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<<October 2016>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 237,183
7951. Developing a detailed Character Arc (WANT GOAL MOTIVATION & NEED)

Hi Glen. I love the website, all the information I've read has been very helpful. But I need help. For endless days and weeks, I have been trying to figure

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7952. Novel Wisdom (30)

This post is part of a series on the blog where I share some of the nuggets of wisdom and inspiration — related to writing and/or life — that I find steeped in the pages of novels that I’ve read.

This year I’ve been reading a lot of books from sci-fi author Nnedi Okorafor.

Her world-building is amazing and I’ve enjoyed reading about her characters and the choices that they have to make. I also enjoyed the feminist bent of her heroines as well.

From Phoenix, the POV protagonist of the novel The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor

I love books. I adore everything about them. I love the feel of the pages on my fingertips. They are light enough to carry, yet so heavy with worlds and ideas. I love the sound of the pages flicking against my fingers. Print against fingerprints.

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7953. Fishing Boat in Pencil

I like switching from paint to pencil when I'm sketching on location. It's easy to overlook the fun of pencil and be lured into paint. But pencil, even in its elemental simplicity, lends itself to painterly effects, too.

I'm interested in all the rigging, but I'm also trying to convey the blinding light in the bay. I partially erase the lines that cross those hot reflections in the water, and I add a softening sfumato or enveloping tone, smudged with my thumb, to the area where the hull meets the water.

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7954. November 11, 2015


Here's to the Heroes, those few who dare,


Heading for GLORY, living a prayer.


Here's to the HEROES who change our lives.


Thanks to the Heroes, Freedom survives.

Here's to the HEROES who never rest.

They are the CHOSEN, we are the BLESSED.

Here's to the HEROES who aim so high.


Here's to the HEROES
Who DO or DIE.

A grateful thanks to our veterans who fought and died to protect us.

God bless!

The Cat~

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7955. Interview with Sloane Lewis for The Rosicrucian

Come and join me as I talk with author Sloane Lewis about his book The Rosicrucian on Stories From Unknown Authors http://blogtalkradio.com/storiesfromunknownauthors at 1pm EST today.

Book Summary:

In the modern day city of Basra, Iraq, investigative journalist Cole Jacobs stumbles onto the soon to be famous Basra Stone. Not wanting to rest on his laurels after the success of his first book about an antediluvian culture, Cole jumps at the chance to be embedded with Atlas Global's security initiative. While recovering many relics and artifacts that were stolen during the Iraq War, Cole and his photographer Evan Floyd serendipitously uncover the Basra Stone. Once deciphered by the incomparable Neely Roberts, they find it will have historical, religious and political ramifications for the world and send our heroes on an unfathomable journey that stretches across time.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Helm Publishing (July 31, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985048816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985048815
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches

About The Author:

I remember the spark, that first electric tickling in the back of my Lizard brain that states I want to tell stories, No I Need to tell stories.  Like many writers, Film Makers, Musicians, Artist Etc., I have been inspired by many  creative genius', but I clearly can recall the ignition of the flame that would be my Persistence of Vision.  

I was a young boy, only 6 years of age and I had recently seen Star Wars at my local Library with some family friends.  (I know kids, this was even before the VHS and BETA's battle for supremacy. What's Beta and VHS?   Ask your Parents kids.)

 My mother took me to see Empire Strikes back in the theater and lo and behold a Wookie approached us.  My palms instantly clammed up, sweat protruded from every pore and I didn't know what to do when this gargantuan beast wrapped his arms around my mother, my life line. He could have easily crushed her.  Right? I panicked, but merely for a short spell as he just gave my mom a huge hug and then all I could think was..."Man that's cool.  My mother knows a Wookie."  
Of course it had been one of her high school students dressed in a Wookie costume, but the Movie started and I was hooked and all that went through my head as I watched this movie blow my mind was how can I create Worlds?

I was drawn to movies, which translated into comic books, novels and any story I could get a hold of.  I clawed my way through the ranks of production, starting in the film Industry as a Production Assistant and in the Locations department.  

At that time I would  do anything that would get me close to a film set from Locations, to production to catering and honestly that still holds true, to this day.  You need a PA?  If I'm not busy (Rare these days) I'll help you make your film.  

I was able to move to Los Angeles, thanks to For Stars Catering, who I worked with on a few shows.  I like to cook, but waking up at 3 AM sucks and half the time I was still up from the night before.  I Just wanted to say, sorry Gary, but it made me reach Los Angeles, the Mecca of Film making.  High five across the Interwebs For stars Catering.  http://www.forstarscatering.com/

After many years of production work, I finally got accepted into The Director's Guild of America as a Second Assistant Director and over the years I have had a few screenplays optioned by Studios, but sadly none have been produced.  

I wished for a story of mine to reach the masses, because all these stories are jumbled in my brain and I must release them.  This little Gem "The Rosicrucian" had been teetering on my cerebral cortex for ten years or so, but just became too large to be a movie and I thought the perfect form for the story would be a novelization.  

I literally have too many stories to write down, causing me to think I need a sweat shop of writers to do my bidding, Pronto!  First off I like to joke around, of course a sweat shop of writers would be so hard to maintain.  

I'm just saying there is plenty more where "The Rosicrucian" came from.

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7956. Subplots

Question: How important is it to have a subplot that runs through much of the story? If an otherwise good story lacks one, would most agents or publishers

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7957. Dinotopia in Philadelphia through Monday

The Philadelphia Inquirer recommends the Dinotopia art exhibition as one of the best things to do with families.
"It’s nice to think that if the dinosaurs had survived that comet (or meteor, or earthquake, or visit from the Rigelian Empire, or whatever did them in) and continued to coexist with us, we’d be pals. That’s part of the appeal of “Dinotopia,” artist and author James Gurney’s delightful series about a 19th-century explorer visiting an island where gentle humans and smart dinos share an idyllic life. The other appealing aspect is Gurney’s gorgeous, detailed paintings for the books."
The exhibit ends Monday. Check it out 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 and Monday, Nov. 16 at the University of Arts von Hess Illustration Gallery, Anderson Hall 717 (333 S. Broad St.).
Thank you, Michael Harrington at the Philadelphia Inquirer

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7958. Cuckoo Song – best fantasy award

I remember reading Frances Hardinge’s first novel Fly By Night in a Rome apartment in 2006. I was caught up with 12-year-old orphan girl Mosca Mye and the guilds of the Fractured Kingdom in Hardinge’s alternate 18th century England. I remember almost having to force myself to go outside and explore the sights of Rome. […]

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7959. Harts Pass No. 273

For their recent (and historically ongoing) support of SO many worthy causes -- both high school sports and otherwise -- the Liberty Bell High School Booster Club and the Winthrop Kiwanis get a special shout out in this week's Harts Pass. Its a stalwart and dedicated bunch, but they are also always looking for new members. Get behind a mountain lion and give 'em all a boost!

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7960. Agent Jen Hunt of the Booker Albert Literary Agency on Setting Trends, Character Building, and Rosebud Teacups

Jen Hunt graduated from the University of Reno, Nevada with an English Literature degree and an
unholy fascination with Victorian literature, although contrary to popular belief, she doesn't wear a corset. She does drink way too much coffee and enjoys watching the BBC. Another remake of a Jane Austen classic? Game on! Also happens to be a huge Bioware fangirl - when she has enough time for gaming.

While Jen doesn’t want to limit herself, she is actively seeking

· Historicals – where the characters actually fit in the era. Historical romance, time travels, fantasy, inspirational, paranormal. (Nothing past the 1940s)

· Science Fiction – must include world building and well detailed environments. (Prefer a hint of romance)
· Fantasy – same as above
· Steampunk/gaslight/ Dieselpunk - would also prefer some romantic element.
I will consider a YA in these areas but no sex, rape, or drug abuse (or abuse of any kind).

You can connect with Jen here: 

Twitter: @Jen_Corkill

Blog: JenCorkill.com

Are you an editorial agent?

Yes. My background is in editing and I find I have pretty high standards even before I would consider sending out a manuscript to publishers. Why send out something right away when you can hone and tighten it up and send it out a few months later? If an author is looking for immediate turn around, I am not your girl. I like strong POVs, no head hopping, flushed out environments, and characters that feel real to me. I fear that is why I only have one client as of yet.

Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

How are any of those lovely nectars vices? Obsessions might be a better term to engage in this case. I have an industrial coffee pot and a cabinet full of tea. Usually, just to be decedent and posh, I roll out my tea set and fill the creamer and sugar jar. Why be bland? Everything tastes better in a rosebud tea cup, right?

Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

I don't chase fashions. I will take on a project if I fall in love with an author's voice and vision. If your concept is in a bookstore, I don't want it. Anyone can follow trends. Why fit in? Set trends, shine brilliantly among the dull grays and browns.

Why did you become an agent?

I became an agent because previously, working as an Acquisitions Editor for a small publisher, I was a step in an author's journey. A notch in their post without breakfast the next morning. While I reveled in their later success, I eventually came to the conclusion I want to be with them every step of the way. I hope to be that friend that will encourage, push, scold, and inspire an author through the creative maelstrom.

Character, world, or plot?

Arg, you mean I have to pick just one? Is this a snog, marry, or push off a cliff game? Idealistically I want them all but for a reader to be pulled into a story, characters are the key. Why? They are the ones we relate to, fall in love with, strive to emulate, and despise with all our essence. Strong character building makes words jump off a page into our imaginations where they wake up early and make us cookies. Like many, I have fangirled over a literary character, wishing just for a split second they brew breath. Make them real and that's where the adventure truly begins.

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7961. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 17 - 11.10.15

0 Comments on Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 17 - 11.10.15 as of 11/12/2015 12:16:00 PM
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7962. Boomerang Book Bites: The House By The Lake by Thomas Harding

This is history writing at it’s finest. Taking a small microcosm to tell the story of a country over the last 100 years. On a trip to Berlin in 2013 author Thomas Harding visited the summer lake house his great-grandfather built. Upon discovering the house in disrepair and scheduled for demolition Harding began researching the […]

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7963. My tweets

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7964. On Writing Badly and Redefining Failure


Credit: Monda at Creative Commons

I want to start by saying how proud I am of all of you who are attempting NaNoWriMo. I’ve done NaNo before, and I know how hard it is to plan and write an entire story in one month. I remember the struggle, and I still remember the lessons that I learned during the process. Because I know that many of you might be hitting the wall, I’d like to share some inspiration that might help you soldier through.

The thing that frustrated me the most when I started drafting was how blah the writing was. It was hard enough to get the words down, and once I did, I was completely underwhelmed by them. Then I stumbled across this quote by Shannon Hale that’s been making the rounds:

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles. 

Yes. Yes! By all that is holy, YES! This is what we do. We shovel words onto paper, as fast as we can, knowing—even expecting—them to be fairly crappy. Don’t worry about correct word choice, proper grammar, or flair. Just get the words down. That’s what you’re aiming for this month.

And that ties in to my second mantra, stolen from Dean Wesley Smith:

Dare to be bad

I’m a little weird in that drafting is the most difficult part of the process for me. Every day when I sit down to write, it takes forever to get going. For me—and for a lot of writers, I’ve learned—it all comes down to fear. Fear of starting in the wrong place, of wasting time, of going through all this effort and the story not being any good—all of this stymies the writing. It wasn’t until I read Dean’s advice that I freed myself up to write badly. I realized that the only writers who do get it right the first time around are the ones who’ve been doing it for years and have written roughly a gajillion words. I’m not there yet. But I will be, if I keep writing. And so will you. So when you’re struggling through that first draft and you’re afraid that it totally sucks, don’t worry. Dare to be bad, and just finish the story. You’ll have plenty of time to pretty it up later. That’s what the revision process is for.

And that leads to a favorite quote—this one from Kristen Lamb—that we all need to remember from time to time:

Redefine Failure

When I started my NaNo, I aimed for the standard goal of 50,000 words. It became clear very quickly that I wasn’t going to make it. Wasn’t even going to come close. I had to revise my goal, and I ended up with 30,000 words— barely a third of my novel. At first I was disappointed that I had achieved so little. But then I realized, No. I had planned and outlined an entire novel. Wrote the first third of it with a preschooler underfoot. Wrote 30,000 words that I wouldn’t have had under my belt if I hadn’t tried. Mastered some new techniques that are getting me closer to being able to write those solid first drafts. I had to redefine my notions of success and failure to appreciate all that I’d accomplished in just thirty days.

And that’s my hope for each of you: Get the words down on paper. Don’t worry about the quality. And realize that what you’re doing is A-MAZING. This month is about more than just finishing a book. It’s also about the writing, whether that’s 5000 words or 50,000. With every word you write, you learn. As you learn, you improve. And as you improve, the process gets easier.

You’re doing great! Keep up the good work!

The post On Writing Badly and Redefining Failure appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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7965. Author Tonya Bolden to Receive 2016 Nonfiction Award from Children's Book Guild of Washington, D.C.

From The Children's Book Guild of Washington, D.C.

The Nonfiction Award Committee announces the selection of noted and prolific author Tonya Bolden as the award's next recipient. The Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award is presented annually to an author for a body of work that has "contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children."

Tonya Bolden has created works of nonfiction that appeal to children and young adults, both in her topics and her accessible writing style. She has written twenty-seven books, many of which represent the African-American experience.

Her topics include the Emancipation Proclamation, Muhammad Ali, W.E.B. DuBois, as well as little known African-Americans of note, as in Searching for Sarah Rector and Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl.

"What serendipity that her latest book is set in our own backyard" said committee chair Joan Kindig about Capital Days: Michael Shiner's Journal and the Growth of Our Nation's Capital. "It was meant to be!"

Committee members included Guild members Joan Kindig, professor, James Madison University (chair); Katy Kelly, author; Jewell Stoddard, children's literature specialist; and Kathie Meizner, librarian, Montgomery County Public Libraries (chair emeritus).

The event honoring Tonya Bolden will take place on Saturday, April 9, 2016; at Clyde's of Gallery Place in Washington D.C. It will include lunch and a presentation by the author followed by a book sale and signing. Tickets will be available for purchase starting in January 2016.

To learn more about Tonya Bolden and the Children's Book Guild of Washington, D.C., and to make reservations for the event, visit www.childrensbookguild.org.

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7966. Advice from a kid: Miranda at age 9 and at age 13

A while ago I posted an interview here with Miranda, a very special person to me. Recently, I asked her similar questions about her reading habits and those of kids she knows. The answers show a trajectory  and are useful information for writers, so I also posted this on www.writersrumpus.com. Nine-year-old Miranda and I went […]

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7967. Stealing Pages From Future Readers

Have you ever borrowed a book from the library, only to discover at some horrifying point, that a page has been ripped out? Even worse, multiple pages? This happened to me recently, while reading Snail Mail – Celebrating the Art of Handwritten Correspondence by Michelle Mackintosh. I was nearing the end of this beautiful book and […]

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7968. The Other Side Of Heaven

Hey, how have you been?

This post is dedicated to Sandee of Comedy Plus, her "hubby," whose heartful post inspired me, and to their little dog "Little Bit," who they lost recently. Please stop by Comedy Plus, if you haven't already, and read Sandee's husbands post. 

 The Other Side Of  Heaven                                                  

We often think of going to heaven, but we seldom consider the fact that heaven comes to us.  I think it’s because we’re not paying attention to the gifts we see around us every day.
For example, people say “money doesn’t grow on trees,” when, in fact, we have oranges, apples, and the other kind of foods that grow from a seed, produce a tree, and bear fruits that literally fall from the tree, not the grocery store.

Obviously, I do know what people mean when they use that expression, it’s because man discovered long ago to charge for their hard work at harvesting their crops, plants, etc…   But, you get my point, money does grow on trees, and, in fact, it’s a gift from heaven and a gift that will keep on giving.

And I believe your animals or the people we love will show themselves in a different form to let us know they’re just on the other side of heaven and will see us soon.

People also say that nothing is free, it’s another expression that simply isn’t true, for example, love is free. I believe we were born to live, love, and teach each other many things, the most of which is love, but the noise we experience in our daily routines gets in the way.
However, animals do not hear the noise, so they allow their spirits to love freely, unbounded by the restrictions us humans require of one another.

I believe domesticated animals are heaven sent perhaps to teach us how to live a life of joy, love, compassion, understanding, and loyalty to the ones with love, without judgment.  

So, go hug your animal today, and if you do not have a pet, hug a person you love.
And for those of you, who, like my friend Sandee and her husband have just lost a dear friend, hug someone you know you may also be grieving a pet, and help them remember the things their pets came here to teach them.

Because, as I mentioned they are sent to remind us how to live a life of joy, love, compassion, and understanding, the most of which is love.  

Show them that they taught you well, and you will gain strength from the treasures they gave you and remember you will see them again. -'Cause we are just on one side of heaven.-

God bless  “Little Bit” Sandee, and Hubby.


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7969. Good Movie ~ Bad Play

We saw a good movie and saw a bad play,
Both of them seen on the very same day.

The movie was early, a 10 o’clock show;
When over, to Broadway by train we did go.

At 2 we attended a matinee;
It mostly was awful, the dancing okay.

The tickets were cheap so we blew off the cost;
Two hours of time we unluckily lost.

A dinner at home, though, had lots of appeal;
Not taking a chance on a maybe-bad meal.

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7970. Giveaway: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (US Only)


by Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: 10/06/2015


About the Book


Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here--it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.


b2ap3_thumbnail_rsz_rainbow_rowell_credit_augusten_burroughs.jpgAbout the Author

RAINBOW ROWELL lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and two sons. She's also the author of Landline, Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments.

Learn more Website | Pre-order | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads






Giveaway Details


One winner will receive an audiobook of Carry On.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: What is your favorite Rainbow Rowell book?

*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7971. THE LITTLE KIDS' TABLE - Interview between the author and illustrator

A Conversation with Mary Ann McCabe Riehle and Mary Reaves Uhles, creators of The Little Kids' Table

      THE LITTLE KIDS' TABLE, published in September from Sleeping Bear Press, follows a group of cousins visiting their grandmother's house for a family dinner. From peas in the milk to a Labradoodle in the middle of the table, chaos reigns and manners are nowhere to be found. Without a doubt, THE LITTLE KIDS' TABLE is where all the fun happens.

      MU: THE LITTLE KIDS' TABLE feels like it comes from some real life inspiration... what's your own best little kid's table memory? And was there a real life Daisy?

     MAR: Well, there was not a real life Daisy, but there is a real life Uncle Fred! His character in the book and willingness to sit with the little kids’ or interact with them and perhaps even encourage some of the antics is based in real life. That’s the original inspiration for the book. Oh, and there is not a real life Aunt Nancy, at least in our family, but it does rhyme with “fancy” so she’s in!
     Now back to your question about the dog...The dog, Daisy, is sort of a combination of Fred’s dog, Gracie, and our dog, Bisbee. Both real dogs were rescues and mixed breeds or “mutts” as some might call them but I purposely decided to make Daisy a Labradoodle because I thought the reader would find it a fun word to say. I thought Daisy would be a dog likely to be loved even after causing all of the upset at the dinner tables...just like Gracie who was very energetic as a young pup and often ran in and under the table...so fast that it could startle you and cause you to spill your food or drink. Bisbee just loved people and wanted to be wherever they gathered.
     As far as other real life inspiration, as my dedication mentions, my daughters, nieces and nephews were the best resources. One of the things they shared with me is the part in the book about never wanting to leave your seat at the little kids’ table because you never knew what might happen to your plate of food. Nothing ever got totally out of hand but there was a lot of silly stuff going on at their table! Even today, though many of them are young adults, they still enjoy sitting together.
      Did you have people you know in mind when you illustrated the characters? Did you give the characters in the book names?

      MU: I love that story about Uncle Fred, it seems like I had the exact same vision of Uncle Fred without even knowing it... I just knew he would put a spoon on his nose. What a great question about whether I gave them names... I did, sort of. I named them like my kids name their stuffed animals (Cat, Pink Dog): The boy who is the narrator throughout I thought of as MC, as in Main Character. His brother was Little Brother and the twins became Glasses and Ponytail. About 3 months into my process the boy cousin was added. Because I had created items to “accompany” each kid throughout the book – the robot, the ketchup bottle - this new kid had to have something too. So I gave him the monkey bear and his name became Monkeybear. As for people I had in mind.... I don't know that I had actual people in mind but I did create backstories for all of them that I sent to the art director with my initial sketches. I wanted them each to have individual personalities that I could refer to when making choices about expression. For example if Aunt Nancy is more straight-laced than Grandma Mable then she's going to be justifiably more outraged with the antics from the kids. And I wanted to hint at Uncle Fred's “real self” with his own obvious dismay at the broccoli casserole. Now what's interesting is that my in-laws DO have a poodle named Daisy. She's not a big dog like Daisy in the book but she does have a wild tail that is capable of knocking over stuff if it were attached to a bigger dog. That Daisy is white so I always imagined literary Daisy as a white dog. Some readers may know that in publishing the story is written and edited a long time (sometimes years) before the illustrator takes over. Seems like the first copy I saw of the manuscript had a 2013 date on it!
     Can you tell us a little about your writing journey for THE LITTLE KIDS' TABLE?

      MAR: It has been such a long journey some of those little kids that inspired the book are now grown-ups! The first line of the book was in my mind for many years but I just never took the time to put it on paper and take it to the next line or step in the process. Let that be a lesson to those hoping to get published someday...you have to write it down in order to have it become a book! When I finally did turn in a manuscript it took several months before I heard that Sleeping Bear Press wanted to publish it and then about six months before I saw the first sketches. Even as an author, I find it difficult to put into words how excited I was to see your sketches. I was so impressed and that’s when the possibility of the book began to seem real to me. That was in September of 2014 and our book was officially released September of 2015. What a difference a year makes!!!

      MU: Very true about what a difference a year makes! As is usual in publishing, we had no contact while I was working on the illustrations. Any contact would have been through our editors and art directors at Sleeping Bear. Did you see sketches or illos in progress? When did you get to see the full finished thing?

      MAR: The lack of contact between us on this project may surprise some folks. I am still in awe of how you were able to capture in pictures what I had pictured in my mind when writing. As an author I would never tell an illustrator what to draw or expect them to tell me what to write. I think that’s a sign of mutual respect. I trust your talents. The editors are able to work with us on specific word choices or sketch ideas for illustration. I’ll gladly leave that to them. I was happy with how you were able to illustrate some of the written work that had to be edited for word count. My original manuscript was about three times longer than the final draft. For example, I had written descriptions of the table settings but it was all made obvious in the illustrations. A verse about one of the cousins helping Daisy escape by unlocking the doggie gate was cut from an original draft but still remains part of the plot through illustration. I saw the final, ready for bookshelf copy of THE LITTLE KIDS' TABLE when it was delivered to my front door at the end of August. The UPS man must have wondered what he’d just dropped off since I reacted with such unbridled glee when I realized what it was.

      MU: I have to say hearing that makes me so happy.... while I was proud of the characters, and to me they were “my family” for a year, in the back of my mind... usually late at night ... I would worry “I sure hope the writer likes these guys.” For the readers' info, I first saw the manuscript on March 20, 2014 and my deadline was March 1st of 2015 so I lived with the family for a 345 days. I worked on bringing them to life almost every day during that time. I actually sent the final files to Sleeping Bear on February 28th and I remember being sad that I wouldn't have them on my drawing table anymore.Do you have a favorite spread from the finished book?

      MAR: I really do love them all but I suppose if I had to pick one it would be the last page. That’s where the antics are at full tilt but kids and grown-ups are all in it together. Then again, I love the very first page where all is calm. The love shown from Grandpa’s smile and greeting at the door to the hugs from Grandma are just priceless. That’s what it’s really all about, from page one to the end of the book...it may get a bit chaotic when family gathers together but it’s the being together that matters most.Was there anything that got "edited" or changed from your illustrations that you found difficult to leave out of the book?

      MU: Nothing huge but initially Grandpa had a Hawaiian shirt! My first instructions from the art director were to not make this an obvious holiday, like Christmas. So I went waaay overboard on not being Christmas and made it a summer party. You should have seen my first sketches returned - every page had the red editor's pen on it! But that was because they actually did want the family to be in winter attire since the book was coming out during the fall season. I went back and gave them a wardrobe change but that meant losing Grandpa's shirt which I was a little sad about. Maybe this family needs a new book where they go on a summer vacation so I can still do that shirt!

      MAR: I love the variations on the teddy bear's expressions...I still see new things in the illustrations each time I look at the book. Are there any other subtle or 'hidden" things we can look for?

      MU: oooh that's a great question and I have a story that goes with the earlier question about things being left out: Like I said all the kids have a toy or item that follows them through the story, I referred to it as their 'talisman'. Little Brother has one too but his may not be as obvious. His was Daisy herself. Like you mentioned, an earlier draft had a child letting Daisy loose. Before the addition of the boy cousin I'd planned for that child to be Little Brother... he let Daisy loose to “get back at” his twin cousins for ganging up on him! Some earlier sketches had Little Brother in the background looking for Daisy and it was clearly him opening the gate. When that changed, I left Little Brother being Daisy's biggest fan but it's more subtle.... he has a dog on his sweater and they are always next to each other in every spread, usually with Little Brother slipping Daisy some casserole.
     What’s next on your writing calendar? Any other exciting projects you can share with us?
      MAR: Nothing specific right now... but I do have a few ideas for potential children’s books floating around in my head... remind me that unless I write them down, that’s where they will remain. The motivation is there though, due in large part to the great working and creative experience I had with you and the team at Sleeping Bear Press with THE LITTLE KIDS’ TABLE. Besides illustrating books, how else do you use your artistic talents?

      MU: Aww thanks, it has been a great team... and I'm honored to be part of it! Hmmm other artistic endeavors... illustrating fills up most of my creative cup but lately I've been trying my hand at writing. Actually I used to want to be a writer in junior high before I ever considered being an illustrator. But I never wrote anything down, I just drew pictures of the characters. So 20 years later I'm scribbling out a few ideas. I agree with what you said above - it can't ever be a book unless you write it down. This has been such a fun conversation! But since it's a book in which food is a pretty central character, we can't sign off without talking about it. Can you share your favorite recipe to serve at your little kids' table?

      MAR: It’s a very simple one called “Ants on a Log”. Just take celery that’s been rinsed and dried, cut it into 3-4 inch lengths, fill with peanut butter or cream cheese and add raisins on top. Though I haven’t figured out how to make broccoli casserole appeal to young diners, I find that foods presented creatively will sometimes appeal to even the pickiest eaters. A smiley face made out of blueberries served on pancakes or toast is always more fun. Sandwiches cut in half diagonally then turned point to point make a beautiful butterfly shape. And I really enjoy serving mini versions of foods like slider sized sandwiches, pizza bites, mini muffins or cupcakes. Wow, that answer just made me very hungry!
      What's your favorite meal? Is there anything you didn't like to eat as a child that you like to eat now?

      MU: Oh my goodness, I'm coming to your house to eat... that answer made me hungry too;) I was definitely more cautious as a kid than I am now with food. I remember my mom used to make her own bread and butter pickles that my dad raved about but I never could stomach trying one. Bread.... butter... and a pickle? That's just wrong. But now I LOVE them, especially on my husband's grilled hamburgers, which is one of my favorite meals these days. I'm also a big fan of fried chicken, mac and cheese and mashed potatoes...all of which showed up on my illustrated kids' plates.... but I never have learned to love broccoli casserole.

About the creators:

      As an educator Mary Ann McCabe Riehle has encouraged young students and adults to follow their dreams and tell their stories. In both classroom and conference settings she has shared her experiences as an author and enjoys helping writers of all ages. Her other books include A IS FOR AIRPLANE: AN AVIATION ALPHABET; M IS FOR MOM: A CHILD’S ALPHABET; B IS FOR BLUEGRASS: A KENTUCKY ALPHABET and M IS FOR MOUNTAIN STATE: A WEST VIRGINIA ALPHABET.

      Mary Reaves Uhles has also illustrated KOOKY CRUMBS by J. Patrick Lewis (Kane Miller 2016); and BEYOND THE GRAVE by Dottie Enderle (ABDO Magic Wagon Press 2013). Mary has twice been awarded the Grand Prize for Illustration from the SCBWI Midsouth Conference and her piece, EAT was a finalist in the 2014 SCBWI Bologna Book Fair Gallery. Mary lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.

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7972. KidLit Events November 12-17

Yes, I am hiding my head in shame for being so late with this post. I have nothing to say for myself, except, here is the rest of this week’s events:

TODAY! NOVEMBER 12, Thursday, 10:00 AM
A BEAR'S YEAR: Kathy Duval; Illustrated by Gerry Turley
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kathy Duval, PB Author

Join local author Kathy Duval for a special story time as she read her new picture book A BEAR’S YEAR. In this gorgeous, lyrical celebration about the passing of seasons, readers will follow a mother bear and her cubs through the course of a year. Deep in her den under a snowflake blanket, Mama snuggles her newborn babies. When spring arrives, the bears awaken and emerge from their lair, and as the weather warms to summer, Mama teaches her young ones to fish, gather berries, and dig for roots. Then, in fall, the leaves turn gold, food grows scarce, and the family prepares for hibernation and the coming winter.

TODAY! NOVEMBER 12-NOVEMBER 15, SUNDAYTHE JOLLY DINOSAUR CARNIVAL by Lynn Abrams, Illustrated by Bill Megenhardt
ERJCC, 5601 S Braeswood Blvd.
Lynn Abrahms, PB Author

Local author Lynn Abrams has been selected to be one of the “Local Literati” who will be featured at the 43rd annual ERJCC Book & Arts Fair. Her new picture book, the fifth in her Ten Dinosaurs series, THE JOLLY DINOSAUR CARNIVAL, will be available in the children’s section of the book store for the duration of the Book Fair. The previous books in the series will also be available. In THE JOLLY DINOSAUR CARNIVAL, The Ten Dinosaurs and their friend Turtle are holding a Carnival. They are having lots of fun playing games, having their picture drawn, and going on cool rides. But one Dinosaur is missing and will only be found at the end of the book.

TODAY! NOVEMBER 12, Thursday, 7:00 PMNEED by Joelle Charbonneau
Blue Willow Bookshop
Joelle Charbonneau, YA Author

Joelle Charbonneau will discuss and sign her new novel for young adults, NEED. Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling TESTING trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature?


NOVEMBER 14, SATURDAY, 11:00 AMTHE RUNAWAY PUMPKIN PIE MAN, illustrated by Roberta Baird, written by vicky Town
Blue Willow Bookshop
Four Authors from Pelican Publishing

Blue Willow Bookshop celebrates 4 Houston-based authors from Pelican Publishing. Jo and Josephine Harper, authors of WHISTLING WILLIE FROM AMARILLO, TEXAS, Roberta Baird, illustrator of RUNAWAY PUMPKIN PIE MAN, and Marci Izard, author of NOURISHING YOUR WHOLE SELF: A Cookbook with Feelings, will meet and greet customers.


NOVEMBER 14, SATURDAY, 10:00 AM-1:00 PMRead3Zero
READ3Zero 6th Annual iWrite Luncheon and Book Signing
Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar St, Houston
TICKETS: $150 per person
Sponsorship Opportunities Available

The READ3Zero Non-Profit Literacy Organization will hold the 6th Annual I Write Luncheon & Book Signing at the Hilton Americas in Downtown Houston. You are invited to celebrate our 6th Anniversary of publishing children in the 3rd-12th grade, thereby furthering READ3Zero’s mission to encourage children to read and write daily.

NOVEMBER 15, SUNDAY, 2:00-5:00 PMHouston YA/MG
Houston YA/MG Writers Write-In
La Madeleine, Town & Country Village
Cost: FREE; All are welcome!

Grab your laptop or notebook and join us for an afternoon of writing! We’re a group especially for those writing for the middle grade and young adult age groups. We are passionate about helping writers connect with each other, improve their craft, and learn how to market themselves and their work.Our events are always free and are a great place to get plugged into Houston’s writing community. Members include both published authors and those yet to be published from all over the Houston area. Anyone is welcome!

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7973. Words to Cut

Eliminate these filler words to make your manuscript tighter.


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Mary Nida Smith founded The Writers Support Group in the Spring of 1998, in the Lakeview/Bull Shoals area and when the Baxter County Library had an opening, she moved the group there. Later the group voted to change the name to Twin Lakes Writers. Smith invited several authors and editors as speakers to learn the craft of writing. She started and was the first editor of their newsletter, and organized the first writers conference in this area. Max McCoy, Ellen Gray Massey, and Vicki Cox were the speakers. The conference and other workshops were held at the Bel Arco Resort in Bull Shoals. Smith has kept a record from day one. On the patio of the children's library down stairs of the Donald W. Reynolds Library is a brick  that states; Mary Nida Smith, Founder of the Twin Lakes Writers.

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7975. Guest Post and Giveaway: The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynnette Austin

Lynnette Austin dropped by the virtual offices this morning to celebrate the release of The Best Laid Wedding Plans.  Please give her a warm welcome!

Top 5 Things You Will Never Find in Jenni Beth’s Purse

The Best Laid Wedding Plans is the first in my new series, Magnolia Brides! I’m so excited to be here with you today talking about it and Jenni Beth Beaumont. Her story is about a person finding her way through difficulties and coming out stronger for them. She’s been working as an event planner at Chateau Rouge in Savannah, but things at home in Misty Bottoms are going from bad to worse.

Her parents are struggling with the loss of their son, Magnolia House, her family’s antebellum home, is crumbling, and Misty Bottoms, Georgia, like so many small Southern towns, is dying. She decides to turn her family home into a wedding destination, hoping to help her parents, save Magnolia House, and bring new jobs to the area in one fell swoop.

Jenni Beth and Cole Bryson have a history—and it’s not pretty! Right now, their future isn’t looking very promising, either. She wants to restore Magnolia House while he, an architectural salvager, wants to deconstruct it and sell it off in pieces. A storm is brewing!

Jenni Beth is very dedicated and assumes responsibility for both her family and the entire town of Misty Bottoms. But she loves to have fun, too. She doesn’t love lightly and is very loyal to her friends.

What a woman carries in her purse says a lot about her. But what about what she doesn’t carry in her Gucci bag? I think that speaks volumes, too! So what wouldn’t Jenni Beth ever have in her purse? Hmmm…

1. An expired driver’s license. Jenni Beth is a rule follower. Period.

2. A notebook without a huge list of to-dos. This woman is seriously busy and seriously organized. She’s a little like Santa. She makes a list and checks it twice! So you can be sure that notebook in her purse contains list after list.

3. Nail polish. Between scraping peeling paint from the house and fixing up the rose garden, her nails would just end up chipped. She has too much to do to waste her time with polish—until she has an appointment with clients! At that point, she’ll probably run into town for a quick fix at Frenchie’s Salon.

4. A bunch of crumpled old receipts. I’ll admit you’ll find exactly that in my purse. I am totally disorganized when it comes to things like this. But Jenni Beth? No way. Those receipts will remain uncrumpled as they’re carried home where they will be filed for future reference. Oh, there are days I wish I was more like Jenni Beth!

5. Loose change. Any change she has goes immediately into her bank when she gets home. With the renovation of Magnolia House, every little bit counts. One year for Christmas, her grandmother gave her the bank and a roll of pennies, along with the advice, “If you watch the pennies, the dollars take care of themselves.” She’s always carried those words with her. Now, more than ever, she needs to be frugal.

I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve spent with Jenni Beth and Cole and their friends. We’d love to have you come visit us in Misty Bottoms, Georgia. We’re a small town, but we have a lot of heart!

See you there!


The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynnette Austin

First in the new Magnolia Brides series

ISBN: 9781492617976

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca



Jenni Beth Beaumont left her broken heart behind when she took her dream job in Savannah. But after her brother’s death, Jenni Beth returns home to help mend her parents’ hearts as well as restore their beautiful but crumbling antebellum mansion. New dreams take shape as Jenni Beth sets to work replacing floors and fixing pipes to convert the family homestead into the perfect wedding destination. However, some folks in their small Southern town are determined to see her fail.

Cole Bryson was once the love of Jenni Beth’s life, but the charming architectural salvager has plans of his own for the Beaumont family home. As the two butt heads, old turmoil is brought to the surface and Cole and Jenni Beth will have to work through some painful memories and tough realities before they can set their pasts aside and have a second chance at their own happily ever after.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1LB67Qs

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1OQ4ram

Apple: http://apple.co/1KmbH7G

Books a Million: http://bit.ly/1MRhhRn

Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1KmbMbg

Author Bio

The luxury of staying home when the weather turns nasty, of working in PJs and bare feet, and the fact that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged, are a few of the reasons middle school teacher Lynnette Austin gave up the classroom to write full-time. Lynnette grew up in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountains, moved to Upstate New York, then to the Rockies in Wyoming. Presently she and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, PASIC’s Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Contest, she’s published five books as Lynnette Hallberg. She’s currently writing as Lynnette Austin. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.authorlynnetteaustin.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lynnette-Austin-253370174807116/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnettAustin

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/romwriter/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6456915.Lynnette_Austin


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