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Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 231,923
1. WHAT LIGHT Cover Reveal

Release date:
October 11, 2016

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2. Press Release--Kelly Clarkson Book Deal

    GLOBAL SUPERSTAR AND GRAMMYAWARD WINNER KELLY CLARKSON SIGNS BOOK DEAL WITH HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS —RIVER ROSE AND THE MAGICAL LULLABY publishes in the US on October 4, 2016— New York, NY (February 9, 2016)—HarperCollins Publishers announced today the acquisition of Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson’s first picture book, RIVER ROSE AND THE MAGICAL LULLABY, featuring an...

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3. Current Scratch: Join Us, Local, Harry, Tips, Comedy

Hi folks, Welcome to sunny winter. It is beautiful. I hope that you are pouring some of this winter beauty into your art.

JOIN US!

Goal-setting for Creatives” with guest speaker Pam Wiley is our first meeting of 2016 on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 10 a.m. in Barnes & Noble, 711 Texas Ave, College Station, TX. Pam will share strategies for setting and staying on track with both long and short term goals. Join us for discussion, news, and encouragement!

Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress.

Those who have time stay for lunch at a local restaurant. Members and friends welcome!

LOCAL

Divining Creativity Workshop
Molly Blaisdell
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 6:15. 

It's a weekly program called Onederful Wednesday. Molly will lead a workshop called Divining Creativity. Here are a few of the things she will dig into -- What is holding you back? What will push you forward? What will make you leap? This should shake down the cobwebs and open all the windows. Come out if you are interested. It's free. P.S. There is a meal at 5:15 p.m. and it costs $5.00 person and $20 for families. Call this number to RSVP if you are interested: 979-694-7700.

Heading to TLA this year in April? Here are the deets.

Houston Writers Guild 2016 Conference in April 29, 30, May 1. The headliner is Jay Asher, author of 13 Reasons Why.

Advanced Writer Weekend Workshop with Donna Gephart and Tina Wexler



HARRY

For everyone hungering for a Harry Potter fix. It's not over.


TIPS




The story of Jacqueline Woodson.  A look at her take on realistic fiction. Where do her stories come from?

COMEDY






Disclaimer: The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.




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4. At the Farm: Five-day memoir workshop, coming this September





I have written here of our upcoming memoir workshops—Juncture Workshops—and friends, they are indeed coming. We have completed our visit to our first planned gathering place—a working Civil War era farm in central Pennsylvania. We have spent time with our hosts—an historian extraordinaire and his wonderful wife. We have slept in the Yetter cabin. We have walked the farm, talked to the peacocks, climbed up into the surrounding hills, watched the baby calf get loose from the barn.

We think it will be exceptional.

We're looking to launch this in the second week of September.

We are finalizing details and will be announcing more on this blog and on this site.


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5. DAY 11: RONALD SMITH

HoodooAuthorPic (1)

 

How can you not like a character named Hoodoo, who can’t cast a spell? Now that’s what I call creative!  Our spotlight is on an amazing writer, who has written a debut novel that awarded him the 2016 Coretta Scott King, John Steptoe Award for new Talent!  We not only applaud you, but The Brown Bookshelf is honored to spotlight , on this 11th Day of February,

Ronald Smith

 

Please tell us about “The Journey.”
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a child. I grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi stories, and loved creating imaginary worlds. As an adult, I found my way into advertising, and became a writer of TV commercials. It was a lot of fun for a long time, and writing fiction fell by the wayside. “At least I’m getting paid for writing,” I often told myself.

Then one day, my younger brother, who was working at a Barnes & Noble at the time, turned me on to some great books for young readers: The His Dark Materials books by Philip Pullman, The Sabriel Trilogy by Garth Nix. Harry Potter, of course. That’s when I realized I wanted to write stories again. There was a period of a few years where I was writing very literary short stories, but seeing these great kid’s books inspired me to write what I loved to read as a kid: tales of adventure and other worlds.

Once I decided to focus on children’s lit, I found my voice. Several years later, I was signed by an agent and got a book deal

How about “The Back Story?”
I was fortunate in that I queried an agent who liked Hoodoo, but felt it needed some work. She told me what she thought wasn’t working, and asked if I’d be open to revise and resubmit. She didn’t have to do this, and most agents don’t. I agreed with her advice, and when I sent the manuscript back months later she signed me.

A few days after going on submission, I had offers from several publishers and the book went to auction, which, well, was pretty awesome, to say the least. I signed with Clarion, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

What does your Writing Process look like?
I write organically, without an outline or scene-by-scene plan. Only once I get a few chapters down, can I really see where the story is going. It takes shape as I write. It’s fun, because I am discovering it along the way, just as a reader would. I’ve tried writing programs like Scrivener but they just confuse me. I do outline a little, once I know where the story is going, but mostly it is all part of what John Gardner called “The Fictive Dream,” that place you go in your subconscious when you are really in the zone. It is a type of fugue-state.

I no longer work in advertising, and write every day in my favorite coffee shop. Some days I write at home, but I like having some background white noise, so the ambience in a coffee shop fuels the creative process. Plus…caffeine.

ron smith's book

The Buzz on “Hoodoo.”

2016 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s 2015 Choices List

“The authenticity of Hoodoo’s voice and this distinctive mashup of genres make Smith one to watch. Seekers of the scary and “something different” need look no further.”
Kirkus

“The chilling supernatural Southern Gothic plot action is enhanced by atmospheric description of rural life in Depression-era Alabama…Readers will particularly enjoy Hoodoo’s authentic and engaging narrative voice.”
School Library Journal

“Hoodoo’s first-person narrative, which flows beautifully, has an appealing and natural cadence…Through his protagonist, Smith demonstrates an eye for detail and a knack for evocative imagery as well as for telling a riveting story with a dollop of southern gothic appeal.”
Booklist

“Filled with folk and religious symbols, this creepy Southern Gothic ghost story is steeped in time and place. Hoodoo’s earnest first-person narrative reveals a believable innocent who can ’cause deeds great and powerful.'”
Horn Book Magazine

“What a splendid novel. Reader, be prepared to have your foundations shaken: this is a world that is deeper, more wondrous, more spiritually charged than you may have ever imagined.”
Gary D. Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor medalist and author of The Wednesday Wars

“Oh, wow! Hoodoo may just be the perfect book for a rainy day. Find a dog that will sit with you . . . and read on to your heart’s content. What a fun discovery!”
Nikki Giovanni, poet and award-winning author of Rosa

What are your thoughts on the State of the Industry

Shortly after Hoodoo was accepted by my publisher, the We Need Diverse Books movement took off. I think this is an exciting time to be writing children’s books, especially if you are writing about characters that fall outside the mainstream. I think publishers want these books, and are eager to find those that tell a great story. Has it come too late? Perhaps. But change takes time, and thanks to the voices of a few tireless advocates—booksellers, librarians, authors—diverse books are beginning to really be noticed. Every kid needs to see him or herself reflected in books. It’s simple. Seeing yourself, or someone who looks like you or talks like you or lives where you live, makes reading relatable to kids.

My website is http://www.strangeblackflowers.com
Twitter: @ronsmithbooks

Thank you, Ronald Smith, for your contributions to children’s literature!


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6. Miss Ricky's School of Dance

I know the five positions
(In ballet – don’t get all hot!)
Plus plie and pirouette
But all the rest I plum forgot.

I didn’t have a tutu
But a leotard? Perhaps.
My memory is dimming
And I’m left with just the scraps.

Most likely, I attended
Very briefly, very young,
So a few balletic moves
The only knowledge that has clung.

Was there really a Miss Ricky?
Guess there’s no way I could know
For my ballerina days were over
Many years ago.

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7. Fight Stories

Link vs. GanonMy son is really into fighting. He watches shows like Power Rangers and Ninjago. He likes superheroes and video games. I think his favorite thing right now is to watching Daddy guide Link through a boss level in a Zelda game. (Fortunately for Daddy, the games are very forgiving). I think that he might be… resolving something? Working something out, mentally and emotionally? Maybe it empowers him to see the snake people get beat? I dunno. I know he likes fighting and no stern look or lecture from me is going to change it.

Of course he wants books about fighting, but apart from uninspired picture books derived from superhero movies, the children’s book industry has been derelict in providing books featuring hand-to-hand combat for kids like B.

JabberwockySee a need; fill a need. I’ve tried, in fits and starts, to create characters that fight, and to give them monsters to fight, but I lapse back into my muddled view of the universe. The monsters in my imagination develop a point of view; not one I particularly agree with but one I can at least comprehend. The heroes are timid and do a lot of soul searching instead of slaying. They argue with the monsters but never raise a blade. By the end of chapter 3 they’ve become friends and have no antagonist to deal with.

This whole business is against my grain. I lack moral certainty. I am against violence, having been on the wrong end of it. At the same time, I can see the satisfaction to calling up your fears and giving it form and cutting its head off. From Beowulf to Star Wars, that’s a story form that will never go out of fashion. I think humans crave it, and especially little ones. Oh, it’s, you know. Profitable. Cough.

But I can’t do it. I don’t know why. It looks easy. Walk on the muscled hero, have him say something clever. Walk on the snarling beast. Have it spit and snarl. “He swung his sword and pierced the wretched creature’s neck.” Fanfare and big advances. The end.

I’ll keep trying. You know, for the kid.


Filed under: Miscellaneous

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8. CREATING AN ELEVATOR PITCH


Shared from Kathy Temean's newsletter. 

Creating an Elevator Pitch – Erika Wassall

erikaphoto-45Erika Wassall the Jersey Farm Scribe here on
Creating an Elevator Pitch
Whether you’re getting ready for a conference, prepping ideas for a Twitter party, or just want to put your best foot forward to anyone who asks about your book, having a quick, engaging and powerful elevator pitch is important.
First of all… what IS an elevator pitch anyway?
________
El-e-va-tor pitch
noun — informal
* A succinct and persuasive sales pitch
* A short summary used to quickly and simply define a process, product, service, organization, or event and its value
________
The idea here is that in the 20-30 seconds of an elevator ride, you could present your idea. Us humans are fickle creatures with VERY short attention spans. We make snap judgments, and unless we’re already intrigued, we’re likely to have already mentally moved on.
Job interviews. “Objectives” at the top of resumes. Sales positions. Convincing a spouse of what restaurant to go eat at. Convincing a boss about your new idea. Impressions are made quickly. Not that minds can never be changed later. But the fact remains…
The first 20 seconds is your BEST opportunity to make a good impression.
All right. So that’s the basic CONCEPT.
Uh, that’s it??? Hello? E-Z!!! I know my book. I know what makes my story special. Of COURSE I can describe it in 3-4 sentences!!! I wouldn’t even need to practice.
……here we go……
A young girl is caught in between…
Wait. No! It’s so much more than that. Let me start again.
When insomnia brings Tris to the brink of desperation…
Ugh, that sounds so cliché!
Conception is reality. Tris must prove her sanity and win the right to live out her dreams in more ways than one.
Yuck. That says ab-so-lutely NOTHING. Okay. So this is harder than it sounds.
Elevator Pitch Tips:
Don’t Over Pack the Pitch:
For me, the biggest tip I ever got for an elevator pitch is not to try to shove my entire story in there. This was a HUGE relief. If the plot line is too complex to explain in a few lines (or the tiny 140 characters we Twits get), don’t even try. Concentrate instead on the unique voice. Have the pitch portray the main character’s biggest flaw or most powerful victory. Highlight a powerful scene or even quote a climatic moment.
Feel Free to Ruin:
If pitching to an agent, there’s nothing wrong with giving away the end. They’re professionals. Trust the story, and be confident that the writing and development along the way will keep them engaged even if they know the twist end. (Obviously keep in mind different agents may feel differently about this. Always research agents for preferences)
OBSESS over Nouns:
Obsess over every word really, but look extra closely at those nouns. Could they be more powerful? More emotional? More visual? Even in our limited word count, can we do more showing and less telling?
Show Uniqueness in Specifics:
Agents hear a LOT of pitches. Being conceptual isn’t enough. We must express specific aspects of THIS book that make it different from the other 400 they may have received, over the past 48 hours. The idea may be excellent, creative and powerful. But from their perspective, they’ve likely heard it before. As humans, they’re naturally assessing it, lumping it in with other things similar. Specifics are your weapon here. Use details, voice, character, setting, etc, to make THIS particular story stand out from that crowd.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE:
Say it out loud. A lot. Then say it some more. The manner in which it rolls off the tongue is important, as is confidence in delivery. Bonus: Once you have it down, you may be surprised at how frequently the opportunity is presented for you to use it.
Our manuscripts are complex. They cannot be put in a box. No 20 second opportunity can fully grasp the extent of their awesome. Don’t let that goal overpower you. Instead create intrigue, and answer the question of why they should want to hear or read more.
Your manuscripts are worth it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!
Look for Erika’s articles every other Wednesday on Writing and Illustrating. Thank you Erika for another great post.
Talk tomorrow,
Kathy

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9. Upcoming Workshops


I'll be participating as an instructor in three upcoming workshops this year. All are for experienced painters, taught by a top-flight group faculty. 

James Gurney painting a watercolor demo at SKB Foundation Workshop
The SKB Workshop happens September 18-27 in Dubois, Wyoming. It has lots of demos, lectures, outdoor painting and group meals. And many of the costs are subsidized by a benefactor, so it's one of the most reasonable workshops you can be part of. Here's the announcement and here's a page with more information. Besides me, the faculty features mostly wildlife artists and landscape painters, including John and Suzie Seerey-Lester, John Hulsey and Ann Trusty, Mort Solberg and many others.

Registration just opened yesterday, and it's nearly full already, so if you're interested, here's the link to the registration


I'll also be one of the presenters at the Portrait Society of America's annual Conference in Washington DC, this April 14-17. This gathering is one of the best for oil demos, lectures, and networking among the attendees and the 30-or-so leading instructors.

Here's the registration for the Portrait Conference


From June 30 to July 3, I'll be in Montreal for the Syn Studio Gathering of Masters. The program is intended for artists who work in the game and film categories, team-taught by people like Terryl Whitlatch and Raphael Lacoste, me, and several others, not all of whom have been announced. This is the one to attend if you're in the concept art field, or want to get into it. Here's the description:
Syn Studio’s Gathering of Masters is a small, laid back festival with lots of socializing and interaction between the invited guests and and participating artists. A mix of talks, workshops and fun activities, it is a gathering where artists share their knowledge, connect with each other and work together to develop and push the boundaries of their illustration, design and art direction skills. There will be 8-10 speakers and 100 tickets sold so it will be an intimate event where participants can have direct access to the speakers and be part of the conversation.
Register now if you're interested in any of these, and I look forward to seeing you.

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10. Red Light/Green Light Contest: Announcing the Top 50 Submissions!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Below are the top 50 entries in our Red Light/Green Light contest, where writers are vying for the prize of a phone call with fabulous agent Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary.


Be sure to check back next Thursday, when we'll post our agent judge's top 25 selected entries!

CONGRATS to all who made it in, and good luck going forward!

And now, presenting:

THE TOP 50 ENTRIES
Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Terry Bell
Young Adult Fantasy
1
Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Amber Duell
Young Adult Fantasy
2
War is beautiful chaos.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
D Lollis
Middle Grade Contemporary
3
"Mom, Brandon is smelling his dirty underwear—again," my older sister Bethany yelled as I crawled on the cold marble tile of the third floor laundry room.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
KD Proctor
New Adult Romance
4
If it’s possible for a tray of pastries to blackmail me, I think I might need to file a restraining order against The Steamy Bean’s cinnamon chip scones.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Kara Reynolds
Young Adult SciFi
5
The universe should have a rule that bad news can't arrive over breakfast, but it doesn't.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mary Hallberg
Young Adult Paranormal
6
As Penny walked inside the funeral home doors, the cold air stung her skin.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Traci Kenworth
Young Adult Fantasy
7
Of all the things Karrie Hunter's mother missed about Earth, color remained the biggest.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Ellie Luken
Young Adult Fantasy
8
Only fools or the desperate wandered beyond the city walls by themselves.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jennifer Schafer
Young Adult Contemporary
9
Dad says the empty spaces in our lives, like moments of silence in music, amplify or accentuate the importance of the people we hold closest.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Devyn B. Makin
Young Adult Magical Realism
10
Routine is what predators look for in their prey.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Laura McFadden
Young Adult Contemporary
11
I tug out two wipes and inhale the sharp bleach and lemon scent.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Sarah Vance-Tompkins
Young Adult Magical Realism
12
Not every fairy's tale begins with once upon a time.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Gabby Gilliam
Young Adult Other
13
My name is a bit of a joke, a cruel trick of nature to punish my parents.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
VV Sinnott
Young Adult Magical Realism
14
My parents were whispering in the living room, a sure sign they were talking about something they didn’t want me to hear.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Dill Werner
Young Adult SciFi
15
I was born to a woman who never loved me.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Michele Blood
Young Adult Contemporary
16
A bead of sweat nestled itself beneath the bandages pinching Alex's skin.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Anikó Rajci
Young Adult Fantasy
17
The thick string of dark red fury slips out of my fingertips in quick waves.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Olivia Hinebaugh
Young Adult Magical Realism
18
There wasn’t a funeral.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Angela Dahle
Middle Grade Fantasy
19
There aren't any unlucky numbers, only unlucky people.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mare Hagarty
Young Adult Paranormal
20
The first time I saw her, she was a pink and black blur, all sharp edges and hollows.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Heather Lea
Young Adult Dystopian
21
Though humanity watches with apprehension and bated breath, I find myself drawn to this mysterious matter blanketing our world in gray.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Laurine Bruder
Young Adult Fantasy
22
Ivy Greenhill's mind ticked as the prison wagon trundled along the dirt road.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Gillian Libby
Young Adult Romance
23
I didn’t know it was possible to screw over your entire family after you’ve been dead for two hundred years, but it turns out you’re never too dead to ruin a legacy.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Dana Nuenighoff
Young Adult Fantasy
24
Purple mountains jutted into the sky before me as I choked back tears and instead a smile spread across my ocean-weathered face: the Pass.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Patricia Nesbitt
Middle Grade Historical
25
Last year, when I was nine, things were a good sight better.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Tiffany Dawn Munn
Young Adult Fantasy
26
Alorna Mirone studied her tiara, her nose crinkled in an expression of distaste.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Joan Albright
Young Adult Steampunk
27
Silas clung to his tiny chainskiff, arms wrapped around the rail while it rocked and pitched and finally settled against the chain that held it in the sky.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
PJN
Young Adult Fantasy
28
Four years ago no one knew my name.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Carol Baldwin
Young Adult Historical
29
Dead bodies don't bother me none.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mae Parker
Young Adult Fantasy
30
Henbane Tower pierced the night like a dagger thrust into the heart of my kingdom.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Holly Pettit
Young Adult Historical
31
In the dark part of the city – the Soviet sector – a garden party was just breaking up.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Cindy Williams Schrauben
Young Adult Paranormal
32
It's a challenge to breath in a vacuum.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Cass Newbould
Young Adult Fantasy
33
Heat, intense but not unpleasant, hits my face as flames flicker along the wooden floor of my bedroom.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Lana Pattinson
Young Adult Historical
34
Ominous clouds hovered over the loch, and Rowan Sinclair was about to lose his chance at freedom.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
KPKnupp
Young Adult Suspense
35
For the first time since the accident, she felt comfortable in her own skin.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
TL Sumner
Young Adult Contemporary
36
I could do anything for fifteen seconds.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Gabi Snyder
Middle Grade Contemporary
37
After the funeral, I fall asleep and dream of snow.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Leslie Hauser
Young Adult Contemporary
38
They say music is the key to the soul or maybe it’s the heart.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jennifer Pickrell
Young Adult Contemporary
39
I couldn’t stop staring at Chase Lewis.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Holly M. Campbell
Young Adult Paranormal
40
The man standing in the kitchen had not been dead long.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
ML VIllax
New Adult Fantasy
41
I hated Mother’s day, always had, always would.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jodi Cardillo
Young Adult Contemporary
42
I hate it when bad music gets stuck in my head.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Marcy S. Hatch
Young Adult SciFi
43
I paddle out, breathing evenly in the early dawn, mist rising from the water.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Hess Oster
Middle Grade Other
44
Once there was a man who loved children.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Marva Dasef
Middle Grade Fantasy
45
A dark figure dropped silently from the window ledge to the alley below.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Cassidy Taylor
Young Adult Fantasy
46
Sounds of revelry drift up to Ruby's sitting room, but she wants no part of it.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jenny
Middle Grade Fantasy
47
Deep in the forest, where the trees grew crooked and the wind whispered tales of woe, there was a tower, and in the tower there lived a girl.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mary Bartek
Middle Grade Contemporary
48
Applause for the previous speaker was still dying down when the headmaster returned to the podium on the auditorium stage.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Lizz Huerta
Young Adult Fantasy
49
The stink of the Fire Warrior reached Indir before he spoke.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Amanda Perry
Young Adult Fantasy
50
The ship screams in protest as it skips over treacherous waves.

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11. School Visits

From planning your presentation to selling books, here are some essential tidbits for successful school visits.

http://www.crookedbook.blogspot.com/2016/01/wheres-my-school-visit-fairy.html

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12. POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON by Don Tate

It's black history month and my friend Don Tate has a truly special book out that I have to share with you. It's called POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON and it's published by Peachtree. (Gads, they do some good-looking books!) I emailed Don for a full on guest post, but he is riding high right now, super busy. As he said, "...things are so crazy right now. I'm on deadline to finish sketches for this next book before next Wednesday (when my travel schedule kicks in), and I have to start over on the sketches." So, I asked him some quick questions...
Me: How did you learn about George Moses Horton
Don: I wish I had a more interesting or profound answer to this question, but I learned about Horton through a writing partner, Chris Barton. I started researching Horton on that same day. I knew from day one that Horton's story would be loved by readers, but because of my heavy illustration schedule, I didn't know when I'd find time to write it. And then I had this fear that someone else might publish the story before I had a chance to start writing, so I found the time. Several years and many, many revisions later, the book was acquired by Peachtree Publishers.
Me: What was your medium for this book?
Don: Initially I wanted to illustrate "Poet" digitally. I'd just purchased a Cintiq, and I was anxious to put it to use. I did all of the line work on my Cintiq, but I think it freaked out my art director, who had another look in mind. She loved my hand drawn artwork, as done in the book "Hope's Gift," so I decided to use the same medium, acrylic watercolor washes and ink (Micron) lines on watercolor paper. Acrylic dries hard and allows for layering without disturbing under painting. And I used colored pencil in places. I also wanted to find a way to include Horton's poetry, since I'd not included any in the text (intentionally). So I hand lettered portions of his poetry and worked them into the illustrations using Photoshop. I did eventually get to put that Cintiq to work on my following book, "Whoosh!"
Me: With your busy schedule, how do you fit in creative time?
Don: Balancing creative time with travel can be a challenge. To help, I recently purchased a Surface Pro 4. It's a tablet that allow me to sketch on it using Photoshop or Manga Studio. I completely sketched and laid out my last two books on it. It's not great for creating final art, but totally saved me with my last two books. I also have a great booking agent who helps with the details of travel, so that I can spend that time in creative mode. I take it one day at a time.
Me: what are you working on next?
I have five more books under contract, and one to be announced soon. Most of them are nonfiction and involve little-known historical figures. I'm especially excited about an opportunity to work with Eloise Greenfield. That will be so cool!

Learn more about Don at http://dontate.com.

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13. New look and new update

Welcome everyone I just want to let you know that my blog will be getting a new look. It will continue on it's mission to share the best reviewed books both self published and traditional published. Right now I am not working with any publishing company. My first new post will be about the SCBWI winter conference which starts Tommorrow. Look for the blog to be more interactive with videos, author interviews and much more. I will try to keep it updated more regularly. Please continue to give me your support. We are back. Thanks everyone   

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14. Harts Pass No. 286

Happy (almost) Valentine's Day!

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15. It's Live!! Cover Reveal and Teaser Trailer: Flashfall by Jenny Moyer + Giveaway (US Only)


Hi, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for FLASHFALL by Jenny Moyer, releasing November 15, 2016 from Henry Holt. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Jenny:   Hi YABC! Welcome to the exclusive cover reveal for FLASHFALL! I’m so excited to give everyone...

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16. I forgot to blog about the launch...

The most important thing about launching a new book is that everyone else must know it has happened.
You must take many pictures and remind other people to take many pictures and make an IMPORTANT FACE.

The second most important thing about launching a new book is the CAKE.
We made one that was secretly filled with gold which spilled out when it was first cut, and it had golden marzipan piled on top and it was gilded with edible gold dust.

You also need a CROCODILE. So I crocheted one and had a raffle. As it happened, Crocodile won my friend Lily because she was best at finding hidden raffle tickets (they were mostly in books to do with GOLD).

It was so exciting that no one remembered to take any pictures.
Fortunately, Chris Riddell drew one in his Laureate Log, because he is professional that way.


It was a very good launch.

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17. Valentines Mailboxes an Early Literacy Activity

valentines mailboxes

In February, what child doesn’t enjoy receiving and sending colorful Valentine’s Day cards?

And whether children make the cards themselves or simply sign their name to a card they buy, the act of sending and receiving Valentine’s Day cards is one that promotes literacy among young children.

Why?

Because it encourages reading, writing, and even talking about the Valentine’s cards with friends and/or family.

Most children love creating a Valentines Mailbox.

They can make a mailbox for school and one for home, too.

In fact, at home encourage everyone in the family to build a mailbox and exchange Valentines and other cards, notes, and letters all month long.

The mail doesn’t need to stop when March rolls around either.

Children will be used to the practice of sending and receiving mail by that time and they probably won’t want to give it up.

In March, encourage them to create cards and notes for St. Patrick’s Day.

Of course, there are all sorts of reasons to send mail every single day.

And by making it fun for kids to send and receive mail, they start to value the written word more and more.

And they are doing so in a way that is “authentic” because they really want to be able to read what that card from their father says, or they want to know how to spell a word correctly in a message they are putting in their sister’s mailbox.

Using Mailboxes in the Classroom

Teachers can also use the mail as a way for children to write about books they read or topics they study in the classroom.

Letters or cards can be sent from one child to another answering specific questions about a specific book.

The teacher might ask the class to writer a letter to a friend in class telling who their favorite character was in the book, what they liked best about the book, what they would do differently if they were the writing a book like this, etc.

When the children finish writing the letters they can put them in the mailboxes.

Later, everyone can read the letters and share them with the class as a class activity.

Write Notes Throughout the Day

As a parent or teacher, jot little notes and put them in your children’s or students’ mailboxes throughout the day.

If you’re a busy teacher, you don’t have to send a note to every child in your class every day. Just one note a day to one student will do.

It’s also fun if kids can create a mailbox that has a flag that can be raised or lowered when someone puts mail in the box.

The raised flag lets the child know “You’ve got mail!”

In the classroom, children can make reading, writing, and distributing the mail a daily practice at a specific time.

That way, kids won’t be running around to all the mailboxes at all times of day.

They’ll really look forward to the “mail call” part of the day!

The post Valentines Mailboxes an Early Literacy Activity appeared first on The National Writing for Children Center.

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18. Maine To Kansas

At Whittier Middle School, I get to be a part of great things.  Recently, Mrs. Shanning’s class and I connected with Ms. Loy’s Kansas Classroom during a Skype visit.  We gave them all kinds of facts about Maine, as they were about to launch into Cooper and Packrat’s  Mystery on Pine Lake  adventure.

We sent some postcards and a calendar with Maine animals to help them connect to the story . . .

and our beautiful state.

 

IMG_0908

And this week, we’re connecting again!  Through www.edu.buncee.com, we’re making Virtual Valentine’s with a camping and nature theme!  Oh my goodness, they’re so much fun . . . I quickly became addicted.  You start with a background picture from their stock, or upload your own (I used my own photographs of the campground).  Then you add text, stickers, audio, and animation. Pretty cool!

Here are two of the Valentines we received from the class. Each student was assigned one of our students and vice versa.

iPhone Image E153C4

Check out the foxes!  And the tents!  Those campfires?  They flicker!  The hearts?  Float on the wind.

iPhone Image E153D5

Technology in education is amazing!  Our students have learned so much by connecting with the students in Kansas .  . . their small world is growing leaps and bounds!

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19. Giveaway: Nothando's Journey by Jill Manly (US Only)

Nothando's Journey by Jill Manly Release Date: February 2016   About the Book Nothando’s Journey is a journey in self-discovery told through the eyes of a young girl named Nothando. The book tells of the Reed Festival, an important celebration in Nothando’s country of Swaziland in Southern Africa. Nothando and her brother...

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20. Naked Tofu

In my quest to fill the world with the happiest, weirdest art in the world, I have dreamed up yet another vehicle for the task: A coloring and activity book!

While it’s in the works, I couldn’t resist sharing some of the pages with you. Here’s one that will both scratch your coloring itch and stave off Alzheimer’s. It’s printable on regular letter-sized paper (select Fit to Page for best results). Enjoy!

Naked Tofu ©Sparky Firepants

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21. Author Interview: Martine Leavitt on Calvin

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

From Macmillan: "Martine Leavitt has written several award-winning novels for young adults, including My Book of Life by Angel (FSG, 2012), which garnered five starred reviews and was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist; Keturah and Lord Death (Boyds Mills, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Award; and Heck Superhero (Boyds Mills, 2014), a finalist for the Governor General's Award. She lives in Alberta, Canada."

Congratulations on the release of Calvin (FSG, 2015)! Could you tell us about the book?

Thank you, Cynthia! It is the story of a seventeen-year-old boy who has a schizophrenic episode in school. He can hear the voice of a tiger named Hobbes.

He decides that Bill Watterson could cure him of his mental illness if he would draw one more comic strip, Calvin healthy and without Hobbes. He gets it into his head that he can make Watterson draw this comic if he goes on a pilgrimage to show his true intent and devotion.

He decides to walk across Lake Erie in winter – a deadly thing to attempt.

Why did you write Calvin?

A single neuron in the back of my brain pulsed with sadness for many years, perhaps all my conscious life, because there is such a thing as mental illness. Then one day it touched me, a form of mental unwellness, and it touched my family. Now I was sorry for myself as well as those who suffered with worse than I. Self-pity, sadly, has always been a motivating factor in my life.

Anyway, that single neuron pulsed away even more persistently, hoping for something, the way we send radio waves into space hoping to contact life on other planets.

One day as I was rereading my Calvin and Hobbes collection, it occurred to a single neuron in the front of my brain that Calvin, in the wrong hands, could be thought of as a maladaptive daydreamer, or as schizophrenic. That neuron in the front of my brain made instant contact with the lonely neuron in the back of my brain, and it was like Adam touching the finger of God in the Sistine Chapel.



Okay, it wasn’t that grand, but you get the idea. A sort of electronic storm was fired up between the two neurons, and they went on like that in their little electronic way for a while. Not enough to make a book quite yet, but something was happening.

And then I read online about a man named Dave Voelker who walked across frozen Lake Erie (to a place near Cleveland, where Watterson was once reported to live – coincidence? I think not), and I suddenly had a story wishing to be told. And that is why I wrote Calvin.

This is your tenth book. Does it get easier?

You would think, wouldn’t you. But in fact, no. Every book is a new adventure is insecurity and inadequacy. Every book asks something of you that no other book has asked.



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22. FOODFIC: Please Welcome S.A. Hunter, Author of Elanraigh



Elanraigh: The Vow is a YA/Adult High Fantasy set in medieval times, on an alternate Earth.  It’s fitting that my Heroine, Thera of Allenholme, should meet Chamakin, son of a Ttamarini Chief, at a celebratory feast in honor of their new alliance struck in a time of an impending war.

Feasts were important celebrations in medieval life, whether to welcome a new alliance, the arrival of a dignitary or to celebrate commemoration days and agricultural festivals.

Being of noble families, Thera and Chamakin are seated at the High Table. Their meat course tonight is tender roast chicken served in a stew of wine, sugar, and expensive spices such as saffron and ginger. These spices, including the sugar loaf, Thera’s mother keeps under strict lock and key. The chicken is served on an “upper crust” trencher of pandemain, the best of white bread, made from highly sifted flour. A dessert course of wafers, candied fruits and mulled wine is placed before them.

As Thera sips at her mulled wine, and casts shy glances at the handsome stranger next to her,  at the lower tables, soldiers and merchants are enjoying their dark beer.

The feast grew raucous and loud, dinning in her ears. Even the Harbor Master who had been so pompous in his welcoming speech was now blowing froth off his beer into the laughing face of a burly stave smith.

Thera and Chamakin, seated side by side, are very conscious of each other…

I can’t eat. This surprises her, for usually her appetite’s hearty. She eyes the trencher before her and her mouth waters—but her stomach clenches. Tentatively she takes a bite of crusty warm bread, chews and swallows with an audible sound. She glances sideways at Chamakin. He ate slowly, chewing with determination. His face was flushed with bright color along the high cheekbones.

From this night on, life will never be the same for Thera, Chamakin and their peoples—it is a good thing we learn that Thera can communicate with the ancient and sentient forest, Elanraigh—for that powerful entity has no intention of letting Allenholme fall to enemy invaders.


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




You can find Sandy here:




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23. Ranking of my blog in search Engine

Ranking of my blog in search Engine आज गूगल सर्च करते हुए मैने अपने ब्लॉग monicagupta.info पर किए गए Reviews  और Stat पढे.. !!!  ये भी पता लगा कि कितना alexa rank कितनी है और ट्रैफिक कितना और कहां कहां से आता है ….  

The post Ranking of my blog in search Engine appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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24. If writing in 1st Person of main character, how do you write in other characters if POV character can't see them, or hear them?

Question: If writing in 1st Person of main character, how do you write in other characters if the POV character can't see them, or hear them? Answer:

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25. Chocolate & Art Show • Los Angeles

Chocolate and Art Show?

You had me at choco–. This looks like a super cool show. If you’re in L.A. February 19-20 and you need something fun to do, go go go! Check out their Facebook Event page here: http://bit.ly/choco-art-LA-FB

This is also my first exhibit in a long time. I’ll have four pieces up at this show. Weee! Here’s a sneak preview:

 

Love Bird front

Love Bird, paint pen on wood

Bear+Donut

Bear+Donut, mixed media on skateboard

 

Hipster Pub Dude, paint pen on skateboard

Hipster Pub Dude, paint pen on skateboard

Retro Tube Sock, mixed media on skateboard

Retro Tube Sock, mixed media on skateboard

I hope to see you there! If you can, please find me and Jenni and say hello. Send a text to 818-835-2585 and we’ll let you know where we are!

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