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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, since 1/28/2008 [Help]
Results 42,176 - 42,200 of 555,885
42176. Lumberjanes: Review Haiku

Kicka$$ girls go camping,
fight monsters, and set up
for new adventures.

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen. BOOM! Box, 2015, 128 pages.

0 Comments on Lumberjanes: Review Haiku as of 4/24/2015 8:07:00 AM
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42177. Author Helene Dunbar Answers Questions on Ask A Pub Pro

Welcome to our monthly Ask a Pub Pro feature where a publishing professional answers readers and writers' questions regarding the stories they love or their work in progress. This month, Helene Dunbar, author of These Gentle Wounds and the soon-to-be-released What Remains joins us to answer questions on humor in dark scenes, unsympathetic characters, present tense, and multiple POVs.

We'd love to have you send in your questions for next month's column. Please send questions to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put "Ask a Pub Pro Question" in the subject line. If your question is chosen, you'll get to include a link to your social media and a one to two sentence (think Tweet size) blurb of your WIP.

Come on! Get those questions in!

Author Helene Dunbar Answers Questions on Ask A Pub Pro

1) My question is regarding humor in dark moment scenes. I have a character who's a smart mouth. If he says something funny (dry) in a very dark scene, will that lesson the tension? (asked by Sylvia in NJ)

There’s always a lot of trial and error in drafting. If your character is sarcastic throughout the manuscript and it would be in character for him to say something snarky in a very dark scene, by all means go for it. I’m a strong advocate for letting your character dictate the scene, so only if this would be breaking character would I recommend against it.

This is also where crit partners or beta readers are great resources because they’ll be the first to tell you if a scene is being marred by a character’s response. But I’ve often found that a tense scene can be made tenser by someone saying the unexpected thing that maybe cuts deeper than the expected comment would.

2) I tend to write protagonists that are not perfect....I mean really not perfect, as in more anti-hero than hero...and have had a lot of complaints about sympathy. But to me, the greater character arc comes from someone who has a longer way to go. Is this kind of character just not marketable? Or how do I make them so? (asked by Anonymous)

I agree with you that sometimes the most interesting character arcs are those in which the character has a great distance to go. However…just because a character starts out immensely flawed, doesn’t mean that the reader can’t sympathize with them. For instance, your character might be a total self-serving narcissist who irritates everyone he/she meets except…they have a soft spot for their little sister and take her to the park at 1pm every Saturday regardless of what else they’re asked to do. I think that showing the softer side of a hard character can go very far in rounding out the character and might give you some extra ammunition in ramping up their arc.

That IS a very common criticism though, so make sure that your character is human enough or believable enough or fleshed out enough so that regardless how flawed they are, there is something to make the reader root for him/her.

3) My WIP is currently in first person present tense. I know there may be marketing challenges to using this tense, but am wondering if there are any guidelines craft-wise for writing in present tense. (asked by Anonymous)

My first book, These Gentle Wounds, was first person present and I can’t think of a single agent or editor who ever told me that this would cause a marketing challenge. I actually wrestle with tense all the time and by that I mean that every single manuscript I’ve written has started out being in a tense different from the one it eventually ended up in. For me, while it’s fine to “decide” what tense I’m going to write in, the story and characters end up taking over and it becomes completely clear what tense the story demands.

As for guidelines, there are some awesome posts on Mary Kohl’s blog: kidlit.com. But I think the most important craft element to writing in first is to remember that you’re in the character’s head, you aren’t listening to a story. So, for instance, make sure that you go back and look for characters saying things that are unnecessary.

Example 1: I saw the kite floating high in the sky and it looked to me as if it might sail on forever.
Example 2: The kite floats high in the sky, looking like it might sail on forever.

You simply don’t need to say, “I saw” and “it looked to me as if” because you’re in the character’s head and most people, when they’re thinking to themselves simply register what they’re seeing or doing.

When I write in first person present I always do a revision draft to look for this. It will help keep your word-count down, help avoid starting every sentence with “I”, and will allow the reader to more closely relate to your character.

4) How many POVs is too many POVs? If I want to work with an ensemble cast, can I do 3 POVs switching off between them each scene, one per scene? (asked by Aaron in WA)

Ha! If you only knew how relevant this question was for me at the moment. Anyhow….how many is too much? It’s too much when you can’t keep the voices of the characters clear enough for the reader to identify without chapter headings that use the character’s name. (I’m making the assumption that you mean “chapters” and not “scenes” because changing characters a couple of times within each chapter is going to be challenging to say the least.)

Here’s my number one rule of writing craft: There are no rules so long as you can do it well. Seriously. Rules are for “what usually works.” But if you can pull of something brilliant that doesn’t follow anyone else’s rules, than by all means, do so.

Two authors that pull of multiple POVs extremely well are Melissa Marr (I believe that the final book of the Wicked Lovely Series had 15 POVs or something absurd and it was handled perfectly) and Maggie Steifvater (The Raven Boys series to me, is a masterclass in writing 3rd person, multiple POVs and still feeling like you’re in the head and heart of every single character. I honestly have no idea how she does it, but I’m determined to find out.)

About the Book:

In less than a second...
... two of the things Cal Ryan cares most about--a promising baseball career and Lizzie, one of his best friends--are gone forever.

In the hours that follow...
...Cal's damaged heart is replaced. But his life will never be the same.

Everyone expects him to pick up the pieces and move on.

But Lizzie is gone, and all that remains for Cal is an overwhelming sense that her death was his fault. And a voice in his head that just...won't...stop.

Cal thought he and his friends could overcome any obstacle. But grief might be the one exception.

And that might take a lifetime to accept...

Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

About the Author:

Helene Dunbar is the author of THESE GENTLE WOUNDS (Flux, 2014) and WHAT REMAINS (Flux, 2015). Over the years, she's worked as a drama critic, journalist, and marketing manager, and has written on topics as diverse as Irish music, court cases, theater, and Native American Indian tribes. She lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter, and exists on a steady diet of readers' tears.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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42178. Won Ton and Chopstick – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Won Ton and Chopstick – A Cat and Dog tale Told in Haiku Written by: Lee Wardlaw Illustrated by: Eugene Yelchin Published by: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2015 Themes/Topics: cats, dogs, haiku, pets, friends Suitable for ages: 7-11 Hardcover, 40 pages Opening: It’s … Continue reading

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42179. Review of the Day: On the Shoulder of a Giant by Neil Christopher

On the Shoulder of a Giant: An Inuit Folktale
By Neil Christopher
Illustrated by Jim Nelson
Inhabit Media
ISBN: 978-1-77227-002-0
Ages 4-7
On shelves now

My daughter is afraid of giants. She’s three so this isn’t exactly out of the norm. However, it does cut out a portion of her potential reading material. Not all giants fall under this stricture, mind you. She doesn’t seem to have any problem with the guys in Giant Dance Party and “nice” giants in general get a pass. Still, we’ve had to put the kibosh on stories like Jack and the Beanstalk and anything else where getting devoured is a serious threat. Finding books about good giants is therefore an imperative and it walks hand in hand with my perpetual search for amazing folktales. Every year I scour the publishers for anything resembling a folktale. In the old days they were plentiful and you could have your pick of the offerings. These days, the big publishers hardly want to touch the stuff, so it’s up to the smaller guys to fill in the gaps. And no one stands as a better folktale gap filler than the Inuit owned company Inhabit Media. Producing consistently high quality books for kids, one of their latest titles is the drop dead gorgeous On the Shoulder of a Giant. Funny, attractive, and a straight up accurate folktale, this is children’s book publishing at its best. And as for the giant himself, my daughter has never run into a guy like him before.

“…if there is only one Arctic giant story you take the time to learn about, this is the one to remember.” Which giant? Why Inukpak, of course! Large (even for a giant) our story recounts Inukpak’s various deeds. He could stride across wide rivers, and fish full whales out of the sea. In his travels, there was one day when Inukpak ran across a little human hunter. Misunderstanding the man to be a small child, the giant promptly adopted him. And since the man was no fool he understood that when a giant claims you, you have little recourse but to accept. He went along with it. The giant fished their dinner and when a polar bear threatened the hunter Inukpak flicked it away like it was no more than a baby fox or lemming. In time the two became good friends and had many adventures together. Backmatter called “More About Arctic Giants” explains at length about their size, their fights, their relationship to the giant polar bears, and how they may still be around – maybe right under your feet!

I’ve read a lot of giant fare in my day and I have never encountered a tale quite like this. Not that the story really goes much of anywhere. The only true question you find yourself asking as you read the tale is whether or not the hunter will ever confess to the giant that he isn’t actually a child. But as I read and reread the tale, I came to love the humor of the tale. Combined with the art, it’s a lighthearted story. In fact, one of the problems is also a point in its favor. When you get to the end of the tale and are told that Inukpak and the hunter had many adventures, you want to read those immediately. One can only hope that Mr. Christopher and Mr. Nelson will join forces yet again someday to bring us more of this unique and delightful duo.

I’m no expert on Inuit culture so it doesn’t hurt that in the creation of “On the Shoulder of a Giant” author Neil Christopher has the distinction of having spent the last sixteen years of his life recording and preserving traditional Inuit stories. Having seen a fair number of books of Native American folktales where the selection of the tales is offhanded at best, the care with which Christopher chooses to imbue his book with life and vitality is notable. The book reads aloud beautifully, and would serve a librarian well if they were told to read aloud a folktale to a group. Likewise, the pictures are visible from long distances. This story begs for a big audience.

I’ve seen a lot of small presses in my day. Quality can vary considerably from place to place. Often I’ll see a small publisher bring to life a folktale but then skimp on the artist chosen to bring the story to life. It’s a sad but common occurrence. So common, in fact, that when it doesn’t happen I’m shocked out of my gourd. Inhabit Media is one of those rare few that take illustration very seriously. Each of their books looks good. Looks not just professional but like something you’d want to take home for yourself. On the Shoulder of a Giant is no exception. This time the artist tapped was freelance illustrator Jim Nelson. He’s based out of Chicago and his art has included stuff like Magic the Gathering cards and the like. He is not, at first glance, the kind of artist you’d tap for a book of this sort. After all, he works with a digital palette creating images that would seemingly be more at home in a comic book than a classic Inuit folktale. Yet what are folktales but proto-superhero stories? What are superhero comics but just modern myths? Inukpak is larger than life and, as such, he demands an artist who can bring his physicality to bear upon the narrative. When he’s fishing for whales I wanna see that sucker fighting back. When he strides across great plains I wanna be there beside him. Nelson feeds that need.

Since Nelson isn’t Inuit himself, the question of how authentic his art may be arises. I am willing to believe, however, that any book published by a company operating with the sole intent to “preserve and promote the stories, knowledge and talent of Inuit and northern Canada” is going to have put the book through a strict vetting process. It would not be ridiculous to think that Nelson’s editor informed him of where to research classic Inuit clothing and landscapes. I loved every inch of Nelson’s art on this story but it was the backmatter that really did it for me. There’s a section that is able to show the difference in size between a inukpasugjuit (“great giant”), a inugaruligasugjuk (“lesser giant”), and a regular human that does a brilliant job of showing scale. That goes for the nanurluit (giant polar bear) in one of the pictures, relentlessly tracking two tiny hunters in their boats. But it is the final shot of a sleeping giant under the mountains as people walk on to of him, oblivious that will really pique young imaginations.

I’m not saying that On the Shoulder of a Giant has the ability to single-handedly rid my daughter of her fear of giants as a whole. It does, however, stand out as a singularly fun and interesting take on the whole giant genre. There’s nothing on my library shelves that sounds or feels or looks quite like this book. It could well be the poster child for the ways in which small publishers should examine and publish classic folktales. Beautiful and strange with a flavor all its own, this is one little book that yields big rewards. Fantastico.

On shelves now.

Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:


0 Comments on Review of the Day: On the Shoulder of a Giant by Neil Christopher as of 4/24/2015 5:01:00 AM
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42180. Classic Readalong Discussion: A Ring of Endless Light

A Ring of Endless Light is a book not as many readers seem to be familiar with, even though the author is so well known for A Wrinkle in Time. We’re trying to help change that! This book is realistic fiction with an element of science fiction, and even if you weren’t able to read along with us this month, we hope that the discussion below encourages you to check it out in the future. As always, there will be some spoilers, however. Wendy: I’ve loved this book since I was a teenager, but it’s been years since I read it. To this day, I still think of “resilient pewter” whenever I see a dolphin! And it’s also why I was veering between marine biology and paleontology for a long time. (Spoiler alert: I went into neither. Alas.) Kim: I had never read it before! A Wrinkle In Time is the only other... Read more »

The post Classic Readalong Discussion: A Ring of Endless Light appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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42181. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week - April 24, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between April 24 and 30 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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42182. Kaptara #1 Review: Sex Criminals Dreaming in Space

Kaptara-coverWriter: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Kagan McLeod

Color Assist: Becka Kinzie

Editing: Thomas K

Production: Drew Gill

Kaptara is a wild card for Image Comics right now. Chip Zdarsky is a proven creator in the field of comics, but I’m not sure that anyone in the audience of the 2015 San Francisco Image Expo convention quite knew what the author was going to say. A book that he was writing to be set in space with an up-and-coming artist would have certainly ranked pretty low among anything the audience had in mind. Yet here we are at the first issue of Kaptara from Image.

What happens when a newspaper illustrator and a Sex Criminal go to space together?

The philosophy between two space travelers being a meathead a video game obsessed scientist is the perfect way to introduce readers to the fun of Kaptara. The irony nestled within this pages seems perfectly at home with Zdarsky and company, as with the other characters first introduced in the issue. The mission gets hectic pretty fast, and the language is laid down with thick discretion introducing readers about space. The protagonist Keith seems as if he sort of serves as the mouthpiece for the rest of the cast and the creators telling the story. His warm disposition and sarcastic attitude perfectly encapsulate the audience that will likely be engrossed in this story. Which is why it’s great that Keith is also the person that has the biggest problems with this tale via his interactions with other teammates. While he seems ready to see to the challenge, the unlikely hero is still flawed.

One of the best parts about this issue is how it almost immediately addresses some of the quiet moments between these people stuck on a space expedition. After all is said done, most of these quiet moments are present in the best instances of all your favorite sci-fi shows like Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, it’s just a matter of making these characters interesting enough to land the quieter moments.

Still Kaptara is a genre tale. It’s not something incredibly concrete and immediately simple to the reader. In other words, it’s not just a bland run of the mill sci-fi military drama either. Speaking to that a little further, Kaptara almost immediately starts with fantastic pacing. By giving us a peek at the end of the story, stakes are being added to the quiet moments that happen later on. We’re already invested in these characters — making what happens at the end of this issue actually elicit some sort of genuine emotional response from the reader.

Speaking of craziness in artwork, that’s the catalyst that sturts to push this issue into crazytown. This comic embraces the weirdness of comics in general headfirst, descending full on into madness. This issue is a whopping 30+ pages, which is excellent for comics readers really looking to stretch their dollars as far as it can go for floppies. The comic also manages to shift up their supporting cast in ways that will affect subsequent installments. In fact, the Zdarsky humor starts to fade out towards bleak and dangerous subtext. Thankfully, the comic swerves back into the wonderful absurd brand of comedy that makes stories by this author great.

McLeod’s kinetic action-heavy cartoonist style with a bevvy of curved lines suit this title incredibly well. The artists’ work is described well as being ‘kinetic.’ The lines seamlessly flow off the page, and the monsters and characters are never staying still. In creator-owned titles, we’ve seen countless instances of not being able to tell characters apart because they are drawn too similarly. Thankfully, McLeod’s previous experience in the art world has allowed him to avoid the pesky instances denying clarity amongst a story. Wow…is all that should be said about the coloring in this story. McLeod and coloring assistant Becka Kinzie are going to amaze readers with the amount of sheer detail nestled into the coloring here. There is a lot of information being tossed at the reader very quickly in this first comic, but the first splash page really shows off something commendable in the not only the drawing by McLeod, but with the coloring as well.

For any comic book fan that has had enough of spandex clad gentlemen spending time in New York, I would like to propose something with a little space grit smeared all over it: Kaptara. This a book taking a familiar element of space travel that smothers in some dirty weirdness in the form of floating eyeballs, kings, princess, dance parties, skulls, lizards, space travel, and dreams. If you have a sickness Image Comics, Kagan McLeod, and Chip Zdarsky can you write you a prescription for a new drug called Kaptara.

6 Comments on Kaptara #1 Review: Sex Criminals Dreaming in Space, last added: 4/25/2015
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42183. Standing in line

0 Comments on Standing in line as of 4/24/2015 6:05:00 AM
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42184. Dwaj drobiazgowe obiekty Biuro rachunkowe fuks Szczecin publiczne oboje barki.

Nasze biuro rachunkowe Szczecin Firma Taksa ogromnej klasy. Mają możliwość one odciążyć dokazać z przerażającymi temacików radzenia samemu z IRS. Nie pozwól, by przechwycić swe los uruchomić zamiast wypatrywać pomocy spośród zaległych podatków w Las Vegas. Pierwotne swe dłużne podatki pod podpieką może być bezproblemowe. Nie pozwól, aby podatki się więcej pierwiasteków, aniżeli powinny. Najwyższą ideą jaką zdołasz odwołać, żeby udoskonalić sytuację widnieje przystąpić zawodową pomagier. Zdołasz dowiedzieć się dłużej na. Co poodprowadzać, jeśliby. To podatki natomiast nie będą floty, by bulić im Nie dopuszczalny kondycji, wcale podczas gdy zdarzenia pomijając troską plus powstrzymują bulić podatki we właściwym czasie. Kredyt podatkowe IRS naraz kiełkuje biorąc pod uwagę na odsetek tudzież kar, jakie wypadają na górze kongruentnym partii podatku. Promieniowanie kapuchy złagodzenie salda długi podatkowego istnieje błędne fortel, jednakowoż to znamionuje, iż jesteś w nadepnie zatopić swoje nagłe wydłużony podatkowe. IRS utrzymuje rozdysponowując jeden.
Biuro rachunkowe tewu Szczecin Wytyczna platforma obywatelska kolejnym, aż do Revenue Officer ukazuje się bramy. Który widnieje wzorowy wybiegiem dawania rady samemu z takiej sytuacji? Najistotniejszą kwestią aż do przygotowania, według IRS, powinno wystawać odpływu dodatkowo korne z owego artykułu. Czy, że rachunkowe Szczecin przyjaciol zolnierza wypada pakować wszystkie poświadczenia podatkowe, jakie nie były wniesione plus nawiążże pewnych pochłanianych płatności koronnych zadłużeń terminowo. Pod warunkiem, iż wywierasz świadczenie podatkowe PIT, nakręćże się wykonać zapłaty.

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42185. Celebrating Etiquette

Coming soon: a whole week to celebrate good manners and being considerate of others! Yes, May 11-15 is officially National Etiquette Week and we are celebrating with the poem “Things Not to Do” by the always-considerate poet Eileen Spinelli. Here Veronica V. has challenged her young readers to perform the poem in both English and Spanish. Check it out:

And would you like to know what Emily Post has to say about National Etiquette Week? Click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

Now, head on over to No Water River where the amazing Renee La Tulippe is organizing all our Poetry Friday contributions. And remember your manners! ;-)

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42186. Bella and the Bulldogs Would You Rather

BELLA AND THE BULLDOGSIt’s Game Time: Bella and the Bulldogs Would You Rather!

Based on overwhelming responses to our recent interview with Brec Bassinger, we know her new Nickelodeon show Bella and the Bulldogs scored a touchdown with you guys! She’s the bubbly cheerleader who suddenly finds herself fulfilling her dream of becoming the quarterback of the school football team! If you’re a fan, check out our Bella and the Bulldogs Would You Rather.

Would You Rather . . .

  1. Be the star quarterback OR the head cheerleader?
  2. Go to an NFL game OR an NBA game?
  3. Go shopping at Justice OR Sports Authority?
  4. Live on a ranch in Texas OR a mansion in California?
  5. Get a sports scholarship to college OR an academic scholarship?
  6. Lift weights OR learn a dance routine?
  7. Have to sleep in a football helmet OR a ski mask?
  8. Have to take a math test OR play fantasy football?
  9. Wear a dress to a formal dance OR a tuxedo?
  10. Be the only boy/girl on a team OR be on an all same-sex team (all-girls or all-boys)?

Let us know your answers in the Comments below, and tell us what YOUR call is on Bella and the Bulldogs!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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42187. Patience & Attention Span

There have been numerous articles posted over the last several years about the shrinking attention spans of the average person, and a recent set of statistics from the Statistic Brain Research Institute suggests that the average person now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Millennials are purportedly easily distracted, easily bored, and lack the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. Naturally, this also affects their engagement with books, and the words “Give it time” are practically a kiss of death.

Once upon a time I was a patient reader. I didn’t mind if a story took a while to develop, and I seldom put down a book from disinterest. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. My expectations as a reader have changed, and I don’t have the patience anymore to hope that a book gets better or to wait for the story to get interesting. I want to be immediately engaged. I want a clear sense that it’s going somewhere, and that it isn’t just 300 pages of random stuff with no story. In Victorian times, authors such as Dickens got paid by the word. They also largely published in serial form, which meant that readers were only digesting small chunks of the story at one time. That isn’t the case anymore, and there is no excuse for long, rambling tangents, or needlessly bloating a story to make it a trilogy or to fill a word count.

I don’t want to wait 200 pages for the author to get to the point. As brutal as it sounds, I have a lot of other books on my shelves that I’m absolutely dying to read, and why should a book be something I have to stick it out through? I’m not suggesting that if the first page isn’t awesome I won’t keep reading, but I do need it to get to the point and fast. Give me a teaser or make something happen that piques my interest and my curiosity and then I’ll be more likely to trust that there will be a payoff in the end.

We blame television, the internet and social media for shortening attention spans, and to an extent this is true, but I think these mediums have also made us a more discerning audience. Television, movies and even internet content are about telling a good story, and the tellers know that they have a very short window to capture our attention. Perhaps, instead of condemning them for “ruining” readers, we should be thinking about how to tell a story that will attract their attention and keep it longer than your goldfish.

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42188. A thousand words: Photography in the Lincoln era

Lincoln was not the first president of the United States to be photographed, but he was the first to be photographed many times, and not only in the portrait studio. His photo archive makes him a modern figure, a celebrity. His short presidency happened just at the time when photography first became straightforward and reliable. Many of the Lincoln photographs were taken by Scottish-born Alexander Gardner.

The post A thousand words: Photography in the Lincoln era appeared first on OUPblog.

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42189. The Clouds by Rosemary Wells

The Clouds Some clouds fill with sunshine Some are dark with sorrow. Some are left from yesterday And some are for tomorrow. The clouds go proudly sailing by. I love their proper names. Stratus, Nimbus, Cirrus, Cumulus and James. -Rosemary Wells

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42190. Using Action, Dialogue, and Narrative in Nonfiction by Maurene Hinds

creative non-fiction
by Contributing Editor, Maurene J. Hinds

One of the best ways to enliven nonfiction is by “borrowing” techniques used in fiction. This includes, when appropriate, opening with a high-action scene, building suspense, using plenty of “showing” description, and including dialogue to break-up the narrative. The only caveat is that actions and dialogue must be “true,” in that it accurately (word for word in the case of direct quotes) portrays events or people. What if you are not writing a biography or historical piece? You can still use these techniques by interviewing professionals, showing people in action, and determining an interesting point of view from which to write about your subject.

Kids love to learn about topics that interest them. For writers, this is good news, because it can often be “easier” to sell nonfiction than fiction–easier in the sense that many editors are looking for quality nonfiction. However, this also means that it is a competitive market, and only the best nonfiction writing will sell. You can make your nonfiction stand out by incorporating the techniques mentioned above, among other things (choosing and focusing on a specific, interesting topic also helps!).

Just as you need some type of “hook,” in fiction, so too should you use one in nonfiction. Even if your topic follows some type of chronology, consider opening with a significant event, fascinating fact, high-action event, or unique dialogue. Bring the reader in and then fill-in the details. What is an exception to this approach? Younger readers require more structure than older readers, in which case beginning in the middle of your story might not work. Straight chronologies work better for younger readers.
Fiction techniques can enhance your nonfiction

Use the idea of beginnings, middles, and ends as you craft your nonfiction piece. Just as fiction builds to the climax of the story, so too can you arrange your information in a way that builds to an interesting ending. Are you writing about a real-life mystery? Consider dropping clues along the way so your reader can try to solve the problem.

What if you are not sure of the best structure for your work? In many ways, you have more flexibility with nonfiction in that you can structure your piece in a way that best fits your material. Perhaps including the most exciting information first, rather than last, works best for your topic. Maybe the middle of your piece is full of action, which you then lead the reader out of to explain the significance. No matter how you structure your piece, remember that it needs to have some type of logical order (remember that bit about young readers?). As always, keep your reader in mind.

Dialogue is a great way to add interest to nonfiction while also breaking up longer sections of text. If you are writing a historical event or biography, search for actual words said by the people involved. If you cannot find this, you might be able to quote a newspaper article or some other source from the same period. If no quotes are available, or if you are writing a different type of piece, consider including excerpts from interviews. Experts add authenticity to your work, and some interesting quotes from experts can add that special, human touch.

As you develop your piece, look for ways to make the writing as interesting and “alive” as possible. Kids do not like to wade through dry, stale facts any more than (many) adults do. Think of ways to put those facts into context. Show the significance of the information, and present it in forms that kids can relate to. If you use the many ways to add sparkle to your nonfiction, you will help increase your chances of publication while providing fun, fascinating reads for your audience.

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42191. U is for Underground Railroad, The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine - A to Z 2015 Challenge

The Underground Railroad...

Synopsis: As one young boy struggles to come to terms with his father’s beliefs and actions towards slaves, he pulls from deep within his soul, courage and determination he never knew existed. Will David’s attempts to save Jenkins come to fruition or does David get caught red handed in defying his Pa?
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Excerpt: “David crept into the barn.  His first attempts to help Jenkins hadn’t gone well.  Jenkins cringed when he saw David.  Over time, David gained Jenkins’ trust with promises that he was not there to harm him, but to help.  Tonight the wounds from the whip were worse than ever.  The welts looked as if caterpillars were stuck under the skin.”

It's a pleasure to have you stop by for a visit. Thanks a bunch for your interest and time!


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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42192. putting some colour to your cheeks

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42193. PO-EMotion -- Distress

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Nicolas Raymond


I ate too much,
I took a test,
My boat capsized,
I'm in distress!

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015

Carol, at Carol's Corner, will join me again this year as often as possible.

Kimberly, at iWrite in Maine, is joining me this month. 

Kay, at A Journey Through the Pages, is joining, too!

Steve, at inside the dog, is sharing his poems 
in the comments at Poetrepository.

Heidi, at my juicy little universe, will join us when she can.

Linda, at TeacherDance, will join as often as she can.
Check the comments at A Year of Reading or Poetrepository for her poems.

Kevin (Kevin's Meandering Mind) is back this year,
leaving poetry trax in the comments.

Carol, at Beyond Literacy Link, is writing alongside us when she can.

Jone, at DeoWriter, is doing a "double L" challenge. 
She and I are cross-poLLinating our challenges whenever possible.

Renee has the Poetry Friday roundup at No Water River.

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42194. Barking dog

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42195. Bring out your Frosty Tales

Adele Wearing's imprint, Fox Spirit, want unusual and elegant speculative fiction stories for the following anthology:

Winter Tales
Theme: (erm...) Winter
Word Count: 1500 to 7500 words
Deadline: June 15th 2015
No Reprints
Payment: £10 plus copy of the ebook and the print book

Full details are available over at the Fox Spirit webpage.

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42196. Walk On - a walking poem

Walk On
Greg Pincus

When thumbtacks are strewn on the paths we must tread,
When sharp, jagged rocks are behind and ahead,
When we have to walk over freezing, slick snow,
When puddles of liquid hide dangers below,
When we cross hot pavement or scorching, red coals...
These are the times that will try all our soles.

And you're thinking "he really went there in National Poetry Month and on Poetry Friday?" And, well, yes... he did! If you're still craving more, the good news is that you can see what else is out there, too, if you head on over to No Water River to see this week's Poetry Friday roundup. There's great stuff posted there (including Renee's description of what Poetry Friday is and how to be a part of it).

And if you want to get all my poems emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe:

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42197. Good company for John Roy Lynch

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch is featured on the Children’s Book Council’s April 2015 “Hot off the Press” list.

“This unique online bibliography features anticipated bestsellers, either recently released or forthcoming, published by CBC members.”

I do like the sound of that, and I love the looks of this excerpt from the full list:

Hot off the Press  Children's Book Council

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42198. U is for Uhtred

from First Wolf...

Strong, and wilful for his years, Rinan took no notice.  He reached the top of the ladder and made a grab for the walkway, wobbling dangerously.  I snatched at the back of his cloak, hauling him through the air, and I was dumping him beside me when I heard father bellow the call to arms.

Seizing Rinan’s hand, I hurried him along the platform so fast his feet hardly touched the planks, and he wriggled and tried to kick me.  It was then that my father flung the wolf’s head high into the air, and I saw it land with a soft thud on the far side of the newly dug earthworks, right in the path of Eorl Uhtred’s horse.
The piebald sidestepped, rolling its liquid eyes in fear.  The eorl cursed, savagely spinning the animal in a tight circle and bringing it to stand obedient and quivering before our gates.  Moments later the eorl’s household bodyguards reined in their lathered ponies beside him, their steaming mounts moving restlessly on the far side of the ditch.
They were near enough for me to see their scarlet armbands, worn over their leather tunics showing their rank, and their close fitting helmets.  Each man carried a shield painted with a snarling bear, the eorl’s emblem, and held a light throwing spear.  They were ready for battle, but they were small in number, and thinking we would easily defend our settlement against them, I heard shouting in the yard as my kinsfolk ran to defend the gates.
Our archers pushed and shoved to be first to climb the ladders. Now leaping onto the walkway, they raced towards me, their feet thundering in the hollow space beneath the planks.  Then jostling for position, they trained their weapons on Uhtred and his men, their bowstrings drawn, the iron tipped arrows ready to let fly.
I held tight to Rinan’s cloak, peered over the spiked tops of the palisade, and was startled to see Eorl Uhtred gripping the reins of his warhorse and staring up at me.  A long chainmail shirt protected his powerful body.  The beaked nose and cheek guards of his helmet covered his beardless, battle scarred face, and he tilted back his head to look defiantly at our archers’ goose-flighted arrows. 
Then lifting his sword, the blade flashed in the cold sunlight, and his black cloak billowed out behind him.  He looked like a sea eagle, hovering with spread wings in search of prey, and it was good to be with my kinsmen on the walkway, safe from the eorl’s sword arm.

‘Look well, Godwin,’ Uhtred shouted, his voice harsh above the tugging wind. ‘The blood of your hearth lord Leof is on this blade.  I killed him in fair fight – his land is now mine.  I am your new hearth lord.  Open the gates and pay your taxes to me, if you have wit enough to accept my protection to save your people.’

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42199. C2E2 2015: Where Everything Is! (With Secret Insider Hints!)

C2E2’s on once again, and just like your favorite superhero who is–yet isn’t–quite the same, it’s being held again in the same place, but different.  (Oh, how I await the day when it takes up the entire complex!  2.6 MILLION sq.ft. of exhibit space!  60 acres! 45 football fields!  Can you imagine the programming going on all over the building?  The theater?  The ballrooms?)

*ahem*  Sorry…

Here’s the scorecard for each year:

2010  Lakeside  Hall D   300,000 sq.ft.

2011   West Building   Hall F   470,000 sq.ft.

2012   North Building    Hall B1   369,000 sq.ft.

2013   West Building   Hall F   470,000 sq.ft.

2014   South Building   Hall A1/2   430,000 sq.ft.

So here’s the layout, with some insider tips from your intrepid exploring reporter!

Food?  Here is the McCormick dining guide!

mccormick South 1 editLevel One (the ground floor)

When you enter from the square, you’ll see the concierge desk and the dancing water fountains.  Immediately to the south is the ballroom, host to various fannish activities.  (It’s divided in half: one half is for gaming and other geekery, the other side is for families.  Brilliant planning… it’s part of the show, but removed just enough to create a safe space.)  Aside from the coat check near the gateway to BarCon at the Hyatt Hotel, the only other item of interest on this floor are the hotel shuttles.

Comics Beat C2E2 Inside Tip: Walk down that long hallway southward.  You’ll see the massive escalators which lead to the show floor (but not working this weekend).  There are vending machines squirreled away behind and beneath these escalators.  Since McCormick doesn’t always refill the machines in the buildings on a timely basis, you might have better luck here on Sunday.  (But check Lakeside…it’s not being used this weekend. Level One.)

If you forgot a power chord or other necessity, the Hyatt has a vending machine in the hallway leading to the check-in desk.  The Hyatt is also where you can catch a taxi, although you might want to “New York” everyone and wander south on MLK Drive a few blocks to catch a taxi before it pulls into the line.

Just north of the bus stop, there’s a bike sharing rack here, know locally as “Divvy“.  $7 for 24-access, 30 minutes per ride, overtime if you take longer.  If you cycle, and want a scenic route, head north on Calumet, there’s a path that will lead you under the railroad and then south to 18th, which takes you under Lake Shore Drive.  From there, you’re in the Museum Campus, and then Grant Park.

Level 2.5 (the mall)

south-level-2-5There’s a food court tucked away on the west side.  I’ve never eaten there, so no idea.  16,000 sq.ft.   No Yelp page. Here’s the official description:

This eclectic food court offers several options to choose from: Little Italy, Pacific Rim, American Grill, Fiesta Brava, Express to Go Sandwiches, Salads and Snacks as well as a fabulous Soup Bar.

Caveat cenator…

There’s also the First Aid station, and a FedEx Office supply store (helpful if you need to rent a computer, or purchase a poster tube).  This level also connects to the food court in the North Building, where McDonald’s and other eateries are located.  Starbucks is located on Level 2.5.  And on North Level Three, right across from the show floor entrance.  And at the “Daily Grind” in the Hyatt Hotel.  McDonald’s also serves coffee.  Doubtful that this location has been renovated into a McCafé…

Comics Beat C2E2 Inside Tip: The restrooms (at least the male ones) next to McDonalds in the North Building are quite large, if utilitarian.  Right next to these bathrooms are vending machines with two microwaves. There’s a vending machine alcove near the retail stores as well.

Level 3  (the show)

mccormick south-level-3C2E2 is only using the front three-quarters (Hall A1 and half of A2), so there are no shortcuts you can use.  (There is a hallway behind A2, which leads down to bathrooms, and runs the width of the South Hall from .  But you’ll probably be arrested for trespassing.)

Registration is right across the Grand Concourse, in the North Hall.  They’re just using the front section for check-in. Starbucks is here.

Comics Beat C2E2 Inside Tip: There is an escalator on the east side which runs from the show floor to the Fourth Floor meeting rooms.  This may be blocked by the attendee lines.

Under the food court (that section in the middle) should be restrooms and vending machines.  Unknown if that will be open during the show.

Also, this level connects to the Grand Concourse, so you could wander over to Lakeside.  Forage for vending machines on the second floor of Lakeside (site of the very first C2E2).

Level 4 (the panels)

mccormick south level four editThis is where the event hall is located all…the…way…at…the…(are we there yet)…end…of…the…hallway.  The panel rooms are located here as well.  It’s a nice sunny hallway, so rest when needed.  There usually are water stations strategically placed along the way.

Comics Beat C2E2 Inside Tip: The Fifth floor above this is accessible from the Fourth.  The rooms should be locked, but the restrooms and public spaces should be accessible.  A great way to view the crowds below, and escape the hustle and hubbub.  Also a great space for cosplayers to hang out.

There are also two small panel rooms on the fourth floor, accessible from the North Building: S400b and S400c.  That walkway and hallway is a bit tight, but there are restrooms located over there, and it’s accessible via elevator from the South Building.  That walkway is also a good place for an overlook.

Everything Else

The West Building is also accessible, but distant.  There is an auto parts trade show taking place over there, so the 400-seat food court area and 200-seat fine-dining restaurant should be open.  Also, the coat check on the first floor!

Lots of accessible wall outlets!  I recommend the fifth floor of the South Hall. 

If you can locate access in and out from Lakeside, I highly recommend taking some time to enjoy the lakeshore.  (Test the doors to make sure they open from the outside before shutting them.)  If you have a lot of time in the morning, it’s a nice walk south through the museum complex to the convention center.  The big question, of course, is getting into the convention center from the lake shore… there isn’t a pedestrian overpass if Lakeside is locked.  Perhaps you can find an employee to pop open one of the doors…

Got any suggestions?  Tricks?  Let us know!


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42200. 3 Steps to Getting More Engagement and Shares Through Social Media

Social media and other content distributors are over-flowing with information . . . with content. They’re bursting at the seams. Readers can get information from Joe’s Business, Cindy’s Business, and myriad of other businesses. There are posts on everything you can possibly think of, including: How to Make Money Online Lose 10 Pounds in 30 Days 5 Tips on Being an Alpha Marketer Top

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