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1. First Five Pages December Workshop Opens November 29

The First Five Pages November Workshop has come to an end.  This group worked so hard on their revisions, and it showed! A huge thanks to our guest mentor, J.R. Johansson (I can’t wait to read CUT ME FREE!), to Pam Glauber, my editor for The Exceptionals, and now a free lance editor, and of course to all of our fabulous permanent mentors! You can check out the final revisions here: First Five Pages November Workshop

Our December workshop will open for entries at noon on Saturday November 29, 2014. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have the talented PETER SALOMON, author of HENRY FRANKS and ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS, and agent GINGER CLARK!  

So get those pages ready – First Five Pages December Workshop opens in one week. Click here to get the rules!

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2. Reasons for Rejection

If your book is rejected, it doesn't necessarily mean it's poorly written. 

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-it-really-means-when-your-book.html

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3. Uplift: The Infinite Possibilities of Imagination

Hi, folks! This month I'm calling the series Uplift. The idea of uplift is to improve socially, culturally, morally, spiritually, etc.  We are all hungry, our hearts beating, struggling for contentment and a sweet spot to thrive. This part of my journey for uplift. 

Short and sweet, this week, folks. I  have to say that my imagination is my biggest gift.  It bubbles around inside me. It is the best part of myself. I had a fun conversation with an imaginary friend this week, and bonus it was not my imaginary friend but Sam Garton's imaginary friend.  Sam is the otter keeper of Otter. You might want to check out this blog: I am Otter

I followed Otter this week.  You can too: 

Here is our conversation.




 I have to say, my conversation with otter was one of my favorite things this week. 

Here's the deal. My capacity for play has never diminished. I still have my favorite doll from childhood. I still color and draw almost every day. I never stop making up stories.  I love to imagine the possibilities. Even in my darkest days, the angel of my imagination stirs within me. 

There are journeys ahead, friends. Trust the infinite possibilities of your imagination. 

I hope that your are jazzed this week!  Please consider letting your imagination run wild. Let it take you beyond the possibilities to the impossible. Open a new door. Turn a new corner. 

I will be back next week with the last in the series. 

A doodle from me: Twos.



When you have exhausted all the possibilities: remember this. You haven't.  Thomas Edison

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4. Black Friday Sale Coupons


Sharing Black Friday Sale Coupons for DontTouchBaby.com and our Etsy shop! These codes are good through Sunday, November 30th, on most of our books, bookmarks, baby signs and other baby shower gifts!

Note that the DontTouchBaby.com Bonus Coupon can be used in addition to our Thanksgiving coupon, now through 11/30 only.


_______________________________

TOP SELLERS this week:

Life with Jesse Daniels

Brown Boot Don't Touch the Baby Sign
_______________________________

As a reminder, you can always view our sales and DAILY DEAL and reach our site through these other websites as well:

WashYourHandsSigns.comPremieSigns.comCHDSigns.com and CarSeatSigns.com!

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5. November 23 Meme


Okay, here are some things that make November 23 special(and if you're in the Northern hemisphere you will be reading this on November 22. Too bad! I'm lying in bed on Sunday morning posting this to the world)

Events


534 BCE Thespis of Icaria becomes the word's first actor to portray a character other than himself. In other words, the world's first actor! He did some other things to get plays going. His very name is used as a term for an actor, "thespian". And it all began On This Day! If interested, check out this blog post about the origins of Showbiz! 



1644  The poet John Milton publishes Aeropagitica, a pamphlet against censorship, due to a recent "licensing" system produced by Parliament -  not that he had anything against book-burning of "bad" books, he was a terribly grumpy man, but he says at least publish the things first, then argue against them(and you can always burn them afterwards). Hmm, sounds familiar. Like certain Aussie politicians who recently argued about "freedom of speech" for horrible people because we can always argue with them... Still. He wrote lots of fabulous poetry, crotchety man or not.

A quote from this: "A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life" is up in the New York Public Library.
1963  The first episode of Dr Who, "An Unearthly Child" is broadcast. Unfortunately it had to compete with the news of President Kennedy's assassination, but after fifty years it's still going strong. And in the last season, we returned to Coal Hill School, where the latest companion was working as a teacher. Yes, Coal Hill was also in Remembrance Of The Daleks, but it was only one story and it was set just after the first Doctor and his companions had left.

Birthdays

1892 Erte, that amazing illustrator and designer who did all those wonderful Art Deco pictures. Kerry Greenwood's heroine Phryne Fisher wears his designer clothes. He also did stuff for Hollywood silent movies, including Ben-Hur.  


1909 Nigel Tranter, author of a whole lot of historical fiction, mostly about Scotland. I've read some of his books, which are good stuff. 

1923 Gloria Whelan, a prolific US author of children's and YA novels. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read any of her 50-odd books as yet, but I thought anyone with that much of a track record deserves a mention here. 

Holidays and observances

* This is the feast day of Alexander Nevsky, the Russian hero who has been made a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church and inspired a lot of film and music stuff.

* It's Rudolph Maister Day in Slovenia. He was a military officer who also wrote poetry.

* On a truly frivolous note, it's the earliest day on which Black Friday can happen - strictly a  US thing, coming just after Thanksgiving and the opening of Christmas shopping. Amazing they leave it that long!

I got all these from Wikipedia, a very useful source for such stuff. All images are Creative Commons.

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6. Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Whittling

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

WHITTLING

5068714787_2c685a966a_b

Andrea Parrish-Geyer @ Creative Commons

Description: To shape a piece of wood by chipping or cutting small pieces from it

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: good hand-eye coordination, dexterity, a steady hand and firm grip, the ability to sit for long periods of time without getting stiff or sore

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: imaginative, artistic, patient, calm, resourceful, meticulous, focused, obsessive

Required Resources and Training: Whittling is a time-consuming activity that takes much practice to master. It can be learned with little or no teaching; all you really need is a sharp knife, a piece of wood, and lots of time. It helps to have a basic understanding of wood types, so you can choose the type of wood that will yield the best result for the project. And while you can whittle with any knife, smaller ones work best, and different kinds of blades can help with different cuts.

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: The most common stereotype associated with whittling is the country bumpkin (usually male) sitting on the front porch whittling sticks down to toothpicks. While it makes sense that an avid whittler needs access to wood, he doesn’t have to live in the actual woods. Items can be whittled from wood chunks or twigs found in a park, or even from lumber bought at a hardware store.

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • for relaxation or stress relief
  • as a way of passing the time when one has excess time on one’s hands
  • coming up with a new product or technique that can be turned into a much-needed money-making venture for the hero
  • when a small, secretive item is needed to help save the day (a lock pick, wooden coin, weapon, etc.)
  • when it’s necessary to camouflage something important as an everyday object

Stories Where Whittling is Used As Part of the Plot Line

  • The Shawshank Redemption—though Andy Dufresne whittled soapstone instead of wood
  • Spindle’s End (Robin McKinley)

Related Talents and Skills: Carpentry

Resources for Further Information:

Whittling 101

A Beginner’s Guide to Whittling 

Getting Started in Woodcarving and Whittling

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.

The post Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Whittling appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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7. FREE Ruff Christmas Book Promotion

Hi Everyone

Bella and Max here from Ruff Life. Do you like our bellasome Christmas Sleigh?

Christmas is just around the corner, so they say, and we have a bellatastic FREE book promotion for you to enter.

We are giving away one signed copy of our crazy, new Christmas book - Ruff Christmas.  It's a full on action packed, comedy extravaganza that will have the whole family in stiches.

Below is the link for you to enter to win. It will make a great Christmas gift or stocking filler.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ruff Christmas by B.R. Tracey

Ruff Christmas

by B.R. Tracey

Giveaway ends December 09, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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8. Seeking Sanctuary in Children’s Books

I’ve spent a lot more time than usual poring over and considering children’s books of late. That’s in part because friends are starting to have babies and I am a giver of books as presents for any and all occasions that require (even if that makes me the un-fun ‘auntie’ in these early years). I’ve […]

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9. Cast Shadow in the Foreground


I painted a watercolor demo during a daylong visit to Favilli Studio, a multidisciplinary design group in South Pasadena. 

I walked down to the Arroyo with a group of designers and chose this view toward the York Avenue Bridge. I wanted to paint the forms—arch bridge, trees, and embankment—as realistically as I could.


But the light was overcast the whole time, so I decided to invent some light and shadow effects. 

I figured that I could make the planes of the retaining wall much more clear if I cast a foliage shadow across it, with the dappled spots of light following the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal planes.


The cast shadow serves two purposes. It invites the viewer to move from the dappled foreground shadow, where they seem to be standing, into the brightly lit middle ground, where Jeanette is standing.

The foliage shadow also helps to define the plane changes as the ground slants up and over the embankment wall.

Shadows can be a powerful tool for expressing plane changes, as Arthur Guptill demonstrates in this plate from Color in Sketching and Rendering (1935).
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Previous posts:
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Learn more methods in my video  Watercolor in the Wild

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10. Grammar nerds are right: grammar matters to employers too


I confess: I’m a grammar nerd. I always have been. Even when I walked through the hospital corridors in my occupational therapist, pre-writing life, I always loved snarling at the door marked KITCHEN’S, ‘What exactly does the kitchen own?’
Yes, I know, it’s a pathetic sort of pleasure.
Ironically, now that I’ve been earning my living as an author for over twenty years, I’m more tolerant of the fact that English is a changing, living language. I’ve had to accept that when people say decimate to mean devastate or annihilate, they are actually following common usage, and it’s probably not polite to ask them if they mean that one in ten was wiped out.
And sometimes, in fiction – or in blog posts – I break grammar rules. (Yes, it’s true: I’ve just started a sentence with And. I’ve had elderly readers tell me in shocked tones that their English teachers would have never allowed that.)  Usually I do it deliberately, but sometimes it’s a mistake, and that really is upsetting.
Because some things are still wrong – and it matters. I frequently get emails from people who are keen to teach me how to ‘author best seller books.’ (I don’t write back and point out that I’ve had a book on the NY Times bestseller list. I told you I was getting more tolerant.) I’m quite sure these people know a lot more about marketing than I do, but I cannot imagine that I would ever pay money to learn how to write from someone whose email is full of grammatical mistakes. (‘A book who has a nice cover’ was another recent one. Really?!)
So I was interested to read a survey by Grammarly, an online grammar checker, that Sales and andTranslation freelancers (and 19.3 for IT and Programming – which actually seems fair enough to me, since they’re using language I can’t understand anyway.)
However, the part of the survey to make a grammar nerd’s heart rejoice is that in each category, the freelancers who made the fewest writing errors earned better reviews – and more money.  Grammar nerds of the world unite: it turns out that grammar does matter!
Grammarly, whom I’d only known previously as a source of hilarious-for-grammar-nerds e-cards and memes on facebook, has kindly allowed me to reuse their infographic:


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11. My tweets

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12. Not Alone

Everyone worries – we’re programmed that way,
But some have more justification.
How other’s dilemmas stack up against yours
Can’t be fathomed by mere observation.

And even if someone’s travails might be worse
That does nothing to lighten your burden.
You deal or you struggle in silence or else
You complain so no one gets a word in.

When our problems pile up and we ask ourselves why,
We’re inclined to feel sorry and moan;
But it might help the tiniest bit to recall
That in suffering, we’re not alone.

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13. Grave Mercy

You know those days/weeks/months that are so bad you just want to go to bed, read a book, and block the world out? I’ve had one/all of those. So, despite having more deadlines than I can actually keep in my head and the reminders of which fair nearly inspire a full-blown panic attack, I took […]

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14. Leaving a mystery unsolved?

Hello, I'm outlining the plot of my first novel. The story is about a couple that is accused of murdering a child and their lawyer who has just graduated

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15. How my characters speak as compared to the narrative

Question: I am writing a book that takes place in the medieval period, swords, bows, knights, kings that type of thing. I have done research on how they

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16. 2015 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Novel Competition

Welcome to the 2015 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Novel Competition!

minatour

Please read all of the rules and guidelines before submitting your entry. You can find the complete rules and guidelines at us.macmillan.com/minotaurbooks/writing-competitions.
To enter, you must complete this form and upload an electronic file of your Manuscript.

Only electronic submissions, uploaded through this entry form, will be considered; do not mail or e-mail
manuscript submissions to Minotaur Books.

  • Before uploading, please ensure that your Manuscript is formatted as follows:
  • 1) The Manuscript must be either a Microsoft Word document or a PDF
  • 2) Text must be double spaced
  • 3) Pages must be numbered consecutively from beginning to end
  • 4) The Manuscript must be saved as “Manuscript Title_Entrant Name”

Because of the great volume of submissions we receive and the fact that judges are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, it is important that you submit your Manuscript as early as possible. Submissions will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries.

To be considered for the 2015 competition, all submissions must be received by 11:59pm on December 15,
2014.

If you have questions or need further clarification regarding the rules and guidelines of this competition, you may contact us at MB-MWAFirstCrimeNovelCompetition@StMartins.com.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Competition, opportunity, Places to Submit Tagged: Best First Novel Competition, MacMillian, Minotaur Books, Mystery Writers of America, St. Martins

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17. Yay or nay

By now you either have given up on NaNoWriMo or know you stand a good chance of “winning” ten days from now.

If you’re in he first camp, I understand, I’ve been there before. For a number of reasons - lack of time, other commitments, stalling of story, loss of confidence, seemingly insurmountable odds of completing it - the wind has been taken out of your sails. You started November enthused and with a killer story idea, but the thing beat you down. That is the nature of this beast. 

However, one not need feel like a failure. Take solace in knowing you’ve got the start of something great. Maybe not the complete first draft, ready to be fine-tuned, you had hoped for, but a beginning. That spark of an idea that once held such promise, though now stalled, still has potential. It had potential then, it holds it now. Give yourself a little time away from it, allow it to stew in the subconscious, then come back to it in January and try again. 

If you’re in the second group, I’m pleased to finally be among you. At least I will have 50K words by then. It doesn’t feel like the story will have been completed. As this is different territory for me, I’m not sure what is required to receive that treasured prize of being allowed to print my own “I Did It” certificate, or a new car, or free trip to Disneyland, or whatever it is they do to reward winners. Again, I’m new here and am not sure the procedure for officially completing the marathon. Something from the NaNoWriMo site tells how to validate and “win.” I personally have promised myself a massage once “the end” is reached. 

There still is a week and a weekend to go, so keep writing. And if NaNo got the best of you, go get your massage anyway. You’ve earned it, too.


(This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)

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18. Sunday Morning Running Motivation: Life’s short…

While I may play running shoe favorites, you get the idea. ;) Get running and in any shoe that meets your fancy…cuz ‘stopping’ just aint all it’s cracked up to be.
nike running shoes

——
More RUNNING MOTIVATION

#SweatsintheCity Runnerchick Chic

More CARTOONS

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19. Lynn Cullen's MRS. POE - Guest Post and Giveaway

I have a surprise for you today - an adult book, MRS. POE by my dear friend Lynn Cullen. Lynn has also written books for the younger set, like I AM REMBRANDT'S DAUGHTER and MOI AND MARIE ANTOINETTE. So, I'm thrilled to have Lynn on today to help promote her latest book, although it's been selling gang-busters. Lynn shares a touching story with us about reading to her children. Take it away Lynn!


     I’m all about books. I read them every spare moment I have, which these days is generally only when I’m not writing them. I got my affliction from my dad, who so loved reading that he always kept a Reader’s Digest in the glove-box of the car, on the toilet, and in his coat-pocket, so he would never be caught without a story to peruse. My favorite activity as a kid was to ride my bike a couple miles to the library and load a paper grocery sack—the big size—with fictionalized biographies of Abe Lincoln, Helen Keller, and Daniel Boone, as well as every last book in the Little House on the Prairie series. I’m one of those people who cannot sleep without a nightcap of turning the pages of a novel before bed. Whenever I pass a bookstore, be it in an airport, shopping center, or strip mall, I look longingly at all the lovely spines and wonder what I’m missing. I’ll willingly sacrifice gazing at the scenery for reading while riding in a car.
     But as addicted as I am to consuming the written word, for a few short years there was time when reading was not quite a complete and utter pleasure. There was a time when I dreaded it almost as much as changing a tire: the years when my kids were small.
     Granted, this brief anathema to reading came only at their bedtime. And it increased with the ratio of kids to mom, especially after throwing the birth of three kids in four years into the equation. But after doling out three home-cooked meals a day, plodding along under the weight of kids and their bags of gear to the park, a museum, or the library, and then scrubbing three wiggling, chattering monkeys and pinning them down to brush their teeth, I was the one who was cooked.
A photo of Lynn in one of her fave writing spots and with her dog, Rosie.

     Yet I never considered the possibility of NOT reading to them. It was almost as if I thought their vulnerable brains might melt without a dose of nutritious reading each day. I knew how important infusing their minds with story construction and ideas and laughter had to be for them. What I didn’t know was how good reading to them would be for me.
     Now that my girls are grown, when I look back over their childhoods, what comes back to me most vividly is reading with them each night. I can still smell their damp hair, soap-scented skin, and young breath as they lie in the crook of my arm. I can still feel the delicate wings of their shoulders and the rise and fall of their narrow chests. I can hear their baby voices and the funny construction of phrases unique to each as we talked about the stories. More than the trips, the meals, the baths or anything else, I remember the bond with and the awe for each of these wondrous souls as we turned the pages together.
     Now when I read to my grandchildren, I notice my daughters hovering nearby, relieved to give up their duty for a switch but also not quite comfortable with resigning from their usual place behind the book. I understand. These precious moments are finite in their number. But little do my children know that even as I am delighting in their babies, I am savoring, oh, I am savoring, the sweet memory of cradling them.

     Lynn Cullen's newest novel, Mrs. Poe, examines the fall of Edgar Allan Poe through the eyes of his lover, poet Francis Osgood. A National Bestseller, Mrs. Poe has been named a Target Book Club Pick, a NPR 2013 Great Read, an Oprah.com "Books That Make Time Stand Still," an Editor's Pick at The Historical Novels Review, an Atlanta Magazine Best Books 2013, and an Indie Next Pick. Lynn is also the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 Indie Next selection. She has written numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and an ALA Best Book of 2008. Her novel, Reign of Madness, about Juana the Mad, daughter of the Spanish Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, was chosen as a 2011 Best of the South selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was a 2012 Townsend Prize finalist" and was just chosen as a "Book That All Georgians Should Read" by the Georgia Center for the Book. Her newest picture book for children, "Dear Mr. Washington" will be released by Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers in early 2015 and is a Library Guild Selection. She is currently working on a novel about the women in the life of Mark Twain."

GIVEAWAY!
Simon and Schuster has generously offered to send a free copy of MRS. POE to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below:

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20. Me and my Bookie...!!


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21. Verne in Vigo - Maeve Friel


I love coming across literary sculptures, whether they are the slew of Paddington Bears which recently appeared in London, a dapper James Joyce leaning on his cane on Earl Street in Dublin or Don Quijote and Sancho Panza trotting through the Plaza España in Madrid.

This curious monument of a man sitting amid the tentacles of a giant octopus is also a literary monument. It is in Vigo, in Galicia in North-Western Spain - but what is it?






It is a homage to the French novelist Jules Verne, often described as the inventor of the genre of science fiction, and to the Galician references in his much-loved adventure Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. 

First of all, the sculpture reminds us of the terrifying chapter in which Captain Nemo and the crew of the submarine Nautilus are attacked by giant squid, as in the English translation, or more correctly by giant octopus (les poulpes, in French). Galicia, renowned for spectacular seafood, is particularly in thrall to the octopus and Pulpo a feira, octopus in the style of the fair,  is its signature dish - boiled in huge cauldrons by the pulpeiras, specialist octopus cooks, the tentacles snipped up with massive scissors and sprinkled with olive oil and pimentón.

But there is another chapter of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which takes place right in the Ría de Vigo, the Bay of Vigo. This was the real life location of a major naval disaster in 1702 when English ships burnt and scuttled the French and Spanish fleets which were returning from the Caribbean laden with treasure from the New World. In the novel, Captain Nemo comes to Vigo to loot the ships´treasure.

Around the Nautilus for a half-mile radius, the waters seemed saturated with electric light. The sandy bottom was clear and bright. Dressed in diving suits, crewmen were busy clearing away half-rotted barrels and disemboweled trunks in the midst of the dingy hulks of ships. Out of these trunks and kegs spilled ingots of gold and silver, cascades of jewels, pieces of eight. The sand was heaped with them. Then, laden with these valuable spoils, the men returned to the Nautilus, dropped off their burdens inside, and went to resume this inexhaustible fishing for silver and gold.
I understood. This was the setting of that battle on October 22, 1702. Here, in this very place, those galleons carrying treasure to the Spanish government had gone to the bottom. Here, whenever he needed, Captain Nemo came to withdraw these millions to ballast his Nautilus. It was for him, for him alone, that America had yielded up its precious metals. He was the direct, sole heir to these treasures wrested from the Incas and those peoples conquered by Hernando Cortez!

Don´t miss the monument to M. Verne if you are visiting this less well known corner of Spain, a place redolent with stories of shipwrecks, smugglers, fishermen´s tales and foot-weary pilgrims, the furious music of bagpipes and an all-pervading smell of octopus and sizzling sardines.  And of course, I recommend that you read the book too!

www.maevefriel.com


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22. gods and goddess

Question: I was wondering if I were to write a book with gods and goddesses that are already in mythology if it was better to recreate/add my own version/ideas

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23. Prapples to Flashpoint in 5 Seconds or Less

These days, I'm really just aiming for one post a month.  That way I will (hopefully) never fail!

Jared

I haz discovered a new favorite fruit.  They are called Asian pears, apple pears (or maybe it's pear apples...) Japanese pears, Chinese pears and a plethora of things in between, but I call them Prapples.  They are a combo of the best part of the two fruits.  They are crispy like apples, but have the taste of pear.

Cook's Thesaurus
They are AMAZING in salad, with some fab apple cider vinegar!  True story!!  (The gif below does NOT reveal my true feelings about prapples - I simply found it while browsing da Google, cracked up, and felt compelled to share it with all you all.  Prapples are GOOD!  :-)
 
Castle
 I have been very busy making things these day.  It's LOVELY making things.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/210728988/tardis-ordinary-adventures-in-time-and?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/208780647/the-dark-flight?
 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207133257/play-ball?ref=related-3


https://www.etsy.com/listing/207118638/butterfly-kisses?ref=related-4

Some of the "new" stuff in my shoppe.  It's nice having new stuff.  For a long time it was sort of just languishing with old stuff, but I have been a bit craftier and doubled my inventory.  HooRAH! :-)

J2 Dancing
 
Since I apparently cannot live my life without delving into new (for me) TV shows, I would like to introduce you, yet again, to a new TV show!

Flashpoint

This one is really good.  It's about a police team, Team One of the SRU (Strategic Response Unit) who tends to answer the "hot calls" of a crime gone wrong or going wrong.

Greg Parker


First, there's Sergeant Greg Parker.  He's the "Boss" and the team's lead negotiator.  During a situation he's the one to make contact and try to "talk" the subject down so they can resolve the situation peacefully and non-lethally.




Ed Lane



Then there's Ed Lane.  He's the team leader, tactical operator and a crack sniper.  He is often the person in charge of taking down the subject if the situation escalates and there is no other option other than lethal.





Spike


Michelangelo "Spike" Scarlatti is demolitions and tactical.  He is often to be found in the van doing fabulous things with a computer, figuring out info on both subjects and victims for the Team to use to de-escalate a subject.





Wordy



Kevin "Wordy" Wordsworth specializes in entry and hand-to-hand.  He is the "family man" on the show and an overall sweetheart.






Sam



Sam Braddock is ex-military.  He tends to take over as team leader and tactical whenever Ed can't, and is usually lead sniper.






Jules


Julianna "Jules" Callaghan is the team's only female member, and she is awesome sauce.  She tends to be the one to do negotiating if Greg can't, and she is also often called upon to be the sniper.





Lew



Lewis "Lou" Young is the less lethal weapons specialist on Team One, often backing up Spike when it comes to bombs and research.






This show is crazy, because not only is it a GREAT show, but all the team members are like a family.  They have each others' backs all the time, and their one goal is to "keep the peace."  It also does backstory on the members, so you grow fonder and fonder of them as the seasons go.  I tend to shed a lot of tears at the end of each episode.  They do a great job of finishing up the story and having this song playing in the background that totally depicts the whole episode perfectly.

At the moment I've just started Season Four, and I have a TERRIBLE feeling about one of my favourite members on the team.  I'm not going to say anything, in case I end up being right, and if I am I'll probably cry even harder.  :-)

Okay, my life is boring.  I'll leave you and love you and post again sometime in December.  Probably just in time for Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Advent, Happy St. Nicholas Day in case I don't pop on long enough to commemorate those holidays with their own special posts.

God bless!!

Cat

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24. PiBoIdMo Day 22: Diana Murray Brews Up a Character-Driven Story (plus a prize!)

DianaMurrayBioPhotoby Diana Murray

Picture books are as varied as the potions in a witch’s cupboard. Some are spicy and bubbly, while others are mellow and sweet. So which kinds of stories are editors and agents clamoring for? Well, their tastes are just as varied. But one thing that seems to be on everyone’s wish list is this: character-driven stories. A few examples include FANCY NANCY by Jane O’Connor, LLAMA LLAMA RED PAJAMA by Anna Dewdney, PINKALICIOUS by Elizabeth Kann, RUSSELL THE SHEEP by Rob Scotton, SKIPPYJON JONES by Judy Schachner, PETE THE CAT by Eric Litwin, LADYBUG GIRL by David Soman and Jacky Davis, MAX AND RUBY by Rosemary Wells, and SCAREDY SQUIRREL by Mélanie Watt. As you can see, character-driven books have great series potential and overall marketing potential. When readers fall in love with a character, they want to read more about him/her, and it’s fun to visualize what other sorts of situations the character may get into.

This doesn’t mean that character-driven stories are the only kinds that sell or do well in the marketplace. Nor does it mean that writers should focus primarily on pleasing editors or following trends. The best writing comes from the heart! But with that in mind, if you want to explore the possibilities of a character-driven story, here is one quick and easy recipe for brewing up a strong concept. Two ingredients are all you need!

  • Personality Trait
  • Conflicting Goal

I recommend you start off with a list of your own personality traits. This will make it easy for you to feel an emotional connection with (and understanding of) the trait.

My list might look something like this:

  • introverted
  • joker
  • nerdy
  • perfectionist
  • quiet
  • creative
  • analytical
  • messy
  • quirky
  • worrier

DianaMurrayBlogArtBG

Pick one trait (or several, if you’re feeling bold!). Next, choose a goal. Not just any goal, but specifically a goal that is in opposition to the trait you selected. When I wrote GRIMELDA, THE VERY MESSY WITCH, I chose the trait of being “messy” and made the goal “to find an item the character desperately wants/needs.” Or let’s say, for example, I choose “quiet”, then perhaps the goal would be to sing on stage, or speak out against something, or win an international yodeling contest. Sprinkle the goal in with your trait and–POOF! Instant conflict. And the conflict is intrinsically related to the essence of the main character. Adding conflict to a story is one way of encouraging readers to keep turning the pages. They’ll want to find out what happens next! Now, how will your character attempt to reach that goal or face that problem in his/her own unique way?

Feel that story bubbling to life? Now all you have to do is write (and revise, and revise) the rest. Of course, that’s the hard part. But a little inspiration magic can go a long way!

guestbloggerbio2014

Diana Murray is the author of several forthcoming picture books including, CITY SHAPES (Little, Brown, Spring 2016), NED THE KNITTING PIRATE: A SALTY YARN (Roaring Brook Press, Winter 2016), and GRIMELDA, THE VERY MESSY WITCH, plus a sequel (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, Summer 2016, 2017). Diana is the recipient of two SCBWI Magazine Merit Awards (2013 and 2014) and an Honor (2013) for poetry. She also won the 2010 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Work-In-Progress Grant for a picture book text. Diana is represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House. She was raised in New York City and currently lives in a nearby suburb with her husband, two very messy children, and a goldfish named Pickle. Diana’s character GRIMELDA was brewed up during the first official PiBoIdMo, back in 2009! You can read more about that experience here.

For more information and news, you can visit DianaMurray.com or follow Diana on twitter: @DianaMWrites.

prizedetails2014

Diana is giving away a picture book critique!

This prize will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for this prize if:

  1. You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  2. You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!


14 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 22: Diana Murray Brews Up a Character-Driven Story (plus a prize!), last added: 11/22/2014
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25. Spotlight and Giveaway: Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer

I am in the middle of Twice Tempted, and my project for the rest of the day is to finish reading it.  Check back soon for a review!

About TWICE TEMPTED:

Fiona Ferguson’s troubles began with a kiss . . . 

It feels like a lifetime ago that Alex Knight saved Fiona from certain doom . . . and stole a soul-shattering kiss for good measure. Wanting nothing more than to keep her safe, he left her in the care of her grandfather, the Marquess of Dourne. But Fiona was hardly safe. As soon as he could, the marquess cast her and her sister out on the streets with only her wits to keep them alive. Alex has never forgotten that long-ago kiss. Now the dashing spy is desperate to make up for failing his duty once before. This time he will protect Fiona once and for all, from a deadly foe bent on taking revenge on the Ferguson line-and anyone who stands in the way . . .

About Eileen Dreyer:

New York Times best-selling author Eileen Dreyer has won five RITA Awards from the Romance Writers of America, which secures her  fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Eileen is an addicted traveler, having sung in some of the best Irish pubs in the world.  Eileen also writes as Kathleen Korbel and has over three million books in print worldwide. Born and raised in Missouri, she lives in St. Louis County with her husband Rick and her two children.

Eileen’s social media:

@EileenDreyer

http://www.EileenDreyer.com

http://facebook.com/EileenDreyer

Buy links:

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1FasQzq

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1ukNFH7

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1xon12i

Amazon: http://amzn.to/11MnbDz

Excerpt:

He arched an eyebrow. “Lord Whitmore again? Please, Fiona. Don’t do that to me. When I hear Lord Whitmore, I think of my uncle, who had six fingers and thought bathing was a trick of the devil.”

She giggled. “I can understand your wanting to maintain the distinction.”

“Every time you call me Lord Whitmore, I will call you Eloise.”

She glared at him, the curtains clutched to her chest like bedclothes, as if she were a maiden in threat of seduction. “You wouldn’t.”

He shrugged. “It is your name. Lady Eloise Fiona Ferguson Hawes.”

“No one knows,” she hissed.

He leaned in very close. “I do.”

She reared back and almost tipping the ladder again. “That is patently unfair.”

He shrugged and reached up for the curtains. “All is fair in love and safety.”

She refused to budge. “I do not believe that is precisely the quote.”

Grinning, he put his foot on the second rung, just beneath her. “Close enough.”

And then he made the mistake of looking into her eyes. Her blue, blue eyes that were suddenly black with arousal. He heard the sharp intake of her breath and saw the erratic pulse beating at the base of her long white throat.

His own body reacted just as it had every time he’d gotten close to her. He focused in on her, his grip on her tightening. Still she didn’t move, caught in the circle of his free arm, her hip pressed against his chest, her mouth just above his. All he had to do was climb another rung, and he could satisfy a four-year-old craving.

His heart was galloping suddenly, and he could feel a bead of sweat roll down his back. He could see a glow on her forehead, her upper lip. Her eyes widened, as if she could read his thoughts, and he could scent something new. Arousal. Need. Hunger. His own body was shaking with it. He swore his cock had taken on a life of its own, and his brain simply shut down.

He leaned a bit closer, his foot still on the step beneath her and paused, giving her a chance to escape, to clout him in the head if necessary. She didn’t. She watched him the way prey might a raptor, unsure and wary. He didn’t blame her. He wasn’t certain how much control he had over himself. It had been so long since he’d had a woman. So much longer since he’d really liked the one he had.

Slowly, so he didn’t startle her into tipping the ladder, he rose up and set his other foot on the rung. She was frozen in place, one hand fisted around the blood-deep velvet, the other clenched against the ladder, as if she was still uncertain whether to use it.

She didn’t. She inhaled, her mouth opening just a bit, as if there wasn’t enough air. As if she were struggling to stay afloat.

Sink, Alex wanted to say as he lifted himself face-to-face with her, mouth-to-mouth. Sink into me.

“I knew it!” a voice screeched behind him, shattering the moment. “What did I tell you about lettin’ them jackanapes in here?”

Fiona reared back, as if he’d attacked her, again throwing the ladder off balance. Alex instinctively pulled back to stabilize them. He pulled back too far and the ladder tipped.

There was a lot of yelling and a couple of muffled thuds as Alex landed on his back, cushioning Fiona’s fall. He wasn’t so lucky.

“Are you all right?” Fiona asked immediately, leaning over him.

“Serves him right,” the housekeeper snapped from the doorway.

He had hit his head so hard he was seeing stars. But he was smelling cinnamon and Fiona, so he really couldn’t complain

“That is enough, Mrs. Quick,” he heard. “Alex? Your eyes are open. Can you hear me?”

Rather than admit that he was too distracted by the plump pressure of her breast against his chest to answer, he simply closed his eyes and groaned. The act would have been unworthy of him if his head weren’t pounding and his arse aching from hard contact with the floor

“Mrs. Quick,” she was saying, her hand on his cheek. “See if Mr. Clemson is outside. Send him for the doctor.”

He knew his injuries didn’t merit such concern. “No doctor.” He blinked a couple of times until the multiple Fionas resolved into one. “I’ll live. My head is a bit bruised is all.”

In retaliation, she took away both her hand and breast, which almost set Alex to groaning again. She actually smacked him on the arm. “Then don’t frighten me like that….again.”

“Don’t know why you let him in here at all,” came the grumble from the doorway.

Untangling them both from the curtains, Fiona sat up. “Thank you, Mrs. Quick. I think we’re all right now.”

“Ya think that, do ya?”
Fiona gave her the kind of glare that betrayed her aristocratic heritage. The housekeeper, still grumbling, clasped her hands in a parody of good servile behavior and stalked off down the hall.

Fiona looked back down to where Alex lay, and he could see the cost of the last tumble on her face. He should have been outraged. He was lying in a nest of curtains with a fresh headache and the humiliation of his fall, and she was…laughing.

She tried so hard not to. She held her hand to her mouth. She shook her head. He could see her shoulders heave. He would have chastised her, except the minute he opened his mouth, he burst out laughing, too.

“You are not very beneficial to my amour propre,” he wheezed up at her.

She couldn’t stop laughing, full-throated, full-bellied, as if too much suppressed laughter had simply spilled over. “I…I….didn’t…”

“Mean it,” he managed, making it up as far as sitting beside her. “Yes, I know.”

She frantically shook her head. “Think anything could be so…funny!” She was gasping, bent over her hands at her waist. “The look on your face!”

He had meant to get up, to reassert his mastery of the situation. He refused to sacrifice this perfect moment with her on the floor. Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, he wiped at the tears that coursed down her cheeks.

“It’s not that funny,” he groused.

She started laughing again. “Oh, yes it is. You can have no idea of how long it’s been since I had the chance to laugh. Since I last saw your sister, I think.”

He had to grin. “Well, yes. Pip would set anybody to laughing. She’s a ridiculous little thing.”

For that he got a resounding smack on his chest. “Do not dare speak ill of my best friend.” She hiccuped, her eyes widening a bit. “My only friend, actually. Except for Sarah and Lizzie. And now that Sarah is married to my brother, I have no idea at all how we will meet again.”

There was the faintest plaintive note in her voice that made Alex want to curl her completely into his arms and shield her from hurt. Dear God, how lonely she must have been. “I promise,” he said instead. “I fully respect my sister’s loyalty. It’s her good sense I frequently question.”

Her breathing was evening out. She nodded. “Pip does have a knack for acting before thinking.”

“She’s like a whirlwind.”

“She needs to finally capture her Beau,” Fiona said with a definite nod. “That would settle her down.”

Alex snorted. “Poor Beau. He’d never have another moment’s peace.”

And for a long moment, they just sat there in a pool of sunlight and velvet, his arm around her and her head on his shoulder. It felt so good. So whole.

It couldn’t last. If he didn’t move, he’d damn well take her here on the floor. He opened his mouth to tell her, and then made the mistake of meeting her gaze again.

Her lips were still parted, but she wasn’t laughing anymore. He could see the pulse jumping at her throat, and her hands were clenched again, as if she were trying hard to keep them to herself.

He didn’t know why. Lifting his own hand, he cupped her cheek. Again he gave her the chance to pull away. Again she didn’t. His own heart started to skip around. He was rock hard. There was no longer a question. He had to kiss her.

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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