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Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 228,044
7951. crediting illustrators

Great to see this apology printed in today's copy of The Bookseller! Let's hope this means more attention to crediting illustrators, fingers crossed.

Photo tweeted by @childrensbookil

I think this is the article mentioned at the end, and you can catch up with what it's all about in my previous blog post, with some updates in the comments.

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7952. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to Brian Yansky on the release of Utopia, Iowa (Candlewick, 2015). From the promotional copy:

Utopia, Iowa is about a small town where the supernatural meets the natural. There's some murder and mystery and mayhem in this novel. Ghosts and other creatures and humans abound. 

Some funny moments. Some sad. 

At heart, it's a story about a boy who wants to write for the movies and his struggle with leaving all he knows (family, friends, hometown) to pursue his dreams.

See also The Road to Utopia, Iowa Was Paved with Rejection by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Diary of a Writer. Peek: "How many rejections did Utopia, Iowa, get? I could probably ask my amazing agent for an exact number, but I’ll guess in the neighborhood of fifteen, including one from the publisher who ultimately accepted and published it (though not the same editor). And also--an important detail- the version she accepted was not that same version that had been rejected."

More News & Giveaways

Confronting Grief with YA Literature: An Interview with Jason Reynolds by Brook Stephenson from The Gawker. Peek: "People always say time heals. Time doesn't necessarily heal anything. It allows you to manage things. There are occasions where you feel the pain as if it just happened but you know that it's a fleeting moment."

Seven Core Values to Celebrate During Black History Month by Veronica Schneider from Lee & Low. Peek: "we like to not only highlight African Americans who have made a difference, but also explore the diverse experiences of black culture throughout history, from the struggle for freedom in the South and the fight for civil rights to the lively rhythms of New Orleans jazz and the cultural explosion of the Harlem Renaissance."

Simple Promotional Tip: Call Your Book by Its Name by Sharon Bially from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Time and again I’ve seen even the most experienced authors make what I consider to be a big publicity faux pas. It happens at readings, on conference panels and in casual conversation.It can be summed up with these two simple words. 'My book.'"

Congratulations to Isabel Quintero (for older readers) and Duncan Tonatiuh (for younger readers), winners of the 2015 Tomás Rivera Award from Latinas for Latino Lit. Peek: "Established in 1995, the award honors authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican America experience."

Official SCBWI Conference Blog from SCBWI. Note: next best thing to attending the annual winter conference in New York.

Dear Writers and Editors: Some Cautions About Selecting Beta Readers by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek: "Speaking to a tour guide at a museum is not enough. They are not the person with the authority to work with you. Obviously they're interested in education but there's an important distinction in what they do, and what a tribe's research board does."

Thematic Book List: Extreme Weather from The Miss Rumphius Effect. Peek: "...a list of books that focuses on storms and other conditions caused by extreme weather conditions."

Creating Fascination with a Character by Sarah Callender from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Not knowing how we are supposed to feel about a real person, in real life, is not comfortable. But in fiction? It is delicious."

Four Research Hacks for Writing Thrillers by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "One of the most common questions I’m asked as an author is, “How can you write thrillers if you’ve never served in the military/emergency services/spy agencies/etc.?"

Perspectives of Diversity in Book Reviews, Part 1: "Scarcely Plausible" by Malinda Lo from Diversity in YA. Peek: "In a novel, the writer’s goal is to cause the reader to lose themselves in the story, so anything that knocks the reader out of the story’s world may appear to be a flaw. When a diverse cast is criticized as 'contrived,' though, it’s a bit more complicated."

2015 Erza Jack Keats Book Award: winners Chieri Uegaki (new writer) and Chris Haughton (new illustrator). See honorees.  

Cynsational Giveaway

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Super busy week! I finished my speech on Crafting Diverse Books for Young Readers for tomorrow's Austin SCBWI meeting and critiqued ten partial manuscripts for our chapter's upcoming regional conference. See event details below. What's more, I'm grading my VCFA MFA students' first round of packets. Whew!

This week a sun-shiny beauty appeared in my back yard.
Thank you to readergirlz for the shout out about the upcoming release of Feral Pride (Candlewick, Feb. 24, 2015)!

The Horn Book says of Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves, edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick, 2015): "Cynthia Leitich Smith takes a characteristically paranormal approach in 'Cupid’s Beaux': “slipped” angel Joshua must decide whether it’s ethical to conceal his celestial identity and woo human Jamal.... The assortment of approaches offers plenty of surprises, and the collection can be read in one sitting without becoming repetitive."

Link of the Week: How Authors Get Paid from Mette Ivie Harrison. Peek: "This all sounds perfectly obvious, right? But a lot of people I talk to think that authors get paid a lot more than they actually get paid. This is partly because of a wide variety of misconceptions, such as...."

Now available! More coverage to come!
Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Cynthia will speak on "Crafting Diverse Books for Young Readers" at 10 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Austin SCBWI monthly meeting at BookPeople in Austin.

The SCBWI Austin 2015 Writers and Illustrators Working Conference will take place March 7 and March 8 at Marriott Austin South. Note: Cynthia will be moderating a panel and offering both critiques and consultations.

Releases Feb. 24, 2015
Cynthia will appear from April 14 to April 17 at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Texas Library Association in Austin.

Join Cynthia from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Saratoga Springs Public Library for a celebration in conjunction with Saratoga Reads! at Saratoga Springs, New York. Note: Cynthia will be presenting Jingle Dancer (2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001) and Indian Shoes (2002)(all published by HarperColllins).

Cynthia will serve as the master class faculty member from June 19 to June 21 May 2 at the VCFA Alumni Mini-Residency in Montpelier, Vermont.

Cynthia will speak from June 25 to June 30 on a We Need Diverse Books panel at the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco.

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7953. Pacing Problems

How can you speed up or slow down the pacing of your book when needed?


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7954. Manga Review: One Hot Texan by Jane Sullivan and Masako Ogimaru



What a happy day!  I discovered a plethora of Harlequin manga on Scribd!  I love reading these, but I don’t like buying them, because I can read one in less than an hour.  Needless to say, my subscription at Scribd just became even more of a value.  There are tons and tons of these there, so I’ll be contentedly squeezing them into the review schedule.  Just as an FYI, the site just added comics from Marvel, IDW, Dynamite, and others, so if you enjoy comics, check out their selection.  I’m not a collector (anymore), I just want to read them, so the subscription based system works great for me and takes up less room in my house!

After browsing the Harlequin manga, I settled on One Hot Texan because, well, why not?  I was hoping for cowboys and horses, and I kind of got that, just not how I expected.  Cole McCallum hasn’t had an easy life.  His mother walked out on Cole and his father, and then his father was convicted of crimes and sent to jail.  Cole was sent to Texas to live with his grandmother, but he hated the small town and the gossip that followed him everywhere.  He couldn’t wait to leave it all behind him, and when he turned 18, that’s just what he did.  He packed up, left the grandmother who always loved and believed in him, and made it big in real estate.  But then trouble found him again, and brush with the law costs him his fortune.

Back in Texas, he needs to find a wife pronto of he’ll lose the ranch that his grandmother left to him.  While marriage of convenience stories aren’t my favorite, I did enjoy this one.  Cole meets shy Virginia, and he offers her a business deal.  She’s struggling to pay off bills since her mother passed away, so if she’ll marry him for the time required to inherit the ranch, he’ll give her a cash settlement that will pay off her bills and allow her to follow  her dream of attending college.

Ginny has been brow beaten by her mother her entire life, and as a result, she’s quiet, introverted, and longing for a change.  She wants to do something with her life, but her mother’s hateful words haunt her.  She was constantly told that men were evil, and they only wanted one thing, and worse, that she wished Ginny had never been born.  Obviously, Ginny’s mother needed counseling, and so does Ginny!  She keeps Cole at arms length, reminding him time and again that theirs is strictly a business arrangement.  As time passes, she begins to care about him, and she begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe, they can make this into a permanent arrangement, but then reality intrudes, and she sees that it’s impossible. Cole just wants the ranch, so he can sell it and start over with his real estate career.

Overall, I enjoyed One Hot Texan, but I thought that Ginny’s issues were far too complex to believably resolve in such a short comic.  Cole, too, has his trust issues, but he doesn’t really acknowledge them.  I did like how tender and protective he could be, but then he blew that by treating Ginny horribly when he thinks she purposefully did not take her birth control.  Dude!  You have a responsibility to help make sure she doesn’t forget to take them; the fact that she has a prescription does not absolve you of your due diligence.  How did you run a successful business? Oh, wait…you had a lapse of judgment there, too!

Except for the temper tantrum mentioned above, I did like Cole.  He just needed a kick in the pants to help him realize what was important in life. 

Grade:  C

Read on Scribd

From Amazon:

After spending his whole childhood being raised in an unhappy home, Cole McCallum turned rebellious, dating nothing but superficial women and gaining a bad reputation. He was the most despised person in town, except for those women smitten with him. Now, Cole needs a partner for a marriage of convenience and he picks the town’s latest bloomer, Virginia. He’s looking forward to giving this inexperienced virgin girl a night she’ll never forget. After their simple wedding ceremony, Cole kisses her deeply in their shared hotel room while caressing her body—and is met with an unexpected response!

The post Manga Review: One Hot Texan by Jane Sullivan and Masako Ogimaru appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7955. Poetry Friday: When I go to orchestra rehearsals by Barbara Newhall Follett

When I go to orchestra rehearsals,
there are often several passages for the
Triangle and Tambourine together.
When they are together,
they sound like a big piece of metal
that has broken in thousandths
and is falling to the ground.

- Barbara Newhall Follett

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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7956. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e February 6th 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Four Reasons Your Query Might Be Rejected (Rachel Kent)

Editing Clauses in Publishing Contracts: How to Protect Yourself (Victoria Strauss)

Writing Characters Whose Loyalty is Uncertain (Janice Hardy)

Give Them What They Want (Rachelle Gardner)

So What Do I Do Now? (Wendy Lawton)

How to Become a Traditionally Published Author (Carrie Jones) aka carriejones

Call Your Book By its Name (Sharon Bially)

The Quintessential Paradoxical Pantser Conundrum (Larry Brooks)

Have a Routine (Michael Mcdonagh)

Yanking Readers Out of a Story (Elizabeth Spann Craig)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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7957. hearts again and why not?

I have posted this poem before, on a quite special occasion since which my Beloved and I have tied the knot yet again in the state of Maryland.  And those pieces of paper we got officializing our marriage are pretty important for many social and political and financial and legal reasons.

But this string of words--that's all they are, which is the miracle--expresses a connection which must touch the inside, human place in everyone who has loved.  Now let that "hollow muscular organ that is the center of the circulatory system" fill up and become your Heart.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
....................................i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

~ e.e. cummings

The heart of Poetry Friday will no doubt overflow with  love this Valentine's Friday at Merely Day by Day with Cathy.

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7958. Friday Linky List - February 13, 2015

From the Scottish Book Trust: Who is your literary love match?

From Publishers Lunch: True: Harper Lee to Publish Second Novel with Harper - wow

From Brain Pickings (via PW): Happy Birthday, Ursula Nordstrom: How the Greatest Patron Saint of Childhood Stood Up for Creativity Against Commercial Cowardice

From School Library Journal: Fringe Factor: Small Presses and Self-Publishing

From PW - Q&A with Strand Book Store Children's Buyer Stella Williams

At Jane Friedman - Guest post by Harry Bingham: Why Authors Walk Away From Good, Big 5 Publishers

From Picture Book Builders: That One Line by Jill Esbaum

From Janice Hardy's Fiction University - At-Home Workshop: Revise Your Novel in 31 Days (For all you NaNo graduates!)

At Education Week Teacher: Fall Back in Love With Teaching

From The Guardian (via 100 Scope Notes): The 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal picture book prize long list

At Entrepreneur: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Freelancer Love this quote:

...don’t ask your freelancer to do speculative work or to complete a project for free with the promise of more work later. It’s disrespectful of the freelancer’s time. If you can’t afford to test the freelancer with a project and if the freelancer’s portfolio and references are not giving you confidence, it’s best to move on leaving everyone with dignity intact.

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7959. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: A Golden Key

What do Ezra Jack Keats, Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Robert McClosky, and Andy Warhol have in common, besides being incredibly creative? Ding. Time’s up. Each won a Scholastic Art & Writing Award when they were in their teens. Of this experience Richard Avedon, among others, said winning was “the defining moment […]

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7960. THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS, A Book About Henri Matisse – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: The Iridescence of Birds – A Book About Henri Matisse Written by: Patricia MacLachlan Illustrated by: Hadley Hooper Published by: A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Book Press, 2014 Themes/Topics: Henri Matisse, painters, the influence of childhood, France Suitable for ages: 5-11 40 pages, … Continue reading

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7961. five Thursday moments

• Rilla came to me with a paper cut. Not that I’m happy she was hurt, just–it struck me so sweetly that she still comes to me for little hurts like that, still believes a kiss from mommy can help

• good IEP meeting—they all love him so

• cleaned up the side yard, threw out two bins of junk, pruned the pepper trees

• daffodils in the neighbor’s yard

• Huck wearing the old cloth barn on his head like a jolly little hat.
Hilarious! Also nice to see how beloved it still is, 16 years and 5 kids later

ikea barn and speckled band

Well, what do YOU wear to read The Adventure of the Speckled Band?



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Great American Novelist Jonathan Franzen – the best writer of our time, y’all -- did a Q and A with a Butler University MFA candidate – perhaps you’ve seen it? – where he dismisses my quest for respect and reviews for genre women’s fiction by saying, that I “rub him the wrong way,” that I’m “freeloading on the legitimate problem of gender bias,” and I’m an “unfortunate” person to be a spokesperson for fairness and equity in the World of Letters…and, oh yeah, he’s never read my books, because his friends don’t think they’re any good.

He thinks I’m hijacking a legitimate debate and making it All About Me. Except it’s not even a legitimate debate, because I’ve never written an essay about it -- an essay, of course, being the only permissible place for debate in Franzenlandia.

“She has no case, so she just tweets.”


I'm bewildered by Franzen's continued attacks. He's on the cover of Time, he's got the Times writing curtain-raisers about his new book a year before it's published, he's been Oprah-anointed not once but twice, and is the subject of an upcoming biography. He is respected -- nay, revered - in all the places that matter...and he's calling me names? Does he think that the Times devoting two paragraphs to books like mine takes away from books like his? Is he angry that I've got a bunch of Twitter followers, even though he doesn't think I should have an audience at all because I'm not on his approved list?

Anyhow. In terms of "just tweeting," it turns out I've written many essays about my case. Links below...but, before the links, I’d argue that Twitter is a lovely and appropriate medium for voices that have traditionally been shouted down, shut out or ignored by the places that court the Franzens of the world. There’s a long history – maybe Franzen doesn’t know it? – of women using the materials at hand, whatever’s available to them to make art or make a case. I’d argue that feminist Twitter, women writers advocating for their work, one hundred and forty characters at a time, is a part of that history.

So I've used Twitter, and blogs, and Facebook, which are what you've got when you don't necessarily have the New York Times. But there's a longer case to be made about why ignoring genre fiction by women while covering mysteries and thrillers and sci-fi and horror is sexist and short-sighted and bad business, and I’ve been making it for years.

There was this piece in the Guardian.

This interview in the Huffington Post.

Here is an NPR interview!

Here's a Salon Q and A, where I discuss Franzen's dealings with Oprah, and the damage it did to women writers.

A New Republic response
to Franzen's latest run at me, explaining that Twitter is not just a place for self-promotion -- that, in fact, self-promotion is the last thing smart writers do there.

This blog post, back in 2010, when the Times turned itself into Franzen’s personal PR machine, running an easy dozen pieces before FREEDOM had even been published, sending a reporter to cover a cocktail party in his honor.

So what should a book review do? Should it be a mirror, reflecting back popular tastes? Is it a stern uncle waving a scolding finger, dragging us away from Harry Potter by the ear and insisting that we read Philip Roth instead, or a nanny telling us we have to eat our spinach before we're allowed dessert? Is it possible to be some combination?...

Disdaining romance while reviewing mysteries and thrillers; speaking about quote-unquote chick lit from a position of monumental ignorance while heaping praise on men who write about relationships and romance; maintaining the sexist double standard that puts Mary Gaitskill and Caitlin Macy in the Style section and puts Charles Bock or Jonathan Safran Foer in the magazine…all of these are symptoms of a disease that’s rotting the relationship between readers and reviewers.

For those who don’t feel like clicking, here is the short version of my credo, my This I Believe.

I believe that genre fiction by women deserves the same treatment and respect as genre fiction by men. If an outlet like the Times is going to review mysteries and science fiction, either because it believes that the readers of those books are important enough to acknowledge, or because it thinks those books have something to say about the world and the way we live now, then it darn well better review romance and “chick lit.”

Declining to cover the books that women read is another way of making women invisible – women writers, women readers. It silences voices, erases an audience, sends the message that women’s stories don’t matter (or matter only enough to show up in the Style section).

I believe that literary fiction by women deserves the same treatment and respect as literary fiction by men. There is no reason I can fathom for a place like Harper’s or The Atlantic or The New Yorker to run three times as many stories by men as by women, or review three times as many books by men as by women.

I believe that these two beliefs are different.

I do not believe that genre fiction is the same as literary fiction.

I don’t think that what I’m doing and what Franzen’s doing are the same thing.

I do not weep bitter tears when The Paris Review ignores my books, because The Paris Review does not review John Grisham or Dan Brown or Stephen King.

However! The New York Times does review those guys. It should review books like mine. And now it does!

As upsetting as it was to know that our Great American Novelist and his pals have such a low opinion of me, as painful as I find it to picture Franzen on a stage dismissing the work I’ve done with a snide “good for her,” it’s nothing surprising or new. The smart set’s never had much use for my books, even if it’s been happy to capitalize on the gains that writers like me, and Jodi Picoult, and every other popular writer who’s spoken out for gender equity have achieved.

Luckily, the smart set doesn’t dictate readers’ choices (luckily, there are lots of people who like my books, even if Franzen's never met them).

Nor does the smart set tell New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul how to do business. Under Paul’s leadership, the Times had gotten more diverse, more welcoming, more interesting, I’d argue, and I don’t think they’ve had to sacrifice quality to do it.

The Times’ tent has gotten bigger. There’s room for books like mine, which is all I’ve ever wanted for myself. There are more women writing reviews, more women's books being reviewed, which is exactly what I've wanted for my fellow women writers.

There is Vida, and its yearly count, putting editors on notice, forcing them to defend their abysmal ratios and, with any luck, seek to improve them, which is good news for women writers, and, I think for all readers.

The Times has changed, and the times will continue to change. All of this undoubtedly causes Franzen great dismay, and longing for a time before Twitter, where he and his friends were the ones who decided whose books mattered, whose voices merited an audience, who deserved to be part of the conversation, who got to move the bar.

Franzen can call me a freeloader and a self-promoter, whine about which way I rub him, turn up his nose at my books. It won't turn back the clock, un-invent Twitter, erase the Internet, or take back the power it's given those of us who are not Jonathan Franzen.

Women writers – even the ones whose work Franzen disdains – have a platform, and a place at the table. Our voices are being heard, and the world -- at least the tiny corner of it that cares about books, and book reviews -- is changing.

There’s no going back.

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"Man, those were some hard times," I say real soft, trying to calm him down."But we got through it, and you know why we did it?" Gramps asks. He seems less testy now. "We did it for our kids, their kids. We stood our ground and took those beatings... Read the rest of this post

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7964. An Invitation for Poetry Friday


to the launch of my first-ever chapbook,
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

When? One month from today, on March 13th at 7:00 p.m.
Where? In Mount Holly, NJ, at the Daily Grind, located at 48 High Street.
Cost of admission? Free. Plus I'll be reading, and there will be an open reading afterwards.
Cost of chapbook if you're so inclined? Probably $6.00 or so.

I sure hope you will come. Or send someone you know.

Especially since my sweetheart just got scheduled for dental surgery that morning and will likely be unable to attend, and I really, truly don't want to be all by myself in a coffee shop for the launch of my first-ever chapbook (a small paperback collection of poems, which may or may not be sold by peddlers, but is indeed published by a local small press called Maverick Duck Press).

To see other Poetry Friday posts, click the box below:

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7965. memoir is not this:

This week at Penn I taught a book that, though it has been marketed widely (and successfully) as memoir, though it looks back over an important life, fails to meet most of the standards we should be setting for the form. It was the first time I'd deliberately chosen to teach a book that doesn't work as well as it might. We can learn, I think, as much by kindly examining the choices an author might have made as by the choices that appear on the page.

While preparing for the class, I discovered these words by a reviewer of our chosen book—words that epitomize everything I strongly believe memoir is not.

Memoirs are endeavors wherein the author says to the reader: "Here's what happened to me." The authorial motive, more often than not, is a combination of the memoirist's need to get something off his or her chest (or out of his or her gut), along with the need to tell everybody: "This is how I became the person I've become."

Here's what happened to me. Getting something off one's chest. Here is how I became me. Those are slight and merely autobiographical objectives, reflecting a writer interested in one soul thing—himself. Memoirists need to do far more, and the best of them do. Here, in my review of Alexandra Fuller's new Leaving Before the Rains Come, I think again out loud about what real memoir is.

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7966. Day 13: Patrik Henry Bass

PatrikHenryBassPhotojpegYou see his name and picture every month in Essence magazine. Patrik Henry Bass is our trusted voice about African-American books. We count on him for insightful reviews and beautifully-written features.

He has been on the other side of the industry too, writing and editing several acclaimed titles for adults. Lucky us, he has expanded his reach to creating books for kids. The Zero Degree Zombie Zone (Scholastic, 2014), his debut middle-grade adventure novel, debuted in August. Illustrated by Jerry Craft, Publishers Weekly called it “action-packed” and “fast-moving.” The story features friends on a mission to save the world.

We are honored to celebrate Patrik Henry Bass on Day 13. Here he shares his incredible work:


Patrik Henry Bass is an award-winning writer and editor, with an extensive background in publishing covering books, lifestyle and popular culture. Bass currently serves as editorial projects director at Essence Magazine. He has written and edited for a number of publications including The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, The Washington Post, Time Out New York, Brooklyn Bridge, Entertainment Weekly, Black Enterprise and BET Weekend, where he was a founding editor. Bass is a former board member of The New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) and a member of The National Association of Black Journalists.

Bass, a former adjunct professor at the Arthur Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, is a contributor to The Takeaway with John Hockenberry, a nationally syndicated radio program produced by Public Radio International. He has lectured widely on magazine writing and editing. Bass and photographer and artist Karen Pugh coauthored In Our Own Image: Treasured African-American Traditions, Journeys and Icons (Running Press, 2001). He is also the author of Like A Mighty Stream, The March on Washington, August 28, 1963 (Running Press, 2002).

Bass is also the editor of several books for ESSENCE and Time Inc. Home Entertainment including A Salute to Michelle Obama (2013); LEDISI Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power (2013); The Obamas in The White House (2010); and The Obamas: Portrait of America’s New First Family (2009).

ZeroDegreeZombie_highrescoverThe Zero Degree Zombie Zone (Scholastic Press), his first book for middle-grade students was released on August 26, 2014. The book has garnered praise for spotlighting African-American boys as heroes in the fantasy genre.


“I didn’t have a plan. I just wanted to have a life and career that was interesting.” 

Bass began his writing career as a reporter for The Carolina Peacemaker in Greensboro in the early 90s.  After working there for about six months, Bass knew that being a newspaper reporter was not for him. Covering zoning meetings was uninteresting. Yet, he was intrigued by a reliable source, a woman who worked in city planning who demystified zoning ordinances. Bass said it looked like she was having fun in her job and he liked the interaction with the media so he enrolled at Pratt’s School of Architecture for city planning. Once he started classes at Pratt, he realized he had made a monumental mistake. “I was like a fish on a bicycle,” he said.

One day on campus someone overheard Bass giving a commentary during the American Music Awards and asked if he could write like he talked. He quickly became a columnist for the Prattler newspaper. That opportunity led to a publishing job with The Big Idea, a magazine for UPS Corporation. There Bass learned about deadlines, attention to detail. Best of all, he was able to meet people in the publishing industry.

Many writers lived in his Brooklyn neighborhood at the time, working in publishing by day and writing at night. Bigger things started to happen. Bass began to write about books and publishing on a freelance basis for alternative presses. In late 1999, he came to the attention of editors at Essence Magazine. He landed the job that had played a significant role in the careers of previous books editors for the magazine such as Paula Giddings, Elsie Washington, Benilde Little, and Martha Southgate.

When he took the job at Essence, he had been asked by Running Press to write a book about his family memories and then a book on the historic March on Washington, a topic that also interested the magazine. “My goal for the book was to give the readers an idea of the diversity of race and age of those who attended the march,” said Bass. “The March on Washington was our evolution of the spirit of the country.”


Although it took nearly seven years to bear fruit, a lunch meeting in 2007 between Andrea essencearticleDavis Pinkney, a vice president and executive editor at Scholastic Press, and Patrik Bass, an editorial projects editor at Essence, eventually led to the publication of The Zero Degree Zombie Zone, an adventure story featuring four African American middle-school friends. As they had chatted over their meal, Andrea and Patrik realized that the solution to the sense of frustration they both felt at the lack of children’s books with protagonists of color was right in front of them: Patrik would write a story and Andrea would publish it. They later agreed that Jerry Craft would be the perfect artist to create the book’s illustrations. The Zero Degree Zombie Zone, published in August 2014, tells the story of a day in the life of Bakari Katari Johnson, a shy boy who is coping with everyday bullies when the school is suddenly overrun with zombies. Fortunately, he has three good friends to inspire and assist him, and through some resourcefulness and steadfast courage at a crucial moment, Bakari manages to save the day.

For more extensive information on Patrik Henry Bass and his books, please visit these article sources:





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7967. Second POV Character?

Hello and thank you to everyone and anyone who answers my question! Here it goes... I've written a novella in the deep 3rd person pov of one character.

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7968. Details. #shoegazingfriday Capture by @photosbygederberg

Details. #shoegazingfriday Capture by @photosbygederberg by erikged

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7969. More Tour

Hey, all! I am in Mexico, starting a new project, but I thought I would go online and let you know where I am going to be as of NEXT WEEK. For more information on any of these, please go to the appearances section of my website:

February 20th - 22nd
Mythic Worlds Convention and Masquerades
Doubletree by Hilton
18740 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98188

There is a Special Guest Discount Code for my readers: MW15HB20
Use the Discount Code to get 20% off a Mythicworlds Ticket when you purchase from HERE.

February 23rd
Signing 7-9PM
University Place Library (Pierce County)
3609 Market Place W., Suite 100, University Place, WA 9846

February 24th
Signing 4-6PM
Burien Library (King County)
400 SW 152nd Street, Burien, WA 98166

March 7th
Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable

March 20th
Reader’s Theater 7-8:30PM
Barnes & Noble (Union Square)
33 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003 United States

March 27th - March 29th
Emerald City ComicCon
Washington State Convention Center, Seattle Washington

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7970. Twitter is Moving on Up – It's Hooking up with Google Again

According to Bloomberg Business, Twitter has reached a deal with Google to have its Tweets appear in Google’s search results. This is huge news for businesses that use Twitter as part of their social media marketing. As of February 4th, the deal wasn’t made public. Some of the technicalities were being worked out. But, the author, Sarah Frier, said, “In the first half of this year, tweets

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7971. Compulsory Valentine's Day Post 2015

Happy Valentine's Day, lovers all! 

I see I did one of these two years ago, but it was mainly about me and book club and the National Year of Reading the previous year, with just a token reference to two classics, so here I am again.

According to Wikipedia, which has quite a lengthy article on this, there were several Christian martyr Valentines. The one we hear the most about is the one who lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, the Valentine who is supposed to have been locked up for performing secret marriages for soldiers, who were not allowed to marry(not true, according to Wikipedia). This made him the patron saint of lovers. He is supposed to have healed his jailer's daughter and sent her a farewell letter signed "your Valentine" before they killed him. True or not, it's a story I always enjoy. 

Chaucer mentions Valentine's Day in Parlement Of Foules (that's "birds" to those of you who think it's just a sports term!) as the day when birds gather to choose their mates. 

I vaguely recall a festival of Juno in Rome around that time of year when you were allotted a lover for the year. I think that's sweet. "Oh, no, I'm stuck with Publius again!  He has bad breath and big ears and keeps talking nerdy stuff about books!" 

Anyway, as I'm not getting any chocolates or hearts this year(and by the way, Wikipedia says that started with the good Saint who cut hearts out of parchment. Who would have thought it?) I will think about some of my favourite fictional lovers.

*Ah! The radio is  playing the Birdcatcher's Song from Mozart's Magic Flute, giving me another lover to write about ... Poor Papageno, he just wants a girlfriend and has to go through all that Freemasons stuff to get one. Now, that was an interesting presentation of love. Prince Tamino falls in love with Pamina just from a picture and she doesn't even need a picture! She falls in love just from hearing about Tamino. Still, a fun opera. I once saw the gorgeous Anthony Warlow as Papageno. A beautiful Papageno he was, too.*

Back to the fictional lovers. Last time I mentioned Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, a pair of strong people who just need to learn a bit about life. They are equals. I like that. Well, he is rich and she isn't, true, but in intelligence they are and we know she eon't take any nonsense from him. 

In Shakespeare my favourite lovers are Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. Beatrice's cousin Hero is a much more conventional lover, who faints dead away when Claudio humiliates her publicly. Anyone remember that scene in The Winter's Tale when Hermione faints away when her husband humiliates her? Both women sort of get their revenge by making their men squirm and think them dead before forgiving them, of course. As I hear it, strictly speaking the Hero/Claudio romance is supposed to be the main one in the play with Beatrice and Benedick as the kooky, loveable supporting characters. 

Come on, does anyone seriously believe that?  But it's true, in a way. Beatrice is an orphan living with her relatives; she can't be standard and she can be independent in a way Hero can't. And oh, what a character! "Kill Claudio!" she says when Benedick, who has been fighting a war of words with her and now admits he loves her, asks how he can help. She does add, "Oh, that I were a man!" In other words, "I need you to challenge him to a duel because I can't." And he agrees and does realise that his mate Claudio has done the wrong thing. 

Interestingly, I once saw a production of Much Ado About Nothing that was performed in Regency costume, a la Pride And Prejudice; it worked very well. Another, later production was done in 1950s costume, with Pamela Rabe and Hugo Weaving(yes, that Hugo Weaving, as in Agent Smith and Elrond)who also played Kate and Petruchio in The Taming Of The Shrew

Has anyone noticed the tendency in YA fiction for having a triangle? In it, the girl is courted by two gorgeous boys. Sometimes it's obvious from the beginning who will win her. Often it's not, giving fans the chance to argue happily over the matter as the series goes on. 

If you think about it, the triangle has been around for a while. Think about the novels of Jane Austen, for example. Though I can't seriously imagine anyone claiming to be "Team Wickham", if Pride And Prejudice was a series ... Who knows? (Actually, I take that back. I can totally imagine a "Team Wickham" if Pride And Prejudice was a modern YA novel.)

I am still trying to slot such a triangle into my WIP, because it's necessary; the heroine feels a strong attraction towards the long lost prince and she can't have him. Sorry! He's going to be king some day and at best she will be court wizard. And it would be a downer to have her end up with nobody. So I am working on someone she can have. But it's not easy, when you realise a story isn't working sixty thousand words in. So I kind of understand the romantic triangle in YA. 

I admit I prefer romantic comedy to tragedies. Life is too short anyway without having it cut off over love. Sorry, Romeo and Juliet! Your story is too sad for me. My favourite character in that is Mercutio and what does Shakespeare do? Kills him off! I did once read a short story whose author I can't remember in which Mercutio is rescued by Rosaline, the girl Romeo was pursuing at the start of the play. She thinks Romeo is a puppy and much prefers Mercutio, who comes to woo her on his behalf. They save Romeo and Juliet just in time, marry and keep the bronzed head of Tybalt. Pure wish fulfilment on the author's part and Shakespeare would no doubt have some rude, witty things to say about it, but still....

By the way, I'm sure we all remember the comical Valentine's Day chapter in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, where all the girls send Valentines to that fraud Lockhart and Harry is held down by force by a tough dwarf to listen to a Valentine from Ginny. (Well, he does end up marrying her many years later)

So, that's my Valentine's Day post, the best Î can do in bed early on a Saturday morning. Anyone else got some romantic favourites? 

All images in this post are public domain.

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7972. I Heart Revisions: A Craft of Writing Post by Elizabeth Langston

Few writers approach revisions with as much love as the initial creative process. But not author Elizabeth Langston. She joins the blog today to give us a fresh, and much appreciated, perspective on how to really dig revisions. And we get to help Elizabeth celebrate the cover reveal of her upcoming book. Congrats, Elizabeth, on a fabulous cover for Wishing for You! Check it out below!

I Heart Revisions: A Craft of Writing Post by Elizabeth Langston

I love revisions. Maybe that’s freakish, but it’s true. For me, edits (no matter how many rounds) are fun! I’d rather “fix” a second draft than write the first.

So today, I’m sharing three of my favorite revision techniques to try with your next draft. I’ve included an exercise with each, plus examples from my book I Wish.

Rediscover the heart of the story

What is the point of your book? What is its “North Star”? Whenever you feel frustrated or distracted during revisions, it helps to have clarity on the emotional core—the heart—of the manuscript.

In one sentence, can you capture what the protagonist strives to achieve or needs to discover? You don’t have to share the sentence with anyone else, so it can be as corny, sweet, or idealistic as you like. The heart of the story can be whatever helps you—the author—to stay focused.

Write your sentence on an index card, put it in a teaser, or make it your computer’s background. Just have it front and center, so you’ll always know where your story is headed.

Exercise: Write the heart of your story in one sentence. If you can’t think of something original, then:

  • borrow a proverb (“slow and steady wins the race”)
  • use a movie quote (“there’s no place like home”)
  • fill-in-the-blank (“[protagonist] discovers that _________________”)

I WISH Example:

Witness scenes from all perspectives

Read through key scenes multiple times, once from the perspective of all major characters present.

I do this for the emotional, intense, story-changing scenes. I start with the “least” important character there. What does this character know before the scene begins? What does s/he observe in the scene? What does s/he smell, hear, taste, and feel? Does her dialog or reactions reflect her true emotions? Does his presence contribute something important? If not, could the character be removed from the scene?

Once I’ve allowed a character to affect the scene (or not), I go through the scene again in the head of the next character—and then the next, revising as I go.

Exercise: Pick an important scene (from your 1st or 2nd chapter) with at least 3 characters, such as friend & hero & heroine. Get into the friend’s head and experience the scene, especially using all of his/her senses. Is anything missing from the narrative or dialog?

I WISH Example: Lacey argues with Grant (the genie) about her depressed mother—in front of her mother. In the first draft version, Mom says something vaguely hopeless to Lacey after Grant leaves.

     I wanted to be part of my mother’s solution. I wanted her children to be the reason for the miracle. “Why does it have to be a stranger who helps you get better?”
     “Grant isn’t a stranger.” Her voice sounded weary. “He doesn’t remind me of Josh.”
     It was the first time I’d heard her use my stepfather’s name in months. “What does Grant do that I haven’t done?”
     “Nothing. It’s just different with him.” Her fingers reached out to smooth my hair. “You don’t get to be a kid anymore, and I can’t even promise when that’ll change.”

When I reread the scene through Mom’s eyes, I realized that she felt regret for how her depression was affecting her daughter. So I let Mom reveal her regret through dialogue.

     I wanted to be part of my mother’s solution. I wanted her children to be the reason for the miracle. “Why does it have to be a stranger who helps you get better?”
     “Grant isn’t a stranger.” Her voice sounded weary. “He doesn’t remind me of Josh.”
     It was the first time I’d heard her use my stepfather’s name in months. “What does Grant do that I haven’t done?”
     “Nothing. It’s just different with him.” Her fingers reached out to smooth my hair. “I’m sorry, baby. You don’t get to be a kid anymore, and I can’t even promise when I’ll be able to be the adult again. I’m just…sorry.”

Give all relationships an arc

When I’m in the first round of revisions, I don’t analyze the subplots; I analyze the protagonist’s most important relationships. I write a mini-description of how each of her relationships evolve over the course of the book—ensuring that I address their status at the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Exercise: Pick a secondary relationship, such as between the MC and a teacher or employer. How do they feel about each other on page 1? On the final page? Does their relationship arc flow smoothly? Should it?

I WISH Example: When the story opens, Lacey has isolated herself from practically everyone. By the end, I wanted her to have happy or hopeful connections to all people who are important to her.

  1. Grant; Mom; brother; best friend; former crush: All of these relationships had clear arcs. I only had to tweak and smooth.
  2. Estranged friend: Lacey remained estranged from her best friend Sara—start to finish—in the first draft. I decided to bring them to more a civil place by the end of the book—which required 2 new scenes.
  3. Deceased stepfather: Lacey is angry with her late stepdad for leaving a mess in her lap. In the first draft, her anger never went away. But really, she needed closure. I added a new chapter so that Lacey could release her pain and remember how much she’d loved him.

So there you are—3 techniques to consider when you’re revising a manuscript. I borrowed and modified these ideas from a craft book called: Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein. I highly recommend this book.

If you have suggestions for other books on revisions, leave us a comment!

About the Author:

I'm Elizabeth Langston, and I write Young Adult (YA) magical realism. Whisper Falls is a time-travel series set in 18th- and 21st-century North Carolina. The I Wish series features a "genie with rules." The first books in both series are on sale for 0.99 through February 15th at most e-book retailers. See my blog (http://authoretc.blogspot.com ) for details.

I live in North Carolina, USA and work in the computer industry for my day job. I have two college-age daughters and one geeky husband. At night, when I'm not writing, I'm watching TV (dance reality shows, Outlander, Elementary) or reading (and that is all over the place.)

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:

Wishing For You (I WISH #2): Avail Oct 2015

With high school graduation only months away, Kimberley Rey is eager to discover what her future holds. The next big decision is rapidly approaching--where to apply to college. But this choice is complicated by a memory disability. How will her struggles to remember affect her once she moves away from home?

Help arrives through an unexpected and supernatural gift. Grant is a “genie” with rules. He can give her thirty wishes (one per day for a month) as long as the tasks are humanly possible. Kimberley knows just what to ask for—lessons in how to live on her own.

But her wishes change when she discovers that a good friend has been diagnosed with a devastating illness. As she joins forces with Grant to help her friend, Kimberley learns that the ability to live in the moment—to forget—may be more valuable than she ever knew.

Wishing for You on Goodreads | I Wish on Amazon | Whisper Falls on Amazon

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7973. Photos from my NYC trip (includes #NY15SCBWI pics)

Simon & Schuster meeting about my illustrations in SEA MONKEY AND BOB (author: Aaron Reynolds)

I had SUCH AN AMAZING TIME IN NEW YORK! Huge thanks to the SCBWI Winter Conference organizers, volunteers and faculty for a fantastic event.

Eventually, when I get more free time (hahahah), I hope to post some highlights. The next couple of weeks are going to be superbusy for me so instead, I'm sharing some of the photos I took with my iPhone during my trip. 

Feel free to share or repost any of my photos; including a photo credit would be much appreciated (or tagging me). Here are some of the photos from my adventures in NYC, including after the SCBWI conference:

On Facebook:
Part 1: SCBWI-NYC - Part 2: SCBWI-NYC (cont’d)Part 3: Curtis BrownPart 4: Random House Children’s - Part 5: Simon & Schuster Children’s 

On Flickr:
Part 1: SCBWI-NYCPart 2: SCBWI-NYC (cont’d)Part 3: Curtis BrownPart 4: Random House Children’s 
- Part 5: Simon & Schuster Children’s 

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7974. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Slugs In Love (one more time :))

Woo hoo!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And not just ANY Perfect Picture Book Friday, mind you, but the one that's the day before Valentine's Day!

This is great!, I thought gleefully to myself last week.  Surely there are a plethora - a PLETHORA, I say -  of fantabulous Valentine's books that have been waiting all year for this day - THEIR day - the one time they can rightfully be shared!  I did a small jig in anticipation.

But day after day has gone by as I've searched for a great Valentine's Day book to share, and good golly if I haven't been just flat-out underwhelemed by titles I was hoping would knock my socks off!  (I myself have written two Valentine's books: A Valentine For Phyllis, which apparently failed to knock Holiday House's socks off since they declined the opportunity to publish it, and Be Mine, which left my agent's socks drooping around her ankles because, as she said, it's so hard to sell books that are only holiday books, so my efforts have been underwhelming too!  Oh, plus I mustn't forget my dreadful entry in the Valentine's Contest of 2012 - a "story" that just proves that with a low enough word count requirement I can barely make sense! :)  But we seem to have gotten off on a tangent here... and by "we" I mean would you guys please stop asking about my Valentine stories? Sheesh! We're here for Perfect Picture Books!)

Anyway, it would be morally wrong to post a book for Perfect Picture Books that I did not consider Perfect just so I could post a Valentine's Day book.  So instead, I will repost one of my favorite love books.

I am downright tingly with excitement because it is arguably one of the best love stories ever.  Are you ready?  It involves slugs.  What's not to love? :)

Slugs In Love
Written By: Susan Pearson
Illustrated By: Kevin O'Malley
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, November 2006, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 4-8
Themes/Topics: love, friendship, perseverance, humor, Valentines Day
Opening:  "Marylou loved everything about Herbie - how his slime trail glistened in the dark, how he could stretch himself thin to squeeze inside the cellar window, how he always found the juiciest tomato.  Though she never spoke a single word to him - she was too shy - she thought about Herbie every morning and every night and most of the hours in between.

On Monday, while she grazed in the strawberry patch, Herbie filled her mind and a love poem filled her heart.  She wrote it in slime on the watering can."

Brief Synopsis:  (From Publishers Weekly) "Herbie keeps finding Marylou's poems, etched in slug slime and full of devotion, but Marylou keeps missing the longing letters he writes in return.  While she watches his every move, he can't find anyone who knows where she is so he can meet her."  How will the "slime-crossed" lovers ever meet?

Links To Resources:  Cool Facts About SlugsDoorknob ValentineFinger Puppet Valentine - (and with a little ingenuity, the last two could incorporate slugs! :))  Kids could make up their own poems like Herbie and Marylou.

Why I Like This Book:  It's sweet and it's funny.  It's maybe not technically a Valentines Day book (as in, it's not about Valentines Day) but it is about love/friendship on a level that I think kids can relate to.  Because Marylou and Herbie can't seem to connect, there's the added fun of rooting for the heroes. And the art complements the story perfectly.  It's so wonderful - really, I think it takes a genius to make slugs look so expressive :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Happy Valentine's Weekend, everyone!  May you all revel in hearts, flowers, and chocolate - especially chocolate :)

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7975. Visualizing Sound Waves

In the music video "CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music," Nigel Stanford and his band perform a song on drums and keyboards. The sound waves of the instruments are visualized through a series of analog physics experiments. Although the effects look digital, they're not. Everything is captured in camera.

The experiments include a Chladni PlateSpeaker Dish, a Hose PipeFerro Fluid, a Ruben's Tube. In the climactic shot, a stunt double dons a heavy Faraday suit next to a Tesla Coil. He safely attracts a high voltage arc, and jumps to make the arc skip to the ground. Those foregoing links take you to a series of behind-the-scenes videos that show how it's done, or you can read about it here.

Stanford says the video was inspired by the idea of synesthesia. "This got me thinking that it would be cool to make a music video where every time a sound plays, you see a corresponding visual element, " he says. "Many years later, I saw some videos about Cymatics - the science of visualizing audio frequencies, and the idea for the video was born."

Director Shahir Daud and cinematographer Timur Civan restrict the video to a limited palette of grays, and they alternate real time with slow motion.
Link to the video on Vimeo and YouTube
Cymatics on Wikipedia
Nigel Stanford's new album: Solar Echoes

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