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Results 26 - 50 of 215,526
26. Comic Fiction Competition: The Robert Reeves Prize in Comic Fiction

The Robert Reeves $1,000 Prize in Comic Fiction, judged by distinguished author and editor, Daniel Menaker

Submit your short comedic fiction (no more than 5,000 words) to The Southampton Review’s first annual Robert Reeves Comic Fiction Contest! We won’t even try to tell you what we’re looking for. The comic impulse is so widely and variously expressed in fiction that it resists definition. But if your comic muse has led you to a story that you consider a match, throw caution to the wind and send it to us.


Entry fee is $15 per submission. Winners will be notified on or before January 15, 2015, and will be honored at the Manhattan launch of TSR: The Southampton Review’s Spring 2015 issue.


Submission Period: September 1st through October 31st. Submit here.


1st Place: $1000 and publication in the Spring 2015 issue of TSR: The Southampton Review. Finalist stories will be considered for publication in TSR Online.


Notably irreverent contest judge Daniel Menaker has been the fiction editor at The New Yorker, and Executive Editor in Chief of Random House. He is the author, most recently, of the memoir My Mistake.

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27. Call for Submissions: Tammy

Tammy is reading for its fifth print issue for only four more weeks. Aimed at the esteemed fringes and unguarded egresses of American letters, Tammy seeks writing in all genres and forms of visual art that lend themselves to the printed page.

Submit September 1 - December 1 for the spring 2015 issue and March 1 - May 1 for the fall issue

Online submissions manager 

Submissions in multiple genres and simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If your submission(s) is accepted elsewhere, please let us know via Submittable. 

For queries outside of these guidelines, please email:

thetjournalATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

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28. 10 truly haunting thoughts

 

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

In the spirit of Halloween, I bring you ten truly frightening writing-related thoughts . . . (brace yourself)

  1. What if your last great idea really was your last great idea?
  2. What if you were forced to write a trilogy on a manual typewriter—by the light of a jack o’ lantern?
  3. What if Spellcheck had to be obeyed?
  4. What if the publishing industry adopts a Hunger Games style system for awarding contracts?
  5. What if there is, dare I say it, a comma shortage?
  6. What if the silent g and the silent p refuse to remain so?
  7. What if the act of writing causes cellulite?
  8. What if all books were based on 70s TV shows?
  9. What if editors demand all novels include calculus?
  10. What if your big-mouthed muse starts her own blog?

Bonus scary thought–What if Donald Trump writes a bestselling picture book and his hairstyle starts trending? (How hairifying!)

Happy Halloween from Frog on a Dime!

Once we are aware of our fears, we are almost always capable of being more courageous than we think. Someone once told me that fear and courage are like lightning and thunder; they both start out at the same time, but the fear travels faster and arrives sooner. If we just wait a moment, the requisite courage will be along shortly.  ~ Lawrence Block

 


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29. Every Story Is an Escape Story

Escape Title shotHere’s a story theory of mine worth checking out:

http://writetodone.com/facts-of-fiction/

…published today on the Write to Done website.

I mean it when I say, “Check it out.” The next film you see or novel or read, examine it for the escape story it most probably is.

And if you’re writing a story, see if your protagonist isn’t escaping from some kind of prison. Of the different kind of escapes possible, one of them is the key to writing fiction that gives readers their money’s worth.

I’d love to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the post. You can comment here below, or on the Write to Done site.

I’m living in both locations for a few days.

Cheers.

PJ

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30. Call for Submissions: Duende

Duende welcomes submissions of prose, poetry, hybrid writing, and visual art. We are especially interested in collaborations between two or more writers, or between writers and visual artists. We accept submissions from writers working in English, or translating into English, from anywhere in the world.

Duende tastes good on the tongue and caresses the ear. Duende seeks authenticity & soulfulness, earthiness & expressiveness, a chill up the spine. It encompasses darkness and intensity; elicits sorrow and joy; wrests a response from the body.

If your poetry is rough-cut diamonds, slightly off-kilter; if your fiction will make us feel more human and less alone; if you enjoy exploration of new forms at the edges of the literary universe; if you can bring us elegant translations of literature from far corners of the globe; if your nonfiction is wild and honest; if your visual art is raw and earnest…show us. We want to see it.

Duende aspires to represent the true beauty and diversity of the U.S. literary ecosystem. A majority of the work we publish will be from writers and artists who are queer, of color, differently abled, immigrant, working class, youth, elder, and / or otherwise from communities underrepresented in U.S. literary magazines and journals. Please send us your work!

Submissions are open through November 15th.  


Visit our website for detailed guidelines.

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31. Call for Submissions to Anthology: My Brush with Death

Deadline--January 31, 2015
 
Rain Drop Press, is reading for its first anthology, Life is a Journey. . . not a destination: Topic: My Brush with Death. Rain Drop Press  strives to share stories of those who survived a harrowing experience and are willing to leave their story as a legacy of their emotional journey.
 
My Brush with Death stories are inspirational, true stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary experiences; stories that will open the heart and rekindle the spirit. They are personal and filled with emotion and drama. For some who have had a personal brush with death, reading this anthology will be a moment of reflection and realization of their own mortality. For others, it will be a realization of how fragile life can be.
 
Read the complete guidelines here.
No Entry Fee

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32. Halloween Edition of The Book Blogger Hop - 10/31 - 11/6


Question of the Week:

You can go trick or treating with any fictional character (book or film). Who would you go with?

My Answer:

I would go trick or treating with Freya from Posie Graeme Evans' book, The Island House, or any character in Lucinda Riley's books.
I loved the setting of The Island House, and I love any book written by Lucinda Riley.
Whew...I am glad this is the last of the Halloween questions, Billy.  It was a rough month of questions.
Who would you choose?

Trick or Treat Bag








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33. looking at second-person point-of-view

There are not many stories written in second-person point of view, at least not many that are well-known.  In books on writing, a handful of examples are given that are often repeated among the discussions, but from time to time a new use of the mode will be undertaken by a fresh, contemporary fiction writer.

A very good example of second-person writing (and an excellent work of fiction) is given in a recent short story, "The Rhett Butlers," by Katherine Heiny (The Atlantic, Oct. 2014).  Second-person writing is sometimes described as simply substituting 'you' for ' I ' in what would otherwise be first-person writing.  That's largely true, but just that exchange can have a major effect on how the reader responds to a story.  Moreover, there are many other nuances that also can be called into play with the second-person technique.  Let's just shorten the terminology to POV-2, and for first-person writing, POV-1, etc., for our following discussion.

Heiny's story is about a seventeen-year old girl student who becomes involved with her 40-yr. old history teacher.  It's a story that would probably most often be attempted in POV-1, but how reliable might the girl character be in revealing her motivations and emotional state when she herself might be expected to prevaricate about such things.  By using POV-2 we might be able to challenge her views, and allow her some sidestepping or irony in revealing her motivations. The POV-2 can also be useful in having the second-person narrator reveal some backstory or exposition that might seem unnatural or forced if left to the girl to furnish to the reader.  It will be useful to examine a few excerpts from the story to show the style and nuances that Heiny employs.  Here is one of the early paragraphs that will help set up the story as well as show the POV-2 style she so deftly uses:

YOU AND MR. EAGLETON are becoming regulars at the Starlite Motel.  The first time you stayed in the car while Mr. Eagleton checked in, but now you go in with him to see what name he uses when he signs the register.  He always chooses characters from your favorite novels: Mr. and Mrs. Gatsby, Mr. and Mrs. Caulfield, Mr. and Mrs. Finch, Mr. and Mrs. Twist.  This idea seems very romantic to you, even though you would never change your name, and certainly not to Eagleton.
The woman behind the counter seems to like Mr. and Mrs. Butler best.  "Ah, the Rhett Butlers," she says every time.  "Welcome back."
She is a large, motherly woman, who looks a lot like Mrs. Harrison, the womanwho drives the Children's Bookmobile.  She always has the TV on, and always on a channel showing Wheel of Fortune.  She's unbelievably good--you once saw her guess "Apocalypse Now" just from the letter C.
 This woman makes you feel a lot better.  Nothing bad can happen to you here. 

Notice how the narrator can fill in the reader on the prior frequency of visits, and show an equanimity of the girl, as well as her naivete, and other background things that would have been a lot more awkward in first-person exposition.  

Here is a slightly later paragraph that also illustrates the nuanced values of POV-2:


MARCY TELLS HER PARENTS that she's sleeping at your home.  This way she can stay out past her curfew or even all night.  She's going over to Jeff Lipencott's house; his parents are out of town.
 You agree.  Of course you do--think of all the times Marcy has covered for you.  You sit in the TV room, wearing sweats and your glasses and eating cold Pop-Tarts.  You wish only the very best for Marcy, but you feel forlorn picturing her at Jeff Lippencott's, maybe lying in his parent's bed, leading a real life.
Marcy knocks on the window a little after 11.  You open it and she steps over the window ledge, shaking little diamonds of cold rain from her hair, and says, "Oh my God, he's such an asshole!  He spent the whole time doing hand stands with his friends, and I didn't know anyone and wound up helping his little sister weave pot holders."
 This story should make you feel lots better.  It should make you happy to be you again.  But it doesn't.

The choice of POV-2 for this story seemed so right.  Check out the full story in The Atlantic.  You owe it to your career.  Another interesting story in POV-2, a novel actually, Chris Lynch's, "Freewill," a Printz Honor Award book.  Lynch has a long list of good YA titles, and is such a fine writer that it was inevitable he'd take up the challenge to write an intriguing POV-2 classic.  Read this one, too.

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34. Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun - 10/31/14

Feeling Beachie

Love this meme....I hope you can join in the fun.  

Each week, Feeling Beachie lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs.  

Trick or Treat Bag



The statements:
  1. During a______, I_______
  2. Enjoying_____ is________
  3. Listening to______ is something_______
  4. Answering______ can be ________

My Answers:

1.  During a snowstorm, I get a lot of books read.  :)

2.  Enjoying reading is something we must instill in our children.

3.  Listening to my sisters chatter away is something to be cherished.

4.  Answering a call from a solicitor can be very annoying.







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35. Things are going to be so 'Bellatastic' at It's A Ruff Life!

Things are going to go crazy at Ruff Life.  There are so many fantastic things happening. It means more work for me. But I don't mind doing anything to make me more famous.

I mean a girl has to do anything she can to get what she wants. And I'm a great achiever in getting what I want.

I want fame, fashion, limelight and a peaceful life without a nosy, smelly brother that's always interfering.  So far I've only managed the first 3.goals, I'm still working on the 4th, but Max doesn't get any of the subtle hits I leave for him. He's just one stubborn mongrel.


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36. November Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

Lots happening with children's/YA lit in Connecticut this month, particularly because of the Connecticut Children's Book Fair. Plus Jeff Kinney is going to be here for a weekend. And there's a Fancy Nancy author appearance. Keep reading.

Sat., Nov. 8, Jeff Kinney, R. J. Julia Bookseller event at the Madison Congregational Church, Madison  Ticketed event. Times between 5:30 and 7:00 PM will be assigned to ticket holders.

Sat., Nov. 8, Norah Raleigh Baskin, Anika Denise, Christopher Denise, Anna Dewdney, Chris Grabenstein, Natalie Lloyd, Jean Marzollo, Barbara McClintock, Florence Minor, Wendell Minor, Pat Schories, Kevin Sherry, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Connecticut Children's Book Fair, Storrs Check link for schedule

Sun., Nov. 9, Patrick Henry Bass, Jerry Craft, Jane Dyer, Jeff Kinney, Caragh O'Brien, Dan Poblocki, Judy Schachner, Lauren Tarshis, Len Vlahos, Connecticut Children's Book Fair, Storrs Check link for schedule

Fri., Nov. 14, Leslie Bulion, "Talk of the Towns," Indian Springs Golf Course, Middlefield Doors open at 6:30, Event runs from 7:00 to 9:00 PM with four speakers 

Fri., Nov. 14, Chris Van Allsburg, R. J. Julia Bookseller, Madison 5:30 PM Pre-register

Sat., Nov. 15, Patricia Dunn, Elm Street Books, New Canaan  Noon to 12:30 PM

Tues., Nov. 18, Victoria Kann, Barnes and Noble, Westport 6:00 PM

Wed., Nov. 19, Jane O'Connor, Pequot Library, Southport 4:30 to 6:00 PM

Sat., Nov. 29, Jan Brett, R.J. Julia event at IKEA, New Haven 10 AM Event free, purchase of The Animals' Santa from R.J. Julia or at the event required for admission to the book-signing line.

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37. Free Fall Friday – October Results

 illustrationppinsk

This illustration was sent in by Patricia Pinsk. She works primarily with water colour, ink, digital photography, coloured pencil and collage. Patricia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now called Emily Carr University of Art and Design), as well as a Certificate in New Media from Vancouver Film School. Web: www.patriciapinsk.com/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/patriciapinskillustration?ref=hl Twitter: @patriciapinsk

Here are the first page critiques brought to you this month by Liza Fleissig from the Liza Royce Agency.

The Tattletail’s Claw: A CreatureNet Chronicle by Jody Staton – Middle Grade Novel

“Be Careful What You Wish For”

“. . .and that, Clawdia,” says Hershey’s voice in my head, “is why you must never let two-leggers know what we are.”

I lick a paw, and swipe it across my whiskers. Curled up on his wide brown rump, warmed by his body heat, I’m lulled half to sleep.

Zzzzt! A huge horsefly dive-bombs us. Wide awake now, I swat with a paw, and miss. Hershey flicks his long black tail. Whipping horsehairs send the fly tumbling. It buzzes around his legs, he stomps a hoof. His rump becomes an earthquake. I leap to my feet, teetering because I dare not dig into his hide the few claws I have left. We are next to a water trough, and I jump over it to a split-rail fence.

“Sorry about that,” he says. He ducks his head—in apology, I think. No, he’s just rubbing his head against the edge of the trough, scratching the lump that mars his forehead. Then, stern, like the police horse he used to be, Hershey demands that I repeat what he just told me.

I blink. “About the interstellar ark?”

“Wrong. About how two-leggers wouldn’t understand. How can you teach these stories to other Listeners if you don’t know them well yourself?”

I twitch my question-mark tail. “Why? Yesterday you said how few of us—”

“Lunchtime, Clawdia.” A human voice cuts me off. From the back porch of the Schwartz Veterinary Clinic, across a gravel drive from Hershey’s farm, it’s a young voice. And familiar!

“Dookie! I knew she’d come again this summer.” Forget Hershey’s lectures—my favorite person is here! I leap from the fence, streak across the drive. Dookie jumps from the porch, falls over a small bush, picks herself up, and races toward me. We meet in a mess of legs and arms, fur and tight curls, purrings and kisses.

Here is what Liza had to say: 

Staton, The Tattletail’s Claw

The writing itself is nice, with many nice details (like “I lick a paw and swipe it over my whiskers” and “his rump becomes an earthquake”). But my first impression is one of confusion—there are a lot of elements that are unexplained, and it’s rather difficult to paint a picture or figure out what’s going on.

The very first sentence is a difficult and awkward way to begin a story—with dialogue in the midst of being spoken. Perhaps the writer is trying to created intrigue, but younger readers will be confused. For one, we do not yet know they are animals and two, “two-leggers” will be an unfamiliar term.

It takes quite a while to figure out what kind of animals these are, which also causes confusion—you don’t want readers to be wondering about this so much that it detracts from what’s happening in the story.

Other questions: The cat says, “I dare not dig into his hide the few claws I have left”—why is this? Is this a detail we need to know right now, on the first page? Then, the horse says, “How can you teach these stories to other Listeners if you don’t know them well yourself?” First of all, what stories? Secondly, who are the Listeners? Third, why does the cat not seem to care about the stories (and why does the horse)? Again, you want to create intrigue, but you don’t want to leave the reader with so little to work with, and here there are just too many unanswered questions.

If this is a story about talking animals, then it’s a story for young readers. The sentence structure is a bit too complex, and combined with the above questions, I think younger readers are going to feel lost (what is an “interstellar” ark, for example?) We need to have a simpler, cleaner and more appealing introduction to the story. The set-up needs to be such that young readers want to keep on reading. The detail with Dookie is very sweet—perhaps concentrate on this as an introduction—and maybe the fact that these animals can talk is enough of a mystery that the reader will be excited to find out more.

___________________________________________________________

Daddy, What’s a Redneck? by Erika Wassall Picture Book

Little Lainey squatted, tugged on the pant legs sticking out between the two tires and asked, “Daddy, what’s a Redneck?” (illus: Daddy is underneath a vehicle working on it.)

Daddy laughed. He opened his mouth to answer, but stopped short.

“Hand me that yellow screwdriver and I’ll tell you,” he said. “Your great-granddaddy was a Redneck. He worked out in the cotton fields all day, with the sun beating on the back of his NECK.” Daddy slid out from underneath the engine and smiled. “What happens to your nose and shoulders when you’re out in the sun all day?”

Little Lainey’s eyes lit up, “They get all RED!” she cried.

Daddy nodded. “Exactly! Back then, working in the fields meant you couldn’t go to school. Calling someone a Redneck could have been hurtful, meaning they weren’t very smart. People started to think that folks who worked with their hands all day were fools.”

Little Lainey stared at Daddy’s grease covered hands and sternly shook her head. “But Daddy! Your hands can fix everything! They’re the smartest hands I know.”

“Darn right!” said Daddy. “Folks often try to find ways to put others down. That doesn’t make them right. People all across the country are proud to be Rednecks.” (illus: Daddy’s leaning over so we can see his red neck)

“Why?” asked Little Lainey, as she watched the rainbows dance on the top of the oil pan.

Here is what Liza had to say:

Wassall, Daddy, What’s a Redneck?

Opening paragraph is sweet. I just don’t know how much this topic is going to interest readers. Does this make a story? What is the story here? Dad is answering a question, but what is the story? Why does the little girl ask this question in the first place?

My concern is that the title feels like a joke and it’s hard to take the story seriously upon first hearing what the title is. In fact, there may be a lot of people who take offense before they even have a chance to read the story.

Dad’s answers to the little girl’s question are nice, but there’s a lot that feels a bit too adult here and which young readers might have a hard time understanding: “Folks often try to find ways to put others down” etc.

General kid appeal: a little low. It’s hard to imagine a kid wanting to read this based on the first page (and keep going back to it). Feels a bit too earnest and “issue” driven. Combined with the title, I don’t think this would be something an editor would request over other things currently being shopped.

___________________________________________________________

JEREMY’S SLED By Sue Heavenrich – Picture Book

Jeremy pulled his new sled out of the car. He squeaked his boots on the fresh snow. “Sugarhouse Hill, here I come!”

“We still need noisemakers for our New Year’s party,” said Dad. “Stick to the small hill until I get back from the store.”

“Okay,” said Jeremy. He waved to Dad and then plodded up the hard-packed path. But instead of stopping where he should have, his feet took him up, up, up to the top of the highest hill in the whole park.

“Just one run,” Jeremy whispered. He climbed into his sled. It teetered, it tottered, it wibbled and wobbled, then –

WHOOSH! Off he flew down, down, down to the line of straw bales that stopped runaway sleds. Jeremy slipped through a gap…

…. and tangled the leash between a woman and her dog.

“Sorry!” Jeremy yelled as the dog flew into the air and landed in the sled. The sled sped across the slick road, down a slope and onto the pond.

“Sliding through!” Jeremy shouted. The sled knocked a puck into the net and flipped a hockey player into the sled.

“Hang on!” The sled slid through a flock of ducks, hit a bump and flew

through the air…

… scared a squirrel out of a tree, knocked a hat off a snowman,

and barely cleared the back fence of the zoo.

Here is what Liza had to say:

Heavenrich, Jeremy’s Sled

I like the fun of the sled ride gone out of control—readers will think this is super fun and entertaining. The beginning is slow, though. Why do we need the earnest, adult details of dad telling Jeremy that he’s going to the store and stick to the small hill? Why not just have Jeremy at the big hill pondering it “mom and dad always tell me to stick to the small hills, but just once I’d like to try the big one” or something like this.

The wild sled ride itself seems to need to be slowed down a bit, too much happens too quickly. The writer could have a lot of fun here by making each thing that winds up in the sled a more fun acquisition.

The title needs to be more interesting and compelling, something that reflects the fun that both Jeremy and the reader are in for. The language as well, while nice, is not really reflective in rhythm and language of a wild sled ride. Writer should look at some comparable picture books for examples.

___________________________________________________________

Rule Breaker by Angela Larson & Zander Mowat, Middle Grade Novel

Detective Derk’s Spy Manual for the Disgruntled made surveillance sound a lot easier than it was. Knelling on a bent knee, peering around a corner with a mirror, Aaron Adams switched the mirror from one hand to the other. This was just long enough for him to shake out his arm, which had started to go numb. He resumed his position, but his back and knee still ached. For the whole lunch period he’d been looking down the long hall that leads to the school’s cafeteria. He’d been on surveillance since Monday and now that it was Friday, he was losing hope that this would work. An internal debate started to brew in his mind, was it worth skipping lunch again, after the lack of success all week. Then, his target, his jerk older brother Roger Adams, turned the corner.

Roger strolled down the hall in his ‘I’m too important to walk any faster’ mode and pulled what appeared to be a coin from his pocket. Roger never has change, this doesn’t make sense, thought Aaron. Roger walked toward a row of old-fashioned vending machines. These ancient relics had been in the school forever, since a time when their Principle attended here as a kid. They were always full of candy bars, but no one carries change anymore except old people, like Aaron’s rusty teachers.

Aaron’s arm was starting to shake by the time Roger stopped in front of the vending machines. He took slow steady breaths; this was described in Detective Derk’s manual as something you should do if you ever need to steady yourself. He kept the mirror focused on his target.

Roger slid a quarter into a slot, pressed a button and the sound of the candy hitting the tray echoed down the hall. I KNOW he doesn’t carry money.

Aaron leaned so far forward the mirror started to fog from his breath. Before the image…

Here is what Liza had to say:

Larson & Mowat, Rule Breaker

Writing is a bit awkward and clunky—the very first paragraph is actually quite a mouthful to read aloud, and I worry that readers’ introduction to this story will not be as compelling as it needs to be in order to hook readers and get them interesting in reading further. Words like “disgruntled” and “knelling” (is this an error?? didn’t make sense) further confusing the narration.

Kids will find spying fun, but why is one brother spying on another? I think we need a better sense of this. And why is one brother spying on another brother at school (when he can spy on him at home)? In other words, I worry that this may come across as a plot that’s not so exciting (as opposed to having Aaron spy on someone more interesting, like a school enemy, for example).

Words are misspelled throughout (knelling rather than kneeling, Principle rather than Principal) and grammar is shaky. As an agent, this isn’t something I request to see further.

____________________________________________________________

Thank you Liza for sharing your time and expertise with all of us. It is much appreciated.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Advice, Agent, inspiration, Process, revisions, Tips, writing Tagged: First Page Critiques, Free Fall Friday, Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency

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38. A Halloween comic for fellow A WRINKLE IN TIME fans

From the Will Write For Chocolate archives...

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39. Monster Madness Blog Hop


Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls! Welcome to the Monster Madness Blog Hop hosted by Vicki Leigh and me. Since Vicki and I both released monster books this year (The Monster Within and Catch Me When I Fall), we thought it would be fun to have a blog hop dedicated to the monsters we love so much. So have some candy corn and enjoy this post as Vicki and I interview each other.

Okay, Vicki, time to fess up. What monster scares you the most?

I’m pretty hard to scare, to be honest. But there is one monster who gives me the creeps: Freddy Krueger. In a way, he was kind of the inspiration behind the Nightmares in my series, because the thought of someone being able to kill you in your dreams terrifies me. I’ve never actually seen the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but, man, that dude creeps me out.

I love Freddy! My sister loved the Nightmare on Elm Street movies so I saw them much younger than I should have. ;)

How about you, Kelly? You have to be afraid of someone or something, too!

Growing up, I was terrified of the monster under the bed. I even wrote a short story about it called “The Monster of All Monsters.” Anyway, if I had to get up in the middle of the night for water or to use the bathroom, I’d stand on my bed and try to jump to the doorway. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that fear. Now the thing that freaks me out is ghosts. I tried to write a book about a haunting once, and the research totally scared me away from the idea.

Oh, man. I love ghosts. Like, I legitimately want to spend the night in a true haunted house. I think it’d be awesome. (Yet, a fictional guy creeps me out. I’m weird; I know. J)

All right, Vicki, you have to create a NEW monster. What does it look like, and what kind of terrifying things can it do?

Hmm…I think a monster who takes the shape of whatever form you find most attractive would be pretty terrifying—especially when he/she sucks out your soul during a smexy scene and leaves you a comatose patient for the rest of your life. That may have been done before. I don’t know. But I’ve heard freaky stories about what it feels like to be in a coma. I never want that experience. Or being found comatose on my bed in my birthday suit.

All right. So, my monster sucked. You create one, Kelly. I’m positive you can do better!

I’m feeling the pressure now. I’m sort of stealing from Harry Potter here, but I think a monster that can transform into whatever it is a person fears the most would be just awful because no one would be safe from it. No wait! Better yet, the monster becomes ALL of your fears rolled into one! So if you are afraid of snakes, ghosts, and realistic looking dolls with eyelids that open and close (not that I’m being that specific because those are my top three fears or anything), the monster would turn into a doll possessed by a ghost who can charm poisonous snakes to attack on command. *shivers*

Back to you, Vicki. We’ve all been inside haunted houses or mazes at Halloween time, right? What monster got the best of you inside one of those?

I actually have a good story for this, because I really am super hard to scare. I’ve been in haunted houses and mazes, and usually when things jump out at me, I giggle. So, last year, I went to a haunted cornfield with a few friends. We walked through a LOT of really tall corn, and a trailer that was pitch black. None of the actors really got me, even when I had to feel the walls because it was so dark I couldn’t see. And then we exited the cornfield, and I was like, “well, that was fun,” thinking it was over.

Then, out of nowhere, came a dude with a chainsaw. Good lord; I jumped out of my skin! I screamed and then tipped my head back and guffawed. That dude got me. It was the chainsaw noise that did it, and his perfect position: I thought the maze was over.

How about you, Kelly? Do you have a good haunted house story?

Ooh, sneaky little chainsaw-wielding devil! ;) 

Okay, well I have to say I startle easily, not scare easily. I went through a haunted dormin college. I give the people who ran it credit because it was pretty good. There was a funeral in one room, and we all thought the dead body was going to get up. It was really a distraction for something that snuck up on us. Still, I wasn’t scared. Nor was I scared when they turned out all the lights and we had to find out way out in complete darkness. Then at the end, there was a guy in a gorilla suit. That made me laugh, but it also distracted me from the hands reaching out from under the stairs I was climbing. I admit I jumped when I looked down and saw what I’m assuming was a zombie gripping my leg.

Time to change gears. What monster is your all-time favorite, Vicki?

Am I okay to say Cookie Monster? J For real, though, my favorite is probably Dracula.

How about you? You have to have a favorite!

I think I’m going to have to go with a zombie. Something about a reanimated corpse is both disgusting and terrifying, considering it wants to eat your brains. Got to love that! ;)

Now it's your turn! Choose 3 questions below to answer either in the comments or on your own blog.


1. What monster terrifies you the most?
2. Do you have a good haunted house story?
3. What's your favorite monster?
4. Is there a monster book that terrified you as a child?
5. Have any book recommendations for stories that include monsters?
6. Finally, create your own monster! What does it look like, and what scary things can it do?
Then tag FIVE of your friends to share in the Monster Madness!
And be sure to enter our giveaway to win books and SWAG from Vicki and me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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40. Announcing the Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

I’m thrilled to announce that  my good friend and colleague, author and 12X12 Picture Book Challenge Founder Julie Hedlund, and I have officially launched our new course, The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

Julie and I have poured everything we know about writing query letters and the process of submitting picture books into this course. We are proud to say it is a one-stop-shopping source for EVERYTHING a picture book author needs to know about submitting picture books successfully to agents and publishers.

In fact, we guarantee that every possible question about the picture book submissions process is answered in this course. How can we make that promise? Because if anyone purchases the course and finds, after going through all the material, that a question they have is NOT answered, we’ll both answer the question AND add it to the official FAQs.

And for this weekend only, we are offering an early-bird special of $50 off the retail price of the course, bringing it down from $197 to $147. (That’s actually $3 less than my professional Query Critique service… and in true “teach-a-man-to-fish” fashion, empowers picture book authors to polish their own queries with confidence forever more.) In addition, those who purchase the course before the early-bird deadline expires will receive a BONUS gift – our comprehensive list of publishers that accept un-agented picture book submissions.

This is NOT a mere ebook, but a complete soup-to-nuts resource for crafting flawless submissions to land an agent or a book contract. Those interested can take a short video tour of everything that’s in the course HERE.

(But remember – the early-bird offer expires at midnight on Monday, November 3.)

To your submissions success!

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41. Ten Children's Books for Halloween - by Emma Barnes

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night...

It's Halloween, and the perfect time to choose some spooky stories.  Witches, wizards and ghosties...read on for some mainly funny, occasionally frightening, books featuring witches, wizards and other Halloween happenings.  I've organized them roughly by age of reader and slipped in a book of my own.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schlieffer

Julia Donaldson is the queen of the rhyming picture book, and this one is features a wonderfully traditional (if benevolent) warty-nosed witch, complete with cat and a very over-crowded broomstick...


Winnie the Witch by Valerie Bierman and Korky Paul

It's Wilbur the cat and the wonderful illustrations - veering from all dark, to a world of colour - that absolutely make this book for me.

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

The classic adventures of the accident-prone Mildred Hubble at Miss Cackle's Academy are ever-fresh and delightful.

The Best Halloween Ever - by Barbara Robinson

I have to admit I haven't actually read this yet - in fact I only just discovered it existed.  But it's by one of the funniest childrens' writers ever, Barbara Robinson, about one of the funniest families ever, the Herdmans.  They produced a hilarious Christmas Pageant so I'm looking forward to what they'll do with Halloween...

Bella Donna by Ruth Symes

An ordinary girl, who just happens to be a witch...or rather a witchling.  A contemporary take on witches.

Witch Baby by Debi Gliori

I think this would be a book my own Wild Thing character would enjoy - because, like her story, it concerns a little sister whose behaviour is driving her older sister crazy.  Only this little sister is a witch.  Sibling rivalry with a big dose of magic thrown in.

Jessica Haggerthwaite: Witch Dispatcher by Emma Barnes

Yes, this one's by me!  Jessica Haggerthwaite wants to be a famous scientist and is determined to foil her mother, Mrs Haggerthwaite's, witchcraft business.  Her plans come to a head at a disastrous Halloween Party for her mother's magical pals and their familiars.


Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

DWJ is my favourite fantasy author and I could have chosen several of her books: Witch Week or The Time of the Ghost or Howl's Moving Castle.  Charmed Life is one of the Chrestmanci series, and is perfect for Halloween as it is during a grand dinner party at Chrestomanci Castle ("because they always do lots of entertaining around Halloween") that the magic really goes awry, with the help of a pinch of dragon's blood.  A truly wonderful book.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling


The most famous boy wizard of all, and Azkaban is my favourite of his adventures, because that time changing plot is just so fiendishly clever.

The Midnight Folk by John Masefield

Older and darker in tone, this classic novel is one of my all-time favourites.  The witches, including the terrifying Mrs Pouncer and her friends, are genuinely scary, as is Abner Brown.  There is a wildness to time and setting.  And Nibbins the cat is probably my favourite Witch's cat of all.


Coraline by Neil Gaiman

A bit of a change of subject matter here, as most of my list is funny rather than terrifying, but if you want something truly spinechilling then Coraline fits the bill.  Just why is that mother with the button eyes so disturbing?  But don't blame me if you (or they) get nightmares.


What have I forgotten?  Please nominate your favourite Halloween reads.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Emma's new series for 8+ Wild Thing about the naughtiest little sister ever (and her bottom-biting ways) is out now from Scholastic. 
"Hilarious and heart-warming" The Scotsman

 Wolfie is published by Strident.   Sometimes a Girl’s Best Friend is…a Wolf. 
"A real cracker of a book" Armadillo 
"Funny, clever and satisfying...thoroughly recommended" Books for Keeps


Emma's Website
Emma’s Facebook Fanpage
Emma on Twitter - @EmmaBarnesWrite

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42. The first official book from international pop-punk sensation 5 Seconds of Summer

It’s here! The first official book from international pop-punk sensation 5 Seconds of Summer, Hey, Let’s Make a Band!, chronicling the group’s amazing journey to super-stardom. These four Australian boys — Luke, Michael, Calum and Ashton — are a global sensation. From posting videos of themselves performing cover versions of hit songs to YouTube, they […]

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43. Book Beginnings - 10/31/14


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

***************

Trick or Treat Bag
This week's book beginnings comes from THE PARIS WINTER by Imogen Robertson.


"The news of the suicide of Rose Champion reached  her fellow students at the Academie Lafond on a pale wintery morning a little before ten o'clock."

Love the cover - gorgeous.

The beginning is a bit slow, but the main characters are devious, cunning, and oh so evil. There are also characters who are comical and innocent.  They all make the book good.  :)

*************** 
A book I wanted to share from last week.

CATTLE KATE by Jana Bommersbach

It is a true story, and I enjoyed it.  My review is in the book's title.  


***************














Read the complete post...

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44. How to write when the story doesn't result in victory ..

Hello, I'm looking to write a short story, non-fictional. It's about a race season, David vs. Goliath, etc. The main character wins races and championships

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45. Creepy Story!!! My own.

So, in honor of almost-Halloween, I am sharing a creepy real-life story. Please, please, please feel free to share your own creepy real-life stories, because I adore them. And it would be really nice of you. Good karma. :)


So, I grew up in this house my dad built in Bedford, New Hampshire. It was on a hill. There'd been another house there about 100 years before but it had burned down.  And after that some people from Connecticut built a camp in the woods and would come there in the summer. That was in the early 1900s, I think. But those were the only known houses on the site before ours.

Anyway, we had this great big picture window in the living room. My dad and mom were arguing at the kitchen table, so I toddled off and went into the living room. It was night time. I know I was really little, probably around three, because my parents were still married. I really hated them fighting so I waddled over to the picture window and decided to blow on it, so I could make those hand footprints in the mist that comes from your breath.
So, I started to blow on the window to see if it would frost up, but then I noticed something outside on our front lawn. Our front lawn was a big grassy hill that sloped down to the road. I cupped my hands around my eyes so I could see better and peered out. There was a woman wearing a long, white dress walking across the lawn, from left to right.
That was weird. Nobody ever walked across our lawn at night. We were really rural, up a long driveway, up a hill.
I was little, but I knew it was funky.
But something else was wrong, too.

The lady was trudging right above the hole for the septic tank. It was a big hole about three feet deep that was covered with two granite slabs. I knew it was there because my mom was always warning me about falling in and breaking an ankle. My mom was really, really worried about my ankles. I grew up thinking pretty much anything could break my ankle --- holes, bikes, skis, horses, soccer, hamsters, the simple act of walking....

So, anyway, even though there was a hole there, the lady walked right over it.
"Mommy!"
She did not fall down. She did not break her ankle.
"Mommy!"

I yelled for her but she and my dad just kept arguing. The woman kept walking. She lifted her arm and waved. She seemed nice.

"Mommy!"
"What?"
"There's a lady in the lawn."
"What?"
"There's a lady..."

My mom and dad both rushed to the picture window.

"There's nothing," my dad said.
"I thought I saw something..." my mom interrupted. She turned me around to look at her. "What did the lady look like?"
"She was a lady... she was wearing white... you could see through her dress..."

My mom put me to bed, right away, but my parents stopped arguing, at least for that night. I looked for that lady all the time, especially when my parents got grumpy at each other. I thought maybe she'd save us. She didn't. She never came back if she was even there at all.

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46. Call for Submissions: Cooper Street

Cooper Street, an online publication sponsored by the Rutgers University Camden MFA program’s student organization, is still looking for more fiction and poetry for our second issue, slated for a January release. Priority deadline for full consideration for the issue is Nov. 15.  

All interested writers are welcome. Please send work as word documents (.doc or .docx) via email to:

ru.cooperstreetATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

using the following format for the Subject: “Last name – Genre.” We’re interested in stories and poems about cities, particularly those set in the Northeast. But we’ll consider all subjects if the work is interesting and strong. If you have creative non-fiction, we ask that you please save it for an upcoming issue.

Additional guidelines

Fiction: Send either one story of no more than 5,000 words (although stories of 3,000 words or less are especially welcome) or send up to three flash fiction pieces of no more than 600 words each.

Poetry: Send three to five poems as a single attachment, one poem per page.

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47. The World Serious

The Giants won the Series;
I didn’t really care.
The team I root for (Yankees)
This year didn’t make it there.

But always this reminds me
When my son was very young,
He referred to this finale
With a kid’s slip of the tongue.

He called it “The World Serious,”
Not meaning to be slick;
With all the hype surrounding it,
We’ve let that label stick.

And so we watched the Royals lose
Despite a rousing fight.
They sure looked serious to me,
The proof my son was right!

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48. Call for Poetry Submissions: Really System

Really System, the journal of poetry and extensible poetics, will publish its fifth issue in February 2015. We are looking for vibrant poems inflected by our shared technocultural moment and the ways it envelops us, fascinates us, dances with us, ignores us, and fails us. Submissions for issue five are open until January 1, 2015.  

More information on our website.

Submission Guidelines.

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49. Prepare Yourself for these Film Adaptations

The summer is almost upon us, which means the season for blockbuster movies is here. With the successful adaptation of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn I thought I would talk about some other movies that come from books. Like me, I am sure a lot of people out there would prefer to read the book […]

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50. you know that super smart brother of mine?



He's helping to lead the IBM team now at work on this revolutionary technology in the Cognitive Environments Laboratory. When Jeff describes this to me, he asks me if I remember the film Minority Report, the technologies for which were conjured a decade ago by fifteen scientific researchers during a three-day, Spielberg-assembled think tank.

From the Yahoo Finance article where the video above appears:

Using the capabilities of IBM's pioneering Cognitive Environments Laboratory (CEL), Repsol and IBM researchers will work together to jointly develop and apply new prototype cognitive tools for real-world use cases in the oil and gas industry. Cognitive computing software agents and technologies will be designed to collaborate with human experts in more natural ways, learn through interaction, and enable individuals and teams to make better decisions by overcoming cognitive limitations posed by big data.

Scientists in the CEL will also be able to experiment with a combination of traditional and new interfaces based upon spoken dialog, gesture, robotics and advanced visualization and navigation techniques. Through these modalities, they will be able to learn and leverage sophisticated models of human characteristics, preferences and biases that may be present in the decision-making process.
Jeff, who was inducted into the IEEE two years ago (and whose children respectively dance and race the Rubik's Cube clock), possesses a mind that seems capable of the impossible. He has to dial his intellect down several notches so that he can communicate with ordinary people like me. He has spent many years at IBM doing various fascinating things—and many nights working until 3 AM or later (on concepts, on coding, on new ideas, on computer screens) to be ready for his team the next day.

If you watch this video, you'll see my brother beginning at minute 2:20 in a blue shirt at a long table, thinking. He has blue eyes, light hair, and a brain that is also seemingly unrelated to me.

Thanks to Donna, Jeff's wife, for sharing the article and video, and to my father who was on this news early today.

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