What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from the Writer category)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Writer Category Blogs

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 233,883
1. Blog Flashback #7 - 30 Poets/30 Days

Back in 2009, I had this kinda nutty, out of the blue idea for Gottabook - what if I could share a never-before-published poem by a different children's poet every day during National Poetry Month? I had no real plan on how to get the poems, exactly, nor any inkling of whether people would be interested in me throwing this big event.

It turns out that everyone I asked said yes, with many poets writing brand new poems for the occasion. Thousands upon thousands of people visited the blog during April or subscribed to the poetry email list, and notes came from teachers around the world who shared these new poems every day with their students. There was coverage in School Library Journal and elsewhere. It was such a success that I turned it from a one-off idea into a series, continuing with new poems until 2013 and new poets every year but one.

From Jack Prelutsky, whose poem opened the whole thing, to Naomi Shihab Nye, whose poem closed out 2013's event, to everyone in between, the work that was sent in was incredible and a huge privilege to be able to share with you all. If you visit the blog, you can find all the poets for each year's 30 Poets/30 Days listed along the left hand side... with a click of a poet's name leading to their contribution.

You can also click on the logos below and arrive at a recap post for each year with links to all the poems. I truly can't say enough good things about the work you'll read, or about how amazing the people who write poetry for kids are.  I do hope you'll check all the links out.

Logo by Carter Higgins



Logo by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Logo by Mary Peterson
30 Poets/30 Days - April, 2010
Logo by Bonnie Adamson
30 Poets/30 Days - April/2009

Once again I say thanks to the poets, the logo creators, and the folks who read daily. Without y'all 30 Poets/30 Days wouldn't have been a success and wouldn't have made it into my flashing back on 10 years worth of memories!

And if all the above isn't enough, I have good news: it's Poetry Friday, and you can find the roundup of this weeks' links at Buffy's Blog. I hope your Poetry Month finishes strong. Around these parts, every month is Poetry Month... so I look forward to seeing you back here in May, too.

0 Comments on Blog Flashback #7 - 30 Poets/30 Days as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
2. Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti

Both Madison (Mads) and Billy have their futures ahead of them - futures heavily shaped by their mothers. And, perhaps, by each other. But when the story starts, when their stories first intersect, only one of them is present: Mads, when her morning swim leads her straight into the path of a body, a woman who has taken her own life: Billy's mother.

Though the premise outlined above may sound grim, Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti is buoyed by hope: hope for better days, hope for positive change. The story is led by two characters who struggle to take control over their own lives while they search for reasons or answers related to recent events. Written in third person, the book flips back and forth between Billy and Mads, allowing the reader to see both perspectives - which is especially interesting when they are in the same scene, so the dual narrative allows us to be privy to both characters' thoughts. The third person style also permits a cool omniscient element, with occasional phrases directing the reader's attention to something - almost like a finger pointing, "Look there," "Remember this moment later" - that are more like gentle nudges than pushy wink-wink moments.

Billy and Mads, both post-high school and both innate caretakers, have found jobs they love: Billy works at a no-kill animal shelter and literally rescues dogs, while Mads babysits a baby girl that she wishes she could protect from the world. But neither of them are happy at home. Billy now lives with his grandmother, a woman full of cruel remarks and judgements about her late daughter, while Mads is staying with her aunt, uncle, and cousin for the summer while she takes real estate classes at Bellevue Community College - all part of her mother's plan for Mads to become her working partner the second she passes the licensing exam.

But once Mads and Billy meet, once their lives collide, their futures change. Or is it that their options change, and their true futures reveal themselves? It is not easy to alleviate the burdens of the abandoned or create a map for the lost. It takes courage to face the ogres of depression and loss. With strength of spirit combined with gut instincts and personal truths, Mads and Billy find their way out of the deep and onto their next journey.

Check out my reviews of other Deb Caletti novels, including The Nature of Jade and The Queen of Everything.

Add a Comment
3. npm pmmu #29: the ways we tree



Today's Poetry-Music Match-Up comes to us from Laura Purdie Salas.  She's sharing a classic poem that I think of each time I pass a certain Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike...





 Trees | Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

For those who don't know, Joyce was a man, and this poem was published in 1914, four years before he enlisted in WWI and was killed at the Battle of Ourcq.  I recall reading it in 2nd or 3rd grade and enjoying the "leafy arms" and "intimately living with with rain" but being completely distracted by the flowing breast and the snowy bosom.  But let not my childish frissons distract you from this poem's expression of the nobility of trees.

Laura says, "I adore [this] song and the whole love/tree analogy," and I do too.
 
                                                                      "The Way I Feel," by Gordon Lightfoot, 1967

"The way I feel is like a robin
Whose babes have flown to come no more
Like a tall oak tree alone and cryin'
When the birds have flown and the nest is bare"

and

"Your coat of green, it will protect her
Her wings will grow, your love will too"

Lovely! Thank you, Laura--that's a song I've never heard before, but it will certainly stay with me.  I still have one day of Poetry-Music Match-Ups unclaimed, if anyone would like to send me their ideas.. just email using the link on the right, and I'll be delighted to close out April 2016 on your notes!

The Round-Up today is with  Buffy at Buffy's Blog, and don't miss Line 28 of this year's Progressive Poem--scroll down to yesterday's post!

0 Comments on npm pmmu #29: the ways we tree as of 4/28/2016 10:34:00 PM
Add a Comment
4. गर्मी का मौसम – पुण्य का काम- पक्षियों को दाना पानी

गर्मी का मौसम – पुण्य का काम- पक्षियों को दाना पानी   गर्मी का मौसम शुरु हो चुका है और  बहुत राज्यों में सूखा पडा  होने की लगातार खबरे आ रही हैं . वही दूसरी ओर जहां सूखा नही है वहां भी पानी कम इस्तेमाल करने पर बल दिया जा रहा है. ऐसे में चारो […]

The post गर्मी का मौसम – पुण्य का काम- पक्षियों को दाना पानी appeared first on Monica Gupta.

Add a Comment
5. Friday Linky List - 29 April 2016

Interesting TED Talk: Elif Shafak: The politics of fiction What do you think?

From Janice Hardy's Fiction University: Are You Being Taken Advantage of as a Writer?

From Bookshelf: Fifty Shades of Grey fort - you gotta see to believe!

Book Birthday! THE STORY CIRCLE ~ El circle de cuentos by Diane Gonzales Bertrand and Wendy Martin - Click the cover to learn more

At Jane Friedman: How to Save Money and Do Online Book Publicity Yourself

From Cynsations: Lara Herrington Watson on Analyze This: A Grammatical Breakdown of Favorite First Chapters

From Rachel Maddox: The Secret To Being A Successful Creator: It Hurts.

From The Mixed-Up Files: The 2016 Green Earth Book Award Winners have been announced. I love this award because A BIRD ON WATER STREET won a Green Earth Book Award Honor in 2015!


From Sarah McIntyre: 'Can you illustrate my book?' Some tips for writers approaching illustrators

0 Comments on Friday Linky List - 29 April 2016 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
6. My tweets

Add a Comment
7. The Life I Lead

The life I lead would likely be
A life you would not choose.
In fact, if there could be a switch,
You flatly would refuse.

Yet I would say the same for yours,
No disrespect intended;
Though maybe I’d consider
Certain aspects recommended.

The way we choose to spend our days
Defines just who we are.
We may extend our comfort zones
Though rarely very far.

0 Comments on The Life I Lead as of 4/28/2016 5:10:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. What Type of Writer Are You? Part 2

#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,

In addition to a writer's preferred method of approaching the task of writing, there is a spectrum they fall on when it comes to the types of feedback they prefer.

Dick belongs to the Sensing tribe. He wants the facts and only the facts. He isn’t interested in Jane’s theories or flights of fancy. He keeps it real. He bases his opinions on what he thinks he knows to be true and dismisses anything that counters it. Critiquing Dick's work is challenging because he has already made up his mind about it. He listens (or pretends to listen) then says, “Yes, but.” At the extreme end, Dick can be so fixed in his position, he isn’t willing to change things that aren’t working.

Dick is good at pointing out factual inconsistencies in your plot. His critique is practical. He may get lost in correcting grammar and lose sight of the heart of the piece. He isn’t open to experimentation and thinks writers should stick to what has already been done, whether it is poetry or novels. Sometimes his advice is relevant. Sometimes his advice wastes your time.

Jane belongs to the Intuitive tribe. She doesn’t care how you come up with the idea. She is only interested in whether the idea is intriguing. She loves stepping outside the box. She loves experimental work. Her critiques focus on the possibilities. She makes suggestions that ask you to expand or deepen your idea. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t.

Jane isn't attached to her own opinion, so she is willing to change anything. She struggles when she receives conflicting advice. Asking her to revise her work can send her into a terminal loop of self-doubt or cause her to stall.  At the extreme end, she can get so lost in exploring possibilities she never finishes.

There are far more Dicks than Janes in the writing world. There is a 70/30 split in the general population. They face off in workshops, classrooms, and critique groups. Agents or editors paired with their opposites guarantees conflict, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.

Dick thinks Jane is undisciplined, unorganized, and erratic. He dismisses her advice as unrealistic and impractical. He resents her creative suggestions for how he could fix his plot. Sometimes Jane has a point. He should open his mind a little and consider the merit of the advice before dismissing it. Jane can offer a global perspective when Dick gets too lost in the details. She can help him avoid major plausibility plot holes. She can explain the emotional context.

Jane thinks Dick is plodding, boring, and too rigid. She dismisses his advice as short-sighted and simplistic. She should listen occasionally because Dick can help her fix speed bumps and cause and effect plot holes. His nitpicking can force her to make her work tighter when she has strayed too far from the point or added too much filler.

These opposites can help each other shore up their weak side. They may wish to strangle each other at times, but by working together they encourage each other be the best they can be.


Next week, we will continue to explore writer temperaments.

For more tips on how to craft believable characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict available in paperback and E-book, and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, also available in paperback and E-book.


0 Comments on What Type of Writer Are You? Part 2 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
9. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e April 29th, 2016

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Writing Suspenseful Fiction: Reveal Answers Slowly (Jane K. Cleland)
https://janefriedman.com/suspense-slow-reveal/

Best Use of Story Flashbacks (Mary Keeley)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/care-treatment-flashbacks/

Getting Your Novel to the Finish Line (Janice Hardy)
http://blog.janicehardy.com/2016/04/getting-your-novel-to-finish-line-part.html

9 Ways to Rock Your Query Letter (Maria Vicente)
www.mariavicente.com/post/143475957432/9-ways-to-rock-your-query-letter

Give your manuscript a running start (Joe Moore)
https://killzoneblog.com/2016/04/give-your-manuscript-a-running-start.html

5 Ways to Smash Through and Finally Start Writing (Jerry Jenkins)
www.jerryjenkins.com/5-ways-smash-finally-start-writing/

What I’d Like To Say To Young Writers, Part Two (Chuck Wendig)
www.terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/04/26/what-id-like-to-say-to-young-writers-part-two/

How to Weave a Message Without Pummeling Your Readers (James Scott Bell)
www.writerunboxed.com/2016/04/26/how-to-weave-a-message-without-pummeling-your-readers/

An Ambivert Walks Into A Writing Conference... (Carla Lopez Lee)
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2016/04/an-ambivert-walks-into-writing.html

Life isn’t Fair—A Classic Problem (Kathryn Craft)
http://writersinthestormblog.com/2016/04/life-isnt-fair-a-classic-problem/

The Five Modes of A Writer’s Life (James Scott Bell)
https://killzoneblog.com/2016/04/the-five-modes-of-a-writers-life.html


If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2015, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

Add a Comment
10. Wisdom from Saving Lucas Biggs

“…What you said, you reminded me so much of Grandpa Joshua. The way you keep faith in people, even though so many awful things have happened to you.”

“That’s because Grandpa  Joshua and I bother to do the math.”

“What math?”

“For every big, bad, attention-getting thing that happens, there are thousands of small good ones, acts that might even seem ordinary but really aren’t, so many that we can forget to notice them or to count them up. But it’s what has always amazed me: not how terrible people can be to each other, but how good, in spite of everything.”

 

Click through to sign up for my quarterly newsletter and you’ll receive a free printable from my novel, Blue Birds. Enjoy!

The post Wisdom from Saving Lucas Biggs originally appeared on Caroline Starr Rose

0 Comments on Wisdom from Saving Lucas Biggs as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
11. Writing from the Inside Out. . . Inspiration from Author Tracey Kyle + Picture Book Giveaway

Dear Friends,

How delighted I am to introduce my friend, Tracey Kyle! Tracey and I met last year at Highlights Foundation Summer Camp 2015 and we've stayed in touch ever since. Tracey shared her book, Gazpacho for Nacho, with me, and I fell in love with the warm colors and the zesty, rhyming text. As you can tell from her photo, Tracey has a warm heart and zesty personality. Her smile lights up everything around her! Thank you so much, Tracey, for being a guest on my blog, and thanks for being my friend.

Tracey has generously donated 2 copies of Gazpacho for Nacho for the comment contest! Please read to the bottom and leave a comment about Tracey's post for a chance to win.

Author Tracey Kyle

 Tracey Kyle grew up in New Jersey and spent much of her childhood reading and writing poems. She spends most of her time as "Señora Kyle," teaching Spanish to a lively group of 8th graders. Currently she lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, and when she's not writing lesson plans or working on a new story, she loves to read, cook and practice yoga.





Writing from the Inside Out. . .   Senora Tracey Kyle shares about her writing journey.

I was living in Madrid in 2004 with a group of Spanish teachers, studying art at the Prado and reading Spanish plays in cafés at the beautiful plazas around the city. It was hot. The sun in Spain is strong and while the heat is dry, it’s still 100 degree heat—or higher. And unlike Americans, the Spanish aren’t obsessed with air conditioning. Businesses prop open their puertas and everyone sits outside people-watching. I craved a cool breeze.

I had lived in Madrid as a college student many years earlier and had fond memories of my dear Spanish madre making a cold, tomato-based soup for me called gazpacho. Gazpacho varies in the different regions of Spain but the basic recipe is a mix of tomates and fresh vegetables. It’s delicious. It’s cool. It was the perfect sopa to eat that summer in Madrid.

At the local supermercado, they sell gazpacho in cartons like orange juice, so I bought a container and ate a cup for breakfast each day. At lunch, I ate another bowl, and at dinner yet again I ordered more gazpacho. “You should just take a bath in gazpacho,” a fellow teacher told me. By the end of the summer, I was back home blasting the aire acondicionado, frequenting our air-conditioned restaurants and driving my air-conditioned car.  But I still wanted gazpacho.

The idea for Gazpacho for Nacho didn’t come to me right away. I enjoyed writing, and had published a few books for Spanish teachers. I knew it was a long and frustrating process, but I had spent my childhood writing poemas and stories. While the idea of creating a children’s book was always there, it took a back-seat to my teaching responsibilities and my family. I realize now that I wasn’t ready.

“Gazpacho for breakfast, gazpacho for lunch,
gazpacho for dinner, for snacks and for brunch.”

These lines came to me in the middle of the night. I wrote them down in the notebook I’d been using to keep track of ideas as they occurred to me. That weekend I wrote the first of many drafts of Gazpacho for Nacho. It combined my love of Spain, the Spanish language and food. I spent the summer writing and rewriting. I joined the SCBWI, devoured books on “writing for children” and researched publishing companies. After six months, I submitted the story for publication to ten editors. By spring, I had received two rejections and hadn’t heard from the others. I told myself that I obviously wasn’t meant to be a writer and went back to planning lessons for my students, who at this point were the recipients of every creative idea I had. I was happy teaching, but the profesora in me was determined to teach kids about this yummy, cold sopa!

It was my husband who pushed me to dig out the story. A heavy snow fell that winter and we were out of school for a week. “You need to take out that manuscript,” he ordered, “and start writing again.” For eight hours a day, I worked on the story and researched editors who were interested in food, travel or multicultural picture books. Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish was one of those editors. Her letter arrived that spring, saying that she thought it would make a “cute story.” Have you sold it yet? she asked. It took two years of revisions and the process was slow, but Gazpacho for Nacho was finally published with Amazon Children’s Publishing (who eventually bought Marshall Cavendish) in 2014.

For a very long time, when people asked me what I did for a living, I said I was a middle-school teacher. “And I write when I have time,” I would add, as if the hours spent thinking about my story didn’t count, or the months spent writing and revising didn’t take up too much of my time. As I started going to conferences and attending writing workshops, I realized that I was a writer long before I was published. 

As Nacho would say……Olé! 
School Library Journal Review: K-Gr 3: This is the charming story of a picky eater who only wants one thing to eat - gazpacho. While most parents would be delighted if their children ate this Spanish vegetable-based soup, Nacho's mother desperately tries to offer him other dishes, including typical Spanish desserts, to no avail. In an attempt to get him to expand his culinary repertoire, his mother takes Nacho to the market; these illustrations will delight readers with large renditions of beautifully whimsical vegetables, such as vibrant green chiles and large plump tomates that will surely make an enticing and delicious soup. The text is integrated nicely on the spreads and easy to read. Though Latin inspired, this tale of a picky eater will resonate with many. It will make a fun read-aloud because of the rhyming text in addition to lending itself to interesting discussions about food, food avoidances, and trying new things. A recipe for gazpacho and a glossary of Spanish words with the language articles in parentheses are appended.Maricela Leon-Barrera, San Francisco Public Library
 
Interior spread of artwork
 
Don't you agree that Gazpacho for Nacho is a feast for the senses? What a treat for youngsters of all ages! And all you have to do for a chance to win an autographed copy of Tracey's book, Gazpacho for Nacho, is leave a comment about her post. Want to increase your odds? Tweet the post for an additional chance to win. Join my blog. Share on FB. Easy, right? The winner will be announced a week from today on cinco de mayo!
 
Author Tracey Kyle

Learn more about Tracey here:
    http://www.gazpachofornacho.com



Thanks, dear readers, from Tracey and me, for stopping by! As Nacho would say……Olé


0 Comments on Writing from the Inside Out. . . Inspiration from Author Tracey Kyle + Picture Book Giveaway as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. Friday Feature: A Love That Disturbs Cover Reveal


A LOVE THAT DISTURBS by Medeia Sharif
Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. Meanwhile, as a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader, Aamal, is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Add a Comment
13. लघु कथा – पसंद ना पसंद (Audio)

  लघु कथा – पसंद ना पसंद (Audio) Mobile  और सोशल मीडिया का धन्यवाद क्योकि आज हम अपने ब्लॉग पर न सिर्फ लिख सकते हैं बल्कि अपनी आवाज के जरिए भी आप सभी तक पहुंच सकते हैं… आज सुनिए मेरी आवाज में मेरी लिखी कहानी पसंद ना पसंद …   जरुर बताईएगा कि कैसी लगी […]

The post लघु कथा – पसंद ना पसंद (Audio) appeared first on Monica Gupta.

Add a Comment
14. 2016: SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Interview: Paul O. Zelinsky

By Elisabeth Norton
for SCBWI Bologna 2016
and Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Paul O. Zelinsky grew up in Wilmette, Illinois; the son of a mathematics professor father and a medical illustrator mother. He drew compulsively from an early age, but did not know until college that this would be his career. 

As a sophomore at Yale College, he enrolled in a course on the history and practice of the picture book, co-taught by an English professor and Maurice Sendak. This experience inspired Paul to point himself in the direction of children's books. His first book appeared in 1978, since which time he has become recognized as one of the most inventive and critically successful artists in the field. 

He now lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York. They have two grown daughters.

Among many other awards and prizes, he received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for his illustrated retelling of Rapunzel, as well as Caldecott Honors for three of his books: Hansel and Gretel (1985), Rumpelstiltskin (1987), and Swamp Angel (1995).

Spring is the season of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, so I thought I would focus on the business side of illustration today. Can you tell us about how you as an illustrator are selected to work on a picture book project?

Other than through the occasional subliminal suggestion I plant in the illustrations of my published books (painting “HIRE ME!” upside down in the trees outside of Rapunzel’s tower and so on), I don’t know how I get chosen.

My work looks awfully different from book to book, but I imagine that an editor or art director who ends up contacting me is thinking of one look in particular, and they might mention that to me, though they may not end up getting it. Also, from my third book on, I have tended to keep working with people I’ve worked with before, so those publishers know more what they’re getting into. On my end, what happens is that I get a call or an email. 

Could you describe your involvement in the process, from the time you are contacted about a new project, through the creation of the illustrations, to the finished book?

I usually want to stick my nose into all stages of the creation and production processes, but as I try to do it in a nice way and, I hope, not out of a personal need for control but in the spirit of collaboration, I’ve rarely had trouble.

So it usually begins for me when I get a phone call or email from a publisher, either asking if I’m available or just sending a manuscript, and I can sometimes tell pretty quickly if I think it’s a good idea for me on or not. Sometimes I don’t know and I mull.

My first criterion (and I’m sorry if this seems pompous) is whether the story makes me think that our overcrowded world, with no shortage of books in it already, would be notably worse off without this new addition. (Which is sort of like saying how much do I like it, but not quite). Then I imagine what kind of art I’d like to see illustrating the manuscript and at that point I can usually tell whether I’d get excited by the prospect of trying to make that kind of art.

Then, if it’s a go, come all the stages you probably know about in the making of an illustrated book. If it’s a picture book, that means breaking the manuscript up into pieces that fit in a 32- or 40-page book (publisher tells me what’s possible)—not a simple job if you want to do it right.

At the same time, I try to imagine the best size and proportion for this book, long before having any idea of the content of its pictures. Then with text decided for each spread I’ll very, very crudely rough out an array of thumbnail sketches, trying to establish the dynamic of the storytelling through the pictures, the content and composition of each illustration.

After or during that time, I’ll be casting around for what the characters should look like, and I’ll be thinking about the style I want the drawings to display. This is intimately connected to the choice of medium, so I’m thinking about that, too, and probably doing a lot of testing on scratch paper.

If I get the thumbnail sketches working, I’ll go to a full-sized, or at least not-so-little dummy, in black pencil, with text placed on the pages.

The dummy can be very rough, too, and I am generally willing to risk showing it to the publisher even before, say, I have any idea of what the characters will look like.

I like feedback, and things like pacing can be judged without other important features yet in place. I might also put the pictures together with text in InDesign, at least as a preliminary version before the art director gets to work on it.

When the designer does join in, I’ll want to be part of her or his process, too. Then there is research, refining sketches, working out color, checking with editor and art director all along, and working and working and working on finished art.

How involved is the art director or author in determining the style of the artwork for a particular project?

The style of my artwork has to be determined by me, to the extent that I can control it. I think the author should have a role in choosing an illustrator, and if there’s a wish to have the book look a certain way, that could be part of the manuscript’s presentation to me at the outset. But in fact this rarely happens. I think publishers are interested in seeing what I come up with.

It has happened that after seeing what I come up with, they aren’t convinced. Then it becomes a conversation, or a discussion, or a debate, in which at the end everybody needs to be on the same side. And I can be convinced that I was wrong, at least if I was wrong.

Do you ever revise your illustrations based on feedback from the art director or for other reasons?

I make lots of changes based on suggestions. Art directors and editors I work with often have great ideas that I didn’t think of, or can point out features in my drawings that I then realize were not so great. I believe we are all devoted, at base, to creating the best possible book. So if I’m given a suggestion that I don’t feel good about, I will say why, and another conversation can begin.

I will try to convince the other parties that I have important and valid reasons for seeing things my way, or point out (if it’s the case) that their suggestions might have problems they may not be considering, and at the same time they’ll do the same to me.

In the end, with very few, minor exceptions, I don’t think any book I’ve worked on has left anybody feeling that the wrong path was taken.

What is the typical timeline, from receiving a commission, to submitting the completed artwork to the publisher?

I’ve rarely managed to finish illustrating a book in less than a year. That has been about the average, I think, but I’m usually not able to start work on a manuscript right when I receive it, so it’s hard to pin down the time it takes when I’ve got a couple of projects waiting to be begun for a couple of years, and I’m already thinking about all of them a little.

You have said in the past that you have created many of your picture book illustrations using oil paints. When that is the case, how is the final artwork submitted to the publisher?

Art that isn’t digital to begin with needs to be scanned, and it is still the case that publishers use scanners or cameras of a higher quality than almost any individual illustrator would have access to.

I’ve talked to some younger illustrators who scan their reflective art and deliver electronically, without even considering that they could or should deliver the actual art on paper. That is really the preferable way to go. Oil paints have the reputation of not drying, but my oils are usually dry within a day, or at least dry to the touch. There is an additive you can put in your painting medium to speed the drying, and if I’m running very late I will sometimes mix in a little more of this desiccant, or I will avoid painting with pigments I know are slow-drying and favor the faster ones, if possible.

Although I won’t scan my own oil paintings (my scanner picks up reflections on oil paint’s shiny surface for every little textury bump in the paper), I’m not above asking for the high resolution files that the publisher gets from their scanner, and sometimes even before first proofs, going in digitally to fix things I didn’t manage to do correctly in the art.

After a book is released, what kinds of promotional activities do you as the illustrator engage in to support its release?

The more the merrier, I say. I’m on Twitter (@paulozelinsky) and Instagram (paulozelinsky) anyway, and while I don’t like self-promotional posts, when a new book is coming out, there is plenty of interesting information to share. I go on Facebook, too, but only privately for my personal account. I would prefer that people I don’t know personally “Like” my Facebook author page.

Z Is For Moose fabric, suitable size for quilt
I’ve had some ideas for contests and a raffle for prints of the cover art of a book. Sometimes the publisher has given me great support and help. But I’ve also done a raffle or two on my own.

In general I do these things because they seem like cool things to do; I don’t know if they have in any way helped sales—in fact I doubt it. Also, I like to create a repeating design based on almost every new book, and have it printed on fabric (at spoonflower.com). People can purchase it on their own, by the yard (though they don’t), and I can have some of made into a shirt or a vest (which I do). Not so long ago I couldn’t decide on color choices in one of these patterns, so I conducted an online vote; that was fun.

An additional layer of attention has sometimes become available to me that would be harder for most illustrators to garner, in that a few of these larks I’ve gone on were interesting enough that Publishers Weekly has written about them, or the Horn Book. But only after a friend pushed me into asking these journals if they’d like to write about it.

I’ve made ties that go with my books, as well as shirts and a couple of vests, and I wear this special apparel (in moderation!) whenever there’s an appropriate event.

And yes, school visits are great. I love to do them with or without a new book. There is nothing better than to see groups of children appreciating the very things you spent so much time and effort on in the solitude of your studio, a year or more earlier.

When it comes to visiting schools I tend to be passive, waiting to be asked, but it’s not out of line to approach and let schools know you’re available if they’re interested. School visits not related to a book tour are a source of income; as part of a book tour, arranged by an independent bookseller, I’m happy to give one presentation to a school, but not the three or four I’d give if it were a paid arrangement.

Are there some new releases we should look out for?

Actually, no. It will be a long time before anything new comes out. After the recent Toys Meet Snow, it’s going to be quite a while until the next thing.

But one brand-new release that is partly mine is the 75th anniversary edition of Make Way for Ducklings. I was very honored and excited (you can imagine) to be asked to draw a pictorial map of Boston that would be included with the book and a CD recording in a boxed set. That edition is just out now, I think.

I had a wonderful time researching what Boston looked like in 1941 (if felt like detective work), and illustrating parts of the story in the appropriate parts of my map, which is really an aerial view as much as it is a map. My drawing didn’t reproduce every single building in and around Beacon Hill, and I had to squash some blocks down in size for the picture to fit the proportions of the paper, but it’s pretty faithful to reality, I’d say.

You’re going to be one of our dueling illustrators at the SCBWI booth at the 2016 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. How often have you visited BCBF?

Publishers always told me, when I asked about Bologna, that going there was not something I would want to do, or should. It was only for brusque, publisher-to-publisher deal-making and if I went I would be in the way.

I first came to Bologna anyway in 2006, because after planning a family trip to Venice, I decided to look up the Bologna fair and discovered that it started immediately after we were going to leave Venice, and Bologna was an easy train trip away. And then a friend told me that SCBWI was holding a full-scale pre-conference in Bologna on the weekend leading up to the fair. I was able to get a spot on a panel, and then when I asked publishers again, they told me I should go after all, and helped me find a hotel room (almost impossible just a month before the fair). And I enjoyed it tremendously!

So after that first wonderful time there, I’ve been going back almost every other year, and continuing to enjoy it tremendously. Where else can you see virtually every children’s book published in the world in the previous year? I see a lot of editors that I know, as well as the great SCBWI community, so it’s an occasion to hang out with friends, and I must say that eating is a large part of the pleasure.

I think the Bologna fair has been changing, and now you see a greater presence of book creators among the sub-rights sales force and the editors. Mostly these are just people coming on their own, but now very occasionally they are even being sent by their publishers.

SCBWI isn’t putting on Bologna pre-conferences any longer, but they have an active booth at Bolognafiere every other year. Of course my favorite activity is the dueling illustrators tradition, which is huge fun. And this year the booth is bigger than ever before.

How can visits to fairs such as BCBF benefit an illustrator’s career?

I haven’t used my trips to the fair in a practical or useful way from the point of view of career-helping. But I’ve seen illustrators come away with publishing deals: it can happen though I’m not positive how it’s done.

SCBWI itself can facilitate this, because you can arrange for a period of time when you sit in the booth and basically represent your books to passersby like all of the other publishers with booths there.

There’s also a wall at the fair for illustrators to put up their promotional cards, and publishers look through them (although there are so many cards by the end of the fair that it seems like an awfully long shot).

European publishers set up periods for open portfolio-viewing, and illustrators line up with their work in hand, to be seen by an art director in the flesh.

Do you have any advice for a first-time visitor to BCBF?

If you have published already, and are thinking of visiting Bologna, definitely ask for advice from your U,S, publisher. If you have ever had a book picked up by a foreign publisher, it would be a great thing to arrange to meet that publisher’s representatives in Bologna. This will make you more of a real person to that publisher rather than just a subsidiary right they purchased.

SCBWI offers various good opportunities to get your work seen, so definitely arrange your visit with SCBWI in mind. Even if you’re not trying to network or push your career forward, hanging out (and eating out!) with SCBWI folk is reason enough to make the visit a fun time. Many but by no means all of them are of US origin, but they live all around the world.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Bologna, apart from visiting the BCBF?

Did I mention eating? Well, other than that, Bologna has some fantastic museums. Besides the main art museum (the Pinatoteca) there is a fabulous Medieval museum.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is a museum devoted entirely to the generally under-appreciated painter Morandi, although I think it may be closed temporarily and its collection shifted to the Modern Art Museum. There is plenty more to do in Bologna, and don’t forget about the eating.

People say that Bolognese food is the best in Italy, and although that kind of claim is sort of meaningless, it is probably also true.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. It was great to see you at the Book Fair. I really enjoyed watching your duel with Doug Cushman at the SCBWI booth during the fair!

Thank you! The pleasure is mine.

Cynsational Notes

Elisabeth Norton grew up in Alaska, lived for many years and Texas, and after a brief sojourn in England, now lives with her family between the Alps and the Jura in Switzerland.

She writes for middle grade readers and serves as the regional advisor for the Swiss chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

When not writing, she can be found walking the dogs, playing board games, and spending time with family and friends. Find her on Twitter @fictionforge.

The Bologna 2016 Interview series is coordinated by Angela Cerrito, SCBWI’s Assistant International Advisor and a Cynsational Reporter in Europe and beyond.

Add a Comment
15. So, here's a story for you...

First off, please give a cheer - my TEDx Talk "Is Your Stuff Stopping You" has over 10,000 views on YouTube - woohoo!

Now, on to the story...
     So I returned to the studio after most of Spring Break passed only to discover that every locker in our room was open. (Except for the ones with actual locks on them.) That was weird. Then I noticed that my bag of peanuts and raisins was open. No way I left it like that. I looked at the other desks - food had been left out there too. In fact, on one desk there was a half-eaten ice-cream cone. Strange (on so many levels).
     I concluded that somebody had been pilfering through our things looking for something to steal and sell, and eating our food while at it. There had been some random thefts in the building, so I figured this ought to be on Security's radar. So, I reported it to the building's receptionist. She called security and soon after, they stopped by to talk to me and whoever else was there (not many folks had returned yet).
     Turned out, other departments had similar stories. Interior Design thought they had a rodent because of the food mess left behind, and the cameras caught somebody sleeping on the 5th floor that same night. We definitely had an intruder, but luckily, nothing of value was taken. Although, Security took a few items they felt probably had good fingerprints on them for documentation, just in case. They were on it. (I mean this positively - truly, they were on top of it.)
     As follow-up, we received emails to please be aware of who follows us into the building when we use our pass cards. Problem with that is, we are art students. Sometimes art students can look pretty rough, so who's to say who looks suspicious or not?
     I also got an email requesting that I file a police report. But, um, nothing was taken (except by security) other than food, and I just wasn't willing to go to bat on that one.
     No matter. A week later, who should show up but two officers of the Scottish Police Department. Our receptionist pointed them to me. Spring Break was way over at this point and the classroom was full. Can you say embarrassed?
     Why are police going to Elizabeth's desk?
     Gads!
     However, the officers were very nice and said that they really needed a point person on the police report (?!?) to use for future reference, and since the intruder took my nuts...
     *ahem*
     Ever so nicely I explained that I really didn't want to have my name in any police reports, and certainly not one where I complain that somebody stole my nuts.
     Imagine! If I ever needed to file a serious report and my name came up in their system with that! Well, they'd think I was... I was... (forgive me) NUTS!
     At any rate, the kind officer understood and said he'd try to find a work around. Meanwhile, Katy Wiedemann got a picture of the whole thing...

...and we were all in tears laughing after the fact. What a way to start the day!
     P.S. - Nobody had any guns.

0 Comments on So, here's a story for you... as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. MO WILLEMS STUDIO MAY 2016 UPDATE!

MAY is going to be a very busy, fun month with loads of appearances, exhibits, theater, and more! Here are some of the highlights: BOOKS!    May 3rd will see the publication of the final Elephant and Piggie adventure, one that I wrote and drew just for you: THE THANK YOU BOOK. It's been amazing fun to spend time discovering new things with these two friends for 25 stories over the last

0 Comments on MO WILLEMS STUDIO MAY 2016 UPDATE! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. ऑडियो – लघु कहानी- थकावट- मोनिका गुप्ता

  Audio of a short story by Monica Gupta ऑडियो – लघु कहानी- थकावट- मोनिका गुप्ता परिवार और नारी की दशा को दिखाती मेरी लिखी लघु कथा थकावट जरुर सुनिए और बताईए कि थकावट कहानी कैसी लगी ??  

The post ऑडियो – लघु कहानी- थकावट- मोनिका गुप्ता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

Add a Comment
18. Q & A

A kid keeps asking me a question via this website and my replies get bounced back due to an invalid email address.

So, Trent, if you’re out there, I was born in November 1968. I won’t give the exact date because leaking too much personal info over time on the Internet is a bad idea. Hope that is enough!

Hope everyone else is having a good day!


Filed under: Miscellaneous

Add a Comment
19. It's Live!! Cover Reveal: Incognita by Kristen Lippert-Martin + Giveaway (US/Canada)

Hi, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for INCOGNITA by Kristen Lippert-Martin, releasing October 1, 2016 from Lerner. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Kristen: Hey, guys,  At long last I can show you the cover for INCOGNITA, the sequel to TABULA RASA....

0 Comments on It's Live!! Cover Reveal: Incognita by Kristen Lippert-Martin + Giveaway (US/Canada) as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
20. Poetry Friday: In the Beginning by Harriet Monroe

When sunshine met the wave,
Then love was born;
Then Venus rose to save
A world forlorn.

For light a thousand wings
Of joy unfurled,
And bound with golden rings
The icy world.

And color flamed the earth
With glad desire,
Till life sprang to the birth,
Fire answering fire,

And so the world awoke,
And all was done,
When first the ocean spoke
Unto the sun.

- In the Beginning by Harriet Monroe

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Add a Comment
21. #portraitchallenge: lady shakespeare



Well, that's my fancy dress sorted for Shakespeare's 400th birthday party! Today's #PortraitChallenge was this engraving by Martin Droeshout, tweeted by the British Museum. Their website says it's 'from the Third Folio of Shakespeare’s works of 1663–1664 and was originally engraved for the title page to the First Folio, published in 1623. It is therefore one of the earliest portraits of Shakespeare.' (Read more here.) Lots of people have taken part; check out their pictures over at @StudioTeaBreak!

Add a Comment
22. Takeover Post with Megan Miranda and Megan Shepherd, Plus Giveaway!

What are we going to do tonight, Megan? Same thing we do every night, Megan. TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Yeah, yeah...I have to get up early tho. Then let’s TRY TO TAKE OVER YOUNG ADULT BOOKS CENTRAL. Victory will be ours! That’s right. Do not try to adjust...

0 Comments on Takeover Post with Megan Miranda and Megan Shepherd, Plus Giveaway! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
23. Cynsational News & Giveaways

Jane Addams Award Winner
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to the winners and honorees of the Bank Street Awards, Green Earth Book Award, Edgar Awards (for mysteries) and Jane Addams (Peace) Children's Book Awards! Note: Cynsations would normally feature more coverage than a link on each, but we're cruising toward summer hiatus and the schedule is packed. Click for more information!

Adding an Emotional Stance by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "Don’t just settle for describing something or someone. It’s in how you describe them that the reader will be able to read the narrator’s attitude and emotion toward them. It’s all about context, folks!"

Children's Literature and the Censorship Conversation by Matia Burnett from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "While challenges to books can often result in increased sales, the authors and editors on the panel agreed that it’s certainly not the expectation or the intent of the author that a book will be deemed objectionable."

Hannah Gomez & Allie Jane Bruce on Jewishness & Whiteness from Reading While White. Peek: " You are more educated in Judaism than I, and you’ve spent much more of your life practicing Judaism than I have. And yet, I’ll bet if we stood next to each other and asked 10 people 'which of us is Jewish?' 9 of them would point to me."

How to Weave a Message Without Pummeling Your Readers by James Scott Bell from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "The engine of a story is characters in crisis exercising strength of will. True character is revealed only in a high-stakes struggle." See also Why Authors Should Use Instagram by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

Recruiting Diversity: A CBC Panel by Matia Burnett from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Assuming that talented, diverse employees are recruited into publishing industry jobs, fostering a welcoming environment for individuals of different backgrounds is the next step."

How to Share Your Protagonist's Deepest Feelings With Readers by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "...readers have probably never been terrorized by a serial killer, vampire or demon in their own lives, but they know what it is to feel terror."

Author Interview: Elaine Scott from Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb. Peek: "People rush to post their pictures of super moons, crescent moons, lunar eclipses, etc. on social media. It's still perceived as something beautiful and a tad mysterious."

Luck and Talent by Kell Andrews from Project Mayhem. Peek: "I queried the right agent at the right time – or maybe the wrong one, because that book never sold and that agent – a respectable one with a respectable agency – left the business."

LGBTQ Books for Middle Grade Readers by Kelly Jensen from BookRiot. Peek: "It’s less about the physicality during those years than it is about the mental grappling with forming one’s identity."

Children's Editor Dick Jackson Turns Author by Sue Corbett from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Selling eight picture books in a short span would be a phenomenal accomplishment for any writer, but Jackson’s feat is even more astonishing, because for the past six years he has been expending considerable effort just to stay healthy."

Why Host an African American Read In? by Angie Manfredi from Reading While White. Peek: "No one assumes only White people will want to read Shakespeare or, say, Emily Dickinson. We are taught those works are universal, they are for everyone. But too often, racism tells us that books by Native people or POC are only for the members of those groups."

On Writer's Block from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "The problem with speaking of writer’s block is that by giving it a name—and who is more prone to naming than writers?—we give it an authority it doesn’t deserve."

Author Interview: Trent Reedy & The Last Full Measure by Robin Herrera from VCFA Launch Pad. Peek: "One advantage I had with the Divided We Fall trilogy is that I knew it was a big story that would take three books. This allowed me to pay attention to the overall three-book structure, which I think would be different from writing a fully self contained story in one book and then later writing that book’s sequel."

Cynsational Screening Room



This Week at Cynsations


Cynsational Giveaways


The winners of What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur? by Rana DiOrio and Emma D. Dryden, illustrated by Ken Min (Little Pickle, 2016), signed by Emma were Pat in California, Ann in South Carolina, and Suzanne in California.

More Personally

Nose, meet grindstone! This week I focused on event preparation, finishing up my critiques for the Austin SCBWI Writers and Illustrators Working Conference and getting organized for my class and presentations at the Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore.

That said, the SCBWI Bologna interview series is now available in its entirety. It's especially recommended to illustrators and those who love picture book art, but also, everyone who considers themselves (or wants to be) part of the international conversation of children's literature and publishing.

Especially to my fellow U.S. readers, it's too tempting to think in an insular manner. But the tradition and future of books for young readers are both anchored in the world market.

Speaking of which, look for an interview with me and my AFCC fellow YA Fantasy workshop leader Gabriela Lee in the May issue of Singapore's Child magazine.

Personal Links



http://afcc.com.sg/

Add a Comment
24. FOODFIC: Please Welcome C.M. Keller, Author of Screwing Up Time



When Shelley asked me to write about the food in my Screwing Up Time series, I was excited.

Probably because I’m a foodie and so food plays an integral role in my time travel novels. Henry, the main character in my time travel novels, is always dealing with food. If it’s not because of his mom, a dyed-in-the-wool, organic health food nut, who serves tofu-turkey for Thanksgiving or his sister Kate and her midnight trips for fries and Whoppers, it’s the food he encounters while he travels in other times and places.

After all, how can you visit the Middle Ages and not experience eel pie or a cockentrice (a combination of a pig and a chicken sewn together and cooked)? Because let’s face it, cockentrice is cool. And eel pie is just weird.

But food is more than setting and characterization. It’s also part of what drives the story. Even in our real lives, food is part of the plot. At holiday times, we come together to share a meal. Engagements happen over candle-lit dinners. Even many religious ceremonies like Communion and Passover involve food. So too, food helps drive the plots of in the Screwing Up Time series. In Screwing Up Babylon, a monkey with the aim of a Yankees’ pitcher in a pendant-winning year nails people with limes in Babylon. And when the beast is tamed with candied orange peel, Henry discovers the key to rescuing a woman from the harem. Or in one of my favorite scenes from Screwing Up Alexandria, Henry steals a mug of Sumerian beer so he can mix up a time travel elixir and save the woman he loves from being sacrificed.


Oddly enough, the food in my novels often drives the plot of my own life. Because if I’m going to write about ancient beers, candied orange peel, and eel pies, I have to know how they taste. The beer was great. Candied orange peel is delicious. And eel pie…okay, I didn’t really make eel pie. But I ate smoked eel, which is probably close enough, and it was surprisingly good.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Connie!



You can find Connie here:







0 Comments on FOODFIC: Please Welcome C.M. Keller, Author of Screwing Up Time as of 4/28/2016 3:10:00 PM
Add a Comment
25. Featured Review: Into the Dim by Janet Taylor

About this book: When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. And she's alive,...

0 Comments on Featured Review: Into the Dim by Janet Taylor as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts