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1. Where I Have Been (again)

So I really don't like doing lots of "where am I" posts, but due to my long absence this time, I think I owe all of you an explanation.

As longtime readers have noticed, I haven't posted anything since December.  Well, at the beginning of January, we had some changes that happened at work that really bummed me out and made me really upset, so that was kind of the beginning of things.

Then as January went on, I noticed that I was starting to feel more and more tired and just feeling generally sick all the time.  Went to the doctor, she said everything was fine, but lets run some blood work.  Which was followed up with more blood work in February, and then a referral to a specialist in March.

So long story short, I have been diagnosed with Graves' Disease.  It's an autoimmune disease where my body makes lots of thyroid hormone because it thinks I have an infection, but since I don't have an infection, the excess thyroid hormone attacks my body instead.  Its one of the reasons I have been feeling really tired for the last 6 months or more, since my body spends a lot of my energy attacking itself, and then trying to fight the attack off too.

Emotionally, that was very hard news to hear.  There is no cure for Graves' Disease, only ways to treat it, and all 3 options mean I might be on medication for the rest of my life.  Which when you're only in your mid 20s, it's hard to imagine being on multiple medications for the rest of your life.

So that was the second thing that shook up my world the past few months (1. change at work, 2. body out of whack).  Also, in the end of February, my grandfather died.  It was very unexpected, even though he was old, because he wasn't sick or anything.  So with my grandfather gone, my grandma is getting a little weird, so my Dad has been up at her place a lot trying to sort out the estate (my grandpa didn't believe in having a will, so it's a bit tangled). So that's thing number three.

And just to make another very long story short, there's been some other traumatic things going on in my family right now that I won't get into.  All very stressful, which doesn't help my energy level (especially with the thyroid problem).

Which brings me to the last reason for my absence...

In a few weeks I'm moving from California to Mississippi. Why?  The easiest way to answer that question is to say it was an answer to prayer and leave it at that.  I have an aunt who lives out there that will help us get back on our feet.  But we're leaving our California home of 20+ years, so it involves a LOT of packing, sorting, trashing, cleaning etc. and until Monday, I'm still working full-time during all of this.

So hopefully I will be back sometime in May, when we get out there and I get back on my feet.  In the meantime, I wish everyone happy reading, and you can still reach me at my normal email if you want to get in touch for any reason:  shadyglade AT mail DOT com

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2. Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin

Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same hair, same smile and same eyes, but don’t let those similarities fool you – they are not exactly the same. Ling likes books about dogs, but Ting loves fairytales. Ling struggles with using chopsticks, while Ting finds chopsticks to be very easy to use. Ling is very good at sitting still and concentrating, but Ting has a tendency to be a bit more fidgety and forgetful. Each chapter of this amusing episodic book tells a different story to illustrate just how not the same these two twins really are.

Grace Lin manages to create adorable, relatable characters and place them into entertaining situations while maintaining a reading level appropriate for those who are still honing their reading skills. The cheerful, clear illustrations add charm to the story, provide helpful clues for decoding potential trouble words and, thanks to a mishap while at the barbershop in the first chapter, knowing which girl is Ling and which is Ting. Fans of Biscuit, Henry and Mudge, and the Elephant and Piggy books who are looking for a bit more of a challenge should definitely give Ling and Ting a try. If you like this one, make sure to read Ling and Ting Share a Birthday as well.

Click here for a link to a book trailer on Grace Lin’s website for Ling and Ting.

Posted by: Staci


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3. Giuliana Rancic Pens Memoir

awards-and-achievmnts5

According to Publisher’s Weekly, Giuliana Rancic sold world rights to her memoir to Crown Archetype. Rancic is currently co-anchor of E! News and also stars in the reality show, Giuliana and Bill with her husband, Bill Rancic. According to Crown the book will be an inspiring one, touching on everything from Rancic’s childhood, growing up poor in Naples, to her more recent battles with infertility and breast cancer.

There are many things that my fans, my friends, even my family never knew about my private struggle. I hope by writing this book and sharing my journey, I can be an inspiration to those facing their own personal turmoil.

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4. Happy National Poetry Month

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April is National Poetry Month. The Academy of American Poets, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

In 2011, Samantha Reynolds started Bentlily, a site where she documents her goal to write one poem-a-day.

I pledged to write one poem a day. Not to rack up reams of poetry — that was just a lovely side effect. No, the real goal was to train me to see the world constantly with the eyes of a poet, which means to slow down, savour, take delight in, and note the very essence of the world around me.

Poets.org has a poem-a-day for the entire month of April.

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5. Did we already know this, or did I just picture her as I read?

5th waveFrom Screen Daily:

Chloe Grace Moretz will star in the studio’s YA adaptation The 5th Wave that Graham King and Tobey Maguire are producing.

Regardless, this news gives merit to my hypothesis that ChloMor, JLaw, and ShaiWood are currently the only actresses working in YA Hollywood.

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6. A gentle reminder about a fabulous author.

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7. Call for Poetry Submissions and Poetry Chapbook Contest: Blast Furnace

Blast Furnace: Call for Submissions: Volume 4, Issue 2

As a reminder: we accept a few kinds of submission formats: portable document format (.pdf), rich text format (.rft) and .doc/docx (Microsoft Word) files, OR .mp3/.wav audio files.

That said...please submit no more than three (3) of your BEST poems, or, if you prefer to create an audio recording of yourself reciting your poetry, send ONLY ONE (1) file attachment of NOT MORE THAN 2 MINUTES/120 seconds in total duration here.

For our fourteenth issue, we are entertaining poems with the theme(s) of origins and beginnings, as well as fine original poetry outside of this/these theme(s). We simply ask that individual submissions do NOT exceed more than three (3) poems per poet, and that each individual poem NOT exceed more than three (3) pages.

Please read our Mission/Values, Submission Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted near the top of our web page, before submitting to review what resonates with us. We love a variety of poetic styles, but we are also picky.

DEADLINE: June 15, 2014


ADDITIONALLY, We are now accepting submissions for our first annual poetry chapbook contest, to be judged by Heather McNaugher!

For contest details, visit our Submittable page.

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8. Where the North Sea Touches Alabama

Where the North Sea Touches Alabama is a strange book—I’ve been describing it to strangers (note the relationship between adjective and noun) as an ethnography of mourning, but really it’s a peculiar hybrid of sociological exegesis, lyric essay, and phantasmagorical travelogue. I believe author Allen C. Shelton might consider it a novel, just as Walter Benjamin certainly must have plucked a term from the atmosphere to describe the Arcades Project as he carried its pages in a suitcase like fake currency.

The book considers the tragic life and death of the artist Patrik Keim, a friend of the author’s, and a theoretical muse or Betelgeuse ostensibly traveling between this world and another. That’s the stuff of Western philosophy in the wake of Hegel, or a battered Platonic ideal we repeat to ourselves—the absolute idealism that marks being as an all-inclusive whole: not subject without object, and vice-versa. Shelton takes on this canon—Marx, Foucault, Weber, and especially, Benjamin—and arrives at someplace not entirely recognizable. Maybe that’s because the rest of the landscape he renders—via an epistolary immersion in northeastern Alabama—is so unavoidably specific. Anyhow: not to give too much away. The above trailer should be enough to get you started—like the book, it’s a well-made and unconventional narrative.

And to conclude, from an equally strange—lyrical, inculcating even—review of the book by Daryl White from Paste magazine:

My inner Walter Mitty belongs to a small collective of social science writers.

We call ourselves the Professors Higgin. We commiserate, critique and urge each other to confess our literary sins, our endless little murders of the English tongue. We comprise a teacher, a pragmatist, a printmaker, a contrarian, a recovering atheist, an agnostic, a believer with no object of belief, a jaded millenarian, a Luddite, a backsliding Marxist and, depending on academic circumstances, either an anthropologist or a sociologist—an erstwhile Whitman’s Sampler.

We help each other, endlessly contradict, chide, commiserate and condemn colleagues’ writing. We laugh at our phobias, strain for 12-step clarity and all too rarely acknowledge the debt we owe our students. With ease, we blame them for our petty insanities, resent their ability to absorb our time and in the end know our better selves in their reflections.

We read Where the North Sea Touches Alabama in sustained awe. Inspired. Heartened. Daunted.

To read more about Where the North Sea Touches Alabama, click here.

 

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9. Interview at All Creativelike

I was so happy to be interviewed by Leigh Medeiros at All Creativelike. I have worked with Leigh as a consultant and she is fantastic. I highly recommend that you check out All Creativelike and the many ways that Leigh works with artists. Coaching, products for artists, Retreats & Workshops, Classes, Research/Story Notes-she does it all. Subscribe to her blog to see the many way that she works with creative people and be sure to read the testimonials-she is the real deal.



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10. readergirlz: Support Teen Literature Day & "Rock the Drop"


By Melissa Walker of readergirlz
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

In conjunction with Support Teen Literature Day, top young adult authors, editors, teen lit advocates, and readers will “Rock the Drop” by leaving their books in public places for new readers to discover and enjoy.

In recognition of the readergirlz’s seventh birthday of promoting literacy and a love of reading among young women, our fans and followers are also encouraged to donate YA books (or time, or even monetary contributions) to seven very worthy literacy philanthropies.

Cyn supports Reading is Fundamental!
The groups include: First Book, The Lisa Libraries, Girls Write Now, 826 National, Room to Read, Reading is Fundamental, and World Literacy Foundation.

For this year’s Drop, we are also teaming up with Justine Magazine and I Heart Daily to help spread the world and build enthusiasm for this always-enjoyable kick off to spring reading season!

A nationwide effort of authors, publishers, librarians, educators, and readers

In its sixth year, Rock the Drop is part of a massive effort by librarians, young adult authors, educators, publishers, and avid readers to spur reading on a nationwide scale. The day aims to encourage teens to read for the fun of it.


Cyn is dropping...!
  • In past years, more than 100 young adult authors—including David Levithan, Sara Zarr, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen, and Cynthia Leitich Smith—have “rocked the drop,” leaving copies of their books in public places for teens to find.
  • Publishing houses both “Big Six” and indie alike have donated tens of thousands of books to dedicated literacy philanthropies, in addition to rocking the drop, too.
  • Teens, librarians, teachers, and other fans of YA literature are also invited to rock the drop, on their own or as a group.
  • Participants are encouraged to donate to any of our seven suggested philanthropies – or one of their own! Post on the Readergirlz Facebook page to update us on some of your favorite worthy causes.

Operation Teen Book Drop aims to reach a large number of teen groups,” rgz diva Melissa Walker said. “We’re thrilled to be celebrating our website’s seventh birthday with this fun, festive day!”

How to support Rock the Drop:

Learn more!

About Support Teen Literature Day

In its sixth year, Support Teen Literature Day is April 17, 2014, and will be celebrated in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week. Librarians across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day by hosting events in their libraries. The celebration raises awareness that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase award-winning authors and books in the genre, as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.

About readergirlz

Lorie's new release!
readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Award for Innovations in Reading. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy.

Launched in March 2007, in celebration of Women's National History Month, readergirlz was cofounded by acclaimed YA authors - Dia Calhoun, Lorie Ann Grover, Justina Chen, and Janet Lee Carey. Readergirlz is currently maintained by awarded YA authors - Micol Ostow, Melissa Walker, and co-founder Lorie Ann Grover.

rgz Operation Teen Book Drop has donated over 30,000 new YA books to under-served teens.





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11. Author's Notes: "Saint Max"

What do I do with these silly stories I write?

Try to have them published, somewhere, so readers can see them. Why would I write silly stories and then sell them for the price of a beer (as I did with "Saint Max" to Phantasmacore)? Because, dear readers, the process of submission makes us all better. I could post this stuff on the blog, but no story will be it's best if it doesn't pass at least some publication muster.

Maybe that's what "Saint Max" is about. Becoming better. As always, there will be spoilers. Please read "Saint Max" if you'd like--it won't even cost you a beer--and head back for the story behind the story.

Ready?

Ready.

"Saint Max" started with a man digging holes in his backyard. He didn't know why. I didn't either when I started the story. He just dug. He did what he felt he needed to do. His son, Max, watches him. It's a strange thing which only grows stranger as every morning the yard looks normal.

Max grows in the story. He has to confront a bully named Caleb, and does so with violence. But nothing is solved for Max. His parents are dead when he goes home after confronting his bully. Why? You, dear reader, must decide. Maybe it was domestic violence (they do fight a lot). Maybe they just died. That's how death works. It simply happens.

And that's the hard part of this story. That's what might keep some readers at bay: sometimes life doesn't offer easy solutions. Sometimes bad stuff happens with no explanation. We want that explanation; we want to "know"--especially in fiction. But the real horror is not knowing. The real horror is the unknown, just like good ol' H.P. Lovecraft said. If a monster killed Max's parents, then the monster is the enemy. Max certainly believes in the monster, but it isn't a real thing. It isn't tangible.

I love this story and Max (both the fictional Max and my son), but it won't be accessible to everyone. Some people like the thrill of chase and death and everything else. But this is about Max surviving after his parents have died. This is about Max trying to figure out what to do with death. And... "A horror story cannot simply be about death."

Read "Saint Max" if you would--and if you do, please let me know what you think. Thanks to editor Jason Block for the future beer and giving my story a home.

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12. Steven Salmon on writing with cerebral palsy


At the Wisconsin Writer's Institute a few weeks back I had the pleasure of meeting Steven Salmon, a blog reader with Cerebral Palsy who has published three books, an impressive output not least of which because he writes using morse code.

He agreed to an interview and here are the responses:

NB: What made you decide to start writing?

SS: I became a writer to show people that a severe physically disabled person can be and are productive valuable members of society if given a chance to succeed. All of my life, I was told "you can't" by disabled advocates. When I graduated from high school with honors, the government labeled me as "unemployable." The government didn't believe that I could work and wouldn't help me go to college. For two years after I graduated from high school I stayed at home doing nothing watching TV and reading sports autobiographies. Living in isolation made me angry. Boredom ate at my heart.  My dream was to attend college. I even contemplated committing suicide. But my mother put me through school herself. I vowed to be the best college student once I enrolled in college.  My strong determination made me want to prove the government wrong. I used my anger to become a productive person: a writer and eventually an author.

NB: What's your writing process like?

SS: I use Morse code to write along with a word prediction program called CoWriter. Morse code allows me to use a mouse. I swing my head back and forth between two buddy buttons attached to a portable metal stand on my wheelchair. I spell out each word one letter at time. CoWriter predicts words that I start to spell allowing me to choose a word that I want from a number list. CoWriter automatically leaves a space to start the next word. When I enter a sentence into a word document or an email, CoWriter automatically leaves two spaces to begin a new sentence. I used to use voice recognition to write, but it didn't work for me anymore because voice recognition started using words instead of using sounds for letters that I was using. A couple of years ago, I started using Morse code to write. Morse code is more accurate than voice recognition for me. I can edit my writing now. 

NB: I was amazed to learn that you write using morse code. Does this process mean you plan your scenes ahead or do you still have room to improvise?

SS: Morse code and CoWriter are just tools giving me the ability to write fast.  When I write, I have a scene in my head.  Usually I write very detailed scenes without outlines or notes. I want a good "working" first draft.  Something that I can build on for a second draft. I want to be able to give it a friend or my literary agent who will edit it.  Then like all writers, I will rewrite the manuscript and edit it again. I write all day every day. Morse code and CoWriter allow me to write late at night. That is important I have care attendants to manage, a manuscript to rewrite for my agent, publicity to do and postings to write for my blog. I love writing at night with a baseball or a basketball game on TV.  I'm all alone writing with my black cat at my side. 

NB: Is there an advantage to thinking about every letter as you go?

SS: There is no real advantage to spelling out one letter at a time. Morse code and CoWriter are just tools allowing me to write like a paintbrush for a painter. It's up to me, the writer to make the words come to life for the reader. There is nothing like knowing that a manuscript is coming together like watching a house going up. A writer is a creator and seeing your writing come together is something to be proud about. At the end of the day the writer has satisfaction seeing the writing in their mind like a carpenter admiring a hard day of work as the sun sets. Only the writer can see it! 

NB: Who is your writing hero?

Larry Watson is my favorite author. He wrote White Crosses, Justice, Orchard and Montana 1948. He taught writing at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point when I was a student there. Larry is my mentor and helped me get my first novel going. He doesn't talk much. But I was one of the few students that he opened up to. It was a privilege to have Larry teach me. We are friends now and email each other. 

NB: Any advice for aspiring writers out there?

SS: My advice to writers is writing is hard work! Writing a day or two a week is not writing. Larry told a writing class once if you want write to get rich writing get out now. If you want to learn how to write to write stay. In my opinion a real writer needs to be passionate about their writing and believe in their writing. There are very few rewards to being a writer. You don't get paid. A writer needs people to confide to sharing the highs and the lows of writing. My college classmates are my confidants. Writers need to have confidants to lean on when nothing seems to be going right or they are pursuing a literary agent. A year ago, I was in a pursuit of an agent trying to impress her by doing several rewrites. I grew frustrated with her, but college classmates kept me focus. They gave me strength when I needed the most. But I got the agent thanks to my classmates. They are my inspiration. 

I'm living a writer's dream. But it's a lot of hard work and long hours just writing. Not many writers are willing to make that kind of sacrifice.  But if a writer wants an agent the writer has to work!  If I have a literary agent, then other writers can to by working each day.  

Not bad for "unemployable" person according to the system. 

Thanks to Steven for participating! Check out his books here.

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13. Malki Sushestva


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14. ‘Heaven is For Real’ Adapted as a Film

heavenisrealTodd Burpo‘s bestselling Christian novel Heaven is For Real has been adapted into a film. The film was directed by Randall Wallace and stars Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Thomas Haden Church.

Like the book, the film from Sony Pictures follows the story of a young boy who claims to visit heaven after a life-saving appendectomy. Check it out:

Todd and Sonja Burpo are a real-life couple whose son Colton claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth: things he couldn’t possibly know. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event.

As Roger Ebert points out, the film is part of Hollywood’s push into marketing faith-based films to Christians.

Follow this link to check out the trailer.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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15. Starters (2012)

Starters. Lissa Price. 2012. Random House. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I enjoyed this dystopian novel. Callie is our heroine. Early in the novel, Callie has to make a tough choice: should she rent out her body for profit and secure a life for herself and her younger brother, Tyler? Or should she continue the day-to-day struggle to survive when every single day brings danger and risk. Callie is older and stronger than her brother. If she goes to Prime Destination, it will be FOR him, not for greed. As you might have guessed, Callie DOES go to Prime Destination, she does sign the contract which allows Prime Destination to rent out her body to others (via neurochip). IN this society, "Enders" find enjoyment and thrills by renting the bodies of teenagers. The two are linked via the neurochip, but it is the Ender, the renter, who is in control of the young (newly made beautiful) body. Callie has signed on for three rentals, it will be the third that will change her life forever...

I enjoyed this one. I did. I enjoyed getting to know Callie AND the "voice in her head," Helena. I am looking forward to reading the second book!

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. Call for Fiction and Flash Fiction: Reading Out Loud


Reading Out Loud wants to read your story... out loud.

Ideally, we’re looking for character-driven stories with a sense of place and a strong narrative voice. Remember that these are to be performed as fully produced, dramatized audio pieces, and the aforementioned characteristics make it a little easier for us to produce. However, don't let that stop you from sending us that weird, stream-of-consciousness piece you've got. We'd like to read that, too.
 
 
Guidelines: 
 
Flash Fiction submissions should be up to 1000 words.
Full length short fiction submissions should be 2000 to 4000 words in length.
Please send your work in .doc format to:
 
 submissionsATreadingoutloudDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
 
Indicate in the subject of your e-mail whether it is flash or full length.
Please include a brief bio in the body of your email.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere.
"Reading Out Loud" requires “one-time rights” to your piece. We’ll record it, put it on the podcast, and release it back into the wild.
If your work has been previously published, it is up to you to confirm you have retained the rights to republish the work.
"Reading Out Loud" is a labor of love. There is no monetary compensation for anyone involved or associated with its production.

Find our more at our website or listen to us on iTunes.

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17. Leonard Riggio Has Sold 3.7 Million Barnes & Noble Shares

barnesandnobleBarnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio has sold 3.7 million shares of common stock, a portion of his holdings of Barnes & Noble stock. After the sell off, Riggio’s holdings are expected to represent approximately 20 percent of Barnes & Noble’s Common Stock outstanding.

“After this sale I remain the Company’s largest shareholder, a position I feel very good about,” explained Leonard Riggio, Chairman of Barnes & Noble, in a statement.  ”I love this company and I believe in its future as I do in all of the wonderful people who work here.” Riggio revealed that his sale is part of his long-term financial and estate planning. He has no plans to sell more stock this calendar year.

Earlier this month, the Liberty Media Corporation sold of its majority stake in Barnes & Noble “to qualified institutional buyers in reliance on Rule 144A under the Securities Act.” The company kept about 10 percent of its investment in the company.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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18. Creative Nonfiction and Short Fiction Contests: Sonoran Review

Sonora Review 2014 Nonfiction Contest Submissions Now Open

Online submissions link

DEADLINE: May 15, 2014

JUDGE: Jenny Boully, author of The Body: An Essay and not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them.

WHAT WE WANT: Essays and nonfiction up to 6,000 words. Hybrid projects warmly welcomed. Submissions should be typed and double-spaced. Include a cover letter with a brief biography, your contact information and any other pertinent information about your submission. Simultaneous submissions are fine but please let us know as soon as possible if the work is accepted elsewhere; multiple submissions are also fine, although you will have to pay the contest fee again. Please remove your name or any other identifying marks from your manuscript before submitting.
 
HOW TO DO IT: Submit online or send an SASE to:

Mike Coakley and Laura Miller, Editors-in-Chief 
(c/o Nonfiction Editorial Board) Sonora Review
Dept. of English 
University of Arizona 
Tucson, AZ 85719.

WINNER RECEIVES: 1,000 dollar cash prize and publication, finalists will be considered for publication in Issue 66 of Sonora Review.


Sonora Review 2014 Short-Fiction Contest Submissions Now Open

Online submissions link

DEADLINE: June 1, 2014
 
JUDGE: Matt Bell, author of In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods.

WHAT WE WANT: Your absolute best, most imaginative fiction up to 1,000 words. Submissions should be typed and double-spaced. Include a cover letter with a brief biography, your contact information and any other pertinent information about your submission. Simultaneous submissions are fine but please let us know as soon as possible if the work is accepted elsewhere; multiple submissions are also fine, although you will have to pay the contest fee again. Please remove your name or any other identifying marks from your manuscript before submitting.

HOW TO DO IT: Submit online or send an SASE to:

Mike Coakley and Laura Miller, Editors-in-Chief 
(c/o Fiction Editorial Board) Sonora Review
Dept. of English 
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85719

WINNER RECEIVES: 1,000 dollar cash prize and publication, finalists will be considered for publication in Issue 66 of Sonora Review.

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19. A Handful of Illustrations Before Breakfast:Featuring Renato Alarcão, K.G. Campbell,Emily Gravett, and Steve Jenkins



 

Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about a handful of new picture books I like. All the talk talk talk is over here in that column, if you missed it last week.

Today, I want to share some art from each book. And, in the case of Emily Gravett, I’ve got a couple of early sketches, too. Above is a thumbnail from one of her sketchbooks. The rest is below.

Enjoy the art.

(Note: The illustrations from Mama Built a Little Nest are sans text. The colors in those also appear here on the screen a bit brighter than they do in the book.)

Emily Gravett’s Matilda’s Cat
(Simon & Schuster, March 2014):


 


Early thumbnails
(Click to enlarge)


Emily: “A page of rejected cats.”
(Click to enlarge)


A final spread from the book
(Click to enlarge)



 

Mina Javaherbin’s Soccer Star
(Candlewick, April 2014),
illustrated by Renato Alarcão:


 


“… Maria sees that I’m impressed. ‘So now can I be on your team?’ She asks me this day after day. But my answer is always the same: ‘Our team’s rule is no girls.’”
(Click to enlarge)


“We’re off to the ocean, and when it’s time, I cast my net in the deep.
Wild storm clouds appear fast in the sky above. …”

(Click to enlarge)



 

K.G. Campbell’s The Mermaid and the Shoe
(Kids Can Press, April 2014):


 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


“There, one day, something new drifted into Minnow’s life. She couldn’t imagine
what it was for, but it was the loveliest thing she’d ever seen.”

(Click to enlarge)


“In the forest, she passed an octopus. ‘What is this?’ she asked it.
But the octopus just shrugged.”

(Click to enlarge)


“In the shallows, she happened upon a whale. ‘What is this?’ she asked it.
‘I swallowed one of those once,’ said the whale. ‘Yuck!’”

(Click to enlarge)



 

Jennifer Ward’s Mama Built a Little Nest
(Beach Lane Books, March 2014),
illustrated by Steve Jenkins:


 


Part of the male cactus wren spread: “Daddy built a little nest. / And then he built another. / And another. And another—/hoping to impress my mother.”
(Click to enlarge)


Part of the weaverbird spread: “Mama built a little nest. / She used her beak to sew /
a woven nest of silky grass, / the perfect place to grow.”

(Click to enlarge)


The grebe spread: “Mama built a little nest. / She gathered twigs that float /
and placed them on the water / to create a cozy boat.”

(Click to enlarge)


The hornbill spread: “Mama built a sealed nest / within an old tree’s hollow./
My daddy left a little hole / to pass her food to swallow.”

(Click to enlarge)



 

Steve Jenkins’ Eye to Eye:
How Animals See the World

(Houghton Mifflin, April 2014):


 



The halibut and panther chameleon spread
(Click either image to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)


The ghost crab and gharial spread
(Click to enlarge and read text)


The leopard gecko and tarsier spread
(Click to enlarge and read text)



 

Steve Jenkins’ and Robin Page’s
Creature Features:
25 Animals Explain
Why They Look the Way They Do

(Houghton Mifflin, October 2014):



 


“Dear harpy eagle: And why are your feathers sticking out?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


“Dear horned frog: Your mouth is ginormous. Why so big?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


“Dear sun bear: Why is your tongue so long?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)


“Dear shoebill stork: Why do you need such a burly beak?”
(Click to enlarge and read text)



 

* * * * * * *

MATILDA’S CAT. Copyright © 2014 by Emily Gravett. Published by Simon & Schuster, New York. Images reproduced by permission of Ms. Gravett.

SOCCER STAR. Text copyright © 2014 by Mina Javaherbin. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Renato Alarcao. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

THE MERMAID AND THE SHOE. Copyright © 2014 by K.G. Campbell. Published by Kids Can Press, Toronto. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST. Text copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Ward. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Steve Jenkins. Published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, New York. Images reproduced by permission of Steve Jenkins.

EYE TO EYE: HOW ANIMALS SEE THE WORLD. Copyright © 2014 by Steve Jenkins. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. Images reproduced by permission of Steve Jenkins.

CREATURE FEATURES: 25 ANIMALS EXPLAIN WHY THEY LOOK THE WAY THEY DO. Text copyright © 2014 by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Steve Jenkins. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. Images reproduced by permission of Steve Jenkins.

1 Comments on A Handful of Illustrations Before Breakfast:Featuring Renato Alarcão, K.G. Campbell,Emily Gravett, and Steve Jenkins, last added: 4/17/2014
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20. Bedouin Soundclash Frontman Releases First Chapter in Serial Multimedia Book Project

skullandbonesCanadian musician Jay Malinowski has signed a multimedia serialized eBook deal with book deal with HarperCollins Canada.

The Bedouin Soundclash frontman’s new work is called Skull & Bones. The work is comprised of seven digital chapters published one at a a time. The first chapter is called El Ingles Goes Missing. The book includes text, drawings and original songs from his band Jay Malinowski and The Deadcoast. The tracks are embedded into the multimedia chapters.

“After finishing the recording of the album ‘Martel’ with my band The Deadcoast, I decided that I needed to walk The Camino, an 800km pilgrimage that starts in the foothills of France’s Pyrenees mountains and ends on the west coast of Spain, a coastline strangely enough called La Costa da Morte, or The Dead Coast,” Malinowski explained on his site. ”It was during those 40 days of walking alone that I began writing and roughly illustrating “Skulls & Bones” in the cafes at night and during breaks on the side of the seemingly endless path that led to the Atlantic Ocean. This was a personal labour of love.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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21. Move Over Fiction! Non-fiction and Fiction Book Pairs for Tweens and Teens, TXLA 2014

0 Comments on Move Over Fiction! Non-fiction and Fiction Book Pairs for Tweens and Teens, TXLA 2014 as of 4/17/2014 11:27:00 AM
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22. Life imitates art

On occasion during our run of the mill existence here on planet earth, life imitates art. This was the case during a recent visit from a plumber to unblock a bathroom drain. The visit was routine but there came a point during a conversation that seemed straight out of my play, “Gin: an Allegory for Playing the Game of Life.” You know how it is – that Twilight Zone/déjà vu feeling we’ve all experienced at some point where a conversation seems familiar and you’re not sure if you’ve heard it before.  

Here is the scene from the play where Lyle, the super, arrives to address the blocked sink of Becky, the main character and the cynic. SARAH, another character is one of those people who always sees the good in everyone and everything. I cut and pasted parts so the formatting isn't ideal. This is one of my favorite plays but then that's what I say about all of them.


                         BECKY opens the door to LYLE, the super, who is leaning on
                         the side of the door, engrossed in music coming out of earphones.
                         His dress is grunge with long stringy hair and grimy
                         clothes

BECKY

Well, well. Look who the wind blew in. Hello up there? Anybody home?

                         BECKY taps him on the shoulder and he jumps in response

Forgive me but you do remember why you're here? To unblock my pipes? Lyle super - me tenant?

LYLE
I know that

BECKY
Of course you do and I'm Madonna

LYLE
Hey – and they tol’ me your name was Becky Bitch. Oh… I see. Becky Bitch Madonna!

                         LYLE pushes Becky aside

Okay…what and where's the problem?

BECKY
You for a start but I gotta take what I can get. My sink has been blocked since last week

LYLE
Okay… hold it a sec…this is a good part

                         Lyle starts gyrating and playing an invisible guitar

BECKY
My God – the kid has overdosed on drugs right here in my apartment. Call 911

LYLE
(stops abruptly)
That was the best part of the CD. Bet'chu wash your hair in this sink, don't you

BECKY
And your point is? Most normal people wash their hair, Lyle, but there are exceptions, like you for example

LYLE
Ladies your age never wanna admit it but we supers know better. If I had a dollar for every time I've unblocked a sink and removed a big blob of the stuff, I’d be a gazillionaire. Wait a sec’…

                         LYLE begins gyrating

BECKY
I hope I'm not disturbing your musical interludes or anything. Listen, there's no way, my hair, blocked that drain. Maybe you don't clean the pipes often enough, did that occur to you? So? Fix it. Hello? Lyle!

LYLE

This band is like… fab-u-lo-so… We'll try chemicals first and if that don't work, we'll use the snake

BECKY
You're gonna use strong chemicals in my sink? Come to think of it, you're probably no stranger to chemical mixes

SARAH
OhmyGod! They use poor defenseless snakes to clean out drains, now? But I'm sure you use the non-poisonous type, right? Do the animal welfare people know about this?

BECKY

Sarah dear, count your cards or something. Just do what you have to do and unblock it?

LYLE
Got some news you won't wanna hear, lady

BECKY
If it means you're quitting your job after unblocking my sink, it's good

LYLE
I'm wrong about the blockage

BECKY
Told you it wasn't hair. I'm not a plumber and even I knew as much

LYLE
It's deep down in the main pipe system, under the sink

BECKY
And this means that…

LYLE
…it's gonna cost. Might hav'ta call in a plumber

BECKY
Can't youfix it? What are they paying you for?

LYLE
I'll try but I ain't making no promises. I'm gonna go look for my tools, downstairs. Whoever you get to do the job will take a half a day, at least. Maybe more

BECKY

This is really good. A handyman with no tools


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23. Dennis Nolan and the Hartford Art School


Yesterday I visited the Hartford Art School in Connecticut, part of the University of Hartford, to give a lecture about picture making and world building.

After the talk, a group of about 50 students invited me to do a watercolor demo. I had a great model, someone I've painted many times before: my good friend Dennis Nolan, professor of illustration and noted children's book illustrator

Since I only had a half hour, I used the most direct method I know for portraits, starting with big shapes of watercolor laid on wet with a big brush, and then finishing with a few details and textures with water-soluble colored pencils, drybrush watercolor, and a few touches of gouache.

Here's Dennis afterward with his daughter Evie, a student at Hartford. The painting is in a Moleskine water media notebook, using a Schmincke watercolor set.

If you're a high school student interested in studying illustration, I recommend the program at Hartford. It's led by not only Dennis Nolan, but also Bill Thomson, and Doug Anderson. Their program is strong in observational drawing and painting, and the seniors create their own children's picture book from start to finish, and they also have the opportunity to study animation. The illustration program is very popular; this year they have the largest sophomore enrollment ever.
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Dennis Nolan's faculty page at Hartford Art School
Previous post on the Hartford Art School

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24. Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and “Falls the Shadow”

This series is called “Successful Queries”

and I’m posting actual query letter examples that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting these query letter samples, we will also get to hear thoughts from the writer’s literary agent as to why the letter worked.

The 66th installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) for Stefanie Gaither’s young adult novel, FALLS THE SHADOW

(Sept 2014, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Kristi Helvig, author of BURN OUT, said of the book: “[It's] a smart, futuristic thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very last page. This is a fantastic debut.”

(Agents share their query letter pet peeves.)

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 10.09.36 AM

 

 

Dear Ms. Megibow,

I’m currently seeking representation for my YA novel, FALLS THE SHADOW. Given your interest in science fiction, I thought it might be a good fit for your list.

When Cate Benson was twelve, her sister died. Two hours after the funeral, they picked up Violet’s replacement, and the family made it home in time for dinner and a game of cards.

It’s the year 2055, and Cate’s parents are among the wealthy elite who can afford to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth. So this new Violet has the same smile. The same laugh. That same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

Or at least, that’s what the paparazzi and the crazy anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that, though. She’s used to standing up for her sister too, and she’s determined to do it now—even if proving Violet’s innocence means taking on those protestors and anyone else attacking her family. But when her own life is threatened—not by protestors, but by the very scientists who created her sister’s clone—Cate starts questioning everything she thought she knew about the cloning movement. About herself. About her sister.

And the answers she finds reveal a more sinister purpose for her sister’s copy—and her own replacement—than she ever could have imagined.

FALLS THE SHADOW is complete at 80,000 words, and is the first in a planned series. The manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. Thanks for your time and consideration!

Best,

Stefanie Gaither

 

COMMENTARY BY AGENT SARA MEGIBOWfind it on Amazon already

.]

(Query letter FAQs answered.)

 

Need help crafting an awesome plot for your
story? Check out the new acclaimed resource
by Ronald Tobias, 20 Master Plots.

 

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:How NOT to Pitch Your Book.

  • Examining an Excellent Pitch.
  • Genre Author Taylor Stevens Explains “How I Got My Agent.”
  • How I Got My Agent: Oksana Marafioti, Author of AMERICAN GYPSY
  • .
  • Sell More Books by Building Your Author Platform
  • .
  • Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter
  • or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.

     

    Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
    Create Your Writer Platform

    Order the book from WD at a discount

    .

     

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    25. The Secret of the Ghost Author

    Growing up, my favorite stories were the Nancy Drew mysteries. I devoured each mystery and I, like many other girls, thought they had a special knack for solving mysteries like Nancy. I even went so far as to leave written clues about some made-up mystery on small pieces of paper that I slipped into the ceiling moldings of my bedroom in the house were I grew up before we moved to a new

    0 Comments on The Secret of the Ghost Author as of 4/17/2014 12:41:00 PM
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