for Thanksgiving

Here is a sampling of poetry books about giving thanks, celebrating Thanksgiving, and enjoying food, friends, and family times.

  1. Alarcón, Francisco X. 1999. Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  2. Bruchac, Joseph. 1996. The Circle of Thanks. Mahwah, NJ: BridgeWater Books
  3. Carlstrom, Nancy White. 2002. Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young. New York: Aladdin.
  4. Child, Lydia Maria. 2004. Over the River & Through the Woods. New York: Hyperion.
  5. Florian, Douglas. 2003. Autumnblings: Poems & Paintings. New York: Greenwillow.
  6. Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a Million: Poems. New York: Amistad.
  7. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 1992. Ring Out, Wild Bells: Poems about Holidays and Seasons. New York: Harcourt Brace.
  8. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2000. Yummy! Eating Through a Day: Poems. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  9. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2005. Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More. New York: Greenwillow.
  10. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. Countdown to Summer: 180 Poems for every day of the School Year. New York: Little, Brown.
  11. Livingston, Myra Cohn. Ed. 1985. Thanksgiving Poems. New York: Holiday House.
  12. Melmed, Laura Krauss. 2001. This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story. New York: HarperCollins.
  13. Mora, Pat. 2007. Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!: America's Sproutings. New York: Lee & Low.
  14. Mordhorst, Heidi. 2009. Pumpkin Butterfly; Poems from the Other Side of Nature. Honesdale PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  15. Philip, Neil. 2004. Hot Potato: Mealtime Rhymes. New York: Clarion.
  16. Prelutsky, Jack. 2007. It’s Thanksgiving!  New York: HarperCollins.
  17. Rogasky, Barbara. Ed. 2001. Leaf by Leaf. New York: Scholastic.
  18. Rosen, Michael, J., Ed. 1996. Food Fight:  Poets Join the Fight Against Hunger with Poems about Their Favorite Foods. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
  19. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2008. Shrinking Days, Frosty Nights: Poems About Fall. Minneapolis, MN: Capstone.
  20. Schnur, Steven. 1997. Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic. New York: Clarion.
  21. Shore, Diane. 2008. This is the Feast.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
  22. Swamp, Chief Jake. 1995. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. New York: Lee & Low.
  23. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1995. Gingerbread Days. New York: HarperCollins.
  24. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2011. Gift Tag. PoetryTagTime.com.
  25. Weinstock, Robert. 2009. Food Hates You, Too. New York: Disney-Hyperion.
  26. Whitehead, Jenny. 2007. Holiday Stew; A Kid’s Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems. New York: Henry Holt.
  27. Wilson, Karma. 2007. Give Thanks to the Lord. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkids.
  28. Wing, Natasha. 2001. The Night Before Thanksgiving. New York: Grosset and Dunlap.
  29. Wong, Janet. 1996. A Suitcase of Seaweed, and Other Poems. New York: McElderry.
  30. Young, Ed. 1997. Voices of the Heart. New York: Scholastic.

I'm wishing all my poetry-loving friends and readers the happiest of Thanksgivings. I've had my own health struggles this fall, so I am especially grateful for all the many good things in my life.

Meanwhile, the lovely Anastasia Suen is hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, Booktalking. See you there!

And don't forget to enter our drawing for a free poetry e-book-- details below!





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5. Book List: The Monster Within

Last week we celebrated the genius of Bram Stoker. This week is all about Robert Louis Stevenson, whose birth date (13 November) was celebrated this week. Happy birthday, Robbie!

While Stevenson may be best remembered for his piratical legacy, I’ve always been a huge fan of his exploration of morality and identity in the science-fiction thriller The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Split personalities, scientific experiments, and untrustworthy individuals abound in this Jekyll/Hyde inspired book list:

 

FrankensteinMary Shelley

That other famous story of scientific experiment reaching beyond the boundaries of social acceptability. Dr Frankenstein creates a creature, and the lines between man and monster are blurred.

 

Shift – Em Bailey

Olive is not the girl she used to be. And she thinks Miranda is not the human she pretends to be. A great read, full of shifting identities. (It didn’t win this year’s Gold Inky award for nothing.) Read our full (spoiler-free!) review here.

 

Liar - Justine Larbalestier

A murder, a mystery, and one hell of an unreliable narrator.

‘I’m undecided, stuck somewhere in between, same way I am with everything: half black, half white; half girl, half boy; coasting on half a scholarship.

I’m half of everything.’

 

The Dark Half – Stephen King

It’s never a creepy book list without Stephen King, is it? Writer Thad Beaumont has decided to kill-off his pseudonym, George Stark. George has other ideas.

A true Hyde-ian thriller.

 

Tenderness – Robert Cormier

Eric is a murderer, Lori is a manipulator. Cormier chronicles destructive ambitions and dubious moralities in this dual-perspective novel.

.

 

The Adoration of Jenna FoxMary E Pearson

Jenna Fox had a horrible accident. When she awakens a year later, from a coma, she struggles to remember her past. After everything that’s happened, is she still the same person?

More science, less horror, but still plenty of mystery, and moral and ethical dilemmas.

 

Doppelganger by David Stahler Jnr unfortunately doesn’t seem to be readily available in Australia. In this book doppelgangers kill humans and assume their forms and lives, but when a young doppelganger becomes Chris Parker ‘he quickly learns that there’s more than one way to be human, and many ways to be a monster.’ Sounds like it would be perfect for this list, and the first few chapters are compelling. Has anyone read it?

Are there any other YA titles you would add to a Jekyll/Hyde list?

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6. Marvels, mystery and the chilling world of the Nursery Rhyme – Dianne Hofmeyr


‘Marvels mix with the day-to-day and banality meets mystery in the nursery rhyme’ says Marina Warner, short story writer, historian and mythographer, known for her books on feminism and myth.

A few years ago I wrote a book on modern printmaking for GCSE level. I’m not about to go into a detailed description of the etching process, but one of the artists I discussed was Paula Rego. Anyone who has been to the Sainsbury Wing Restaurant at the National Gallery will know her huge mural, Crivelli’s Garden. Of her work, she says ‘I paint to give fear a face.’ And in her series on Nursery Rhyme she has introduced a dreamlike quality that manipulates scale and stirs up disturbing feelings and a certain potency in perfectly innocent scenes.

 
Take her etching of Hey Diddle Diddle with its carnival like gaiety… the little girl skipping, the dog laughing, the cow floating dreamily against a starry sky. But look again. The sharp points of the moon direct us back to the girl and we see she is skipping backwards towards the edge of a cliff that drops into space. And now the tall, muscular, grimacing cat takes on a more menacing role as he purposefully steps forward and the dog’s laughter seems more hysterical and the cow seems to have a knowing ‘I told you so’ smile while the dish is faceless as she scuttles off to hide.
And what about Baa Baa Black Sheep? Was there ever anything more menacing than this girl in the arms of the powerful ram? And is she waving to the curious boy down the lane or calling for help?


And in Three Blind Mice, the unseen moonlight catches the blade of the carving knife and focuses on the woman’s arm, face and blouse and also on the blank eyes of the mice. It’s as if Rego has drawn invisible lines between them. Yes… we know who blinded the mice.
In another example, from a series called The Pendle Witches (not part of the Nursery Rhyme series) Rego has illustrated a poem by Blake Morrison of the witches put on trial during the rule of King James I. The woman is sitting awkwardly in a tub in an etching entitled The Flood. The swirling water, the sharp stabs of rain, the flotsam and jetsam give a sense of doom yet the woman makes no attempt to save herself and seems to have withdrawn from the chaos around her. And what if she drowns? When we look closer at the water there’s a sense of nightmarish disaster looming from beneath it.
Rock a bye baby… what could be more innocent? But not in the hands of Paula Rego. The fragile sleeping baby is in a boxlike cradle (symbol for a coffin?) and against the background of stars (or is that snow?) one can see they are really high up in a prickly fir tree. There's almost the sense that the branches exactly under the cradle are too weak. The baby is too close to the edge. With a slightest shift the cradle will go over into the abyss. Although the woman in under-dressed we sense the icy coldness of the night. She’s looking over her shoulder as she grips the cradle. Is she looking to see if someone has seen her? Or is her expression one of utter desperation? Whatever it is, we know what she’s contemplating.

Read those nursery rhymes with care! 

6 Comments on Marvels, mystery and the chilling world of the Nursery Rhyme – Dianne Hofmeyr, last added: 12/2/2012
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7. hello

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8. More Writing Equals More Motivation

Being that November is National Novel Writing Month, I thought this is the perfect time to talk about motivation. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know I'm kind of obsessed with writing and I draft pretty quickly. Well, while I've always been obsessed with writing, I haven't always been a fast drafter. But now that I am, I can't go back. 

Here's why. The more I write, the more motivated I become. And do you know what that means? More writing. It's this unending cycle. Let's face it, we like to feel good about ourselves, and when we have a great word count day, we celebrate. We get excited. And that usually leads to more words. So, I don't really think it matters if you write 500 words a day, 2,000 words a day, or like crazy old me 10-15,000 words a day. As long as you are writing, you will want to write more. You'll feel motivated. 

Do you agree? Do you find a day with great word count makes you want to keep typing away? 

*Don't forget to enter the 2nd Touch of Death ARC giveaway here. In addition to winning an ARC, you can win SWAG for Touch of Death and Love All.*

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9. Interview with YA author, Natalie Whipple


 

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Young Adult author, Natalie Whipple, who has two debut novels in the works. I was able to ask this enchanting author the questions we all want to know! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? (What genre do you write?)
I’m one of the many who wanted to be a writer since I was little, but I didn’t give it a earnest try until I was about 22 or so (after my first baby was born). I started writing again, since I was home so much, and realized I needed to at least try to succeed at it. I loved it too much to not try.
I messed around in a few genres—thought I wanted to write picture books, but that didn’t gel. Then I moved up to Middle Grade, and that was a disaster. Once I tried Young Adult, it felt so great I’ve stayed there ever since.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It doesn’t take me a long time to actually write a book—usually three months. BUT. My first drafts are pretty horrible. They are essentially long outlines. I do not do any outlines, so I discover my story/characters in that first draft. Then I rediscover them repeatedly in months and months of revision.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’d say my first drafts are very chatty. I go overboard with voice most always, then have to pull it back so it’s not annoying.
How long did it take you to get an agent?
Two years querying, four years from starting first book.
How many agents did you query before finding the right one?
Oh, querying. I queried four projects, so I did a lot of repeat querying of the same agents. I don’t have exact numbers on hand, but I know I was over 200 queries before I signed with Nathan. My third project I queried over 80 different agents, got many requests, but ultimately the book wasn’t “there.”
Why do you think this particular agent liked your query? (What do you think made it standout?)
Actually, I didn’t technically query Nathan with RELAX, I’M A NINJA. I won his first paragraph contest in 2008, thus earning me a partial critique. I didn’t at all expect that to turn into a request for more.
I think what he liked most about the book was the voice, because the rest of it was kind of a mess. He saw potential, I did a lot of revisions, and it turned out well.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was six. I wrote it for a Young Authors contest at school and won at the county level. There’s still a copy in the Alameda County Library.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned during your experience as a struggling writer?
I think the most surprising was just how HARD breaking into publishing is. Yes, I was naïve. I don’t think I ever would have tried if I knew what a long, tough journey it would be. So I’m glad I didn’t know. I’m glad I thought I would be one of the lucky ones who got it easy, because I never would have learned how hard I could work.
And I’m still working hard. It never stops being hard, even for those who seem like they got it “easy.” It’s mentally and emotionally draining. Rejection is part of every phase. There will always be something bigger to want. You have to find the inner strength to be happy where you’re at, to be happy doing hard work.
Do you have any helpful suggestions to help struggling writers become better novelists? If so, what are they?
Learning to let go, I think, is an essential skill. It’s one I’m still gaining. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to be able to let go of what you’ve written and start anew—whether that be cutting a favorite scene, rewriting a whole book, or moving on to another when your manuscript fails in submission.
How much editing/revision did you have to do before your agent felt your MS was ready to be pitched to editors?
Just so you know, I’m laughing right now so I don’t cry. I spent almost 10 months revising.
Can you suggest any books, blogs, or websites that you found the most useful in your pursuit of a writing career?
I’m a blog/website person. I didn’t really read any books on writing. My agent, Nathan Bransford, has a pretty awesome blog. His FAQ is about three posts away from being the Bible of How To Get Published. I also hung out at Evil Editor  , where I had my query critiqued and met some of my dearest writing friends. I used AgentQuery.com   for most of my agent research, also Absolute Write. I also read a lot of other agent/editor blogs, like  Editorial Ass  , Bookends, and Pub Rants  .
What books or writers have influenced you the most?
Honesty moment: I don’t really know. Sometimes I answer this with C.S. Lewis, because I devoured Narnia as a child, but I wouldn’t say my writing resembles his or what have you. Not many things really stand out. I think it was more my overall love of writing and reading that influenced me. My love of anime is also a big influence, I think, in my writing.
Do you have any additional tips for aspiring writers?
Write, and do it often. Try not to beat yourself up. Don’t be afraid to change absolutely everything. Make writer friends. Ask questions. Be diligent.
* Fun Bonus Questions
What are you currently reading?
I’m about 2/3’s through GRACELING by Kristin Cashore, and I just started HIEST SOCIETY by Ally Carter.
What’s your favorite movie or TV show?
Right now, I could watch Star Trek all day and be fine. In fact, I’m watching it RIGHT NOW. “I’d like to get my hands on her ample nacelles…” Oh, that Scotty. I don’t watch much TV, since I don’t have cable or a great antenna. I’ve been watching Bleach (anime) online, and I love that. Still trying to decide which series to watch after that.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
Likely drawing more. Probably quilting—yes, I quilt! My mom is a PRO, and some of her knowledge has spilled into me here and there. I love to cook as well, so I might be doing that more…which would mean I’d have to exercise more to burn off all the food I’d be eating.
Of course I’d still be a mom, since that’s job #1. It’s a pretty fun one.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Diligent, temperamental, sarcastic


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wisdom with my blog and other struggling writers trying to live the dream.
  

About Natalie
I'm a YA writer repped by Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, LTD. Some people say I'm a ninja cyborg when it comes to pumping out books. The only thing I know for sure is that I have 2 little ninjas in training, so it could be true.
To learn more about this engaging author,
please visit her online @  Natalie Whipple  
 
To learn more about the writing process by Natalie go HERE  

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10. Illustrators’ Alert – Nami Island Concours – Nambook Festival

Opportunity for Illustrators internationally - Nami Island Concours

Opportunity for Illustrators internationally – Nami Island Concours

The wonderful people of Nami Island Concours have created another outstanding opportunity for illustrators all over the world! The dream of these folk, who are so passionately devoted to children’s literature, is to  turn Nami Island into a library! :) Angela Kim is the  Assistant Manager and the person to contact if you wish to know more – her contact details are on the website.

These are the links  – Nami Island Concours, Guidelines and information

Application forms

Festival information

You can find the brochure by going here.


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11. Finding your Unique Writer's "Voice" #WriteTip



I wanted to do a short post on “voice” in fiction. Whether you’re writing in first person or third person, the main character(s) voice should shine through. In today’s tough market, it certainly helps if you have an original theme, intriguing plot, and/or a very distinctive “voice” if you’re goal is to find an agent or editor.
To explain what I mean, I have pasted below two examples taken from my current WIP, IMMORTAL ECLIPSE.

Example 1:
I’ve had some bad birthdays before, but inheriting an old house from my uncle doesn’t exactly make it better.
I hated spending the morning at a funeral. After leaving the cemetery, where my uncle’s ashes are currently taking up residence, I meet my current boyfriend for coffee, but he decides to breakup with me instead. I can’t believe he wants to breakup on my birthday. He tells me that I work too much and I’m too hardhearted. I feel really offended. Not that I cried. A lot of sadness has been in my life, so I don't cry very often.
As I hurry to get back to work on time, I spill my coffee on my shirt. I try to walk down the hall, with a big stain on my blouse, and my feet really hurting in my high-heelsfiguring that my day can’t get any worse. I am still feeling bad about the morning events and I don’t want to go into work, but I have to.
I just want to hide inside my office and check over yesterday’s print ads. Hide my depression in work for a few hours.
But as I sneak past my boss’s office, she says, “Skylar, please get in here.” Pauletta’s voice is shrill and loud.
I enter her large office and stand there with a smile on my face. Maybe I’m finally getting that big promotion that she promised me. She liked the new cover I did for the magazine. I guess it didn’t matter that I’d turned the proofs in one day late—it was still some of my best work. Now I can take a vacation. Pay off some debts. And I’ll get a bigger office.
She’s giving me a dirty look. Pauletta is very tall, and she is dressed in a scarf, black slacks, and a ruffled blouse. Her brown eyes glare at me. “How long have you worked for me?”
“I don’t recall. Maybe about seven years.” I stand beside the desk, and my camera bag sits on the floor beside me.
Behind her desk, Pauletta sits in a leather chair. The crème-colored drapes are fastened to the side over the third-story windows, and the light shines on the white walls. Various framed magazine covers and commercial advertisements cover the walls.
“That’s right!” she exclaims. “We’ve worked together for a long time, and I’ve always believed in you. I was the one who gave you your start in the business, and you’ve been my best employee…until now.” She shakes her head. “Lately, you’ve arrived late to photo shoots, missed deadlines, and have a generally bad attitude—”
 “Hold on! I’ve worked a long time for you. I’ve given up my social life, and skipping taking holidays, even missed vacations.” Shifting my weight from one heel to the other, I add, “Not to mention, I haven’t had sex—”
 “Stop!” Pauletta interrupts me. “Look, I know you’ve made sacrifices. Who hasn’t? And it’s not as if I don’t appreciate your dedication, but I think you should take some time to regroup. You’re flying to California to meet with your uncle’s attorney this week, correct?” I nod, and she says, “Why not stay awhile?”
She’s not giving me a promotion after all.
I feel on the verge of a panic attack. “I like New York, Pauletta,” I whine.
I hate that she’s right. I really like my job as a photographer, even though I have to work long hours. Most nights by the time I get home, I just want to kick off my shoes and relax with a glass of wine and my copy of Pride and Prejudice. Except not even reading books is enough to stop the restlessness inside of my soul. She can’t do this to me. It is not fair, I think.
“You love your job,” Pauletta says. “But you seem as if you’re drained. Become more organized, then maybe, you can come back to work.”
“I can’t believe you’re firing me,” I say. 

Example 2:
I’ve had some crappy birthdays before, but this one tops them all, and inheriting a haunted house from a wealthy, mysterious uncle doesn’t exactly make up for it.
Turning twenty-seven is hard enough without spending the morning at a funeral. Yeah, the only day I can arrange a burial for my murdered uncle is today. After leaving the cemetery, where my uncle’s ashes are currently taking up residence in the family plot, I meet my current boyfriend for some much needed consoling, but he dumps me instead. I still can’t believe that the jerk decides to breakup with me on my birthday. Complains that I work too much and I’m emotionally unavailable. What? Is he a girl? Still, the rejection hurts.  My pride has been wounded. Big time. Not that I’d been able to cry. Too much sadness has marred my life to leave me with many tears.
Plus, in my hurry to get back to work, I spill my vanilla latte on my favorite beige jersey tee. Sloshing the hot black liquid right on my boob, too. Attractive, I know. So here I am trying to slink down the hall, an ugly black stain on my chest, rejection pricking my heart, and my feet already aching in my high-heeled Manolos—thank goodness I didn’t splatter coffee on my shoes—thinking that this day can’t possibly get any worse.
After the horrible breakup scene at my favorite coffee house and the funeral this morning, I just want to go to my office, drink what’s left of my latte, and look over yesterday’s prints. Bury myself in work for a few hours. There’s nothing like being dumped on your birthday to make a girl wanna go home and drown her sorrows in alcohol, but that’ll have to wait. 
Unfortunately, my boss has other ideas. As I sneak past her office, her “Skylar” radar goes off. Damn.
 “Skylar! Get in here.” Pauletta’s voice is so abrupt that it actually makes me jump.
I enter her spacious corner office and stand there awkwardly, a smile plastered on my face. I’m finally getting that promotion. About time. She’s thrilled with that cover I did for Glamour. It didn’t matter that I’d turned my proofs in a day late—it was still some of my best work. Now I can take that vacation I’ve been putting off for the last three years. Pay off my credit cards. I’ll get a bigger office with a view. Oh!—and I can afford those leopard print Jimmy Choo boots, I’ve being eyeing at Barneys.
Or maybe not...
She’s giving me the “I’m-so-not-happy-with-your-performance” look. Then the big, long sigh. Tall and willowy, Pauletta stands three inches taller than me, with a silk Hermes scarf draped over her grey blouse, black rayon slacks, and—really cute Bettye Muller—heels. She taps her foot, and her amaretto eyes stare from a dark brown face. “How long have you worked for me?”
Uh-oh. I wonder where’s she’s going with this.
I shrug, my forced smile faltering. “Oh, I dunno…seven years, I guess.” I’m standing near the desk, and my Kelly Moore camera bag, which is both fashionable and functional, sits on the floor beside my feet. The urge to grab it and run strikes me. I have a feeling; I’m in for a scolding.
Behind her glass-top desk, Pauletta sits in a worn leather chair, which reclines to an almost obscene angle as she crosses her legs. The crème drapes are fastened to one side, allowing sunlight from the third-story window to paint the white walls in buttery hues and highlights the various framed magazine covers and commercial advertisements lining the walls.
“That’s right!” she exclaims as if I’ve won a prize for guessing correctly, and punctuates her words by jabbing a finger in the air. “We’ve worked together for a long time, and I’ve always believed in you. Shit,I was the one who gave you your start in the business, and you’ve been my best employee…until recently.” She shakes a head of tight black curls. “Over the last six months, you’ve shown up late to photo shoots, missed deadlines, and don’t even get me started on your attitude—”
 “Hold on! I’ve worked my ass off for you. I’ve given up my social life, ignored holidays with friends, even skipped vacations.” Shifting my weight from one heel to the other, I wipe sweaty palms on my ruined shirt. The muscles in my gut tighten. “Not to mention, I haven’t had sex—”
Oh, god, I am sooo oversharing again.
 “Whoa, there!” Pauletta leans forward and waves her hands in the air. Obviously, she thinks I’m oversharing, too. “Look, I know you’ve made sacrifices. Who hasn’t? And it’s not as if I don’t appreciate your dedication, but let’s be honest, your heart’s not in it anymore and it shows in your work. I think you should take some time to regroup. You’re flying to California to meet with your uncle’s attorney this week, correct?” I nod, and she blows out a breath. “Why not stay awhile? Enjoy all that sunshine and fresh air.”
Did she seriously just say that?
She’s not promoting me. No raise. No corner office. No new boots. 
I drop onto a chair. Something thick is blocking my throat. I can’t breathe. My stomach feels queasy. My heart’s racing. I must be on the verge of a panic attack. “I’m a New Yorker, Pauletta. I like pollution and extreme weather. I won’t know what to do with myself.” I look down at my hands, I hate how whiny I sound. 
But I hate even more that she’s right. I love my job as a fashion photographer, even if I work crazy-hectic hours. Most nights, I can think of nothing better, than kicking off my Pradas and relaxing with a glass of Pinot Grigio and my tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice. Except not even Jane’s fictional world is enough to erase the restlessness building inside of me. What can I say? I’m stuck in a rut. But she can’t do this to me! I’m one of the best in the business. I’ve shot covers for such prestigious mags as Marie-Claire, Seventeen, Vogue, and GQ. I’ve worked with supermodels, top designers, and even celebrities.
“I get that. You’re all about the job,” Pauletta says. “But it’s obvious you’re burnt out. Go to California. See if you can find that passion again. Then…maybe, we’ll talk.”
I guess I was wrong…there’s nothing like being dumped andfired on your birthday. I slump lower in my seat, leather squeaking under my butt. “I can’t believe you’re firing me on my birthday.”

Can you tell the difference between the two examples? Yeah, the second version is much longer and has more details, but I think it reflects the characters voices and behaviors. The second example flows better and gives the reader a glimpse of the character’s quirky personality, too.

This blog post might help, "Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice": http://hollylisle.com/ten-steps-to-finding-your-writing-voice/


How do you define “voice”?
What did you think of the opening line?


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12. SkaDaMo Day 14


2 Comments on SkaDaMo Day 14, last added: 11/30/2012
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13. Haven't I heard about you someplace before - dueling premises

From Publishers Weekly, both middle grade:

Ward's The Fantastic Family Whipple and an untitled sequel in a pre-empt for world English rights. The debut middle-grade series follows Arthur Whipple, the only non-record breaker in the Most World-Record-Breaking Family on Earth, who investigates his family's sudden string of disasters, and discovers a conspiracy, a family curse, and his own role within his family. Publication is set for fall 2013; Laura Rennert and Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency were the agents.

Molly O'Neill at Katherine Tegen Books has acquired Molly Burnham's humorous debut middle-grade series at auction, in a three-book deal. In the still-untitled first book,10-year-old Teddy Campbell seeks to stand apart from his six siblings by nabbing a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. Publication date has not been set; Tina Wexler at ICM negotiated the deal for world rights.




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14. Friday Five

1. Well, got back from specialist. Good news? Thyroid is fine. Nodules haven't grown. Dr. said chances are really good that they won't be cancerous.

Yay!

Not so great news: My blood count shows that I'm at a higher risk for diabetics. My mother is diabetic. Her great-grandmother died of complications of the disease. I'm Latina. Even doctor told me my culture puts me at a great risk.

Then she noticed my liver count is up. This means yet another ultrasound just to be sure it's nothing serious.

Like son told me, "Mommy, it sucks to be you this month."

Need to concentrate on the good news.

In the meantime, reading always helps me when I'm kind of down:

2. Right now reading:

scorch


Total love the voice in this paranormal series that is DEAD LIKE ME meets YA.



3. Also reading:

team human


Another fun Cybils nominated read. Witty banter and a setting that is Veronica Mars meets Twilight only written better.


4. Finished reading:

magisterium


Intriguing dystopian tale. I picked this galley up at ALA12.





5. So want to see this:



Also I'm giving away copies of Alyson Noel's Soul Seeker series! Go to my other site, comment for a chance to win!

http://kimbacceliasweblogfantasy.blogspot.com/2012/11/book-giveaway.html




**Guilty treat:

I want to see the second and final BREAKING DAWN movie but will wait till next week.

Will pick up the latest PEOPLE mag as Channing Tatum is the Sexist Man of 2012:

channing tatum

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15. Teenage viciousness

What do you do with such children? How did they get to be like the way they are, filled with resentment and fury? what was their desire as teenagers in a toy shop? Games? Often my heart goes out to these apparently neglected children. How can one think that they weren't neglected? A thriteen year old is still a child, no matter what the world may think. that young lad still has a lot of growing to do in mind as well as in size. What about his parents? Or is it a parent! So many troubled kids because of the social revolution, emancipation of women, and easy divorces, much that can be good of these events, but most went haywire with this so-called new found freedom. Marriages aren't worked at anymore. Children aren't taught correct principles anymore. Have a spat and a divorce is easy, words that spring to spiteful lips in the heat of the moment. And all the time the youthful ones are listening. With wsuch things happening now, what about the next generation? Its a frightening thought. And yet, there are those who work at their marriages, love and nuture their children, teach correct principles, and these youngsters stand out. May the Lord have mercy on us for having to put a 13 year old behind bars! Well anyway, that's what O'Grady sez.....

FOUR youths have been questioned over a massive fire that gutted a north Queensland shopping complex.
No one was injured in the blaze on Greenfield Boulevard, Mackay, but it destroyed most of the Toys R Us, Clark Rubber and Autobarn stores.
Emergency services received reports of the fire at about 11.45am (AEST) on Saturday and it took more than three hours for the blaze to be contained, with the Department of Community Safety (DCS) saying the main fire was put out at about 3pm.
Police said four juveniles were questioned over the fire and two boys, aged 10 and 13, were still assisting with inquiries on Saturday evening.
Officers will remain at the scene overnight as investigations into the cause of the fire continue.
A public safety order is still in place because of concerns about toxic smoke from burning chemicals in some of the shops.

Related Coverage
A nearby shop worker, who did not want to be named, said witnesses saw four teenagers being arrested in the car park.
"They (the teenagers) were in our shop this morning. We hunted them out. They were being horrible in here," she told AAP.
"Officers have put those young people in a paddy wagon."
The DCS said a fire investigator would be brought in to work out how the blaze started.

13-year-old boy charged with arson remanded in custody over Mackay fire that destroyed Toys R Us, Autobarn and Clark Rubber
Mackay shopping centre fire
Mackay shopping centre fire that destroyed Toys R Us, Autobarn and Clark Rubber. Picture: Catherine Woodworth. Source: Supplied
A TEENAGER charged with arson over a major blaze in Mackay will spend four days behind bars before his next court appearance.
The inferno destroyed Mackay's Toys R Us, Autobarn and Clark Rubber stores on Saturday.
The 13-year-old boy, who was remanded in custody after a closed hearing today in the Mackay Children's Court, has also been charged with shoplifting, endangering property and wilful damage.
He will appear again on Friday.
  
Mackay fire Channel Seven News
The fire at North Mackay engulfs the Toys R Us store. Picture: Seven News

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16. Teenage viciousness

What do you do with such children? How did they get to be like the way they are, filled with resentment and fury? what was their desire as teenagers in a toy shop? Games? Often my heart goes out to these apparently neglected children. How can one think that they weren't neglected? A thriteen year old is still a child, no matter what the world may think. that young lad still has a lot of growing to do in mind as well as in size. What about his parents? Or is it a parent! So many troubled kids because of the social revolution, emancipation of women, and easy divorces, much that can be good of these events, but most went haywire with this so-called new found freedom. Marriages aren't worked at anymore. Children aren't taught correct principles anymore. Have a spat and a divorce is easy, words that spring to spiteful lips in the heat of the moment. And all the time the youthful ones are listening. With wsuch things happening now, what about the next generation? Its a frightening thought. And yet, there are those who work at their marriages, love and nuture their children, teach correct principles, and these youngsters stand out. May the Lord have mercy on us for having to put a 13 year old behind bars! Well anyway, that's what O'Grady sez.....

FOUR youths have been questioned over a massive fire that gutted a north Queensland shopping complex.
No one was injured in the blaze on Greenfield Boulevard, Mackay, but it destroyed most of the Toys R Us, Clark Rubber and Autobarn stores.
Emergency services received reports of the fire at about 11.45am (AEST) on Saturday and it took more than three hours for the blaze to be contained, with the Department of Community Safety (DCS) saying the main fire was put out at about 3pm.
Police said four juveniles were questioned over the fire and two boys, aged 10 and 13, were still assisting with inquiries on Saturday evening.
Officers will remain at the scene overnight as investigations into the cause of the fire continue.
A public safety order is still in place because of concerns about toxic smoke from burning chemicals in some of the shops.

Related Coverage
A nearby shop worker, who did not want to be named, said witnesses saw four teenagers being arrested in the car park.
"They (the teenagers) were in our shop this morning. We hunted them out. They were being horrible in here," she told AAP.
"Officers have put those young people in a paddy wagon."
The DCS said a fire investigator would be brought in to work out how the blaze started.

13-year-old boy charged with arson remanded in custody over Mackay fire that destroyed Toys R Us, Autobarn and Clark Rubber
Mackay shopping centre fire
Mackay shopping centre fire that destroyed Toys R Us, Autobarn and Clark Rubber. Picture: Catherine Woodworth. Source: Supplied
A TEENAGER charged with arson over a major blaze in Mackay will spend four days behind bars before his next court appearance.
The inferno destroyed Mackay's Toys R Us, Autobarn and Clark Rubber stores on Saturday.
The 13-year-old boy, who was remanded in custody after a closed hearing today in the Mackay Children's Court, has also been charged with shoplifting, endangering property and wilful damage.
He will appear again on Friday.
  
Mackay fire Channel Seven News
The fire at North Mackay engulfs the Toys R Us store. Picture: Seven News

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17. SkaDaMo Day 15


November 15th is America Recycles Day...And you wondered what happened to your old shoe boxes!

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18. You Can Still Find A Good Nazi Spy Story

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is a marvelous World War II spy story in which details are slowly revealed. Anyone talking about this book (and I'm not the first to note this) must be very careful not to destroy the book's pleasures by revealing any of those details ourselves.

So let me say that this book is about two young English women (Wait! One of them is Scottish, damn it!), who come to know one another during their war work. Maddie is a pilot in one of those women's auxiliary groups, and Queenie...Well, I don't want to say just what she is, because that's one of the things that's revealed. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that at the beginning of the novel she has been captured by the Nazis.

The plotting of this story is very intricate. Personally, I think it falls apart a bit in the second half of the book. But, you know, I can't really get into it too much because to do so would, once again, give away some of the details that are the big pleasure of this novel. I will say that I found the second half less believable and felt that a climactic event was telegraphed.

Much has been made of the friendship between the two young women in this book. Okay, let me pause and say here that a close family member who is quite fond of me has described me as being "disturbingly" unsentimental. I will not pass on another relative's perception of my hardness other than to say that he is one hundred percent correct. So now that you know that, I will proceed and say that I found the friendship thing in Code Name Verity to be somewhat over the top. It made for a melodramatic climax. To me it's a tribute to the strength of the spy story that the book is still so incredibly readable.

Plot Project: I haven't done any plot project talk recently but some information in the "Author's Debriefing" at the end of the book interested me in terms of plot. Wein says, "This book started off rather simply as a portrait of an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot. Being a woman and a pilot myself, I wanted to explore the possibilities that would have been open to me during the Second World War." "...I started with research, hoping to get plot ideas..." What she's saying is that she started with a situation and had to come up with a story later.  I've written more than one book starting with only a situation, and I think it must have been incredibly difficult for Wein to move from that "portrait" idea to the incredibly complex spy story she finally wrote. That is a huge achievement.

Code Name Verity is a Cybils nominee in the Young Adult Category and a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Young Adult Fiction

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19. Speed Paintings and a fairy on a mushroom

Did some painting for a change of pace tonight.

I made a nice brush in Painter and wanted to try it out for a bit.

Study Painting Fairy Study

I’m a traditionalist at heart with fairy’s- I think they probably would be naked most of the time, but only because they like to see the startled looks on peoples faces.

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20. Stunning

Saw this stunning photo on flickr and had to share - so many emotions are evoked by this photo.
I am taking a blog break through Thanksgiving Holiday. Have a peaceful family filled holiday.


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21. Gumball girl. ©2012 Dain Fagerholm


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22. Le sablier



j'ai toujours aimé contempler
l'écoulement du sablier
je peux y passer
des heures
c'est insensé
des heures entières
le sable autant que son verre
la même matière
égrenant le passé
forçant l'avenir
dans son étroit goulet
sans ralentir
ni faiblir
patiemment
gravement

ce rêve qui me tire de ma jeunesse
ce goût de sable entre le palais et la langue
la tristesse coincée entre les dents
comme un éclat de laitue sur l'émail

je sais que bon an mal an
mon regard glace le sang
de ceux qui croient
cracher le plus loin
je m'y emploie parfois
inlassable et j'aime bien

pour aller faire mes courses je coupais par le cimetière
de grandes nappes de soleil et de vent souvent
balayaient les rites funéraires et les allées de sable
et les stèles riaient à marbre déployé
certains noms ne cachaient rien de leur déception
d'autres arboraient des moues passablement défaites
renfrognées ou dédaigneuses
ce qu'il faut faire parfois pour ne pas mourir

entre les fissures des nuages
invisibles et imaginaires
les particules qui n'ont pas d'âge
défient les scrutateurs de l'air
alors qu'on croit tout immobile
tout s'active
tout dérive
tout s'enroule et tout s'empile
tout et rien et tout ou rien
tout est rien
et ceux qui croient cracher plus loin
en réalité ne crachent rien

j'ai vu les monts opaques comme griffant le ciel
les mers comme d'air liquide en constant mouvement
j'ai vu les déserts onduler comme des vagues
les hommes habiter les sabliers comme des maisons
j'ai vu nombre de regards perdus
déchirés ou vendus ou acheteurs ou déchirants
tristes ou rêveurs ou ripailleurs ou extatiques
sincères ou fourbes ou tranquilles
je n'en ai vu qu'un qui m'avait retrouvé
et la foule l'a emporté

depuis j'attends que le retournement
du sablier me ramène ce regard
que je n'ai pu oublier malgré les ans
ces yeux couleur de sable et de hasard

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23. Christmas Cards Coming Soon!

Thank you for your help on selecting this years Christmas Cards.
I wish we could have printed all of them,
but we had to narrow it down to the top  Four Cards.
These cards have gone to press and if everything goes well, they will be ready and in stock next week!  ...   Just in time for the Holidays.

Thank you for your help   

1.
Red Stuffed Stockings . Toys

Celebrate the Magic of the Season




2. 

Sugar Plum Dreams

Inside .   May all your Holiday dreams come true
 3
Cover art   .  Watercolor snow scene




Christmas Morning. Joy!
May your Christmas filled with Joy





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24. Drawing & Experimenting

I've been experimenting this week. I'm trying to bring the pencil lines I love into my finished artwork.

This little girl is from my sketchbook.


Here I just colored the sketch in Photoshop.


And here she is drawn in black color pencil which I scanned & 
layered over an acrylic painting in Photoshop.


I'll post another one in this technique tomorrow.


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25. Time to Wake UP!


I've spent a good long time absent from the blogosphere while wrestling with my latest book. I've also learned a great deal about the challenges of creating a novel-length fairy tale.

1. Fairy tales are short for a reason. They are compact little stories that were passed along orally for generations before someone (Grimm brothers, for ex.) transcribed them. I love the old Grimms' tales for their lively economy, but a novel requires things like fully-fleshed characters and a complex plot.

2. Fairy tales don't have to explain much. Novels require an answer to "why?" A fairy tale can begin by stating: "Once upon a time, a mouse, a bird and a sausage entered into a partnership and set up house together." (That's a real fairy tale quote, by the way.) In a children's novel, that situation might need a little more set up. In fairy tales, people make strange requests of each other ("fetch me the first hazel twig that strikes your hat") or are introduced as being quite proud of their red shoes (which never are mentioned in the story again). Can't do that in a novel. There has to be motivation and follow through.


3. And then there's "voice." The Grimms' tales make reference to the past with archaic language: trod, weep, thither, bade, thereupon... I love that stuff! But there's a danger of sounding like a Renaissance Faire trainee if one lays it on too thick. I've tried to find a balance, because mine is not a modern retelling, but a fairy tale wannabe.

I'm inching my way along, and I'll continue to see where the story might take me. Maybe I'll drop a few breadcrumbs along the road so it won't take so long to find my way back.

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