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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1547 Blogs, since 4/24/2008 [Help]
Results 20,676 - 20,700 of 470,547
20676. Blog Hop at Kirby Larson's blog - GIVEAWAY!

As part of my Southern Appalachian Book Tour for A BIRD ON WATER STREET, today I hop over to Kirby Larson's blog, Kirby's Lane, to talk about "Research Interviews - Getting the Good Stuff." Here's a peek:

"I interviewed tons of people over the course of a decade, from miners to musicians, union leaders to locals, searching for knowledge to tell my story with authority, and for the nuances to make my story feel real."
     And one of the commenters at Kirby's blog will win a FREE, signed and dedicated copy of A BIRD ON WATER STREET! I hope you'll hop on over and comment to win!

0 Comments on Blog Hop at Kirby Larson's blog - GIVEAWAY! as of 5/9/2014 11:38:00 AM
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20677. Made-Up Verbs

Without verbs, nothing would get done. The verb is the action part of the sentence. A subject performs the action.

Nouns and adjectives can be turned into verbs by adding the suffix ify, ize, ate, or en: deaden, digitize, fixate, immunize, originate, strategize, signify, sweeten.

Nouns and adjectives can be turned into verbs by adding the prefix be, de, or en: becalm, bedazzle, defrost, defrock, encompass, enmesh.

Made-up verbs have a suffix like ify, ize, ate, en, and ing added to them.

It is important recognize when you are using made-up verbs. If you are, make sure they aren't a cliché, are intentional, and used only once or twice in a manuscript. 

Using it as a dialogue plant and payoff works. One lone character might mangle the language on purpose. Someone can mock him with it. Those are acceptable uses of imaginary verbs.

These suffixes create subtle speed bumps which force the reader to pause or reread the sentence. The suffix ness is often a substitute for a stronger word. This is where a thesaurus comes in handy.

Revision Tips:

1, Search for them. 

2. Read the sentence. Does it flow smoothly? 

3. Is the word out of place in your setting?

4. Is it appropriate for the character to use it? 

5. Make sure words with these suffixes need to be there. If not, change them.

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20679. This is a Moose

ThisIsAMooseBy Richard T. Morris, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

published 2014 by Little, Brown and Company

This book has been out in the wild for a couple days now, and let me be the first to tell you to be sure to check the endpapers. Know a movie buff? A cinematographer? A dud with a digital camera? A moose with a dream? Do you have something important to say? Or do you just need a good laugh?

Well. Scoot over and share the lens with this crew.

From the publisher:

Lights! Camera! Moose!

MOOSE? Yes, Moose! When a movie director tries to capture the life of a moose on film, he’s in for a big surprise. It turns out the moose has a dream bigger then just being a moose–he wants to be an astronaut and go to the moon.

His forest friends step in to help him, and action ensues. Lots of action. Like a lacrosse-playing grandma, a gigantic slingshot into space, and a flying, superhero chipmunk.

In this hilarious romp, Richard T. Morris and bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld remind us to dream big and, when we do, to aim for the moon.

breakerI’m so honored to have an exclusive look at this cast of characters. And since they are straight off the set of the most spectacular documentary ever created, this is a real treat. This is nature behind the scenes.MooseMugshot_Text_MooseDirector DuckMugshot_Text_DirectorDuckGrandma MooseMugshot_Text_GrandmaMoosePeanut GalleryMugshot_Text_PeanutGalleryHow great is that?

Big thanks to Tom Lichtenheld and Faye Bi at Little, Brown for these mugshots and crew info. And if you liked this peek into the picture book, stay tuned for next week. More special features on the way!



Tagged: richard t. morris, special features, this is a moose, tom lichtenheld

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20680. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Alexis Dormal and S. D. Schindler


This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Chris Raschka’s new picture book biography, The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening (Candlewick, May 2014). That link will be here later.

* * *

Last week, I wrote (here) about two new picture books that make me laugh (with them, not at them) — Katy Beebe’s Brother Hugo and the Bear, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, and Dominique Roques’ Sleep Tight, Anna Banana!, illustrated by Alexis Dormal (originally published in 2012 as Ana Ana Douce Nuit).

Below is some art from each book.


(Click to enlarge)


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* * *


(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


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(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


* * * * * * *

BROTHER HUGO AND THE BEAR. Copyright © 2014 by Katy Beebe. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by S. D. Schindler. Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Illustrations used here by permission of the publisher.

SLEEP TIGHT, ANNA BANANA! Copyright © 2012 by Alexis Dormal and Dominique Roques. English translation copyright © 2014 by First Second. Published by First Second, New York. Illustrations used here by permission of the publisher.

5 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Alexis Dormal and S. D. Schindler, last added: 5/11/2014
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20681. Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words are about rest.

1. Couch-Nap – I like a good couch-nap. When Mom leaves me alone, the couch is my napping area of choice. Also the floor, my bed, the rocking chair,



and the butterfly rug in the bathroom.

butterfly nap

2. Street-Nap – In the summer the asphalt in my neighborhood gets blazing hot. Those are the perfect days for a street-nap. I lie on my belly and my side and sometimes I flip over and squiggle around like a wiggly worm.

street squiggle


3. Laziness – Mom has been kind of lazy lately. She hasn’t been sitting at her computer and talking to herself! That means no writing in a few days. I thought she was a “full-time” writer. This week, she’s been a writer at rest.



4. Excuses – She makes excuses like, “I have an appointment.” and “I’m swamped. It’s a super-busy day.” and “How can I write if you drink all my coffee?” I can make excuses, too. “You left your cup right where I can reach it.”


and “I couldn’t decide which toy to play with.”

and “I was lonely eating in the kitchen by myself.”

5. Back-on-the-horse – Yesterday, Mom sat at her computer and said she was getting back on the horse. I have never seen a horse. Mom saw one in Manhattan and showed me the picture. It looked like a big dog. A really, really, REALLY big dog. I hope she doesn’t love that big guy more than she loves me.




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20682. My tweets

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20683. How I Killed Pluto: And Why It Had It Coming

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming Mike Brown

Ever since he was a kid, Brown wanted to discover planets. But, when he did discover some, instead of being excited he discovered a planet, he realized that, really, Pluto shouldn’t count as a planet, because that made what he was finding make a lot more sense.

Brown is a hilarious and fascinating as he tells us about the development of thought about the solar system, how modern astronomy works (it’s a lot of coding!), why Pluto isn’t a planet, and his own life. Plus, oh the shennanigans and in-fighting (astronomer politics! who knew?!)

Not a lot of scientists can write like this- heck, not a lot of writers can write like this. It’s a wonderful and fascinating book that really digs into the story-behind-the-story of when Pluto stopped being a planet.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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20684. Tennessee School District Bans ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

A Tennessee school district has banned British author Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for its use of profanity. The Wilson County School Board in Tennesee pulled the mystery novel, which is about an autistic teenager investigating the death of his neighbor's dog, from a 9th grade reading list this week. The Tennesseean reports: "The board voted 3-1 to remove the book from the list of approved reading in the school district. One board member was absent. 'The F-bomb is pretty common in that book, and that’s what I have a problem with,' said board member Wayne McNeese, who received complaints about the book from some of his constituents. 'I’m not dumb enough to think students don’t hear that language, but it doesn’t mean we should promote it.'"

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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20685. Querypalooza kick off!


Kat ZhangIn preparation for our QUERYPALOOZA next week, I (Jodi) dragged out an old how-to post written for WriteOnCon. It was originally posted about four years ago — ages ago in internet time! If you saw it then, wow! If you’re just seeing it for the first time, I hope it’s useful to you!Jodi Meadows

Next week, Kat and I will be discussing some of the queries we received specifically to post on Pub Crawl. We received a bunch of options (you guys rock!), but we could only choose five for this. We tried to pick the ones we thought would be the most useful for you all to see, which means our choices had nothing to with what we liked and didn’t like (there were so many cool ones!), and everything to do with what we thought would be educational.

So until next week, here’s a little about queries!


I like queries. No, I love them. They’re such short, humble things, but their importance is undeniable. Queries are the initial step to nabbing an agent. They’re your first impression, and your best chance at getting an agent to pay attention to you.

Considering how drastically queries can affect careers, it always shocks me when writers carelessly throw something together, assuming it will be adequate. Which is not to say I think people should get worked up over things like margins and which paragraph your wordcount/genre should be in. There’s also no point in trying to find magic offer-of-representation-words. They don’t exist. No, you must query responsibly and realistically.

The purpose of a query is to make someone so interested in reading your manuscript they can’t eat or sleep until they read it. And that’s the tricky part.


If you don’t already know how to format a query letter, get thee to Google. This post isn’t about what font you use. This post is about how to show the extreme awesomeness of your story.

Beginning a query description can be really intimidating! To get started, answer the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist and what is their goal? (Motivation.)

2. What is keeping the protag from achieving that goal? (Conflict.)

3. How will the protagonist overcome this problem? (Plot.)

4. What happens if the protagonist fails/what choice does the protagonist have to make? (Stakes, and why the reader should care.)

I can’t give you these answers, but I can help you learn how to turn them into a clear, kick-butt query.


My favorite method of query-writing involves three paragraphs and modifying from there. Sometimes you may find you need four or two paragraphs for the best effect. Be open to change if necessary, but for the purpose of this example, I’m going to use my usual three paragraphs. While you’re reading this, keep in mind the questions above.

Paragraph one: This sentence introduces the character and a goal/problem in a hooky way. This sentence expands on that and explains why it’s so important. This one talks about the character’s great idea to solve their problem. This sentence presents a new problem that complicates their original problem and renders their other solution useless.

Paragraph two: This paragraph is more fluid. It might explain worldbuilding, or tell the reader about interesting situations the character gets into. It will use specific details strong enough to influence the reader’s perception of the story/character/world. It will keep the tension rising, and not veer from the problems introduced in paragraph one. It ends, perhaps, with the character deciding on yet another solution to their problems, or realizing something horrible. It will drag the reader into the final paragraph.

Paragraph three: This sentence introduces a big choice or complication that directly relates to the main problem. The final sentence makes the stakes clear and hooks the reader.

The most important thing is to make the reader care desperately about your character, their situation, and the choices the character will have to make.


1. Agents are reading lots of queries very quickly. Make this easy for them. Minimal character and place names. Don’t list multiple plot twists and expect anyone to remember them; it’s a hook, not a synopsis.

2. Focus. Your story may be filled with lots of subplots and secondary characters with their own agendas, and that’s cool, but focus. Main character, main plot. Again, hook. Not a synopsis.

3. Action! Things move forward. Things get worse. Choices are difficult and emotional.

4. Snip. Chop out all extra phrases and scaffolding. Make it fast and easy to read. Stay around 150-200 words.


Writers are often shocked to find out how much agents can tell about a book based on the query, but if you read a couple dozen of them, then peek at the sample pages, you’d be surprised how much the queries reveal.

1. One of the biggest, most obvious things agents see is an author’s writing skill. Not fair to judge an entire manuscript based on one 200-word description? Think about this: Would you want to read a manuscript if the query was filled with typos, scaffolding, and confusing sentences? I doubt it. But I bet you’d want to read something if the query had smart, snappy writing, or prose that made your heart melt.

And if the writing in your query doesn’t reflect the actual manuscript — see above about folks just whipping something together.

2. Plot — whether you’ve got any, whether it’s like everyone else’s, or whether it has the potential to be awesome.

A query for a manuscript with plot shows conflicts and choices; it will answer the questions above. The query does not list every event and give away the end — save that for the synopsis — but it gives enough specific details to show the agent there’s potential in this. A query without conflict and choices is most likely a query for a manuscript without plot.

As for a plot that’s like someone else’s, how would anyone know? Ah hah. But what is the first thing you think of when you see this: Mylight is about a teenage girl who’s fascinated by the boy who sits next to her in class. Unfortunately, he seems to hate her no matter how hard she tries to be nice. But when he saves her life, she begins to unravel his mystery. He’s a hot supernatural love interest and he’s smitten with her. While he fights the urge to kill her because of his nature, she must convince him that true love is more powerful.

3. Characters and their development. Same thing as above. Great characters stand out in queries. So do Mary Sues. Dull characters will have no motivation, no drive to do anything. Who wants to read about boring characters?


My favorite thing about queries is that they force you to see what your book is really about. You must look at your manuscript like an outsider, paring it down to its most basic — but biggest — elements. Queries can change how you look at your story, sometimes inspiring amazing revisions. (What if the book your query talks about is way better than the one you wrote?)

You may also find query descriptions useful when beginning a new story. Often queries reveal the most interesting things about a manuscript, and they can help writers focus on those things. If you don’t know where the story is heading, writing the query can help you figure out the stakes and choices your characters will face in the end, giving you somewhere to aim.

So there you have it. I know that’s a lot to take in, but with enough practice, it will be second nature. Read other people’s queries. Participate in different query critiques; there are lots available for free on the internet. Soon you’ll be hooking agents right and left.

Questions? Comments? The floor is yours.

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20686. Poetry Friday: Restlessness by D.H. Lawrence

At the open door of the room I stand and look at the night,
Hold my hand to catch the raindrops, that slant into sight,
Arriving grey from the darkness above suddenly into the light of the room.
I will escape from the hollow room, the box of light...
There is something I want to feel in my running blood,
Something I want to touch; I must hold my face to the rain,
I must hold my face to the wind, and let it explain
Me its life as it hurries in secret.
I will trail my hands again through the drenched, cold leaves
Till my hands are full of the chillness and touch of leaves,
Till at length they induce me to sleep, and to forget.

- selected lines from Restlessness by D.H. Lawrence

Read the poem it its entirety.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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20687. Crowdfunding for oral history projects

OHR Editors’ Note: In April, we put out a call for oral history bloggers. We originally planned to run submissions starting this summer. However, we were so excited by the response that we decided to kick things off a bit early. Enjoy the first of many volunteer posts to come!

By Shanna Farrell

The cocktail is an American invention and was defined in 1806 as “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” Cocktail culture took root on the West Coast around the Gold Rush; access to a specific set of spirits and ingredients dictated by trade roots, geography, and agriculture helped shape the West Coast cocktail in particular. We in UC Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) are beginning a new oral history project about the legacy of the West Coast cocktail, which will explore the cultivation of the West Coast cocktail’s identity and how it has contributed to the return of bartending as a respectable profession. We consider documenting bar culture important, especially because of the current explosion of cocktail bars around the country. However, due to the nature of the topic, this project won’t qualify for academic or grant funding. ROHO has instead had to look for non-traditional funding opportunities, which has presented us with a set of complications that we had yet to experience.

The people involved in the bar and spirit industry have a unique perspective on the ways in which American life has unfolded and intersected around cocktails. When I first began developing this project I reached out to famed bartender Dale DeGroff, cocktail historian and journalist David Wondrich, and PUNCH co-founders Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau for their insight in identifying interview themes and potential narrators. They are all now serving as our project advisors. We conducted pilot interviews with three Bay Area-based female bartenders and recorded four hours with Wondrich himself. Even early on, themes of community, labor, gender, ethnicity, geography, culinary influence, storytelling and myth making, the dissemination of information, state laws and regulations, bartender/customer relationships, and popular culture have emerged. We hope to interview at least thirty people, including bar owners, bartenders, craft spirit distillers, and cocktail historians, to further unpack these topics.

midori sour

As the project lead, I’ve encountered various issues planning and rolling out the project, especially because of funding. In an attempt to involve the cocktail community, garner interest in the project, and draw people into ROHO’s archives, we decided to raise money through crowdfunding. We’ve been working for several months to get administrative approval, build out partnerships and out network, choose engaging content from our pilot interviews, and build a project website. This has taken a lot of time and though we are optimistic about the success of the campaign, using this funding mechanism is a risk. We are up against a hard deadline to deliver a large amount of content at campaign’s launch on 3 June 2014 and during its following five-week run.

Crowdfunding campaigns usually have a short video (two to three minutes) explaining the concept of the project, the need for financial support, and establishing its legitimacy. We also need to deliver regular updates throughout the five weeks of the campaign to keep our audience interested in the project. This requires pulling clips from interviews that illustrate the project’s exciting topics and themes. For example, we have one story about how Wondrich discovered that pre-Prohibition cocktail recipes called for Holland gin, which is essentially flavored whiskey not readily available in the United States until the past few years, instead of London dry gin, which is flavored vodka and has dominated the domestic gin market for the past twenty years. This proved to be a revelation for Wondrich while writing the hugely influential book Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar (Perigee Trade, 2007).

Once the campaign is over we will need to share completed interviews with the public as soon as we can to demonstrate that we are using contributions for the intended purpose; this is critical for the project’s reputation if we plan to use this fundraising method in the future. Content will have to be continuously created and sent to narrators for quick approval, which can be difficult due to schedules, file compatibility, and familiarity with technological mediums. Getting clips to narrators in a timely fashion has necessitated our use of free cloud-based technology, such as SoundCloud and Vimeo. Thus far, we have created private tracks on SoundCloud and private channels on Vimeo to share the files in a fast and easily accessible way.

This project will serve as a test for ROHO in many ways: will we be able to produce content, get it to our narrators for approval, and share it publically on a timeline that keeps our audience engaged? Will long-term use of various media outlets like SoundCloud and Vimeo prove successful? Will funders feel satisfied with the level of accessibility of the interviews? Time will tell how the project and its various set of challenges will unfold, but we hope to use digital age techniques to work around the challenges which crowdfunding has presented.

Shanna Farrell ImageShanna Farrell is an oral historian in UC Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office. She holds an MA in Oral History from Columbia University, an Interdisciplinary MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and a BA in Music from Northeastern University. Aside from her current project on the legacy of the West Coast cocktail, her studies have focused on environmental justice issues in communities impacted by water pollution. Her work includes a community history of the Hudson River, a documentary audio piece entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing: An Oral History” that explored the complexity of issues involved in drilling for natural gas, a study that examined the local politics of “Superfunding” the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, and a landscape study of a changing neighborhood in South Brooklyn.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OHR editors.

The Oral History Review, published by the Oral History Association, is the U.S. journal of record for the theory and practice of oral history. Its primary mission is to explore the nature and significance of oral history and advance understanding of the field among scholars, educators, practitioners, and the general public. Follow them on Twitter at @oralhistreview, like them on Facebook, add them to your circles on Google Plus, follow them on Tumblr, listen to them on Soundcloud, or follow their latest OUPblog posts via email or RSS to preview, learn, connect, discover, and study oral history.

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Image credit: a midori sour on ledge over looking Coronado bay and San Diego. © AndrewHelwich via iStockphoto.

The post Crowdfunding for oral history projects appeared first on OUPblog.

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20688. Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to debut YA Author Catherine Linka on the release of A Girl Called Fearless (St. Martin's Griffin, 2014)! From the promotional copy:

Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to "protect" young women, is taking over the choices they make.

Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life.
When her dad "contracts" her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder.
Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death. 
See also An Interview with Catherine Linka on A Girl Called Fearless by Tami Lewis Brown from WCYA: The Launch Pad at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Peek: "Technically speaking, it is not easy to kill 50 million women in a relatively short span of time. But I was undaunted. Yes, I am dauntless."

More News & Giveaways

Let's All Make the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign an Ongoing Movement by Patrick Flores-Scott from Latin@s in Kid Lit. Peek: "The movement needs to push us published authors of all colors and stripes, to mentor diverse up-and-comers, to include pro-bono school visits to underfunded schools, and to write real, complex, fallible diverse characters who live the entirety of the American experience." See also A Rambling Rant on Race and Writing by Lisa Yee from Red Room and The Stories We Tell by Zareen Jaffery from CBC Diversity.

The Green-Eyed Conference Monster by Jael McHenry from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "If your goal is to learn something about craft, are there lectures or workshops you could participate in, either in-person or online?" See also Do You Suffer from Fragile Writer Ego? by Judy Mollen Waters from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Now that I’d seen it exhibited by two big name authors, I realize that no matter how successful, every writer must have it."

HarperCollins to Buy Harlequin by Jim Milliot from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "...the biggest upside in acquiring Harlequin is the huge boost it gives to HC's global presence. According to the companies, about 40 percent of Harlequin’s revenue comes from titles that are published in languages other than English." See also Toon Books Adds Imprint for Older Readers by Brigid Alverson from Publishers Weekly.

Interview with Nikki Grimes by Laura Purdie Salas from Poetry for Children. Peek: "A poem might be needed to create back-story, or to explain the emotional state of the character, or to establish the story arc. Whatever the case, it is always Story that drives my choices."

On Personal and Collective Memory: An Interview with Marjorie Agosín by Lyn Miller Lachmann from The Pirate Tree. Peek: "Although this book mirrors Chilean history and the era of Pinochet, the names [of the historical figures] are invented and I reimagined the time frame. I could not bear to make Celeste Marconi endure 17 years of a fierce dictatorship. Three was enough."

Writing & a Survey of YA Lit with Muslim Protagonists by Sajidah from YA Highway. Peek: "...it looks like female Muslim characters have just raised their boots to kick the door open in the publishing industry. Which leaves us to wonder about boys and books again...well, Muslim boy characters and books."

Crafting Powerful Sentences by Tabitha Olson from Writer Musings. Peek: "These juicy sentences (I love that term, by the way) are the ones that evoke the most emotion, imagery, tension, etc."

Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award from Crazy QuiltEdit., Peek: "currently seeking submissions to be considered for the 2015 award in two categories...."

I Am Not My Book by Tara Dairman from Emu's Debuts. Peek: "Note that I didn’t say that 'my' jacket arrived, or that 'I' got reviews, or that I’m planning 'my' launch parties. I did that on purpose, because—as I’ve been trying to remind myself daily of late—I am not my book."

Love or Market: Which Is More Important? Agents Reveal Their Thoughts by Lisa Gail Green from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek from Sarah Davies: "My fallback position is always, 'If I see something to love here, if I respond emotionally, then I believe there will be an editor who feels the same way.'"

Interview with Debut Author Rebecca Petruck by Tamera Wissinger from Smack Dab in the Middle. Peek: "I love how willing middle grade readers are to suspend their disbelief and go with a story that catches their attention no matter how outrageous the idea—even if the 'outrageous' idea is only that they might ever live on a farm and raise cattle." See also Interview with Award-Winning Author Shutta Crum by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf.

Disabled Characters in YA Literature by Carly Okyle from School Library Journal. Peek: "Reading and carrying literature in libraries that do disabled characters 'right' is something librarians can initiate as part of their own nod toward recognizing the disabled community."

Ask an Editor: Worldbuilding After the Apocalypse by Stacy Whitman from Lee & Low. Peek: "We usually don’t need to know every detail of the apocalypse in the first chapter, or even by the end of the book."

Confessions of an Edgy YA Writer from Lindsey Lane. Peek: "My goal is to write books that hold grit and dirt right next to faith and mystery."

I Am Not My Book...Or Am I? by Laurie Ann Thompson from EMU's Debuts. Peek: "As readers, I think we tend to equate the author with the work more often than we might care to admit. We ask ourselves, 'Would I like this person?' and we base our answer on whether or not we liked the book and the ideas it contained."

Planing, Preparing and "Performing" School Visits by Caroline Starr Rose from Project Mayhem. Peek: "Check in with author friends who more experienced and ask them for advice. This is how I learned I needed a City of Albuquerque business license and an Albuquerque Public Schools vendor number. I also found out I would have to pay gross receipts tax for any visits conducted within the state of New Mexico."

2014 Whitney Awards

Note: "The Whitneys are an awards program for novels written by LDS authors."

Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction
Compiled by Cynsations Reporter Christopher Cheng

The Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction is an annual literary award for science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction for Australian works published the preceding year. There are four categories: science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult and children’s fiction (ages 8-12 years). The YA and children's categories cover works in all three speculative fiction genres and each have two separate awards, one for novels and one for short fiction.The Aurealis Awards were held at University House, Australian National Uuniversity on April 5. See full list of winners.

"Never Counted Out"

You've heard about Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (Candlewick, 2013). See the documentary trailer about the book's life-changing tour to empower at-risk youth. Learn more here.

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

More Personally

Writer Me is resting as Author Me and Personal Me take over for awhile.

This week has been filled with dear friends, administrative tasks, responding to media requests and event preparation, which, granted, includes speech writing.

So maybe Writer Me never rests completely.

The link lingering on my mind this week is Staying Published by Sophie Masson from Writer Unboxed, and on the geek front, there's The Amazing Gwen Stacy Problem by Brett White from Comic Book Resources (warning: major spoilers).

I'm pleased to welcome YA author Pam Bachorz to the Austin area! We all look forward to getting to know her better.

Congratulations to Cynsations Europe reporter Angela Cerrito  on the sale of "A Bright Flame" to Holiday House! The novel is based on her research in Warsaw Poland including interviewing Irena Sendler, a mastermind spy and member of the Polish resistance, who helped over 2,500 children escape the Warsaw ghetto.

Congratulations to Texas YA debut author Kristin Rae on the release of Wish You Were Italian (Bloomsbury, 2014)!

Congratulations to author Doris Fisher, who won SCBWI's Crystal Kite Award for the Oklahoma-Texas district for Army Camels: Texas Ships of the Desert, illustrated by Julie Dupre Buckner (Pelican, 2013)! See the entire list of regional winners.

Congratulations to fellow Austin author Mari Mancusi on the sale of "Cross My Heart" to Alyson Heller at S&S/Aladdin. "'Cross My Heart' tells the story of an eighth-grade snowboarder who returns to her elite mountain boarding school after an accident nearly destroys her dreams of Olympic gold, and finds herself faced with pressuring parents, frenemies, and first love. It's slated for late 2015/early 2016; Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights."

Personal Links

With Greg Leitich Smith & Nikki Loftin

Cynsational Events

Middle Grade Mayhem! Join Varian Johnson, Greg Leitich Smith and Jennifer Ziegler in celebrating their new novels at 2 p.m. June 14 at BookPeople in Austin.

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers will be held June 16 to June 21 at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. Keynote speaker: James Dashner; faculty includes Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith. Learn about the WIFYR Fellowship Award (deadline Monday!). See also Alison L. Randall on Choosing a Writing Conference

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith in discussing Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) with the YA Reading Club at 11 a.m. June 28 at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.

#BringBackOurGirls by children's book illustrator Micah Player

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20689. Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words are about rest.

1. Couch-Nap – I like a good couch-nap. When Mom leaves me alone, the couch is my napping area of choice. Also the floor, my bed, the rocking chair,



and the butterfly rug in the bathroom.

butterfly nap

2. Street-Nap – In the summer the asphalt in my neighborhood gets blazing hot. Those are the perfect days for a street-nap. I lie on my belly and my side and sometimes I flip over and squiggle around like a wiggly worm.

street squiggle


3. Laziness – Mom has been kind of lazy lately. She hasn’t been sitting at her computer and talking to herself! That means no writing in a few days. I thought she was a “full-time” writer. This week, she’s been a writer at rest.



4. Excuses – She makes excuses like, “I have an appointment.” and “I’m swamped. It’s a super-busy day.” and “How can I write if you drink all my coffee?” I can make excuses, too. “You left your cup right where I can reach it.”


and “I couldn’t decide which toy to play with.”

and “I was lonely eating in the kitchen by myself.”

5. Back-on-the-horse – Yesterday, Mom sat at her computer and said she was getting back on the horse. I have never seen a horse. Mom saw one in Manhattan and showed me the picture. It looked like a big dog. A really, really, REALLY big dog. I hope she doesn’t love that big guy more than she loves me.




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20690. Even gorillas need moms: A Mother’s Day tribute!

A Mom for Umande

By Maria Faulconer; illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung


Remember the 1960 non-fiction book by Joy Adamson called Born Free? It recalled the rescue of a motherless lion cub christened Elsa, by Joy and her husband, George. They raised the cub as their own, eventually releasing it into the Kenyan wilderness. The New York Times called it “a fascinating and remarkable book.” It also became a great motion picture in 1966 with the same name. And as Mother’s Day approaches, that event reminded me of a great picture book called A Mom for Umande. Umande is a sweet picture book about a newborn gorilla with a name in Swahili that means “swirling mists” by the way. And his is a real story of finding a mom.

Motherhood takes a very special skill set. It’s made up of compassion, insight, self-sacrifice, doctoring skills, and a host of others that are learned along the way. Thank goodness, there are mothers that are made and not born in the usual sense of the word. These are the women and yes, even men, that have an innate feeling for what is needed by a particular child that may not be their own by birth, but is in need of nurturing just the same. All of us have the desire to be mothered a bit, whether man or animal. And in the case of Elsa, the lioness in Born Free, the reader discovers that some bonds are made and not born through birth!

The same holds true in the real-life case of Umande featuring a great picture book about a young gorilla whose mom, Kwisha does NOT have the skill set to mother him. Enter an interim group of human mothers that step in at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado until the real thing comes along!

For a period of eight months, these zookeepers stepped in for Umande’s mom. Just how do you teach a gorilla to WALK without mom around to give instruction? Why you simply crawl around on the ground with him. Discipline? It’s easy enough to do if you cough in his face as a correction. And as for encouragement, you need only mimic some happy gorilla-like grumbling sounds! Remember that skill set for mothering that I mentioned? The “will to love” is an important part of it since the learning curve can be pretty steep some time! Kids will get a new appreciation for what these substitute Umande moms commit to as they teach him what it is to be a gorilla, 24/7! Talk about compassionate care! Susan Kathleen Hartung’s illustrations bring the cuddly Umande to life as his small cries seem to say, “Will you hold me?” She has complemented Umande’s journey perfectly with art that serves as a great vehicle to share his real life story.

The zookeepers can eventually see that something is missing for Umande. And as they seek a gorilla mom for him, your young reader will meet Kwisha who may still be in the running, but fits the bill as playmate, but not a mom. Even Umande’s dad, Rafiki, has too many other concerns to occupy him.

How does Umande find a mom a thousand miles away via a plane ride to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium? It’s a picture book trip worth taking along with Umande and your young reader.

In the Author’s Note at the end of the book, Maria Faulconer shares the genesis of this book as she read a newspaper clipping about Umande. Since she is an adoptive mom herself, it was a book she felt she had to write.

Motherhood is a true calling. And so, to all the moms out there who shape and serve as anchors for us each day of our lives, Happy Mother’s Day! One day set aside for thanks each year doesn’t seem half enough.

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20691. Oyster Now Counts 500k Books in Subscription Collection

Oyster, the eBook subscription service that has been referred to as "the Netflix of eBooks," now has 500,000 eBooks in its lending library. New titles include: How Music Works by David ByrneFlight Behavior by Barbara KingsolverTelegraph Avenue by Michael ChabonThe Cider House Rules by John Irving and It Chooses You by Miranda July. This is huge growth for the company's catalog which counted only about 100,000 titles a few months back. The company raised $14 million in funding back in January and has since been expanding its publisher partnerships. The service launched kids books in February. The service allows users access to its entire collection of books for a $9.95 a month subscription fee.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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20692. My tweets

  • Thu, 21:52: RT @GriffinEmmaJ: Modern day misogyny is the silent fart in the room. Some can't hear or see it, but it's still there somewhere and it stin…

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20693. You have the right to freeze peach

"You have the right to freeze peach!" And I will defend that right 'til your last dying breath.

Wait. That doesn't sound right. Hang on -- I need to check something. Okay, it looks like I misunderstood one of our rights. Which brings me to my mini rant about a major issue:

This is the opening of a letter to the editor that was published in my local paper: "No matter how loathsome or despicable one may find Donald Sterling's rants, under the First Amendment he is entitled to make them." The writer goes on to suggest that Sterling should sue the NBA for violating his rights.

One of the reason we have so many economic and social problems in this country is that so many people have no idea what they are talking about. Anyone who has actually read and understood the First Amendment would know that speech is protected from government intervention, not from corporate reactions.

Some people seem incapable of reading and understanding a simple sentence such as this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Or they are too sure of their knowledge to bother looking up the amendment before citing it. This attitude gets us into even more trouble when people try to use half-remembered or mis-remembered Bible passages as a basis for laws.

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20694. Hobnobbing at publishing parties.

Publishing Party Publishing Party Publishing Party Publishing Party Publishing Party

Hooray for Walker Books!

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20695. Pick of the Week for REVENGE and This Week’s Topic


Happy Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Jennifer Smith, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘REVENGE’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:


Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!


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20696. friday inspiration

Here's my inspiration of the day while I keep working away at assignments, projects and planning.


We're also gearing up for the annual local Art Festival. My part is designing the map and the "mystery mural" (more on that later), and coming up with the hands on art experiences - fun!
Have a nice weekend!

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20697. Mystery books page 4.

The Coalition of Independent authors brings you mystery books page 4.

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20698. Donald J. McGill, Scott Rempell, & Marianne Wheelaghan: Coming Attractions

Here are some handpicked titles from our Coming Attractions page. Want to include your book? Just read our Share Your New Book with GalleyCat Readers post for all the details. Food of Ghosts by Marianne Wheelaghan: "DS Louisa Townsend from Edinburgh is miles away from home, working for the police service on Tarawa, a tiny island in the Pacific. A mutilated body is found. Louisa is asked to find the killer. She jumps at the chance to be in charge of a murder investigation. But with no forensics and rumours of cannibalistic rituals, she quickly worries she’s out of her depth." (November 2012) continued...

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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20699. ABC Picks Up Marvel's 'Agent Carter' Straight to Series, Renews 'Agents of SHIELD'

Don't believe me? Well I got it straight from The Hollywood Reporter:

The Hayley Atwell drama is based on the "Captain America" one-shot featuring on the "Iron Man 3" DVD.

ABC is doubling down on its Marvel fare for the 2014-15 broadcast season.
The network has ordered Agent Carter -- based on the Captain America one-shot on the Iron Man 3 DVD -- straight to series and renewed Agents of SHIELD for a second season.

From showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (ABC's midseason drama Resurrection, Reaper) the drama stars Captain America's Hayley Atwell and takes place a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. It follows Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) girlfriend Agent Carter (Atwell) as she builds her career as a secret agent while the hero is frozen in ice. (Watch the one-shot, above.) Steve McFeeley, Christopher Marcus and Marvel's Jeph Loeb exec produce.

The story is set in 1946 and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life -- Steve Rogers. Inspired by the feature films Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, along with the short Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.

The script was penned by Captain America duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley, with producers Marvel Entertainment keeping the project under wraps. The drama, from ABC Studios and Marvel Entertainment, was never picked up to pilot with a rumored presentation filmed for executives. Marvel TV's Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb exec produce.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Agent Carter will be a short-order series and likely used as a "bridge show" to air during the second season hiatus of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, with both series ultimately being tied-in together.

"That certainly has a good chance to be on the network," ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee told reporters in January of Agent Carter.

With Agent Carter, ABC now has two Marvel series on the air. It joins Agents of SHIELD -- Marvel Entertainment's first live-action primetime scripted series -- at the network.

Marvel Entertainment's first foray into live-action scripted fare, The Avengers TV spinoff opened Sept. 24 against stiff competition from The Voice and NCIS and collected a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers, ranking as the top network drama premiere since ABC's V in 2009. Opening the night at 8 p.m., it topped both Voice and NCIS episode in the demo. Week two was not the same story though. Going head-to-head with Cote de Pablo's final NCIS episode, the comic-themed drama from EPs Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon andMaurissa Tancharoen lost a third of its massive demo haul -- notching a 3.1 and 8.4 million viewers. The series, which scored a creative rejuvenation thanks to its long-planned Captain America tie-in, is a sold performer among young men and sees its 2.5 million adults 18-49 rating grow more than 60 percent to 4.1 million after seven days of delayed viewing. While not the four-quadrant show ABC's Paul Lee had hoped for, it still ranks as ABC's highest-rated freshman drama in the key demo.

Meanwhile, Marvel is still prepping four series -- Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage -- and a mini (The Defenders) via its partnership with Netflix, with the first due in 2015.

With the pickup, writing partners Butters  and Fazekas will now have two series on the air.

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20700. Book Beginnings - 5/9/14

*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page.

This book's beginning is taken from CHATEAU OF SECRETS by Melanie Dobson.

"Candlelight flickered on the medieval walls as Gisele Duchant stepped into the warmth of the nave. The shadows in the sacristy were the only witnesses to her secret--no one but she and Michel knew the same small room that stored the vestments and supplies for their family's chapelle was also a hiding place."

I only have a few pages left.  My review will be up later today.  

I am loving the book.


If you enjoy mysteries, you will enjoy EVERYTHING TO LOSE by Andrew Gross.

I finished the book last week.  It was very good.  

My review is in the book's title above. 


And...last but not least, stop by this link for a giveaway of THE ACCIDENTAL BOOK CLUB.  
The giveaway runs until May 18.


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