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Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 237,559
26. Guest Post: David Jacobson on Trusting the Illustrator & the Publishing Process

By David Jacobson
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

For the last eight years, I have worked for a small Seattle book publisher called Chin Music Press.

I've done everything from fact checking and copy editing to developmental- and line-editing, from setting up book tours to reading through the slush pile (a task I actually enjoyed).

But during all that time, my name never appeared on the cover of a book.

That changed this September with the release of my first title, Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko. A picture book, it's both biography and anthology of a much-loved Japanese children's poet, whose work has yet to be introduced to English-language readers.

Becoming an author, I learned, is a humbling experience. I had to endure the red-penciling of my not-so-flawless prose (something I used to dish out myself), and the frustration of waiting for each cog in the publishing machine to take its spin—editing, illustrating, book designing, leveling, printing, marketing, reviewing, even mailing—as deadlines came and went.

The experience opened my eyes to the anxiety authors feel as they lose more and more control over their creation, something that had not really dawned on me despite my years working in publishing.

As a staff member at a publisher, I had dealt with authors who continued to rework small details of their text until the bitter end, who agonized over each cover illustration, or who fretted over how their book page appeared on Amazon. Indeed, the degree to which authors continued "meddling" in their books sometimes affected how well we worked with them.

But being on the author side of the equation taught me just how important it is to give up control, regardless of the anxiety it might cause. That was particularly true of my interactions with Are You an Echo? illustrator Toshikado Hajiri.

When it came time to decide which cover to use, I requested multiple cover sketches, asking for one thing after another to be changed. But I couldn't get satisfied.

 Finally, since I was unsure of how to proceed, I asked our book designer Dan Shafer for advice. He recommended limiting how much I was trying to steer the illustrator. Illustrators, he said, do their best work when they have freedom to react to the text in their own way.

Ultimately, I left Toshi to his own devices and he ended up producing a glorious painting of Misuzu and her daughter at sunset.

We went with that.

During my time at Chin Music, there have been many occasions when interactions between writer and editor, or writer and designer have produced unexpected results.

Current author A. V. Crofts tells of her own positive experience of letting go how she thought the cover of her book should look. In another of our titles, Todd Shimoda's Oh! a Mystery of Mono no Aware, book designer Josh Powell brilliantly conceived of the idea of printing the entire book (both text and illustrations) in shades of black-and-white except for the very end.

Photo credit below.
Though initially intended to reduce the cost of the book, his solution resulted in a final explosion of color that dramatically enhanced the conclusion.

Writing is often thought to be a solo activity where one can wield total control over ones craft.

Oddly enough, its twin, publishing—the business of connecting writers to readers—is more of a team sport, requiring the combined input of different players with different skills and sensibilities.

So, as an author, don't try to control everything in your book. Find really good people to join your team. Then let your editor, illustrator, designer, or translator bring something of him or herself to the process.

The result may surprise you.

interior illustration from the book
Cynsational Notes

Photo of Misuzu, Courtesy of Preservation Association of Misuzu Kaneko's Work.

Review of the Day: Are You An Echo? by David Jacobson from Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production. Peek: "I hope that the fame that came to Kaneko after the 2011 tsunami will take place in America, without the aid of a national disaster. And I hope that every child that reads, or is read, one of her poems feels that little sense of empathy she conveyed so effortlessly in her life."

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27. ना दो

मेरे संगीत को तुम, नाम ना दो,
थक गया हूँ बहुत , काम ना दो,

इश्क़ ने किया है मुझको पागल,
इन हाथो में मेरे अब जाम ना दो,

बंद कमरो से जिन्हे दिखे दुनिया,
उनके इरादो को तुम बाम ना दो,

समझे ना जो खुश्बू इस जहाँ की,
ऐसे फूलो को तुम गुलफाम ना दो,

फौलादी इरादो से बने हो जो इन्सा,
उनकी बातों पर तुम विराम ना दो,

रखे जो दुनिया बदलने की हिम्मत,
ऐसे विचारो को अब आराम ना दो,

चल ना सके एक कदम भी साथ,
ऐसे ग़द्दारों को तुम, धाम ना दो,

इंसानियत से जिए यहाँ जो 'साथी',
ऐसे सितारो को तुम कोहराम ना दो || Dr. DV ||

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28. Crocodile goes for a spin, personalised paper cut, hand made by me!

New personalised paper cut design now available in my Etsy shop.
Hand made by me!
See it in my Etsy shop!

Picture of a crocodile in an airplane cut out of paper

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29. पत्रकारिता क्या है – पत्रकारिता की परिभाषा

पत्रकारिता क्या है – पत्रकारिता की परिभाषा – क्या है अक्सर हमारे मन में ये प्रश्न बार बार उठता होगा और प्रश्न उठने का एक ही कारण है  कि पत्रकारिता का गिरता स्तर … पत्रकारिता क्या है – पत्रकारिता की परिभाषा क्या ये है पत्रकारिता … अगर कोई बेसिर पैर की खबर सोशल मीडिया पर […]

The post पत्रकारिता क्या है – पत्रकारिता की परिभाषा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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30. Writer Wednesday: Why NaNo Isn't Really For Me

My participation in NaNoWriMo this month has taught me something. NaNo isn't designed for people like me. I fast draft—sometimes writing crazy amounts of words in a single day. I finished my 50,000 words on November 7th, but NaNo won't let me verify my word count and ultimately win because I achieved that word count too soon. What?!?!?!? I can't wrap my head around that.

So now, I can't earn all my badges, like writing every day this month. I almost feel like I'm being penalized for writing too quickly. And that's crazy! I wrote the entire book in seven days! Of course I won! But yet, I didn't according to NaNo. So I've decided to cheat. Yup. I'm cheating and working on another novel and adding that to my word count. This book is one I started last year and had to put aside. I'm editing for clients right now and so far I've only been writing about 1,500-2,500 words a day on this book. But still, even if I continue to write until November 30 (though I highly doubt the book will take that long to finish) I won't get my badge for writing every day this month. I guess I should have read up on NaNo before I decided to join in on the fun, because I'm going to have two completed novels by the end of the month and I still don't feel good about it.

I most likely won't participate in NaNo again. It's just not designed for me. It's making me feel like a failure even though I've already won, and let's face it. This industry is hard enough on our egos. I don't need this on top of it.

Anyone else find that NaNo makes you feel bad instead of encouraging you to write more? 

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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31. Scaffold View

Across the street, on scaffold rigs,
Construction workers hover
And if they’d glance my way, this is
What they just might discover:

A bedroom filled with books and pictures
All in frames of black,
A quilted bed and clutter
I’ve been meaning to attack.

And then, of course, upon a chair,
The other sight they’d see,
With pad and pencil, jotting words,
A rhyming poet – me!

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32. Fiona Robinson's ADA'S IDEAS

Guest Post by Fiona Robinson

      When writing I try to gather as many facts about about a situation or person, then I let my imagination go! For Ada’s Ideas, my first non fiction storybook, I had to do a lot of research. I read a lot, but then also took trips to places: the Silk Museums at Macclesfield, the Science Museum in London, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. It was fun but hard work!

For Ada’s Ideas my art process was as follows:
      With the art I wanted to try something new - 3 dimensional images, which I hoped would capture a little of the Victorian era, and the drama and theatricality of Ada’s life. This involved drawing out the images, then painting them with my favorite Japanese watercolors.
     I then cut out the images very carefully with a sharp blade. I used over 500 blades to produce all the cut images for the book!
     Once cut, I layered all the images for each spread to different heights using my son’s Lego bricks and glued them in place.

Heart art:
     I think what makes an illustration magical is imagination. Sometimes illustrations look good because they’re technically proficient. What I like to see and feel with my illustration is that I have poured my heart into it, that I’ve tried my best, and that I’ve created something that will draw readers in - that will connect with them somehow, make them think and feel wonder for the story.
     I first got into writing and illustrating children’s picture books about 10 years ago, though it’s something I wanted to do since I was about 6 years old!
     When I was young it made me so happy to listen to adults reading picture books. You had their undivided attention, and the picture books were made specifically for children, something primarily for us. Picture books can be many things to a child, but I think what drew me in most was how they seem to make sense of a complicated world. A picture book can not only tell a story, it can spark imagination, and be a friend.
     My favorite part of being a creator is that I spend a lot of time in my own world! Whilst it is a demanding job and not at all easy, it means I get to spend my hours being a child again, inhabiting a place where imagination roams free! I hope that with Ada’s Ideas, children and adults will get a sense that while hard study is good and a foundation for life, the most important thing is to have ideas, an imagination. With that you will soar!
Check out the book trailer on YouTube:

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33. नकली नोट की पहचान – दो हजार के नकली नोट मार्किट में

नकली नोट की पहचान – दो हजार के नकली नोट मार्किट में -अगर आपका नोट रंग छोडे तो बधाई हो क्योकि वो असली है .500 नोट हो या  1000 का नोट बंद होने के बाद अब 2000 का नकली नोट मार्किट में आ गया है नकली नोट की पहचान – दो हजार के नकली नोट […]

The post नकली नोट की पहचान – दो हजार के नकली नोट मार्किट में appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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34. Happy Birthday to Connie and Marta!

It's hard to believe we've been in Edinburgh long enough to be a part of annual traditions, but that's exactly what's happened! Our friends Connie and Marta celebrate their birthdays on the same day and Stan and I were lucky enough to be part of the festivities again this year. First we caught up with Connie at The Dome for her annual Birthday Bellini (after she had a lovely spa day).

The Dome is already beautifully decorated for Christmas so it was a festive kick-off to the evening. We then went to a Kurdish restaurant just off the Royal Mile for dinner. There we met up with Marta, Ash and Pedro.
On the way back down the mound, we were treated to an amazing fireworks display just under that caste. We joked it was for our friends' birthdays, but it turned out to be a celebration for Diwali. Crowds were stopped in clumps along the sidewalks to get a good view.

It was a beautiful evening, so we slowly meandered back to Stockbridge where a gorgeous cake awaited.
Connie and Marta made a wish and...
Magic things happen in Marta's dining room and it was so nice to be back there again. Time seems to stop when you're with good friends.
Happy birthday my lovelies and I hope we can help you celebrate many more!

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35. आप कतार में है- कृपया प्रतीक्षा कीजिए

आप कतार में है – कृपया प्रतीक्षा कीजिए – बेशक ये लाईन (कथन)  हम फोन पर सुनते हैं पर आजकल रोजमर्रा की जिंदगी में भी देखा जा रहा है … पहले फोन बोलता था कि आप कतार में हैं यू आर इन ए क्यू अब आदमी बोलता है मैं कतार में हूं कृपया प्रतीक्षा कीजिए.. […]

The post आप कतार में है- कृपया प्रतीक्षा कीजिए appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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36. language creeps back in

In the early days of November, at dawn, I walked along the sea.

I had been away from myself for a very long time. Anxious about the world, saddened by unkindness and untruthfulness of both the personal and political sort, not at all certain whether I would ever again find joy in many of the things that I love most.

I'm still anxious. I'm still saddened. But I cannot remain, I realize at last, inside this held breath, this paralysis. I'm no good to anyone if I'm no good within myself.

And so I again am taking refuge inside story. I am returning, in my imagination and in fact, to a young woman I came to know last spring—to someone whose dignity, voice, and absolute compassion deeply heartened me.

I will wake up thinking about her. I will write for her, perhaps just a sentence very day. I will move forward and again forward because her story must be told, and because I know how to do that telling now, and because language creeps back in.

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37. The start of an adventure!

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38. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 281 - 11.15.16

Accelerated rates of sea level rise go hand-in-hand with melting pack ice...

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39. NCTE 2016: Charlotte Huck Honor Award and More

I'm heading to the National Council of Teachers of English Convention in Atlanta this weekend. Here's my schedule if you want to stop by and say hello:

SATURDAY, November 19
9:00 – 10:00 AM Autographing with Candlewick Press (OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES)
VENUE: Booth 606 
11:00 AM – 12:15 PM Panel: "Advocating for Immigrants and Refugees through the Use of Literature and Creative Non-Fiction: Two Authors (one is me!), a Librarian, and Teacher Educator Sharing Stories and Strategies.
VENUE: Room A412 
12:30 – 2:30 PM NCTE Awards luncheon, where Tiger Boy is receiving a Charlotte Huck Honor award and I give a *brief* speech.
VENUE: Thomas Murphy Ballroom 
2:45 – 5:30 PM "The 2016 Orbis Pictus and Charlotte Huck Honor Book Award-Winning Authors and Illustrators Share Their Stories and Insights."
VENUE: Room B2013
SUNDAY, November 20
10:00 – 11:00 AM Autographing with Charlesbridge Publishing (TIGER BOY)
VENUE: Booth 432

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40. Great Review of My Books

Lovely review of three of my books that came out this year: BABY ORCA, RATTLER, and ALIENS FROM EARTH. Thank you, Bill Ruehlmann, Norfolk Virginian Pilot Online.

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41. यातायात के नियमों का पालन – घर पर आपका कोई इंतजार कर रहा है

यातायात के नियमों का पालन – घर पर आपका कोई इंतजार कर रहा है- क्या वाकई हम सडक नियमों ट्रैफिक नियम  का पालन करते हैं ?? या नियमों को ताक पर रख कर ही चलते हैं … भारतीय यातायात के नियम, यातायात नियम भारत, सड़क सुरक्षा नियम, ट्रैफिक लाइट, यातायात के नियमों का पालन, यातायात […]

The post यातायात के नियमों का पालन – घर पर आपका कोई इंतजार कर रहा है appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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42. Group Dynamics

A group has a dynamic
That gets set as time goes by,
But sometimes something changes;
Then we sit and wonder why.

A member of the group departs
Without an explanation
Despite the history of
35 years of duration.

We can’t expect to stay the same
For people grow apart,
But it only takes one apple
To upset the applecart.

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43. Amazon's Best Children's Books of the Year

Great news... Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure is on Amazon's list of Best Children's Books of the Year for 2016 in the Nonfiction category!

(And, as always, it's available through your local independent bookseller!)

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44. बातें

कुछ पैसे के इतने गुलाम है,
उनके लिए जीना भी जाम है,

सिहर जाते है, खाली जेब से,
कहना है उनका, हम आम है,

भाईचारे की नसीहतें बस दे,
पैसे से बड़ा ना अब राम है,

बातें आज़ादी की करते है वो,
बिन पैसा ना उनको आराम है,

दुनिया बदलने की बातें, जिनके,
                 जेबों में नोट, होंटो में दाम है || Dr. DV ||  

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45. खुद को पहचानो – आत्मचिंतन जरुरी है

खुद को पहचानो – आत्मचिंतन जरुरी है. Just leave me alone  – Take a short break – आज की राकेट साईंस वाली जिंदगी में कुछ पल खुद के लिए निकालने बहुत जरुरी हैं …  खुद को पहचानो – आत्मचिंतन जरुरी है पुराने समय में कोप भवन हुआ करते थे … जब भी नाराजगी हुई कोप […]

The post खुद को पहचानो – आत्मचिंतन जरुरी है appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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46. FREE kindle ebook for kids! The first in the Growly trilogy by Philip Ulrich

Free kindle ebook on amazon.com!
Check out the first in the series of the three books in the Growly trilogy by Philip Ulrich.
There is a preview sample below.
The actual kindle ebook is free today (15th November 2016) in the Kindle store on Amazon.com

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47. After the Call

What are the next steps after you get the call offering representation?


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48. Poem by Mary Nida Smith


My poem and other poems posted on David's word of the month W.O.M. Please join us, write and post your poem. A new word each month. Once a year David has a blog party and we all are invited, so start writing. Read David's  blog where you can learn more about writing.

    BY Mary Nida Smith ©
    Searching for who we are
    People of passion
    Deep-rooted in emotion
    Allowing our emotions
    To direct our future as we
    Search for meaning in life.
    Are we blinded by, emotions
    That keeps us from searching,
    The truth of understanding others …
    All have a soul that needs to shine
    To bring us all together, so we
    Can rise up to love one another
    Without group labels,
    Which divide us?

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49. SCBWI 2016 Winter Reading List ~ Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters

 Dee and Deb's travels continue... Their latest stop... 

SCBWI 2016 Winter Reading List
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The Reading List Program includes books of all genres from our PAL authors and illustrators, both front list and backlist titles.
This is an opportunity to find that book that a kid or teen will enjoy and can engage with the fun and adventure of reading.
Authors and illustrators from close to your hometown to those around the world are featured on the List. The Lists will be
published bi-annually, in the Summer and Winter.

Snoopy Dance!


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters ~ December 2015 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2016 Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention Picture Books Five and Under and Story Monster Approved

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014 and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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50. Kids' Caldecott Club, Part 1

Kids' Caldecott Club is up and running!

In our first session, we talked about the Caldecott award, and about how the Caldecott committee works. We talked about layers, theme, and tone in story, and what we will look for as we hunt for the most distinguished picture books of 2016.

Here's one - Alan's Big Scary Teeth by Jarvis.
I asked the kids to tell me what kind of tone or mood they predicted it might have.

The Tree in the Courtyard by Jeff Gottesfeld, ill. by Peter McCarty
shows a different tone - historical, poignant.

The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers
feels mysterious and intricate

Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarienski
has a soft and ethereal mood.

We're starting with about 28 books this year because we only have so much time.
It would be lovely to absolutely roll in a roomful of books, but considering that we are working with after-school hours, 28 books is perfect. 

Our wonderful librarian Martha helped as we evaluated two books with our ballots this week.

First, we examined the cover, jacket flaps, endpapers, copyright page.
We looked for interesting notes about the making of the book.

Next, we "read" the pictures all through, page by page, without words.
We searched for themes, color, mood, point of view, excellent details.

Then, I read the book aloud.

We asked ourselves what the book was about.
We asked what else it was about.
We looked for details to support our ideas,
nuances in text and art, in layout, in font.
We asked ourselves if the text and illustrations wove well together, or clashed.

We asked if the book would appeal to kids, if kids would be excited about that book.

We filled out our ballots and put them in their matching envelopes.


Here are the books we examined this week:

We All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
I'm utterly wowed by the mind-explosions They All Saw a Cat creates. 
I love the details our kids' committee noticed - 
like balance in layout, patterns in text that echo in the illustrations, 
exuberant differences in perspective throughout this book.

The Music in George's Head : George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Another wowzer!

Kids pointed out that the illustrations are done in browns and blues,
which seemed fitting considering that it's about Rhapsody in Blue.
They liked the playful hand lettering,
and the way the story begins, crescendos, and ends.
We listened to Rhapsody in Blue as we tidied up.
What a jazzy bright delight!

I love my library!

Stay tuned for updates as our Caldecott Club continues.
I'll post notes on our ballot and criteria next time.

If you're a local friend, you're welcome to join us!

We're meeting Thursdays 

at the Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock

from 3:45-4:45 p.m.

See more info here.

Except on Thanksgiving.
That's reserved for the turkey eating club.

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