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1. How to Survive NaNoWriMo

How to Survive NaNoWriMo


So anyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo is probably sleepless and angst-ridden right now. It's the end of the 50,000 word stretch, and I'm sure most of you are itching at the palms to rest your fingers. Fear not, fellow writers! Here I will share with you a few ways to survive NaNoWriMo with your writer's brain in one piece: 

1. Lots of Sleep 


Yes, writing takes up most of your time and carries on far into the night, (because come on, our characters never take a break, do they?). But getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night can help you to focus when you're writing, and better you're dialogue. 

2. Eat Regularly 


Of course, when you're writing you don't want to stop. But brain food is writing food! If you eat regularly while you're writing, instead of forgetting, you may find you have more energy to finish that last chapter. 

3. Read


Read as much as you can in your down time. Reading in between writing spurts can help inspire you and spark your imagination, not to mention help the words flow freely from your brain to your screen. 

4. Channel Your Character


Sometimes all you need to create that perfect character is to spend a few moments channeling them. Take a breath and ask yourself, "how would he/she react to this" without thinking too hard about it. Whatever pops into your head may be the truth. 


5. Set your Space

Set your writing space up every time you sit down at your computer. Whether that means good-smelling candles, pretty curtains, or calming music, everything around you helps to relax you and further your writing. 


And there it is! A few quick (hopefully helpful) tips to surviving this last week of NaNoWriMo! So kick back, relax, and let the words flow.

Best and happy writing,

-Ashley Dawson 

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2. Precautions

It’s good to take precautions
When you’re going on a trip –
Umbrella, bug spray, meds will ease
Your mind when in your grip.

Yet even if you’re more prepared
Than someone would advise,
There always is the chance that you’ll
Encounter a surprise.

For who can really tell you what
The future has in store?
And health or weather may act up
In ways not seen before.

So pack your suitcase to the brim
In full anticipation
That all your efforts cannot
Guarantee a smooth vacation.

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3. Another Farewell To Book Club...

Yesterday, I said goodbye to another lot of Year 10 book clubbers. Natasha, Karyn and Jenny were the loyallest members, who turned up to pretty much every meeting between Year 7 and 10, and I gave each of them a gift voucher for Dymock's bookshop. But there were plenty more. Some had joined us only this year. One, Hayden, who had been a member briefly in Year 7, returned this year, bringing his friend Mark, a lad who endeared himself to me in Year 8 when he recognised a quote I made from Monty Python. Mark is a keen reader, though this year he was mostly absorbed in the Game Of Thrones series of fat books, so had little time for much else.  I never did get him started on Terry Pratchett, a pity, because he would have enjoyed Discworld.

Hayden is, in fact, the only one of them who appears in that picture with Marianne De Pierres, because the others in his class were stuck in a maths test. Safa and Meka joined us this year and read manuscripts for Allen and Unwin. 

 Nusaiba was another veteran, though not as much as some of the others. She did come to Reading Matters and several meetings this year.

Lula joined us last year and came with us to the Reading Matters conference. Emily, who had been with us since Year 7, more or less dropped out last year, but still wandered in and out. I missed Emily, but the club was for their benefit, not mine. 

Braydon was in and out, but had also been with us for a long time.

We all had a lot of fun together. They chose books, came on excursions, read manuscripts for Allen and Unwin, met writers who visited us. Last year, Emily read The First Third by Will Kostakis, loved it and made her boyfriend a bit jealous when the author visited. Well, Will is young and good looking. :-) I said, "Don't worry, he's going back to Sydney," and the boyfriend snarled," Thank God!" But it was the book she loved. In the novel, the boy's very Greek grandma dies, which devastated Emily, but the author's grandmother, who inspired the one in the novel, is alive and well; she rang while Will was chatting with book club and he handed the phone to Emily.

Natasha was very sad yesterday, almost in tears when I handed her one of the laminated certificates I made for all my Year 10 book clubbers. After the graduation ceremony she gave me a hug and had her mum take a picture of us together. I have promised to see what I can do about having her attend Alice Pung's talk next year.

I think I'm almost in tears myself.That's the thing about being a teacher. You have to say goodbye so soon!

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4. A 24-Hour Bookshore Thrives in Asia

esliteThe Eslite, a 24-hour bookshop based in Asia, “has more night owl visitors than most Western bookstores could dream of during their daytime hours.”

The Eslite Group has designed its stores to cater not only to bibliophiles, but also to people who appreciate fashion, home styling, and restaurants. The company owns 42 stores in Taiwan and 1 store in Hong Kong; the executives plan to open new locations in China.

According to CNN, the organization “reported revenue of around $425 million in 2013, with books accounting for some 40 percent of sales, according to company spokesman Timothy Wang. Sales are expected to increase by almost eight percent this year.” What do you think?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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5. P.D. James Has Died

P.D. JamesP. D. James (full name Phyllis Dorothy James White) has died. She was 94-years-old.

James (pictured, via) became well-known for her crime novels. Throughout her career, she wrote and published almost two dozen books.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “Many critics and many of her peers have said that by virtue of the complexity of her plots, the psychological density of her characters and the moral context in which she viewed criminal violence, Ms. James even surpassed her classic models and elevated the literary status of the modern detective novel. She is often cited, in particular, for the cerebral depth and emotional sensibilities of Adam Dalgliesh, the introspective Scotland Yard detective and published poet who functions as the hero of virtually all of her novels.” (via BuzzFeed)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6. Chapter

Question: Is there a set amount of words needed in a chapter of a book? Answer: No. The length of chapters can vary both within a book and according to

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7.

Advanced copy arrived! 

Very excited for the March release. 






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8. SkADaMo 2014

Attention shoppers! It is now 9:00 and our store is closing.
9:00! Great Scott! The store is gonna close!
Santa can’t wait all night.
Come on up on Santa’s lap.
Get moving, kid. Quit dragging your feet.

santaeyeoutsanta
And what’s your name, little boy?
Hey, kid, hurry up, the store’s closing!
Listen, little boy, we got a lot of people waiting here, so get going!
What do you want for Christmas, little boy?
My mind had gone blank.
Frantically I tried to remember what it was I wanted.
I was blowing it, blowing it.
How about a nice football?
Football. What’s a football?
Without conscious will, my voice squeaked out:
Football.
Okay, get him out of here.
A football!    Oh, no. What was I doing?
Wake up, stupid, wake up!
I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot… range model air rifle.

You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.

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9. Walk in the Woods Wednesday

We're still not celebrating Black Friday here at Harts Pass, but in honor of the day we'll offer up this retro strip from November 2012. Definitely looking forward to Walk in the Woods Wednesday!

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10. Publishing Jobs: Amazon, Skyhorse Publishing, Penguin Random House

This week, Amazon is hiring an associate publisher, a senior account executive for CPG and a content marketing manager of books, toys and activities for Quidsi. Meanwhile, Skyhorse Publishing is seeking a copyeditor/proofreader and Penguin Random House is on the hunt for a digital archivist. Get the scoop on these openings below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

amazon130

Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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11. Just be happy, that's all I want for you


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12. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, by Caroline Jayne Church | Book Review

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, by Caroline Jayne Church, is a delightful board book that takes a childhood favorite nursery rhyme and sets it with beautiful illustrations of children around the world.

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13. Universal Pictures Options 2 Gayle Forman YA Books

Just One DayUniversal Pictures has optioned two of Gayle Forman’s young adult novels, Just One Day and Just One Year.

Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the creators of The Gossip Girl TV show, will serve as producers for this project. Penguin Young Readers Group released the first book in January 2013 and the second book followed in October 2013.

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “Just One Day and Just One Year follows the story of a young couple who meet and share one incredible day (and night) together only to be separated, spending the next year looking for each other and finding themselves along the journey…The books have been described as being in the tone of Before Sunrise and 500 Days of Summer.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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14. My new favorite book

Adorable and so funny (for both kids and adults).


DORY FANTASMAGORY


review copy from Penguin



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15. Eleanor Catton: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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16. Thankfully Reading Day 2

I managed to avoid the turkey coma. I set out to eat until I was full and I did exactly that. No stuffed feeling! We ate dinner with friends and ended up eating in 3 waves, because of all the food! Roasted turkey and sides first, smoked turkey and smoked mac and cheese second, and dessert third, including this ridiculous Mile-High Apple Pie topped with caramel and pecans. Yes.


That was easily the best apple pie I have ever consumed. My friend said it was a Paula Deen recipe, so if you're interested in recreating that amazing deliciousness, I'm sure you could Google it!

On the reading side of things, I managed to get quite a bit done yesterday! We didn't head to our friend's home until 4:30, so all morning and E's nap time were spent occasionally fitting in 10 or so pages and when we got home and the little one was off to bed, I sat for a couple hours and sped through The Book of Strange New Things. Almost done with that one and it's 500 pages! Hoping to finish that and maybe 2 more of the course of this long weekend. 


For today's update, Jenn asked us to answer the question "what book are we most thankful for this year?" I didn't even have to think about my answer, as it's the one book that brought back my love of reading this fall. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. 

I had too much on my plate, signing up for event after event and though most of these things were fun and I had a great time while I was out, it definitely took away my reading time and often left me exhausted. I didn't have time to read, because I wasn't ever home and when I was home, I just wanted to sleep. The Best Yes spoke truth into my life and made me realize that I was craving the ability to slow down and return to the quieter life I loved... and how to be ok with saying no. 

I have started slowly taking myself out of obligations that were making me exhausted and that I felt like I absolutely had to do and sticking with the things I truly love. My dinner club and book club are sticking around, but the second book club and my Bunco group had to go. I've taken leave from the bookstore, so I'm no longer working on weekends, and amazingly my reading numbers have gone up and I'm just happier. So, thank you Lysa Terkeurst, you changed my year. 

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17. Connections/ How to Make them in a Story


The connections between characters and plot situation and setting and their relationship to internal and external conflict is what drives a novel forward. I struggle with this all the time. I think this simple way (Use THEREFORE, BUT and not AND THEN) of looking at the relationship between what happens in a story is helpful.

Check out this very short video (about two minutes) by the creators of South Park—their # 1 Rule.

They say that what you’re doing is trying to link what happens in a story by either a “THERFORE” or a “BUT”; what you should avoid is the “AND THEN” because this will just lead to a sequence of unrelated events etc. I think this is a simple way to remember one of those larger guiding principles of propelling your story forward.
THIS HAPPENS Therefore THIS HAPPENS
But
THIS HAPPENS so (therefore) THIS HAPPENS

For example

Boy steals a car/Boy gets caught by police/Boy calls parents to come and get him out/ BUT parents won’t because they decide it will teach him a lesson/therefore-when he’s in jail he gets beat up so badly he gets put in the hospital/ therefore…. And on it and on.


Also giving away another ARC of Utopia, Iowa, at Goodreads—I’m down to one.

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18. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig



This is a picture book which has a message, but is written in such a way that it doesn't feel preachy. Brian, a young elementary school boy is quiet; so quiet he's invisible. Other children and the teacher ignore him when teams are chosen or hands are raised. He draws when his classmates read or play board games. Things change for Brian when a new boy joins the class. The new boy Justin, appears to be a different ethnicity than the other classmates and is looked upon strangely at first. Being outsiders, Justin and Brian make friends and soon a third friend is included. Toward the end of the book, the three boys work on a project together that cements their friendship. Patrice Barton's illustrations show Brian faintly in the beginning and gain some color when he makes friends. At the end of the book, there's a reference page with further reading for children and adults about friendship and introversion.

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19. Can I submit with a working title?

Question Pretty much what it sounds like... I'm in the middle of drafting a submission to an agent and realised that I'm not sure if the title I've chosen

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20. Ferguson Public Library Receives $175K in Donations

Many other orgs closing. But we will stay open to serve people of #Ferguson as long as safe for patrons & staff, up to 8p. Love each other.

— Ferguson Library (@fergusonlibrary) November 24, 2014

The American people have been very vocal in responding to the Ferguson incident. As the unrest continues, several local businesses have closed but the Ferguson Public Library has remained open.

In recognition of the library’s commitment to the community, more than 7,000 people have sent in monetary gifts. Overall, this institution has received more than $175,000 in donations.

Here’s more from NPR: “For community leaders and business owners, the library has become a place to convene…With the donations this week, Bonner plans to purchase more ‘healing kits’ for children to check out. The kits include books about dealing with traumatic events and a stuffed animal that they can keep.” Follow this link to take a video tour of the library. (via BookRiot)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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21. Festival Call for Entries: Northwest Animation Fest, Future Film Festival, Fest Anca

Our new Animation Festival Guide is a hand-picked list of calls for entries from respected festivals around the globe. This week, we add three new calls for entries from Portland, Oregon; Bologna, Italy; and Žilina, Slovakia.

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22. End of blog.

Due to lack on interest I will no longer be posting my work here. Instead it will only be shown on my facebook page. 

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23. Sledding without a cell phone

Yesterday we went to Thanksgiving dinner at my wife’s parents’ house. There is, in their spacious backyard, a perfect hill for sledding. There was, in the garage, a perfect sheet of plastic to fashion into a toboggan. We slid and spun down the hill again and again, me and my pink-cheeked boy, until the sun set behind the distant trees.

It occurred to me many times that this experience was perfect for Facebook — to make a short video of the boy sliding and whooping his way downhill, or at least to transmit the important status: “Sledding with son on makeshift sled! #blessed.”

But when my cell phone broke two months ago, I didn’t bother replacing it. I canceled my service instead, sick of the way the phone made me less present in any moment. Out with my wife, at the park with my son, whatever. I’d check the phone every few minutes for nothing-that-important. Occasionally it’s inconvenient to not have the phone (calling the wife, for example, to remind me what exactly she’d asked me to pick up the store I am now wandering aimlessly through), but I don’t miss it much. I think it makes me less annoying to be phoneless. The shame I used to feel when seeing those thought-pieces about people and their smart phones as turned to smug self-satisfaction. “Don’t even have a cell phone, anymore,” I remember.

But does it really matter if I have a phone with me, if I am mentally framing the moment, crafting the image, composing the status? Thirty years ago Annie Dillard wrote of the “running description of the present,” that took place in her head on hikes, the “talking too much,” even when she was alone. I definitely know this feeling, though I wonder what genre these thoughts mimicked in the days before Twitter, what imaginary medium and audience gave shape to her interior monologue?

I still have the cell phone in the hand of my imagination. Even if I want to believe that my own shutter opened and the moment imprinted itself on the silver of my soul, I was actually composing a blog entry in my head about how such a thing happened, and applying the “Rockwell Filter” to my mental Instagram.

But that’s not completely fair to myself. Flying down the hill there was nothing but speed and cold and the squeals of a happy child. It was so perfect I have no memory of it — I didn’t jot one down in my mind for later.

Makeshift Sled

(Photo taken by my wife from the living room window.)


Filed under: Miscellaneous

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24. Istanbul-Tbilisi

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25.

Dig Here! is a bunch of familiar elements — teenage girl best friends, missing treasure, a cranky aunt, and abandoned house, etc. — assembled in a way that didn’t feel familiar. I found myself wondering a lot whether this was the book Gladys Allen set out to write.

The main character, Sandy, is the daughter of missionaries. She’s sent to boarding school during the school year and to various relatives during the summers. When Dig Here! opens, she’s facing the prospect of spending the summer with Aunt Cal, who she’s never met, and who is related to her only by marriage. Aunt Cal says it’s okay for Sandy to bring a friend with her, so she invites her best friend, Eve, and it’s a good thing for her that she does. Eve is a much more forceful personality than Sandy is, and she’s also more adventurous, more sensible, and probably smarter. She’s even better at dealing with Aunt Cal, in part because she’s better at cooking and housework and, I don’t know, getting up on time than Sandy is.

This is one of the things that makes me unsure Allen knows what book she’s writing. Someone — maybe one of Sandy’s parents, in a letter? — talks about how sunny and sweet Sandy is, but all we actually see evidence of is Eve being better at everything. Towards the end you get a little more of a sense of Sandy as a person in her own right, but not much.

It’s an Augusta Huiell Seaman kind of setup. On their arrival at Aunt Cal’s the girls find that Sandy accidentally exchanged suitcases with a fellow bus passenger — a hair tonic salesman, judging by his luggage. A trip to exchange the suitcase for Sandy’s leads them to an old house, and hair tonic guy behaving suspiciously. Then the house turns out to be the one that Aunt Cal should have inherited from her uncle — and would have, if her shiftless cousin hadn’t hidden his will. There also may or may not be an emerald buried somewhere around the property. I’m not sure Eve and Sandy know which of these mysteries they’re investigating, but they investigate with a will, and with the help of cute farmboy Michael, and, eventually, the various hindrances provided by their school friend Hattie May and her brother Hamish. Hamish fancies himself as a detective.

I think what makes Dig Here! feel unusual is that books like these tend to have a very narrow focus. The kids solving the mystery are usually a small, tight-knit group. The crotchety relative exists to have their heart melted by the main character. You get your protagonist, his or her friends, whatever adults they live with, and maybe a villain. But in Dig Here!, everything’s part of a larger picture you don’t see. There are characters you never meet, like Sandy’s parents and Aunt Cal’s cousin. And the characters you do meet have stuff going on that the kids don’t know about. There are subplots that Sandy and Eve don’t find out about until the end, and then only as an afterthought. Aunt Cal is investigating on her own account, and doesn’t tell Sandy anything about it. And she doesn’t need to confide in Sandy — she’s not socially isolated, she’s got friends, and they probably know more about the mystery than Sandy does, too. It gives the book a different feel than you’d get from Seaman, or from any mystery where the kids hide what’s happening from the clueless grownups. And I enjoyed that.

The downside of the kids not having most of the story is that their side of the mystery isn’t that interesting, and the characters I enjoyed most were the ones Allen spent the least time on, but it was fun.I don’t think I need to seek out more books by Gladys Allen, but if I ended up reading another one, I wouldn’t be upset.


Tagged: 1930s, girls, gladys allen, mystery

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