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Results 16,801 - 16,825 of 235,185
16801. dartmoor pegasus meets the toast of legend

And then the oversize slice rose up with a mighty PING.

Today's morning sketch; see yesterday's Dartmoor Pegasus. The rocks are based loosely on this chunk, which looks like it really ought to have some sort of domestic function.

Also, have a look at this beautiful and sad comic by Lucy Knisley: A comic about a sad thing that happened.

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16802. The Forgotten Character

When thinking about characters, we always think the protagonist and antagonist, love interests, sidekicks, and other people who play major or minor roles in our story. We seldom think of the forgotten character: setting.

We think about setting in other ways. We consider the place and time as part of the framework of our stories. But a good setting does more than provide a stage where the story takes place. A good setting affects the story in all the ways a character does by providing conflict, plot elements, and all the emotions that accompany a relationship.

People react to our surroundings in complex ways, just like we do our personal relationships. We feel differently about the town where we grew up than we do about the places where we live later. And those who moved around a lot, for example in a military family, are affected by the lack of a real home town as much as the lack of a long-term childhood best friend.

A story set in say, Chicago, is going to be different than the same story set in Miami. The main plot points may be identical, but the landscape, the attitudes, the priorities, and the weather are different. All of those differences affect the human characters in the story.

The same is true of time. San Franciscans reacted to their surrounding differently in years just before the 1906 earthquake and fires than they did during the dot com boom or at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

All of this holds true as well in fictional worlds. The hobbits of The Shire are not the same as the hobbits of Bree. They have different concerns and are affected by their environments in very different ways.

When setting your story, think about how the time and location affect your character. It's one thing to to mention landmarks and other elements that set up the location. Those are very important. But equally important, and maybe more important, are the ways your character interacts with the other influences of a location. Research (or create) the outer elements of the location, but also look at the inner workings. What do the people think about? How do local politics and trends affect the way people live? How does a city's history affect the attitudes of its current residents? How does your main character react to his surroundings? Is your character a local who shares the inner feelings spawned by the place, or an outsider who finds the town foreign and has to deal with the shock of a different culture, or a newcomer who wants to fit in but has to fight the conflicting ideals of where he is from and his new town?

Treat time the same way, and consider not only the timepoint of the actual story but the time when the human characters were raised. Consider generational differences in attitudes, speech, and ideals and the problems that arise when those differences conflict with the human character's sense of self and how he fits in with the world.

Where we are, and when, are among the most powerful influences that tug at as as real people. The same is true of the people in your fictional worlds. As a result, time and place affect the emotional stories of your human characters as well as the external plots.

Setting is more than the stage. It's a real, breathing, living character that pervades every aspect of your story.

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16803. Writer Wednesday: Writing Space

Right now I'm in the process of cleaning out a room in my house that will become my office. Yes, I'm going to finally have an office. The renovations on my house are just about complete. We're still waiting on a few things, but we are moving my daughter's toys out of one room and moving my desk, bookshelf, and other office supplies in.

I don't have pictures yet since things are a mess at the moment. You know how whenever you do a project it looks like a bomb went off before you get everything settled? Well, that's pretty much my current state. But I'm enjoying the process because I'm going through my things and deciding where everything should go. This is going to be my space. The only downside is that my treadmill will share the room with me since we have no other place to put it, but it is mine, so I guess it's fair. Maybe jogging will inspire me when I need a little motivation, too. ;) And I'll finally get to frame the posters of my book covers my husband had made for me. Yay!

So while I figure out what my office will look like, I want to know what you're ideal writing space would be (or is, if you're lucky enough to have it already). Tell me in the comments.

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16804. ending the year with a little laughter (Gary Shteyngart)

I am at work on a long essay and preparing for the memoir class I'll teach this spring at the University of Pennsylvania

This is hardly drudgery.

I am, for example, entertaining myself by reading Gary Shteyngart's brilliant bittersweetness, Little Failure. It is quite an effort, between crying at all the funnies and crying at all the sads, but I have persevered.

Today, last day in a year that has been hard for so many of us, on so many of us, I pluck a passage from Little Failure to share. The deliberately understated absurdity of it made me holler with laughter. I hope it makes you laugh, too. Sometimes laughter is the best gift we can give another.

Here are Gary and his father, relative newcomers to Queens. They have an adventure:

There's a movie theater on Main Street, and my father is excited because they are showing a French movie, and so it must be very cultured. The movie is called Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman, and it will be interesting to see how joyful these Frenchwomen actually are, most likely because of their exquisite cultural patrimony. ("Balzac, Renoir, Pissarro, Voltaire," my father sings to me on the way over to the theater.) The next eighty-three minutes are spent with Papa's hairy hand clasped to my eyes, the Herculean task before me: getting it unclasped. The less explicit parts of Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman are set in a Hong Kong brothel or a Macao girls' boarding school, and then it's all downhill from there.

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16805. 10 mini- reviews

Time for another catch-up blog before 2014 ends. I’ve been doing a lot of reading but haven’t had enough time to review each book separately. So here is a bunch of mini-reviews.   Great Southern Land, edited by Stephen C Ormsby and Carol Bond This is an eclectic collection of stories, with Australia as the […]

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16806. Focus on Positive

When life throws you down a crooked track, hold close your family, latch onto new friends, throw up your hands and find something to smile about.


While 2014 was definitely a crooked track for us, I want to close it with a look to the good. Shortly after our diagnosis, I had a friend reach out to me amidst his own health crisis. My advice to him was, “Hear the negative, focus on the positive and know that God has both covered.”

Good advice? I think so – but much easier said than done. This world screams negative. We are bombarded with the bad. The nightly news covers everything wrong with our world first and longest before they throw in one human interest story just before saying good night. (If you missed Kylie on the news, you can watch it HERE)

While sifting through the ruins of this broken world, how do we see what is good? I have seen a lot of things in my 47 years. To borrow the movie title, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have driven a man out of the slum of Port ‘au Prince, Haiti and watched as he was given the keys to his new home. I have been fortunate enough to help put a roof on a hut in Swaziland for a family decimated by HIV. Beauty plucked from ugly, good snatched from bad. Both started with a choice to engage.

Despite my experiences, never in my life have I seen the good side of humanity than from the day Kylie was diagnosed with cancer. The flood of well-wishes, prayers, and support for our family has been as overwhelming as the diagnosis itself. When you hear the words, “Your child has cancer,” the temptation is to curl up in the fetal position, shut out the world and cry. When I was at my weakest, I found an abundance of arms to hold me.

Friends, family, our school and church rallied to our side.

The nurses, doctors, childlife specialists, and staff of the Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta became dear partners in this journey. We also found great care at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.

Organizations came alongside to help navigate and let us know we aren’t alone: 1 Million for Anna, Make-A-Wish, Cure Childhood Cancer, The Truth 365, Rally Foundation, Melodic Caring Project, The Jesse Rees Foundation, Along Comes Hope, 3/32 Foundation, Blessed Beauty, Open Hands Overflowing Hearts, Kingdom Kids, Lily’s Run.

We have seen built a network of people who pray faithfully for Kylie. To be totally honest, I admit there are times when I cannot lift a word to heaven. Maybe a grunt, maybe an angry shake of the fist. Without a doubt, I know there are many people praying for my little girl when I can’t. That is incredibly humbling.

Then there is encouragement and love. Kylie gets cards and letters daily. At least a dozen young ladies have donated their hair in Kylie’s honor. People all across the country and literally around the world have been #SmileyForKylie. As of today, 87 countries have done it. Grown men have written it on their bald heads.

Between Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, we have received over 10,000 smiling selfies for Kylie. Unreal. We have gotten them from celebrities, athletes, and Kylie’s beloved Broadway performers. Idina Menzel made a video. Kristin Chenoweth made two pics and talked about her on a radio show. Laura Osnes posted a word of encouragement to her. She got a box of Broadway treats from Hunter Foster. She had pics from 9 out of 12 musicals nominated for Tony Awards, and the cast of her favorite show, Aladdin have reached out to her over and over again. Sometimes we can trace the web that led to the picture, but most of the time we have no idea how they happen – we have no line to these people. It’s just good. And it is out there – making a choice to engage with our little girl in a time when she so desperately needs it. A thank you will never be enough, but all I can offer.

Regardless of your view of the Bible, Philippians 4:8 gives us sage advice:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

I’ll not be able to change everyone’s mind. You can remain a cynic if you choose to. But the things I have experienced in 2014 prove to me that there is good in this world. I choose to think about such things – it is what has kept me going.

In 2015, we look forward to hearing the words: No Evidence of Disease and watching Kylie resume a normal life. That will be something worth throwing up our hands and smiling about.


Happy New Year from Portsong, your humble mayor & Kylie

Filed under: Learned Along the Way

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16807. The 2014 Recapitulation Post

For the last couple of years, I've been doing recapitulation posts at the end of December. I got the idea from an article in Yoga Journal. These posts are opportunities to go over the goals and objectives I created at the beginning of the year and to determine how far I got in reaching them. This is not a beat-yourself-up opportunity. It's all about time. Assessing what we've achieved during a particular unit of time (say, a year) is useful in helping to plan what we're going to do in another unit of time (say, next year).

Remember, the goals you'll see here are what I wanted to do. The objectives were the actual tasks I planned to do that would lead to achieving the goals. Notice I only had six goals. How hard could it be to do six lousy things?

Goal 1. Finish the revision of The Fletcher Farm Body
  • Continue revising to enhance the brothers' relationship to support the control theme
  • Continue revising to eliminate as much material that doesn't relate to plot, character, or theme as possible
Assessment: I met this goal. I think I met it twice. I believe I did a second revision halfway through the year relating specifically to scenes and chapters. I've revised this thing a lot. It's kind of a blur.

Goal 2. Write a number of short pieces

Possible Objectives:
  • Statics and Dynamics for Writers essay. This was originally a workshop proposal. The proposal wasn't accepted, but the organization running the conference required such an extensive outline that I think I can flip it into an essay.
  • Walking for Writers essay
  • The Northeast Children's Literature Collection essay
  • Promoting eBooks for Traditionally Published Writers essay
  • Relic Hoarding essay
  • Becoming Part of Blog Culture essay
  • The Value in Becoming Part of a Local Writing Community essay
  • Hannah and Brandon short story (held over from last year)
  • Your On-line Friend short story
  • How to Make Friends and Live Longer short story
Assessment: I was dreading assessing this goal, but the results may not be as bad as I thought. I did write the Statics and Dynamics for Writers essay and even submitted it a couple of places, for what good it did me. I also spent way too much time on a piece of flash fiction and wrote a guest post for another blog. I just didn't pick up on many of these possible objectives that I had in mind last year. Quite honestly, I don't even remember what my thinking was regarding the Your On-line Friend short story. I hope I made some notes for that somewhere. Did I meet this goal? Define "number of short pieces."

Goal 3. Complete a draft of the so-called mummy book

  • By February get back up to speed with this project
  • By February start assigning a few 45-minute units a week to this project  
Assessment: I got nine chapters into a draft for this one. Didn't meet the goal, but made progress. And since I'm working on this project again now, I'm feeling warm and fuzzy about it.

Goal 4. Make submissions

  • Submit The Fletcher Farm Body to a specific editor
  • New agent research
  • Research markets for short works
  • Submit short works
Assessment: I did seventeen submissions this year, which wasn't bad for me. This included submitting The Fletcher Farm Body to agents, at least two of whom asked to see more of the project, and submissions of short work to journals. I really went on a submission binge in November. For my efforts I have one guest post coming up next month. I'm going to say this goal was met, though I'd like to spread submissions out more over the course of the year and do less binging.

Goal 5. Continue to work on community building

  • Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar
  • Attend other authors' marketing events
  • Attend a few professional events
  • Prepare a new workshop to offer at libraries and bookstores
  • Try to find a writers' group 
Assessment:  This one I made some real progress on, though not necessarily with the objectives I have here. I didn't make it to any other authors' marketing events or any professional events (that I recall), but I prepared two new presentations, one that was prepared for and given at a library this past summer and one on preparing for NaNoWriMo that I gave at an elementary school in November. I also found and joined an incredible writers' group. I joined the 10-Minute Novelist Facebook group and was invited to join  The Connecticut Women Writers Facebook group. I make use of Google+ communities whenever I can and am kind of into Twitter. Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar continues, so let's call this one done.

Goal 6. Continue marketing Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook

  • Check out the blogs and sites I've been collecting for possible contacts
  • Start researching blogs to contact again
  • Continue the Environmental Book Club at Original Content whenever possible
  • Get trailer up at Twitter page
  • Consider a price reduction for a limited time and promoting same
  • Consider pulling eBook from Barnes & Noble and Kobo to take advantage of Kindle marketing for books exclusive to that company
Assessment:  Well, I hit all but the last objective. My blog contacts resulted in coverage for Saving the Planet & Stuff at Connecticut GreenScene and Reduce Footprints. There's a possibility of a third blog giving it some attention. I'm using Twitter to network with environmental groups. And I ended up making two appearances this summer that were all about promoting STP&S. So while there isn't a lot of movement with this book, I'm going to call this goal met, too.

    An Overall Assessment Of My Year

    I did a lot but not that much generating of new work. I struggled with time early in the year because of health issues, then I had an opportunity to make an appearance that required a lot of preparation. And then I had another. And then a workshop I proposed got picked up, so I had to actually plan and prepare it. Those appearances could lead to more work, but they still took time away from writing. I was on vacation for nearly three weeks in September. I came up with a few ideas that could lead to writing in the future, but I wasn't writing while I was on the road.

    This assessment of how I spent my time last year will have an impact on the plans I make next week for how I spend my time next year.

    0 Comments on The 2014 Recapitulation Post as of 1/3/2015 5:27:00 PM
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    16808. Spotlight and Giveaway: Return to Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney

    This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Return to Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney!

    Return to Clan Sinclair
    Clan Sinclair #3.5

    By: Karen Ranney

    Releasing December 23rd

    Avon Romance


    The stunning follow-up novella in New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney’s beloved Clan Sinclair series.

    It’s true love in the Scottish highlands. When Ceana Sinclair Mead married the youngest son of an Irish duke, she never dreamed that seven years later her beloved Peter would die. Her three brothers-in-law thought she should be grateful to remain a proper widow. After three years of this, she’s ready to scream. She escapes to Scotland, only to discover she’s so much more than just the Widow Mead.

    In Scotland, Ceana crosses paths with Bruce Preston, an American tasked with a dangerous mission by her brother, Macrath. Bruce is too attractive for her peace of mind, but she still finds him fascinating. Their one night together is more wonderful than Ceana could have imagined and she has never felt more alive.

    But when the past reaches out in the form of an old foe, Ceana’s life is in danger. Now Bruce fights to become her savior-and more-if she’ll let him.

    Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/return-to-clan-sinclair-clan-sinclair.html

    Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22836639-return-to-clan-sinclair

    Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M714K9W?tag=karerann-20

    B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/return-to-clan-sinclair-karen-ranney/1120356999?ean=9780062337450&isbn=9780062337450

    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/return-to-clan-sinclair/id904028245?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4at%253D1l3vpsn

    Author Info

    Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.

    Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

    Website: http://karenranney.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterKarenRanney

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Karen_Ranney

    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/68758.Karen_Ranney


    July, 1880

    Drumvagen, Scotland

    Her driver slowed to a halt, no doubt getting an eyeful of Drumvagen and the Scottish coast. Ceana would wager a goodly sum that by the time the week was out, he would have posted a report of everything to her brothers-in-law. The same intransigent, annoying, and beloved brothers-in-law who were trying to render her as dead as her poor husband, Peter.

    She’d been a widow for three years now, during which they’d been her guardians. She couldn’t escape them. Wherever she went, one of the three brothers was there.

    “Do you need anything, Ceana?”

    “Can I fetch anything from town for you?”

    “Shall we order something from London?”

    “You’re looking a little peaked, would you like to take the sun with me?”

    They’d offered their arms, their interest, their help, and their eternal interference.

    So she had done what any self-respecting Scot would do when faced with three Irish brothers-in-law: she’d run away from home.

    She dismounted from the carriage, standing there staring in awe.

    Granted, Iverclaire was a lovely place, an enchanted castle in Ireland, quite a forbidding yet beautiful structure. But Drumvagen, this had been created by her own brother.

    They’d been so poor once upon a time, but Macrath had taken his dream and made it come true. Because of him, she’d had a season in London and had married the son of a duke.

    Yet she always thought she had something to do with his happiness as well. Her friendship with Virginia had led them to be introduced at numerous events. When Virginia and Macrath were finally married after her first husband died, she wasn’t the least surprised.

    Nor was she the least surprised when Alistair, Virginia’s first child, looked just like Macrath.

    The seabirds called a greeting to her, swooping down on air currents blowing the scent of the sea to her.

    For days, she’d been alone in the carriage, encased in a bubble of silence. Other than speaking to the driver first thing in the morning and when they stopped for a meal, she hadn’t talked to another person.

    At first she’d missed her daughters terribly. Then she realized the time was her own, to think, to mull, to remember. When she went home, she’d be a better mother to Darina and Nessa.

    She stood at the base of the steps, staring upward. Virginia had told her about Drumvagen, but even her description failed to convey just how impressive the house was.

    Built of gray brick sparkling in the sunlight, it was four stories tall with rows of windows reflecting both the sun and the sea to her right. But most impressive of all was the twin staircase beginning at the broad front doors and curving down and around like arms reaching out to enfold her.

    She took the right staircase and, with her left hand gripping her skirt, placed her right on the broad stone banister, slowly ascending the steps.

    At the top, she stopped and turned and looked at the ocean. Far off in the distance was the North Sea. Drumvagen and its neighboring village, Kinloch, was the perfect place for Macrath to live. From here he could simply sail away to anyplace in the world he wished to be.

    She glanced down at the carriage and her driver, standing at the head of the horses with his cap in his hand. Thomas was a good man, but he was a toady to all the Meads. He was going to tell them everything they wanted to know, which was a pity. The man had a good memory, and she’d no doubt already erred in some manner.

    Her lips twitched at the brass knocker on one of the big broad doors. Macrath had evidently had the refrigeration machine’s likeness made especially for Drumvagen. She picked it up and let it drop, hearing the echo in the foyer.

    A moment later the door was flung open. A body slammed into her, arms gripping her waist, pulling so tightly on her dress her train almost toppled in a flurry of fabric. She found herself falling, only righting herself by gripping the door frame.

    “Save me! Please! Don’t let her get me!”

    Ceana stared down at her niece. The poor girl was trembling and she had splotchy color on her cheeks.

    “Fiona?” She reached down, enfolding the girl in a hug. “What’s wrong?”

    “It’s Brianag, I’ve done something terrible and she made the sign of evil over me just like a witch. I’m going to get sick and die, I know it.”

    Who was this Brianag who was tormenting the poor child?

    “Aunt Ceana.”

    She looked up at the sound of the composed voice, blinking at her nephew. Alistair was only fourteen but already had the height of his father, not to mention his demeanor.

    As she stood on the doorstep, he extended his hand to her.

    “How nice to see you again Aunt Ceana,” he said. He glanced down at his sister dismissively. “You must pardon Fiona. She’s a silly little thing.”

    “I am not silly. I’ll tell Brianag you broke her jar of spices.”

    To Ceana’s great surprise, Alistair paled.

    “That wouldn’t be well done of you, Fiona. You know as well as I do it was your carelessness that made the jar fall. Father always says we have to deal with the consequences of our actions.”

    “Where are your parents?” Ceana asked. “Where are Macrath and Virginia?”

    “They’ve gone to Edinburgh, they have,” a voice said. “Leaving me to deal with their spawn.”

    She looked up past Alistair and—God help her!—took a step back toward the steep stairs.

    Fiona was more correct than she had assumed.

    Drumvagen did have a witch.

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    The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Return to Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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    16809. Families in Books

    The Guardian has a lovely series on families in literature. My favorites:

    I was a 26-year-old living by myself when I first read The Mouse and His Child. I spent my evenings reading on an old, yellow sofa my mother gave me when I left home. It was uncomfortable and covered in stains, but it was a fixture in family pictures of the house I grew up in – a grainy bit of furniture in the background, sat next to a bookshelf and a little wooden seesaw. It reminded me of living with my sisters, of the posters on the wall and the dusty globe on the shelf. As I sat on it and read Russell Hoban’s book, I thought about my family.

    I’m with Robert Freeman, Russell Hoban’s The Mouse and his Child is absolutely about family. It is lyrical, beautiful, melancholy, witty, demanding, and wonderful.

    All of this makes Tove Jansson’s adorable Moomin family a joyous anomaly. There is a nuclear family at the centre – the boyish Moominpappa, the serene Moominmamma (who, wonder of wonders, encourages children to smoke) and Moomintroll, gullible and guileless, intending to do good and invariably getting into trouble….Yet it’s the fringes of these Finnish hippopotami-things that is intriguing. Moomintroll’s on-off girlfriend, the Snork Maiden, seems to live in the house with them at some point. Is she and her brother the Snork even the same species as the Moomins? …Why do they have that lucre-loving weaselish creature, Sniff, as a semi-permanent houseguest?

    considers Tove Jansson’s delightful non-traditional Moomin family.

    I didn’t like the March household at seven, when they were pressed on me as a warm refuge from my own family’s ungenteel poverty …. There are a few glimpses of a harsher world outside, as in the opening, when Marmee inspires the girls to give their Christmas breakfast to the children of a destitute immigrant (three of whom later die of scarlet fever offstage), but Alcott pulled a quilt of cosiness – a comforter, as the Americans say – over the Marches. As a child, I couldn’t have explained exactly why they felt phoney, but I was sure there was something much darker to Marmee/Abigail Alcott, and that Jo/Louisa faced more than trivial tribulations.

    Veronica Horwell on her difficulties with Louisa May Alcott’s March family.

    Dickens and Christmas are so intertwined that those of a literary disposition often think of them together. It is usually Ebenezer Scrooge and the Cratchit family who spring to mind, as we make our yearly return to A Christmas Carol and the otherChristmas Books. In contrast to these tales of hope and good cheer, Bleak House is, to use a phrase from the first chapter, “perennially hopeless”. Instead of the small and close-knit Cratchit family, we have the infamous Jarndyces: not so much a family as a disparate group of ill-matched individuals whose only real connection is their involvement in the never-ending legal dispute of Jarndyce v Jarndyce.

    That’s Daniel Gooding on my favorite Dickens’ novel, Bleak House.

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    16810. Making an outline

    Question: What questions will help me to efficiently write a novel? For example answering the question,Who is my audience?,What message do I want to communicate?,

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    16811. Happy New Year’s Eve! – Poem

    Andreja Peklar

    This illustration was sent in by Andreja Peklar to help us ring in the new year. She was featured earlier this year on Illustrator Saturday. http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/illustrator-saturday-andreja-peklar/

    Have a happy, safe celebration. If you take any pictures and want to share them, I will post them this week.

    Here is a poem sent in by Hally Franz:

    An Introvert’s Dilemma


    It’s New Year’s Eve, and I have not a clue,

    As to what I am doing, so I’ll run it by you.


    Shall I put on heels and make-up and glitz,

    For a glamorous evening down at The Ritz?

    Or shall I stay home with Ryan Seacrest,

    Dressed in my blue jeans instead of my best?


    Perhaps dinner and dancing for a romantic night,

    My hubby and I might stay out ‘til daylight.

    Thought sometimes it’s hard to stay out so late,

    When it’s been twenty-five years since you’ve been on a date.


    We’ll have some friends over for board games and soup,

    My skill in Balderdash will throw them all for a loop.

    Of course, I’ll have to cook yet another meal,

    And, if I liked to cook, it would be no big deal.


    It’s New Year’s Eve, so communing is key,

    One more chance to socialize, how lucky are we?

    More time and friends, more time with fam,

    Another minute might put my head in a jam.


    Thanks for your input, thanks for your ear,

    I’ve made a decision on how to ring in the year.

    I’ll cozy up with my jammies, book, and hot tea,

    And spend the whole festive evening with little old me.


    Check back on Friday for Erika Wassell’s Guest Post.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Holiday, Poems Tagged: Andreja Peklar, Best of, Top 10 2014 Non-Fiction Books, Top 10 Fiction Books of 2014

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    16812. 2014 Coming to a Close – 2015 Just Before Us, Bright and Shiny

    Tomorrow is a New Year that brings amazing things: opportunity for a fresh start, renewed hope, possibilities, and even new beginnings. Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.” Make

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    16813. My tweets

    • Tue, 14:31: Best Overheard Quote of the Day: The entire internet has turned into the National Enquirer.

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    16814. Top Five of 2014: Number One

    I told you there’d be a surprise, and here it is: the top-read post of the year is not from this year. It’s not even from last year. It’s from 2011, a parody of an infamous article in the Wall Street Journal about the darkness in young adult literature (I think I owe a lot of this long life to a much more popular blog that linked to it).

    Here it is: “Brightness too Visible”


    2014 was a rough year full of long nights at home and disappointment in my publishing endeavors. One silver lining is that I started writing here again regularly, grew my audience and, I think, did some good stuff. When I page back to the first few years of the blog I see how much I’ve grown as a writer even since I sold my first book. One goal for 2015 is to maintain it and cultivate it even more.

    Thanks to everyone who reads, shares, comments on, and subscribes to this blog. Have a wonderful 2015.  

    Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: top five

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    16815. Poetry Competition: 2015 Frost Farm Prize Metrical Poetry Contest

    The 2015 Frost Farm Prize Metrical Poetry Contest Open for Entries

    The Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, and the Hyla Brook Poets invite submissions for their 5th Annual The Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry. The winner receives $1,000, publication in Evansville Review and an invitation, with honorarium, to read as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry in the summer of 2015.  

    This year’s judge is award-winning poet Joshua Mehigan. Mehigan’s first book, The Optimist, was a finalist for the 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His poems have appeared in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Poetry, which awarded him its 2013 Levinson Prize. His second book is Accepting the Disaster, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in July 2014.

    Last year’s winner was Rob Wright of Philadelphia, PA, for his poem, "Meetings With My Father." 

    To see other winners, please visit our website.

    Frost Farm Prize Guidelines:

    Poems must be original, unpublished and metrical (any metrical form). No translations. There is no limit to the number of poems entered by an individual, but an entry fee of $5 U.S. per poem must accompany the submission (entry fees from outside the United States must be paid in cash or by check drawn on a U.S. bank). You are welcome to submit a poem sequence (a crown of sonnets for example) but each poem will be judged individually -- please send in an entry fee for each poem in the sequence. 

    Make checks payable to the "Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm." Please type the author's name, address, phone number and e-mail address on the back of each entry. Each entry will be submitted to the judge anonymously. 


    Postmarked by April 1, 2015 

    Send entries to:

    Robert Crawford
    The Frost Farm Prize
    280 Candia Rd.
    Chester, NH 03036

    The results will be posted in May 2015. Winner and honorable mentions (if any) will be notified by email or phone. DO NOT send a SASE for contest results.

    To learn more about the Frost Farm Prize or for more information on the Hyla Brook Reading Series, please visit our website or Facebook or Twitter.

    About the Frost Farm’s Hyla Brook Poets

    The Frost Farm was home to the poet and his family from 1900-1911. Robert W. Crawford and Bill Gleed started The Hyla Brook Poets group in 2008 as a monthly poetry workshop. In March 2009, the monthly Hyla Brook Reading Series launched with readings by emerging poets as well as luminaries such as Maxine Kumin, David Ferry, Linda Pastan, and Sharon Olds.

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    16816. Review of Fearless Joe Dearbone

    Just by looking at the book cover and the title, you immediately know that the main protagonist – Joe – is going to be placed in certain situations that will test him and cause him to overcome any internal or external forces pulling him to buckle under. I’m happy to say that this book does not disappoint!fearless joe dearbone

    Early on, we see multiple incidents where Joe displays his bravery. Against all odds, we see him entering a burning building to save a puppy. I liked the chapter where he goes into a dark and dangerous cave to get an autographed baseball for  a friend. It seems there’s nothing that can stop our hero. Sometimes I wondered if Joe was a bit too gung-ho in some of the stunts he pulled but there’s a charm about him that shows his heart is in the right place. It seems as if Joe is unbreakable and unstoppable until a strange woman called Mrs Chill enters his life. I guess with a name like that, we can only expect something diabolical to eventually happen. You’ll have to get a copy of the book to discover how Joe confronts a challenge and evil that seems beyond him.

    I loved all the twists and turns plus sub plots Lisa Mitchel weaved into the story. She also peppers the story with fun moments that will leave readers chuckling. Joe is a guy we can root for and I love the virtues he projects.

    I believe this book will make a worthy addition to your library.

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    16817. Call for Submissions: Literature for a Cause Anthology

    Literature for a Cause anthology

    The Literature for a Cause program at the Miami University regional campuses is seeking submissions of provocative literary fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art work for a chapbook anthology focusing on perspectives on mental illness. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to local nonprofits in the mental health field.

    With this anthology, the editors hope to inspire discussion and education in the classroom and among broader audiences about mental illness and its related issues. Specifically, the editors seek compelling creative work that addresses mental illness from a variety of perspectives, including patients, doctors and other professionals, and friends, family, or other witnesses. They are especially interested in work that moves beyond self-expression or the purely inspirational, and that can foster meaningful dialogue by exploring mental illness and related issues from unique or underrepresented angles. Questions driving the creative might include how mental illness is conceptualized and understood, and its impact on ways of thinking, speaking, and interacting in everyday life.

    Please submit a cover letter and work in ONE of the following categories:

    --Poetry: 3-5 poems, traditional or untraditional, any length, (though shorter is better).
    --Art: 3-5 pieces of two-dimensional art, black and white preferred but not required.
    --Fiction: one story, double-spaced, 12 point font, 4,000 words maximum.
    --Creative nonfiction: one essay, double-spaced, 12 point font, 4,000 word maximum. 

    The editors prefer unpublished work, but will accept previously published work provided the author owns the rights to the work. Please notify the editors where each piece was originally published in your cover letter.

    Email written submissions in a single .doc, .docx, or .rtf attachment, and visual submissions as separate .jpg or .png attachments to:

    melbyeeATmiamiohDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

    To avoid having your work automatically deleted by an email spam filter, write “L4AC” followed by your last name in the subject line. Deadline for submissions is March 6, 2015.

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    16818. Snow Festival Day 6: A Snow Booklist


    It’s been a great few days of Snow Festival fun here on Jump into a Book.  To finish I thought I’d share a few of our all time favorite books about snow. Hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves and have had a romping good snow filled time.

    1. Blizzard by John Rocco

    snow booklist

    2. Snow by Uri Shulevitz


    3. Story of the Snow Children

    snow booklist

    4. The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino

    snow booklist

    5. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

    snow booklist

    6. The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An up-close look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes.

    snow booklist

    7. The Jacket I wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel

    snow booklist

    8. White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt

    snow booklist

    9. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

    snow booklist

    10. Snow by Cynthia Rylant

    snow booklist

    11. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

    snow booklist

    12. The Big Snow by Berta Hader

    snow booklist

    What books would you add to this list?

    DON’T FORGET! This is the LAST DAY of the Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale! (ends 12/31/14)

    Year in the Secret Garden


    A Year in the Secret Garden (inspired by the classic children’s book Secret Garden) is on a wonderful sale until December 31st. Books always make an excellent gift for anyone in your life and it’s not too late to get your copy of A Year in the Secret Garden book for the special holiday price of $15.00 (ends December 31st) if you use the secret code word secret garden at checkout.

    This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. There’s also a link to a free download website for all of the wonderful paper toys that Marilyn Scott-Waters has created. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book. This book also includes month-by-month activities as well INCLUDING fun book-related fun for the colder months of the year!

    Get your copy here.

    **some of these links are affiliate links

    The post Snow Festival Day 6: A Snow Booklist appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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    16819. Midnight Mass in Venice - Bring on the New Year!

    Pala d'Oro - Basilica of San Marco, Venice
    (Venice, Italy) The Basilica of San Marco is one of the most stunning places of worship in the world; to me, it is the most beautiful and awe-inspiring. The gold mosaics that enhance the enormous interior sparkle with celestial light. The image of Jesus Christ in the center is one of kindness, compassion and wisdom. Many stories are emblazoned across the walls and ceilings of the Basilica; you can tumble into another world just gazing at the images. Angels in the alcoves seem almost real; the air is wispy with the scent and smoke of incense.

    On the high holy days, the majestic golden panel, the Pala d'Oro, is turned toward the congregation. I have had the great honor and privilege to kneel directly in front of the Pala d'Oro, and I can tell you what it feels like... it feels as if I am in front of one of the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey, only more divine because it is gold and studded with precious gems... As if it was created with high intelligence and omniscience... I come away pulsing with star dust.

    The Pala d'Oro feels as if it was designed according to a sacred plan. As I wrote for Gems of Venice, "According to Mons. Antonio Niero, author of La Pala d'Oro e il Tesoro di San Marco, 'the use and arrangement of the gems and precious stones suggest that the 13th century restorers followed the 21st chapter of the Book of Revelations, which speaks of 12 precious stones when describing the new Jerusalem; some of the stones used in the pala are identical to those described in that chapter.'"

    Last year I wrote about the magical feeling of Christmas in Venice, which you can read here:

    Christmas Magic in Venice 2013

    For two thousand years Christians have been celebrating the birth of a Jew from Galilee whose profound, simple message rocked humanity, which comes down to us in the words of Mark, who wrote the first Gospel, and is the patron saint of Venice: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

    Best wishes to all for the New Year.

    Ciao from Venezia,
    Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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    16820. Writing Competition: The Journal's Non/Fiction Collection Prize

    The Journal's Non/Fiction Collection Prize 

    The Ohio State University Press, The OSU MFA Program in Creative Writing, and The Journal are happy to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our annual Non/Fiction Collection Prize (formerly The Short Fiction Prize)! Submit unpublished book-length manuscripts of short prose.  

    Each year, The Journal selects one manuscript for publication by The Ohio State University Press. In addition to publication under a standard book contract, the winning author receives a cash prize of $1,500.  

    We will be accepting submissions for the prize from now until February 14th. Further information about the prize is below. Best of luck!

    Entries of original prose must be between 150-350 double-spaced pages in 12-point font. All submissions must include a $20.00 nonrefundable handling fee.

    Submit an unpublished manuscript of short stories or essays; two or more novellas or novella-length essays; a combination of one or more novellas/novella-length essays and short stories/essays; a combination of stories and essays. Novellas or novella-length nonfiction are only accepted as part of a larger work.

    All manuscripts will be judged anonymously. The author's name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. 

    Prior publication of your manuscript as a whole in any format (including electronic or self-published) makes it ineligible. Individual stories, novellas or essays that have been previously published may be included in the manuscript, but these must be identified in the acknowledgments page. Translations are not eligible. 

    Authors may submit more than one manuscript to the competition as long as one manuscript or a portion thereof does not duplicate material submitted in another manuscript and a separate entry fee is paid. If a manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere, it must be withdrawn from consideration.

    The Ohio State University employees, former employees, current OSU MFA students, and those who have been OSU MFA students within the last ten years are not eligible for the award.

    See the full guidelines and a list of past winners here.  

    Submit online through Submittable.

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    16821. ABOWS nominated for Georgia Author of the Year Award!

    I'm thrilled to announce that A BIRD ON WATER STREET has been nominated for the 51st Annual Georgia Author of the Year Award - the oldest literary award in the Southeast! Cross your fingers for me!

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    16822. Last Day of 2014

    The year is practically over so here I am again with my annual recap of the year that was as well as a squiz at what’s gunna happen in 2015.1

    Books Out in 2014

    This was my first year with a new solo novel since 2009. Five years in between solo novels!2 I was nervous but it seems to have gone quite well.

    Razorhurst was published in July by Allen and Unwin in Australia and New Zealand. The reviews have been blush-making. Including being named a book of the week by the Sydney Morning Herald, of the month from Readings Books and making Readings’ top ten YA books of the year and top 50 books by Australian women in 2014 lists, as well being the Australian Independent Bookseller’s No. 1 Children’s Pick for July. Although Razorhurst isn’t out in the US until March it’s already received starred reviews from the School Library Journal as well as Kirkus.

    Then, best of all, earlier this month I learned that Razorhurst has made the shortlist of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (Young Adult), which is one of the biggest YA prizes in Australia.3

    So, yeah, I’m more than happy with how Razorhurst has been received. Pinching myself, in fact.

    Books Out in 2015 and 2016

    I will have three books out in 2015. Two novels and a short story in a wonderful new anthology.

    resized_9781743319789_224_297_FitSquareIn India this month my story, “Little Red Suit,” was published in Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar and Anita Roy, but I’m going to pretend that’s 2015, as it will be published in Australia and New Zealand by Allen and Unwin in February. Isn’t that cover divine?

    The anthology is an Indian-Australian collaboration with half the contributors from each country. Some of them worked in collaboration with each other to produce comics as well as short stories. I was partnered with Anita Roy and we critiqued each other’s stories. Hers is a corker. I can’t wait to see the finished book.

    “Little Red Suit,” is a post-apocalyptic retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Fairy tales were the first stories I ever told so it was lovely to return to the form. As I’ve mentioned, once or twice, I am not a natural short story writer. They are much more of a challenge for me than writing novels. So much so that I kind of want to turn this story into a novel. (Almost all of my short stories are secretly novels.) I hope you enjoy it.

    RazorhurstUSIn March Soho Teen will publish the US edition of Razorhurst. I am very excited and will be over there in the US doing events in California and New York and Texas and possibly some other states. I will keep you posted. Yes, the Soho Teen edition will be available in Canada too.

    Then in October I’ll have a brand new novel out with Allen and Unwin.

    Let’s pause for a moment to digest that: in October there will be a brand new Justine Larbalestier novel, only a year later than my last one.

    I know, brand new novels two years in a row! I’ve become a writing machine!

    The new novel hasn’t been formally announced yet so I can’t tell you much about it other than it’s realism set in New York City, told from the point of view of a seventeen-year old Australian boy named Che.

    The new novel will be published in the USA by Soho Press in March 2016.

    What I wrote in 2014

    I spent this year writing and rewriting the new novel. As well as rewrites, copyedits and etc. of Razorhurst. My novels, they go through many drafts.

    And, me being me, I started a brand new novel out of nowhere, inspired by . . . you know what, it’s still a tiny whisper of a novel. I’ll wait until there’s a bit more before I start talking about it in public.

    Then just a week or so ago I got the idea for yet another novel. So who knows which of those I’ll wind up finishing this year.

    I continued blogging and managed to blog roughly once a week for most of the year. The most fun I had blogging this year was doing the Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club with Kate Elliott. I was very bummed when deadlines and travel forced us to call it quits. Here’s hoping we can get it started again some time in 2015.

    I plan to blog even more next year. Er, tomorrow. Blogging, I love you no matter out of fashion you are. *hugs blogging*

    Writing Plans for 2015

    Well, obviously, there’ll be more rewrites and copyedits and etc for the new novel.

    Then I plan to finish one of the novels that came out of nowhere. After that, well, who knows? Will I finally get back to the New York Depression-era novel(s)? The snow-boarding werewolves? The fairy godmother middle grade? Or one of the many other novels I’ve been working on for ages? Or something else that comes out of nowhere? Given that my last three novels came out of nowhere that would be the safest bet.

    All of this writing is possible because I’m still managing my RSI as I described here. I’m continuing to be able to write as much as six hours a day. The few times I’ve written longer than that I have paid for it. It’s good to know my limits.

    Travel in 2014

    I was in the US briefly in June and then again in Sept-Nov, accompanying Scott on his Afterworlds tour. It felt like we went everywhere. Both coasts! Or all three if you count Texas as the third coast. Also Canada. It went fabulously well. Scott’s fans turned out in great numbers and many book sold and I met heaps of wonderful librarians and booksellers and readers and writers and some of them had already read Razorhurst thanks to my wonderful publicist at Soho Press, Meredith Barnes. It will be fun to go out on the road again in March.

    Reading and Watching in 2014

    My favourite new writers are Brandy Colbert and Courtney Summers, who both write realist contemporary YA, which I’ve gotta be honest is not my thing. That’s why I read a tonne of it this year: to learn and to grow. Both Colbert and Summers are dark and uncompromising almost bleak writers. Their books made me weep buckets. But there’s heart and hope in their novels too. I’m really looking forward to more from both of them. Courtney’s next book, All the Rage, will be out in early 2015.

    I also read heaps of non-fiction this year. A Chosen Exile by Allyson Hobbs is a wonderful history of passing in the USA, which centres those who chose not to pass as much as those who did, and looks closely at the reason for deciding either way and how they changed over time. African-American family life is at the centre of this excellent history.

    One of my fave new TV shows is Faking It because it’s silly and funny and kind of reminds me of my high school days at an alternative school though, you know, more scripted. I also love Cara Fi created and written by a dear friend, Sarah Dollard, who is a mighty talent. It’s set in Wales and is sweet and funny and feminist and touching and you should all watch it.

    2014 was awful but there’s always hope

    Although 2014 was a wonderful year for me professionally it was an awful year in both of my home countries, Australia and the USA, and in way too many other parts of the world. I would love to say that I’m full of hope for change in the future. I try to be. The movement that has grown out of the protests in Ferguson is inspiring and should fill us all with optimism. But then it happens all over again.

    In Australia we have a government actively undoing what little progress had been made on climate change and stripping money from all the important institutions such as the ABC, CSIRO and SBS. This is the most anti-science, anti-culture and, well, anti-people government we’ve ever had. The already disgraceful policy on asylum seekers has gotten even worse and Aboriginal Australians continue to die in custody.

    Argh. Make it stop!

    May you have a wonderful 2014 full of whatever you love best and may the world become less unjust. Speaking out and creating art that truly reflects the world we live in goes part of the way to doing that. At least that’s what I hope.

    1. Yes, here in Sydney it is the 31st of December. I’m sorry that you live in the past.
    2. Yes, I had a co-edited anthology and a co-written novel in those five years but you would be amazed by how many people do not count collaborations as being a real novel by an author. I don’t get it either.
    3. If you’re from the US think Printz or National Book Award only plus money. That’s right in Australia if you win a literary award they give you money. Bizarre, I know.

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    16823. 100 Posts! Great Party! Huzzah!

    With this post, we Izzy Elves have reached our goal of 100 posts by (or close to) Christmas. We would have done this on Christmas, but as you would expect, we were all so tired by the Last Minute Push the day before (Christmas Eve) that we have been mostly sleeping, except for the Elf Celebration, of course. And then, as some of you know, this is what we do:

    When Santa flies home every year in his sleigh
    He throws us a party on each Christmas Day.
    We feast and we frolic (it's kind of a perk
    To celebrate ending our annual work.)
    For after each elf belly finally is full,
    We pull on our parks and mittens of wool
    Then, joining our hands in an elf entwine ring
    Which circles the arctic, we dance and we sing.
    Our finale is fireworks which fill the night sky
    With curtains of color that shimmer so high!

    We Izzies all hope you had a very merry Christmas. 

    We'll be back very soon to start on our NEXT hundred posts.

    Happy New Year!

    Much Love,

    (and Honorary Izzy Elf, Deedy)

    P.S. (Just wait until you hear where Santa is taking us for our Izzy Elf Holiday this year!)

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    16824. Happy Birthday Son…

    38 years ago I gave birth to a son

    At the age of six he came home from school and quoted John 3:16.During his elementary years, he loved learning and adored his sisters.In High School, he lost his way. All along, he always told me how much he loved me. I began to pray in a totally different way. I stood in the gap. As Christ stands before the throne, I stood holding on to the cross.I will never let go! For in the power of the cross came forgiveness, deliverance, healing and restoration for my beloved son.I now look forward to the years ahead.God will restore the years that the locust stole.Im so proud of the man he has become.
    Thank you son ,

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    16825. Compulsory New Year's Eve Post

    Creative Commons image. 

    2014 has been a crazy year for me. I had to teach Year 8 history. I only made one story sale(thank heavens for the wonderful Sophie Masson). We had an author visit by Sherryl Clark and were offered one for this coming year by the new Stella Schools Program. I did a lot of reading for the Aurealis Awards and read a lot of slush for ASIM and published an issue of ASM myself, #60. Go buy it! 

     I seriously think whether I should take a break from promoting other people's books and concentrate on my own writing. But I can't not read, can I? 

    And I am inspired by the wonderful Ambelin Kwaymullina, author of The Interrogation Of Ashala Wolfwhom I meet at Continuum, who also has a full time day job as a teacher and still manages to write amazing fiction. And paint. And handcraft. (Ambelin, by the way, is the one I have to thank for the Stella freebie.) If she can do it, so can I.

    Ambelin did  a great interview on this blog in June. Do check it out.

    I'm hoping that this coming year will be a good one. Even though we're having to jump through ever more hoops at work, I will only have small classes and once I get them organised I may be able to focus more on the writing and look after my students in the library.

    So, have a great NYE - I'm meeting my nephew David and his daughters Dezzy and Rachel at the Astor Theatre for the very last Rocky Horror Picture Show before they are closed down so the owner can make a fortune selling it as apartments. I don't do midnight any more, not since Dad died, it depresses me too much, but Rocky Horror will be good. And no champers either - a half glass of fizzy wine and my head fuzzes up and I say stupid things. Anyway, with daylight saving, who can tell when it's midnight? :-)

    So here's a December 31 meme for you.

    On This Day

    The usual lot of battles and horrible stuff, so I found some quirky items for you in Wikipedia.

    1759 : Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum. And the world gets a new beer! Wonder if the lease price has gone up?

    1853: A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London, England. Will have to check this out. What a way to spend New Year's Eve, eh? And typically Victorian era over-the-top.

    1907: The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square). This has, as I needn't remind you, become a tradition. 

    2009: Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occur. This was a sad year's end for me, as my Dad had just passed away. I went to bed early and as there was a storm that night, I missed the lunar events, I'm afraid. But an interesting thing anyway.


    Only two writers/editors I'm familiar with, so I've added actors I respect.

    1937 – Anthony Hopkins, Welsh-American actor, director, and composer. Didn't know about the American. Time to read his bio.

    1943 – Ben Kingsley, English actor

    1945 – Connie Willis, American spec fic author and one of my favourites. If you love spec fic, do read The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing Of The Dog, all those time travel stories, and Passage, which was a great story about near-death-experiences taking the form of finding yourself on the Titanic.

    1949 - Ellen Datlow, American anthologist and author. Does a lot of themed anthologies, including fairytales. Pity she only takes commissioned work... Sigh!  But her anthologies have given me a lot of reading pleasure over the years.

    In today's news

     A lot of depressing stuff, but one item I liked, the discovery of the world's smallest species of goanna, at only about 23 cm in length, in the Kimberley. She's on display at the Museum of Western Australia and yes, she's alive, I checked. I hope they find her a better place to live and a mate to cheer her up.

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