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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1547 Blogs, since 1/28/2008 [Help]
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42176. Tips for Drawing Child Characters

I think we've all seen illustration where the children or babies look like miniature adults? Of course sometimes, like in this medieval painting, that can be a stylistic choice but other times it can just look downright creepy.

I have definitely had times where I have had characters look 10 when they needed to be look 5.  Sometimes it can be hard to figure out why a character looks the wrong age and even harder to fix it.  Here are some pointers and things to keep in mind when changing the age of your child characters.

First of all, you need to consider the size of the face.  Look at photos of babies or, even better, draw babies from life (you'd better be quick - they are squirmy little suckers!)  But you will soon notice, that compared to adults, their chins and noses are quite small.

So, one of the easiest things you can do is move the face lower on the head.  Even a smiley face can look younger when you shift the eyes down and make the chin and mouth smaller.

The smaller you make the chin, the pudgier the cheeks will appear. If you look at the profile of a real baby sometimes you can't see their mouth or chin because their cheeks are so round.

Another thing you can do to make your characters younger is change the size of the head compared to the body.  A real adult is approximately 7 1/2 heads tall, a real 5 year old is about 6 heads tall and a real infant is about 4 heads tall, but depending on your drawing style those proportions might not look right.  When I draw kindergartners they are usually about 4 heads tall, the same proportions as a real life infant!

In the above diagram, all the figures have the same head placed on the same body.  The body is just smaller each time (I also made the neck a little shorter each time.)  By the 3rd figure, the body was getting too narrow, so I widened it a bit. But you can see by just changing the head/body proportions you can go a long way to changing the age of a character.

When you pair that with the facial changes discussed above, you can really alter the age of characters. I hope this helps.

Good luck and happy drawing!

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42177. Poetry Friday: "Wake Me Up"

Certainly more relevant in the song-as-poetry series than last week's The Fox (but c'mon, wasn't that one fun?) is a tune I heard on the radio and ran inside to google. Since I get most of my cooler music from my teen daughter, it was exciting to find something on my own. So from Avicii, here's "Wake Me Up:"

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I'm too young to understand
They say I'm caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes
Well that's fine by me
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost
It's an interesting storylike video too.

Poetry Friday is hosted today at Teach Mentor Texts.

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42178. Review: Goodbye Rebel Blue

Title: Goodbye Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell
Reding level: 12 and up
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release date: October 1, 2013
Number of pages: 320

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.

This book was written by the same author who wrote "Welcome Caller this is Chole". I LOVED that book and I LOVE this book. From just reading only two of her books I can already tell that this women is an amazing author. She writes about the people you can connect with maybe not fully but in some way. She hits that emotional spot that not many authors can reach. As I said for "Welcome Caller this is Chole" I will defiantly be reading another book by this author. These characters are heart warming and just so easy to connect with an understand that you feel like you know them or maybe you might be like them in one way or the other. This is an amazing book and a must read about finding yourself and living your life to the fullest. 
5 stars

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42179. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

From Latina with a Flashlight to Children's Author: Angela Cervantes from CBC Diversity. Peek: "Even if the Latino population wasn’t growing rapidly, these stories would still be important. They have a place on the bookshelf because these books are not written just for a Latino audience; they are written for all children."

The Shy Writer's Cocktail Party Survival Guide by Anne Greenwood Brown from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Arriving early...allows you to join the first small conversation group. People are usually relieved to have a new member join in."

Letting Your Characters Go by Juliet Marillier from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Chances are all of you who write fiction feel exactly the same when you complete a project. What can we do to ease the pain of parting?"

First Readers Vs. Manuscript Critiques by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: "Some suggest a structured approach and ask readers to write in the margins something like this. B=bored. C=confused. E=emotional."

Want to Be Successful at Writing? Take Aim and Keep Shooting by Kristi Holl from Writer's First Aid. Peek: "She has had many more sales because she has been gutsier and submitted a lot more than I have. She knows that rejection simply comes as part of the publishing package." See also Walking the Tightrope Between Big Dreams and Realistic Expectations by Rachelle Gardner from Books & Such and Good Writing is Born of Dreams by Alissa Grosso from Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing.

Character and Series Backstory and the Traditional Mystery by Elizabeth S. Craig from Mystery Writing Is Murder. Peek: "Characters recurring from an earlier book in the series could be quickly identified in a way that won’t be obvious or irritating to the returning reader." See also Elizabeth on Writing Advice & Advice to New Parents.

"Storytelling is Getting Formulaic. This is an Opportunity." from Nathan Bransford, Author. Peek: "One book, Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! has become so thoroughly influential that nearly every movie made these days follows its beat by beat model." See also The Organized Writer: Using a Chapter Framework to Manage Plots and Subplots by Rosie Genova from QueryTracker Blog.

Why We Need Diverse Literature by Crystal from Rich in Color. Peek: "...there are some diverse books being published. They are not in the numbers I would like to see, but they do exist. They can be hard to find, so we have some resources on our blog to help make it easier." See also an audio essay by Mitali Perkins on Writing Race, What Is Personal Perspective Anyway? by A.S. King from CBC Diversity and Publishing Diverse Books Isn't About Meeting Quotas by Stacy Whitman from Rich In Color.

Thurber House Invites Writers to Apply for the 2014 Children's Writer in Residence from Thurber House. Peek: "The Thurber House Residency in Children’s Literature offers talented writers a month-long retreat in the furnished third-floor apartment of Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Besides having time to focus on his/her own writing project, each resident spends up to ten hours per week teaching children the joys of writing in both a community-based agency and as part of the Thurber House Summer Writing Camp for children."

What Does a Literary Agent Want to See When They Google You? by Chuck Sambuchino from The Write Life. Peek: "An agent typically investigates a client before offering them representation, understandably." See also How to Maintain a Healthy Author-Agent Relationship by Elizabeth Weed from Writer Unboxed.

Pondering Book Trailers with Live Actors by Elizabeth Bird from A Fuse #8 Production. Peek: "Worst case scenario, a live action trailer feels like a sad pale imitation of a B-List movie trailer. Best case scenario? Behold..."

Disturbing (Or Not?) Young Adult Fiction by Christina Chant Sullivan from the Horn Book. Peek: "Unlike their adult teacher, my students seemed to be immune to the very real tragedy of similar 'dumpsite boys' in South America, and also to the horrifying premise of The Hunger Games. In the end, no matter how realistic these novels seemed, my boys recognized them as fiction. Contrast my sixth-grade boys’ reactions to Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water..."

What's the Beef with the Third Person Objective Point of View? by Deborah Halverson from DearEditor.com. Peek: "To avoid flat, emotionless storytelling that fails to engage readers, your 'show, don’t tell' craftwork needs to fire on all cylinders."

Chaptering: Those Magical Last Lines by Ash Krafton from QueryTracker Blog. Peek: "...the perfect spot to end a chapter is the perfect place to compel a reader to keep reading. I have a flashing neon light in my head when I write, and it blinks the words 'page turner'."

Books & Smiles for Haiti from Chieu Anh Urban. Peek: "Please join me in gifting autographed children's books for the lovely children in Haiti. The gift of books will brighten their day, and let them know that we are thinking of them."

Writers' Etiquette: Graciousness by Rosie Genova from QueryTrackerBlog. Peek: "While you are neither alone in your feelings nor in your observations about the reading market, they do not become you. And you are sadly misguided if you think to bolster your own work by denigrating the work of others. Particularly in a Public Forum." See also Being Shakespeare by Mette Ivie Harrison.

Support the Greenhorn Film Project: "Greenhorn (NewSouth, 2012), based on a true event, is a powerful book by Anna Olswanger that gives human dimension to the Holocaust." See a Cynsations guest post by Anna about the book.

How to Write Fight-Action Scenes That Won't Show You've Never Thrown a Punch by Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "I always tell authors and writers to physically draw their action scenes."

What Makes a Good Picture Book About Loss? by Thom Barthelmess from The Horn Book. Peek: "...books of bubbly humor and silliness...if we limit ourselves to that kind of material, are we suggesting to children and their families that those are the best, or only, books to read aloud? Or, worse, are we sending a message that exuberant happiness is the only emotion that picture books engage, or the only emotion to legitimately consider or experience in public?" See also Secrets of Storytime: 10 Tips for Great Sessions from a 40-Year Pro by Nell Colburn from School Library Journal.

Hiding the Controversy by Bryony Pearce from E. Kristin Anderson at Write All The Words! Peek: "I want teenagers to read my books and go away thinking about the characters, the story, the “cool” supernatural stuff. The issue I’ve really written about, well, it might just sink in without them realising it was even there."

Query Detox by Keith Cronin from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Some writers are obsessed with being perceived as A Serious Writer, and you can almost see their furrowed brow and feel their condescending gaze as you read their words. Often they’ll try to hit the agent over the head with how deep and brilliant their themes are."

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: The Banning of Sex-Positive Novels by Amy Rose Capetta from E. Kristin Anderson at Write All the Words! Peek: "As a teenage girl, I was drawn to books like Judy Blume’s. I didn’t confuse being ready to read about sex with being ready to have it. I needed that safe space where I could follow what happened to characters I cared about, and figure things out for myself."

Cynsational Giveaways

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Screening Room

NerdBait Guide to Graceling: Episode I: Chicks with Swords: YA authors Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy discuss Kristin Cashore's Graceling and the importance of girls owning swords. 

More Personally

Celebrating Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett & Paul Meisel (Candlewick) at "Nightwing."
Pass pages for Feral Curse (Book 2 in the Feral series)
Succumbed to the heat and got my hair cut short this July in Galveston.

I'm pleased to announce that I'm among the featured authors for the 2013 Texas Book Festival Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 in Austin.  I'll update you on the schedule as details arise. See a breakout of the featured children's-YA authors by Carmen Oliver from One Word at a Time.

Thanks to everyone who's among my now 13,000+ followers on Twitter @CynLeitichSmith! For those who haven't checked it out, I tweet the same sort of upbeat and useful news and resources related to children's-YA literature, writing, illustrating, and publishing--plus a little personal news--that you typically find here. On a related note, see A Scientific Guide to Posting Tweets, Facebook Posts, Emails and Blog Posts at the Best Time by Belle Beth Cooper from TNW via Jane Friedman.

In other news, thank you to librarian Kit and the YA Book Club at Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library for your hospitality this summer! So glad you all enjoyed Feral Nights (Candlewick, 2013)!

Library Media Connection says of Feral Nights (Candlewick, 2013): "This fast-paced story, told from various points of view, captures the reader from the start. All three are well-developed, strong characters. This is a book that both genders will want to read. Fans of Smith’s previous books will be excited to see some of her characters branch out into their own series."

Native Hoop Magazine says of Feral Nights (Candlewick, 2013): "Although Smith's books are characterized as young adult, they're a good read for adults who like gothic fantasy, too."

Delve into the world of graphic novels on Oct. 5 with a Graphic Novel Workshop, featuring author/illustrator Dave Roman, author Cynthia Leitich Smith and First Second Books Senior Editor Calista Brill; sponsored by Austin SCBWI.

By the way, Austin is getting a new bookstore: Malvern Books.

Personal Links
SCBWI WIP runner-up Margo Rabb & Liz Garton Scanlon

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42180. Fort on Fourth Street Books Are Here!

A fort made out of Fort on Fourth Street books.
The book is out and available at any bookseller!

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42181. National Book Award finalist removed from classes in Arizona high school.

Dreaming in cubanFrom the Houston Chronicle:

Also, the American Library Association, which tracks books prohibited in schools, says it has no record of "Dreaming in Cuba" being banned.

The book that follows three generations of women during the Cuban Revolution was pulled from classrooms after a parent, Debbie Stoner, took her son out of his 10th-grade English class after students were asked to read sexually explicit passages aloud.

Barbara Hansen, a former Sierra Vista elementary school teacher, told the board Tuesday that the book seemed like "child pornography."

"We're bludgeoning their souls with this kind of material. It's debauchery, and it's just not worthy of our students," Hansen said.

Haven't read it, so can't comment on the specifics of the challenge. I have no doubt that there is sexual content in the book, but as we've seen in the past, the definition of 'sexually explicit' and even 'inappropriate' ranges rather dramatically depending on who you're talking to.

I have noticed lately, though, that people have been VERY quick to start slinging the 'child pornography' label around.

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42182. Staying Power of Childhood Books

I’m reminded today, this Friday the 13th, of the good magic in our lives and of the magic we perform every day by matching kids to books. Actually, I’ve been reminded this whole week!

As one of my favorite movies states:

“When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does.”- You’ve Got Mail, 1998

I’ve experienced this phenomenon a number of different ways. This week, our Adult Services department reminiscied about their favorite childhood reads and the favorite reads of their children after the Overdrive announcement that Fancy Nancy: Super Sleuth was the next “Big Library Read”. Their favorites included Tomie de Paola’s Pancakes for Breakfast and Pierre by Maurice Sendak.

Courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram.

Courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram.

It happened again when I opened up School Library Journal and found my beloved childhood reader series that is being reprinted! I jumped up and immediately was able to recall the opening rhyme that each Magic Castle Reader had: “Come to the magic castle when you are growing tall…”

And lastly — after a frustrating experience with sixth graders in the library last night — I went home to read a YA title that I had enjoyed as an actual teen and spent the night sighing over the cliche romance in its pages. I found comfort in its pages, since nothing can beat the actual tumultuous time of being a teenager!

This magic is alive in your library every day as you put a book in a child’s hands that has the potential to stay with them into adulthood and beyond.

Surely that’s enough to counteract a little bad luck, right?

What are your childhood favorites?

- Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library

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42183. Darkest Worlds: A Dystopian Anthology

darkest worlds

Darkest Worlds: A Dystopian Anthology An anthology that explores what humans are made of when society falls to its knees. Darkest Worlds includes six original novellas by award-winning authors and best sellers of Young Adult and New Adult Dystopia. All proceeds go to Girls Write Now, a charity that promotes literacy of inner-city girls.  

  Nessa: A Breeders Story by Katie French, author of The Breeders: Eighteen-year-old Nessa knows what it’s like to be an endangered species. Growing up in a dying world where nine out of ten babies are born male, she survives by trusting no one. When Marlin, the nineteen-year-old gunslinger, kills the man who has been keeping her enslaved, Nessa decides he might be her meal ticket. What she doesn’t realize is love is still possible, even in their decimated world.   MOON by S.K. Falls, author of World of Shell and Bone: Loyalty. Obedience. Patriotism. Moon Stewart has no doubt that the New Amanian way of life is the right way. The only way. But was there ever a time when she felt differently? In this companion novella to the dystopian bestseller World of Shell and Bone, the secrets of Moon's past are revealed, giving readers a glimpse into the mind of their favorite antagonist.   The First Unforgivable Thing by Zoe Cannon, author of The Torturer’s Daughter: When a dissident working undercover as an interrogator is ordered to torture a confession from the only girl he’s ever loved, he chooses to defy both the totalitarian regime and the resistance by helping her escape—but she has an agenda of her own...   The Keeper by A.G. Henley, author of The Scourge: a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award. Peree knows his duty as the new Keeper of the Water Bearer, Fennel, is to make sure his people get every drop of their share of the water she collects when the flesh-eating Scourge roam the forest. He will motivate her, distract her, do anything he can to keep her working. He knows his duty is to his people and his people alone. What he doesn’t know is that he's falling in love with her.   Survival Lessons by Kate Avery Ellison, author of Frost: A young Farther prisoner named Eva escapes into the monster-filled wilderness of the Frost with a band of fellow inmates, all of whom are harboring secrets...but little do they know that Eva has secrets of her own. Set in the world of The Frost Chronicles.   clean slate complex by Megan Thomason, author of the daynight series: Homeless Alexa Knight agrees to help the do-gooder non-profit The Second Chance Institute in return for medical care for her sick mother. The SCI is wooing the poor and downtrodden into their Clean Slate Complexes--where "everything is provided" from jobs to food, shelter, clothing, and education. Unfortunately, as with all things that sound too good to be true, there's a catch...  
Katie French
S.K. Falls
Zoe Cannon
A.G. Henley
Kate Avery Ellison
Megan Thomason
Girls Write Now--charity
The Girls Write Now mission is to provide guidance, support, and opportunities for at-risk and underserved girls from New York City’s public high schools to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career and life choices.


  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/30/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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42184. Five Minutes with Mel Choyce

Every once in a while, we sit down with an Automattician to help you get to know the people who work behind the scenes to build new features, keep Automattic’s wheels turning, and make WordPress.com the best it can be. In this installment, we’re delighted to introduce you to music …

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42185. Image in December: Black Kiss Christmas Special, Uh-Oh

After taking a look over the solicitations for Marvel and DC in December, it’s time to take a look at Image’s new comics. There’s a whole new load of first issues, along with some specials and – uh-oh – a Black Kiss 2 Christmas Special. Ho-ho-ho?

CBR have the full list, which must have taken them ages to format - here are the cherry-pickings:


There are a lot of new stories starting this month, including Dead Body Road from Justin Jordan and Matteo Scalera (above) and The Saviors by James Robinson and J. Bone (below). The former will be a revenge story, with a man avenging the death of his wife, which happened during a botched robbery. The latter is a conspiracy story, with the hero uncovering an alien cabal who plan to take over the World.


Joseph Michael Linsner returns to his Cry for Dawn characters for a one-shot this month called Sin Boldly.


As it’s Christmas, Image have decided to celebrate with two specials – the first of which is Krampus! by Brian Joines and Dean Kotz, a story loosing the mythical anti-Santa after all the actual-Santas somehow lose the source of their powers.


Black Kiss 2 also has a Christmas special, with Howard Chaykin both writing and drawing the story. Look at the cover. Listen to this solicitation:

because nothing says “holiday fun” like an endless stream of incredibly nasty revenge sex.

Oh lordy. Hide the kids.

The final chapter of Carbon Grey begins this month, from Paul Gardner, Hoang Nhuyen, Khari Evans and Kinsun Loh

A studio edition of Jupiter’s Children #1 is out – basically a version without the colours, so you can see Frank Quitely’s artwork in black and white.


A Distant Soil II is released in trade this month, continuing Colleen Doran’s series.

Mind The Gap begins ‘Act II’, which seems to be essentially a ‘season two’ for the book. Issue #12 closes the mystery of the first season, and now the book moves onwards to some new mystery.


Image will be releasing The Complete Multiple Warheads in trade, compiling Multiple Warheads #1-4 and Multiple Warheads: Down Fall, both written and drawn by Brandon Graham.


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42186. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: September 13

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten: School Stories in speculative fiction from Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/oN9Gd #kidlit

Best Books for Kids Set in (well, or near) Boston by @PragmaticMom http://ow.ly/oN9nR #kidlit

Great booklist idea from Stacked: YA in the Witness Protection Program http://ow.ly/oKXh8 @catagator #yalit

A Posy of Books for Pre-schoolers, recommended by @bookchook http://ow.ly/oKWBI  #kidlit

21 Children's Book Characters Born To Be Halloween Costumes, Jackie Reeve @buzzfeed http://ow.ly/oKQGh via @PWKidsBookshelf

Book list: Celebrating Grandparents Day in Books, from Holly Mueller http://ow.ly/oIgzC #kidlit via @CHRasco

Book list: Favorite Children's Picture Books of 2013 (Part 2) from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/oIf5C #kidlit

Great list of Percy Jackson @CampHalfBlood readalikes from Leila @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/oFLuD #kidlit

Book list: Best Old fashioned Children's Books Set on a Farm | @PragmaticMom http://ow.ly/oDsgv #kidlit

Top 75 Read Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls | @AMightyGirl http://ow.ly/oDqMn #kidlit via @tashrow

Book recommendations for before a sleepover (for dift ages) | the family that reads together http://ow.ly/oBNm0 #kidlit

The 15 Greatest Kid Detectives in literature | Jordan B. Nielsen @HuffingtonPost http://ow.ly/oBMXm via @PWKidsBookshelf

Common Core

How Parents Can Support the Common Core Reading Standards @ReadingRockets http://ow.ly/oIdwc #literacy

Rex Tillerson: How to Stop the Drop in American Education (support the common core) @wsj http://ow.ly/oDnDU


Cybils2013SmallRT iPad_Storytime: Get ready for #CYBILS 2013 - See 2011-2012 Finalists for #BookApps http://buff.ly/1afkvgH

Our CafePress store has been updated w/ the 2013 #Cybils logo. Get your Cybils Bling here: http://ow.ly/oFMgt (thanks @aquafortis)

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: Pam Coughlan @MotherReader | Fiction Picture Books http://ow.ly/oFLW1 #kidlit

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers | @LizJonesBooks | Graphic Novels | http://www.cybils.com/2013/09/meet-the-organizers-liz-jones-graphic-novels.html …

On the #Cybils blog: Meet the Organizers: @MaryAnnScheuer | Book Apps http://ow.ly/oDolA #BookApps @cybils


RT @tashrow No, seriously: Oyster comes pretty close to being a Netflix for ebooks — Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/1dVo2ps #ebooks

RT @tashrow The big short – why Amazon’s Kindle Singles are the future | @guardianbooks http://buff.ly/1dTN9sv #ebooks

Growing Bookworms

Useful tips: Read Aloud TATTLER #1 (The Circus Ship) | @aliposnerhttp://ow.ly/oDs59 #GrowingBookworms #lliteracy

Great stuff! Growing Preschool Writers & Learners: 12 Basics, from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/oIgm0 #literacy

Help Your Kids Keep Track of the Books They've Read, suggests @LiteracyLaunch http://ow.ly/oIfIh #GrowingBookworms

"I enjoy reading more when I can choose what I read. And then I read a lot more" - student to @katsok http://ow.ly/oFLDL #literacy

Movies / TV / Magazines

‘Sesame Street’ Widens Its Focus, reports @NYTimes http://ow.ly/oIdNa #literacy via @ReadingRockets

Exciting stuff! Leila reports on New movie magic from J.K. Rowling @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/oOXFH

Middle Grade Mania: Introducing MIDDLE SHELF digital magazine w/ #kidlit recs + interviews http://ow.ly/oFLe5 via @charlotteslib

Programs and Research

This is nice. Detroit Public Library Partners to Feed Kids After School | @sljournal http://ow.ly/oKRmX

SFAP-stat-block1First Book’s “Stories for All Project” Lobbies for Kid Lit Diversity | @sljournal http://ow.ly/oKRe9 @FirstBook

Advantages of Being a Reader–You Can Count on It! | @tashrow reports on new BBC study http://ow.ly/oOY53 #literacy

Sigh! Children's bedtime stories on the wane, according to UK survey | @guardianbooks http://ow.ly/oPidi via @PWKidsBookshelf

Schools, Libraries, and Resources

This is neat. When the Library Is Bigger Than the School (the school is inside a bigger library) | @sljournal http://ow.ly/oP0J3

Constitution Day (Sept. 17) Resources for kids ages 6 - 11 from @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/oN9AA #kidlit

Constitution Day Resources for Middle School & High School (ages 12 and up) from @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/oOYu2

Nice intro to Finding the Power of Twitter from @cathymere http://ow.ly/oFLK8 #teaching

On Reading, Writing and Books

So true! GottaBook: Summer Reading - a reading poem/a school poem by @gregpincus http://ow.ly/oDsmU #kidlit #poetry

News: @nationalbook to honor E. L. Doctorow and Maya Angelou w/ lifetime achievement awards http://ow.ly/oBN7P via @CHRasco

Why Picture Books, Why Now? | Becky Levine on why she's fallen in love w/ the genre #kidlit http://ow.ly/oNa75

Science fiction is no longer a boys’ club, reports @salon, thanks in part to Katniss http://ow.ly/oBMDF via @PWKidsBookshelf

So You Want to Win the Newbery? (Part I) When should you publish? — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/ozhPl  #kidlit

So You Want to Win the Newbery? (Part II) How many stars do you need? — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/ozhTN  #kidlit

What Are the Chances You’ll Win Another Newbery? asks @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/oOYFk  #kidlit

A Short Essay (w/ Lots of Pictures) on the Making of a Book:Philip C. Stead & Hello, My Name Is Ruby http://ow.ly/oBQ2Y at 7-Imp

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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42187. Poetry Friday: "Wake Me Up"

Certainly more relevant in the song-as-poetry series than last week's The Fox (but c'mon, wasn't that one fun?) is a tune I heard on the radio and ran inside to google. Since I get most of my cooler music from my teen daughter, it was exciting to find something on my own. So from Avicii, here's "Wake Me Up:"

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I'm too young to understand
They say I'm caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes
Well that's fine by me
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost
It's an interesting storylike video too.

Poetry Friday is hosted today at Teach Mentor Texts.

3 Comments on Poetry Friday: "Wake Me Up", last added: 9/15/2013
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42188. Seven Days, The Workbook - Day 6

Printing paper isn't suitable for watercolour paint, but I don't mind. This was fun to draw!

2 Comments on Seven Days, The Workbook - Day 6, last added: 10/13/2013
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42189. Dissecting Christie Part 1

For the next few weeks, we are going to dissect The Crooked House by Agatha Christie.

The first layer we're going to examine is her use of theme. In The Crooked House, Christie used a children's rhyme to illustrate the bent and twisted nature of the family involved in the murder.

The following excerpts illustrate her use of the theme throughout the story.

Chapter 1

She added softly in a musing voice: “In a little crooked house …”

I must have looked slightly startled, for she seemed amused and explained by elaborating the quotation. “'And they all lived together in a crooked little house.' That’s us. Not really such a little house either. But definitely crooked – running to gables and half timbering!”

Chapter 3

I suddenly remembered the whole verse of the nursery rhyme:

There was a crooked man and he went a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence beside a crooked stile.
He had a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

I wondered why it had been called Three Gables. Eleven gables would have been more apposite! The curious thing was that it had a strange air of being distorted – and I thought I knew why. It was the type, really, of a cottage, it was a cottage swollen out of all proportion. It was like looking at a country cottage through a gigantic magnifying-glass. The slant-wise beams, the half-timbering, the gables – it was a little crooked house that had grown like a mushroom in the night.

Chapter 8

This was the Original Crooked Little Man who had built the Crooked Little House – and without him the Crooked Little House had lost its meaning.

Chapter 13

I went down to the Crooked House (as I called it in my own mind) with a slightly guilty feeling.

Chapter 15

“I think that’s what I mean when I said we all lived together in a crooked little house. I didn’t mean that it was crooked in the dishonest sense. I think what I meant was that we hadn’t been able to grow up independent, standing by ourselves, upright. We’re all a bit twisted and twining (…) like bindweed."

Chapter 17

“He was a natural twister. He liked, if I may put it so, doing things the crooked way.”

Chapter 26

“We will go there together and you will forget the little Crooked House.”

Throughout the solving of the murder, the evidence twists and turns and reveals the way the family members are intertwined in an unhealthy way. The young widow is often described as resembling a cat.

Christie sprinkled the theme in with a delicate hand. The analogy is referred to in only seven of the twenty-six chapters. The idea of crookedness inspires the whole.

To address theme, I suggest considering at the beginning or end of the first draft what you want the story to say. Then, as you go through the revision layers, develop your theme through description and dialogue.

You might find a nursery rhyme to fit your purpose.

Next week, we will take a look at how Christie uses description to introduce characters.

3 Comments on Dissecting Christie Part 1, last added: 9/16/2013
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42190. Free Books That Inspired Roald Dahl

Happy birthday, Roald Dahl! To celebrate the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other classic kid’s books, we’ve dug up free eBooks that inspired him as a young boy.

In his autobiographical book, Boy, Dahl explained how an English teacher named Mrs. O’Connor inspired him as writer. We’ve collected free eBooks from his early reading list–follow the links below to download. The Telegraph has an excerpt:

In two and a half hours, we grew to love Langland and his Piers Plowman. The next Saturday, it was Chaucer, and we loved him, too. Even rather difficult fellows like Milton and Dryden and Pope all became thrilling when Mrs O’Connor told us about their lives and read parts of their work to us aloud. And the result of all this, for me at any rate, was that by the age of 13 I had become intensely aware of the vast heritage of literature that had been built up in England over the centuries. I also became an avid and insatiable reader of good writing.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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42191. The Truth of All Things -- Kieran Shields

Truth of all things

Portland, Maine, 1892.

When a young woman is found—half-naked, run through with a pitchfork, missing her right hand, and extremely dead—surrounded by ritualistic implements and a line of seemingly incomprehensible chalk letters on the wall, Deputy Marshal Archie Lean, poetry aficionado, family man, and reluctant nicotine addict, gets stuck with the case.

Other than being 100% certain that this is not a case of Prostitute Gets Accidentally Killed By An Overenthusiastic John—an explanation the Mayor would be only too happy to accept—he's kind of at a loss.

Enter Perceval Grey. He's dapper and cultured, highly educated, a former Pinkerton, and known for being an extremely "modern, scientific" detective... all of which some people find difficult to reconcile with his Abenaki ancestry. (Because, you know: some people are racist jackasses.)

After a bit of awkwardness, the two men join forces—rounding out their team with an older doctor and his historian niece—and hit the murderer's trail together. The Temperance Union, the Church, and a long-lost book... all of these things factor in, but again and again, everything points back to one thing: witchcraft.

As I've been trying to re-familiarize myself with Adult Land, this was an easy pick: with a premise like that, how could I not, right?

Here's what worked for me:

The setting: Great atmosphere, lots of visual detail about the places and even about traveling between the places. I'll look at Portland differently after reading this, for sure. 

The historical tidbits: Lots and lots of anecdotes about the Salem Witch Trials, about Maine history, and the politics of the day. They are often relayed in a way that is More Infodump than Deftly Woven In, but at the very least, they're always interesting. I did wish that the Acknowledgements—which did include a list of sources the author referenced—had been more specific about what he pulled from history and what was fictionalized, but I almost always want more of that.

The humor: Pretty early on—after the headbutting—Archie and Grey slide into the sort of relationship where each mocks the other pretty regularly, and they're both comfortable with it. 

Here's what didn't:

Perceval Grey: He's basically Sherlock Holmes, in terms of psychology—he's more focused on logic and fact than on personal relationships or emotion—and deductive techniques, even down to his knowledge of different mixes of tobacco. Yes, OF COURSE there are lots of characters who are basically Sherlock Holmes (House, Monk, Shawn Spencer, Oscar Wilde in those Gyles Brandreth books, Artemis Fowl (to a degree...)), but this was SO OVERT that it made me crabby that there was no nod to Doyle anywhere—I mean, unless I missed one.

The Girl Historian: At first, I loved her. I loved that she was a single mother, that she had good instincts and that she was fully capable of going off on solo investigatory missions. I loved that, in time, she was regarded as a full member of the team, rather than as someone to be coddled.


Basically, she morphed from Independent Woman into Classic Damsel in Distress, and it really cheesed me off. Was it as offensive as Gwyneth Paltrow's role in Se7en*? No. But it was still annoying.

THE EYEBROWS, OH GOD, THE EYEBROWS. Even when I turn to adult fiction, I can't escape them. "Grey cocked an eyebrow." "Lean cocked an eyebrow." "...his right eyebrow arched upward, like the hammer of a rifle being drawn back..." "Grey looked at him with one eyebrow pointing up to heaven." "...Grey standing nearby, peering at him with an arched eyebrow." "Lean raised an eyebrow." "Grey arched an eyebrow." "Grey raised a sharp eyebrow." "Lean arched an eyebrow in puzzlement..." "...a thin smile and a slight arch of one eyebrow."


Meh. I might still give the second one a try, though.


*In which her character was LITERALLY only there to get killed off and provide a reason for Brad Pitt to embody Wrath?


Author page.





Book source: Borrowed from my library.

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42192. Leadership Branding Review: Putting A Face To Your Financial Future

You are reading this article today because you’re interested in a Leadership Branding review. I fully intend on answering any questions you may have on this product in the following paragraphs. Leadership Branding for Direct Response is a unique internet marketing product developed by Mark Hoverson. An integral aspect to becoming a successful internet marketer is establishing relationships with your customers. You may have heard the saying before that “people don’t join businesses, they join people”. By establishing a strong and accessible web presence, you can build firmer and more efficient relationships with both existing customers and future customers. A major aspect of this process is referred to as Branding. And if you couldn’t deduct this from Mark Hoverson’s product title, Leadership Branding focuses on that exact aspect. What is this thing? Each Leadership Branding review requires a basic explanation of that the product offers. So let’s get to it. Leadership Branding for Direct Response is said to be a fresh new take on the branding process. The product’s goal is to help internet marketers build their own unique brand and implement that into their email marketing strategy. Doing this effectively can do wonders for your marketing campaign. Like many skills, strategies and techniques in the marketing world, the leadership branding process can be successfully duplicated. Mark Hoverson is certainly aware of this and is helping marketers from all over brand themselves as a leader. Keep reading this review to learn about Mark Hoverson’s formula: (you + branding) + marketing= success Branding Yourself as a Leader Mark Hoverson is actually credited with inventing the phrase “leadership branding” himself. Mark’s success has been built on his ability to position himself as an authority in his niche. He recognizes that this combined with an effective email marketing campaign has done wonders for his own personal business. The goal of this product is teach others to do the same. One of the most intriguing aspects of Mark Hoverson’s product is the video marketing course. This is definitely necessary for any review of this product to mention. While written content still plays a role in the marketing process, video is most definitely a more effective marketing tool today. This is a pretty simple concept to comprehend. Would you rather read a whole bunch of bland content or watch an†entertaining and informative video? If you’re similar to most, you prefer a video presentation most every time. By learning the psychology of sales, you can begin making videos that convert at an incredible rate. What are You Doing with Your List? When sharing a Leadership Branding review, it is important to highlight the importance of email marketing. At this point in your internet marketing adventure, you surely recognize how important building a contact list is. Building a large list consisting of qualified leads obviously sets you up to be†profitable. That being said, the largest email list in the world will fail without a solid follow-up campaign. Mark Hoverson’s Leadership Branding is geared towards helping you get the most out of your contact list! I hope this Leadership Branding review has provided you with sufficient information regarding the product.

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42193. Fall Underway (Part 1)

Everything has started up again and we are finding our new rhythm for this fall!

It's been nice that Blondechick, B18 and B14 are all up and out of the house by 7:30. I usually wake up about the time they are all leaving, and then I have about an hour before B8 comes groggily downstairs. I would love to say I use that hour ever-so-wisely, but it seems I barely get my coffee made before it's gone! I usually read Jesus Calling, at least, but maybe I need to intentionally NOT check texts and emails until a little later. (Ah, but there is never a good time for that!)

We started our Classical Conversations curriculum this week, and so far I am loving it! Chicklet is memorizing more easily than I thought she would, and B8 is competitive enough to try hard too. Each day we've picked something to study more in-depth, using books we already have. For example, this week they are memorizing the seven biomes. So one day we looked at Usborne's The Great Animal Search to see pictures of animals living in the desert, the tundra, the tropical rainforest and elsewhere; another day, they watched a Magic Schoolbus episode about deserts. We studied maps and the globe as we memorized and identified the seven continents and four major oceans. Since we are starting with the Middle Ages in history this year, we reviewed ancient history by flipping through The Usborne Book of World History, and we read about the crowning of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III, which is our "history sentence" for this week. I also read from A Child's History of the World about the fall of Rome, which began the medieval period, while they colored coloring pages from our collection of Dover coloring books (which we make copies from and never color in).

I am appreciating how efficiently we can do our lessons without books. I can be cooking dinner and sing out, "What are the 8 parts of speech?" and they think it's a game to rattle them off. We can skip-count at lunch time or in the car--no book required. Once I have things memorized, I can easily drill them without looking at anything. (I guess I will learn a lot myself this year!) Chicklet11 has some additional grammar memorizing to do, plus 1-2 short writing assignments a week, but it all seems very manageable so far.

In addition to memorizing facts in various subject areas, they are doing math (Teaching Textbooks for both) and reading to themselves for at least one hour. We also read aloud together from the Bible--we are reading through the book of Mark right now--and I read aloud to them. I'm reading a page or two a day of Paddle to the Sea (a lusciously illustrated book about a little carved wooden canoe that makes a long journey through all five Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean). We've also been reading a section or two daily from a Childcraft book called How Do We Get Things?, and we are reading Leif the Lucky, since the Vikings came up in The Usborne Book of World HistoryToward the end of the week, when we have things pretty well memorized and have explored the concepts already, they have spelling, handwriting and vocabulary workbooks we can add in, plus science activities. But it's been so refreshing to look at the  week as a whole, rather than checking off boxes daily. Workbooks seem so tedious compared to the hands-on and lively discussions we've had this week.

The "big kids" are all having good school experiences too, I am so thankful to say. More on that in Part 2!

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42194. If You Believe In The Extensions You Are Selling, Why Don´t You Say So?

If you own a hair extensions business, you are used to spend a big portion of your time to look for the best possible quality of hair at the best price your clients can afford. You know if your clients are happy with the hair, they will come back to you and even better they will tell their friends about your products and shop also! But, if you offer the best hair there is, why don´t you tell the world about this? If you do everything you can to offer the best hair extensions, then you will have confidence in your product because you know exactly what you are selling. And it is exactly this confidence your clients need to have to decide to buy from you, especially if they are first time buyers from your extensions. So, if you have confidence in your products, you can offer them a fair return policy also. Not because it is consumer protection law in some countries, but simply because a fair return policy shows to the client how much confidence you yourself have in the products you are selling. But mostly if we visit a hair extensions web shop, the return policy is hidden away, written in small letters and composed from the point of view of the seller. The only text they write in capitals is WE WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY RETURNS. Why? If you want to buy something and the sales person is telling you how great the product is, but they will not accept returns, how much comfort does this give to you? Are they really offering the best there is? How much different if the return policy is changed into a WE BELIEVE IN OUR PRODUCT statement, Tell your clients they can always return the extensions if they are not happy. Of course you need to have rules with respect to the conditions under which you can accept these returns, because you do not want to end up with used, dirty and modified hair. But, there is nothing wrong to show you believe in your extensions and to use this confidence to promote your hair. In fact it´s the best way to sell the hair. Try it! Put your ¨we believe in our products statement¨ at your home page and publish a policy that is written to help the client to decide to buy and you will see your confidence in you own products will boost your sales

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42195. 2000AD Plan ‘Day of Action’ in Support of a DREDD Sequel

Tharg popped round for a biscuit earlier, before thrusting a piece of yellowing paper into my hands and saying “this can run immediately.” It appears that 2000AD are endorsing the 18th September as ‘a day of action’, you see, during which they hope to drum up support for a sequel to the pretty-brill 2012 DREDD movie starring Karl Urban.


Day of Action comes exactly one year after the film came out in cinemas. Despite doing brilliantly in the UK and a growing cult-classic status, the film flopped in the US and plans for a sequel (plans for a trilogy, actually, writer Alex Garland revealed) were put on hold. However, a petition for a sequel has so far raised 80000 signatures, and there’s always a possibility that fan impact voting might help push a sequel through.

2000AD have officially endorsed the campaign for a Dredd sequel, which is where the 18th September comes in. Next Wednesday Judge Dredd Megazine will be publishing part one of their print sequel to the movie, written by Arthur Wyatt and drawn by Henry Flint. 2000AD are obviously hoping that sells well, but they also ask people to sign the petition, buy the movie, and buy shirts in support of the campaign. I imagine other activities will be going on as well.

So, if you want to see a sequel to DREDD, it looks like next Wednesday is the time to lend your support!

10 Comments on 2000AD Plan ‘Day of Action’ in Support of a DREDD Sequel, last added: 9/16/2013
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42196. Reviewing Mike Dillard's Building On A Budget

Building on a Budget is an internet marketing product developed by Mike Dillard. The product is designed to teach average internet marketers with a small marketing budget how to succeed online. This product focuses on showing marketers how generate their own leads and consistently build a prospect lead list. Doing so efficiently is definitely a much cheaper alternative to other popular marketing techniques; such a PPC. The foundation of Mike Dillard’s Building on a Budget product is the idea of magnetic sponsoring. If performed accurately magnetic sponsoring will result in people coming to you instead of you aggressively marketing your products to them. The goal of magnetic sponsoring is to quickly build a level of interest and trust with potential leads and have them contact you. Let’s take a closer look at Mike Dillard’s product. How Much Does it Cost? As you may have guessed from reading the name of the product, Building on a Budget is fairly inexpensive. The internet marketing course is 55 pages long and costs only $30. The course is a book that focuses on helping young internet and network marketers build a business on a budget of $500 or less. Considering Mike Dillard’s well-known success, it seems incredible that you can obtain his entire lead generation system at such an inexpensive rate. While I say incredible, it’s definitely not unbelievable. Due to the structure of the internet, it is possible to dramatically increase the exposure of any given business on a small budget. Those who take the time to learn how to do so will definitely see it pay off. Education and effort can be far more efficient than a massive marketing budget. As they say, “it’s better to work smart than hard. Free Marketing Does Exist For those who are new to the marketing industry, you may think that becoming a profitable marketer requires massive overhead investment. Even though you’ve sought out more information on “Building on a Budget”, free marketing still seems like a bizarre concept to you. Mike Dillard’s product is filled to the brim with all of the information you will need to market inexpensively in today’s internet dominated business realm. The free marketing techniques shared by Mike Dillard in this product are sure to generate a profit if carried out efficiently. By learning a few basic internet marketing strategies, you can increase your business’s audience exponentially. The key is in education. Considering how inexpensive the product is, it is one heck of an investment. This is YOUR Business It is important to note that Building on a Budget spends a considerable amount of time preaching the importance of self-branding and attraction marketing. All successful network marketers and internet marketers have mastered these techniques in one way or another. Mike Dillard’s Building on a Budget explains exactly how to build these necessary attributes without breaking the bank. If you are intrigued by the idea of becoming a successful online entrepreneur, it is always important to take the time to learn from experienced and proven marketers. “Building on a Budget” is one of many great pieces of training material available online today.

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42197. Sharon King-Chai

Such a sweet book, Lucy Ladybird, by illustrator/writer/designer Sharon King-Chai, with a beautiful trailer animated by Linne Andersen and Mikkel Hansen...

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42198. Advocare International: Can I Really Make Money?

Advocare International is a network marketing company that sells health and nutrition products. The company is based out of Plano; a Dallas, Texas suburb. Advocare International was created in 1993 by an entrepreneur named Charles Ragus. Interestingly enough, Ragus was actually an independent distributor for Herbalife before starting his own company. To this day, Herbalife and Advocare are rival companies. This is a pretty interesting way for a company to get started! Keep reading to learn more about Advocare products and the business model. The Network Marketing Model Since its inception back in 1993, Advocare International has grown considerably. The network marketing company now has more than 100,000 global distributors. If you are not familiar with the network marketing business model, distributors are independent marketers that are paid to promote a company, such as Advocare or Mary Kay, and their products. Assuming a given company produces quality and marketable products, the network marketing business model can be very profitable. Advocare International certainly meets these requirements. Perhaps that most appealing aspect of this model is that anyone can try to build their own business using it. Regardless of education, race, creed, or color, any motivated entrepreneurial minded individual can build an income in network marketing (also known as multi-level marketing. Marketable Product Line? A Product line’s marketability is definitely an aspect that needs to be researched an addressed before enrolling as an independent distributor with any MLM company. That being said, let’s take a quick look at what exactly Advocare has to offer. As I mentioned briefly, Advocare International distributes health promoting products. Are they marketable though? It was recently reported that the health and wellness industry is actually one of the quickest expanding industries globally. Judging by product reviews and this statement alone, it is safe to say that Advocare distributors market an intriguing product line. Advocare distributes products in the following categories: Trim (for weight loss), Active (athletes), wellness, performance elite, and definite difference. If you’re reading this today because you are interested in the business opportunity, please keep reading. The Business Opportunity You may be reading this today because you’d like to learn some more information about potentially earning a passive residual income with Advocare International. Advocare independent distributors earn an income in a few different ways. First of all, distributors earn commission on any products they sell wholesale. It’s essentially like owning your own online nutrition store. Secondly, distributors can earn by recruiting new distributors. When you enroll a new distributor, you will then earn additional income based on that individual’s production. While many people have built massive streams of income using this model, most people fail because they don’t learn to market or they simply put no effort in. If you’d genuinely like to make a living working with Advocare, you need to adopt some internet marketing skills. This will allow you to expose your business to countless people worldwide. I hope this review answered any questions you may have about Advocare International.

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42199. Flogometer for Lexi: would you turn the first page?

Only 1 chapter left in the pillory. Submissions needed. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Storytelling Checklist

Before you rip into today’s submission, consider this list of 6 vital storytelling ingredients from my book, Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Evaluate the submission—and your own first page—in terms of whether or not it includes each of these ingredients, and how well it executes them. The one vital ingredient not listed is professional-caliber writing because that is a must for every page, a given.

  • Story questions
  • Tension (in the reader, not just the characters)
  • Voice
  • Clarity
  • Scene-setting
  • Character

Lexi sends the first chapter of Wolf by the Ears. Please vote—the feedback helps the writer.

Monday started normally enough. My alarm rang at ten to six waking me from a deep sleep; the bar hadn’t closed till midnight, and after that we’d had to fetch bottles from the cellar and tidy up before leaving. I lay for a moment watching a pigeon’s undercarriage as its pink feet tapped over the skylight. There isn’t a window and on a cloudy day like this, even in June, my room is a bit dark. Some people would call it pokey. It’s really meant to be a study. There’s just enough room for a single bed, a chair and a wardrobe; with my bike too it’s rather a squash. But the flat is a nice one near Kensington Olympia station, and if the space was any bigger I wouldn’t be able to afford the rent.

I had the kitchen to myself for breakfast, and showered and dressed without seeing my flatmate. I’m usually first up. I lifted my bike carefully through the hall. Chrissie doesn’t like me keeping it in my room in case it marks the carpets or the walls on its way in and out. But I’m not leaving it outside to rust and have bits stolen off it.

The wind was against me up Ladbroke Grove, the sky got darker and a light drizzle fell. By the time I reached Hampstead at five past seven the rain had increased. My jeans were wet and my hair dripped. Grisha Markovic’s house is in Billionaires’ Row – once known as Millionaires’ Row, but times have moved on and the rich got richer. All the houses are huge, with big gardens and high walls, and the tree-lined roads are completely deserted at this hour.

Would you turn Lexi's first page?

The writing here is just fine—evocative with experiential description, and a likeable character. But, as for what happens . . . a woman gets up, makes breakfast, and bicycles through the rain to a big house. For this reader, not in any way compelling. I understand the urge to establish the normal in a character’s life before you turn it upside down—that’s just what Robert McKee in Story advises—but that can be done with things happening, it seems to me.

I’ve excerpted and trimmed narrative from later in the chapter. How do you react to this alternative as the opening page?

The wind was against me up Ladbroke Grove, the sky got darker and a light drizzle fell. By the time I reached Hampstead my jeans were wet and my hair dripped. Grisha Markovic’s huge house, with big gardens and high walls, is in Billionaires’ Row.

I got off my bike and put my finger in the fingerprint reader beside the smaller gate. Grisha’s paranoid about security, understandable because of a failed assassination attempt or two in his colourful Russian past.

The gate swung open; as I pushed my bike through I saw a man bent over the access panel by the side door. He straightened at my approach. Muscular, youngish, with hooded eyes, pale skin stretched over high cheekbones, and short fair hair.

“You have entry card? Mine is not working.” He had a Russian accent.

I smiled apologetically. “I’m afraid I can’t let you in. Security rules, you know. I’ll tell them you’re here and someone will come and get you.”

He gave me a bleak stare. “I get wet.”

“Sorry. What’s your name?”

He put his hand inside his jacket. I thought he was going to show me his card and try to persuade me he was legit. He didn’t get out a card. He got out a small gun. He stepped towards me. “Open the door.”

Would you turn the page with this opening?

Comments, please?

For what it’s worth.


FtQ cover 100WFree sample chapters—click here for a PDF

“This book has some of the most helpful writing advice I've encountered in quite a while, illustrated by copious--and I mean copious--examples. Ray doesn't pull punches, and his illustrations have real-world wording at times, but it's truly like having an editor on your bookshelf. I definitely recommend it.”   Richard

Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please format with double spacing, 12-point font Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins.
  4. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  5. And, optionally, permission to use it as an example in a book if that's okay.
  6. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  7. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

© 2013 Ray Rhamey

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42200. Residual Income Streams: Can I Build One?

In some sense, those who have established passive residual income streams are living the dream. The ability to continue to earn money on work done in the past is really an ideal situation. Anyone who has the luxury of multiple streams of income has effectively turned themselves from employee to entrepreneur. I'm not sure about you, but I classify this as success. I could go on and on about how fantastic this sort of income is, but I doubt that's necessary. Of course you are aware of the freedoms this sort of income allows. You're certainly more interested finding out HOW to build passive residual income streams. Let's take a quick look at a few prominent ways in which you can paid for work done in the past. Books and Music? In case you aren't quite sure what residual income streams are, let's consider the most notable and simplest example; an author. An author writes a given book one time. Although he only technically produces one unique product, he will continue to earn money on each copy sold in the future. Products that can be easily duplicated often result in residual income streams. For example; recording artists also have this income luxury because their music can be sold infinitely. I know exactly what you are thinking right now. And the answer is "yes". There are in fact many other ways in which passive residual income streams can be built that do not require you to be a world-renowned artist or author. In fact, the internet has created a vast amount of residual income opportunities. Routes to Profitable Streams of Income for Everyone Affiliate Marketing Pay-Per-Click Advertisement Website Subscriptions An Investment Portfolio Selling Videos/Photographs Online Building a Business and Hiring Others to Run it Network Marketing Passive Residual Income Streams: Most Profitable? When I look at this list of residual income streams possibilities, a few opportunities stand out and they all have something in common; they're web-based entrepreneurial opportunities. So why is this so appealing? In the grand scheme of things, the internet really hasn't been around for very long. We, internet entrepreneurs as a whole, are still learning how to maximize the profits of this incredible technology. The internet allows businesses to appeal to consumers world-wide. Although it is cliche, the possibilities truly are seemingly endless. Network Marketing in 2013 To many of you, the network marketing business model is familiar. For numerous decades, network marketing has been one of the most accessible routes to residual income streams. Network marketers earn their pay by distributing products and enrolling new distributors. Although the success rate is low, there is a ton of money to be made by those entrepreneurs who are serious about their network marketing business. These success stories are becoming more and more prevalent in the age of the internet. The world-wid- web essentially allows network marketers to promote their products/business opportunity to people globally. This is obviously a marketing opportunity that would not be possible without going online. If you are truly interested in passive residual income streams, I hope you consider the previously mentioned opportunities.

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