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By: SCBWI REP,
Howdy, folks! Spring is in the air! Proof positve: my redbud tree is covered with buds. I hope that you are springing up with new projects, too. I've heard there are bluebonnets in North Bryan already!
Mark your calendars. Our next Schmooze will fall on 3-27-13 at the College Station Barnes and Noble. Bring copies (up to 5) for gentle critique at 9:30 a.m. Our Schmooze program begins at 10 a.m. This month: Kid-lit discussion boards - Why? What? How? See you there!
Children's Literature Book Club
Date: March 28
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: The ArtsCenter
Please learn more by following this link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChildLitbookclub/
Congrats! Beautiful new cover of Sherry Garland's book, Voices of Pearl Harbor. Available locally at Barnes and Noble.
This year's SCBWI Golden Kite has been announced along with Sid Fleischman Award winners and honorees. The Golden Kite for fiction goes to: The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin. For the complete list of winners, follow this link.
Check out the Charolotte Zolotow Award
for picture book text awarded by the Cooperative Children's Book Center. This year's winner is Each Kindness, written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Follow the link to learn the rest of the honorees.
Here is an app that may be of some interest to you. Check out Scholastic's Storia.
One buzzing genre out there is a new adult and may be of some interest to those who write books for readers between teens and adults. Here is an article discussing this new genre
. Check out this article about a "new adult" imprint
. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.
This morning I want to make you aware of Poison, a book that was written by Bridget Zinn. Poison is Bridget’s debut novel, but tragically, she passed away before she could see the publication of her book. Before I share a first from my life, I would like you to take a moment and think about the people you love in your life. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was about ten. Thanks to early detection, she has been cancer free for decades. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer, and again, because of routine testing and early detection, he, too, is in remission. Please go in for routine testing. Please urge your family members and friends to do the same. There are no guarantees in life, but early detection does increase the odds of beating the big C.
To help celebrate Bridget’s first, a group of bloggers got together and we are all going to share a first with you. I hope you enjoy visiting the other blogs and learning more about the bloggers running them. (Thank you, Inara Scott, for facilitating the tour.)
My First Job
I’m going to share my first job with you. When I was a teen, a used bookstore opened close to my house. My mom and I made many, many trips, every week, to the store, and after a while, got to know the owners and many customers very well. I loved this bookstore.
One Saturday morning, we dropped in, and one of the owners was overwhelmed with bags and bags of trade-ins. She asked me what I was doing the rest of the day, and since I didn’t have any plans, she asked if I wanted to help her in the store that day. Of course I did! I loved books then just as much as I do now. That afternoon turned into years of helping run the store. At one point I seriously considered buying them out, but circumstances didn’t work out that way.
Now I am glad that things didn’t work out, because I wouldn’t have met Dean, I wouldn’t have had my dogs, and I wouldn’t have started riding. I learned so much working there, about selling books and sharing my enthusiasm for reading, with other people who loved reading, too, and had so much fun along the way. My first job never felt like a job; going to work always seemed like hanging out with good friends, talking about the latest releases, and pouring through the catalogs for upcoming books. I loved it!
What’s your favorite first?
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
Purchase your copy from these booksellers:
Barnes & Noble
Add Poison to your Goodreads pile!
About Bridget Zinn
Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the "summer of love" and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was "Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect."
Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.
Today is the official publication date for SNIPPET THE EARLY RISER, my new picture book. The reviews so far have been very positive, including a fun review from Michael Ian Black in this week's New York Times
. The NYT review is a first for me, and as a previous NYC dweller who religiously pored over the NYT Book Review every Sunday, it is an especially lovely gift.
In the past, I've blogged about the inspiration for my books (or more accurately, the "special" kind of crazy that is my thought process), and once again, I am back to ramble. The idea for this book was born 3 years ago when my early risers were having quite an impact on my life. (And my coffee consumption.) It's rough on both sides of that fence, though. Yes, there was adult sleep deprivation, but think of the poor kids -- what a monumental job it is to rouse a large, immovable lump from bed.
I started to think about characters. I wanted to use animals—lazy animals. Sloths? Pigs? My sketchbook has many pages of options, but as soon as I began sketching snails, I knew I had my characters. Just think of the difficult job a poor young snail has in trying to coax sleeping parents from their impenetrable shells!
After the character decision was made came the fun of thinking about snails and their daily lives. They do present some unique challenges, given their lack of hands, arms, and legs. What does
a young snail do for fun? That was the question. One day as I was hiking, I found my answer. (I actually went home, grabbed my camera, and went back to take this photo...so excited was I about the idea...and so certain that someday, I would want it as evidence.)
It was abundantly clear to me that the snail who left this trail had either eaten too many fermented leaves or was simply having fun, expressing himself—doing snail donuts, shall we say? Making drawings? Clearly, he was not in a hurry to get anywhere. Perhaps he was daydreaming as he wandered about. As soon as I began to think of snails as creative creatures, the story took shape.
Many thanks to the people who shepherded this story on its road to publication: Mary Kole, Joanne Taylor, Michele Burke, and Sarah Hokanson.
Please visit my website
to view the trailer and learn more about the book.
There is a lot to love about the time we live in.
We're more connected to each other than ever. We can be more productive. We can do more with less time. We very often take it for granted.
I remember when my parents had to sit down once a month to "do the bills," which meant spending an entire night writing checks, balancing accounts, licking envelopes, and driving to the post office the next day.
Now, I write precisely one check a month and it's to my landlord, and in fact, it's one of the few times a month I write anything
by hand. There are few bills I don't pay automatically, and it's easy to manage things online.
I remember phone chains where people scheduled events and spread the word about changes in meeting times by going down a list and calling people one by one. I remember how precarious it could be to meet someone when they could have an unexpected delay and had no way of letting you know. I remember how I sometimes didn't know baseball scores for two days because the games ended too late to be printed in the next morning's newspaper.
And I'm only 32!
At the same time, as the Arcade Fire memorably put it, We Used to Wait
. We used to have to be patient. We didn't have to unplug because the default state was unplugged.
The consequences of this constant bombardment is well-documented, whether it's car accidents caused by texting or an inability to sleep because of blue light from the laptops we tote to bed or chronic short attention spans.
For me personally, I find the consequences most acute when it comes to brainstorming new creative ideas and especially when I try to making decisions.
Creative thinking requires a calmness and a blocking out of distractions in order to let ideas come to you. Decision making requires you to truly be in touch with how you feel and to stop and listen to yourself. They require concentration, which can be in short supply.
It's not at all easy for me to find calm moments when inspiration can strike, so I try to block off one day on the weekend for a trip to the park or a walk through a museum or both. Even then it's hard not to peek at my phone, but the fresh air of the park, the sunshine, the quiet... it's vital. I don't always make it, but I do my best to carve out small spaces for myself when I let myself be still.
As we do more and more sometimes it can be productive do less.
How do you carve out calm moments in a distracted world?Art: Pastoral Landscape by Alvan Fisher
I received an email the other day that began, “Dear Cathy, Prior to 2007, you submitted a story…”
Wait. What? I read the first line again, just to make sure. I mean, 2007
? But yes, six years ago, I sent a story out into the world and it landed on this editor’s desk. She’d liked it then, but the anthology that it was planned for hadn't materialized. Now, she was contacting me to include this same story in another anthology. Was I interested?
I was indeed interested. I’m always happy to have an opportunity at publication. But more than publication, I thought about the words we send out into the world and how important it is to always send out your best.
Of course, we know (or we should know by now) that when it comes to our words, they have a very long shelf life, thanks to modern technology. Whether it’s a comment on a blog post or a submission gathering electronic dust in a virtual file, it’s important to think about what we’re writing and how we write it.
Take a query, for example. It’s just
a query, you say. Agents don’t even read those, you think. And that may be true. A polite, professional query may be quickly read and deleted, while a rushed, badly penned query blasted across the agent universe may get you noticed—as the example of what not to do—on an agent’s blog.
And then there are the articles, the stories, and the manuscripts, the words you've toiled over for days, months, and oftentimes, years. Resist the temptation to send out something that’s not quite ready. You know the kind of temptation I’m talking about. The midnight deadline for a themed anthology or contest where you’re working right up to the last minute. Or the deadline on a conference submission opportunity where you’re down to the last possible day. Your words are so close and you think, “It’s good enough.” And you want to click on SEND because you've worked so very hard. But sometimes, the hard part is sitting on writing that’s not good enough—yet.
be good enough, some day. Keep working, and make your words the best you can write before you send them out into the world. And success, even if it’s six years
later, is sure to follow!
P.S. The anthology where you might see my story included is one of Publishing Syndicate’s Not Your Mother’s Books
. They have a ton of titles still open for submissions, and they’re keen on getting as many writers as possible published. Send your best words and see what happens!
~Cathy C. Hall
By: Donna J. Shepherd
Blog: Topsy Turvy Land - Donna J. Shepherd
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, Donna Shepherd
, Bella Sinclair
, coloring page
, Ava's Secret Tea Party
, tea party
, donna j. shepherd
, Add a tag
*Click on the picture, then print! It will print out full size ready to be colored. If that doesn't work with your printer, right click on the picture, and then 'save picture as...' and then you can print it out using your photo program.
*Link to photo: https://plus.google.com/photos/112320810244109979563/albums/5724250040171387857?authkey=CPaDycbT3babqwE
and for something fun…What I Learned from the Movies…
I’m a big movie fan and from watching lots of movies I’ve learned a great deal. There does seem to be distinct differences between the movie world and ours.
- If you are being chased by a homicidal maniac, do not trip and fall. If you do fall, do not just lie there and shake, get the %$# up and run away even faster.
- If you ever hear scary music playing in the background, know that something bad is going to happen or someone who is evil or the “bad guy” just entered your picture. (Wouldn’t that be amazingly great if we were warned like that?)
- Everything that is playing out in your life right now is like one big story. Look at the connections and the symbolism/metaphors to figure out what’s really going on.
- Some folks are really just catalysts or bit players in your life, even plot devices, to create big action that creates big change in the end.
- We can ask for happy endings or at least work towards them.
- Some folks are just here to play the villains this time around. Be free to say BOOOOOO when they are around.
- Popcorn really does make the stories in your life look more interesting. At least it tastes really good.
- Your life might start out sad and upsetting, have lots of trauma and crisis in the middle, but in the end it all makes sense in some way (or at least makes a good movie).
- In movie world, everyone is more productive. Unfortunately, in real life everyone has to stop and take a pee or needs to eat a few times a day. I can’t imagine Harrison Ford stopping in the middle of being chased by an enormous ball to ask where the nearest bathroom is, and in some movies, you wonder if the main character ever eats at all.
- And in that movie world, everyone can go to sleep and wake up with their makeup on. I find this fascinating because the times I did this, I rashed out and looked quite wonky in the morning.
There you have it. Movies are very helpful in giving us a better perspective of our lives, and provide at the very least, a gratefulness that we can eat real food.
Donna Vekic, Tennis Champion
This year’s Australian Open was Donna Vekic’s first appearance at a grand slam event and, even though she entered with a rank of 111, she closed the tournament as the youngest winner ever.
Donna’s may sound like a Cinderella story, but it’s all hard work and not luck or magic behind this young star; she actually lives in Croatia but trains in London and has done so since she was only 11 years old.
Clearly this 16-year-old phenom (whose attitude, according to her coach, is “second to none”) is going to be a force on the court for many years to come. :)
Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE?
Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!
One of our goals as writers is to create stories that keep the reader flipping pages, desperate to see what happens next. And if we’re really good, the reader will be flipping pages well beyond her bedtime. Several different elements (e.g. pacing) are used to create the necessary forward momentum. Along with these elements is The Big Scene.
The ‘big scene’ (or payoff scene) is defined as any scene that contains high drama. The intensity within the scene and the level of importance of the scene are greater than for the majority of your other ones. They are most often the turning points scenes (e.g. the inciting incident, the end of the first act, the climax). While the scene will contain heightened conflict, compared to your other ones, car chases and explosions are not required. In YA, a big scene can be the first kiss, but only if the scene has been properly set up and the first kiss is importance (which is usually the case in YA).
When you write your payoff scenes, you need to go big. And I mean BIG. Wimpy stakes need not apply. The same is true for your internal and external conflict. Paint layers of sensory description, theme, symbolism, subtext, emotion (without crossing into melodrama). Each will add impact to the scene and help it stand out from the crowd. Also, the characters’ actions need to be powerful. The big scene is comparable to the Fourth of July fireworks. It is the difference between a few fire crackers and the spectacular display in New York City. One is memorable; the other isn’t.
In addition to the above, you need to create the appropriate set up. When done correctly, this will guide your reader so they have an idea where the story is headed. If you have a ‘big scene’ without the appropriate set up, the emotional impact wouldn’t even be a blip on the Richter scale. You want more than a blip. You want to aim for at least a ten. You also want to use several techniques to help the payoff scene feel even bigger. One technique is the reversal. The reversal is when an event is headed in one direction and then suddenly takes an abrupt turn. A common example in romances is when the hero and heroine are in a heated discussion one moment, and kissing passionately the next.
Another technique is foreshadowing. An example of this is when the protagonist comments early in the book, when she sees a character, that she wouldn’t be surprised if one day that character’s ass is kicked in a fight. If the information is casually added into the narrative as a simple line, the reader won’t remember it by the time she gets to the ‘big scene,’ but subconsciously she will be waiting for it. The trick to foreshadowing is subtlety. If the reader sees that line and thinks, “Oh, there’s going to be a big fight at some point and the guy is going to get his ass whipped,” then you’ve failed. The reader is going to be waiting for the fight and the element of surprise will be lost. Another thing you want to avoid is heavily foreshadow something that has no relevance to the story. If your protagonist goes on and on about her love of horses in the beginning of the book, horses had better show up later in the book and be important to the plot, or else your reader is going to feel cheated. And a reader who feels cheated is not a happy reader, and will be less likely to read your next story.
Juxtaposition is yet another way to add power to your big scene. Juxtaposition simply refers to elements in opposition (e.g. love/hate, happy/sad, large/small). For example, you could have a big scene occur during Valentine’s Day, when the protagonist is anticipating her first kiss with the guy she’s been crushing on since elementary school. Her emotions are high. And then she witnesses his death. The contrast between the two emotions adds impact to the big scene.
The YA contemporary novel Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry has one of the most powerful payoff scenes that I’ve read. The story is told from two points of view, but the one that leaves most people in tears is Noah’s. (Spoiler Alert) During the story, we learn that eighteen-year-old Noah has been bounced around the foster care system after his parents’ death and has been physically abused. He now lives in the mildew-filled basement of his current foster parents’ house. Before his parents’ death, he had great grades and played varsity basketball. After their death, he was forced to quit basketball, couldn’t be bothered with his grades, and developed a reputation for being a stoner who slept around, a lot.
Noah’s two younger brothers mean the world to him, but because he was wrongly labeled as emotionally unstable, Noah can only see them on supervised visits, which are far and few in between. As a result of his experiences with the system, Noah is positive his brothers are being mistreated. The emotional punch to the gut comes when Noah, after being banned from seeing his brothers, winds up being invited to lunch with the family who wants to adopt his siblings. Katie McGarry brilliantly uses juxtaposition in the scene to heighten the emotions. Unlike the foster families Noah has lived with, the brothers’ foster parents are financially stable and give his brothers the things Noah has been deprived of. The boys get to go to basketball camps and attend a fancy private school. Their foster parents love them. The boys also have something else Noah doesn’t have: a photo of their dead parents. When Noah sees that picture, few readers can make it through the scene without crying. The build up to that moment is worth it—no matter how many times you read the book. Without the build up, the scene wouldn’t have had the same impact. (End of Spoiler Alert)
What books have you read that have moved you because of the powerful payoff scenes? Your homework is to analyze the book and see how the author made those scenes count, and apply what you’ve learned to your own story.
About the Author
Mother of three. Adoring wife. Photographer. And a fiction writer who's addicted to YA and NA (New Adult) novels, chocolate, and exercise. I'm a member of the RWA and SCBWI, and a contributing member of the Querytracker.net Blog.
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I have been enjoying quite a few Entangled series releases, and I thought it would be fun to share some info about the books slated to hits store shelves today.
The Practice Proposal by Tracy March
Liza Sutherland isn’t looking for love. Not from a charity-auction date she didn’t even bid on and especially not with Nationals first baseman Cole Collins, the guy she obsessed over as an awkward teenager. She won’t get involved with a notorious player, no matter how attractive Cole is.
Cole Collins is up for contract renegotiation, but after too many late-night parties, he’ll need some positive publicity before he can make the roster. His agent, Frank, pitches Liza as the perfect prop…only Cole didn’t account for Liza no longer being just a teenager with a crush. She’s gorgeous and smart and he’s instantly hooked.
When Frank makes Liza a deal she can’t refuse—a bet she will fall in love with Cole or a cool half mil goes to charity—the game is on. But neither bet on the real feelings that surface. Could a fake fling turn into an official forever?
Buy it here:
Books on Board
Just For Summer by Jenna Rutland
Dani Sullivan has come to Lake Bliss to write her latest cookbook and to see if the baby she gave up for adoption eight years ago is happy. When she’s done with her reconnaissance, she plans to return to Detroit without any doubts about past decisions. But when she sees her little boy—indeed happy despite living with his single dad—she finds she can’t keep her promise to stay away from her son or from his flirtatious father, who has no idea of her true identity.
Recently divorced sheriff Matt Reagan is ready for a new relationship, but he doesn’t want short-term—his son needs permanence, and so does Matt’s heart. Unfortunately, it’s the smart-mouthed and sinfully sexy Ms. Sullivan who catches his eye. But when Matt learns Dani’s secrets, will he still want her to stay? Or will her chance for love last just for the summer?
Buy it here:
Books on Board
A Risk Worth Taking by Victoria James
Interior designer Holly Carrington worked hard for her success. Then tragedy struck, leaving Holly the sole guardian of her infant niece. Now she’s swapped her designer purse for a diaper bag, and is going ahead with plans to renovate—and sell—her childhood home in Red River. But facing her past also means coming face-to-face with Quinn Manning all over again…
Quinn was the object of her girlhood crush—and heartbreak— and is more gorgeous than ever. He’s also the only person qualified to oversee the renovation. Now they’re butting heads every step of the way… and their attraction is more electrifying than ever! But once the house is sold, Holly needs to return to her real life. And falling for Quinn all over again is one risk she can’t take…
Buy it here:
Tempted by Trouble by Michelle Smart
Socialite Pippa Rowantree has always provided excellent fodder for the UK’s gossip rags. After another unfortunate scandal sends the gossips into a feeding frenzy, her shamed family retaliates by forcing her into hiding at old family friend Marco Capello’s lush Caribbean estate—literally the last place on earth she wants to be.
As far as Marco’s concerned, wild child Pippa has ruined his life once and he’ll be damned if he lets her do it again. But it’s hard to reconcile the adolescent he knew with the mature, beautiful woman who stands before him. Soon he’s questioning if everything the media is claiming about PIppa is the truth or if he should trust his heart.
Buy it here:
Books on Board
Faking It by Diane Alberts
Derek Rory never meant to propose to his best friend’s little sister. But when her boss tells a family-oriented investor he’s Stephanie’s fiancé, Derek can either play along or let her get fired. He’s hardly one to turn away from a damsel in distress. If only that damsel wasn’t adorable and sexy with a laugh that could melt any cold business mogul’s heart.
When a business proposal becomes a marriage proposal, Stephanie Miller tries to keep it strictly boardroom. But when things get hot under the table, it’s all they can do to stay apart. As the tangle of lies drags them deeper into the underhanded world of business politics, Stephanie finds herself in over her head—not just with her job, but with her "fiancé." His eyes are cold, but his kisses light her on fire. If she’s not careful, she’ll end up faking her way into a real romance.
Buy it here:
Books on Board
The Baby Bargain by Jennifer Apodaca
Seeing Adam Waters is the last thing veterinarian Megan Young expects. Ex-Marine. Ex-boyfriend. And still extremely dangerous territory. But Adam doesn’t know the secret Megan has been keeping from him. The secret that was created three years ago, after their last night together…
Adam returns to Raven’s Cove to sell his home in a final break with the town and memories that haunt him. The problem is that his attraction to Megan is as blazing hot as it ever was. But when a vicious smear campaign against Megan turns ugly, Adam learns the truth he never knew—he has a son.
Now the only way Megan can protect her child is to strike a bargain with Adam. And it’s a bargain that looks a lot like blackmail…
Buy it here:
Books on Board
The Cinderella Makeover by Hope Tarr
Fashionista Francesca St. James has agreed to work as a "fairy godmother" on the reality TV show Project Cinderella, taking contestants from geeky to dreamy. When Francesca’s archrival bets she can’t transform the awkwardly sweet CEO to hot in under eight weeks, Francesca accepts the challenge.
As CEO of a tech company, Greg may have billions, but what’s it worth without a woman to share it with? From day one on the show though, he clashes with his gorgeous fairy godmother—yet off-set, he can’t stop thinking about her. But this sexy woman is so far out of his league…and wants to change every single thing about him. It’s up to him to show her it’s more than clothes that make the man.
May the best man or geek win…
Buy it here:
Books on Board
Date by Mistake Anthology
You never know what you’ll get when …
Mr. Virile and the Girl Next Door by Gwen Hayes
Seduction is the name of the game when two rival dating advice darlings agree to be romantically linked to boost publicity. But all bets are off when they take the battle of the sexes from the web to the bed!
Tycoon Reunion by Candace Havens and Shannon Leigh
Sparks fly when a project brings a heartbreaker back to town and into the path of the woman he left behind. He’s determined to win her over in the boardroom … and the bedroom!
Passionate Persuasion by Rosemary Clement-Moore
A hot playboy who has left a string of hearts in his wake can’t forget the cellist who haunted his fantasies. Now it is his turn to usehis power of persuasion to prove he’s the only man to keep her satisfied.
Date on the Run by Jill Monroe
When an reporter mistakes a hard-bodied military man for a crime source, she soon finds it’s just as much fun undressing her new bodyguard as it is uncovering her latest case…
Four stories, four dates. How can these dates by mistake turn into love ever after?
Buy it here:
Books on Board
And don’t forget about Jennifer Probst’s latest, All The Way. Jennifer was my special guest yesterday, so please click here to see what we talked about.
The food critic…
Miranda Storme never expected to see Gavin Luciano again. Three years ago, they had an intense affair—and then he bolted. Now he’s back, and Miranda has the pleasure of a little payback: a scathing review of his restaurant. Revenge is a dish best served the first chance you get…
And the restaurateur…
With three months to make his family’s struggling Italian restaurant successful, a bad review is Gavin’s worst nightmare. But this isn’t just about the meal. He’s finally realized what he left behind and is determined to spend the next eight weeks proving himself to her in the kitchen…and in the bedroom! This is one dish she won’t be able to refuse…
Things that happened on March 12th:
1622: Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, founders of the Jesuits, are canonized as saints by the Catholic Church.
1894: Coca-Cola is bottled and sold for the first time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by local soda fountain operator Joseph Biedenharn.
1993: The Blizzard of 1993 – Snow begins to fall across the eastern portion of the US with tornadoes, thunder snow storms, high winds and record low temperatures. The storm lasts for 30 hours.
2013: Bear and Bee by Sergio Ruzzier is published by Disney-Hyperion.
I’ve never thought of myself as much of a matchmaker, but today I feel like Yenta!
You see, it’s the pub-date of a very special book, one that I played a small part in helping to bring about…
But let’s start at the beginning.
Cast of Characters
Susan Verde – Superb educator, mom and author. Also, beloved nursery and kindergarten teacher to my son, yoga teacher to my daughter, and dear friend and colleague.
Peter H. Reynolds – Brilliant children’s book author/illustrator, esteemed faculty member of the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference, and another dear friend.
Me – Freelance editor, author, Director of the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference, parent of two students’ of Susan’s, and fan of children’s books… especially those by Peter H. Reynolds.
The Southampton Children’s Literature Conference, Southampton, NY, and other environs around the Hamptons, New York and Massachusetts.
Susan Verde, an esteemed nursery and kindergarten teacher for many years, has children of her own and is inspired to start writing children’s books. She writes prolifically, attends a workshop at the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference, writes more, does some editorial work with me, and attends two more Conferences, taking workshops with Peter H. Reynolds.
The Museum, by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Abrams, 2013)
“When I see a work of art, something happens in my heart!”
As a little girl tours and twirls through the halls of the art museum, she finds herself on an exciting adventure. Each piece of art evokes something new inside of her: silliness, curiosity, joy, and ultimately inspiration. When confronted with an empty white canvas, she is energized to create and express herself—which is the greatest feeling of all.
With exuberant illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, The Museum playfully captures the many emotions experienced through the power of art, and each child’s unique creative process.
“Verde and Reynolds deliver a simple premise with a charming payoff… this “twirly-whirly” homage to a museum is… a sweet-natured and handsome celebration.”
“Debut author Verde makes an engaging case for understanding art as an experience rather than an object.”
“The rhymed text captures the excitement of a being sparked by art.”
Needless to say, I am beyond proud and thrilled for Susan. This is a beautiful book – a joyful celebration with a meaningful message. But I am also beyond touched by the dedication:
“To Emma Walton Hamilton, for connecting the dots. P.H.R.”
This is the loveliest business in the world.
Blog: Starting Fresh
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Last March, we'd celebrated Maisie Dobbs month and it's that same time of the year again. While I'd reviewed The Mapping of Love and Death - this time I'd like to spend time on A Lesson in Secrets.
Set in 1932, A Lesson in Secrets opens with Maisie Dobbs having undergone some significant changes in her life. She's much better situated as her mentor Maurice Blanche passed away and named her as his the main beneficiary of his estate. She is now a woman of means. Her financial independence has brought her greater confidence, freedom and a deeper sense of guilt/responsibility to Blanche's memory. I couldn't help notice that Maisie's guilt in her good fortune led her to intervene in the lives of the people around her with generous and large, sometimes life changing gestures.
In this adventure, Maisie is asked to aid Scotland Yard's Special Branch and the Secret Service in an undercover operation in Cambridge. Maisie takes the post of lecturer at a small private college to monitor behavior that is "against the interests of His Majesty's Government and the Crown." The college's founder, Greville Liddicotte, is committed to the development of international peace and to pacifism. Liddicotte is famous for writing a children's book that encouraged children to bring their fathers home from the war. The book was restricted, pulled off the shelves. Maisie later learns that the book was so effective that there are whispers of its having led men to mutiny, to refuse to fight during World War I.
When Liddicotte is found murdered in his office, Maisie finds herself trying to find the killer while continuing to track dangerous behavior at the college. This is the time of the rise of National Socialism in Germany and Adolf Hitler's message seems to resonate with some of Maisie's students. Maisie sorts through clues about Liddicotte's death and the mysterious behavior of her fellow professors while balancing the ups and downs of her love affair with Viscount James Compton.
I particularly enjoyed A Lesson in Secrets - it's now my favorite Maisie Dobbs novel because Maisie's more comfortable with herself and her place in society. While there is some uncertainty regarding her future with James Compton, she is willing to trust in the relationship, to take things a day at a time. This time her job involves more than the usual mystery. By having Maisie Dobbs work for the Secret Service In Lesson in Secrets, Jacqueline Winspear and Maisie Dobbs tackled the treatment of conscientious objectors during World War I, and of returning veterans as well as the lack of awareness of the dangers of Adolf Hitler and the growing power of Germany's National Socialist movement.
ISBN-10: 0061727717 - Paperback $14.99Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (March 6, 2012), 352 pages.Review copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours.
About the Author:
Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Among the Mad and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California. Learn more at Jacqueline Winspear's website at http://jacquelinewinspear.com/ If you'd like to read about the other Maisie Dobbs novels covered in the TLC Book Tour, head over to these participating sites:
Monday, March 4th: The House of the Seven Tails – Maisie Dobbs
Monday, March 4th: BookNAround – Birds of a Feather
Wednesday, March 6th: Peppermint PhD – Pardonable Lies
Thursday, March 7th: Melody & Words – Birds of a Feather
Thursday, March 7th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Anglers Rest – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Lavish Bookshelf – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Olduvai Reads – Maisie Dobbs
Friday, March 8th: 5 Minutes For Books – Pardonable Lies
Friday, March 8th: In the Next Room – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Anglers Rest – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: The Road to Here – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: A Bookish Way of Life – The Mapping of Love and Death
Friday, March 8th: The Book Garden – The Mapping of Love and Death
Monday, March 11th: The House of the Seven Tails – A Lesson in Secrets
Tuesday, March 12th: Starting Fresh – A Lesson in Secrets
Wednesday, March 13th: A Book Geek – A Lesson in Secrets
Thursday, March 14th: Lit and Life – A Lesson in Secrets
Friday, March 15th: Nonsuch Book – A Lesson in Secrets
Monday, March 18th: Short and Sweet Reviews – Elegy for Eddie
Tuesday, March 19th: Veronica M.D. – Elegy for Eddie
Tuesday, March 19th: Helen’s Book Blog – Elegy for Eddie
Wednesday, March 20th: guiltless reading – Elegy for Eddie
Thursday, March 21st: Booktalk & More – Elegy for Eddie
Friday, March 22nd: Library Queue – Elegy for Eddie
Monday, March 25th: A Bookworm’s World – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Monday, March 25th: cakes, tea and dreams – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Tuesday, March 26th: Oh! Paper Pages – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Wednesday, March 27th: The Written World – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Thursday, March 28th: Quirky Bookworm – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Friday, March 29th: nomadreader – Leaving Everything Most Loved
A book is sent to me and joins the piles of the so many books sent. (Many books sent.
) In the overwhelm, I slide sideways toward this book with its sketched cover, its title Graphic the Valley
(Tyrus Books). It is by a climber named Peter Brown Hoffmeister. It is, I read on the back cover, a Samson and Delilah story, a story about a young man named Tenaya who "has never left Yosemite Valley. He was born in a car by the Merced River, and grew up in a hidden camp with his parents, surviving on fish, acorns, and unfinished food thrown away by the park's millions of tourists. But despite its splendor, Tenaya's Yosemite is a visceral place of opposites, at once beautiful, dangerous, and violent."
I open and begin to read:
I'd slept against the bear box, the iron food cache cold through my sleeping bag, and woke when it was dark. I couldn't sleep a night without picturing her, eight years after, the way she lay against the river boulder, her right hand turned away, fisted, like it held a valuable.
I choked on nothing and sat up.
Wait, I think. Read more.Low clouds hung in the Valley, the ends torn as wet paper....The Valley rolling its shoulders, ten thousand years, after the final ice receded, boulders sitting as terminal moraines, the chambers of the ancient volcano exposed in white-and-gray plugs, flakes weakened by freeze water and the sloughed granite crashing, the Domes shrugging awake....The drifts harbored the mosquito hatch, so I used bank mud as a face coat. But the granules dried by midnight and the mosquitoes came up my nose before that....
It is late, and I read. It is early morning, and I read. I have entered, I realize, the realm of a man who knows landscape and bear scat and mountains lions and native legends, the interiors of hitchhiker cars. Also a man who is inventing language. I think of James Joyce, and I don't know why, because Joyce was not (to my knowledge) a big boulder climber. (Am I wrong?) Joyce did not live in Yosemite.
What's going on here? It's hard to know precisely at first, but that's part of Hoffmeister's method. He is no spoonfeeder, this writer. He has no time for, no patience with, commonplace storytelling, obvious frames. We're in Tenaya's head, and Tenaya is sliding all around time, not stopping to make careful asides to the reader, not giving us the old coy wink-wink. He's letting the world drift in as he sees it, memories float toward as they occur, that long, thick braid of dense, dark hair snake its way toward the ground.
In time this invented language becomes a familiar language and the story becomes clear. In time we understand that this is a possession story and an anti-possession story, a tale about control. Big Money is poised to build motels and burger shops into that pristine valley. Tenaya—a young man without so much as a birth certificate, a young man who has never left the valley and yet has no rights in it—must find a way to save what he loves.
Can he? Hoffmeister makes us eager to find out, makes us love that valley, too, love his noble, mythical Tenaya, love the stars that shine at night. He's a remarkable writer, this Hoffmeister, but he's not an easy one. Easy doesn't interest him. And I was glad for that.
One last passage:
Sometimes I tried to count the stars in a small section of sky, a box between any four constellations. But not on a night like this. In the high dark, the stars procreated like white flies, their new young filling spaces, exponential sparkling.
I told stories to Kenny.
I was arrested two nights later.
By: Linda S. Wingerter,
Blog: Blue Rose Girls
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In Scotland every month they have a contest: write a story in fifty words. They always give you something to get you started -- this month, the story had to somehow include the Hebridean symphony.
I found out about the contest from a friend, after the deadline -- she suggested that we do it and email each other our 50 words, just for fun.
We did -- and it WAS fun. Would you like to join us and post your story in the Comments? I will cut and paste them all into one post next week -- with or without real names, as each author prefers.
My Scottish friend wants to remain anonymous. I will tell whose is whose when I post all the stories next week....if no one sends any, I'll still say which is mine--or maybe you know me well enough by now to guess?
And for the non-Scots (I am considering myself McLibby these days): these notes may make our stories more comprehensible. "Island bred" could mean ANY island, but Staffa (a well-known beauty spot) makes it one of the Hebrides....."turbine" means wind turbine. These provide much of the country's electricity and are a source of bitter controversy (and complaining) on many of the islands. Anyhow, here are our stories.
STORIES IN 50 WORDS
“Leave the iPad behind!”
My island-bred kids are sullen. The speedboat will deprive them of cyber-fun: “Been to Staffa before… Too cold…. Get seasick….. ”Slumped, reluctant shoulders are slowly, inadvertently uplifted into sea- spray, wind and sunlight as the boat jolts through glistening waves, then planes – exultant - towards open sea.
The Hebridean Symphony
switched off with his computer. Relieved at the excuse to stop writing, Hamish pretended only electricity had been needed to complete a masterpiece.
His wife said nothing to his turbine tirade; he got a beer.
“While it’s still cold,” he added, expecting disapproval --
not the meat ax.
Good dialogue needs good beats.
What are beats, you ask?
Beats are small pieces of action interspersed throughout the dialogue.
For example, from Moonpie and Ivy, the beats are in bold:
"My mama just up and left." Pearl flung an arm in the direction of the road. "Just perched her butt behind the wheel of that crappy old care and drove away. What do you think of that?"
"Who know. Last I heard, she was running wild over in Macon." Ivy's face got redder. "Makes my blood boil," she said.
From Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia:
"If you had a kid who needed glasses and you didn't have any money, what would you do?"
Miss Delphine tapped her fingernail against her coffee mug. "Well, I suppose I'd start with school," she said.
I LOVE beats! They are critical to the rhythm of the dialogue - and I love rhythm.
Using beats for rhythm takes practice - and reading out loud (or at least hearing the dialogue).
Let beats work for you.
Use beats to:
- Identify who is speaking (to avoid the use of a dialogue tag)
- Develop character (especially if the action is unique rather than common)
- Show the emotions of the speaker
- Break up the dialogue
- Allow the reader to visualize the action
- Vary the rhythm
- Move the story along
Warning: Watch out for repetitive beats. And don't overdo the specifics. (For example, don't show us every single action involved in eating dinner. This is pointless and boring.)
Now beat it....
The poetry madness has begun. First flights received their poems last night. Second flight is waiting their assignments tonight.
Voting starts tomorrow, 3/13/13. So, if you love kid's poetry or just want to see the creativity of the poetic mind, stop by to vote and follow the tournament to the championship.
MMPoetry 2013: Round 1 Flight 1 Matchups
Children's poems has always been an interest of mine. I can't say I've had an interest in them as far back as high school, college maybe, but I'd say more recently to be honest. I think it started to really take root when I started having children of my own.
I always wanted my boys to have a strong love for reading, and having a son who isn't fond of reading, I though it would be fun to spice things up with poems. There are so many wonderful poems out there for kids. Let's face it Shel Silverstein is just the icing on the cake.
In my endeavor to learn as much as I can about poems and writing picture books in verse I stumbled on some really great authors and bloggers and thought I'd share some of their links with you.
http://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com/ is a great site
http://readwritepoem.org/ is another one
and then there is Susanna Leonard Hall
who's link you can always find on my side board.
There are also so many more, and don't worry in the next few weeks I plan on covering some other great sites.
let me know if there are sites that you frequent. I'd love to add them to the list.-
Got this question in the comments yesterday, and since it’s an inquiry I get often, I thought I’d pull it up into a post here:
“Why have the Martha, Charlotte, Caroline and Rose books gone out of print? As a huge fan of Laura’s books I read all the books and the books about her family. Now being older I want to purchase them all for my own collection as the libraries are getting rid of them. It does not help that I am Canadian and have a hell of a time of even finding them! Do you know of any places that still carries them?”
When a publisher allows a book to go out of print, it pretty much always means one thing: the book isn’t selling very well anymore. Warehouse space is extremely expensive, and there’s a certain point when it becomes more costly for a publisher to store books that are selling slowly than to just remainder them.
The decision to shutter the Little House prequels and sequels happened before social media took off, so if HarperCollins ever decides to bring them back (particularly as ebooks, which has been discussed but doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon), we’d be able to give them a nice big push and I think they’d do very well.
You can sometimes find used copies on eBay or Amazon Marketplace, but they tend to be extremely expensive in those outlets. (I don’t get royalties on used book sales, so please know those crazy prices don’t have anything to do with me!)
One of the most striking nonfiction picture book covers in memory is for Manfish, written by my friend Jennifer Berne.
Jennifer recently mentioned that she’d heard a story on the radio about Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. DC Comics consulted him on determining the “real” location of Krypton, Superman’s home planet, and then wrote him into a Superman story on the topic.
I told her that I’d heard it, too, and had immediately contacted Tyson to propose a Superman speaking engagement. Turns out Jennifer had a connection to Tyson as well, dating back to 2005, before she was a published author. It relates to her now-upcoming nonfiction picture book about Albert Einstein. She’s graciously allowed me to share it:
After our exchange, she followed up with Tyson. As of this writing, she’s still waiting for a response, but in the meantime has received blurbs from acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson and well-known astronomer Bob Berman, AKA “Skyman Bob.” (Isaacson’s request in exchange: a signed copy.)
I love a few things about this sequence of events.
First, that both Jennifer and I reached out to the same esteemed figure (albeit at different times and for different reasons).
Second, that Jennifer continues to pursue this with the hope that Tyson will make good on his kind offer; most anyone who has heard me present knows how highly I value initiative and confidence.
Third, that Tyson (and others) agreed to blurb based on quality alone. Jennifer was not a known quantity; she was not even published yet. This speaks highly of both Tyson and Jennifer.
As I see it, a blurb from someone so well-known is like a shooting star: special and hard to come by.
I predict that the cover of Jennifer’s Einstein book will boast no fewer than five notable names: Isaacson, Berman, Tyson, Einstein himself…and Berne.
By: Terry Doherty,
I don't know about you, but I think this was probably the best Share a Story - Shape a Future blog tour we've had. With the focus on literacy for infants through Kindergartners, we not only had lots of great ideas, but plenty of personal stories, too.
I'll be back in the next day or two with a full recap and all the posts. In the meantime, though, there are folks waiting to learn if they won one of our fabulous book giveaways
This year, we have two submissions and two winners for our week-long Writing Prompts contest!
On Monday, Michelle Breum
answered the question: If you were creating a children's library from scratch, what ten books would you start with, and why.
You'll enjoy her answer, 10 Really Good Books for Children
on the Parents: Feel Successful Today
On Wednesday, Ingrid answered the question: Have there been any books that you originally borrowed at the library and then ended up buying because your toddler loved reading it so much?
You'll enjoy her answer From Library to Home Bookcase: The Winners That Broke Through on the Short Tales
I gave each entry a number and used the random number generator at mathgoodies.com
to determine the winner for our Grand Prize - a complete set of the STEAM Multicultural Book Collection
for their favorite school or public library.
Michelle has won her choice of any of the five book packages donated by The Reading Tub.
Thank you all for another great Share a Story - Shape a Future blog tour.
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Luck o' the Irish Be With Ya!
Sunday is St. Patrick's Day and I had to share my annual Leprechaun! This year, he be doin' a jig fer us.
for more St. Patty's Day coloring pages. And be sure to share your creations in my gallery
so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (They don't have to be just cards - share your kids' art too!)
P.S. I've been getting some great requests from all of you lately for custom coloring pages - thanks for your ideas! Be looking for them in the coming weeks!
Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
Click the covers to learn about my picture book, Soap, soap, soap
and Soap, soap, soap ~ Jabón, jabón, jabón