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By: Julissa Mora,
Blog: Julissa Mora
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After sharing the news about the Jammin' Gym toy design that I worked on for Educational Insights yesterday, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than to host a GIVEAWAY - yippee!How to enter:1. Leave a comment under this post3. Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter
The winner will be picked by using a random number generator on Wednesday morning. Giveaway ends on Tuesday, March 18th 11:59 EST. Have a great rest of the week everyone! Thank you and good luck! :)
WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT READ AMBER HOUSE, IT IS VERY LIKELY THAT YOU WILL FIND NEVERWAS VERY CONFUSING.
I just clicked through to GoodReads to find evidence supporting the above statement, and promptly fell into a rabbit hole of DRAMA.
Which is why I don't spend a whole lot of time at the Thunderdome we call GoodReads.
I wrote the above right before I took my break from the interwebz. I was so disheartened by the GoodReads stuff—that A) there seemed to be so much deliberate misunderstanding going on, which B) suggested that people were using an understandable misstep on the author's part to put on their Furious Righteousness Faces rather than exercising some empathy, and worst of all, C) that the whole brouhaha was not remotely an uncommon occurrence—it was the rotten cherry on the top of my Winter Malaise sundae.
Anyway. So. Neverwas.
At the end of Amber House, heroine Sarah Parsons used the magic of the house and of her family to tweak time, saving her little brother and her long-lost aunt in the process.
But clearly, somewhere along the way, something went wrong... because history is completely different: it's the present day, but segregation is still the name of the game. Make sense?
Here's the wrinkle that'll make it especially tough for new readers: since Sarah changed history, she doesn't remember the adventure in Amber House: because for THIS version of Sarah, it never happened. And so this world, there is an American Confederacy of States, and that doesn't seem strange to her.
- Some people might see this as a Con, but big, big points to the authors for having enough confidence in their readers to avoid over-explaining. Sarah works with the information that she has—which isn't always accurate—and she doesn't magically Know That Something Is Wrong. She has moments of unease and she has some dreams, both of which are exacerbated by the fact that she's finding weird messages that seem to not only be connected, but meant specifically for her. In addition to working at solving a mystery that she doesn't even know exists, she has to fight against a lifetime of memories, as well as a lifetime of social conditioning: that's a lot of balls to keep in the air.
- Points for the subtle changes in the cast of characters: they're the same people, with the same core personalities, but they've lived their entire lives in a completely different world than in the first book. So of COURSE their worldviews will be different, as will their reactions to various stimuli. This was the aspect I appreciated the most, I think, because so often in stories like this, it's only the clothes or the slang that we see change. In Neverwas, we get the whole package.
- We get more of Nanga, and so she moves away from being purely a personification of the Magical Negro trope. Which was much appreciated.
- Relatedly, the Autism Makes You Magical thread is still here, but it's laid out in a way that I felt comfortable with: A) Sammy and Maggie were connected to the house in a much more direct way than Sarah has ever been, and B) they process things differently than Sarah does, so... pass? I'm still semi-undecided, though.
- The worldbuilding was thoughtful and complex, in that we see Big Obvious Changes as well as more subtle ones, and said changes don't exist in a vacuum: the political landscape of the entire world is different.
- Atmospheric, romantic, thoughtful, surprising, complex.
- I... can't think of any. It's certainly not a book I'd recommend to Every Single Reader, but it was a really good fit for me, and I'm very much looking forward to reading Book III. The end.
Book source: Review copy from the publisher.
Author: Florence Bellot
Publisher: Schiffer Books
Buy it at Amazon
Friendship bracelets are fun to create, and there are so many interesting patterns. Knowing the technique makes it easy. In this book, Florence Bellot provides helpful instructions and colorful pictures as a guide to getting started.
Beginning with the basics, she shows us how to make the traditional knots along with several variations. Colorful wraps are explained, as well as how to add charms and beads to the bracelet. A 5-thread starter pack is included.
I have some familiarity with making these bracelets, and I found it easy to follow the designs presented. But if you’ve never tried this fun craft, it might be helpful to have an experienced friend show you the basics. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can have lots of fun following these patterns.
Reviewer: Alice Berger
SLJ's Battle of the Books started already. I missed the first two matches. The results of Round 1, Match 2 are here: Round 1, Match 1, click here.
|Here's Match 2. Just guess which one wins.|
Sometimes, the best part of each match is the anticipation. In these cases, since I haven't even had a chance to look at one of the entries in each match, the judge's comments will help me a lot.
Check out the brackets below. I am ready for the next Match and I predict..... Eleanor and Park
will win! Except that Doll Bones was awesome, too. Glad I'm not a judge!
True Colors. Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. 2012. Random House. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I definitely enjoyed reading Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's historical novel, True Colors. This novel is set in Vermont, in the summer of 1952. The heroine of True Colors is Blue Spooner. (She absolutely HATES her name. Why did Hannah have to name her Blue? why?! Then again, why does Hannah have to name their new stray cat, "Cat"?!) Blue was a newborn baby left on Hannah's doorstep. There wasn't a note, explanation, or clues, at least not that have been revealed to our young heroine. Blue spends her time doing dozens of chores on the farm, fantasizing about finding her mother, and hanging out with her summer-time friend, Nadine. This summer has been extra difficult, perhaps, because Nadine is distant and sometimes haughty. She is a year or two older than our heroine, and Hannah assures her that Nadine is just "at that age" and that Blue will understand more when she's "that age." It's a summer of living and learning, Blue, for example, gets her first job and first paycheck. She also attends her first quilting meetings. She finds that she's good at listening and writing. (Sometimes she's a little too good at listening when she overhears a few things she shouldn't.) Family. Friendship. Community. It's a coming of age novel that touches on the bittersweet; I found it completely satisfying.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Elementary school kids are interested in exploring the Internet to learn about the world around them. But parents and teachers need to direct kids to finding sites that are interesting, informative and accessible. Kids ages 7-10 are not ready for general searching, but they love exploring what the Web has to offer.Time for Kids
celebrates Women's History Month with a dedicated mini-site
-- I'd recommend this as a good starting place for 2nd through 5th grades.
|Time for Kids mini-site to celebrate Women's History Month|
Kids can easily navigate through different sections, whether they start with modern professionals who might inspire them, background of the holiday, or an in-depth interview with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Kids will like the abundant photos with brief chunks of text. I really think we read online information differently than print sources. We like highly visual sites with brief chunks of text. Time for Kids keeps readers engaged, prompting them to click from one picture to the next. Here, actress Miranda Cosgrove tells about how she's been inspired by Rosa Parks:Time For Kids
also introduces different historical milestones in Women's History. For example, there's a short article on the suffragist's movement, The Fight to Vote
. I like sharing this type of journalistic writing style with kids, getting them primed to read newspaper articles in middle school.
|Women suffragists marched in the streets across the nation.|
I can see using this site to get kids interested in a topic and ready to learn more. Is there a website you like to share with kids to get them engaged and interested in learning more?©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
By: Nina Mata
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, beautifique studio
, childrens art
, childrens book illustration
, flying boat
, kids art
, kids flying
, kids playing
, Nina Mata
, pirate kids
, playing pirate
, reading books
, rough sketch
, work in progress
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Working on a quite a few things this month. Including this nautical themed illustration. And what started off at a day in the beach for these kids..
ended up a day in the backyard..
then a flight on a magical bath tub and a bird stealing their lunch..
I don’t know what sparks these ideas in my head..they just demand to be created sometimes. hehe. Can’t wait to see them finished though.
Until next time!
HAPPY TUESSY KIDS!
A lot of things are in the works around here, even if this space is rather quiet.
This is a rough sketch for an assignment I'm very excited about. I get to do the cover and interior black and whites for a rather intriguing chapter book - I'll tell you more when it comes out.
Join your favorite YA and NA authors as we celebrate being Irish for a day and play on Pinterest. There will be over 45 e-book giveaways! You can join the Facebook party HERE!
You won’t want to miss it!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
At Spoke Art in San Francisco (click through for lots more):
By: SCBWI REP,
Hi folks, warmer days have arrived! I hope that you have found some time to work on your projects. I hope that everything is singing.
Want to know what happens once an illustrator receives a new picture book text? Illustrator coordinator for SCBWI Houston, Diandra Mae, will fill us in, along with tips for writers on "leaving room for the illustrator." Check out her portfolio in the Illustrators Gallery. Or stop by her website or her blog. Come to the Schmooze on Wednesday, March 26, at 10 a.m. in the College Station Barnes & Noble.
ALSO Join us for "Writing Speculative Fiction for Kids and Teen with acclaimed fantasy author Martha Wells.
Time: 10 a.m - noon
Place: Arts Council of Brazos Valley
Martha will offer her expert overview of writing speculative fiction, including tips, resources, exercises and practical advice. Bring your questions for a time of Q&A. Copies of Martha’s books will be available for purchase—cash or check only. We look forward to seeing you!
Registration for the workshop is $20 for SCBWI members or $25 for non-members. Seating is limited. Please let us know you are coming by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and then paying at the door. Bring your check book to buy books too!
Martha Wells (www.marthawells.com) is the author of a number of fantasy novels, including her YA fantasy, Emilie and the Hollow World, which was published by Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry in April 2013, and the sequel, Emilie and the Sky World, which will be out in March 2014. She’s also the author of The Cloud Roads, The Wizard Hunters, and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer. The Siren Depths was published in December 2012 by Night Shade Books, and is the third in the Books of the Raksura series.
Capstone launches a new young adult imprint, Switch Press.
Ten of Lawrence Block's hilarious Bernie Rhodenbarr books are 99¢ today.
[ETA: Oh, wait. The heading says they're 99¢, but the books are listed as $1.99. CONFUSING!]
Here's a painting of a door in Friburg by Pennsylvania artist Charles E. Dana (1843-1924). He studied architecture in Munich, and then went to Paris to learn from Gérôme and Bonnat.
The iron grille in the window, with rectangular mullions behind it, would have taken considerable patience and skill to record in the subtractive medium of transparent watercolor.
A 1915 article
described him "as a student always, living much in the past, searching out the works of old craftsmen. It is only natural that his subjects should have been for the most part along the lanes and by-paths where these interests led him. So we find his work quite removed from that of the painter of moods, and his pictures depicting and recording certain real things which were in themselves the expression of the artist-craftsmen of a bygone period."
Left: A street in Cairo by Charles E. Dana
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for CynsationsWhitney A. Miller
is the first-time author of The Violet Hour
(Flux, 2014). From the promotional copy:Some call VisionCrest the pinnacle of religious enlightenment.
Others call it a powerful cult.
For seventeen years, Harlow Wintergreen has called it her life.
As the adopted daughter of VisionCrest's patriarch, Harlow is expected to be perfect at all times. The other Ministry teens must see her as a paragon of integrity. The world must see her as a future leader.
Despite the constant scrutiny, Harlow has managed to keep a dark and dangerous secret, even from her best friend and the boy she loves. She hears a voice in her head that seems to have a mind of its own, plaguing her with violent and bloody visions. It commands her to kill. And the urge to obey is getting harder and harder to control...Could you describe both your pre-and-post contract revision process? What did you learn along the way? How did you feel at each stage? What advice do you have for other writers on the subject of revision?
The Violet Hour was the second novel I attempted to write, so I wasn't completely naive. I knew that a first draft was just the beginning of a very long process, but woah mama...did this book ever have it in for me!
In the beginning stages, I didn't really know what the book was about. I had this amazing main character (Harlow Wintergreen), this iconic cult-like religion (VisionCrest), and this edgy, pop-culture altiverse in which it all existed. But I didn't have a story just yet - details shmeetails.
At that time I never wrote with an outline so I meandered about the manuscript, surprised and delighted by every crazy left turn Harlow took. I've since learned my lesson on that front, but as I once said in an early draft of The Violet Hour to explain away a plot that made no sense, that is a story for another day. I would throw in wacky details because they sounded cool or seemed spooky - a mysterious necklace! a sinister voice! a Cambodian temple!
But then when I had to tie it all up with a bow at the end, I realized I had created a monster.
That puppy was going to require major revision....like, 10 drafts' worth before it went out for sale.
It was a process. One that could have been significantly shortened by a little bit of pre-planning. But I'm a hard-way learner, what can I say?
During the time that it was out on submission, I came to realize that the last third of the book just didn't feel right. At that point I had stripped the story down to the studs multiple times, torn it into shreds and put it back together until my fingers bled and my eyes crossed (okay, maybe I'm being melodramatic).
I was exhausted
. I didn't even want to look at it anymore, much less tear it apart again. But once it sold (oh happy, happy day!) I knew I owed it to myself and my future readers to make the story the absolute best it could be.
So, I ripped it apart once again, this time with the expert guidance of my editor. I took things out, added new stuff in, and fixed all the things that I knew didn't work but hadn't wanted to admit before. And then I revised it, and revised it, and revised it some more.
I lost count, but I was finally finished around draft 17. And I was really proud of it. The story I wanted to tell was finally on the page, and I didn't give up before I got there.
So what did I learn from this and what advice would I give to other writers around revision?
Here it is:
As a horror writer, going in, did you have a sense of how events/themes in your novel might parallel or speak to events/issues in our real world? Or did this evolve over the course of many drafts?
- Do a little pre-work. You don't have to have a detailed outline, if that doesn't work for you (it doesn't for me). But a one-page synopsis can help you think the story all the way through before you throw in a magical necklace that has no business being there.
- Take breaks between drafts. My rule of thumb is at least two weeks, but more is better. Renew. Refresh. Get some perspective. Then dive back in.
- If you have a lot to fix, break it down into bite-sized pieces. Do a pass through for a certain element (say, fixing a specific plot thread). Consider that a draft. Then, after a break, come back for something else. Thinking about it as a whole can be daunting - just take it one step at a time.
- Give yourself the gift of time. This isn't a race. There's no prize for finishing fast, but there might be one for finishing strong.
- Hang in there! Persevere! Commiserate! Most writers will tell you that revision is a big part of their process, and some will tell you they've even come to enjoy it.
- Enjoy it. Seeing your manuscript improve, become even better than you imagined it could be, is one of the most gratifying parts of the process. The journey is the reward!
I didn't think about this consciously, like "I'm going to make this specific issue my real world parallel because that's what a horror book must do." That said, there are many social, political, and cultural parallels in the book - things that really intrigue me.
For example, I am curious about belief in all its forms. Religions. Cults. Science. Politics. The process of deciding that a certain thing or person holds the answers to the unanswerable is one I'll never tire of exploring.
As human beings, we are often willing to believe the most outlandish, unseeable things and simultaneously incapable of believing the clear and obvious (if there is any such thing).
What makes us think our perception is the only reality? What creates certainty in the absence of evidence? What happens when those things occur? These are the things that were always present in The Violet Hour, and became honed over the lengthy process of revision.
At a certain point I had to ask myself: okay, this is a cool story but what am I trying to say? That's when I really got down to the meat of it.
I hope the result is a rich subtext that both fascinates and frightens.
The Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s website just posted one image for each of the illustrators selected for this year’s edition.
Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Rebecca Palmer, U.K.
Min Jee Kim, Korea
Michio Watanabe, Japan
Marco Somà, Italy
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is promoting the launch of the new book, What’s Your Favorite Animal? by Eric Carle and Friends by hosting an exhibit at the museum which will showcase the original work of 14 artists, as well as a digital exhibition of work created by fans.
Readers of all ages can submit a high res photo of an original work of art that represents their own favorite animals. These images will be part of a digital exhibition gallery which will be up on the museum’s site from April 8-August 31and. You can submit work now through August 1st. Follow this link to find out how to submit your work.
All royalties from the new book, published by Holt and Company, will go towards The Carle and its educational programs.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Today Maria E. Andreu, author of YA novel The Secret Side of Empty, talks with us about secrets, shame, and writing our truths. I hope you’ll enjoy this powerful, inspiring post. I did.
Leave a comment on this post to enter to win a copy of The Secret Side of Empty; it sounds like a fascinating book. (US residents only.)
Where the Light Enters
by Maria E. Andreu, author of The Secret Side of Empty
The wound is the place where the light enters you – Rumi
I’ve had many wounds. That’s why I was so excited when I found out Cheryl would allow me to do a guest post here on her blog. I figured anyone who’s written a book called SCARS understands about wounds, light and what comes after. There are many of us, and we form a sisterhood of sorts, crisscrossing ourselves and the world in search of light we can learn to stand.
I grew up illegal. Illegal isn’t the “correct” word for it anymore, but it’s the word that describes how I felt. I snuck across the Mexican border with my mother at the age of eight. That’s the word my parents would use when I’d hear them whispering about it in the other room. “Somos ilegales,” they would say, as a preface to some other things that bound us. “We’re illegal so we can’t buy a house.” “We’re illegal so she can’t go to public school.” It was a stain, an identity. It was what I was. And I was ashamed.
I didn’t do anything to earn this brand, but I didn’t know that at eight years old. I didn’t know it at fifteen either. I didn’t know it until well past thirty, after I’d spent a third of my life hiding, measuring myself against others and coming up short. The thing that branded me was something that had been decided for me way before I had reached the age of consent or even understanding. But still it made me so desperately wrong. It was my darkest secret, one that not even my best friend knew. Then I got my papers through an amnesty when I was eighteen years old. I did everything I could do bury that part of my past.
But the light is wily. It found me one day as I drove my late-model German sedan on my way from one part of my shiny, put-on life to another. It came in the form of a hate-spewing talk radio guy saying that if we let “these immigrants” stay, they will destroy our country. He made me so furious, talking about “the fact” that immigrants bring diseases and live off the government. In that moment I realized that by keeping quiet I was aiding and abetting him in making his case.
So I began to speak. And write. I had spent a lifetime wishing to be a writer but hadn’t been able to connect somehow. Stories had gotten rejected. Agents had passed on my work. It was because I hadn’t been writing as my whole self, I realized. When I wrote my novel, THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, about an undocumented immigrant high school senior, I got the first agent I queried, who sold my book in the first round of submissions with multiple offers. The irony was sweet. My broken places had let the light I had most wanted into my life.
So we are scarred, all of us. And we are still wounded, sometimes, still afraid. But when we speak with voices clear and true, we heal a little, and turn our faces to the light. And we shine.
Last week was my sixth week post-op on that surgery I've been whining about here for more than a month. Last week I finally began to feel energy returning to normal. The soreness that had been subsiding very slowly suddenly seemed to be far less noticeable. It began to appear that I was going to achieve some kind of normal, sooner rather than later.
All these issues had been keeping me from working at peak efficiency. Or any kind of efficiency. I was working. You can see above the elaborate revision project I just finished yesterday. But I started that damn thing last November after getting back from Whispering Pines. No, it shouldn't have taken this long. My inability to put in much daily time since the end of January, even though I work sitting down, was hugely frustrating. Part of it was physical issues, but a lot of it was mental. I just could not find a way to get my mind into work mode while feeling the way I was. I was late getting started in the morning and was usually lying down by mid-afternoon.
Is there a way to manage time under these kinds of circumstances? I'm not suggesting surgical patients be able to put in regular eight-hour shifts. But how about finding ways to do enough to satisfy us?
I hunted on-line for material on working while recovering from surgery or even illness. I found a lot on "working out" after surgery (which, truthfully, is of interest to me, too, but doesn't relate to today's subject). I also found information for employers and information on job discrimination. But anything on how to keep your head in the game? No.
Now this is one of those privilege problems. If I worked a traditional job and couldn't take six weeks off, you can be sure I would have been back in the office, at least part-time, a couple of weeks earlier than I was. Or if this house was crawling with kids, I would have found a way to stay on my feet more than I did.
As it was, I just started doing my weekly planning (see left) this past Sunday. I couldn't even get myself to do that.
Oh, wait! Planning may have been my downfall. Or, rather, not planning. Perhaps having a variety of small jobs planned for a recovery period--catching up on reading professional journals, some children's books (I read masses of adult mystery serials), small promotional tasks--would not only mean getting something real done, but feeling that something real was getting done. Which could have an impact on the ability to do more. As it was, I did do small tasks, but not in any kind of organized, planned way. So I never had a sense that I was making progress, becoming more powerful and competent, and ready to move on.
Hmm. Maybe I'm on to a way to manage time for the ill and injured. Can I elaborate on this and then put it in a bottle and sell it?
Mediabistro is introducing its newest boot camp: Freelancing 101. This four-week interactive online event starts April 28, and teaches students the best way to start a freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients.
With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, Mediabistro is inviting you to try your luck with code GETLUCKY. Register with the promotional code and you could win anywhere from $10-$50 OFF your registration! Make sure to sign-up before 3/17 to redeem this offer!
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Lovereading UK has created an infographic called, “What Does 2 Billion Book Sales Look Like?,” which explores the physical length of millions of books through real world comparisons.
Check it out: “Bestseller numbers get thrown around all the time – but have you ever stopped to think what 22 milion, or 5 million or even 2 billion books would actually look like? LoveReading has looked into it and visualised the books sold by some of the world’s most popular authors. Feel free to share with any book lovers!”
We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump for you to explore further. continued…
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Are you an aspiring writer, rgz? How about making everything just a little bit easier in the publishing pursuit with Writing Children's Books for Dummies? Author Lisa Rojany Buccieri and Peter Economy cover the basics of the art, genres, editing, illustrating, publishing and promoting. There are great sections for publicity and social media. This a tool you'll reference again and again. The new 2nd edition is up-to-date and trustworthy.
I found the prompts, tips and warnings to be really helpful.
"Warning! Beware of dumping tons of background information in successive paragraphs, known as a data dump. Character development must be more subtle and oblique, not hitting the reader over the head with gobs of information all at once."
So if you are looking to write with an aim to publishing kidlit, grab this for your reference shelf. It will be a handy guide on your journey. Read, reflect, and reach out through writing, rgz!
Writing Children's Books for Dummies
by Lisa Rojany Buccieri and Peter Economy
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2013
I am so honored (and VERY excited!!!) my art, Up, up, up into a New Year, was selected to be apart of the BIG, Bologna Illustration Gallery at the 2014 Bologna Book Fair.
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Francis Williamson gave up his dental practice for the opportunity to live off the land in the yukon. His last bit of dentistry was to cap two of his own teeth, one with flint and the other with steel. He would never be without a way to spark up a fire. This technique worked especially well when his teeth were chattering."Frank of Skunk hollow" was his new name.
created for Illustration Friday's word of the week "Spark."